Nightmare before Christmas Quilt

So the daughter loves the movie, Nightmare before Christmas. When I saw the panel, I knew I should make her a quilt. So I did.

I know, it’s freakin’ awesome, if you like that sort of thing, which she does. I had lots of fun making it for her, mostly because I knew she’d love it. I made simple blocks to frame it and just a couple of small borders in there. The binding is the same purple as the second border, so that’s fun.

I tried to quilt it with the funky swirls that are popular in the movie, but it was a little hard to make them consistently weird.

I attempted the serpentine lines in the purple border, and they aren’t perfect, but they look good to me! I also quilted smaller swirls in Jack’s shirt. It reminded me of the frilly tuxedo shirts from the 70’s. Am I right?

I used orange thread for Sally’s hair, just to give it some texture. This guy also got a touch of orange!

I did try to quilt the lines on the faces, but I didn’t do anything fancy.

Finally, the back. I LOVE the back. None of the pieces of fabric that I has was large enough to be a backing. After stewing on that for a while, I figured I could try to piece a back, with borders. I don’t like doing backings that way, but I didn’t have a choice. That worked out well, this time.

I still have some of the black fabric, the white ones and none of the “stained glass” one. It was my fave.

Friends, she loves this quilt. I surprised her and that is just always fun.

I also emptied about 8 bobbins of various colors! I used my Isacord thread to quilt this because I needed many fun colors. I find that I prefer thicker than 40 weight thread for quilting. If the thread is going to be built up with travel stitching, then a thinner one makes sense to me. But I like some thickness. Everyone has their own opinion and that’s mine.

Have a great weekend, friends!



FMQ Challenge & 2 Baby Quilts

Because I don’t have nearly enough to do (🙄) I am participating in the free motion quilting challenge “hosted” by Angela Walters on social media. I figured it’d be fun and would refresh me, right. So I got the quilt put together pretty quickly, and even jazzed it up a little with some cool colors.

I like it a lot. And since this pic, I decided to add a border using this fun fabric.

I know, right! I’ve had it for years and thought the colors just worked. I also used it on the back and plan to use it for the binding. So the first block we were supposed to meander quilt it. It’s never been a favorite design of mine, mostly because I was always terrible at it, but it turned out pretty nice.

Yes, it’s supposed to look like that. The next one included smaller meandering and a “frame” within a square. Meaning, straight lines with a free motion foot (on the sewing machine). Now, I can sew a straight line, but I have a walking foot for that! I tried it anyway, thinking I’d 🤗 jazz this one up too with a square in a square….I even marked what I thought were the middle points! I feel this one was a bust! (No pun intended.)

Straight lines are hard for me. I don’t want to invest in a ruler foot or the rulers at this point, so I will continue to practice as needed. The next challenge were curves. I’m pretty comfortable with quilting curves so I felt like I had this one down. 🙄 When will I learn?

I did some marking with a chalk pencil but it didn’t help me much. Not thrilled with the light gray block, but the pink doesn’t look as bad as I thought it did right after finishing it. Today’s challenge is a leafy meander, which I do all the time so it should be fine. I’m not sure what I’ll do with this quilt once it’s finished. I love the bra fabric, but I still have some left to play around with. I think the challenge goes thru early April. Anyway, it’s good practice.

I finally got two baby quilts sent out last week. At this moment both are “out for delivery” so I thought I could blog them without spoiling any surprises. The first is a Carpenter’s Star (or wheel, I don’t really know what the difference is) which we named Pretty in Pink.

When I started working on this quilt, I tried to incorporate some other colors so it’d match the nursery. A couple examples…

Neither of these options worked for me. Green has never been a favorite and the floral in the second pic just stood out too much, instead of blending in. So I cut a few more pieces of pink and decided that was the way to go. I quilted this with the arch or paisley design, pretty densely actually. I love the texture.

I used the pink plaid on the back and for the binding too. It’s a favorite fabric of mine. I hope the sweet baby and her mama like this quilt.

The next one I started was for a baby boy. He was actually born the day I completed the top! I had given his big brother a fox quilt a couple years ago, so I knew I wanted to use another of Elizabeth Hartman’s patterns for the new guy. I went with Bjorn Bear.

I think it’s a little longer than his brothers quilt, but that’s okay. The pics I had seen of the nursery made me want to use some bright colors, but a dark background, which worked out well for this project. Each bear’s ears has ten pieces! I think that’s right.

I quilted this in a bark-like design, a little further apart than I normally would because I used thread to match the background and didn’t want lots of brown thread on that polar bears face.

I decided to use a scrappy binding on this one. I love the touches of color all around the edges. I used a cool deep purple for the back. If I had found it before I made the bears I would have used it for one of them. The fabric in the top right, with all the dots, was my focus when I chose the colors. It’s a busy one, and caused some eye weirdness when it was all one big piece, but I think it worked out okay. We called this one Bear Cub.

I still have one more gift I need to give before I can blog about it. One of these days that’ll happen!

Finally, I was feeling adventurous so I thought I’d try quilting feathers this weekend. I’ve struggled with them for YEARS. I layered something that’s been in the closet for 6 years with a fabric I’ve had and not used for many years, and gave it a shot.

Not perfect, but not horrible either! It was fun and challenging too. Some of the “petals” kept getting all weirdo on me, like the one in the pic above with the speck of thread in it…. But I just tried to adjust and move on. I don’t know that I’d like to do this on anything of real size (the sample was FQ size) but for now I might stick it in here and there just to get some more practice in.

So that’s what I’ve been up to lately. Along with some physical therapy because I have some terrible sewing habits that make my neck and back hurt. I’m learning that as I get older, I need to stop and stretch things BEFORE I can’t move.

Have a great week, friends!


Tender Hearts

Talk about being out of the loop! Anything I may have sewn in the last seven weeks have been gifts that I couldn’t share until they were given! But today I can finally share one of them!

About two weeks ago the husband informed me that a very special couple was moving on to another place to care for children, and could I make them a quilt? Seeing that they are two of my favorite people, who have always been kind and supportive to me, of course I’d make them a quilt! The very next day I saw the Kira pattern, by GE Designs (of Iceland!!!!) and knew it’d be fun for them. And as it happens, husband accidentally bought me two of the same layer cake for Christmas so I had enough to make this for tall people!

This is before I added another row to one side and the bottom. Isn’t it cool? I used Moda’s Spectrum line, which is actually WAY out of my traditional comfort zone, but I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT! The fabrics are bright and cheerful, and lookit my cute slippers!

Anyway, I wanted to quilt this in a unique, fun way and I did. But it surely isn’t perfect! But that’s okay, I hear I’ll get better with practice. (Thanks, Leah Day and Angela Walters.) I tried to do some “dot to dot” quilting, but I’m pretty sure my squares were just too big so the lines are pretty wobbly.

Here are a couple of pics of quilting that wasn’t half bad.

I used a Tim Holtz fabric for the backing and a green that matched the blocks for the binding.

How about those pebbles! Not perfect but you can tell they’re pebble-ly. I did not quilt on the many triangles as I wanted them to pop out. In the close up pics you really can’t tell, but in this one…..

POP! What terrible lighting, huh? This was taken in a basement on a cloudy day, what can ya do? And like I said, not perfect. But finished, and delivered, so I can share.

So, on a personal note, for those of you who want to be in the know…..we have a new doggy in the house. #meetbo

He joined us in November and has quickly captured our hearts. He hilarious and a lotta energy, so we’re teaching him to be a little more lazy while he teaches us to move it!

Early in December I got sick with an ear issue, which became a cold, which became pink eye, which made the cold worse, which caused a sore throat and cough that wouldn’t quit! I am finally much closer to normal, even though the cough persists.

Christmas was fun for us, with almost all the family together. And like I said, husband worked off my list which included one creative grids ruler, one jelly roll, two layer cakes, a fave puzzle and some lovely earrings. He always comes thru in a big way. New Year’s Eve was a bummer, as I was still dealing with illness. It is what it is.

Finally, a gift a can only share this much because it hasn’t been given yet…

And right now I’m working on this, which is also a gift.

It’s nice to be back to sewing some. I’ve missed it.

I hope 2018 is good to you, friends.


A-B-C, Easy as 1, 2, 3

Last week the husband asked if I had a quilt I could finish for a baby shower at his work. I told him if it’s a girl, I do. If a boy, it’d take longer. So he found out and ta da, I finished it yesterday. We were out of town over the weekend, otherwise it would have been done sooner. 

I think this is the VERY last of this line of fabric. I’ve made several things using it, so it’s had a good run. The border fabric isn’t part of the line, but I thought it worked well. I love red and pink together.

Such a messy floor! The tumblers started as 10” squares. I cut the edges off so I could add the border instead of it being weirdly shaped and a binding nightmare. The 5” border made this quilt about 45” square. I love square baby quilts!

I quilted that awesome meandering flower allover design. I just love it so much. 

I thought about using the backing fabric for the binding, but I really like the consistency of matching the border. I have a 2” mini strip of the alphabet fabric left.

I’m almost out of the backing fabric too. The quilting doesn’t show a whole lot but that’s ok. It should crinkle nicely when it’s washed. 

Finally, we stopped in Shipshewana on our way home. We were there for only 90 minutes but it was fun. Got a little cheese, a little fabric and had lunch. Time well spent in a place that just gives me peace. 

I hope you all have a good weekend, friends. I’ll have a surprise to share next week!


Graffiti Quilting

I’ve been wanting to give Graffiti Quilting a try so I prepped a small quilt on Saturday and got to it. I used white thread and went through 5 bobbins on this 27” square quilt!

Surprisingly, I had just enough left of the border fabric for the binding, so that was awesome.  It took me many hours to complete the quilting, much of the afternoon, really. 

Graffiti quilting is described as “compounding complex designs and colors for a stunning finished look.” I didn’t use multiple colors, but maybe one of these times I will. 

This first corner has a few different things going on; swirls, some viney things and crazy eights. The stitch length is actually not as consistent as I’d like, but with more practice, I think it’ll improve.

In the pic below there are pebbles, swirls (they’re easy and versatile), some boxes and the meandering flower.

I attempted some McTavishing too. I think with practice, this could become a design I’d really enjoy quilting. There are many tutorials online to see how to do it. I watched the Leah Day tutorial more than once.

Below is a paisley feather and some triangles.

Ok, this next corner has a filled shell. It’s far from perfect but the texture is really pretty cool.

The next pictures are of the back. It’s a little easier to see the quilting on the less busy background. 

This fall marks 20 years of quilt making for me. In the beginning I only quilted in the ditch. It seemed like the easiest, most efficient way to get things done. The actual “quilting” was not as important to me as the piecing. I saw it as a way to just keep the layers together, which it is, but decorative stitching just didn’t interest me. Now I can’t get enough! 

I tried stippling, which made me crazy with the “not crossing over the lines!” So I changed it and made lots and lots of cursive L’s for years. This was a short step to swirls, which is a favorite still. I worked on writing words with thread, like baby’s names on quilts. So much fun. Next I tried outlining the designs on the fabric. Flowers, vines, animals, etc. Sometimes it was easier than others.

Free motion quilting has become a huge part of the joy of quilt making for me. It’s an added personal touch. It’s not as hard as I thought, way back when…. I seldom stitch in the ditch anymore. Organic lines are more my thing. FMQ is just plain fun. It can be open and fresh, it can be tight and planned. It brings life to an awesome quilt.

The quilting on this table topper is very VERY dense. I wouldn’t do it on a bed quilt, it’d be so stiff and not drapey at all. But I plan to keep practicing on smaller things like this. It really is lots of fun.

Have a good week, friends.


It’s not easy being Green

After hoarding a couple of Jolly Bars from the Fat Quarter Shop, I decided to give the Migration pattern a try. Instead of a light background, I used green. It seemed like a good idea at the time…..but uuuugggggghhhhhh, there is SO MUCH GREEN! 

Sure, it looks great like this ⬆️, but man, oh man, what a lotta green.

Here are the first blocks that I made. I had two different layouts in mind, once I noticed the points of those geese get lopped right off! I sewed them into pairs then played around with placement. I followed the pattern for the most part in the end.

Second thought…..

Yeah, I didn’t go with that. The pattern suggestion is what I used.

I also considered a different sashing fabric but it didn’t seem to work. At all. I may use it on the back.

Ok, so I finally got the body of the quilt together. From a distance, it doesn’t look too bad…..I guess. The light backgrounds in the one block is a throw to modern designs. I didn’t want to use green on green, so I did this. It’s probably my favorite block.

My intention was to make something else with the leftover half square triangles, but when I put them on the design board as a border, well, I think it’s pretty cool.

I’m not sure which way I’ll put them, but see the design they create? Kinda neat. I like the corner on the last picture. 

And I see that I have the green outer border to add on still. Oops. I have big plans for the quilting on this one. I’ve been watching tutorials and I have a couple books coming to refer to. I want to use a light thread on that green, like cream, but I’m kinda chicken. Hoping to be at that point on Saturday.

So, have a good weekend, friends.


I Forget How Striking Blue is….

Until I make a blue quilt. Seriously, I like the color blue okay. It’s not a favorite but I don’t dislike it. But then a blue quilt request comes along and I see what all the “blue love” is about. 

Quilters LOVE blue. I am no different. Now.

I made this quilt for my brother in law, Dan, who is dealing with cancer treatments. His wife requested it for him about two weeks ago, when I was in finish the auction quilts mode. I finished it over this past weekend and sent it out the other day. It should be delivered to him today, so I thought it’d be safe to share.

I used the Kissing Coins pattern by Missouri Star Quilt Company. I actually put the blocks together wrong so instead of un-sewing, I deleted the two outer rows of white. I like it and the blue was the main color going on anyway. 

I quilted swirl hooks in the blue and the border, which is also blue and simple wavy lines in the white areas. In the squares that are created by the blocks coming together I tried something new (to me). 

It’s not perfect, but it looks nice. On some of the blue fabrics the quilting doesn’t even show up, the thread blends in so well. That’s okay too, besides being decorative, the thread does have a job to do! (Don’t you love batting fuzz!🙄)

I used a very cool Tim Holtz fabric for the back. It’s pretty forgiving of the imperfections in my quilting, but it also looks manly and it’s super soft besides.

I used the coolest dark blue batik for the binding. There’s also some in the quilt body too. I’m not crazy about batiks but when I love one, I use it only for special projects. I’ve got just under a yard left of this one and I know I’ll be hoarding it for a while. 

I was honored to make this quilt for Dan. He’s a very sweet man dealing with a hard situation in a way that shows his character and strength. Kim, my SIL has got to be the strongest woman I know. She has overcome so much and I respect her greatly. If you are a prayerful person, please remember them when you pray.

I’ve started on another project, something for fun. Remember fun? Yes, so it’s coming along nicely but I can’t share it right now. In a few months though, I will.

Have a good day friends. It’s finally cooled off in the Midwest, so I am ready to ditch the sleeveless tops and find my sweaters.