Mini version of the silk quilt

If you don’t remember the antique silk quilt I wrote about last winter, here’s where you can refresh your memory. There are several posts about my research if you look around a bit. (there, here, and more) I made the pineapple block out of cotton not silk and as close to the fabric patterns as Lucretia’s as I could find. I used one of her blocks as a model. It took 4 hours to make one block with paper piecing and my machine so imagine how long it took her to make one of her blocks by hand on a muslin foundation. After I got one block done I decided to try my hand at a few more and then on I moved to the borders.

When people see the silk quilt they want to touch it which is a no-no because the fabric is damaged and falling apart. Little silk pieces fall like dried leaves whenever I open it. Especially the pink. So I thought I would make a model of the quilt so people could touch it and see it up close. A mini, if you will.DSC00496

As I was adding the checkerboard border I was thinking, ‘what have I done?? this thing is wild!’ But then I added the dark brown border and it seemed to settle down. The brown stopped the insanity. All of the sizes of the pieces are mostly the same as Lucretia’s quilt. I even saw that she had the same red and gray 4-patch in each corner.DSC00497




I made the back like her’s with the brown and a purple frame. She quilted in the ditch by hand, not me. Mine’s by machine. She used a brown thread. I used brown in the bobbin and cream on top. She basted hers before quilting, I used pins.DSC00500


She did not have batting in between and I used a soft cotton/poly blend. Hers had enough body with the muslin foundation. Lucretia’s binding was the back brought to the front. I haven’t done that before but did it here. It’s a very narrow binding and I used small applique-like stitches. After all it will be seen and ‘critiqued’.DSC00502

This was a fun project! I haven’t formulated plans for what I will do with it and it’s older big sister. Still thinking about it.



It’s Left-over Night!

I used to like left-over night when I was young. Mom would heat up everything left over from a few days of meals and we could *usually* each have something we liked especially or a little of everything. As a grown-up, 5 out of 7 nights are now reserved for left-overs in my house. 🙂 Mostly micro-cooking for me.

In my quilt world left-overs are saved for years. I don’t think of them as fabric scraps… scraps go in the trash. Left-overs will again bring color and sparkle to a quilt or other fabric project some day. I have accumulated a multitude of these pieces. I organized them in early January so that I could really see what I have and maybe used them more often. (instead of being in an overflowing large box on the floor). This is what it looks like now (and it takes up vertical space, which is better).


The 5 boxes on the left are the batik pieces and the 6 boxes in the middle are the rest of the cottons. Specific colors are in each box. I’m sorry to say that the piles on the cabinet are the in-progress projects. I apparently like to start things and not finish them, ahem.

I started a new project with my scraps!!! I mean, I’m turning my left-overs into a new quilt!! I’ve been seeing lots of mention in blogland and by facebookers about the Scrappy Trip Around the World quilt. It looked very interesting and involved NO outlay of cash on my part to start it. The instructions are here. Bonnie Hunter at Quiltville makes it easy. She says to pick from all your scraps, anything goes. I wanted to use my blues cuz I have mostly them, and green goes great, and then there’s purple. And how ’bout some pink for sparkle. Another of my ‘design’ elements was a dark color that would go diagonally through the center, lending a strong criss-cross to the quilt. Some of my pieces didn’t qualify for this project because they were too small and couldn’t convert into  a strip easily.DSC00377

I had no problem tho, coming up with sufficient material and it still looks pretty full in the blue box. Easy-peasy, lemon squeezy, there’s a block or four.DSC00379


I made another 2 after taking these pix. Fun! I am shooting for at least 12 blocks. I’ll see what it looks like when I get that far. What do you think??

Spring for the fall

Here we are smack dab in the middle of autumn, Halloween just days away (along with a hurricane), and I have finished a very spring-y quilt. Notice it is hanging on a tree devoid of leaves. They are calmly waiting for me or the wind to move them.

This is Lynne’s quilt. She won a basket of quilting supplies in a raffle and she doesn’t quilt. Also in the basket were these bright fabrics from a Micheal Miller line, all samples and of various sizes. So I offered to make her a quilt from them. Actually… I couldn’t wait to get my hands on them they are so pretty!

I had to be careful taking the pix because the birds are eating all the crabapples off the tree and I certainly don’t want bird poop on the quilt.

The back of the quilt uses the remainder of the sample fabrics that didn’t work on the front. (I used every piece of that bright fabric). I added the white and blue solids to the mix.

My biggest challenge was quilting with white thread on the top and blue in the bobbin and trying not to get blue “spots” on the top. (showing bobbin thread on the top). I also put one bobbin in upside down and had a brutal thread tension mess. I had to carefully pull out a whole row of quilting because of course I didn’t notice until I had rolled the quilt. That was very annoying. But it’s all better. I washed it once (and ironed it) to make sure it didn’t fall apart!

It’s all good, I like it, and it will soon be with Lynne … along with the rest of the contents of her quilting basket that I didn’t pilfer.


City Gardens

It is done and I like it a lot.

I’m calling it City Gardens because it reminds me of sidewalks and curbs and the

Flower Pots at Korbel Winery

Flower Pots at Korbel Winery (Photo credit: clkohan)


occasional patch of flowers or veggies that a city dweller might cultivate for the summer. It reminds me of window boxes and pots on steps and sidewalks with a bright splash of color.

English: old handmaded marble/gneiss cobbelsto...

English: old handmaded marble/gneiss cobbelstones in Kutná Hora (Czech Republic) and road side curb of granite Deutsch: altes handgeschlagen Marmor/Gneis-Pflaster in Kutná Hora(Tschechische Republik) und Bordstein aus Granit (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have been wanting to try the square stippling for the quilting. It wasn’t as hard as I psyched myself. Considering my quilting machine rolls along on a square frame it helped me out. It looks like concrete sections on sidewalks or cobblestones in Boston.

The background is lavender and the dark “curbs” are dark purple.

Here’s the back of it. I used the extra strips of color blocks and a different purple.

Now that I look at it, most of the left overs were blues and greens. Huh.

So there we go. My best modern quilt so far. 😉

Cat in a flower pot

Cat in a flower pot (Photo credit: YaelBeeri)

Uber modern with most of the math correct

English: A basic, Sharp-brand solar calculator.

The last post was maybe subtitled “Now what the heck am I gonna do with these things”.

I continued on down the road I was thinking, added some more here and there, and put it all together, yes, including those partial seams I mentioned to get around the center block. But I didn’t follow through on the ‘measure twice cut once’ corollary: ‘do the math correctly’. Let’s review:

  1. Do I have a masters degree in a math-related field? yes.
  2. Do I own a calculator? yes
  3. Is it in a handy place next to my scissors? yes
  4. Can I do the math in my head or with a pencil? usually
  5. Did I do the math correctly with a pencil or calculator this time? NOPE
  6. Did I think of using the calculator and then change my mind? yup

Here is a picture of the finished top. It’s small. I like how it turned out, colorful and architectural. I made my math correction relatively easily. See if you can find it.

Because you are my cherished blog readers and I tell you most of my sewing errors (so that you will learn from them like I do), I will give you a hint… I was only off a half an inch.

Do you see it now? I think it works with the whole modern architectural design concept thingy, don’t you?

Now a brief word about drinking coffee at the computer… a couple of weeks ago I was doing just that, started to choke and cough. I did the thing you see in sitcoms, I sprayed the coffee in fine droplets everywhere in front of me! Wallpaper, desk, computer and all other small electronics, files, books, glasses, you name it. I cleaned up quickly with a handy towel. But now, 2 weeks later, fine dust and the dreaded yellow pine pollen has stuck to my computer screen in the smeers I made with the towel. What do I clean this screen with???

 And another thing, I shouldn’t be writing this while I am sleep-deprived! I’m sick of fixing my typos.

Red Berry Wreath is Done!


Berries (Photo credit: KilljoyDivine)

There has been radio silence on this blog for some time now because I have been very busy.

I am very happy to report that I have finished my challenge quilt for the show with nearly 7 days to spare. I wasn’t too stressed about finishing it but for me, this is the last minute. For projects such as this where it is a creative process with an unmapped path to the hidden treasure (the finished quilt), I don’t know how long it will take me to walk the path. Some things take longer because they need more thought or an extra step creeps in. If you remember my Laura Angel challenge quilt from 2 years ago, I finished one month ahead and that was good. Anyways, enough of the chatter. Here it is…

If you recall in my last post I showed you the raw wreath and asked for input on quilting techniques. And I heard…. crickets. With no help from you, gentle reader, I managed to scribble my way through this project. That’s my artistic technique … “thread scribbling”. Some of you may have heard of “thread painting” which has given certain quilters their star on the walk of fame. My invention (because I’ve given it a name) is a more free form, avant guarde method. In addition to the fabulous scribbling on the berries and leaves, this method allows creation of leaf and berry “ghosts”. Are they really there? Am I only imagining them? Can you find them in the pictures?

If you look closely at the picture you might be able to make out some tiny crosshatching on the lighter colored pieces. That is the tulle that I put over the wreath to hold down the raw edges. Believe it or not, I used brown tulle. I tried out different colors and brown worked best. I wanted the dark color of the berries to stay rich. Dark tulle achieves that. A lighter color washes out the red and fades it. I tried red tulle and that just made the background look pink which turned my stomach. In these closeups you will also observe the tiny shiny gold pieces. Yup, that’s the beading I did with gold seed beads. Delicate little things a little larger than impatien seeds. If you’ve started your own flowers, you’ll know what I mean. The greeting card had splotches of gold on it all over the wreath so I did that too, more delicately. It took about 3 hours just to do the beads.

Back to the thread scribbling. Yes, I could use more practice but I do like how this came out. I used a dark red thread mostly and 2 shades of green for the leaves and ghosts. The other quilting on the background was with a cream matching thread. I tried a new stippling pattern for the background that is a collection of arcs with points that change direction. You have to see it up close to understand me. You quilters will take a sharp breath when I tell you that I used about 4 bobbins of thread on this little thing.

I did an extra step of putting on a facade backing. I didn’t like the guts of my scribbling hanging out all over the back of the quilt so I covered it with another fabric back. This is something that I tried for the first time here and it was brilliant. I made the label and sewed it onto the facade and then used spray adhesive to attach the facade to the real back. Voila! It worked like magic.

One more pic at an angle to try to show the background quilting. You will also notice the precise, knife-edge piping on the edge before the binding. Beautiful. The binding is of the cream background. This picture shows the slight contrast of the binding versus the background which is the tulle doing its job. My machine’s walking foot got a workout sewing through 9 layers to attach the binding. Binding finished by hand of course.

I am proud of this wreath, artwork for sure. It’s small, 25″ across and 21″ down. It will reside in the private collection of Sheila D someday… when I’m really done with it. 🙂

Now I leave you with a picture of the disappearing cat. The fat part in the middle disappeared when touched by sunlight. Oh for it to be true for us girls!


Challenge in Progress

I am working on the artistic challenge for my guild’s show. It is not a copy but an interpretation of a greeting card. So I held a contest with my facebook friends: I would pick one of their holiday greeting cards as the model for this challenge. I would give the winner this quilt (wallhanging) after the show. Sheila D won with her card of a berry wreath. I loved the card and thought it would give me a wonderful artistic challenge. It is in progress now, and has been for some time, and I have a shot at actually finishing it by April 26th, the day I have to deliver it to the show. I was starting to get worried.

I first cut a background piece and then drew a large circle on it. Then I starting cutting out berries from a variety of red fabrics, and some orange and pink for sparkle. Made a few leaves too. Then I cut a 2 inch wide circle of a red/pink/green batik for a wreath background. Then I started gluing everything on. Yup, glue stick. This is a raw edge applique method. I will be putting a piece of tulle over the top of everything and then quilting through all the layers. That is the next step. I welcome your ideas on how to quilt this. I’m thinking lots of free motion circles for starters.

Here is the challenge so far with the greeting card in the top corner.

And here is a closeup…

I think it is looking just like I want. The next part is the hardest for me and the most challenge… the quilting. I’d love to hear your suggestions.

Maybe I should have a contest for guessing the number of berries on the wreath. Nah, then I’d have to count them!

And just for good measure, Friday the Cat thinks I should just chillax, don’t stress, it will come to me. He is a Zen Cat. He jumped up to that narrow windowsill and didn’t disturb my small rock garden sculpture. (Hampton Beach rocks of course) No, they are not glued together.


Mini Quilt Swap Revealed

You remember that mini quilt I worked on and made mistakes which I confessed here in front of everyone so that you can all learn to make mistakes and how to fix them. Anyways, I sent it to my swap mate, Charlene T’was Brillig And, last week and she got it so now I will show you the finished mini. She thinks it’s beautiful, by the way! It is 18″ square.

This second picture is in bright sun with high contrast so you can see how I quilted it.

I haven’t received my mini quilt from the swap mate who is on the sending side but when I do I will show you.

Kickin’ It

Wow! How ’bout this for a striking new way to use up some fabric scraps?

I participated in a scrap block swap this winter run by Beth H, Eva Paige Quilt Designs, which she then turned into a wonderful new pattern. I see my green and my blue block in this quilt which is the cover for the new pattern, Kickin’ Stash. How funny is that name??! Just like Beth to call it something fun, she cracks me up.

I love this setting with it’s open spaces. She has other settings and sizes in the pattern. Kick on over to to download it. You won’t need much to get started. Get out your favorite trusty background fabric and then dive into that scrap box and start kickin’ it! This quilt is done with blocks of the same colorway. The blocks are easy. I think it would be gorgeous totally scrappy as well. Maybe with some modern contemporary prints or geometrics… hmmm.

Beth is kickin’ off this pattern this week and YOU can be one of the first to own it, try it, kick it! There are several bloggers talking about it this week so hop on over to them to see what they have to say (as well as read their cool blogs too).

Monday 3/12 – Deb Donovan

Tues 3/13 – Kelli Fannon

Wednesday 3/14 – Anna Dzik

Thurs 3/15 – Marianne  (you’re here already silly!) 

Friday 3/16 – Linda Pearl

Mistakes Happen

Even though I was not careless, I guess I was not careFULL. I am making a mini quilt for an online swap. It is an 18″ version of the Lone Star that is the banner picture on this blog. I thought it was going along fine but the very last seam through the middle was a mess. It was absolutely not going to happen. I spent Monday morning taking parts of it apart. I tried the middle seam 3 times but no. I was making it from scraps and was almost certain that there wasn’t enough to start over. This is how it ended up…

So I cried on the shoulder of my friend Cathy, Goddess of Mini Quilts, and she reminded me of the important rules of minis, not too different from regular quilts except they must be followed to the letter. Quarter inch seam (not off by a thread), starch the beejeeziss out of the fabric, and trim to the correct size. I thought I had done all that but not careFULLY and to the nth degree. I found more pretty batiks in the scrap box and started over. I certainly hope my swap partner likes this mini when she gets it! Now it looks like this and everything worked out almost perfectly.

It will not have the offwhite as a background. It will be navy. So much better! I like it now. But I can’t get attached to it cuz I have to mail it in March. Here is a closeup of the center

And here’s the back so you can see those lovely seams! The Y seams will come next. I don’t anticipate a problem I will be careFULL! 😉