Tuesday, October 9, 2018


I went out shopping for backing and found something without agonizing over it. I didn't take long and I only pondered over about 3 possible choices.
When I got home and measured it against the  quilt top, I knew I would have to piece it because it was only about 1/2 inch wider.  When I laid a strip of the dotted fabric on top of it, to check how it would look, I knew I had made the right fabric choice. I cut a 5 inch wide strip and inserted it about 1/3 of the width from the left. After adding the strip the back turned out just wide enough to have about 2 inches extending beyond the top and batting.

It is all layered and pin basted with an overabundance of pins and ready to quilt. This photo of the back, though it is bumpy because of the basting pins, shows the true color of the fabric. I like it because there are a number of different things for a little person to find.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

A Flimsy

I have been working on this baby quilt for the past 10 days and I finished the top this afternoon. I found the pattern in the September/October issue of Love of Quilting magazine.

The pattern is "First Heartbeat by Terri Vanden Bosch.

I changed the pattern a little by adding the third band of blocks.  I did that because when I was shopping, without the magazine with me. I thought I needed 3 different fabrics for the bands. I chose the 3 fabrics and the gold for the small blocks because those were the colors in the dotted fabric.
I had the green fabric in my stash at home but it was not with me at the shop.

A closeup of the fabric in which the color is almost, but not quite, true.

When I got everything together at home, I saw that I had one too many fabrics for the blocks. I also questioned my choice of gold for the small squares. It really doesn't show up well next to the green. I went out shopping again and bought a lighter soft yellow and then decided that after all, it was too insipid.
The quilt needed the turquoise and magenta to brighten it and I wanted the green because it was a perfect match for the green in the dotted fabric. Beware of perfect matches, they can lead you down the wrong path.

EQ7 version of the 4 different blocks in the quilt.
I scanned all my fabrics and sent them to EQ7 and worked out how I wanted to handle the changes. I decided to leave the 6 inch strip of dotted fabric as the pattern called for and change the wide strip from 18 inches to 15 inches.  That makes the quilt 42 x 45 instead of 42 x 42.

This is an easy pattern and it should have been fast. After I made the first band of blocks I decided to figure out how I could press for all opposing seams. That slowed me down a little (and caused me a lot of frustration). I shouldn't have bothered because everything went together easily even where the seams were not opposing.

This is definitely not sweet, but a rather sophisticated palette for a baby quilt.
 However, I do like it, even with the low contrast between the gold and green. 
 I have decided to find a fun print for the back 
I am not going to agonize over it matching anything, 
well.... maybe a little.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Not Straight

My panel wall hanging is better after blocking but not perfectly straight. After thinking about why that happened, I decided that maybe there were too many interruptions when I was trimming it down at the beginning and I missed a step.  IT WAS ONE OF THOSE DAYS!
I hung it anyway and it is where it will always be seen up close where the eye is drawn to the center and not the edges. That makes the fact that it is not square less apparent.  I does what I wanted t to do, add color to a blank, colorless area.

I replaced my camera a few months ago but my photos were not much better, too much movement as I hit the button. I bought a tripod and I think my photos are better but it is hard to tell.  My stitching matched the fabric and doesn't show up much in most places.
This second photo was taken with the flash off.   The color is a little duller but a little more detail shows up.
I think I am never going to be much better at photography.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Autumn Panel

I finished quilting the Autumn panel and sewed the binding to the front but have not finished sewing it down on the back. I wanted to block it first because it did not appear perfectly square. I am not sure why I had a problem as I trimmed the panel all around and it was square and the 2 borders were square after they were sewn on. It is pretty densely quilted and maybe that is where the problem lies. I outline quilted all the leaves, maple seeds, tree limbs, the bird, and all the lines between the light rectangles and the dark background.  The veins on the leaves are quilted and the light rectangle areas are free motion quilted with echo quilting and some pebbles where they are distinct. All the dark area and the borders are quilted with straight parallel lines about 1/2 inch apart.

This is a photo of it up on my design wall. I pinned it and sprayed it with water until it was damp all over and then worked on pulling it square and flat. I reworked the upper and lower right  corners again after I shot this photo.
I am hoping for the best. I am pretty confident that it is going to hang flat. If it is not square the inner border will likely draw attention to that. At any rate, for better or for worse, it is going to hang right across from  my front door where it will be seen by all who enter.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

A Finish and a Start

I finished the Kitty Pinwheel baby quilt.The quilting went quickly as it was simple and didn't require many stops and starts. I am loving my new strip lights on my machine more and more, everything is so much easier now that I have better light.

This measures 34 inches square and the back of the quilt is the same as the background fabric.

This is my new start. I bought a panel that I am going to use as it is, only trimmed  down to fit a space inside my front door. I added the narrow green and orange/black borders to lighten and brighten it up a bit.  I have something else in mind for the space where this will hang but it is still in the planning process and it is not going to happen soon.
Once in a while I use a panel as is when I like it as it is and want something without spending a lot of time piecing and agonizing over details. I don't consider these "cheater panels" I consider them "smart panels. This will give me some practice doing free motion quilting , which I haven't done much lately.

I  usually go into overkill when it comes to pin basting and this is more than most and might turn out to be a pain in the neck.  I wanted to be sure there was no shifting with the quilting, especially around the edges. I made the backing before I did anything with the top and changed my mind about how much to trim way and then added the inner border. I had to add an extra strip in the plaid fabric and a strip at the top. I barely squeaked by on the width, If worse comes to worse with the quilting I will trim the border a little bit.

I pieced the backing using odd pieces from my box of black with color fabrics. I think the Debbie Mumm strips are from way back  (over 25 years). Jack asked why I  fuss about the back since it doesn't show anyway. Why not use  something else or why not just go and buy a bigger piece of something.  Well for one thing I am happy to be using up some of my odd pieces since I seem to be unable to just get rid of anything. Beside that I like the back to be fun, JUST BECAUSE!

Friday, August 24, 2018

Pinwheel Flimsy

I finally finished the top for the pinwheel baby quilt. I had the blocks sewn together and then progress came to a stop.

I wanted a very narrow inner border (1/2 inch finished) and I thought I had worked out how I would sew the narrow strip to the wider border strip before sewing them to the quilt. I thought my chances of having the narrow border turn out even would be better that way. There were many interruptions and I lost my focus. In the end I "unsewed" the wider strips from the first 2 borders on the quilt and sewed the narrow strips on the quilt on the other two sides and then the 4 wide strips. It came out well.
I plan to use the same green fabric for the binding.

This quilt came together easily from start to finish. My points were all good, my blocks were all sized right and my seams matched. My 1/2 inch inner border even came out even. I know the difference is because of my strip of LED lights. I can really see the edge of the fabric under the presser foot and even see that the edge of the bottom fabric hasn't slipped. I am amazed at the difference. I love my lights.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Another Baby Quilt

I am having problems with Picasa and I'm not sure whether it started after an update from Microsoft or an update from Google or Picasa. At any rate it has kept me from posting anything for over a month. I finally found (by accident)  workaround but I'm not sure it will keep working or if it is worth the trouble.

Well anyway....... I finished the baby quilt on which I was working but I have no picture of it that I can find. This is another baby quilt that I am about to sew together when I decide on which blocks I will use or eliminate.

This cute kitty fabric is the focus fabric with which I started.
I decided on 4.5 inch cut squares in order to get complete motif  sections.

I really wanted to use yellow for some of the pinwheel blocks. I shows up OK (but not great) up close.

But not when you step back a few feet.

I moved it around a few times and always came back to the conclusion that it doesn't show up enough because all the other pinwheels are medium or dark medium values and it is light in value.

I finally decided to use the 4 pink pinwheels and eliminate that yellow pinwheel altogether in favor of another background square.

The borders are yet to be decided.  I hope I will have my photo problems worked out by the time I get it altogether and quilted

We'll see!

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.