The Flower Garden wall quilt

I enjoy my evenings when I can watch TV and work on the Flower Garden quilt.  Up until a week ago, I appliqued the flowers down, piece by piece on the background.  Then I saw a YouTube video where the quilter sewed the parts of a picture together and when the piece was complete she appliqued the whole piece to the background. This sounded very interesting and I thought that I would try it.

Gypsy Freezer paper is run through the copier for the patterns.  It’s much easier than drawing.  I cut out the freezer paper parts and then iron them to the back of the fabric. All the pieces for each flower are cut large and stored together in a baggie, When I’m ready to sew the flower parts together, I cut a seam allowance of at least 1/4″ around the pattern.  The edges are glued under with a glue stick. The sides of the parts that go under another piece are left unglued.  I should use starch and an iron to press the edges down, but I want to prepare the pieces while watching TV.

I had worked three nights to applique the center rose on the background.  It is still not finished.  Using the new method, I can sew a flower each night and sometimes more than one.  When they are finished, I pin them to the pattern that I drew on the stabilizer.  That way, I can see if I like the color before they are on the background.    I may even decide to add more flowers and leaves before I start to sew everything down.  All decision can be made before anything is sewn down.

Here are some of my new flowers. They will go on the right side of the top border.  I’ll have to reverse the patterns for the left side.

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They make a very pretty garden.

Have a great day and happy quilting.


A Quilting Misadventure

I needed a break from machine quilting so thought that I would finish one of the UFOs that I found in the attic.  I also had to try out a small sewing machine that I had bought for classes and retreats. I’m going on a retreat in May and thought that I should see how the machine sews. It doesn’t have a thread cutter or automatic threader.  It’s a basic machine.  I bought it from a friend about one year ago and hadn’t even looked at it.

The UFO that I chose was a  small quilt in a plastic bag. Several pieces had been cut out and sewn.  How long could it take me?  It was only 40′ X 40″.  I couldn’t remember why I didn’t finish it.

I usually sew in the sewing room, but I decided to sew on the dining room table so I could look out the slider at the lovely spring weather.  Actually, the weather is the same out of the sewing room window, but the back yard is beginning to green up.

All the pieces had to be pressed and organized.  That didn’t take long.  I read the confusing instructions and looked at the diagram.  The instructions were in two parts.  The first told how to make the components of the quilt.  The second told how to sew the components together.

The first part was originally finished.  Four 1 1/2″ x 18″ strips were sewn together. This was cut into four 4 1/2″ pieces. This is what the second instructions said – “Take a 3 1/2″ square an sew a strip of 1 1/2″ fabric to the left and right sides, trimming and pressing as you go. Next add strip to the top and bottom, again trimming and pressing as you go.” Repeat and make 25 squares.  These squares measured 5 1/2″ x 5 1/2″. Five  squares with borders and the first four were to be sewn into a  12 1/2″ nine patch for the center of the quilt.  How can 4 1/2″ squares be sewn to 5 1/2″ squares?  “.  First error in the instructions.  It should have said “trim to 4 1/2″ square”.  I trimmed with a Tucker trimmer and the center was fine.


The quilt has a diagram for placement of the components.  I count 21 squares with borders.  Where do the other four squares go?

The 24 flying geese on the first border were already made, so they were sewn on.  The next 2 1/2″ square and rectangle border had to be sewn.  As I was sewing, the sewing machine started to slow down.  It finally stopped and wouldn’t sew anymore.  I will have to take a trip to the repair shop.  I’m so glad that this happened here instead of when I was at the retreat.  I went to the sewing room to finish on another machine.  It was easy to make the 1/4″ seam the same on both machines.

Sewing was smooth out to the last flying geese row.   The flying geese were sewn with no problem.  The instructions are – “Sew your remaining flying geese together in pairs and join the left and right hand side pieces together, then attach to the quilt.  Next, join your top and bottom pieces together and attach to the quilt.”  Looking at the diagram, I made the strips.  When I placed the strip on the main quilt body, the strip was 4″ short.  After looking at it for a while, I realized that the four extra squares belonged in the center of the strips.  It went together perfectly after a little unsewing and inserting.

IMG_2095The instructions have been filed in the round file.  It’s not worth passing it on to a friend.  It’s a bright, cheery quilt and will look very nice on my dining room table.  The quilt pattern was designed for a fabric line. Apparently there were animal squares to use for the 3 1/2″ squares. The title is “Wild Things”. That’s appropriate.

One UFO down, many more to go.

Have a great day and happy quilting.


I though that I had all my UFOs collected in one bin.  I have enough to keep me busy for a whole year.  But, I decided to do a Marie Kondo cleaning of my attic.  The house was new when I moved here so everything that is in the attic was placed up there by me.  It is time to purge.

So far, I have two trash bags full and a huge bag for the Salvation army. My criteria for getting rid of something is – do I really need it and will I ever use it.  I started on the side that I call the sewing room annex.  It has a lot of sewing stuff that I’ve collected for years.  Most of the things in that part of the attic are in labeled bins so deciding what to do with it was easy.  In reorganizing, I found several bins of mile a minute fabric.  It is all together now.  I will keep it as I’m teaching a Mile a Minute class in the fall and will give the fabric to my students.  It will be all gone by October.

I did find one more box of UFOs and orphan blocks.  There are several sets of blocks that are left over from quilts that are finished. IMG_2087This one is left over from a quilt that I made in a Deb Tucker class.


There are four blocks with this coloration.  They are left over from a Leah Day block of the month.  I don’t know why I made extra blocks.  There are twelve in the quilt that I finished. IMG_2089




IMG_2092This is one of a dozen table runners or table mats.  Some are just the blocks, some are ready to be quilted.

This is my favorite cloth book.  It needs to be pressed and the center sewn.  Then it will be finished.IMG_2090

This is the only block that is left from a quilt that I made for my granddaughter, who is a gymnast.  I don’t know what I will do with this single block, but I will think of something.


IMG_2094A long time ago when one of my daughters lived in Utah, we exchanged blocks.  We were going to make an alphabet quilt. Each of us would make two blocks for every other letter of the alphabet.  I started with A.  She would make a block beginning with B. The A block is called Autumn.  I finished one block and have the pieces for the second.  The block is only 6″ so the pieces are small.  She never did make B and I didn’t make C.  Maybe we could start again.  It was a fun concept.

I found a plastic zipper bag with a partially made wall hanging.  All the pieces are cut out and some are sewn together.  The pattern is very confusing.  It calls for 25 squares that have a border.  The diagram has only 21 blocks like that.  I’ll have to start from the first instruction and take it step by step.

I’m not in a hurry to finish the UFOs as most of them will go in the give away bin.

Have a great day and happy quilting.



Moda and silly dolls


Today is Wednesday and another Moda block arrived in my e-mail.  This is block 49 and very easy to make. It is a 6″ block.  The block consists of four half square triangles, four sets of two flying geese and a single block.  It went together easily.


I finished quilting the light green blocks on the challenge quilt today.  Tomorrow, I’ll start quilting the darker green blocks.  Then I will quilt the three borders.  Somehow, the borders take as long to quilt as the center of the quilt.  This quilt needs to be finished in time for the quilt show, so I should concentrate on finishing it.

I watched a you tube video about applique today and  learned a new procedure that I will try as I applique the Flower wall hanging. When I learn a new technique I sometimes use it for a while and then go back to my original way.  I might continue with this technique as it added to what I do already.  The past three nights, I’ve worked on one rose and it’s not finished yet. The new technique should make appliqueing quicker and easier.  When I try it, I’ll take pictures and explain what it is.

Several years ago, I went to a monthly machine embroidery class. We met for two full days in a row each month and had a great time.  One of the fun projects was silly dolls.  IMG_2085

We started by free motion machine embroidering lots of faces.  After the faces were finished, we had to decide if they were male or female.  They were mostly female. I have only one male doll.  The faces were sewn to a round stuffed tube.  Arms were made with wire that was wrapped around a pencil.  The dolls were dressed with scraps and embellished with junk.  The hair was made of yarn or anything that we could find.  It was so much fun to see how the dolls took on personalities when they were dressed. IMG_2086







Here are three dolls that are waiting for arms, hair and clothes.  I still have a box of junk to choose from when I decide to dress them.  IMG_2084





When I was in that class, we didn’t throw anything away.  Not even the threads that we swept from the floor.  We used anything and everything in our work.  Now that I’m not going anymore, I can finally throw fabric and thread in the waste basket.

Have a great day and happy quilting

Dear Jane and the flower quilt

IMG_2082When I started making Dear Jane blocks, I intended to start in the center and work each row around the center block.  Somehow, that plan has gone by the wayside and I am making blocks all over the quilt.  About 1/4 of the blocks are finished so I have a long way to go to finish this quilt.  I’m so glad that I decided to make the quilt in the pot holder method.  That way, when the last block is made and attached to the body of the quilt, the quilt will be finished.  All the remaining block patterns have been printed. Some of the blocks are very easy with just a few pieces.  Others are much harder and need to be hand sewn.  There are a lot of applique blocks.  As soon as the Moda quilt is finished, the Dear Jane will be the only long term quilt to make.  No more blocks of the week or the month for me this year.  I have to many unfished quilts to finish.

IMG_2081I designed the border of the Flower Quilt today. It was a lot of fun.  I used the flower patterns that were in the body of the quilt.  This is an unusual quilt as I decided the quilt size and designed the quilting pattern before I began.  The flowers fell in place where they belonged.  I’ll start appliqueing soon and show the progress from time to time.

Have a great day and happy quilting.

Moda Blockhead

Two more Moda Blockhead blocks are finished.  Not many more to go.  I started to put some of the blocks together.  One quarter is finished, but the last three quarters have blocks that haven’t arrived yet.  I still have lots of the Japanese fabric and decided to piece the backing with that fabric.  There are some large pieces so it won’t take long to make the backing.  I can have the backing ready by the time the last block shows up. I can start quilting the first quarter and then quilt the others as soon as I receive the last block.

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The Sweet Pea from David Taylor’s class is finished. IMG_2078

I made a facing instead of a binding.  The edge looks different when made that way.  The Good Housekeeping magazine had  an article about pink leaves.  They were so pretty.  I thread painted the sweet pea  leave like one of the leaves.   A copy of the picture is in my file so that I can make leaves like the ones shown in the future.  Inspiration comes in many different ways. IMG_2079

Have a great day and happy quilting.

Flower Garden wall hanging

IMG_2070The applique on the center of the Flower Garden is finished.  Or so I thought.  It’s amazing what one can see in a picture.  The right side is a little lower than the left.  I think that I have to add some small leaves to even it out.  That won’t take long.  I just have to find the time to do it.


I had found a quilting pattern on another quilt in a magazine. I liked it very much and designed this wall hanging with the quilting pattern in mind.  There is a lot of very close quilting.  I had originally planned to hand quilt but after having David Taylor’s class, I might machine quilt.  I can decide that when all the appliqueing is finished. Now that the main body is appliqued, I have to design the border.

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When I design floral applique, I start with colored pictures of flowers and place them on paper.  I use an end roll of newspaper that I bought at the Concord Monitor.  I draw  squares or rectangles that are the exact size of the finished project.  The flowers can be moved around until I like what I see.  This can be done several times, each time taking a picture so that I can compare them and decide which one I want to use. I don’t use the flower pictures for the applique patterns.  I use them for their color.  I have several of Nancy Pearson’s flower patterns and like to use them for the flowers. I cut out the flower patterns that I need and glue them to freezer paper in the spot where they will be appliqued.  IMG_2074

Using a light box, I copy the completed freezer paper pattern to heavy weight stabilizer.  It is the permanent pattern with a lot of information.  The color value, Light, medium dark, etc.,  is written on each part of the flower.  Also the order that the pieces are sewn down and markings for pieces that do not have to be turned under as another piece is appliqued on top of it.  This seems like of lot of work, but the stabilizer is used for placing the pieces in the right position on the fabric. The stabilizer is placed on a light box with the fabric on top.  The pieces are pinned one at a time and sewn down  to the fabric in the proper position.   I don’t have to pencil the flowers on the fabric.  That way, I can change the type or size of a flower if I want to.  It allows for a little wiggle room.

The sweet pea is quilted.  I saw a quilting show tonight that told how to make a facing instead of a binding.  It looked interesting. I might try that.

Have a great day and happy quilting.



Last Friday night, David LaValley from the Bittersweet Fabric Shop gave a talk at the Guild meeting.  He spoke about thread and needles.  We learned a lot about thread and using the right needles in our machines.  He had some supplies and I bought purple machine quilting  needles and some Teflon needles to use if I make something with fusible applique.  It’s always nice to be able to buy something that will make quilting easier.  I did use the purple needle today and it made a smooth stitch.  I also bought a little black plastic thing that holds a needle when a needle is replaced in the machine.  It does work.  It was much easier to change the needle.  I have always had trouble hitting the right spot.

On Saturday morning we had a rescheduled class with David Taylor.  He taught invisible machine applique.  I did have the same class last year at the Vermont Quilt Festival, but wanted a refresher.

IMG_2065The other students made a small piece with an apple tree, a basket and a wine bottle.  I had already made that piece last year, so I was able to make a sweet pea piece.  I was given a beautiful piece of hand dyed fabric to use for the sweet pea. It took a while to position the freezer paper pattern on the fabric. I wanted the lights and shadows to be in the right spot. I took two pictures of the pieces with different colorations and decided which one looked better.



When the sewing machine settings were just right, I took a picture of the screen so that I could finish at home if I didn’t finish in the class.  I can also use the setting to make other projects.


The applique was finished this morning.



IMG_2064David has a CD that teaches how to quilt pictorial quilts.  The CD is short, but it has a wealth of information. He quilts slowly on a Sweet Sixteen.  All the instructions can be transferred to a domestic machine. When I started quilting I found it harder to forget my way of quilting than to quilt his way.  David recommends using the stop and start button when quilting.  I found that hard to do at first, but by the third petal, I was remembering to push the button to stop. After a little while, I really enjoyed quilting his way.

IMG_2068He quilts with variegated thread.  I have some, but not the right colors so had to use plain thread. The thread is the same in the top and bobbin.  The quilting starts in the middle and works out to the sides.  Each petal has to be completed before going on to the next one so there are many thread and bobbin changes within each petal. It was worth winding all the bobbins before I started.  Every thread is pulled to the back, knotted, and buried between the layers.  This seems to take longer but when you are done, the back doesn’t need to be cleaned up.  The tension can also be checked on a regular basis. IMG_2069

Maybe, I can make the old world Santa wall hanging, now that I am comfortable with this procedure.  I’ve had the pattern for years.

Have a great day and happy quilting.



This and That

The past few days have been busy, but there are no new quilts to show.  The quilt show is coming up soon and my quilts have to be ready.  I’ve been sewing binding on the back of quilts.  Also sewing sleeves so the quilts can be hung.

I have one more quilt to quilt before the show and started working on it yesterday.  I had already stitched in the ditch around the alternate blocks to stabilize the area where I would be quilting.  After I quilted one block, I removed the quilt from the sewing machine to see if I liked it and to check the tension.   In doing that, I noticed that two blocks were incorrect.  There is a definite color on each corner and the colors were not where  they were  supposed to be on those two blocks.  Fortunately, the blocks are on the outside row as they have to be removed and sewn in the right orientation.  It was very frustrating.  I solved that problem by turning off the sewing machine, leaving the room and shutting the door. There are times when we just have to walk away,   Today is a new day and I can deal with the mistake.  Tonight was spent unsewing,  One block is out and the other is almost out.  I’ll resew them tomorrow and continue quilting.  If I concentrate, the quilt can be finished before the weekend.

I’ve decided to not make any new blocks of the week or long term quilts this year.  Last year, I had four long term quilts.  The Moda Blockhead, Splendid Sampler, the Temperature Quilt and Dear Jane.  The Moda Blockhead is almost finished. I only made 20 blocks for the Splendid Sample.  Others are continuing on with more blocks.  I will sew the blocks into a top when I find a setting that I like.  The Temperature Quilt is finished and  will be in the quilt show.  Dear Jane will be a work in progress for a long time.

IMG_2058I found a few small quilts that I made several years ago.  The teddy bear and the cat are applique with embellishments.  I’m not sure why I didn’t quilt the background.  They were made while I was still hand quilting everything and I probably didn’t think that they were worth quilting.  It wouldn’t take much time to machine quilt the background and finish them. I’ll do that some day when I have nothing else to do. I could use them for free motion quilting practice. IMG_2057




In my sewing room are many tools and patterns that I bought on impulse, thinking that I would use them right away.  It would be a nice project to use them at least once. Then, if I didn’t want to use them again, I could find someone who would like them.  Tools are not worth much if they sit there and are not used.

Have a great day and happy quilting.

Annie Louise

It’s March and Annie Louise needs a new dress.  I have pictures of my ancestors in their beautiful dresses and plan to reproduce some of them for Annie Louise.  In the early 1900s, ladies wore white dresses that were trimmed with lots of lace.  It was their best dress up dress.


In this picture, the two young ladies are wearing their white lace dresses.  I’m amazed at their tiny waists. Annie Louise’s body has the same measurement on her bust, waist, and hips.  Her dress has to be straight and not curvy.  I believe that the girl on the right is my Grandmother.  Annie Louise’s March dress will be like the dress on the left.





I drew a cartoon of the dress with as many embellishments that I could see in the picture.

The sleeves look as if they have pin tucks and one row of lace.IMG_2050




IMG_2051The yoke has flat lace in the front.   Gathered lace goes around the collar and down around the yoke.




There is a flower at the waist line. IMG_2049




IMG_2052There are two rows of ruffles at the bottom.

I haven’t made clothes for years. Especially, doll clothes.  I do have lots of patterns, pictures, and a cd with a complete batch of magazines about doll clothes from that era.  When I made her everyday dress, I made a muslin first before I cut the good fabric.  I use the muslin for the basic pattern.  Then I can add embellishments or tweak the good fabric to fit the muslin.  I think that I might make the second dress at a later time.  The skirt needs to be fuller and the lace larger.  One can always use two white lace dresses. Quilting had a rest today.  We need to do something else from time to time.

Have a great day and happy quilting.