Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Beloved Two

finally! here's Beloved #2. i started this whole project back in january and i finally finished #2 and both have now been mailed to Pascha who heads up this project. (just finding a box that would fit two quilts and going to the post office took a few weeks!)

i love the bright colors in this quilt. back in the day, these saturated colors were the ones i collected but i have to admit, they look a little 90's to me now--i'm more into the kaffe fassett brights currently (though in 10 years, they'll look a little '00 to me :-)

the triangles are almost all from the Lakehouse Baskets quilt. and the white is from my stash. the back is fleece--though if i make more of these quilts (and i would like to), then i'll have to check in with Pascha about that--these quilts are going to SE Asia and i think fleece might be a bit too warm.

i would like to continue to make more of these quilts --maybe one for every 2-3 quilts i make for myself?...

More Blocks

i was bummed--i had finished my jelly roll sampler block #7 in time but forgot to upload it in time for the drawing--oh well, next time. this photo is too dark but doing the auto brightening makes the colors completely untrue.

this is block #8. you should check out the flickr group --this block in particular looks completely different with each fabric choices--pretty amazing.

the latest in my own BOM. i'm really enjoying making these sampler quilts--making one block at a time is time-consuming but i'm don't feel overwhelmed in making these intricate blocks either.

the kids have started summer vacation but this week they're in VBS in the morning (truly a hallelujah is needed!) so lots of sewing going on! i'll try to take some photos soon.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Four Backs

i had such a clever title planned for this post--"the four tops" but the photos of the tops were blurry and two of them are already basted, so here's a pix of the four backs instead.

i gotta say, if i was rich, i would buy those 108" backing fabrics and send out all my quilts to be quilted--i hate this part of the process--so tedious. but alas, i'm not, rich that is, so i pieced together all 4 of the backs and am in the midst of basting them. two of them are a nice size (70" wide) but the other 2 are monsters over 90" wide--i'm not even sure if they'll fit in my living room floor to baste!

i do think though--there's a lot of value in piecing the backs--that i'm almost glad i'm forced to do it. the backs are so much more interesting when you piece them together and you get to use up miscellaneous bits of fabrics that are nice, but not good enough to actually use for the top. i have had the odd experience of someone preferring the back of my quilt to the front--not sure how to take that!

the top backing (the yellow & white one) is made of fabrics that over 10 years old--they are marimekko, which i bought from crate & barrel. C&B had an outlet store where they had a barrel full of fabric scraps and sold it for like $1.oo/lb. one of the first quilts i ever made was with scraps from that barrel (i have a non-digital picture of it somewhere--not very exciting though). these scraps are ones that i've carried around (3 moves since then) and in fact, last year, i gave them to my mom. she however, is about to move, so had a box of scraps to give to my sister, who was going to take them to her daughter's school for crafts. so i rescued them and am finally using them!

so yes, i guess it's good to be forced to do the boring parts of quilting :-)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Farmer's Market

i bought this as a kit from PIQF 2008 and am finally getting around to it. the pattern is called Contra Dance from the Straight to the Point series (QuiltWoman.com Designs) --where you piece in straight rows, cut the top; resew it and voila--you get an on-point setting for the quilt. it's a really clever idea though i'm not sure how in love i am with the project. (i'll reserve my comments for until the quilt is completely done and i show it).

so here i am, merrily cutting away (i use iron-on interfacing for the cutting line--which helps the bias edge to not get stretched out) when....

yup--you probably guessed it, i cut another block accidentally. AARGH!!!

here's another shot. sigh. it comes from not spreading out the fabric carefully and trying to rush the job.

luckily the block was 1) at the side, and2) was one of the big fabric blocks (no piecing) so it wasn't too hard to fit it back in. and also luckily, the kit was very generously cut so there was plenty of fabric to squeeze back in.

all done (again). it's added to the stack of quilt-tops ready to be basted and quilted.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Jelly Roll Sampler #6

i think the hardest part of this quilt-along is downloading the photos in a timely manner (which is also why i'm not a very good blogger). this is #6 and designed by Nanette who has the greatest blog --i always love her fabric choices.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Merry and Bright Packages

i had to search around my blog for when i first wrote about this block--go figure, it was under the Happy Thanksgiving heading (?!) despite the obvious Christmas connection. i finally finished the quilt a month ago--ta daa!

this is Sandy Gervais' Merry and Bright line--i really like how it doesn't scream Christmas but uses other colors--like the turquoise and gold--and makes it a fuller line. and i like how the pattern doesn't scream "presents" but gives the illusion of wrapped packages.

and even more excitingly--this is the first quilt i've ever sold!

unfortunately, like most school districts in California, our school district is facing a huge budget deficit this coming year and as one of the many cuts, the school board decided to lay-off over 100 teachers and get rid of Class Size Reduction (CSR) which meant that Gr 1-3 would go back up to 30 students/class instead of the 20/1 ratio right now. this is a huge blow to our kids' education--even without studies (though studies do prove the point), it's obvious to any parent that a young child would do so much better in a smaller class where the teacher has the time to really get to know a student--my oldest is in 1st grade and i can see it for myself.

so anyways--long story short, a bunch of parents in our district, and especially at our school, banded together to raise money to save the teachers and CSR. due to union agreements and a massive effort by parents, we've almost reached our goal and it looks pretty sure that we'll save our teachers--hooray!

our school had a silent auction to raise funds--and the teachers graciously gave of their time and energy (one teacher auctioned a quilt class :-) and raised $3500. the parents in turn gave of their time and resources and we held a 2nd auction (results not yet announced)--so i donated this quilt and it sold for $120 :-) there were 2 parents who bid on it (coincidentally both from my son's classroom) --so i feel better that it wasn't necessarily "pity bids" but someone actually wanted it :-)

it's sad that we have to work so hard to raise money to educate our kids--but on the other hand, we're so blessed to have the resources to do so. i better get going on another quilt for next year--i don't think the budget crisis will be fixed by then :-(

Monday, May 3, 2010

Blocks of the week

Sunday was a nice day of sewing (and doing laundry) while paul takes care of the kids outside!

First up, was block #5 of the Jelly Roll Sampler. i'm really enjoying this quilt-along and am now more confident of joining others!

then #8 (i think) of the BOM i'm doing. it's a little faded out in the photo but the colors are pretty in person.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

3-1/2 pounds!

i finally finished piecing the top of my Dotty Dresden Plate quilt today--and since i don't like showing just quilt tops--i like showing the finished product--here are just some peeks.

the quilt is the cover quilt of the book Material Obsession and i decided to forego the red circles in the middle--and instead put prairie points on the border to mimic the blades of each plate. i think it turned out cute and it was fun to do prairie points which i hadn't done before.

but oh my, this quilt turned out to be a monster. it literally weighs 3-1/2 pounds! and measures approx 88" square (i also changed the setting from 6x4 to 5x5). it's extra heavy because of the applique work and the prairie points--so it's pretty much double the amount of fabric you would normally use for a quilt this size.

it's huge! i'm not looking forward to quilting it (with batting & backing it might be closer to 10 lbs when finished) but it's gonna be a beaut when done.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


as in up to the gills in jelly rolls. sigh. i'm a sucker for sales and i found these jelly rolls online for great prices. shall we take a look?

after Nicole of Sister's Choice Quilts blog pointed out that Martinique goes really well with the French General fabrics, i had to get some. it doesn't hurt that i'm a huge fan of 3 Sisters/Moda either. oh yeah, got a layer cake as well.

i've been seeing Verna (Kate Spain/Moda) all over blogland and this would make a pretty baby quilt. (one of my best friends in high school had "Verna" as a middle name and we would all make fun of it--too funny if it's becoming a hip name these days)

i've been eyeing Oz (Sanae/Moda) for a long time but couldn't commit -- so a jelly roll (on sale!) made perfect sense.

another 3 Sisters line, Aster Manor--i think it'll go nicely with their other Christmas-y lines.

i ended up buying 2 Rural Jardin (French General/Moda) rolls from two different stores--because i was worried that one store was saying it was in stock but really was out of it--and i also figured i could & would use both of them :-)

this is Blush (BasicGrey/Moda). i also have a layer cake of Sultry that i bought awhiles ago--they coordinate really well together. not that i know what to do with them.

sigh. all that shopping was fun! but i guess i should actually use some of them. i'm also blaming the Jelly Roll Sampler Quilt Along for (re-)stoking my love of jelly rolls! something about that package of fabric brings a smile to my lips!

and on a practical level, i find that it's really useful to use a lint brush and press it over the tops & bottoms of the jelly roll. there's so much lint on them--it takes several sheets to really get the fuzz off!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Hooray! finally some finishes to post. this was originally called the VLJ quilt for my friend's b-day present--but she said the colors didn't "match" her furniture (!) though more to the point, she liked LHB's quilt more (and the fabrics/colors in that quilt). this has more of a blue tinge because the border fabric and the backing is blueish. i'm calling it my "Posh and Charismatic" quilt because it's the Posh and Charisma lines from Chez Moi (Moda)--yeah, i'm really clever. this was inspired by an Anka's Treasures pattern--Heather Mulder Peterson is a talented designer of patterns AND fabric! (good blog too :-)

well, back to the drawing board for VLJ (this is a 2-year old b-day present promise). and now wondering to whom to gift this quilt.

oh, and here are some oops. this is the back--i accidentally quilted over some scrap batting. (i work on a really messy table!)

and here's another oops. i'm usually pretty good about my backing extra big but i guess i skimped a little here--that white edge was about 3/4" that i had to add on.

i like this quilt a lot--but it's also going to be a gift. this is made with Tula Pink's Flutterby line--one jelly roll and lots of miscellaneous pieces, and around 2 yards of the border and sashing fabrics. hmm....i should really take a close-up one of these days--you can't see but the border has illustrations of a gorgeous bug. (oh, here's a pix from Tula Pink's blog--it's the 2nd photo).

i think the pattern is called a Friendship Braid--really fun and easy to make--but i was a little worried that the bias edges would get out of control--i was really lucky that it didn't. i do have an idea of who to give this to--a good friend who is needing a hug these days.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Block Party

lots of sewing done these days--my favorite part is piecing! as i said previously, my sewing machine had been packed up for a few weeks so i did a lot of cutting and trimming and now i get to do the fun part!

first up was block #4 for the Jelly Roll Sampler. this has been really fun & easy quilt-along. looking at this block though, i wish i had gone more scrappy. oh well, if there's leftover fabric, maybe i'll re-do it.

then it's this self-made BOM--have i mentioned this before? it's a freebie pattern from here --i totally appreciate how this person is offering a lovely free pattern--but gotta say, i don't like the cutting directions. oh well, maybe for the next one, i'll take the time to re-write it to my liking.

i've also finished piecing the top of Japanese Marbles and am in the middle of piecing the top of Dotty Dresden Plates. finally! actually, the next posts will show some actual finishes!

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Hooray! this is my first Quilt-Along--and it's the Moose on the Porch Jelly Roll Sampler quilt along. (i'm so lame--i couldn't figure out how to grab the button but you can click on the links above to check it out).

i haven't joined any in the past because i can't predict my sewing times--but these blocks look nice and simple so i think i can actually keep up.

i cut out blocks 1 & 2 during my sewing hiatus so it was a breeze to sew them all up yesterday. and block #3 is so easy (picture below), i sewed it together today in less than hour and that's with sophie "helping" me.

each block, from different designers, will be published every two weeks. the fabric is Simplicity from 3 Sisters (Moda).


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Salad Days

doesn't that look like a head of lettuce? it's the trimmings from the Japanese Marbles quilt--i'm such an awful fabric-cutter--that it's easier to just trim down the blocks to a consistent size (almost always a smidge smaller than what the pattern says) after finishing the block.

my sewing space is the dinner table unfortunately--there's just no space in our house. and we've had friends over for dinner the last few weeks so my sewing machine has been packed up for 3 weeks. 3 weeks!!! however it was a good time to do lots of catch up work, rather than just piecing. so i prepped a few more Joseph's Coat blocks; trimmed down the aforementioned quilt; and also trimmed down the Dotty Dresden Plates. now i just have to piece them altogether. but of course i started a new project in the meantime...

Thursday, March 11, 2010


here's my 2nd Joseph's coat block all prepped--i'm only halfway done with the 1st block. i figure since it's going to be years before this done, i'll just showed the prepped blocks :-)

and here's the 2nd Beloved quilt. it's going to be made of scraps from the Lakehouse Basket quilt so lots of bright colors with white tonal fabric. i'm working on doing the machine blanket stitch around the letters right now.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Tardy for the Party

yes--i've outed myself as an avid watcher of The Real Housewives--well, "only" Atlanta and NYC (starts tonight!)--as if that makes it less trashy :-)

anyways, the party in question is Don't Look Now's Joseph's Coat Quilt-Along. this quilt is breath-taking but it looks like it'll take years to finish! this Quilt-Along started a few months ago--it took me that long to commit to this quilt--it just looks like sooooo much work (and it is!)

i prepped this first block (only 48 more to go!) at a Arts & Craft morning that my friend organized for our church. it was so much fun to have an uninterrupted 5 hours (!!!) to just work on my quilts. i didn't bring my sewing machine but was able to start prepping this project as well as start work on the 2nd Beloved Quilt.

i'm using a mostly pink palette from my stash and from the newly acquired stash of Kaffe Fassett's (LOVE these fabrics) and am using Kona Coal as the background. i love DLN's white background but since this is my "porta-project," i would think the white would get dirty right quick. it's funny--just a few months ago, i wrote that i never use solids but i'm bowing to peer pressure out in blogland--solids seem to be the new "in" thing with quilters! the idea for using gray as the background came from Mrs. Schenkman --hmmm...can't find that particular post but you should read her whole blog anyway--she does amazing work!

i started stitching the petals down on this block today--the twins had their first gymnastics class (after the first 10 min of being painfully shy--they shook down and took part in everything--they did great! :-) so i was able to do it during their class. i think i have only 4 more "Marbles" to go--that's such a easy & portable project, i almost don't want to finish it so soon.


25 of these blocks finished!!! i started these back in July, and they really did go pretty fast. in fact, the last couple of months, i started working on my other big handwork project (Grandma's Pop Garden - May '09) in the car while the twins napped because the dresden plates are more portable.

i decided to set the blocks 5x5 instead of the pattern's 6x4 'cos i think it might be a little more usable (6x4 makes for a longer, skinnier quilt which won't fit on our bed). i still haven't decided if i'm going to applique down the little circles that go in-between each block. lots more work to do--i've gotta cut them all down to the same size (i'm sure they're wonky from all that handwork) and lay them out. i'm thinking of prairie points around the edges. we'll see...

and here's my newest hand project. it's the Marble Champ pattern (i talked about it here). there's 42 of these blocks (i use 21 different fabrics for the circles, so 2 each) and i just finished prepping all of them (that wonky white thread is the basting thread--i like using that for appliquing much better than pins--i always poke myself!). these go really fast--it takes me around 45 min to do one and i was able to finish two blocks at a school meeting :-) i think i've finished 8 already so this shouldn't take too long (famous last word). enough time so that i'll be able to prep for my next big portable project (more on that later...)

UPDATE: i wrote this post back in january and forgot to post it. i haven't done anything more with the Dresden Plates but am almost finished with the Marbles. Also almost finished with Row 8 of the Grandma's Pop Garden--have to admit, i'm getting a little bored with this project, but have 6 more rows to go!

Saturday, February 13, 2010


(this is one of those word-y posts so feel free to skim through for the pictures!)

over Christmas, i got the book Quilting For Peace for myself because i heard about it on blogland and because it was cheap :-) on pg 13, Pascha Griffiths and her project Beloved Quilts was highlighted and i never did get farther in the book! Pascha is a fellow Christian who felt called to make quilts for the homeless in her area. after reaching her goal of 100 quilts, with the help of friends and friends of friends, she has decided to make quilts for children who are victims of sex trafficking.

"'How unloved these girls must feel and how tainted their concept of love must be,' says Pascha, who wonders what 'bed' must mean to them after what has happened to them there. 'Then to think that there's this blanket that says they are beloved. They might be too wounded for it to mean anything, but it might mean something. It's one way of saying, 'You're seen, and here's some safety.'"

i couldn't stay dry-eyed through that paragraph.

this story actually started awhile ago for me.

my church has a strong calling to social justice--and much of that vision came from a former pastor, who left a couple of years ago to join International Justice Mission as a staffworker (that name always makes me think of the old superhero cartoon --International Justice League :-) though people working at IJM are truly the heroes of this world). when the pastor left, at his last service, his new boss from IJM came to speak to us and tell us about IJM. he showed a video about some of their work throughout the world. it's been a couple of years so the details are fuzzy but there were some incredible stories told. one of them involved the rescue of child prostitutes in India. now i knew that there was such a thing as child sex trafficking in the world but it was the first time i saw evidence in front of me--pictures and videos of these beautiful little girls who were being treated in such an inhumane and ungodly way. as a mom now, i can't help but relate everything to my kids, and i couldn't even fathom the pain of having my daughter go through such torture. i turned and found my husband sniffing and discreetly wiping away his tears (and trust me, he never cries!)

well, we wrote a check to IJM and that was pretty much that. sex trafficking is a huge issue and i couldn't conceive of a way to even think about it.

fast-forward a couple of years to last August when our church had our first church retreat. we were beginning a series of "Visioneering"--how to create a vision for our own lives that is in keeping with God's vision for us and for our church and for our world. one of the exercises was to write our own obituary (not as morbid as it sounds :-) in examining my life, i thought my relationships were in order--yeah, i yell at my kids a lot, but they love me and would miss me when i'm gone (well, that's what i tell myself :-) and i have a wonderful husband, and loving friends. all that was fine. but in terms of what have i done with my life outside of family and relationships, that was a lot less impressive. i haven't worked professionally (use to be a librarian) since the kids were born (over 7 years now) and even then, i wasn't really a stellar librarian--or at least, that wasn't my passion in life. quilting is, but that's not a career. (one side-note that i haven't even realized until just now--i'm starting to make quilts for my friends--in the past, i've made lots of baby quilts for their offspring--maybe i'm trying to perpetuate my legacy through them now).

nothing was really resolved at the retreat--i just pondered what i wanted to do with my life--especially as the kids grow older and i have time for myself. one out-there thought that entered my head, was that the child sex trafficking issue is so horrific that i want to do something about it. but i immediately scoffed at that idea 'cos i'm not the activist type and what can i do about it?

so when i read about the Beloved Quilt project, it was a Hallelujah moment. my compassion for children who are caught in this horrific situation, my love for quilting, and my hope to follow God's will for my life were all intertwined into this one project.

i emailed Pascha and she seems like such a kind person! she was excited for me but because i didn't have anything really definite to tell her, we sorta left things up in the air. one thing she said made me smile, that she was struck that i was so moved by just reading about her project in a book. and i couldn't really explain in an email, just how many years it took for God to work on this hard heart!

as you can tell from my (very infrequent) posts--it takes me forever to get things done. so it took another month or so to actually make the quilt and sadly enuf, another few weeks, just to photograph it and now to write this blog post.

i used some of my much hoarded Grand Revival fabrics--i actually can't really remember which lines i used, i think Barefoot Roses and Darla.

and on a frivolous note, i even had enough scraps left over to make a scarf for myself (here modeled by my oldest :-)

i will be emailing Pascha soon to ask if she wants the quilt now (she sends them overseas periodically) or if i can wait until i make a 2nd one to send along as well--who knows how long that will be!

one of the reasons why i've been in such a hurry to finish up some of the WIPs that were languishing was because i don't like things hanging over my head and i wanted to start a 2nd Beloved Quilt with a clean-ish slate. i would also like to involve some of my friends in the making of the quilts but i'm not really sure how 'cos they're not quilt-y people--still pondering that.

i'm so grateful to Pascha (who appears to be much more of an activist type than me!) who was obedient to God's calling for her, and which then enabled me to participate in this way. i don't really know where this path is leading--whether it'll get bigger or if it'll stop after 2 quilts (i personally committed to at least two, if not more) --but i'm learning that God's journey for me is not of my making and not under my control. all i can do is obey what is in front of me.

Max's Truck Quilt

finally--a finished quilt! this is just a "quick" (though it still took months to complete) bed quilt for max using scraps of truck fabrics leftover from another project (and those were scraps too).

because this is a quilt for everyday use, i decided to machine bind it so that it'll actually be done (it'll take me a couple more months to hand-bind the other 2 quilts i've finshed binding from the last post). i'm still not very good with machine binding but this method does make it a tad better. these are Clover pins--and they are just thin enough to sew over. yup--i said SEW OVER!!!! i've heard that there are quilters who sew over their pins as the norm, but that just seems to be living too dangerously! as it is, my heart stops everytime the machine needle grazes a pin. however, it really does help the back of the binding lie flat while sewing it down.

these pictures show the pins from the front of the quilt--but i found it easier to pin from the back after awhile--that way, i'm sure to catch the entire seam allowance.

i'm still not a big fan of machine binding but it's so much faster than hand-binding!