Third FAB Birthday PAR-TAY of 2011

Saturday we celebrated Linda’s birthday.  Linda is the 3rd FAB to celebrate her birthday this year.  Linda’s “actual” birthday is August 10th but finding a date that 5 busy people can get together on line always proves to be a challenge.  It almost always has to be a Saturday if we want to sew, and we WANTED TO SEW!  So a date was picked–August 13 and everyone agreed to be there.
Instead of exchanging challenge projects this year, we have elected to honor the birthday girl and surprise her with something handmade. Gifts were made and mailed to Linda in advance of her party.  Saturday morning, the party kicked off with Linda taking opening each of her parcels–in the order they were received.  You can take a closer look at all the loot received by Linda by visiting her blog here:
Linda is a lover of 30’s reproduction fabrics so I knew whatever I made, it had to be made from 30’s fabrics.   I decided to make some things for Linda that I use a lot myself. 
The first thing I made was a mug organizer/pinafore.  I have one of these organizers attached to a mug on my sewing desk that is jammed full of all those little items you can’t sew without that are easy to loose in a mass of fabric when you are sewing like, a seam ripper, ruler, marking pens, pencil, wooden iron, etc.  The pattern was from a kit that I received during a local quilt shop hop some years ago.
The second item I made was a bag for Linda to take her mug to class or guild with her.  Our guild charges a quarter for a Styrofoam coffee cup if you forget to bring your own ceramic mug with you to guild as we are trying to promote the green option.  I thought Linda’s guild might have a similar practice.  I told Linda that my mug gets washed when I get home from the guild meeting and it is put right back into its bag along with my name badge so I am ready for the next meeting–just grab my bag and go.  I think Linda is going to adopt this process as well.  The outside of the bag has a number of pockets–designed to hold a spoon, tea bag, sugar packet, etc.  The pattern for the mug tote is from an Australian Patchwork and Quilting magazine some years ago. 

The pattern that Linda picked for us each to work on after the gift opening was first featured in the Winter 2010 issue of Quilts & More.  The pattern was called Line Art in that magazine, with a picture here: has featured a second colourway called, Skinny Strips, with a picture here:

In true challenge fashion, I was having difficulty trying to decide on what “collection” of strips to use to make my version of this quilt. All I knew for sure was that I wanted to use existing stash–no additional purchases.  I cycled through ideas including something patriotic–just red and white, something Hawaiian–using some of my Hawaiian-themed fabrics purchased in Hawaii, and something chicken related–using some of my extensive collection of chicken/rooster fabrics.  I finally decided on a fall-themed version on Saturday morning.  Nothing like leaving the decision to the last minute!  Because I was late in making the decision on which fabrics to use, I was not 100% ready to start sewing when everyone else was ready to sew.  Some of my strips were pulled from my totes of pre-cut strips.  I did have to cut a few more background pieces and a few more reds, yellows, and browns to complement the strips I already had cut.

Once your strips are cut, this pattern is definitely doable in a weekend.  I was able to finish my version of Line Art, aka Skinny Strips Sunday night to the flimsy stage.  Here it is:

It was another great day sewing with the FABs.  The chatter/conversation that takes place while we sew probably keeps us from performing at peak production since we need to take time out from pushing the fabric through the machine to type-talk, but it is worth it.  Another great day enjoyed by all.   

April FAB Birthday Challenge

Cher’s birthday was April 27.  Life got in the way and we had to delay birthday party celebrations until June 16.  We had one two hour window in the evening on that day where all 5 FABs were available.
Cher opened each present and described the contents in detail until the pictures could be distributed through the e-mail system.
I made Cher place mats.  (pattern:  Take Four Place Mats by Something Sew Fine / Cary Flanagan).  I downloaded the pattern from 
I love the patterns that you can download from–no shipping costs and no waiting for mail delivery to bring the pattern to your house.  You place your order on line and shortly thereafter, the pattern is available for printing from your e-mail Inbox. 

I made the place mats reversible.  Two place mats had Valentine’s Day fabric on the back and two place mats had Easter fabric on the back.


To match the fabric on the front and back of each place mat, I made the binding reversible.

 For fun and because Cher’s birthday is near Easter, I included one Easter place mat / table topper.  This Easter Egg pattern was designed by one of our Quilt Guild members during our Guild’s Place mat of the Month program this year.

The egg is reversible as well.
My friend started to call these, Cadbury eggs.  I think the name is great!

First FAB Birthday PAR-TAY of 2011

In 2008, the FABs started regular quilt challenges. 2011 is the year of the FAB Bday Party Challenge. First up was Pam, with a birthday on January 29 that for 2011 was moved to February 26. By February 26, not all parcels were received yet by Pam so we delayed the birthday party to March 5.

At 7 am Pacific timeon March 5, all FABs were positioned in front of their computer screens, chatting on line as we waited for Pam to open each of her gifts.

Pam is a big ME (Mary Engelbreit) fan. I had scraps of some ME fabrics in my stash and so I used those to make a ME inspired bag. The pattern is called, Market Bag and is a Terry Atkinson design from her book, Let’s Do Lunch.

This is one side of the bag.

This is the other side of the bag.

I also made a matching triangle bag. This bag is made from the Humbug bag pattern.

Pam was also the recipient of the 5th pansy project – the first 4 were posted here:
These are thumbtacks made from fabric covered buttons.
After the presents were opened, we were on to the rest of the party. After watching the video on Youtube for the Jelly Roll 1600, Pam decided we should all make one of these quilts during her Par-Tay. Pam and Cher used Jelly Rolls, and Linda, Pat, and I used strips cut from our stash.
After joining your 2.5 inch strips together end to end, you will have 1,600 inches of fabric. (Note: Pam used some of her Jelly Roll strips for another project so she made the Jelly Roll 1080). Take the end of your strip and match it to the beginning of your strip and put the pedal to the metal and sew! You will be working on one long seam–800 inches long. You repeat this 5 times and end up with a lap sized quilt. There is to be no pressing of seams until the top is together. This is what my version looked like before pressing.

Within 2.5 hours, all 5 of us had our tops completed. The woman on the video claimed to have made her quilt within 35 minutes. I think it took longer than 35 minutes for me to complete my first seam!

We had a great day sewing together. This project may not have been something that anyone of us might have attempted on our own, but in the spirit of the FABs, we all gave it a try and had a blast doing it!
If you are interested in seeing the lap quilts made by the rest of the FABs, have a look here: Pam, Cher, Linda, Pat

Machine Quilting

This morning the weather was fabulous! Wonderful warm sunshine filled my quilt studio.

I have been pushing myself this weekend to get 4 customer quilts quilted.

This morning’s sunshine gave me the energy to complete all 4 quilts!

Even Joey enjoyed the warmth of the sun.

All 4 quilts were scrap quilts….

…utilizing everything in the scrap basket.

I also finished a secret project this weekend…..the next FAB challenge. I can’t show pictures, because the recipient definitely reads this blog….so stay tuned for the reveal!


I love a quilting challenge. When the opportunity to participate in a challenge comes my way, I am right there, ready to sign up.

Last summer when the FABs were together for our first retreat, two members, Linda and Pam were ready with a challenge for the group and the, “Baby it’s cold outside!!!” challenge was launched.

We were each provided 1 yard of soft lilac fabric – not blue and not purple, but somewhere in between the two colours. (Finding some fabric to go with the challenge fabric proved to be a challenge in itself. During my quest for just the right “go withs”, I found several fabrics that I loved but were either too blue or too purple to go with the challenge yardage.)

The rules were wonderful and included a comment that “rules were meant to be slightly torqued”.
* Have fun
* Procrastinate (up to one day prior to mailing is quite acceptable.)
* Let your imagination soar–BE CREATIVE
* TRY to keep it a secret

Well, I definitely followed the rules. The challenge was a blast. I definitely procrastinated. Even though we had months to finish our challenge project, I took the last stitches on my project on January 31, 2010. The mailing deadline was February 1st and my project was mailed on that date. I changed my mind so many times during the months leading up to the deadline that I feel like I was really exploring my creative side. Each idea that I came up with seemed better than the last until finally time dictated exactly what I was going to work on as there was no time left to change my mind again. I was able to keep my project a secret from Linda although it was really hard. Linda and I are used to collaborating on our projects and not being able to share photos and comments about what I was working on with her was a challenge in itself!

Finally, this is what I came up with for my challenge partner, Linda. I know that Linda has space limitations in her house so I wanted to make sure I was going to be giving Linda something that she could use, not something that she would be stuck trying to find room for in her house. I know that Linda does use placemats so that was the first project I made. The mauve portion of the placemats was the challenge fabric. When the weather is cold outside, my thoughts go to Spring and warmer weather so I included pieces of floral fabrics. My fabrics were not just any florals though–they were scraps from the last project that Linda and I worked on together. This was a subtle part of the project that was not lost on Linda. When Linda opened her package, she immediately recognized those florals as being part of my Daisy Chain project which we recently worked on in January. I quilted the placemats with narrow parallel stitch lines – 1/2″ apart. I love dense quilting and I wanted to include that element in my project. I finished off my project by washing the placemats to give them that antique crinkled look that I love. But, I was not done. One of the things I like to do in a challenge where I am provided with a fabric is to use as much of it up as possible. So, I made a second project. Remember I said I had a tough time coming up with the “go with” fabrics? After I had the placemat tops pieced, I found the perfect piece of fabric in the fabric shop that went with the challenge fabric. It was a gorgeous butterfly fabric. Using what I had left of the challenge fabric I made Linda a tote. This tote pattern is one I have made several times before. It uses denim for the base and web handles that completely envelop the bag. It is a very sturdy tote, perfect for filling with books. You can’t see the challenge fabric in this picture as it is actually the lining for the tote.

This is the gift that I received from Pat in the exchange. Pat used the challenge fabric on the fish and in the pieced border. Pat made sure she included fish in my project as she knows only too well about my husband’s love of fish. Pat was very thoughtful in making sure she considered my husband in my project. Pat included the perfect finishing touches, quilting that looks like water and beads for the fish “bubbles”. I love my quilt. This quilt reminds me of the water around a tropical island which is where I would definitely like to head, “When baby it’s cold outside!”

We have already launched the next FAB challenge, which will be the fourth challenge our group has done. The theme of this one, is “Fall”. We have until September 15, 2010 to mail our project to our partner. …..and the best part, that is it for the rules! We don’t have any challenge fabric that we have to work with. And we are only limited by our own creativity. Fall can be Halloween, schoolhouses, leaves, thanksgiving, and fabric prints that encompass fall coloured fabrics and images. I am going to have fun with this one. I love fall and I have a ton of fabrics in my stash that are screaming to be used in this challenge!
The last challenge that I am working on is for our Quilt Guild’s fall show. We were given a piece of batik fabric, 6″ x 21″ (picture below). The theme is, “Circles in the Valley”. The quilt can be no smaller than 14″ square and no larger than 48″ square. We must use at least half of the challenge fabric and it must be very visible and large enough to be identifiable. Each quilt must include a minimum of one circle and it cannot be any smaller than 1.5″ in diameter. We are allowed to make this one of our own designs or use a commercial pattern as long as we identify our source on the label. I am so grateful that this is not a challenge that Linda is participating in as I have been using her talents big time on this one–she is my main resource. This morning Linda and I have been busy sharing ideas back and forth. Sorry, I can’t share more details than that as I know several of my fellow guild members follow my blog.

There is nothing better than a challenge to get the creative juices flowing.