Category Archives: Quilting

Happy 2016!

Happy New year!

Wow, can’t believe it has been over a year since I posted something!    I’ve been busy sewing and doing projects, but just haven’t had the time to take pictures and put together the posts.  I plan to start posting a bit in 2016.

no more fabric

I signed up for a UFO challenge at my local quilt shop and I hope to complete ten UFOs by March 31!  I think I have a good chance of getting 8 completely done, and two will just have some progress made.  Will post a list of the projects in the next few days so you can can see what I’ve been up to this past year.

Keep it thimble!


Scrappy Hawaiian Quilt

Five years ago, my brother gave me a box of 3.5″ and 6″ squares cut from vintage Hawaiian shirt fabric and asked me to make a quilt.  I found the perfect pattern in the ScrapTherapy book by Joan Ford.  I’ve worked on it off and on for the past few years, and finally finished it!

Fall 2014 August 029

This quilt has over 1,000 separate pieces and lots of triangles.  I tried to set up somewhat of an assembly line to sew and trim the half-square triangles.  Every few months, I would pull out the project and do a few more half-square triangles.

The best part was figuring out which squares to pair with the half-square triangles in order to make the fish.  I think the fish turned out great and I really like how the blue fabric makes them pop!

What long-term project have you finally finished?  Comment below!

Keep it thimble!

Watermelon Pincushion



Pincushions are a great project since they are small and only take a few hours to make. Plus, you can never have too many!  This tasty treat is from Miss Rosie’s Fruit Salad pattern.

Keep it Thimble!




DaGMT Update – February 4

So far so good, I’ve been able to quilt at least 20 minutes a day in Feb.  It’s only day 4, but I feel very optimistic about being able to do this.  I am going out of town for a few days in Feb, and am already planning what project I can take with me.  It will probably be one of my embroidery or wool appliqué WIPs.

If you recall, my first quilt was a red and white Irish Chain quilt with a blue border.  I removed the blue border since it didn’t really add anything and I think it looks much better as just a red and white quilt.

Finished Irish Chain!

Finished Irish Chain!

Meandering Stitches did the quilting for me.  I stitched on the binding this weekend.  I think it looks great!

I also finished cutting out all the sashing for a Halloween Quilt I started last September.  Now that everything is cut out, it shouldn’t take too long to put together.  Here’s a teaser of what it looks like.

Halloween Quilt in Progress

Halloween Quilt in Progress

Keep It Thimble!



Giveaway – Can You Spot the Mistake?

I’ve been working on a table topper from the Summer 2012 issue of Primitive Quilts and Projects that features both piecing and applique.  The background pieces were cut out a few weeks ago and I spent the past week piecing them together.  I felt really triumphant when I completed it on Saturday.  The plans was to start work on the applique part on Sunday.  However, after looking at it closely, I spotted a mistake….

Can you spot the mistake?

I felt I could live with it, but after sleeping on it I decided I couldn’t!  I spent a few hours Sunday fixing it, but it was worth it.  Below is the corrected background.  The applique work can wait until next weekend.

Corrected background.

Just for fun, let’s turn this into a giveaway.  The prize is a cute little cupcake pincushion (color may vary).

Figure 6 - Finished Cupcake

Giveaway Prize – Cupcake Pincushion

Post a comment below with what you think mistake is and how you would fix it.   All comments will be included in the drawing (even the ones that don’t have the correct answer).    Deadline for comments is Sunday, August 5th.   Winner will be notified via email and announced on the blog.

Keep it Thimble!

Civil War Blocks – Update!

Civil War Blocks - Set 1

Civil War Blocks – Set 1

Here’s a quick peek at some of the 55 blocks I’ve completed for my Civil War sampler quilt.  These are 8″ blocks that I’ve been sewing in my monthly “Civil Sewing Circle.”  It was nice to spread them all out to get a better idea of how much has been accomplished with this project for the past year.

Civil War Blocks - Set 2

Civil War Blocks – Set 2

In addition, I am rededicating myself to the Building Houses from Scraps challenge.  The idea is to sew one scrappy house block a day – right now I have 17.  On June 1st, I started sewing 2 a day (and plan to for the rest of the year), so there will be 365 blocks by Dec 31.  As of June 1, I am only 6 blocks behind (as in, I still haven’t started sewing on them 🙂 ).

Civil War Blocks - Set 3

Civil War Blocks – Set 3

Any tips for how to better organize your time?  I’m sure all of us could use some time management advice.  I’ve tried various ways to get on a sewing (and blogging) schedule, but it seems something always comes up that is more important.  Right now, my focus is on finishing projects since so many are close to being done.  By the end of June, there should be quite a dent in the UFO pile (fingers crossed).

Keep it thimble!

Quilt Book Recommendations

I love books about sewing and quilting and wanted to share a few of recommendations with you.  There are so many books out there, it’s hard to know which one to get.  This list is by no means complete, but if you are looking for some good basics to include in your library, check out the following books.

For some good beginner quilt books, I recommend the “Quilter’s Academy” series by Harriet Hargrave and Carrie Hargrave.  Right now she has three books in the series (Freshman Year, Sophomore Year, and Junior Year), and the fourth book will be published in May.  These are excellent books and they will take you through the quilting processes step by step. Each book builds on the one before, so if you want to get your Bachelor’s in quilting, these are a necessity.  I wrote a review of the first book in this series – so read that for more information.

Hand-pieced Wall Hanging

If you are interested in making quilts by hand, I recommend “Quiltmaking by Hand” by Jenny Beyer.  This is also an amazing book and takes you through each step of the hand piecing and hand quilting process.  Hand piecing can be fun and relaxing if you aren’t in a huge hurry to finish the project.  I hand pieced this wall hanging a few years ago (still need to hand quilt it though!).  The book has lots of pictures and clearing explains the specific techniques needed for each phase.  Of course, I highly recommend Allie Aller’s Crazy Quilting as well, and posted a review of this last year.

If you like crazy quilts, check out “The Magic of Crazy Quilting” by J. Marsha Michler.  This book includes several techniques for piecing the crazy quilt foundation, information on embroidery stitches, embellishments, and transfers, and several crazy quilting projects.  The book has tons of pictures and a gallery of quilts at the end.  You definitely will get a lot of ideas just looking at the pictures!    She also has a companion book called “Motifs for Crazy Quilting” that includes hundreds of embroidery designs for your crazy quilts.

For a general quilting reference book “The Better Homes and Gardens Complete Guide to Quilting” is a must have.  This includes lots of pictures so the techniques are easy to understand.  This is my go-to book when I have a question about how to do something or just a need a quick reminder.

What books do you recommend?  What books do you have your eye on?

Keep it Thimble!

Barcelona Day 1 – Quilt Shop Tour and Other Sites

Samples in Dona Quilt Shop

I’m back from my trip to…. Barcelona!  Work was the primary reason for going, but I managed to have two whole days of sightseeing.  I walked from one end of the city to the other and had a great time looking at all the beautiful parks, buildings, churches, and quilt shops!  Yes, that’s right, Barcelona is home to at least 12 quilt shops (more if you count stores outside the city center) and my plan was to visit all of them.  This website – – lists quilt shops in Europe and I used this to generate an itinerary.  Since I have so much to tell about my trip, I will split this into two posts – one today and one tomorrow, so be sure to check back!

Mouth-watering Gelato!

First, a brief word about the food, specifically the treats!  I am not a huge foodie, but I do love cakes, candy, and ice cream.  Barcelona does not disappoint, you can find some type of candy store, gelato parlor, or bakery on every corner!  The treats are arranged in eye catching ways and you can’t wake by too many of them without eventually being tempted to stop and indulge.

Bakery Near Hotel

Bakery Near Hotel

This bakery was next to my hotel and I stopped in each evening to pick up a little something to enjoy before going to bed.  Meringue is very popular there and it is usually dipped in chocolate or flavored with some type of fruit.

Delicious Candy!

My first chance at sightseeing was on Friday night.  I was done with my business and had an evening to my self.  I wandered around the Gothic and Las Ramblas districts since they were close to my hotel.  I stumbled upon a chamber orchestra practicing Vivaldi’s Four Season in a beautiful cathedral.  They were giving a proper concert later that night, but the rehearsal was open and it sounded as beautiful as an actual concert.

Concert rehearsal in cathedral

When I walked out of the cathedral, I found myself in the middle of festive processional.  The procession was headed by these large figurines – they are basically large puppets and someone gets inside the base and navigates the figure.  A children’s band plays music and they throw out candy to the spectators! I followed them for a few minutes and then headed back to the hotel for the night.

Festive Procession in Gothic Quarter

Saturday was the day earmarked for the whirlwind quiltshop tour.  Unfortunately, due to jet lag I didn’t start until about 11am, which was a problem since on Saturdays many of these shops close at 2pm!  I did manage to visit a few shops – Nunoya, Fet a Ma, and Lola Botona, but not see as many as I would have liked.

Lola Botona Quilt Shop

I am most disappointed I didn’t get to go inside Dona as this was the largest by far and the display windows (see picture above) were packed with projects and ideas.

Dona Storefront

This picture on BCN Patchwork’s gate is adorable.  Too bad this is the only thing I could see!

BCN Patchwork Storefront

However, from the few shops I visited, it was obvious that things were way out of my price range.  Basically, these shops have the same fabric available in the states – Moda, Robert Kaufman, Batiks, etc. but it is $25 a yard, versus the $10 – $12 a yard!  They also have the same books — but again, these are priced at least double.  There was a very simple pincushion pattern that would sell for $5 here, but cost $20.   The shops had lots of attractive samples and I got a few ideas (you can’t take pictures in the shops so I have to rely on my memory).  So for all my friends who wanted me to get you some fabric while on my trip, I am sorry to say I came back empty handed.  However how about we hit up the local quilt shops and buy it for half price :)?

Baghangers Barcelona - House Purse

I did find one unexpected surprise, a purse shop called “Baghangers Barcelona.”  This was a small shop packed with lots of novelty purse made out of leather.  They had a pumpkin, tomato, Noah’s Ark, porcupine, and tons of other clever purses.

Porcupine and Owl Purses

Since I didn’t buy any fabric, I splurged and purchased a Mushroom House purse.  I couldn’t resist how cute and colorful it was!

Mushroom Purse from Baghangers Barcelona

Well, that’s the end of Day One!  Check back tomorrow for Day Two which features my trip to the Zoo!

Keep it thimble!

Civil War Blocks Update

I still am way behind on my Civil War Tribute quilt, but several blocks for the other quilt I am working on are finished.

Civil War Block

Civil War Block

I am in the middle of packing for a big trip – destination to be revealed in a later blog post (don’t tell anyone mom!) but wanted to make a quick post before I left.  I hope to blog while traveling, as I think I will have some exciting pictures to share with you.

Civil War Block

Civil War Block

In the meantime, here are four new blocks.  I don’t have time to look up the names right now, but I will post them later.  The names are as fan as the blocks!

Civil War Block

Civil War Block

As you can see from the photos, I have a hard time getting my blocks nice and flat.  I swear the iron is on the hottest setting and has lots of steam, but I still end up with puffy blocks.  If anyone has a sure-fire way to get these to lay flatter, please let me know!

Civil War Block

Civil War Block

Keep it Thimble!


3 Tips for Making the Most of Your Sewing Time

Joseph's Coat

Joseph's Coat

I am a member of the “Civil Sewing Circle” that meets once a month.  Each month we get patterns and fabrics to make four blocks. The meetings started in August and by now we should have 24 blocks completed (can you see where I am going with this?).

I got behind pretty quickly and by the end of December, I only had SIX blocks completed (as in 25% of the blocks).  I’ve included a pictures of a few of the blocks I made so far.  This quilt is a lot of fun and I look forward to completing it sometime next year.



However, once the New Year began, I vowed to get caught up and knew I needed to make some changes in how I managed my time.

One thing I’ve started doing is sewing at least 30 minutes a day.  I am surprised at how much I can get done in an hour (even if it is comprised of 10 minute spurts throughout the day).  I keep a small basket with my latest project next to the machine and sew when I can.  This is more efficient if I have everything cut out and ready to go the beforehand.

Flying Geese

Flying Geese

Which brings me to my next tip.  Dedicate a few hours each month to cutting out three projects to work on.  This way, you can store all the cut pieces, instructions, and other notions in a project bag and have it ready for your thirty minutes of daily sewing time.  This is helpful because cutting out the project is oftentimes the task that requires the most room and creates the most mess.  By cutting out multiple projects ahead of time, you can make a single BIG mess once a month, and then more manageable smaller messes the rest of the time.

For things that involve a larger commitment (like sewing 4 civil war blocks a month, or a scrappy house block a day), I use the “timebox” method.  Timeboxing is where you set aside a block of time and do as much work as you can (the time box).  This works great on the weekends when I can set aside 3 – 4 hours at a time to work on projects.  I put this block of time on my schedule and treat it like a meeting (this is the project manager in me coming out).

So far, this has been a success.  What are some tips you have for managing your sewing time?

Keep It Thimble!