Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Productive Day!!!

Hello, all!!

Well, lots of snow and ice on the roads kept us inside today, but it made for a very productive day! I can't post pictures of what I'm working on because it's a gift and someone might see it - but I did learn two neat things today and wanted to pass them on.

First of all, I did use a very old piece of fabric from my stash. It had been hanging around for a long time because it was kind of unusual - a piece of warm grey batik with silver spiderwebs and spiders printed on it. I picked it up because it was an interesting piece, but I've never been able to find a use for it where the spiders weren't just a little creepy. I was debating using it in the project I was working on and had almost decided not to use it, when I took a look at the reverse of the fabric - and found out that it was a beautiful warm grey batik without the spiderwebs!! So - if you have a fabric that you can't seem to find a use for, take a look at the reverse side. It may work using that side! I've also used this trick this week when I needed a slightly less intense pink for an applique - the reverse side of the printed pink fabric was slightly lighter, and the print was vague enough that it didn't really make much of a difference in the print.

Second tip - keep a spare chopstick next to your sewing machine! It's really useful for turning things, plus it's great for pulling thread out from under your presser foot, which I find to be really awkward with my fingers - they're too big to get under the presser foot, but the chopstick is just the right size. Since I've learned to pull up my bobbin thread to the top when machine quilting, it's also great for pulling that little loop of bobbin thread through!! Takes about half the time.....

That's all I've got tonight - here's hoping the roads clear off enough for us to get to church safely tomorrow morning!! Later!!


Friday, January 29, 2010

Snow Day!!

Well, thanks to the first snow storm to hit Tennessee in 5 or 6 years, I had a lot of time today to sew!! A friend of mine asked me to make some clothes for her little girl, and I finished a cute reversible dress for her today. Take a look at the applique on the pocket. This is a great way to use up some of that stash of cute little scraps!! I love the way this little bird came out - he's just valentine-y enough with his heart-shaped wings, and of course, he's called "tweetheart"!

I also started some appliqued t-shirts for the same little girl, once again for Valentine's day - these aren't finished yet, but they will be ladybugs with heart-shaped spots. Once again, cleaning out the stash of cute little scraps!

Next will be a St. Patrick's day-themed shirt and an Easter shirt. I also want to make a shirt for my granddaughter, Lilli - when you tell her you love her, she answers, "I you too too!" So I'm envisioning an eye, a sheep (ewe), and a tutu on the front of a shirt. A little corny, but a good way to memorialize a funny way to say "I love you too"!

I'm still working on finishing up those quilts for Quilts for Kids - five are finished, only three more to quilt and then I'll be taking a picture to post on here with all the ladies who worked on them!

So it's been a busy but fun day, thanks to the fact that we get snow so seldom in middle Tennessee that they don't plow the roads - which makes it safer to stay indoors and sew! Stay warm!! Later!


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Hello, all!

Well, today I actually accomplished something towards my new year's resolution - as you can see by this picture:

This child's quilt was made up of the left-over squares from the eight quilt tops we pieced last Saturday, which was then "window-paned" with some fabric from my stash. The border fabric and the backing are from my stash also! I'm really pleased with the result - I think it's really cheerful and very very colorful!! And I've diminished the stash, at least a little bit!

On a humorous note, my granddaughter walked in today and grabbed some fabric strips, sat down at my sewing machine, and announced, "Teach sew now, Nana - right this minute!" I guess she's not willing to wait until she's big enough to reach the foot pedal!

Saturday I'm going to be teaching a couple of ladies how to machine quilt - it should be an interesting experience! Being basically self-taught on this particular skill, I'm constantly learning new little tricks and finding easier ways to do things. For instance, I just dropped the feed dogs and used a darning foot to free-form quilt for the first time ever - it was fun and lots easier than I thought it would be - and I owe it all to watching a video on a website. The internet is an amazing thing - it never ceases to amaze me how much information is available to help you learn new skills.

Later!! Sarah

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Hi, all!

OK, today was a mixed bag as far as keeping my new year's resolution and using my stash went. I DID use some fabric from my stash to make borders for a quilt kit that didn't have enough pieces in it, and I also used some to make a backing piece large enough for another quilt top. BUT I went to Joann's for their mid-winter sale, and made a few purchases. One was a legitimate need - two pieces of Kona cotton to back quilts to be made of some fat quarters I got for Christmas. But then I bought two pieces of fabric - one a stripe with embroidered flourishes on it, the other a contemporary floral that coordinates with it. At least I didn't pay much for it, and hopefully I can work it into a quilt top or an outfit. Isn't it pretty fabric, though?

I got a new book yesterday that teaches how to machine quilt using a darning foot and dropping the feed dogs. So - - - today I got up my nerve and tried it out! It actually worked pretty well - I need a good bit more practice to get consistent at it but if I'm going for true free form, I think I could make a good stab at it and not be embarrassed by the result! It took a little while to get the tension set correctly and learn to manage the speed of the machine to get the right stitch length, but it can only improve with practice, right?

I'm trying to get together with a few ladies who want to learn how to machine quilt this weekend to finish up the quilts we started last Saturday. Looks like I'll get a lot of experience quilting this weekend! I haven't decided whether to try out the new freeform style or stick with the simple stitch-in-the-ditch and crossing each square, but maybe I'll have a chance to do both.

One last thing - here's a picture of a couple of the things that inspire me - my beautiful daughter and granddaughter!

Have a wonderful evening!!


Monday, January 18, 2010

Hi, all!

I had a cute "nana" moment today - when my 2-year old granddaughter saw the quilt tops I was working on, she insisted that I work on them while she was watching a movie. In her words, I needed to sew the "belts" on the quilts (the border strips). She then divided her watching time between the movie and me - the first time she's watched me sew without sitting in my lap! It's nice to see her interested in sewing - my grandmother taught me how to sew and I'm looking forward to teaching her some day.

Seven quilt tops ready to quilt, one more to get to that point, then I start quilting. Yesterday I ordered a Flynn Multi-Frame which should allow me to machine quilt a little easier and with more creativity - I can't wait for it to get here! Of course, it's probably not as easy to use as it looks in the video, but who knows? Maybe it will be!

Later! Sarah

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Wow! It's been a busy weekend! I spent most of the day Friday getting my house ready for our once-a-month Saturday sewing group - no small task since we went out of town right after Christmas and I still had decorations to put away! But I did dig into my fabric stash and used up some pieces to cut additional kits for the quilts we made on Saturday. Eight kits awaited the ladies who were coming to work on them.

Saturday morning dawned relatively warm, sunny and no rain (I say relatively because it's been so cold here that anything over freezing seems like a heat wave!) and the ladies started arriving around eight. After digging into some scones and hot cider, we started working on the quilt kits. It's a simple pattern, alternating whole-piece squares with four-patch squares.Two roomfuls of ladies stayed hard at work on quilts that will be donated to, which will then donate them to children's hospitals or battered women's shelters. We had a great time and ended up with eight quilt tops that will be quilted and sent off soon. Here's some of the finished tops:

Many of these ladies had never pieced a quilt top before and were a little hesitant about their ability to do so - but they all did a great job, especially those first-timers!! I hope they feel confident enough now to try one on their own - because as much sewing as we've been doing as a group, they're getting their own fabric stashes, I'm sure!! Next month we're going to do some projects out of a new book, "One-Yard Wonders". It should be interesting to see which of the projects they choose to do!

Later!! Sarah

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Hi, all!

It's been an eventful week - two of my friends gave birth yesterday, so there are now two new little people in the world - Sarah and Buck! Add to that, my granddaughter turned two about a month ago, and another friend's little boy turns three today! It is amazing how quickly time flies and there's no clearer place to see it than watching a child grow up. My granddaughter changes every day - this week she's started showing a wicked sense of humor! She's so much fun!

Well, I started digging into the fabric stash to cut out some more quilt kits for Saturday's sewing class (a little more cautiously this time!). It always amazes me how little fabric it actually takes to make a quilt top - the Christmas quilt I cut out barely made a dent in my Christmas fabric stash! But at least all those small pieces of fabric I've been saving for years will actually be useful! Digging into the stash makes me feel better about my plans for next week, when I am going to head to Joann's to take advantage of a really good sale they are having on Kona cotton. If you've never used it, you should! It is really amazing and far superior to just 100% cotton broadcloth. I used it as a backing for a quilt I made recently and was very impressed. And of course, their clearance fabrics will be half off the clearance price..... oh boy, I'm in trouble again!! Three guesses why I have such a ridiculous stash of fabric.....

Well, I'd better get back to cutting quilt pieces and use up some more of that stash! Later!


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I love these ladies!!

Hello, all!!

Well, today I've been trying to get ready for Saturday, when fifteen to twenty fellow sewers will be meeting at my house to make quilts to donate to children. This is a great group of ladies - we started meeting last August, just once a month, to learn to sew. Turned out to be a wide variety of skill levels, but everyone wanted to meet and socialize and trade skills and ideas. I'm fortunate to go to a church where we are encouraged to meet together for all types of purposes, not just Bible study, so it's a varied group - stay at home moms, working grandmothers and moms, home-schooling moms, older women, younger women, some who have sewn for years and others who are just now learning. We have a great time!

I have to say, these ladies have certainly inspired me to explore new areas of sewing - trying to find projects that will fit all the members of the group can be challenging, but it's always fun! I've discovered lots of new magazines on the market that are loaded with great ideas; I've also discovered the blogging world, where people share their inspirations all the time! We don't just make quilts - we've made purses, children's dresses, shopping bags, crayon roll-ups, napkins, all kinds of stuff! (We also did a very special project that I may tell you about on a future blog.)

And if you need inspiration to start sewing, I would recommend that you check out the website This is a great organization that solicits donations of fabric from manufacturers to be turned into quilts that are donated to children in hospitals, battered women's shelters, and the like. If you volunteer to sew, they will actually send you a kit for a quilt (for free!) that contains all the pieces, already cut, for the front and back of the quilt. All you need to do is sew it up, provide the batting for the middle of the quilt, finish the quilt and ship it back to them (at your expense). They specifically request that all sewing be done by machine, so that the quilt will hold up to hospital washing machines, so you don't have to worry about not knowing how to hand quilt. The quilt kits are fairly simple to sew, so you don't have to be a long-time sewer to make one. (That's a picture of a quilt made from their kit to the right.) And if, like me, your family gets tired of home-made gifts after a while, it gives you an outlet for your vice!!



Sunday, January 10, 2010


My two nieces have made it their mission in life to "inspire" me with the most audacious, kitschy things they can find at their local antique store - and believe me, they are good shoppers! Here is a picture of their most recent find.

The scary thing is that I really like the things they find! I love the creativity and "outside-the-box" thinking and hope I can be even a little bit as creative as their unknown designers. So tell me - what inspires you?

On another note, I did a little more on my Christmas stash buster quilt - and was reminded once again that haste and rotary cutters are a bad combination. I'm currently holding my left index finger in the air while I carefully type - I managed to slice off the side of it while cutting the strip sets! A word to the wise - this is NOT something you want to try!! But I'm excited that soon I'll be able to see the results of all the piecing I did this weekend - I should be able to get back to sewing tomorrow...... Here are pictures of the fabric strips and beginning strip sets so you can see what I'm working on.

Well, I think that's all I'm going to try to post tonight - not so easy to type with nine fingers! Have a wonderful evening and day tomorrow and be inspired!!!


Saturday, January 9, 2010

New Year's Resolutions!!

Hello, all! I don't usually make new year's resolutions - it's too depressing when I don't keep them - but I think this year I may try one. As you can see from the title of my blog, I am a self-confessed fabric addict. I love love love the colors, textures, and patterns of fabric! Vintage fabric, modern fabric, you name it, I love it! Unfortunately, though, this has created a serious storage problem at my house, and thus my new year's resolution - to try to use fabric from my stash as much as possible this year. I know I can't resist buying more fabric for the stash, but I'm sure going to try using up as much as I can!

While I do a lot of different types of sewing, my latest fabric craft addiction seems to be quilting. My husband Bill gave me lots of quilting tools and supplies for Christmas, which I am already enjoying! Today I cut out strips with my new electric rotary cutting machine for a Trip Around The World quilt. I saw the inspiration for this quilt on our trip to Seattle at a quilt shop called Under Cover Quilts at the Pike Place Farmers Market. Hanging in the window was a beautiful quilt made up of 2" squares of Christmas fabric. My husband remarked on how beautiful it was - and I immediately flashed on the stash of Christmas fabrics I have tucked away! Once we got back home, I pulled out the fabrics and found that I had eighteen different prints (yep, told you I had a serious fabric jones!), easily enough for the top of at least one large quilt and probably several lap size quilts too! I'll post pictures as the quilt comes along........

Of course, I couldn't get out of the quilt shop without some new fabric, but I did limit it to one six-pack of fat quarters in beautiful blues, greys and light greens. I'm still trying to decide what to do with those fabrics, but it's so much fun looking for just the right pattern!

Now if I could just clone myself and put the clone to work organizing the fabric stash while I sew!!

Have a wonderful evening! Later, friends!!