Quilting Fun

While I love the satisfaction of finishing a quilt, it isn't the only way to have fun with quilting. Fun also comes from the great outings with girlfriends, shopping expeditions with Grandma, or just sitting in my "thoughtful spot" chair perusing magazines and books. The thrill of the next project waiting just there on the horizon...

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Hand-Quilting With Ease

I thought I would share a little tip with you today to make your hand-quilting endeavors a bit easier.If arthritis is an issue, this will definitely be useful, but anyone with difficulty gripping a needle and pulling it through can use this idea.

I keep this rubber thimble near my stitching for easy access when I need help completing stitches. It came in a package of three - S, M, and L. This is the large one because I use it on my thumb.

We all know that quilting needles are short little things; small needles help create the tiny stitches that we desire. The downside of that, however, is that with three stitches loaded onto such a short needle, the daggone thing is hard to pull through! My large fingers don't help matters, either. The rubber thimble is what I use to solve this problem.

In the photo above, I have three stitches on my needle and it's ready to pull through. If there is much thickness, like at intersections where several fabrics come together, I cannot easily get a grip on the needle. It's kind of like the needle is stuck in that thickness.

I slip the rubber thimble onto my thumb and between the two thimbles, I can easily pull the needle through without any effort at all.
Once I've got it through the last stitch, I can then pull the needle and thread through the fabric, thus completing the process. It saves me lots of aggravation, and doesn't really take any extra time. It's not clumsy, even though it might look like it is.

Now, tomorrow, I will discuss this ratty thimble. Gripping stuff, I know. Pun intended...lol!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Monday, October 20, 2014

This Is Whining

My fingers and thumb hurt! I have spent a good bit of this past month on hand quilting, and I'm now paying the price for it. The sensation one has in one's fingers and thumb after repeated needle-pricks is a constant throbbing. Then take those hands and plunge them into a sink of hot, soapy dishwater, and the throbbing intensifies. Waa-waaa! What a quandary--dishes or quilting?? No, there's no quandary at all, is there? *wink*

That Saturday at History Day earlier this month renewed my interest in getting The Long Road Home project off my to-do list. Plus, I'd already been working on Cheddar and Crackers, as well. The gears have definitely been ratcheted up a few notches on hand-quilting. 

 The quilting is rather straightforward, but it's getting the job done. I love sitting at the frame and looking at the vast array of fabrics that I used. I just love a scrappy-looking quilt!

I will be taking a break from stitching today. I have a full day at OUC, and then a Frienzie dinner afterwards. That should give my fingers time to heal a bit. Maybe one of these days, I will actually have a finish to show off!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

An Early Retirement . . .

. . . Quilt, that is.

You no doubt recall the circle of close friends and former co-workers I frequently reference here on the blog lovingly as the Frienzies. Well, as each of us has retired, we've surprised that Frienzie with a retirement quilt. So far, six of the eight of us are retired, and those two who remain full-time in the classroom have several more years before they reach that magic retirement date.

We who are retired got to thinking, though. What would it hurt to go ahead and get a jump start on those last two quilts? At least the one for Susan, who is up next in the retirement queue. We already had the fabric and since we use the same pattern for all these quilts, we decided to go for it.

And with that bit of background, let me introduce you to Frienzie Susan's retirement quilt, which we presented to her in late September.

The fabric is an older line by Joel Dewberry. We had a road trip maybe 4-5 years ago that included a trip to a fabric store where Susan selected these fabrics. I admit to having some misgivings as to the way this would come together, but by gosh, it looks awesome!

The back looks awesome, too. We didn't want to have leftover focus fabric, and we always put a signed block on the back, so we came up with this. That extra block has significance, too. The front of the quilt has 30 stars, and most of us retired at the 30-year mark. Susan will retire with 32 years of service, so the two extra stars on the back will represent all 32 years of service.

And here's our signature block. Susan's projected retirement is June 2017, if all goes as planned.

Now I will link to a previous post about retirement quilts, just because I think you might be interested. There will be some "throwback" pictures, as well. *wink*

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Friday, October 17, 2014

My Very First Give-Away

About a month ago I wrote a post about some really awesome aspects of blogging. The top item on that list is the subject of today's post. Click here to go back and check it out.

As a result of my even earlier posts (July) about the contents of my grandma's quilt closet, I received an email from Marianne Jones, the author of a sweet children's book called Great-Grandma's Gifts. Marianne said that she'd seen my posts about Grandma and all her quilts and sewing supplies, and she thought I'd be interested in her book about her own dear grandmother.

 Great-Grandma's Gifts tells the story of Arlene, the narrator's great-grandmother. The twist, though, is readers are told about Arlene as a little girl who loves her doll Maggie. Arlene's mother makes her dresses with pretty fabrics and then Arlene uses the scraps to make clothes and quilts for Maggie.

Arlene grows up and becomes a busy mother, but she still has a love for sewing. Now she sews clothes for her children. The story continues and Arlene becomes a grandmother and a great-grandmother. She makes clothes, toys and quilts for her family. The book is just as darling as can be, with lots of sensory details and color-recognition activities.

It's been in the works for quite awhile, and now all details have been coordinated; I can finally invite you to join in for a book give-away. Marianne will provide a signed copy of Great-Grandma's Gifts to one lucky reader here! Click below to enter. The winner will be randomly selected on November 1.
a Rafflecopter giveaway Happy Quilting, Friends!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Wishes Quilt Along - Block 9

It has been a super-long time since I've done anything on the Wishes Quilt Along which I started in January. A block is offered each month and folks participating are asked to make a donation to Make A Wish Foundation since all block patterns are free, as are the finishing instructions. Here is a link to the website, which is on the Jolly Jabber blog from Fat Quarter Shop.

I sat down last night and made block 9 - the September block - called Dove In the Window. I'm using a very, very old line from Fig Tree Fabrics called A Day In the Country.  I have done eight blocks; I think I must have skipped last month. I need to see which one I'm missing. The setting instructions have also been posted, so I could be getting ahead on some of that. I might actually have this quilt top finished by year's end. That would surely be something.

If you'd like to see my previous blocks, click below.

April and May
June and July

I now know the blocks I still need to make - August and October. I must get on it!
Happy Quilting, Friends!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Having A Little Fun

Do you spend way too much time on Pinterest? I'm afraid I do. It's just so darned inspiring, though. I get so many quilting ideas and crafting ideas and well, you know...

I actually made something I saw on Pinterest last night. Well, let me clarify. I saw it several nights ago; I made it last night. If you click this link you will see the block that inspired me. It originated at this site.

Here are the fabrics I pulled.

Twelve HSTs and four squares later, I had my block! Easy peasy, and so good looking!

Fun and fast. And a nice diversion from other stuff. I have not worked on the quilt I wrote about yesterday. Maybe tomorrow for that. I just wanted a little change of pace. This was just the ticket.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Monday, October 13, 2014

My Own Worst Enemy

I don't think I have very many enemies. And who needs enemies, when I can foil my own efforts better than any foe could.

I had time this weekend to work on sewing a quilt top together. I'd worked at finishing the setting triangles through the week and had everything set for laying out the quilt and stitching it all together.

I didn't get any of that done. Why? Because I couldn't find the blocks. What?!? The blocks were missing? How could I lose a dozen pieced blocks and six setting blocks? And they aren't tiny 6-inch blocks; they are 12.5-inch blocks! Too big to just misplace! Talk about being frustrated!

The quilt I am working on is the Tell It To The Stars quilt along project that I began in January through a blog I follow called Patchwork Times.

Here are my setting triangles. What a lot of pieces! And biases! It was just slightly unnerving to work with so many bias edges.

Corner Triangles

Side Triangles

I made 10 side triangles along with the four corner triangles. All pieced. They will look fantastic in the finished quilt, which I have now seen on the quilt along blog.


I hope Judy, the blog host, doesn't mind that I grabbed her picture. Isn't this going to be a spectacular quilt? I am getting kinda' excited to get mine finished.

And that takes me back to spending an entire weekend trying to figure out where I'd put my blocks. I dug and dug. I rooted through piles and closets. I cleaned off the corner of my sewing desk. I put away some fabrics. I folded things and tidied up - not overly much, but some. I opened drawers and looked in project bags. The more I looked without success the more aggravated I became.

Finally, last evening I decided that I was going to open every tub in the sewing room - no small task. I've got little tubs with individual projects. I've got medium-sized tubs with a myriad of things. They seem to be the catch-all tubs. And I've got large tubs containing fabric. In one of those medium-sized tubs, about the 7th one I opened, I found my blocks. It was around 9pm; too late, in other words, to get very much done on sewing the quilt top together. I sort of remember putting that stuff in the tub - I was just cleaning off a surface and instead of putting things away logically, I just piled a bunch of stuff in an empty tub.

One of 12 star blocks

One of 6 setting blocks

Good grief. Imagine what I could do if I'd just get myself organized!

So now I'm back to a Monday, a busy work week, and a project that I'm dying to finish! Here's a quick peek at what it will look like (minus the setting strips).

See what I mean about being my own worst enemy? I spin my wheels because I can't bring myself to straighten up my sewing room, have a place for everything and keep everything in its place. 

I've always been this way so I don't see myself changing my habits any time soon. Oh well.

Happy Quilting, Friends!