I’m on a roll this week getting lots done. Three quilts bound, one quilted and ready for binding, lots of four patches, and many cross stitches.

The quilt with all the four patches is from a pattern called Street Fair, by Clark quilts. It is written for a smaller size than I am making, so I am making more blocks, 49 in total. Also, just to make it more fun, the pattern calls for a 10″ square fabric pack, I’m using yardage. Thankfully, I will have enough of the white on white, but it is going to be tight.

After quilting the Pumpkin-a-Day quilt, I pulled out my finished Halloween Figs quilt top. I had a backing with it, so on the frame it went. I am going to do an all over panto on it. I wrestled with the thought of custom quilting it, but after finishing the Christmas figs quilt that way, I said no to custom. I spent about an hour yesterday looking for a specific pumpkin pantograph I had seem a few months ago. In fact I had thought of using it for the Pumpkin a Day QAL, but gave up and used one from Anne Bright Designs, called The Great Pumpkin. The Pumpkin Patch from Beany Girl was the one I was looking for, but I don’t think it will work for Halloween Figs, the scale isn’t right. While searching, I came across one from My creative Stitches called Autumn Splendor. Its a little more crips and swirly, I wanted to add texture and interest to the Halloween figs quilt and not take away from all the precision piecing and appliqué I did. I can now type the word PUMPKIN without looking at my keyboard.

Pilgrims Progress is slowly filling in, I am working on this particularly dense area on the left top, under the fox. I have resisted the siren call of starting a new piece, but it’s tough.

I other news, my fountain was installed last weekend. It took six guys to move it from the truck to my back yard, it reminded me of the ancient Egyptians making a pyramid, as piece by piece they brought it in.

Be Kind.

Many things

I have been steadily working on quilting and piecing the past two weeks. Although I haven’t gotten to the Reunion and Ribbon BOMs yet. I finished three tops, The Pumpkins (PumppleSALwith Ivory Spring), Effie Love and Snowy. I don’t think I blogged about Snowy, maybe that I bought the kit earlier this year. It is a quilt designed by Julie Paschkis, using the fabric line “Snowy” by In the Beginning Fabrics. Kits are still available, this is such a pretty quilt, I may keep it. I have to admit that I made a cutting error though, I was being my usual fabric frugal self while cutting all the pieces for the paper foundation blocks. I didn’t read through the instructions fully, and cut the right angled triangle pieces with the fabric WST. So I had only half facing the “correct” way. If you look at the top closely, you’ll notice that four of the pieced blocks are different from the other four. It works though, and I bet if I didn’t mention it, no one would notice right off.


I quilted the Botanica Park quilt, in order to get it done enough to take it off and switch in a baby quilt that needed quilting. It was going along quickly, I was in a rhythm, getting the motifs aligned and stitching them out. Then I got to the last row and discovered that my backing was too short, by about three inches. I almost wept. The finished size of this top is supposed to be 107″ square, I measured mine to be a bit less, I was thinking 104″ (?). Anyway, I used 108″ wide backing and it shrunk up a bit. Damn. I took it off the frame and after I get the errant HST repaired I will add a strip to the backing, I think I can hide it by making that the top side and adding a hanging sleeve there. Not that many people have that much wall space for a quilt this large.

I got the baby quilt on with the minky backing and quilted it with no problems. Had it squared, bound, packaged and in the post the next day. I loaded up Effie Love and proceeded to quilt that on to a 108″ wide backing. I was careful with the top placement, and was able to add another small baby quilt on the same backing. I am hoping to get it finished today and get the peacock quilt on the frame. I haven’t picked out a panto for it yet, I know I want to do something with feathers, and I don’t want to buy one. I looked through my library and found a few that I didn’t know I had already. I wish someone would organize my library of digital pantos for me. I am so hopelessly disorganized in that respect.

“Effie” on top and a baby quilt

I have an order for four more quilts, possibly five depending on fabric usage, that needs to be done before December. I am hoping that I can get at least one done per week, as they are relatively simple designs/patterns and mostly scrappy.

I have also been working on the LongDog Sampler, Pilgrims Progress again. I did wash and press the Cardinals, but have not framed it yet. I am itching to start a new piece too, I was looking through all the new and upcoming designs at 123 Stitch earlier. I must show restraint though and work on the kits I have here. I may have to start the one I made up earlier this year, Huckleberry Farm. Or there is also the Heaven and Nature Sing one.

Off to stitch.

Be Kind.

Long weekend quilting

This is Labor Day weekend, which is a reminder that Summer is almost over and that it is time to put away the white pants and shoes. Does anyone still do that, or is it from “the way back”? My holiday started on Wednesday, as my DH left for a short 6 day vacation. I have been sewing up quite a few things in my time alone. It’s not that I can’t while he is here, it’s that there are less interruptions and must-do things.

The Pumpkin a Day quilt is coming along, I have completed the twenty blocks, I want to work on finishing it today and tomorrow. The stitch-a-long is with Ivory Spring, follow along on Instagram #pumppleSAL. I would really like to get it sold this year, and Halloween is rapidly approaching.

Early morning design wall

In the mean time though, I have an order for a baby quilt that needs to be quilted, and in order to do that, I want to finish the Botanica Park quilting. This quilt is large, and the way the border and center blocks stitch out, requires Turning the quilt 90 degrees at about the half way point. I’d like to get the first orientation done, so I’ll only have to switch/turn it once, and do the baby quilt in-between the turns. While quilting it yesterday, this errant HST caught my eye, Damn. Well, I can fix it when I take it off to turn it.

The finishing kit for A Ribbon Runs Through will be here this week. Last week I worked on finishing the 16 more sashing blocks I needed. I used a HST method which makes eight at a time, and I was able to get them done in a few days. These sashings are a bit of a pain, 20 pieces, but they are the “ribbon” in this quilt design, so I can’t really skip them. Looks like I will be crafting half log cabins for the setting blocks.

Finally, I finished the stitching on the “Love” cross stitch piece I was working on. I wanted to finish it in the beginning of August, but it proved to be too much. The Hellebore flowers were dense, and I thought they would go as quickly as the cardinals did. I have the frame and will get to it soon.

Off to stitch a bit on the Pilgrim now, I have missed it. Although, I am itching to start something new, maybe a small for Halloween or Christmas.

Be Kind.

Peacocks, Pumpkins and Reunion.

This week I worked on all three quilts listed above.

The peacock evolved from a panel I saw on Etsy, and the fabric line that was complimentary. The pattern is by Pine tree quilts, called Peacock twist. The twist part is sort of a stack and whack center for the star blocks. Since I had many fat quarter pieces from the line, I choose not to do this method. I cut squares instead, and felt that they were colorful and interesting enough. The S&W way always seems so wasteful to me. This quilt went together very quickly, and I had enough left over (over bought) fabrics, that I added an outer border, the finished quilt size is about 50″ x 66″. The fabric line is called “Glow”, and it really does have a certain luminescence.

I worked on my 20 Pumpkins, got most of the gray corners attached. I realized that I didn’t have enough of the Halloween figs white on white background. I went on an internet search, couldn’t find any of the Houndstooth, on Etsy or Ebay, I even went to my favorite online shops, nothing to be had. I ended up ordering a basic beige, but its a bit too dark. It was while doing this search that I saw the peacock fabric, so I bought that and gave up on the Figs fabric for a bit. Then as I was looking something completely different, I found the houndstooth at Pastry Shop Quilting . Typical rabbit hole experience shopping on the internet. I also saw this cute baby quilt kit, called “Effie Love”, by Deb Strain. So I got it too, I think the pattern will work for other panels I have too. The gingham hearts are so cute.

The completely different thing I was looking for was a beaded tree kit from Westrim. Back in the late 80’s, I worked for a garden/craft store, and I was in charge of the craft department. Many times if we didn’t have a sample for a line of merchandise, I would get to make one. The Westrim Christmas tree was one of those samples. At the time it was quite expensive, and there was probably no way I could have afforded to make it on my budget. I got to use all the bits and pieces to make the model, it was fun and I wished I could keep it when I was done. Fast forward a few months, and I was leaving that job, at my going away party, the store manager gifted the model to me. My mom ended up keeping it, and I think she still brings it out at Christmas time, as her “tree”. I started looking on Ebay, and found one, Vintage, NIB, for less than it was in the 80’s, the box is marked “value priced” at 49.99, retail value, if purchased separately was 69.99. It should be here tomorrow, I am looking forward to making it and embellishing it with tiny beaded ornaments and such. There is even a tiny set of battery operated lights that go with it.

Todays work was the last 16 blocks for the reunion quilt. They are small, and went together fairly quickly. Next month is the final one for this BOM, borders and construction. Then it is time to quilt it. I am pretty sure I am going with a floral pantograph, as I don’t want to spend a bunch of time custom quilting this. It’s a pretty quilt, and I feel that intricate quilting would be lost on it. Plus its huge, 107″ square.

Speaking of huge quilts I started quilting the Botanical quilt. I has become a “labor” too, I am using a set of custom designed motifs from Wastach quilting specially made for this Wing and a Prayer quilt. I just finished the top border. I really like how it is looking.

Off to sew.

Be Kind.

The Star Wars quilt

This quilt was a commission for a client, for her Star Wars fan. All the fabrics were picked by them and sent to me (9 packages). They wanted a two sided quilt, with the dark storm trooper on the back and the white one on the front. I went with a medallion style layout, and kept adding borders until it got to queen size.

Two days ago, I put it on the frame and was measuring the backing and top together to center them on each other. Out of curiosity I rolled the whole un-quilted quilt up on the rollers, phew! I’m glad I did, as the backing was nine inches short. Unpinned it and added a wide blue strip to the bottom, re-pinned it and put it back on the frame. In a classic “do as I say, not as I do” move, I knowingly didn’t add 4 inches on all sides of the backing. I ended up basting some waste strips to the sides as I went, so the side clamps would hold.

The quilting went very quickly, I used a pantograph called “The Force” by Crystal Smythe. I made it a bit larger, each circle is 8 inches, and I filled the quilt with staggered 12 rows. About 3 hours of quilting, not too bad, I almost quit for the day at half done, but pushed through and finished. Now to get the binding on.

I got to work on the Pumpkins this week too. I wanted to use the folded corner ruler, rather than the method on the magazine. I don’t need any more cut off HST’s in my realm. Plus, since I am working with scraps of the Halloween Figs quilt, I have to be frugal. My sample block went well, so I cut the rest of the pumpkins (19) and started cutting the background pieces for each block. I have enough white prints to do each block the same, but the oranges and black/grays are going to be mixed. Each block has 16 HST’s and eight corner triangles, and a bunch of squares and rectangles. The Sew-a-Long co-ordinator, Ivory Spring, has us sewing the center pumpkins first, ten per week. Since we are on week two, I need to get those done and the next set, by 8/17.

Speaking of BOMs, I am working on my two, I have not done the August installments yet. I did get the July ones done, 32 sashings strips for A Ribbon Runs Through it, and four more alternate blocks for Reunion. The fabrics for August ARRTI, got here the other day, 32 more sashing strips. I am not too enthusiastic about them, as they are many parted and a bit fiddly. The Reunion pack came last week, looks like one block, that’s good.

Twenty pieces each 🙄

I did sign up for another 12 month BOM, which also starts this month, called “Message in a Bottle“. We recently had new windows installed in our master bedroom and removed a non-working gas fireplace. Now there is a blank wall, approximately 54 inches wide, that needs artwork a quilt. I like the quirkiness of the MinaB quilt, there’s patch work and appliqué, a lot going on and the size fits perfectly.

Off to sew a bit of binding.

Be Kind.

Dresden Refurb

I’m pretty sure I took on this project in April, or maybe March of this year. A friend of mine asked me if I would be interested in fixing a quilt for her. She brought it for me to look at and I thought I could do something with it. I had seen on a blog by Rhona Dort “Mostly about things I Create” other transformations of older quilts being made into useable ones. I figured it would be work, but interesting and possibly fun.

I took the quilt home and I “evaluated” it, wrote down every thing I thought it needed and shared the list with the owner. I think this quilt was made in the seventies, and possibly finished/added to in the eighties.

What I ended up doing was

  • First I took the top and backing apart and discarded the batting. The batting was polyester and in half of the quilt it was doubled. There was hand quilting around each plate and in the centers. The borders had been sewn on as if the maker was doing a quilt-as-you-go type quilt. The seams were sewn together onto the batting with the backing underneath. There were three borders, much of which had sun damage. The maker also folded the edges together and whip stitched them to create the edging, there was no binding.
  • The 20 blocks had been made by machine sewing the plates together, then hand appliquéd to the backgrounds. The background fabric was like a muslin, or just white cotton. It was stained and “aged” with a patina. Also, the maker had used a dark green/black fabric for plate blades that had bled into its neighbors and the backs. I carefully removed the fan blades from the backing, I felt a little bad about removing all those hand appliqué stitches. I found a few shattered and very worn blades, but most were in pretty good shape.
  • I washed the quilt backing, also a muslin type, three times, to see if I could get it looking clean. I thought I could use it to replace the block backings, and keep the vintage look of the quilt top. The fabric definitely got cleaner, but the hand quilting stitches had left large holes and they didn’t close up. I also found a few paint spots on it :). I resorted to using Bella eggshell for the block backings. Oh, I forgot to mention that some of the blocks were 16″ and some were 16 ½” and some were a bit more off.
  • I carefully hand washed the blades and pressed them. I reassembled the plates, replacing the broken, faded and bleeding blades as needed. I found the perfect yellow vintage calico to replace some of the center pieces. Most of the replacement blades are from my 30’s fabric stash. I sewed them onto the block backing doing the centers first and then the plates on top. I used a blanket edge machine stitch with matching yellow thread for the centers and off white for the edges. It was difficult to keep the centers the same sizes, I think it had something to do with the way the circles stretched or the blades weren’t uniform in size. I was aiming for a 6″center though.
  • Once I had all the blocks “fixed” I put them together and added three new borders, yellow, blue and pink/red.
  • I decided to quilt it with the Gingham Posies pantograph. I used an eggshell colored polyester thread on top and a a similar color that blended with the backing (beige with tan cross hatches).
  • The binding may match the backing, or I’ll go with a slightly tan.

I definitely underestimated how much time and effort this quilting project would be. I think I spent about 60 hours total, way more than the 12 or so I thought in the initial look-see. It did become a labor of love though, love for the craft, and admiration for the maker before me. It was interesting to discover the methods and compare them to todays ways. This quilt lasted a long time as it was, and I hope that it will live on to be useful again.

Be Kind.

More blocks and tops

Last night I finished the Ancients/Dragon quilting, just need to bind it now. Then I can get the Dresden plate quilt on the frame. I have been trying to pick between two quilting designs for it, a cabbage rose end to end or a gingham posy one. I have to attach the three borders first, so that’s on my to-do list for today.

They are similar, I think the posy one is cuter, but the roses are a bit more mature.

I thought I had a photo of a quilt with the gingham posy on it, but its on Instagram. This is NOT my quilt, but the gingham posy is quilted on it.

I finished the three blocks for A Ribbon Runs Through it BOM, from June, and started on the blocks for the sashings. Lots of three part HSTs, 192 and that’s only half of them. They finish at 2 ½ square, and there are six in each sash piece. This week had a lot of chain piecing, and squaring up. I think I need to sew the July blocks for the Reunion BOM, I can’t remember if I did or not. Just checked and I did, Yay! So many projects and so little time. I need to design a Star Wars quilt for a commission. I have a slew of fabric that was sent to me. It is mostly blue, grey, black and white, lots of storm troopers. This is a two sided quilt and I am leaning towards a medallion style pattern.

Three more blocks for the “Ribbon Runs Through” quilt

Last week I finished two baby quilt tops, used up two panels I had bought last year. I had just enough of the polka dot fabric to make them work. I tried to find more of it, but it is out of print, it was very adaptable to popular color ways. It has dots of green, orange, tan, blue, brown and yellow on a white background. I have a few more panels to make up, including two baby monthly charts that should be easy and quick.

Todays task is to sew those borders on the Dresden plate quilt.

Be Kind.

There be Dragons

I finished up “The Ancients” dragon quilt top this week. It’s a kit by In the Beginning fabrics, I think it is a Jason Yenter design. Simple enough, no triangles, only mitered corners in the borders. I got the backing together, mounted on the frame, just waiting for the black batting to come.

I finished stitching the last, of twenty, Dresden plate block yesterday. I had been waiting on more fabric for it, as I ran out of Bella Eggshell. I am now waiting on the three border fabric I ordered from connecting threads. They had a sale on a line of fabric called General Store 3, which is mostly calicos and 30’s prints. I got 4 ½ yards at about 6.00 a yard, I splurged and got a Halloween themed layer cake too.

I am thinking of joining a Sew-a -Long at Ivory Spring using a pattern from the magazine Quilters World. It’s called A Pumpkin a Day by Wendy Sheppard, I may just be able to finally use up all the Halloween Figs scraps. It starts on August 3rd, and the PDF magazine can be purchased at Annies Crafts. The magazine also has the pattern for Jo Kramers Frolic Leftovers quilt. Frolic was a Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt from a few years ago. There were quite a few extra units made, because of the half blocks used and the color ways. I have them in a bin all ready to go for this quilt. I would like to get that quilt started this summer too.

I have made some progress on the Forever and Ever cross stitch piece. The Cardinals are done and the little house. I’d like to finish this in the next twenty days, as it is for a birthday present. I got a frame for it, I think its doable. I miss stitching on the Pilgrim though, I see it everyday, and I want to work on it.

In other news, the mother ship has landed in my back yard. Ugh, it needed to happen, as our septic tank is almost 60 years old. I am so glad I am not the one who has to dig the hole. Because of where we are, and how my back yard is made, it has to be hand dug. Four guys and their shovels, got halfway through yesterday. They’ll be back to finish on Monday.

Off to sew.

Be kind.


There is a lot of deconstruction going on around here. My bedroom is half way done, my yard is a blank slate and this quilt is in pieces. Once I got all the parts apart, I could wash the backing and really see what I had to work with. The dark green blades of the plates were bleeders, they had to go. Then the backing of each block was stained and dyed by those bleeds, I ended up removing all the plates from their backings. As I did so I felt a bit sad that I was taking apart this quilt. The plates are sewn together with a machine, with very tiny stitches. The center yellow leaves are hand appliquéd then the plates on top of them. I think two different people worked on the hand stitching, as there are differences in the stitches and sewing techniques. One is a bit more refined and steady, while the other seemed to be in a hurry. There are also repairs that were made, again by another person. The thread is in better shape than the fabrics, I have to be careful when I pick them apart. I wash them in a bucket of soapy water, and they are brighter after, I guess 50 years of dust and skin oil adds up. I will iron them and replace the blades that need it, there are 20 per fan. Some of the yellow leaves have holes and thin spots, I found some vintage calico to use in its place. I am waiting for a few yards of 200 count muslin to arrive, then I’ll sew the plates on 16″ blocks. Once I get them all together, we’ll decide on a border fabric. I am leaning towards green, but blue or pink might work too. I’m not sure about what the client likes, so we’ll see.

I finished the twin size Cat quilt and sent it out to the buyer, I hope she likes it. She also bought the larger full size one I made last year. They match in colors and pattern, but the twin is the “Hey diddle diddle” line and the full is the “Catkin” line. This buyer also sent me a quilt kit to make for her, its an In The Beginning pattern called “Dragons the Ancients”. I hope this quilt pattern works, I have done some from them in the past, and they needed a little tweaking.

I have a few quilts of my own I wanted to start this summer. I got a kit for a Jacqueline de Jonge quilt called Enchanted Stars. Its paper pieced and very colorful. I also got all the fabrics to do a Swordfish quilt from Judy Niemeyer, as I also have the pattern for it. Two monster paper foundation quilts, there just aren’t enough hours in the day.

I am posting this without photos, as it has been six days since I wrote it. The photos will come another day 🙂

Be Kind.


I spent most of the first day of summer sewing blocks for the commission quilt. It was a hot day here, so staying in was a good idea. Work on my house and yard are continuing at a good rate. My yard is a vast expanse of dirt and my bedroom now has windows and a door. I am having 12 tons of base rock delivered today, can you say dust? I am so glad that I am not the one who has to move it all.

Back to the quilting. I need to make 4 more blocks today, I think I can do that.

Four days later…

I have a finished quilt top. I ended up adding another row of blocks to make it truly twin sized. When I cut the borders, I realized that the fabric print was eight inches wide, not eight and a half. Damn, the corner blocks were already made at that point, they are 8 ½”. Striped spacer to the rescue! I really like the pop of color that it adds to the border of this top. The final size is 86″ x 56″ , its for a twin bed.

Other than the quilt top, I haven’t done much sewing on anything else. I need to get some more quilting done on the Mrs. Miller quilt. If I can get the quilting of the HSTs done then I can do the bottom borders. Then I’ll take it off the frame, stitch the Commissioned quilt, and re-mount the Miller quilt turned so I can do the side borders. Thats my plan for this weekend.

With all the quilt making going on I haven’t been stitching much on my Cardinal cross stitch piece. I really want to have it done by August, for a birthday present.

Yesterday I went to a fun sort of thrift shop. Its called Fab-Mo and it is a place to find fabrics and all kinds of things for making fabric art, clothes, quilts, and collages. I spent 30.00 and got a bunch of “needed” things. I had seen in their newsletter that they had gotten in a lot of heavy duty canvas, it was about 50 inches wide and at 3.00 a yard, I splurged and got two yards. I also got some nice webbing, a few notions, a large piece of fabric suitable for a backing, a few vintage calico fat quarters, AND a stamped cross stitch piece that was mounted on a small sized scroll frame. I was so excited by the $3.00 price tag that I didn’t look at the embroidery until I got it home. I’m not sure I’ll be finishing that one anytime soon. Before I left the shop, I asked about donations, and they do take them, then I started cleaning out my sewing room in my mind. Maybe later this summer, I am imagining a great clean-out of bins and books and patterns. I have often thought of selling things, but, after all the time and effort needed to photograph, post, sell and send an item, it really doesn’t end up profitable. For instance, I have upholstery fabric that I’ll never use, that would be one empty bin.

Be Kind.