Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My love of fall decorations

I love, love, love fall decorations.

I have a set of fall placemats spread out around my own house with my collection of ceramic pumpkins and a few fall floral arrangements.

And in the shop I have some fall decor as well.

There are two table toppers that would look best on a small table or as part of a centerpiece on a large table.

There's one super-cute Halloween table runner that is soon to be joined by a second as soon as I finish sewing the binding down by hand.

And the sunflower table runners really, could be out any time of year, but could also work for fall.

How about you? Do you get into decorating your house in fall colors this time of year?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Getting ready for my first fair

I haven't blogged much recently because I've been very busy getting ready for a craft fair this weekend.

I've never been in a fair before, so I was afraid I wouldn't have enough items to fill my six-foot folding table, but as I arranged them all last night, I realized my problem is that I'm running out of space, which is a good problem to have I think.

I've made table runners, table toppers, pot holders, Christmas stockings, a messenger bag, baby/lap quilts and matching doll quilts. I'm still finishing up a few items, but I'll have close to 50 available on the day of the fair and all but three are priced between $5 and $30.

On top of those low prices, I'm offering 20 percent off to anyone who mentions this blog when purchasing.

The fair is from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 25, at Ben Franklin Crafts, 2500 52nd Ave., Moline. It's behind SouthPark Mall. I hope to see you all there.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Completed project: Over sized messenger bag

My sister is a teacher and has a lot of papers and binders to carry back and forth each day.

So she asked me to make her a quilted over sized messenger bag that was functional and stylish.

I designed the bag above to fit her needs. It's 14 inches wide, 12 inches tall and 6 inches deep to fit all her binders and paper. There are two side pockets and one on the interior to fit her keys, pencils, pens and any other odds and ends she may have.

The strap is 3 inches wide, which I recommended so it wouldn't strain her shoulders. But it took me forever to find hardware for a 3 inch wide strap so it could be adjustable. Eventually I ended up using a piece made for a belt.

The entire bag is quilted in a diagonal grid, and I quilted in the ditch on the quilt block on the flap panel. I used a paper pieced design to make it look a little more modern, since my sister is in her early 20s.

My sister picked out the colors when we went on a shopping trip together to a quilt store near her home. And now it's finished just in time for her to start the school year in a couple weeks.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A busy July

Where has the month gone?

Since my last post I attended a Saturday workshop to make a tree skirt, got distracted while finishing it with making a design wall for my sewing room, broke my sewing machine, got a new onw and sewed up the top to the sunflower table runner above last night.

What have you all been?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Liberated quilting with Gwen Marston

Liberated quilt champion Gwen Marston was the featured speaker at the Mississippi Valley Quilt Guild this month and I really enjoyed her presentation.

She started her lecture by describing her experiences learning to quilt with Mennonite women and then having the opportunity to see a large collection of antique quilts early in her quilting life and how the two influenced her quilting style.

She sews the same way a women used to, quilting out of their sewing baskets using scraps would without the aid of a design wall. The result are quilts that have clumps of a color in a corner instead of spreading it out over the entire quilt, borders that look nice in proportion to the center design, but don't necessarily exactly measure the same length as the piece it surrounds, and filler pieces in sampler quilts made of blocks in various sizes.

I really enjoyed the applique quilts she shared with us. She makes them by following a general, somewhat abstract shape that she cuts out herself from a piece of folded fabric, the way women used to before quilting magazines and readily available templates. Not every leaf is exactly the same size and that's OK.

Marston kept emphasizing that she is not throwing the baby out with the wash water and although her quilts do not follow the current standards of perfection in symmetry or border and block placement, they are sewed with impeccable skill and attention to detail.

And to show our appreciation, our guild presented Marston with a Fourth of July themed liberated quilt.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Christmas in July sale

It's Christmas in July here at Custom Quilts by Stephanie Soebbing.

All Christmas stockings are 30 percent off. There are nine styles available in traditional and novelty prints including pet and sports themes. And if you don't find what you're looking for, I'd be happy to make a custom stocking for you.

Ready-made items are also 10 percent off throughout the entire month and I'm offering free personalization on all Christmas stockings. So get a really early jump on your holiday shopping here.

And especially for you blog readers, I am offering free shipping on all orders over $50. Just mention you read this blog in the notes section when you check out at, and I'll refund your shipping costs on PayPal.

Merry Christmas.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Completed project: T-shirt quilt

I finished a T-shirt quilt for a client's grandson last night. It's made up of his shirts from school, Dance Marathon, vacations with his grandparents and some of his favorite rock bands.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

'American Quilts' a must see

I saw the "American Quilts: Selections from the Winterthur Collection," currently on display at the Milwaukee Art Museum, over the weekend and the quilts were inspiring.

There are more than 40 quilts in the exhibit and many were made by women in their early 20s as bridal quilts, which just goes to show you that quilting isn't just for little old ladies. These works of art were perfectly pieced and quilted with the tiniest of stitches.

The women were quite frugal, not just because the quilts were often pieced from worn clothing, but because they didn't waste even the tiniest scrap. I saw one lone star quilt where the maker had pieced two scraps together of the same fabric to make one diamond.

I also had to laugh at one of the quilts displayed rather prominently. There was hardly a matching point on the quilt, yet because it has survived to this day and contains so many different examples of fabric from the period, it is cherished. So there is hope for all our quilts with imperfections.

The exhibit runs through Sept. 6, 2010. If you're planning a trip near or to the Milwaukee, Wis., area, I strongly suggest you stop by and see the masterpieces for yourself.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Quilted dog bed tutorial

I work as a newspaper reporter for my day job and I put together a how-to video for the paper's website on the quilted dog bed. You can play the video above, and read the complete instructions and supply list here.

Friday, June 25, 2010

I'm planning something big...

I'm working on something big for

The only clue I'll give you for now is that my plans require me to dig through the attic for props to photograph some new items with.

Keep a lookout for the big reveal sometime next week.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Pinwheel quilted dog bed

Since we've moved to our new home, the dogs haven't appreciated the wood floor in the bedroom so I made them a quilted dog bed so they'd have something soft to sleep on.

I used a charm pack to create pinwheels, sewed a pillow case back and stuffed it with a waterproof dog bed liner filled with cedar chip pet bedding. Not only is it comfy, but cedar is a natural flea and bug repellent.

And since the dogs don't care how good my quilting is, I used the opportunity to practice my free motion quilting.

I think Einstein approves of the results.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The dog matches my scrap quilt

I've been working on a scrap quilt made in creams and browns. As I finished the last of the 25 squares last night, my dog, Lady, thought she'd test it out.

I had to laugh as her buff/rust coloring made her almost blend in with the quilt. At least I won't have to worry about her dog hair showing up on it.

Friday, May 28, 2010

An afternoon with Carol Doak

It's been a crazy month since my class with Carol Doak, and most of it was spent without Internet at home. I don't know what I would have done without my Blackberry.

Carol was a great teacher, she made paper piecing very easy although it's not fool-proof. I cut through the paper pattern a couple of times during class. The picture above is of me at the class, Carol took it. :)

We were lucky enough to see several of her paper pieced quilts, including one that has 300 paper pieced blocks in it.

Since the class I've made one of her paper pieced heart blocks to serve as my name tag at the Mississippi Valley Quilt Guild and I'm almost done piecing the top to the wall hanging we started during class.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Quilt withdrawal to be solved by Carol Doak

I haven't quilted in at least a week because my husband and I have been busy packing and moving into our first home.

I realized last night that quilting must have a calming effect on me and I should make time to do a little each night, because I've been super stressed over the past few days.

But my quilting dry spell will come to an end tomorrow when I learn how to paper piece at Carol Doak's Sunrise Quilt Mariner's Compass Star class through my quilt guild tomorrow. I figured if I was ever going to try the intimidating quilting method, I might as well learn from the queen of paper piecing.

The block we'll be making is from Doak's book, "Mariner's Compass Star." I'll be sure to let you all know how the class goes.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Goodies from Washington, D.C.

Since I've taken up quilting, I've made a habit of going to quilt shops while on vacation to take home fat quarters and thimbles as souvenirs. Eventually I'd like to make a quilt out of all the fabrics I collect on my travels.

On my trip to Washington, D.C., for my cousin's wedding last weekend, I searched out any and all fabric shops. There were plenty within driving distance, but the only one accessible by metro was Capitol Quilts in Gaithersburg, Md. To get there, you have to take the red line to the final Shady Grove stop, which was quite a trip for us since we were staying at the opposite end of the red line. But from there it's just one short bus ride to Capitol Quilts.

The problem my husband and I ran into is we didn't realize we had to cross the street to catch the bus on the return to the Metro instead of getting on at the same side of the intersection we got off on. So we sat on the bus for 45 minutes as it ran the route.

The shop had a wide variety of batiks, black and white fabrics and children's prints. But what they didn't have was a wide selection of patriotic fabrics, which seemed odd considering the name of the shop is Capitol Quilts.

I did manage to find some fun fabrics though. I think I'll need to find some star blocks to make out of them for my travel quilt some day.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Super cute watermelon placemats

My mother-in-law's birthday was Wednesday. She said she didn't want us to buy her anything, so I decided to make something.

My boss saw watermelon placemats at a quilt shop on vacation and, thinking of me, got a copy of the pattern. The placemats are actually quite easy to make. I fused fleece to the wrong side of the green fabric for the back to make the rind. Then I sewed 1.5-inch strips of red fabric to the fleece side of the placemat using a flip and sew method.

The flip and sew method doesn't lend itself to quick assembly line sewing, but it did take care of the quilting at the same time as I sewed on the red strips of fabric. Lastly I used straight edge red binding across the top of the watermelon and bias edge green binding on the curved edge for the rind.

I'm thinking about giving these watermelon placemats to my mother-in-law for her birthday. What do you all think?

They turned out really well and I have enough fabric to make more, so I think I may make another set to sell on Etsy.

Monday, March 29, 2010

In flight entertainment

Most people take a good book with them to occupy themselves during a flight. I take a small sewing project.

I took my dragonfly wall hanging with when my husband and I went to Hawaii for our honeymoon. I finished the top during the MANY hours we spent in the air, but haven't worked on it since. That is until I started to get ready for a flight to Washington, D.C., for my cousin's wedding later in the week.

Last weekend I cleared off the kitchen table (no small task as it is usually covered with my sewing supplies) to layer and baste the wall hanging.

I'm going to practice my fine hand quilting on this project, which is appropriate because the wall hanging as a whole was a practice run for the Hawaiian quilting method so I could work out the kinks before using the applique method on fabric I bought in Hawaii. It isn't perfect, but I'm pleased with the way it turned out.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Completed project: Patriotic T-shirt quilt

This quilt was made for a client out of T-shirts he collected from his days in the Navy, working as a union laborer and volunteering at elections. He chose an appropriate red, white and blue color scheme for the sashing in between the T-shirt blocks.

Preserving memories with a T-shirt quilt

I've been working a lot on T-shirt quilts recently. I had a bunch of shirts from my sorority days in college that I don't wear anymore. I didn't want to toss them, but I also don't have the space to store them all, so I decided re-purposing them as a quilt was the best option.

I started it a couple of months ago, but got distracted with other projects. Last night I finished the sashing on another T-shirt quilt I'm making for a client and spent the free time finishing the top of my own quilt.

It contains 16 shirts and is 63-inches square. The sashing is done in my sorority colors. I remember being surprised that I only had one T-shirt that was red when I went through them. I originally thought I was going to have a very difficult time matching reds together.

There were a couple shirts that had sayings on them that would have looked funny as a 12-inch square, but worked perfectly as sashing. I really like the way it turned out.

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