Working backwards

This week I am working on the Farm Charm top. It started with the panel, a honey bun and the scraps from the other farm charm top. The pattern I am basing this top on looked pretty easy, 8 assorted blocks, 4 blocks using the smaller panel pieces and 4 blocks of just panel pieces.

Stacie Bloomfield and her version of the Farm Charm Quilt

This is where the backwards part comes in. I looked at the quilt and figured out that I should start with the size of the large panel blocks, I *assume* they are 12 x 12, as that would make sense with the finished size of the quilt. Plus, even numbers are easier to divide up into common block sizes and measurements. Those nine inch blocks can be a PITA. I laid it out in EQ8, simple, drew out the pieced blocks and went to get started cutting.

The panel is printed with cut lines, dashes, between the motifs. None of the large motifs are 12 inches square. and the smaller ones are more like 5″ x 7″. Damn. I carefully measure the large chicken, and find that I can fit it into a 10 ½ inch square. This is the new block size for the quilt. Back to EQ8 to re-do (edit) the block sizes. The next hurdle is working with the scraps and pieces to make the blocks. The simple nine patch took me two hours, as I kept making the pieces too small, big, or wrong. The next few went together easier, the pig block did cause some irritation though. Putting it on point in the surrounding triangles was ‘fun’, note the little triangle inserts and narrow borders. I am hoping to finish the blocks today. The moral of the story is one should start with a ‘constant’ first, meaning the unchangeable panel prints, and work forward through the variables from there.

I started quilting the Santa hat quilt yesterday. The Christmas light design takes a bit of time to do, luckily I realized this before the stitching started and re-did the layout making it larger. The rows are 13 inches wide, up from 8, so there are only 5 rows to quilt. I am using a red and green variegated Superior King Tut thread, which I’m not sure if I really like. I could have stayed on the safe side and gone with white, but maybe once it’s done, I’ll like it better.

Off to sew.

Be Kind

Xmas UFO &

I worked this week on finishing the Christmas table runner, the Bonnie Hunter Grassy Creek clue, more napkins, and a little tidying up the sewing room.

The table runner was a bit of a challenge, because of the age of it. Luckily when I put it away, I folded up the embroidery design spec sheets and some of the fabrics I used for the appliqué ornaments. The paper patterns have a date of 12/31/2006 on them. I think that was around the time I had a different brand machine and I know it was different software (Embird). So this gave me a time frame in which to look for the designs, and they were on one of the CDs I have. I even labeled the folder “ornaments”, so organized back then. One other stroke of luck was that the designs were in a format which my current machine recognizes. Once all that was figured and the designs loaded on to the machine, it was easy to finish the runner. It needs a little pressing and a bit more of the stabilized removed and its good to go.

While I had the embroidery unit set up I made another set of napkins for our house. These are a little bit fancier than the ones I made for my son, they have hemstitching. My DH was a little skeptical about using them, so I gave him the eco-friendly spiel and he’s on board now. I found this basket hanging around in my sewing room, looking for another job, and it seems the perfect size to keep on the sideboard to hold all the napkins. I recently saw a tutorial on the We All Sew blog, on how to make a basket liner. This weekend I may just make it up fancy.

The second Grassy Creek clue was finished up at 8pm last night. Lots of trimming, but they are square and in their sets. This weeks clue is do-able, time to put away the gold and break out the reds.

I did a bit of tidying up, I am trying to do a drawer or a shelf a day. My wire drawers are stuffed and hard to remove, so I started with a batik collection in one of them. Took it all out, refolded some, culled the cut scraps and did a general mental inventory of what’s in there. The top of this drawer unit has a collection of books and patterns and magazines on it, it’s a little more organized now too. I need to put up some more artwork above it now :).

Linking up today, with Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict for “Can I get A Whoop Whoop?” today.

Be Kind


Yesterday I set up my 790 to embroider. I bought a bunch of cotton napkins a few months ago, thinking that they would be a good gift for my son and fiancé. They have an apartment together in Boston, and I thought the napkins would be an eco-conscious gift they would use. I then had to “design” a monogram that looked good, a C and a J with an ampersand. There was a bit of resizing and turning and placement, but eventually I got something that looked balanced. I have the biggest hoop Bernina makes for my machine, so I was able to stitch out four napkins on each hooping of stabilizer. I’m waiting for the purple pen to fade, then they will be wrapped and sent. I have 12 more napkins to make for my house, I may do them today. They are a bit easier, only one initial. My son was also asking for a table runner, I remembered this one, a UFO from the way back.

I thought I remembered where I got the embroidery designs from, but I have no clue. I am hoping to find them on a CD I have of all my “old” designs. Luckily my older Mac has a CD drive and it is the one with the embroidery software on it. I still have a pile of floppy discs with designs on them too. I guess it’s time to recycle those, as I no longer have a computer that’ll read them. Obsolete, all those hours I spent collecting and categorizing the designs. Remember when everyone was just getting started with home machine embroidery? There were Linky parties and freebees everywhere. The designs were crude, or simple, but it was fun to find them and dream of the perfect project for them. It was a stash that fit on a floppy or CD.

I got to use my L890, I hemmed a pair of sweatpants. The three needle overstitch was a dream to use. On my former machine, I would struggle for hours, to get it threaded and working, to do a ten minute hem. The L890 has step by step guides to help you, right on the screen. It knows which threads are in it and how its threaded, and the air threading is so neat to watch. If you have ever struggled with a tweezer, or threader to get the loopers threaded, it’s a game changer. This machine/computer holds my hand and makes me like serging again. There is even a help screen, with pictures, of what can go wrong and how to fix it. I may even make a pair of pajamas this week.

The clue for the Grassy Creek mystery is halfway done, I should get those together this week. They remind me of chandelier earrings hanging on my design wall.

Christmas decorating should continue this week too. I want to put up my tree, but first I have to move the furniture around, vacuum, dust and while I’m at it wash the floor. I put up a string of lights outside, it’s festive, I have a wreath up, my Christmas quilts are hanging and the amaryllis is blooming. I should go get a few poinsettias, maybe that’ll spark some cheer.

Be Kind

Thirteen Years?

According to WordPress, it is my 13th anniversary with them. I was a bit confused by this, since my first post here was November 7th 2012. Maybe it’s the thirteenth year of following on WordPress, that makes much more sense. This blog started it out as a sort of journal to record my quilting projects. The first few years there were sporadic posts, but now I seem to have a rhythm going, this is my 308th post.

I have another thing to celebrate today. I finished stitching this cross stitch project, started in late 1995, so 25 years in the making. It still needs to be blocked and pressed, but it’s done. Now to get it framed. I think I am going to get a round cut mat, maybe green and a square wooden frame. I did “find” two other UFO cross stitch projects recently, but I had promised myself that when I finished the floral wreath, I could work on the “Pet all the Dogs” sampler. I may not get to it until January though.

On the design wall this week was the Farm Charm quilt I made. I had a honey bun, a layer cake, a panel and a few yards of the collection Farm Charm by Gingiber/Moda. I saw this quilt kit over at the Fatquarter shop, and I thought it would work for these fabrics too.

I didn’t do the red center squares, but used 6″ squares of prints. I liked the secondary designs made by the blue, green and pink. So I subbed in the turquoise for the green and red for the pink, and used the floral print for the blue. I had a bunch of Marshmallow white that matched the white in the Farm Charm, so it worked out.

Notice in the top right photo, a bit of ripping and re-sewing was required. I think it needs some borders, maybe a three inch floral, to contain all the HSTs. I have the honey bun left over and a good portion on the layer cake left. I looked through the other patterns posted for this line, there were a few that would work to use up the rest. Especially the panel, which is all different sized animals.

I also saw this quilt, as I have a panel and charm pack from this line, Savanna, too. I like the elongated geese in the center, maybe I could use the charm squares. It looks to me like they are geese with two squares sewn on each end. I could cut each 5 inch square into four half square triangles and two 2 ½ inch squares.

Then all I would have left in the Gingiber pile of stash, would be the cats. The Cat panel is a lot like the ones from the Thicket line. I don’t think they would make a very good baby quilt, as cats aren’t really on the top of anyones nursery theme list. While looking through the many Thicket quilt examples on Pinterest, I came across this one, by Ruth at Ye Olde Sweatshop . (Great blog name:)

She uses an African print, some of the Thicket line fabrics and HST’s to frame the animal squares, I really like the way it makes it seem more adult worthy. I have a print that might work in my stash.

One last exciting (?) thing for this week, I picked up my L890 Bernina serger/coverstitch machine yesterday. I haven’t sewn with it yet, but got it all set up and plugged in. It is ready to go, I think the first thing I’m going to make is pajamas, maybe even later today.

Linking up with Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict today for Can I get a Whoop Whoop Friday. She just finished a giant postage stamp Christmas quilt for her own bed, it’s so pretty.

Be Kind

In a Thicket

I worked on my version of a Thicket quilt this past weekend. I had four animal prints left over from the two other thicket quilts I have made, and a few yards of the coordinating fabrics from the Gingiber line. The original Thicket is made with one large and three small animals.

I started by putting the prints on the design wall and cutting the yardage into 5 inch squares. Then it was a matter of adding and subtracting blocks to make it fit into a square. There was a bit of ripping involved. At one point my DD came in and asked me if I was taking it apart or putting it together. It did all fit together eventually.

I got the Good Times top on to the frame, and started quilting it. I had a bit of trouble at the start, I couldn’t get the tension right between the two threads I wanted to use. Blue variegated on top and cream for the bobbin. I kept getting blue dots underneath and white dots on top. I finally switched over to a King tut variegated off-white cotton on top. I think the problem is that Fantastico and magna glide don’t work well together. By the time that was all sorted out, I was able to do the first row and shut it down for the day.

Linking up with Judy at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts today for Design Wall Monday.

Be Kind

I (heart) HSTs

I started on the Grassy Creek Mystery quilt yesterday. The first clue was for gray and gold HSTs. Luckily, I have an Accuquilt die in just the right size. I cut the all triangles in about an hour and a half. Sewed them together a bit later in the day, and ironed them after dinner. I didn’t have to trim them, as they all turned out perfect (lol).

I tried to get the Good Times quilt on to the frame, but the puppy was helping too much. I was able to get the backing pinned on, but then the puppy discovered the pile of batting pieces. Playing “chase me” ended the quilt prepping. Today is another day.

I’m itching to start another project. I found four more Gingiber animal prints, while shopping the stash for the GCMQ. I really like the Thicket quilt, and would like to make another. Although, I did just purchase a quilt kit that will be here next week. It is called Reflected Harmony by Kaye England.

I think its a pretty pink quilt, and it is Accuquilt friendly. I also have the other pink quilt, the Panama Star quilt kit, that I got for Connecting threads. Perhaps 2021 will be the year of the pink quilts?

I have to confess that I did a little Black Friday shopping yesterday, at Accuquilt. They had a buy one get one half off sale. I got two 8 inch Block on Board dies, Winding Ways and Snail Trail. What I like about these two dies is that they accommodate a ten inch square of fabric. This makes for very little sub-cutting of fabric before running it through the cutter. The dies are constructed so that the pieces are all together. Some of the larger Block on Board dies aren’t like that, the pieces are spread out, so in order not to waste a lot fabric, you have to sub cut the fabric to cover the blades of the pieces on the die. It probably has to do with the grain of the fabric, the manufacture of the dies and curves and such. Looking back through this post, it seems like an endorsement for Accuquilt cutters, it’s not meant to be, (no links) I just enjoy using it when I can. I managed not to buy any more fabric or yarn yesterday though. Yay Me!

Be Kind

Hand Applique

I started this months Halloween figs bom blocks the other day. The pieced block, (I think its called a tornado block) went together fairly quickly.

The appliqué blocks will take a bit more time. I got them prepped for back basting by tracing the design on the back side of the fabric. I started to use the Uniball gold pen, but went with a #2 pencil instead. The background fabric was a bit too light to hide the gold color. The black bias strips will cover it, but I was concerned that it might show through the orange pieces of the tulips. These should hold me over until Friday and the release of the first Grassy Creek clue.

Grassy Creek is the name of this years Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt. Six or more weeks of cutting and piecing scraps, wondering if it will all look good in the end. I’m playing with the idea of doing this one half size, not a smaller number of blocks, but ½ the measured size of the pieces. I did this with the Provence quilt, and I really like that it is a wall hanging, and not another bed size quilt. There have been hints of string piecing involved with the GC quilt, but its optional. After doing the Appalachian Autumn strings, I may just go the non-string route. I also want to do the Emerald city quilt, which I was going to do (start) at a retreat earlier this year. I have a bunch of green fabrics I want to use. It’ll be on my 2021 to do list.

I got the ‘Meeting of the Geese’ quilt quilted. I chose a very simple panto called Celtic wave, and it took about 2 hours to get this top done. I want to see if there is enough backing left on the frame to do the rock pool quilt. I need to measure it though, as I only have about 40 inches left. The width isn’t a problem as it is 108 wide.

I measured and the remaining backing was about 6 inches too narrow. I took ‘Meeting of the Geese’ off the frame and got it bound and finished. For extra credit, I made the backing piece wider with a strip of Batik that matches the Rock Pool quilt batik. Maybe, if I get all my prep work done today, I can put that on the frame. That’s a big maybe, I think Friday or Saturday might work better.

Be Kind

Hats and Joy

I finished my Santa hat quilt top yesterday. I had sewn the letter blocks the day before and sewed the rows together, but just couldn’t get to the last five rows of stitching. About half way through I realized I didn’t web the top, but that’s okay, it’s done. The blocks are supposed to be 10 ½ square. Since I didn’t do paper foundation piecing, mine were a few different sizes. I rounded them all down to 10 1/4 inches square. They look pretty cute, I think I’m going to use a string light panto that I have.

One of the first paper pantographs I bought when I first got my long arm, was Christmas lights on a string. I thought it would be cute for a few Christmas quilts I was doing, ha, not quite as easy as it looked. The bulbs turned out really wonky, the socket parts didn’t line up with the bulbs, and the connecting wires didn’t really meander. I’m pretty sure I didn’t do more than one row of them, which was promptly removed. Now, with the Q-matic system, any design is possible, I just need to make sure there’re enough hours in the day in which to quilt it.

After getting that top together, I started on the November edition of the BOM Botanica. Lots of flying geese, 72 of them, practically a flock. I’m excited to see this quilt done, next month is the final border.

Botanica Park

This months blocks make up the chevron and dark blue border, and the thinner light green one with the geese around the corners. This quilt is actually a medallion layout, but the way its broken up into blocks makes it easier to piece. It’s sort of a puzzle like approach to piecing the top.

I really want to finish the quilting on the teddy bear quilt. I have two more rows on that one, but I need to “hover quilt” it. Which means standing over it and make sure none of the stitching goes over the appliqués, and deal with the stops and starts. The first few rows went well. The other hard part of that job is psyching myself up to go into the room. The heating system in there is ancient, and I am having a mini-split put in Monday (Yay!). Until then it is a bit chilly in there, usually around 55 degrees. I have a mini electric heater in there, but I feel like I have to stand in front of it to get warmed up. Good thing I have a few sweaters around I can wear.

Be Kind

Working day(s)

Yesterday, was a work day for me. I got a lot done in the sewing room and three loads of laundry. I finished the Medallion quilt Sunday afternoon and there was enough backing and batting left on the frame to add another baby quilt. I used 108 wide backing with the selvedges pinned to the leaders, so the medallion was only 60 inches square, which left about 45 inches of backing. I’m not sure if this is going to stay a square or be a round quilt, so I can’t bind it yet.

I quilted the second Irish chain baby quilt with the sleepy bear pantograph I want to use on the appliquéd Irish chain quilt.

Plus there was enough room to add on this little square of extra blocks, for a pillow top. I was even able to bind the ICQ to push it into the finished column.

After dinner last night, I worked on ten more Santa hats for that quilt. I had all the pieces cut, so they went together pretty quickly. Just keep sewing.

The only project I didn’t work on was the Nieve sweater. It had been languishing for the past few months, waiting for a sleeve. I re-started it a few weeks ago, now that its cool enough to have a sweater on ones lap. This pattern has you make most of the torso, then make the sleeves, then attach them to the top and knit the shoulders and neck line in the round. It results in raglan sleeves, which I like, and very few ends to weave in. Plus knitting in the round is much easier.

Today is a windy day, with rain expected in a few hours, officially a stay inside day. I should bake something, but the sourdough starter isn’t fed. I want to get the appliqué quilt on the frame and start that. It’s a little more involved with the computer, I need to mask the bears, so the stitching doesn’t go through them. It creates a lot of stops and starts, which translates to many snip thread/pull up bobbin thread actions. The bear panto is big enough that it won’t be too much trouble.

Be Kind

More BOMs

I got my monthly BOM installments yesterday, the Halloween Figs and the Botanica quilts. This months is the 11th month for Botanica. I’m excited to finish this one, as I have a whole set of pretty digital quilting designs for it from Wasatch designs. I used a similar set to quilt the Forest Floor (below also by Wing and a Prayer designs) and I really like the results and the quilt turned out beautifully.

Forest Floor

I was thinking about the finishing of the Botanica top, when I got an email from the place I get the BOM from, Stitchin’ Heaven. They are starting a new Christmas BOM in December, called Holiday Snow Village. It’s an older pattern from Pat Bono, and it is appliqué. I think it’ll be an good way for me to pick up the hand stitching again. I really enjoyed making Pearl Pereira’s Baltimore Christmas and Halloween quilts. I think that I made them pre- blog, yeah, this photo is from 2012.

Baltimore Halloween
Holiday Snow Village

I think it’s a little plain looking in this photo, but lots of room for embellishments.

I worked all day Saturday to get the bears sewn on the Irish chain baby quilt. I used freezer paper templates and school glue. I used the glue to hold the fabric edges of the pieces to the paper. This proved to be a bit too sticky, as it wasn’t easy to get the papers out. I sewed them to the quilt with a zig zag, and hand embroidered the eyes and details with 2 strands of floss. The nose was a bit of a problem, too big to embroider and too small to machine stitch on. I resorted to hand appliqué, which looks good. After I finished the three bears, I realized it was a bit off balance and I made the fourth bear in the corner. That one I re-used the freezer templates and skipped the glue, just ironed the edges down and sewed them on. Now to finish the medallion quilt and get this baby quilt done.

Be Kind