Thursday, March 31, 2016


The Package Arrived From Conway!

Even though I received a lot of nice suggestions on what my next step should be on the purple project -- I plan to incorporate as many as I can, BTW -- the purple project will have to go on hold.

Sashing on purple project
I have until midnight to put the borders on Smith Mountain Morning and Summer Heat ... Wonder what's on TV Thursday night ....

Wednesday, March 30, 2016


Or Maybe Just Sidetracked

The first two items on my ambitious list from Monday's post have been put on hold until a package arrives with all the essentials I DH left next to the front door as we were heading home from Arkansas.

So, on to Item 3 - Do something with March RSC16 color purple.

Ahh, purple .... I pretty much exhausted my love of all things purple a couple of years ago. Very little purple left on my shelf, but surely plenty of scraps in the leftover bins...
Yikes! I forgot that I had started one of those sweatshirt jackets for The Queen Mother (MIL) several years ago only to discover that the sweatshirt I bought was Youth size! She's petite, but not THAT petite. So I had a raft of 1-1/2" purple strips that I had cut for the jacket project.
Pile of 1-1/2" strips at top of photo
I didn't really want to do string blocks with all the strings the same size, so I settled on 16-patch blocks. I've seen quite a few lovely projects lately using 16-patches. Most of the strips were full WOF so I cut them in half to get more variety and paired a light purple with a dark purple.

 After pressing to the dark, I joined two pairs to make a 4-strip set. Again, pressed to the dark. I cut these into 1-1/2" segments and put them in a pile.
Pile of segments ready for random grab
These became twosies, then foursies.

I pressed the seams open between segments.

Another blogger had commented that there are so many shades of purple -- reddish, bluish, grayish -- I decided to just use them all together randomly. At first I tried not to have any of the same fabric in adjoining pairs, but that was nearly impossible so I decided that I would only reject having two of the same fabric in adjoining segments.


Finished 16-Patches
I mulled (Mangofeet would say dithered) over ideas for what to do with these. and I have settled on framing with this perfect yellow (RSC March accent) with purple twirley-viney things.

Right now I'm thinking about what's next. I might make them wonky so that they dance across the quilt. Or I might set them on point in more of a strippy setting. Or just do a straight set with some sort of sashing. This is where I can use your help. The framed blocks measure 7" unfinished. If I make them wonky, they will only measure 6-1/2" unfinished. I only had enough yellow frame fabric to make 25 blocks. (This is a case where I should have thought things through before I started cutting ...)
Should I add sashing in between?
Possible sashing
Or I could use the blocks I have as a center medallion for a larger quilt.  Stay tuned to see what I decide.

I still have a stack of purple strips that may become rail fences, although I saw a really good idea on Confessions of a Fabric Addict Wednesday morning. And some wider strips might go into Shoofly blocks.

For someone who had not touched a single purple scrap for the entire month of March till now, I'm certainly making up for lost time.
I guess you could say I'm still Making Do .....


Monday, March 28, 2016

Making Do - Day Three

You know how it is ...

...when you are in an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar resources ....

Well, Day 3 of Making Do went really well.

Makeshift Cutting Table
I found some pins on DIL's sewing table. And I finally figured out how to make the iron steam --
1) pop the button, and 2) add more water! DUH

My makeshift ironing station consisted of a clean dish towel laid over a dish drying mat on the granite counter top. (Yes, there is an ironing board, but I wanted something I could run to quickly without disrupting public space.) It actually worked so well I'm thinking about getting a mat to carry with my travel supplies.

Aside from needing to fill a new bobbin, the Featherweight, now named E.G. (or Egie) for my mother, behaved beautifully. It wasn't Egie's fault; I forgot to loosen the knob on the wheel. Again, muscle memory kicked in -- after all, this is the machine I learned to sew on -- and a new bobbin was filled ... with thread I bummed from DIL's stash because I didn't want to unthread the machine after my misadventures threading it in the first place...

The result to this point:

Temporary Star Gazing on the makeshift design table
All twelve 15" blocks are done. Sashing needs to be added in between and all around, then one border and it will be done. I'm really surprised how well it has gone together considering it was cut in stages with different rulers and an undetermined number of glasses of wine ... Using my makeshift seam guide the finished sizes may be a hair off, but I can accommodate that with the sashing.

So Egie has been packed for the trip home.

E.G./Egie on the makeshift sewing table
My friend Nancy made the sweet quilted protector for the extension so that it doesn't hit the decorated plate on this 1939 model.

Isn't she gorgeous?

Since we're heading home early this morning, I'll be linking up with Patchwork Times for Design Wall Monday when I get home. I want to show what will be sharing time with Star Gazing this week. This is Summer Heat as of last week.

Summer Heat
(Go back a couple of blog posts to read about the hardships I had with this paper-pieced design by Nancy Mahoney.) Nevertheless, I soldiered on and am quite pleased with the result. The third/largest border is cut and ready to sew on. And since this is my OMG (One Monthly Goal) for March, I need to finish it this week.

With no social obligations this week I should be able to:
  1. Finish Summer Heat (flimsy) and maybe pull together a back for it.
  2. Catch up on February's OMG by adding the borders to Smith Mountain Morning.
  3. Do something with March RSC color - purple. Probably some string blocks.
Manageable, right?

ADDEMDUM: Left the Star Gazing blocks and the fabric for the two borders by the door.  Arrgh!

Have a great week
Quilt on!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Making Do

And it's working out

The Main Man and I are keeping an eye on the Arkansas grandkids while their parents are celebrating a belated anniversary in New York City.

Now in their teens (or nearly) AA and CG spend a lot of time with their electronic gadgets so we weren't sure how much of our attention they would require -- not much, as it turns out; therefore, we've been looking for ways to occupy our time when we're not playing tabletop games with the kids.

I had intended to bring a couple quilts that need the binding turned, but somehow they didn't make it into the van.  I did, however, still have my Featherweight in the back of the van, along with a couple of projects that were not unpacked after the last retreat. I decided to pull out Star Gazing, most of which had been cut at the Nuts and Bolts retreat.

Star Gazing block
Design by Margot Languedoc Designs
for The Pattern Basket
The high-top kitchen table is a perfect cutting height, and I set up a makeshift pressing station on the kitchen counter.
First I had to familiarize myself with the Featherweight because I have not used it since my friend Nancy did a thorough cleaning for my birthday last year. Threading was a challenge, but muscle memory kicked in and I got that done. Next I had to guess which way the bobbin goes in the case (the manual was not with the machine) and I got that right!  It stitches like a dream.

Now, what to do about the quarter inch? I couldn't get any of the guides in the machine case to work -- screws in the way, screws too long, screws too short, etc. So I decided to search for masking tape (I promise, Nancy, it will come off as soon as I'm through with this project!).

Of course I didn't have a tool box with me, so how could I measure where to put it? I borrowed a knitter's gauge from DIL's stash!

What I discovered is the foot on the machine is pretty much spot on. Jubilation, I could sew! In two days I've gotten all the units made and the blocks partially assembled -- just need to press and stitch the last two seams in the 9-patch construction.

The background is Moda Scrumptious. It reminds me of sweet little girl dresses. I pulled large remnants from my stash in shades of red, pink, and teal to make the stars.

Reds and Pinks

I'm linking up with Angela's Scrappy Saturday, even though the fabrics don't meet the March RSC colors. I AM using scraps, albeit large ones .....

Also linking with Cynthia for Oh Scrap!

Monday, March 21, 2016

And Sew It Goes

A Tale of 16 Blocks

Have I said recently how much I dislike paper piecing? Sorry, I digress ...

Twosies ready to be pressed open
In a recent post about Summer Heat I mentioned the next step, after assembling and pressing the twosies, was to trim the center point so that it is 90-degree square.

Shaving the center corner
I did one set of 4 twosies and assembled a test block. Everything seemed to be OK so I proceeded to trim the remainder. But on some of the blocks I noticed that if I squared to an outside corner, I could be trimming too much of the seam allowance and that could change the geometry of the block -- seams wouldn't line up and the block could be too small or too big. It didn't help that I decided to tear some of the papers off the back to make pressing the seams easier ...

Long story short, all 16 blocks went together with much thought and pondering along the way and only 3 need a bit of tweaking at the center point. Whew!

Sashing and borders are cut and ready to go on today.

Summer Heat block with inner, middle, and outer borders

Just a reminder -- I have two separate projects up for adoption. Check them out here and here. My adoption is open until midnight tonight.

Linking up with Patchwork Times.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Please Adopt Me, Two

Cool Cats

UPDATE: Winner has been notified.

Cynthia Brunz over at Quilting is More Fun than Housework is hosting an Orphan Adoption event this weekend. She does this twice a year. Go check it out and then find someone's UFO to adopt!

Two cat panels, with borders attached, the perfect size for a crib or car seat.

Pretty in Pink

Beauty in Blue
Each measures 37" x 55". Ready for you to sandwich and quilt. Or add more rounds to make a larger quilt!

Quilt shop quality cotton fabrics.

Pebble border
Cute cat paw prints on purple ground.
Retro border
These will go as a pair.  Anyone with twins in the future?

There is no charge and I have no preference how you use what you receive. I will pay the shipping. I am located in Tennessee/USA and will only ship within the US.

This adoption is open until midnight CDT on Monday, March 21.

Leave a comment below and tell me what you have in mind. My random number generator (randomly known as my Main Man) will randomly select the winner totally at random. Just be sure that there is a way I can get in touch with you to get your snail mail address (in other words, if you're a "no reply" commenter, include a current email address).

And don't forget to check out the other orphans up for adoption.

And it would be nice if you come back here from time to time to see what I'm up to.

Please Adopt Me!

I Spy

UPDATE: Winner has been notified.

Cynthia Brunz over at Quilting is More Fun than Housework is hosting an Orphan Adoption event this weekend. She does this twice a year. Go check it out and then find someone's UFO to adopt!

My "Orphan" is almost 15 years old! I had just started quilting when I learned my third grandchild was on the way. And having seen an episode of Simply Quilts where an "I Spy" quilt was featured, I thought this would be the perfect choice for my first quilt.

I Spy
Never mind that it was made with hexagons and triangles -- lots of 60-degree angles -- I was "all in"! I purchased the book, PS I Love You Two by Nancy Smith and Lynda Milligan (at that time operating as Possibilities and since assumed by C&T publishing).

My stash was non-existent so I enlisted fellow guild members to help me start collecting the 200 (yes, I said 200!) conversation prints for the hexagons.

"B" is for .... Burlington? Blowfish?
GS-3 (a/k/a AA) will be 15 in August and his baby sister (a/k/a CG) will be 12. The quilt remains unfinished.

If you adopt my UFO, you will receive 179+ hexagons, the book PS I Love You Two, and templates for the shapes ...

Templates - hexagon and triangle
There is no charge and I have no preference how you use what you receive. I will pay the shipping. I am located in Tennessee/USA and will only ship within the US.

This adoption is open until midnight CDT on Monday, March 21.

Leave a comment below and tell me what you have in mind. My random number generator (randomly known as my Main Man) will randomly select the winner totally at random. Just be sure that there is a way I can get in touch with you to get your snail mail address (in other words, if you're a "no reply" commenter, include a current email address).

And don't forget to check out the other orphans up for adoption.

And it would be nice if you come back here from time to time to see what I'm up to.

PS: The book includes lots of cute and easy patterns, as well as an option for a pastel solid version of the "I Spy" quilt.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Time to Get Crackin'

Catching up on March

Lately I've spent so much time catching up with January and February goals that I have totally neglected March ... until this past weekend.

My One Monthly Goal (OMG) for March is to finish Summer Heat, design by Nancy Mahoney.

Having determined that I had the requisite 16 sets of A and B units ...

Stacks of A and B Units

I set about assembling them into twosies.

Preparing to stitch
One of the issues my friends who also took the class had was getting seams to match so I was careful to pin intersections. First I stabbed the intersecting point, then pinned away from the line to avoid distortion.
Careful pinning
The thread cutter on my BabyLock machine is especially nice for paper piecing, but I also like how the foot makes it easy to stitch on the lines.

Stitch on the line
While watching some Sunday night TV I tore enough paper off the back to press the seam open.

Sunday night at the kitchen bar
And I was able to get them all pressed before heading up to bed.

Today's first task is to trim -- really just shave -- a bit to make sure the center seam will be square and lay flat.  Hoping to at least get the foursie halves together, paper removed, and seam pressed open.

A little trimming required
If I apply myself, I might get the blocks assembled so that I can tear the remaining paper while watching The Voice tonight!

I have no social activities till Saturday -- everything that had been on the agenda was cancelled -- so I should have a very productive week in the sewing room/annex. I'll try to spend some time in the garden, as well, finishing up the mulching and making some strategic changes in water pathways down the hillside.

I hope youall were safe from last night's storms (Finally heard from family in Arkansas -- all safe) and that you enjoy a beautiful and productive Spring week.

Linking up with Patchwork Times for Design Wall Monday.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Gotta Love It ...

... When a Plan Comes Together

Yesterday I finished the center of Smith Mountain morning, a quilt I started several years ago in a class with Bonnie Hunter.

Bonnie chose that name for her quilt when she was teaching at Smith Mountain Lake, which is in Virginia.

Now, take a look at the fabric I plan to use for the borders.

OK, so it's from the West Virginia shop hop a few years back (see the lighter blue WV shapes?), but WV was a part of VA at one point, right? And all the words are applicable to VA as well as WV.

I only have a yard of it. However, I gave a yard to a friend and she is willing to share the extra 10" I need.  Stay tuned.

Linking up with Angela at soscrappy for Scrap Happy Saturday.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Friday Finish

... of Sorts

My One Monthly Goal (OMG) for February (I know, I know, it's now March!) was to finish Smith Mountain Morning.

Well, yesterday I finished the last four cornerstone blocks and this morning I added the last two rows so the center is done!

Smith Mountain Morning - design by Bonnie Hunter
 Still needs a good pressing so that I can measure for borders. As I suspected, the light areas I described as "baby poop" in an earlier post balanced out when the remaining blocks were added.

I am so glad to be done with this part!  If I continue to apply myself to getting the borders on, I will be able to claim another OMG finish, albeit a month late.

Rainbow Scrap Challenge (RSC) is another story, though. While I claimed the brown scraps in SMM, I never got much else done with the February color (brown) other than 3 or 4 string blocks. As to the March color of purple, I haven't even pulled out the box of purple scraps! But I still have 3 weeks left in the month ...

Even though SMM is not entirely finished, I think this amount of progress is whoop-worthy so I'm linking up with Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2016


Yes, 10!

... Deer in the herd this year. 

I'd say, "count them," but it's useless trying to get a photograph. They blend so well with the background when there's nothing but brown leaves on the ground. In a couple of weeks there will be more green for them to munch on (and hide behind).

I sat down in the dining room to do a little sewing while the BabyLock is still set up on the table. When I caught a glimpse of a white tail flicking I counted three, then six. I went into the front entry hall (which faces the back hill) to observe them and counted two more. Then when I moved to get the sun out of my eyes I saw two more lurking at the corner of the house.

That's ten total! Mostly girls. But a couple were beginning to show antler bumps on their foreheads. No baby fawns yet so the herd could still be expanding.

Not much hope for salvaging the garden this year, but I'm going to try. I'm hoping that with a few spritzes of Deer-Off and strategic placement of some fence segments I may be able to protect some of it.

Wish me luck!

Oh, and by the way, I sewed 4 rows of Smith Mountain Morning blocks in between views of the deer. Now to finish the final 4 cornerstone blocks and get all the rows together...

Monday, March 7, 2016

Sew - Stop - Reverse - Repeat

Story of two days

The plan -- no, the commitment -- was to finish this baby quilt to enter in the youth group auction Sunday.

Baby Blocks - design by Marci Baker
Simple straight-line ditch stitching was the plan.  The problem with stitch-in-the-ditch (SITD) is it's butt-ugly when you miss the ditch.

Reverse sew and go to Plan B -- quarter-inch away from the ditch. However, my Pfaff with integrated dual feed doesn't have a very large throat and I was wearing myself out (not to mention the quilt) wrangling the direction changes every 12 or so stitches.

But wait! I have a BabyLock with a larger throat! First, I had to remember how to thread it. Then I discovered it has a walking foot!

Oh, Salvation, I thought (even though I had never used one). I finished stitching all the tumbling blocks with the walking foot, then noticed the back.

Baby Blocks Back
Hmmm, I could maybe live with that so I proceeded to start on the borders.  Unfortunately all the shrinkage in the center was exaggerated in the expanding borders and no way was I going to put my name on that product.

It just got worse and worse
On to Plan C - a different baby quilt. Once again I attempted SITD -- NOT! Reverse and begin again.  This time I thought I'd go down the center of the 4-patch columns, pinning and re-smoothing one column at a time. 

After two columns I could see there was still a lot of "creep" between the top and the back. Reverse and begin again. I changed presser foot pressure. I changed bobbin tension.  (What I didn't think of till much later was adjusting the feed dog height, not sure that it would have made a difference ...)

I finally said "to heck with the walking foot!" It couldn't be much worse with a normal foot. And I was right! Though I really didn't like the stitching down the center of the 4-patch columns because I had chosen to use a variegated thread and the dark stretches just looked like dirty thread.

The quilt at this point was at least stabilized by the vertical stitching so I decided to attempt diagonal stitching -- some in the ditch and some across open spaces.  Not too bad. I removed the vertical stitching.

After washing
Bound, washed, and it was ready with 4 hours to spare!

Yellow Baby Quilt
Happy to report it went for $125!

What I've learned from this experience:
  • Don't wait till the last minute just because you don't enjoy the task ahead of you
  • Don't use a new device or technique on a last-minute project
  • Don't use variegated thread on straight stitching, whether in the ditch or across the surface
  • It's finally time to learn how to use the Grace frame that has occupied my bridge for the last five years.
With that done, now maybe I can put some time in on my One Monthly Goal and dig through my purple scraps for RSC.