Actually free motion quilting!

Hi habibis! I know I said I’d be showing you some baby quilts, but I have to share with you that I am finally learning to free motion quilt!

I didn’t realize when I first started trying FMQ that you need a special foot for it. I couldn’t understand why people could do so much on their machines that I couldn’t do. I thought at first it was because I was using a home machine, and other people could do fancy things on long arm machines. Then I got FMQ books and learned that the problem wasn’t my skill level; it was my tools. My mom and I have three machines between the two of us, but none of them came with FMQ feet.

In the fall I finally ordered an FMQ foot for my Kenmore. I got it after Thanksgiving, but I was so busy finishing up Christmas presents that I didn’t have time to spare to learn how to use it. I finally put it on my machine after new year’s and began to practice.

Here’s my first piece. You can see that it’s definitely not perfect. My stitches are very uneven and some of them are huge. However, it’s definitely free motion quilting! I got really excited. (I announced it to Z and all he said was “are you being careful?”)

Here’s a shot of the other side:

I think I’m going to turn it into a tray mat for my grandmother. I actually picked out the fabrics with that in mind.

Here’s my second piece. I wanted to practice waves because I knew I wanted to FMQ waves on the pillow covers I’m making for our couch. This piece is a little rougher. This might become a dog bed.  I only layered one fabric and the batting for this, not two, so it’ll be more quilt as you go.


My attempt at stars:

Trying a little writing (it’s supposed to say “star”):

What I learned from making the “waves” above is that making a cresting wave shape is hard for me right now, so I did my waves differently on the pillows, more like the bottom row in this picture.

Every year I improve my quoting skills and I’m really excited to add FMQ this year!


December/2015 stash report


Inset for basket: .1 yards

Pillowcases for my goddaughter: 2 yards

Baby quilt for my cousin’s baby for Christmas (still to be blogged about): 2.6 yards

Baby quilt for my brother’s baby for Christmas (still to be blogged about): 4.7 yards




Pillow for Z’s grandpa for Christmas: .4 yards



Total outgoing: 8 yards



Fabric from Africa from my friend A: 2 yards


Hopkins Square blocks from my hive members and extra fabric they sent me: 3 yards


Yellow and grey fabrics I ordered: 3 yards

Christmas presents: 3 yards

Total incoming: 11 yards


So my net for December is 3 yards incoming and my net for the year is 109.26 yards outgoing.  (I was doing really well until November and December, wasn’t I?)

For 2016 I’ll start over.  I think last year the goal I set for myself was 50 yards outgoing – net – so let’s see if I can manage that!





2015 Reflections/2016 Plans

Habibis, we (Z and I and our families) had a big year this past year. My cousin and her husband and my brother and his wife had their first children, the first babies in the family in about 20 years. Z and I moved in together and got engaged. His brother got engaged, as did two of my cousins. The coming year will be even more exciting: we’ll have three family weddings, including our own, and the babies will continue to grow and learn. One of my cousins will complete his PhD.  I think every year will be an exciting one for the next few years, as we all move into the next stages of our lives, finishing school, finding love, and starting families. Z and I have never been so happy, planning our wedding and the rest of our lives together.

That all means it’s going to be another busy year. When we got engaged, ours was the only wedding we had scheduled for 2016; now we’ve got four weddings and a fifth in 2017. This past year was also a busy one, with four weddings, two babies, and some major job upheaval, and at times I overcommitted and overextended myself. This coming year, with my own wedding to plan, I’m not counting on as much free sewing time. The experiences of last year led me to reevaluate some of my activities. I took the Handstitched class and didn’t finish all of the projects. I still have one unfinished EPP project floating around in my fabric cabinet. I also participated in the Stash Bee, which helped me meet new people but I think also taught me that I don’t necessarily work well that way. Making one block in someone else’s colors, taking me away from my own sewing, ended up being stressful at times. I think I work better and get into a rhythm when I’m making multiples of something, not just one, but many months I felt like I didn’t have time to make more than one. For 2016 I’m not going to sign up for any online classes (at least not in the beginning of the year) and I’m not in any online bees. Maybe I’ll return to the stash bee in 2017, but given my time constraints I know that won’t work for me this year.

I’d like to review my 2015 sewing goals. They turned out to be something of a moving target and this year I’m going to change them. Rather than a day of charity sewing a month, I’d like to commit myself to 12 charity projects. I’ve already got two doll quilts ready for quilting and two quilt tops in progress, an improv quilt that will hopefully be twin sized for my guild and the Hopkins Square Quilt of valor. Those will be my four projects for the beginning of the year, and we’ll go from there. Any charity project will count, large or small. If I exceed 12, great. If I struggle with it, at least it’ll be something.

I’m going to continue to try to sew my stash, but just like last year I’ve got plans for quilts that my stash can’t produce. I’ve already taken advantage of some New Years sales to supplement it. My December and January are going to both be incoming-heavy.  I’d say so far I have a plan for 3/4 of my incoming fabric from December and January, but not necessarily a time table for all of it. I’d like to make more things for my home. On New Year’s Day I worked on some new pillow covers, but I’d also like to make a couple of quilts. (Z thinks we don’t need more quilts, but he’s wrong.) I’d love to make us a queen sized wedding quilt for our bed, but that seems a bit ambitious for this year.

I completely failed to do the Library Project this past year, but I didn’t get any new quilting books. (I have a wish list though…)  I don’t think I made any quilts from any of my quilting books, although I had plans for at least one project that fell by the wayside.  I may need to revisit this goal in 2017; it doesn’t look like 2016 will be the year for it.

That was quite a long post, with a lot of text, but these thoughts have been percolating in my mind for a while now and I wanted to share them. Tune in tomorrow for my December/yearly stash report, and on Wednesday I’ll begin sharing the two remaining handmade Christmas presents I made, both baby quilts.

Sunday Stash

Happy New Year, habibis! I hope you’ve all had lovely holidays. Mine were full of family and joy, but also rather hectic. Z and I attended four Christmas celebrations in three days, and then I spent a few days down south visiting my niece.  After all that running around, Z and I had a quiet New Year’s and I started 2016 with a sewing day – more to share later this month.

Today I’m sharing some lovely new additions to my stash.

First, my hive mates from last year’s Stash Bee generously sent me extra pieces and cuts along with the fabulous blocks they made.

Second, I’d ordered the “Sunshine and Shadows” scrap bag from Keepsake Quilting, for that grey and yellow quilt that’s on my quilting wish list.

Third, some Christmas presents: A Paradiso charm pack, a Modern Background Paper charm pack, and two Metro Living charm packs (All That Glitters and Dress Up).  (Yes the picture is upside down.  I was too lazy to rotate it.)

I also got some non-fabric quilting gifts for Christmas: a left-handed rotary cutter (yayyy!), new needles, some thread, Lori Holt’s Bloom applique shapes, Melanie Tuazon’s Peek pattern, the shopping cart cover pattern from Daydreams of Quilts, and the most adorable little pincushion shaped like an arm chair that says “Keep Calm and Sew On.”

My fabric diet kind of went by the wayside toward the end of the year, and already I’ve indulged in a couple of post-Christmas sales to buy fabrics for upcoming quilts – which you may or may not see in Sunday Stash posts, since some of the fabric is for presents.  I’d like to keep sewing from my stash, though, so look for continued monthly stash reports in 2016.

Pillow for Z’s Grandpa

I’ve made another pillow for Z’s grandpa this year. He loves the other one I made him, and I thought he could use a second one. Most of the scraps are from the quilts I made for Z last year and the year before, so the colors for this pillow are still patriotic but the prints are actually more nautical.

I started with 3″ squares organized in a four by six layout:

I added 2″ wide red borders.  (I made them a little too wide for the pillow form.)  I’d actually had another border planned, but I did my math wrong and cut the pieces too short.

For the back, I fussy cut this center scrap, which is leftover from the Storm at Sea quilt I made for Z.  The white fabric is leftover from his “What So Proudly We Hail” quilt.  It’s got little sea shells on it.

Hopkins Square Bee Blocks

Hi habibis!  Christmas is nearly upon us, and I have one last post beforehand.

You may recall that I asked for Hopkins Square blocks for my month of the stash bee in shades of red and gold, and my bee mates have been incredibly generous.  The ten of them sent me 16 blocks, plus extra block pieces and extra cuts of fabric!

Here’s a sample:

Don’t you love everyone’s fabric choices?

After the holidays I plan to buckle down and put together this quilt top.  It’s going to look great!