Dec 30, 2010

Bricks quilt

Well, I was pleasantly surprised when this Bricks quilt was completed. I was impressed by the contrast between the light and dark sections. That made the pattern much more interesting. Sometimes the full visual impact only occurs when viewing the completed project. The fabrics in this quilt comprise some of my very oldest scraps, along with a couple of fat quarters that I received as holiday gifts. I have included a couple of photos I took of the succulent plants that I grow on the ledge of my terrace. Clare challenged us to post some photos of things in our ordinary lives. By the way, she is also collecting quilt blocks for "Quilts 4 leukaemia." I'm hoping to sew a block or two for that cause. Many years ago when I was a nurse, leukaemia was a virtual death sentence for kids. At least now the medical profession has some treatments for the disease.

Dec 26, 2010

Dove quilt

This is the Dove quilt completed. Now I have to do the application process at because this quilt is to be donated to the great cause of medical research to find help for those suffering with Alzheimer's Disease. It took six hours to make. It's an original design of mine. And I hand appliqued, embroidered and quilted it. But it's quite tiny, under 9 by 12 inches. The embroidery stitches are blanket stitch and fly stitch. Now on to the exciting topic of Tonya Ricucci's book Word Play Quilts. I'm the proud owner of a copy. It's so well written. And the illustrations are excellent. Tonya, it's a triumph! I'm sure that it will be a popular book with quilters, and words will be sprouting up on all sorts of quilts. Furthermore, the book has a great deal of humor, and it's entertaining. That's a big achievement for a technical book. For anyone who has been in the Antarctic for the past few months, Tonya's blog is

Dec 18, 2010

Advancing on the brick quilt

About the changes in my husband's Medicare: My husband's new doctor was very good, and reassuring. My granddaughter came with us in the special taxi to help with the wheelchair. My husband tolerated the trip. He's back safely in the Care Home. So far, so good.
So now I was doing some quilting! I sewed the brick quilt patches together. As you can see, I have the ends extending. I decided not to drive myself crazy figuring out the size and placement of the end patches. I just will trim those extra ends off now and baste the quilt.
And I'm so excited about the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative that I decided to start another quilt for that. I'm making a hand-appliqued and embroidered block. I designed this block in 2005, and I used it in a tea cozy and in a "bird" quilt. I had to make the design in a smaller size to fit into the requirements for these donation quilts. I plan to hand quilt it.
Season's Greetings and Happy New Year!

Dec 12, 2010

And life goes on

It's been a rather trying week for me. I don't usually mention personal stuff. But the truth is that I have a sick husband and the changes in Medicare have had a big effect on his medical care. The Medicare has changed the criteria for what kind of care you can get from the Medical Insurance. The nurses at the Medical Insurance could hardly believe it themselves. Anyhow it now turns out that it doesn't matter how weak and frail you are anymore. Instead, Medicare judges if they think you need medical nursing care or not, and the answer is--NOT MUCH. So I was busy arranging for him to have a new doctor and other important stuff. Imagine me not feeling like doing a lot of quilting? I cut out some strips though, for my current project. And I sat around sort of gritting my teeth and I crocheted a lot of squares from scraps of left-over yarn. I'm making a granny afghan for charity.
Just to prove that I still have lots to be thankful for in my life, I'm putting in a nice photo of sunset over the shopping center. My family has been great and very supportive, and we've been enjoying the Holiday. That includes my husband who ate chocolate and sang happily when we went over to the Care Home to celebrate with him.

Dec 7, 2010

In honor of Tonya Ricucci's book

Today is the big day--Tonya Ricucci's book Word Play Quilts published by Martingale is being released. In her honor, I'm posting some of the quilts and wall hangings I made recently through her tutelage. Tonya's blog has been a big inspiration to so many quilters!

Dec 1, 2010

Two for the price of one

I couldn't decide whether to make a Bricks quilt or a Half-log cabin pattern. I realized that I was digging through my scraps for the quilt blocks and that both have to be made with a definite dark and light assortment of scraps. So why not cut out both types of blocks at once? Maybe I can finally really use up some of this old fabric. I have scraps that hang around for years before I decide what to do with them. I finally made a start on them yesterday. I made my sample blocks. Sample blocks are so important. Sometimes I think that I like a pattern, but when I make the sample I decide that making this quilt block is such a drag--forget about it. Anyhow, down to brass tacks, the bricks are cut out 6 1/2 inches by 4 1/2 inches. The Half Log Cabin is made with 2 1/2 inch strips. These measurements include the seam allowances.
The other photo is of a big bunch of baby hats that I made for charity. There is a nice lady that comes around to our knitting group and donates baby receiving blankets that she makes. She sews flannel into receiving blankets by the "pillowcase" method. The blankets are so nice. And she asked us ladies who knit and crochet to make some hats to go with them. I thought--how does a hat go with a receiving blanket? But my daughter pointed out to me that if a mother has a nice blanket, and can pop a cap on the baby, the baby will be all cozy to go out. So I dug through my left over scraps of yarn (I'm a real scrap collector, aren't I?) and I surfed the Net for directions. I tested out some of the directions that I found. I still need good directions for a knitted hat that uses sport yarn.
It's Holiday time, so Happy Chanukah to all my Jewish friends!

Nov 24, 2010

Completed flannel quilt

I thought I would add some autumn photos to my blog today. These trees line the street near my house. I call that a California maple, but I'm no plant expert. Anyway, it's a charming tree and they grow lots of them around here. I figure if I can't travel to New England to see the fall colors, I'll just take a walk in my neighborhood. As Rabbe Nachman of Breslov said, "Have you looked up at the sky this morning?"
Good news, I've completed the little scrap flannel quilt, sewn on the binding--and it's all ready to go to the charity. I quilted it by sewing one of the fancy stitches on my machine along the seam lines, and down the centers of the blocks. Finishing this quilt was a challenge from Finn at Pieces From my Scrapbag Blog--to complete unfinished quilt tops by New Year's. I guess that I made it on time. I'm now in a thinking mode, as I decide what quilt pattern to make next. I want to donate another quilt. The charity group that I volunteer for asked for blankets--so it's blankets they will get. I'm also making a granny afghan using bits of left over knitting worsted yarn. Got a granny block done last night while watching TV.
Happy Thanksgiving! My daughter and son-in-law live near me, and I'm going over to their house for dinner. What I love most about Thanksgiving is joining with family and friends for a lovely time together. It's a big group hug.

Nov 19, 2010

Flannel scrap quilt

I'm using left-over bits of flannel to make a baby quilt. I plan to donate the quilt to a charity. These flannel strips are from the back edges of flannel-backed quilts that I've made in the last year or two. I've got to confess, that I save nearly every scrap. In fact, the laundry hamper where I store bits and pieces is just about to overflow, no matter how many quilts I make out of it. I even have enough flannel scraps left to make one or two more quilts--and I'm only talking about the flannel--never mind the ordinary cotton stuff! About sewing flannel quilts, I should mention that I use a fatter seam than the usual 1/4 inch. My sewing machine has an easy adjustment for the needle. I hope that I can complete quilting this by New Year's!

My public library has a used book store that's run by volunteers. Today was their semi-annual sale. I got there really early and bought some quilt books. These books look like they have a lot of antique quilt pictures. I love to see the old-time handiwork. I also bought a lovely book about wild flowers, and so on. I'll be reading all weekend, I guess. And a reminder--Tonya Ricucci's book "Word Play Quilts" is due out the end of December. I've already pre-ordered my copy.

Nov 14, 2010

The challenge quilt

I'm so pleased to report that I have completed my challenge quilt for This quilt was a really big task for me. First, I researched Gee's Bend quilts and Amish quilts. I actually went to the library and looked in their reference books. I decided that Amish Bars pattern and some Gee's Bend quilts had a lot in common. The rules of Lazy Gal's Challenge were no rulers, templates or rotary cutters. And use a lot of solid colors. I found cutting long strips of fabrics using only scissors and by eye was difficult, unless I decided to simply have fun with it. You know that saying, "don't stress the small stuff." I pulled out a bunch of scraps for the scrappy row that I made going down the whole quilt. Then I used the size that that came out to be for the approximate length of the strips. If the strips were too long, I chopped them off, and if too short, I did what Gee's Bend quilt ladies do, and added a scrap to the edge. The edges of the quilt were quite uneven. So instead of quilting, I tied with size 10 crochet cotton. I use a curved needle when I tie a quilt. I think I ended up with what the quilting books politely call a "utility quilt." I didn't actually know if I liked this quilt all the way through the creating process. It was only after I finished hemming down the grey binding on the outside edge, that the full impact of the quilt was apparent. You know what, I decided that I like it just as well as any other quilt I have made!

Nov 10, 2010

Embroidered Thanksgiving wall hanging

Good news, I finished hand-embroidering and hand-quilting this wall hanging. I'm giving it to my daughter to use for a decoration this Thanksgiving. She's the one who makes the delicious meal (I help a little bit) at her house every year! A big crowd of family and friends enjoy it so much.
I bought this pattern from It's supposed to be made into a pillow--but it's the right size for a wall hanging. I need to purchase a curtain rod or a dowel for the back, and I have a nice cord for hanging it up.
I'm really trying to get my projects finished by the New Year--I have that flannel quilt to put together, and I'm still tying the quilt that I made for
There's always knitting and crocheting, but I refuse to count that stuff. Needless to say, I do get those done as I go along, but I'm always starting more! And I'm always making a hat for charity. Those hat projects fit into my purse, and I bring them along to work on when I go out.
Well, I got really tired of struggling with the postings and I reset my blog to the old method of posting. I wish that Google wouldn't put out "new" stuff until they get the bugs out!!

Nov 7, 2010

Stars Baby Quilt

Here's my Star quilt, all completed! I'm quite pleased with the result. Now I'm going on to the next project, which is making a flannel quilt. It is intended to be for a donation, and I'm using some of the flannel scraps that I have hanging around here--as it were. I promised for a Challenge on Pieces From my Scrapbag Blog which is
that I would complete the flannel quilt before New Years! Meanwhile, the Thanksgiving embroidery is nearly done. I hope to post that one someday soon. Also, I slipped in a photo of a baby sweater that I knitted. I love making baby things--it's like they say about eating peanuts--you can't eat only one. (Golly, in my case I really cannot eat actual peanuts.) Anyhow, the directions for this sweater are free from Lion Brand Yarn.
I like raglan sweaters because they are knitted all in one piece.

Nov 5, 2010

Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative

Thanks so much to Michelle at getting in touch with me.  She did a lot of computer search stuff to figure out that this quilt that I donated was at the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Iniative at Houston International Quilt Festival.  I titled the quilt "Tribute to Modigliani."

Nov 2, 2010


All kinds of adventures have occurred since my last post.  I recovered from all my medical stuff except for an attack of arthritis--and at this stage in my life, arthritis doesn't count anymore.  And a lovely event, a family visit. So much fun seeing everyone!  We took the grand kids ( well the adults liked it, too) to see Peter Pan.  It was a big production put on in a giant tent.  Peter Pan and Tinkerbell were flying through the air on enormous wires. Lots of fun for all of us!  And then we had Halloween.Tons and tons of candy--funny costumes!
Meanwhile, I haven't completed one thing!  But I started on another project, pictured here.  I'm making an embroidered wall hanging for Thanksgiving.  So I moved that to the front of the line, as I have to get it done on time.  I ordered the pattern from Sherri's web site has all this primitive embroidery stuff on it.  I've bought from Meme's Quilts before. This web site has no connection with me personally. 
That "stars" baby quilt is nearly done, I just have to hem down the binding.
Now about the top photo--that big pile of left-over flannel--it's for a charity quilt. I often sew a quilt backing in flannel. As soon as enough flannel scraps accumulate, I can start to make a quilt out of them.

Oct 24, 2010

Are the stars out tonight?

 Here's a photo of my Star quilt.  I have it all pin basted.  That's in spite of my feeling a bit sick lately.  I'm getting discouraged.  I was planning to be all back to normal long before this.  I guess it's what happens when you get older (and older)!  I've begun to free-motion quilt this today. That ought to lift my spirits.

I'm posting some pictures of the tree that flowers every year in back of my condo.  I just love this tree and I notice that hummingbirds do too. I used to know the name of this kind of tree, but it escapes me right now.  The streets around here are lined with trees, and many of them are of this variety. 

 That's the wonderful thing about California, there's trees and flowers blooming all year around. Some people say that they miss the snowy weather.  But it happens that if you drive up to the tops of the mountains there is snow there in the winters and people can go skiing and snow boarding.

Thanks to all the kind folks who look at and/or post comments on my blog.  I appreciate it.  I've been surfing around looking at all my blogging friends as much as I can--so many really interesting and creative quilters!  I have to remind myself to get back to sewing sometimes.

Oct 18, 2010

How to make coasters

I haven't posted for a few days because I was a bit under the weather.  This is not a medical blog, but let me say that I've got three different medical appointments this week, and let it go at that. 
Boy oh boy, what a struggle I had trying to post these photos in any kind of order. If anyone has any helpful hints in how to post a bunch of photos without wasting an hour, please let me know. I decided to make some coasters for gifts and I figured I would post some photos of how I'm doing it.
First of all, I cut out three  5 inch squares, a backing and a  front, of course, and I decided to cut an interlining.  I pinned the backing and interlining together with a piece of batting that was cut in a 4 1/2 inch square sandwiched in the middle.  I sewed the sandwich together all around in a 1/4 inch seam.  Place the backing and the top right sides together and sew around the edge. Leave an opening on one side for turning.  Trim the corners. Turn right side out and sew the opening closed.  There you have it.  I tried machine quilting one of the coasters in the center, and the other one, I just sewed and extra row of stitching all around the edge about 1/4 inch inside of the first one.  A set of four or six coasters would make a nice little gift, just tie with a ribbon.

Oct 10, 2010

Stars Baby Quilt, ready to be quilted

I'm making progress on this quilt.  I sewed on the green gingham border. So now, I still have to finish tying (not much headway there) the liberated quilt I made for the Amish-Gee's Bend Challenge (see previous posts)  and I have to pin baste this one.  I'll be busy.  I don't like to have a lot of quilt tops hanging around, so to speak.  It's important to me to complete each quilt top as I go along.  I feel a real sense of accomplishment after I finish sewing on the binding.  So now I have two to work on.  I'm also crocheting a shrug for myself, knitting a sweater for my daughter, plus I had a big idea yesterday on how to use up some green baby yarn that's been in my stash for ages, and started knitting a baby sweater.  This sounds like a big bunch of stuff, but--I did complete a sweater and cap for my granddaughter yesterday evening--so stuff is getting done, eventually.  By the way, I made a baby hat and booties for my doctor last week.  I have an appointment with her this week.  My dentist just went on maternity leave, too.  Good news, people keep having babies!
And another thing, I'm reading a cute book That Dorky Homemade Look by Lisa Boyer.  It's an amusing book about sewing quilts. A quote: "Give it (the quilt) to someone you love dearly.  They must drag it around the house, wrap themselves up in it when they have a fever, spill something brown on it..."

Oct 8, 2010

How our little "Stars" are doing

First of all, welcome to new followers of this blog!  There are so many interesting blogs out there now.  I could spend hours surfing around the net. But back to my sewing. I made some alternate crazy-pieced blocks for this quilt.  I don't use any foundation for my free-pieced crazy squares. I simply keep joining my scraps together until I have a block of big enough size, then I square it up. I do lots of pressing of the seams. A quilt like this could be made using any design you choose for the appliques, and any background(s).  I have found in my stash a nice chunk of green gingham for the border.  I don't see many quilters using gingham these days.  It's very versatile.  And can be used in a variety of different ways.  I'll be stitching on the border next--to be continued...

Oct 3, 2010

Star baby quilt--the beginning

Well, I was a bit under the weather for a few days, in more ways than one!  Besides my not feeling well, we went from having comparatively cool type weather all summer to having the hottest day ever recorded.  It was as if all that summer heat that we had avoided decided to hit us in only one day!  Lucky me, I had my AC repaired recently, and it was up and running for that blast of heat.  And people say that we have no weather to speak about in Southern California.
I have begun sewing a baby quilt, which was the next thing on my sewing list.  I turn under the edges of the stars by sewing them to fusible interfacing. Placing right side of  fabric to sticky side of interfacing, I sew all around the edges, then I cut a little hole in the interfacing and turn the star right side out.  Presto, all the edges are turned under.  I then press the stars to the quilt square and machine sew the edges.  I plan to make alternate squares in a free-pieced crazy square.  I have a lot of scraps of kid-type fabric left over from that I Spy quilt that I made. So now is the perfect time to get some of them sewn up.    

Sep 22, 2010

It's an Oldie

The nights are getting colder, and I grabbed this quilt out of the closet. I made this quilt in 1996.  The blocks are made totally of scraps.  I got the dark blue used in the blocks at a charity rummage sale.  Someone had donated what are called "cut aways."  Those are scraps of fabrics left over when clothing is sewn commerically.  The assorted white scraps were left over from my sewing.  Many of the centers of the blocks were also left overs from when I was sewing blouses for the summer.  This is a tied quilt, and the backing is pieced from part of a white sheet and some muslin.  I threw the quilt in the dryer and fluffed it a bit.  It is still as cozy as when I sewed it. 

Sep 19, 2010

A Challenge is a challenge

I really am grateful to Tonya for the challenge!  At first, I thought that I was making the world's most unlovely quilt.  But being as spontaneous as you can grows on you.  And I found great satisfaction when combining the fabrics and colors.  I have added three border strips to the quilt since the last post.  And now I feel that I have finished the top.  There's a bit of a way to go yet, as I decide how to quilt it.  I'm thinking about hand quilting it, except that my arthritis might not like all that stitching.  I may have to tie it.  Because of the unevenness of the top, I think that machine quilting would make big puckers.

Sep 14, 2010

Needing advice

Here is my work on the Challenge far, and it has been challenging! I already posted a photo of this quilt top. Now I have added borders--so what did I do? I decided to do what Gee's Bend quilting ladies might do, and I added strips of fabric that were left over from making the backs of some previous quilts. I always cut a generous backing, and there is often a strip left over after I trim when adding the bindings. What the photo shows--I spread the quilt top on my bed, so please disregard the yellow edges, that's simply the background quilt. My questions are: Is this enough? What does the quilt need, within the requirements of the challenge?

Sep 12, 2010

I Spy Quilt

Here is a photo of the completed I Spy quilt.  I free-motion quilted it.  This time, I tried to make some circles in the quilting, and I like it. I think that it makes a light-hearted touch.  I have to use this method more often, I think.  The difficult thing for me now is mailing this quilt to the library where it is being donated.  But good news, I have a box to pack it in. Now back to the salt mines, as my mother used to say--I want to do some creative sewing on that challenge quilt! 
New Year greetings to all my Jewish friends--may you be Inscribed in the Book of Life for a very good year.

Sep 6, 2010

Beginning the challenge for

OK, I started on The Challenge. And the first thing I want to say is that I hope that I haven't offended either the great Amish or great Gee's Bend quilting ladies with my effort! Well, I got out the scissors (according to the rules, no measuring and no rotary blades) and I went to town. The quilt that I used for my basis is a typical Amish Bars pattern, such as in the book "The World of Amish Quilts" by Rachel and Kenneth Pellman. And the second thing I have to tell you is remember that perfect 1/4 inch seam that you pride yourself on--"fegget about it!" I mostly tried for about 1/2 inch. And the third thing is it ain't done yet--I have to add the borders. As far as the ironing is concerned, what you see is what you get--and it ain't pretty! That quilt fabric stands out like a sail in a breeze. Don't know how I'll ever quilt this thing--maybe I'll tie it? I'm glad that I bought some of that orange color fabric a few weeks ago, I must have known in my heart that I needed it. And I need to make a note to myself to buy more grey. I bought that a couple of years ago, and it's nearly used up now.

Aug 31, 2010

I Spy quilt top

I've done lots of sewing and joined all the blocks.  And I had one yard of cute fabric with little fish swimming on it for the border.  It's so fortuitous to have something in your stash that suddenly proves to be exactly what is needed.  Now I plan to piece together some large leftover pieces of batting for the quilt.  For the backing, I still have some of that baby fabric given to me by friends some years ago.  I think that it must have been a whole bolt, because I have sewn it to the back of numerous quilts, and I still have some left.  Usually I put flannel on baby quilts, but this quilt is destined for the library Mommy and Me Story Time, so I thought that flannel would get dirty faster than plain fabric.

Aug 27, 2010

Little I-Spy quilt underway

As you can see in the photo, I'm starting to sew the I-Spy quilt together.  It's a little tricky arranging the blocks.  I decided to join it in strips, and to pin a paper with the row number on each row.  First of all, I want to make the assorted colors so that they don't butt up against the same color.  And I'm trying to keep the prints with a definite up or down side pointing right way up.  And I want to have the seams turned each way, short pieces to long pieces.  A little patience is required.  Meanwhile, I'm trying to decide on my next project.
And it got really hot here, and I have the repair man coming to do something to my air conditioner today.  And I'm still afraid to purchase eggs. 

Aug 23, 2010

Egg-less cake--for these egg-less days!

2 cups light brown sugar, packed
2 cups hot water
1/4 cup margarine
2 cups raisins
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cold water
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
Boil together the sugar, 2 cups hot water, margarine and raisins.  Allow to cool.  Add baking soda dissolved in 2 teaspoons cold water.  Sift together the flour and dry ingredients and mix all ingredients together well.  Pour into a greased and floured 9 by 5 by 3 inch loaf pan.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 1 1/2 hours, or until cake tests done.  Set pan on a rack for 10 minutes, then turn cake out to cool.  Does not require frosting.

Aug 21, 2010

The Get Well Soon (Emergency) quilt is completed.

So happy to say that I finished this Get-Well-Soon quilt yesterday (quilting, binding and all).  Meanwhile, I'm doing research to try to do Tonya's Amish goes to Gee's Bend quilt challenge.  I went to the library and looked up Amish quilts in a big book Amish the Art of the Quilt by Robert Hughes.  I'm vacillating between making a bars pattern or a crazy quilt, but I think that a crazy quilt might be a cop-out.  And I've begun that I Spy quilt for the Mommy and Me at the Library. I plan to make a straightforward quilt with assorted solids outlining the squares.