Hand Quilting Video

I took a series of short videos of my hand quilting last year and posted them on Instagram.  Content on Instagram moves quickly, though, so I also took one longer video to post here on the blog.  It only took me about a year upload it...

In this video you can see how I start a line of quilting.  I always quilt from right to left but I pop the knot and tail of my thread on the left and then my first few stitches stabilize that thread tail and knot from popping back out.  I use both hands to produce the stitches.  Even though I'm right handed, my left hand helps produce each stitch by moving the quilt up and down. 

If you have any further questions, leave them in the comments.  I will email you back.  If you don't have an email address linked to your account, please leave the address in your comment.

I hope you are enjoying your December crafting time. I'll be machine quilting tonight on a project that I hope to show you early in January.

My favorite poem

Pray for Peace  by Ellen Bass

Pray to whomever you kneel down to:
Jesus nailed to his wooden or marble or plastic cross,
his suffering face bent to kiss you,
Buddha still under the Bo tree in scorching heat,
Adonai, Allah. Raise your arms to Mary
that she may lay her palm on our brows,
to Shekinah, Queen of Heaven and Earth,
to Inanna in her stripped descent.

Hawk or Wolf, or the Great Whale, Record Keeper
of time before, time now, time ahead, pray. Bow down
to terriers and shepherds and Siamese cats.
Fields of artichokes and elegant strawberries.

Pray to the bus driver who takes you to work,
pray on the bus, pray for everyone riding that bus
and for everyone riding buses all over the world.
If you haven't been on a bus in a long time,
climb the few steps, drop some silver and pray.

Waiting in line for the movies, for the ATM,
for your latte and croissant, offer your plea.
Make your eating and drinking a supplication.
Make your slicing of carrots a holy act,
each translucent layer of the onion, a deeper prayer.

Make the brushing of your hair
a prayer, every strand its own voice,
singing in the choir on your head.
As you wash your face, the water slipping
through your fingers, a prayer: water,
softest thing on earth, gentleness
that wears away rock.

Making love, of course, is already a prayer.
Skin and open mouths worshiping that skin,
the fragile case we are poured into,
each caress a season of peace.

If you're hungry, pray. If your tired.

Pray to Ghandi and Dorothy Day.
Shakespeare. Sappho. Sojourner Truth.
Pray to the angels and the ghost of your grandfather.

When you walk to your car, to the mailbox,
to the video store, let each step
be a prayer that we all keep our legs,
that we do not blow off anyone else's legs.
Or crush their skulls.
And if you are riding on a bicycle
or a skateboard, in a wheelchair, each revolution
of the wheels a prayer that as the earth revolves
we will do less harm, less harm, less harm.

And as you work, typing with a new manicure,
a tiny palm tree painted on one pearlescent nail,
or delivering soda, or drawing good blood
into rubber-capped vials, writing on a blackboard
with yellow chalk, twirling pizzas, pray for peace.

With each breath in, take in the faith of those
who have believed when belief seemed foolish,
who persevered. With each breath out, cherish.

Pull weeds for peace, turn over in your sleep for peace,
feed the birds for peace, each shiny seed
that spills onto the earth another second of peace.
Wash your dishes, call your mother, drink wine.

Shovel leaves or snow or trash from your sidewalk.
Make a path. Fold a photo of a dead child
around your Visa card. Gnaw your crust
of prayer, scoop your prayer water from the gutter.
Mumble along like a crazy person, stumbling
your prayer through the streets.  


In 2013 I made a pledge that it would be the year of finished projects.  I was pretty successful, but by the end of the year I managed to bum myself out because I'd stifled my creative energy so much all year.  In 2014 I have been determined to follow my inspiration instead.  So I start a lot of projects, dream about finishing them, and then start something else new. 

I'm much happier even if some projects are just a pile of fabrics set to the side.  Here is my fabric pull for a Halloween quilt.  I keep waffling between pattern ideas.  Triangles have been calling me from the start, but now I'm considering wonky strips in with triangles.  I'm sure I'll ponder this pile well beyond Halloween this year.

I'm digging my fabric pull for #mybooqal

I am loving Carolyn Friedlander's Shirts pattern.  This is one that I made with some precious fabric from a friend.  I go in shirt sewing spurts and I long for another night of just stitching these together.

I love this little shirt made with Carolyn Friedlander's Shirts pattern

The most space, time, fabric and brain consuming project this year has been the Gypsy Wife Sampler.  I have all of the strip fabrics chosen now and a few of the small blocks sewn but I have a long way to go on this one.  If you follow this blog at all, then you know that I have a love affair with samplers and I almost never want the project to end. 

My Gypsy Wife Quilt so far

Have you been following your inspiration lately? Where has it taken you?

Hard to give away

Henry went off to his first day of school for this year, so I thought I'd try blogging again.  I'm behind on everything around the house, but why not procrastinate a little bit longer?

I have drastically cut back on my sewing bees and swaps--because I'm low on sewing time, my WIP's keep piling up, but mostly because it is stressful to sew for other people and equally stressful to send it away in the mail after working so hard on it.  Recently I saw the ice cream swap on instagram and I thought I'd give swaps another try.

The ice cream block comes from the 318 Patchwork Patterns book by Kumiko Fujita.  This book was recently release again in English and is for sale at the link (and I have no ties with the vendor).  I have loved that ice cream block since I first saw Penny's block (back in 2010!) and now I've finally made one.

ice cream pencil case swap

I used a bag construction technique found in a Suzuko Koseki book but then changed the dimensions to suit the pencil bag I wanted to make.  You quilt the front and back panels but use a separate lining and then you quilt a zipper gusset with the lining fabric.  Then when the gusset is sewn into the bag there are exposed seam allowances. 

 seam allowances unfinished

Then you stitch binding tape above the seam allowance by hand and then stitch it by hand again below the seam allowance but without wrapping the seam allowance.  This way the seam allowance is tucked down and that gives the bag more shape while making the inside cleaner. 

seam allowances finished

Here is a picture of the quilted gusset.


The finished zipper gusset,

gusset zipper

and the finished bag.  Yet again, I love the finished product so much that I really didn't want to send it off in the mail.  I'll probably be taking another break from swaps.  Call me selfish, but I don't seem to find time to make cute ice cream bags to stay here at home and I'll never will if I keep signing up for more swaps.

finished pencil case

For Pink Sakes

I am participating in the For Pink Sakes Blog Hop hosted by Anna of Life Sew Crafty.  Anna is collecting pink blocks to make a breast cancer quilt.  Her mother-in-law has been fighting breast cancer and she has more information about that here.

For Pink Sakes

For my block, I used the bra block pattern at Paper Panache.  I just fell in love with the duck and duckling fabric and now I wish that I had a bra like this.  Unfortunately, a bra made out of quilting cotton would probably be uncomfortable...

If YOU would like to contribute a pink block to Anna's quilt, please find more information on her blog.  Anna will also be hosting a giveaway on August 2 for anyone who has participated by reposting, sending a pink block, contributions, etc.  The giveaway items are pretty cool, so click through on this link and consider pitching in.

Now go check out the other bloggers on the blog hop!

May 10
Anna of Life Sew Crafty
Sarah of Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Robin  Miscellaneous Thoughts
Kathy of Kwilty Pleasures

May 24
Jess of Quilty Habit
Melinda of quirky granola girl
Kristyn of Melon Patch Quilts

June 7
Amy of The  Calico Cat
Leanne of Devoted Quilter
Terrie of Quilting Nonnie

June 21
Carla of modern bias
Meli of Munchkin Quilts
Stacey of The Tilted Quilt
Julie of The Crafty Quilter 

July 5
Erin of Sew at Home Mummy
Lyanna of Blue Striped Room
Heather of Quilts in the Queue 

July 19
Katie of Swim Bike Quilt
Sarah of {no} hats in the house
Katie of Snuggle Up with a Dish from Karma

Baby quilt for a new little MQG member

Jessie, the president of the DC Modern Quilt Guild, just had a baby.  I was lucky enough to get to put together the blocks from the MQG members to make the quilt for the new little bundle.

Vivian and her quilt

I was inspired by Teaginny's Tiny Log Cabin Quilt.  So I asked for monochromatic log cabin blocks in each member's favorite color, out of their favorite fabrics and measuring only four to five inches.  I also asked each person to send some pale neutral scrap for the sashing.

Once I received quite a few blocks in the mail, I arranged them on my design floor.  I like to use the back of a picnic tablecloth.  The flannel side is very sticky and the other side is slippery so it is easy to roll up or fold and then flatten it back out without my blocks getting rearranged.

starting layout

Then I started improv piecing around each colorful block with whatever low volume bits I could find that worked.  Here is the first quarter,

1st quarter

the second quarter (after Henry trampled on it),

2nd quarter

the third quarter,

3rd quarter

and the fourth.

4th quarter

Once the top was all assembled I basted it,

needs hand quilting
and then did some quilting with white 20wt thread.

Then I added some black hand quilting around each block...





(that cerise block is mine!)

...and I hand stamped the back of the quilt with the first name of the person that made that block.


Linda attached the binding and hand stitched most of it and Anne finished the rest.  I'm so grateful that some people like to add binding because it is my least favorite step of the process.

Linda and Anne are awesome

I stamped DCMQG and wrote the year on it.


These are 11 of the 24(!) people that submitted blocks for this quilt.

some contributors on retreat