Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Finishes

I hve been looking over my photos to see what I have accomplished in the way of quilting this year. I know I am missing a few photos but not many. This has been a year of mostly small stuff.

First up are the larger quilts.
The T shirt quilt is large, it hung over the sides a little on my king size bed. The other quilts are really large throws which cover my king size bed from side to side and foot up to the pillows. the center quilt in the bottom row is a baby quilt about 40 inches square. I find the relating the size to my bed makes it easy to visualize the size.

All of these are from the Basement Divas' circle challenge. The citrus color Dresden Plate is a pillow. The rest are all wall hangings and this collage does not represent the true sizes. Along the way in arranging the collage the border on the black and white Zentangle inspired piece went missing; it is about 24 inches square and the other wall hangings are several inches larger in both directions.

 This next group is small stuff, there are 2 sets of "Take Four" place mats, one set of smaller Halloween snack mats and a set of 4 mug mats (I bet you can guess which ones they are). You can probably figure out that my apron is there too. 

 This last group is all of my Zentangle inspired pieces from this year. Once
again the collage doesn't represent the true size. the yellow bird is 11 x 14 and the turtle is about 8 1/2 x 11. The 2 Hearts are roughly 12 inches square. the 4 pieces on the left are smaller with the top "tangle Plant" maybe 5 x 7


I almost forgot the little hot pink heart, which is not quite 7 inches square. It is not quite as red as it appears  here.

 The last finish this year is the  "15 minutes of play" house. It is also the last thing I started this year. 
So there it is, mostly small things. I have some ideas for things I want to make in 2013, more houses  for sure. I have two challenges to do, one of them is already a flimsy. Maybe I will finish a couple of big things that have been hanging over my head more more years than I like to admit.
Maybe I will make a list of things to finish.
Maybe I won't.
We'll just have to wait and see!
Happy New Year Everyone.
Remember to count your blessings!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

I like this house

I had other things I should have been doing today but I didn't. Instead, I worked on this house. It is finished except for a few threads that need to be buried; I always seem to miss a few even when I bury them as I go along.
I turned it pillow case style because I did not want any kind of binding. I added a pocket at the top (from the peak of the roof to where the roof joins the house) to insert something stiff if need be but I don't think I will need to put any thing there. I am just going to hand stitch some sort of hanging loop or ring at the peak of the roof.
I layered the top with just batting and I quilted in the ditch around every patch. after I added the backing (and the pocket)  and turned it I quilted again in the ditch enough to hold it together and keep it nice and flat. I like my inhabitants they inspired me to trim off the upper left side and make this a house. The house is 24 inches tall and the main part of the house is 17 inches wide just below the roof overhang. The house isn't perfectly square but I am not the least bit concerned about it.

 I can picture this hanging in a little girls room. I am thinking about little boys rooms and maybe big boys room. I think I will make more houses. I can picture sports stuff, cars, trucks, trains, robots, drums etc. I am not sure the 4 great grandsons would really appreciate bed quilts at this point  but I am almost sure they would like a house to hang in their room.

Friday, December 28, 2012


I have been playing at making fabric. I confess that I have exceeded my 15 minutes although I really don't spend big chunks of time doing this. I keep going back to it throughout the day. If I can figure out how to keep all the scraps controlled as I work I can leave this out almost all the time. If I can use this as my frustration buster, instead of heading for the refrigerator, it will be a big plus or maybe I should say a big minus (pounds that is).These are my two work tables right now and I really don't work well with everything jumbled up together. I do have a plan to get this under control but I had to play a little first to understand how I want to approach this.

On the left is what I had this morning when I started. and on the right is where it is after playing awhile.

  I read through Victoria's book and all her exercises and pointers and I have learned a few things that were only learned by doing.

1. If I am going to cut up the fabric that I make, I will need to use slightly larger pieces so I will not have a lot of bulk in the seams especially at the corners.

2. Those small scraps can best be put to use in blocks that will only be trimmed to size.

3. I don't want to use fussy cut motifs unless I am making smaller pieces that will be trimmed individually. I don't want to be fussy cutting made fabric with a motif that I don't want to cut through.

4. I might want to foundation piece some specific shapes like triangles and hexagons in order to avoid having seams or narrow pieces right on the edge.

5. Many things I already know about sewing and quilting and about my own preferences and way of working apply to making fabric.

It is my usual habit to have what I am working on up on the wall; as I walked past it struck me that it was kind of shaped like a house. Why not add a couple of strips for a roof and trim off that part on the upper left. I  can layer it and turn it pillow case style. I had started with some scraps that I would not want to cut through and they kind of look like people on the second floor. I can use this whole piece as my first project and have a start on another piece of made fabric with that section I cut away.
 I think know this is going to be fun.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Lots of Snow

Today we had a lot of snow. That is not news to most of the people who follow my blog as they have experienced the snow first hand. I sat around and worried all day because many of our family members were traveling somewhere or other in the snow. I assume they all got where they were going safely as I have not heard other wise. I used to call them to make sure they were all safe and snug at home but I quit doing that after I called my daughter once when we were having a blizzard. I wanted to rest assured that they all made it home safely. One of the kids answered the phone and said that the parents were out shopping.   My daughter told me later she was not about to be stuck at home with 4 kids with no food in the house. I saw her point. However I decided that if  there is something I need to know I will find out abut it soon enough.
To occupy my mind, I took the top row off of the Bricks and Stepping Stones quilt and took the row apart and sewed it back together lengthwise so I could add it to the side of the quilt. It was too long and narrow and I didn't want to make more blocks to make it wider because these are the blocks the kids made last summer at Quilt Camp and we want it to be made from the blocks that they made.

 After that I didn't have much too much to do. I read my " 15 minutes of Play" again and I decided that I would make some fabric. I had a small container on my cutting table with some scraps and I started playing. Of course I had to dig out a few more fabrics and then I got into my big stash of scraps that is more or less organized by color. I have so much stuff piled all around that I figure I might as well spend at least another day on this (15 minutes at a time).  
In the past I have made blocks using this method and I trimmed them to either 3 1/2 for star centers or 7 1/2 for alternate blocks. I trimmed  some to whatever size I needed for a block size and sashed them.. When I first started making scrappy blocks this way, about 20 years ago, I foundation pieced them to either paper or muslin but I hated to tear off the paper and sometimes I didn't get the last addition  pressed smoothly on the muslin and it kind of bubbled so I just started sewing the strips without the foundations. I waste a little more fabric that way but these are scraps, after all. I am going to make bigger blocks this time and start putting them together and add a few longer strips to make large pieces of fabric. I am not sure how big I will make this or what I am going to do with it but I am pretty sure I am going to cut it up again to use it. On the right side of this photo are two blocks that I put together and added longer strips on the right and top. It is about 15  inches long. I am not going to make my blocks square or even all the same size. When one looks like it is finished I will sew it to something else in whatever way I need to in order to make things fit. I think that sounds like a plan......
 For now!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Good vs. Perfect

 I sewed a little this morning and then we ran around first to the eye doctor  for Jack's last post op visit and then to Lenscrafters for new glasses. Jack is so funny with his new glasses. He is looking all around at everything like it is all new to him. After his cataract surgery neither of the lenses in his glasses were right and it was too soon until today for a new prescription. While we were waiting the hour for his  new glasses home I walked around the mall until I was tired and then we sat and people watched. We stopped at home for a short time and then went out to dinner for my birthday.
 After dinner I sewed a little more. It is good that the sewing today was on and off as that gave me a little time to settle my thinking. When I was still working ( hard to believe it was 16 years ago) I worked with someone who said "the enemy of good is perfect". I should remember that. I guess I do remember it but not when I am trying over and over to make something perfect.  I was working on and off today on my black and white challenge piece. I am down to the last long seam; I started the day with 3 seams to sew and', as I often do when I am almost finished,I got compulsive about making my points perfect. I guess in the back of my mind there is the thought that I don't want to slack off and become sloppy about my workmanship just because I want to finish.
I will not tell you how many times (double digits)I reworked the points at the top and lower right in the photo on the left.I started fussing about a difference of one or two thread widths that were not quite perfect. Every time I took out the stitches it looked worse. I finally settled for what I probably had to begin with and used my black Pigma pen to fix it. It was probably better before I did that too but none of it is going to show at all once this is quilted.
These next two photos are of a section I did a couple of weeks ago. I was in a more sensible frame of mind and while I could see that the points did not come together perfectly, they were good and did not matter in the overall picture as, you can see in the second shot below that is not such a close up shot.
Tomorrow (I guess that is really today but until I go to bed and sleep and then get up it is still Thursday and not yet tomorrow) I will sew the last seam and then I will put this to rest for a while. It will probably stay up on my wall so I can look at it and agonize about the quilting.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Catching Up

I have been falling behind in my posting, mainly because I have not been doing much sewing. Between trying to get my Christmas shopping finished and doing some of the things I had to do and losing days here and there because of vertigo, time just slips away from me.
I am finished with my shopping, all scheduled events and appointments are past, and I am feeling more nearly back to normal. I still have some gifts to wrap and then I can put away the wrapping paper etc and my sewing room and I will be ready to play.

This arrived yesterday while we were out shopping. I didn't open the book until after dinner because I knew dinner might not happen if I started reading it. I have done some of the exercises in the past but I see so many more possibilities, for myself or with a group, (the Basement Divas comes to mind). I am eager to start on something.

I am still  working on this; it has been on hold for a few weeks. I still have to sew the last 6 diagonal rows on the left.
This smaller photo shows how the right side really looks (before photo cropping). I am not sure how far I will trim back the right side; I am not crazy about the value of the darker background fabric on the lower right. When I had worked this out in EQ7 I had some red and black diamonds and triangles in the corners but I decided to "clean it up". Trimming it back like the cropped photo helps a little but I am not sure if it will be enough. There is no hurry as this Basement Diva challenge is not due until March so I can keep it up on my wall and look at it while I decide. 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Friends Quilt Together

Friends Quilt Together, our group at church, met today and it was a very productive day. We also had a lot of show and tell to start out with.
These first 3 quilts were made by Debbie and I think they are all gifts. She has been very busy.

From left to right here is a completed quilt from Betty for our "caring closet". The middle flimsy belongs to Cathy; the photos in the star centers are her grand  children and she will be keeping this one for herself .
On the right is Kim modeling her jacket that she made with a sweatshirt and a batik jellyroll.

These next 4 below are photos of what some of us were working on today.The top left is Betty's DNP flimsy; she bought it in today to pick out backing from our closet. Top right is the little baby quilt for our closet that Elaine was quilting today. Elaine also had a finished quilt for the closet but it got put away before I got a photo. The purple bordered quilt on the bottom is Kim's flimsy that she brought in today to layer up with what I think might be purple Minky. The bottom right is a quilt that Jamie, our newest quilter is working on; those are 3 fabrics from the Moda Blitzen collection. She is doing a good job.

On the left, are the blocks I have laid out to start sewing together. I just put them all down and then had some help tweaking the arrangement. It is now together in horizontal rows. these are blocks that the participants in Quilt Camp made this summer as they were learning to perfect their quarter inch. With a little help from squaring them up they worked out well. This quilt will be auctioned at the Youth Dinner Theater and auction in the spring.

On the right is a Christmas dress Dorine is making for one of her grand daughters.She couldn't hold it up to show because the skirt and bodice were not yet sewed together. She is making 3 little dresses and I am sure the little girls will be very happy with them.

 There were a few other things being worked on today but no pictures.  It was a very productive day.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Stuffed Goose

Back in the 1980's when I first started quilting the LCS had an all day Saturday workshop. I don't remember what all the choices were but I chose to make a small crocheted rug with a size N or 15 crochet hood and torn strips of ugly fabric for the afternoon session. I have no idea what ever happened to that; I know I never finished it. For the morning session I chose to make, or rather start, a stuffed goose. I think all I got down was to hand applique the white patches on his throat and attach his eyes. This must have been before I made my first quilt but after I had taken an intermediate class where I made a wall hanging. I remember showing my wall hanging after lunch for  "show and tell". I think at the time my only sewing machine was in a cabinet and not easily removed to take it anywhere so I couldn't take some of the other things offered. At the time country was "in" and he fit right in with my earth tone color scheme.
I have used him (I  am sure it is a gander) all these years as a door stop. He is around 17 inches tall and all the grand kids, when they were starting to walk, would get on his back for a ride. He is very firmly stuffed and has a sawed off broom stick or maybe a large dowel rod in his neck.  He is a very study fellow. Today I remembered to tie a red ribbon around his neck for Christmas.

When he was new, I took him to work one day to show him off and after work I was walking across the parking lot with him tucked under my arm and perched on my hip. A car full of laughing ladies pulled up and rolled down their window and told me they thought I had a real goose under my arm because as I was walking it looked like he was bobbing his head.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Christmas decorating

Yesterday I planned to get out my Christmas dishes and Christmas quilts. Getting the dishes out and putting away the hand painted china on my hutch shelves is a days work in itself. Jack had other plans. I had mentioned that prelit Christmas trees did not come in huge boxes and that they had branches that folded up and were easy to put together. He decided yesterday to have a look. When he saw the size of the boxes and picked one up to test the weight he was sold. We looked around at a few stores and came home with one from Michael's. It has been his job to set up the tree and put the lights on it. Our old tree is very heavy and has a wide diameter at the bottom. We had shortened it and we left off 2 rows of bottom branches in recent years and it was still big. This one is narrower but not really a slim tree. My new tree skirt does not get lost under it.
These photos show close up sections of our tree from the top down. Our tree is not a "decorator" tree. There is no cohesive design but everything on it has meaning to us. There are ornaments that our children and grandchildren and great grand children made or bought for us. There are things that I made with the children when they were little, ornaments that friends gave me, some of them handmade, others purchased because they had a special meaning to our friendship. There are some ornaments that are from my childhood. I remember when I was 9 years old my mother finding a set of colored glass icicles somewhere, when there were very few to be had anywhere during WW2. There is a gold bell that was attached to a gift that I gave my mother when I was 16. There are ornaments that I bought over the years and I remember where they came from and why I bought them. 

The middle photo has a handmade scrub nurse from a coworker for an ornament exchange one year. The macrame reindeer is from another co worker; the little white fuzzy sheep are part of a set of handmade ornaments I bought at a Friends Church Eastern Region auction to support missions. There are compact disks with sticky foamy shapes like those that the 4 and 5 year old is our child care group at church made; these are from my own great grand children. There are candy canes made from beads strung on wire that were made over the years by all the generations of children in the family and friends that stopped by  while the kids were making them.

Another close up of the new tree skirt

This is the star we bought for the top of the tree to replace what had gotten to tattered to use anymore. It was a very difficult year, 11 months after our 23 year old grand son was killed in an accident. Our daughter and her husband and their one daughter, who was unmarried and still living at home went to Williamsburg for Christmas that year. Every year when we put up the tree I remember how we got through that Christmas by immersing ourselves in everything that our church was doing and in the rest of the family and every thing that was going on in our community.

I guess you could say this is a nostalgia  tree. When we considered a smaller tree we knew it had to be big enough to hold all our memories.

Today I will get out the Christmas dishes and the Christmas quilts. There are some memories there too.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Orphan blocks

After I finished the two 12 1/2 inch house blocks I started to clean up and put things away. Improv piecing sure makes a mess; I had a lot of boxes down from the shelves.
While I was searching for just the right inhabitants for my houses I came across some orphan blocks and some partly finished demo blocks from when I was presenting a block of the month for our church group. The first year we did the BOM I made my blocks  quilt with Christmas colors and I finished that  "sampler" quilt. The second time I just used different fabrics that I had and some of the blocks I made into something with one or two blocks. I saw a lot of those things on Thanksgiving when I was at our daughter's house. She loves the fall colors and I used fall  colors for a number of things that I made with the blocks. Then there were the blocks that just got put away in a box. some were finished, some were too small, some were partly finished to show the steps in construction.

These are 9 blocks that I am going to send to Beth at Love Laugh Quilt with my houses. I am not sure how in the world she can fit those 2 Snails Trail blocks in with other orphans but if anyone can she can. I hope she is not overwhelmed with orphan blocks.

These 2 blocks were made to demo 3 piece triangle components and the one on the right was also to demo partial seam piecing. the bright one was only 8 1/2 inches so I added  2 1/2 inch strips to make it big enough.

I made this butterfly block over 10 years ago. I saw it on Simply Quilts and the guest quilter was showing easy blocks for sewing with kids. I wish I could tell you her name. My great nieces came over to quilt and the 9 year old made a block like this one. I had made up so kits with  squares and rectangles already cut. They picked out the kits with the fabrics they liked. She really loved making it and could hardly get through lunch because she was in a hurry to get back to her sewing. She finished it up and layered it and quilted it on the machine. It was a really fun day for me too.
These were 4 little  pinwheel blocks  the  I sewed  together to make an 8 1/2 inch block and then I added 2 1/2 inch strips to make it big enough. I had made these to demo some of the many things you could do with half square triangle components. I really like this block and think it would make a nice scrappy quilt with 12 inch blocks like this each a different fabric. However, this one will be going to Beth too. I work up a quilt with it in EQ7 and when/if I get around to it I will know how to make it.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


I decided to take a break from sewing the black and white triangle patches together. It is tedious and exacting with lots of points that I want to come together perfectly... well, yes perfectly. It is going well but slowly.
Beth at Laugh Love Quilt is having a neighborhood block party and I am joining again for the 3rd year. Depending on the number of people who join there will  be some winners for  sets of 9 -12 blocks.
I have not been very fast at this either but it has been fun sewing. Any time I do something improvisational I agonize over every piece of fabric and of course second guess myself at the end. I start out thinking every house block has to  have green grass and a light blue sky looking fabric for the sky and some shade of green trees. Every house has to have a chimney and a door and at least one window. I like to have inhabitants in my houses too. This time it didn't take me half a dozen houses to break some of my own rules.
These two 12 inch blocks took two days. I did have interruptions and stops and starts while I tended to other things (like baking a cake, going out shopping and a trip with Jack for routine follow up with the eye doctor). I think that was a good thing because when I came back to work on the houses I changed some things that bothered me.
I will be sending these off to Beth soon. I will a so send along  a few 12 1/2 inch orphan blocks that she will use in a quilt for some one in need, as Beth says, after Sandy there are lots of people in need.
Maybe you would like to send Beth
a couple of house block and some orphans.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Christmas Quilt Show

The Christmas Quilt Show is here stop over at Quilting Tutorials and have a look.

This little quilt is my entry; when it comes to Christmas I am pretty traditional. It is 26 inches square and the log cabin blocks are 5 1/2 inches. I bought a panel with 3 inch square motifs and all the fabrics at the NQA show in Columbus 2 or 3 years ago. There was a little quilt made up in the booth but no pattern (or at least I didn't  buy one) by the time I got home I couldn't remember how it was made so I made up my own setting. There are 16  little motif centers, all different and there may have been some others that were different as well. It will hang in my sewing room on the bulletin board when I get all the Christmas quilts out and around.

I am not sure how many of the little squares I had left but I made a bunch of small things and gave them away. The only 2 things I still have are this  cover for my neck pillow and the 5 x 11 mini quilt below which I think will go in the narrow space between a small wall cabinet and a shelf inside my front door. I wanted to use up all of the left over pieces  and I think I came close.
 I usually get out my Christmas dishes and all my quilts the week end after Thanksgiving; they stay out until New Years Day. I am a little behind this year but I will catch up soon.
 I guess this could be considered a winter quilt but to me it is Christmas. In January I have snowmen and that is winter!
Click here  and here to see some of my other Christmas Quilts.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Back to work on the Challenge

I finished up the place mats and with the smallish leftover pieces I made 2 potholders.  They turned out pretty good but I forgot to take a picture before I wrapped them for a shower gift.
Yesterday I had some of my family here for dinner so everything is all cleaned up and my sewing room is all clean and tidy. When there are going to be kids playing in the sewing room I get everything cleaned up and put away. So.... this morning I got back to some sewing on the black and white and red challenge.
I am amazed at how easily the 60 degree triangles go together:those little dog ears really help to line everything up and make nice sharp  points. I am getting nice points without having to pin and stitch and rip and re pin and restitch and rip etc. I have half the top stitched together and have only had to fix a couple of places. I am definitely going to do this again.

This has been a good learning experience. Next time I will use setting triangles on the ends instead of stitching many triangles together when I could have used one solid piece. I think I will buy a ruler that cuts diamonds as well as triangles; there are many more whole diamonds that I could have cut instead of sewing 2 triangles together. I am not a gadget person and I always try to figure out how to use my basic rulers for everything I can but when there are angles other than right angles or 45 degree angles a special  ruler is usually worthwhile.

Friday, November 23, 2012


We had our Thanksgiving dinner yesterday around 5 o'clock at our daughter's. She didn't have to work after all so I only had to help with a few things. My son in law and I peeled potatoes and I made the gravy which is my usual job. There were 17 of us and it was a very nice day.

It was also great granddaughter Grace's 9th birthday. Here we are together; she is licking frosting off her finger. Grace has shed her sweater, as usual. She is one of those warm kids who never seems to be cold. She used to take her clothes/coat of anywhere and everywhere. and we would have to go looking for them. We used to babysit all day every Tuesday with Gracie and her brotherand we almost always went to the Farmpark or one of the other metro parks. The minute we were in the door she would drop her coat on the floor.She was great grandpa's girl back then and I always played second fiddle. We both played second fiddle to grandma and grandpa (my daughter and son in law) and we still do.

This photo was taken at her brothers birthday party when she was almost 2. Her great grandpa Jack, who is looking very pleased with himself, first showed her how to snitch some frosting from the cake. Her maternal grandpa is in the background.
This is the next year at her brothers 4th birthday party and she is holding her new baby cousin and feeling very responsible. They sure grow up fast.                                                   


Wednesday, November 21, 2012


I stopped in the quilt shop on Monday and picked up fabric to make another set of Christmas Take 4 placemats. I was having a little  problem with vertigo that started when I was  getting a haircut earlier. I knew I would not have another chance this week to shop so with Jack driving I decided  to go ahead and get my fabric. Beth, the owner at Cotton Pickers quilt shop was  so nice. I told her what I wanted and she brought out a stack of half yards that she had been cutting and then looked for  green fabric for me and I got what I needed.
Jack had his cataract surgery yesterday (he cancelled last Tuesday when they moved him back to late in the day). The surgery went well yesterday and we were home before 10AM. We had planned to stay in the rest of the day and all I needed to do was put drops in Jacks's eyes every 2 hours. It was a good time to do some simple sewing.
This is a nice quick pattern and I was able to get started on the place mats. This morning before Jack's follow up visit with the eye doctor I layered them up and got one of them quilted.
This is the front of the one that I have quilted so far. It is simple in the ditch and then horizontal lines 1 inch apart. I only quilted in the ditch on either side of the narrow light strip and the vertical inset strip. I am planning on quilting the rest of them this evening.

. This is the back of the quilted mat. I bought a yard and a half of the red fabric for the backs and the bindings. I bought half yards of the 4 fabrics for the fronts and I was  going to make 2 sets and get a different  back for the second set. I  decided to use the other 4 fat quarters for the backs instead because I get bored making a second anything of the same fabric. I use use the red for another set of Christmas placemats with different fabric or make something else with the red fabric that is left after make the binding for these.
Jack is seeing very well with his new lens implant and he will completely happy next week  when he gets new glasses and a new correction for his other eye. Right now his glasses are not right for either eye.