Habitat for Humanity charity quilt in progress

Our quilting bee decided to make a charity quilt sponsored by our local quilt guild for Habitat for Humanity homes built in our area.  We wanted to make a fun quilt with a beach theme since we live near the beach. Some of the blocks are paper pieced and others are pieced or use machine appliqué. There are 4 members in our group so we all made blocks using several sizes that would make it easier to fit the blocks together into a quilt.  At our next meeting we are going to finalize our quilt designs with all the blocks that we have made. Then we will divide the quilt into 4 sections to be quilted by individual members. At the following meeting we wil put the quilt sections together using “quilt as you go”. Can’t wait to see the finished quilt. The photos in this post are the blocks that I made.  Keep having fun sewing and quilting. Donna

Not your average Sampler quilt


A couple of years ago I took a sampler class to learn more piecing techniques.    I selected southwest colors (turquoise, rust, & brown) and fabrics with the intent of making a new quilt for our guest bedroom (queen size).

Traditional Sampler layout






After I finished the twelve 12″ blocks (+2 extras) I put them in a UFO box.   I didn’t really want to just add sashing to make the traditional sampler quilt.

In January,  I pulled it out of my UFO project box and started looking at ideas on the internet for sampler layouts.

I finally landed on a Moda design (Modern Building Blocks) that I really liked.   The layout was free online:  http://www.modafabrics.com/modern-building-blocks-assembly-ps9900.pdf

I also bought the pattern as the pattern required some really BIG blocks and I didn’t find BIG blocks online.

I started adapting the pattern/layout for my design.

12″ blocks extended to 18″ blocks



Phase 1 – the design only needed nine 12″ blocks and I had fourteen.   It did need five 18″ blocks, so at a quilt retreat I took five of my 12″ blocks and extended them to 18″ blocks (with the color/design input from my quilting retreat friends).

36″ BIG block



Phase 2 – Make BIG blocks.   I made a two 36″,  one 30″, and a 24″ block.    I did make some measurement errors and one of my 36″ blocks turned out to actually be 38″.

Phase 3 – Make a mix of smaller blocks to fill in the design.




Working on layout



Phase 4Layout.  I arranged my blocks on floor.   I did use some fillers (strips) to place between block and to assist in the connection of blocks.

Sectioned of quilt, ready to be quilted




Phase 5 – Quilting.   Donna volunteered to do stippling and use a quilt-as-you-go technique.   It was a busy quilt so I didn’t want the quilting to be the star and felt that simple stippling would be good.   In order for her to quilt it more easily on a domestic machine, I sewed the blocks together in 3 large sections.   Then she could quilt the 3 separate sections before attaching them together.



Here’s the finished queen size quilt.

Finished Quilt

On the bed in our guest bedroom.

My finished quilt is not exactly like the pattern.   I used the pattern more as inspiration and tweaked the layout to meet my blocks and the size I wanted.   I learned a lot on this project and am happy with the result.    I’m also happy that another UFO is complete.

I plan on making some decorative pillows for the futon (in the same room) with some of the leftover fabric.

Happy Stitching’,


Ps.   This is my favorite block in the quilt

Favorite block






Completed Sea life quilt block using painted fusible web


With the painted fusible web on the background

I am getting close to finishing the SeaLife quilt collage.  I completed the fish block by adding painted fusible web to the background neutral fabric.  I found the painted fusible web technique in “Fabric Art Workshop” book by Susan Stein. This book has over 25 different techniques to explore.  The directions and pictures are easy to follow.  I painted pieces of fusible web using Dye-na-Flow (transparent fabric paint).  I had to be careful painting the fusible web – if the web gets too wet it will tear.  I used a sponge brush.  The paint dries fast.  Once the paint is dry, you can apply it to the fabric. Be careful with your iron – make sure you cover your ironing board and use a pressing sheet or parchment paper.  I am talking from experience.  I thought I had everything covered but needed to use the iron cleaner after this experiment.

Finished block

I also added some “leafy” stuff to the block and cut apart some of the practice piece of threads using the washable soluble stabilizer.  Keep having fun sewing and quilting.


Dolphin block completed for SeaLife collage quilt

Not the final quilt block – I moved some the appliqué pieces around on the sand.

I wanted to add a dolphin or whale to my ocean quilt.  I found a pattern by McKenna Ryan – “Tweedle Dee” part of the Sea Breeze quilt pattern.  I used this dolphin pattern as my inspiration and made some changes. I quilted the background square (“calm waters” quilting design) before adding the appliqué pieces.  For the dolphin, I used a light grey instead of white and used the blind hem stitch to attach the dolphin.  I tried using the buttonhole stitch but I didn’t like the look of that stitch.  I added 3 pieces of coral to the sand.  I added a couple of shells to the sand but I didn’t like them so I took them off.  I also added some pieces of different fabrics (not cotton fabric) and gold threads that had been fused together using a heat gun (a technique that our friend Linda showed us).

Finished block

I like this block.  I think I will make some small paper pieced fish squares to the collage.  I also have a seahorse block to quilt.  Keep having fun sewing and quilting.  Donna

“Updated” Animal ABC and Wonky Bird wall hangings

Back in the 1980’s, I made 2 embroidery pieces (one crewel embroidery and the other cross stitch – not counted cross stitch) when my two sons were born.  Originally both pieces were hung in a picture frame that my dad made – no glass.  I took the pieces out of the frames years ago and put the embroidery pieces in one of my UFO boxes.  I have been looking through my UFO boxes and trying to finish projects.  I decided to update these 2 pieces by adding a border and binding so they could be hung on a wall (for future grandkids – “fingers crossed”).   I did have to do some repair work on the crewel piece using a light green yarn on the outline yarn border- still had plenty of leftover yarns from other crewel projects.  For the Wonky Bird piece, I used free motion quilting to finish it.  For the Animal ABC piece, I used a blue thread to match the outline stitch that framed each alphabet square to quilt using a walking foot on the outline stitch so you couldn’t see where I quilted.  I used free motion quilting for the border.  I think that these projects look super cute now – just waiting to hang in a baby’s room.  Keep having fun sewing and quilting.  Donna

Quilt of Valor round robin project

I decided to try the Round Robin quilting bee project earlier this year.  To start this project, a person in the bee puts a random “leftover” block in a plastic bag.  Members can choose a bag and then add a border.  Once the border is added, the project goes back in the plastic bag for a different member to choose and add a border.  This is the first time that I picked up a bag – my bag was for a Quilt of Valor.  I added the last row using piano keys design.  I had lots of small strips of fabric leftover from other red/white/ and blue quilts.  I sewed the strips together and then cut the strips to fit the sides of the quilt to make the next border.  I will pass this quilt top to the another member at our next meeting.  I think that the quilt is looking good.  Once the quilt is completed, it will be donated to one of the charity projects at the quilt guild. Keep having fun sewing and quilting.  Donna

Using water soluble stabilizer to make “scarf” piece

Practice piece

I wanted to add a yarn and thread piece to my Jane Sassaman project.  I have been wanting to try using water soluble stabilizer to put together threads and yarns to make a” see through” piece.  So I looked in one of my drawers and found Super Solvy by Sulky.  I am sure you can also use Solvy Water Soluble Stabilizer but I had a small package of Super Solvy that I got on clearance somewhere so I used that.  I looked on the internet for information on ” making a scarf with water soluble stabilizer” and found lots of tutorials and information for this project.  It was super easy to do.

Before free motion stitching

Use 2 pieces of stabilizer and lay your yarns, threads (I used some thick metallic threads to give it some sparkle), etc. on one piece of stabilizer.  Move your stuff around to get the effect that you want.  Then cover your piece with another piece of stabilizer.  Using a pressing sheet or parchment paper, iron lightly your piece to hold everything together.

Finished piece

Next, use free motion quilting to sew a grid in two directions and then free motion stippling to make sure everything will hold together once the stabilizer is gone.   Place your piece in cold water for about 15 minutes and then put it on a towel to dry.  Since I used Super Solvy which is extra sticky, I had to rinse it a second time after it dried on the towel because it was still sticky.  Super fun and easy.  Keep having fun sewing and quilting.  Donna