Tag Archives: stitching

Cool Tool Monday

Cool Tool Monday hasn’t happened in awhile, but today I have something to show you. In one of my last posts, I showed a picture of a stiletto, and many of you wondered what that was. So today, we’re going to talk all things stiletto (not the shoes, sorry!).

What is a stiletto? Google’s second definition (the first is the shoe definition) is “a short dagger with a tapering blade”. In essence I suppose that is what a sewing stiletto is, without all the dangerous and ominous wording. However, I wouldn’t try taking your favorite sewing stiletto on a plane.

In my earlier post, I showed a picture of these two stilettos, recently gifted to me by quilty friend. In that picture, I had the sheaths on both stilettos. Here’s a picture with one sheathed and the other uncovered.

Cool Tool Monday - Sewing Stiletto - piecefulthoughts.com

When you see the points, you can understand why most of them come with a sheath.

Here’s the stiletto I was given by my mom. It has always been special to me, because when she gifted it to me I felt like she was telling me I had earned the status of quilter. Funny how little things  affect us like that, isn’t it?

Cool Tool Monday - My sewing stiletto - piecefulthoughts.com

So why is a sewing stiletto so handy?

One of the reasons I use my stiletto so often is to help guide the fabric as I sew.

Cool Tool Monday - Sewing Stiletto uses - piecefulthoughts.com

I’m chuckling as I look at this picture. I noticed in earlier pictures that my sewing foot was all fuzzy, so I cleaned it off (which led to cleaning out the bobbin, etc.) only to find that I missed the fuzz up and around the screw, not to mention the random threads in the photo. So just ignore that . . .

Anyway, the little point is handy for guiding the fabric through the foot.

Have you even had this happen?

Cool Tool Monday - How to use a sewing stiletto - piecefulthoughts.com

Using a stiletto as you are coming up to those seams helps to avoid seams flipping over. You can easily lift your sewing foot and use the stiletto to tuck that seam under, and get back to sewing.

Cool Tool Monday - Guiding the fabric through with a sewing stiletto - piecefulthoughts.com

Another use for the stiletto in my sewing is to rip seams. Rather than separating the seam with my hand and picking out the thread, I use it this way. It takes a little longer, but I find this method works well for me, especially with bias seams. I feel like I can keep the bias from distorting as I rip while slipping the point carefully under the stitch and gently pulling it out.

Cool Tool Monday - using a sewing stiletto as a seam ripper - piecefulthoughts.com

One other handy use for the stiletto is for lifting those little paper piece foundation papers out of those small spots where fingers can’t get to them. Although I prefer to use a tweezers, this works pretty well.

Cool Tool Monday - stiletto and paper piecing - piecefulthoughts.com

So, what if you don’t have a stiletto? Here are a few substitutes.

Cool Tool Monday - sewing stiletto substitutes - piecefulthoughts.com

Toothpick

I would only use this for guiding the fabric and picking out paper foundation pieces. It may not be strong enough for seam ripping.

Small Scissors

Again, I would only use this to guide the fabric, and then only very carefully. The scissors blades are too thick and make it a bit clumsy to use, but it will work in a pinch.

Seam Ripper

You can use the pointed side of the seam ripper to do the work of a stiletto. However, I think the single shaft of a stiletto works better and is easier to use when you need to feed that fabric well into the sewing foot area.

Some also use a chopstick or a wooden skewer that has a decent point. I don’t use my chopstick, since it has a thick point and is used mainly for turning corners and stuffing.

Until I received my stilettos from Rose, I didn’t know you could make them. (Who knew they can be made from turkey lacers?) They would be a fun, fast gift idea for a sewist, wouldn’t they? Bonnie Hunter shows how to make them. You can read all about it here.

Do you use a stiletto? If so, what is your favorite use for them?

Happy stitching friends!

Wendy

Stars of Joy

Do you remember the little star woolie project I was working on? I had forgotten about them until I unearthed my project list today. It’s been buried under a flurry of scraps from all the Tomte fun going on here.

Stars of Joy - woolie project from Buttermilk Basin - piecefulthoughts.com

All I needed to do was add backing fabric and stitch around them. That part was easy. Stuffing them wasn’t. All those little points were a bit difficult.

This pattern is Trio of Joy Stars from Buttermilk Basin. The stars finish at 10 inches. I didn’t want them that big, so I reduced the pattern to 75% and I’m much happier with them.

To add the backing, I just laid the woolie star right sides together with the backing fabric and sewed around the star, leaving a space for turning. After stitching, then I cut the background fabric around the woolie star. It was an easier way to stitch them together for me.

I used a chopstick to get the stuffing into the points, but it didn’t work very well. The points were sharper than I expected, and it was difficult to get the stuffing into those little points.

If I were to make this pattern again, I’d make it into a wall hanging, just stitching the stars onto a fabric background.

Since they didn’t finish well enough for me to give them as a gift, I just decided to add them to my Christmas decorating.

Stars of Joy - finished woolie stars from Buttermilk Basin's Trio of Joy Stars pattern - piecefulthoughts.com

Thanks for all the comments on my Christmas stocking and my little Tomte in my earlier posts. A few of you wondered what a stiletto is, so I’ll see if I can get a post together soon to show you how I use it.

I hope you all have a grand weekend full of quiet moments and humming sewing machines! It’s time to get those Christmas projects done! What are you working on this weekend?

Linking up today with Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Crazy Mom Quilts and Powered by Quilting.

Wendy

 

Little Christmas Project

Well, my Thanksgiving was wonderful. I enjoyed having both of my kids home. We talked, laughed, played games and ate yummy food. While I was sad to see my daughter head back to Florida, she’ll be home again soon for Christmas.

Christmas always seems to sneak up on me. My latest state of mind is that I am ahead of my Christmas shopping, since I have two of the most difficult gifts to find purchased (no Black Friday shopping either). I know a few more that I need to get and will likely be able to pick them up today.  I’m taking a different approach this year and trying to get the more challenging gifts done first.

Of course, I haven’t really started thinking or making the sewing projects for Christmas. I think about Christmas gifts at two times during the year — July and then mid-November. I always have good intentions in July and plan to get things done ahead of time. Anyway, I took part in the 12 Days of Christmas in July Blog Hop this year and it was fun to see the different projects. If you want to take a look at them again, you can go to my post here.

Santa came a bit early for me this year. One of his elves got busy and sent me some goodies. Rose of Something Rosemade sent me a little package of Christmas fabrics from her stash. Do you follow Rose? You should! She makes beautiful, colorful quilts and writes a lovely blog! Pop on over and say hi — I’ll wait . . .

So, when I opened my happy mail, here’s what I found inside.

Little Christmas Project - fabrics - piecefulthoughts.com

This bundle of fabric was tied with the cutest little red and white string. I was very excited to see these pretty Christmas fabrics. See that top piece that looks a bit like patchwork? I’ll show you what I did with it in a minute. Right now, you need to see what else Rose tucked in the package.

Little Christmas Project - gift stilettos - piecefulthoughts.com

Two little stilettos — how cute are they? Here’s a close up of each one.

Little Christmas Project - stiletto - piecefulthoughts.com

I love this one. She looks a bit like me, I think, except that my hair never looks that snazzy. I do love her lip color too, and I want those glasses!

This next one made me grin from ear to ear. I mean, seriously, how cute is this??

Little Christmas Project - pigs fly stiletto - piecefulthoughts.com

The little blue pig is perfect, and the word “fly” just made it all the better! Isn’t it fun?

That cute little bundle didn’t gather dust (there’s a few fabrics in my stash that have, I’ll admit it). I made a few little projects out of them, and I still have fabric left over for more.

Back to that little patchwork fabric, which is actually fabric printed to look like half-square triangles. (If I had been thinking a bit more when I started this project, I would’ve taken pictures. I got so into this project, I completely forgot!) I cut a piece 9″ x 12″, then cut a piece of fusible fleece the same size and fused it to the wrong side of the patchwork fabric. Using red thread, I stitched on the lines and — voila — I had a little quilted piece of fabric. I pulled out a stocking pattern and traced it onto the fusible fleece. Then I cut a piece of coordinating fabric from the pack and laid it right sides together with the patchwork fabric. I stitched on the line drawn on the fusible fleece and cut out the stocking, leaving a 1/4′ seam allowance.

I traced the stocking onto another piece of fabric to use for the lining. With right sides together, I sewed the lining pieces together. Once that was done, I tucked the lining into stocking, stitched a binding to the top and added a hanging loop. The whole project took me a little over an hour.

Little Christmas Project - Patchwork Stocking - piecefulthoughts.com

The finished stocking is about 10″ tall. It’s the perfect size for tucking into a corner or hanging from a cute little hook. This will be a gift for a friend.

What about you? Do you have a fun, fast Christmas project you enjoy making? I’d love to hear about it!

Linking up today with Beth at Cooking Up Quilts and Beth at Love Laugh Quilt.

Wendy

 

Pieceful Monday

Pieceful Monday, well, peaceful Monday anyway. I woke up to an amazing sunrise. Had I not been in my jammies with hair all askew, I would’ve grabbed my camera and ran out for a photo. Instead, I just sat and looked at it, thankful that God has given me another day to enjoy.

I really did plan to post last week after I returned from visiting my brother and sister-in-law. However, I wasn’t home long enough to post anything, much less have anything to post about. I’m late getting this out today too, but I wanted to get something posted before Thanksgiving.

So, what have I been up to?

Well, stitching with Nita, my sister-in-law, is always fun. We spent the day at her shop. She loves to teach quilt classes, so as you walk in the door of her shop you see a large table that can accommodate 8-10 sewists and their machines comfortably. The other half of her shop has the cutting area, fabric, wool and, of course, patterns.

I didn’t bring any project along, knowing that Nita would have something for me to work on. She gave me a Buttermilk Basin wool table topper to work on. I didn’t get very far on it, but I did make some progress. You can see the pattern here.

Once we were back home, I had little time in my sewing room. I snuck a little time in on Saturday, which I spent trying to get caught up on two of my QALs. I didn’t make too much progress, but getting 10 blocks done is better than none at all, right? Here’s they are, from the Magnolia Mystery QAL by Meadow Mist Designs.

Pieceful Monday - QAL Progress, Magnolia Mystery QAL - piecefulthoughts.com (c) 2017

I’m still working on my Solar Flare quilt, which is my version of the Wayward Transparency QAL by Quilting Jetgirl. Hopefully I can sneak in some work on it this week. I haven’t gotten any further than the one quadrant I showed you in my last post.

I have one woolie star finished. No more finishes on these until I get more polyfil for the other two. Stuffing those star points is a challenge. Here’s the picture of the trio before stitching the backs on.

Pieceful Monday - Woolie Star Trio, Buttermilk Basin pattern - piecefulthoughts.com 2017

My pineapple quilt tops, both large and small, are ready to be basted and quilted. I may not get this done soon due to the holidays. At least that excuse sounds good. I do think I know how I want to quilt them, now I just need to take a deep breath and get to it.

One project I’m thinking of making for a possible Christmas gift is this pillow from My Quilt Infatuation. I have some Minnesota fabric left over, so it might be fun and easy to get done. I think I’d make my pillow a bit smaller, since I have the state outline ready to go. I’ll post pictures if I get this going.

Tomorrow our daughter comes home from Florida, so I’m not sure that much quilting will happen this week.

I hope you have a pieceful Monday, friends! I may not post anything else this week, so Happy Thanksgiving to all of you! Enjoy your time with family and friends!

Wendy

 

Pineapple Crush

I’m definitely crushing on these pineapple blocks. The bright oranges, golds and greens just make me happy.

So I have some decisions to make because I only made 12 blocks (that wasn’t the initial plan, but stuff happens). I have a wall unit in my living room that BigJ built, and he specifically designed a space for quilts. Here’s a photo from an earlier post.

Pineapple Crush - wall unit quilt display - piecefulthoughts.com 2017

I currently have a mini wall hanging from eight of the pineapple blocks.

Pineapple Crush - Mini quilt - piecefulthoughts.com 2017

The quilt at this point measures a wonky 26.5″ x 38.5″ because of the long skinny blocks. I could add a border, but that might make it too long for the space. I may just add two more blocks to the end of each row so there will be 5 blocks across rather than 4. First I need to have BigJ hold it up so I can see if the current length will work in the space. I think it will, but it will be close!

Then I’ll need to make some decisions on how to quilt it. If you have some fun ideas, feel free to share. Just keep in mind I’m still working with my walking foot and haven’t ventured much into free motion quilting yet!

So let me try to give you a little idea of how these blocks go together. The patterns appeal to me because they have a bit of an improv feel. The construction is a bit like a modified stack and whack. Modified because rather than just slicing, rotating, and sewing, there is an actual pattern and method to how you do it.

Sewing the blocks together is a bit like traditional piecing, but also like improv because you don’t match seams. It’s also not unusual to have to lop off a point as you go, and that takes some getting used to. The block construction is very forgiving because you construct and then square it. I find that very relaxing.

Another part of the construction I enjoy is not really knowing which fabrics are going to be together until I begin working on the block. I know what fabrics I have in the mix, but after rotating them I don’t look at them until it’s their turn to be sewn together. It also keeps me from trying to be too matchy!

This will be my fifth Buggy Barn quilt that I’ve made. Two have been given away; two others are in my UFO pile. We can talk about that another time. Haha. (Hint: it has nothing to do with the patterns and everything to do with my procrastination.) I am determined to finish this one.

Linking up today with Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Sherry at Powered by Quilting for Friday Foto Fun and Amanda at Crazy Mom Quilts.

Enjoy your weekend!

Wendy

Finally Friday

Finally Friday. This week has flown by and I have little to show for it. We got back home Tuesday evening. Wednesday came and went without a post. I played catch up the rest of the week. This post is late too. Some weeks are like that.

Quilty Inspiration is Everywhere

While we were in Milwaukee, we stayed at a Hilton Garden Inn . It was beautiful. Here’s a picture of the floor. Quilt inspiration, anyone?

Finally Friday – Quilt Design Inspiration, Hilton Garden Inn, Milwaukee – piecefulthoughts.com 2017

It was a short stay, but I managed to get the little woolies stitched up while I was there. Now they just need finishing, which will be a backing for each and then stuffing. This is a Buttermilk Basin pattern, but I reduced the pattern by 75%. Originally, they finish at 11 inches, but I didn’t want them that large. Mine will finish about 7-8 inches.

Finally Friday - Woolie Project, Buttermilk Basin pattern - piecefulthoughts.com 2017

So, what’s up for my weekend sewing?

  • Get caught up with my Magnolia Mystery blocks
  • Work on an improv project that’s tumbling around in my head
  • Check my growing stack of orange and green fabrics to see if I’m ready to start the project I have in mind for them
  • Clean my quilt room

What are your plans for the weekend?

Linking up today with Sherry of Powered by Quilting for Friday Foto Fun.

Wendy

Pieceful Monday

Pieceful Monday, once again. I hope your weekend was relaxing and enjoyable. Here in Minnesota, we welcomed in our first snowfall of the year, along with wind and much cooler temps. It was a great weekend for staying home and stitching!

When you read this, I’ll be on another short trip with BigJ. So I’ll be doing a little exploring, but I also have some stitching and other things along to keep me busy.

Remember the Jolly Braid Tote Bag? I’m taking it with me on its first road trip.

Pieceful Monday - Jolly Braid Tote Bag - piecefulthoughts.com 2017

I’m filling it up with a few things to take along.

Pieceful Monday - Filling the totebag - piecefulthoughts.com 2017

So what’s in there? Well, a little stitching project, along with my zipper pouch full of thread, scissors, and other things I need to work on it. That’s a little wool project that may become a Christmas gift.

Pieceful Monday - Stitching Project - piecefulthoughts.com 2017

I also bring along some sketchbooks for quilt designs, a ruler and pencil, and two books to spark my creativity.

Pieceful Monday - My bag stash - piecefulthoughts.com 2017

My Kindle will also get tucked in there, and I’ll leave room for a few things I may pick up along the way. And snacks — I’m sure some snacks will find their way in there too!

When I get back home, I hope to have some days to play with this happy mail I received this week. Look at all those solids! Yippee! Improv is calling!

These were sent to me as part of the #getyourquiltywishesgranted3 on Instagram. So much fun! It’s a good thing I sent a few quilty things to some other quilters so I have a little more room for this new addition to my stash!

So what about you? What do you take along when you go on a short roadtrip? Leave a comment and let me know.

Wendy

Autumn Calling Finish

Autumn Calling is not what I had planned to name this quilt. There were several names that popped into my head, but then I realized that Autumn Calling just seemed appropriate. So there it is.

When I last posted, I commented about trying to control too much when working on the layout of a scrap quilt. Several of you mentioned your tendency to overthink or control when working on layout too. Glad to know I’m in good company!

This quilt went through several transitions to where it came to be. You can read about part of the progression here. I just wasn’t satisfied with the lighter colors in the quilt. So I kept pulling them until I had none. And I liked it.

Autumn Calling Finish - My autumn quilt all finished. - piecefulthoughts.com (c) 2017

I was looking for a dark golden autumn quilt, so I’m very happy with how this came out. I might even tuck it up a little further on my piano and let it stay there. It seems to work well with the pumpkins and flowers!

I did simple lines for the quilting and used Aurifil thread #2355. I don’t know the color name of this thread, but it’s a rusty red/brown and worked well with the colors in this quilt.

Autumn Calling Finish - quilting detail - piecefulthoughts.com (c) 2017

The story behind the fabrics for this quilt began with a quilt kit I purchased on clearance at a local quilt shop. The kit didn’t have the pattern with it, so I had to do some hunting to find it. Then when I pulled it out to begin cutting the fabric, I realized that the kit had the wrong amount for some of the fabric. Frustrated, I stuck it on the shelf. I finally pulled that kit out the other day, and much of the colors in this quilt are from that kit.

The backing and binding were in the kit as well. It was nice to have it all there, just the right size. The binding and backing fabrics are from Jo Morton’s fabric lines. I’m pretty sure many of the quilt top pieces are from her lines as well, but I can’t tell you which!

Autumn Calling Quilt - Peek of the backing fabric - piecefulthoughts.com (c) 2017

Isn’t it satisfying to finish a quilt? I’m excited to add this to my autumn decor around the house!

Linking up today with

Enjoy your weekend, all!

Wendy

Jolly Braid Totebag

I was invited by the Fat Quarter Shop to join in the Jolly Braid Totebag quilt along. Today is reveal day and I’m excited today to show you my tote.

This pattern is very easy to make and can be used in several different colorways.  The downloadable pattern is available here.

Quilted bags and totes are some of my favorite projects. Patterns that are easy and quick appeal to me and this pattern is no exception. I made this totebag in a day and you can too!

Jolly Braid Totebag - a fun tote that goes together quickly. My version is using Zen Chic's True Blue fabric - piecefulthoughts.com

Love those Jolly Bars!

The tote is made using one Jolly Bar pack, and two other coordinating fabrics for the side panels of the tote and for the lining. Are you familiar with Jolly Bars? The Fat Quarter Shop offers this versatile pre-cut pack that measures 5″ x10″. Using the Jolly Bar for the tote makes quick work of the cutting time for this project.

Jolly Braid Totebag - Zen Chic True Blue Fabric - piecefulthoughts.com

I chose to use Zen Chic’s fabric True Blue. The colors in this fabric line are blues, grays, and soft whites. From that same line, I used Steel Bud for my coordinating fabric. For my lining, I chose Zen Chic’s Modern Background Paper Graphic on Fog.

The Triangles on a Roll paper foundation method of sewing the strips together goes very quickly. I found it helpful to use my mini Wonder Clips to hold the roll while I went along. Another little hint — when you start with that first triangle, use a little swipe of a glue stick to hold it in place (keeps me from sewing over pins).

Jolly Braid Totebag - using Wonder Clips to hold the Triangle Paper on a Roll - piecefulthoughts.com

Of all the stabilizers I’ve used in bags, I think this is my new favorite. It is just what the name says — soft yet stable. I spray basted it and used my walking foot to make some freehand wavy lines. It gives a nice definition to the quilting. It held the spray baste well and was easy to move as I quilted.

Jolly Braid Totebag - Quilting Detail - piecefulthoughts.com

Just How Much Stuff Can I Get In There?

This bag is roomy. Just for fun, I tucked a few things in the bag to give you an idea of how much it holds.

Jolly Braid Totebag - This roomy bag holds quite a bit! - piecefulthoughts.com

You can see I have 4 large books, a little journal, two reading books and a water bottle inside. There’s still room to tuck in a few more small things.

With Christmas coming soon, this totebag would be a great gift for someone on your list. Or it’s a fun bag to make for yourself. I hope you join in and give it a try!

Jolly Braid Totebag - Final photo - piecefulthoughts.com

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wendy

 

Wedding Quilt

The wedding is done, the celebration is over. It was a lovely late afternoon when we gathered at a beautiful farm outside of St. Louis, Missouri, to celebrate the wedding of two special people. It was a ceremony full of joy, delight, and a few happy tears.

Now I can show you the final photos of the wedding quilt. It was one of my favorite quilts to make, because the fabric was so amazing to work with.

Wedding Quilt - Maureen Cracknell's Garden Dreamer fabric, pattern from Hawthorne Threads - piecefulthoughts.com

The quilt was a kit from Hawthorne Threads using Maureen Cracknell’s Garden Dreamer fabrics. I chose the fabric because the couple enjoys the outdoors, growing a garden, raising animals, and all sorts of things I know very little about. I thought the design on the fabrics would resonate with them.

The pattern itself was quite simple to do, so the blocks came together easily. The fabric has a beautiful hand! I absolutely loved working with it. I have a little stash leftover that I’m hoarding for now, until I decide what I want to make from it.

The quilt backing was as much fun as the front.

Wedding Quilt - backing view, Maureen Cracknell's Garden Dreamer fabric - piecefulthoughts.com

Here’s a picture of Connie’s beautiful quilting. She did a simple wavy line throughout the quilt. You can also get a little peek at some of the fun garden designs on the fabric.

Wedding Quilt - detail quilting - piecefulthoughts.com

She added some fun, playful spheres.

Wedding Quilt - quilting detail up close - piecefulthoughts.com

Here’s a photo of the quilting from the back.

Wedding Quilt - quilting detail up close shown on back of quilt - piecefulthoughts.com

The quilt finished at 60″ x 60″, a perfect size for picnics, snuggling under watching a movie, or draping over a chair. Wouldn’t it look lovely draped over a porch swing?

Wedding Quilt - Quilt kit from Hawthorne Threads using Maureen Cracknell's Garden Dreamer line - piecefulthoughts.com

Luke & Amanda, I had so much fun making this quilt for you. May you have many, many years of happiness together, and may the adventures continue!

Linking up today with Beth at Cooking Up Quilts and Beth at Love Laugh Quilt.

Enjoy your Monday, everyone! Happy quilting!

Wendy