Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Fabric Gift Bags

Finally, a little stitching for Christmas! This year I made fabric gift bags to hold our presents to our grandchildren. Sewing with Dr. Seuss, the Minions, Sesame Street and animal blocks fabric was a fun change for me. The bags are lined to make them a little more durable and are a little on the large side to make it easier to carry all their things home. A Grandma can hope, right?
More stitching, baking, and decorating to come!
Until next time, Mayleen

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Is it really December?

 My Christmas Cactus is blooming, probably its most impressive set of blooms since I received it from my mother several years ago! It was her plant so I don't know how old it is.

I'm doing a little Christmas baking. This recipe, Oma's Soft Cream Cookies, can be found at the blog: Mennonite Girls Can Cook. The recipe is similar to the one my grandmother made when I was growing up. These are nearly all gone as I took some to share at my guild's Christmas meeting yesterday.

I'm finding it hard to believe Christmas is just a few weeks away. Our high temperatures have been in the upper 60's lately. Very enjoyable for me (and the cats) but very unlike weather one would expect in December! Not complaining though, the cold temperatures are sure to come soon.

Another reason its so difficult to think of Christmas is our home reno projects. During Thanksgiving week, we stripped wallpaper, primed and painted and now we're having most of the windows in our house replaced. This required a little preparation and I was faced with clearing a path from the door of my sewing room to the window!

Maybe I will put up a few decorations after this week and bake some peppernuts too. And maybe I will even get to work on a quilting project again! Guess which room had its window replaced, curtains washed and put back to "normal" first? Priorities.

Until next time, Mayleen

Monday, November 30, 2015

You could even say, "It glows!"

Looks like I've been missing since before I went to Houston! Whoops.
When I got back I decided to finish one of my class projects, Mediterranean Hexagons taught by Kaffe Fassett and Liza Prior Lucy, so it wouldn't become another UFO. I have no idea why it took 3 weeks to finish the top but it did.  

I like these fabrics because of their saturated color and, of course, I like most reds and pinks! However, this much of them in one quilt is a little out of my comfort zone. If the top is a little out of my comfort zone, the backing - Brandon's Brocade - is way, way out of it! Showing the top to you now because I don't know when it will be quilted.

Its been difficult to motivate myself to work on my traditional projects again but after I finish a minky quilt (why does this scare me?), its back to my Love Entwined quilt.

Until next time, Mayleen

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Toot, toot

Slow applique, very slow applique. This past week, I finished appliqueing the zigzags on both top and bottom borders. Then I started on the little pot of flowers on the upper border. It was fun to see how narrow I could make the stems.

Those little yellow flowers just about did me in - 55 little petals. The lower yellow flowers have been appliqued down (except for half of the centers) but all the other flowers and leaves are only glue basted. I see now why most other LE makers decided to do Broderie Perse!

Here's a shot of progress so far.

 Friends have told me I need to toot my own horn a little more so here it is: Toot, toot!

My quilt, "Selvage Star of Bethlehem", will be hanging in the "In the American Tradition" exhibit at Houston next week! It will also travel to other Quilt Festival shows this year.

I plan to be at IQF in Houston next week so if you're there and you see a gray haired, 55+ year old quilter wearing jeans and a T-shirt, be sure to say hello! Ha.

Until next time, Mayleen

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

LE - Stitching Part 8

This past week, I finished appliqueing the "pixies" or triangles with feet (whatever you want to call them) and have made and glue basted the zigzag appliques on the upper and lower borders. A few hours of stitching is ahead of me before I start the applique motifs which appear in the middle of the borders.

The thought has occurred to me there are more applique pieces in the borders than in the vases!

I'm also trying out border fabrics. I'm not convinced it will be gold but that's the best choice so far. When I finish the part 8 & 9 borders, I believe a trip to the fabric stores will be necessary!


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Bleed is Gone!

After a long soak, the fabric bleed is gone! This is what the Love Entwined center looks like now.

This is before the soak. If you look around the red petals of the six petal flowers, you can see some pink tinges. In real life, it was very noticeable. I used the soaking method using Dawn dish detergent recommended by Vicki Welsh. Go here for more information:

The LE center is only about 32 inches square so I soaked it in a storage tub in a mixture of warm water and blue Dawn. I weighed the center down with clean food storage lids and plates. I did not add a Color Catcher because all that would have done is shown me how much dye was in the water. 

While the LE center was soaking and drying, I was preparing to start work on part #8, the first upper and lower appliqued borders. I'm waiting to make a decision about the color of the fabric border between the center and the applique border. As you can see in the photo below, I plan to miter the part 8 & 9 borders and not make part 10 as a cornerstone.

What happened next is one reason I don't like to work ahead. I prepped all 144 triangles for both parts 8 & 9 only to discover I'd made them too large. At least it was too large and not too small! So now I'm remaking the triangles one border at a time. The first border's triangles are stitched down and I've started working on the lower border's triangles. 

It doesn't look like much progress this week but I know I've been working on it every day! After 2+ weeks, my cold is finally getting better and I'm feeling like I have some energy.

Some time during those weeks, a special package arrived from Australia. I've always admired Jen Kingwell's pattern "The Circle Game" and I won it in a giveaway on Carole's blog! Thank you, Carole! 

Until next week, Mayleen

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Love Entwined Center

My goal was to complete the center of Love Entwined (LE) by September 30th and I've done it!

You might notice a few changes from my last post. I decided to use the red gingham "fried eggs" and replaced the multi-color triangles around the Mariner's Compass with scrappy blue triangles.

There are a few things I would still like to do - that crooked embroidered fern in the lower right hand vase is bothering me so I'll probably redo it and I'd also like to embroider around the edges of the calla lilies in the upper left hand vase. 

However, those things will all wait until after I soak the top to remove the fabric bleeds. I plan to do that tomorrow and will blog how successful it was next week. For now I'm just enjoying looking at the LE center!

Meanwhile, I've cut out 144 triangles to use in the next border and have started prepping them. Here they are, four in each color. That should be enough plus a few more. I use the starch method to applique so I cut, prep, then glue baste and applique onto the background.

The Love Entwined borders are all intense applique. Lots of pieces which is something that seems to attract me!

Until next time, Mayleen

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Time to try again

(Just a little whining before I try to fix what I did yesterday.)
I probably shouldn't have worked on my Love Entwined (LE) yesterday but maybe it was a good "learning experience"!
- I now have two small fabric bleeds from the red petals. Don't ask how that happened. I should have known better. I'll finish this part of the quilt top and then soak it in hopes of removing the bleeds. If I can't get them out, I'm going to be very disappointed.
- Then I made eight of those light blue fried egg shapes (upper and lower centers) and I'm not convinced that I'm liking them. I'm just glad they're only pinned on and not stitched down yet. I plan to remake them in a red gingham to see which is better.
- I started replacing the heart wreath on the right but the center where the points meet could be done a lot better. Today I'll also pick out my stitching and try to remove the glue basting without damaging the hearts.

When I was working on my Phebe quilt, someone remarked that to make a quilt like that one needed a lot of time. Along with time, I'd add persistence. 

"Don't let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in your way of doing it. The time will pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use."
- Earl Nightingale
Time to try again, Mayleen

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Three is Enough!

This week I've been working on Love Entwined, Part 7 - Vase #4. One of the things left to do on this vase is to applique six tiny circles above the small flower with the yellow exterior and pink interior on the upper left hand side of the bouquet.
In the past, I've sometimes used a sequin when I can't find the right size circle template but that didn't work this time. I needed a 1/8 inch circle but the smallest template I had was 3/8 of an inch.
Today I found a 1/8 inch circle hole punch so I made my own template by punching non-melt mylar template material. This isn't meant as a tutorial but I thought you might like to see how I made the 1/8 inch fabric circles. I apologize for the quality of the photos in advance.

Here I'm using a stiletto to hold down that tiny 1/8 inch circle template onto the backside of the fabric. I'll use a mechanical pencil to draw around the template.

Next I stitch a small gathering stitch around the drawn circle as close as I can get to it. Looks like I may have missed a stitch on the circle. Try not to do that. You want as small a stitch as possible so that the gathers will be even when you pull up the stitching.

Trim away excess fabric close to the stitching. Don't go too close or the fabric will fray away but don't leave too much fabric either. You don't want a lot of bulk.

A tweezer is handy to grasp the 1/8 inch template circle.

Hold the template down with the stiletto and dab on liquid starch. I use Best Press and a Q-Tip. Some quilters use a small paint brush.

Carefully pull up the gathering stitch. Now you'll see all the bulk of the gathers. You may have to manipulate the fabric to lay evenly.

Using a craft iron, press the gathers from the wrong side smoothing out edges. When I'm happy with the shape, I press the front and back again. Allow the fabric to dry thoroughly before carefully prying open part of the gathers and removing the template. Reshape and carefully pull up the stitches gathering the circle again. Once happy with the shape, I press again, snip off the thread and its done!
 Just a suggestion - you probably don't want to try this on a bad day. LOL

After making three of the 1/8 inch circles, I decided three was enough! They're glued on in the photo above ready to be appliqued. Not perfect circles but good enough for me. Tonight I'll embroider the berry stems and then Vase #4 will be finished!

What's up next? I wasn't happy with the heart wreaths so I removed them and have made new hearts. I am hoping for sharper points that meet this time. I'm leaving the fried eggs till last.

Until next time, Mayleen  

Friday, September 11, 2015


Its been 2 months since I've written a blog post so I'll try to fill you in on what I've been doing. Most of my time has been spent finishing up my term as president of the Prairie Quilt Guild in Wichita, Kansas. However, I did finish two more UFO's and here's the first:

"Just Ducky", my August UFO finish #8
I started this baby quilt years ago while my kids were still in school many years ago. I didn't know anyone who was having a baby but I thought it was cute. Besides learning to do fusible applique, I learned that its a good idea to line fabrics so the background doesn't show through. The backing is a fuzzy duck print. Quilted by Tricia Lehman. I may give this to my daughter whose baby is due any day!

A few Prairie Quilt Guild traditions - 
The outgoing president makes a gift for each board member. These were my gifts - pincushions pieced from red, pink, purple and gray fabrics. Those squares are about 1/2 inch square. Now that I've worked that small, I'm wondering if I can piece even smaller!?!

Another tradition - The Board makes a quilt for the outgoing president. This is a signature quilt made with many Kaffe Fassett fabrics. The signatures are from the board members, some of whom are pictured, and guild meeting speakers from the past year.

"Cheddar Cheese and Crackers", UFO finish #9
This was a 2009 quilt-a-long on the Humble Quilts blog and is finally finished! The hand quilting was what kept me from finishing this UFO on time. I'm going to have to check if this small quilt is really as wonky as it looks in the photo!

Recently I've begun working on Love Entwined (LE) again. As you can see, I'm busy stitching on Vase #4. When its finished, there's some redo work and I still need to add those fried eggs! I've set a goal to have the entire center finished by the end of the September. At that point, I'll decide if I'll add a narrow border to the center and call it done or if I'll attempt the borders.

Did you see the Houston Quilt Festival button at the top of the right hand side bar? Selvage Star of Bethlehem will be hanging in the "In the American Tradition" exhibit! I'm planning to be there too.

Until next time,

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Jubilee + 5 + 3

Jubilee + 5 + 3
UFO finish #7, finally!

Several years ago, some bloggers decided to make Jubilee quilts which commemorated their 50th birthdays. I joined in but my quilt needed to be called a Jubilee + 5 quilt.

Time went on and my quilt became a UFO until this year when it became UFO project #7.

 There were things to fix or not fix - the bird. He stayed.
Then I decided I definitely wanted it to have borders. Too bad I'd already started big stitch quilting it! That didn't stop me. I fused batting together, added more backing and stitched on the borders.

I added some embroidery and I may add more, or not. I do wish I'd made it larger.

My quilt is not as nice as some that were made but the best part? Its finished!
Jubilee + 5 + 3
Hand pieced, machine pieced, hand quilted, machine quilted and hand embroidered.
I'm done and moving on to UFO #8!

Until next time,

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Firecracker Baby

Yes, that's me, born on the 4th of July fifty-something years ago! 

Those are my brothers looking so happy to have a sister because, as they told me later, they would no longer have to wash dishes and help in the house once I was old enough to do those things. Somehow I must have sensed what my future held because you can see my reaction. LOL

I was hoping to finish the Jubilee+5 plus a few years quilt before my birthday but now I'm just hoping to finish it this month. Yesterday I did some big stitching on the border and my thumb, wrist and arm now hurt. Not sure how I did it but I've got to take a break.

Wishing everyone a Happy 4th of July wherever you are, whatever you're doing whether it includes fireworks, family reunions, quilting or its just another day!

Stay safe,

Saturday, June 27, 2015

This Week & Last Week

 Here's what I've been working on this week - my Jubilee+5 plus a few more years UFO! I've big stitched all the octagon blocks with orange perle cotton and done some embroidery. Now I'm trying to decide what to do for the narrow border. I hope to finish this in time to show at our next guild meeting. Yes, the bird is still there!

While I've been working on this, I've been thinking of the quilts at last weekend's Kansas City Regional Quilt Festival. Previously I showed you photos of my two quilts which won ribbons. Here are photos of other the judged winners. My apologies if I missed anyone.

 Heralds of Spring by Joann Webb

Cats!! Just Garden Variety by Jane Anderson

Civil War Bride by Nancy Swanwick

A Letter Bit of Baltimore by Janet Stone
She also received an NQA Award of Merit!

Baltimore Album by Miriam Reed

Celebration of Love and Life by Kim Cawthon

Radiating Millefiori by Nancy Swanwick

Modern Grandmothers Flower Garden by Norma Bates
Rebirth by Mary Atchinson

 Finding Peace Among the Trees by Mary Strege

Remake by Jane Anderson

 Sixteen Years and Here's What You Get by Susan Gandy

Waterfall by Sandra Morgan Cockrum

 A Little Off Balance by Sandra Morgan Cockrum
 C'mon Get Happy by Jenifer Dick

 Passionate Rhapsody by Cindi Johnson

Affair of the Heart by Kathleen Gregory

No L by Janet Stone

Hexie Love by Kay Lea

Afternoon Delight by Judy R. Williams

Until next time,