Donation Block Prep

At the meeting on Saturday, Michelle reported that the guild had donated 175 quilts to various organizations. I can’t tell you how amazing that is. That is about 2 1/3 quilts per member! It is really a great team effort.

Donation Block Prep
Donation Block Prep

After my last post about donation blocks, I had to do some prep to be able to make more. The first thing I did was cut up some charm squares of white. At first, I just cut a few, then on a recent Craft Night, I cut up the entire pack and now have a ton of backgrounds.

I have not yet cut more foreground fabrics. I really want to use the dregs. I know I am not a fan of them, but they are perfectly fine fabrics that need to be used.

ME Check donation block - Nov/Dec n.21
ME Check donation block – Nov/Dec n.21

I made one more block before the meeting, bringing my total since the last meeting to 21.

I also checked out my bin to see what was still left. I have some plaids that I will put into a block together. I also have those sunset kind of fabrics. I cut many, many squares from them and will have to just suck it up and make a bunch of blocks from them. They will look good together and I might have enough for a whole quilt.

Bin of donation patches
Bin of donation patches

My little bin of donation patches is pretty empty. The top fabric is the sunset fabric. We’ll see what I can make from this weird assortment.

Anchor Quilt

BAMaQG Anchor Quilt
BAMaQG Anchor Quilt

Tim and I worked on the Anchor quilt on Saturday. This is a true group project. Gerre organized it. Christina did the piecing. I appliqued on the anchor and Tim will do the quilting. The last time I talked about this quilt was back in June and it has been languishing. Now we are back on track!

Saturday, he did everything and I just stood there and helped him pin and gave my opinion.

BAMaQG Anchor Quilt back
BAMaQG Anchor Quilt back

We had to work on the back a little bit. The back was two large pieces and the big area of white was bugging Tim. We talked about different things we could do and finally decided on adding a piece that Christina had started sort of 1/3 of the way down the quilt. I think it broke up the white enough for comfort.

We also looked at quilting ideas. Tim had some ideas in mind and they were good. We found a couple that we thought would reflect the them and he will do the quilting soon.

Gift Post #1 – 2017

One of the reasons I didn’t make more progress on En Provence over the Thanksgiving Weekend was that I needed to make a gift. The BAM Winter Extravaganza Palooza Party and Swap was yesterday. I had decided to participate, but sewing time was short, so I picked a pattern I knew well and devoted a day to it.

Jane Market Tote for Mary
Jane Market Tote for Mary

Mary C wanted a grocery bag, so I got out the Jane Market Tote pattern and made it using some Carrie Bloomston fabrics that I have had for awhile. Her request was that the bag be made in green. The fabric is green, but tending towards teal/turquoise so I hoped it would be ok. I made an effort to do a  really nice job sewing. For once, I paid attention to the top stitching and did all that the pattern suggests.

I sew my straps on differently than the pattern suggests, so I also did some top stitching with a decorative stitch at the top of the bag. I made a note to myself on the pattern to leave a little more of the strap in the seam allowance next time. I hope that the decorative stitching will keep the handles from pulling out.

Jane Market Tote: Amazing Piecing!
Jane Market Tote: Amazing Piecing!

When I looked at the outside, I was shocked to see some of the amazing piecing. I can’t take much credit, though, because I couldn’t really have lined up the fabric any better, if I had tried. And I didn’t try!

I don’t know how I did it, but was very pleased when I saw the way the joins had come together.

Jane Market Tote: Amazing piecing by pocket
Jane Market Tote: Amazing piecing by pocket

This amazing piecing happened in a couple of places. I knew that Mary would notice eventually so I showed her after she opened the gift and she was pleased. She appreciates stuff like that.

The inside is plain. No pockets. I have to figure out where would be appropriate to add an inside pocket sometime. I didn’t do it for this iteration.

CQFA December 2017 Meeting

Works displayed at A Work of Heart
Works displayed at A Work of Heart

CQFA was last Saturday, as I mentioned in the ATC post, and was held in our new space. Andrea at A Work of Heart is allowing us to use the space on Saturdays when the shop is closed. Marie and Maureen worked really hard to arrange for us to use the space. It is a gorgeous space and I HAVE to look at the calendar and pick out a class to take soon. The artwork in the space really reflects Andrea’s style. It is bright and cheerful and I would want it all in my house.

Some of us exchanged ATCs. We each presented some work and our thoughts about our work of the year. I talked about how few quilts I had made and how they were really complicated and had a lot of piecing. I brought part of En Provence, the scarves I have knitted, my Triple Star blocks and a few other things.

Dolores' Galaxy
Dolores’ Galaxy

Dolores brought her 3D pieces and also her fabulous galaxy project. The Galaxy has bits of Cherrywood lint needle-felted into the background. There are also little sparkles. This is a wonderful project.

She also brought her 3D cube and we discussed that awhile.

Gladys' book
Gladys’ book

Gladys, a potential new member, brought a book she made. I like the book aspects, but I also really like the botanical drawings (?not sure about this). Every time I go to CQFA, I want to make the book Maureen and I discussed. After seeing this one, I know I have to make it soon.

Sonja showed her fabulous sketchbooks and talked about her new and fancy Brother machine. Diane showed her silk paintings and talked about working smaller. Maureen showed her finished hashtag quilt. We worked on it with her at the October meeting and she was able to move forward after our discussion. The piece is great.

The meeting was great and I enjoyed it.

En Provence Almost the end

I made a lot of progress on the En Provence quilt and it is nearing the conclusion.

En Provence -December 2017
En Provence -December 2017

I started out Saturday afternoon sewing the two halves of the top together. Then I laid out the quilt to see where I was. It was really great to see almost the whole quilt laid out. I think it looks really great.

After seeing the quilt so close to completion, I was on fire to sew the last 4 rows. I took everything back upstairs and laid on that bottom corner on my design wall.  I didn’t have much more time to do that on Saturday and no time to sew.

En Provence Beginning - Dec. 3, 2017
En Provence Beginning – Dec. 3, 2017

Laying out the last corner was huge, though. I found I was missing a couple of Peaky & Spike blocks, so I had to cut some fabric to finish those. It was good, though, because I could switch out some of the Peaky & Spike blocks that I hadn’t yet sewn.

After we came back from a NSGW event on Sunday afternoon, I put the pedal to the metal on my sewing machine and sewed 3 rows. I know there are only 3 blocks left in each row, but there is still a lot of piecing. I also have to add the border and that makes some of the blocks larger, thus more time consuming to sew.

En Provence - 3 good rows
En Provence – 3 good rows

I ended up with what I thought was 3 good rows.

Standing back really helps and I found a mistake. I stopped after the mistake block. It was really too late for me to be sewing anyway and I’d already had to rip out two sections of that block.

En Provence Ooops
En Provence Ooops

Except for the two pieces, I am pleased with how this quilt came out. It is not insane like Grand Illusion, but it was complex enough to keep me interested and interesting enough to want to continue to look at it.

I’ll fix it next time….whenever that is.

Mostly Manor Lozenge Quilt

Mostly Manor Lozenge Quilt after quilting
Mostly Manor Lozenge Quilt after quilting

Colleen has been working on the Lozenge quilt on and off for a few weeks. Today she sent me a photo showing that my binding was too short -WAY too short.


Clearly I have too much on my mind. I knew how big the quilt was. I made the binding what I thought was the right size. Clearly, it wasn’t.

The quilt is coming back to me. I will finish the binding (another thing to add to my to do list) and then I will be able to send it off. From what I can see of the quilting, it looks good.

Even More Donation Blocks

You must be getting sick of my donation block craze. I really do want to add more blocks and quilt tops to my 2017 list, so I made 5 more blocks on Sunday.

I worked on them while I was piecing the last quarter of En Provence. The blocks seemed to fly out of my machine despite the fact that I was really struggling to find backgrounds.

I have been working through my  little bin of donation patches since I started on this binge. After 20 blocks, I have few backgrounds and a lot of fabrics that I am tired of using. Still, I was determined not to cut more backgrounds until I absolutely had to. I decided, after I made the Cal block (blue and yellow) that I needed to see if I had some charm packs.

The blue and yellow block as well as some of the others will be difficult to use with the standard blocks others make. There is some thing about using up as much as you can before you have to cut more background.

Eventually, I went to my tote of charm packs and found two of white fabric. I started cutting up one of them, so my next batch of donation blocks will be pretty standard.

ATCs – December 2017

October 2017 ATCs for CQFA
October 2017 ATCs for CQFA

The CQFA meeting was yesterday. It was a great meeting and we met in a new space, which is hopeful for the future of the group.

I used the ATCs that I made for the October meeting. As you might recall, nobody else made them so I had nobody with whom to trade. 🙁

It ended up being ok, because I probably wouldn’t have made them for this time since time has been short and I have been crazily piecing on En Provence.

CQFA December 2017 Meeting ATCs
CQFA December 2017 Meeting ATCs

I was really pleased that only four people were trading. I wanted one of my own and wouldn’t have felt right about taking one if more people had been trading. I could have made another, and that was my plan, but I didn’t get around to it.

My December ATCs
My December ATCs

From Left to Right (see second photo, above), Bron, Jaye, Diane and Maureen all made cards to trade. Since there were only four of us, we all got one of each.

Now, on to making cards for the next meeting.

26 Projects – December 2017 Edition

All of those year end lists will soon be out, including my year-end summing up. It’s been a few months since I did an inventory of my works in progress, so I thought this was a good time.

Finished 2017 Quilt Projects

Finished 2017 Non-Quilt Projects
While finished quilts are still a bit thin on the ground, I have been sewing. I have finished a lot of small projects, I am working on quilts and I have one more quilt finished this year than I did last time.

This year so far I have used 157 yards of fabric making the above along with donation blocks and tops. I am finally in the black in terms of usage.

Doing Good

In Process
The  ‘In Process’ is used to denote projects on which I am actively working or pretending to stitch. I try not to put away projects, because that will ensure I never work on them.

  • City Sampler – blocks all made. Need to sash the blocks and finish putting the top together. Due to some issues I had with my seam allowance, some of the blocks are smaller than others, so I will have to adjust them in some way – either adding a piece or two to the block or with sashing. This is sort of a sticking point and while I consider this quilt ‘in process’ I haven’t worked on it.
  • Dots & Stripes HST Quilt (or Something) – half square triangle blocks are made. I laid them out and see what is what with them. These blocks did not turn out as planned. I will put them together and donate the top to Charity.
  • English Paper Piecing Project– half hexies – I haven’t worked on this in awhile since I have been knitting while I watch TV. I’ll get back to it.
  • En Provence – I have three quarters of the quilt put together and am nearing the end.
  • FOTY 2016 – I didn’t capitalize on my excitement after seeing the Ellsworth Kelly exhibit and now I have lost that rush. I still need to get on it. I’d like to get the top finished by the end of the year, if nothing els.
  • Lobster – I still have more stitching to do and then I need to quilt it.
  • Triple Star: The blocks are all made and I have an idea of how to lay it out.
  • Under the Sea: class project; like the design and am happier with the colors. I had an idea for it and would like to finish it by the end of the year.

Still WIPs
I still have WIPs. Who doesn’t, after all? A project in the ‘UFO’ category means I am stalled. A nicer way of saying UFO is a WIP. The list is a lot shorter and the projects are newer, for the most part.

  1. Aqua-Red Sampler – I need to lay the blocks out and put the piece together.
  2. BAMaQG IRR – I have decided to quilt it and donate it to charity.
  3. BAMaQG Color Round Robin – no progress.
  4. Octagon 9 Patch: It is ready to put together. I could have used it as leaders and enders for a number of different projects I have going. I didn’t, mostly because I have a lot I can use as leaders and enders. Not sure what I am waiting for. Do I want to lay out the blocks more carefully? I actually have a plan for it, so I should get on it. I should do a lot of things.
  5. The Tarts Come to Tea: I still haven’t worked on this since April 2011, though, I did bring it to the 2017 CQFA Retreat as a potential project. It is still in a prominent location so I have easy access. I plan to bring it to the BAMaQG retreat.
  6. Pointillist Palette #4: Fourth is a series of 6 quilts; needs tiny square patches sewn together. No progress.
  7. Pies and Points from Victoria Findlay Wolfe class. No further progress. I did wash the background fabric I found when I went to Portland, so I am ready to cut. I need to focus on this and it is not up high enough on the list yet.
  8. Self Portrait: started in 2006 at a class at Quilting Adventures in Richmond, Virginia. I am stalled on this again. Again, I didn’t capitalize on the excitement I got from my career counselor and now the feeling is lost.
  9. Serendipity Lady Quilt: no progress.
  10. Stepping Stones #2 – I am still ready to make the border blocks , but haven’t gone beyond designing them yet.
  11. Stripes & Dots HST quilt – need to sew blocks together.

Ready for Quilting

  • Nothing at the moment

In Quilting Process

  • Mostly Manor Lozenge quilt – Colleen is quilting it and I sent her the bindinga  few days ago.
  • Thanksgiving tablemat – I started quilting this piece at the 2017 CQFA Retreat. I made good progress, but it isn’t finished yet. It will be another BAMaQG retreat project.
  • Theoretically, the Tarts Come to Tea is in the quilting process, though I haven’t worked on it in a while.  See above.


Nothing at the moment

Hunting and Gathering

  • 30 Something: I am still cutting 1.5 inch squares. I am pretty sure I have the 800 I need, but I am not ready to sew them together yet, so whenever I have a chance I cut more. It will give me choice when the time comes. I’ll have to think up a new name, too.
  • Blue Gradation Quilt: cutting 2.5 inch x 4.5 inch blue rectangles. It has to end sometime. I am just not sure I am ready.
  • Blue Lemonade: cutting blue, green, purple 2 inch squares. I used a lot of these squares for En Provence, so I will need to cut more.
  • Pink Gradation Quilt: cutting 2.5 inch x 4.5 inch pink rectangles
  • Spin Wheel: really not started, but supplies gathered. I probably have enough fabrics and just need to decide to start.
  • Windmill quilt: Still hunting and gathering. I am supposed to be cutting a variety of greys for the background. I bought a new template, so I should be able to get going again


  • Stepping Stones #3 using the Macaron pre-cuts from Hoffman. I have all the fabric in pre-cuts and am just waiting for space (and desire) in my schedule.

What’s on your list?

Self-Bordering Technique

Self-Bordering is a technique that I use pretty frequently, though I don’t always know what I am doing. Basically, self-bordering means that you treat the border blocks the same as the blocks in the main part of the quilt. You piece them in as you would regular blocks rather than as a long row.

I don’t know if I made this technique up. I am sure others have done it. If they have, I am not sure what else it would be called.

There are several advantages to using a self-bordering technique for adding borders:

  • Precision is improved, because you are adding a block or so at a time
  • It makes it easier to get the border lined up correctly
  • Eliminates long lines of stitching
  • Makes adding pieced borders much easier

This technique works with Chunking. If you are sewing all your blocks, for the whole quilt, together in rows, then don’t bother with Self-Bordering.

En Provence - late October 2017
En Provence – late October 2017

As you have seen recently, I am working on the En Provence quilt by Bonnie Hunter. The border is optional, but I am putting a pieced border on the quilt using self-bordering technique. In the photo, left, you can see the border on the bottom. It is made up of one row of four patches (or 3.5″ squares) all the way around the quilt.

All the blocks in this quilt are, essentially, nine patches. As I sew the blocks together, I work in threes – I sew three blocks in a horizontal row together. Once I have three rows made up of three patches, I sew two rows together, then I sew remaining row to the set of two I have just sewn together.

On the border, there is an extra 3.5″ piece. It is either a 4 patch or a 3.5″ patch. Instead of sewing 3 rows of three blocks together, I sew 3 rows of 4 blocks together and then sew three rows of four patches together.

En Provence Corner Block
En Provence Corner Block

The corner block ends up looking fatter, because of the extra patches. Once the corner and border blocks are integrated into the quilt, they look like blocks and a pieced border.

You cannot tell which way a border was made, if it was well done.

I like this method because I don’t like putting on borders. I also really like pieced borders. Depending on the design, of course, they really add additional interest to a quilt.

En Provence corner block annotated
En Provence corner block annotated

Once I finish a quilt, there is really no way to tell where the blocks end and the border begins from a quick glance.

The top arrow, left, shows the very edge of the border – the seam line between block and border.

The bottom arrow shows the border.

As I have said, they integrate so well that a casual viewer can’t tell where the border is. I really like that.

All Donation Blocks All the Time

Although I had a lot of other projects to use as leaders and enders, I really made a lot of donation blocks throughout the weekend as well.

I have used a lot of 2.5″ squares this weekend and I am kind of scraping the bottom of the barrel. It is not a bad thing as I am using up pieces I might not normally use. I’ll have to cut some backgrounds soon, but I hope to work out some piecing so I can use some donation blocks from last year to make a new top.

Final Weekend En Provence Progress

En Provence upper right hand quarter - November 26, 2017
En Provence upper right hand quarter – November 26, 2017

I added “Piecing” to the hashtags for this post. Immediately my mind revised that as ‘interminable piecing’. I don’t really feel tired of this project, but there are a LOT of seams and I am ready for this top to be finished. Good thing I made significant progress over the weekend.

The upper right hand corner is finished and this means that I have 4 rows of 3 blocks to finish. If I had 4 days free, I could finish the top by the weekend.

I have been sewing the border on as I go along. Using the ‘self-bordering’ technique makes the border much more precise in terms of matching seams. You also don’t have long seams to sew (and match) or borders to add once the center is done. I use this technique as much as possible. It makes my life so much better.

More Donation Blocks

French Provincial donation block
French Provincial donation block

You’ll notice that this post is not about the #OnRingoLake mystery quilt project as you will find on many other sites today as people show their progress on Bonnie Hunter’s new mystery quilt.

Since I am still working on En Provence, I thought it was prudent to finish that before starting another mystery. I am reading and collecting the clues in case I change my mind.

While I was working on En Provence on Friday, I made some more donation blocks. I used the donation blocks as leaders and enders, of course.

I figured out that each donation block has 15 seams. I made about 6 in the course of several hours of sewing, which means I sewed somewhere in the neighborhood of 180 seams total. That is between the En Provence pieces and  the donation blocks. I did a couple of other things in between as well, so my total is probably a few more.

Of course, the seams are short, which means they are quick, but I am making progress.


I am feeling like I am running out of 2.5″ pieces in my donation bin from which to choose. I think it is just that I don’t have enough to make blocks from one color. I also think that some of the choices are not my favorites. I have a number of pieces left and will make an effort to use those up before I commit to cutting more.They are not ugly and someone will like them, so I will need to use them.

Thanksgiving Weekend En Provence Progress

We had 24 people over for Thanksgiving, so there was no sewing Monday through Thursday while Thanksgiving prep was taking place. I was also working.  I did, however, make some good progress over the weekend.

En Provence, November 24, 2017
En Provence, November 24, 2017

I spent most of the day on Friday sewing. I even declined to watch a movie with the boys in order to sew. They needed some alone time anyway. More than half of En Provence is pieced and I am working on the upper right corner.

I got up and set about sewing pretty soon after that. I usually go for a walk before I sew to get it out of the way, but needed more resting time before I did that. The first thing I worked on was finishing the last/top row of the left hand side.

After coming back from my walk, I laid out the upper right hand side and started piecing. I was able to finish sewing a row and a half of that quarter. I would love to finish this weekend, but doubt that will happen. Bonnie Hunter’s Mystery Quilts require a lot of piecing, which is what makes them such great scrap quilts. Still, I have to sew a lot of short seams and there are a lot more to sew.

Color My Quilt-November

Color My Quilt - November - Melinda
Color My Quilt – November – Melinda

I started my contribution to the November Color My Quilt project for Melinda pretty soon after the October meeting. I meant to do more, but I just ran out of time.

Again, I used all scraps and did some Improv piecing. I was a little mean, but I couldn’t cut off that curve. It was part of the scrap that I used and I liked it. I am sure it will get cut off in the final piece, but perhaps Melinda will keep it.

The pieces have a fall-ish look, but are also bright.

November Color My Quilt Shards
November Color My Quilt Shards

The shards made hung together surprisingly well. I think the colors Melinda wanted were clearly defined and easy to use. There were lots  of blocks this time, which made me happy. Someone made a block using the method from Sarah Goer‘s class.