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May 2015 Bee Adventurous Star Gazing!

This poor blog only gets updated when it’s my month for the bee.  Oh well.  Here we go!

I know May ends up being short so no worries if you don’t get back to me until  we meet in July.

Until we meet on the 11th, I’ll give you some time to think about what you want to make. I’ll be giving you some blue fabric for the background, and some yellows and whites for the foreground. Feel free to add in your own fabric, please yellows/whites only, no other colors. White on white is ok.

Here’s what I’m thinking – a starfield of all different stars.

bee Adventurous

I would love for you to Bee Adventurous. Any star will do, but I’m going for a more traditional look rather than a wonky/improv look, so feel free to google  STAR QUILT BLOCKS and see what comes up.

Here are some ideas:

Please make two different stars and two different sizes. You can use the same fabrics in each or mix it up. Anything from 8” to 16” is fine – it doesn’t have to be an even number, just square. If you have some idea to make a shooting star that ends up rectangular, that’s ok too, but generally square.

You will also find a piece of fabric ironed to some freezer paper. Since May is my birthday month, this quilt will be for me and I would love to label it with all our your names, so please put your name, city, date and any other message you would like on there with a fabric pen like a Micron Pigma or something that you think won’t wash or iron out!

Thanks so much and I’m so excited to see what you come up with!

May Bee Adventurous: Maple Leaf Foundation paper piecing block


When I was a child, I used to visit my Grammy and Grampy in Saint John, NB.  My Grammy had a maple leaf quilt on her guest bedroom and I loved that quilt.  My Grammy died a few years ago, and my aunt got the Maple Leaf quilt, but I never stopped thinking about it.  I’ve wanted to recreate it for years, but I could never quite find the right leaf shape.  Hers looked like a real flag leaf, not the stylized half-square triangle leaves I’ve seen online.


Recently I saw a scrappy, multi-colored version here, and that got me going to try and find the leaf I was looking for.   I found an image of the leaf and traced it in EQ7, and broke it down into manageable pieces.   I still want it to be all red, not multi-colored like hers, but it was the inspiration to get me going again.

Now that it’s my month for the BeeAdventurous bee of the LAMQG, I’d like you to make me two maple leaves so I can re-create my Grammy’s quilt.  Thank you for helping me make this quilt that I’ve had in mind for so long.

There are tons of foundation paper piecing tutorials online, so you can search for a tute or a video online to show you how to do it if you aren’t familiar with the technique.  This one is really good, but requires you make a copy of the pattern and cut it up, but otherwise the instructions are great. Here’s another with some good tips, too.

IMG_1533 IMG_1555


I broke this down into manageable pieces to make it easier to assemble.

The basics:

  • Cut out the shapes A-G on the thin lines.  You will sew on the thick lines.  It helps to actually separate the pieces rather than trying to sew them all to the full size sheet of paper and trim up later.
  • You place the fabric on the non-printed side of the paper, so you may need to hold it up to a light to get the placement right.
  • You sew from the printed side of the paper.
  • The shaded areas are where you use a red fabric, and the clear areas are where you use the white fabric.
  • Piece number 1 is always facing away from the page (or up), and each subsequent piece faces toward the page (or down), always on the non-printed side of the paper.  I actually basted my piece 1 with a few stitches so I wouldn’t forget to put it on the right way.  You can also use a glue stick to tack it down.
  • Make sure that each piece covers the seam allowance and the center of the piece.
  • After each seam is sewn, fold the paper back along the seam you just sewed. Place your ruler with the 1/4″ line on the folded back paper edge, and trim off outside the seam allowance, leaving a 1/4 inch, just like normal piecing.  This is necessary to avoid bulkiness and complications in later piecing.   I almost always forget the last seam, so try and remember it!
  • Use a shorter stich length, 2.0 or less. I usually use a 1.8.  I don’t want the stitches to pull out at the end when I remove the papers, and the shorter stitch length means the papers will rip off easier.
  • Please don’t use steam – I printed on an inkjet printer and it may stain the fabric if you press with steam.  That being said, I usually finger press as I go, and give each segment a good press before joining them together.
  • In one of my test blocks, I pieced the fabric for some areas.  If you need to do that, feel free.  It will make for a scrappier block.  Also, if you have some great red fabric you’d like to add, I would love that!
  • If you run out of fabric, just do what you can with what you have – I can always add more in later.
  • Please try to use all of the red fabric; don’t use the same fabric more than once in the same block.
  • When joining the completed sections to each other, it’s really helpful to put pins in the intersections and along the seam to make sure you don’t lose any fabric or wobble out of the seam allowance.  When joining sections, it helps to press the seams open since the paper is in there.
  • You can click on any of the photos in this post to see them full size.

Starting with section A, you just put your largest piece of fabric on the back of that piece and put it aside until you join it together.  Baste it right to the paper for a more stable assembly later, and for trimming it.  (This image shows the piece I made by joining two fabrics.  You don’t have to do this.)



Section B starts with a small red piece and a larger white piece.












Section C is a little more complicated that section B.   Start with pieces 1 and 2 and trim before adding piece 3.














Sections D and E are similar to section B in their piecing.


IMG_1538 IMG_1542











Sections F and G are the most complicated sections, and they are really not that hard, just start with piece 1 facing up, then lay piece 2 face down, making sure it covers all of section 2 when you fold it back.  Sew the seam on the line between 1 and 2, fold #2 back to make sure it covers the whole area, then fold it back over area 1 and trim off all but the 1/4” seam allowance.



Keep going in numerical order, adding the next piece face down, checking and trimming until the whole section is done.

When all of the sections are done, lay out your sections in the leaf shape.


Join section C to B.

Join A to the top of BC


Join E to G and join F to D.


Join ABC to EG.  This is where the pinning intersections comes in really handy.  I also pinned along the seam allowance to make sure nothing escaped out the sides of the paper.




Join ABCEG to FD.  Here’s the back of the block and you can see the seams are pressed open.


You’re done block 1!  It should measure 12.5″, but if it’s a little shy or ragged, don’t worry, I plan to shave the blocks down to the same size all around.

Please make two blocks.

If you need to print out a new template, you’ll find it here:  Maple Leaf.  It prints on US Legal paper (8.5 x 14″).

Thank you!




More on the hexies

So, I mentioned that I got sucked into the hexagon thing.

Really, I’m loving it so far, and have just started hand quilting the hexies in the doll bed I’m making for my daughter with the .75 in hexagons.  Figuring out the hand quilting has been a trip though.

They (hand quilters) have this magic rocking thing they do to make perfect stitches.  Me, not so perfect.

I tried it, and realized quick that I needed a thimble so went back to the store for a couple of different types and settled on a nice clover coin thimble.  It’s mostly working well, except that first stitch in a set is a doozy.

I did a search on youtube to find some examples of hand quilting in action, just so I could get the rhythm.  What I found was so much fun!  At first there were just a few videos of old women chatting and not very closeup videos of their hands.  Few more clicks, and a little better, then I found this woman’s vlog.  From what I can tell, she’s an 80ish year old woman who is just finishing up a quilt that she started with the leftovers from her 6 previous quilts, something that she has done 3 times before.  And not a little throw either, but a huge at least queen size.  And she set it up on her frame and hand quilted the whole thing.   All the while videoing herself, editing them quite nicely and adding music etc.  (She probably has a mac!)  And what an interesting woman!  I’ve subscribed to her stream and plan to go back and find out more about her.  I hope I’m as witty and insightful when I’m her age.

Anyway, I’ve backed my hexie quilt with some white Kona muslin and am working my way around the thing and maybe it will be done for Christmas.  La La has seen it, so its not a surprise, but she doesn’t know what it is.

Meanwhile, I’ve been laid off from my job (outsourced, really) so I’ve been working on Christmas presents for the kids.  Y and M’s mom mentioned that the dolls I made for them last year are still very  much played with, and that the kids would love some more clothes.  So that’s what I’m making – lots of clothes.  A & B’s mom gave me some hints too, so they are also getting more clothes, but someone might be getting an American Girl doll from Santa, so really instead of 5 dolls’ worth of clothes, I’m making 6.  A’s clothes will be half for the new doll and half for the old.  Maybe a couple of matching outfits for both, if I can hack it.  So far, I’ve made some pretty adorable flannel jammies, a purple outfit for one doll, 2 pair of overalls for the boy dolls, and one pair of jeans.  Next up will be some t-shirts, which should be interesting, since I’ve not really sewn knits before, at least not successfully!  But since I knew that, I bought plenty of extra yardage of the knits, just in case.  I don’t think I’ll have to wait til after Christmas to post photos, but I haven’t taken any yet.  I don’t think the kids read my blog yet ;-/

When I have a few completed outfits, I’ll post.  Sadly, I don’t have an AG doll to try out those outfits, so I’ll only be able to have a model for the Wee Wonderfuls dolls.

The cult of the hexagon

I’m done with the flat part of my hexagon doll bed fabric, and now I have to figure out how to get nice curves on the ends to make sort of a boat shape.


I’m going to try some pentagons joined to the hexagons.  I think it will be a gentle enough curve to be perfect for what I need.  I’m going to play in white for now to see how it goes and if it works, I’ll decide whether to just join the white to my fabric or to make more in the scrappy fabric I’m already using.  I’m having fun with this!

I’m already thinking about my next project.

I have a friend with a Cricut.  I have Adobe Illustrator (but Visio will also work).  I created an .svg file of hexagons and sent it to my friend, then I brought her a new pack of blades and a stack of cardstock.  About 30 pages, with 28 hexagons per page.  That’s over 800 hexagons, for the cost of a trip to JoAnn’s for some blades.

Hey Ya!

Big ole' piles of 1 inch hexagons

I got some charm squares to be a little less scrappy this go-around.   Cut in 4, they are perfect for 1″ hexies.

Me & My Sister Favorites Charm Pack

Some solids too.  Not sure if I’m going to use them for this project or not, but I have time to decide.

Connecting Threads Charm Packs: Warm, Cool, and Bold.

La La’s Birthday Quilt

So, a few months ago, I ordered this great stack of fabric from PurlSoho, which is local to me, even though the actual store is in NYC.  If you want to see more of the fabric, it’s page is here on the freespirit site.

California Dreamin' by Jenean Morrison for FreeSpirit

I also ordered this pattern from Carolina Patchworks.  It only calls for five fabrics (for the piecing).  I had 16.

{mini} Modern Rose Garden quilt pattern from Carolina Patchworks

I also have EQ7.

I mapped it out with my fabrics

So, I loaded up the fabric images from the FreeSpirit site and laid it out so I could get a good balance of color.  The scale is completely off and I didn’t bother to figure that out, I just wanted to get a harmonious layout, and I think I achieved that.

Ta Dot Lagoon by Michael Miller

I chose a fun polka dot binding that went well with the other colors on the fabric.   I found a shot cotton for the sashing – I think it’s Kaffe Fassett’s ‘Sprout’ color, but I forgot to check the label on that one.  Finally when we went on our field trip to Michael Levine, I found the backing – a turquoise Minky Dot.

La La relaxes with her new quilt.

It took me a while to find the right thread for the top and back, but I finally did find a good variegated top thread that went from orange to yellow to green.  And the bobbin thread was a perfect match for the minky, and I was on my way!

It's good for tumbling on.

I basted the heck out of it because I’d heard that the Minky stretches a lot. I didn’t actually have trouble with it stretching, but it sort of gripped my quilting table and it was hard to work with. Luckilly for me, I was at the LAMQG weekend sew and the Quilt Engineer was there with all of her tools and gadgets.  She loaned me her SewSlip II, which is a silicon pad that you put around the plate and over the quilt table to make a continuous slick surface.  This particular one has a rectangular hole so that the feed dogs can stay up for using the walking foot.   It was like night and day!  She also let me try her June Tailor Shape Cut ruler, and clued me into this binding foot.

Let me fluff it up a bit.

When I got home that night, I ordered the SewSlip II, a binding foot, a teflon foot, and a pintuck foot, because I hope I can finally make those last doll dresses where I got stuck on the pintucks.  Maybe.  I will probably buy the Shape Cut, because it took me about 3 minutes to cut my binding strips and they came out perfect.

I spent just over two days on the piecing and quilting, and a few hours on the basting and I am really happy with the result.

It's comfy.

More importantly, La La loves it, and calls it her Muno blanket, because she has a Muno made of Minky Dot.  I think it looks more like Toodee though.

You can almost see it all.

I put a label on the back that reads “For [La La] on her second birthday made with love by Mommy 2010”. I used printable fabric and my inkjet to print on the corner of a page, then sewed it into a corner of the binding. I even remembered to put it on before I sewed the binding! I did forget to attach it before I quilted it though.

I’ve been sucked into the cult of the hexagon and have been working away on a 3/4″ hexagon project that I hope will become a doll bed for La La.  When I started it was with some scraps that I got from a Japanese fabric shop, momen+. (They are on facebook, but don’t have their own website yet.)  I wanted to see how I like it, and I do, so next up will be a 1″ hexagon something, plus an 8″ hexagon throw.  I’ve used all the hexagons in the pack of 100 3/4″, and am still working out the geometry of making the flat surface into a moses-basket-shaped doll bed.  I think I might need some pentagons, so I might create those this weekend and try that out.

Moving house

I’ve moved to a new web host in the hopes of getting this thing going again.  You’ll notice that all the links to photos are bad, this is just temporary until I get everything moved over from the old host.  Please hold on!

Mommy’s little cupcake

I finally caught a smile “on film”. Lala has been smiling for about a week and a half whenever I talk to her, or have little conversations with her in her language.
She’s not used to the camera yet, but I’m hoping to catch her a few times a week so she’ll smile for the camera as well as mummy.

Finished Object? Not a chance!

I know, it’s been 9 months since I last posted. I’m not even sure if anyone’s out there anymore, and that’s ok, that’s fair, since there hasn’t been anything to read.
A lot can happen in nine months, and for me, a whole lot did! In fact, on August 31, I had a daughter!
Here she is:

Still steaming… in the hospital.


Visiting with friends


Contemplating her busy schedule?


Playing peekaboo

I won’t be posting her name/etc. here for obvious reasons, but those of you that I know in real life will be getting an announcement soon enough. They just arrived today, in time for her one month birthday!
Around here she goes by an assortment of names:
Wiggles, Giggles McWiggles, Pooparella, Poopenstein and LaLa (this is my favorite, when she wants to eat, she screams La! La!) are just a few that we seem to use a lot. I’ll probably refer to her as LaLa when I post here.
So far, she’s been just wonderful. I had an easy pregnancy until the very last day, and so far she’s just awesome. I was afraid to have a girl, considering the kind of relationship I have with my own mother, but I can’t imagine any other baby and I can’t wait to see what she becomes!