Stitch It Up!

It’s been almost thirty years, and I can still hear it now….

The unique sound of dial-up on my new computer and those infamous words…YOU’VE GOT MAIL!

Our first foray into the realm of the Internet was through AOL.  The whole family would gather around, excitedly waiting for our Dell computer to connect….and voila! we were in uncharted, wonderful, scary waters.  Through that simple connection, I found a wealth of information relating to my then obsession, counted cross stitch.

I made a new friend, who guided me to chat rooms and message boards relating to all sorts of needlework.  She introduced me to a whole new level of stitched art, called “band samplers”.  Worked usually on linen over two threads, the band sampler consists of rows or “bands” of intricate stitches that often included beads, cotton, silk or perle cotton thread, and various other textures like braided metallic threads.


Photo Courtesy of Joanne Perry of Serendipitous Stitching

Fabulous, yes?

I was also encouraged to buy a reference book called “The Proper Stitch” by Darlene O’Steen.  Ms. O’Steen gives the long and rich history of samplermaking which she documents back to the 1500’s, as well as detailed instructions on each stitch. She concludes with two stunning sampler charts, The Proper Stitch Sampler and Our English Heritage Sampler. I have yet to choose which one I’m going to stitch….I need to practice the various stitches first!


Thanks to my friend Lori a.k.a. mrskvlca on Instagram, I now have a HUGE stash of linen, Lugana and Aida fabric, silk and cotton threads, and beads to choose from. Having a standing frame to work on also lends to the creative and authentic setting.


And finally, for your viewing pleasure, a video from YouTube that gives you an idea of what a band sampler is. This one is unique….the bands are normally stitched in horizontal rows. The rows on this video, are diagonal! Thus, this sampler is called a Twisted Band Sampler.    

Do you have any experience with this type of stitching?  I’d love to know!



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WIP: Sewing Together Wonky Blocks

My son has always been interested in my sewing hobby. He’ll stand next to me and watch the machine whirl away, laying down neat little stitches. When he was younger he liked to push the pedal down and “help”. As he got older, the mechanics of the machine interested him more and he would ask questions and open up my old machine, Shelby, just to see how she ticked.

Then he took an interest in fabric and colors and patterns. He’s very creative and loves to put things together, Legos being his favorite medium. Using the colorful blocks to build ships and rockets and towns helped him see how fabrics could be used in a similar fashion to build using color and texture. So he’d help me arrange blocks and pick out fabrics to finish off my projects.

One day I bought a cheap fat quarter set of some bright chevron patterns and gave it to him to do with it however he wanted. It was his project and I would only sit by to help.

Jake calls these

Jake calls these “zebra stripes!

I gave him some tips on how to cut with a rotary cutter (a little tough for my southpaw) and then let him sit at the machine himself to sew.

Let's sew!

Let’s sew!

He enjoyed the time together and really got a kick out of creating something himself.


Ahhh, look at how little he was! This was back in May of 2014. He’s now grown so much, cut his hair, and he doesn’t look like a little boy any more. He’s more grown and looking more… adult. Sigh…


So grown! He started 4th grade this past week and it’s amazing how time has flown. He’s still super creative and loves to build. This past weekend, while we had some downtime, we brought out his project again and this time he got to sew on the big Elna!


This time he was fascinated not only with the mechanics of the new machine but also the technology on Elna. His favorite: the button that allows him to cut the thread with one push! He even had a few suggestions for improvements!


Taking off from his starting point over a year ago, he sewed together strips and then paired them together to make groupings of four. With some help from me, we cut the strips on an angle and made Wonky Blocks. After, we put our heads together to create a block using what we had cut.


TADA! A diamond Wonky Block made from four smaller blocks. He was very proud of all his work, including his ironing. The end result is a bit crazy and colorful but he loves it!

We don’t quite know what the end game is yet for his first project but there are a lot of options: placemat, table runner, mug rug even.

Check out our vlog as we put our heads together and work on his Wonky Blocks.

Check out our side bar for some great link ups around the internet! This is linked up with Sew Cute TuesdayWIP Wednesday and Let’s Bee Social!


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WIP: The Friendship Quilt

Not too long ago, my parents gifted me this kit called the Friendship Quilt with a set of beautiful batik fat quarters. It’s got a very earthy toned look to it all and I simply loved the basic pattern that came with it.

You can check out all my pictures of the fabrics in my first post here.

IMG_7557In the time since that first post and our last podcast, I’ve made some MAJOR progress on this quilt. It started out with just making the cuts and organizing the whole thing. Now I’ve made it through piecing everything together and sewing my first rows. I’m 3 down, 2 to go!

I decided to chronicle this post with a few vlogs on our YouTube channel starting with the whole process of deciding how to pair my fabrics. I was torn between allowing the pairings to be randomized OR putting some thought into it and going about piecing my blocks systematically.

Actually seeing my own video helped me to decide the best possible route and I went with a systematic approach to making my blocks. While I started out with a bang and felt very confident in my progress, I suddenly found myself in a corner with the colors I had left to pair. Ugh…

In the end, it all worked out and now I have three beautiful rows. I have two more to finish and then the border to piece together.

I’m loving how fast this top is coming together AND how big these blocks are ending up. I feel like I’m doing half the way but getting double the quilt top due to the size of these massive blocks.

I’m looking forward to finishing this one and seeing it all together. I love 95% of this quilt and the other 5% are all those browns. Just not in love with them though they do serve a purpose.
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Sew Fresh Quilts


Hobbies Up To Here Episode #10

Hey crafters, guess what time it is?
It’s podcast time!!!
And this is a special one. We’re celebrating our 10th episode so we have a special request from our readers.

If you are reading this and have listened to our podcast this week, check out the questions below, copy and past them into a blog post on your own page, and then answer them yourself! We want to get to know you! Link back to our page and let’s see how many quilters, crafters, sewers, and hobbyists we can bring together.

So many of our posts focus only on what we create and not who we are as people so we challenge our community to share some small tidbits about yourself with all of us!


Our theme for this episode is LET IT GO!

We talk about those UFOs that lay around. How many do you have? We made the decision that it’s ok to start a new project to keep the creativity flowing and to not stall us. We’ve each got a few projects waiting in the wings to be completed but we’re itchy to move on and start something new.

So I’m not going to kick myself for moving on and instead I’m about to dive into a new kit!


My mom is moving and grooving with her charm packs and layer cakes. I keep getting message from her at ALL HOURS showing me the beautiful creations she’s pumping out.IMG_1451



Now for our celebratory 10 questions for our 10th episode! Feel free to cut and paste these questions into your own post and share on your page. Link back so that anyone else reading can join in!

1. What do you want to accomplish in your life?

2. How do you want people to remember you when you’re gone?

3. What would you do with a million dollars?

4. Where would you go on your dream vacation?

5. If your life were a movie, who would play you?

6. If you could have one super power, what would it be?

7. What is your most embarrassing moment?

8. If you could spend a day with 1 person, living, or dead, who would it be and why?

9. What are your favorite pizza toppings?

10. What is the best gift you were ever given?

When you are all done answering your own, link back here and comment down below to share with other readers your fantastic post.

Fresh Poppy Design

Live Randomly Simple
Peeled Wellness

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Sew Fresh Quilts

Creative K Kids

Fabric Shopping Day with Mom and Doctor Who

The other day I went fabric shopping with my mom. We stopped by The Quilt Cupboard near us and I exposed her to the wonderfulness of charm packs and layer cakes and jelly rolls. She’d heard of them before but she kept asking “Can you make something with this?” At first I rolled my head back and laughed. OF COURSE!! But she wasn’t convinced.

As we looked around more and more, the ladies there got into the discussion and before we knew it, my mom was purchasing a few items to add to her stash for a future attempt at a five and dime quilt. Below is a video from the Missouri Start Quilt Co. demonstrating a five and dime using a layer cake and a charm pack.

After we said our goodbyes, we headed over to the new JoAnn’s in my city. It’s big and glossy and still smells of freshly painted walls. As we walked around, my mom got hooked into a conversation with a gentleman at the sewing machine counter and I was left to my own devices.

I hadn’t gone in there to shop for anything. I have enough on my plate as it is. But I couldn’t help poking around my favorite section where they keep all the geeky selections like Star Wars and Marvel. In between my favorites, I found a few bolts of another favorite, Doctor Who!!

 Then it hit me! I should make some pajama pants for my growing son out of these prints! He loves Doctor Who also (even though he’s not seen too many episodes. We just show him the fun clips without the scary stuff).

But I’ve never followed a pattern let alone made some clothing so I was a little hesitant to jump into it. While my mom continued to talk I jumped over to the pattern drawers and looked up a Simplicity package for men’s and boy’s pajama outfits. Hey, this looks simple enough! So I grabbed it, some elastic for the waist band and two Doctor Who fabrics for my little man.

I got myself all set up and washed the fabrics. Then I got out the pattern and instantly regretted my decision. Ugh. I forgot how annoying patterns are. They are so fussy!

But I powered through and cut them out, pinned them as the instructions said and cut out the front and back to the shorts for boys.

Then I got to the sewing instructions…

Ugh… What fresh hell is this? I was surprised at how minimal the instructions were and felt instantly dumb. They were so simple I didn’t understand them. I felt like I was reading a book with a chapter or two missing. But I went ahead and gave it a try. I did as the instructions said but found myself stuck at step number two.

Yup… I didn’t even make it to number two before I was lost. I had sewn the inner thigh seam closed. Then, looking at the instructions, I couldn’t tell how I was supposed to sew the inner thigh seams together. Did I just line up the seams and run my machine down them? That didn’t make sense so I had to go back and rip out those seams and leave it be for a while.

Then  got smart and got some help. I took it to the machine shop where my mom bought my Elna and asked the lovely folks there what did I miss and how should I proceed. Cricket, a wonderful creative soul I totally felt a connection to within the first 5 minutes of meeting her, pointed out that I needed to open the fabric and press the seams down THEN join the front and back together by sewing the seams in a U shape.

THAT made more sense! So I took pen to the instructions and made some notes so that I would better understand it in the future.

Now I don’t know if I screwed things up from the get go, if my cutting is really THAT BAD or if the pattern  just stinks but nothing was lining up like the instructions said and I was about to chuck the whole project.

Instead I sat it down for a bit to come back to later. It wasn’t worth all the stress it was causing me.

I intend to finish it no matter how it comes out. There is something in me that needs to complete a pattern and learn the skills that go along with making a piece of clothing. I NEED to do it.

So I will. Maybe…

Side Stitches: Fresh Pears Table Runner

We are a busy bunch around here. Between work and school, soccer and the gym, daily projects and just the day to day tasks around the house, I rarely find time to get out and be social.

Not that I mind too much. I’m a more introverted person as it is and since the birth of my son, I’ve happily found my little corner of the web and communicate through the means of social media. Oh, I get out too, but finding groups or people with the same interests as me in the short amount of time I can spare is tough. So I use the good old web and seek out online groups with similar interests. Like quilting!

Not long ago I joined Quilt With Us, a quilting community online. It’s pretty cool because you can join groups with different quilting interests, you have your own page and there are lots of people with different levels of experience. So far I’ve joined two groups, a Newbie Quilters group and a UFO group for unfinished projects.

I’d still love to find the time and the ability to join a quilting group that meets in person but that’s a dream for another day.

In one of my groups, we’ve started a project. It’s called the Fresh Pears table runner. Just a small project to get our feet wet in the areas of applique, piecing, binding and finishing a small project.

Start of a square

Here is the start of it.

Yesterday my son decided to throw a tantrum (the first one in a very long time) and it took him a good 45 minutes to calm down. So while he yelled and had his moment, I went into my little sewing corner and did some cutting and piecing.

Though it’s a casual group, there is a deadline for this project so that it’s not left hanging around. We are aiming for end of July though I’d like to see this project finished before mid May for me.

I’m using a Moda Full Circle charm pack for the piecing. And I bought enough to make more than one if I prefer. I plan to bind it with a dark chocolate solid and also use that for the backing. The pears to be appliqued are to be done on a tarragon colored solid. Not sure about it yet. The green might be too light. I may need a more earthy green against the darker tones.

We shall see!