“Family Threads” has a new home

I made the quilt below for my brother Michael and his wife Karen.  It was made in the Spools quilt pattern and includes pieces of fabrics from quilts I have made through the years, some dating back to the 1970’s.  It also includes some fabric from my mother and my aunt (my father’s sister) that date back to the 1930’s and 1940’s.  The quilt was made as a surprise for them for Christmas, and I’m excited to share that they have received the quilt and love it.  It will hang on the wall in their home.

The back was pieced using fabrics left over from the front and includes a hanging sleeve to make life easier.


Stormie the Quilt Inspector gave approval for shipping, even though she knew it was going to a home with a dog (Nutmeg).  Way to rock the Christmas spirit, Stormie!  Hopefully I can share a photo of the quilt – called “Family Threads” –  in its new home in the future.

If you’re a quilter, you know the love that goes into every stich of every quilt you make.

May 2012 be filled with lots of loving stitches!

Ready for Hand Quilting


The Woodworker was a big help on Thursday and packaged up my “Feathered Cheddar” quilt and took it to UPS for me.  It is now on its way to Shipshewana for the juried quilt show.  This show had strict requirements about how to ship your quilt – instructions which included a plastic bag, pillow case, photograph pinned to the quilt, etc.  Highly unusual, but then I haven’t submitted a quilt to a juried show in… many years!   Wish I could attend the show!  If you go, please let me know what the show was like.FlintArtFair

We are off to the Flint Art Fair sometime this weekend.  The timing depends on the weather.  It’s much cooler than most years, something I greatly appreciate.  I don’t do well in the sweltering heat.  I’m on the lookout for jewelry this year for some reason. 

I spent a little time each night during the past week preparing my Spools quilt for hand quilting.  It is now ready, and I may begin stitching this weekend as well.  I’m excited to see how it turns out. It’s not a big quilt – more of a lap quilt size, but it was designed as a wall quilt for a certain someone who doesn’t know it’s coming.  I think it will be a big surprise when it arrives.

I hope your weekend is wonderful!

Tutorial: Sewing Spools by Hand

Someone asked me recently how I constructed my spools quilt. When I commented that it was sewn entirely by hand, she immediately said, “Oh, I could never do that!” I assured her that it was really quite simple, and promised her a tutorial. It took a few weeks to get to it, but here it is!


First, I made two simple templates, shown below.

You can see the post where I drew the templates on graph paper here.    For each spool block, using a regular pencil with a sharp lead, I traced one center square and two trapezoids out of the same print fabric. I also traced two trapezoids out of a white or cream or tan fabric (we’ll call this the background fabric).

DSC04211Then I used a sharp scissors to cut out each shape, adding a generous quarter inch seam allowance as I cut.

I found it easier to prepare many blocks in one sitting, as I usually do my sewing while I’m enjoying a good television show or movie. These little pieces store easily in Ziploc bags and are quite portable in your purse!

Sewing a Spool

Thread your needle with a neutral color thread. I used cream for my choice, but a white or grey would work just as well.

Begin with the center square, one  print trapezoid, and one pin. Place right sides together, the short side of the trapezoid next to the square. Put a pin at one corner and your needle at the other as shown below. Note: the black background is my pant leg… if the trapezoid looks curved, it’s not. 

Use small stitches and sew along the pencil line from one side to the other, stopping at the corner. I repeat the last stitch or tie a small knot here but I do not cut my thread!

Next, take one of your print trapezoids and position it on the next side of the center square, as shown. Put your pin in the corner farthest from your needle. Pick up your needle and continue sewing from where you left off.

Repeat this process until all four trapezoids have been sewn to the center square, alternating background and print fabrics.





Sewing the corners: Very easy!

You won’t believe this until you do it yourself the first time, but the hardest part is behind you! The corners are easy!

Open your block so that you see it all in front of you. Take the two trapezoids where they meet at the corner and pivot them towards each other.


DSC04221Put a pin in the unsewn outside corner and your needle at the corner nearest the center square. Sew along the pencil line from the inside to the outside corner. Knot and clip your thread. Repeat three more times and you are finished sewing!

DSC04223In the picture here, two corners have been sewn, and two are yet to do.

I found that the more I did these blocks, the faster they came together. They really do become almost mindless sewing… and they are all straight seams!

DSC04224When the block is finished, I take a couple of seconds and trim my seam allowance on the block to a clean quarter inch. Press blocks so that you are pressing towards the printed fabric as shown.


See?  All pressed and ready to go!


Sewing the blocks together

Sew your spool blocks together alternating the light and dark trapezoids as shown, following the pencil lines you have already marked.

You can do this!


Spools Quilt is Almost Finished!

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Just one more narrow blue border… and it will be finished!  

…at least I think so.  I’m still debating whether or not to include some appliqued words around the tan border.  I don’t know whether it will look good or not.  What do you think?  Just leave it as is?  Or words?

March2011Many of my regular readers might remember me having surgery back in October of 2010.  I’m SO THRILLED with the difference it has made in how I look and how I feel.  Five months later, I’m working out regularly at the gym and walking on the treadmill at home.  I’m so much more active that I was this time last year.  Actually, this time last year if I walked for 5 minutes I was winded and had to sit down.  Now I can easily walk for an hour at a good pace.

Here’s what an 82 pound loss looks like!  Yes, I know, my clothes look too big for me.  They are!   When I buy a pair of pants, they fit for about 2 weeks, and then they are baggy.  But that’s a GOOD thing!  On Friday, I pick up my father at the airport.  He hasn’t seen me since November 1st, and I know he’ll be so impressed with the difference.  Can’t wait to see the look on his face!

Special thanks to The Woodworker for taking my picture every month on my surgery-versary date!

A Spool Update

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Two more spool borders to go…

Help Susan Celebrate!

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Susan from Susan’s Texas Quilting Adventures is celebrating her 3rd “Blogoversary” with a giveaway of some nice fabric.  If you don’t mind having a chance to get some additional fabric, wander over to her website and say hello. 

Oh, I know, “Not more fabric!”  

Yeah, we’ll twist your arm.  The fabric is GORGEOUS!  So are her quilts! 

I worked a little on my spools quilt over the weekend, adding the narrow blue border and a row of spools on the edge.  Still more to do!DSC04152

I also worked on this:


Nope, I won’t tell you what it’s going to be. 

Just sit tight. You’ll figure it out!

Still Spoolin’ Around

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I’m on the home stretch!  The tan border will have one row of spools all around it, followed by a more narrow matching tan border.  Then it will be done!  Only about 40 more individual spools to sew…

Once the borders are in place, the FUN part begins!  I’d like to applique words on the inner tan border in a turquoise fabric.  Not sure about that yet… I need to see how the quilt looks first.

FieldsofGoldAre you a reader?  I’ve been voraciously reading since I got my Kindle in early February.  I find I’m being drawn to good writing and the use of words that have been selected by the author.  I find myself sitting and chewing on phrases that are crafted with such perfection… the mark of a great writer.  I just finished reading “Fields of Gold” by Marie Bostwick.   What a great book!

Other books by Marie Bostwick (ones I have read are in bold print):

  • A Thread So Thin

  • A Thread of Truth

  • A Single Thread

  • On Wings of the Morning

  • Comfort and Joy

  • River’s Edge

Staying Occupied and Loving It!

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KindleI haven’t kept you very up to date on the goings-on lately, but I’ve been busy.  One thing that has kept me VERY engaged is my treadmill and Kindle.  Yes, I finally got a Kindle, and I LOVE IT!  It’s perfect for reading while walking on my treadmill.  I’m up to an hour of walking now, and time flies so much faster when I read.  I ‘ve been reading the Elm Creek series by Jennifer Chiaverini, just finishing “The Lost Quilter”, which was wonderful. It made me wish I had had better history classes when I was in school (or paid better attention).  Now I’m reading a book by Nicholas Sparks called “Safe Haven.”LostQuilter

Another thing that has kept me occupied in the evenings is working on my Spool or Klosjes quilt. I’m doing all the piecing by hand, which I love doing.  It gives me something to do with my hands while I watch/listen to the TV. 

This is going to be a wall hanging, and I think I’m going to add one more row to the bottom and side, then a solid border and one more row of blocks all around.  I think.   The quilt is made up entirely of scraps I have on hand from all my years of quilting.  If you don’t recognize some of the fabrics, you’re probably too young.  Many of them are from the 1930’s.  and no, I’m not that old!   Shame on you for thinking that!  They are from my Aunt Jean’s stash. 

I’m toying with the idea of putting words on the solid border, but don’t know yet how that will look.  Time will tell. Not sure how I’ll quilt it, either. 

Do you have any ideas?

I Played in the Barn

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I did a little work on the barn yesterday!  Still lots more to do, and I’m not happy with the door, but it’s coming along.


I thought I’d also share with you an update on my Klosjes  (spools) quilt.

There are a few genuine 1930’s fabrics in there… can you spot them?  They are from my Aunt Jean’s stash. 

Last night DH and I went to the Detroit Piston’s game.  They played the Phoenix Suns and won by one point!  Most of the game was pretty dull, but the last 10 minutes were awesome!  Why is it that whenever we go ANYWHERE and have assigned seats we get a family with loud, rude children sitting behind us?  I swear the hearing in my left ear is now half what it was before the game.  This little boy did nothing but scream in a high-pitched voice all night.  UGH!  I’m glad he had fun, but I wish his parents would have controlled him at least a little!

We’ve talked about going to the Birch Run motorcycle show today,  but right now it’s –2 degrees outside, so that decision is yet to be made.  I ‘m happy going… or sewing.  Hope your day is warmer!

Spools quilt – Klosjes

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Today’s the day… I’ve been wanting to start on a hand-piecing project and make a medium-sized spools quilt.  I’ve looked at a variety of different patterns:

spools1 spools2spools3



Spools 10

spools7 spools6spools5

So I drafted mine out…


And made my templates… and I’m ready to go.

FYI:  I made my templates exactly the way you see here.  I trace around the templates and add the seam allowance when I cut the fabric out. 




The sewing began!


Once you start sewing on these, they go together very quickly and are a lot of fun.   Each one has a different light background.

Stay tuned!