Getting things finished

I have a bunch of finishes I accomplished in the past two-ish weeks. I am procrastinating though, by making and finishing things I am putting off starting a big commissioned project. The quilt is a Dresden plate that was made in the 70’s. Its got some shattered fabrics, a poly batting, hand quilting and machine quilting, and a bit of wonky-ness. I have talked with the customer and come up with a plan for it, even wrote it down, so I wouldn’t forget. I just don’t want to start it yet. The customer is in no hurry either, but I am at the point I want to get it done and out of my sewing room.

Things finished this month

  • Summer cross stitch – framed
  • Christmas Figs bound and finished
  • Four small quilts quilted and bound
  • Estrella quilted
  • Two pillow shams quilted and made
  • Table runner made
  • Sold four quilts (yay!)

I have another quilt on the frame, the Sew Kind of Wonderful pattern, called Posh Snowball. I’m using a Panto called Mr. Marbles, its coming together nicely.

I have been steadily stitching on the Pilgrims Progress, although I did start another small piece. I friend and I have a tradition of saying “Rabbit Rabbit” upon waking up on the first morning of a new month. We kid each other about it, and often forget, but when we do remember, its a lucky month. This piece is a gift, not only is it a rabbit piece, but its part of a monthly series by Ink Circle. This one is for June, my friends birth month.

I finally got my 4 month seven blocks together for the Reunion quilt BOM. There was a mix up in the cutting room and everyone got the wrong fabric, purple instead of pink. It was number 6 instead of number 9, I can only imagine how organized one must have to be when cutting these kits. I have to check and recheck the colors before I cut my pieces. Funny thing is that the other BOM I am doing, A Ribbon Runs Through, had a similar problem, but they just forgot to add a strip of a blue printed fabric. I had a little of it left from a previous month, but not enough for the block. They are sending it with next months kit.

Off to sew.

Be Kind.

Progress with the Pilgrim

Last month I posted a picture of my current cross stitch piece, Pilgrim Progress -by LongDog Samplers. I have been stitching a bit every day (almost every day:). The process is really starting to show, I have almost finished the four pages of pattern that go across the bottom. There are twelve pages in all, so I’m about a third done. This sampler(?) is still fun and engaging for me, all the interesting motifs, and geometric shapes, its easy to skip around and work on bits of something. Or if I want a little challenge, try to stitch something in its entirety, like the fox or rabbit.

Recently, LongDog came out with two new chart, that I bought, called Tap Dancers. It just appealed to me, the motifs and the story of it. Just look at the submarine and the little scene in the bottom right corner, fun! The description is below.

This design is a slightly tongue in cheek tribute to the British architect Richard Rogers who died in 2021. He turned architecture not just inside out but on its head too with his striking plans for the tubular Pompidou Centre in Paris, the vast Millennium Dome in London and the brash Lloyd’s of London building with its soaring atrium.

I am plugging along on the longarm too. It is working very well after its spa day and replacement of its upper tension assembly. I finished the Christmas Figs quilting, just need to bind it. It actually have the binding all ready to go, I made it when I finished the top, back in July 2019. I have two quilts done on this large backing and I am going to try to fit two more. This saves me time, not having to re-pin backings on, but it also makes it very easy to get four done in the time of one big one.

Four Corners 🙂

Off to quilt a bit.

Be Kind.

Shrinkage may occur

I last posted on 3/15, about my upcoming retreat to Empty Spools in Asilomar. I had a very good time, too much to go over in print. I communed with the quilting community, and had a few nice walks on the beach and through the town of Pacific Grove. I worked a lot on collage-ing too. The hardest part for me was letting go of the “paint-by-number” mentality, allowing the print of the fabric to do the textures and coloring. Susan Carlsen is a good mentor/teacher for this, she has a very encouraging way about her, to help you get the feel for collage and make it work. I have this photo of my owl, Trusty Friend. I still need to add some layers of tulle, and quilting.

Part of the Empty Spools program is to have a classroom walk about on the last full day. I get a lot of inspiration doing this and get to see a bunch of techniques and ideas to try on my own. Pricilla Bianchi was giving a class using her striped fabrics and Guatemalan woven fabrics. I took her class a while ago at PIQF, I bought a few ½ yard woven stripe patterned pieces at the time too. I can’t find the quilt blocks we worked on in class, but I was inspired to do another stripe quilt. Pricilla had this one with her, on display, and a few more on her website.

I really like the log cabin one, but I didn’t have enough of the “right” material to make it. The stripes, however, I did. I cut as many 3 ½” triangles as I could, and sewed them into squares. There were too many to lay out on my design board, so I switched to the guest bed. Once I got them together in a pleasing way, I sewed the diagonal rows together and added blue HST’s to the edges. This is where the “shrinkage” occurred, my final top size is 42 x 55. Its a good throw size, but I was kinda shooting for a full size, like the bed it was on.

I’ve been working on finishing the Christmas figs quilt currently on my frame. Yesterday I quilted the last block, now I just need to do the sashing, I am planning on computer stitched bead strings in each part. The outer borders are skinny too, only about two inches wide. I may just do parallel lines an inch apart.

Be Kind.

The Ribbon Quilt blocks

I started this BOM in January of this year, with the first four blocks. Then, due to some kind of supply/shipping issue, I didn’t get the February set until last week. I have been working on them this week, and realized that they have a lot of pieces and take a few hours to make. I counted the pieces, 115, which I probably shouldn’t have, but I figured out why it is taking so long to put these together. After seven of them, I have a system down, thankfully the instructions are easy to use and helpful. There are 16 of these blocks in total, and then 8 different ones. I think I have said this before, but I am glad this is a BOM, otherwise I don’t think I would finish it.

Speaking of long term projects, I am steadily stitching on the Pilgrims Progress Sampler. It is starting to look like something now. I have completed two pages, there are twelve in all, the small motifs and patterns are interesting to stitch. I like to have a goal each time I stitch, to do one, last night I did the bird cage and a bit of the lettering. I started to fall asleep (thanks to the hour lost thing) while stitching, which is not conducive to counting, so I packed it up. Generally though I do about 200 stitches in a session, not having to change colors makes it a little easier. Still have to count accurately though.

Aurifil #12 36 count Linen

I am really looking forward to my up coming retreat at Empty Spools next week. I have a class with Susan Carlson, Fabric Collage. We have already met in an introductory Zoom session, and talked over what we need to do before class and what we need to bring. No sewing machines will be used, as the process of collage-ing will most likely take all five days. I am using this Great Gray Owl photo as my inspiration.

The Great Gray Owl is a character named “Trusty Friend” in the novel “Cloud Cuckoo Land” by Anthony Doerr. I really enjoyed listening to the story, and due to the magic of the internet, Gray owls started popping up in my Pinterest feed. I had been searching for an animal to collage for a few months, when this photo came up. A magnificent bird, more pictures here, the eyes are really that yellow too. I’m thinking of bringing a suitcase full of fabrics, as I know I’ll be using lots of little bits to create the shadings in the feathers. Since I’ll be driving there, I can load up my car, and not have to worry about overweight bags and checking them. I may do a blog post from there, we’ll see.

Be Kind.


I have a fondness for palindromes, be they numbers, words or patterns. I think patterns are called something else though, tessellations. Todays is the 393rd post, the last day of the shortest month. I should have posted on 2/22/22, but I was doing something else.

I have a bunch of works in progress, and a few FFO’s to show. The cross stitched Pansies have a frame and mat, I used a shadowbox frame from Michaels for it, with a circular cut mat from CustomMatCA an Etsy shop that will cut a mat to your specifications. I wanted a 7 and a 1/4 inch circle centered in a 9 ½ inch square, and that’s what I got. You may remember that I stitched this piece on a slightly small piece of Aida, which was rectangular. I wanted to frame it as a square, so the round mat hides the edges that don’t wrap around the backing. I used acid free double sided sticky tape to stitch the stitchery and adhere it to the backing. At some point the glue will probably give out, and I will have to redo it, but finished is finished and I think it looks good.

The Cecropia moth stitchery is also framed, I especially like how the gray wood frame compliments the colors. My only lament is the white linen I used, and how the white colored thread is lost to the eye.

I have been stitching on my LongDog Sampler “Pilgrims Promise” exclusively, yep, it is keeping my attention. I have to admit that I did pre-buy a chart that will be released at the upcoming Nashville Stitchery Market. It’s called “Love Reigns”, and it is by Teresa Kogut, but I doubt that I will start it when I get it. I do want to start a small piece soon, that will be a gift for a friends birthday. I have to get the threads for it though, the pattern calls for Gloriana silks, which are a bit on the costly side, 6.50 a skein, and there are 7 colors. I’m thinking DMC would be a good alternative, and I have a few extra hanging around here. Once I kit it up, I may alternate it with stitching on the Pilgrim. I am enjoying stitching with one color, and the motifs are interesting, fun to see the dots develop into patterns, leaves, and animals.

I finished the Heart quilt, I just need to iron it a bit. I thought the ironing fairies might do it for me if I left it on the bed, but it seems only the wrinkle fairies have danced on it. I also got all the cut off triangles sewn together with a border around them. I may add another round of blocks, as this top is too big for a doll quilt and too small for a baby quilt. Notice the “fancy” mitered border corners :).

I started on two pillow shams to match a quilt I made a few years ago. I used Hoffman 1895 batiks to make it and didn’t have enough scraps to make the eight blocks I need for the shams. I contacted Batiks Etc. and Sew What Fabrics and sent them a few scraps of the colors I used. Robin was able to match them and I got a yard of each to use. I am thankful that Hoffman is pretty consistent with their dye lots, and for the excellent customer service at Batiks Etc. The completed paper foundations are piling up and I’ll be getting these together soon.

On the frame, I am slowly working my way through the Christmas figs quilt, one block at a time. I’m not sure what I want to do in the sashings yet. I am hoping it’ll come to me soon.

Be Kind.

Tiles and Quilts

Yesterday I visited a ceramic tile and tableware store, Heath Ceramics, in San Francisco. They make custom tiles for decorative use, not for only bathrooms and kitchens. They have patterns on display as 18″ square blocks, very design wall like. These two caught my eye.

These tiles look just like the 112 triangles I have from my current quilt top that I’m working on. The Marcus fabrics Aunt Grace heart quilt, a free pattern from them, has 56 hearts made with the cut off corners technique. I’m thinking that I can use the ones from the lower edges to make a scrappy quilt.

I started the heart quilt last week as a way to use up the box (see ☝️) of 1930’s repro fabrics I have ‘collected’. These started life with the Farmers Wife’s quilt, went on to a few scrappy squares and scrappy diamonds quilts, and finally to the Simple Pleasures BOM quilt.

I fear it’s a never ending bottomless box though.

Be Kind.

Ribbons and Pansies

I completed the four blocks for the January installment of A ribbon Runs through it. By the fourth one, I was able to sew it together quickly, and without any ripping. The fabric packs ship mid-month, so I’m good to go for the next installment of my other BOM, Reunion.

I finally got the Spider and the Fly quilt finished. It has been on my longarm for(ever) a long time. Not for lack of trying to finish it, but because my system is not working as it should. I got my longarm back from its repair/tune-up on January 18th, it was gone for three weeks. They replaced the missing check spring, and didn’t find anything else wrong with it. It is working well now. It’s the q-matic system that is spazzing. It will quilt for a few inches and then the machine will stop stitching, but still moves with the robotics. There is some disconnect there, I have checked all the connections and updated all the drivers and reset everything that could be reset. Still, same issues. While limping through finishing the last ten inches of the last row of pantograph on the S&F quilt, I wrote down all the steps I went through to get the machine to work. It is a two page list, single spaced. I have sent this in to the techs at Bernina, with my dealers help, and I hope that they can come up with a solution for me. I think it has to do with the control board in the control box. Or that the computer, which is four years old, needs a memory upgrade.

I am loading up my Christmas figs sampler in the meanwhile, as I can do some free hand and ruler work on it and enjoy using my machine again. This morning I laid the wool batting over the frame so it can relax a bit, this is a bagged, precut piece of Hobbs Heirloom. I want to keep this quilt for myself, as I really like it and spent a year making it, well, not 365 days, but 12 months of a BOM kit. I still like the fabrics and the colors. Joann Figarella has come out with a Christmas Figs ll, which is just as pretty and coordinates well with the first version. I am almost done with all my scraps, I probably have enough left over for one more lap quilt. I also have a bunch of the Halloween figs scraps, but most of those I used in the Spider and the Fly quilt. Might be one more small quilts worth there too. First, I’ll put a binding on the S&F quilt though.

The Pansies are almost done, I didn’t make my end of the month goal of finishing them, but I am getting closer. The leaves are made up of many different greens, I think I have one more bud to make and three more leaves. I am trying to come up with a creative way to frame or finish this piece. My “frugality” caused me to use a smaller than desirable piece of Aida, and the lower right side has only about an inch of selvedge. I was thinking of using a circular or oval mat, or frame, if I can find one. I just may end up making a small pillow.

Be Kind.

A Ribbon Runs Through it

This week I am working on the four blocks for the January installment of “A Ribbon Runs Through It”. These blocks finish at 12 inches square, and each one, although it the same uses colors/prints, they are in a different mix. This pattern comes with a block layout sheet or (BLS) as the maker calls it. It is very helpful when laying out all the block pieces and getting them in the right place. From start to finish, each block is taking me about two and a half hours to cut and piece together. It’s a bit fiddly at first, but after the second one, I think I’m developing a rhythm. I set up a small folding table next to my machine with a wool ironing pad and my iron. It saves me a little time on the up and downs of pressing the units. If you haven’t invested in a felted wool pad, you are missing out.

Stitching on the Vintage Pansies is progressing too, I would like to be done by the end of the month, we’ll see. I realized today that I am missing a skein of DMC, might have to go to the store soon. I am thinking of knitting more and more, and I have a half done shawl, but I just want to cross stitch right now. The Longdog patten for The Pilgrims Progress is also calling to me. This is large piece, 305 x 367 stitches, about 16″ x 19″, it is one color. It’s a long term project, no hurry to finish. I will be using a scroll frame, so it will be possible to have a smaller piece going at the same time.

Off to Sew.

Be Kind.

This and That 2.0

This week has been productive, I got a few things started and finished. Got the “comfort and joy” piece made into a little pillow, the pompoms were a bit of a pain. I finished stitching the Cecropia moth, I am looking for just the right frame. I am leaning towards a golden one, but may just go with black. Hoping to find a ready made one that will fit, which necessitates a trip to the frame shop (ie Michaels). In hindsight, I wish that I had used a square piece of linen, as it would have been easier to frame. Sometimes frugality can be a hindrance to crafting/finishes.

I started stitching the Vintage Pansy piece, I am using Aida cloth and one strand of DMC. I had a little problem, there are colors on the chart that call for two different strands to be used together, as a blender. Since I am only using one strand, I compromised by using one thread for the left slant of the the cross and the other for the right slant.

I sewed up 16 blocks for the Reunion BOM, four from December(top) and twelve for January(lower). I made a slight error cutting the directional fabric, two blocks aren’t complete. I know where I can get more of this fabric, so its not a real problem, plus this fabric is used else where in the quilt, so I may be able to switch the already cut triangles with a larger piece in the coming months. Sort of a robbing Peter to pay Paul scenario.

This weekend I would like to start the “A Ribbon Runs though it” BOM. I got the fabric and pattern pack in the mail a few days ago. I opened it and looked at all the colors and prints, got overwhelmed and put it aside. This is a quilt that I will be happy to do in small bites.

Reading blogs this morning, and saw one with a bunch of photos from the Road to California Quilt Show. I wish I could have gone, its been a long time since I attended, maybe 2016? I am signed up to attend Empty Spools at the end of March. I’m still a bit apprehensive about being around that many people indoors. They are requiring all attendee’s to have three vaccines on board, and all the usual precautions. I’m taking a class with Susan Carlson called “Fabric Collage Menagerie”, I am still trying to decide on my subject/animal. Interestingly, Sarah Maxwell is going to be there for that session, teaching the Reunion Quilt (same as above), as it is her pattern. I few other teachers that will be there are Gloria Loughman, Sue Brenner, Pricilla Bianchi, Velda Newman, and Krista Moser. The last day of the seminar, attendees are allowed to tour the other classrooms. It is so inspirational to me to see all the work each class has done, and to meet these quilt designers/makers.

Be Kind.

Solo quilt a long

Last month I decided to join a quilt a long with Christa Watson using her pattern Blooming Wallflowers. I bought the PDF and looked through my stash for a large enough piece of background fabric. I came across the scraps and remaining fabrics from the El Camino BOM I did in 2014. There was enough of the blue for the background and lots of scraps for the “flowers”. This past week Christa posted a video about cutting and the Quilt-a-Long started. I got my pieces cut in two sessions and then sewed the triangles in a square together in two more sessions. I got excited about finishing the top and did so yesterday. I like how it turned out, and coincidentally, my colors match the ones that Christa has in her sample version. This quilt pattern is unique in that the size of the blocks, not the number of them, determine the size of the quilt. All three sizes given in the pattern use the same number of blocks. The quilt a long is a weekly one, going on through February, so still plenty of time to join and share.

I have been stitching X’s a lot too, I am almost finished with the moth piece. I am going to start the Pansy bouquet next. Funny thing, I ordered the flosses from 123 Stitch a few weeks ago and when they came in I decided to put them away in a bag, so I wouldn’t misplace them. As I was putting them into the box that has all my cross stitch in it, a bag of floss fell out. Wouldn’t you know it was the bag of floss I had already picked for this project? I think I am going to start a journal of cross stitch projects, no more double orders. I got this cute little book a while ago, although its not sewing themed, I think it’ll work.

My Longarm is still at the repair shop, I may just call on Monday, and check on its status. I keep finding all these great looking pantographs to do, and beautiful ones to keep in mind for future quilts. I am even thinking of putting the Misses Miller quilt on the frame first up. That BOM sampler quilt has been finished for a while, I think I am going to do some hand guided and some computerized quilting on it. Looking back, I finished the top on January 20, 2020, ha, where does the time go?

I’m toying with the idea of a paper pieced quilt, similar to this one “Catena” by Timna Tarr. She made this one in 2011, and the pattern appears in Quilters Newsletter Dec/Jan 2013 issue. I may do batiks, with a white (ish) background, or thirties prints, or green and red like the original. I saw this quilt recently on Gladi Porsche Quilts she is using Asian prints for her version. I have a drawer full of indigo prints that might work, but they might be too similar with not enough contrast. It is a “simmering” quilt idea. I think I am going to pull out the Simple Days quilt and see what needs to be done with it. Then I have two months of the Reunion quilt to do, and the first block of “A Ribbon Runs Through It” BOM should be arriving next week. Lots of fun in store!

Be Kind.