Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Halfway There

I've got half the Fruit Loops flimsy sewn together. It's amazing to think the colored pieces of these blocks came from the little scrap bins.

I have twenty-one little bins, and I cleaned out five of them. Guess I have at least three more quilts in there!!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Fruit Loops Grows

I sewed more of Fruit Loops together last night. That big panel of 36 blocks on the upper left is all sewn together.  It's coming together quickly.

I changed the needle on my sewing machine and it no longer makes that banging sound. The thread cutter now almost never cuts, but that's what scissors are for. Thanks Mary, for suggesting I call the guy and ask when I can bring the machine in for a quick fix and if he can wait a bit longer after hours for me to pick it up. I'll do that.

I've also been sewing the binding on the pink Deco Rose quilt while "watching" TV. I want to get that to the prettiest granddaughter in the world by Christmas. 

Her mother is pretty too!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Busy Weekend

This is my pal Kathy French, one of the SSOBB members, who visited me on Saturday. She and her husband stopped by on their way home from Vermont. We had a nice visit. Isn't the color of her jacket terrific?

I sewed a few of my scrappy triangle blocks together. The bottom photo is back side of the block.  All the backs of my quilts look like this. Neat, with no straggly threads.

My sewing machine has to go back to the shop. It doesn't cut the threads consistently and it makes a noise when I sew like two pieces of metal are banging against each other. Bummer. The guy opens and closes within my normal work day and isn't open any evenings, so it means a Saturday visit and a week without my machine. Argh.

I spent a lot of the rest of the weekend organizing a calendar of my quilts for 2017, doing a bit of online shopping, paying bills and reconciling the checkbook. I've been neglecting the avalanche of paper on my desk, and at least now I've made a dent in it. The shredder will be getting a workout soon.

Oh, and whoever asked about making "slabs," here's a link to a blog post where I talk about how I do it.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Not Skittles

I spent Friday morning cutting the side triangles for the scrap slab blocks, and the afternoon and evening sewing the blocks together. There they are at the bottom of this photo.

I started arranging the blocks, and soon got to this. I had a lot of blocks left, so I made it bigger.

This is it, and finished it will be about 60" x 72". I'll sew the blocks together in the next few days. Looking at it, I also realized it has new name.

Fruit Loops.

Yes, I will continue making scrap slab triangle in other colors, cleaning out the little accessory bins. I really liked the red layout in yesterday's post. I'll definitely use that one for another version.

Friday, November 25, 2016

More Scrap Triangles

Thanksgiving Dinner was a success, and after my family left and the kitchen was clean, I went into the studio and sewed side pieces to my green slab triangles.  I have decided to continue with the "Skittles" idea and not add any more colors to this particular quilt. I'll keep making the slabs in other colors, but they'll go in other quilts.

Since I couldn't really add them to the layout, I just arranged them differently. These arrowheads could be a way to arrange a quilt with blue and purple, for example.

Or this.

After I made all the green ones, I started adding the side triangles to the red ones. This would make a terrific layout also.

These triangle in a square blocks are 6-1/2" per side.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Skittles, Maybe?

 After I got home from work last night, and after I made dinner and cleaned up the dishes and did a couple of other little things, I grabbed a few of each of the colored triangles and added the side triangles to them. Then I threw them up on the design wall with the others.  I also started to sort some blue scraps, but didn't get very far.

If I kept going with just these colors, I think I'd have to name this quilt "Skittles."

But I'm going to keep going.

I think.


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Scrappy Slab Triangles

I sat down at the sewing machine to make a few of the scrappy slab triangles into blocks and threw them up on the design wall.  This is all I have, and it will surely change, but I think this is going to be cool. Speaking of which, I think the next color needs to be a cool one - either a teal or a medium blue.

Plans for Thanksgiving have been made, groceries have been purchased and recipes printed. I've made the cranberry sauce, cornbread for the stuffing, and some turkey stock. I've vacuumed the house and cleaned the bathrooms. I even washed the Fall House Top quilt that covers my dining room table.

That's all well and good, but I am really looking forward to making more of these blocks in the long weekend afterward!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Sunday, November 20, 2016


A couple of weeks ago I wrote that I wanted to post about two things, and one had nothing to do with Quilting. That was HAMILTON.

I don't know how you could NOT have heard of the mega hit, award winning Broadway show written by Lin-Manuel Miranda about the life of the guy on our ten dollar bill, Alexander Hamilton. Tickets are on sale now for August 2017!!!

Anyway, I had been aware of the show long before it opened on Broadway, and finally bought the CD of the original cast recording. I also bought the book on which the play was based, Ron Chernow's Alexander Hamilton.  Or at least I thought I did. It turns out I bought Hamilton: The Revolution, which was the story of how the play came to be and the entire libretto (the "book" of the play).

Well! Even better!!

To say I was blown away is an understatement of epic proportions. The music was awesome, and it was wonderful to follow along so I could really understand what was happening.

And the story, and the way it was told, with actors of color playing Alexander Hamilton, George  Washington, Thomas Jefferson and others "because that's the way America looks now," impressed me.

I love Hamilton, and hope to see it on Broadway someday. I've been listening to it a lot, and enjoying it immensely.

That's the post I wanted to write.

The contrast of Hamilton with the election was especially striking (I had bought the album a few weeks before Election Day), and somewhat frightening. Everything out of Trump's mouth was opposite to what our Founding Fathers sought independence from England for. I'm not the only one who felt that way. Apparently the cast of Hamilton "could barely go on stage the day after the election."

A couple of nights ago Vice-President Elect Pence attended Hamilton, and the cast had some words for him. Brandon Victor Dixon, the actor who played Aaron Burr, said this:
“We, sir — we — are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights,” he said. “We truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us.”
I feel the same way.

 You can read the article, and see the video here.

Friday, November 18, 2016

The Barns Come Home

Almost two years ago, Julie asked me to build a barn. I built two. This is the second barn I made, and the one that inspired it is less than a quarter mile away from my house and I drive by it every day.

I sent Julie a pieced block, and she had it quilted, so I've only seen the finished barn in pictures. Now it's home and I get to enjoy all the details.

I'll be teaching a barn class some time next year at Quilted Threads. Speaking of which, here's my first barn, which is located right across the street from QT.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Three More Inches

I worked on the backing for my Black & White Slashed Squares quilt, adding fabric to the top and bottom of the backing. Now that I lay the quilt on top of the backing, I see that I need to add another three inches.  No problem, I can do that. Then it's off for quilting.

Having made three sizes of the Slashed Squares blocks, and having seen them play together, I think I am not finished with this idea...

And I need a better title. "Black & White Slashed Squares" is too much of a mouthful, and woefully uncreative.

The bright colored version of the Slashed Squares quilt I finished last week, The Grand Prismatic, is flying toward its new home as you read this. The recipient does not know it is coming. That should be a grand surprise. I can't wait!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Did You See That?

Last week the florist delivered this arrangement for our lobby. I was walking down the hall from the other direction, when I noticed something.

 I backed up a few steps and looked outside from the lobby and saw this.

Do you see it?

I keep telling you that interesting things are all around you and that you should pay attention when you  notice them. Coincidences are also something to notice.

Yes, the shrub on the right is a burning bush. Usually they get a lot redder.  The yellow tree is a Maple tree, but I am not quite sure what kind. It could be a Norway Maple.

Monday, November 14, 2016

I Guess So!

I didn't like the mini blocks jammed right up against the big ones, so I put a strip of black on either side of the big blocks, then sewed the minis to either side. But I still needed almost 12 inches on either side. That's the top of the quilt laid out on the floor at the bottom of this photo.

Since I had cut a lot of 7" squares of white and black fabrics to use in the main blocks, I decided to use those to fill up the space. I also had a lot of those fabrics cut into 4-1/2" strips, so I used those too. It's for the back, so I didn't get too worked up about it.

So this is as wide as it's going to get, and yes, I have been wondering if instead of just the back I was making another quilt. From reading all your comments, I guess so.

I need another 4" across the top, and about twenty at the bottom to give Chris, my longarm quilter, enough room to work. 

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Is a Quilt Reversible?

This is the Black & White Slashed Squares quilt I made back in January. I'm really happy with it.
One of my readers donated a big box of black and white fabrics for me to use on the back of the quilt. Sure, I could sew them all together, but I wanted to make the back look interesting, and not boring.

I finally figured out that I could make three giant blocks that would run down the middle of the back of the quilt. Then as I cleaned off the mess of fabric on my big table I found all the pieces for 24 half size blocks. I could use those too.

 I sewed up the three big blocks and then I lined up  the small ones next to them. So I'm sewing the mini blocks together, and I looked up at the design wall and thought, "damn, this could be a quilt on its own."  Which reminded me of something one of my coworkers said when I showed her one of my quilts when it came back from being quilted (since all my quilts get shipped to me at work).

"Oh look, it's reversible!"

I cringed, and didn't even try to hide it. "No, it has a front and a back."

"But the back is so pretty! You could use it that side out."

Well sure, but that's not the way it's supposed to be, I thought to myself.

Or is it? What do you think?

I'm going to make the quilt anyway, and I'm going to use it as a table cover, so it doesn't really matter, but I'm curious.

Saturday, November 12, 2016


Acid Green, or Yellow Green, or Chartreuse is the color of the next series of scrap slabs.

There are 30 here. That brings my total to 128. I need forty more. Actually I'll need more than that. I like to have options when I design my quilts.

 Ahh, Perfection!

(When my son texted me this picture yesterday I commented, "Ahh, the power of a quilt." He replied, "You misspelled 'the persistence of Dad.')

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Two Thousand

This blog started with this quilt, way back in 2008.
It was my first free pieced quilt. It has the first free pieced letters I ever made, and the quilt included the butterflies I designed. I didn't know what the hell I was doing, and I spent as much time swearing at this quilt as I did sewing on it. It's got as emotional a story as any quilt can get, and it means the world to me.

From there to here,

This quilt was published in Tonya Ricucci's "Word Play Quilts." This sampler quilt is based on traditional New England needlework samplers which often included a house along with the maker's name and location.

and here,

The sentence in this quilt is an example of a pangram, which uses every letter in the alphabet at least once. It was my way of making a sampler that wasn't a sampler.

from jumping foxes,

I made five versions of Katharine Hepburn's famous quote. This is the first.

and rules,

Every quilter makes at least one quilt with colors of the rainbow. Mine just happens to have nine letter words.

and nine letter words,

My friend Julie made this quilt out of all my dud letters and orphan blocks. I love it so much it lives on my bed to this day.

 and duds that surely aren't,

I wanted to see how far I could break rules. The answer was pretty far. The end result though, looked like it fell out of a jewel box. The quilt was laughing at me. So I named it "Laughing Out Loud."

and laughing out loud,

I made this quilt as a sample to sell a class I was teaching about making free pieced houses. Little did I know the effect this quilt would have on my pal Julie Sefton. It is published in her book "Build A Barn."
and wonky houses,
An image of an open box combined with Twyla Tharp's famous quilt inspired this quilt.


This is another quilt I made as a sample to sell a class I was teaching.

birds and butterflies,

This was the result when a plan for a baby quilt I was making went sideways. You learn a lot more from your mistakes and recoveries than you do from your successes.


A conversation with a waitress inspired this quilt, which won an Honorable Mention at AQS Chattanooga 2016.


This is the fourth of a series of Crayons quilts. The plan for this quilt came to me in a dream. Really.

Crayons of all varieties,

I didn't give this quilt much thought as I was making it. I was on "automatic pilot." Just goes to show you have to guard against overthinking.

A suggestion from a student got me playing with long triangles that used curves instead of straight lines.
and more curves,

My friend Julie asked me to be a Charter Member of the Secret Society of Barn Builders, so I made this barn quilt.

I designed this quilt one piece of fabric at a time.


My friend Daniela suggested I make birds based on people I know. So many of these birds represent real people in my life.

and still more birds,

My granddaughter was born in August 2016.

and a very special baby, have accompanied me on this journey of two thousand posts.

In the eight years it has taken me to reach this number, my life has changed dramatically, and for the better. For those of you who read every day, I salute you. For those of you who comment and let me hear your voice, my most heartfelt thanks. For those of you who reached beyond the technology and have become my friends, (from Maryland to Tennessee, to California and Missouri, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) words cannot express my gratitude and joy.

None of this... And I mean NONE OF THIS, would ever have been possible without you.