Blazing Sun

Dawn's Quilting Room
a quilt happy blog


Saturday - April 21, 2018

Closer to Done

Last night I finished hand sewing the binding on my Grand Illusion quilt. So this morning, I visited the sewing machine to stitch the binding on the Simply Colorful Sampler quilt. This is the last quilt I need to finish for our guild quilt show in September.

Simply Colorful Sampler
(Sewing binding on my Simply Colorful Sampler.)

I debated with myself, and finally decided a free-motion meandering pattern worked best for this quilt. I used a medium gray thread.

If you are looking for a quick tutorial on how to connect binding ends together to finish a quilt, here is a great one at YouTube:

The weather is finally more spring-like today, so I'm off to do a bit of yard work before going with a friend to a craft show.

Enjoy a terrific day!


Tuesday - April 10, 2018

Dear Jane A-01

My biggest obstacle to this Dear Jane block was myself. I'm not sure what happened to my usual sewing finesse, but it was vacationing when I attempted to sew the corner triangle sections of this block. Three times in a row, I incorrectly sewed the fabric to the paper pieced pattern. This is a relatively easy block to sew, too.

The other oddity I had to overcome is that not all the triangle points of this block design are pointy. I am so used to making sure triangle blocks have pointy ends that it seemed unnatural to sew a block where some of the triangle "points" are blunted. And not all the triangles are the same size or shape. It definitely resembles its title of Pinwheel Gone Awry.

Then after sewing the block together, I realize some of those wonky blue triangles are not in the right positions.

Dear Jane A-01
(Dear Jane block A-01 - truly a pinwheel gone awry.)

Technically this Dear Jane block is finished. But not the correct way. I hear the seam ripper calling my name.

Hopefully the next block sews more smoothly!


Monday - April 2, 2018

Seam Ripper Woes

The other day I exercised the seam ripper. I sewed a portion of a Dear Jane block three times ... and three times incorrectly sewed the pieces together. At least I was original and sewed the pieces uniquely wrong each time. No duplicating mistakes for me!

(Dear Jane block A-01 in process.)

After the third time, I slowly backed away from the sewing machine. Sometimes you have to bow to fate and take a few deep breaths before returning to a problem project.

So I baked two apple pies and cookies for upcoming family visits. Laundry and dirty dishes saw no mercy as I zoomed through chores.

I didn't completely ignore the sewing room. I cleaned my paper piecing trimmings and wrangled projects into neater piles. I also encouraged the cat not to unwind a bobbin.

I hope your quilting day is going great!


Sunday - March 25, 2018


I followed the sage advice of: When life hands you lemons, make lemonade. And it's delicious!

Our quilt guild retreat was cancelled at the last minute. My bags were packed with projects, fabric, and sewing tools. My sewing machine bobbins pre-wound, and my energy level engaged. I was ready to roll.

Then I ground to a halt. No retreat. Vacation time scheduled. Creativity overflowing. Frustration and disappointment mounting.

Then I thought: Why not hold a virtual sew-in? We may not have a physical place to all meet and sew, but technology is a wonderful thing. A few of us stayed connected via phone, photo sharing, email, and text. For several days we shared our projects, asked each other for opinions, and had fun! All of us accomplished more together than we might have alone.

I sewed binding and attached it to a quilt and am now hand stitching it in place. I also basted together the layers of another quilt, and sewed the binding for it so it is ready to attach when I reach that stage. And I worked on my Dear Jane project. My friends and I discussed some future quilting ideas and I loved seeing their creations.

What could have been a miserable few days regretting a cancelled retreat transformed into several excellent days of playing with fabric and enjoying the company of friends through 21st century magic.

Simply Colorful Sampler - .
(My sampler quilt is pin-basted and ready for the machine.)

Wishing you a creative day!


Saturday - March 17, 2018

National Quilting Day - Projects

Today is National Quilting Day. I've also seen it called Worldwide Quilting Day. This is a perfect time to reevaluate those New Year's quilting resolutions. Are you on target?

One thing that helps keep my goals focused is my list from the All People Quilt UFO Challenge. It is never too late to join! The object is to pick 12 unfinished projects, and to finish one project a month. By the end of the year you will have potentially completed 12 projects … a great way to clear space in the sewing room.

I allow myself creativity when it comes to writing my list. Some projects are UFOs. Other items on the list are quilts with deadlines, and even a few new projects. And I also added a knitting project to my list since I don't want to lose sight of it.

So far I am on schedule. My first project is done. Five of us agreed to swap handmade items to celebrate our friendship. I crafted mug rugs for each of them. One friend wrote to say she is hanging hers on the wall.

Candy Box Heart
(Candy Box Heart - Paper Pieced)

I also have three quilts on my list that I am finishing for a quilt show. One is done, and two are in process.

Feels good to check things off the list!


Monday - March 12, 2018

Grand Illusion - UFO

I am determined to finish some lingering projects. This is my Grand Illusion quilt from the Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt 2014 project. Feels good to be working on a UFO!

At the start, I knew that my project would be a wall hanging instead of the larger quilt she designed. I finished the blocks … but then I stalled on the setting. I did not care for (what looked to me) to be a chaotic combination of fabric when the blocks were set with the checkerboard sashing.

Grand Illusion - Suggested Setting
(Suggested setting for the Grand Illusion quilt.)

After much thought (okay, lots of thought since it's been over three years!), I opted to not use the green-and-white checkerboard sashing. Instead, I placed black sashing and aqua blue corner stones between the nine blocks. I really love the look.

Grand Illusion being quilted
(Grand Illusion being quilted.)

Now I am in the process of machine quilting. I am using my domestic Bernina for the job. Can't wait to tick this project off the list.

Hope you are enjoying a great day!


Wednesday - March 7, 2018

Red, White, Blue

Back and forth I go, trying to settle on a color scheme for my Dear Jane quilt. Do I go all scrappy? Keep it to two color groups? Use all one type of material, such as batiks? To help my decision making process, I did an internet search for Dear Jane quilt images. Several color combinations leapt out at me. But one quilt resonated.

Here is my inspiration image:

Inspiration Quilt - Dear Jane
(I could not locate the name of the quiltmaker.)

Red, white and blue. I am going to keep the white fabric consistent in each block. I bought a white-on-white print. The red and blue fabrics will be a scrappy combination.

This is going to be a fun project!


Thursday - March 1, 2018

Pondering Jane

Ready, set, go! Here I come Janiacs (the fond name for Dear Jane Quilt enthusiasts). I feel I'm joining a sisterhood.

Of course, in the back of my mind, I wonder how many people have embarked on this odyssey of sewing 225 different quilt blocks. How many of these quilts have drifted into UFO territory ... unfinished, perhaps (gasp) gathering dust?

I'm not falling into the trap of promising myself I will finish every single block. For one thing, applique is not a favorite technique, and some of these blocks do require applique. Still, never say never. I could reach that magic threshold and actually finish all those blocks. How many years will it take? No, I refuse to do the math. I'm clutching my rotary cutter and ready to leap toward the fabric.

Before starting, though, I did research and prepared myself with useful website material. In case you are also diving into Dear Jane territory, here is some of what I discovered:

Dear Jane: 225 Patterns from the 1863 Jane E. Stickle Quilt
A paperback book several of my friends own.
They are also using the book to keep a journal of their progress.

Dear Jane Quilt Software from Electric Quilt
Quilting friends who use Electric Quilt software have told me they are happy to use this program for the Dear Jane quilt. Our quilt guild even had a demo of this software during a meeting.

Susan Gatewood's website
Susan has the Dear Jane quilt blocks free on her website as paper piece patterns. If you use them, she asks a donation be sent to the Bennington Museum in Vermont. I love paper piecing and have decided to assemble my blocks this way.
(I donated through the museum website.)

Spreadsheet courtesy of
This helpful Excel spreadsheet lists all the blocks and border pieces. I'm glad to have this spreadsheet to keep track of finished blocks. It also tallies how many pieces are in each block. I'm looking forward to seeing the number grow.

Have fun creating!

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