Magnum opus update #9

Boy, are the weeks flying by, or what?  This post is going up late because my coworker was doing more work on my laptop, but I have it back, better than ever!

I quilted nine words this week, so my total is 92 with only 7 words to go (plus all the stars) (plus the binding, which I haven’t even cut yet).  As soon as I post this I’m going to pull it out and get to work on those last few words!  My hope is by this time next week I’ll have started into the stars!

As a reminder, the 2015 Stash Bee sign ups are still open here and Amy at Amy’s Creative Side has put together the fabulous fall 2014 Quilt Bloggers Festival here.  If you haven’t submitted one of your quilts, you still have time!  I had never submitted before now and I was a little intimidated when I saw that some of the people submitted quilts that were featured in books.  (Books!)  However, I love my quilts and I think they’re beautiful, and I wanted to share them with everyone else.  As the saying goes, fortune favors the brave!  (I need to put that on a quilt for myself one day.  It’s a variation of sorts on something my dad always says, which is “squeaky wheel gets the grease.”  You can’t succeed if you don’t try.  Etc, etc.)  So, anyway, share your quilts with all of us.  You can nominate Viewer’s Choice quilts through the end of the week and voting begins on November 1st.



Quilted Napkins

Hello habibis! It’s been a busy week – I had computer issues (miraculously fixed by a tech savvy coworker) and then work got crazy, which culminated in me working quite late Friday night and working again for most of Saturday. (That was a big change from my plans, which were to go to the gym and quilt both days and run some errands – most of that didn’t happen, although I squeezed in a little quilting and my social plans Saturday night fell through, so I did make it to the gym twice this weekend.)  I managed to do some sewing on Sunday, but the weekend wasn’t as productive as I’d hoped.

What have I worked on? The magnum opus, some charity work for my guild, and some hemming that I’d been putting off.   (I finally hemmed a pair of Z’s pants that’s been sitting on my pile for weeks, but I didn’t do the rest of my hemming. Oh well.) Still, I’d hoped to make some bindings and do more on the magnum opus than I actually did. What can you do? Sometimes life gets in the way.  I did manage to submit two quilts to the quilt bloggers festival though! Read my posts here and here, and check out the rest of the submissions here. (Voting begins November 1!)

One more thing: I believe the 2015 Stash Bee is still accepting sign ups.  You can sign up here if you’re interested!

Today I want to show you the wedding present I made for anlichan’s sister J. I finished these up a couple of weeks ago but I had to mail them out and by the time they arrived it was a little late for me to draft my Tuesday post, so you get to see them today instead.

Anlichan’s sister J and xyr fiance (also J) are getting married next month but unfortunately I can’t make it to the wedding. (Boo!) I knew I wanted to make them something special and I thought quilted napkins would be lovely. J loves crimson/red shades and is planning to decorate xyr kitchen with reds. Also, xe’s wearing a dress in shades of gold (I’ve seen a picture – so pretty!) and I thought red and gold would make a lovely combination for napkins – good for holidays but not Christmas-specific, plus they’ll match the decor. Anlichan consulted on the red fabric – who knows J’s taste better than xyr own sister? We picked this lovely red with little stars.  It’s called Itty Bitty Stars in Cabernet, part of Connecting Thread’s  Hometown Summer collection by Jenni Calo.

I had plenty of options for the gold! I have a lot of gold scraps (yardage actually) from a project I’m working on that I can’t post about yet. (I bought enough fabric to make a larger size than I ultimately ended up making.) I also had other pretty golds in my stash.

I knew I wanted to make 8 napkins and I wanted them to be about 16″ square. I chose the Hopkins square block out of my 501 quilt blocks book. I liked the geometric look of it. I thought it was pretty and striking.  The block is 12″ so I knew I’d be adding a border.

I started cutting the pieces for the backs of the napkins at 17″ square. My original plan was to have the outer border match the back, four in red and four in gold.  I cut all my red pieces but I didn’t have enough for both red backs and red borders, too, so I put that idea on hold while I cut my gold pieces.

I cut pieces from these two gold fabrics, which are both from the project I can’t show you.

However, I didn’t have enough fabric for the gold borders to match the gold backs, either. I could have done it scrappy but I decided I didn’t want to.

I changed my design idea to all red borders and all gold backs. Once I cut up the red backs into strips I had enough for the borders. For the gold backs I cut two each of four fabrics. I added a third from the other project and then the cranes (the only one that’s not a scrap from the other project). The crane fabric is so pretty I almost couldn’t bring myself to cut into it. I’d just had a conversation with someone last month about fabrics that are almost too pretty to use and I forced myself to. It’s for J! Xe deserves pretty fabric!

When I went to do my piecing I saw that I’d cut more than I needed – of course. I always make a math mistake. Better to do more than less, right? Since I had enough of the medallion gold fabric (above left), I used it only for the block, rather than using half of that and half of the darker gold. That way all the fronts match and there’s two of each back.

The quilting: I did diagonal lines in gold in parallel to the center line of the patch and I thought it looked really cool.

I also quilted on the border. My original plan, when I first decided on napkins, was to bind them. Then I realized I don’t have time for that. So I decided to sew them right sides together and then flip them right side out. The idea behind having the borders match the backs was to hide where I’d had to sew the gap closed. Since I didn’t have that option, my quilting had to compensate. I knew I’d have to sew all the way around very close to the edge. So I did that, as well as sewing around the inner edge of the border.

Here are the backs, which show the other two gold prints I used.

Voila! Finished napkins. They came out a bit smaller than I’d wanted – some of them are only 15.5″ square – but I’m very happy with them and so is J. I sent them early – why wait? – and xe opened them immediately!  🙂  I’m so glad xe likes them!

Blogger’s Quilt Festival Entry: ROYGBIV Category

Hi habibis! Amy’s Creative Side is hosting the Blogger’s Quilt Festival for this fall and I’m entering for the first time!   I’m entering my Drunkard’s Path comforter in the ROYGBIV category (and the wedding quilt I made for my friend N in the hand quilted category).  See all the posts here and make sure to vote!

I love this quilt soooo much.  I possess a total of four of my quilts currently – two I made for my grandparents and a windowpane quilt I made for myself – but my Drunkard’s Path is special because it’s the very first quilt I made for myself.  I wanted to replace the comforter I’d had since freshman year of college, which was old and not in great shape, and I finally got around to starting a quilt to replace it in late fall of 2013.  I have a deep and abiding love for polka dots (all prints in general, but especially polka dots) and I decided to make myself an all-polka dot quilt.  Furthermore, I wanted to practice my curved piecing, so I picked Drunkard’s Path as my pattern.

I had a ton of polka dot prints in my stash already, but I bought two prints specifically for my quilt: a white with lavender dots to be the background fabric for the Drunkard’s Path blocks and a yellow with white dots for the border and backing.




I cut 6″ squares from the white print and from my collection of polka dot prints.  Then I cut them on the curve and matched them up.

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I’d done a little bit of sewing on a curve, but not much.  I basically just pinned as carefully as I could!  This part took a looooong time.



When I had sewn all of the patches, which I did on and off for weeks (maybe even a couple of months) while I worked on other things, I settled down to arrange the layout.  I went in color order, more or less, starting with the black and white polka dot prints at the bottom left and moving toward pink at the top right.  The order is kind of like this: black – white – purple – blue – green – yell0w – orange – red – pink.

I sewed my rows together and added the yellow border.  This is my parents’ couch modeling the quilt for me.  🙂

I did two types of quilting on the main part of the quilt, by machine and by hand.  By machine I did a meandering line in yellow all over the quilt.  (I won’t call it stippling because it’s not close quilting at all.)

For the hand quilting, I traced circles using plates and quilted them with a running stitch, using threads that matched the colors of that section.

I quilted the border by machine, as well.  I quilted half circles in different colors all the way around the border.  I used pink and blue thread on the semi-circles over the border and green thread on semi-circles reflecting the blue ones.  Doesn’t it look cool?

Here’s the finished quilt, in its place of honor on my bed.  You may notice that I use it as the picture at the top of my blog, as well, because I love it so much and I think it’s very me.

Blogger’s Quilt Festival Entry: Hand Quilted Category

Amy’s Creative Side is hosting the Blogger’s Quilt Festival for this fall and I’m entering for the first time!   See all the hand quilted entries here and be sure to vote!

I’m so excited to be participating this year!  I’m entering the rainbow quilt I made for my friend N and her husband A in the hand quilted category.

N and I have been friends for a long time, since elementary school.  She married her husband A in 2013 and I spent some time thinking about what kind of quilt to make for them.  I decided on a rainbow scrappy quilt, inspired in part by their wedding invitation, which had a rainbow on it.

I cut six-inch strips of varying widths – 1.5″ at the narrowest and approximately 4″ at the widest – in all shades.  I organized them into eight groups: red, pink, orange, yellow, green, light blue, dark blue, and purple.


Each group made a row in the quilt.  Here’s the quilt top:


Don’t you love it?  I could have entered it in the rainbow category or the scrappy category, but I went with the hand quilted category because the quilting was so special.

I added this lovely solid blue border and backed the quilt with a purple print.

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Now for the hand quilting.  First, I quilted N and A’s names in blue thread on the pink row:

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That was easy.  🙂  The hard part was the rest of the quilting, which I did in Hebrew.  If you’re familiar with my blog, you’ll know that I speak Arabic, but not Hebrew.  The languages are related and very similar but the alphabets are not.  I needed a lot of help with the Hebrew, but my friend A and some of coworkers helped me out, as did N’s father.

N and A’s Hebrew names were in the invitation, and I checked with N’s father to make sure I had the names right before I quilted them.  I quilted their names in pink on the yellow row.


If you can read that, you’re doing better than me!  I’m so happy with the way the quilting came out…but I have no idea what it says.  🙂

Finally, I wanted to put a special message, not just their names.  I spoke to my friend A and she told me that there’s a Hebrew phrase that people associate with weddings: Ani l’dodi v’dodi li.  It means “I am for my beloved and my beloved is mine.”  Isn’t that lovely?  Sometimes people engrave it on wedding rings.  (When I see it transcribed, I see the similarities between Arabic and Hebrew – the word dod doesn’t exist in Arabic, but all the other words are basically the same.  Of course, when I look at it written in Hebrew it’s just a jumble of letters.)  I quilted the Hebrew phrase on the blue row with yellow thread.  I brought the quilt into work once or twice so my coworkers could check the Hebrew letters and make sure I’d quilted them properly.

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It’s a good thing I did, because I’d made a mistake with the letter del in dodi.  I’d quilted them as a raa instead.  (These are the Arabic names for the letters; the Hebrew names are probably similar but I don’t know what to call them.)

Here’s the lovely completed quilt:


I was so happy with the way it came out.  I think it’s just beautiful.  I’m entering it in the hand quilting category because I put so much effort into the Hebrew quilting and I think it came out perfectly.

Magnum opus update #8

Hello habibis!  I feel like I should apologize for the brevity of my doll quilt post yesterday, but I was a little bit under the weather when I wrote it and even blogging felt like too much energy. My mom had a cold over the weekend and I might have caught it, but the change in weather – or, more accurately, everyone blasting the heat – hasn’t helped. I think I’d have felt much better if I weren’t overheated throughout the day.  Anyway, I feel much better now.  I took the afternoon off from work and that made a big difference.

Anyway, on to my magnum opus. As I mentioned above, I went home to visit my family this weekend, which was lovely. I smushed the magnum opus into my guild tote and took it with me. (Other ladies in my guild recommended the new XXL ziploc bags that they sell now for toting quilts, and I really need to check those out.) I worked on the magnum opus whenever I had free time and I managed to make some progress. (That helped compensate for the fact that I hadn’t worked on it during the week – things have been busy with work and I haven’t been sewing much in the evenings.) I quilted 12 words, which brings my total to 83 words. I only have 16 words left! (I still have many, many stars left, though, plus I have to make the binding.) Anyway, it’s progressing!

Flight-themed Doll Quilt

Another doll quilt! I didn’t name this one.  I thought for a while about a name for it (Flying High was a contender -it makes me think of the Reading Rainbow theme song – and so war Soar) but nothing really fit.  I decided not all quilts need a name.  (To be honest, “Butterfly Dreams” is the first quilt I’ve ever named, I think; in the past I’ve always thought of the quilt as “so-and-so’s quilt,” whoever the recipient is.  I like the idea of naming quilts but I hadn’t really tried until recently.)

I started with the plane panel.  I rooted around for matching fabrics and came up with the navy I used for the border.  I have no idea how it got in my stash.  It’s apples? Or pears.  Or turnips? It’s produce of some sort.  Does it fit thematically with flying?  No, but the colors match, so I went with it.

I used this other navy (definitely leaves – at least I can identify that) for the back.

I’m practicing my FMQ!  More wavy lines.  I tried to do something more involved but I need to play around with my machine more before it’ll actually do that for me, so wavy lines it is.  They’re horizontal, with white thread – they’re supposed to look like flight, if you know what I mean.

I haven’t sewn down the binding yet.  I made it with scraps from the two navy fabrics. I see that I didn’t take a picture after I put the binding on, but since I haven’t sewn it down I guess that doesn’t matter much. I’ll do that eventually.  Possibly after Christmas.  Christmas is less than 10 weeks away!  I have so much to do before then.

Liebster Award

Natalie at Threads and Bobbins has nominated me for the Liebster Award!  Thanks Natalie!  I hadn’t heard of it before – here’s Natalie’s explanation:

“The Liebster Award is given to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. Liebster is German and means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome. Awesome! Blogging is about building a community and it’s a great way to connect with other bloggers and help spread the word about newer bloggers/blogs.”

How fun is that?

Natalie posted questions for myself and the other bloggers she nominated to answer.  So here they are, with my answers.

What is your favourite thing to do in your spare time?

(She’s British.  Can you tell? 🙂 Hehe) My favorite thing to do in my spare time is quilting, probably.  I also love to read and I watch a lot of tv.

Would you blog for a living if you could?

That’s an interesting question.  Sometimes I think about how nice it would be to quilt for a living (which would work out to basically the same thing, wouldn’t it?). There are so many quilts I want to make and I never have enough time! Also, any time I get frustrated at work or I have a bad day, I wish I quilted for a living. I would always rather be sewing. Always. I envy other bloggers who seem to have so much time to devote to their quilting when I feel like I hardly have any.

However, I think if I quilted for a living it would be less fun.  I suppose blogging for a living would be much the same – I might not enjoy it as much if it were my job. Also, I don’t think I could afford to make this my living, so I guess the answer is no.

What has been your favourite holiday?

I’ve been very blessed to travel extensively.  I studied in Cairo my junior year of college, and while I was there I traveled throughout Egypt and I took trips to Cyprus, Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan.  I was fortunate to be in the region when things were relatively calm.  My senior year graduation present from my parents was a pilgrimage to Israel, run by one of the priests at my university.  I’ve also been Hungary a few times to visit family, and my parents like to take lovely vacations and to take their children with them.  I’m not sure I could pick a favorite vacation. Two summers ago we traveled to visit family in Hungary and then we went to Austria and Switzerland.  Three summers ago we took a cruise from Venice to Istanbul and back.  Both were amazing.  I also have very fond memories of my study abroad travels and my pilgrimage to the Holy Land, most of which I am unlikely to ever repeat.

Is there anywhere you would love to travel to but haven’t yet been?

I’d like to see more of turkey. I’ve only been to Istanbul and Ephesus. I’d also like to travel to Ireland and see the whole United Kingdom. I’ve been to London and Oxford to visit friends who studied there, but that’s all. I’d also like to visit Morocco and Malta.

If you could be a vegetable, what would you be and why?

This is a hard one. I guess celery. I like celery, especially in my Bloody Marys!

What is your favourite social media platform?

Definitely Twitter. I’m on facebook but mostly to chat with my cousins in Hungary. Theoretically I stay in touch with friends from high school and college, but really since I got out of school I haven’t bothered with Facebook. I use Twitter for that.

What is the best free day out that you have had?

I almost forgot to answer this one!  I don’t really know how to answer it, actually.  If I take a day off from work I usually stay home and sew.  I know, I’m boring.

What is your favourite dish to eat?

I’m vegetarian but within that limitation I eat almost anything. I love food. I love Italian food and pizza -those are comfort foods for me. Even more so, Hungarian food is comfort food. It’s hardly the healthiest cuisine so we don’t cook it much, plus the recipes tend toward the time-consuming. However, to me it’s so delicious. I make an amazing Hungarian mushroom soup and I love Hungarian cherry soup and sour cherry soup. I think those two are my favorites. My grandma just made sour cherry soup this weekend, and it was such a treat. I haven’t made it for myself in a couple of years because pitting cherries is too much work, but apparently you can cheat by buying them canned, so I’ll have to start doing that.

Do you like going in the sea and why?

I love going in the ocean. I grew up about an hour away from the ocean, but we had a swimming pool so we spent a lot of time in the water. I’m hardly an amazing swimmer but I like being in the water.

How often do you read other blogs?

I read other blogs pretty much every day. Until maybe February (?) the answer was never, but this year I’ve been investing more time into my own blog and integrating myself – slowly – into the quilt blogging community. I like to see all the amazing things people make.

So there are my answers!  Now for the people I’m nominating.  Natalie did 10 but I’m going to keep it a little shorter and only do 5.

1. Kelsey at Lovely and Enough

2. Marie @ Stokes Croft Stitching

3. Amy @IndigoCottageQuilts

4. Margaret @ Pieces of My Heart

5. Shelley @The Carpenters Daughter who Quilts

Here are my ten questions for them:

1. What is the first quilt you ever made?  Do you still have it?

2. What’s your favorite color to use in your projects?  Does it differ from  your favorite color in general?

3. Do you find quilting/crafting to be a communal or a solitary past time and why?

4. What’s your favorite book?

5. If you could make a quilt or other craft project inspired by a movie, what movie would it be and what form would the quilt/project take?

6. Is your craft area total chaos all the time, super neat, or somewhere in between?  (And if it’s really neat, what’s your secret?  Mine is like an explosion of fabric…)

7. What is the one thing you can’t live without, every single day?

8. What’s your favorite month/season/holiday?

9.  What’s your favorite quilt you’ve ever made?  (It can be the same as #1!)

10.  Why do you blog?  (Whew!  It was hard coming up with ten questions!)