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!

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 –  www.cosman.nl – 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!

Tutorial – Pretty Patchwork Heart Pocket

Looking for a quick gift or a fun home dec idea?  Here’s a set of Pretty Patchwork Heart Pockets that can be sewn together in about an hour.  This tutorial includes directions for making both versions!

Pretty Patchwork Heart Pockets

Make a bunch of these and place in a pretty basket or bowl.  Use clothespins to attach them to ribbon and create a fun garland or window swag!

Pretty Patchwork Heart Pocket - Version 1

You can use scraps for this and make them in a variety of colors – red and white for Valentine’s Day, green and white for St. Patrick’s Day, red/white/blue for Fourth of July, orange and black for Halloween, or red and green for Christmas!

Pretty Patchwork Heart Pocket - Version 2

The back features a small pocket.  Tuck in a gift card or some dried flowers.

Pretty Patchwork Heart Pocket - Back View

From Fabric A cut:

  • Three 4.5″ squares
  • One 5.5″ Square
  • One 3.5″ x 2.5″ rectangle

From Fabric B cut:

  • Three 4.5″ squares
  • One 5.5″ Square
  • One 3.5″ x 2.5″ rectangle
Take one Fabric A 4.5″ square and one Fabric B 4.5″ square.  Pin the squares right sides together and sew a 1/4″ seam on the right and left sides.  Make two sets (Figure 1).
Figure 1 - Sew Side Seams

Cut these units into three rectangles that are 1.5″ x 4.5″.  Make sure you are cutting parallel to the seams you just made (Figure 2).  Do this for both sets.

Figure 2 - Cut Into Strips

Press the seams towards the darkest fabric to create two pieced units (Figure 3).

Figure 3 - Press open

Take the center rectangles and sew them to the appropriate side of the pieced units (Figure 4).  Press the seams to the darks.  You now have two units of alternating fabrics (A-B-A and B-A-B). Make two sets.

Figure 4 - Sew Strips to Create Squares

Take one of each type of square  (A-B-A and B-A-B), make sure stripes are going the same direction, and pin them right sides together.  Sew along the shorter sides with a 1/4″ seam.  Do this for both sets.  Cut each set into three rectangles that are 1.5″ x 4.5″.    You will be cutting perpendicularly to the stripes (Figure 5).  Press the seams.

Figure 5 - Sew Side Seams and Cut Into Strips

Sew the center strip to the appropriate pieced unit to make TWO nine-patch blocks (Figure 6).  Do not sew the other strips to make blocks.  You will now two nine-patch blocks and two sets of partial blocks.

Figure 6 - Sew Two Nine Patch Blocks

To make Version 1, sew the partial blocks onto one nine patch block (Figure 7).

Figure 7 - Create Version 1 Heart

Take make Version 2, sew the 3.5″ x 2.5″ rectangles onto one nine patch block (Figure 8).

Figure 8 - Create Heart Version 2

Set these two heart fronts aside and make the pocket.  Take the remaining two of the 4.5″ squares, and press it on the diagonal right sides OUT (Figure 9).

Figure 9 - Make Pocket

Take one of the 5.5″ squares, place it right side up, and then pin one of the folded triangles on this to make the pocket.  For best results, use contrasting pocket  on the backing fabric (Figure 10).

Figure 10 - Pin Backing to Pocket

Pin one heart front and one heart back right sides together (Figure 11).

Figure 11 - Pin Backing and Heart Right Sides Together

Download Heart Template here.  Trace onto piece of cardboard and cut out template.  In order to create sewing line, place template on pinned hearts and trace around it (Figure 12).  DO NOT CUT.  Sew around the line you just drew – leave a 3″ opening in one side for stuffing.

Figure 12 - Trace Around Heart Template

Cut off excess fabric and leave about 1/4″ seam.  Clip corner, curves, and heart center.  Turn inside out (Figure 13).  Stuff lightly and hand-stitch opening closed.

Figure 13 - Turn Inside Out and Press

Keep it thimble!

Wool Applique Project Notebook

I always have a few wool applique projects in process at any one time.  I usually cut out all the wool pieces, get the embroidery floss, and the put everything in a Ziploc bag so it can be worked on later.  They are great to stitch on in the evening when watching TV or just hanging out.  As you can imagine, there are a few Ziploc bags sitting in my closet!

Sharon of Liberty Rose has a great idea for organizing all these items!  This project notebook features wool applique on the front and inside cover (so you have a place to keep your needles and pins) and it pretty easy to sew together (I plan to post a tutorial about how to cover the notebook sometime before the end of the year).  The notebook contains zippered pouches that are the perfect size for carrying all your project supplies.

Project Notebook

The notebook is standard 3 Ring binder.  I ironed fusible fleece on my stitching fabric so that the cover is more durable (especially since it will be used a lot).   I did some basic applique on the front and and inside cover.

Project Notebook - Inside

I didn’t go too crazy with the embroidery embellishments, since the main purpose is functional, not decorative.  My embroidery time is better spent finishing up the wool crazy block that was started a year ago!  A pocket on the back inside cover can carry larger pattern books that won’t fit in the pouches.

Project Notebook - Back Pocket

Now, when traveling, I just take out a zippered project pouch, throw it in the suitcase, and am good to go.  Talk about Keeping it Thimble!

In other news, look for details in the next week or so on my first published pattern.  In the meantime, here are some sneak peeks:

Pattern Sneak Peek 1
Pattern Sneak Peak 2

Keep it Thimble!

Thrift Store Finds!

It’s time for another edition of Thrift Store Finds.   For awhile there, I was getting disappointed because there didn’t seem to be much out there for a few weeks.  One weekend I visited all my usual thrift stores and a few garage sales and I couldn’t find one thing!  However, that all changed last weekend – I hit the jackpot!

Vintage Fabrics

The first stop was a local thrift store that’s open only on weekends.   For about $10, I walked out with several pieces of vintage fabric, some vintage hand embroidered table linens, a spice rack, and two super cute vintage aprons!

Embroidered Bluebird Table Topper
Embroidered Springtime Table Topper

These embroidered toppers need some TLC, but after I wash and starch them, they should look pretty good.

Vintage Black Checkered Apron
Grandma's Red Checkered Apron

I was especially pleased with the red apron.  When I was little, my grandma’s main form of discipline when she was watching my brother and me was to say, “Don’t do that, or I will have to put on my red-checkered apron.”  To this day, I have no idea what would happen if she actually put it on – but in my mind I envisioned her chasing me around the house with a rolling pin and swatting my bottom with it.  Needless to say, my brother and I were always concerned when she said this and usually stopped whatever we were doing and snapped to attention.  Of course, when I was little, I never actually saw this apron (although I certainly tried to find it).  I remember asking my grandma one time where she kept it and she said it was hidden in the kitchen.    Well, guess what?  I found it!

Hand-pieced Quilt Top

One other treasure I also was excited about was a hand-pieced quilt top.  The piecing is almost complete, it just needs a few more diamonds added to the outside border.  I plan to finish this and use it on my kitchen table. You can’t see it very well in the picture, but the fabrics are vintage and quite lovely.  Luckily, the fabric scraps were also included, so I can finish it up with the original fabric.

Spice Rack

The next stop was a local yard sale.  The owners were cleaning out the attic of all their children’s toys.  They had tons of vintage board games and toys from the 60’s and 70’s for dirt cheap!  She even had an Easy Bake oven (with box!) – which I thought would look cute displayed in my kitchen.

Easy Bake Oven

The last deal of the day was this Kenmore Sewing machine.  It’s about 10 years old, but hardly ever used.   You can always use another basic sewing machine.  Also, I’ve been kicking around the idea of doing offering sewing lessons and this would be great for teaching beginners.

Kenmore Sewing Machine

Keep it thimble!

Blast from the Past!

I was sorting through some things in the kitchen yesterday and I came across my first quilting project ever!  I started sewing about 6 years ago and one of the first things I made was a set of placements and napkins.

First Sewing Project Ever!

The fabric was something that I bought a years ago (while still in college) for project that I can’t even remember right now. The bright yellow and hot pink fabrics really grabbed my attention at the time, but for the life of me I can’t remember what I bought it for in the first place.

When I received my first sewing machine for Christmas in 2003 (thanks mom!), I wasn’t quite sure what to make with it, so it sat in the closest for almost two years (hard to believe that now)!!  One day, I saw a booked called “Quilting 101” and it had directions for making these cute patchwork place mats – finally the perfect project for the yellow and pink fabric.  There was not enough fabric for backing, so I just used plain muslin.  The binding is not one continuous piece, instead each edge is bound separately (so the corners are now fraying and uneven).

Once I got the place mats sewn and quilted, matching napkins were in order.  Believe it or not, Jo-Ann’s had something that matched perfectly!  I was so proud of my first project and am looking forward to using them again this spring!.

What was your first sewing project?  Or what project made you catch the sewing bug?

Keep it thimble!