Thursday, February 28, 2013

Making Material Magic

I met Carla Klop during an event at Patti's Quilting and Fabrics about a year ago. Carla lives in Vermont and has several business interests including her pattern company, Kits by Carla. I had already purchased a Magic 3D Block kit a few months before, and Carla was at the shop demonstrating the how-to.

The kit, which included instructions, strips of fabric, and 2" foam cubes, sat on my shelf of waiting-their-turn projects while all kinds of things were bustling through my sewing room. This past weekend the block project got its turn.

Start with some fabric and freezer paper, cut, folded, and fused.

Machine stitch the first part of the sewing or opt to hand stitch the pieces together (like I did!). Use TEENY TINY ITTY BITTY stitches so they will disappear.

See? No VSL (visible stitch line)

A couple of times in the process, you end up with a holy mess that you swear isn't going to come together to make anything remotely resembling a block. (This is nothing, it gets much messy-er!)

The instructions take you step by step, so persevere, and it's finally time to add the foam cubes to give the block its shape.

Somehow the foam blocks get to where they belong. More tiny stitches. . .

And voila. It's a three-dimensional block!

Wait a minute. Open, turn . . .

 . . . twist, turn, fold  . . .

. . . and it's a different block. Like magic!

It even had my husband mystified.

It has everything a quilter craves: color, the feel fabric and foamy fluffiness, fun to touch and manipulate. Addicting.

A few babies are joining the family later this spring, and I now have a sweet baby shower add-on gift. I might have to make another, or two!

For now, I'm leaving this one on my desk to satisfy that 3pm daily urge to have a fabric fix. Some people like caffeine, some chocolate, I'm all about the fabric.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Good Stuff and More Orphans!

It looks like another winter storm might be headed to the East Coast. If this happens, that makes three weekends in a row of harsh winter weather conditions for that part of the country.

Although my area has been spared the worst of the bad weather, it has still been fairly wintery here in Syracuse, NY. And I know I could use a little dose of sunshine and positive energy. Not too long ago my business coach shared this video, and although it doesn't specifically have anything to do with quilting, it has everything to do with appreciating what is around us every day.


On a slightly different note, my niece, Karen is making some progress on her first quilt. She's purchased the fabric and the tools, and I've offered some basic cutting tips. Soon we'll start sewing. Follow along if you wish.

Orphans . . . again!Last June I attended the North Country Quilt Guild show. Read more here for a reminder of my trip to Clayton, NY for the show.

I was particularly struck by a guild project they were managing that used Orphan Quilt Blocks - those quilt blocks that are completed, but never made it into a finished quilt for one reason or another. The guild project inspired me to challenge myself and the readers of this weekly newsletter to use orphan blocks over the course of the summer 2012.

I've recently received an update from the guild volunteers who organized the guild project, that I thought I'd share.

The guild worked their orphan challenge a little differently than I did. Instead of challenging each member to use orphan blocks in quilts made by individual members, the project organizers challenged guild members to donate orphan blocks to the guild. From the varied blocks collected, a small group of volunteers sorted the diverse blocks into coordinated groupings. Add a little sashing here, a focal print there, and toddler-sized lap quilts emerged from the donated blocks - 45(!) quilt tops, to be exact.

At a recent guild meeting, 43 of the 45 tops were 'adopted' by the membership who will finish them up. Once quilted and bound, the quilts go directly into the hands of children who really need a quilty hug within the local community.

Here are a few of the quilt tops. Aren't they amazing?

You know, I love the bird blocks in this one!

Pretty pink, green, yellow to cheer the spirit.


Blue is one of my favorite stash colors!

More pink, but paired with sage green this time.


Can you imagine? I bet your guild could do a project like this . . . do I hear the wheels turning?

Have a great week!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Sweet Mouse Pin Cushion

Sweet Hearts Snap Sack
Happy St. Valentine's Day!

Here in the US, Valentine's Day is a pretty big deal. Restaurants will be busy for dinner. Flowers, confections will be exchanged. The perfect day for a little indulgence. From a sweetheart, a secret admirer, or from yourself! (Why not?!) Perhaps I have an idea for a little treat you might like to make for your sewing room. I made one for myself earlier this week.

My quilt guild meets once a month, except for the summer months. February is always a fun workshop day.

Several little projects are offered. Everyone brings a sewing machine, little clusters of project groups form, and it's down to sewing. Most of the projects are small.

Sometimes I lead a project group. And sometimes I join in and just sew. Mostly I try to stay out of trouble. . . which doesn't always work.

This week I joined in and made something that didn't fall into my usual comfort zone. I'm typically not a big fan of making three dimensional things like dolls or stuffed animals.

But there is something about making a pin cushion that tempts me every time.

So when the project offering was a little mouse-shaped pin cushion, stuffed with sand, complete with a wire tail that doubles as a thread-holder, I couldn't resist.

The Little Mouse Needle and Thread Keeper pattern by Art Fabric Studio, includes several of the non-fabric needs to make the project, like beads and wire. In addition, Nancy, our group leader, was nice enough to provide some of the additional elements like the sand and some fiber fill scraps.

Little Penelope (the last step in the pattern is to give your mouse a name) was finished by the end of the session. And she already has a little sister in process who will be orange with brown ears. I think maybe her cute little hind-end might need a couple of embroidered daisies, don't you agree?

At any rate, it was a nice break and a fun project.

Have a great week & happy stitching!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Happy Quilt Birthday to Me!

Did you post a comment or subscribe? Scroll to the bottom of this post to see if you are a winner!

No, not your birthday, it's my birthday. My Quilt Birthday, to be specific. I'm going to be 10 (in quilty years) on Friday, February 8, 2013!

As discussed on the very first page of my book, ScrapTherapy, Cut the Scraps!, on February 8, 2003 I took my first quilting class at the local quilt shop. I had so much fun, that right after class, I purchased the fabric 'ingredients' for my next two quilt projects.

That was several yards of fabric ago, at least three sewing machine upgrades (two in the first year!), two books (almost), and way too many finished quilt projects to count. What a ride!

And now, Friday, February 8, 2013 is my Quilt Birthday!

So I want to celebrate 10 years of quilting with a gift for you. But what should the gift be?

How about some fabric from my stash. Wait . . . I'm not sure I can bear to part with anything.

Maybe some scraps?

No, not the cut up stuff, the messy stuff . . . Hardly seems like much of a present if you've got to cut it up. Who needs more of a mess in their sewing room?

I still have these orphan blocks. . . . Seems wrong somehow to give away quilt blocks that I can't find a way to use.

What about a new pattern? This one is going to be fun, but the pattern isn't quite ready yet. More information on this one soon!

Or this one? . . . Nope just a tiny bit early for this one too, maybe another week and it'll be ready for its debut. It sure is pretty, though.

One of these? . . . No, no, no.

I have it. How about a book. ScrapTherapy, Cut the Scraps! A good idea, but many of you might already have it!

THIS IS IT! The New book! It's not in shops yet. I don't have it yet. It's not on my website yet. But the winner will get a copy of the new book, ScrapTherapy, Scraps Plus One! to be shipped as soon as my first copies arrive, most likely in April.

Wouldn't that be cool? And so, it's decided.

Here's how you can win a copy of ScrapTherapy, Scraps Plus One! Truly hot off the press!

You have TWO options to enter . . .

1) Post a comment on this blog entry. Answer the question, when is your quilt birthday? If you are a quilter-wanna-be, offer a future date. Or just say "I wanna win!" Just post a comment. Be sure to include your email address, so I can contact you if you are the lucky duck.

2) Or subscribe to "Good Migrations" weekly eZine - Look for the space to add your email address toward the top of the sidebar on the right-hand side of any page of the Hummingbird Highway website. If you are already a subscriber, see item number 1, if you have a friend who might enjoy this weekly publication, invite them to subscribe. Anyone who subscribes on February 8, 2013, is in it to win it! Plus, you get a free pattern, just for subscribing. How can you lose?

That's it. Simple, right?

BUT, there's a catch. You only have ONE DAY TO ENTER - February 8, 2013 from midnight to midnight, East Coast time (US) - the 24 hours that represent my 10th Quilt Birthday.

So, subscribe or comment any time on February 8, 2013 (midnight to midnight, east coast time). One winner will be randomly chosen to receive ScrapTherapy, Scraps Plus One!

Tell your quilty friends, and spread the word!

Happy Quilt Birthday! Good luck!


UPDATE: Oh my goodness! I am SO glad that I decided in advance of my post that the winning entry was selected by a random number generator. Your comments floored me! I have read every single comment, and I so appreciate all the kind words and thoughtful reminiscences.

Now for the winner! Actually, you put me in such a good mood that I decided to pick TWO! Between new subscribers, commenters, and technically challenged well-wishers (I try not to ask why these things sometimes don't work, I just try to figure out a quick fix), almost 130 responses were received to my 10th Quilt Birthday post. 

The two winners are
   Janice M. of Galesburg, Iowa
   Lynn D. of North Syracuse, NY

Please contact me by email at with an address, so I can send you a book, ScrapTherapy, Scraps Plus One! as soon as I receive my first copies from the publisher in about 8-10 weeks.

Congratulations! And Happy Quilt Birthday to all . . . !