Sunday, December 29, 2019

holiday gifting and swapping

I haven't been sharing much lately because all of my recent makes have been gifts.  Now that they've all been gifted, here we go...

Market Bags
First up:  2 market bags for 2 dear friends.  Pattern by Anna Graham and available in her book Handmade Style. I used Essex linen/cotton blend, Denyse Schmidt prints 💛💚💙and LEATHER!
This was my first time working with leather.  I purchased unfinished straps from a local Tandy Leather shop and dyed them myself.  The dying was much easier than I was anticipating.  
It went on smooth and even.  When I sprayed on the sealer some of that even tone disappeared.  I was disappointed at first, but actually, it just looks a little worn in now and hopefully will just improve with use and age.
I used heavy weight polyester thread and a leather needle in my Juki TL2010 to sew the handles on  v e r y  s l o w l y.  It worked beautifully!  Now I want to switch up the handles on my own market bag!

Sew Together Bags
I finally made my first Sew Together Bag at a guild sew-in.  As per usual, I don't know what took me so long.  I LOVE this pattern by Sew Demented.
I've made three more since then and another is in the works.  Fun to make and fun to give!

My mom has a kitchen towel that hangs on her cabinet.  She bought it years ago in France.  It's seen better days and she requested a new one.  Basically, a 24" diameter circle of terrycloth with a binding and hanging loop (which I oversized in case she wants to hang it over a door knob). She loved it - well, she said she did.  Hey, she's a mom!

Guild fun!
This year the Detroit Area Modern Quilt Guild decided we would all make a byAnnie Easy Does It bag and have a Yankee swap with them for our holiday meeting.
First, I made the one on top.  Not gonna lie, I was a little disappointed that all the hard work of that binding is hidden on the inside of the bag.  

When I got word that we weren't supposed to use holiday fabric I made another.  This time I used AnnMaria Horner fabric and changed it up by sewing the binding on the outside of the bag.  Bottom right is the sweet bag I received in the swap.  It was made by our incoming president Jenny Draeger, @jfodraeger on Instagram.  Thanks Jenny!

The AnnArbor Modern Quilt Guild had a notions swap.  I gave an add-a-quarter ruler and gingher snips wrapped up in a Jeni Baker drawstring bag that I adjusted the size of to fit the gifts.  Unfortunately, I forgot to get a photo of it.

Here's what I received!  This was made by the super talented @emmmylizzzy.  She was inspired by Making It on NBC.  It has already found its spot on my sewing room wall!

I hope all your hand made gifts were finished in time and as well received as each of these!  

Tuesday, October 22, 2019


Last year I participated in a Polaroid swap on Instagram.  We made little blocks that look like Polaroid photos and shared with each other.   When I heard my scrapbooking/card making friend was going to be a grandma I knew it was time to pull these out and put them to use. 
I received about 30 blocks in the swap so got to work right away to add to my collection.  For the quilt to finish at 40"x50" (my daughter's favorite new-baby size) I needed 72 blocks.  

The blocks go together very quickly though I did spend lots of time going through my stash and fussy cutting 2 1/2" squares to make them.  I loved every minute of it!  How cute are some of these Polaroids?

Grandpa is a carpenter.  I looked long and hard for a backing fabric with tools but all I could find was a fat quarter of the little wrenches above (first in the second row).  While I couldn't use it for a backing, I did make a Polaroid out of it and took the completed top apart, just a bit, to add it in.  

Instead, I made a giraffe from Sew Fresh Quilts Giraffes in a Row pattern and pieced it into a backing.  My daughter took monthly photos of her son during his first year on the BB-8 quilt I made for her.  She loved watching how he started so tiny and by a year old was almost as big as BB-8!  Maybe this new mama will have fun with that, too!

Here's a close up of the gray fabric I pieced the giraffe into.  It's got darling little stars and planets on it.   The selvage reads "The Little Prince ~ Le Petit Prince".  I was not aware that it's a book and the fabric is from the illustrations.  

How could I not incorporate it into this new little guy's quilt? 
I used a yellow Mini Pearl Bracelets fabric by Lizzy House for the binding.  It goes perfectly with that giraffe.  I had this in my stash but there's a little left here.
I free motion quilted this with a meandering stipple and used Quilter's Dream Cotton select loft batting.  I washed it before gifting and the texture is so cozy!

This was a fun one!  Now I'm off to look for "Le Petit Prince"!

I hope you're enjoying October.  Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, May 17, 2019


I've been participating in an online sew along and making "trinkets" using the Trinket pattern by Alison Glass.

These trinket blocks are paper pieced.  I made a few ahead of time because it's been awhile since I did any paper piecing.  They go together quickly and are a little addicting. 😉 By the time I was making the 5th or 6th block I realized my trinkets were reminding me of being at our camp in Northern Michigan.  So that was my focus for this quilt - things I love up north!  I posted my blocks each day on Instagram using #rsftrinkets.  In each post I describe how I relate the block to something up north, occasionally including a photo of the trinket in real life.

We were allowed to change up how we sewed the pattern pieces.    Do you see here how I turned this clover into a pontoon boat?  I took the same pieces of the block but sewed them together inside-out.

We were encouraged to arrange our trinkets any way we wish.  To participate in the prizes we needed to include at least one of each of the 40 trinkets from the pattern in our quilt.  I opted to repeat a few and ultimately made 56.  I sewed them into simple rows but offset my rows to change things up a bit

My quilt finishes at 50"x57".  I found this fabric with sunglasses at Ikea.  It's extra wide (59") so it was an easy backing choice.  Don't the colors go perfectly with the trinkets on the front?  

The binding is from my stash, black with colorful stripes, that show much better in real life. 

Can you find the bald eagle?  Or my favorite, the torch?  The last trinket in the bottom row above represents the lighthouse in Charlevoix where we had our most fun, and dangerous, and windy, and cold photo shoot ever with my Beacon/lighthouse block quilt.

We returned there to repeat the photo with this quilt.  The trinkets are too small to see here - oh well.  It was a beautiful sunny day with no wind - the exact opposite of that first time.

It's pretty with Lake Michigan in the background!

The bright sunshine makes it challenging to photograph a colorful quilt with a white background.  But we are happy for the sunshine and hope you're enjoying some this week as well.

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

a buzzy bizzy kid

I'm trying to finish up some long time works in progress this year so I've set a goal to not start something new till I've finished up something old.  
I made this Bizzy Kid quilt top at least 4 years ago.  It's been hanging in the closet ever since.  My grandchildren are growing and we're needing more than baby quilts now so it was time to finish this up.

The pattern is by Cluck Cluck Sew and still available in print or pdf form.  The solids are a mix of Kona and Moda.  The print fabrics are from the Bug a Boo line by Adorn It.  Hard to find now but aren't these bugs cute?   I made this as a new quilter and didn't really understand fussy cutting.  I would cut these guys differently now but it still works. 

I've learned a lot about pressing over the years, too.  I spend about 2 hours removing loose threads and re-pressing seams before quilting this.

The quilting is free motion jagged lines.  I think it looks like how bugs fly around, zipping here, zipping there.

Quilter's Dream wool batting  and a stripped single-fold binding that matches the backing.

Well, most of the backing.  I added a few columns of blocks for more width.  This quilt finishes at 48" x 60"!  A perfect size for Bizzy Kids!

We were looking for a cool bug in the woods but instead found this guy playing peek-a-boo! 

I hope you're finding fun things to keep bizzy with this week.  Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, April 28, 2019


Have you heard of Callaloo?  It's a Caribbean dish made with a leafy green that is cooked in various ways based on region.  According to my quick Google search, recipes for it originated in West Africa, Trinidad, and Jamaica.

Latifah Saafir has a new quilt pattern coming out soon called Callaloo.  It's made with clams and uses her 12 inch Clammy template.

The pattern includes instructions for 10 different clams with cute names like Half Baked, Clam Pie, Clam Dip, and Happy As A Clam.  There are options for using each clam individually within a quilt or mixing them all together. 

I jumped on a chance to play with the pattern.  I had no particular plan when I started.  The clams are fun and fast to make.  I got 12 clams from one yard of this green Alison Glass Sun Print I had in my stash.  That was enough to make a (38.5"x51") crib sized quilt.  The Caribbean blue solid is from Paint Brush Studios.

I had just enough of 4 different neutrals to make the background clams.  Do you see that the outside clams are oversized to give you a little wiggle room and options for a wider binding?  I like having that extra space to square up the quilt.

I chose to quilt this with simple straight lines 1" apart for a quick finish.  That turned out to be a bold move on my part.  Keeping the lines straight through four vertical clams is quite revealing of piecing skills.  I'm not a queen of curves but Latifah's pattern and YouTube video instructions for how to sew the clams together was VERY helpful.  I love it when following directions produces great results!

I used Quilter's Dream Orient batting and another Alison Glass print for the 1/2" single fold binding. Again, both from my stash.  

The backing is a Dear Stella print from years ago.  Actually, I'm just now remembering I bought this on sale during a 2015 Sewtopia Shop Hop in Chicago.  

I was shopping with Latifah that day!

Does it look like garlic and onions with my leafy greens?  Actually that was not my intention but then I did the Google search for this post (after I made the quilt) and now that's how I see it!

I hope you'll experiment with the Callaloo pattern.  I'm watching the hashtag on Instagram to see how everyone adapts the recipe!

Happy spring!

Saturday, February 16, 2019

when 100 days becomes nearly two years

In the spring/summer of 2017 I joined (probably) thousands of other quilters around the world and made 100 blocks in 100 days.  We used Tula Pink's City Sampler book for our block patterns.  I shared 1/2 my blocks 1/2 way through the project here.

It was fun participating and finishing all my blocks on schedule.

All my fabrics are from Carolyn Friedlander collections.  The online support and encouragement was quite something.  One follower even offered to share some Carolyn Friedlander fabric from her stash.  I declined at first but later thought better.  I offered to trade her for something she was in need of.  New fabric added new life to the project.  Bonus - it's fun to have a special friend I haven't met yet!

I had no plan for arranging my blocks when starting the sew along.  Tula's book offers several different options for finishing.  I figured if I used all Carolyn Friedlander fabrics, they would all go together, and I'd fit them into one of the designs with no problem.

That would have worked except along the way, while trying to choose a background fabric, I noticed that certain blocks would just sing on some colors and not so much on others.  I couldn't narrow my background down to just one or two colors.  So I made this my own way.  I bordered each block individually.  About a week after making this decision Carolyn posted her new  Wainwright quilt.  It made me think she'd approve of my decision.

I could write a book here telling you all the ways I considered arranging my blocks but that would be a waste of time.  Ultimately, I put them in order 1 to 100.  Seeing that Wainwright  quilt made this decision easy.  (Actually the quilt is 9 blocks wide by 11 blocks long so I left one block out.  I think #7.  I'll use it for something else, eventually.)

I quilted this row by row with an organic grid.  Organic meaning no rulers so nothing is exactly straight.  I started with vertical and horizontal lines block by block but it got extremely boring.  Sometimes when 2 of the same color bordered blocks are together the quilting runs 2 blocks.  Sometimes it doesn't because it was blending too much with the row above it.  So kind of random, kind of not.

The binding is 1/2 inch single fold.  It's my favorite.  The backing is Carolyn's 108"wide crosshatch print. 

Lorna, if you're reading this far, I used your link and ordered labels.  Do you like them?

Finished size is 73" by 89"  
Batting is Warm and White
Piecing thread is Aurifil 2021 50wt
Quilted with Omni thread in Natural White.

I'll link this up with Let's Bee Social.  
I'm really missing the Finish it Up Friday links and I'm wondering, what are your favorite links?

Thanks for stopping by.  Have a wonderful week.