Monday, December 28, 2015

It wasn't my fault, really!

It was my wife who said I should start a blog and she thought it would be a video blog. I may grow into that someday. But my first attempt caused a few problems. I posted it below, not sure if it will play.

My wife saw this video and then didn't say anything for a few minutes. Then she asked where I got the scraps. Then she admitted it may be her fault that I used the pieces that she had cut for an applique project. Something about bias strips... Well earlier that week she used one of those strips to show me how to start up stitches after putting in a bobbin. So I thought they were all extra stuff just in the way around the sewing machine. I was doing a good thing by using them up. If you have read my first blog about the time I cleaned up the sewing room, you may remember that she said all the  projects were in clear plastic bags. So if it wasn't in a project bag it was available and even in the way. That is what I thought, these were stems that went with flowers to be appliqued. It wasn't my fault, she even said so.

From those strips I made a few different projects, all of which have a special meaning at Christmas time. She did buy me my own fabric for Christmas, I think she wants to keep me away from her projects. But she bought me the good stuff, Stonehenge is one of my favorite brands. I also got my own scissors, an Ott light and my own pins. Below the pieces that grew out of my mistake.


My wife loves me, and knows how crazy I really am...

A gift from my wife
 My wife left me a present. She gave me 200 half square triangle blocks! When she quilts she uses a pattern to start with and then makes changes. I look at life, I see patterns and translate it to fabric.

See the single triangles at the bottom.

My wife is currently working on a quilt which will have 25 blocks. Each block has two points of a star in each of the four corners. So she knew that she would be throwing away 200 triangles that I would probably pull out of the trash and try to make something out of. Yes, that is the crazy part.

Strips with the triangles at each end
The block she is making, on left, is a log cabin style with four strips getting a point on each end. She went to the trouble of double seaming the triangle before she cut them off so that I get a block from each end.  

Block ideas
I am not sure how I will put these together but will update later with finished projects. You can see below a few block ideas that I have had already. I think she is trying to keep me busy and away from the scraps that aren't really scraps. So, I used something I should not have. That will be addressed in another post, but it was not really my fault...

This posting was started in October and I am just finishing is now. Life happens, and with Christmas even more happens. I didn't want to publish this post until the quilt above was finished. Though it is not quilted - here is the finished top form the scraps that my wife gave me.


Wednesday, September 23, 2015


Welcome to my blog and welcome to my home away from the sewing machine. This blog will also show you the evolution of my welcome banner. As with most everything I do I started with my wife's scraps (there is a whole 'nother blog about using the wrong scraps...). I found the ends of some strip piecing in the scrap drawer. There were a few so I started sewing them together into 4 patches. That was to simple and boring so I sewed the right sides together on all four sides and cut an X. I put the those together with some gold fabric and got the block on the top left. By the time I got done I had a bunch that you will see in the next few blogs as well.

I put the blocks together as you see on the right above with a few extra white blocks to leave space for text. I love lettering and fonts which you will also see in the next few blogs. I guess I do have a bit to write about. I used my silhouette cameo to cut a stencil for the lettering and painted the letters with fabric ink. I didn't want so much white space around the letters so instead of stitching on top of the letters like last time I let the letters stay on their own and stitched around them. This made the letters stand out a little and softened the white space.

So now it is almost done. (photo bottom right) I still have to add the binding and the hanging sleeve. But there is not enough time to sew before work today.  Since my wife hasn't taught me to hand sew yet, I haven't put hanging sleeves on any of my projects. I have at least three more pieces to finish from this set of blocks. Last night I started something totally new, I saw a Greek key design and wanted to translate it to fabric.

I have also discovered a new problem... I set out to use up my wife's scraps and the hand-me down scraps from my mom. But now I am generating scraps of my own. I also started quilting one inch squares so we can't throw away anything unless it is smaller the one inch square.

This is the fifth post to this blog to other posts are listed on the right.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

I dropped the feed dogs...

Today (Monday) was the start of a perfect day. I have the day off and my wife has to work. That means I get to use the sewing room.

I have a wall hanging that I started earlier in September. I knew it needed to be embellished and I thought I would use text to fill in the lighter blocks.

The whole piece has relied on serendipity. I started with a few charm pack blocks. I placed two on top of each other, right sides face up on both, and made a cut across on an angle. I traded one side top for bottom and sewed them together. I mixed the blocks with two others and made the next cut across. I kept changing this until I had something like stained glass. I added two sided pieces to the blocks and joined them in a cross shape and added the background. The background is a variety of strips with the idea that a strip continues behind the cross.

I laid out text vertically and cut stencils with a Silhouette cutting machine. I used fabric markers to color in the stencils on my wall hanging. THEN, I dropped the feed dogs and did free motion quilting in the letters. I was only going to color in the letters this morning, but once I got started I couldn't stop and the next thing I knew it was noon. Some time later I had the binding finished and all before two o'clock.

I think the real reason my wife doesn't want me in the sewing room is because I am not getting any house work done...

This is the fifth wall hanging I have done based on the cross. I will share my earlier ones in another post. At some time in the future, I hope to start publishing patterns for some of my wall hangings.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

How did a husband learn to sew?

A few years ago in 2007, my wife and her committee at church coordinated a QOV (Quilts of Valor) event. Over three days people got together to cut and sew quilt tops. I attended with a large group of experienced and inexperienced people working together for a good cause. I started Friday night with the simple task of cutting fabric. I didn't know what I was doing but I was in good company and there were plenty of people to guide me.

At some time on Saturday there was a sewing machine available and I was encouraged that I could put strips together and even make four patches. By some time on Sunday I had put a complete quilt top together, with the help of others around me.

In the days that followed there were left over block of various colors. With a love of puzzles I took on the challenge of putting groups together to create patterns that would become additional quilt tops from the left over blocks.

So in a weeks time I had gone from an unskilled sewer to someone fairly confident with the machine. And that my friends is how a husband learns to sew.

My wife is smart, Yes I have said that out loud...

How smart is she? A few years ago we built a new house. We were planning a house that my mother would be able to move in with us. Yes, my wife agreed to that and actually got along very well with my mom. They both shared a love of quilting.

In that planning phase, the builder offered an unfinished bonus room above the garage. That simply changed how they build the trusses for the garage roof. It really made sense because they could either leave open trusses that could be finished into a room later or they would X off the space. Well, it didn't make sense to X off the space that could not be reclaimed later without a great expense.

After we lived in the house a short time, my wife started hinting that we should try to finish the room above the garage. It was a good idea, as I could do most of the work myself. Of coarse this would be a good place to have a sewing room and would get rid of the clutter of fabric and sewing machines throughout the house. Still a good idea.

As we started to settle her sewing supplies into the new sewing room, she happened to stop by the local sewing center with me in the car. She showed me something called a long-arm sewing machine for quilting. The fact that the new sewing room was a long and narrow space made it a perfect place for this new machine. (I had been had!)

I think she had an eye on that space for a long-arm when we originally heard that we could pre-finish a bonus room over the garage. Yes, my wife is smart and patient enough to wait for a space to have her long-arm machine.

PS - My mom did not move in with us because she found an independent living apartment with an extra room for her to have her own sewing room.

Friday, September 11, 2015

I make my wife nervous...

After a few years of traveling to the quilt show in Lancaster PA with my wife I decided I wanted to try to do something with some scraps she had around the quilt room.

She was away for a few days at a quilting retreat so I had time to try it out. I found my mom's sewing machine, that had not gone to the retreat with my wife. When I tried to set it up the foot pedal and power cord was missing. So I called my wife... She told me where it was but I could not find it. So I decided while she was away it was a good time to clean her sewing room and organize her fabric.

When she called later to see if I found the foot pedal I told her that I couldn't find it but that was OK because I was cleaning and organizing her sewing room. I asked if there was anything special that should not be sorted by color or size. She told be that anything that was part of a project was in a plastic bag and anything else was far game.

I did not realize until much later how nervous this conversation made her...

She is away at a wedding shower tonight so I can go up and use the sewing room.

I have more adventures to share, if I don't get into too much trouble.