Have you ever used voile for a quilt back?


I do think I must have ADHD, or another Attention Deficit Disorder, type issue.

Another quilt I am working on was in my lap, today, during this blizzard-like weather we are experiencing and seems like we will continue to “enjoy” for the next week…..

Snowday @ SewfrenchWe woke up, yesterday, with about 7″ on the ground and another 7″ fell throughout the afternoon leaving us with 15.6″ a new November record. This is scary, for so early in the Michigan snow season. I am just hoping this is not a tease of what is to come.

Sooo…. I am working on hand quilting another project. Even when this is my view from my usual quilting spot. Ha! It really does look like ADD from here. But in my defense, I have a very active, creative mind. I am constantly having to try something out. And those quilts don’t have near deadlines, so they got put on the back burner.

WIPs at Sewfrench


This one is yet to be named. You are seeing the back. I am doing some outline quilting before I work up a design.

Aurifil 28 wt hand quilting @ Sewfrench I’m using Aurifil 28 weight thread on this one. That is the gray-spooled, heavier weight one, made for hand quilting. It is still much finer than many of the other hand quilting threads out there, but it does quilt up beautifully. Even with it being finer I am still not finding it any more tangle-y than any other, but I don’t ever seem to have an issue with that anyway. I wonder if it is because I have learned you should always knot, the end of the thread, where you cut your length. Thread is spun in one direction and is meant to be used in that same direction. Thread the needle with the end coming off the spool, cut your length and knot where you cut and you should be good to go.

Robert Kaufman Veronica Voile @ Sewfrench

My backing fabric, shown above, is Robert Kaufman’s Veronica Voile, in Stone. This was one of the 40% off fabrics I got at Pink Chalk Fabric’s going out of business sale. This was one of the few pieces I chose that were not your typical solids. I was happy to see it was a perfect match for the front. You can never be sure when buying fabrics online.

I have used voile, for a quilt backing, only once. It was the perfect match for the quilt top and I questioned using it for a backing, then. I wonder how it has held up…..

If you aren’t familiar with voile, the word rhymes with oil, and is a very fine fabric. One of the most luxurious fabrics you have ever caressed. It’s name is derived from the Latin work veil.  It is as light and breezy as a Sunday afternoon. It is often used for blouses, scarves or beachy, flowing curtains.

Voile usually costs a little more, but I LOVE that it is usually 54/55/56″wide. This often means I only need to buy only one length for a quilt back, as opposed to the usual 42″ wide fabric and needing to piece two quilt lengths ($$) to get the width I need. For a lap quilt, it is perfect, not seam needed, making hand-quilting even easier. “Hooray” says all the hand quilters out there!!!

This quilt feels like it will float away as I work on it. You can actually see how light it is where I have it pin basted. It looks loose, not taut, like most quilts in the process of being quilted. I will just be extra diligent with the hand on the underside to keep wrinkles at bay. It quilts like buttah’, I say. Surely I can get this one worked up quickly. I’ll share the front before the year is out. I hope….

Have you ever used voile as a quilt backing?

What’s your weather like? Are you bundled up working on something snuggly??

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Girl with a Pearl Earring

Girl With a Pearl EarringGirl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Enjoyable historical novel.

The main character is a servant in the house of the 17th-century Dutch master, Johannes Vermeer, and is used as the model for the painting ‘Girl with a pearl earing’. The author re-creates common life in the town of Delft with what seems to be fascinating authenticity. The smells of the marketplace, the drudgery of laundry, the subtle tensions between servants – it all comes across here viscerally. The young maid seems devoted only to her master and obeys his every wish. When he tells her to wear his wife’s pearl earrings for the painting, she agrees even though she knows it could lead to her downfall.

Who is this guy’s publicist? For a man who left no more than 35 paintings, he’s suddenly getting plenty of attention outside the museums. Perhaps it’s the paucity of information about Vermeer’s life or the small number of exquisite paintings that makes his work such an attractive subject for novelists.

This book was also made into an extremely successful 2003 movie starring Colin Firth as Vermeer and Scarlett Johansson as Griet. I might need to see if I can find it.

View all my reviews

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Endless Chain quilt

Endless Chain’s windmill-looking block is based on a vintage pattern featured in newspapers in 1942 and throughout WWII. It was traditionally done as a paper pieced block. I’m not a paper piecer, can’t seem to get the hang of it, so I drew up my own pattern.

Hard to believe it has been a year since I talked about finishing the quilt top.  I had even gotten it sandwiched and pin basted but just recently finished the quilting.

DSC_6175I hand-quilted it in the low volume areas, 1/2″ apart, echoing the shapes. This allowed the “chains” to pop.


The perfectly matching back came from straight from inventory. I bought this fabric years ago at a day after Thanksgiving half-off fabric sale. I had no idea what or when it would be used but who can resist a sale that good! Because they match so well, you might think that they were the inspiration for the quilt front and then you would be right. What better way to use up inventory that to start with the quilt backing and go from there?


I really do love how these colors just pop. You can really see how the color value you choose can make or break the design. Looking at the center row, see how the diamond on the right really pops? The open diamond shapes create a chain and look so connected? The center one isn’t bad, but the one on the left…. it almost looks like a different pattern all together. This is one of the reasons I like making smaller quilts. You can never really “see” how a quilt will turn out until it is done and smaller is a perfect way to test it out. At least that is how this “Show-Me”  girl from Missouri sees it!

But that’s not to say I don’t love this quilt. It is so happy and cheery it lives on the back of my rocking chair, for now!

Endless Chain quilt by SewfrenchEndless Chain
a vintage inspired quilt by Sewfrench
60″ x 60″
machine pieced
hand quilted

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Echo Quilting

Another quilt that has been in progress for a long time is in my lap today. I finally decided on how to quilt it. Spiral quilting it will be.

And yes, you can see, I had a change of plan from what I drew, to where I decided to quilt. An artist’s prerogative?!! LOL

Echo Quilting @ Sewfrench

I did think about quilting it by machine but decided that that just wouldn’t be right for this one. I settled on big stitch quilting. Primarily because the majority of this quilt is 2″ squares, so lots of seams. Also, lots of batik, hand dyes and metallics, too, making traditional hand quilting painful.


To spiral quilt, this large quilt, I had to come up with a plan. I decided to quilt it with lines 3.5cm apart (looks like 4. on the ruler, but it is 3.5). I started out with a template, but quickly out grew it. I then taped my Fons and Porter chalk pencil, using packaging tape, to my 6″ ruler. I then lined the end of the ruler up with the previous line and start drawing in a circular form, copying the last line. I’m not looking for perfection in my echoing, organic lines are fine, I just feel better following a line, any line as opposed to just eye-balling it.

Have I talked before, about how much I love these pencils? They are not waxy, so they dust off, or even better wash out, beautifully. The four pack, I buy, has all the colors that work with ever project you might have. And they aren’t waxy, did I say that? A true bonus there. They sharpen in an electric pencil sharpener, fine, too. Not sure about a handheld sharpener, but I bet that will work well, too.

I once marked an entire queen sized quilt with a white quilting, marking pencil. Hand-quilted it, tossed it in the wash, feeling so proud. Pulled it out and to my horror the white waxy lines were there as plain as day! I ended up using a toothbrush on the entire quilt. That could be why I never got a good photo of that quilt!

Echo Quilting @ Sewfrench

Once the spirals got to the width of the quilt, I timed it and it takes about 37 minutes to do one line. I draw four lines at a time, enough to do in an evening, but not too many to where they brush off before I get them quilted.

Finca #16 dark pewterI am using Finca Presencia Perle Cotton #16 in Dark Pewter. I have two spools that I opted not to use on another project and am hoping this will be enough for this one. Looks like I might make it, but you never know!

Echo Quilting @ Sewfrench

My stitches are about 1/8th of an inch long with the spacing being just shy of that.

So far, so good, it looks like about another 15 hours of quilting to go. Now to find something else to watch on Netflix…

Back at it!

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Filling the Gap

I mentioned that I had finally placed a big order with Pink Chalk Fabrics, the prize from my Blowin’ in The Wind entry in the Blogger’s Quilt Festival. Several asked to see what I chose. Well, my packaged arrived, even quicker than I expected!

New fabrics @ Sewfrench

Aren’t they gorgeous?!! As you can see I chose solids to fill in the soft spots in my collection. I chose a mix of Kona Cottons and Michael Miller’s Cotton Coutures to get the variety I needed.

Buying what was available, when everything was 40% and liquidating, I still feel weak in the pinks and yellows but this put me back to where I feel more comfortable in the fall colors that have been depleted ever since I created Tomorrow Morning and that has been over two years ago!

One of the things that impressed me about this $100, felt like a windfall, order was that the fabrics were cut and stacked in the same order as the receipt, making it easy to find which is Mud as opposed to Espresso. This is one of the special touches I will miss with Pink Chalk Fabrics going out of the fabric business. They still have some a few good deals  if you haven’t checked them out lately.

Receiving these encouraged me spend yesterday, straightening and reorganizing fabrics, and projects, in my studio. I’ve been meaning to get a round to this for a while. I feel like a can breathe deep before I start pulling fabrics to make another mess!

Fabric Storage @ Sewfrench

Or maybe I should just sit in the calm and finish one of the many projects that are just waiting patiently to completed…
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Wild by Cheryl Strayed


I’ve read several books in this same hiking adventure genre. Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail was funny. Southbound, The Barefoot Sisters, #1, by Lucy Letcher and Susan Letcher was fluffy. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer was some serious stuff.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

The following review contains some spoilers.

In Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed, I was expecting Bill Bryson mixed with (Wo)Man Vs. Wild. It reads more like Eat, Pray, Love mixed with college liberal’s sexcapades. This book’s soul-baring stuff rode the fine line between whining and brutal honesty.

The thoughts that stuck with me.

She had no experience as a long-distance hiker. None, nada, zilch. She never bothered to even put on her overpacked gear before she stepped foot on to the trail. The whole idea was little more than “an idea, vague and outlandish and full of promise.” The most impulsive decision of her life: to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert, through California and Oregon, to Washington State—and to do it alone.

She does heroin with a guy who is not her husband; she tells us that she really, really loves her husband. I guess there is something that is just part of Cheryl that *makes* her cheat on her husband who she really, really loves.

She brought a whole box of condoms with her, on her hike, to “find herself”! She is still having one night stands with strangers a week before she is at the end of her journey on the Pacific Crest Trail.

She loses one of her too-small REI shoes off the side of the  trail? Seriously? Who does that? Then is MAD when they can’t overnight her new ones because she is in the middle of nowhere.

And the kicker has to be the last chapter when she touches the Bridge of the Gods, and next thing we know, all her intimacy issues have been resolved. Nine years into a stable marriage to a wonderful man, wonderful kids and a wonderful life. The idea that punishing physical activity is the panacea for mental suffering is absurd and possibly dangerous. Such a journey can be a source of strength and self-esteem, but being alone in one’s head while ripping one’s feet to bloody shreds is not a reliable path to resolving childhood abandonment and mistrust of/intimacy issues with men.

I liked and I hated Cheryl at the same time. I admired her for hiking 1,100 miles and, at the same time, resented that she left her husband and ran away from her problems to find herself. All she needed was to stay away from the drugs and to focus on something rather than to linger on how she missed her mom and what a bad wife she was.

I think I’ll stick with Bill Bryson’s humorous style of writing, the next time I find myself wanting to take a walk in the woods.

This book topped the 2012 Best List, by GoodReads readers, as the favorite in the Memoir & Autobiography category. I have to wonder how many readers read more than one of the nominated books….  When I added it to my “to-read” list, I had no idea a movie was being made of it. With all that said, only because Reese Witherspoon will play Cheryl, will I be tempted to rent it….

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Marcia Derse has it Sew Together

I am in love.
I should say.
Ever since I met her fabulous fabrics a couple of years ago I can’t get enough.

Sew Together Bag @ SewfrenchI bought this pattern a couple of years ago and just couldn’t decide what fabrics to use or even what to use the bag for, which, in my mind, could make a difference in which fabrics I would choose.

Feeling the need for an instant gratification project, I decided to pull some fabric and get to work. Using scraps, from the quilt I made our eldest daughter, I finally whipped up the Sew Together Bag. I created my outer fabric panel using 2 1/2″ squares, with a stripe up the center of tiny scraps. I then quilted it directly to a piece of Quilters Dream Request cotton quilt batting using organic 1/4″ -1/3″ rows. This turned out to be the perfect weight, and body, that this bag needed.

Sew Together Bag @ Sewfrench

And I did use three very different colored zippers for the interior, green, blue and gray, but for some reason they didn’t photograph accurately. I also chose 7 different fabrics for the interior, part of all those difficult decisions it took to make this one. Looking at the finished product, the most important choices, for the interior, are the outer “leaves”, if you will. The rest you hardly see. You can also see that I didn’t opt to add the wool needle landing pad. Obviously, I should have because my needles have automatically landed in that very spot.

Sew Together Bag @ SewfrenchI am so stinking happy to have chosen these fabrics to look at every single night when I am hand quilting. My previous bag was too small and I was constantly pouring everything out to find what I needed. This is perfect for all my needs. I can keep everything organized in different zippered pockets, that when zipped it won’t spill out into my chair. Duh! Marking pens in one pocket, needles in another, thimbles old and older, in the third. Current thimbles, thread, needle-puller and clippers in the outer edges. I am in love!!!

The pattern doesn’t use pictures and doesn’t give as much direction, as even this very experienced sewist would have preferred, but I managed. I did hand-stitch the bindings because as a hand-quilter, I think they look better. I left an open area to attach the end of the zipper tabs and hand stitched them into the seam, also. I couldn’t quite figure out how the pattern developer expected you to do it, so I did it my way.

I’m thinking this bag could be expanded into a really cool travel/toiletry bag. I think I will work on those changes soon.

Have you made one of these Sew Together Bags???

Yet??? Because I think anyone that sews will eventually make a wise decision to go for it.

What are you, or would you, using yours for? Any thoughts, comments or changes for you???

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