My Sewful Retirement

A Quilting Journey

My Introduction to Paper Piecing

Happy Tuesday!

I’ve had Paper Piecing on my “to do” list for a few years now. The technique both intrigued and scared me. Stitching on a line seemed easy, but sewing in reverse seemed odd.

Cherie, from one of the blogs I follow Cherie’s Quilting Journey finished piecing a beautiful quilt in January that had some paper pieced components to it. You can see Cherie’s quilt here.

Granted I’m not ready to tackle something so big..I did some research and decided I would start with a triangle in a square quilt block as my sample. This block only has 3 pieces and no severe angles.

I watched lots of You Tube videos demonstrating paper piecing techniques. My favorite was by Amanda Rolfe and you can watch the video here if you are wanting to learn how to paper piece.

I made a mini quilt, measuring 16 x 21 inches. Below is a picture of my focus fabric. I used it as the backing for the mini quilt.

PP-Triangle In Square Back

My triangle in a square units measure 4.5 x 4.5 inches unfinished. I decided to go with a diamond layout. The points are perfect — I was extremely pleased.

PP – Diamonds Mini Quilt

I didn’t tear off the paper until the entire mini quilt top was finished. Sewing on the lines kept everything aligned. Below is how it looked before removing the paper.

paper piecing TIS B

I moved on to another paper piecing project “Blooming Tulips” a pattern I found in one of my quilt magazines. The tulip pattern has 7 pieces, a little more challenging but the results were great.

PP – Blooming Tulips

Now that I’m feeling a little more confident there are several really cool patterns I hope to try someday!

Linking with Connie at Free Motion by the River.

Happy Sewing!

My Dresden Plate Obsession

Happy Friday!

I spent a lot time sewing this week, mainly working on a baby shower custom order for twins!

I did get a couple of quick projects for myself finished 🙂

I had a drop everything and make it moment when I read this post from Michelle. Hubby and I had just had a conversation about not using plastic bags. Since retiring we shop more frequently to buy fresh veggies and fruit and I have shameful amount of plastic bags underneath my sink!

Using Michelle’s tutorial as inspiration I make this market bag. I added a pocket and zipper inside. I used duck canvas fabric and pulled out my serger to finish the seams.

Dresden market bag

I’m loving how it turned out! Probably will make another soon, to keep one in both cars.

I’m also remodeling one of our guest bathrooms. Found a shower curtain on clearance at Target . I’m using the shower curtain as the focal point for decorating.

shower curtain inspiration

I used a charm pack I purchased from Bluprint to make the Dresden wall hanging and the patchwork rug. For this Dresden plate I used a 30 degree ruler, only 12 blades needed to make a circle. I wanted a chunkier blade So I started at the 2 inch marking on the ruler. I added a little motivational embroidery to the center ♥♥

Linking with Connie at Free Motion by the River.

Happy Stitching!

Friday Finishes

Happy Friday!

I have three small finishes to share today just in time for February – the month of Love!

Curvy Log Cabin Heart Wall Hanging — measures 23 x 30 inches – made with batik fabrics from my stash.

Curvy Log Cabin Heart WH Finished

Batik Heart Table Runner – measures 14 x 40 inches – made with batik fabrics from my stash

Batik Hearts TR finished

Swirly Heart Quilt – measures 50 x 60 inches – made with prints from Mama Said Sew I and II by Sweetwater for Moda.

Swirly Heart Finished

I pulled out an old UFO, a string quilt I started many years ago and as you can tell I hadn’t learned the secret for getting the center strips to match!

String Quilt WIP

The fabrics were given to me from my mother-in-law before she passed. I was looking at a picture of her last night and decided it was time to finish the quilt.

Happy Stitching!

Pillow Talk

Happy Wednesday!

The second session of the Embroidery Extreme class was an eye opening experience for me — I learned how to take my editing skills to the next level. I definitely have a new respect for those that digitize embroidery designs to sell — it’s much harder and time consuming than I thought it would be.

We spend our time in class using Embroidery software on our laptops, and do the stitch outs at home. Our assignment for session 2 was to find Valentine Day home decor word art pillows. We had to choose something we could re-create using designs we already owned.

Pillow 1 – XOXO. I edited parts of 4 different purchased designs to create the one design. I LOVE it 🙂 Amazing right?

XOXO Love Pillow

Pillow 2 – Together Forever — three different purchased designs edited to create the one design

You Me Together Forever Pillow

Pillow 3 – Hugs and Kisses- no editing on this. It is a purchased design. This was my first attempt at improv piecing. Definitely fun for me!

Improv Hugs Kisses Pillow

Design Frame – we also learned how to take a single design and turn it into a monogram frame. I tested it on a kitchen towel.

February 2019 Kitchen Set

The machine I usually use for piecing is having problems. It’s 19 years old so I will be replacing it soon. In the meantime I’m using one of my embroidery machines for sewing. I’m learning how to use it — I tried the echo quilting foot on this mug rug – overtime I’ll get better, it was fun trying something new.

Heart Mug Rug – Echo Quilting

I also started a couple new projects:

Batik heart table runner for my daughter.

Scrap Red Batik Heart Runner

Scroll Heart Nine Patch Quilt: Yes, the hearts are machine embroidered applique. I used an ombre fabric for the hearts. I used some of the original Mama Said Sew fabrics and the Volume II Mama Said Sew fabrics by Sweetwater for Moda for this quilt.

Scroll Heart Nine Patch WIP

Linking to Linky Tuesday with Free Motion By The River.

Happy Stitching 🙂

Friday Finishes

Happy Friday!

I have two small finishes to share today.

Earlier in the week I was trying to decide what fabrics to use for the Jolly Bar Merinque quilt so I watched this video on how to make the quilt. Kim Jolly explains how to use the perfect rectangle ruler. I also looked at the Creative Grids video on using the same ruler and fell in love with a block the designer was demonstrating and decided to make that first and start the Merinque quilt later.

Ohio Star HRT Octagon

I love the circular illusion! Using half rectangle squares surrounding a 12 inch quilt gives the circular illusion. I added a border to make a small table topper.

Autumn Ohio Star

I can now check off the snail trail quilt block on my to do list! The snail trail block also has the circular movement. I’ve been following the black and white blog hop this week and decided to make a mini quilt with the snail trail block in black and white.

Snail Trail Mini Quilt

I used this tutorial from Missouri Star Quilt Company — of course I added a little embroidery 🙂

Snail Trail Mini Quilt

Happy Sewing!

Learning Something New

Happy Wednesday!

I started my first embroidery extreme class last week. It is a 4 week course held at my local quilt shop learning to improve editing and digitizing skills.

The class is two hours in length so there will be lots of prep work before each meeting. Our guide (instructor) is a local resident who shares my passion for machine embroidery, the only requirement was having a basic knowledge of digitizing. There are only 4 of us in the class so it was cozy and fun!

Our first assignment was to create a single word or simple phrase appropriate for a mug rug in a word processing software and save as an embroidery file for applique.

In class we worked on how to create several finishing stitches to our applique as well as other things to consider for good stitch outs.

With Valentine’s Day approaching I chose “Be Mine” in a script font. Below is my finished mug rug using the popular triple bean stitch for the text and satin for the heart. I also added echo quilting lines within the heart. Far from perfect but not bad 🙂

be mine mug rug

Our other class project was digitizing a strip pieced heart. Again I used a triple bean stitch finish. I made mine into coasters to match a table runner I finished earlier.

I finished my drunkard path heart placemats and made a mug rug for hubby! The LOVE design was purchased from Planet Applique.

Continuing my quest to reduce my pre-cut stash I made a charm pack baby quilt using Blueberry Brights by Karen Lewis for Moda . I used this tutorial to create the X-Plus quilt block. I adjusted the size of the block to use a charm pack.

blueberry brights finished
blueberry brights finished
blueberry brights finished cu

Joining Linky Tuesday at Freemotion By the River.

WIP Wednesday – Heart Blocks

Happy Wednesday!

I love anything with hearts in it, and I’m sure I’ve mentioned how much I love the log cabin quilt block.

Since Valentine’s Day is coming up quickly I decided to make a log cabin heart table topper. I found lots of inspiration online for log cabin heart quilts to help me draft my own layout.

I’m a fan of specialty rulers and based my sketch/layout using both the Creative Grids 6 inch curvy and 6 inch regular log cabin trim tool I came up with my very low tech quilt pattern! 🙂

curvy heart layout

Using 4 scraps batiks fabrics I had this:

curvy log cabin heart wip

I also wanted placemats and came up with the brilliant idea of using my creative grids round up tool to make a drunkard’s path heart block. Again same pattern, this time 4 inch blocks.

curvy heart placemat wip

Not going to win any contests but it was fun thinking outside the box and I have something that we will definitely use.

If you are looking for more traditional valentine ideas Julie from The Crafty Quilter has some great ideas in this post.

Linking with Linky Tuesday at Free Motion by the River!

Happy Stitching!

Weekend Sewing

Happy Monday!

We didn’t have anything planned this past weekend so I spent my time sewing and watching football.

I had two charm packs of Valley by Sherri & Chelsi for Moda. I love the southwest vibe to this fabric line. I was able to finish a mini quilt I started last summer with one of the charm packs and a set of 4 placemats with the second pack.

Southwest Star Mini Quilt

The placemats have an odd/interesting shape — I found the pattern in the magazine Annie’s Quilting with Pre-Cuts.  

southwest charm placemat

Lastly I did finish my winter blues table runner! I used a heavier rayon thread for the snowflake embroidery to make them pop!

Winter Blues TR Finished

Happy Stitching!

Winter Blues and a Charm Pack

Happy Thursday!

You might think Winter Blues sounds odd coming from a person who lives in the sunshine state! I am very happy we no longer have to shovel or drive in the snow! However, I do miss the beauty of snow falling from the sky.

Out of habit I decorate with blue and white during the month of January. I recently read a good post written by Carole Carter from My Carolina Home about decorating with white in January – maybe in 2020 I’ll start a new decorating habit.

One of my ongoing goals is to use more of my pre-cut stash with patterns made for pre-cuts. I started working on a charm pack project and discovered the cutting instructions were wrong. I was angry with myself, I bought the magazine 5 years ago, I checked online and yes there was a pattern correction — shame on me 😦 .

Originally I was going to throw out the fabric and chalk it up to experience but I could hear my mother saying “pick up your chin and keep moving”! I cut the fabric into smaller squares and usable rectangles to make something I can use– more potholders and a pillow cover!

I’m still finding time for embroidery projects…

snowflake toille mug rugs
Baby its cold outside pillow

Today I started a table runner using this tutorial from Free Motion by the River. I replaced the chisel blocks with plain blocks to use for the snowflake embroidery designs. Hope to finish it tomorrow.

Winter Blues WIP

Linking with “Linky Tuesday“. Stop by to see what others are creating!

Happy Stitching!

First Friday Finish 2019

Happy Friday!

My first finish of 2019! We purchased a new coffee table which means I have one more place to display quilty goodies!

I wanted to make a simple table runner with snowman faces, I found something I liked, no pattern or tutorial but figured it would be easy to make.

snowman face table runner

Matching coasters…. embroidery design purchased from Itch to Stitch.

snowflake coaster set

Happy Stitching!

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