Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Dear Santa: Please give me more time ...

Today I finished with rearrangement of my Cat's Cradle blocks.  I did this because I don't have a design wall and several times I had to pick up the blocks, then lay them down again, then pick up, etc.  Finally decided I liked this setting better.  Note what happens at upper right corner - on purpose but kinda interesting as well.  It's the same unit, just rearranged.  They still need some re-arrangement for balance.  And I have to admit, the special ruler is responsible for perfectly sized units.  I have a LOT of units left over but I'm trying to avoid a queen sized quilt!  We'll see how that ends up.  These finish at 9.5 in.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Playing with Cats Cradle Ruler

(Edited 2 days later to correct info regarding 2 different sizes of rulers.)
I needed "something" to play with, and bought the Cats Cradle Ruler, the smaller size.    Previous to using this ruler, my Cats Cradle blocks went together slowly and perfectly fine, but yes, the ruler speeds up production and guarantees accuracy.   The finished size units go up to 4 inches.  (There is another ruler for larger size blocks and it's also a different shape - it's triangular. ) The cut sizes needed on my square ruler are printed right on the ruler, and it also came with a printed set of paper instructions - you don't need a book but it's nice to have.  This block finished with sashings was made with units that finished 3 inches.  hmmmm looking like a lot of work for small unit sizes.

Cutting and sewing one unit at a time is ridiculously time consuming and after making 2-3 units, one at a time, it was apparent I needed to come up with strip piecing and cutting.  Notice below, the finished 3 inch, and the larger 4 inch which I decided would go a little faster.
I seldom use a book for instructions but DO love the graphics and finished quilts in books.  This particular book includes instructions for this smaller Cats Cradle ruler.   I usually glance at the photos and then take off on my own, never studying the instructions.   Be sure you recognize that the other ruler designed for larger blocks (triangular) probably requires a different book if you are following instructions.   One other thing, this Cat's Cradle block used to be called something else to our Moms and Grandmas, possibly Shaded something or other.
This is the book I bought and have started on a quilt inspired by the cover photo.  I'm using scraps, in  multiples of 4 at a time, with some effort towards balance, mostly in red, white and blues.
I wish all of you Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Humility Quilting

Pretty cute fabrics, right?  I decided to make a favorite pattern for a young girl, a Kaleidoscope.  Easy, peasy, except ... I had forgotten the rules, suggestions of values, and just zoned in on these cute fabrics ... Normally, the circles that should appear when values are correctly chosen, and the circles appear automatically.  hmmmm, not this time.

No circles?  "No problem, the fabrics will carry it thru" was what I heard me saying to myself.. 

Then, during the night, SOMEONE !!! moved some of these rows around, and now I have similar fabrics together.  Perhaps it was one of the garden gnomes that I move into the house when cold weather arrives?  Ya think??? 
Only AFTER it  was basted was when I noticed rows in the wrong places.  I was having difficulty  seeing the "plan" and discovered one of the pale yellows was also in the wrong configuration.  Ya think I'm going to redo it all???  NOT!!!  So, in my wise decision-making process,  I decided to do ruler work in those wedges to accentuate the invisible circles, only to discover that was another WRONG decision.  It was impossible to decide which line I was on because of the maze of colors wadded up under the needle.  So, in a fit of anger distress,  out  came my seam ripper, and  I removed that ruler-work-stitching, one stitch at a time. 

 I have made over 200 quilts and have never run into this example of  repeated poor planning.  And I've even made 3 or 4 Kaleidoscope Quilts before, each one perfectly wonderful.  Apparently my brain stopped working. 
Quilting on the blocks was innies and outies, waaaay more quilting that is needed - another wrong choice. Apparently, this was my lesson on remembering to be HUMBLE.  But it's still pretty, and bright, and as long as the recipient is not a child of a quilter, it will make a perfectly nice PINK quilt.  The blocks are about 7 in.  The fabrics are still very pretty. 

Sunday, October 27, 2019


Crud - in an effort to delete spam comments from a middle East country, I hit a wrong button and deleted all the comments on that page - probably back 3 months.  I appreciate all the real comments so please don't think this was a planned error.  8-((  As far as I know, there was no "undo". 

I checked the origin of the spam, and tried to translate it only to read something about air conditioning repairs.  Who knew? 

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

"I Spy" Quilt for kids, Thanks Joan!

Joan, I'm using your novelty fabrics!  So cute

I quilted this in big swoopy swirls - nothing fussy.  I put 2 straight lines of quilting in the border.   

(Notice, our lawn is still GREEN!)

This backing is some of the fabric given to me, hoping I'd use it in a kid's donation quilt.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Stringy, Pinky Quilt, QAYG

QAYG technique, not bound yet.  About 48" x 64".  The strips are various sizes, deliberately unplanned in order.

 Back pieces are scrappy as well.  I filled in with 5 blue squares. 
 Close up of fabrics. 
I used sashing strips of 1 7/8 in, folded, for the front, and 7/8 in. for the back.  My white back stitches all fall on the outside of the white strips, but blend in with the busy back fabrics.  These measurements fit well with my quarter inch foot.  Most of leftover batting was used up as well as a lot of pink scraps.  However, there is still an enormous box of pinks left for the next project.  This was started about 10 days ago.

Friday, September 27, 2019

"I Spy" quilt, thank you Joan

Blogger, Joan, said she wanted to reduce her too-large stash of novelties and offered them to me.  I guess you can surmise my answer.  This is one just completed,  about 46 x 48 inches.  Wow, there are so many different fabrics/squares, many were already cut at 2.5 in., and now sewn together, most of them are situated in the same direction.  I added the white for breathing space.  This will be a donation for Hugs and Stitches, sponsored by our LQS.

There has been little machine quilting at my home and I feared I'd lost my touch,  but as soon as I sat down and got moving, this big swirly design designed itself and was finished in about an hour.  (I MQ on my DSM.)

Friday, September 20, 2019

Row x Row, kid's quilt

After receiving a box of scrap novelty fabrics, (yes, another!) I made this little Row x Row kids quilt.  The rows were just plain fun to make up, but organizing them in a visually pleasing order was a whole 'nuther thing!  And they didn't end up the way I had planned, nor in the "right" way,  but ... some child will love it.  Those are cats in the dark row, and birds in the 2 wide light rows.    In the center are little 2 inch, fussy cut cat squares.  (BTW, 2 in. is toooo small - don't go there.)

After eternally messing about with an almost-cohesively laid out order, I will give a LOT more credit to those designers who make BEAUTIFUL, balanced,  Row x Row quilts. 

Here is the back, also gifted fabric, all printed with holiday and season-type motifs, even a quilt block - CUTE!  This will be donated to Hugs and Stitches Quilts, sponsored by my LQS. 

Friday, August 30, 2019

QAYG in Blue, DONE

Finished this morning - yeahhhh!  Front and back.  The consistent center strips are a handkerchief blue and white.  I've been trying to use up that handkerchief blue for years, never finding a good spot.  However, cut it narrow enough it looks great as a sashing on the back and binding.  Finished size is about 42" x 56".  This will be a donated Hugs and Stitches quilt, after a Guild Show and Tell.
Hah, you might notice the remains of a NUT on the quilt, dropped from a squirrel who was watching what I was doing!  (No, it's not a you-know-what!)

I am noticing how clever the back looks just as a regular quilt, perhaps using 6 in. squares from my 14 lb. box of novelties from my blogging friend.

(hmmmmm next project, here I come! )

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

QAYG, in Blue

QAYG = quilt as you go, in case that word is new to you.  It's been a month since I started a QAYG, in PINK.  PINK was delivered to the intended recipient a few days ago, so the last few days, I've been working on this one in BLUE.  Some of these fabrics are mine, some purchased from a Scrap Bag from Hawthorne Fabrics and some backs are from the 14 lb. box of novelties from a blogging friend.  I made half the blocks with white/plain backs and half in novelties/scrappy, and laid it out with alternate blocks.

The only "order" is that white strip and blue handkerchief print laid diagonally down the near center.  My plan is to have 6 x 8 blocks.  (It's turned sideways here).  Top row has the sashing connected.  Attaching the narrow sashing is faster than it looks and so far, all the back stitches are exactly where I wanted them, not sloppily on and off the sashing but  next to it.   Yeahhh!  I did one row of 8 blocks at one sitting of ?? less than an hour.  Fabrics are little horses, horseshoes, deer, a few foxes, dot, plaids, and I added a few turquoises to keep it from getting blah. These blocks are 7.25 in.  My leftover batting scrap supply is greatly diminished.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Kind friends, generous gifts

A blogging friend said she had too many fabrics and asked me if I would help her use them up.  Say what?  Oh yes, I agreed to give them a new home, and I promised to make them up into donated kids quilts and if there were too many pieces, would ask my quilty girlfriends to assist.  I figured I could handle about 7 lbs, the first estimate.  It's so much fun to wait for the mail, look at the box, and not open it right away, but what arrived on a Saturday was not 7 lbs., but a bigger box of 14 lbs.!  Yikes, hold me back, I cannot open it yet, I MUST clear a space, MUST finish this project, etc., and promised the sender I'd have a "reveal" with my friends.  So I just looked at the bulging box, being tempted, but I was strong and resisted.

So - here they are on Thursday evening where we gather for Show and Tell, local news, etc.  This was a small group.  And HERE is the box of goodies!  Are we having fun?  When the evening was over I only brought home half of the fabrics - oh good, these photo'ed gals are all great achievers and those little quilts will be made up and delivered.  Thank you Joan for the fabric - you can see they are all appreciated.  I'm working on my ideas as well - some are getting made into backs of QAYG quilt.  Thank you Alice, Carol, Sue and Jody!
Saturday morning, 9:00 am, one of these gals brought over a finished top, made from some of her pieces - now that's FAST!

Here are several quilts that were shown for the evening Show and Tell.
 Above, a scrappy quilt
 4 Patches and Pinwheels, from Bonnie Hunter's book.  I LOVE this one.
This is an OLD quilt, simple but the fabrics are much prettier than my photo.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Basket Weave, simple backing

This strip of 4 patches fell off the back of the studio door and "accidentally" became the perfect addition to a Basket Weave backing that was just a teensy bit too short.  I was careful to sew it off  center, just for fun.  Nope, it doesn't match, doesn't have same colors, just seemed to be a nice contrast to all the circular motifs in the blue/white fabric.  

This tree was my Birthday Tree, 10 years ago, and barefly fits the camera lens.  No, it's not my birthday, just wanted to get the quilt backing in the photo.  This is a small leaf Linden - it now provides shade for the house and maintains this pretty shape.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

#6 and the LAST from that box of scraps

Basket Weave or Basket Strings - thank you Bonnie Hunter of  This is the LAST quilt, #6, from that wonderful box of scraps given to me by my LQS about 9 months ago.  By this time, I had to add a LOT of my own scrappy stash.  

 I like how it turned out.  The light side setting triangles are not quilted - not sure if I'll leave them unquilted or not.  
 It's amazing that the varieties a curvy line can suggest - almost like personalities.  I MQ'd  each block separately, many of them with different kinds of wavy lines.  
This innies and outies is a favorite - looks interesting, almost most masculine, or outdoorsy.  (Next post ... I'll post the back! )

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

QAYG, Scrap bags

10 days of fun - yep, fabrics arrived on July 27, and today is August 7.  Fun and done!

Front, back, and close up of back squares.  I'll wash it to soften  the sashing strips.  Many of these fabrics came from 2 kids scrap bags ordered from Hawthorne Supply. 
Some of the backing squares were an existing stack of squares, used in random order.  But, holy smoke, they are soooo cute!  I LOVE the variety of sweet little girls.  Wish I had the yardage.

If you wanted more order to the back,  you could lay them all out in the required order on your design wall, or in some "safe" floor where human or pet fabric won't dislodge them, then start sewing the fronts and pick up the specific backing square in a more disciplined manner - oh my gosh, just trying to write that kind of plan is giving me the heebie jeebies!  I'm a random kind of gal, but I realize there are many gals who like to know, ahead of time, what the back will look like, so if that is your style, go for it!  8-))
I made an error in explaining sizes of blocks.  The blocks finish the same as raw/unfinished size because you sew with 1/4 in. seam allowance, but then you ADD another 1/4 inch with the narrow sashing.  So this quilt is 6 x 8, or 42" x 48"  I hemmed and hawed about adding a border, but in the end, it didn't seem to need it.  On YouTube, The Gourmet Quilter does a good job of explaining her method of putting blocks together and a second video on adding borders.  I always check out a number of videos as each one has something to learn.

Can't wait to start another one!

Thursday, August 01, 2019

Critter Comforts #3, QAYG

A fast layout - looks almost OK ...better move that turquoise on far left to upper left.  All Day Sew is tomorrow and I plan to sew white sashing strips between the blocks.  I'm not sure about a border yet ... still waiting for the quilt to talk.  Each block is  6 1/2 in. finished.  Most of these strips are from the recent package of scraps I purchased from Hawthorne.  The backing squares are  also a variety of kids prints, chosen in no particular order. 

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Having fun with strips, strings, and QAYG

So far, so good!  Many of my recent purchase (scrap bag, previous post) contain pieces large enough for backings so I'll not cut them into strips.  I'm liking the one bright on the diagonal  near the center of each block, and also have a white strip 1 1/2 in. on each diagonal center for continuity.

Here are 4 x 4 blocks, I planned to have 6 x 7 but ... not sure yet.  Each individual block finishes at 6.5 in. 

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Kids Scrap Bags

For the second time, I've placed an order for 3 kids scrap bags from Hawthorne Supply, in Red Hook, NY.  My order came today, promptly, and I'm thrilled with the choices.   They are very different from our fabrics in Nebraska.   I plan to make more QAYG kids quilts similar to my previous "Critter Comforts."  There is not even one fabric in the bag that is not going to be perfect. 

 There are horses, foxes, racoons, people, dancers, folky, stars, insects and more! 

Monday, July 22, 2019

A month of photos - Hanging at the Bank

3 quilt events, 3 out-of-towners in June/July - not much sewing but a LOT of enjoying people and quilts.  Many of these quilts were at our recent Guild Quilt Show, and then we move them right onto  the Bank 2nd floor railing for the town Heritage Days. 

ON the right is our Guild raffle quilt, won by a local gal. Far left is Liz's, then the one in the middle is totally scrappy, made by Pokey, who used to live and blog in California, but amazingly, moved to our little town!  What a coincidence! I used to write her in California, never having a clue she had family in our little town.

 This is mine, shown before.  60 degree diamonds, and practice with rulers for straight-line quilting. 
 Carol's soft pallette - so pretty.
 Impressive blending of colors, going from light to blues, tans, golds, grays, lights blues,  The color  changes were almost imperceptible.  .
 These ladies had lacy pantaloons under their hoop skirts - so cute!  The viewer just HAD to touch.
 ...from that box of scraps from my LQS - my quilt.  I had just learned (again) how to calculate the floating border correctly.

Alice's beautiful paper paper piecing.  It's easier to see the layout in this photo than up close.

Uh, oh, below - was this Jody's? 
Gene's first-ever stunning quilt won him a Blue Ribbon at the recent Quilt Show.  Gene hosts our monthly All Day Sew and he LOVES his embroidery machine! 
 Jody's clever "sticks".
 Earlynne's stunning antique/vintage hexagon, from her Great grandmother,  that she made following the death of her 2 children, 5 days apart, in 1918 (flu that was rampant).  She said she had to do something to keep herself from falling apart.  Those hexagons are about 1/2 inch, and all hand done.  Never washed. 
 One of Jody's (Goddess)  many quilts, from
One of Elaine's (ME!) quilts, one of 6, made from that never-ending box of scraps.  In Bonnie's latest book, she called hers "Daybreak" - I call this one "Slim Pickin's" due to searching the  last bits from the box of scraps.  The last border is hand-quilted.  That's what the quilt asked for. 

Hand quilted by me.  "49 Opportunities" meaning every single block looked good enough to plan an entire quilt from each scrappy color combination. 

 This travel bag was beautifully made by Anne, made from her father's sail boat sails.  It is even more amazing in person! 
 Carol's sweet kid quilt - a lot of Dick and Jane type figures, not enough to make an entire quilt, but finished with simple squares, using same colors as focus fabric - much better in person.  Great idea if you don't have a lot of something. 

These purple bags are Royal Crown labels.  Had to be saved over a long time.  The end result is lovely.  Don't remember owner.  8-( 
OK, end of show - hope you enjoyed.