Sunday, January 31, 2016

Last January finish..........

I can't even begin to tell you how much I love this little quilt.  It started out way back in March 2006 with a pile of batiks that weren't my favorites.  I decided to 'get rid' of them by cutting them into 4.5" squares and 2" finished triangles.  After sewing the triangle squares I started playing with the pieces on the design wall.The main stars in the long rows have 8 points alike on most of them.  The secondary stars are formed between them with multicolor points.  It is all made with 2 blocks, a square and a block made with 4 squares made of 2 triangles.  It had to be laid out on a design wall to get the 8 matching points in the right place but was sewn as rows of 4.5" units, not as star blocks.
A portion of this quilt was my header photo for several years.  I put on the triangle border in 2009 and now it is finally finished 10 years later.  I had intended it to be a wallhanging but I decided not to sew a hanging sleeve on as I was attaching the binding like I usually do.  If I add a sleeve it will be later since I want this to hang over the couch for awhile, maybe forever. 

Yesterday was my 3333rd post since I started my blog in July 2007.  

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Binding started.......corners auditioned.........

The ditch quilting is finished and now I'm doing the hand sewing on the binding.  I wanted a binding fabric that was a bit darker than the border fabric but not too dark since the back of the quilt is a light color also.  I have about 1/3 of the hand sewing done.
I made the 4 paw blocks and then auditioned the added light strips on the outside edge and the inside edge (2 top corners).  Then I decided I needed to find the next border fabric and put it up there too to really see how the corner will look.  I'm going to go with the one on the left.  The red border will have purple squares at the corners when it is sewn on.
I was really happy I took this photo of the white blooms because later in the day I noticed the bloom and the bud had both fallen off the cactus.  In my effort to not over water them I probably had not given this one enough water.....they need more water when they are blooming.

Friday, January 29, 2016

New Books........

I don't have any formal art training and I had never heard the phrase "negative space" until I took a workshop with a famous quilter in 1985.  When I drew a quilt block the design was black and the background white.  When she drew the block it was the opposite, and the black was the negative space.  As the modern quilt guilds were formed the term has been widely used.  I needed a little more information about negative space. Trisch Price has analyzed and labeled some ways negative space is used in modern quilts in "Accentuate the Negative", published by Kansas City Star Books, now part of C&T Publishing.  Here is a link to see some of the quilts in the book.  I found it interesting and even though I didn't find any project I wanted to make in the book I know I will go back and re-read about each style of negative space as I work on future quilts.

I have always admired Amish quilts with their bright contrasting colors.  Carl Hentsch also admired them and he has written a book with his quilts inspired by but not copies of Amish quilts. This link will take you to a peek inside the "Amish-Inspired Quilts" (C&T Publishing).  The second photo shows a quilt that I might have to make.  Carl used prints as well as solids in his quilts and I most likely will too. 

On my projects: I cut the pieces for the corners on the medallion quilt but haven't sewn them yet.  I did quite a bit of ditch quilting on the star quilt, just 6 lines to go.  Hopefully I'll have progress on both to show tomorrow.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Working on the medallion quilt...........

The top and left borders are sewn, the right and bottom still loose pieces.  I was looking for the fabric I used in the Bear Paw block and can't find any more of it.  I need to substitute a different fabric in for the quarter blocks in the corners.  I'm auditioning 2 here.

In my sketch I had a full block in the corner at the top and just one paw in the bottom left corner.  The problem I have now is that a paw will finish at 6" and the corner square needs to be 7" finished.  That means there will be some light background strips added either at the base of the paw or at the outer edge.  I'll make the paws first and then try both ways with the strips.  My other option is to trim the spiky border strips to 6.5" since the points are quite a bit in from both inside and outside edges.
I got several more lines of quilting done on the star quilt too.  Since it is all ditch quilting it really doesn't show in a photo so I'll show  a corner of the back instead.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Working away.............

I only took one photo however I worked on several things.  I finished the ditch quilting around the triangle borders on the star quilt.  The second set of Laurel Burch blocks are sewn now and I finished the last few spiky pieces for the medallion border.  Now I need to make the 4 corner blocks for the medallion and then I can put the borders on the center block.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Another done and parts.......

I got the binding on this quilt last night.  It finished at 43.5" x 55.5".  The other photo I took was so crooked I deleted it and will take a better one today.

I also sewed more of the spikes for the border on the medallion quilt.  I need to trim these and make 5 more and then I'll be ready to sew them together into 4 borders.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Loops this time........

I quilted loops this time, some to the left, some to the right, big loops, little loops.

I took it off the machine and trimmed the edges.  I think the binding will be same as the border and backing.  I'll sew it all by machine today.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Miscellany day.....

I trimmed the spiky border sections that I pieced Friday night.  I still need to cut a few more and get all of the rest sewn.

I played with my Kaffe orphan blocks on a double design wall.

I think these 3 orphan blocks would make a good table runner.

I was looking through my huge bins of batting pieces.  I decided to sort them into 2 groups, under 22" wide and over 23" wide.  The boxes are lightweight so I can put them up on top of 2 shelf units.

This is how I label the pieces.  I just staple it onto a corner.

I also pieced the back for this quilt and got it loaded on the longarm.  Since it is small it should only take about an hour to quilt and hopefully that will happen today.


Saturday, January 23, 2016

Many projects.........

I couldn't decide what I wanted to work on yesterday so I started basting this quilt and am about half done.  I have another already basted.   I never fold the quilt after I baste it so I need to start quilting on one of them soon.
Last night I was ready to sew while I watched TV so I sewed the 16 blocks for one of the Stack and Slash quilts.

Then I sewed a bunch of the spiky pieces for the medallion quilt.  All of these need pressing and then they will be trimmed to the right size.

After Christmas I bought an Amaryllis that was marked down to $3.  The blooms on the first stalk are opening and the second stalk continues to get taller.  This is the only bloom in the house right now.  I have several large buds on 2 cacti so they should be blooming in a few days.

Friday, January 22, 2016


I had my Laurel Burch 1/4 yard pieces all pressed and ready to take to the twice monthly sew-in at 10:30 a.m.  My car wouldn't start.  I called my mechanic and he listened over the phone to the sound it was making and said it probably was the battery so call my road assistance company.  It took 2 hours for someone to get here to jump the battery and start the car and then I took it to the mechanic to have the battery checked.  It turned out that the alternator was bad and was draining the battery.  Since it was a fairly new alternator it was under warranty and didn't cost me anything for the repair.  Did I mention 2 1/2 hours sitting and waiting for them to charge my battery?  Luckily I had grabbed a good book on the way out the door.  I got home at almost 5 p.m.
I did the cutting for 2 kids' quilts last night and paired the fabrics for sewing.  They are more Stack and Slash quilts (see label list on right side bar) since I will be doing a workshop soon and need some quilts in progress to show the steps.  This is how I pair the fabrics.

In my tutorial from November 2011 I linked to Lynne's tutorial that she calls Slashed Squares.  I have changed the title of mine to Stack and Slash because I do the slicing of the squares as a group of 4 and then shuffle the pieces to sew 4 blocks at a time for speed in a workshop (see my tutorial).  Click on the link above to see Lynne's new Slashed Squares project.  In this post she explains how she chooses her fabrics.

Thursday, January 21, 2016


I'm in the middle of 3 quilts but that didn't stop me from playing with some blocks that were on my cutting table.  They are made with the cutaway strips when I straighten my batiks.  They are a lot prettier than they look here.  They don't photograph well on a white wall.  The blocks on the left can be trimmed to 8.5" and the ones on the right 9.5".  That also means they could all be trimmed to 8.5" and used as one group.
Of course I can always make more and make a larger project too.  It was just a good break for me to play with them on the design wall.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Another small finish................

My friend Donaleen in Portland OR needed something to hand quilt so I sent her 2 little tops, one to quilt for me and the other for her to keep and quilt for herself.  I got this one in the mail yesterday so I put the binding on last night.  It is a little under 19" square and I'll use it as a table topper. 
I never took a photo of the other one when the top was sewn but here it is partially sewn.

I made these 2 when I was writing the Tutorial for the 2 in 1 Boston Commons and Grandmother's Dream.  I needed some in progress pieces to show the steps.  Donaleen will have to show this one on her blog when it is done.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Marcia Derse fabric...........

I finished this Stack and Slash quilt top on Saturday but wanted to show it to the art quilters before I put it on the blog.  I love this Marcia Derse fabric.  This is my subdued group of it so I will be making another quilt with the more intense colors soon.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Borders added...........

When I was finishing up my basement cleaning I saw this top laying there waiting for its borders to be sewn on.  It only took about 15 minutes to sew and press them.  It is about 44.5" x 58".   I have enough of the border fabric for the back too.

I baked 2 batches of cookies last night and hope to see the art quilters group today.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Still cleaning.........

I'm still cleaning off tables and putting away stacks of fabric.  This is a group of fabrics chosen for a future quilt.  They are all 2.5" strips.  I also did laundry and mixed a batch of cookie dough yesterday. 

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Medallion play........

I started working on the spiky border and decided I need more variety of fabrics.

I definitely like the lighter and brighter fabric in there.  I think some of spikes will have to be rose color as well as red/purple.  I already had enough purple cut so I'll have some spikes left over to use in another project.

Meanwhile on the other medallion I am auditioning the plain border and whether a checkerboard would be a good border to follow it.  I think a border with triangles would be too busy.  I might make the checkerboard out of just 2 fabrics instead of scrappy.  Lots of decisions here.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Cleaning, choosing fabrics...............

I spent most of my day yesterday cleaning up the basement.  I have 2 friends coming over today and the art quilters on Monday.  I had projects and piles of fabric on every table.  Late in the afternoon I started looking for fabrics for the next rounds in the medallion quilt.  
I'm thinking the purples for the long skinny points and maybe a constant light fabric with them.  The corner blocks will be a combination of the purples and red-oranges with the light fabrics.  I will make some pieces and then decide if they are right.
A reminder: this is the book the quilt pattern is in.  I will choose my own blocks for the 4 corner blocks and possibly one of the 2 choices on my sketch above.  I may choose more fabrics and the scrappy last border can include lots of variety.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Star points...........

It took me three times as long to decide which 2 fabrics to use than it did to cut and sew them.  I haven't sewn the seam between the star points yet.  Next I need to cut the squares for the 4 patches in the corners.  Check back here to see what I am making.
The book says we are cutting the pieces over sized so they can be trimmed to be accurate.  It was pretty close as you can see from the teeny tiny trimmings.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Binding done........

I worked on the binding last night while I listened to the State of the Union address.  The table runner is about 12" x 24".

Dana, you wanted to know what thread I used for quilting.  You are a NO REPLY so that is why you didn't get a response from me.  I think this thread is in the Blendables line.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Not much progress.......

I cut pieces for the colorwash yesterday but it doesn't look different enough  to show again.

So, I'll show you the latest bloom in my indoor garden.  It is the first bloom since Christmas and there are 2 more buds.  My cacti aren't blooming as much this winter as they usually do.

Monday, January 11, 2016


It was below 10 degrees all day yesterday.  We have had a mild winter up to this point so that made it feel even colder.

I sewed this together yesterday.  It is lumpy, bumpy, too many seams trying to meet.  I have a few points cut off, a few seams not meeting.  I'm not going to take any of it apart though.

 I have a new book on medallion quilts, one of the Stash books published by C&T.  I will be studying the ideas in it to make the above square into a medallion quilt.

If you go HERE you can see some of the quilts in the book.

There are line drawings of all of the quilts too and I love that feature.

This is one of my favorite quilts in the book and my sketch of the center block I will use plus 2 ideas for corner blocks.

I have these 2 blocks left over from a Bear Paw quilt I made a few years ago and the blocks happen to be the same size as the center block used in the book.  I think I'll probably use the top block.

Sunday, January 10, 2016


While I was in the basement doing laundry I cut some more rectangles for this colorwash that I started on Dec. 14.  Here it is the day I started it.  It takes a long time to get out the fabric and cut when I need just one rectangle from each piece of fabric.  I need to speed up my cutting because this needs to be off my wall in 9 days when the art quilters group comes here.

When I was down there I had just one light on over to the side of this strippy quilt and it really showed off the texture of the quilting.