Saturday, May 30, 2009


The blogging world is all abuzz with the coming launch of Sewn. You can read all about it here. Well, who wouldn't want to be a part of the blog party that is taking place in anticipation of the launch of a super cool new website? Hmmm? Well, me for one.

So, on the launch date, June 8, I will draw a name to win a Scrappin' Scottie Mini Quilt, like the one hanging here. Well, maybe not exactly like it. You'll want yours to be a bit different, I'm sure.

Leave a comment on this post and you'll be entered. Simple, simple. On June 8, I will put all of your names in my big yellow bowl and Flora, my trusty assistant, will draw out a winner.

By the way, this is Flora! She's always up for a drawing!

Good luck, everyone!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Why Do You Quilt?

Whenever I read quilter's blogs the first question I ask myself is, "Why do they do it?" What is it about quilting that makes people stick with it, unlike other crafts or hobbies that come and go with a whim? Anyone still make baskets out of grocery sacks and paper ribbon? I didn't think so.
After getting over my fear of quilting (about 6 months ago!) I have found that I really, really love it. It fills all of the right places in me, challenges my abilities and leaves me with something beautiful and, more importantly, lasting. It gives me a great sense of satisfaction to take small pieces of fabric and assemble them together into something pretty and useful. The quilts I make today will still keep my family warm and dress their rooms years from now. Many years from now.
I tease my children with these words, "Guess what you're getting for Christmas from now on, and I mean forever- Quilts!" The response is usually an eye roll or groan, but deep down I think it makes them happy. After all, they will always have something to cuddle up in no matter how old they are. And, since I leave secret messages in the quilts I make for them, they will always have a hug from me even when they are far away.
That is the part for me that makes quilting different- I am creating something of worth. Not worth in a worldly sense, but a legacy created by my own hands for the ones I love. I don't see my kids hanging onto that paper ribbon basket. Well, actually, they can't because I didn't!
So, tell me, why do you quilt?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Home, Sweet Home.

Well, my nephew has graduated, we cooked up a storm and the party is over. Phew! But, I did get to fit in some fun Friday morning. Everyone needs a little fabric therapy you know.
I finally made it to Sew Worth It! and it so was. :)
The first person I met was Sue herself. I asked her if it would be okay to take photographs and, due to the fact that the quilts belonged to others, she politely said , "No." No problem. But I could take a few shots of her quilts to show Karen.
I introduced myself to her and told her I was visiting from Georgia. Then I told her that our quilt shop is A Scarlet Thread. She looked at me kind of funny because she knows Karen! I told her it's not my quilt shop, but our quilt shop. Where we go to be inspired, meet up with old friends and make new friends. The place where good things happen. Now I have another one for when I am in Florida!

Inside the shop, Sue's apologies for it being messy due to rearranging aside (oh, and there was no evidence of mess anywhere!), was a delight. I am like a kid in a candy shop when presented with row after row of colorful fabrics. My mom, niece Alyssa, John and I ooohed and aaahed over everything from the cute displays to fabrics that made our hearts want to leap out from our chests. Thankfully that did not happen or there would have been a mess!

I picked up a charm square pack of Sweet and Basket of Flowers, which have eluded me until now. I have learned that when you see something, buy it. Quickly. I also found three fat quarters for my friend in beautiful pinks and yellows. I'm pretty sure she is going to love them.

How cute is this saying?

I did take an outside shot of the shop. You can see my family in the reflection in the glass.

If you get the chance to go to Sarasota, be sure to stop by Sew Worth It! and tell Sue about your quilt shop! You'll be glad you did.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Off For A Little Adventure.

I'm leaving for Florida tomorrow for my nephew's high school graduation and party. Guess who will be chained to the stove? :) While I'm there I am going to visit Sew Worth It! I have been looking at their website and drooling over what I've seen, so you know I have to go see it in person. It will probably be the only break from cooking I will get while I'm there!
See you next week!

Monday, May 18, 2009

WIP Monday

Clear evidence that there are too many ideas floating around in my brain.

But, when an idea hits, I have to act.

I am really liking this project, but I can't think of a name for it. Slide Rule? Too math-y. Off Kilter? That might describe my personality, not the quilt. Ha.
I just don't know. But, whatever I call it, it is going to decorate the top of my dining room table. At last, I've made something for myself. :)
Now, back to work on things that must be done!!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

What's Under Your Needle?

Have you caught the selvage bug yet? I have. I spent one day last week slicing all of the selvage edges off of my fabric stash. Don't be too impressed, I don't have that many. But, I was itching to start a project with them so I began stitching together five-inch segments into a long strip. This strip will be cut lengthwise and then cut into smaller strips to make a small coin quilt. I've been wanting to make one for quite a while and I'm being very impatient. I want to start the quilt, not do the preparatory steps. Patience is not my virtue, can you tell?

Here is what I have accomplished thus far. I am almost to the point where I can begin the coins. Almost. Ack!

So, tell me, what is under your sewing machine needle? Anything fun? Something you can't wait to finish? I hope I'm not being nosy. I'm just curious.
Karen and Ken are at Quilt Market in Philadelphia this week. Oh, can you imagine the fun they are having? You can keep up on what's transpiring by following the links to Pam Kitty Morning and Bunny Tales on the side bar. I have to tell you, that PMK and Anne are having a hilarious conflict over who gets to post about all the excitement at Market first. Don't worry about Anne. I'm pretty sure she can hold her own.
Karen brought her camera and as soon as she gets home, we'll be posting pics for you.
Have a happy weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

There's a Quilt Giveaway!

Isn't this pretty?

Jump on over to Pigtails and Snails and leave a comment for a chance to win this adorable baby quilt, a Lizzie Anne original design!! Elizabeth does make the loveliest things.

Friday, May 8, 2009

It's Here! It's Here!

It's the oh-so-long-ago promised Scrappin' Scottie pattern. Well, tutorial. My writing became very convoluted and I decided that telling the story in pictures and words would be much easier. So, for those of you who have been anxiously waiting and even those who have not, this is for you. Just in time for Mother's Day. :)

Scrappin' Scottie

Pattern designed and pieced by: Karin Kimball Smith, 2009

for A Scarlet Thread

Okay, let's begin:

What you will need:
Scottie Body- 1 fat quarter in solid black or a black pattern
Background- 1 fat quarter in any blue that you desire
Grass- 1 scrap strip of green fabric- at least 2 inches by 13 inches long (to allow for trimming)
Border 1- 1 scrap of red fabric (or color of your choice) at least 8 inches by 15 inches long
Border 2- 1 fat quarter for border or equivalent of scraps, at least 12 inches by 20 inches
The Angler 2 - trust me. If you don't have one, you need to get one. Today.
Thread to match. (I don't. I always have cream in my sewing machine.)
Pins. (Yeah, I don't use those much, either.)

From the blue background fabric, cut the following:

2- 3 1/2 x 3 1/2 inch squares
1- 2 1/2 x 3 1/2 inch rectangle
1- 2 1/2 x 5 1/2 inch rectangle
1- 2 1/2 x 7 1/2 inch rectangle
4- 1 1/2-in. squares
2- 1 1/2 x 10 inch strips (shown later)

Your background cuts will look like this:

From the black body fabric, cut the following:

1- 3 1/2 inch square
1- 4 1/2 x 7 1/2 inch rectangle
2- 1 1/2 x 2 1/2 inch rectangles
2- 2 1/2 inch squares
7- 1 1/2 inch squares

Your cuts will look like this:

Let's begin assembling the block! A 1/4 inch seam is used on all pieces.

From the background fabric, lay out the 2 1/2 x 5 1/2 inch, 2 1/2 x 7 1/2 inch and 2 1/2 x 3 1/2 inch rectangles, one 3 1/2 inch square and three 1 1/2 inch squares. From the body fabric, lay out one 1 1/2 x 2 1/2 inch rectangle.

As shown in photograph, lay a black body 1 1/2 inch square on the corners shown. Lay a blue 1 1/2 inch square on the black rectangle.

Sew corner to corner from each outside edge of the background fabric. Sew corner to corner on the body fabric from the top left corner to the right side edge for the tail.

This is where having the Angler 2 comes in very handy. No drawing or pressing lines on your pieces. Just line the corners up with the lines on the Angler 2 and sew. Such a life saver!

Press all seams to the black body fabric and clip corners off. Your pieces will now look like this.

Are we good? Still following me?

Take the three 1 1/2 inch squares and stitch them together in the arrangement shown above to make the beard. Press seams open. I know, but they are very small pieces. Sew the beard strip to the top of the 3 1/2 inch square with the black corner on the bottom right. Press seam to the background.

Now sew the top of the beard to the bottom of the 3 1/2 inch black head square. Press seam to the black. Sew this to the remaining blue 3 1/2 inch background square and press seam to the black. It will look like this:

Lay this strip aside and begin to assemble the body section.

Sew one 2 1/2 inch black square to either side of the 2 1/2 x 3 1/2 inch rectangle. Press seam to the black.

Sew the leg strip to the bottom of the main body piece (4 1/2 x 7 1/2 inch rectangle). Press to the body.

Sew the solid 1 1/2 x 2 1/2 inch black rectangle to the left side of the 2 1/2 x 5 1/2 inch rectangle to begin the ear. Sew the pieced 1 1/2 x 2 1/2 inch rectangle to the right side creating the tail. Press the seams to the black.

Sew this strip to the bottom of the 2 1/2 inch x 7 1/2 inch rectangle. Press seam down.

Sew this strip to the top of the main body piece and press the seam down. Sew the head strip to the body strip. There are no seams to line up here. You're welcome.

And Voila! You have pieced together the Scrappin' Scottie! Just a little more to go. Hopefully, yours looks like this:

Trim block to a perfect 10 x 10 inch square, if necessary. I had to. With the 1 1/2 x 10 inch strips of background fabric, sew one on the right side and one on the left side of the block. Press seams to the background.

He sure is looking cute!

From the scrap of green fabric, cut a 1 1/2 x 12 inch strip and sew it to the bottom of the block. Press seam down. (It isn't really curved, it was my camera angle.)

For Border 1- Cut two 2 x 12 inch strips and sew to the top and bottom of the block. Press seams to the border.

Cut two 2 x 14 inch strips and sew to the top and bottom of the block. Press to the border.

From this point on you have a choice. You can either add another border and make this a mini- quilt as I did, or, if you planned ahead, you can make more blocks and then attach them together with a three-inch sashing for a cute baby quilt. The instructions are for the mini-quilt.

From the Border 2 fat quarter (or scrap) cut two 13 3/4 inch (or your measurement) strips. Sew these to the sides of the block. Press seams towards the border.

Cut two 19 1/2 inch (or your measurement) strips and sew to the top and bottom of the block. Press seams to the border. That's it! You're finished!

Does your block look like this?

Well, no, I'm sure it looks like yours! I hope that you found this tutorial easy to do and, most of all, fun! It is always amazing to me that something can come from a thought in the far back of your mind, to visualizing it, to the planning and then, finally, to the actual thing that was in your head. Now, as soon as I figure out how to create a Flickr group, you will be able to send in photos of your Scrappin' Scottie mini-quilts, or whatever you created from this tutorial. All of us at A Thread of Red will want to see them. We really, really will.

Phew! I'm going to go lay down now because Blogger will not let me make this part smaller. :(

Monday, May 4, 2009

Sewing Dummy.

Not the cute thing that stands in the corner of a sewing room wearing the latest creation. Oh, no. In this case, the sewing dummy is me.
After piecing the top of the new strip club quilt this weekend, all I had to do was to attach the borders. So, I measured and attached border one. Check. Measure and prepare to attach border 2 by inserting a pin into the right end of border 1. Check. Begin sewing border 2 to border 1. Check. Run out of border 2. What?!
Yes, I stitched border 2 to the wrong end of border 1! Twice! Why? Because not only had I cleverly placed a pin in border 1 so I would know where to attach border 2, I had left a pin in the other side of border 1 as well.

So, my friend the seam ripper and I have had lots of time to bond today.
The other thing I realized is that I have made
border 1 with the border 2 fabric and vice versa.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Eye of the Beholder.

Hand a group of women each a box, inside of which are identical strips of fabric.
Have them open the box and peek inside.
The result?


Because each set of eyes that takes that first peek sees something different,

each and every time.

You can tell a lot about someone by their quilts. Bold and sassy or soft and subtle, personalities shine through each fabric choice.

You can tell that imagination is one part of us that is never bound.

You can see the wheels turning as they create something from nothing.
What could have been discarded is now a treasure.
(Scraps from the Chain, Chain, Chain quilt now become a new quilt of their own!)

No second guessing here. Every woman experiences the same process- their eyes see, their mind melds and their heart speaks.

The result is a stamp of individuality on the paper of sameness.

Each one lovely.

Each one the same,

but different.

I wonder what they will do with this?


*Remember the Miss Mary's Charm School post? Well, I think I have made you wait long enough for the reveal! The pattern Mary chose is called Butter Cake, a luscious layer cake pattern. (Hence the photo of the Sara Lee butter pound cake!) It is a sweet pattern with a ton of possibilities.

Here is Mary's finished top. Isn't it lovely? The colors are sublime- soft pastel paisleys melt away letting the teal butterflies fly to the front.

Soft. Simple. Perfection.

Put your stamp of individuality on something this week.

Friday, May 1, 2009


One of my favorite things to do is to navigate through the fabric manufacturer websites. Some of my favorites- Moda, P&B Textiles, Clothworks, Michael Miller and Robert Kaufman.
All of them have the latest fabrics front and center and I am never disappointed. The other thing they have is free quilt patterns! How nice is that?
Say you wanted to make a quilt with this- Delila by Clothworks:

Well, you can click here and find a darling pattern!

Love Elanor's Picnic by P&B Textiles?
Click here and see what cuteness is in store for you!
AndaLucia one of your faves?
Find a stunning quilt here!

Does Howard Marcus' beautiful Collection for a Cause
make your heart go pitter-pat?

Then you will adore this 19th Century-inspired quilt here.

When you delve into the pattern (or project) files at these fabric houses, you will want to fill your favorites file with everything you see! There are quilts large and small, and for all levels of expertise. While you will not find all of the fabric lines at your local quilt store (because, really, where would they put them?), the patterns themselves are enough to inspire you to create your own version using something completely different!
Take a peek at these. You'll be surprised what you will discover!
Robert Kaufman (scroll down for free projects)
Set aside a few hours, stock the printer with paper and have fun looking!
The fabric collections shown are available at A Scarlet Thread!