Thursday, August 15, 2019

OMG it's August Already!

Not  a great photo -- apologies!

I spent the day canning antipasto relish, but did have time to take a photo of the current UFO (attached).  I sewed this top back in the early 90's and it hung on the living room wall for a long time (I'd hung it during the xmas season and Mark liked it so much he wouldn't let me take it down).  I'm afraid a lot of my unfinished quilt tops suffer the same fate, although at this point there are only five on the walls and a sixth that is an actual quilt with batting, binding, and everything!!

This particular top came about in two stages.  The four rows of houses on snowy streets came first and that's what hung on the wall for such a long time.  Then I finally took it down and added the stars border, which I am totally in love with.  It's only 43" x 62" so I can pin this up at home and hope to have that done by Sunday.  First I have to piece together the batting using batting scraps I've been saving.  The backing will be a dark navy celestial with gold stars. 

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Pardon My French

Sometimes things just don't work out, right?  That's why so many of us have unfinished projects lurking in our sewing rooms.  So far this year I have been very lucky to complete many of my UFOs with great success, but this one was not to be.  It is a piece of -- pardon my French -- merde.

Navajo quilt top designed by me in 1979.
It looks innocent from far away, but this top was a mess from the get-go.  I made it back in the 70's from 100% cotton solids, which were not that great back then.  There was a lot of fraying and coupled with my incomplete understanding of "best practices" in quilting, e.g., handsewing the pieces together without reference to the 1/4" (or ANY standard, consistent measurement) seam; failing to ensure pieces were cut on the grain;  failing to pay attention (as demonstrated by the center row of mismatched blocks -- although I have to admit I like this variation better) . . . merde happens!

Navajo quilt back, a huge mess!
Pinning up the quilt was an adventure as there were lotsa lumps and I thought, "Oh, that's okay.  I'll quilt them out".  Wishful thinking.  There are some small puckers on the front but the back is a sea of puckers.  After I started quilting the top and the back shifted so I had to add backing fabric to both long sides -- not a pretty sight.

Merde!  This looks grey but it's actually sage green.
Here is a section of the back that is the worst.  You can see the huge pucker (I think you would have to call that a pleat, it's so big!) and the fabric I had to add to the back.

So, it's a mess, but it is finished!  I had the option of taking all the blocks apart and resewing and squaring-up the blocks.  The blocks were sewed by hand so I felt some sentiment and decided to keep it "as is" no matter what the outcome.  It's a quilt--not a good one-- and it won't win any prizes but the design is good.  It was inspired by a Navajo rug that I had back in the 70's and I made all the templates out of cardboard, probably not too accurately.  Quilting was not yet the huge industry it is today, 100% cotton fabrics were hard to find as the market was inundated with polyester, and I could go on baying excuses but the bottom line is merde!

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Last of the minis

13-1/2" x 15" vintage hearts mini quilt
This is the last of them, for a while at least.  As far as I know, I do not have any other bags of mini quilt tops buried in the sewing room.  I barely know what I have in there anymore!  But I AM using up good bits of my stash of quilting cottons.  Yay! Unfortunately, I have yards and yards of fashion fabrics which I will probably put in my etsy shop someday soon. 

This morning I started quilting the 4-patch/string top and once that is done I will start cutting the fabrics for a wedding quilt. 

Have a good one!  Oh, and please try to be courteous and not shoot off fireworks in close proximity to other homes.  Dogs and cats, as well as many people (especially veterans) and babies, can be traumatized by the noise.  We are lucky enough to live in a city that provides an impressive municipal fireworks display; of course, that doesn't prevent neighborhood idiots from spending half their paycheck in an effort to blow themselves up, despite the fact that shooting off fireworks within the city limits is illegal.  We actually have a neighborhood just outside the city limits that puts on what they call The Fireworks War.  It's quite scary!

So, probably no sleep tonight even with the ear plugs.  This is one holiday I hate.  

Tuesday, July 2, 2019


Vintage mini Baskets 13" x 13"

Vintage mini Card Tricks 11-1/2" x 14"

Vintage mini Old Maid's Trick 13" x 13"
I have only one more to complete and will do that tomorrow.  Then on to quilting the strings and 4 patch I made back in April.  After that, I will be making a wedding quilt for my daughter -- she wants to have her guests sign the quilt rather than a guest book and then will use the quilt in the beach house.  I need to get the whole thing done before September.  What do you think?  Can I do it?

Sunday, June 30, 2019

More Minis!

12-1/2" x 14-1/2"
So, yes, I finished three more today.  This surprise stash of mini quilt tops has been fun!  I'm using up a lot of batting scraps and these little quilts are a wonderful pick-me-up for a hot and humid day!  Wish I could remember the name of the pattern in the first one.  I made a larger scale quilt using this pattern which is no doubt lurking in the quilt closet pining for a bed to lay upon!

Lively pinwheels  11" x 13"
By far, the most fun pattern for little scraps!  I could have added another border to this one, but chose not to do so.  I like it the way it is.

"Hearts"  10-1/2" x 13"
And finally my favorite hearts pattern.  I've made many versions of this pattern and have lots of other minis that I have used as Valentine "cards" . . . including a "Blue Valentines" version. 

Tomorrow I go to the library to pin up at least one more full-size quilt.  I might have time and energy to pin up two and if that's the case I will be all caught up with finished vintage tops (except for the Picasso).    In the meantime, I have four more minis to finish and they are so fast and easy, I will probably finish those before I start working on the full-size quilts.  Besides, my poor little Pfaff is probably overworked at this point.  I might need to give it a vacation and pull out the old Singer 99K.  Hate using a walking foot, though. 

Saturday, June 29, 2019


I found a bag of mini quilt tops that I'd finished sometime before the 21st century started.  I'm telling you, there are things lurking in my work room that I don't even know what they are.  A couple of days ago I also found some really cute aprons that I made some time after the 21st century started, but can't remember exactly when.

There were eight mini quilt tops in the bag and this was the first to be finished today.  It's 13" x 13" and the little stars are 3" square.  In the photo upper right you can see the batting scraps; I basted some of these together for the quilt's batting.  In the upper left of the photo you can see my weird, home made pin cushion that looks like a diaphragm.  But, hey, it works!  Since it is so hot, these will be fun to finish in the cool work room.  More later!

Saturday, June 22, 2019

and another finish!

Pioneer Braid which took more than 30 years to complete.
 And here is the Pioneer Braid . . . finished!  I'm not that happy with the values here, but I like the quilt anyway. The heavy wool blanket that I used for batting was easy to quilt but it sure is heavy!  Egads, this thing must weight eight or nine pounds. 

Daffy says "This is now mine."
While I was cleaning up the quilt, cutting threads and pulling the basting out, Daffy decided to jump up and plop herself down in the middle of it!  Her paws are crossed, which in her language means "I own this."  Cats love quilts!

Today I am quilting Daughter of Ohio Star and it's going well.  Should finish that one by tomorrow.

Hope you're having a good day!

Friday, June 14, 2019

70's UFOs

Yesterday I sewed the binding on the large Ohio Star quilt, so that is finished.  Monday I'll be pinning up the daughter of the large Ohio Star quilt and that should be done next week -- quilted and bound and folded up and put in the pile of quilts finished in 2019.  Yay for me! 
Daughter of Ohio Star scheduled for pin-up Monday!
A couple of weeks ago I found more UFOs stuffed in the quilt closet.  I started these back in the late 70's early 80's; I'll be working on these in the next few weeks.  The first one is a native American design and I have no idea where I found this pattern, but it was long ago when there were few quilt books, so I think I probably saw the design on a blanket or a book and drafted the pattern myself.  In any case, it is quite the wonky piece of work!  Most of it is hand sewed but there is also some machine sewing.  At the time I started this, I wasn't well-acquainted with the concept of 1/4" seams.  Uh hmmm.

70's top inspired by Navaho design, I believe.
Needless to say, I have no more of the rust colored fabric, but I do have plenty of the gold, green, and black.  At this point I'm simply going to add a border and let it be.  You can see that center row is quite different.  I mean, really, you'd need a calculator to keep count of all the mistakes made in this one.  Nevertheless, I like it and I'm going to finish it.  Hopefully there won't be too many puckers in the finished quilt!!  Stay tuned for more on this one.

Pioneer Braid that I started in the early 80's.  That's my father's woolen blanket from WWII.
This is one I envisioned would be so cool, but it is a lot harder than I anticipated (which is why it has dawdled in the UFO pile for over 30 years).  Back in the 70's I made a small Pioneer Braid wall hanging and loved it so much I though I would make a bed-sized version.  I had this wonderful woolen blanket that my father had from WWII; I thought it would make a great batting.  It is VERY thick, so we will see how my machine reacts to the quilting chore.  I am working on this one now making a few more braids to fit the width of the blanket.  My plan is to take four fabrics from the stash and sew them directly to the back of the blanket and then sew the braids to the top one by one, overlapping the seams.  No border is planned for this one.  This one has fabrics from the 50's through the present but technically it isn't a "charm" quilt because there are a few repeats -- not many, but that still makes it NOT a charm quilt.  Wish me luck!!

Monday, May 20, 2019

Early May update

April quilt with border!
 Here is the April quilt with border added.  It's quite colorful and really cheers me up.  I find that finishing these tops is not quite a difficult as finding the right backing fabric.  However, I have so much yardage that finding the PERFECT backing for this was much easier than usual, probably because it is so colorful just about anything would work.

And a word about that.  I tend to use 19th century reproduction/civil war or calico fabrics in my tops.  That isn't to say that I don't have yards and yards of Tula Pink and Amy Butler, etc.  I just don't seem to be able to incorporate those fabrics in something like this, where the original blocks are so dark.

This one is set to be pinned up in August unless I can find another place to do my pinning.  Currently, I use the public library because they have conference rooms with large tables.  However, they only let groups use them and only once a month. 

Original photo of quilt (L) and my cheat sheet (R).
 And now we come to the early May quilt.  I found the photo of this quilt in a book borrowed from the library.  I have no idea which book, but it is so scrappy and chaotic I just had to make it.   The blocks are 4-1/2" and I used telephone book pages for the paper piecing of the string blocks.  Remember telephone books?
Ta Da!!  Love it!
I just love it.  It's not big (51" x 60") and I'm in the process of choosing the backing for it and will bind it with the same red that's in the border.  There are 63 four patches and 56 string patches in this.  I have to tell you that I made so many mistakes putting this together I was getting very frustrated and I pulled out miles of stitching!  Worth it!

Back to the UFO bin for my next project.  What will it be?

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Almost There!

Just the "center" part of the quilt.  What will the border be?
Here's a new one I started this week.  The six blocks on the outside and the pastel block in the middle were from a trade where the blocks were supposed to be 12-1/2",  but none of these even came close to 12".  For the original trade, I wound up making six blocks to replace these and sending those off instead.  But since I've always been intrigued by this pattern,  so I kept them and knew I would one day turn them from UFOs to a finished quilt.  You can see I added a very thin sashing between the blocks, primarily because Sabryin complained there was "too much white" and then I decided to cut the 160-something 2-1/2" squares (one-by-one by the way) and use those for the background.

Now I am at the point where I need to determine what the border will be.  If you have ideas, leave a comment. 

Friday, April 19, 2019

Adventures in Seam Ripping

Laid out the finished top to measure and OOPS! Can you see it?
I finished this top from long-ago UFO ('90s) tan and burgundy Ohio Stars and I was really happy with the arrangement.  Unfortunately, not every one of the blocks was exactly 9-1/2", so there was a lot of seam ripping and resewing involved in getting this far.   Then I laid out the top and realized my adventure in seam ripping was not over yet!  Can you see it?
Yep.  Those triangles are headed in the wrong direction.
 Well, this sort of thing happens to the best of quilters so it is unsurprising that it happened to me.  However, I was up to the task and ripped those seams and replaced those errant triangles with white and it is now a really cool top.  Hope to get it pinned and quilted soon.

What to do with left-over blocks!  
And there were eleven blocks left over and there is no such thing as a "left-over" in my stash, so I made one more Ohio Star block to make this little crib quilt, which is 50" x 63".  Not quilted yet, but soon.

Then I wanted to talk about making quilts.  These two are the fourth and fifth quilts I've made for myself so far this year (I've also made two small quilts for a client).  I have a quilt closet which is completely full and one full five-shelf bookcase.  I sometimes try to count them, but I get really wrapped up in the sewistry and the textiles and colors that I lose track; but there are probably close to two hundred.  Every time I tell my sister I'm making a new quilt (which I'm always doing at this point), she says "What for?  Don't you have enough already?  You should try to sell them!"  Some of my friends share the same opinion.  So, why is it wrong for me to want to keep my quilts?

Every quilt I've ever made and gave away is still in my heart.  I remember one that I made for a public radio fund-raising auction.  It was stolen.  I have made innumerable quilts for new babies of friends and family and I always wonder what happened to them.  Are they in storage?  Were they sold at garage sales?  Were they destroyed by the family pet?  Used as beach or picnic blankets or -- HORRORS!  -- truck bed liners!  I know of one that was given away, but at least it's still in the family.  I loved it and I poured my heart and soul into making it but it was not treasured as I had hoped. 

So, I keep them.  Can you relate to this, or am I the only one?

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Another One Bites the Dust

Sorry about the lighting, which seems to seriously mute all the colors! 
This week I was rearranging my quilt closet, trying to fit a couple more quilts in there, and found four UFOs, one of which was this 16-patch.  I just added a 3" border of white muslin and a 1-1/2" border of scraps and then another 3" muslin border and voila!  C'est fini!

This top was made back in the early 80's when I was trading 5" and 1-1/2" squares, so it is a real archive of vintage fabrics,  some of which are from the 40's, 50's, 60's, and 70's. 

I have to admit, I miss the old days when we traded fabrics via the mail.  The trades in which I was involved required ten different 5" squares of fabric and it was a wonderful way to stretch your collection when making charm quilts.  This quilt qualifies as a charm quilt because every fabric is different. 

The center part of the quilt contains 964 different fabrics and the border has 43, so over one thousand different fabrics! 

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Windmills in Indiana

20"  square Windmill in earth tones.
I was very lucky to have a custom order for two of these little Windmill quilts, made for a special person who volunteers at a windmill museum in Indiana.  I had no idea there was a windmill museum in Indiana, but there is!   I love making these little 3-1/2" windmill blocks -- great for making the very scrappy quilts I love so much.  
Obviously, a close-up of the 3-1/2" windmill blocks.
Each quilt is a little different in terms of the fabrics used, but they are almost identical. I had so much fun working on this special project and I hope the recipient loves them as much as I do!
Just simple, geometrical quilting, but sturdy!
I kept the quilting very simple, in the ditch and geometrical and it is all very sturdy.  I always pull my bobbin thread up before starting a row of quilting, but I did have some trouble with bird's nests forming on the back side despite being so careful.  Maybe my Pfaff is tired; maybe she needs to go to the sewing machine spa and get a professional cleaning.  After all, I have been working her pretty hard lately! 

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Seeing Stars!

Remember the last post and that pile of 6" star blocks?  There were 63 and the first quilt I made was so much fun I decided to make two!

As you can see, the first one I made is at left.  For the background triangles I used a really pretty light floral with little pink flowers which coordinated well with the tan paisley.  I'm sorry you can't see the fabrics very well in this photo.

Currently, I'm trying to put together a backing for this quilt and the problem is finding a piece in my stash that is 4 yards, 4 inches.  I refuse to buy new fabrics to make any of these quilts as I have thousands of yards of gorgeous, appropriate fabrics in my stash.

All that's left to complete this one is the backing and quilting.

For the second quilt I had to make an additional 6" block as each quilt required 32 stars.  This one features a vintage blue floral (gotta be 90's but could be 80's) for the bars and I chose a mellow gold floral for the background.  This is a color combo I really love -- it's like a sunny day late summer.  Wheat and deep blue sky.

Now the search begins for a backing.   Finding fabrics for backing in my stash is not so easy because I have so much.  I have way too much fabric; it's sinful.  But I am resolved to use only that which I have on hand.  The only thing I do have to purchase to finish these two quilts is batting.

This is the thing with UFOs:  they go together fast, so it's really satisfying to finish these projects.  Unfortunately, my quilt closet is floor to ceiling full of quilts. 

Friday, February 15, 2019

New projects

Just before pinning up!  
Howdy!   It's snowing!  The Trees quilt is completed, quilted and folded and put away in the quilt closet.  Unfortunately, the closet is completely full of quilts; I need another closet.  I already have a bookshelf full of quilts in the bedroom and one in the quilt room and every room, including the kitchen and bathroom,has at least one quilt top on the wall (most have two).  My friend Corless always asks "Shouldn't you be doing something with these?"  My question back is "Like what?"  I mean, you can only give so many away and, for me at least, giving them away has never been very satisfying.  That is to say, I don't feel that the recipients fully appreciate them.  I'm like a "cat lady" except with quilts.  Anyway, thank you so much to everyone who shared an opinion about the border fabric!  It was very, very helpful.  I hope you like what I chose.

I will choose one of these light florals and use the paisley on the bottom for connecting bars.
Aside from that, I am starting a new UFO project today--
a group of 63 little 6-1/2" stars that are actually hand-sewn.  I'm not a vain person but I have to brag on the apparently mighty fine hand-sewing I was able to produce in my 50's, which is when I made these stars.  Wish I could take a photo of these tiny, tiny stitches.  Anyway, those days are gone!  My fingers are just not that flexible anymore.  I'm going to arrange these on point bar-chart fashion and I found some really pretty tiny florals for the connecting triangles and a gorgeous paisley for the connecting bars.  Fingers crossed, though I reserve the right to change my mind.

Sunday, January 20, 2019


Your choices
On a cold winter day, I'd rather be quilting, but I'm having difficulty deciding on which of these fabrics might be the best border for the trees blocks top.  I'm hoping you'll help me decide by voting for one of the options.  Counter-clockwise from lower left to upper right.

#1, lower left -- an olive green paisley
#2, above that -- another olive green paisley with a lot more red
#3, tan paisley
#4, blue and tan floral
#5, below that, brown and red floral
#6, upper right, brown and red floral
#7, no border at all, just bind it with deep red or dark blue

Thanks for your vote!  xoxo

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Hate It!

Greetings from Snowmageddon Land!  Three days of snow, three days of shoveling snow, and three days of worrying if I have Alzheimers and wandered off and inadvertently wound up in the Northern Territory.  Only two days of worrying if my roof is going to be able to hold up under the weight of all this snow!  Knock on wood!

Giving me plenty of time to fiddle with the Trees blocks.  To the left is my brilliant idea of gradient color in the connecting blocks.  I hate it!  I consulted with Sabryin, my color expert, and he said he liked it better without the color.  So, in honor of all the "white" we are surrounded by these days, it's going to represent a forest after three days of snow.  I did decide to keep the border triangles in this mushroom color, though; gives it a nice frame.

And then I have a story to tell.  Friday, when the snow started,  I was ironing Sab's work shirts and my favorite Shark iron just quit working.  I shook it and fiddled with it but it would not resuscitate.  As Snowmageddon poured forth, there was no way I could leave to buy a replacement.  As I pondered my bad luck I spied my old Rowenta under the cutting table.  I put it there long ago after it failed to live up to my steam needs-- maybe ten years ago, actually -- and upon sighting it occasionally my reaction would be to sneer.  It's the same way I feel about Bernina.  "Top of the Line," or so they hope you will believe.  Well, I removed it from exile, wiped it down, added water, and turned it on.  I ironed pants, shirts, and plenty of quilt blocks while feet of snow were dumped on us.

Now that we have unburied the cars and dug out the driveway, the possibility exists that I can replace the Rowenta, but I have decided not to do so because now I like it!  It has been doing a really great job (still not enough steam to suit me, but it'll do) and maybe I'll get my money's worth out of it yet! 

Sunday, January 6, 2019


Not a great photo.  Still learning how to use the iphone camera!
Here it is, just pinned to the "Design Wall," which is just a quilt hanging backwards from a curtain rod.  These are 6-1/2" blocks and, as usual, I had one extra.  Why do I always do that?!  Anyway, now the task is to decide what background fabric(s) to use to pull the whole thing together.  

With blocks like this I usually use a lighter fabric in the center and use a slightly darker fabric in the middle and an even darker fabric in the outer areas.  I tried blues and greens, but didn't like those as much as the tans, so at this point I'm favoring the tan fabrics, which will make a very subtle movement toward the outer areas.  

We will see if I have the appropriate fabrics to pull this off because at this point I am using ONLY STASH fabrics -- not buying new.  

Currently quilting the North Wind quilt "in the ditch".  It will need some supplemental quilting as well, but the test will be if my shoulders hold out.  I know, I can hear you saying "Take lots of breaks."  Easier said than done, as I get rather manic when I'm quilting.  My mantra is "Get this sucker DONE!"  

Happy New Year!  xoxo

Monday, November 12, 2018

Snow, Snow Patty

Little 3-1/2" Forest blocks
 So we are having snow in early November.  It's pretty unusual to have so much so early -- it's not even winter yet!  Three weeks ago I quit my job and since then I have been acting like life is one big vacation; but it has been very boring.  I have been reading books -- like three or four a week -- and doing chores; I'm not a shopper, which seems to be everyone else's #1 recreational activity.  So cooking, reading, and doing chores, that's my life now.  One chore is, of course, the elimination of UFOs that have proliferated in my sewing room over the past few decades.
What the forest might look like, eventually.
I have dozens of choices, but I chose this basket of little 3-1/2" Forest blocks.  I made a king-size quilt using this pattern as a 6" block back in the 90s and it is a favorite on the beds, especially in the winter time.  What I'd like to do with these is alternate four-tree blocks with a house block that I haven't yet designed.  If any of you out there have a cool house block that is on point and you're willing to share, bring it!!

Sunday, June 17, 2018

You F.O.

You Finished One!
It always seems that every UFO I finish spawns another quilt, typically a smaller one that is fun and fast to finish.  This one is a mere 43" square but it's awfully cute.  There are three fabrics I'm considering for the backing -- only using fabrics from the stash now, not buying new. 

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Backing for the North Wind Quilt

When you don't want to buy new fabric and just use what you've got!
The North Wind top is done and I just did not want to go out and buy more fabric, so I decided to piece a backing using what I have.  It's not a new thing for me; I've been doing it for decades.  But I had no substantial yardage of the Kaffe Fasset fabrics.  Notice in the lower left and upper right corners the I Ching blocks.  Now that this is done, I've got to get the batting and pin it up so I can quilt it.  Should be fun!  The finished size will be something like 68 x 74. 

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Friendship Quilt -- The Feel Good Quilt

This is the third quilt in the exhibit and I apologize that the photo of the whole quilt is so bad.  The exhibit is now hung at the library and I think it will be easier to take good photos of this and the other quilts in that venue.

You can see the block that Terrie Jensen made is dated '98 and this is a 20th century quilt.  The genesis of this quilt was painful employment, to be honest.  At the time I was manager of business operations of the health management and informatics department at the University.  It was brutal; just a real nightmare.  The stress was overwhelming -- both emotionally and physically -- and I was very expressive about it to my quilting buddies in the Lucky Block group.

In those days many people were on the internet, but not all were so there was still a lot of letter-writing.   Sindy Rodenmayer (TX) organized this quilt among the ladies of Lucky Block and some of the other round robins in which I was involved.  The block design is very simple:  just a muslin square on which you could write, paint, embroider, or applique anything you though might cheer me up.  You can see some of the samples here. 

When I received this box of blocks in the mail, it was totally a surprise.  Imagine how much joy it brought me to see each of these blocks, each festooned with joyful, warm, positivity designed only to make me FEEL GOOD!  It was a big, LOUD message that I was loved and that friendship and love can overcome.  It still makes my heart swell when I see it and think of all the love that went into it. 

The blocks were made by Addie Stedile, Iva Lynn Martin, Wanda Stivison, Joyce Ilona Koch, Susan McGrath, Joan Williamson, Tammy Townsend, Ferrell Wojahn, Nancy Schaub, Marcia Anderson, Dale Ritson, Carol Beltz, Alvera Dothage, Lily Thomas, Lucy Radatz, Carla Drvenkar, Margaret Hawtin, Helen Bravington, Terrie Jensen, Sindy Rodenmayer, Elizabeth Boswell, Florence
Edmonds, Marji Rhine, Jennifer Moore, Jeanine Kelsey, Betty Dippy, Myra Hill, Edith Tibbs, and Isabelle Sanders.  The border was created and constructed by Terrie Jensen (genius) and it was machine quilted using the clamshell pattern.


Sunday, April 1, 2018

Friendship Quilt Exhibit -- My Right Foot

My Right Foot quilt, ca 1995
This is the second quilt that will be hanging in the Friendship Quilt exhibit at the regional library.  Titled "My Right Foot," it was inspired by my having broken my ankle on April 4, 1994.  I'd been working in the garden planting corms and bulbs and seedlings since around 7:30 am and I hadn't had anything to eat or drink all day.  It was about 4:30 pm and Sabryin was sitting on the other side of the yard making a watercolor.  I remember wanting to get a drink of water, so I went inside and did just that and was walking back down the hill when I stepped on a sweetgum seed pod, which propelled me up into the air and down on the ankle.  I remember laying there on the ground lifting my leg and realizing my foot wasn't attached by bone!! As luck would have it, we live only five minutes from a very cool emergency room and I was in surgery only a couple of hours later.  But I still hadn't eaten anything.  My only meal of the day came at 10:30 pm but it was the most delicious chicken sandwich I ever tasted!! 

This was the theme for the My Right Foot quilt, which was produced as a group effort by the row-by-row robin organized by Wanda Stivison of New Plymouth, OH in 1995.  I made the 2nd row from the top -- the golden figure that seems to be falling (that's me).  The top row was made by Carolyn Nelson of Cobury, OR and the 3rd, 4th, and bottom rows were made by Jeanine Kelsey of Ogden, UT, Shoni Toledo Dee, and Janys Toledo of Chinle, AZ.  As the robin packet was making its way to us, Wanda learned that Jeanine had been diagnosed with congestive heart failure and was told she didn't have long to live, so we were all asked to put a rush on finishing our rows for her quilt. 

Jeanine did pass away but not from the heart failure.  They later discovered she had cancer and that's what took her.

This quilt was made during society's transition from snail mail to e-mail, so each of these ladies got individual letters from me in which I complained about realizing I was not only right-handed, but I discovered I was also right-footed!  I couldn't use the foot pedal for my sewing machine with my left foot and I was jonesing from not being able to sew.  Of course, that was just a minor inconvenience compared with all the other traumas I had to endure while not being able to walk.  The doctors put me in a cast and gave me a pair of crutches which I could not use, so I turned them in and got a folding wheelchair.  Smart move because it enabled me to  actually go to work within two weeks.  Gardening was an even bigger challenge; basically, I crawled around planting seeds and pulling weeds for a few weeks.  You can see how they responded to my complaints; they filled their rows with reminders of how I would soon be back at it once the ankle healed.  And it did!

The top was full of such wonderful color and fabric and incorporates many techniques including applique and embroidery and also embellishments of ribbon and beads.  I was flummoxed when it came to creating a border and complained about that to the extent that Terri Jensen volunteered to create the border, which I think pulls it all together.  She's a genius!

Next time:  The Feel Good Quilt


Saturday, March 10, 2018

Friendship Quilts Exhibit -- The Marching Band Quilt

In April our regional library is having an exhibit of friendship/signature quilts -- tops created with blocks or rows by different people and assembled and quilted by the recipient or someone else.  I am very, very lucky to have many friendship quilts; I must have over a dozen.  Normally, I don't enter my quilts in exhibits, but this time I decided to submit three to the curated event because it's local and the quilts will be displayed in such a way that people really won't be able to touch them.  Amazingly, all three will be included in the exhibit! 

Marching Band quilt from Lucky Block ladies, 1992.
This is the Marching Band quilt that I received in  1992.  The block party was organized by Alicia McCarty from whom I had adopted the Lucky Block lottery group.  Each block was made by a different member and their signatures are in the little strip blocks on the right and left borders.  The fabrics are all plaids and the pattern is simply a nine-patch consisting of five smaller nine-patches.  I never met a nine-patch I didn't love and this one is sheer ecstacy!

I received the blocks by mail in a big box and assembled them, placing the signature blocks in the border.  On the bottom border I added a white strip on which I wrote "Plaid Marching Band blocks made by Lucky Block members and presented to [me] in December 1992 by Alicia McCarty".  Next to the strip I appliqued two red hearts slightly akilter for drama. 

The block makers were from all over the country and some from other countries:  Jeanette Anderson, Christ Church, New Zealand; Wendy Beckett; Catie Blouin; Patty Jo Brown; Florence Byler; Cheryl Coville; Nancy Davis; Kim Smiley Dublin; Lynn Froese; Kathleen Freeman, Milwaukee, WI; Donna Marsh; Lorey Martin; Alicia McCarty; Joan Williamson, Winnetka, IL; Jo Anne Ward, Artesia, NM; Susan Wallace; Lily Thomas, Snohomish, WA; Theresa Stojan, Houston, TX; Wanda Stivison, Cambridge, OH; Jean Smith, St. Louis, MO; Addie Stedile, Nelson, British Columbia, Canada; Connie Sager, Nashville, KS; Laurie Rolan; Sindy Rodenmayer; Rebecca Patton; Penny McEachin, Creswell, OR.
Bad photos, but #2 shows the strip and hearts and #3 is a signature block.

Love this quilt!  If you're interested in the pattern, just leave a comment.  In the next few posts I will highlight another quilt that will be included in the exhibit.  xoxo

Monday, January 15, 2018

Kaffe Fasset Quilts in Ireland

Love my public library! 
So, yesterday I worked on the North Wind quilt, finally making all the blocks and sewing them together to make a top.  Now I need to design the border(s) and then put it together with the batting and backing, bind it, and voila another quilt!!

We are so lucky to have one of the most fabulous regional libraries in our city and I use it several times a week to check out dvds and books.  Currently binge-watching "Midsomer Murders" and always have a "Don Matteo" dvd on hand.  Saturday I found this newish book and in it found a quilt I would like to try.  It's made using the paper piecing method, which is very wasteful of both fabric and paper, but it is a really lively looking quilt and I can't resist.  We shall see.


Saturday, January 13, 2018

North Wind

North Wind pattern in Kaffe Fasset prints, 9-1/2" blocks.
Well, I made some progress with the sewing mojo problem!  I have 27 of these blocks so far and am aiming for 30; so by the end of today I should be done with block making.  From that point on, I don't know how it will go, that is to say how many borders I will add or what they will be.

All I know is I do not feel I was adventurous enough with the fabric combinations and I didn't have enough Fasset lights to make all the blocks I needed so there are three other prints in here that are not KF (so sue me). 

Another thing I know is that I did not enjoy working with the KF prints.  I do not think the quality of the fabric is equivalent to the price paid; it's too wimpy . . . I don't even think starch would help.  The print designs are glorious, for the most part, and worthy of much better quality fabric.

This, by the way, is a very fun pattern and especially useful for using up scraps.  I am happy to share the pattern; just leave a comment. 


Sunday, December 31, 2017

BHG American Patchwork & Quilting 1985

I have a large collection of quilt books purchased mostly BTI (before the internet) and I always enjoy browsing through this thirty-two year old volume.  There is now an American Patchwork & Quilting magazine, and I assume that came about after the success of this book. 

It's full of classic patterns, excellent instructions, interesting techniques, and great ideas.  It did inspire a few quilts and I loved making the Ocean Waves picture frames.

This book features some fashions of the times (mutton sleeves, cutter quilt jackets and vests, patchwork skirts), unfortunately reminding me of Ralph Lauren who caused a crisis in the quilting community by starting the trend of cutting up quilts to make fashion. 

What I like the most about this book is the blend of classic and modern and the presentation of techniques that deviate from the classic quilt-making methods.  In the mid-eighties we were redefining "quilt" to include many more artistic versions.  And this was also BTQK (before the quilt kit), so if you wanted to make a quilt you had to go out and find, buy, and cut all your own fabrics BY HAND. 


Friday, December 29, 2017

A birthday treat!

Thirty years ago, the Queen of QAYG!  $19.95

Who remembers Georgia Bonesteel?  Remember Lap Quilting, something we fondly nicknamed "quilt as you go."   This is her book published in 1987, original price $19.95 plus tax.  Although it's full of wonderful quilt patterns and fabulous photos thereof, I made zero quilts using this book.  Typical.

The other day when I was at the library I found a book by a young author (all the quilting books these days are from young authors; if only there were new ideas) called Quilt as You Go Made Vintage, a follow-up to her previously published Quilt as You Go Made Modern.  Of course, the difference between the "old" 20th century QAYG books and the QAYGMM books is the fabric. 

Oh, there are other differences, too.  The old 20th century books are hardbacks for durability.  Also, the approach is more dignified, scholarly, artistic.  The "modern" books are all about FAST, EASY and focus on the fabrics. And they constantly rename old block patterns . . . all part of the modernizing process or the copyright issues, I dunno. It's all good, though.  I mean, whatever it takes to get people interested in making quilts and buying lots of fabric, right?

This is one of the gifts I got for my birthday this year.  Unfortunately, my camera did not do it justice.  It is a handcrafted seam ripper with a beautiful wooden handle (Indian Rosewood) made by Marlynn Dexter of Kearney, Nebraska.  It was purchased at Bluestem; you might be able to find one at their website.  Marlynn also makes pens using beautiful wood.

And, then, I tell you I got my sewing mojo back today.  I made five blocks with the Kaffe Fasset prints and I hope to continue making more tomorrow.  Stay tuned!  Oh, and stay warm!!  xoxo

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

So, what happened?

Birds in the Air quilt made back in the 90's.  A classic pattern.
So what happened?  No blogging for almost a year!!  I lost my sewing mojo.  All I have made this past year were a few tote bags and a few other little accessory items.  No quilts.  I blame it on the Kaffe Fasset fabrics.  I hate the I Ching blocks that I made!  I enjoy making classic scrap quilts like the one above.  This quilt actually was not a favored quilt and sat in the basement on the old sofa.  We only used it when there was a tornado warning or when guests came and we vacated the upstairs bedrooms.  This was a basement quilt.  But I found it during one of my "gotta clean up this freaking chaos" moods and it was the perfect storm:  Bhu had just horked up on the upstairs bedroom quilt, so I had to wash it.  I replaced it with this and it remains to this day.  We love it!  Lively, colorful, happy!  THAT is the kind of quilt I want to make.

"So, who's stopping you," you ask?  No one, except me.  I just can't get into it.  I drafted the pattern for this quilt long ago and so I figured I could still draft the pattern from scratch.  When I should have a 9" block, I wound up with a 7" block.  So when I say I lost my sewing mojo, that's part of it.  Apparently, I have also lost my geometry mojo.  God help me I don't lose my checkbook reconciliation mojo!! 

I guess I will keep at it and try drafting the pattern again and stick with it until I get it right (or surrender to modern times and google the pattern).  One of the side effects of losing the sewing mojo is that none of the fabric gets used.  It just sits there collecting dust.  Someone suggested going out and buying a new piece of fabric to "jump start" the mojo; but I've done that several times this year and it don't work, folks.  Just no.  I need no more fabric.

Has this ever happened to you and what did you do or not do that made the difference and got you your sewing mojo back??  

Monday, January 16, 2017

I Ching Quilt Day Two #51

Hexagram #51:  Kan -- Shake (or Shock)
The lasting impact of a major shock can be stimulating or debilitating, depending on your inner strength of character.  The critical factor is your ability to become immune to fear, thereby enabling you to transform anxiety into laser-sharp perception.  Or so it has been interpreted.

What will I do if the coin toss brings duplicate of hexagrams already revealed?  That's the point of random; I will be duplicating them. 

See you tomorrow!  xoxo