Thursday, November 24, 2022

Sunday, November 13, 2022

"Creative" Christmas Stockings

 The Island Batik Ambassadors challenge for November 2022 is Creative Christmas Stockings.

Me: What is the purpose of Christmas stockings?
Paul: Not to keep your feet warm...
Me: Just a decorative item, then?
Paul: Mostly.
Me: You know how much I hate "decorative stuff". Just another dust collector, in my opinion.

Paul: Well, some people may actually use it for stuffing Christmas presents.
Me: Hmm... I thought about that.
Paul: And?
Me: Only small presents...
Paul (mischievously): Like dollar bills?
Me (realistically): And gift cards.
Paul: Yup, those can be placed inside a stocking.
Me: Small boxes of jewelry too.
Paul (having an aha moment): I see.
Me: I couldn't put your tool box in a stocking.
Paul (eyes as large as saucers): You are getting me a toolbox?
Me (mildly exasperated): No, Paul. I would get you a gift card so that you can buy tools of your choice. I have no idea what tools you want. Seriously!
Paul: Oh babe, you are the best.

Me: Besides a heavy item in the stocking would rip off the hook/loop/hanging ribbon.
Paul (eyes twinkling): Simply, place heavy items under the tree and place light items in the stocking.
Me: NO, NO, NO. That is too much stuff to buy and wrap and open and discard paper. 
Paul: So what do you suggest?

I told him my suggestion but he forbade me from putting it on the blog. 
That man is so easily scandalized ;-D 

Improv Piecing and Appliqué

Paul: This isn't a stocking.
Me: Excellent powers of observation, my love!
Paul (ignoring my jab): Weren't you required to make a stocking?
Me: I was required to make a "Creative" Stocking
Paul: This is creative, alright.
Me: And nods to the Stocking theme
Paul (incredulous): It is a zippered pouch
Me: It can still hold gift cards and small boxes of jewelry, can be hung over the fireplace in true Christmas tradition and can still be used long after the stockings are put away.
Paul: That is a win win win.
Me: I know, but it is so much better when you say it.
Paul: So who gets this one?
Me: I was thinking we could give it to Mom when we see her at Thanksgiving.
Paul: Cool. Wait, what about Dad?
Me: I made one for him too.

Paul: Oh nice.
Me: Which one do you like?
Paul: Generally, I like the blues but this one is busy. The brown one because it says JOY.
Me: I have a feeling that mom will want dad's.
Paul: We will let them fight over it.

Creative Christmas Stockings (Front)

Zippered Pouches (Back)

Paul: Wait, so you didn't keep any for us?
Me: I made us something even better.

Meet my Stocking Ornaments!

Front of the Stocking Ornaments

Angels on the Back!

A tutorial to make these cute stocking ornaments is coming! Here are all my Creative Christmas Stockings, partying together before the zippered pouches fly south for the winter.

Stockings on Parade!

I will be sharing with all my favorite linky parties. See full list on the sidebar.

The supplies used in making these projects were generously provided by Island BatikHobbs BattingSchmetz Needles, and Aurifil Thread.

Granny Long Legs Digital Quilt Pattern - The giveaway winners are Deb(#13) and Diana K. (#43). Emails have been sent.  

The 25% sale ends in a few hours!

Sunday, November 6, 2022

Granny Long Legs

Once upon a time, very long ago, when I was a brand new quilter, I came across the Disappearing 9-Patch Quilt Pattern. Sewing a 9-patch block and then cutting it into quarters for FOUR blocks was mind-blowing. 

Sewing first and cutting later was truly fascinating. It also meant less sewing, easier piecing and improved accuracy. This was a Win, Win, Win!!! Except for one small problem - it created a mindset. I am forever looking to simplify patterns such that I sew first and cut later.

Meet Granny Long Legs - completely strip-pieced. 

A Queen-sized Quilt

Are you smiling at the name? Me too :-)  It looks a tiny bit like Granny Square Blocks, but the block is rectangular (not square). Hence the name. That it sounds like Daddy Long Legs is an added bonus :-D

I began working on this quilt more than a year ago.  The pattern was created in EQ8 in October of last year.  I designed Granny Long Legs for the Island Batik's Spring Summer 2022 Catalog using Prairie Blue,  a Spring 2022 collection designed by Kathy Engle. This collection should be available in stores now.

Granny Long Legs uses 11 out of the 20 fabrics in the collection + Smoke, an Island Batik Foundation fabric. I started cutting fabrics in February of this year.

Slivers Monster :-D

I used my Accuquilt Go! Cutter for cutting and sub-cutting as far as possible.

Accuquilt - Ah yes!

The blocks overflowed my design wall...

And it was a beast to baste it.

It was a bitterly cold Sunday in March, when I took the first pictures. 

Beauty and the Blizzard

I used my walking foot for quilting using Schmetz needles and Aurifil 40wt thread. I wanted the binding color to match the border but dark thread on dark fabrics would be an absolute torture on my eyes. A faux piped binding with a skinny sliver of white was the perfect choice.

Faux Piped Binding

Yesterday, Paul and I went to Meadowlark Gardens where we took lots of pictures. It was an absolutely gorgeous day, complicated only by the fact that we had to deal with the bulk of a queen-size quilt. There is no easy way to photograph a 80" by 100" quilt. 

Granny Long Legs

Quilt in Motion

Sunny Day

An uphill battle

I chose to walk up a hill while hoping that the breeze would lift the quilt just enough to get the full picture. Paul, sometimes the model and sometimes the photographer, shifted effortlessly between the two roles. Here he is struggling in his role as the model.

You and Blue - Ooh!!!

Did you notice how the blues pop in the sun and the navy/darker fabrics stand out in the shade?

I saved the best for the last.

My favorite!

Granny Long Legs is now available as a pattern in my Etsy Store

There are ten pages of detailed instructions with colored pictures for every step.  
A full page of cutting instructions in a tabular form so that you can keep track and check as you proceed.
Strip piecing techniques ensure that cutting and sewing is minimized. 
Two pages of coloring sheets so that you can audition your fabrics/color choices. 

And it is on sale, at 25% off, till Sunday, 11/13/22. 

What is a pattern release without a giveaway? Since Granny Long Legs uses my favorite technique of Strip Piecing, please let me know in the comments, what is your favorite technique for piecing quilts. Only one entry per person. I will draw two winners and announce on Sunday 11/13/22.  I will be sharing with all my favorite linky parties. See full list on the sidebar.

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Diwali Lights

Diwali Lights designed, pieced and quilted by me is in the November/December issue of the Quiltmaker Magazine.

Picture by Quiltmaker

The journey of this quilt began in January of this year, when I submitted the pattern to the Quiltmaker magazine. When I received the acceptance email, I was thrilled but realized that I won't be able to meet the March deadline (for publication in the September/October issue) due to other engagements. 

Mock-up in EQ8

Quiltmaker honored my request and agreed to delay the publication to November/December issue and I had until May to make and send the quilt.

Picture by Quiltmaker

This just works beautifully because the magazine is published shortly before the Diwali festival. Since Diwali is based on the lunar calendar, the date is not fixed.  This year Diwali falls on October 24. 

Faux piped binding & Quilting detail

It was a joy working with bright yellows and radiant oranges. All fabrics were provided free of charge by Island Batik.  It is good to be an ambassador :-)

Diwali Lights

Celebrated on a moonless night, Diwali or Deepavali is the festival of lights. The outward celebration focuses on lights and decorations, food and gifts, joy and merriment, but the true spiritual significance of Diwali is about the enlightenment of the soul, celebrating the inner awakening that can dispel the darkness of evil and ignorance.

Let it shine

In the quilt, Diwali Lights, I have tried to capture the concept of "inner light dispelling the darkness". 

Paul is the model

If you like the pattern, you can get it here for under $8. Better still get the whole issue for just under $10. The November/December issue includes several other gorgeous quilt patterns for Hanukkah, Festivus and Christmas. The November/December issue also includes a "Meet the Designer" feature on yours truly. I am so tickled :-)

From the Quiltmaker Magazine, November/December Issue

As Paul and I celebrate the festival of lights, we wish that this Diwali brings joy and happiness to all humanity by dispelling the darkness of ignorance and evil everywhere in the world.

I will be sharing with all my favorite linky parties. See full list on the sidebar.

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

The Ultimate Travel Bag


The Ultimate Travel Bag

The October 2022 Island Batik Challenge is "Its in the Bag", sponsored by Patterns by Annie.

I chose the bag, I chose the fabrics and everything was sent to me. Gosh, I am spoiled!!!

Soft & Stable - For Bags that Stand Tall

Pattern and the Hardware

I chose fabrics from the Spring 2022 Sunset Plains Collection. It is a beautiful collection with bright greens, reds and maroons designed by Kathy Engle. I love the Cactus print.

Flowers on my morning walk - Collection Inspiration?


On second thoughts, I should have chosen a non-directional print.  Keeping the cactus print upright was an additional challenge in making the bag. 

Annie's patterns are extremely detailed. This means that they require total attention and complete concentration. Unlike my usual cutting/sewing/quilting, I could not listen to the radio or an audiobook. Proceeding one step at a time, I checked each box as I completed that step.

Quilting the Pieces

Completed Shoulder Comfort Pad

Binding the Shoulder Comfort Pad was a challenge but the Add-On Video was really helpful.

For the bottom of the bag, I chose to use a non-directional fabric, also from the Sunset Plains collection, leftover from making the Stars and Swirls quilt.

Buttons to limit wear and tear

Straps and Handles

Front and Back, Top and Bottom - Ready to Assemble

I used Schmetz 90/14 needle to make the bag. Going through several layers of fabrics and Soft & Stable is tricky and a lesser needle will cause you to skip stitches. 

Once the four parts - Front, Top, Bottom and Back were assembled,  I turned the bag inside out and attached the handles. Admired my handiwork and felt supremely pleased.

Paul: Looks fantastic.
Me: Um Hmm.
Paul: It is finished, right?
Me: Mostly
Paul: What is the matter? 
Me: It is ready for pictures. And I have other things to do. I have been working on this for two weeks. 
Paul: Oh, I know. You did not finish the insides.
Me: I am done.
Paul: Don't you need to protect the seams.
Me: No. That inside binding step is purely cosmetic.
Paul: So you have an ugly bag inside.
Me: Possibly, but no one needs to know.
Paul: You know it.

Damn the man.


It took me two days to hand bind the insides and my index finger hurt for two days after the bag was completely finished. But I can proudly share the inside pictures.

Large Inside Pocket

Neat on the Inside :-)

Speaking of  inside, the design includes a sleeve to hold an acrylic stabilizer (also provided) in the bottom for added stability.

Sewing the Sleeve for Acrylic Stabilizer

Inserting the Stabilizer in the Sleeve

Annie has taken care of every detail and the design includes every step from making the zipper pulls and bias binding to the shoulder pads and trolley sleeve.  I cannot recommend this Ultimate Travel Bag 2.0 enough. Many thanks to Annie and Island Batik.

And now it is time for the photoshoot!

Bottom Buttons

Big & Beautiful

Is that my plane?

Hey good-looking!


So Happy!

I like Big Bags

Beautiful on the Inside

Side Pocket

Top View

Back with Trolley Sleeve

When are we leaving?

Do you like my choice of green and maroon. What colors would you choose, if you made this bag? I'd love to hear from you.

I will be sharing with all my favorite linky parties. See full list on the sidebar.

Did you see the latest issue of Quiltmaker Magazine? Not only does it include my quilt, I am also featured in it :-)  That blogpost is next.