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Posts Tagged ‘quilts’

A Christmas project

We've been keeping busy at our house for the last few days doing ordinary things. The public schools were off for vacation for two days since they hadn't needed snow days this year and I took advantage of my days off to do some shopping and a bit of organizing. I cooked up most of the last of the fall apples stored out in the garage refrigerator and made about ten pints of applesauce for in the freezer. I've also had some ear and eye problems since my trip which have necessitated a few doctor visits.

While I was up in Michigan last month Rob was busy here at home painting Mark's old bedroom. We had picked out the color earlier but he surprised me by painting it while I was gone. He and Mark put up the bunk beds too. Over the weekend we hung the curtains and a little bunting I made for over the window. There are still several other projects we plan for in that room, but little by little they will be accomplished. Our goal is to implement some storage for craft materials, books and toys into the room as well as a place for the littles to sleep when they are here visiting. Here's a picture showing the new wall color and the black-out curtains (for promoting good napping conditions!) and the plaid bunting I made:

Shortly before Christmas I went to a nearby store where I often purchase thread and fabrics. Judy has a beautiful selection of fabrics and also offers some classes and does long-arm quilting. I was intrigued by a Christmas table topper on display. I purchased the pattern and the kit of fabrics to make it and promised myself that I would begin working on it after I finished the quilt for Maddie. The table topper was fun to make and I'm really happy with the way it turned out. I tried to be extremely careful in cutting it out since the yardage was from the kit and I knew it would be very hard to find more of the fabrics if I made a mess of it. They had some samples of the various steps of making the quilt and I took pictures of those to help me remember how to place the fabrics. It's all pieced and basted and just needs a few simple rows of machine stitching through all the layers and it will be ready for the dining room table next Christmas.

Here is the nearly completed table topper:

What kind of projects have you been working on lately?


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Advice for a beginning quilter

I was chatting with a friend who recently retired and she mentioned that she has been sewing for years but would like to learn to quilt. Her words have been tumbling around in my mind and I thought I would jot down a few ideas for her. I am by no means an expert quilter but will list a few things that I have found to be helpful.

1. Start with a very simple, small project--nothing larger than a baby quilt.

2. Try to choose a pattern with just a few fabrics. If you choose something too complicated it can be overwhelming.
This book by Ursula Reikes is my favorite book for baby quilts:

3. Choose the right batting. I love the needle punched batting that's available just about everywhere now. (Hobby Lobby and Walmart carry it in my area.) This batting is thinner than some I first used and it's so much easier to stitch through with a regular sewing machine.

4. If you are going to quilt your project yourself be sure to purchase a walking foot for your sewing machine. I tried to quilt things in the past when I did not have a walking foot and was disappointed by the puckering on the back of the project. The walking foot has feed dogs on the foot which enables all the layers to go through the machine at the same rate and really helps to eliminate wrinkling and puckering. These feet are rather expensive (about $100 for my machine) but they are worth every penny. Some of the newer machines come with a walking foot.

5. Choose a very simple design for your quilting too. You can stitch in the ditch, use tape to make lines, use clear thread, etc.

6. Don't expect perfection from your first project. Look upon each quilted item as a learning experience. Try a new technique, tip, or tool with each new project. There are many books, classes, and websites which contain a wealth of information to help you learn. I learned a new tip recently about using a post it note as a seam guide:

7. Have fun! Quilting is a wonderful way to express your creativity and to get to play with color, pattern, and fabric.

I surprised myself by already finishing the quilt for my new little grand-daughter. It's not really a baby quilt but it does match the colors in her room. Because of the size I didn't think I would finish quilting it before her arrival this month. I made it from a kit and I used spray adhesive to "baste" the layers together before machine quilting. I followed the directions in the kit and quilted it in rows of straight stitching about 1 1/4" apart. Some rows were horizontal and some were vertical. The quilting went very smoothly and I will definitely try the spray adhesive again.

Here's a picture of little Miss M's quilt:

Would any of you readers who quilt like to add some advice that you think would be helpful for a new quilter?


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Busy Days

I've been keeping busy around here, but unfortunately I can't show you pictures of most of my projects right now. I've been working on a few things for Christmas and for the upcoming wedding in the spring.

One thing I can show you is this little baby quilt that I've been working on. It's for a new little great-nephew that is due to arrive any day now. The top is all pieced and layered and partially quilted. Maybe, just maybe I'll get it finished up before the little fellow arrives.

picture of Miles Quilt

Can any of you share what you have been working on this month?


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Another Baby Quilt

Update on Nora: She has had a slight improvement since receiving the epidural last week, but is still in a great deal of pain. She is waiting to be contacted by her doctor about what the next step needs to be. Please keep her in your prayers.

Since I was banished from the kitchen for a couple of weeks this summer while the renovations were going on I was able to work on another baby quilt from the book in this post. I highly recommend this author's books. The designs are simple and the directions are very clear.

I was able to make this little quilt for a baby girl who is expected to arrive in the home of some friends from church in just a few weeks.

picture of Pink Green Brown Quilt

I'm still not comfortable with free-motion quilting so I ended up stitching in the ditch for the quilting. It was a lot of fun working with the "girly" colors and this design went together quickly.

Have any of you been working on sewing projects recently?


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Weekend update

DH was at a conference at church Friday night and nearly all day and evening on Saturday, so I puttered around the house. Here are a few things I worked on:

I made another batch of granola. This time I tried a tropical blend with chopped dried pineapple, coconut, banana chips, and chopped cashews. I didn't know if we would like this combination, but we've found it to be quite tasty.

picture of Tropical Granola

picture of Thomas Quilt

I worked on quilting another baby quilt. This one is made from a remnant of Thomas the train fabric and an old curtain from DS Mark's bedroom. I just need to add the borders and it will be finished. I adapted an idea from this book:

picture of Quilts for Baby

I had read about the book on a sewing blog and checked it out of the library. It was still in print and DH got it for me for Valentine's Day. All the quilts are simple without a lot of fussy piecing and are planned to go together quickly and easily.

I made a Ham Loaf for our Sunday dinner using some of the leftover Easter ham that I had ground up and frozen. My Aunt Nana used to make Ham Loaf and it had been years since I had eaten any. I made the loaf on Saturday and cooked it in the Crock Pot on Sunday.

picture of Raw Ham Loaf

DH got up at 5:30 AM to turn it on. 🙂 It was perfectly cooked by lunch time. I had read this tip about putting the strips of foil in the crock pot in one of those little Pillsbury cookbooklets.

picture of Foil Crockpot

This is all that was left when I remembered to take a picture!

picture of Cooked Ham Loaf

Here's the Ham Loaf recipe:

Ham Loaf

1 1/2 lbs. ground ham (about 3 cups) (I chopped it in the food processor)
1 lb. ground fresh pork
1 cup dry bread crumbs or cracker crumbs (can use graham cracker crumbs)
1 cup milk
2 eggs
dash pepper
1 Tbsp. finely chopped onion

Topping Sauce
1/4 cup catsup
2 Tbsps. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. Cider vinegar
1/4 tsp. dry mustard

Mix all ingredients well and form into a loaf. Top with some of the sauce. Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 1/2 hours or in crock pot for about 7 hours on low. (I added another portion of the sauce about 1/2 hour before the cooking time was up.)

I served the Ham Loaf with these green beans, which are also very tasty:
(note, I hadn't added the bacon in at this point.)

picture of Green Beans Tomatoes

Skillet Green Beans, Tomatoes, and Bacon

6 slices bacon
1 large onion, sliced or diced
1 bag frozen green beans or about 1 lb. fresh, cleaned and snipped
1/2 cup chicken broth
dash pepper
1 large tomato, chopped (in the winter I use about 3/4 cup drained, diced canned tomatoes)

Cook bacon until crisp. Drain and crumble. Set aside. Sauté onions until slightly browned. Add beans, broth, and pepper. Cook until beans are tender, about 10-15 mins. Add tomatoes and cook briefly. Add bacon and serve. These are very tasty and attractive.

I hope your weekend was equally full and blessed.


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