I should know better

I should know better, but sometimes I can’t resist a challenge. Remember last year when I took on the repair quilt project for a friend? It was a Dresden Plate quilt that needed a total overhaul, and I underestimated the time and effort it was going to take. It became a personal challenge, I finished it and the friend really liked it. Fast forward to last week at the sewing machine repair place. I have posted about this store before, how it used to be a great fabric resource and had many classes. When covid began, the shop was already in a downsizing trend, it stayed open during that time, but came back smaller and more machine sales oriented. Anyway, I had to bring my longarm machine in for re-timing. After I got it there and told the tech what was going on with it, he took me on a tour of his quilt collection. His mother was a prolific quilter and quilt designer, and her collection and own works are on display in the shop. It’s an on-going project, getting them hung and displayed, so many, I was really in awe. There were quilts from the 1800’s and the 1900’s, many styles and colors, techniques and just wow. Hand sewn quilt tops of tiny one inch squares, finished quilts with thousands of pieces, appliqué quilts and embroidered quilts. Did I mention six or seven beautifully embroidered crazy quilts?

When I was driving home, I was so inspired and my mind was full of the images and the admiration of the crafts women who made these treasures. About half way there, I started to think about my collection of my quilts. The ones that live in my house, some I use, some are hanging and some are retired. When I was going through my closets last month, I came across a some of the retired ones. Most of these are ones I made for my children, they were well used and loved on. I can’t give them away as they are, and I can’t part with them either. I think that maybe they’ll be for grandchildren, that’d be fun. So they stay folded and stacked on a shelf. There are probably close to forty quilts in my house, my personal quilts not including my Etsy store quilts. So let’s just say there are a hundred quilts in my house at any given time. What would someone think to do with them if I wasn’t here anymore? Would they go to Goodwill or other charity? End up in a garage sale? It’s not that I am adverse to either idea, but I am more concerned that they would be used and appreciated. Recently, Jo at Jo’s Country Junction, posted about a beautiful unused quilt she found at a local thrift store. It was unused and had not even been washed, just folded away and finally ended up on sale for $5.00. She bought it because she couldn’t bear to leave there. There were many comments and speculations about how it ended up there. An ungrateful gift recipient seemed to be at the top of the list, someone got it as a gift and it didn’t match their style or decor and they gave it away. My thoughts went another way, what about a family whose job it is to clean out the house their quilt making relative left them? I can’t imagine my kids dividing up my quilts and keeping them all. It reminds me of my grandmothers china, which I have, I have a sentimental attachment to it, but I don’t use it and it sits in my cabinets. So much stuff, a life times worth of it, what to do with it all? I am thinking that I need to slow down production on my personal quilts. Finish the unfinished ones and enjoy the process more.

Back to the longarm. It was out of time, the hook needed to be reset, the tech said something about using a metric gauge to get it to 2.4mm clearance. Sounds like something you can’t just eyeball and say that’ll do. When I went to pick it up, he had a deal for me, finish one of the vintage quilt tops for him in exchange for the parts and labor he applied to fixing my machine. Sounded good to me, then he showed me the quilt. It is a 1970’s calico log cabin quilt. bright colors and machine pieced. It is foundation pieced on muslin, a bit wonky, but charming in its own way. He sent me home with the top, backing binding fabric and batting. This is my challenge, to get it quilted and finished with out too much stress (I should know better). To make something useful out of someone else’s half done craft project. I just hope when I’m done it doesn’t end up in the $5.00 bin.

This past week I have been working on the stars for the two Cresent quilt tops. I also got two more quilts bound last night. I did the first one with an extra wide binding, it shows 1 inch on either side. I had to figure out how wide to cut it, normally I cut my binding strips at 2.25″ wide. This strip is 6.5″ wide, I really like how it frames this quilt, the 7 inch outer borders were just fading out, now this quilt has a definite outline. The second quilt was a breeze to bind, although my shoulders were aching by the time I finished to two. Mental note to self, binding two queen size quilts at one sitting is hard work.

This week coming up is a busy one for me. I have a few activities and next weekend we are having a barbecue for my Dh’s friends at work. I am also participating in an outdoor sale with a booth selling some extra things, no quilts will be there.

Be Kind.

It is a Brick House

I finished the house last night, a lot of stitches, a lot of red floss (weeks dye works “brick”). The roof went surprisingly fast, its about 1000 stitches. The green and brown tiles are ten stitches, five on five, I got about four tiles to the floss strand and stitched them touching on the diagonal when I could.

A lot of sewing has gone on these past ten days, and I was able to get one quilt quilted. Well, one and a half, as I managed to knock my machine out of timing. I’m going to call the shop today and see if they can fix it here. I really don’t want to bring it in, it’s too big and heavy for me to do. I forget what the shop charges for house calls, maybe I don’t want to remember because it’s steep. I managed to bind all the finished quilts, except for the Botanica one. It’s just heavy and large, I did find the binding fabric I set aside for it. Most proud of finish is Berties Year, completely done, and hanging! I started this as a block of the month in 2014, and got it all together in 2015. Then it sat for a time, finally got it quilted in February 2023. I seems a little wintery for the season we are in, I just wanted to see it hanging for a bit. I’ll change it out in a week or two.

I am working on star blocks this week I need a bunch of them for two quilts, a queen and a full. They are quilts similar to this one, called “Crescent” which is a throw size shown. There are a total of 33 big stars in my versions, and a few more little ones. I am doing one quilt with the blue star background and one with the white. Lots of chain stitching going on. I found a great tutorial on the saw tooth block, which includes a quick flying geese block method. What I really like about this tutorial, is that she gives charts for measurements for many sizes of blocks. It is at Amy Smart – Diary of a Quilter .

I got a new-to-me chair for hand stitching. My DH’s office was liquidating some extra furniture, and the prices were very good, as in FREE. There was a table that would have worked a for sewing machine, but it was already taking by the time we got the inventory list. The chair is a Herman Miller “Aerion”, all adjustable and comfortable. The chair I was using was a Dutailier glider and ottoman that I’ve had for a very long time. I find that when I am stitching in it, I slowly slide down and lose my posture, which leads to back and hip soreness after a while. I’m not convinced that I really like the new one yet, I can always use it at my desk or as another sewing machine chair.

Be Kind.

Brick by Brick

Brick by brick or block by block things are getting done around here. The past week has seen a few finishes, the best one being the doors. All are painted and handles are attached. All the contents of the closets are returned to them. Although there seems to be a bit of stuff left over. I need to go through it and make a trip to the local donation drop off site. Mostly old clothes and toys my kids left here, I figure if they don’t want it after 5 years, they really don’t want it.

Working on the Heaven and Nature piece almost nightly. There are a lot of bricks in this house. The door has 190 stitches in it, gotta love 40 count linen.

I reorganized my sewing room closet, and was able to add a few more shelves. Now that the doors open fully, there is no more dead space in the center. The guest room closet has sliding doors still though, I put all my yarn in there, and some extra quilts. I still need to clean out my sewing room a bit, I am planning a donation run for there too. Once I get the current one done that is. My room still isn’t a functional as it could be, but its better.

I finished a quilt top and a backing this week, the Dwellings quilt and the backing for the Dinner plate quilt. The dinner plate is a king size, 110 x 110, so there was piecing involved, lots of long seams and cutting off of selvages. I have a new ruler by Creative Grids, it’s called “the big one” or something like that, it is 24″ x 12 ½”. It’s a nice stable surface to cut with, it doesn’t move around and holds the fabric still with the special dots they put on it.

My goal today is to get the bindings cut for the five quilts that need it, and maybe apply a few. I am waiting on a shipment of white batting for the Dwelling and dinner plate quilts. Fedex is scheduled to throw it in my driveway tomorrow. The driver doesn’t like my dogs, so he won’t come any where near the house. I have to keep an eye out, so my boxes don’t go home with someone else.

Be Kind.


Yesterday was a stay home day. It was rainy and cold and I had workmen in house, so I couldn’t leave. While the moldings were installed and painted, I watched the longarm do its thing. I have been working on my Chilhowie quilt, it was ready to go, backing and top. The pantograph I picked out is called Tropical Flowers, it is Plumeria blossoms and leaves. Sort of a weird choice, but I’ll explain. Last year while on a Home Depot shopping expedition, I saw that had Hawaiian Plumeria plants for sale. I had just finished reading a book in which one of the characters had a collection of Plumeria trees. Although they lived in San Diego, I thought it would be an interesting plant to grow. The one I picked out was a green stick with about eight leaves on the top. It lived on the deck all summer and when it got cold, I brought it inside. It promptly lost all its leaves and was just a stick. It stayed green and I thought maybe it is deciduous, and kept watering it every once in a while. While I was away last month it sprouted four new leaves. I was so excited, well, happy it wasn’t dead. I am hoping it will flower this summer, I don’t know what color the blooms are, but I have visions of Leis dancing in my head. Back to the Chilhowie quilt, it is the 2022 Bonnie Hunter Mystery quilt, and I seem to remember her talking about the little town named that and the flowers around her, Irises that were purple and orange. So I went with the floral theme, only switching the tropical for the temperate. I used a variegated purple thread, and a dark purple backing. Each row took an hour and fifty minutes to sew out, I got it finished yesterday, sewing out two and a half rows. I had done the other three earlier in the week, but still its a lot of sewing.

While babysitting the computer run panto, I was able to trim up a few more finished quilts. I trimmed the Berties Year quilt, the Botanica Quilt, the Aegean Quilt and the You are loved quilt. I wish I could bind them, but the painters are doing their thing in my sewing room, and once again everything is covered in plastic. I am hoping to get to it this weekend, once the paint is dry. A mass binding session, I wonder if I have ever done five at once before. Maybe three, but it is possible, as long as I don’t have any interruptions like having to eat or shower lol.

Earlier this week I was working on the Dwellings quilt, another one that uses the Nocturnal fabric line. I got most of the block pieces cut and pieced, I need to assemble the 20 leaf blocks. I have them all laid out, ready to go. I also need to sew together a backing for the Dinner party quilt, also a Nocturnal fabric quilt. It should be next on the frame, but maybe I can squeeze a small one on there. The TBQ pile is getting smaller, the Sew Couture top I made last year is only 60″ square. I bet I could do that one in a few hours.

Time to get a move on today.

Be Kind.


I feel like one of those cartoon characters doing the exaggerated double-take move, where they are wide eyed and obviously amazed at what they have have seen. Sort of “Wait…what?”

Last week I had to go out of town unexpectedly. Dropped every thing and went. I got back Tuesday and here it is Thursday and I haven’t caught up with life yet. I think today will clinch it though. Yesterday I did some shopping and cleaning, a bit of laundry and met with the contractor who is replacing the doors. Today I plan on a bit more sewing and cleaning, or maybe just more sewing.

I brought a small cross stitch piece with me, the red-work “Gathering Stitches” project. Didn’t get much done on it, lack of good lighting and time. On the flight home, I was in a middle seat on a very full plane. I ended up listening to my book for 4 hours. I may have dropped off to sleep a few times, I am hoping I didn’t snore lol.

I am ready to sew a bunch this week though. Before I left I had finished all the blocks for the king size ‘Dinner Party’ quilt. I laid them all out on the design floor yesterday, and discovered I had 66, two extra.

All good, I think I got a good assortment and random placement pattern going. I stacked them all into columns and got half of them sewn together.

You’ll notice to the right a few baskets still stacked. These are the contents of my sewing room closet, due to the door replacement project. The doors were installed while I was away, but the finishing trim and painting will be in the next two weeks. So I will continue to look at that pile for a bit longer. Last week I had some extra time to watch TV. I caught a few episodes of a “Hoarders” on Netflix, probably not the best thing for me to be watching with this pile of my stuff taking over my bedroom. I am greatly inspired to sort it and organize it back into my sewing room. I am a bit embarrassed by my fascination with this disorder, maybe because my hobbies require a bit of collecting. I don’t currently believe I am at risk for becoming a hoarder, but it seems like a slippery slope. It’s a good thing fabric and yarn has more than doubled in price since I started crafting, or does that make my stash more valuable? Do I really need more, or do I hang on to what I have in case I need it? I don’t subscribe to the “does it bring me joy?” mind set, as that is still an affirmative. I think I’ll be okay.

I could hardly wait to get back to stitching on the Heaven and Nature sampler. I got more of the red house done these past few evenings. Mindless stitching is what I need before sleep, as I am a little jet lagged after a week in the EST zone. I tried to keep my normal sleep times while there, but a few naps made me adjust a bit.

Off to sew now.

Be Kind.

Pecking Away

Pecking away at large projects, a bit at a time. I started the next commission quilt, called Dinner Plate. It is mostly 10″ squares surrounded by smaller rectangles. The pecking part is the folded triangles on each piece that make this quilt a bit different. I wanted to use the constellation prints for the black and white strips, I knew I had enough of the white, but I was a bit short on the black print.

I found a yard on Etsy though, and a few more fabrics jumped into my cart (all in the name of free shipping). There was a cute panel and a 10″ square pack of adorable baby animal prints. I need a few more small quilts in my shop, so these will get in there probably in time for Christmas. I think I have enough in my queue to keep me busy until then. I really have no business taking on more projects at the moment, my to-do list is getting long.

  • 7 commission tops/quilts
  • Poinsettia HST quilt currently on design wall
  • Two BOMs – Message in a bottle and Simple Pleasures
  • Quilting on Forest Babies quilt
  • Binding on Berties Year
  • Binding on Botanica Park
  • Applique on baseball blanket
  • Work on TBQ pile of finished tops – Chilhowie, Ribbon, Reunion, Xmas trees, +

The baseball blanket is an interesting side project. A friend of mine is an avid fan of the game, and goes to many of the SF Giants games with her husband. San Francisco is quite chilly in the summer, and the stadium is on the bay. A nice cozy blanket helps on those days when the sun is behind the clouds, or when the games are played late in the day. It can start out at 75 degrees and end at 50, and they don’t sell hot cocoa. I am sure there are some very expensive sweatshirts and jackets in the gift shops. Anyway, my friend found this beautiful alpaca wool blanket in natural black and grey and I am going to appliqué the SF logo on it. I found some orange 100% wool felt to do the letters and she asked for a few baseballs in white felt. What I am going to try to do is use a projector to enlarge the S and F letters on to the felt, cut them out and machine appliqué them to the blanket. A fairly straight forward project right? Stay tuned for that one.

I have been adding lots of crosses to this stitchery, I think it’s starting to look like something good. The house just sucks up the threads, I get about 40 stitches per length. I haven’t started the Gathering Stitches piece yet, but it’s all kitted up and ready to go. I decided on 20 count Aida cloth and red 16w thread, I have two spools, probably enough.

Also in the works this week is the replacement of four interior doors, two pocket doors, and two closet doors. Oh, and the door to my DH’s office. Last month the replacement of the sliding doors in the sewing room with a window, kept me out of there for a few weeks. I casually asked the contractor if I needed to empty the closets for the door replacements, thinking nah, there’s lots of room on the outside. Alas, I am spending my day emptying them. The sewing room closet and the guest room closet are the storage closets in this house. The guest room still has a bunch of my youngest son’s clothes in it. He now lives in NY, so it’ll will be more of a purge than a relocation exercise. The sewing room closet on the other hand contains all my yarn and excess fabric. Most of it is in bins and wire drawers, so it is more of an inventory/resorting project. I may even unearth a few things I have forgotten about. This door replacement is something that I have wanted to do for a while. When we bought this house in 2003, it had been remodeled on the late 80’s. Lots of honey oak trim, flooring and cabinets, and sea foam green and mauve colors on the walls. The trims were a fluted style with rosette corners and ornate moldings. Which can be very attractive in a New England or Midwestern home, but my house is a 1960’s Ranch/Mid Century Modern Style. Our major remodel in 2017 brought back that style in most of the house, except the hallway to the bedrooms. This week all the decorative molding is going to be replaced with straight lines and “plain” boards. The eight panel doors, Honey oak with brass handles, will be replaced with four panel, white, shaker/MCM style doors. I am hoping, that this project will be the last for a while, but it is something that I have wanted to do since we bought this home.

I’ll spend my day emptying those closets while I wait for delivery of the new doors.

Be Kind.

Almost done

Almost done with the Botanica quilt. I left off last night with the last outer top side border. I will be so happy to finish this quilt. It is an intensely quilted piece. Each block has multiple parts and placements, thankfully I didn’t use more than two thread colors. The q-matic upgrade makes it a bit easier to do, but at times it’s just tedious. There are the fill leaves, that are for 2 inch square blocks, which have to be flipped and spun depending on where they go. This map, supplied (thankfully) by Wasatch Quilting helps a lot. I am so ready to be done. I just want to do a quilt with a simple end to end pantograph next.

The current cross stitch project, Heaven and Nature, got a few more motifs this week. I worked on the house steps and door, the flower border and a bird on the roof. Speaking of, we were awoken this morning by the sound of these two landing on the roof, not the usual scampering squirrel sounds.

I did get all the sashing and rows put together for the queen size Aegean quilt yesterday. Now just five long seams until it’s a top. Might make this one the next long arm job. But I may just have to quilt the Reunion or A Ribbon Runs Through it quilt. Like I said above, some mindless set it up, and let it run for a row type quilting. I haven’t decided on a quilting motif for Aegean yet, I was thinking of something owl related. Of course, this would entail shopping, as I have no owls in my collection. I did get 75 new digital quilting designs from Bernina when I updated. I’ll have to look through those, there are some interesting full block ones. I have an idea to use three different ones on the three different block styles. Then the two inch wide sashing would have to have something in it. Must ruminate more.

Time to move.

Be Kind.

Moving right along

I’ve been working on the queen size Aegean quilt blocks this week. Lots of piecing, I am proud of myself for figuring out how to cut the right size chisel pieces and HSTs for the Tulip block. I avoided the dreaded extra HSTs and fabric waste. I used my large Easy Angle ruler, by lining up the lower fabric strip edge with the finished block size measuring line of the piece. The 3 ½ by 8 inch blocks were made with a 3 ½ inch wide strip with the ruler lined up with the 8 inch line along the lower edge. This left the appropriate length on the top edge and a diagonal cut to add the separately cut HST. Flipping the ruler, and lining up the diagonal and the lower edge again, I was able to cut the pieces I needed from strips. All the while having wrong sides together, creating a left and a right leaning piece. I finished all the blocks, 49, yesterday, I’d like to get them together this weekend and start another quilt top.

I got brave yesterday, and up-dated the software on my longarm. The bravery part was doing it during a rain storm. California has been experiencing record rain this year, and frequent power outages caused by falling trees and ancient equipment. In fact, two of the four utility poles that supply my home with electricity were damaged just last week. It took only two days for them to be replaced, I was amazed at this quick response, as there are so many other issues that were in dire need of fixing. I figured that since the worst thing that could happen during an upgrade would be a power outage, and since that already happened, now would be a good time to do it. Things went smoothly, and the computer and machine are working together. Now if I could only get the quilt, Botanica, finished as quickly.

The Heaven and Nature cross stitch project is coming along. I was a little nervous about running out of floss colors, especially the browns, red and greens. The house eats thread by the yard lol. I ordered a few more skeins, and a chart jumped into my cart as well. I have been looking at one from Luminous Fiber Arts, called Gathering Stitches, since it came out at Nashville earlier this month. I have made Gathering Berries, and have the chart for Gathering Snowflakes, but I really like the stitches one. I want to use some of the Sulky 12wt threads I have to stitch it. These smalls are relatively quick to stitch, although the Stitches one looks to have some “other” types of stitches.

Off to sew.

Be Kind.


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.