Machine Quilting a Large Quilt

Some quilts call for hand quilting, some do not. But how many of us can afford a several thousand dollar long arm or free arm quilting machine? It is possible to machine quilt large quilts using your regular, run of the mill, sewing machine.


Start with sectioning out your quilt. Quilts are nothing but blocks of fabric, so break up the blocks. I find it easiest to split my quilts into rows. Above, I machine quilted 5 rows of the quilt at a time. Be sure to leave plenty of backing fabric to work with around all edges. You can always trim away excess fabric but you can’t easily add more. Try not to quilt all the way to the edge, leave yourself at least a 1/4″ of an edge.


After your sections are machine quilted together, arrange them in order with the backing facing you. Pin together and machine stitch the rows together, being sure to only stitch the top together, not the batting or backing fabric. Notice how I pulled the batting and backing fabric back from each row I needed to stitch together in the photo.

Once the entire quilt is pieced together, lay the batting and backing back where it belongs and use a simply whip stitch, blind stitch, or your favorite to secure the sections of backing, just as you would for the binding.


Finally finish off with your borders and binding.


I Spy Quilts

Seven years ago a friend in my quilting circle gave me a pattern piece set used for making I Spy quilts. I have now made close to twenty I Spy quilts since then.

What’s an I Spy quilt? Each piece of fabric has a different print on it (or in theory, but that’s a lot of fabric for a budget to muster). Kids take turns pointing out an object they see, like a cat, and the others try to guess where on the quilt the cat can be found. Babies also enjoy looking at the various colors and objects found on each piece.

Chatterbox and Hugs still use their I spy quilts. Once you start making them for friends and family, it’s hard to stop. This is my number one request and my go-to gift for baby showers.


Chatterbox’s is on the left, Hugs’s is on the right.



See that zigzag binding going on? I suggest to not try it, stick with a straight edge. It was seriously hard for me and I have refused to do it since the first time I tried it.

Robin Costume










In budgeting our cash for the month of October, Halloween costumes for the boys were a given.   That is until we tried to price some out at Walmart. I was expecting to find costumes around $10-$12 each; not a chance it was $25 and up. I dug out Chatterbox’s Batman costume from last Halloween. It was so big on him last year, I wondered if it would fit him still. Lo and behold it does…one costume down.

I was unsure about Hugs…would he even want to wear a costume. We have two that were given to us when Chatterbox was his age but they were all very hot: a giraffe and a dinosaur. Halloween temps in Texas are cool not cold. A coworker mentioned her husband and son would dress up every year in complimenting outfits. That was the final push for inspiration I needed. I have a ton of solid cotton fabric therefore Hugs can be Batman’s trusty sidekick, Robin. The top is complete but I have a bit more left to finish on the pants. I can’t wait to see them side by side!

RobinCostume1 RobinCostume2 RobinCostume3

Annabelle’s Quilt

This is by far the hardest quilt I’ve made and not for the reasons you may think. I put much thought into this one and consulted with the Hubs often.

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A close coworker divulged her tragedy a month ago, she had miscarried her sixth child. I wanted to do something meaningful for her and her husband. I thought a quilt in memory of her daughter would be a nice gesture but you never know how people will handle death so I decided to ask her permission first. I wanted it to be a happy reminder not a solemn one. She gladly gave me permission.

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I didn’t want it to be too girly but I did happen to have mostly pink fabric in my stash. My husband helped me decide on the random color patterns. I wanted to embroider the child’s name, Annabell Hope, in the center but we didn’t want all of the attention drawn to the name. I wish I had had a bit more of the paisley fabric because it tied all of the colors together so well.


I embroidered her name by hand, it was too delicate to even try to attempt with a sewing machine.

My friend was thrilled to see the finished product and I felt like it would be seen as a happy reminder.

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Phone Pockets

Earlier this year I came across an advertisement at Fit Frosting for the Cruiser Skirt.

The cruiser skirt with a built in pocket for your phone.

They were announcing a last minute sale before they stopped selling them and of course the last day was at the end of the month so I didn’t snag one, but what a genius idea! Fast forward to August when I tripped and fell while running. I had to make a split-second decision to either save my phone and risk badly damaging my knee, or let the phone go to brace my fall. I decided to let the phone go, after all it had made it through countless falls before. Not this time though, it fell just right, on the corner and cracked the glass. I immediately went home and hastily added phone pockets to my running pants.

There are a lot of things to consider when doing this I discovered.

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Running pant #1 – my oldest pair, had already been hemmed up quite a bit to land just at the knee. I started with this pair first thinking that if I totally screwed it up, oh well, they were so old I could have used a new pair anyway. This is mostly cotton fabric with a bit of elasticity incorporated into the fibers. I cut off the legs where I had previously hemmed it. Using my phone as a guide I roughly estimated the size of pocket I would need. I then cut a slit into the pant about where I thought the cruiser skirt had their pocket and used a zig-zag stitch to secure the pocket. Turns out the pocket is a bit lower than I would like and my phone sticks out about 1/2″ which makes me nervous but it has worked so far.

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Running Pant #2 – considering the first pant was a success I tackled my only other running pant. I wanted to hem these up anyway, so I trimmed off the excess to use for the pocket. This material though is pretty much Lycra through and through. I learned my lesson with the too short pocket so I paid extra attention to making this pocket long enough to completely cover my phone. The flaw here is in the fabric. While the pocket completely covers my phone, the material is so stretchy that it tends to bounce while I’m running. I plan to modify it by tacking down all sides of the pocket to see if that will help.

Why was I running with my phone in my hand in the first place you may ask? While I would love to have one of those fancy watch-type GPS systems to track my running, I don’t, I use a free app, Cardio Trainer, on my phone, plus I was also listening to FM radio while running too. I had been having problems with the built in GPS locating me when I kept my phone in my bra, so I got in the habit of carrying it instead. The hubs has convinced me to spend a few extra bucks getting a protective cover for my replacement.

Dress Up

The boys have recently expanded their interest in dressing up – it’s no longer just capes.

Superhero cape


A friend’s daughter recently asked her for a cape and she came straight to me. I used the same pattern from the boys superhero birthday party last year. But just one wouldn’t do for a special little girl, so I made several in different colors.

cape cut outs capes


Chatterbox recently pulled out a bear costume of sorts that I made for him for last year’s Christmas pageant. Yep, he was a bear in the pageant. The director let all of the kiddies under 6 (who wouldn’t have a speaking part) choose their animal character, what ever that may be and what did Chatterbox choose? A bear. I also missed the memo that year that I was expected to make his costume, so the night before I made a screaming trip to Hobby Lobby, took a peek at Simplicity pattern 1795, noted the shape of the pieces and then pawed through the bargain bin for fur or anything that might pass for fur. With Chatterbox starting to play with this costume again, Hugs just had to have one too, so I broke out the leftover fur and cobbled together a slightly smaller version for him.

bear costume bear costume


This past month was my nieces birthday, a Doc McStuffins party. I had never heard of McStuffins and had to do a bit of research for a gift idea. I found I already had a pattern for kiddies scrubs and new the boys would like a set too. I used the classic green/aqua color.



Conveniently that Simplicity pattern also included a chef’s hat and top; my sister-in-law makes cupcakes on cookies as a part-time job so I thought this would be another fitting gift idea. And while I was at it I thought the boys would enjoy a set too. I finally found a project that used up nearly all of the random buttons I had in my sewing cabinet.

Chef's top and hat


I rounded up my nieces gift of dress up clothes with what else, but several capes in multiple colors.

Latest News

I’m glad to be back from a mini hiatus and recomposing a plan for this blog. I appreciate everyone that has been following this blog; it will now just encompass arts and crafts projects that I am working on. 

For those interested in running, you can find me at Running in Austin.

For those interested in accessibility, you can find me at Keeping Austin Accessible.

As with Jailed Art, I am still reworking the above two sites as well and copying over any previous posts, so please bear with me as the clean up continues.

Jailed Art

Let’s clear up one thing right now. No, I’m not in jail and selling art. While on honeymoon my husband and I toured the Pensacola Museum of Art. The museum is housed in the city’s old jail. I immediately was intrigued by the thought of jailing art. How could you feasibly jail art when art is found everywhere and in everything? I told my husband if I ever opened a store of my own, I would call it Jailed Art.