Pinwheels and Swirling Stars

Uh, OH… I think I am in LOVE!!

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Being the procrastinator that I am, it shouldn’t surprise you (or me) that I have spent the last two days working on a project that is due for mail out tomorrow. 😀

I am making pinwheel and swirling star blocks. For July’s Block Lotto in my quilt group.

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I almost didn’t sign up. Since I suck at anything with points to line up. But decided how will I ever learn if I don’t try and go outside my comfort zone.

And guess what?

Making the pinwheels was easier than I thought. These were my first ones. Not hard. But I had to be oh so careful trimming them and making sure the seams matched perfectly to the 45 degree lines. Thankfully I have a revolving cutting mat. It worked great.

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The amazing part about this project is how the same blocks produce two completely different looks. Sew four blocks and I get a pinwheel.

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The leftover four blocks (from the original Half-Square-Triangles) PLUS four rectangles and one little square in the center and I get a swirling star. I love how the swirling star turned out.

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I will make up a few more sets and get them mailed tomorrow.

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Then I am going to make up some scrappy swirling star blocks. Just to see how they turn out. I have plenty of scraps. A boatload. I have enjoyed this project. Who knew!! Lesson learned. Try it. You might like it!!

In case you are wondering how my umbrella quilt is coming along, I haven’t worked on the back yet. Still deciding on what I want. I tried these HUGE strips. For one huge umbrella. Hate it!!

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I went to JoAnn’s a couple days ago and bought these purple fabrics. These might work.

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At least they will add color. I really do want an umbrella for the back. Got to figure it out.

And no, I haven’t let my pillowcase project fall by the wayside. Since I can whip them out pretty fast, I have been setting aside a couple days a month and playing catch up. I have 17 pillowcases ready for French seams.

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And I gathered up a pile of fabrics for the next pillowcase marathon.

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Probably will do seven more for an even 24 and then get them mailed off one day this week. It is still a fun project. So I will keep it going for as long as I can.

So… what have you been up to? Do tell. 😀

Update 7-23-12: I finished three sets.

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Three Ticks For My Denim Quilt

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Tick #1: My first time working with denim on a quilt. Oh, what a Hard Head I have!!

Tick #2: Counts as one of my SS Holiday Table Mats.

Tick #3: I get to cross it off my MAY To Do list.

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Before deciding to use denim as the backing for my picnic blanket/table topper, I did my research. I wanted to see what pros and cons other quilters had to say about sewing with denim. Most information available was about rag quilts. But they did say new quilters might be intimidated, don’t use batting, would be heavy to manage.

Here’s where my Hard Head got even harder and told me I could do this. I had plans for loops, swirls, even stippling.

I practiced beforehand. On paper to get a feel. And on my sewing machine. The practice ones were so-so. (That should have been my clue.)

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Here I am, ready to free motion quilt.

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Well, the experts were right about two things. I should have left out the batting. No doubt quilting would have been easier. No matter what I tried, the loops and swirls bunched up into a bird’s nest in the back. Tried different types of thread. Different tension settings. Nothing worked. I ended up quilting straight lines. And it was HEAVY!! I used a folding chair on both sides of me to hold the weight. But INTIMIDATED!! Nope. I will try anything. Once. 😀

I took my quilt for a drive. Here it is keeping my Jeep warm. 😀

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These shots were taken at my city’s Recreation Park. I saw people sneaking glances at me but they didn’t ask what I was doing. I had planned to tell them I was a newspaper photographer. LOL!!

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It measures 47″ by 51″. Here’s how I made it.

  • 4″ squares
  • Disappearing 9 patch blocks
  • 6″ navy polka dot borders
  • 3 1/2″ red polka dot bias binding

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I really love it.

My next project also uses red, white and blue fabrics. I got all of these on sale at JoAnn’s.

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I signed up for a Patriotic Mug Rug Swap in my quilt group. Mail out date was yesterday. Guess I had better get started. Mine will be a day late. 😀

My charity pillowcase project is still going strong. Batch #4, 12 pillowcases, is finished. I added them to 12 others and mailed off two dozen.

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I am just thrilled to pieces working on these. I get to use up fabrics just sitting. Fabrics I bought when I was first building my stash and still hadn’t decided what to do with. Sort of purging the stacks. Feels good.

I also collected up dental supplies accumulated over the last few years.

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Hubby and I both go to the dentist four times a year and a lot of dental supplies start to collect in those cute Toothy Smiley bags. Only so many toothbrushes and dental floss can a person use. I am donating these to the charity center too. I had intended to donate small tubes of toothpaste from our dentist. Had a boatload of them. Did you know toothpaste has an expiration date? I didn’t. Thank goodness I checked. They had all expired so I trashed them.

Well… got to go. Need to work on my Day Late Patriotic Mug Rug.

What are your plans for the 4th of July?

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Pillowcases: Batch 4 Ready For French Seams

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I worked on these charity pillowcases last night. 12 of them.

All ready for French Seams.

I have a few favorites. Especially this fabric with the colorful doggie bones. I used it as the band for three pillowcases.

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They should all be finished sometime today. I want to get them packed and ready to mail either tomorrow or Monday.

What else am I working on? One of my UFO’s.

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It is basted with quilting spray and pins. Ready to quilt.

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This is the backing fabric.

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I am thinking big loopy daisies. Or some sort of loops and swirls. I think I will use blue denim thread in the bobbin and cream for the top. Will do a practice swatch first to see if the blue thread pulls up to the top.

I have plans for this quilted tablecloth/picnic blanket. Two family outings in July. And then I will display it on my dining room table most of the summer. And I just thought of something. I get to count it as one of my SS Holiday table mats. Yay!!

Well, back to the assembly line. The French seams are calling!! Hope you have great plans for this weekend. Do something fun!!

“MAY” Round Up… The Big Eye

Updated 7-18-12.

When I was little and piled more food on my plate than I could possibly eat, my mom would say I had the “big eye.”

When AmandaJean at Crazy Mom Quilts posted her May Small Projects Sew-a-long, I signed on thinking what a perfect time to work on recent unfinished projects plus a few back burners.

So, I made up my list. Will Do and Want To Do’s.


  • Download embroidery designs from my PC to sewing machine
  • Embroider one design, maybe two
  • Faux Chenille quilt finished
  • One handbag with grommets finished 6-9-12
  • Machine Felting, start one project finished two projects
  • Work on Umbrella quilt finished quilt top -6 blocks 7-18-12
  • Make more zippered bags four finished


  • Finish 4th of July Picnic Blanket/Table Runner/D9P Finished 6-25-12
  • Make pincushion inspired by coffee mug Made two 6-18-12
  • Work on Game Boards for Family Reunion
  • Work on black/white/red Postage Stamp Quilt Panel #2 made, 6-5-12.
  • Finish Attic Window Bird Cage pillow

But guess what happened? Yep. You guessed it.


I was only able to cross off TWO items. How embarrassing!! But it certainly wasn’t for the lack of trying. (I will tell you more about that in a minute.)

One thing not on my two lists received the most attention. My charity pillowcase project I recently started. Throughout May I sewed and sewed and ended up finishing 41 pillowcases. I timed making one pillowcase and if piecing wasn’t necessary and I could just cut and sew, it took me exactly one hour. Piecing added an extra 30 minutes or longer. So roughly I would say I devoted about 50 hours making pillowcases. That included fabric selection, ironing and preparation time. But seeing them finished, folded and ready to ship brought me so much joy. Many smiles. I was delighted to donate the time and materials.

Here they are.

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In between making pillowcases, I managed to make one quilted handbag. The plan was to add grommets (and then I could have crossed it off my list) but I ended up using wooden handles instead. 😦

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One thing on the WILL DO list I completed was this little zippered bag. 😀

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It goes with the handbag.

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And even though my Faux Chenille finished quilt/blanket was for a DOLL, I am crossing it off anyway. I went through the entire process. Learned it, sewed it, finished it. And have plans to make a larger one this month.

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So.. those were my two On-The-List finishes.

OK. Now let me tell you about my PROJECT ATTEMPTS.

I spent HOURS trying to figure out how to download embroidery designs to my Janome MC 10001 sewing machine.

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Everyday I would search the net, search Janome’s web site. Nothing I tried worked. The culprit? My operating system. Using my USB cable that came with my sewing machine, I could not automatically find the required drivers. And a manual search didn’t find them either. The program fix I found at Janome didn’t work. Because I have a 64 bit (????) system and the USB connected download only works with 32 bits. So… I am really frustrated right now. After I cool off (don’t want to be mean and cuss at the poor sewing center workers), I plan to take it all in and demand ask for help. Hopefully sometime this month I will be able to embroider one of the digital designs I bought five years ago.

Another item on my list that I can say a bit of progress was made was learning about my Janome Xpression Felting Machine.

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I have had it, I think, about 4-5 years. And never used it. I can proudly say, I am now more familiar with it, the tools and the process. More so than ever. I spent HOURS (about as many as on the embroidery issue) reading my manual, searching the net, watching how-to videos. I am certain I will be able to complete a machine felted project in June. How’s that!! One Machine Felted Item Coming Up!!

Though I only managed to finish two items on my list, I still count May as a success because of what I DID finish. (Photos below if not above)

41 charity pillowcases
2 pillowcases for me
1 doll pillowcase
1 quilted handbag
1 zippered clutch
1 faux chenille doll blanket
1 doll ruffled pillow
1 little girl’s purse

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Well, that does it for me. How about you? Did you complete your May projects?

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Look What’s New At My House

Fusible Fleece.

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I didn’t immediately run out to buy it after reading that quite a few quilters were using it to sturdy up their handbags. I resisted and continued using regular batting and thin interfacing. But curiosity got the better of me. So, when JoAnn’s mailed me a 50% off coupon, I knew what I would use it for. I got five yards. 7.99 a yard regular price. I haven’t used it yet to see if I like it but plan to in the next few days.

Zippers, Zippers.

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75 of them. Got them in the mail a few days ago. Purchased from an eBay seller. Are you seeing lots of little zippered bags? Me, too!! I only bought 7″ and 8″. If these work out, then that seller will have me as a regular customer.

Isn’t this the cutest little mug?

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Well, huge actually.. but I call everything “cute and little.” 😀 It is humongous and is similar to the black one I bought last year. Except for the size of the white dots. Now I have two.

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Didn’t see any other colors. Maybe next year I will find one in a different color. It was half off. Don’t you just love JoAnn’s half off sales!!

Update on my pillowcases for charity

I am still making them. Nine more finished. I am WAYYYY ahead of myself.

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Circles and dots…

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I am committed to making one pillowcase a day, Monday through Friday. 5 a week. 20 a month. Schedule-wise, I am into next week. Yay on ME!!

And I am doing a bit of sewing for myself, too. I have a new handbag and matching zippered clutch almost finished. Just need to stitch up the bottom of the lining and decide if I want top stitching. Hopefully will be able to show you tomorrow.

Here’s a question for you quilters out there.

Have you used fusible fleece and do you like it? Any tips? Is it true after ironing it on you have to let it cool for 30 minutes before handling? I read that somewhere. Can’t remember where.

Well, that does it for me. Thanks in advance for your help.

What crafting are you doing?