Thursday, October 31, 2013

Voting time - One Block Wonder Quilt Along

Hi everyone!  We have some great entries for the One Block Wonder Quilt Along!


I would like to ask your help in choosing a winner for one of the prizes.  Please vote for your favorite below!

Voting will stay open until Wednesday, November 6th at 11:55pm PST, then a winner will be announced on Thursday before the end of the day!

If you are interested in seeing some other works in progress or pictures of the original fabric, please visit the Flickr group.  Everyone did such a lovely job.

Thank you to everyone who participated.  I think we had some fun, yes?


Monday, October 28, 2013

Spooky - Wicked Blog Hop Day

Welcome to my little stop on the Wicked Blog Hop!  There have been lots of thing brewing here, but I admit not many of them having to do with sewing.  In fact, I think it has been over a week since I even turned on my machine (Now that is a HORROR!)  The girls and I have been sickly and trying to rest up and be cured in time for trick or treating Thursday.

It is funny how holidays completely transform themselves once you have children.  Why, when my husband and I were dating we would throw huge Halloween parties.  The apartment would be decorated from floor to ceiling, table filled with Pinterest worthy party food, fridge full of jello shots and a keg of beer on the balcony.  Now it is all about our 3 little princesses and their trick or treating adventures.  They don't want to be cooped up inside a party when they can go visit complete strangers and get loads more candy.  I guess the thrill of the hunt is part of it too - the best loot, scariest house, etc.

Speaking of scary houses......

Spooky house block

I love trying out new blocks and projects for these blog hops.  I didn't quite finish up my "project" for the blog hop thanks to the sicklies.  But I did try out this FREE block on Craftsy by Cyrille Zellweer at Bubble Stitch.  It does look rather spooky, no?  And who doesn't like free?  I am sure it will make an adorable pillow once I am able to get back to my sewing table.

Thank you so much to Madame Samm for organizing all these fantastic blog hops and Wendy from Why Knot? for being our head cheerleader for this hop.  You ladies are amazing!  Also amazing are the projects from other participants.  Here is today's schedule and tomorrow's too!

Tuesday, October 29th

Wednesday, October 30th

I hope all of you are happy and HEALTHY!  And of course, I wish you a safe Halloween as well.

Thanks for reading,


PS.  I am postponing Building Blocks Tuesday until next Tuesday.  Thank you for understanding.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

I am hosting TGIFF - a finish Friday

I am hosting TGIFF today!  I am so happy to share my most recent finish - a quilt I have been working on for over a year.  My Handstitched Medallion quilt!

Handstitched Medallion Quilt

I took the Handstitched" from Rachel at Stitched in Color so long ago that her encore class from this summer has already finished their quilts.  I loved Rachel's approach to all the hand work - if you are going to take the time to do it, you should be able to see it.

Handstitched Medallion Front

I finished up the top on schedule with the class, but all that hand quilting took me a while.

Handstitched Medallion close up

It was a labor of love, though.

Handstitched Medallion quilting

I am so happy to be able to say it is finished!  I'm keeping this beauty all to myself; I already have plans to curl up with it on the couch.

Handstitched Medallion Back

The obligatory "back" shot.  And no finish would be complete without a picture of my trusty assistant..

Helper cat Tookie

I had to answer the phone mid-photo shoot and Tookie had climbed into the chair for a sprawl.  Upon my return to take her picture, she became a little photo shy.

I can't wait to see what fun finishes you have!  Remember, this is OctoberQuest TGIFF!  Not sure what I am talking about?  Well, let me tell you......

OctoberQuest details... Your quest is to finish up those quilty projects and link up at any of our fab four hosts throughout the month of October. The rules remain the same as last year:
  1. Your quilty project must be completely finished (As much as we love celebrating quilt tops or completed blocks, they will not be eligible for the prizes).
  2. You may enter more than one finish and even more than one finish each week. Just add a link for each finish to one of the linky parties. The linky parties will stay open until the end of the month.
  3. Your blog post or photo on Flickr/Picasa must have a link back to the TGIFF! site and the particular party you are participating in. Posts without links will be deleted.
  4. Link up your quilty finish in any of the TGIFF! linky parties this month:
  5. OctoberQuest will be open until October 31st at 11:59 p.m. EST. Winners will be picked via Ms. Random Number Generator on November 1st and notified via email. Please make sure we can contact you via email or we will blow the gift certificates on ourselves need to run Ms. Random again.
1) Mad About Patchwork is giving a $50 gift certificate to two lucky participants! There's something for everyone too - Pam's offering a 10% off purchases for the month of October to all OctoberQuest participants -- just use TGIFF10 at checkout.
Mad About Patchwork
2) Sew Sisters Quilt Shop is giving a $50 gift certificate to two lucky participants! They too are offering 10% off purchases (excluding classes, clubs and block of the month programs) for the month of October to all OctoberQuest participants -- TGIFF10 at checkout!
Sew Sisters
3) Christa Quilts is giving a $25 gift certificate to one lucky participant! Christa is having a special fall blowout clearance sale - take an extra 10% off her clearance section when you use the code 13CLEARANCE at checkout.
Christa Quilts
Just think of what deliciousness you could get with one of these prizes?! So exciting! Thank you to our sponsors for offering these goodies! So to help us celebrate OctoberQuest 2 and be in the running for these amazing goodies, start linking! Here's the linkup:

Thanks for reading today!


Wicked Blog Hop in progress

I've been so busy teaching art to kindergarteners and 2nd graders (which went really well, BTW), that I forgot to remind everyone that the Wicked Blog Hop started earlier in the week!  Here is the schedule of the first few days.  There have already been some amazing projects!

October 22nd

October 23rd

October 24th

October 25th
You can also view the entire schedule HERE.

Thank you for stopping by today!


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

HST glory - Building Blocks Tuesday

Simply Solid October

I made up my October Simply Solids Bee block yesterday.  There it is in all its HST glory.  I think this is one of those blocks that doesn't look like much on its own, but when put together with friends is a real show stopper.  I guess I will just have to wait for the finished photos to see.

In other sewing, I am finishing up the last few stitches on my Handstitched Medallion quilt, which I plan to showcase on Friday when I host TGIFF!  I hope you will come back then and check out all the great finishes from the participants.

Until then....

What have you been working on this week?  I would love to see.  Link up your fabulous blocks.  You put a lot of hard work into them - show them off!  This free linky will stay open for a whole week.

Quilter in the Closet


1) Please link up only to the page in your blog showing your wonderful blocks, not just the blog homepage.  Flickr pictures are also OK.
2) Make sure to put your blog name as the description so people know where they are going or the name of your block!
3) Please grab my button and post it in your blog post or sidebar.
4) Visit other linky participants!

Thanks for reading!


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Inspirational Sunday 10 - via the 2013 International Quilt Festival in Long Beach

This morning has me slogging around, not feeling too well.  Nothing too dramatic, everyone seems to be coming down with their first or second colds of the season and I am not alone despite having inherited a compulsion to wash my hands more frequently than necessary (thanks Gram).

My dear husband has just left to take the kids to Sunday school, and I this week's theme was inspired by getting Olivia ready.  She is 3.  A very determined 3.  She doesn't want to dress herself yet, but she wants to pick out what she is going to wear.  This morning she chose a pretty aqua dress, perfect for Sunday school.  However, in this household, and especially on cool days, I require that the girls wear pants underneath their dresses to hide their panties and keep them warm.  Olivia did not appreciate this requirement this morning and did NOT want pants.  Then she altered her position to not wanting the aqua pants that I chose to match her dress.  Temper tantrum ensued.  She wanted PINK pants, PINK, PINK, PINK!  While she did not get her way THIS morning, I have chosen several pink quilts to share with you.  Thank you, Olivia for the inspiration of today's theme.

The first one is called Hula Hibiscus by Lisa Calle of Pottstown, Pennsylvania.

"Hula Hibiscus" by Lisa Calle of Pottstown, PA

She used paperless paper piecing (I wonder what that is??), and Piecelique.   The design source of the center applique was by Ronda Beyer.  I assume the rest was self-designed.  She says this quilt "is the result of a challenge a friend issued to create a quilt with her original appliqued design and only use scrap fabrics.  This was the first time I created a quilt without a design plan.  I worked my was from the center and designed as I went along using only fabrics I had on hand."

"Hula Hibiscus" by Lisa Calle, close up 1

The quilting is just amazing!

"Hula Hibiscus" by Lisa Calle, close up 2

The second quilt I want to share is called The Candy Shop by Miyuki Hamaba of Sanda, Hyogo, Japan.  It won Second Place in the Merit Quilting Hand category.

"The Candy Shop" by Miyuki Hamaba of Hyogo, Japan

She hand pieced, hand appliqued, hand embroidered and hand quilted this Sundial block.  She says "Would you like juicy candies from Miyuki's special shop?  Here are some selections:  cherry, lemon, vanilla, chocolate and any taste you want!  Can't choose one?  Have as much as you want!  I bet you will get addicted after one bite."   Well that's a playful artists statement if I ever saw one!

"The Candy Shop" by Miyuki Hamaba, close up quilting 2

Here are few pics close up so you can see the stitching and piecing.

"The Candy Shop" by Miyuki Hamaba, close up quilting

And I took this one of the edge of the quilt because I was so in love with the looped edge she put on it.

"The Candy Shop" by Miyuki Hamaba, close up border

Pretty neat, yes?

I am going to go wallow some more.

Thanks for reading today,


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Linky open - One Block Wonder Quilt Along

I am so happy to say that it is finally time to see everyone's quilt tops from the One Block Wonder Quilt Along!  There have been some really interesting choices of fabrics and I can't wait to see how they all come together!

Here is a picture of my original fabric:

fabric repeat

And a picture of my quilt top:


Now it is time to show off your quilts and quilt tops!

A few reminders:

  • You only need to have a completed quilt TOP to enter
  • Please link up only to the page in your blog showing your completed quilt top or quilt, not just the blog homepage.  Flickr pictures are also OK.
  • Make sure to put your blog name as the description so people know where they are going or the name of your quilt
  • If possible, include a picture of your original fabric in your post.  I am sure people will be interested in the transformation (and let's not forget there is a special prize for "Most Amazing Transformation"
  • Visit other linky participants!
  • This link will close on October 30th at 11:55 pm Pacific Standard Time
  • Come back here on Thursday, October 31st and vote for your favorite
  • There are 2 $25 gift certificates to the Intrepid Thread up for grabs!
Oh, I am so anxious to see everyone's quilts!

Thank you for participating!


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

In serious trouble - Building Blocks Tuesday

It has been an interesting week.  I can't say that I have sewed that much.  I was nursing a cold and really got hooked on a book, well several books.....but before I really get into non-quilty stuff, here are the only blocks I have finished this week.  Swoon #11 and #12, finished this morning.

Swoon block 11

Swoon block 12

Now for the book talk:

I enjoy listening to the Crafty Garden Mom podcast while I am driving my children to and from all their activities.  Tanesha's day job is as a book buyer, so she reads a substantial amount and often recommends books on her blog and in her podcast.  A while back I decided that I really wanted to start reading again.  I come from a literary family and the love of reading is in my genes.  However, with 3 young children at home, I had given up reading anything longer than a magazine article, for lack of time and energy.  Listening to Tanesha's recommendations, sparked the desire to get back to reading.  While on my Mom-cation, I read Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand.  It was excellent.  I never knew how much I didn't know about the pacific conflict of WWII.

Another recommendation of Tanesha's was Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.  It is the first book in a series and not something I would have chosen myself.  It is a historical based novel set in Scotland in the 1700's.  A few other podcasters in addition to Tanesha had recommended it also, so I thought "what the hey!".   What can I say exactly?  The first book flew by, I quickly ordered the second, Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander), and before I knew it was downloading the third book, Voyager (Outlander).  WOW! was it good!  I just finished it last night and I'm exhausted.  The first two books really sucked me in, but with this third one I was insatiable to find out what was going to happen with the characters.  Every page left me in suspense.  To say I was invested is an understatement.  I don't think I've gotten more than 5 hours of sleep each night for the last 5 nights because I've been reading.  And even as I slept, I was dreaming about the events of the book.  I couldn't put the darn book down.  It is action packed, intense and suspenseful.  I was reading while cooking, reading while cleaning.  If I could have figured out a way to read and sew, or read and drive at the same time, I would have been doing that too.  It was THAT good.  And now that I am completely exhausted, yet panting for more, I am AFRAID to get the next one.  Seriously, afraid.  I need sleep!  I have stuff to do, a house to clean, stuff to sew, children and a husband not to ignore.  But like a crack addict, I just want another hit!  There are still events from the first book that I KNOW mean something and haven't been explained yet.  I gotta know what happens........

I am in serious trouble.

Enough about that for right now.  There are a bunch of things here on the blog that I want to let you know about:

  • One Block Wonder Quilt Along - the linky to show off your finished tops will open this Thursday and stay open till the end of the month.
  • I am hosting TGIFF on the 25th!  Because it is the 2nd anniversary of TGIFF, there is actually a month-long link up for finishes.  You can enter as many of your finishes from this month as you like and there are prizes.  Check out the TGIFF OctoberQuest post for more info.
  • Wicked Blog Hop - It starts on the 22nd!  this blog hop is hosted by Madame Samm at Sew We Quilt and will have loads of Halloween eye candy.  The schedule is still being finalized, but so far I am set for the 29th.   Building Blocks Tuesday may have to be postponed a day or it might come a day early.  I won't know until that week.

Thanks for reading,


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Inspirational Sunday 9 - via the 2013 International Quilt Festival in Long Beach

I notice that a lot of quilts are inspired by architecture.  And why not?  Architecture is really the ultimate in functional art and is part of our every day lives whether we notice it or not.  Today's quilts all have buildings as the subject matter.

The first is called "Marmalade Sunset" by Ludmila Aristova of Brooklyn, New York and is inspired by that city's architecture.

"Marmalade Sunset" by Ludila Aristova of Brooklyn, NY

It is appliqued, hand and machine pieced, hand quilted, hand painted, hand pleated, tucked, and has prairie points.  The quilter's statement says, "Born in Moscow and a graduate of the Moscow Textile Institute, I moved to New York City in 2003.  My first impressions were of a vibrant city in exquisite harmony with respect to architecture, design and color.  All quilts in my Cityscapes series translate this harmony through texture and color, specifically by layering an array of fabric types and incorporating ribbons, sequins and metallic thread."

I was just drawn to this next quilt as it reminded me of the churches I often passed while gallivanting along country roads in New England.  It is called "Houston Texas Temple" by Carolyn Allison of Pearland, Texas and was designed using photographs she took of the Houston Texas Temple.

"Houston Texas Temple" by Carolyn Allison of Pearland, TX

It is machine pieced and appliqued.  She says, "The Houston Texas Temple has a special place in my heart.  It is a place where serenity and peace are found, and religious doctrine is taught.  This temple is a source of strength for me and many others.  As I made this quilt, I listened to Josh Groban's "You Raise Me Up" and came to understand even more that that is what this Temple does for me - it raises me up to more than I can be."

"Houston Texas Temple" by Carolyn Allison, close up 1

I just think the details of the quilt are amazing!  Look at the tiny stained glass windows and the shadowing of the front of the church.  Brilliant!

"Houston Texas Temple" by Carolyn Allison, close up 2

The details go all the way up to the steeple!

The next quilt is called the "Berne House Quilt".  It was "made by the members of the Bernese Quilters for a big exhibition in Berne, Switzerland, which took place in 2010.  One hundred fifty-six different blocks were made separately and then put together.  One member took it upon herself to replicate the famous clock tower, a well known landmark of the city of Berne, which can be seen in the lower middle of the quilt.  The quilt was pieced and quilted by machine."

"Berne House Quilt", Bernese Quilters of Berne, Switzerland

Now I've participated in several bees where members are collecting similarly themed blocks and several have turned out nicely, but this is amazing.  I marvel how well all the blocks go together.   This quilt was huge too!  Here I am standing in front of it.

"Berne House Quilt", Bernese Quilters of Berne, Switzerland, it's big!

Have you ever had a group quilt come together well?  I am really curious to know as I struggle deciding if I want to participate in bee and group quilting opportunities.

Thanks for reading,


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Quilting tips for the One Block Wonder Quilt Along

We've got some great looking OBW quilt tops in progress in the Flickr group..  I cannot wait to see how they all turn out.


This is going to be a really short post with some quilting tips for your OBW quilts.

There are really only two things I want to emphasize:
  • Stitch in the Ditch
  • Keep it Simple

Stitch in the Ditch or "SID"

If you have taken a free motion quilting class from Cindy Needham, you know that she recommends Stitching "Every Stinking Seam" in the Ditch.  In her classes, she shows examples of virtually identical quilts with one stitched in the ditch before adding additional quilting, and one that did not have the benefit of "SID".  The SIDed quilts always look better.  This is because the seam lines have been secured in place by the SID.  If you don't take the time to do the SID, your seams can stray from their places during the quilting process, making your piecing look imperfect even if it was perfect to start with. 

Said a different way - we all know that the quilting process causes some shifting.  This shifting is why we typically have the batting and backing be larger than the quilt top itself, right?  Well, as you push and pull the quilt sandwich around to quilt your quilting design on it, it pushes and pulls the fabric out of alignment a tad.  This can make perfectly straight seams, bend a tad here and there.  If you SID all your seams first, they will be secured in place, in the perfectly straight line that you want them in.

Admittedly, I don't SID every one of my quilts.  I have to weigh the benefits vs. the time involved to perform the SID, and of course, the quilting design, and the design of the top come into play as well.  Our quilt's pattern is all straight lines, which should make the SIDing easy; however, there are a lot of them, which will take some time.

The most important reason I recommend SIDing this quilt has to do with the bulk in the seams.  Even if you have done an impeccable job pressing all those seams open to distribute the bulk, there will be some bulky spots where six seams unite at the centers and edges of some of your hexagons.  This is unavoidable to some extent.  However, if you SID the quilt, every stinking seam, these spots will be anchored down and less bulky in your finished quilt.

I did not do SID for my blue & white OBW, and I think I paid dearly for it.  I had what I described in my "lessons learned" post as "nipples" where the seams were bulky.  Trust me folks, you want your beautiful quilt to be nipple free.  They are just awkward feeling.

Keep it Simple

If you choose to do more than just SID your quilt, make sure you keep the quilting design simple.  Your kaleidoscopes already have a lot going on, fancy quilting will only disappear, or detract from the beauty of your quilt top.  So keep it simple with an easy all over pattern, like a stipple or leaves.

If you really want something different, maybe try some lines to accentuate the swirling of the kaleidoscopes.

This quilt top might also be a fun time to try something like a radiating circle across the entire top.  This can be accomplished with a walking foot (a bonus in my book).  Actually, Petit Designs had a series with a whole bunch of designs that could be done with a walking foot.  Many of them are simple enough to suit this quilt.  Check them out HERE.

I hope you are having fun.  I've been working on something else at the moment, but am anxious to piece together my top and get it quilted soon.

**UPDATED - Here is a picture of my finished quilt top....

OBW finished

I am so happy that I stitched in the ditch for every seam.  It made the rest of the quilting so much easier.  I choose to just do a simple stipple/meander with the exception of the yellow border.

The linky opens next Thursday, so you can show off your quilt tops.  Remember, you just have to have the quilt top completed, it does not need to be fully quilted!

Thanks for reading today,


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Juggling - Building Blocks Tuesday

I survived the weekend.  The problem with juggling so many things, is that something is bound to fall.  I didn't make it to the quilt guild show until it was over.  I thought there would be plenty to do to clean up, but I guess it had been a windy day and they decided to pack up a little early.  Guilt.  I will battle the guilt by making sure I make some quilts for next year's show and auction.

Perhaps this block will make its way into a quilt for next is the August block for the Lucky Stars BOM.  Yes, I skipped a few of the summer months, but I fully intend to go back soon and catch up.

Lucky Star BOM August

What have you been working on this week?  I would love to see.  Link up your fabulous blocks.  You put a lot of hard work into them - show them off!  This free linky will stay open for a whole week.

Quilter in the Closet


1) Please link up only to the page in your blog showing your wonderful blocks, not just the blog homepage.  Flickr pictures are also OK.
2) Make sure to put your blog name as the description so people know where they are going or the name of your block!
3) Please grab my button and post it in your blog post or sidebar.
4) Visit other linky participants!

Thanks for reading!


Monday, October 7, 2013

4th Quarter goal setting - 2013 Finish Along

Time for my 4th Quarter goal setting.

The kids damaged my keyboard so I am trying to write this out with minimal use of the letter "v" and for some reason the shift key and the "t" don't want to work together.  I have only managed to get those letters into the text of this post by coping and pasting them from other posts, or by relying on spell check to fill them in.  Kids!

As I mentioned in my 3rd quarter progress report, this goal setting list is a bit of a challenge.  I have loads of things I want to finish in time for Christmas, but at the same time, I really want to be realistic with what I can finish.  If the last two weekends are any indication, it is going to be pretty busy around here.  I do like to challenge myself too.  Here's what I came up with considering all those things.

  • Finish my Handstitched Medallion Quilt - this was also a goal for October.  I am hand quilting away and can I just say, burying knots bites.  Some of my knots are not staying buried and it is really annoying.

  • Medallion Quilt top

  • Swoon - I want to finish the blocks this month, but the entire quilt by Christmas

  • Swoon block 7

  • Commission Quilt - the sooner the better on this one

  • commission quilt WIP

  • Pattern testing quilt - I just started quilting this one, so it should be done soon
  • 2 more QAYG tote bags for gifts - these take at least 4 steady days to finish each one.

  • Front of Tinker Tote 2
    • T-shirt quilts for my girls - I really, really, really want to start and finish these for the girls.  T-shirts are piling up to the point of over-flowing, so accomplishing a couple of finishes here would be a huge relief in consideration of space.
    I think those are pretty lofty goals.  I still have blocks to finish for Star of Africa, Simply Solids, the Lucky Star BOM, and of course my UFO group, the Lazy Bums.

    Thanks for reading today,


    Linking up with:

    she can quilt