Waggons West Etsy Shop

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Doll for a Bride to be

My partner for the Art Doll swap on Craftster is getting married.  She really wanted a bride doll.  One that was wearing the dress she is going to wear.  I might have mentioned that I am feeling extremely over my head in this swap.  The dolls that have been made are incredible.  Add to that my polymer clay doll screw up and a tight deadline and you get close to panic mode.  Still no way I am going to make tiny little fingers out of anything, let alone cloth. 

I did manage to make a set of arms that were respectable.  Then I put together the legs.  They were even better.   Stitching her together was a learning experience.  I read several different patterns and watched a lot of youtube tutes.  Either you stuffed the appendages first and then sewed them on or you left an opening and stuffed them after the doll was stitched together.  Let's see, impossible to sew together with all those legs and arms stuffed into a tiny body or four more tiny little holes to stitch closed?  I went with impossible to stitch.  I traced the outline on around the square of fabric with the face stitched on.  I stitched a seam, leaving an opening between two more rectangles.  Then I tacked the arms and legs in place and stitched around the whole thing using my zipper foot. 
Let just say It was a very good thing I hadn't cut her out before sewing.  The back seam is a wee bit a whole lot crooked.  Amazingly enough she worked out without any really strange bumps. 

The face was a challenge.  I ended up finding this machine embroidery design by  JEmbroiderynApplique on etsy. It stitched out beautifully even on the quilter's weight muslin I was using.  Poor dolly is very pale as I didn't have enough of any type of flesh tone fabric to complete her.  Her hair is wool felt embellished with a few ribbon flowers.

 For her dress, I really wanted to make the shear upper bodice that was on my partner's dress but it just didn't look right or even really show up over the muslin body.   I ended up using some more muslin for the bodice.  The skirt was made from two pieces of satin ruffle saved from making my Victorianimals way back in the 80's.  (You never know when things might come in handy!)  Unfortunately neither was quite big enough to go around and still allow her some modesty when seated.  So I did a double wrap to cover the waterfront as it were.

You can see that she is sporting a tulle veil.  What you can't see in the picture is the wee flowers holding the gathers together.

Her shoes are made from some pink felt.   These worked out far better than I anticipated.  I simply traced around the foot pattern, stitched on the line, cut, trimmed and made a wee bit of a scoop.  When turned right side round they actually fit and stay on.  Amazing. 

So here she is a bride doll for a bride to be.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Little Miss Myrtle Will be Staying for a While.

I foolishly decided to join the Art Doll Swap on Craftster.  I've never made an art doll before.  I looked at the images and decided  could probably do something that would be acceptable.   Then I got my partner's questionnaire and checked out her pinterest board.  I was in WAY over my head.

I mean seriously.  How on Earth do they TURN those tiny fingers?  Better yet, how do they stitch them???  And then the tiny clothes. 

I decided my only hope was to go back to an old project using Fimo/Sculpy.  I resurrected the drawer of 'baking clay'.  I found my beat up copy of "Clay Characters for Kids" by Maureen Carlson.  I bought some softener.  And I got started.

I found that I have absorbed a lot of polymer information in the past few years even though I haven't worked with the clay.  I did a lot more baking rather than waiting until the whole thing was finished.  That made a huge difference.  

I made Miss Myrtle, the Spring Flower Fairy.  She sits on her very own oak stump and has two friends a Rose the Turtle and a wee blue bird. She is about 5 inches tall. 

Unfortunately as I was re-reading my partner's wish list, I discovered that I had made a horrible mistake.  I mixed up her hate list with her like list.  She absolutely hates purple.  Miss Myrtle is just too purple.  So...  It was back to the drawing board.  Doll Number 2 is very different from Miss Myrtle.  She is fortunately finished and on her way before the deadline.  And little Miss Myrtle is staying here with me until I find her another home. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Hoppy Easter!

This is the wee quilt I made for the Little Quilt Sew Vote Swap.  I used my new Micron markers and Derwent Inktense pencils on the drawing.  I had a lot of fun 'painting' it.  The quilting is simple leaves and flowers.  (My machine was acting up so it was a bit more challenging than it should have been.)  And it has a simple black and white striped binding.  I wanted to do a black and white check, but I wasn't sure I could get it square enough. 

I will be sad to be sending this off to it's new owner (that part is still a secret) but I am looking forward to doing more drawing-based projects. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

"There are a LOT of stitches on your machine..."

  And I have definitely been adding to them this week.  New badges coming soon, once I finish all the custom orders. 

Unfortunately, all I can show you are badges since my other projects are for swaps. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


Yes, it is finally Spring around here.  A rather cool Spring, but things are green and the flowers are blooming.  Actually the cool weather tends to extend the flowering season.  That is a bonus. 

I was out yesterday shooting pictures of some secret projects.  A bit of blooming myrtle was a perfect match.  I'll share the projects once they reach their final destination. 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

And Side by Side

After much figuring and ripping, I finally finished piecing one.  It went from one long string of blocks to this diamond pattern.  Spud 3 approves!  It is a twin sized top.   I need to find backing and figure out how to quilt it.  I am open to suggestions.  I want it to be vaguely historic. 

I keep naming this one different things.  So much so that I have a couple different picture folders.  One is called Riverbed.  The other is historic trip around the world.  I wonder what it will be once it gets quilted.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


I don't know how I missed it.  I started this blog three years ago on March 22, 2011. I've spent the last couple days reading it all in reverse order.  How interesting to see what I have chosen to record and preserve. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

End to End

I am challenging myself to convert fabric stash to flimsies, to try new things, to make bigger quilts and to continue to work on technique.  To that end,  I pulled out a bunch of historic-ish fabrics from my stash to make an historic-ish twin-sized quilt.  Mostly to learn how to construct it and to determine what goes into making one. 

There it is pieced end to end.  Enough 3.5 inch blocks to make a twin sized quilt.


And here it is all rolled up.  Yes, there is a madness to my method.  I will try to explain it some time but it will require some input from Mr-I'm-the-mathematician-sew-here-trust-me-the-seam-ripper-is-your-friend.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

PQ 5:6 Triangles, Flying Geese at Sunset

Whew!  It is finally the last week of Kim Lapaceck's  Project Quilting.  A week I looked forward to with equal parts excitement, sadness and dread.  Excitement, because it is always exciting to get the new challenge.  To spend time thinking about what to make and to figure out how to do it.  Sadness, because PQ is over for another year and I will miss these bi-weekly challenges and more importantly bi-weekly deadlines to get a quilt finished.  (During the 6 weeks of project quilting, I managed to finish 9 quilt projects.)

And then the dread...  As you may know, my personal challenge this season was to make large quilts.  Big enough to cover up Spud 1.

I started small with the baby-sized Snailerpark trash quilt.  The real challenge on this one was the Free Motion Quilting. 

Week 2 saw the production of a bigger but still rather smallish picnic quilt.  Stitching over all of those flat-felled seams and pockets almost did in me and my machine. 

Week 3 was larger still with the good wrap up on the couch Good N Plenty quilt. Completely fun and manageable in the time frame!

Week 4 was the 60 x 60 inch big star quilt, made of half square triangles and hand quilted.  In three days.  From start to finish.  Totally exhausted!

Week 5, the even larger, twin sized Jam and Bread quilt, again made of triangles.  This time the triangles were quarter square triangles.  I didn't think I could possibly get this one finished.  A trip out of town.  A pieced backing.  The need to go to use the tables in the multipurpose room at church to get it basted.  A wee bit of assistance on that from the spuds on Saturday night, and I managed a finish.

Thus the dread of week 6.  Was I up to the challenge of making the next size up?  A full sized quilt in keeping with the pattern of the rest of the season.  Dread.

I might have made it except for one thing. Triangles.  The week 6 challenge was triangles.  That is all.  Triangles for two weeks from a quilter who just doesn't do triangles unless she absolutely has to and now more triangles.  A giant full-sized quilt with more triangles.   Let's just say I did a wee bit of whining. For most of the week, I was pretty much convinced that this one lone triangle-shaped coaster made of chalkboard fabric was going to be my entry.

But Thursday night, I couldn't help myself.  I had to do at least a little bit better.  Since I wasn't going to be able to go large and I didn't want to go home, I decided to try and tackle paper piecing.  I've tried many times.  I've sat through the classes at least three times.  I always come up short.   Literally.  My pieces are always sewn on too short.

This was the week to conquer my fear.  I found a pattern for flying geese in a circle.  I printed out a couple patterns and I went for it.  Amazingly enough, only the very last piece of the last block was too short.  I made two blocks.  Added some coordinating fabric and called it quits.

And so you have Flying Geese at Sunset.  Sunset of time.  Sunset of the season.  Sunset colors.  It measures approximately 12 x 16 inches.  It is made from some lovely quilter's cotton I bought on my Birthday last year to make something just for me.  It has a felted poly batting and is hand quilted and hand bound.  And it is finished in time to post as my very last challenge quilt.

Be sure to check out all the other great triangle quilts made this week.  

Thank you Kim for all your hard work producing Project Quilting.  Thank you Diane Lapacek for your evil genius in coming up with the challenges.  And Kudos to the many talented quilters who produce a quilt in a week for no reason other than the challenge is there.

Because she asked so nicely, I've linked this week's post to Go Go Kim's SewJo Saturday link party.  Even more great quilts to admire!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Guest Post: Kim Lapacek of Project Quilting

 You visit this blog so you likely know that I have been playing in and sponsoring Project Quilting for the past two seasons.  Season 5 is coming to an end.  I've invited Kim to the blog today to share more information about PQ.  

From Kim....

If you’ve been following along with Season 5 of Project QUILTING, http://www.persimondreams.com/project-quilting/season-5,  you know that it’s been an exciting season.  I recently taped with Nancy Zieman of Quilting with Nancy for a ‘Nancy’s Corner’ about Project QUILTING.  Not only was it an amazing experience but it also helped me get all my statistics about the history of project QUILTING all nicely together.  

Project QULTING began in 2010 when I discovered Project RUNWAY and fell in love. 
At first, it made me want to learn to sew clothing.  Then, I actually thought about and I really didn’t have time to add another hobby into my world but I did know how to quilt.  I gave my mother-in-law, Diane Lapacek, a call and she agreed to come up with quilt challenges for Project QUILTING and the quilting fun started!

Challenges are posted on Sundays during the ‘season’ and quilters from all around the world have just one week to come up with a concept, create the quilt, finish the quilt and link up to qualify for prizes from various sponsors.  It sounds daunting but trust me…it can be done.

Since Project QUILTING began in 2010, 793 quilted items have been created.  174 quilters from all over the world have participated in a least one of the 33 challenges given so far.  Nine countries have been represented by quilters for a project QUILTING Challenge – this includes 38 of the States in the US and 4 Providences of Canada. 
Project QUILTING is a quilt challenge for quilters of all levels!  We’ve had newbie quilters all the way to Professional Quilters join in the fun.  A weekly voting poll allows the public to vote for their favorite quilt of the challenge and then random prize winners are literally drawn from a hat out of everyone who has participated.

The final challenge of Project QUILTING is happening THIS week and the theme is Triangles, http://www.persimondreams.com/2014/03/project-quilting-season-5-challenge-6triangles.html.  If you want to join in the fun it is not too late.  The challenge is posted and you’re not going to want to miss out on a chance to win great prizes from sponsors – Marcia’s Crafty Sewing & Quilting, Woodland Ridge Retreat Center, For Quilts Sake, Studio Cherie, Sew BitterSweet Designs, Waggons West, Pat Sloan, Amy's Creative Side, Fat Quarter Shop, Bungalow Sewing & Yarn, and Seldom Seen Quilting.

I hope you decide to join in the fun and don’t forget…It’s Time to Think Outside the Square!

Thanks Kim. 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

PQ 5.5 Jam and Bread

Updated with new pictures up front.  Scroll down for details.

  A bit of a close up showing the fabrics and the very simple quilting.

This week's PQ challenge is to be inspired by the grocery store.

My inspiration was Jam and Bread.  Blueberry and strawberry jam and plain old white bread.  I also added in the red gingham backing like the wax paper sandwiches used to be wrapped in at the diner.

The blocks are all hour glass blocks.  If this quilt has a story it is simply that it is finished.  It has been a difficult week with lots of travel and a touch of a cold to keep me from getting much done.  I've had the blueberry fabric in my stash for a while.  I found the strawberry that almost matches it on Etsy.  I was going to use it for a checked border around the blueberry hour glass blocks but changed my mind.  I'm not sure it was the right choice, but it is done so I will move on.

Sorry, it is too big for me to get a pic without including my friend Floyd and his collection of hats.  Spud 1 is holding it up.  He is complaining that it is big and heavy.  I have no sympathy.  He is the one who insisted that all my PQ quilts this season be big enough to keep warm.  If he gets a quilt big enough to warm his big toe for the last challenge, he will be living large.  

Here you can see the fabrics a little bit better. While I have been working large this season, I have also been learning a lot.  I'll share some of the things I've learned once I get some rest. 

One more view with the edge folded back.  I love making rounded corners.  I didn't use the big plate on these so they are a bit tighter than usual.  I won't make that mistake again.  The binding is actually a green gingham.  I love white space and gingham binding. 

 The details.  It measures approximately 68 x 77 inches.  It is made with quilter's cotton.  The machine quilting forms a diamond pattern.  The binding is also machine stitched.  It has a dense poly batting.

Project Quilting was imagined by Kim Lapacek of Persimon Dreams.   You can check out the rest of the quilts made this week and vote for your favorite on her blog.

You can see all of the quilts and vote for your three favorites here.  

Friday, March 7, 2014


I made it to Patches and Stitches in Huntsville this week.  They have the answer for everything. 

This is my score from this trip.  Needles, marking pens, thread, scissors and an HST ruler big enough to mark my 10 inch blocks. 

Hot and Hot in the Cold.

It has been a very long week. 

The robotics competition in Peoria (finished with the fourth alliance thank you very much). 

The ice storm delay. 

The travel through the ice storm in a state that doesn't seem to know how to plow or salt.  Huge chunks of frozen snow pushed kinda sorta to the edge but close enough to throw the cars and trucks around if they hit it.  Watched a salt truck dump about 6 inches of salt in one spot at an intersection.  Add in the freezing temps and black ice and it was an adventure. 

Then the trip to Birmingham to pick up the car at the airport.  At least we planned so that we could have dinner out.  I had ripped a page from one of my cooking magazines listing restaurants in Alabama.  We decided to choose one and try it out.  Really.  With no more research than a name and town we googled the address and went.  No idea what to expect.

When the GPS said we were there, all we say was a Valet parking attendant.  Hmmm...  A few cars honking at us and a trip around the block and we found him again.  Left our car in good hands.

We were early for dinner but that gave us time to sit at the bar and sample the martini menu.  It was one of those places where the bartender talked about making the rhubarb tonic and freshly squeezing the blood oranges.  The blood orange martini was amazing. 

I can't even begin to describe the menu.  Everything was fresh and local.  The attention to detail was incredible.  Everything fit perfectly. 

And all of my photos have disappeared from my phone so I have nothing to show you.  Weird.  I will have to see if I can figure out what happened. 

The restaurant is the Hot and Hot Fish Club. Turns out the chef is a James Beard award winner.  It was a wonderful treat. 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Featured. How Cool is That?

My little Instructable earned a Featured label this week.

I'm pretty excited about that! 

PQ 5.4 Lemoyne Star

Lemoyne Star

When I was a kid, there were several ways through the woods to Grandmother's house.  One of them was on the Lemoyne Road and went through the village of Lemoyne.  Like many small towns at the time it had a grain elevator and rough tracks to cross over.  Lemoyne was further blessed with two State highways.  This was not the preferred route.   Crossing the tracks was difficult.  They were raised up a bit and went behind the elevator.  There was also a difficult approach to the expressways.  They came up at an angle, making it very difficult to see on-coming traffic.  There was always a certain level of anxiety approaching the crossings.  Even as kids, we knew it was tricky, if not down right dangerous.

By the time I learned to drive, they had installed crossing guards on the tracks and there was a new by-pass over Lemoyne Road.  The journey was much easier and we were more likely to go that way.

One bonus of squaring your blocks is that the whole quilt comes out square-er (is that a word?)

That is pretty much how I feel about the traditional Lemoyne Star block.  It has always been one of my favorite blocks but going that route meant cutting out trapezoids and learning Y-seams.  Tricky, if not down right dangerous.

Quilting with Perl Cotton

Then along comes the inestimable Jenny Doan of the Missouri Star Quilt Company with her Big Star Tutorial.  All of the sudden the block became easier and now I am much more likely to sew it.

A closer look at the backing fabric. 

Jenny gives you wonderful instructions for making the block.  Having just finished piecing my second quilt using the technique there are a few things I would add to the instructions:
  • If you really want this to look like a traditional Lemoyne Star, you will need to choose solids or small print fabrics that do not have a clear pattern or direction.  

  • Pin.  I'm not usually a pinner but the 10x10 inch blocks can slip around when you are sewing them.  A walking foot will help.  Adjusting the pressure on your pressure foot might help (I haven't quite figured that out yet).  Pinning helps.
  • Anyone who places the ruler and cuts an angle like Jenny must have magic ruler placing, ruler holding and cutting super powers.  No matter how hard I try, I cannot get four perfect 6.75 inch squares every time.  I'm happy if I am close some of the time.  

  • It is better to cut as best you can and then trim the blocks down to 6.5 inches.  You will end up with a final block that finishes at 24 inches.  But you will be more likely to keep your points and match your corners.  

  • Every seam you sew after you make your half square triangles will be on the BIAS.  The good news is that they can be eased stretched to make your corners meet.  The bad news is that they stretch like crazy which can result in some crazy lumps in your top.  Once again, pin and sew with caution. 
That said, go ahead and make this block.  It is fun and it doesn't take many 24 inch blocks to make a huge quilt in short order.  

Another picture of the whole quilt.  It goes wall to wall in the foyer so I can't get a picture without the hats in it.

The Timeline:

Wednesday after dinner:  Start cutting.  Get all of the blue and most of the white cut.  Make and trim HST for one star.

Thursday:  Buy more fabric.  Cut rest of white fabric.  Cut and trim blocks for the rest the stars.  Get the rows stitched for each of the stars.

Friday morning.  Stitch the rows together to make the stars.  Iron everything.  Arrange and re-arrange the blocks.  Stitch the final nine-patch.

Friday afternoon:  Cut and piece the backing.  Iron everything.  Baste.  Buy pearl cotton.

Quilt top spread out and ready to baste. 

Friday evening:  Start quilting.

Saturday Morning:  Keep quilting.

Saturday afternoon:  Take Spud 1 out to buy shoes.  End up having to drive into the city and take all day.

Saturday evening.  Keep quilting.  Cut and prep binding.  Stitch on binding.

Rounded corners, number fabric and pretty backing.
Sunday (after midnight):  Finish!  Take terrible nightime indoor pictures and write blog post.


I love gingham binding!
The details.  This quilt measures 72 x 72 inches.  It is made up of 9 Lemoyne Star blocks.  The fabrics are all quilters cottons.  The white background fabrics are all white on white prints.  It has a poly batting and pieced quilter's cotton backing.  The binding is gingham.  It is hand quilted with No 5 Perl Cotton.  The binding is machine stitched.

Add captionFor some reason, these big star quilts turn the spuds into quilt monsters.  They always throw the quilt over their head and start running around.  I can never really get a clear picture of them because they are moving so fast.
This quilt was created as part of Project Quilting Season 5.  Challenge 4 is "Across the Universe"

 All of the blue fabrics in the quilt are stars or space themed this quilt represents the theme in a number of ways.  Traveling across space and time in memory recalling those trips to Grandma's house and traveling across the vast expanse of the quilt both by hand and machine in the time available also seem fitting to the theme.

Project Quilting is the brain child of Kim Lapacek of Persimon Dreams.  The challenges are dreamed up by Diane Lapacek.  Quilters are given one week to come up with a completed quilted project inspired by the challenge prompt.  Be sure to check out the website, the Project Quilting Flickr group and the Challenge Quilts and Project Quilting Face Book pages for more great quilts.