Not much happening

My design wall is blank today.  I haven’t been working on anything new, just sewing the endless pieces for the Storm at Sea quilt.  Only 78 more to go.  I broke them into piles of ten, so I can sit and sew for a bit and feel like I accomplished something.

I bought some fabric last week.  I saw this pretty panel in the connecting threads catalog, and found it, along with coordinating fabrics, at the Fat Quarter Shop .  The line is called “Santa Fe” by Sarah Watts for Cotton and Steel.


I have a design brewing in my head, I want to see if I can work it out in EQ8 and actually produce a finished design of my own.

I have been knitting on my hemp sweater sleeve.  I had to re-start it, as I figured out that I wasn’t increasing enough stitches and my sleeve was too long and narrow.  The instructions were a bit vague, something like “increase at each end”. but the sleeve is knit in the round, so technically there aren’t two ends, just a beginning.

I am also trying to decide wether or not to join the Curious Handmade Shawl KAL this year.  It starts next week, six shawls in six months.  I am currently involved with the Sock KAL, but that is a pair of socks every two months.  I may just get the pattern set and keep it in my library.  Helen Stewart patterns are so well written, and the resulting knitwear is very nice.  The price works out to be around 20.00 for six different shawl patterns.  Her blog is at Curious Handmade  she also does a regular podcast that is interesting.

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


More piecing

I have been working on piecing this week.  So many pieces.  It’s beginning to feel like a Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt.  Make 150 of these, cut 475 of these, combine these to make this.  I’m happy that this is just a double bed size quilt.  I also went and got more paper foundations printed, the right size this time.  When did printing get so expensive?  I went to a mailing center for the first set and it was 18 cents a sheet, I asked for a discount, due to volume and got them at 16 cents.  This time I went to a chain printing shop and used their DIY machine for 13 cents a sheet.  I am wondering if it is cheaper to just print at home.  The ink cartridges are so expensive, and laser toner is too.  Quick math: a black ink cartridge for my machine is 38.99 and it will print ~480 sheets which works out to about 8 cents a sheet.  Answered my own question there.


In between the sewing marathons, I have been knitting a sweater pattern called “All Over Lace”.  I’m using hemp yarn, which isn’t the easiest yarn to work with, but I didn’t know that when I bought it.  I got the yarn/pattern from Lana Knits at Stitches West back in February.  I saw and felt the sample sweater and really liked the drape and look of it.  I didn’t realize that the sample sweater had been washed and handled into its soft drape-y-ness.  Hemp yarn is a lot like linen, crunchy feeling, sometimes I feel like I could fold and crease it.  This company has a few different kinds of hemp yarn, AllHemp and AllHemp Lux are the ones I got.  The Lux is a bit more processed, so it is softer to begin with, sort of like new jeans compared to old broken in jeans.  I started the sleeve yesterday, hoping I don’t end up with a one sleeved sweater due to Second Sleeve (sock) Syndrome.


I did some straightening of my sewing room, not quite spring cleaning, but now there are a few less piles and a bit less clutter.  I changed out a short book case for a taller one, and got the books in it organized.   I am trying to get a list together of all the projects I have in my to-do box.  These are projects that I haven’t started, and aren’t UFOs.  That’s a different list.  I try to keep things together for each one, but as time passes, the ideas/patterns get lost, or separated from their pile.  I thought a Master list might help, it seems to be having an eye opening effect as well.  So many projects so little time, so much fabric…nah, that’s not a problem.

Linking up with Judy at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts for Design Wall Monday today.  Judy is finishing up her Dear Jane quilt, only three more blocks, wow.

Assembly line

This past week I have been working on my “tamed” version (as opposed to the Chaos version) of the batik Storm at Sea quilt. I cut most of the pieces only to realize that I didn’t have enough fabric.  I carefully did all the math and figured out I was about 3 yards short of the lightest blue.  This necessitated a trip to the LQS for more.  There was still plenty left on the bolt, although I hadn’t started sewing at that point, so getting a different one wouldn’t have mattered too much. I would have to recut the hundreds of pieces I had, but luck was on my side.

I put together a sample block, as I want to use it as a reference to make the next 48.  I sewed all nine components, and lay them out to see how it was looking, and to make sure they were all facing the right way and in the correct place.  Something didn’t look right.

The diamond in a rectangle blocks were a 1/2 inch too big.  Thankfully I had only made four of those, I need 196 of them for the double/full size quilt.  Let’s hear it for sample blocks!  I couldn’t figure out why the paper pattern was bigger, I printed them out from the same web site Quilters Cache and they worked for the first two I had done. I had printed three at home, taped them together and had them multi-copied at a local office store.  Then I realized that I didn’t measure the one inch box before I printed the page off the web.  The other parts were printed from extra papers I had left over from the first S@S I made using them.  Sigh.  My consolation is that those five other units are correctly sized.

I’ve been chain piecing the corner blocks for a few days now.  I try to do 50 a day, but realistically it’s more like thirty.  The squaring up is an extra time consuming step.  Not that I mind, because having perfectly square units and blocks is the reward.


In other doings, I got all the needed fabrics and pattern for the Forest Floor quilt.  I am hoping to get to it next.  I am thinking I need to make a list of projects that I have all the materials for, and should be making.  I’ve been having too many “Oh I forgot about this” moments when looking for other things in my stash.  I think there are at least ten, maybe I need some goals, or something.  They aren’t official UFOs, but still…

Linking up with Judy at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts for design wall Monday.  Judy is working on her Dear Jane quilt this week, check it out.


Consistency  – the agreement or harmony of parts or features to one another or a whole.

This week I worked on putting the blocks for a log cabin top together.  This was not the first time, I’ve done plenty of log cabin blocks over the years.  I like them, they are easy to cut, assembly line sew, and there is a myriad of  ways to put them together.  The main thing about them is consistency.  Consistently sized pieces, seams and blocks.  My blocks always turn out 1/2 inch smaller than they should. It’s just the way it is. I’ve tried pressing them different ways, thin thread, thick thread, starch, no starch, squaring as I go, the list goes on.  I have accepted this consistency of mine and I will move on.  This quilt top is all log cabins, so as long as they are all the same size, it will go together and no one will ever suspect they aren’t the “right” size.  I just noticed that there is a block turned in the second row, I’ll fix it before I sew them together.


The problems begin when combining them with other blocks.  Like I had with assembling the “Simply Amish 2″ quilt from a few years ago.  Those LCB’s were taken apart and re-sewn with a 1/8” seam allowance, which made for the right size in the end.  I am wondering it I should make all my LCBs with 1/8 seam allowance hence forth, as if I learned from my mistakes ;). My next project with LCB’s is called “Forest Floor” by Wing and a Prayer quilts.  Its got 16 cabins in it and some elongated ones in the borders.  I really like the colors and composition of this quilt.  Plus I have a whole set of digital quilt designs that go with it.


But first I need to start and finish the Blue Storm at Sea quilt.  I got the fabrics together, and now I have to get the foundations printed.  Maybe today, as I have to drive over to civilization and I’ll be passing a few Kinkos or Office depots for sure. There will be math involved in figuring out how many sheets, but as long as its easier to figure than taxes, I’m good.

Linking up with Judy at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts for design wall Monday.  Its her birthday, stop by and wish her a happy day!


There isn’t anything on my design wall today.  That’s kinda weird.  Usually there is something going on.  I’ve been itching to start something new, but maybe its a good time to pull out a UFO.

This week I finished up the falling squares quilt, I added borders of equilateral triangles. They are made from the same scraps that I made the top from, alternating with some extra/cut-off backing fabric that I used for a quilt using these same fabrics.

I quilted and bound two baby quilts, the first is for my DH’s associate, the baby is due in June.  Yay! it’s done with time to spare.  The second is made from the last of the storybook fabric line scraps.  I’m happy to see the end of those, any thing thats left will go into the 2 1/2″ square bin.


After quilting those two, I decided to get my Sue Garman “Cox Comb Medallion” quilt on the frame.  I needed a backing, that was easy, this pretty gray floral was just the right amount.  I basted it on the frame and threaded up with some Mono-poly clear.  There is a lot going on in this quilt, so I thought it would be a good place to practice SID quilting.


It was going along swimmingly,  I reduced my top tension to 1 and was using bottom line in the bobbin.  Then my machine sounded like it was full of gravel.  Grinding gravel.  Not good.  I stopped and checked everything, no thread nests, no lodged pins, no vibrating things, nothing visibly wrong.  I started again, still making dreadful noises.  I shut it down and quit for the day.  I figured I could bring it in to the shop the next day.  Next morning I had to get the machine off the frame. Only 8 screws were involved, along with two poles and two cables.  As you can imagine that took about an hour to disassemble, I tried to leave my quilt on, but had to unpin it from the take up rail.  Long arms are relatively simple machines, but they are large and mine weighs about 40 lbs.  I was on the road to the shop by 10:30.  Luckily the machine guy wasn’t busy and he brought it in to the store and plugged it in.  Of course it worked perfectly.  Together we disassembled the coverings to look inside and make sure there were no problems.  But from what we could see, nothing was amiss.  The innards are mostly circuit boards and computer stuff anyway.   So back home it came, and after another hour of reassembly, I was quilting again.  The mechanic thinks I may have dislodged whatever was making the noise when I put it in my car.  In hindsight I should have made a video, then took the machine in.

In other news, I have given up on the scrappy Storm at Sea top, it is together and in the TBQ pile.  I think it’ll make a good picnic quilt, or dog quilt 🙂 I decided to start over with four shades of blue batiks and a definite pattern for the colors.  I’m still waiting for the yardage to arrive and I need to print out a few hundred paper foundations.  Thankfully this quilt is only sized for a double bed.

I am knitting the second pattern of Curious Handmade Sock KAL called Magnolia.  I am using yarn I got at Stitches West back in February.  The brand is La Jolla and the color way is Saturn Harvest.  This sock is going quickly, I am up to the instep after a week.  I got new Addi-turbo needles for this sock, but unfortunately I bought 24 inch ones.  They are too short to use for two-at-a-time socks.  I’ll have to make them one at a time.


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


Last week I decided to put the S@S together.  I figured that if I didn’t it would just become a UFO that would never see the light of day again.  I also hoped that it would magically look better once it was together.  Here is the top.  I may add borders, but for now, its a top.IMG_3327

This week I finished quilting my “Sheila” Blues for Monday top.  I did lots of swirling feathers, then pumpkin seeds and cross hatch on the trees.  I used a pounce and stencil to do the feathers.  It’s been a long time since I’ve done feathers and the stencil is a good guide for me. It seems to help me keep the feather loops equally sized and spaced.  I can also concentrate on the rhythm and motion, which creates a better looking feather as well.  My only problem is getting the blue chalk out of the fabric.  I bound the quilt and then put it in the dryer on air fluff.  It looks better, but there are still spot of blue chalky-ness.  I’m thinking of putting a dryer ball in with it to “beat” the dust out of it.  Or maybe vacuuming it with a upholstery attachment on my canister vac.  I am scared to wash it, as I picture the blue becoming a stain and never leaving.


Once Sheila was off the frame I put the sorority T-shirt quilt on and quilted that in a few hours.  I want to bind it today and get it back to my friend tomorrow.  I was a bit concerned that the appliquéd letters on a few of the shirts would be a problem.  I just slowed the machine down a bit and it sewed through them just like the rest of the fabric. I did have a slight problem with the minky poking through with the stitches.  It is more visible on the white blocks, but not overly so, if I don’t point it out, I doubt any one will notice.

I added borders to the baby boy quilt too.  I had to wash the backing for this quilt because a certain dog found the package of fabrics after it was delivered.  While playing his favorite game of keep away, the backing got a bit of mud on it.  Unfortunately there is still a light stain, fortunately, for the dog, it is near the selvedge, so it won’t be problem.


Finally, I had a few hours free Sunday morning, so I got the blocks for the Missouri Quilt shop’s pattern “Falling Charms”  out and on the design wall.  There are 100 of the 7 inch squares, and they went together quickly using Bonnie Hunters method of Webbing the top.  It needs borders, I still have enough 1930’s scraps to make something, maybe flying geese?


I’m itching to start something new, I have two or three (?) kits I got on sale from Craftsy a few months ago.  Or I could look through the patterns pile or maybe a UFO.  My kitchen/living area remodel is on the brink of starting, just waiting on the permits.  Moving all the furniture and kitchen things should keep my busy in the next few weeks.  Fortunately my sewing room and long arm studio won’t be affected, I’ll still have a refuge.

Linking up with Judy today at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts today for design wall Monday. Judy has a short tutorial about making a sweet replica doll sized quilt.

Chaos at Sea

For the past week I have been trying to make this quilt top work.  It just doesn’t want to play nicely.  The blocks are paper foundation pieced, which means no design wall.  Crawling around on the floor is not conducive to inspiration for me.   I set it up, walk away for a day and the next time I look at it, it’s still not working.  I think it’s just too scrappy, I should have made the blocks with more consistent shading.  Something like all the inner squares light and the outer triangles dark or medium shades.  In the beginning I was looking to create an ocean of waves, sparkling with the many blues of water and wave and light.  I don’t think its a total loss though, I will sew it together and maybe with some strong quilting lines it will “gel”.  The last picture on the right is the final mock-up.

Last week I also worked on a T-shirt quilt with a friend.  Her daughter is in a sorority at San Diego State.  When they graduate, they have a tradition of making quilts out of their t-shirts.  My friend has been dreading making this quilt for the past few years, as she doesn’t sew and really wants to make it special for her daughter.  There is a whole presentation ceremony that goes along with this sorority tradition, as you can imagine.  We had a fun and stress free afternoon cutting out the shirts and stabilizing them.  She was in charge of the iron and I did the rotary cutting.  I asked her if she’d like to cut, but she was happy to iron.  She did the layout too.  I am going to add lavender sashing and a burgundy colored minky backing, the quilting is a simple bird (their mascot is a dove) with loopy flowers.


On my design table this week is a baby quilt for one of my Dh’s associates at work.  The pattern is from Carrie Nelson’s book “Schnibbles” called Reveille.  This is the small version, but I added nine more blocks, as the original quilt finishes at 37 inches square.  The fabric is a really cute collection called Stellar Baby.  I used most of a layer cake and about a yard of white to make these 6 3/4 inch square blocks and the border.

This week ended on an up-beat though despite the chaos on my floor, I hope to have the S@S quilt put together this week.

I’m linking up with Judy at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts for Design Wall Monday.  Check out her pretty Valentine Day quilt!

Farmers Wife Quilt


I finished quilting the Farmers Wife quilt the week before I went on the retreat.  I had some time to square it up and bind it this past Saturday.  First I needed to make 11 yards of binding, I thought I might go with scrappy, like the inner border.  I still had a bunch of scraps left from piecing this top.  But finally decided to use the left over backing scraps, which were already in long lengths and just needed to be cut into 2 1/4 inch widths.  I usually machine sew my bindings, I think the last one I hand bound was the Hampton Ridge Sampler (pictured below, un-quilted) two years ago.  Which also happens to be on my bed at the moment 🙂


Hampton Ridge Quilt

My method is to cut the strips 2 1/4 inches wide, fold them in half and press them well.  Then I machine sew them to the back side with a 1/4 inch allowance.  Then I wrap the binding to the front, clip it with the magic clover clips and sew it down with a straight stitch about 1/16 of an inch in.  Neat and tidy, a bit faster too.

Getting back to the Farmer’s Wife quilt, I used apple green Kona to sash and border it. Tiny assorted squares break up the sashing and a border of 2 inch squares goes all around.  Those details are here The Last Monday of March , funny that it’s almost a year ago, but things get done, eventually 🙂 . Pictured below are most of my individual blocks, I made one or two a week for a year. I quilted it with a pretty simple pantograph, leaves and loops.  I couldn’t begin to think about individually quilting each block.  Many of them have lots of seam lines and tiny pieces, plus after finishing RD&G, a simple computer design was in order.  The quilt is so bright and cheery, I think I’m going to leave it on my bed for a while, especially as we have rain in our forecast for the rest of the week.



I’m steadily working on the Storm at Sea quilt made from assorted blue batiks.  I’m paper foundation piecing it, so its slow going.  My consolation will be at how perfectly all the points match up 😉



Linking up with Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict  for “Can I Get a Whoop Whoop” today.



This week I have been working on the “Inner Circle” quilt pattern by Modern Quilt Studio.  I made my striped fabric panels, carefully ironed all the seams open and printed out the 35 sheets that make up the templates for cutting out the circles.  As I was cutting the circles out of me fabric, I thought to myself, these are not going to be fun to set into the background with the machine.  No, not at all.  What the pattern has you do is make two panels of contrasting stripes, cut the circles out of one, then cut corresponding holes in the other panel.  It then gives instructions to machine sew them together, matching all the seams.  This step was not going to happen on my version.  I consider myself a pretty good piecer and would much rather piece by machine than hand stitch.  But this quilt was telling me that those circles should be appliquéd on top and the underneath fabric cut away.  IMG_3281

I carefully pressed the 1/2 seam allowance under and used a bit of Elmers school glue to keep it folded under.  Then I pinned every stripe together, keeping it straight and true.  Hand sewing took a few hours, and made me think of an appliqué  UFO that has been languishing, maybe if I got it out I could work on it.  My hand work has been knitting for the past 8 months, but summer is coming, and I just don’t like to knit as much in the summer.  MQS has a YouTube video Inner Circle Tutorial on how to assemble this quilt their way, Bill Ringle makes it look easy.  For me, appliqué is easier, not quite as fast, but my resulting quilt looks good to me.IMG_3284

 I was able to use some of the left over circle stripes to add length to the backing.


Then, I got it on the frame, and started the E2E pantograph I choose for it.  Its called “Feathers and More” by Nancy Haacke of Wasatch Quilting .  Only 10 more rows to go, but it’ll wait, tomorrows another day.


Linking up with Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict for todays “Can I Get Whoop Whoop?”

Thanks for reading.

Designing Away

Last week I spent six days at the Empty Spools seminars in Asilomar (Pacific Grove) CA.  The class I took was called Taking Shape, and was led by Cathy Doughty of Material Obsession near Sydney Australia.  For five days we explored color, fabric patterns and design all while using 60 degree angles.  Hexagons, diamonds and triangles were the shapes of choice.  I brought along a fat quarter collection of Cotton and Steel from 2014, and a few other sort of modern prints I had.  All cool colored tones and small scale prints.  Cathy’s fabric lines are all about Australia, big, bright, organic shapes, aboriginal dots and motifs,  and the color pallet of that country.  So beautiful, I bought some to make a quilt with on my own.  The class was about designing a quilt on the fly, no pattern is needed, because all the pieces fit together one way or another.  For me, I needed a little bit of an outline so to speak.  I came up with a gem shape made up of triangles and hexagons.  Then I made six of these shapes, put them into a star shape and then filled in the center with diamonds


The outer space is currently set in trapezoids using the woven striped fabric.  I want to add a few more shapes, probably appliquéd to the background and a 2 inch border around the star.  Then finish with a 4 inch triangle border using up the scraps from the inner star fabrics.


My design wall at home is covered in the second part of the Modern Quilts Illustrated pattern “Inner Circle”.  I need to iron the seams open, thats why it has a bit of a curve to it.  I am liking the contrasts between the light and dark pieces as seen in the photo to the right.  Next up is cutting these big pieces into large circles.


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

Thanks for stopping by!