Thursday, February 15, 2018

Snowbound quilt

My "Snowbound" quilt showing raggy top edge and part of raggy seams on reverse

I recently found a printed panel from the 2004 "Christmas X-citement" line by Sandy Gervais for Moda tucked in a plastic bag with pieces of coordinating flannels and a Gervais pattern titled "#254 Winter Landscape" that used the panel.

Sandy Gervais' "Winter Landscape" quilt
Here is a picture of the "Winter Landscape" quilt Gervais designed for the panel. The pattern is still available on her "Pieces from my Heart" website, and the panel can be purchased on eBay.

I set the package aside because the panel was so cute and I thought I might do something with it before it got buried for another decade.

As luck would have it, mid-Michigan was blessed with three snowstorms in three days last weekend, so I pulled out my panel to see what I could do with it while I was snowbound.

I took a cue from the pattern and decided to cut the panel apart and add strips of flannel between the panel strips. I had 50-inches of the panel design so I pieced the available flannels to make 50-inch strips of various widths from three to nine inches.

In quilt-as-you-go fashion, I laid out my strips making batting sandwiches of flannel backing strips, batting, and a top strip of either panel or coordinating flannel. 

For more information about the ragged quilt-as-you-go technique, see "Ragged Hearts Quilt".

Then I hand-quilted each strip using #8 perle cotton and stitched all the strips together placing the strip tops right-sides-together and making the seams all on the back of the quilt.

When I was done stitching, I trimmed the edges and stitched a decorative zig-zag about 7/8 -inch from all around the edge of the quilt. 

Then I clipped all the seams and all around the quilt, clipping every 1/4-inch to a depth of about 3/8-inch from the edge of the fabric. I used a  pair of scissors that are made for making these "ragged" quilt-as-you-go style quilts: Fiskars Rag Quilt Snips. They sure made quick work of that job.

Then I washed the quilt and put it in the dryer. When it came out of the dryer, all the seams and edges had raveled to create the raggy edge characteristic of this quilt-as-you-go style.

Back of "raggy" quilt showing clipped and laundered seams.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Casey's Cat

Casey's Cat original at Caseville, MI on Lake Huron
When I visited my friend Casey's cottage on Lake Huron, I was greeted by this calico cat that resided in a knotty-pine bedroom, snug under the eaves overlooking Lake Huron. I took a photo and tried to reproduce Casey's cat for my own.
Casey's Cat redux 2017 by Linda Theil
i started by drawing the pattern below; overall the cat back is about 10-inches high, including 1/4-inch seam allowances. The edge along the fold is 8-inches long.

Caseville Cat pattern: cat back is 8-inches along the fold and four-inches along the bottom.
Here is a list of materials I used to make the cat.


  • Bosal or Pellon Flex Foam: 1/4-inch foam padding typically used as stabilizer for totes and purses
  • scraps of cotton prints; I used 5-inch squares from Charm Pack: "Grand Traverse Bay" by Minick & Simpson for Moda.
  • 12-inch square of coordinating Minky, flannel, or fleece for cat back.
  • 12-inches of narrow satin ribbon for bow
  • #8 perle cotton for hand quilting
  • short piece of embroidery floss or perle cotton for whiskers
  • 18-inches thick cording for tail
  • fiberfill, or fabric scraps for stuffing  

Sew calico pieces together and cut out cat halves using pattern for cat back. (Or cut out individual pieces from various cotton prints and sew together.)

Half-cat pattern used to cut out cat from pieced calico

 Front of cat, cut from pieced calico prints.

Bosal, 1/4-inch foam stabilizer
Cut one piece of Bosal or Pellon Flex-Foam using cat-back pattern without added 1/4-inch seam allowance. 

Pin foam to wrong side of pieced cat front.

Hand quilt cat front to foam stabilizer using perle cotton thread.

Quilted cat front.

Paint eyes with indelible marker, as shown on pattern.

Thread embroidery needle with perle cotton or embroidery floss.

Insert threaded needle below cat's left eye in whisker position, as shown on pattern.

 Pull thread through to other whisker mark below cat's right eye, as marked on pattern, leaving long tail for left-side whisker.

 Leave long thread tail on cat's right-side whisker, also. Cut thread, and set needle aside.

 Knot thread at base of whisker on cat's right side.

 Cat's right-side whisker knotted.

 Knot thread at base of cat's left-side whisker.

 Both whiskers knotted.

Trim whiskers to desired length.

 Cut tail cover from fabric 1-inch wide by 7-inches long.

With right-sides-together fold fabric strip in half lengthwise, encasing cording inside fold -- leaving eight-inches hanging out of right end of fabric tube.

Stitch right end of tube closed, stitching over cording end to secure in place. Pivot the needle and stitch 1/4-inch seam down the open side of the tube, encasing the cording inside.

After stitching, while holding the unsecured end of the cording, begin working tubing over the secured end of the cording, carefully turning the tube right-side-out, over the cording inside.

Tie the cording sticking out of the secured end of the tube in a knot and trim about 3/8-inch from the end, fluffing cording to form a little pom-pom.

Secure the tail to the cat with the tail laying along the front of the cat, and the raw edges of the non-pom-pom end of the tail even with the bottom right side of the cat.

 Using the cat-back pattern, cut a cat back from Minky, flannel, or fleece.

With right sides together, stitch two halves of cat together all around the outside edge, leaving the bottom open.

Turn cat right-side-out.

Stuff cat with fiberfill or fabric remnants.

Stitch bottom of cat closed, using decorative zig-zag stitch.

Tie ribbon in bow. Secure bow to front center of cat.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Jake's Christmas present chronicles summer of '17

Jake, summer 2017 at Warren Dunes State Park, Michigan

by Linda Theil

I made Jake's Christmas present this year using Blurb's bookmaking program BookWright. I've used this free, and easy-to-use, program to make many books that are available on-demand from the Blurb site

I took photos at the Warren Dunes State Park in southwest Michigan this August, so I put together a picture book using these and other photos that Alisa and I had taken over the summer. Alisa helped me put the pages together with photos, dates, and information about Jake's summer of 2017. 

A free view of the entire book, Jake Theil: summer nine 2017 is available online at the blurb site. Or click on the image below to view.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Origami box

Folded box made of pages from Fons & Porter "Scrap Quilting".

I have been making these Origami boxes for a very long time. They are beautiful and elegant and very easy to fold. Start with two squares of paper of any size and by making the box twice, you have both top and bottom that fit easily inside each other. 

The Fons and Porter Love of Quilting TV series featured a box made of pages from a quilting magazine in the "Tips" section of program # 3001 titled "Diagonally Set Log Cabin Quilts". I thought this would be an excellent way to highlight these wonderful little paper boxes that are such a pleasure to create.

There is a very good video of how to create this box at "Classic Origami Box" on, and "Easy Origami Open Box".

I have shown my process here with a page from the Fons & Porter special bonus issue, "Scrap Quilts". I have developed a simple mnemonic to help me remember how to make this box. I say, "Make a blintz, and put it in the cupboard." Once you have done the blintz fold and the cupboard fold, you unfold the ends of the box and refold them into a 3-D configuration that creates the box. 

When this is done, put a piece of tape on the spot where the points come together and you have a very nice gift box, or trinket holder.

How to make an origami box 

Cut a square of paper from a quilting magazine page. An 8.5-inch square will make a 3-inch square box, 1.5-inches deep. Fold the square in half in both directions to determine the center point of the paper. Once the center point has been determined, fold each corner of the paper into the center point to make a configuration that resembles a blintz pastry.

Making the blintz. 

Completed blintz fold.

Fold the blintz in half, both horizontally . . .

. . . and vertically.

Then fold each edge into the center of the blintz to create a cupboard door on the left . . .

. . . and the right -- closing both cupboard doors on the blintz.

Open the cupboard doors and pull out the ends of the construction.

Push in the corners and fold the point of one end into the center of the box.

One end is folded.

Repeat on both ends of the box.

Tape the center points, to hold in position. 

Make two boxes of the same size and carefully fit one box inside the other to make a box top and box bottom.