Flying Around Progress

Flying Around - mid-May 2019
Flying Around – mid-May 2019

Yes, I think I will call this quilt Flying Around.

I was sort of avoiding this project because it is hard. I had the first dedicated time in 2 weeks on which to work and I just decided to do it. Often I decide to sew two pieces together. Two pieces become two more and suddenly I am in the middle of it and enjoying myself. That is what happened on Sunday.

First, I was thrilled to be at my machine again. I loved the travel, but really missed sewing. I did bring some handwork with me, but just didn’t do it.

Second, I was excited to be making progress and I really felt like the part on which I worked just went together. That is not to say I don’t need to do some ripping, but this piece is difficult because I have an idea and not a pattern. Nobody is telling me how to piece it or which piece to put where. It is an intellectual challenge, but it is difficult.

I have to work on the edge of the upper right hand corner. It is off the design wall, so I haven’t concentrated on it. I will need to do so soon, though.

Mrs. K’s Scrap Quilt

Mrs. K's Scrappy Quilt
Mrs. K’s Scrappy Quilt

I love it when I get to see other people’s projects. Recently Mrs. K sent me a picture of her recent scrap quilt.

It looks like she sewed a lot of strips together to make larger chunks or blocks. The many colors makes this very cheerful.

I asked her what was her inspiration and she wrote “YOU were my inspiration with your blue and white 16 block squares and charity quilts. I started doing leaders and enders. One time I was sewing somewhere and didn’t have my little box of squares, so I collected other peoples small scraps and just started sewing them together as my leaders and enders.

I follow a blog called Me and my quilts by Quilt Diva Julie—perhaps you mentioned her—She does bright, colorful quilts. Many are scrappy quilts. One of hers gave me the idea for the solid strips.” Julie has a great design in her May 20 blog post that would be a great leaders and enders project. Bonnie Hunter has a couple of books about leaders and enders, Adventures with Leaders & Enders and More Adventures with Leaders & Enders.

I can hardly believe that she could be inspired to make something as great as this quilt from looking at my 16 patch blocks. It warms my heart and is one reason I write.

Thanks for sharing, Mrs. K!

Visit to Calico Mermaid

I recently returned from a week in the beautiful Central Valley where I attended the Native Sons of the Golden West Grand Parlor. Grand Parlor is the organization’s statewide convention. As you may remember, my DH was Grand President in 2016-2017, so he is now a Past Grand President. He has a lifetime vote, which is one reason he enjoys attending. I enjoy seeing some of the ladies I have met in the past. Mostly, I go because DH and I get to spend a dedicated week together. I have gotten him interested in audiobooks, so we listen and have book discussions on the drives.

Calico Mermaid outside
Calico Mermaid outside

What I enjoy when I go on these trips with him is visiting quilt shops. While I didn’t buy anything (shocking, I know), I did visit two shops. Somehow I missed the outside sign in this photo. Not sure what I was doing.

The Calico Mermaid is in downtown Porterville. It was about 45 minutes from where we were staying in Visalia. Google Maps got us there, though some of the roads seemed a little odd. Also, not all of the roads have street signs so we had to go on faith a little bit.

The Calico Mermaid - inside from back to front
The Calico Mermaid – inside from back to front

The shop is very bright and cheerful. I think it was all painted white and the shelves were see through metal. The wooden shelves were white. The local area was very bright, but the decor and furnishings of the store made it light-filled.

In the photo, left, you can see the umbrella, which I thought was a unique and fun touch.

The Calico Mermaid - inside from back to front, left side
The Calico Mermaid – inside from back to front, left side

There was a lot that I liked in the store. I was particularly drawn to the area with violets this time. I am not sure why. That isn’t a color I use particularly, but I saw some fabrics I would have purchased. I didn’t feel like I was in the mood. I was also thinking of my fabric spreadsheet and how much I have used recently.

I felt like they had a lot of fabrics. In addition to the violets, there was a great shelf of dots that was very tempting.

The shop had a wide variety of notions and patterns. I didn’t see a lot of bag patterns, but, perhaps, I missed those? My SIL was my partner in crime on this outing and she was able to find some nice fabrics.

Calico Mermaid class
Calico Mermaid class

There was a class going on. It was some kind of finishing class or UFO class. The people were laughing a lot and it seemed like they were getting things done. I am a big fan of quilt shops using their classrooms. Finishing/UFO sew time are a really good way to get things done. Sometimes having people around really motivates me to make progress on my projects.


Visit the Calico Mermaid, Downtown Porterville’s Quality Quilt Fabric Shop
122 N. Main St
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10 – 6, Sunday 1 – 5

Red Strip Donation Blocks

Yes! It’s all about red lately!

Red Strip Donation Blocks
Red Strip Donation Blocks

I finally finished all of the blocks for the second Red Strip Donation Top. As mentioned before, not all of these scraps were strips, like in the Green Strip Donation Top. There are a lot of chunks. Perhaps I should call it the Red Chunk Donation top? That would differentiate it from the first one.

One of the things I like about working on a design wall is that I see different things after I put the blocks (or pieces) up. In this case, I saw that the quilt looked pretty good with thin white strips in between the blocks. I may cut strips and try that as a layout. I’d use cornerstones as well. More scraps to use up.

The quilt won’t end up as large as the Green Strip, the Purple Strip or the first Red Strip Donation quilts, but it will still be big enough for something. The layout will be a little different than the first red version.

New Red Improv Donation Top

Start of Red Improv Donation Top
Start of Red Improv Donation Top

I am still working on the second Red Strip Donation Top, but I needed a leaders and enders project, so I started on the red improv version of my series. Yes, I have a lot of red scraps.

This doesn’t look like much. I hope it will look like the center of the green improv donation top when I am finished. I haven’t taken out any yardage yet. I have some large strips in the drawer and am using those before I dig into yardage.

I want to use as many of the scraps as I can. Strangely, I am fascinated by how much I can make from a drawer full of scraps. I haven’t yet made anything with  just the scraps. I always add yardage, but I am still making my way through the scraps.

Half Hexie EPP non-fatal Problem

The other day I showed you the latest results in my EPP piece. As I was taking the picture, I noticed a piece that looks a little odd.

EPP non-fatal problem
EPP non-fatal problem

Dots. Dots are the problem. That violet with white dots fabric n the middle is weird looking. Something about the dots intersecting with the white is unconventional.

The papers are out so I can’t rip it out. I’ll leave it and see if anyone notices.

Scrap Survey Results

Scrap Survey Results
Scrap Survey Results

Some time ago, I asked you to take a survey about the size of your scraps. This came back to mind as I work through the various scraps in my drawers. Thus, I finally took some time to look at the results.

Over 180 of you responded. WOW! Thanks. Sadly, 97 of you also skipped the one question I asked, thus I had 83 usable results.

I was really surprised to find that almost 60% (49.8) of you keep scraps larger than 3″. Now, I have some scraps that are large from awhile ago, but these days I make a big effort to only save scraps that are smaller than 3 inches. As you know, I cut up anything larger into usable patches. When in doubt I cut pieces up for donation quilts. I am curious about what you think are scraps and how you plan to use them. Please leave a comment to let me know.

There are no wrong answers and we each have our systems. I think we can learn from each other by understanding how we work.

Various & Sundry 2019 #5


If you haven’t looked at my Works in a Series pages recently, I would love it if you did. I created a new page for the Ends Donation Quilts, which has turned into a series.

Teachers, Teaching and Learning

AllPeopleQuilt has put together a video series to sharpen your quiltmaking skills. If you don’t want to look at my tutorials. ;-), check out the first installment of their series.

You all know how much I love Pamela Allen. The Kingston School of Art posted a great blog post about her and her gallery installation recently.

Judy Martin shared a couple of things with readers of her newsletter in an abbreviated May issue. Last fall she taped a segment for The Quilt Show in which she demonstrated how quiltmakers can play with Lone Star arrangements in the same way they can play with Log Cabin arrangements. A preview of that episode is now available. The show will air for free from May 19 to May 26. Be sure to bookmark it and go back in ~2 weeks so you can watch the full program.

Annie Smith has an amazing online class called Quilter’s Palette available. The class is ten installments in total. It teaches five ways to paper-piece a block (each different), three ways to machine appliqué, how to design-draft-and-make-templates, y-seam construction and y-seam construction on steroids among other techniques.

Merikay Waldvogel & Barbara Brackman have begun a fund dedicated to a special collection for quilt research books, patterns & ephemera. Donate on their site.

I am very sad to say that Gwen Marston has died. She died on or about April 16. I first saw the news in the Quilt Alliance Story Circle FB page. It had been reposted from Meg Cox’s page. I reposted Meg’s original post to the AQ page for your convenience.



I get a newsletter from Maker’s Mercantile. It is mostly knitting stuff. I don’t buy anything, but occasionally I consider joining a Knit-a-Long. I never do. Mostly I enjoy the Fridays with Franklin blog posts. The man eventually gets to knitting, but is hilarious. A recent post about his family really and truly had me rolling on the floor, especially with the description of his mother’s philosophy of childrearing “…my mother’s policy–just please stay outside during all daylight hours and don’t bother me unless somebody is broken or bleeding.” I don’t think my mother had that exact policy, but the TV was firmly OFF until at least 7pm every night and there were questions if lights were turned on in the house during the day. We spent a lot of time outdoors.

Glenna has the website for her longarm business up and running. Take a look!

Classes, Projects & Tutorials

I saw a couple of posts on Instagram for adorable carrot themed treat bags. Yes, Easter is over, but this gives you time to make a bunch for next year.

Tools, Notions, Fabric & Supplies

Friend Julie has a review of the Shark Applicutter on her blog. She bought it at QuiltCon. I don’t even remember her buying it, but I can see, after reading her review, that it would be a really useful tool for applique. I would have liked to have had one for working on the words in Who Am I?

Have you seen Northcott’s new Ever After line of fabric? Princesses, crowns, castles and all the fairy tale motifs. Very fun.

Olfa Ergonomic - new color
Olfa Ergonomic – new color

Olfa has some new products.  They have come out with a Pacific Blue Ergonomic Rotary Cutter, a navy rotary mat (36″ x 24″), and a premium quiltmaking set which includes a Quick Change Splash 45mm Rotary cutter, Frosted Ruler (6″ x 12″), and Navy Rotary Mat (12″ x 18″). More info will be available at booth 1139 at Quilt Market in Kansas City! You know I love my Olfa Ergonomic cutter. I do not love the yellow, so the blue would be a nice change. However, would I be able to find the rotary cutter hidden under a bunch of fabric? I don’t know. You can see images of the new products on a Canadian dealer site. Thanks to the Quilt Market Twitter account.

Tips & Tricks

Oliver & S has a guide to doing laundry. The good news? You are probably washing your clothes more than you need to! YAY! More time for sewing!

One of our favorite quiltmakers, Christa Watson, has a tutorial on how to build a design wall. Remember that Quiltin’ Jenny has a tutorial as well.

Paper & Other Crafts

I can’t resist posting some tutorials to other crafts. I went on a bit of a paper folding jag the other week when I was at Powell’s in Portland. I wanted to find a book on folding paper to make things like wreaths, similar to my paper wreath tutorial.  I didn’t find what I wanted so I went searching the web for what I wanted. I found several:

  • Paper Star link – not in English, video tutorial
  • Modular Braided Wreath link – video tutorial
  • Modular Braided Wreath #2 link
  • 3D Paper Star Decoration  link
  • 5 Pointed Origami Star link
  • Cut & Braided Paper Star link


If you haven’t read SherriD’s recent comment, go and read it. Her comment embodies why I write this blog. I am so excited that some of what I write has inspired her. Thanks to all of you lovely readers. You inspire me and warm my heart, too.

Half Hexie EPP

Half Hexie EPP - May 2019
Half Hexie EPP – May 2019

The other day I showed a piece of the Half Hexie EPP I was working on. I have spent some time since then attaching it to the larger piece.

I often think I am in a good place with this piece, then I look at the whole thing and realize I haven’t made the progress I wanted. That was the case when I looked at this whole piece as I was photographing it. It is still too skinny. I need to make it wider.

I have been thinking I would square up the top and bottom then make it wider. Somehow it just keeps getting longer and appears to be skinnier.

New Half Hexie EPP section
New Half Hexie EPP section

Fortunately, I still need some length so the work will not go to waste and I won’t have to rip it out.

As an aside, I saw an exact match to this quilt (except for the fabrics) on a Kansas City Star page. They call it Whirligig. Do I like that name? Maybe.

I am kind of thrilled that the Kansas City Star has a pattern for this quilt. I’ll have to look it up and see what my copy says about the pattern.

Design Wall Monday – May 2019

Design Wall - May 2019
Design Wall – May 2019

My design wall is full once again. I think it is usually full. The last time I posted about my design was back in February. There are a couple of projects still on it that you might recognize, but progress also.

Design Wall - May 2019
Design Wall – May 2019
  1. The Lobster is still there. I really  need to do something with that piece as it is taking up valuable real estate.
  2. Current FOTY 2019 pieces.
  3. BettyCrockerAss block from the BAM class I took with her. This will be a table runner for the coffee table as soon as I make the third block.
  4. BettyCrockerAss block from the BAM class I took with her. Same as #3.
  5. Jenny from One Block block I like to call Ring Toss. I still need to make a larger version.
  6. Random start for a 16 patch donation block that ended up behind my sewing cabinet.
  7. Batch 2 of the red strip donation blocks almost ready to set. These are more chunky than strippy.
  8. In process donation blocks. one will finish off the group mentioned in #7. The other bits and pieces will be the start of a red improv donation top.

I am linking up with Small Quilts and Doll Quilts, the hosting site of Design Wall Monday.


FOTY 2019 -May Update

FOTY 2019 - May 2019
FOTY 2019 – May 2019

I have been cutting away at my patches as I use fabrics, including the squares I need for FOTY 2019.

Some fabrics are the result of a bit of leftover fabric from my scrap pile. This means I am getting a bit away from the new and used idea from the recent versions of this quilt. All the used fabrics were used in some way, though, so perhaps not.

Chubby Charmer #3

Good Fortune Chubby Charmer - front
Good Fortune Chubby Charmer – front

I finished the Good Fortune Chubby Charmer I started last week. I was able to take some time while DH was out the other night to finish the last bits. It was a little tricky, because I stashed the pattern somewhere safe….

I couldn’t find it, but, fortunately, I have made enough bags to know how they go together. I may not have done it exactly the way the directions suggested, but the bag is together, looks good and will work. Also, it is on time. SIL’s birthday is tomorrow and my nephew has it to put out with the other gifts I helped him buy.

Good Fortune Chubby Charmer - back
Good Fortune Chubby Charmer – back

One thing I have to remember next time I make one of these is that the first square (top left) is on the side of the bag, so if I want to see a particular fabric, I need to put it in the second position.

The back (or other) side came out lighter than the front. I am not sure how that happened, but I should have mixed it up a bit more. There is always room for improvement in a project.

Good Fortune Chubby Charmer - lining
Good Fortune Chubby Charmer – lining

I also used a half inch seam allowance on the lining. This makes it lay really well on the inside of the bag. It was difficult to attach at the top. I wondered if I used a quarter inch seam allowance at the top and then graded the seam allowance out to half inch after about an inch, if that would solve two problems.

The pockets are large and a bit too floopy for me. Still they work really well for folders and large pieces of paper plus they fit a lot.

Good Fortune Chubby Charmer - lining with handles
Good Fortune Chubby Charmer – lining with handles

I also plan to make the pockets on my batik Chubby Charmer a little different than this one. I am not 100% sure of the exact configuration yet. I want to think about what would be useful. I also have to make the lining! I might make a slip pocket, which I learned to make (really well) in the Cargo Duffel project and have also made a few times for the Petrillo bags. The slip pocket would be for one side of the linking. Perhaps some smaller pockets for the other side, like a pocket with dividers for pens.

I also want to add a D-ring somewhere. Remember when I talked about clipping smaller pouches to different bags (AKA the lobster clip plan)? Well, I want to make a habit of putting D-rings in bags so clipping small pouches to different bags is a real possibility for me. Putting pens in a pouch might a better plan than having pens in each bag.

Now I can cross this project off my list and add the yardage to my spreadsheet.

Quilts, etc in the Wild

Pillowcase and quilt in the wild
Pillowcase and quilt in the wild

As you from my post the other day, I was in Portland. While there I saw a quilt and a pillowcase in use at my YM’s house. A friend was in town for graduation and she stayed on the couch at his house. Yay! I was thrilled to see him using a pillowcase and a quilt.

This is one reason I make quilts and give them as gifts. To see them in use is a joy.

Inspiration in Portland

We spent a long weekend in Portland last weekend. The main reason was to see our son graduate. We didn’t do a lot of other stuff, but a little. I was able to see a couple of friends and do some sightseeing around downtown.

Books at Powell's
Books at Powell’s

Of course we went to Powell’s! I saw the most amazing collection of books. They were informational and inspirational and slightly ominous looking. Of course, I wanted them all. I didn’t buy them, though since I have no shelf space. I will look for them at the library.

SIL and I discussed a misguided family who paid $6 million to get their kid into Stanford. Thereafter, we had an ongoing discussion about what we would do if we won the lottery and had skads of money. We agreed that we would create an amazing library. SIL had the great idea to start a publishing company. I already have an idea for a book!

Donation Blast from the Past

Black & Grey Teenaged Boy Donation Quilt - quilted
Black & Grey Teenaged Boy Donation Quilt – quilted

I was surprised to get an email from Kelly about one of my quilts. I had no idea she had the quilt or intended to quilt it. I finished this quilt in 2015 and figured it was off keeping someone warm all these years.

Kelly has quilted the Black & Grey Teenaged Boy Donation quilt.It looks like she did a basic all over meander. I am used to more complicated quilting, working with Tim and Colleen, but I am sure whoever gets the quilt will enjoy with simple or complex quilting.

Kelly will bind it, then she will donate it to a UK charity that takes such things.