Monday, December 28, 2015

jack and jill--a quilt for Beth

Jack and Jill. Measures 60 " by 78".

Made with rectangles cut 2 1/2 by 4 1/2 inches (finish at 2 by 4). I ran out of the teal and decided to keep going with the strong yellow. I debated what was the top of the quilt and the yellow kept saying it belonged on the bottom.
Backed with a delightful toys fabric given to me by a quilting friend--when I showed her how I used it she said she could not for the life of her figure out why she gave it away.

I usually don't like cute quilting patterns, but this tumbling boys and girls continuous line one seemed made for this set. Quilted in red.

For my sister Beth with whom I spent many times rolling down the hay and straw bales in the haymow.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

rick rack--a quilt for Henrietta

Made with 2 1/2 by 4 1/2 inches cut (2 by 4 finished) rectangles. The construction left one side with more of the solid--I could have trimmed it to match the other, but I like this little quirk.
On the back I used a wonderful Jane Sassaman fabric from her first line for Free Spirit.

Mom had boxes full of trims in her sewing supplies--when we were little, Wrights had an offer on their labels for children to send in for bits and pieces of trims. Mom would do that with us and we had fun sorting them out into styles and colors. Mom would also order the Penny Packet of mixed seeds for us from the Gurney's seed catalog and give us a place in the garden to plant and see what would come up. She knew what each seed was and advised us how to plant them.

Mom celebrates her 86th birthday this week--Happy Birthday, Mom!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

chickens--a quilt for Janna

Made from the 12 inch chicken block found in Farm Girl Vintage by Lori Holt of Bee in My Bonnet book.
The back has actual chicken feed sacks, saved by my mother. I had to work around the holes left by the chain stitched closing. There are a few stains here and there, but that adds to the story!

Janna was my egg gathering partner. We were both terrified of the chickens. She would hit the outside of the nest boxes with a stick to shoo out the chickens so I could get to the eggs. I thought she was so brave!
My mother's sister recently moved to a nursing home and many of her photographs came to Mom who found this one of her mother, my Grandma Ella Scholten, with her chickens.

Thursday, December 24, 2015


My mother and sisters and I spent a few days early this week at a parks department cabin in central Iowa. We ate Dutch food, had a business meeting, and sewed bindings onto quilts.
What a lovely time together.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

tip # 30--spray in the waste basket

I make my labels by cutting a square, folding in in half, and placing the triangle on a lower corner of a quilt just before doing the machine work of binding. I give the prepared triangle a spritz of basting spray to help it stay in place before the machine work on the edges and the hand work across the hypotenuse. I still use a couple of pins, but the spray stabilizes the label.
I put the label in the waste basket to contain the over-spray.

I used to cut a triangle and fold over an edge but found too often the backing fabric would show through too much and there would be an odd place where the fold would block the show-through. The double layer of the label made with a folded square prevents this.

Size of label squares are anywhere from 3 1/2 inches to 8 inches depending on the size of the quilt and how much I want to write.

Saturday, December 19, 2015


I spent yesterday and today making bindings and doing the machine work for finishing 5 quilts, simplifying the task a bit by using the same Kona Rich Red fabric for 4 of the quilts. I've usually used prints for bindings, but have been drawn to solids lately. LOTS of handwork to do. My sisters and mother and I plan to gather at a cabin for a few days early Christmas week. I told them to bring their thimbles! (They don't know it yet, but each will go home with a quilt.)

Monday, December 14, 2015

cute enough

16 1/2 by 20 inches. Machine quilted.

Temecula Quilt Company's We Wish You a Mini Christmas sew-a-long was a fun diversion during end of semester grading. I posted my grades Saturday and finished the final blocks and put it together Sunday.

As I said in an earlier post, while Temecula's 2 1/4 inch blocks were cute, 3 inches was cute enough, so I redrafted each to that size.
I adapted one of their settings, cutting the sashing strips 1 3/4 inches, finishing 1 1/4 inches and the cut the borders 3 inches.

I used some of my late neighbor Lorraine's Smithsonian Rising Sun collection quilt fabric for the sashing and borders. It was a bit sun streaked from being on her shelves so I cut around those areas.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

joy--third Sunday of advent

18 inches square. Made from cut 2 inch (finished 1 1/2 inches) squares of batik fabrics, quilted in a grid.

Last week I brokered a connection between one friend with a new daughter-in-law and a desire to have a hand-knit Christmas stocking to match the rest of her family's stockings, and a friend who is a master knitter who agreed to the task.
The first friend asked me why the second would do this, and I said, "She is a farm girl from South Dakota. She heard of a need and took care of it."

In gratitude to my knitting friend, I finished up this little quilt for her, made with leftovers from my niece's wedding quilt. Quite appropriately it is in the color of advent, purple, and today's third Sunday color of pink for joy.

It gives me joy to have these two friends who don't know each other. The first welcoming in the stranger to her family, the second sharing her gifts with a stranger. A lesson here.

Friday, December 04, 2015

mini sew-a-long

I am working on Temecula Quilt Company's sew-a-long We Wish You a Mini Christmas. Their blocks finish 2 1/4". 
I'm drafting mine up to finish 3" because while 2 1/4" is cute, 3" is cute enough. 

Thursday, December 03, 2015

tip # 29--be an aunt

Of all my roles in life, one that brings much joy is being an aunt.
One way I've been celebrating this is by buying the weddings shoes for my nieces. It is a rather unobtrusive way to involve myself in the wedding planning, and it gives them room in their budget for something else.
I tell them to pick what they love, and I'll pick up the check.



Tuesday, December 01, 2015


I was to the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian in Evanston today to see the exhibit Native Haute Couture. It will hang until January 2016.
What a lovely exhibit. It has early clothing, those influenced by European trade. and some contemporary fashions too.

My favorite was the early to mid 20th century wool woman's dress embellished with elk teeth.
The child's dress has imitation conch shells as decoration.