Friday, July 31, 2015

Cathedral Stars Returns ...

... Home from the LAQ

Cathedral Stars -- too big to show it all!
You may recognize this Bonnie Hunter design.  I took the class at Pigeon Forge in March 2011, dug it out of the box at a retreat in December 2013, and finished the top in February 2014.  At which point it was put away with the back and binding for future use, potentially as a wedding quilt for one of the grandsons.  Even though neither has made a commitment to marriage, I decided it would be prudent to go ahead and get it quilted.

My longarm quilter is so talented; she always amazes me with her ideas.

Loops and Ovals in All the Stars
Mirror Images in the HSTs

Flourishes in the Triangles
Loops, Swirls, and Stars in the Borders
I couldn't be happier with the result!  This was my first truly scrappy quilt and it was a struggle for me.  There are enough unifying elements in it, though, to satisfy my desire for order.

Binding will go on at the next retreat.  Then all it will need is an occasion!

Sharing my Whoop Whoop! with Sarah's readers at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

A New Direction

Cleaning will do that to you!


What a difference a day (or two ... or four) will make.  This was Sunday.

So much for a clean work table!


I decided that, before I got back to projects in progress, I'd do a little more cleaning of the work table.  Some of those project boxes had been there since 2008 -- and before!

It was time to make some decisions:  Am I going to finish, modify, or trash?

Lady Liberty -
New York Beauty Blocks

Lady Liberty Goes to Hawaii - class with Karen Stone at Indiana Heritage Quilt Show 2008

The class left a lot to be desired and for a time I was considering just trashing the project as paper piecing is not really my forte.

However, seeing it now I think I will continue with the full quilt.  All the chunks are cut and it has great possibilities.

Eye of the Piper
Eye of the Piper - class with Susan Cleveland at Tennessee QuiltFest 2009

Susan is an excellent teacher and I am glad I have her piping tool, but I don't see myself making the entire quilt.   I will look for something to include my one block in and recycle the hand-dyed fabrics I had planned to use.  I do plan to use a piped border on an upcoming project so the class was not a total waste.

Wall Flower

Wall Flower - class with Elsie Campbell at Mountain Quiltfest 2011

I lost my enthusiasm for this project when it got to the machine applique on the corners.  I think I like the star and may try to work it into a simple wall hanging with plain fabric for the corners and side triangles.

Summer Heat - class with Nancy Mahoney at Mountain Quiltfest 2012

Did I mention that I'm not a fan of paper piecing?  Nevertheless,  I was determined to finish and plugged on with the B blocks (corner units) for several week before putting it aside.

 However, the A units weren't going together very well -- turns out one of the chunks needed to be about a quarter inch bigger.  So I will be recutting the last few pieces in order to finish the last 27 units.  Still need to select a sashing fabric and it will be an easy finish!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Week in Review

... and Statsh Status

Let's begin with -- TaDa!!

Clean work table!
Earlier in the week it looked like this:

So sad ....
And this --
Weekly Stash Report - July 26, 2015
     In last week:                      0.00 yards
     Out last week:                 10.75 yards
     In year to Date:             122.00 yards
     Out Year-to-Date:           91.00 yards
     Net Used 2015                31.00 yards 

Narrowing in on neutral!

How did I do it?  I made a back and binding for the baby quilt.  1.5 yards

I threw together the Disappearing 4-patch top, back, and binding for 2.75 yards.

I made a binding for Exploding Pineapple for .75 yards.

Twisted Sister used up 5.75 yards in top, back, and binding.

Athena Blue in process

I was one seam short of finishing Athena Blue, but a summer cold slowed me down the last few days.  So that is what's on my design wall this Monday morning.

Funny thing about this quilt ... DH rarely comments on my work unless I ask for an opinion.  But he made a special effort to tell me he thought this interesting.  I guess it will go to him!

When finished today it will be a start on more stash-busting for the week.  Gotta get more done this week because the grandkids arrive next week and there will be lots of games and outdoor activities, little time for sewing (unless CG wants to work on something).

Linking up with Patchwork Times.

Friday, July 24, 2015

And Sew It Continues ...

... the urge to finish

I had planned to work on Radically Random (which I mis-identified on Sunday as Candy Dish).  Even got the third row pinned to the rest of the center.

But I kept hearing cries from under the piles on the work table -- 

"I need to get out of the box!"

"Finish me first!" 

"It won't take long, I promise!"

Sure enough, I pulled out Twisted Sister and within the day she was done.

Twisted Sister
An Ami Simms design, I started this one early in my teaching career when I wanted to show the block in different types of fabrics.  30s have never been my favorites and that is probably why I never did anything with these blocks.  That, and the fact that as a "set" they left a lot to be desired.  I think the rickrack plaid of the border does a great job of pulling everything together.

Cat's Meow Border
This fun In The Beginning fabric from 2011 will go on the back.

Twisted Sister Back

In the end, I'm happy with the finish.  Some youngster will be happy to snuggle under it.

First Finish - D4P

That's two finishes this week -- so far ;-) -- worthy of a Whoop Whoop!  So I'm joining the Friday party at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

A Quilter's Second-Best Friend

... Portable Digital TV

No, I'm not watching Bonnie on my laptop.  Or viewing Netflix on my tablet.  I'm watching weather warnings on a portable digital TV that picks up local signals through the air.  Very helpful when cable goes out in a storm, as happened one evening last week when tornados were touching down in the next county to our east.

Tornado in Wilson County
We don't have smart phones or smart tablets; we're totally tied to the cord.  So if cable goes out we are helpless to know what is going on.

I purchased my first one during the 2010 flood when the local Comcast broadcast studio was under water and out of commission.  I was stuck in a hotel (I couldn't get into my subdivision -- or so I thought) for 2 days with no way of knowing what the local situation was.   Target to the rescue!

The downside to these is they are useless if you are out of range of the local signal.  I'm sure one day we'll have to go to smart devices, but for now it's been a salvation.  And, yes, I know there is an antenna device that you can add to your TV to receive local signals without cable, but they weren't available to me in 2010.

Yep, watching while sewing -- the power never went off.  But, if it had, the TV has a battery!  Wish my sewing machine did!  Guess I need to get a hand crank machine .....

Which reminds me, I also have a hand-crank emergency radio with a USB port for charging cell phones.  This usually stays in my car because it is also a weather radio.  Like I said, someday we're going smart, but for now we're making do.  And we'll always have these devices for backup.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Finish-itis Strikes Again

Remember These?

Disappearing 4-Patch
Regular Readers must think I have ADD -- oh, wait, I DO!  .... Quilter's ADD, that is.

Here's the scoop:

Back in April I made a batch of disappearing 4-patches out of remnants from another project.  I even wrote a little tutorial on the process.   Well those blocks have been sitting next to the ironing board ever since, staring at me, wondering when they would find a permanent home.

The design wall was looking a little a lot empty yesterday after I took down Disappearing Dresdens, so I decided to throw the blocks up there.  Before I knew it I had an idea for a lap quilt and managed to get it together in a day.

AND I whipped out quite a few leader/ender half-square triangles in the process.

All-in-all, a successful day.

Linking up with the Tuesday Linky Party at Free Motion by the River.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Week in Review

... Hunh?  

... Whut?

Where did this come from?
Candy Dish

"You were going to finish Candy Dish," you remind me ....

"You were going to continue your leader/ender project!" you admonish ....

Leaders and Enders

Well, sometimes Life gets in the way.  I received a request to propose a project (or two) for Spring Training Camp at Cedar Lakes.  The proposal is due August 5 and I wanted to propose something entirely new for me and different from what the other teachers specialize in.  Which meant I needed to start and finish a project in less than a month!

A quick visit to a local quilt shop, The Quilting Squares, and I had my inspiration.  "Disappearing Dresdens," designed by Susan K. Cleveland and available on her website

Disappearing Dresdens
Because it's a 2-1/2 day class, my goal was to finish in 2-1/2 days.  And, in fact, I probably did -- if I deduct the time spent making notes and planning the teaching sequence.  It was a lot of fun to make and requires some techniques that, though not unique, are not everyday processes -- like sewing on a foundation and partial seams.

The pattern calls for the Dresdens to be stitched down in the quilting process, but I did it on the top -- partly because I needed to finish the top for photographing, and also because I failed to read to the end of the pattern where it talks about quilting .... (hangs head in shame ...)

The top is finished, the back and binding ready to go.

Weekly Stash Report - July 19, 2015
     In last two weeks:               0.75 yards
     Out last week:                     3.50 yards
     In year to Date:               122.00 yards
     Out Year-to-Date:             80.25 yards
     Net Used 2015                  41.00 yards 

Linking up with Patchwork Times.

Monday, July 13, 2015

A Quilter's Best Friend

... the Slow Cooker!

I love that the slow cooker allows me to spend uninterrupted time in the sewing room.  The smells from above are heavenly, and I come up at dinner time to a complete meal!

Have you tried these new Campbell's Slow Cooker Sauces?

I have a bazillion pot roast recipes, and they're all really good.  Sure, I could save a few bucks if I started from scratch, but nothing beats the convenience and taste of the Tavern Style Pot Roast.  I usually put some aromatic vegetables under the meat, then throw in some carrots and potatoes about 3 hours before serving time.  Oh, my!

I'm looking forward to trying the Apple Bourbon Pulled Pork soon.

This is not a paid commercial for Campbell's; just sharing a recent discovery with you.

Yesterday, instead of enjoying the pot roast smells from the sewing room, I spent the day in the kitchen monitoring the laundry and finally updating my recipe notebook -- loose pages cut from the newspaper and magazines were spilling out every time I picked up the book.

While I had spent quite a bit of time sewing earlier in the week, nothing reached the stage where I could count it out.  So my weekly stash report remains the same -- nothing in, nothing out.

This week should be more productive.

Bein' as it's Monday, I'll bop on over to Patchwork Times to see what other folks are working on.  Seeya there!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Another Bird Blessing

Cedar Waxwing

A few days ago I heard a commotion on the hill below.  When I stepped out on the lower deck I could see a congregation of birds in the treetops carrying on a very animated conversation with each other.  I spied tufts on the tops of their heads, like cardinals except they were not red.

Once or twice a year we are blessed with a visit from cedar waxwings.  They travel in flocks and normally make a soft zzzz-ing sound.  What I heard this day was their call to the flock.  They eat mostly berries and my previous exposure to them was one day when they cleaned out berries from my two Foster holly trees in about 5 minutes flat!

Again, I can't take credit for the photo -- too high and far away.  If you want to know more about birds go to All About Birds (

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Looking Ahead

I can't help it ...

Happy Surprise
Yes, I remember my 2015 pleadge to FINISH what I work on ...

Yes, I know, I have more than a couple things on the front burners ...

Yes, I'm being faithful (sort of) to the leader/ender process ...

But I just HAD to see how the current L/E project is working out!

I'm glad I did this little test run because I can see that the low-contrast combos, especially the dark ones, are not as striking.  I think I will rearrange some of my pairs to get more contrast between light and dark.

Full leader/ender box
This project is a design by Jo Kramer and her daughter Kelli.  Their quilt appears in (and on the cover of) the 2016 American Patchwork & Quilting calendar.  Using a Jelly Roll of Moda "Grunge," I've cut the half-square triangles using the Easy Angle ruler.

Progress thus far:


Sometime recently I read about a blog or website that was auctioning/selling/offering/trading unfinished projects.

Can someone send me in the right direction?


Libby (a/k/a The Lib-erator)

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Random Progress

It's Radically Random!

"Radically Random"
Since everything about this quilt has been totally random -- a difficult exercise for someone who desires/requires organization -- I've decided to call it Radically Random.  (However, if you look closely, I did insert a few elements of balance just to satisfy my obsession.)

The three 20" blocks on the right will go together today so that I can make room for the left side of the quilt on my design wall.  One chain block is ready to sew together, then one more to audition.  I hope I have enough pieces-parts for the border ....

In the end I will have pretty much decimated two rolls of 2-1/2" strips, found places for miscellaneous charm squares, dug into my solids, and used a background that has been on my shelf for at least 5 years.  Pretty liberating.

Just call me The Liberator!

Linking up with others at Free Motion by the River.

Monday, July 6, 2015

What's Up?

Clean Cutting Table
... on the design wall

Yesterday I was touting my clean cutting table.  

Today I'm celebrating a nearly empty leader/ender box!

Leader-Ender Box

I have tried L/E many times in the past, but just couldn't get it working -- either I'd forget to put something under the needle, or I'd get excited about the L/E project and bust ahead on it.  About two months ago I decided to dedicate myself to the process, beginning with a pile of sew-and-flip cut off corners.

The blue and red pieces were cut off Starstruck that I finished over a year ago.  The rest are from Twist of Lime, currently underway.  I keep all these little finished HSTs in an ice cream bucket (a Kroger Party Pail, to be precise) and periodically I'll take the bucket to the kitchen and trim while keeping an eye on dinner prep.

So what's a girl to do with an empty leader/ender box?

Inspired by a quilt I saw on Jo Kramer's blog, Jo's Country Junction, I have cut some more half-square triangles from a roll of Moda's "Grunge" strips.

Cutting HSTs with Easy Angle
Wanting to get a lot of variety in my color combos, I began by cutting the strips in half and made rough pairings.  I can get six units from half of the cut strip (or 1/4 of a whole strip).  I then take the remainder of one color and pair it with the next color on my pile.  The cut units are currently stacked on a square ruler for transportation to the L/E box.

And the cutting table is occupied again .....

Have a great week, Y'all!  And check out what others are working on at Patchwork Times.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Lookie, Lookie!

... a clean cutting table!

It all started with two rolls of 2-1/2" strips that exploded on my sewing table after I pulled a couple of strips out for a project.  It was very tempting to shove them back into a drawer, but I could see possibilities of merging the two rolls into 4-patches.

Some were paired with white for Candy Dish.  All the blocks and rows are made and they are waiting for a clean space on the sewing table to work with the larger pieces. 

Some light print strips were paired with medium solids and worked into this little crib top. 2.5 yds 

Crib Quilt

More of the medium-darks were paired into random 4-patches for "Ginger Belle" (still trying to come up with my own name for this one).  All the star blocks are made and one of the chain blocks is done.

Ginger Belle

So, for a brief instant the cutting table is clear....

Also back for crib quilt was made.  1.5 yds

Weekly Stash Report - July 5, 2015
     In last week:                        0.00 yards
    Out last week:                      4.00 yards
     In year to Date:               121.25 yards
     Out Year-to-Date:             76.75 yards
     Net Used 2015                  44.50 yards 

Linking up with Patchwork Times.

Friday, July 3, 2015


Too many irons in the fire ...

This is what happens when you work on multiple projects at one time:

Big Oops!
The black was a corner square from the "Twist of Lime" pile.

The quarter-square triangles are going into one of these star blocks for "Ginger Belle."

Ginger Belle Star Block
What can I say?

A Tribute

... to the Queen Mother

My mother-in-law, who has lived with us here on the hill since becoming a widow in 2008, turned 95 yesterday.

Angie and Pops
She was a draftsman in the airplane industry during WWII.  After marriage she became the ultimate mother and hostess, doing everything with style and flair.

In "her day" she was an artist ...

Displaying her needlepoint stocking

... needle artist -- both needlepoint and crewel embroidery...

Crewel Bell Pull

seamstress (tailored all her clothing), knitter, and quilter extraordinaire...

Iris kit quilt circa 1960
"If it's not totally handmade it's not a 'real' quilt!"

Second oldest of eight sisters, four of whom have already succumbed to Alzheimer's, today she is unable to hold a brush or a needle and she barely remembers her talents, even though we have surrounded her with many reminders.

We had a quiet family celebration yesterday.  She was flooded with cards from my friends.  She doesn't remember that she doesn't know them.  She just knows she is special.

Linking up with Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.