Archive | January 2013

Hammered, Nailed & Screwed – novel by Kathleen (Settle) Hering

In addition to being a sew-er and quilter, I’m also an avid reader. Although I used to read a variety of types (romance, crime, mysteries, etc – nothing too deep though), now I only read mysteries. And the mysteries I read usually involve lady P.I.’s (or at least women who like to solve mysteries) and a lot of humor.

I purchase all my Kindle books through Amazon, so I always have a lot of books ready to read. Although I’m sort of embarrassed to say so, I choose my mysteries based on the (cutsie) titles and the picture on the book.

So, when I ran across this title – Hammered, Nailed & Screwed by Kathleen Hering – I knew I had to read it! It was such a catchy title! And it turned out that it was a catchy book! I read it in about a day and a half; pretty good considering a lot of sewing got done too!

Hammered, Nailed and Screwed

I love a book that’s hard to put down! Ms. Hering’s main character, Laura Howard, suffered greatly when her husband was killed, only to discover that maybe things weren’t as they seemed! Laura, and all the characters, were lively and articulate, keeping the pace moving and interesting. And even better it took place in Portland, Oregon!!! I loved reading about places in Portland and surrounding areas that I’m familiar with! And she gives interior decorating tips!!

I don’t want to give away any of the plot, so won’t go into any details. Just let me say that I can’t wait until Ms. Hering’s  next book is published.  I sure hope she’s busy working on it!


Quilted Granny Squares – Squared!!!! (Part 1)

Let me just start by saying that I LOVE to quilt!  The fabric selection, putting the fabrics together, touching them (yes, I said touching them!!), and then finally putting it all together into a quilted project.  LOVE it!!!!

When I quilt I almost always paper-piece – which means sewing the fabric directly onto a paper pattern, sewing the pieces together, and then finally removing the paper after the entire quilt top is finished.  For me, this method is much simpler than the traditional quilting method of sewing the fabrics together which requires being more accurate than I’m apparently capable of!  I tried it years ago – I wasn’t good sewing straight 1/4″ seams!

I recently suggested to my daughter-in-law that I’d love to make she and my son a quilt for their bed, and she  took me up on the offer.  She’s an avid Pinterest user and quickly checked her Boards and found several quilt patterns that she loved and that would look great in their bedroom.  After some deliberation she decided that a Granny Square quilt was the winner!  Her inspiration was from Angela at Cut to Pieces. The quilt that Angela posted is beautiful!   My daughter-in-law loves color, and is open to use of all kinds of fabric, so that opened up all kinds of possibilities.

I may have mentioned in the past that I love fabric!!!!!!!!  And I have tons of it on hand – hundreds of yards of it – florals, solids, stripes, metallics, blenders; you name it I’ve got it.  So this Granny Square quilt is the perfect opportunity to use up some of the stash.    (Picture below is just a small portion but look at all the wonderful colors!!!)

Fabric stash!

I got busy – I pulled out tons of the fabrics and starting cutting 2-1/2″ wide strips.   I know that I cut WAY more fabric strips than this quilt will need – I tend to over estimate – but I figure whatever is leftover will be used in some other project.

Then I had to cut all those strips down into 2-1/2″ x 2-1/2″ squares!  Tedious!  For awhile I  tried to cut two strips of fabric (8 layers of fabric) but with so many layers the fabric tended to slip around under the ruler.  I was concerned that the cut square wouldn’t actually be square (and it turns out that some aren’t), and throw off the seam allowance.  I finally changed to cutting only four layers of fabric (one strip) and that worked out better.  I now have BAGS and BAGS of squares!  LOTS of bags.  At least they are separated by color.

Bags of 2-1/4" squares

Each Granny Square consists of 5 central same-color fabrics (i.e. pink), 8 same-color fabrics (i.e. blue), and 12 neutral color fabrics.  We decided that our neutrals would be off-whites and tans, all different, to add more interest to the quilt.  No matchy-matchy 🙂

Ready to Sew!

I sewed together my first Granny Square, matching seams and sewing the first two fabric squares together making sure to use a ‘scant’ 1/4″ seam allowance.  (‘Scant’ = a few threads less than a full 1/4″).  After all the squares were sewed together, and the rows sewed together, I pressed it very carefully being careful not to stretch the fabrics.  Time to ‘square up’ the Granny Square.

Well, apparently I wasn’t careful enough!!!!!!   All edges were straight except one!  For some reason one edge ends up off-square.  I’ve made seven more squares – some are okay and some are off-square.  If I use those off-square Squares, the rows will not be even and the quilt will be ‘cock-eyed’ (cock-eyed is not a quilting term but it certainly explains the situation!)  Note the corner in the next picture where the edges don’t meet up.

Corners don't meet.

See the un-even corner? All corners need to match up!








PIN! PIN! PIN! Make sure all seems match up!

The last Granny Square I made (the 8th Square) came out perfectly.  I was very careful to only use squares that were 2-1/2″ square, made sure to use scant 1/4″ seams, and it seems to have worked.  So now I know, no more zipping along – quality vs. quantity!

8 blocks

Part 2 of this 2-part series will be completed when the quilt is completed – probably not for quite a while.  This particular king-size quilt will need about 100 of the 9″ squares – so I have quite a way to go  being very careful to sew precise seams.

Based on the few that I have completed though it will be beautiful!   I can’t wait to see the finished product!

Have you tried a Granny Square quilt yet?  Did you use a variety of colors, or was it a ‘color-coordinated’ quilt?  Would love to hear all about it!!

More soon,


Home-made King-size Bed Pillowcases

More than a year ago my daughter bought fabric so I could make her a lap quilt.  With the move from Oregon, living in an RV for months, moving into a house, etc., getting the lap quilt finished moved to the very bottom of the list.

But, she moved from California to Texas and moved into her own apartment a short time ago.  And she needed some bedding.  So….the lap quilt moved up the list and it became a bedspread 🙂   A queen-size bedspread with sides that would drop deep on both sides.   I’ll post more about the bedspread soon (it just needs a backing added), but today I made some matching pillowcases for the ensemble.

I love making these pillowcases.  I’ve made a variety over the years, but these ‘burrito’ pillowcases win hands-down!  Easy, fast, anyone can do them.  I’m not going to post the tutorial here because Anina at The Twiddletails Blog has written a detailed and easy-to-follow step-by-step instructional tutorial on how to make the ‘burrito’ pillowcase.

So, instead, here are just a few pictures of my finished product.  Please note that my daughter’s colors for her bedroom are hot-pink leopard print, black, and a variety of blue-starred metallic fabrics. (I know – unusual choices – I thought I wouldn’t like them but I do!)  When you see the finished bedspread you’ll be surprised by how striking it is!

IMG_5174IMG_5175King-size Pillowcase

I’m very pleased with the results – I can’t wait to see it all on her bed!!!

And it gets me thinking about making some nice pillowcases for my own bed – so much prettier than those in the store!

What projects have you been working on this new year?  Finished anything yet?  We’d love to hear about your completed projects!

‘Til next time –


PS — all the fabrics for the bedspread and matching pillowcases are from the Keepsake Cotton Fabric collection at JoAnn’s Fabrics.  I LOVE THAT STORE!!