Monday, November 17, 2014

Tree Skirt

I am back to working on the tree skirt. I cut the remaining 5 inch squares into quarters to fold for prairie points. I also had to cut into some yardage for more red squares. then I had to find something in my stash to make up for not enough blue.
I am stitching strings of prairie points together getting ready to sew them on the tree skirt.

This is fabric for my other project, window coverings for our bedroom. I almost bought something geometric and neutral but Jack came looking for me and changed my mind. He said "get something colorful that you really like"; so I did.

Thursday, November 13, 2014


I really wouldn't want to live in a place that didn't have 4 seasons I just wish winter did not have to include SNOW.
When I got up this morning there was a light covering of snow and there was fine snow coming down....... and it came down all day long. I think it stopped around 5 PM but I am not sure as it is dark now.This is what it looked like at 4 o'clock, looking toward the street. Hmmmm .....these photos look like they are black and white but they are color photos. It seems to me that the first snow of the season should be a light one not something like this.

This is on the other side of the house looking out the living room window, same view from a slightly different angle. We stayed home all day and I only ventured out once to fill the bird feeder.

 I did what I usually do when I am snowed in, I cleaned and did laundry. I did a little sewing as well. I started some improv blocks for another kitty quilt. I have a bag of unsorted scraps and I looked up some cat fabric. Here are a  few of them on my sewing machine table. If I make 12 - 8 inch blocks that should be about the size I want.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Kitty Quilts

Kitty likes to sit on my lap in the evening and she likes to sit on my sewing chair when I am at the desk. At any time of day or night she likes to curl up on the sewing chair or on the couch. I put a folded quilt on the couch for her and I put a quilt on my lap when she sits on my lap. She seems to prefer the quilts to the fleece throw that I have folded on a foot stool.

So........ I made a small quilt today for the sewing chair. I found and old cheater panel and layered it up and did some quilting around the cat and flowers and border, just enough to hold the layers together. I used Bernina #4 serpentine stitch close to the edge and trimmed it leaving the batting exposed. If it doesn't hold up after washing I will stitch over the edge again.

I considered piecing 2 smallish quilts one for the couch and one for my lap when she sits there, something that can be more easily washed. Instead, I am going to cut up the quilt that is on the couch and make smaller ones.  It is an old quilt  that has seen a lot of use and it has worn places. It is one that I made from block swap blocks and while I have always liked, it it holds no sentimental value. It is still  colorful and kitty seems to like it so I think that it is a good use for it.

I picked her up to put her quilt on the chair and here she is, thinking it over. I thought maybe she would be unhappy with being disturbed but she seemed to accept it OK. She used to be a cranky cat but in her old age (almost 14) she is really sweet.

I think she likes it. 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Tree Skirt - Getting There

I am slowly making progress on the tree skirt. I had all the wedges laid out in the order I wanted to sew them in pairs. after all the pairs are sewed together there is always some adjusting to be done when something shows up that didn't before sewing. I kept everything in order pretty well but then when I sewed the pairs into 4's I got the order mixed up and I had to lay everything out again on my bed (no design wall yet). Every time I sewed a few more seams I checked to see how it looked and made some more adjustments. I finally sewed the last seam and I see that there are a couple of places that have two patches of the same color next to each other. They are not the same prints so it will stay the way it is.  After all "Random is Random" and after all my arranging and rearranging and getting things out of order it sure is random.

This is half of it pinned to a design board. Behind it is one of my bulletin boards, foam core covered with gray flannel. I covered my boards with gray because a couple bloggers, who seem knowledgeable about photography, said that if you have some gray pinned to the design wall or photographing area the colors are more true. My photos with the gray behind the tree skirt look more like the real thing than the photos without the gray.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Tree Skirt

I am back to working on the tree skirt. The 9 degree wedge ruler I ad ordered from Amazon came yesterday; it took a long time to get here partly due to being sent to my old address. I cut all my wedges in the afternoon and arranged them in the order I want.I had arranged the strips of charm squares the way I wanted them but after they were cut in wedges there were narrow wedges that needed to be placed where they look the best.

Here is  the stack all ready to sew in pairs. that little pile of trimmings is about 1/2 of all I have left. Using Annie's tutorial,  You get 1 wide wedge and one narrow wedge that are used in the tree skirt and one very narrow wedge that is scrap. Last year I used those narrow scraps as a gag prize for the Basement Divas annual Jellyroll Race ( they were probably thrown in the trash). This time I took off the narrowest 2 pieces and sewed the rest together. This piece is 22 x 13 after trimming I will layer it up and quilt it and probably just add binding or or maybe turn it pillowcase style and then quilt it.
It might be good as a large hot pad for the table. LOL, when I showed it to Jack he said "what is that hodge podge." He is usually far more diplomatic than that.

Yesterday when I posted a photo collage of the Mary Ellen Hopkins tribute I did miss some quilts and I am sorry to say I do not have photos of them. I missed 2 of Kathy's and one of Lynn's. I even remember talking about one of them and for some reason I didn't get a photo. If I get photos from someone I will post them.
I'm so sorry Kathy and Lynn.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

MEH Tribute/Challenge

The Wildwood Quilt guild in Mentor, Ohio had their annual quilt show on Sunday. It has always been a very nice show and it was again this year. Several of the Basement Diva group are members of the guild and though not all of the Divas are members of Wildwood, our tribute to Mary Ellen Hopkins was hung at the show. Mary Huey, the owner of the quilt shop where we all took the "It's OK if You Sit on my Quilt" classes and continued with the "It's OK Neighborhood meetings, was also invited to hang her Mary Ellen quilts with the rest of the challenge.

This was the first chance I had to get a photo of my quilt after it was quilted.

Below is a collage of the rest of the MEH quilts. I think we all learned a lot from Mary Ellen and probably there are a large number of us who would not be quilting today it it were not for her. We also owe a lot to Mary Huey.

Here is a collage of the rest of the MEH tribute quilts; I think I got them all.  

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Bloggers Quilt Festival

 It's time the fall Blogger's Quilt Festival hosted by Amy's Creative Side.
This is one of the few quilts I finished this year; getting ready to move took up a lot of my time.  It i entered in the Scrappy Quilt category
This quilt is make from blocks that my friends in the Friendship block exchange group made for me.  I asked for Anvil blocks made with "made fabric"for the center square and the half square triangles could be made fabric or not. I asked for yellow or orange for the backgrounds.  Victoria (Bumblebeans) had requested that her followers make  anvil blocks with a blue background which she makes into quilts for people recently diagnosed with cancer. My friends made one block with the blue background and one block for me with yellow/orange background to make a quilt for myself.  I think I sent 12 blocks to Victoria and I had 12 blocks for my quilt from my friends and I made the rest.
The blocks are 12 inches and the half square triangles in the borders are 3 inches.

 I used one anvil block and some "made fabric" squares along with a piece of floral fabric that I had to stretch the backing fabric of which I had not enough.

Below are 2 close up shots showing the all over quilting with rows of the Bernina # 4 stitch. This was the first time I used this stitch for spaced rows and I like the look and I will use it again.

If you want to know more you can click on "anvil blocks".
Be sure to check out the other quilts in the Blogger's Quilt Festival and be sure to visit all the categories.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Tree Skirt Progress

I am making progress on the tree skirt. All of the sections of 5 charm squares are sewed together and ready to be cut in wedges. I have them pinned in order on a design board. I had sorted the charms and laid them out in the order that  I thought I would lay out the large wedges and then I will place the narrow wedges where they look best.  I will make changes as I go along but this is a starting point. Annie from Freezeframe has a nice tutorial explaining how to get two 9 degree wedges from a 5 inch strip of charm squares. This is the third tree skirt from her tutorial and it goes together easily.

The only problem I had this morning was with these two.  When I got up to pin a strip on the design board the cat came in and sat on my our sewing chair. I moved her off, under protest, and when I turned my back she got back, not once but twice more. I gave up and moved the chair over and took the design board off the other chair where it was propped. While I was doing that the dog came in and plopped down under my sewing table. We finally got ourselves sorted out and I was able to finish the strips.

The animals sure make life interesting; 
Jack says they own me.
Who would have thought it?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


I an linking up to Scraptastic Tuesday It is a monthly linkup of scrap quilts, old or new or in progress.You can read about it by clicking on the link and view the quilts and if you want link up your own scrap quilt.

I admire quilts with 2 colors or 2 fabrics or a limited number of fabrics  but it is hard for me to stick with that kind of quilt if it is of any size. For me there can never be too many colors or fabrics.

My quilt is from 2005 and I made it as an "in progress" sample for a quilt in sections class I was teaching.
I worked out a method for randomizing my scraps so each colored strip appeared on the opposite side of the braid each time it was used. I used an odd number of color families, 5 for this quilt,  and I made stacks of each fabric. I had stacks everywhere in the sewing room. They were all lined up on my sewing tables, desk, ironing boards and every horizontal surface. Then I went around the room and I picked them up in order of red, blue, green, yellow, and orange to make working stacks. I also had a stack of "wild card strips, fabrics that didn't fit a color category to add at times when the next fabric on the stack didn't have enough contrast.  Working this way I did not have to make choices for each strip. I worked on 3 chevron strips at a time to avoid getting up to press after each addition.

My borders and vertical are not pieced but are irregular striped fabric. The binding was pieced and I rounded the corners of the quilt to avoid seams falling at the corners.

Be sure and check out the other scrap quilts, better yet, link up to one of your own and join the fun.

Thursday, October 9, 2014


It is really bad when I have no pictures of anything quilty to post about. I am stitching straight lines on the MEH project and one photo looks like another.
However... I think I might work this pattern up in EQ and give it a try. This is a Kleenex box that was in a large Kleenex package in assorted patterns. I noticed just now as I am sitting here that where the ends of the box are folded to make the box square the pattern is perfectly matched. I like the colors and I think I can come up with an easy pattern. Could this be desperation because I've had nothing much for a long time to post about quilting?

I am finding inspiration here in our new location, though I am not sure I can interpret it in a quilt.
 These first 2 photos are both shots of the same view from the front side of the house. It was a foggy morning last week  and the angle of the sun gave  a golden glow to the fog. Of course it is impossible to capture that exactly.

This photo was taken on the other side of the house in August about 7:45PM. I have always loved the way the sun shines in the windows or filters through the trees at that time of day when the sun is low in the sky. This too gave the air a golden glow.  I came across these photos when I was looking for birthday party pictures to put in a digital album. I also found this one below.

These are the animals who have trained me as a companion. When I got up very early one morning they came in the sewing room to keep me company. The dog just went to sleep in  the corner but the cat sat on my sewing chair and talked to me. This has now become their habit. Kitty frequently looks me up and talks to me. I thought she was saying meow but I have learned her language and I have come to understand that she is saying nnnow. Meaning she wants to eat NOW or she wants to go out NOW or she wants me to sit down in the recliner and provide a lap for her to sit on NOW whereupon she will allow me to pet her.

Being a companion has it's perks; kitty provides some extra warmth when I am cold and walking the dog adds about 4800 steps of good exercise.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

MEH Challenge and Birthdays

I am slowly making some progress on the Mary Ellen Hopkins Diva challenge. I work a little and stop and think a little. now that I have finally decided how I will quilt the octagon spaces it should move along faster. I am going to quilt through them as though they were 9 patches. I am not going to quilt across the strips that l want to look as though they are on top of the strips they cross. That means a lot of stops and starts. I looked at Mary Ellen's quilts in the book I have and it appears that most or all of them that straight or diagonal allover grids; that would have been easier but it is what it is now.

I am sure I am not alone in second guessing as there are always more than one way to do something and not every options appears to us before we start. I have to remember that though I can see a better option after I have finished (or gotten half way through) I have never felt I ruined a quilt with my quilting.

Fall is the time for great grand child birthdays. This one below was 3 weeks ago. The tall boy in the back row is a friend and the other 5 are my great grands. It is really hard to get a photo with everyone looking decent. There is always someone moving or clowning around. The birthday boy here is in the orange and brown shirt. The birthday theme was ninja turtles. You can see the celebration tablecloth  that I  made from hand dyed fabric that I almost threw away. It came through the party without mishap (big surprise).
The blond boy in the lower left corner has a July birthday and we usually have a big family outdoor party at their house,  This year his dad was recovering from a tib/fib leg fracture with no weight bearing and grandma and grandpa (my daughter and son in law) were
 spending every minute getting ready for our move out here so.... no big party this year for David. He did get his presents though and some arrived at his cousin's birthday party, he seemed happy with that.

 This was the second fall birthday last weekend, same 5 ggkids and same place, same celebration table cloth. This is the oldest great grand, he is 12 this year. His cake was his choice, over the top chocolate brownie cake with chocolate frosting and slathered with M&M's. I forced myself to eat one piece I had to have ice cream with it in order to tone down the chocolate.
Next week will be another birthday party and then no parties till November. We always celebrate the only girl party at Thanksgiving; I don't think she minds.

I have decided that I am going to make a Birthday Quilt to replace that rather lame Happy Birthday banner. Maybe I will make it so we can change out the name for each birthday.

In December I will have a BIG birthday. 
Would it be alright 
to have the birthday quilt 
for the first time 
on my birthday?
Would that seem  
like I was making myself 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Tree Skirt Again

When our church group had our retreat we took some time on Saturday afternoon To visit a couple of quilt shops. i was looking for Christmas charm packs but didn't see any but I saw a kit in one of the shops that included a layer cake Solstice by Kate Spain. I didn't want the kit but that was the only way to buy the layer cake. I guess I could have waited but now that we have move it is not so easy anymore to get out to the quilt shops.

I cut the layer cake into 5 inch squares over the weekend and and on Monday I sorted them into rows of 5 squares to a row in the way I want to sew them together. Here they are on a tray in stacks of 5 squares. Right now they are in order but after I cut wedges with a 9 degree ruler the order will likely change some.

 I made 2 tree skirts using this tutorial from Annie (Freezeframe), It is  good tutorial and not hard to do.The one on the left is the second one that I made.

 I am still quilting the MEH challenge. These blocks are 4 1/2 inches  and I am wishing that I had made smaller blocks;  I am going to have to do some quilting in the negative spaces.
It is not going to be quick!