Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Some Crafty Swaps

I agreed to help administer two of the groups in Swap-Bot, and that means hosting swaps. Thing is, I am not in the stage of my life that I want more, so when I create a swap, I try to think of what I actually want.
One thing that is easy to make and that I want for myself is a tarot bag. I didn't want to make one that took me too much time. I still have a couple that one of my dear friends made years ago. There are many loose decks on my shelves, that seemed to be a great idea and I may end up making two of this pattern so I can keep one.

The bag is meant to hold a deck, fold over and be tied. It works for me as it is; so I will use the idea and make a second one for the exchange. I think that a lot of people in our culture are so used to commercial or store-bought items that they look for perfection from those who hand make them. I not one of those kind of people. I want to feel the fabric, sense the energy and enjoy its simplicity.

Another swap I created is called Trickster, Jester, Fool and invites participants to make any art form honoring the Archetype. I made a mug rug.  Its cute enough and measures 11x7, which is on the larger side, but still within the standard size for them.
I want to cut my pattern down a little and make another one. Yes, it is one of the Archetypes from the Jungian Psych course.

This course focuses on shadow Archetypes & the collective unconscious, which inspired me to create a swap called Insect Spirit Guides. It uses a generator to get the Spirit Guide for your partner, allowing those who sign up to start right away. The one that came up for me to give my partner was the Moth. I looked for quilt patterns, and found Robert Kaufman's Ghost Moth. Mine is going to be scrappy on white muslin (I think) rather than one coordinated colorway as seen in the pattern. I sorted colors & cut out 36 Moths first. The 10" squares scraps overflowed their container and were ready for a new project. Hopefully there will be enough of the white muslin, or if it needs more than what is here, perhaps a light sky blue.  A diagonal grid will work as machine quilting.   

Monday, January 30, 2017

Waiting for Mr. Postman

It is with great pleasure that I purchased items to keep my UFO projects going. I realize that stopping a UFO project because I ran out of materials to finish it is risky. There are three quilt tops/backs ready for batting, and two other projects that need fabric. Because I live an hour away from the big city shopping, when I go to Palmdale, I make a list and spend the day. Well. I soon realized that it was cheaper for me to order online and get only what I needed. Impulse shopping in the store always happens and I can double the amount of money that I spend.

I've reached a point in the work I've taken on for this year to finish my UFOs that puts me up against some of the biggest obstacles I set for projects. The next one is making aprons for two of my Granddaughters. I am a quilter and this is a sewing project. The next one after that is embroidery, and my small motor skills are waning all the time. I used to embroider later in the evenings as a way to relax. However, all the shaking in my hand makes it harder to thread a needle AND to sew even stitches. Both of these projects need me to work on them earlier in the day when I still feel refreshed.

Essential Tremors is a condition any one can get at any age. It is progressive and because there is little research about it, there is no treatment. Mine is relatively minor at this stage, but clearly is interfering with hand quilting or hand sewing.

Also, on my creative to-do list are a few items for SwapBot exchanges. They are new projects that I can do while I wait for the postal delivery.

Sunday, January 29, 2017


As I watched some documentaries for my Jungian class, I was also able to make the two potholders for a swap. Such an easy project, probably because they were UFOs in a box ready to finish. I pieced the Insul-Bright scraps, layered fabric, the IB, then a scrap of batting, another IB and the final fabric.

It came together nicely and I had another scrap that was just the right length to make binding for both potholders. They are large enough to grip in the hand and fold over the hot edge of a pot or tray. And they can hold a pot on a table without damaging it.

The videos I watched were for an examination of the Magician Archetype in our culture. I had not heard of the Piano Guys & very much liked hearing their music and seeing the scenery in this one. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mOO5qRjVFLw

The next one was Keith Jarret, who is known as a very creative jazz pianist. So pianos seemed to be the sound of the day. He is talented.

Then I watched an interview with Victor Frankl, who wrote "Man's Search for Meaning" that I read in high school. I was fascinated with him then and now. After the interview, there was an animated book review, which, again was brilliant.

The final one I watched was Smothers Brothers Smothered Documentary   I lived during this time, remembered most of it (my second delivery was right at the time the show was canceled). These two men were examples of the Magician and the Fool Archetypes, both of whom are opposite and complementary. It was a MAJOR education. Tommy seemed to be this very innocent, silly fool in front of the camera. Yet, the enlightened Fool is the most dangerous of all the Archetypes, and he was that. I was spellbound and did get the quilting project done.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

UFO Discovered

I joined a Swap Bot exchange for 2 handmade potholders using Insul-Bright. I have a box of scraps given to me so pulled out that box.

Lo & behold, the box contained small scraps, and also larger pieces, AND a couple of UFOs for potholders that I want to make 'someday'. Now I know how to join batting with a simple zig-zag stitch which I used to join to make the top and bottom of this green and black square. Some fabrics were in the box too, with a pattern that I started, and for whatever reason stopped to make a whole box of UFO work. That is my project for the day. More pics tomorrow for what came of it.

Combining UFO's

After realizing that I could combine two UFO projects, I finished one of the Mystery Quilts I saved out thinking it would make a nice back. What I do know is that it is hard to do my own UFO even with leftovers from others. Leftovers, that now I get are someone else's UFOs. 

I find myself almost grumbling. This one was a challenge because it didn't follow the pattern included with it. I left it with blocks joined to strips. I needed to join strips to make the larger blocks that look like a 9-patch. Thing is, those black blocks got shifted somewhere and needed to go in one direction. I didn't take pleasure in this. I grumbled. I also realized that there were 3 blocks in one shade or another of purples, so laid them out to go diagonally. Yet. Done. I think it got set aside because I couldn't figure out the pattern and was too frustrated to continue. I am happy with it and think that in order to make it fit as a back to another UFO, I will buy black to add as a border, extending it to size.

Another thing I am learning is that if a project stays in UFO status for too long, matching fabrics get used elsewhere and are unavailable for the finish.

I want to take projects to the point of finishing it as a top or back from now on.This UFO business makes it harder. I know that it is almost a way of life for quilters. I know I have made a lot of progress this month at clearing them out.

Friday, January 27, 2017

12 x 12 Containers

I participated in a number of block swaps early in my work. And of course, I was hell-bent on staying organized. Then, as time went on, I stopped swapping blocks and yet, had a gathering of them for projects. They went into those scrapbook containers for 12x12 papers. They are also UFO's. And the first one on my to-do list is the container of Wonky blocks. 

Wonky blocks are not easy to make. It means thinking contrary to traditional quilting and creating things that are off-center or differently colored. I left myself a note to add borders to the blue block and to make a tree block. I did that and now have (16) 12.5" blocks for the center top, and (52) 6" blocks for a border. Sixteen blocks with sashing and borders often make up a square quilt. Next is to lay out the blocks and see what is in my stash for a sashing that works with all of them. I would like to make what is called a cheater border between the two sets of blocks to break up the chaotic look.

This might be one of the UFO projects that goes to the next step without being actually finished. At least these two blocks bring it to more of a readiness for sashing. In the box with the blocks is an instruction sheet for framing the blocks. It says to buy 1.5 yards to do the binding as well and better in a fabric that reads solid. 

The next 12x12 contained more of the swapped blocks, plus some black work embroidery I had done. Fresh eyes on a project without notes to self meant a change in direction not even I knew I would take. This box holds 8 embroidered blocks and 17.75 finished pieced blocks. That 75. part is that there are three 6" blocks that can be pieced to make a full 12.5". Done and now there are 18 blocks of Orange, Black and White. With only that small addition, I was able to create a layout that will take the addition of some sashing or frames and part of a border.

Obviously, these two boxes of blocks need fabric purchases. Neither of them have planned backs and honestly because of all the piecing on the fronts of both, I am leaning toward buying 2 yards for each to make the frames/sashing, borders and binding. Again, they will need backs. Shopping FIRST from the closet doesn't mean no trips to the fabric store. Sigh. I want to take these projects to the point of being completed rather than to keep them as UFO's. My original thought had been to take them to the next steps but this morning, I want them completed and cleared out of my stash.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

New Blocks

We cannot expect ourselves to move forward all at once. Not only is it ok to move along a little at a time, sometimes, no often, it is the only way it is done. So it is with quilting. I have a total of 48 blocks made with strips, with 15 more of the long pieces to that many more blocks. I want to wait and add more fabrics from new selections.

The new block came out for one of the BOMs. This one looked odd to me, so I ripped the top and bottom rectangles off. This first was just too busy for me. With a scrap sampler and mystery to boot, you never know what they look together. It does end up looking fine

Block 6 looks better to me with the gold contrast. I used the green that is in the first block and gold from the second one. I plan to use bits from some of the same fabrics earlier blocks have in them. I think this is the way to make it look like there was a plan. Well, there is a plan, its just that the only one knowing it is the facilitator. I think what I want to do is like each block on its own merit and then hope it fits somehow. I still don't have a feel for contrasting fabrics and so doing these BOM quilt-alongs helps with that. 

Like this one, its easy enough to rip if it isn't working and try again. I am not sure having such white in the blocks is the best of choices, which means more white is needed to balance it out.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Scrappy Strips for a Back

As my day dragged on, I felt determined to piece 2.5" strips meant to create this simple block design.

The task made me grumble. I measured the strips in the blocks to see that I needed three 12" strips vertically, and seven 6.5" strips going horizontally. It is a simple pattern that makes use of the 2.5" that I have in abundance.

This time I wrote down what I need for the block, and as soon as I get to the part of assembling blocks into rows and rows into the finished back, I will write that down as well. From what I did have pieced from my earlier work on this project, there are seven of these blocks to a strip. Backs are supposed to be bigger than tops. This back might look nice with the Neighborhood Houses quilt, and that one is not finished. Once the sashing and borders go on, I will have a better feel for the size.

My first task was to piece, joining everything that was cut close enough to those two sizes. And yes, grumbling! They need pressing flat & pressing other strips that were tossed in the container as I used various fabrics.

Then it hit me, I was finishing someone else's UFO. Sure, they didn't have a plan to do this, and  what I have were the scraps from many other quilters, so it becomes a stash project. Most of those quilters left this world, or stopped quilting, set their stash and UFOs aside as they went onto other things. Someone responsible for those materials knew the value of the investment & didn't want it to just go into the landfill.

Years ago now, I agreed to take it all on and do something with the fabrics. For one thing, making beautiful scrappy tops was easy at first with so many different fabrics to chose from, though it has been getting more difficult as the scrap selections are thinning out. It takes real work to match what is there for a specific theme and have enough to do the quilt project. 

Making scrappy BACKS is a real commitment because it is so much easier to buy a large piece of fabric, seam it up the middle and call it done, than it is to piece and piece and piece these scraps into a back.

Well, in for a penny, in for a pound as the old saying goes.

When I do an honest assessment, what bins existing in my closet look like this: 1. Finished Bird Quilts ready to ship;
2. NESY bin meaning Not Even Started Yet; 3. Ready for Batting (this bin represents projects that need something from a fabric store to finish them); 4. BOM to work on each month; 5. Potential Backs started; 6. UFO projects listed on my sidebar; 7. Scraps cut into strips and squares to be used wherever needed; 8. Holiday fabrics; 9. Regular fabrics.

It is an environmentally sound mission to do this work. Would that it were easy-breezy. Yet, this year, has been hard and its only January!  Another lesson here. Be gentle with thyself, dear woman. I read that most quilters leave projects behind and that along with writing notes for clues to finish projects, its a good idea to leave a note saying what to do with the whole closet full of bins. Well, I am not there yet. I feel lucky to write those notes-to-self at this stage.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Without a Plan

As I go through these UFOs, I am finding projects without notes on them, so I have little to no idea what they were for, where I was at with them and what to do next.

My first step with this project was blind piecing where it was pinned. What I mean by that is that I am simply taking it to the machine, and piecing without wondering why. Some, but not all, of the rows have numbered pins on them. There is a pattern with it, so my next step is to lay it out, pin more of it together and see where it takes me. Again, it is scrappy, and with fabrics given to me that are on the dark side. 

I have a number of clear shoe box containers with similar projects in them. Clear container does not mean clear agenda or clear outcome. If there is a lesson or two to be learned from UFOs, it is that they should come with notes-to-self, and a vacation deadline. I think leaving them alone for too long makes it much more difficult to get back to them.

This particular project isn't even one that got numbered for the sidebar. It was shuffled around so many times and got dumped into a bin labeled 'Potential Backs'. The only reason I pulled it out was to see If I had something for the Red/White/Blue top. And because I was so ahead of my own schedule for working on the other UFOs for the year, I decided to see what I could do with this bin.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Oh The Time it Takes!

I pulled out the Red/White/Blue quilt top thinking I would have something here for a back.

It went in the wash with 3 SHOUT Color Catchers that all turned purple. Its amazing that this product works so well. None of the whites on the quilt top showed any signs of bleeding. I decided to put it in with the other quilt tops and backs ready for batting and will order 108" muslin for the back. It can lay out with the top and batting and get cut to size at the time of basting.

Then I moved on. The next row on the Season's Quilt for February were 6" heart squares. My stash has few pastels so mine are darker and brighter. Hopefully they will be ok with the rest of the quilt choices. Here's to those mysteries. 'You git what you git and you don't throw a fit.' I was able to make the blocks, joined them, adding the side blocks and joining that row to the rest of the quilt. Whomever receives this quilt will enjoy it.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

They Are Difficult to Do

I mean the UFO's. I cannot believe how much resistance I have to working on them and finishing them. Yes, there is a sense of satisfaction, and of course, I am flying through them. However, each one brings up so much stuff.

This one actually took me two days to finish. It started with hand quilting but soon enough, I realized that it might take me months to get it done, so I put it on the machine with variegated thread and even then, it was a lot of stop and start. The backing was laid on and turned rather than do binding on it. The pattern is to make it look like a coastal village. I like it. There is a sleeve for hanging and it is done.

Well, I am onto the next UFO, which happens to actually need a back. I want to toss it in the wash with some SHOUT COLOR CATCHERS before going on with it. It has red, white, and blue in it, so the two colors are notorious for bleeding and could turn the white a purple of some sort and not necessarily a solid color. Then, after matching a back to it, it goes into the bin waiting for batting.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Back for More

Telling the difference between yesterday, today and tomorrow might be easy for most folks. It is not for me, nor has it ever been. I think that is why I use calendars. Its not that I don't know the difference between the past and the future, I just don't concern myself with it. I like to live in the moment.

When I got back to quilting, first I spent time working on the Halloween Twisted 4-Patch. Technically, it is still a UFO. However, the top and back are ready whenever I purchase batting. Its pretty wild. The challenge I was faced with was that there wasn't enough of the green with haunted houses. I found another fabric, thinking it would work for the top and bottom borders, and THEN, it was also short on the sides. I almost put it away again, and then just did it. How easy it is to get frustrated!

I plan to push the UFO's on my list to that point of needing to purchase something for the finish. Many of my projects will need batting.

Then I worked on some of those BOM's. One is simply steps at this point and they are issued twice a month. That one is finished for January.

The quilt-along BOM I am making with Harvest fabrics. This block is called GRAMMA ANNA'S BASKET. I had a Gramma Anna and although a number of the participants went off-pattern, I decided to follow it the way it was written. I found the center hands for the basket, and although the remainder of the fabric has harvest colors, there might have been different choices. I went with this. And the basket represents how SHE was. Her hands were beautiful. They were always there for everyone. To help, to heal, to pray. She opened her heart to everyone she encountered.

UFO's are not easy to finish. They presented issues when they were first set aside, and the challenges don't just go away because they are out of sight. I didn't put notes on most of them. It is easy to take the easy way out.

I am keeping on.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Off to See Some Whales

I am headed off to whale watch the next couple of days. 
Be back here soon.


Monday, January 16, 2017

My Jungian Psych Class

I signed up for a 12-week Jungian Psych class focusing on the shadow side of who we are. Its only as intense as the participant makes it. As I work on this Twisted 4-Patch UFO, I realize that my UFO's are the practical shadow side of me because I've kept them hidden in my closet, and hated how I felt knowing they were there. Like secrets, like shadows.

One of the fabrics is a hand-dyed Skull pattern and it is next to an orange print with black Spiders on it and another print with Ravens. In fact, the entire quilt could end up rather shadow-y. Its probably a perfect practical project for now. I wish I had purchased more of the Skull fabric to have on hand. It is really great and if I remember, was reduced heavily to sell. I was in MN at the time several years ago, and was thinking about having to carry it back in my suitcase so bought only the pattern requirement and just had enough. There is no extra in my stash.

In one way, I feel a bit over my head with the class. I took a lot of Jung for my undergrad studies but didn't touch much on the shadow. It is a huge body of work. I think it is really interesting that I was just saying how dark all the fabrics I have are and how I need to buy brights and lights in order to finish some of them. Its like shadow work in quilting! There are pod casts and You Tube lectures for the course, numerous articles to read and questionnaires to answer in writing assignments. I've stepped out of my comfort zone. Yet, the mental stimulation is already great.

Pinning this Twisted 4-Patch takes time to get the points lined up. I started on both sides of the layout and work coming in toward the center, and then will join the two major pieces. I am pressing as I go too, just to keep things flat.

Meanwhile, Shadow Psychology is ever present in my thoughts. BaWAAAAHaaa

Sunday, January 15, 2017

UFO Halloween Quilt

I worked on joining blocks to make rows on the UFO Twin Size Halloween Twisted 4-Patch Quilt, and have them pressed, ready for the next step of joining rows.

I remember why I put this quilt away. The pattern itself, called Twisted 4-Patch & designed by Claudia Blodget, one of the fabric store owners in town, has 21 diagonal rows with 120 4-patch units, 40 triangles, 220 cross-cuts, and 30 strip sets to make the 21 rows possible. There are six different fabrics that create the diagonal quilt pattern, and it was simply too much for me at the time. Before it got put away, everything was cut and some of the rows started. But I didn't know what I was doing and if any of it was right.

When I got a gift of numbered pins, it got taken out again. 1-20. As a beginner at the time, even that was a challenge because there were 21 rows and only 20 sets of pins. It got put away again when I didn't know how to take it to the next step. This time, I put a #2 and a #1 together on the last strip and called it 21. Duh. Beginners cannot always think beyond what is in front of them. We learn by our successes. We learn by our failures.

My goal in working on the UFOs this year is to get them done, and failing that, move them to the next step. And I thought I was going to do one per month through the year. This Halloween Twisted 4-Patch project is #3 on my list which would have given me to the end of March to work on and finish. I feel pretty good getting the 21 rows numbered, pieced & pressed. I have no doubt that the next step of pinning the rows so corners match, and then piecing them will be relatively easy to do. Of course, it will take time, but I am not overwhelmed by it any more.

UFO's or Unfinished Objects are usually put away because the project got overwhelming for a quilter for some reason. This year, I am simply determined to finish what I started. And yet, if I get to a place of not being able to finish a project, it will go to the bottom of the list after some efforts were made on it. I will be gentle with myself through this year too.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Cutting Edges

With the new 10" Cat Quilt pattern, I wanted to see what other fabrics I had that might work, so started cutting scraps, one bag at a time. The scrap bin is getting down. I left larger pieces and cut smaller ones as well as edges that needed squaring. It surprises me that most of what was donated to me are darker prints.

Lot of standing. All morning long. But then its done. There are 42 10" squares cut for the Cat Quilt, and about half of the wastebasket is full of bitty pieces.

I've learned awhile back that pre-cutting fabrics always gives a quilter an edge when it comes time to using them. For instance, I was able to use up a lot of the 2.5" squares for the Seasons quilt border.

The other day I read that its not wise to use older fabrics on freshly made quilts, so my goal for using these ASAP is a good idea. I give them all a tug and in truth, some of the colors are not to my liking such as that peachy square at the bottom of the picture above.  

The next step to the Holiday Scrap quilt I am making in a quilt-along was to cut 62 6" light squares and make them into HST without trimming them. I did measure and trim when needed the other steps. Most of them were just squaring up. I have no idea how this quilt will turn out, which makes it a mystery, of course. Best of all us that they are used!

Meanwhile, I did cut more of the holiday scraps into my standard squares and strips.  Makes such a difference in the bins.  

Friday, January 13, 2017

A Tote & A New Quilt Pattern

I cut the shipping bag apart to take the pic.
This is a tote bag I made for a SwapBot tag. The way tags work is that one person comments in the forum by listing 4 things they offer to send. The next person to sign the list claims just one of the items above, and offers their 4 own items for the next person. I asked for Ephemera, and offered a handmade tote bag among my items. Of course, I made it from scraps. Scraps of fabric. Scraps of batting. Scraps of strap. I am most pleased with it and especially because its scrappy. I know that the strapping could have been a pink or green, but navy was here, so navy it was. It is a spacious bag and sturdy.

And yes, it had to happen. One of the women in an online group posted a pic of a quilt she made by following a Missouri Quilt tutorial on You Tube. It makes use of those 10" squares. The original tutorial adds a solid color for the background, however, that would complement the Layer Cake package used & I am going for scrappy. Layer Cake packages have 42 coordinated 10" squares of a color line. I have more than that many in my stash. I am going to stay with white as a background because many of my squares are dark or medium dark. I came up with 32 of them and then went into the other bin and will pull out brighter mediums for the remaining 10. Key will be to play with them and ensure they coordinate. It could be chaotic, which is fine having seen the play CATS. I have a lot of white tonal scraps that will most likely work as well. AND I know there are a lot of scraps to be had for the white without cutting into the larger pieces.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Harvest Mystery Quilt

Life is made up of interesting cycles and we see them played out in our families as well as in our communities. We all go along doing what we do and living full out until our lives want us to pay up for the choices we make, or let us know that time is running out for this incarnation and its getting closer to the end. Same is true for quilting fabrics.

One of the mystery scrap projects I am doing this year is using a bag of fall/harvest colors. The fourth block I made for it is the top left with yellow in it. The project is supposed to make 25-26 blocks so from them, I might choose 12 blocks, add sashing and borders and have a nice lap sized quilt. With the most recent block, I used up all the yellow and all that print next to it, leaving larger pieces for 'something else'. The same is true for the darker print below. It is gone too. And after making four blocks, I decided to re-do the top right block to let it coordinate with the others a bit better, and save out the word-print fabric for either the sashing or focus. The finished block will get used elsewhere.

Sometimes, all I got were small pieces of fabric leftover from another quilter's projects. I never saw what their original projects were. My sorting puts smaller pieces into either holiday themes, colors or cuts. When I pull pieces for my quilts, they are indeed random or scrappy. Perhaps what I need to do is use up the smaller pieces first and then see if I need to re-do that 'wordy' block. (done)


Other photos I see from quilters who bought their coordinating fabric for the same patterns sometimes make me feel like mine will be too busy or not be as lovely. 

All that could be true or just is a matter of choice. Then it becomes the journey or the process that brings life to the planet.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

How The Mind Works

Although I am set to work on my UFO's this year, there is this nagging thought spinning around in my head that suggests I start something new in order to use up the fabrics in my closet. One of the members in an online quilting group said she was a scrap quilter and planned to join as many quilt-alongs as she could to use up her scraps. 

Suddenly, I started scrambling to find more of mystery quilts or quilt-alongs too. Anyone can see there is enough work to do in my studio with the UFO's on my list, plus the new quilt-along BOMs I have going: 1. Finish the NEIGHBORHOOD HOUSE BLOCKS - add sashing & borders; 2. SEASONS - we have Fall to go plus perhaps two more rows and borders; 3. PEACE, LOVE, QUILT in pinks and grays is only half done. I keep adding projects as I find them and so why, why, why do I want to add more?

I wish there was a pill I could take that would ease me into being comfortable in my comfort zone. Logic and reason seem to have nothing to do with my desire to make more quilts. I suppose I could find someone to finish them off for me because the final quilting is my least favorite part. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Baby Quilt Finish

There is little more valuable to me than peace of mind. Undeniably there are many things to ruin that peace, and it is a gift to realize that most of the time there is little we can do to bring about peace in situations except change our attitudes.

I finished the binding on the baby quilt so its finished. Threads need clipping and then it can be stashed with other finishes and wait til it is needed. I am glad I bought those two panels and glad I found the pattern to make them...books to quilts.

The back is scrapped too and you can see where it is pieced. I did the best I could in matching it and the average person won't see the seams. Batting is a thin poly so its a comfortable quilt for laying around indoors.

Here is the back to the bird quilt, pieced & ready for quilting. I decided to use the royal blue yarn here and tie it rather than machine quilt it. I think it will turn out better. Then it is ready for the binding which will go on first by machine and finish by rolling and hand stitching. How easy.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Tables are Better Than Floors

Clouds are quite low in the valley, and I could not help but think of the quote about having your head in the clouds. Lovely dark day out there. With clouds so close you can touch them.

My clubhouse experience was quite productive. This is the baby quilt. I got the sandwich pinned, and then tied it with a double rosey appliqué thread. All I have to do on this one is to trim it, make the binding and sew it on. I am not hand stitching it because babies have a way of wriggling their tiny fingers in between stitches and boring a hole it it. I think the reason this became a UFO is because its gotten ridiculous for me to get on the floor to work. Doing it over the tables is the only way to go.

The next project I worked on is the last of the Bird Quilts. I learned my lesson on the last one and will install the quilting foot and only use straight stitches. PLUS, I will check the back with each line I make. I didn't take a pic of the back and will when the binding is on this one too. Again, the quilt sandwich needs trimming, the binding gets made and sewn on and then turned for hand stitching.

Lastly, this third one is called a Twisted 4-Patch. All the pieces were cut and some of them joined to make the 4-patches. Half of it had the rows together. Its on a diagonal so can get challenging. The floors in my home are big enough for the job, its just me. I cannot see the final look of it so close. So this step has all the rows pinned and numbered for piecing. Then laying them out IN rows to be joined should be easier. The colors are so wild and yet the finish will be brilliant.

While nothing is finished, everything I did today took each of the three quilts to the next step. I am happy with the progress. And I am also delighted to say I have my head in the clouds.

Saturday, January 7, 2017


I always laugh when I see the quote: "Psychotics think 2 + 2 = 5. Neurotics know that 2 + 2 = 4, but they cannot stand it." It is always frustrating to see two different answers to a situation when we want it both ways. Its a good idea to check out priorities when quilting.

I decided to re-do the first pink/gray block after seeing the photo I took for the blog, and like how I made a diagonal row of black fabrics on it. Also, as I look at this one, and even though it is a mystery called 'Falling Stars' which I renamed to "Rising Stars', I cannot trust that every block will have a star in it. If it does, however, my choice is to do them in white for consistency.

Then the next thing I did was to add borders to the Tabletop for an exchange. At first I thought it would be better to wait for the binding on it to be finished. It is ready for the hand work and is in black. But this shows the next step. It is machine quilted as well.

Then the third thing was to finish the bottom row of this ROM (row of the month) quilt. Everything I am doing is scrappy and this appliqué work is getting easier. I think that next month will be a 6" block row if the pattern continues, followed by the last of the 4 Seasons. Its not my favorite style of quilts but I do like it. 

I made an appointment at the clubhouse on Monday to work on the final steps to one of the 'book-to-quilt' baby quilts. Everything is ready for it and that day, I'll stretch it across the tables, add the batting and top, then pin to secure, but before taking it off the table, I want to tie it with some yellow yarn from a closet bin. All that will be left on it is the binding. It will take more than a couple of hours but so much less than if I tried to do it here on the floor for the right space. Pictures from the work on Monday to follow.

Sunday's trip into Little Tokyo, LA is primarily to see the first arrow of the year hit the barrel of sake, and see the streamers come raining down in the background. Entertainment on stage just before is always exquisite. Also, because I go early, there is a Chinese New Year of the Rooster celebration at the museum, and then lunch at a local restaurant. Three hours to LA, 3 back home.

Friday, January 6, 2017

January UFO's & BOM

I believe that we are all a one and only in endless ways. Even though I have joined more Block of the Month groups, what I am doing is using scraps from my stash, and so the quilts that come of these scraps are all going to be unique from those made by others in the groups. There are a few, like me, who are doing scrap busting quilt making, and their scraps are different, so even using the same patterns, we see differently and piece colors differently.

While the Neighborhood House blocks are pieced, I need to make sure they are all the same length and height and wait for the green fabric to be free so I can make the sashing. (It is such a big length of fabric that I used it as a 'ground' for part of my Winter Village. It seems appropriate that I use it for the House block sashing. Who am I kidding? I love these house blocks and hope to do more of them! I have a collection of patterns & just need inspiration. 

The other BOM is a Solstice to Solstice challenge. I am using up Harvest fabrics and making this one scrappy too. The bin I took this bag of Harvest fabrics from is designated for any holiday. I separated what was there into Winter, Halloween, Harvest and a small bag of 4th of July. I honestly had no thought about how to use this fabric and occasionally pulled out things for smaller projects like mug rugs. This was truly a goddess-send. With the 25 or 26 block patterns coming from this one, I know that its going to make up a lovely quilt.

Then the last thing I made was a table top for an exchange in Swapbot. There were specific colors for specific parts of this so I did follow along. Today, what I want to do is add the first border to match the specifics. It was 'sender's choice' so it is my hope that whomever receives it will be pleased with the outcome. Again, I am pulling from scraps to create my current projects.

I re-did the pink and gray block after seeing the pic here. I'll photograph it again when the next pattern is made on the project. For whatever reason, the camera shows something different than the human eye can see. For instance, in that one above, clearly the light side towards the top right, doesn't pop in the same way the others do. So after seeing this pic, I will try and select fabrics for the borders to help even it out.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Here We Go!

I guess that if I am really going to shop from my closet that I have to use the fabric and make something. No one sees my stash and there is no comparing what I have in the closet to someone else. I don't know what my family and friends have in their closets.  Perhaps this is why we have closets. We stash things in them and it seems rude for us to see what is stashed there.

 This is the first RISING STAR Mystery block. I am using the pinks & grays, plus any pre-cut blocks that will coordinate. All quilts I create new this year will be scrappy. I wish I knew the entire plan. As I look at this pic, it strikes me that using white for all the stars and scrapping out the blocks is the way I want to go. I want to use that Paris Pink as a focus. But who knows? Its a Mystery!!!

As a plan to shop from my closets and use my stash, I joined yet another Mystery BOM & pulled out Harvest/ Fall fabrics. It will be larger. There are twenty-six 12" blocks to this one. And I have 3 block patterns already. This is the first one. There were a lot of darker fabrics in this bag with some mediums. I bought 1.5 yards of the white with green lettering and will try to use this as much as possible. With 26 blocks, this looks like more than I have ever done before. I don't like how two of the corner blocks turned out and may re-do them. I am thinking that I could actually make two quilts that have 12 blocks each in them with sashing and borders. Or one with 12 blocks on each side. It will be interesting to see how this turns out.    

In any case, I am seeing the volume of fabric going down all the time. The only way I can keep track of the BOMs is by logging them in on the blog sidebar. As I finish a block, the next number or month comes up. It is a plan working for me.                   

Tuesday, January 3, 2017


The California Plastic Bag Ban Veto Referendum, also known as Proposition 67, was on the November 8, 2016, ballot in California as a veto referendum. It was approved. Stores started right away by using stock they had and then charging 10 cents a bag. When I found a panel for a tote, I started working on it. 

As simple as they can be with the correct fabric, this one took a bit more. It has batting and was machine basted and will be somewhat reversible. All my batting scraps are used up and the lining was a fabric that had no dedesignation. The straps were from other projects and not the same color. However, done is done.

Compliance with referendums is not something I want to toot a horn over. As a person who is somewhat environmentally aware, I've brought my own totes to stores before the vote passed, and now take pleasure in bringing them in every time I go. When I asked friends on Facebook if they used totes, their answers surprised me.

Cheap bags that clutter up my trunk will soon disintegrate, and I did have this fabric.  I will add it to the collection in my car. It doesn't matter that it is a holiday pattern. The concept of Peace on Earth should be one I adopt for every season.