Sew Frou Frou Quilter

Spreading warm wishes one quilt at a time…


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Stash swap

So this year the local guild that belong to decided to do a monthly blind swap of 12 -3.5 inch squares.  Every month, we get a random bag of 12 squares from someone else and by the end of the year, we will have a finished quilt.  These are the charms I received in December:

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IMG_0518Did I mention that this exchange was with my traditional guild?  No pearl bracelets here:).  (Of course, I didn’t give out any mirror ball dots or AMH squares either.  I chose a traditional looking charm pack  from my stash and cut 12 blocks down to 3.5 inches).  I’m hoping this exercise helps me grow.  Some of the quilts that I find most beautiful have some odd fabric pairings.  I decided to pair the red and blue squares with a scrappy selection of tan/cream and white fabrics and make HSTs for now:

IMG_0517That lower right fabric is Osnaburg (a linen looking cotton).  I have seen some beautiful quilts made by Jacquie Gering and Katie Pedersen using Osnaburg so I have been stalking JoAnn’s  for months and finally found some.  Have you ever tried it in your quilts?


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A little bit of this and a little bit of that

My loops aren't even on every side but since this is really the first time I've done anything other than a stipple since June, I'm okay with that.

My loops aren’t even on every side but since this is really the first time I’ve done anything other than a stipple since June, I’m okay with that.

In addition to working on my bee block, I have been trying to get my SkillBuilder quilt completed.  I was hoping to get it done by the Jan. 19 deadline but I still have 16 blocks left to quilt and  borders and sashing to piece.  Although it is very tempting to just stipple everything so I can finish, this quit is more about the journey and actually learning skills so I am not going to rush it.  With that in mind, I went a little eclectic in my fmq of the em-dash block:

Pebble practice

Pebble practice

More pebbles

Loopy pebbles

Some loops which I obviously need to practice because they aren't symmetrical at all

Some loops which I obviously need to practice because they aren’t symmetrical at all and I haven’t tucked in my loose ends yet.

I thought I had taken a picture of the feather I did–half of it looks pretty good; I realized after doing one side of the feather that I needed to put the presser foot down (ooops) so there will be ripping.  I think I will try a flower in the peach.  The quilting is going so much better than it was in June–apparently working with the right tools (bobbin washers, thread holder, pink teflon thing, gloves, extension table) makes a big difference!  You should really check out the group on Flickr–there are some people that have  amazing talent.

Last weekend, I also made my first block of the Sew Kitschy BOM (designed by Kristy @ Quiet Play).  I used the orange and blue DS Quilts fabric that I have been collecting.    I think I need to buy some varied shades of solid orange and blue fabrics to break up some of the prints  as this turned out a little busier that I wanted it to be.

Potholder and oven mitt in DS Quilts fabric

Potholder and oven mitt in DS Quilts fabric

I was going to make it in aqua and red but realized that I have barely any red.  I have maybe 5 reds and none of them coordinate.  This is beyond incomprehensible — my favorite color is red.  How is it that I have not been buying red?  Obviously,  I NEED to make buying red fabric a high priority.  Any suggestions on some awesome red fabrics that I should purchase?


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Kona White, white clothes and white shoes

Can you see it?

Can you see it?

I avoid having and using all 3 of these things.  I don’t like buying anything white.  It will get dirty.  Whenever I do buy something white, it inevitably gets something on it by the end of the day and it’s not that I’m more careless or messier than the next person, but I can’t keep white things nice.  It doesn’t help that I live in the rust belt/limestone belt of the nation either.  Anyways, as any good phobic person, I try to stay away from bright white (except for my brief delusion that white kitchen cabinets would be divine with 3 kids).   I will buy  cream, Kona Snow, and off-white items though.   So imagine my dismay when the first block asked for by our Stash Bee hive mama, Heather,  called for a bright white background (ugh).  I can do this, I thought.  It’s just one block-I’ll do it real quick, ship it off and  everything will be fine….

The block is a paper pieced Kite/Mill and Stars block.  It’s really nice.  I unfortunately used a glue stick to keep the fabric on my paper and then scorched the glue when I was giving it a final press.  I’ve dabbed it with water but I can still see the scorched glue so I will be making a second block and not using glue this time–wish me luck or I’m going to have to go buy more white Kona.


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Starting the year out right

Project Endeavor 2014 is starting off well.  Of course, snowpocalypse is partially the reason I am getting so much done right now.  I finished my hubby’s pillow and my friend’s water bottle carrier (yes, they were late for Christmas but I finished them instead of putting them away for next Christmas).  First – the leg lamp pillow:

My version of the Leg Lamp pillow designed by Sarah Bailey of Sew What Sherlock.

My version of the Leg Lamp pillow designed by Sarah Bailey of Sew What Sherlock.

When I first saw that Sarah Bailey at Sew What Sherlock was designing a leg lamp pillow, I was giddy.  My husband has threatened to buy a leg lamp for years and now he has one that has my stamp of quilty approval.  I used Kona for everything except the shoe and garter belt which was a lacy print from Moda’s Little Black Dress.  I even added cheap nylon netting over the leg Kona like Sarah suggested.  This pattern is Awesome–go get her free pattern here.  As some of you may know by now, I kind of decide to do awesome things at the last minute (like this pillow) and then realize that I’m in over my head.  I only had a few paper piecing mishaps–not using a big enough fabric piece  here and there which I ended up patching in as another piece and mistakenly layering the netting in the wrong order when I sewed the leg –but I was able to get it all pieced in an evening.  (I added the “Fragile” to the side using scrapbook letter stencils to cut letters out of fabric which I glued on and then stitched around when I quilted the pillow.)  In fact, if I hadn’t completely forgotten to buy matching threads to quilt it, my husband may have actually received this pillow on Christmas Day.  Ok, maybe not because it did take me some time to figure out how to sew this zipper in the back of the pillow too–I found a great tutorial for that here.  I suggest that if you make this pattern into a pillow, put some sashing around the entire block so you can actually see the shoe.

The second project was a water bottle carrier that I made for a friend at work.  When I saw this boston terrier voile fabric by Kokka, I knew I had to buy it and make Staci something.  The easy answer would have been to make a cute voile scarf but Staci isn’t a scarf wearing kind of girl.  Staci has recently started volunteering with an animal rescue organization and devotes a lot of time on the weekend going to Pet Smart and trying to get abandoned pets with good families.  Staci is also a pretty thrifty person too so I know she takes her own water with her and since she’s kind of a germ freak, I know she’s not setting that bottle down just anywhere–thus, the perfect gift which she can use while volunteering and walking her own BT dog, Preston.  I used the pattern from Kathy Mack at Pink Chalk Fabrics which you can find here.  This pattern is super easy until you get to the part where you have to sew the circle in at the bottom–that was a bear.

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I have also finally finished piecing all my Skillbuilder blocks and have borders on all of them now.  I may be optimistic in thinking I can get that done by Jan. 19 since I still have 17 blocks to fmq, and borders to make/quilt for it and I am waiting for 4 more yards of background fabric  to get here ( don’t you hate it when you buy a unique color of Kona at JoAnn Fabrics and they don’t order another bolt just in case you run out?–perhaps I should re-think my aversion to using Kona white).  I’m not counting on the fabric getting here until next week since over half the state is still under lockdown due to the snow.  I’ll save the Skillbuilder for it’s own post since it pretty much consumed my entire year-but here’s a glance at the most recent fmq attempt–not great but at least it’s not full of eyelashes on the back.  I still need to tie in some threads and quilt the dotty fabric–I think Alyssa did pebbles but I think a nice feather would look good…

My loops aren't even on every side but since this is really the first time I've done anything other than a stipple since June, I'm okay with that.

My loops aren’t even on every side but since this is really the first time I’ve done anything other than a stipple since June, I’m okay with that.

Goodness, a week in and 2 finishes–Project Endeavor may be just what I needed.


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Trying to catch up on my BOM blocks

I finally took a break from the Mystery Quilt or as I affectionately call it “Jinxed”.  I decided I was rushing and making too many mistakes.  As much as I would like to finish something, I want to be happy with it too so I’ve decided to catch up on my Skillbuilder blocks. –I’m a tad behind.

So here is the Shattered Chevron–it took me way longer than it should have.  That happens when you have to re-do just about every seam you sew.  The only part of this block that worked for me was making the HST’s 8 at a time–the only way to make HSTs IMHO.  I love the look of HSTs but trying to get my machine to sew over all those seams, that’s another story.  Surprise!  I made a mistake on this one too and I’m not fixing it.  I know that sounds like a poor attitude but I kind of like the triangle effect in the bottom row so I’m keeping it.

The "modified" Shattered Chevron from Pile O'Fabric's Skillbuilder BOM.

The “modified” Shattered Chevron from Pile O’Fabric’s Skillbuilder BOM.

So, you know how you look at the back of some people’s quilts and they have those perfectly pressed seams?  Mine never look like that–I pin, I press every seam and starch the heck out of it but still it’s not pretty.  What am I doing wrong?

Next up is the Broken Arrow block.  It’s an improv block so I’m sure that I will enjoy it a lot more.    Hopefully, it won’t take me as long to catch up on these next blocks.  I hope your sewing time has been more productive.


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Double Digits

made by my mom

made by my mom

So let me start out and say that I did not make this pillow.  It was made by my mom.  She made it for my son’s birthday yesterday.  Isn’t it awesome!  Mr. H loves it, he’s been carrying it from room to room to use ever since.  He did have one criticism about the pillow–it has 2 football players that are Tom Brady on it.  (My son is a huge Peyton Manning fan).  I wouldn’t have known so I know my mom didn’t know–they just look like generic football players to me.   So, you are all forewarned–if making a pillow for your little or big football player–take note of the players you are fussy cutting from the fabric.

the back of the pillow

the back of the pillow

So today Mr. H turned 10.  It’s hard to believe that my little cutie boy isn’t a baby anymore (although he’ll always be my baby as long as I’m alive).  He’s my favorite boy of fall.

Mr H at his game-they won!

Mr H at his game-they won!


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I’m just giddy with this idea

Last week on IG (note that I’ve now become completely addicted to Instagram), I saw a teaser for making your own text fabric by Latifah of the Quilt Engineer blog.  My first thought was “cool, I don’t have to search all over for the perfect text print”.  But this weekend, I had one of those lightbulb moments that well, just made me giddy.  It’s what I love about quilting–that feeling that you have just come up with the most amazing idea. Do you feel that way too?

My idea involves Lil Bee.

Her eyes light up over paint.

Her eyes light up over paint.

She loves to make art and she does so in large doses.  Note the 6 paintings above that were done in probably 30 minutes.  I love that she wants to create things-it makes my heart warm and fuzzy.  That being said, I’m constantly finding art littered all over the house.  A few weeks ago, I finally convinced her that we couldn’t keep it all (I know, I felt like the biggest ogre but I honestly don’t want to be on a episode of hoarders a couple years from now).  So we went through and picked her favorites that we would definitely keep and hang up in the toy room like

She put this one in the school art show--it's called Crazy...

She put this one in the school art show–it’s called Crazy…

The rest we took pictures of so that we could burn them to a CD or perhaps make a book on Shutterfly.

So anyways, I so want to encourage her creativity and nurture her interest in all crafts.  She so wants to be involved in my quilting/sewing and Latifah’s idea of making your own text fabric got me to thinking.  I could have Bee draw her own pictures on fabric with fabric paint/fabric markers and we could work together to sash all her masterpieces into quilts and give them as gifts to her grandmothers for Christmas.  Heck, it doesn’t even have to be an entire quilt, we could make coasters, hot pads, or placemats with her artwork.  I’m really excited about this idea and so is Bee.  I think it will be a great way to ease her into sewing.

So what do you think?  Stay tuned to see how this works.


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More blocks for the SKillbuilder BOM (almost) finished and a recipe

They still need borders and fmq but I’m calling it a finish for now.  As noted in previous posts, my sewing machine and I have been butting heads when it comes to FMQ.  So, I am concentrating on the blocks for now and will get to the quilting once I’m caught up.  Yes, I’m still working myself up to tackle the EPP block again.  I like paper piecing but I’m definitely having issues  with having enough fabric for a 1/4 inch seam allowance for the finished block–does anyone else have this problem?  I’m going to have the fix the Geoswirl for just that reason–I needed a 1/4 inch around the entire block so added 2 strips but forgot to account for the fact that my biscuit strip needed to be longer.  I may just take those 2 strips off and make my border strips bigger to account for the 1/4 inch-I haven’t decided.

GeoswirlHere is the GeoSwitz

Not sure how I feel about this block.  I may have gone overboard with the orange!

Not sure how I feel about this block. I may have gone overboard with the orange!

So the next blocks that Alyssa is going to have us do are the broken chevrons and broken arrow.   The broken arrow looks fun; I think the chevrons will be time consuming but not so much as the woven chevron was.

So I promised a recipe.  I made these last night (I did not take a picture of it)–Oven baked onion rings.  They were delicious!  I sliced up a vidalia onion and dipped it in egg and the dredged it in a mixture of Parmesan cheese and some cajun spice.  I put them on a baking sheet coated with olive oil and baked them for 40 minutes at 450 (turning them over at 20 minutes).  The kids actually ate them.  I don’t know about you but that is a constant struggle at our house –finding something remotely healthy that all 3 kids like.  It was SO nice to have a peaceful dinner full of yummy remarks rather than whining (it almost made up for my day at work).  Another plus, this fit into the recent sugar reductions that I have made with my diet.  So far, I have gone 5 days with no sugar and/or sweeteners passing my lips.

This is completely off-topic but Janice Zeller Ryan’s post here about Instagram convinced me to give it another try.  I had it on my old phone but I felt at the time it was eating up my battery (may have just been my lousy phone) and I felt a little weird about some of the bloggers I was following (I felt like I was spying on them)-but hey, I guess if they want to put it out there for everyone, why should I feel uncomfortable about it.  So anyway, I’m giving it another try–I am sffquilter and most of my stuff will be quilty/sewing.  I put most of my family stuff on my personal Facebook page and a few things here on the blog that I want to document in more than a sentence.  So what are your thoughts about Instagram?


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a finish

I’m done with this “simple” baby quilt.  I say simple with a snort because this quilt and I seemed to fight each other every step of the way.  (perhaps my looming birthday is spreading it’s bad karma to make sure I recognize that I am another year older).  I had such high hopes for this dear little fabric; maybe that’s why I’m disappointed with this finish.  You may recall that I initially had planned to do a Schoenrock cross quilt and decided after doing a test block that I did not have enough fabric to make this fabric shine and showcase the little red riding hood girls.  I probably should have done another star ala Jeni Baker of In Color Order but I wanted this quilt to be really girly with big loopy flowers quilted throughout.  It wasn’t meant to be though what with my fmq headaches. So I made do with straight line quilting.

Nicole's Baby Quilt Front

I think I like it better than the front.

I think I like it better than the front.

The main fabric on the back is an Alexander Henry dot--I think it was from a Christmas line.   It's red with irregular pink dots.

The main fabric on the back is an Alexander Henry dot–I think it was from a Christmas line. It’s red with irregular pink dots.

The stats:  36 x 41

Pattern (front):   a free tutorial from Allison at Cluck Cluck Sew

Fabric  Aneela Hooey’s A walk in the woods, Alexander Henry Dot, Kona Iron,  White embroidered dot fabric (I don’t know who this is by)

Binding:  English Swing by Timeless Treasures.

Thread:  red variegated cotton by Gutterman.

This is my first finish for 2013 (and it’s June…)  I’ve got a lot to do if I want to get all that I have planned for this year done.


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Robot Star Quilt

Some good friends of my husband just had another baby -their second boy.  I was thrilled that they had a boy because that meant I finally have a use for the Caleb Gray robot fabric that my son did not want for his quilt.    I love this fabric and have been anxious to use it. (I was ready to make a girl quilt though with some Walk in the Woods fabric by Aneela Hooey though if I had to.)

I used the Vintage Star Tutorial by Jeni Baker of In Color Order.  I followed it loosely –I made my blocks 10 inches and I just went on my own with colors and just used what I had that went together.  This was my first time doing HST’s.  I think the top went together pretty quickly all things considered.  (Does anyone else hate actually cutting their fabric?  I’m always worried that I’m going to mess up and I never find that my squares look even after the first cut.  There’s definitely something to be said for pre-cuts.)  I now recognize why some people press their seams open.  I did press the seams open for the HST’s but pressed the seams within the rows to the side thinking it would be easier to nest my seams–so needless to say, I have some very bulky points in the middle of the star.Star layout

Lil Bee was very excited about this quilt and has many “better” ideas for the next robot quilt that I make.  I’ll show you the finished top in my next post.