Thursday, December 27, 2012

What to do? What to do!

Maverick Stars are my L&E project.
     I've been working on UFOs this year, or I thought I was until I sat down and made a list. Off the top of my head I came up with 5 or so projects that I want to finish next year. Then I had to look up the size on one of them and when I went to my Official UFO list, I began to understand the extent of my problem.
     I have WAY more than 5 or so projects that need attention! In 2012 alone I started 13 new projects, finishing only four. That's not a good completion average (.307). I've been working like this for a long time and it's time for that to change.
     I'm a process person. I enjoy the journey of conceiving and making a quilt top. The layering and quilting are not my favorite parts of the process. Once the top is done, I've satisfied my creative urge and I'm ready to move on. Thus all the UFOs.
     I'm going to try something new for 2013. Accountability. I'm going to make a public committment to finish some selected UFOs. I've been making a list. It's already pretty long, but these are ones I can reasonably expect to finish. By finished, I mean pieced, quilted and labeled.
     UFOs that I mean to finish:
     Christmas Diamonds. This top is pieced and mostly bordered. I need to add the last two borders, piece a backing and send it off to Michele for quilting. This is a huge king-sized quilt. I love it and want it done so I can enjoy it!
     Sophie's Butterfly Challenge. Sophie gave each of us a butterfly panel for Christmas last year and issued a challenge to make a wall hanging with it. I've pieced the top, now I need to layer it and quilt it.
     Catharine's Wheel. This is a really old UFO, a king-sized one, probably at least 8-10 years old. I was using a quilt-as-you-go technique and ran out of steam as it got bigger. My Janome Horizon should make this process easier and I'll begin on this right away. Getting this huge quilt done will give me a big boost!
     Linus Quilt. This top has been done for months, but I haven't gotten around to quilting and gifting it. I thought I'd do it on Judy's longarm machine but that hasn't happened, so I think I'll just layer it and give it some straight-line quilting using my Acufeed foot on the Janome. It will get the job done and get me another completion.
     Anita's Arrowhead. I started this in 2010 and I'm not sure why it went into timeout. I loved doing the blue blocks. Then, I don't know. Now I have 've a plan. I've decided to make this a blue and gold quilt set 7 by 9. I have 37 blocks done, so I need 26 more. I'll do a couple in blue and gold and rest in gold and either light blue or cream. As far as quilting, I'm not making any promises! I want this top done and that's my focus. I certainly will consider having Michele quilt it.

     Others on my list are Antique Divas Pyramids, Crazy Cats & Fishes, Smith Mountain Morning, Batik Log Cabin Flowers, Wyoming Valley Stars and Hawaiian applique, and I have plans for most of these. I'll revisit them when I've made some preogress on the first five.
     I'm also working on Maverick Stars as a Leaders and Enders Project. I'm not sure where this fits in the picture. I made two blocks to see how they're going to look. Love them!
     That being said, I know I'm going to begin some new projects in 2013. I will keep them to a minimum, but there are five that I really really want to do:
     Orange & Gray Kaleidoscope, Big Zig (cut out but that's all), Dresden Plate, MMQ Quilt Show Challenge (not even a glimmer of an idea, but I plan to make this at my March Quilt Camp), and the Block Lotto monthly blocks. I have ideas for all these, but this post is already too long, so I'll come back to this another day.

     I'm linking to Judy's Design Wall Monday. Go there and see all the wonderful projects on display!


Monday, December 24, 2012

     Merry Christmas! I hope you and yours have a wonderful holiday, however you celebrate the winter solstice, and that your new year is even better!

    My thanks to Madam Samm of Stash Manicure for permission to use this terrific graphic!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

A prize! (and a VERY eventful weekend)

This is the terrific prize I've won
from Marcia at Crafty Sewing and Quilting.
    Color me lucky! Marcia at Crafty Sewing and Quilting emailed me this week that I'm a winner! Pardon all the exclamation points, but I never win anything and this is a really nice prize. I get three great fat quarters and a really cool pattern called Summer Tomatoes. It's just the type of pattern I love best. I'm tickled pink. Thanks, Marcia!
     I've been following her blog for a while and I enjoy seeing what she's up to. She also has some pretty awesome tutorials on her site.
     I'm also pretty tired. We had a pretty exciting weekend here on Pinehurst Drive. Saturday night we discovered we had no water. We called our plumber, who's awesome, by the way, and he diagnosed a well problem. DH wouldn't hear of calling the well company on Saturday evening (it was after 9 p.m., you see), so we called today (Sunday) around 10:30 a.m.
    Someone came out, checked it all out and said we needed a new well pump and a new holding tank. He said he'd send someone out. Believe it or not, a young couple (man and woman) showed up about 11:30 and they went to work on pulling the well pump. They replaced the piping, the well pump and the holding tank and were gone a little after 2:30 p.m.
     We had to wait a little while and run the water for a while before we could use it, but now we have water! You never know how much you use something like that until you don't have it.
     The first thing I did was wash the dirty dishes that were driving me crazy and then I brushed my teeth. I couldn't stand the cotton mouth any longer!
     Now we just have to get my grandson's broken down car from behind my part of the garage. He had a problem with a brake caliper bracket and I can't get out of the garage. I need it tomorrow. I need to make color copies for guild tomorrow night, and I have NO wiggle room on timing. I really need him to take care of this.
     Did I mention DH had a flat tire while all this was going on? We're too old for all this drama!
Kingwood staffers
decorated this 18-foot tree
     Before all the drama began Saturday evening, we had a great time at a cocktail party at Kingwood Center Friday evening. They have this party every Christmas time for members and guests (DH is a member) and it's soooo pretty there. Various local garden clubs, staff and volunteers help decorate the various rooms using their assigned themes. I was told this year's theme is "A Kaleidoscope of Holiday Color," and each room featured a different color. It was pretty cool!
     The tree in the lobby was an18-feet tall Frazier Fir and featured an estimasted 7000 lights! It was gorgeous! The colors were saphire blue and silver. Stunning! S everal of our friends were there, too. It was great catching up with them. Mansfield is so lucky to have something like Kingwood Center available to us.
     Despite the hiccups and "bumps in the road" today, however, we're incredibly lucky and blessed. We live in a great country with freedoms that millions of others can only dream about. Life is good.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

First Block Lotto post

     I hope this is the first of many posts to Block Lotto, which I have been following for about a year now. I love this block because it's a traditional block with a twist and that makes me very happy!

     The photo doesn't show it, but the pink is very vibrant and the dark on the left is bluegreen and on the right is a rich brown. The green is pretty true.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Quilt Festival

Harvest of Friendship
     I’ve admired the beautiful quilts in the Bloggers Quilt Festival and now I’m taking the plunge and submitting one of mine for consideration.

     This is Harvest of Friendship,  a row quilt which didn’t want to be set in rows. Members of my bee decided we’d make blocks over the course of a year and each ended up with a quilt. We decided on six 9-inch blocks and each participant chose her own colors and focus fabric.

     We were all pleased with the outcome and I love mine. You wouldn’t think 36 nine-inch blocks could be a king-sized quilt but here’s proof that it can happen!

     The layout was done on  EQ7, and the quilting is by the amazing Michele Mayton. Can you say free-motion feathers? Her work is beautiful and I’d recommend her to anyone!

Edited to add: size: 96 x 110. Machine quilted by Michele Mayton

     Please go to  Amy's Creative Side to see the other quilts!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

WIP July 18

I haven't been getting a lot done in the quilting studio lately, but I have been basting my hexies, which I started July 5th. I have 168 done and expect to do another 400 or so. I started this project with several Hexagon Charm packs from Jo-Anne's (each package has 120 pieces). I picked three different collections and will supplement from my stash if necessary once I decide how far I want to go with this.

I started out with papers from Paper Pieces, because I wanted to be sure that I was using accurate bases. I got a small pack of 1 1/2-inch papers that held 50 pieces. Since then, I've been cutting bingo cards and other heavier papers that come in with my mail. I'd strongly recommend you start with accurate templates. This is a link to where I got mine.

This will be a long-term project because I'm already having hand problems from the handwork. I hope to keep it close by and work on it occasionally, but I will have to limit the basting. I don't want a repeat of the thumb problems I've had before!

Here's what I've learned so far on this project: 1. I need to use the bingo cards from magazines and mailers instead of heavier paper for my pieces. The heavier paper is hurting my hand, while the lighter doesn't. 2. I need to use a darker neutral thread for the basting. The lighter color doesn't show up well and will be harder to remove when the time comes. 3. I'm sure there will be lots more. I'll update.

Besides all that, I have finished the binding on the Safari Brights quilt which Michele quilted for me. I love it! I think I'll hang it in the hallway and replace one that's been on display for several years. I still have another quilt to bind and finish and two more to machine quilt. I want to get these done, but I don't know when I'll be back at it.

I seem to have a hard time going between piecing and quilting. When I'm in one mode or the other, I tend to stay there for a while. I admire those bloggers who seem to jump effortlessly from one project to another while planning a third and quilting a fourth. I guess I'm too old for all that. I tend to work on only one or two projects at a time. The tops pile up until I get the urge to quilt them. When I'm in the FMQ mood, I usually do several.

I'm always dreaming up new projects, but only a few ever see the light of my sewing room. That's the beauty of the Internet, isn't it? We get endless inspiration!

I'm going to link up to Freshly Pieced's WIP Wednesday, hosted this week by Taryn. Check it out. There's always wonderful inspiration there!

Monday, July 16, 2012


This is the charity quilt I took to guild last Monday. I was planning to use white for the binding, but changed my mind -- I'm a woman, after all! -- and went with a blue calico. I'd like to think the recipient would treasure this gift but you never know, and blue wouldn't get grungy as soon as white would.

So another finish for the year, and I've made the first of the donation quilts I promised myself I'd make this year.

I don't think I've mentioned that I've begun a Hexie project. I'm in the process of basting fabric to the paper pieces and I've got a loooong way to go. I'm just picking it up when I have some time in the evening. I got quite a bit done over the weekend, especially at the lake.

Not much sewing planned this week. I'm getting ready for a party Saturday with my husband's golf league. I'll be busy doing the housework that I habitually ignore when the creative muse strikes.

Now I'm off to mop floors!

While I'm doing that, you might want to check out the eye candy at Patchwork Times for Design Wall Monday!

Friday, July 6, 2012

On the needles Friday 7/6

I've been working on these socks off and on since May 11th, and would really like to get the second one done and move back to my summer tee from last year. Maybe that'll be OTN next week!

To get to the details, I think this is Sensations Bamboo & Ewe, a blend of 55% wool, 30% nylon and 15% bamboo (or rayon from bamboo as it says on the label). I've used this yarn before and like it. I'm not positive, because the ball band was taken out of the cake, but I'm pretty sure this is it. The needles are 2.25 mm fixed circulars from Knit Picks.

I use a generic toe-up formula from Knitty Summer 2006, Judy's Magic Cast On here, the Fleegle Heel here and will use the Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-off here. This is my 85th pair of socks. I love sock knitting, but these have been problematic because of the dark color. It's really pretty, but hard to work with because 99% of my knitting is done at night and this dark charcoal doesn't show up the stitches in the lighting in our family room.

I'm linking up with Judy's On the needles Friday. Maybe linking each week will get me going!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

WIP Wednesday July 4

My new favorite picture of Cato the Attack Cat.
     Sometimes I feel like I have ADD. There are so many things rolling around in my brain that I cannot focus on anything. Right now, I have several projects in the piecing stage, one I'm machine quilting and two that need bound. And here I sit with the cat on my lap composing a post. And I need to tidy up my house.

     First of all, I won't dump Cato off my lap. We both need this bonding time. He doesn't usually stay too long anyway. Secondly, I'm a slow starter in the morning and I'm not ready to get going until I've had time to check emails, read a few blogs and have a bowl of cereal.

     As for my WIP, I'm still working on my Christmas Diamonds, although only at my Thursday sewing circle (which only meets twice a month). The Smith Mountain Morning quilt has seen limited progress because of the Linus Quilt which is now awaiting quilting and gifting. I'm going to call that done for now, while aknowledging that it's not really done until it's bound and gifted.
One-patch donation quilt

     The machine quilting project is just a simple one-patch, that probably will be quilted by the time you read this. I'm going to do a simple serpentine stitch in the narrow border and in the white and then bind it. It's alternating calicos with white muslin, so I'll bind it with white. There already are several different muslins in there, so I won't worry about matching the muslin.

I call this Safari Brights
     The two projects awaiting binding were long-armed by the very talented Michele. They're not very big, so they shouldn't take too long, I just need to get going on them. The first is a project we did in a class at a local quilt shop many years ago. I think it came from a magazine, but I can't remember. I was trying to be scrappy even back then.  Michele did some custom quilting and I love it! It will finish about 48.5 square. I have the binding picked out but not ready to go.

Sand Pails?
     The other is a Buggy Barn stack 'n' switch called Basket Crazies. I used bright summery fabrics and a 9-patch sashing to make it a little bigger. I'm thinking of calling it Sand Pails, but I haven't decided for sure. I'll have my husband hold it up for a better picture when it's done. I don't know which fabric I'll bind it in.

I'm linking with WIP Wednesday. Check out all the inspiration if you have time on this busy holiday!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Awesome book!

     I just got Leah Day's newest book, 365 Free Motion Quilting Designs, and I am newly impressed. I've been following her blog for some time now, and I have three other of her publications. I have learned so much from her!

     This book, a printed compilation of all her free designs,  is really awesome! First of all, it's beautiful. I love the glossy paper and the photography is first-rate. I thought I was familiar with all the designs, but I was surprised to see several that were new to me, either because I missed them or didn't notice them on my computer screen. And each time I open it, new stitch-outs catch my eye.

     There's something different about seeing those designs in printed form, I think, that I really appreciate. Blowing up some of those designs to 6.25 inches square really makes a statement. The stitch-outs really pop on that glossy paper, and the colors are fun, too. It's hard to believe she doesn't have a stitch regulator; the stitches seem so even and precise.

     I especially like #42, Sea Oats; #55  Wheat in the Wind; #132, Swirling Petals; #186, Swirling Feathers; #301 Root Pockets; and #363 Feather Leaves. Of course, those are just the ones that caught my eye while I was writing this post; there's a lot more eye candy to be seen in this 252-page book. 

     The only quibble I have with the book is I'd like to have them listed by degree of difficulty as well as chronologically (maybe a star system?). She does have such a listing on her website. I understand publishing restraints probably prevented another page, but it would have been nice. On the other hand, I guess if I really want to use a design I should figure out how to do it, probably through practice or by watching the video on her site until I can achieve it.

     I wanted pictures to go with this review, but didn't feel comfortable just taking them from Amazon or her website, so I asked and Leah generously gave me permission to use the pictures in this post.

     I bought through Amazon, and couldn't be happier with my purchase. I would definitely recommend 365 Free Motion Quilting Designs to anyone who wants to improve her free motion quilting. You can get it here  or here.

    Video tutorials for all the designs are available on Leah's web site, If you're not familiar with that site, I urge you to visit and see what she has to offer. There's a wealth of information on free motion quilting and it's all FREE!

     She's also running a series of lessons on FMQ that have been comprehensive and enlightening. I haven't been disciplined enough to go through all the exercises, but I've still learned a lot that has improved my work. (That's my story and I'm sticking to it!)

    Leah and her husband also operate an online shop which has merchandise which can help improve your FMQ. Be sure to check it out!

     This review has been pretty "gushy." I hope that doesn't prevent you from checking out Leah's books, site and store. If you want to learn this skill, here's an excellent place to start.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Design Wall, July 2

     I love this pattern!

     I was lucky to be able to take the Smith Mountain Morning class from Bonnie Hunter when she was in Columbus in May. Unfortunately, this is all I've been able to get done in the six weeks since. Three lousy blocks besides the four I made in class! It's not that I don't want to make it, other projects have intervened.
     Namely, the Linus Project. A group of us decided to make some of these in memory of a friend we lost way too soon. We wanted to make quilts for bigger kids and boys, since that's an ongoing need.

     That top is done, the back is pieced and the binding is ready. I used fat quarters I already had, but I bought the sashing and cornerstone fabric. I used a pattern called Squareville, designed by my friend, Becki. Quick, easy and fun. I hope some young person will love it. It's really bright, but kids like bright, right?

     This also fulfills my ongoing desire to make more donation quilts this year.

       I'm linking up to Design Wall Monday. Check out the incredible eye candy there!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

WIP Wednesday

     As usual, I have a lot of projects that I'm working on. The one I'm working on most is the Linus quilt that I'm making in memory of my friend, Susie, who recently died. The pile of fabrics at left was what I started on for that one. I added some solid burgundy and a bright gold for sashing. I'm using a pattern called "Squareville," written by my friend Becki.

     I've made 40 blocks, but I'll only use the best 35 in a 5 by 7 setting with burgundy sashing and gold cornerstones. Here's where I am now:  

     I have the top mostly put together, lacking only a few sashes and cornerstones on the left side and bottom. I webbed the top using a technique I learned from Bonnie Hunter here.

     I haven't taken a picture of the partial top because it's not done and I'm  struggling to show unfinished tops. Blocks on a design wall don't bother me, but tops seem different. I've always only shown finished object at guild and that mindset has carried over to the blog. I guess I need to get over that if I'm going to participate in WIP Wednesday!

     I'm still working on my Smith Mountain Morning from my workshop in Columbus last month with Bonnie Hunter, and my Christmas Diamonds quilt.

     I'm linking today with WIP guest hosted by Felicity. There's lots of quilty goodness to see there!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Winding Ways to a decision

     I've finally decided what to do with my Butterfly Challenge, even though I'm way past the May deadline. The others in my Quilt Bee have all made their tops and they're awesomely creative. I just couldn't come up with anything I liked that would complement the batik panel Sophie gave me as a Christmas gift.

     But I had a breaktrough!
    While blog-surfing last week I came across a quilt that combined a panel and the Winding Ways block. I fell in love and immediately knew that's what I wanted for Sophie's Butterflies. I even had the acrylic templates I needed to cut out the fabrics.

     I made a practice block, which is what you see in the photo. I'm thinking of using the brick reds and some of the pinkish taupe on a black background. I have black and some reds that will work, but definitely don't have the taupe color I want to pick up the light colors in the butterfly's wings.

     You know that means a trip to Rachel's Quilt Shop, don't you? It's a tough job, but I guess I'll just have to do what has to be done. This challenge was supposed to be done by our May meeting, but I didn't want to do anything until I was satisfied with the design. I think this works because the four lobes of the Winding Ways block mimic the butterfly's shape. I'll have to play with a cheater border to make it fit, but that's doable.

     One thing I learned from the practice block: use starch on the fabrics for this block! I tried it without and wasn't happy. I made a second block with starched fabric and it went much better.

     I'll be using acrylic templates to cut the fabrics, which will make it fairly easy to get the cutting done. With a little luck and some careful sewing, this shouldn't take too long.

     I'm also working on a Linus quilt and the Christmas Diamonds, but no pictures of those.

     I'm linking up with Patchwork Times today. You might want to click on over to see what's going on in the quilting universe today!

     Edited June 26, 2012 to add a link to Plum and June. I love finding new blogs to follow and there are some here I"ve never seen.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

It's been a while

I've been missing in action for a while, but I'm back now and excited to begin preparations for the Bloggers' Quilt Festival in two weeks (May 18  to June 12).
I've never participated before, but I'd like to this time. Now to pick a suitable quilt . . .

If I knew how, I'd add Amy's BQF button to my page. Anyone who can help?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Now what?

    This is where I am on the Texas Braid. I wanted to make a large throw, so I don't want it much bigger than this, but I do think it needs another border. I thought I wanted a blue with cinnamon, but I don't have anything that goes. The ladies in my "late night" group think I should go with a dark blue and I think that would work if I have anything in the right color.

    I haven't had much time to work on it, so maybe this week . . .
    I'm starting to battle seasonal allergies. Is anyone else?
    I'm linking this to Judy's Design Wall Monday to see what everyone else is working on. I know I spend a lot of time each week getting inspiration from all the shared projects!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Leah nailed it!

     I’ve been reading about the Great Copyright Controversy between a famous designer, a publishing company and a quilt book author and I think Leah’s post here nails all the issues, plus her own unique perspective. Here is mine.
     I’ve been noticing as I surf the net lately how many bloggers seem to be hooked on using designer fabrics in their quilts, and often they’re using a single line. That’s a design decision, and certainly every quilter has a right to use the fabrics she loves, but I wonder where this came from? My theory is this is something promoted by the fabric companies to sell more of their wares. Where I might pick 1 or 2 from a line, some people go in and buy everything in it. That could be 20 or 30 fabrics in all the colorways. A plus for doing this is that the quilter can be sure all the colors go together.
     I don’t want to do that because I’m a scrap quilter and I want a lot of variety. I’ve spent 20 years building my stash so I can have choices. If I want blue, I have a bunch. The same with reds, oranges, yellows, greens and so on. I love the modern fabrics, but I’m just beginning to add them into my stash and I couldn’t do a so-called modern quilt if I wanted to. I love the look but I don’t have those fabrics. If I see a modern quilt that I love, I’ll interpret it in the fabrics I have.
     Now, I doubt I’ll be adding those designers into my stash. I’m highly offended that a designer could imagine that she has a right to limit my use of a product I’ve purchased. What is that fabric company thinking in agreeing to such a restriction? I’m not going to promote her wishes by naming her here. I’ll never buy her fabric, and that’s too bad. I like her designs.
     The controversy had its roots in a promotional tote bag which was to hype a book, “Scrap Republic,” by Emily Cier for C&T Publishing. Moda, a very large, popular fabric company, sent fabric to Emily to use in the book, including the line of fabric by She Who Doesn’t Want Her Fabric Used (SWDWHFU). I haven’t bought the book, so I' haven’t seen the quilt in question, but C&T admittedly took one of the book’s photos, cropped it to show off the fabric and used it on the tote. The apparently insecure (or greedy?) SWDWHFU took exception to the tote’s use of her fabric, hired a lawyer and everything quickly went to Hell in a handcart.
     This is all public record. It’s all over the quilting blogosphere. I decided to weigh in because I think the whole thing stinks. I’m upset primarily with SWDWHFU, who isn’t happy getting a contract with a major fabric company and all the accompanying money, prestige and fame. She also wants to control the USE of the fabrics which she’s designed. She actually has a restriction printed on the selvages of her fabrics saying it can only be used for personal use! She claims it’s the only way she can protect her livelihood. Baloney!
     I think the fabric company, Moda, is also to blame, even though they haven’t been part of the discussion. They obviously agreed to her demands limiting the use of the product they’re trying to sell. I think they were so eager to sign a “hot” designer that they failed their customers. Shame on them!
     I do not blame the author, Emily. She used the fabric Moda sent to her for inclusion in the book in good faith. The use of a single line of fabric in a quilt is pretty common now, and I’m sure she thought nothing of it. Also, she had no control over the publisher’s use of a promotional image from her book in the tote bag. The fact she didn’t identify the fabric in the book isn’t unusual, either. I haven’t seen it in other books. Besides, it’s doubtful anyone could get that fabric by the time the book came out anyway, considering the time lapse between the design, sewing and photography and the release of the book.
     Some other posts on this topic here, here and here. A picture of the offending tote is here.
     A lot of valid questions have been raised in other blogs, but I felt a need to have my say, even if no one but me reads it. If you happen to read this, I’d appreciate your feedback.

Monday, March 19, 2012

What to do?

   Pictured above is a fabric challenge issued by my friend Sophie. She gave everyone in our sewing group one of these panels as part of our Christmas exchange. I've had this on my design wall for 2 months now and have no idea what I should do with it. I've considered a log cabin border -- maybe wonky? -- and also diamonds on point for another look. I want something Oriental-looking.

   I guess I'd better start researching some border books. Maybe something will "speak" to me.

Check out Design Wall Monday to see what other quilters are up to!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Design Wall, March 5

   It's really my design sewing table. I'm preparing the parts for a Jelly Roll 1600 quilt. Instead of joining the strips with a diagonal seam, I've decided to insert a 4-patch between them. Also, I've cut this from my stash, so I have fat quarter strips as well as width of fabric ones. I haven't seen that many 1600 quilts, so I don't know how this experiment will work. I love the  look of the black and white with the batiks. The questions is: how will it look when it's assembled? I'll know next week at Quilt Camp. We're going to have a "race" with prizes! It should be fun. The second picture, below, shows a jumble of the fabrics with the 4-patches added to one end. I'll sew them all together and then I'll be ready for the race!
    Quilt Camp is a twice-a-year getaway that I've been attending for 10 years. A group of 25-30 of us gather at a nearby church camp. Well it's near for me, a 30 minute drive. Some of the campers drive for three hours!

    It's a little different than many getaways in that we have to bring all our sewing gear, as well as bedding, bathing supplies and our food if we go early (I do). Because of all that, I try to start getting organized early. I'm planning to take five projects that I will work on, and additional fabrics in case I decide I want to do something different. Because I'm a scrap quilter, I always take a LOT of fabric.

    Texas Braid is packed up and ready to go. I'm to the point where I need to trim the edges and assemble the top. Then I'll decide about the border. I'm iffy on it. I think it will depend on its size.

I'm linking this to Design Wall Monday.
(I know there's a neater way to do this butI don't know how.)


Monday, February 27, 2012

No sewing today

My design wall is the same as a week ago, but I’ve made progress on the Texas Braid quilt. It’s grown to 6 panels, and I’m laying out the next two braids and I’m planning to wait until Quilt Camp next month to lay it out and put the panels together. I’ll have more layout room there, plus almost unlimited time to sew. I’ll also decide about borders there, too. (The two “burrito” shapes behind the strips are panels five and six; the ones on the sewing table are seven and eight.)

In the meantime, I’ll concentrate this week on finishing the next two panels. I’ve already tested my planned border. It’s square on point, and should fit nicely with the braids, It will necessitate a lot more cutting, but I think the overall design will be worth it. As usual with my scrappy quilts, I don’t have a deadline for this, so whatever it takes is what I’ll do. It will be done when I’m happy with it.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Design Wall Feb. 20

I spent the day working on my Texas Braid quilt. As I mentioned before, I got the pattern from Bonnie Hunter’s Leaders & Enders book. I just love the look she gives scrappy quilts!

Of course, I changed it up some. I used 2 1/2 inch strips and adjusted the length to look similar to hers. I already had a boatload of 2 1/2 inch strips and not many 2 inchers. It made sense to go with what I already had. I’m using blues, both light and dark, and a cinnamon Kona Cotton. I have 4 braids done and I think I’ll need 8. Bonnie used 2-inch strips and her braids finished at 6 1/2 inches. My 2 1/2-inch strips made my braids finish around 8 1/2 inches (I think. I haven’t put them together yet.)

I wanted to use up my blue fabrics. I’ve always loved blue and I had a bunch. I’ve decided to use as many as possible in my scrappy quilts this year. Actually I started last year and am continuing the project this year. I haven’t seriously diminished the amount of blue, but I’m going to be working on it!
I started this quilt at a getaway in October, 2010, but put it away to finish more pressing matters. I think I can get it done before the end of the month if I stick to it. I now have a system that makes it pretty simple. I make 2 braids at a time. If you notice, they are mirror images. If I work on 2 at a time, I find I don’t get mixed up with the mirroring. The picture shows my cornerstone units on my machine bed ready to be attached to the growing braid. I press as I go. I tried finger-pressing, but I wasn’t happy with the results.

This is working for me, so I can see the end in sight. I even have a plan for borders. Bonnie didn’t use any, but I have a plan for a pieced border that I think will enhance the overall design.


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Give and Take

Our local guild has a yearly Brown Bag Challenge. The committee puts out a sign up sheet about a month before the start. On the appointed day, participants bring in a brown bag filled with the required amount of fabric in the colors of our choice.

The committee pairs us up with another member and we each take home a brown bag of fabric and make a quilt.  Several months later, we bring back our finished objects and exchange them.

I’ve participated in almost all of the BBCs and enjoy the fun and the challenge of using fabrics chosen by another person.Our only requirement is the finished object has to be at least 36 inches on the shortest side.

At the top ot the post is what I came up with in the latest one, which finished at the February guild meeting last Monday.

It’s from a Bonnie Hunter pattern, “Hidden Spools,” which was fun and easy to make. I added a few fabrics to the mix, which is perfectly legal according to the BBC rules. It went to Betty.

I got to take home a quilt from Lorrie. She used my fabrics and added a few of her own (see a theme here?) Lorrie used a Schnibbles pattern called “Good Fortune” I love it! It’s gracing my dining room table and looks terrific!
This has been a very successful program at our guild. It’s been a great mixer, helping us get to know one another better.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Design wall Feb 13, 2012

I spent some time last week working on my version of Imperial Diamonds (from Fons & Porter's magazine). I'm calling mine Christmas Diamonds. I made these changes to the pattern:

1. I used charm packs for the larger diamonds instead of 4 1/2 inch squares.
2. I'm cutting the charms into fourths for the smaller squares for the little diamonds.

I've finished the four units like the one above, and have started the five units that go between the larger squares. There's a lot of cutting and sewing still to go before I get the center done. Then I'll decide about the borders. The pattern calls for the same light background and dark diamonds for the second pieced border. I'm thinking about changing it up and using light diamonds and darker background.

I like to get my quilt center together before I make final decisions about borders. Sometimes it makes a difference. These are what some of the little diamonds will look like:
 This has been a fun project so far!


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Cold and snowy!

It's cold and snowy outside, so I'm staying inside today. We had a wonderful visit from my sister. She just left for the drive back to Indy and I know she'll be cautious on the roads. It's about 4 1/2 hours to her home, but she's heading for sunnier weather according to the forecasts.

As for us, we'll enjoy a rare day at home. DH probably will watch college basketball as long as there's a bouncing ball. I'm going to clean up some and then sew (I hope).

M and I picked out a pattern we want to sew at our getaway. I think I'll pull out some fabrics for it. Quilt Camp is the middle of March, so I'd like to get organized. The original is made with country-style fabrics. We're both thinking of using batiks to get a more contemporary look. I don't usually work with batiks, but I do have some so I'll see what I have in my stash. If that doesn't work, I'll probably choose something bright. (Imagine that.)

While she was here, we went to a nice yarn shop in Wooster, Calla Lilly Yarns ( She carries some wonderful yarns at reasonable prices. I bought yarn for a scarf I want to make. I need to finish my Liesl first, but that will be my next knitting project.

We also had a light lunch at Broken Rocks Cafe (, next door to the yarn shop. It's one of our favorite eateries. Wonderful, wonderful food in a neat atmosphere. We had crab chowder that was really good. Their desserts are outstanding, but we passed on that.


Monday, February 6, 2012

First Design Wall

I've followed Judy's Design Wall Mondays for some time now and always thought I'd like to join in, and today's the day.

This is a group of practice blocks I made for a bigger project I plan to start next month using Civil War reproduction fabrics. Now that I've done a few samples, I've learned several things that I will share:

1. Starch or pressing spray is a must for these blocks. I use a homemade pressing spray with starch in it and it made them pretty easy to make. The one I made before the addition of the starch was pretty wonky and I wasn't happy with it.
2. I probably will make the project using slightly larger triangles. The pattern calls for 2 1/2 inch equilateral triangles but I may go with 3 inches. I think it will be a little easier to work with. This isn't supposed to be an endurance contest, is it? Besides, they're sending me mostly 3-inch pieces of fabric, and I hate to waste fabric.
3. I didn't need pins on the pieced triangles, but I used pins while putting the blocks together. I didn't want to cut off my points and I (mostly) achieved that.
4. Practice will make perfect (I hope).

I will use this small quilt to practice my FMQ.

Thanks for looking! This is a very new blog and I appreciate your comments and feedback.
I'd add a link to Judy's site but I don't know how. I'll get that straightened out asap!


Friday, February 3, 2012

Hello, World!

Well, I've done it.

I'm finally taking the plunge and making my first post to my blog. Wow. I've been thinking about this for some time and today seems like a good one to start. I thought about starting on a "significant" day, but when? I missed the New Year, my anniversary and my birthday, so I decided to just do it.

This will be a place for me to share what I'm working on, whether it's related to my quilting, knitting or other crafting. I also plan to talk about books I'm reading occasionally, since that's a huge part of who I am.

Right now I'm working on several quilting projects: Imperial Diamonds from Fons and Porter's Love of Quilting (, Anita's Arrowhead from both Quiltmaker magazine and Anita Grossman Soloman's book (, and a Texas Braid quilt from Bonnie Hunter's pattern in her Leaders and Enders book. Today I began practice blocks from a block of the month from Homestead Hearth. It's a 60-degree diamond design from History Repeated by Betsy Chutchian and Carol Staehle. More on all that later.

On the knitting front, I'm close to finishing my Liesl sweater by Ysolda Teague and a pair of socks for a dear friend.

I'm reading The Scottish Prisoner by Diana Gabaldon and The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie.

I'm amazed at how much I've learned just on this first post, and I'm sure I've a long way to go to be able to add all the goodies I see on other blogs that I read. Bear with me on this. I promise I'll learn what I need to know.