Sunday, September 29, 2013

New blogging station!

My awesome boyfriend made me this tray table tonight.  Here's the full story:  Shain and I both felt kind of under the weather today.  We got some yard work and chores done this morning.  We got groceries, visited my parents, and I made a pot of sauce.  However, by about 2pm, we were both ready for some quality time on the couch.  At 5pm, Shain was ready for dinner, and I had promised him french toast.  I was loathe, however, to let him eat anything with maple syrup on the couch!  I mentioned I would like a tray table, like those used to serve breakfast in bed, and showed him a few pictures on the internet of what I meant.  After he finished his french toast, with syrup and whipped cream and a large, hot coffee, he disappeared into the gargare for several hours.  He finally resurfaced around 8pm with this awesome tray table!  It's made from a really nicely aged oak.  All the corners are thoughtfully sanded round.  All that's lacking is a coat of stain to protect it.  I'm sure I will enjoy this table for years to come.  Such a wonderful gift from my wonderful man!

The beautiful top.

Current status.

I'm sure it will spend a lot of time on our ottoman.

Goodnight friends,

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Check out this cutie!

I have been thinking about making a few baby quilts lately.  Not because there are any babies in my future...I am too old for that!  No new grandbabies either.  I guess I am just looking for some smaller projects that finish quicker.

I put this together in less than a week.  I am loving the colors.  The solid is Kona rich.  And I love the houses!  The fabric is called "Our Town" and is from Connecting Threads.  The crummy evening lighting does not do it justice.

Maybe tomorrow I will organize some backing so I can get this one in line for some Innova longarm magic.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Do.Good Stitches Hope Circle - September Bee Blocks

I was able to find some time last night to put together my September bee blocks.   The quilter asked for log cabin style blocks in pink with bright orange or yellow centers.  I pretty  much used up my larger pink scraps.  It is a good thing I have a pink  quilt planned so my scraps will be replenished soon!

I also finally received some news about the August blocks that are due.  I am the quilter for August and have been waiting (forever) for two more sets of blocks.  I should be receiving them soon (I hope)!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Taggie Cube

Introducing Taggie v2.0!

My original taggie can be seen on my flickr page.  It is made of the same fabrics and embellishments, but in a 2D form, like a small quilted blankie, about 15"x15".  Thie original taggie was given to a grandpa-to-be, anxiously awaiting the first child of his eldest son.  Said grandpa loved the taggie and the copy of The Cat in the Hat that accompanied it.  Baby Freya loved the taggie as well, and I've seen many adorable pictures of her playing with the taggie.  Unfortunaly, about 2 weeks ago, the taggie ran away, between the car, grocery store, and library, somewhere in the heart of Maine.  Luckily, I had a few scraps of fabric left over, and I finally had a chance this weekend to whip up taggie v2.0 - the taggie cube!  

Made out of 6 6" squares of flannel/cotton and about 16 3-4" pieces of ribbon/ric-rac, and stuffed with fiberfil, the taggie cube is a 3D taggie wonder! Smooth ribbon, snuggly flannel, bumpy ric-rac and smooshy fiberfill; what a fun toy for a baby! Not to mention nice and bright!  Sewing in 3D can be a challenge, but with practice it IS becoming easier for me.  And I truly love projects that can be completed in a few hours: instant gratification!  And there is nothing better than making something to give away and really knowing that the intended recipient will love it. I really enjoyed this project and depending on the feedback I receive, I'm considering writing up a formal pattern (eek!).  The only thing I would consider changing on this is to make it slightly smaller, maybe use 4 1/2" squares, to make it a little easier for small hands to handle.  I really hope Miss Freya loves it!


Edit:  Here is a picture of Freya loving up her original taggie.  I wanted to show what the 2D taggie looks like.  I am sure I will make more 2D taggies as well as more 3D taggie cubes; I love them both so much!

Edit again: Freya with the taggie cube! So precious!

Red Snappers storage

As  part of the DIY adventure yesterday with Francesca, we also came up with a system for storing Red Snappers.  For those of you who are not familiar with the term, Red Snappers is a pinless quilt loading system designed by Renae Haddadin.  I received my set of Snappers included when I bought my Innova longarm.  They are available at and other sources.

We started with a cardboard tube  that  was used to ship metal rods thus it is heavy duty and very sturdy.  The tube was cut to the appropriate lenghts   and then one end covered with duct tape.  We then wrapped the tube in a cute mustache patterned duct tape that I purchased at the local Tractor Supply store.  The tape was wrapped in a spiral fashion overlapping about 1/4 to 1/2 inch.  We used an extra piece of tape around the top edge folding it over to cover.

We needed tubes in three different lengths to accomodate the three different lengths of the snapper pieces.

Francesca came up with the brilliant idea to attach the tubes to the quilt frame with pipe clamps.  A job made much easier with the Hitachi cordless driver (have I mentioned before how great it is to have the right tools?  Thank you hubby!).

Voila!  The snappers are stored in a handy place where they are also safe from any damage when not in use.

DIY pressing board

I spent some time yesterday with Francesca working on a few DIY projects since the construction foreman (hubby) is out of town on a business trip which necessarily brings construction work to a grinding halt.

First we made a pressing board for the top of my tool chest.  My husband had previously cut a piece of plywood to the correct size for me.  I covered it with insulated batting and then a pretty piece of batik in just the right color.  The edges were neatly folded under and I used a pneumatic stapler to attach the fabric and batting to the bottom of the board.  As an aside, a pneumatic stapler is a crafter's dream!  It is amazing how handy it is to have an air compressor and a few tools.  More about that in another post.  I just love how this turned out!

Next we followed basically the same process to cover a small folding table.  I think this will be so handy next to my sewing area.  Most of the time there is no need for the large ironing board (mine is old and very heavy) and this table is just the right size and height for quick seam pressing near the machine.  And it folds flat for storage!

I think the hardest part of this project was deciding which fabric to use!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Inauguration of WIP Wednesday

I hereby declare th 3rd Wednesday of each month to be henceforth known as WORK IN PROGRESS WEDNESDAY here at Swink Girls Quilts.  Every WIP Wednesday I will post pictures of projects I am working on. I'm looking forward to documenting the advancement of the project, not just the end results.  I'm also hoping that my commitment to WIP Wednesday will help me make progress on my projects and give me a little accountability ;-)

Here is a look at my current WIPs:

Of course, the PoD.  Stuck at 11 blocks.  I have #12 printed out and it's a very cool block.  I promise to have it done by next WIP Wednesday!

I don't have a name for this quilt yet.  I have a bunch of fabric for it though; pink, yellow and green on a white background (remind you of SMQ at all?).  I only have 12 out of estimated 110 blocks for this quilt done and all the cutting before me. Who cares though, I already bought the backing.  Kind of premature now that you think of it ;-)  I made this pattern up, though I can hardly claim so as these are simple 1/2 square triangles made from a 5" square block (think charm pack) and then assembled in to diamonds.  I haven't named this quilt yet and I am open to suggestions.  I've been thinking of Sweet Kites, but I'm not set on it.  I'm going to try to have at least 20 blocks for this quilt by next WIP Wednesday. 

Feel free to leave a comment with a link to your WIP(s)...I would love to see them. 

Craft on!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

I won!

So I've really been trying to be more involved in the online crafting community lately. Blogging more here, commenting on blogs I read, uploading pics on flickr, promoting the Swink Girls Quilts facebook page, etc. I've also been getting my feet wet in some raffles and contests. (I'm also starting to get interested in swaps/bees/BOW/BOM/stitch-a-longs, etc. so let me know if you know of something cool starting soon.) I'm getting to the point, I promise. One of my favorite sites Fandom in Stitches hosted a contest last week. A free paper piece pattern was posted on their site. One had to simply make the block and post a picture of it to the FiS flickr group to enter a drawing for a free pattern....and... I WON!! It's my first win so I'm pretty excited :)

Here's my entry of Hogwarts Sue, all batik of course:

Isn't she cute?

You can get the pattern from Fandom in Stiches if you would like to make your own :) I'm keeping hush about the pattern I'm receiving as a prize...but I'll be sure to post what I make with it!

Also, for posterity, here is the link to the post announcing this awesome, cool news: click me.

Craft on and enter contests!

The last Sunday Morning Quilts Bee Blocks

I just finished up my last    pair of blocks for the Sunday Morning Quilts Bee and Iam feeling a little sad that the Bee is ending.  I have enjoyed the projects and the cameraderie, and I definitely made some things that I would not have otherwise.

I love my quilts from both rounds (see Scribbles quilt and Vine wallhanging pictures). 

Getting my feet wet in the SMQ Bee gave me the confidence to join do. Good Stitches.   I am a quilter in the Hope circle.

I would very much encourage quilters out there to participate in a Bee if you have a chance; it has been a positive experience for me.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Bee Blocks

I am needing to get caught up on my bee blocks so today I sewed  up these little pieces for the Sunday Morning Quilts Bee (round 2).  I think this is the last month. I have two more different blocks to make for this bee this month and also blocks for the do. Good Stitches Hope circle September quilt.

Still busy working on the studio but we are seeing progress.  It is startjng to get cold so we need to think about getting the heat installed (a pellet stove is planned).

Saturday, September 14, 2013


I learned about mash-ups the same way everyone else in America did; by watching Glee. So I just completed a cool mash up of my own.  I use a neat paper-pieced patter by Michelle Thompson of Fandom in Stitches and a modified version of a pattern from Crazy Mom Quilts.  The result was this neat Tinkerbell Tray:

The picture really doesn't do this piece justice.  The green on the outside is Kona Cactus, which, in person is a really bright and fun green that I adore.  Also, the yellow for the hair is almost gold, a very pretty batik.  In fact, all the the Tinkerbell block is batik.  Michelle's Tinkerbell pattern was probably the hardest thing I've ever pieced.  Much more difficult than Hedwig.  There 10 parts to the pattern, some up which had 30 pieces or more!  But it is very cool.  

To make the tray I just followed the same pattern for the fabric box/storage cube, but I made the side walls much shorter.  About 3".  I also chose to bind the top rather than do the flip inside outside lining trick.  The main reason for this was that I used a VERY heavy duty stabilizer under Tinkerbell to keep the bottom of the tray from sagging and I didn't want to bend it all up.  The second reason was to give myself another hand sewing project.  I did MUCH better sewing the binding down on this project.  I think I will hand sew down my next quilt binding (EEK!) instead of making Kimberly do it :)

I really enjoy using this blog as a format to critique myself, so, in closing, what do I dislike about this project? OR, what would I do differently if I made it again?  First, I would put stabilizer on the bottom pieced (on the other side of Tinkerbell) to give the bottom even more support.  I would also consider quilting the bottom, but I don't have a free motion foot for  my machine.  Also, like last time, I should have put stabilizer in the walls of the tray. I really don't have a good reason why I didn't.  Oh well.  Over all though, pleased with the Tinkerbell Tray Mash-Up :)

Ever Onward,


Friday, September 13, 2013

Vinyl Zippy Bags!

I saw this post from Crazy Mom Quilts from back in 2008.  Then I saw clear vinyl in the remnants bin at JoAnn's 2 nights ago. Then I had to make this :)


I love it.  It's roomy, yet sleek.  It co-ordinates with the mug organizer I made last week.  And the vinyl was fun to work with, even though it's slippy and you can't pin it.  It was fun to work with a different medium.  Also please notice the adorable Swink Girls Quilts logo in the bottom right corner here:


So sweet :)  I'm also really proud of myself on this project because I finished the binding by hand (I ALWAYS cheat and use my sewing machine with a top stitch or a zig zag).  It was a real challenge for me as I am not good at hand sewing but I told myself I was going to do it and I did!


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Fabricworm Order

I just received my first order from fabricworm. The fabric took about a week to reach me in NY from CA. I love what I ordered! Some really cool Robert Kauffman Kona solids and a few pieces for a red/white/black quilt I'm planning.  Who could say no to those mustachios? Amy Adams for Riley Blake. So excited!
Craft on my friends!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


I could not resist posting this. I was SO intimidated by this block when I looked at the pattern.  See all those weird angle-y pieces at the bottom?  Yeah.  And she is a little crooked, but I am still really proud of this block. It took forever! I don't even want to admit how many seams I had to rip out because of the angles and because I kept getting my colors backwards! Still, I persisted, and I'm really pleased with this block...what a hoot!

pattern courtesy of


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Fabric find

I was in Wal*Mart the other day and found this fabric in the bargain bin for $5.00/yd.  Mind you I don't often shop for fabric this way since the products they offer are not always of the highest quality.  This particualr fabric though has a nice hand and compares favorably with any high quality quilting fabric.  And, I LOVE IT!

Getting excited now!

I am making very good progess on the 'simply woven' quilt blocks.  Only one more strip to add to each of the 25 remaining blocks and the blocks will be done!  Woot woot!

This project (and others) has been on the back burner while all free time has been spent working on the new studio.  Since the hubs is out of town this week, I have had a little breather and snuck in some stiching.    I am contemplating a name for the quilt.  It is destined to belong to my Uncle Tom, (Captain, US Navy, Ret.)  He had requested a quilt with a nautical theme.  Since I am not much for themed quilts I decided to just make something I like and hope he likes it too.   The colors remind me of water so maybe it IS nautical!  Something like High Seas?  Suggestions?

I am looking forward to quilting this on my new Innova Longarm.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Not all sewing projects have to be Quilts

A lesson I always try to remember is that not all sewing projects have to be big, complicated, long term projects. While I enjoy the sense of accomplishment and success I get when I finish a bed quilt, I also like the instant gratification of a small project. It is nice to make some thing from start to finish in one sitting or a few days. And often small projects can be made more intricate and special by making patchwork instead of using a cut of fabric. You can also use embellishment like buttons or snaps, or small pieces of ribbon or trim you may have laying around.

Check out these nifty projects I've whipped up in the past few days:
This is a great storage cube made out of 10 Moda charm squares from American Banner Rose. I borrowed the pattern from this wonderful blog. You should absolutely check it out. I made my cube out of quilting cotton and used cardboard to hold it's shape. When I made another I will probably use some interfacing instead to get a sharper shape. This pattern is really great because it would be really easy to adapt to make any size box, or a rectangle, or make the sides lower and make more of a shallow box/tray. As I said before, if you wanted to make your cube more special/intricate you can use patchworked pieced for the sides, or add trim/embellishments/embroidery, etc.

I'm really proud of this next project. I saw the simplicity pattern on Amazon but I didn't want to spend $10 on it. So I looked at some pictures on google of finished organizers that other people made and drafted up my own pattern. First time I've made my own pattern! I'm so pleased with how it came out!
My hand written pattern.

Craft on!

Still making progress on the sewing room

We were able to finish a new thread cabinet for the long arm cones  and also a few arts/crafts projects.  We still have lots of work to do to finish the walls and electric but hopefully we will be able to work on those things this next weekend.

My New Sewing Space

Hello again :) I've spent some time in the last few days switching my sewing room in my house. The room I'm in now is bigger than the old one. I'm so excited that I can have my cutting table in the same room as my sewing machine! It's upstairs now, so it will be warmer in the winter, which seems to be quickly approaching with this cool weather lately. The only downside is that the window in my old room looked out on the driveway and if I heard someone pull in I could easily check who. (first world problem, ha ha ) Here are some pictures of my new space:

This is a shot of where I sew, iron and cut. The tote floating around in the middle does have a home under the cutting table so I can roll around in my new chair all I want :) You might be able to tell that I sew on a Bernina and I LOVE IT! My sewing machine is one of my most prized possessions. It was a gift from my parents about 1.5 years ago. You can also see my book shelf. My Harry Potter books have the place on honor on the top. My sewing books are missing from his room, however. They are in the thread cabinet that my dad made me which has not been moved to the new room yet as I need Shain to hang it up for me.

This is the wall above the cutting table. You can see all my DIY white boards hanging on the wall. More info on these can be found on this post. You can also see a nifty mirror that I found in the garage and spray painted.

Lastly you can see the window; curtain courtesy of me. Also my mini wall hanging and the beautiful peacock feathers I got for my birthday this year. On top of the dresser you can see the awesome jewelry board my mom made me for my birthday a few years back.

Thanks for taking the tour with me!

Craft on friends!

Friday, September 6, 2013

One Year!

I just happened to notice that today marks 1 year of the Swink Girls Quilts blog! Woohoo! We have come a long way in a year. From getting our feet wet in the internet community to finally joining Facebook! Please feel free to 'like' our Facebook page. Click here to go there now.

And in the physical realm we have done SO much work on the new studio. Not to mention the addition of the new Innova long arm machine!

As far as projects go we have really honed our long arm skills and seen some wonderful projects this past year. We're looking forward to the next year!


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Longarm has arrived!

Yesterday was spent taking delivery of my new Innova longarm machine.  I am a proud new owner of a 22" with Lightning Stitch regulator and a 12 foot Pro frame.  Since I purchased a demo unit, it was partially assembled prior to delivery and it still took several hours to get it up and running.  I purchased from Dan and Jennie Kerwood of At Home Quilting in Johnstown NY.  The service has been outstanding!

Dan arrived on time and in good spirits despite a long drive from his shop.  My husband and I helped to unload the van and the frame assembly began.  It was not long before we could set the sew head on the rails and take it for a spin.  There was some fussing to get the machine level since my shop is converted from a porch and has a slight slope built in (about 1" over 10').  I  purchased the casters and we discovered that they can be adjusted similar to the self leveling feet that ship with the frame (thanks to my husband!).

Dan likes to talk and he spent quite a bit of time showing  me some of his own quilting and giving us ideas and suggestions for free motion designs. 

I purchased Panotvision as well and just as a heads up for anyone else purchasing same, there was no training on how to use the system.  Dan did show us how to mount tha tablet on the sew head and that is about it.  The softward for the tablet is loaded on a USB thumb drive which was bubble wrapped in the Pantovision box.  If I did not look carefully at it, I might have thrown it out by mistake!  Dan directed us to Renae Hadaddin's site for Panto vision videos, instruction etc.

We finally let Dan go around 6 PM....  I am sure he was glad to get back on the road.   My daughter and I spent some time practising until I had to quit since it was getting late.

There will be a learning curve I know but I am confident it will not be too hard.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

PoD update!

Today was one of those Sundays when I sat at my sewing machine almost all day <3.  A few breaks here and there but I had a very productive sewing day. I made the mini wall hanging in the previous post and also put a few hours into my favorite WIP, the PoD (Project of Doom), courtesy of Like my Raspberry Lemonade, I'm using exclusively batik fabrics on this paper-pieced marvel.  This quilt will be years in the making at the rate I'm going, but I got 3 blocks done today!

And 2 more on Monday makes 5! Another row down, 4 more to go!

'I Love Sewing' wall hanging

Title says it all. Fun 5" paper pieced blocks. Sweet polka dots and some lovely colors. Nifty hanging sleeve. This was so fun to make and I can't wait to hang it up in my sewing room.

Sewing machine block pattern courtesy of