Friday, April 29, 2016

Cutting Into That OOP/HTF Fabric...You Can Do It!

Well, maybe we can do it!  
My friend, Robin certainly took that plunge when she made the quilts 
I am going to show you for her granddaughter. 
 She determined to make a woven quilt. 
 When she saw my prairie points she decided that she wanted to use those too.  
Take a closer look at those.  
They match up with the squares that are cut in half on the edge!

She then made two doll sized quilts that she quilted herself.  
One is using the exact fabrics used in this bigger quilt.  I took LOTS of close ups of this one.

This one is the companion to the other one but no less adorable.  
I love that she used the Lizzy House butterflies for the binding on this.  It made adorable binding!

Notice the heart quilted into that teal star in the sashing??

She sent me a photo of her cutting table in the aftermath of making these quilts. 
 I LOL when I saw this.  
Isn't this how your cutting table looks all the time?  No?  
Maybe it's just me!

Enjoy your weekend!  I will have been sewing all day with Robin and Judith today at Robin's house.  We try once a year or so to make a collaborative quilt.  This one will be the construction quilt.  

I am so enjoying writing this blog!  I hope you are enjoying it here too and will follow me over on my personal blog which you can find here.


Thursday, April 28, 2016

A Quilt Exhibit By Bonnie J Smith

I work at the University of Michigan.  
A friend was telling me about this really cool exhibit of swimmer quilts.  
We had time to walk over to the building yesterday so I thought I would share with you too.  

My kids were all swimmers.  
My girls swam from the age of 5 through high school.
 The middle one even swam for a Big 10 school in college.  
My husband and I were YMCA and USA swimming officials for over 10 years.  
Swimming was a huge part of our lives.  

These quilts were made by Bonnie J Smith.  
I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.  
Here is one of the signs that went with this first quilt.  
I didn't take photos of them all though.

This one reminded me of the practice lanes.  

I hope you enjoyed this exhibit as much as I did!


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A Little Birdie Told Me

I have been working on a baby quilt for a friend's daughter.  
Growing up this young woman was friends with my middle daughter 
and is now expecting her first baby in June.  
The nursery colors are lavender and pale yellow.  
I had the Feathers pattern and knew that is what I wanted to make.  
I did not know the birds are gigantic, LOL.  

They sure are cute!

I decided that I wanted to sash them using stars so I did the math and got those done.  
Then I wanted to put prairie points around the border and then another white border.  
I used 5" squares for the prairie points.
I didn't have enough of the white that I used around the birds and the other borders though 
(it had birds on it) so I found a cute sort of pebble looking one that I decided could be bird seed!  Perfect.  

My friend Robin, and I were struggling to get it open when our friend, Judith took this gem, LOL.
You will hear more about Robin very soon.
She made an amazing quilt for her grand daughter.
Then she made 2 doll quilts to match.
You will NOT believe the fabrics she cut up!
They could NOT be any cuter, so stay tuned!!

This is how the top came out. 
 I could not love it more!  
It is kind of difficult to see but the yellow prairie point in the middle of each section fits exactly into the open space in each yellow star.  

I decided that I wanted to use a star with a mixed purple background to make the label.  
I also wanted to have it quilted right in, so pieced into the back.
Anyone else dislike making pieced backs?
I love the look, but it took almost as much time as the front!
 I will have to put in the date once the baby is born though.

Just in case you are wondering.  This label is written.  I usually embroider them but had the opportunity to get it in the quilting que so written it is.
I type it out on the computer, and use a light box to transfer the words to my label.
I use a Frixion pen if I am going to embroider.
In this case I used a permanent pen to do the writing and heat set it.
Transferring this way ensures that I don't misspell or make a mistake.
Bonus is that the writing is neat!  Plus you can choose the font.

I wanted to use the purple circles for the entire back but did not have enough, hence the pieced back.
I used left over squares, cut for the prairie points for the strip of squares.
Then used up all the yellow vine I had to make the top and bottom.  
I proudly got out the top and guess what?  
It was not wide enough,  SOB!!!

So I had enough of all the fabrics to add a 4" strip on each side.  
Darn it, more quilt math, and late at night.  
I needed to have it done to turn over to my quilter tonight. 
 Nothing is ever easy is it?

Here is the back. 
 Both long enough and wide enough now.  
I think the quilt should finish around 64" square, I didn't actually even measure it even now.

Well, these are the things we quilters do, right?  Make mistakes and fix them the best we can.  

I'm in love with my little flock of birdies though.  

What do you think?


Mr and Mrs Trivet

As many of you that are on Instagram saw last night I was struggling to decide which fabrics to use to make my embroidered faces into trivets.  

I loved the Cotton and Steel face dot print and found these adorable faces to embroider. 
 I think they match pretty well!

I determined I wanted to use black and white along with the face dots for the trivets.  
The pattern for the trivet is from the book Patchwork Please
 I don't even know how many of these I've made and I love every one!

These were the fabrics I pulled for the first trivet:

On Instagram last night, everyone chose the bottom one.  It was my first choice too.

TaDa!!  The top of the trivet is all finished!  
I need to quilt it and then bind it.  
I don't like the binding part much on these. 
 Joining the ends it tough! 
If it is not too late at night I will try to take some photos as I do this, but we will see.  
Sometimes trying to take pics is difficult and hindered by the fact that I only have 2 hands...go figure!

I am extremely happy with how she turned out!  
I have a backing to make tonight for the birdie quilt. I will show that one tomorrow.  
I don't have great photos of the top, so maybe, if it doesn't rain I will try to get some. 
 I need to piece the back tonight before I can begin on the second trivet.

What are you working on??


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Week 17: Here Comes Mama Spark

Hi everyone and welcome to my week!
That would be week 17.

My name is Pamela Lincoln, but I am better known as Mama Spark.

I thought I would introduce myself and let you know a little bit about who I am.

I am married to the love of my life going on 33 years now.
He is a retired pilot and an avid fisherman.

We have three children.

Our eldest daughter is getting married in October.
She owns a small 10 acre farm and raises chickens, turkeys and peafowl.
She owns a "house peahen" named Beep.  
If you check out my feed you will see lots of photos of Beep and her friends.

My middle daughter works as a fisheries biologist for the state of NC.
She has a cat named Mitch and is pretty much obsessed with him.
I am trying to convince her she needs to learn how to sew.

My son lives nearby and works as a service writer at a local car dealership.
He is the love of our dog, Abby's life!

Me?  I work in science, doing research at the University of Michigan.
I graduated from Michigan State University.

We are big animal lovers and recently lost 2 of our cats, Mosen ,

And Aiden

We have 2 cats left, Autumn and Hallie.

I have always sewn, and quilting was very interesting to me. 
I took a class when my daughter was a baby, but just did not have time to do it justice.
Many years later, while at swim practice, my friend, Ellen was stitching down her binding.

We started talking and there was no looking back for me.
I was hooked!

I've been quilting for about 13 years now.

I have had a few things published on the Moda Bake Shop.
I have a few things published in some magazines.

Mostly I sew for friends and family.
They seem to keep me busy with weddings and babies, LOL.

Here are a few of my recent projects, prior to taking this blog over.

Pouch for a swap

Older UFO, finally done!

One of my published quilts in McCalls Quick Quilts magazine

My cat, Jack, pin cushion.  Jack passed away but was my favorite cat of all time, ever!

Chenille blanket (tutorial on my blog:

 Little Birdie top is finished, now need to make the back and get it quilted!

I hope you have enjoyed getting to know me a little bit better and I look forward to making new friends from this blog too!

You can find me on my blog at :
I am Mama Spark's quilts on Facebook
Instagram: @mamaspark59
Twitter: @mamaspark59
Ello:  @mamspark
Tumblr:  Mamaspark on Mama Spark's World

I look forward to meeting you!


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Week 16: 4 Reasons To Try Domestic Machine Quilting by Quilty Habit

 *Disclaimer: This post is in no way meant to discredit longarm quilters. You are amazing and talented professionals! However, lots of people are intimidated to try quilting on their own, and one of my goals is to inspire more people to feel confident about domestic machine quilting.

Quilting on my queen size+ Epic Medallion quilt

Six years ago, I remember going to and typing in "definition of quilting." I knew how to sew already (from a class in high school), but I didn't know that the quilting is what holds the three layers of a quilt together. Armed with just the internet, I forged ahead to quilt my first quilts. Until I joined a guild a few months later, I had no idea that many quilters outsource their quilting to longarm quilters!

The sun highlights the quilting on my Mountain Sunset quilt - a sample for my Landscape Quilt workshop.

I kept quilting myself, mainly because I LOVED it, and as I practiced on my tiny Brother machine from Walmart, I realized that this was something I could really invest in. No, not buying a longarm or midarm myself (at least not for a long time still - that isn't in the budget), but enjoying the simultaneous peace and challenge that is domestic machine quilting.

Echo, made for Northcott Fabrics at QuiltCon 2016, using Colorworks Premium Solids

4 Reasons To Try Domestic Machine Quilting

1. It's another skill to learn and practice. There's a lot of newness that comes with learning how to make a quilt, and this is one of the final steps. It's challenging and it takes hours and hours of practice, but it's worth it because: 

2. The sense of accomplishment. You made that ENTIRE QUILT yourself. Amazing work, you!

3. It's cheaper. Yes, it can take a long time, and you might have to invest in some tools (though you really don't HAVE to - you can easily quilt on a small, basic machine!), but you're doing all the work yourself. Some will say that time is money, but even so, you're not shelling out hundreds of dollars off the bat to get a quilt quilted. For someone who would rather spend craft money on fabric (me), this is an important point.

Spring Wind - sample for my Wonky Cross quilt workshop

4. It's imperfect. I know lots of people strive to have "perfect" quilting, but I'm not one of them. I *like* having little flaws here and there. They remind me of my journey and encourage me to keep working hard. One of my current main focus areas is keeping a consistent-as-possible stitch length, which is not impossible but difficult on a domestic machine (especially with large quilts). Embracing imperfection is important when it comes to sewing - because no one is perfect. 

A new piece I haven't shared fully yet, but I will soon over on my blog. I try to share as much detail as possible about my quilting process over there.

If you'd like to see some more examples of domestic machine quilting, check out my talented friends:

  1. Renee Hoffman of Quilts of a Feather (blog) (IG)
  2. Sarah Fredette of Smiles Too Loudly (blog) (IG)
  3. Neva Asinari of Some Like It Quilted (blog) (IG)

My favorite free motion quilters are Angela Walters and Christina Cameli. They both teach in an accessible, detailed, and friendly way.

Do you free motion quilt or use a walking foot to quilt on your domestic machine? If not, what's holding you back from trying? Feel free to share in the comments!