Oct 17 2016

Design Wall Monday 10-17-16

Even though it was a busy weekend, I managed to make more progress on my Happy Halloween quilt than I thought I would.


All of the button hole stitching on the appliques was completed on Saturday and on Sunday I added the details on five blocks.  It really adds a lot of personality to each character.


I can’t decide if the bat is insane or just drunk.


It is not my fault – and I wasn’t drunk – but it was difficult to see the guidelines from the pattern through the black even with a light box.  Hopefully I will have all the details finished by the end of the week.

There was also some sewing on string blocks.  I finished 32 of the 5 1/2″ string blocks, cut them on the diagonal and depapered them.


These will be used in Bonnie Hunter’s pattern Charlotte’s Baskets, although I think that I will be substituting a different 6″ block for the baskets.  I am considering the churn dash block or maybe a star block.  Whatever –  the quilt should come together quickly since all the string triangles are ready.

I am still in the mood to play with strings, so I started in on 6 1/2″ blocks.


Right now I am thinking of using these in Bonnie Hunter’s Daylilies pattern.  The Daylily block in her pattern measures 14″ square, but I plan on using a 12″ Dresden Plate block and a 3 x 4 setting.  This will be like the quilt Broken Dresden Plates I made in 2012.  There are still a bunch of the Dresden Plates that were gifted to me that need a home.

I am also working on a very special handwork project in the evenings.  While on vacation in England, my daughter bought me this cross stitch project as a belated birthday gift.


We found it in Salisbury which is the town by Stonehenge.  Once finished it will be another wonderful reminder of the great time we had on our trip.  I think that I have enough projects to keep me out of trouble for a little while.

Check out all the other quilting inspiration at Judy’s Design Wall Monday.


Oct 14 2016

Friday Update


Happy Halloween is coming along – the buttonhole stitching has been completed on seven blocks.  I thought I had all the thread colors needed to do the stitching, but discovered that I didn’t.  The thread (Superior Threads Kimono Silk) came in the mail today, so the plan is to finish all the blocks by Sunday evening.  The next steps will be adding all the details to the faces, cutting the blocks to the correct size and adding sashing & cornerstones.

I set up the Juki to sew some string blocks in between working on the applique.  My string bin was full, but I know that it won’t look any emptier when I finish with the string blocks.


After looking through Bonnie Hunter’s String Fling book, I decided on two sizes – 5 1/2″ anything goes blocks and 5″ one-color blocks.


Right now I am thinking of using the 5 1/2″ blocks for Charlotte’s Basket and the 5″ block for Zuckerwatte, but I reserve the right to change my mind.


Oct 06 2016

Yellow Lincoln Block Fixed

Yesterday the star cornerstones for the Lincoln block were sewn and attached.


Nice and flat – Yeah!  I plan to make several more blocks before attaching them to the main part of the quilt.  The next color will probably be red or dark green.

In honor of October I pulled out the Happy Halloween blocks.  Hopefully I will have a finished quilt top before the end of the month.


All the applique has been fused to the blocks, so I need to buttonhole stitch around all the pieces and add all the finishing details.  Pretty boring work, but once it is done the rest will be quick and easy.


Oct 03 2016

Design Wall Monday 10-03-16

The Make It Mini Cartwheel wallhanging is finished.


The first block was made Friday night and the last stitch in the binding was completed this morning.  It makes me chuckle to realize that this wallhanging (17 1/2″ x 23 1/3″) was finished faster than I can piece one Lincoln block.

I really like the interest the small squares give to the block.  There may be a larger  Cartwheel quilt in my future.

But now it is back to the yellow Lincoln block.  I wanted to see exactly how much difference there was between the diamonds cut with the Marti Michell template and the pattern template.


That tiny 1/8th of an inch was enough to make the star blocks wonky – and not in a good way.  I am planning on having the correct star blocks on the Lincoln block by Wednesday.

Check out all the other quilt inspiration at Judy’s Design Wall Monday.


Oct 01 2016

Grumpy Friday

I was going to write this post yesterday, but I was – well, grumpy and it was all my own dang fault.  Thursday I worked on the LeMoyne stars for the corners of the Lincoln block and Friday I attached them.


Doesn’t look too good, does it?  Here is a side view of the block sitting on my ironing board.


What I realized was that I had used the wrong diamond template for the stars and they need to be redone.  I use Marti Michell’s templates for the 6″ LeMoyne star in the setting triangle and grabbed the smallest diamond template from the set for the corner stars in the block.  It is really close to the same size as the diamond template from the pattern, but – as you can see – not exact.  So now I am grumpy because I will be removing all four stars, remaking them and sewing them back on.  At least I know what happened with this block.

Before I left on vacation, I had mentioned that there were issues with the Rocky Mountain Bear Claw block.  When all five pieces were sewn together, I had a small volcano.  After removing the stitches, I used pins for the seam allowances to try and figure out what is going on.  I have no clue!


Look at that gap.  The only thing that I can think is that the center square is the wrong size.  I need to check on Judy Niemeyer’s website and see if there are any corrections to the pattern, but I am just not in the mood to figure it out right now.

Since I was grumpy about these two sewing disasters, I did the only logical thing – started a new project.


This pattern is the Make It Mini Cartwheel from the August 2015 issue of American Patchwork & Quilting.  Each block is 6″ finished and I only need 6 for a small wallhanging (17 1/2″ x 23 1/2″).  A quick and cheerful project is just what I needed.  I think that I will have the top finished by tomorrow afternoon, then it will be back to the problem children.

I hope your week was better than mine.



Sep 25 2016

Vacation and Sunflowers

After a wonderful vacation I am back in the Land of Blog.  There were a lot of hugs and snuggles with grandkids and bonding time with oldest daughter and son-in-law.  There was also a lot of this (which I didn’t ride)


and this (Tower of London)


and this (Big Ben)


and this (Stonehenge)


and – for Dr Who fans everywhere – this.


The three days that we were in London were gorgeous – blue skies everywhere.  In fact one of the days was the hottest September day in 56 years.  I am already planning a return trip in a couple of years with the intent to head north instead of south in England.

Of course the best view was family.


Once home the first sewing project was finishing the Sunflower quilt top (31″ x 70 3/4″).


I have the perfect place for it – on the wall behind my sewing machine – once it is quilted and bound.  The original idea was a 2 x 2 setting, but I really like how it looks like a slide show.  I am so happy to have moved this from rough idea sketch to finished quilt top.

Right now I am working on a yellow Lincoln block using all the yellows that are in the petals of the Sunflower quilt.  The Rocky Mountain Bear Claw project is taking a short siesta because I ran into a problem.  I will show my issues with it later this week and what – I hope – will fix things.


Sep 05 2016

Design Wall Monday 09-05-16

I finished the fourth sunflower block yesterday.

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The first block is all embroidery, the second is 1/3 embroidery & 2/3 bias tape, the third is 1/3 stain glass & 2/3 bias tape and the fourth is all stain glass.  The blocks turned out just the way that I had envisioned – so happy when that happens!

My initial idea was to place the blocks with an Attic Windows layout.  I auditioned green and brown fabric, but once I saw them on the wall I knew that wouldn’t work.

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Right now Plan B is to frame each block with a thin black border then add sashing.  The border will be a bit tricky since I only have one yard – why didn’t I buy more?  Oh well, I will just have to come up with an interesting design detail to make it all work.

Check out all the quilting inspiration at Judy’s Design Wall Monday.

Happy Labor Day,


Aug 31 2016

Trapunto Quilt Finished

It is difficult to get a good picture of the Scrappy Trapunto quilt, but here it is.


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The quilt top was 57 1/2″ square, but with the trapunto, machine quilting and washing it ended at 54″ square.  It surprised me a bit with how much shrinkage there was, but that is something to remember for future quilts.

I like the soft look of the trapunto and will use this technique in other quilts.  How about some trapunto bats and ghosts on the Happy Halloween quilt?

This is my design wall – the Rocky Mountain Bear Claw by Judy Niemeyer.

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I started this project the beginning of June and got the claw parts of the block finished.  Now it is time to get busy and sew the bear paws.  The pattern shows a table runner of 4 blocks and 2 pillows, but my plan is to make a quilt top.  I still haven’t made a firm decision on the layout.  Let’s be honest – 6 blocks is a strange number to set into a quilt unless you want a long skinny quilt which I don’t.  I have several ideas, but I will be able to make a better decision once I can play on the design wall.

Marlene Read more »

Aug 23 2016

Tuesday Update

All my plans for yesterday were derailed by this cutie.

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She helped me unload the dishwasher, but she is too mobile & too curious to play in the sewing room.  I did however find enough time to finish the embroidery for a Sunflower quilt.  Next to it is the sunflower fabric for the border.

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I had the idea for this wallhanging years ago and this is the year to get it done.  The biggest problem that I had with starting this quilt was the background – none of the yellow fabric I had were right.  In a light bulb moment I realized that a solid fabric would be better for the background than a batik.  I decided on this Moda solid named – of course – sunflower.  It blends better than it looks in the picture.

The machine quilting on the Scrappy Trapunto was a disaster on Saturday.  I thought that it would work better to use the BSR foot on my Bernina, but it would stitch a couple of inches then not pick up the bottom thread.  What I realized after rethreading my machine and changing the needle was that the laser on the bottom of the BSR foot had trouble with the higher trapunto side of the design, so Saturday night was spent picking out stitches.  Sunday I moved to my Handi-quilter and that solved the problem.

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I wanted just a slight puff for the trapunto and am very happy with the results.  This is definitely a technique that I will use again.  It is also great practice for using a ruler with a sit-down machine.

The plan is to finish the machine quilting this week.  The center is slow going, but the rest of the quilt will be faster.


Aug 17 2016

Quilting Update

There has been a lot of grandchildren time and a little bit of sewing time since my last post.  On August 6th, we (brother, son, grandson and I) had lunch on the Royal Gorge Lunch train.  We called it our Decade Lunch because the only people invited had a decade birthday this year – 60, 50, 40 and 10.  It was a beautiful day for a train ride and we had a wonderful time celebrating birthdays in a special way.

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One of the goals on my 2016 list was making a bag.  Bags, totes and purses are really not my thing, but I had bought this pattern years ago and decided now was the time to get ‘er done.

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I really don’t know why it took me so long to actually sew the bag because it went together very quickly.  I have two more of the magnetic snaps that the pattern uses, so I am thinking that they will make great gifts.  It was lucky that this was a fast project, because the next several days were spent tending to grandchildren.

Once my babysitting duties were completed and kisses & hugs collected, I was ready to sit down in front of my sewing machine.  In a couple of days I finished a scrappy quilt top for a test run of trapunto.

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The center medallion is a pre-printed mini wholecloth that has been in my stash for years.  It is so satisfying to finally use fabric/patterns that have been collecting dust, isn’t it?  I think that is the satisfaction of knowing that you finally found the right project for the fabric.

One of my favorite parts of this quilt top is the borders.  I like the look of the fabric wrapping around the corner on both the inner and outer border.  081716C  (952x1024)

Last night I stitched down the trapunto batting and then started the hardest part – cutting the batting away.

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It is going to be fun to see how this turns out.  I am hoping to get the quilt sandwich put together tomorrow and then start the machine quilting.  There are other projects sitting around calling my name, but this one was yelling the loudest.