Winner, and update on Pattern

Tuesday, September 25, 2012
The lucky winner of my soon to be ready pattern is:
Jaimie Lee!! I'll get this pattern over to you via email once I get it all done.

I'm plugging along in putting my rows together. I've come across a slight problem and will likely modify the pattern just s tiny bit. What is the problem? Thick seams, ugh! I want this pattern to be as easy as possible and no one likes to deal with thick seams. Not only are they annoying to piece but they are annoying to quilt as well. I'm thinking I would curse under my breath the whole time if someone sent me a quilt like this to machine quilt.

With the way the pattern is written right now you end up with about 6 thicknesses of fabric in some intersections. This usually happens where the "cathedral window" like points meet the the outer edge of the 4 patch circle. Here's the picture to refresh your memory:
Mod drunkard's path 3
I really like the way the curves touch each other and make a really fine point. But to make it a more friendly pattern I think I may have to add a small space at those intersections... I'm not sure whether I will modify the pattern or not. I love it as is. Maybe this will just have to be the "advanced" version.

What do you think?
~ Norma

Piecing Curves

Friday, September 21, 2012
There are lots of different ways to do the same thing when it comes to quilting. I'm going to show you how I pieced the curved blocks for the drunkard’s path quilt top in my previous post. Many of you mentioned in the comments that you had a special foot to help with curves. I have a Curve Master foot too, I just couldn’t find it. I know I tucked it away somewhere safe when we moved. I’m pretty sure I’ll find it someday when I open a random container. I need to practice more with that foot but like I said I couldn’t find it. So I started piecing these blocks the traditional way:
1. Fold your pieces in half and finger press the center (just the edge where the pieces will meet, no need to press down the whole length.)
2. You could also mark it with a pen, this will be in the seam allowance so it won’t show in the finished block
3. Place the two pieces right sides together and pin. Start by placing a pin in the center first. Then pin the outer edges. Don’t worry about the wonky-ness of the fabrics, just focus on pinning those edges nice and straight and making sure the ends meet all the way at the edge.
4. Now gently stretch and pin the fabrics between pins 1 and 2 making sure that the background fabric (white) comes up to the edge of the main fabric (pink.) repeat for the section between pins 1 and 3. Once you are done pinning you can take the block to your machine and start stitching. Stitch slowly and pull out the pins as you get to them.
Piecing Curves
As you can see you end up using a lot of pins to keep everything in place. It also takes a bit of time to get each block pinned up. You can only pin a handful of blocks before you run out of pins. I can’t even tell you the number of times I got poked when I reached for the next block. After doing this for a couple of blocks I thought that there might be an easier way. I HATE pinning. One or two pins is not that pad, but 7 pins per block is a bit much!
So I came up with a slightly different way of doing this that only requires 3 pins per block. You will need pins and a pair of bent tip tweezers for this method (mine came with the curve master foot but you can get them at a medical supply store, or on amazon)
1. Proceed through step 3 as outlined above.
2. I went ahead and pinned a whole stack of blocks until I ran out of pins.
Piecing Curves
3. Then I went to my machine. Just get the needle 1-2 stitches into the block to get started. Stop with the needle down to hold the block in place and remove the first pin.
4. Place your thumb at the middle pin and use your thumb to lightly pull the fabric away from the needle. You just need to pull until the fabric is taught and no longer buckled along the edges.
5. Now take your tweezers  1-2” above your pin and pull the background fabric (white) until it lines up with the main fabric (blue.) (While keeping your thumb in place. It’s hard to take pictures one handed!)
6. Use your index finger to hold the fabrics in place.
7. Repeat steps 5 & 6 a little closer to the needle. Use your middle finger to hold the fabric in place. You really don’t need a lot of pressure to hold the fabric in place. Do what is comfortable for your hand. Your hands shouldn’t be cramping up at all, if they are you’re trying to hard! Relax :)
8. If you need to (sometimes I did and others I didn’t) use your tweezers to pull that last little bit of fabric, in front of the presser foot, over into place as you start sewing. 
Piecing curves with minimal pinning
9.  Now you just move your fingers out of the way as you sew. Sew all the way to the middle pin, remove the pin and repeat steps 4-8 for the other half of the block.
This may seem like a lot of steps but it really does go pretty quick. It’s just a lot of steps to explain it. There is no stopping to remove pins every 10 stitches! Once I got the hang of it, it really only took 3-5 seconds to get my fingers in place. It was taking me at least 30-60 seconds to pin an entire block the traditional way. Not to mention all the pin pricks I was getting. One thing that I have found in quilting is that not everything works for everyone, but it doesn’t hurt to try it out. The blocks I was piecing where large 6.5” blocks with a gentle curve. I’m not sure how well this method will work for tighter, smaller curves. Let me know how it works out for you.
~ Norma

Free Shipping

Thursday, September 20, 2012
Use code FREESHIP12 through 9/30/12 to get free shipping at Connecting Threads. Usually it's free shipping on orders over $50. There's lots of good stuff over there. I have shopped with them before and have never been disappointed.

~ Norma


… “dot” that is.
Welcome to my stop on the dots on dots blog hop. I’m glad you could stop by and visit. Apparently I LOVE dots in every color of the rainbow. Red dots, blue dots, pink dots, green dots, orange dots and yellow dots. BIG dots, little dots and in-between dots. Dots on bugs, dots on birds, dots on dots, dots with flowers and some without. No purple dots can be found (maybe I should write my own Dr. Seuss type book!)

red_dots blue_dots
orange_dots yellow_dots

I even have dots in cups:


…and cute polka dotted red bakers that I bought for no reason whatsoever other than the fact that they make me happy!


These are made by BIA Cordon Bleu and can be found in blue, green, red and yellow. You have
to do a Google search for them because they are hard to find. Sometimes Amazon has them.

For this blog hop I decided to finally make up a block that has been bouncing around in my head for quite some time. I drafted up my own version of a Drunkard’s Path block and made four 6.5” units that came together to form this fun 12.5” four patch dot:


I know it’s not horribly exciting but if you make this guy a few friends you can do something cool like this:Mod drunkard's path 3

These blocks are nice and big which lets you end up with a nice big 48”x48” baby or wall quilt. The blocks are nice and big for showcasing your favorite fabrics. You can also make a super graphic quilt using solids. It would also look fabulous with just 2 colors or prints.  

Mod drunkard's path 2Mod drunkard's path

I need to finish putting my rows together but you get the idea. I hope to have the pattern ready in the next week or two. Come back on Friday and I’ll show you how to piece those curves together. It’s really not that hard!

So how about a giveaway? I’ll give one lucky winner a copy of the pattern once I have it ready to go. I haven’t been able to come up with a name for this pattern so leave me a comment suggesting a name (if you have an idea.)Or maybe you can tell me something about quilting curves (have you tried it? does it scare you? did you like it? hate it?) Do so by Sunday the 23rd and I’ll announce a winner on Monday.  Don’t forget to visit everyone else on the dottie blog hop for today:

September 20th

Cherry's Prairie Primitives

Quilts From My Crayon Box 

Sparrow in Flight

The Slow Quilter

Geta Grama

Quilted Delights

Di of Snippets 'n' Scraps

Nunu's Quilt World

TN State Fair

Monday, September 17, 2012

One thing I have come to love since moving to the south are the fantastic county and state fairs. I had no idea such things existed while growing up in the Bay Area, CA. I don’t know if we just never paid attention, or if it wasn’t advertised as well… the point is I had never been to a state or county fair until I moved to the south. We did have those traveling carnivals with rides though. We don’t really go to the fair for the rides (I had a bad experience with one of those) but we do go to see all of the neat exhibits and free entertainment. The kids love seeing the farm animals. I love seeing the creative arts exhibits, people watching, and of course all the neat photo opportunities:

Who doesn't love Ferris Wheels? Ok maybe not everybody likes to ride them but I"m pretty sure everyone loves to look at them, especially when they’re all lit up:
TN State Fair - Ferris Wheel
TN State Fair - Ferris Wheel
TN State Fair - Ferris Wheel
TN State Fair - Ferris Wheel

Here are a few of my favorite quilts. I just noticed they’re all ribbon winners, and for good reason too!

TN State Fair quilts - Americana Baskets
TN State Fair quilts - Christmas
TN State Fair quilts - Snowmen
TN State Fair quilts - Halloween

Even sheep love stylish fabric. Where can I find that fabric for my next quilt?

TN State Fair - stylish sheep


I also think it’s fun to see neat products and crafty wares. It’s also fun to watch salesmen try and sell my husband their wares. My husband will listen politely and let them go on for quite a while, yet the answer is always no! He can’t help it, he loves to ask questions when he sees something that interests him. He loves to figure out how things work and how they’re made. I can see the seller’s hopes rise the more they talk to my husband…

Like these really cool pendant lamps made of a plastic composite that you can assemble yourself into different configurations depending on the number of pieces you buy. The ones shown here were about $30

Pendant Lamps

It’s fun to see pumpkins bigger than my kids

TN State Fair - weigh off

Do you like going to your local fair?
~ Norma

Savannah GA.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

I finally got to visit Savannah Ga. during Labor day weekend. Ever since I moved to the south (almost 10 years ago!) I’ve wanted to go to Savannah. The first city I lived in the South was Albany, Ga. (pronounced al-beanie, by the locals – yeah, that’s what I thought too. ha, ha!) Albany happened to be the hometown of a REALLY good cook, Paula Deen. I learned to make really good (but not good for you), fat laden, southern foods and treats from Ms. Deen. Mmmm, yummy. When I found out she had a restaurant in Savannah I just knew I had to visit someday. Unfortunately, during this trip I did not make it to her restaurant so I guess I’ll be making a second trip there sometime! It helps that my little sister’s husband is stationed at Ft. Stewart. I’ll just have to visit my sister more often.

We did get to: swim in the Atlantic at Tybee Island beach (gorgeous),  see some neat historical forts (Ft. McAllister and Ft.Pulaski,) walk down River St., and see the animals at Oatland Island Wildlife Center.

Savannah 2
Savannah 3
Savannah 4
Savannah 7
Savannah 5
Suspension Bridge
Savannah 6

I’m glad there is still lots left to see for our future visits to the area. In the mean time I’ll keep dreaming of some Gooey Buttercake (you can’t go wrong with any of the flavors.)

~ Norma


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

I’m making excellent progress on the little project I mentioned earlier this week. I should be able to show it by this weekend. It’s coming together fairly quickly even with distractions like baby, Pinterest, Facebook, cooking, cleaning and baseball. In other words life in general. I think that’s why I like small projects. You feel like you accomplish so much even if you only get to work on it for 15 minutes in a day.

This project includes some hand embroidery work. My mom taught me to embroider (and cross stitch) when I was in my tweens. I love it but don’t often have the patience to do a whole embroidery project. In the time it would take me to complete a small 8x10 piece I could have a whole quilt finished. I’m all about results, the more bang for your buck the better!


Do you like to embroider by hand?
Do you like to combine quilts with a little hand embroidery or does the thought make you put the quilt pattern back on the shelf?
One more question. Do you hoop or not when you hand embroider?

I think I’m more comfortable without a hoop unless I’m doing a lot of satin stitching.

~ Norma

Applique WIP

Monday, September 10, 2012

I’m working on another small project that I hope to have ready to show by the end of the week. In the meantime here’s a peek of my project hanging out in my robins egg blue vintage Melmac bowl:

Project Bowl

~ Norma


Saturday, September 8, 2012

This is my first ever 100% completed by me quilt:

first quilt

I made this quilt about 7 years ago for my baby sister’s first baby boy. Have I really been quilting for that long? I had a lot to learn then (I feel like I still do.) Looking at it now there are some things I would do differently like adding more quilting, and using a better quality fabric for the border. I still love the pattern (Serendipity by M’Liss Rae Hawley from her book “Phenomenal fat quarter quilts.”) Right after I made this one I cut out pieces for another one in a girly version… yeah, I still have the pieces all cut out. Maybe it’s time to find that UFO. I really love this pattern because it looks awesomely complicated but it goes together pretty quickly.


~ Norma

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