Sunday, December 18, 2022

Christmas Shopping

Shopping can be stressful. Therefore, it's always important to buy a little something for yourself too . . .


I'd been eyeing this Juki machine for awhile - the TL-2010Q. Couldn't justify it because I already have a good machine, although it's 12 years old. When I saw it on sale on Black Friday I figured it was a sign. I went out to test drive it to make sure and I fell in love immediately. After I posted a picture on Instagram it seemed like almost every quilter already had a Juki. Who knew? I guess I've been living under a rock for too long . . . . 

No fancy stitches like my other machines but, man, can it sew. Sleek and fast, shiny and simple, strong and sturdy (all metal). Set it up pretty quickly. Perfect stitches. Reminds me of my old Singer featherweight. But bigger. It just quietly purrs along. I think we're definitely going to be happy together. 

Hope you're doing some de-stressing during the holidays. Sewing perhaps? 

I'm still  making my little trees. (I believe there is still a free pattern on my website for these.) Hope to have a forest someday. I'm up to 30 something finished trees. But then every year I  pull a few out to make something small for someone. Two steps forward, one step back  . . . 

I finished a large quilt and a few smaller projects but there's still so much to do. I also made a few new little Christmas things - 

My daughter designed and made the embroidery. Aren't these sweet? When she stitched that little house I fell in love with it and had to put it into a small quilt. You'll find the pattern for Christmas House in my Etsy shop

Cookie baking needs to start soon! I always put it off because if I start too early I can guarantee there will be  nothing left for the holidays. 

Hope you have a fun (if hectic) week before Christmas!  Take a breath, put your feet up and listen to some music when it all starts to get to you. OR, if you're really feeling brave, try this legs up the wall pose.  

Have you heard of doing this? It's great for your circulation and it seems to help my knees too. I try to do this a few times a week. More if I'm feeling stressed or my joints start to hurt. Ten minutes (20 is even better if you have time) and you'll feel refreshed as it calms the nervous system. If you can't quite get your legs up the wall or you can't get up easily off the floor, try lying down on your bed and putting your legs up on top of an upside down laundry basket. Any elevation is good for your circulation and it relieves tension and fatigue from your legs, feet and hips. This also helps relieve tightness in my lower back. Keep in mind to always check with your doctor before you do this if you have any medical issues.

Have a lovely, stress-free holiday season!

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Fall Mini Quilt

Here's the last block for the Fall Mini quilt I've been working on -  the Turnstile block. You'll find the directions for the first and second parts of this sew along on my previous blog posts here and here.

Make the Turnstile block:  

Cut 2 squares from a light or med print - 2 3/8"  x  2 3/8".   Cut each square once on the diagonal.

Cut  1 square from the same light or med print as above - 2 3/4"  x  2 3/4".   Cut twice on the diagonal.

Cut another square from a med or dark print - 2 3/4"  x  2 3/4".   Cut twice on the diagonal.

Trim to 3 1/2"  x  3 1/2". This block is not difficult but because it's small you might find it a bit tricky. Make sure you cut and sew accurately. You might have luck sewing with a scant 1/4" seam. Press your seams open for less bulk.

After you've finished the block, set it in the center of your quilt with the flying geese and the nine patches you've already made. 

I finished with 2 1/2" borders. 

Thanks for joining  me in making this quick little project! I think mine turned out super cute even if it is a little wild and crazy. Sometimes it's good to work "outside your box." 

Friday, October 28, 2022

Sampler Blocks Setting

 We've got two projects going on in my groups. I've created a file on my website for the Sample Row Quilt setting for your 4" blocks if anyone is interested. Click here and go to the Schoolgirl Sampler page. The directions for the Sampler Row quilt can be found at the bottom of the page. 

The other thing I've been working on is my Fall Mini quilt. I posted directions in my group and Instagram this past week. 

If you've been following along here instead, for this part make four nine-patch blocks using 1 1/2" squares. Trim your blocks to  3 1/2"  x  3 1/2". I'll give you the rest of the directions next week. 

Have a good weekend!

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Sampler Row Quilt - Week 6

This is Week 6 if you're making the Sampler Row Quilt. Choose six more blocks and try to finish up by the end of the week. You should have 36 little blocks. On Friday I'll give you instructions for setting the blocks into rows. 

Last week I was a little stressed out because we were having some noisy work done in the house. Since my husband is still working from home, my job (my OTHER job) is usually to try to keep the distractions at a minimum as much as I can so he can sort of have a quiet environment and actually focus and hear what's going on in his daily (hourly?) meetings (Hah! Good luck with that.)  And there were way too many runs to Home Depot to keep me sane. Also, the little dog had hurt herself by chasing one too many squirrels and/or chipmunks so she needed some TLC and a vet visit. I needed a little break myself and so I took a few minutes over the weekend to relax and play around with some of my scraps. I wound up thinking I would make a little doll quilt for fall.  You all know how even just a little bit of small sewing can be somewhat relaxing and good for the spirit. 

If you'd like to join me, I'm doing it in a few easy parts. I find that if I do things in small steps I'm also more likely to finish. This one is quick and easy. 

Step 1 - Make 6 flying geese blocks. For each unit, 

    Cut 1 rectangle, 2"  x  3 1/2"

    Cut 2 squares, 2"  x  2"

Make the flying geese in the traditional way by drawing a diagonal line across the back of each square. Place a square on one end of the rectangle, right sides together. Stitch on the line, flip up, trim 1/4" and press. Repeat on the other end of the rectangle. Trim to 2" x 3 1/2". Make 8 Flying Geese blocks.

Trim to 2" x 3 1/2". (These will finish at 1 1/2" x 3".)

We started this a few days ago in my Facebook group so here's the next part -

Step 2 - Sew your flying geese units into pairs to make 4 blocks. Trim to 3 1/2" x 3 1/2".

In a day or two I'll give you another step to make a different block. It's all very easy and the finished little quilt will measure about 12" x 12" square - perfect for a fall doll quilt or small table topper. Should be finished in no time at all. Don't forget - it's always all about the fabrics and colors you love. Make it scrappy!

Friday, October 7, 2022

Sampler Row Quilt Sew Along - Week 4

Hope some of you are keeping up with the 4" blocks for the Sampler Row Quilt Sew Along. You're halfway there and by now should have completed 3 sets of blocks for a total of 18.  You'll be making blocks for three more rows in coming weeks, six blocks per week. You'll keep sewing until you finish 36 blocks.

There are so many blocks to choose from for making your row quilt. But if you have trouble selecting and getting started, why not try picking a few easy blocks? They stitch up pretty quickly and you'll have 3 sets of six blocks finished in no time to get all caught up. 




Since it's really all about the fabric, choose colors that will give depth and a richness to your blocks. Or choose a theme -  like blue and white.

If you're just getting started, there are some good tips on pages 8 - 9 of the Schoolgirl Sampler book for making sure your blocks are sewn correctly. Slow down and take your time. If you're a beginner, then, as I mentioned above, choose easy blocks. You can always make your blocks interesting by using lots of varied fabrics in different colors for a rich, scrappy look. 

Choose a variety of appealing prints in some of your favorite color combinations. Add some interesting prints instead of using mostly what I call "quiet" prints. 

I've slowly gotten used to making more quilts with brown fabric, which can sometimes be dull except when you use prints that have other colors added for depth and interest. 

Try some interesting prints with small details combined with "quieter" prints to give your quilts depth. Too many "loud" or busy prints placed together in the same block will distract the eye. So pair your busy prints with less busy prints for a calmer look. 

Beginners -  if you're nervous because your blocks may not be perfect, pin them onto a design wall (or just hang up a large piece of batting) and stand back to view. From a couple of feet away you may not even notice any imperfections. That's the wonderful thing about making scrappy quilts -  they're very forgiving. Relax and enjoy the process!

Friday, September 30, 2022

Sampler Sew Along Week 3

So sorry - I missed last week to remind you to keep going on your blocks for the Sampler Row Quilt Sew Along that's taking place in my Facebook group. Quilters are making 6 blocks each week for 6 weeks and sewing along with others to make a row quilt. You choose the blocks you want to use from the Schoolgirl Sampler book. See my earlier blog posts for more details if you're not in the FB group


                         Six blocks per week is not too difficult. Especially if you choose simple ones.


Pick some of your favorite blocks and your favorite fabrics and get started.

It's a simple and fun quilt to make and I love using it as a small lap quilt on my sofa or draped over a bench.  We did this as a Mystery quilt project in my groups a few years ago and I got quite a few requests to repeat it. 



                                                                        *  *  *

Here's a friendly reminder that Ye Olde Schoolhouse quilt shop is starting their Little Quilt Club next week. They're meeting up on Fridays and Saturdays. And using the quilts and blocks in my Schoolgirl Sampler book for inspiration. YOSH (Ye Olde School House!) is located in Cedarburg, Wisconsin. The cost is only $40 for the year. Give them a call at 262-377-2770 if you're interested in joining the club. Sounds like great fun, doesn't it?  


Here's Jeanie's row quilt. She sells kits on her website

                                                              Have a good weekend!

Friday, September 16, 2022

Ready, Set, Sew a Few Blocks

Today begins the first week of the Sampler Row Quilt Sew Along in my Sampler Facebook group.  

We'll be using blocks from my Schoolgirl Sampler book to make the quilt and do a little bit of sewing each week for 10 weeks. (You'll need the book to follow along and make the blocks.)


If you have the book and want to make the quilt, just follow the schedule below. Each week I'll give you a little nudge to get some sewing done: 

For Week 1 - choose your first block from the book and make six blocks using your choice and color of fabric. You have a week to complete all six blocks. 

Here are some tips to help you get started - 

  • Clean off your sewing or cutting table. This always helps me to prepare for working on a new project and stay organized.
  • Choose a theme (Christmas, fall, two-color quilt, etc.) 
  • Pull some fabrics

After you  choose your first block (or all of the blocks you'll be using), check the FB group files for the tips for the blocks you've picked. They're all numbered. You might remember that when we did the Schoolgirl Sampler Sew Along, we worked on blocks 1 - 72 for 12 weeks and made 6 blocks each week. So the file for Week 1 included tips on making blocks 1-6. Week 2 included tips for blocks 7- 12. And so on. 

That's it. After you've made your 36 blocks in 6 weeks, I'll show you how to set them with background fabric to make the rows. (You'll need about 1/4 yard of background fabric for each row.) 

If you're in my Sampler Facebook group we'd love to see your block progress. It's always inspiring to see the fabrics some of you use and how you choose to put them together. 

Week 2 of the sew along begins on September 23.

Have a fun weekend!