Monday, July 31, 2017

New Goals For Healthy Living

The 9-patch back with 4" squares is done, folded & put away for the future. I took out the bins, yes, again, to store projects a little neater. There are two quilts for 2017 yet to baste, machine quilt, bind and ship out. I will get them done ASAP.

Also, I found the plastic template I thought I lost for a diamond shaped quilt. Woohoo! Its one of those kinds of quilts you can make as large or small as you wish. And it will be perfectly paired with one of the finished backs. 

Lastly, I found five PIGS that are kits I made from fabrics donated by various friends that blended and coordinate beautifully. The quilts I have on my side bar to-do list are close to done. Most of them will need basting and quilting. These new quilt kits have not been started.
I've misplaced one other thing, my rotary cutter, so I did buy another one. This one opens and closes when you hold or release it and it is quite sturdy or heavy enough to hold without shaking. They are not cheap, but ever so worth the price to own. I plan to donate the spare I have and know the first one of these I bought will turn up soon enough.

The other storage containers hold my pre-cuts, and now all the scraps are colorized again. That makes it easier to make quilt backs. I can see how that needs to be an on-going project. I think all of the quilts planned for next year have backs, but now that I found 5 kits, they will also need backs to finish them up. The more work I can do on them while I have the ability, the easier it will be when their time comes.

Now back to the other UFOs for the year. I need to push myself on these. I've been dragging my heels, so to speak, for long enough.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Playing With Another Back

I spent the day with the bin that has my pre-cut squares from scraps. It takes awhile to sort them by color because when I cut them, I just cut them and put them in their designated container. I am working on the 4" 9-patches and finished 45 of them today. Enough to make 9 rows of 5 blocks. The row measures 52" and length is 96". Its a good start for a back and, as a back, can take on other 9-patch blocks on a side and a bottom to expand and fit a quilt top made in 2018. It has no need to match other blocks because they are all different, so adding leftovers from a project will be perfect.

Next, I might take the 10" squares & use my Twister Tool. You still join blocks together but with this tool, there are cuts to be made and additional sewing involved. Those big 10" squares need more attention to help them shine on a quilt. It is quite possible that they all turn out so good that they will become comfort quilts.

I am dropping this UFO to the bottom of my list for now, and will return to it later in the year.

It was just a simple day around here. Or so I thought until I got a small package from a friend in MN. Pages she had colored. Lots of them. And such a wow factor to them. Clearly the work of an artist. I am lucky to be surrounded by artistic friends.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Twisted Road Back

It was my goal today--to think like a woman of action, and to act like a woman of thought.

It is interesting to me that the three family 'outlaws' (unmarried partners) in the family will get quilts on their birthdays this year. This back made me think hard for a plan to get it done, and then, after looking at this picture, I took my seam ripper and pulled that one light gray plaid away.  It was too much. Yet, now it is what it is, especially for a scrappy back, and seriously, used up almost all of the pieces in that PIG. Of course it will be trimmed to fit when the top is laid over it.

In truth, I know the joy I feel at using up that PIG's worth of throwaway fabrics is high right now. It is only one of the UFOs for backs, and I do not have pre-cut fabrics where I could use this pattern again. I will save it because I love how easy it was and how lovely it looks.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Back. Back I say

My psych class has us look back into our lives so we can see behavioral patterns of people around us. It's not to blame or whitewash events, but to look at them through the eyes of an adult. We are who we are because of those events.

Dealing with backs in quilting helps to sandwich layers and keep the quilt together. Backs can be made of plain muslin, or get into detail. They aren't supposed to take anything away from the front, but give it more. Back. Interesting concept.

I have two PIGs (projects in grocery-bags) of backs, & an entire bin of containers that hold various pre-cuts in 10", 8", 6", 5", 4", 3" and 2.5", plus one PIG that is 5" strips called a Dessert Roll

It has always been my intention to make scrappy backs from these leftovers. 

These particular groupings are section orphan leftovers rather than just pre-cuts. They started out with a purpose and were not used.
This is a pic showing one of the ideas I got for a back using scraps. I found it online and it makes use of coordinating squares in rows, complemented by strips. Next.

My attention went to the PIG that held 5" strips, which now represent discontinued Dessert Rolls in the stores. Of course there was no note-to-self in this PIG, and most of the pieces were dark. I didn't really remember what I planned, so spent a lot of time looking on-line for patterns that called for this size pre-cut. I found a few pictures and finally came upon a pattern that I could modify. 

I colorized what I had in the Dessert Rolls, & started joining them in one long strip to sub-cut at 42" (width of fabric or WOF) which modified the pattern. Someone once told me that in scrappy quilts, the more different fabrics you have, the easier it is to see them go together. What I didn't use for these colorways will make up the borders. It will be busy but not that loud.

I joined 7 rows of strips & trimmed them down to 28.5" wide. After marking 7" from 2 corners, taping it and cutting two colorways, I went on to the next step, & found fabric for a 13.5" center block. When the square is cut, it's ready for the final assembly. Easy-breezy. 

It is getting to be an old story. My quilt backs will make use of what is in my closet first. Of course, every once in awhile I go out and buy something to finish a particular quilt. My goal for these next UFOs is simple. If they are made, they will work. 

My goal for looking back is to find healing for myself and understand that everyone did their best, and their best is what made me who I am.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Cutting, Sizing & Colorizing

Sometimes when I go into my bins, I tear everything apart looking for the right amount of fabric or color. I make such a mess. I am reminded of how my Sons' toy room looked. I used to tell them to clean up their mess, but never told them how. Funny thing is that quilting teaches me to be more organized, and then more organized again.
My small bins are out and there is a bag full of scraps too small to fit in yardage. 

(Rico's box of toys & card-board scratching cube are in back of my work, so it has to move soon so he can play). 

This bin holds yardage. Everything in it is labeled & colorized. The bag in front represents all Hallows fabric for quilt-along starting in August.

These three bags are UFO backs. The term for all four bags is: PIGS or projects in grocery bags. I want to finish them, & get started with the small bins pictured above.

Organization is all about retrieval for me. I am not naturally a neat person, but love neat surroundings. So there is little choice left. Next I plan to tackle the blue PIG next to the small bins. In it are scraps that need to be cut down so they can go into their appropriate bin. 

I've been feeling overwhelmed and discouraged with my work lately. Whenever I let myself get down, the depths can be mighty disturbing. My inner demons throttle me almost to death when I am not feeling at my best. And that is sad, yet a fact of life.

Anyway, this new round of organization is just another layer of minimizing what is not needed in my life. As Martha Stewart says, "its a good thing'. 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Interesting How Life Changes

Today was a strange day. I woke from a dream thinking it was reality and in the dream got a text from a person I do not know. When I looked at my phone, there had been no text nor a missed call. I've tucked her name away in case I meet the actual person. 

Then, my errand day shifted and out the door I went. To the post office. To the drug store. And then home. Such a quiet life.

I laid down in bed, having drawn the curtains and shut out all sounds. I didn't think I would actually nap successfully and yet two hours passed. This was a huge accomplishment for someone who resists a rest.

I did a little fabric cutting, but have nothing to really show for it.

Strange day.

Monday, July 24, 2017

A Weekend Quilt Top

I am delighted with this pattern. As I worked on an older goal I had for making a quilt for every member in my family, the thought came to me that my quilts are not made from a duty, but as a privilege, an opportunity. I have been given so many scraps, and the challenge is to figure out a way to make something lovely out of them. My 'stash' is getting down, so it does become more challenging

This pattern made use of 20 Fat Quarters I had that were getting more & more crowded in their basket container. This pic doesn't do it justice. The colors coordinate and supplement each other. Cutting took the longest part of it; next piecing all the rows took the day to finish. Of course, it needs backing and that is the next part. 

Making backs is on my list as UFOs and so that is my next work for this year. I am going to pull out the 10" squares to join for this one. 

I like this pattern so very much that I plan to make another one using up more of the FQs in my stash. I did a pretty random layout here and might try to see if I could do one that is more planned randomness. For whatever reason, non-quilters like this type of quilt and say 'it goes with everything'. 

Sunday, July 23, 2017


Random layouts can be challenging. What I did was to lay what I had out on my bed (used all the time for designing) and then went row by row to make sure one fabric was not next to other like fabrics. Then I looked at near by rows for the same.  
It became time to pin rows for piecing with numbered pins, which REALLY help to keep the layout design in order. There are 10 rows and I believe 8 columns. Usually I try to get odd numbered rows & columns, and this works too. It laid completely across the queen size bed so will make up a nice personal lap/nap quilt for my outlaw relative.

Pattern instructions said the quilt could be made on a weekend, and that meant the top. A back will need to be constructed, and for that I will go to my stash and use up the box of 10" squares, supplemented by cuts of fabric from the larger pieces. Then its a matter of piecing batting.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Squares & Strips

Ok, I am being bad. Just after declaring I would finish my UFOs before starting anything new, I decided to make a new quilt this morning for one of the outlaws (living with one of my blood relatives without legal benefits). He has a birthday the end of October so it might be ready then. I get promotional patterns in my email inbox from a number of quilting sites. Most of the time, they are not as easy as this one is supposed to be. 

The pattern takes 20 FQs cut the same to make rectangles and square, and then are pieced in only a few ways. The pattern suggested buying a FQ pack, yet there are so many FQs in my stash that I shopped from the closet first. It will be a true scrappy quilt even though they are somewhat coordinated. 

I got to use TWENTY Fat Quarters from my stash!

Cutting isn't always as easy a step as one would think. Especially since I mis-placed my favorite Rotary somewhere and brought out one that is less favored.

I use a cushioned pad made for people who clerk all day on their feet, and yet stepped away about half way through. My back started to hum. Next it is the piecing and that too is a challenge. I ran out of straight pins twice with the first round of piecing. Blocks need pressing and trimming to a uniform size before the layout process.

What do they mean easy? The pattern says this quilt can be made in a weekend, so I am well on my way. One thing for certain, there is very little waste. I am pleased with that part.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Moving Along With UFOs

As I pin basted the Calendar BOM, it was hard to come up with an idea for quilting it. Long ago, I might have planned to hand quilt, but time and skills doesn't allow for that now. I ran an echo stitch along the sashing sides & it looks great.

Its a smaller throw, almost a wall hanging (which it could be if I had wall space) so it was easily manipulated under the home machine. I love how it looks.

Then I went onto to another UFO, the potholder. Hard to see the chunk of fabric that got caught in the machine, but this whole piece needs re-doing. Its on the lower corner of the green. There isn't much about this project that I liked. It didn't 'spark joy' and I thought that rather than spend one more minute on it, it went into my trash can. 

Life is just too short to diddle with something that isn't working for me.

The next one for this day was a Pillow Rock or Rock Pillow or Tombstone. Years ago, I found stoney fabric among the scraps and thought about making a pillow. I got the embroidery done on it and then it became a UFO. Finished now. Even though I am working on and finishing UFOs, there are some I am resisting. However, because I am being stubborn a bit, I am avoiding the start of anything new in order to get these done. Stubborn. I admit it.

The class I am taking, the readings and the assignments are helping me to think differently about what I want in my life. This month's topic is on the Ego. The first application is all about making lists of desires, aversions, loves and hates, all strong words for list headers. Now that time brought me into this stage of my life, I don't resonate with such lists. However, that Japanese author of Tidying books is the one I am actually working with even more.

I have always wanted to live more minimally and while I have taken many steps to do so, her theory is making more sense to me right now. It helped me see that I didn't want to keep struggling with the potholder. I didn't have to make my pillow perfect, just get it done so it could serve me when I sit in the wooden chair in the morning. It is a little ruffly and that is OK.

These items are not important in the greater scheme of things. What might be important is the comfort and joy they bring to me.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Basting Day

When I talked to the Clubhouse Manager, she told me that it is open all the time, and that I am welcome to come in whenever I want or need to, even though her office isn't open. I wanted to ask if I could before, but know that I have over-stepped boundaries with people in the past, so was being careful. 
Getting permission to do something has not always been in my nature. I often tell my Granddaughters that it is easier to apologize. Maybe I recognize what that means from the other side of administration & know that when someone just bursts in without permission, it changes things for others around them. It is wise to know where you are welcome to be. Sometimes people resent what might seem like acts of entitlement.

This is such a slight issue to set up appointments in the Clubhouse. I do appreciate the go-ahead. I have 2 UFO quilts ready to baste & will do one in a morning. I can machine quilt them, trim and bind as time goes along.

While I worked on the UFO tote bags, it got so tedious for me to do the same-ol same ol process. I need variety or just get intensely frustrated if I try to do many of the same thing in a short amount of time. I might not have been a good factory worker. I did some thread clipping, and this group was done. I put plans for the other UFO totes more toward the bottom of my list to do later when it will seem a more fresh project.

I still hate the UFO process and have been learning that I do not like returning to something I set aside. It makes me want to take my projects as far as I can go, and not wait for something to finish them. If I need batting or fabric to make it happen, then I need to either shop in town or order online. So simple.

The hot pads were next on my list to finish.The pattern claimed to be easy, and it might be for someone who can follow patterns. I know better than to try and sew before I am sure of what I am doing. Luckily, I only had to unpin rather than unpick. This pattern didn't have fabric suggestions and so assumed I would know what was expected. Easy. Hah! After a couple of hours on this project, I was no further along than when It was first started.

I hate UFOs. I said that, right?

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

And Sew it Goes

Sometimes I can be an expert worrier. When I get in that loop, no topic is too small that I can't blow it up into something bigger. I hate that part of me. Seriously. I avoid it by being a workaholic.

So what has this to do with quilting? Some days, it has everything to do with my work. I spent several hours cutting squares from fabrics recently used in quilt projects.

I also pulled out all the UFO containers so that I could have easy access to them.

I don't kid myself about my waning skills. Every day, I can feel some part of my body signal me that there is a difference. 

Creating my to-do list on my sidebar isn't really cognitive overload in the truer sense of list-making. What I want to do is finish what I started, shop from my closet, and make things people I love will like. AND I believe that it is important to carry a project through to completion rather than to wait until I cannot do it. I think about this more each day. Each day it makes more sense.

Like most quilters, I had big eyes and big dreams when I first started quilting, wanting to make all those gorgeous quilts that were show stoppers and award winners. Like most of us, I found myself quilting as fast as I could but always wanting to do more, go faster and quilt more beautifully.


And so now, I am working really hard to be practical with using what resources I have combine with what time I have. I am also trying to not whine about it. Yet, sometimes, I whine.

Practically speaking, my goal is to take those damn UFOs one at a time and get them done. These 5 tote bags represent UFOs, and I have more to go on the project. Two of them have insulation inside so they go in back of my car for personal use at the local store. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

First Holiday Gifts

Although it is July, I made my Winter Solstice gift list. The Grandkids are at the age of preferring money, which works for me because it is easy to send. No gifts to buy, wrap & ship. Easy. Yet there are folks on my list who will still be gifted.

It was delightful to get the sizing of the tote correct. For a 12.5" raw block, cut a 6" length to go around three sides.

While this little quilting success brought me joy today, my real goal has always been become able to love better and also to be loved. Here is the quilted tote, clipped for hand sewing binding on it. 

AND of course, this is Rico. Rico & I keep one another company during the day. While I like it that he doesn't talk, I have encouraged his ability to meow. He is always close, and while he doesn't ever sit on my quilt projects, he is not above sitting next to one.

This process is interesting. The first one I tried is in the giveaway box. This is the second tote and it needs hand sewing on the binding and machine sewing the straps.

And rather than sit and finish the three totes that are almost finished, I scrambled to find fabric to make others. And then I started pairing more of the orphans. I am getting ahead of myself. It was almost as if I had to shake myself back to reality.

I did spend time sorting fabrics. My selections are getting down and I want to start making more backs (UFOs) to have them ready. My patterns for them are quite simple; in fact, just joining blocks often in a light/dark/light/dark way. 

Monday, July 17, 2017

What I Learn

Wise women say that if you can act boldly on one small matter, you can act boldly on two. And they say that if you can act boldly on small matters, you can act boldly on larger matters. If you keep going you cannot be stopped.

That is how I feel about this year's quilts. The top fabric shown here is the back for this quilt. It is cut and pieced.

Although I purchased the three of the fabrics, it works with the FQs and the 2 yards of lime that were in my stash. Of course the next purchase is batting & I plan to watch for it to go on sale. It needs to go out by mid-September, but at this stage could be done in two weeks. I plan to quilt with random straight lines & hand bind. Easy.

This was to be the last of the 2017 quilts and so I turned my attention to the UFO's on my list. None of them have priorities only that they get finished this year.

I put one unfinished tote bag in the giveaway for someone else to either finish or throw away. It is out of my sight, out of my heart. Gone. A 12.5" square for a tote is a 2" smaller than most patterns. Not sure if I will modify them or not. I learned a lot doing this one. Mostly mistakes.

Then there is the red, black & purple quilt. I didn't think I would finish it for this year, but maybe it will go out. It is a bit wild, like my friend who one day realized she wasn't happy in her skin so hopped in her car and drove all over the country. Brave. I am not sure she found what she was looking for, but then, who of us ever does? The B&W swirl fabric came out from hiding when I stopped looking for it, so I cut borders and pieced them to all four sides. It is absolutely perfect for the spirit of the quilt. I plan to use a purple sheet for the back and binding strips, so this one is going to be striking. Of course it needs batting.

What did I learn? Let me tell you that every quilting day brings with it lessons from the heart, lessons from mistakes and lessons with joy. One thing this blog does is to record for me what I learn. Someone said never to tell your mistakes in a quilt because most people don't know what they are seeing anyway. Its only a real mistake if you don't learn from it and do something different that makes it look better.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

D4-P Top

After buying the fabric for this top, I was compelled to cut, pin & piece it. When I buy good fabric (or expensive soft goods), I usually buy only what I need without going to the next partial yard for extra. I simply do not want to create more stash in my closet. However, when I do this, it is also vital that I ensure there is enough by getting it done. This particular store owner buys one or two bolts and usually never re-orders the same thing in order to keep a variety of fabrics on hand.
This is a closeup of the three borders I put on. Binding will be the same green. Additionally, I got a coordinating fabric for the back. I am delighted with the floral print, but even more sparked with joy about the green fabric created to look like expensive Italian marbling paper for the inside of books. 

In the end, it was a pricey quilt but I am so glad to have had the opportunity to try this pattern and use up stash.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Whew, Shopping

Every once in awhile, I break down and go shopping. I need a reason because my primary goal is to shop from my closet first, and realize I put off shopping as long as I can. Its not about money. And its not exactly about crowds.

I took 8 of my holiday orphans, paired them (somewhat), found batting, and backing, then pin basted & machine quilted the small-ish 12.5" blocks. They will make 4 totes. Of course, there is more work to be done, but this is a great start and a great way to use my orphans. Orphans are blocks that might be leftovers from a quilt, or might be blocks that didn't turn out as expected. They are perfectly good, but have no place to go.

I pulled out more of the holiday fabric stash for the middle sections of the totes. I don't want to make them too wide, and don't plan to put in pockets. Just simple. I am excited how they are coming together. I know that people outside of Cali do not need to bring their own bags, and these are clearly holiday themed, so aren't the kind that have to 'go' with a coat, but would only come out during holiday months. I hope they like them. 

I shopped both fabric stores in town. I got the 3 borders, binding & backing fabric at one store; straps, and a Best Press refill at the second shop. Claudia at 5 Heart Quilts stocks brighter colors as well as florals. If you tell her what you are looking for she can find it in a snap. She did.

Because the I don't know if the FQs I used in the quilt were pre-washed, I washed the 3 fabrics, even though they are not usually the colors to bleed. The focus fabric is stunning and has a lot of the colors from the center part of the quilt in it. I am quite excited with this one. It really has to be a priority over the totes.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Scrappy Holiday quilt

When I went looking for finished blocks and discovered a finished back and some scrappy blocks that were ready to go, I spent my time joining the scrappy blocks and then adding to the back to make it work with the top.

So much in our world isn't pretty. So many awful things happen to people. One of the functions of a quilt is to give comfort. Another is to give joy. I am going to name this one Comfort & Joy. It needs batting before it can be basted and then quilted, so it has a way to go.

However, it will be the perfect lap/nap quilt to give someone close to the holidays who has lost someone or something. I am not going to add borders and will choose a binding that holds it together. This was a find.

I went shopping and bought strapping for 6 totes; two I started earlier and 4 that are being made from orphans. All of the totes are UFOs. These 4 come from a pair of pieced 12.5" blocks, and so will make smaller totes that have a holiday feel to them. I found batting scraps and fabric for the lining. All cut, pinned and ready to quilt. I am more interested in using them as is, rather than adding borders to extend them to a larger size. Also, what I want is to make easy-breezy no-nonsense totes.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Scrappy Tote Surprise

Sometimes I worry that what I make is not normal. Once I realize I don't even know what normal is, I just go on.

The second tote is assembled, except for the straps. I decided not to add the closing ribbons so that the bag can be loaded with items. Its bigger than the first one. I dipped into the orphan container for the center part and that determined its size. It was already pieced, so only needed to be quilted & pinned to the sides. It has reinforced seams so will be sturdy.

Even the blue binding around the top was only 2" wide, yet worked here. To finish this one, I need to buy more strapping. It remains a UFO, but has been taken to the next step.

Now, WHAT IF?? starts to invade my thoughts. I wonder what if I take some of the already finished quilt blocks and make them into totes for holiday gifts. There are a bunch of them in the orphan bin, and there are a bunch of them in a UFO project bin labeled bed runner. I make my holiday list, and $$ sign-out the Grandkids. There are at least 7 people on my list that I could make totes for. Do I want to do this? Its not a guess nor an answer at this point. I would need to start making them and see what happens.

When I went looking for finished blocks, I stumbled on some holiday orphans, so went looking at the holiday fabric container to see if there was enough to make lining and binding. Much to my SURPRISE, I found a back and a lot of scrappy holiday blocks. 

And no note-to-self. 

That means, I can do whatever I want with it. The previous project isn't even a memory. Its not about being normal or having normal projects. What I want to be is healthy. And wise. I want to be healthy and wise.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Cali Tote Law

Although I was carrying my own tote bags into stores for some time, now that it has become a regulation or law, all the stores charge for their bags. I need more of them. I certainly have fabric and they really are not too hard to make.

This one is to bring home frozen foods. Its got that special lining material in it. I finished the binding corner, and will add ribbons that tie for closure, & some straps for carrying. I used one of my totes as a pattern and am just making it to fit. It is something that will get tossed in my own car so I am not concerned how it will get used because I know what I need. There is another one started with the same goal for being a frozen food carrier. 

An apron is on the top of the UFO list, and I just grabbed the closest container in the closet without 'knowing'. Yet, I know better. I know that nothing is really done by chance. It was a choice to pull this project container out. I will get to the apron, as well as to the other UFOs on my sidebar list. I made my own commitment to finish them this year. I've written before how hard working on UFOs is. I just read an article suggesting tips for finishing them, and restoring new life and passion. Hah! I know the way. I just have to walk the path.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Making the Cut

One of the most difficult things a quilter often faces is cutting into perfectly good fabric.

Orestes, was the subject of several Greek plays & ancient myths, back in the day, that were connected with madness and purifications. Those old records credit him with saying, "Often the test of courage is not to die, but to live."

For me, as I quilt, the courage is not setting something aside that isn't working for me, but it is finding my way through the problem. These squares start out as cut at 3.5", then get joined for the Half Square Triangle (HST), and are to be trimmed to a 2" square. That means four cuts to make them correctly.

What if it is wrong? What if I am not reading the directions correctly? I go one step at a time, trimming, pinning, joining, hoping that I am doing it right.

Even taking simple pics helps to slow me down. I have time to think, time to cut, more time to think again about what I am doing. Directions showed the darker squares & say to simply rotate the lighter ones and piece them.

I use the pic on the directions more than the words for my guide. It is pieced unit by unit until this grand block appears and the June block is done!!

All the HSTs were done and so it just needed to be laid out. This is the second layout and will be easy to piece after trimming and pinning. July block is done!!

There are five more blocks to go. It looks to need more black prints and so I am making a note-to-self to remind me when I make the next blocks. They don't have to finish off in the same order, so once all 12 are done, I might rearrange them for color.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Rising Stars for June & July

The quilt designer for this Mystery BOM quilt calls it 'Falling Stars' and I re-named it Rising Stars. It will still be a 12-block quilt with various star patterns no matter what I call it.

I got behind on it because I wanted to finish the Blue & White Log Cabin quilt which I named Not All Who Wander which is a reference in 'Lord of the Rings' and continues the sentence "...are lost". I will send the young man a letter explaining my choices. 

Any way, the quilts and UFO's took up my time & I chose to let these two blocks wait until the quilts were finished and ready to ship. 

I selected fabrics for both, cut the pieces, most of which will be HST (half square triangles), which I hate. I marked all for both blocks, loaded some light thread in the bobbins & got ready to sew lines. They were cut between the lines, pressed open, need to be trimmed & laid out for the block pattern, pinned, sewn, & pressed until the block is finished. While I am chain stitching these HSTs, the blocks will be made one at a time. I hate the HST because it challenges me and I need to take my time with them.

Hate is such a strong word. In truth, it is my own ineptness with HSTs, and how frustrated I get with myself when one or more of them do not turn out. This new way of making them must have been designed because I was not the only one with this issue. We make them over-sized and trimmed down. The waste of fabric is less than the emotional and mental cost of frustration, and time it took to re-do them. I was not the only one.

Sunday, July 9, 2017


Not the movie, though I love it. Binding on the Blue & White Log Cabin quilt is done.

It is only a twin size and I know I have made that size before, but holi moli is it heavy! I couldn't even take a decent pic of it length-wise, so this is the side on top/bottom view. It really looks gorgeous. I need to clip threads and then see if anything needs re-inforcing, and finally add the label. My plan is to ship it out next weekend. 

I found another background 2-yard piece of fabric that my friend in WI sent that will work nicely with the Disappearing 4-Patch pattern. I pulled out 8 FQ's that coordinate with it as well as a focus fabric for the border. This one is designated for a young boy, Step-Brother to my Great-Nieces who are all getting quilts next year. 

I am getting ahead of myself, however, some of the more seasoned quilters say that if you plan to give quilts to one or two of the kids in a family, everyone needs to receive one at the same time.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Binding the Blue & White

Channel stitching stopped with 2" spacers. This quilt was so hot to hold on my lap and guide through the machine. Just binding left. Oh and the label. He wants his name on it so no one steals it. 11-year-old boys. 

Sometimes the decisions we make are set in place long before our emotions are ready to make a change. I keep wanting to keep my projects small & then forget. 

This one was so hot to work with on the machine, and is hot to hand sew the binding. Luckily, I can hold just a small section at a time as I work. At least 2 more days, including clipping threads on both sides.

I have made the decision many times to keep my quilt projects at lap size & then make them larger because I think that the person who uses it will need it bigger. Larger projects are what push me beyond my comfort.

People curl up to take naps. People only cover themselves up to their chins with quilts when they watch TV or videos. Smaller is ok. I have to stop trying to fix what I think is an issue which might not even be an issue!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Horizontal Channel Stitch

It is working a little bit better to sew with the grain of that flannel in back. The quilt is heavier than most, probably because of the flannel, maybe because it is twin size, which is a little larger than is usual for me to handle. Unfortunately, it is still wrinkling but in a way that looks more natural. 

I folded over one end to the left which is the direction I am not stitching in. It is pinned on the ends to help hold it. And the stitches are outside the ditch so I can follow where the logs are joined. The horizontal direction is shorter than going diagonally, so it is much easier to handle. Once the initial lines are sewn, I will go back and add middle lines to them all.

In the past, I would just keep going until the quilt was quilted. Now, however, it seems that I can set it aside and give my body a rest. I loaded 4 bobbins with thread & finished one. Rather than push myself on the Blue & White, I laid out & pinned the D4-P. It is ready to piece.

In one way, I shudder to think of the larger quilts already planned to finish in 2018. My skills are waning as is my strength to guide such heavy weights under the machine. Taking my time is a life lesson. Maybe, just maybe, I will pay for long arm quilting. We will see.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Trimming Blocks for the D4-P

I really thought I was going to put this Disappearing 4-Patch quilt away & work on the Blue & White Log Cabin. I wish I could get my heart's hands off the steering wheel some days. Wishing, dreaming. Reality is that I am the driver driving myself. I am not ready to let go of the ride.

There are 50 blocks finished and 49 of them will go into the quilt top. Seven across & seven down. Colors are more striking than the pic shows. That tone-on-tone green is really lovely and all the FQ's coordinate. Layout is next.

I AM honestly setting this aside for now. I want to finish the Blue & White Log Cabin, shipping it and the Cat Quilt off to my Son's home for his family by mid-July. This quilt also goes there but for an October 1 birthday. It will be the last quilt I finish in 2017. I think.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Pinned & Pieced

Yes, why yes, I did pin and piece some this morning, but do not feel like working on either of the last two quilts I am making for 2017. 

The blue & white log cabin is really next on my list to finish. I ripped out the puckered seams and took it back to re-baste. That part is done. I plan to do horizontal channel stitching in hopes that it will be wrinkle free. What might have gone wrong is that the stitches were done on the bias. That caused stretching. No new pictures because it is the same quilt without any progress on it. I need to load bobbins before starting. That is an easy task for later today.

The other quilt, the Disappearing 4-Patch, went through all the first cuts, into the 4-Patches and then through the second cuts for more pinning and piecing. Most of that is done. There are several more blocks than need final piecing and then layout can begin after they are all presssed. I plan to quilt with random lines.
Now that July started, I want to remind myself about what works for me rather than feel angst over what I fail to do the way I want. There are only these two quilts for me to finish in 2017. 

Funny how I push myself so needlessly. Neither recipients know that they are coming, so they are not expected by a particular date. 

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Disappearing 4-Patch

There is an old saying that says the race is not always to the swift, but to those who keep running. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by all the quilt projects I want to do, but getting caught in the magnitude of what I have, and becoming unable to quilt is not an option.

My intention was to use this Disappearing 4-patch pattern for the Purple, Red & Black quilt top I made earlier, and yet when it went together, it was busy enough as sewn. 

I found another pattern idea that used one color as the foundation and used FQ's for the other half of the block. I decided to make each block with only two colors rather than three and think it is busy enough.

There were two yards of a lime green tone-on-tone my friend sent me a month ago, and I matched it with 8 FQ's. I am not sure if it will need sashing, and set aside another lime green that is a different shade. 

This is supposed to be an easy pattern, but is so time consuming to do. Well, it goes out in September. The 4-patch square measures 9.5" and when cut and rearranged into the disappearing square is 8.25". This is one of those quilts that will measure out what it does. I think that is called a 'Piece As You Go' (PAYG) project. There are more of the green cut pieces to match if it needs more to make a rectangle. 

And as the Joker says,"And here we go!"

Monday, July 3, 2017

Sick Day Sunday

Yesterday was a bust. Every so often, my body goes into a flair mode and makes me stop everything. That was Sunday.

Today, even as early in the morning as it is, looks that I will feel better physcially, mentally, and spiritually. I have an appointment in the clubhouse to baste my GrandSon's quilt. All the seams that had wrinkled are out and its ready for a fresh start. 

While I was not feeling well, my thoughts just spiraled down. I am really prioritizing what I want to quilt more than ever now. I don't get those flairs too often, but when I do, they remind me that I can only do so much.

Over the last couple of days, I pieced the purple, red & black quilt for one of my friends in WI. All I did on Sunday was to finish joining seven rows. I wasn't sure of the color combination and took these prints from my FQ stash. Reds are such a hot color and push forward. Blacks make the foundation. Other colors had either Red, Black or Purple, and reduced my FQ stash by 13 choices. 

While its not a sampler block or any other formal pattern, this random type quilt is actually quite welcomed. The project becomes a WIP and will finish out in 2018. It will need a couple of borders, batting & a back as well as the final binding. 

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Family In-laws & Outlaws

These days it seems that people are not always choosing to marry, rather choosing to co-habitate. Its not up to anyone to judge their choices. Yet, when it comes to including a person as part of family and thereby honoring my commitment to make everyone IN the family a quilt, I consider their status carefully.

In considering how many resources and how much time I spend on a quilt, I wonder what they will do with it should their relationship status change. Breakups effect any family member who took the person into their heart. Sometimes the 'outlaw' leaves the family without closure for everyone. 
Again, thinking about the 'outlaws' in the family helps me realize that our culture teaches us how to fall in love and not how to separate without a lot of trauma drama.

Quilts represent comfort, warmth, caring. I am such a hands-off kind of family member or friend that I would not get into the trauma drama of any relationship that needs to end. Sometimes they just end when it is time.

Here I am, this Granny, with Grandkids who choose not to start families and raise children. Here I am getting to know their partners and liking them, loving them for loving my darlings. Of course they get quilts. And once I make a quilt and ship it off, I let it go because its part in my story is over. I do not worry what happens to the quilt. I made it with love. And the person who owns it gets to chose how it is used.

And no matter what, I think the world needs as much love, and comfort as it can get. Outlaw, in-law, family, friends or strangers. I love quilting and want to shop from this closet until it is empty.