Friday, July 20, 2018


Last Saturday, I went to our quilting group at church where some of the ladies were sorting through a very large shopping bag of donated scraps.  I hadn't brought anything with me to work on so I went to work helping them. The fabric donor has given us an enormous amount of fabric before this and it is all wonderful quilt shop fabric, some large pieces, some half yards, some fat quarters; it is all washed and pressed. This bag was an assortment of colors and sizes, all jumbled up together. It was like digging into a treasure trove. One of the ladies was looking for "I Spy" pieces and found  a lot of them; the pink scraps caught my attention. I had finished with some orange and yellow improv scrap blocks from my own scrap and was ready for another color. PINK!! 

I started sorting the scraps I brought home and at one point I had a little pile that called out to become a block.

This is the block I made. 

Everything else I was doing got put on hold as I trimmed and cut squares from the scraps and then going through my bins and cutting squares from smallish pieces.

So, I have been energized to tackle  the bins of pieces and parts that are taking up space I am focused on cutting for a few specific patterns that use random scraps.  I  have stacks of cut squares, random strips sorted, by color, into my scrap bins, a big bag of dog bed scraps, and a few empty boxes.

Maybe one day 
I will have a sewing space 
where I can work  without frustration.  
We'll see.

Monday, July 9, 2018

A Flimsie

  I finished  this 34 inch square baby quilt this morning. I had the body of the quilt finished last night but the final seam was 1/8 inch off. All the way, from top to bottom, the blocks didn't match at the corners. I set it aside last night to decide if I wanted to fix it in the morning and I did. Everything else came together as it should so I couldn't leave one entire seam mismatched.

I was going to make this just like the "I Love Cats" quilt with hedgehog and bunny fabric instead of the cat fabric. Then I decided I would make Windmill blocks instead of pinwheels.

I spent 2 days looking for my instructions for making 4 quarter square triangles at once that were all the same. I had it figured out a few years back and I wrote instructions for it so I could do it again. I saved it in my computer but didn't remember the name under which I saved it. I had it almost figured out again when I came across it by accident.

This photo shows the lines I drew for cutting and stitching the layered squares.

Here it is cut apart cut apart. I've stitched to the center on the quarter inch line drawn to the right of the center line and then I shift to the line drawn on the left of the center line. I do this in both diagonal directions. This is helpful when making 3 piece triangle squares, I sew first and then trim and I don't have to deal with working with cut triangle points.

I press the seams open and lay the triangle pieces on the corners of a square and stitch  the long the seam.  I cut them apart and press the seams open again. Then I trim the units to the exact size I need.
The squares I work with all all cut the same size for simplicity. I use this technique for accuracy; I'm not sure if it is faster but my goal is not speed but accuracy.  Accuracy means far less frustration.

So... I made all the Windmill blocks and moved on to the alternate, square in a square, blocks with the hedgehog  fabric. I got one made and put it up on the wall between some of the windmill blocks and stopped. The hedgehog fabric and the bunny fabric would not hold up to the brighter pinwheels. What was I thinking?  All the bright fabric came in a fat quarter bundle and I bought the bundle for the "solid looking" fabrics  but  why not use the other three fabrics in the bundle. Oh....  and forget the square in a square too and skip all the bias edges. 

And here it is a bit closer so the stockings on the clothes line show up. I had decided originally that I would use the orange for the border and I think it works and kind of pulls it all together.

I have come to the conclusion that fat quarter bundles may not be a good idea for me. I am definitely trying not to add any more fabrics to my stash or leftover scraps to my bins. Fat quarters seem harmless but if you change directions after you have done some cutting or make cutting errors some of your options are lost.  Then there are the fabrics in the bundles that  I probably wouldn't buy otherwise and they go into the stash and if the time comes when they are just right for something else the fat quarter is not big enough.

Thursday, July 5, 2018


I cleaned up my cutting table and put all the yellow scraps away after cutting some 4 and 4 1/2 inch squares to add to my box of squares. Those are the sizes I use most often.
I decided to make some improv blocks with orange scraps when I was rattling around wondering what to do with myself.

I didn't make them all the same size this time. I stopped when I couldn't find another fabric that I wanted to add to a block. I trimmed the edges so they are straight and I when/if I decide to use them I will either cut them down  or add to them.  I had some "starters" that I put in a separate ziplock bag; I will add other colored scraps to those.

The orange scraps are back in their bin and I plan to cut pieces for another pinwheel baby quilt.  I need to do something more intentional than working with scraps.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Improv Blocks and Given Away

After I finished the Jamaica quilts and the baby quilt for the church giveaway closet I thought I would get right to my own quilting.  Other things kept coming up to keep me away from my sewing machine.  I finally got some time to make some yellow scrap blocks.

I worked only on the yellow pile of scraps and I am happy that I didn't dump out all the other colors; just the  yellow made a big enough mess. The 3 blocks in the top row on the left are from my previous improv sewing day and the other six are from yesterday and the day before. That is not a lot to show for the time spent. I am not liking these blocks so much either, so..... I am rethinking what to do with all the scraps that I sorted a month or so ago.  For one thing I think I would be happier with them if I made them an inch or two smaller.  I am also thinking of cutting 4 1/2 inch squares from anything large enough. Maybe I just need to put it all away for awhile and work on something more intentional.

I have started divesting myself of the quilts living in closets and chests that never see the light of day. I change out some of my quilts with the seasons but there are some that only come out to be shown to someone or to be refolded.

My grandson and his wife took 2 quilts on Wednesday.
This is from the Quilters Playtime series when the The Basement group was working through Diane Hires book.

 This is Musical Chairs.

This is "Reticent Stars" another from the Basement challenge to use something we bought but never used. I had a 60 degree triangle ruler and Sarah Nephews book "Quilts from a Different Angle. I am not sure anymore if  "black and white and another color" was one of the challenge rules for this challenge or if it was from a different challenge and I combined the two in order to kill 2 birds with one stone.

They plan to hang it over their bed where they have a  black and with and red Disappearing 9 Patch that I made for John some years ago.

My other Grand daughter in law took 2 quilts last Sunday and my daughter took a stack for her self and her children. I have to find the photos for those quilts and will show them another time. I told her to take photos of the quilts with the people who take them.

And that is another thing I have to do. I have to get all of the quilt  photos together in one place. I have them all over the place on CD's and USB disks. When I started looking for photos I realized how many I have forgotten.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Two Finishes and a Purchase

Yesterday, I finished 2 more quilts for the church youth group to take to Jamaica.  The blocks for this one on the right were made by someone else and I put the top together with the sashing and border and quilted it. all of the fabrics, including the backing came from our donated fabric in our
quilting closet at church.

The red, white and blue quilt is one I made completely from donated fabrics as well.

 Here is a close-up of the folded quilt with the corner turned back to show the back; you can see the orange binding.
Close-up of the folded quilt with the corner turned back to show one of the backing fabrics.

This shows the center panel fabric on the back; it is the same as the sashing and border fabric.
I had to use two fabrics for the backing on this one.
This is my latest purchase. An adhesive strip of LED lights fort he arm of my sewing machine.
I love it! I had a very nice LED light on my machine but it was damaged when we moved 3 years ago. The movers put the machine on a dolly and bounced it down the stairs and  I discovered the light shattered too late to claim it as damaged. I didn't replace the light at the time but struggled along with other lighting. I got this from Amazon and I think it is even better that my original light and it cost $22 instead of $100 plus from Bernina.

I can even see black on black with my old eyes.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Baby Quilt

I finished  this 36 inch square baby quilt flimsy  today.  It is a " Caring Quilt" to add to the stack in the closet at church. We were pretty low on baby quilts so I pulled the cat print fabric from our stash of donated fabric. I added the colorful monochromatic prints and Kona bone background from my own fabric.
The color in this photo is not true but the other photos are good.

I am having a terrible time with Picasa and Google in general. After an big update from Microsoft I am having problems with other things as well.

This  closeup of the center blocks shows the orientation of the directional print. I cut the squares  without thinking that they were going to end up "on point" after I added the background triangles. I think if works OK.

This is a secondary pattern that develops, it would be oriented on point, but I am no sure it will show up,  My fabric choices definitely makes a difference in what draws attention.

This is another secondary pattern that I see some of the time. I suppose If I wanted to emphasize a secondary design I could do that with the way I quilt it.  However, I am not going to do anything
fancy. I think something simple will work just fine.
What I see first every time I look at it, is the cat print and diagonal chains of pinwheels.

I am not so sure a print that says "I 💗 cats" will appeal to everyone. Not everyone loves cats (though I find that hard to understand). I guess the person who gives the closet quilts away will just have to figure out who gets this quilt.

I am going to make another baby quilt like this. I will use the same fabrics for the background and pinwheels and a different focus print in the squares, I think a larger scale print with no black.

Monday, May 21, 2018

It's Been A While

It's been a while since my last post but I haven't been sitting around doing nothing. I didn't have any photos to post and now I am having issues with Picasa. I have been happy with Picasa up ill now but
not so much anymore.

I have been working on some quilts that will be going to Jamaica in July with the youth group mission team  from our church. Our church quilt group has committed to 68 quilts and everyone has been working on them. They are all made from the same pattern 16 inch nine patch blocks set in 3 rows of 3 blocks with 2 inch sashing between and 2 inch borders. Most of the fabric is from donated fabric in our quilt group closet. We are fortunate to have been the recipient of a large amount of quilt shop quality fabric.

This photo shows 2 rows of one of two quilts I have been working on. Someone else made the blocks and I picked out the sashing fabric and finished the quilt. I  have another almost finished that is almost the same. I just need to finish the binding.

These are blocks I made from fabric I picked out at our last meeting.  I chose the fabric in the center squares first and then the other fabric to go with it.

I didn't consciously decide to make a red, white and blue quilt but that is how it turned out. There are orange, green, turquoise,  and purple in the fabric but that doesn't really show up as the overall color scheme.

This is the sashing and border fabric; it is directional and I will be cutting it accordingly.
There will be enough for the backing as well.

Here are the nine blocks that are up on my design wall.
It can be challenging to work with fabrics that has been purchased by someone else but I am pretty happy with how things turned out.

When I was almost finished pairing the two fabrics to go with the center squares, I realized that all the reds and blues were monochromatic. That eliminated some of the other fabrics I brought home to use. I had already given those other fabrics to someone else to use, hence, there is one block with 2 different red fabrics. I also replaced the red in the center block: it was a dense red and black pattern and didn't look right with everything else. I made the upper right and lower left blocks to have the stripes in different directions and now I am not so sure that was best but I will probably leave it.

We'll see!

Monday, April 2, 2018

A Finish

The Friendship Churn Dash is the second quilt I listed to finish for this quarter for the 2018 Finish Along. did simple in the ditch quilting in the blocks and sashing. In the borders, I did feathers; I used black thread on the front and variegated thread on the back and it doesn't really show up at all. All I can say about that is it flattens the border and gives texture and doesn't add any more straight lines. I used black thread top and bobbin when I stitched the sashings and I didn't like the way the straight black stitching looked on the back so I changed to a variegated thread in the bobbin when I quilted the blocks and it blended in much better.

I used a mottled green for the binding and sewed the binding completely by machine. I stitch it to the front in the usual way and then press it toward the binding and then again over the edge to the back. Instead of pinning, I use narrow strips of fusible web to hold it in place making sure I have covered the stitching line. I stitch from the front in the ditch with thread that matches the binding.
Below is a close up of the binding on the back of the quilt. (The pin in the corner is holding up the back of the quilt which is on my design wall for the photo shoot.) Some of my feather quilting shows up so this must be before I changed to the variegated thread again.  Once it was stitched there was no going back and taking it out; black on black is more than. my old eyes are up for.

This  section is across the end of the back back. I think the green binding was a  good choice for the front and back, better than the black I thought I would use.

Be sure you check out the other quilts in the Finish along

Fancy Forest 2018 Finish Along

This is the first quilt I finished for the 2018 Finish Along. I didn't have a photo of the finished quilt because my camera was not working that day. My daughter took one with her phone the day she picked it up; she forgot to send it to me until I reminded her. I finally got it 2 days ago.

This was one of 2 quilts I listed to finish for the first quarter of  the 2018 Finish Along.  You can read a little more about it here. I really love the Elizabeth Hartman pattern and and the finished quilt but I had construction issues with almost all the blocks. This was not the fault of the pattern but my own inclination to not follow the instructions in the order they are written. I also made some cutting errors. Nevertheless, I think it is a great pattern and the quilt was well received.

I did a little more outlining of the bunny ears because or the low contrast with the white fabric and the icy blue "Grunge" background.

I took the easy way out and stitched in the ditch. My arthritic hands are not up to the challenge of free motion quilting.

Be sure you check out all the quilts in the first quarter Finish Along

Friday, March 23, 2018

Backing and Ready to Quilt

I'm ready to quilt my Friendship Churn dash. I sewed the borders on early in February and then went on to finish other things. This is one of the UFOs I listed as a first quarter finish for the 2018 Finish Along. Last week, when I was working on the Dresden Rings, I thought I wouldn't get around to finishing this after all. I didn't even have the backing for it.
Yesterday I finally got out to shop and after making a quick stop at Joann's, where I found nothing, I went to the quilt shop and found several choices.  Yes, I know..... I should have gone to the quilt shop first but I had a coupon and I was going to get batting (I didn't get that either).

I  decided in this large floral print and I am so happy to have decided on this instead of  one of the others I considered. The quilt top is 48 inches wide and the fabric is 43 inches wide without the selvages. I bought enough to piece the back but I didn't want to fuss around matching the print  so I looked through my fabric stash to see what I might use to insert  2 long strips. I was not having any luck until I looked in my recently sorted scraps and found 5 inch wide strips of the border fabric and YES!!! I had enough. I pieced the backing and layered and pin basted the quilt and I am ready to get it finished.

 I have about 1 1/4 yard of the floral print left; maybe I will start rebuilding my stash of floral prints. In 2010 when Melody Johnson had a "Quilt Along with Melody" I joined and my goal was to use up all the floral prints that I had collected when I was making  "colorwash " quilts. I've made a lot of quilts with the floral prints since that time and really pared down my floral stash to almost nothing (nothing that I like much, I should say). I like all of the quilts I made using those fabrics and I realize that I miss them in my stash. On the other hand, I am not so sure I want to accumulate a large stash of fabric again; maybe I will just start buying floral fabric for what I am going to make. I guess we'll see how that goes.
 For now, I am going to move some furniture and set up to quilt.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Yellow Scrap Blocks

After I finished the Dresden Rings and cleaned up,  I guess I just couldn't stand a clean room so I tackled the yellow scrap bag. I saved it for last because I have more yellow scraps than anything else. I went through everything in the bag and sorted it so all the large pieces and the smaller scraps of the same fabric were together. I then made a pile of usable pieces that were either loners or just 2 or three smallish pieces and  I sent a bunch of small pieces to the dog bed bag. I did  this over 2 days, taking breaks when I got bored . Then I cleaned it all up again.

Before I put it all away I thought I might as well make a few blocks, that clean room syndrome again I guess. I only made 3 - 8 1/2 inch blocks.

I intended to make the blocks all yellow. but I always seem to get off track when I try to work with one color. The closest I came is the one on the left. I thought of fixing the one on the right by cutting through the wide green strip on the right side and adding a yellow strip but I am leaving the blocks as they are. I didn't make these to use at this time so who knows what I will want to do when I get around to using them or even if I will ever get around to using them. For now they will stay on my wall so I can look at them, when I need the space maybe they will go into the odd blocks box and maybe someday..............
We'll see!

Monday, March 19, 2018

Dresden rings EtC.

I finished Dresden rings yesterday It measures 24 x 43, it is nice and straight, hangs, flat and it  ready to hang on the wall. I copied Melissa Cory's quilting although I thought about doing some free motion quilting. The truth is, I really hate marking the quilting lines but in the end I bit the bullet and did the marking with my pizza cutter and tiny dots using a Sewline marking pen. I am happy to say all of the marks a gone and did not reappear when I used a hot iron. I did not use the multi color binding I thought I would, the quilt told me to use the orange fabric that I had purchased on Friday for something else. Good thing I bought enough extra.

Here is a link to Melissa Cory's tutorial. She has many free tutorials and also patterns for sale and there is always something new and fun to see on her blog. It is worth a look around.

This is not one of the UFO's that I listed to finish but when I came across the rings by chance they said SPRING to me and I sure am ready for spring. When I pinned them on the background and showed it to Jack he told me to finish it and hang it by the front door where I had that black thing.

Here are three shots of the "black thing" (I guess Jack doesn't care for this a lot).  BTW it is navy blue, not black.

On the left is a shot showing all three sections. I had to stand outside my door to shoot this so this is the best I could do. The center shot shows a closeup of the Japanese Ikat. I quilted around the flowers and did some sashiko quilting and filled in the background with free motion echo quilting in navy thread.  The end panels are "made Fabric" made with woven strips of fabric, which I fused to a base fabric after I wove it. The narrow fuchsia and yellow strips are faux piping. The piece is 14 x 52. I made this a long time ago and it has resided in a cedar chest all those years. I like it but it never really fit in with anything else. I have a lot of things like that. I am inspired to try a technique or use a particular fabric or group of colors and it has no place to go when it is finished.  So.......every so often I give things to my family, other times I put quilts from the closet or cedar chest up on my design wall for a time.
It is probably time to give some things away again. My cedar chest is full, there are quilts on 2 shelves of a large cabinet and taking up space in two closets.