Thursday, March 31, 2022


I finally got around to trimming the uneven edge on this quilt top.  The width is now 79" and length 99".  I turned the photo 90 degrees to look more like the twin bed size quilt that it will be,

None of the colors in this quilt were planned.  It was just made from all of the first cut crooked strips in a box with the goal of having 2 different values in each pair of fabrics.  It is really hard to get an accurate photo of the depth of color in this one.  Batiks have a slight sheen and are much more elegant in person. 

I took some nature photos 2 days ago and forgot to post them yesterday.  Here is the Lenten Rose plant with its bud showing color now.  I hope the rabbits won't bother it.

Speaking of rabbits, a lot of the lower branches on one of my Compact Burning Bushes have been nipped off.

There are 3 of these bushes and this one was the most distressed in our hot summer last year.  I'm so happy to see it has leaf buds starting on it.  The other 2 bushes have growth too.

Spring is starting very slowly here.  We had several nights in a row below freezing this week and days in the high 30s.  Yesterday was warm, near 60, and rainy. Today is supposed to be 30s with possible snow mixed with the rain.  This is my early Peony plant just starting to peek out of the ground.  Most of the growth so far in the back garden has been lilies.  

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Progress on two.............

I got the two new side rows sewn onto this quilt top.  This one was started back in the late 1990s but it isn't my oldest project.

I know from a distance and in a photo it has the appearance of being rust and brown but the dark fabric is purple with with lavender, red, and green in the print.

A friend and I made our quilts from Kaffe's book using the very same fabrics as in the book.  I think that is a first for me.  I'm just getting around to finishing mine whereas hers was finished years ago.  The binding is "Creased" by Brandon Mably and is used in the borders within the quilt top top too.  The stripe runs across the fabric so it had to be cut on the lengthwise grain.  Luckily I still had the remaining part of the fabric that the lengthwise strips were cut from so I could easily cut my binding strips.  I hand sewed for 3 hours and got 2 sides finished and 20" on a third side.  That means I still have almost 3 hours to go.

Tuesday, March 29, 2022


I got the quilting done and unpinned it from the frame but haven't trimmed it yet.  I'm mulling over whether to hand finish or machine finish the binding.

The quilting barely shows up, in fact I couldn't see where I had already quilted, but it is done.  Not my best job but I think this one is going on my bed so it won't matter.  I sleep very soundly and will never notice.

While watching NCIS I sewed the 2 new rows on this quilt.  I see the top right square is turned the wrong way.

I spent the rest of the time in the evening cleaning my machine and winding a lot of bobbins.

I hadn't been to W*lm*rt for 6 weeks so I did some shopping yesterday morning.  They had all but one thing I needed in stock which is unusual for a Monday.  


Monday, March 28, 2022

Getting ready...................

The last seam was sewn in the backing and then it was time to load it on the longarm.  This top was finished in April 2018 so it is time.........

Yesterday I was going through a box that hadn't been opened for a couple years and I found 7 of these wedges.  About a year ago I finally put all of the Kaleidoscope wedges left over from several projects in a project box and every time I found more of them I would add them to the box.  These are leftover from my all floral Kaleidoscope quilt and there are 26 with long dark strip and 25 with long white strip.  I need 4 of each for a block so there are enough pieces for 6 blocks.  They will probably go back in the box for now but I think I have finally found all of the stray wedges.

I also found enough of these pieces to add 2 rows to the top that I made in October last year.  They were in 2 different piles and every time I came across them I thought there was only enough for one row.  Finally one day both piles ended up on the same table and I realized there was enough for 2 rows.

The bloom was fully open on the back side of the orange cactus.  It is so graceful and beautiful.


Sunday, March 27, 2022

Improv strippy sewn...........

It is hard to get a good photo of this quilt top because it is big and my longarm frame is in the way.  The top is 3" longer than the width of the 2 design walls.  The shortest row measures about 79" so all of the other rows will get trimmed to match that.  The top edge is straight, the uneven bottom edge is laying on the floor.  I cut the 9" row into two 4.5" rows and sewed on on each end.  It will be about 79" x 99" before quilting.  As large as that sounds the drop on the sides would barely cover the mattress on a double bed.  AND if you have one of those new really tall mattresses the drop wouldn't even cover the mattress.  I have to laugh when I see the charts that tell what size a quilt needs to be for all of the bed sizes.  Most charts are still based on the old 5-6" thick mattresses.  The drop on this one would cover the mattress and box springs on a twin size bed.

On this view I am standing at the end of the longarm and the design walls are 84" tall, 96" wide.

I was able to get a decent photo of the orange bloom yesterday.  This one is hanging way down past the shelf the pot sits on.

We got 1.5" of rain last week and the ground is pretty wet.  It's only supposed to get a little above freezing so I'll stay inside today.


Saturday, March 26, 2022

Off the wall and at the quilt top portraits.........

All of the decisions were made on the improv strip pieced quilt top so it moved from design wall to sewing station.  I have it about half sewn together as of last night.

After the improv quilt came down the pastel batik 16 patch went up for its portrait.  I pressed this one, a 94" long backing and the colorwash yesterday afternoon.  I forgot to add my extra lighting for it so maybe I'll try again but this photo is pretty true to how it looks.  It is 64" x 80".

This is batik colorwash #24 and it is 30" square.  I'll look for a backing today.  I try to use the multicolor batiks for the back because they are harder to use in piecing, and because I have a whole shelf of them.

Lo and behold there is another orange bud around the back side of the plant.  The other bud is in full bloom but my photo was blurry so I deleted it.  I'll try again today if it is still fresh looking.

I was dealing with a dead battery in my van a 3 times in the last 8 days.  The battery was only 14 months old so my neighbor took it in to work (where I purchased the battery) yesterday afternoon and they tested it.  It had a bad cell so now I have another new battery.  He even had them wash my van for me.  She looks pretty good for being 18 years old, no dents yet and only a little rust on the underside of one fender.  70072 miles on it.

Friday, March 25, 2022

Row 10 sewn................

I moved some rows around and think I have a pretty good balance of dark and light now.  Then I sewed the 9" row and put it up on the right edge.  I need to add another small section to the bottom of it.  9 of the rows will finish at 10" tall and one row at 9".  I could try to insert the 9" row in the middle somewhere or I could trim the row on the left to 9.5" to match the right edge row.  If I did trim it I could try the 9" rows in as the second row from each end.  Right now as I write this it is late at night (Thursday) and none of that sounds like fun. In the morning I can make those decisions better.  I'm getting close to sewing this one together.

I did finish sewing the colorwash together but it isn't pressed yet.  I just smoothed it out on the design wall for the photo.  I haven't turned it to see which edge will be top.  I do like it just as it is.

Here is my Lenton Rose that shows some promise of blooming.  I think I might see some growth on another plant.  We got over an inch of rain so far over several days.  I'll check the rain gauge today since the rain should be ending.

I have only seen a few Robins, no flocks of them in my yard so far.  This poor guy was standing out there in the rain.

I took this photo out of my dining room window while it was raining.  The biggest plant is a Sedum and there are 2 small Lungwort plants to the right of it.  I just saw an ad on the internet for $12.99 per bare root Lungwort plant.  I give away dozens of them every year.  They haven't started to come up yet in the garden farther from the house but when they do there will probably be 30 or more plants.  Then there is another batch that comes up by a Redbud tree at the edge of my lot.

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Colorwash progress..............

Two and a half hours and the colorwash is webbed in one direction and now I'm starting on the cross rows.  I only made a couple adjustments to the design today.

I can't believe I missed this bloom and new bud on the white cactus.  I guess because the pot is white it was kind of camouflaged.  I turned the pot around so I could get this photo.

While I was standing by that window I looked out and I think my blackberry Lily has started growing and to the right and back a little that looks like some Hostas peeking out.  It rained almost all day so I didn't want to go out and check on it.  All of the green that looks like grass in the back is that wild onion nuisance.  It is so hard to dig out because every blade of the grass has a little onion shaped root and there are dozens of them in each clump.


Wednesday, March 23, 2022

9 rows.............

I have 9 rows sewn now, each row will finish at 10" tall.  Right now it would finish at about 80" x 90".  I have enough blocks made to sew one 9" finished row and partial rows of 10" and 7".  I just have to decide if I want 2 rows of shorter heights interspersed amongst the 10" rows.  This is being designed sideways on the wall, the order of the rows not determined yet.  I think maybe the last row on the right would look good between rows 2 and 3 on the left.

I changed this colorwash at least 10 times yesterday and this is how it is looking as of last night at 11 p.m.  I'll look at it this morning and see if I can sew it.


Tuesday, March 22, 2022

View from the sewing chair...............

Over the last 30 days I have been cutting batik kits for a future colorwash class.  I always make a wallhanging from the kit so I know how well it works.  I worked on this one yesterday and it still needs some tweaking.

It was 71 degrees yesterday afternoon the only time I remembered to check.  I wanted to see what was coming up and the Sedums seem to be the only thing that is making good progress.

These 2 are on the other side of the porch from the ones I cleaned up a few days ago.  There are a total of 4 of them in this spot, all plants that I had in pots and needed to plant before winter.

The big large leaf green Coral Bell plant stays green all winter.  This clump is about 3 feet in diameter even though I dug up at least 6 parts to share with others last year.

The back garden only has the Columbine growing so far.  Behind the tree is the path made with all of the leftover pavers from my front garden. It goes between rows of Hostas.

Monday, March 21, 2022

More triangles........and blooms...........

My improv quilt is on the design walls in the basement and since it got up to 60 yesterday the heat didn't come on and it was cold down there.  That's my excuse for continuing to sew the triangle squares.  Each stack has 6, 8, 10 or 12 in it so I haven't got a total count of them yet.  I have 3 ideas of what I will use them for so I'll experiment a little so I can make a decision.

My soft red cactus decided to present me with one last bloom for the season.

On the shelf above it is one more bud on the orange cactus.  I have had blooms as late as mid-April so I won't give up yet on future blooms. 

Sunday, March 20, 2022

National Quilting Day yesterday............

I probably should have kept working on the improv quilt but I decided for National Quilting Day I should do something I love and that is working with triangles.  I still have a lot of darker color 2" finished triangles left over after making the Winged Square quilts.  I chose a light Kaffe fabric to cut into matching triangles.  It won't be the only light I use but I'll get at least 72 out of this piece of fabric.

I cut 48 triangles and will cut the rest after I press a crease out of the remainder of the fabric.

I sewed 6 combinations and then ran out of light triangles.  Then I went through the box of triangles and pulled out all of the light prints where there were 6 or more matching.  I have 10 more sets paired and ready to sew.  I need to turn on the iron today so I'll get that first light fabric pressed when I press the last improv blocks.

We had some nice rain yesterday.  I didn't get my rain gauge out there for the first 2 hours of rain but there was .7" in there late in the afternoon.  More rain predicted Tues and Wed.  We are still in the deficit but better off than the far northern counties of IL.

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Improv strip pieced quilt status.............

The 6 rows on the left are sewn together and you can see I need to add to the bottom or rows 5 and 6.  I'm not going to have enough room on this design wall to add the extra row or 2.  I will have to start overlapping rows.  It takes a lot of effort to move another design wall over here but I might have to do it.

I pressed the blocks that were waiting and trimmed them to 10.5" tall and whatever width I could get out of the piecing.  I have enough to do another whole row plus add on pieces for the rows that are too short.

This row of blocks are shorter so maybe they will be 7.5" tall.

I sewed a few more blocks last night so I'll get them pressed and trimmed today.


Friday, March 18, 2022

Playing with strips.........

I really didn't get anything accomplished on the sewing front yesterday.  It was another warm day and the Sedum plants in the front garden are starting to grow so I cut down the old flower stalks on the 3 biggest plants.

I was going to drive down to the post office late in the afternoon and my van battery was dead.  I just bought it in January last year.  I had time to walk to the post office and mail my letters before closing time.  When I got home I called AAA and they sent a guy that just lives about 10 blocks from me to get it started.  I took it for a drive then to charge up the battery, dropping off my paper recycling at a nearby collection bin on the trip.

Last night I just went through fabric strips in one of my project boxes to get my fabric fix.

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Yard work, sewing strips..........

I spent a couple hours outside mowing over leaves raked off the flower beds and picking up more branches and twigs.

I sat down and sewed more strip sets a couple times during the day but I just didn't have the pep to press all of the blocks and trim them.

I have enough blocks for another row of 10" tall blocks and a lot of blocks that will be shorter, size to be figured out when I get down to the iron and the design wall.  I don't think I'll do any outside work today and rain is predicted toward the end of the week.  More time to sew.


Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Signs of spring and evening sewing..............

I raked some of the leaves off the back flower beds and found the Columbine starting to grow.

There is a little color on one of the mini Sedum plants.  This plant didn't have flower stalks like some of the other varieties.

One of the ordinary variety of Sedum that is close the the house on the south side is starting to grow.  I haven't seen any growth yet on the ones that are out farther in the garden or next to the mailbox in front of the house.

I'm thinking that this is the start of my Lemon Lily along with some Creeping Charlie.  That stuff stays green all winter.

Last evening I worked on more blocks for the Improv quilt top.  I sewed 2 more rows earlier in the day, 6 out of 9 rows are sewn now.  They are approximately 80" long so that will be the width of the quilt.  I need to design one more row because right now it would finish at 89" long and I want a more rectangular quilt.

Comcast has notified me that they are updating my internet (and everyone else's too) tomorrow so there will be an outage for 2 hours in the early morning and possibly sporadic outages all through the day.  I'm glad I'll still have 4G on my phone to stay in the loop.