Greetings to my new followers!! Thanks so much for your interest!
Look for sales and coupons for my followers as a thank-you! I’ll also add a page of sewing tips when I have time, so keeping watching.
Thanks for joining me! I’m sew excited to start sharing my tips and selling inexpensive and usually very easy digital quilting and sewing patterns. I hope to keep up a weekly chat. (No way will I annoy you with a blog every day!) I give simple instructions and shortcuts for quilts, wall hangings, throws, runners, also skirts, decorated sweatshirts, platter pads, aprons, totes, appliques, and small gift items, with occasional free patterns, such as the traditional Apple Core quilt. Stay tuned!
“Well begun is half done”–Aristotle–is quoted often by my husband, and I really hope it’s the case! Wish me luck in 2019, everyone. Follow me if you want to see the updates!
Yes, I’ll admit to it. I love Live PD–maybe it’s because I’m married to a cop. Maybe it’s because I love to see justice done, criminals caught, and people driving drunk taken off the streets.
But this is about sewing, and my latest pattern is for PILLOW CASES with cute cuffs. I got some great shark fabric for a nephew and then decided to find some other interesting novelty fabrics for other family members. So much out there–I have birds, dogs, even cameras. Cartoons, sci fi…you name it. It occurred to me to “share the love” of my fabric with these customized cases. Each uses 1 yd plus 1/4 yard for a cuff with a choice of edges: hills (easiest), pyramids, scallops or waves (hardest to turn). Templates and clear diagrams/instructions are included. No, it’s not a quilt, but hey! They are made of fabric and go WITH a quilt, right? On sale for just $1.50 for two weeks–pay with a credit card on Paypal for the pattern delivered directly to your computer.
For more info, click HERE. (If you embroider, you can easily add names, too.)
I really need to start sewing up my stash instead of adding to it. I recently acquired two other stashes from friends and have had so much fun (thanks, Carol and Emily) just playing with it–measuring, sorting, imagining.
But I’m really overloaded. I do occasionally share some with quilters’ groups or with Good Will (usually the non-quilting knits, etc.), but I really like to hoard it. So how to make sense of it all?
I am now winding all lengths of 3 yds. or more onto cardboard bolts (gratis from JoAnn’s). I also have a pile near them of pieces I’ve reduced to “backings”–even small ones for wall hangings. Sometimes they are too thin or too loosely woven for quilting, but I know they each might have a use. Small pieces can be linings for totebags, for instance.
My standard pieces are 1/2-2 1/2 yds. I’ve separated them into general colors in medium-sized bins. But then I had to add bins for multi-colored, novelty prints, picture prints, and tote canvas.
Along the way, as I sorted, I pulled out specific projects. I finally bit the bullet and bought a large variety of small and large bins for different sizes of projects. I actually taped a label on each so that I have managed to round ’em up and rope ’em off, so to speak, which really is great when I want to start a new project. I’ve even put notions in some of them (such as blue buttons for fish bubbles!) I’m still working on it, but I think I have about 25-30 projects organized now.
Smaller bits–I LOVE every piece of fabric down to the nitty gritty. So I have a LOT of scraps. I finally settled on organizing 1/8 – just under 1/2, again by main color. They’re smaller, though, so I didn’t need as many bins as I did whole color ranges–green to blue, yellow to red, etc.–but I did put them in color order, folded and marching upright like sardines. I’ve already found it’s wonderful to be able to look over what I have and easily find just the right tones of a particular color for an accent, especially as I do appliques and wall hangings that take just small amounts.
Did I say nitty gritty? Yep, the small scraps live together in a bin until I get around to stuffing them by color into ziplock plastic bags. And then there are the microscopic pieces I still can’t stand to lose….I’m finally allow myself to get rid of 2″ pieces unless they are tone on tone or teeny prints that might be used in a quilted brooch (and those teeny bits stay in a special treasure box.) It finally dawned on me that the larger prints just won’t work for tiny projects, so I reluctantly get rid of them! I lately, though, have been clipping off small squares, rectangles and triangles to save for possible children’s mosaics….as we’re considering some art classes this summer.
That doesn’t leave much except thread and fuzz. My sweet husband bought me a new battery-operated Shark (2 batteries!!) to deal with that part. I try really hard not to save the fuzz for stuffing!
However, my piles and piles of fabric and scraps are leading me to think about scrap quilts. Last week’s “Leading to Easter” watercolor quilt was made of basically old fabric I’d been accumulating…so maybe I need to do some more scrap-happy quilts to share with those of you who AREN’T going to the fabric stores these days! We’ll see. I’ll give it some thought.
and with it, a hope for rebirth, renewal and hope. I decided it was time to experiment with watercolor piecing that I’ve only wanted to do for about….umm….two decades now, maybe 25 years! I have managed to accumulate a whole bin of florals, but I see these days, it’s easy to simply buy a jelly roll. (For example, Missouri Star Quilt Company has some simply gorgeous selections I’ve treated myself to.) Because jelly rolls are getting so popular, I designed the whole wall hanging with 2 1/2″ strips (except for the purple and white drapes). Buy a jelly roll or just cut your own strips. Check your scraps! My draped cross was inspired by a cross outside a local Episcopal church that was kind enough to let my art organization use its building for numerous meetings after we were ousted by a tornado.
Anyway, it’s finally made its way into a pattern, on sale for just $3.50 between now and Easter. It’s simple piecing with stunning results:
I really hope some of you will make it and donate to your churches, but it’s beautiful to grace the walls at home, too, and such an inspiration to make.
All these floral fabrics remind me of how the dogwood flower is supposedly reminiscent of the cross, including the bloody tinges on the edges. I can certainly see how that legend would develop. The dogwood by my house aren’t blooming yet, but they aren’t far from doing so, such a harbinger of spring! I never can quite get enough photos of them.
Right now the world can use a little light in the darkness and hope for the future. Let’s create some hope in the sewing room!
Wait, I said that LAST week with the basket-woven baby blanket, “Baby Basket-Weave Blanket” pattern, which is STILL on sale for just $3.50. However, let’s not forget the Mama Bunny. All the kids get baskets–shouldn’t Mama Bunny get one, too? It’s the perfect Easter decoration for the kitchen or little gift for the hostess of the big meal (do you eat ham? or do you go out and brave the crowds?)
AND if you don’t celebrate Easter or don’t care to have eggs on your walls, just fill it with appliqueed flowers. Back floral print fabric with paper-backed fusible web, fussy-cut out the flowers, iron them down and satin-stitch around them. How easy is that? The basket, made from bias tape, gets sewn right on top (or let the flowers/leaves peek out the edges).
I DO have some new photos, though–same Platter Pad basket, but now filled with flowers instead of eggs!
For the two above, I made my OWN bias tape and used florals from a couple different print to match the colors in the small print border.
In case you’re wondering why I don’t have a NEW pattern this week, I have a good excuse. I spent the week editing a central Alabama art news magazine for The Kelly art organization. I’m on the board and editor of the magazine, so I was super busy. The Kelly (if you’re curious)
However, I PROMISE a new pattern next week because it’s already pieced. It’s similar to “Risen,” which I’m also putting on sale for the season, but the background is watercolor piecing. Click here for “Risen.”
I have the new watercolor version more than half done and the pattern more than half done. In fact, I’ll share it with you here in miniature.
Above is the basic pattern, very simple, but I have some 3D elements in mind that I’ll be adding. So come back next week. I’m aiming for a week from Sunday but not holding my breath.
You, too, can quilt a basket! Really, you can….well basket-weave a quilt, that is. This darling baby quilt is made from jelly roll strips lined with batting. After they are turned and pressed, you weave them just like those hot pads we used to make in primary school. Then “quilt” along the strip edges, and ta da! It’s read to bind with no backing, pinning, stretching. You’ve constructed back and front at the same time. People will marvel because it’s so novel, yet it’s easy!
So if you have a “little one” who needs an Easter basket but can’t walk yet, here’s the perfect solution, also perfect for a baby gift any time. On sale for just $3.50 for the entire month of March, get this pattern for your stash. Just pay through a credit card, and it’ll wend its way through the ether to you. It’s a great way to use up scraps, too, including scraps of batting.
My mother loved baskets. I think her love affair began when we lived in Austria and she learned to carry a basket to market like the Europeans do. Even the stores expected you to have your own. There were always a myriad of baskets to choose from.
Years later, back in the States, she was intrigued enough to take a basket-making class, and as usual, she’d teach me what she learned. Yes, I made a couple egg baskets myself. One time, when I lived in England, I even cut branches from my willow tree and boiled them to get the bugs out. They were stinky from being cooked, but I managed to make a basket. After I tried a few, though, I gave up the practice. I will admit it messed up my nails, and I’m vain about my nails (especially now that I spend $$$ on getting manicures!)
However, making a few baskets was a really interesting experience. My mother and I both bought a lot of baskets over the years, not expensive ones, but just interesting shapes and sizes. I’ve used them for craft table displays quite often. Now I have some special quilt patterns in one of my bigger ones, and this week I filled one with 2800 watercolor quilt squares!
Does anyone remember the beautiful piano watercolor quilt on the front of a book from about 25 yrs ago? I’ve wanted to make it for decades–literally! I’ve been collecting florals and plan to start soon. Remember watercolor quilting? You use florals cut willy-nilly and then piece them by gradations of shade. Coming up for the website, I have an idea developing for a watercolor background with a white cross for Easter. Stay tuned. It should be available soon. Start collecting your spring florals! Spring is close!
one lone “Snowflake”! Supposedly, there were a few snow flurries in Alabama this month, but frankly, this was the ONLY one I could find this week. Gray, rainy, yes–snow, no! But after making the “Snowfall” wall hanging recently, it occurred to me that it’d make a super platter pad as well. It’s actually a different design than the several flakes on the wall hanging, but again made so simply, using white bias tape.
If you’re interested, it’s just on sale through February for $1.50 because by March, we’ll be concentrating on Easter and flowers and other “spring things.” Click here for more information or to buy. All you do is pay through Paypal (you can use a credit card), and the pattern is sent to your computer when the payment clears.
Put this in the back of your mind for a great Christmas gift, too–wonderful for a teacher gift! If you’re really ahead of the curve, you could make them now and have a nice pile for friends and relatives in December. That would be great, wouldn’t it?
Truly, it would be a good idea to make our gifts early. I have several ideas on the website that would work well. Here’s another great sort of generic gift. Click for info.
Though not everybody would use an “iComforter,” it is a cute stocking stuffer made of scraps. Click for info.
Because this is more time-consuming, make this one for a special lady in her own special colors or designs, very customized. Click here.
Children can be special, too, so make them their own bags. Click here.
For the football enthusiast in your life, how about a great lap quilt? Click here.
Obviously, you COULD make any number of quilts for people. To do that, you probably do indeed need to start now.
Here’s another fairly quick design, though, that’s especially nice for a quilting/sewing friend or family member, though I have to say I have a few (emphasize—FEW) friends who claim they enjoy ironing, so it could be good for them as well. Click here.
While you may or may not have a lull this time of year and time to get ahead, you can at least think about it and make some plans. You can get the pattern, fabric, notions all together and put them in a bag or bin so that you’re set when you DO have time…if you EVER have time, that is! I had mine in various bags, but switched to clear plastic bins in all sizes (from Walmart). I love it! I’ve actually taped paper labels on them and found it a wonderful way to get organized. They even stack!
Happy planning and have a “Merry little Christmas now.”
but it COULD be, so I’m posting ON Valentine’s Day with my new “Check Out My Purple Heart” throw design. It’s a generous 54″ square, big enough for ANYone’s lap. I also made a real effort to tone down the purple. Using pale yellow cream and some maroon helped temper the “pinkiness” and make it suitable for a man. I was thinking of our brave recipients of the “purple heart” and wanted this to be something for anyone, male or female. The heart design blends subtly into the checkerboard medallion, surrounded with “X” and “O” blocks. What a work of love!
I’ve had some great Valentine Days, but this may be the best ever! Today my builder came and finished the LAST touches to my Christensen Creations Sewgocreate Studio, which I have to say is better than chocolate! (…and as I’m a chocoholic, that’s REALLY saying something!)
I still have a huge amount to do in order to get all the fabric sorted properly and loaded onto the shelves, not to mention all the wall hangings that need to go up….but I now have all the details of The Construction done, done, done….and to quote Judge Marilyn Milian, “Stick a fork in me. I’m done!”
This is a dream come true! Now back to work! Happy Valentine’s Day!
Or just tired of watching running backs and would rather “run back” to your sewing corner to play? If so, this is a treat. Just raid that stash of scraps, looking for coordinating colors that could be wrapping paper. Find some ribbons to match. Make this quick “Glitzy Gift Boxes” runner in one of the two lengths. It’d be darling to give a friend as a “gift of birthday gifts,” or use it for a golden anniversary, or use up some Christmas scraps. With its cheery 3D bows, it’ll make a cute table!
Speaking of gifts…probably the very best gift I ever received was delivering my very own St. Nicholas on Dec. 20, just before Christmas. However, the best one my husband and I ever GAVE was to my mother-n-law for her 65th birthday. She was visiting us in Italy. Our landlord gave her a bouquet of flowers, and I had made her a new wardrobe–multiple pieces. But the last gift was really, really big. She opened the box, found another inside, and then another, and another, until she finally got down to the piece of paper that she couldn’t quite comprehend.
It was a ticket to join us in a Mediterranean Orient Express cruise from Venice, through the Corinth Canal, to Athens, Istanbul, the Turkish ruins of Ephesus (yes, of Paul’s letters to the Ephesians) and stopping by several Mediterranean islands, including Knossos Palace ruins on Crete, Santorini and Rhodes, among others. Needless to say, she was blown away. We were, too, by the magnificent cruise, one of our best journeys ever!
Here are photos I incorporated into a memory quilt for her.
What wonderful memories! I am so ready to travel again if I can ever get my knees replaced and working!
Come in and make a steaming hot cup of coffee! Even if you don’t drink coffee, you’ll like THIS one. It’s a new super-simple applique design for a Platter Pad or quilt block in 3 sizes. I guarantee you know someone who’ll love it! Three rows of four blocks would make a nice wall hanging–make each cup in a different fabric for fun. Very quick!!
I do not have photos of coffee. Just don’t. I sometimes drink a cup (preferably with whipped cream and chocolate), but I don’t photograph it; I’m too busy guzzling it! (MacDonald mocha frappe–just saying!)
I’ve been thinking about pin cushions. Yeah, I know, weird thing to think about and has absolutely NOTHING to do with coffee or platter pads. However, I bought a new wrist pin cushion last week and found I really like it. The old ones had plastic cuffs that cut into my skin and bothered me. Then I got a new one with Velcro on the wrist, which was better, but the magnet wasn’t that strong, and I found a little bump would send pins flying…always landing on the floor for my usually bare feet to pick up. OUCH.
This new one, though, has an actual cushion, deep enough to hold the pins in better, and I’m enjoying the convenience of having them right where I need them.
In general, I prefer the big heavy-duty magnetic ones to have beside my machine. In fact, I have two so that I can keep one on my cutting table as well. LOVE them. If pins ever fall, I just grab them back with the magnet. I DO use an old tomato cushion, too, though NOT for my normal pins. I mark needle sizes on it and file the gently used machine needles there. It also holds safety pins, hat pins, and various sizes of hand-sewing needles so that they don’t “mess up” my main pins. It’s so much easier to grab one when you don’t have to sort through needles and safety pins!
Then there are the “cute” pin cushions–pumpkins, birds, and miscellaneous clever designs. Those I just collect for fun. I even found one that comes in a lipstick tube–great for keeping a few in my purse!
It doesn’t snow often here in the Deep South, and some years we just have to make do with our imaginations. But not today–today I have a cute and quick wall hanging with snowflakes made using my friend, Mr. Bias Tape! Just follow the clear designs and graph to make and place them. A gluestick will hold them in place until you edgestitch. It’s a fun way to play in the snow (and not as cold as making snow angels!) On sale until mid-February for just $2.00! Click here for more infor
Just to prove we DO sometimes get some of those beautiful icy flakes, I have some photos I made two years ago right from my house. The first one I took from my front porch.
Here’s the back yard.
The last few are some of the plants/trees with snow.
This year I may just have to make my own–well, I DID so! Now you can, too.
If not, listen to this lovely rendition of an old Beatles classic:
However, my easy bargello-style “slice and dice” quilted throw is created in muted shades of mulberry, cranberry and grape instead of strawberry. If you can quilt at all and are meticulous about straight seams and strips, you can make this. Honestly, it is simply made of just strips and slices, re-seamed. It’s also really versatile. Not only can it be done in any color range, it’s friendly for jelly roll strips or full-width scraps, AND with minimal change, can be made as a 40″x 40″ lap quilt. Is it time to quilt again?
The sample is for sale for $149. Made with my favorite Warm-n-Natural cotton batting, it will soften with every wash. I challenge you to make your own, though. The pattern is on sale for $3.50 until the end of January.
As I was piecing this last Sunday, I was having trouble with my thread breaking, repeatedly. Now that happens occasionally, but by the time it happened 8-10 times, I’d had ENOUGH ALREADY!!! I sighed and immediately suspected the thread was old and brittle, which DOES happen, especially to cotton thread. So with regret (because I had a full big spool I hated to part with), I switched to a different thread.
Hello–what’s this? More breakage? AARGH! Irritated now, I thought about it and realized that it could be the NEEDLE. I changed it, and voila, no more problem at all for the entire quilt. The culprit was a burr INSIDE the eye of the needle. Most sewers don’t think about that, but it can happen; sometimes in manufacturing, there’s just a goof. So, besides tension problems or brittle thread, don’t forget to check the needle, especially if you notice the thread SHREDDING!
As I’m mentioning needles, let me add that quilters generally can be happy with just size 80 universal. It’s my “go-to” for piecing. A 90 is OK, too. A 70 may be needed for very fine or tightly woven fabric. For actual machine quilting, a quilting needle (same sizes) isn’t mandatory, but it may be preferable because it’s sharper with no ball point.
The ballpoint and jersey needles are made for knits so that they slide through without breaking thread and causing a run (yes, like pantyhose–remember those?) You can get size 100 or 110 for heavy denim or canvas, not often used by quilters. There are double and triple needles as well as wing needles and leather needles, but those are really specialized and not used too often. I do like a double needle for sports hem in knits because it actually has a zigzag action underneath that gives a little stretch. They come in different widths. I’ve also used the narrow-width double needle to make pintucks or pintucks over a tiny cording, but again, that’s really specialized.
What most quilters need, though, is plenty of size 80 universal and quilting. (Plenty because you are supposed to change your needle after every project–do as I say, not as I do.) I have to add that if you have a combination machine with embroidery, more and more common these days, you really need a good supply of embroidery needles, again generally 80, but if you’re doing a really tightly filled embroidery design, you might use 70 while thick embroidery thread could require the 90, which is bigger. In embroidery needles, the EYE is also bigger, a little longer, to provide “play” because the embroidery threads don’t have the “give” that normal cotton or cotton blend/poly core sewing thread has. The Metallica needle has a longer eye yet because metallic thread is really brittle–sew SLOWLY with much, much lower tension. The flat ribbon-style thread is the hardest to deal with, but all those hints belongs in a thread article…some day.
Before I sign off, I want to give an update. The Sewgocreate Studio is almost finished–not loaded up and organized by any means, but the construction is FINALLY–at long last– nearly done. Still waiting for drawers and doors on a desk and cabinet, plus a few other tiny tweaks……but I get to report that THIS PATTERN–“Mulberry Fields Forever” was quilted by Molly (my quilting machine) last night in the studio. Good light, padded floor. YEA!
Next project….knee doctor tomorrow to figure out knee replacement plans. UGH! To be continued….