December 28, 2012

Snowflakes for Sandy Hook Elementary

The Connecticut PTSA will be creating a winter wonderland in the school to welcome Sandy Hook students back after winter break.

Want to help?

Stitch up a free-standing snowflaks on your embroidery machine.

Need a pattern?

Embroidery Library is offering one of their designs for free.

Send snowflakes to so they arrive BY January 12, 2013:

Connecticut PTSA
60 Connolly Parkway
Building 12, Suite 103
Hamden, CT 06514

Happy Stitching!

October 21, 2012

My Bernina 750 QE has arrived !

I am so excited. It's a wonder I have slept. Why, you may ask. Well, my new Bernina 750QE has arrived.

I have been saving for quite some time, trading in a Bernina 185QEE and with thinning the herd (aka selling my multiple machines on ebay) I was able to buy the new machine without having to take out a loan or use a credit card (whooo hooo!). My herd now consists of a Viking 910 Serger, Bernina 350 PE (3/4 size machine) and the Bernina 750QE.

Word of warning, when picking up your new machine, be sure to bring a car with lots of room. The 750QE came in two boxes that filled up the back of my Dodge Journey (a mid-size SUV) with the third seat down. The largest box, which held the machine itself was at least 4' x 4' x 4'. The embroidery unit came in a second box that meaured 4' x 4' x 16". The size and packing are by no means a negative. A true positive. They are well-packed, with all accessories, manuals and cds easily identifiable.

So glad my hubby saw me packing and shipping several machines ahead of time, or I'm sure there would have been a dicussion on what the heck I thought I was doing.

I'm off to play with the machine. Have a craft show on Nov 4th, for which I need to sew sew sew.

Stop back for my review of the Bernina 750QE.

August 21, 2012

An Historical Quilt - Texas Civil War Museum

On our recent vacation to Texas, we visited the Texas Civil War Museum. This great find, included many displays, divided by "north" and "south", and had everything from guns, clothing, uniforms, utinsels, musical instruments and more. But one item I thought my readers would enjoy was a quilt they had on display in their Texas Confederate Collection.
Click HERE to visit the Texas Civil War Museum

While a very simple pattern, I have to remind myself of the time it took to piece this quilt by hand, not to mention the time and ingenuity it took to find fabrics, and enough of them, to make this quilt.

Here are a few close up shots. In the event, I decide to replicate, I took these to have a reference for the fabric color and pattern (if any).

We are quite spoiled with our computerized sewing machines and other tools and notions that allow us to piece a quilt in record time. Look closely to the points in the piecing. Can you get that precision in your piecing? Not me. I have to use my seam ripper quite often. Enjoy this look at a time gone by.

August 20, 2012

MY Grandmother's Flower Garden

When my grandmother passed away, the family came together to move her things out of the Assisted Living. Among her things were a few quilts she had made. While the quilts went to my aunt, in the things my mother, aunt and uncle had set aside for me was a box of sewing odds and ends and some fabric scraps. Actually quite a few fabric scraps. I've had them for over a year now, and had tucked them away until I found a project in which to use them. I was leaning toward using them and making a scrappy quilt. But felt there was a more intersting pattern to use. So there in my fabric stash they stayed.

A few of the scraps and leftovers from my grandma's quilts.

And a few more leftover fabric scraps.

There were even a few scrappy nine patch blocks. I will be incorporating these into the backing and using a quilt label to be sure the story of "MY Grandmother's Flower Garden" stays with the quilt.

An Angel in Disguise

I travel for work and usually spend a couple hours layover at Chicago O'hare. This trip was no different, except the gate was smaller than usual. There was no opportunity to place that empty buffer chair between me and another traveler. SIGH! A grandmotherly-looking woman asked if the seat next to me was taken. She sat down, made a quick call on her cell phone, and pulled out a sewing project. I didn't pay much first. As time passed I realized she was hand-piecing blocks for a quilt. I struck up a conversation and found out she was doing English Paper Piecing. She talked about her project, where she got her hexagon templates and the things she had learned along the way. She was making a quilt following an historical pattern called "Grandmother's Flower Garden". It was then I realized what I was going to do with the scraps of fabric from my grandmother. I was going to make MY Grandmother's Flower Garden.

Want to more about "Grandmother's Flower Garden"?
Click HERE to visit, a website with lots of quilting history.

A boarding announcement boomed from overhead, and in a flash the kind woman was gone. We said a quick cordial good-bye and wished each other safe travels, but I never did get her name, nor where she was from. Thinking back, I believe that she was placed there to give me the inspiration of how to use my grandmothers fabric. Thank you, whereever you are.

The Adventure Begins

So last night I embarked on my adventure. I sorted through the pile of scraps, pulled out a few pieces of fabric, gathered my needles, some thread and a scissors and of course grabbed the package of hexagon templates (I ordered them online right from the airport), and sat down with the family to watch a movie (and stitch). The first couple hexagons were awkaward, but soon they began to fly together. I had 'pieced' or rather made enough hexies to make two (2) flowers.

Die Cut Hexagons purchased on ebay from seller sunshinequilter.

While my plan is to make all the hexies I need first, I decided I had better try my hand at piecing them together. One by one, the first six hexies made their way around the yellow center. WOW! That was easy. I now need to decide whether my flowers will be the six hexies around a center, or if I will expand them one more row to make a larger flower.

In today's morning light, I see I need to work on my whip stitch to ensure my threads don't show. But no matter, I, like many of you, have gotten the bug. They are addictive. Hand-piecing really makes me feel as though I've accomplished something.

This will be no Eleanor Burns, "Quilt in a Day", that is for sure. I'm shooting to complete the top within a year. We shall see. But there is something special about doing things the 'old-fashioned' way. And add that I'm using fabric from MY grandmother. This will be something very special.

Happy Stitching!

August 19, 2012

Back in the Saddle Again

It has been quite some time since I've posted and even longer since I've done any sewing. But with a couple Block of the Month (BOM) kits, an upcoming Grandmother's Flower Garden class at a local quilt shop and a new sewing machine, I was ready to get back at it. I'm back in the saddle again.


I signed up for the Love Letters BOM at this time last year. I faithfully picked up my kit each month, picked up the finishing kit and had yet to start a single block. What better way to get back to stitching again. Fabric chosen for me, complete instructions and no daunting piles of fabric, I could just deal with one block at a time.
It feels good to be piecing again. But I find myself being the perfectionist. I use the frog stitch (rippit rippit rippit) quite often. As the day went on, I found I wasn't a picky. I'll have to use my quilting to cover the piecing issues. But if that's all I have to worry about, life ain't so bad. And even better, this one is for me. Most quilt projects are for a gift or sewn for others. But not this time - I'm keeping this one for myself.


After working my way through several machines that just did not live up to that perfect stitch on my first Bernina, I decided to buy myself a machine that I could take to class and use as my main machine at home. I put the Viking 835 and the Bernina 185QEE up for sale on ebay and hit our local quilt shop, Heirloom Creations. After identifying the key items I wanted in a machine, including needle up/down, portablity, a solid straight stitch, a good light and basic quilting stitches, I landed on the Bernina 3 Series, the Bernina 350 PE. This is not a full size machine, and many would wonder why I chose what would be considered a beginner machine. Well, it fit the bill. It has 150 stitches, including a blanket stitch It has an automatic buttonholer. And to tell you the truth, I don't miss mind the smaller machine. Simply, it's just plain cute. Stay tuned for updates and a full review of the Bernina 350 PE.