A Forest

There are thirty trees in this pile. I would like to get them into a top today, it will be a forest then. This pattern was well written and easy enough to do, but there is one sentence that I don’t really agree with “Pull out your favorite holiday jelly roll to make this cute quilt in no time”. Even with using the accuquilt cutter, stacking 4 layers to cut, chain piecing, and pedal to the metal sewing, it took a looong time. This quilt was also a sew a long at the shop I bought the pattern at, they must have only sewn a few blocks together as a group and finished (hopefully) at home.

I spent a few hours getting part four of the Bonnie Hunter Mystery quilt “Chilhowie” done. I used the accuquilt cutter for the128 HSTs too. I had to cut the QSTs with a ruler, but there were only 64 of them. Next clue is tomorrow, I have a feeling some rectangles will be involved as it has been all squares up to now.

I spent a few evenings working on the Pilgrim, the crow is 2/3rds done. I pulled the threads for the Winter pattern, I had seven of the nine colors in stock/stash, that’s good. I think I can wait on getting them until mid January, when the stores calm down again. I am not going to go shop for two skeins of dmc and wait in line for longer than it takes to get to the store. Although, my local Michaels has self check out registers now. They’re very easy to use, and I can use the app on my phone to get coupons and discounts. I am hoping that my shopping trip to the local market yesterday was my last for the week. I may go to the local farmers market today though. There is a bakery there that has much deliciousness, I think I can gain a pound just walking by their stand.

I did get the tree decorated and the few presents wrapped up. I decided not to wrap up a few that are for me, from my family. The mailing packages are okay, the ones from LL Bean look festive with their green bags. It’s not that I don’t like wrapping, its just that I don’t have much paper left, and it seems like a waste to me.

Be Kind.

Turkey Bay

I almost wrote Turkey Day. I stayed up late last night to finish this. Truthfully though, I had taken a nap earlier in the day because I had been awake since 4:30am, I wasn’t tired enough to go to sleep for the night. I checked back, and I started this about a month ago, I thought I would have it done by Thanksgiving. All those little flowers take time, switching threads, starting/ending threads, ripping out mistakes etc. I want to start the newest chart I have, Silent Night, by Stitches Through the Years. It is all set to sew using my eReader, however, I don’t have any of the flosses pulled. There are nine colors, what are the chances I have any of them? I do have the linen though, that nice piece of blue 36 count I bought for TB, but didn’t use. I am thinking that this will be my Winter Solstice start, I will be working on The Pilgrim as well, really.

I haven’t started quilting Berties Year yet, but I think I have found a good design to use in the plain brown flannel (the whole quilt is flannel) borders. I started by looking at the sites I buy designs from, and when I find one I like, I try to add it to my cart. If the site tells me I already own it, I then go and find the file on my computer. This “system” isn’t the greatest, lol, but until I do the big re-org of my digital pantos, it works.

I am thinking that I can incorporate this fan motif into the rest of the quilt. It will look simple enough, and add a bit of texture to the flannel, but still be noticeable. Other than that, it’s as far as I have gotten on Bertie. I am working on a plan for it, before I start, this is mature of me, no?

My Christmas tree still isn’t decorated, I did bring in the ornament boxes. I made three batches of cookies earlier this week. Like you do for two people, one of whom doesn’t really eat cookies, at the holidays. In my defense, I was supposed to go to a friends house and make them as a holiday activity. I made a batch of sugar cookie dough to chill the night before. That way we can start right in with he baking and decorating while mixing up other batches. We were thinking of gingerbread, a short bread and maybe a chocolate type. Unfortunately my friend wasn’t feeling well the day of, so we will get together after the holidays. I’ll have finished eating these cookies by then anyway.

The Wooded Whimsy quilt is coming along, I finished all the parts for the blocks. Now to sew them into mostly random looking mixes. I think I have enough variety that there won’t be two of the same fabrics touching, there may be a few similar trees, since there are thirty of them. I also want to do the fourth clue for the Chilhowie Mystery, it calls for another 16 sets of matching half square triangles. I hope I have enough orange colored fabrics to keep it interesting. The introduction to the pattern says 2 yards of orange, hopefully this is the last clue to use orange, it seems like it. Needs more purple!

It is all in here.


Also this weekend, I would like to attempt finishing the Reunion BOM quilt. I think my brain has had enough of a rest from the struggle of getting the top together correctly. That will make a clear spot in the sewing room. The deadline I am self imposing for the completion of this top is 12/31/22. There, it is in writing, now to make it so. But what about the other BOM, A Ribbon Runs Through it? Ohh..sigh, maybe next year.

Be Kind.

December Doing

December is turning into a very productive month in the sewing and crafting category, not so much in the house cleaning and gardening ones. We have had lots of rainy days, better than snow, but good times to stay in and sew/knit/craft. I finished all my gift sending last week, which also meant gift creating too. I made five people hats, one dog hat, and framed a cross stitch piece. I didn’t get to the embroidery machine projects that I had intended to, but those were just gift card holders and soft ornaments. There is still time to do those, as they are “local” gifts. I also want to make two small zipper purses, but again these are for local gifts, I have a few more days to do those. On the house cleaning, meh. It is hard to get enthused about floor cleaning when the dogs track in mud and leaves every time they go outside. Oh, my tree still doesn’t have ornamentation, it’s a good thing it is pre-lit, otherwise it would be a sad tree. I like decorating it, I just don’t like taking it all down afterwards.

The quilted baby milestone mat I made for a friends baby shower was a big hit. Everyone OO-ed and Ah-ed, and thought I spent hours on it. Probably only three, but I still can’t seem to take credit for my work in a public setting. I really have to remember that not everyone does what I do, and it is a specialty. Yeah, its easy to slap two pieces of fabric together, quilt it and bind it, but not everyone has that ability. Or maybe I just feel they haven’t found it within themselves yet. I’m a crafter, it is what I do.

I have been keeping up with the Bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilt “Chilhowie”. I finished clue three on Friday afternoon, when I saw that she had posted an addendum to the clue. There needed to be 16 sets of 8, not 4, back to the cutting board. Luckily, I had cut a few extra strips and it wasn’t long until I was speed chaining them through the machine and pressing them into 128 quarter triangle squares. I am keeping them in plastic bags this year after dropping my soda flat box that I usually use, behind a stack of bins.

I am also making headway on the batik Christmas tree quilt, Wooded Whimsy. There are a lot of pieces to this one too. Thirty blocks with about 40 pieces in each. Thankfully, I completed the stars last month, each one of them had 19 pieces. I decided to keep all my trees green, I think that the red was too distracting, if I had a few red and green prints to break it up, like the pattern shows, it would’ve worked. I am thinking of adding some red and white pin wheels to this quilt, or maybe just using the red and white for another quilt all together. I have the Morning Star accuquilt Block on Board die, which could make cutting it out easier. I did utilize my 2 ½ inch wide strip cutting die for the trees, easier to cut those too.

The only (lol) project I didn’t touch is the quilt, Berties Year, which is on the frame. I did get it batted and basted down, it is ready to go. Maybe later today. I also have batch of sugar cookie dough chilling in the fridge. I was supposed to have a cookie making day with a friend, but she had to cancel. Okay, todays agenda will include a Christmas tree decorating hour, a long arm visitation, some block piecing and a ride on my horse, as the rain seems to be on hold for the next few days.

Be Kind.

Rainy Monday

This morning started with me awakening to a noise, it took me a bit to realize it was rain. I turned over and went back to sleep for a bit more. It’s been rainy off and on since Thursday, not much going on outside the house, even the dogs want to stay in. This weekend was productive in the sewing and knitting department, not so much in the house cleaning or decorating ones, and that’s okay! I got the hats done, the first three only took a few hours each, but the last one, mmm, days of K1 and P1 -ing. It turned out pretty cute though, the recipient will like it 🙂

On the frame, I finished the quilting on the Irish Chain bears. I decided not to block them out from the all over quilting pattern of sleeping bears. It is a process using the quilting software, that I haven’t really perfected yet. Since the minky backing isn’t really forgiving to removing stitches errantly placed, I made the designers decision not to. When it was quilting, I looked back on the first version I had made of this, and I noticed that the bears had black thread eyes, this ones had brown. A bit of outline stitch made them a little more noticeable. All bound up and ready to go out in the mail today. I had originally wanted to use a thick poly batting for this quilt, but decided against it, as the minky was stretchy, and I thought the tension would be a nightmare to figure out. I had steamed it and it was nice and flat, ready for something else. Then I thought of the two Baby Months milestone panels I had gotten earlier this year. I loaded up a backing that was 60 x 108 and stitched out two panels in a few hours. The machine had no problems going through the thick batting and since it is a mat to be used for photos, I think the cushion will be nice. The floral one has regular Hobbs 80/20. I still have to bind these, coincidentally I have been invited to a baby shower next week, so one of these will be given away. Next up on the frame, I should have put the “You are Loved” top on, but, I have been itching to do some free hand and ruler work. The Berties Year quilt top has been finished for a few years, and there was even backing for it. I lost a bit of momentum and still need to cut a batting for it, maybe today.

I made a few more flowers for the Turkey bay cross stitch, I was stitching in the day time, which is a bit different for me, as I usually stitch at night. I bought a few new charts, because they were on sale, not because I needed them or anything practical. Although, this one, “Silent Night” from Needle Case Goodies will work nicely on the beautiful blue piece of linen I had bought for Turkey Bay and didn’t use.

The other two I got are a booklet and a Halloween pamphlet, both have next year projects in them, back of the queue.

My tree is up, but not decorated, it has lights on it though, so it’s festive. I have also put up a few Christmas quilts, the Snowmen are in the stairwell this year, as I have the Baltimore Christmas on the new wall in my room. Maybe I’ll get some more holiday decor out today. My poinsettias from last year are starting to get their red bracts, they seem to like this east facing window.

Be Kind.

Hats and Iris

I have been knitting again. I decided that this year, the immediate family is getting a hat and cash for Christmas. This is the first year “we” will be just me and DH. I think I’m okay with it, as we had a bunch of people for Thanksgiving, and I am looking forward to a mellow and un-taxing December. However, I kinda forgot about gift giving for the month of November. I have a goal to get all the hats out the door by 12/10. For the niblings (nieces and nephews) I usually do candy and cash, so that will have to be done soon too. I’d rather knit than shop, even online shopping is a chore lately.

The Iris in the title is for Chilhowie, I started this years Bonnie Hunter Mystery quilt. She was inspired by the colors of Iris and her local in Virginia. Iris are my favorite flower, I have many different colors and varieties in my gardens, but I especially like the repeat blooming ones. This blue one has three more flower stems going, hoping for flowers by the Solstice. Ah, the beauty of living in a zone 9 planting area. I am busily making nine patches and four patches. The colors this year are orange, purple, and aqua, with neutral white.

Since we had company last week, I didn’t start on time, but I am hoping to be finished with these before Fridays #2 clue release. I am using mostly stash, although I did order some more aqua and orange fabric during the (month long) Black Friday sales. Three of the last BH quilts I made, Grand illusion, Ringo Lake and Frolic, made a big dent in the aqua drawer of scraps. Likewise, Grassy Creek, Appalachian Autumn, and Spider and the Fly, used up most of the oranges. Purples and whites I am good on though.

I did manage a little bit of stitching on Turkey Bay, There is most of a pilgrim and the boat/barge is done. Two years ago, I got to visit the actual Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts. My DH was disenchanted by the experience, as it is a rock that someone marked 120 years or so after the landing of the Mayflower. Also it was moved to shore, and had a portico erected over it, people used to chip off pieces for souvenirs too. Who knows if it is the actual rock or not?

Be Kind.

U R (heart)

This weeks project, a small quilt using the You Are Loved panel is nearly complete. I didn’t get a chance to sew yesterday, as we had company for most of the day. I decided on the pattern for this quilt, and made a valiant attempt to find a written one, but in the end I am winging it. The center print is where I started, I measured it and by looking at the inspirational quilt picture, figured out how big to cut it. I noticed that there were 10 flying geese on each side of it, which led to 20 inches a side if I used 2″ x 4″ geese. Okay, then I’ll need to add 1 inch borders to the center.

This is the way it went for a few sessions, adding and subtracting, measuring twice (sometimes thrice) and sewing it together. I am being really careful with the fabric usage, as I only have half yards of most of the coordinating prints. The eggshell solid is from the scrap pile. The borders came about in a slap dash way. I measured the boxes on the print and figured out that three wide was seven inches. If I added a narrow border of tan, then they would be eight inches and I could put eight inch blocks in each corner. I was looking at my Accuquilt dies and saw the Winding Ways one, an eight inch block. I have been wanting to try this one, as its a B.O.B (block on board) and easy curved piecing. Ended up making eight, four reverse color and four forward color. The die is made to use the least amount of fabric, and the pieces are nested next to each other. This is great for conserving fabric, but it makes it difficult not to cut backgrounds at the same time as foregrounds. In order to make four different blocks, I had to cut eight. In the end though, it worked out because I had enough border print and white background print. the quilt top finished at about 65″ square.

I finished the Snowy quilt, with a red binding. I would like to get it posted this weekend, it might get sold before the holiday. I have enough scraps left to make a pillow or a table runner, but that will wait. I have been embroidering the facial details on the Irish bears quilt top. I can do one a day, the needle is a bit tough to pull through the fabric. It seems like I “carefully” placed each detail on a seam intersection. Pulling three strands of floss through three layers of fabric is taxing. I think sewing on linen for cross stitching has spoiled me. Now I wonder if I would have trouble hand quilting, maybe, but I don’t have any plans for such endeavors at this time.

I started the Turkey Bay cross stitch piece, got the bay done and part of a turkey, it is swimming. Apparently they are able to swim, who knew? The Pilgrim is also progressing, I started the crow, lots of mindless X’s.

Off to clean house for guests this weekend.

Be Kind.


I spent a few hours yesterday cleaning up the floor in my sewing room. I had an appointment to go to at ten, I figured since it was only a few hours to do something in, clearing the floor would accomplish something, but not be an onerous task. You know, like cleaning all the flat surfaces in the room. My sewing/cutting table is in the center and surrounded on three sides with bookshelves and drawers of fabric. The last side is my design wall which is in front of the closet. The floor space is sort of a moat in which to walk around. The moat was clogged up with small boxes of fabric, bins of scraps, and bags of project kits. There were also a few small boxes of picture frames and decorative items from the MBR that needed to go back. Since the remodel this summer, I have not put all the decorative things back on the dressers and such. That’ll be for another day though, I was concentrating on the floor. I was happy with the results of my job, even swept up all the threads and dog ears, shook out the rugs and dusted a bit.

When I got home, I pulled out the ‘Ribbon Runs Through It’ BOM to see where I was and what needed doing. There were 16 wedge blocks, piecing the top and the final borders to be done. I cut all the pieces for the log cabin style blocks in quick order. Then set about making one entire block, for my sample. Then I broke down the sewing into segments and made 15 of every thing in a chain piecing frenzy. All the blocks for this BOM are done now, it felt good. I put it all back in its box, to do another day. I really need to concentrate on the block placement for this quilt top. After the ripping fun time I had with the Reunion top, I want this one to be easier. Instead of “measure twice = cut once” my mantra will be “check placement twice = sew once”.

The second bear quilt is together and appliquéd now, still need to add eyes, noses, and claws. I am not sure about the backing. Usually my client likes the Minky/cuddle backing. I don’t have any blue in the house, I could go get some, or order it in. I have some blue yardage I can use, but its not baby themed.

Today I may just start a new quilt top. A few months ago I bought a panel from the fabric line called “love is..” and a bunch of coordinating fabrics to go with it. There are a few pattern ideas I gleaned, I need to pick one.

On the frame this week is “Snowy”, this was a kit from a local quilt store. I think I bought it in May, but I am hoping to have it ready for sale very soon, only 45 more days till Christmas.

Be Kind.


Last week, I worked on the Reunion quilt top. I had a few squares that were misplaced and I fixed them. After correcting the mistake, I hung the top on my design wall and compared it to the picture. I found another mistake, all four inner corners were not right. Unsewed them and resewed them. Okay. I lay the top on the floor, and spot checked it again, damn. Another two turned blocks, I fixed them and then attached the four next corners. Quality control drove by, and pronounced it “perfect”. I folded the top and put it on the shelf for another week, when I want to put the final borders on. Now I am afraid to look at the other BOM I have been working on, the Ribbon Runs Through quilt. I know I still have blocks to make, I just hope it will go a bit more smoothly than the Reunion.

Inner square, without final corners and borders.

In between bouts of hair-pulling frustration sessions, I finished the Star Wars quilts, quilted the Street fair quilt and a top I call Dragons and Dungeons. Once these were done, I started working on a commissioned baby quilt. It is the same design I made about a year ago, the double Irish chain with the teddy bears peeking out. Then maybe take the Ribbon Runs through it quilt out and see what needs doing. I just got a notice that the next installment of Message in a bottle BOM is shipping. All this work keeps me out of trouble for sure. It seems like work, but I am very happy to have those four quilts out the door.

Last week I ordered a piece of linen for the Thanksgiving cross stitch project, Turkey Bay. It came in, but I think it is too blue, so I’m going to stick to the light tan I originally pulled for it. There are stitches of blue waves, and they get lost on the blue linen. It is a pretty blue though.

It was a busy week, I am hoping to keep the momentum up, there are a few rainy days in the forecast next week, my favorite days to stay in and sew. Plus there is that “extra” hour in my day now. I put the Snowy quilt top on the frame, so that’s my main goal. I am thinking of using a snow flake pantograph, and possibly metallic thread. So many options.

Be Kind.

Check, Please

Check, check and recheck. Friday night I had some uninterrupted time to spend constructing the reunion quilt. I had finished all the blocks with the September shipment, and got the fabric for the borders and setting triangles earlier this month. I was steadily sewing along, the instructions are very detailed, with lots of pictures for each segment. The reason there are lots of pictures is that there are a lot of directional fabrics, and parts of blocks that need to match up. I had to unsew a block or two because of a mistake in directional-ity. This quilt top is a giant square in a square in a square, finished size is 107″ square. I got the center done, a nine patch when all is said and done, and pinned it to the design wall. I then went on and sewed the light shaded corner sections, I decided to attach them and finish up for the evening, I had spent about two hours and I wanted to leave some for the weekend. I sewed a corner on and got to the center of it and saw that the gold and white four patches were not matching up, in fact they were not even on the same side. UGH! I had turned the blocks 1/4 way too much, I had to un sew the center nine patch. I did and called it a night. Saturday night I started again, I re-sewed the center and added the four corners and pinned it up to the board again. Then I got the next set of corners done. Okay, I thought, tomorrow I’ll get the whole top together, just four long corner seams, and two borders. I sat for a moment gazing at the center. Something was amiss, wait, nooo! The mistake was in one of the blocks from month two, two HST’s in the wrong spot (third picture). I need to surgically remove them and switch them with ones that are in the correct spots. Maybe later today, I need a break from all this checking.

On the Long arm front, the quilting of the star wars quilts is finished. It went quickly, on the throw sized one the motifs are 7 inches, and on the queen I enlarged them to 8 inches, so each row took about ten minutes. Just need to bind them, I am thinking of black solid, I have a bolt of it around here somewhere. I put the next quilt backing on the frame, I am ready to get the “Street Fair” top started. I’ll probably do the ripping on the Reunion top while that stitches. Multitasking. I redid the errant hanging sleeve and finished the Halloween Figs quilt, it is hanging in the place of honor now. I may leave it up for a few more weeks, it is sort of autumnally themed. I feel good about this finish, the top was done last year about this time and it sat for another eleven months. I finished it before halloween though, a win!

I am also putting lots of stitches into my Longdog Sampler “The Pilgrim”. I started on my second aurifil spool, I can’t figure out how many yards are on the #12 thread size spool. The pattern calls for 115 meters of six ply thread, used singly. A lot of thread, a DMC skein is 8 meters, about 15 to do this project. I’d like to finish this in 2022, so the date is correct. I am going to start a new piece this week, called Turkey Bay, by Plum Street. To get in the mood for the upcoming holiday.

Hoping your October ends well too.

Be Kind.

More Stars and less wars

This week I have been working on the two commission quilts with a Star Wars theme. I chose the pattern “Alyssa” by Pine Tree County Quilts for these two because it would use all the fabric types and colors and still come together nicely. In other words, it’s a great scrappy quilt pattern. The cutting and sewing is pretty simple, no triangles, just forty two 16 ½” blocks. I have got the smaller one together, and I hope to have the larger one done by today. There are two straight borders and lots of straight line sewing. I’ll be winding a few extra bobbins too.

May the Force be with you

This coming weekend I want to do the two BOM blocks from last month. I should like to have them finished before this months arrive <ahem>. I would like to get the Reunion quilt finished, and on the frame this month. There are two months left on the Ribbon Runs Through it BOM. Oh and the Message in a Bottle BOM for October will be here next week. I have just started on the first block, appliqué, the three “flowers”. The second block is hanging around here somewhere. I showed a bit of restraint this month that I feel I need to mention. I joined Sue Spargo’s newsletter recently because I enjoy her works and thought I might do one of her BOM’s as a diversion from my other ones. She does a lot with decorative stitching, threads and wools. I was smitten by her latest pattern called Flora, click the link, I dare you. I spent a few minutes clicking and reading and then I grabbed the calculator to figure out the price per month. She has a slightly complicated way of charging, some months are more than others, and there is a reservation fee. It’s all clearly written out and explained, sadly, too well. I talked myself out of doing it, mostly because I didn’t see the value. Yes, there is the original design, but I would like to use some of the yards of specialty threads that I have collected over the years. I really don’t need any more, and then there is wool fabrics, I have a small stash, and I want to keep it that way. So I won’t be signing up for this one. Really.

The quilting on my Halloween Figs quilt is finished, I like how it turned out. I used Superior Threads Microquilter in taupe on the top and black Bottom Line in the bobbin to add just a bit of texture and whimsy. The design sewed over the appliqué with out a problem, I used the cup attachment for the regular quilting foot. I am not too happy with the backing fabric. It was a 108 wide black with gray vines, I’m not sure of the manufacturer, the selvage isn’t printed. The problem is that the needle holes sometimes show as grey dots. The needle was deflecting the wrong side of the fabric to the good side. I first thought it was the top thread coming through, but when I attached the binding, the fabric did the same thing, gray dots. Very frustrating. Also, when I was sewing the binding on, I made a hanging sleeve. I think the quilt got turned or I thought since it was square, it didn’t have a top or bottom. Or maybe I just thought it was the top, it actually turned out to be the side that I attached the sleeve onto. Grr, damn my impatience, anyway, I had to unsew two sides and resew the sleeve and binding back on. Other than the hand sewing of the sleeve along the back, it is done. But, after all that I “won” at Thread chicken!

I am going to hang it up after halloween, as my Baltimore Halloween has the place of honor right now. Oh, and I finished the other halloween quilt, the Pumpkin a Day SAL, it was fun and now its done. I used a slightly different pumpkin patch panto for it, and variegated thread. Its for sale in my Etsy shop. These two and the Spider and the Fly quilt I made last year, pretty much used up most of my All Hallows Eve collection, I do have some of the white background prints left.

PIQF 2022 opened yesterday, I am still on the fence as to if I want to go. I haven’t been since 2019, but I would like to see the quilts and shop a little. But people, there will be lots of people there, hmmm.

Be Kind.