Sunday, December 30, 2012

lover's knot quilt

Here's the second quilt I finished for one of Sister Suzy's flat-mates.

I picked up the idea from a quiltinaday You Tube video.  This quilt is a log cabin block variation.  You build two blocks that are opposites.  Then as you turn the blocks it looks like the colors are interlocking.   There are 20 of block 'A' and 20 of block 'B' for a total of 40 blocks in the center with a mitered corners border.  The border was four inches all the way around.  I used the dark fabric for the binding because I thought a thin dark frame on the outside edge would be the finishing touch.

This quilt uses 2 1/2-inch strips for the center.  EQ6 over-estimated the fabric by two 2 1/2 inch strips for each color.  I would have just as soon left that five inches on the pieces of fabric they were cut from but I thought I would be slick and cut all my strips at one time.

I used Eleanor Burns' construction techniques for the most part.  I would recommend that you square your block after each set of seams.  I.E. check to make sure you are still square after each set of seams.  Checking like that will save you a lot of grief in the end with all your blocks being the same size.  I had to rip a few seams out and re-sew the seam allowance a little bit smaller to get the right dimensions.

I chose to do very traditional quilt pattern that is normally only seen in hand-quilting by moving in from the seam line a 1/4 inch and quilting around the 'L' shape.

For a bit of whimsy I added a heart in each corner.

I made a template for the diamond pattern I quilted the border with.  Here is more whimsy for the backing.  Instead of blocks how about some stripes?

And finally the quilt can't go out before the label goes on.

All-and-all it was an easy top to set together.  The largest majority of my time was spent quilting.  There was a lot of stopping, turning, and starting! 

Have a good day!


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas knitting

Merry Christmas to everyone!  I hope you are having a peaceful one!

My Christmas knitting!

LOL my only Christmas knitting!  I got a wild hair at midnight on the 23rd after watching Hubby rubbing his hands because his gout was bothering him.  His hands were cold. Cold makes gout pain worse so I asked him if he would like a pair of fingerless mitts to wear while he is working on the computer and watching TV.  He was agreeable so I went to work.

The pattern is Men's Fingerless Mitts by Kathy North at  As you can see these mitts are not exactly per the pattern for a couple of reasons.  For one thing the pattern says to knit stockinette until it is three inches above the cuff.  My best guess based on the photograph from the pattern is she meant three inches from the thumb opening.  Three inches from the cuff puts the beginning of  the ribbing at the top of the knuckle for the index finger on the hand.  One inch of ribbing would put the end of the mitt at the first knuckle.  We wanted the mitt to end just after the second knuckle on the middle finger.  I added three inches of 2x2 ribbing to tighten the opening up to keep the warmth in and make the length we wanted.  The next change was to lengthen the thumb so it covered the knuckle down to where the nail bed begins.

I didn't do a swatch. (I know baaaddd knitter!)  So when I had the stockinette part about half-knitted I got my stitch gage out and sure enough, I'm getting 4.5 stitches per inch instead of 5.  Doing some quick calculations said I had 4.5 stitches to many, with that I decreased 4 stitches spaced evenly around the mitts to tighten them up a little.  When I got to the thumb the pattern calls for 20 stitches with a decrease to 16 but I only needed 13.5 stitches to get the 3 inches of circumference for Hubby's thumb.  I did two decreasing rounds of three stitches each to bring the thumb down to size.  2x2 ribbing wasn't going to work so I went with 1x1 ribbing until I had the thumb long enough which in his case was two inches long from where I picked up the stitches for the thumb.

I used worsted-weight Red Heart Heathers in Cocoa on US# 6 circular needles.  I started to do these mitts on two circulars and here.   My initial reaction is what a pain trying to keep track of all those needles and all that yarn.  I transferred everything to a 47-inch circular and used the Magic Loop.

Ah! I hear the timer for the au gratin potatoes for our Christmas dinner.
Once again I hope everyone is having a Merry Christmas!


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas quilts #1

I decided to make Sister Suzy and her flatmates quilts for the Holidays.  This is the first one I finished.

I got the idea from Rose Smith of Ludlow Quilt and Sew.  Here is a link to her You Tube video showing you how to construct the quilt.  I couldn't find any black prints I really liked, so I went with a navy blue with a very small white floral print.

I had to do some research to find out the dimensions of a charm pack.   They come in two sizes; the most common is 5 inches square and the other is 6 inches square.  Most charm packs have between 40 and 42 squares of fabric in 10 to 12 different fabrics.  However, some charm packs do not.  So if you decide to buy charm packs pay attention to the number of fabric squares.  Also, be aware of the cost, twelve dollars for 2/3 of a yard of fabric in my book is pretty expensive way to buy fabric.

I went through the stash and cut two of each fabric I liked, cutting a total of 58 squares, using about a one and a quarter yards of fabric for the charms.  EQ6 said I need about 2 5/8 yards for the dark background.  I bought 3 yards and used 2 1/3yards, which also included the binding for the quilting.  EQ6 also said I needed 3/8 of a yard of white and I forgot to measure the two-yard piece I bought after I cut the white strips for this quilt.  The back took 3 yards of fabric so I used about 7 yards of fabric in total for a 48 inch by 72-inch quilt.

All and all it was a fun easy project.  I used stitch in the ditch to quilt it and top-stitched the binding on.

If you look carefully you can see where the horizontal white stripes are smaller than the vertical stripes. To get the center panel to come out the right size I had to increase the vertical stripe units by a quarter of an inch and decrease the horizontal stripe units by a quarter of an inch.  Not real noticeable unless you look closely.

Why I didn't photograph the whole back I'm not sure.  I pieced the back in 12.5 inch squares in several different colors so the quilt is reversible.

As you can see the label is on!

Have a good day!


Monday, December 17, 2012

finally finished

I started this quilt before Christmas of last year.  I finally found my mojo to finish it!  Yes, another gingham quilt!  I only have 3/4 of a box of blocks to use up now.  LOL!  My youngest sister decided to get a regular-size bed so I thought it would be a good idea to make her a quilt that fits it for Christmas.  Weeellll, a year later it's finished just in time for Christmas!  LOL

This is a 'trip around the world' quilt set together using the Crazy Shortcut Quilting method for quilt-as-you-go.  This works really well for bed size quilts.

Here's the plan from EQ6:

I had to do some playing around with where I wanted the setting strips to go.  I wanted a nine-patch that was balanced on both side and top-n-bottom.  I end up starting in the middle and working my way out, some days I'm a little slow.  ; >)

Then I went through the box picking out blocks for the colors I wanted to use.  I picked out all the seams, pressed the individual pieces and trimmed or rejected any pieces that were not the right size.  Then I stacked them up in piles to sew together.

Then based on my plan I started setting the blocks together and quilting them by stitching in the ditch.  I used 80/20 cotton batting because polyester batting beards through fabric with high polyester content like gingham fabric.  I used scraps of backing fabric from Mother's other quilt projects for the backs of each block.

I ended up numbering each block as it was finished because I was having trouble keeping them in order and reversing the tops.  I choose black for the setting strips because I wanted the eye to see it but not focus on them.  This is, also, why symmetry was so important.  You want the eye to see the whole design.  I used gingham strips on the back for some color and the border.

I had to repair a block.  Somehow, I nipped the quilt somewhere along the line with either my scissors or the rotary cutter.  I used fusible web and 2 small hearts of gingham to add a bit of whimsy to the repair.

The borders were sewn on after setting the body of the quilt together.  Then stuffing the batting between the two pieces of fabric and quilting.  I have started using a basting spray because I want to stipple a quilt so I gave it a shot on holding the batting in.  Much better than what I have done in the past.  I wanted to use gingham for the binding and thought about a multicolor one.  I rejected that idea as too busy and went with just black.  I'm glad I did.

I ask myself, "Why did I lose interest in finishing this quilt?"  I have a couple of thoughts. One, gingham is very ravelly and can be a trial to work with.  The other is I have done quite a few quilts in gingham and want to move on to something else.  Then you really don't get a sense of accomplishment as you are setting 'a trip around the world' together like most quilts.  The, "Oh Boy, this is looking good!"  You have to wait until the quilt is finished and then stand back and look at it.  I'm glad it's finished and I like it a lot.

More quilts to come have a good day!


Update 12/23/12:  My youngest sister came over on the 21st and saw the quilt hanging over the balcony railing and said she liked the quilt with the yellow in it.  I said that was good because it was hers. Yeah!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

sister suzy got some new shirts

Sister Suzy decided she needed some new t-shirts for college and she wanted to know if I would do some appliquéing like I did on her bird shirt.  I said sure and here are the results.
 The design for these two came from EQ-6, my quilt program.  The pattern is an appliqué Celtic braid block.  Kind of tedious but looks sharp on the shirts.

Found a piece of fabric with dog prints on it.  She wanted the basset hound as it looks like Gracie.  I used a quilting trick here.  The colors in the Cocker complemented the shirt; so because both motifs came from the same fabric the Cocker ties into the shirt and the Basset.
This one took even longer than the first two.  The appliquéing starts on the sleeve, wanders over onto the shoulder, down the front and then curves around to the back.  The shirt looks really nice on her.  She says she wears this shirt when she is having a tough day because it is so bright.

I have a couple more to go but I haven't figured out how to take what we have envisioned and turn it into reality.

Have a good day!


Wednesday, November 21, 2012


I hope every one has an enjoyable one.  We are heading to Hubby's brother's place.  Things are a little tight at their house so I dug around in the freezer, refrigerator and pantry and came up with lasagna, salad, pumpkin cheesecake, apple pie and no-knead bread.   The lasagna is from my 1963 Pillsbury Cookbook that I've made a bunch of times and is a real crowd pleaser.  The apple pie comes from the same place.  The cheesecake however is a new recipe so I'll let you know how it turns out. 

Friday we have another Thanksgiving at my house for my family and that will be ribs, corn on the cob, sweet potato fries, and  maybe regular fries.  I'm thinking brownies and pumpkin pie for dessert.  I should have enough left-overs that I don't have to cook much for the next week or so.  LOL

By the way I've been sewing like a demon but haven't taken any pictures, so maybe this week-end with Sister Suzy's help I can get some.

Have a good day!


Sunday, November 4, 2012

10 minute quilt block quilt

 I want to warn you this post is picture intense!

I was out cruising the web looking at You Tube videos for some new quilting ideas and found one demonstrating an idea they called the 10-minute block.  The premise looked quick and do-able. 

I want to make a 48" by 72" quilt.  I decided that an 8" finished block would be the best choice for giving me the exact size I wanted.  This size of block means you are dealing with 4 1/2" size pieces.  I think the last seam is a bit fiddly and possibly because of this, it took me longer than 10 minutes to make one of these blocks.

First, I went through my fabric stash finding 44 different light colored fabrics and cut a 4 1/2" square of each one.  Next I cut 8, 4 1/2" squares of the background fabric I wanted to use and made two blocks

Well, looking at those two blocks setting beside each other didn't do much for me, so I pulled out another piece of fabric and made two more blocks.

Better, but it still didn't do much for me, so I called it a day and went to bed.  The next morning I woke up with a stroke of brilliance and decided to recombine the two background fabrics like this.

Much better!  By the way that center square of fabric is a green print.  The camera washed out the colors!

So to record the process for posterity and to offer some of my thoughts on the process let me show you some photos.

Here are my three piles of fabrics.  If I make this block again I will use larger squares of fabric such as the 10" squares they used in the video.  Also, if I use all the same size squares I will probably use 5 different fabrics for each square of the block.  The 8" finished block I made would make a nice 3D bow-tie block.  I, also, though the center square was out of balance if you were going to use all the same fabric for the background.  I haven't experimented, but I think a 5 1/2" to 6 1/2" center square would give you a 4" finished center square.  A 4 /12" center square ends up being 2 7/8" finished square.

Fold your center square in half.  I found that the grain line mattered on this square.  Fold it so the grain lines are together. (The non-stretch sides are opposite the fold.)  Place right sides together.

Lay the top piece of the fabric sandwich on right sides together.

Pin the seam line and sew a scant 1/4" seam allowance catching the folded edge of the center square.

Fold the two sides back like this.

Because I wanted the backing fabrics to alternate, I laid the third piece of the block down to match the piece showing.

Lay the last square on right side down, pin the seam line and sew a scant 1/4" seam allowance.

When you finish sewing this last seam and open the block up it should look like this.  Now open it up and match up center seam lines, pin.  The video shows the seam lines as pressed open which would reduce the bulk of crossing seam lines.  I didn't, I just nested them running opposite directions.

I want to make a point here.  See how close I pinned the center block to its edge?  I found two things, one is to pin the right-side first and the second was to be sure to pin as close to the edge as possible.  Because if you don't the right end of the center block pulls down away from the outside edge of the seam allowance when you are sewing on this small of a block.  Also, don't remove that pin until you are right up to the pin or the center block will shift down.

Now pin like hell the rest of the seam line!  See how that seam line is puckered!  I discovered that if I kept what I was feeding into the sewing machine flat I ended up with fewer problems.  Once you get to the centerline it was easier to then work the pucker out and finish the seam.  Unfold and iron your seam allowances flat. 

Next up is to play with the arrangement of the blocks!  I'll let you know how that goes!

Have a good day!


Edit:  5/31/17  I have finished this quilt.  Go here to see the finished quilt.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

life: update

Well, the job I had has petered out and I'm back amongst the leisure classes again.  I'm glad I was at the bottom of the seniority list and was laid-off when we worked ourselves out of a job.  The job reminded me why I retired five years ago.  I have problems dealing with stupidity.  The older I get, the harder it is for me to shake my head and keep my eyes on the money.

Good news though, an investment paid out so we will be good till the first of the year then it will be crunch time again.  We could probably make it longer but I'm not a very good vegetarian and Hubby shudders when you mention lentils.  :>)

So I'm back to playing in my woman cave and I need to get pictures taken and show you what I've been up to.

Everybody have a good day!


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

a puzzle for you

How did this:

Female ornate box turtle - click to see all state reptile symbols

an ornate box turtle get into this:

FORTEX IND. Rubber Corner Bucket Black 5 Gallon - B500

Ducky's water bucket?

I went out to feed and water the critters last night.  When I got to Ducky's pen and peered over the fence looking in her water bucket there was the shell of an ornate box turtle floating in her half-filled water bucket.  Then the water and shell moved a little bit.  I quickly retrieved the bucket from the pen and dumped it out.  The turtle didn't seen too worse for the wear and headed for a rock to hide under.

So how did that turtle get in her water bucket?  The bucket is twice as high as the turtle was long and where would a duck grab hold of a turtle to plop it in the bucket?  I know Ducky is not your average duck but still.

Ducky looks very similar to this one.  I guess I need one of those wildlife camcorders to see what is going on in my backyard.  But then again maybe I don't!  Did you every read 'Tuesday'?

Have a good day!


Saturday, August 25, 2012


Rain!  We have Rain!  And Thunder!  And Rain!  Whoopee!  Maybe the ponds will fill and the cracks in the yard will close up!  And in a week or two maybe the farmers will get to plant wheat!  And the leak in the roof is still there!





Life or why I haven't been posting up-dates on my latest creative endeavor.  I have had to go back to work.  Hubby has been laid-off now for two years.  My pension is not covering the bills.  I was given the opportunity to go back to work so I have.  I will be continuing the blog but the posting is going to be few and far between as I just don't have the time to be as creative.

Catch you when I can!


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Sister Suzy is off to college

Sister Suzy is off to college in a couple of weeks, so we have been scurrying around getting things ready for her to move into her dorm type apartment.  She decided that a pedestal bed that she could store things under was a good idea.  So I have made a tailored bed-skirt out of the material we bought for curtains when we were BD (before doors) while building our house.

Then I reupholstered an office chair she had found at a garage sale while out and about with Hubby.  The chair had a brick red Herculon fabric that was stained.  Original I was just going to make a slipcover for the chair but had a flash of brilliance upon spying a piece of Naugahyde in a tub and went for the reupholstering.  It took a while to do because I had to do a mock up of the back in muslin.  Naugahyde is not forgiving when you go to poking a bunch of holes in it.  The very back of the seat back is smaller than the front of the back.  So there was the ease factor to get right between the two pieces, also.  The seat was a breeze; just cut a big square and tack it on.  I think the chair turned out fairly well, all things considered.  (I am going to have to get the blow dryer out and heat up the wrinkle so it relaxes out.)

The next thing I worked on was a bag for her yoga mat, block and belt.

To make one you need a pair of blue jeans that the yoga mat will fit down the leg, two zippers, two 'D' rings, some Velcro, a seam ripper and a good pair of scissors.  Trim the hem of one leg then measure up about 29" and cut.  Cut the other leg off at the crotch line and open both of legs up flat with the seam ripper.  Take off the back pockets and the belt loops.

Measure the circumference of the pant leg then divide by pi and then again by 2 to get the radius of your circular piece for the bottom.  Lay that out on the second pant leg and cut it out.  For the yoga block pocket I measured up the side across the width and down the other side adding 1" for seam allowances and 1" for ease.  I didn't take into account for the couture of the mat when it is in the bag so the block is tight in the pocket.  I should have added at least a couple more inches for that.  Then I measured up the end of the block and across the length of the block adding 1/2" for seam allowance and 2 1/2" for the hem at the top of the pocket.  Then doing my best origami folding, after cutting and putting in the hem at the top, I fold the corners and pinned for all I was worth.  I marked the outline of the block on the leg that was to contain the yoga mat and pinned, shuffled fabric around until I had it place where I wanted it and sewed it up.  It worked!

Built the strap to hold the block into the pocket and applied Velcro.  Next I took the fabric that was left and made the cargo pocket to hold the yoga belt, socks, and gloves.  I cut 4" off the top of the piece and inserted the zipper I found in my stash.  Did the origami thing again with the marking, pinning and sewing.  It worked!  Again!

Then I tackled putting the back pockets on the other side of the leg.  One pocket is closed with Velcro and the other with a zipper.  Easy peasy!

Sewed up the side seam, then put the bottom in along with the bottom part of the strap with the 2 'D" rings.  I had to piece the strap together from the seat of the pants cutting it into 3" strips.  Next up was the 2" hem at the top of the bag.  Then applying the belt loops and bar-tacking the tie strap to the top.  Finally I applied the top part of the carrying strap and I was done.  (The tie strap came from the flat-felt seam I cut out with my first miss-step at making the bag.)

I showed it to Sister Suzy and she was quite impressed!  Yeah!

Have a good day!


Saturday, July 7, 2012

kelsey's baby quilt

One of the girls Sister Suzy graduated with is having a little one in August.  Sister Suzy asked if I would make a baby quilt for her to give to Kelsey.  Of course, I will make one!

I found the pattern for the block a while ago and thought it was a great way to use scraps.  It was from the Quilting Daily web site and a hexagon shaped baby blanket.  It is baby quilt #4.  I loved the idea of the block construction but not the shape of the quilt.  So me being me, I changed it around into what I believe to be a far more useable shaped quilt.

The quilt measures 43" by 55".  You will need 18 whole blocks, 4 half blocks, 9 half diamonds and 2 quarter diamonds.  The border is 2 1/2" wide with a matching bias-cut French binding.  I don't know how much fabric is in the quilt because I used scraps but there is 13" of fabric in the binding.  LOL!

I used a traditional weight cotton-batting for the inside layer.  Not as thick as I like but after washing the quilt it has a very old-timey look so all is wonderful.

This is the shape of the basic unit of the block.

I started by sewing long strips of fabric together and then cutting out the shapes.  Lots of wasted material in my mind and as you cut, your temple gets smaller. Not very satisfying! So what to do?  How about paper piecing?  I have never paper-pieced and it works amazingly well.  Here is a link to a youtube video if you are curious.  And when you have the three basic units sewn together they look like this.

Well I got tired of putting the blocks together the recommended way and I was also running out of strips long enough, so I tried something a little bit different.  I rotated my scraps 90 degrees and made a few blocks this way.

I thought that was cute and wish I had done a few more like them.

I did outline quilting for the most part in the body of the quilt.  I wanted something different for the quilting on the border.  I did a search in some quilt stencil books I have and found this one I really liked.

The stencil comes from the book Quilting Designs from the Amish by Pepper Cory.  When you are looking for stencil designs for machine quilting look for designs that flow from one repeat to the other.  If you can't take your finger and follow the line for long distances the design is not a good candidate like the very top design.  There is a lot of starting and stopping in that one.  The one I chose (in the middle) the lines flow for however long you want to repeat the design.  This is how I did the corner.

There are several ways to do corners.  Hum, I think, I will do a blog post on how to make your quilt stencil design turn the corner!

And lastly the back and label!

Bubbles!  I love that fabric for the backs of children's quilts.  Yes, I do!

Until next time, have a good day!