Saturday, October 31, 2009


Since my honey got me a memory card with an extraordinary amount of memory for my camera, I have waited too long to get my photos onto the computer. Here are two of the simple quilts I made last spring.

The one for my Dad is done in quilter cottons and pillow cases. I chose the toile because it reminded me of his farm--the sheep, the trees:). It was the first time I dropped the feed dogs and did any free-motion quilting. I need loads of practice, but I thought I could try on the toile trees and the stitching is doing the job stitching does. Is it beautiful? No, but it hides nicely in the foliage:).

The other is the one I entered in Park City Girl's quilt festival--now you can see both sides in-full. I so love the colors and designs in this Hello Betty! I love the big blocks, too.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

My Fabulous Sister-in-Law

More than once, I've mentioned that my brother's wife is an amazing designer. She works as a stationery designer, though she has designed packaging and signage. She could just as easily design interiors, textiles and re-organize your life. I admire her skills and her penchant for order. The company for which she works has a little retail store. If you're in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area (or even if you're not--they are on-line) the store is full of paper fun! So many fun gift items and all the perfect things to create invites, love notes, thank yous, etc. If you are thinking about holiday parties or gifties, click on their logo above, or of course, you would walk into the store on Main in Stillwater, Minnesota.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Tree Quilt Block Tutorial

tree quilt block 9
Originally uploaded by hmsohly
Admittedly, I'm a quilting novice. You may, very well, find an easier way to do what I've done. These were my steps and I hope you find them helpful. I've just begun a little project I'm calling Blue Christmas and thought I'd share how to make a basic block from it. I think it might make some pretty bits for someone else--pot holders, winter scenes, etc. I hope it is helpful! Here is the link to the photo tutorial at Flickr.

Monday, October 19, 2009


Originally uploaded by hmsohly
My little girl isn't a baby anymore. She is wearing a shirt I made on for her big brother. I love the vintage patterns. I have sweet giraffes and elephants waiting for babies who need something stitched. I've been sewing away. . . too many projects and I need to finish them. I have a couple of gifts finished and others started. Yes, I'm in holiday mode around here. I have a feeling you are, too.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Gail Pan WIP

Originally uploaded by hmsohly
Though still not complete, I wanted to share where it is as it comes together. Please excuse the wonkiness of the photo--my little boy did his best:). Gail Pan was kind enough to share her designs. I finished mine a little smaller so it could hang on our wall. I'm just so happy with how it is coming together. The sashing is red print I had left from Candyland Christmas. Each block stiches up very quickly. You could make one as a pillow for your home or a gift, or you could make just your four favorites and create a smaller wall hanging. I'm looking forward to quilting and binding this one.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Hello Betty Quilt now at Home

Park City Girl is hosting her second on-line quilt festival. I've been enjoying the work others do and commenting--mostly thanking them for inspiration. Then I thought, I'll help some newcomer feel good. This big block of Hello Betty by Moda is what I sent along for my sister-in-law's birthday. It was simple--use a layer cake to border a big cut of a favorite pattern and you're almost done. The other side has a center made of layer cake blocks and is bordered by brown. What I love is that it is on her couch in her livingroom.

This was my second quilt. I love that while I was basting it, my daughter found a marker and left her own little impression. Quilting has taught me to embrace imperfections. I'm certain, many manage the perfection required of the intricate patterns, but I'm better with the charm or the strip. I do my best and I make it with love. I know my mother would be tearing out pieces that I let stay. Her work would be perfect. Her quilts would be amazing. My quilts are the best I can do right now.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Fake Applique Pillow or Is a Fat Quarter Considered a Scrap?

Last week I noticed a tear in one of our familyroom accent pillows. It was an Ikea cover we've had for a few years, and though I still liked it, I was ready for something new. I had purchased a fat quarter of something yummy and thought--yes, this could work out there. Here is what I did.

Cut an 18" square of the fat quarter and the cotton batting scrap I had on hand.

Pin baste the fabric to the batting.

Using my walking foot, I outlined each circle.
With quilting the pillow front complete, I cut two 11" x 18" uncut courduroy pieces from scrap. I finished the long enge of piece by double-folding a 1/2" and sewing with a straight stitch. On the other, I attached the balance of the fat quarter so the back of the pillow would have some to the front design. I finished the edge of the patterned piece in the same way--double-folding 1/2" and sewing with a straight stitch.
By placing the latter piece right-side together with the quilted piece and the other back piece overlapping the first piece, you can make a pocket pillow cover. Now pin all items in place. Sew the perimeter of the cover together. I double-stitched the overlapping back pieces to provide more stability. Turn the right-side out and insert a pillow. WE LOVE THIS! I think I need to make two more:).

More Scrappy Bookmarks

To show you how quickly these come together, here are some bookmarks in red, blue and cream. Making them is a little like eating potato chips or sewing nine-patch blocks.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Scrappy Bookmarks

Somehow I developed a special love for bookmarks. I don't have a collection or anything like that. Still, I admire them. Certainly, it stems from I know Anna Maria Horner shows a wonderful way to make bookmarks that have embroidered borders. If your scraps are bigger than mine, her tutorial is wonderful.

To make mine, you'll need scraps that are between 4 an 5 inches wide. Sew them together into a length that suits a bookmark. If you have big hard cover books, longer is great. If you have smaller paperbacks, shorter is better. Add to the scraps, a piece of stiff interfacing and a piece of ribbon if you like. Now let's put it together.
1. Cut your scraps to size.

2. Seam your scraps together.

3. Fold in half, match seams and sew the the length.

4. Turn your tube right-side out.

5. Cut interfacing to fit your tube size.

6. Insert into tube and cut to size so you can finish the ends.

7. Add a ribbon, if you like, by cutting a length, folding it in half and pinning it inside the top of the tube with 1/4 inch turned in to finish the edge. Turn the bottom edge in 1/4 inch to finish that edge.
Sew around the permimeter of the bookmark to finish it.

You can make a pile of these quickly and they are great gifts or additions to book gifts.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Stem Stiching and French Knots

While at Paper Zone, I saw a stamp that I just loved. My mother had always had a thing or Queen Anne's Lace. The stamp reminded me of that sweet cluster of flowers. When I got home, I sketched up three stems on some tea stained muslin I had. With a stem stitch and so many french knots, I didn't count, I had this sweet pillow for my living room.

If you feel drawn to something, please feel confident in your ability to sketch it and make it.

Hope you are finding inspiration for your own crafty fun.