Continuing on

I have done what I said that I would not do. I have so many ufos to finish, I said that I would not start a new block of the month or another long-term project. I follow a blog that is written by the most awesome talented woman. She knits, paints wonderful artwork and quilts. She belongs to a group of women who are making a Stay At Home Round Robin. Her SAHRR center was unusual. I thought about two embroideries that I had in a bin of quilt parts. A friend had made the embroideries and gave them to me. I gave in and decided to join in making a SAHRR using one for the center of an “art” quilt.

This piece has many things to look at. There are two horses, a man that appears to have no head. a hand, chain, numbers and lots of other unusual things. Looking at it, I realized that it was made from analogous colors, plus one, the gold, from directly across on the color wheel.

I will pull the fabric with these colors from my hand dyed bin. The first row was curves. They were easy to make. The background is a creamy mottled light brown. It actually is the same color as the brown square in the bottom row. It is mottled and looks as if the purple curve bled over onto it. I’ve decided to embellish each row with embroidery. I sewed a built-in embroidery on the edges of the insert.

The next row is diamonds. I have an idea what I will do. I want to introduce turquoise, or shocking pink. Hopefully, I can make narrow rows as I want this piece to be small. It’s nice to have others plan the rows.

One of my king size quilts has been under the needle for machine quilting. I’m thankful for the Kangaroo Joey table that holds it up, so the quilting is easy. I quilt a little on this quilt several days in the week. It will eventually be done.

Yesterday, my furnace died. I have a small electric heater. I put it in the sewing room and was comfortable in that room until the repairman came. It forced me to sew and quilt. I even had lunch on a TV tray in the sewing room. It was a good sound when the furnace started up. The day was frigid, so it took a long time for the house to come up to the correct temperature.

One of the ufos was finished. It’s a small baby quilt that I started years ago. There are no babies coming in the family, so I will put it aside for a while. Now, I’ll have to choose another ufo to work on.

One down, many to go.

All the blocks for the second Surprise Mystery Quilt are finished. I need to put them together and add the border. I had made one that finished at 44″ x 44″. The second one will finish at 77″ x 77″ I still have to write the directions for the last four blocks and the final instructions of putting the blocks together and adding the border. The instructions are not due for the newsletter until March and April, so I have a little time to complete them.

Have a great day and happy quilting.

Happy New Year

It’s a new year and I have lots of plans for quiltmaking. While looking for my doll clothes patterns, I came across two plastic boxes. One had fabric and a pattern for a quilt that I had wanted to make last year. Maybe it will be on my list of new quilts this year. The second box had two identical small quilt tops that were charity quilt size. One top was finished and the other one had one more seam to sew. I usually don’t make quilts with the same patterns unless I’m making a different color or size. At first, I didn’t remember making them. Why would I make two alike? I vaguely remember combining two piles of blocks from the bin of orphan blocks into the two quilts. I finished the last seam, and the two quilts are in the to-be-quilted pile. Miss Molly has given her approval of the quilt.

I’ve made the first three blocks for the 2022 Mystery Quilt. Later this week, I’ll write the instructions for February and piece the next three or four blocks. The quilt can be made in seven sizes. I’ve already made one that is 44″ x 44′. This quilt will be 77″ x 77″ unless I add an additional border and make it bigger. The size depends on the cut size of the pieces. All the blocks have sixteen pieces that are either squares or half square triangles. The tones are light, light/medium, medium and dark. The alike blocks are a contrast in tone and/or color to the different blocks.

Block 1 There are thirteen blocks with different patterns and twelve alike blocks in this quilt. The different blocks are made with hand dyed fabric that are pastel tones of the colors in the alike blocks.

Block 2 The center was supposed to be half square triangles, but I made it a square in a square because the fabric was a large print. It looks better whole. There are twelve blocks with this this coloration. All the centers and half square triangles are made. I’ll sew one together each time that I make one of the different blocks.

Block 3 All blocks are labeled with their number so I will be able to place them in the correct position when they are all made.

All my pieces are cut out and the half square triangles are made. I will make the blocks a few at a time between making other quilts.

When I cut the pieces of the blocks and had a small amount of the fabric left over, I cut the scraps into 1 1/2″ pieces. They make a very nice doll bed quilt.

It is finished with a flange binding. It’s a quick and easy way to finish a quilt. No hand sewing.

It’s a good start to the new year. One quilt finished. two more ready to quilt.

I did find the doll clothes patterns. They were right where I put them when I decluttered last year.

Have a great day and happy quilting.

Amish Thistle – 1985

1985 was a good year. I was working outside the home and still had a few teenagers who hadn’t left the nest. The Quilters Newsletter was still in print. I had a subscription and enjoyed reading it. I had actually started my part time teaching career. Several of my coworkers gathered around my dining room table to learn how to quilt and we had fun.

The March Quilters Newsletter came, and it had a wonderful picture of a thistle. The colors were what we considered Amish. It was beautiful and I had to make it in those colors. I enlarged it. It would be the center of my quilt.

At that time, there were very few quilt books. My first book was Make a Medalion by Kathy Cook.

It would be the perfect setting for the Thistle.

In 1985, all my quilts were hand quilted. I started quilting, and quilting, and quilting. This quilt is 107″ x 107″. It is big and heavy. More times than I can say, it was put aside to work on something else. Something that would be finished.

I don’t know why I decided to quilt feathers in a row that was so busy the feathers didn’t show.

It was hard to quilt black on black.

This fall, I decided to work on Amish Thistle until it was finished. 35 years is too long for a ufo. It seemed to take forever, but I was very happy when the last stitch was sewn. I will place it on my bed. The colors are perfect for that room. Miss Molly is ageing and can’t jump up on the bed anymore, so it will be safe. She has spent many evenings on the edges of Amish Thistle as I was quilting.

I still have some older ufos. A few are in the 15-to-20-year range. Most can be machine quilted, but some need to be hand quilted. Maybe my next hand quilted quilt will be a Dresden Plate. It was pieced and appliqued in the last 5 years. The plates are original to the 30’s. A friend gave them to me. The muslin for the squares was included. Her grandmother made them long ago. I found some 30’s fabric for the back, so all the fabric is original to the 30’s. There are a few that are left over and will make a wall hanging. Everything is basted and ready to go.

There are three bed quilts, including the Ugly Quilt, that are waiting to be machine quilted.

It’s time to quilt.

Have a great day and happy quilting.

More Dorset buttons

My garden hoses are ancient, stiff and very heavy. It was time to replace both of them. Amazon had a good buy, so I bought two, one for the back of the house and one for the front of the house. They arrived in the nicest packaging.

It looked to me like a small project bag. A friend had some clear plastic and shared some with me. I made the new bag a little wider and longer. It is perfect. The fabric is from my stash of Japanese Robert Kaufmann fabric. I made and added a Dorset button in the colors of the fabric. The Dorset buttons dress up a project. We had a Christmas Yankee swap at the mini group today and the bag has gone to a good home. I did leave a long thread tail on the button so that she can remove the button if she wants and add it to something else.

I have lots of clear plastic and plan to make more project bags. It’s a quick and easy project. I think that a Dorset button has to be part of the bag.

The program chair from the Guild had asked me to teach Dorset button making. I said that I would if enough members wanted to take a class. I needed something to display the buttons for the presentation. I decided on a small shadow wall hanging.

Make a package of backing, batting, and a white fabric. Three bright fabric pieces are stacked and cut into curved pieces with a rotary cutter. The cut pieces are laid one at a time on the white fabric in the same position as they were originally. Some of the spots are omitted with some of the white fabric showing. A lightweight piece of white fabric is placed over the bright fabric. Everything is pinned carefully. The seams are sewn with built in embroidery stitches. It’s o.k. if the intersections of the embroidery stitches are not pleasing. They can be covered with a button. There will be some curvy pieces left over.

I applied all of the buttons that I had made, even my first few buttons which were not very good. It’s a reminder of how far I’ve come.

An angel. I have a few beads with a hole large enough to be threaded with the tapestry needle. My next lesson will be how to attach beads that have small holes. The smaller beads will make a beautiful addition to the thread.

A Cartwheel button made with variegated thread with a white edging. I’m trying new techniques with each button.

This was supposed to be a butterfly. It would have looked better if the top strands were closer together and the wings were higher. It’s pretty but doesn’t look like a butterfly. I’ll try again sometime. Maybe it needs a bead for a head.

A Christmas wreath. It was made with cotton tapestry yarn, not DMC embroidery floss. It was quicker to make with the thicker yarn.

There were enough people who wanted to take a class. I have until April to improve my technique and be comfortable with teaching something that I had never heard of until a month ago. I am learning more with each button that I make.

I have taken a Zentangle class and absolutely love doing it. This was not bad for my first one. More classes will be held in January, and I will go. The Zentangles look like quilting patterns to me. After I learn a lot more, I want to figure out how to transfer Zentangle to quilting. I purposely did not go online to check out Zentangle. I wanted to go into the class with a clear mind and get my information from the teacher. Zentangle is now put away until January.

The Christmas wall hangings are up. I enjoyed making the house center in the December Miss Rosie quilt. It was fun to decorate the house and add all the embroideries.

Merry Christmas and a Happy new year.

Have a great day and happy quilting.

UFOs and Dorset Buttons

Three ufos have come back from the longarm quilter.

This quilt was made a few years back in a class at the Vermont Quilt Festival. It had been hanging in my closet waiting for me to quilt it. That wasn’t to be and I sent it to my longarm quilter who did a marvelous job with the quilting. I usually name my quilts but this one has not been named.

I didn’t make this quilt. The blocks were inherited from a friend who was a wonderful quilter.

The Shadow Quilt was made at the first and only quilt retreat that I ever attended. I had bought a layer cake of Easy Spirit fabric at Mardens. The layer cakes were cut in half and the sashing was cut before I attended the retreat. I could just sew. The top was finished there and was waiting for the long arm quilting.

I still have a lot of small tops waiting to be quilted. Maybe, I should go through them and send some out to be quilted.

In the meantime, I have been hand quilting the Amish Thistle. It is almost finished. One of the Dear Jane border blocks is pieced. It seems as if I never finish much in the sewing room. There are just a lot of starts.

I’ve been asked to design another Mystery Quilt for the Guild. I’ve finally decided what the pattern should be and have been making the quilt to see if I could divide it into pieces. The quilt will have 25 blocks. Twelve of the blocks are the same. The remaining 13 can be divided up into months. It is a simple 16 patch block which consists of squares and half square triangles. It’s very easy to make. All my sample blocks are made. I’ll put them together this weekend to see if I really like the quilt. Then comes the hard work of making the instructions. More on this later.

I saw a show on TV where Dorset buttons were made. They looked interesting. I sent away for an instruction book. The book came from England by Royal Post in four days. That was impressive. The procedure looked easy. The book said that one could be made in 1/2 hour. After a whole day, my first one was made and it was awful. I was very low on the learning curve. Four buttons later, I made one that was passible. Not good, but passible.

The next few were better. I’m finally understanding how to make them. Still on the learning curve.

Variegated thread makes a pretty button.

I made a bouquet of flowers.

A spiral button.

A rainbow button.

Making Dorset buttons is becoming fun. I haven’t made the half hour, but they can be finished in an evening. It’s instant gratification. I have a file in the computer with pictures of buttons that I might like to make in the future. There are angels, Christmas trees. flowered wreaths, lace edges, beads, and many different beautiful ways of making a button. I have so much to learn. Now, I have to figure out a way of displaying the buttons. I may even add the first few to show how far I’ve come.

Have a great day and happy quilting.

More Art Class Fun

Years ago, I could hardly wait to retire so that I could join the machine embroidery class. I had seen the projects that my friends had made. It looked exciting. On the first day, I was given a silk screen piece of fabric that had leaves. I was horrified that I had to take the presser foot off the machine, drop the feed dogs, and sew with a bare needle. Fortunately, I had a great, patient teacher. I was able to sew without sewing my fingers. The others were ahead of me with this project and their embroidery was wonderful. It was my first experience with metal thread. I sewed with gold, copper, and silver. When I finished the piece, I had it framed.

The piece is behind glass so the flash reflects.

Another project was the little girl. She is in a shadow box in my bathroom. A fabric picture of the little girl was free motion stitched over the print. She has 3D clothes. She even has a “diamond” earing.

Another project was “The Tapestry”. I call the technique back door quilting. Each block was completed before it was put together. We used different techniques in each block. After all the blocks were finished, we laid them out several different ways until we liked what we saw. Then the blocks were sewn together and a backing put on the whole piece.

This block was made with an embroidery in the hoop. The background was quilted in loops.
Another hooped embroidery with scribbles in the background.
A lace overlay. Beading. Jewelry was added in different places.
I had some antique buttons that fit over the circled fabric. They were paired with antique lace..

Neckties were added, along with lace and beads.

A piece of flowered fabric was added and embellished. Pink beads are in the center of the pink flowers.
3D objects were added to a hooped embroidery.
Another antique button in middle of lace doily.
In the hoop embroidery with stippling.
Free motion self standing embroideries attached to fabric.

We had so much fun making this Tapestry. Each one was different, but they all had the same look. Looking at it again, makes me think about making another one with scraps. In the meantime, UFOs are calling.

Have a great day and happy quilting.

Art Class Fun

I went to an art show last week. The artist is a dear friend that I have known for years. She does awesome watercolors and fabric art. Several of us went to her house twice a month for years for machine embroidery lessons. The best benefit of going to learn new techniques was not learning the techniques, but having the friendship of the women in the group. We were a family. As in all families, as time went by, some moved away, some became sick and passed away, and some had to stay at home because of other commitments. Soon, there were just two of us and the group disbanded. This was a wonderful part of my life.

Several of the items that were shown at the art show were things that we had made in class. It’s amazing how many things I still have around the house to remind me of those days.

We made a lot of different pillows. I only have a few left. Most were given away as gifts.

Annie Louise’s pocketbook. It is 1 1/2″ X 3″.

A four sided under water scene bag. Each side was different. I’m only showing two sides.

We made many pocketbooks. This is a two sided pocketbook.

We made small dolls. The faces were free motion embroidered. The arms were make of wire that was wrapped around a pencil. Then we added scraps of cloth, beads, yarn and other things to give them life. We never knew if they were male or female until we started dressing them.

This is the only one with a name, She is Ruth Ann. One of my students, whose name was Ruth Ann, had a wonderful piece of aqua and purple fabric. She gave me a piece to dress this happy doll.

We sewed on paper, plastic, lace, ribbons, and everything we could find. Nothing was out of range for us. These flowers were made from crepe paper.

A few other things.

A gray sweatshirt was cut apart and embellished.


A pocketbook was made to go with the sweatshirt jacket.

There was so much more that we learned. We made books, pictures, clothes, wall hangings, and many other things. Most of all, we made memories.

Have a great day and happy quilting.

Back Yard Fun

Several months ago I saw a blog where a child blew colored bubbles on paper. It was a “what if” moment. What if I colored bubble stuff with dyes and blew different colored bubbles on fabric. I told a friend about my thought and she wanted to dye fabric with me.

Summer went by fast and fall is upon us. If we were to do it, we had to do it now. It was hard to choose a day that it wasn’t rainy or windy. Finally, the day arrived. The weather was perfect. Three of us met in my back yard. Brenda, Candy and I were going to have fun.

I had found a home made bubble stuff recipe. The fabric was prepared for dying. Brenda made wire wands. Then we started to blow bubbles. Nothing happened. Very few bubbles came from the wands. The ones that did either blew away or just left vague colors. We tried and tried, but the project seemed to be a failure.

It was just a bend in the road. We had a great time and turned the project into something else. I scrunched and folded fabric and did baggie dying. Brenda flipped dye from her fingers onto the fabric and made wonderful pieces. The fabric that we dyed was awesome.

One of the background fabrics. Made flipping dye with fingers and brush strokes.

The red was dye on leaves. The blue was from a small bottle. The purple was from dye placed on the bottom of a cover. The yellow was flicked from the fingers.

Made with a paint brush. The colors blended at the intersections and makes a very nice plaid.

This is a great one. The purple and yellow green are great together.

The purple spots have a blue aurora borealis effect’

The fabrics that were dyed to go with the larger background fabrics.

The next day, I wondered if I had used commercial bubble stuff and real wands, the procedure would have worked. The next day, Amazon delivered the products and I went out to try them. The end result was the same, The technique didn’t work but I still had great dyed fabric.

The background fabric. It was a lot of small splatters on a white background. I wondered what would happen if I sprayed it with water. The dyes, especially the yellow, spread and covered most of the white. I was disappointed at first, but now really like how it looks.

The fabric that was dyed to go with the background.

I have a lot of quilts to think about and great fabric to work with. I’m wondering if the procion dye was too heavy and rit or cool aid would be better. That’s for another day.

All’s well that ends well. We had fun and ended up with great fabric.

Have a great day and happy quilting.

Summer is Over

It is a cool fall day. My outside work is all done except for a few finishing touches. I will keep my bistro set and lawn chairs out a little longer in case of a warm day. The shed has been cleaned in preparation for their arrival.

There are only a few more days left to do the dye project with one of my friends. We have to get together soon and have a fun day before the snow flies. The supplies are all gathered. The fabric has been washed and is ready for a nice day. Hopefully, the wind will stop so we can do our project in the back yard.

Four lap quilts have been finished and given to the Guild to give to someone who needs a quilt. They are not great beauties, but will be warm. They are just the tip of the iceberg of my unfinished quilt tops. There are several more to be finished and sent on their way.

Last week I wanted to use a built in embroidery on a project that I had started. I spent quite a while looking for the pattern on the machine. I had made a book of all the embroidery patterns that were built in on my other machines, but never did for this one. The striped fabric has been hanging on a hanger in the closet for a long time. Time to get it out and make a book. This has been fun. I didn’t realize that there were so many beautiful patterns. I’m sewing a row of all the patterns as they come up. After that is finished, I can add pages of patterns that I changed by making them wider, longer or combining patterns.

This has been a fun project.

The Shadow quilt has come back from the longarm quilter.

I made this quilt at a retreat before Covid hit. The quilting is beautiful.

Claire’s quilt is on the way to North Carolina. She is four months old now and a beautiful baby.

Inspiration for a new quilt seems to be hiding. In the meantime, I’ve decided to bring out the ugly quilt and work on it for a while. Maybe, I can finish it and move it on to a new home. It will be a great way to practice new free motion quilting patterns. The quilting should be better as I work my way out to the border. Miss Molly does need a new finished quilt to inspect.

Have a great day and happy quilting.

Random Thoughts

This has been a productive and also a non productive week. I bought a pattern for a cute little fabric pouch. The ad said that it could be made in 30 minutes. It would be instant gratification and I could make a few for the craft fair. The pattern was downloaded and read. Pictures were included with the instructions. I knew that the first one would take more than 30 minutes while learning the technique. Everything seemed to be straight forward. Then, when I did the final turn, it didn’t look anything like the pictures. It was awful. One whole day was spent trying to get it right. I finally put it aside and will deal with it later. I unsewed to a point where I could make a small zippered pouch. At least something is finished.

I needed two birthday presents. Nancy Zieman had a program on sewing bags from squares and rectangles. Nancy said that this bag was easy to make. She was right. I made two cosmetic bags out of double sided quilted fabric. It was so much easier to have instructions that worked. I might make a few bags from this pattern for the craft fair. The double sided fabric in my stash is gone so I might machine embroider some pieces for the bags. It’s a great way to use up scraps.

The bags will be smaller as I have a lot of 7″ zippers in the zipper stash. Instead of two pull tabs, I might make one tab and a strap. Each bag could be different. The original bag had an outside pocket. It might be omitted on a smaller bag. Lots to think about. More to come on this project.

I have received a quilt back from my wonderful long arm quilter. She makes the quilts come alive. This quilt was made from the 10″ block patterns in Kimberly Einmo’s book, Precut Bonanza. The fabric was from the Robert Kaufman Japanese fabric box.

I still have a lot of fabric in that box. I might use it in this year’s mystery quilt. The fourth clue for the mystery quilt comes out today and I haven’t even started. I’ll catch up when it snows.

My Maine guild is doing a rip and tear project, Everyone brings a yard of fabric. They stand in a circle and tear the fabric in half. Save one piece and pass one piece. Rip and tear the new piece that you receive. Keep one piece and pass the other one. Keep repeating until the piece is small. Then, the challenge is to make something out of your pieces. Everyone has the same fabrics but different amounts of each one.

My Concord mini guild did the rip and tear project yesterday. There were five people there. One member was missing, but we ripped and tore fabric for her. We have set the finished date for the project for February. This will be a fun project.

Most of the fabrics are dark. We decided that we could add one fabric for the background.

The weather should be good this week. Maybe I can finish the fall cleanup in the gardens. Some flowers are still there. I saw some morning glories along with the silver lace vine. I had planted some seeds in that spot, but didn’t think that they germinated. It was a nice surprise.

The geraniums are now in the house. Also, some cuttings which will hopefully root this fall and winter. I should also pot the rosemary and basil. They won’t survive outside. I bought a large plant stand that has 11 spots for plants. I need to fill it up.

Two of my Christmas cactus plants survived their vacation outside last summer. One is loaded with buds. The other has none. I’ve taken cuttings from the third one to keep it going. All three are different colors.

It’s a pleasure to work outside now that the weather is cooler. Planning for next year while cleaning up the gardens make the work go faster.

Have a great day and happy quilting.