Thursday, April 30, 2009

Salvaged Selvages

Have you been bitten by the selvage bug? I stumbled on the Selvage Blog and now I can feel the sickness coming on! So I’m cutting and saving my selvages, though I don’t have a specific use in mind yet. But I’m sure to find plenty of ideas if I keep checking back at

Monday, April 27, 2009

Some Work-In-Progress

I consider the weather a boring topic of conversation but I feel compelled to bring it up today. Are you having freaky weather? Last Thursday, we wore our winter coats to the baseball game; it was pretty nippy and my feet were numb by the time we left. Then by Saturday, we had temps in the 80's, 96 degrees yesterday, and another scorcher today! Yes, it is time for warmer weather but I would have liked a few weeks of spring before summer! But I hear it will cool down later in the week.

Anyway, although I was on chauffer duty for Miss Main Street's lacrosse games over the weekend, I did manage to get some work done on the project I blogged about last Monday. Here's a peek; more to follow when I get closer to completion. This project is making a little dent in my collection of 30's repro fabrics.

My husband jokingly refers to my sewing room as "the sweatshop" and that's what it is today so I'm taking a break now.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Quick Trip to Local Quilt Store

I went to my LQS this morning to hand off a finished top to my long-arm quilter, Karen. But there was no escaping without making a purchase! I bought some fat quarters and yardage from the Patisserie and Beach House lines by Moda. I have something in mind for these but will save it for later.

And I bought this pattern: Fiesta! from Lynda Milligan and Nancy Smith of Possibilities. It was displayed with a sample quilt. Very impressive and sort of like Christmas Pickle, yet different. I'm not sure when I'll get to this or what I will make it out of (I am thinking Halloween colors but not sure about that) but I had to have it.
We are going to the Trenton Thunder baseball game tonight. Miss Main Street's school band is playing the national anthem. I hope we don't freeze!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Starting Another Project

Inspired by something I saw in Quilting For Joy, by Barbara Brandeburg, I am starting a new project. It uses machine applique, something I avoided in the past because my old sewing machine was not good at it. But my new Bernina has special stitches that I think will enhance the look of the applique on this quilt so I'm giving it a go! Most of the fabric will be from my stash but I had to augment a bit. Thank heavens for The Fat Quarter Shop. My order is here so time to get started. I'll keep you posted on progress.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

My Favorite Quilt

Amy@ParkCityGirl organized Bloggers' Quilt Festival as an excuse for bloggers to show off their favorite quilts (like we need an excuse, ha ha!). Here's mine: Queen Anne's Lace.

I made this quilt in 2005 using mostly pink-flowers-on-white fabrics from Moda's Paris Flea Market line, with a little pink and green tossed in. The block is half log cabin, set on point. I fell in love with that Paris Flea Market line as soon as I saw it in my LQS. I bought a yard of each of my favorite prints then admired it and fondled it at home until I came up with a scheme for using it. I mixed in a few extras then bought additional yardage for the setting triangles and borders. I still have some leftovers so they may make an appearance in a new project eventually.

Here's a close-up.

Queen Anne's Lace was machine quilted with a lacy feather pantograph by Karen of Poppy Court Machine Quilting and lives on our bed during the summer months.

Go visit Amy; she's got links to over 300 bloggers showing their favorite quilts! I'm getting lots of ideas.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Essential Quilting Books - Borders and Bindings

Okay, I’ve made 20 blocks. Now what do I do with them? The following books are a great help with both inspiration and how-tos; they help you take your work beyond the beginner’s simple, straight border to finishing touches that really enhance your designs and showcase your creativity.

The Quilter's Edge, by Darlene Zimmerman - This book includes lots of photos of actual quilts from the author’s own collection. If you’ve ever wondered what to do with all your 30’s reproduction fabrics, you’ll find plenty of answers here as that is Ms. Zimmerman’s forte. But there is lots here on how to calculate for pieced borders, make perfect fit binding, measure and bind a scalloped edge, make and attach prairie points, as well as setting options for blocks. If you have ever been “gifted” with a set of blocks and wondered what to do with them, you will find ideas here.


Beyond the Blocks, by Nancy J. Martin – This book is a great help in taking your quilts beyond basic using more unusual but still traditional settings and borders. There’s lots of inspiration to be found in the quilts used as examples and the instructions are top-notch. It tells you how to measure for pieced borders, how to make a border with a mitered corner, unusual settings and sashings (I particularly like the courthouse steps sashing example), and so on. Nancy J. Martin founded Martingale $ Co., publishers of That Patchwork Place books.


Borders, Bindings and Edges, by Sally Collins – This book covers just about everything to do with borders and edges and includes more advanced and complicated options than the previous two books. Techniques include narrow and pieced borders, pieced corner triangles, use of border prints in borders, curved edges, appliquéd swags in borders, piped and bound edges. I recently went back to this book looking for ideas for a medallion style quilt. Ms. Collins own work typically consists of very small blocks set into wall-hanging size quilts but the techniques covered in this book easily translate to larger quilts.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Japanese Quilt Magazines and Books

I spent yesterday afternoon browsing through my Japanese magazines, looking for quilty inspiration. Japanese quilters seem to do things a little differently from us and I often find new ideas in their work. I especially like the purses, totes, and little bags. And no, I do not read Japanese, so I have to rely on the photos and illustrations for the "how tos."

I get my Japanese magazines and craft books from the Japanese book store in New York City, Books Kinokuniya, on 6th Ave and 41st St, across from Bryant Park. Magazines are on the main floor and craft books are in the lower level. They are a little pricey so it is a once-in-a-while treat. I've also purchased from eBay seller Rose Tree. This seller includes lots of photos in his or her listings so you get a good idea of what you are buying. The postage costs are reasonable and the selection and service are excellent.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Easter Dresses

I've joined Eileen in blogging of Easter dresses past. Because all little girls look cute in their Easter dresses! That's me below, with the red hair, at age 2, when we lived in Michigan.

The picture below was taken in 1968. We were living outside London and my maternal grandmother had come to visit. Left to right: my mom, younger sister Sara (age 6), Grandma, me (age 10); photo taken by my dad.

And this is a photo of my grandmother (same woman as above), Ruth Briggs Beyer, at age 4 or 5, along with her younger sister, Ila. This was taken when they lived in Wolverine, Michigan, probably in 1908 or 1909 (by 1910 they had another sister).

Happy Easter!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Essential Quilting Books – The Quilters Ultimate Visual Guide (Ellen Pahl, Editor)

I just spent a relaxing couple of hours going through some of the books in my quilting library, looking for ideas I can use in a medallion quilt. That got me thinking about the books I use most so I decided to do a series on my favorites. Here goes...

Essential Quilting Books – The Quilters Ultimate Visual Guide
(Ellen Pahl, Editor)

I’ve owned this book for about 10 years and go back to it over and over. It is the ultimate reference book – you won’t find much in the way of inspiration here but it tells you how to do just about everything related to quilting and, importantly, shows you how to do it with photos and illustrations. It is my go-to source when I forget how to calculate the size for half-square or quarter-square triangles, how much fabric I need for binding, yardage for setting triangles, and so on. It was published by Rodale in 1997 and so the blocks and quilts used as examples may look a bit dated but the essential information is all here and easy to access. Other quilters must like it too because 56 out of 60 on rate it five stars.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Displaying Quilts

Do you have any novel ways of displaying or using your quilts? I am looking for new ways to incorporate them into our home décor. Our course, each bed has a quilt, and I have a throw size quilt draped on a chair in the family room. I also have a stack of 5 or 6 on a shelf in the family room. And I have my wall hanging display in the kitchen. In the upstairs hallway, I hung two curtain rods that I hang folded quilts over. The curtain rods came from Pottery Barn Kids and are hung so they project several inches from the wall, leaving lots of space for hanging.

Funny story - When my daughter was about five years old, I was making her a quilt – I think it was the third one for her bedroom. I showed her a finished block but she did not seem very enthused about it. “Don’t you like it?” I asked. Miss Main Street responded, “I like it but I’ll be too hot with all those quilts on my bed!” She thought she would be having all the quilts on her bed all the time! She was very relieved when I explained that we would use them in rotation.