Thursday, December 20, 2018

Testing By The Numbers

I am at Month #6, with #7 coming along.

Testing is a lot. We are hoping to get done with each of the months before the BOM starts in January. As a tester, we are invited to give suggestions, tips, make corrections and other comments. I've given more than a few and the organizers will take what works and leave the rest. Its a very interesting experience in quilting as it uses squares.

I am keeping track of the blocks by pinning the instructions to each one. We are sworn to secrecy so while I cannot post any of the blocks, I could post tracking.

Even this was a suggestion that might come as a teaching tip. I am free to say that I need to be extremely organized as I quilt. I have been trying to stay organized for years. Its all about retrieving. A piece of fabric gets lost like a piece of paper.

I went into the closet this afternoon to ensure that the more recent projects were labeled. Only one needed a note. One box needed a note. Not bad. I appreciated my attention to this particular detail and how I am handling it.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Back to Quilting

I watched a video on You Tube that focused on using up holiday fabrics. It started with a 10.5" square, used white with other coordinating fabrics, so with the 5.5" border made a nice, fast quilt top. I may try it later.

Meanwhile I printed off the next two months for the test quilt project I am in. Admittedly, I am behind, so will work on getting these squares cut, and pinned. #3 still needs to be pressed and rows pinned to finish.

All the boxes of cookies have been delivered and received. I need to bake again this week to ship out the Italian dolci to my Sons, as well as some regular sugar cookies that go to the holiday pot luck as a host/hostess gift. (I am also bringing deviled eggs, & fresh baked rolls for the potluck.)

However, today, I am focusing only on the test months (#3, 4, 5). I am still behind on the Merry & Bright quilt as well as some other BOMS. It has been a less stressful season for me to get family holiday gifts taken care of through the giftcards. Yes, they were more than what I might usually spend, however, I know that giving $25 today is like receiving a $5 bill when I was a teen. In the hands and gone in a flash. As my life progresses, I may only have $25 to give. So this year was a good one.

Well, onto work.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

A Week For Cookies

My younger Sister is the cookie baking expert in our family. She takes the best of photos, has the most variety of cookies to share, and outshines even Martha Stewart. Notice the tray is more for 4th of July than for the December holidays. I have winter dishes...just not set in place for PR here.

These are what is left, either broken or extra, after packing 8 boxes and shipping them out yesterday. The green trees are lime shortbread, the Oreos are simply coated with a thin layer of chocolate and sprinkles added, the balls are also dipped into white chocolate with crushed peppermint, and finally chocolate chips. There was more, like Anise strips and fudge. Enough to make it into boxes perfectly without leaving more for me to eat. 

My last venture is to make the Italian dolci or sweets. Those only go to my Sons, and if there is extra, to 2 Granddaughters who don't live with their parents any more. They can ship even at New Years.

And now, after some cleaning in the kitchen, I can get back to the quilting projects that wait, wait, wait. 

I have to say my spiritual practices have been on hold too. That is a bold admission because everything I do has a spiritual component to it. 

Not so much lately. My faith has been challenged of late. Sometime, I think it is because my life force energy diminished over time and I just realized I got older. Older means not having the stamina, the strength, the passion of a younger woman. Even 5 years made a difference.

I do less because I just don't care about a lot of the minutia. I find that trying to please others or do what I think they want, doesn't cut it. They don't want what I think they do. I have to ask, to listen and to respond accordingly. I know I am not in control of things.

What is huge for me is saying what I want or need and having someone listen TO ME. What I am really aware of is that when you get older, you become invisible. Yes, even to people you love who love you. For the most part, it starts with all of us denying the reality of aging. The aging person denies it and everyone around them does too. No one wants to believe the end of days is coming even if it is 14 years from now.

When I baked this year, I wanted to use up bottles of sprinkles for the cookies, so that is why I did the Oreo cookies. I made fudge to use up chips. All this stuff!!!

Well, I need to get back to work here and figure out what is on the quilting 'to-do' list. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Holiday Gift

This mug rug goes to my DIL and is the last of the quilty things needed for this year. 

Her favorite bird or animal is the Hummingbird, so I found a silhouette, traced it and found fabric. The back is a darker purple. It turned out sweet. 

I discovered that I forgot to order the silver bells for the Grandgrrrls...just a 25 year tradition. Gone. I can back order them for March and that is what I need to do next. Dang. Oh well. I doubt any of them will even question it.

Friday, December 7, 2018

And Then It Snows

This was the first snow of the year, in fact, the first snow in maybe four years because of the drought. Flakes were huge and didn't stick at first, and then covered the ground with a blanket of white.

Gorgeous coming down, and now, of course, it is melted. I got out to rake the Labyrinth and filled the trash container, ready for pickup. Both rain and snow packed leaves so they were easy to pick up. My gardens are not like lawns of old, therefore, this task is easier to do. After a shower, and some breakfast, I am ready to do a bit more quilting. My holiday cards are done (except to seal the flaps) and go out on Monday. All that is left are the cookies.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

And When It Rains

I woke up thinking I would get into the garden and rake. Well, the rain has come, welcomed after many drought years. Steady downpour, making the air wet, the ground even more so. I am content to watch from inside and hope that I will be able to get outdoors and take up the carpet of leaves.

The blur in the photo is simply rain coming down. The Labyrinth is totally hidden. I am not complaining because we really need the natural water. Obviously, this is a bleak time of year. 

Indoors, my Rico cat, old guy that he is, had a very bad day yesterday, yakking and the loss of bowel control. Goddess, he stayed near me in the studio, and had one incident after another, so I was cleaning and cleaning and cleaning. 

Its hard to see children and animals be sick and feel so very helpless. He has been laying in this bed barely moving except to use his litter box and get some water. I have simple things to do in the studio that will not disturb him and allow me to keep an eye on him. Sometimes the ones we love need to just be close.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Holiday Pressures

Yesterday was Target's 10% off sale on Gift Cards. I got them. However, it was not easy to switch what I wanted to what they offered. I ended up getting plastic cards that will be delivered on Friday the 14th and next, need to be mailed to the recipients. I still need to get some email-delivered gift cards, which are safer to send. I had planned to mail everything with cookies so there was only one delivery to a household, cookies that would go out on the 10th.

This is the thing in life about having the best of plans that cannot manifest if others have a different agenda. Sometimes people will negotiate and other times, I am the one who needs to accept the differences and go on with the reality life gives.

Meanwhile, my quilting projects have been on hold. The last pattern is out for the Merry & Bright quilt-along, and another two block patterns were released for the Solid Colors BOM Mystery. I have the 3rd step for the Testing BOM to do. Oh and yes, the Graduation quilt in Yellow. Things will suddenly slow down and energy will shift as soon as the gift-card issues are resolved.

Its like the wind here. It is quiet this morning and most of the leaves have fallen so I can get outside to rake. Everything has its season or perfect timing. I need to be patient and rather than resist things happening that don't fit into my plan, I need to do what I can when I can while I can. Nothing lasts forever.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Secret Santa

I was added to the list, one that I could decline and decided to join. It was a small group of people. The person I got listed favorite color as blue and favorite hobby as horses.

I was happy to make a mug rug and pleased that my skills could handle a small mini quilt during this time of year. I plan to shop at Lassens in the big city on Friday and will pick up some no-nut cookies to go along with the mug rug. I love this silhouette and made it earlier as another gift. It really is charming for anyone who loves horses. 

Gifts this year are almost done. I need to buy an art book for the youngest grrrlie-grrl and bake some cookies. And tomorrow, I work on my cards. I plan to hold off sending them so recipients don't feel like they have to send one in return.

Why do we do that, I wonder? It really is ok to receive without giving back to the same person.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

As A Tester

As a tester, I am 'sworn' to secrecy about the steps to this Mystery BOM called By the Numbers. I can write about it, but cannot show photos. I've been working on it for several days now. Last week, I bought fabric, and this week, completed the first two steps. Its taken a bit of time to do. My version is a 'throw' so its made of 2.5" squares. Each size depends upon the size of those squares.

We were to get six different fabrics, which included the background as one, a focus, and then two shades of two more coordinating colors. I bought mine at one of the local fabric stores that has a sale wall. 

Funny, I thought that this was a different Mystery BOM, and pulled out fabric from my stash for that one. It starts in 2019, as the one I am testing does as well. 

I did catch up on the other blocks, and tomorrow, another one is released for the holiday quilt. I have yet to return to the yellow BOM I am making as a graduation gift. And that comes next.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

When Visitors Come Calling

I've been in Cali for almost 19 years, and only retired a few years ago. That meant in my travels while I was working, I scheduled time in Minnesota to see family and friends. Now I return for high school graduation parties for the Grandkids. The last was 2 years ago and the next is this coming June. So people have been coming out here. 

Tehachapi is pretty quiet and 3 hours from LA, from the ocean and from Disneyland. While we visited 2 Pumpkin Patches, we bought them at the local grocery store. 

While company was here during the month of October, I put away quilting projects and now am playing catch up with all the BOM groups I am in.

I just put my head down, printed off the patterns, selected fabric and started cutting, pinning, piecing & pressing. And just when I thought I was caught up, this week's pattern for the MERRY & BRIGHT block was released. The studio was a mess and I knew it had to be re-organized before I got too much farther on the next full quilt project, so time was spent colorizing the scraps. I will do my best to take quilting photos for the next blog posts. For now, know that I am back at it and simply doing 'behind-the-scenes' work.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Floral BOM

I am not sure I even knew what I was doing, yet, this quilt is ready to ship on Monday.

It is a Floral BOM Mystery quilt. Obviously, scrap. Each block is made as a separate vision & color scheme. The blocks are framed with a white & blue print, then a first border using 2.5" scrap squares. The final border is a blue, white & gray floral print & the binding is also scrappy. 

The back is made of 6" scrap squares. And quilting is a simple wavy line. It is getting harder for me to work with the Essential Tremors now in both hands. Needle threading is a challenge as is keeping lines. Oh well. It turned out nicely.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Joining Batting

I joined what was needed for one quilt and have more pieces ready for the second one. It is silly to throw away batting if I can use it. However, I did put a bagful of smaller batting strips into the giveaway box and in the batting bag so they know what they have to try and sell.

Although the batting may be ready, my final check and press is needed for both quilt projects. Once these joined pieces are used for quilts, whatever gets cut off of them does get tossed. I simply cannot use anything smaller. Also my machine needs to be completely cleaned once they are joined. The lint that gathers is heavier than with plain 100% cotton.

The weekend was spent cutting off threads on both sides of a piece, checking for narrow or incomplete seams and getting them reinforced. Its such a mundane task but essential. I thought I was ready to baste, but that is not the case. It all needs a final press now that it has been folded endless times.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Golden Harvest

While speaking with one of my long-time friends, I realized I had a PIG (Project In Grocery Bag) or UFO (Unfinished Object) that she would enjoy. It surprised me that there was enough of the fabrics to make both the top and back.

Moreover, this Rail Fence pattern is completed for one side of the quilt, and the Star also using the Rail Fence was started for the other side. I am going to keep making the Stars and let it come out random for her. 

There were no notes-to-self for this project. I don't know if I had someone in mind when I started it, nor did I really know what the plan was.

As a result, I am just starting new, so to speak, and simply finishing it for someone who will enjoy it. The Rail Fence might have been a front or a back. It is quite long at 104" so a seam can be ripped and the finished blocks added to the shorter width. I am leaving it until the other side is finished.

What I find enchanting about this project is that it is so easy to complete. I have no idea why I put it away. Such a mystery. However, the real Golden Harvest of it is that it is being finished. I understand why some UFOs are damned difficult to complete. They come out, and with them can be a lot of frustration. 

Frustration seems to come from unresolved feelings. The feelings can include thinking I am inept, or not having enough fabric, or not understanding how the pattern works. Or any other assorted feelings that simply stop a person.

Well, for whatever reason, this project is something that I am completing feeling quite neutral. I want to get it to the stage of basting readiness. That means I need to join some batting, and then take it and the Florals quilt into the clubhouse and baste them both at the same time. I am excited to finish them both and give them new homes.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Merry & Bright BOM

This one is our favorite candy. I selected the Honey Nugent with dried fruit and sliced almonds. Its actually imported from Italy and comes wrapped in a foil paper and then sits in a small box. I love these and haven't had them for years. I've seen them at that Cost Plus Market in Bakersfield and may buy a few this year.

The squares are only 9" and I've been joining them to the setting blocks as they get made. Some of this one has holiday fabric, but the center beiges are regular. I am liking how it is turning out but it will not be finished in time to give as a gift for this holiday.

For as much as I use, there is still so much in the stash. I think I will attempt to use up more of the larger pieces for the back when it does get finished.

Yesterday, I spent time working on my scrapbook. Once again, I sorted photos into sections and threw a handful of them away. I made a list of headers, text or stories for some of the pages and will do that on the computer. I doubt I will get back to that project once my company comes. Meanwhile I keep quilting as I can. Everything is really finished that 'needs' to go out this year, so there is no pressure.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Floral Center

I have 12 floral blocks, so decided to join them and add sashing. It will need a focus fabric, so what I did was to take a picture of how it looks now to see what I can use.

Part of the challenge with my quilting is trying to use what I have to make a quilt top and back. The photo shows a variety of colors which is what was planned. The sashing is leftover from my Grandson's quilt. Its not white and because it was a large print of blue on the white, it sort of neutralizes the look. I need to measure it to see how much fabric I need for a border and go from there. I am happy with how it is looking so far. Everything was randomly placed.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Floral BOM

I made this today, and while it is done, it gave me some challenges to get it to the 12.5" square. It will fit with the other blocks and that is my next step.

I like how it turned out and next is to see how the other 11 blocks will work together. The white fabric stretched for me, whether I cut it on the bias or something else went on. I am not fighting with it, nor am I remaking it. It either works with the other blocks or will be replaced with a different pattern. I like the color combo here and call it done.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Merry & Bright

While I did piece the next block, it isn't trimmed. I've joined it to one of the setting blocks. Next one that is released for this row, I want to use more of the traditional red & green.

Today, at the Post Office, was very challenging. I shipped out two quilts and a simple envelope to one Niece. Should have been an in and out event. Should have been.

At first, the clerk wanted to charge $55 to send the box by priority mail. It could not be smashed down to the large flat rate box. When I balked, he said it would be less to send it by ground. Ground takes longer, and sometimes when I have opted for that way, it gets there sooner than the priority shipments.

However, I needed a different label. In re-doing the address, I wrote the wrong half of the street address, and his 'search' wouldn't accept it or give a zip code. No zip, no ship.

In order to call to get the correction, I had to leave the building for better reception, and got a friend who could give me the zip and correct address. Going back inside, I had to stand in line AGAIN. The ground fee, signature & new label (79 cents) came to $26.59.

I surrendered the entire experience. I've found too much stress and anxiety building in me lately and decided I needed to rest, and to get outside to be in the gardens. Weather has turned colder, much colder now. I can see some of the more fragile plants curl from Winter's Breath.

Me. Well, I want to cuddle under afghans and quilts, drink tea and eat soup.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Sacred Jets

I finished binding it and will get it ready to ship in the morning. I thought about this very cute little 4-year-old boy who will most likely drag it around his house and yard, laughing and running with joy. It was a pleasure to make him.

Who knows if these will be his colors or if even cares? I really like the wavy vertical quilting lines and might just do that again. It was easy and very effective for home machine quilting. Easy is always good. 

I don't plan to work on anything the rest of the day and may take it easy over the weekend.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Solstice to Solstice

Its not the largest quilt I've made but I sure had issues getting it all to fit in the pic. 

Solstice to Solstice Mystery BOM. That means it was a mystery quilt that was released one block each month, going from June Solstice to December Solstice. I set it aside because I didn't know how I was going to finish it.

I love it and it will ship either Friday or Saturday.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Binding Halfway

I felt like I was flying on the binding, only to discover a seam that was coming loose. That meant, I ripped off the machine stitching and need to catch that seam again. Before I go on with it, I need to re-examine both sides. I thought I did earlier but hey...these eyes.

Of course, just saying two words brought a 1969 song to mind by the Guess Who. This is what young men looked like in the later 60's, & none of them appealed to me then or now.

"...These eyes watched you bring my world to an end..."

Well, I may be a bit dramatic over a seam in need of re-doing, but its how I feel right now. Luckily there is plenty of time to make the correction and finish the other half of the binding before the weekend when I want to ship it out.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Ready to Bind

Such a big quilt at 90" square. I pinned edges so I could cut off the excess and get it ready for binding. Huge. This quilt is huge!

I am tempted to put it under my needle and quilt some of the parts. I might still do that. It took me the entire morning to trim it. Of course, I went all sorts of places with the work I did. 

Done is done. My next step is to calculate yardage and cut the binding joining into one long strip. It is a beauty however and I hope she likes what I did on it.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Tied Quilt

Wow, that quilt is 90" square so used up 2 colors of thread I had to get it tied. 

The pic is a bit blurry, however, as I worked on it, it sure stepped up as a beauty in my eyes. This is a comfort quilt for a friend in TX who says she is always cold. Her Brother died a bit ago and it is my hope this brings her some comfort in her grief.

Grief is a strange beast that goes and comes when you least expect it and is like peeling an onion with its many layers. I have seen it seemed to wear on her photos. I know my own Brother is dear to me and I might not be easily consoled if he passes before I do. Grief.

So as I worked on this one, I took special care to quilt in good vibrations. People tell me they can feel the energy and I hope it is so. Each quilt is very much one of a kind.

This one is called Solstice to Solstice as that is the time frame it was constructed at last year. After getting the fabric requirements, I was able to pull out coordinating pieces from my stash to make it. AND yes, it is so much larger than I am comfortable with on my small machine. This is why I chose to tie it rather than machine quilt. Tying is an older acceptable form of quilting. My personal favorite is tied and I use it all the time. I know she will like it and think it will get shipped by the weekend.

Friday, September 28, 2018

#8 Merry & Bright

This block is called 'Waiting For Santa'. Because my scraps for setting blocks let me make all 18 in 2 shades of blue with a red/white candy stripe, I need to include blues in the regular blocks. The only Santa fabric I had in the scraps was this surfing Santa in the Mighty Blue Pacific. That print had to be fussy cut. Now to use more reds and greens.

I put this block on the other edge of the row to have him looking into the center of the quilt. Originally, I didn't want to make a holiday-themed quilt, but when I saw fabric requirements, I realized the only stretch would be for the 18 setting blocks. 

Once I had them constructed, the rest of the blocks would be easy. It is tempting to buy fabric, so this was a huge step in conservation for me. The other draw for me is how many people said the blocks were so easy to make. Easy is good for me these days. The biggest challenge is finding fabrics that work. Most of the blocks are squares or rectangles rather than HST and points. 

What surprises me is how much fabric I have! I could have made 2 quilts from it all. However, doing more than one of any quilt is a challenge even with enough fabric!

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Come Fall

With all my holiday gifts made, I am under less pressure to quilt and want to spend more time outdoors in my gardens. Some days I have boundless energy.

I did get another BOM finished. Wow, the photo shows it quite bright with that last border in red. It was a challenge for me, reading the pattern, and yet, its a nice addition to the Floral BOM quilt. Today, I am working on a Dresden Plate block. The pattern gave a template but I have a plastic one and just made it from there. Its a great way to use up some of those scrappy 2.5" strips. Its under my machine to get some decorative quilting on the blades. Then it needs to be trimmed to a 12.5" for the block.

I'd like to say I am caught up but am not. I have a couple of basting projects, and the yellow graduation quilt waiting. Unfortunately, I have a dental appointment this week that is taking priority.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Finished 2 BOM Squares

I got two done, however, my camera lens stuck and I have one pic.

Both blocks were a bit tedious. I forget that it is called Block of the MONTH, and while they do get done in a day, it is wise to remember that we have a full month to complete them.

This one is for the Floral BOM. And my floral fabric is more abstract but will fit with the others in the grouping. If not, I will switch it for the other quilt and whatever block pattern gets issued for them, I will make in more florals. I admit to not having a lot of those kinds of prints so it is becoming challenging. I used a very dark navy blue for the background and then three shades of gray.

The other block I finished was a scrappy holiday print that goes along with the Merry & Bright quilt. It was a huge stretch to use a bright gold, which now, I need to repeat elsewhere.

I got a few more things done around the house to help weatherize for colder months. One was a brush-less motor for the furnace. The ducts were all checked for leakage and some aerators put on faucets. I wanted a new thermostat but the old furnace/AC wiring here didn't work. I've started locking the door at night so that it doesn't blow open with winds, which it did last year. And I am making my first pot of onion soup. My favorite. I'll bake cornbread to go with it. Yum.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Secret Solids / Arrows

Two size Arrow blocks were posted for the next blocks. I got both done and the longer of the two added to the first block.

The designer also released Flying Geese blocks but I didn't make them. Maybe tomorrow. I think they might be for borders. She wants us to do 4. I am holding off because of the scrap factor. It is likely that there will be scraps from the blocks and I would like to wait before cutting more of them. She suggested adding background white to either top and/or bottom some fabric to make it fit to the first block. I did that and am calling it done for today.

I always am challenged by the pointing things, and although I get how to do them, sometimes the points get lost. I know that most non-quilters won't even see the difference, so I've stopped stressing about getting them perfect. I try, but hey.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

BOM #6 for Merry & Bright

This block is a blue star. It is joined on either side by the setting blocks and waits for the next one to complete the row.

I've gone onto the Secret Solids quilt. This month's block is an Arrow, and done in 2 sizes. There is also a bonus block of Flying Geese, and because there are 4 sets, I guess they will be used as part of a border. All this is busy, behind the scenes work. It takes time and yet, there is nothing to show as they go along.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Merry & Bright BOM

The numbers to the blocks in this quilt pattern are already confusing. I've finished 6 of them, plus 18 setting blocks. I've joined some of those into the first two rows.

Its going to be a busy quilt with a secondary pattern created by the setting blocks. I decided to join the rows so that when a new block is issued, I can be more mindful of colors that work. The peppermint red & white stripe fabric almost looks pink. I was afraid it would look patriotic and now it looks pink, for crying out loud.

The designer admits to not having a plan in mind, so its as much a mystery to her as for those of us working it. Mine is a scrap quilt so I can use what I have. The biggest part WAS in getting enough fabric to do the 18 setting blocks, so now the rest of it should be relatively easy.

At first I thought I might redo earlier blocks and now think they are fine. There will be a total of 17 of them. How they come out as patterns is going to work, and how they come out as colors will work. Sometimes working the mystery is like living life. There are choices. There are natural consequences to the choices. And one hopes they learn from both the choice and the consequence. Its not done til its over. 

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Setting Squares

What a surprise to get 18 setting squares. I have used setting triangles when the blocks were set on point or at a diagonal. This is different.

The quilt designer has no real plan. Originally, she said their would be 17 blocks. She gave fabric requirements and then just before this part, she suggested people go out and buy more of certain fabrics. Well, I am pulling from scraps. So, it meant trying to figure out how much it would take to make 18 blocks the same. I couldn't do it.

Instead of using the light blue in the 9-patch centers, I had to select another fabric. Gahhh. It seemed to me that it was more patriotic than holiday. Stripes and stars with the angels. And this was not an easy task because the designer did not say how many of the squares were to be cut. I have a lot of the darker blue so went for those squares first, then the longer light blue parts and finally the 4 striped blocks in the center. 

Cut, piece press, pin again and piece, press.

Well, they are done and I decided to piece the BOMs as they get released and not try to vary how it goes together. I am using holiday fabric scraps and yet, so much is left. I will try to work blues in as I can so it seems to make sense and the first blocks are done, so I call them done and will not remake them.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Secret Solids BOM

I got to last month's BOM before the new one is issued later this week. I would have liked more contrast between the light and dark, but it was such a challenging block that I am declaring it done.

It has so much to do with color selections, but then not knowing how they will be placed is another part of the mystery. And I am using stash. That is huge. It moves what I have in very creative ways. The background fabrics are all the white tone on tone I could gather. They don't show up as strong in real time or real life, and yet you see it in the pic. So very interesting.

I don't know how this one will finish or what will be left of the various fabrics. I think about borders, and don't want to buy another fabric but am thinking about using the leftovers in scrappy borders to give it a pop and keep the concept. I don't want to make large quilts any more so need to be mindful of how that all works.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018


Well, here I am getting nervous about how the mystery quilt will look. Today's step uses a template that gets cut out of more of the light fabric. It seems like there is a lot of use of that light fabric and yet, there is a lot of the medium and dark too. I will keep going with it and bet it will be simply stunning. 

I worked hard at selecting yellows for this that were true to yellow. Now I have to trust those choices and just get it done. This pic shows the dark and the light so there is enough contrast in my opinion for what I don't know about how it will turn out. 

We never know how something will look, whether it is a quilt or our lives. I've been trying to embrace the grief work... grieving my aging and its not easy. Its like accepting any loss. A lost love, a lost job. And you cannot run away from either losses. When I hear people talk about their losses, I get it. I've gone through most of it. Divorce. Empty nest. Deaths. This is different. Its personal. It effects health, stamina, energy, passion. So much. No one told me about getting older. Or if they did, I wasn't listening. Its not funny. Someone said I should write about it and be funny. I am not funny. This is not funny. 

I found a notebook that I started some time ago with the attempt to deal with the grief. No date on it so who knows how long this has been going on? Grief comes & goes. Simple triggers bring it on. I don't like working with my quilts unless I feel really positive. However, this is where I am at. With all this yellow, I am working with bright colors & for a bright grrrlie-grrl's graduation gift. Interesting, too, is that the notebook cover is yellow. Ah well, I move forward.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Step 3-Larger Triangles

While I like chain piecing because it saves thread and time, doing these blocks has been tedious work. It is efficient, so I just tuck it up and do it.

Again, the pattern wasn't all that clear on the piecing part. It gave how many squares to be cut, and only showed one side of the piecing for this larger triangle, and left few words or instructions for completing the triangle. I'm not whining. I just find following this pattern hard and am grateful that others in the group were ahead of me so I could see what needed to be done.

When the blocks are made, the final steps will simply assemble them. That part will be easy. I need to keep doing this because setting it aside as a UFO would be deadly to the work. It is a hard quilt so far. Well. Tedious. 

There are other BOMs to do, but until this top is made, I don't want to put any of them under my needle. Its sort of interesting to me so see how I work now; preferring to finish a project before starting others. That wasn't how I worked in the past. In the past, I would have several going at once for the variety. I can see how I want to shift to other projects, but stay with one of them til it is finished.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Step 2 - Flying Geese

The pattern doesn't say how many geese were needed, but eventually, I got it that the number was 40.

I am not thrilled with pointy things. That being said, the real challenge was the machine. Tension was mucked. I changed it number by number and it still was loose on the bottom. So I took the machine apart, cleaned it, and re-threaded both top and bottom. The first 8 I made needed reinforcing, which I did. 

And now there are 4 of the 40 I want to re-do the points on. 

Other Sorceresses that came to mind today were Milesandra & Cerce from Game of Thrones. Both characters screw up, few people really like them and both do beyond-crazy things on the show. I thought about the archetype and how story lines need a powerful crazy woman. For them, it is about power, and so they are driven to their actions by this need. Both are loosing power and being replaced.

Then I wondered about that part; being replaced. Is this key? Again not for me. Not the need for power, not being replaced. I am still thinking over my bones.

Saturday, September 8, 2018


I feel almost overwhelmed right now. I finished holiday and birthday gifts and even got a couple of comfort quilts out. Last night I made bone broth (which needs to cook 24 hours and is done). I brought out another BOM which is no longer a mystery because I am behind. Then I realized I have a lot of BOMs that are behind. 

Is it the changing seasons? I've been looking at the archetypes of being female, woman. I wanted to skip the SORCERESS and find myself with her right now. She is portrayed as crazy, unpredictable and wild. I wonder what is wrong with those attributes?

I looked online for images of the Sorceress and selected this one from a group on Pinterest. ( First of all, if I am to embody the energy personally and in my quilting, it has to resonate with me. This archetype isn't doing magick for others, she isn't in front of a group of people, and she's not DOING the energy the way she did when she was younger, when she served her community. 

I decided to grow out my gray hair. For awhile, I had one side cut close and spiked it, and now it is playing catch up to the longer side. It may never hang down my back as in the pic, but it can be a goal for my elder years to look elderly.

The Sorceress, according to a number of books I've been reading*, looks at the bones of her life, not so much to review what she said or did, but to find the deeper self. So symbolically, I have been pulling out the Hallows decor bones as a reminder of the work I need to do now. It is about healing one's self.

* WOMEN WHO RUN WITH THE WOLVES, by Estes, THE CIRCLE OF LIFE by Davis & Leonard. Both refer to other books and other stories, legends and myths.

When I looked for examples in movies or as the protagonist in books, it surprised me that mainstream wants to make a joke about all elderly women in those stages beyond being a mother. Even the movie, THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA, Meryl's character breaks down as her personal power breaks down. She is replaced by younger execs in her field and we end up feeling sorry for her. FIRST WIVES joined 3 of them (those in the Sorceress Archetype) but lordy how they battled for their rights! I was quite disheartened. 

So when I say I am overwhelmed, its that I know so much about me has changed. I am fueled by a different sort of energy that I am working hard to understand. Gathering bones, looking at them symbolically is my way of seeing that the flesh of who I was has fallen away and if I am going to restore any sense of life and rebuild it for however many days are left to me, I better find my deeper self. Maybe this was a lot for a quilting review of the day, obtuse, confusing. Now you see why I am overwhelmed!!! Its hard to make sense of something where there is no guidebook, no mentor.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Two to Mail

It was a pleasure to finish this quilt and get it packaged for mailing. I am putting the ties on the apron. It is almost time to ship my older Son's bday quilt as well.

The Hallows quilt is double sided.My camera wouldn't load more photos, so I ended up not posting on the blog.

I like the idea of double siding a quilt because it means I can use more scraps.

This side with the purple and stars is the one that doesn't show the star points because the fabric blends into the background. Then I ran out of background. As time went on, I was able to work on this BOM UFO and can get it out.

The other quilt was the Medallion quilt. Again, I took fabrics from my closet that coordinated and made the quilt that way. I struggled with the bits but think it turned out beautifully. Actually, it is very appealing to the eye. So I will continue to join these groups.

The back is scrapped too. I made a one-block log cabin for this side and let whatever darks I had work for creating the dark/light look of it. Again. using scraps, making something work for both sides and allowing fate take its head and heart.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Hallows Quilt

I worked on the quilt all day, machine quilting a simple line stitch inside and on the border, then machine sewing the binding on. I am more than half way through the hand sewing and set it aside.

Also under my needle is a simple apron for the Great-Granddaughter coming in October. We plan to make cutout cookies as a family and this is a very cute apron. All it needs is the bottom hem and ties. It’s adjustable so will fit her a long time. It was a scrap so wasn’t really fussy cut. I am using scraps!!

Throughout the day, I did laundry, dishes, and a bit of housework. Ordinary day.

Monday, September 3, 2018

6 Holiday Gifts Completed

I am not sure why I feel anxious about holiday gifts. However, today I finished those I planned to make. It’s hard to make things for the Grandkids and do something different. I’ve written about it as I worked on them. Now all they get is this one gift and money. In the past, I did something creative but the way mail goes missing, e-cards are safest.

These can go in envelopes after wrapping. They are pleasing. I need to ease them into the cases first and just do a simple check. Also, I need to write a letter as an enclosure. I am really happy with how they turned out. And it makes me pleased to have them completed.

Then I headed to the club-house to baste. This first one had turned into a UFO for some time because I ran out of fabric. Well, time taught me how to compensate. The back is nice too. What surprised me is how small a lap quilt is.

The second one I basted is the Medallion quilt. This one is square and has the scrappy one-square log cabin block on the back. Both quilts will either be centered or not. I did my best to get them centered and then released it to the fates. Working on.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Soft Books

I finished another soft book today. When I bought it, I thought it was Old McDonald's Farm. Close but not. Must have been a copy-rite issue. Once I discovered this change, interest that I had in it waned a bit. Oh, it is finished but I am disappointed.

All the threads are clipped at it is ready for the nanny in town who has toddlers. They won't know the difference and it will be fine. Kids at this age love the sounds and repetition of the story. This project let me use up some batting scraps and for that I am glad.

I also finished the appliqué on the La Befana pillows. I need to sew on the button eyes, embroider the noses and mouths, then sew up one end, and the sides. They really are cute and when all 6 are finished, I will take a photo.

Friday, August 31, 2018

A Staff of One

In cooking, a Sous-chef must plan and direct how the food is presented on the plate, keep their kitchen staff in order, train new chefs, create the work schedule, and make sure all the food that goes to customers is of the best quality to maintain high standards. I don't think there is a job title for that work in quilting.

In quilting, usually all these roles are held by one person. Those who achieve a bit of celebrity, have a staff to do various tasks. For instance, Jenny Doan of Missouri Star Quilt Company co-owns and founded the company with her husband, Alan. Their daughters, Sarah & Natalie, and son Alan, various friends of the family and people from their community stock the warehouse, create patterns & tutorials, as well as performing administrative work that runs all aspects of their business.

Not in my studio. Here, I manage my own mini-'warehouse' in my closet, purchase supplementary fabrics, find and use patterns, even adjusting them when needed. Here, I budget for supplies and shipping costs. I even advertise, seeking folks who might want a quilt. I do my own time management, my own everything. Sometimes I fly through the projects. Sometimes not.

Today, I traced 4 sets of appliqué patterns for the remaining La Befana pillows. Rolling my eyes. For as many scraps as I use, there are SO-O many in this stash. I have to keep working to use them, have to keep them organized, and in truth, enjoy every minute. I also cut batting to fit the pages of the soft book. I didn't turn on the machine because this day is dedicated to prep work. 

Prep work is part of what I thought a sous-chef would do in the kitchen. No glory in it, but vital to the finished product. At one time, even Jenny did all her own work. While I do not plan to have a staff here in my studio, I will keep doing what I can.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

La Befana Pillows

I bought 6 pillow forms with the intention to make and give one to each of my Grandchildren. The leftover red from the Blessed Jets quilt is cut perfectly for 12" pillows. 

While each is made from the same pattern, the look of the first two is different from each other, and the pattern. They are the same & yet not. Obviously I will learn from each one I make. It is my hope to make them all red representing the Roman Red used for the Empire's flags, its military uniforms and many of the dresses and togas. Then her hair is gray. There is a scrap of it, and with luck it will extend to all 6 pillows. Or not. I found 2 squares for the face pink, used buttons for eyes. Then there is a poinsettia cutout for the hair flower. It does sort of blend with the background so will take careful placing. The dress is a pink with white dot and the collars will be what scraps are here. I'll try to make three and three of them. I machine stitched the smile and nose on the first one, hand embroidering the second version. I re-did it with the black, and now it pops much like a cartoon image.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Sew Many Projects

After finishing the scrappy back for the 90" square Solstice to Solstice quilt top, I wasn't sure what to start on first. 

There is a soft book for a Nanny that is a panel and takes batting scraps. Ok, wait on that one until the next two quilts are basted. There are always scraps cut from the sides. It will be the third one I've made and they are quick.

Then there are six 12" pillows with a holiday appliqué. I've sorted colors and the process might also go quickly if they can be done in assembly fashion.

In my recent sorting, I've found fabrics suitable for backs. One is a lovely orange batik that is perfect for a Hallows quilt with blackwork squares alternating with pieced blocks. It is for next year; first I want to work on those pillows. Here is a link to one of the You Tube tutorials. I will watch a few of them to make sure I know what I am doing. I need to do the appliqué first and then make the pillow envelope or cover.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Blessed Jets Lap Quilt

The original pattern for this is by Sally Hutchinson. It was exactly what I wanted to make for the 3-year-old-boy in the family. He loves all vehicles and I wanted to make him a big boy quilt rather than one he would outgrow. 

This pattern does it. At first I thought I might add more borders to it. While I have more of the jet-gray, and red from the back, I decided its perfect as a lap quilt, perfect for a growing kid to drag around the house, with him in the car and maybe outside. It will work the way it is. The red for the back needs to be color set before it gets added, so it took 3 washes and the Color Catchers still ended up pink. Grrrr. As much as I love red....

So now, I need to move onto other projects.

I measured larger scrap pieces, I thought about next steps. And that was my day. I've moved into a different phase of my life where I want to work part of the day and speculate, muse, dream, plan the rest of the day. Its working for me. I was able to get flannel scraps the size of the Solstice to Solstice quilt. They are assembled quite randomly and took all day.

Monday, August 27, 2018


I saw a quilt working with a BOM that is a dark blue background with white snowflakes. I joined the group and printed off the pages. It is a challenging project I would like to do next year. I am entering the project in on my sidebar so I don't forget. I'll start it in January and maybe try to find fabric on sale for it.

Meanwhile, the Rainbow Bargello is washed, folded and set aside for the birthday. It actually turned out okay. However, its not a pattern or style I want to work with again. 

The rest of the weekend was spent watching videos, measuring pieces for the Solstice-to-Solstice quilt, and joining pieces of the Blessed Jets top. I did decide I want to bring out my Twister templates and use up scraps with that pattern.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Really, Only 21

The pattern gives the primary instructions for a larger quilt. The lap size, which I am making, only takes 21 Friendship stars. I was almost stressed when the count I had was 13-18-then 21. I went back to the pattern and read with relief that the 21 count was correct.

They are pieced and pressed. The next step works with the Jets as templates and the starry blue fabric making triangles around the various pieces. This pattern might be easy to follow, just tedious with all its many steps. I've had to pay close attention to the difference between the sizes. I've been thinking about how to quilt it and want to do more of a wavy line in channel stitches going vertically to carry them up in the air. I know this is early to consider, yet, being mindful is imperative to all I do.

The next step was easy. A simple HST - Half Square Triangle, cut to make wings for 4 jets. The pattern was meant for the larger quilt & a few things were eliminated on the lap size version. Instructions for the larger version did not translate into the smaller one, so it became confusing for me. As I have said often, I am pattern-reading challenged. As it gets closer to assembly, I make do. Rather than to follow the written text, I am following the visual. And that works.

The Rainbow Bargello is finished, drying and ready to go in the bin, saved til the end of January when it ships.