A Special Pillow

My friend Judy asked me if I would make a pillow as a gift from her entire Bible-Study group to their friend Julie.  She wanted the fabrics to be out of the same winter fabrics as a quilt I made her previously.  Fortunately, I still had some of the fabric and was glad to be able to use it.

Judy asked each member of the group to give her one word describing Julie.  These words were going to be embroidered onto the fabric and made into the pillow.  I do not have embroidery on my machine so Judy found a place that would do the embroidery.  She and her friend Diane chose the fonts and worked with the embroidery place to get just what they wanted.  Then she brought the fabric with the embroidered words back to me and I figured out to arrange them into the pillow along with adding an appliqued snowflake.

pillow front

pillow front

pillow back

pillow back

I think the pillow was an incredibly thoughtful gift and I was glad to be able to help in the making of such a special gift.


Clue 1 Fabrics

Clue 1 Fabrics

The first clue for the annual Bonnie Hunter mystery is posted the Friday after Thanksgiving and like thousands of others, I have decided to play along again this year.  I wasn’t sure if I would make it this year, but have decided it is a good way to use up a bunch of scraps so might as well join in.  I did not gather up the fabrics ahead as I know there are enough Thimbleberries fabrics in my fabric collection to make the quilt in Bonnie’s chosen color scheme; instead, I will just pull out the fabrics needed as each clue is posted.  The only color I really didn’t have was the gray that is used as the constant color.  I did have this blue though and it is very gray-ish and in addition, it is also enough according to her yardage.  I am going to make it work and in the event it isn’t actually enough, then I will just use another similar blue.

So today I got the gray/blue off the shelf and the neutrals from my little Treasure Boxes of scraps and am ready to make triangles.  How about you–are you making the mystery quilt this year?  You can get all the information about the fabrics to use and lots more information about the mystery, along with the first clue by going to Bonnie Hunter’s Quiltville website and clicking the tab that says “Allietare Mystery”.  Then be sure to check back each Friday for the additional clues.

Shhh, It’s a Secret

This summer Jacob spent a day with me at my friend Aby’s house.  While there, Jacob shared with Aby that he wanted to make some small wall quilts so Aby let Jacob look through her scraps of fabric to see if there was any that he would like to have.  Jacob was very excited to find a block that Aby had started.  It was the greens sewn into strips, then cut into the triangle and the blue added to the sides to create a rectangle.  Jacob then chose more of the same blue fabric, some brown “tree trunk” fabric and some snowman fabric for his project.

After he made the fall wall quilt, he told me that he did not want to sew afterall.  The other day I told him that if he was not going to sew anything from what he got at Aby’s, then he would have to give the fabric back to her.  He sometimes is so cute as he informed me, “Grandma, I do know how to sew so I might as well sew it because it is a long way to drive back to her house.”  He already had a plan in mind when he picked out the fabrics.  He wanted a short tree trunk with the same blue on the sides so that was the first step he made and then he sewed that to the bottom of the triangle to make the tree.  I thought he would then add the snowmen, but instead he was looking at it and said “I think it needs some snow under the tree.”  He asked me if he could have some of my white fabric with snowflakes on it.  He was happy how that looked.  Then we laid the tree/snow on the snowman fabric.  He was studying it but didn’t say anything.  I wanted him to figure out for himself what he wanted but sometimes a little prompting helps so I asked him how he liked those two blues together.  He said he thought it would be nice if it had a little red in between and then he reminded me that I had some red fabric with snowflakes on it.  (I’m beginning to think he knows my fabric as well as I do.)  He even knew right where to go to find it.  (Well actually that was pretty easy since all my fabric is grouped by color.)  He asked if he could also use the red for the binding.  I did the cutting, he did the sewing and this is what he made.  I asked him if he would like to hold it up so I could take a picture but he said no.  I thought that was pretty clever of me to be sure not to just ask if I could take a picture.  So now, I took a picture because I think he has done such a nice job designing and sewing and it should be seen.  Just in case he won’t let me take a photo of the finish, at least this way you are getting to see what he has done.

Jacob's Tree quilt

Jacob’s Tree quilt

He is going to do the quilting after Thanksgiving and most likely will quilt straight lines as he can use the walking foot for that.  Isn’t it fun to see something Aby started and set aside and then Jacob found it, loved it, and made something with it.

We would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.   We are so abundantly blessed and our gratitude is unending.

Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Volume 12

Today is the day you get to see the new sampler made from some of the test blocks for Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Volume 12.  In addition, Quiltmaker has a whole week of fun planned on their blog, Quilty Pleasures, to launch this newest edition of the magazine.  Be sure to check out their blog each day this week and see more of the new blocks, learn about the designers, check out the various blogs of the designers, and of course have chances to win lots of prizes on the Quilty Pleasures blog and the designer’s blogs.

I love being able to test the instructions and diagrams along with the group of other testers.  We are on teams of four people each which allows every block to get at least four different tests (and sometimes even more) prior to publication.  As testers, we do not see the actual designer block which means we have to carefully read all the words and carefully look at the diagrams in making the block.  We write up an evaluation on each block and also submit a picture of our block.  By looking at our pictures, the editors are able to see how the instructions were interpreted and how that compares to original block.  We never know what block or what assembly method we will get so we must be able to do perfect ¼” seams for the regular piecing along with being able to do paper-piecing, various types of applique, sometimes embroidery or other hand-stitching (like hexies, etc.), in addition to having the confidence to perhaps try our hand at a new technique.  I enjoy the anticipation of waiting to see what new block we get to test each week and then the challenge of making it.  Many times I get blocks that I may not have chosen if I were to thumb through the magazine and pick out a few for a sampler, but I find that to be part of the fun and I am always glad to have made the block afterall.  Testing the variety of blocks does make for a bit of a challenge in how to put them together into one sampler, which again I might do things that one wouldn’t think of otherwise, such as putting a snowman together with a flower block,

Quiltmaker 100Blocks Vol 12

Quiltmaker 100Blocks Vol 12

Starting in the top left corner, and going from left to right, these are the blocks in this sampler:

#1122 Through My Window by Carol LeMaitre

#1165 Gathering Basket by Donna Benham

#1119 Ruminated Rhythm by Kelly Eisinger

Row 2:

#1150 Frosty by Susan Marth

#1200 Rising Sun by Anne Wiens

#1189 Fly Away Home by Lee Chappell Monroe

Row 3:

#1173 Inside Out by Abigail Dolinger

#1130 Townhouses by Karen Bialik

#1131 Cake Pops by Denniele Bohannon

Row 4:

#1140 Spotlight by Kay Gentry

#1107 Layer Cake by Ally Nicoll

#1124 Cosmic Double Star by Jenny Novinsky


Other blocks found in Volume 12:

08 Candy Color Wheel

#1138 Candy Color Wheel by Cynthia Frenette

I was playing with a bunch of my scraps to make this one and I think I was paying more attention to the fabric itself rather than getting my seams in the right place.  The instructions for the block work, but I messed mine up and thought about making another.  I decided to wait though and see what other blocks I ended up testing and found I actually had enough others without remaking this one.  I still might make it over just for fun as I have many bits of scraps left.

11 Rain Chain

#1192 Rain Chain by Melissa Peda

The day I got assigned this block, I was in the middle of a couple other projects (imagine that!) and so I grabbed some pieces of fabric that were on my table and made a partial block to make sure everything was working according to the directions.  Again, I had planned to make it in my fabrics chosen for the sampler, but I have to confess—in this case, I simply forgot to make it and then when I had the other blocks done is when I realized that block was still waiting to be made.  It is a fun block to assemble and I am sure I will make one to use in a different sampler.

14 Santas Reindeer

#1188 Santa’s Reindeer by Lorna McMahon

This block was a special request from Quiltmaker editor Diane Harris.  She is putting together a special quilt for a special purpose, which you will hear more about at a later time.  I for one, am anxious to see her quilt.


I hope you have enjoyed this little preview sampling of some blocks from Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Volume 12.  Be sure to get a copy of the magazine as there are 85 more wonderful blocks you will want to see (and make).

Easy Mug Rugs

Dresden Mug Rugs aka Mini Mats

Dresden Mug Rugs aka Mini Mats

I was playing with my mini-dresden ruler.  It fits exactly on a 2-1/2” strip of fabric to cut out the individual plates for the dresden.  Sometimes I just enjoy playing around with no specific plan so I decided to make some mug rugs—also known as mini mats.  To make these, I first stitched the individual plates and then sewed 20 together to form the circle.

I cut an 8-1/2” square for the background, about a 9-1/2” square of batting, and an 11” square of backing (which is also the binding).  I layered these three pieces and then centered the dresden circle on the background and stitched through all the layers around the outside of the plates.  This created a bit of puff to the plates.

Then I used my very old school compass—you know the one with the point on one side a pencil on the other—and figured out what size circle to make for the center to cover the raw edges.  I drew the circle on light-weight interfacing and sewed it to the circle fabric.  Then I cut a slit in the interfacing and turned it right side out, leaving a nice finished edge on my circle.  After pressing the circle, I sewed it to the center, again sewing through all the layers.

Next I tucked my cutting board between the backing and the batting and trimmed the batting to the same size as the background top.  Then I used my ruler and cut the backing 1” all the way around, folded it in half, and folded over to the front to create the binding, which I machine stitched.

These were super easy to make and of course I will be making a bunch more.  In the meantime, you will soon see some similar in an upcoming Christmas project that I’m working on.

Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks

Guess what came in the mail this past week! If you guessed that I won lots of money in the publisher’s clearing house, well then you would be wrong.  Actually, it was something much better than that.  It was the preview copy of the soon-to-be-on-the-shelves new Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Volume 12.  It is always so much fun when my copy comes in the mail and I get to see the designer’s blocks that I have been testing for the past few months.  In addition to the blocks I was fortunate to be able to test, there are also all the other blocks from all the creative minds.  You probably have guessed by now that I tend to be a “block aficionado” and getting the new Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks magazine gives me all those blocks to look at over and over, wishing I could make every one of them.

Quiltmaker 100 Blocks Volume 12

Quiltmaker 100 Blocks Volume 12

My friend Aby has her new block right there on the cover. (I think that qualifies her as a “cover girl”!)  However, I am not going to tell you which one is hers.  You are going to have to wait to find out during the Quiltmaker blog tour.  The blog tour is a week-long event by Quiltmaker where each day they post a list of various designers with a link to their blogs and they also have lots of prizes to give away.  The blog tour for this Volume 12 is going to November 16-20 so be sure to stop by “Quilty Pleasures” and join in on the fun.  Aby’s blog and block will be featured on Wednesday of that week.

Oh, and by the way, quite a few of the blocks I tested are also featured on the cover of the magazine so you will see them in my sampler. And you probably already figured this out too—yup, you guessed it—I’m not telling you which blocks so check back on the 16th to see the sampler.  Just to give you a hint, the magazine is laying on the back of the sampler.  It may or may not have those same fabrics in the actual sampler. (I’m not telling!)

A New Quilter

It is always so much fun to meet other quilters and also meet those who want to learn how to quilt. I have recently had the privilege of getting to know Mandy better.  She has been a crafter for quite some time but has now decided to see if she likes quilting.  It is a fair ways for her to drive here so we try to accomplish quite a bit in the time she is able to spend with me.  I have to say, working with her surely makes for an enjoyable day.

Here are her Fall Mini wall quilts she has finished. I think she has done a wonderful job on them.  On the flying geese one, she decided to not add the applique as she chose some pretty fall fabrics for the geese and it is fun to see the colors without the extra applique.  (Plus, she can admire her neatly-made geese!)

Mandy's Fall Mini Quilts

Mandy’s Fall Mini Quilts

Selfishly on my part, I am hoping she will get addicted to quilting. I am looking forward to seeing more quilts made by her.