Friday, August 17, 2018

Day of the Dead Medallion Quilt

I really don't have a pattern to follow. A swapper sent me a FQ of the black fabric with Day of the Dead skulls on it & I had no idea how to use it. 

One of the other BOM groups had a block I just copied for the center of this one. It called for two contrasting FQs, so I used the black with a bright white. Then, I pulled a lot of the bright fabrics to go with the print. I wasn't sure how to make this, and decided to go step by step and see what evolved. 

I like the teal as a first border and got it into my head to do a checkerboard for another border. 

First I added a small 1.5" raw bright yellow, and luckily that added amount helped the 2.5" squares fit perfectly. Another yellow border is on, and I think from this point, it might work to simply do borders with cornerstones and get the whole top to a decent lap top size. I think the other brights can be cut in jelly roll size and just create a random back. As I look at the pic, black might make a good addition for the next one just to bring in the black again. I also have a 6" Friendship block pattern I want to consider.

While I am happy with how it is evolving, like the others for Hallows, it won't get finished until next year. I am in no hurry. What I need to remember is the note-to-self.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Finishing Step 8

It is amazing how the borders or steps go together on this quilt. Very little trim was required, yet the corner squares needed an inch, which was easy to do. Funny thing was that I put away all the quilting projects before leaving for Vegas and 'hid' this project in the unfinished bin. Of course, that was the last place I looked for it. Duh.

It turned out nicely. I am always surprised because the quiltalongs I join are mystery quilts and so I never know what the finish will look like. I didn't like the red hearts in the center but used a red center elsewhere. Knowing what it would look like would help with color choices, but it is a mystery and needs to be left to chance.

When I first did a mystery, I made a quilt that I gave to Mother. Since her move to a nursing care facility, the quilt is in the hands of someone else, and I have no idea where or who. Life is like that. Surrendering to fate, to the choices of others. All we can do is our best in the moment and believe that it is enough.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Scrappy Quiltalong

I gave in to this Holiday quiltalong when I saw others using scraps rather than buying the fabric. I have a fair amount of holiday scraps and pulled some of what I thought would work.

Next, I just started pulling scraps from the bin. With a quilt top like this, it doesn't really matter what fabrics get used as long as there are some repeats. There are 17 planned blocks to the top, and I have already repeated. I'll just pay attention and use what I have in the bin as much as possible.

I also worked on Step 8 of the Medallion quilt. There are more things to do on it before joining it to the center piece. Bit by bit.

Three quilts got delivered this weekend, the Log Cabin, the Ribbon, and the Halloween Twisted 4-patch. One is getting long-armed. One more is ready to be basted. And I will keep pushing myself to get more done and moved along.

Friday, August 10, 2018

For the Trip

I put together three Hallows pot holders with Insul-brite. They have binding machine sewn and ready to hand sew the finishes. I may not get to them while in Vegas, and on the other hand, am prepared if I do need something to keep busy.

The final pieced border to the Medallion quilt is coming along. There are four sets of 3 groupings of Flying Geese that are almost joined. Then there are corner stone blocks to make and the whole thing sewn onto the center piece. 

Its been an adventure to keep going on any quilt projects. The grief I feel in getting to acceptance for my aging brings on a lot of inertia, much like grief over the loss of a person would do. This is so different because the 'death' is for the person I used to be...the younger version of who I am.

I still find myself saying, 'what the heck' when I have what the elders used to call a "hitch in my giddy-up". I see others who say they are ok getting down on the ground, but its not as easy to get up. Well, this has spilled into my quilting. I don't want to get complicated patterns right now. I don't want to get down. Thing is, the fewer pieces of fabric there are, the more creative I have to become. 

There is a Holiday quilt along that members keep saying how easy and stress free it is. I printed off the first three blocks and pulled out the box of fabric scraps I have. Some people have such cute fabric. That gets intimidating. I love a challenge, and a mystery, so yes. Yes, I am in it.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

2 to Ship

Whew, both quilts have binding and before I tuck them into boxes, I want to check for loose seams and threads. Its amazing how many times I do that and know that every once in awhile a seam will bust free. It is the nature of hand made items.

The older of the two in my closet was the Hallows Twisted 4-patch. This is one of Claudia's patterns. She owns and operates one of the fabric stores in town, 5 Heart Quilts. She made up this pattern for many sizes and this one comes out as less than the usual twin size and more than the usual lap size.

I put one fabric on the back. My intention was to have a less busy side, however it seems that all Hallows fabrics are busy. This one goes to my eldest Granddaughter who was born on Hallows. Her partner has an end of the month in October birthday as well, so they will enjoy it.

The second finish goes to a friend who often reads my blog. So I am only posting a pic of the back. As everyone who knows me knows, my goal is to use up as much of the scraps in my closet as I have. This is a perfect example. I think they are 4" squares made into 9-patch blocks and then randomly pieced. The top on this is also a scrap quilt. This one is a personal lap or nap quilt that would welcome her furbabies and simply go into the wash when needed. A true utility quilt. I will post the top after she receives it. 

I plan a long weekend trip to Vegas from Friday to Monday, so will not be quilting nor blogging. It is my hope to drop off the Bargello quilt so Claudia can long-arm it. I am in no hurry for it as his next birthday is on February 2. However, it feels good to have it ready.

I plan to cut more scraps from leftover fabric to put in the size bins. I did piece enough 2.5" charm sashing by joining them into strips for both BOM Sampler quilts I am making. If more is needed for the sashing and first border, I can add to them as they finish. Also, I found some Insul-bright scraps to make pot holders and want to use up more of the Hallows scraps for them.  

I think I have advanced in accepting my life as it is, knowing that the woman I was when I was younger had so much more energy, stamina and creativity than I do now. As I use up these scraps and find more ways to be creative, I am celebrating who I am rather than whining about waning skills, waning energy, stamina and creativity. I am doing the best I can just like I always have. And I am enough.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Charm Square Sashing

I am doing two Mystery Scrap Sampler BOM quilts. That means, first of all, We never know what the blocks will be. Second, I am using fabric from my closet so each block is selected as its own color combo. Then being a Sampler means that each block is a different pattern. And lastly, as a Block Of the Month (BOM), Only one block pattern is released each month.

As I looked at what I had in my closet, I found a few random 12.5" blocks and matched them into the two groupings. The way they are set up, it doesn't matter if I add what I have in the closet and gets those blocks used. I pulled up visuals for scrap sampler quilts to see how they are finished. Again, I could go to the store and buy fabric for sashing, yet found several examples where 2.5" charms were joined in strips to make sashing and the first border. 

After measuring and calculating, I think I can use 6 of the charms to form the sashing between blocks vertically, and can start with 24 of them to do the horizontal pieces. I made 8 shorter strips and 5 longer ones. That is enough for one of the quilt tops. It surprised me how much was left in the clear shoebox container. It looks like there is enough to do another set of 8 & 5.

I am ecstatic.  

What I did was to match pairs first and then keep matching as I tried to vary the strips. I decided to only do as many for the first quilt top and see how it looks.

I took out the Bargello and discovered that it did need a strip on the bottom to make a 3" overhang all around for the long-arm quilting. Growling at JoAnn's for cutting what I needed into two lengths that didn't really work without piecing, I just did it and walked away.  Its ready.

Now, I am back to hand sewing the binding on the comfort quilt I want shipped on Friday.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Hand Sewing the Binding

It is my plan to finish and ship two quilts on Friday before the trip to Vegas for the Anniversary party. I am just starting on the second side of the first of them, so cannot look at any of the other projects until they are finished.

There are three projects sitting on the pressing board. One is the last border for the Medallion quilt. One is cutting the Jets quilt to start it. The other is a Hallows quilt with both embroidered and pieced squares to it.

I am not taking pics of all of it sitting on the board. While pics help with the visuals on the blog, there are too many already of just fabric. 

Binding quilts is a profound action for me. So many messages and lessons and meanings. Its about closure, containment, finishing, framing. I love this part because it is hand work. Its gotten harder for me to thread needles because of the Essential Tremors, strong in my left hand and starting in the right. Yet, it still relaxes me and gives that sense of completion. 

I wonder how much it is a metaphor for aging issues...getting closer to end of life.

Many of the projects in my closet are getting finished and that gives me a strong sense of accomplishment. I loved receiving the fabrics from various friends and family. Yet, one day, when I gathered everything into one place, everything seemed huge. I read how others build rooms to hold endless bolts and keep buying. They admit to needing several lifetimes to use the fabric and take pleasure in having it. 

Well, I have never been a shopper or a hunter/gatherer, so for me, it became vital that I use what was here first. Over the years, I had to buy a focus fabric to finish a scrap quilt, and may have to do that yet.

For now, I continue using what I have and finding ways to bring beauty, comfort and joy into the fabric arts.

Monday, August 6, 2018


I pieced the flannel and am a bit irritated with JoAnns for cutting the 6 yards into two pieces of 4 & 2 yards. It took so much work to get them to fit for the top and it barely fits. I cut the batting to fit and then took the top to the pressing board. I found two spots that need re-doing and want to reinforce the edge seams on it. That will take 10 minutes at best.

Then it goes to 5Heart Quilts to get long-armed. Her preference for the pattern is hearts, of course. In this case, I love the concept on this particular quilt. Not only the heart pattern, but how closely she does the pattern. It reinforces the smaller joints of the Bargello. I am glad to check it off as nearly finished on my part. I do not have to baste nor machine quilt. It will need binding, so while I am at that fabric store, I will purchase a solid to complement it. Claudia, the store owner always seems to know the best fabric choices.

I do not think I will do another Bargello pattern. There are lovely ones out there, and while I love the math of it, cutting and piecing to get to the end of it, doesn't seem worth it to make a utility quilt that gets dragged around and washed often. This is another reason why I decided to pay for the long-arm quilting. 

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Machine Quilting

Next on my list to finish is a quilt for one of my friends. There is a bit of white as background to the top so I bought a spool of white Aurifil thread. Its 100% cotton, a bit pricey but works beautifully.

My fingers are still bandaged and not hurting as badly. The best I can do with machine quilting these days...with my skills and machine is to channel stitch. Its shows just a little bit if you look closely. This one would not work with either horizontal or vertical lines. It does work with diagonal lines, so I've begun. Taping the lines works better for me than using a pen that could stain. The white fabric will wrinkle more than the colored ones.

It is my hope to finish the binding on this one and Sami's Hallows Twisted 4-Patch and get them both shipped on Friday before a trip to Vegas. 

I have enough money to buy another sewing machine. That is not the issue. I don't believe in getting the high priced ones as they do not last any longer than these cheapies. However, I want to finish all my machine quilted projects first before doing that. Once I get what is almost done shipped to their new homes, the spaces in my closet will free up to bring other projects stored on the shelves down to eye level. Seriously. I do not want to spend money when there is still some life in this machine. I need to be aware of its eccentricities and use it wisely.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Quilting Accidents

Yes. Yes it is true. Quilting accidents happen. Someone said I was moving too fast. But I wasn't.

This pic is blurry and that is the way it is. I am halted in the work because these two injured fingers make it hard. Yes it is my non-dominate hand. There is a medical numbering so the index finger is #2; middle finger is #3. 

What happened is that I got a cardboard cut (like a paper cut) on #3 on the inside of the first joint (DIP). I pulled out the box holding a non-working machine to use it to figure out how to get my working machine functional again.

I also admit to wondering how the heck anyone could catch their finger by a moving needle. Well, the dog feet part wasn't working so I was pushing fabric through and the next thing I knew, the needel caught my finger and broke when I pulled it back from the motion. That was finger #2 on the outside just above the DIP joint.

I have first aid bandages and that blood barrier piece. However when you are both the patient and the doctor, confusion sets in with the pain. All the stuff was in a first aid bag but unopened & in the original boxes. I had to rip into it while trying to stop the bleeding and pain before I had the medical tools in the kit.

Today, the pain is gone. The fingers remain covered. I am donating one of the machines & plan to look at making a new purchase. I admit to not wanting to buy another machine until this one stops functioning completely. So many lessons here about who I am, how I value what I do, and also huge on that list is not wanting to believe that anything manufactured in our culture is throw-away. I fixed this machine, yet again, but at what cost? Two fingers injured. I can do the machine quilting the way it is, but it will no longer do simple stitching. Gahhh

Friday, August 3, 2018

Dog Teeth

My machine was not working so I took it apart thinking it needed cleaning, though I had done that recently. What I discovered is the arm to the dog teeth, the part that pulls fabric through is not working. It doesn't go up enough to let the teeth do their job. I have it threaded to do the quilting on the Hallows Log Cabin so that is next on my to do list.

Things go wrong in life. Maybe not wrong, but they don't go according to your plans. I don't want to buy another machine. There is another one in the closet that I plan to pull out and see if I can get it to work and maybe between the two of them start quilting again.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

HIgh Holy Day

In the old tradition, this day was one of 8 agricultural events honoring their work. It marks the celebration for the first harvesting. Usually, in my gardens it is harvesting herbs and some of the leftover onions & garlic. In my life, it celebrates early accomplishments I've had. As a quilter, I am REALLY grateful for all I have done & learned through fabric arts.

Today, I took the sidebar check list & compared it with current projects, and some that are started waiting for a finish. I updated the check list and went back to work on Step 8 that finishes up the Medallion quilt.

Because my first attempt was done incorrectly and I had to unpick those stitches, I only made one pair of flying geese just to make sure it turned out, & will continue sewing on lines with the blocks. That may be all I get done today before heading out to LA with company. Pieces need to be cut in half & pressed before adding the other wing to each goose. My pressing board and iron are put away for now.

My fabric bins are getting down, however there are small containers on the closet shelf that hold planned projects. Actually I need to get to them next so that when each project is finished, there are more scraps to add to the bins. Its still pretty on-going and far from finished. 

I am tempted to join a Holiday mystery quilt-along to use up those fabrics, but like waves in the ocean, there is always another one coming along. I can wait on that. One of the projects to finish is a holiday wonky block. I may need to make a back and those scraps could work.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Color Catching

After several washes of both the red and the blue fabrics, the Color Catchers are still coming out with dye on them. I am going to stop with it now, and just get on with cutting the pieces. It might be that I will wash the quilt again after making it and before sending it. It surprises me just how much color is caught each time.  The vibrancy is no longer in the fabric, and for that, I am sad. But life goes on and nothing is ever perfect.

Even in the movie, THE LAST SAMURAI, the scene where the last of them dies and looks to the falling blossoms, He looks at them and says, "perfect, they are all perfect". 

That might be the lesson. To see perfection everywhere, to accept it and to go forward.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Special Request

One of the Nieces is getting the Blue & Gray Log Cabin and requested a quilt for her 3-year-old Son. He is into anything that moves, cars, trucks, trains and planes. As I thought about it, I know how boys are. It is important for them to be seen as big boys rather than babies. I searched patterns for something I thought would work for his age now and as he can grow into it.

What I found was this lap quilt tutorial. The order from JoAnn's just came on Saturday with the blue and red prints. I think there are grays and whites in my stash that I can use for the jets, stars and jet streams. I need to wash both fabrics before cutting as they are the bleed-factor colors. There might even be enough to make a second quilt for my Grandson.

All of my quilting is on hold with company here. Yesterday we went for a walk in the Tehachapi mountains and on the way back had a flat in their rental car. We need to swap the car out or get a new tire. Then we are headed to the ocean for the day. High tide is around noon-ish and that is always fun to walk in a raging surf.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Reading Patterns

I am not sure why I have difficulty reading patterns. Pattern-makers use their own skills, their own interpretations, and its up to those of us following to either get what they say or ask questions.

The Mystery Medallion quilt was at the final step (8) this month. For the first step, I gathered fabrics suggested in lights, mediums, darks to coordinate with one another. In the mystery, you never know how they will be used so its important that each goes with the group & individuals. Its a matter of fitting, much like it is for us whenever we join a group. We want to fit. They want us to fit. Hope we do.

The back is assembled and will be adjusted to fit when the top is complete. I was able to cut background pieces easily and understood the pattern. After some reading and thinking, I got the colored pieces cut and first have to press them before taking them to the machine to piece.

Yesterday, I basted two quilts, so they are ready for machine quilting. This first one is a hallows scrap log cabin. Still hard for me to believe I can make a lovely quilt with scraps. I didn't take a pic of the back, but it too is scrappy.

The next one goes to a friend who reads this blog, so this is only the back and is obviously unquilted so the full impact is not seen here. I am using 4" squares to make simple 9-patch blocks & just joining them in a random combo without trying to match them. 

My out-of-state company comes tonight, so I do not expect to be blogging until Thursday after they head to the airport in LA. I've taken many of the quilts to their next steps and will be able to easily start back up again. They are all in one bin with the order on top the way I want to work with them. Nothing has a deadline, so its as I can get to them.

Also to be released are the new BOMs for August. I may print off those patterns, and find the fabrics from what I put together and perhaps even start cutting.The work gives me a purpose and reason for coming into the studio. It is good work, this work of spirit. Who knew that the ending of it because it means using up the dregs of the fabrics in my 'stash' would be as challenging? I wonder if that is what end of life work is about?

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Quilting Done

It took a couple of long days to channel quilt this one. Its rolled up and in the closet, waiting to be trimmed and the binding added. What was most important to me was freeing the basting pins. It is my hope to get two more basted at the clubhouse on Friday.

It seems like I am flying through quilts, however, in truth, I am merely finishing projects that were almost finished before I took them out of the closet to work on them. This one is YEARS old. There is a bin next to it with a sign saying "Finished...Bird Quilts". Also projects finished years ago and waiting until the Grands are old enough to stay put long enough not to lose them when they move.

This particular one is meant for the oldest of the Grandgrrls. I texted her to make sure she wanted it, or if I should save it for her or give it to someone else. She wants it now. Giggles. 

My spirit work is all about finishing what is in front of me rather than starting new projects. Its hard not to do something new even with this intention, and I am ok with the flow.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Daily Mood Quilt Back

One of the BOMs I joined this year is actually a BOD or block of the day.  A very creative (and unknown to me) person drew out a pattern for 365 days or pieces of fabric to this quilt.

What we were instructed to do was to scan our mood at the same time during the day, and select a fabric to go with it for the daily quilt project. Mine has become a true scrappy where I reach into the shoebox and take out the first piece touching my hand. Some are HST or half square triangles, and some are the entire piece. I saved some of the HST and do try to match them with a different partner. However, at this stage, I don't know what matches. And that is the key to a scrappy quilt. You have to surrender any plan and go with what happens.

This back is planned for another top and once it is assembled, it can be extended on any or all four sides to extend beyond the top. Its been a good project for me. It kept me quilting a little bit even when I was sick with that stomach virus. It is simple to follow the pattern and the way it is set up, quite mindless for me to do. I gave the first 9 rows a quick press and have a small box to keep it in through its stages. 

Company is coming this weekend for a few days. When they are here, we plan to go to the mountains, the ocean, to Disneyland and maybe the Getty Museum in LA. I am putting my quilting projects away until they leave so I can devote my full attention to them.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Scrap Back for Hallows Quilt

The container in my closet containing Hallows fabrics was filled with all sorts of scraps cut at endless sizes. It challenged me. So I just started to piece the scraps around a focus scrap and let it evolve. Its the back of a quilt. It uses up scraps. What happens in the evolution is anyone's guess. Its a mystery and yet an unplanned mystery. 

I am going to make it fit to size for the top and then let the process go. Its interesting how I come across a piece of fabric and stop myself from using it with the thought that I should save it for a special project. All projects merit the use of what is in the closet. 

They are all special.

And so I will keep at this one until it is done. I have one more quilt that is basted and ready for the machine. As soon as I finish this back, I plan to machine quilt the other. That frees up basting pins to do two more that are ready for that step.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Rising Stars Out

It surprised me how quickly this one finished and was sent. And I write that smiling because, honestly, it was a BOM or block of the month and so took time. It took time to gather fabrics, time to pull sashing, cornerstones, a border, back, batting and the binding. 

It really finished fast or seemed to though, in truth, it took time. One of my Nieces asked for a quilt for a dear Friend who is battling cancer. With how she described the situation, there was no time to waste. I was surprised that I basted it last week. I channel quilted it horizontally and most of the blocks lined up. Every once in awhile, I needed to mark the lines on one of them, and it went fast! I went looking for black to bind and knew I didn't want to use black so found a mottled pink that matched well. You have to look closely to see it but its there. 

Then I boxed it and shipped it today, asking for a signature at its destination. I remember how these blocks went together and how I struggled to coordinate fabrics. As I worked on it, all I could think about was sending healing energy to her Friend. I don't know her name and it doesn't matter. I do hope she likes it. I do. It is a real work of art. Funny thing, these are her colors. Not mine, but hers. Its too fruuu-fru for me. Too grrrly. I was happy to use up the scraps and happy to participate in the BOM group. And so its flying across the country and will be in Minnesota in two days.

I love the mysteries that I join and love that they all turn out differently, and beautiful. Sometimes when I quilt on my little machine I wish I had invested in a long-arm quilter to get the more detailed and fancy stitches. Not too often any more. I realize that they are a huge investment and at the time, I simply did not have that kind of money to spend. I am content with simple stitches. 

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Hallows Mug Rugs & Quilt Top

While it might seem like I am quilting fast, I am actually finishing projects started earlier. They are called UFOs or unfinished objects.

The quilt top went together fast because the squares were done and only needed piecing. Its not my favorite top but it will make a nice Hallows decorating accent for someone. I didn't see how the fabric compromised the points when it was first cut so many years ago. I could have redone the stars because there was enough of that fabric left, but didn't find it worth my time to go back to do it. Not sure if I will get it finished in time for the holiday. No back planned.

The mug rugs came from a panel and used scraps to finish them. Four are clipped and ready to hand sew binding. One is in an envelope headed to a new owner. However many of the 4 that get ready will also be mailed in the morning. 

I am using up the scraps in my closet and will be happy to have them all completed. 

This quilt is an anniversary gift, so what it needs right now is for me to examine it for loose threads and clip them off. I am a little concerned about the blue batik bleeding and will send them a box of Color Catchers. I might ask if she wants me to pre-wash it for her instead. The party is in Vegas in a couple of weeks, so it is so ready for wrapping and tucking away til then.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Pin Basting 2

Its gotten hot here in Southern Cali. I took 2 quilts to the clubhouse to baste this morning and was done in a little over an hour. The 2-block walk home was stifling. There were enough basting pins for the job, and I plan to load the roller suitcase with the next two while these get machine quilted.

One of them is a Hallows quilt and will need to go out ASAP. I took out another Hallows themed quilt that was 2 stars short of my plan and re-worked it. The quilt pattern for what is pictured here is a 'Twisted 4-Patch' and has been in my closet as a UFO for many years. Hallows fabrics are incredibly busy and so I think I shuddered to how busy it is and never took it to this step. As I basted, I thought of a number of people who might like it. But I know that with a theme, people tend not to want to use it or keep it out beyond the holiday. I am going to do a simple channel stitch in black thread.

As I learned many projects ago, that the longer something sits unfinished, the harder it is to return to it. In one way, when I return to a project like this one above, it went easily as long as I didn't really look at it and get caught in the emotions that had me set it aside so long ago. The same thing happened with the one I worked out last night. There was a note-to-self with that one and after reading it, I decided to take a much easier route to finishing. I had run out of a main fabric and none of the fabric stores carried it after all these years. I did not need nor want the stress of trying to make it work with the written plan. I revised my thinking and am happy with it.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Solid BOM #1 done

It took me three days to complete this over sized block, which used up most of two Fat Quarters (FQ) and some background to make it. I love how it looks. I selected blue & orange batiks, first because the colors complement each other and second because both are batiks and really pop together.

This is the first installment for this Mystery BOM so finishing it gets me caught up. The August installment will come mid-month. The leftover fabrics are being saved too. I found one of the early quilting books I got that focuses on borders. Scrap borders. The ones I made when I first started quilting turned out so good. This quilt may look fine without them, and conversely, might need something to tie the solid fabrics together. Its a wait-n-see.

I do have three quilts ready to baste now and have two of them loaded in a suitcase with wheels that I kept for travel. Gone are the days when I want to toss a bag shoulder straps and carry contents to the next place. This can roll with whatever weight is inside there and back again. I just need the time now. Meanwhile, I will keep doing what is here.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Batting Arrived

With the delivery, I was able to tackle other projects. One was to finish the Baby Book project. It is wrapped and of course, no photo. The second thing I did was to cut to size a comfort quilt and get it ready for basting. Then, thirdly, I cut a Hallows fabric panel into sections and got them ready for mug rugs.

Nothing is finished, and progress was made on all three projects. It is the plan to baste next. I need to wait for the flannel back for the Bargello quilt but am moving along. 

I started work on the next BOM Mystery quilt which is made of 24 solid Fat Quarters (FQ). From what I read, it is the largest block in the quilt and we have been given several weeks to complete it. Each block will be a different color combination and using them that way, the only tie-in will be the fact that it is done in solids. I am saving scraps from each block so I can make a border for it. We were not told to do that, however, I am taking that chance. I don't even know how big it will end up being.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

BOM for July

I am caught up with most of the BOMs. I worked on this one called Broken Dishes this morning.
Two quilt-along BOMs will go to various people in my life who expressed a desire to receive a quilt from me. They are scrap quilts and each block will be a color combo specific to the pattern and month. Nothing will 'match' in the truest sense of the word. I remember one of my quilting teachers telling me that the more colors and fabrics in a quilt, the more people will find what they want to match their environment.

What I am doing is laying out the blocks when I start selecting fabrics for the next one so that I am using something different. The electrician who was here this morning said he just gave away a lot of fabric. Seriously, I breathed a sigh of relief because I want desperately to use up what I have here now. For as many quilts as I have made, it surprises me how much fabric is still in the bins. Its getting harder because there is less and less, but making THESE BOMs as scrap blocks helps so very much.

I pulled out the few books and magazines still on a shelf and plan to revisit the patterns to see if there is something I might still want to make. In truth, there are a number of projects listed on the blog side-bar that need completing first. Hard for me not to start new things. I am that quadruple Aries, which brings a real desire for new.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Mystery Surprise

I say this all the time that mystery quilts stress me out and then they become so beautiful. If only I could get this lesson in the process, trust the choices, trust myself. Sometimes it works, sometimes not.

This is the first medallion quilt I've made. I pulled fabrics out that coordinated and then struggled with the pattern maker's choices of using red. I used red in the very center and kept grumbling about it from that moment forward. She used reds and blues.

Then, this last round asked for a small center square. I decided to bring the red back in for the 3.5" corner Shoofly blocks. It worked. I understand that there is more to come, and I am quite content with how this looks right now. It stretched me.

I am not sure why it was a challenge. Something new? Something beyond my skills? The mystery component is also interesting in as much as it is a symbol of trust.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Step 7 Medallian Quilt

There is quite a bit to this step, and so it is a work in progress. Until I get the step done, I decided to forego photos. As a Sunday with very high heat, I did get outside to water plants and did not do any weeding or otherwise work in the garden. I added water to the fountain and used the weed blower to clean off the South porch where fallen birdseed gathers. The high school grad comes early in the morning.

Then, I went to a concert in the park where a Celtic Blue Grass band was playing under the trees. There was a breeze for a little while and I made it through the first set. Such high heat makes me run for the AC. 

So the week is started. 

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Hallows Scrap Back

I bought more of the black and finished the back of the Hallows Log Cabin. I also bought a gingerbread colored brown to make mug rugs. There is an actual practice called CHRISTMAS IN JULY among fabric artists, who buy their materials in June and have already got projects going.

Here I am with a Hallows quilt and still need to baste, machine quilt and bind it. It is only a couple of inches larger than the top but will work as long as I take time during the basting process to line it up. There are lines on both sides so it is essential that they do line up and if they go wonky, it won't be too bad a look. I will attempt to pin so they join in the center as well as going outward to all four sides.

I found a kids paper project that I used for a pattern to make a mug rug and did get a start on it this morning. I had to adjust the corners on the arms to make it work but did. I've got enough for 5 of them after cutting two WOF strips and some white for the background. They become a 9-patch. I want to make one up before going on with them, just in case it doesn't work out.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Need Fabric

There isn't enough of the black tone on tone to finish the back, so its off to the fabric store on Saturday.

I am really glad I selected black to do this sashing, and also that it is cut 2.25". At first, it mattered which fabric laid next to others. And yet, it became quite random as the rows were joined. Even looking at this pic, I can see where other choices might have happened. Again, Hallows fabrics are so busy and bright. Black gives your eye a place to rest from it all.

The side-to-side measurement will accommodate the top's side borders. There are enough blocks to make two more rows to extend the back, but at this point, it might be long enough. Six across and 8 down. In fact seven might work. I'll buy enough black to do the binding too and finish the quilt by the end of August and ship it out as soon as it is done.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Making 8" Blocks

Hallows scraps were saved in many sizes, the largest of which are 8" squares. As a result, I joined smaller bits so they measured 8". And now what?

Halloween fabric prints are incredibly busy. Even if the square is cut from a single fabric, it is still busy. I want to do a sashing but am not sure what will work better and coordinate with the front, which is black and white with orange. Colors are vivid so nothing light or pastel will work. Too much orange, or black already. I thought about a bright, deep yellow, which would complement the orange on the other side, and found a black that auditions better and is on hand. I have black. I do not have the yellow. The challenge using such a scrappy back is in matching it to the top. It is important to check all seams and clip threads.

Sigh. Math. I found one site that set up the formula, but calculated it for 12.5" unfinished blocks. I am using 8". The scrap of black I found is a tone on tone. I drew the layout and have first started with the side pieces to join them. I am not sure how much fabric will work, so made the cut at 2.25" and will do the center part first. I have another solid black to make an outside border. For as much of this Halloween fabric I used for the top and the bottom, there is still a lot of it left for another project.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Fabric Panel Books & a LC Top

I love being able to use batting scraps for this project. I am one page short of batting, but made great progress.  All the pages are together except one for two books.

It surprised me how quickly these went together, though the project has a few more steps to slip stitch closed the bottom of the pages, top stitching around all of them, and joining the centers with a vertical stitch to form the book. I am not sure if the pages will get quilted for stability or how to do it. Directions do not give that as a step, however, batting will shift if not secured. I may do another seam next to the top stitching seam or run a few horizontal stitches before putting the pages together.

Next, I pulled more projects in the bins out to finish tops, match with backs, and get them ready for basting. Again, it surprised me, though shouldn't, that there were a number of projects without notes-to-self. I guess that means I will get to choose what happens next and use the creative thoughts I have NOW. Some of these projects have been sitting awhile.

I finished a Log Cabin Hallows scrap top. The darker pieces are all black prints. 'Scrappy' means gathering in a very random manner, and 'scrap' quilting means some thinking and planning while using scraps on hand. I have so many scraps that I want to make the back from them with the intention to use as much of the holiday as possible. Thing is there is no pattern for the back, as of yet. 

This top turned out so good, I would like to make the back as close to stunning as this top is. It was more planned using all the spider web on white for the entire white side, using the same fabric for the center blocks, then making the borders. Yet, all from scraps on hand. So it would be considered a scrap quilt. Even though the back is also made of scraps, to get it to look nice, it needs structure.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Bargello Top Finish

I don’t think I will make another Bargello. I don't like the fragility of cut seams this might have. Maybe not, but it wasn't a pattern that sparked joy in me the way Log Cabins do. Next I need to buy flannel for the back and get it basted. I have several quilts ready to baste that I want to work on.

Next project is a couple of cloth baby books, one for alpha and the other for numbers. They will be a mid-August birthday gift for a Nanny who works locally with two toddlers. I found the panels at one of the local fabric stores and can use batting scraps to line the pages. Everything is cut and needs pressing next. It seems to be an easy project. It surprised me how many options for these books are for sale. I have not seen the quilting panels before and so bought both that were available.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

First Half of the Bargello

According to Wikipedea, Bargello is a type of needlepoint embroidery  consisting of upright flat stitches laid in a mathematical pattern to create motifs. The name originates from a series of chairs found in the Bargello Palace in Florence, Italy, which have a "flame stitch" pattern. Traditionally, Bargello was stitched in wool on canvas. Embroidery done this way is remarkably durable. It is well suited for use on pillows, upholstery & even carpets, but not for clothing. In most traditional pieces, all stitches are vertical with stitches going over two or more threads. Traditional designs are very colourful, and use many hues of one colour, which produces intricate shading effects. The patterns are naturally geometric, but can also resemble very stylized flowers or fruits. Bargello is considered particularly challenging, as it requires very precise counting of squares for the mathematical pattern connected with the various motifs to accurately execute entered the quilting world in modern times.

The first step in joining the colors was relatively easy. Each jelly roll was joined to form a tube. Then, if I am following directions correctly, strips of varying sizes were cut to form the wave. This weakens the end seam stitches a bit. I numbered each of the strips, and then started pinning and joining them. Each strip that was cut was a different graduated size going from narrow to wide and back to narrow again. Only one tube was cut in strips and numbered. And only 6 strips from the first tube have been pinned, joined and pressed. This is not a one-day or one-sitting kind of project. 

It is, as was written above, very challenging. My guess is that consistency is key to make this work. From all I read, starting with solid rainbow colors makes it easy for the beginner. This pic represents the first jelly roll. The full impact of the quilt is yet to show itself.

Friday, July 6, 2018


When I was a grrrl still living at home with my Parents, one of my tasks was ironing. I hated ironing. Back in the day, cotton wrinkled so bad. Well, it still does. And now, as a part of quilting, one must 'press' seams open, or 'press' to get wrinkles out from washing. 

Pressing is different from ironing. It is not the sweeping motion. It is a downward action that doesn't move the fabric to stretch it or ruin the bias cuts. Some quilters press seams open and some say that open seams are more fragile and prefer to press them 'to the dark side'. It really depends upon how the final quilting will be done, and so you have to know what your plans are. 

Today is a pressing day for me. I want to press the seams on the comfort quilt (no photos until the recipient has it in hand), and press the seams on the Bargello. This is the perfect time to check seams to ensure they are joined with that 1/4 inch to hold up to use. I plan to press the top seams open and the back seams to the side. I've thought about how I will quilt this project and plan to use white thread to go with the background of the top. I want back seams to have the strength of side pressed seams and think that I will quilt this one a bit more than usual just for the added strength.

As for the Bargello, well, it is still a WIP (work in process) so one step at a time with it. Today, it gets pressed and each section made into a tube. Admittedly, I am way beyond my comfort level with it and am second guessing everything I do with it. Already, I am concerned with my color choice on it. It is my first Bargello, and will be a learning experience.


Thursday, July 5, 2018

Back From 4" Squares

Piecing the squares is an adventure. First they go into 9-patch blocks, then six of those blocks get joined in rows. Right now, I have 6 rows. I learned that the term scrap quilt means using scraps in patterns to form cohesiveness. Scrappy quilts means you just grab what you have and piece away. I like more of the orderliness and so mine are scrap quilts rather than scrappy. These blocks for the back might look random to the eye of a non-quilter, but they are not.

The project is coming along nicely. The next step might just be scrappy because at this point, the rows are joined in whatever way they come together to make the sizing requirements. I did my best to have the squares look good next to each other, but did not spend too much time doing that step. Once the back measured out, it was ready to sandwich with batting and get basted. It is a lot larger than it needs to be, but I would rather have it larger to trim off than to be short. Done.

What I do plan to do next is work on the Bargello quilt, to piece the tubes and cut into the strips as suggested in the pattern.  

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

When the Machine.....

Starts to rumble...

I worked on another comfort quilt the last few days and in fact, have many more days to work on finishing steps. Because my friend might read the blog, I am not posting photos. I pulled out 4th of July movies, The Sandlot, & National Treasure to watch while I work. Wish I had others but the day passes quickly and these were enough.

And the back of the quilt. I have a lot of the blocks done & measured the top so I can piece the back to fit. As I use these squares, thoughts about other quilts I've made & who they went to come to mind. Of course, I remember different people who gave me fabrics too. The 'stash' of fabrics is getting down, which is the goal. Yet, there is so much here to use. Sometimes it seems to multiply rather than subtract.

I think about the woman in town who gave me bags of her fabric when I first decided to quilt. At the time, she said she wasn't going to continue quilting and then took it up again. I think about friends who donated their own leftovers or those whose relatives had passed who left behind materials that their family would not use. And then what came from my dear friend, whose Daughters gave me boxes of her supplies. All of them contributed to what I have. In some rare cases, I bought fabrics myself. Some times the fabrics were to finish off a scrappy quilt, and sometimes I bought specific fabrics that were for a specific reason. 

I think I like the scrappy quilts more than when I buy fabrics. Seems like I can stretch my creative juices with scrappy quilts and have less misses than when I try to shop. I am simply not a shopper. Not for fabric. Not for other things. I like scrap quilting. I really need and want to make more backs from the squares I've cut. I like the look of those kinds of backs and know that it takes me much more time to make them than it would to go out and buy 5-6 yards and make one seam.

Fireworks seemed quick tonight. Weather was nice here in the valley. No winds to blow them away. The valley is pretty flat, so you can see the fireworks from just about anywhere. Some of us just pull chairs out and just look up. 

There is the sky at night. This pic is not quite as dark as it gets here but the starlight is the same. Its amazing to be so close to the night and feel like you could reach up at touch the stars.

And tomorrow. Well, like Scarlett O'Hara said, 'I'll think about it tomorrow.'

I read the Bargello directions again and had a friend look at them with me to be sure of what I was doing. So this is my next WIP.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Lost Pieces

One of the challenges after leaving a project is that cut fabrics can go missing. No matter how one labels or leaves notes to self, things happen. The other day, I wanted to save the leftovers from a quilt I basted and use them for binding. Well, without thinking and because I did not write a note to self, I cut the leftovers into squares and put them in the bins. Sure enough, when it came time to cutting the binding strips, that fabric was elsewhere.

(No photos of the current project.) I had my share of snafu's today, but feel much better than when I had that stomach bug.

The quilt I am currently making will have two sides to it so that it is reversible. Both are different from each other so that the new owner of this quilt can chose what they want to have top side up. The colors will be different. The patterns will be too. I am making the 9-patch back for it from the bin of 4" squares. I'll put as many of them together as I can and trim to fit the front part when it is done.

Ideally, the 9-patch should have a good contrast to each block. In some cases, it should have either 4 patches the same, or 5 patches the same so it doesn't end up looking too busy. Well, ideally doesn't always happen in scrappy quilting. What I do find is that it takes on a life of its own and usually turns out better than I thought it would. So I just go with what is under the needle.

I have got to use what Is here. Over the years, I've saved usable scraps just so I could join them for backs. Whatever is here will make up a back and then get sized and set aside to be used for the comfort quilt project.

I've joined in on the controversy quilters have about whether or not to wash the quilt before giving it to someone. In almost all cases, I have not pre-washed them and sent along a few Color Catchers. This particular quilt has a lot of white for background and because it is really scrappy, may suffer color bleed. I have not decided yet if It will get pre-washed or go with the Color Catchers. Lots of different fabrics are risky with the white. Hmmmm.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Out of Gray Thread

With one line left to stitch, the thread ran out and both local fabric stores are closed until Tuesday.

I stitched the binding onto the quilt with a black thread because that part will not matter. The back is a black print fabric. I need to set this aside until later and get on with other things. For instance, next on the list is the Bargello. My next step was to press and check seams. Of course, I found a few spaces where seams were ok, but I wanted to secure them. I've gone back to the pattern. This is a time consuming quilt. Lots of cutting and layout.

This morning, I pulled out bins from the closet to get ready for the week. The Bargello is pressed and seams reinforced. I asked for help with the pattern so that when I start cutting, there should be a better understanding. 

Then, I took out the next Comfort Quilt project. Its been started and set aside long enough. After looking at the smaller bins and labels on them, that I have enough projects to keep going for some time. Its a matter of pulling the small bins out and simply working on them. 

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Yae, Happy Birthday Basket

This one was another challenge. Round bottom. One is supposed to calculate the geometry of the thing. Well, I tried and then ended up cutting the circle smaller, folding things over and trying my best. 

It isn't firm enough on the sides to stand up like a plastic basket, but it is reversible & will be a nice bucket to hold laundry...or whatever she decides works. Its done, & I am quite happy to have the project finished. It is one of 4 fabric boxes made for this gift & is more than enough. 

One of the things about getting gifts that you don't ask for is that sometimes the response to opening the package is, "well, isn't that nice?" Which makes me laugh. I am making fewer things now and am ok with that response.