Friday, March 1, 2024

Let It Go!


Sometimes you're so busy you forget to really look at the things right in front of you. This is "Life is Tweet," my attempt at a row quilt I made almost ten years ago. It lives in my master bathroom and I walk past it several times a day. I sometimes forget it's there. What a shame!

It has my fun liberated birds (tutorial here), my butterflies, (tutorial here), and my asterisk flowers (tutorial here), and some wonky hearts.

I meant to have all the elements lined up in a row, but the birds refused to cooperate. The hearts seemed to bounce around with love and excitement, and just couldn't be contained. The butterflies wanted to fly (duh), and the asterisks simply lifted up into the air above.


What was I to do? I let them, because sometimes that's the way an idea works. You have a plan and what happens on the design wall changes and you have to change with it. Had I made the quilt I had originally intended to make, this quilt would have been boring and stuffy.

The quilt is enhanced with Chris Ballard's spectacular free motion hand guided quilting. It's a smallish quilt, 38" x 45". Just goes to show you can get a lot of bang for your buck out of 29 blocks.

I tell my students all the time that at some point the quilt they are making is going to start making demands. "What the quilt wants," I tell them, "the quilt should get." 

I have a lot of non-quilt related stuff going on and since I haven't been in the studio for a few days, I thought you'd enjoy this little blast from the past.

Monday, February 26, 2024



Here is the Red block. I knew I didn't want it to be too dark, so all the fabrics are red on white.

These are the nine blocks. I am happy where this is going. 

Back in the office, I figured out what was wrong. This bookcase was blocking access to the right side of the closet. If I moved it, I'd have access and the room wouldn't be so crowded. But if that went away, I needed to figure out where to put the stuff that lived in the bookcase, and I had to figure out where to move the bookcase TO. (By the way, I originally put the bookcase there so the Roomba wouldn't get tangled in all the wires and cables from the computer and other stuff on the desk.) 

Once I had that worked out...

Getting the bookcase out of there was definitely the right move. The room makes a lot more sense, and it's easy to move around.

I put the bookcase in my bedroom.

FINALLY I get to get rid of the stupid table that was in my bedroom before. It was left there by the previous owner. While it looks like it might be useful, one of the legs was broken, so it wasn't stable.

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Teal & Orange


Here is the Teal block.

And here is the Orange one. I really had to search through my stash and bins to find light orange fabrics, or fabrics that would "read" as light orange.

Here they all are together, in no particular order. As you can see they are all different sizes. At some point I will need to trim them down, but not yet.

I have removed the bright one because it overpowered the others, and also the dotted one, which didn't hold its own among these.  I have fabrics set aside for a red one, and that's up next.

I'll have to go through my stash to see if there are any colors I have missed. I might be able to do a light brown (or beige?) one, and maybe a gray one, but I don't know yet. Maybe I can make a white with colors if I don't use fabrics that are as bold as the original one.

At any rate, if I need to make another yellow or green or blue or pink block, I'll do it. I don't need this quilt to have only one block of each color.

I do like the irregular shapes of these too. We'll see what happens. It's so nice not to have to fuss.

Friday, February 23, 2024



Here's the light pink block.

I'm not generally a pastel fan but these blocks are so pretty. When I envisioned making a quilt of mostly light fabrics, I'm not quite sure I had something like this in mind.

Here are all the blocks together. Clearly the bright colored block doesn't fit, but neither does the black and white one or the white one with the dots. And nothing has been trimmed down to a particular size.

I kinda like these as big rectangles. We'll see. Regular readers know I like to see what happens on the design wall and go from there. I'm just going to keep going and see where this takes me.

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Eagle Eyes

 To Cherie who pointed out that the "new" blue block was the same as the original one...

OOPS! I uploaded the wrong photo.

The Yellow block was tricky. I didn't want to make a bright yellow block, and I really had to search my stash and scrap bins to find enough "pale" yellows to make this work. 

Hey, whatever works!

I figured I could rely on the wrong side of some fabrics if I really couldn't figure it out, but I did not have to do that.

Monday, February 19, 2024

The Office


A year ago I rearranged the office, but fairly quickly found a problem with it - I had a hard time reaching the windows to close the blinds. No problem in the winder, but I knew it wouldn't work in the summer.
And when I worked from home on a sunny day the glare bothered me. And every time I walked into the room, all I saw was the mess at the desk.

So I rotated the desk 90 degrees. This gave me easier access to the chair in the corner, and the windows, and any mess on the desk isn't the first thing you see.


Of course to do this I had to rearrange the artwork on the walls, move the bureau and clear out a lot of junk mail. 

One negative is that I don't have easy access to the tools behind the side of the closet with the quilt, but hell, it's a tiny room and I've got a lot going on in there.

I worked in this room all day, so I didn't get any sewing done.

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Blue redux and Lavender


I revised the blue block. I didn't like the two big light blocks in the middle.

I decided to shuffle around some artwork and the drawing I wanted to hang had slipped out of the mat and needed to be repaired. I brought it to the frame shop on Saturday, before I drove to pick up my sewing machine from the Sewing Machine Spa. As I walked out the door a framed print on the wall caught my attention. It was tall and thin and lovely. I thought I'd get it if I could figure out where to hang it, and said as much to the owner.

Two blocks away I figured out where I would hang it, but I kept on to Boscawen to pick my sewing machine. I didn't even drive home, I went straight to the framing shop and bought the print, got home and hung it up.

I'm really happy with it.

Then I made a lavender block. I like this too.

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Green & Blue

 Here's a blue Missing U block.

Here's a green one.

These blocks are based on fabrics with the color or design on a white background, so that's why there aren't blocks that are more vivid or intense. Naturally there are a few exceptions, but that's what you do when you have to "make it work." That term is meant to be "make it work with what you already HAVE."

I have long felt that having limited options forces you to be more creative. Hell, the Yellow Ribbons Zebra quilt came about because I wanted to make it work with the fabrics I had already cut. I was not going to cut one more damn thing, so I HAD to figure it out.

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Missing U


I have already started making slabs. Here is the first one. White with dots. It's about 14 inches, and it needs to be bigger. But that's OK. I have lots of fabric.

This is the second one. It is White with Black.

This is the third one. It is White with Colors. It is about 16 - 17" or so. I will trim it down whenever I figure out how big I want the blocks to be.

These are fun. Not a lot of thinking involved!

I made a Missing U quilt years ago and called it MHT2MEM because I gave it to my pal Julie. The title refers to the airport name for the Manchester NH airport (MHT) and MEM, which is the designation for Memphis TN, where Julie lives. The 2 ought to be understood. The quilt went from MHT to MEM.

You can read about it here and here.

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

How Do You Eat a Whale?


This is the big pile of fabric that I have to sort through. I emptied all the big bins on the floor. This is what I have to sort through.

So, to answer the question... How do you eat a whale? 

One bite at a time. I grab a pile of fabric, move it to my worktable so I don't have to grab it off the floor, and sort through it, tossing the fabric into the appropriate bin.

This is after about an hour of sorting I had this. The bings were filling up and the pile on the floor was getting smaller.

This is after three and a half hours.

I had to take a break and eat and get dressed. But after a break, I got it finished.

It looks good!

I'm going to start by making slabs of the fabrics in the Lights bin. I'm going to make slabs of fabrics with a white background, but I'm going to have some fun. 

Sunday, February 11, 2024

Reaching Critical Mess


My pal Julie asked if I sorted my Orphan blocks by group. Um. No. But it was such a good idea I grabbed some bins and started sorting.

I set aside one big bin for scrap bits I could cut up to use to make slabs.

As you can see, I made labels for the bins.

But it was still messy. So I decided to sort the stuff in the bins by color. But that means only one thing...

There is really only one way to organize the scraps in the big bins. Dump them all out and put them where they belong.

Game On.

Thursday, February 8, 2024

Preparing for the Spa


My #1 machine has been moved from the studio. It is getting ready for a trip to the Sewing Machine Spa.

It will be gone a week. 

In the meantime I have elevated my #2 machine, my Bernina, to the prime spot in my sewing studio.

I have been digging through my leftovers. Would be kinda fun to figure out a way to put all this stuff together into a fun quilt. Maybe a quilt for the car - for picnics and the beach. Lord knows I have enough stuff...

Will ponder. Will play.

And on another tangent, my Kindle tells me I have read 11 books so far this year. Six weeks into the year? Yeah, that sounds about right. It tells me that LAST year I read 87. And that's only on the Kindle. I know I read at least two physical books in that time.

I read Remarkably Bright Creatures, and can wholeheartedly recommend it. It's the one about the octopus.
Just read it and you'll see. :-)

Monday, February 5, 2024

PRIZM Finished

The PRIZM quilt is all finished. I really like this one. I think every quilter makes at least one rainbow quilt. I think this is my fourth, or fifth. 

Or sixth. 

Might be my seventh.

This is a Zebra quilt. If you want to make one, you can get my tutorial here.

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Back to Pink

Now that the Holiday Banner is ready for quilting, I have to figure out what to do next. I have an idea for a scrap slab triangle quilt rolling around in my head, but I also have the second student bird quilt to assemble and a lot of other stuff to sort through.

Back in September when I took the pink zebra quilt apart I sewed together the leftover pieces into a very interesting design. I had a lot of those pieces left, so I decided to add them to the original chunk. You can see the origin of that here. In the photo above, the original piece is on the left and it's folded so you can only see half of it. The pieces I will be sewing together and adding to it are on the right.

That was great, and I had enough extra pieces to make another section, but both of the new ones had very busy fabrics and I didn't want the quilt to be half one thing on one side and half something else on the other, so I decided to sew each new section on either side of the original chunk.

And this is where I get so caught up in working that I do not take pictures.

So this will be what I sew together. The big piece is in the middle and the new pieces are on either side. It isn't all sewn together because there are only so many hours in the day.

Rotating it 90 degrees, here is another view. The thing is six feet square. Not bad for a bunch of duds.

By the way I am 3/4 the way around the binding on the PRIZM quilt. Should have that done soon. I've binge watched Stanley Tucci's show about Italy an In with the Old about renovating old houses, and I've read the first two of the Secret Scone & Book Society mysteries. I think that's the title.