Work in Progress – A Thities Scrap Quilt

I have four WIP’s,including this one. I have been planning this quilt for about six months, and I am really excited about it. I decided it was time to get going and sewing.

Lots of jelly rolls above, bought at Calico Annie’s, a brick & mortar store in Nebraska, that are very “thirties.” Some solids are below.

This past summer, one of the members of a quilt group I’m in, called the Serendipity Quilters, showed us some real vintage fabric she found, which  inspired me to make a quilt using thirties fabric. 

I found a pattern in Jelly Roll Inspirations, by Pam and Nicky Lintott, called Pick and Mix. Normally, when I use a pattern, I use different fabrics, or make a twist on it to give it my own spin. But not today, and in another quilt I have planned, but I did completely change the background. 

These are my first two squares, only 88 more to go for a very large quilt, but it goes fast and it makes me think that spring is around the cornor. lol.

I will show more WIP’s in the next several posts.

Chain Piecing

I love this technique, because it saves so much time, especially when you are sewing 90 squares for a king size quilt. After sewing the first few squares it almost becomes a zen like experience. And before you know it, you are done.

It definitely helps to start with a full bobbin, full spool of thread and a new sewing needle. I use a universal 80/12 or a 90/14. To begin the first piece, I sew a scant 1/4″ straight stitch across a small piece of scrap fabric. When I get to the end, I line up the ends with my first square. I sew across the two fabrics, and back stitch to lock the threads of my first block.

I continue sewing a scant 1/4″ seam down my block.

When I am almost at the end, I line up my next block, ends matching. Put the two blocks back under the presser foot gently, so the alignment doesn’t move.

When I get to the end of the first piece, I back stitch for a few stitches to lock the threads, and then go forward sewing onto the next block. Then I back stitch for a few stitches on the second block to lock those threads in place. 

Then continue sewing on the second block. I continue that way until I am finished with all the blocks, which in this case is 90 blocks, because this is a king size quilt. When I am finished, I carefully snip the blocks apart, before ironing. 

If you guessed that ironing the blocks is the next tutorial, you are correct!! Or as my British friends would say, “Brilliant.” 

I posted a short video on the Hudson Valley Quilt facebook page on chain piecing. For some reason it wouldn’t upload to the blog. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments box. Happy Chain Piecing. 

One Patch Quilt

This quilt is called “One Patch,” and comes from Sew Simple Quilts, Book 1, by Jane Davila. I was commissioned to make this for a baby gift. The parents did not want to know the sex of the baby until it was born. So my client and I chose gender neutral colors that would work in any baby’s bedroom.

This quilt pattern called, “Harmony Square,” is published in 101 Fabulous Rotary-Cut Quilts, by Judy Hopkins & Nancy J. Martin. I was commissioned by a client to make it. 

A give-a-way for National Visit Your Quilting Shop Day; A Visit to Sew Happins in Wilmington, North Carolina

I had the good fortune to meet Sarah and John Devens, owners of a wonderful quilt shop, Sew Happins in Wilminton, North Carolina. They carry a wide variety of fabrics, notions, offer many great classes,and are a Bernina dealer.
(413 S. College Rd., Wilmington, NC, 910-399-4935,


I’m always excited to share a great find,when I come across a quilt store, whether brick and mortar or online. And Saturday, January 25th, just happens to be National Visit Your Quilting Shop Day. So if you are in the area, I encourage you to visit, not just Saturday, anytime you happen to be in Wilmington, NC.

This store is full of positive and creative energy, and it has a lot to do with Sarah and John’s philosophy. Luckily, Sarah was able to sit down and talk with me about Sew Happins at 3:30 PM, because until then it was buzzing with customers and a class on a typical Thursday.

Sarah told me that when they came back from living in the Netherlands for a little over a decade, they really wanted to make time for each other, and their family. For example, they are closed on Black Friday, evenings and Sunday.

The second part of their philosophy, came as their story unfolded even more when I asked Sarah, “What is the most rewarding aspect of running Sew Happins.” She explained to me that she loves seeing what quilters create from the fabric they buy at their store, and the classes they take. The best part for her comes from their customer’s excitement with the experience they have. Sarah encourages everyone to post their progress and finished quilts on their facebook page,

They are very customer service oriented, and do an incredible job in remembering customer’s names. I love that every Friday from 12-4, and once a month on Saturdays, they have an open sew which is free. There is a made to create class, which is designed for participants to finish a project in three hours. There is even a Bernina software club and hands on sewing classes, from beginners to machine embroidery. The objective is to have fun, and not always follow the rules!! The January calendar of classes is fabulous 

They have a very large classroom.

Let me tell you, when I say they carry a lot and a wide variety of fabrics, I am not kidding. I was a bit spellbound as I walked around the store twice, which took me a a good hour. And the bolts of fabric are in perfect color order. Of course I could not leave without a purchase of three fabrics, which I fell in love with; (and those who know and sew with me, know it is almost impossible for me to resist fabric with little flowers, especially tulips. And I received 15% off for finishing a bolt, so I did not wreck my February budget.) See four part series,

Perfect Color order – I’m in heaven!

And more….

Of course an incredible section of batiks….

Keep going….

And we can’t forget their long arm service….

I bought some orange, which I do not have a large stash of, but this one had one of my favorite designs on it, the swirl. I received 15% off for finishing the tulip bolts, and already have in mind where they will be used in some quilts I am planning for this year.

When they first returned to the U.S. their plan was to open a upscale dog kennel in Raleigh, but zoning and red tape whatnot prevented that from happening. Through the entire process, Sarah, just kept quilting. 

Then another quilt store in Wilmington that was a Bernina dealer was moving out of the area. So they applied, and Sew Happins opened it’s doors in May, 2011. Sarah and John took baby steps and grew this brick and mortar store into quite a bustling shop. And I could really feel their pride in how it’s evolved.

Sarah began quilting about ten years ago, and the story she told me about how it happened, really touched my heart. Her mom crocheted, knitted, and did other sewing crafts, but not quilting. She gave Sarah a quilting kit for Christmas, because she wanted her daughter to find a hobby she might love.
And indeed, Sarah fell in love with it.

Sarah’s describes her style as a little bit traditional, and a little bit modern. She loves to make quilts for those in her life who really appreciate them.

I am always interested in quilting and fabric trends, and I asked Sarah about her thoughts on what’s ahead. She feels a big part of it has to do with where quilters live geographically, and what they want. Quilters love to see patterns and fabrics that are new and different.  Sarah often makes things that have been out there, but she likes to put a new twist on it, and give it a new life.
She suggests; “Keep your open and create.”

Her husband John, is a jack of all trades. He takes care of the business end of Sew Happins, technology, and has an incredible eye for art and color. Customers often come to him for his suggestions about their fabric combinations and questions about color.  This husband and wife team collaborated on a quilt that Sarah is most proud of; they designed an owl quilt which won Judge’s Choice for a local quilt show, Quilter’s by The Sea Annual Quilt Show.It now belongs to their grandchildren.

I cannot end this post without mentioning Bailey and Kayla, their office pups. They are the official authors of their newletter, and have the special privilege of deciding what will go on sale in the shop. 

Sarah (left), Donna (right), and Bailey and Kayla (front and center)!!

Sarah has put together this amazing give-a-way to celebrate, National Visit Your Quilting Shop Day.

In order to win this give-a-way, all you need to do is follow both of us on facebook; Sew Happins, and Hudson Valley Quilts, And sign up for the Sew Happins newsletter,, and the Hudson Valley Quilts blog, by Wednesday, January, 29, at 12:01 AM. Leave a comment in my comment box below that you did, and leave your e-mail address. The lucky winner will be announced on this blog on Wednesday morning.

Happy quilting, and visit your local quilt store on Saturday to celebrate with the owners.

Another Web-Based Color Tool and a Fabric Give-a-Way

Last weel, I wrote about Design Seeds a great color palette tool for quilting, home dec., etc. There is another web site I often use, that I really like, and want to share with you too, Color Scheme;
and you can even download it to your iPhone as an app.

On the right of the homepage, it has a color wheel, where the user can set the color choice by moving a dot onto any shade of the color wheel. On the top left menu bar, the user has six choices; monochromatic, (1 color), compliment, (2 colors), triad, (3 colors), tetrad, (4 colors), analogic, (5 colors), accented, (6 colors). Another dot is added on the color wheel, as you chose more colors options, such as the tetrad. The user can manipulate manually those dots on the color wheel, to provide more color options on the color board to the left. Unlimited choices and options are available. It’s very easy to use. Playing with it, will be a lot of fun and useful.

Additionally if the user chooses random palette, on the upper left of the menu bar, the program will provide you with random palettes. Very cool tool.

On another note, our monthly give-a-way, from our very generous sponsor, Cuts of Cotton, is a black and white bundle of fabric. (A little irony for a post on color).  The fabrics are really pretty and of course work well with so many projects. They would be a great compliment with reds, if you are working on something for Valentine’s day.

In order to be eligible to win this bundle, you need to sign-up for the blogs and facebook pages for  and Please let me know that you did in my comments box. Also, please leave your e-mail address. This give-a-way ends at 12:01 AM, on Friday, January, 24th. I will announce the winner on Friday morning, right here on the blog. 

If you would like to tell us where you are from, we would love to know. As the Northeast heads into another very cold, and week, and more snow tomorrow, tells us about the weather where you live.

Good luck.

Happy Quilting, and have a great week.

Design Seeds – A Great Color Palette Inspiration and Resource

On Tuesday, I posted the Panetone Spring 2014 Color Report for home decorating, which includes quilting, pillows, table runners, etc. About a year ago before I started this blog, I was surfing the internet for color palette options and ideas, because we were redecorating our very outdated dining area and living room. We were working with a friend, who is mainly a DIY home decorator who was great. I came across this great web site, Design Seeds,

I was intrigued enough to subscribe to their daily newsletter.  I wouldn’t quite call it a newsletter. When you open up your daily e-mail from them, you’ll receive two color palettes, each with a name. I post my favorites to my pinterest account. This is a link to mine;

Design Seeds offers other similar social media platforms you can save them to, as well.

(Photo courtesy Design Seeds,
I added this caption to the palette after I posted it to my “Colors and Patterns Board” which is part of my Pinterest account. “I have to make a quilt out of this color palette. It’s so “beginning of spring,” and feels full of hope and excitement.” Spring flora.
Enjoy this fun and free web site, and check out their other navigation tabs.
Have fun with this!!

Pantone Home Dec Colors for Spring 2014

This topic, the colors Pantone shows on their web site,, for each season, is always something I look forward to. One of the many reasons is that they show images, including quilts of how they can be used them in your home.

And here they are;

pantone spring 2014 colors

Please read the entire article, because although, the visual above reads; “Fashion Color Report Spring 2014 Women’s Colors,” you will see how these colors are used in home dec.

I’ve heard a lot about the Radiant Orchid being a hot color. I am surprised and pleased to see the Dazzling Blue, because I love that color.  I have a little nickname for it, and refer it as “The Sofia Vergara Blue.” Do you ever notice how often she wears it because she looks absolutely stunning in it? 

But I have to say I have used it in quilting for contrast to some of the softer colors including the pastels and neutrals, as seen in the palette above. 

The one thing I recommend is always audition colors together, before you cut and sew. Sometimes I let it sit on my worktable for a few days, and go back each day to edit, until my gut feeling tells me, “Now that works!!”

Have fun color experimenting, and Happy Quilting!!

A Visit to Colonial Needle in White Plains, New York, Give-a-Way, Part 2

The rest of the Colonial Needle story…. 

Two to three years ago, Colonial Needle acquired the North American Distributor of Presencia America, an outstanding thread manufacturer to their company. Presencia, located in Valencia, Spain is the maker of a wide variety of high quality threads. Below are photos of the threads and a thread color chart. This is what a quilter would use for piecing in their sewing machine. 

They also make this thread in cones for those who prefer that, or are longarm quilters.

I have tried this 100 % Egyptian, cotton thread and do not get lint, or what I call quilt dust bunnies, above the needle shaft or in the bobbin case, which is such a pleasure.

A lot of color choices.  Who doesn’t love that?

Both the embroidery thread and the Perle thread, is also 100% staple cotton. This means it’s not fused, extremely strong, colorfast and shrinkfast. And wait until you see proof below of that later in this post. I was wowed.

The embroidery thread has the same special aspects as the thread described above. It is really bleachfast. 

In fact, Jim and Tom showed me a minor’s jacket that had been through about 50 washings and quite a few bleachings. The ball of thread is three-ply Perle thread. Note the Ralph Lauren Polo Logo is as bright as the day it was new.. 

Now I’ll show you why I was wowed. When I came home, I compared it to other thread I’ve used for machine applique and hand quilting,that has been washed many times. Mine was faded in comparison to the Presencia. Check out the color of the perle thread ball that is the same color used to make that logo.

The interesting thing about the hand quilting thread is that it is thinner, but still 3 ply. Thinner individual threads, are used but into a three ply finished product. It comes in 40 wt., 50 wt. and 60 wt.

The photo above shows the crochet thread above, and the Perle thread I have been referring to. The Perle thread that is 3 is very thick, and best used for using for hand stitching in crazy quilts, or as an alternative to embroidery thread. The 5,7, and 8 is good to use in the top thread in your sewing machine, but too thick for the bobbin.  The 8 is mostly recommended for Sashico.

The 40 wt. is perfect for hand quilting. The 50 wt. is used for machine piecing and machine applique. The 60 wt., is finer, although 3 ply as well the others, and is used for hand applique.

Colonial Needle a wide variety of notions, and other sewing products,including thimbles, felting, cross stitch kits, hoops, pins, measurers and knitting and crocheting supplies. They sell to independent shop owners. 

In Part 1, I promised I would re-post the very help Colonial English Needles chart, and here it is. I also posted it on my pinterest page,



The team at Colonial Needle put together in incredible gift basket. I took a few photos so you could really see the variety of products and how much is in this very large and cool basket.

Our cat Biscuit isn’t sure he wants to give it up.  But I know he is convincible. He is a true quilting cat and you will see more of him in posts. His little sister Emma is pictured on the masthead sitting on my quilting basket.  

All you have to do to enter, is subscribe to my blog and like Hudson Valley Quilts and Colonial Needle on facebook, and let me know in my comment box.  

Since we’ve been discussing this unusual cold weather, and this is optional, tell me what city you live in, and how cold it’s been where you live. We are in Ossining, New York and it reached -16 F with the wind chill factor.

I will announce the winner of this gift basket on Sunday, January 12 at 12:01 AM. It will be posted on the blog. But please leave your e-mail address, so I know where to send it.

Stay warm. Happy quilting. Have a great weekend!!