Sunday, September 24, 2017

Monday, September 18, 2017


Oh beautiful machines. I will have you out to play soon.
Bernina 1530
Elna Lotus SP

Friday, August 18, 2017

patriotic sewing

On the left is my grandmother, Cynthia Meerdink, with the Girls Society of the First Reformed Church of Hull, Iowa sewing a banner with stars for church members serving in the First World War.
About 1917.
Her brother Henry was a soldier in France at Verdun. Her boyfriend Jurrien Dykstra, who became her husband and my grandfather, (pictured below) was on the troop ship in New York Harbor when the armistice was signed.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

farewell LeClaire

Farewell LeClaire. You shaped who we are as individuals and as a family. May you bless all who enter in.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

birthday fabric

Fabric gifts from my small group.
My request was for man-made objects.
Love them!

Monday, July 10, 2017


The block is Portuguese tile. Several commercial patterns are out there and lots of actual Portuguese tile floors and walls also. It is another example of robbing-peter-to-pay-paul fabric placement.

I drafted mine to a finished block size of 5 by 14 inches.
All cut from 3 inch strips.
Solid: two 3 by 7 1/2 inch rectangles, two 3 inch squares
Print: two 3 by 7 1/2 inch rectangles, two 3 inch squares

I was using my EZ angle to cut the corners, then read Bonnie Hunter's review of Doug Leko's Simple Folded Corner Ruler. I picked one up and like how the size adds stability and the markings add accuracy to this task.

It is time to pack up my what remains in my sewing room.
I have kitted lots of projects to keep me going over the next months of being between places and to have ready when we get settled this fall.
Each has sample blocks ready to remind me what I was doing.

Sunday, July 09, 2017


An idea from Pinterest. I saw several quilts with this block and don't know who to attribute it to. If you know, please tell me.

I was using my EZ angle to cut the corners, then read Bonnie Hunter's review of Doug Leko's Simple Folded Corner Ruler. I picked one up and like how the size adds stability and the markings add accuracy to this task.

It is drafted to a 9 inch finished block.
Print: four 5 inch squares
Solid: two 3 inch squares, added with the sew and flip method.

Very simple.

Saturday, July 08, 2017


I was asked to make white paraments (used at Christmas and Easter) in honor of our retiring associate pastor, Avena Ward.
I used Michael Miller's Fairy Frost as I like the sheen it gives.
On the Sunday of her retirement I sat in the balcony with several friends who helped make major binding progress during the service.
At the reception members of the congregation were welcomed to add stitches.
I planned to remove what wasn't to my standard, but decided to leave them in. It was so much fun to see people delight to participate.

There is still some finishing work to be done. I'll get more photographs when they are installed.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

visiting my quilts, Fourth of July

Quilt was made in 2015 with Deanna's fabulous sew-a-long at Wedding Dress Blue.

We had an enjoyable visit with my mother at my sister's house. Good to see my quilt. Great to see mom. 

Monday, July 03, 2017

tip # 39, photograph tops to find block errors

I occasionally find a block error only when looking at a photograph of the top.
The recent double four-patch quilt is an example of this. I made the top, admired it laid out on the floor, photographed it and posted it. Then after several days, I looked at the posted photograph again and noticed one four-patch was not in line. It amazes me that in the construction of the block and pressing it, in placing it in the layout, and in the time of looking at the top, I never caught it.
This isn't the first time this has happened. Errors are more noticeable, popping out, in photographs.
When we see the "humility blocks" in old quilts, I do believe most were unintentional.
I did fix this one--it was detracting from what this quilt was about. In another I might have left it alone. Sometimes the error elevates the quilt!

Sunday, July 02, 2017

what goes around...

On the left is a scrap of fabric from a dress my mother made for my sister in the late 1950s.
On the right some fabric I purchased this week at the fabulous Oak Fabrics on Lincoln Avenue.

Balloons in Peach by Melody Miller for Cotton + Steel.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

double four-patch, top completed

I wanted to finish this top here at the house as it is on-point, making it hard to put together without lots of room to spread out.
I do like how the chains of solids stand out and melt in with the various contrasts.

Block finishes 8 inches
Print: two 4 1/2 inch squares, four 2 1/2 inch squares
Solid: four 2 1/2 inch squares

98 blocks set 7 by 8, measures about 65 by 75 inches

12 half blocks (I cut the triangles with grain to edge of quilt)
4 corners
14 setting triangles

Monday, June 26, 2017

Gerald's quilts

Our cousin Gerald spoke for our family at my father's funeral five years ago.
After the funeral, my mother and sisters and I decided we wanted to give him this pair of quilts that I had made in the late 1990s for my father and my father-in-law. They were made using a Judy Martin design called Fathers' Day.
One quilt was at my house and one went with mom for several moves over the five years. We kept referring to them as "Gerald's quilts" and it was time they got to him.
This spring it finally happened. They look great in their new home!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

tipping the scales?

When does a series of quilts tip into a "crazy cat lady" obsession?
The solids and prints quilts have been a wonderful way for me to revisit deep stash as we have prepared for our move.
I like them as they give me a focus. I figure out what block to work with, and, with repetitive cutting and sewing, a new quilt results.
I do look forward to something else taking my interest soon. Until then, this continues.

Completed so far: (not all photographed and posted yet as some have been packed up already)
churn dash
geese in flight
framed nine-patch

Tops awaiting quilting:

Cut and kitted for sewing while on the move:
double four-patch
party line
unit blocks peter/paul

Sample blocks made:
keyhole peter/paul

Portuguese tile

Wednesday, June 21, 2017


Looks like the ones being installed at our new place!

Block finishes 7 inches

Solid: one 4 1/2 by 2 1/2 inch rectangle
Print: one 7 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch rectangle, one 7 1/2 by 1 1/2 inch rectangle, one 2 1/2 by 1 1/2 inch rectangle, one 2 1/2 inch square

A simple block and goes together fast.
My design. Use at your pleasure.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017


My friend Donna made a lovely quilt with Cherrywoood solids using a larger version of this block. I shamelessly ran with the idea, drafting down the block a bit, and am adding it to the solids on prints quilt ideas pile.
I love any block with the robbing-peter-to-pay-paul fabric placement and like how it is similar to the unit blocks one, but with a rectangle finish.

Block finishes 6 by 12 inches

Solid: one 6 1/2 by 2 1/2 rectangle, three 4 1/2 by 2 1/2 rectangles
Print: one 6 1/2 by 2 1/2 rectangle, three 4 1/2 by 2 1/2 rectangles
Sew the sets of three 4 1/2 inch rectangles and press to the solids, then sew together
Sew on the end 6 1/2 inch rectangles
Press whole block to the side with the solid rectangle

We are a few weeks away from moving and I have been kitting up projects for the transition time between homes.

Monday, June 19, 2017

monday mini--Temecula Quilt Co. sew-a-long

There is a 12-week sew-a-long on Temecula Quilt Company's blog.
I'm working in solids.
The bordered blocks now measure 4 inches, will finish to 3 1/2 inches. The tiny center blocks finish 1 1/2 inches.
This is way too much work.
And way too much fun.

Friday, June 16, 2017

visiting my quilts: party like it's 1999...

I had a quick visit with mom this week. She asked we hang this quilt.
I made it in 1999 using scraps from mom's and from her mother's sewing.
The pattern was in an early Fons and Porter magazine.
Beth uses waste triangles to make a legend of the origin of each fabric.

Friday, June 09, 2017

circa 2016 Temecula Quilt Co., top completed

I decided to keep it very simple. I tried a triangle border but this seems to be where this quilt wants to stop.
The blocks were made with a 2016 sew-a-long on Temecula Quilt Co.'s blog. I made double the blocks assigned each week and deviated from the directions by setting the blocks straight rather than on point. I finished with a 3 inches cut plain border.
It is rather somber in photographs, a bit more lively in person.
The medallion blocks finish 2 1/2 inches. The main blocks finish 3 inches.
57 by 69 inches.
Thanks, Temecula Quilts, for the very enjoyable sew-a-long! Each week was a gift.

Saturday, June 03, 2017

unit blocks

This is not an auspicious setting of tatami mats, but it is not made with tatami mats, so I do not anticipate bad fortune.
It is made with unit blocks, twice as long as wide, the proportion of kindergarten wooden building blocks (and tatami mats).
I used this same block (smaller scale, finished block was 4 inches) in a quilt in 2013 with a more random scrap placement.

This time it is in a robbing-peter-to-pay-paul fabric placement.
I have seen a similar block online several places, usually made with several sizes of pieces.
It is all made with unit blocks, cut 2 1/2 inches by 4 1/2 inches, to finish 2 by 4 inches.
Four solids and four prints.
A 2 1/2 inch strip exactly 18 inches of fabric yields the pieces for one block. More fabric is needed if you are dealing with directional prints.
Block finishes 8 inches.

Construction works best when piecing two blocks.
Sew the center column and press all towards the solid end rectangle.
Sew the side pieces pressed to the print.
Block A press to center column.
Block B press away from center column.
Then, sew the two blocks together nesting the seams.
Sew into rows and the whole quilt should nest.
(I've only made the four blocks above, so we will see...)

Our time between homes will involve a wandering existence for a while, so I am cutting this and a few other projects that I can work on wherever I set up my machine.

I do have a commission due the end of the month that will take most of my creative energy and sewing time.
Note to self: no more commissions.

Friday, June 02, 2017

positive, top completed

After the on-point version with 6 inch blocks (making it a times symbol) I decided to make a straight-set positive quilt.
I needed to have a positive mindset and fit the piecing in while in the final preparation time for putting the house on the market. During the showing weeks, when we had to keep the house tidy and not being a tidy sewer, I could do little sewing but did sneak in constructing a few blocks here and there.

These blocks are based on the Tula Pink block, but with slightly different proportions.

143 blocks set 11 by 13
82.5 by 97.5 inches
Block finishes 7 1/2 inches
Solid: one rectangle 6 by 3 inches, two rectangles 2 by 3 inches
Print: four squares 3 inches, four rectangles 1 1/2 by 3 inches

My design with a block adapted from Tula Pink.
Use at your pleasure.