Finished: NSGW Pillows

RAL's NSGW Pillows

RAL’s NSGW Pillows

You might remember that I mentioned that I made my BIL give up his winning pillow at Grand Parlor with the promise that I would make him one. The pillow forms were clogging up my fabric closet (and creating or encouraging Fabri-lanches), so I finally got busy with them last week.

Right after Grand Parlor, my SIL sent me the embroideries. She made about five (I still have some generic versions). She did an exceptional job personalizing the two larger embroideries to reflect BIL’s office. I am really pleased with how the logo pillow came out.

First, I had  to get the forms. I went to Joann with a coupon and bought 16″ pillow forms, which BIL favors. I also mentioned the project to my mom and she came over with a travel size pillow form. Suddenly the project went from 1 to 3 pillows!

Next, when I had a few minutes, I cut the batting and pinned the embroideries to the batting. Some of the batting scraps I was using were too small, which required some Frankenbatting. I bought some of the batting tape from the Fat Quarter Shop recently and tried it out. It worked like a charm. Yes, it is another notion and I could have zigzagged the two pieces of batting together, but I this method worked out very well and there is no lump, which I can’t seem to avoid when I zigzag.

Later in the week I started sewing. Pretty much I used scraps from my scrap bin for the strips, which was great. Some of the strips were pieced together to make them long enough, but I had some longish strips from the previous pillows, so there is some continuity.

Again, I used the Pointillist Palette fabric for the back (Mrs. K to the rescue again!).

I hope BIL likes them. I guess I have to go work on quilts now.

Posted in Off Topic: Crafts | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Tile Designs

Restroom floor, California Adventure

Restroom floor, California Adventure

One of the fortunate things about living where I do is that a lot of the stoops have intricate tile patterns. Bathroom floors often have great tile designs as well.

The green and white floor (right) would be an interesting quilt. I wouldn’t do it in these colors, but would keep the light as a resting space for the eyes, then put some scrappy fabrics where the greens are. I would see if I needed to maintain the varying degrees of darks and lights. I don’t think the piecing would be boring since there is quite a bit of variation.

It is easy to walk by and never notice the patterns. This is why it is important to look, an action of which I have to remind myself quite often.

Gabilan Street, Salinas stoop

Gabilan Street, Salinas stoop

These tile patterns are awesome for quilt design inspiration.

The unusual part of this porch or stoop is the pink. I don’t remember seeing so much pink in tile in this type of location before. I also was interested in the heart shaped motifs in the outer border. Given the pink and the hearts, I want to believe that a woman had a hand in picking out the colors and designs.

These types of designs are great inspiration for round robin quilts.

Restroom, California Adventure

Restroom, California Adventure

Finally, the piece de resistance, another restroom floor. I love the curved outer border and, especially that circle in the corner. When taking photos of tile motifs that you might want to translate into quiltmaking, it is really important to take photos of the corners, otherwise it can be difficult to figure out later.

I am not fond of the colors, but also like the combination of hexagons and curves.

Posted in Mosaics/Tile | Tagged , | 2 Comments

July To Do List

To Do List:

  1. Sew white on black wavy line 8 pointed star
  2. Layer, baste Christmas table runner
  3. Quilt Christmas table runner
  4. Quilt/stitch fish postcard
  5. Wash fabric AKA The Great Unwashed (I am guessing this will never be off the list, but a girl can dream) ;-) – I washed and pressed a load of grey fabric. It made more of a difference than I expected and I had some fun doing it. As I said last time, I still have a lot to do.
  6. Make stiff bucket or box for TP in main bath
  7. Make stiff bucket or box for TP in second bath
  8. Dragon Box (gift)
  9. Anna Maria Horner Multi-tasker tote (gift-due Holiday 2013- oops) – found the pattern, which is a good start.
  10. Make 3 notepad covers (gifts)
  11. Day in the Park backpack variation
  12. Petrillo bag #2
  13. Bright apron as a gift
  14. Paris apron as a gift
  15. Finish tote for Mom‘s auction (new 6/2014)

To see the 26 Projects Lists, which list quilt WIPS, visit the June Current Projects update. Last month’s to Do List is about the same.

Completed small items since November 4, 2013 (prior to this month’s list)

  • Sew on sleeve for Original Bullseye
  • Kelly’s Brown Round Robin
  • Pillow from cake tea towel
  • Try plain square for center of Russian Rubix blocks
  • Hand sew bottom opening in Shopping bag for BAMQG
  • Finish binding on T-Shirt quilt
  • Secret Santa gift for BAMQG
  • Kathleen’s Round Robin
  • Make sleeve for Original Bullseye
  • Finish sewing triangles for Scrapitude
  • Take apart Ribbon Star and resew
  • Color Group donation quilt
  • Binding for Color Group donation quilt
  • Make shopping bag for BAMQG
  • Sew coffee patch to red bag
  • Sew coffee patch to bathrobe
  • Sew green and red striped 8 pointed star (probably should include an item called “find background template for 8 pointed star!)
  • Scrap Lab backpack
  • Make binding for Disappearing Pinwheel
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Christmas Table Runner - basted

Christmas Table Runner – basted

I don’t get to the Sew Days very often, but I am glad I went to the July Sew Day yesterday. I was a basting fiend (for me). I basted two projects that have been hanging around for a long time. This feels like a major step towards quilting and finishing them. Hooray.

I don’t even remember when I bought this Christmas panel, but I remember buying and it thinking that it would make good practice for free motion quilting. Aside from that, I like it. It is cheerful and the colors are a little off of the traditional Christmas colors.

It has been hanging over my door ever since I bought it. When Kelly mentioned last week that I could baste at the Sew Day, I immediately remembered this project in addition to my Wonky Nine Patch.

Wonky 9 Patch - basted

Wonky 9 Patch – basted

Since I was planning on working in my workroom yesterday anyway, I thought I might as well baste and cut out projects with my pals rather than alone. Also, the tables at our meeting place are pretty big and it is much easier to baste using large tables than crawling around the floor of my laundry room. Much better on my knees as well.

First, I basted the Wonky 9 Patch. My thinking was that I would suffer through the large project, then zip through the small project. Basting just sucks, but it is a necessary evil. I took my time and put in plenty of pins so that I didn’t have the droopy problem I had with Calm. I think I spent about 2 hours total basting, then I moved on to ripping.

As you might remember, I started a Jane Market Tote for something (BAMQG officer gifts??) and my 9K stopped working in the middle of the last decorative stitch. Recently, Mom asked for something for her church auction and I thought of this bag. It was, after all, almost done and meant I didn’t have to start a new project. Perfect. Photos when I finish it!

Kelly's Swap Star

Kelly’s Swap Star

I had barely started to rip when Kelly, who was working on the binding of a small swap wall hanging, offered to rip for me, in exchange for sewing on her binding. She doesn’t like hand sewing much and I was planning to be sitting there anyway, so we swapped projects. I hand sewed her binding and sleeve onto her swap project while she ripped out the decorative stitching on my bag. It was pleasant sitting there stitching and a good break from standing.

We both finished at about the same time, though I finished a little bit after Kelly because I offered to sew on the sleeve as well. I think Kelly was pleased and I was pleased not to have to rip out that line of stitching.

[Update: 7/7/2014] Kelly is heading off to the Fat Quarterly Retreat and will take a quilt she got from the South Bay Modern Quilt Guild to donate to Siblings Together (a UK charity that keeps siblings together in foster care). After Kelly finished machine quilting it, Lynette took it to trim and bind it, so it’s truly a collaborative effort. BAM’s charity committee has also donated another quilt for this cause! We’ll be well represented next week!!

Lynette, as mentioned, was there, too. She brought me Fresh Fruit and the Whole Cloth Quilt back from the county fair. They had been having a vacation at her house. I thought about them while I was at Disneyland, but completely forgot about them once I got home. Friday afternoon, I remembered that I wanted to hang Fresh Fruit in my office and I put all of the pieces together. I contacted Lynette and fortunately she was coming to Sew Day. I am glad I remembered and she was able to bring them.

Lynette's Mystery Quilt

Lynette’s Mystery Quilt

Lynette worked on her Retreat mystery quilt and it looks really great. She added an original block to the eight blocks we made as part of the mystery pattern, so she had a large 9 Patch. I think she will also put some borders on it. She said that she had already cut the batting and backing. I look forward to seeing it finished.

Seeing Lynette’s made me think of mine. UGH. I am pretending it doesn’t exist, but I have to do something with it.

Amanda came and was working on her word quilt. It is a gift for friends who have been married for 25 years. All the words have to do with love and marriage. She has been working on it for a long time, yet she finished the last word block yesterday, so I think she is nearing the home stretch. Amanda is super nice making so much effort for a gift. Definitely someone to model myself after.

She didn’t bring Cat Bed kits, but gave me an already-made Cat Bed to fill up. Good thing because my my schnibble bag overfloweth. I feel bad that I haven’t made any recently, but at least a kitty will be comfy on my schnibbles.

Geri was there making everyone laugh and working on a feather quilt. I am not sure if it was the Anna Maria Horner pattern or another.

Rhonda and Peggy were also there. Rhonda has a new haircut. It is a blunt cut and it looks really great. She gave me a huge hug when I arrived which made me feel great. Rhonda was working on her whole cloth quilt, which is a kind of sampler of free motion quilt stitches that she started for the BAMQG Whole Cloth Challenge. She has the middle all done and was working on quilting the outside of the design, which I would describe as the between sections of the rays of the sun.

Charity Kites

Charity Kites

Peggy, the Energizer Bunny of BAMQG, finished a charity top and back, then worked on another top of her own design that was a big hit. She took some blocks leftover (squares and rectangles from strips) from another charity project and cut them in half. She thought they looked like kites and voila’.

I really enjoyed myself and was pleased that it was a small group. I got a lot done and wasn’t as intimidated as I have been at other Sew Days. I tend to take cutting and other non-sewing projects and it feels like I don’t get as much done, but I gave myself a stern talking to about process and how not all of the parts of the project involve sewing.

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Finished: Flower Sugar Hexagon

Flower Sugar Hexagon

Flower Sugar Hexagon

Well, the Flower Sugar Hexagon quilt (AKA Attack of the Hexies) is finally finished. I am still waiting to see Sandy’s piece, but mine is complete.

I was an idiot to make the bottom corners weirdly shaped. Sewing the binding down was a big PITA and my efforts don’t look that great.

I am pleased with the distribution of color and fabrics. The quilt is cheerful.

I am thinking of giving it to one of my mom’s cousins who was so helpful and supportive when Super G was sick and after she died. We’ll see.

Flower Sugar Hexagon back

Flower Sugar Hexagon back

Shockingly the back went together really easily. I had some big pieces and that helped.

My quilt holders were a little lazy this time.

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Creative Prompt #265: Sparkler

Post the direct URL (link) where your drawing, doodle, artwork is posted (e.g. your blog, Flickr) in the comments area of this post. I would really like to keep all the artwork together and provide a way for others to see your work and/or your blog.

We are also talking about this on Twitter. Use the hashtag #CPP

The Creative Prompt Project, also, has a Flickr group, which you can join to  post your responses. I created this spot so those of you without blogs and websites would have a place to post your responses.

Definition: “A sparkler is a type of hand-held firework that burns slowly while emitting colored flames, sparks, and other effects.

In the United Kingdom, a sparkler is often used by children at bonfire and fireworks displays on Guy Fawkes Night, the fifth of November, and in the United States on Independence Day (United States). It is called as Phool Jhadi in India and is popular during Diwali festival.” (Wikipedia)

1997 movie

Sparkler Monthly

type of fireworks

peach sparkler

Java development

Sonoma Sparkler Natural Raspberry is a blend of natural apple juice, natural raspberry puree, and natural raspberry flavor.

Diamond Sparkler is the sole remaining operating sparkler manufacturing facility in the United States.

Tiffany ‘sparklers’

The Sparkler 5k was created in memory of Felisa Barnes who passed away in October of 2009 in a car accident.

Monrovia’s Sparkler Sedge

Sparklers create a visual effect over the head of your character, visible for all players in a district.(Guildwars)

Original Lip Smacker products

Carex phyllocephala, ‘Sparkler‘ is generally considered to be winter hardy to USDA Zone 7.

An Art group monochrom were planning to light 10,000 bound sparklers as they described as “symbolic liberation” to reflect that sparklers are generally used in monotheistic traditions.[5] A large group from Toronto, Ontario, Canada also held an event displaying 10,000 sparklers to symbolize brightness, intensity, warmth and creativity.[6] In 1999 the two artists Tobias Kipp and Timo Pitkämö developed a technique of drawing portraits with burning sparklers on paper, which they called pyrografie. Since then the two artists have drawn more than 20,000 pyroportraits.[7] (Wikipedia)

Malibu rum sparkler

Homosexual vampire, produces odd light when in contact with the sun. Have you seen “Twilight”. Yeah that Edward is a complete sparkler. (Urban Dictionary)

My Little Pony, Sparkler.

And Happy Fourth of July to all of you in the U.S. and who celebrate!

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Various & Sundry #6 – July 2014

What I Read

I couldn’t help myself from sharing these non-quilt books with you. If you don’t read fiction, I am sorry. Go ahead and skip this part, because I am going wax rhapsodic about some fiction for a minute.

I have read the three best books recently. I can’t say they are the best books ever, but all three blew me away. You have to buy them RIGHT NOW (after you finish reading my blog), stop what you are doing (ahem-after you finish reading my blog) and go read them.

  • Delicious! by Ruth Reichl – this is about transformation and love. It is about grief as well and how grief can stunt transformation. The characters were realistic and there was a lot of kindness and caring in this book. Read review.
  • Attachments by Rainbow Rowell – This is another book there there is a lot of kindness and caring (hhhmmm…I wonder if this is a theme I need to investigate in my own life). The characters seem really real. They are not perfect and they don’t always know what to do.
  • The Fortune Hunter by Daisy Goodwin – it was all I could do not to sit on my bed and read this book cover to cover. Some of the writing is so clever. The story is so great and I love the characters. I wanted to throttle some of them (Augusta for sure), but this is a book I will definitely read again and I might even read the American Heiress again. Daisy Goodwin cannot write fast enough for me. I do wish she had spelled Elizabeth the Austrian way, Elisabeth.

If you don’t like the above reading suggestions, you might want to take a look at the STC Craft suggestions. I am kind of interested in the Natalie Goldberg color book and wonder if they have it at the library?

Patterns, Tutorials and Sew-Alongs

Moda Bakeshop is having a Trifle Dish Sew Along. The first row is a spool type pattern, which I can’t figure out how it relates to Trifle, but is an interesting block nonetheless. Not all of the patterns have been posted, so you’ll have to keep checking back.

Amy has a power cord wrangling tutorial on her blog that I thought was handy. She is trying to get her blog up and running again, so go leave a comment. Life intervenes for all of us, so show her some blog love.

Are we fortunate to have so many people putting up so many tutorials? It is nice to have a lot of resources on different ways of how to do things. Kati has a put up a tutorial on attaching borders without a measuring tape.

Need to thinking about gifts? How about a nail file cover? The J&O Fabric Store has a tutorial. I can’t vouch for the tutorial as I h.aven’t made one yet, but they might make good stocking stuffers or shower favors or be handy for travel

Products, Tools, Thread and Fabric

Lori has a great review up on her blog about Flatter.

Have you seen the second issue of Moda Piece? No, me neither. It is on the Issuu platform which has an Android app as well. I was able to look at the whole issue (124 pages) on my phone so I guess it is free. Don’t quote me.

Look how beautiful this Aurifil display looks! I also love the name of the shop, Crimson Tate. Thanks to Alex Veronelli!

I wasn’t sure whether to put this tidbit in products or media. Judy Martin has designed a game called Quilt Show. After 5 years in design and production phases the game was recently released at Origins Game Fair in Columbus, Ohio. Steve (Judy Martin’s husband) and Judy were on hand as the first box was opened up. They spent two days demoing Quilt Show to throngs of eager gamers.

The price of the game is $34.95, which is a steal for a game with this many components of this quality. The game weighs 2-3/4 pounds! That’s a whole lotta game! The box and the tiles have a linen finish. The cards are sturdy. Judy thought there was a chance it would hit $50!

Because of the weight of the game and the fact that she can’t ship it by the very cheap Media Mail, she’ll have to charge $10 to ship a game in the United States. :( Judy won’t be able to ship it outside the United States. There will be distribution in Europe, and I’m sure there are retailers who will ship anywhere.

I see games being played at quilt shows, like Quilt-O, which is played at the Pacific International Quilt Show in Santa Clara. I know it is pricey, but support Judy and her small business by buying a copy. I never would have thought that quilting would make it into a game. I wonder how this fits into that study of improving memory, which was reported on NPR and other media outlets.

Gretchen recently posted a review of the Perfect Angles product. Apparently, this tool prevents the quiltmaker from having to draw lines for half square triangles and such. Go read her review and become an expert. Gretchen is also making progress on her BOMs, which she shows.

Jackie gives some ideas on organizing bobbins, including discussing various products available. One of her commenters, Rebecca, chimed in saying she had done a post on bobbins as well. It is always fun to check out a new blog.

Continuing with our hacking theme, Barbara hacks her sewing machine and answers the age old question of “why does the machine need a handwheel?” Fascinating intersection between sewist/sewer and engineer.


Marginally quilt related, and only because many of you Tweet, are Gail Carriger’s blog post about Twitter etiquette. I am not saying she is the guru, but her points are good and I agree with them. If you haven’t read any of her books, try Etiquette & Espionage. I believe Pam talked about this book on her podcast and I wrote a short review. This is an entertaining book by which to sew.

Abby Glassenberg of While She Naps and stuffed birds fame started a series of blog posts about patterns that changed people’s lives. The first one is about Sara of Sweetness. She, if you don’t know from studying this blog intently ;-)  , is the authoress of the Petrillo Bag, which I have discussed endlessly and will, no doubt, discuss more in the future. I look forward to reading more of Abby’s interviews.

As an aside, I reviewed her book, Stuffed Animals: From Concept to Construction, back in February. Did you buy it?

Here’s an interview Judy Martin did for Fave Quilts back in early May. The book giveaway is no longer current, but you might find the rest of it interesting.

Also relating to the Martin Family, check out the Accuquilt blog for the winner and photos of their block contest!

Take a look at the SAQA donation quilts! There is one from Miss Lottie, the hostess of the Slightly Mad Quilt Lady podcast and also one from fellow CQFA-er, Jennifer Landau! Great work, ladies!

Other Artists

Reene over at Nellie’s Niceties blog posted some NY Beauty pillows she made. I showed my mom as we were together and we had a discussion about color wheels as a result. She said that the color scheme of these pillows worked because they are compliments on the Munsell Color System. She swears by Munsell. She wrote a few blog posts, which you can read on her blog, Mary’s Art Musings. She also posted about these pillows as well.


I went down south to visit Disneyland with some of DH’s family. We had a great time, but that part of the trip is not quilt related (Disney no longer sells fabric in the parks), so you’ll just have to wonder about our trip. ;-) The quilt highlight was meeting up with Susan of History Quilter fame and spend some time with her and her family. I got the grand tour of the remodel, which was great, because it looked like the photos, but was oriented differently in m mind. I saw where the podcast magic happens! I also got to meet her family and talk some quilting. I loved one quilt where she is doing different textures. I actually really liked all of her quilts (got to see her UFOs), especially the free way in which Susan puts patterned fabrics together. Because I am very bossy, I gave her some advice (ideas, hopefully) on how to continue with her UFOs. Now that the remodel is done and school is out, she can get back to her quilting. I look forward to seeing her progress.

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FOTY 2014 – Early July

FOTY 2014 - Early July

FOTY 2014 – Early July

Here is another batch of rectangles for my FOTY 2014 piece.

Early July is a bit of a lie because all of these patches were cut in June. I picked the title based on the publish date and next year nobody will remember or care.

In between my travels, I did a load of blacks and greys. The colors you see are from projects I have been working on.

These are not in the same kind of color order that I normally use, but I was out of town for many days in June. You’ll see some of the fabrics I used in recent projects as well as a couple of loads of the Great Unwashed experiencing a bracing cleanliness for the first time. ;-)

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Snowball Wreath Redux

Longtime readers may remember my post about the Snowball Wreath block, a block originally published in the Kansas City Star in the 1930s as a Laura Wheeler design. It is number 1515 in Barbara Brackman’s Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns with the name “Snowball Wreath.”

This came up again when Kelly found a newspaper clipping of the block on eBay and let me know about it. Since the block came up again, I did a Google search to see if any quilts had come up with this pattern. Lo and behold, Barbara Brackman had done a post on the block in 2009. I don’t read her blog regularly, though I should, and missed this post.

She talked about photos she had received of a quilt from Alabama. She recognized the block immediately as the Snowball Wreath. If you go to her blog, you can see that the quilt is actually made from blocks of that pattern!

It doesn’t look like the maker actually pieced the quilt from the pattern. It is hard to tell from a photo, but I think the ‘wreath’ part of the block was appliqued on to muslin.

Brackman gives information on getting the pattern and asks people to write in if they try the block or know of a quilt made up in the pattern.

The 2009 post is followed up with a January 2010 post with results of the query. In the post she talks about Vivian making the block and the changes she made to the pattern to make it pieceable.

Vivian actually made a top from the block pattern, after buying BlockBase just to get the pattern! She started talking about it right after BB posted about it on her blog.

Snowball Wreath Quilt Index

Snowball Wreath Quilt Index

I also found a reference to it in the Quilt Index. You can see a lot of the old newspaper patterns in the Quilt Index as well as examples of quilts and blocks. It is a worthy cause to which to donate.

ScrapHappy, who writes the soscrappy blog also tried the Snowball Wreath pattern and posted about it on her blog. she made it in miniature using paper piecing. This appears to be from some kind of BOM or group project from a shop called Sentimental Stitches. I came across a PDF with a pattern in my Google travels.

Flourishing Palms made a version of the block in 2011, though it is slightly different than the original. She calls the fabrics ugly, though I don’t think they are ugly. Again, to each his own. The interesting thing is that she wasn’t aware of my post or Barbara Brackman’s. She just flipped to it in Barbara Brackman’s Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns book. Odd and interesting!

Helen, from the Being, Nothingness and 1000 Quilt Blocks blog, wrote in another blog post, also from 2011, the block is shown with a bunch of others after a discussion of Existentialism! the goal of this blog was to create 1,000 quilt blocks and read 600 pages of Satre in one year. I don’t think she made her deadline, but she is still plugging away on both. It is interesting to read the Satre bits and then look at quilt blocks. The first post of the blog describes the project a bit and, on the Gallery page, she writes “… in my quest to complete all the quilt blocks in Maggi McCormick Gordon’s 1000 Great Quilt Blocks.” I want to do this kind of project some time. The Tula Pink City Sampler could be a warm-up for a larger project. Barbara Brackman’s book or Jinny Beyer’s book? Either would be a retirement project.

I have to say that this block still fascinates me and I might try another version.

Posted in Blocks | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Tale of Two Cities – Late June 2014

I am having a hard time getting into the sewing groove. I am pretty sure it has to do with my ‘depression’ over my sewing machine. All the travel I have been doing gets me out of the groove as well. I know that you don’t notice the travel, because I continue to post, but I have been out of town all but 17 days since May 23.

In order to get into the sewing groove again, I decided to work on the City Sampler/Tale of Two Cities block challenge. I spent almost the entire day last Thursday sewing. I don’t feel like I accomplished much, but I keep reminding myself that it is about the process and not the product.

Before I started working on this most recent batch of City Sampler/Tale of Two Cities blocks, I was thinking that this project was fulfilling a goal in my quiltmaking adventure: to make all the blocks in a block dictionary. I never picked out a block dictionary to work from, but always thought I would do the blocks in Around the Block. I didn’t even realize that I had started to work my way through a block dictionary until recently. I guess I wasn’t paying attention. ;-)

City Sampler no.11

City Sampler no.11

I decided I’d like to make up to no.20 before the next BAMQG meeting. I had made 10 before I started on Thursday. My goal would have meant making 10 more blocks. The first block I made was, obviously, no.11. I am trying to go in order to keep everything straight, though I do veer off sometimes

I am not sure if I like this block. I love the fabrics, but the ice cream cones might be a bit much.

Also, the brown is still a problem for me. This is a similar, but different brown than the brown I used in the City Sampler block no.5. The dots are smaller and I was hoping that would help. I am thinking that the brown part of the background fabric will have to stand on its own in this quilt. I don’t think I will use anymore brown. I don’t know that I will remake the blocks I have made with brown, but we will see.

City Sampler no.12

City Sampler no.12

Next up was no.12. I used the octopus fabric again. It is really fun fabric, but I don’t think it is working in this quilt. I actually forgot that I cut the plus pieces and imagined using the background fabric for the plus pieces. When I found I already cut the pieces from the octopus fabric, I put the block together. Then I decided to make it again with the background fabric and see which one I liked better.

City Sampler no.12 (#2)

City Sampler no.12 (#2)

I definitely like the one with the background fabric (Remix by Ann Kelle for Robert Kaufman). The background fabric works in this block, because it is surrounded completely with other fabrics, thus the fabric in the plus will not run into the background fabric, should I decide to surround the blocks with sashing or something.

Making sure that the background I use in the blocks doesn’t bleed into the sashing or border is a design choice. I don’t mind using the background fabric in the blocks since I really like it, but I want the blocks to be crisp and distinct. You might make a different choice as you work through design choices in your work. You can create a great effect by allowing one fabric to bleed into another, so don’t be afraid to try it.

City Sampler no.13

City Sampler no.13

One member of our guild made a few of hte plus blocks and then skipped to the rectangles. She considered the pluses crosses and the motifs bugged her. I thought about this while I was sewing the blocks and I have to say that I didn’t think of them as crosses. I began thinking of them as pluses and continue to do so.

Whether you think of these blocks as crosses or pluses, I think there are enough blocks to remove a few from the running, as you prepare to put the blocks together into a top, to create a look that you really like.

No.13 looks odd to me – off balance or something. I realized that the outside still has a seam allowance so the pluses don’t looked balanced at the moment, but will once I put all the blocks together.

I briefly thought of posting new blocks on a weekly schedule like the Block-a-Long and the Creative Prompt. I don’t think I am quite that organized. We’ll see. For now I’ll just write posts as I sew the blocks.

This is a fun project and it is getting me to sew. I feel a small sense of accomplishment as well. All I have to say is that Friend Julie better be working on her blocks!

Previous Posts

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Christmas Pillowcase Project Round 1

A few weeks ago I posted a pillowcase tutorial that used some sort of Christmas fabric. I think that I really want to make pillowcases for my nieces and nephews. For those that are married, I will make one for the spouse and children as well. I thought I mentioned it, but don’t see the words on my blog. It may have been that I was thinking about it since I made the three pillowcases for the littlest nephews last year.

I have a bunch of Christmas fabric that I bought on sale for gift bags. I never made those gift bags as I really have enough and am happy with the ones I have. The fabric was languishing (read taking up precious space and getting on my nerves) in one of my drawers. I finally decided that I would actually make pillowcases for pre-Christmas gifts for the nieces and nephews so they could enjoy the holiday season while they sleep.

This means the following: <Quilt Math ALERT: Breathe deeply and don’t panic>

13 nieces and nephews
+1 great niece
+1 great nephew
+1 niece spouse
16 total pillowcases
-3 pillowcases already made for nephews last year
13 total to make by Thanksgiving*
-2 already made this year (see this post (-;   )
11 pillowcases to make by Thanksgiving

I will make as many as I can and I will start from the top down so kids in the same family or household all get the pillowcases at the same time if I can’t finish them by Thanksgiving. I feel a little bad that the littlest nephews won’t get them with their cousins, but since I plan on sending them early (so the cases can be enjoyed during the season) rather than giving them out at christmas, they really won’t know. I am pretty sure the 3rd and 5th graders don’t read this blog.

I washed all of the Christmas fabric for the pillowcases and decided to press it as I made the cases. If you have read the gift bag tutorial, you know that I don’t wash fabric I use for gift bags as I like the sizing to give the bags a bit of body and they will probably never be washed, so I don’t take the time. There is minimal pressing so I don’t break out from pressing the unwashed fabric.

Although I haven’t used up all the fabric I have, I had to buy some fun, modern Christmas fabric on sale after Grand Parlor because I loved the color. I think I bought enough for 4 pillowcases, but can’t remember.

Christmas Pillowcases

Christmas Pillowcases

Last week, I finished up the two pillowcases I started the week before I went to Vancouver.

The main body of the pillowcases is the Christmas fabric and the cuff is some fabric that looks like crumpled paper that I got in the mid 1990s. I remember getting that fabric from Lisa Call, who bought a bunch of it in several different colorways and distributed it to those who ordered and paid. I was really excited about the fabric, then never did much with this particular colorway. I used the turquoise and rose colors in various projects. Green has never been a favorite of mine, but the fabric worked very well with the Christmas fabric. (Aside: use your beloved fabric before it ends up as the cuffs of pillowcases!)

I decided I didn’t want to bother with the trim. I don’t really like the way it has come out on the ones I have made. I also think it is an extra bit of annoyance when I am trying to plow through a project. I might feel differently on future pillowcases, but for now that is the word.

I do want to try piping again and if I can perfect my piping technique, then that might look lovely. On the other hand, piping might just make ugly lines on the nieces and nephews faces when they sleep. For now, I will leave it.

I might even get the packs ready to send to people, so there isn’t a lot of packing up required. That might be a little creepy organized even for me. We will have to see.

It is kind of fun to have a project like this. I don’t think I have had one since I made the card holders. I feel like I am spreading the quilt/fabric love when I make useful stuff that non-quilt people won’t wonder too much about. Who knows? They all might think I am insane regardless.






*Thanksgiving is kind of my unofficial cutoff time for sewing projects like this. I go later sometimes, but really try to have big projects done by Thanksgiving so that I am not sewing at the last minute. A lot of my spare time after Thanksgiving is taken up by writing cards.

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Half Moon Modern Possibilities

Sometime ago, I bought a bundle of Half Moon Modern fabrics. They are washed and pressed and awaiting inspiration. For all the reasons I have stated in the past, it is ridiculous to want to use them together, but I do anyway.

Lately, these fabrics have been on my mind. Though I want to do a difficult, time consuming project as my next start, I also want to get these fabrics out of the Fabric Closet and onto a bed or a wall.

Some ideas have been coming my way including this Rusty Avenger pattern, called Summer Celebration.

I like the vertical look. I also like the ribbon effect.

I would use each of the colorways in one ribbon.

The question in my mind is: do I want to just use the fabric or do I want to use the fabric in a quilt that will matter? Is it possible that a quilt using the Half moon Modern fabrics will matter regardless of the design? Or will it be another flash in the pan?

Half Moon Mod Possibility 2

Half Moon Mod Possibility 2

I also saw this pattern, Raising the Bar,  in Quilts and More, Spring 2014 magazine. I was reading in an orgy of quilt indulgence one evening while I waited for the Young Man. It is by Sheila Sinclair Snyder. I really like it for a couple of reasons:

  1. I think it shows off the fabric
  2. It isn’t difficult, but it also isn’t boring
  3. Except for the border I could easily resize it to accommodate more or less fabric
  4. I really like the border, which I think makes the quilt more interesting

The issue is that someone has already made this quilt. I don’t need to make a quilt that someone else has made. I showed the pattern to TFQ and she said that it would look great scrappy. The rectangles remind me of FOTY 2008.

This whole question makes me think about whether designing from fabric first or pattern first or block first is correct. I don’t think there is a correct answer. I seem to start from different places depending. Is there something more difficult about starting from a group of fabrics? What do you think?

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Creative Prompt #264: Hotel

Ladies Night at Finbar’s Hotel by Maeve Binchy et al

Hotel California by the Eagles

Finbar’s Hotel by Dermot Bolger

Post the direct URL (link) where your drawing, doodle, artwork is posted (e.g. your blog, Flickr) in the comments area of this post. I would really like to keep all the artwork together and provide a way for others to see your work and/or your blog.

We are also talking about this on Twitter. Use the hashtag #CPP

The Creative Prompt Project, also, has a Flickr group, which you can join to  post your responses. I created this spot so those of you without blogs and websites would have a place to post your responses.

hotel room

cheap hotel

hotel booking

hotel reservations

The Grand Hotel (1932 movie)

Definition: “A hotel is an establishment that provides lodging paid on a short-term basis. The provision of basic accommodation, in times past, consisting only of a room with a bed, a cupboard, a small table and a washstand has largely been replaced by rooms with modern facilities[citation needed], including en-suite bathrooms and air conditioning or climate control. Additional common features found in hotel rooms are a telephone, an alarm clock, a television, a safe, a mini-bar with snack foods and drinks, and facilities for making tea and coffee. Luxury features include bathrobes and slippers, a pillow menu, twin-sink vanities, and jacuzzi bathtubs. Larger hotels may provide additional guest facilities such as a swimming pool, fitness center, business center, childcare, conference facilities and social function services.

Hotel rooms are usually numbered (or named in some smaller hotels and B&Bs) to allow guests to identify their room. Some hotels offer meals as part of a room and board arrangement. In the United Kingdom, a hotel is required by law to serve food and drinks to all guests within certain stated hours. In Japan, capsule hotels provide a minimized amount of room space and shared facilities.” (Wikipedia)

lodging establishment


The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011 movie)


Savoy Hotel

boutique hotels

extended stay hotels

Hotel management

Library Hotel (NYC)

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014 movie)

coaching inns

Disneyland Hotel

Hotel Transylvania (movie)

Hotel Books is an expression of spirit conveyed through spoken-word poetry and ambient music

Heartbreak Hotel


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Current Projects – June 2014

Six quilts finished this year already! Not the same as last year, but respectable.

As I look at these lists, I can hardly believe that some of the projects, which I now think of as old, were not even on the first list I made. Crazy.

Finished 2014 Quilt Projects

  1. Disappearing Pinwheel: Finished May 30, 2014
  2. Fabric of the Year 2012: Finished 4/24/2014
  3. Fresh Fruit: Finished May 3/3/2014
  4. Infinity Quilt: Finished 3/3/2014
  5. Scrapitude: Finished 6/3/2014
  6. Spiderweb: Finished 2/22/2014 WHEW!

Finished 2014 non-Quilt Projects

Still WIPs

  1. Aqua-Red SamplerFrances and I are back at it regularly and I give Frances full credit as I have been letting her “drive the bus.” I did work on the hexagon tutorial as promised. It is ready to post, but I could have taken a few more photos and might still do that. If you look at it and think there are a paltry number of photos, check back.
  2. The Tarts Come to Tea: I still haven’t worked on this since April 2011, though, periodically, I think about working on it.
  3. Pointillist Palette #4: Fourth is a series of 6 quilts; needs tiny square patches sewn together. I still haven’t worked on this, though, I did find a bunch of squares already made. That makes me hopeful.
  4. Self Portrait: started in 2006 at a class at Quilting Adventures in Richmond, Virginia. I like the piece, but don’t know where to go from where I am. Mouth? Hair? The attitude I need to have is that I can’t ruin it; there is always more fabric. Possibility for abandonment.
  5. Under the Sea: class project; like the design, but not the colors much. Possibility for abandonment. I have to face reality.

Ready for Quilting

Wow! Everything on this list is new.

  1. New:* Wonky 9 Patch: needs quilting and binding. I got some batting from Kelly for this since I am thinking about quilting this myself. (Not on original list)
  2. New:* Super Secret Project #4: at the quilter

In the Finishing Process

  1. See: I have quilted about a third of it, so 2/3 needs to be quilted. Needs facing and sleeve
  2. Flower Sugar Hexagon / Attack of the Hexies – Sewing on binding.
  3. New:*Star Sampler: Quilting finished and binding machine sewed on the front. I have to go pick it up and sew the binding down by hand (not on original list)

In Process
I decided that I had better put in an ‘In Process’ category. The difference, at least in my mind, between ‘In Process’ and ‘UFO’ is that I am actively working on a project that is “In Process.”

Hunting and Gathering

  • 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 will use a grey for the background, because if I use more of the cut fabric patches, the pattern will be lost. The pieces are too oddly shaped and I don’t want to lose the pattern in a mass of scraps.
  • Stepping Stones #2 using Bonnie & Camille fabrics Bliss, Ruby, Vintage Modern: made two test blocks, but still in the thinking stage while I decide on the background colors. I want the contrast to be good.
  • Super Secret Project #3: working on color choices.
  • FOTY 2014: cutting out 3″x5″ rectangles.


Nothing so far for 2014

You can find the last update for the Current Projects list provides a good comparison to this month.

I thought you might want to take a look at the first list I made, the one with the 26 Projects. I started the list in October 2011. I have made REALLY GOOD progress. Up until last month, I was still planning to stop this post when I had no more projects from the original list to write about, but now, that the end is in sight, I am not so sure. It is so useful to keep track of all of my projects. Since I still have some pretty old projects on the list, I don’t have to decide right now.

*New – Project started after I started working on the 26 Projects list

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Amanda Jane 7 Pocket Work Apron

These had been on my list for a long time. I bought this pattern and two kits when we were on the North Coast in February. Making the aprons, which I think of as Cafe’ Aprons, has been on my list since then. I had washed and ironed the fabric and then moved the fabric carefully around my workroom for a couple of months. I finally got myself together to make them last week. I think my list, which has seen little movement in recent months, has been nudging me.

Apron Pattern

Apron Pattern

The pattern is on a little card, about the size of a postcard. I like the marketing idea, especially when I see a variety of these Villa Rosa Designs cards in stores on a rack. They are like candy and I want to buy 12. The idea is genius – one card, one project. Clever. Cheap possibilities. The size of the card, however, in terms of following the directions makes it very hard to read. I guess I am getting old, but I was squinting at the directions quite a bit.

The size also does not allow for very much explanation and several times I had to sit down, read the directions over and over, a little at a time, imagining the steps in my mind before I could take the next step. I can’t blame it completely on the size of the card. I am bad at following directions. This was especially true for the tie. Once I understood the directions, it was simple, but a photo would have been very helpful.

I see, now, also in small print, that Boutique Patterns has posted a page of tips and tricks regarding this pattern. The straps are covered on this page, so I should have looked; it would have been helpful. Once I figured out the straps, I liked the way they were attached to the apron.

As an aside, I liked how they show the apron, as made from the directions, looks on two different sized models. If I were making it for a more statuesque friend, I would definitely make the Apron front and backs taller than 13″ called for in the directions.

Bright Cafe' Apron

Bright Cafe’ Apron

When I finally made them I made three, one right after the other. I like to get accessories like this right and the only way I can do it is to go over the steps in fabric until I have the process down in my mind. I bought the kits to make a couple of gifts and the first one didn’t come out well, because I missed a crucial part of the pattern. I don’t think I want to give it as a gift, but we will see.

Little Black Dress 2 Cafe' Apron

Little Black Dress 2 Cafe’ Apron

I think that this is a fairly easy pattern to modify slightly, as described above or in terms of pockets. I thought the small horizontal pocket was kind of a dumb size so I made it larger. I also didn’t hem the pockets, but doubled them in size, folded the fabric in half and sewed them closed. This made each pocket fully lined. That kind of pocket is easier to make than doing the hems. Less chance of burning my fingers on the iron, too. I thought that not having the wrong side of the fabric showing and having everything fully lined made the apron nicer.

Little Black Dress Cafe' Apron

Little Black Dress Cafe’ Apron

I wasn’t that happy with the kits I bought. I loved the fabric, of course, but there wasn’t enough for the Apron back and the fabric for the large pocket was not wide enough. Fortunately, I have plenty of fabric around and was able to fill in the gaps. It could be that this was explained to me when I bought the kits and I forgot.

I think this apron would be a nice quick gift for quilt or cooking friends. It is more of a work apron than a hostess apron, but would work for a variety of crafts as well as not-too-messy-cooking.


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