May 28, 2010

The Aurifil Thread Winner!

The winner was

Brenda  who said... " I would love to win this. I do a lot of appliques and crazy quilting which this would be perfect for. I can't afford silk so I either use cotton quilting thread or DMC floss. I know this thread is like butter to use. I would be set for a long time with this thread if I was to win. This would be such a blessing to me. With a very tight budget a girl can only dream. Thanks for giving me a chance to win."

I wish I had a prize for everyone. The response was fantastic. Many of you said that is was outstanding thread and you would not choose anything else. I agree! This is quality thread.

Huge congrats! I will be emailing you soon Brenda about your wonderful prize.

May 26, 2010


This is what was finished today.

Composition book cover

Instead of a yucky black and white splotchy composition book I have a happy linen cover. I used an idea from Sewing In No Time. What are the measurements? I didn't use a batting. So, you only need to add 3/4", to the width of your book you are covering to have it fit properly. The horizontal length is more forgiving. Just add enough length to securely fit the book's cover.

Composition book cover

I wanted to try paper pieced hexagons and they were easy and fun. I wanted to try more something than just squares. Like this or this. I really want to make Rashida's placemats.

The flower, on the back of the cover, was an interpretation of the flowers on the actual Woodland Bloom fabric. The applique was easy and the Aurifil thread was smooth and made the applique soo much easier. I cost compared it and there is more on the spool to negate the price increase. So try one. Everyone is saying how it makes less lint in the machine too. Don't forget about the giveaway here in this post. Winner announced on Saturday!

Composition book cover back

I also wanted to share this recipe for bread from America Test Kitchen.

Almost No-Knead Bread or Bread for Dummies Like Me (I like to call it the second one!)
  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (15 ounces), plus additional for dusting work surface
  • 1/4 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water (7 ounces), at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons mild-flavored lager (3 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1. Whisk flour, yeast, and salt in large bowl. Add water, beer, and vinegar. Using rubber spatula, fold mixture, scraping up dry flour from bottom of bowl until shaggy ball forms. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 8 to 18 hours.
  • 2. Lay 12- by 18-inch sheet of parchment paper inside 10-inch skillet and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface and knead 10 to 15 times. Shape dough into ball by pulling edges into middle. Transfer dough, seam-side down, to parchment-lined skillet and spray surface of dough with nonstick cooking spray. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until dough has doubled in size and does not readily spring back when poked with finger, about 2 hours.
  • 3. About 30 minutes before baking, adjust oven rack to lowest position, place 6- to 8-quart heavy-bottomed Dutch oven (with lid) on rack, and heat oven to 500 degrees. Lightly flour top of dough and, using razor blade or sharp knife, make one 6-inch-long, 1/2-inch-deep slit along top of dough. Carefully remove pot from oven and remove lid. Pick up dough by lifting parchment overhang and lower into pot (let any excess parchment hang over pot edge). Cover pot and place in oven. Reduce oven temperature to 425 degrees and bake covered for 30 minutes. Remove lid and continue to bake until loaf is deep brown and instant-read thermometer inserted into center registers 210 degrees, 20 to 30 minutes longer. Carefully remove bread from pot; transfer to wire rack and cool to room temperature, about 2 hours.

This bread is so easy to make. Trust me. I have made so many others and without a bread machine, I am at a loss on how to make good bread. This is fantastic! If you don't like the use of beer replace it with water and the results are about the same. Yummy! This was my grandmother's cast iron dutch oven and I use it exclusively for this recipe. I am glad to have it.

No knead bread

Oh, and we "decorated" the dining room for a "party". Anna said, "Oh Mommy, that is so bootiful!"

Dreden Plate wedge fun

See, I have been working on those Dresden Plate wedges. How was your Wednesday!?

Don't forget about my Aurifil giveaway that ends tonight! In this post here.

I'm adding this to Sew and Tell. Go visit Amy. There are more talented and crafty people than me out there.

May 25, 2010

Week 5: Dresden Plate Party

The May Day giveaway, the Blogger's Quilt Festival, Quilt Market... and new Aurifil thread to play with. Let's just say I have been distracted by the beauty around me instead of (cough) finishing my own projects. I even forgot to participated in the the Monthly Friday Night Sew In. Ahh! Even the end of school activities have been piled on at hubby's work! It is hard to get around the table for dinner at night!

So were you more productive than I? I sewed some wedges and free-motioned basted my purple plate.


I was thinking of this setting with yo-yos by Sachiko Obata for my red and aqua Dresdens.  I have made yo-yos before, but I wonder if they can be finished faster by some machine sewing...

There were so many sites to look at and new friends to make at the Sew Mama Sew May Giveaway Day. I only commented on the items that I truly would love and work with. I peeked around lots of blogs too. It's so easy to get caught up in the 'Ooo, free stuff' routine. I did win some beautiful fabric to make a bag from Brooke from Pitter Putter Stitch in some wonderful blues. I love her buttercup bag that was designed by Rae.  It is a free bag pattern. Then, I won a Dresden Plate Pillow! I have been meaning to make one, but I really want to finish these quilt tops by summer vacation. Here it is in all of its wonderfulness.

{image from traceyjay quilts}

I will receive, get this, one made in Anna Maria Horner's Little Folks voile and linen! This is so perfect.  Thanks Tracey. Go visit her etsy and you can buy this green pillow.

I have also met some interesting people along the way. I need a blog gadget to remember to check my google reader! Off I go to get some cleaning done and...maybe some semi-naughty fabric purchases during naptime.

What have you accomplished on your Dresden Plates this week?

Can't wait to visit you. You can also drop some pictures in the flickr pool.

May 24, 2010

Fabric Collections Stalking My Wallet

Katie Jump Rope...


Hope Valley....

{images from Denyse Schmidt Quilts}

Far Far Away 2...

{image from heather ross}

Good Folks...

{image from Anna Maria Horner }

These are the fabric collections that are stalking my wallet after the Blogger's Festival and Quilt Market.  Inspiration is everywhere!  I will be looking through these posts for weeks...

What fabric collection is stalking your wallet? Thanks for making me think about this Tara! :)

What quilts should I not miss?

Thank you for visiting me and leave such wonderful kind words. I am overwhelmed...and I will try to visit you soon.  

Don't forget that the giveaway ends this Friday! I'll show a finished product using Aurifil thread this Wednesday.

May 22, 2010

Aurifil Thread Giveaway!

I thought I might share my latest discovery with you.... I received some Aurifil thread to try out and I am in love! I appliqued and played with some hexagons last night and this thread glides through the fabric and no fraying! I have been complaining about knots in my applique thread a few posts back, but no knots here!  Aurifil's Mako 50 feels like silk! It has a beautiful shine and a smoother feel.

I can't wait to try the thread this weekend to finish one of my Dresden plates and I have a cute composition cover that I will share soon!

I tried out one of my sampler packs, but I can't keep them to myself.

I want to share the rest with you.  You will receive all the types of thread available. There is a wool for for wool embroidery projects, a Mako 12 for Sashiko and Red Work, a Mako 28 for hand quilting, and  a Mako 40 for your machine work.  I know I am going to personally enjoy the Mako 50 for my piecing, quilting and applique!  The four pack, on the left, is an Aurifil Collections Mark Lipinski's Appetizer kit.

You will receive these 9 spools of Aurifil thread pictured above. Yummy thirties fabric waiting to be sewn are not included. I am so excited to go shopping. Look at these beautiful colors... I almost want to change my header!

So... how do you win some of this thread candy?

For the first entry, enter a comment telling me why you love Aurifil or why you want to try it between now and PST 6:00pm on May 28. I will ship anywhere.

If you want 1 additional entry become a follower of this website, if you like what see, or choose one of the following: follow Auriful on wordpress, subscribe to  Alex Veronelli's Aurifil  YouTube account,  or become a fan of Aurifil Quilt Patchwork and Embroidery Threads on facebook.  Then comment that you did it! You've got to love that social media!

Good Luck! I will use a random number generator to choose the winner.

5/28/2010 6:00pm - Contest is now closed. Winner announced soon!

May 21, 2010

The Popover Dress for Sew and Tell

If you are looking for the Quilt Festival post it is here. Aurifil thread giveaway is here.

I took my first plunge into clothes making this week for my two daughters.

Enjoying their new dresses

I used the Oliver + S free pattern, and some Nicey Jane to make these popover dresses.

Nicey Jane popover dress

The bias binding for the bows was new to me, but it worked like a charm. To finish without a serger, I used french seams for the inside and stitched twice along the bottom edge to make the end look finished.

Finished seams on the popover dress

What a beautiful day for a new sundress!

Enjoying the sun

Remember to go visit Sew and Tell. There are more talented and crafty people than me out there.

May 20, 2010

Hedgehog Loves Sudoku Quilt

I've posted about this quilt in a short snippet in the first post of my blog. I have never shown it in its entirety. 
Before I started this quilt I had decided to use 2 1/2" squares, but I wanted to have them be random, which I am not at all good at. So I thought of all those Sudoku quilts and thought what if they were larger? I can't say I solve Sudoku puzzles, but I found a 12 by 12 Sudoku puzzle that worked with my twelve fabrics. In each block, no fabric repeats in each row or column.  The quilt looks random, but I have 6 large 12 by 12 blocks that repeat. The binding is scrappy and random looking too.


I love that there are hedgehogs and fabrics that have the numbers 1 through 9.


It means a lot to me because it was for my son's third birthday that August. He loves hedgehogs and needed a big boy bed quilt. Even more special was my son's repeated phrase. "Mommy... this makes me so happy." That's where the name of my blog comes from. It makes me so happy too to share this with you.


If you aren't visiting from Amy's blog already, make sure you go and check out all the other participants! Thanks Amy for creating such a fun time! Come over and visit again soon! Click here for an Aurifil thread giveaway!

May 19, 2010

A Quilt Market and Festival

Are you going to Quilt Market? No? There is a ridiculously cute red button with a little red radio that I have added to my side bar. Pam will be blogging each day from market, and so will many others. The Spring Market in Minneapolis starts this Thursday. Aren't you excited about the new fabric, products, inspiration and ideas?!

For the rest of us...
don't forget! Blogger's Quilt Festival begins this Friday, May 21! There were over 700 bloggers last time. Join the fun by sharing a quilt and the story behind your quilt. Then visit to be inspired and to encourage others. I am sharing the quilt that was partially in my first post and named my blog. I know you want to look...I may also have a wonderful giveaway from a special company...Can't promise anything until and if it arrives...

May 18, 2010

Week 4: Dresden Plate Party

I thought I would share some creative uses of  Dresden plates today.

Crafterhours has the cutest tutorial for a skirt made out of Lila Tueller's Eden.

There were bags on esty by stitchinginsocks. Don't you love the use of black here!

Could you imagine mini quilts using flowers and maybe potholders for the next Potholder Pass?

I found this while waiting 1 hour for my fabric to be cut at Joanne's. They have magazines place near the cutting station on purpose me thinks!! What if this beauty of an idea was modified with a Dresden?

(edited... oops! pic link expired....)

Here are the rules for the plates made by a template. The finished plate is 2 x size of template + 1" - 1/2". Add the center, 1", and subtract the two 1/4" seam allowances you turned over to make the point.

I have made 4 of the modern red and aqua blocks. I am missing the center of one since I got home from 4 hours of tutoring and was too tired. I am now thinking of what kind of borders to use to finish. Do you have any ideas?

More Dresden Plate Blocks

Can't wait to visit you this week. You can also drop some pictures in the flickr pool. If anyone wants to participate and has neither a blog or a flickr account please email me and I will enter it in the pool with all acknowledgments.

May 17, 2010

A Tasty Herb Garden

We spent more than a few hours throughout the weekend in the garden. We played with green inchworms, pulled weeds, trimmed trees and checked for potatoes.

Zoe munching on chives

Zoe munching on chives

Zoe was testing the herbs as usual. I am glad everything in the backyard is edible.

May 14, 2010

Another Linen Zakka Inspired Sewing Basket

I told you these are multiplying around the house. I had it cut for a while and finally finished it this week. They are linen and measure 6" by 4" by 3".

Linen Zakka Inspired Sewing Basket

My tutorial is here if you are interested in making one. I use the flower tutorial here for the leaves.

I have been trying to finish some old stuff since I feel guilty about the Dresden Plate blocks that I have begun. I should have something to show next week. It been a productive sewing week, but this week has been busy, busy, busy with all the end of school year stuff and my tutoring schedule has been full at night.  (School year ends June 3 here.) I am worst than the kids. I can't wait until summer starts.

And remember to go visit Sew and Tell. There are more talented and crafty people than me out there.

May 13, 2010

Do you think Mettler thread is terrible??!!

So where have I been? Anybody read this book? I feel I have been the last to know about it. I would say I have been inspired by it, but I just found it yesterday! I love the polka dots! Is the book any good? I am requesting it from the library today just based on this cover.

I have an oddball question. I went into my local quilt store and they had Mettler 50 wt. thread on sale for 60% . Yes, I bought ten of the spools, they are so pretty, and I am thinking of going back for some more. The saleslady said they were switching to Aurifil  and explained how it was so much better.  Less lint ect. Is it really better? Or is the profit margin better for them since you are buy a huge spool of it versus a smaller one?  My thoughts say to follow the money...

The funny thing is that Bernina has Mettler on all their literature and this store is a dealership.

What do you think?

May 10, 2010

Week 3: Applique with no pins!

Centering and basting your wedges:

I cut a fabric square out of Kona white 20 1/2 inches wide. My finished wedges were 15" wide. I'll trim the finished block later, since applique can sometimes distort and shrink the block. Fold the background fabric in fourths.


Use these folds to center the Dresden plate wedges. Pin in place. Use the largest stitch setting or free motion basting stitches, around the the edges. Use a thin needle and remove all of these stitches when you are done hand appliqueing.


Applique methods for the center:

Machine Applique Method:

Trace the shape on the wrong side of the fabric or non-shiny side of the fusible interfacing.

Fusible interfacing comes in different thickness, and with one or two sides covered in fusible adhesives. I always try to find the thinnest for this. Make sure the side with the adhesive is facing the right side of the fabric. (The adhesive side can sometime look shiny or have dots on it.) When the piece is turned inside out, the adhesive will be on the outside.

You will sew on the traced outline.

Fusible applique

Cut out your shape 3/16"ish  from the sewn line. Cut a slit in the interfacing and turn it inside out. This why it is sometimes called balloon applique or inside out applique.

Fusible applique

Finger press to make your shape smooth. I feel as though there is always too much bulk, so I trim the interfacing on the outside of the traced figure and some behind the shape. (Not necessary.)

Fusible applique

Use a piece of scrap fabric to cover the work, and steam the piece to fuse it to the background fabric. You can sew it down with a machine or by hand.

Fusible applique

I do not use this handy method, but it will work with machine applique methods very easily.

I have seen this done with used dryer sheets. (There is no adhesive, but you can make smooth curves.) I think this will work great for those everyday craft projects like a pillow or a bag.

I feel slightly embarrassed showing this next part, but practice on drawn lines and adjust your stitching width/length/tension when using your machine's blanket or buttonhole stitch, or edge-stitch around it with the regular straight-stitch.  I don't use my machine for this! This was the first time I actually used this stitch. Can you tell?!  Practice! (My tension needs to be adjusted for these stitches to lay flat.)

Machine applique practice

I know some of you are great at this. Share and I will link to it!
Try this link to start with.

Getting Ready To Hand Applique:

Trace a cup from your kitchen cupboard with the desired size onto cardboard. (Plastic templates will melt or shrink!) Cut a template from a cereal box and cut a piece of fabric 1/4" larger. Sew a running stitch around the template as a guide and pull the thread taut. Press this circle with steam, front and back. You can use starch. Remove template.

Use this template to trace a circle on Reynolds freezer paper. (This is found next to your Ziploc bags in the supermarket.) Cut out and place, shiny side down, on top of your new fabric circle. Press, without steam, on the fabric. It will stick.

Applique circle

Use this as a guide when hand appliqueing. Push the fabric under the paper with the needle and hold down the paper and fabric with your right thumb. (Righties usually applique counter-clockwise and lefties applique clockwise.) I found when I just used the circle, it lost its shape while being handled.

Center this and hand baste it down on the fabric. Use the folds that were left by folding the fabric in fourths.

Basted circle

No pins is my favorite part! I especially like avoiding pins while there are babies and kids around.

Ready for handwork

Hand Applique:

When I hand applique, I do it a bit differently. After I start the thread,

Applique 1

I push the needle down at a slight angle and against the fabric to be appliqued. This is not at the usual 90 degree angle.

Applique 2

I pull a little bit of the thread down and start back up through the fabric fold. At an angle, I come out the side of the fabric fold.

Applique 3

Then, I pull all the thread.  Otherwise, I have had too much tangling of thread on the bottom of applique pieces. Many times I turned to find the tangled mess many stitches later which resulted in me pulling stitches in frustration.

I always stitch twice at all corners or pivot points. This is what the red stitches look like from the starting point above to this corner. Don't pull too tightly or the stitches will pucker.

Front of applique 5

This is the back.

Back of applique 4

When done appliqueing, cut and pull all your basting stitches. I even pull the one used to make the center circle, as I hand applique it.

I use Mettler 50 wt thread that matches the color of the piece to be appliqued. If you want to buy extra 60 wt embroidery thread, it is easier to hide your hand stitching. I use the 50wt to piece and embroider.  It seems to work and saves me money. If you can't find a perfect match, go lighter in color.

So is this understandable? Leave a comment and let me know. What are you working on? Do you have finished blocks to share or just have some pretty fabric we can peek at? We all need inspiration. Pretty please? Post about it on your Flickr or blog and link back here! Or drop it in the group pool. We can all show our progress at whatever speed you want to go.

May 7, 2010

Linen Cookbook Cover

This beautiful set of fabrics, won in a giveaway, and linen was to be a three ring notebook cover to keep my patterns and any ideas I found on blogs. I first appliqued the butterfly upside down and then cut the linen an eighth of an inch too short to fit the notebook. Opps! Measure twice, cut once.  After a bit of adjusting, it happily covers my favorite cookbook, Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking. My favorite is the blueberry cheesecake.





Thanks for the chance to use these fabrics QuiltyBee.

And remember to go visit Sew and Tell. There are more talented and crafty people than me out there.

May 4, 2010

Week 2: How to make a Dresden Plate Block Part 1

So let's get started! Let me know if you have any questions.

I have cut my wedges by using the entire template up to the 7 inch mark. This makes a 15 inch plate. You may choose differently. You may make this measurement smaller or larger depending on the look you want. Cut the bottom at the two inch mark and you have larger center circle. I like smaller one.

Cut the Dresden Plate wedge to the 7 inch mark.

First cut

Slide the ruler down to the corresponding marking and cut the top. Slide the ruler back up to cut the last side.

Sliding ruler to make second cut

If you are cutting multiple plates from the same fabric, it is better to cut a strip that is 7 inches wide and rotate the ruler 180 degrees to make each wedge.

Finger press the end of each wedge on the widest edge and make sure you accurately fold this in half with right sides together.

Finger pressed edge

Set your sewing machine to a smaller than usual stitch. My machine's default is set to 2.4, so I set it to 2.0. (I think this is 2mm per stitch.) Sew a 1/4" seam from the unfinished edges to the folded edge. Back stitch a 1/4" seam from the folded edge. Trust me, you'll have less worries later and a great point on each petal/wedge. You can chain stitch these to save thread.

Chain piecing

Cut off each corner of your wedge, without cutting your stitches, about a 45 degree angle.

Cutting sewn wedge

Finger press the seam open. I use a flat head screw driver from my sewing machine to make my wedge fold at a perfect right angle. The doubled stitches help me not worry about the seam popping open. Then I mess with the inside seam to finger press the seam open.

Turning point

The fold in the center should still be there, and I line the seam up with the center line.

Centering wedge

I lay my template, adjust to center it, keep the template on the block and slide the template gently down, following with the iron. I press it with steam, but I hold the iron. (Don't slide the iron back and forth as this can totally distort and stretch your fabric. ) When in doubt, don't steam press.

Slide template as you iron

Arrange each spoke next to each other and since I always have a distraction and mess the order up, I take a picture of it. Make it your cellphone wallpaper for the day! You do like this fabric?!

Choosing layout

If you're really organized, pick up a wedge and place it on the wedge next to it, lift up those two and place on the wedge next to that and so on, until you have a neat pile of all your wedges. You'll chain stitch these in the correct order. I have yet to do this correctly. Take a picture on the digi!

With your organized pressed wedges,  sew a 1/4" seam from the pointed edge to the smaller flat edge. I only use this one pin to avoid slipping of fabric. I use the same back-stitch method as I did with the wedge's point end. You won't have any trouble with bulk if you sew very close to your original stitches. (Whoops, in this batch, I experimented without back-stitching. Hmm... I'll change this, if there is no difference.)

Pinning pairs

First, sew your wedges in groups of twos,

Groups of two

then in groups of fours.

Groups of four

Finally, sew these last groups together in pairs.

Finished piecing

After each grouping, press your shared seam between wedges. This can be open or it can be to one side. I can't figure out if there is an advantage in one or the other. I pressed to one side and it was much more accurate and flat. I think I may hand-quilt this in the ditch. Figure out what works for you and stay consistent.

Don't worry if you have a semi-wonky circle in the center. You are going to smack a circle on to it. The larger it is, the less wonkiness you will see.

Try making a paper template and tracing this, to try out different sizes.

Here are some more great resources that were suggested. Let me know of any others.

Resources for you to use, (yes it has been done before):

A short video lesson from the  Missouri QuiltCo Dresden Plate Tutorial
Moda has a tutorial by bitty bits and pieces that is wonderful.
Oh, Fransson! has just finished a monthly sew along block tutorial.
Bloom has an idea that works great with charm squares. 

Part 2 is next week. Applique choices can vary. You can do your hand applique accurately without pins.  I'll share this in a second post. Here are some ideas to get you thinking.

Inside Out Applique or Balloon Applique Technique using dryer sheets
Freezer Paper Applique Techniques (using the Reynolds freezer paper brand)
Machine Blanket stitch: Blanket stitch Barbara Polston, American Quilter  

Link up and show your progress this week! I can't wait to see what you are all doing!