Archive for March, 2009


Dressed for Dinner

March 31, 2009


Over the weekend I laid out another appliqué block for my Dressed for Dinner quilt and it is ready for sewing. The squirrel was a very simple block to layout and I believe the sewing will go quickly too. I am going to machine appliqué it.


I also sewed up more of the half-square triangle dividers. These go in between the blocks.

I’ve been making a lot of progress on this lately. If I keep up this pace this quilt will actually be done by fall!!

Related Posts:

Dressed for Dinner

WIP Wednesday

WIP Wednesday

Dressed for Dinner

Dressed for Dinner Update

Cherry Pie

Mr. Turkey

Dressed for Dinner

Dressed for Dinner

Dressed for Dinner


Add Dimension to Your Quilt With Shirring; The Basics

March 27, 2009


I have been exploring the technique of shirring, how it can add dimension to plain fabric and how it can be used in quilt tops. In this first post about shirring I’d like to share with you the basics of shirring. In later posts I will share some variations and creative uses of shirring and some options on inserting shirring into the quilt top.

Shirring is a decorative gathering of fabric made by drawing up the fabric along two or more parallel lines of stitching. The gathering creates rolling hills and valleys across the stitching. The amount of fabric gathered determines the fullness of the gathering; slight, moderate or generous.

The first step of shirring is to determine the finished size of the area to be shirred. Also, the amount of fullness desired in the gathering should be decided. To estimate the length of fabric needed before shirring multiply the finished size times 1 1/2 for slight fullness, times 2 for moderate fullness or times 3 or more for generous fullness. Then add length needed for any seam allowances or hems.

I made 2 samples with a 6” x 6” finished size, the first one with slight fullness and the second with generous fullness. For my first sample I multiplied 6 times 1.5 and added 1/2” for hem so the length was 10”. For the second sample I multiplied 6 times 3 and added 1/2” for seam allowances and came up with a length of 18 1/2”.

In shirring you will also loose some of the width of the fabric when the fabric is gathered. The more generous the fullness the more width is lost. So I would recommend cutting the width an extra 1/2” or so and trimming it after gathering, if needed. I cut my samples 7” wide; 6” finished size plus 1/2” for two seam allowances plus 1/2” for loss due to gathering.

IMG_4192Layout your shirring pattern on the back of the fabric with your favorite marking tool. The layout of shirring lines can be pretty much whatever you want it to be. In a later post I will explore some design options. But one thing to keep in mind now is that if you want the shirring to extend into a seam allowance the last row of shirring should be included inside the seam allowance.

Stitching for the gathering can be made by hand or by machine. Leave a tail of thread at each end of the stitching so you can knot it securely. After stitching the rows you will push the fabric along the rows of stitching to achieve the required size. I found that pinning one end of the stitching to a work surface made the gathering more manageable. At the pinned end of the stitching pull the bobbin thread to the top and knot it with the top thread. Maybe even double or triple knot them as I found a single knot of polyester thread would slip.


After one end of the stitching line is pinned to a work surface and the threads are knotted, hold one of the threads at the other end of the stitching and push the fabric along the thread gathering it up until the fabric is the desired size. Knot the remaining threads when the desired size is achieved.


Adjust the gathers evenly, or unevenly if that is your desired effect. The shirring can be set by pinning the piece to a flat surface and holding a steam iron above the fabric. This last picture shows my two samples, the one on the right having slight fullness and the one on the left having generous fullness.  In my next post on shirring I will look at ways to stabilize the shirring. 


Aren’t both of these examples interesting? Wouldn’t they look nice as alternating patches in a four patch block? How would you use these patches?



March 25, 2009

I am testing a new blog editing program called Windows Live Writer. I’ve seen a few other bloggers using it lately and thought I’d check it out.

It has the ability to change type fonts. There are a lot of fonts from which to choose. What does this one look like? I’ve always liked Papyrus, although it can be hard to read.

I can insert a table. Although I cannot think what I might use it for it is a neat thing to be able to do.

Quilt 1 Quilt 2
Red and green Orange and purple

I can easily insert maps…

Map picture

And aerial views…

San Antonio River Walk

And pictures…


^^^Check out that reflection^^^ Cool!


^^Drop shadow and watermark^^


I’m sure there is a lot more but I’ll have to play with it another day. Now to see if I can post all this nonsense.


Parasol Ladies

March 24, 2009

I have finally finished the repair work on this Parasol Ladies quilt. I am very happy with the results.


Spring Break

March 20, 2009

My brother-in-law and his family were on spring break this week so they spent a few days with us. We all piled into the vans and went to a new park just down the road from us. It is a very nice park with two playgrounds and about 2 1/2 miles of trails.

They have some very interesting mile markers along the trail.

The plants with the tall stalks are called Texas Sotol. Their blooms grow 9-15 feet tall. These stalks are left from last year’s blooms as they won’t start blooming again until May.

And here is my gang and their cousins enjoying the playground.


Hand Stitching Binding

March 19, 2009

Beth of The Jury is Still Out asked about how others hand stitch the binding on their quilts. So I thought I would share how I do mine. I used to hate doing binding but since I learned this method I don’t mind doing the binding at all.

First I machine stitch the binding to the front of the quilt. I won’t go into details on that since Beth was mainly asking about the final hand stitching. After the binding is stitched to the front, I put a thin line of Elmer’s Washable School Glue along the edge of the back where the binding will be, pull the binding to the back and press the binding in place. The heat is used to set the glue. That way the glue holds the binding in place while I stitch and I don’t have to worry about pins or clips and I know that the binding is exactly where I want it to be.

And now for the stitching. For the initial stitch I bury the knot under the binding and come up through the binding right at the edge of the binding, as close to the fold as possible. Then I will go down into the quilt right next to where the thread comes out of the binding-maybe even a little underneath the binding- and then push the needle one stitch length and come up through the binding again at the edge of the binding. Hopefully this picture will explain better than my writing.

Sometimes I have to play around with the thread color to see which color blends the best. I often get a few stitches in place and decide it is not working and rip it out. Also I find cotton threads are easier to use with hand stitching than polyester threads.

After it is all done I wash the quilt and all of the glue comes out.

There are other good ways of stitching binding too but this is what works best for me. Good luck to you Beth and anyone else stitching a binding on their quilt!


Dressed for Dinner

March 17, 2009

I finished up two more blocks for my Dressed for Dinner quilt. Only two more applique blocks to go!!



Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day- March

March 15, 2009

I am joining the Garden Bloggers’ Bloom day for March. Here are the blooms I have today in my garden in San Antonio.

Bradley Pear Tree

Indian Hawthorn

Hm-m-m. I can’t remember. It’s all over San Antonio and I should remember the name…
Edit: It’s Lantana. Thanks to Lancashire Rose!

This is the one I am most excited about; an aloe. I have never seen it bloom before so I will be watching it closely!

If you would like to see more Garden Bloggers’ Blooms check out
May Dream Gardens.


Patriotic Quilt

March 10, 2009

I finished the quilting on this Patriotic quilt yesterday. It is going to a friend’s son who is a soldier in Iraq.

I used Jodi Beamish’s Popcorn panto on it. I love the pattern of curves it sets up across the quilt.


Staying the Course

March 8, 2009

For those of you that have not heard yet, Staying the Course won Best of Division at the Houston Stock Show and Rodeo. Woo-hoo!!