Tuesday, September 11, 2018

gathering acorns

Key Hole
Unit Blocks
I have two more quilts ready for binding. These, along with several others at this stage, are squirreled away as handwork projects to pick up during this busy fall semester.

Friday, September 07, 2018

shirting from Italy

I purchased that lovely Italian shirting in Bologna and it is making its way into my 4-inch blocks for the Temecula sew-a-long

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

piecing my name

To add to the Temecula inspired sew-a-long 4 inch blocks I decided to make my name in free-pieced letters Tonya Ricucci style from her Word Play Quilts that has been in my regular inspiration reading rotation since it was published in 2010.

I took a day this week to take in the John Singer Sargent exhibit that will close the end of the month at The Art Institute. It is amazing how he paints fabrics.
Dropped into the closing Georg Jensen silver exhibit and a quick look at favorites American Gothic and Nighthawks. I love watching people look at the them.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

delightful book

One of my favorite blogs/Instagrams/ is Sheryl Johnson's Temecula Quilt Company.
She recently published a book, Quirky Little Quilts, with Martingale.

I've been loosely following along on her blog's current 4 inch finished block Friday sew-a-long and look forward to using my limited school year sewing time to make more blocks.
Her book is a delight in how she puts together fabrics.
A happy book!

Monday, August 13, 2018

a trip to Italy

Our family took a trip to Italy this August.
We walked in the footsteps of Andy's grandfather who emigrated from Caserta.
We spent most of our time in the Bologna area, staying in the countryside, visiting the Modena vinegar making and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese making,  then ended with a trip to Rome.
my Cervasio men
Castel De Britti
balsamic vinegar of Modena
Parmigiano Reggiano
Sam and Eve in the porticos of Bologna
The Colosseum

Wednesday, July 11, 2018


Our Scholten family has had reunions periodically over the years. Last week we met at my sister Beth's house.
My mom found this photo of the first Scholten reunion, organized in 1915 by my great-grandfather Jan Scholten who came to America as a homesteader in 1870. Over 150 attended!
It pictures the young people who helped set it up--my three great-aunts, Hattie and Jo on the left and Beth on the right, and my grandfather Jan is somewhere in the back row. Note the flag of the Netherlands along side the American flag.

I took along a stack of quilts to give to my cousins.
Vern loved the turkeys
Lorelei chose a sampler
Neil came on his Harley Davidson so this Dragon Teeth was just the right size to fit into his pack
Mary gets two! 
Erica and Rachel chose some nice ones
I like this one that Helen selected
My brothers-in-law made some birdhouses for the cousins using license plates from my late brother Lee's collections.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

tip # 44, buy the new tool

I am happy with how I cut with the tools I have.
But, it is good to be open to innovations. Some can make my job so much more pleasant.
Also, with aging, I find my eyes work better with different brands than I have been using. The only way to know is to try them out. For a period of time, not just for a cut or two. All tools feel clunky at first because they are different from our usual working. However, forcing myself to use them for a day or two can show me if I can increase my accuracy or make the job simpler.
Sticker price is high on some of them, but, face it. Most of us can do a month or two with no fabric purchases and put that money into trying a new tool.
I have links directly to Bonnie's and Doug's sites. I want to support these innovators.

This past year I have purchased several new tools.

Bonnie Hunter's Essential Triangle Tool
Replaces: traditional cutting with 7/8" or 1 1/4" added to strip, or the EZ angle and the Companion Angle
What I like: The quarter and half square triangles are on one tool.
Learning curve: You place the ruler at a different orientation than the EZ angle, but once that rhythm sets it it works. The color of the lines is unexpected, and work for me.
Verdict: I still use the EZ Angle and their Companion angles at times, but Bonnie's triangle tool is my go-to ruler most days.

Doug Leko's Simple Folded Corners Ruler
Replaces:There are so many methods for making flip and sew corners and I have used them all effectively.
What I like: I like to cut then sew, not sew then cut so this works very well for that preference. It is more efficient for me moving to the next step rather than going back to trim.
I also like how the ruler size stabilizes the piece while making the cut.
Learning curve: I made one miss-cut before I got used to the placement lines
Verdict: When I heard of Doug's innovation I did not see it to be needed, but upon recommendations from others and with working on two quilts using this technique, I decided to try it. I love it. I sew up the waste triangles right away. I could trim them into exact sizes but for now am putting them into a free-form style piece so I am not doing any squaring up. Let's see how that goes!

KAI scissors 5045 rotary cutter
Replaces: Olfa cutter
What I like: Feels different in my hand. Great blades.
Learning curve: No lock so I have to be careful not to drop it. Has adjustable pressure to engage the blade.
Verdict: I am not throwing away my Olfas, but I do find I reach for the KAI more and more often. A good addition to my table.

Large squares
I own several squares and can use any one of which to cut down a piece or block but, in trimming down my hourglass blocks (A job I really hate to do), it was easier to purchase a new 8 inch square ruler than to keep rotating the blocks. I can center it on the block and make all four cuts.
Replaces: larger squares where I would have to rotate the block to make the third and fourth cuts
What I like: I can see right away if the block is square and that I have room to trim on all sides.
Verdict: This is the hardest purchase to justify but makes life so much easier. I have bought 4 and 6 inch squares for squaring up crumb piecing or string piecing. Even though it is hard to make these purchases, every time it has been worth it.