Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Friday, December 21, 2018

A sad goodbye to the best cat I ever had.

Lucy came to us June 2016 when my  daughter found her in the state park where she walked every day. After a week of seeing her every day she brought her home. From the first day she was special to us. She was so calm and so friendly that she endeared herself to all of us. After my daughter took her to the vet we found out she had feline leukemia. The vet repeated the test as she appeared healthy but the results were the same. He said we could put her down right then or wait and see how she did. It was unanimous that we would wait and see. She was so active and full of life and so much fun that it was easy to forget that she wouldn't live to a ripe old age.

She was a bright spot in my days. She hung out with me in my sewing room and when we watched TV.  She never once sat on my lap but she sat next to me or on my desk or cutting table or sewing machine. She slept in our bedroom on top of Jack's dresser but when I didn't feel well she curled up next to me on the bed.

She inspected and tested every quilt.

She loved to burrow into the folds

She liked to guard the quilt pieces.

When we moved from our daughters house to a first floor apartment, we didn't take Lucy with us. I missed her but I didn't have the heart to take her away from  her big house and yard full of trees and birds and chipmunks. She was supposed to be a house cat but once she got outside there was no way to keep that fast kitty from getting out again. Three weeks ago when I asked how she was and my daughter said she was healthy and contented and the queen of the yard. One week later she started to eat less and less and last Wednesday she died quietly.

I have loved every cat I ever had but Lucy was the sweetest cat and the most fun.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Christmas is coming

I didn't do much sewing for Christmas this year. I made hexagon potholders for the boutique at our church's Christmas luncheon and some hex mug mats to decorated the table that my daughter in law and I decorated for the luncheon. We used my Christmas dishes and one of my quilted table toppers from 2 years ago and the 8 mug mats I made because 4 of my cups were mugs and didn't have saucers. My DIL had a red  tablecloth and a set of goblets. This is always a nice event and different people decorate their tables for 8.  I think our table looked nice enough but some of the tables were really really beautiful. I wish I had photos of all of them but I have only the one that my DIL took with her phone of our table.

We went shopping one day for things we needed and found the little boxes of candy and small sample bottles of different kinds of honey. we gave the candy, honey and mug mats as favors to our table guests.
LOL, someone commented that she liked our whiskey  samples. (She really knew they were honey. Well, I think she knew.)

This is how my table topper and center piece look on my table a home. My poinsettias probably need to be rearranged a little after their trip back home after the luncheon.

This is where the Christmas dishes spend their time until New Years. I don't have them all out anymore. I keep the ones I use everyday in a more convenient place for setting the table and just leave these in the hutch, unless I need more than 4 place settings.  All the other things on the hutch shelves are things that have some meaning to me and I like to think about the people who gave them to me when I get them out every year.

So the dishes are out and so are all the rest of the Christmas things. I will save the rest for another post.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Apron Panel

When I went on a 2 quilt shop road trip a couple of weeks ago, I bought 2 apron panels.

This is one of them. It is all printed along with the instructions on one yard.

The colors show up better here. I had to take shep photos without the flash and the green against the gold is a bit off.

 Close up of the pocket and ties

 The neck strap and and applique motifs to put on the lining on the reverse side .

The other apron panel is hiding, it was right on my table yesterday; maybe it is camera shy. It is the same except for the colors it has blue instead of green and some other differences. I am going to line the both with yellow, maybe a solid or print that reads like a solid.
The designer is  Mary Mulari   The pattern is Chatterbox Apron and she has  number of patterns for sale. If you do a google search you can find the panel at different places on line. I bought mine at Polkadot Pincushion in Richfield Ohio

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows" (James 1:17). Everything we enjoy in the present and coming age is a gift from God worthy of thanksgiving. Let Him receive all honor and praise from your lips today.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Baby Quilt etc.

Before I made the pot holders I finished the 3 row of blocks for another heartbeat baby quilt.

I sewed the blocks into rows and have them pinned on my design wall. I stopped there because I wanted to make the potholders and get all those fabrics put away. 

I am still thinking about whether to use the focus print for the 6 inch strip at the top and the 18 inch strip at the bottom. This is how it would look. The background color is a it darker that the fabric in the blocks but it doesn't love horrible.

This is how it would look with the fabric from the blocks. I think this is the way to go now that I see it in  photograph. The print fabric will be on the back so it will still have kid appeal.

I still have the Christmas fabric sitting on my table and I might be ready to put it away, but maybe not. I made 8 mug mats and maybe I  will make  few more.

I made these for a table my DIL and I are setting for a Christmas luncheon at our church. There are 8 people at each table; the tables are all decorated by different people. We are using my Christmas dishes and 4 of my place settings have saucers and 4 don't. They are all  mugs so they all work out fine without the saucers,  These will be the favors (along with some chocolate) for each person at our table to take home. They measure 5 3/4 inches across the sides and 6 3/4 point to point.

 I have a lot of the polar bear fabric and a lot of the 2 bird fabrics from the potholders. I also have some fat quarters that I bought and didn't use, small pieces of batting, and a giant box of red and green strips that I should either use or lose. So ........ I might make more, we'll see!

Monday, November 12, 2018


I haven't been idle since I finished the "Heartbeat" baby quilt. It seems as though everything takes twice as long to do anymore and I don't find the time to post.

I made some potholders for the boutique at the women's Christmas luncheon at our church. Our quilting group members made several different things so I didn't need to make a large number myself.

I used the tutorial for the Hexagon potholders from SewCanShe blog: it is a good tutorial.

These are the fronts and backs of the 3 different kinds I made. This time I purchased fabric for the potholders but I have also made them in the past using scraps.

I make the backs with a seam that I leave open for turning so I don't have to deal with hand sewing the edge closed. Hand stitching is getting harder all the time for me.

I layer the fronts with Insulbrite and quilt in the ditch then add a layer of Warm and Natural and the back and stitch all around and turn. I stitch in the ditch around the center hexagon to hold it all together.

I made some with 3 fabric strips like these first 2.

The rest are made with 2 fabrics for the strips. They all have the red candy cane backs which is fabric from our quilting closet at church.

I brought some other fabric home from the closet but decided it is large scale print and won't work as well. I will put it back in the closet for another project.

Our quilting group met for breakfast Saturday and then took a road trip to 2 quilt shops. I had been waiting until then I buy fabric for the next "Heartbeat" baby quilt.

This is the focus fabric; I wanted something that was not gender specific.

This is the fabric I will use for the 3 rows of blocks.

It is washed and ready to cut and I
am ready to get started.


Monday, October 22, 2018

A Finish and a Refinish

I Finished the "Heartbeat" baby quilt yesterday. I waited until today to get photos of it because daylight is always better, even coming through the windows.

Front after quilting.

 I quilted in the ditch around all the yellow squares and through the center of them as well with a matching thread.
I had quilted across the diagonal of the Heartbeat blocks with a running zigzag stitch using variegated  thread.
 I marked and quilted a square 3 inch grid over all of the brown bubble fabric using the same running zigzag stitch.  I like that stitch for  children's and whimsical quilts because it is usually forgiving and adds a bit of fun. I frequently use a bright variegated thread as I did here.

 The green blocks were in the center of the quilt and the least easy to maneuver through the machine and there were some problems in that area. I debated about whether to try and fix it and I decided I needed to remove the stitching
across the green and do some"refinishing".

It is better (a little better) but in one area my running zigzag stitches are stretched out. I redid that area once more but I had the same problem and I decided it would be better to leave it and not try again..

The quilt back.

The small shot of the back  shows the quilting best but it really doesn't show up well in real life either.

I like the quilt for the pattern and fabric choices but I am not so happy with my quilting. I am reminding myself that this is a baby quilt which will be used and washed often and I know it will be appreciated. It won't be a wall hanging (at least I hope not).

For now I will go over the quilt and look for any toe catchers and clean off any loose threads from ripping out those seams.

If I make this pattern again (and I think I will) I will skip the third band of Heartbeat blocks and make it according to the original pattern. If I quilt it the same way it will probably be easier with only 2 bands of blocks and I am aware of a couple of reasons I might have created those problems for myself.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018


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

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

Saturday, October 6, 2018

A Flimsy

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

The pattern is "First Heartbeat by Terri Vanden Bosch.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, September 14, 2018

Not Straight

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

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

Friday, September 7, 2018

Autumn Panel

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

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

Thursday, August 30, 2018

A Finish and a Start

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, August 24, 2018

Pinwheel Flimsy

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

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

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

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Another Baby Quilt

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

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

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

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

But not when you step back a few feet.

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

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

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

We'll see!

Friday, July 20, 2018


Last Saturday, I went to our quilting group at church where some of the ladies were sorting through a very large shopping bag of donated scraps.  I hadn't brought anything with me to work on so I went to work helping them. The fabric donor has given us an enormous amount of fabric before this and it is all wonderful quilt shop fabric, some large pieces, some half yards, some fat quarters; it is all washed and pressed. This bag was an assortment of colors and sizes, all jumbled up together. It was like digging into a treasure trove. One of the ladies was looking for "I Spy" pieces and found  a lot of them; the pink scraps caught my attention. I had finished with some orange and yellow improv scrap blocks from my own scrap and was ready for another color. PINK!! 

I started sorting the scraps I brought home and at one point I had a little pile that called out to become a block.

This is the block I made. 

Everything else I was doing got put on hold as I trimmed and cut squares from the scraps and then going through my bins and cutting squares from smallish pieces.

So, I have been energized to tackle  the bins of pieces and parts that are taking up space I am focused on cutting for a few specific patterns that use random scraps.  I  have stacks of cut squares, random strips sorted, by color, into my scrap bins, a big bag of dog bed scraps, and a few empty boxes.

Maybe one day 
I will have a sewing space 
where I can work  without frustration.  
We'll see.

Monday, July 9, 2018

A Flimsie

  I finished  this 34 inch square baby quilt this morning. I had the body of the quilt finished last night but the final seam was 1/8 inch off. All the way, from top to bottom, the blocks didn't match at the corners. I set it aside last night to decide if I wanted to fix it in the morning and I did. Everything else came together as it should so I couldn't leave one entire seam mismatched.

I was going to make this just like the "I Love Cats" quilt with hedgehog and bunny fabric instead of the cat fabric. Then I decided I would make Windmill blocks instead of pinwheels.

I spent 2 days looking for my instructions for making 4 quarter square triangles at once that were all the same. I had it figured out a few years back and I wrote instructions for it so I could do it again. I saved it in my computer but didn't remember the name under which I saved it. I had it almost figured out again when I came across it by accident.

This photo shows the lines I drew for cutting and stitching the layered squares.

Here it is cut apart cut apart. I've stitched to the center on the quarter inch line drawn to the right of the center line and then I shift to the line drawn on the left of the center line. I do this in both diagonal directions. This is helpful when making 3 piece triangle squares, I sew first and then trim and I don't have to deal with working with cut triangle points.

I press the seams open and lay the triangle pieces on the corners of a square and stitch  the long the seam.  I cut them apart and press the seams open again. Then I trim the units to the exact size I need.
The squares I work with all all cut the same size for simplicity. I use this technique for accuracy; I'm not sure if it is faster but my goal is not speed but accuracy.  Accuracy means far less frustration.

So... I made all the Windmill blocks and moved on to the alternate, square in a square, blocks with the hedgehog  fabric. I got one made and put it up on the wall between some of the windmill blocks and stopped. The hedgehog fabric and the bunny fabric would not hold up to the brighter pinwheels. What was I thinking?  All the bright fabric came in a fat quarter bundle and I bought the bundle for the "solid looking" fabrics  but  why not use the other three fabrics in the bundle. Oh....  and forget the square in a square too and skip all the bias edges. 

And here it is a bit closer so the stockings on the clothes line show up. I had decided originally that I would use the orange for the border and I think it works and kind of pulls it all together.

I have come to the conclusion that fat quarter bundles may not be a good idea for me. I am definitely trying not to add any more fabrics to my stash or leftover scraps to my bins. Fat quarters seem harmless but if you change directions after you have done some cutting or make cutting errors some of your options are lost.  Then there are the fabrics in the bundles that  I probably wouldn't buy otherwise and they go into the stash and if the time comes when they are just right for something else the fat quarter is not big enough.