Monday, March 27, 2017


March 26.   Daunting approach to the end of March.  Isn't there one more weekend. Please!

I have so much I have been working on. And even more that I want to get done. There are the little things like just fixing the quilting on a donation small quilt, to the new donations started,  and the one that has been occupying my living room floor for a WEEK.  ( Although it was good for moving a few blocks for better color placement. )

1)Oh, and the weekly blocks for blockheads.

2)My RSC blocks are increasing: (see previous post for pics of latest and tricks).

3) Working on donation quilts:A) quilt of valor lap from my bull's eye almost done, B)homespuns needs a border and quilting C tumblers : still on the floor and I started D an eye spy for kids.

 $And lastly my log cabin quilt along just isn't going anywhere. ARGH!

I do have a good excuse.  My sewing machine is in the shop.  My really good one, the one I just know how to operate for careful sewing and the only one I have quilted on.  It has been gone for almost weeks. Can you hear my exasperation?       Luckily I have a back up.  Thanks Hubby!
The extended deadline for my log cabin. will be for my guild's quilt show:  April 22.  
It has had one border added, but all it needs is applique placement, borders sewn, and then quilting.

Good news: checking the posts from March I can  see my accomplishments:
( goal for creating this job accomplishing)

My En provence is completed and given away.  WOOP, WOOP!

I quilted and bound my brother's extra courthouse steps 4th of July square.     Yes, an extra square.
But it is DONE!

And of course, new starts:

Easter bunnies!  Well, bunnies anyway for my mom.   I am now thinking a full quilt and to be done when I visit her in the summer.  Latest idea is to use the twister borders with the 30s fabrics and then borders of the variety of prints I have.
    (still has menacing eyes)

But I also think I am going to make placemats.  I am hating the lack of springtime weather and need something to look forward to.   If you want to make it the directions are :Here

Easter Egg Place Mat Project-Jacquelynne Steves-

Sunday, March 26, 2017

RSC pinwheels tricks

I have loved making my "pinwheel sort of " block for my RSC. I have made more red this month. Mostly because I like the country colors of gold, red, blue , and green and the quilt from it will have more of them. It goes without saying that my stash has more variety in those colors.

I have the miniature pattern from Primitive Gatherings as well called Pinwheel Garden. It is a miniature.. No hints in there, though, just instructions to assemble the blocks and quilt.

So red blocks.... I even added a couple homespuns this week. And my red total is 13 making the whole sum and total number of blocks to 29.

As I made these this weekend, I was carefully conscious of my process to see what makes it come together at those pesky pinwheel centers.

First a real key was to spray size the fabrics prior to sewing. It made for crisper seams and intersections. ( Trick learned from Lisa Bongean, but I do not completely immerse in starch and then dry them.) I just used Best Press. I carefully ironed first  each color, and then my 2 colors together prior to marking the half square triangles and Thangles papers for the small triangles.

So 2nd real key is seam allowance ESPECIALLY at the beginning of the seam where the triangles of 2 separate blocks meet.

 It is easy to put the 2 triangles together as the seam allowances are going in opposite directions and "nest" together well.

Another thing I watch for is that the size of the seam allowance is key for both halves prior to sewing the 2 parts together. Here are 2 different views  I might use to check the match prior to sewing.  It works very well to have the seams finger pressed.  Matching them has one going in each direction and flat. Make sure to "butt" them together.

Here is an example of not matching well:

I quick rip it and then realignment made this for only one resew.

Then on the back I undo the seam allowance to both parts.  It looks like this when opened:

I do pin... and I do sew on top of them.  Rarely do I hit one. And to avoid it, slow the sewing machine while going over the pin. The needle will slide to the side, at least in my experience of many decades. I know others do not agree.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Blockheads 3

I am keeping up with the blockheads 6 inch block a week. This one was posted by Jo Morton. My fabric is Kansas Troubles stash. I saw Lisa Bongean's layout of the same block and used her color position as a guide, but substituted my own fabrics.

 And because each quarter square triangle block is one color, I subcut a 3 and 1/4 inch square diagonally into fourths and then just pieced them.

I wish I could say I was getting a lot done on quilting... a  foldover binding on a small quilt, a couple seams for an eye spy quilt.  Little bits done, but no real hedge on the progress. And my lovely log cabin has been sitting for a couple weeks.  

This is partly because my sewing machine, my baby of 32 years, is still in maintenance. I am awaiting our reunion  any day now and depend on it for for some things. The replacement is o.k. and does the basics, even the blanket stitch I so purchased it before, but I just don't like it as well. I guess we just need more time together. 

But the weekend is coming!  And there is a quilt show in Sun Prairie, WI,  to go to on Sunday. 

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Charity quilt and Spring

First the donation quilt... the fabrics were donated by a local quilt shop. They had a die cut for the extra large tumbler. All I had to do was randomly sew them in rows and then lay them out. Followed by some rearranging and frog stitch : rip it, rip it, rip it. Wanted to get the colors spread out.

Next I need to see the rows together , slice it, and the sew edges together to make it rectangular. Somewhere I have a red white and blue print for the border.

Next up...  bunnies chicks.

It was decide my HB and I would visit my mom for Easter.  I can't even remember the last Easter we were together. Even when we both taught prior to my kids, our breaks were never the same week. And although Canada may not be beach worthy, it will be good to see her. Her memory is declining, rapidly.

So I was browsing Pinterest for Easter ideas. I saw the 30s bunnies book and remembered I have it from many, many moons ago; copyright 2002.  After a mad search I even found it. Mom was born in the 30s and her bedroom was painted with a border of bunnies by my creative grandmother. I had always intended making it for her as these reminded me of them.

So I dug out my bag is 30s prints, found several small prints and appliqued the bunnies on white squares. I even was able to use the blanket stitch on my almost new/used sewing machine. (My tried and true is still in for a tune up. Boy, so I miss her.)

Voila, blocks almost finished...just the eyes  and a few face details. Next step..... not sure.  A table runner? Wall hanging?   Some pieced work around them, maybe framed first and then patchwork. Maybe even connector blocks. Still "hatching" the idea.

I know, the one bunny looks like he is out to get you,  But he just needs some TLC, of the sewing variety.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Worldwide quilting day

Hope you all had some time to quilt/sew today?

I had time this morning prior to my grandkids coming for most of the day.
Between last night and this morning I was able complete 5 more red blocks for the rainbow scrap challenge. (Total 9 red)

I am using thangles for the inch and a half blocks, and trim  the large ones cut from 4 inch squares.
Accurate quarter inch seams is crucial. I can tell right away if the seam allowance -at the spot where the 2 diagonal meets - if they aren't the same size. 
I also make sure the opposing diagonals meet tightly.
Progress!  These were pressed following the photo op. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Blockheads unite

Blockhead number 2  Aunt Dinah. Created by Betsy Chutchian of  These are small: 6 and a half inches, but Betsy's instructions are well written with lots of tricks and photos. Starching the fabric did help to assemble it better. Again, seam allowance is key.  
  See Betsy's blog as she is even making a mini to go with each block. So cute!
My block is in Kansas Troubles fabrics.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Fully finished and more

I am happy to say I have my County En Provence quilt completed.  Ahhh, The Thrill!

But other small projects to report:

And I have now become  a Blockhead:  or at least I am following the Blockhead pattern from 5 designers; Jan Patek, Lisa Bongean, Betsy Chutchian, Lynne Hagmeier and Carrie Nelson. Here is my sample of this week's block which was posted on Wednesday is:

My Rainbow Scrap challenge blocks: 4 more, this time red.  And sometimes those pinwheels are indeed a challenge. And  I now have 20 blocks total.  And at the same time, I have always made 2 extra large half square triangles of each color to go as borders.

Another small finish:  A courthouse step block made into small table topper.  Prior to Christmas I finished this runner here.  The original pattern on All People Quilt called for 5 blocks, which made an incredibly long runner. So I finished it with 4 blocks instead, having a leftover.  And now the leftover will also go to my brother on his birthday this summer which is prior to the 4th of July.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Country En Provence

Here is the large photo of my country colored En Provence.  

And here you can see the back, binding and some of the quilting with a close up. 

Here is the beautiful stitching done by my longarm quilter.

Celebration!  And it will be given away today to the wonderful electrician who installed our new ceiling fan. He is also my daughter's boyfriend, and an awesome guy!

RSC blocks

Rainbow Scrap Challenge : red!  here are the first 4 blocks for this month in red. Love that the pile is getting bigger.  

I didn't have as much time to sew today, my usual Saturday was spent with my son and his family watching model trains.  We went from location to location in the town of Delavan, WI. There were all kinds of train sets with a wide variety of sizes and features including the great Circus Train, and amusement park and layouts with all seasons,multiple trains and of course, Christmas.  Of course, the 2 little boys just wanted to touch them.  Finally the last stop had Thomas the Tank and several wooden trains to play with. 
Image may contain: 1 person, standing, child and indoorImage may contain: 1 person, standing and indoor

Wednesday, March 8, 2017


I had sent my En Provence out to be quilted. And it is BACK.  So tonight, I prepped the binding and machine stitched it on the edge, mitered corners and all.

Here  is my binding box,  It is a plastic box I while at a convention sometime.  But it easily holds my hairclip style of binding clips plus one set of  wonder clips given to me as a gift.  I always keep my needle in it as well as a small set of scissors, which is missing at the moment.

Here is the front side  of the quilt.

And here is the  back as I turn a corner.  The quilting was a swirly design with taupe thread.  I found a wool batting for 30 bucks and a 108 inch back for 10 dollars a yard.   More pics when done.  Any ideas for a name?  Some of you out there are much better with wording than I.
Here is the link of the finished  Top.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

2nd Flimsy of the year!

So Sunday:  a day of rest!  Well my sewing machine needs a rest.  Actually, it needs a tune up.The tension is OFF. I couldn't stand it while I started to put this baby into larger sections. 

As I was at church this morning, I asked about the deadline for the donation quilt. This one, the one I started back here.  February 8.  It was sitting on my back table. And I was tired of prepping all my applique and not sewing piecework.  And they want the donations by the end of April.  Ugh,  I have a quilt to finish before then for the quilt show the 21st. 

So I needed to sew for someone else today.  And while putting chunks together for this donation quilt, my tension was just wrinkled on the long seams.  I found all my blocks that were made and laid it out.  Don't know how, but it worked out with 1 left over.  The layout is 9 by 11 squares.  Again this is a disappearing 9 patch with the red in the center and a staggered lay out. 

So I put my Bernina to the side, organized all the cords and such, and got my back up out.  It worked fine, but I did have to research how to get that 1/4 inch seam.  

Good news! The donation homespun quilt is together and the size is 54 by 66 inches.  I think I will add my red flannel as a border and cut it from the wide back.  I have more than enough.  It is hard to tell, but these are all homespuns.  I like how the red is random, but really pulls it together and gives it a pop.   

First robin!

Oh, when the red robin comes bob bob bobbin along!

You should be glad you can't here me sing it.   But I am so excited to see signs of spring.  As we pulled into the parking lot at church this morning, there were 2 robins to greet us.  Then as we drove home, there were at least a half dozen in the park by the playground around the corner.

 Yeah!  I try to be aware of when I see the first robin in March. Somehow, I wasn't quite thinking about it yet.

Image result for robin    ( Not my photo)

Other progress :

I have been trying to do a little embroidery in the evenings when I am not working on my current quilting projects.... Yes, I am working on a lot.  But I have made good progress on my "Over the river and through the woods".

Forgive me for the rotation problem.

But it is progress.   Using Presencia thread:  brown size 16.

No school!

Remember when a radio announcer would declare a snow/ ice day? Oh they joy!

  But no, this was not a weather break, but a planned inservice day for the teachers.  No I am not a student, just a learning assistant. Actually, I run our tutoring center, guided study: for those who really need a kick in the pants, and lunch duty.  Ah, the joys of not being in middle school anymore!

 I am a jack of all trades, who has taught almost anything from kindergarten to high school biology and and can even do algebra 2. I am great with a resource, and can edit, research, be a scribe, and motivate.  I love working with kids.  Sometimes, I am so frustrated for them for making those choices. Lately, a couple of them have had the dawn awakening. The lows... the highs.

Anyway, I had Friday off.  And I stayed home and worked like of son of a gun on my applique. My husband judged solo and ensemble contest yesterday; so I even had a 2nd day of concentrated effort.

And I prepped, and prepped my applique. All my leaves are made, all my flowers and center circles are made and my small circles as well!  Hooray!

I used Kim Diehl's applique paper. Then used kids washable glue to hold the fabric to the template. Next I sprayed Magic sizing into a bowl and "painted" the solution onto the edges. This was followed by ironing the seam allowance onto the back of the template.  (without burning your fingers.)

For the circles, I used Karen Kay Buckley's small template, gathered the edges around it.  ( which seemed to take forever)  " again painted the sizing onto the seam allowance on the back, and ironed it dry.  I used the same technique for the larger ones, which were a hair to big for her largest template.

My other resource has been Erin Russek, blog One Piece at a Time. She has great videos, and free blocks, and old patterns she has designed.  She is now an editor for McCall's quilting.

It has been tedious. And the pieces were previously cut out of the applique paper.

All the while, sitting in front of TV, which I can't do when I use the sewing machine.  I saw Butler lose to Seton Hall.  Butler is my alma mater, years and years ago, when it was affordable.  And they are doing very well this year in basketball, except yesterday.

And then, there was a string of Star Wars movies.  I stopped at 10:30.

Friday, March 3, 2017

February coming to a close.

I feel like an inchworm: making little progress to show, yet definitely moving.

February goals done:
1) En Provence top completed  63 inches square!
backing purchased  Sent to quilter.  I just could not see me quilting over those bulky intersections.
Kudos to those of you who do! But on my regular sewing machine, I just dreaded the thread breaking. I steamed the heck out of the seams, too, without trying to warp the size and keep it square.

2) BOM for quilt guild done

3) Stash Bee blocks made: It is a great pattern for those 5 inch charm packs.
I happened to have one for an eye spy quilt, and found awesome guy prints.
Even had a pack of Cherrywood fabrics of a 8 by 9 size variety found at Quilt Expo in Madison, WI.

4) Rainbow Scrap Challenge:  4 blocks made, 4 cut out to finish
Teal/aqua/sea green are not colors in abundance in my stash. I had to break down and acquire a few.

Added to all the blocks so far made:  my colors are muted, and don't always like the lighting/camera.

5) Challenge for small group selected:  postcard scenery with small bits of fabric for greenery
There is a wonderful tutorial in the latest Quilting Arts magazine.  The challenge is to do thread painting.

Other progress:
Homespun bull's eyes almost quilted.  Ugh.  ran out of navy thread........

Log Cabin quilt along: piecing completed along with inner border, applique prep for pattern pieces cut out, bias stems and circles made

Started a donation quilt for church for the Native American tribe we support;
blocks made from disappearing 9 patch with red centers.  6 x 7 patches put together.
Additional blocks made. Wool batting and flannel red backing purchased.

No UFO progress this month. Oh,  Scrap!

On to March:   Goals:

1) Finish. Yes Finish the Log Cabin.  Lots of applique in my future.

2)  Put together my 30s hearts!  Need to get it done for the quilt show in April.

3)  Red Rainbow Scrap Challenge

4) BOM for quilt club

5) Leaving room for inspiration and squirrels.    But thinking I need to get grandson's  big bed quilt going.  His birthday is in May, and I didn't get it done for when he turned 2 last year. I let it go as he has been using my son's graduation quilt from high school. But I did make a matching pillow case.

Cutie that he is:  Here he was experimenting with magnets.  He is really getting good at figuring things out, like how to take things apart.