Scrappy stars finished


My children claim that staring too long at this quilt makes their eyes burn, but my boys are prone to hyperbole.

I like the overly bright and busy look of it, though I do agree that the eyes occasionally might need a break, so the back is calmer.

So many little 2 1/2″ squares went into this quilt!  When I look at them I see so many of my earlier quilts represented in the scraps.

I free-motion quilted loops all over the background, trying to get in close between each point of the stars but leaving them unquilted so they’d be more prominent.  Some of my loops are rather wobbly, but I just remind myself that perfection isn’t a requirement, improvement is.



I figured with a quilt this bright there was no point being subtle with the quilting, so I used a rainbow thread for the top, though I stuck to cream for the backing. (The photo makes it look Christmasy, but what looks green was really blue.)


I had some trouble with the stitches, with long skips that were driving me crazy and causing a lot of picking out.  I had to keep marking them with pins to come back to later. Eventually I realized it was a needle problem, not just my rusty free-motion skills. I changed the needle and it stopped happening.  You can see one of the long unsecured threads in the picture below.  I don’t understand why a dull needle leads to skips, but I’m glad that the fix is easy.


There are several ways to machine bind a quilt.  My preferred method is to sew the binding to the back, iron it flat and then fold it over and iron it down again, securing it for sewing with wonder clips.  (I am so on the wonder clip bandwagon – so much less pain than when I used straight pins and stuck myself all the time!)

I like this way because I can do a better job of catching the binding if I can see the edge I’m sewing down rather than trying to catch it on the back while stitching in the ditch on the front.  It does show more on the front, and it leaves a sewn line a little out from the binding edge on the back, but I don’t mind either of those.  In the two pictures below you can see the binding going under the walking foot and what it looks like as it comes out the other side.

On the back it looks like this:


This is a photo of the crinkly version out of the dryer – you can see the straight line of the stitching that results from top stitching the binding on the front.  I need to work on getting the stitching closer to the edge – I’ve been using the side of my presser foot as my sewing guide, but it makes the binding a little wider on the front than in the back.  Having the two more even would move the stitching closer to the edge of the binding on the back.  Really though, it blends to be pretty unnoticeable.

The finished twin sized quilt out of the dryer:




The puffy spots on the back where the unquilted stars are stand out the most in the blue section. (The color in the photo above is more accurate.)


I think I need to make another one, only with a low volume background and dark colors for the stars next time.  There are certainly a lot of scraps left in my bins.

This is the second quilt finished in the last couple weeks.  My goal is two more finished before the end of the year.  That would mean all my finished tops were completed quilts, making a big dent in the WIP pile.

Blue and black finish


A bit of binding . . .

and the quilt is done!



This was a Scrapitude mystery quilt, the second I’ve participated in.  I’m so pleased with the colors and the stash-busting.  And just as pleased to have one quilting project to check off the WIP list. The

I kept the binding  scrappy to match the rest of the quilt, and sewed it down by machine. I’m not a purest when it comes to binding, and since the quilting isn’t done by hand, I always figure it doesn’t matter if the binding is either.  And I think it is sturdier this way.  Not as polished on the back, but around here, hard wearing is more important than perfect.

I modified the pattern slightly, leaving out the sashing because I didn’t want the quilt to turn out as big as it would have.  I’m not sure of this one’s destination, but someone will come along who it will be perfect for.

It is in the dryer now, getting its crinkle.  I love a quilt just out of the dryer!


Scrappy Stars Around the Corner



I’m very slowly making my way through my list of WIPs.  Today I finished the Scrapitude mystery quilt called Scrappy Stars Around the Corner (a rather unwieldy name for a pretty pattern).

A lot of seam sewing with even more pins.  I tend not to use pins in my piecing, but I really wanted to get my seams and points lined up, so I slowed down and stuck them in.  It did improve the results.


When it was done we attempted the usual over the deck picture.  The drizzle and grey day didn’t make for a good picture. (I seem to make excuses for my photos a lot – maybe not the lighting, but the operator?)


This quilt greatly reduced my blue and black fabric stash, especially the dark blues.  It may take more shopping to get a back pieced together.  I think I can bear a little time in a fabric store.   🛍

Night Sky is done!

And my son loves it.

The light isn’t great, as the sun was going down on a cloudy day, but I dragged the kids outside to hold it over the deck edge anyway.

This quilt has been quite a long time in the making.  It started when I made some paper pieced stars that were posted on the Wombat Quilts blog.  Her finished quilt is here.  I loved the scrappy background, but didn’t want more paper piecing, so mine is improv quilting.  I also decided that it needed a moon, and some trees beneath the stars.

You can see my gradual progress herehere, and here.

Today I stitched down the last bit of the binding, after an overnight wait because I inexplicably didn’t have any dark green thread.  Just a couple more thread ends to bury and I can pop it in the washer to get soft and crinkly.  Then it is going on my older son’s bed tonight!


Catching up

It just dawned on me that the weekend is about to start, and I never wrote about last weekend’s project progress.

I finally got started on sewing the mystery quilt-a-long that is going on over at Scrapitude Quilts, Scrappy Stars Around the Corner.  I got all my pieces cut out months ago, and then when the clues started I was working on other things, including finishing my own scrappy star quilt top.


Clue 2 is already out, but I just got through most of clue 1.  I went with black and navy, with upcoming touches of yellow and gray, and white on white fabric as the background.

Lots of chain piecing of triangles to squares.  Very assembly line, but it does make for quick progress.

And now I have piles of completed clue 1 pieces, with just a few more to go before I’m ready to move on to clue 2 this weekend.


An unusually full day

A lot of very varied activities packed into today.

The adults in the house were woken up this morning with the resumption of last night’s ferocious nerf gun war in the basement.  My ten year old had a sleep over last night and we are all exhausted as a resuIt. (I’m strictly forbidden to call in a slumber party.  Apparently that is a horror reserved for girls. Nothing like a macho sleep over.)

The warriors temporarily calmed by waffles:


From the ruins of my war torn home, I moved on to my monthly mystery book club.  We were in absolutely unanimous agreement that this month’s book was a combination of boring, sexist, annoying and pretentious and generally one of the worst books we’ve read.  We were astounded that it got good recommendations online, much less published.  But despite the pain of reading it to its very unsatisfying ending, we had a great time trashing it over a tasty lunch.  This month we were at my friend Leslie’s, who is also one of my fiber friends.  Take a look at this corner of her entryway:


This is just the blue and purple part of her stash!

Next stop after the book club lunch was . . . another lunch.  February 20 is the anniversary of our oldest son’s adoption.  We always go out for Chinese food and retell the stories of meeting him for the first time and all our adventures in Taiwan.  While we eat, he and his brother love to hear about meals in Taiwan – his obsession with jam packets, how messy it was to feed him with chopsticks when we were out touring, that there were green peas on the pizza and snakes being barbecued at the night markets.

Back at the house, the kids finally tired enough to be happy with quiet activities, I settled down at the sewing machine and finally finished my scrappy star quilt top.  Lots of partial seams required to Tetris the odd shaped blocks together.  With a lot more planning, or more regularly spaced stars, it would have gone together faster, but I rather enjoy the puzzle-like aspect of the sewing.


It all came together and now joins the growing stack of tops that await the time when I finally get the craft room organized enough that the sewing table is cleared for quilting.  It may be awhile.



Minor accomplishments

The last couple weeks I have been both busy and lacking in energy.  Other than on the weekends, I haven’t gotten much accomplished on the crafting front.  (Or the house cleaning, cooking, or even child raising front.  We’re in danger of becoming a TLC disfunctional family show around here.)

I did have one finish.  I’ve been wanting to sew a bathrobe for awhile.  Our bathroom isnt connected to the bedroom which means a short hall dash after every shower.  Once again, I’d let far too much time go by, but I did finally make myself a terry cloth robe.

The pattern is a very simple one, found here at Connecting Threads.  The biggest change I made was using terry cloth for the lining.  It bulked it up a lot.  To reduce that some, I added in some waist shaping.  Oh, and I made it knee length instead of long, so I didn’t need the side slits.  But other than that, I followed the pattern, really! (OK, I also changed the hemming method to reduce its bulk too, but that wasn’t very successful, so let’s not talk about that.)


I think there will be a next time for this one, and there will be more changes.  I’m going to keep the terry cloth, change the hemming method again, keep the shaping and add more to make a curve in the under arm angle, and add some padding in the trim to better match the bulk of the rest of the robe. Oh, and make the arms longer.

But meanwhile it is keeping me warm and covered and that’s the important part.

Other than that, not much other sewing to show.  Except I did finally finish adding in all the squares on my scrappy star quilt top.  Still a lot of attaching to go, which includes a lot of partial seaming.  But the end is in sight!



Filling in

In spare moments during a busy week I’ve been filling in the gaps between stars on my scrappy quilt.  Soon the partial seam sewing will begin so I can start attaching all the large seams that are left.


I also finished the scarf that I started at the cabin.  It only took a day or two to weave.  The very vivid warp yarn was toned down some by the solid green weft, but I didn’t lose the rainbow stripes I wanted. It is light, airy, and warm, and I’m already looking through the yarn bins to decide what the next one will be.


Stars and mittens

I’ve made a little more progress on the nine patch wonky stars, sewing more stars and cutting more squares.


I really need to clean the threads off my design wall!

I also got up the first holiday decoration.  We celebrate both Hannukah and Christmas, and today I put up the mitten advent calendar (is it still a calendar if it doesn’t have numbers?). About three years ago, I knit 24 little mittens out of handspun and strung them on a braided cord.  Each year I fill them with little candies and my sons pick a different mitten each day to open until Christmas Eve.

Oh, and one other decoration today – we’ve started to put up icicles and snowflakes in the school library for the winter decorations, and included this book tree/mountain that my office mate created.  We’re going to cut out little skiers and snowboarders to put on it.