Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year

2011 is almost over. My hope is that 2012 will be a much better year!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

My Grandaughter is a new quilter!!

This is a very long post with lots of pictures. It is the story of my grandaughter Leah's first quilt made in the summer of 2010. I should have posted this long ago, but here it is... 
Wednesday Aug 4th - My grandaughter Leah wandered into my sewing room to see what I was doing. Looking at my sewing machine, she asked "what's this button for"? I told her I'd show her and had her sit down at the machine. I brought down a box full of scraps like the ones they used to play with when she and her brother were little and she started to pick through them. She wanted to know how old I was when I made my first quilt. I said I was 16, the same age as she is now. She asked if she could sew some of the scraps together and, from that innocent beginning, her first quilt was born!
She sewed together 12 crazy pieced blocks. I helped with pinning, pressing and trimming.  It was wonderful to work along with her and teach her about this "thing" I do and love! She made up a few different layouts with my help and decided to do her blocks 'on point' with sashing strips between.

Thursday Aug 5th - We figured out the sizes of the corner triangles that were needed to surround the center piece of each block, I cut them and she sewed them on. We went hunting through my stash and found a red fabric for sashing and borders but I didn't have enough black for her plan. She also decided that the setting blocks were going to be purple so, that meant a trip to the fabric store. After supper, we cut the borders from this funky black and white print she picked and sewed them on. She worked until 11  PM and got the white borders added on two sides of her blocks.

Friday Aug 6th- Leah went to the sewing room by herself and started pinning and sewing the last border strips to her blocks today. I'd barely finished checking my email and she was done all of them. I got busy and cut her red sashing strips. Then, she was back in the fabric closet looking for something for the cornerstones. She picked a yellow/lime green. Wow... it makes the sashing pop! I cut the purple for the setting squares, side triangles and corner triangles and she put it all up on the design wall. Here is what it looks like now.

Saturday Aug 7th - Today Leah started off by joining cornerstones to sashing strips, then sewing the sashing pieces to the quilt blocks. She moved on to start joining rows of blocks to make the quilt top. I've been helping by pinning and pressing then running back and forth to the design wall (in the next room) with blocks. We got about half of it done before this G'ma was played out! I'm sure she would have LOVED to sew all night...

Sunday Aug 8th - She finished sewing the main portion of the quilt top together!! Now, to decide on the borders and cut them. Using some of the leftover scraps, she decided on a narrow black and white border, then a white a bit wider followed by the widest border in the red with the black and white binding. I still had enough of the red and white but, we needed more of the black and white print.
Monday Aug 9th - Back to the fabric store for another .25 of the black and white print. I cut the strips for the borders and Leah joined them all into one long length. She measured and cut the first borders adding a little cornerstone of green.

Tuesday Aug 10th -  Today, she measured and cut the second borders from the white fabric and added another green cornerstone to each corner. (That was the last little bit of green that was left!)

Wednesday Aug 11th - Today we tossed around ideas for the corners on the final red border as she doesn't want to have the red as a frame type border. She decided on nine-patch blocks. I cut the squares for her and she assembled her four nine-patch blocks for the corners of the final border.

Thursday Aug 12th - Finished sewing on the final border today! Went hunting today for something to use as a backing. We checked the thrift stores for a sheet but didn't find anything she liked at either thrift shop. We went into the "Bargain" store and found a brand new 200 thread count poly-cotton sheet for $7.00 that she liked so we went with that. I also bought a set of pillowcases that she can customize with some borders to match the quilt. Also, went back to the fabric store for some batting as I didn't have a piece large enough on hand.

Friday Aug 13th - Discovered today that the sheet is not quite long enough. She picked out the top hem only to discover that it was a separate piece. I cut a couple of strips of purple and some red which she pieced onto either side of the 'hem' piece she had removed. Then, we sliced the sheet about a third of the way down and sewed in the pieced section. Now, it has some added interest and is long enough! (Sorry - I didn't get a picture of the back!)

Saturday Aug 14th - Today she did the final pressing and trimming threads on the quilt top then, after taking all the furniture out of the dining room, we laid out the quilt on the floor so she could pin baste the layers together. She finished the job around 11PM with the help of her girl-friend who was staying over. Moved the table and chairs back into the dining room so I hopefully won't be bumping into them anymore... (I kinda forgot the table was there in the living room a couple of times and have a bruise that matches the purple on her quilt!)

Sunday Aug 15th -  She started her machine quilting! Worked on sewing a line a quarter-inch or so in from each side of all the sashings.
Monday Aug 16th - Continued with the machine quilting. Got all the sashings stitched along both sides and the border stitching completed.

Tuesday Aug 17th - Leah is working very hard getting her quilting finished as she has to leave for home tomorrow! She used different widths of tape to mark her stitching lines and worked for 8 hours on it today! She also discovered what happens when you get your finger too close to the needle...
Wednesday Aug 18th - Finished the last of the quilting! Trimmed the edges and sewed on the binding. Leah will finish the hand stitching on the binding at home. Here is the final picture taken just before she had to leave.

What a super job on your first quilt Leah!! I am SO VERY PROUD of you!

Circular Knit Dishcloth

This pattern is taken from a much photocopied, old typewritten pattern that has been in my possession for over 25 years. There is no authors name on it. Following is what is written on that original pattern. Any changes or additions for clarification done by me will be shown in purple.

A VERY UNIQUE and serviceable dishcloth, the directions may be confusing at first. Just remember to TURN when it says TURN. The stitches remaining on the left needle are supposed to be there. They make it form a circle. I use mine under my teapot. Not only does it look pretty but it protects the table from the heat and any dribbles from the teapot. 


Sugar'n Cream Yarn Ombres - Strawberry Cream OmbreMaterials:  1 skein (ball) Lily Sugar 'n Cream cotton yarn
Knitting needles #9 or #10 (equivalent to 3.75mm or 3.25mm - US size 5 or 3) I use a 3.25mm

Cast on 15 sts.
Row 1 - Knit
Row 2 - K 3, YO, K 11 (1 st left on needle) TURN
Row 3 - Knit
Row 4 - K 3, YO, K 11 (2 sts left) TURN
Row 5 - Knit
Row 6 -  K 3, YO, K 11 (3 sts left) TURN
Row 7 - Knit
Row 8 - Bind off 3 sts, K 2, YO, K8 (4 sts left on needle) TURN
Row 9 - Knit
Row 10 - K 3, YO, K 8 (5 sts left) TURN
Row 11 - Knit
Row 12 - K 3, YO, K8 (6 sts left) TURN
Row 13 - Knit
Row 14 - Bind off 3 sts, K 2, YO, K 5 (7 sts left) TURN
Row 15 - Knit
Row 16 - K 3, YO, K5 (8 sts left) TURN
Row 17 - Knit
Row 18 - K3, YO, K5 (9 sts keft) TURN
Row 19 - Knit
Row 20 - Bind off 3 sts, Knit all sts to end (you should have 15 stitches)

REPEAT ROW 1 THRU' 20 7 TIMES more (for a total of 8 sections - this is different from the original instructions)
Row 1 - 20 forms 1 section of the dishcloth. Completed original dishcloth has SEVEN* sections. I do 8 sections in mine to get it to lay flat. Yours may lay flat at 7 sections. When last row is completed, Bind off and sew seam.

If you have any problems following this, please let me know!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Triangular Thread Catcher Tutorial

My little fabric Triangle Thread Catcher sits beside my chair in the living room and also travels in my on-the-go project box. Because of the shape, it sits nicely on any flat surface or even on the dash of the car! It folds up nice and flat even when there is a fair amount of thread in it. It has solved the problem of having threads or even 'dog ears' all over the car and my clothes when I stitch on the road or at home.

They are simple and easy to make. There have been a few people asking for instructions to make one of my little Triangle Thread Catchers so, here goes!

  • 2 pieces of fabric at least 10" square (left over layer cakes would be great!)
  • 3 buttons or pins
  • 8 1/2" x 11" piece of paper to make pattern
  • quilting ruler at least 12" long

Making the pattern:

We are basically creating an equilateral triangle that is 9 1/2 inches on each side. (If you feel comforable, you can use your cutting ruler with the 60 degree angle and cut directly on your fabric.)

1.  Lay paper with the long side towards you and measure 9 1/2" starting from the corner on the left. Make a mark at 9 1/2 inches at the edge of the paper. 

2.  Fold paper in half aligning the mark you made with the left edge. Crease a line along the fold. (I have marked the crease with pen so you can see it more easily.)

3.  Use the straight edge of your ruler to measure 9 1/2 " from the corner mark to the center line. Put the 9 1/2" mark on the ruler at the mark on the right. Swivel the ruler until the end of it meets the center crease that you made. Mark along this line.

4.  Now, mark a line from the left corner to the top center in the same way.

                      5.  Cut out on the outer line and you have your pattern.


1.  Lay your fabrics on your cutting mat with right sides together.


2.  Place pattern paper on top and align your ruler along one edge of the pattern. Cut.

 3.  Repeat aligning ruler with pattern edge and cutting for the other two sides.


    1.  With right sides of the fabrics together, place a few pins along all three sides. I like to use 2 pins close together to indicate where I will be leaving an opening - sort of a stopping/starting mark.

    2.  Using a 1/4" seam allowance, sew around the three sides pivoting at the corners and leaving a 3 inch opening in the center of one side to use for turning.

    3.  Trim the fabric close at each of the three points.

    4.  Turn right side out through the opening.

    5. Use a needle or a point turner to work the corners to a sharp point. Work gently so you don't push a hole through the points. I like using a needle best but take care not to work too much and fray out the point. If either should happen to you, just turn inside-out again and resew at the corner and then try again.

    6.  Carefully work the edges flat and press. Press the edges of the opening under 1/4" on each side.


    7.  Top-stitch around the triangle about 1/8 inch or less from the edge - this will also close up the opening you used to turn it. (I missed doing this step on one of mine and it turned out OK too. Just be sure that your opening will be totally closed by the next step.)
    8.  Hold one long edge of the triangle and fold in half meeting the points.Then, fold the top point back to meet the bottom fold to find the center between the points and the fold and put a pin in to mark the center. This will be the end of the joining seam.

    9.  With the lining fabric sides together, top stitch the sides together on top of the previous top stitching from the fold up the side to where the pin is placed at the center point. Back stitch at both ends of the seam. 

    10.  Repeat this with the other two sides.


    Fold each point down and secure with a button or pin in the center of the flap. I have used 3 different buttons on mine but have also used orphan earings and old tie pins.

    I hope you enjoy this little project!

    If you make one or more of these, I'd love to see it! Add your name and the link to the actual post (or picture in Flickr) showing your Triangle Thread Catcher. Or, you can always email me a picture!

    Wednesday, August 24, 2011

    Coming Soon - Triangular Thread Catchers

    I am currently working on the tutorial - watch for it here very soon!!

    Edited Sept 2/11 - You will find the tutorial HERE.

    Wednesday, August 10, 2011


    Not much for quilting, sewing or knitting news to share but a bit of a "life" update...

    I have been working in a small town about 1.5 hours drive to the west of my home for the past three months or so. Because of the distance, I have been staying with my sister (who lives nearby) through the week and then going home just on weekends. During the week in the evenings, I have been also working on books for my daughter's pizza business. The books had gotten months behind so catching that up takes up most of my evenings. The weekends have become the time to catch up on laundry, mail, bills, yardwork and any shopping to be done. As you can imagine, that has not left me much "fun" time for crafts of any kind. Hopefully, I'll get those books done soon!!

    I had every intention of selling my home and moving there so I'd be closer to work. The fact is, I need to move into a less expensive home or condo. It could be located anywhere as I am not tied to living in any particular place. Since I was working in a small town, homes are much lower priced so it would work out well.

    Last week, I was told I had finished my probation and was hired permanently. I had already been pricing out homes here both in newspapers and online. I've been driving around town too just taking a look at what has "for sale" signs out front.

    On Monday, the woman who told me last week I was hired permanently called me into the office and said that they were letting me go at the end of August...  The reason? I haven't put my house up for sale or bought anything here yet and she is "afraid" that I may not sell and that I'll decide to quit once winter comes...  HUH???  I tried to assure her that I had plans in place and that I could stay with my sister for as long as needed until I was able to move. She would hear none of it... so, I am once again out of work as of the end of the month.

    Crappy, huh?? Now, I have to start looking all over again and hope to find something I like as much as this.

    Thursday, March 3, 2011

    Here an Ort, There an Ort

    Everywhere an Ort Ort! I've been seeing this word being used around the net and thought I'd find out more. It turns out that I have a lot of these and didn't even know it! You probably do too. Do I hear you saying, What on earth IS an ORT??

    First, I found an explanation by Sweet Pea Stitches saying that 'ort' was an acronym formed from the words 'Old Ragged Thread'. Then, I Googled its definition and found several listings for the word 'ort' all of which were some form of the following (taken from TheFreeDictionary):
    ort (ôrt) n.
    1. A small scrap or leaving of food after a meal is completed. Often used in the plural.
    2. A scrap; a bit.
    Most definitions alluded to the term having to do with food. I believe that, as quilters, sewers and embroiderers, thread IS like food to us. Without thread giving life to our craft, it would not exist. That makes it exactly right to use 'ort' in our 'scrap of thread' context.

    Back when I used to demonstrate machine embroidery at sewing fairs, trade shows or in my shop, my Ort Collector was a brandy snifter into which I dropped all my Rayon embroidery thread tails. Besides looking pretty, it kept all the orts off the carpet making for easier clean-up at the end of the day. The brandy snifter was emptied and retired when I closed my shop as I'm not doing very much machine embroidery these days. I am, however, doing lots of hand stitching making Klosjes, doing English paper piecing for my Diamond Stars and appliquéing on my Joseph's Coat blocks.
    This little fabric Ort Catcher sits beside my chair in the livingroom and also travels in my on-the-go project box. Because of the shape, it sits nicely on any flat surface or even on the dash of the car!

    It folds up nice and flat even when there is a fair amount of thread in it. It has solved the problem of having threads or even 'dog ears' all over the car and my clothes when I stitch on the road.

    Ort Catchers for Quilt Canada 2008
    I learned how to make these several years ago when I spent the winter in the lower mainland of BC. I joined the Chilliwack Piecemakers Guild and they took on the task of making these little Ort Catchers (although nobody called them that at the time) to be given to people attending the 2008 Quilt Canada event. Maybe you received one?
    The link to make this is on my Project Tutorials Page