Sorry for my absence and lack of response via email the last week. Anne got sick last Friday and ended up being hospitalized on Monday. We got home late yesterday. Today was spent convalescing, much the same way we will spend tomorrow. No sewing of any kind has happened, mostly just worrying about my baby and taking the best care of her that I could.

Never fear, she has turned the corner and is on the upswing but may it took a lot out of both of us. I will be back next week for sure!


Posted in Personal Post | 8 Comments

When Quilts Come Home To Roost

I have had a couple of quilts gallivanting around the country hanging up in shows and two of them have recently come home permanently. At least I think it is permanently…

Divergent - http://blog.sewbittersweetdesigns.comThis is Divergent. She has hung in 3 shows now and won one honorable mention and a judges choice ribbon on her travels. She came home today. I got some interesting feedback on her from the last show she was in. I entered her into the modern negative space category and the judges said that her quilting was not modern. Knowing how subjective the term modern is, I have not taken any offense to the comments, but do find them interesting. Divergent Quilt Back - http://blog.sewbittersweetdesigns.comThis is a back view of Divergent.

Divergent - http://blog.sewbittersweetdesigns.comAnd this is a close up.

I did the main quilted section as a Zentangle pattern that I love and I found it interesting that the judges would say it isn’t modern. To be honest, I don’t find it to be very traditional either. Judge feedback always makes me evaluate where I fit into the quilting world, and I’m beginning to realize that I fit in right here, as myself. No more putting boxes around my work and trying to fit into some preconceived notion.

From now on, I am simply Melissa – Quilter/Artist.

How do you define your work? Are you modern? Traditional? Mod-traditional? Or simply, yourself?



Posted in Sew BitterSweet Designs Patterns | 13 Comments

January Do Good Stitches

As many of you know, I feel very strongly about sewing for charity when and where I can. For the past several years I have been part of the Trust Circle of Do Good Stitches. It is an amazing group to be part of and I truly love every minute of it. This month we were asked to make three Preppy the Whale blocks, pattern by Elizabeth Hartman. Elizabeth was incredibly generous and donated copies of the pattern to our group so we could make the blocks.  Here are mine:

Trust Circle - Do Good Stitches - Preppy the Whale - January 2016I cannot wait to see what this quilt looks like, I am certain it will be positively adorable. To see more of what our circle does you can look at our hashtag on Instagram #dgstrustcircle

Do you sew for charity? What are your favorite types of projects to sew when making things to donate?


Posted in Charity, Do.Good Stitches | 9 Comments

Basting – What’s your poison?

What are your thoughts on basting? Do you pin baste? Are you a spray baster? Are you lucky enough to have a long arm and no longer have to baste quilts?

I go back and forth on the topic of basting. Spray basting I use mostly for competition quilts and quilts that may not lay perfectly flat without a little extra help.  Pin basting is for everything else. One thing I don’t like about spray basting is that EVERYTHING gets sticky.  Me, my floors, the quilt, everything. Also, good heavens, the smell.  I like spray basting in the summer though, when I can do it outdoors and don’t have to care at all about what gets sticky and the smell isn’t an issue.

I gave up on curved safety pins about two years ago for pin basting and I exclusively use Pinmoors now. Straight pins that I have bent in the middle go into these little rubber pin caps and just stay put. So much easier on my arthritic hands. I also try to pin baste on my table as much as possible to save my knees.

Here are the two mini quilts that I am pin basting today. I figured if I was doing one, I might as well do the other one too. I am using the same backing fabric for both. As these are mini quilts, I figure the backing will be on a wall so there is no point using my favorite fabric on it. The fabric isn’t hideous at all, it just isn’t one I am emotionally attached too.

pin basting - http://blog.sewbittersweetdesigns.com

Do you see the white dots? Those are the Pinmoors. I highly recommend looking into them if you don’t like safety pins. They are seriously fantastic for those of us that struggle with arthritis. Oh and did I mention that they are made in the United States. Always nice to support a company manufacturing at home.

So what do you like? Pins or spray? Some day I hope to be one of you lucky long arm quilters and move past my basting days!

signature****not a sponsored post, just simply sharing my experiences with a product I love.***


Posted in product review | 10 Comments

Improv Weekend Sewing

This weekend I did some improv sewing.  Improv is hard for me, I like the control that a plan gives you. In some ways, improv sewing pushes me outside my comfort zone in the best possible way. I tried some things I never would have done if I had a plan. The key for me is telling myself over and over again that it is just fabric!

Blue Improv - http://blog.sewbittersweetdesigns.comI wanted to work on improv geese – which is my favorite improv technique and also improv curves, which I find intriguing and I love the movement they add. Do you see the wave on the bottom right and the big curve with an inset fussy cut on the upper right? Believe me, those are easier to do than you may think!  I also wanted to do a couple of special fussy cuts, like the little fish that says “swimming” and the river ferry.

My friend Kim, over at Persimon Dreams, is taking over the Scrap Quilt Challenge for 2016 and I am one of the bloggers who will be giving some tutorials and inspiration on how to use those lovely scraps I just know you have hanging out in your stash!

On February 15th I will have a tutorial on scrappy improv geese and how to do that gentle wave at the bottom right. I am excited to share how I do it. I’m certain that my way isn’t the only way, but if you are new to these techniques, I will give you a good idea of how to do it! You can see the rest of the bloggers here.

In the meantime this beautiful blue mini will be quilted with some matchstick quilting for a friend of mine and I just hope she loves it as much as I do!

Happy Sewing!


Posted in Improv, Mini Quilt, Sew BitterSweet Designs Patterns | 5 Comments