What Motivates You?

Working on a large quilt can sometimes be overwhelming.  The key to success in quilting (and in life!) is to stay motivated by setting long-term and short-term goals for ourselves.  And, of course, when we reach those goals, we need to reward ourselves…with chocolate!

When I have more that just a few circles to make, I need to stay motivated.  I reach for my Perfect Circles by Karen Kay Buckley, I make a cup of coffee, I crank up the music and I have some chocolate handy!  How much chocolate I have depends on how many circles I need to make…..lots of circles means lots of chocolate!

Before I know it,  the circles are finished and I am ready to move on to the next step of the block.

Wonderful….more circles!

I am prepping the 4th block of The Civil War Bride Quilt.  It also has more than a few circles on it!  It  has some interesting loopy tendrils made from bias strips.  Here is a little tip I use for making really curvy bias pieces. I used the same technique for making the handles on this basket.  So easy!

First, I make the bias strip using bias bars.  Here are a few tips for using bias bars.

Next, I put the paper pattern on a padded surface, like an ironing board.  Then I place  the bias strip on the pattern and put a few pins where I want to start.

I dampen the bias strip with starch and then use the mini-iron to “mold” the bias strip into place.

Once it is dry,  the bias strip will actually hold its shape.  You can pick it up and toss it around!

Glue in place and you are ready to stitch!

Til next time……



A Solution for Every Problem!

My eye doctor is a saint!   He understands that I need more than one pair of glasses.  In fact, I need three!  One for distance, one for medium close and one for extremely close!  When I quilt,  I spend a lot of time looking for my glasses,  only to find them under a pile of fabric.   So here is the solution!


Block #2 of  Barbara Brackman’s Grandmother’s Choice  has set-in seams.  So, of course, I have been avoiding it.  After seeing yesterday’s block, I decided I better get a move on!!

One of my goals is to  hand-quilt Sue Garman’s Bouquets For a New Day this winter.   I am making steady progress on the second last (!) block.

My Sunday Afternoon Applique Group met last Sunday after taking a break for the summer.   This year we are all playing “catch-up” instead of starting a new project.  This is one of my Roseville blocks that I am working on this year.  I was sooo excited to find this yummy selection of hand-quilting thread by Amy Butler.  I am using it as my inspiration for color.

Gee, Bruin, I wonder why my fabric has so much cat hair on it??

Til next time……


Finally! The Perfect Project!

I certainly don’t seem to have a problem collecting batiks, which is not that big of a deal, except that I rarely use batiks!  But all that is going to change!   These yummy bundles of batiks caught my eye at Quilt Market in Houston about 3 or 4 years ago.  How could I leave them behind?   I have been waiting very patiently for the “perfect project” to come along.

Well!  Not only did the perfect pattern come along, it also had a co-ordinating fat-eights bundle to go along with it!  When opportunity like this knocks, you better open the door!  The “perfect project” for my batik collection is “Spring Bouquet” by Laundry Basket Quilts.  The fabrics are “Over the Rainbow” batiks by Laundry Basket Quilts for Moda.

Don’t they play nicely together!  I promised myself I will not start this project until I finish….something!

In the meantime, I have been stitching away on Block #3 of The Civil War Bride Quilt.  I could not help myself!  I wanted to see what the blocks might look like once they are stitched together.  Spiffy!

Oh…and this was fun!   The handle on the basket I started last week is made up of 3 long bias strips that are braided together….

…and then glued in place!  Spiffy!

Til next time…..


Miles and miles of bias…….

I woke up this morning with one thing on my mind: bias strips! I have been avoiding starting the next block of Sue Garman’s “Friends of Baltimore” because the basket is made up of what seems like miles and miles of skinny bias strips.  Well!  Today seems like a good day to get started!!

I usually make bias  stems with my Clover 1/4″ bias maker.  But the  strips in the basket are skinnier than 1/4″ so I will use my bias bars.  I have 3 different sets of  bars.  I love (and use) them all!  For this particular project, I will use Perfect Stems by Karen Kay Buckley.

This is how I make my bias strips.  (It is not an exact science!)

First I figure out what size bar to use.  These bars are a little on the thick side so I always choose a bar that is skinnier than what the pattern shows.

I cut my strips on the bias.  (I know that seems obvious, but I had to say it!)  How wide I cut them depends on the size of the bias bar.  You should to be able to wrap the fabric around the  bar and have enough extra fabric to hold onto.  I usually leave an extra 1/2 inch.

I place the bias bar underneath the presser foot.  Then I carefully lower the needle and then stitch along the side of the bar.   Did you know that you can actually sew through these  bars and it does not harm the machine…or the bias bars?  The needle is a different story!   The tube of fabric  should fit snugly around the  bar.  I always use a contrasting thread in my machine.

Trim the extra seam allowance as close to the stitching as you dare!

But not too close!

The contrasting thread is helpful in determining how far away your scissors are from the stitch line!  It works most of the time!

I twist the fabric tube around so that the seam is next to the flat side of the bias bar.  Next I spray it with starch and iron it flat.

I remove the bias bar and press the strip again to make sure it is flat.

If you are not ready to use the bias strip yet, you can wrap it around an empty paper towel roll or you can glue it in place!

It’s time  to dress the Civil War Bride!  I took the liberty of auditioning different hairstyles for her and decided on this one…

…instead of this one!

Til next time……


Starting…..as opposed to finishing!!

Just when I thought I could not squeeze another project into my already crammed quilting schedule, something exciting came along and grabbed my attention!

While I was checking out Barbara Brackman’s Material Culture, a little button caught my eye.  The button reads as follows: September 1st I’ll start a new blog with a free pattern Block of the Week. The topic: The Fight for Women’s Rights. Click on the button to see it.

How could I not click on the button??

So naturally, my life came to a complete halt!  Out came the cutting mat and the rotary cutter and the ruler and the sewing machine…oh…and some fabric and away I went!  I cut out one block….then said to myself…”If you are going to make one block, you might as well make three!”.

So…here are my blocks for Week 1.   (Technically, this is  Week 2 and I am already behind!)  Wish me luck!

I am making steady progress on Sue Garman’s “Bouquets for a New Day”.

Once the stems were stitched in place, I added the flowers.

I have had the brown fabric I used for the vase for about 10 years.  I always knew I would get around to using it!

And here is the finished block!

Til next time…….


It was a rainy day…..

There is something about a a rainy day that makes me want to put on a pot of coffee and stay indoors and stitch!  And that it exactly what I did!

I wanted to finish the 9th block from Sue Garman’s “Bouquets for a New Day”.  So I chose fabrics for the vase and stitched them in place.

I love the touch of embroidery on this block!  The sprigs of Baby’s Breath consists of many, many Colonial knots.

Here is the finished block!

Since I was on a bit of a roll (and it was still raining), I decided to start the next block!

First I stitched the star in place.

The leaves and vine pieces are one unit and a little tricky to prep.  I ironed the freezer paper to the wrong side of  the leaf fabric.

Then I cut around each unit leaving a scant 1/4″ seam allowance.

Using starch and a mini iron, I pressed the seam allowance in place.  The deep curves are a little challenging…but still doable!   (See below.)

I removed the freezer paper then glued all the pieces in place on the background.  They are now ready to stitch in place!

Even though I am not finished all 12 blocks, I started sewing the quilt top together.  As usual, Bruin had other plans for the blocks!


Within one’s powers; feasible: “none of the jobs were fun, but they were doable”.

Til next time……