Tag Archives: quilting

Make a Dalek, Make a Friend

There are some swaps you just can’t resist.

Instagram mini swaps have really taken off this year. I’ve seen the Disney Swap, the Unicorn Swap, a hundred general swaps, a rainbow swap (that was tempting) and I think I remember a kitty swap.

I try to not overburden my sewing list, but I had to join the Doctor Who swap.

Rae from Rae’s Making It organized it and I think it had something like 77 swappers. If you’re on Instagram (which you should be, it’s not all selfies and food porn) look up the hashtag #makeadalekmakeafriend to check out all of the awesome results.

I pretty much knew what I wanted to do right away, I was just hoping my partner’s interests matched it. I bought an LED light kit from Cheryl Sleboda at Muppin.com a loooong time ago and never got around to using it because I was too scared. My idea was to make a quilted sonic screwdriver that actually lit up. Luckily, my partner’s favorite Doctor was Ten, and my light was blue. (My favorite Doctor is Ten as well.)

I’ll spare you the progress pictures. They’re not that fascinating.  Here’s the finished product.

Doctor Who Mini Quilt

It says ”Allons-y” for those of you who can’t read Gallifreyan. And ”allons-y” means ”Let’s go” for those of you who don’t speak French. It’s the Tenth Doctor’s catchphrase.

photo 1 (2)

photo 2 (1)

The hand quilting was done with metallic thread, which was a real pain in the ass, especially since I doubled it. The sonic was traced from the vinyl cut out I have on my machine (from this shop) and fused onto the background. Oh, and there’s a piece missing from it, but I bet  you didn’t notice.

The LED light was actually way easier to install than what I had imagined. Cheryl provides clear instructions when you purchase her kit.

I had a lot of fun with this, and if I ever come up with a weird idea for a project that needs to be lit up, I won’t wait a year between purchasing the light and actually getting around to it.

And if you’re wondering what I got, here’s my new Dalek friend, from my Instagram feed.

photo 2 (2)

I just love the idea of a Dalek wanting to be someone’s friend. It’s just so hilarious. His name is Dalek Bubbles. (I just now came up with that, btw, but it fits so well.)

The amazing Cath from Wombat Quilts made him.

Molto Bene!



Leave a comment

Filed under quilts


I’m a part of the Handmade Birthday Club going on on Instagram. My birthday is in December though, so I can’t share anything awesome that I’ve received… but I can share something awesome that I’ve made.

Kelly Bowser of Kelby Sews just randomly mentioned on a picture that she doesn’t like cats, but she wouldn’t mind a UniKitty mini quilt. (UniKitty is from the Lego Movie. I haven’t seen it.) Her birthday is in March and so I knew what my mission was.

I went over to the block design tool at Threadbias.com and made up a template. I knew I’d have to paper piece, since some of the pieces would have to be tiny. What I ended up doing was printing out my template four times and cutting out the pieces I needed.


Yeah, so picture! I only have the one I stole from Kelly’s Instagram, since I can’t find my camera…


UniKitty Mini made by Melissa of Tension Issues for Kelbysews

UniKitty Mini made by Melissa of Tension Issues for Kelbysews


I used felt and embroidery thread for her face. She’s about 9x 12, but I can’t remember.

Anyway! Kelly and I both had a ton of people asking for the pattern. I was going to offer it on craftsy for free, but I cannot for the life of me figure out my illustrator program. So you’ll have to be low tech like me. Here’s the template…



You should be able to just grab that picture from here and make it whatever size you want.

And here’s where I cut.


One sheet for the ears, (cut a quarter inch away from the lines) one for the horn (in blue), one for the middle of the horn (in pink) and one more for the bottom of the horn (in yellow). For the face and outline I didn’t paper piece I just measured out what I needed. I wish I had templates for the face pieces, but I was late for Kelly’s birthday and I didn’t make copies. Sorry. But they’re mostly circles and if I can do it, so can you!


I hope this helps all those people who wanted to make a UniKitty! Tag me on instagram @tensionissues if you make one.


1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

WIP Wednesday – Baby Quilt and a pillow

I have three baby girl quilts that need made. One is going to a friend who is having her second daughter in February, the other two will be for a friend who is pregnant with twins. (!) I want to say she’s due in April.

I got the top for the singleton done this weekend (as my instagram followers know) and I’ve been contemplating how to quilt it ever since. I don’t think I want to do an all-over design. Rather, I think I may do something in each diamond. I was doodling over a picture of it last night. Speaking of pictures, here’s the top!


Hopefully that shows up. I’m writing this on my cell phone.

I was doodling around, toying with an idea I had about chevrons when it occurred to me to do a string quilt. I used instructions from Elizabeth Hartman’s “Practical Guide to Patchwork” but made the blocks smaller.
If you don’t have that book, Film in the Fridge has a good tutorial. I’m going to have a really hard time letting this quilt go. I’m probably going to have to make a queen sized replica.

For the other two quilts I think I’m going to do something simple, like the strip quilt from Tula Pink’s latest market booth.

I also started a pillow yesterday, made with flying geese scraps.


I started quilting it, and got the lighter part done, but when I switched threads for the dark part my machine started skipping stitches, majorly. (my phone says majorly isn’t a word. Psh, whatever.) So, I’ve got to rip those out and either try again or go get another color of thread. I’ll probably give it another go first. Sometimes letting my machine rest over night helps. I understand its need.

Here’s the pillow before I started on the dark quilting.


I hope I can get it worked out today and up in the shop soon.

(Btw, I opened an Etsy shop. Check it out. Link over there —> )


Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced


Filed under Uncategorized

My Scrappy Trip is quilted

I finally got my scrappy trip around the world quilted. Mom and I had a baste-fest over at her house. She basted a quilt she’s hand quilting and I did my trip. It’s a hard thing, to baste two quilts while there are two children and two dogs (who don’t like each other) roaming around, but we did it.

I opted for a simple crosshatch, since I was going to be doing the quilting myself and my machine doesn’t have a big throat.

Scrappy Trip by Tension Issues

You’d be amazed (or maybe not) if I told you how long I hemmed and hawed over whether I wanted the lines to intersect in the middle of the squares or at the seams. I went for in the seams because I like the way the quilting kind of makes it look like quarter square triangles.

I bound it in a kind of wavy stripe from Joel Dewberry’s Heirloom line. I’m not really sure if I like it. I kind of feel like I should’ve picked something bolder to frame it, instead of something that blended in.

Scrappy Trip by Tension Issues

But it’s cool. I love it. It’s my first completed quilt for me. It’s actually the biggest quilt I’ve quilted, pieced and bound all by myself!


I really like the back. I used two rejected blocks. One was a bit muddled and the other was too checker board-y. I used some of the bigger pieces in my stash that I had no plans for, plus an old crib sheet of my daughter’s.


Aren’t those birdies cute? I saved that sheet forever (she’s six now) because I knew I wanted to use it in a quilt someday.

Scrappy Tripalong by tension issues

And here’s one more, me trying to take advantage of the natural quilt propping quality of the massive bush in front of my house. I bet if you zoomed in you can see two kids and a dog wondering what I’m doing.

Did you make a Scrappy Trip during the craze? Did you make two? I admit I’m thinking of another…


Filed under Uncategorized

Star Block Bee!! (EDIT, We’re full! Thanks everyone!)

I’ve been wanting to do a bee for a long time, but I haven’t joined one since most require you to send at least a FQ to all of the participants. I’m on a poverty-imposed fabric diet, so that’s not doable for me. That’s why I’m organizing my own.

Here’s what’s up.

12 spots. Ten, actually, one is taken, one is me.

Each participant will choose up to four colors. The blocks for that person will be in their chosen colors. Background, if necessary, should be white. Everyone has white, right?

The blocks can be most any size, from 6 inches to 24.

Along with each participants colors, they can specify no pastel, no batiks, preferred fabrics, etc. But don’t be too picky.

After we have all twelve quilters I’ll email everyone to get your colors, addresses, and I’ll assign your month.

We’ll start in November!

Am I missing anything? This is my first bee.

US only, please. Sorry.

Oh, and I’ll start a flickr group too.

Check out all of the Star possibilities on pinterest! http://pinterest.com/search/?q=star+block

I’m excited!


Filed under Uncategorized

Riff-Raffle Quilt

I finished something! Well, a top at least. A top out of blocks that other people made… Shut up, I’m happy.

My traditional quilt guild has a block of the month raffle every meeting. Each month you buy instructions and background fabric for one block. Then you add your own fabric to complete it and the next month everyone who made a block is entered to win them all. Two months ago I won! I got about 36 blocks in all, enough for a twin sized quilt. AND I actually really liked the blocks. They were from a pattern by Bill Kerr and Weeks Ringle called Fabric Fusion. I received enough white fabric to finish the quilt and the full instructions for it.

From the start, I thought that adding slightly wider sashing and making the blocks square was what I wanted to do. Then I’d be able to flip the blocks 90 degrees instead of 180.

I intend to use the quilt for myself (my husband and I can’t share blankets, so a twin is fine for my side of the bed) so I need to add some borders. Given the scrappy nature of the quilt, and the fact that I didn’t pick out all but a few of the fabrics, I wasn’t too picky in picking border fabrics. I mostly picked fabrics I either used to like, or like but never had a use for. That’s where I got the name, I used the riff raff of my stash. (I don’t usually name quilts, but that just popped in my head)

So here it is! Along with my cute helpers, Josie and her best friend Abi. It was really windy and they were very excited about being on the Internet.

And just to give equal kid time, here’s a picture of what happens when you lay out blocks with a Henry on the loose.

For some reason, every time I put anything flat on the floor, he feels like it’s his duty to dance and roll around on it. Maybe it’s because there’s rarely enough room to do that unless I’ve cleared the floor to make room to lay something flat…

But at least he enjoys my hobby.







Filed under Uncategorized