Biscornu pincushions

IMG_4124What in the world is Biscornu????? That was my first thought when I saw the word.

Biscornu is French for odd or quirky. Wikipedia says its  small, octagonal, stuffed ornamental pincushion typically made with Aida cloth. Well, using Aida cloth has long been out of the question for my aging eyes and I’m not about to re-start doing counted cross-stitch! Nope, not me!

Bea from BeaQuilter, introduced me to them on the Island Batik FB page. And when I saw them I thought, “Pretty Neat.”

I found this video on YouTube and found it most helpful! One of the things I like most about these little pincushions is that you can use up left-over blocks! That means that they won’t be hanging around for a zillion years with no purpose left in their left-over life!

These little blocks were from my paper piecing mistakes when I made the Christmas Wrapping Table Runner.  You can see my post about the runner HERE.

The buttons were a gift from Cathy at The Steam Trunk Craftworks.  If you ever need buttons of ANY kind – this is THE PLACE to go to! Cathy is wonderful at helping you find what you need. 

One who sleeps under a quilt is covered by LOVE!

Happy Quilting! 

Cleaning your Sewing Machine

Those that sew with me, know that I am almost anal about cleaning the lint from my machine.  (OK … I can already HEAR you saying, “Gail, you are anal!”)

I have a personal rule that my sewing machine gets the bobbin case cleaned after every two bobbins.

IMG_4086This is the lint after sewing two bobbins!!  Yes, I was quilting – so I was going through 2 layers of fabric and cotton batting.  I was using a good quality cotton thread. Can you imagine the lint that would accumilate if I left it for 3 or 4 bobbins?

It takes no time at all to clean your machine and it will run smoother!  The other bonus is that it doesn’t need to go to the sewing machine doctor as often!

SEW – How do I clean my machine?

  • First, I take out the bobbin case.
  • The bobbin case area is wiped out with a make-up brush with natural bristles.  Do not use a dollar store one as the bristles tend to come out and you do not want those pesky things down in your machine.
  • I dust the bobbin case and then put it back together.


  • I will use a special attachment and vacuum it out.  You don’t want to put the full strength of the vacuum right up to the bobbin area.  There are little tiny springs and what-nots in the area and you don’t want to dislodge them.
  • I will fold a pipecleaner in half and get the lint that is further down in my machine.

Do not use canned air.  It will blow lint further into the machine.  And you don’t want lint where no lint should ever go!  As well, there is often moisture in canned air and you really don’t want to water your sewing machine – it is not a plant!

Oiling my machine

I have a Janome, so the only oiling I do is to put a drop on the wick at the bottom of the bobbin case.  I do this about every 3-4 months.  Check your machine manual for oiling directions.  USE ONLY SEWING MACHINE OIL!!!!!!!!! (other oils will gum up your machine)

Things I have heard from sewing machine technicians

  • “Machines can catch fire if there is a lot of lint, then the machine is literally toast.”  This tech had a machine brought in for “fixing” after the lint caught fire. It couldn’t be fixed.
  • “If a machine hasn’t been cleaned, it can take me hours and hours to pull all the lint out.  Sometimes, there is so much lint, I need to use a pair of tweezers to get it out.”
  • “If people don’t know how to clean their machine, they should check their manual or ask how to do it.”
  • “Sewing machines should be covered when not in use. It keeps the dust off.”

One who sleeps under a quilt is covered by LOVE!

Happy Quilting! 

Child’s Play

IMG_4095This month’s challenge is to make a quilt that is juvenile inspired using the accuquilt die that we received in the July box.   I recieved the Cleopatra’s Fan AccuQuilt die.  (You can see the unboxing video HERE.)  There was a lot of chatter on the private facebook page about Cleopatra’s Fan being “an old lady’s block.” unknown-jpg  I laughed, but then I kept thinking about the “old lady’s block.”  What to do?

In July, I had received a fat quarter bundle of “Primo” by Ebony Love!!!  LUCKY ME!!!   With the circles and dashes and the fun designs, it spoke to me and said, “I’m your fabric for the juvenile challenge.”  SEW … that’s what I used.  I choose the purples, pinks, and oranges for this project.

I started out making the blocks with the Cleopatra’s Fan Die.  At first, I was NOT happy.  This block has CURVED seams!  That is almost a guarantee for swearing and cussing!  However, I was able to cut out each block with one pass of the die.  Each piece is cut perfectly.  I certainly can’t complain about that!

Yes, I was grumbling as I pieced those curved seams.  But you know what???  Because it was cut perfectly, they actually went together fairly easily.  Yes, I had to take my time, but I managed to make 12 blocks without talking with my seam ripper very often!  And, I don’t think I swore too often! unknown-jpg


I put the blocks up on the design wall … and thought and thought and thought … what could I do to make these “old lady blocks” look more juvenile?  A teddy bear, perhaps?  No … that wouldn’t really fit and would sort of be baby-ish.

Then it hit me: A butterfly!  A butterfly would be perfect.  But I couldn’t find one that used squares and half-square triangles.  Sew, I drew what I wanted.  And figured out what I needed.IMG_4117.jpeg

I cut the squares and triangles with the left-over fabric from the Cleopatra’s fan blocks.   The Accuquilt Cube dies were perfect for cutting up scraps! I loved the perfectly cut half-square triangles and the squares.  It made piecing the butterfly SEW easy!

The binding is scrappy and other than a couple of little squares of fabric.  I don’t have any scraps left from the fat quarters I used.

Then, it was time for the photo-shoot!  I dragged my hubby up the road to the park and he helped me arrange the quilt and so I could get some ‘juvenile’ inspired photos!

The quilt is on a climbing thing, cuddled up for a swing, going for a slide and hanging out on the multi-activity thing.
Screen Shot 2019-07-12 at 2.49.53 PM

The quilt is quilted with Aurifil thread: purple #2581(Centre of butterfly and antenna), dark pink #2452 (top butterfly wings, Cleopatra’s fans), light orange #2205 (bottom of butterfly) and beige #2000 (the background swirls).

Batting is Hobbs Cotton batting with scrim.



Disclaimer: The products featured in this Blog post were given to me by Island Batik, and their program partners:  Aurifil, Hobbs Batting & AccuQuilt!

One who sleeps under a quilt is covered by LOVE!

Happy Quilting! 


Gifts for Travelling

By the time you read this post, I’ll be getting ready to leave the UK and head to South Africa.  My sister is speaking in Johannesburg and asked if I wanted to go with her.  It took me about 10 seconds to say, “yes.”

We are stopping in England on the way to visit some cousins of my mothers and I thought I should make some “Canadian” gifts to take with me.  I had a few bits and pieces left-over from my Canadian Quilt of Valour  and so it lead very nicely to these bags.


The maple leaves were cut at the same time that I cut the big one for the Quilt of Valour.  The bottom right white one is the trimming of one of the leaves.  The red & white bags are all made with Island Batik fabrics (except for the lining) and the “O Canada” bag is made from my stash.  The smallest bag is 5″ x 7½” and the largest is 7½” x 8 ¼”.

One who sleeps under a quilt is covered by LOVE!

Happy Quilting! 

Travelling Pillow

I made 4 travelling pillows in all.  When my sister saw that I was making some, she asked for one … so, she got one.


I also made matching eye masks.   The pillow is loosely stuffed with one pair of jogging pants, a t-shirt, a set of underwear and a sarong.  The sarong I can pull out if I feel I need a bit of a blanket on the plane.

I don’t stuff them tight, because I like it to adjust to my neck / head when I’m ready to sleep.  The button I used is a spool of thread (fitting, eh?).



My sister’s has a lady bug button.  She sort-of collects all sorts of lady-bug things, so I thought it would be fitting for her!


My husband says that the travel pillows remind him of his grandma’s bloomers!  Now … how do I get that thought out of my head as I walk through airports with the travel pillow bouncing on my backpack?  LOL!!!

Stash Report

Each neck pillow uses about 1/2 yard.

  • Fabric Used this week         2 yards
  • Fabric Used this year:         123.6  yards
  • Fabric Bought this week:   0 yards
  • Fabric Added this year:      57.05
  • Net Fabric used                     68,55
  • Husband’s Purchases           9.5

Stitchin’ Time

  • January – July:  178 out of 201
  • August: 18 out of 21
  • Year-to-date: 196 out of 222  =  88%

(Reminder, I’m only counting days that I’m home.)

For more Stitchin’ Time, you can check out Kate’s blog: Life in Pieces

PHD in 2019:  Quilting UFOs and Finishing New Projects


No changes here!


Screen Shot 2019-07-28 at 10.21.54 AM

One who sleeps under a quilt is covered by LOVE!

Happy Quilting! 

Monday check-in

I’ve been trying out the arrangement of my sewing room.  So far, just a few minor things have been moved around.  And I’m loving it!  If you missed the tour – check out this Blog Post.

Design Wall:


It’s not quilt related.  I’m working on some travelling neck pillows.  I made them before, but didn’t have a loop/button at the front and it was a real pain in the neck to not have it.  (did you get the pun?)  As well, I’m making them a little bit longer.  I put zippers in the top and we stuff them loosely with clothes.  It  gives us a little bit more room as we try to only travel with carry-on. These are being made out of flannel.

img_4121.jpg Continue reading

New Sewing Room!

I am mostly moved into my sewing room!!!  YEAH!!!  It’s a big room, but I still don’t have everything in it!  All of my batting will eventually find a spot.  But at least I have all my machines (except a treadle, named Stella) and my tools in one room!  My treadle is named “Stella” after the lady that gifted it to me!

In the video, you will see the serger on a table behind my Janome 8900 – the machine I do all my quilting on.  When I move the serger, it gives me a bigger table space for my quilt! Which is perfect for quilting those large queen sized quilts!

Sewing Room.JPG

Continue reading

Island Batik – Beat the Heat Blog Hop

I’m sure you’ve noticed a thinning of blog posts lately!  I’ve been away – not sewing (very much) and have not had internet connection for most of the past 2 weeks.

However, I do want to let you know about the fabulous blog hop that is happening NOW. This blog hop is featuring the Spring 2019 fabrics.  And there are give-aways!  Be sure to enter each week for your chance to win some of the wonderful fabric!

Click on BEAT THE HEAT BLOG HOP to go to the Island Batik site to see the schedule of events.   My day to post is August 22 and this is the wonderful fabric I’m making a quilt with:

It is a fun line of fabric!  And my quilt will showcase each and every fabric!

One who sleeps under a quilt is covered by LOVE!

Happy Quilting! 

8 x 16

When I was sorting through all my fabric, I found a bunch of 6″ squares.  All blue fabric (my favourite colour!).  I found it totally weird that I had cut 6″ squares, not 6 ½”!   Sew, with the help of a friend (thanks, Dawn), I was able to figure out how big to make the quilt.

Dawn had made a quilt with 5″ blocks. She started with 6 blocks across and 12 blocks down.  Then she cut it diagonally, in 2 places.  Then she sewed the 3 triangles together, resulting in a small quilt, wth the squares on point.  Even with using 6″ squares, I knew the quilt would be too small for my purposes. The pattern idea originated at and can be found HERE.  Their demo page shows a slightly different method.

SEW – I stared out with 8 squares across and 16 squares down.  Cut them in the same manner that Dawn did.  (Drats – I should have taken a picture.)

But here is the finished quilt! fullsizeoutput_b4f

Continue reading

Summer sewing

We had some delightful company from Ireland visiting!  It was a lot of fun to visit with them.  I did get a little bit of sewing done when they went to be tourists in Vancouver!  But, I’ve also spent a LOT of time moving into my new sewing room.   Yes, I’ll show you pictures when I have things where I want them.  I did sort through ALL my fabric … and I have a ton of it ready to go out … I mentioned it on our guild’s FB page and a few people have showed interest in it.  I just need to get organized and get it to them!

I did manage to sew up three little bags. The white fabric is “colouring fabric.”  My daughter gave the plain, uncoloured rectangles to a couple of little girls.  They came for dinner the other night and I had them pick out zippers.  It was lots of fun to watch them pick out the colours they liked, with no regards to the finished project!  They just picked out what they liked!  Perfect!  I stitched their initials on the tabs.  It was a fun way to stitch them!fullsizeoutput_b4c.jpeg Continue reading

Artsy-Fartsy with Aurifil Thread

Artsy Fartsy Challenge

At first I was Scared

This challenge scared me!  I’m not an artsy-fartsy quilter.  I don’t do “art.”  The challenge directions were:  Use any fabric art/non-traditional quilting/sewing/thread painting technique using 3 Aurifil thread weights.  Oh me, oh my … what to do?  I literally had NO idea.  None at all.  I was wondering if I could skip this challenge?  Perhaps pay someone to do it for me?  no … that’s not my style … I couldn’t live with the guilt!


Then, I was looking at a crazy quilt hanging in a sewing machine store and it hit me!!!

R-e-l-i-e-f !!!

YEAH!!! Suddenly, I knew what to do.  I would do a crazy quilt block, embroider it with at least 3 weights of Auriful thread, make it into a little bag and call it done!  What a relief to have a plan!

And, thankfully, I had the perfect fabric left-over from my Christmas RAPPing table runner. (see HERE). Along with pieces from the Island Batik Stash Builder bundles.

In April, we travelled across the country, which meant a few LONG plane rides.  I quickly made my crazy quilt blocks, sewing them onto Hobbs 80/20 batting. One was partially embroidered on our trip.

Here is the first block

IMG_3944 Continue reading

Happy Canada Day!!!

July 1

Is Canada Day! And the start of:

Earlier this spring, Jennifer Strauser. an Island Batik ambassador, reached out and asked if any of us would like to do a Quilt of Valor. I said, “yes,” provided I could do a Canadian one. The answer was “yes!” SEW, I knew I would be using only the white and red fabrics. We were all sent a stack (like a layer cake) of red, white, and blue fabric. Along with yardage: a solid white, 2 reds and 3 blues. It was a bit of a challenge to use just the red and white in the package. I did end up using one navy with red poppies on it. Also, I needed to use a red fabric from a stash builder bundle and some white=ish fabric left over from my “Stars on Ice” quilt.

Here is a picture of the stack from the Freedom line:

This quilt is my own pattern “Ivan’s Diamonds” and I’ve made it several times. You can check them out HERE, HERE, and HERE. Although, this is the first time I’ve put a maple leaf in the middle. I used the Artistic Cutter to cut out the Maple Leaf.

Ivan's Diamonds, Quilt of Valour

The quilt will hang in the Quilt of Valour display at the Ladner Car and Quilt Show in August. After that, Lynn, our guild’s Quilts of Valour volunteer, will deliver it to a representative from Quilts of Valour and it will eventually be presented to a past or present member of the Canadian Armed Forces who is ill or injured as a result of their service to Canada.

Here is a close-up of the centre of the quilt. This picture shows the true colours better than the above picture. It is grafitti quilted with a light grey, Aurifil #2600 and Hobbs 80/20 batting. I did bind it with a dark navy as there was not enough red fabric left for binding.

Visit the other blogs in the hop.

Today it’s
Becca Fenstermaker — Pretty Piney
Denise Looney — For the Love of Geese
Gail Sheppard — Quilting Gail You are already HERE! 🙂
Tomorrow, July 2
Pamela Boatright — Pamela Quilts
Anne Wiens —Seams Like a Plan
Wednesday, July 3
Bea Lee —Bea Quilter
Carla Henton — Creatin’ In the Sticks
Thursday, July 4
Emily Leachman — The Darling Dogwood
Joan Kawano — MooseStash Quilting
Jen Strauser – Dizzy Quilter
Friday, July 5
Steph Jacobson — Steph Jacobsen Designs
Leah Malasky — Quilted Delights
Anja Clyke — Anja Quilts
Maryellen McAuliffe — Mary Mack Made Mine

Disclaimer: The products featured in this Blog post were given to me by Island Batik, and their program partners:  Aurifil, Hobbs Batting & AccuQuilt!

Happy Quilting! 

Baby Quilt Marathon – are you ready?

The Marathon starts tomorrow!

Here is an Excel Sheet for you to track your hours: Hmm, I can’t seem to embed the excel sheet … If you want one that will add your hours up, email me & I’ll email the sheet to you

Here are the quilts I plan to finish: 2 strippy quilts (only 1 picture) and 3 star quilts.

  • Both strippy quilts need borders, sandwiching, quilting and binding
  • The first star quilt needs to be webbed, borders, sandwiching, quilting and binding
  • The 2nd star quilt needs the backing enlarged, sandwiching, quilting and binding
  • The 3rd quilt is webbed and needs to be sewn together, borders, sandwiching, quilting and binding

There is a link-up at the end of this post.

Design Wall:  


I have started piecing my August Island Batik project … and of course, I can’t show you until the actual blog hop. Sorry … I know you hate secrets!


A few weeks ago, I showed you the border of a commissioned quilt. I’m now quilting the said border. And then it needs a label and binding and then it will be finished.

Stash Report

Nothing finished this week and no fabric bought so there isn’t a lot of change in my stash …

  • Fabric Used this week      0 yards
  • Fabric Used this year:         101.6  yards
  • Fabric Bought this week:   0 yards
  • Fabric Added this year:      57.05
  • Net Fabric used                     44.65
  • Husband’s Purchases           9.5

Stitchin’ Time

  • January – May:  122 out of 140
  • June – 27  out of  30
  • Year-to-date: 149  out of 170 = 87%

For more Stitchin’ Time, you can check out Kate’s blog: Life in Pieces

Happy Quilting! 

Link up if you want to show us your plans for the marathon. I will try to have a link-up at the half-way mark and at the finish line.

If you don’t have a blog, you can always link to an Instagram post or a Pinterest picture.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


Linking to: 

Something Different

About 9 months ago, I bought a Janome 500E embroidery machine. I’ve been making quilt labels on it and also a few other projects. I absolutely LOVE making “in the hoop” zipper bags. They are SEW fun.

This first one is an Anita Gooddesign. I altered it a bit because I was suppose to use “see through” fabric – which I don’t own. The fabrics were Island Batik.

This next one is a free pattern from Sweet Pea in Australia. It was a fun way to learn “in the hoop” applique and zipper insertion.

Who knows what I will make next?

My Daisy Chain Mystery was featured on Free Motion Mavericks. Check it out HERE.

There are LOTS of people going to join the Baby Quilt Marathon. Some are making baby quilts, others will be working on their own projects.

All that is required is a concentrated effort to work on a project for 26 hours during the time from July 1 to July 15. Are you going to join us?

Happy Quilting! 


Linking to: