Category Archives: Quilting ~ Hand Piecing

The Sound of Silence

Each day I start off with pretty much the same routine. News because why? Coffee because why not? and most days I exercise. But check this out. I noticed something. When stress is high I drink tea, not coffee. I guess my stomach prefers tea and no television or music. Just the sound of silence. The silence thing is new. I started sewing in silence, too. I think I pretty much like it. I think we have us a new, healthy habit!

So with that good thought, lets go do some silent sneak peaking’ in the sun.

Crosses block Kaffe

These finish at I think 9″ – maybe 12″ and they rock! The fabric and colors are fun to play with.

Winding Ways

These blocks are 6″ finished hand-pieced so you know I’m doing a little bit of that. I enjoy machine piecing and wouldn’t want to do without it. Its just that for me, there is just something about getting back to hand-piecing that settles my spirit.

I wish I could share these Winding Ways blocks on the wall but they’re not ready. Not enough to show the design. …and it’s just a quiet little sneak peak anyway, right?

Since I was able to sew a little bit yesterday, today I’m not sewing. That’s a new habit. I’m fine with it. I have lots of other things to attend to. Like this…

Cat Love

It’s just flat out embarrassing but I’m showing you anyway. This is my bedroom window/sliding door that had a curtain but it was brought down by furry residents of LeeHaven. Names hidden to protect the innocent. That’s a temporary blind and I’ll be like this for about 2-3 weeks.

I guess we’re wrapping it up here. I accidentally hit the Publish button!

Carpenter’s Wheel – Individual Blocks done!

Do you have this problem? You finish making blocks for your quilt (or hand quilting or something…) and you get so excited and emotional about that achievement you about cry? Is it just me? Is it hand-piecing/handwork that does that? I can’t be the only one!!! I can’t. You hit a milestone so huge you don’t know what you’ll do with all that time you put in focused on the making process? I have this problem. It’s a good one to have but it’s emotional and challenging.

I guess the milestone is so huge because this one is a surprise. That’s got to be the reason for my emotions. It snuck up on me. I just didn’t have anything I was planning on working on after this. I thought I had a good stack of blocks left to make. Where to from here? There’s the challenge.

You may recall I’ve been making Carpenter’s Wheel blocks since February of 2011 but as of this week I’m calling the building process d.o.n.e.

This block didn’t start out like a piece of cake. It was a bit of work to learn. Once I got it down, I started to get a vision of a quilt with nothing but blocks and it certainly is amazing to see that develop. I liked it but it was awful busy and to be honest, I never was sure this was what I wanted. Maybe a little too much for me?

Well, moving on…

I recently picked up something that gave me a new vision of setting the blocks on-point. I thought “Huh, really? Can I do that?” Well yes as it turns out, I can. I have exactly the amount of blocks finished by chance. Again, this was just a surprise, not a plan. A thought to check into, nothing more. When I realized I can call it ready to set and plan some custom quilting in the setting blocks my heart raced. I brought the blocks and my new idea to quilting on Thursday. I engaged the help of everyone I could and we did a mock-up of this new plan. (imagine this as a 4 x 5 setting)

We played with the idea of neutral setting blocks, pink and cheddar. Pink failed. Neutral is amazing and you know I love cheddar so for now Cheddar wins the day. I’m not making any final decision yet though. I’m emotional about it. Neutral is… well… perfect. Antique. Cheddar is… well… perfect. Warm. Karen. They’re both really Karen! I think it’s down to a personal preference now but again, I’m a little to emotional to decide.

Thursday was so much fun. Playing and getting feedback. I don’t know why I didn’t take pictures of every mock-up!!! :( It’s the sharing that makes it so wonderful.

Here are some stats:

  1. The blocks are hybrid pieced. Partially machine and mostly hand-pieced using Inklingo.
  2. I learned to make this block with the help from one of my yes quilting pals.
  3. Blocks are 12″ finished.
  4. The quilt would be approx 68 x 85 w/o borders. I imagined something a bit bigger but a straight set of 6 x 7 is approx 72 x 84. Not a huge difference.
  5. I got the inspiration to make this block from a gal named Jackie Stevens. She had an antique CW quilt that got me going.

So that’s where we’re at. I’m interested in your thoughts regarding both the setting ideas – all over blocks or setting blocks with custom quilting? I’m interesting in your color setting preference? I’m interested in your experience when you reach a milestone. I’m interested in anything you have to share about this process.  And, just for the record, we have plenty of time. No hurry. Custom quilting won’t be cheap and I’m broke. Car, Vet and Plumbing has left me cash strapped. We have time.

Thank you so much for letting me drop in, share and ask of you some time to provide me with feedback.

Quilting in the heart beat, *karendianne.

Rose Dream and Background Fabric Issues

“Take pride in how far you have come and have faith in how far you can go.”


Good day, friends!!! Happy Super Bowl weekend for those of you that are looking forward to the event. I don’t have a team in this so I’m not particularly interested. I’m from the west coast so by birth I’m a San Francisco 49’ers fan & by personal choice I’m Cowboy’s fan for life. That’s because once you pick a team you gotta hang with ’em thru thick & thin – or so I was brought up to believe.

About the 49’ers though. Yesterday I watched a great talk about their coach Mike Singletary. It focused on how one man, one leader can take pretty much the same exact team with pretty much the same exact situation and turn it around. How one man can make a difference and take a losing team and turn them into a winning team – I mean they almost made it to the Super Bowl. This great talk was all about leadership. That kind of story is one of the things I love about sports!

Little Things


And nice but onto quilting. You can see my little blocks for Pink Lemonade. I need to get ON IT! I also have up my Rose Dream test blocks. I’m in love with those. These finish at 6″ but there is a 4.5″ size and a 9″ size. They’re pretty!!!

They make for a lovely hand stitch but they’d be no problem on the machine either. It’s a gentle curve as you can see. The little squares on the end are the only set-in seam so that’s no problem there. The one and only bummer is my chosen background fabric. It frays like a dickens. I’m really not sure I can use it. Just putting the blocks up on the Design Wall makes a mess. I really think I’ll have to see what else is in the stash. This background is pretty (click pic) and goes so well with the style of the block but I just don’t think this fabric will work. Its poor fabric. Overall, I like the effect but I don’t know that I have much of this style in the stash. I’ll have to dig. If I went with shirtings we’d be good.

I did pull out a nice cheddar that I’ve been saving but I couldn’t bring myself to use it because I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with this block and I didn’t want to waste (aka: use) my pretty cheddar. You know why don’t you? Well because they’ll never print another pretty cheddar again. Ever. Never. Who has issues?!!!

Actually you know what fabric came to mind when I saw this block? My Kansas Troubles stash. I don’t know why I didn’t give into that. Issues!

We’ll see.  I don’t have time to think too hard on it. I sure do enjoy this Rose Dream block though. Very classic. I thought it was called a Lover’s Knot. Blocks have so many names who can know?


I was able to snap this shot of Kippy a couple days ago. He’s such a funny, good boy. I enjoy him at this age. He’s going to be 10 in April. I think. 10 or 11. I think 10. He’s the Alpha Male around here, too.  The dogs totally respect his space. I dig that. He’s a cool dude.

Enjoy your weekend!  Warmly, *karendianne.

Calling All Hand Piecers

Oh good morning! I invite you in to take a look and perhaps take part in my question.  What does your hand piecing set up look like?  This is one of mine for the couch.  A pillow covered with a tea towel and the needed piecing paraphernalia.  
I also have a set up on the kitchen table which isn’t worth a photograph and another used when I’m piecing in my lap.  I piece in my lap when I’m using the upright dining room chair. That’s for my back mostly.
Do you move around much when you’re piecing? and what does your piecing set up look like?  what works for you?  If you are so inclined to share and post on your blog, do link up and let us know.  I’m sure we’d all like to see what you bring along with you.  I know I would.  I’d like to learn from y’all.  In fact, I’ve yet to see anyone’s set up – up close. Not a single person.   I’m really wanting to learn…
Blogging to Learn, *karendianne. The Mistress of LeeHaven.

The Many Faces of Karen

Thank you all for helping to make my 40th a great day.  Your notes made me feel warm and loved.  Even better were your phone calls!   That was that fantastic.  The little moments, the shared time – it sure does make a difference.  No big events here at LeeHaven though.  Just too tuckered out – my body couldn’t take it but still it was a nice day to be 40.  
“The Many Smiles of Karen”
The ’05 photo is the only time I colored my hair.  I was working then.  Stopped working and was more than ready to stop with the bottle.  It took a good 3 years to grow it out.  Eventually I donated some 9″ to “Lock of Love” for Cancer wigs.  
My 40th unplanned, candid photo was taken by Gloria at The Olde Green Cupboard.  We had some time planned together in the morning so I went sporting my best warm & loved morning clothes and since I was just going to the Quilt Shop Make-up wasn’t a concern.  Well, mostly Make-Up isn’t a concern.  Not too bad though.  Still have a little bit rosey red apple cheeks.  (but being 40, I could have used some make-up… I’m just sayin’!)
Can’t have your Birthday go by without a few pieces of fabric.   Some neutrals which you can never have enough of and some Jo Morton stuff which again, you can never have enough of.  …and a couple FQ’s that jumped in there because that happens!

The backing of the hand pieced “Alabama Beauty” blocks I’ve been working on.  I don’t knot my stitching. Instead I stitch in one direction and then back over those stitches.  I guess you’d call it back-stitching as you would on a machine.  I don’t know really.  I just know it works much better.   Somebody taught me this little tidbit and it’s so cool – changed my entire attitude towards hand piecing and helped to make these blocks happen!!!

So it really was a great birthday and I thank you, thank you, thank you!  I’m slowly returning to normal I think.  Just a bit too tired to do anything celebratory for that 40th birthday and I’m looking forward to playing with my new 1/2 yrd cuts of fabric anyway.  In between I’ll be visiting as I always do because you can’t keep a good woman down and staying warm.  It was 27′ cold Florida degrees this morning.  For us, that qualifies as “froze half to death!”  

*karendianne. hoping you’re warm and loved today and everyday!!! 


Brights and A Think

Brights. There’s quite a few of these. It’s all about the Nancy in me. I have no plans nor do I intend to generate any, which usually means what out something’s on its way!

Here is my Design Wall in the midst of a think. The flying geese and the Ohio Stars, which I do not like, are attempting to flatter me into something. I’m not listening. I don’t like them. But I’m allowing them freedom of expression in the event that I shift my perspective. And the three little nine patches are the last vestiges of the Shop Quilt, The Civil War Tribute. Time to read the balance of the directions.

Below is a little hand piecing I did last night at the kitchen table. It was a much better place for me to be than on the couch. The light is better. Anyway, would you believe sewing these made me a little tuckered? Of course I pushed on and made more but I was surprised. Who knew? I have quite a few of these cut out so I’m ready for hand piecing at the drop of a hat.

This isn’t as cool as the Inklingo, I’ll admit that, but it worked and it was a good stretch for me. I like to iron everything as I go but I went with the finger press and iron later approach. You have no idea how big of a stretch this is for me. I would like to mention I did mark my 1/4″ seam before I pieced. I don’t know if I’ll ever make it that loose and free.

Variety in Love, *karendianne.

Nuts in the Garden

A special note of thanks to Cathi, Lester and Smudge of Quilt Obsession for sharing the Inklingo.


The top block is hand pieced. I need practice. Cathi sent me some better needles and that helped but I was struggling with the block structure itself. Yes, I could have looked it up but why make it easier? GAWD Karen!!! So, by the time I got to the bottom block I said Bag It and went to the machine. It was soooo much easier to machine this block with the start and stop points already “X” for you. (See 2nd Photo below)

Print templates directly on the back of fabric as you see below. Simply cut and sew. I did. It worked.

I really enjoyed sewing with the points already marked for you. And the stitching on the machine allowed the fabric to rest evenly and behaving. I am so freakin‘ rigid sometimes. ACK!
This is not to say I’ll quit hand piecing. I wont. I just have to figure it out. One thing I did realize figure out, which wasn’t so hard – come on! Thread a gaggle of needles ahead of time and then just go to town. The knotting’s a challenge though. I think that frustrated me last night more than anything. My knots sucked.

Who frets over knots?

Nuts Landing Love,