Saturday, May 19, 2018


With two online challenges each month, I have my "assignments" and I try to get those done before starting anything else.  This month the UFO challenge announced the one quilt I didn't want to work on.  But I did.  I started it first and got it to a point I'm happy with, so then moved onto my Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  (I'll share more about the UFO in another post.)

This month it's pink.

I feel like I don't have a lot of pink, but really what a I have is a mish-mash of pink shades (tones?).  Some paler, some brighter, some dustier.  So not a lot of any one pink family, but that's okay for this challenge - at least what I'm doing with it.  Each block stands on its own, so I can make good use of the varied shades.

But by the time I got to the pinks, I had another idea brewing.  An extra quilt that wanted to be made.  This was probably a good thing, as it pushed me to power through the Patchwork City blocks.  I'm still struggling with these each month, but I only have 27 to go (three more colors!), so I'm definitely well past halfway.

Let's see the blocks!

donut shop



half sandwich
(this one is a little off and will require a little fudging when I assemble the whole quilt)
(I should have used the templates...)

rec center


zoo train

(this one needs a little trim on the sides, as I cut those strips too wide, but no worries!)


I got all of these done in just three days!  They all take so much time - planning, making templates, cutting, pinning, pressing...and one at a time...but for the most part, I'm happy with the results and can now put my pinks back in the closet to age some more.  (Instead of letting them hang out on my cutting table, looking messy if not a little girly-pretty!)

Want to see them all together?  (Plus a few tiny stars made as leader-enders, of course.)

As you can see, there is a great variety of pink shades in there, but I'm confident it will all work out in the end.  I tried to keep the shades matching within each block, but beyond that, I didn't worry.

So what was my newest project?


I think it was my mom that gave me a wonderful fat quarter bundle of kitty fabrics.  But what to do?  (Part of me didn't want to cut up the kitties!)  Here are the fabrics:

I wasn't even trying to plan another project.  I promise.  But a few days ago...

SWOON and kitty fabrics!!!!!!!!!!

It just jumped into my head.  I swear.  I figured the pink blocks would take forever again this month.

So I pulled out the bundle - I remembered purple and grey, but wasn't sure if it was a full bundle or what other colors were in there.  I pulled out my Swoon pattern, too.  I had the required 18 fat quarters, so I just needed a background fabric.

The trouble with getting a little of a whole line of fabrics?  The fabrics that could be used as backgrounds or blenders are all in there.  The trouble with needing all 18 fat quarters?  There's nothing to designate as a background fabric or color.

But I had a gift certificate for a sorta-local quilt shop, so off I went with my bundle, confident I could find something.  Leaning towards a grey, but keeping my mind open.

I found this early, but forced myself to look around the shop entirely to be sure.  There was a pink that would have matched well enough, but do I really what that much pink?  I'm really not a girly-girl...  So this grey came home with me.

And the reason I pushed myself to get all the pink blocks done in two days?  (Not just to have them done, but that's a nice deal once they are done.)  My guild's sewing weekend is this weekend.  I didn't want to drag my pinks and everything to the sew-in, but this project would be great.  (Of course, starting something new with very careful cutting requirements and no room for error might not have been a good choice, but - spoiler alert - it worked out!)

So I cut carefully the color fabrics.  And then I cut and cut and cut background fabrics (might as well get it all done while I have it out, right?) and finally got to sew.

This block seems to have 1000 pieces and the instructions, once you get past the very specific cutting diagram, aren't too detailed.  It's all okay, though, there were photos.

By the end of the day, with a short break for lunch and another, longer, break to take a friend to get her car repaired, I had the first block done!

This is probably one of the least contrast-y blocks (and it looks more washed out here than in real life), but I LOOOOOOVE it!  This is a huge block, though - 24" finished!  So the pieces you start with are large, too.  But that's okay.  Fewer blocks!  More room to fudge if things aren't exact.

I can't wait to work on more, but this morning has been dedicated to chores and blogging and soon I'll be picking up the friend who is still minus her car to go to a quilt show about 30 minutes from home.  So maybe not much sewing today, but we'll see.  It's a grey, rainy day, so at least I don't expect the hubby will be asking me to go fishing!

(And here's to hoping nothing needs to come home with me from the show.  My "retired' budget isn't quite as robust as my "working" budget...)

Happy quilting,

Monday, May 14, 2018

december 2017 UFO

It's done, it's done, it's finally, finally done!

Last year, as she did this year, Judy L. hosted a UFO challenge that I joined.  For 2017, I decided that instead of allowing myself to create more tops (the Closet of Shame isn't getting any emptier this way!), I'd make a list of tops and challenge myself to quilt the quilts.  For whatever reason, this quilt got quilted on time, but the binding part lagged and lagged.

But let's give with the whole story, shall we?

At some point before the end of October 2010, I purchased a jelly roll and charm pack of Bonnie & Camille's fabrics "Bliss."  I also purchased the pattern "French Kiss" by Fig Tree & Co.  I loved the colors Bonnie and Camille were putting together - this was their (I think) second line using red and aqua together and I was in love.  A semi-local quilt shop had the fabrics and I couldn't resist.

In late October of 2010, my hubby went on a business trip for a week.  So I took the week off also.  Probably I told my work I was going with him, but what I was really doing was having a personal quilt retreat at home.  I know the date because I can look it up on my blog and see this post detailing some of my work on the quilt.  I got it started!

But it seems, again from searching my blog, that it didn't get finished in that run.  It ended up on Judy L's. 2011 UFO challenge list for me.  In fact, it was the first one on the list, though its number wasn't called until March.  It seems I got the quilt together, after waffling some with borders, again working during a home quilt retreat while the hubby traveled for work.  I did get borders sewn on and, upon realizing they were quite wavy, it went into the Closet of Shame for another day's problem.

What to do?  Put that thing on the 2017 list!

I dreaded its number being pulled, but 2017 was all about finishing quilts and I knew this was one I wanted done.  I mean, I still love it every bit of it.  And I have some leftover fabric of the blue and a red in yardage that I'm using sparingly (aka hoarding) so it never goes away.

Judy pulled the number in December.  (But if you go look it up, she actually pulled #6 a second time in December - with no #10 in sight...oops!)  Out it came and an assessment of the situation began.  At this point, I wasn't blogging much, but I did share photos of the mess on my guild's facebook page and asked for advice.  I was pretty sure this level of waviness wasn't going to quilt out and I'm not experienced enough to really want to try to figure it out.

So I spent a lot of hours removing both the blue and white borders.  First the blue came off, hoping that would solve things, but once it was off, I knew it wasn't much better, but also could see the top itself was laying quite flat.  So the white borders came off and then the debate whether I'd re-measure, re-cut and re-sew, or let it stay small.  I kinda wanted the larger size (the outer blue borders are 4", I think), big enough to really use, but once I had the borders off, I didn't mind the quilt without them.

A decision was made to quilt it without borders, and then the decision of how to quilt it came quite easily.  I did a LOT of quilting, which helped ease the little bit of waviness due to bias edges on varying sides of setting triangles, and it ate a lot of thread and time, but I LOVE the finished quilt.

I had the binding already made a long time ago (I've learned it's nice to have the binding ready to go, so while you're piecing the back or finishing the top, cut and prep your binding and store it with the top - not only does that allow your remaining fabric to safely return to your stash, it's also ready when you are!) and sewed that on quickly.  And then it sat.

I did have a few other quilts that all sorta finished in a last-minute race in December of last year, so it took a bit to not only motivate myself for the hand sewing, but also to get it done.  This quilt was the last in the pile, but today I sewed the last stitch in the binding while sewing with my mom and assorted new friends at a truly local quilt shop.

Okay, okay, photos...

The whole top.

Please don't ask me how big it is.  The cat in the photo above was about normal size (RIP Tucker!), so extrapolate from there because I just got it folded up and stowed away on a shelf that is NOT going to squish any more quilts on there and I'm not going to pull it off for fear of a quilt avalanche!

And a close-up of the quilting, which may have been shown in a 2017 round-up at some point at the end of last year or so...

I'm pretty proud of this.  While most of it isn't perfect, I finally feel confident enough to tackle smaller motifs (those strips finish, I think, at 1.25, maybe 1") and do a lot of quilting.  And show it to you all.

And let me see if I can find the photo of the backing fabric, found at my local quilt shop when the number was called in December...

Wait, that's not a quilt back!  That's our newest addition, Gabby, helping me remove borders.  Well, mostly laying on what I was doing because if you move she pounces, so when she sits on you, you gotta sit still.  Still.  I love her to death, but I'm so looking forward to her grown up cat phase because kitten phase...well, you know we call her Spazarella!

Okay, there it is, but apparently I didn't take a photo until after I'd quilted it!

Super fun, right?  Probably a little too busy for most quilt fronts (those medallions are maybe 2" across, so fairly large), but perfect for my tendency towards wild quilt backs.

So there you have it.  Only like 5 months late, but I have officially finished ALL the UFO projects from 2017!

Off to fix the cat enclosure so Spazarella can't also be Houdini and escape again.  This old is it when they start acting like cats and not whirling dervishes again?

Happy quilting!

Thursday, May 10, 2018

tbt Randy and Jennifer's quilt

I know I have a bunch of quilts I've made that predate blogging (or at least predate this blog - the old one is long gone - long story short), so I'm going to try to work on sharing those and jump on the TBT bandwagon.  Along with those I've made since I started blogging, but didn't have it together enough to write the post.

(I'm starting a list...)

This quilt was given to my hubby's oldest (longest?) friend and his new wife as a wedding gift.  Randy and my hubby met at work.  They both still work there.  Both the guys met their wives at work, neither Jennifer nor I still work there.

But after a long, rather difficult period of dating and engagement, the couple sailed to Hawaii and got married on the main island by the ship captain (as planned).  We watched the couple struggle early in their relationship, but looking back, I think a lot was just the two of them growing up and growing into each other.  They're still together, two kids strong, and happy.  So I guess all they went through was for the good.

I don't remember discussing the quilt with Jennifer, but I have an old scrapbook that tells me she requested green to match their bedroom.  While I know she's the type to repaint her house about every year, and I'm pretty sure the couple of houses they've owned since the origin of the quilt haven't all had green bedrooms, it's a pretty safe, neutral-ish kind of color for a quilt.

Jennifer and Randy love to do outdoor stuff.  I see photos of them now with their kids camping and fishing - all of them in hip waders (and the kids are elementary school age...I think!) - having a blast.  So I decided on a maple leaf pattern for the quilt.  I didn't even need a pattern, just math!

This was LONG before my longarm, but I don't remember who quilted it.  I also have no idea how large it is, but I think their bed at the time was a queen-size.  I do know some of the fabrics still linger in my stash!

After they returned from their trip, I gave them this quilt in October of 2007.  I think it was probably a few months late, but I wasn't quite the speedy quilter I've become today.

Jennifer loved it.  Randy is fairly quiet, so he probably just nodded in acknowledgement that he'd been given something.  But she asked my why that one block was yellow.  Had I made a mistake?  I thought I was being creative and fun, but I think she's a little more OCD than me, so it probably was driving her nuts!  (I can see that, and if I hadn't intended it being there, I'd probably ask, too!)

Since this quilt, I have given two quilts to their daughter, Makayla (one of them is posted here) and one to their son, Denis, posted about here.  I'll have to add Makayla's baby quilt to the TBT list...

And now it's time to go embroider some arms on snowmen...

Happy quilting,

Sunday, May 6, 2018

another quilt with cats on it

Not real cats.  Well, okay, the real cats have inspected it, but I mean cats made of fabric.

I teased you with the fabric pull last week...

Last you saw, I had pieces cut for all the cats.  I sewed a bunch...and then ripped a bunch because I'd sewn the tails on backwards...and then sewed more.

I spent Wednesday last week sewing with my mom and sister-in-law and was excited when all the cats were properly together.  I had to trek upstairs to use the design floor at my sister-in-law's house, but no problem.  I'd been out cleaning out my hostas the day before and was sore - the moving around did me good!  (But my brother teased me about being old...he's all of 15 months younger!)

With alternating colors, this wasn't too hard, but there was one fabric I had in both green and blue and a couple were a little wilder than others, so I wanted them spread out well.  This only took a few minutes and their cat, Nala, is very wary of strangers, so she didn't come help.

Back to sewing and by the end of the afternoon, I had all the cats sewn into a top!

But it was too small with just the cats.  And the original pattern does call for a border, but I had just a tiny bit of the grey left.  (And buying more...well, the short version is that's a needle in a haystack!)  So I started thinking what to do.

Piano keys?


What about both?

So I searched Pinterest for a simple mouse pattern/idea.  I found a lot of cute, involved, larger paper pieced mice, but this quilt is so blocky and simple, that wasn't going to fit.

And then I came across one that would work!  It's simple and I didn't need a pattern.  (And if I'd had my head screwed on straight, I would have saved the link instead of just taking a screenshot with my phone...but I'd been wading through pages and pages and pages of Mickey Mouse for what seemed like ever, so I'll blame it on that...)

I did some drawing and some math and got all the fabrics back out (twice) to cut pieces for top and bottom pieced borders.

And I sewed a lot yesterday - it took a good part of the day, but at the end of the day, I had a top!  (And another area outside cleared of leaves and seedling trees!)

It was a beautiful, sunny, warm day yesterday (I went out to work in the yard at 7:30am and by 8:00, I was sweating enough to remove my sweatshirt!)  The wind wasn't too strong and I was able to get a good photo!

Currently I think it's 50"x66".  The original pattern can be found here.

I don't think I'm going to add side borders.  It seems wide enough when I hold it up.  It's not going to be a cover-the-whole-bed size, but it's a good cool-summer-day-nap size.

I'm not sure I like the piano keys being different above and below the mice (you'll have to click on the photo to probably see them well), but I'm not changing it now.  The mice do need to have tails and eyes embroidered.  The cats also need noses and whiskers.  So I'll be working on that soon.  Maybe.

And one last photo of the quilt before I move on to the other quilty topics...

Emma does not approve.  (She was pretty determined I was going to feed her N.O.W.)

In other quilty news, the new UFO has been announced.  #12.  The one I've been dreading most.  It's finishing my Merry, Merry Snowmen quilt.  I bought the pattern ages ago at a quilt show.  No, wait, my sister-in-law (the one I sewed with this week) bought it for me at the quilt show for my birthday or Christmas or something.  And I started it, all excited.  I got six of the nine blocks mostly done (a few need embroidered arms and such) and then petered out completely.

So earlier this week, I pulled out the bin it lives in and took stock.  What needed what.

Turns out I'd not only pieced the backgrounds for the remaining three blocks, but I'd also traced and cut out freezer paper applique patterns for the remaining three blocks.  And most of the embroidery on the finished blocks was also done!

Well, that just made things faster!

The colors aren't great here, but I left this in the middle of my sewing room floor to force me to do SOMETHING with this sooner rather than later.  I figured if it was there, I'd feel too guilty to just pick it up and put it back than if I tidied up right away.

A few hours later (chores and cooking and whatnot...), I went back with the plan to choose fabrics for the next block (just one!) and get them cut and pinned.  Well.  I did all three.  Again, figuring if I knew my pins were tied up in something it would be better motivation to sew and reclaim them.  Plus, everything was out and the iron was hot...

Here's the first block, ready to sew!

(the colors are truer here,but I find purple hard to photograph)

And see that snowman peeking out of a corner?  I'd even hand appliqued those guys for all three remaining blocks!

None of the three blocks left have a ton of pieces, but one has a truck with wheels, so those will take a bit more prep, but I even cut cardboard circles to use as gathering templates!  I don't remember doing all of this, but boy was I on a roll!

Now I just have to convince myself to sit down and sew them...

But...the hubby got a call Friday afternoon.  His work is sending him to another plant, out of state, all next week.  So I can spread out my sewing supplies, fire up the Netflix and sew!  Of course, Emma will make sure she gets to eat regularly (if she had it her way, it would be a new can of food about every 30 minutes, but she does get four meals a day, plus free choice crunchies), which means I'll probably eat regularly, too.  So while I don't like being home alone at night, this frees up a good chunk of each afternoon, so maybe I'll get it done...maybe if I leave laying out on the couch I'll guilt myself into sewing more?

It won't be all fun and games, though, because this time of year the yard needs work.  And I've been slacking for a while, so the yard needs LOTS of work.  I've done a chunk, but there's lots more to do.  I'm breaking it up into areas and setting a goal each day, otherwise I think it might get so overwhelming I'd just give up and stay inside and pretend I don't see it.  Again.  It is nice to see the progress, though.  Encouraging.

Also the Rainbow Scrap Challenge color was announced - pink - so now that the cats and their associated fabrics are put away again (for the, um, fourth? time), I can pull the pinks and talk myself into making a few more Patchwork City blocks.  I'm not sure if I need to make six or nine this month, but I have a notebook and just have to remember to look next time I'm in my sewing room.

The sewing room is looking tidier a little, too.  As I'm finishing projects, things get put away.  And in digging out the snowmen quilt, I found a bin for a project I THOUGHT I was going to make.  Like 4 years ago.  I made one block and am not too excited about it.  I think I remember the (free) pattern having issues, too.  So I returned the fabrics to my stash, stowed the patterns safely in case I decide I want them later, and that helped too!  I'm hoping that at the end of the year, my sewing room will not look like the bins-of-fabric fairy threw up...

And with that, it's off to spend a little time with the hubby before he flies out tomorrow morning.  (Ugh, I have to get up early - airport duty!)

Happy quilting,