BOM Calendar Begins Today!

Numbers Happy October 1st, Everyone!

Today is the first day of our “Mosey Through The Year” BOM Calendar.

An important part of any calendar is the numbers, and that is what we are going to focus on this month. A pdf document with directions may be found by clicking here at

Photos of the number-making process, below:

A few notes:

***The directions call for stiffener. I used Pellon Fusible Fleece, and it was perfect. It gave the stiffness I needed, with a little thickening power to give the numbers that quilted look.

***The most tedious part of this step is turning your numbers. I did it while watching television, and it worked fine. Take your time, use a sewing tool meant for this purpose, or a dull pencil.

***When you sew the velcro on the numbers, have the velcro go from left to right across the back of the number, not up and down. Cut the velcro just a hair shorter than the width of the number square, and as you sew the topstitching it will catch into place and secure it.

Feel free to comment below as you work on your numbers. Post a photo on your blog or somewhere online and let us know how you are coming along. We’ll love to see your color choices and hear any comments/suggestions you might have along the way.


Paper Lanterns 2009

If you have been following my blog over the last year, you know how much I’ve struggled with this quilt. It should NOT have been hard. But I used metallic thread, and as much as I love the shimmer of the gold on the quilt, I hated sewing with it and would probably not use it again. If you click on the photo below, you can see a larger version of it.

Cudos to my hubby for rigging up a quilt hanging system in the basement so I could get photos of even my largest quilts. This is not a big quilt, but it’s nice to get the whole quilt on one wall for pictures. Now to get better lighting so it doesn’t look washed out. The colors aren’t right… the wall is yellow.

Paper pieced Japanese taupe quilt
Machine quilted on a Pfaff Hobby Grand Quilter
Next Generation Frame


Last Chance! BOM Calendar Starts on Thursday, Oct. 1st

Some of you might know that from the mid 1980’s until the early 2000’s, I worked as an elementary teacher / principal and university instructor. I’ve taught all grades 1-8 and at the undergraduate and graduate level.

This fall, my grandson Jacob started kindergarten. One of the fun things early elementary classes do every day is sit down in front of a calendar and talk about the days. It helps them learn how to count, recognize numbers, and learn about the months of the year. Teachers usually use a grid that allows them to lay out each month’s numbers and shift the numbers for the next month. Take a look at these two photos:

This gives you some idea of what I’m talking about.

Our Block of the Month calendar is roughly based on the same concept, and our calendar will have a changeable picture at the top, one for each month of the year.
If you have little ones living at home, or grandchildren who might also be learning their numbers, this might be a fun project for you, although you don’t have to have little kids to use the calendar. I will be giving the calendar and the January block to Jacob and Samantha for Christmas, then sending them the next month’s picture/block in time for each new month throughout 2010. I’d love to have you join with me!

Directions will begin this Thursday, October 1st:
October will get our numbers ready
November will get the background ready
December will get January’s block ready
January will get February’s block ready, and so forth.

Please let me know if you will be joining us in this fun project, and an address for a blog or site online where you can post your pictures each month.

It’s almost time~ I’m getting excited!

Want to be notified?

Do you want to be alerted when a quilt show is coming your way? How about when something exciting quilt-wise happens? Or maybe you want to know about car shows in your area? Whatever it is that you want to know about, Google Alerts can notify you every day about what you are interested in. It’s easy to set up a Google Alert. Here’s how.

Go to the Google Alerts website. If you do not have a Google account, it is required to set up an alert, but it is free. Follow the directions on the home page of Google Alerts. In the bottom right corner, it says:

Don’t have a Google Account?

  1. Create your account, and return to the Alerts website.
  2. Enter your email address and password.
  3. Find the button that says NEW ALERT and click it.
  4. Enter your search terms. I put in “Medallion Quilt” in quotations so I am notified of websites that have Medallion Quilts.
  5. Choose what you want Google to send you. I put Comprehensive, so Google will send me everything it finds about Medallion Quilts.
  6. Enter your email address
  7. Click to create alert. It’s that easy!

Now every day – or how often you asked – Google will send you an email with websites that have what you are looking for.

How fun is that?!?!?


Preparing for Hand Quilting

Even with quilt shows displaying tons of machine-quilted quilts, there are still a lot of quilters who quilt by hand. I see photos online all the time of quilters crawling around assembling their three-layer quilt sandwich on the floor. OMG, why? I have been hand quilting all of my quilting life, which has been since around 1975. Here’s how I do the same thing, which is much easier on the back and knees. It does require a little investment of money at the start, but after that, it’s free and ready.

What you need:

  • Four one by 3 boards – I have various sizes, but you can determine the length you need most and then buy that. If you are lucky, you have a husband who is a woodworker who can supply them for you. Thanks, Dean!
  • A fabric tube as long as each of your boards (don’t go buy something unless you feel like it. None of mine match, and many are made up of leftover cruddy fabrics. Your finished tube should be about 3 inches wide.
  • A staple gun with staples
  • Four 3 inch c-clamps (see picture below)
  • Four chairs with straight backs (or something like what my Dear Hubby made me – see pictures below)
  • Little brass pins, and lots of them (No, do not buy the larger silver pins. They will rust. Invest in brass in bulk. See picture of my very dry hand, below.)
  • Your finished quilt top
  • Your choice of batting
  • Your backing, at least 8 inches wider all around than your quilt
  • Quilt thread
  • Needle
  • Thimble
  • Coffee or wine, depending on the time of day
  • Round or oval quilting hoop for use on your lap

Using a staple gun, your four boards and the four fabric tubes you have made, Staple a tube on each board so that at least an inch and a half of the tube extends beyond the edge of the board. See photo. Notice how this isn’t rocket science? Perfection does NOT matter here. I did take a huge marker and write the lengh of the board on the end to make life easier later on.

Find a space in your home, garage, outside, etc. that is large enough to work in. Set up four chairs facing each other in a rectangle larger than your quilt. Balance your boards on the backs of the chairs so that the fabric flap is on the inside of the rectangle. Use your c-clamps to loosely secure the corners while you measure and square everything up. It is VERY IMPORTANT that your corners be square, and opposite sides measure the same distance. When everything is square and measured correctly, tighten down your c-clamps.

When I started quilting, my husband made me these neat gadgets to replace the use of chairs (Windsor-back chairs don’t work, since the back of them is curved.)

Lay your backing across the boards wrong side up. Begin pinning at one of the corners of the frame, working your way down one edge. Stop, then do the OPPOSITE edge the same way. Pull tight, but not too tight. Repeat with the other two sides. You should now have a trampoline for a fly. (Note: cats love it when you have made this trampoline. Ask me how I know. Keep your cats out of the area! )

Spread your batting on top of the backing. Smooth it out as you go along. If you have patience, you will let the batting rest on the backing over night. If I use cotton batting, I take a spray bottle of water and lightly mist the entire batt. It seems to help it relax and get rid of the fold lines.

Place your quilt top over the batting right side up. THIS IS IMPORTANT: Stretch your top a little to square it up. Measure your sides, look for square corners. Pin along the edge of the quilt top every inch and a half. This is the most important step here, so make sure you don’t hurry through it! With a needle and thread, sew-baste along your pinned edge through the top, batting and backing. Do NOT sew through your fabric tube on the frame. Again, I know this from experience, and I am happy to share this tip with you for no extra charge. Remove the straight pins as you sew around the edge of your quilt.

Using your little brass pins (remember, the finer the pin the smaller the holes they make), pin through the sandwich every 3-4 inches all the way around the frame and as far into the middle as you can reach. Your pins will last you a lifetime. Find a pretty container to keep them in.

When you can’t reach to the middle of your quilt to pin anymore, it is time to roll the quilt from one end. Using one of the sides that has a board ON TOP of the other two boards, release the C-clamps and a few pins from around the edge of the boards. Roll under tightly, then c-clamp back into place. See bottom photo. When the entire quilt is pinned, you can remove it from the frame.

The bottom photo shows my latest quilt after it has been rolled a few times. I have purposely not shown the quilt top so as to not distract you from your lesson, and so that the recipient will not see it before it is given.

In the materials list above, I mentioned that your backing should be at least 8 inches wider all around than your quilt? That is very helpful if you will be quilting in a hoop on your lap. You want straight edges on your quilt that do not wobble. This extra fabric (and batting) will allow you to quilt the edges much more easily.

Hope this helps… and saves your knees!


Another Quilt Comes to a Close

FINALLY, I am at the end of my Paper Lanterns quilt. I know, you’re sick of hearing about it. It’s been on my frame for months, and it’s not that large of a quilt! I was running out of ideas for quilting the lantern portions, but I only have three more to go, and they will be done tonight. YAY!

I think this is my favorite of the patterns used in the lanterns. It’s just so easy to sew, all free-form and innocent-looking. With any luck I will be able to post a pic of the finished quilt by Sunday. Finished, as in with binding. Hopefully.


Stress and Quilting

De-stressIf you are visiting my blog, chances are pretty good that you are a quilter. Why do you quilt? Is it because you

  • Enjoy the creative process
  • Need a “blanket”
  • Need an outlet for relaxation
  • Can’t find anything else to do

  • For most of us, the first three choices all fit (although you are stressed when someone calls a quilt a “blanket”!)

    Stress can do terrible things to your body. Here’s a good article to learn what stress does and how your body handles it.

    When are you most stressed? What do you do? I do two things: eat and quilt. If I don’t have something to stitch by hand, I go nuts. Absolutely nuts! In the cold months, that means I need to have a quilt in the process of being quilted. In the warm months, that means that at any point in time that I want to stitch something by hand, I need something portable that I can take with me to the deck, in the car, to the lake, etc. This week I am in the process of preparing a quilt for quilting for those cold fall days in Michigan.

    Are you ever stressed WHILE you sew or quilt? I have learned that not all stitching is stress-free. Sometimes things go wrong. Pieces do not always line up. My brain does not always function the right way, and sometimes I do stupid things and realize them as soon as they are done. I’m good for two problems in a sewing session. I’ve had to learn that after correcting two problems that I have caused, it’s best if I turn out the light and walk away. By telling myself that the sewing gods are busy working with someone else and not me, the stress is removed and I go on to something else. It used to really bother me. Now, I just sigh, say “OK, now is not the time,” and stop.

    How do you handle stress? Talk to me. It’s a good outlet for your frustrations. Click on comments below and release your tension.


      Moving Day!

      We spent the day in Ann Arbor moving my son and his fiance’ into their new house! As first-time owners, they get the $8,000 tax credit from the Obama plan. Yippie! 5 vehicles, 8 people, 3 trips, 4 pizzas and one small dog, but we got it done. They are tired, hot, dirty but VERY happy!


      Lots of Great Things in Flint, Michigan

      I just returned from spending the morning in downtown Flint, Michigan. Yes, you read that correctly. Downtown Flint Michigan. Today is the last day of the Flint Festival of Quilts, all located in buildings downtown Flint. Downtown Flint is undergoing a big renovation – and for the first time in I don’t know how long, I felt pretty safe being downtown… and by myself!
      If you know the Flint area, you probably remember the rundown Berridge Hotel on Garland Street where the drunks, wine-o’s and derelicts hung out. Well, it’s gorgeous now!!! It has been turned into beautiful loft apartments, and they are stunning.

      I saw a lot of quilts at Berridge, the Flint Public Library, the Greater Flint Arts Council, and at the Longway Planetarium. A few quilts with chicken themes caught my eye. One by my friend Carolyn Maloski (it says eggs on it), and another sampler quilt with chickens all over it, funny as all get-out.
      Back home, time to do the Saturday grocery drudgery. Have a great weekend!