Monday, December 31, 2012

I'm in the paper!! Oh and I bought fabric too...

Hey that's me there!!!!  Lol***  I was so excited to be called in for an interview at the local paper a week or so ago...I didn't want to spoil the surprise so I didn't mention it to many friends and family, but how exciting!!!  We live in a small little town so frequently they publish sweet community stories about people around town and the things they are doing.  I about fell off my chair when I was asked to do this (really, me???) but at the same time, ecstatic!!!  How fun!! 

I am obsessed with quilting in likely a way that even many of my quilting friends are friend recently said to me, "it's like, it's your LIFE!"  LOL*  Well, it IS my life.  It's my passion and I don't use that word lightly.  I just love it.  Artists paint, sculpters sculpt, and quilters quilt.  This an art that I get SO much from.  I swear I have a bit of ADD but quilting is the one thing I can buckle down and focus on.  It's my therapy, my company, my expression, and my source of pride.  So while it's really not the biggest news on the planet, it's big news in my little world and I'm so thrilled to get a little praise for working so hard at something I love.  :)  I am so blessed!!

In other news I have several projects going but only found time to take a picture of this one.  We received a few gift cards for Christmas and they were burning a hole in my pocket so I had to spend them up real quick!!!  :)  I love my warm neutral colors but this is about the time of year I crave color.  My garden is brown and sleeping and everything around me is white...we are a long ways away from spring around here.  So I decided yesterday to begin collecting fabrics for my daughter's new quilts.  They both have small baby/toddler quilts and my oldest desperately needs a "big girl" quilt.  She's going to be 11 in May.  OH MY GAWSH I HAVEN'T SAID THAT BEFORE!!!  Wow.  She's going to be 11.  Be still my heart.  :(  So I guess she needs a more fitting quilt.  We are going to paint her room a limey green color and my Dad made her a wooden peace sign in her favorite color that we will hang above her bed.  I want to redo the carpet in there too - I swear it's like a bomb went off.  Anyhow...these are the colors I chose...

I really have a bug up my butt to do some sort of dresden plate with these.  I haven't made one with the pointy blades and I thought it would look cute to put leaves on them so they look like flowers.  The creamy tan fabric is going to be the background, I bought 3 yards and I hope that's enough.  I think I'll have plenty of the colored fabrics but I'd like to get some more purple/fuchsia for the cornerstones in the sashing.  I'm thinking I want to set these on point and do tiny little cornerstones.

The other project I have going is a tiny linen quilt - like Cindy's!!  LOL*  I am going to order some bottom line thread for my thread experiment and to do the small detail quilting with.  I also want to try out a small bit of radiance fabric for underneath.  Cindy does these great initial quilts that she frames so I think that's what I want to try.

I am off as children are calling me.  :)  Happy New Year's Eve!!!  :)

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The GREAT Thread Experiment

I am spoiled.  This was just one batch of the amazing Christmas gifts that came from my In-Laws yesterday.  Oh my!  Thread!  If you've followed my blog for any length of time you may have picked up on the fact that I'm a TOTAL thread nerd.  I don't know what it is, I just LOVE thread.  LOVE LOVE LOVE.  I love all of the different uses and effects that can be achieved with just  thread...and I love the colors.  OH the colors!!!!  I get goosebumps...yes GOOSEBUMPS thinking of some drool worthy thread combinations.  I'm that much of a thread nerd.  Hahaha!

So as sort of a New Year's Resolution...I'm resolving to play with thread.  ALL YEAR long.  Maybe next year too.  You all know I'm a SAHM on a budget so this is a big endeavor for me.  I pay retail cost for all of my thread, so it's very special and loved when it arrives and is finally chosen and used in my quilts.  I have been passively playing with thread and experimenting over the past year or more with different brands and products and discovering that I have preferences.  Oh my! 

I spend way too much time on blogs and in quilting forums reading about thread and drooling over the creations I see made with them.  I want so much to buckle down this year and TRY all of these wonderful, and sometimes luxurious threads I read about for myself.  So I have devised a list of thread I want to try this year.  Some I have never used and some I am giving a second go round.  I will share here the results and compare and contrast my thoughts and experiences (for whatever that is worth!) for you to read through and maybe help you make some decisions about trying a new thread for yourself...or for you to totally skim past never to be thought of again!  Lol*  :) 

I'm doing this for myself mostly, but for my quilting friends too because I know that for some of us who do not run businesses and who do not have a lot of disposable income to spend on quilting supplies, it's really important to take time and decide what quality products we will give up our hard earned cash for.  Because we love our art and we want to make amazing heirlooms to leave our family...and we want to play with the finest of sewing things in life on a mere stay at home Mommy budget!

I am limiting this list to just threads used in some way for it piecing, applique, or the actual quilting process. 

Let me lay the groundwork and tell you what I have experience with so far.  I have used the following for quilting and piecing:

- Connecting Threads Essential Cotton 
- Coats and Clark Machine Quilting Cotton
- Coats and Clark Hand Quilting Cotton
- Coats and Clark Machine Embroidery Polyester Thread
- Superior Threads King Tut
- Superior Threads So Fine
- Superior MonoPoly
- Superior Rainbows
- Americana Hand Quilting Thread (found at Jo Ann Fabrics)
- Gutermann Metallic Effect Thread
- Sulky Rayon

Here is the current list for "Want to Try" threads.  I will put it in the sidebar and update it as I find new threads I want to try.  I will cross off each thread on the list and do as comprehensive of a review as I can and link it in the sidebar as I try each new brand or product. A few on this list I have purchased but haven't used in a project yet.

- Isacord
- Superior Bottom Line (and in the TOP!)
- Superior Kimono Silk
- Superior MasterPiece
- Gutermann Silk
- Madeira Monolon
- Star Quilting Thread
- Aurifil Cotton
- WonderFil
- Glide
- Signature
- Robison Anton Cotton Quilting
- Robison Anton Polyester Embroidery

**I am on the hunt to try a water soluble thread for my trapunto quilts but haven't put it on the list becaue I don't know what brand - please suggest one if you have one that you like!

**Some of the threads listed are intended for long arm use.  I haven't talked a lot about it on my blog, but the Husband and I are currently researching and shopping around for a used long or mid arm.  I'm hoping after I gain some practice and knowledge to do a little quilting for hire to help pay for some fabric and of course, THREAD!  :)

I would love to hear thoughts, comments,  and thread suggestions from anyone out there!  Is there anything I must try?  Please share!

Saturday, December 29, 2012


I posted pictures for a moment on my Pumpkin Patch Quilter Facebook page - but for some reason they showed up on my personal Facebook so I immediately took it down!  This will be a gift for my Mother in Law and I don't want to spoil the surprise! 

We are celebrating Christmas late with that side of the family...she works swing shifts and wasn't able to get the time off.  I love to give quilts to my Mother in Law because I tell ya, she truly appreciates them.  She puts them all on a quit rack in her living room to show off...and I have given her some real dogs too!!!  LOL*  God love her.  I gave her my very first completed quilt...a rail fence.  I stitched in the ditch (mostly - I got bored and there may have been a few ditches that went without stitches!) for the quilting and I don't think the binding completely enclosed all the layers so there are areas of exposed batting.  I didn't know how to go around the corners of a quilt with binding so it is just sandwiched in between strips.  Lol*  Oh it was a real winner.  LOL*  So sorry Mother in Law!  I thought it was a treasure when I gifted it...  :)

 The cool thing though is she has a timeline of my quilting in a way.  I've given her I think, three quilts...and two to her Mother (one she was buried with when she passed and one that came up missing from the nursing home).  I have shown her projects over the years that I've made and she always indulges me and she's really seen the progression from not having a darn clue what I'm doing to whatever state of quilting it is I'm in now!!!  :)  Better than when I started...but still a lot left to learn.  :)

I took these pictures last night while the quilt was still damp from removing the also has no binding, I have to do that today and I'm going to busy here as soon as I get my coffee down getting ready for our Christmas evening.

I decided against painting this one.  I know my family's limits and while they appreciate my artistic mind they want a soft quilt!  Even with the dense quilting this is pretty soft.  I know my Mother in Law too and this will likely reside on a quilt rack.  I tell her every time to use the quilts, that's what they are for...but it does feel good I have to admit to see my quilt a source of pride in her home.  :)

I learned SO much making this quilt.  It was hours upon hours of work...that I loved every moment of.  I drool over those densly quilted artsy slash traditional quilts and I know my quilting pals will understand my deep need to emulate that rich look for myself!  But quilting these heavily stitched pieces is a little different than what I normally quilt I've learned.  Next time I will ditch all the seams.  I picked up on this initially from Cindy but the more closely look at those quilts I adore from other quilters whose work I admire and I can see now how much more that would have enhanced and stabilized this for me when quilting.  I also will echo back around those feathers in the border because there is too much poof around them compared to the rest of the quilt.

This was so much fun...I can't wait to start the next project.  I have some New Year's Resolutions I will share with you when it gets a little closer to the day...but one of them is to make bed quilts for my family and parents.  This will probably take more than a year but I get stuck on these small quilts - we need bed quilts.  Up until now I have focused on small projects and lap sized quilts and after completing a few larger than life quilt tops I'm really wanting to go big for a while.  I have King and Queen quilt tops laying around but truth be told I haven't quilted anything larger than a Twin so I want the experience.  (Do I really want the experience??)  LOL*

If I don't post for a few days...everyone have a Happy New Year!!!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Something Old and Something New

I mentioned that I have been spending a lot of time on Cindy Needham's blog and website in my last post...and she has inspired me to dig into my collection of oldies, and pair them up with some new things.  I have always had an appreciation for things that have age.  This is something that has really bonded my Husband and I together over the years and always surprises friends and family.  My Husband, baseball loving rough and tumble type of guy that he is, doesn't usually strike people as the antique shopping type.  But that is one of our favorite things to do together!  He appreciates old things as I do and is always on the look out for something that tells the history of baseball.

So with my new found inspiration I went digging and pulled out these old appliques.  My last name begins with an S so when I purchased them at an estate sale it was only because of their charm, I didn't think to use them.  But I happened to find this lovely scroll fabric recently...and don't those look like C's?  Well my maiden name begins with...a C.  :)  So now this MUST become something for my parents, don't you think?

I also found this green fabric that didn't photograph so well.  It has a circling sort of cathedral windows effect to it that didn't show up here.  Here it looks like green snowflakes!  Ack!  Anyhow I thought these would be a beautiful combination.  I don't know where this is going yet.  I know I have linens around but not the luxurious kind that Cindy uses.  I have lots of those old needlework linens and doilies that were never embroidered.  I don't know what I'll do with these.  I had always planned to embroider them myself, but you know how plans go.  :)

Here's another little find I just thought I'd throw in.  Do you remember when JC Penny sold patterns?  I don't think that was in my lifetime to be honest!!!  :)  I don't know, I'm thinking this must be from the 30's I'm guessing?  Older?  Newer?  I can't bare to open it up and find the date as it is stapled shut.  It came in a box of items I bought that mainly had tatting tools and threads.  Some of the newsprint was from the early 1900's.  I need to find a creative way to display these old items.  I just love them and am compelled to save them from deteriorating in someones attic or basement.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Show and Tell and More Progress

I am feeling so much better today.  It only took a day for the house to fall into a disastrous messy pit so I must clean.  Bleh.  Cleaning is one of life's necessities that I could live without.  At the same time...I don't like anyone touching my things so I don't know if I could ever hire a cleaning person, even if I were the sort who could afford a cleaning person!  :)

Before I get to chores I wanted to share a quilt I hadn't posted about.  I had something planned for this but that didn't work out so I'm keeping it and loving it.  :)

It's a coin quilt from scraps...of course, quilted within an inch of it's life because...well...that's how I like to do things.  :)

I have made bias strips before but these were the first vines I had made that were fusible vines.  I think they turned out pretty neat!


I just love that sort of folk art style of quilt.  Oh if only the heavens would open up and provide me with an endless supply of fabric, thread and batting!!!  Just think of the quilts I would make!  :)

I love the back of this one.  If this fabric looks might be because I loved it so much when I saw it I bought 9 yards of it.  Almost the entire bolt.  LOL*  I have backed TONS of things with it.  I just love everything about it.  It's the perfect backing because it hides the thread nicely, but the flowers are the perfect fall colors that I love and that old timey style I can't get enough of.  I knew I would use it a lot...and I have.  :)

More progress on the feathered wreaths.  I'm going back and forth daily on this quilt as to whether I love it or hate it.  Right now I love it.  :)  I have decided to gift of course now I'm having all sorts of hiccups.  Argh.  I have been spending a lot of time on Cindy Needham's blog lately soaking up her gorgeous quilt inspiration and trying to learn as much from her as I can.  She says to stitch in the ditch - "ESS" - which stands for "Every Stinkin' Seam".  Oh my I just love that.  Well I did not ditch ESS on this quilt...I discovered her valuable rule of thumb a little to late and boy had I wish I had picked up on it sooner.  I'm at the point with this quilt I just don't think I can bare to go back and stitch in the ditch so I'm going to plug on and finish and do it right next time.  I love how SITD really makes the blocks pop too and so I can see for a very simple quilt like this that is really all about the quilting it really counts.  Cindy also says that ditch stitching stabilizes the quilt even further to prevent distortion on really dense quilting...something I could use...and it helps to hide the seams.  Isn't that funny?  It hides the seams and helps focus on the quilting?  If you haven't visited her blog you must.  I've been on this whole cloth kick ever since I played around with that trapunto piece and her blog was just the indulgence I needed.  :)

You can see the little hiccups...a few wrinkles sewn in...some of that I will blame on my inferior piecing.  This was pieced maybe...six years ago?  Five years ago?  I'm not sure how long but it's been a while.  I think I showed it towards the beginning of this blog.  Anyhow...I will remember for the future...stitch in the ditch.  Every stinkin' seam!  :)

Alrighty off to clean...and sew...and clean some more.  :)

- Valerie

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Santa Brought Sewing Goodies!

I hope everyone out there had a wonderful Christmas yesterday - and if you don't celebrate Christmas I hope you just had a wonderful day!  Here in northeastern Ohio we are hunkering down for a blizzard.  What a way to kick off winter!  I will be thinking of all the people who are traveling to visit family or going home from their Christmas vacations.  :(  Stay safe!

We are so fortunate and blessed in this home.  We don't have a lot, but we have enough.  Santa was very good to me this year...thanks to many extra hours the Husband put in at work and picking up a second job for the holiday.  Look what he gave me!

I have wanted a serger for so long!  My main passion is quilts - but this will come in SO very handy for many many projects.  I love to make things for the house, costumes for my daughters, clothing for them, purses and totes.  This will make it so much easier...and look so pretty!

I was thrilled and pretty impressed that it came right out of the box threaded and ready to sew!  How cool is that?  I was agonizing a bit over how I would afford thread right after Christmas to play.  It came with pleny to get started...and next payday I'm off to start a new thread collection.  :)

Pulled out my Singer sewing book.  I do a lot of sewing (and consider myself quite the know it all too!  LOL*) but even still this book is SO great.  Anyone who quilts can tell you that garment sewing and quilting are just TWO different worlds.  Everything is different...the only thing they have in common is the sewing machine!  This book is so comprehensive and gives great up close pictures of everything.  It's a little dated - the pictures look about twenty years or more old...but I bought it at half priced books so it was something like $15...and worth every penny.  It's got a whole section on sergers and even the one I just got was pictured!!!  I can't wait to learn all about the different things I can do with it.

The snow is starting to fall.  It's that heavy wet snow too.  Nothing better than a cozy day indoors with a cup of coffee and a brand new serger.  :)

Monday, December 24, 2012

I Just Had to Share - Merry Christmas Eve!

Yay!!!  My book came today!!!  A few weeks ago Pat Sloan paired up with quilter/author Victoria Findlay Wolfe and C& T Publishing and hosted a giveaway of the book 15 Minutes of Play.  Guess what lucky duck won?  ME!!!  I didn't expect this to come so soon because I got the nicest card from Victoria after winning...

The card came on Wednesday so you can imagine how thrilled I was to see the FedEx man backing into my driveway today!  Thank you Pat Sloan - Victoria Findlay Wolfe - and C& T Publishing!  I'm thrilled with my new book and can't wait to have a moment to sit down and pour over the pages!!!

Some of you may recognize Victoria's quilts and style from her blog Bumblebeans.  Her style is really different from the more traditional quilts I'm usually drawn to but I love her use of color and her artistic approach.

I have to say, I was as thrilled to receive the catalog of quilting books form C&T as much as getting my book!!!  I will definitely be pouring over the pages of this too!

I also wanted to mention I was recently contacted by a fellow from Fons & Porter who asked me to review an ebook for them and post about it on my blog.  Of course I am always happy to do a review!

This little ebook definitely has the Fons & Porter stamp on it with detailed instructions on long cabin variations and ideas to create amazing log cabin quilts.  I have made several log cabin quilts and the ebook definitely puts a new spin on them, pulling in star quilter Ricky Tims and shares his creative play on the traditional log cabin quilt.  I've always thought Fons & Porter to be a name you could trust when it came to books or quilting supplies and I think this definitely lives up to it's name.  The ebook shares detailed cutting guides and instructions to make several log cabin quilts and lots of ideas for embellishment like trapunto or playing with decorative threads. 

If you've thought about making a log cabin quilt or are looking for a different spin on it check it out - it's FREE!!!  Visit to download it for yourself!  :)  Thank you to the people at Fons & Porter for sharing it with me!  :)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

More Progess...

Seems I'm going to post a picture of every stitch of this quilt!  I just love how it's turning out.  I am compelled to share.  :)  I was really frustrated yesterday but today things just started to come together.  Two posts a day - but it feels like they were ages apart.  Time they say.  :)

I really wasn't sure if I liked seeing all that stitching on the back at first...but now that we're making some real progress doesn't it make for an interesting reverse?  I just love it.  :)

My snobbery for polyester batting has disappeared...I think I might love it!  Forgive the markings still present...I sketched onto the quilt top some ideas that I didn't go through with.  So there is random blue all over.  I will remove it when the quilting is finished.

I cannot believe tomorrow is Christmas Eve already.  Won't be much sewing going on as we'll be preparing the house for Santa...followed by Christmas Dinner with my parents.  I'm really looking forward to it - and looking forward to show and tell!  My parents are so good to indulge me in my quilty chat.  My Father is a woodworker...who now knows more about sewing machines and long arms than he EVER wanted to!  :)

My daughters are already getting the fever...they can barely fall asleep knowing tomorrow is the big night...hahaha, I love to witness this excitement.  I'm not sure what I love more...watching their eyes light up in anticipation or the actual suprise when they open their gifts.  I love Christmas morning breakfast...wading through wrapping and the remants of toy boxes sticky from fingers covered in syrup....oh it's only a day away now!

Saturday, December 22, 2012


Well...ranting aside I found time to sew.  :)  Lol*


Now we're getting somewhere fun!  :)  My never ending problem...I'm almost out of thread and have seven more of these to sew.  CRAP!


It's official.  I HATE...HATE HATE HATE HATE shoving quilts through my little brother sewing machine.  Today is just one of those days that I think I'm not meant to sew.  I'm debating ripping this and starting over on one of the other machines.  It should be ILLEGAL to sell this machine to QUILTERS!  ARGH!!!  Oh well.  Taking a break because I'm getting frustrated.  The polyester  batting is acting like a spring when I try to free motion in that tiny space and wiggling everything all over.  Not to mention you're not supposed to oil this machine but there's some sort of black greasy gunk coming out of it and getting on my projects.  What the heck???  Pooh.  Not a good day for sewing.

Using Up Scraps

It's almost here!  Christmas is almost here!  I'm so excited...this is my favorite time of year.  It's pretty much known in my family that I'm the biggest Christmas nerd...we usually have trees (yes I said TREES) up and Christmas music on by November 1st.  Yay!

Here's what I'm working on in between getting the house ready...

No intricate design or anything, just finishing up a UFO that was laying around in my sewing cupboard.  These are nine inch blocks and when I made the quilt I intended to do some sort of fun quilting with it, just never got around to it.  I thought this would be a great project to experiment with paint!!! 

I'm a big fan of that grungy sort of primitive look.  I thought I might try the Burnt Umber paintstik behind this wreath of feathers.

I've marked the top though you can barely see it in the picture.  Just used my Clover water soluble's running out of ink though, time to buy a new one.  I've had a lot of people say they are afraid to use these pens or don't use them at all, but I've not had any problems with them so far.  I even used them on that white trapunto piece I made...I had to go back several times to remove the ink, but I kind of expected that.  Whenever you use a heavy amount it takes a little more water to remove, but it comes out and has never come back.

I'm using up some scraps for the backing.  I purchased these fabrics at a yard sale believe it or not!  About 8 years ago when I began quilting I hit this great yeard sale and bought, literally, a laundry basket full of fabric for $5.  It was a sign if you ask me that I should be SEWING!  :)

Hoping to get some work on this done as it is my escape and my relaxation to sew.  :)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Feathers and Paint

My paint sticks came!  This turned out pretty awful - so don't judge my talent (or lack thereof!) by this please!  LOL*  I didn't have any brushes or anything to clean my brushes out with yet so I found the one giant paintbrush I could dig out of my art supplies and a piece of paper to wipe it clean - ish.  I quilted up this little test piece on muslin with polyester batting and experimented with the paint to see what it would do.

How NEAT does that look with color BEHIND the feather?  Oh I must really get the correct supplies and play with this more...

Here's what I started with before painting...

Also a little curling feather free motion practice...

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Another Quilted Wallet/Doohicky Holder

Another doodad holder.  I'm not sure if it's a glasses case or a wallet or checkbook or what yet.  :)  It's purpose is prettyness.  :)