Miss Molly had a visitor the other day.  Her friend, Rufus came to visit.  Even though Miss Molly is a Wire Fox Terrier and Rufus is a Bagle ( Beagle/Basset Hound), they are both working dogs.  Their job is Quality Control Inspector.  They work very hard to inspect quilts. IMG_9864




IMG_2685After a hard day at work, they are taking a much needed rest.  I can imagine that they are discussing their work and how much they enjoy it.  Miss Molly was generous enough to let Rufus sleep on her quilt.


Last Friday, I taught another Mile A Minute block class.  It is so much fun to teach.  The class seemed to enjoy it. The block is so easy to make.  There are no rules, no seams to match and they always come out perfectly square.  I was able to give away some of the strips and scraps that are used for the block.  I still have a lot left.  I’ll put them away as I don’t need to make any more for a while.

I had made several small examples this summer.


The Mile A Minute block can be placed into any other block that has a six inch space. IMG_2694




IMG_2693Did you know that if you insert one inch strips into a block, the block will be the same size when it is finished.  I cut the Mile A Minute block in quarters and inserted strips.  When placed in the Attic Window setting, it looks like windows.


IMG_2695I was looking for some fabric when I found some cute kitten fabric.  I was inspired to fussy cut the kittens and place them in the middle of the block.  In three hours, I had enough blocks to make this cute baby quilt. The sashing and borders didn’t take long.  It just needs quilting and some baby will have a pretty quilt.

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I’ve finally started to put away the things that I brought back from Maine last month. The leftover fabric is put away into the proper drawers.  As is most of the fabric that I found all around the sewing room.  I have over 200 Mile A Minute blocks that need to go into quilts.  Also the Splendid Sampler blocks that will go into a quilt some day.  The UFO bin is getting larger, not smaller.  I’ve been thinking about working on the Cynthia England wall hanging again.  It is about two thirds finished.  It will be beautiful when it is finished, but it takes a lot of concentration to put the pieces in the right places.  It’s a good thing that I like to paper piece.

Have a great day and happy quilting.

More Little Things

I have been squeezing quilting in between appointments, grocery shopping,  and meetings.  There doesn’t seem to be much time to sew or quilt.  I have discovered one thing about having limited time to sew.  If I try to finish a UFO that has been around for a long time, I feel bogged down.  There must be a reason why it is a UFO in the first place.  For the past week, I’ve been trying to machine quilt a wall hanging. I know that it’s an older quilt because the main color is brown.  There was a period of time when I made a lot of brown quilts.  I think that this is the last one.

It is not fun working on this quilt.  It’s not a bad quilt.  As a matter of fact, it’s very pretty.  I’m machine quilting it with a walking foot which was a bad decision.  It would have been better to free motion quilt it.  I do have to finish it the way I started it.  The quilt is going to go in the give away bin anyway.  I think that I will put it aside in a bin that is labeled ” UFO’s to finish when I am desperate for something to do. ”  I may put other UFO’s  in the bin with it and hide everything in the attic.

After I came to this decision, I decided to do something that I really enjoy.  I haven’t worked on the Flower wall hanging that I intend to put above the sofa in the living room. Applique is very relaxing and fun.  The center applique is finished.  I cut the fabric for the outside border. It is not sewed onto the center yet.  I marked the top border and started to applique the flowers from the center to the edge. Some of the flower centers were already appliqued.  I like to applique the whole flower in it’s place.  I am almost to the outside edge where the flowers turn and go down the edge.  On my next free day, I’ll sew the border fabric on the  center so that I can turn the corner when I get there.  It will take a long time to finish this wall hanging, but it is fun to do hand sewing.

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I’ve finished sewing three more Dear Jane blocks.   I quilt them when I go to a sit and sew.  It’s nice to have a little project to work on.  I haven’t started Row B yet.  When I sorted the finished blocks, I discovered that I have finished 1 to 9 in Row J.  I’m sewing them together when I have a few minutes to sew.  It’s another hand sew project.

Have a great day and happy quilting.






Little Things

I have been working on several little things this week.  Some sewing and other little housekeeping things that took longer to think about than to do.

organized some scraps that a friend gave me.  Some were too large for the mile a minute block, so I put the large scraps aside to make mini quilts.  The fabric will not be placed in my stash. I should be able to make five or six minis with the scraps.   One mini quilt top is finished.  The second one is planned.  The first mini center was paper pieced.   It is called Carol #1. IMG_2660

It shouldn’t take to long to quilt.  I’ll practice ruler quilting on this small piece.


IMG_2664A bed quilt came back from the long arm quilter.  The binding is on and half sewed down.  The quilt was made with block patterns from Kimberley Einmo’s block book.  I used solid fabrics for this quilt.  The solid fabric drawer is still full.  This is the second quilt that I’ve made from Kimberley’s book.  I plan to make quilts with all 250 blocks eventually. The blocks in her book seem large after working on Dear Jane’s 4 1/2″ blocks.

IMG_2666   IMG_2665

I’ve been working on Dear Jane blocks.  Row A is finished.  It is quilted, bound and sewn together in the potholder method.  I can no longer use the Dear Jane EQ CD.  My old computer died and the new one will not accept the CD.  Before I lost the computer, I had printed out the patterns for rows B and C so I can make those two rows.  Row D is already made as well as some of the blocks in other rows.  I can figure out how to make the remaining blocks from the diagrams in the book.  I enjoy making the Dear Jane blocks between other projects.   It is good to have a small project to either quilt or bind when I go to a sit and sew.

IMG_2663I’ve printed the chart for the block placement and inked the finished blocks so that I would know which blocks were left to sew.  The first three blocks from Row I are missing.  I sewed them today and they are ready to quilt and bind.  The little blocks don’t need much quilting so they are finished quickly. I will be working on this quilt for a long time.

Row J blocks, #1 to #8 are quilted and bound.  The are ready to sew together.





My appointments are done for the week  so I can spend the next two days in the sewing room.  It will be fun.

Have a great day and happy quilting.

Quilt Backs

When I started to quilt, most quilts used muslin for the backs.  We hand quilted with off white thread.  There was no such thing as machine quilting.  After a while, coordinating fabric was used for the backs.  Machine quilting became the way to finish a quilt.

When I first started to quilt, I bought enough fabric to cover all the back of the quilts.  There were many times that I was just a few inches short of fabric for the backing.  I would either add a strip of coordinating fabric in the center of the fabric or add a border all around the backing.

IMG_2648     IMG_2647

There are times when two strips can be added.

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The modern quilt movement has given me many ideas for backings.  The backings can be made with scraps left over from the front.

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IMG_2652   IMG_2651

IMG_2653I had purchased the remains of fabric bolts from a closed quilt shop.  There were several bolts of pillow panels.  I didn’t want to make pillows and used the yardage for backs. This one worked for a masculine quilt.




The traditional Hunter Star quilt has a back that was made with some mile a minute red blocks for a modern quilt look.


IMG_2642Last year, I made the Blockbuster quilt with Japanese fabric.  I had a lot of that fabric left over and pieced the back.


I cut some of my scraps in 2 1/2″ strips and made a jellyroll quilt.  It has been on a hanger in the closet for a while.   I think that it would make a perfect back for a scrap quilt.


On occasion, I will buy 108″ wide fabric for backing. It works fine for large quilts that I send to the long arm quilter.  With all my scraps, I can make my own yardage for the quilts that I quilt myself.

I have a large pile of quilt tops that need quilting.  If I find two that are the same size, I can use one for the top and the other for the backing.   A two sided quilt will be nice and the pile would be smaller much faster. Then, I can make more tops

Have a great day and happy quilting.


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.

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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.

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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.