Finish-A-Long & IG – A Simple Tutorial

One cannot deny the major role Instagram plays in the blogging world today. It can have great impacts on the business world, it can impact your personal world both positively and negatively, and I think us quilters have seen it slowly take the place of Flickr (at least that is my observation).

Well, it’s time the for the Finish-A-Long to catch up and allow y’all to utilize Instagram to post your list at the start of each quarter and your finishes at the end of each quarter.

Currently there is a giveaway going on… all you need do is sign up to follow the new Finish-A-Long IG account @finishalong.and tag a friend in the giveaway post. Of course spreading the word on IG would be greatly appreciated as well.  On December 31st I will draw from all the followers and giveaway this FQ bundle:

This could be yours!
This could be yours!

A few people have asked how IG (instagram) will fit into the FAL (finish-a-long) world, so let me explain:

You know how you can use Flickr to post pictures of your started project (pre-finish) or your finished project and then link up with the host at the beginning or end of the quarter? Well if you so desire you can now use IG instead of Flickr (this is not to say you can’t use Flickr any longer, it’s simply another option).

And just in case you don’t know how to get your link from IG, here’s how:

#1 – Do this from your phone, tablet or something along those lines. Instagram on a pc ummm…is there a way to say this classy like…well, no….it SUCKS!!!! So don’t attempt this from your pc… Instagram is an app so do it from a tablet, phone, phablet, I think you get the picture.

#2 – At the start of the quarter, post a picture of all your WIPs with a list describing them in the comment.  PLEASE POST A SINGLE PICTURE OF ALL YOUR WIPS FOR THE QUARTER.  If you post multiple lists, it is too hard for the host to go back and match up your finishes with your list at the end of the quarter. (If you don’t have a blog and are moving from Flickr there are apps for creating collage pics on your phone – specifically for IG)  Link your list/collage post using the instructions below.  At the end of each quarter, post a separate picture of each finish, and link each picture separately using the instructions below.  Tag @finishalong and use the hashtag #2015fal in your posts! **If you need suggestions for collage apps just ask @finishalong**

#3 – When you are ready to link up – find your picture…like this one:, and scroll down to the bottom of the comments.Scroll all the way to the bottom of the comments until you find the three gray dots stacked on top of each other (like the ones inside the pink circle below) and click on them:

Android Phone

#4 – After you click on them you get 4 options (as long as it is your picture you are clicking on). click on “Copy Share URL”

Android Phone

#5 – You will get a small box (color depends on theme and type of phone). That is confirmation that it has has been copied, it will look like this:

Android Phone

#6 – From here you simply go to the Linky Party at On the Windy Side and paste your link in the InLinkz widget. Of course, you generally have to fill in other information, but your link is now on your clipboard. InLinkz now supports IG and you can read all about how to add your now extracted URL (link) on their blog here. **I was going to try and explain it here but they do such a good job, why reinvent the wheel?**

NOTE: I have posted two different sets of pictures, iPhone (thanks Adrienne) and Android to attempt to make this as visual as possible. Should you have any questions, email me or send me an IG message at @finishalong or @gapquilter –  I love me some IG!!!!

There you have it…a tutorial on how to get your link from IG and a giveaway to boot. Remember, you must become a follower of @finishalong on IG by December 31st in order to win the FQ bundle. Easy peasy!!

Bloggy Business

I have been ill for the past few days so it feels wonderful to be back in the “land of the living” today. I will spare y’all the nasty details and just say “being a migraine sufferer SUCKS!!” That’s all I have to say about that!!!

Now I have a winner to announce from the Charm Madness Blog Hop. A few days ago I posted a tutorial for a Charm-ing Apron. The giveaway is for the Apron I made. The winner is …

who is….

Chiska please email me by Friday with your address so that I can send your apron to you! I will redraw on Saturday morning if I haven’t heard from you! I do love doing giveaways.

Another little tidbit of business I need to take care of….

Way back in January I hinted about a tutorial I was writing for Fluffy Sheep Quilting’s newsletter. Well, that newsletter is going out on Friday. My tutorial is for some placemats to celebrate someone special or someone’s special day! Here is one of the four I made for the tutorial (a sneak peek for y’all):

callee placemat

I am not the only one that wrote a tutorial for this newsletter. The incredible Annabella wrote one as well. You really need to go and sign up to receive these newsletters!! You don’t want to miss out!! Here’s how: (1)go to the Fluffy Sheep Quilting Website, (2)scroll down to the bottom right corner, (3)enter your email address in the box below “Newsletter”, (3)click on “Subscribe”. That’s it….All done!

Also, don’t forget the Charm Madness Blog Hop is not over. You can get the full schedule here. There are some great tutorials!

Oh and one more thing!!! The first quarter of the Finsh A Long is about to come a close. Get your finished lists ready and get next quarter’s list ready!! So much to do!!

Phew….I think I have all the Bloggy Business out the way! Oooo Oooo I almost forgot…..guess who will be here tomorrow?????   That’s right…..My ‘lil Angel….Caaaaaaaaalllllllllllleeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!! Get ready for picture over load!!! Do you follow me on Instagram! I really load IG up with pictures of her! I am gapquilter on IG.

I will back soon to round up all my finishes for the quarter!


Charm-ing Apron (in 30 minutes or less) Tutorial

Charm Madness at Sew Lux Fabric

Charm-ing Apron

In  30 minutes or less

Today is my day for the Charm Madness Blog Hop. I hope you enjoyed the amazing tutorials written by Jess at Sew Crafty Jess yesterday and by Jennie at Clover & Violet on Tuesday. Two very talented ladies. I am still amazed I (me? really?) am among such talent! It seems so unfair to those around me but I am enjoying it!

Let me start by saying I really wanted to keep this apron as simple as possible. Additionally, I wanted to use as little additional fabric as possible. I believe I did just that – created a simple, low cost apron using one charm pack and very little else! So, let get started on this 30-minute apron!

Charm-ing Apron
Charm-ing Apron

Let’s get right to it!


  • One (1) Charm Pack **NOTE: In order for this tutorial to work, you need to use a charm pack that come with pinked edges!
  • 1/2 yard coordinating fabric (actually only need 10″ if you are attempting to use something you have in your stash)
  • Matching or contrasting thread for top stitching
  • Misc. sewing supplies (sewing machine, iron, seam ripper, etc)

Making the Apron Piece: 

Start by laying out your charm pack in a pleasing manner 5 squares across by 4 squares down with a 5th row of 7 squares.

NOTE: The picture doesn’t show the correct number of squares on the bottom row but please lay out 7.


Stitch the rows together. When pressing, be sure to alternate direction so you can nestle seams when stitching rows together.

See how one row is pressed to the right and the other to the left - causing the seams to nestle (or spoon) with each other.
See how one row is pressed to the right and the other to the left – causing the seams to nestle (or spoon with) each other.

Stitch the top 4 rows together.

Gather the 5th row. The technique I use for gathering is to do a wide, long zig-zag stitch over a thick piece of thread (button thread) the length of the row – See the picture below. Pull the gather until it is the same width as the 5×4 piece.

The idea is that you can remove the “stitched over” thread when you are done gathering but I always forget (or sew over it when applying gathered piece to garment). Oh well, its just thread.

Stitch the gathered row to the previous joined rows.

Press the seam toward the top of the top (or unruffled rows). Top stitch on the unruffled side so as to Set this aside for a moment. ALMOST DONE!!

Top Stitched

Making the Tie Piece:

Cut two strips from a coordinating piece approximately 5” by WOF*.

Stitch these two pieces together on one short end – making one long piece. Press seam open.

Press this in half on the length. Open up and press the sides into the fold and press folds together – enclosing the cut edges.


Combine the Apron Piece and the Tie Piece:

Find the length-wise center of the tie piece and the center over of the apron piece. With the two centers together, place the apron piece inside the tie piece, enclosing the apron piece. Pin along the apron piece.

Fold the ends of the tie piece to create diagonals. Pin from diagonals to the apron pieces – both ends.


Top stitch from one end to the other on the tie pieces, enclosing the apron piece.

More top stitching
More top stitching


Sometimes it helps to see a flat picture for construction purposes!

NOTES: Now, as you can tell, we didn’t hem the sides or the bottom. This is why I stated you need a charm pack that had pinked edges. The pinked edges keep it from fraying, the lack of hemming keeps it simple & quick.

I like to tie my aprons in the front so I can hang my dish towel over the tie.

I like to tie my aprons in the front so I can hang my dish towel over the tie.
BUT if you prefer it tied in a neat bow in the back you can certainly do that too!
BUT if you prefer it tied in a neat bow in the back you can certainly do that too!

Well, there you have it, a completed 30-minute *or less* apron. Super simple…but sometimes we need a gift that is just that…simple to throw together but still a delight to give! And considering the price of charm packs, you could make this for under $15.00. GREAT GIFT!!

Because I have been on a bit of an “apron-kick” lately, I have decided to give this one away. Like the making of this apron I have decided to keep the giveaway simple. All you have to do enter is leave a comment on this blog. You have until midnight Saturday – so as not to interfere with Chrissy’s giveaway which starts Sunday. Any comment will do – from how cute my converse are to which tutorial you plan on trying – anything at all!

And don’t forget to to “hop” over tomorrow to see what Janelle at Echinops &Aster is writing about…. oh, and about the giveaway post at Sew Lux Blog on Sunday.

Thanks for stopping by!



Backside Stretching

Anyone know what causes this pic to flip after posting?
Anyone know what causes this pic to flip after posting?

Have you ever heard that rumor that the National Security reads all our emails? I sure hope not, because knowing some of the emails today’s guest and I have exchanged, we could be in big trouble. Not at we have made any National threats but there might have been a couple questionable ones in regards to….well, some things are better off left unsaid! Let’s just say, if my husband ever goes missing….I am NOT going to live with Susan!!! hehehe

Very often, I am surprised at how one can form friendships without actually meeting someone face to face. Susan and I have certainly become fast friends. It is like we have lived next door to each other for years. In many ways we are VERY MUCH alike and in other ways NOT SO MUCH…for example, I cook for my family every day – and healthy meals too! or maybe that is Susan! Neither of us are very sympathetic – or maybe we are! One of us are very patient with our children…I refuse to admit which one of us!! Oh boy I better just turn this over to Susan and her lovely tutorial before I make myself er her er never mind, I digress….take it away Susan……please, hurry!!!!!

A big thank you to Rhonda for asking me over to The Gap today to give a little insight into how I finish off the hoops I make. This request all started with a little private swap that Rhonda and I did a few months ago. I made her a hoop, and she was intrigued with how I finished the back.

Hey…it’s Rhonda sneaking into Susan’s pic….This is mine…hanging on my sewing room wall….cool huh?!

Let me clearly state that this is not my original idea. I saw it done somewhere else and thought it was a method that would work for me. Mostly because other ways of finishing hoops did not work for me. They looked rather crap when I did them, unlike other people’s who looked professional and polished. While I am not a perfectionist I do prefer things I make not to look like they were made by a five year old.

While you could probably work this out for yourself, I will briefly go through the steps that I take to keep my embroideries firmly in their hoops. I am using a wee Christmas hoop I made for this demonstration.

First up you need to trim the excess fabric round your hoop to an approximate circle. It does not have to be exact. Nor does it matter how much fabric you have in excess as long as it is enough to fold around the edges of the hoop with some to spare, and is not so much that the fabric can meet in the middle at the back.

I use wadding in most of my hoops, even my embroideries. If you do use wadding then before the next step you will want to fold over your fabric edge with at least a quarter inch seam allowance to add strength to your edges. Set your machine to the zigzag stitch and sew around the edge of the circle.

Next up you will need a needle and thread. When cutting your thread cut it way longer than you normally would. Way longer! Trust me here, you will be needing quite a few at this ridiculously long length as it is. Secure your thread well at point ‘A’ as seen below. Take your needle directly across the hoop to the other side of the fabric circle and stitch through the inside of the zigzag stitches (‘B’). Working clockwise, bring your needle back over to the other side of the circle and make the next stitch (‘C’) approximately half an inch to the left of ‘A’. Pull the thread fairly taut so that you are pulling the edges of the fabric circle towards each other over the inside of the hoop. Make your next stitch (‘D’) to the right of ‘B’ by about half an inch. Continue stitching in this clockwise manner, pulling the thread fairly tight as you go.

Eventually you will start building up a spider web of threads criss-crossing back and forth over the back of the hoop and bringing the edges of the fabric together.

Continue sewing your threads like this until all the fabric edge has been gathered in. You have successfully finished the back of the hoop.

If you look at mine you will see how the finish does not produce a perfect inner circle. This is because I did not trim the edges to a perfect circle. It doesn’t matter. It’s the back of the hoop. No one looks at it really, other than to briefly see how you did it. But the method does keep the embroidery smoothly held into the hoop, involves no glue and does not involve that fabric covered circle of cardboard that some people use to great effect but looks like the work of a child if done by me.

I hope you found this mini tutorial useful, and a huge thanks to Rhonda for being the genius behind the FAL. But much more importantly, thank you to her for being my friend. We have some hysterically funny conversations. Not ones I can repeat, but they can fill my days with laughter.

This is Rhonda back again…curious…do you think she was implying that she spends her days laughing at me? hmmmmmmmmmmm

Oh and don’t forget………the 2013 FAL is moving to Leanne’s Blog …..She Can Quilt. You can link up over there starting January 7th.


she can quilt


Sewing Wallet Tutorial

Anyone know what causes this pic to flip after posting?

Psst….For the record…Sarah was right! Kylie at Abbey Road is amazeballs! But please don’t tell her she was right!   N.E.WAY………..

Have you ever heard the expression “late to the party” well that is me most of the time. I generally don’t get on the popular band wagons when they are popular! I am not one to do something because the proverbial popular kids are doing it. I like to wait and see how things are going to play out before I decide to “drink the koolaid”. One such example is EPP. I have just recently decided I wanted to give it a try. I know, late right?! I talked to my good friend aka shopping enabler and got my supplies together. I wish you could see how I have them in my purse. Maybe some day soon I will take a picture of it….pathetic I tell you.

I said all that to say this……(I bet you thought I was digressing)………today’s tutorial is quite timely!!!! The talented Jackie from Sew Excited Quilts is showing us how to make a Sewing Wallet….perfect for my purse! She has some other tutorials on her blog – one of which I need to make since I have sooooooooo many selvages. I seriously need to make this bag! I sure wish I lived in the Kansas City area, I would certainly be taking some of Jackie’s classes! Ok, enough rambling from me! Take it away Miss Jackie!!!

I think most of us like to take the opportunity of a new year to start fresh and get organized. I know I do. I find that I need more that one portable sewing kit for various projects that I keep on hand. For the car, the couch or work. Here is an easy to sew wallet to keep the various supplies you will want at your finger tips.

DSCN3455 (1024x768)


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Materials Needed:

  • 3 fabrics cut 8 ½ x 7 ½
  •      Outside, inside and pocket
  • 1 piece of batting cut 8 ½ x 7 ½
  • Batting scraps cut 6 x 5 and 6 x 3
  • One decorative button
  • Elastic hair tie

P1140370 (1024x669)_wmInstructions:

  • Take pocket fabric and fold in half right sides together so it measures 8 ½ x 3 ¾
  • Layer your pieces in this order on the table: (see picture below)
    • Larger batting (8 ½ x 7 ½)
    • Inside fabric piece right side up
    • Pocket piece lining up raw edges along the bottom edge
    • Pinch the hair tie in the middle and place in the middle of the right side edge (1/2 the loop will be inside)
    • Outside piece right side facing down
  • Tack the hair tie in place

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  • Sew a ¼ inch seam along each side of wallet leaving a 3 inch opening along the top edge


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P1140381 (1024x765)_wm


  • Trim close to edges along your stitching line, including the tie end that is showing
  • Don’t trim your opening (other than the batting)

P1140384 (1024x768)_wmP1140386 (1024x768)_wm

  • Turn right side out, make sure you bring out your pocket to the inside of your wallet
  • Turn your open edge inside 1/4 inch and press
  • Edge stitch around the entire wallet stitching your opening closed
  • Stitch again ¼ inch in from edge

Fold wallet in ½ and place button on the outside to match up with your hair tie loop, sew

P1140419 (1024x768)_wm

  • Open up the wallet with the tie on the right side
  • Mark center from top to bottom
  • Center the two batting scraps inside with the larger piece on the bottom
  • Stitch your marked lining, securing your batting scraps


P1140417 (1024x768)_wm

  • If desired mark stitching lines for smaller pockets in your wallet


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Quick, easy, fun, and useful.

Printable directions found here: Sewing Wallet

Enjoy the Journey, Jackie

I almost forgot….I am supposed to remind you the 2013 FAL is moving to Leanne’s Blog …..She Can Quilt. You can link up over there starting January 7th.


she can quilt

Pyramid Key Fob Tutorial

Anyone know what causes this pic to flip after posting?

Ok, imagine for a minute…..scary movie….those people who hide children in the basement… your visual? That is how my daughter sees today’s guest…….the lovely and incredibly funny, Sarah of Narcoleptic in a Cupboard. She may want to kill me for telling you that but I find it ever so funny because it couldn’t be further from the truth! The funny thing about it is why my daughter thinks that…..accents freak her out! Yes, she is blonde (well, blonde-brained) but then again, so is her mother!!! But this is about Sarah!!!

I adore Sarah! I adore her as a person and as a quilter. She is uber talented (although she never gives herself credit). She has a great mum who is also uber talented and together they get a great deal accomplished!!! I love Sarah’s tutorial because we all have those moment’s when we need a small gift with a big punch. Today’s tutorial is just that! Take it away Sarah, my dear friend, fabric enabler, and late night keeper upper……………

Amazingly enough, Rhonda is actually trusting me to put something on her blog!  I’m having a wee turn at a tutorial, and I wanted to keep it small and keep it simple.  So, I thought I’d show how I made the pyramid key fob I did for the Mouthy Stitches Tote Swap.

Dead simple, honest.  You’ll need 4 equilateral triangles in fabric, and four in fusible fleece.  You could use interfacing if you prefer, or you could just draw on the smaller triangle (it’ll make sense when you see it in a minute).  The key is to sew starting in from the edge of the fabric and stop before you get to the edge.   You’ll need some ribbon for a loop, and some stuffing to stuff ’em!  If you dont have the equilateral triangle ruler (I got one on sale and I’ve used it a few times, it really makes you WANT to do triangles!) you could use the free graph paper in Equilateral Triangle to make a perfect template.

So here we go

pyramid tute1pyramid tute2

pyramid tute3pyramid tute4

pyramid tute5

You can use these as key fobs, or pin cushions, or pin sharpeners, or smelly wardrobe / clothes drawer thingies… just depends on what you stuff them with.  OOH you could fill one with Catnip and give it to a daft cat…

Just remember, dont sew to the edges of the fabric!  (And linen frays really bady on the turning hole so maybe put some glue on the very edge of that fabric so it doesnt unravel completely…like mine almost did…).  And listen to some Kylie at Abbey Road whilst you’re making them cos its bloomin lovely…

Good luck to everyone in the 4th and final quarter of 2012, and good luck to Rhonda who will finally be able to enter to WIN prizes this year!

I had to sneak back in because I don’t know who Kylie is (yes, Sarah I will give it a search) but I just bought the Nashville Cast CD today and WOW is it gReAt!!! Real bluesy country…..yes, I’m a hick!!! I couldn’t let Sarah make all the musical suggestions!!!

Oh and remember………the 2013 FAL is moving to Leanne’s Blog …..She Can Quilt. You can link up over there starting January 7th.


she can quilt

Start the New Year without the WIP Guilt

FAL button 1

I know I say this every time I have to introduce one of our Guest Posters but it is true every time….I am excited about having today’s guest. Kelly, author of the Blue Bird Sews Blog, has some wonderful tutorials on her blog. She is quite talented and all over the the quilting world. She has some great ideas about shedding the guilt so let me step aside so you can enjoy her post….

There will always be new WIP’s (work’s in progress) for the quilter. New ideas to contemplate, new patterns from the best designers,  inspiration to be found from all over quilty internet blog land, new fabric to dream with and of course the stash to work from. As quilters we yearn for the next project that sparks our interest; so much so that we stay up until ungodly hours of the morning to cut, sew and press just one block out of 50 that is needed for that next quilt.  We try to finish,  oh we try really hard! But by the time all the blocks are done — well then there is sashing options, boarders to miter, sandwiching to be done, quilting (eek! even FMQ) to be tried…binding to sew. You know the list too and somewhere in the middle a WIP is born.

1. Close up of Quilting, 2. Blogger's BOM Quilt, 3. Finished Weekender Bag, 4. Mod Pop Complete!
1. Close up of Quilting, 2. Blogger’s BOM Quilt, 3. Finished Weekender Bag, 4. Mod Pop Complete!

I love all my quilts, all my projects equally but invariably the quilts that get done are destined for a purpose. Something for my shop, a family member or Portland Modern Quilt Guild commitment. All of these are equally good reasons to finish, but what about those inspired quilts of the moment that happen all at once yet wait for months, years maybe to be completed. How to finish those? Hmmmm….

1. TheFlock [2], 2. CompanionStarFriendship.Front, 3. Quilt for a Smile charity quilt- detail, 4. swoon... again.
1. TheFlock [2], 2. CompanionStarFriendship.Front, 3. Quilt for a Smile charity quilt- detail, 4. swoon… again.
That was a question I had earlier this year. How on earth do I finish these umpteen quilts I have around in various stages of completion? How could I even start a new quilt with those umpteen quilts hiding in the drawers? Am I really going to buy another 1/2 yard of this awesome fabric because I want to, what about my huge stash at home?   Now wait here, even if you don’t harbor the same kind of WIP guilt I do, read on you may find a tip that speaks to you…or please share your own with us in the comments! So with that here are some suggestions for you to use or ignore as you like.

1. Throw them out. Gently of course, slowly at first. Put the pieces into a bag and close it shut. Leave it the closet for a month or two. Open it up and ask is the world going to end if I don’t have/save/hoard this unfinished quilt? If the answer is still yes after a month then salvage what fabric you like for scraps and donate the rest. Let go of the WIP guilt.

2. Make it to donate it. Okay if number 1 freaked you out then consider finishing your quilt with the intent to donate it. There are lots of organizations that would love to pass on a quilt. Every year Kate at Swim, Bike, Quilt! hosts a 100 quilts for kids initiative and she shares a few worthy charities that need your finished WIP quilt. If you are involved with a guild check with one of your officers about the current charity they are giving to. Make some else warm and give yourself the warm fuzzies too.

1. ColorsOfSpain.Front, 2. Grandma Shakspears, 3. Echo Stained, 4. Solid Love
1. ColorsOfSpain.Front, 2. Grandma Shakspears, 3. Echo Stained, 4. Solid Love

3. Try out a new technique. Okay you have a few quilt tops done and you just can’t bring yourself to quilt them out. Take a big gulp, sandwich it up (Elizabeth Hartman has a great tutorial for this) and try something new that you’ve admired. By the time you are done you will be way better than when you started and you’ll feel like a quilting queen! Another way to broaden your skills is to take a class, try improv, color play or free motion quilting. We can all benefit from learning  and doing something new!

4. Join a support group. Seriously we all need a little help to finish these languishing quilts. Besides having a blog to shout about it, there are flickr groups, Finish-it-up-Along 2013, the Threadbias community, instagram, your local quilt guild, WIP Wednesday with Freshly Pieced or join a quilting bee. Having a group of people to encourage you in your work, especially when the labor part of the love of quilting kicks in will increase those chances of completing a project.

5. Get organized! You might not even know how many WIPs you currently have! (I am currently guilty of this 100%, my list isn’t many but I know there is one or two I plum forgot about!) Take a quiet moment and pull them all out onto the dinning room table or somewhere you’ve got some room. Bring out some storage like gallon zip lock bags, clear totes or shoe boxes and start sorting the unfinished pieces into the bags and boxes.

6. Make a list. Write down or create a computer document that has each project  listed with the date started, current progress (i.e. blocks complete or 10 blocks to go), any supplies needed to complete the quilt  and the intended purpose of the quilt (gift, donate, your couch) Having this information at your finger tips might prevent another WIP and encourage  you to finish up steps along the way. Here are some other great tips I stumbled across in this blog post specifically for quilt organization at Sew We Quilt! written by Karen from Sew Many Ways, she has a whole section on craft organization! Check it out and get inspired to be tidy!

1. Paula's Quilt, 2. Placemats set 2, 3. Retro Flowers, 4. Little Stitches embroidery on Noodlehead Open Wide Pouches for Susan and Trudi
1. Paula’s Quilt, 2. Placemats set 2, 3. Retro Flowers, 4. Little Stitches embroidery on Noodlehead Open Wide Pouches for Susan and Trudi

7. Edit the quilt. The fabric is picked out, the pattern decided upon and the queen sized batting bought. But stop there, would a mini quilt satisfy that pickle dish yearning? What about the blocks that were started but never made into a quilt top? Do any of your completed tops or blocks fit into this wall hanging category? Hooray! Make it easy on yourself and edit it down.

8. Stop hoarding fabric. This might break a quilt commandment but it’s true for me. I try really hard to use the fabric I have to complete my WIPs. Maybe that back doesn’t have to be 4 yards of new flannel. First try auditioning all possible fabrics for the boarders or back before buying new — and maybe make a bold choice that pushes your usual design. Only once you’ve exhausted your current stash options should you hop to your favorite fabric store (online or in person) and shop for your specific WIP. Treat your self restraint with a pedicure or mocha and quickly cut into that new WIP fabric and finish it up.

9. Work on WIPs first. That golden hour when you have a few moments to yourself and you’ve got a ton of things you would like to accomplish (because that WIP list has been staring at you every time you go to your sewing space!). Well start off on the right note and take 15 minutes to work on a WIP. I like to do this because with a time limit I can iron a few pieces, mark a few sewing lines or stitch up half a pile of flying geese. Then the 15 minutes are over and I can mentally check those things off the list and either keep with my WIP if I’m in the mood or move on to my new love; without the WIP guilt.

1. MamasChina.FoldedOnRail0001, 2. Solid Love, 3. four skulls are better than one!, 4. Finished Farmer's Wife
1. MamasChina.FoldedOnRail0001, 2. Solid Love, 3. four skulls are better than one!, 4. Finished Farmer’s Wife

10. Set a WIP goal. How much do you want to finish this year, this month or by next week? Write that down and post it next to your WIP list. Share it with your support group, take those 15 minutes to check off an item or two and be mindful of the purpose of the quilt. Having these things in mind will help to overcome the urge to shove the WIPs into the back of the closet.

So did one of these tips speak to you or do you think I’m completely loco? Ha! I admit there’s a little crazy in these ideas but used in the right scenario it just might transform a WIP into a beautiful finish.  What is your strategy for creating a quilt from start to finish? Share your get it done tips with us!

Thanks so much to Rhonda for letting me share my WIP strategies with you all! I plan on making my WIP list up this week so I know where to focus my efforts in 2013. I’ll be sure to share my progress with you all at Blue Bird Sews and in the Finish it up Along flickr group!

Cheers and Happy New Year!


Pssst….Rhonda here to remind you….the 2013 FAL is moving to Leanne’s Blog …..She Can Quilt. You can link up over there starting January 7th.


she can quilt


Change Purse Tutorial

FAL button 1

I am so excited to have Di with us today! She is a tutorial virgin and I have to say she did a great job!!! I encourage you to take a few minutes and check out her blog. I love reading about her “country living” which is very country for this city girl! Well I will back out now….

Thanks , Rhonda, for asking me to take part in your final FAL tutorials. My name is Di and I blog over at Quiltova.  I’m English, but I have lived in the Czech republic for the last 7 years.   I started blogging just under 2 years ago, and my husband came up with the name Quiltova.  All women’s names here end in -ova, hence Quilt-ova! As well as my quilting, I ramble on about life in the Czech republic, my garden, our pets…. well anything really

I’m slightly nervous as this is my first ever tutorial and so many famous names that have gone before me (and will follow)    I’ve worked on the KISS principle (Keep it simple, stupid – that’s me not you!) and hopefully everything will be OK.

I bought a sweet little coin purse for a present a while back, and thought I’d make my own version of it.      The Czech word for purse is penizenka, which I think is one of those words that is just right for the thing it describes.   It’s a simple project and would make a nice present for a little girl.  As I live near the Austrian border, I often have Euros in my purse as well as Czech Korun, which gets a bit confusing, so now the Euros have their own little purse!




You will be needing the following materials


For the main body of the purse (Template A)

Outer fabric: 1 scrap  7 ” x 5″

Lining fabric: 1 scrap 7″ x 5″

Batting: 1 piece 7″  x 5″

For the pleated pocket (Template B)

Outer fabric” 1 scrap 3″ x 6.5″

Lining Fabric: 1 scrap 3″ x 6.5″

Binding Fabric: 1 scrap 1.25″ x 6.5″

For the flat pocket (Template C)

Outer fabric: 1 scrap 3″ x 4.5″

Lining fabric: 3″ x 4.5″

Lining fabric: 1 scrap 1.25″ x 4.5″

Biais binding

You will need about 28″ of bias binding.  The amount of  fabric you will need depends whether you make double or single thickness binding and on the number of joins you are happy to have.   I made double binding with just one join and got it out of a fat quarter.  There is a formula available on the internet which I tried, and it calculates that this can be cut from a 9″ block.  You probably could but you would have to have numerous joins!

Button and a small length of cord.


First you need to print off the templates here,  and cut your pieces.


Begin by assembling the flat pocket  (Piece B ).

Put the lining and outer fabrics together, wrong sides facing, and place it down with the lining fabric facing up.  Take the 4.5 ” long binding strip lay it wrong side down onto the the pocket, aligning it along the straight edge.  Sew in place , fold over and press



Then press a 1/4″ in on the other edge of the binding



and fold the binding over onto the front of the pocket.


Top stitch the binding into place, close to the edge.  Trim off the little “ears” either side



Repeat the process with the pleated pocket.  (Although I’m calling this a pleated pocket, there are no pleats in it at this stage – they will come later!)  The straight edge is ever so slightly not straight, but it won’t affect sewing the binding on.



Now you can assemble the main body of the purse.   Place the lining fabric the right side down, then the batting, then the outer fabric right side up.  You can then quilt this as you wish – I did a little hand stitching following the star-burst in the fabric


Next you should  layer up the body of the purse with the pockets, prior to fixing the binding.  The flat pocket is easy. Place the body of the purse down, with the lining fabric facing upwards. align the small pocket onto the body, lining facing lining, onto the curve of the purse.  Pin in place.


Now you get onto folding the as yet unfolded pocket.  With the outer fabric facing you, fold and press inwards along the one of the vertical folds.


and then repeat for the other side.


Place the pocket onto the body of the purse, lining up the bottom of the curve, making sure it is straight and central.


Now fold the “wings” out to line up with the edge of the outer, making sure the two folds meet in a point at the bottom.  Pin in place


If the wings don’t quite line up with the side, don’t worry.  It’s so difficult to press those folds accurately and any slight difference makes the wings come up at a different angle.  All you need to worry about is that it covers edges of the main body, and that you are still able to fold the body curve to curve, without catching the pocket.  If, when you’ve found the best position, the wings extend out over the edge of the body, just snip them off.

There you go, the purse is now ready for the binding.



Before attaching the binding, don’t forget to add the loop for closing the purse!  You can’t add it later!  Ask me how I know this! Place the purse  right side up and position the loop so that it is facing inwards, towards the purse.   Sew over the ends with a small zig-sag stitch, several times to make sure it is secure


Now you need to make the bias binding.  You will need to make approximately 28″ .  I used double binding because the purse is going to get some wear down in the depths of my handbag.   I won’t go into making the binding as there are loads of good tutorials out there in blogland – here’s one

I am assuming you know how to attach binding, but  if like me, you find it difficult to join the binding on such a small item as this, you should take a look at this tutorial that I found.  It is for single binding, but it works just as well for double binding.  It’s a quick, easy way of joining where you don’t have the space to leave a big gap between the ends of the binding.  I’ve already used this method a couple of time, and it works find for me, although I do over stitch, rather than a running stitch.





Finally, sew a button to the front of the purse and, bob’s your uncle, all finished.



I’m sorry that the quality of the photos is not very good.  It was a particularly dull day, and I’m not a very good photographer anyway!   Have fun making this little purse and good luck in the Q4 FAL giveaways!


Remember…..the 2013 FAL is moving to Leanne’s Blog …..She Can Quilt. You can link up over there starting January 7th.


she can quilt


More than One Way to Skin a Triangle?

3rd quarter linky party is here.

Hello everyone, the cuckoo in Rhonda’s nest today is Me, Sarah from PingsAndNeedles.  I live in Brighton, on the south coast of England and I’m delighted to be here!

How are you all getting along in the Finishalong? Can you believe we’re in the 4th Quarter? I can’t, and I haven’t really managed to finish very much this year that was in my original list! Of course, I have, true to form, started and finished several other projects! *ahem

What little time I have had to sew has been spent trying to improve my technique, so I thought I’d share a little tute on my latest harebrained genius HST technique! 

This is still a theory thus far proved by one project, so please try it out to see if it works for you, before you commit to a whole quilts-worth!

I don’t have a great deal of space or manoeuvrability for trimming in my sewing space, and although I find the process of trimming HSTs quite satisfying, it is always uncomfortable trimming first two sides and then the other …

I usually end up lazily wielding the rotary cutter in multiple-direction-slapdash-accident-waiting-to-happen-fashion.



So, this is the way we all trim, right?

I line up my diagonal 45 degree line (in this case on a 4.5″ square ruler) with the seam line and trim two sides, turn 90°, and then trim the next two.

If I’m lucky I can get away with two cuts, but they always go in different directions. Frankly it’s the one repeated action I really hate in cutting.  I like to do things appropriate to my space (and general haphazard corner-cutting sewing technique) so, as I was pressing a batch of little sandwich pieces ready to trim, I had a thought …

How about trimming them while they’re still little closed sandwiches?  That would mean 50% less cutting and pressing!  I figured if it all went horribly wrong I could always trim back to 4″!

I’ve rotated the pics here to mirror the trimming position.  If you keep your stitching line on the vertical, then you don’t even need to rotate the mat!


Just line the diagonal on your ruler with your stitching line and trim left and right with some corner snips?

Would it work?


Well, I learned one important thing before you trim …

Make sure you line your diagonal up to the stitching line first …

And then …


… scoot the line up just a tad from the stitching …


You need to take into account the thickness of your thread/fabric – if you’re using Aurifil 50 wt, you probably won’t need to scoot so much as it’s so lovely and fine, but I was using Gutermann here and it is quite a bit thicker, so I had to up the scoot factor.

If you don’t do this then you will have undersize squares.




Are they accurate?  Let’s see ….


Well, that’s pretty spiffingly good for me … I’m sure it’s better than if I trim the old 2 x 2 way. I know that it’s quicker.

So, the question is …

(a)  Am I really late to the party and does everyone already trim like this?

(b)  Is there a glaring fault in my plan?

(c)   Am I a genius?


Do let me know what you think – and thank you Rhonda for having me over to visit.  Nice place you have here …


Hey, y’all….Rhonda, here! As you know, I usually do the introduction at the beginning of the post (by the sheer definition of the word introduction that would make sense, right!). Well, not this time….why? you ask! Well, because I was so happy with the way Sarah called herself a cuckoo! For once on this blog, I wasn’t the only cuckoo! LOL

I have been so blessed to call Sarah a friend that it is hard to introduce her anyway. Granted I have never met her face to face but I still am amazed by her talent every time I look at her blog and it is blogs like hers that keep me inspired to keep posting when I ain’t so sure I wanna!

Just look at some of her amazing work. Oh and for those of you that can retain technology information (of which Sarah is amazing at!) she did a series of GIMP tutorials.

Regardless of what tickles your fancy….this girl is amazing (I mean – I have been trimming all my triangles the hard way – duh)!!! Thank you Sarah!

BTW…the pre-fourth quarter linky party goes live October 8th!.