Sunday afternoon stitching…

My Christmas baking is finally done!

christmas baking

So that means I have more time for important stuff…like stitching!

My Sunday Afternoon Applique Group met today.  We all agreed we should have been shopping/baking/wrapping, but it was sure nice to sit and stitch (and relax!) for a couple of hours with a great group of ladies!   I decided to work on the tail feathers of my Civil War Bride block.  Long, skinny pieces can be tricky to stitch.  Here are a few tips:

Remember, there is no need to fold the seam allowance over if it is going to be covered with another piece.  Leave it “raw”.

raw edge

Begin stitching here…

start here

…and end here.end here

When I am finished stitching the piece in place, I  baste along the raw edge, just inside the seam allowance.


So when I put the next feather in place, the piece I am covering lays nice and flat.

next one 2

I still have a few feathers to stitch!

tail feathers (2)

I have chosen the fabric for the half-square triangle sashing for my Friends of Baltimore quilt.   The fabric is not royal blue or navy blue…just somewhere in between!  I am going to start to sew the half-square triangles together, and maybe start to stitch the finished blocks together!  So exciting!

blue fabric

Til next time….


Spare time??

This time of year, spare time is a rare commodity.   But I still managed to find the time to finish this block from Sue Garman’s “Friends of Baltimore”.

finished block

And here is a close up.


My Sunday Afternoon Group meets the third Sunday of every month so that means we meet this Sunday….already!  Every year we begin a new project so I offered to design next year’s quilt.  Here is a preview of the first block.  They haven’t seen it yet, so mum’s the word!

sneak peak

I am taking the plunge and using my collection of batiks.  (I’ve never really used batiks but somehow I ended up with an amazing batik collection!!)  So far, I love them!  The colours are so vibrant and saturated.   The best part is the fabric does not fray.  I am now an OFB… Official Fan of Batiks!

I pre-washed every last one of them…


…and Bruin found yet another (!) cat bed!

bruin and fabric

I have started the next block of The Civil War Bride.  First, I stitched some branches and some leaves..

block 4

I used every inch of the branch fabric!

every inch of fabric

The tail feathers have me very intrigued!  They seem to fit together like a puzzle.  I love puzzles!

tail feathers

And here are the tail feathers just waiting to be stitched!

prepped tailfeathers

Til next time…


Hand-quilting the night away!

What is it about hand-quilting that is so darn relaxing? I am making pretty steady progress on Sue Garman’s “Bouquets For A New Day”. When I sit down to quilt, I am always surprised at how quickly time (and stress!) seem to slip away.

And here is a close-up. I am using a Frixion pen to mark the cross-hatching. There was a bit of a discussion in my Sunday Afternoon Applique Group regarding these pens. I am always careful to test the marker on a scrap of fabric before marking the quilt top.

When my block is finished, I like to give it a warm bath to remove all residue left from the glue, starch and marking pens. Even though I pre-wash all (and I do mean all!) of my fabric in Synthrapol, my heart still skips a beat when I do this!

I am getting ready to start the next block of Sue Garman’s “Friend’s of Baltimore”. My least favorite part of appliquing is the tracing. So here is how I avoid tracing…

First, I scan the patterns and then “reflect” them. Then I print the patterns directly on to freezer paper. When a pattern has lots of layers and pieces, I usually print two or three copies. Here is the original pattern.

And here are the freezer paper copies. If you look closely, you will see that they are printed “backwards”.

The fabric for this block is already pre-washed and has the usual amount of cat hair on it!!

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……


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……


It’s not finished until it has a label on it!!

Lately, I have been on a mission!

My mission is to have a label on the back of every quilt.  I believe it is so important for future generations to know the history of the quilts that will likely be passed down to them.

Here are a few quilts  and the labels that go with them.  All of the quilts shown were machine quilted by Elite Quilting.

I made this quilt for my daughter, Kelly.  The pattern is a Piecemaker’s Calendar from 1999.  The quilt is hand-appliqued in blocks, then stitched together.

The little girl raking the leaves always reminded me of Kelly, so I made that block twice and included one on the back.

And here is the label.

Here is my version of  “Aunt Millie’s Garden”.  Every year my Sunday Afternoon Applique Group chooses a quilt pattern and everyone works on their own quilt.  This is the quilt we worked on last year.  It belongs to my daughter, Courtney.  When I told her I was going to give it to her, her only response was: “Gee….it’s bright”!

I was rather speechless when I saw the amazing  job that Rose (from Elite Quilting) did!!

The group is getting together  this Sunday.  Won’t they be surprised  when they see it actually has the binding AND a label on!!

This is “A Mermaid’s Garden”, which is based on the pattern, Simple Gifts, by Mary Sorenson.   We entered this quilt in the MQX show a couple of years ago, and Rose won a ribbon for the machine quilting.

Here is a close-up of the quilting Rose did.

And here is the label.

What information do you put on a label?  Include anything that is important to you!  If I make a quilt specifically for someone, I make sure the label states that.  Not that I think my family will be fighting over my quilts (!) but this just clears up any misunderstandings!!

Til next time….


Sunday Afternoon Applique Group

I am very  fortunate to belong to a talented group of hand-appliquers who are as obsessed as I am.  We get together the third Sunday of every month and enjoy stitching together and eating together.  Usually, we stitch for a couple of hours, then we stop for lunch, then we stitch some more.  We choose a pretty ambitious project and everyone makes their own version of the quilt.  Each quilt takes a year (or two!) to complete.  Last year, we chose  Aunt Millie’s Garden by Piece o’ Cake.

This picture shows the quilt in progress.  2 of the borders are attached and really, at this stage, it is just a glorified cat bed!

The quilt is finally finished (except for a binding and label).  Rose Bell of Elite Quilting did an “over-the top outstanding” job of machine quilting Aunt Millie’s Garden. Here is a close up of the quilting.