Prepping for Joen Wolfrom

I needed to prepare for class tomorrow.  One of the things I needed to bring was “all the fabric I feel comfortable transporting”.  Okay, maybe not an exact quote, but close enough to the instructions.  I have a little toy box with about 175 squares and strips from my scrap user system.  There is no easier way to transport a lot of fabric than in little pieces.  I think I’ll have time to hit another scrap bin, just to see if I can toss in a few more. 

Another thing we needed to bring was 5 photos where we liked the colors.  Joen uses a lot of photos as color inspiration for her quilts.  Me, being the overachiever that I am, couldn’t pick just 5.  I sat down with my laptop last night during TV time and went through hundreds of photos, looking for different color combination.  My favorite is the one with the clouds boiling up in the sky.  I can definitely see a quilt in those colors soon.


Okay, so I hate my Kodak software.  It ate up all my time to talk more hunting those stupid pictures down, because my computer won’t recognize the folder I put them in last night outside the stupid kodak software. 

So, have a great Friday.  Take care and be well.  Talk later.  Lane


Bathrobe do-over

You might remember that during the summer, I decided I wanted a new bathrobe and I made myself one.  I struggled through on a machine that didn’t want to do it and using white top stitching thread on a blue background and it photographed okay, so I showed it to you.  But, up close, it was a hot mess. 

The white topstitching was a wreck of inconsistent stitches because the feeddogs of the machine I used wouldn’t advance the fabric, just certain threads of the very loosely woven fabric moved forward and so there were long stitches and short stitches.  And, because of the loose weave and the off white stripes, after I wore it a few times, it was like one of those wavy line sketches popular in the 80’s.  And, one of the cuffs wasn’t right.  No one else would ever notice, but it bothered heck out of me.  Just a line that wasn’t perpendicular to the sleeve. 

It needed a lining.  So, I took the whole thing apart, picked out all the top stitching, spent hours doing that and then, I put it back together on my Bernina…the one I made the coat on this year…and it looks great.  I changed the topstitching to blue and re-cut the cuffs and I added a lightweight and light color, soft, striped denim lining.  And, it’s warm and I never want to take it off. 


Except they’d look at me funny if I wore it to the office.


My Dad said that anything worth doing is worth doing right, even if that means doing it more than once.  So, there you go.  Proves I was listening.

Everybody have a great Thursday.  I’m off to the torture chamb…ugh, dentist’s office for a cleaning. 



Something relaxing

We were iced in again yesterday.  Ice didn’t begin to form until Rob was already at work.  His company closed for the day, but he couldn’t get home, so worked until the roads had cleared.  He said it was very peaceful with no one else in the office. 

School was delayed, but then there was an accident involving a school bus and suddenly schools started to cancel.  One district didn’t act fast enough and ended up with some kids at school for parts of the day until they could be picked up or bussed home, even though school was officially closed.  It was a real mess. 

I stayed home and worked.  I spent the day trying to outmaneuver an attorney on a legal matter.  I’m really good at that.  But, it’s exhausting.  Like trying to keep the puck from a professional hockey player.  Anyway, I needed something relaxing last night and our chicken tortilla soup supper was already cooked, so I played with something that’s been on the sofa for a while.  It’s leftover blocks I bought in a UFO bin and I found some extra matching or closely matching fabric and I’m working on a table runner.


Again, not something I would normally be doing.  Definitely not my colors or floral fabric choice, but it’s gonna make a cool table runner to go with a light green tablecloth. 

I have two more pair of blocks in different fabrics, very seasonal choices and I have extra yardage to go with them.  I plan to make three runners for the dining table.  We’ll see how far that gets.  I think they’ve been around here for three years and this one is the only one that is started yet. 

And, a big thanks to my friend Barb, who sent a care box full of fun and cheerful scraps for Linus quilts.  And, a huge piece of backing with trains on it.  She knew that my donation quilts lean to boys.  Thanks, Barb!!


Everybody have a great Day.  Lane


A quilt I wouldn’t have made. But, I did. And, I’m glad

This is a story of a stack and whack.  A friend in bee started it and I thought it was a terrific idea.  But, she made a couple of mistakes early and she put parts of it together and then she gave up.  I asked about it and expressed sympathy.  And, weekend before last, she handed it to me and said I could have it.  I thanked her and said it might not end up much like a stack and whack and she said she didn’t care.

Friday, we were snowed in.  Okay, not snowed, but iced in.  Twenty care pile up on the freeway iced in.  Rob and Syd had the day off and I found the downside of the company letting me work from home when I want, which is having to do it sometimes when I don’t.  I worked hard, which I always do from home, to make sure I can always justify not being in the office.  And, in the afternoon, I had a loooooooong meeting.  I was home.  I was also in attendance.  But, nobody could see me, so while I kept up with the presentation, I started to take apart some of the sections that she had put together and before long, I had found repetitions and patterns, so I kind of understood where she was headed.  But, she said she didn’t have many sets of six identical pieces, which is required in a stack n whack.  So, I thought about alternative settings and adding a red to her blue and green.




But, I kept being drawn back to those matching sixes from the original pattern.  I love a good puzzle, so starting friday night, I started matching sixes that would go together and make something and I found quite a few identical sixes already cut and I cut a couple more from the leftover fabric she sent and I made some from threes and threes that went together to form a pattern.  I ended up with 25.  And, that’s enough to make a quilt.


Her pattern used green where mine uses red.  That left me with lots of green triangles, so I cut some half triangles from the extra she gave me to go with them and created the green border.  As I built the quilt, I realized I was making the exact same pattern she was and that I was putting together blues in the same pattern that I had taken out earlier (rats!  who knew?)  Except I didn’t know it when I was ripping out seams. 

The top isn’t quite together.  It’s in seven rows that now need to be joined, pinning at each match point.  whoo-hoo



I’m so glad Mary shared this with me.  While she was putting it together, it wasn’t matching her vision and she set it aside.  It just needed a new set of eyes.  And, while a stack and whack was not on my radar, now I’ve made one.  And, it was really easy.  Without a pattern, I got this far in two days, during which I also did chores.  Not much other than this and chores, but it should still prove this one can be easy if you’re not sweating it coming out perfect. 

This morning, Syd’s alarm went off an hour late.  She came to the table huffed and tearful.  And, mean. It would have been so easy to respond to that.  But, I was in too good a mood and didn’t let her affect me.  And, by the end of her pancakes, she was laughing and joking with me.  Sometimes, being a good dad goes against my natural instincts.

Oh, and here’s a pic of this baby quilt center, all assembled.  Just two borders to go.  Nice and restful.  I think the Mom is going to love it.  Some feathers (yes, I know, feathers are so overdone) and some ditch work and it will be ready for it’s new home.


Be well.  Lane


All there is today…

I will not bore you with tales of pulling paper. 

But, I will say that if you take on a paper piecing project, recognize that removing the paper is a lot of the required work to piece the top.  I have spent a lot of time on this quilt taking out paper.  Tedious.  Boring.  And, about finished.  I have gone over about 60% of the quilt with the tweezers for the last time.  Just a few more rows to go.  Whoo-hoo.

Even though everything is boring, I still wanted to post.  Here’s a color combination that I found in my scrap bin the other day when I was doing something else. 
Sad thing is, there’s not enough of any of it left to make so much as a block.  I think I’ll pin it on the wall and see if it inspires me to pull the same colors out of my stash and make something.  Throw in a dash of ruby red.  Replace one of the solids with a tone on tone print. 
Wish I knew who printed that floral. 

Everybody have a great Thursday.  The polar storm that most of you are experiencing hits us this afternoon.  After days of predicting sleet and snow and ice, we’re left with the expectation of some brisk winds.  Kids are disappointed because there will almost assuredly be school.





Well, you guys were no good for taking the responsibility off my shoulders for the quilt layout yesterday.  At bedtime, it was equally split between 1, 3, and 5.  So, you’ll just have to wait and see what I pick.  Even I don’t know yet.  Maybe I’ll make Rob be the scapegoat….Uhm, maybe I’ll let Rob have the priviledge of choosing.

I was so tired when I got home last night that I couldn’t even pick out paper from the Indian Orange Peel quilt.  I sat and watched TV with the family and then laid on the floor with the dogs and then went to brush my teeth and off to bed, early.  I don’t remember anything after turning off the light, except I know Rob was still watching TV when I was gone.  I’m not physically tired, but my brain is tired.  Yesterday was a day of one question after another in rapid fire and by the end, I didn’t mind talking, but any questions were met with sardonic looks, at best.

This morning, I felt guilty and picked out some paper, but it was a half-hearted effort and I found myself getting focused on just the teeny-tiniest little pieces and working on them for a long time.  BTW, I don’t usually pick out the teeny tiny pieces.  If I can’t get the tweezers on it, it stays.

Well, that’s enough internet space for having nothing to say.  We are all back to work and school.  One of Syd’s classes is a college prep class and at the beginning of the year, they were told they needed 6 hours of community service by the end of January.  And, she waited and had to do school beautification yesterday to make her hours.  But, she enjoyed it.  And, Rob spend the day puttering in the yard.  It looked real good yesterday with all the leaves gone and all cleaned up.  There were a lot of leaves and he mulched them all in.  We hardly ever have to feed the yard for all the stuff we put into the soil to decompose. 

Are you jealous?  Most of you probably can’t even see your yards right now, much less run the mower.

Be well and have a great Tuesday.  Lane


Baby quilt

I decided this weekend was a good time to start that baby quilt.  Give myself plenty of time.  So, I pulled out my pattern book early Saturday morning and I found this very cute pink and brown Birds in the Air quilt from QUILT magazine.


Perfect.  So, I went looking for a pink and brown fabric and I found two.  This is going good.  I separate them, and sandwiched between is a brown with blue and turquoise and white and green.  Much more modern and reminds me of the Mom and the colors she wears.  There are missing blocks below.  Their birds were pieced, but waiting to see what color tails. 

There were a half dozen layouts in the magazine.  This is the one from the featured quilt.  (1)


Here’s one that looks like ocean waves (2)


And, there was this one. (3)


That I kept tweaking. (4)


Until I got this. (5)


So, tell me what you think.  1 thru 5.  Which one do you like best? 

Have a great Monday, everybody.  Celebrate Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr on this day, even if it’s just reading an article and learning something about his amazing life.



Stroke of genius? Or gross mistake?

A couple years ago, a friend announced she was pregnant.  I pieced this quilt.  But, it just didn’t make me feel very baby boy-ish.  So, I pieced her something else.  A nice scrap quilt.  Lots of color.  Very rough and tumble.


She’s pregnant again.  This time with a girl.  I pulled this out of the closet to see if I could use it instead of starting something new. 

Still not a baby quilt to me.

Just to start, it’s perfectly color matched.  Both the light and dark fabric colors are featured in the medium focus fabric.  And, it came out almost just like the one in the book.  My points are perfect. 

That said, it just don’t look right.  It’s boring to me.  It’s sooooooo green; three shades of green. 

And, that’s why it’s been folded up in the closet and hasn’t been quilted. 

That makes it eligible to be a practice quilt.  Lots of open space to fill.  And, because the block is feathered star, I think feathers would look good in it.  But, I don’t need any practice making feathers right now.  So, back into the closet it goes.

Maybe next time it sees light, I’ll be more inspired.

Be well.  Have a great Friday.  I have no idea what to take to bee tomorrow.  Which project is most portable?

Thanks for all your words of encouragement yesterday.  Syd did say she’d help me for money.  Little brat.  Anyway, I got all the big paper peeled off and now it’s time to start the tweezer work.  She was less enthusiastic about that.  Even for money.



Quilt show block

It’s like writer’s block.  I feel stuck.

This is my Indian Orange Peel quilt.  I want to enter it in the piecing category this fall. 


But, I am so tired of pulling paper.  and it has to be removed before I can quilt it.


A couple months ago, the whole back was paper.  Now, it’s just five arcs and a corner.  The problem is that the instructions said to baste each block, all the way around.  That long basting stitch makes the paper around the edges hard to remove.  I can remove the basting, or spend the extra time on the paper.  They’ll both take as long, so I’ve been spending extra time on the paper.  And, I will need to go back with a pair of tweezers and get the little tiny bits that my fingers wouldn’t grasp. 

But, then, I’m going to quilt it and get it ready.  I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.

And, I want to do another piece, another thread sketch on silk.  I have the supplies.  I’ve picked a theme.  Just need to get my behind in gear and get my paper sketch started. 

I hope you’re not feeling the same pressure to finish anything this year.  And, if you are, then you absolutely have empathy from here.

Be well and have a great Thursday.




I meant for this quilt to be finished when I showed it to you today, but it ain’t.  This little quilt started as a dollar and a half scrap bag at a quilt show.  It was leftovers from a couple blocks and I took them apart and cut them and put them back together.  And, now I’ve got it quilted and mostly bound.


If you blow up this picture, you can barely see the quilting lines.  The five circles are rope “wreath” I guess and there is grid work in the background. 


If you look close at the back, you’re going to see that some of my quilting around those wreaths has one thread and some has three threads.  That’s from tracking over a line of quilting to get from one place to another.  From now on, I’m going to work the grid work so that when I track along a line of quilting, I track over different sections so that I have a consistent two threads all over instead of the light/heavy combo I have this time.

The quilting shows up best on the back, of course.


I have been having trouble with bindings since I started trimming the quilt before attaching the binding.  I found out that I’m not sewing my seams far enough when I attach the binding.  That lets one side fold out further than the other when I hand sew it to the back and I get a point in my corner that is not a 45* angle. 

They looked fine from the side the binding is attached on, but when I flipped them over, there was a gap. 


So, this picture shows a corner I’ve fixed.  But, look at the outer dark seam line.  See how the two lines don’t intersect in the corner?  Not to mention one is curved.  That’s what I was doing on all my quilts.  If you look at the inner dark seam line, the lines meet in the corner and that corner will fold out to a perfect 45* angle. 

Evrybody have a great day.  I am changing desks at work today, so it’s all about packing and unpacking and wiping off the dust. 


But, I’ll be thinking about quilting.



Why won’t she sew, part two

Do you remember that I broke my good quilting foot just before the thread painting class?  I had the Bernina feet and they worked just fine, so it was all good.  But, the old foot was never going to work on that powerful Bernina again.

So, I started using it on my Grandmother’s 15-91, which was the machine I broke the foot on, so now, it fit that machine just fine. 


There’s a little piece of metal that comes out of the top of that foot and catches on the needle screw of the machine and causes the foot to hop or bounce along the surface, holding it down when I need it to and letting it lose so I can keep the quilt moving. 

I used the machine without a foot and that worked fine, except the quilt popped up and down a bit with the needl in thick seam allowances.  So, I put the foot back on, without that little metal bit.  I released nearly all the presser foot bar pressure, like you would to sew silk, and it kept the foot just on the surface of the quilt and was working fine. I finished the center of my quilt. 


Before I started the border, I decided to use a piece of metal from a very strong paper clip and see if I could fix my foot.  And, yes, adding that and twisting it til it was tight against the spring shaft worked great.  And, it bounced up and down like it was supposed to.  It has that piece in the photo.

But, the dad gum machine would not make a stitch.  And, ohhhhh, that was making me mad.  So, I packed the whole thing up and moved to my Bernina and finished the quilting.

I woke up yesterday morning, knowing why it wouldn’t make a stitch and I tested my theory and it was true.  Without any pressure on the presser foot bar, the bouncing of the foot with the needle was raising the whole presser foot assembly, just like flipping up the lift would.  And, that releases the tension.  And, a stitch won’t form without tension.  I tightened the presser bar down and now, she quilts like a dream. 

Who knew there was still so much to learn in my 50’s. 

Have a great Tuesday.  Tomorrow, I plan to talk about something I learned about binding.  I have to say I love working on a little “nothing” project like this one.  It started as some inspirational scraps and became what it is and I’ve learned three things from working on it because I wasn’t so focused on making it come out perfect.  I could enjoy the process and be open to learning more about what I was having trouble with instead of just being pissed that it wouldn’t work right. 



Sewing caddy

I needed a sewing caddy if I’m going to keep taking machines to classes and bee meetings.  Something to hold a pencil and some needles and a pair of scissors with a thread catcher. 

I knew what I wanted to make it from.  I have the leftover fabrics from my hand sewing kit.  The fabrics are from my friend Suzanne and feature time as the subject.  She gave them to me for my 50th. 


Saturday morning, I started hunting for patterns.  I found the right one pretty quick.

 Sewing Caddy

I prepped my fabric before bee because I didn’t want to use the bee keepers iron for fusible.  There was something didn’t sound very polite about that.  But, I did most of the sewing, except the pin cushion.


I added a pocket to hold some needles, but otherwise followed the pattern pretty close.


I think it’s really cool.  There’s a pad to sit my machine on and the thread catcher to the left, scissors, ripper, large pocket and the detachable pin cushion.  The cushion is on a large bobby pin so it can be put nearly anywhere.


She didn’t really talk about it, but I can also fold it into thrids and then thirds again for travel.  I’m going to make a tie to add to it so it will stay rolled.


So, that’s my sewing caddy, prepped and ready for next week’s bee.  And, anything else sewing related that might come along.


Everybody have a great Monday.  The holidays are officially over and everybody wants to work…except me.  I just want to sew.  Be well.



Neatness counts

Remember my place by the sofa that got cleaned up just before the holidays?  The place where I sit and sew.  And, pile things,

It was never going to stay neat. 

My Mom gave me a bag of things she wanted me to have when I was there.  One of them was this cedar box that she got from a furniture company when she graduated high school.


When I got it home and got it unpacked, I realized it was the perfect box to help me confine things on my table and maybe I could keep it a bit neater, a bit longer.  That brass bucket in the background is my trashcan.


I made a pincushion out of the dog fabric that my friend Barb shared with me and I filled it with ground walnut shells.  And, it was too big and I emptied it and cut it and sewed it and filled it and it was too big and I emptied…you get the idea.  It took a couple of tries to get a pincushion that would exactly fit the box.  I added a pair fo scissors, a seam ripper, wax disc in a tin, some needles and a thimble and I’m all set.  And, when I’m done, I just close the box.

Everybody have a great Friday.  Tomorrow is the first bee of the new year.



Why won’t she sew?

A couple days ago, I was arguing with my Grandmother’s 15-91.  She had just finished the straight line ditch work and had done a phenomenal job at it. 


Then, I started the FMQ and she’d sew a bit and then start to skip stitches.  I rethreaded.  It was awful hard to get the thread through the eye of the needle.  It didn’t help.  I rethreaded again.  Didn’t help.  I walked away.  This was one of the same problems I had with her several months ago. 

Has anybody figured out the problem yet?  I’ve given you the clues.

Next morning, I pulled out the owner’s manual and took out the thread again.  I decided to replace the needle.  And, that’s when I caught it. 

The needle was in the wrong way. 

What an idiot I am.  I’ve probably put every needle in this machine backward.  No wonder she wouldn’t sew.  I’m surprised she did the straight line work, but to her credit, she did, even with her handicapped needle.

Now, she’s doing wonderfully at those rope wreaths and I can hardly wait to show them off.  But, they need to develop a little bit more first.

Everybody have a great day and I hope your sewing problems are as easy to solve. 



Deleted, by the author

Hey, all.  Shared too much.  Had to delete this one.  Sorry.  Look for me tomorrow. 


Lane takes a bow and a new project

As I expected, there was much shouting of “overachiever!” last night.  there were several of us from the class that brought our projects.  They held them up on the stage and photos were taken.  And, then, I showed my Christmas quilt.  I have trouble with the microphone at guild.  I always know what I’m going to say when I get there, but you have to stand so close to the mic.  And, through my no line bifocals, I think my lips might be touching that mic, but everybody tells me to stand closer.  And, in the confusion, I always forget what I was going to say. 

Maybe next time.  At least I got up and got in line.  I was second in line for show and tell and the rest of the class formed behind me, and the other show-ers lined up behind them.  It was pointed out that I had the advantage of not taking the Sunday class and so had more time to work on my project.  Most of the Saturday people went back Sunday for a FMQ workshop. 

Barbara Shapel, the workshop leader, took pictures of my heron.  It was a good night for Lane.

This morning, I picked up a project I’ve been working on a few days.  The borders in this quilt are horribly assembled and it has been a matter of making stuff “quilt out”, which everybody says you can’t do but I don’t know any better so I do it all the time.  I have corrected many mistakes with a bit of steam and some stretching. 


Now I’m moving into the center and I’m going to have five interlocking rope circles…are they wreaths?  Anyway, five of them will interlock in the quilt center and then some background work outside of that. 

And, I’m doing it all on my Grandmother’s 15-91.  Somebody that I follow has talked about how good hers is for quilting for a long time.  I am sold on the idea.  I have a lot of speed control that I didn’t realize I would get.  So, if you’re looking for a vintage machine to quilt with, this might be the one.  It won’t replace my Bernina, but it makes a good compliment so I can quilt two quilts at the same time.

Everybody have a great Tuesday.  Syd goes back to school  The alarm clock hit her hard this morning.  She hasn’t had free access to her phone over the whole holiday.  And, she spent the holiday talking to us, even after she got her WII game.  I’m going to miss that as she gets back to her friends. 



Thread painting class

Okay, so I rate Thread Painting by Barbara Shapel as two and a half tons of fun.  I’m really surprised that the thread companies aren’t sponsoring her to try to teach every quilter to thread paint.  Our project was Heron Moon. 

This is Barbara’s class sample.  You’ll have to tell me at the end how good I did. 


I learned a lot about Herons.  Those thready looking feathers along the neck are actually lures.  The Heron stands very still in the water and lets those feathers hang into the water.  The fish come along and nibble at them and the heron catches the unlucky curious fish for food.  Way cool.  So, even though I didn’t intend for my finished version to have them, I realized I had to have that part, right? 

First Barbara showed us a neat background filler.  It’s just lines, but they’re not supposed to be exactly parallel.  They’re supposed to intersect and touch and cross over one another, but always run in the same general direction.  I got feedback that mine were too parallel, so tried to do better in the rest of the quilt. 


We needed to work from the background to the foreground, so this back and forth filler was the furthest back.  Next, we started to work on the moon, under the Heron’s bill.  I had time during practice to move above the bill, too.  The stitch here is called the caffeine stitch and it is just a helter skelter, every stitch in a different direction filler. 


Then, we did the bill and the head.  This is a different stitch.  It’s a back and forth stitch and the lengths of stitching are different so that you can color blend colors together, just like you would if you were painting.  I thought of it like painting with a brush where every bristle doesn’t leave the canvas at the same time, so sometimes, there are thin lines of paint that can be used in the blending.  There are four colors of thread in the beak, plus a pinky orange for the breathing hole.  Doesn’t really show up yet.  The head started with white thread and came around the neck, blending in colors as I went.  There are five colors of thread in the head and neck.  At this point, the seven  hour class was over.  She gave us the order of steps to complete the heron, always working from background to foreground. 

Yesterday, I put in the rest of the moon and finished the neck. 


You’ll see the moon continue to develop as I go because I would add thread to make it look more real. 


Next, I put in the eye and the black feathers that go off the head. 


And, then I start the body. 


Here I’m going for a color and you can see it’s too light.  Not gray enough.  I’ll keep adding grays as I go, just like I kept adding to the moon.  I think there are about 8 colors there, ranging from a light blue-gray, through darker blues and then into grays, all the way to black.  And, I added more feathers hanging off the neck.  After I was happy with the white moon, I took some silver metallic thread and added just a bit of sparkle to it.  Very slight and the camera won’t pick it up for me. 


I’m finally happy with the body, which didn’t happen until I added a very fine black thread this morning, When I was happy with that, I could start the outlining.  His eye is a bit wonky, but so is hers.  Here are our finished Herons.

100_6381 100_6372

So, the beauty of this is that every time I changed the thread on the top, I also changed it on the bobbin, so I also got this.


Hard to say which side I like better.

I have no idea how much thread it took.  It came off of about 25 spools, so it wasn’t much off any one spool, but it’s still a lot of thread. 

I will be doing this technique again.  And, I will be taking this quilt to guild meeting tonight to show it off.  Whoo-hoo.  they always bust the chops of the overachiever that finishes the project before Monday night’s meeting.  I will be enjoying that attention.

Be well.  Have a great Monday.  I took today off to finish this and now it’s done.  I’ll have to find something else for the rest of the day.  Lane