Craft Fair 2018

I completed my first craft fair of 2018 last Saturday. Beautiful, but hot, weather for the show. Nice location. I sold enough to make back my booth fee, plus a little extra. I am still working through pricing and what will sell at craft fairs. If you look online, you see multiple formulas: 1. cost of materials x 3, 2. cost of materials + your hourly time, 3. Formula 1 + Formula 2 divided by 2. See this Craftsy article for more information.

All of that said, I will be doing this again. Honing my craft fair skills just to see where this goes. I enjoy talking to the people who walk by – makes the day go by quickly.

Below are some of the items that I was selling on Saturday. I am also learning how to take better photos.

Baby quilt, reusable lunch bags, snap pouches, and coasters.
Cat/Dog pads and a laptop case
Flannel Baby Quilt

2017 Planning Linky Party

2017 Planning Party

I have decided to try to get full use of my Quilter’s Planner this year. I am following @thequiltersplanner on Instagram and have joined the January 2017 Best Year Ever photo challenge – #qpbestyearever2017. I need a photo challenge. I am still using my iPhone to make quilt photos. Will “borrow” my husband’s better camera for the challenge. He will be so enthused.

So what are my quiltings goals for the year. Either finish my multitudinous WIPs/deserted projects or give them away. I have a couple that I just really cannot get into anymore. It is amazing how in 3 years your taste in quilts and quilt fabrics can change so much.

Here is a partial list:

  1. Finish a Kaffe Fassett nine-patch.
  2. Quilt a Christmas quilt.
  3. Quilt a teal/gray plus quilt.
  4. Make a set of placemats for my sister-in-law.
  5. Quilt a baby quilt.
  6. Make a Home Sweet Home wall-hanging
  7. Do the Starbucks and Pink swaps and NO MORE swaps for the year.
  8. Do the BadAss Quilter’s Hogwarts wall hanging.
  9. Finish curvy placemats I started two years ago.
  10. Make two tablet sleeves.
  11. Make a laptop sleeve for my work computer.
  12. Blog more.
  13. Do NOT take on extra work this year. Quilt instead.
  14. Quilt instead of eat. Sip water/tea instead while quilting. This is a big one and If I can make it work, I will be SOOOO happy. I am getting fatter by the day!
  15. Do some fabric destashing on Instagram (@manduquilts). I am a fabric hoarder, so this will be difficult for me.

I think that is enough. I am already overwhelmed by what I just added here, but I will soldier on. Of course, I will had new projects along the way and end up with more WIPs, but I am going to complete one WIP along with each new project.


Quilting the Circle of Geese

Oh how I have struggled trying to decide how to quilt the Circle of Geese quilt. I even revisited free motion quilting (FMQ), but decided that even though I am better, I cannot FMQ well enough to gift a quilt I have quilted that way yet. However, I am pleased that my stitch length is getting better. Maybe it is the Juki TL2010Q–a fantastic machine.

I have decided to do triangles, which you begin by quilting straight lines. I got the idea from Jacquie Gehring’s Next Steps with your Walking Foot class on Craftsy. I highly recommend the class and Craftsy in general. I have learned a LOT from my Craftsy classes. Craftsy doesn’t know I exist as a blog, so I get nothing from them for saying this. If you have never taken one of their classes, start with a free one. They offer free Block of the Month classes each year and the classes remain on line.

Anyway, below are photos of my progress. It is dark and dreary out, so my photos are not good, but I think you can get the idea.

geese   Diagonal lines prepping for triangles

triangles Triangles in every other row

FMQ my FMQ practice

All my practice FMQ pieces become catpads. This is Kassi, the kitten we brought back from Greece on her new catpad.


Word for 2016: Experiment

I am joining the line-up of people posting their words for 2106. Mine is experiment. Through experimentation, I will have failures, successes, and mediocre results, as well as frustration and joy. Despite this, experimenting is how we learn–through failure, through repetition, through perseverance. So I am going to experiment!

This blog is an experiment. Can I consistently post 3 times a week for 52 weeks? That is my experiment. Can I find enough of interest to say that people will bother to read my blog or even follow it?

I will experiment with new blocks, like the circle of geese block below from Piece by Number. Paper piecing does not come easy to me, but this was actually fun. I made some mistakes, but got better.


I NEED to experiment with photography. My photos need improvement. I am going to try each month to improve and begin using a better camera, though I have to admit that my husband is not enthused about sharing his camera. Eventually I will buy one of my own. For now, I will share and spend the money on fabric. 🙂

I know there will be other experiments throughout the year, so I am going to relax and enjoy the journey. Here’s to a great 2016!

Renewing my Design Wall – Product Decisions

Okay, so I read Sew Katie Did’s post on her design wall and decided to update mine. Mine is a sad, but very, very useable (and cheap) tacked on wall. I think I paid $10 for the plastic tablecloth at Walmart, then tacked it with the plastic to the wall and flannel outward. Done!

It has served me well, but is now full of threads and I want something I can stick pins into when I want to test other fabric. The only thing I have really missed is the ability to put fabric on top of fabric to test ideas. Otherwise a plastic tablecloth really, really works.


So…I headed to our local home improvement store to look at the insulation board. It is HUGE! 4′ x 8 ‘. That is NOT going to fit in my car, and I don’t own a truck! Hmmm…decided to come home and measure my wall first. If need be, I can cut the board before I load it in the car.

So, now I am online searching for insulation board. Turns out that it burns quickly and the fumes will kill you. Do I really want to use foam board? Back to Google.

Well, after reading some SAQA design board comments and contractor forums, I have decided that Armstrong Fireguard Acoustic Tile might be the way to go. We had a bad fire two years ago at my parents’ house, so I am more careful than I used to be about flammable products.

Next installment…selection and creation of my design wall.

Reflections on and Finishes for 2015

Here are my 2015 finishes…some started in 2014.

I still consider myself a beginning quilter…a confident beginner who will try intermediate skills, but a beginner nonetheless. When I look back at 2015, I know now why my seams line up so much better here at the end of 2015. I had a LOT of practice with matching seams.

When I started quilting, I avoided patterns where I had to match seams  because I could NEVER get them to match. I also started glue basting thanks to a tutorial by Sharon Schamber and a second tutorial by her daughter Christy Fincher. I don’t glue baste every seam, but I do glue baste the ones I have to match. I can finally “feel” the match between the seams and I understand why I should press seams to opposite sides, but it took awhile–think several quilts–for that to happen.

I had a lot of firsts for me in 2015.

  1. free motion quilted a baby quilt on my home machine.
  2. made flying geese blocks
  3. used flannel as backing
  4. sewed curves thanks to Jayne (Twiggy and Opal) of the Music City Modern Quilt Guild
  5. learned to cut and piece triangles thanks to Rachel’s Angled class at Stitched in Color. She may be doing that one again this year. I am not sure. If so, I highly recommend it! Really a 2014 skill, but I finished finished the quilt in 2015.
  6. learned that I am terrible at bees and keeping up in online classes. I will do the classes, but doubt I do another bee. Life keeps interfering and I cannot keep up.

For 2016, I have two commissions to finish up and then I want to practice more free motion quilting (FMQ). I haven’t done that often enough to feel comfortable. My cats may end up with lots of cat pads as I practice.

Here’s to a great 2016 with more challenges and lots to learn!

New (and Old) Beginnings

Beginnings can be new, or old, or in process. My definition of “beginnings” runs broad and deep to encompass side journeys, rethinkings, and life in general. Below is my first quilting blog entry from December 2, 2013 on my original blog Sweet Succotash Quilts. I won’t be using that blog anymore, but it got me started, so I am leaving it up.

Beginnings: My paternal grandmother quilted. But, because I didn’t think quilting would ever be “my thing,” I never learned to quilt from her. I was left with one impression though–machine quilting is bad. Hand quilting is the ONLY way to go.

So, now I am in my late 50s and decided I wanted to try sewing and have discovered an absolute LOVE of quilting–machine quilting that is. As a cousin told me: “Your granny would turn over in her grave.” I think she is just happy that I am quilting.

I am still learning, so my quilts are flawed, but it is calming to make your cuts precise, then piece and sew–as long as I don’t have to do points. I find points fiddly. Maybe some day they will be relaxing also, but I’m not there yet.

My first completed quilt is the background for this blog*. I really like it–flaws and all. I LOVE the colors, which led me to the title of my blog: Sweet Succotash.

Thanks to the Cathy and Carolyn at the Bernina Sewing Station in Brentwood, Tennessee for helping me choose fabric and the class that helped me start this quilt.

*Here is the quilt. Thank goodness I have learned how to PRESS, not IRON now.