Wednesday, December 28, 2016

plus? times?

When I am a ways into cutting the parts for a solids-on-prints quilt, I try to think of what I will do next, and start cutting for that one too. That way there is a bit of continuity in these quilts And, why not get going on that next one while I have some wild fabric out anyway?
At the moment, I am  far in cutting and sewing the zipper blocks, and have decided to finish out the year by starting a plus quilt, being 2016 was designated (by someone?) as the year of the plus quilt.

I found this very cute version by Tula Pink. She calls it Summer Days.
I can cut the prints from 17 inch 2 1/2 inch strips to yield a block that will finish 6 inches.
Thinking this would be nice on point--would that make it a times quilt rather than a plus quilt?

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

calico rose, quilt completed

About 72 by 96 inches.

Deanna at Wedding Dress Blue had a sew-a-long in 2015.
It used up a tremendous amount of my 2 inch cut squares bin (which is now overflowing again...).
I love quilts like this, every fabric has a memory attached. Both this quilt and the rail fence quilt include some scraps from my mother's sewing.
This quilt now belongs to my sister Janna.
Thanks, Deanna, for a great project. Any new ideas for that 2 inch squares bin?

The back uses up some of my remaining Lunn fabrics. Love how they glow.

Monday, December 26, 2016

rail fence, quilt completed

About 84 by 102 inches.
This variation on a rail fence has a 6 inch finished block, made from two rows of 3 squares each and one solid strip.
The scraps are 2 1/2 inch cut squares and the solid is a 2 1/2 by 6 1/2 inch rectangle.
Photographed on a windy Iowa day.
This quilt now belongs to my sister Beth.

On the back I used up some of my precious Hoffman fabrics--a nice way to enjoy them.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

vintage block--quilt completed

Bonnie/Yankee Quilter over at Scraps and Threadtales posted a wonderful vintage block in 2009.

I immediately drafted it and made a top out of reclaimed plaid fabrics.
The block is huge, 17 1/2 inches finished.

Then I lost the top.
For 7 years.
If you saw my sewing room you would understand.

A couple months ago I found it again, and had it quilted as a wedding gift for Andy's niece.
It really is a great block. Thanks, Bonnie, for sharing it--I hope you got your quilt made too!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

framed nine-patch, top completed

Block made from 2 inch strips, finishes 7 1/2 inches
solid: five cut 2 by 2
print: two cut 2 by 8, two cut 2 by 5, four cut 2 by 2
120 blocks, set 10 by 12
75" by 90"
I am liking how the quilts made with solids-on-prints are cohesive, yet each has its own personality.
The zipper blocks are in progress for quilt #7!

Monday, December 12, 2016

madder fabrics

I participated in Lori's Humble Quilts madder sew-a-long and was the winner of random drawing for this lovely stack of madder prints.
An irony as my entry was the only one of the 34 made without madder fabrics. Because, in my stash that could fill a small house, madder somehow does not exist.
I am using my favorite of Lori's fabrics in my current quilt.
Thanks, Lori!

Friday, December 09, 2016


I am nearly finished with the framed nine-patch blocks for the solids on prints and have been thinking what to do next.
Listening to the radio while driving the other day I heard Elaine Stritch do her wonderful "Zip" from Pal Joey, and thought the zipper pattern.

I do not make it with 4-patches, rather in strips of two patches, press in one direction, then press the rows in one direction. This should lead to nesting of all seams
Squares cut 2 inches, rectangles cut 2 by 9 1/2 inches. Block will finish at 6 by 9 inches.
Solids on Prints: ships, churn dash, shoofly, pinwheels, geese in flight, framed nine-patch, and now, zip!

Not sure on orientation of the blocks yet--horizontal is looking good right now.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

summer about 1936

My mother on the left with her siblings and cousins.

When you are thinking of throwing away the less than perfect photos, think how precious they may be 80 year later.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

churn dash--quilt completed

72" by 90"
Block finishes 9"
Quilted by Sue DiVarco
The churn dash quilt made in the solids-on-prints series is quilted and bound.
This is the second quilt made with solid fabrics on wild prints. The first was the ships.
Ready to be quilted are the shoo-fly, pinwheels, and geese in flight. Being pieced now is a framed nine-patch. I have plans for more!
Back uses up some wonderful florals.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

a new grand-niece!

The quilt was made by her Grandma-Great and her Great-Aunts.

Welcome, dear Sybil, to the family!

I used the pattern County Lines by Kari Nicholes. 
It is a very well designed quilt, and I have used it several times over the years, with a variety of styles of fabrics. Every time I am so pleased.
I don't remember when I made this top--and was happy to realize it was waiting for our Sybil to come to us.
30's repro fabrics and aqua Kona cotton solid.
Measures 51 by 62 1/2 inches

Friday, November 04, 2016

madder sew-a-long at Humble Quilts, completed

Lori at Humble Quilts hosted another small quilt sew-a-long with a madder print theme.
I have maybe 2 madders prints, so instead decided to use the 2016 Pantone color(s) of the year, rose quartz and serenity. The pink is a Kona solid, I think peony. The blues are 30s repro. The colors are a bit more true in the progress photo below.

The whole thing has a 1950s vibe to it. It loses some movement of Lori's in my use of just one solid for the background, but it takes it in a different direction with the shapes having less to do with each other in blocks and gives more of an all over effect.

Measures about 24 inches square.
Machine quilted by manipulating the meandering stitch on my Bernina 1530.
Thanks, Lori, for another great sew!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

framed nine-patch

Another in my solids on prints series. This time, a framed nine patch.
Solid--five 2 inch squares.
Print--four 2 inch squares, two 2 by 5 inch rectangles, two 2 by 8 inch rectangles.
Block finishes 7 1/2 inches.
Ships, Churn Dash, Shoofly, Pinwheels, Geese in Flight, and now, Framed Nine-Patch.
I am awaiting the quilting of some, making backs for others--the ships is the only one completely finished.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

drafting the Hillary block

The logo for Hillary Clinton's campaign is a great fit for quilters.
I have found several patterns online but all seemed to be more complicated than I wanted--or used paper piecing--so here is my version.
Finished block size: 5 1/4 by 4 1/2 inches
Finished size with 1 3/4 cut sashing: 7 by 7 3/4 inches (7 1/2 by 8 1/4 inches with seam allowances)

NOTE: my layout picture is with the arrow point section too big--I took the photograph while making an earlier version that did not fit together and forgot to take a pictures as I made the final version.

Cut from blue:
two 2 inch squares
one 2 by 7 inch strip

Cut from white:
two 2 inch squares
one 1 1/4 by 7 inch strip

Cut from red
one 2 by 3 1/2 inch rectangle
one 2 3/4 inch strip, then use Companion Angle to cut a goose shape.

Sew together blue and white strips and press to the blue.
Use EZ angle and with the white in the longer (bottom) side, cut at 2 3/4 inches. You need to cut two of them and will have an extra large goose shape for another project.
from 1 3/4 inch strips
two 5 inch rectangles
two 8 1/4 inch rectangles

This block uses the colors in Hillary's logo. I plan to make more blocks in all different solid colors.

My pattern of a logo--not too sure on copyright with this.
Use at your pleasure and your risk!
Nancy in Philadelphia has more ideas on how to make it:

I like to see political quilts from the past (Tippecanoe and Tyler Too) and hope Hillary quilts are studied many years from now!

circa 2016 Temecula Quilt Co. sew-a-long, progress

This sew-a-long has been going on since January. We were given a block pattern every Friday. I usually made double the blocks called for so I could have options of quilt size when it was time to put it all together.
I am now at that stage. There are 143 little blocks that will finish 3 inches that were kept in this basket. I hope to have some time next month to putting it all together.
The directions are now available for purchase on their website.
This has been a welcomed respite every weekend to do just a bit of sewing when I was too busy to sew. Thanks, Temecula Quilt Co.!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

olympic sew-a-long number two--Temecula Quilt Co. pattern--top completed

I did a second quilt top with Temecula Quilt Co.'s Olympic sew-a-long.
This one with solids. The 2 1/2 and the 1 1/2 inch squares were already in my bin. I had to cut the 4 1/2 inch squares and the constant 1 1/2 inch blue squares.
The color isn't quite true. I hope to capture it better after it is quilted.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

not-so-final end of the basket medallion sew-a-long, fourth border, something fishy

This last round had the theme "something fishy".
The round came as my semester was getting started so not much is done for it yet.

I have always thought the Old Gray Goose block (Nancy Cabot, 1933) looks like sea horses. I am working with a half block. A sample block 6 by 9 was way too big. Scaled to 3 by 6 inch size was much better.
When this current border is complete it will measure 66 inches. It isn't finished--beyond this border something else is needed. I don't know what yet.

Thank you, Lori at Humble Quilts and all the hosts for making this sew-a-long a successful project for so many of us! It has been a fun sew.

Wendy –

Sunday, September 18, 2016

olympics sew-a-long with Temecula Quilt Co., top completed

Temecula Quilt Co. did a sew-a-long on their blog during the Olympics.

I had all the fabrics already out in my active pile for the weekly Circa 2016 blocks, ready to cut the 4 1/2 inch squares, and the 2 1/2 squares and many of the 1 1/2 inch squares were already in my bins, so it was quick work to get this started. I've been grabbing time here and there to finish it up and it was always a pleasure to get a bit further along.

Temecula Quilts based their pattern on this wonderful antique piece. I love how it looks like someone without great skill but pragmatism took a quilt in progress and finished it up. Thank you, Temecula Quilts!
This photograph is from the Temecula Quilt Co. blog
project is available for download in their Project Patchwork series at their site:

Thursday, September 01, 2016

basket medallion sew-a-long third border, stars

This is part four of the Gwen Marston Style sew-a-long.
Lori at:
started the medallion sew-a-long with the theme basket for the center.
Cynthia at:
chose the first border theme--childhood.
Cathy at:
chose log cabins for this next round. 
Katy at:
chose stars for a theme.
For next month, Wendy at:
Her chosen theme is something fishy. I am not sure where this will lead me!

Star Theme:
I have loved the Missouri Star Quilts Falling Triangles design and thought it might look 
like twinkling stars if made smaller.
I scaled it down and used different piecing methods (I don't like the bias edges in Missouri Star's method) to come up with a 3 inch finished block (3 1/2 inches unfinished).
The pink is cut from 2 1/2 inch strips with an EZ angle ruler, as is the grey triangle. The rectangles are cut from 1 1/2 inch strips to 2 1/2 inches and 3 1/2 inches.

My first set of blocks were made from a slate grey that turned out to be too dark for this top. They are set aside for another project.
These I made with a steel grey and about 20 different pinks.

At this point it measures 51 inches square plus seam allowances.

I have discovered that when I want to make a rectangle quilt, and the quilt wants to be a square, I will be making a square quilt.

See what others are doing:
Humble Quilts

Saturday, August 27, 2016


Monica at Lakeview Stitching has a very good post on the current Modern Quilt Guild's statement:

Here is the Modern Quilt Guild's post:

The current turmoil of attribution/derivatives/inspiration brought back an issue I had several years ago.
I saw a simple block used on a blog, scaled it down and re-worked a bit and posted my resulting quilt to my blog. My version was (yes) much better. It was noticed by a publisher who asked if they could include it in their magazine. I said I would ask the blogger for permission and she said no.
A few months later I found a doll quilt I had made about a decade previously that used the same block. Made long before the blogger posted her block.
A bit of there is nothing new under the sun.
The whole experience left me sad.

I post my designs with the encouragement for readers to use at their pleasure.
My designs are based on what I think is my own take on traditional patterns and methods, but who knows.
It is tricky to stay in the law and yet let our individual work and the state of quilting progress. Especially when the law is so vague.
I hope that others find inspiration here on my blog and run with it.

Monday, August 22, 2016

tip #37--go negative

I have to be careful with this post. No pictures are included.
We usually look at quilts and think, "I like that. That one too."
Take a bit of time to "go negative".
What is it about the quilt that you don't like.
This is TOTALLY subjective.
It doesn't mean it is a bad quilt, it just means I would make different choices in making it.
This helps me define my own style.

A quick look at quilts with this mindset shows my aesthetic is irritated by:
-scale that is just a bit too big
-strong checkerboard effects in scrap quilts (hard to define this one, but I know it when I see it--when there is too much planning in layout, no seridipity of things falling where they may)
-primary colors
-30's repro quilts with no brown or black in them
-too much repetition of value
-use of one fabric line in a quilt
-odd proportions--table runners irritate me!
-quilts that are "girl" or "boy'--I was more of a unisex dressing mother
-bed quilts to the floor

THEN, after going negative, let it go and appreciate the work of the quilter.
But, know and own your own style!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

patience corner--an 18 year old heads to college

Seth is nearly all packed up. We shipped a guitar and record player (vinyl is as popular now as it was in Andy and my college years in the 70s). Off to Los Angeles in the morning--take good care of my sweet midwest boy, California!
I told him to pick a quilt and he selected this Patience Corner, made in the year 2000.

Block finishes 6 inches.
Light squares are cut 2 1/2 inches; green rectangles are cut from 1 1/2 inch strips into pieces 2 1/2 long and 3 1/2 inches long.
My design from a traditional block.
Use at your pleasure.

Monday, August 15, 2016

tip #36--clean your machine bed

The picture shows just one hand (the other was holding the camera), but you see how my wrist and thumb are on the machine bed? Even thought I wash my hands before sitting at the machine (thanks, Mom!*) oils and dust accumulate. Even if you can't see it, you may feel it as drag as you sew.
Wipe it down with a gentle cleanser and a soft cloth.

*Mom made us wash our hands before sewing and before playing the piano.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

geese in flight--top completed

99 blocks set 9 by 11
72 by 88 inches
Block finishes 8 inches
solids--4 geese cut with companion angle from 2 1/2 inch strips
prints--8 half square triangles cut with EZ angle from 2 1/2 inch strips; two rectangles cut 2 1/2 inches by 8 1/2 inches

I decided on the north and south straight set.
My design--use at your pleasure.

Working on a back. And, I have started a framed nine-patch with this solid on prints series of quilts!

Faculty week is coming and my summer of sewing is winding down.