weekly update

Friday Project Roundup!

I shipped off my PBQ104 sample quilt to the longarmer this week so pattern testers watch out for a new pattern coming your way in a few weeks!  I celebrate these wins with some fun piecing on personal projects.  I am starting a quilt with Tula Pink’s Tabby Road fabric line.  It has got to be the absolute LOUDEST quilt I’ve ever made.  The colors are so bright and vibrant I can’t help but smile when I look at it.


I was in a UFO (unfinished object) busting mood and proceeded to  finished my second Show and Tell Tote (pattern by Crazy Mom Quilts).  I actually finished piecing the outside of this over a month ago but never finished the quilting and assembly of the bag until now.  I love this Sweet Marion fabric by April Rosenthal.  It’s just looks so classic!


The lining of this bag inspired me to make some key fobs.  I actually bought hardware in bulk two years ago and still use the hardware now to make key fobs out of some of my favorite fabrics.  I think I still have enough hardware to make another 80.  Who wouldn’t want 80 key fobs?!  The market seems to be very saturated with sellers who make these to sell already so I’m not sure what to do with them.  What do you guys think?  Should I make and keep all 80 or start selling them or just give them out to friends?  “Hey, I like you, have a key fob!”


On my work trip to LA this past week, I actually traveled with my PBQ103 quilt so I could hand bind it at night.  Only 18 more days until the pattern is released!  I’m so excited for this quilt and can’t wait to share it with you!  On the plane, I made a little bit more progress on the Peacock EPP.  I’m working my way slowing towards the middle on both sides.


Also on the plane, I was designing a summer themed pattern which would work great for a quilt along in the spring.  It’d be fairly applique heavy and hopefully not a mystery!  Once I get some of the details ironed out, I’d love to share it with everyone to get some feedback.  Would you be interested in quilting along with me?

Last but not least, the Piece and Quilt Blog Hop started yesterday!  Be sure to check out Christa Quilts for the full schedule (and there are giveaways too!).  I can’t wait to see what everyone has made!  My S.W.A.K. quilt will be shared on Tuesday!

Have a great weekend!

8/18-8/25 Weekly Goal:
Available time for quilting:
Saturday PM, Sunday PM, Tuesday PM, Thursday PM

Projects I want to work on:
Tabby Road

Goals for the Projects:
PBQ105: Make test blocks to confirm design idea
S.W.A.K.: Take the plunge and spray baste.  Then quilt and finish it off!  (Just in time!)
PBQ103: Edit pattern and get the final version complete
Tabby Road: Make half of the hour glass blocks

Leave a comment


Feature · I Wish You a Merry QAL

I Wish You A Merry QAL Block 2!

Block 2 is revealed! April Adams from JANDA Bend Quilts designed this amazing block! The block is made with templates or paper piecing. Sticking with the Moda Grunge theme, my tree tops are Grunge Evergreen, the trunks are Grunge Basics Bison, and the background is Grunge White Paper.


I am not a big fan of making templates due to my lack of experience, but I LOVE paper piecing. If you have never paper pieced before, I wrote a very detailed tutorial on how to paper piece without any special paper or tools! You can check that here.

If you decide to do paper piecing, here are the cutting dimensions I used for my pieces. You will need to cut 8 of each.

  • Tree tops (green) – 3″x4-1/4″
  • Background (white) – 4″x4″

The background pieces I sliced in half on a diagonal. I folded the templates on the sewing lines and ensured I had enough seam allowance on both sides before cutting. You will cut 4 using the A1 side of the template and 4 using the A3 side of the template.


Note that the right side of the fabric should be facing down, since the printed part of the paper is always the back of the unit.

For the tree trunk, I followed the strip piecing instructions rather than the paper piece part. I did not trim the trunks until after I had sewn them onto the tree tops. I didn’t want to stress out about centering the trunks when I trimmed.

Don’t forget to submit your completed block on April’s linky party, the Facebook Group Page, and/or on Instagram with #iwishyouamerryqal to be entered into this block’s prizes! One lucky person will win a $25 gift card to the Fat Quarter Shop donated by Jan from Cocoa Quilts and a pdf copy of “Geese in Flower Pots” by April!


The prize entry window for Block 2 goes from 12AM Eastern on August 15, 2017 until 11:59PM Eastern on August 28, 2017.

If you are just now joining us in the QAL, I have a quick links page to catch up on the blocks in this QAL and my associated blog posts. You can also get to that page at any time by clicking the I Wish You a Merry QAL button on the right sidebar.

The sponsors for the grand prize have also announced. In order to be eligible for the grand prize, you must make a quilt top using all twelve of the QAL blocks by January 16th, 2018.


Happy Sewing! I can’t wait to see your blocks!

Be sure to check out all the other hosts!

Abbie @Sparkle On
April @JANDA Bend Quilts
Becca @Pretty Piney
Bobbi @Snowy Days Quilting
Diane @Cwilt
Jennifer @Inquiring Quilter
Laura @Slice of Pi Quilts
Sandy @SandyStar Designs
Sherry @Powered by Quilting (This is Me!)
Vanda @Quilt in Piece

Leave a comment

weekly update

Buying Fabric and Sewing are Two Different Hobbies


That was a quote photo on GoGoKim‘s Instagram earlier this week, and it could not speak the truth anymore clear.  I finally got a new cutting table that is the proper height rather than my plastic table set up.  I got a kitchen island from IKEA like the ones I had seen at the retreat center.


Because the cutting table doesn’t fit in my current sewing room, I am now permanently taking over the spare room next to the craft room. I started resorting all my fabric since it’s gotten way out of hand.  Kayla, who I met at the retreat a few weeks ago, took inventory of her fabric over the Christmas holidays and is keeping track of her purchases and usage.  I feel as if that is something I should do to help manage my stash.  I am still a little gunshy at actually trying to inventory my stash. Maybe later right? (…Or maybe I should buy more pretty fabric)

The best package came earlier this week for me!  3 of my quilts came back from Rhonda: the Modern Building Blocks, the Modern Heritage BOM, and my Vintage Modern hashtag quilt.  I am busy getting binding on all 3 quilt tops (plus on PBQ103 sample).  Do you machine bind or finish the binding by hand?  Up until now, I have always finished the binding my hand, but I am questioning that decision with so many quilts to finish up at one time! Do you have any tips to share for machine binding?


I also got a package for Month 2 of the Long Time Gone BOM I am participating in.  This block looks way harder than it actually is to make.  I also love using my design boards to help me lay out my block without losing track of how all the units are supposed to be laid out.

I also wanted to remind everyone that the Piece and Quilt with Precuts is coming up and starting on August 17, next Thursday!  There are going to be a several bloggers each day that showcase a different pattern in the book as well as giveaways along the way!  Make sure to check it out.  I’ll post a reminder next Friday to check out the other bloggers/quilters!

Piece and Quilt with Precuts Blog Hop

That’s all I have for now, have a spectacular weekend!  See you for the #IWishYouAMerryQAL Block 2 release on Tuesday!

8/11-8/18 Weekly Goal:
Available time for quilting:
Saturday AM, Sunday PM, travel week

Projects I want to work on:
I Wish You a Merry QAL
Peacock EPP

Goals for the Projects:
I Wish You a Merry QAL: Block blocks and more blocks!  Block 2 next week!
PBQ104: Get the Quilt Top sent out!
Peacock EPP: Get sections sewn together on the plane
PBQ105:  More design work, hopefully choose the next pattern!

Leave a comment


Feature · Tutorial

Backstitch’s Back Alright! (A Tutorial)

Pardon my ’90s parody title, but I couldn’t resist tying back to the Backstreet Boys. I also must preface this post that I do not regularly do any hand embroidery.  However if I do, it is a simple little backstitch to embellish my piece.  This may or may not a handy little technique that will be used later in the QAL I am currently hosting. (*hint hint)


In order to backstitch, here are some supplies you may find handy.

  • Embroidery Floss:  There are different types of floss out there, the floss that I can easily source near me is the DMC brand.  You can find it at the local big box stores, and it typically ranges from 35-50 cents per skein/color.  In my photo above, you’ll see I wind my floss onto little boards and label with the color ID number.  Floss is made up of 6 strands, and I typically use all 6 strands while doing embroidery.
  • A Needle:  Make sure the eye of the needle is large enough for all 6 strands of the embroidery floss.  If the pattern calls for less, it should state how many strands to use.
  • Marking tool:  I use a Frixon pen to mark my embroidery pattern on the fabric.  You can use an air erasable pen or even a pencil, whatever you normally use to mark will be fine.
  • Sandpaper (300 grit or finer): This is optional.  I use sandpaper at a very fine grit to help stabilize the fabric when I write. The sandpaper catches the fabric just enough so it doesn’t shift.

Now that you have your supplies, let’s start. Thread the needle with the embroidery floss, and tie a knot at the end of the thread tail.

I have marked up the line we will be backstitching on.  The numbers will help indicate the order of where the needle is going and the numbers are on the top of the piece.


Start by putting the needle through #1 and back down through #2, then up finally at #3.  This is how you’ll start any backstitch.


The backstitching part comes next, notice that #4 is the same location as #2.  Now you’ll stitch back to #4 position and back up to #5.


Repeat this backstitch for positions #6 and #7.


If I wanted to end the backstitch line, I’d put the needle through #8 and tie off the embroidery and you’re done!  This is how the back of the piece should look, I haven’t ended the backstitch just yet so there is no ending knot.


Easy peasy, right?! Well that’s how you embroider a simple backstitch.

Other helpful tips:

  • Stitch length:  This is going to be person dependent.  I try to have about 1/8″ stitch length on a straight line, but it’ll vary if I am backstitching on a curve.
  • Tension: Do not pull the floss too tight.  The fabric should not cinch up due to the floss being too tight.  The floss should be flush with the fabric both on the front and the back. 

Happy Stitching!

Leave a comment

weekly update

Another week gone by!

Happy Friday everyone!  I hope you had a productive week.  Can you believe it’s already August?! I’m so ready for fall weather.  Last weekend at my last minute retreat at Stitch Supply Co., I met a great group of women from the Chicago Sewing Social Group. It was a blast of a weekend as well as super productive!  If you have ever had reservations of going on a retreat by yourself, go for it because quilters are some of the best people around!


Kat, one of the girls that the group met at Sewtopia, also lived close by, and we visited her new house and farm named Angel Share.  It was amazing, and I wish I could take all my quilt photos there!  The group of us made her a mini quilt from different scraps we had brought and Angels from the Noel fabric line.  The block I made is the center block on the bottom row.


The work space at Stitch Supply Co. is absolutely amazing.  I’m actually thinking I should go back every pay-per-person weekend!   The space itself is just so thoughtful for meeting the needs of quilters.  We joked about moving in and never going back home.  I sadly got straight to sewing and didn’t actually take photos. You can see them on their retreat website page.

I accomplished my goal of being incredibly productive during the weekend.  I finished the S.W.A.K. quilt top which I’m sad to say I can’t share any more without giving it away. Maybe I can share a close up when I’m machine quilting the top.  I finished a LOT of half square triangles for my next pattern.  I used a new HST trimming tool, and I think by the end I just got the hang of how to use it.


Last but not least, PBQ103 has a name, and it’s out at the pattern testers at the moment.  Launch date for PBQ103 is scheduled for September 5.  As a special bonus, the pattern will be discounted for the first 3 weeks to coincide with my #Iwishyouamerryqal block that is releasing the following week.  So a lot of exciting things happening in my world right now!

Have a great weekend everyone, hope you get some amazing stitching in!

7/28-8/4 Weekly Goal:
Available time for quilting:
Sunday PM, Tuesday PM, Thursday PM

Projects I want to work on:
I Wish You a Merry QAL

Goals for the Projects:
I Wish You a Merry QAL: Block blocks and more blocks!
PBQ104: Start sewing blocks together
S.W.A.K.: Get the quilt top glue basted and start machine quilting
PBQ105: Start designing for a new pattern

Leave a comment


Feature · I Wish You a Merry QAL

I Wish You A Merry QAL Block 1!

Today is the day! Block 1 is released, and I am so excited to share my version of this week’s block.  Vanda Chittenden of Quilt in Piece is the designer of this week’s Snowflake Block.  Check out her blog post for the tutorial and the pattern of the block.


My block is made of Moda Grunge Basics Navy with the snowflake in Grunge White Paper.  I used Heat and Bond Lite for my fusible adhesive and a blanket stitch to secure the snowflake.

A few tips on this block:

  • Cut the centers of the fusible, so that the block doesn’t get too stiff and bulky.  The adhesive really only needs to be on the edges of the each snowflake petal. I also did not cut the snowflakes apart when I ironed on the white fabric.  This helped stabilize the fusible sheet prior to ironing.


  • Lay out the entire block before ironing on the pieces so you can play with the exact layout.


  • If you do not have a blanket stitch on your machine, a simple zig zag or straight stitch on the edge will be just fine.

Don’t forget to submit your completed block on Vanda’s linky party, the Facebook Group Page, and/or on Instagram with #iwishyouamerryqal to be entered into this week’s prizes!  One lucky person will win a PDF pattern by Vanda Chittenden and a Sugar Plum Christmas thread box from Aurifil.


The prize entry window is open from 12AM Eastern on August 1, 2017 until 11:59PM Eastern on August 14, 2017.

As a reminder, I have a quick links page to catch up on the blocks in this QAL and my associated blog posts.  You can also get to that page by clicking the I Wish You a Merry QAL button on the right sidebar.

Happy Sewing! I can’t wait to see your blocks!

Check out the other hosts!
Abbie at Sparkle On
April at JANDA Bend Quilts
Becca at Pretty Piney
Bobbi at Snowy Days Quilting
Jennifer at The Inquiring Quilter
Laura at Slice of Pi Quilts
Sandy at SandyStar Designs

Leave a comment

weekly update

Off to a retreat… last minute!

So some time earlier this week I had a mini panic attack that I was not getting nearly enough stuff done.  Stitch Supply Co. is having one of their “per person” retreat weekends, which means anyone can sign up to claim one of their 16 beds at their retreat center without renting out the entire space!  So that’s where I’m headed today and can hopefully focus on getting stuff done!

If you follow me on social media, you’ve probably noticed a slow down in progress in general, and that’s partly due to secret sewing but really it’s the effect of my life getting super hectic. And if you don’t follow me yet, you should! Here are my Instagram and Facebook pages.

Here is a quick rundown of the projects that got some focus this week.  S.W.A.K, the quilt I’m making for a blog hop later in August has all the HST units trimmed, and I’d say it is 50% assembled into blocks for the quilt top.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to finish the quilt top this weekend, but now I’m not quite sure how to show a sneak peak without giving it away.  So maybe I’ll try to take photos if and when I decide to quilt the thing.


I made a little bit more progress on my Peacock EPP project.  I had divided the papers into little baggies by strips and of course didn’t label them.  So by the time I figured out the baggie I opened on the very right hand side, I decided just to sew those together. I was trying to go left to right on the piece, but that plan is now out the window.  What are quilters, if not flexible?


Last but not least, can you guys believe it?  The I Wish You a Merry QAL starts in 4 days!!  It’s seriously time to get hyped!  So here’s a little bit more information about prizes, and I’ll repeat this on Tuesday just in case you forget.  Each block release, there will be a prize for people that share their block on Facebook, Instagram, or the Linky party on the designer’s tutorial site.  The giveaway time frame will be from the release date at midnight Eastern to 11:59 PM Eastern the night before the next block is released.  For example, Block 1’s giveaway timing is going to start at 12:00 AM Eastern on August 1 and run through 11:59 PM on August 14. Be sure to share your completed blocks! There are lots more prizes during this entire QAL so I hope you will join us!
If you haven’t checked out the QAL Facebook page, what are you waiting for?!

Anyway, I gotta run to the retreat, have a great weekend everyone!

7/28-8/4 Weekly Goal:
Available time for quilting:
Weekend Retreat!, Monday PM, Wednesday PM

Projects I want to work on:
I Wish You a Merry QAL

Goals for the Projects:
I Wish You a Merry QAL: Block blocks and more blocks, the QAL starts Aug 1!
PBQ104: Start sewing the pieces together to make the top
S.W.A.K.: Finish the quilt top!
PBQ103: Finish the pattern for the testers.  (I’m behind, eeekk!)

Leave a comment