Monday, June 15, 2020


Well I am currently in bed with my leg elevated after surgery last week to fuse a couple of sets of bones in my left foot.  I have to stay off my feet for at least two months!!  Since I sew about two hours a day usually, this is a real change in habits!!  Luckily I am off pain meds for now and thanks to a wonderful scooter, I get around the first floor of my house pretty well and even managed to sit in my family room chair for dinner the past two nights.  My husband claims I will be able to back up a semi after all my practice backing into chairs, beds and toilets (it's my left leg).  Ten minutes with an occupational therapist and a physical therapist at the hospital were a huge help.  Luckily I asked the physical therapist about scooters as I had been discouraged about using one.  He found one in the recovery area and showed me how to use.  I had a small tumble at the hospital (I was a little too aggressive) but learned my limits and am very cautious now and get around fine!  I had my husband order one immediately and it came in a couple of days.  It is saving him a lot of running around with the wheelchair.  I am not using the walker at all at this point.  

Anyway, back to quilting.  The weeks before the surgery I went through my fabrics that I had put aside for stack and whacks many years ago and went through them.  I put many of them in the "I'll use for backing pile as they aren't interesting enough" and then proceeded to cut up quite a few others into mostly hexagon triangles and four patches.  I figured I could audition them and decide how they should go when I could again sew.  The above fabric was the first one i pulled out.  It has about a 12 inch repeat and I had about 10 repeats of the pattern.  I decided not to do a kaleidoscope block as they only go together in one way.  I did pile 8 repeats on top of one another figuring I could do two "posie" (or 4 patch) blocks with each set.  I did a 3 1/2 inch strip and ended up with 72 posies which will finish to 6 inch blocks.  

Below are some of the different versions of the block from one set.  All the photos are with my phone and with them sitting on my lap in bed so not up to the usual standards.

 This is  one of the stacks and below are the two different arrangements I decided to use.

Another arrangement.


These next three are all the possible arrangements of one set of posies.

These next two are three versions of a posie.  The ones below I initially chose but when I did this one, I decided I liked it better than one of the chosen ones below.  I like them to look as different as possible even with a large focal point like the flower in this one.

Well, I am trying to figure out how to do some machine sewing down here.  I have a little board for my lap and could balance a FW easily on it but how to use the foot pedal is the problem although I may be coming up with a solution before too long!!  I will have to order bobbins as my husband finding bobbins for a FW in my sewing room would not be a pretty picture!!  I think he could pick out thread though!

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Having Some Fun!

Well, this is the first of the two baby quilts I did with this old boring fabric and I ended up liking them!  A little more subtle than what I usually do!

This is the second and you probably can't see but there are both different larger pink fabric and an introduction of some more "found" light fabrics.

This is one of several fabrics that I have cut up in the past few days to make some more stack and whacks.  I did a couple that will be hexagons which I haven't shown.  

I have loved this fabric since I bought it as I love Birds of Paradise flowers and have made at least two quilts featuring those from photos I took in California.  The repeat on this fabric is 24 inches and I had two separate pieces but wanted to get 8 repeats so with some finagling I managed.  I have about a yard left in three pieces so I will be able to feature some of this full print in the quilt or quilts I will be doing.  I cut up half of the 8 piece stacks into kaleidoscope blocks (8 patch) and the other half minus a little bit I still cut into squares for posie blocks.  I figure that you can shift around the posie blocks and that you can get two different looking blocks from the same stack of 8 pieces.

I wanted to audition some of the pieces to see how they would look in the 8-piece blocks.  I say success!  I cut the strips for these 3 3/4 inches wide so the blocks will be about 6 1/2 inches finished.

I picked what I thought I was not a very good sample for the posie block to see how close the two variations would look and was surprised.  These were end cuts on the strip and a little wonky so figured it was worth a shot.

I will be off my feet after Monday for 2 to 3 months so have little baggies filled with the hexagon pieces and the posie pieces that I will play with auditioning them.  I never randomly put stack and whack blocks together.  I like hexagons and posie blocks as you can shift them in more than one way to get the look you like best.  You can't do that with the kaleidoscope blocks.

I will try to keep posting in my blog and may put some more instructions and examples in there or the "world of quilting and dyeing" according to Beth!  

Just a picture of the back of my head since Covid-19 has not allowed me to get my hair cut for 5 months!!  I posted it on FB and my hairdresser is coming to my rescue before my surgery as I don't want to have deal with my longer hair and the curls (which only look good for a bit).  She is actually coming to my house to do the cut as the salon doesn't open until the day of my surgery!!  I should say that I have been going to her for almost 40 years!

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Mindless Sewing for Now

I made four of these cot-sized quilts (81 x 42), three of which have this border.  I liked the slightly wider border -- 3 inches finished instead of two.
This one finished up to 40 x 40 which is the usual baby quilt size.

I still have some leftover fabrics from the above five quilts but was really bored with using them so gathered  up a bunch of 30's repro fabrics (I thought I had gotten rid of all of them but I guess not).  After I cut everything up, I wasn't sure how dull it was going to be but looked okay with the first few blocks so onward. 

Now I am finding I actually like the quilt and I think I have enough to make at least one more.  What I had were mostly fat quarters.  I was amazed that I randomly pieced some four patches together after cutting some strips and found I was only one four patch short of having just the right amount for one quilt (only one short).  I must have made enough of these that I have a sense for how much to put together.  I can't seem to tire of this layout.  Of course I have been going through bolts of white fabric in doing this!

Surgery is scheduled in less than two weeks and after that I will be out of the machine sewing cycle for 2 - 3 months!!  Can't imagine going that long without my sewing machine.  Hopefully I will have enough info to post some blogs during that time  I do have an English paper piecing project.  

Friday, May 22, 2020

More Charity Quilts - Sweet Charity and Neonatal!

This was the improved version of the previous baby quilt.  I still have some fabric left over but will do a different version with the leftovers.  I do like this version better -- more cohesive.

I did quite a few quilts last year with this block which measures 12 1/2 inches unfinished.  So far I have made 81 blocks and haven't put any together yet!!

This is a 4 x 5 arrangement of the blocks which measures about 48 x 60.

However, I am going to go with this 3 x 6 arrangement which will end up with borders to be about 42 x 78 which should be a good cot size for Sweet Charity.  I figured there weren't too many people over 6 ft 6 inches which is the length of a king sized bed!

This will give me me enough for 4 of these quilts plus leftovers for one 3 by 3 quilt which will end up being 40 x 40 -- baby sized.

This is the border fabric I am going to use.

This is the pile of what was left in a 2 1/2 gallon baggie.  The bag was filled neatly stacked like this almost to the top when I started.  It is good to actually see some progress on getting rid of some of the strips I cut last summer.  This bag contained 2 1/2 inch strips that were less than the full width of the fabric long and perfect for doing scrap quilts.  I actually used up all the yellow scraps I had in the other smaller baggie and had to go into my stash and cut some more yellow strips!

My surgery date has changed yet again and no guarantees it will take place even then because of the virus.  I have only been out of the house once in the past month and that was to have lunch with a friend at a good social distance outside.  This is getting old!

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Back to Baby Quilts!!

I had these 2 inch x 4 inch and 2 inch x 7 in strips leftover from a baby quilt I made probably 15 years ago.  I also had a bag of fabrics that went with it so it was time to use them up!!  I decided to do my old favorite but with larger blocks so did some calculating and came up with this.  I am not sold on the arrangement, but it is okay and results in a quilt the proper size which is 40 x 40.

Here it is all finished. and it is okay.  I am working on a different version which should be done tomorrow.  I have surrounded the feature square fabrics with the same color all the way around and just used the fuchsia, a yellow and a green.  There is probably one more quilt after that one and I can consider it done and may just cut the rest of the fabric into 4 1/2 inch squares and do my more traditional sized version.  The centers were Laurel Birch fabrics that I am sure I paid full price for -- a rarity for me!!  I am going through bolts of white fabric at an alarming rate!!

Well, I managed to get the stains out of the Baltimore Album blocks so I have enough for a small top.  As I definitely used two slightly different shades of white sateen as background, I will definitely be putting on some sashing.  Just have to find the right fabric.

I will probably use these pieces together and add some color around the outside to work off that inside piece -- one of my orphan blocks.

Have to figure out what to do around the outside here.  This was one of my mandalas which didn't look very good so I cut it into 8 pieces and repieced it into this arrangement which definitely is an improvement over the original dyed block!!  This was one of my 22 in square ones so the final piece will be a decent size.

Here are lots of the orphan blocks some of which date back close to 40 years and the very beginnings of my quilting adventures!!  

Friday, May 8, 2020

Rooting Through the Detritus of Quilts Past!

Well, I thought I would start with a bunch of blocks that actually got sewn into a top yesterday.  These are leftovers from the Lorraine Mooney Spin blocks that I did a lot of last summer.  I really like the scrappy version.  I don't know whether this will be for Neonatal or Sweet Charity.  It is about 40 x 40.

This is a very large bag that I made with some upholstery samples that I have had for years.  I have given away tons of these samples over the years but kept the ones that I thought were really pretty or made out of all cotton and not too heavy.  This was made with 2 27 x 27 inch samples.  I did French seams so I didn't line it but it has all finished edges.  It is a very heavy hand painted fabric and I didn't feel the need for lining.  I probably should have made the straps further apart but oh well.  I am planning on making a bunch of bags to donate to one of the food distribution centers in Wilmington.  My husband and daughter volunteer at one which is closed right now.  My daughter had suggested the bags were a really good idea.  It will be a good use of that drapery fabric.  I have some pieces though that are stunningly gorgeous so they will be made into something just for me or I will just look at them occasionally and sigh!

This was the beginning of a piece made for some sort of competition I believe.  I tried cutting it up and rearranging and trimming but just too ugly to do anything with so it actually made it into the trash can as without merit!

This was done in a Nancy Crow class probably 30 years ago.  It was not great then and hasn't improved with age but is about 36 x 36 so could be made into a quilt for charity or not. 

I think this was done in a Jane Sassaman class about 25 years ago before anyone really knew who she was!!  I think this was one is redeemable.  It just needs to be sewn down onto a further background.  I do love iris.  Nowadays I would never do a dark background like that!!  Too much time in the sunny south!

This is a block I did in a Paula Nadelstern class probably 15 years ago.  I will definitely do something with this one as It is really pretty (I think).  It uses principles of bilateral symmetry and I purchased lots of fabrics to do more like this, most of which I have sold by now!!

 These next two  pictures are leftovers from the advanced sampler class I took probably 35  years ago.  It was my second pieced quilt.  There are five blocks altogether.  Not sure what I will do with them but will definitely make them into some kind of top.

Almost last but certainly not least are this bunch of Baltimore Album blocks.  I have already made a complete quilt with 25 other blocks.  I found these six plus 4 more in among the random blocks.  If you look real closely at the blue one on the bottom has a yellow stain in the upper left hand corner.  There were several others that were badly stained.  No odor so have no idea what caused it. I used stain remover, threw them into the washer and voila, they are clean now!  So I think I will have enough for a good sized top.  I probably won't hand quilt this one like the last one.  I used to applique these when I was flying back and forth to DC on business probably 35 years ago!!

I have no idea what this is from but definitely a class of some kind.  

I have a bunch of more random pieces and a whole lot of blocks left over from various stack and whack projects.  I am definitely throwing out a couple of other pieces that I don't want to work on  --- not inspiring at all.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Finishing up a Couple of Charity Quilt Tops and Other Activities!

This is the first of two quilt tops  I made from the fabric shown between the hexagons.  I was not crazy about this fabric and it doesn't photograph well at all as it is red, orange and fuchsia which is a weird combination to begin with!  I didn't want to use green around it as it would immediately turn into a Christmas quilt!  It measures about 40 x 60.

Somehow my brain must have been on pause as when I cut more triangles, I made them bigger so couldn't use the leftovers from above.  Fortunately, they were the exact right number for doing the same arrangement as above but with fewer hexagons.  I used another fabric for the in-between pieces and it was primarily the garish red and fuchsia as well.

I always try to use up all the fabric so had enough for these posie blocks and the leftover hexagons.  This won't be very big but will probably do something with it to at least make it baby quilt size (like turning the squares on point).  We shall see but not until the fall as I am rapping up major quilting as I am scheduled for ankle surgery in a couple of weeks and will have to be off my feet for 2 months. Have some English paper piecing to keep me busy and will probably take a bunch of stack and whack fabric and at least pin it in preparation for cutting at some future date.  

To keep ourselves busy while inside, just completed this 1000 - 3 pieces jig saw puzzle.  The funny thing is that my husband and I independently purchased jig saw puzzles that were different (his only had 750 pieces) but the subject matter -- cats and books -- was the same!  Guess we have been married far too long!

I have to admit I have spent a lot of time on the porch looking at the ocean (when we didn't  have 50 mph winds beating down on  us).  A long drive on Monday!