Bluebirds and Christmas Quilt Along

Yesterday the directions for Step 3 of the From My Carolina Home  – Christmas 2015 Quilt Along came out.  You can find Step 3 here:   Christmas Table Topper .

While I “thought” I was ready, I soon discovered I was not.  Turns out, I had pulled the WRONG SIZE pieces of red from my scrap storage.  So, I gathered up those 3″ red squares, and stored them back in the Scrap Storage bins, and searched among the 2.5″ bins for enough “red”.  Then I dug deep into the overflowing baskets under the ironing board and managed to again pull out just what I needed. A little starch, a bit of time with the iron, and off to the cutting mat and onto sewing!  Thanks again to my friend Cindy & Nancy and many others for their scrap contributions!!  Check out these pieces!!Part 1 of Step three  (note – in an effort to “save space” here on WordPress, I am linking some of my photo’s back to FLIKR.  Let me know if this is driving you nuts, or works out ok please!)

Then it was on to Part 2 of Step 3….well…..again, I was not ready.  I guess I just failed to ready the directions fully, and I had to get busy and make more 1/2 square triangle brown and neutral blocks….like 40 more.  So, I got busy and did a little more marking, stitching, cutting, pressing, trimming and sewing and now the Part 2 of Step 3 is complete. Check out those pieces!  Step 3 fabrics from the scrap basket   I’ll tell you what, I hope I do better reading the instructions for Bonnie Hunter’s  Allitare Winter Mystery Quilt 2015 which comes out on Friday morning next week!!!

With this Christmas 2015 Quilt Along, I am to wait until Friday for the assembly instructions, but I did “look ahead” and am contemplating some assembly between now & then, just to move the project along.  While I am contemplating, I am rethinking my “scrappy” decision on the project, but it will be what it is!

While I ponder, I went ahead and got the last of the applique elements ready and fused to my Little Bluebird pattern by Pat Sloan.  I am quite happy with the outcome and anxious to get the red and green thread out to do the final applique stitching on the vines, the berries and the hearts. I love the cottage look it lends and have loved every step in the process.   Already as I look at it, I am thinking ahead to the binding ….and trying to decide how I will do it.  While I get it layered up for quilting, I am going to contemplate what color and what method to use in the binding.    I have a large piece of the “vine fabric” ready to cut on the bias, which will make a nice binding and give a bit of contrast. I also have plenty of the outer border fabric and that wonderful stripe that is the inner border. Oh, the decisions!!!  Never mind the quilting….my brain did a speed up and I skipped right over that process.


My Little Blue Bird

My Little Blue Bird


I have never been a “cheddar” fan, but I really like the way it works in this pattern.  I loved making this, and I am already thinking ahead to that backing we made in class and get on with Ma-Ma’s Flower Garden.  Oh, the fun.  (I say that as I think of the Christmas things I keep sliding to the back burner).

All in all a good Saturday of sewing!  What are you working on?

Binding and other projects

So many projects, so few complete~!!~  Only 1 week to go before the 1st clue on Bonnie Hunter’s blog  Allietare Winter Mystery Quilt 2015 .  My fabric is all pre-washed.  I won’t bore you with the photo’s of the RED color catchers and the BROWN color catchers! Just know that I am VERY happy to report that my pre-washing was not done without good reason.  Used nearly a full box of those color catchers while washing the red, the brown, the gold, and the green.  Yes, the red bled like crazy, and so did the brown.  (The red fabric that was running was quality quilt store fabric by Robert Kaufmann.  Can’t blame it on the fabric I got at Hancock’s or Wal-Mart.)  No color transfer from my golds or greens.  I have some ironing to do, but all in all, the fabric came out of the washer & dryer with little ravel.  I pinked the raw edges with an Olfa rotary pinking blade before they got washed.  I have all the reds “starched” and ready.  I will work on the other colors this weekend getting them ironed. Meanwhile, while I await the 1st clue, I have other things in the works.

I  do need to “make a list” at some point.  Actually have my UFO list posted, but I have many more things to get organized.

I have been helping my hubby at his train club get ready for the annual  Delmarva Model Railroad Club Open House .  The skirting under the HO layout needed some work, washing, repair, resizing etc.  I did some of it at home, but then took my machine, rotary cutting tools, iron & mat to the club and worked Monday for several hours. I had convinced him to buy new fabric and got quite the deal on some broadcloth for $1.79/yard. So, 2 bolts &  40 yards later…..My part is easy. He has to hang new furring strips etc to attach the skirting in a more permanent fashion.  In previous years the members had just “unrolled the bolt, wrapped and stapled as they went”.  This wasn’t a bad approach, but when ever you needed to get UNDERNEATH for work (wiring etc), it was difficult to move.  I am working with width of fabric (44″) sections and measuring to length.  This way, they can just clip up a section in the area they need to access.  Certainly won’t get it all done before the first Open House date, as the hubby is the “limiting factor”.  I can sew pretty fast, but his efforts for hanging furring strips take lots more time.  Oh well, on to more fun sewing…that black fabric gets pretty darn boring!

I am doing a Christmas Table runner Sew Along, following along with From My Carolina Home on WordPress.  Step 3 of the Table Topper was published a few minutes ago, so I am chomping at the bit to get out to the sewing room.  I have Step 1 and Step 2 completed – pix here:  Step 1 and 2 on Flickr  .  (Note – I am going to start using Flikr for my photo’s for the blog for a while as I am nearly at my limit here on WordPress.   Do let me know if you were able to click the link and if you had any troubles.)

I am also “busy” working on my Little Blue Bird project by Pat Sloan.  I got the half square triangle border on yesterday and the final outer border.  I worked on cutting bias strips (THANK YOU to YOU TUBE) to make the trailing vine around the outer border.  I actually got the vine attached on the top, and have the other strips cut and ready to attach.  Pat Sloan used a fabric glue, but I found I had a roll of fusible web that I could press on the back of the bias strip and iron to the project.  That worked out really well for me, and I didn’t have to wait to order the fabric glue.

My other project this week started on Wednesday, and FINISHED on Wednesday.  My quilt bee – The Material Girls met at 1 pm, and we were handed a stack of flannel squares.  The backing fabric was cut and ready, the batting was cut and ready, and after 2 hours of sewing during the bee, and then a couple of hours at home, I have a finished charity quilt ready!

I was reading a post from Carole – Adventures in Machine Binding ; this morning and her efforts at machine binding. Well, 1/2 way through the article, she discusses turning the backing from the back over and making it binding.  Good tutorial if you are working with charity quilts.

I was “supposed to” do that with this flannel quilt, but I struggled with the method, and ended up using my favorite binding “SUSIE’S MAGIC BINDING”.   My first exposure to this method was from Aunt Marti on her blog 52 Quilts in 52 Weeks (Susie’s Magic Binding ). Recently I tripped over a great tutorial by Margo Clabo on this style of binding.  The video is a bit long, but she had so many tips on my favorite binding method to ensure an excellent finish. Yes, I learned several things and have incorporated them already!  This is a great tutorial and one you might want to save:  Margo Clabo tutorial .  Carole also mentioned a method she was going to investigate and linked to it from Susan at Quilt Fabrication – and it is the same as Susie’s Magic  Binding, and the Margo Clabo method.  As a collector of information, I will share that link as well.  Quilt Fabrication method   I think it is important to “look at all these tutorials and get as much information from them as possible, to find methods that work for you.  Every time I look at other tutorials I find things that make the method a little bit easier.  I still struggle with lining up the piping at the join and use lots of basting stitches until I get it “just right”.  Takes me longer to line up that join than any other step!  Practice makes perfect!

I hope what ever your project is today, that it goes well, with few ripped stitches!

Do let me know if you had troubles with FLIKR.  Did you have to join anything? Sign up? Etc….    :)


Wild and Free and Bluebirds

More about the great workshops with Pat Sloan!  The workshops were hosted by Quilters by the Sea Guild of Ocean Pines Maryland .

Monday was “WILD & FREE” – where we spent a lot of time talking about color, and what works together, what doesn’t, how 1 piece of fabric might not have a “friend” in the stack, and might need to be removed etc.  The advance information we got for the class was to “bring a laundry basket full of fabric”.  Well, my friend Irene could not lift her basket, so she downsized into manageable  sized totes.  I  brought 4 totes of fabric. With all the totes, containers, machines, sewing supplies, mats, rulers, irons etc, we FILLED my car!!  Glad my husband suggested that little wheeled cart for bringing things in and out of the car!

I knew we were going to make a BACKGROUND for a wall hanging, and we were NOT doing it in beige!  As I was pulling fabrics out for the class, I pulled my bundle of ‘Pat Sloan MODA ‘ that I have been hoarding    COLLECTING for the last 2 years.  Into the bins it went, along with other colors, prints etc.

As I mentioned above, we did a lot of study of the colors and how we might want to incorporate very strong, vibrant patterns into our background. You won’t see any beige in these collections.  Do click on each photo so you can see the detail.

As we made our fabric decisions, and started to put the backgrounds together, Pat helped each student define the choices.  We did some cutting and sewing and there is not ONE that looks just like the person sitting across the room or next to them!  This was so freeing and fun!

If you look at my initial and my final, you will see I made some changes in fabrics.  Most of the fabric in mine was from Pat’s fabric collection.  We were encouraged to use prints that were “friends” and to add graphic elements. You see lots of stripes and check and print in these varying pieces.  One member of the class worked on her’s on Monday night and greeted us on Tuesday morning with some of her applique started.

Marti started her applique

Marti started her applique

So, yes, you can applique on a wild background!  Now that “busy background” just fades back…..

As I mentioned in my post My Little Bluebird on Wednesday, our second workshop was the actual applique techniques, and we did a lot of practice stitching.  In that post I showed my project all fused.  Late last night I finished the applique stitching and wanted to give you an updated photo or two or three.  Be sure to click on the photo’s so you can see the detail.

My Little Bluebird will get two more borders and a bit more applique in the final border and finish at 40″ x 40″ . So, Thursday’s decision….get the next border started, or go by groceries……..and ohhh…I can’t wait to start the applique on my Wild & Free background.  The pattern that will get appliqued on it is Pat’s pattern –  Ma-Ma’s Garden . 

Check out Pat Sloan’s website; pick up her book Pat Sloan’s Teach Me to Applique – Fusible Applique That’s Soft and Simple or the pattern for either of these projects – My Little Blue Bird or Ma-Ma’s Garden .  While you are clicking around through her store, check out the “Let’s go Sew” pattern.  Yes, I just HAD to get it too.

Acknowledging that I repeat myself, I just have to say I loved my class with Pat!  She was the first “name” I knew in quilting, introduced to me by my local quilt shop, Serendipity Quilt Shop, in Dagsboro Delaware.  We used two of Pat’s books in our classes – I Can’t Believe I’m Quilting and the companion  Beyond the Basics  .  I was just starting my retirement journey of quilting and blogging and found Pat’s website, her blogs, her patterns, her radio shows and I was hooked.  So, do visit  Pat Sloan’s Quilters Home website and let me know if you enjoy it as much as I do.

Time to get busy, the growling stomach said the grocery store is a priority today!

My little Blue Bird

Well, I promised photos and update on my workshop with Pat Sloan. I failed to take many photos during the class, but I would like to share with you my project from Tuesday.

The class on Tuesday, taught by Pat Sloan,  was Easy Machine Applique with the Blanket Stitch and it was definitely heavy on the technique. Pat covered everything from brands of fusibles, using full vs cutaway, types of blanket stitches, prepping the design for applique, types of threads, and maneuvering our stitches around curves, points, 90 degree angles, and circles. We did lots of practice stitching on sampler pieces that I posted photo’s of earlier.

Quilters by the Sea Guild of Ocean Pines Maryland hosted the class and I was happy to get a spot.  What a great facility they have available to use!  We each had an 8 foot table and they lunch was included in the fee we paid for the class.  I would definitely take the opportunity to visit them again for a class.  There were 4 members of Ocean Waves Quilt Guild, Lewes DE at the classs.

Now, with my background up on the design wall and some of the shapes for the “My Little Blue Bird” pattern drawn out, I was inspired last evening to get more done!  I was motivated to continue getting the shapes drawn out on the Heat n Bond Lite, and onto the fabrics!  The pattern and design is by Pat Sloan, and is called Little Blue Bird.  Go and check out all the amazing things you can find on Pat’s website  . Follower her blog, enjoy her patterns, radio pod-casts, facebook page etc.  (The groupie in me is showing….but really….check her website)

My background prepared and some of the designs ready to fuse to the fabric

My background prepared and some of the designs ready to fuse to the fabric

The process worked well for me.  I did the pattern tracing on to the heat n bond while we watched the debates, and did some preliminary cutting out of the shapes last evening.  This morning after breakfast, while the news folks analyzed the debates, I sat and did more cutting.  Then this afternoon I selected my fabrics for the applique.  Only 2 pieces came out of the stash. The rest from the scrap bag that my friends have been so kind to provide.  Every thing in the basic pattern is fused on, and now it is time to start the blanket stitching.

Center panel fused

Center panel fused

Blue bird! Up Close!

Blue bird!

Thought a close up of that cute little blue bird was in order!  I tried to use tonal fabrics or batiks as the background of the panel was a bit busy with print.  The green is a tone on tone, and so is the big red berry.  The little red berries have a print as does the flower.  It has a gold print over it, and so do the feet of the little blue bird.

I think I will do one more “practice round” before I begin on the project.  The pattern calls for 2 more borders and a finish size of 40×40.  Pat Sloan recommended we do our center section stitching before we add those borders so we have “less” bulk under the arm of the machine.  Let me tell you, that those kind of tips were happening all day in her class!!

I have to be honest, I thought that I would find the task of tracing, cutting, trimming, cutting etc tedious, but in fact, it was VERY relaxing.  I enjoy listening to an audio book  from the library while I sew, and today it is the fiery book INVISIBLE, by James Patterson.  My list of books that I have enjoyed listening to while I stitch is on the Goodreads list on my sidebar.

I will share some links with photos from Monday on my next post! Time to sew.

Such a groupie moment

Well….great class today with Pat Sloan!!!  Saved my special Moda Fabric designed by Pat Sloan for just this occasion. I present my project, held by none other than Pat!!!


Made with 85% Bobbins and Bits.  Details on previous blog post. More tomorrow ☆

Such a “follower”

Saturday morning I was browsing through email, and saw a new picture FROM MY CAROLINA HOME’s blog  and she was talking about fabric requirements for another mystery quilt along (From my Carolina Home )  .  I am such a follower, I had to save the info, comment and take the survey, then run out to the sewing room over the garage and PULL fabrics!! Yes, all this before I had to be at my card making class at 10 am at the local public library!  Got me, hook line and sinker.  But, hey, it all came out of the scrap storage system…Yes, every bit….  I will post some pictures once I get it organized a little.   Meanwhile…………

I’m sure I have mentioned before those “nationally known” quilters I follow, and have identified them in posts when I have followed one or more of their patterns.  Last week we chatted  about Bonnie Hunter, and the new  “Quiltville Winter Mystery, 2015! Allietare!”                 ( Quiltville Winter Mystery Quilt details )  In that post, ( Another Mystery Quilt ) I talked about getting my paint chips and pulling fabric.  Well, mission accomplished!! Take a look at what I choose to use!    (If you click on the photo’s, you will get a nice close up view)

I was at Hancock Fabric and found that lovely fabric under the gold paint chip.  It is WINE BOTTLE LABELS!!  Going to do Italy, there will be wine!  I had purchased on Monday the grey indicated but I wasn’t feeling the warmth of it or the black.  So, I made a few adjustments; swapping chocolate brown with a black undertone for the black.  When I got to the grey, I knew it “had to go”, and I chose the green.  It will substitute fairly well.  I had some visions in my head of Tuscany and knew that green was a necessity!.  I think the red’s I chose work, except I wanted to go a bit more “merlot” than the top red that matches the card, so will no doubt use the 2nd fabric in the pile of the red.  The grey goes into the stash, and maybe that top red too.  So, not everything came from the stash on hand, I did do some more “fabric acquisition”.  Just what I needed to round out the selections.  I am going to let my neutrals be scrappy, but the rest will be constant fabrics.   This week will be enough time to get them pre-washed and ironed.  First clue is presented on  “Black Friday”….a great day to stay home & sew!

Now, about my other “follows”….I am a big fan of Pat Sloan and am excited to be signed up for a 2 day workshop this  week.  The workshop on Monday is called Wild & Free, where we focus on making the background piece for future applique.  The pattern is Mama’s Garden.  The advance workshop information was to “fill a laundry basket” with fabrics that you would like to play with to build this background piece.  This is where having a stash is handy.  I filled 4 rubber maid bins with fabrics! (I am reminded of how heavy fabric can be!).  The second day, we will be doing “The Magic of EASY Machine Appliqué”. In this workshop, we were to prepare the background BEFORE the class, which I did this afternoon.  Honestly glad that I spent part of Friday and Saturday pulling fabric to take to this class.  Check out Pat Sloan’s website and see if you can find these two workshops and what I will be up to !  ( Pat Sloan Workshops ).

I’m sure you don’t remember, but back when I started this blog in 2012, I had taken 2 classes at Serendipity Quilt shop that used Pat Sloan’s books.  In those classes we made a lot of projects. Something new every week for 10 or 12 weeks.  I have some “works-in-progress” left from those classes 2 or more years ago. I do have 2 official “finishes”; the Cupcakes and the Friendship Star.The “big star” is still a “work in progress”.  I had to search for a photo of it.  If you notice , the Big Star is on top of 2 other quilts on the design wall, and has one next to it.  No wonder I didn’t get anything finished!!  My goal this winter is to wrap some of these “WIP’s” up.  Get them done and out of the project boxes.  Get to the point got stalled during the quilting. Since I started, I have gotten a new machine, and I hope my FMQ has improved somewhat.  Hey, these classes were “Beginning Quilting”, so I am giving myself a break!  Enjoy these vintage 2012 & 2013 (yikes) projects !

Time to finish this glass of Merlot and call the day finished.  Updates later in the week!  If you are doing the Quiltville Mystery Quilt or the From My Carolina Home Mystery/Quilt along, what do your fabrics look like???