Monday, March 24, 2014


Focus, or rather lack thereof, is a problem for me this week.  I have too many quilty things I want to get done so I am making just about no progress on any of them.  Some are old projects, some are new, some are not started but definitely swimming around in my head with the rest, some are sewing, some are blogging, some are pattern writing…

In no particular order, here’s a peek at the competing projects, some of which you have seen before.


1. Seeing Stars needs:

  • a backing
  • basting
  • machine quilting (no clue what to quilt here!)



IMG_77892. Vintage Sparkle needs:

  • a pieced border to continue the sashing stars into the border
  • a plain border to frame everything
  • prairie points
  • a backing and basting
  • hand quilting



3. As yet unnamed Christmas quilt

This one just jumped up on my wall with a mind of its own last week.  It’s the same layout as Sparkling Strings so I can test cutting directions for a possible pattern. It needs:

  • cutting setting strips
  • piecing
  • basting and machine quilting


IMG_78614. Baby quilt for hubby’s co-worker needs

  • cutting
  • piecing
  • backing and basting
  • quilting

(but I do have a plan and the fabrics are pulled!)


Top complete 2014-03-185. Kaleidoscope quilt needs:

  • basting (I don’t have clear space to manage it right now, but soon I hope!  The backing is pieced and waiting)
  • hand quilting




6.  Two table runners

These are way down on the priority list but I have the pattern designed and the fabrics selected! One for summer and one for fall…maybe summer and fall 2015 at this rate!


7. A few non-sewing but quilting-related projects competing for attention:

  • stash maintenance chores (but that’s a whole post’s worth all on its own!)
  • I’m thinking about a new page for the blog: how about quilt math reference tables?
  • 3 or 4 patterns I could write, if I can wrestle required diagrams into submission

8.  Sleep

I’ve gotten tired just thinking about all these, so I’m off to bed.  Maybe after a good night’s sleep I’ll be able to prioritize things and make some progress on something!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


Forty blocks with 8 points on the edges and another thirty blocks with 4 points on the edges add up to way too many points to match!  Let’s just say the assembly of the kaleidoscope quilt slowed to a crawl and I sewed just a few rows each day.  This was not happy quilting, but I will say that in the end it was worth it for the final result.

Top complete 2014-03-18

The flimsy measures measures 69” x 93”, which is a generous twin size.  It also made my two kids, who are now both taller than me, feel short.  They had to stand on chairs and raise their arms up to hold this for me.  You wouldn’t believe the cries of “Hurry up and take the picture!  This is heavy!”

I need to piece a simple back then pop into the quilt shop for some black batting before I can get this basted.  I plan to hand quit this one so I’ll have a slow stitching project to work on in the evenings.  I think I know what I want to quilt on it and I’m impatient to get started.  Hubby has the car today, though, so the batting run will have to wait until tomorrow.

Linking up with Linky Tuesday at Freemotion by the River

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Pondering yet another border

IMG_7801After deciding on a border for Vintage Sparkle (not actually making the border, just making a decision) I was ready for a change so I switched back to the kaleidoscope quilt. Over the last several days I finished sewing the block halves together for the center, then sewing them into rows. 

Today I stopped procrastinating and figured out how to cut and add the black halves of the edge blocks.  I taped a template to my ruler, cut the odd shape, held my breath and sewed it to my pieced half units.  It worked!  I’m not sure now why I was so worried about it.



I added all the blocks to the design wall and ran right into another border decision!  Here is what I had planned out in EQ7:

MKK points border

I really liked those grey points on the screen and on paper.  I liked that they looked like a pieced border but in fact were just grey corners added to the edge blocks.  I still like the look on the screen, but in actual fabric in actual size…not so much.  The points just seem to overwhelm the curve illusion on the edges.

I’m glad I pinned a few grey triangles to the blocks in the design wall to audition the effect before actually sewing them on, because it makes it a lot easier to change course.  Here are some other options I’ve come up with.

MKK green borderMKK blue borderMKK grey borderMKK rainbow border

Right now I’m drawn to the last one on the right, but I will let my son choose as it will be on his bed.  I guess I’ll have to wait until tomorrow before continuing.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Joining binding strips

Recently I made binding for a group project and instead of using my favourite bias tube method I had to use strips that someone else had already cut.  The group needed a lot of binding and I really didn’t look forward to marking and pinning all the strips before sewing then having to go back and individually trim all the seams to a 1/4” allowance after sewing.  Happily, I had just cleaned out my filing cabinet and stumbled upon the instruction manual for my corner trimming tool. Wouldn’t you know there was a suggested method for joining strips on the diagonal!

It worked so well that when I decided to make a scrappy binding for Sparkling Strings I used the same method and took pictures to share.  I just found them again, so here is a tutorial on using the corner trimmer to skip the marking part of joining binding strips.

Here is my new favourite tool. This particular one is by Marti Michell but I believe other companies have similar tools.


Start with cut strips (cut along lengthwise or cross-wise grain, or along the bias if you want bias binding).  I find 2 1/4” or 2 1/2” wide strips work well for double fold binding on most of my quilts.



Step 1.  Trim one end of each strip using the corner trimming template as shown above.  You can save trimming time if you stack several strips to trim several at once.  Four strips stacked together is usually my limit.  If I cut too many layers at once I find the fabric slips and I don’t get accurate cuts in all the layers.


Step 2. Rotate the strip 180 degrees and trim the other end the same way.  The cuts at both ends should lean the same way,  as shown in the picture above.  The don’t have to lean left as I have them here, as long as all the cuts on all your strips lean the same way.


Step 3. Match up the end of one strip with the end of a second strip, right sides together as shown above.  The blunt end of the point on each strip will line up with the side of the other strip to position the fabric perfectly.  You can pin these together if you wish before sewing along the diagonal cut with a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Note that I have used different colored strips to make a scrappy binding, but of course you can use a single fabric.



Step 4.  Press the seam open.  Continue adding strips in this way until your pieced strip is as long as you need it to be (usually the combined length of all the sides of your quilt, plus 6 to 12 inches).


Step 5.  To make double fold binding, fold and press your pieced strip lengthwise, right side out.


Ta da!  Double fold binding ready to apply to finish your quilt edges. 

I have also been using the corner trimming tool to help me trim the ends of the binding so they meet “just so” when I’m binding a quilt.  I haven’t twisted the binding once since I started doing it this way. I always managed to twist it before, sometimes twice before I got it right!   I took pictures of joining the binding ends. I’ll try to share those in the next week when I find time to write the directions.

I can’t believe I’ve had this tool for years (it came free with a magazine) and only now got around to reading the instructions and using it to its full potential.  Oh, the frustration I could have saved myself.