Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Basted 2 Quilts

I barely had enough pins to baste both quilts but did make it. One of them is the Outhouse quilt, and the other is a simple Log Cabin Comfort quilt. 

Usually I take pictures, and only got one of them. I liked the channel quilting so much on my Cousin's that I turned this quilt over so I could use the lines of the back to make that happen. I like how it looks.

I plan to shop today to get the border and binding fabric for the low contrast quilt and get specific information about the long arm quilting.

Monday, February 26, 2018

GrandSon's Mug Rugs

I made two mug rugs for my GrandSon. One is for a birthday and the other will go with Spring cookies. Making them helped me 'rest' with this groin muscle.

He loves the Octopus and I made this one to look like it was in deep water. His hero interest is The Flash. It is so hard to find this particular character. Spiderman, Batman, all those others are readily found. Well, with both, I found trace-ables online and just made what I could. At least I am able to quilt again.

I also finished joining the 80 low contrast Snail Trail blocks. It needs pressing and some borders, and then of course something for the back. So I'll take it into the fabric store later this week and buy what is needed to finish.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

The Pace

While in past days I could keep up a fast pace quilting, I find that my energy and abilities are not as 'able' and so things slow for me. Rather than push myself too hard and then suffer even more of a delay in getting things done, I am quilting more slowly.

I am still working on the low contrast quilt and have blocks pieced into rows and some rows joined. However, it is far from done. Even a few years ago, the top would have been ready to quilt. I am not there yet.

I've injured a groin muscle on my left thigh and am icing and resting. I found a black work block that needs my attention to finish embroidering it so am at least continuing with what I can do. I thought I might do some of the mug rugs, but when I went to start them, it was almost too much. Instead, I pieced two rows on the quilt that were pinned. Also, I stitched 2 lines on my BOD Mood quilt.

That is it. No excuses, no whining. Just the way it is.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Not a UFO, and Still....

After ripping apart the blocks, trimming them down, pinning and piecing blocks into rows, then pressing again, I find it hard to keep going with these 80 blocks that make 8 columns and 10 rows. I don't understand why it is hard, but it is. Yet, it remains held in place for the project at hand.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

NOOOO, Drat, Dang...whatever....

Its hard to go against common ideals for quilting, and making a low contrast quilt is a perfect example of what that means.

I laid out the 80 blocks on my bed the way the pattern suggested & decided not to try other options just because I could not SEE what I have right now. 

The low contrast IS difficult. I pinned rows and hoped my piecing worked the first go-around so nothing needed to be ripped to do something different on it. Hah.

Eight columns by 10 rows. Eighty blocks.

I pieced the blocks into 2 rows each only to discover that there is too large a seam allowance and the blocks do not line up. It was so very discouraging that I became immobilized for most of the day. It was too cold to get outside in the gardens, so I just crashed & burned on the loveseat the rest of the day re-watching old reruns of Bluebloods. I'm feeling sorry for myself & just whiney.

This quilt is important for me to make one of my Cousins who has really had a few hard years that I know of & maybe more I don't know about. So I returned to the task of ripping seams, trimming off excesses & re-joining the blocks.

I suppose I should have taken it slower & checked my work, block by block. But I didn't do that. And at least it was correctable. I think of things in my life that were not. The quote 'I live by Bourbon & Poor Choices', from the movie, LONDON HAS FALLEN, which I also watched while feeling sorry for myself, showed me that you just pick your silly-ass-self up and get on with things.

I also put together 12 treasure hunt clues for my GrandSon's birthday, so feel better about today.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

10 More Blocks

I didn't post this yesterday, however, as this quilt top comes closer to completion, my hope was to have enough to make the 80 recommended blocks on the pattern. It is hard to cut pieces not knowing how many of each will be needed.

If math is correct, each Snail's Tail block takes 2 pieces of all sizes to build the rounds. First, it needs a 4-patch, then each 4-patch needs two print pieces & two solid pieces of three different sizes. That means 10 each of 2.5", 3.5" and 5" all cut diagonally in half. Yikes. The mind spins.

There are leftovers for the larger & medium squares, so here comes the math part. Each 10" block makes four larger 5" squares, cut into eight triangles, making 6 finished blocks, combined with the pieces making two blocks, means there are enough 5" squares to make 8 blocks, not 10. Therefore, it will take one and a half 10" squares to finish the 5" size.

Then, with a 10" square, it is cut in half, then there are four 2.5" blocks cut diagonally making 8 pieces from the two sides. Goddess, I feel like I am reading one of those middle school math problems...remember? If a child walks 3 miles to the store with $2.89 in her pocket, how long will it take the boy on the bicycle going 7 MPH to get home?

Along with the four 2.5" blocks, four 3.5" blocks are cut too, as well as a 1.25" strip for the four patches. I cut another print and another solid to start, and will just do it until I get a total of 80 blocks.

And now all 80 blocks are finished, with the next step to do the layout. Pic to follow when it is done.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Leave It Alone & Forget It

I got busy for a couple of days and stepped away from the Snail's Trail Low Contrast quilt. Then, coming back to it, it was as if I didn't know what I was doing.

So I pulled the cutting mat back and trimmed the pieces that were ready to go. In truth, I didn't know where to start. No notes-to-self to help with that. Grrrr. I don't want to cut more pieces until the project is ready to proceed. The pieces with pins in the center of the pic are next. I am going to piece them until they become the finished blocks. At that stage, I will cut the strips for the 4-patches so that the round on the blocks can start again.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Pink Stripe Comfort Quilt Finish

I really enjoyed this stripe quilt. Channel stitching using the strip top made it look so nice on the back. Its a perfect size for a personal lap quilt.

It goes to my eldest Cousin's Daughter. 
From what I under-stand, children of a Cousin are actually called First Cousins Once Removed. And then they would be Second Cousins to my Sons and in this case, are in the same generation. In any case, the quilt gets shipped out today.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Crow Moon Prayer Flag

Although I am working on two quilts, I needed to make a prayer flag for one of the SwapBot exchanges hosted by someone else. I go to the PO in the morning and wanted it ready.

Then of course, I had it wrapped for shipping so needed to pull it apart to take a photo. People do not realize the visual difference between a Crow and a Raven is how their tails look. A Crow's tail is fan-shaped and a Raven's tail is a wedge. I fanned out the tail here and although there is a wedge characteristic to it, the Raven tail is definitely flatter than this image.

I am machine quilting the pink strip quilt for one of my Cousins and am almost done. It won't be ready to ship until next week. And the cutting, pinning, piecing, pressing continues on the low contrast quilt. Lots of time left on that one.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Basting Morning

It was mighty cold outside this morning, so the clubhouse walk was brisk. Several of the quilt projects are ready for basting and then machine quilting, so while the low contrast quilt is taking a lot of time, I decided to baste a small nap size quilt, meant for one of my Cousins.

She is a career military person, so I was surprised when she asked for pink. I baste with natural light in the clubhouse, so didn't realize the blinds were closed for the night before. It was ok for me but the pic is dark.

Pink is a heart chakra color. I don't use a lot of it for projects, but pulled together 2.5" strips for this one. Yes, there is red and burgandy, but I think it adds a bit of interest. I plan to channel quilt this using the lines of the strips as a guide.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Moody Mornings

I finished the second row of the Mood Quilt, which is actually a block of the day that goes all year long.

With 2 rows done, it is pressed and set aside so the next row can be done independently. Like my life, it is a little scrappy. I don't want to have intentional patterns, colors or layout. It needs to be what it is like my life. Scrappy.

Then I finished another 10 blocks to the low contrast quilt. That means There are 50 out of the 80 in the pattern. I try to just cut what is next. When I get the 80 done, I might use whatever is left for one of the borders just because it is easier to use it than try to add something else to the top. I am also leaning toward getting it long-armed.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

40 - Halfway There

The low contrast Snail's Trail quilt is time consuming and tedious. When I got the two fabrics, I cut them into 10" WOF strips; then the second cuts made 10" squares, with the third cuts at 5" x 10" rectangles. Half of those were cut into 5" squares and then cut on a diagonal. The other half were made into two 2.5" squares, 1.2" strips, and two 3.5" squares.

It is slow going. Like a snail, I guess.

It does give me time to connect with the losses that I know Aunt passed last December, and the familiar dog just passed. There have been the losses of relationships both intimate and family separations. And more pending that I know about, and many others that I do not know.

As I work, my hands receive & pour in healing, healing & more healing. I have no right to fix anything, as if one could. All I can do is pour in healing light, add healing comfort of my love, & my hope for healing the restoration of joy.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Doing the Work

I got back to the low contrast snail's trail quilt. It is so much cutting, pinning, piecing, pressing, pinning, piecing, pressing over and over. The pattern calls for 80 blocks and I might be working on the 20-30 stack.

It is my intention to keep this one out because, even with notes-to-self it is confusing. I want to trace some things onto the iron-on for machine quilting some mug rugs and have one that needs the binding finished. 

What I find is that sometimes, I need to keep doing what the project asks for and work to completion of it. This is one of those times.

Friday, February 9, 2018


I joined a Floral BOM as a tester and as a designer. I took the month of November. The block I want to 'design' is a Ms. Santa. I have been looking at two options. One is a Santa block from Quilters Cache and the other is a paper pieced  Sun Bonnet Sue. The hard suggestion for this BOM is that every block needs to have a floral fabric in it somewhere.

I pulled out a 2.5 yard floral from my stash and also gathered all the holiday florals. It is my intention to make two different as a tester and one just as a participant. I bought a green to go with the floral and pulled a white and a yellow too. 

Then the day has been spent cutting, pinning, piecing and pressing on the low contrast comfort quilt.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Snail's Pace

Although the tutorial shows Jenny from MSQC making the blocks rather fast, in truth, she has 3 sewers to help her complete the quilts and only makes a couple of the blocks for demonstration.

When I looked for patterns that might work with low contrast fabrics, the Snail Trail is the one I came upon that produced secondary patterns when the quilt was laid out. Quilting has taught me that there can be layers to our lives and that the small bits of it where we experience success or struggle make lovelier moments when that phase of life is completed.

Because there were no Layer Cakes in neutrals, I bought fabric, calculating how much I would need to get 42 blocks out of two fabrics. Well, I am short on the neutral so will go back tomorrow to see if I can get enough for 10 more blocks. The store owner only buys one bolt of a specific pattern, so getting there sooner than later is best. As it is, she might already be sold out. I will take what I can find of it and make as many as possible. 

It is a slow process and I devote about half my day to the work before going onto other projects.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Low Contrast Quilting

They said it is hard to quilt with low contrast fabrics. They also said that I would have to be very careful with placement. It is true. All of it. First of all the pattern calls for Layer Cakes. Well, that is great if I lived in a larger town with more fabric stores to carry what I need. And the care for placement with low contrast takes focus. The first ones needed to have some seams ripped. But I've got it now.

There is also a fair amount of cutting for this Snail Trail quilt block. Cutting, pinning, piecing, pressing. I think it will become quite the stunning quilt top if I can get it right. I plan to make as many of the blocks as I can with what I have and then will need to shop for border fabric, and maybe backing to get it to look the way I want for this. If there are scraps left, I may try to make one of the borders from the leftovers.

Meanwhile, I have quilting tutorials on today instead of my usual audio books. I can use all the tips they have to offer.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

So I Shopped

As I sat before the computer screen tonight, I could only think about all I had gotten done today and it seemed like nothing was quilting. I packaged the Venus Day cookies for the Grandkids and made one extra box for one of my Nieces. I took them and some other packages to the PO. I created a new Goddess craft exchange for the group on Swap Bot, chatted with my Neighbor, and emailed a Cousin.

And then I remembered. I shopped at one of the fabric stores in town. I didn't buy fabric but got a new seam ripper, some clippies, and some iron-on for machine appliqués. Sometimes I can be a snob when it comes to shopping from my closet first. Honestly, I want all people to reuse, repurpose and recycle. I refrain from commenting when I think someone doesn't because I really do not know what they do. 

Yet, the other day, I broke the tip off one of my seam rippers and needed a new one. I use those darn things a lot when I quilt, not only to unpick seams but to cut loose threads at the end of the project. They tend to hide so I like having one at my sewing machine, one on the table where I hand sew at night and another at the ironing board. They are $3 a piece so its a small convenience.

I didn't really need the clippies, having just a few more makes the difference in finishing the project easier. And the appliqué iron-on gets used mighty fast, so I bought 2 yards to keep in my supplies container.

And so no, I didn't do any official quilting today.

I pushed myself and am tired at the end of the day. Oh WAIT. I did quilt! I cut & pieced a HST for the next block on the 2018 BOM Mood quilt. Ok. Two lines of stitching each less than 5". 

So what does that say about me? I don't know and don't care. Its off to bed with me tonight.

Monday, February 5, 2018

In One of My Quilting Groups

Someone asked the group members if any of them pieced their backs because she said she didn't have money to go out and buy the 9 yards for the quilt she was working on. Members came out of the woodwork to answer and say what they do. A few people said they hate scrappy backs. A few said they were a lot of work. However, most of the quilters who responded said they use their scraps to create art freely in the back. I want to return to the thread later and pull out the tips some of them shared. Obviously, times are shifting and quilters are becoming much more environmentally aware. 

For whatever reason, be it money or the desire to use what they have, the backs of quilts are changing. This is a pic of the back on my last quilt.

Scraps, yes. Using what I have. Yes. 

Sunday, February 4, 2018

A Finish

Although this most recent quilt is finished, I hesitate posting pics of it until it is received by the dearheart in my life. It almost seems unfair to show the world until it is where it belongs. I go to the PO on Tuesday and will post the pic later in the week.

Meanwhile I started cutting blocks for the next one. This is the Snail's Trail block.

Saturday, February 3, 2018


As I got to the end of machine quilting this project, I found myself torn. One part of me was whining that it was too hard. The other part was telling me to get on with it. Almost like that cartoon with an angel on one shoulder and a demon on the other. Hah. 

It is finished now. As I was working on it, I realized that even though I had given myself more physical room to work on the table this week, there was more room needed to hold the bulk of the quilt. Things were crammed and that made it harder to shift the size of the quilt. Maybe I learned. Maybe not. This seems to be one of the larger quilts going right now, but if another larger one surfaces, hopefully  will remember the lessons. 

My work area got shifted when the computer geek was here fixing the power pack on the tower. I just need to move the tables around and will do that before quilting the next project.

It will take a few days more to do the binding. Also this is the weekend I am baking cookies to send back to the Grandkids.

I find myself working on one project at a time and not having several projects going. It helped to give away that apron project too. It produced guilt for me rather than joy and now there is 'space' here to feel more creative.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Channel Stitching

This is Day 3 for the machine quilting. It is looking nice and I am glad I selected to do channel quilting diagonally. I admit that it is slow going and as each line of stitching is added, the weight of the quilt grows. I am not sure why this happens, however, the more stitches a quilt has, the weightier it becomes.

This weight of the quilt pulls it from under the needle, so having the tape to delineate it works for me. I can keep it better 'on the line' this way than any others I tried. After the first day of stitching 3 lines, the next day, I stitched 5 more on both sides. Whew. It is my hope to continue stitching, resting, stitching a bit more until it is completed.

There is something to staying on with a project or making a commitment to the goal even though the process is hard. There is something to second guessing one's self and wondering if you made the right choice. Everyone does it with whatever they work on or chose.

Every once in awhile, someone posts a question that asks if there is anything in your life that you would do differently now that you know where you are. I look back and truthfully, even what I thought were my bad decisions worked out for my greater good. We learn from our choices.

I learn from my quilting. One thing I keep in mind is the weightiness of machine quilting and attempt to keep the quilts I make smaller. Sometimes that works, and sometimes with a Mystery quilt, it doesn't. Like this one. But I love the top. I love the back. And I know once the channel quilting is done, I will love it too.

Love your life. It is what you have.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

It's No Mystery

Well, the quilt was a Mystery for 2017. However, I am writing about how hard it is for me to machine quilt. That is the part that is no mystery. I struggle with it always. This one will be channel quilted on a diagonal. Some time ago, I realized that the easiest stitch for me to do was the channel...but a horizontal. Going diagonally is so much harder because it starts at the longest point.

Trying not to look like a whiner. 

First, I got the 3 longest stitches done on the quilt by stitching on either side of a wide masking tape. My next step was to pull the tape up and make another line with it to start on one of the sides from center. I know some quilters use pens with disappearing ink. I don't have the space to draw on my quilts. I can toss them across my bed and am able to lay tape down that way.

These are the finished Mug Rugs I made from the scraps in my orphan bag. They will go off to exchanges in Swapbot. So glad to use the pieces and still overwhelmed with how much is left. I am in 3 monthly swaps so as I have noted earlier, intend to make as many of these as possible and keep a list of folks who get them so I do not duplicate.

Back to the machine quilting. As soon as I have enough basting pins removed, I can baste another quilt.