Friday, May 31, 2013


2-10: News
Ten of the eleven blocks in row two are finished.  The last one is a doozy - many, many little triangles - so I'm saving it for tomorrow.  That's OK - I'm satisfied.  All but one block in the row by the end of the month when I didn't think I'd have any.

Finally! Victuals

This block would have been finished three hours ago if I hadn't made a couple of horrendous mistakes.  I cut the seam allowance off the side of one basket, and made one basket with a red handle and black bottom.  I guess I must have been rushing more than I realized - I didn't feel like I was rushing.

Two more blocks in this row.


2-6:  Harassment

Three down, four to go

I'm hoping to finish the blocks for the second row of Civil War Diary today.  Yesterday and this morning I finished these three blocks.  Since the last four are fairly complicated paper piecing I probably won't finish today, but I'm going to try.

2-3:  Feeding the Rebels

2-4:  Draft Threat (sounds like the 1960's to me!)

2-5:  Southern Notes
Yesterday I did some reading about my "early history" with this quilt (blogs are GREAT for doing that!).  While working on this again, I've been wondering why I'd skipped around the book so much.  And why I'd made blocks from both this book and "Civil War Love Letters" at the same time.  Skipping around is particularly not like me - it goes against my "organizational gene".

The answer was very interesting!  Apparently Kathie suggested we work on these together, and see who else in Blogland would be interested in joining us.  We were going to make one quilt, combining blocks from both books.  Apparently there were several bloggers who joined us - enough that we even created a "blog ring" for the project.  Our goal was a block a day, and those participating took turns choosing the blocks to be done each week.  We did a mix of easy and difficult blocks to start with, but soon started choosing easier blocks so those who were behind could catch up.

The ring is long gone, and the list of participants is gone too.  I wonder if any of them ever finished their quilt?  I wonder if some of them are even quilting and blogging any more?  I know Darlene was participating, but I've no idea if she reads my blog anymore.  (I lost so many readers when I stopped blogging for awhile - my fault!) When I need a break I think I'll go back to the comments left on those old posts and do some sleuthing.  In the meantime, I need to get back to the machine to work on the next block!

Thursday, May 30, 2013


One-third of the next block of Civil War Diary.

I am so happy!  Maybe I can come close to finishing a row before midnight tomorrow!

I can't believe I've not worked on this project since March!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

What to do?

I think this is the main reason I didn't do any Civil War Diary blocks this month.

I took all my baskets of 30's fabrics out of the closet and onto the cutting table while making the basket blocks.  When I needed the cutting table for Scrap Basket Sunday I moved them to the floor in front of this row of bookcases.  No point in putting them back into the closet as I'm going to be piecing many more basket blocks. My four baskets of small scraps are here too, all but one out of sight on the right. There is no room in the closet.  A BIG stack of large batting scraps are also to the right- they are still here instead of upstairs as I have 3 more little quilt tops I want to baste together for hand quilting. 

Can you see the problem?  It is REALLY hard to open the bookcase doors when all this is piled in front of them.  I'm currently trying to figure out a solution.  Many people have "vacation homes".  What I need is a "quilting home".  Somehow I don't think DH would go for that, and neither would our bank account!

I guess the only solution is to keep sewing!!!!!!

Looking toward June - goal setting

If you check my left sidebar you can see my goals for June.  I'm not sure how much of a stretch those will be, but I'm comfortable with them.  I can always add more in the next couple days. 

I do have lots of quilty things going on, but little that is new.  I'm sure you get tired of seeing the same projects several times during the month, but I'm determined to remain focused on finishing flimsies and current projects.  I must put on blinders as I read blogs and thumb through books - there are so many new things I'd love to start!

These books arrived in the mail yesterday.  I've not had time to look at either yet - I hope to do that this afternoon.

End of May report

I know - May doesn't end for a couple more days.  However, I feel like today is a good day to take stock and set new goals - probably because I know I won't complete anything else by Friday evening.

I did nicely with my May quilting goals but failed with the rest of the goals.  I've been so focused on quilting that everything else has been shifted to the back seat.   I feel I accomplished a lot - definitely more that I thought I would at the beginning of the month.

Quilty successes include:

1.  Finishing "Hat Trick"
2.  Finishing "Peter Cottontail"
3.  Finishing "Bunny Hop"
4.  Basted 13 little quilts for hand quilting
5.  Completed 45 Shoo Fly blocks and cut out "parts" for many more
6.  Completed 22 30's basket blocks, 18 to swap and 6 to keep and cut out the white parts for several dozen more
7.  Pieced May's Schnibbles quilt - "A Gentle Art"

I didn't piece any Civil War Diary blocks as I was too busy with other things, so that goal will move to June.  Since so many other things are happening I'm changing it to one row instead of two.  I'm determined to do that much for sure, so it will be my first goal.

I didn't do anything with my 12 Dear Jane blocks, as my mind keeps coming up with new ideas as to how to set them.  So I'm tucking that project away for now until I can settle on one idea.

I did finish knitting a pair of socks while we were camping.  I've pulled another partially finished pair from my projects basket which I should have no trouble finishing in June.  It is the same pattern as the May pair, so I can knit them from memory rather than depending on a chart.  We are going camping for 5 days in June, and knitting is a great camping project.

Spinning - well, both wheels are in the living room, both have partially filled bobbins with remaining fiber draped over the top of each one.  I've not touched either wheel since the last week in April.  I'm not concerned - right now my quilting mojo is MUCH stronger than my spinning mojo.  I know I'll get back to spinning, but I'm not sure just when.  Certainly in July if not before, when Ravelry will once again host the "Tour de Fleece".  This is a time when hundreds and hundreds of spinners make beautiful yarn while watching the Tour de France.  I spun several pounds last year during the Tour, and should be able to do the same this year.

That brings me to the final goal - book reorganization.  The floor in the family room is still covered with knitting books and bags of paperbacks.  Two shelves of paperbacks have yet to be put into bags.  I'm waiting for my DH to bring the bags downstairs and put them in the car so I can give away the books.  I've reminded him several times, but there they sit.  He's the one who spends the most time in that room so they obviously don't bother him.  And I've been too busy quilting to nag him about.  It will happen eventually, but I'm going to stop thinking about it.

All in all, I'm quite happy with what I accomplished in May.

Finishes Party

This is the first finish I've posted for "A Lovely Year of Finishes", as I started participating just this month.
My goal was simple - to finish hand quilting one quilt - as I had no idea how daring I should be with my goals.  I'm happy to report the quilt was finished by the end of the second week of the month, so I think I can be more daring for June.

This is my April Schnibbles project - Hat Trick - hand quilted and bound.  It went from fabric to top to hand quilted to bound in a month - give or take a few days.  I think that is the fastest I've ever finished a quilt (other than minis).  Though you can't see it in the picture, the quilting made the whole thing come alive.  It always amazes me how that happens.  The light play across a quilted surface gives dimension and life to a flat quilt top. 

Thank you Shanna and Melissa for providing the motivation.  I loved not having to add still another unquilted top to the collection in the upstairs closet!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Dealing with the scrap basket a couple days late

After finishing the basket blocks yesterday, I attacked the scrap basket.  I took out the rest of the fabric pieces that I'd ironed several weeks ago, and cut them into pieces for more shoo fly blocks.  Here you see the results.  In the upper right corner you can also see triangles and rectangles of white - the rest of what I need for 30's basket blocks.  I cut them now so I could re-wrap the bolt of white fabric and put it back on top of the fabric shelves where it belongs.

I've no idea how many shoo fly blocks this will make.  Anything left over will get tucked into the appropriate scrap boxes.  A full box of scrappy triangle squares is so much fun to play with!

The scrap basket now looks like this.  The fabrics on the top are different as I've done a lot of digging


while making the blocks.  Here is what it looked like when I started.  Hmmm . . . doesn't really look any emptier, does it?

Monday, May 27, 2013

Another crossed off

I've finished the 30's basket blocks for the swap, and my two sets of 8 each are all ready to mail in the morning.  I have six extras, which I'll put together with the 16 blocks I'll receive in a few weeks. 

 I had so much fun making these that I think I'll make a bunch more, as I'd love to make a bed quilt from these.  I certainly have enough fabric LOL!  And I have pieces left over from these that shouldn't go to waste.

I'll spend the rest of today cutting out more shoo fly blocks so I can honestly say I spent at least part of the day with my Scrap Basket.  Tomorrow I think it will be time to start quilting another quilt.  I'd love to finish at least one more before the end of the month!

Design wall Monday

I've decided to participate in Judy's "Design Wall Mondays" for further motivation.  (My apologies to regular readers who have already seen these.)  Right now my design wall is very crowded with two different projects.

Across the top you can see the first row of my Civil War Diary quilt.  I have finished almost 40% of the blocks, but as I skipped all around the quilt this is the only complete row I've finished.  I've not been able to work on this for several months, and I'm most eager to get back to it.  Hopefully that will happen in June.

The rest of the blocks are scrappy shoo fly blocks I'm making for Kim's Scrap Basket Sunday.  I need to make 264 of these blocks for two new camping quilts to fit the king size beds in our new pop-up tent trailer.  These are all fabrics I culled from the shelves when I did a massive fabric reorganization a couple months ago.  I'm working diligently to empty the basket, but instead the scraps seem to be multiplying while I sleep LOL!

I hope you've enjoyed visiting my design wall!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Scrap Basket Monday

If you are here looking for my scrap basket progress, please come back tomorrow.  Turns out it will be Scrap Basket Monday this week.

I signed up on Kim's blog to participate, as that was certainly my intention yesterday.  I just needed to finish some swap blocks first.  Today I realized in reality that the swap blocks were going to take all day to make, even though I'd already completed the large triangle squares and what I was sure were enough small triangle squares.

 I signed up for two sets of 8, because I want enough blocks for a nice size table or lap quilt.  I made 24 large triangle squares so I'd have an extra 8 to keep for myself.  I really like how these are turning out - it's about time I used some of my 30's and 40's collection!

When I'm making blocks for a swap I make sure to do my best work.  There is nothing more frustrating than receiving a bunch of blocks in different sizes, with none of them measuring what they are supposed to measure!  To assure mine were exactly 8 1/2" square, I first drew that size square on the top of my ironing surface.

As I finish each block, I lay it within the square for pressing.  If it is a bit small or large anywhere, I spray it with water and then carefully pin it inside the square.  I stretch where it needs to be a little bigger, and pat it in where it needs to be a little smaller, carefully pinning all around the perimeter.

I leave it pinned in place until it dries, often helping it along with some judicious pressing (not ironing!) up and down.  You can see I have also clipped carefully just  TO (not THROUGH) the seam line to allow me to press intersections open and seam allowances to distribute bulk evenly.  This assures that each block I sent to the swap mistress will measure exactly what it is supposed to.

I love to participate in swaps and always want all the blocks I receive to be signed.  They provide great memories whenever I look at the quilt.  However, I didn't organize this swap and it doesn't involve signed blocks.  I will still love making a quilt with blocks from many parts of the country (I don't think any participants are outside the US this time).

This swap is an activity of the 30's Fabric Quilting yahoo group.  We are a small group - 81 total - and not very active message-wise.  If you love 30's fabric and 30's quilts, and would like to participate in swaps, etc., but don't want to join a group that will swamp you with emails, then I encourage you to join us.  Just click on the link above.  (You will need to register with Yahoo Groups first if you don't already belong.)

As it turns out, I have to make a LOT more small half-square triangle squares.  So back to my machine!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Here comes Peter Cottontail . . .

hopping down the finished trail.  I love being able to cross another top off the flimsies list and add it to the finished list.  I love how quickly big stitch  quilting  can be finished.  Five more of my basted tops are to be finished this way I'm happy to say.  There is lots more room for cold weather clothing in the upstairs closet with this many quilt tops taken out.  Hooray!

Today the mail carrier brought the package I've been waiting for.  I used the money all the kids gave me for my birthday to pay the first installment of my new BOM.  Ever since buying this book I've been enthralled with quilts by Edyta Sitar.  I purged the batiks from my stash over 10 years ago and thought I'd never buy another.  Now I'm thinking in an entirely new direction.  I wanted to get one of her BOM's so I could see how she combines the batiks with reproductions.  As soon as I finish the 30's swap blocks for mailing I will make the first block of this quilt.  I can hardly wait!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Still another little quilt finished

Bunny Hop, designed by Jan Patek, is finished and ready to be hung during Easter season next spring.

This is the little quilt that I basted together with the "wrong" side of the backing on the "right" side.  When I made the sleeve I decided to use the fabric "right" side out.

My friend Kim asked me why I didn't use the "wrong" side for that too.  I decided it would be more fun for quilt historians to puzzle about the difference, presuming this quilt lasts that long.  If you enlarge the picture you can see the difference between the two is very slight.

The quilt affectionately known as "Baseball Quilt"

 Edited to add new, clearer pictures.

As I was adding to the new page of "Finished Quilts" last night, I realized that a significant quilt was missing.  So I went back through my blog looking for a picture of it.  Lots of pictures of the "progress", but nothing since it was finished.  I looked in my photo folders - nothing since it was finished. I finally realized that I wasn't blogging much when I finished it, and for some strange reason I never posted the finish.  I knew I had pictures of it somewhere, and this morning I finally realized I'd taken them with my phone.

Here it is - Blue and Yellow Tulips - which I affectionately call the "Baseball Quilt".  Strange name you say?  I call it that because I was doing the applique during the height of the Seattle Mariners winning baseball seasons.  The brown stems and cutting out the flowers one season, the blue leaves another season, the yellow tulips a third season.  

The original design is by Terri Christopherson  of Black Mountain Quilts.  My quilt is four times larger than the original because I wanted a bed quilt.  Sharon of Momma Made It (my favorite quilt shop) in Longview, WA, made it for a shop sample, and I bought four kits.  I also added a bunch of backgrounds, blues and yellows from my stash so there are at least 200 or more fabrics total.

My machine quilter Val, who has unfortunately retired, did a fabulous job with the quilting.  I think you can see the quilting if you enlarge the pictures.  I began this quilt during the spring of 1999, and finished it in November of 2011.  It graces our bed during the spring and summer every year. I love this quilt, and feel it is one of the best I've ever done.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


When we got home from the beach I had a package waiting - my winnings from the Andover Fabrics Stash contest

Ten charm packs plus a fat quarter bundle of reproduction fabrics, and three charm packs that will stretch my creativity as they aren't fabrics I'd choose for myself.  It's going to be fun using these.  Maybe I should put the reproductions together to use for my next Vintage Schnibbles quilt.

More pages

I've finally gotten around to "populating" the extra blog pages I made back in February.  I've not labeled any of the pictures yet, and there are many pictures I've not yet loaded to each page. But it is a start.  Feel free to take a look, or wait awhile until I get things labeled.  Don't know when that will be however (VBG).

The "Finished Quilts" page speaks for itself.  As I finish each quilt now pictured on the "Finished Tops" page, I'll remove its picture there are put a new picture on the "Finished Quilts" page.  This will (hopefully) be another motivation to get these finished!

These pages are mostly pictures, so if you are on dial up you probably won't be able to load them - or it will take forever.  I'm sorry about that - I wish there was a way to divide them into multiple posts but I guess that isn't possible.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Ok - I lied. I wasn't too tired to put them up on the wall tonight.

I just couldn't resist - I wanted to see what they would look like.

Apparently I was too tired to count, however - and definitely too tired to add.  45 blocks total.  23 positive and 22 negative.  I spread the colors out the best I could with the limited number I had, which left a bunch of brown blocks near the bottom.  These will make perfect camping quilts - they aren't using my best, favorite fabrics, they will look interesting, and they will be warm.  We will be happy campers!

Scrap Basket Sunday - Part 2

Please visit Kim's blog to see what other Scrap Basket Sunday participants have been up to today!

I machine stitched the binding on a little quilt today, then spent the rest of the day making shoo fly blocks.  I stitched together 29 new blocks - all the blocks I cut out last Sunday while Miss Feather was at hospital.  This gives me a total of 54 blocks - 23 negative and 21 positive.  Now that I've determined how many blocks I'll need, I'm making as many as I can from each fabric pairing, rather then a set of two like I was doing the first couple weeks.

It is a good thing these go together quickly - and a good thing I have a large basket of scraps!

Miss Feather is so happy to be home she is purring like a kitten.  And I'm so happy to have her back - I don't know which of us is happier!  The loaner featherweight from Kim is a good machine, but she just doesn't have the same touch.  I think she was programmed in hospital to slow WAY down when approaching a pin, as that's what she is doing now.  A repeat injury is not to be desired!

Come back here tomorrow to see all the "shoo flys" up on the design wall.  I am too tired to put them up tonight.

This month's socks are finished

thanks to all the rain at the beach.  These are the most "fraternal twins" socks I've made yet.  I normally do two socks at a time, but this time I didn't (not sure why!)  The sock on the left with the beautiful striped leg is the one I did first.  As the second one neared the heel I couldn't believe how it looked - like an entirely different skein of yarn!  Severe pooling of color all the way down the leg.  The foot shows more stripes than the first one does, however, as the first foot has some color pooling.  The only place where they look similar is through the heel area.

These are a good example of the fact that hand dyed yarn makes up very differently depending where in the dye sequence you start your cast-on.

I still love them and will happily wear them, but they are definitely a conversation piece.  The pattern is "Monkey" by Cookie A, one of my most favorite sock patterns.  The yarn is by "Pink Carrot Creations", a hand dyer in Ketchikan, Alaska.  I bought it on our Alaskan cruise four years ago for a souvenir.

Pictures from the beach

We arrived at Beverly Beach, a few miles north of Newport Oregon, about 4:00 Tuesday afternoon.  It was sunny and beautiful while we set up camp.  After dinner we went to the beach and watched the sun go down.  Perfect!

It started to rain Tuesday night after we got back to the trailer.  When we made our reservations the week before the prediction was for occasional showers on Wednesday and Thursday.  Well, that changed to 75-80% chance of showers.  It rained most of the time we were there.  We were very glad for the roomy trailer then, as we spent much of our time inside.  We made a daily run to Starbucks in Newport, and Fred took a long afternoon walk each day and that was it for our outside time.  I did finish a pair of socks, finished big stitching one of the small quilts, and got started quilting Gentle Art.  Turns out the light inside wasn't quite good enough to quilt on dark fabrics, so I gave that up.  We had a lot of time to play games - specifically Phase 10 dice - and it was nice because I won more of the games than Fred did.  (That hardly ever happens!)

Of course, we got up on Friday to clear skies and sun, which made it much easier to pack everything up and come home.  In spite of the rain we had a great time, and have already booked two more camping trips for this summer.

Scrap Basket Sunday - Part 1

These last few weeks I've been making 6" shoo fly blocks for my Scrap Basket Sunday project.  I started these with no idea as to what I'd do with them.  After our camping trip to the coast I know exactly what I'm going to do with them.

When we got our first pop-up camper I made quilts for the beds, as sheets and quilts are so much nicer to sleep in than sleeping bags.  You can see the quilts I made in this post.  We slept under these for 9 years in our comfy little pop-up.  However, last fall we decided it was time to trade in that camper for a larger one with a bathroom and a hot water tank.  As we've gotten older we prefer not "roughing it" as much as we used to.  (Backpacking, sleeping on the ground under the stars, etc.) So we got a new, roomier pop-up with just what we wanted.  (To see pictures of the inside and floor plan click here.

This one also has larger beds - king size! - and our sheets and quilts no longer fit the beds.  We used them - without sheets - on our trip to the beach, but it wasn't the same as having nicely made-up beds.  King size sheets are on their way and should arrive on Tuesday.  We just need new quilts.  So two, king-size shoo fly quilts will decorate the interior as soon as I can get them made.  I know there is plenty of scraps in my basket to make the 264 blocks I need.  Now I need to get sewing!

Friday, May 17, 2013

We are back home

We've been camping this week at the Oregon coast.  I have so much to write about, so come back tomorrow or Sunday evening so hear about our trip and see what I've been up to this past week.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Christmas in May

I love this small primitive, called "Angel Dance", that was designed by Jan Patek.  The border fabric looks like green olives stuffed with pimentos, which I love!  The top is from 2009, so it is one of the last I finished before the knitting and spinning bugs bit me.  I will utility quilt this one with Cebelia, and look forward to having it hang over the piano in December.

Wishing all you mothers a very happy, quilty Mother's Day!

Scrap Basket Sunday

More shoo fly blocks are half finished - 39 of them!  The triangle squares are stitched together, waiting to be pressed and trimmed today. 

Miss Feather is coming home tomorrow, and finishing these blocks are the first thing on her agenda.  It will be so good to have her home. 

When these are finished I will have 55 blocks.  I swear, the scrap basket doesn't look like I've taken anything out of it!  I think the scraps are all growing while we are sleeping.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Making great progress with basting!

I have nine small quilts basted now, and four or five more to do.  I feel better and better after I finish each one.  It especially feels good to see them moved from the "Flimsies" list to the "Basted for Quilting list.  I've got my eye on  the 2013 Goals #4 - one I should be able to achieve without too much trouble 

I did make one boo boo today, which you can see in the picture below.  The wrong side of the quilt backing is facing out LOL!  Since this is just a small seasonal wall hanging for us I'm leaving it that way.  The front side is almost as nondescript as the back side.  This will certainly make it easy to write the label.

This little quilt is a Jan Patek design from a few years ago.  This will be big stitched, and I'll be a bit more creative with this one than the others to be big stitched.  The design lends itself to swirls in the sky ala Van Gogh's "Starry Night", horizontal siding on the house and diagonal lines on the room.  Something bough-like will work for the trees.  This one will be fun to do!

This "Stretched Stars" top was a gift from my friend Kathie.  It's been hanging in the closet with all the other finished tops, waiting for its turn to be hand quilted.  Kathie, that turn has come.  This one is near the top as far as quilting order goes.  It might not be done this month, but certainly will be done by the end of June.  I thank you again for sending me such a precious gift.  You know me so well - choosing plaids for my gift top.

Tomorrow's plan is to spend some time working a bit early on my Scrap Basket Sunday project.  I have a bunch of fabrics that I paired together and ironed so I could cut more blocks.  I need to get those cut out as I need all the cutting table space for the last four quilts needing basting.  I can also sew together and trim all the half square triangle squares so they are ready to sew into blocks when Miss Feather gets home.  It is going to be a busy weekend!