Monday, October 30, 2017

Fancy Seam Designs Stitch-a-Long...starts 1 November

Just one more day until the new Crazy Quilt Stitch Along series...Fancy Seam Designs begins! We will be posting a seam a day until ALL 500 seams in the book are done.

What book? Well that is my latest book with Amazon...Crazy Quilting Volume III - Fancy Seam Designs...available in print and on Kindle.

And the "we"? Well that is myself and my pal Katie Bock...who will be stitching half of the seams (I have the even pages and Katie has the odd pages). She will post to her blog  Sewing with Katie on the days her seams are shown...and I'll link her blog post here. She'll do the same on her blog.

So, regardless of who you'll still get to see all of the seams. And, if you follow both of us...well, you'll see them twice. The blog posts may also have a bit of our discussion on stitching a seam...not required; but you never know what we will be talking about!

If you want to view all of the seams and post your own might like to join in the fun with our private Facebook Group: Modern Crazy Quilt Seams

Here is a link to request joining the group if you want to follow along there (and post your own finished photos) -

And, if you need a simple idea of "what to sew on"...just consider doing some simple sampler type blocks. These can be turned into a quilt top later on...or sewn together to create a long runner style sampler of seams. Then you need "ideas" you'll have a better idea of what a seam may look like once stitched! A great way to use fabric scraps...don't worry over color (but lighter or solids is easier if you are using the templates in the book)...just saying! :)

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Quick Cajun Stew


2-4 boneless chicken (I used 2)
1-2 polish kielbasa sausage (I used 1)
1 yellow or vidala onion
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 bag frozen cut okra
1/2 to 1 cup instant rice
1 can, Blue Runner Creole Bisque Base or
1tsp Gumbo File' spice

Here are the photos of the "supplies":


Cut up chicken, onion, and sausage into bite-size pieces. Place in large boiler with 1-2 cups water (I used 2 cups) and salt/pepper to taste. Cover and cook on med-hi for 15 minutes.

Here is what it looks like at this point:

Add okra, tomatoes, and bisque base or file'spice. Cover and turn heat down to low. Cover and cook for about 45 minutes.

Here is what it looks like at this point:

You can serve over regular rice...or add instant rice (as I did). Pour instant rice into the pop and turn off the heat. Cover and let set for about a half hour.

Here is the finished stew:

This is like a really thick soup. If you want it even thicker...add the full amounts of the meat and rice. was good!

Friday, October 27, 2017

Crazy for Hexagons

I just included a brand new pattern in my Etsy shop that would be ideal for crazy quilting.

 Here is the concept and the pattern page cover. 

The cost is $5.50 as a pdf full color download. The pattern includes full-size pattern pieces along with instructions on how to create this quilt easily using the quilt-as-you-go method of assembly. 

I counted the possible seams for crazy quilting...and there are 372 considering the 12 inside every one of the 31 pieced hexagon blocks; and all of the connecting seams once the hexagons are assembled. There could be even more if you pieced the patches too!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

More Silkie Images Available on Etsy Shoppe

If you are in need of some image sheets for printing, there are twelve new sheets just loaded to my Etsy Shoppe page.

All of these images are sized to either 2" wide or tall depending on their individual orientation; just the right size for any crazy quilt block size. You can add them on top of existing blocks by turning under the seam allowance and stitching down...then embellish with a border similar to a "portrait frame"; or piece the image (printed on fabric) directly to the patchwork of a block not yet constructed.

Here is the run-down of each PDF file download:

[#0 - Floral Girls] and [#1-Floral Ladies] would be great if you enjoy over-stitching the flowers with small ribbon or thread accents.

BTW, the Shawkl Design Studio watermark will not be on your downloadable sheet of is just there to protect these from being saved/used directly from a screen print.

[#2 through #6 Butterflies) are copies of actual vintage cigarette silkie images. While they can be used as is, I also think these would be great to cut out and just use the butterfly images alone. I can envision each tiny wing with over-stitching in silk or metallic threads. The addition of beads and sequins is another good option. Ideas are almost endless on how to create stumpwork butterflies with these too!

[#7 - Pin Up Gals] are some 50's era advertising models. Images like these were also used for calendar pages. A themed quilt would be fun to create using these slightly risque' models.

[#8 - Cats & Friends] are a must if you love cats! I've included a bird and chicken image as well so that there is a bit of a surprise in the group as well.

[#9 - Marilyn] is all about Marilyn Monroe. While certainly an icon of her time, she is also a natural beauty and makes a wonderful themed project.

[#10 - Tea Time] included images of tea pots, tea cups, tasty treats, and good friends all ready to have a lovely tea party.

[#11 - Landscapes] is mostly landscape images with one window box image that I could not resist using. These are glorious when pieced into a project and the tiny flowers over-stitched in wee little silk ribbon knots!

Each printable sheet is $4.50 and can be printed as many times as you you can have unlimited fun creating blocks with these! You can purchase printable fabric sheets on line ( of course) or create your own using this tutorial. Use an inkjet printer since you want the images to remain...rather than the laser printer used in the tutorial (which was for embroidery designs that would be stitched over). Use white, neutral, or pastel colored cotton or silk fabrics rather than linen for these.

Create or purchase your fabric sheets; select/purchase your pdf dowload file from Etsy ...and print as many as you like!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Finishing Hexagon Blocks -- Easily!

Do you like creating hexagon shaped quilt blocks for crazy quilt embellishing...but don't like to create and attach the "binding" along the edges? If so, you might like this method of finishing instead. I use this myself and here are some finished blocks assembled in this manner, and then attached to each other to create a larger grouping of blocks (eventually, this will be an entire quilt):

This block-finishing method requires 3 layers: a) embellished CQ Hexagon Block, b) backing fabric and c) medium weight interfacing (fusible type) like you would use for sewing clothes (not fusible webbing like Heat'n'Bond").


Step 1 -- Determine the size of your block (and shape as this method works with any shape, not just hexagon). Cut a template out of poster board (thin cardboard) the size/shape of your finished block (not considering seam allowance). This template will be used in the cutting and pressing of the fabrics.

Step 2 -- Use the template to trace the same shape/size on to fusible interfacing (like you use for sewing, this is not fusible webbing like Heat'n'Bond).

Step 3 -- Press the interfacing to the reverse side of your backing fabric.

Step 4 -- Use a rotary cutter/mat (or scissors) to cut out the backing fabric leaving about 1/2" seam allowance around the interfacing shape.

Step 5 -- Press the seam allowance of the backing fabric over the interfacing center shape. Do this on alternate sides until all sides are pressed neatly. Set this unit aside for now.

Step 6 -- Trim the excess foundation fabric (if present) away from your hexagon embellished block, leaving at least 1/2" seam allowance in place.

Step 7 -- Turn the embellished block over and place the template shape on top, use this edge to guide your seam allowance over as you press the seam allowance down.

Step 8 -- Place the embellished block and the backing fabric block together with seam allowances touching. Match the corners and pin the two parts together.

Step 9 -- Using small stitches, hand stitch the two parts together around the entire block.

Step 10 -- Repeat the process for every hexagon block.

To complete the quilt, arrange the blocks and hand sew them together. You may want to create half-hexagons and quarter hexagons to finish the layout and create straight edges.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Fall Cleaning & Organizing: Home Tour

It's been a tiring and yet really rewarding few days. I've been going since morning to night and getting into bed usually after midnight.

What have I been doing? Well...sit back and let me catch you up on my life of late.

First thing...this apartment has turned into a clutter nightmare! It so needed a "make over". I sat down and really thought about what was really a good solution for MY  life...and not about what might be the expected layout of the space.

This is also a good "spot" to stop and just say...I'm very content with my life. I'm enjoying each day (even the really hectic ones)...and an not at all concerned over what other folks might think of me or my home. If I'm happy...that's what is important.

Oh, now don't get me would be great to have more space. Been there...had that, and loved it! My home (pre divorce and retirement) was a 3-story brick with a full basement converted to my sewing "heaven". I loved that house. But, I have learned to love this cramped little apartment too...because it allows me to live within 12 feet of my Mother's front door. My entire family is no more than a few miles away...all can be reached within an hour's drive. So, THAT is much more important to me than any structure can be.

But, if you feel the need to judge...go honestly won't bother me. I'm not living my life for what anyone else might want...but what I want. So, getting back to that "thinking"...I've turned my little oasis topsy turvy!

Let me take you on a little walking tour:

Here we are at my front door. Yep, when you enter my are walking right into my galley kitchen. It is only 7 ft across...but is 25 ft long. It is divided almost in half by the double door size opening to the left (where the flowers are). This was originally a large window on the home and the kitchen area was a 2ft wide porch. The very first structure was a double apartment; kitchen in the enter and a single bath/bedroom on either side. We (the family) have changed it a few times over...the last effort took the small porch off and replaced it with this wider version...which was enclosed. The initial plan was for this to be a living room where I'd enjoy the days...sewing. So, it included many windows.

After a couple of years, it became really apparent that I didn't spend a lot of time in my kitchen...which was the largest room in the apartment...but a lot of room wherever my recliner was. :)

So, we tore out all of the plumbing in the existing kitchen and plumbed this smaller room. Of course, the windows were a challenge...because you can't "hang cabinets" in front of a window.

So, my "organizational solution" was to hang any pots, skillets, etc, that had a handle on the wall over the sink and stove. My actual 'counter space' is that little sliver aside the sink over the dishwasher. I get really creative and use my stovetop and freezer top for big projects. :)

Here is a shot with me standing with my back to the window in the last photo. We are looking back down my kitchen at my front door. My little table (sits four when open) is my welcome area when not in use. If you look closely you'll see that I have some purchased short cabinets sitting on either long shallow tables or wooden dressers. I use the drawers in the dressers for baking dishes, silverware, plastic ware, etc. The cabinets hold my waffle iron, stand mixer, blenders, choppers, baking pans, etc. This leaves the floor under the table open and helps the space to appear less "cluttered" to me. It is a very functional space but has to be kept organized so everything will "fit" into it's pre-determined little spot.

If we turn by the freezer to enter the structure that was the kitchen...but is not the center can see my two bookshelves. These hold all of my cookbooks, bibles, and some family photos. This wide opening is "half-ed" by the small chest freezer on the kitchen side and a tall wooden dresser on the "living room" side. The dresser has the top/back covered with a sheet and huge doily. The top has a milk jug of flowers. Even with this on both sides of this wide opening we have installed open shelves (covered by lace curtains) on either side of this entry area to hold canned goods and other pantry items. Right in front of the two bookcases is the "hallway" which lets us turn right into Aidan's bedroom and laundry or turn left into the sewing room, bathroom, and office area.

This center room is now my little haven. I get away from the laptop and sit and stitch! Of course, the space is the project has to be organized and supplies pulled from the sewing room before I begin. In this photo you can see a bit of my red Irish Chain quilt on my bed (right bottom corner) and the design wall to the left with my Hexagon Quilt blocks pinned in place. The long table is only abour 14" it holds my purse (and some clutter right now). My recliner is in the corner with my pole lamp...3-sunlight bulbs give me plenty of light along with the windows at the end of the room.

The television is in the corner and I have this tray that pulls right up to my recliner so I can stitch and watch movies at the same time. At present, I'm working on a HUGE project...which required me to construct 140 sampler quilt blocks! More about this a bit later on...

but for how, I'm about 1/3 of the way through these blocks...

and have this many more to still stitch on. So, if you are taking a course...and wondering "why" I'm not checking on the class blogs multiple times during the is because of THIS project. Hugs!

Okay, on with the tour!

This is the other spot in the house that takes hours of my day. My laptop! This is the smallest room in the apartment (well, other than the tiny bathroom or the laundry room). It was a walk-in closet when the apartment was first constructed some 40 years ago. It is floor to ceiling shelves on three walls with added little single shelves where-ever I can put them. In the above photo, we are sitting in my chair...and you can see my small television on my antique treadle machine cabinet (it still works!). My class rosters and CQI Round Robin rosters are on the stand to the left of my these are checked each day.

Next to the office is the sewing room. At present, all of the "stuff" that I have taken out of the other rooms because they were actually sewing/crafting supplies are in this room. THIS room is in real need of organization since it has become a "dumping ground" during this Fall Clean Up. But, it will have to wait until I get my second burst of it will take days to go through all of the boxes, plastic containers, and such to re-shuffle and find new space for things. I seriously need to "reduce my stash" but perhaps by Spring Cleaning Day it will be done. :)

You can't see my sewing machine...but if you "sit down" in the little brown/blue chair at the bottom right...and move the 3 stacked shoe-box-size plastic can then sew. :)

Lastly, here is the 2nd largest room in the apartment...the back bedroom. This is Aidan's room and has her table (desk w/laptop), her twin bed and a small sitting area for watching television. It needs some re-arranging perhaps...but I have no "idea" yet. This room may need my daughter's help to get organized. 

While taking this photo, I'm actually standing in front of the washer/dryer combo closet. The "mess" at the bottom of the photo are the things I've pulled from the closet shelves and piled on top of Aidan's bed...awaiting my decision about "where to put this?".

So, you can see by these photos that my home is not fancy...but it is functional FOR ME. I have found that by really using my space...I'm happier in it!!

Hoping you enjoyed this little tour...and are inspired to get up and get busy enjoying your own space!

...(now, I'm off to that sewing contemplate what my blocks should be like to begin stitching my "Fancy Seam Designs" on)...check out the last post for more info on THIS! Hugs!

Announcing a "Stitch Along" group for my latest book of seams...

I'm going to begin stitching EVERY SEAM of my Crazy Quilting Volume III:  Fancy Seam Designs Book soon. I thought you might want to join in and stitch them yourself! I know a lot of my blog followers have purchased the book (thank you again!), so this may be the gentle nudge you have needed to get you going. :)

If you don't have the book, it can be obtained on (international Amazon sites as well). But, you don't have to purchase the book to stitch along. Of course, you'll be just relying on my photos rather than having the templates or other instructional help that this book (and the Volume I & II books) have to offer if that's the case...but that's okay by me, if that's good by you.

I will be posting photos of my finished seams on this Shawkl Blog...but have also started a Facebook Group site. So, photos will also be posted there too. The difference is that members of the Facebook Group can also add their own photos to the group site. Just set up an album with your name so you can save your photos there on the group site.

The group name is: "Modern Crazy Quilt Seams" on Facebook. Here is the link to the group if you want to join:

I've sent "invites" to many of those in my Facebook listings...but, well frankly, I'm not a huge FB not everyone is in my listing of FB contacts. So, feel free to share the site address with anyone that might like to stitch along with us.

At present I'm doing some Fall Cleaning..which is taking days instead of hours. But, I'll get down to constructing my blocks within a week or so...and then can being the actually stitching. So, I'll set a planning date of 1 November as the first posting date of the first stitched seam from the book.

I'll post a seam each day...and look forward to stitching all 500 of these with you!