Leaders/Enders Works Of Art

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Leaders. Enders. You know what they are, right? If you are in the Quilting Community, you know. For my non-quilty readers, it just means Do Not Waste Thread. When you come to the end of what you are sewing, grab two scraps and stitch them together. Then go back to what you were first sewing since now it has advanced out the back and can be clipped off. Keep doing this. Sewing two scraps in between your “project” sewing.

And before you know it, you have a table full of pieced scraps.

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Isn’t this the cutest!!

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I only recently started sewing the L/E way. Maybe about six months. I do it about 60% of the time. Because sometimes I get so excited, wanting to snatch out the fabric to see if the seams matched up that I forget. But I am trying to get up to 80% of the time. No sense wasting thread if I don’t have to. And that Gutermann thread is pricey. I only buy it when it is half off.

A few days ago, I changed up how I was sewing my L/E’s. I decided to go Round Robin. Sort of like Log Cabin style. Sewing in the round. Add a strip. Turn. Add another strip. Kept turning and adding until the block was the size I wanted.

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I used the center square as my color inspiration. A 2 1/2″ square selected from my charm collection. Rest of the fabrics came from my scrap bin.

Love. Love. Love them. And those times when I don’t feel like creating art “as you go”, I will just grab two scraps and sew. Art will come later when I fit all the pieces together like a puzzle.

Are you saving or wasting thread? 😀

Do tell….

Linking up to.




Building Scrap Blocks

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For the last week I have been working with my fabric scraps. They vary in size. From about an inch all the way up to about a FQ. In two years since I learned to quilt, I have accumulated a nice rainbow collection and now they are threatening to overtake my craft room. They are in several large bins separated by color. And even the tiniest pieces are in small baggies.

A week ago I had a brilliant idea. To go into 2013 SCRAP FREE!! Ha. Not hardly!! Way too many scraps. But I did make a dent in the blues, oranges and reds.

This is how I worked through the red scraps and Built A Scrap Block.

First off, if you haven’t done so already, separate your scraps by color. If they will fit, put them into large ziplock baggies. Now pick a color to work on. For me, I selected based on which colors were hogging all the space in the bin.

Red first. (This is just a tiny portion, all neat in this cute little faux-paint can.)

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Lay the scraps out on a table to eyeball the sizes. Iron any wrinkles out. (Yeah, I know. But go ahead and get that iron “hot and ready” to go. 😀 ) Trim any not with straight edges. Scissors will do fine.

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Now grab a handful and start sewing. Don’t think too hard. Just grab and sew. Press seams to one side. Trim again, if needed. And now the puzzle making begins.

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Pick a scrap you love and start there. I started off with the red fabric with large black dots. That little piece in the center. Love it!! I think it was in the scraps Deb, from Deb’s Losing It, sent me. Arrange and rearrange. Sew one section to another. Keep building.

This size would be perfect for a Mug Rug!!

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But I wanted bigger.

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And even BIGGER!!

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Added a fussy cut “Wednesday” and some piano key borders all around.

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And done. This is where I stopped. At 18″ by 14″. LOVE IT!! Can be a wall hanging or table mat. Or use it as the “front” to something. Even frame it and turn it into a work of art.

Next I moved to the blues. I made this panel the same size as the red.

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I was trying to make them different. Some horizontal strips, some vertical. A bit of Log Cabin style borders. With a few selvage strips thrown in. And some fussy cutting.

Next up. The orange scraps. Now I am thinking I am on to something. Perhaps turn all the blocks into a scrappy rainbow quilt with white sashing. Might be pretty.

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I made more projects with these scraps but that will be another post. Soon.

What do you do with your scraps? Are they organized? Do tell. 😀

Linking to…





I’m Done… Hugs and Kisses Quilt Top

I’m done!! Feels good to say that.

Though actually, I AM NOT DONE. I decided to go ahead and make another row of X’s and O’s. 28 more blocks. To make it 14 blocks across and 14 blocks down. I already studied the quilt top to see which colors to use.

This is what it looks like now. 168 blocks. 63 1/2″ across and 52 1/2″ down.

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I would have been finished about a week ago if I hadn’t swapped out all the darker colors, too busy prints and the see through fabrics. I have almost 80 blocks I didn’t use. Probably will use some of them in a darker themed quilt.

But this was a learning experience for me. I struggled sewing on the diagonal. And I was obsessed with trimming. I am thinking for the next quilt top using this design I will trim after I decide where each block will go. That way I should be able to better match up the white diamond strips.

Here’s a close up.

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I guess it isn’t as bad as I told you yesterday. Some parts are OK.

Hopefully it won’t take me long to make 28 additional blocks. I want to get it quilted and moved to the Finished Column. 😀

Go here if you would like to make your own Hugs and Kisses quilt.


Quilting By The Numbers: 24, 150, 19 and 0

I can NOT believe August has come and gone!! So fast. Just like that. Here and gone. Well, one more day. Today. All those To-Do’s, To-Make’s. Did some. Didn’t do A LOT.

BUT… I did accomplish quite a bit this week and last.

24. I worked on my charity pillowcases.

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As you know my goal is 5 a week or 20 a month. And being the Queen Procrastinator that I am, I didn’t start the ones for August until September was breathing down my neck. Talk about pressure!! But I did it. 24 pillowcases. How’s that for a Breakneck Sewing Marathon.

I have to say, I like this batch. Batch 6. I like them a lot. Some fabrics are new that I recently caught on sale at JoAnn’s. Footballs and helmets, owls, miniature toy cars.

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And some were leftover from other batches. I am using up quite a few novelty pieces.

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This batch also includes a few softer, sweet girly baby pink ones.

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That makes a total of 106 pillowcases made so far this year. I am on track to meet my 2012 goal. 😀

150. That’s the number of Hugs and Kisses blocks I have completed. The scrappy blocks I am making from all those squares I cut. I pulled out four of my favorites. They are in the front.

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This is how all 150 look up on my design wall. I need 12 more blocks to finish off the “X” on the right side and six along the bottom row. Unless I add more columns and rows, the quilt top will be 14 blocks wide and 12 blocks long. Each block finishes off at 5″ square.

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I didn’t realize how much I work with jeweltone colors until I saw Crystal’s comment on my blog. And I do!! My quilt will be brighter than the one I was inspired by. Bolder. Not sure I am happy with the larger prints like the navy huge circles. May swap them out.

Later this year or next year, I would love to make these blocks using baby themed fabrics. Also I have an idea for one in black and white. Need to get it mapped out on paper before I cut the squares.

19. My string blocks are coming along too. I am making them for a swap in one of my quilt groups.

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I got the final count for the swap a couple days ago. Including myself, there are five people participating. So I only have to make 16 blocks. Four per. I actually am finished. So far, I have made 19 but want to continue making them so I can select the best of the bunch for the swap. (I took out the four I am using for my wall hanging.)

I kind of strayed from the swap guidelines (make scrappy, don’t color coordinate) on a few. Not sure if I will keep them or use for the swap.

Purple and Turquoise.

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Michael and Henry.

I am calling this one the Michael and Henry block. I used three Michael Miller and four Henry Glass fabrics. I like it. Think I will keep this one and make more.

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Swap mailout deadline is Sept 30. Can you believe it!! For once in my life I am ahead of schedule. Probably because they are fun to make. And addicting. I can’t resist pulling out 12-14 strips and laying them out on a square of muslin. Then when I get bored with whatever I am making, I make a string block. My Boredom Breaker method seems to be working well.

Do you like making string blocks? Have you ever tried it? Try it. You might like it. What a great way to make a dent in the mountain of scraps I know you have. 😀

Zero. 😦 Sadly, this month will go by without a quilt top finish. How did that happen!! I could make a list but they would all be excuses. So I won’t bore you. I really DO want to quilt my quilt tops. I have to keep telling myself I will feel so much better once they are finished and the binding is sewn on. I have the finished look in my head. Now I need to get the finished quilt in my hands.

Hopefully I will have a finished quilt to post in September.

How about you? What Fall projects do you have lined up? Do tell…

Don’t forget to enter my “Be An Animal” giveaway. Three lucky people will win prizes. Could be you!!


Linking up to…


Guessing Game Winner Is… Fran.

Drumroll please…

I cut a total of 945 squares (751 – 2 1/2″ squares and 194 – 5″ squares)

The winner of my guessing game is Fran. She guessed 857. Her guess was the closest without going over.

Fran said:
August 23, 2012 at 11:38 am
I am going to say you cut a total of 857.

Congrats, Fran, please send me your name and address so I can get something pretty mailed off to you.

And a special thank you to everyone who left a comment. I enjoyed reading each one.

Many of you commented you wanted to see what I was making. I am making a quilt called Hugs and Kisses. I saw it at Little Miss Shabby’s site (link at bottom of post) and really loved it. It seemed easy enough for me to make. Scraps I have. Tons of them. This quilt is tailor-made for me.

So far I have 40 blocks finished. Can you see the X’s and O’s? 😀

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Each block measures 5″ square. I will probably make 100 more. As I finish more blocks, I will rearrange them to mix the colors up well. And I’ll do a post in a couple days so you can see how I am making mine. I am doing two things different from the tutorial.

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Hopefully mine will be as pretty as hers.

Go here for Little Miss Shabby’s tutorial. (Hope it’s OK. I borrowed this photo from her site.)


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Eight Strip Blocks Done… Keeping 4

Remember in my last post, I told you it took me almost an hour to make the first strip block? Well, I got the time down to 20 minutes. And I am thinking I can get it down even more. If I cut the strips ahead of time. I have been grab-and-go, placing the strips, cutting them down to get the look I wanted. All on the fly. Overall, I am pleased with the outcome.

Here’s what the eight look like.

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You know how much I love earthtones. Though I tried to steer away from browns, I did automatically reach for orange, rust, wine and green. I made just one block predominantly with purples and lavenders. I like it. I plan to make a few more.

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Want to see which four I am keeping?

These. I will turn them into a wall hanging using my Chili Pepper fabric for the border.

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I ran out of the fabric I will use for the first border. Checkerboard. It was a scrap I bought on eBay last month. Wish I had more. It looks black and white, and I have it in black and white. But that is CREAM and black. Love it!! If anyone knows where I can find it, let me know.

I will use orange for the cornerstones. I auditioned green, red and black. The orange “pops” plus it is almost the same shade in the Chili Pepper fabric.

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So… anyhoo… I am setting this aside for now. Let it settle. Let me see if I can go a week without changing or rearranging. I really do like it as is though. Only one thing I would change. That one really BRIGHT green strip in the right bottom corner blinds me when I look at it through the camera lens. 😦 It may get a makeover.

OK, just wanted to show you what I worked on yesterday. I was so excited getting to play with my scraps.

More Scraps… String Quilt Blocks

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I am still working hard on the project I cut all those squares for. Will be able to show you in a couple days. Just need to get a few more blocks made and up on my design wall. It is coming along nicely. Slow but steady.

And since I was craving another finish, I decided to take a break from my large project and do something quick and small. I signed up for a string block swap with one of my quilt groups. I have made the blocks before but it was a while ago.

This is the practice one I made this morning.

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And it wasn’t all that quick. Easy, but not quick. I used 14 fabric strips sewn down onto a muslin foundation. It is 7″ square.

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It took almost an hour. I think because I was hemming and hawing as I sewed. Hopefully the next few won’t take as long.

Here’s the second one. Laid out, ready to sew.

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Depending on how many sign up for the swap, I am thinking I will be making about 30 blocks. Thank goodness I will have a month to complete them. If I make one a day, I should be OK. Got to get faster. No more hemming and hawing. Just Sew!! 😀

What projects are you working on?

Go here for the string quilt block tutorial. Great site!! (Don’t let the words “paper-pieced” scare you off. You can do like I am doing. Sew the strips to muslin.)


Cathedral Window Pincushion

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This is one of the blocks I have been itching to try. I moved it to the top of my To-Make list after deciding to try something small.

I have been wanting to make a pincushion for months. But I wanted to make mine with crushed walnut shells inside and didn’t have any. So, off I went to Petsmart.

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Rather than walk around searching for the shells, I asked for help right off the bat. The lady asked me what type pet I had. None. 😀 I quickly mentioned I wanted the shells for crafts. Specifically, pincushions. Must not have been the first time she heard that. She never blinked. Didn’t say “for real.” None of that. She walked me to a bag. The ONLY bag they had. 7 lbs. I will be making lots of pincushions!!

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But first, let me show you the one I made yesterday. All from scraps in purple and lavender.

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It looks ok. It will pass.

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The button in the center is not just for decoration. It is for saving face. Covering my poor stitching. 😀

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I put the walnut shells in a little sack I made out of batting. Then inserted it into the opening in the back. (I ended up using this darker purple for the back instead of the glittered fabric.)

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It fits perfectly inside one of my recycled wooden frames. Is this cool or what!! It measures 3 1/2″ square and 1 3/4″ high.

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This is the tutorial I used. Go here if you would like to make one. It’s easy. Only one confusing part but I figured it out.


Have you tried making a cathedral window block? Do you like them?

Mickey Finish Friday

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I started these Mickey Mouse pillow covers last year. There were four. I only finished one. These three were left. Sitting. Waiting. They were nagging at me so I decided to work on them. Actually I kept thinking about the first one and how it turned out. I loved it. And so did the little girl whose parents bought it for her at my 2011 December winter craft show.

This is how the one that sold looked.

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Kind of made me think I should have finished the others. Maybe they all would have sold. 😀

Which brings me to today’s Finish Friday. I finished one pillow cover two days ago. It didn’t take long since the front was already quilted.

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Just needed to decide on a closure. I decided to add a zipper. Along the bottom. The 1st one I made had a fold-over envelope back but took longer to make. I thought putting in a zipper would be easier. Quicker. Not!! It took about the same amount of time. And I was only able to round the two top corners. Without it looking all funny.

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I finished another pillow cover last night. This one… back to an envelope back and four rounded corners.

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There is one more pillow cover ready to be quilted. I will do an envelope back for that one too. Though the zipper looks nice and all, the fold-over back just looks more polished, huggable.

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The pillow forms were recycled. Made from batting scraps. I save all batting scraps, large and small in a plastic bag.

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When the bag starts to overflow, I make pillow forms in different sizes. They work great for my photo ops.

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Feels really good to finish up something that has been patiently waiting for some sewing love. Yay!!

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I am going to work on the third one today and try to finish it up too. If I do, I’ll update this post.

Linking to Crazymomquilts for Finish Friday. Go check them all out. Lots of pretties.


One Quilt Finished And Another Started

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I finished my Red Hot Chili Peppers Spool Block Quilt. I machine sewed the binding. I am getting used to how a machine sewn binding looks. Flat on the top. But wider looking which I like.

It is larger than the first one. Nine spool blocks for this one.

This is how I made the back.

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I was going to be lazy and just do all one fabric but didn’t have one piece large enough. So had to do a pieced back.

And the binding I wanted to use… the white with black speckles… didn’t have enough of that one either. Only had one Fat Quarter left.

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So went with this black with white swirls instead. I think it looks OK. Just the “pop” it needed. Not too much. Just right.

Quilt measures 35″ by 37″. Colors are cranberry, forest green, white and black.

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This is my favorite photo. Stippling. Oh how I love you!!

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When I am stippling, I feel so free. Free to go left, right, wiggle around. Go whichever direction I want. But always thinking ahead about an exit strategy. Don’t want to be boxed in or cross over any stitches. I flip over the back every few minutes looking for tension issues. So glad I took the time to watch numerous videos on how to stipple.

I love the crinkled look.

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And DONE!!

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You can read more details on how I made it here.


Go here for the Freda’s Spool Block tutorial.


My next project…

Since it took several days to make and finish the Red Hot Peppers quilt, I wanted my next project to be something I didn’t have to “think” about. Or worry about. Just sew. Strip by strip. It is a quilt-as-you-go table runner. I saw the directions somewhere on the net. Have to find the site so I can link to it.

For now, this is where I am.

Fabrics gathered.

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Back decided on and sewn along the batting top edge.

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And a few strips sewn and pressed.

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The PRESSING is a pain. PITA!! But it is necessary to have a straight seam before adding the next strip. So, I will be Slow and Steady.

Update 12-23-11: Found the site.