Covering the World in Polka Dots

polka dotsThe thing about quilters is that they never seem to run out of interesting ways to connect to one another and to further their hobby/obsession.

This year, I am participating in a fun program from Prairie Stitches Quilt Shoppe in Oswego IL.  It’s a Worldwide Polka Dot Quilt Fabric Exchange.  You still have plenty of time to get involved, you just have to send or bring your quilt fabric to them before March 31.  The details of the rules are here in their latest newsletter.

The basic premise is this:  Cut 60 – 10 in. x 10 in. squares of polka dot fabric.  Could be anything with polka dots.  You know you have some in your stash or you can purchase it at any quilt store.  The only thing they ask is that the fabric be quilt shop quality (no chain store stuff….we all know their fabric is of lesser quality).

Put each 10 in. square into a business size envelope with your return address in the upper left corner.  Mailing address left blank.  Bring all 60 envelopes (or ship them) to Prairie Stitches in Oswego.  You have to call and sign up with them as they have a fee which they will use for postage and handling, and they’ll need to register your address.

Then just sit back and wait for 60 pieces of polka dot fabric from around the world to be delivered to your mailbox!  That’s pretty simple!  The fabric will start arriving in April.

What’s even more fun is they have a couple of Moda designers working on some great pattern ideas for your polka dots when they come in.  Prairie Stitches says they have participants now from around the world…Great Britain, New Zealand, Australia and across the US.

So tell your friends everywhere to join in.  The more the merrier!

Find out the details from

Great Backyard Bird Count and Quilt Progress

Because my family is sort of “bird crazy”, we participate in little projects like the Great Backyard Bird Count.  This tally happens every year around this time, and broader technology has allowed more and more people to participate and get more and more accurate data, both quantitatively and qualitatively.

It runs Feb 14 – 17 this year.

If you are interested, you don’t need any special qualifications to participate.

Here’s the website to sign up and get going

Now, onto our regularly scheduled quilt update.

Remember when I suggested back in December that 2014 should be the year we get backlogged projects completed?  Well, amazingly, I am making some progress and I hope you are too.

Smaller size...should I go bigger?

Smaller size…should I go bigger?

I love the proportions of this as it is laid out…on point with a 5 in. border.  But I know that it will lose at least another 5 in. in width and length once it is assembled.  I also have a whole lot of this fabric left over, and I wanted this to be queen size.

So I am heading back to the sewing room to make a bunch more blocks.  I need to add at least 2 rows to achieve the same layout look.  At that point I may have to increase the size of the border to hold the proportions.

I'll have to fill it in and see what I think at that point.  As you can see, I tend to make up my patterns as I go along.

I’ll have to fill it in and see what I think at that point. As you can see, I tend to make up my patterns as I go along. Not to mention, I may be running out of room to lay this out.

At any rate, this is the quilt I want to finish through hand quilting. I love the look of hand quilting and I love to do it.  I just have to resign myself that once this quilt is assembled and laid out in a quilt sandwich,  it may take another year for me to complete.  But I am looking forward to having something I can sit and do in front of the TV this coming spring and summer.  Unfortunately, I don’t normally watch a whole lot of TV.

So I’ll be looking for some mildly intelligent series (on PBS maybe?) to follow.  If you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them.  So far, I’m thinking “Call the Midwife”  and “Mr. Selfridge”.

I hope you are making some headway on your piles of projects this winter.  I have faith that spring will be here eventually, and we’ll all be out gardening again.  Soon.

Chicago in the Dead of Winter

Let’s start this blog post off with a little movie clip, a classic:

I was trying to find “Now is the winter of our discontent…” Of course, it had to be Richard Dreyfuss. But I coudn’t find that clip on youtube. So this will have to do.  Now I want to watch the whole movie again.

Anyway, this is both Chicago in the dead of winter and the winter of our discontent.

But it’s great for getting some sewing done.  I have been trying to do a little more garment sewing, but it’s not something I’ve done much in the past.  It’s just exciting to spend a couple of hours whipping up something to wear when I’m tired of everything in my closet.  Also, I have been collecting fabric for garments over the past year or so.  They are calling out to me to be utilized.

Here’s a very simple sweatshirt jacket that took a couple of hours.  The pattern says 45 minutes, but sorry, it takes me that long to read the pattern and cut the fabric.  Then, of course, I modified it a little as I went along, adding some extra topstitching so the seams looked a little more finished.  But all in all, I’m pleased with the result.

Sweatshirt jacket February 2014

Sweatshirt jacket February 2014

The pattern is from a book called “The Feisty Stitcher” by Susan Wasinger.    The book has a number of unusual patterns that all look like they would be fun to try.  However, this one looked like just my style so I had to try it.

The Feisty Stitcher by Susan Wasinger

The Feisty Stitcher by Susan Wasinger

sweatshirt jacket

As I said, it looked easy enough to do, and quite casual.  I did not add the hood, just a simple placket.  I thought about adding some embroidery, but that’s for another day.

I have some more sweatshirt fabric in a darker color and I just might whip up another jacket some time soon.  It’s easy enough that anyone could try it!  No garment experience necessary!  As for now, I’m off to work on finishing a quilt.

The winter of our discontent may just turn out to be one of the most productive we’ve ever had!