Category Archives: Paper Piecing

Time to finish a few

The trip out of state was a success! We worked on remodeling the house we will be moving into next summer and arranged for several workmen to do certain jobs there. The problem with travel is that I don’t get any time for sewing.

Now that we’re back, I have projects to start and finish. I’m hoping I’ll finish more than I start!

paper-pieced star quilt

paper-pieced star quilt

Here is one finish for the next couple of weeks: a baby quilt for my third grandson. I completed the quilt top last fall, but it’s one that I started several years ago. I choose challenging designs so that I can grow and learn, and possibly use it again when I want to. This is a paper-pieced star. I used all star fabrics, in different scales. Last night I pressed and laid out the layers, and pinned them for machine quilting. I received a baby shower invitation in the mail, so that’s my new deadline for completion.


Small Bits

I worked a little bit this weekend on small bits. Sample blocks to see if I want to go further and make a whole quilt.

jigsaw puzzle quilt

I’ve seen this quilt pattern  in photos on the internet. It intrigued me because I love tessellating patterns. I decided to figure out the dimensions and try it out, thinking I wanted to make it for a baby quilt for an expected grandchild.

After doing this much sewing, and the concentration it takes to keep the tiny pieces organized, I decided this little mug rug would be my only use of this pattern. I finally understand the importance of making a test block! Each jigsaw puzzle piece is 3″ by 2″, and the tiny “head” part of each puzzle piece finishes to 1/2″ by 1/2″! Too tiny for me to repeat!

A friend recently lost her husband, and wants a memory quilt made from some of his clothing. I tried describing this method to her, using denim from jeans and scraps from shirts in the centers, and she requested a sample block so she could see what I was talking about. I whipped this up this weekend. Please – don’t ask me how to figure out the size of the square that goes inside the circle. I guessed big, then cut a square of fabric progressively smaller, until I found a size that worked for me. The directions for this quilt can be found here.

Today I’m working on a tessellating star quilt, paper pieced, with only star patterned fabrics. I had started it several years ago and got frustrated with it. I have a half a baby quilt size top done, and I’ll add enough to finish a baby quilt.  No pictures yet, someday when it’s complete.

But you can only use one at a time…

I know it has been a few days since I’ve posted. I have been working in the sewing room, just nothing very exciting so I didn’t post about it. I hemmed some pants, designed a paper piecing block that represents a sewing machine, and made a mini wall quilt for myself. That wall quilt is now my Gravatar and it hangs over my sewing machine.

I have a new project to start with a short deadline, so I decided to do a little cutting for it today. I cut white cotton into squares, 5 1/2 inches per side. The person this is for (cannot say, it’s a surprise) likes different shades of blues and browns. fabrics for wall quilt

On two opposite corners I will sew a triangle and when it’s together, it will resemble a twisted star. You’ll just have to trust me on this if you don’t believe it. I managed to get 45 white blocks cut and I located all the reasonable fabrics from my scraps that I will use for the corner points.

I’ll be on a vacation trip, beginning this week, so I may not be posting unless from the trip.

And the reason for the post title: I counted all the sewing machines that I own. First, in my defense, let me say that it’s addicting to pay so little at an auction or garage sale for a machine that I value so highly. For many, I paid only $15 or less, and several in the $3-10 range. Okay, out with it, I have 15 sewing machines. Makes you wonder what my house looks like, doesn’t it? In my sewing room itself, I have a non-working Elgin in a cabinet that holds up my stereo so I can have music as I work. I recently put up for sale two of the Singers: a 401 Rocketeer in a cabinet, and a 1923 model 127 in an art deco cabinet. I have the Singer 306W built into a small table, the new electronic Singer Professional 2010, and the Brother small home embroidery/sewing machine.

Singer 401

Singer 127

On the upstairs landing I have two treadle machines, both Singer, but neither has a cabinet or table. I haven’t bothered to see if they work. I have two other treadle machines, one has been electrified with a pedal bolted to the treadle pedal, and I have a Wheeler and Wilson. I have Kenmores in the dining room (being side tables) and one in the guest bedroom (ditto). I have been in “purge” mode for a while now, so in addition to the ones I have listed for sale, I’ll see if I can give away (non-working) or sell more of the others.


Stash Killer barely makes a bruise

I have a tradition, started almost 20 years ago when my oldest nephew and his wife were expecting their first baby. I decided every couple’s firstborn would be presented with a quilt. I looked at the sheer number of nephews and nieces I had, and the concentration around the same ages, and concluded I absolutely could NOT make a baby quilt for every future baby to come along.

So, when this particular baby’s development was announced, I looked around for inspiration. I came across this quilt and I decided to base a design from it.  You can see it at

I found free patterns online (that’s me!) for paper piecing letters and then had to decide on the quotation to use.

I found enough colorful fabrics in my collection to use a different color as the background for each letter. The quote is from Henry David Thoreau. Since I didn’t have a set color scheme (except for being as colorful as my fabric collection) I continued with pulling fabrics from the tubs in my sewing room closet and using what I owned.

center panel

I had glorious dreams of emptying tubs and patting myself on the back. Nope. I can’t even tell where the fabrics I used had been packed away before, because there’s certainly no extra room in any tub in the closet. I learned that it takes a lot of quilts to noticeably whittle away at a stash. I may have to do a lot more stash-busting quilts to actually bust some stash.

I worked at adding to the quilt periodically. I couldn’t decide on a particular patchwork block to surround the center panel with, so I added borders. I kept adding borders. When it looked too dark I added light, when it looked too light I added dark.

One of my favorite parts of this quilt is the brick border. I liked it so much that I decided to use it as the binding for the quilt as well.

Today I sewed the brick binding to the edges and will be hand-sewing the back edge as I watch TV in the next couple of weeks. I will post a completed photo of the quilt when it is complete.

Never fear, I do still have many projects left incomplete that I can blog about.