Double Dipper – A Mini Quilt

I finished her, and just in the nick of time to enter my latest lovely, Double Dipper into the 2015 Spring Blogger’s Quilt festival hosted by Amy over at Amy’s Creative Side.

Double Dipper - Star Mini Quilt by Terri Ann from Childlike Fascination with tiny 1in stars! 25" x 22"

Some of you have seen sneak peeks on Facebook and Instagram recently but now I can show her in all her glory! This mini quilt is 25″ x 22″ and the stars are paper pieced and measure up at 1″ big….errr should I say 1″ *small*. I used Illustrator to make the customized paper piece pattern, at that size the slightest mis-stitch makes a huge difference but the subtle variations in each star seems appropriate as no two stars are quite alike.

Mini star paper piece templates - can you believe how little these are??

I had the dipper constellations in mind when I came up with the idea and can’t wait to make another at some point for other favorite constellations!

Little stars are just under 1" at their widest point - so little

After making all 14 of the stars I added a border of the dark blue to each to make sure that as I improv pieced all of the stars and blue background together I wouldn’t have to fuss with a number of bias/biasey edges.

Closeup on the faced edge binding on Double Dipper

As soon as I laid out the stars in place I knew I wanted to use these radial line technique I had watched in the Creative Quilting with Your Walking Foot with Jacquie Gering class on Craftsy.

Double Dipper - Star Mini Quilt by Terri Ann from Childlike Fascination with tiny 1in stars!

I used a dark blue Aurifil thread to let the thread fall into the background while adding this fun texture from the intersecting radial lines. The background reads a bit darker than the pictures indoors but with the soft cloudy light you can really see the quilting so much more beautifully.

Back of Double Dipper where you can see the radial straight line stitches

I don’t know if you can tell but I am REALLY proud of this quilt!

I had planned on just using the background color for a thin binding but I ran out (whoops!) I knew there was a way to bind a quilt without the binding being visible on the front so after some Googling I used the tutorial on Facing a Quilt over at Sew Much Like Mom.  I’d taken a class with Cristy at the Sewing Expo last month and was excited to try a new binding technique using the glue basting I’d learned in that class.

A faced binding doesn't show on the front and let's the quilting extend to the edge - perfect for a wall hanging

That faced binding is so sharp and such a perfect edge for the quilt, now the quilting extends all the way to the edge!

I’m entering this into the 2015 Blogger’s Quilt Festival in the Mini Small Quilt category, I’m a late entry and am so impressed with the other entries but I’m also excited I made my finish deadline I set 2 weeks ago to get this new favorite quilt done!

Double Dipper - Star Mini Quilt by Terri Ann from Childlike Fascination with tiny 1in stars! 25" x 22"

Quilt Info

Quilt Name: Double Dipper
Size: 52″ x 22″
Fabric: Kona white and midnight blue
Quilt Design: Terri Ann Swallow (me) original design
Pieced by: Terri Ann Swallow (me)
Quilting by: Terri Ann Swallow (me)
Finished: May 2015

What constellation do you think I should tackle next?

Linking up with:

Dresden plate & string piecing

I spent some time over the weekend catching up on the Moccasin block of the month blocks for April and May.

Moccasin BOM blocks for April & May

April was two string pieced blocks. I love how they came out but I did make one mistake: I didn’t lower my stitch length as I pieced the strips so pulling the regular computer paper off the back is proving to be a bit more challenging than it ought to be.

String Piece Blocks
This is the first Dresden plate I’ve ever made and I really enjoyed piecing the plate but wish I’d taken the time to appliqué it by hand cause I wasn’t thrilled with my machine appliqué.

Dresden plate with top stitching

2015 New Quilters Blogger Sign Up is Open!

Last spring I participated in the 2014 New Quilt Bloggers Blog hop hosted by Beth @ Plum and June. It was a really wonderful experience and helped me grow so much!! Because of that group I finally felt like I was part of something, not just a newbie blogger sitting all alone on the sidelines. I didn’t know a lot of quilters or bloggers in real life so finding people who “got me” and understood what I was doing was thrilling!

I was so excited when Yvonne @ Quilting Jetgirl brought together a few of the alumni from last year’s hop to help organize that group again for a fresh group of quilt bloggers! Working together to bring you this year’s new quilt blogger hop is Yvonne @ Quilting Jetgirl, Cheryl @ Meadow Mist Designs, Stephanie @ Late Night Quilter and me, Terri Ann @ Childlike Fascination.

2015 New Quilt Bloggers

We are working out some details behind the scenes and I will be sharing a bit more about my story as a quilt blogger next week but the sign ups are open now so if you qualify based on the guidelines we’ve outlined then sign up and let’s all get to know each other a bit more!

2015 New Quilt Blogger Blog Hop Sign Up

If you want to participating in the 2015 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop and have blogged…

  1. Mainly about modern quilting*
  2. For less than 2 years
  3. Writing at least 4 posts a month
  4. Are willing to agree to be actively involved in the blog hop through visiting and commenting on the other blogger’s hop posts
  5. Have or are willing to open a Facebook account to take part in the group discussions

Please visit and fill out the 2015 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop Sign Up Form.

* Modern quilting to you is modern quilting to us.

Note: We will accept 100 participants for the blog hop this year. The sign up form will be available until May 31, 2015, or until we reach 100 participants.

Home Made Ironing Press Board Revisited

I can’t believe it was just over a year ago that I posted about turning my ironing board into a mega pressboard here on the blog. I still love that pressboard, I’ve re-covered it once and would love to make some improvements on it but she’s still totally functional so I haven’t spent any time fixing something that isn’t broken!

Upgrade your ironing board to a quilting press board

I got an email last week and had a really neat conversation with Sylvia after she commented on that post.  She has a temporary space setup in her house to sew in so she needs to have a small foot print and be able to tear down her station easily so she has her sewing machine on her pressboard.  Don’t worry; I’m assured by Sylvia the legs are quite sturdy and the support of the board against the wall is keeping her machine safe!

Sylvia's Machine, Pressboard and Projects all in one small space!

Here are some other in progress photos Sylvia sent along too!

Wood top attached to the ironing board  with washers and screws Wood top attached to the ironing board  with washers and screws Pressboard being covered with batting

In our exchange Sylvia described the end of her board as having a silicon coated ironing board cover on it. I’ve never heard of this before but she said you can find them on Amazon, searching for Silicon Coated Ironing Board Covers.  I’ve never used one before but think it’s a great idea. I’m a bit spoiled with my Osilo iron though!

Pressboard covered with fabric top

Thanks so much Sylvia for getting in touch, it’s a lovely experience to hear back from a visitor’s experience using ideas I post on the blog.

Have you taken the plunge to make your own pressboard yet? I love how sturdy the wood top on mine is compared to the cheap ironing board I modified!

Simply Pinterest – A Free WordPress Plugin

Recently I’ve been tucking my head into the sand for a bit to get some coding done.  Inspired to make my own solution after installing  a plugin that didn’t live up to my expectations, I created a plugin for self-hosted blogs where a Pinterest Pin It button is automatically added over every image.

It was the first time I creates a WordPress plugin that I felt had great broad appeal and wasn’t just helpful to my use on my blog so I decided to release it as a free (and open source) plugin that anyone can use on their self hosted blogs!

Simply Pinterest - a Free WordPress Pinterest Plugin

There are overrides to disable it on pages and posts and even more granular controls to change settings for specific images. You can see it in use here on my blog

Here’s a demo video I put together about it.

This was designed with my own quilt blog needs in mind, I know that Pinterest is generating a lot of traffic for other bloggers out there and wanted to see if adding this button would improve my traffic.  It hasn’t been a substantial difference but I am seeing my posts getting pinned more frequently and that’s been really exciting!

I won’t ramble on about it too long, cause I’ve explained it in even more detail on the website for Simply Pinterest ( as well as on the WordPress plugin directory page for Simply Pinterest.

A little bit of a funk.

It’s been an unusual week in real life…you know, real life: offline and outside the craft room. I’ve had a bit of an internal struggle with a few things related to my crafting and decided it was best to let those troubles bring me to a standstill for a few days so I could work them out.

Caution: Rambling, slightly grumpy, honest post ahead but I’d bet you can identify with parts of it too

The Craft Room Clean Up & An Honest Project List

Some of this funk comes from some reflection I was tricked into doing earlier this week. One of my friends came over for a craft day but when she sat on the floor in the craft room (which was a disaster cause I still haven’t really finished unpacking from February) she started picking things up and organizing. I almost had an anxiety attack cause the idea of someone in my stuff irks me, but instead of stopping her I stopped myself. I trust her and have no secrets hidden in there, if she wanted to keep me company, poke through and organize my stuff while craft chatting then why in the world would that have been a problem? Spoiler alert: it wasn’t a problem!

As we talked about some of the items and fabric bundles she realized the thing I know: I have too many plans or WIP things going. So she did the thing I’ve been afraid to do…she started to make THE list. Now this isn’t the finish-along list, this is the all the things I would work on if I had all the time in the world. The stuff in the stash earmarked for a project that may not even be started.

I was very honest with what projects existed and by the time she left I couldn’t believe the list. Actually, that’s not true; I could. It was a big relief to see that the list was finite, sometimes it feels endless but with bullet points it seems actionable.

The open project list

That brought me to question a few things about what I have going on now. Most specifically: where is my craft/blogging/making as a business going? Is it even still headed in a business direction? I have no idea. Part of the problem is I don’t have a goal, I’ve left it rather amorphous for fear of committing to the wrong goal but I think it’s time to set a goal and in a month if I want to change it I can.

Breakdown in Support System

Another thing that’s really bugged me this week is my support. When I asked directly to my non-sewing friend network I got a fraction of the encouragement and support I had hoped for, including from my closest of friends. Yet when I change my profile photo I get 50+ likes in hours and when someone complains about some nonsense 15 of their friends will comment. I know part of it is timing and Facebook’s algorithm but it was really discouraging and kept me up the other night wondering if what I am doing is even worth the time and energy I’m putting into it. Fortunately, the friend who helped with the craft room clean up sent me this, which warmed my soul at just the right time. I needed to remember likes are not a measurement of validation.

I don't think there's an artist of any value who doesn't doubt what they're doing

Time is Finite

I’ve also been stressed over how much I have on my plate. I plotted my week in a spreadsheet and marked what time is scheduled for an average week: sleep, work, and eating. Turns out I have 50 hours a week free time. Sounds like a lot but that’s all the time I have for family, friends, boyfriend, running errands, grocery shopping, doing laundry, keeping the house clean, going on adventures, playing outside, blogging, working on other web projects (there are more of them than just and crafting.

My Free Time Spreadsheet

Now that spring is peaking around the corner to say “hi” my weekends which means the wish to be outside the craft room and house are on the rise.

I’ll let it sit over the weekend then I will shake it off and get on with things. I don’t want to schedule how much of those 50 hours should be dedicated to my crafting or blogging but getting through this past week has emphasized that no matter what I’m doing I need to work smarter, not harder. It’s something I knew before but it’s really resonating now.

Work Smarter not Harder

Do you identify with these challenges or similar issues? Feel free to rant in the comments because now I realize it feels really good having written all this down!