Sewing with Birdie


This is a photo of my daughter “Birdie” sewing last fall. She turns 5 this week and has already completed two quilts for her dolls. Her first was a pieced charm pack quilt.  Her second was a simple flip quilt that her brother promptly stole for his toys.  She is still working on the quilt above. Over the winter, she got bored and set it aside.

She does do most of the sewing by herself. I sit with her and help with keeping it straight but otherwise she runs the show.  She is starting to want to cut her own blocks and we are discussing the safety aspects of cutting.

As I mentioned on Saturday, she also joined me for a portion of my FMQ class.  She loves the “quilt ladies” who are the ones who dubbed her Birdie.  Whenever she sews, she calls herself Birdie and expects those around her to do so too.

As an under 5 sewer, I let her dictate when and what she wants to sew. As long as she is interested, she happily sews. We stop as soon as she is bored. It is also not unusual for her to hang out in my sewing space while I work on my own projects. She is a bit messy and loves to take out her fabrics and notions but not put them away.

Overall, I find sewing with a young child easy. The hardest part was sharing a machine and having to set it for two people of VERY different heights/skills. Santa fixed that by giving her the Janome Hello Kitty 3/4 machine.

I will periodically share her progress and projects, though for her privacy, not her real name or her face.



Free Motion Quilting Saturday (Updated)

My guild hosted a workshop today with Natalia Bonner from Piece N Quilt. This was my chance to learn from a quilter I greatly admired. I am exhausted but in a good way.


I feel comfortable with curvy motion but not too accurate. If I got anything from the class, it is the confidence to keep trying FMQ. Natalia is great at letting you practice at your own pace and attempting the motions that you will most likely use.







My daughter joined in the afternoon and took right to FMQ. She will be five next week so less interested in the practice designs and more interested in designing her own.



I didn’t finish anything and not really sure what I will do with my practice blocks, but I accomplished a goal of trying FMQ. That is a good Saturday in my opinion.

Oh and such is life that just as I got my Nikon D50 back up and working, the lens auto focus busted. I am hoping to get it in for service soon, so please bear with me and the crummy phone photos!


Guess what my hubby let me do? Even after spending an entire day with the kids, he sent me to my sewing spot to quilt some blocks. Aww.. guess I should let him pick the TV tonight!

IMAG4313 IMAG4315


They aren’t perfect but I like them. I am definitely a filler quilter and need to get better at spacing my quilting.

Happy Sewing!


Stop me before….

Despite already being committed to two sewalongs, I am joining a third. Amy Smart will be hosting a Churn Dash sewalong at We All Sew.  I am only taking this project on so I can finish up the Camping UFO quilt I have. The churn dashes will be a perfect way to use up the prints I have and create a fun border for the panel I have.



I had been struggling with how to frame the panel yet now realize I have a good combo of light/dark tones to get a fun churn dash series going. Despite knowing I have too many projects in the pipeline, I am excited about this.


One of the LQS by my house also announced their second fat quarter contest. I participated in their first which required us to use a couple fat quarters from Windham Fabric’s Downtown series. I opted to convert a friend’s very popular photo of our local skyline into a mini quilt.


It was one of those projects that kind of worked but didn’t quite meet the inner expectations. This now sits in a bin as I try to figure out what to do with it. I loved the print I used on the back


As a participant in the first contest, I get the fat quarters for this second round for free. This round we are required to use Little Azaleas from FreeSpirit. Not really sure what I will make with the prints but who turns down free fabric, especially when you are on a buying fast!

Oh and tonight is guild meeting featuring Natalia Bonner from Piece n Quilt. Looking for to the trunk show and then the workshop on Saturday! I bet this week’s SEWjo will feature my FMQ practice squares…..


Happy sewing!




The Hand Quilting Challege

Back in the fall, I took a course on hand quilting, as I want to be confident enough to hand quilt the vintage tops I can’t resist. Sadly, I just can’t find the hand quilting groove. I have been trying to get a hang of the rocking stitch but no luck. It has been incredibly frustrating as I want to do this. I am even a member of the ever growing Celebrate Hand Quilting facebook group. The members do incredible quilting by hand.

So the question is anyone have tricks or tips that work for them when hand quilting?

Here are two projects I have been working on. The darker wall hanging I ended up machine quilting to finish, but the green one is an ongoing attempt the hand quilt.




Saturday sewing.. maybe

I had yesterday off from work. My industry gives Good Friday off for some reason. I am not complaining but after thirteen years, it still amuses me.

My in-laws are visiting this weekend so they took the kids for a sleepover at the hotel. That meant a no kid, no work day. Between Thursday night and Friday, I knocked out a lot of things.

First I made progress on my son’s Starburst quilt. I love how this is coming together and how some of the prints get amazing motion from simple cuts. I mean just look at what the chevron looks like now.



I love this atomic star print, so much so I am doing two blocks of this and the chevrons. Actually yesterday my plan for the quilt solidified which is great.



I think my most favorite thing about this pattern is how quick it goes together. You sew the right sides of two 7 1/8in squares together. At first, it seems odd to sew all four sides together but when you then cut the block in quarters it all makes sense.


I can’t wait to finish this quilt but needed to work on a few other things first. Next Saturday, I am taking a free motion quilting class with Natalia Bonner. Our homework for the class was to make 18 20in x 20in quilt sandwiches. Thankfully, JoAnn had batting, baste spray and solid cotton on sale. I opted for bright spring colors and mixed the combos. Maybe when this is all done, I will sew the quilted sandwiches together into a crazy picnic blanket. We also needed a applique flower which was a quick project.


I also made my daughter an Easter Dress using the Sally pattern. I love the simplicity of this pattern and my daughter loves the absence of buttons and zippers. She is very peculiar about those.  I consider this pattern a nap pattern – from start to end it is quick. My one struggle continues to be gathers. I can pleat no problem, but gathers always get me. This was no exception so I covered the goofs by adding a belt sewn so we can tie it in the back. This also helps bring in the bodice which was a tad too wide.


I have to admit here that I am just not much into clothes sewing. I can do it and with a very girly daughter, I do but I probably mutter more grownup words during clothes making than quilting. I often send fabric to my mom and get her to make the twirl skirts my daughter loves and shorts my son requests. If she lived closer, I would probably pass clothes making off to mom entirely.

To accomplish all these projects, I did make a few trips to JoAnn. There is one two miles from my house. We won’t talk about all the others also within driving distance. I also have a couple LQS but don’t visit them quite as often. So far, they just don’t meet my needs. Anyway, during this trip, I found a print I had been moderately in love with in the red tag bin. I have no clue what I will make, but I decided I had to cave and get it. My husband gave me the “permission”  (remember I am on a no buying except for specific projects pledge). I am open to ideas for what I could do.


Today I know I will find some time to sew. I have two wall hangings I need to finish quilting and as always, I am making progress of “Summer Vacation”. But first I need to go shop for Easter dinner fixings.

Don’t forget to check out My Go-Go Life for other SEWjo Saturday projects!


Happy sewing Saturday!


WIP Wednesday

Quickie post but I have been busy since the weekend.

I got my first Coast to Coast and Midwest too block done. Only 13 more to make but it turns out to be a pretty quick block.



I got blocks 5 & 6 of Pile o Fabric Skillbuilder 2014 done. The jar uses the Piec-lique technique by Sharon Schamber. This was very new to me and I struggled a bit. This is my second try (first got trashed). Not perfect but I can see the appeal.



Block 6 is an applique pin cushion. My daughter designed this based on the fabrics I am using and some from her scraps. She will get the quilt when it is done so I love that she added her own stamp. I need to embroider on the “pins” but also need to brush up on it.



And then just to try Piec-lique again, I made a heart block for my guild. They ask all members to make a heart (any size, color, style) each year. I am super late in getting mine done. When a guild member is sick or has a difficult period, the guild sends them a block. One thing I learned in this try is I need to exaggerate pointed details or they get lost in the process. 



I may try this again this weekend and knock out another heart.

Hope your week’s sewing has been just as rewarding..



Hexie obsessed

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I love english paper piecing. I got hooked last summer and just keep on going. I have tried a few shapes but find I prefer the hexagon. 

One of the reasons I love hexies so much is their portability. We are a roadtrip family. The kids do well in the car so we go on lots of road adventures. My husband prefers driving so I play passenger a lot. To combat boredom, I bring my hexie kits and sew away. 

I have set up two travel kits. The smallest and most portable utilizes a cheap pencil box from CVS. It works well to carry the supplies I need and a quart size ziplock comes along for the finished flowers. Someone recently suggested gluing a magnet to the lid for the needles. Trust me when I say I am scrounging the house for just the right magnet to use.



For longer adventures, I have a tackle box set-up. This is ideal for camping as it can take a beating from the kids and not mess things up. The upper storage neatly organizes finished hexies, thread, glue, thread conditioner, scissors and needles. In the lower portion, I can keep a large stash of fabric and extra paper pieces.


I have started cutting all my scraps down to 2.5 inch squares which is ideal for the 1 inch hexies I do. The size is versatile enough for me and makes my scraps more manageable. I need to tackle the fabric stashed in fishing box soon. It would be so much easier to have those pieces pre-cut. 

I currently get my pieces from Paper Pieces. I could cut my own but not yet… I have gotten a ton of use out of my current batch of pieces, though some are coming close to needing replacing. I love the selection at Paper Pieces – it allows me to experiment with different shapes and sizes without too much commitment. Their customer service is amazing too!

The house is now quiet which means the minions are sleeping. Time to sneak to the sewing room and cut out Coast to Coast.

Happy sewing on a Sunday!


Quilt prep

It is a gorgeous spring day here – warm, sunny with just a bit of wind. We took advantage of the weather to do yard prep and also quilt prep. Earlier this week, I received a quilt from eBay.  I had nearly passed this up but when it went for auction the second time, my husband said to go for it. The quilt is an unfinished top pieced on newspaper. The newspaper was a major selling point for me. On the few pieces with dates, we find March 1928!

Now the quilt itself is gorgeous in person, but smells like something stuck in a box in the attic for decades. It needed major air.

Step one was getting my husband to hang a clothesline. It is not really a clothesline but will be used by me for hanging quilts and my portable design wall. I sew a lot outside in the summer so this will be a lovely tool.


Step two was to photograph the newspaper. Once the quilt was up, both my husband and I kept wandering over to read the back. I have a small twinge of guilt about separating the newspaper and quilt.



More newspaper up closes

Step three was flip the quilt so both sides aired and sunned. It was outside for most of the day but with the clouds looking threatening, it has come in. Still very musty but it has endeared itself to my husband and I. I look forward to hand quilting this soon – just got to figure out a backing and get the musty out.




I also made some more progress on What I did on my summer vacation but no photos. Hoping to maybe cut the pieces for Coast to Coast but the kids are a bit wound up today. So that is how I have gotten my SewJo on today – by prepping for future sewing.

Happy sewing Saturday!


First Finish of 2014

Yesterday, I stitched on the binding and washed up the Beachy Dozen, which is being sent to Washington. It is my first finish of 2014, which is and isn’t surprising to me. I have a number of year long projects so I am not surprised this is my first finish, but also by this time last year, I had a few quilts finished. Just a weird spot to be in.


I love the colors and warmth of this quilt. It is backed with the chain print for “Bikes” and bound using the scraps from the blocks. The quilting is basic and not so well done. I am still struggling with quilting anything more than a baby quilt on my machine.



I am very happy to send this quilt on and hopefully bring a smile to someone’s face.