Archive for January, 2009

Drum Roll Please

Can you guess what’s coming? Another giveaway! This time you have to win some of the coolest fabric out there. The Fabric Shopper is hosting a giveaway of fabric from Anna Maria Horner’s brand new Goods Folks collection! Two winners will receive a fat quarter set each, one with the 12 fabrics from the Adriatic colorway and the other with the 12 fabrics from the Byzantine colorway. These fabrics are being offered for this giveaway from the wonderful fabricworm shop, where the entire line of Good Folks has been listed and will be ready to ship on EDITED – DATE CHANGE Friday, January 30.

So head on over right now!

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Check out another fabric giveaway this time to celebrate Bitty Bits and Pieces 100th post!

Here’s what you can win-

“Prize #1

One is a cute Valentine Mini Purse filled with 100 bitty bits & pieces of Valentine Fabric from the Sandy Gervais collection called “Hearts A Flutter.” It came out two collections ago in 2007 if I remember correctly. It’s been one of my favorite Valentine Collections especially since it has so much variety.

The purse will contain 4 squares each of 25 different prints in red, pink, and cream for a total of 100 squares in celebration of my 100 bloggy posts!

Hey, It’s a “Mini” Charm Pack!
The squares are cut @ 2 1/2″x2 1/2″
and tied with a ribbon.

Prize #2
Love Note Pillow with Valentine Card.”

She’s picking the winner of Feb 1st so had over now and sign yourself up!

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I was able to join the toy swap and decided to make a stuffed elephant. I went ahead and got started this weekend so I would finish in time. The deadline is the 10th but I’ll be in Germany for a week and won’t have time to work on the project then.

I may not have a lot of fabric but I did have some that I thought would be perfect for this project.


I picked up the numbers fabric in Massachusetts because the store was going out of business and I couldn’t resist the prices. The was purchased for my latest quilt and I picked it to add a little more interest. The blue was purchased specifically for the elephant because I thought the blue would pop well.



I followed the cutting instructions to the letter then went renegade in the piecing and sewing. I tried to follow the instructions but it didn’t make sense.


The first step was to sew the belly (dark grey) pieces together. I assumed this meant all the way around but if you do that it’s impossible to sew the belly pieces to the rest of the body.


Instead I sewed the belly pieces right side together with a body piece and then was able to sew the front and back of the belly to the back piece and trunk.

I left the entire middle piece open to make it easier to turn right side out and stuff.


In hindsight I think he needs more stuffing but I had trouble sewing his belly up. I couldn’t do a blind stitch, hence the name “Frankenphant.” He has a very obvious seam but it’s partially hidden by the dark fabric and matching thread.


He’s still pretty cute, now I just need to finish his eyes and tail.

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Stack o’ Stash, originally uploaded by Sewing Geek.

Being new to sewing and quilting I’m trying to find ways to add to my fabric supply without maxing out my credit cards 🙂 Giveaways like the one Family Fabric Fun is having is a great way to build a stash or supplement one you already have going.

There are four chances to win and a couple ways to increase your odds so head on over and check it out!

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Toy Swap

Birthday dog, originally uploaded by Okaggi.

I found this swap awhile ago and planned on participating but lost the link. Thankfully I stumbled on another blog that linked to it so I could join.

The idea is this:

“A swap of handmade children’s goods with associated blogging and Flickr posting of our creative process and end results. Each person would make a handmade item; a doll, a dress, whatever it might be, and send it off to a fellow maker. We would each also document the process of making and share these pictures on Flickr and our personal blogs. We could share this with friends, family, co-workers and anyone who might be willing to look and listen. Perhaps you might even give the item that you receive in the swap away as a gift to a child or a family who could benefit from a bit more exposure to handmade goodness.”

It’s a great lesson to everyone to cherish the individuality, creativity, and love those goes into each hand crafted toy.

If you’d like you can join too!

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Blue quilt — Tree and wind

Originally uploaded by EmiShimosato02


Twinkle mini quilt

Originally uploaded by stitchindye





Originally uploaded by EmiShimosato02

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A week or so ago I finally finished my first quilt. I started it in October but let it sit on touched for a couple weeks while traveling. Then at Christmas I kicked it into high gear and finished the hand quilting and binding in a week. It was a combination of time off and house guests. I love having family over but it can get stressful, hand quilting is almost meditative. I found myself sitting for a couple hours each night letting the conversation ebb and flow around me as I stitched along. I even inspired my mother in law to pick up a book and a kit for a small table runner while they were visiting. J.’s parents are school teachers who spend their summers on the highway with their RV. They plan on retiring in the next couple years and plan on traveling the majority of the year. Hand quilting is certainly easier to take with you then machine quilting so I hope my MIL likes it.

I learned quite a bit from my first quilt and I would recommend that anyone looking to try it for the first time take class or get a kit. I would even recommend you try a large project like a baby quilt versus something smaller. The process is not hard but it is challenging. It can be easy to get frustrated and with a small project it’s easy to write the whole thing off. I was a lot more emotionally vested in finishing a baby quilt and that kept me at it even when it felt like I would never finish. I didn’t read the directions from start to finish instead I took each phase (cutting, piecing, sandwiching, basting, quilting, and binding) in course. That way I wasn’t too overwhelmed to start and felt a level of accomplishment as each phase brought me closer to completion.

With all said and done I definitely want to do it again with some modifications. I went into this a total novice. I had the instructions that came with the quilt and a couple of quilt blogs I found online. I didn’t take a class and I didn’t read a book so I was lost in the woods when I went to the “quilting notions” section for the first time. I ended up with the wrong thread, a flimsy and small embroidery hoop, not great needles, and a marking pencil that I hated.

I learned thread matters. The first thing I grabbed was all purpose thread and it was pretty much the worst thing ever. I couldn’t even piece with it. I switched to cotton wrapped polyester thread that was designed for hand quilting and it was okay but the best thing was the 100% cotton thread for hand quilting. It was a frustrating process. Most quilting shops don’t cater to hand quilters so you won’t find a large color selection (if you find thread at all), I’ve found Johann’s Fabric has more options but it’s still disappointing in comparison to the rainbow of machine threads that are easily found.

My cheapo embroidery hoop wasn’t bad but it did start cracking when I was 2/3 through the project. I fixed it with some glue and duct tape but if you are going to take up quilting seriously you should probably invest in something larger and sturdier.

I picked a blue pencil to mark my pattern for the border (I stitched in the ditch for the middle) but it was hard to see the blue, the line was fat and imprecise and it kept needing to be sharpened. I chose it because it was the least plastic option at the store- not the best method by the way. For my next quilt I’m trying chalk, I’ll let you know how it goes.

My not great needles worked once I found my favorite size. Most quilters it seems use between 9-11, I used a 10. Some purists will say you should throw your needle out after 8-10 hours. Needles may not be expensive but I’m not going to chuck something out that still works. This is probably a good practice for a show piece or competition but for general quilting one need can complete a project (unless it gets bent). I had one needle get bent while binding but it had already made it through every other step of the project and 3/4 of the binding before I had to give up on it.

Looking back I should have at least read up on quilting techniques online or at the library. I recently checked out That Perfect Stitch. I was an easy read and offered some good information but I wouldn’t buy it. I plan on taking notes on the material recommendations before returning it to the library. If you do get this book keep in mind that many of the materials the author suggests are one’s that she sells. I’m not saying they are better or worse since I haven’t used them but I’m always a little leery of that kind of bias.

Now I can say I’ve learned a new skill, perhaps not the most practical but certainly useful. I want to continue to hand quilt but would prefer to use a machine for piecing and binding. It would speed up the process and allow me to focus my hand stitches where it really matters. I don’t own a sewing machine (I’ve mentioned before they scare me) but I’m interested in getting one. I checked some out this weekend at big box stores but I’m really interested in buying a used model. That way I’m keeping something out of a landfill and I can get more for my money. But I don’t have that kind of money lying around so I’ve decided to see how much I can raise by selling even more stuff from our basement. I got a huge chunk or sorting done yesterday, motivated by my desire to see what I could sell. That seems to be the best motivation for me otherwise the half sorted boxes would simply sit in our basement. This way I can get rid of what we don’t need and in essence trade in for something that we could put to practical use.

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