Monday, October 4, 2021

October Doings

Can you believe it's October already?? I finished my wool Window box quilt.  Wasn't sure if I would like the dark background for my applique but I'm really happy with the way it turned out. And even though it's not in orange and brown or fall colors it still has a warm feel and I'll display it for fall. 

The Schoolgirl Sampler Sew Along Facebook group has been making all six of the small quilts from the book. This is Quilt Number 5 in our series  - so colorful and scrappy. Sue Bennett took a few of her favorite blocks and made this cute little sampler. Wonderful fabrics and colors that sort of have a fall look. Some of you may have leftover blocks from your sampler quilt. Take a few and sew them together to make this darling  mini quilt.  You can find the instructions for this quilt on page 18 of the book. It's fun to be creative when you have so many options to choose from.

Of course, you have to make it with scraps, which only adds to the fun. Take a little time to sort through your scrap box or basket. You never know what you'll find. And you know how playing around with fabric always makes your creativity flow. So does buying new fabric. I got some new fabric last week and as I was putting it away in my sewing room, I came across a really pretty older fabric I had set aside to use in my Dear Jane quilt. Well, just looking at that fabric inspired me to take out my DJ blocks again and sew the sashing on a few more blocks. The center blocks for my Dear Jane are all finished but so far only 3/4 of them are sashed together in rows. 

Not all Dear Jane quilts have sashing with tiny cornerstones. The original does not. The very first Dear Jane quilt I saw in person had sashing with blue cornerstones. Then and there I knew that that was how I wanted to make mine.

Silly - I only have a few rows left to do but I kept getting distracted by other projects and family things and so I'm constantly putting them aside. I'm hoping I'm on a roll now and will be done with all that sashing by . . .  next week?  If I can actually keep at it every day. This would truly be a milestone for me - to get that center finished. I'm still working on my triangles and have slightly more than half of those finished. 

I'm wondering if any of you who've finished the Schoolgirl Sampler quilt has now gotten the sampler bug and is thinking about making a Dear Jane quilt . . . .  Did you know that Brenda Papadakis, who wrote the Dear Jane book, has come out with a second edition of her book? It's the 25th Anniversary edition. The original one with the yellow cover has been out of print for quite a few years and is really hard to find. When there are so few copies of a book circulating, that always makes the price go up. If you can actually find one for sale. Some of the prices on Amazon were outrageous. My own copy is all dog eared and marked up after ten years of working on it and so I think I'm going to spring for a brand new one just because it's got a pretty blue cover, LOL. I believe it's being released later in October. Hopefully, this will renew interest in The Quilt and some of us will get inspired to finish the ones we've started when others begin theirs for the first time. 

If Jane is not your thing and you think you'd like to work on a simpler project, remember that it's not too late to join my Schoolgirl Sampler sew along. Just get that book, jump in and start making the six blocks for Week One. See what happens. Then make the blocks for Week 2 . . . .  It's that simple. If I did it, you can too. Follow the plan and you'll finish all the blocks in 12 weeks.

These really are not that difficult.

It's fun to make the quilt in a group where you have some support from others and encouragement to finish. We've been making them in numerical order to make it easy for you to follow. There are tons of tips in the group files and so many wonderful, helpful members to encourage you along the way if you have questions or get stuck. Don't be afraid to ask for help.

It's not Dear Jane, but it sure is pretty . . . . 

Those of you who have already finished your quilt - thank you so much for joining me in the journey and for purchasing the book. Your support means a lot. I'm really enjoying seeing all of  the finished sampler quilts that are being posted in the Facebook group. Always so many pretty fabrics and different borders or settings. I hope you had fun! 


Monday, September 27, 2021

Big Book of Quilts

Two of my previously published scrappy quilts were included in the new Martingale/That Patchwork Place Big Book of Quick to finish Quilts that was released this month - 

I love these Martingale Big Book compilations. This one has 54 patterns! What would we do without quilting book inspiration? Buying books, even before I became a quilter, has always been the one thing that lifts me up. After I finished college and started a job in Chicago at a publishing company, my very first credit card was for Kroch's & Brentano's, the largest book store in Chicago and a branch of Brentano's in NY.  I would take the train downtown and spend hours browsing through the fiction as well as nonfiction books. I needed my books! Now, I'm also inspired by quilting and other craft books to feed my soul. 

If you're looking for something easy to stitch, you'll find quite a few by some of your favorite designers. See pics of some of the other quilts in this book here. So many patterns to choose from.


These two quilts were first published in my book Small & Scrappy. Here are a few other little quilts from that book. 

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Wool Applique

This month was kicked off with a sew along in my Facebook group for the Window Box quilt from my book A Prairie Journey.  I posted some info about it here a few weeks ago.

It's an easy and fun quilt. The adorable needle case was a gift from a friend, Jennifer M.  It's a Wagon's West design by Martha Walker.  You might be able to find it here. She's got lots of cute wool patterns. 

We've had a lot of fun working with wool. Here's what I've done on mine so far. It's slightly different from the one in the book that Marian made. I decided to try a dark background.

Fuse the shapes down on the background.

Then stitch around the shapes. Doesn't take long at all.

I hadn't done any wool projects for a few years and had some trouble keeping my stitches straight and even. But I found this tip - using masking tape to keep the stitches aligned. Worked for me. I do much better when I have a line to follow.  I'm going to try to put the flying geese borders on it this weekend. 

If  you have the Prairie Journey book, there are a couple of other wool quilts in that book you may want to try. 

The wool applique on this one was done by Karen Schultz.

The wool on this one was done by Sue Bennett.

The sew along just started in September, so if you have the book try a little wool applique and join us! 

*  *  *

There are also some simple wool patterns available on my Etsy site. It's been fun making this sew along quilt and I think I'll be doing a few more soon if time permits. 

My Wool Penny rug looks cute on a prim doll bed. 

A couple of wool ornaments  (they make cute pincushions too)

Wool Scissors cases

Tree skirt for a mini Christmas tree.


Gather Together table mat.

Have a great weekend. If you haven't tried working with wool yet, go buy some pretty pieces and get started on a project for fall. 

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Small Quilt for September

These are all the little quilts in the Schoolgirl Sampler book that we've been working on since June.

For those of you who are following along in the Schoolgirl Sampler sew along this year, the little quilt for September is the Whirlybird quilt on page 33. It's a simple block and one of my favorites. Marian Edwards, who made the quilt in the book, used the same block with matching fabrics throughout.  You can make it the same way or scrappy if you like. It's fun to play around with different fabrics and see what happens. 

I took one Whirlybird block left over from my Sampler quilt and decided to make a little coaster/mug mat. This seems to be an obsession for me lately.

They're so simple and easy. Take an orphan (leftover) block or make a fresh new one. (The Schoolgirl Sampler book has directions for 72 little blocks!) Add a tiny border if you feel like it.  Layer with batting and backing. Quilt a few simple stitches and add a binding.

Or no binding. The little log cabin mat above does not have a binding. I simply cut a piece of fabric the same size as the block for the backing, then layered the front and back (right sides together) with a piece of batting the same size on the bottom. Sew all around with a 1/4" seam. Leave a 2" space for turning the piece right side out. Then slip stitch it shut after turning, press and stitch inside the logs and an X through the middle. Stitch 1/8" away from the edge. 

Also no binding on the little Whirlybird one above. I tried something similar but a little different. I sewed a 3/4"-wide pink border on the sides of the block and then the top and bottom of the block. Then I layered it with a backing fabric cut the same size, right sides together. Place a piece of batting (also cut the same size) on the bottom. If you do it this way, the batting will come out in the middle, like when you're making a pincushion. I stitched the three layers together, leaving a 2" hole for turning. After sewing, I turned it right side out (through the hole), slip stitched the opening closed and pressed the border so it just looks like a binding. Simple and easy. 


I love making these little things. The pink mat below was made last year.  A few weeks ago I decided I needed a matching one in blue to go with a blue mug. Too cute, don't you think? These took a little longer because I sewed a 1 1/4" binding all around.

Sometimes a pretty little thing that's simple and quick is just what you need to perk up your day. And they're great for gifts too. If you start now, you'll have time to make some before the holidays. Add some cocoa packets or tea and/or a mug or cookies and you're all set with a pretty homemade gift that anyone would love to receive. 

Thursday, August 26, 2021

A New Sew Along for September

My new Facebook group is starting a sew along on September 1 for the Window Box quilt in my book A Prairie Journey. We did this as a small quilt group challenge a few years ago when the book first came out. If you missed making this one, here's another chance to get it done. Marian Edwards made this adorable little quilt for the book a few years ago and I always regretted I didn't have one to call my own. So I'm making it too. It's pretty simple and with those colors I thought it would be a perfect fall project. You can make the applique in wool or cotton, whatever you're comfortable doing. This is going to be a lot of fun! If you have the book, grab some wool or fabric scraps and sew along with us. 

You're welcome to join the group if you love making these kinds of things, but you must have the book to follow along and make the quilt. 

(Courtesy Library of Congress)

From the Prairie Journey book: Gardening was an essential part of frontier life. The early homesteaders cooked meals that were prepared from food that was harvested from their own gardens. The "kitchen garden" was a necessity if an entire family was to be nourished. But flower and herb gardens that contained plants for medicinal purposes flourished as well.  Perhaps a primitive window box filled with wildflowers found on the prairie would have given a warm touch to a rustic log cabin or sod house.


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