Category Archives: sewing

Mastering Miniatures Quilt

I have a passion for civil war/reproduction era fabrics so when I see them on sale I tend to look twice and it doesn’t take much for me to buy them. I recently bought a block of the month quilt kit from The Fat Quarter Shop “Mastering Miniatures” put out by Homestead Hearth featuring Judie Rothermel’s Authentic Miniatures 1800’s reproduction fabric.

The original quilt is 70″ x 70″ and I had originally planned to make it that size but since I’ve started the quilt we have purchased a king size bed so obviously I need to make the quilt larger. There are 50 blocks in the quilt that each measure 6″ x 6″ when finished. Each month has five packets each packet making a different block. Although the fabrics in each packet are usually a 10″ square, since the block itself is 6″ square, there is more than enough fabric to make two blocks out of what is given. If I run short of fabric for the second block I can
I can usually steal a bit of fabric from another block. It helps that I also have in my possession 2 grab bag boxes of reproduction prints on hand to fill in any shortfalls and some of those off-cut pieces from the grab bags are the very fabrics used in the quilt. Long story short I figure I need around 110 blocks to make a king quilt. It’s amazing that to add an extra two outer rows I’ll need the same amount of blocks as used in the original quilt.

Anyhow I had a friend request pictures of the process so here I go with posting my progress of making a quilt once again, besides which I find it keeps me on track and honest in the time management. The blocks below have a lot of cutting in them and are fussy but I find I’m loving it. I’m making two of each block and then I guess I’ll have to decide on another ten when I’m done the fifty blocks.

miniature quilt blocks

sewing minatures quilt
A couple of shots of the blocks and work station.

block 1
Block 1

block 2
Block 2

block 3
Block 3

block 4
Block 4

Block 5
Block 5

Block 6
Block 6

block 7
Block 7

Block 8
Block 8

block 9
Block 9

block 10
Block 10

block 11
Block 11

block 12
Block 12

block 13
Block 13

block 14
Block 14

Block 15
Block 15


Adoring Quilt

Today saw me finishing up the binding and label on my latest project, a lap quilt made from a moda scrap bag and yardage. I made the quilt as a thank you to a friend who was kind enough to take me out for a couple of driving lessons to brush up on my skills before I had to take my final driving test. Unknowingly I had let my license expire so had to take a re-test, scary stuff as the test is much more extensive now 35 years later.

I didn’t really know what colours to use for the quilt but then thought everyone loves Christmas and so that’s what I settled on using fabric from the “Adoring” line by Sandy Gervais from Moda. I decided the easiest way to use the differing widths from the scrap bag was to make a Chinese Coin quilt and it was just a matter of arranging and sewing the strips together and then cutting the strips into six inch widths, stacking the widths and then sewing them. I then picked out some solid green for the accent and backing and voila all done.


I machine quilted in the ditch around the solid green bars and meander-stitched inside the coin bars. The hardest part of putting this quilt together was choosing what colour would match the coin fabrics. It true the saying that “the quilt makes itself” as I didn’t really want green for the solid but out of all the fabrics in the store that’s what went the best. Glad to have another one finished and hope my friend likes it.


Out My Window – Dinosaur Quilt

I finally finished the “Out My Window” dinosaur quilt for my grandson’s birthday the end of this month. The fabric is by Northcott and the quilt design is by Karen Schindler Bialik. It seemed to take forever to get the binding sewn down this weekend while we were away at our friend’s cottage. I was going to do a quick meandering stitch over the quilt but in the end couldn’t bring myself to take the easy way out and instead did some quilting in the ditch, meander stitch and outline stitch around each of the dinosaurs. It took a long time but it really helped to make the dinosaurs pop.

out my window dinosaur quilt
Finished double-sized quilt on a queen bed.


Couple of pictures of the dinosaurs I quilted around.

bones backing
The backing was some dinosaur bones.


Cactus Basket Quilt

Finally the quilt that I’ve been working on for my mother-in-law is finished. The quilt was a kit featuring fabrics from Darlene Zimmerman’s Clothesline Club. I got the kit on sale from the Fat Quarter Shop several years ago. The fabrics used in the kit were reproduction 30’s prints, which I love. I saw the kit and thought of my mother-in-law. This January was her 95th birthday and she’s doing well and still living in her own apartment although she does have the VON nurses come in twice a day to check up on her and make sure everything is alright. I thought she might like the fabrics since she’s lived through that era so we’ll see if she remembers the colours when I give her the quilt at a birthday party get-together this April.

Laundry basket quilt kit - cactus flower
Laundry Basket Quilt – fabric and design by Darlene Zimmerman, Kaufman fabrics.

close-up cactus flower
Close-up of the block, which is known as Cactus Basket. I’m sure there is probably some other name for it as well.

dyed sapphire blue backing for laundry basket quilt
Shot of the backing I dyed using ProChem’s Sapphire Blue. The dilution was a weak one but turned out perfect for the quilt. There is a bit of mottling in there but you really have to look to see it.

Well another project done for now. Next up is the dinosaur quilt for Carter’s birthday in May. I have the top sewn together so I just need to sew the backing and then layer and quilt everything together.


Charlie’s quilt.

Charlie had her birthday the other day and she got to open her present from grandma.

Charlie opening present 2014
Hmm, what is this?

it's a blanket
It’s a blanket!

charlie on quilt
It’s Frozen!

she likes it
All smiles, I think she likes it :)

And that is why moms and grandmas all over the world go the extra mile and put the effort in.


Scraps of Time…Day 18 & 19.

Well it’s done and in the FedEx office ready to be picked up in about 10 minutes. I had my doubts about finishing this quilt before the December 23rd 5:00 pm pickup time. Lets just hope it actually does make it out to Edmonton and that Jonathan does pick it up.

Progress shots.
Extra material being added to the backing to get the needed width.

pinned quilt
Quilt layered together and being pinned.

The two shots above were actually from day 17 but I took them after I’d already blogged. I was pretty low after having blogged thinking I’d never get the quilt done in time since I was a whole day behind in my schedule but somehow I got over that hump I don’t know why. My husband helped me with laying out the quilt and we did a pretty good job of it. The width was really tight as the backing matched the quilt top exactly so we fiddled around a lot trying to match the sides evenly.

Here is a shot of my MegaQuilter and the quilt in it. I spent most of the day – about 8 hours quilting. I quilted diagonally through the blocks with a walking foot so fairly fast with lots of short pivots at the ends. Then I made the decision to quilt along the borders and along the vine with the walking foot as well. I didn’t bother with the leaves although it bothered me but I was in a time crunch so made the decision to leave them for later if I had time.

empty pin container
All through this project I’d been very careful when transporting my pin container making sure it was closed when not in use. The only time I forgot to do this was the other night when I was layering the quilt. Well wouldn’t you know it as I grabbed the camera to take the picture of the quilt in the machine I also grabbed the lip of the pin container. I looked down and saw the empty container.

pins on floor
Then I saw this. Of course this only happened because I had the extra time to pick the pins up off the floor, don’t you know.

Attaching the binding with the walking foot.

Back side of the quilt after the binding had been trimmed. This shows the extra fabric added to the quilt, most of it has been trimmed away. At this point I’m hoping the light fabric will be hidden by the binding.

The binding has been sewn down by hand. I spent 3 hours at night and then the next morning working another two hours before I finished. It took me a lot less time to sew the binding then I’d figured on so I was pleased. This shot shows a little extra fabric that didn’t quite get hidden. I had only two spots about six inches long each so it worked out fairly well.

quilted leaves
I finished the binding this morning at 10 am so figured I’d have time to quilt around the leaves in the border. I’m really glad I had the time to do this. It may not have been the most pretty job but it looks tons better with them quilted than not quilted. It really made the leaves pop and secured the loose batting.

finished scraps of time quilt
Finished quilt on the bed. I finished at 2:00 pm and got the parcel in the FedEx store by 3:00 pm and it’s supposed to go out at 5:00 pm.

On the label at the back of the quilt I renamed the quilt “Never give up, never surrender”. At night on day 17 after feeling like I was never going to get the quilt finished I rallied somewhat and that phrase popped into my head – “Never give up, never surrender”. Galaxy Quest is a fun movie that’s a spoof on Star Trek. Throughout the movie during all the action scenes when the going gets tough the actors are all saying “Never give up never surrender”. I don’t know why it popped into my head but all last night (when I’m sitting there sewing binding at 12:00 am with a headlamp on) and today when I was feeling sore and tired I’d just say to myself never give up never surrender, you can do this. I then got to thinking that’s not a bad phrase for life and a good name for a quilt. When things get tough don’t give up just keep going.

YES!! The quilt is done and on it’s way!


Scraps of Time…Day 17.

Well I’m not where I was hoping to be at this time. The game plan was to be almost finished the quilting and I haven’t even layered the quilt together :( Last night saw me spending time sewing down the vines in the mitred corners and then realizing that yes I was going to have to add more leaves to fill in the empty space there. I ended up sewing down an extra 14 leaves. I must say that it was worth the effort because it really was the finishing touch for the borders. I guess when the instructions called for 120 leaves even though 110 are pictured there was a reason. Although the pattern shows 110 leaves I ended up with 126, go figure.

And because I couldn’t decided which picture to post of the corners here are two:

corner of border

leaf vine border

So here is a picture of the finished quilt top hanging over the bannister. It’s all done and just needs to be quilted now and the binding sewn on.

quilt top finished but unquilted

Of course because I’m in a time crunch the next item to go wrong is the backing for the quilt. I was so happy to find the backing and I still am but when I looked at the yardage requirements on the pattern I had an oops moment when it called for 8 5/8 yards of backing. I only ordered six yards, I mean I’ve never had a queen-sized quilt that calls for more than six yards before so usually it’s my go to number. The quilt is bang on at an unfinished 87″ x 98″. The six yards cut in half and sewn together minus the selvages comes out to 88″ wide not enough to use and have extra allowance for quilting shrinkage. I did think of taking some extra off the length but there isn’t enough so I guess I’m going to have to see if I have enough leftover fabric to somehow piece a border to add in some width and maybe hope after the quilting is done and the binding applied that nothing shows.

Another thing is the batting. This really is an odd-sized quilt because my queen-sized batts are 90″ x 108″. Again that gives me 3″ divided by two so 1.5″ extra allowance on either side. I’m going to see how the quilt fits the batting before deciding if I need to add any. I might just quilt the blocks and then make the decision whether or not to add extra if I need it. All in all a pain and I’ve pretty well given up on getting this done and out the door by Tuesday.


Scraps of Time…day 16.

I have developed a loathing for little itty bitty leaves. I’ve finally finished sewing all the leaves on the quilt – I think. I guess it depends on whether or not I want to fill in the corners a bit after I finish sewing down the last of the vine in the mitred corners. I took a day off after cutting out all the leaves because of my back and now I’m regretting it because that extra day might be the one I need to get this quilt finished on time for mailing out to Edmonton, oh well.

On average each leaf took about 4-5 minutes to sew down. Of course there was extra time for all those mishaps like broken threads, bobbin changes etc, etc. It’s been a pretty intense couple of days but at last the vine border is finished or will be after I work on the corners. I still need to put a final border on the quilt, piece the backing and then layer the top, batting and bottom together. Then I have to quilt the whole thing. Looking at the blocks I’m just going to do a quick and dirty job of using the walking foot to quilt rows and rows. The hard part, once again, will be quilting the leaf and vine borders.

Once the quilting is done (please let it only take a day or less) I have to attach the binding and sew it down. I’ve never sewn a binding for a queen-sized quilt in one day. I’m not sure I can do it. Each border will probably take me at least 2 hours maybe more; I’m hoping my elbows and fingers hold out. The quilt needs to be at the FedEx depot by Tuesday at 5:00 pm to make Christmas, if not the back up plan is to finish the quilt, take a picture and say, “It’s in the mail”.

cut thread
Eeek! Yes that’s a single cut thread in the fabric done when trimming thread. Kind of amazed I only cut through one thread of the material but disgusted with myself that I did it at all. Lets hope the Fray Check works.

leaves and vine
Close-up of the leaves and vine applique, done with invisible thread.

blocks with borders
A picture of the blocks with the leaf/vine boarder attached. I keep taking these pictures at night and the photos look like crap. I still have to sew the vine down in the corners and attach another darker outer border before layering the quilt together. Bonus for the backing is that I actually ordered backing material at the same time I ordered the kit. I’d forgotten all about it and found it when looking for backing material stashed in my closet. Lets hope I ordered enough.


Scraps of Time Quilt….continued.

Last night I put together a little tooth fairy pillow or perhaps a treasures pillow for Jake. It’s got the Scraps of Time test block on the front and on the back I sewed a little pocket for him. I hate stuffing pillows but tried my best.

tooth fairy pillow
Front of pillow.

back of tooth fairy pillow
Back of pillow with a little pocket.

I also managed to cut out most of the fabric for the 30 blocks I need for the quilt and this morning I finished the job. This afternoon saw me sewing strips together, which I’ll sub-cut tomorrow into blocks for the larger block. The strips are easy to sew, the blocks I’m sure will take longer probably a couple of days so I’ll check back in when they’re done.

fabric triangles
Setting triangles for blocks.

fabric strips plus squares
Fabric strips with block.

strips on bed
Thirty different groupings of strips and small blocks waiting to be cut and sewn into the larger Scraps of Time block.


Puppy Quilt

It’s been a while since I’ve last written, I’ve been busy on vacation and with the garden, spinning and finally quilting. My grandson is having his second birthday this Saturday and it’s been a mad scramble to come up with a quilt and get it done on time. Finally tonight the last stitches were sewn into the binding and everything is now done, whew!

The quilt is made up of one layer cake and some additional yardage from the design team – Basic Grey from Moda fabrics. The fabric design is called Max & Whiskers. The quilt pattern is one I’ve done before and blogged here: Hunky Dory Quilt. I lost the pattern so had to refer back to my blog to figure out the pattern from looking at the picture I’d posted (I gave away the quilt). This is one of the reasons I blog – to keep track of projects I’ve done; there have been many times I’ve referred back to my own posts. It’s funny because there have been a couple times where I’ve searched on something and come up with my own blog. Stuff I’ve done and forgotten I’d written about, old age I guess.

When I ordered the fabric for the quilt I didn’t realize the backing fabric was directional. I had four yards that I intended to sew together in two pieces to create a 72″ x 90″ backing piece. Since the puppies needed to go lengthwise I was short material so to compensate I took some of the left over 10″ x 10″ layer cake squares, sewed them together and then sewed them to the top of the backing. It worked out really well because when the quilt is turned down you get to see more squares.

Finally the photos were taken at dusk with a flash so they look a bit off but I was to impatient to wait for morning.

puppy quilt
Twin size quilt, fabric by Basic Grey, Max & Whiskers.

closeup of puppy quilt squares
Close up of some of the puppy/kitten squares.

puppy quilt with top turned down
Quilt on double bed with top turned down.

puppy quilt backing
Additional squares added to the backing to add length.