Sunday, November 1, 2015

Old Quilts New Life

I just purchased Sarah Fielke's new book called Old Quilts New Life.  I absolutely love it.  She has made 18 projects inspired by quilts from the American Folk Art Museum.  She includes the history of the quilts and does 2 projects for each quilt that she has shown.  One project is her interpretation of the quilt and the second one is taking an element from the quilt and designing a quilt using that element.

I love antique quilts and also the use of color and design that Sarah does.  So the book is a win, win for me!

Here is just a small sampling of the quilts from the book:

More quilts just got added to my list!! :-)

You can check out her blog here:

Happy Sewing,

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Fat Quarter Traditions Churn Dash

I have always loved the churn dash block.  I love to see it coordinated, scrappy and with decorative touches.

A number of years ago I designed a series of small quilts called "Fat Quarter Traditions".  There were 3 different designs and each one was made with just fat quarters.  One of them was the churn dash.  I just updated that pattern and it is now available as a free download on

I made a new sample in a more blended watercolor style.  I really like the lightness of it and I think it is perfect for spring and summer.  It reminds me of sherbet.  Light and refreshing.

My original sample featured country colors and plaids.  I couldn't find my quilt, believe it or not!  So here is my EQ drawing of it in similar fabrics.  Not as scrappy and using one background.

This size quilt is perfect for hanging on your wall, putting on your table or even for a doll quilt.

Years ago I got the idea to hand embroider small flower designs in bluework and I designed a quilt in blues and yellow using churn dash blocks and putting the bluework designs in the centers.  I still haven't gotten that done.  As a matter of fact, I only embroidered one block so far! :-)  Well, it's on my list!

A couple years ago, a friend of mine was moving to California and I wanted to make something special for her and her husband.  So I thought about doing an embroidery design and putting it into a small wall hanging.  My block of choice was the churn dash.  It was perfect for framing my embroidery.

I think that the churn dash block lends itself beautifully for embroidery, appliqué, cross stitch, fussy cut fabric, lacework, a photo or anything else that you would love to feature.  It is the perfect frame!  This project finished to 15" square so it would also make a lovely pillow.

This larger churn dash project is also included in my pattern.

I think the sky's the limit with what you can do with churn dash blocks!  I hope you will try one too!  Let me know what you do with it.  I love show and tell!

Happy Sewing,

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Love of Country

I can finally share with you the project that I have been working on for months.  You may remember my pics on Facebook with the 2 1/4" friendship stars and the 5" stars.  Well, here it is finished!

Love of Country

I made this for the Wall Hanging competition at the Kutztown Folk Festival.  The festival opens today.  You can find more info here.  This is the first year that I have entered their competition.  They send you a certain fabric and you need to make your wall hanging using a good portion of this fabric.  The competition fabric this year was a red paisley print.  I really like paisley so I thought "Cool!"  The wall hanging could be any shape but the combined total of all of the sides could not be less than 108" or more than 144".

Of course, I came up with many ideas, but I had to decide on one.  I actually asked my hubby for his favorite and he chose this one.  I had done a similar design for a shop hop quilt one year, but I did different stars and settings and shrunk everything!  The finished quilt measures 30" square.  Some of the pieces in the stars are 5/8" in size.  I wanted to have the stars look like they were floating so I used the same fabric for the backgrounds, sashing and alternate blocks.  I added a narrow flat piping of gold before the border and carried the gold through in the cornerstones of the sashing and the binding.  I foundation paper pieced the red and cream part of the border sections.  I machine quilted everything.  I was hoping to do hand quilting in the alternate blocks, but ran out of time.

If you check out my Happy Sewing Room Facebook page you will find information as to how I did my quilting on the alternate blocks and also how I started and ended my quilting throughout the quilt.

A little story about my binding.  I only had a small amount of gold fabric left to use for the binding.  I went ahead and cut my strips.  I usually do a straight grain binding.  However, after cutting my strips, I remembered reading in the competition rules, that we need to do bias binding.  I thought, "OH NO!"  How would I ever cut more strips from such a small amount left.  Thank goodness for the internet.  I did a search for bias binding and found a couple of sites that used a rectangle rather than a square piece of fabric to make their bias binding.  And one of the sites was Bonnie K. Hunters' - under the tips and techniques tab.  Thank you, Bonnie!  I had a piece 9" x 42" to make my bias binding from.  It worked out beautifully!  I did have a lot more seams, since it was a narrow piece, but it worked!

Although I did not get one of the 3 prizes, I feel I am still a winner.  I enjoyed the whole process of creating the quilt and being able to try some new things, that I may not have tried without this challenge.

A close up of some quilting.

A close up of the border.

I hope to write a pattern for this wall hanging soon to sell on my store on  I will let you know when it is available.

Until next time,

Happy Sewing,

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Bloc_Loc Rulers

I love trying new notions.  Anything to help make my sewing easier or more accurate.  I have been making a lot of half-triangle square units right now.  I thought that I would use my Bloc_Loc ruler to square them up.  I bought this a year or so ago and only used it just recently.  I really, really like it!

There is a groove on the underside of the ruler that you butt next to the fold of your seam on your half-triangle square block.  (You must press your seam to one side in order for this to work.)  The great thing is that the ruler doesn't move to the side so that it your cut is accurate.

I needed to trim these down to 1 1/4".  I made sure that the 1 1/4" markings were inside the edges of the block and trimmed 2 sides.

 Then I lined up the 1 1/4' lines on the two sides that I had cut and trimmed the last two sides.

Perfect 1 1/4" squares!  As much as I don't want to spend more money on extra rulers, this one is well worth it.

I also have their flying geese ruler, which I have not tried yet.  You can find more info on their rulers and videos about them here.  They have a lot of different rulers available.

Happy Sewing,

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

New Small Sewing Table

I needed a small table to use my Singer Featherweight on.  It had to fit between a pole and my large sewing table and I needed to be able to get into my set of drawers that I have under my large table.  I had been using a tv tray table, which was not very sturdy at all.  I worried that my featherweight would wind up on the floor!

I remembered a couple of my friends getting small tables for pressing at retreat.  I did some research and found some online.  The table is a Lifetime table and it is called a 26" Personal Folding Table.  It is 18" x 26" and is the perfect size for my space!  It is sturdy and adjusts to 3 heights.  My featherweight fits on it perfectly even with it's surround table.

I have sewn a number of blocks on it and there is no wobbling!   I am a very happy camper!

There are Lifetime tables available in many sizes.  I have a 4 foot one which I really like too.  My friends got the one that was 20" x 30" which would also be great for sewing.  I would have liked that, but it never would have worked in the space that I had available to me.  I ordered mine from Amazon and received it very quickly.

If you are looking for an inexpensive table for sewing, crafts, or as a desk, this is perfect.

Happy Sewing,

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Little Bit of This and A Little Bit of That

I have a lot of projects happening right now.  I shared with you my fan quilt and the mariner compass.  I also started Bonnie K. Hunter's mystery - Grand Illusion in November.  You can find more info here.  I love everything that Bonnie does.  If you haven't been to her site, please check it out!  All of her quilts are scrappy and she has an abundance of free patterns, tips, recipes and more on her site.

This is my Clue #1 finished.  Most people have finished their quilts.  However, not me.  I am using similar colors to the suggested colors, except mine are reproduction prints instead of brights.  I also plan to use some embroideries in the center of the blocks.  It will be some time before I complete this since I have a priority project right now.  That is kind of what happened.  I have good intentions, but then other things come along that need to be done.  It doesn't really matter.  I sew slowly and enjoy it along the way.

Another project I started is a Quilt A Long from American Patchwork and Quilting.  You can find more info here.  You will find a list of all of the bloggers that are participating, including Bonnie.  The directions are featured in their April 2015 issue.  I didn't really need another project, but I loved that the quilt along only involved making four patches.  How much time would it really take me to sew some of those?!!!  Ok.  A little time.  I loved the quilts that were shown but decided that I would design my own.  So I have the center of my quilt figured out, but not the borders yet.  I decided that I could accomplish this by making the four patches using Bonnie's leader ender process.  You can also read about that on her blog under tips and techniques.  So that is what I am doing.  I need 65 four patches for my design and I now have 34 finished.  Love it!

My priority project is kind of hush, hush.  But I will share a sketch of it and can tell you that it involves 5" stars with some pretty small pieces, like 5/8" squares.  I will have to wait a few months to show you this project finished.

Well, I guess I had better get back to sewing!

Happy Sewing,

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Mariner Compass

Today I had a chance to attend a class in which we were making a Mariner Compass.  It has been a long time since I was able to take a class and it was wonderful!  The class was taught by Betty Neff who was also the designer of this pattern.  She was great!  She shared many tips and ideas that not only helped with her pattern, but will definitely help with future projects.    It was also great to spend the day with some friends and just have a relaxing day.  The class was held at a friend's house, so warm and inviting.  Thank you Pat for an awesome day!

The mariner compass was made using paper foundation piecing.  The top photo shows what I accomplished today along with an image from EQ7 showing how my finished block should look.  The fabric above my pieced parts is the floral for the background.   The lower photo is the Mariner Compass pattern by Betty Neff from the Pennsylvania Quilter.  If you would like to see more of Betty's designs, you may check them here.

I wanted to use fabrics that I had in my stash and I remembered this blue and yellow combination from Marcus Brothers called Subtle Skies.  I loved those and thought they would be perfect for this time of year.  I am so ready for Spring, and these definitely help bring a Spring feeling inside!  I originally thought that I would use a light yellow gold background including the background behind the points.  Over all it would have been a very soft blended palette.  My hubby thought it needed a little zing, perhaps just in back of the points.  So I searched my stash for a blue that I thought would work.  I was happy that I took his advice.  I think it really makes my fabrics pop!  I only have fat quarters of all of the prints, so I really needed to make this work.  I decided to shrink the pattern to 70%.  It should be about 15 1/2" finished instead of 22".  That was the only way that I would have enough for the background.  I'm not sure what I am doing for the border at this point, but I am sure that it will evolve as I go along.

I found doing the pattern using foundation paper piecing quite enjoyable and definitely an easier way to do this particular design.  Probably close to 40 years ago, I made one for my hubby.  I remember using a pattern from Quilter's Newsletter and doing all of the piecing by hand.  I was pretty much a beginner quilter then, but figured I would tackle it.  I've come a long way baby!

My hubby's Mariner Compass.
Another thing that I enjoyed today was sewing with my Singer Featherweight.  It sews such a wonderful straight stitch and I think it helps make me feel even more relaxed and to just enjoy the process.  Betty also sells featherweights and parts and can help you with any questions you may have in regards to this wonderful little machine.  I was fortunate enough to get a new LED light bulb for it.  What a difference.  So much light!   Love it!

Here's wishing you some wonderful relaxing sew filled days!

Happy Sewing,

Saturday, March 7, 2015

China Silk Fan Quilt

Quite a number of years ago, my hubby took a business trip to China.  My one request was for him to bring me back some silk for a quilt.  It apparently was not an easy task, but he was finally able to find a shop and brought back a number of 1/4 yard pieces.

I decided that I would really like to use all of them in one quilt, even though I was not sure if they would work together.  This was before my scrappy quilt days!  :-)  I knew that I wanted to make fan blocks from them.  I needed to decide the best way to stabilize the silk in order to sew my blocks.  The silks were very lightweight, not like a mid to heavyweight brocade.  I debated on fusing a lightweight interfacing to them, but decided that I would paper foundation piece the fan part and that way the paper would stabilize them.

I have had the fan part of the block finished for years, but did not do the curved bottom of the fan until this past year.  My goal was to finally finish this project.  I succeeded in finishing the quilt top this past summer, but have not gotten around to quilting it yet.  Other projects have taken precedence.   Hopefully I will quilt it this summer.

I thought that I would share a picture of it now with you, since I am not sure when it will be totally finished.  I hope you like it!

Happy Sewing,