Saturday, December 28, 2013


This could be a year-end finish.

Or an early 2014 finish. No pressure. The top's been waiting to be quilted for a year and a half already.
Pin basting sure is hard on the knees and the fingers. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

The "eyes" have had it

After appliqueing the "eyes" of a few blocks, and then finally one of the center bits, I decided I didn't like the "eyes."

I like it better with the center fabric extended into the "eyes" so it looks like the arcs are on top of a single piece of fabric.

So now the design wall looks like this, and I have more to unpick and redo. That should keep me busy into the new year.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Introducing my latest project

I'm using the Gypsy Kisses pattern from "Material Obsession 2." Blocks should finish at 24 inches. I'm thinking I'll make nine.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Around the block

The house top has progressed some. I added another round, and then decided the center needed to be changed so I took out the plain block and substituted with a star block.

I have some ideas where to go next, but I have to think about it awhile so I've moved this off to the side to let it percolate. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Blogger's Quilt Festival 2013 - Flag quilt

I'm entering this year's finished flag quilt in Amy's Blogger's Quilt Festival throw category. It could have gone in the scrappy category or maybe the group quilt one too, I suppose.

I've blogged about this quilt a few times. The first time I mentioned it, it was a six-year-old UFO. Four years later I finally finished it.

In 2003, at the AQS show in Nashville, my friends and I spotted a quilt hanging in the Opryland hotel hallway and decided to duplicate it. We bought the blue fabric at the show to use in each block for continuity. We planned to swap the 5-inch blocks each month using a variety of golds and reds from our stashes. We did swap for a few months, and then life got in the way.

I'd pull the project out from time to time and make some blocks. With the pieced stripes of the flag finishing at a half-inch, the block is a bit tricky to sew well. One reason the quilt languished. Eventually I got all the blocks done and added the sashing. Also half-inch finished strips with half-inch cornerstones.

Maggi Honeyman quilted the flags in a Baptist fan pattern on her long-arm machine, and I got the binding finished at the beginning of the year. Looking back this is the only non-baby quilt I've finished this year, but as we all know, good quilts take a lot of time!

Thank you, Amy, for hosting the festival again. You can check out all the categories and quilts here at Amy's Creative Side blog.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Blooming nine-patch top

While I wasn't blogging, I was sewing, making this blooming nine-patch at a niece's request. We were in Portsmouth Fabric Company, and she picked out the middle two fabrics and the pattern from a finished quilt hanging in the shop.

The pattern has been around for a while, and I've wanted to make it for a while so this was my excuse. The pattern, according to my Internet research, was first published in 1996 in the book "Tradition with a Twist" by Blanche Young and Dalene Young-Stone. I winged it on paper, and royally messed up the setting triangles. Good thing my quilt shop had more of that fabric.

Construction is easy. Nine-patch blocks alternate with plain squares. Sew the blocks into strips. Sew the strips together. Tricky part is keeping the blocks in the correct order ... and cutting those setting triangles the correct size.

I pressed the nine-patches toward the darker fabric and fanned the intersections to reduce bulk.

Fanned the intersections when putting the rows together too.

Backing is done. Fabric for binding is in hand, which will be the same as the setting triangles. Waiting on a batting order to finish this up.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Quilt, bag, pillows

Looking through the camera I see I've been busy the last few months. Too busy to post? No. I just didn't feel like it. But if this blog is going to be my reminder of what I worked on when, I need to post. So here's some of what I've been up to:

Scraptastic top finished awhile ago. Backing fabric bought recently on sale, washed and waiting to be ironed and sewn together.

A bag for my niece using Tanya Whelan's Ella Carry-All pattern. I'm not much of a purse maker, but my niece is very much a purse lover. She picked the pattern and the fabric.

It came out pretty good. Lots of pockets on the outside, and I like the key chain holder on the inside. I have one of those in my favorite purse.

Throw pillows for my friend Becky. She bought a new rug for her living room, and then we started rearranging the furniture, and the next thing you know she needed new throw pillows. Here are a couple. I made five, but didn't remember to take pictures of them all.

There's more, but that's enough for now. 

Friday, June 28, 2013

Building blocks

Lots of unpicking and sewing to make the block above, and I still couldn't get it quite right. Not happy at all with the little puckers and the size. It was an eighth of an inch off on one side. I mentioned that to my husband and his response was, "That's a lot." Yes, it will definitely add up if all the blocks are like that. Redrafting was called for. 
Much better now, although since the photo above was taken I have redone some seams trying for a more accurate 6 1/2 inches all around with better point matching. That's the thing with solids and small blocks: The imperfections are magnified. 

I learned long ago that if it bugs me, I need to fix it. Otherwise, every time I look at that quilt I will see the things I don't like and wish I'd taken the time to fix them. Much easier to redo at this stage then after it's quilted, bound and on the bed. But I have a three strikes you're out rule too. If it isn't noticeably better after three attempts, another try isn't likely to make a difference. I may be anal, but I'm not obsessive. Ha.

Friday, June 21, 2013

I love it when a plan comes together

Loved this fabric when I saw it at my local quilt shop.

Came up with a plan fairly quickly. Based on the height of the houses.

Some house design research.

Sketches. Lots of pondering. Life. Work. Etc. And then finally a start.
12 1/2 unfinished quilt center in progress.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Like a fine wine my quilt has legs

and like the glass I started with dinner, it is finished.

Baby Boy Blue, 39 x 47.
The quilt has been mailed off to my sister for her friend, whose baby arrived a few days ago.

I marked the darker fabrics with a white chalk pencil and the light blue background with a hera marker.Straight line quilting is definitely my forte.The main part of the quilt is diagonal lines in one direction, and the border is diagonal lines in another direction.I figured that if I felt that wasn't enough quilting, then I could do lines in the opposite directions so the whole piece was covered with a grid, but I liked it with the just the first set of lines. 

The binding was attached entirely by machine. With practice I expect to get better at that. This is my third baby quilt this year with machine binding. I enjoy hand sewing binding, but I just haven't had the time recently.

Friday, June 7, 2013

I'm in love

with this gorgeous Art Gallery fabric.

This fat quarter caught my eye so I brought it home with me, and I can't stop looking at it. I pulled some peachy pinks, navy and a hot lime yellow green to go with it. Now I just stare at the pile on my sewing table trying to think what pattern will do it justice. I should finish up the project on the design wall or quilt that baby quilt or applique some blocks or do something with the pile of fabrics next to my new favorite. But instead I stare dreamily at those little lizards. Do you see them? If I had a nickel for every pile of coordinated fabrics I've put together waiting for the right pattern to come along I could really buy some yardage. What to do. What to do.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Pressing matters

I'm sewing light and dark rectangles together and pressing toward the dark.

Then I'm making four patches by sewing the top two units together, then the bottom two. These units are pressed toward the edge without a seam. Then those two parts are sewn together and the center intersection is fanned out to distribute the bulk.

These four patches of sorts are sewn into larger four patches following similar piecing and pressing. Top and bottom units sewn together and center intersection is fanned out. Then those units are pieced together and that center intersection is fanned out.

My plan is to construct "blocks" in this manner and then sew those blocks together in the same way until the quilt top is done. The seams should all nest together as long as I stick to this plan. I prefer putting tops together like this rather than sewing long rows of blocks together because the shorter seams are easier to manage and keep accurate. Eventually, I'll have some long seams. There's no way around it. But I'd rather have a few per top than one every row.

Friday, May 24, 2013


I saw a scrap quilt on Pintrest that I thought was a good idea. Then I saw it again. And again. And then I stopped staring at Pintrest and started cutting scraps into 2 1/2 by 4 1/2-inch rectangles and sewing pairs of lights and darks together. Sometimes a medium is a dark and sometimes it is a light.To me this adds interest to the quilt.

The idea is that you cut the scraps as you finish other quilts, but I couldn't wait. It's made a decent dent in my scrap collection. I'm planning on a layout of 14 x 19 pairs, which would make my quilt 56 x 76, but it could easily be bigger. I have the scraps to do it, but not the space on the design wall.

I like the border on the original quilt, but I think mine will be borderless.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Knot my problem

Ever get these little knots when appliqueing? I do. A lot.
I remember a quilt teacher (can't remember which one) told us how to easily fix these types of knots by putting the needle at the base of the knot and pulling up until the knot pops out. The pictures explain it better.
It's been a great tip for me over the years, and it occurred to me I should share it.
If anyone has tips for the other kinds of knots I seem to get in my applique, I'd love to hear them.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Note to self: Make this into a baby quilt

I was looking through my baby-suitable scraps to see what I could use for a quilt when I found a magazine and the note I left myself. Sometimes I can't figure out why I have dog-eared a page: My past self found inspiration in something that completely puzzles my present self.
American Patchwork & Quilting, Quilt Sampler, Spring Summer 2011.
Fortunately, I left myself a note and after taking another look, I had to agree with myself. Yes, Laura Boehnke's Color Option would make a good baby quilt. Too large though so I redrafted to a smaller size.
The center came together quickly, but I didn't like the border fabric I thought I would use.
Nothing else in my stash really worked for me. The bright lime actually seemed to dull the quilt. What I liked, I didn't have enough of so it was off to the quilt shop.
She still had more of the blue I'd used in the very center, and I found a magenta fabric to match that in the print for a quarter-inch flange.

Top is done, and measures about 40 x 48 inches. I found a nice blue and lime green leaf print in the sale rack for the backing so now it is on to the quilting.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

A decade in the making

Flag quilt, 56 x 77
I first blogged about this quilt four years ago when it was a six-year-old UFO! My flag quilt was quilted by Maggi Honeyman in a Baptist fan pattern on her longarm. I don't remember how the original was quilted, but this old quilting pattern seemed appropriate, like wind blowing the flags around.
Yes, those cornerstones are half-inch squares.
The binding was completed some time ago, but I kept forgetting to get a picture. After the binding is on, I consider the quilt done, but lately I've been feeling a bit guilty about not putting labels on my quilts. It's taken 10 years to get this far, what's a little more time to add the label? Does anyone have a good method for making labels?

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Baby, baby, baby

Yikes! Have I not posted since January? Here's why: baby quilts. Three of them. And my sister asked me yesterday to make one for her friend who is due in June. I'm already brainstorming patterns.

Avery's quilt, 36 x 36 inches.
In the debate on whether to prewash or not, let me just say that if you prewash, it is not enough to do it you must also check the water and wash again if it bleeds. Or throw in some color catchers with the load. One of the reds, long in my stash, bled when I washed the finished quilt. I must not have been paying attention the day I washed it. Eight or nine washings later and a half box of color catchers, and the quilt was presentable again. Quilted in the ditch between blocks and between the squares of the blocks.
Detail of Avery's quilt.
Pearl's quilt, 30.5 x 30.5 inches.
This quilt was made with two charm packs. Both from Sweetwater. Lucy's Crab Shack and Noteworthy. I didn't prewash these, so I was expecting shrinkage, but because it's the same manufacturer and designer, I thought the pieces would likely shrink at the same rate, and they did. And they didn't run.
Detail of Pearl's quilt.
Quilted in the ditch on the diagonal. I love these fabrics. Charm packs are a great way to fondle every print without too much of a hit to the pocketbook. I bought yardage of two favorites (hard to choose) for the back and binding. Didn't prewash either so they would shrink similarly to the front. Leftovers have been washed and added back to the stash. I hope I'm not the only person who keeps my washed and unwashed fabrics separate.
Back of Pearl's quilt.
Cora's quilt, 36.5 x 46 inches.
This was made to complement the nursery bedding. Gray and yellow, although a color combo I like, was not my first choice for a baby quilt. Took me awhile to come up with a design. Applique too. It's a wonder I finished it before she graduated college given the state of my other applique projects.
Detail of Cora's quilt.
Back of Cora's quilt. Yes, that's more Noteworthy fabric.