Thursday, January 31, 2013

Multi-Tasking Quilt Projects

My resolution was to challenge myself . . . and that I did!  I've got a few things going on simultaneously: A Skill Builder Block of the Month featured by Pile O'Fabric, and I'm participating in and the Madrona Road Quilt Challenge through my guilt guild.  Two blocks were due to be ready for Free Motion Quilting today.

Here they are:

The block at the top is called Sound Wave, and the block on the bottom is called Magnum.  I was surprised at how challenging the top block was but I "got her done."

As for the Madrona Road Challenge, we're supposed to have our finished quilt posted on FLICKR today.  I have everything done but the binding.  I can't decide if I'll post it anyway or not--some members post quilt tops without hesitation and go on.  Hmmmm decisions, decisions!  Anyway, the real deadline is February 7 - at the guild meeting.  We will be showing them there. I have decided to let you see it though.  Remember, she's not done yet - still binding and lint rolling and then she'll be good to go.

I've named this quilt SCROLL.  Very modern - huh?
Also, today, we'll be getting our names for the Mug Rug Swap, so I'm excited about that.  We will be making two mug rugs with different designs that have a bird house/bird theme (not our choice), but yet and still fun to make and the deadline is mid-March.

And did I forget to tell you that I'll be going to QuiltCon in Austin, TX around the end of February?  So there's a lot going on.  Do you have any exciting quilting, cooking, or creative news to share?  Comment if you'd like to share them. 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Zentangle Workshop

Today, I went to a Zentangle workshop offered through the quilting guild I belong to.  If you are a doodler or an artist, you may be very familiar with this technique and use it as a form of relaxation or meditation.   My guild was offering this workshop as way of introducing another method of design, which could possibly be applied to our quilting techniques, whether you do free motion quilting or long arm quilting.  It seems everyone who attended walked away with little masterpieces and felt pretty good about what they achieved - we all created two different design tiles.  Zentangle is fun and relaxing and it does give you a new approach to stitching the designs onto your quilts; it would be good to at least try it if you haven't had the opportunity.

Here are the completed designs from the workshop attendees:  (Sorry about these not being closer views - I was trying to get them all in the frame.)

Anyway, here's a close-up of one of mine to give you a better idea of the style being taught.

I don't know about you, but for me, this type of art/design reminds me of the psychedelic art we use to see on album covers back in the day.  Do you agree?  If you want to know more about Zentangle, check out their website at  Try it, you'll like it!


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Pasta Bibs at Bunko

As most of you know, yesterday was Bunko Night at my house!  And for those visiting my blog for the first time, 12 of my friends get together once a month every first Wednesday of the month (with the exception of this month).  What we do is meet at the home of the member who is hosting; we have dinner and then play Bunko.  As I said initially, last night I hosted.  I served spaghetti and meatballs, salad, garlic bread, ginger peach bellinis, and for dessert, a cannoli trifle.  Additionally, I made pasta bibs so I could offer them to the girls to wear while eating their meal.  As it turns out the bibs were well received. (Yeah!)  In fact they were delighted!  They were so delighted that they were more than happy to take a picture wearing them.  Girls, you all are awesome!

Left to right:  back row - Sherry Adair, Sandy Stewart, Mary Nagel, Janice Curtis, Andrea Harris
     Front row - Janet Grabau, Cindy Mullins, Carol Burns, me, Maureen Sievers, Judy Miller

We were missing a few of our regulars last night; however, the subs that joined us are very much a part of our group.  To Barbara, Becky, and Donna - we missed you, but, as always, we look forward to seeing you next month.

In summary, we all had a good time - we always do - especially when our tummies are full and we have had a cocktail or two.  Thank you girlfriends for being so gracious and so much fun to be with!



Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Pasta Bibs Are Made

The bibs are ready just in time for Bunko!  Here they are: 

All 12 -

Here's a close-up of the front -

and the back -

Oh, I changed my mind on the initial plan and did not add embellishments to the lower front since the fabric at the top is already pretty busy.

So all in all, after a quick trip to the fabric store and one evening with my serger, I have bibs to offer my girlfriends for my spaghetti dinner for Bunko!  That was a fun, last-minute project!  I hope the girls will like them.

If you have a quick, last minute project to share, please comment below.  I know I am always ready for ideas, and I am sure others would enjoy them too.

Okay I've avoided it as long as I could - time to house clean!

Enjoy your day!


Saturday, January 5, 2013

Entertaining Spaghetti Bibs?

I will be hosting a Bunko party next Wednesday, and I am planning to serve spaghetti and meatballs.  Because of the spill factor involved, I thought it would be nice to offer the ladies bibs so they could avoid sauce stains on their garments.  Initially, I thought about disposable bibs (aka lobster bibs) but found that you have to order them on line and I didn't come up with the idea until now.  (That's cutting it too close.)  Bibs for this purpose just aren't readily available in the Midwest.  There are a few options but they are only sold in packages of 2 for $14.99 and are really nice, but when you are considering 11 guests--12 including me, it becomes a matter of deciding if I really want to make such an investment for a single occasion?  I just was wanting to show consideration while allowing my girlfriends to enjoy their meals.  During my on-line search, however, I came across two interesting things:  1) about how controversial it is to offer bibs at a spaghetti dinner. See Yahoo Answers: and 2) a cute picture of a pasta bib someone had made. 

 Light bulb!  I think I might make them, with slight modifications however.  For example, I would make ties in stead of straps and the design on front won't be nearly as elaborate.  If any of the Bunko B's--I mean girls--elect to not use them at dinner, then they will still have a small gift to take home with them.  A small memento of the occasion!

So what do you think?  Would you be offended if your host offered guests a bib at the dinner you were attending?  If so, why?  Also, would you, if you were me, just offer the customary napkin and call it a day--even if you had the time and resources?  Curious minds want to know.

Friday, January 4, 2013

SUB Tutorial

I had mentioned in a few previous posts that I would be providing a tutorial on the bed runner I had made as Christmas gifts for my nephews, so here it is:

 SUB (Sports Utility Bed-Runner)

Finished dimensions:  76" x 22 1/2" 
Finished dimensions:  76" x 22"
Diagram of Finished Layout - With Dimensions

Materials Needed
sewing machine
thread for piecing and construction
thread for applique
rotary cutter
cutting mat
letters - purchased or die-cut -  4 1/2" or larger
sewing machine foot for applique
1/4" sewing machine foot - optional
walking foot
Steam-A-Seam 2 Double Stick Fusible Web for applique 
chalk pencil
sharp tip scissors

Fabric Needed (45'' wide)

1/2 yd.        beige or neutral solid cotton - 1 center panel
1 1/4 yds.    baseball novelty cotton (or any sports related theme you desire) - 2 long side panels
1 1/2 yds.    scraps - select pieces no less than 12" in length - 2 end 3-pocket panels
1 yd.           denim - 2 end large pocket tops
1 7/8 yds     solid cotton - 2 end panel bases for sides pocket plus applique lettering
2 1/4 yds.    low loft cotton batting
2 1/4 yds.    solid, print, or pieced backing


1) Rotary cut the following fabric pieces:

 beige solid for center panel:  11.5" x 46.5"  (cut 2)
 novelty fabric for long side panels:  6" x 46.5"  (cut 2)
 solid color - end panel base: 15.5" x 22.5"  (cut 2)
 various solids - pieced pocket top half:  scrap fabrics cut various widths until you have an all combined
 width of 11.5" by 15.5 (2 sets)
 denim - pocket top other half: cut 11.5" x 15.5" for large pocket - (cut 2)
2) Cut batting to 76.5" x 22.5"

3) Cut backing to 76.5 x 22.5

4) Applique Lettering -

Cut or purchase lettering to be used. Trace lettering being careful to reverse directional letters (such as an E or a P) on to one side of Steam-A-Seam.  Pull paper off bottom side of Steam-A-Seam and then place on fabric chosen for letters, press to fuse. Allow fabric to cool. Cut out letters with sharp, fine tip scissors.

 Remove Steam-A-Seam paper from opposite side of letters and place letters in middle of center panel.  Tip:  to determine center, fold center panel in half (side to side), then finger press the fold; fold in half again (top to bottom), then finger press that fold.  You should see an impression of the folds when you open up panel.  Place letters across center of panel.  Press to fuse.  Allow to cool - letters should be fused to fabric. 

Place applique foot on sewing machine and adjust your machine according to your user's manual.  Applique letters onto center panel using thread color desired and type of stitch you prefer.



  5)  Piece -

Change to 1/4" sewing foot and change to neutral color thread on your sewing machine.  Sew long side panels to long sides of center panel - right sides together.  (Use 1/4" inch seam allowance unless otherwise indicated from this point forward.)   Press.            


6)  With right sides together, sew 11.5" x 22.5" end panels to both short ends of pieced center panel.  Press.

End panel sewn on

7)  With right sides together piece pocket tops:  Sew large blue panel half to pieced panel half.  When combined you should have one large piece at 11.5" x 22.5".  Repeat for other pocket top.  Now turn pocket tops wrong side up and press upper edge under 1/4"; fold again 1/4".  Press. Fold over and top stitch close to edge. 

Pieced Pocket Top Panel - Pressing Seams


8)  Construction -

Place pocket top right side up on end panel base - placing top slightly above seam line where end panel base and center panel joins.  Pin in place across pocket top and pocket top at sides. Stitch from top of pocket panel at side and continue until you reach corner, pivot, and continue stitching until you have stitched the entire pocket in place, leaving the top of pocket open.  As you approach the end of your stitching be sure to back stitch at the pocket top edge to reinforce.  Next remove pins at top of pocket, smooth fabric layers and begin stitching at top center of pocket top panel.  If you've selected a different color for the large pocket, stitch where the large pocket and the pieced pocket meet (in the center of both halves).  Anyway, this should be your center or approximate center of entire pocket panel.  Again, be sure to back stitch at the beginning of stitching to reinforce. Smooth pieced top pocket side, divide and mark 2 vertical lines with chalk pencil to determine stitching area for smaller pockets.  Stitch, reinforce and continue stitching to edge.  You will have 3 small pockets as a result.  Repeat Step 8 (pocket construction) on opposite end panel.

9)  Lay entire pieced top with pockets on top of batting right side up, baste around the entire runner.  Lay backing on top of top--rights sides together, stitch around entire runner, leaving an 8 inch opening on one side.  Clip corners, trim excess if any, turn inside out.  Push out corners, smooth with iron lightly (to help fabric relax).  Hand stitch opening closed.  Take runner back to machine, change to quilting foot, and top stitch 1/2" from outer edge around entire runner.  Move to inside center panel and top stitch (quilt) 1/2" from edge within center panel.

Pocket tops stitched on & Runner stitched around perimeter - Completed Project

10) Optional:  sew quilt label on backing using sports motif such as basketball, baseball, football, etc.  Then date and autograph.

Baseball quilt label added with message to nephew from me.

I might add that my nephews: TyJ, Cole, and Nick loved their SUB's and are on their beds while storing all sorts of things in their utility pockets.  Books, pens, you name it.   

Please let me know if you have any questions or post a message to post pictures after you've made one.  I'd love to see it.