Dawn's Quilting Room
a quilt happy blog

Friday - December 30, 2022

It's Almost 2023!

Looking back on 2022...So many accomplishments and more things added to the to-do list. I participated in my first online Mood Board writing pitch, which required learning a few more tech skills. I visited Cape Cod during the summer. There were more Zoom meetings and workshops (quilting and writing). I joined a local knitting group. Added new quilt block clip art to my website for free download. Helped several friends gain a foothold in social media. Enjoyed celebrating a friend's first published picture book.

(The Tree in Dock Square by Jean Woodbury -- my friend's book.)

(You can view the book trailer on YouTube.)

So what's on the agenda for 2023? I've been eyeing my unfinished project pile while also adding new projects to my "want to make" list. Once again I am joining the All People Quilt UFO challenge. However, my list includes both unfinished projects as well as new things I really want to create.

(I'm joining the 2023 UFO Challenge from All People Quilt.)

My first project in 2023 is to take a Zoom class on crumb quilting in early January. What especially interests me is creating new "fabric" from scraps and incorporating it into a quilt design. As part of the prep work, I've been sorting my scraps into color piles and ironing them. I also need to select a background fabric.

As a precursor to the crumb workshop, this week I attended a great Zoom lecture on scrap quilting. I learned some interesting insights regarding color and saturation, helpful when selecting fabrics.

I hope you are filled with creative inspiration. Have fun in 2023!


Tuesday - November 12, 2022

It's Done!

Tada!! Finally, the Polaroid Cat quilt is finished. I was surprised how quickly I hand sewed the binding on to the quilt. I must have had some music with a good beat playing! Zoooooom....

Polaroid Cat Quilt www.dlstewart.com

(Polaroid cat quilt completed.)

All I need to do now is come up with a catchy quilt title since I'm entering it in a quilt show. Then I can create a label for the quilt back.

In the meantime, I decided I needed a new knitting project, so I am loom knitting a pair of socks. This is definitely slower knitting, using two different stitches. The hats I usually knit go together much faster. It's fun to work on something more challenging.

Enjoy a terrific day!

Tuesday - November 1, 2022

Auditioning Binding

Time to audition binding possibilities for the cat quilt. Originally, I thought to bind it in a tone-on-tone brown, but the more I looked at the quilt and potential binding fabric, the more I didn't like the look.

After exploring the fabric stash, I opted for a green binding. But which one? I ultimately settled on three choices...a lighter green print (left in the photo), a darker green print (right in the photo), or a very dark tone-on-tone green (bottom of the photo).

Polaroid Cats binding choices www.dlstewart.com

(Binding choices for the Polaroid cat quilt.)

The more I looked at the lighter green fabric, it seemed too bright against the dark green background. The darkest fabric (photo bottom) has a blue-green cast to it, which is not as visible in this picture. The two fabrics next to each other are jarring to me. I also think the dark fabric binding would not offer the framing effect I want to achieve.

Polaroid cat quilt binding selection. www.dlstewart.com
(Binding selected for the Polaroid cat quilt.)

The fabric on the right wins. (The fabric looks a bit darker in person.) I'll make a narrow binding to frame the quilt. Looking forward to hand stitching the binding in place.

Enjoy a beautiful day!

Saturday - October 1, 2022

Hat Donations

Last week I donated my remaining stack of hats to our local United Way. When speaking with a volunteer at the United Way, she said that they are already receiving requests from those in need for warm clothing. Our New England temperatures have drastically dropped during the last week. The leaves are donning their autumnal colors, and snow is a whisper away.

Loomed Hats www.dlstewart.com

(A pile of 19 hand knitted hats. Done & donated.)

I already have a new hat on my loom; the brim is completed. My knitting group is knitting scarves and hats for donation this January. The items will be placed along the edge of a fence for anyone in need to take. Good thing I have plenty of yarn.

Wishing you a terrific day!

Tuesday - September 27, 2022

Unsure About the Colors

I joined a knitting group that meets at a local public library. I am loving the camaraderie, shared stories and experiences. So much fun!

One of my latest hat projects had me second guessing my yarn choices. At one point I turned to a friend and said, "It looks like I picked this yarn when in the dark. The colors aren't what I thought they would be." The more I worked with the yarn, I realized that in different light conditions, the fibers seemed to slightly shift tone. The purple wasn't as dark as I initially thought, and sometimes it had a blue cast. The yellow wasn't as mellow, at times almost appearing neon. Amazing how lighting can make a difference when viewing color.

Hand knitted hat www.dlstewart.com

(Loom knitted hat. I kept on knitting despite doubts.)

The hat is finished, and I like the way it turned out. The friend I made the comment to told me she really likes the hat. I'm glad I kept moving forward to complete it.

If you knit, I recommend checking out local knitting groups to see if one is right for you. Ours is a small group, still social distancing with one woman pregnant and others immune compromised. It feels good to ease back into group activities.

Enjoy a creative day!

Wednesday - September 14, 2022

Quilting Cats

It started out rough. I threaded the sewing machine. I wound a new bobbin and inserted it. When I started to draw the bobbin thread up through the machine's throat plate ... POING! ... the bobbin jettisoned itself out of the machine and across the room.

I took that as a sign to retreat for the moment.

I returned to the machine and reinserted the bobbin. It felt as if the fabric fought me every inch I tried to quilt. The machine tension was fine, but it was like arm wrestling the quilt, even using the walking foot. So I turned the machine off, waited a few minutes and turned it back on. That did not solve the issue. So I rewound a new bobbin, and rethreaded the machine. The bobbin stayed where it belonged. And the machine behaved, machine quilting like a dream.

Quilting Polaroid Cat Quilt www.dlstewart.com

(Machine quilting the cats.)

I'm doing simple straight line quilting around each cat "photo" to frame it. Looking good so far.

Enjoy a trouble-free day!

Saturday - August 20, 2022

More Than a Beanbag

I'm back to sewing more items for our quilt guild's boutique sale. During my internet travels, I stumbled across a holder for an iPad that was a cross between a beanbag with a front shelf and a Crazy Chicken pincushion.

In case you are unfamiliar with Crazy Chickens, here are photos of two from the flock that I sewed. There are lots of patterns for them on the internet if you want to sew your own collection. Here is a link to one set of free instructions on the Quiltscapes website.

Funky Chickens www.dlstewart.com

(Some of the Crazy Chicken pincushions I made.)

Back to the holder, which can support a tablet device or cell phone. I found an excellent YouTube video done by Scrappy Patch which offers clear step-by-step instructions. I made three of these holders. I kept one, and a dear friend who saw me constructing them immediately said she would trade me the extra Poly-fil she had for one. Of course I said yes (even if she hadn't offered the Poly-fil ... which came in handy since I had none in the house). The third holder goes to our guild's boutique sale. I can sew more if the boutique organizers wish.

Tablet Holder www.dlstewart.com

(This tablet holder is like a triangular beanbag.)

Even making three of these at the same time, it was a fast and easy project. To make one holder, the supply list includes: one piece of fabric 12" x 9", ribbon 1/2" wide x 4" long, cardboard 1 1/4" x 5 3/4", 2 cups of dried rice and Poly-fil. Make sure you have a funnel to easily pour the rice into the holder.

The instructions called for a piece of ribbon to make the loop. Instead, I cut a piece of matching fabric 2" wide x 4" long. I folded the two long sides in toward the center, and then folded it again so that the strip measured a 1/2" wide. I ironed the strip and top-stitched along both long sides. I like the finished, coordinated look.

These will make great gifts. I'm thinking of holiday sewing!

Enjoy a beautiful day!

Tuesday - August 9, 2022

Celestial Star Quilt

Finally, the Celestial Star quilt is finished!

This quilt began as a challenge quilt from our quilt guild. The rules: randomly select three crayons, match fabric as closely as possible to the crayon colors, add either black or white fabric, add any border. My colors: green, pale purple, orange. I added white and a darker green border.

Celestial Star Quilt - dlstewart.com

(Another challenge quilt completed - Celestial Star.)

After auditioning several designs, I decided the colors worked best with the Uneven Star block. I machine quilted inside the star blocks, and machine tacked other areas in the quilt background using my domestic Bernina sewing machine. I'm giving the quilt as a gift.

Hope you are enjoying the day!

Friday - July 22, 2022

Sewing Fleece in July

I cut these fleece slipper boots out ages ago. I made myself and a friend a pair awhile ago, and liked them so much that I cut out another pair to sew. The pressure finally got to me ... the pile of pieces awaiting assembly. So I interrupted another project to whip these boots together. This is a fast one-day project if you have the time.

This is a free pattern from "Tilly and the Buttons". You can find it here (click link for pattern). There is also an excellent tutorial on YouTube (click this link for the video). I love the tips offered in the video. One of them is to use two layers of batting in the boot sole, instead of the one layer suggested in the pattern.

Fleece Boots Assembly - dlstewart.com

(Assembly process. Attaching the soles. I use lots of pins.)

When I sewed these boots the first time, I found it slippery walking on my wood floors. So I bought puff paint to decorate the boot soles for extra grip. My friend had no problem walking in the boots on her carpeted floors (without the puff paint).

Fleece Boots - dlstewart.com

(TaDa! Another cute pair of fleece slipper boots.)

A friend gave me leftover fleece scraps she didn't want, and I recycled an older fleece jacket for the lining. Another cuddly pair of slipper boots for when the weather turns colder.

Have fun planning your next project!

Tuesday - July 5, 2022

Halloween Early

I have been sewing items for our quilt guild's boutique sale in September. My first project were baby bibs with a baby-themed print cotton fabric front and cuddly Minky back.

My next project was this fun trick-or-treat bag for Halloween. A local quilt store put the kit together: panel of fabric with the stiff interfacing. I used the cutest cotton fabric as lining (featuring pets dressed in adorable Halloween costumes). Love the way the bag turned out. In case you are wondering, the panel is called "Huggable & Loveable Halloween Treat Bags" by Susan Magsamen from Studio E.

Halloween Bag - dlstewart.com

(Boo! Someone will love this treat bag.)

My next boutique project is sewing a tote bag from beautiful autumn hued fabric with giant lacy rust-colored leaves. I just need to find my favorite tote bag pattern. Like a Halloween trickster ... it seems to have vanished!

Enjoy a crafty day!

Thursday - June 30, 2022

Inchie Quilt Top Completed

Loving how this quilt came together. The photo does not do it justice.

I added two borders. The inner brown border frames the blocks. The orange outer border is a slightly darker orange fabric than I used in the blocks. I'm undecided, but may bind the quilt in the brown to further frame it.

Inchies Quilt Top dlstewart.com

(Quilt top completed. Now it needs quilting.)

I have a pile of projects to finish, but I am eager to see this quilt completed. It will hang in our quilt guild's next show.

And I still have stacks of inchie squares unused. I need to find another project for them.

Enjoy a beautiful day!

Wednesday - May 25, 2022

My First Inchie Block

All the inchie strip sets are sewed. Since some of the blocks are horizontal, and some vertical, I had to pay attention to directional fabrics (making sure designs such as coffee cups) were right-side up.

I sewed the vertical strips first. The sashing is cut 1 1/2 inches wide x 10 1/2 inches long (the same width and length as the strip sets).

First block for the Inchies Quilt dlstewart.com

(The first completed block sewn for the inchies quilt.)

At this point, I have all the vertical blocks sewed. I am currently working on the horizontal blocks, laying them out on the floor as I finish them. I'm pleased with how the quilt is coming together.

Enjoy a scraptastic day!

Saturday - April 30, 2022

Inching Along

So many small squares of fabric. Which ones to choose?!

I decided not to include any solid colors, though tone-on-tone fabrics are in the mix. I also opted not to add any prints featuring people. Since the squares are so small, I thought it would be odd to have a nose or stray eyeball as the focal point.

Piles of Inchie Strips dlstewart.com

(Piles of inchie strip sets.)

Since my sashing strips are orange, I also left out any orange squares that were of similar color. I'm trying not to let the small squares "disappear" into the sashing. This is a fun easy-going project to work on.

Have fun sewing!

Thursday - March 31, 2022

Back to Hats

Ooooopppppps! I have a severely sprained ankle. Doctor's orders are to stay off the foot for at least two weeks, elevate and ice. Thankfully the x-rays showed no break or fractures. But, as fate would have it, I sprained my sewing pedal foot. So it's back to knitting!

So far in 2022, I have knitted 14 hats for those in need. I enjoy loom knitting, and currently have a blue and white variegated yarn with a touch of pink on the loom pegs.

Loomed Hats www.dlstewart.com

(Some of my loom knitted hats.)

I'm eager to return to the sewing machine. I've staged stacks of inchies to sew into rows. I just need to not "ouch" when I put weight on the foot!

Enjoy a creative day!

Saturday - February 26, 2022

Inchies - So Many Small Squares

Years ago, our quilt guild members swapped fabric squares measuring 1 1/2-inches square. All those squares have been nestled away awaiting inspiration.

Enter our guild's 2022 "scraptastic" challenge.

The rules are to create a lap-size quilt, wall hanging or table runner using at least 15 different fabrics. Any design and technique will work as long as there are the 15 different fabrics.

Out came my fabric stash of hundreds of those small squares.

Sewing inchies for scrap quilt dlstewart.com

(Sewing inchies together into strip sets.)

I'm currently sewing the inchies into strip sets that include 10 squares. I'm using chain stitching for faster sewing. It's definitely scrappy! I'm going to create blocks that alternate inchie strips with sashing. Some blocks will have horizontal strips, and others vertical strips.

It feels great to use these fabrics. My current thinking is that I need 80 strip sets (10 squares in each set). That equals 800 inchies. I have them!

Enjoy a wonderful day!

Thursday - January 13, 2022

Polaroid Cats

Confession ... I own a lot of cat cotton prints. So when our quilt guild suggested we make Polaroid Quilts, I immediately thought to showcase some of my feline fabric.

First came decsion time. Which fabrics! Deciding to cut a 3 1/2" focal square narrowed my selection, since not all the cat prints were suitable for a "photo". Once my focal squares were cut, I sewed on the white "Polaroid camera" strips. Some guild members used a Kona white; I opted for a white-on-white tone print which reads as white. I cut the top and bottom strips 1" wide. The bottom strip is 1 1/2" wide.

Poloraid Cats with white borders www.dlstewart.com
(Cat blocks with white borders added.)

Next I cut the background fabric. I chose a dark green. I had oodles of yardage that a quilting friend had given me since she no longer wanted it. Some guild members decided to create templates and cut exact angled border pieces. I opted to cut 4" wide strips and attached them (in hindsight, I probobably could have gotten away with cutting 3 1/2" wide strips). My method wasted some fabric, but I saved the scraps to use in another project.

Two Cat Blocks www.dlstewart.com
(Left block with border added - Right block is trimmed to size.)

Once I added the green border fabric, I used a square acrylic ruler to trim each block to an 8 1/2" square. The object when trimming the squares to size is to make them tilted a bit so that it looks like photographs were tossed onto the quilt.

Polaroid Quilt Layout www.dlstewart.com
(Playing with the layout.)

Right now the blocks are on my floor as I study the layout. So far I've switched the blocks around twice. For quilting, I will outline each cat "photo" and probably do a quilting meader along the background.

Enjoy being creative!

Dawn's Books

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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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