Tuesday, May 3, 2022


So this has been worked on every day, 3 rows across. That takes me 1-1/2 hours. I know I won't be able to keep up this pace once the weather warms...I'll be working on the garden...but for now, while it's cool and rainy, I'm putting in as much time as I can.
I'm spacing my lines 1 inch apart because thats the easiest way to do the quilting. I'm sewing through the centers of the 9-patch blocks and using a hera marker to mark the other parts. I started using masking tape, but I didn't like sewing next to it. It's too stiff and I need the fabric to give a little as I stitch.
I've added to this quilt too. It's probably about 1/4 of the way completed. It's not going to be huge, maybe a lap quilt. That's all the sewing for now. I'm cutting up green scraps to get ready for the May #rainbowscrapchallenge blocks. I'll work on those next week, I hope.

Sunday, May 1, 2022

April's projects

I'm doing the #rsc2022 this year to help me get my scraps under control. So far I've done RED, AQUA, YELLOW/GOLD, and this past month (April) was PINK. Im following along with Angela's blog and the #RainbowScrapChallenge ...she's on Instagram also I'm making FOUR of the RAINBOW SCRAP QUILTS... An ocean wave quilt, birds in the air, a quilt using scrap strips on a diagonal and a quilt using a "builders block". So those are done for April...not sure what color May will be yet. Since I finished up the 6-point star quilt, I needed a new hand quilting project. I picked this vintage style quilt. It's a copy of a quilt pictured in a magazine (no pattern was available). I used EQ to come up with one then used scraps of shirtings and pieces of old 80's and 90's fabrics along with some newer 1800 reproduction prints. It's on my quilting frame now. Hopefully I can stick to a schedule of three rows a day of quilting. I'd like to get this quilted in a month
And of course I'm still working on this EPP "tumbling blocks" quilt. It goes with me EVERYWHERE...car rides, dentist appointments, doctors...anywhere I'm sitting for a bit.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

English Paper Pieced Quilt

After more than 10 years, this English paper pieced quilt is finished! In 2014 I wrote a blog post about this quilt. At the time I figured I was 50% done (more like 30%). The post states that I had been working on this project for about 5 years. That means I started this in 2009...13 years ago! Wow! That's a long UFO!
The hand quilting was finished a few weeks ago and the binding was attached and sewn down this week. Now it's off to my daughter. She was promised this quilt as her wedding quilt (she was married about 6 years ago). Better late than never!

Saturday, April 16, 2022

A finish!

The toddler I-Spy quilt I was making for my great-neice, Della, is finished. The one for her brother Lewis, was finished up a while ago so they are both being packed up and mailed. Della's quilt, like her brother's quilt, is made with shirting I-Spy blocks. If you follow me on Instagram, you'll see a quick little block tutorial under my highlights. I'm @northerndebquilts
I used a bit brighter and lighter shirtings (and other fabrics) to surround her I-Spy, novelty centers. The I-Spy fabrics were animals, toys, household objects, bugs, book characters...etc. I tried to use at least two of the same type of item (like two different balls, two different bugs, etc) so that the quilt could be a learning tool also. How many balls can you find? How many animals or bugs? It should be fun! My hope is that it will be well used... dragged through the house, used for fort building, taken to the beach and on picnics, and tossed on the floor for tea parties and lego building. This is how we use my quilts at our house. Use them and use them up! I have VERY FEW "precious" quilts. But on that topic, here's one:
I guess I would classify this EPP quilt as precious, or an heirloom quilt. It was completely hand pieced, took 7 years to complete the top and then almost 3 months to hand quilt. I'm putting the binding on now. I used quite a few vintage fabrics in it...some are quite delicate. My daughter Lisa will be the owner of it when it's finished. She's a quilter and knows the value of this one. I'm sure it will be well cared for and passed down through the family in the future.
Besides finishing up the two quilts, I've been taking this #tumblingblocks quilt with me on car trips and dentist/doctor appointments. I'm making progress on it. It definitely wont take 7 years to complete like the 6-point star quilt did!

Sunday, April 3, 2022

Little I-Spies in everything

I love to tuck little "surprises" into my quilts...unexpected characters or animals peeking out of a block. This TUMBLING BLOCK quilt is no exception.... Can you find the surprise character I added for the grandsons to find?
Clue: I was going to wait until the 4th of May to put him in.
I was able to get quite a few tumbling blocks made this morning. We went out to breakfast and stopped to get groceries...lots of sewing time as Al drove. And now, I have a chicken roasting in the oven so I think I can get a bit more stitching in. Have a nice Sunday all! I-spy: Darth Vader (may the force be with you)

Saturday, April 2, 2022

Saturday night sewing

We have a quick spring snowstorm that's moving into northern Michigan for a few hours this evening so instead of taking a walk, I'm sewing.
The Tumbling Blocks are coming along... About a 1/6 of the way done. When we're out for a drive, I bring this along so I'm not bored. Al likes to hit resale shops here and there and a lot of the time I wait in the car. Its nice to have something to do. Although, this week I went into one with him and found a lot of cute fabrics. They were mostly darker ones but they'll be perfect to add into my Pyramid quilt and my log cabin quilt. I also found a couple of cute plaid shirts that I cut up. They were only 50 cents...not bad for almost a yard of fabric.
The other great find was a stool
It opens up to hold my hand sewing. I needed an ottoman by my chair and this one works perfectly.
I'm keeping my fabric scraps for the tumbling blocks quilt in it and my thread basted diamonds. When I have a few minutes to spare, everything is there ready to piece another section.
And this hand quilting project is just about done. Im finishing up the last few stars then I'll pull it off the frame and doquilt the edge triangles. I haven't decided what design I'm doing there yet. Probably something simple.

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Current projects

This is my newest quilt start. It's long term ...a hand sewing ( #epp ) project. My last English paper piecing quilt top took 7 years to make and it's taking about 6 months to hand quilt then bind. This one will be faster since it wont be just worked on during car rides and doc appts. I'm doing some blocks each evening. I've hauled out my bin of 30s reproduction prints and vintage fabrics and am sorting in color order. Then I have daughter Jenn finding coordinating light/medium/dark sets for the blocks.
Also, in the evenings or early morning, I'm putting in a bit of time on that first EPP quilt, my 6-point diamond stars. It's getting to the end. This week I flipped the quilt frame around so that I can quilt the last few rows. It should be finished some time in April.

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

No machine last week

I tried a new thread last week ...supposed to be wonderful for machine quilting...FMQ. Well, my machine ate it! It broke it off and wound it around some inside parts and it seized up. Yesterday, when I picked up my machine, the repairman told me I probably won't be able to finish the quilt with that thread! What?! I can't use two different threads! So, I'm going to put something different in the bobbin but keep the problem thread on top...and proceed SLOWLY. But in the meantime I've been doing some hand sewing.
I started a new English paper piecing project. This is "Tumbling Blocks". I'm going to make the quilt out of 30's reproduction prints, actual vintage fabrics and shirtings. This quilt will take years, I'm sure. My last EPP quilt took 7 years for the top...it's the one I'm hand quilting right now. I hope this doesn't take THAT long but it won't be quick. It'll be something to keep me busy on the road, at sporting events, doctor appts, etc
Of all the papers and patterns, I keep coming back to the 60° diamonds. They're so easy to work with. Before starting this, I searched epp patterns to see what was new or different. There really are a lot to choose from. One that I really like the looks of is Lucy Boston but it seems like a lot of fussy cutting and that's not something I enjoy. I also like the looks of Grandmothers Flower Garden which uses hexagon papers. I've had my fill of hexagons lately and I'm still making an occasional hexie flower for daughter Jenn's quilt. She's very slowly collecting/making those. Another epp pattern I considered was the apple core...really cute finished but maybe a bit harder to join together? So diamonds won out. Anyways, that's what's been happening here the past week. Now I need to finish FMQuilting that great neice quilt

Sunday, March 6, 2022

Sunday sewing

Today's weather is pretty warm but very rainy and very windy. It's a perfect spring day to stay in and sew...at least until the rain stops. I've been sewing a few different things lately. One project I finished up for this month is my YELLOW blocks for the #rsc2022 which is the rainbow scrap challenge I'm doing.
My other project is a daily dose of hand quilting on this quilt:
I'm "trying" to do #300daysofhandquilting along with some Instagram quilters. So far I've been at it about 15 days.
Also, I've made some more log cabin blocks and added them to my wall...I think I have 25 or so to make. And as I'm sorting and cutting for the log cabins, I also cut drunkard path pieces and pyramid pieces. I was planning to start machine quilting a child's quilt this week but just wasnt up to it. Maybe later today.

Sunday, February 27, 2022

Almost March

It seems like February just started and now it's almost March. Spring is on the way! Of course, here in Michigan we still have a chance of snow until May. Almost every year around Easter, we will get hit with a huge snowstorm. Hopefully not this year. With spring right around the corner I thought I would do some spring cleaning... in my sewing room.
It was a disaster before this. I'm piecing 3 or 4 quilts right now. The main two are on the floor and on the wall. I found old log cabin blocks as I was digging for Civil war fabrics, so I added those to my wall along with a star I had started years ago.
The corners needed to be added to the lone star and then a a border to bring it up to 24-1/2" so that I could insert it in the middle of my log cabin quilt. The two were originally going to be 2 separate quilts but I changed my plan. These old UFOs need to be completed...
This was another UFO that needed some work. Over the last year or so, I've been making hexie flowers...these I applique onto a background square to use as a border on this quilt. I finished up the last hexie flower this past week so I've attached the border and used random leftover blocks as corners. The corner blocks were designed YEARS ago for a quilt that I never made. I loved them and wanted to use them somehow. In the future I may release a pattern using the blocks.
So that's what I'm piecing (along with my monthly rainbow scrap blocks). This is my machine quilting project. I'll be FMQuilting it on my Pfaff....probably starting Monday.
And of course, this gets a litte attention every day. On Instagram, I joined the ladies that are doing #300daysofhandquilting ...This will help keep me working on it a bit all through the spring.

Saturday, February 19, 2022

Working on 3 or 4 quilts at once

It's no surprise to anyone that knows me that I'm working on multiple quilts. I get bored VERY easily. I love to spend a little time on each quilt every day.

I'm currently working on piecing my Pyramid quilt, basting a quilt for a grandniece, hand quilting on Lisa's quilt and just finishing up a vintage looking quilt that uses old fabrics.
This is Lisa's. It's all hand pieced (epp). It took me over 7 years to piece so I felt it needed to be hand quilted. ****** Below are some of my vintage fabrics that were cut up for the vintage-style quilt. I wanted all "older" fabrics so that I would get a true vintage feel.
This would be cute done with all 30's reproductions or all civil wars style fabrics, or anything bright...but I think using a variety of old fabrics gives it an olf look. It looks like many that I see in antique stores. Anyways, if you'd like to stitch one up, this is what I did: Cut: (240) 4" sqs from assorted fabrics (16) 3-1/2" x 18" from solid blue for vertical sashing (15) 3-1/2" x 14-1/2" from solid blue for horizontal sashing (20) 3-1/2" x 3-1/2" red print for cornerstones Layout 20 squares in a 4x5 grid. Sew 4 squares per row...5 rows per block. Make 12 blocks. Sash blocks using blue strips and red cornerstones. Quilt will finish at 65"x 71-1/2"
These blocks were easier to put together if they were laid out next to my machine. I could have just randomly grabbed pieces but I wanted to alternate darker and lighter or busier with plainer pieces. It didnt always work out that way but I'm happy enough with the results.


So this has been worked on every day, 3 rows across. That takes me 1-1/2 hours. I know I won't be able to keep up this pace once the we...