Under the Sea

Finally finished with this one. It started out as a figment of my imagination, and I ran with it. I made this for my toddler grandson, so it’s a little too “involved” for that age, but I ran with it anyway.

When my daughter was pregnant, she had talked about making an ocean life quilt for her baby-to-be, but you know how pregnancy sucks up your life; that’s exactly what happened. I was already well into another quilt for the baby, so there was no way I could also whip one of these up, too. Time has passed and the ideas never left my head. The problem is how to make a sea life quilt for a toddler that does not look like it should belong to someone older. Well, I put smiles on the creatures faces… ALL of them.

I started out by trying to use up a bunch of charm squares I’d gotten in a fabric exchange (of charm squares) and then randomly placing them with darker colors towards the bottom and lighter closer to the top. That would be my background. The picture above doesn’t do the coloring justice. Now, how to fill it up? Initially I had too many fronds of seaweed. I was randomly making different appliques, trying to fill the scenery. You can always take some away, but I didn’t want to have to make more later. So, I took some of the seaweed away, and I wish I had taken more.

I always learn something with each quilt I make. With this one, I wish I had made it a little more square. I was trying to place all those creatures at the bottom of the sea where they “belonged” and ran out of room. That is the reason for the random starfish elsewhere. I also wish I had made the fish different sizes. The clown fish really are too big, but they are colorful, and I needed that. I don’t know what possessed me to make all the fish around the same size. Lesson learned… thank goodness it’s for a toddler.

In placing the applique pieces, there were things I didn’t really have room for, or had forgotten to include, or didn’t know how to incorporate it into an applique onto a toddler’s quilt. I was going to put a sea anemone on there, using yarn pieces to float upwards. But, he could pull that off the quilt. Besides, the clown fish were already too big for what I was imagining. So, I added those items in with the quilting. In my haste, I also did not have enough fish swimming in between the fronds of seaweed. So, I added that touch here in the quilting. The trick is to NOT add too much quilting to this. I want it to be soft; the more thread I add the stiffer it will be.

One of my quandaries was how to applique the clown fish. There are orange bodies with black and white pieces. The black would look a little weird if I appliqued it, because I wanted it to look vein-y to show the texture of the fins. I ended up using a fabric marker and drawing the black on.

I wanted the turtles to have shells, but couldn’t find fabric that would work. So, I ended up using a muddy batik and drawing the shell on that. Quilting adds the dimension to it.

Closer view of the top half of the quilt…

Closer view of the bottom half of the quilt…

One of the hazards of quilting is all those loose, runaway threads. When you think you’ve got them all off your quilt, just take a picture, and you will find more! Did you find any?

Kansas City Regional Quilt Festival

Are you going to be in the Kansas City area the weekend of Father’s Day?  If so, I would love to meet you!  I will be vending at the Kansas City Regional Quilt Festival that weekend in booth 436.  I’m not selling much, just quilting and sewing gift items and some hard to find notions.  But, please stop by and say “hi!”  In the meantime, check out this video clip for KCRQF: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmEcoNmk-nY

Quilts from Days Gone By

What do you do when you know someone hasn’t finished a project that needs finishing, and this person hasn’t finished it because he or she is not able?  Do you help?  If it’s something you specialize in, do you offer to finish it?  As it turns out, I’m guilty on all charges.  Not only did I offer to help, but I offered to finish these quilts.


It started out to be one quilt.  My husband’s Aunt Joyce has this quilt that she had started in the late 1980s, possibly in the early 1990s.  She was planning on giving it to her son when she finished, but she never finished it.  And… it was hand quilted… well, what she got done, which was most of it, was hand quilted.  All she had left to do was 2 borders and the cornerstones.

I’m not a hand quilter, and I haven’t been a hand quilter since I started my first full-sized quilt.  It’s just too hard on my hand and wrist and it takes waaaaay too long – I don’t have the patience for it.  But, Aunt Joyce is like a second mother to me, and I just can’t leave it unfinished for her son.  She’s in her mid 80s.  So, I offered to finish it for her.

When I was looking for the matching fabric for the borders that she had stashed away, I found a quilt top that looked very much like the hand-quilted one.  I figured I could finish that, even though it needs to be quilted entirely, by machine pretty quickly… probably sooner than the hand-quilted one.  I think I’m going to quilt feathers into the borders – there are plenty of wide open spaces.


I didn’t know which side is the top, so I put the blocks that I thought might have the most stretch at the top, specifically the block with the hexagons.  That way I can try to tame it before it gets “stretched in” to the bottom.


I hope I can do this quilt justice.  The blocks were hand pieced.  This is one of those dilemmas where you don’t want to sabotage a hand-pieced quilt with machine quilting, so what do you do?  I don’t have time to hand quilt it, so it’s going to have to be machine quilted.  I will, of course, continue to hand-quilt the one that was started that way.  I think it would bastardize it at this point to machine quilt it since most of it is hand quilted.

What are your thoughts on machine quilting a hand-pieced quilt top?  Tough Decision, huh?




Charity Quilt

Finally got the charity quilt done that I’ve been working on to be donated to Safehome.


I quilted paws all over it to go with the cat theme.



This quilt is so apropos since Safehome is building a pet shelter. If you are interested, you can help them build the shelter by donating here.   They still need over $10,000 to go before they can build the shelter

spell it with fabric…MODA blog hop…coming soon!

Moda Blog Hop coming up!

Lisa Bongean's Web Blog


Hey All…I want to give you a heads up on a new blog hop starting next week…You will not want to miss this…quilt patterns, giveaways, finished quilt ideas and more!!!

It feels so good to be home…just waiting for Nick to make it home now…

American Jane – http://modafabrics.blogspot.com/
Aneela Hoey – http://comfortstitching.typepad.co.uk
Bunny Hill – http://bunnyhillblog.com/
Cotton Way – http://cottonway.blogspot.com/

Piecing Directions – http://modafabrics.blogspot.com/
Deb Strain –  http://debstrain.blogspot.com/
Kathy Schmitz – http://kathyschmitzstudio.blogspot.com/
Fig Tree and Co. – http://figtreequilts.typepad.com/my_weblog/

French General – http://frenchgeneral.blogspot.com/
Janet Clare – http://janetclare.co.uk/blog/
Basic Grey – http://blog.basicgrey.com/

Lauren + Jessi Jung – http://laurenandjessiblog.com/
Kansas Troubles – http://kansastroublesquilters-lynne.blogspot.com/
Laundry Basket Quilts – http://www.laundrybasketquilts.com/blog/index.php
Lily Ashbury – http://lilyashbury.com/blog/

Me and My Sister Designs – http://meandmysisterdesigns.com/blog/
Kate Spain – http://katespaindesigns.blogspot.com/
Jan Patek – http://janpatek.blogspot.com/
Pat Sloan – http://blog.patsloan.com/

Primitive Gatherings – http://lisabongean.wordpress.com/
Minick and Simpson – http://minickandsimpson.blogspot.com/

View original post 58 more words

Cute Quilts for Kids

Martingale has asked me to review a few books for them, so I will be doing a series of book reviews in the near future.  This first review is for a book by Kristin Roylance called Cute Quilts for Kids.


I don’t have any little kids at home anymore and no grandkids to make these for, but as a former teacher, I can tell you that this book of kids quilts will tickle your fingers.  Kristin not only does a good job of spelling out simple directions for beginning quilt makers, but she also adds cute 3-D touchy-feely things to the quilts that little kids will love.  But, not to worry… the added embellishments are sewn down very well OR they are meant to be removed and reattached with Velcro.  Check out this butterfly quilt with the ruffled butterfly wings.  Can’t you imagine a little girl sucking her fingers on one hand and the other hand fiddling with the ruffled wings while she sleepy-eyed cuddles with this quilt?


Or this quilt…  I can even imagine it sitting on a table or used for a picnic.


Check this one out for little boys… too cute!


For a list of quilts inside, the table of contents will give you a clue.


And, check out more of the quilts on the back cover.


If you’ve ever wondered how to make Prairie Points, she shows you how in the dinosaur quilt.  Personally, I think the sailboat quilt is my favorite.  I love the rick rack and the chenille fabric (for waves) she used around the borders and the 3-D flags on the boats.

Many thanks to Martingale and their photographer, Brent Kane, for the pictures above and the book to review – LOTS of fun in this book!  You can buy this book directly from Martingale here  or you can get an autographed copy of her Kristin’s book at her website here.

My New Best Friends

Ever have one of those projects that no matter what you did, things were not going to work out?  This latest customer quilt has been my latest challenge.  It seems like no matter what I do, I can’t get the mojo flowing with my quilting.  My thread keeps breaking, I’ve gone through 5 needles, my machine has a mind of its own and tries to go one way when I am trying to move it another.  I swear, it’s as if I am arm wrestling it – I’ve gotten bad headaches from wrestling with it.  So, my thread art has turned out to be CRAP!  You can’t even tell what some of the drawings are. They say that is you are having a bad day at quilting, to just stop and walk away and come back to it fresh the next day.  Well, you can only do that so many times before you decide you’ve got to get the quilt done and back to the quilt’s owner.

The customer wanted the leaves to extend out into the green and black borders, so I thought an insect would be cute here.  This is supposed to be a fly.  It looks like a tangled mess to me.  So, I will be ripping that out with one of my new best friends.  The other insects look like they need to go to Weight Watchers, but because I have already spent over 30 hours on this quilt, they are just going to have to content eating on the fabric leaves of this quilt.  I feel like I have failed this customer because so much of the quilting looks like scribbling.

tools for quilting 009

One of the things that happened while I was working on this was I ran the needle through my finger.  It’s healing nicely now, but it sure hurt when it happened.  And, no, I did not get blood on the customer’s quilt.  I jerked my finger out from the needle before it had a chance to drip – that was the first thing I thought about before I felt the pain.  OW!

lantern 001

I was trying to sew a circle into the green square with this itty bitty template.  Can you see how the finger got caught?

tools for quilting 001

After my finger got caught I immediately ordered a different circle template made by the Gadget Girls.  It has 3 different sizes of circles and looks like this.  I thought it was a bit expensive, but after hurting my finger and the frustration I got from making twisted, wonky circles around that little disc, the cost was worth it for this new “friend” (tool).  You can find them  here.

tools for quilting 003

And, as you can see, I have much more room to grip onto the template without my fingers getting in the way.  I LOVE this template!

tools for quilting 004

This is about as close as I was able to get to a perfect circle on this quilt, with my machine fighting me like it was.

tools for quilting 006

But, I have a few threads to pick out (along with that stupid looking fly in the first picture), so I will be using this new tool.  I love my little blue seam ripper that is about 3 inches long, if that.  It has a tiny piercing point that slides nicely under the thread.  But, it is small for my big hands.  I found this one made by Dritz at my local Wal-Mart for $3.97.  It’s got the small point, but the handle is bigger than my little blue one and is also ergonomic to fit well into the palm of my hand.  I think it is my new best friend.

tools for quilting 010

With this tale of woe, please don’t misunderstand me.  I believe that in every good or bad thing that happens, there is a lesson.  Although I struggled with this quilt (and I’m not done yet… but almost!), I found out about a better tool and better way of doing things with the circle template.  I also learned that less is more.  Less is many times better than more.  I should have left the fly out of that area.  I also found that when I quilted pebbles into the green squares (which you don’t see, because I picked the stitching out with that “picking” tool shown above), it made the quilt look even messier.  And, with each quilt I work on, this one included, I find things that I like to do with quilting and new ways to approach quilting.  So, even with a punctured finger and a mad quilting machine… it’s all good.  I think when I’m done with this quilt, it’s time to give my machine a good cleaning and check her timing.

Jackie’s quilt

Jackie bought this quilt kit from Lucky Charms Quilt Store in Chapman, KS. She just wanted a pantograph quilted into the quilt to break up the straight lines and to also go with the backing fabric that looks like ocean waves. It was kind of a nice break to not have to think about what […]