Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Trying for number 3............

I had a burst of energy yesterday morning and started out by sewing the light border onto ZAP!  It is 53" x 65" right now.

 Then I finished sewing the backing together for the cool color 16 patch quilt.  I figured out I had enough of the blue Martha Negley floral if I pieced in the 3 leftover blocks.

I loaded it on the longarm and got the quilting done late in the day.

I did a large loose meander.  It is really hard to keep it large.  I tend to get smaller and smaller with the meander as I continue quilting.  I think I finally conquered it with this quilt though.

I trimmed the quilt and then started looking for binding.  This new Kaffe print was the first one I found.

If I want something darker this one goes pretty well with the quilt.  I will make a decision and cut the binding and sew it on all by machine, just under the wire for a March finish.

Monthly recap tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Second finish in March 2021.............

 I got the hand stitching on the binding done on the batik Bear Paw quilt.  It finished at 54" x 67.5".  The big squares in the paws were leftover from double 4 patch cutting many years ago.  The sashing strips were 1.5" strips cut at least 10 years ago. The claw triangles were all from the scrap bin.  The only yardage cut was the borders, one of my favorite old batiks.

The backing is also a batik.  I used Hobbs heirloom 80/20 batting.

I also worked on the backing for another quilt but I don't know if it will get quilted this month or be my first finish of April.  I have 2 tops that need their borders to be counted as finishes for the month too.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Making progress............

 I finally convinced myself to turn on the longarm and get this Bear Paw quilt done.  You can see here I chose the zebra or tiger print batik for the back.  I can never decide if it is zebra in non traditional colors or tiger stripes.  What I do know is that it is a neutral and plays well with the front of the quilt.

I did loop-de-loop on this one with So Fine thread in a medium gold.  What I like about So Fine is that it hardly shows at all and in fact it was hard to tell where I had already quilted in a few places.

Picking the binding was a little harder project.  I wanted it to look good with the blue print border and the brown print back.  This fabric has brown and purple as the darkest colors with dots of almost every color.

I got the hand stitching done on one long side and 1/3 of a short side.  This quilt is about 54" x 68".  I'll measure it with an accurate number after the binding is done.

My medium pink Columbine in the back garden is starting to grow again.  I think it likes its nice shady spot.

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Signs of spring...........

My Forsythia bush has been chopped back so many times it is pretty scraggly but it is flowering nicely for me this year.

I had to dig out and cut back the Black Raspberry canes last year so my painters could get up to the windows and window wells to do their work.  I left 4 tall ones and they are sprouting so I know they are alive.

Several of the peonies have started to grow.  This is the earliest plant and has deep burgundy blooms.

It looks like I might get some Daffodil blooms after all.  The bulbs are over crowded and usually I just get leaves and once in a while a flower.  I see several buds this year.

The Bleeding Heart has barely broken ground so we are really still in the very early stages of spring here in northern IL. 

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Mindless sewing...........

 I got a lot done yesterday but only took a photo of my mindless TV sewing.  This will be the next pink quilt that I have been cutting the last few days, using up the leftovers from the X and O pink quilt cutting. 

I got the backing cut for the Bear Paw quilt, sewed the long seam and loaded it on the longarm.

It's still a little chilly out for me to spend a lot of time outside.  Today will be warmer but possible rain.  I need to go out and trim back the Annabelle Hydrangeas before they start growing.

Friday, March 26, 2021

Backing indecision............

I did more sorting and cutting in the basement yesterday and then I started looking for backing for the batik Bear Paw quilt.  I have enough of both of these but indecision kept me from cutting and sewing it.

I filled the bird feeder and then grabbed my camera for some of the earliest signs of spring here.  All of my Sedum plants have begun to grow.  I think they look like little green roses at this stage.

I have 2 Coral Bell plants that I dug up 2 years ago and they have wintered over fine in pots ever since.  I need to trim all of the dead leaves off this one.

Some of the Pulmonaria/Lungwort plants stay green all winter and others die away.  This is the first plant with buds and a bloom.

If you look really carefully you can see the tips of a Hosta peeking through the dirt.  This is the only one of the 30 or so of my Hostas that I have seen any sign of so far.  It looks like a tiny Pulmonaria plant with buds in this photo too.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Cleaning, sorting, cutting.............

I spent most of the day working in the basement trying to get 2 tables cleaned off.  One is almost done, the other about half done and that is the one I cut my batting on.

I took my empty spinach containers down there to put scraps in.  I divide by type and the bottom right container is one with pieces big enough to cut triangles or squares at least 2.5".

I did do some triangle cutting as I worked and marked the bags with the sizes.

I took the larger pink leftovers and cut 4" finished triangles.  Then I rounded up the light fabrics I will use with them.  I need to keep at the cleaning because I need to cut batting for the next quilt I want to finish.  About another hour and that table will be cleaned off.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021


I finished sewing the ZAP top together last night.  I'll look for light print strips that might become the 2" border all around.  I haven't decided if it will be several fabrics or just one fabric.  Meanwhile I'll take it off the design wall and work on the pink baby quilt.  

It's also time to spend about 4 hours cleaning up the mess from cutting for 3 quilts. 

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Partially sewn............

It is on its side on the design wall because this is the way I was working on it in the design stage.

The left side is webbed together in rows with 8 more pieces to sew on before I sew the seams in the other direction.  It should only end up about 48" x 60".  It would probably look good with a 2" light print border all around so the dark zigzags would be floating.  

Other options in making this could have been light zig zags with dark diamonds and oriented the opposite direction with either of the colorations.  So basically it is one design, 4 options.  I know I have to make one in the other orientation out of different group of fabrics.

I raked off 2 garden area in the backyard yesterday and found a few peonies peeking out of the ground the the tips of one Hosta.  Also the Jonquil leaves were under all of it.

Monday, March 22, 2021

Changed layout..............

Yesterday morning I decided to go back to one of the layouts I showed in my first post about these blocks. (second collage, layout on the right).  I took this photo late in the afternoon with the sunshine on the bottom row.

Then I decided to turn it on its side and add the top row to the ends of the existing rows.  It looks like electrical current going ZAP!  I made the last 2 blocks last night but didn't photograph it again because I was going to rearrange a few blocks.  This photo was taken in late afternoon daylight without turning on my lights so the next photo should be better.

It got up to 62 degrees yesterday so I went outside and cut all of the old Sedum flower stalks and did a little raking. Today is supposed to be warm too and then rain off and on for 4 days so I'll do a little more outside work.

I finished the day cutting that last batch of pinks and sewing the corners on.  I found that heart fabric and had to add it.  As soon as I finish tweaking the half rectangle Kaffe quilt I will sew it and then I can get back to the layout of the pink blocks.

Sunday, March 21, 2021


I made 12 more half rectangle blocks yesterday.  The other 6 face the opposite direction and were already up on my design wall when I took this photo.

The bottom half is all up on the wall and 1 plus a part of a row for the top half is up there.  One more complete row needs to be added to the top.  The farther I go on this project the more undecided I am if I even like it.  I can dismantle it and just do another design with the blocks. It is going to shrink 7.5" in width if I sew it and it will shrink 5.5" in height after the last row is added to the top and sewn.

My white cactus is really putting on a show with so many blooms at once and 3 buds ready to open today or tomorrow.

The orange one below it has several more buds too.

One fully opened bloom with buds in the background.

The pale pink on the shelf below the orange has 2 buds, one of which is at the first joint back from the tip.  I had several like that this year with one of them about 3 joints back.

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Pink sewing...........

I sewed the corners on all of the elongated hexagon pieces that were cut.  Then I went searching for pinks for another 5 blocks.  I think I have a good selection ready to cut.

Speaking of pink, this bloom looks like a pink ballerina.  There were only 3 buds on this tiny cactus and this is bloom #2.

There are several buds on the orange cactus, 3 shown here.  This side of the plant didn't have any buds when the other side of it was blooming a few weeks ago. 

Friday, March 19, 2021

More cutting for 2 projects..........

Playing with 2 again.  I sewed more of the half rectangle blocks and filled them in on the design wall.  I'm not sure I'll stay with the 3 diamonds in the corners (look at bottom right corner).  I'll need to move it down the wall so I can get the top row on and I'm not quite ready to do that yet.

I had enough of the pink dot to cut corners for 17-1/2 more blocks so I'm probably going to make the quilt 4 x 6 blocks (32" x 48") instead of 5 x 7 blocks.  The other option is 5 x 5 blocks (40" x 40").  Either size is plenty big for a baby's tummy time quilt.

Exciting mail 2 days in a row.

My blogger friend Patty sent me one of the project bags she makes.  The color is way off in my photo so go to her blog to see how it really looks.  I told her I wanted to make some of these too and she sent me a link to the video and then she sent me this one so I can really see how it is made.  It is so pretty and already in use.

The next day I received a package from Belgium from a reader.  I did some critiquing on something she was making and she wanted to send me a treat.

I haven't checked out the candy bars yet.  I love the tin with hinged lid that the cookies are in.

The cookies are about 1/8" thick and super crispy, just the way I like them.

This was the wrapper around one kind.  No artificial stuff, just ingredients I have heard of: flour, sugar, butter, eggs.  I decided to eat dessert first for lunch yesterday.  Yummy!

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Working on pink..........

More variety of pinks were cut yesterday and I found a white with pink dots for the corner triangles.  The problem is I won't have enough of it for 35 blocks so either I will make it smaller than planned or add plain white for the rest of the corners.

Here is a closer view of some of the new fabrics and the triangle fabric.

Some of the fabrics are dark pink, some very light pink.  

I have quite a few more light pinks to cut, or eliminate.  I have some pink batiks that I could add too so I need to make a decision.  I will cut all of the rest of the white with pink dots into triangles today and see how many blocks I can make.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

A side trip......

 I went to the basement to do some laundry and cut some more half rectangles.  While down there I decided to cut some pink elongated hexagon pieces for my next baby quilt.  The X and O blocks will be 8" finished and my preliminary plan is to make 35 blocks for a 5 x 7 setting (40" x 56").  I started with Kaffe collective pinks because I was already working with that group for my half rectangles.  I have about 25 other pinks ready to cut.  I may have to use white solid for the triangles if I don't find a really light pink print.  I started out with all of the fabrics mixed.

I didn't have 4 of every fabric cut but I was able to do a mock-up that is pretty well matched.  I think the design looks softer with the fabrics mixed and more distinct as a pattern with matched fabrics.

Now I need to get back to cutting more half rectangles.

Happy St. Patrick's day!