Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Bloggy Love Day!!

I was invited by the lovely Pat Sloan to participate in BLOGGY LOVE DAY!

This is so fun for me, because it is NOT a give-away thing…just a way for 5 un-related bloggers ((Well mostly, except for our love of fabric and quilting!)) to post some things about OURSELVES that you might not know!

Further down this post you will find the other sites to check out, but for now…are you ready?

And be sure to read all the way to the bottom because there is a PROJECT down there!!


1- What is your most interesting or unusual item in your studio?

THIS IS HARD for me! I would have to say that my most interesting item is my vintage machine collection, and it is fairly extensive! Not as large as some, but it is more than one item…Everywhere you turn, there are MACHINES!

I do love the old sweeties. I admit it. I have a hard time resisting them, as you know if you’ve been reading me at all. And I have a confession. This is just what is in the STUDIO proper. It does not include the other machines in the rest of the house, or what is packed away in the storage closet…My friend Lucy got me collecting the old toy machines. And the others? Well, it all started with my great grandmother’s old black singer shown in the above slide show! It’s the middle black one on the blue shelf. It’s a singer 15-91 from 1942. My mom was born in 1941, and later toward her teen years, my great grandmother gave this machine to my mom’s mom, my grandmother and it was used to make all of my mom’s roller and ice skating costumes, among other things. I'm the 4th generation down the line who has sewn on this machine and I’m thrilled to have it!

You can click HERE for more of my machine collection, but I’m embarrassed to say that it is not quite complete on the web page either…there are some I haven’t added yet! Especially the hand crank machine I bought when traveling through Tennessee last month! She’s a beauty! ((I did include her cover in the slide show above…))

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And if you happen to notice lots of dolls, etc in the pictures, that’s another thing that most don’t know about me. I started “Needle in A Haystack!!” doll pattern company in 1992. I designed over 70 patterns for dolls and stuffed animals, eventually licensing many of them through the Butterick Pattern company. You could find them around the globe through the Butterick pattern catalogues. Boy, was that ever a lifetime ago! ((and occassionally they still show up on ebay!!))

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This plaque is of my first magazine article in Doll World, February 1995. It’s been a long journey!

2-Who would you like to hang out with for a day and why?



Kim Woodburn & Maggie MacKenzie!! The lovely gloved ladies of “How Clean Is Your House!?”

Disclosure: My house is NOT THAT BAD. Seriously. But I have a LOT of stuff in the basement studio, and I’d love to make it work better. And at the same time I fully realize and acknowledge that I am ADDICTED to my stuff, and I can’t let it go!

I’m walking a fine line between Quilter and Hoarder ((No, seriously..It’s NOT THAT BAD!)) But I’d love to let them come in and see what they could do ;c)

Haven’t seen these gals in action? Here you go:

And yes, there is a part 2, and part 3, as well! So…my question is to YOU!? Who would YOU like to meet and spend a day with, and why?? Come on, do tell! There is no giveaway involved, other than what we can learn from each other! FESS UP!! Now that we figured out the problem with the comment-leaving HERE, I hope to hear from more of you!

3- Give your "Top Tip" or link to a Tutorial you have written

Which is the Top One?! I have no clue..but there is a link of tips at the top of my blog under the Tips & Tutorials tab! Not to mention a huge selection of free scrap patterns, tips and techniques at my website proper, Quiltville.com!

However, there is SOMETHING that I have been demo-ing in my workshops that might not be entirely new to you, but might shine a bit of light on why things go the way things go! And while I’m explaining this…I’ll give you the directions to the 9” Jacob’s Ladder variation blocks to recreate this antique quilt I showed last week! Because this quilt was found in Florida, and is made with wonderful 1940s & 1950s Florals, I’ve nicknamed it Florabunda!

Get your printer friendly version HERE!

Yes, I still love this quilt, can’t get it off my mind, and I’ve started in on the blocks! Wanna join me? Here we go! For each block you will need the following cut from two fabrics:

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(1) 2” X 21” strip of floral print

(1) 2” X 21” strip of yellow

(1) 3.5” X 9” rectangle of floral print

(1) 3.5” X 9” rectangle of yellow

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Place the 3.5” X 9.5” yellow and floral rectangles right sides together, and using your easy angle ruler, cut 4 triangle pairs from each set using the 3 1/2" line on the ruler. Each block requires 4. There is a bit of margin left at the end of each strip set as cushion for cutting and squaring up!

**Note** These half square triangles will measure 3.5” before being sewn into the block, finishing at 3”. You can use any method that gives you 3” finished triangle units.

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Sew the two 2” strips together. Press toward the floral strip and measure the strip set. It should be 3.5” wide. If it is too narrow, your seam allowance is too wide. Adjust where necessary! Sew the triangle pairs as well. Press seams toward the floral. Clip dog ears! The triangle units should measure 3.5". Double check that seam allowance if they are not!

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Tip #1!!

Do YOU do this? I cut the strip set in half…and then layer it with yellow on floral, and floral on yellow…so when I make my sub-cuts, the 4-patch parts are already matched with right sides together and ready to feed through the machine! This saves HUGE amounts of time..just think of all that time it takes to align the two-sies one at a time to get them lined up before sewing pairs. Give this a try! You can feel the seam lock as you lay them together.

Cut five pairs of two-sies! There will be a small extra margin for squaring/trimming left over.

Each block will use five 4 patches! ((I was cutting for two blocks at once, that is why there are more shown here!))

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Tip #2

See the left hand pic? All my pairs are stacked the same way! THIS IS IMPORTANT! You will notice the X on the last pair in the pic on the right… "One of these things is not like the others!” and he’s wrong!

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And THIS is why!

See how they are all being fed in the same direction? Florals are leading, yellows are following. Then look at the right hand pic! Mr. No-no with the red X is heading to be fed in upside down! Can you guess why this is a bad idea?! You might think it doesn’t make a difference, but it DOES! Stick with me! I’ll show you why!

Tip #3!

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Let’s spin those seams! I know this technique has been around for a long time, but in the beginning, I couldn’t figure out WHY half of my 4 patches would spin clockwise, and the other half would go counter clockwise. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason, and it meant that when I sewed 4 patch to 4 patch, my seams wouldn’t butt and oppose any more and it drove me nuts. Are you with me?

It all goes back to TIP #2! If you want your 4 patch seams to all go around in the same direction…they have to be fed through the MACHINE the SAME when you are joining the two-sies! SERIOUS!

To get them to pinwheel like this I grab the 4 patch with the center seam going side to side as shown. A quick twist will let a couple stitches loose within the seam allowance and allow you to spin them around. Which way will yours go? Look at the TOP seam allowance to see which way it is pointing. In this case, they are pointing right, so mine will go clockwise, like this:

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Does it matter which direction they go? Clockwise or counter clockwise? Nope! You just want them all to go the SAME direction. The only time it wouldn’t matter is if you are joining all these 4 patches to units with seams that don’t need to match up. And some patterns, no matter what you try, you’ll find you have to re-press a different direction depending what you are sewing the units next to. So think it out. Of course, if you are joining all of these to plain alternate squares, you can press them any way you want because butting up doesn’t matter.

Let’s finish that block!

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Lay out the five 4 patches for each block as shown. Now, lay out your four half square triangle units for each block as shown. Remember…the yellow is the ladder down the center! All the 4 patches chain in the same direction…

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One block done! The Antique quilt above has blocks set 6 X 8 for 48 blocks. This will give you a quilt center that measures 54" X 72" before borders. As for me? I’m thinking bigger! 8X9 is 72 blocks for a center that measures 72" X 81" before borders. Do-able? Definitely! And a great place to use all those florals I have not had any clue how to use! I'm gonna be RUTHLESS!

Thank you so much for your visit today, and I hope you learned something you didn’t know before! If you are new here, I hope you’ll come back and visit often! Feel free to click the FOLLOW link in my right side bar, you won’t want to miss anything! You’ll also find my facebook widget in the right side bar….please click LIKE! We’d love to have you in on the quilty fun going on over at our Quiltville Friend Page!

And don’t forget to visit these OTHER Bloggy Love friends today--

Be sure to leave them a comment and tell them that Bonnie Sent You!


  1. I would like to spend the day with You or Pat Sloan! Both of your seem to have endless energy and inspire me with all that you create. The Jacob's ladder sounds fun but I would not use the YELLOW, sorry! Thanks for letting us in on your secret stash of sewing machines. I think on pay day I'll be going to get one of those I saw here in town, remember I sent you the link to see them a while back? I am happy to go see all of the other link you provided. I know all but one of them already.

  2. So thanking you for this post on the *flipping butts, and how to achieve then overall.
    I am in the middle of sewing the rows on an ocean waves quilt (from your website) mine will be 48"by 48" without borders. And I am going nuts with the butts when joining rows.
    I thought I'm mad to do it, then I thought Bonnie's mad doing the size she did. And how did she get perfect butts ( no pun intended lol). Now I am squishing seams this way and that to eliminate fullness at the butts( which are not *flipping).
    So is there more to learn on *flipping butts and how to run your fabric when sewing, or does the ocean waves pattern defy all attempts?
    Can we have some more clues on what to look out for?
    BTW- are you still accepting photos on quilts done from your instructions? I am quite pleased with mine and how it came together ( apart from the flipping rows).
    BTW- *flipping - old Australian saying which is used to express annoyance, nowadays there are other f words.

  3. Oooh! A Bonnie bonus pattern! Thanks again for this early-morning inspiration. (And congratulations on your new Sienna....have you named it yet?)

  4. Anonymous7:26 AM EDT

    Loved learning some new things about you! Doll patterns! Who knew?

    I'm always amazed at quilt patterns.....they look all complicated but once they're broken down many are really simple. That Jacob's Ladder is the perfect example. AWESOME!

    Of course, still LOVING your blog......heading over to the others now.

    Have a great day!
    jen in K'ville :^)

  5. Looking forward to spending the day with you and all your bloggy friends (most of whom I am already well acquainted with)!

    And thanks for the Jacob's Ladder block pattern. Really like this one but going to have to find some solid yellows to work with! Hmmmm, somebody got a Kona selections pack somewhere?

    Oh and a belated Whoop, Whoop! on your new mini-van. For hauling (more than kids) they rock!!

  6. you are amazing!!! I didn't know you had THAT MANY machines!!! And I want a Hello Kitty Machine.. seriously have some on ebay market... so if you want me to 'try it out' for you... send it on over.. wink wink!

    thank you for being in my bloggy love hop!

  7. Bonnie, I would love to spend the day with you or with Jan Mac of Oz Comfort Quilts. You have so many amazing ideas for quilts and Jan has such amazing productivity with donated fabric and blocks. LOVE your collection of sewing machines!

  8. Bonnie, I think you could open a sewing machine museum! If those machines could only talk and tell you what they sewed and who their owners were.....wouldn't you love to know?
    Love the yellow Jacob's Ladder....I keep getting drawn to them...I think it's the diagonal movement.
    I'm working on one right now and was sooooo frustrated at the seams not matching up....cursing...wondering why "tweaking" the seams was so great. Your tip explains it all. Too late for this quilt, but can't wait to start another. A BIG THANK-YOU for making my quilts just that much better.

  9. Good morning Bonnie. #1)I don't think you're a hoarder. . but lets just say that if you had a yardsale. . . I WOULD be driving my happy butt the 700+ miles to get to it!!!!!!!! LOL

    #2) I would like to meet Karen McTavish. . I would like to pull up a chair, and my EPP project, and just watch her quilt large quilts with her longarm. Ahhh.

  10. Oooohhhh! I have wondered about the "butting" problem with my 4-patches and now I know - thanks!!!! I had actually stopped spinning the seams because half the time they did not butt together for me! I am in love with the Yellow Jacob's Ladder - thanks for the bonus of sharing your tips on how to put it together. Must run now to find the perfect yellow!!! And maybe some florals too - not my usual "have-to-have" fabric. ;^}

  11. Love this post. I had to watch all three segments of that poor womens apartment. While my house is not that bad. It has its moments. Mostly the clutter piles up because there is so many other things to do in my life of mom, employee, hobbiest, daughter etc.
    I have actually hired a friend to help me get through all the places where stuff has piled up. It is easier to tackle with a friend.
    Beautiful quilt pattern.
    I think the thing we have to remember in life is to not pile more and more things to do on our list but to slow down and enjoy the things we do
    do. I have to set my mind also on doing the things that are boring to me like housework and get over the feeling that it is a thankless task that I have been doing for over 25 years....
    Someone once said to tackle the areas you hate 15 mins a day. This helps.
    Thanks also for the info to make it so people can respond to our comments. I didn't realize I had mine set wrong.

  12. Hey, everyone: turn your head (or your computer screen) and look at those Jacob's Ladder blocks on point. An entirely different look....which gives me yet another design idea!

  13. I Would love to have you come over and help me organize my stash into the scrap user's system. That's who I'd like to spend the day with. I love this blog and your inspiration and you make blogging look so easy. I also love your antique sewing machine collection. I have a few that belonged in the family and would love more, I just don't have them all displayed like yours are.

  14. omg ...
    now I'm lusting after that flaming magenta fw ...

    I learned to sew on a 1895 Singer treadle that had been 'resting' in a hayloft for 'awhile' before it was given to me.... wish I still had it!

  15. Your machines....well, they are amazing!!! I so like that quilt too, and thanks for the tutorials. I can never get my seams to look like that, I am going to try this quilt before the end of the summer. I love the colors. You really are such an inspiration!

  16. Bonnie, love your latest blog post, and all of your pictures. Thanks for sharing. As for who I want to spend an afternoon with, Clinton and Stacy, from What Not To Wear! Some days I feel like a walking fashion don't, especially when covered with threads from my latest stitching session! Know what I mean?

  17. I would love to spend a day with you Bonnie!
    I had a pink machine just like the one in your top picture.
    I am working on Criss-Cross Applesauce now having finished a Webstrings and a Basketweave Strings. I love your tip about finishing the binding so you cannot tell where it started. I still like making my own bias binding (but that is my own bias). I know I have seen directions by others but after 20+ years quilting yours are the most clear.
    I have a book or series of books to recommend for your next long drive... they are mysteries by JA Jance, Her character Ali Reynolds is a blogger and sometimes sleuth, reading your blog makes me feel like a character in her books. They really make the miles go by. The first in the series is "Edge of Evil"
    Back to the issue of the "stuff" we keep; a few years back I traveled from Oregon to New Orleans to help with hurricane relief... pulling old fabric stash, etc from damp leaky attics made me look differently at my abundance at home. And just think of all of the flood and tornado victims this year!
    Thanks for sharing your world with us Bonnie.

  18. Love your post this morning. Thanks for the pattern it makes me want to get in my sewing room and get started on another Bonnie project. Keep up the good work.

  19. Some fun insight into your life, Bonnie. That little video clip makes me think of the show "Hoarder" that my son had me watch on Netflix, and another one called "Obsessed." They do make the fabric hoarding side of the quilter in me squirm a little.
    Thanks for the Jacob's Ladder pattern! I want to do it, but I don't really have florals--have plenty of yellow, though!! I'll find a way. How many different leader/ender projects is it possible to have going at one time? : )

  20. Let's see --- Who would I like to spend a day with? Hmmmm! Well, duh! It's YOU, Bonnie! I can only imagine what fun that would be.
    Linda in Southern Illinois

  21. Bonnie,
    I wasn't going to check my blog roll today but I just couldn't resist reading yours. I'm glad i did! Thank you for the pattern, tips and snippets of your life. Who would I like to spend the day with? Someone who could get me a pass to Quilt Market! I'd love to spend the days looking at all the new stuff and meeting the designers I only read about!

  22. I LOVE Floribunda, thank you so much for sharing the tutorial - she's near the top of my to-do list now! And, oh my goodness all those machines. I confess to being in "simplify" mode over the past few years so my home is pretty much collection free (and I'm a little envious of you). I would love to spend a day with my grandma - she died when I was very young, so I never really knew her, but from stories my mom tells, she was a hoot! And I wouldn't mind a little one-on-one time with Barack Obama - you know, just to talk about kids and food and day to day stuff. Wouldn't that be interesting?
    sunshdws at yahoo dot com

  23. Enjoyed your post today. Thanks for yet another design and some great tips! Sandi

  24. Thank you for the great tutorial on Jacob's Ladder and the correct way to feed the squares! I bought a 15-91 Singer about 20 years ago at a auction and sew on it every day. It is fantastic for free-motion quilting.

  25. I must be officially addicted. I see this and just want to run and make one. But I really must finish what I started this summer, the rectangle wrangle. It's at the point to add the stars. I'm resisting the urge to throw big border's on and call it done. But the better part of me says to stick with it.

  26. Oh yay! I'm so excited to start on this quilt! So kind of you to work out all the details and share with us. You're so generous that way! :-) My daughter thanks you (well, she's only 18 months old, so she doesn't really understand, but I know she'll love the quilt).


    P.S. Fixed my profile. Funny -- here I was all smug that I didn't need to do that because my e-mail was of *course* shared... but no! It wasn't! It is now. :-)

  27. my grandson's middle name is Jacob, sew this is the quilt pattern i want to make for him. i just finished a king size quilt with nary a Jacob's Ladder block. guess I've been waiting for the 'bonnie way' tute to come along. THANKS.

  28. Bonnie. I was glancing at the Jacob's Ladder directions and caught something you might want to change. Fabrics needed says 3.5" x 9" rectangles but in the sewing directions it refers to 3.5" x 9.5" rectangles. So, which is it? Is the 1/2" difference the margin for error you talked about?

  29. And I am not usually much of a yellow person, but I like that quilt. And I found a 2 yard piece of a yellow/gold in my waiting to be washed fabrics drawer and there is a section of packed floral fabrics on the shelves that measures 6 ft. wide and 15" tall (Thanks Mom!) ....hmmmmmm?!

  30. I have just recently started following your blog. It is very interesting and I enjoy all the information and ideas that you share. I made one of your bunnies from the Butterick pattern years ago, and here I am again enjoying your blog and patterns.

  31. I'd love to spend a quilting day with YOU, Bonnie! Know we'd have a blast! Your patterns are wonderful and you are such a generous person! Enjoyed seeing your great machine "collection"(ahem) Thanks for the pattern too

  32. I think I'll have to make Floribunda...yellow with tropical florals like yours! It's such a happy quilt & looks like it belongs on a sun porch.


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