Sunday, December 30, 2018

42 Blocks for Daybreak; Chickens and Bears

 Yeahhhhhh- one week of intense (obsessive) piecing and here are 42 blocks from Bonnie Hunter's newest book.  She calls the design "Daybreak".  I used scrappy, but didn't do string piecing in this version. 

A gift from a dear friend.  Some of these chickens started in my home  years ago, but in a fit of me going crazy from too many UFOs, I gave the chickens and fabrics to my friend, knowing she would find a good home for a finished project.  Then, this lovely surprise gift came back to me!.  Seeing it in an original setting makes me wonder why I didn't love it at the time.  The combs and wattles and chick beaks are all dimensional. I can't stop looking at it - so cute!!!  What a warm and loving gift to me. 

What are those little dark critters walking over the corner?

That's what they are - meant to be attached to the trunk of a tree, looking very real.  The pine tree will protect them from elements, and too much sun.  Aren't they realistic?.  I lived near Smokey Mountains for long time and bear cubs were sometimes seen in the mountains. 

A lot of cooking happened over the last 2 weeks - I decided to try out the seldom-used food chopper and determine if the blade was still sharp, but never imagined this would happen.  I covered the teensy cut with a bandage and because there were potatoes to peel, I put on a rubber glove for a hour or so, while I went about my duties.  When I removed the glove, the finger tip was really full of my body fluids!  

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Obsessive Piecing Happening Here!

My wonderful LQS has AGAIN gifted me with a huge box of scraps and I can't stop using them! 

This is part of "Daybreak" from Bonnie Hunter's newest book that came much earlier than I had expected.  I have a dozen blocks made.  What fun these are, using gifted scraps, but also clearing out some of mine.  Finished block is 8 in.  Note that I DID keep the orientation the same in each 4-patch. 

There's  a Thousand Pyramids top, folded up, waiting for border ideas.

... and a Strip and Slash, with all the blocks made, but only half a quilt made.

... and 4 Bonnie's Tiles started but it was put on a back burner. 

All of these started from ONE BOX of scraps.  HUGE Thank You to Pat's Creative Stitchery!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Pre Thanksgiving Enthusiasm

Pumpkin bread, served with cream cheese/honey spread.  I made two, one for Guild meeting, and one for us, but due to snow and bad road conditions, our guild meeting was cancelled - yep, more for us. 

I wanted to use up MORE scraps and leftovers, so started this Strip and Slash technique, by Jackie Robinson.  I've made 5-6 of this previously and enjoy her efficiency method.  I tried to concentrate on greens and yellows but a lot of other stuff gets used as well, which helps to add dimension and interest.  It would be FLAT with just two colors.  I have 400 blocks made and need 50 more - no problem. 

My wonderful LQS gave me another HUGE box of scraps, all new fabrics of course, but bits and pieces of whatever - how exciting I was to open the box, almost like Christmas!  I'm noticing a LOT of purples, blues and greens so decided, once again, to make a quilt from fabric from that box, without adding much of my own stash.  This is Bonnie Hunter's Diamond Tile - I didn't like it at first when seeing it in Quiltmaker's magazine but the design grew on me.  I'm thinking of a narrow sashing but ... we'll see.  The yellow block is kinda blahh  - it was my first.    I'll also change the background on some blocks to something with more character.  They don't take long to make and finish at 7 in.

(Why am I starting new quilts at this busy time of year? )

Friday, November 16, 2018

On the Other Side of our Studio, and a Group Quilt

No boats this time from DH, but instead, he made this amazing chuck wagon.  The undercarriage is especially marvelous, made exactly like the real thing.  The wheels were especially complex (IMHO) and of course, they roll and turn and brake perfectly.  Inside are sacks of potatoes, coffee, beans and flour, as well as blankets and firewood.

I was hoping we might find some toy draft horses, or oxen, to adjoin the wagon.  We discovered that the nearby ranch store, Baumgarrs has wonderful model animals, of various scale sizes the could actually be the right size.  Yes, I'm getting carried away.

On the quilty front, this is a group quilt our local quilting gals are making for a donation or raffle quilt to benefit a worthy cause, with appreciation for our monthly quilting gathering place.  Our group has new quilters and others more experienced, but all these blocks and border units turned out really well.  I  am putting borders on the quilt - don't ya jes love that ribbon border?   It's bright and bold - I think the quilting might help to blend the variety of Friendship Star blocks.   These blocks are 9 in. finished and the quilt is approx. 82" x 101".   So far, so good!  (It's kinda crumpled in this photo.)

Friday, October 19, 2018

Garden Party DONE


I quilted each of the 4 borders in a different design.  Hey, a gal needs to keep practicing.  I did swirls, circles, paisleys and a leafy/viney thing in the borders.  Red on top, white on back resulted in "pokies" on the back.  The few pokies in the top just needed a permanent Sharpie.  No solution for the back pokies - many efforts -- I finally admitted defeat and called it good!  8-))   Thank you again, Ms. Bonnie Hunter for this fine project.  

The lesson I learned was that I used JUST WHAT WAS IN THE BOX.  No fiddling, trying new fabrics, trying to match, colors, etc.  I DID add the red and white, but somehow, forcing myself to just use what was available, resulted in a faster process, an amazing number of fabric combos that I would never have used before, and a delightful surprise when almost each block looked really fine!  There's a good lesson for all of us who struggle with colors, matching, to the point of over-analysis which leads to paralysis.  

This is 83 in. square - a big  machine quilting project on my domestic machine.  It's easy to make and you can reduce the number of blocks for a smaller quilt.  Bonnie's pattern is in her latest current book.

Fun backing.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Garden Party - pluggin' along

I'm approximately half way into machine quilting this large quilt.  The first part I used Essential Pro quilting thread which has always worked wonderfully in other quilts but this project did NOT like that thread.  I experienced numerous skipped stitches, frazzled  and broken thread.  Despite the use of Sewer's Aid, 1 bigger needle, then a second new needle, the problems persisted.  So exasperating!!  I dug around in my threads and was delighted to find a large spool of a similar color from Superior Threads.  Wow, it works like a dream - I've worked 4-5 hours with not one issue!   Dig that backing!

 Yikes, what fun!!!

We installed a flag pole recently.  There is a solar light at the top, so no floodlight is needed to meet flag etiquette.

Every year we take a photo on my birthday under my HUGE Birthday Tree of 9 years ago when it was only a twig.  We now have some shade in the afternoon!   For whatever reason, I always hold a quilt for the photo.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Garden Party - Top DONE

What happened to my plan of "only smaller tops"???   This is 83 x 83".  Frankly it WAS just plain fun to keep using all the combinations of fabric.  mmmm I've said that about a previous quilt  ..."couldn't stop making the blocks." 

The backing is white with quarter-sized polka dots!  Exactly what it needs, MORE COLOR!  LOL 

And yes, it looks exactly like Bonnie Hunter's with same name.  I really didn't want to copy hers - it was just so adventuresome, and tedious, I was afraid to make it any other way.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Garden Party - Trepidations

I keep looking at Bonnie Hunter's Garden Party to be sure this is going to "turn out".  Hers is so cheerful and mine is pretty much a copy of hers so I'm feeling confident.  I know it's not everyone's cup of tea, but it certainly will cause a few heads to turn, perhaps whispers, hopefully giggles.  My favorite response is "Look what she did!" 

Every block would make an interesting and attractive quilt by itself, even the odd combinations.  You probably figured the edge will be bordered and then points will be cut leaving a straight edge.   

The red chain sure does holds it all together. 

The most recent rows are laid out while I am balancing myself on crutches - arghhhh!  This is likely an ancient untreated injury, pre-highschool, which has raised it's ugly head.  Plans are underway for some kind of orthopedic repairs on my ankle. Might slow me down for a time.  8-((

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Garden Party - Beginning

I like it already!  Somehow that red/white alternate chain block holds it all together.  Each individual block is like a little quilt in itself!  Thanks Bonnie, of

A few more rows added today.

The blocks turning into rows have been the least demanding - they are all fitting together quite nicely.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Garden Party - WIP

Here are my parts and pieces, blocks, side setting triangles and corners.  I tallied up all the bits and except for 2 sets of borders, here is the total.  Frankly, I'm surprised that piecing it all did not take longer!   I dislike that my project is nearly the same as Bonnie Hunter's, but hers looked so good, and my colors were as varied as hers, I remembered that old adage, "don't change what ain't broke!"

House painting is getting close to DONE.  Happy Day!

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

House Painting

(This post is mostly for journal purposes, you know, when we reminisce, "when did we paint the house?" )

Where do these lilies come from????  NOTHING has grown in this area for years and then one day, up pops this charming flower.  We call them naked ladies, some say painted ladies.  The painter has already been working on this side of the garage.

NOTHING is charming about this mess but it will be better soon.  Our painter Dean is cocooning us with paper/plastic over all the windows.  It will be better soon.  We really missed being able to roll  out the awning as it was all wrapped in plastic as well!

We had to give up on shutter repairs, bite the bullet and buy new.  Hail and heat were hard on the old ones, now brittle and broken.  However, hail did NOT destroy my hostas this year - a new record!   Yeahhhhh!

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Energized - wash curtains!

The house painter is starting tomorrow and I'm excited, eager, energized, need to do some cleaning inside if the outside is going to look spiffy again.  I'll start with the curtains over the kitchen sink - they are a little faded, no longer bright yellow, facing south, but by gosh, I'll wash and rehang them.  

Here is the result.  And this was the washer that barely agitates!  Recalculate, recalculate.    Toooo funny!

Sunday, July 29, 2018

More is MORE (Garden Party blocks)

The finished blocks will be on point, with an alternate block between them all.  Hah, as I look, I'm see one block needing fixing!  Today I made about 10 -12 for a total of 31 so far - aren't they neat?  Whatever comes out of the box is pretty much what I'm using, but the corners are white or very light. Some of the blocks have a center strip of light, others are dark - interesting.   Digging thru this large box of pre-cut strips is much easier than digging thru my folded stash,.  I might make a Log Cabin or Pineapple of these left overs ... they are all strips of 1 1/2 inches. 

Thanks to Bonnie Hunter of for this delightful project.

(Large print motifs did not work well.  In the lower right of first photo you can see a mish-mash of nice little cowboy boots - can't even tell what they are.)

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Long time - no see!

This has been the longest time between posting!   There have been Quilt Shows, quilt display, quilt gathering, and even quilt making!  Here is a Scrappy Bargello, ala Quiltville/Bonnie Hunter project.  This will be a donated "Hugs and Stitches".  The orange fabric is Lucy and Linus going Trick or Treating! Each of the blocks used the same 6 fabric combination.  There is an extra checkerboard row at top and bottom to making it rectangular, about 54" x 64".  The appendages belong to DH, about 6'4".

I vowed to use stash for the backing.  That second and 4th pieces are little foxes.

And, finally .... ta dahhhh, my LQS gave me a generous box of quality scraps.  I've looked at those scraps for almost a year and finally decided to do SOMETHING, and cut them ALL into 1 1/2 inch strips.  I saw Bonnie Hunter's "Garden Party" on Youtube and decided that was the exactly the right project. 

These blocks are small (5 in. finished) !  This project uses only 1 1/2 in. strips, and is featured in her book "Addicted to Scraps".  It took me 5-6 blocks to get into a rhythm and then they went faster.  I only finger pressed during construction - saved time.  Here are 24 blocks - 2-3 days worth.   My goal was to use up the fabrics, and I did NOT stress over what colors did or didn't "go" together.  Goodness  - you could spend days just trying to make decisions and matches - just get on with it!!  In the end, they all seem to "go together"!  I've not decided on colors for the second block with cornerstones - was planning to use greens but somehow, RED seems a better choice.  Thank you Bonnie for another great design!

(My New York Beauty block are all done, but not together in rows.  )

Sunday, June 24, 2018

New York Beauty - coming along

These are not as difficult as I had imagined.  I had several good books with wonderful patterns and ideas, but it was after watching a YouTube video/tutorial on the channel called "On Point" that somehow got me inspired.   Apparently the planets were in alignment and I just jumped in and started.  The 3 YouTube tutorials suggest freezer paper but after working with it, I went to Mylar plastic pattern pieces, and then made photo copies of the pointy arc.  The pattern pieces came from a Karen Stone book. 

These blocks finish at 7 inches, I need 36.  The pieces in the photo are on a flannel board - no decision yet on a setting.

My goal is to make 2 blocks a day.  However, one day, after listening to latest horrible political news, I was so frazzled and upset, I made the block wrong 3 times, miscut, missewed, trimmed wrong, and finally had to throw it out.  That partial jaggey piece in upper right is another example of WRONG after listening to news - I cut wrong, tried to tape it back together, unsuccessfully. 

I was able to finish one block in about 20-25 minutes - see? not really hard.  Just go slow, a few stitches at a time, use something "pokey" to assist with the curves, concentrate with that paper piecing, use starch to stablize the bias.  The paper on the teeth part is regular copy paper - works fine. 

I followed Karen Stone's suggestion on fabrics, using just 5 in each block.  Black and white, white and black, turquoise, pinks, and purples, but used a variety of each color, and am not introducing other colors.   

Monday, June 18, 2018

Little Red Wagon

Quilt Guilt (LOL did anyone notice I said GUILT, not Guild?) meetings or an All Day Sew, require a conglomeration of supplies ... food, totes, machine, Show and Tell, notebooks, BOM stuff, white elephant sale, fabrics, extension cords, books, iron, mats, lamps ... you probably do the same ... and I always need a kind friend to help carry it all, or else have to make numerous trips back and forth to distant parking lot - I'm worn out before the event starts!   I've been seeing a handy rolling cart on sewing event videos. 

I even DREAMed! of what I might be looking for.  I'm out here in the boonies, with few shopping options and you know how a shopper likes to SEE what she's buying.  Last Friday my friend Machell called me and said she just bought one, "Shopko (local chain) has what you want!"  Off I dashed immediately after our conversation.  She got hers on sale somewhere else for $40.00 reduced from $80.00.  I found 2 left at Shopko for $60.00.  Here's mine!
Saturday was Guild meeting and for Show and Tell I bragged on it.  Works and rolls well.  Folds up easily by pulling on that strap you see in the middle of the basket.  Weight limit 150 lbs.   Has big wheels, and collapsing handle.  My car is not large and this fits in trunk with some room to spare.  It weighs about 10-12 lbs,  I'm happy.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Danged changes!

Uh oh - something has changed and I am not receiving comments on my e-mail, therefore I cannot respond to wonderful omments that kind viewers have sent me. 

I have no idea what needs to be done to rectify this situation.  Even managing my Blog is a miracle in itself - no way can I understand all the "Happy Day news for Bloggers" instructions from Blogger on what all this is about.


Friday, June 15, 2018

New York Beauty, Block 1

I've had this book by Karen Stone a long time - I've always looked at it, enjoyed it, slobbered at her gorgeous projects, and I DID make one quilt years ago using her techniques and methods - she sure has an eye for beauty and color!  I really want to make a New York Beauty, but the design seems daunting!

Last night I was watching a series of lessons on New York Beauty on You Tube, the channel (is that what's it's called?) is "On Point TV " and the instructor (Nancy Roelfsema) was building her New York Beauty using EQ8, (Curve Piecing the New York Beauty) I don't have EQ8 but her instructions for the block/quilt were so excellent, I became all inspired and made this block.  I haven't paper pieced for years, but  after a few missteps, it did come back to me.  This block, using Karen Stone patterns, is 7 1/2 in. and nice and square, despite camera angle.

Surprisingly, it sewed quite well and quickly, the first time.  (Remember, years ago, we DID set in sleeves in blouses - yes they were curved seams.)  I made freezer paper templates, and each template will be reused many times.  I'm not sure if my enthusiasm will last for an entire quilt, but in reality, the actual sewing took less than an hour, most of that was the arc and spikes, and I'm practiced now - will probably be faster now.  I didn't have to take out any seams in the curves - just slow stitching and my trusty awl/poker.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

"Hidden Wells" Technique in Borders

Mary Ellen Hopkins seems to be one of the originators of this clever design - many of us remember her quirky style.  I remembered her cleverness, but not her instructions.  Her book on Hidden Wells is seldom seen now but there are many others on the Internet displaying this technique but I could not find what I needed for a small border.  With determination and excitement, and a LOT of leftover strips, I jumped in and was practically in a frenzy (just ask DH!) trying to calculate what was required.  By the time I finished, being totally mentally exhausted, and after a LOT of remeasuring, I DID remember "starch", "staystitching" and "trim to correct size."  Voila! - a decent and interesting border, using much of my leftovers.  The border changed direction to repeat what was happening in the quilt. 

The border is not yet sewn to the quilt, but the light dotted strip is now providing stability - live and learn.   I think I like it.  3 more sides to go.

Monday, May 21, 2018

C-130 overhead, and Caribbean Strings Progress

I'm not sure why we were visited by this C-130, and the close flyover - perhaps because this town used to have a huge airbase during/after WWII.  There are still veterans  or families of veterans at the nursing homes, and the plane went right over their residence.  I just stood next to the road and took the photo - it went around twice.  Lots of folks were out in lawns, parking lots, fields on this beautiful day.   

This is my progress on Caribbean Strings.  From center to what appears to be the top is 5 rows and there is yet another row beyond this top, still not figured out, but using dark strings .... I think.   I am leaning towards a Hidden Wells design but ....  That last dark row/border will make it 10 x 12 blocks finished, about 86 x 100 something.  This is too large for my DSM quilting, so I'll break it into sections.  All these blocks have paper on the back for now.  I definitely used up a lot of leftover strings and strips.  The center white strip was consistent in size, but the others were not. 

Thursday, May 10, 2018

"Whirlpool", and Nebraska Breeze - both D O N E

"Whirlpool" - This is a large quilt, MQ'ed on my DSM.  86" x 106".  Due to the difficulties of bulk and a heavy project, I added the last border "QAYG and pre-quilted" with marginal success, due to my own lack of knowledge.  There is no way I could have quilted it while all one piece - waaaay too large.  I will use this technique on my next large quilt now - I think I learned the tricks.  

Kaleidoscopes have always been one of my favorite blocks!

Here is part of a border.  This was all my own design.  Those triangles on the border - another part that was not as difficult as I had guessed, but you need to measure carefully and sew accurately to get them to turn the corner accurately.  

Nebraska Breeze -  I posted this earlier, but now it's ALL DONE.  This is a design by Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville - her instructions are excellent.  She calls hers Texas Tumbleweeds. There are 2 sets of blocks and the settings is straight.
I tried quilting serpentines in this border, fairly easy, not yet uniform but pretty good.

I tried wishbones, or figure "8"s on this side of the quilt.  It's easier than it looks.  Once you sew 10 or so, your hands know what to do.  The curl in the green border is another favorite .   

Sunday, May 06, 2018

Caribbean Strings

I need 120 (10 x 12) - no border, but might come up with a border-like color placement.  It's astonishing how much fabric a person can have in just a few colorways.  If remembering correctly I purchased 2 FQs to add to the mix.  The plan is to make 2 halves, quilt them, then put them together.  It's too unwieldy to handle MQ'ing 86" x over 100".   Blocks go fast - this is 2-3 days of sewing, doing just 4 at a time, so I don't sit too long in one position.   These are on foundation paper.  I tried various settings, but liked this the best.  I'll fiddle with individual block setting, especially the center 4.

"Caribbean Strings" kinda sounds like evening music, fresh breezes, ocean waves. hmmmm ...I like it.

Many years ago, I actually had the good fortune to sail in Caribbean waters and yes, the sky, and water really look like this.   Up until then, I thought the travel brochures were just color enhanced.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Texas Tumbleweed, Nebraska Breeze, progress with MQ'ing

Finally, after 3 years in NO progress, I'm getting this D O N E!   This is a free design by Bonnie Hunter of  I've renamed my version, "Nebraska Breeze."

Several gals on an e-mail list asked for photos of machine quilting designs, but my photos would not load properly there, so, here they are.  These designs are casual, large floppy plumey motifs, with a few surprises (missteps!) along the way.  My thread is a soft green.

Backing fabric - what a great find!  Some artist did the work and I was lucky enough to have chosen the original front fabrics 3 years ago that coordinates perfectly!