Dec 30, 2007

Best wishes for 2008

There's good news, the turquoise fabric arrived. I ordered 5 yards, and it's now threatening to engulf my sewing area with a turquoise tide. I'd better fold it up! Anyhow, I'm sewing a binding on the baby quilt now. It's for no particular baby, but I'm sure one will arrive one of these days and need a quilt present. I used to be a Girl Guide (that translates to Girl Scout in American) so I believe in the motto: "Be Prepared." And I've made all the turquoise blocks and squared them up. I hope to assemble the quilt this week, the Lord willing.
I want to wish all my blog friends a Very Happy New Year. May this be a good year for all. And may we all finish at least a few of our projects.

Dec 27, 2007

What happened to the lemonade

This is a sample of what can be made with those wild and crazy blocks. I put together six of them (9 1/2 inch) into a baby quilt. I like to make easy quilts for babies using lots of colors. Babies love these quilts and usually use the ones I give them until they shred. As any of you who have read my blog know, none of my quilts is going to win a ribbon at any quilt show or fair. But they keep loved ones warm. I generally put flannel on the back of these baby quilts. I put an assortment of my baby quilts on my flickr. You can view them by clicking the flickr block on my blog.
Happy New Year, and may you make some satisfying quilt projects in 2008.

Dec 24, 2007

Star quilt

Well, of course I'm still waiting for my order of turquoise fabric to arrive. You might think, why doesn't she just go to the fabric store instead? But it's too far for me to drive there. I have to wait for a special lift to the store. Besides, they give free shipping! Meanwhile, I thought that I would post a couple of photos of my method for putting the quilt together. I made a diagram on graph paper. Then I letter the blocks across, and number them down the side. As I sew each row together, I make a label for the row on a bit of paper and safety pin the label to the corner. that's how I keep the pattern straight while joining blocks together.

Dec 18, 2007

Embarking on a new quilt

I'm happy today. I found a quilt pattern I really like. It's sort of an enlarged version of the old pattern "Aunt Sukey's Choice." I got out my graph paper and made a chart for it. The quilt requires one bright, solid color. I chose turquoise. I ordered that fabric yesterday, so it will take a few days to get here. Meanwhile I'm making the non-turquoise parts. My daughter "E" always says: "Mom, you can't have too much turquoise!" Anyhow, this quilt pattern is one big star in the middle. I always wanted to make a quilt that has one big star. But I can't hassle with diamond shapes. And besides, I like to make quilts that I can divide in the middle until after I quilt them. This pattern meets those criteria. And it uses up lots of different scraps. I pieced a bunch of triangle squares today. I may name the quilt "Fourth Day."
On another topic, Lazy Gal in her blog recommended the book "Color A Natural History of the Palette'" by Victoria Finlay. I'm in the middle of reading it, and it's fascinating. It tells about all the dyes we use for painting and for fabric. For instance, in our American history books, how many times have you seen the British Army referred to as "The Red Coats?" Yep, find out all about it.

Dec 12, 2007

When Life Gives You Lemons

Make Lemonade

I used to have a small erasable board hanging in my dining room and write sayings on it. The "lemonade" one was one of my favorites. Right now, that saying applies both to my life and my quilting. I can't really create anything original when I have a lot of worries. So I just get out a bunch of scraps (I have a whole laundry basketful) and make some machine crazy squares with no foundations. I sew 'em, iron 'em, and square 'em up. These particular ones are squared up to 6 1/2 inches. When I'm back to feeling creative these crazy squares will become a quilt (any size) with some sort of set. Or I can use them for a border on a quilt. Meanwhile, the things I'm worried about are improving a bit.

Dec 7, 2007

not much news

Well, it's holiday time, as you know. I haven't been doing much quilting. And just a bit of knitting. I made this sweater for my oldest granddaughter. I designed it myself. And the best news is that it fits--and she likes it! You may notice a tiny red spot on the inside of the back collar. I always mark the back inside of the neck with a tiny bit of embroidery thread. That makes it easy for the wearer to put on the sweater.

Dec 3, 2007

The purloined letter--no--the purloined place mat

On Nov. 25th I blogged about losing my place mat. It has now been found--in another state! Talk about people misplacing their socks! My place mat was purloined by Edgar Allen Poe. Well no, I made that up. What happened is really not that complicated. No, that's a lie, it is complicated. Picture this, my darling son, who lives in Nevada, was visiting me here in California. And it seems that he accidentally packed one of my place mats in with his things when he left. He called me today and said (among other more important things, actually) that my daughter-in-law read my blog and she realized where the strange place mat was from, the one that mysteriously appeared in her laundry. I graciously gave them permission to keep the place mat, and use it. So if a strange place mat happens to appear in your laundry--you know where it probably came from.

Dec 2, 2007

movie--Reign Over Me

I've got a sore arm today, so no sewing for me today. It's ice pack time. I hope to feel better in a couple of days. By then, maybe I'll have made up my mind about my next project. Anyhow, while I'm resting I watched a good movie. It's about grief. Reign Over Me with Adam Sandler and Don Cheadle.

Nov 29, 2007

Filing embroidery floss

I have a filing system for my DMC embroidery floss. I use shoe boxes and envelopes. I saved up the return envelopes from junk mail, and it didn't take very long until I had enough. I cut off the envelope flaps. I put each different color in an envelope and wrote the color number near the top of the envelope. Then I filed them in the shoe boxes. Before I made something that calls for specific color, I check the envelopes and chances are that I have what I need. I keep the boxes on my book shelves in my sewing room.

Nov 27, 2007

I'd like to recommend a book I just read. "The Country of the Pointed Firs" is by Sarah Orne Jewett. The book was written in 1886 or thereabouts and is about people living in Maine. It's a series of different stories. It really is interesting to learn how people lived then. But mostly I would say that the writing is poetic, beautifully descriptive and moving. I happened upon the book in a paperback form.

Nov 25, 2007

"I"ve got a little list" Gilbert and Sullivan

It's time for me to take stock, and get some projects finished. I made some place mats with a couple of orphan blocks today. Some time ago, I made two place mats but I lost one. It's out there with those vanishing socks someplace. I think that I put it in the linen closet, but I haven't found it so far. I bought a skirt hanger for multiple skirts, and I put it in the hall closet to hang up my place mats so I won't lose them this time.

And besides that--I made myself a stole. It's crochet. I saw some lady wearing a grey stole at a wedding I attended a last February. And I wanted a grey stole. But of course, I wanted to make mine myself, not buy one at the department store. So I picked out a pattern and ordered yarn. The yarn arrived, and I made two mistakes--first I found that the sport yarn I ordered was so slippery and shreddy that it was impossible to crochet with it. So I picked out a knitting pattern from my files, figured out how many stitches it needed, and started knitting. But the yarn was so much trouble to work with, I had to watch every stitch in order to avoid splitting it. Finally, I just put the yarn in a bag and donated it to the library where the knitting and crochet club was making things for Warm Up America. I hunted through my patterns further and found a pattern for a crochet stole in sport weight and I ordered some Paton's Astra yarn. What an improvement. Now my stole is ready for the next cold draft. And on to the next project that has been on the back burner of my mind for ages. I've got a little list.

Nov 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

After cooking forty Thanksgiving dinners, I now have the honor of being served a wonderful dinner by the younger generation! So, here I am, all dressed and ready to go in about an hour or so. Best wishes to all of you kind enough to look in at the blog.

Well, well--there's good news and bad news. The good news is that the Puff quilt is completed. I may embroider my initials and the date on the back, but it's as done as I can make it. And the bad new is "The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft agley" Robert Burns. Yep, that quilt was a b%*&%h to finish. I was going to add a stuffed binding and la-de-dah. Very funny. I just managed to make a pillowcase lining. And done. That's the best I could do. It was like a wrestling match--no like one of those lion tamers who go into a cage with a tiger, a whip and a chair! Those puffs were stretching and not stretching, they were wiggling all over the place. I used safety pins and pinned it to the lining right sides together, and sewed the edge. It's a good thing I can adjust my machine to sew over heavy seams. I left an opening, and turned the quilt right-sides out. Then I sewed the opening closed. And I just quit right there. I couldn't stand to wrestle with it any further. It turned out, though, and it makes a warm cover, sort of like a comforter, rather than a quilt.

Nov 20, 2007

I haven't written anything for a few days now. I was away visiting friends for the weekend. Now, I'm getting back to normal here. I looked back in the blog, and I've been making this puff quilt for months and months. Now that I'm nearly to the end, I'm searching through some of my really old quilt books. I'm sure that I have directions someplace for a stuffed binding that would be perfect. Too bad that I didn't think to copy it. Anyhow, I'll keep looking, as I know it's here someplace. Aha! now I remember. And I realize why this old thing has been on the coffee table all this time. It's "Simplicity" Quilts & Patches" published in 1979. I bought it at my library's Used Book Store. If your library has a book shop, keep an eagle eye for old needlework books. And I went out to a cabinet I have in the garage, and found the end of a bolt of brown fabric that will make a nice lining on the back. It's half polyester and half cotton, so please don't tell the quilt police on me!

Nov 13, 2007

As far as my quilting goes, I'm happily putting together the puffs. Only a few more big seams to go. But I've been busy doing housework, and assorted errands. My big floor lamp in my work room conked out. (There's no ceiling light in here.) It's already been repaired once. I'm going to get a new one. I went to the stores today, and the kind of lamp I wanted seems to be cheaper than it used to be. Those floor lamps have a weight in the bottom, so I have to get one of my male relatives to take it apart and discard it, and help me to get the new one. I can't lift anything heavy. I've been thinking about my next quilt project. However, I have an unfinished quilt in my work box. And I've been thinking of taking all those assorted embroidery pieces I've made over the years and putting them together into a coverlet. There's no way I could frame and hang up all those things, and besides, I already have several needlework pictures that I made adorning the place. And forget about pillows--I'm guilty of making more of those than I need.

Nov 10, 2007

The value of value

Value is defined as the relative darkness or lightness of a color. I've been thinking about it because this week I acquired "Kaffe Fassett's quilts in the sun." It's another book full of beautiful color photos. Fassett's book has some quilts with a clear value pattern, like Lady of the Lake Quilt. But many of his quilts are a riot of wonderful color with little attention to color value.

Now, I'm not prejudiced--my crazy quilts and the puff quilt I'm making (good progress there, I've been sewing like mad this week and all the puffs are completed) have no respect for value either.

However, the first quilt I ever made, back in 1961--was a log cabin and that's all about value. People that I showed that quilt to back then were sort of shocked. They were surprised at putting all those assorted fabrics next to each other. And many of the classic quilt patterns such as Monkey Wrench, Shoo-fly, Anvil all required attention to the color values in order to bring out the design.

I'm inserting photos of a couple of my recent quilts with traditional patterns that show how the choice of color value makes a difference.

Nov 7, 2007

I saw on TV that some people make money from ads on their web sites. What do you think about it? I guess they have a lot of traffic on their sites.
The air has cleared of smoke from those brush fires we had around here. Now I can take my little morning walks again. It's lovely. And I'm only talking about the fresh air!
This TV writer's strike is going to put a crimp in some TV viewer's evenings. I suggest that people go to the library and check out some books.
I mailed those liberated quilts I made to my little cousins the other day. They received them and they like them. So good news there. And just in time for the winter weather. Usually relatives get quilts and warm sweaters from me when it's about 100 degrees Fahrenheit. I give them when they're finished, and that's that.

Nov 6, 2007

Ultimate scrap quilt

Here's my Ultimate Scrap Quilt. It's my first Internet quilt. If you Google those words, you'll find the pattern. It's still on the Internet, after all this time. True to it's name, this pattern used up just about all the stash I had at the time. I only had little bits and pieces left then, and the quilt used those nearly all up. It's a medallion quilt, and so I wasn't able to use my usual method of quilting a quilt in sections, so I tied this quilt. But tying is the best thing on a crazy quilt anyhow, and I ended up with a very cozy quilt. I made the off-white parts from a sheet, and I made them wider than the directions said, to make this quilt fit on a full size mattress. All of the embroidery is by hand.
I sewed a cross stitch picture into the crazy quilt. On the top of the photo, there's a little crochet motif that I sewed on, also.

Here's my little tea pot. This type of hand embroidery is called chicken scratch. It's embroidery on gingham, made to look like lace. There's some feather stitch on the side of the block, but it's hard to see in the photo.

Nov 4, 2007

Tea Pot wall hanging

Here's my flying teapot wall hanging. It also features a steaming coffee cup. This photo was taken some years ago at my old house (I don't live there now) and we had a clothesline. It was handy for taking pictures. But I didn't have a digital camera then. I love making appliques.

Nov 2, 2007

Before I was a blogger

You know, I've been making quilts for years and years. Some of them have passed on into old age and the rag bin. I love Sunbonnet Sue. I made this particular quilt with the patchwork edge twice, for two different granddaughters. And I have made some Sunbonnet quilts for babies. I like applique. This one combines applique and a little embroidery.

Oct 31, 2007

Home again, home again, jiggedy jig

What fun I had visiting Nevada. And nice to be home again. Of course, I brought some fabric and yarn. Now I seem to be making too many things at once. I'll have to put some of this knitting in bags and park it on the doorknobs. You know, I thought that I had found a nice soft brand of acrylic yarn, so I bought a bunch of it. But I was mistaken. It seems to be soft only in some of the colors! Anyhow, one of my grandchildren wanted a fisherman-style sweater. And I bought the yarn. Then, when I knitted a swatch, turns out that I can't get 5 stitches to the inch in this yarn, even with the thinner needles (how thin can you go?) So I went to my files. I once got so desperate, that I made a special file of 4 stitches to the inch sweaters. And now, I'll plan to make a similar sweater, in the gauge I can knit.

Oct 28, 2007

Up, up and away

Hello, I'm in Nevada visiting my family. I flew here for a long weekend. On my way back to Calif tomorrow. The sweaters I knitted for my three darling little grandchildren fitted them and they like them, so a success there. Back to the sewing machine next week, and the puff quilt awaits. It seems that the puff quilt is taking forever, but actually I've made about four other quilts since I started it. It's getting to be like the white sweater I've been knitting (or rather not knitting is the truth) for myself for a year and a half.

Oct 24, 2007

My liberated Shoo Fly quilt

I'm so proud of this second quilt of the pair! It's the liberated Shoo Fly. I hope that the boys will like their quilts. I hope to mail them next week. Hopefully, the fires in Calif. will have died down by then, and the mail will be more reliable.

Oct 23, 2007

Dreadful brush fires here in California. The air is full of smoke. Yesterday the wind was high here. Today, we have less wind so far, but it's very hot. My home is not in danger, but people I know may have evacuated last night. I'm not sure. I'll find out later today. Praying for rain.

Oct 21, 2007

I've been sewing

I haven't been blogging because I've been sewing! This is quilt "A" and quilt "B" is following close behind. I put the quilt on my queen-size bed, but it is for a bunk bed, so it is spread-out looking here.

Oct 17, 2007

Sewing on the binding

Well, it's another dental emergency for me this week. And another root canal. I guess I have to spend my money at the dentist instead of taking a trip or something! My mouth is uncomfortable, but I'll live.
Meanwhile, I'm so happy to be sewing the binding on one of the quilts. I have hope of getting the other quilt pin basted today or tomorrow.

Oct 14, 2007

Saw a movie

I went to see the movie "Michael Clayton," and I really enjoyed the picture. When the movie was over, the people just were sitting there, not getting up to leave. I'm thinking Oscar? Anyway, George was at his best.

Worth and Violet

I've been working on finishing the quilts. Yes I have, and besides that I'm working on my secret project.
Well, it's not that secret--I've just been waiting for my daughter to get her web site going.
And it's on line at last
I'm sewing some things for sale on the web site. All of the items I sew for the web site have to be of my own design. So that takes time. I've had my drawing pencil sharpened for a while, and I plan to make a few items and we'll see what people want. My daughter reminded me of the baby blankies and bibs I made when her kids were little. So I'm starting with that. It is true that I designed those myself.

Oct 11, 2007

From the Terrace

Acacia tree

Left-handed Knitting

My sewing is progressing, and I've free-motion quilted one half of one of those quilts I'm making. Now I'm realizing that I can't keep posting photos of my quilting as much as I thought. That's because I can't make them that fast! But I do have a lot of knitting going on. As in one sock. (But those come in pairs.)
On Tuesday I go to the Rancho Santa Margarita Public Library for the Knit and Crochet club. I'm the unofficial volunteer knitting teacher. I was trying to teach a left-handed person to knit. I think I did it all wrong. I went home later and read up on it, and decided I should teach left-handed people to knit the Continental way. I dug through my considerable knitting book library, and found that "Knitting Ganseys" by Beth Brown-Reinsel and "Knitting Without Tears" by Elizabeth Zimmerman do have directions for Continental knitting.
If there are any left-handed knitters out there, I'd appreciate your input.

Oct 7, 2007

Life in the Slow Lane

I've been trying to catch up on my reading lately--that pile of magazines on my coffee table was starting to lean like the tower of Pisa. I found an article in a January issue of Smithsonian that I thought might interest one of my granddaughters--it's about a female architect. But hello--this is October, grandma! I know, I know. That's merely an example of how slow I've been.

Don't you think these toys are cute? I made them today when I was suddenly inspired by a picture one of my children drew twenty or more years ago. Yep, that's really slow! If you decide to make toys similar to them, remember that button eyes are only suitable for school age children--for babies, I recommend making embroidered eyes. I hope that my other three granddaughters will like them.

Oct 1, 2007


I'm quite excited, I've started to get the first of the boys' quilts together. I'm going to quilt it in two sections, so it will not be joined up in the middle until the end. (A rather disjointed sentence, for a disjointed quilt.) I decided to add the borders before I even begin to put together the second one.

Sep 29, 2007

Blue, my neutral color

I've had a few rest days. Now back to my blog. Today I was just sitting on my patio and reading for a time. I have been making a pink sweater for my littlest granddaughter, and ran out of yarn for the second sleeve. I sent for more. It's a no dye lot, so it should be OK.

I don't get out shopping for fabric and yarn much, so I often order things on the Internet.

Well, about those boys' quilts I have been working on--I had to change my plans. The fabric I purchased for the alternate blocks simply will not do! Luckily I had also bought about 5 yards of some mottled blue, and that looks so much better. Oh well, the "best laid plans" and all that. I'll think of some other use for the fabric I purchased eventually (probably a baby quilt or something.) If you read the book "Collaborative Quilting" by Freddy Moran and Gwen Marston (I bought the book after it was recommended to me by Joyce) they call the color red their neutral color. I guess that medium blue is my neutral color. I seem to use it frequently.

Sep 25, 2007

Well, I made it. The White House Steps quilt was ready for the birthday party, which was on Sunday. And I'm maybe halfway through the blocks for the boys' quilts. And my cousin, the one I made the baby quilts for, should be having those twins this week. Sometimes my quilting life is great.

Sep 21, 2007

Busy, busy

I cut out the rest of the fabric for those two quilts yesterday. I had only cut out about half. That's the way I do things--first a sample block, then piece a few blocks, and then I really get going. It's a bit of math--how many squares made and how many to finish. I was hunting through my stash for pieces of suitable bright colors. I don't want any calico flowers for the boy's quilts. I'm planning to order something special for the outside borders.

Sep 18, 2007

Triple play

It's a triple--three quilts at once! How did I get myself into this? OK, I'm still making those 400 puffs I've been going on and on about. My puff quilt isn't nearly finished yet. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, as the old cliche goes--where do I begin? OK, my dear cousin "Y" (names have been changed to protect the innocent) sent me an adorable photo of her baby with the quilt that I made for him. But also, in the same photo, are two of his darling brothers, "A" and "N" with their old falling-apart baby quilts. They still take their old baby quilts to bed with them--and they are grade school age, and sleep in a bunk bed. So I've been thinking and thinking--what to do? And guess what--Gwen Marston's book, LIBERATED QUILTMAKING, came to my rescue. I decided to make two quilts at once, each a different block from her book. The boys' quilts will have alternate squares of coordinating fabric.
While the white parts of the quilt block are 4 1/2 inches square--and so is the center square--the remainder of the parts require 5 1/2 inch squares. And 5 1/2 inches is exactly the size of block required for the puffs! Therefore, I can cut the parts required for the boy's quilt and use any left over 5 1/2 inch squares for puffs. Boy, I hope these plans work out----
Anyhow, I went to the store today and bought a frame for the photo, and hung it up near my sewing machine--nothing like seeing 3 kids enjoying my quilts to brighten my day. And the kids never check for mistakes in my sewing, either.

Sep 16, 2007

A race to the finish!

Hurrah! I finally finished sewing the binding on the quilt. A full sized quilt is done. And it's not really finished until it's signed. I hand embroider on the back of the quilt.

Knitted Child's Sweater

I knitted this sweater for a neighbor's little girl. Good neighbors are so important. When I had an emergency, they pitched right in.

Sep 10, 2007


I have been honored to join the Modern Quilting Ring. One of the questions asked was who was my favorite artist. I don't really have a favorite per se, but Henri Matisse is one I particularly associate with my quilting. Not only are his colors so bright, but he uses many colorful fabrics in his paintings. And his paper cuts are an influence on my applique. I often cut out a design in paper to experiment when I'm designing applique. He frequently depicted fruit and flowers, which are favorite designs for quilters.

Quilting free motion

Good news, I have the quilt all assembled and just have to free-motion down the last seam area. Then I'm going to measure for the binding.
I was having a problem with my blog yesterday. My teapot picture vanished. I learned the hard way--if that happens to you--you have to totally erase the html for the picture and start over. I also revamped and got a new template. Let me know if there is any problem reading my blog with the new, wider page.

Sep 7, 2007

Joining quilt sections

And here's a picture of the back of two joined sections. I have my tiny craft iron all set to be plugged in. I press the seam, trim the batting, and hand hem the sections together. Then I machine quilt over the seam.

String quilt progress

My "White House Steps" string quilt is coming along and I'm really pleased with how it looks so far. Here's a photo of how two sections look joined together.

Sep 4, 2007

Get up and keep on skating

I ought to post that motto somewhere on here. It's something I realized a long time ago. I was watching figure skating on TV. My husband was just passing by. He remarked, "That skater just fell down, now why doesn't she just get up and go home?" But figure skating fans, you know very well--a skater who fell down can still get up and win a medal! So I wrote "Get up and keep skating" on a piece of paper and stuck it up on my bulletin board. I have a couple of bulletin boards in my sewing room, one for info on work in progress, and the other is for important notes and cartoons cut from the newspaper, and so forth.

Sep 2, 2007

Shake and Bake

Two posts in one day, I guess that's my record. Today is a "Shake and Bake" day. That's what we call it around here, earthquake and very very hot weather. We have a threat of a thunderstorm this afternoon. Oh well.

Pinning up

OOPS! Little earthquake! Near here too. But as we say in California--"only" 4.7 on the Richter Scale. String on the window blind swayed.
I've been diligently sewing the blocks together all week, and today I was able to pin the center section together with backing and batting, all ready for my mad free-motion quilting. I've explained my method of quilting in sections before on this blog.
Anyway, the first thing to do is to hunt through my stash and find a piece big enough for one third of the back. (I have an inherited stash--it's a gold mine. Left to me by my friend's grandmother. To a scrap quilter like me, it's about equivalent to inheriting money.)
Anyway, first I eat my breakfast. That's step one. Then I move aside the Sunday paper and wash the table. Step two. Press everything--and get out some pins. What's my rush? Well, my grandson--who is the recipient of this quilt has his twenty-first birthday on Sept. 23, and I'd like to be able to give him his quilt at that time.
The other day my daughter took me to the big fabric store--you know the one--the one that put all the little stores out of business. Even though I have a stash, I still need to buy thread, batts, focus fabrics, knitting needles--you know--the usual. I make a list. Then I mutter to myself in the batting aisle, reminding myself what I need--checking the labels--trying not to make a mistake and buying the wrong thing.

Aug 30, 2007

The great emancipator

Gwen Marston has set quilters free. I recommend her book "Liberated Quiltmaking." It allows ordinary quilters (not just those art quilter types) to go for it! Sew, sew, sew. Make crooked seams, use queer color combinations, everything doesn't have to match. If someone points out a wonky quilt block to you, just say "Thanks for noticing. I meant it to come out that way."
I'm going to refer to her book for ideas for my next couple of quilts.

Aug 28, 2007

Squaring up

I first saw Eleanor Burns on TV umpteen years ago. She was on a channel that was really out of our area, and came in snowy. But I recorded her on the VCR and watched her religiously. I learned a lot about quilting from her. One thing was how to square-up finished blocks. And my blocks really need it. I'm not one of those people whose quilts get ribbons at the fair! So what I do is take my finished blocks and trim the edges carefully. It makes them a lot easier to sew together, if they are all the same size. I'm getting those blocks put together. It'll take me a couple of days, I guess. I plan to sew the blocks together with the border in three horizontal sections. I'll put the whole thing together after quilting.
Meanwhile I'm hemming and hawing to myself about the next project. And I still have to make the puff quilt.
I was once talking to a friend at the library. (Our library has a knitting and crocheting group that makes things for charity.) I explained to her that I don't like to have a lot of unfinished projects. I figure that if I die, I'll be leaving behind a pile of rags. But if the project is completed--well, everyone appreciates inheriting a quilt.

Aug 26, 2007

Strange Day

Strange day today. It's raining a bit. It rarely rains this time of year here in Southern California. Luckily, I had returned from shopping before the downpour. I went out early. I guess that I'm a so-called morning person. Last weekend my grandson visited and I found out that his bed is a double size, not a twin. So today I'm making another row of blocks on the quilt. I'm planning to use up any left-over strips from the quilt for part of the border, but I may have to change that, because there may not be many strips left!

Aug 23, 2007

A Quilter is Someone Who

By Rosalyn F. Manesse

Saves ten boxes of scraps,
Has one corner of the house an eternal mess,
Buys half a yard of calico,
When on vacation, goes to the fabric store in every town,
Loves flea markets,
Is always looking for new ideas,
Spends sleepless nights thinking about color combinations,
Has a tottering pile of books and magazines in her room,
Visits every five-and-dime,
Is always picking up pins and bits of thread from the floor,
Has a callous on her left index finger,
Is always looking for more quilt patterns,
Begs her friends for remnants,
Works for a year on a quilt, then gives it away,
Watches TV with a needle in her hand,
Is forever ironing,
Is never bored,
Knows one hundred patterns by heart,
Forgets to water the lawn,
Can get it all together,
Finds treasures at a garage sale,
Always has time to help a friend.

This poem is copyrighted.

Aug 22, 2007

Baby Toes does its thing

It just bloomed today. This is my succulent plant called Baby Toes. fenestraria rhopalophylla

Aug 20, 2007

Satisfaction--I get some

I'm so happy about the quilt blocks I'm making. They're really easy to make, as I can do a lot of sewing before I have to press any seams. I make 2 or 3 blocks at a time. I moved a small cutting mat right next to my left side, and I put my ironing mat next to the sewing machine. I have a calculation of 35 blocks being needed, if I add a nice border.
I went to see that movie "Bourne Ultimatum." Those explosions and gunshots kept me awake, I'll tell you. Well, I really don't want to nap at a movie that I paid admission to see--I can nap for free at home. Superman and car chases--that's about it. Matt Damon is a good actor.
Meanwhile, those quilt puffs keep staring at me from the side, where I shoved them.
Once in a while I bring home one of those cut-down cardboard boxes from the beverage aisle of the supermarket. Handy for parking quilt patches in. And they can be tossed in the recycling bin whenever I don't need them anymore. You know, if I have to bring a cake or some food someplace, I put the pan inside of one of those boxes(lined with a paper towel). Handy.

Aug 17, 2007

Cut, cut, cut

A lady goes into a New York deli. She tells the counter man that she wants to buy a slice of lox. The man takes out the lox, and he slices a paper-thin slice. "How's this lady?"
"Cut," she says.
He cuts another slice. "OK?"
"Cut," she says.
"You're having the family over?" he asks.
"Cut," she says.
"It's going to be a party?"
"A Bar Mitzvah?"
"I"ll buy the next slice."

I took out that big box of fabric I keep on the closet floor, and pulled out assorted fabrics in dark or light colors. And I sliced a big bunch (that's a quilter's scientific term) of 2 1/2 inch strips. Yep, the decision has been made. White House Steps quilt coming up!
And good news, I hunted around and I do have a bunch of 4 1/2 inch squares left over from the Four-patch Quilt I made in 2004. Someday I'll post a photo of it, but let me tell you that the teapot applique on my blog is from the Four-patch Quilt.
And I managed to cut a few squares for my puff quilt, too. I'm still huffing and puffing on the puff quilt. It seems to be taking a long time, but remember, the quilting and piecing are being done at the same time. That puff quilt will only need a lining sewn to the back to be done. I'll just make a pillowcase type of lining, and tack it down in a few places.

Aug 16, 2007

Old New ideas

I keep a couple of notebooks with quilt notes. There's photos and information about quilts that I have made, and ideas for future reference. I looked through my books. So this sketch was made some years ago, actually. I was thinking of making some sort of log cabin quilt, and this "White House Steps" pattern is about right, I believe. I have a lot of long strips left over from making borders on quilts, sashes, and just plain scraps. So I decided to make a sample block. And it turned out to be a very quick and easy block, too.
The center of the block is a 4 1/2 inch square (including 1/4 inch seams.) The surrounding strips are cut 2 1/2 inches wide. That produces a 12 inch quilt block.
There are two blocks in the quilt, alternating light and dark colors.
I like to sew the 2 1/2 inch strips to the side of the center block, and then I trim them for the length. I keep a cutting mat and an ironing mat next to my sewing machine. I hope that my explanation makes sense--

Aug 14, 2007

Rancho Santa Margarita

Here's a glimpse of where I live in California. The fountain with the statues, where toddlers love to play, and a distant view of Saddleback Mountain.

Aug 12, 2007

On the street where I live

This is where I live. I have a condominium in Southern California. That's my street, courtyard and my patio. It's been a lovely summer so far, but we have some hot weather coming during the end of August and the month of September. I'm still sewing on the puff quilt every day. I'm thinking about a log cabin quilt of some sort. I made one last year and I enjoyed it so much.

Aug 9, 2007

The puff quilt--progress report

I've made a lot of strips of puffs. I guess I've made about a third of the puffs that I need for a twin size.

Aug 7, 2007

It's that time again

It's the beginning of August, and it's time to start my knitting (and crochet and quilting) for Chanukah and Christmas (we have both varieties of people in our family.) I don't shop for presents. I'm the Grandma who gives checks for college funds instead. And I make comfy sweaters for kids. Not much call for hats, scarves and mitts out our way (California and Nevada.) Just maybe a scarf for my grandson who goes to college in Davis, CA. I've already got one sweater started, and I mail ordered yarn for the next one. I used up all the yarn that I bought at a yard sale a year or two ago. I had enough of that yarn left over to make an afghan for charity, last spring. Gosh I'm writing a lot of run-on-sentences today--teachers, get out your red pencils!
That's how it goes when you are lucky enough to have six wonderful grandchildren.

Aug 6, 2007

Not denim

Alicia asked about the use of denim in my crazy quilt. Nope, it's not denim. It's just cotton that's printed to look like denim. I like to quilt with fabric like that.

Aug 5, 2007

How to quilt in sections

When I make a big quilt, I make it in sections--could be anywhere from 2 to 6 sections--depending on the size. I join the sections together after quilting. Anyhow--what I do is cut a generous backing. Then I put the backing, batt and quilt on the dining room table. I make sure the quilt is centered on the batt and backing. Next I put a bandaid on my left index finger--that way, I don't have to put one on later on a sore finger--aha! I have a long wooden slat that I keep concealed in a closet corner. I use it to schmush the quilt flat by running it firmly over the surface. And I slip my largest cutting mat under the quilt. Then I safety pin the surface, about 3 or 4 inches apart. I shift the quilt around until it is all pinned nicely. I peek at the back to be sure that I didn't get any big creases. Sometimes just removing a pin or two is necessary. And I'm off to the races (as they say.) I'm too arthritic to do any stuff on the floor, anyhow. Also, I can do one section at a time, so it is not as exhausting for me. When quilting, leave room at the edges where it will be seamed together later.
To join the sections--never pin them together--it's too easy to loose a pin in the batt. Well, maybe a safety pin or two. I used to baste the front seams together, but I realized that since I was sewing with a needle and thread, why not just hand sew the fronts together? It's just using smaller stitches than the basting. So that's what I do. And then I turn the quilt over and trim excess batting. I use my tiny craft iron to iron down that seam. And I hand hem the back together. Lastly, I quilt over the seam.

Aug 3, 2007

A full view of crazy qult

Here's a pretty good photo of the finished quilt. Yep, it's on its way to a new and happy home.

Jul 31, 2007

Finished crazy-quilt

Here's good news--the quilt has been finished. And I really am enthusiastic about the result.

Jul 29, 2007


Well, there's good news, I'm binding the quilt. And more good news, the person I'm making the quilt for (my son) phoned me. He lives in Las Vegas and plans to visit us this week. Hopefully, the quilt will be ready in time. Ha Ha, he really needs it, the temperature in Las Vegas cooled down to 99 degrees Fahrenheit last week.

Jul 27, 2007

The quilt tying process

Here's my quilt being tied on the dining room table. Note that I put a cutting board under the quilt to protect the table surface. I use a curved needle and crochet cotton #10. I make a surgeon's square knot.

Jul 24, 2007

It's all together

Well, after some delays due to dental work (I had to have a root canal) the quilt is pin basted. I sewed together some assorted fabric from my stash for the backing. I'm using a regular weight batt, as opposed to the thin batt I usually buy. When I make a tied quilt, I like it to be puffy. And since I don't have the crazy quilt to stitch together now, I'm back to sewing those puffs I mentioned in previous posts. 400 is a lot of puffs! I'm using up some very old fabrics for some of the puffs, little bits of things that have been around for ages. I save just about every little bit of fabric.

Jul 21, 2007

Fit to be tied

Well here's a picture of the top for my crazy style quilt. I added a border of 2 inches of yellow and then 6 inches of more crazy pieces. I'm going to hunt around in my boxes of fabrics for something to put on the back.
What glorious fun this quilt has been. I'm going to tie it with crochet cotton #10. I have found that that is the best thing for tying quilts.

Jul 17, 2007

Quilted thoughts

There's something about sewing together scraps of uncoordinated fabrics that excites me. I have two laundry hampers full of assorted scraps in my sewing room. I like to pull up a few handfuls and go to town on my sewing machine. I'm making that crazy-style quilt pictured here, the one with alternating blue squares. I've gotten all the squares together. That was a challenge for me--sewing them on the diagonal. I've decided to make more crazy-style strips for the border. I join some, and cut the resulting patches with my six-inch ruler. This type of sewing makes me feel so happy.

Jul 14, 2007

baby sweater

See what can be done with some left-over yarn? I crocheted a baby sweater again--those babies keep on being born--I can hardly keep up!

Jul 11, 2007

For the Birds

This is a recent quilt, the subject is birds, appliqued and embroidered, alternating with some crazy quilt squares.