How Not to Make a Holiday Project

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Happy 4th of July evening. Blog posts and holiday projects are not timely around here – summer has taken over, and it is winning.

This blog post is a precautionary tale – how not to make holiday projects.

  1. Don’t begin a project that you would really like to have on display/in use for a holiday only a week or so before that holiday (especially if you are making it up as you go).
  2. Don’t work on the holiday project only here and there when you are tired or weary from working on other things that have (squirrel!) pulled you away.
  3. Make sure you check your math (don’t use graph paper to plan a hexagon project).

All that said, here is my holiday project for the 4th of July – that is not finished. I was close.

Flag 1

It was completed to this point yesterday and I thought I would be ready to turn it into the pillow cover it is destined to become and throw it on the couch to enjoy today……………. and then I laid it on top of the pillow cover it is replacing.
Flag 2

Bummer – I had reduced the hexagons to 3/4″ from 1″ to make 50 fussy cut stars fit the dimensions of my pillow. The stripe count is correct for a real flag also. I could just use my backing fabric to make a frame, but (although this picture doesn’t really show it) it looks too long for the width. Another row of white and red are in my future. For now it will most likely join the WIP pile until the end of summer. Maybe it will be done for Veteran’s Day.

If you would like to make your own, here’s my quasi-pattern:

Fabric: red, white, blue with stars. (1/4 yard of each is more than enough)

All hexagons are 3/4″ (measured on the edge)

  • The blue field is made of 70 hexagons – 50 fussy cut stars, 16 fussy cut solid blue, 4 half blue/half red
  • Red stripes
    • next to blue field – 4 rows of 12 hexagons + the 1/2 red
    • 22 hexagons
  • White stripes
    • next to blue field – 3 rows of 13 hexagons
    • 4 rows 23 hexagons
  • To make the blue and red hexagons,
    • put a full blue and red unbasted hexagon RST
    • mark a line from point to point and sew together on the line (I used my machine)
    • trim 1/4 inch away from seam and press the seam open
    • baste around hexagon paper as usual


  • I plan to cut the edges off the hexagon rows and sew my backing fabric to them, quilt the flag in a wavy pattern, and creat an envelope style pillow cover. (I’ll post pictures when it is finished. Don’t hold your breath.)

Maybe I should start my Christmas sewing – I might have a chance of finishing it.

Sew forth!

Crafted Applique Winner!

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Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

The winner is………………..

Hurrah! Barb, I sent you an email. Please let me know where to send your book!

Thank you to everyone who stopped by my blog. I hope you’ll be back and we can get to know eachother a bit.

Enjoy the rest of your holiday weekend everyone in the US!

The Splendid Sampler and Crafted Applique

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I am having a blast making blocks for The Splendid Sampler organized by Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson. This smorgasbord of quilting techniques is often challenging due to the block size (6 1/2″ unfinished) or a technique that is new to me.

Several of the blocks have included more emboridery than I’ve done in years and have taken me quite some time to complete. It all began innocently enough with some simple butterfly antennae. It quickly progressed to words and then these blocks happened.

Block 11

Block 11 Crocheted Thoughts by Alyssa Thomas

I love the doily effect created by the chain stitch, but that crochet hook was a beast for me. I pulled it out and reworked it so many times it is a miracle there is fabric behind it still.

Block 20

Block 20 Nature’s Walk by Vicki Tuck

I loved working on this one, but it took me fooooorevvvvvah!

Along with embroidery, several of these blocks are made with appliqué. While I can “do” appliqué, needle-turn takes me forever and I don’t like the look of raw-edge after it washes. With these opinions firmly settled in my brain, I found out a while ago that my bloggy friend Lara from Buzzin Bumble was working on a book for an exciting appliqué method she created. 

As soon as her book Crafted Appliqué, New Possibilities was available, I snatched one up.

Crafted Applique Book cover - 180 pixels

Oh my goodness! Her new technique opened up the world of raw edge machine appliqué for me. Her projects in the book are amazing! I own a half dozen or so quilting-related books, and I’m a serial ignorer of most of the text. I like to look at the pictures and have really good intentions of making most of the projects — some day. The text never interests me much, but the need to discover Lara’s new technique drew me to the text. What a delight. Her style of writing is light, conversational, funny, and (most importantly) very thorough. If you haven’t seen her projects during her bloghop for the book please do go to her site – they are gorgeous.

 So where is the connection with The Splendid Sampler blocks? Several blocks have asked for simple appliqué. I chose to needle-turn this one and didn’t stress about the circles because the design was folk-artsy.

Block 4

Block 4 Happy Happy by Jen Kingwell

A more recent block involved layers of appliqué – a technique I’ve never done using needle-turn and unfused fabric. The block came out just as I was finishing my daughter’s quilt.  I was behind on several projects and looking for a quick finish, not days worth of needle-turn appliqué. Lara’s book and method to the rescue!! Here are my two blocks made with her technique – raw edge, no fusible, machine stitched. From Lara’s experience and the experience of other bloggers, there will be no fraying after washing. Another bonus to Lara’s method is that I was able to replace the original flower for this block with a fussy cut that had a very irregular edge. This was originally a much larger flower. If I had used needle-turn I would never have gotten into those little dips. This method lets you choose exactly what you want from a design when you fussy cut.

Block 25

Block 25 Sunday Best by Anne Sutton

A little prep, and bam – done. This method worked so well, I couldn’t wait to try it again. The second opportunity came a few days ago. I loved getting to use my pinking shears on that white circle. I didn’t stitch each little triangle either, just around the circle.

Block 27 Sewing Machine by Pat Sloan

I will still needle-turn when I feel like it, but this is such an awesome technique it is definitely part of my wheel-house now.

Do go check out Lara’s wonderful blog and her new book. The book can be purchased at Lara’s blog, AQS, or on Amazon (non-affiliate links). Lara has also offered to send one of my readers a FREE book! Lucky ducks. Leave me a comment – geek out about the Splendid Sampler you are creating, commiserate with me about needle-turn circles that are bumpy no mater what you do, or just say hi. I will pick a winner with my random comment winner thingy on Sunday, May 29 at 8 AM PDT. Please make sure you can be reached by email!

Sew forth!

Words for My Daughter – aka Midnight Mystery

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Late in 2015 Cheryl of Meadow Mist Designs ran a mystery quilt along with the option of getting a peek at the finished pattern. I peeked, and I decided to jump in. Well, I jumped and only got my toes wet until February of 2016. Before I get to the quilt though, there is some back story.

Last May my pre-teen daughter turned the corner and became an “official” teen. Over the summer, she wanted to redecorate her room – out went the purple walls, stamped daisies, net butterflies, and flower flounces that had been there since she was a baby. In went the white furniture, turquoise walls, and hot pink accents. Of course these changes also meant that this quilt no longer fit into the decor.

old quilt

My duaghter thought Cheryl’s mystery quilt was perfect and my daughter went gleefully with me to shop for fabric. She chose (I know you will be surprised) turquoise, pink, and white. The QAL ended early in 2016 with a gorgeous quilt parade in March. I finished two days ago. This time-frame works for me, as her birthday is this month.

Here is my daughter’s finished quilt. She loves it – swooped it up and put it on her bed right away. The color is too intense in this photo, but I had to tweak it to get some light on it.

Midnight Mystery/Words for My Daughter

She had also requested matching pillow cases. I didn’t have enough fabric left over to make the required 3 pillow cases, so I sewed cast offs, miss-cut pieces, and scraps together and made a third one. (This photo is much closer to the actual color, but it looses the glittery sheen of the pink fabric. It is also heavily cropped to spare you the horror that a teen girl’s bedroom can be when she doesn’t know her mom is coming in her room to take pictures.)

quilt on bed

I also made her a pillow with one of my orphan paper-pieced blocks.

donut pillowThe sides say Sweet and Dreams. It orignally said sweet “DRAMS”. Luckily, my duaghter brings “e”s (get it – ease? ha ha, snort) to my life and pointed out the error before I had gotten very far with the stiple that was raising the lettered area.

I always want to see close ups of the quilting, so here are a few closer shots.

quilting 2


quilting 1

I purchased Christina Cameli’s Craftsy class Wild Quilting before I quilted the white negative space. Although I have quilted in this “wild” or grafiti style before, Christina’s class had some wonderful information that helped me tackle this area with confidence. (Just my opinion. My small voice isn’t sponsored or compensated by anyone.)

I changed the name of Cheryl’s pattern from Midnight Mystery to Words for My Daughter because I quilted in words that I want my daughter to keep with her as she grows. The words are stitched into the white fill design and impossible to read in a picture of the quilting. They are my simple wishes for her – love, dream, play, explore, courage, gratitude, and several others that aren’t coming to mind.

Sweet dreams my baby – happy birth month!

Sew forth!!!

Bee Hive Quilt

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Last year I joined a quilting bee run by Alyce of Blossom Heart Quilts. I had never participated in a bee before and had a lot of fun “meeting” new people and sewing different blocks. The bee ran from February 2015 through January 2016. I was the last queen – I didn’t realize how fun and overwhelming it is to receive 11 packages in the mail during your queen month!!

I chose the Quartrefoil block designed by Jennie of Clover & Violet for my block and just love how it turned out!  I received an extra block from a bee-mate and made 4 more to make the quilt a bit larger. I have made everyone in the family a quilt backed with Minky except myself, so I decided to find a Minky that wasn’t overly furry and make myself one too. I’ve quilted Minky in the past and just hated the poof and all of the fur that pulls through to the top when it is being quilted, so I knew to look for something with shorter “hairs” this time. I have also learned not to use a high loft batting with Minky as I did with my husband’s quilt.

Here she is. I struggled a bit with a quilting design. I thought I wanted to emphasize the straight edges, but after echo quilting the main shapes, the negative space just wasn’t lending itself to the look I thought I wanteed. I changed to some loopy stuff, flowers, and a bit of square spirals (can you have square spirals?), and I called it done.

Bee Hive Quilt

I was really surprised that the minky showed the quilting so well. In the past, it’s been lost in the general furriness. After quilting two large quilts 70+ inch quilts over the last few months, this smaller 48×48 quilt was such a delight to quilt on my domestic machine.

Bee Hive Quilt - backHope March is off to a grand start for you!

Sew forth!