Saturday, December 23, 2017

Looking Back on 2017 and Forward to 2018

So this has been a strange year.  Personally that is.  I would rather just look ahead hoping that things will get settled soon.

For quilting I didn't do a lot, for blogging I didn't do a lot.  I don't have a lot of things to point to..  Oh well.

2018 Planning Party
After reading Shasta's post, I was reminded that it is nice to make plans for the year ahead.

I'm jumping on the plan for the year bandwagon. If you have a plan, and document progress then it counts! And it is fun to be eligible for new fun the prizes via Yvonne AKA JetGirl's Planning party!

So this year I will work on Leah Day's Walking Foot Class and finish the older Building Blocks project too.  Anything else is frosting on the quilting cake. (I am pretty sure I will at least start the Starry Bright Sky QAL. It looks very pretty and I'm interested in the textured blocks side event too!)

I would like to finish at least three of my older projects and have some quilts that stay in the house instead of going out the door for charity or gifts.  Perhaps the tumbler quilt, the purple and black quilt, and the denim quilt.

I want to continue going thru items in the house so I know what we have, what we need, what we can give away, etc.  A little every month.

I want to have people over on a more regular basis through out the year, not just the winter holidays and birthdays!

I want to get better than what I am now!

and I want to blog to document my journey.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Project 1-2018: Leah Day's Explore Walking Foot Quilting and 2-2018: Leah Day Building Blocks Quilt

I got the eVersion of Leah Day's Explore Walking Foot Quilting book and have been having fun reading bits and pieces.

I hope I can keep up - knew that we are to start with making her rainbow log cabin - 80 inches square - then quilt it all within the first two months. I should have started making the blocks months ago but didn't get the pattern until the book arrived...  Have to have the quilt top done quickly though as during week 4 we will already be stitching in the ditch!  For some reason she then has us switch to a more manageable quilt as you go quilt. Maybe using a walking foot will make the quilting easier so 80 inches will be okay to start with? I don't know.

I don't like mystery quilts so haven't even tried the Leah Day project from the last two years, I'm glad to already have the book and written notes, but will not do anything before seeing the weekly videos! I will need the hand holding and support from that.

I spent today working on what may be the back of my Leah Day Explore Walking Foot Marvelous Mosaic Quilt. The front is where the action will be, and that will be done on solid fabrics so the quilting work will show up clearly!  This is a scrap quilt I was just making with fabric as I came across it (charms I won in a give away, fabric from my mom or Godmother, etc.), or finished up a charity quilt and had fabric to add to the quilt.  Each block is made up of two 4-patches. In an attempt to control the wild look a bit,  each 4-patch I have used always the same fabric that reads as grey.  With a few pinwheels thrown in as I had them... This is a quilt as you go project so the out side of each block will lose an inch so the fabric, that will perhaps make the back more interesting.

Well, I hope I can keep up with Leah's 2018 project timeline.  Now that it's closer it seems impossible, but I will at least give it the college try. I have four more blocks to make and then to decide on the front fabric and make the sandwiches.

I haven't finished her Building Block quilt yet, but it's nicely organized with each block fabric in a zip lock bag with the design to quilt included too so it will be easy to finish.  Okay that will be my second 2018 project to work on!

2018-1 Explore Walking Foot Online Lessons with Leah Day and associated three projects: a-Rainbow Log Cabin, b-Marvelous Mosaic Quilt, c-Prism Path Baby Quilt (Weekly Monday updates from Leah.)

2018-2 Finish the Building Blocks with Leah Day quilt! (On my own.)

Friday, December 15, 2017

Busy, busy - and a Quiltscapes pattern winner!

It will take some time to get a little caught up with the blog, I have been doing so many things.  Some quilt related - some not.  But I've decided to get back into posting so I can look back and remember how I'm spending my days...!

Last week though I discovered the Virtual Cookie Swap blog hop and spent so much time looking at all the recipes and the quilts on the blogs.  So much fun.  Many of the sites had giveaways too so that was even more motivating to read and dream...

I received an email:

So much fun! I just sent her the list of the three patterns that I selected... I picked one that had different sizes figured out, one that was a full bed quilt size (suggested fabric - denim!) and one that results in a quilt that can be scanned.  I know I will learn from reading the patterns, and even more when I start cutting and sewing!

Deonn shared her recipe for Christmas Spritz cookies - somewhere I have one of those presses and will make them. She notes though that if I can't find the press to still make the recipe:  either roll out and use cookie cutter or roll in balls and flatten with the bottom of a glass then bake and enjoy!  Sounds delicious.  I remember making these with my mom and the Brownie troop in our kitchen. 


I already made 3/4 ingredient cookies from the cookie swap - these were delicious!
From: She has a link to all the blogs in the blog hop in her post.

I signed up to be part of the heart blog hop: 

If you'd like to join in, just send Carol an email with your first name, email, blog name and blog URL. Here is a link with her information and more inspiration:

Monday, August 7, 2017

WIP: Cultural Fusion Inspired Sunflower/Star

The project in my class this time is to make a center star design then to surround it with different sized blocks - most of them have been hand or machine appliqued - depicting our 'favorite things'. The other people all jumped in on this.  The design walls are full of cats, fish, flowers, dragon flies, pigs, food, iconic buildings, camping trips and more.  I, however, was drawing a blank.  What were my favorite things?  So for several weeks all I did was observe and learn.

But then I remembered my intent to make all the blocks in the Cultural Fusion book by Sujata Shah! They qualify to me as favorite things. I will probably not be able to put them in the one quilt, but I am making progress finally these week. It has been fun for me to pull out her book and remember the terrific time I had meeting Sujata while a student in two of her workshops.  But I'm also trying to stay focused to have a project to show the teacher and class.  

I warmed up by first grabbing some blue fabrics and cutting squares.  I admired them for a while, then finally made some half square triangles.

My original idea was to have the same sized blocks throughout the project, but I really wanted my yellow star/sunflower to stand out so I moved to larger squares of fabric.  After debating my choices of fabrics, I finally decided on darker oranges and golds for the center, and then mostly brighter yellows for the petals of the flower.

I decided to use Sujata's method for adding some 'leaves' in the corners:

Now I need to pick the size of the blocks...  Hmm, I'm sort of liking having the extra space between the blocks... Well, I'll think about that, but in the mean time will be squaring the blocks up sized by the smallest block.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Expanding the Labyrinth Block Design at The Spruce: Fantastic Stash Quilts

Found this book that extends my idea for the woven frames so much it becomes the entire quilt top!  Her book has a controlled color scrap idea, and uncontrolled too.  Sounds very nice! Without seeing it I recommend at least looking into it - please see the video and link to the book too below!  Video

Referring back to my WIP:

I haven't done any more sewing on this project, instead I have scanned several of my notebooks from my reading masters degree.  Now I can discard them and have more empty space!

I have also scanned more papers from my mom, some recent so I put post-it notes on them to remind me they are scanned and it'll be okay to shred and discard in a few years.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

While Not Sewing I Found These Sites

Licorice All Sorts interpretation of Crazy Mom Quilts Summer QAL
Machine Binding Post
Fabric Basket 
Denim and T-Shirt Quilt
What Happens When One Passes Away (but has a lot of quilting materials)
Nine Patches are the Detail in the Quilt 
 Instead of sewing blocks she is sewing in columns - long seams!
Spring Sampler - Piecing and FMQing - My favorite site now for FMQing fun!
I scanned 10 years of tax returns with supporting documentation.  So many different consulting jobs. It was interesting to see again.  After dinner I'll shred.  The recycle bin is full already so now there are boxes of shredded papers lined up in the hallway...  Two of the unfinished rooms are pretty much empty as I moved their contents to the house for processing.  My original plan was to go thru a few books, scan, donate, discard, return, clean up and then continue - but then decided to bring things into the house.

We went to see Ham Radio Field day set up in Poway, impressive!  Next time we should go on Saturday and perhaps later in the day when it's not so hot.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Another Try at Binding: Inner Corners

Almost done with my interpretation of a class project quilt, and time to think about how I want the edge of the project to be bound.  Instead of regular 90-degree corners, this time I want to do a binding that has at least a few inner corners!

The sites I found to help are:

Added 5-12-17:  Shasta sent me link to a tutorial she prepared on binding too:
Added here as a resource to refer to:   Thanks!

  • Make a small cut into the corner.
  • When you near the inverted corner, draw two lines on batting to show where the needle should be down when you pivot.
  • Stitch to the back then wrap to the front (she only machine finishes). Her inner corners do not have miter, but look nice.  She uses thread to match the fabric.

  • Example shown is a scalloped finish.  I think once I do then the detailed photos will really help me with making the mitered inner corners - and finishing up the binding on a curve. Sews on front then flips to the back.

  • Adds hint of stay stitching at the inner corner, then doing the cut and sewing binding on. Sew on the back, flip to the front. - From

  • Sew on front, wrap to the back.  Stay stitch and cut. GREAT demo. Shows how to adjust the fabric at the inner corner. Using a sample piece and pins.  Her website has other helpful videos.  Can't tell if she is updating things for her $10/month subscription service, or if she has recently moved. Can't find the handout referred in the video, so it must be behind the subscription. There doesn't seem to be an index of what the titles are in the subscription or how her whole system works.  : ( Might be able to buy or check out her books where she has written out the information. Not my Grandmother's Log Cabin might be one of the books she mentions that has the directions.
  • Bindings for different angles, shows non-examples and examples. WELL DONE! From
  • Shows how to add facing to the back of really irregular edged pieces (her example grandmothers garden).  First stay stitch a little closer to the raw edges than the facing will be applied.  Then line up the facing and pin to the top of each point. Sew with contrasting to the back colored thread.  Trim keeping 1/4 inch of the front but remove the batting and back.  Flip over and adjust the fabric, then hand stitch closed. WELL DONE! From

  • Stay stitch with basting stitch a little closer to raw edge than where the binding will be sewn on. Sew on front, flip to back to finish by hand. 
  • Instead of pulling to straighten at the pivot point she pivots then pulls the fabric back to make it straight again when you sew. 
  • Clip a V in the the quilt and binding after it's sewn on so excess fabric is removed and the piece will lay flatter. 
  • She uses a large scissor to do this clipping and isn't particular about the order that she folds the corners.


I cut an old FMQing practice piece to be the shape in the Marci Baker demo.    My binding strips are 3.5 inches.

I marked the quilt to show the pivot point, but for a beginner like me will also mark on the binding when I get near the inner corner.  When folded the binding strip is 1.75 inches.  I will sew half an inch so the binding should end up being half an inch on both the front and the back.

The first actual quilt that I am going to have the inner corners in the binding will have the half inch binding or maybe even wider binding as the color will be part of the design.

Decided I might as well get extra practice with the regular 90-degree corners too so I started at the corner of the practice piece.  It's only been a short while since I did my set of binding practices, but I still had to go back to remind myself how to do things!  I'm glad I have the entries on the blog to remind myself.  I went back to the post and adding the time in the video where the part was that I really wanted to refer to...  

But just in case those videos go away...

Here are my notes to help my future self with regular 90-degree and less corners in bindings.

First 90-degree corner.  I set up so I could see where to place the fabric so I would be joining things 1/2 inch from the raw side. Started sewing the end, and turned to the point when I got near the corner.

Pinched the fabric at the end and brought it up so the fold was even with the side of the corner just sewn.  (Next time remember, it is easier to pinch when the point at the outside is actually a little above or short of the corner of the unseen quilt.) This makes a 45 degree fold on the inside.

Then sewed again with needle the same distance (half inch) away from the raw edges. Used stack of fabric to help the pressure foot stay even.

At this point I stopped to double check that I had done it correctly.  Looks right on the side where I am sewing...

And when I wrap to the other side it looked correct there too!

So now I could see where the inner corner was going to be so I marked the binding.  Double check to be sure the intersection is in the correct place!

I continued sewing the binding on the practice piece until the binding strip ended.  With the pivot points marked and the cut to help the piece be pulled straight it was pretty easy sewing.

Here is the side I sewed onto. (I think for a real project one first sews to the front and then wraps to the back for the hand finish!)

Here is the other side. I did not do the stay stitching that was recommended by several bloggers.  And notice the notch on the left is a little too close for comfort to the stitching...

Enlarged view of notches.  Next time will do the stay stitching! And use smaller scissors. And look for sharper scissors too!

I was excited to see how things were looking.  I could pin the 90-degree corners to check them, but I need to cut the inner corners so they will be flat when the binding is folded for the miter there.
Cut a V shape out of inner corner, to allow the fabric to lie flat.
This photo shows the notch after more angle was removed.
I was trying for a 90-degree notch. This was difficult to do in the 1/2 inch space I had, hard to believe it can be done in 1/4 inch!

Flip it over.  Fold down left then right then hand stitch from center to the seam to create the miter. This will then match the order of the 90-degree corners (so maybe it's right and then left depending on orientation of the piece.)

Here is my hand stitching - need to work on how to do this!  I felt like a little kid when I was sewing the sample binding. My stitches are too loose or long and show too much.

On the back side pull the folded fabric to the left. Then pull down the right side of the binding and then the left side of the binding.  After fiddling, you'll see a nice miter. Pin to hold in place while hand stitching.
For this practice piece, I did hand stitching to for two 90-degree corners and one of the inner corners. Then I did the rest with the machine.

In this photo the hand work is on the left.  Clicking should enlarge the photo.
On the right is the side finished by machine.

In this view the hand work is on the right.  On the left side done with machine, you might notice no miter, the buckling, and the ugly bobbin thread showing so clearly too.  The lady who only does with machine stitching does not cut a notch so that might help with having the fabric be flat for her.

Just in case you missed it, in this photo the machine stitching is on the left.

Okay, so now I can finally appreciate hand finishing a binding.  Even with my primitive stitching it's very nice to not see the bobbin stitching on the back.

But I need to learn how to do the stitching so it doesn't show as much before I do on real projects. I need to learn a consistent way to knot the thread at the beginning and end too!  This exercise though makes me think I can go ahead with my plan for having inner corners on the project I'm working on.

I'm working on my project for the weekly class I take.  (I only did one of the teacher's blocks as I didn't plan correctly and didn't have all the fabric I thought I had but I didn't feel like starting over and doing it all.)  The students who thought ahead are ending up with a lovely quilt.

I'm aiming now to make a small lap size quilt featuring the one teacher block in the center.

I thought I had mastered regular 90-degree binding, so didn't want to just add regular strips to make the project larger.  I practiced half seam construction and added six inches to the width and height.

I decided to add sort of woven frame to the piece, and then one more piece and the binding.  I could of course make a regular square quilt as I have been doing, but scallops or angles in borders is on my list of things to learn, so decided to add inner corners in with this project.

I found the interwoven frame idea in the Labyrinth block design at The Spruce.  Her directions for around a 3-inch center block and my class project block was 18-inches (plus 6) so I had to do some figuring to get her labyrinth frame to fit!

The Labyrinth block is similar to the quilting motif I did in the Leah Day project in 2012 that I really liked.  Leah's design has more background showing and I may prefer that look.  However, I think the Labyrinth block design was easier for me to adapt for finishing this class project.

Leah Day Motif
The Spruce Labyrinth Block

You can see in the Labyrinth it's just a matter of doing the math so the center of the outer orange points are even with the center of the dot in the inner block.

My inner block was 24 inches due to the additional frame I added to the teacher's block.  So it was pretty easy to do the math - I used 6 inches finished as my starting point. (Each of the squares stands for 3 inches.)  My project is now 36 inches square.  So I have the orange points to add, and another something before I'm ready to make the back and binding.

In class we were given a block to enlarge on graph paper and then show at least six different ways to piece.  Then we had a diagram of the block in a plain setting for a quilt, 6 blocks by 6 blocks.  We had to use any shade of red for one feature in each block, and then use the same background in each block - but could change the colors.  That was pretty limiting.  We had to do 6 times.  Our homework for next week is to do (6 times) and new setting - this time we can change the background colors within a block and we can change the way the pieces are cut to add more of them. Still limiting but I bet people will come up with dazzling papers!  We are also supposed to bring real fabric to consider using in making the quilt. And that will be my downfall.  I can enlarge and do the math to determine the size, and I can even dream about colors or shades of colors to add interest.  But once I have to bring the fabric it's really, really hard as that brings the exercise back to reality.

I guess the other people in the class all know how to do the mechanical part of making a quilt, they really enjoy picking out colors and fabric and working with that part of the hobby to sew up the teacher's designs. And most of them actually end up with a finished quilt by the end of the class.

It seems a little like coloring by the numbers when we just make the teacher's quilt.

The fabric/color part isn't that much fun for me now.  Perhaps because I have so much fabric here so don't want to buy new.  I prefer scrappy looking quilts anyway. But don't have the color sense to end up with beautiful items...  Yet!  

But really, I'm feeling like I want to master the total part of making a quilt and to do it enough so I don't have to keep such detailed notes for myself.  So I need to master and practice to keep the skill!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Thursday Club Annual Rummage Sale

In San Diego, there is an organization, The Thursday Club,  that raises money for Balboa Park and other organizations. They hold an annual rummage sale that is a lot of fun to explore.  

This year I came prepared to just look at the fabric and craft area.  I missed the first day so the selection was less, but the prices were all 1/2 off!

I went by myself, so had to leave my pickings at the booth when I searched for the restroom.  When I returned a few of my fabric choices had been taken by others, but I still had a good experience and got a good deal.

Full Prices
A baggy with cut fabric - labeled Christmas Tree (detail photo below). $2
3 small pieces of bright juvenile fabric - .25
2 yards of polka dots - $2
1 bolt of Henry Glass black and grey fabric - $60
8 yards of green flannel - $3
1 yard of white on white (with playing cats in the design) $1
2 fat quarters yellow - 50 cents each
Total $69.25 but it was half off so payment was $37.31!

This was in the Christmas tree bag.
Last year I spent less, but we (husband came with me last year) spent more.  This time I just focused on the fabric and went by myself.

RSC17: March Red Scraps

I have more scraps to pull and sew, but think I have worked enough on putting together strip pieces for now...  In a few cases I used a larger block of fabric to even the ends of the new fabric.

While I had scraps out I also put together some other color themed fabric - and some that are all mixed up!  (Hmm - I just noticed that pink and mixed up colors will get it's own month later on.)

Red and Pink.


Mostly Orange

Mixed up!  Including an on purpose wavy seam!
Linking up to the Rainbow Scrap Challenge:

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

WIP: Baby Quilt Based on allpeoplequilt's Purple Play

The daughter of one of our friends just had a baby.  I had promised a baby quilt two months ago.  I found fabrics in my stash that matched the colors the new mom requested (black, grey and if I had to use another color maybe some purple).  I found this quilt on the allpeoplequilt site that really caught my eye.  So I cut the strips but things happened that distracted me from the project, so I'm just now getting into production mode.  (I'm figuring the white will lighten the quilt and not count as a distracting color.)

I made a block and was pleased with the results, although it was awkward to sew each seam as I had to sew each one with the pressing going toward the sewing machine.

The back came out beautifully though, but I thought if I just changed the way the fabric was pressed then my issue with the seam direction and sewing would be fixed.  You see I wanted to start the fabric with the even ends of pieces aligned and that the seams would be sliding away from the machine as the fabric went under the needle, so that is why I had the problem.

Anyway, the next block I pressed the fabric the opposite way from the directions.  It was easy to start with the fabric aligned - BUT when it came to pressing, to keep things consistent, I had to press so the the seams were crossed back over themselves. It was either that or have the seams pressed in different directions...

But now I see that the little design has the ducks also marching in different strange directions - so before finishing the block, I stopped and now will be unsewing so I can sew the block again.

And I will go back to folIowing the directions. 

I really had thought about the block and the sewing and the pressing, but still messed up!

I reminds me of when I was a Girl Scout working on my cooking badge.  My folks left the house while I made my fancy hamburger and chocolate cake with mocha frosting dinner for them.... It was the first time I was alone in the kitchen - and the whole concept of cooking at all was foreign to my experience.

The directions for the mocha frosting said to put a tablespoon of coffee in the frosting.  I thought a tablespoon of coffee wouldn't add that much flavor so they must not have been referring to brewed coffee. I grabbed the instant coffee and looked back at the cookbook - it was old.  I figured they didn't have instant coffee then so I grabbed the regular coffee grounds.  And made the frosting with the crunchy coffee grounds in every bite! 

(Things were so different then.  I think my mom only had two cookbooks - Good Housekeeping Cookbook and the one I was using I think was called the Lighthouse Cookbook. That book really went to the basics of how to butcher animals and how to cook them!  Now of course I could google mocha frosting and get many different recipes to compare and adapt. And even before that I have two cookbooks that are just about making cakes on my shelves now - so many cookbooks in this house now.)

Anyway, when my folks came back they ate the food. I remember my Dad's big smile when he had the cake. Such a nice guy.

My Godsister who is 10 years older than me (and became a home economics teacher) used to like to make mud pies.  I remember she told me how she offered one to my sweet father - and he started to take a bite!  She remembers telling him how it was all pretend and he wasn't supposed to really eat the pies.  He was a nice guy.  

My mom signed my report so I was able to get my cooking badge and that was crossed off for Girl Scouts.  It wasn't until relatively recently though that I really started cooking and enjoying it, so the badge was not the right way to go for that life skill!

Friday, March 3, 2017

Received: Lovely Yellow Fat Quarter from Angie

The mail brought this lovely yellow fat quarter from Angie!

This will be great addition to my projects!  Thank you so much!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Finish #4 QFK Charity: Square Green Quilt

Binding on, this quilt is finished!

I'm very happy with the charity quilt.  I like the free form wavy line quilting, the way the added border looks on the front and the back, the way the corners have the extra line of stitching so it makes a square on the back, the way the binding went on so easily too.

Maybe I'm getting the hang of this!

4th finish for 2017!

Thank you again Angie @ 
Really like the wavy lines for charity quilts!

Friday, February 24, 2017

WIP: QFK Square Quilt Part 2

When I last wrote, I had finished quilting the major parts of the quilt.

I went back and added a wavy line of quilting so the light green inner square had stitching on both sides.

And I added the outer borders to the piece!  This makes it so it's the correct size for Quilts for Kids.

I just placed the border, and stitched it down.  If you remember I was having a ballooning effect so the borders were removed, so when I replaced the borders I did not go by the edge of the quilt, but rather went where the border strip went when it was placed, this meant that I lost a little of the quilt, but not much.  And now the quilt is flat!

I added a line of stitching so on the back it looks like there is a square in the corners of the piece.

As soon as I put the piece on the table to bury the threads, my friend jumped on the quilt to keep me company.
(She is getting almost too comfortable in the sewing room!)

I do not usually pin, but pinning every three inches helped me keep the border so it covered the quilt seam.  (I didn't pin the second seam and after adding the third border saw that there were a few places where the fabric was not joined correctly.  So I removed the stitches and did it correctly.)  The pinning also helped keep the fabric in position under the batting.

I added a line of stitching just in the batting and backing so there is a corner square. Here you see one corner undone.

I added the stitching so it did not show on the front.  I think the corner on the back will disguise that the extra lines of thread were added when the final border was added.  Will make it more symmetrical.

Here is the front.  The extra stitching doesn't show.   
In this case I knew I had borders to add, but I think this technique could be used to enlarge a quilt when there is extra batting showing at the sides.

Now the piece is ready for the binding.

I named this post Part 2, but there have been many starts with this project.  I'm glad to be closer to finishing it up!