Dawn's Quilting Room
a quilt happy blog

Saturday - May 4, 2024

I Did It Again

I need to stop joining sew- and quilt-alongs. Just kidding! I love exploring patterns and ideas I normally would not do. Some of them are out of my comfort zone (good to stretch those creative muscles), and other projects are too cute or fun to resist.

My latest venture is the Back to Nature foundation paper-piecing quilt along. It is running through June 17, with a new pattern delivered for free via email each Friday. It's okay to join now since the block patterns are also being posted online while the event is happening.

Back to Nature Quilt Along
(A sample of the quilt with low volume background.)

I love paper piecing and have been using the technique for years. I notice that quilters are diving into the Legit Kit paper piecing experience. Those designs are gorgeous! Here is a link to the Giraffe Kit on Amazon if you want to check it out. I've also found several quilters on YouTube who have constructed the Legit Kits in videos if you enjoy virtual companions to sew with (and they offer sewing tips along the way).

Much as I love the Legit Kit designs, the kits are pricey ... but they do include the pattern, detailed instructions, and the fabric for the quilt top. Project size is also a consideration for me. The Giraffe Legit Kit finishes at 60x80 inches.

The Back To Nature quilt along is a nice compromise. There are nine different quilt patterns. The blocks finish at 6-inches. A nice bonus is that the patterns are free, and I can pull fabric from my stash.

I wonder which block is your favorite. I love the snail!

Dawn

 

Wednesday - April 24, 2024

Seeing Stars

I switched gears and returned to working on the Mystery Star Sampler sew along. I finished three of the six Twinkle Star blocks. The pattern shows the stars in two colors, but I am keeping these 6-inch stars in either rose or teal.

Star blocks for Mystery Star quilt www.dlstewart.com
(Three out of six stars completed.)

I started sewing the larger 12-inch blocks and decided I wasn't in love with the block patterns (now that they've all been revealed). So I've reduced the size of this quilt and am limiting the number of stars I am sewing. There will be twelve stars that finish to 6-inches, and six stars finishing at 12-inches. They will be in a staggered layout.

At this point, all six of the Friendship Star blocks are sewn. I need to sew three more of the Twinkle Star blocks, and five of the 12-inch star blocks.

Did you see the full moon last night? Gorgeous!

Dawn

 

Wednesday - April 10, 2024

A New Pincushion

I was itching to test drive the new Jazz II sewing machine. I decided the machine deserved a new dedicated pincushion. I searched the internet for patterns ... so many fun pincushions out there!

Then I saw the Perfectly Pieced Pincushion tutorial from Missouri Star Quilt Company on YouTube. I really liked the rectangular shape of the pincushion. Plus it has a fabric tab along the front that is designed to hold Sewing Clips. I really like that added feature. This was a quick, fun project.

Perfect Pincushion www.dlstewart.com
(Easy to make ... pincushion with clip strip.)

I decided to make four pincushions; some for gifts. To make the four pincushions: The center rectangle is strip-pieced using four 5-inch charm squares. I chose two different prints. Then the center section is framed; I selected a teal print. Fusible fleece is adhered to the back of the top piece, and the top is quilted. I cut the pincushion bottom from the same teal fabric. Another two charm squares are needed for the tab that extends from the side, and the tab also has a piece of fusible fleece inside it. Once the top and bottom are sewed together, print sides of the fabric facing each other (with the tab facing inside), invert the pincushion. Add a bit of Poly-fil (for body; but not to stuff the pincushion); and I completed the stuffing with Poly Pellets (a weighted poly bead). Then I hand-stitched the opening closed.

Here are links to the materials on Amazon if you are interested:
Poly Pellets
Fusible Fleece
Poly-fil Fiber Fill
Sewing Clips
Sewing Ruler
Fiskars Micro-Tip Scissors

The fabric is from my stash


Four pincushions www.dlstewart.com
(Great for gift giving!)


I'm keeping the pincushion with the pins in it. I am going to attach Sewing Clips to the other pincushions and give them as gifts to fellow quilters. And one of them is going to a friend who shared some of her Poly-fil with me since these pincushions didn't need much, and I didn't have any.

Enjoy time creating!

Dawn

 

Monday - April 1, 2024

I Surprised Myself

Not an April Fool's Day joke ... I bought a new sewing machine! I've been eyeing the Baby Lock Jazz II sewing machine for over a year. A friend has one and loves it. The $1,399 price tag was daunting though. But I really wanted the longer 12-inch throat space for easier machine quilting. (A nice compromise since I did not want a longarm machine.) And then the Jazz II went on sale!

Baby Lock Jazz II sewing machine
(Shipping this week - Baby Lock Jazz II.)

I discovered the Baby Lock Jazz II on sale at several stores. I compared the different sites and their sales incentives. Sewing Machines Plus was offering the Jazz II at about half price, plus I had an additional ten percent coupon. The site also offered a free package of 12 sewing feet, and a walking foot was included in that special bundle (the walking foot alone retails for $60). And Sewing Machines Plus had free shipping.

When I phoned the store to ask some questions about the machine, they were knowledgeable. Sewing Machines Plus said that they recommended size 110/18 sewing machine needles to reduce thread breakage during free motion quilting. They also shared info not in the manual -- After finishing the free motion quilting, in order to raise the lowered feed dogs, follow these steps: 1) Raise the presser foot, 2) Turn the hand crank three times toward you, 3) You will hear a click, 4) Slide the feed dog lever at the back of the machine to raise the feed dogs.

My last major sewing machine purchase was my Bernina in the 1980's. I love that machine and plan to keep using it. Very excited to welcome the new Jazz II to my sewing room. Can't wait to quilt with it.

Do something special for yourself!

Dawn

 

Wednesday - March 20, 2024

New Clip Art Designs

If you are interested in quilt block clipart, I just posted new clip art designs on my website. The images are available as free downloads for personal use. My gift. https://dlstewart.com/clipart.htm

Free Quilt Block Clipart images at www.dlstewart.com
(Sample of the clip art images I created.)

I enjoy creating the clip art and sharing it. If you wonder how to use clip art images, here is a helpful suggestion list. https://dlstewart.com/using_clipart.htm

Enjoy a terrific day!

Dawn

 

Sunday - March 10, 2024

Nine Houses and Counting

My temperature quilt is progressing. This morning I sewed two more house blocks, and now have nine of them. As you can see, with our New England winter temperatures, blue is so far the dominant color. But the temperatures are gradually warming. Looking forward to a color shift.

Nine House Blocks - Temperature Quilt www.dlstewart.com
(The neighborhood is growing.)

It's a dark day here for photography, even with the lighting I have at hand. The "sky" fabric is a mottled green to mimic leafy trees. The ground is a brown print. All fabrics for this project are from my stash.

Each house represents a week of temperatures. I record the temperatures for each day, and then take an average of the high and lows for each week. The roof and door show the high temperature, and the house body is the low temperature.

Hope you are working on a fun project!

Dawn

 

Tuesday - March 5, 2024

Borders or Just Binding?

Love this Petit Four wall hanging! Thank you to the Fat Quarter Shop for hosting this quilt along event.

I decided not to sew the Sparkle Star blocks for the backing. I may add a fun element and label to a quilt back, but I'm not one to piece essentially a second quilt top to place on the back of a quilt. I would do it if the quilt was hanging in an open area where both quilt sides could be seen. But this quilt will hang against the wall.

Undecided whether to add borders or just finish the quilt with binding. I raided my stash for all the fabrics. So I dipped in the stash again for some options.

Petit Four Quilt - Auditioning Binding www.dlstewart.com
(Decisions...Decisions.)

The dark blue fabric at the bottom is the same fabric as used in the center block above it. I've been staring at this for over a day and am leaning toward no borders and using the top dark blue fabric to bind the quilt.

If you are interested in sewing the paper pieced Sparkle Star block, the foundation paper is available at the Fat Quarter Shop and Amazon. Amazon sells the foundation paper for the 6" block and 12" block sizes.

Enjoy a fantastic day!

Dawn

 

Friday - February 23, 2024

Snail Trail Blocks

The Snail Trail is one of my favorite quilt blocks. I once sewed a giant Snail Trail block as a baby quilt in blue and yellow fabrics and gave it as a gift. This time I sewed 12 Snail Trail blocks that measure 4 1/2 inches unfinished. These blocks complete all the blocks I need for the Petit Four Quilt Along quilt top. Guess what I'm sewing together this weekend!

Snail Trail quilt blocks www.dlstewart.com
(Twelve Snail Trail Quilt Blocks.)

All the blocks in this quilt are paper pieced. The Fat Quarter Shop sells the foundation paper for the Snail Trail block in two sizes: 12-inch blocks and 6-inch blocks.

The Snail Trail block goes together a bit differently than the other paper pieced blocks. The center of each block is a small four-patch square. The four patch is sewn first and centered on the foundation paper. I carefully centered and aligned the four-patch piece and used four pins to anchor it in place. Then I was able to add the remaining fabrics in the typical paper piecing style. The blocks were surprisingly quick for me to sew.

I press and trim the blocks as I go using a wooden pressing roller and rotary cutter on a small cutting mat beside my sewing machine. I also have a bag nearby to hold all the scrap trimmings.

Recycle/Reuse - Instant Scrap Bag
(Recycle/Reuse - Instant Scrap Bag.)

This is a 15.77 ounce Ghirardelli Premium Assorted Chocolate Squares bag with the top cut off. I treated myself during the holidays, and when the chocolates were gone, I thought the metallic gold candy bag would make a glitzy scrap container. The flat bottom sits well on the sewing table, and one side of the bag has a clear window so I have a quick glance to see how full the bag is with scraps. The wide opening at the top makes for easy emptying too. I love it when I can reuse or upcycle items.

Enjoy a fantastic day!

Dawn

 

Thursday - February 15, 2024

Another Knitted Hat

So glad I discovered loom knitting. I started another hat. The brim is done, and I'm now working on the body of the hat. I selected a bright yellow yarn and paired it with a butterscotch color. The butterscotch tones down the very bright yellow. Love how this hat is turning out.

The supplies I'm using:
Ergonomic Loom Knitting Hook
Stitch Counter
48-peg Knitting Loom (I don't see my exact loom listed)
The yarn is from my yarn collection

Loom Knitting a Hat www.dlstewart.com
(Hat on the loom.)

In case you are wondering: For an adult hat, I knit 12 rows, and fold the rows in half for the brim. Then I knit another 30 rows. When done, I sew the top of the hat closed. I opt not to add a pompom since these hats are donated, and I don't know who will be wearing them. (Here is a link to detailed instructions from Loom A Hat for loom knitting a basic hat.)

Stay crafty happy!

Dawn

 

Wednesday - January 24, 2024

Almost There

I finished sewing the eight Pineapple Log Cabin blocks for the Petit Four Quilt Along. (Amazon link to the Pineapple Log Cabin foundation paper 6-inch size block. Or if you prefer a larger block, the 12-inch size.) For me, each one took about an hour to sew. Love the precise, sharp corners. These blocks look great. Next up are the Snail Trail blocks.

Pineapple Log Cabin blocks paper-pieced www.dlstewart.com
(Eight Pineapple Log Cabin Blocks.)

Want a sneak peak of how this quilt is looking? Here is a photo of all the blocks I've assembled. Only the Snail Trail blocks are missing. This quilt is looking beautiful. So glad I joined this quilt along!


Petit Four quilt - partial layout www.dlstewart.com
(Partial Layout of the Petit Four Quilt.)

A few paper piecing tips in case you need them:

1. Take a ruler with a slanted edge, and lay it along the printed lines on the foundation paper. Fold the paper against the ruler, creasing the paper. Having each line on the foundation paper creased makes it easier to line up the fabric as it is sewn.

2. If the block has lots of pieces, and you need to stop in the middle of construction, circle the number you need to sew next. It's a good visual reminder of where you left off. For instance, if the block is numbered 1 through 22, and you stop sewing after adding piece number 11, circle the number 12 to remind you where to start when you return.

3. I keep a wooden presser bar on my work area. After every seam I sew, I trim the seam allowance, fold open the fabric, and then press the fabric pieces along the seam line (on the right side) using the wooden presser bar. I have two different styles I use (here are examples): flat wooden pressing bar and a wooden pressing roller. Both styles work well.

4. A simple thing, but always use a shorter stitch length when paper piecing. Such an easy thing to forget to check! The shorter stitch length makes it easier to remove the foundation paper once the block is completely sewn.

Enjoy a wonderful day!

Dawn

 

Friday - January 19, 2024

Brrrrr ... Where's the Heat?

It's cold outside with more snow expected this afternoon. I'm keeping up with the temperature quilt. Here is a photo of my first two house blocks. The unfinished blocks measure 4 1/2 inches square. The blocks are paper pieced with the roof and door representing the average high temperature of the week, and the house body shows the average low temperature from the week. One of my friends is crocheting a temperature afghan. This is a photo of one of the granny squares she crocheted. Her squares are about the same size as my house block. She is crocheting one square for each day in the year.

Temperature Quilt and Afghan www.dlstewart.com

I've also been playing with yarn. I have two finished hats for January so far. This is the latest hat, done in two shades of heather blue. I've already started hat number three, using a variegated green and white yarn paired with a beautiful mint green yarn.


Loom knitted hat made by Dawn Stewart www.dlstewart.com

Stay cozy!

Dawn

 

Friday - January 12, 2024

Quilting YouTube Channels

While I am sewing, I love to watch YouTube videos of others quilting. If the YouTube channel is doing a live broadcast, it's even better. It feels as though I'm at a quilting retreat. People chat in the comments as well as the show host keeps up engaging commentary. Often useful tips are shared while the host is working on a project. It's also fun to see new products and fabric lines and how they are being used.

Here are some of the YouTube quilting channels I follow (in no particular order):

Sew Becca - Becca often does live streams. She works on a variety of quilting projects, including intricate paper-pieced quilts.

Power Tools with Thread
- Live each day (Monday through Friday) beginning at 8:00 a.m. Eastern Time. If you miss the live event, the program is recorded. Becky excels at quilting and machine embroidery. She is very knowledgeable.

Off Kilter Crafter Ian
- He is a quilter with a quirky sense of humor. Ian embraces the learning process while sewing. He's made bags to quilts, including challenge and mystery quilts.

The Fat Quarter Shop - Kimberly always works on interesting projects and quilts. She also hosts quilt-along events.

Jelly Roll Club - As the name implies, the quilts feature jelly roll fabrics. Ivonne offers quilt-alongs and detailed sewing instruction.

The Questioning Quilter - Brita is a master of Disappearing Quilt Blocks. Her videos are short and pack a ton of info in an easy-to-understand format.

Brita Nelson - The Questioning Quilter - Piece 'O Candy Quilt
(Piece 'O Candy - Disappearing Quilt Blocks by Brita Nelson.)

I love the scrappy version of this Piece 'O Candy quilt. It is on my To-Do List. I watched Brita demo this on YouTube. If you subscribe to her free email newsletter, each issue contains a new Disappearing Block pattern. She includes step-by-step instructions with photos as well as different colorways for construction.

Have fun quilting!

Dawn

 

Monday - January 8, 2024

The Stars are Shining

I finished sewing the first three stars for the Mystery Stars Sew-Along. Every other week, a YouTube video is posted where assembly of the that week's stars is demonstrated. The next star being released is the Blazing Star as well as two more mini-star blocks.

In case you are interested, here are links to the first set of videos.
Friendship Star blocks (6-inch finished size)
Variable Star block (12-inch finished size)

Star blocks assembled by Dawn Stewart www.dlstewart.com
(Friendship and Variable Star blocks.)

And ... would you believe that the day I posted the photo of the finished lion baby quilt that the baby was born the same day! A boy with a full head of hair. He arrived early, eager to take on the world.

Enjoy a beautiful day!

Dawn

 

Saturday - January 6, 2024

The Lion is Roaring

WhoooHoo ... the baby quilt is finished. I love the way it turned out. The mom-to-be will like the playful lion print. Unfortunately, the baby shower was canceled since mom-to-be is delivering early. Can't wait to meet the little one!

Lion Baby Quilt by Dawn Stewart www.dlstewart.com
(My first finished quilt in 2024.)

A snow storm is moving my way, due today and will last all day tomorrow. Good thing I have lots of projects to tackle. First up is to sew the two Friendship Stars and the Variable Star blocks in the Mystery Stars Sew-Along quilt. Then I'm sewing the eight Pineapple Log Cabin blocks for the Petit Four Quilt Along. I also want to make the first house block in the temperature quilt. (I am taking the average temperature for the week so that the quilt will consist of 52 houses rather than 366 blocks - it's a leap year).

I'm excited to sew and am wearing the t-shirt my family gave me for Christmas. They know I enjoy my time playing with fabric. I love this shirt! If you are interested, the t-shirt came from Amazon: Cats I'm OK Quilting T-Shirt!


(Love this kitty. Such a fun shirt!)

Hope you enjoy the day doing something you love!

Dawn

 

Monday - January 1, 2024

Let the New Year Begin!

I'm already immersing myself in quilting projects.

My fabrics are selected for the Mystery Stars Sew-Along sponsored by the Jelly Roll Club. I'm working with a teal and rose palette and going for a scrappy look. Last night I watched the intro video on YouTube, and tonight I viewed the second installment. First the quilt layout was discussed, and so far two different Stars demonstrated: Friendship Star and the Variable Star blocks. I'm really looking forward to seeing this quilt come together.

Today was a multimedia day for me. I viewed live on YouTube Rob Appell and Tiffany Hayes as they constructed their 2024 New Year's Day Mystery Quilt. My intent was to sew along with them, but I didn't have time to do the prep work, so I opted to watch the fun while hand sewing binding onto the baby quilt that I need to finish for a baby shower. I saved the instruction handout for later. I must say that Tiffany's colorway using batiks is gorgeous. During their breaks, I downloaded the Merry Mayhem Mystery Quilt instructions as they were released. I knew I wouldn't be able to sew with Merry Mayhem, but had fun peaking at their progress. Of course, I also had to watch several New Year's parades on television while sewing. Sound was muted during the YouTube events. Love the parades!

I'm moving forward on the baby quilt. In the homestretch now. I woke up early and started hand sewing the binding. So happy with how this quilt is turning out.

Lion baby quilt by Dawn Stewart www.dlstewart.com
(The baby quilt is almost done. Sewing on the binding.)

I spoke with my friend who challenged me to make a temperature quilt while she crochets one. She has her yarn picked out and has crocheted a sample block to test for size. I decided to sew 4-inch finished paper-pieced houses for my quilt. I printed all the patterns and am ready to rumble.

Have fun creating!

Dawn

 

Friday - December 29, 2023

Looking Ahead - 2024 Projects

I cannot wait to dive into the fun projects on my list for 2024.

Online quilt-alongs are so much fun that I've been on the prowl for new online adventures. The Petit Four Quilt Along by The Fat Quarter Shop continues, ending in April. Next up are sewing the Pineapple Log Cabin blocks.

I've also enrolled in the 2024 New Year's Day Mystery Quilt Along through the Stitchin Heaven website. There are two colorways to follow: Rob Appell is using patriotic red, white and blue fabrics while Tiffany Hayes is using blue, pink and black batik fabrics. I opted to join Team Rob and use fabrics from my stash.

Also on New Year's Day is the Merry Mayhem One-Day Online Mystery Quilt-Along. During January 1st, they release the steps, one each hour. There is a Facebook group to join to chat and share progress. Since I am participating in the Stitchin Heaven event on New Year's day, I plan to download the steps for this mystery quilt so that I can make it later. The website is keeping the instructions for the quilt posted for free until the end of January 3, then they will charge for the pattern. Currently, the fabric selection and pre-assembly steps are posted: Part One and Part Two.

The Heart of the Home Quilt Along announced from All People Quilt begins on February 29 (2024 is a leap year), ending in April. This one also features log cabin blocks, but the blocks have pictures in their centers. There are not many details posted yet, but it sounded like a fun twist by Sherri McConnell and sponsored by Electric Quilt.

And if that wasn't enough to keep me busy, I am participating in the Mystery Stars Sew-Along from the Jelly Roll Club. This is a longer event, running from January 1 to October 6. There are live-stream events scheduled throughout the year. The first one is on December 31 at 6:00 pm Eastern time. The quilt layout shows an array of staggered star blocks in different sizes, but the star blocks themselves are not revealed. The Getting Started Handout is posted.

All of the Quilt Alongs are free, and I'm busting my stash to join the fun (though most of the Quilt Alongs offer kits for sale if you prefer).

A friend challenged me to make a Temperature Quilt for 2024. I am going to quilt one, and she is going to crochet one. Bella Rose has a fun idea to use House blocks: the roof and door would be the daily temperature "high", and the house body the daily temperature "low". I can use paper piecing for the houses, too. My current plan is to take a weekly temperature average, and construct one block for each week (52 blocks), and add blocks of seasonal trees to separate the months.


(A sample of the Temperature Quilt from Bella Rose.)

Plus, as time permits, I want to continue working on my Dear Jane quilt. I've hardly made a dent in the number of blocks needed. And I must save time for the summer challenge quilt offered by my quilt guild. And ... I want to sew some of the projects from the 2023 Missouri Star Christmas Box.

Wishing you a very happy and creative New Year!

Dawn



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