Thursday, February 28, 2013

National Quilting Day Events - #NQDSI

It's that time of year again! Yes, March 16 is National Quilting Day, and there are events all month to celebrate.

The National Quilting Association has chosen the 2013 theme - "Celebrate America" - and the free pattern to go with it is suitable for donation to Quilts of Valor.

Of course, we should have a National Quilting Day Sew In on March 16.  Who's with me?

If you haven't joined us for a sew in before, it's easy!  If you do not have a Twitter account, just sign up.  It's free.  Once you have an account, join us in the #NQDSI room on Tweet Chat.

I have not had great luck accessing Tweet Chat on my phone (if you know how, please let us know) but I simply go to my Twitter feed and click on one of the tweets that says #NQDSI.  If I don't see one, I can go to the search feature and type in #NQDSI.  It will then bring up all the tweets with that hashtag.  Just refresh frequently to see the conversation.

Other National Quilting Day/Month Events:
[Edited to add:  please feel free to share this image and link to the TweetChat room or back here. Spread the word!  Also, if you will be doing a giveaway for the sew in, you can send me an email at QuiltinJenny AT GMail DOT com and I will link to your blog on my post that day.]

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

WIP Wednesday - Strip Twist for the PQM

This morning was our Prayer Quilt Ministry gathering. I could only stay for a little bit, so I didn't bring my machine. Instead, I borrowed one and started assembling the Strip Twist blocks that Marie had made.

I love this pattern! It's so quick but offers a lot of movement and opportunity for using up plenty of scraps.

I was also able, finally, to show them the top that Pam made.  They were thrilled, and we can't wait to see the new ones Pam is dropping off next week.  Now we are on the hunt for a great backing fabric so that we can tie it and pray over it next time we meet.  I know it will be of great comfort to someone in need.

What are you working on?

Sunday, February 24, 2013


I'm spending a lot of quality time with my elliptical machine these days.  I have been having some annoying-but-not-serious health issues the last couple of months and then had surgery at the end of January, so when the doctor cleared me to exercise again (again?  I was supposed to be exercising before?  My bad.) I actually jumped at the chance.  I guess it's that old "you don't know what you have til it's gone" theory in action. 

I started off listening to quilty podcasts but - no offense - I have found that they don't get my adrenaline going. No, they make me want to slow down and think about a quilt pattern or fabric or a believable reason why I NEED to go to QuiltCon next year.

So now I've switched to TV. It's what my sister-in-law does and she's a workout fanatic, so I'm hoping it rubs off on me.  If you're looking for something to get your heart racing, may I suggest 24?  I never watched it, so it's new to me.  The chase scenes alone drive up my mileage.

What gets your heart pumping?

Saturday, February 23, 2013


Today I'm playing over at the Quiltivate website and experimenting with layouts for the Circle of Love quilt.

P.S. I was not asked to do this review, nor have I received any type of compensation for it. I was just playing!


Friday, February 22, 2013

FMQ Friday - What Doesn't Work

Free Motion Quilting Friday

Today is Free Motion Quilting Friday over at Leah Day's Free Motion Quilting Project.

The rules are simple:
  1. Link up with a post that features something about Free Motion Quilting (FMQ). 
  2. Somewhere in your post, you must link back here, or you can just post the FMQF button in your sidebar. 
  3. Comment on at least a few of the other FMQF links. Share your love of free motion quilting and make this weekly link up a fun way to connect!  

This week I finished the feathers in the center of my Christmas Table Topper.  They are far from perfect - especially the first few - but I'm waiting until it's further along before I rip. 

What can't wait to be ripped?  The triangle.

This is the part of this quilt that I've truly agonized over, since it is going to show and it needs to be...well, if not perfect, then really good.

What I did is not good.  It's not good at all. 

The real problem here is the design choice.  This Celtic knot design is the kind of thing that really has be spot on to work.  Unfortunately, every little wobble shows up.  Also, I'm not sure if a variegated thread is the best choice for this design.  I'll be ripping this out and trying to come up with a more forgiving design to use in this space.

Suggestions welcome appreciated!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Design Date

Today was the Wanna Bees' firm date for sort of making a semi-permanent decision about our next project.

After an hour of discussion, we were no closer to a consensus than when we started, so we all put our favorite idea in a hat and drew one.  Which, naturally, meant that some of us were more excited than others.  

Still, we forged ahead with our plan to visit Intown Quilters together to pick the unifying fabric.  If we thought picking a theme was hard, you should have seen us pulling bolts of fabric off the wall!

We had a stowaway who came home "sick" from school and had to tag along.  She shall remain nameless to protect the not-so-innocent.  I wanted to hide under the table with her during part of the discussion.

The good news is that I was able to pick up the thread and Kona Snow I needed for Greer's sister's quilt that you all helped me design. 

Also, spotted in the wild...

Anna Maria Horner's patterns and thread.  So yummy that they make me want to do more embroidery!  But I resisted.  Maybe over Spring Break when I'm looking for handwork to take in the car. 


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Texts From My Tween - King Ramses Edition

The Pit Boss and I have been attending Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University on Sunday evenings, which has been fantastic but has also disrupted our normal Sunday routines. This past Sunday, not being a school night due to Presidents Day, was even more chaotic.

I fielded texts from Grace during the class when I was supposed to be focused on our Monthly Cash Flow, and she made me giggle inappropriately during the serious part about bill collectors.

Monday, February 18, 2013


I'm still cutting cutting cutting and have barely made a dent.  It's astonishing, really, just how much there is.

This week I've been cutting up denim in the hopes of eradicating my stash completely.

You see, several years ago I started collecting our old pairs of jeans when they were ripped or worn in a way that made them unsuitable for handing down or donating.  I wanted to make a denim quilt out of them.  Clearly this is where my abysmal spatial abilities truly failed me.

I finally thought I had enough saved and started cutting.  I found beautiful green and lavender flannel for the back of the quilt, and started stitching the X's across the blocks.  And eventually I finished my quilt.

Then last year for the National Quilting Day Sew In, I offered a complete set of the denim squares to one lucky winner.  I will confess now that I am a horrible blog prize giver away-er (what?) and didn't have the denim all cut when I posted.  I will confess that our home remodel, where my entire sewing room had to be moved to the basement in boxes, caused me to fail to live up to my promise.  I can only thank goodness that the winner (Sandy from Quilting for the Rest of Us) isn't the kind of person to hold a grudge against me for this.

My sewing room is back together and I'm working on my cutting.  Sandy will be glad to know that I've finished cutting not one but TWO sets of squares.  Sandy's will be at the post office this week.  Someone else will get to win these this coming National Quilting Day (more about that later), and take comfort knowing they won't have to wait a year to receive them.

Here's my only dilemma:  after cutting enough squares for my own quilt plus two more, I still have this much denim left. 

I know there are some great crafts to do with old jeans, but this is ridiculous!  Any ideas?

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Don't Forget to Vote!

No, I'm not three months overdue for the presidential have to visit SewCalGal and vote in the Golden Quilter Awards!

Golden Quilter Awards 2013

Some of our favorite people are on multiple lists. Voting is open through February 28 and there are prizes galore!  

I found this to be incredibly challenging.  Leave a comment telling me which category was the hardest to vote in (you don't have to say who you voted for).  Which category was the easiest?

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Podcast Review - Quilt Cabana Corner

I had a trend going there for awhile when the boys were playing football. I would review a couple of quilty podcasts every fall when my driving started to ramp back up with practice schedules. Since both boys have now left the gridiron - The Bear ran cross country, and Deuce was the drum line leader - I put a lot fewer miles on the car this fall.

Never fear, though, because Grace has hit middle school and that means lacrosse practice is no longer just once a week.  Also, I've started listening to podcasts more often, especially when I'm sewing or ironing, so I've added some new subscriptions.

I still have my favorites, like Hip to Be a Square, The Off Kilter Quilt, and Quilting for the Rest of Us.   I miss listening to Allison and Brye and Jennifer.  Luckily there are some newcomers (and some that are new to me) to fill in the gap.

The podcast I've been enjoying catching up with recently is Sandi Colwell from Quilt Cabana Corner.  Sandi is the author of Little Quilts for Big Occasions and the designer of several applique patterns. 

Sandi reviews products and a recent quilt magazine or two, in addition to her podcast research questions.  During each episode Sandi poses a question to her listeners and asks them to weigh in for the next episode.  These questions generate some interesting answers, which often lead to new questions.  I love hearing the responses and the names, which become familiar. 

Give Sandi a listen and let me know what you think.  Do you like podcasts that have a structured format, or do you prefer a more rambling free form episode?

What podcasts am I missing?  Which are your favorites?

Friday, February 15, 2013

FMQ Friday - Practicing Feathers

Free Motion Quilting Friday

Today is Free Motion Quilting Friday over at Leah Day's Free Motion Quilting Project.

The rules are simple:
  1. Link up with a post that features something about Free Motion Quilting (FMQ). 
  2. Somewhere in your post, you must link back to Leah, or you can just post the FMQF button in your sidebar. 
  3. Comment on at least a few of the other FMQF links. Share your love of free motion quilting and make this weekly link up a fun way to connect!  

It's half way through February and I haven't touched any of my first quarter Finish Along projects.  Not a good sign! 

So today I took a deep breath and put my Christmas table topper at the top of the list.

I've been imagining feathers all over this, but have been afraid to try them.  Guess where not trying them gets you?  Nowhere. 

I tried drawing them first, but got frustrated by my supply of marking tools - none of them worked great over each fabric - so I just eyeballed it.  As you can tell!

They are not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, and I've even ripped out some stitches, but they're definitely improving as I go along.  I've decided to wait on ripping anything but the most egregious mistakes until I'm done.  A quilt looks completely different from two or ten feet away than it does from six inches away and, since this quilt is for my own use, the imperfections may not be as obvious and horrific when I view the project as a whole. 

What are you working on today? 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy St. Valentine's Day - and a Creative Prompt

Happy Valentine's Day!

Last week Jaye posted the Creative Prompt "Grow."  I know this may look like I've gotten the word wrong, but my first thought was a viney valentine with the words

Each and every day
In so many ways
My love for you
Grows and Grows

I hope you have a beautiful day with the people who make your heart grow.

Visit the Flickr group for more responses.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Up to Here

Not much to post today because I am cutting cutting cutting...

Trying to make this...

Into this.

Thank goodness for all the podcasters out there who are keeping me company!

Monday, February 11, 2013

The State of My Stash

As expected, Bonnie's visit to our guild last week got me all inspired to cut up my scraps and put them away neatly instead of piling them in baskets.

I have the whole system in place - drawers for the various size strips and bricks and squares, "cheat sheet" on my cutting table, a basket for strings and a basket for those little bits best saved for paper piecing. (I should just dump that whole basket into a dog bed because I HATE paper piecing and I HATE using itty bitty irregular pieces for it even more.)

I have a drawer for orphan blocks and a million ideas for leader-ender quilts.

But I don't do it.  I'm lazy.  When I finally get done with a quilt, the last thing I want to do is tidy up the scraps.  Once I've skipped it thirty-four three or four times, the pile is so overwhelming that I can't imagine it ever being neat.

Then Bonnie came and re-inspired me.  Also, this whole 5th blogoversary/5 giveaways thing.  So I spent a good part of this weekend cutting and stacking and counting.  I've got a fat quarter bundle, a stack of charm squares and a whole bunch of flannel and denim.  I have strings and selvages and embellishments, and I'm trying to figure out which ones would make a good prize. 

Best of all, I've found a certain serenity in the pressing and cutting while I listen to a podcast or watch a West Wing on Amazon Prime.  Though there doesn't appear to be an end in sight, I know that every 15 minute chunk of time brings me closer to my dream sewing space - the one that is organized and clean and ready for me to make my next quilt.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Design Notebook - Opinions Needed!

Baby Greer is having a sister in April, and I'm working on a layout for her quilt.  I need your help.

I bought some cute fabric* at Tiny Stitches about a month ago, thinking I would do a Bento Box or maybe another Double Disappearing Nine Patch.

But then I saw this beauty over at The Thompsons, which led me to this pattern from Moda Bake Shop, which led me to get out my graph paper and crayons.

I can't decide.  Which one do you like best?  Leave a comment please!

Setting A

Setting B

Setting C

*Fabric information:  The purple dot is called "Kiss Dot" by Michael Miller Fabrics.  CX5518.  The pink is from the Sew Stitchy line by Aneela Hoey for Moda.  18548.  The focus fabric is from the Children at Play line by Sarah Jane for Michael Miller Fabrics.  DC5102 Summer Gardens

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Jo-Ann App Review

Is everyone taking advantage of the free apps on your smart phone? There are so many new ones just for quilters, in addition to the Quilt Shop finder app I reviewed back in September.

Most of you are probably already aware of the Jo-Ann Fabrics iPhone app, but just in case you aren't, I thought I'd let you know.  It's also available on Android, although I have not used that one.  Are they generally the same? 

This is a free and very simple app that packs a big punch.   Maybe I'm the only one, but I can't tell you how many times I save my Jo-Ann flier only to forget it when I make it to the store.  Or I forget to use it before the coupons expire.  Anyone else?

This app is great because it is always with me.  My favorite feature, of course, is the coupons.  They are right on my phone, and the expired ones magically vanish instead of cluttering up my purse or car. 

The second best feature is the store locator.  If you are on a retreat, vacation, business trip, or just across town at the optometrist (whom you love but whose office is over the river and through the woods) in an area you don't frequent, you can find the closest Jo-Ann's. 

But, you say, you like flipping through the pages to see what's on sale.  No worries!  You can still look through the fliers - the direct mail and the newspaper insert - and view them the traditional way OR (even better, IMHO) as a list.  You can do this right in the store to make sure you stock up on basic sale items while you're there. 

I can't think of a single negative to this app.  When it first came out there was a bit of a learning curve with some of the staff, but my last few visits have found that issue to have been resolved. 

Do you use this app?   What do you think?  What other apps have you found helpful?

Friday, February 8, 2013

#FMQF - Free Motion Quilting Friday

Free Motion Quilting Friday

Today is Free Motion Quilting Friday over at Leah Day's Free Motion Quilting Project.

The rules are simple:
  1. Link up with a post that features something about Free Motion Quilting (FMQ). 
  2. Somewhere in your post, you must link back here, or you can just post the FMQF button in your sidebar. 
  3. Comment on at least a few of the other FMQF links. Share your love of free motion quilting and make this weekly link up a fun way to connect!  
This week I went back and finished up the FMQ on one of the old Modern Blocks from last year.  I decided that these 12" blocks are the perfect way to practice my free motion quilting instead of just using muslin quilt sandwiches. 

This was the first one, and I decided to turn it into a little pillow for the bench by the front door.  It looks so spring-y, doesn't it? 

I didn't use any specific design, but just added leaf shapes to the outside and a viny, veiny looking thing in the middle. 

It was quilted with the green thread that kept giving me problems on Twin Engine but there wasn't a single hitch.  More proof that it was not the thread, but possibly the spray baste and/or the feed dogs being down.

What are you quilting this week?

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