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Dawn's Quilting Room
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Friday - December 17, 2021

Quilts of Valor Blocks 2021

My quilt guild loves participating in community activities. This year one of our activities has been to sew blocks for Quilts of Valor. The 2021 blocks include the 8-Point Floating Star and the Floating Wonky Star. After finishing my Uneven Star quilt, it seemed natural to sew Floating Wonky Star quilt blocks since they are somewhat similar.

The Uneven Star block does not "float" against the background like the Quilts of Valor block does. Both are fun blocks to sew. If you are interested in learning more about Quilts of Valor, here is a link to their website: https://www.qovf.org

Quilt of Valor Blocks 2021 dlstewart.com

(Floating Wonky Star - Quilts of Valor Blocks.)

An abbreviated version of the rules: create blocks measuring 12 1/2" (unfinished) with a white background and stars of red, blue, or a mix of red & blue star/patriotic fabrics. It's difficult to see in the photo, but my blue star is a tone-on-tone fabric featuring a star print, while the red star fabric features tiny white dots.

If you need the mailing address, send the finished blocks to:

Quilts of Valor
Attn: 2021 Block Drive
208 Harry C Raysor Dr.
St. Matthews, SC 29135

I hope everyone is finding creative time during the busyness of the holidays. I'm already forming a list of projects I want to try in 2022!

Enjoy the holidays!

Saturday - November 27, 2021

Gift Ideas for Quilters

Everyone loves receiving gifts, but I also love to give them. Friends often ask me what gifts I would give to fellow quilters ... affordable gifts for stocking stuffers! So I had to cross sewing machines and fancy quilting toys from the list.

Here are some ideas if you need them (click on image to view additional details on Amazon.com):

( 1) I've owned other brands and always return to Olfa rotary cutters. It's fun that they now have color choices. 2) I received this Violet Craft seam roller last year as a gift and love it. I can roll my paper pieced seams flat without going to the iron every few minutes. 3) On the right is a set of Creative Grid rulers. They grip the fabric so the ruler does not slide. I like that you can buy the set or each ruler individually.)

( 1) 6" sewing gauges. I have them all over the house: craft area, sewing room, my go-to workshop bags. My favorite is the silver colored gauge. 2) I bought this bright LED light for me. It uses AA batteries and folds so that I can easily travel with it. 3) Fun cat paw craft knives. I purchased one last year for me and like it so much that I'm giving them as gifts this year.)

(Clips are excellent to hold binding in place; I love mine. On the right is a gift I requested but have not yet received. This needle threader is supposed to work well at threading sewing machine needles.)

If you are looking for quilting books, I hope you will consider the ones I wrote. They are available in paperback or Kindle format ($12.99 / $3.99). I kept the price affordable.

300-Plus Quilting Tips, Tricks & Techniques

Loaded with time-saving and creative ideas whether a beginning quilter or if you've been quilting for years.

101 Quilt Challenges & Inspirations
Kick-off prompts and suggestions for stretching your creativity.

The Quilt Guild Companion: For Every Quilter
The only book about the quilt guild experience. Activity planning, organizing a quilt show, attracting new members ... this book is filled with years of knowledge about quilting groups and how they successfully work.

Happy quilting!


Saturday - October 16, 2021

I'm Seeing Stars

Our quilt guild is offering some fun challenges. I love creating challenge quilts; they always expand my creativity.

We just finished a "crayon challenge". We blindly picked four crayons from a bag. We had to discard one of the colors and use the remaining three colors in a quilt of our choice. If desired, black or white fabric could be added to the quilt (but not both). The fabrics had to be solid colors or tone-on-tone (ex: a print fabric composed of differing shades that are close in color so that the fabric looks like a solid.) Any border and backing fabric fabric could be used.

Who knew there was a crayon color called Macaroni and Cheese? My color selections: green, wisteria, Macaroni and Cheese. I discarded the cerulean blue, and I added white fabric. I further challenged myself by using only material from my stash.

Uneven Star Quilt Top www.dlstewart.com
(Uneven Star Blocks - Crayon Challenge Quilt Top.)

I discarded several quilt designs that were not working with my color scheme, or that I didn't have enough fabric to complete. I ultimately chose the Uneven Star block, which I paper pieced. The stars are in wisteria (pale purple), Macaroni and Cheese (orange) and white. The background is green, and I added a dark green border. All the fabrics are tone-on-tone. With the exception of the white fabric, I used almost every snippet of those colors. I have a 2" x 4" piece of the orange remaining.

Challenge yourself and have a great day!

Friday - September 3, 2021

Quilt Guilds are Fantastic

Covid brings many challenges, one of them being social interaction. While some people embrace hermit status, most human beings require the presence of others. If you live alone, this presents even more social limitations. Pets can help, but they aren't stellar conversationalists. That's where groups help.

I belong to several groups. When Covid struck, we migrated from in-person meetings to Zoom get-togethers. It's not a perfect solution, but it makes a huge difference being able to virtually visit, share our experiences and stay connected.

During quilt guild Zoom meetings, we catch up with each other's lives, and share our common love of quilting. Members have become adept at doing Zoom mini-workshops where we share quilting techniques. We have invited speakers from around the country to join in our Zoom sessions. Show and Tell of our quilt projects is very popular. I have also hosted guild open-sew events where we stay home and work on our quilting projects while on Zoom ... chatting and sewing via computer, a 21st century quilting bee.

(Furry companion. A great sewing helper.)

Covid is beginning to release its grip a bit ... and some of our guild members are now meeting in person (still wearing masks and social distancing). We Zoom the in-person meetings for those who cannot attend. Some people are immune compromised, others are homebound looking after loved ones and some are not ready to commit to in-person meetings. This hybrid situation is working very well.

So don't be bashful. Consider joining a hobbyist group. You never know where you'll meet your next friend.

Sending smiles!


Saturday - August 7, 2021

Revisiting the Southwest

I was asked to submit a quilt to a gallery showing. So many ideas! I jettisoned a lot of designs before settling on a southwestern fabric palette.

(Collection of southwestern style fabrics.)

Years ago, I had visited friends in New Mexico. The sights, colors and feelings have stayed with me. It was a magical vacation. And subconsciously I must have been collecting fabrics that reminded me of my trip. I designed a simple quilt that showcases the fabrics.

This is a great stroll down memory lane. Sometimes I wish we could capture the mood, energy and images in a way that would bring the experience back to life, even if only for a short while.

Happy sewing!

Friday - July 2, 2021

Boutique Sewing

Our quilt guild special projects coordinator is so organized ... it's scary in a good way. She is heading our guild's boutique sale at a local poly-arts festival. Guild members were invited to her home (mandatory masks and all Covid distancing protocols in place). When we arrived, she had all the sewing and quilting project kits set on an enormous table. Sewn samples of the projects were on display, and she had demos set up to show exactly how to create the items.

Some of the projects included sewing zippered bags from vinyl-coated candy bags, egg collecting aprons (lots of people raising chickens in the area), baby burp cloths and bibs, fidget toys and mats as well as lap and crib quilts.

(Baby bibs backed with Minky.)

I decided to sew baby bibs. I had never sewn with Minky before and was curious to try it since each bib was backed with the silky, soft fabric. I'm happy to say that sewing was easy. I also was able to use a hera tool to score quilt lines on the bib front and did crosshatch quilting, which turned out well. In the past, we learned that sports-themed fabrics sell well, so many of our projects included some team spirit material.

(Hera sewing tools in case you aren't familiar with them.)

Wishing you a day filled with creativity!


Friday - June 18, 2021

Quilting Glove Dilemma Solved

I've been quilting a larger than normal (for me) quilt using my Bernina domestic sewing machine. Wrestling all that fabric is a chore. I've tried several different devices designed to aid in maneuvering fabric through the sewing machine, but while some of the methods work for smaller projects, anything larger than a smaller crib quilt is chancy when it comes to ease of quilting.

The biggest challenge is keeping my hands on the quilt without them sliding against the fabric. I need to keep the fabric taut and evenly moving beneath the needle, particularly when free motion machine quilting.

I kept returning to the idea of using quilting gloves. Three major things stopped me from buying them. 1) The gloves looked bulky or too tight and uncomfortable to wear. 2) I didn't want to buy something I instinctively knew would not be right for me. 3) Some of those gloves are expensive!

Here are some of the options I looked at:

(Some of the quilting gloves available on Amazon.com.)

What I decided to buy, and what works great for me are simple gardening gloves that I purchased from Lowe's (see below). The gloves fit my hands beautifully and have gripper dots on the palms and fingers. I like the thickness, too, and my hands can breathe. The gloves came packaged as two pair for $3.94.

Have fun quilting!


Saturday - May 8, 2021

Back to the Block-of-the-Month

I'm having fun with disappearing quilt blocks. Some designs work better than others for disappearing blocks.

This Churn Dash block played well being transformed. Members of my quilt guild really enjoyed seeing the new design (see below).

Churn Dash - dlstewart.com
(Churn Dash on left. Disappeared Churn Dash on right.)

The block below did not translate well into a disappearing block (in my opinion). The Birds in the Air block (below) ... on the left is a traditional version of the block. When I cut the block into sections, no matter how I twisted the pieces or rearranged them, none of the block designs really appealed to me, The block below on the right somewhat reminds me of a stylized version of the starship USS Enterprise.

Birds in the Air - dlstewart.com
(Birds in the Air on left. Disappeared Birds in the Air on right.)

It's a case of experimenting to see what works and what doesn't. Creative fun time!

Hope you are enjoying a great day!

Saturday - April 10, 2021

My New Ruler

I love my Creative Grids Ruler (8 1/2" x 24 1/2"). No more ruler sliding. This ruler has lots of "grippy" circles to help keep it in place.

They key is to keep one hand on the ruler, pressing straight down (not at an angle). This slight pressure engages the grippy circles against the fabric. I am so happy that there is no more slippage and miscutting.

And when no pressure is applied, I can easily move the ruler across the fabric as needed. The gripping circles on the back don't let the ruler slide quite as freely as an acrylic ruler without the grips. This works fine for me.

I also like the black and white ruler markings on the clear acrylic. They are easy to read. Plus, the ruler is wider than any of my other rulers (and I have a large selection).

(Creative Grids Ruler - # CGR824.)

This is my go-to ruler when cutting fabric. I've been happily using it since Christmas. Come the holidays, I'll whisper to the helper elves that this quilter would enjoy more of these grippy rulers.

Enjoy a terrific day!

Friday - March 19, 2021

More Disappearing Blocks

I've been enjoying our quilt guild's block-of-the-month ... particularly creating the disappearing quilt blocks. Two of the blocks given us to sew were the Quartered Star and Shoofly, both 9-patch designs.

Quartered Star www.dlstewart.com
(Quartered Star on left. Disappeared Quartered Star on right.)

The left blocks are created from 2 1/2" squares, and the disappeared block on the right made from 3 1/2" squares. For the disappearing block, I sewed the traditional block from the 3 1/2" squares. Then I cut the block into equal quarters and rotated the blocks to create a new design before sewing the pieces back together.

Shoofly www.dlstewart.com
(Shoofly on left. Disappeared Shoofly on right.)

There will be a total of nine different quilt blocks. I've been contemplating whether to make one quilt that combines the two different size blocks, or two smaller wall hangings.

Enjoy a creative day!

Saturday - February 20, 2021

It's Time Again

Before Covid, when our quilt guild met in person, someone brought in some fabric they wanted others to adopt. One of the pieces immediately captured my interest. The material featured various clock faces and timepieces.

I decided to keep the quilt simple. I sewed a bold orange fabric and the clock print in an hourglass pattern. Originally, I had thought to create a Halloween quilt and planned to add a cat silhouette looking at the moon. But when I auditioned the applique cat and moon against the pieced background, the design was way too busy. The orange/print hourglass quilt top overpowered the potential applique.

Time-Pieced www.dlstewart.com
("Time Pieced" quilt top by Dawn L. Stewart.)

I used some of the watch fabric to create a label for the quilt back. This quilt will go into our next quilt show.

Hope you enjoy the day!

Saturday - January 16, 2021

A New Year of Quilting Joy

I am so excited to explore a new year of creativity. I think we are all ready to dust 2020 off our shoes and prepare to walk a new more uplifting path. One way to do this is to keep engaged with our creative side. Some of my favorite activities include writing, quilting, gardening and baking.

On the writing front, I finished writing a picture book. For gardening, I bought the vegetable seeds for my garden and will start germinating the seeds indoors in a few months. Baking involved experimenting with new bread recipes. I also discovered the joy of making chocolate lasagna ... way too good!

Disappearing Frienship Star www.dlstewart.com
(Friendship Star on left. Disappeared Friendship Star on right.)

My quilt guild has been doing a block-of-the month. To make this ongoing project more interesting for me, I am creating one block in the traditional design, and then creating the same block and "disappearing" it. The smaller block is composed of 2 1/2" squares in a 9-patch format. The larger block is made from 3 1/2" squares. When the larger block is sewn together, I slice it into four equal sections, then I rotate the blocks and sew the pieces back together for a disappearing block. Same block pattern; totally different looks.

Happy sewing!


Dawn's Books

300-Plus Quilting Tips, Tricks & Techniques

The Quilt Guild Companion - For Every Quilter

101 Quilt Challenge Projects & Inspirations

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Books by Dawn Lesley Stewart

Harriet's Horrible Hair DayMist-Seer300-Plus Quilting Tips, Tricks & Techniques
The Quilt Guild Companion101 Quilt Challenge Projects & Inspirations

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