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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Merry Christmas, and farewell to Dad...

Our Dad, our favorite person, died Sunday morning. As Megan said in her Instagram "Heather and I want to scream from the mountain tops that the world should be morning the loss of our incredible father."  We want to use our little platform here to share a bit about our Dad , because we feel everyone should know and care. Our hearts are broken. I keep trying to think of a stronger word for love, but can't come up with the perfect way to describe my love for him. 

We are in shock by his passing. 6 weeks ago he was visiting Megan in Virginia, then onto NYC where he walked 8 miles a day, in perfect health. We have never known him to be sick, always strong and healthy. He started to look a little jaundiced mid November. On November 15th he went to a doctor, and they found a tumor in his pancreas. Then everything got bad quick, but because the tumor was small he qualified for a Whipple procedure. This was to give him 2-5 years on average. Megan and I were distraught at this lifespan. But would take it. The Whipple procedure was done about a week and a half ago, but the day after they found a large blood clot. They were able to remove it, but he was sedated after the procedure, until he passed. After several surgeries and complications, our father passed last Sunday the 22nd. His wife and all seven children, were able to be with him as he passed. He died painlessly and peacefully.

We are angry, bitter, sad, feel cheated, we didn't even get the average months one would get if they were not to have the Whipple procedure. We didn't even get to start fighting the cancer. My brother gave me some peace about this, he said some people have a "farewell tour" when a loved one gets diagnosed with cancer, spend loads of time together, vacations together, etc. He said we wouldn't have done anything different. We are a very close family, 5 of 7 of us live within 15 minutes of each other and our parents. We were already doing everything together. The boys go on several "boy trips" a year, Dad always went, he wasn't invited to be nice, they wanted him there. For 7 years I have lived by my parents, my Dad and I would often go to lunch or dinner, sometimes 3 hours long just talking. He loved to talk. I would do a dinner date with my Dad anytime over dinner and movies with a girlfriend. All the kids consider him their best friend.  My Dad was the life of every party and made everyone special. The prefect phrase is "To know him is to Love him." If you were lucky enough to meet my dad, you loved him.

Megan here...just to add to what my sister has said. I simply adored my dad.  Every word I (or my siblings) are speaking of him now in his death would have been said the day before his diagnosis.  He was incredibly loving and caring.  I would never wish this sadness or sorrow upon anyone.

The past 5 or so years I've moved around since my husband has been in school.  My parents have come to visit us often.  Those precious weeks with my dad are forever mine.  My children love him.  He is funny and so much fun to play with.

I write this in my parents home, sitting at his table.  It feels as though he'll walk in any moment.  I think I am still in shock.  It was too fast.  We were cheated.  My life will never ever be the same.  I miss him dearly.  What I would give for one last bear hug.

Megan and I will take the holidays off, try to find some peace, and hopefully the blog and quilting will be the distraction we need to help us through some of this grief.

Love you Daddy

If you want more info, or more detail, here is the blog we set up to update people when this all started. Geoff Lighten blog.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Custom Play Around Quilt

I (Meg) was commissioned to make this darling Play Around Quilt using Sarah Jane fabrics.  It was a joy!!  But really :)  We adore SJ fabrics so I was really excited about this project.

I used a lot of the same prints as in the original Play Around pattern.  The customer wanted the focus on pinks and as much green as I could include (there was only one print) to match her daughters room.

The top and bottom rows are fussy cut darling images from the prints (Children at Play line).  The middle three rows are embroideries the customer made.  She did an amazing job!!  They are made using SJ embroidery patterns.

Here are a couple of my favorites.  I wanted to show a close-up of all of them!  But I refrained...

I'm kinda bitter this isn't in my own quilt stack! I adore this line, the colors and the embroideries are over the top!!

And the super sweet quilting done by my aunt.  I love the sweet hearts on the border!

A simple polka dot on the back, it shows the quilting beautifully too!

There you have it!  So I hear the customer was quite happy and I hope that's true! :)

Our Play Around Pattern can be found here.

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you're all enjoying the holidays! 


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Friday, December 13, 2013

Holiday Tutorial Series- Erin Why not sew...

Erin from Why Not Sew is an amazingly talented lady. We have featured her before, and keep asking because she is just that good! For reals. Just looking at her blog will make you happy, cute projects, pretty pictures, happy colors. Check out her tutorials, love. She has some great free patterns, this mixer, I must make it! I follow her on Instagram, bloglovin and pinterest, all her posts will make you smile! Thanks Erin.

Hi! Thank you to Heather and Megan of Quilt Story for inviting me to join the Holiday Tutorial Series! Today I have a tutorial for making a super cute ornament. There is some crochet involved with these cuties and If you do not know how to crochet, no problem! I will give you links to some resources for crocheting. You can just as easily skip the crocheting, if you wish, and they are still just as cute. You could use ribbon, pre-crocheted trim, pom-pom trim etc. in place of the crochet instructions I give to you. Whatever you decide I hope you give them a try. They make great little gifts and a really fun addition to your holiday decorating!


~ 2 pieces of wool felt about 3 inches in diameter (regular craft felt can be used but you must exercise caution when ironing on your bird, place a towel between your iron and felt/applique piece if using poly. craft felt)

~ 1 piece of pretty fabric, a 2.5" square is big enough

~ 1 piece of heat'n bond or wonder under (fusible web)

~ A handful of poly-fil

~ Embroidery needle (something that 6 strands of floss will fit through)

~ 1 skein of embroidery floss (I used DMC color 321)

~ crochet hook size E

~ bird template HERE (this is from the Quiltstory tutorial I did in 2011. The bird can be used for this too.)

Let's get started!

Trace the bird template onto the paper side of your fusible web.Cut it out leaving a scant 1/8 of an inch away from the drawn line.

Iron the bird paper side up, fusible side down, onto the WRONG side your piece of  fabric.

Cut away from the fabric ON the drawn line.

Peel the paper off of the back of your fabric. A pin or needle inserted gently through the paper can help with out fraying your fabric.

 Iron your bird onto one of the wool felt pieces.

Applique the bird to the wool felt. I used the thread sketching technique. That's achieved by using your darning or open toe foot and dropping your feed dogs. Use your favorite method.

Wind your embroidery floss around a clothespin. This will save time trying to undo an inevitable knot while you are working!

It only takes a second and it's saves so much frustration.

Thread your embroidery needle with all 6 strands of embroidery floss. Just a little less than an arm span long. Knot end. Place your 2 pieces of felt together. Bird side up.

Hide your knot on the inside of the 2 felt pieces.

Blanket stitch about 2/3  to 3/4 around the outside of the 2 felt pieces.

Stuff with poly-fil.

Finish blanket stitching to the end catching your first stitch when making your last stitch. You want an even number of stitches for these ornament. For this one I used 20 stitches but for other ornaments I have used up to 26 stitches. It just depends on how close together you will want your scalloped edge. 

Now onto the crocheting! Let me preface this by saying I can crochet. I learned to crochet when I was a teenager BUT I am just learning to read patterns and I certainly have not written any patterns before. I've made washcloths, scarves and hats. That's it. So this is going to be very simple explanation. I use chain, slip stitch and double crochet for this ornament. How to's for these 3 stitches are below.


slip stitch and another slip stitch

double crochet and another double crochet

Plus there are many crocheting videos on You Tube.

Size E hook (it's small)

Find the stitch that is at the very top of your ornament.

Slip stitch into it. You will have a loop on your hook.

Double crochet 7 times into next blanket sitch.*note* If you have more than 20 blanket stitches, say 24 or 26, you can double crochet a lesser amount into the blanket stitches. I used 6 double crochets on my ornaments with 24 blanket stitches. They are less squished looking that way. Again, this is all just your preference.

This will form your scallop.  Sorry about this picture it is not so easy taking pictures while crocheting :) Slip stitch into the next blanket stitch, Double crochet into the next, etc. alternating the two stitches. You should end up with a slip stitch in the very first blanket stitch you started crocheting into.

After you slip stitch into the last blanket stitch, chain double the amount of stitches that you would like your hanger to be. I chained 34. You may like yours longer or shorter. Then slip stitch back into that first blanket stitch where you started and ended crocheting. Cut your embroidery floss leaving a few inches. Pull through your last stitch / loop.

Weave your ends into the back of your crochet work (about 2 shells). Cut floss being very careful not to cut your work.

Hang and Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Holiday tutorial series from Christa Quilts, Log Cabin Wreath mini...

Christa is an amazing Quilter! Christa Quilts has been a friend and advertiser on our blog for quite some time. She is a rockstar with quilt design, numbers, software, the works! She knows the process from start to finish, including some amazing machine quilting. Christa hosts some amazing quilt a longs, these are great! Check them out, and join in! This lady knows her stuff! She also has an awesome quilt fabric shop, she truly has a great selection. Thank you Christa!!

Hi all! I'm Christa from Christa Quilts and I'm excited to share my Log Cabin Wreath mini with you today! I wrote my tutorial so it can be sewn as a Christmas wall-hanging, but you can make it into a pillow, a table topper, or piece more blocks for a larger quilt.
Log Cabin Wreath Log Cabin Wreath, by Christa Watson 18" x 18"[/caption]

The blocks are pretty small, finishing at 3" finished so this is a great exercise in sewing tiny pieces for minis. :-) If you choose to make one for yourself, please share pictures of your progress at Christa's Quilt Along on flickr.

Step 1 - Gather Your Supplies
  • 1/2 yard red for log centers, borders and binding
  • 1/4 yard cream for light half of the logs
  • 1/4 yard total assorted green scraps for dark half of the logs
  • 1/4 yard of green for outer border
  • 20" square of batting
  • 20" square of fabric for quilt backing
  • cotton thread to match fabrics
  • basic sewing supplies and sewing machine
Step 2 - Cutting the Fabric
From the red fabric cut:Red Fabric
  • 16 - 1.5" squares for centers
  • 4 - 1.25 " x 16" strips for inner borders (to trim down later)
  • 4 - 2 .25" x 42" strips for binding

From white fabric, cut 5 - 1" wide Cream Fabricstrips. Cross-cut into:
  • 16 - 1" x 1.5" rectangles
  • 16 - 1" x 2" rectangles
  • 16 - 1" x 2.5" rectangles
  • 16 - 1" x 3" rectangles

From assorted green scraps, cut 6 - 1" wide strips. Cross-cut into: Green Fabric
  • 16 - 1" x 2" rectangles
  • 16 - 1" x 2.5" rectangles
  • 16 - 1" x 3" rectangles
  • 16 - 1" x 3.5" rectangles
From green border fabric, cut 4 - 2.25" x 22" strips (trim later).

Step 3 - Sew 16 Log Cabin Blocks

Starting with the center square, add the smallest white log to one side, right sides together. (It doesn't matter which side.) Chain piece all 16 white units to each of the red squares. Cut them apart, press toward the outside log and add the next largest white log to the right of your unit, forming an "L" shape. Repeat again for all 16 logs.

Add two green logs in the same way on the opposite side of the block. Repeat for a second round of white logs and a second round of green logs. Your 16 completed blocks should look like this:
Step 4 - Join the Blocks into Rows
Lay out your blocks so that they form a wreath shape. I like to think of each block rotation as an "L" or "7" or "backwards L" or "backwards 7". Wreath 1
Sew 4 blocks into a total of 4 rows. Sew the rows together to create the inner quilt top. I like to press my major seams open to help keep things nice and flat.
Wreath 4
Step 5 - Add the Borders
Measure two sides of your quilt top and trim your red border strips to this measurement. Sew them to either side of the quilt and measure again with the added red borders. Trim the top and bottom red borders, sew to the opposite sides to complete the first border.
Log Cabin Wreath TopRepeat this process for the green border to complete your finished quilt top.
Step 5 - Finish It up
Baste your quilt with pins or safety pins and have fun with the quilting! I sewed a series of straight lines in the green areas with matching thread using my walking foot.
Straight Quilting
I added double loops to the outside borders in matching green thread with a darning foot (free-motion foot) and my feed-dogs dropped.
Quilting LoopsI filled in the white background areas with smaller, tighter loopy stipples in white thread to match.
Log Cabin Wreath
EQI have also made this file available for Electric Quilt users.
For more fun quilting tutorials including steps for basting and binding, please visit my Quilt Along page on my blog. :-)
Happy Holidays!