Design Wall Monday

My small design wall is fairly empty this Monday, but stuff is happening there. Mostly donation stuff.

On the bottom left are my new group of FOTY 2018 pieces. I posted about the most recent group on Saturday.

The middle of the design wall shows my most recent Spiky 16 Patches.

Below the Spiky 16 Patches is one last 9 patch. I forgot to include it in the Octagon Nine Patch.

On the right, a donation block in process.

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

FOTY 2018 – April Progress

FOTY 2018 -April
FOTY 2018 -April

The last time I wrote about this project was March. I have actually made a lot of progress on this quilt, though it might not seem like it. The shape and size are small for this year, so I will really need to step up my cutting game.

Time has been short recently due to a lot of family events, but I have had time to press and cut shapes from my new fabrics. This means lots of new squares for FOTY 2018. In this group you will also see lots of familiar fabrics. Fabrics show up from the projects on which I have been working recently.

There is also something a little different this time: the butterfly. After I washed the fabric, I wrote myself a note to fussy cut one of the butterflies. I did, but I am not sure it will end up as is in the final project. I don’t want one fabric to dominate. If I buy (or use some already in the fabric closet) some other fabrics with fussy cuttable designs, then I might keep it. For now, the opportunity is there.

Creative Spark #23: Repetition

“There is only one way to achieve the fluency, freedom and grace of the expert, and that is by doing” (The Little Spark, pg.97). I believe this quote. I live this quote. I sew a lot. I make a respectable number of quilts and chop up and sew back together a lot of fabric.

I get the impression that people think you can make one quilt and be an expert. I have made a lot of quilts and I still don’t consider myself an expert. “We get better at anything we try to do by doing it over and over (and over and over)” (pg.97).

I do think, as we progress towards becoming an expert, we gain “fluency and fluidity with the materials and…movements.” We “understand…the rhythm and harmony of the” materials, the tools and our “body.” We can feel our way through the” work ” instead of thinking…through” [it]. We become less attached to our work as we get better and we get better at telling the materials exactly what we want them to do using great economy of movement. As we get better, we are fully in control of our work and yet we choose to surrender that control to the materials. (pg.97)

“You don’t learn by thinking about doing. You might enjoy thinking and planning, but the learning comes from doing” (pg.97). Each time we make a quilt or, even, a block “a new awareness…is born. The reality is that you have to show up and do the work.

Carrie recommends that when you start to, she calls it, “throw a hundred bowls” (pg.97) that you not do it alone. In quiltmaking, guilds are great for that, but so are friends, classes and, in a pinch, the Internet. YouTube is a wonderful thing. The point is that if you get stuck and you don’t have a friend or support system, you will have an easier time stopping that if you have someone to lean on.

The text is followed by a quiz (pg.98-99), which helps determine your learning style.

Now, go make your hundred quilts or hundred blocks and improve your skills. Become an expert.

You can see the last post on this topic from last week.

Nota bene: we are working through Carrie Bloomston’s book, The Little Spark. Buy it. Support the artist. Play along. There is much more to each spark than what I am writing. The original chapters will help you. Go buy Carrie Bloomston’s book, so you get the full benefit of her fabulousness! You can see my book review, which is fueling this flight of fancy.

Weekend Progress- Octagon 9 Patch

Octagon 9 Patch - April Progress
Octagon 9 Patch – April Progress

I worked on the Octagon Nine Patch quite a bit over the weekend, despite the several hours I spent helping clear out my MIL’s house. I am pleased with my progress.

I didn’t want to do a complicated border, but the quilt demanded something more than a plain border and self-bordering is way better than sewing on a plain border any day! This means I am creating more Snowball units with the intention of “finishing off” the Nine Patches. In between the border snowball units I will put squares of grey. I am hoping it will look more woven this way, but I don’t know. You can see some of it coming together in the lower right hand corner.

Another Spiky 16 Patch

Spiky 16 Patch n.7
Spiky 16 Patch n.7

In between all that sewing for the Octagon 9 Patch, I made a few 16 patches and another Spiky 16 Patch. The center 16 patch is actually one of the 16 patches I made. Instead of putting in the pile and taking one of the centers I intended for the Spiky blocks, I just started adding bias rectangles to it.

I won’t be able to make anymore of these until I make some more of the left facing HRTs. I am almost all out and I always forget to make them.

Now I have three blocks for this donation quilt. I am thinking 4 or 5 blocks will make something nice. I want to set it a big asymmetrically like the giant Sawtooth Star quilts I made. I’ll have to play around as these 16″ blocks are larger than the Sawtooth Stars.

26 Projects: Moving Forward

I really took a big leap forward during the past couple of months and I am so pleased with my progress. I had a loose goal of completing two quilt tops (+backs, binding) before April 9th and I didn’t make my deadline. I did make some other small projects and crossing those projects off my list feels great. Having a  lot of small things on my to do list was dragging me down. I was ‘shoulding’ on myself a lot. However, I still have the quilts on my list so I still need to get busy.

Finished 2018 Quilt Projects

I really feel like I have finished more quilts. I am keeping good track so I know I haven’t. I have worked on a lot of quilts that are still in process, so it just feels like I have finished more.

Finished 2018 Non-Quilt Projects

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

  • Pies and Points from 2016 Victoria Findlay Wolfe class. Julie and I had a playdate towards the beginning of April. I brought this piece with me so I could cut more elements (Julie has a Sizzix). I am more excited about this piece now. I thought I had done more, but I couldn’t find more than 2.5 sewn together pieces.
  • English Paper Piecing Project– half hexies – I have added about five stars. I also found some grey (did I buy it for this project or on spec?) that will be perfect for the border. Now I can’t find the &^%$# diamond papers. I know I bought some and I don’t know where they are.
  • Octagon 9 Patch: The  pairs are all sewn together.  I cut pieces for the border and am sewing those patches into units and then into sections. I am using the Self-bordering technique.

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. No new progress, but it is coming up on the list.
  2. BAMaQG Color Round Robin – no progress.
  3. City Sampler – blocks all made. Need to sash the blocks and put 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 ripping and resewing, 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 hadn’t worked on it in awhile until I took the blocks to the BAM Sew Day and started measuring. Once I know what I am facing for each block, I can move forward. No new progress.
  4. FOTY 2017 – pieces cut. Need to layout and start piecing. No new progress.
  5. Handbag Sampler – this is a project about which I had forgotten. I actually don’t know exactly where the blocks are hiding. I have an idea and will crawl up in the far reaches of my fabric closet soon and see if I can find them. I haven’t even found a picture of all the blocks. The blocks were teaching samples when I taught a sampler class the time before I started writing the quilt class sampler tutorials.
  6. Lobster – I still have more stitching to do and then I need to quilt it.
  7. Pointillist Palette #4: Fourth is a series of 6 quilts; needs tiny square patches sewn together. No progress.
  8. Self Portrait: started in 2006 at a class at Quilting Adventures in Richmond, Virginia. I am still stalled on this again. As my oldest (I am pretty sure) UFO, I put it on my blog and out into the Twitterverse and Diane suggested that I not consider this as a self portrait. I think that strategy is a great idea. I am now trying to think of a new persona for her.
  9. Serendipity Lady Quilt: no new progress.
  10. Stepping Stones #2 – I need to cut more patches and sew more border blocks. Now that the BAMaQG IRR is off the design wall, I am planning to put this back on it and work on it, but the Octagon 9 Patch made it up there first.
  11. Under the Sea: class project; like the design and am happier with the colors. I have a new idea for it, which is to make a pillow and gift it to a friend.
  12. Black and Red quilt – This came about because of two other projects. I made a whole bunch of bias tape as part of my failed attempt at doing the Mighty Lucky Club a few years ago. Another part of the inspiration came from my class with Tina of Little Blue Cottage fame. This was going to be for a nephew, but I think it will be for one of my SILs and BILs. I have rectangles cut and some bias tape ready. My next step is to sew the bias tape to the rectangles like pickup sticks. I don’t have any photos of this, so you’ll have to trust me.

Small Projects in Process

Most of my progress involves thinking or just cutting.

  • All Rolled Up Tote – part of Crafty Gemini Organizer Club, so on my list, but I haven’t actually started
  • Sewing Mat – part of Crafty Gemini Organizer Club, so on my list, but I haven’t actually started
  • 4-Zip Organizer – part of Crafty Gemini Organizer Club, so on my list, but I haven’t actually started
  • Tool Tote – I bought the pattern at QuiltCon and started cutting it out at Sew Day in March

Ready for Quilting

  • nothing right now

In Quilting Process

  • BAMaQG IRR –The sandwich has been basted. I machine quilted a couple of lines and now I am doing the rest by hand quilting it using Big Stitch. I have quilted a few lines and plan to work on this at Craft Night, which has resumed.
  • Thanksgiving tablemat – I have the correct feet and just need to get busy.
  • Theoretically, the Tarts Come to Tea is in the quilting process, though I haven’t worked on it in a while.  See above.


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 I cut more. It will give me choice when the time comes. I’ll have to think up a new name, too. My next step will be to figure out if I need to cut other sizes of squares and switch from cutting 1.5? squares to cutting the new size.
  • Blue Gradation Quilt: cutting 2.5 inch x 4.5 inch blue rectangles. It has to end sometime. I wasn’t sure I was ready to put this together, but I think I am. I might do a couple of gradation quilts in a row just to get the practice.
  • Blue Lemonade: cutting blue, green, purple 2 inch squares. I used a lot of these squares for En Provence, so I am slowly cutting more.
  • FOTY 2018: I have started cutting 2.5 inch squares for the 2018 version.
  • Pink Gradation Quilt: cutting 2.5 inch x 4.5 inch pink rectangles
  • Spin Wheel: really not started, but supplies gathered. I might have to cut some more background fabrics. 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, which required the purchase of a new template. 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.

I bought some fabric, so I am down on net usage. Still gross usage is just over 92 yards (45 net; yes I have bought about 45 yards worth of fabric this year!). I am pleased, but I want to hit 50 yards net as soon as possible. If I could make it to 100 yards NET used by the end of the year, I would be ecstatic.

What’s on your list?

Two Quilts Back

Fabric of the Year 2016 - quilted, not bound
Fabric of the Year 2016 – quilted, not bound

I was just beginning to wonder where the Triple Star and  Fabric of the Year 2016 were when Colleen contacted me and said they were done. Thus, the two quilts came back from my longarmer on Friday. I knew they were coming but was surprised when they actually showed up. Not sure why since they were expected. I think life is busy and I am not keeping track of the details very well.

Fortunately, it was a pleasant surprise and it will be even more pleasant when I sew down the bindings and sleeve (on the FOTY 2016) and cross these babies off my list.

Triple Star quilted, not bound
Triple Star quilted, not bound

The Triple Star quilting came out really well. I like the variation that Colleen did. She quilted one motif into the stars and a different one into the background, accentuating the stars.

She did a simple design on Fabric of the Year 2016, which is also fine. I know she was thinking about using her computer. All over designs work very well for this type of design, but I am not a big fan of computerized quilting. Perhaps I am stuck in the Dark Ages of Quilting, but there you have it. Nobody can complain if I am willing to pay.

Hooray! I am so excited!

Various & Sundry 2018 n.4

Quilt World News

The Quilts for a Cure winner was not me. 🙁 or Julie :(, but I am sure the winner is thrilled. You can read more about it in the Quilts for a Cure newsletter.

Keepsake Quilting has been ripped from the claws of F&W and is in the process of being revitalized.

Pat Sloan is talking about the charity project on which she is working on her blog . I found post when everyone was on block 4. The project supports St. Jude’s Hospital and Moda is also involved. There is a video that goes along with the post. They ask for a $5 donation for each pattern download. Another way to do some good.


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Patterns, Projects, Tutorials & Classes

Deirdre showed me this Ultimate Carry All Bag. The sample is made from beige. While I am all for light colored interiors, I don’t like the boring look of this project. Still, fabric aside, I think it would be a useful bag.

Gretchen, a regular reader and contributor to the blog read about an addition to Tucker University, which was mention in V&S n.3. Tucker University has teamed up with Siesta Charms to reward your learning. This is a wholesale opportunity, so you have to visit your LQS and tell them you want those charms.

Need a patchwork, drawstring bag? In Color Order has a tutorial. You can use this pattern to make gift bags and also to use up scraps.

At some point in my life I have to learn to do a good machine binding. I have tried, I have practiced, though not enough, and my machine bindings still aren’t up to my standards. Sew At Home Mummy has a machine binding tutorial that I might try. Tim likes Sharon Schamber’s machine binding with glue technique. This is a video and the music that plays at the beginning is a little startling – classic, perhaps Baroque? Sounds a bit Gothic cathedral-ish to me. I haven’t watched the video yet. Another technique to try.


Pam from Hip to Be a Square Podcast and The Stitch TV Show has posted a video on selecting fabric.  The video talks about starting with a focus/feature fabric. You can see other ways to select fabrics in my tutorial. Remember, choosing fabrics is very personal, so do what you like.

Tools, Products, Fabric & Supplies

I have an Oliso iron. I bought it from MassDrop when I shouldn’t have and REALLY like it. Lately, the feet have started to act up. I contacted Oliso and they provided some instructions, which were essentially how to reboot my iron. It worked a little bit, but quickly went back to acting up. Apparently they have a replacement program, so I sent my iron off and am waiting for a new one to arrive. In the meantime, I have a cheap one that my stepfather fixed that I use as a backup and it is working fine for what I need. I got this process started by contacting Oliso via their website. Ryan, the customer service rep who helped me (consistent service gets high marks) through whol process was very patient.

Bernina 7 Series machine have special oiling instructions. Information is available on a recent Edgestitch post. I do not have a Bernina, so I haven’t checked the information. Consult with your technician or deal if you have one of these machines.

Culcita’s modern fabric club will be shipping Santa Fe by Cotton & Steel next.

Paper Wreath for the Fair

Paper Wreath for Beth
Paper Wreath for Beth

I made another paper wreath to enter into the fair. I actually made two, one for the Fair and one for Grand Parlor, but the one for Grand Parlor had some issues and I am going to throw it out. The lady in charge of the Ladies events at Grand Parlor did not want the wreath anyway.

I really like the one that came out well.

I folded the legs for both wreaths at Craft Night – yes we are resuming Craft Night. I hadn’t made the time and took the opportunity to cross this task off my list.  I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with the wreath after the Fair so I offered it to SIL#3. She helped me pick out the papers and I am pleased it will go to a good home.

Paper selection
Paper selection

I am entering a wreath, because I can certainly win in that category with it.

April Donation Blocks

I have been working on the Spiky 16 Patch prep so I haven’t made as many regular 16 patches. These are particularly nice.

I have been cutting up new fabric, which means I have some fresh fabrics to use and that is always fun.

ColorPlay: Israeli Art

Flying Sun by Joel Amit
Flying Sun by Joel Amit

I was walking through the streets of downtown San Francisco to the train Saturday night after a lovely dinner with friends. I saw this great piece of art by Joel Amit of Jerusalem in one of the gallery windows. The piece is called Flying Sun. I really like it and thought it would be great for ColorPlay.

ColorPlay: Apr27-default
ColorPlay: Apr27-default

Starting off with the default always makes me wonder. This time I checked out some of the pieces on the Play-Crafts Instagram feed and I don’t see that her quilt pieces focus particularly on neutrals. With all the color in this piece, the tool still defaults to neutrals. There are so many colors that can come in the Palette Builder tool! I don’t even have to move the circles very much- a couple of millimeters at the most to make a new palette with completely new colors. Again, this makes me wonder why so many neutrals in the default palette. Do I sound obsessed? Perhaps I am?

The greys are nice, but it is still mostly neutral.

ColorPlay:Apr,27 n.1
ColorPlay:Apr,27 n.1

I finally started moving the circles around and thought, when my first palette was finished “okay, I am done”. My first palette is extremely bright and cheerful and reflects some of the colors Mr. Amit has used. I like the Kona Lipstick and the Kona Cardinal, overall, but there is a bit of a circus feel with this palette, so I tried again into order to get something a little more subtle or, perhaps sophisticated.

ColorPlay: Apr. 27 n.2
ColorPlay: Apr. 27 n.2

My second palette uses more subtle colors. I don’t think the Kona Grellow works. It looks a little too mustardy to me. It isn’t terrible, but it doesn’t fit with the rest of the palette. I like the green – Kona Leaf, but not with the  Tomato and Watermelon.

ColorPlay: April 27 n.3
ColorPlay: April 27 n.3

Palette n.3 was another adventure. I added some turquoise, which is great and added Orangeade – there aren’t enough circles to have a ROYGBIV rainbow palette, but we do what we can. I wanted to keep the Watermelon, but moved the wrong circle and ended up with Chinese Red. Somehow I didn’t get rid of the Leaf or Grellow.

ColorPlay:April 27 n.4
ColorPlay:April 27 n.4

Palette n.4 is much better. I kept the colors I liked – Cyan and Orangeade – and tweaked the rest. Except for the yellow, I just made little tweaks. The Geranium is a nice addition. The Honeysuckle and Cyan go really well together. The Clover isn’t terrible, but I don’t like it next to the Canary.

ColorPlay: April 27 n.5
ColorPlay: April 27 n.5

Since I was getting close to a palette I really liked, I only changed the green. Again the Grasshopper is better, but still doesn’t work very well with the yellow. Also, with the Grasshopper, somehow the Orangeade doesn’t look as bright, but it does look ok next to the Honeysuckle.

This is a great photo for this exercise and I could go on forever, but I am not going to since you can go to and make your own palettes.

ColorPlay: April 27 n.6
ColorPlay: April 27 n.6

TA-DA! I took out the green. It wasn’t working, so I added some Shitake. It is a nice light-ish grey and would make a good background.

What will you make?



Donation Scarf

Green Donation Scarf
Green Donation Scarf

I have been quite remiss in writing about this scarf. I am already halfway through the second skein. My mom is heading up an effort to provide holiday gifts for women at a domestic violence shelter in her area. They can’t give a gift to a woman unless they have enough of the same types of gifts to give to all of the women. Since everyone I know has already received a scarf, I thought I would contribute to this effort.

I found the yarn at Tuesday Morning, which had just opened. I had never been in a Tuesday Morning and wanted to take a look. It doesn’t feel icky even though it is partially acrylic. Mom said that a bit of acrylic is better so that the women can wash the scarf in the machine. It is kind of a cheerful color, too.

Octagon 9 Patch Progress

Finally! I know.

Octagon 9 Patch in process
Octagon 9 Patch in process

It has taken me forever to sew the 9 patch blocks to the octagon/snowball blocks for this project. On Saturday, as I was nearing the end of a shrinking pile, I decided that I would sew as many more as I could to make as many rows as possible and then be done with it. It is done and it is 13 blocks by 18 blocks – a lap quilt for sure, but a nice sized lap quilt.

It has a slightly woven look to it, which I always liked. As one reader said, it looks like a summer afternoon with popsicles.

Michael Miller Donation Blocks Round 2

Michael Miller Donation Blocks Round 2
Michael Miller Donation Blocks Round 2

This covers my second post of blocks for Quilts for a Cure. I forgot to post these before I sent them off about a month ago.

I like these better than the first group.

Michael Miller Donation Blocks Round 2
Michael Miller Donation Blocks Round 2

I have to admit my error. I don’t know if they will be able to use these blocks. I found the information about size, etc after I mailed them and I made the wrong sized blocks. Perhaps they will get someone to sash them? I don’t know. All I know is I did my best when I had a lot going on.