Tag Archive | Quilting

November 2nd Project: Microwave Bowl Pot Holders


In my excitement to get these wrapped, I forgot to take pictures. So this is one I made for myself. It’s a little smaller than I like, but you get the idea.  I plan on making another one for me.  These little handy pot holders for your microwave make great gifts. There are tutorials all over the internet on how to make them.  They are machine washer and dryer friendly. Basically you set your bowl in the holder, pop it in the microwave, and use the corners to lift your now hot bowl out of the oven. **Contents will be hot, so use caution.** If you stop reading at this point, please note; YOU MUST USE 100% COTTON PRODUCTS WHEN MAKING THESE BOWLS. I have heard of fires starting because someone used what they thought was cotton batting or polyester thread.

I purchased a Layer Cake (a package of 42 pre-cut 10″ squares) knowing I wanted to make a bunch of these and it was faster than cutting the squares myself. I used a product called Warm and Plush for the batting and cut them into 10″ squares. That’s when my mind went off again. There had to be a better way to stitch each square corner to corner, but with 10″, simply marking a center line on my sewing surface wouldn’t work. Then I came up with template. Basically, I took a 10″ square piece of construction paper (cause I had some) and cut it in half on the diagonal. Then I trimmed a quarter inch off of that. I clipped the paper to my fabric/batting layer and stitched along the edge with a quarter inch foot.

Template for corner to corner



Next were the darts, and my mind went thinking again. This time I used cardboard and marked the top and the side with my dart markings. Cut that off, and then trimmed off a quarter of an inch.  I just held the template in place and stitched my darts.

Dart template


I could have just as easily marked my lines, but each bowl has 4 lines of stitching and 8 darts. Multiply that by 10+, well you get the idea. I normally use my #10 foot on my Bernina for top stitching, but I found the #20 foot seemed to work better on the bulk. I was able to butt the fabric against the inside of the right toe and moved my needle to the left.

Everyone on my list got one.


October: Something For Everyone

Something For Everyone

Something For Everyone

I started this quilt in January of 2012. It was a block of the month at a local shop. You pay a minimal amount to join and then if you bring in the finished block form the previous month, the fabric for the next block is free. Then there’s no incentive to get the 12th block done, let alone the top finished.  Let me just say, I’m not a fan of most blocks of the month. There are usually way too many colors and not enough consistency for my taste. This quilt is no different. That being said, I do them to learn and hone my craft.

The pattern called for the blocks to surround a large colorful piece made of 3″ blocks.  I made an error in color choice and didn’t like the way it looked. So I will save that center for another project.

Once I started laying out the blocks, it became obvious who would receive it. A family with 3 small children who ALWAYS fight about color. Each has a favorite color and the others don’t want anything to do with anything that is in their sibling’s favorite color.

At first I was going to do some complicated quilting on the frame using QuiltMotion (a computer program for quilting.) The plan was a block motif for each block and then something different for the sashing and cornerstone  pieces. Then reality kicked in and I quilted it with a simple pantograph. I’ll save the complicated quilting for another time.

One major Christmas gift ready to wrap!


Spooky Table Runners…just because

Spooky Table Runner

Spooky Table Runner

Have you ever seen something that you just had to try? Perhaps a recipe, a patio table, or even a new route to a familiar place. For me, it’s almost always a fabric thing and if I don’t jump on in right away, it ends up in the forgotten, “Someday” file. That file exists in my head, but I’m working on getting it out of there and into a digital format. This table runner was one of those things.

The pattern is called, Triangle Frenzy™ Swirl.  I love the simplicity of cutting only one fabric and ending up with an eye-catching design. I chose Halloween themed fabric, well cause it’s that time of year and it was on sale. I made the larger one first and had enough fabric to make the smaller one. They will find homes with my two daughters.

I considered a few quilting options, but I’m really practicing not over thinking things and not making them more difficult than they need to be. I pulled out my walking foot and went to work.  I used a very narrow zig-zag stitch; perfect for the Halloween theme and much more forgiving than a straight stitch. I now have a few go to table runner projects for when the mood strikes.

quilting up close

quilting up close



September: Haunted Cottage

Haunted Cottage

I have numerous holiday kits and decided to get this one out. The pattern, Haunted Cottage© by Jain Barrett , was available at one of the local quilt shops. The basic method is fusble applique with numerous opportunities for embellishing, which I did not take full advantage of.  GO ME for not over-thinking this.

For the fusible, I used Misty Fuse®.  I really love this product. It doesn’t add weight to your fabric, you can lift it up if need be, and it doesn’t leave any gunk on your needle.  None! Plus you don’t have to reverse the pattern when tracing. If you’ve never tried Misty Fuse®, I suggest you do.  Basically you trace your shape onto parchment paper, place the Misty Fuse ® between your fabric and parchment paper and iron. This process transfers the pencil onto the fabric. GENIUS!

The fun begins when you get all your pieces cut out and then start placing them.  A few years back, I taught a technique where you prequilt your background before appliquing. This pattern is so fun  to look at so it didn’t need anything extra. I used a very narrow zig-zag stitch for this process. I didn’t follow any lines, just enough to hold it together.  This is a wall hanging; not a quilt that is going to be washed on a regular basis.

Once the shapes were fused onto the background, I begin stitching. This stitching also served as quilting. I used a small blanket stitch. I could have stitched down each piece before fusing the next, but I really wanted to practice my blanket stitch and didn’t want to add bulk. (I have a big fusible project on the tarmac and perfecting, well at least improving this skill will come in handy.)

I had fun digitizing some of the pieces. The spider web was stitched with Glow in the Dark thread; the fact that I actually remembered having this product is in itself amazing. I must tell my daughter; she sometimes thinks I’m losing my mind.  The cat and pumpkin were done with Bernina’s DesignWorks and the owl, tree, and bats are machine embroidered that I digitized.

Glow In the dark thread

Glow In the dark thread

The pattern showed squiggly lines on the prairie points, so I spent a little extra time doing that. I love how a basic stitch like a zig-zag can add so much whimsy to a piece.

I’m giving myself a pat on the back for getting this done well ahead of Halloween.


The Life of a UFO


Anyone who has been quilting for a few years and doesn’t have a UFO is lying. (ok, that’s a little harsh)  Let’s face it, even that idea in your head is unfinished. For those of you who are not quilters, a UFO is an UnFinished Object.  I have a few myself; including 2 quilts that are year-long blocks of the month.  Each quilt has 11 finished blocks and both are safely tucked away in labeled project boxes.  In addition to started projects, I have a number of items waiting for take-off.

There are two questions here.

The first one: How does one create a UFO?  This is quite simple. You are working on a quilt for yourself in the colors of your bedroom.  You spent hours picking out the perfect fabric and the pattern is a little challenging, but not too far beyond your capabilities.  Then one day you’re out with friends and you find yourself in the local quilt shop.  There is a beautiful display of the cutest holiday wall hanging made out of the most delicious fabrics. YOU HAVE TO HAVE IT!  After all, they are selling kits.  Then you get a phone call announcing an expected baby.  You just HAVE to make them a quilt.

This scenario repeats itself over and over again.  Some of these join your unfinished bedroom quilt. The number of your UFOs is multiplying.

The second question:  What prevents you from finishing these projects? Let’s revisit the bedroom quilt. It has now been 2 years since you first took your rotary cutter to the fabric.  Some of the blocks are completed; some not.  We now have more obstacles.  You’ve repainted your bedroom and replaced the chair because your dog ate it a year ago when she was just a puppy.  The fabrics aren’t so perfect anymore.  Secondly, you are two years (or more in most cases) better at your craft.  I think this is a huge factor.

I bought a store cut stripper quilt kit a number of years ago.  When I finally got around to cutting, a lot of the strips had started to ravel.  Right off the bat, my pieces were already the wrong size and I didn’t have enough experience to adjust my seam allowance to compensate.  I pieced half the quilt and again set it aside.  When I finally brought it out again, there was nothing I could do to fix what I had already sewn short of ripping it all out and starting over.  This quilt has found a home on my patio. A sea of stars with cut off points.   I’m not super pleased with it, but it is a constant reminder of how far I have come.

Take some time to look at your UFOs.  Do you still love them?  Do you really want to complete them?  If the answer is yes, then challenge yourself to do so. If nothing else, it will open up storage space.  If the answer is no, ask yourself if it is worth keeping.

In January, I set a goal to complete a project a month.  This started as a way for me to attack my UFOs. I am 3 months into the year and have completed 3 projects.  Every one of them I did from start to finish.  I think it is time to get back to my original plan.

Here’s to accepting that colors change and we are all a little better than we were.