Our second day of spring contains rain, all day rain. Nothing to do here but stay inside and sew. I realized this morning that I haven’t blogged in a few weeks. I have been busy though. The sewing room window-redo project was finished last Wednesday. I moved back in there and got to work on the Sparrow QAL. Although this is a six week long thing, I needed to get started on a bigger project, so I got all the blocks done in the first week and a half. Not being able to use my machine for a few weeks was rough, and I got back into it with lots of chain piecing. There are 24 sparrow blocks, 12 face left and 12 face right. Each one has 22 pieces, most of which have a folded corner technique, which creates a bonus HST. I have a bunch of 3 ½ ” HST’s that coordinate with this quilt top. I may have to use them on the back, or a border. For now though, these blocks are cleared away for the next round of custom quilts.

My client found the fabric line Nocturnal by Gingiber, and really liked it. Boxes of fabric started showing up here, I had it all laid out on my dining table to sort. There must be close to 50 yards of it, all so pretty and coordinating. I worked with her and picked out 6 different patterns and will be making 8 quilts over the next few months. There was a lot of math involved and I made a few spread sheets, but I am confident that there will be enough fabric to complete the job. I just hope that I don’t get sick of the fabric line. I still like like the Halloween and Christmas figs and Julie Paschkis lines, both of which I have made multiple quilts from. I am still drawn to their color ways, and the timeless designs. I started on a queen size version of the pattern Aegean, by Nancy Rink.

I have been making a lot of progress on the Heaven and Nature cross stitch piece. I finished the lower three pages, and I am starting the next row of pages which includes the house. The mother of all houses, I think it may be larger than the one in the Pet All the Dogs sampler. My DH calls the red houses ‘the Led Zeppelin Houses’, because they remind him of the album cover from Physical Graffiti. They remind me of the middle school I went to, called Lindell school for the avenue it was on. It was built in 1940, lots of bricks, and a beautiful view of the bay. You can see the NYC skyline clearly from the play yards. I had a tip from another stitcher who finished H&N as to stitching the house. It was to use up any red thread pieces, that weren’t finished in other parts of the design, in stitching the house. Also outlining the house is very helpful.

Not much progress on the Message in a Bottle (a few leaves and berries) or Simple Pleasures. Sadly no quilting was accomplished on the Botanica quilt either. I am very excited that Bernina is updating the software for the Q-Matic system, tomorrow is the day it releases to the public. There are many improvements, a big one is going from 32 bit to 64 bit. Hopefully this will correct the “ever spinning wheel of waiting” issue while loading complex designs. There are also editing features that I wish I had when I started Botanica.

Off to sew.

Be Kind.

Still Stitching

It seems as if the font has been changed by WordPress, again. I am going to try “Cormorant”. The window replacement in the sewing room isn’t finished yet. Just need the paneling, trim, and some paint, it’s never that easy though. The wood paneling in the room is original to the house and 60 years ago, they used seven inch wide planks, which aren’t standard anymore. Isn’t that the way of remodeling though?

I have been stitching on the Heaven and Nature cross stitch piece, and got a bit done on block four of simple pleasures. I may have to dig out the Message in a Bottle blocks and work on that, this months installment is on the way.

I also signed up for the Sparrows Quilt-A-long at Pen and Paper patterns. The fabric is here, the pattern is downloaded, but there is no room to cut and sew in. It starts on the 10th. Truthfully, I could get the cutting done this week, as the cutting table is just covered in plastic sheeting.

I did work a lot on the Botanica Park quilt. It has been back on the frame for about a month. I had taken it off to fix the errant blocks back in September 2022. I re-mounted it in February, after I finished quilting The Berties Year quilt. I had quilted about a third more, when I realized I had another block out of place. It was in the border, one of the diamonds was turned the wrong way. I couldn’t fix it on my machine, so I carefully removed the stitching and then carefully restitched the block into place with needle and thread. It was a bit awkward, but I managed it. I finished the quilting on it last night, took the quilt off the rollers and turned it. Now I have two more borders and a final check for any missed parts. This is a heavily quilted piece, every inch has a motif in/on it. Each motif needs to be re-sized, flipped, placed, or combined before stitching it. It’s good practice though, and I feel much more able to use my software effectively now. The other Wing and a Prayer quilt I have made, Forest Floor, was similarly quilted and finished 3/01/19. I thought that one was involved, LOL, it is really pretty though, and it gets its chance on the bed for a few weeks a year.

Be Kind.

Pilgrims Finish

Started on January 24th 2022, on 32 count lugana using 12wt Aurifil 6738 Peacock blue (356 yards). I used about 1 and ½ spools. Started on scroll frame, but switched to hoop with stand because it was easier to start and tie off threads.

I had planned that this would be my main project, and I would be able to stitch smalls ones when I got bored with the monochromatic Pilgrim. I did stitch and finish seven others while doing this one. I feel like this is the largest (23″x18″) cross stitch piece I have done to date, others have been more intricate, but this one held my interest over the past thirteen months.

When I restarted my cross stitch habit, in July 2020, I thought I would finish a few UFOs, that had been in a drawer since the mid nineties, pictured below. I had seen a bunch of new designs I wanted to start, but “made” myself do the UFO’s first. My rational was, if I really wanted to restart this craft, I could get the two UFOs done and see if I still wanted to do more. I quickly realized that cross stitch supplies had greatly increased in cost over the 25 year hiatus I had taken. Although I had been buying DMC floss for hand stitching projects, the linen and hand dyed flosses seemed pricey. Chart prices have increased too, understandably, as it is a product that requires a lot of hours to produce and market, for little profit. I appreciate the move to PDF patterns, and have pattern reader software that helps immensely.

Be Kind.

No Sew Zone

Last week work was started on the replacing of a sliding door with a window in the sewing room. The workmen carefully covered everything in there with large sheets of plastic. I am grateful that the dust and such won’t be all over my stash, but I can’t get to anything in there.

I have been steadily making headway on the Pilgrim though. I finished page 1, the upper left corner, most of page 2, and pages 3 and 4 are about 70% done. Most of the stitching is the “sky” above the houses, this piece has a 305×367 stitch count. I was checking to see if I missed any motifs last night and I found I forgot a squirrel (?!?) and a butterfly under the crow. I might just leave the squirrel for last.

Speaking of cross-stitch, the annual Stitch-Market in Nashville is coming up. Many stitchery stores are having presages of upcoming patterns too. I was looking at a few new ones from Teresa Kogut, Two samplers, Nature and Remember Me, really appealed to me. I pre-bought them, they aren’t that big, and I was going to “kit them up” for the future stitching project pile. Then I remembered that the DMC and linens are not accessible at this time either. So all I have is these pictures.

I guess I’ll just have to work in the garden this week.

Be Kind.

Handwork week

This week was a handwork week, although I did turn on the machine a few times. I worked on the Message in a Bottle BOM, completed month two and set up month three. I got the fabric kit for month seven in the mail yesterday, I am very behind. Each monthly section has a main appliqué block and a few 3 ½ inch blocks for fillers. Month two and three have large pieced backgrounds behind the appliqué. I am glad that the finished size is 52″ square, as there are so many pieces, and anything larger would be too much.

Stitching on the Pilgrim has been taking most of my sewing room time. In my last post I was considering starting another large sampler, Heaven and Nature (a Teresa Kogurt design). I got it all kitted up and had sat down to stitch, as I was removing the hoop from Pilgrim, I thought to myself, maybe just finish up this motif…then it became this section, then page. I have less than two pages left to finish, I want to do that more than start a new piece. In the photos below, the one on the left is from October 2022, and todays is on the right. My ulterior motive is that once pilgrim is done, then H&N can become my new “big” project, and I can start a new small(er) one too. Win-Win!

The HST poinsettia quilt is still on my design wall, but I have made a digital copy of it in EQ8. Moving pieces around on screen is much easier than on the wall, plus the dogs can’t help. One swipe of the tail, and hours of placement are lost.

Off to sew.

Be Kind.

Winter is Done

I finished stitching the “Silent Night” (I have been calling it Winter) cross stitch piece I started late last month. I am going to start “Heaven and Nature” a Teresa Kogut pattern. I am pretty sure I have all the flosses and linen together with the pattern. I feel like I should work a bit on The Pilgrim, as I really want to finish it soon. Perhaps I should alternate daily, but start-i-tis is is motivating me this day.

I made an apron this week. My mom was asking for one, and since her Bday is approaching, I thought I would fill that request. I ordered some pretty pinstriped canvas from Michigan last weekend, but it didn’t get here yet. I needed to go to the Spa and hot tub store to get a special filter last Monday, and wouldn’t you know, there was a Joann’s on the same street. I shopped a bit and found this cute coffee print canvas and got a few yards. There are hundreds of free apron patterns on-line, I choose this one, Two-Tone Light Weight Canvas Apron from Sew4Home. I made a few alterations, I didn’t use the decorative stitches, and used quilters weight cotton for the accent pieces and ties. I also reinforced the cotton with fusible interfacing. I want to make another different style one out of the pinstripe, using this pattern, Cross Back Apron from Purl Soho. I like that it is easy to put on and remove, I may even make one for myself out of some extra Essex Linen I have.

Another new start is a knitted Cardigan for my oldest son. I made him a dark green one a few years ago, and he asked me for a dark blue one. I am working on it during daylight hours, as it is hard to see the dark yarn stitches a night. Maybe I should eat more carrots… I am getting the rhythm of the pattern down, cables and honeycombs.

There was an interesting Essay/Opinion piece about knitting in the NYT today. “The Revolutionary Power of a Skein of Yarn” by Peggy Orenstein. She is also the author of “Unraveling: What I Learned About Life While Shearing Sheep, Dyeing Wool and Making the World’s Ugliest Sweater.” I can’t link it here, as one has to subscribe to read it. I thought her comments were poignant, particularly this part.

Not long ago, Michelle Obama posted a black-and-white photo of herself on Instagram, cozy in an armchair, a nearby side table displaying an adorable baby pic of Malia and Sasha. She is barefoot, dressed in wide-legged jeans and a satin shirt, smiling widely as she looks down … at her knitting. “Every time I tell people how much I love to knit,” she writes in the caption, “They seem so surprised!”

And I thought, why?

I suspect it’s because knitters, unlike Mrs. Obama, are presumed to be aging ungracefully: prim, elderly (probably white) ladies rocking away on the porch in cultural irrelevance. Before I refute that — yarn lovers come in all ages, genders, sexualities and races — I want to ask, even if it were true, so what? The dismissal, the reflexive derision of women from midlife onward — especially if we stop chasing social media standards of beauty — is a nasty form of ageist sexism. ~ Peggy Orenstein

I worked a bit on more HST’s for the Poinsettia flower that is blooming on my design wall. I cut a bunch more, treated myself to a new blade in my cutter too. Why do I wait so long in between changing it out? I keep thinking that this would be easier to design on EQ8, maybe this weekend I’ll try, so many HSTs to rotate.

Be Kind.

Rain = Finishes

I feel very productive today, because it has been a productive week, so far.

I finished the Chilhowie mystery quilt top. WhooHoo! I ended up changing the sewing rectangles a bit. I added a strip of purple to the ends. This makes the four patches join together, and forms a secondary block. When I was laying the blocks out on the floor, I realized that there was too much white. I had used a bunch of white on white prints for the sashing and it was too stark. It made the main blocks look small and uninteresting, they were receding and making the quilt uninteresting. One would think that purple, orange, and turquoise would be in your face interesting – lol. All that piecing not to be seen? No, not for this quilt. I dug through the stash and found some prints on white and recut most of the sash rectangles and added the stripe. I like it much better now. I noticed that a few fellow mystery makers added triangles to the ends of their rectangles, to make a star around the four patch. I wish I had seen that before my version, but I like mine as well.

I worked on the Simple pleasures BOM, I started this in February 2021. I have all the blocks sewn and marked for embroidery and appliqué. This is the third finished of nine, lots of stitching to go.

My other BOM, the Message in a Bottle wall hanging, saw the light of day this week too. I thought I was on block/month three, but sadly, only two. I just got the sixth part a few days ago, got some catching up to do with this too.

With the rain falling, there is nothing I like better than to sit in my sewing chair with an audio book, a cup of hot tea and a project. I have been making lots of X’s on the Winter piece, and thinking about my next “start” for 2023 – “Heaven and Nature”. This photo makes it look very dark, but it’s not.

About half way through this month and I have reached my goals for it. To have the three quilt tops done seemed like a lot, but when there’s really nothing else to do when it’s raining, things get done.

Be Kind.

A couple of hundred HSTs

After finishing the flying geese border for the Forest Whimsy quilt, I felt like I needed to use up the rest of the red scraps. The Accuquilt die cuts the goose part out of a 3 3/4 inch rectangle, so the scraps can easily be cut down into 2 ½ inch triangles. I had a little over 200 red ones, I cut all the white ones with another die that cuts 12 hsts at a time. I thought about doing a hst sampler, or something, then remembered the SuperNova quilt tutorial that Sarah over at Confessions of a Fabric Addict has. I laid out all the triangles and added an additional three rows to finish it off. Now it is an odd size, I’m thinking of adding some green hsts to it, because I think it looks a little like a poinsettia flower. I’m going to leave it up on the wall for a bit longer and think on it.

Yesterday I started cutting the sashing and inner border pieces for my Chilhowie quilt. I got the big pieces done, and today I am hoping that I will get to the aqua and flying geese section. I also need to lay it out to do the sashings, which will be on the floor in the guest room. I can close the door to this room, which is a plus when ones has large dogs about.

My “Winter” cross stitch is progressing, I am almost finished with the house. Probably should work the border a bit more.

We lost power early this morning, our generator is doing its job. The electric company is saying we may not get our power back until Thursday. This is due to them being stretched a bit thin during these relentless storms. I’m surprised that it had stayed on this long, as many trees have fallen, and the wind has been fierce at times.

Be Kind.

First Week of 52/23

The first week of 2023 went very well. I managed to keep damage to my home and property from the first major storm system to a minimum. Filling and placing sandbags is not a job I would like to do regularly. We lost a tree, thankfully it didn’t crush anything as it slowly uprooted and lay down next to my house. Mostly what I did was stay inside stitching and putting tops together, laundry and eating chocolate. I put the borders on The Reunion quilt top for a finish, you may remember that I had to give it a time out after wrestling with turned blocks and such. The borders were simple solid ones which after cutting and measuring went together with no issues. The next finish was the Ribbon Runs Through It BOM. This one required sashing and careful placement too, not to the extent of Reunion though. RRTit is set on point with half log cabin setting triangles, I started in the upper left hand corner and worked to the middle, longest row. Then started on the lower right hand corner and worked to the center. Then I put the two halves together, one thing I was thankful for was that the sashing pieces had one inch borders on them. These straight of grain strips definitely helped to keep the stretching on the bias in check. Otherwise this quilt top could have turned into a hot mess quickly. This top also had two plain borders, thank fully the instructions included a way to cut it to make the flowers stay in the same orientation for each side. This is something that I often notice after the fact when constructing other tops, by which time it is either too late to fix or there isn’t enough fabric.

Getting those two tops done was a good feeling. I started to look around and figure out what I wanted to do next. Then I looked at the Forest top, it just didn’t look finished to me. I think that after the two other finishes with their sashing and borders, changed the way I was looking at it. This top was too simple, and it was asking for some borders to keep those trees together. I thought about doing a simple white one and having a green binding, nah. Then I thought about all the red Christmas print batik strips I still had. I have been toying with the idea to make a red and white batik quilt with them. Red and white flying geese around the trees, yes, that could work. Even better I have an Accuquilt die to cut all of them to the correct size. I got a bunch of them put together yesterday, I think I need about 96.

The final reveal for the Chilhowie mystery quilt was reveled this morning. More sashing work, but thankfully the main block construction was last week. Also one of the early clues had us make all the pieces for the outer border, so no ducking out on that. I like the layout, but I think I want to be a bit more careful with the neutrals in the sashings, trying not to use any fabrics that will look too dense. Keeping them crisp looking, seems to work better for my vision of this quilt. The below photo is from her web site. She will keep the mystery up for a few more weeks, so if you want the pattern PDF, download it soon.

My cross stitch start from last week is progressing, I got the reindeer done last night. This is turning into a a fun project, maybe I’ll finish by the end of winter.

Today I am linking up with Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict for “Can I Get A Whoop Whoop?” It’s been a while since I have linked to any linky parties, but I still click through lots of them. I may even make it a habit for 2023.

Be Kind.

2022 Wrap up

I’m going to start by looking at last years wrap up. This Post, is from January 1, 2022, it ends with this list.

List of UFO’s to finish in the next 365 days: 

  • Simple things 1930’s embroidery/appliqué 
  • Teal, black and white maze quilt
  • Love Entwined Quilt – appliqué 
  • 365 Batik block quilt 270 blocks to go
  • Dragon quilt finish quilting embellishing etc (oldest circa late 1900’s)
  • Holiday Snow Village 2021 BOM
  • Needing quilting/binding Berties year, Growing up odd, Misses Miller, Christmas Figs, Halloween Figs, Botanica Park, Washboard, Red and white quilt, Paper pieced ice quilt, Autumn leaves, Quick curve quilt.

Hmm, I did work on the first one, Simple things, the next five, um no, didn’t see the light of day. The last, the TBQ list, I got 7 quilted, Berties year is on the frame, but I still haven’t started it yet. I did get a lot done this past year. The book of finished quilts is down stairs, and I’m feeling a bit lazy, I’ll go get it in a bit. I don’t know if I have written about this note book, I started it late in 2018. It is a typical composition book, black and white cover, wide ruled, this kind of note book you may have had in elementary school. The one with the pages that don’t rip out easily. I write up all my long arming projects in it, which are really my finished quilts. I keep track of size, batting used, panto, thread, and backing used. As well as the technical stuff, like needle size, stitches per inch, tension adjustments, problems with the quilt and the date started. All very organized, I am a little proud of it too. Although, I don’t think it would help anyone else understand my process/work stream. I found I was struggling with organizing my long arm work, I would start a quilt and then it would sit a few days and I would forget what I had done, and it would take a while to remember, back tracking and rolling the quilt back and forth. Not a fun time, especially when I only had a few hours to quilt, I didn’t want to spend it “remembering”. My DH has been keeping a similar book for his beer making for many years, in fact I used one of his unused note books. There is also a document on my laptop called Quilt List, which has every quilt I have made on it. I need to up-date it too, I last added to it in November, I had just topped 300 lifetime quilts.

Three things I want to get finished this first month of 2023 are:

  1. BOM A Ribbon runs Through it
  2. BOM Reunion
  3. Chilhowie the 2022/3 Bonnie Hunter Mystery

My UFO list:

  • Simple Things
  • Holiday Snow Village 2021 BOM
  • Message in a bottle 2022 BOM – catch up
  • Three from 2021 list
  • Long arm UFOs Bertie, Ice Quilt, Growing up Odd and Washboard.
  • Botanica Park, I did add on to the backing and fix the errant HSTs, just need to finish quilting/binding.

Finished 2022 List:


  • 5 Hats
  • Half of a cotton shopping bag


  • 35 Finished Quilts
  • Sold 26 Quilts
  • 2 Tops in the TBQ stack

Cross Stitch

  • 5 Finished/framed
  • 1 done stitching
  • Working on Pilgrim started 1/26/22, about 75% done

That about sums it up for the crafty pursuits of 2022. I am contemplating keeping a running inventory of fabric purchases for 2023. Do I really want to know that total? Maybe, but then ignorance can lead to bliss in my case.

Be Kind.