Wednesday, December 2, 2009

American Patchwork & Quilting One Million Pillowcase Challenge

According to, the first definition of the word "challenge" is "a call or summons to engage in any contest, as of skill, strength, etc." This challenge was designed by to help those in challenging life circumstances. Donna, owner of The Spider's Web Fabric Shop ( has decided to use her Ohio store as a drop-off point. Thankfully, she needed samples and I was able to volunteer my sewing services.

The basic pattern was the first one I tried. Donna sent me a lovely combination of horse-themed fabrics. Took me less than an hour to do the entire project and only required very basic sewing skills. Followed the directions exactly, except for the band/body seam--to prevent ravelling, I pinked the edges on all the samples.
The second pattern has a ruffle. Now I know the prospect of making a ruffle strikes terror in some of the bravest of quilty hearts, but this design element was a piece of cake! Certainly added a nice touch to the pillowcase and would be perfect for a little girl. As usual, Donna's choice of fabrics was exceptional. Took about an hour to make, ruffle included.

Pattern three has a pieced hour-glass block band--and the wallowing piggy fabric lent itself to having"peeking" pigs in the center square. This pillowcase took a bit longer to complete, perhaps around two hours. But, I've never been known for speedy piecing--way too busy pinning.

Finally, pattern four has a simple patchwork design in the band. The piecing was quick and easy, allowing me to complete it in under two hours. The hibiscus pattern is complimented by green and red fabrics, giving it a Hawaiian feel.
Since each of these pillowcases are quick and easy enough to finish in an afternoon, try them all! Make two--one for a child in your life and one for someone less fortunate. has a map of participating stores listed on the website or you could send it to Donna's shop (address listed on her site).

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Love Apples Workshop and Contest

As the chair of LAQ's workshops, it's my responsibility to not only provide a quality "educational" experience for the membership, but a time of escape from every day routines and opportunities to build relationships.

Yesterday, I took a class with Karen Zeplin making a small table topper (Kay Woods, Fons and Porter, January 2006). Most of the project was completed before lunch, except for the little bit of handwork required to finish the edges. (Karen is such a sweetheart--she did half of my binding while I was running around!)

Here's mine:

Since we finished early, she had a surprise for us! She had made up another little block kit for us to do!

Isn't it cute?

How fortunate we are to have such dedicated teachers that go the extra mile to make their classes exceptional! Melissa Boos taught the other class, a mystery, which turned out to be an Amish Puzzle ball. She kept her class in suspense for four hours!

At lunch time, it has become a bit of a tradition for me to create a new quilt related game. Some are better than others, but yesterday's game was the most successful so far.

Here it is:

There are twenty-seven quilt patterns hidden in this picture. Can you find them? The ladies were given ten minutes and were able to find 18. Would like to have a contest for anyone who reads my blog--the first one who e-mails me at by November 29, 2009 with the most correct block names, will win a prize! (Only the ladies that attended yesterday's workshop would not be eligible, since I gave them the answers.) So, print out the picture, search for names of quilt blocks and send your list to me no later than November 29, 2009. Enjoy!!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Notebook Quilt

Love Apple Quilters is having an October challenge making a "Notebook Quilt." Seemed like a perfect way to try out a technique I learned several years ago at Quilt University. The technique involves a tracing of a photograph and machine applique. (You should really take the class--it's fascinating!)

Wanted to incorporate my flowers into my quilting, so took a host of pictures looking for one that was simple enough to finish in a limited amount of time. My fifteen year old hibiscus proved to be a perfect candidate. Of course, this past summer wasn't very sunny, so the leaves are a less than perfect. Was excited for the chance to use some of my hand-dyed fabrics, but putting scissors to them was not easy!

Got to work, tracing, cutting, stitching, outlining and trimming. With very well-written directions, the learning curve was kind and I made only a few mistakes and easily recovered.

Here's how it turned out:

Happily finished putting the last few beads to realize that the challenge required the object to be oriented in a vertical position. Ugh!! With the excitement of finally doing a project I had waited to do for over a year, getting my flowers in fabric and using my hand-dyed fabrics, completely forgot to look at the directions one more time!

Hope the kids don't realize I didn't follow directions! Perhaps I should listen to myself when singing the virtues of reading the requirements before starting the project!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Working My Way Through the Rainbow, Part II

Finally the schedule allowed me to finish dyeing my rainbow! Seems a dead-line tends to inspire me the most. Tomorrow, I'll meet with the art teacher to show her what fabrics have been collected from Love Apple Quilters and dyed.

Tried for the first time dying so many fabrics at once. Thinking seven vats is pushing it a bit, so will stick to five in the future.

So, here are the colors marinating....

And here is the final result.

PFD vs. Muslin

Comparing how the different fabrics take the dye.

Even purchasing brand new gloves did not prevent me from having one blue finger....

Dare I say, I'm "dyeing" to do this again?

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Putting the UGH! in Ugly

Had the privilege of selecting a game for Love Apple Quilters last guild meeting. Regularly scour the internet for games suitable for workshops, but thought this game would be perfect to involve the whole guild.

About 30 of us all brought one yard of the ugliest fabric on our stash. Amazing how one quilter's "ugly" is another quilter's "treasure." We tore our fabric in two, keeping one half and passing the other half around the circle. The passing and tearing went on for three more turns. The challenge was to make a small wall-hanging out of what we acquired, without adding any other fabric.
Here's what I got:

Sort of redefines "ugly," doesn't it?

Looked at those five fabrics for two weeks before being inspired. Started to grow concerned when they started to look nice together...except for one. The small squares just did not fit in the abstract pattern of the block print fabric, no matter what pattern I picked.

So, I decided to tea dye the odd ball. Well, hours in a tea bath did not make much of an impact. Tried coffee next, without much success. Turned out a brown pencil did the trick! Pleating the fabric to show only the complimentary squares seemed improve the situation.

Here's what I made:

Thought a fitting name would be "Tile Work in King Neptune's Privy." Our teenage daughter is horrified I would use the word "privy"--fearing the Quilt Police will revoke my license, this quilt isn't making any public appearances, so she can save her embarrassment for a future event.

Here are a few of the other contributions:

Such a talented group of ladies! (No names were used to protect the innocent.) By the way, the first entry pictured won!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Working My Way Through the Rainbow--Dyeing Fabric Part I

Aside from quilting, I have another guilty pleasure--I love to dye fabric! Although I have had the girls involved in past dyeing sessions, opted to indulge myself while they were at camp. (That way meals/activities would not interfere with the process. My sweet DH could bring dinner home if he was hungry! LOL!)

Had taken a class on Quilt University with Marjie McWilliams and loved her excellent instructions and bonus lessons. With my fifth grade art project on the horizon, decided to incorporate her techniques to dye the donated muslin. While I had the dye out, seemed like a good time to add to my fat quarter collection, too.

Only have five vats, so I decided to breakdown the rainbow. Here are the first five colors in the vats resting:

The colors were so vivid!
Of course, I didn't have enough gloves to protect my hands--youngest DD operates or practices dentistry on her stuffed toys and "needs" them. My left hand was affected the most by the dyes and my sweet DH commented on "catching my red-handed"--groan!

Here are the final products:

Yardage for the fifth grade art festival project.

Fat quarters for my collection.

Very pleased with how the fabrics took the color and look forward to my next session! Will go shopping for more gloves before then so that my hands aren't "bluetiful."

Monday, July 13, 2009

Quilt As You Go

As Love Apple Quilters' workshop chair, I have the pleasure of scheduling the talented ladies from our guild to teach at our affordable Saturday workshops several times a year. Thankfully, the ladies are very vocal in what they want to take as a class and this project was one of those requests.
Having never made a "quilt as you go," had to conquer the learning curve before I could teach the class. Thought I would keep it simple by making a lap quilt. Used 1 1/2 yards of backing, comparable sized batting and a kit for a rag quilt that I got on clearance at the NJ Quilt Show. The rag quilt strips were cut in 2 1/2", 3 1/2" and 4 1/2" strips--perfect! The strips could run from selvage to selvage and be added easily to lengthen the quilt.
The hardest part of this lap quilt was stuffing it into the sewing machine while keeping the backing/batting from puckering. I used basting safety pins to keep the batting and backing smooth, but it seemed like spray adhesive would work well, too. And, since the kit was flannel, it was a bit steamy binding it in July.
Knowing that I haven't given my sweet nephew a quilt in the past month or two, this one is for him. It has little rocket men, stars and trains on the back. (Seems like a strange combination, but he just loves trains! Maybe some day, he'll like spaceships, too!)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Green Fairy Quilts

Judy Madsen is having a give away of all sorts of goodies! Go to her blog, Green Fairy Quilts at and post a comment to be entered into her drawing for one of five quilty presents. If you blog about her contest, then you get five entries. She also has a charity she runs to help those less fortunate in Romania. If you make a donation to that cause, you will have ten entries.

Even if you don't enter her contests, her blog is exceptional and patterns clever. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

UrbanElementz Essential Elements Panto Club

The more I spent time on , the more I realize how valuable a resource it is. Patricia Ritter has an Essential Elements Panto Club--a must-have for any machine quilter. Every month you are sent a set of pantos--borders, overall designs, setting triangles and specific blocks--for a reasonable price. Here is this month's offering:

Isn't that gorgeous? You can find sign-ups for this club at .

Love all the detail that Patricia includes in her nature inspired designs and the inclusion of two rows of overall quilting to ease lining up. Would be nice to look forward to a gift every month that can be added to your quilting box of tricks!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Another Great Find: Quilt Pantographs by Urban Elementz

Found another quilting treasure on the internet--Patricia Ritter of Urban Elementz (! Inspired by nature, Patricia has developed beautiful pantographs with the mid-arm and longarm quilter in mind. Choices included overall designs and blocks in various sizes. Loved the uniqueness of the continuous line designs--feathers, swirly leaves, bubbles, flowers, etc.

The website is well organized and user-friendly. Spent hours exploring all the options! No need leave home to purchase new quilting patterns, they can be downloaded anytime. Or, if you prefer, she has a line of design/groovy boards, too.

Having my own mid-arm set-up, downloaded this design.....

to finish one of these quilts:

This top is from a Block Buddy Round Robin,

this one is a Scottish Mystery Quilt from the Village Quilter and...
here is a Friendship Star from a Block Buddies swap (each star has the signature of a member from all over the United States).
Asking for your input! In the comment section, please cast your vote on which quilt you think would work best with my pantograph from Urban Elementz.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

New Find: The Quilt Pattern Shoppe

Have a new on-line source for patterns! Could be a new addiction, since there are no shipping fees nor rides to a quilt store. Patterns are only a printer away!

Not only does The Quilt Pattern Shoppe ( have dozens of designers who have authored over 200 patterns from which to choose, but shopper reward points usable towards free patterns and other quilty goodies.

So, I decided to try one of their free patterns and downloaded the "Simply Hearts Table Runner." This two day project was well-written and easy to use. Two thumbs up for whoever proof-read this pattern!

Loved the chance to make a controlled scrappy quilted table runner. (Random and I don't usually get along.) Tried to pick out colors that complimented my Polish stoneware and ended with a very happy, springtime table topper for our kitchen.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Quilted Clock

Because the commute to Ohio is not reasonable for me and I'd love to work in her quilt store, Donna from the Spider's Web Fabric Store ( kindly allowed me to bring home a kit from our Block Buddies retreat to make as a store sample for her new brick and mortar shop.

Donna selected a fabric with cats strolling in lines and a beautiful amber colored hand-dyed. Because it made more sense for the cats to march horizontally rather than uphill, the squares needed to be cut on the bias, making for an exciting time piecing and quilting. With a little planning and careful handling of the bias edges, the whole project came together by lunchtime.

The directions were well-written, but part of the clock assembly instructions were excluded. If you decide to make this project, remember to put the hanging bracket on the motor first (it isn't listed) or you'll have to take it apart later. (Not as much fun as it sounds!)

Off to pack it up for shipping--Tuffi is offended that I would make a clock with quilted kitties instead of dogs, but Wheaten fabric is hard to find!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Another Tote Bag?

Was shopping at The Village Quilter on Monday and was so inspired by this bag, ironically named "Must Have," ( , I made an impulse buy. Would be a perfect bag to take on a shopping trip anywhere.

The nice features about this bag are the vinyl outside, long handles and rolled top. Well-written instructions made construction a breeze in only a few hours.

Thinking this one is going to my mother--she will love the fabrics, size and the easy-care exterior.

This tote is the second I've made in less than three weeks--thinking all this momentum will help me get some UFO's done!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Schlep Bag

This cute patchwork bag was made from a kit purchased from Calico and Cotton, Ocean City, NJ during the Shop Hop. (Worked like a charm during my Ohio trip to hold all the fabric and cheese purchases.) Thought the fruit fabric was so realistic and the ants a humorous touch. The kit contained everything I needed, complete with pre-cut squares, fabric handles and batting strips.
The kit consisted of 32 six and a half inch charm squares sewn into a diagonal setting. I did change the construction of the handles since it was too much trouble to turn such a long tube inside out and then feed a length of batting through. Reinforced the handles with five rows of stitching, just so that it can hold plenty of goodies on shopping trips.
The bag is reversible, so if one side gets dirty, you still have another side to use. Glad mine is bright red--maybe I'll remember to take it into the grocery store!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Block Buddy April Challenge

April was my month to decide our group's challenge, so I selected an easy project from All Stitched Up. ( )
Was able to make this cute steno notebook cover with two fat quarters and a batting scrap in under an hour. The Dollar Store has the steno notepads for $1.00, so you have an inexpensive, thoughtful gift in no time. Would be great for keeping lists, college students or meeting notes.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

AniLee National Quilt Day Hunt

When I started this blog, it was with the intention of posting only finished projects, but am making an exception with this top.

AniLee ( hosts a Treasure Hunt several times a year and I usually participate. About twenty shops hide a link on-line and you have to search the site, click on the link to gather the clue. Once you gather a certain number of clues, you are given a down-loadable pattern. As a special treat, they provided a one day hunt for National Quilt Day--a shop hop from your computer!

This hunt also had a contest to go along with it. If your top was completed by April 30, it was eligible for a chance to be on the cover of the pattern when it goes on sale, as well as free quilting and binding. A panel of judges will determine the winner.

Seems I get much more done if I have a dead-line, but the stress is just too unbearable to live that way for any length of time! The black background shows off the hand-dyed and batik fabrics contrasting with the various colors of stars in deep space. Wonder if it resembles what the Great Designer saw when creating the universe?

Monday, April 20, 2009

New Jersey's 8th Annual Shop Hop

It's springtime and that means "hopping" around New Jersey in my third shop hop! This year, the hop was scheduled during the kids' spring break, so rather than drag them over 300 miles, my wonderful parents took them for an over-nighter. The red charm squares are the perfect color!

Started collecting five inch squares, patterns, recipes and charm bracelet charms in Englishtown, then went to Morris Plains, Clinton, Pennington and Mount Holly the first day. My DH took a day from work (and made arrangements for the dog!) so he could go with me to Forked River, Ocean City and have a date night. After church on Sunday, we visited the last store in Haddonfield and turned in my completed passport for the prize drawing.

Purchased the finishing kit from The Village Quilter for the second year in a row--Susan has a knack for designing the perfect layouts. Of course, I haven't finished last year's quilt (where does the time go?!?), so I had better get going.

If you have a free weekend in April, consider participating in the New Jersey Shop Hop ( Each shop is situated in a "charming" town in New Jersey and you come away with a unique quilt project. (Sorry about the pun--just couldn't resist!)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Love Apples 2009 Quilt Challenges

Well, the quilt show that consumed all of our time and energy for the past two years has come to a successful conclusion. Back to laundry, dusting, vacuuming and cooking! We had over 200 quilts, twenty-one vendors, Civil War reproduction gowns, kids' quilts, charity quilt auction and challenge quilts. A little something for everyone!

The challenge this year was just that--the fabric did not speak to me at all. Could only come up with one reasonable design and tweaked it over and over. Did a modified "stack and whack" quilt, lining up the fabric repeats and cutting 60 degree triangles from the strips. There are 358 triangles, 132 are challenge fabrics, but the angles at which they are cut drastically changes their appearance.

Thankfully, my travelling design team, better known as my parents, came over and offered some excellent advice. Their suggestions added a much needed spark to the quilt.

After the quilt was done, noticed that the scraps might work together to make another quilted item. Used Pink Chalk Designs pattern to make a large folio. Added a quilted cover and pieced many of the pockets.
Now is the time to bask in the glow of a job well-done, but not for too long. We will begin planning the 2011 show in a couple of months and the exciting roller-coaster ride will start all over again.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Flannel Swap Blocks

Being so quick and easy, this block made a wonderful choice for a swap. Participants will contribute six 8 1/2 inch flannel blocks to each swapper, which will give us a 30 block head start on a quilt. Thinking I might like to have a larger quilt, so would make another 30 blocks--just the right size for keeping warm on a chilly evening . Wondering, though, if it will be spring by the time I get this finished.
The best part of making these blocks is that both the girls helped. Each contributed opinions on color placement, one helped with cutting the chained pieces apart and the other learned to press. They were so excited and would like to try to make their own quilt with this block.
We've come a long way from DD#1 asking me, "Mommy, can't you be like other mothers and not sew?"

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

It's Your Turn Round Robin

Our Block Buddies group tried a new type of round robin--this time making whole blocks instead of rows around a center square. I made the star in the lower right-hand corner and sent my block to travel around the country. It went to Michigan, Texas, California, Washington, D. C. and Kentucky to be worked on by very talented ladies. They each added their own star with a black background. All I have to do is sew it together and quilt it for a lovely wall-hanging.
Thank you, Ila, Kathy, Lori, Sheila and Becky! I appreciate every one of your efforts!