Hand Quilting Video

I took a series of short videos of my hand quilting last year and posted them on Instagram.  Content on Instagram moves quickly, though, so I also took one longer video to post here on the blog.  It only took me about a year upload it...

In this video you can see how I start a line of quilting.  I always quilt from right to left but I pop the knot and tail of my thread on the left and then my first few stitches stabilize that thread tail and knot from popping back out.  I use both hands to produce the stitches.  Even though I'm right handed, my left hand helps produce each stitch by moving the quilt up and down. 

If you have any further questions, leave them in the comments.  I will email you back.  If you don't have an email address linked to your account, please leave the address in your comment.

I hope you are enjoying your December crafting time. I'll be machine quilting tonight on a project that I hope to show you early in January.

My favorite poem

Pray for Peace  by Ellen Bass

Pray to whomever you kneel down to:
Jesus nailed to his wooden or marble or plastic cross,
his suffering face bent to kiss you,
Buddha still under the Bo tree in scorching heat,
Adonai, Allah. Raise your arms to Mary
that she may lay her palm on our brows,
to Shekinah, Queen of Heaven and Earth,
to Inanna in her stripped descent.

Hawk or Wolf, or the Great Whale, Record Keeper
of time before, time now, time ahead, pray. Bow down
to terriers and shepherds and Siamese cats.
Fields of artichokes and elegant strawberries.

Pray to the bus driver who takes you to work,
pray on the bus, pray for everyone riding that bus
and for everyone riding buses all over the world.
If you haven't been on a bus in a long time,
climb the few steps, drop some silver and pray.

Waiting in line for the movies, for the ATM,
for your latte and croissant, offer your plea.
Make your eating and drinking a supplication.
Make your slicing of carrots a holy act,
each translucent layer of the onion, a deeper prayer.

Make the brushing of your hair
a prayer, every strand its own voice,
singing in the choir on your head.
As you wash your face, the water slipping
through your fingers, a prayer: water,
softest thing on earth, gentleness
that wears away rock.

Making love, of course, is already a prayer.
Skin and open mouths worshiping that skin,
the fragile case we are poured into,
each caress a season of peace.

If you're hungry, pray. If your tired.

Pray to Ghandi and Dorothy Day.
Shakespeare. Sappho. Sojourner Truth.
Pray to the angels and the ghost of your grandfather.

When you walk to your car, to the mailbox,
to the video store, let each step
be a prayer that we all keep our legs,
that we do not blow off anyone else's legs.
Or crush their skulls.
And if you are riding on a bicycle
or a skateboard, in a wheelchair, each revolution
of the wheels a prayer that as the earth revolves
we will do less harm, less harm, less harm.

And as you work, typing with a new manicure,
a tiny palm tree painted on one pearlescent nail,
or delivering soda, or drawing good blood
into rubber-capped vials, writing on a blackboard
with yellow chalk, twirling pizzas, pray for peace.

With each breath in, take in the faith of those
who have believed when belief seemed foolish,
who persevered. With each breath out, cherish.

Pull weeds for peace, turn over in your sleep for peace,
feed the birds for peace, each shiny seed
that spills onto the earth another second of peace.
Wash your dishes, call your mother, drink wine.

Shovel leaves or snow or trash from your sidewalk.
Make a path. Fold a photo of a dead child
around your Visa card. Gnaw your crust
of prayer, scoop your prayer water from the gutter.
Mumble along like a crazy person, stumbling
your prayer through the streets.  

Hard to give away

Henry went off to his first day of school for this year, so I thought I'd try blogging again.  I'm behind on everything around the house, but why not procrastinate a little bit longer?

I have drastically cut back on my sewing bees and swaps--because I'm low on sewing time, my WIP's keep piling up, but mostly because it is stressful to sew for other people and equally stressful to send it away in the mail after working so hard on it.  Recently I saw the ice cream swap on instagram and I thought I'd give swaps another try.

The ice cream block comes from the 318 Patchwork Patterns book by Kumiko Fujita.  This book was recently release again in English and is for sale at the link (and I have no ties with the vendor).  I have loved that ice cream block since I first saw Penny's block (back in 2010!) and now I've finally made one.

ice cream pencil case swap

I used a bag construction technique found in a Suzuko Koseki book but then changed the dimensions to suit the pencil bag I wanted to make.  You quilt the front and back panels but use a separate lining and then you quilt a zipper gusset with the lining fabric.  Then when the gusset is sewn into the bag there are exposed seam allowances. 

 seam allowances unfinished

Then you stitch binding tape above the seam allowance by hand and then stitch it by hand again below the seam allowance but without wrapping the seam allowance.  This way the seam allowance is tucked down and that gives the bag more shape while making the inside cleaner. 

seam allowances finished

Here is a picture of the quilted gusset.


The finished zipper gusset,

gusset zipper

and the finished bag.  Yet again, I love the finished product so much that I really didn't want to send it off in the mail.  I'll probably be taking another break from swaps.  Call me selfish, but I don't seem to find time to make cute ice cream bags to stay here at home and I'll never will if I keep signing up for more swaps.

finished pencil case

For Pink Sakes

I am participating in the For Pink Sakes Blog Hop hosted by Anna of Life Sew Crafty.  Anna is collecting pink blocks to make a breast cancer quilt.  Her mother-in-law has been fighting breast cancer and she has more information about that here.

For Pink Sakes

For my block, I used the bra block pattern at Paper Panache.  I just fell in love with the duck and duckling fabric and now I wish that I had a bra like this.  Unfortunately, a bra made out of quilting cotton would probably be uncomfortable...

If YOU would like to contribute a pink block to Anna's quilt, please find more information on her blog.  Anna will also be hosting a giveaway on August 2 for anyone who has participated by reposting, sending a pink block, contributions, etc.  The giveaway items are pretty cool, so click through on this link and consider pitching in.

Now go check out the other bloggers on the blog hop!

May 10
Anna of Life Sew Crafty
Sarah of Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Robin  Miscellaneous Thoughts
Kathy of Kwilty Pleasures

May 24
Jess of Quilty Habit
Melinda of quirky granola girl
Kristyn of Melon Patch Quilts

June 7
Amy of The  Calico Cat
Leanne of Devoted Quilter
Terrie of Quilting Nonnie

June 21
Carla of modern bias
Meli of Munchkin Quilts
Stacey of The Tilted Quilt
Julie of The Crafty Quilter 

July 5
Erin of Sew at Home Mummy
Lyanna of Blue Striped Room
Heather of Quilts in the Queue 

July 19
Katie of Swim Bike Quilt
Sarah of {no} hats in the house
Katie of Snuggle Up with a Dish from Karma

Baby quilt for a new little MQG member

Jessie, the president of the DC Modern Quilt Guild, just had a baby.  I was lucky enough to get to put together the blocks from the MQG members to make the quilt for the new little bundle.

Vivian and her quilt

I was inspired by Teaginny's Tiny Log Cabin Quilt.  So I asked for monochromatic log cabin blocks in each member's favorite color, out of their favorite fabrics and measuring only four to five inches.  I also asked each person to send some pale neutral scrap for the sashing.

Once I received quite a few blocks in the mail, I arranged them on my design floor.  I like to use the back of a picnic tablecloth.  The flannel side is very sticky and the other side is slippery so it is easy to roll up or fold and then flatten it back out without my blocks getting rearranged.

starting layout

Then I started improv piecing around each colorful block with whatever low volume bits I could find that worked.  Here is the first quarter,

1st quarter

the second quarter (after Henry trampled on it),

2nd quarter

the third quarter,

3rd quarter

and the fourth.

4th quarter

Once the top was all assembled I basted it,

needs hand quilting
and then did some quilting with white 20wt thread.

Then I added some black hand quilting around each block...





(that cerise block is mine!)

...and I hand stamped the back of the quilt with the first name of the person that made that block.


Linda attached the binding and hand stitched most of it and Anne finished the rest.  I'm so grateful that some people like to add binding because it is my least favorite step of the process.

Linda and Anne are awesome

I stamped DCMQG and wrote the year on it.


These are 11 of the 24(!) people that submitted blocks for this quilt.

some contributors on retreat

Patchwork Death Star Pattern

The pattern is posted to my blog. Link in my profile. Please please tag it #patchworkdeathstar.  I'd love to see it.

I was hoping to post this a couple of days ago, but it turns out that I'm not very tech savvy.  Thank goodness I finally pulled it together.  Here is the link for the pdf file for the free pattern and some instructions.

I have a couple of pictures that I took along the way that I'll post here.  If you do make a patchwork Death Star please please please post a link for me to see.  If you are on IG, please tag it #patchworkdeathstar.  Thanks!  I can't wait to see different versions.  I originally dreamed of this all in tiny Libery florals.  Wouldn't that be cool?

Well anyway, here is a shot of a few of my pieces after glue basting.

And here is a picture of the top half pieced and sitting on top of my first drawing of it. 
In process

The final pattern will make an 11x12" block.  The perimeter fabric can easily be made larger by extending the paper pattern.  The Death Star itself could be made bigger by bringing the pdf printouts to a copy store and enlarging them.

May the force be with you. 

Confirmation that I'm a geek

(As if you needed it.)

I sent this mini quilt off to a friend last week.  It is a Patchwork Death Star.

Patchwork Death Star

The inspiration for it started when my friend, Blair, sent me this most fabulous embroidery hoop.

I got a super sweet gift from the uber talented @silentblair.

Perhaps, more accurately, it started much earlier when we started talking about how smooth Lando Calrissian is.  Once it was determined that we were both Star Wars fans, the pins and tags just kept flying.  She is super sweet and talented so she made me that hoop of awesomeness up above.

It is really, really hard to craft for awesome crafters.  It took me a l-o-n-g time to decide what my theme would be.  And then I was stuck on making the Death Star all in florals.  It turns out that I didn't have enough small scale florals for my idea and getting the right value changes was going to be impossible.  But I have gray fabric up the wazoo.  Once I decided to do the pattern with English paper piecing things went pretty smoothly.  Some advice from Melissa and Jessie helped, too.

I really didn't think that there would be many people who would want to make a Patchwork Death Star of their very own.  But the requests for a pattern have been pretty insistent.  I still need to finalize how to print the pattern out, but I hope to have it up tomorrow. 

Have you ever shown your geeky side in your quilting?

March Recap

Two posts in two days may sound a little too crazy, but here goes nothin'...

In March:

I KNIT A SWEATER!  I don't mean to holler but I LOVE it.  I really really really do.  It isn't finished in this picture but you have to believe me that it is done, ends weaved in, blocked, and I wear it in all of its squishy, yummy, colorful glory.  I have a big crush...on my own sweater.  (Now I just need to gather the courage to take a picture of me wearing it.)  The pattern is Practically and is available on ravelry. 

I have about four rows left!!

I finished my last bee block for the Ringo Pie Bee and this one was for Penny (sewtakeahike) who was the one that taught me how to design my own bee blocks in the first place.   No pressure or anything.  I am very happy with how this one turned out.  I used a crapton of different techniques on it.  That seems to be my thing.  My little odd person niche in the world is to use a crazy number of techniques in order to realize the vision of the block in my head.  And that works for me.

My last #ringopiebee block for Penny at sewtakeahike.

We've been working a lot in our new community garden plot on warm days

and then we get a few more snow days.

I'm generally sick of snow days,  but Henry has been beside himself with joy all day.

I'm trying out sewing hexies by machine.  There is a big plan in the works for this piece!

Just the start of something good... #hexies

And I've had a few secret gift projects up my sleeve this month.  My first gift reveal gets it own post...very, very soon. 

Number 5

Yup.  This is blog post number five for 2014.  (Henry likes counting in Spanish so he would say, cinco).
I could apologize for my absence, but I won't.  This is a place I come to with things that have inspired me and stories that I want to share.  And I have no regrets for how I've spent my time so far this year.

But how do I catch up to the current inspiration?  Thankfully flickr and IG remind me.

I wove a scarf on my loom.  I'm delighted that I found a good place for two of my favorite stash yarns and super duper glad that a good friend was willing to give this scarf a home.

I forgot to post the finished scarf that I wove on the loom. I'm really happy with it. I want to weave another scarf next but I can't decide on the yarn. #loomweaving

I gave up knitting one sweater.  But selling the yarn and some hoarded fabric allowed me to buy...

I ripped this whole vest out today...  This is the second time that this yarn does not want to be made into a sweater by me. So I'm selling it to someone on ravelry. And I feel much freer ✨

...some Madelinetosh yarn to knit another sweater.

I love that my knitting matches the quilt in my lap. #ravellenicgames2014

I had to rip that sweater, too.  But when I love a yarn that much, I don't mind knitting it all over again.

Maybe I should have tried it on WAY before I got to the fourth ball of yarn. #ribbit

We took a road trip with the boy...to Wisconsin...in February...with the added fun of a polar vortex. We had a great time on our trip, but I swear that we should meet up with my family in a warmer locale next time.

#latergram of Henry trying to shove all of "Woody's guys" under his armpit for safekeeping during the car trip. My little hoarder has to touch all of his favorite toys at once. At least he is excited to be in the car and headed to Wisconsin    6 more hour

While in Green Bay, I helped my mom quilt her Farmer's Wife quilt.  It was a huge job but definitely satisfying.

My mom, @bakerlady16, and I on her #farmerswifequilt

Lastly, I finished some ancient bee blocks.  I feel like ancient is the primary adjective I use when describing bee blocks here.  I think I need to keep up on my bee block calendar a wee bit more for the rest of 2014.  Do you agree?

Farmer's Wife block 30, End of Day. Ancient replacement bee block for @wheretheorchidsgrow.

Replacement bee block for @wheretheorchidsgrow. Her theme was 50's housewife. #cocoricobee

Whew!  That was all January and February.

Stay tuned for my next update.
I'm totally serious.  I will be back very soon.

Dear Sweet Boy

This morning you woke up and said, "Trains! Play trains." You are nearly four and half and this is the first time in two years that you wanted to play with trains without tantrums and without me plying you with treats.  You watched a video of a classmate playing with them and you decided that you could do it, to.  You never have liked wheeled vehicles before, and today you still weren't interested in setting up the track or in moving the train on the track.

Instead you played with them in your own unique way.  You nested.

Your daddy and I made you a train table when you were one and half.  And today you piled the tracks and trains on it, added a layer of Toy Story figures (paying the trains your highest compliment), you added some bubble wrap for good measure and then added the doggies, soft blankie and the quilt from your bed (your own version of whipped cream and a cherry on top).

I didn't get a picture of the next part because I was too busy giggling.  You laid on top of your treasures with the quilt covering you and your toys.  Your head was under the quilt and everything else was in a pile under you and you kept saying, "Sleep." Then you poked your head out from under the quilt, grinned at me and said, "I'm exhausted."

You, my son, are a hoarder of great treasures, you are a nester (often singing, "lay down in your nest, let me take a rest") and a cuddler.  And you accepted trains and train tracks into your nest to cuddle today, right on top of your train table.  And it made me cry--the happy kind.  My joyful boy learned how to play with trains in his own way.  You watched a peer at school, saw how happy trains made him and you decided to show me how happy trains make you.

I love you more than words can express.  So I think you and I will make a nest later today.

Speaking of Samplers

I've been hand quilting my Farmer's Wife blocks this month. 

I'm varying the color of the perle cotton (size 8) and varying the width of the seam allowance to match the fabric patterns and block design.  It is s-l-o-w going, but it is so beautiful, and cozy, that I think I may work on it for a few more weeks before I need a break from it.

I spent a lot of time working on my #farmerswifequilt today. I'm a happy girl.

All of this quilting can get a little boring. Thank you to everyone out there that comments and "likes" my posts. You guys are keeping me motivated. #farmerswifequilt

The green quilting us subtle, but this may be my favorite block yet. #farmerswifequilt

My guys are outside playing in the snow and I'm cozy in here. Happy happy quilter... #farmerswifequilt

Red quilting as the snowflakes fall outside. #farmerswifequilt

Some orange quilting #farmerswifequilt

I'm adding some colored quilting to my #farmerswifequilt

Have you ever done hand quilting before? What is the biggest quilt you've ever hand quilted? Do you feel comfortable with your technique?

Pony Club Update

I apologize for the grainy quality of the Instagram photos, but I thought that I should update my progress here. I am having a blast with these blocks and each one feels like its own success. That is what I love best about samplers.  Each block feels like an accomplishment.  A quilt made of a bunch of the same blocks just doesn't hold a similar satisfaction for me.

A Dandy
I am not a competitive sport person, but the feeling I get from this block is what I imagine a touchdown would feel like. I have a fluttering joy in my chest and an urge to jump up and pump my fist. A Dandy block, #ponyclubquilt #annamariahorner

New Jersey
New Jersey block #ponyclubquilt #annamariahorner

Colt's Corral
I adore using the Dowry fabric in these blocks. Colt's Corral block #ponyclubquilt #annamariahorner

Hen and Her Chicks
Looking at these blocks makes me feel a little warmer. Hen and Her Chicks block #ponyclubquilt #annamariahorner

Children's Delight
Children's Delight block #ponyclubquilt #annamariahorner

July Fourth
July Fourth block #ponyclubquilt #annamariahorner

Maud's Album
Showing three if the easier blocks from the book tonight.    Maud's Album Quilt block #ponyclubquilt #annamariahorner

Sheep Fold
Sheep Fold block #ponyclubquilt #annamariahorner

The first four y-seams were fine and then the last two had to be rescued with some hand stitching. Ribbons block #ponyclubquilt #annamariahorner

Like I mentioned in my last post, if you are tempted by these blocks, please get the book and join in. I'd love to see more versions of these blocks and of this sampler quilt.

In the meantime, I've been getting tempted by a few other samplers out there.  Do you have a favorite sampler that you think I should know about?