Friday, November 25, 2022

Change of Plans

 I never finished the little drawstring bag. I started having problems with my Bernina and it finally just quit. I think it is the cord and I need to borrow a cord to test if that is the problem. I have not had time to do anything about it yet. Taking it in for service is not a short trip and I would not drive it myself. 

The drag around quilt was delivered and here's Jack with his quilt.

We had a video phone call yesterday and we could see that Jack is starting to stand up. Before long I expect he will be able to drag his his quilt around.

I remember when his dad was a toddler and he had a drag around quilt. When we were at their house one day his mom called it Grandma's quilt. He started to cry because he thought I was there to take it back.

Saturday, October 15, 2022

A Finish

 Jack's drag around quilt is finished and I am pleased with the way it turned out.

I stitched in the ditch along all the the colored patches and it was easy moving from top to bottom along the inside seam on each block and the back up the outside seam. I carefully stitched over some seams to avoid ending and restarting. I can't easily use a hand needle to bury threads so I start and end with tiny stitches in the ditch where it is hard to see. The backing on this quilt makes the overstitched lines invisible. I stitched 2 lines corner to corner across each focus fabric square.

I sewed the binding in my usual way, sewing on the front and turning to the back and fusing the binding with narrow strips of Wonder Under;  I am careful to cover the stitching. I sewed the binding on with red  thread and it was easy to see and cover on the back. I stitch in the ditch from the  front and my stitching catches the edge of the binding on the back. Sometimes the stitches on the back miss the edge a little and I need to do some hand stitching and sometimes the binding on the back is  little wider and the stitching is a bit far in from the edge. Because it has become so difficult for me to do any hand sewing, I paid more attention to my quarter inch seam when stitching the binding to the front. It paid off by the edge of the seam on the back falling in the exact place it needed to be. I have been doing my binding this way for a long time and this is the first time ever that the stitches caught the edge of the binding in the perfect place on the edge of the entire perimeter. 

This is one corner folded back.

This is  what it looks like on he front. probably not he same corner because the photo was an afterthought.

I think a rather long time of no quilting and recognizing that arthritis in my hands it here to stay has forced me to develop better habits. Sometimes you have to search hard to find an up side to an unwelcome change in one's life. There it is and I'll take it.

This quilt will be on it's way next week, along with a little draw string bag of the same fabric for big brother. When they were here Elijah saw the fabric and asked "For me?". Of course, I have to make something to send along for him. The bag is waiting for me to get started.

Sunday, October 2, 2022

Jack's Drag Around is Almost Finished

 Jack's quilt is almost finished.
Once I started working on the blocks it went pretty well. After not doing any quilt sewing for a while I seem to have developed some better habits. I have done more planning before jumping in and starting to cut without a solid plan. 
I knew what I wanted to do before I cut anything and I knew what I needed to shop for. One trip to shop for solid fabrics beforehand was way better than starting and then finding I needed something I didn't have and that I had wasted some to my focus fabric.

I knew that not all of the squares would  have one whole recognizable object but I didn't see that as a problem. Partial objects would work if little people where looking for certain things, like signs and  wheels and cranes and the shovels on front end loaders. 

After I cut these 36 squares I tried to sort them but I came to the conclusion that the best way was to put them on a design board in the order they were before cutting. That seemed the best way to avoid the headache of trying to keep from having too many of the same things too close together.
I started laying the squares out by lining up the squares the way they were cut. That went well for the first few rows but then I started a row that didn't line up perfectly with the row above.  I probably got interrupted at some point and maybe misplaced a square or two or maybe a few. I stuck with the plan after only a few shuffles. I knew once I sewed on the solid strips no square was going to line up along the cut lines. I kept all of the squares in this order  and started adding the short strips to the correct side, right, left, top or bottom. As I pinned each solid strip I moved it to my design wall.

This photo is the bottom three rows with the 4 1/2 inch strips pinned to the side where it needed to be sewn on. I saw the pattern of every other strip in the row being in the same position and every other row was the same. I only realized there were 2 only different rows when I got to the third row. I just didn't see it looking at the photo of the whole layout.

This is the printout from EQ that I used to layout the short solid strips. I use these little sign holders with a printout or picture of what I am working on. 
Sometimes I have a printout of the cutting directions
and sometimes a printout of block construction.

In the background you can see some of the mess in my sewing space which is undergoing a redo. Going along slowly but going along. 

This is how I made sure I was looking at the correct row. Masking tape is an essential tool in my sewing room. That square with the short strip pinned on the is the next one that got sewn on. 

Everything went together without a hitch. Well, after I sewed the very first strip to the wrong side on the very first square..
After all the short strips were sewn on, the long strips were fast and easy, in spite of many interruptions. 
When I started sewing the rows together I kept them up on the wall until i was ready to sew any particular  rows. it seems like with only six rows I could just take them down in pairs and sew them together. I have come to recognize that even with only a few things to keep in order I have mixed up the order, even when there have been no interruptions. I accept my shortcomings. The rows went together with on problem.

Here is the finished top. The borders are different that any of my EQ borders, which I only added in EQ as place holders for size. I never make decisions about borders until the body of the quilt is finished, 
unless some times the border is designed first. 
I knew from the beginning, the focus fabric was not going to work for the size border. I knew I would use solid fabric but I didn't know what I would use until I auditioned  the fabric. Yellow seemed the obvious choice. I didn't want the yellow to look chunky in the corners around the yellow blocks. I solved that by adding red strips sewn on at right angles to the yellow border strips.  The binding will be red.

It is layered up and pinned and ready to quilt. I am contemplating the options for quilting while I straight up the sewing space. I have learned that I need to have some sort of order around me as I move from one step of the process to the next.  Otherwise, I am pushing things out of the way and making another mess that gets in the way of everything I do.

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Jack's Drag Around Quilt

 I have made a small start on great grandson Jack's drag around quilt.  I thought I knew exactly what I wanted to do so I worked out the borders in  EQ. Thankfully I did not do any cutting. I thought I wanted a 30 inch square in the center surrounded by pinwheel blocks. I thought I would quilt around the construction objects in the square but when I looked at the size of the square and the number and placement of the objects I quickly discarded that idea.

This is the EQ version with the scanned fabric in the center. For the border, I decided that I would cut 6 1/2 inch squares and alternate them with pinwheels, maybe!

Discarded that idea and went on to doing other things while keeping the possibilities in the back of my mind.

I remembered this "Tumbling Charms" quilt that I made from a Missouri Star Quilts video.
Instead of Charms I use "made fabric" squares.
Click here for another quilt from the same pattern.

This is my EQ version of the original tumbling Charms layout using solid colors, pulled from the construction fabric for strips on 2 sides of the print squares. I thought this would be the quilt layout. However....................................

I recolored the strips and played with this version in EQ for a few days. I discarded this after another recolor in EQ.

This was the next version in EQ after discarding the yellow strips in each block and making each block with short and long strips of he same color. 
I  really thought this would be the final version.

However i decided to play with the Symmetry tool. It flips and rotates all the blocks at once in different patterns. I think it changes to about 17 different layouts before going back to the original. I went through them all as it only took one click to turn the whole layout

This is the final version after going through all the options and making some changes without the Symmetry tool. I discarded all the other layouts after thinking about them for a few days.

I like this kind of jumbled up layout because it isn't so predictable and static.
This is going to require a little more attention to the placement of the solid strips on the correct sides of the print square. The print is directional and I want all of the print squares in the same direction. There are many elements in the print that would be fun for little people to look for and count. I believe that the scale of the print would make that harder as well as giving the quilt a disorderly appearance if the direction of the squares were mixed up.

I have printed the layout in color, and by using EQ for the layout I should be able to sew the solid strips in the correct position for each block.  I have not yet decided whether the strips will finish 1 1/2 or 2 inches. That is a decision for the design wall. I will start out with 2 1/2 inch cut strips and see how it like it. If I don't like the way it looks I can cut them down to finish at 1 1/2 inches and cut the rest of the strips 2 inches. 

All I have to do now is find the time to work on this. I never really appreciated what a blessing it was to have all the time I needed to do whatever I wanted to do. We'll see how it goes.

Saturday, September 10, 2022


I have a finish, FINALLY.  It has been a long time since I have even started something, let alone finish it.
This is the finished quilt. It is 35 x 35 and is what I call a drag round quilt, A drag around quilt is one that gets used for laying on the floor, or a coverup in the car seat or on Mom or Dad's lap, for a doll quilt, or a tea party tablecloth or just a little comfort quilt. A versatile little quilt that is easy to drag around. They are usually well used, well loved and used up.
I  used the all over kitty print as a background, as usual, I started with my Electric Quilt program.
I scan my fabric and put in the fabric library and select the blocks I am considering. Then I experiment in EQ to see how much fabric i need. In this case I wanted to see if I had enough fabric for what I had in mind. I did not have enough of the kitty print to use it in both the 4 inch squares and the pinwheels. 

I don't even remember where I ordered the fabric so that wasn't an option. A trip to the fabric shop resulted in backing fabric but not much help for the top. I decided on orange and yellow pinwheels. 
I pulled out boxes of fabric and odd blocks and I found some blocks left over from another quilt and I tried them out and planned around them but after trying them out on the wall and then scanning them and putting them in the quilt in EQ, I discard that idea. I found some left over fabric from a cat panel and decide to use a few of the squares.  At first I was only going to use one orange cat  but after making pinwheels and putting everything on the wall I cut more cats in the other colors.

Make all my decisions on he wall with the actual blocks and fabric squares but my EQ program allows me to explore many options that would wear me out if I had to rearrange everything over and over to see them all.  I had six different viable EQ options from start to finish. Some I did not pursue because of limited yardage. 

 With left over fabric, I made a small doll quilt for Big Sister.  This one is 11 x 11 inches.  She has many dolls of all different sizes, so I know this one will fit one of them.  
I have more of the allover kitty print left and I suggested that Big Sister, who is 4 years old, might like to come and help make another doll quilt. That is the age I started to teach my two oldest great grand children to use the sewing machine.

Speaking of the oldest great grand children...........................

Jack and I started started baby sitting one day a week, all day, with these two great grand children when they were 1 and 2 years old. They kept us busy for a few years before they moved to another state. They are both in college now.

They came to visit us recently and I had them each select a quilt form the lager quilts residing in my cedar chest. Grace chose a Disappearing 9 Patch, she said the quilt would match her college dorm room colors.  Ethan chose the Jellyroll Race quilt.
The JR Race quilt was not a bed size so I told him to pick out one more.

I wanted this photo of them with their quilts. All too often the quilts go to someone and I don't have a photo and after a time I forget who has what.

This photo is Grace with a little quilt she made when she visited us when she was about 10. Ethan is showing his second quilt.
 Ethan said it didn't matter that all of the fabrics in his second quilt were not strongly masculine "as long as it was made by Gigi".

It was a wonderful visit sharing many memories of our "adventures". Nice to know those are  memories are good ones for them too.

I hope we will be making good memories with our youngest great grands.

Saturday, June 25, 2022

At a Standstill

 My 2 baby quilt projects are going nowhere.

This is as far as I got. I cut away the sashing and decided on the 9 squares I want to use and that was it! This photo looks brighter than the actual fabric which is much more drab looking. I will use this for something but not the baby quilt I had in mind.

The allover kitty print I ordered is a much smaller scale than I anticipated; only the construction print is suitable for what I want to do. I am not motivated enough to proceed for several reasons,

First of all anything I am considering requires some fabric shopping. Lately that is getting to be a problem just getting the time.

Because I have not been sewing, everything that needs to be put away keeps finding its way to my sewing space and limiting available working space.

Arthritis in my hands has made every aspect of sewing more difficult. Everything just takes longer and I really need to be excited about what I am making.

This week I was motivated to make a lanyard for my mailbox key after having to call our apartment management  twice in 2 weeks for a new key. I had an electronic key finder on both of the keys I lost so I know it is not in our apartment. I think I must have dropped the keys when my hands were full of junk mailbox.  I decided I need to wear it around my neck when I go to get the mail. I made it long so it reaches to mailbox without having to stand on my tiptoes. I was going to put it on the purple lanyard with my whistle but that was too short. It should have taken 20 minutes, at the most, to make this but every single thing I did was cumbersome. Picking up the thread to thread the needle, inserting the bobbin case, pins and binding clips and even pulling my chair up to the machine were all awkward. I am not giving up on quilting yet but I will really need to be excited about what I am making.

 If you wonder why I have a whistle, it is for walking in the park. I use a hiking stick when I walk and feel  pretty secure but if I tripped and fell I might need help. I do carry my phone but the whistle is just an extra bit if security.

I have cleared my sewing room of all the things that don't belong there and I am ready to get to work again after a trip to the local fabric shop. It will take a while. We'll see how it goes!

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Well Hello!

 Hello. It's been a while and I'm not sure anyone is still checking to see what's going on here in Gigi's Room.  After I finished 2 grandchildren quilts and made a couple of blocks for our church group my sewing room was pretty much a "no sewing" room.

I finally moved all of the things that I was giving away out of my room and on to new homes.. That freed up some space in the closet and quite a few bins and boxes. I never got around to rearranging my room or even getting it in any optimal working order. Now and again I got things straightened up so it looked presentable;  that usually resulted in things that needed to be sorted out from shoving the mess in the closet.

Life got in the way. Jack was in the hospital in November. It should have been a two or three day stay but end up being ten days and then almost 3 weeks in rehab to get him moving again after 10 days either in bed or a chair. He came home just when omicron was surging in early December. After that things quieted down and we stayed home for the most part. We saw some of our family at Christmas; anyone who was out and about stayed away from us, even though they were fully vaccinated. We saw our grandson and his family who were here from Washington state and another grandson and his family. Then in January we had a a new great grand daughter and in April a new great grandson.

So... now I have 2 more baby quilts to make.  I ordered fabric online after a trip to the local quilt shop was unsuccessful.

The squares in this panel are 6 1/2 inches and they ae nearly perfectly square so I will have no problems using them. I plan to cut out the squares and add a brighter fabric and some pieced strips between the squares. No definite plans yet.

I picked this fabric because the baby girls family members are cat people. I may not use it for the quilt I am going to make now . The  print is small and busy, maybe you can see the dime I placed on the right below a yellow heart. I love this print but I thought it would be a larger scale. 

This print is for the new grandson. It is a nice scale for both of the options I have in mind. The dime shows up here a little better on the right side next to the stop sign.

The dark areas on both the prints are my shadow. LOL I am still now much of a photographer.

I am looking forward to making these 2 quilts even though my room has not been rearranged to he way I had hoped. I have to remind myself that when I started quilting I didn't even have a sewing room or even a designated space. Also,
I did not have a design wall, I used the floor or I spread a sheet on my bed and laid out my blocks and then covered them with tissue paper to keep everything in place and rolled the whole thing up when we went to bed.

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Almost There

  I still have things to move out of my sewing room but at least they are sorted and ready to go. Whatever I am keeping is sorted and ready to use. I do not have things all back in order but I did set up my sewing machine and I did some mending. I really hate mending, especially when it involves taking out seams. However, it was the first thing I did when I got my machine set up and it is good to have it out of the way.

Although thing are not back in order, I have cleared a space that is orderly enough to work. I made 2 blocks for an Underground Railroad quilt that our church group is making. They were pretty fast and easy to make. When I work with triangles I usually press the seams open but I followed the instructions and pressed to the dark and I have lumpy intersections and grumbled a lot.

These colors are pretty  true, maybe a little darker in the photo.  Not the colors I usually choose to use but they are true to the era the quilt represents.

I have 2 other blocks to make from the same fabric pool but a different block. After I finish them I hope I can complete the job of putting my room in order. I am looking forward to using some of the things that I had forgotten. I have a few things I was all fired up about but life got in the way and they were put out of sight and out of mind.

Life is still getting in the way but I need to find the time for the joy of creativity and accomplishment.

That's what keeps the cranky pants in the closet. 

Monday, August 16, 2021


 It seems as though I have been working at purging and organizing for months and making no progress with organizing. July came and went and nothing to post about.  In an effort to make my sewing space more cheerful (an area I don't want to avoid) I hung some of my older pieces on the design wall.

This is Summertime in the Land of OZ. It is from a class with Lorraine Torrence . It looks a little dull here but is really light and bright.

This is spider web from a pattern on Bonnie Hunters blog. this were made years apart but my color choices were  pretty much the same.

This is a wall hanging I made for our bathroom before our last move and it now resides in my sewing room closet along with the three banners below, which hung beside and between the mirrors above the countertop with 2 sinks.

I had finally resorted to drastic measures and took my sewing machine out of the sewing table and folded up the table and put it away. I kept coming across things that distracted me. Instead of sorting to give away I found myself putting together little packs of things that looked good together to make something. I even sewed some blocks together and quilted a couple of things for which I have no use and don't know anyone else who would want them. That is when I put the machine away and rearranged furniture to make a  sorting area that is not conducive to any sort of work involved with sewing. I think I have finally tackled every box, drawer, basket, bin or stack of trays. I gave some things away and have some boxes ready to go, SOMEWHERE.  I am not ready yet to get my room back to sewing/quilting mode. When I moved a chest from my bedroom to newly freed up space in my sewing room closet I found a drawer of old paperwork that needed to be shredded and disposed of and then 2 drawers of the same in Jack's dresser. He has always kept things very organized but paperwork going pack to 1980 is just over the top too much. Four very large bags of shredded paper later, there are three drawers freed up but I am still stalled.

So...... here I am with boxes and bags finally ready to move out but not yet gone. I'm feeling ready to sew again but my room needs to be put back in order and my machine put back in the table. I am going to get help to move everything again.  After moving everything around to make a better working area I was exhausted and aching.   I hope I will be back to "normal?" soon.  We'll see!


Monday, June 28, 2021

Still here

I am still here and about all I have been able to get around to on the computer is to check my email, my bank debit and credit cards, and the blogs that I follow. The daily life stuff seems to have a longer list and it all takes me longer to accomplish. 
 When I have time I am in my sewing room making more chaos out of chaos. That is not to say I haven't accomplished anything. I gave my grandson's wife some things and I hope that now that I have more things sorted out she will choose some scraps for improv piecing. I have an over abundance of those. 

Restoring order to my sewing room faces 2 big obstacles, interruptions and me getting sidetracked by something I find in the stuff I am sort. The interruptions cause me to lose focus and to lose track of where I left off.
This is my design wall as it was this morning. In the past several weeks I stuck things up on the wall that caught my interest as I went through my boxes. Some of my odd blocks are up there and some are in my parts department box. The parts department category is borrowed from "Collaborative Quilts" book by Gwen Marston and Freddy Moran. There are also some pieces of fabric that I picked up from someone else's scraps and one pink improv block which proved to be a distraction as I combed through the smallish pink scraps (that I was sorting) and began to audition pieces for another pink block.  I kind of solved the distraction problem by keeping the door to my room open and pushed tight against the wall so it covered those blocks.

I found this 12 block piece that was a leftover from my wall quilt for my boring, everything all white,  bathroom. I have no plans to use this or do anything with it, I gave the first BR quilt away when we moved and it no longer fit, I  had blocks left from the quilt and I made a four piece set of small wall hangings to fit that bathroom. After we moved again I put them on a hanger and they hang in a closet with a bunch of seasonal wall hangings.
You can see my first bathroom wall quilt and my 4 piece set of bathroom quilt pieces here

So even though I have no plans for this I became fixated on a block that had a center that looked all wrong, It was too pale and washed out. I made the mistake of sticking  it on the wall  where it was not out of sight or forgotten. Then I spent 3 days fussing with it on and off.  

This is what it looks like now. Retrofitting the center of a improv block isn't the easies thing to do.  First, I messed around with pulling fabrics from already sorted and packed scraps. Then I removed the offending center and stitched a rectangle and fussed around with the orientation. When I got it the way I thought I wanted it, I cut it to fit and stitched it in. That meant opening up parts of seams to allow me to stitch the new seams. Then I had to fix the seams I opened. I hope I got them all.

This is the new center. I don't  have a photo of the old one because I lost it and I surely hope it is not going to pop up and ask to put into something else. I hope it is in the dog bed scraps. Though I have no plans for this 12 block piece I am satisfied to have fixed it,  please don't anyone ask me why.  I am putting it out of sight and I will be getting back to sorting and clearing out. 

I have made some progress and though the end is not in sight I can look at some empty boxes and some boxes that have organized strips and small pieces organized by color. There is a box or partial impro blocks and a box with sets of things that go together in some way. 

I can see a way to move forward.  As I go long I am becoming more and more inclined to pass most of this stuff on to someone else.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021


Alphabet quilt is finished 

The quilting went well as I quilted  in the ditch along the sashing but after that,  not so much. Every block had to be free motion quilted differently. I had to change thread colors several times and determine where to start and stop stitching in order to minimize the number of thread tails to bury. My fingers have been especially troublesome during this quilting process so there were some days I just skipped working on the quilt. Who would ever think that picking up thread to thread a needle would be painful?  When your thumb and index finger don't meet properly, your pinch is inadequate and that makes you press them together harder and that causes pain in the joint. Free motion quilting is also a  joint stressor. As I went along, I was not pleased with the quilting but after the center of the quilt was finished and the border quilted and the binding finished, I like it.... a lot.

My daughter stopped for a visit last Friday and took the quilt with her to give to the new parents.  It was after she left that I realized that I had no photo of the finished quilt.  I texted her to take photos  of the front and back but I have only one of the front.  That's OK the back doesn't look different than the flimsy except for the binding.

Monday, May 3, 2021

Still working on the second alphabet Quilt.

 The back for the second alphabet quilt has been finished after many pauses to take care of all the little things that make up my days. And I am almost finished quilting the blocks on the front.
It has been a slow process free motion quilting. Each block is different and I have to determine where to start and stop as I loosely quilt around the words ad the animals and then bury the tread tails.  

I had purchased this fabric for the back  at the time I bought the panel. I knew I would be piecing the back and I thought this would be a good choice. When I started working on the pinwheel blocks I was dissatisfied about the colors. I wished it had some yellow. I decided to color the white numbers with my Derwent Inktense yellow pencil and see how it worked out.

I colored the numbers in  a 12 inch section and then wet the colored numbers with a paint bush and let the fabric dry. I washed it with detergent (Tide) and let it dry and ironed it and color was good and stable.

The other colors are really the same but my photo makes everything else look darker. I seem to have a problem photographing yellow.  Maybe I just have a problem with photography.

I bought the Inktense pencils a few years ago when I was playing with adding some color to my small  Zentangle inspired pieces. 

When you wet the colored areas the color turns to ink and it is supposed to be permanent. So far that has bee true for everything for which I have used the pencils.

I should have a finished quilt soon as there are only 5 more blocks to quilt and the borders will be easy and fast.  The arthritis in my hands has become more troublesome and any hand work, like burying the threads, has become somewhat difficult and painful. Working on a couple of blocks at a time works out pretty well and I have been using compression gloves which help a little. 

This is for a child that my grandson and his wife are in the process of adopting a child from the Ukraine. He is about the same age as their 3 year old and he has arthrogryposis the same genetic disorder as their child.  They are expecting to travel to the Ukraine soon to bring him home. If you are a praying person, keep them in your prayers for a safe and uneventful journey there and back.