Tuesday, June 30, 2009

2 weeks; 2 days

so how long does it take to un-do TWO WEEKS of work? two DAYS. sigh....

so here's part of two rows that i was trying to piece together--the whole quilt is going to be 17 hexagons across. it looks ok on the top but here's the back...

see how the paper is bursting out? it's murder trying to piece the hexagons together without the cardstock providing the stiff edge. the problem is...

the seam allowances are not wide enough. it's exactly 1/4"--just like machine-piecing, but now i know, that's not enough for hand-piecing. or at least not for me. i think the problem is that the cardstock is fairly thick and it ends up taking up too much of the seam allowance--those extra thread-widths make a difference. now of course i knew that while i was basting all 72 hexagons (i have 72 paper shapes) but i didn't think it would be a problem. Ha!

here we go again. i cut off 1/8" off each side of the paper hexagon --the fabric is cut 5-1/2" across--so the finished size is now 4-7/8".

can you see that the seam allowances are now much wider? and easier to sew. the cardstock on the block on the left just popped out. but i think it'll be ok. (hmmm...famous last words...)
well--hand-piecing is about the process, not the result, right?

i'm wondering how to piece the top together though. the directions on the pattern (sorry, i can't get the link to work--but try googling "Wildwood Garden Free Spirit"--it's a free pattern on the website) and on my ruler say to piece row by row--i.e. piece 2 separate rows of 17 hexagons across, and then piece the two rows together. but it's pretty bulky and awkward. i'm leaning now to piecing the traditional Grandmother's Flower Garden units (i.e. one hexagon surrounded by 6 other hexes), and then piecing the units together. i think this is more of an issue since my hexes are so big. what do you think?

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Miss Read & Seinfeld

i haven't been to the library recently with all the bathroom upheaval and sick kids--so i've been re-reading my absolute favorite books by Miss Read (aka Dora Jessie Saint)

she wrote many books, mainly two series--the Fairacre books and the ones about Thrush Green--fictional villages in the Cotswolds of England.

and what do they have to do with Seinfeld ?--besides me watching the re-runs over and over again, almost as much as i have read and re-read Miss Read? well, both are "about nothing" except for the "minutiae" of daily life. Miss Read's books are simply about village life--there are some minor ups and downs and household drama, but i love these books because they are so peaceable and calm. Miss Read has a dry wit and so you may not be guffawing over these books, but there'll be lots of smiling.
my reading tastes tend to the mild and non-eventful. i try to keep up with the news and current political events and that's depressing and violent enough--so when i read for pleasure, i want it to be total escapism. and a peaceful village life in the Cotswolds is my idea of paradise.
other British authors that fit into this genre for me are Barbara Pym, Angela Thirkell, Maeve Binchy and Agatha Christie. comfort reading :-)

Saturday, June 27, 2009

It's It!

today was HOT--so the only good thing with having sick kids (one kid is STILL lingering on) is that we stayed in all day with the AC on! and what's perfect for hot days? IT'S IT! man--i LOVE this stuff (see the empty box above :-) for you non-san franciscans, it's a cookie ice-cream sandwich dipped in chocolate and it's amazing--the perfect oatmeal cookie with rich, creamy ice cream. sigh...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Grandma's Pop Garden - WIP

man--this is one of the worst weeks ever! my kids are still sick (the 2nd week of illness)--this flu bug is just lingering and lingering AND we have to be out of the house everyday, all day, because we're remodeling the bathrooms. the grandparents have been great and i've been able to bring the kids and camp out at their respective houses. at least i'm better now (i was sick the first week) and i was able to do some hand-sewing!

these are all the hexagons that i've basted so far. they're big--5" (i started them here). "only" 300 more to go! but it's pretty relaxing to do mindless sewing. i'm planning to put rows together as i go so once i baste another 20 or so, i'll start sewing the rows together. i'll show pics as i go along.

lots of TV time for the kids while they're sick which is why i'm working on these. ah well--there's always a silver lining!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Last Shopping Trip (almost)

well, there's still one more photo shoot with my new French Hatbox fabs but that'll come later. this haul is from Hancocks-Paducah (see, i just can't resist their sales) but got lucky 'cos everything i ordered was in stock. shall we take a look?

first up, two charm packets of Mary Engelbreits. i already have some yardage and maybe i'll make another dress for sophie or maybe/probably a quilt in the far-off future.

more Amy Butler's Midwest Modern to add to the stash. this is a really mellow line of fabrics that isn't my usual style but it appeals to the more sophisticated side of me (it's a small side :-)

and i finally decided to go for it--start a Kaffe Fassett collection! i've always loved his sense of color-- i've got a couple of his books--but it seemed like a big commitment to collect his fabrics. but i'm starting to see some of his pieces go on sale--and that's enough to convince me :-)

L-R: Heather Bailey's Bijoux; Sandy Klopp's American Jane Recess; 3 Sisters Simplicity. i'll actually use the Bijoux rightaway (very rare for me) for this quilt; the rest will go into the stash collection.

a last look before they all go off to their separate bins. and that's it--no more shopping! (for at least a little while :-) but the fabs come at a perfect time. i've been home since this past Wednesday (except for one quick foray out to drop off alex & pick him up from a b-day party) 'cos the kids have been sick. first sophie, and now the boys. oh, and me too. it's been a BORING and uncomfortable few days so at least i get to look at my new favorite fabrics.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Children's Books Quilt

this is the block that inspired the quilt. i inherited this lone block, with templates (no pattern), from my quilty friend susan (you can barely see her pencilled remarks on the white fabric--it says 'Georgia Bonesteel's Bright Ideas for Lap Quilting 10"' ) as you can imagine, this was a pain to cut--i'm so not into templates--but i guess i was in the mood to just go for it.

lots of pinning too for the curvy parts. curves are truly not as hard as it appears to piece--you do need to match up the crucial points--beginning, middle & end, go slowly, and it helps an awful lot to have a needle down button on your machine.

here's the whole thing.

sorry--the photos are a little blurry--here's a close-up. the hello kitty fabric is from japan--back in the day when HK fabrics weren't so readily available here. the mustardy yellow book right next to HK, is from a class i took, where a lady brought her "uglies" (ugly fabric) to share with everyone! i wouldn't make a whole quilt with that fabric but it's interesting to spice up a quilt with a dash of color that might not be your taste. the great thing with collecting conversation prints is that i can remember when/how/why i bought/acquire almost every piece.

the border fabric is really cool (and the background fabric is the same but in a beige colorway). i forgot the name of it but i got it on sale at Hancocks-Paducah a whiles ago. i still have a piece of it which i'll make into a book bag one of these days.

but the sashing fabric is even better--see my name in it?--how cool is that! i think i also got this from Hancocks, or off the internet, so i didn't even know my name was printed on--i just wanted the text--bonus :-)

here's the back of the quilt--all the pieces leftover from cutting out the parallelogram book covers; a couple of book blocks that didn't make it to the front; susan's lone block; some scraps and a Paddington Bear panel that i've had for over 10 years i think--but never had the opportunity to use. it sure feels good to finally use that up!

i was a children's librarian in my former life and this quilt was a lot of fun to make. it's not the most coordinated of quilts--the whites and the tans and the black/whites don't quite mesh together but i think it's scrappy enough that it's not too noticeable. i envision my kids cuddling up under this quilt while reading stories (though it's probably more realistic that they'll be cuddling up under this while watching tv :-)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Shopping Again

i got another parcel in the mail--yippee! it's my birthday month so i figure everything i buy is my birthday present! this time the fabrics are from Bee Square Fabrics--unfortunately they are closing down, hence this awesome, 50% off everything sale.

here's another look :-) and since i love looking at other people's fabrics, let's go set by set (there was some method to this madness :-)

the fab on the left is from the Momo Wonderland line which i'm using for this quilt. it's just some extra, probably for binding, but if not, it's a nice polka dot so i'm sure i can use it somewhere (isn't that what we, fabric hoarders, all say!) the fab on the left is from American Jane Snippets line. i have a few FQs and some yardage of her older lines, they all coordinate nicely. i'm planning to make this quilt but that will be far off in the future. i bought the book but can't seem to find it so i went down to Joann's, got the book off the shelf, went to the rulers dept and got the measurements :-) i figure it's legit 'cos i really do have the book somewhere.

CUTE! these (top & bottom photos) are Japanese fabrics so even at 50% off, it's not super cheap. but so cute. i'm hoping to make this quilt with it (again, some day). lots of hand-sewing ahead!

and then these fabrics (below) are from Lecien; the top 3 are Minny Muu, and i can't remember the bottom fab's name--but i have some FQs from that line which i'm saving for some unknown project--and the colors are just too pretty to pass by.

sigh...this was a fun shopping trip :-) two more packages are coming!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


what's even better than a shopping trip for fabric? FREE FABRIC! i won these lovely fabrics from the lovely Jona at Fabritopia recently--she was holding tons of giveaways of some the loot she got from Quilt Market. that's where the Golden Books fabric is from, and the cherry panels are from her shop. she was sweet enough to include the cherry panels because she thought she was late in sending out the prize--but honestly, being generous to hold a giveaway is quite enough. but i would never say no to more fabric :-)

here's a close-up of the Little Golden Books fabric--isn't it cute?! i'm planning on making it (2 fat quarters) into a simple tote bag (here's the tutorial) (this is probably the easiest tutorial out there for tote bags--i made like 50 of them 2 Christmases ago as gifts for everyone!) for the kids' library books this summer (make sure you sign up your kids for Summer Reading Clubs at the local library!)

when i read that i had won the giveaway on Jona's blog, my heart skipped a beat! i had to go back into her comments to make sure it was me who won--though gotta say there aren't many "Dorothy's" out there! i've never won anything before and good chance this will be the last time :-)

Jona's blog is a lot of fun to read--she's not really a quilter though she's recently started, she does more seamstressing things--but more importantly, she loves fabric! and of course, it's fun to read her perspective as a small business owner--she runs Fabritopia out of her home. check out her blog & store--she's having some great sales right now!

Sunday, June 14, 2009


these are my most recent acquisitions from Hancocks-Paducah. to be honest, this isn't my favorite store, even though they have an awesome sales section. the problem is that i only usually buy fabric on sale (so i also don't think i have the right to complain! :-) and they don't inform me when the fabric is sold out (most of the other on-line stores i buy from, have an option to contact me when a fabric is unavailable) (in fact, the other day, Fabric Depot called me on the telephone to check in on a fabric i ordered! now that's customer service :-) which means that if i'm buying for a project, i might get 3 out of the 4 fabrics i ordered, which renders the project un-sewable. or it also means that i might end up paying postage on just one item when i like to maximize the postage. anyways, like i said, i'm a bottom-feeder so don't have the rights of people who pay full-price :-) and again, their sales are usually fantastic.

that cute dog fabric is just going straight to the stash but it was only $4/yard! maybe a bag? the charm packs were half off. i'm collecting the Aviary fabrics and love that whole look of 3 Sisters fabrics--Aviary coordinates with their earlier, Sanctuary and Simplicity lines (which i also collect). i will actually be using the Wonderland charm packs right away. it's rare for me to actually buy fabric and use it!

this is April Cornell's Spring Magic line--the fabric was $5/yd and the charm pack was half off--so i figure for less than $10 and some background fabric from my stash, this will make a charming baby quilt for a little girl.

i just went on another shopping expedition at Hancocks last week--they always pull me back in with their sales!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Think Pink

pardon the crappy photo--this was taken at night and since i finished it in the car literally 5 minutes before taking this photo and then delivering it to my friend, this is all i got. too bad, it was quite a pretty quilt.

my friend CKN was diagnosed with breast cancer last november. she's a friend from college days so it's rather horrifying to have friends your own age with this disease. but praise God that it was caught in the early stages and she is expected to make a full recovery. having said that though, it's been a difficult journey--chemo sucks in all sense of the word--but her family & faith have really pulled her through.

CKN and her husband are just amazing people. they have been in east asia for the last few years, with their young kids, as tent-makers for God. during their time there, they fell in love with a little girl they were fostering (because of course CKN had tons of time to take care of other kids as she home-schooled her own 2 boys!!!) and eventually adopted her. because of the paperwork and all the ensuing delays, their sabbatical was delayed a year (until last year, 2008). it was frustrating but they trusted God through it all, and of course, as a result, they also are the proud parents of a beautiful little girl.

in november of 2008, as they were wrapping up their sabbatical time and preparing to move back to east asia, CKN went in for a routine check-up when they found the lump in her breast. it was amazing timing that they were here in the u.s. to get treatment, surrounded by their family and church community, who helped them in all sorts of practical ways. (plus it would've been really expensive to send this quilt internationally!! :-) obviously, we would all have preferred that CKN didn't get cancer in the first place, but God has His reasons, His timing, and mostly His provision and love during our hard times (because hard times will come).

CKN has a couple more courses of chemo to go, it's been rough--but she's a tough chick. and they are looking forward to moving back to east asia to continue the work God has set for them. i am so amazed at and inspired by their faith.

anyways, back to quilty stuff. here's a picture of a scrap of the pink ribbon fabric i found on ebay--it's so cool--it has chinese characters all over it as well as the pink ribbon. i had to get alex's chinese school teacher to help me translate some of the characters :-)

i have quite a pink stash (for that pink and white quilt i'll make in the future) (who knows when) and all the other fabrics are from my stash--which was pretty cool. i did buy some flannel for the backing, figuring she might like something cuddly. the pattern is from Moda and part of their breast cancer awareness project. it's really fast and easy and i can see myself making it again in the future (though hopefully not for the same reasons).

these are scraps from the project (all those corners from the star points). when i was binding it, i was doing it with some friends, and they all asked if this was going to be a cushion cover--another duh moment because of course this would've been a perfect size cushion cover--but i hadn't thought of it and so i made it too small and also was almost finish with the binding and didn't feel like ripping it all out. oh well, it's now a doll quilt though sophie never uses it and one day (many years from now) when i have my own studio, it would be fun to have a wall of mini quilts.

i like the back too :-) an extra block from the quilt and some Ava Rose.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Roman Peace

i might have the chronology all wrong, but i think Roman Holiday came out in 2007 and Peace on Earth in 2008 (both by 3 Sisters, Moda) (and this year's Christmas line is called Glace. it's also beautiful!) i was able to buy a jelly roll and a FQ bundle of Peace on Earth in the Great Holiday Sale of 2008 at FQS and combined the leftover pieces from the Roman Holiday kit to create this quilt, Roman Peace (which doesn't make a lot of sense but does roll off the tongue :-)

this quilt was made for my friend LHB for her wedding present this past March (she had the BEST wedding favors--full-size Cadbury chocolate bars!!). again it's my own "design" --very simple--but i did utilize the jelly roll quite cleverly i thought--i cut them in half (1-1/4" strips) so as to have enough for each block.

LHB opened the present at her bridal shower and it was quite gratifying to hear all the oohs and aahs from the other guests (moment of vanity :-)

LHB's husband has spent quite a bit of time in Italy and they're planning to go there later this year as a late honeymoon. plus they got officially married at Christmas time so i thought this line of Italy inspired Christmas fabric was quite appropriate for them! plus LHB has very quiet & classic taste, so these fabrics are as tasteful as i can get :-)

it's a queen-size quilt which is the maximum size i can baste--it takes up the entire living room! you can see the fireplace at the top edge of the photo, so i can't go further. and i'm standing on the sofa which is just out of range on the bottom edge of the photo.

man, i hate basting! sooooo many safety pins for a queen-size quilt too!
i still have lots of scraps and am planning on making a Miss Rosie pattern so i can have my own "Roman" quilt (in the far off future :-)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Roman Holiday

this is another quilt kit from the Great Holiday Sale of 2008 from FQS. Roman Holiday is a line designed by 3 Sisters, Moda, and i really love most of their designs (except when it gets too brown). this kit was really generous --there were tons of left-over pieces, including most of a charm packet. i used those in another quilt that i'll blog about later. one unique aspect of the quilt is the ripply border, where you add a length of wide piping, and handstitch down sections to get that ripply effect. i'm not too crazy about it but it's different.

this quilt was for my friend MYB's birthday. her b-day is in june & she lives in arizona, so i don't think she used it right away :-)

Friday, June 5, 2009

Leaders & Enders

Yay!!! my sewing machine is home again. they did a really nice job of cleaning & tuning it (for quite a price too, i might add) and now it's so quiet that i keep checking to make sure there's bobbin thread (when the machine is sewing without bobbin thread, it makes a different, quieter sound).

the pix above is my Momo Wonderland project. i'll blog more about it later but i'm using it as a "leaders & enders" project. i first learned about this on Bonnie's blog and it was one of those "ah-ha/duh" moments when the concept is so obvious, you wonder why you never thought of it in the first place.

basically, what it is, is when you start and stop machine-sewing, you usually have long tails of thread hanging. to save thread, and also because it's less messy and easy to start, i have a piece of fabric to "lead" and "end" with. in the past, i've used scraps of fabrics to sew on and then end up tossing them. i learned about that trick from Simply Quilts. then Bonnie comes along, and says you can create a whole separate quilt top, using small patches from another project as your leaders and enders. yikes--i don't know if this makes any sense at all. well, just go over here and read Bonnie's much clearer explanation. (btw, i'm referencing Bonnie like she's an old friend--we don't know each other at all but i enjoy reading her blog :-)

well, back to the t-shirt quilts!

First Sight

i don't usually make a quilt pattern twice, let alone the same fabrics--too factory-like, but i really like these panels (called First Sight by Michael Miller) and i liked using my own collection of reds and black/whites.

my quilting friend susan was the first to advise me to look for and buy true reds when fabric shopping--they're hard to come by--lots of reds are too orange-y. and the great Freddy Moran taught me to stash away black and whites for my bright quilts.

the first quilt was for the Fong Baby and the 2nd is for the upcoming Hu-D baby.

here's my (big) baby :-)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Kimono Quilt

did you know that Japanese kimono fabric were/are(?) printed in 14" strips? unlike our American standard of 42/44" width. i inherited a stack of beautiful kimono fabrics from my quilting friend Susan and they became this quilt for CKB's wedding present. some of the fabrics are from CKB herself when she went to Japan years ago. she's a graphic designer so i had asked her if there was such thing as a "perfect" rectangle size and this quilt used the dimensions she gave me.

the inspiration for this quilt came from Leanne Beasley (love that name!), an Australian designer. i borrowed her idea of adding one red block to the monochromatic layout (hers was black and white--in case you can't see--these blocks are blue and white) to give it interest.

sadly, our bed is now my "design wall"... and yes, actual thought went into the placement of each block.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


this kid is a genius!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

More Giveaways

hmmm..this seems to be all i post about these days but this is another really good giveaway! Sweet Liberty is a blog that i found recently 'cos they posted about Quilt Market and it's good read (i.e. lots of eye candy!) and check out this loot! Lecien and Lakehouse are two of my favorite fabric housees.