Quilt marking

Yesterday, Leah Day turned her blog post over to her husband Josh, a new quilter.  Josh talked about his first experiences with free motion quilting and his struggles with free hand, free motion.  Free hand and free motion are not the same.  Free motion means moving the fabric without benefit of the feed dogs.  This means you can move in any direction.  Free hand means doing that without following any lines.

Josh’s suggestion was that new quilters should mark before they try to free hand it.  I completely agree.  I did a ton of marking as a new quilter.  I had a copy of a panto that I traced from another quilter’s quilt.  I traced it onto transparent paper and then I cut it into a piece of template plastic, so anytime I wanted to quilt this panto that I called “wind” onto a quilt, I just laid the template on it and drew it with a washable pen.  It worked amazingly well.  And, it was about 2’x2’ so it covered lots of space and had an easy repeat.  That’s how I learned to free motion.  After a while, I didn’t need to follow the marked lines so much anymore and didn’t have so much trouble correcting my mistakes.  And, a while after that, I could do the whole thing without marking at all.  Presto, Change-o!  Like magic. 

Even now, I am a marker.  I’m working on this quilt and free motion quilting in the wreaths and half-grid.  100_6153

For the wreaths, I did a semi-marking.  I drew three circles, starting near the center and radiating out.  The distance between the circles was about the same.  I traced a dinner plate, a luncheon plate and a small bowl to get the circles.  And, I did the wreath between them, using the middle one as the stem and making sure my feathers went out to each of the outer lines.  It doesn’t photograph well because of all the variety in the fabrics, but it will after the quilt is washed.  The grid line is completely marked.  I sat with a ruler and marked each of those lines, one inch apart.  I’m not crossing them in the other direction.  The block corner in the picture is finished. 

It takes a while.  It took almost an hour for each of the wreaths and to echo them.  There are 9 wreaths.  It takes about 40 minutes to mark and quilt the grids. 

But it is sooooo worth it.  I can’t even draw a straight line without a ruler.  There’s no way I could have quilted one in. 

Everybody have a great day.  I am off to earn my pay.  This working for two bosses has gotta give.  They’re making me crazy, looking at random projects as one finishes things and one picks things up.  Three more days.  And, then, hopefully, it will settle down.



L’il Punkin’

The child decided she wanted to be the one that carved the pumpkin this year. 

I was sorely tempted to jump in and tell her all about the limitations that she should observe; the things she shouldn’t do.  But, I kept quiet and just let her go, knowing the worst thing that could happen would include stitches. 

She didn’t cut herself, but look what she got this pumpkin to do.


A howling wolf should be sufficient to keep the goblins away on Halloween. 

My input was limited to telling her just once that she needed to keep cleaning out the inside, and loaning her a sewing machine needle that she used to punch through the drawing, transferring the lines to the pumpkin.  Oh, and I loaned her my wood carving tools, which she cleaned and returned.

Boy, we are doing something right. 

Anyway, the only thing that bothers me is how critical she is that it isn’t perfect.  She’s found a hundred flaws that I can’t see.

Like I would.

As a parent, it’s my job to encourage “good enough” instead of “perfect”.  Good enough should be sufficient to the task and shouldn’t be the same for everything.  Some stuff has to be fun, right?

Everybody have a great Tuesday.  Be well.  Be imperfect.



Paper Piecing

This was a decompression weekend and honestly, most of it was spent sewing.  Oh, I baked a cake and did a bit of cooking, and I spent several hours in the garden.  But, mostly I was sewing. 

I got this method from Judy Mathieson, Mariner’s Compass Quilts.  I recently bought a book of 10 paper piecing patterns.  It didn’t come with the patterns.  The book had instructions for 10 quilts and the patterns are on a CD.  I plan to try to print them on freezer paper and try this method.

First, I drew my patter on the dull side of freezer paper.  To make it easy to talk about, I’ve number my pieces.


I’m going to lay my first piece over number one on the shiny side.


And, from the dull side of the paper, I’ll press it down, just within the confines of piece one.


The little “wing” sections are loose.


I fold back the paper along line 1-2 and trim off the point.


So the fabric looks like this.


And, I lay fabric piece two, right sides together with one.  I put the pencil point so you could see the overlap of piece 2.  I’ll need that and have to make sure it’s there.


With the paper folded back, I sew the quarter inch seam, right along the folded edge of the paper.  I don’t stitch through the paper. 


And, I press that section down.


And, trim off the excess along the top and side, just like I did before.  That’s the thing about paper piecing.  Lots of repetition.


It looks like this. 


Repeat, and then it will look like this. 


When you get them all sewn, you peel back the paper.  You can use the template more than once. 

100_6141 100_6142

I wasn’t that smart and drew all four of the templates I needed to make this. 


And, because I refuse to put these tiny little scraps in the scrap bin, I also made this.


I think there’s one more small quilt in these scraps before I toss them.  I bought most of the fabrics as part of a kit at the Chisholm Trail quilt show and then decided I didn’t like the pattern that came with them.  So, I made something else.  It was 10 9x11” rectangles and a yard of the tan I used as a background and three or so more yards of other fabrics, solid red and solid green and a border print in shades I’ll have trouble matching.  Anyway, the prints were little pieces to begin with and so I decided to pull little bits of fabric out of the stash, make some quilts and use them until they were finished.

All is well on the home front.  It was a nice, rainy Sunday.  The best kind of day for sewing.

And, my back still hurts from gardening, so I know I worked out some stress.

Be well and have a great Monday.  Lane


The day at the food bank

I was not optimistic about my feelings of volunteerism meshing with those of my co-workers.  But, I have to say that they did me proud.  Normally, they will compete over anything…how quickly the sun will set, the depth of the next snowfall, who can flip a coin and get “heads” the most.  I don’t quite understand the need to have a competition like frisbees or wiffle ball or go-cart races at every team event.  And, to the credit of the group that planned this meeting, there was none of that.  So, when we were going to CAFB, I suspected there would be competitions about who could sort the most cans, or who could juggle the most jars…something.  But, there wasn’t. 

What I heard was people consulting; do you think this can is too dented?  Is this what they meant about too much rust?  How old is too old?  And, participating and talking.  It was really uplifting.  And, it made me glad that I was going to dinner that night, my only after hours event with them.  And, I stayed until the alcohol started to get out of control and then I left.  Because I was feeling really good about team; my team.  We sorted and boxed over 4000 pounds of food, which equaled something near 3700 meals. 

The organization was really organized.  Probably the most organized volunteer event I’ve ever been to.  There were several people there serving out some probationary time.  But, the rest of the place was manned by us and they kept us focused and on task and things moved really fast.  All this work is done by volunteers and they run two shifts, six days a week.  Saturdays are full until March. 

The can use food that is up to three years expired with a few exceptions, like tomato products, mayonnaise, salad dressings which have shorter expirations.  And, baby products have to have an exp date in the future.  FDA says most foods are still good for 5 years after the exp date, so when you’re cleaning out your cupboard, keep that in mind.

Syd needs to do 8 hours of volunteer time.  I’m going to see if I can get she and I a shift and offer to take some of her friends in the class with the requirement if she wants to.

Everybody have a great Friday.  I’m off to the last half day of meetings. 



Team day

Okay, you guys hear me grouse about team stuff all the time.  But, yesterday was kind of a different day than I expected. 

It started with the event that I dreaded the most.  Based on the answers to 24 questions, they were supposed to classify my behavior into one of four groups. 

Anybody that says they can classify you in 24 questions is clearly full of cow manure.

Except that they kind of hit me in the nose.  It wasn’t a personality test.  It was an assessment of what behavior energizes me.  And, what it said was that I am dominating.  Way off the charts dominating.  And, that means I hate repetition in my work.  (If you’ve followed me for long, then you likely already know that about me.  Think seam ripping.)  I like to do the work and be done with it.  I don’t like to socialize.  I don’t like to talk a lot.  I don’t build rapport.  If you say “take that hill”, I will take that hill in the most commanding way possible, with no thought to the cost or whether it’s the right way to take the hill or even the right hill.  I’m not a talker.  I’m serious.  And, all this other crap is just keeping me from doing my job.

Hmmm.  Nailed me.

Now, I’m accepting that this was an accurate assessment of me.  But, I also think that my desire not to complete this stupid assessment a couple weeks ago might have affected the off the chart part. 

I met my new boss last night.  Of course, her first question was which group I fell into.  I think she was happy with the news.  Me, I’m feeling a bit naked and humiliated that everyone knows now. 

But, nothing can be done about that.  She’s nice and it was great that our first time together was in a social setting.  We went to my favorite bbq place last nite, The Salt Lick in Driftwood, TX.  If you’re ever near, get there early, or you’re gonna wait in line.  It was a Wednesday and there was a 30 minute wait at 6:30 when we were leaving.  That indicates I’m not the only one that loves it.

I wanted to blog more about our volunteer adventure at the Capital Area Food Bank.  But, I’m out of time.  I’ll try to do that tomorrow.  It was really, really interesting.

Be well.  Have a great Thursday.  Lane


Timing is everything

Last night, I had just 15 or 20 minutes of machine time before I had to start dinner.  Just those few minutes.  A very short time to do anything.

Sydney followed me into the sewing room and wanted to chat.  (Believe me, if you want to talk to your kids, take away their phone.  Suddenly she has whole volumns of stuff to say and we never got to hear it before, because she was too busy sending eleven thousand five hundred texts a month.  I KID YOU NOT!)  Anyway, she was telling me some story that I was half listening too.  And, then something happened while I was only paying half attention to what was going on and I broke a needle. 

I replaced that and rethreaded and my machine wouldn't make a stitch. 

Uh-oh.  That usually means timing.  So, I looked at the timing and I looked up timing the machine on the internet and the instructions just weren't clear.  This is a computerized Pfaff and the only machine I own that I am not comfortable working on.  I rethreaded the top.  That usually helps,  right?  And, I rethreaded the bobbin.  If all else fails, right?  At this point, I am out of time and walk away.  Unusual for my obsessive compulsive self.  Normally, I'd have postponed dinner until I had it figured out.  Or at least had a plan.  The family got lucky.

This morning, I opened up the machine case for the very first time in the 7 years I've had it, just to look inside and see if I could figure out the timing.

Hmmm.  Looks like the hook race is off when compared to photos on the internet.  That would be the timing.  The hook race is starting an extra stitch before the previous stitch is completed and that's a problem.  Timing.

So, I'm studying how the machine works and decide to thread the top.  The thread gets caught on the bobbin spool pin.  That's what it's supposed to do and no second stitch is starting. 

So, I inset the bobbin case without a bobbin.  I make some stitches. but I can't tell if the thread is going over the bobbin case like it should, so I stick my finger out and touch the bobbin case and can feel the thread passing under my finger.  That's what it's supposed to do and no second stitch is starting.

So, I put a bobbin in the bobbin case and I make some stitches without fabric.  And, they're forming the appropriate twists in the threads.  That's what it's supposed to do and no second stitch is starting. 

I put some fabric under the presser foot and take some stitches and they're perfect; perfect tension, perfect length. 

I put a section of my paper piecing under the foot and sew on a new piece.  It goes fine.  No problems. 

I didn't do anything.  My timing problem must not have been the problem.  I don't know what the problem was.  Tension maybe?  But it seems to be resolved.  Timing being what it is, I sure felt lucky that I didn't try to fix it.  I timed my tests just right to avoid possible catastrophe or worse, a hundred dollar machine hospital stay.  And, I didn't do anything more than remove and then reinsert two screws.

But, I'm left with a perplexing mystery.  Why wouldn't it sew last night?

Be well.  My meetings start in a half hour.  It was nice to hear from so many others that feel the way I do about team building. 

I love that the organizer, who basically has 3 days of sitting around a campfire, holding hands and singing Kum-bay-yah planned, announced yesterday that she would never plan a meeting again.  Noboby appreciates it.

Go figger!



Too much thinking…

leads to no good. 

So, I spent the weekend being busy instead of thinking about the “team builder” meetings we’re having this week, and the fact that I’ll meet my new boss for the first time tomorrow.  Both these are stressful for me, but mostly the team building.  What they think of as team building feels much more like fending them off and keeping my co-workers at a professional distance.

I went to bee on Saturday and was inspired to start something new, because there cannot be enough projects in the works, eh? 

But, most of my weekend after that was spent on this quilt. 


Saturday afternoon, I got it pin basted, using the very last inch of my batting stash.  And, Sunday morning, I cleaned and oiled the Bernina and got to work.  I got all the stability quilting in and then made a deal with myself that I’d FMQ the ditchwork around all those red jagged lines until I couldn’t see straight and then I’d work inside the blocks some, and then back to the ditch work.  Oddly, I managed to knock it all out in one day, negating the deal I’d made with myself.  This morning, I was able to start the feather wreaths that will be in each of the blocks.


I’m doing the echo work now.

After knocking out all the ditchwork, I felt like I needed a reward.  And, I started something new.


One of the ladies at bee had hers finished and sandwiched and I was so inspired that I couldn’t help wanting to imitate it.  I had the small stash of fabrics that I bought at the Chisholm Trail quilt show in the silent auction and thought they’d be perfect.  And, they are. 

I forgot how much I enjoy paper piecing.  I drew my templates on freezer paper so I can follow my favorite method where the fabric is pressed to the paper for extra stability and it is not sewn through the paper, so there’s no effort at removal.  It’s like ripping off a bandaid, without the anxiety about what you’ll see because you can see what there is to see from the front.

Everybody have a great Monday.  I’m keeping my chin up and thinking calm thoughts of quilting and sewing and having real fun.



Old quilt, new tricks

I’ve finished the first one foot  by width of quilt section of the restoration.  Can you see my work from here?


How about from here?


It starts to show up as you move in.


This is my work.  I put in the tree and the lace hides a tear in the velvet.  I put in the clamshells along the left side.  This is where I started to learn that too much handling would do additional damage.  I’d read that everywhere I looked.  But, this is where I learned it.


And, this is my work.  I put in the red silk and did all the embroidery you see in this picture, except the little green thing in the lower left. 


I kept studying how to do the repairs and found one writer who said, instead of replacing the whole piece of shattered silk, to leave the beautiful embroidery and just replace the centers of a shattered piece of silk.  You can see that there’s a new piece of silk in the center of this section.  But, the old embroidery is still there, though kind of hidden by the threads of the shattered silk.  It’s clearer from directly above, but then the silk reflects the light and you can’t see the patch.


How about this one?  I put in the green silk on the left and added the narrow strip of lace to cover a tear in the red printed silk further down.  The previous restorer used a piece of blue velvet where the black patch is and it had shattered.  I removed it and beneath it was a black brocade that was shattered.  I covered the brocade with black silk and left the embroidery exposed along the bottom edge.  The red velvet has lost most of it’s fuzzy, but it’s still viable and therefore doesn’t get replaced.  But, it needed some embroidery to help with the transition, so I added that.  Very carefully. 


The blue stripe silk and the red silk with the ribbon embroidery below are both mine.  I did the embroidery before I sewed the patch on, so it didn’t add any stress to the quilt.  I’m just learning ribbon embroidery and this was leftover ribbon from a little kit that I did a couple weeks ago that was supposed to be one of those little embroidered picture “friend’s forever” things from Hobby Lobby.  But, it’s on a beautiful piece of green moire and is going to find a place as a repair patch later.


Here are some of the things I”m trying to save.  This is why it’s so important to remember that “less is more!”  The less stress I put on any section or piece, the longer that piece will last. 

There are lots of painted silks.


The blue bonnets along the side of this piece are mine.


And, there is gorgeous embroidery that I won’t even touch.  This piece is on a shattered velvet.  Not much I can do but save all the velvet I can.  The restorer I found most recently suggested just weaving new threads in about every eighth of an inch, left to right, not actually replacing the missing threads, but adding the stability of new thread to the threads that are left.  I’m still thinkin’ on that.


Today is bee and I’m back to machine applique.  I’ve ransacked every kitted up bit of sewing stuff around here for supplies to work on the crazy quilt and now I need to do something to make sure I’ve got all I’ll need at the meeting.

Be well.  Have a great weekend.  Sew, sew, sew.



Almost ready to quilt

I have a lot of finished quilt tops, ready to be quilted.  It is rare that I finish a top and know how I want to quilt it and am ready to start right away. 

I have just enough batting for one quilt.

The coats are finished and I can switch the Bernina back to quilting mode. 

I have the templates to mark the quilting. 

I have the thread.

The stars are in alignment.


The borders are cut and ready to attach.


Let the quilting begin.

Except that’s never how it really works, right?  First, there’s work.  And, feeding the family.  And, a whole host of other responsibilities.  And, after that, I can pin baste a quilt and spend an hour oiling and cleaning the machine. 

And, after THAT, I can start the quilting.

I really need to turn this quilting thing into a full time gig with high pay and benefits.  Imagine what I could get done!

‘Til then, I’ll still be seeing you at the office and the grocery.

Speaking of finished coats, Sydney’s girlfriends asked her where she got hers, yesterday, and said it was so cute.  She told them, but they didn’t believe her…until someone noticed that there was orange basting thread in the right sleeve and someone else noticed there were no labels.

Everybody have a great Thursday.  When last I looked, I had nothing scheduled tomorrow and both of my bosses, old and new, are in the same meeting, talking a lot about me, I’m sure (just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you).  They’re not going to need me tomorrow.  It’s supposed to rain again.  It might be a good day to be alone with a good quilt.  Or book.  And some soup.  cough, cough, sniffle, wheeze.



Just in the nick of time

It is the perfect day for a light coat around here. 

And, fortunately, Sydney has a new one.


She wasn’t really into giving me pictures because I pointed out that it might be a bit too much coat for 53*, which makes me really happy I followed her suggestion and went with the lighter weight. 


She has the PSAT today and we got a phone message from the school to make sure she got a good night’s sleep and ate a good breakfast.  It’s a shame that the school has to tell people to feed their kids and make ‘em go to bed at a reasonable time.

But, they do.

Everybody have a great Wednesday.  I’d love to show you something quilty today, but I am the victim of my own inability to focus.  I did as much quilting as I normally do in a day, but spread across three projects, there’s nothing to show off.

Be well.  Lane


Rainy day sewing

So, yesterday, I alluded to what I did in the Sunday storms.  I didn’t think to treadle. 

I did a good bit of this during the thunder and lightening part of the storm, tho.  The table I’m working on found a more permanent spot in the family room over the weekend.  That will make it easier for everyone when I want to work on it in the evening. 


Unfortunately, I hit a spot where I did too much, and started to cause more damage than I could correct.  I finally have that back under control and have learned a very important lesson about how much repair is appropriate.  This is not a remake.  This is a repair to make the quilt displayable.  Reinforcement so that it can be rolled and unrolled and for short times, hung on a wall, out of the light. 

Trying to put in too much embroidery, which would actually restore the quilt to it’s previous condition is too much stress on the old fabrics, and fabrics that aren’t shattered when I start will sometimes shatter as I try to replace shot embroidery stitches.  So, there won’t be so much more of that.  I plan to only embroider on the pieces I’m already replacing with new fabrics.

At bee, the host shared her stash of silk ties and I nabbed three that I’m cutting into small pieces of striped fabric.  The collection of fabrics grows and grows. 

And, during the afternoon, when it was not raining, but was steamy and I wasn’t even thinking of going outside, I did this. 


This is made of leftover pieces of Roll, Roll Cotton Boll.  Remember that I made the pieces for a queen sized and have gotten three smaller quilts out of that.  This one will be a lap sized quilt for me. 

I’m working from home today.  Thunderstorms are expected and someone needs to be here to calm the beagle. 

I found out yesterday that my boss has taken another job and I am reporting to someone I’ve never met that works out of another office.  yippee.

Actually, who knows.  It could be the making of me.

Be well.  Lane


Children of the Lord

God, told No-ah, to build him an arkie-arkie,

God, told No-ah, to build him an arkie arkie,

Build it out of Go-pher barkie-barkie,

Children of the Lord.

That is what it has felt like around here.  We woke in the wee hours of Sunday morning to a storm of biblical proportion and a very frightened 30 pound neurotic beagle in a panic attack.  Electricity went on and off, and every time it did, my bedside lamp, which activates by a touch, would turn on. 

Later, when we got out of bed, Rob found an inch of water in our garage.  That’s never happened before in 14 years of flash flooding. 



Then, he checked the rain gauge.


The reason you can’t see the line is that it’s way up there by his fingers.  Eight and one half inches.  Overnight.

Rushing water everywhere, Batman!  I have mulch everywhere except in my flowerbeds.

We unplugged the shed, which runs on an extension cord and settled in to wait for it to stop, which it obligingly did about an hour later. 

Sydney and I went to the grocery around nine and there was no traffic and the store was empty and they had buckets everywhere to catch their roof drips, which are never apparent until we get something like this.  But everybody was shell shocked and surprised.  I mentioned this to Syd and she said “I’m not.”  And, I asked, “well, how do you feel?”  “Ok, kinda out of sorts and tired.”  ……hmmmm 

We came home and went to the neighbors, where we saw this had happened.  It’s going to look like trick photography.


Two very large hackberries, both down, lifting the end of the deck with them and piercing the roof.  The whole deck is knocked off it’s piers and one end is almost perpendicular to the other. 


She said it happened about 4am and she crouched with the baby in the front corner of the house.  Her husband was out of town and was rushing back yesterday.  It will be days before they can deal with it because it’s still raining on and off and expected to be very bad again, tomorrow.  Another neighbor was trying to at least clear a path yesterday so they could get from the door to the yard.  But, it wasn’t going very fast with his handsaw.  And, the mosquitoes were coming from under that disturbed deck in clouds. 

But, we were safe and even though we had some things get wet, we had almost no real damage, and Rob took advantage of the opportunity to clear off the garage floor and pressure wash the floor and put fans on the cement to dry it out.  We are whole.

And, we are lucky.  Two more days, it’s supposed to rain.  We may be looking for an ark before it’s all said and done. 

Be well.  Have a great Monday.  What does a quilter do in the rain?  Tune in tomorrow.  Lane



Some days you're the windshield and some days you're the bug.

Some days change from one to the other about half way through.

Yesterday was just such a day.  Raising a teenager is hard work and all relationships are hard and yesterday didn't start out with me feeling like I was king of the world.  I felt more like splat!  I came to work knowing that I had a very important meeting and just hoping I could get it over with quickly and then retreat into a bit of much needed silence and recuperation.

That didn't happen.  But, something important did happen.  I was the star of the meeting; the one with the answers; Johnny on the spot.  What I didn't know, which was little, I freely admitted and promised quick answers.  The rest?  I was the man with the music that made the meeting dance.

And the rest of the day just went uphill from there.  I was turning stuff around in record time and receiving multiple accolades.  My boss sent me home early as a reward for all I'd accomplished.  Course that may have been as much about that blank, exhausted look in my eyes by 4:15 as it was a reward.  But, either way, it was recognition of a day well done.

And, when I got home, Rob read me a note that he had gotten from the CEO of his company, congratulating him on a job well done. 

We spent the evening telling our big stories of big accomplishment and big recognition during the day.  Just him and me.  While the kid sulked at the table over her homework, suffering withdrawal from the phone she's restricted from. 

And, I didn't care.  Because some days need to be just about me and Rob.  Hang the teen.  And, dang, the teen.  It can't all be about her.  And, it's good for her to hear us celebrate our good stuff, even while she's pissed that she got caught. 

After the meeting, I reflected on what the lady that turned me down for the job said.  She didn't think I could build rapport from a remote office.  But, yesterday, I saw how efficiency builds a better rapport than what she was looking for.  There was strong evidence, during the meeting and in the grateful and congratulatory emails that came after it, that I have rapport with people from different offices, all over the country.  And, once again, I was reminded that what she didn't like is what I like best and how lucky I am to have a boss that appreciates it.  Yesterday's meeting was a big one for him, but he's busy with other projects and wasn't able to prepare.  He let me do the prep work and then he let me represent us in the meeting.

And, it wouldn't surprise me one bit if he sent a thank you note to the lady that turned me down for the job when it was all over.

Y'all be well.  I'm emboidering a Christmas tree in the Crazy quilt and can hardly wait to share it when I get finished.  I've also been practicing the machine applique and I remember why I stopped that and went back to needle turn after 7 of the 12 blocks.  I get so much more control with the needle in my hand.



Prepping for the demo

Okay, I really hope the lady that asked for the demo is there on Saturday.  I think I’ll write her an email, just to be sure.

This morning, I finished the machine setup and cleaned and oiled the hook race.  (Eileen, with the double needle button selected, the stitch width I use is 3.0 and the length is .5.  The double needle button makes the sideways bite of the blind hem stitch narrower than the actual setting would indicate.  It should be about a 16th of an inch over and then back into the straight line.)

I made a bobbin of extra-fine poly and sought out the invisible thread and then I pulled out the scrap box.  I forgot how hard it is to pick fabrics for a sampler type quilt.  I’m going for non-repetitive variety.  (Okay, go to your scrap bin and find that for 12 themed blocks.  I dare you.  Go on.  I can wait.  It’ll make you crazy.)  It’s been much harder because I stopped on the quilt for a couple of years and I’m in a different mental place now.  It’s hard to get back to what I was thinking before.  My color theory is different.  And, so is my stash.

Anyway, this is what I picked.


This is the block, laying on the famous light box.  The pieces have been traced to freezer paper and cut out.  The narrow yellow stripe above will be for the cupcake papers and the bright colors for the frosting.  I’ll add buttons to the top of each cake like she did, but more like a jellybean than a heart.  And, instead of the ladybug, I have a couple of buttons in the shapes of bugs that I’ll use. 


Next is the work with the iron.  The part I enjoy the least.

That’s slower than picking the fabrics. 

And, then I have got to do some practice before I try to show others.  And, that means starting another block to actually work on at bee because there are so few pieces to this block that by the time I get it ready for any practice and then do the practice, I’ll be done with everything except the embroidery.

I looked back at this quilt and compared it to the photos from the designer.  Adding the month name is not all the individuating I did.  I really went hog wild with color in mine.  And, compared to the ones I”ve seen at shows (and there seems to be one of these at every show) mine is very bold and as masculine as I could make a quilt with bunnies and hearts be.

Have a good Wednesday. 

Hi-ho, hi-ho, again, here we go. 

I work, I work, and still my pay

Feels like it goes less far each day.




Damnit man, get your priorities straight!

Yes, I did say that to myself this morning, after suddenly remembering last night that I agreed to do a machine applique demo at the next bee meeting and the next bee meeting is next Saturday and I haven’t done the first bit of prep work.


When I agreed, the plan was to do the next block in my Bunny Hill quilt.  These are the blocks I have so far.  The first seven of twelve. I forgot how cute they are.  Not me, really, but they’re a great little something to practice some applique on because the shapes aren’t too complex and the colors are bright and wonderful.  All that I’ve done so far to alter the pattern is embroider the name of the month on the block somewhere in cursive.  If you click the pic you should be able to see all of them except April, which was done in yellow thread and doesn’t show up.


This is the August block.


The plan is to prep all the pieces and do the applique at bee meeting.  Sounds like a plan.  Except I still have to get my light box from Sydney.  I don’t know what she needs it for, but every time I take it back, she ends up with it in her room.  (Her stuff is her stuff and apparently so is mine.)

If you had asked me which method I use for machine applique, I would have eagerly said I use Harriet Hargrave’s Mock Hand applique technique.  So, first things first this morning, I grab the book and start reading. 


And, I found out that I don’t follow the method in the book.  (Oh, crap!.)  Have I lost a more recent version of the book?  Am I following someone else’s method?  Have I created my own?  What I do is very close to Harriet’s method; I put the freezer paper on the back of the applique piece but use a paintbrush to paint spray starch on the seam allowance and a hot iron and a stilleto to press it over the edge of the freezer paper.  The, I use a very narrow (very, very narrow) blind hem stitch and invisible thread to stitch the piece to the background, open the background and remove the paper.  Whoever’s method I’m following even taught me how to set my Pfaff machine to get that very narrow blind hem stitch. Does anyone recognize this?  Can you tell me who thought of it?  I don’t really think I did, but who knows.  I surprise myself sometimes.


Applique is this machine’s specialty.  All my machines have a specialty; something they do better than any other.  Maybe that specialty is just a responsive foot pedal or a quiet motor or in the case of my Bernina, the power to stitch through concrete. 

Even the old Singers each have a special skill or attachment that sets them apart from the rest. 

The Pfaff’s main purpose is applique. 

It took me a while at the machine this morning to remember the settings and get them written down.  I used an old receipt instead of fabric so I could see how my adjustments were affecting the length and width of the blind hem stitch.  With that part out of the way, I’m ready to pull down the scrap bin and start pulling fabrics.  Then, when I get the light box back (hmmm, why did she just look at me like I’m crazy when I asked her to give it back?) I can start tracing the pattern. 

So, crazy quilt restoration, hexie quilt madness, Sydney’s coat; these are the projects in the works (translate as spread all across the room).  And, now, I can add to that a bit of machine applique.   A busy boy is a happy boy.

Speaking of the crazy quilt, I raided the free table at guild last night and found three pieces of garment fabric that will work great in my restoration.  Someone had clearly made a pink quilt and these were the leftovers.  I needed pink, but JoAnn’s didn’t have any pink dupioni the other day, so I just waited until I found some.  And, it’s not going to come at a better price than FREE.


I also found the Ruby McKim book that I’ve been lusting over but wouldn’t buy for myself since my Ruby McKim obsession a few years ago.  The only fabric I still need for the restoration is a striped silk in masculine colors to replace a shattered piece of very beautiful silk.  I was digging in the free table for ties.  A member of my bee heard me say what I was looking for and invited me to dig in her bags of men’s ties when I’m at her house for bee this weekend.  Whooee!  When a project starts to come together, you gotta be ready and flexible enough to roll with it.

While remember priorities, man.  PRIORITIES!

Be well.  Have a great Tuesday.  Our speaker last night was Elsie Campbell.  Wonderful scrap quilt speaker.  I really enjoyed her and wish I’d taken one of her classes (that’s becoming a common refrain when it’s too late).  But, I did sign up to take a class in January.  Turned in my application and my money and I am raring and ready to go.  The class is thread painting, but I’ll have to tell about that later because I’m about to be late to work.