Friday, May 29, 2020

Finally, A Few More Blocks

I finally got around to making a few more Framed 9 Patch blocks. I've had these cut for a long time but never seemed to have time to get around to sewing them.

 These are the six blocks I finished today. When I have enough fabric I  make 2 blocks with the same prints and different solids.  I want to use fabrics that give the overall look of the whole quilt light and bright. Though the blocks on the right are darker the fabric is pretty and bright.

These are all of the blocks I have so far.
There are 2 blocks from each print except for the top left and the center block in the second row down. I have enough fabric for another blue one but not the other.

The 2 gray blocks might be too dark but The raindrops are colorful and bright. The fabric is gray with no brown tones but I can't get a photo to show the true color. I will see how they look after I make more blocks.

I am not at all happy with my camera or Picassa or my Windows photo program.

 I am getting cranky from staying home and not having any social interaction with anyone except for a few short visits from family, either through the window or doorway or a few minutes outside.  When your family members are in the health care field they tend to stay away from those of us who are vulnerable. I had a chance to see the one year old and one of the 2 1/2 year old great grand kids for a short visit out in the front yard.  They change so fast a that age, if you don't see them for a while you miss all the fun of the milestones. We also got to attend a Zoom birthday party for the one year old.
I speak to my neighbor coming and going.  She asks if I need anything when she goes to the store and  I ask if she needs anything when I place a grocery order.
I spent one whole 8 hour day on the phone with a Microsoft suppport person. fixing my computer after an up date wiped out everything in Microsoft Windows. She was very nice and very patient and even did not put me on hold but the left the line open when I asked not to have to listen to the music. Everything was back and working; although it took a few more hours after her day was finished for the repair to download and finish. She called me back the next day to make sure everything was working again. Any other time I would have been frustrated with it all but it gave me something purposeful to do.

 I am really surprised that I am so busy all the time that I have little time for sewing. I am not doing any more laundry or cleaning or cooking than I used to. We don't go to the park to walk because the buildings aren't open. Until recently, the weather hasn't been nice enough for Jack to sit outside on a bench while I walk. If it is nice we try to get out for a drive to see the trees leafing out and flowers blooming. I really don't enjoy driving but Jack needs to get out  even more than I do. I am thankful that I have been able to drive again.
I  am reading more than I use to, although I have always been and avid reader. I am really thankful for my Kindle. I know I spend more time on the computer, I spend more time placing orders than I did shopping in the store. Navigating the grocery store website is frustrating; It seems to change every few days. When I get frustrated with everything I tend to play solitaire and do jigsaw puzzles and crossword puzzles online. I guess that beats crumbling at Jack about all the little picky things that don't matter. I should have more time to post on the blog but when I don't have anything  to write about I don't bother.

 We are fortunate that our church services have been available online for a few years and they have even stepped up some other things online as well during these times.

I don't see much change for us in the near future we are not ready to go out around a crowd of people. I will continue making masks but since I am caught up with requests I will make a few at a time alternating with making blocks. I may even finish the F9P quilt.

Friday, April 3, 2020

A Few Blocks

I finished the blocks I had stacked up on paper plates and put them up on the wall with the blocks that were left over from the first Framed 9 patch.
The 8 blocks on the left are the left overs. They will stay left over again as they are too dark for the way I want the next quilt to look. The second block down in the middle row is the one I found with the leftovers that needed only one strip and I thought I would use it but after looking at it on the wall for a while I decided it should stay with the left overs.

I exchanged it for the bottom lock in the second row from the left and I like this line up better.

I am setting everything aside for now and getting ready to make masks. I gave my daughter a lot of fabric and supplies to make masks but I wasn't going to make them myself.  I didn't have elastic and anything for the bendable strip for the nose.  I wasn't so sure that homemade masks were really going to be used.  I have changed my mind and believe that it really is a worthwhile undertaking. I have been looking at patterns and instructions online and I see that I have what I need and I believe I know people who will use them.

I am not watching the all day news, just 6 and 11 o'clock.  In general I have an optimistic outlook and depression has never been a problem but I am realistic.  It certainly is a sobering thought that there are people I may never see again. I believe that all of us will lose someone that we know, someone dear to us or someone part of a large circle of more distant friends, maybe someone we don't know but see in passing and notice something about them and they become familiar to us.  I am not dwelling on the negative but looking for the joy in each socially distant encounter, each phone conversation and each text message  or email.  I am praying for my family and friends and the people I see out walking their dogs or riding their bikes.  I thank God for all the first responders and the health care  workers, for the many people behind the scenes that contribute to the fight again this virus to keep things working and I pray for their safety.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Keeping Busy

I have been keeping busy. One of the things about slowing down with age is that it takes longer to do things and you don't have so much time to be bored.

My pile of things that are being passed on doesn't look so large but those three boxes will all come back empty. the big gray shopping bag is 3/4 full and it is packed in there pretty full.

I  stopped sorting things because what I am purging is not going anywhere soon. The mess  made with sorting was overwhelming so I put some things away and moved things around so I will be able to pickup sorting where I left off without going back to square one.  I can also work at my desk without losing things in the mess.

I can do some sewing, nothing big but a little here and there.

When I started putting things away,  I found a few things to sew and cut that would probable get lost in the shuffle otherwise.
This framed 9 patch  only needed one 8 inch strip sewed on the side. It would have gone into the quilt I finished but I needed that 8 inch strip and I couldn't find it at the time.

I had some 2 inch print and solid strips put aside for Framed nine patch blocks. They were ready to cut into the lengths  needed. I cut them and put each block on a paper plate  and they are ready to sew. I copied this idea from Julie Sefton who certainly has to be well organized to accomplish all that she does.

I may cut for some more blocks and stack up a bunch  of plates and then I can work on a few at a time. I never seem to have big chunks of time anymore so that might work out well.

Jack has finished his radiation treatments and everything went well. He did not experience any of the side effects he might have. We were concerned about going down to Cleveland Clinic during this time but after the first day I felt much less concern. Everyone entering the building was screened, only one person was allowed to go with the patient, anyone with a cough was given a mask if they did not already have one, our temperatures were taken and we were given a wrist band to show we had been screened. The Taussig Cancer center is a new building and you enter and go straight to the elevator and down one floor directly to the check in area for radiation, almost no contact before the sign in. There is a very short wait time and the waiting room was large so everyone waiting was spread out.  Many of the patients coming there are  immunocompromised so they are really set up for that already. Nevertheless, we are relieved that we are finished with the every other day trips down there. In three months Jack will have a follow up CT scan. 

We have changed the way we do a lot of things because of covid 19. I had been going to the grocery store almost every day for fresh produce or bread or milk or vanilla ice cream. Then I cut back on my trips to the store and yesterday I placed a rather large order and had it delivered; it was here in about 2 hours. I didn't get everything I ordered as they were out of a few things and I got Natural peanut butter (with the oil on top) instead of Jif (jack's favorite snack with cinnamon raisin bread). I think my daughter likes that kind so she can have it. I can't say it saved me any time because it took me a long time to make out my order but maybe next time I will be faster. I think next time I will order on line and get curbside pick up. Although, I might get used to having my large orders delivered as it was pretty nice not to have to load it in the car and then unload it and bring it in. Of course I still have to put everything away.

Life goes on and we are doing all the things we are supposed to do. I am counting my blessings and there are many. I am grateful and thanking God for all the technology that makes life easier, for all the people who are in harms way working to keep us safe and cared for and supplied with necessities. I  am praying for them all. 

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Cleaning Up and Cleaning Out

I have been busy since my last post but not the  progress is going slowly, especially cleaning out the things I am never going to use.  I have to move things out of my sewing room in order to make space to work and then at the end of the day I have to move them back in again so we can go to bed. However little by little the stack of things that have to go is growing. The more time I spend trying to make more usable space the more things I am willing to part with. I have a stack of quilting books that I look through from time to time but will never use again. There is fabric that I am never going to use, some old, some very recently purchased. Yesterday I went through 2 boxes of log cabin strips and thought about how labor intensive log cabin blocks can be and came to the conclusion  that I don't ever want to make another log can quilt. I think I am picking up steam as I go along. I have some other boxes on hard to reach shelves that I need to tackle. If they are up high they are hardly ever used and probably need to go. The box of "Odd Blocks" and my  "Parts Department" box is hard to let go  as is all of my scraps. After all, no one is going to appreciate them as much as I do. This is the kind of thinking that has led to my present dilemma.

In order to make letting go of things I went to the quilt shop last week and I bought 8 fat quarters. I wanted something new and pretty. I was hoping to find a bundle or a layer cake or Jellyroll but I settled for these 8 fat quarters.
I can't believe it was so hard to find something I wanted to buy.

One nice thing about the trip to the quilt shop; there was a group of several people sitting  in a half circle watching a demo. I knew every one of them and it had been many years since I had seen some of them.

Tomorrow, Jack will be starting 5 radiation treatments,every other day for 10 days, for lung cancer.  We are optimistic about the outcome but we have concern about going to the Cleveland Clinic at this time because of the Corona virus. I called and asked if they were recommending whether to postpone treatments and they said they were not. The woman I talked to listed all of the extra precautions they were taking, in addition to the the usual precautions. I felt reassured and we will be going ahead.
We are trusting Almighty God to see us through, what ever happens, Please keep us in your prayers.

Saturday, February 29, 2020

As I was searching ..........

It seems as though I am always searching for something and as I am searching I find something I had forgotten.

I was searching for something in my box of odd blocks and I had a stack of large trays on top of the box. I'd  moved this stack a few time, thinking it was a stack of empty trays. This time I moved the top tray and found  3 trays of squares and rectangles that I had cut for blocks inspired by Donna Poster. Oh my! For a long time I have been cutting leftover scraps into specific sizes for future use. I was surprised to find these because I have a shoe box marked for "Donna Poster Blocks".These are sorted by shape and color so I must have been working on these and put them away, meaning t get back to them. I also came across seven 12 inch blocks that were not with these parts but hanging on a hanger in my sewing room closet. This block has been a "go to"  block for scrap quilts. With so much of the work done I should get back to it.

 I found this in a box labeled "components ans pieces and parts and .  This was from a Colorwash 9 Patch project that never got off the ground.   I thought about what I might do with it , other than cut it up for the dog bed bag.

I moved some pieces and then cut away the triangles along the side and I have a roof for a house like the one below.

I was reminded of this house that I made a few years ago. It has a piece of foam core in the peak and a hanging loop so it can hang on the wall; I had just given it away last week. You can read about it here if you are interested.

I have some ideas about what to do for the house; I should get back to this.

 I found this hanging in the closet. These blocks are the last of the Quail's Nest block the Friendship group made for me a few years ago when It was my turn to receive blocks. I made another quilt with the rest of the blocks and these weren't a good fit color wise. I was using it for a demo on quilting in sections and had two sections put together and I added the other section. I want to make it just a little bit larger for a table topper. I Have been making piano key borders and I think they will make the perfect border to pull it all together.

This collage has the piano key border sections from the Framed 9 Patch, a quilt the is on the foot of my bed, and the "self portrait" that is on my sewing room wall.  I like the way the borders work to make the whole quilt cohesive on each of these. I have that mountain of scraps so I really should get back to this.

So......... there is a lot to do think about; I will have to see what I really want to do and what I might want to pass on to someone else. What takes precedence over working on anything is the task of  sorting out and purging all of the things in my sewing room that I am never going to use again I am working on my bookcase today. 

Thursday, February 20, 2020


The Framed 9 Patch quilt is officially finished.  The binding is on, turned to the back and stitched.

 This is the best photo I can get of the whole quilt. It is on my king size bed and completely covers the top. It will not be used on this bed  is only here for the photo. I can't get far enough away to get a better photo and I can't put it up on my design wall because it is too heavy for me to do it by getting up on a ladder.

This is one section of the piano key border, which was sewn to the inner border and quilted before adding to the quilt. There is stitching in the ditch along the seam where it was added.

This is that section on the back showing the machine stitched edge of the backing.  I had turned the edges under and pressed them and fused them and then stitched in the ditch from the front. I was really happy that all my machine stitched edges on the back  turned out so well.

These are 2 of the corners with Double Four Patch Blocks.  I stitched on the front, in the ditch along the binding.

This is one of those corners on the back. I caught the binding on the back along the whole quilt and all my corner miters came out well.
However, the width of the binding on the back was not even all over. The weight of the quilt at times dragged the quilt and made it hard to manage a uniform 1/4 inch seam. I did examine the edges and fixed some ares before turning the binding to the back but I missed some places and because I had already started to fuse some of the binding down, there was not going back. It is good from the front and because I use double fold binding it is not going to come loose. It probably would not pass inspection from the judges or the quilt police but I'm happy.

This is the last quilt this large I will ever make. Even quilting it in sections, it became really hard to manage after I added the third section.  I don't see how I can make my sewing space different to make quilting something this large easier. I know I will be content to make smaller quilts and I intend to make another smaller Framed 9 Patch and I have other projects in mind also. After all, I have all those scraps to use.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Framed 9 Patch Debut

The Framed 9 Patch quilt made it's debut. Well, kind of, it is almost finished. The binding is sewed on but it still needs to be turned to the back and stitched down.  I was showing it anyway. We had family over yesterday and 2 of our youngest great grand children were here.  I had spread the quilt over our bed to show their moms and grandma. The 2 year old and her 10 month old cousin wanted to get up on the bed and have a look. They spent the next 15 minutes jumping and bouncing round on the bed. It was too much fun watching them laughing having the best time and no harm done to the quilt or the kids.

These are 3 photos of the fun, terrible photography I know; photos are all manipulated for clarity. However, they captures the spirit of the moment.

I think in this one he was just landing.

I hope to sew the binding down on the back today and then I will post a photo of the real finish.

Monday, February 3, 2020

February Bulletin Board.

Here it is Monday and I have not done one bit of sewing on the piano key borders. I think I was too optimistic to think I would get anything done this week.

I did clean up my desk and cutting table and vacuumed the floor and I was amazed that I can pick up straight pins with my long handled grasping tool. I could see there were a lot of pins and I didn't want to bend over to reach for them. Age is putting limits on what is comfortable for me to do.
While I was putting away the last of the Christmas things from my design walls and bulletin boards, I came across some of my quilted hearts and put them on one of the bulletin boards.
 I like to have some of the things out that usually reside in the closet,

The heart quilt is made with uneven Log Cabin blocks from the book "Log Cabin in the Round" by Barb Schaffield and Beth Vickery.  The little house square in the center was from Beth Shibley of Love Laugh Quilt blogspot. She sent then to everyone who participated in her Neighborhood Block Party", The quilt is 22 inches W and 18 inches H. The crazy pieced hearts are valentines  leftover  from the ones I sent to friends. The black and white square is a participant patch made by Lori one of the Basement Divas for the annual Jellyroll Race. The pink square doesn't really show up well in a photo; it was an experiment using red ink to draw a zen tangle inspired heart on a pink fabric. I layered it up and quilted it with red thread on the longer lines. The photo is enhanced but the color isn't really true. It does show up more "in person". Not every experiment turns out to be something to pursue but some of them are worth keeping just  because.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Almost There

It seems as though I have been working on this quilt forever.  In the past when I was excited about a quilt, I worked on it every day and sometimes all day. That doesn't happen anymore but I have maintained my level of enthusiasm and I am closing in on the finish.

This is the body of the quilt with all 3 quilted sections and the quilted side borders sewed together. It is laying on my King size bed because it is too large and heavy for me  to put it upon my design wall. I am not foolish enough to try standing on a ladder to do that.

This is a section of the front of the quilt showing the green inner border and the quilted border sewn on the quilt. I stitched in the ditch on both sides of the 2 inch inner border. I quilted 2 parallel wavy lines along the  length of the borders and then some angled way lines about a hands width apart across the width of the border. It is more utilitarian than artist but that serves its purpose.

This is the same area on the back of the quilt. The black arrow is pointing to the stitching line. it is where I stitched in the ditch on the top edge of the narrow inner border. There were some fiddly steps  I took to get it to com out this way but it was worth the fussing around. I can't hand any seams that long anymore and every seam that I did this way came out the way I hoped for. 

I have  sections for the top and bottom borders on my design wall now and I need to make the blocks for the corners and stitch it all together. I might be optimistic in thinking I can get them on the quilt by next weekend but I am going to try.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020


I finally got around to sewing piano key sections together. No matter what I tell myself, or anyone else, about random being RANDOM; I always end up agonizing over sections that don't look right to me. I even fuss around using my seam ripper and "improving" an offending area. I spent a lot more time working on the two side orders than I needed to. Working with scraps is not necessarily mindless. However I did get them together and layered up and quilted. I need to pin a note up reminding myself that I have never been unhappy about the piano keys once the quilt has been finished.

This border is 82 inches long and this is about half of it. I am still thinking about adding another row of wavy quilting between the 2 rows that I've done so far. If I had quilted in the ditch over all the vertical seams or even quilted feathers I think the stitching would have been too dense for the body of the quilt. I am not gong to rip out the quilting but I am thinking about whether I might add something.

I need to trim the backing and batting and that is a process that requires Trimming away the batting and backing edges different widths and there is a lot of fussing around. I know think I can eliminate at least one step. I am going slow and rethinking my process.

In the meantime these top and bottom borders are still in sections up on my wall. One of the narrow green borders is between them so I can work on both of them at the same time.  I will be putting 7 inch blocks on both ends so the piano keys are able to fit across the wall.  I can agonize over them every time I look in that direction.

Maybe I need to pin up that note reminding me to think about the PK borders on the finished quilts.

Friday, January 10, 2020

2020 A New Year

Here we are in a new year and I am already behind.  I hope it will be a good year and I am giving it my best shot at trying to be optimistic.

After my last post I gave up trying to get in any any sewing or quilting time and folded up my sewing table and put my machine away. When new window were installed in our apartment we had to move a lot of things away from the windows. With my sewing room being a crowded space, putting things away made sense. I spent a lot of November  going over (and over and over) our health care policies and deciding on changes we might want to make. Jack used to take care of all of this; his vision problems have progressed to the point where he had to make his computer screen so large that it took him a very long time to do anything and he kept getting timed out. We also spent a lot of time on Jack's doctor visits and and tests. There will be more of those coming up.

There were good times too! Thanksgiving and Christmas and were special times as well as impromptu family visits. I had a milestone birthday, 85 and my family had a birthday party for me.
They had the party at our church and invited my Bible study group and the ladies in the church quilt group also. They gathered quilts and small items that I had made over the years and given away. They hung them all around the room. It was like a one woman show.

 I thought it was going to be just family and wondered why they couldn't all just come to our home.
It was the most fuss over my birthday in my whole life. I really never felt deprived of a birthday fuss; so close to Christmas the focus was just naturally on Christmas. One thing we always did was put up our Christmas tree on my birthday  and that was special enough.

While I never missed a big birthday fuss, I loved this one.

Here is a 4 generation of all my family who were able to come. 

So..... 2020 is here and my sewing room is back to normal and I am almost ready to sew and finish the Framed 9 patch.  I had it all packed away in an organized way but it still took me some time to  get the piano key border parts back in order on my design wall. They are not all sewn together but in sections of several strips.

These are sections of the 2 side borders with the green narrow inner border strips above one of the border sections. 
The side borders will be 81 inches long and are ready to sew together, pretty much in the this order. The top 2 rows, with the green inner border strips above, are one and the bottom 2 are the other.  My design wall is not wide enough to stretch the whole border across the wall.  I will layer them up and quilt them and join them to the sides of the right and left quilt sections. More to come about the process of joining the sections and adding the top and bottom borders later.

I wish everyone a happy and healthy New year with time to sew and time to post and time to enjoy with those you love. May the new year be filled with many blessings.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Moving Along .........Slowly

I am moving along with the framed 9 patch quilt. I got the left top and bottom sections together and I have all the rest of the sections layered up and ready to quilt. I used to get a lot more done, not because I was fast but because I use to have more time for quilting.

Warning!! This is a long post and may be boring,
I took some photos as I went along so I could show the steps I take when I am quilting in sections.

This is the center top section. I will quilt all the way to the edge on the top (the left side in the photo).
I will leave 2 inches not quilted on all 3 of the other edges. I have pinned strips of selvage along those 3 edges  to remind me not to  stitch beyond the 2 inches.  I once believed that putting safety pins across the area where I wanted to stop would work. However I just removed the pins when I stitched up to them and kept on stitching. I did it more than once until I started pinning selvage scraps or ribbon along in those areas.

My finger is pointing to where I will stop stitching in the ditch seam between the blocks. I will be quilting in the ditch around the nine patch center and across the solid diagonal patches. Later, after joining the sections, I will only need to finish the stitching in the ditch on that 2 inch section.

                  These next 3 photos show how I prepare the edge that I have left not quilted.

On the left I have folded the backing down from the edge where the quilting stopped 2 inches from the edge.
In the center I have turned the section over to the front and using my long ruler I trimmed the batting even with the quilt top.
On the right At this point the backing is still pinned out of the way. I have folded back and pinned the edge on the pieced top that has been left not quilted and I trimmed the batting. The measurement of the batting that I trim away is 2 x the width of my seam allowance when using my walking foot. This will allow the batting that is quilted to the edge to butt up against the batting that has not been quilted to the edge.  I always test what that measurement will be because I have found that it is not an exact 1/4 inch using the edge of my walking foot as a guide. Changing a needle will sometimes change the measurement. This time it was a little over 1/4 inch so I trimmed 5/8.  This might not be so important using 80/20 batting but with Warm and Natural I noticed if the batting overlapped.

I don't have a photo of the section that I quilted  to the edge. I trim the batting and backing even with the pieced and quilted top. I trim only the edge that I will be joining to the next section as I am ready to join the sections.  That makes me confident that I have an easy option in case I quilt to the wrong
edge on a section. For this quilt I am not really worried about that because  there are only 6 sections.

In this photo the section with the backing turned back is on top of the other section and ready to be pinned. Usually, I will have unpinned the folded back backing and trimmed it so that it can be folded under enough to cover the stitching that joins the sections. I would then pin it out of the way again. I do a lot of pinning and re pinning because I have learned a lesson the hard way about not doing it .

I pin first where I will match seams and then ease in the fabric between those pins,
 The edge that is not quilted will be slightly longer; if there are not seams to be matched I start pinning in the center of the  entire edge and on the ends and divide and pin by half  and half again in order to ease in any fullness.
This  photo shows the edges pinned together; the stitching will not catch the batting.

After I stitch the seam I always check the front to make sure it is OK before I move on to whipping the edges of the batting together.

I pressed seam to the  section that is stitched to the edge. I use a long needle, about 5 inches long, and catch the edge that is quilted to the edge and the loose batting from the other section.
You might seethe needle if you enlarge the photo.

It seems as though I do a lot of fussing around making the batting butt up against the next section but I am happy with the result.

When I am ready to hand stitch the backing to cover the joining seam I start pinning in the center and ease in the fabric as I did when joining the quilted and not quilted edges. The first time I quilted in sections I just started at one end and started pinning and stitching a short distance and then pinned again and stitched again, About half way down a very long seam I realized that something was not right. I would have ended up with tucks in the seam.  Hand stitching is much more difficult to rip out that machine stitching.

On the back I hand stitched the backing to cover the seam and it looked good. But I knew I had to find another way. It was way too slow and difficult and painful for my old hands.

I did not remove the hand stitching.

On the front, I stitched in the ditch on the joining seam between the blocks.  The seam here is between the 2 horizontal rows. It looks good!

I caught most of the edge on the back The arrows show where I didn't catch the edge and where I did.
If I use the same technique that I use for binding I know it will work. I will take care to cover the seam by just a little more than when I do the binding.  I might use glue instead of Wonder Under for basting,

I am moving on to quilting the rest of the sections and finishing the piano key borders. I ordered a subdued green fabric for an inner border and binding. I am hoping we get the snow the weather people promise us, even though I usually hate snow.