Batik Scrap Quilt Finished!

DSCN0890[1] There isn’t anything fancy about this border, but the BEST part was finding a great batik backing in a complementary pattern.

DSCN0891[1]Don’t you just love the little circles?  The colors are a perfect match, and I quickly attached the binding – no hand stitching on this one.  I attached the binding on the back, then folded it over to the front and did a machine stitch all the way around – SEWEASY!

What do you do with Scraps?

Make another quilt!  The left-over fabric from a queen sized Tennessee Waltz quilt I made a few years ago is the perfect amount for a small quilt.

scrap strips
scrap strips

As you can see, I have a batik with greens and blues, some red with a flower pattern, and white strips too.  My first thought was to do something with the strips sewn together – like a Lone Star or something, but I also had a bunch of left-over half-square triangles.DSCN0792As you can see, this creates some more possibilities.

I decided to go with the triangles, and made this using just the white and batik!


I stopped at a small size; 23″ X 28″ and have enough batik and white strips left to do something interesting with the border, starting with a 2 1/2 inch strip of white – then I’ll add another border.


Presidents Day Project

I had a bag of red, white and blue pre-sewn fabric strips sitting….wait, you’ll never guess –  in a box which was in a closet down in the basement for ohhhhh, about a year.  Just waiting to be made into a patriotic quilt for a local Quilts of Valor group.

width of fabric strips – sewn in groups of 3

The only thing that each of these strip sets has in common is that they are composed of three different fabrics, and that they are all mainly red, white and blue.  The width of the individual strips varies as well as the seam – so making anything with exact matching was completely out.


For this project,  I modified a pattern that makes use of fabric strips and decided to go with a completely scrappy look.


The strips had to be sewn together to get a width of 12.5 inches.  I then cut the strip sets into 12.5 inch squares.  This required quite a bit of squaring up since the strips were a bit wobbly – but I can’t complain – someone had sewn the sets together for the QOV group as their gift of time.

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Two 12.5 inch blocks are then placed right sides together but with one of the two squares turned a quarter turn so that the stripes are perpendicular to each other.

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This 12.5 inch block is then sewn together along the 4 outside edges of the block with a 1/4 inch seam.


Once the seam is sewn all the way around the block, the large 12.5 inch block is cut into 4 blocks.  To do this, I place a ruler from corner to corner and cut first one way, then from the opposite corner to corner making an X cut through the center of the square.


The triangles from this “X” cut are pressed open at the seam, and the resulting 4 blocks ( from the original 12.5 inch square) each have a unique pattern.  You can see that the stripes switch directions in the middle of the block.



DSCN0851 I decided to go with a random pattern when putting all of the blocks together, so that with the variation in strip width and variation in fabrics, the scrappiness – is that a word?- would work in the overall pattern.

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The resulting quilt has 36  twelve inch (finished size) squares in six rows of six.  While not in a specific pattern, it has some continuity as the strips end up forming square shapes or “arrows”.  For a border, I used the left-over strip sets created by the QOV group.  Unfortunately, they were not long enough, so – again scrappy and a bit hodge-podge, but all in all a good day’s work.


It is my wish that this finished quilt keeps a deserving veteran warm and cozy!

To find out more about a QOV group near you, the requirements for quilts, and how you can help, click the link:

Good Luck with your project – let me know how it turns out!



Fun Project

DSCN0757I  picked up a quick pre-cut kit for making a “playtime” quilt in a cute little quilt shop while vacationing in Wisconsin.  The fat-quarter friendly project of Safari Playground prints went together in no time at all.

completed playtime quilt

You can see that I have a bit of fabric left after using the striped fat quarter for binding.  What to do?  …….a quick stuffed animal project or soft book to go along with the play-time quilt………. Any ideas? Send them my way.


Here is a close-up of the binding. I love the stripes!


The pre-cut package included 7 prints and enough fabric for the top and  binding.  Backing was not included, but fortunately I was able to find the same fabric line at my local shop.


Adding a Binding Edge to the Antique Quilts

So, this is how I attach binding to a quilt – it is pretty easy after you have done it a couple of times –

I started with using the extra backing fabric from the two antique quilts I had sent out to the long arm quilter.  They always give you the remaining backing and batting from the project to use on another project or for doing a binding in the same fabric as the backing – that is if you bought enough!

After organizing the backing remnants, I am ready for the first step.

extra backing fabric

The first step is ironing to get the fabric free of wrinkles before cutting with the rotary cutter.

Cutting 2.5 inch strips
Cutting 2.5 inch strips

After ironing on a cotton setting with steam, I fold then cut off the rough edge about 1/4 inch so that all of the cuts from that point will be square.


I first cut a 5 inch strip, then sub-cut 2.5 inch strips.


The 2.5 inch strips are then sewn right-sides together at the ends in order to make one long strip that is 2.5 inches wide.


This long strip is then folded in half length-wise and ironed before joining to the top side of the quilt.

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I like to start sewing the binding onto the quilt about halfway down one of the sides.  I leave about 5 inches or so of binding unstitched as this will be necessary for joining the end of the binding in the last step.


I sew the binding on without pinning- EEK!  To do this, I just lay the ironed binding flat on the quilt top with the fold to the inside of the quilt top and the edges lined up with the finished edge of the quilt and sew away.  I use the regular foot and a “heavy” setting for fabric on my machine with a stitch length of 2.5.


When I get to the end of a side of the quilt, I stop about 1/4 inch away from the corner,  lift the needle, and cut the thread.

stopping 1/4 inch from the edge
stopping 1/4 inch from the edge
folding at the corner
folding at the corner

I then fold the long (not sewn on yet!)end of the binding strip up perpendicular to the current side, and then fold back down again along the new edge with a fold at the top of the new side.


This technique leaves a fold at the top of the new side with a corner of fabric tucked into the fold which will allow you to get perfect mitered edges on both the front and the back of the quilt at each corner when you turn the binding to the back for hand stitching.

The last step is a little tricky, but thanks some excellent online tutorials, I think I have gotten the hang of it.  Go ahead and click on the link!!!! it really helps!


As I am sewing down the last side of the quilt (back to when I started) I stop with about 5 to 7 inches of edge unsewn, then leave 10 inches of folded binding material unstitched. I find a place between the two ends of the binding edge where I would like them to meet! – Say hello to the beginning and the end of the binding strip!

At the point where they meet, take the extra binding from the starting edge and fold it back on itself – this is on the right side in the photo above.  I take the extra binding from the left side (where I just stopped) and fold it too, with the folds of both sides meeting in the middle of the 5-7 inches of un-sewn edge. See the picture above for this step.


I cut the fabric on the right at the fold, then measure 2.5 inches from the fold on the left and cut there.  If your binding width is different, then add that amount to the end of the binding strip before you cut.  I just use the unfolded binding as a tool for measuring here.  I will cut the long end of the binding one binding width from the fold.  In the picture below, I would cut the bottom fabric at the point where it meets the right edge of the top fabric where my index finger is pointing.  This gives me the perfect measure of fabric for an exact fit along the edge. See the picture below.


Now, take the right sides of the two binding edges UNFOLDED and place them perpendicular to each other and sew diagonally across the “T” to make a single piece that is the perfect length for your quilt. I would sew these two pieces together as they are placed below, starting at the bottom and sewing diagonally up. Click here for a tutorial.


Once you have sewn this seam, trim away excess fabric ( the triangle on the right in the picture below) and re-fold the binding strip in half length-wise again and press that piece.  This length should fit exactly along the side of the quilt if you have measured carefully.


Now, just place the last bit of binding on your quilt top edge to finish attaching the machine stitched top edge of the binding – see below.

– BUT we’re not done yet! It’s time to hand stitch the binding to the back of the quilt.


I fold over the binding from the front of the quilt to the back and use a matching thread with tiny stitches that won’t be too easy to see.  One of my favorite brands of thread is Gutermann.


This part takes awhile, so grab a cup of tea and sit down with your favorite music or TV show on – I can generally get this step done in an evening.

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This is the folded binding  at the corner.  I stitched to the end, and then fold the binding down on the next side, keeping a fold of fabric in the corner again.  This fold then makes a perfect 45 degree miter.


Now, I stitch up the fold and then work down the next side of the quilt – attaching the binding to the back using small stitches with thread that matches the binding.


This is a close up of the hand-stitched binding edge on the back.  This piece is now complete –


– Let me know your thoughts about your favorite binding techniques and if you are a 1930’s fabric fan like me.


Adding New Life( Backing and Binding) to an old Quilt

Cleaning Closets and found this!
Cleaning Closets and found this!

My SIL found two old – I’m guessing from the 1930’s partially finished quilt tops while cleaning out her mother’s closet this summer.  What a find!  Each of the squares was hand stitched, and the squares were joined by machine.  I volunteered to have them long arm quilted, then set out to find some backing and binding material that would seem as though it belonged with the original fabrics.  As you can see, the background muslin fabric has changed color a bit with age, but the fabrics have stayed in tact with no fraying or holes!!

Backing Fabric
Backing Fabric



I found some soft yellow and orange that looked like a good match for the colors in the top and picked an open pattern for the quilting template.  I also picked a white cotton batting – a natural or unbleached batting would show through.

Machine Quilted  - no yinding yet
Machine Quilted – no binding yet

After picking up the two quilts, I used the extra backing fabric to create bindings.  The process is pretty simple, so I’ll show you how I did it in the next post.


BTW – if you have any idea on the vintage of these beauties, or like the 1930’s style your self, let me know!


Faded Blue

New life for old jeans

New life for old jeans
New life for old jeans

O.K., so I admit that I am a saver – of many things including old jeans. I save my old jeans when I am “ready”  to stop wearing them ( did they shrink in the dryer??) and I try to save my family members old jeans……AND I even asked my sisters to send me their old faded jeans too!  I hope they keep sending them to me.

It isn’t because I have a desire to be featured on the next episode of the television show Hoarders,  it’s because I have wanted to make a quilt out of old blue jeans for quite some time now – I just haven’t found the right pattern OR look OR time.  So the pile of jeans sat in a bag in my dining/sewing room for a while.

– The bag sat while I started and finished other projects and just couldn’t put the bag away.  I kept thinking about how and what to make, and having the bag of jeans in the room kept this future project simmering in the back of my mind.    Oh, AND did I say that I have also been wanting to make a cathedral window quilt for a long time too –

Continue reading Faded Blue

Pillow Talk


Do you have old or dated pillows sitting around  – or are  you wanting to change-up a room look without hiring a decorator?  Re-covering pillows is an easy way to sew up a new look without breaking the bank.

DSCN0523[1]Start by measuring the pillows you want to cover, then cut 2 pieces of fabric just a bit larger than that measurement.  I cut these two pieces 1/2 inch larger than the 15 inch pillow size –  so 15 1/2 inches on all sides for a square pillow. The extra fabric is used for the seam allowance.  I used a 1/4 inch seam on all sides to get the most out of my fabric.

Sew the two pieces of fabric along the edges.  Be sure to keep the right sides of the fabric together, and leave an opening along one side large enough to slip in your pillow.  For this 15 inch pillow, a good 5 inch opening along one side will work.

After sewing the 4 sides together 1/4 inch away from the outside edge, turn the fabric right side out, stuff it with your pillow form, then whip stitch the opening you left in the side seam closed – and you have a finished pillow! Easy – right?


If you want to do a super easy modification of that pillow cover, you can add a flap in the back of the pillow, and sew all the sides together – you won’t have to leave an opening in a side seam this time.

Sewing with this modification makes it much easier to take the pillow form in and out of the cover for washing.  The added piece of fabric along the edge is called a placket, and  I think it adds a nice finished look with out too much effort.  You can even add buttons to the placket for an added accent.

Check out this great tutorial online for a pillow with buttons on the placket.

To sew on the placket, just cut one of your two pieces of pillow cover fabric in half – right down the middle.  This cut piece will be the pillow back.

Next fold over the cut edge on one of the two halves at least 1/4 of an inch. Sew the 1/4 inch piece down, then press this seam.DSCN0532[1]

Take the other back half, and add a strip of fabric to the cut edge.  I added a 4 inch wide piece of fabric the same length as the pillow back.  Simply fold this strip in half and attach to the pillow back fabric, aligning the raw edges to the right side of the second piece of the pillow back.  Press the seam with the added fabric folded out as you can see in the picture below.


Now it is time to put it all together!  Place the two halves of the pillow back fabric onto the pillow front fabric with right sides ( pretty side) of the fabric facing each other, and finished edges of the pillow back pieces placed in the center.  These will overlap now since you added fabric.

Special Note:   Be sure to place the piece of fabric with the folded 4 inch fabric strip on top of the pillow front fabric first, so it will cover up the edge of the other back piece when you turn the work right side out after stitching.

Pin the back pieces to the front piece, then stitch along all four sides for a square or rectangular pillow and turn the completed pillow right side out through the center opening.


I did an extra zig zag stitch around all four sides to add some strength to the seams.


Now, stuff the pillow through the opening and you have finished another pillow!


You can stop with just one, or keep going with coordinated fabrics for a whole new room look in no time at all!


This pillow above became that pile of pillows below- and it only took one evening and one morning of sewing- I literally bought all the fabric yesterday afternoon and I was done sewing before noon today.  And……. it’s not like I spent the entire time sewing either.


Now, I have all of these great coordinated fabric scraps left that may just end up as room accessories like coasters or even a scrappy patched pillow.  Sew, now it is your turn to try it out yourself and share your pillow pics with me.



Scottish Highlands

View of the Firth of Forth from Princes Street in Edinburgh, Scotland

Second stop on our trip – Scotland.

Edinburgh has some great shopping and gorgeous gardens as well as historic buildings – as in a castle originally built in the 12th century in the middle of town –  and museums.  The city is clean, beautiful and easy to walk around if you don’t mind hills that make it easy to work off  a haggis meal.

Scottish Thistle
Thistle – The symbol of Scotland

The thistle in this picture was too perfect to pass up while walking through Princes Street Gardens, a public garden that is beautifully kept and full of people walking, picnicking, climbing the Sir Walter Scott Memorial, and generally enjoying themselves.

Princes Street Gardens Roses

I know there are no signs of quilts yet – but there were amazingly well planned flower beds and roses everywhere that could inspire a future quilt or wall hanging.

Scottish Tartan and Wool

Edinburgh has plenty of wool and tartan( no quilt shops that I saw however) and I really wanted to get a bolt of that excellent woven fabric, but again a lack of suitcase space kept my charge card in my purse.

Sterling Castle

On a sight-seeing day trip outside of Edinburgh we visited Sterling Castle and Loch Lomond – this being July, one would think that shorts and a t-shirt would be fine, right? But in Scotland, this day had a high temperature of 65 degrees Fahrenheit.  Now I know why they need so much wool.

Scotland Highlands

We ventured into the Highlands from Loch Lomond, walking up what felt like a 45 degree angle hill in order to see the Loch from the official highlands region of Scotland.  I felt like I could have been in a forest in the Pacific Northwest. The view was amazing!  Perhaps these giant ferns will provide some additional inspiration for future projects of the knit or sew variety.

Loch Lomand
View of Loch Lomand near the Oak Tree Inn

Stay tuned for our third  and last stop on the tour  …… I did manage to find a couple of souvenirs there to serve as cushions for my tea cup and saucer.

London Finds

Changing of the Guards
I’ll give you three guesses about where I took this photo –  write and tell me the location if you know know it – and if you have been there too!

This month, our family vacation took us across the pond for a visit.  Our trip first family trip overseas celebrated the milestone that both of our children are now officially university graduates – yes!  Keeping my hobbies and this blog in mind, I had a plan to try and visit quilt and knit shops in each country we visited – between museum visits and site-seeing of course. I’ll share what I found in my next few posts.

Our first stop was England where we spent all of our time in and around London.  There is so much to do there and so much left to see – the next time! It is a bustling city made even more so with our timing Wimbledon going on, the Tour de France, and all the pubs showing the World Cup.

While staying in London, we visited Buckingham Palace, the London Tower, the British Museum, Arsenal Football stadium, and took a Thames River cruise! We were able to do most of our traversing the city via the London Tube which is quite an experience.  In addition, we walked everywhere, it is a surprisingly easy city to navigate if you have a map!  Of course shopping was on the itinerary, and we found great little shopping areas in Greenwich near the National Maritime Museum and the Prime Meridian where GMT time is set each day.  We also wandered a bit on the cobblestones of Camden Passage to shop while in London.

vintage tea cup

It didn’t take much looking through boxes of china at one of the many vendors set up in small storefronts along Camden passage, before I found this gorgeous tea cup and saucer to bring home as a souvenir.   I could have come home with a box of these little treasures, but my suitcase was already dangerously close to the weight limit, and I didn’t want to break anything. Now, I’ll have a nice cup for the Earl Grey I picked up at The East India Company flagship store on Conduit Street in London.

loop knitting

While contemplating tea cups and patterns, I found Loop; an adorable knit shop, so  I stopped in to see what a London knit shop looks like.  They have loads of yarn in all colors and weights, with two levels of shopping.

Loop Knitting
I decided at that moment that I would pick up wool from each country we visited as my souvenir.

As for Loop, it is a quaint two story shop with places to sit and knit and plenty of yarn to choose from.   They are on the web – so you can order online if you wish! The women working at the store were courteous and helpful in pointing me toward something that I hadn’t seen in shops here in the states,  as they could see I went for anything with England or UK on the label – and I definitely did not sound like a Londoner.  While there were several local choices, the yarn I chose from Loop is a 4-ply fingering weight, hand-dyed merino/silk blend in a yummy colourway called Oak from Yorkshire.  The supplier is Eden Cottage Yarns, who also sell online!  I have 400m of this soft yarn to knit into something fun  – probably socks this fall.  Let me know if you have any ideas for me.