Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Mask Making...

Like many quilters, I am making masks. Yes, this one is for my granddaughter.

All masks, no matter what style, need ties. I make mine with this Clover binding tool. I cut a 2" strip, feed it through one end, and then press it, like so. Each mask needs about 60" of ties. So I started out by cutting strips of leftover backing.

Then I got smart, and pulled this bin down from where it lives on top of the bookcase that houses my stash. Long time readers know I made 200 kitty quilts many years ago. I needed binding for them, and kept all the leftover bits. (Because, I'm a quilter, and we save our bits.)

I pressed the ones that were very wrinkly.

Then fed them through the sewing machine, to sew the edges together. I power sewed them all, one after the other.

How much do I have? I dunno, but I used an entire bobbin sewing these.

 And I only used half of what was in the box. I still have all these left to sew.

Here's the mask instructions I use.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020


With the weather getting warmer, I decided to change the quilt on the back of the couch to the Golden Zebras, and put out the yellow pillows that inspired it.

I also replaced the winter tent with Millie's spring version. As soon as I set it up, she climbed in, and has been napping there since.

Over the weekend, I changed out the quilt on my table. This is Hidden Treasure by my pal Julie Sefton. She made it when I was planning to teach my first class on free pieced letters. "Send me your duds," she had written, "and I'll make a quilt out of them." I did, and for the month of April it will grace my dining room table.

There isn't anything different about any of the quilts I use on my table, they're just normal quilts. So how come I decided to use a quilt as a tablecloth? Whatever gave me the idea?  Let me tell you.

Way back in 2013 I traveled to St Louis Missouri to give a talk and teach a class at Quintessential Quilts 2013. Instead of traveling directly to St Louis, I flew to Memphis instead. Julie and I would drive up to St Louis together. What a great way to get to know each other! Spend the five hours in the car yakking!! So I flew to Memphis and stayed overnight at Julie's house. The next morning, when I went down for breakfast, look what I saw! It was a quilt covering the table.

You all know how I tell you to take pictures whenever you see anything that inspires you, well, that's exactly what I did.

Just another way Julie and I inspire each other.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Changed It

I moved things around. The printer has a fan on one side and when it was working it would blow air on me. The room has outside walls on three sides so it's already chilly, with a fan blowing on me made it colder. So now I've rearranged the desk and we'll see how that works. Working remotely is interesting. I live alone, so it's easy. I don't have to share my living space with anybody else, but I imagine for most remote warriors who are home with family members it must be very frustrating. And although the commute is short, I never realized how much the commute was a stress reliever and an effective time to make the transition from "work time" to "my time."

I went to the grocery store the other night after work. I never thought of grocery shopping as a particularly entertaining chore, but now it's downright gloomy. The cashier never asks "Did you find everything you were looking for," because of course, we all know about those long empty shelves.

I came home, made dinner and watched some escapist entertainment on TV. Pretty sure I'm going to be doing a lot of that.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Getting Closer to Sapphire

This isn't the final version, but it's getting closer.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Home Office

I am now officially, and for the foreseeable future, working from home. It was a decision that we all wanted, but there are parts of my job that are not "work from home" practical. But the pros and cons got weighed and my CEO said he'd rather I was home. After that, it was just pack up the car and go.

I was surprised how ambivalent I felt about it. As I packed up my notes, the company's printer, raided the company's office supply closet, and loaded the car, I felt more and more like a crook. My stomach was in knots.

I know I will like the commute. The office is at the opposite end of my house from my sewing studio, and it means when I am in the rest of the house, I don't have the work stuff staring at me, so I can keep those two areas of my head separate.

I know I will like the dress code. No more dress pants, nylons and flats. Jeans and stocking feet, here I come.

I know I will like that I can sleep a bit longer in the morning. I know I will like not having to wait for the microwave when I want to heat up a bowl of soup at lunchtime. I know I will enjoy hearing classical music all day long.

I know I will be lonely, but I also know I can still email or call my work buddies, and I know I will be in almost constant contact with some of them.


"Be here when I get back," I told the CEO before I left.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Sapphire Grows

I made myself a mask and went to the grocery store yesterday morning. Grocery shopping is now a solemn affair. The mood is completely different. There are lines taped on the floor in the checkout aisles, to show how far away you should stand. There are plexiglass barriers between you and the cashier and you aren't the only shopper wearing a mask and gloves.

I'm working on the Sapphire quilt. I'm working one fabric pair at a time, so it is slow going, but I am pretty happy with the colors. The vertical pairs indicate where the fabrics are going.

Here's a closeup of the fabrics. I sent a picture of this to my brother (who's currently in Nevada).

"Damn, Lynne.  F***kin A!"

Sunday, March 29, 2020


I'm making a blue version of the Jealousy quilt and the working title is SAPPHIRE.

These are the two light diamonds in the quilt. These fabrics also make up the large lozenge shape in the center of the quilt.

Here I have started to add the dark diamond in the middle of the quilt.

This is the fabric pair that will fill out the empty spaces in the center of the quilt.

These are the other fabrics I have selected. All these are paired up. I'll figure out where they go as I figure out where they'll go. (LOL)

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Playing Around

I think one of the reasons why my quilts turn out so great is that I never stop pushing ideas around. I never settle. It took me a few tries to figure out how to make a dark diamonds quilt and the result was Dark Majesty. It took me months to figure out how to make a black and white divided-in-half Crayons quilt, but the Black & White Crayons is the quilt my pal Julie thinks defines my work.

I know there's a quilt in that oh-so-modern variation, (the first one in yesterday's post.) I just haven't found it yet. I'll figure it out. It may take months, but I'll crack that nut eventually.

In the meantime, I wanted to play around, so last night I went into the studio and came up with this.
To fill in the empty space, I'd need to make more blocks.

And the more I look at this design, I think shifting it over a bit would be better.

Oh yeah, this is better.

I like this. And yes, these are the same blocks I've been playing with the last couple of days.

NOW, here is something I have observed. These zebras can be really bright, and hard to look at, like in the examples above that have a strong light/dark contrast in the pairs. But these designs can be really successful when the pairs do NOT have a strong contrast, like...

the Golden Zebras,

the Jealousy quilt,

or the Firebird quilt.

 So even though the really zingy examples might not float your particular boat, the variations shown here can be adapted to much more subtle, but equally successful designs.

I would have discovered NONE OF THEM had I not pushed the ideas around.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Change Partners and Dance


Sometimes the best laid plans go astray. This is a perfectly serviceable quilt. It's lovely in its own very unique way. But it doesn't sing for me. Clearly I need to do more tinkering. It may be that this quilt is simply better when made with fabrics that do not have a high contrast, like the Golden Zebras or the Jealousy quilts. This quilt is something you could do with the leftovers.

Or you could make this. This was made with the same blocks as in the first version.

And you could probably figure out other things to do with these blocks. That is my next trick or two.

The first batch of blues have arrived. The blue jealousy quilt will be called SAPPHIRE.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Forecast Gone Wrong

It was supposed to be 2 to 4 inches.


Until I had to shovel it.

Oh well. It'll melt.

About yesterday's post.

Yes Ruth, I saw those upside down kitties too.  Dammit. But they are staying, because a couch quilt doesn't have an UP or a DOWN. They may get shifted down to the third row, however.

And for those of you who noticed the pale yellow beehive fabric looked like a hole in the middle of the quilt, good for you. I saw it too. That block will be replaced.

Thank you Ann, and others, for your compliments. I don't have any trouble with color, and I choose fabrics without much conscious thought. You may all hate me, but Color Sense cannot be taught. You either have it or you don't. I can show you what I do, and explain why I do it, and knowledge of so-called color theory will help, but it isn't the same.

Now, that doesn't mean you can't make beautiful quilts. Years ago my sister was making a scrap quilt. She showed me, "Is this OK?" she asked. "I don't know what I am doing."

"Maybe not," I told her, "but what you are doing is lovely, keep doing it. If it doesn't feel right to you, don't do it." Now she probably won't admit she still doesn't know, but she trusts her instincts, and so should you. That and being willing to change what isn't working, will help you in the long run.

Monday, March 23, 2020

In the Sewing Studio

Making the blocks for this quilt is easier than choosing the fabrics. I knew I wanted bright fabrics, but for each color, I needed two prints. Some of them had to be busy and exciting, and some of them needed to be not busy and exciting. Since I had decided to make this quilt a brights and whites, I would be using more lights than I had planned. That meant I had to use the ones I did have in a smart way, and I'd have to pay attention to not placing the same print to close to itself.

 I also decided to dump the asymmetrical arrangement of the blocks, so I had to make more of them.

I added a some busy light fabrics to the quilt, like these cats in the yellow block.

I had removed the blocks with the black, but I liked the reds, so I put them back. I also liked the orange swirls, and I brought those back as well.

At the end of the weekend, I had made enough blocks to fill the basic space. The layout of the blocks isn't final, and I need to make blocks to fill in the edges. I like the colors, and I think this is a good summery quilt. It's also an example of what else can be done with the zebra blocks.

AND OH LOOK! If you scroll up and down it does an optical illusion thing.

Sorry Allison.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

By George, I Think I've Got It!

Saturday morning I made a couple more blocks and put them up on the design wall. This was OK, but it just didn't sing. Some blocks just looked too dark and sucked up all the light. I sent this picture to Julie. I told her I thought the design was ok, but I wondered if the colors should be analogous, like blue and green or pink and orange or yellow and green. I thought it would be a great boy's quilt with reds and blues and creams and whites. Julie said to go for it.

Problem was, I didn't want to make a red, white and blue quilt (been there, done that three times.)

So I took everything off the wall that wasn't working, and spent the next three hours making blocks.

 Although I love the oranges, that block doesn't work, so it has to go, but otherwise I'm good with it. It isn't perfect, but I have a lot to do yet. I think this would make a great summer quilt. Bright colors with whites/creams. Very vibrant and happy.

 Here are an orange and pinkish pair (actually they are quartets.) As you can see I'm getting a bit looser in how I interpret matches.

Here's a purple and yellow set. One of the things I decided was to use fairly light lights.

One of the things I realized right away was that if I was going to keep the block with the llamas and the dinos, then I had to have a few more blocks with busy lights in the quilt, so that is an idea I will pursue and there are already some strips cut using that idea.

Allison, you've got to turn away now...

This is the layout of this arrangement. Lots of possibilities here.