One of the best things about being a blogger is to read the blogs of others who have the same interests.  Recently, I read Laura Kates’s blog which she named “Crazy out of control scrap heap”.  At the end she said “Who of you has solved the Scrap dilemma, and will you share your solution with me, a frustrated fiber artist. ”

I really haven’t solved the dilemma, but I’m working on it.  In the past, when I took a class, the other students started placing their scraps on my table.  I even robbed the waste basket after class.  It was during the time that I was making my Garbage to Gaa-Barge art quilts.  I used every little scrap for those pieces.  I even made pieces with leftover threads.  I had organized  the tiny scraps in baggies. Each baggie was color coordinated.   I used the colored fabric like paint.  I threw nothing away.  Now, several years later, I’m no longer working on that project and  finally cleaned out that bin and threw most of it away.  I felt guilty for about one half of a second.

IMG_2638I still have lots of scraps.  In a perfect world, I have a good system for taming them. Of course, I don’t always put them where they belong.  I do have a bin for fabric that I might “file” in the right drawer some day.   I bought four Ikea wire drawer units.  They are stacked two tall and are in closets. The drawers can be removed and the fabric dumped out to check for what I need. These scraps are the larger ones.  The scraps are folded and each color has it’s own drawer.  There are drawers with Asian fabric, Ginny Beyer fabrics, solid fabrics, etc.  IMG_2637

IMG_2639There is a drawer with purchased pre cuts and panels. It would be nice if the fabric would stay folded, but after looking through a drawer to find what I need, I don’t always refold.


IMG_2635Once in a while, when I finish a project, I will make my own precuts.   I cut 10″, 8″ 5″, 3 1/2″ and 2 1/2″ squares.  They are stored in a plastic drawer unit, waiting for the right project to come along.



IMG_2640   IMG_2641Then, there are the Mile A Minute scraps.   They seem to grow overnight when I’m not looking.  I thought that I had used them up  but I found two big bins in the attic.  Fortunately, I’m teaching a class at the Guild and will give them away to the students.  The scraps are in all colors.  I’ve separated them into strips and scraps.  The fabric has been pressed and is ready to use.

IMG_2636I kept the blue fabric that was left over from the Canadian 150 quilt in a separate bin that I bought at the Dollar Store.  I’m making a few samples for the Mile A Minute class with this fabric.  When the samples are finished, the left over fabric will go in the bags with the other fabric.   Hopefully, all this fabric will be gone by the end of the class.  Of course, I can always make a few more Mile A Minute blocks.

The best place to store scraps is in a quilt, so bring them out and sew them together.  The quilt doesn’t have to be big.  Table runners, place mats, mug rugs, tote bags, charity and baby quilts, etc. are all small projects that can be made quickly using scraps.

I hope that I helped you with your dilemma, Laura Kate.

Have a great day and happy quilting.



IMG_2633It is so good to finish a few quilts and blocks.   My plan is to take each UFO, one at a time,  from the pile and finish it.  I’ve finished two more Dear Jane blocks.  There is one more pieced and quilted  block to bind.  After that, I plan to piece the block that is numbered A3.  I had already pieced it, but I didn’t like the way it looked, so I will make it again.  Row A will then be complete and then I will start piecing Row B.  Dear Jane isn’t really a UFO.  It is a long term project that I work on between quilting other things.  Eventually, I will finish the quilt.IMG_2632

IMG_2629I found a partially quilted quilt hanging on a hanger in the closet.  It has been an UFO for a very long time.  I originally started to hand quilt it.  The last time that I pulled it out, I machine quilted a portion.  Yesterday, I finished machine quilting it and started to bind the quilt.  It’s a planned scrappy quilt.  The red and green fabrics make it look almost like a Christmas quilt.




IMG_2631The back is a surprise.  It is pillow panel of wild animals. The panel was one that I bought years ago when I purchased yardage from a discontinued quilt shop.   I’ve used most of that yardage but I’m still finding ways to use the little bit of fabric that is left.

I have several more large quilts to quilt, but I think that I will finish the pile of smaller ones first.  The next piece that I’ll quilt was pieced at least 20 years ago.  It was made during a period when I used a lot of brown fabric in my quilts.  Throughout the years, it has come to the surface of the unfinished pile and I always have put it back on the bottom.  Now, I am going to finish it and not save it for later.  The batting is basted on the top, but somehow, it has lost the backing.   I’ll find something else to back it.  Today, I sewed the binding on a small piece.  I had quilted it with the hand quilting look on the sewing machine.  I like that look and I think I will quilt this wall hanging using that stitch.  I don’t know why I don’t use it more often.

Ideas for new quilts are in my head, but I have to concentrate on finishing what I’ve already started.

Have a great day and happy quilting.



]t is October already.  Where did the summer go?  I am back home in New Hampshire.  The Maine house is closed for the winter.  I expect that it will take over a week to organize the combining of houses.  Sewing supplies are in  the sewing room, but not where they belong.  The pantry supplies were just placed  in the pantry cupboard.  I haven’t sewed or quilted for over a week.  The organizing will have to wait until I spend a few days sewing.


I decided to take a few minutes to change the quilt on the wall behind the sofa.  The quilt for the summer was an easy one with simple blocks.


IMG_2622The new quilt was made in a class that I took in Vermont many years ago.  The teacher told us what colors to use.  They were out of my range of colors.  When the quilt was finished, I didn’t like it.  A few years later, I won a certificate for long arm quilting.  I didn’t know the quilter or her work, so I decided to send this quilt to her.  When I received it back, it was beautiful.  She made the quilt come alive.  Now, I like it very much.IMG_2621




My Maine quilt Guild has a challenge every year.  This year, we set aside two magazines.  A number was drawn.  We could use that page on either magazine to make what was on the page or use it for inspiration.  Page 30 was chosen.  Page 30 on the first magazine was just written ads.  The second magazine had a beautiful quilt.IMG_2628




IMG_2627 2Several years ago, I was flying from Salt Lake City to Arizona.  As we flew over the canyons, I looked out the window and remarked that I would like to make a quilt in those colors someday.  The quilt on page 30 had all the canyon colors.

I liked the way that the teal colors melted from light to medium to dark.  After I figured out how to make the block, I decided to paper piece all the blocks.  It was difficult to find the right colors and mine are a bit darker than the original. The center light orange strips are quilted in a hoop.  All the rest is free motion quilted.


IMG_2625I was reading some older magazines that a friend had given me.  In the May/June 2008 Fons and Porter Love Of Quilting magazine, I found an article by Gerald E Roy.  It used a lot of half square triangles.  I had cut a lot of scraps in 2 1/2″ squares and wondered what size they would finish if I made them in the accordion method.  They finished at 2″ so I decided to reproduce the old quilt in this size.


The quilt has 100 nine patch blocks.  Each block has three light, three dark and three half square triangles made with light and dark.  I’m glad that I didn’t think that I would need 300 half square triangles, 300  light blocks and 300 dark blocks when I started.  I still have lots of 2 1/2″ squares left.  I may use them as beginners and enders to use them up.

It was so good to get back to piecing and finishing this quilt.

Have a great day and happy quilting.






Grandmother’s Flower Garden

My daughter and her husband came to visit me this weekend.  We had a great time visiting and sewing,  My daughter makes Grandmother Flower Garden quilts.  It is the only pattern that she makes and she hand pieces every hexagon.  Each quilt is different, either by color or by the way the hexagons are placed.


She is working on a quilt that has fall colors.  When she laid it on the floor to see where the next flower should be placed, the quilt inspector checked it out.  It passed inspection.



She has her own quilt inspector , Rufus.



Each quilt is very different than the others.IMG_8691




I had finished the Grandmother Flower Garden quilt that my mother had started and had hexagons left over.  I gave them to my daughter.  She finished making her quilt much faster than I did.

IMG_1378            IMG_8960

my quilt                                                       her quilt


My first quilt was a Grandmother’s Flower Garden.  My husband’s grandmother taught me how to make it.  I used left over cloth from the clothes that I made for my children’s school clothes.  Nana had a green border on all her Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilts so she taught me to make it that way.

It is enjoyable to have someone to sit and sew with you.  Quilting was meant to be shared.

Have a great day and happy quilting.


half square triangles and play time

There are many different ways of making half square triangles.  I have tried a few of them.  Recently, I tried the accordion method. With this method every half square triangle can be a different color.  My favorite method , up to this point, has been making half square triangles with the Tucker Trimmer ruler.  These half square triangles are made two at a time.  What if you want to make a lot of half square triangles that are the same color.

I have seen a method to make eight squares at a time and thought that I would try it.   I have several pre cut 5″ squares and wondered what size the squares would be when finished.

IMG_2594Draw a diagonal line both ways on the one 5″ square.  Layer two squares right sides together and sew 1/4″ on each side of both lines.


Cut the square in the middle horizontally and vertically.  Also on the drawn diagonal lines. IMG_2595




IMG_2596Using the Tucker Trimmer, find the largest triangle, place the line on the stitch line and trim the edges.  With a 5″ square, I could trim a 2 1/2″ square, making a finished 2″ square.  Press open to the dark side.

After I made the half square triangles with 5″ squares, I made them with 6″ squares, 8″ squares and 10″ squares.  Now when I need a specific size half square triangle, I know what size to cut the original square.

You could make two pinwheels or the points of an Ohio Star block with the eight half square triangles.



What if I made half square triangles from eight pairs of fabric.  Each piece would produce two pinwheels.  I could use twelve for the inside of a mini quilt and the remaining four for the corners.  Then, I would have a piece to practice machine quilting with rulers.

One if the rulers was a clam shell.  I started from the bottom and made a row from right to left.  Then I went back from left to right.  It was so easy to quilt with this ruler, but the rows weren’t lining up. I couldn’t see where to line up the rows.  There must be another way to quilt clam shells and have them come out right.

IMG_2585I put everything aside and decided to play with the rulers and figure out how to use  them.  The solution for the crooked clam shells was simple.  Originally, I started quilting on the bottom and went above the first row to quilt the second row.  I couldn’t see where to line  up the clam shells.  I turned the practice piece around and quilted the clam shells on the bottom up side down.  Then, when I quilted the second row, I could see the top of the first row and adjust the ruler to the right spot.

I’m not sure if I will take out the bad stitching on the mini quilt and requilt it the right way or just leave it and start quilting the right way from where I left off.  It would look much better if the whole quilt was quilted properly.

I played around with the other rulers and had a lot of fun.  There are stipples, clouds, circles, ribbons, curves and feathers.  When I want to use them in a project, I probably will make a quilt sandwich and practice a while before I quilt the new quilt. It would prevent unquilting,   I could make a lot of 10″ quilt sandwiches for each practice.  When there were enough, they could be put together in the lap quilt method.  It would be a free quilt.

IMG_2586 IMG_2591   IMG_2592   IMG_2588

It will take a lot of practice to perfect the ruler technique, but it will be fun to try.

Have a great day and happy quilting.

Birds and Birdhouses

Earlier this summer, the Maine Guild was challenged to make a block that was either a bird or a birdhouse. The names of the quilters who make the blocks were put into a drawing and I won the blocks.  This was so exciting.

They are so beautiful.  It will be so much fun to put them into a wall hanging.  I could size it so that it would fit over the sofa in my living room.  That way, I would think about  my guild friends in Maine all winter long while I’m in New Hampshire.

I expect that I will move them around on the design wall for a while until I find just the right placement. I don’t have a design wall yet but I have had the plans for one in my head for a long while.  This will be my inspiration to finally make one.

IMG_2571 IMG_2576 IMG_2575   IMG_2574 IMG_2573 IMG_2572   IMG_2570   IMG_2569   IMG_2568   I have patterns for other bird houses and might add some more to the mix if I need more.

I’ve been machine quilting the Page 30 challenge.  The center is almost finished.  I have two more patterns to quilt.  The border is being quilted in two passes.  The first is done and I’m part way around with the second.  Unfortunately, I have run out of the thread that I’m using.  I’ll get some more next week.  There is enough of the border quilted so that I could sew around the edge to stabilize it and add the binding.  It should be finished in time for the reveal.

I did quilt a little on the Amish Thistle quilt.  I do hope to finish it some day.  It was started over thirty years ago and is being heavily  hand quilted with black thread.  The quilt has a center applique and is pieced in a medallion style.  Some of the rows are pieced blocks and some are solid black fabric. The feather quilting template for one of the rows was lost for a while.  I looked everywhere for it.  I did try Press and Seal as a pattern for one side of a row, but it does not work with hand quilting.    When I was unpacking boxes after moving, I found the template.  It wasn’t where I would expect it to be.  I had no idea how it got there.  I should concentrate on quilting the Amish Thistle and get it done.

Have a great d ay and happy quilting.


What If ???

I enjoy making quilts that start with a what if.


A friend gave me two big boxes of quilting magazines.  While looking through them, I saw a beautiful log cabin quilt and wanted to make it.  The quilt is called Flower Garden Cabins.  It was designed by Doris Heitman for her daughter Leslie Schmidt.  The pattern was in a 1997 issue of Homes and Gardens Quilts.  It finished at 49 1/2″ square.

One of the pages had little log cabin blocks showing the colors for the blocks and how many to make of each coloration.  What if   I copied the blocks and paper pieced the little blocks for a mini quilt?IMG_2548

In one of my stash drawers there are several bunches of coordinated fabric samples that I won at a quilt shop open house.  What if I use  one of these batches of fabric to make the quilt?  I found one bunch that was muted reds.  There were no green bunches of sample fabrics, so I pulled from the green scrap drawer.

IMG_2551It does take longer to make a mini quilt that one would think.  There are as many seams, but they are shorter,  The quilt finished at 22″ square.  There are thirty six 2″ log cabins with two borders.  I sewed a sleeve on the back in case I want to hang it on the wall,  It’s also a perfect table topper.

While I was sewing this mini quilt, another what if  quilt popped into my head.  This one will wait a while until I finish another quilt that is in process.

Miss Molly and I have been sitting on the porch swing, enjoying the good weather.  It is the greatest place to read and do hand quilting.   I tried to applique more flowers for the flower wall hanging, but the breeze kept blowing the fabric across the porch.   I’ll have to do that on rainy days inside the house. The August gardens are still colorful in spots.  The Cosmos is blooming.  Also the Allium and Maximillian Sunflowers.  The Hollyhocks are shorter than usual this year, but still beautiful. Maybe, they need a little food.

Have a great day and happy quilting.