Monday, September 18, 2017

Every Once in Awhile I Finish Something!

Kaleidoscope of Butterflies
51 x 58
Hand quilted

The butterflies were made out of floral scraps. 

I used Coats & Clark hand quilting thread in different colors to stitch on the butterflies and in white to stitch 1/4 inch outside around  the butterflies. 

I used a stencil and mechanical pencil to mark some areas between butterflies with "flowers". I stitched those in white so they don't show very well.   You can still see a little of the marks which usually don't show after washing but I had to wash by hand since my washing machine is broken.  I wanted to get it washed to see how this batting on rolls I recently purchased worked before I used more of it. I like the batting so will go ahead now and sandwich more quilts. It needles nicely too.  It's Pellon Natures Touch Natural Blend 80/20 and I see it went up in price since I bought the two rolls. I finally went through all my batting pieces I pieced together so thought I'd try something on rolls. 

( Side note/rant in regard to washers: I'm waiting for new washer to come - an old fashioned wringer washer. Seriously! We are tired of washers that have computerized components and last about five years and then cost more to fix than it costs to buy a new one.  Our very first washing machine lasted more than 20 years and was plain and simple. So we are back to plain and even simpler.   Our basement where we have the washer/dryer is dark and damp most of the time and has no air conditioning so we think that the newer machines don't do well in that type of environment.) 

And here's the back. 

Won't it be nice to cuddle up with some butterflies and a good book or seed catalog this winter ! 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Friday, September 15, 2017


I had some 4-3/4 inch strips of peacock themed fabric scraps leftover from the Peacock quilt I now have in the quilting pile.  The scraps kept eyeing me from the pile of clutter on the table next to the sewing machine.      So I finally did something with them...I made them into a 13 x 80 piece.     I had it in the back of my mind that I'd make a Tumbler quilt (aka Peacock Feather quilt) from those odd -sized scraps (odd in that I don't have a 4-3/4 scrap box and didn't want to cut 1/4 inch off to throw them in the 4.5 inch scrap box) so thought I had better get started on it before I forgot what it was I was going to do. 

Ok. So I really have no use for a quilt 13 inches long and 80 wide so out came more fabric.  What a vicious circle.  Any peacock themed fabric after this  quilt top gets made will probably get pieced into a backing for this quilt after I make a few bird blocks. (Better do that before I forget). 

And also before I forget...Audrey of Quilty Folk posted some pics of quilts from the Jim Tharpe collection that were hanging at a quilt show she recently attended.   I fell in love with the quilt in the first picture. I don't know the name of it (do you?) but figured I had better  try to make one up from scraps before I forget I want to make a quilt like that. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

PREPARE: A New Flimsy, A Very Old UFO

68 x 88
It's now a flimsy. 

I made most of the jars for this quilt a loooooong time ago.  I knew I wanted to add a few words but I really don't enjoy free-piecing letters.  I know that because I've added words to a couple of other quilts I have in the hope chest - one has ships and stars and says "Don't set sail on someone else's star" and the other simply says "Get real".   Anyway...along comes the Ad Hoc Improv Challenge to add words to a quilt and out comes this old UFO.  And it now has words. 

Don't just duck and cover. 

You know, those "duck and cover" drills I went through in first and second grade scared the poop out of me.  Even at that young age I think I knew that a desk would not do me any good as protection if the commies decided to drop a bomb on us.  I even had doubts about survival in a Fallout shelter but for years and years wherever we went I made it my business to look for the symbol for a Fallout shelter so I knew where they were. 

Anyway...being scared about survival at a young age plus a few history lessons about Irish famines and Holocausts and Depressions have taught me to be plan ahead.  I'm not one of those crazy type survivalists but I've learned to plant trees, split wood, cook on a wood fire, make clothes, sew by hand, darn socks, fish, raise and dress chickens and rabbits, forage, make wine and cheese and soap and jam and candles, bake bread from sourdough starter and continue the starter, garden and preserve the harvest by drying or canning, save seeds, identify some wild plants that are edible or poisonous or have medicinal uses...  I've learned to make do. 

Speaking of making do...
I ran out of black fabric to use in the borders and (since retirement have become a hermit that doesn't venture out much to even buy fabric) so used some glow in the dark eyes one one side (scary, huh? who's there? ) and some fabric that looks like kids have drawn on a chalkboard...

...above the chalkboard fabric I added a window with some zombies trying to get in and above that I "drew" (embroidered in glow in the dark thread) on the chalkboard reasons to prep (no matter how remote).  This is all in fun...kind of poking fun at myself, really.  (Can't you tell from some of those things I've got in the jars? )    I've tried to pass along some of this "plan ahead" mentality with my kids but they say if anything happens they know where to go - mom's house.   And I guess that's planning ahead, too. 

I wish my fabric was stacked as neatly on such flimsy shelves.  I think I might have to add a label on the flour jar.  I used a fabric I thought might look like wheat flour which is what I usually have on hand for baking and bread making.  

 I might have to label the sugar jar too. I used some white sparkly fabric for sugar. 
Don't just duck and cover

Now in the quilting pile. 

Sunday, September 10, 2017

2020 in 2020 Crazy Quilt: Block 4

I've finished the embellishment of block 4 of the 2020 Crazy Quilt Challenge.  This is a six inch block. 

I tatted that butterfly long ago when I was teaching myself to tat because I found a tatting shuttle in some of my husband's grandmother's things my mother-in-law gave me.  I need to brush up again on some tatting and try some new things for this quilt.  The piece of ribbon and eyelet trim was found at the thrift store.  I have a giant box of trims I've found at the thrift store over the years - time to use them. 

Fabric: 0 (counted in block 1)
Laces/trims:  1/4 inch piece of satin ribbon, eyelet lace, tatted butterfly of white crochet thread 10, 1/4 inch twill tape = 4
Beads: 1
Threads: DMC Antique Effects E436; DMC embroidery floss 2 threads of 676, 543 (Sullivan's 45122), 3781 (Sullivan's 45393) = 4   (only counting threads not previously used on blocks like the variegated brown).
Stitches and Stitch Combos: Blanket stitch flowers (over twill tape), pistil stitch x3 cluster, dragonflies (in antique effects thread) = 3

Total new items this block = 12
Grand total items blocks 1 through 4 = 43 

How all the blocks of this circle set (blocks 1-4) look together.  I'm not sure if they will stay together in the final layout but for now I'm keeping all circle sets together.  I'm doing the whole quilt in neutrals from white to black and anything in between. That doesn't include "low volume" fabrics. 

This is how the four blocks looked before embroidery. 

This is my next circle set to work on. 

It will take a month of Sundays (and other days) to finish this crazy quilt but for today linking up to:

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Orange 3.5 Inch Scrap Edition

I took my 3.5 inch orange scraps and made 16 Glitter Blocks (from Jen Kingwell's book Quilt Lovely)...

8 six inch Bow Tie blocks...

...11 three inch snowballs.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

From the Majestic Crumb Nut Tree

From the Majestic Crumb Nut Tree - Crumb Nut Leaves...big ones...12 inches BIG. 
The leaves are starting to turn colors now.  At least these are. 
Jury is out as to whether or not I like Crumb Nut Leaves.  Maybe they would be good with a side of some leafy sashing.   

Side note: Here's hoping my dad, stepmom, brother, niece and nephew in Naples and Bonita Bay, FL are not hit hard by Hurricane Irma.   My brother-in-law and wife live in Lumberton, TX and are trying to put their lives back together after they had 4.5 feet of water in their house from Hurricane Harvey. 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Blind Man's Fancy Tea in the Rose Garden - Four More

Yesterday I posted about finishing all 25 blocks of Blind Man's Fancy in civil war reproductions.   Today I'm posting about finishing up four more Blind Man's Fancy blocks but this time in rose and tea themed fabrics.  This makes a total of twelve fifteen inch blocks - 13 more to go. 

Not sure why I started a second Blind Man's Fancy before I finished the first...oh yeah...I found my box of rose themed fabrics had some mildew in them and so I had to soak and wash them all.  You remember seeing them on the clothesline earlier this year, right?  Well, I decided I had better do something with the roses because when I stop to smell the roses I don't want to smell mildew. 

I'm itching to get back to the scraps now...or am I burning because I just pulled a nasty patch of stinging nettle? 

Monday, September 4, 2017

Blind Man's Fancy Dozen

Blind Man's Fancy
There's also an 18 inch version of the pattern (without looking I think it's 18 inch) in the book History Repeated by Betsy Chutchian and Carol Staehle.  

I now have the 25 blocks I need for my big quilt and can now proceed on to make the flying geese sashing from some scraps. 

I used civil war reproduction fabrics in these blocks. I have another set I'm making with rose themed fabrics. 

I've definitely moved this UFO forward! 

Sunday, September 3, 2017

All Creatures Great and Small 25-36

All Creatures Great and Small
I've finished another dozen and now have 36 little hexies.  Not sure what my goal happens to be so I'll just keep making them when I have a few minutes here and there. 

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Orange 1.5 Inch Scrap Edition

Orange is September's Rainbow Scrap Challenge color of the month.  I started out with the 1.5 inch scrap box and made little 2.5 inch blocks (unfinished) which I then sewed into a 21 patch.   I didn't quite have enough for two 21 patches so have some extras on the far right.  I also made some little 3 inch (finished) rail blocks. I'm not sure what I'll do with them. Time will tell. 

Friday, September 1, 2017

Kaleidoscope of Butterflies

 My latest butterfly quilt is now in the hoop and getting some hand quilting.  I made these from floral scraps and used a free Robert Kaufman pattern called Ghost Moth. 
 I've been using regular hand quilting threads in different colors and have been quilting diagonal lines in the top wings and been quilting 1/4 inch inside the seams on bottom wings.  Then I quilt 1/4 inch all around the outside of the butterfly in white thread. I'm not sure what I will quilt in the large background areas - maybe I'll quilt in some flowers.  

I've also finished a set of embroidered pillowcases I picked up from the thrift store that were stamped with a butterfly and morning glories.  These will go into the hope chest for the grandkids. 

Ann of Fret Not Yourself is making butterflies  this month and has drafted a template if you want to sew along.  They sure are cute and so tempting! 

In regard to real butterflies: 

Almost every afternoon my husband and I take time to go out on the deck for about an hour and just sit and talk and enjoy nature.   Sometimes I take out the camera and am able to capture some butterfly photos - here is a Painted Lady in the pansies. 

And guess what landed on my Lantana and stayed awhile! A Monarch!

I just love butterflies!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Checkered Past is Finished!


Checkered Past
72 x 84
Hand quilted

It's finished! 

I was inspired by a vintage quilt I saw on Ebay that was called a Roman Stripe. 

I started this in 2014 as a Rainbow Scrap Challenge project. I made the little 5 inch blocks from 1.5 inch squares in the color of the month and 1.5 inch strips of muslin. 

The blocks were then sewn into 10 inch squares and sashed. 

I hand quilted in yellow and black perle #8 going in different directions. The red cornerstones were quilted in red. And looks like I forgot to finish that row of muslin in the bottom right.   Sheesh! 

For the backing I used another checkered print. And as you can see the binding is a solid red.  I thought I put aside a piece of that red with roses cornerstone fabric; however, I can't find it.  I'm sure it will turn up today now that I've finished the quilt. 

(Not sure if the Finish-Along is still active or not but my goals are still goals)

I definitely won't be hand quilting today on this but I do have some other hand work projects  I will be working on.    Slow Sunday Stitching at Kathy's Quilts.

Lots of scraps were used in the making of this quilt so also linking up to  

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Selvage Yard is Finished!

Selvage Yard
84 x 84

I used a big bag of selvages in this quilt I've been saving for years but probably have two more quilts like this in the bag.   

I used some 4.5 inch scraps of sewing themed novelties for the centers. 

I made 12 inch wonky log cabin blocks. 

I used an old sheet from the thrift store for the backing and some triangle fabric for the binding. I quilted in spirals  on the diagonal using a white thread in the light areas and a darker thread in the dark areas.   I hand stitched around the center squares and didn't machine quilt in those areas. 
I had to rip out about 1/3 of the machine quilting because of some wrinkles. Then I tried again and had to rip out about a 1/3 of that quilting because of wrinkles again.  Third time is supposed to be the charm but wasn't.   So, I still have wrinkles.

I'm used to living with wrinkles so I guess that's okay.  If you don't see them they don't exist.  Right?

Friday, August 25, 2017


Four six inch blocks of another quilt in the making.  Three are completed. 

It all started with sorting scraps for the neutral "color"  for this month's Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  I ended up with two piles of larger scraps - neutrals and low volumes.  I was pondering what to do with them and a comment from an old friend on my Peacock quilt led me to an email conversation where she mentioned she was working on a new crazy quilt challenge hosted by Sharon Boggon of Pintangle - a 2020 Crazy Quilt (finish by end of 2020 and use 2020 unique items). 

I haven't done any crazy quilting for awhile and my stash of threads, laces, books, trims, etc are in disarray so what better way to get more organized as I go and use some stash.  Plus you know my quilts usually span a few years so I have until 2020 to finish up this challenge which I hope will result in a neutral and very unique large quilt.   I don't make art quilts are for comfort and this will be no exception.  

I am going to make improv circle blocks from neutral scraps and embellish them.  The low volume scraps will get a separate quilt. 

And now for the count of items: 

Block 1 (upper left) -
Fabric: 4
Lace and trims: 1
Threads: Coats and Clarks hand quilting thread 80,10, DMC embroidery 782, DMC perle #8 738, DMC embroidery 451, Sullivans embroidery 45179 (like DMC 738), variegated brown? = 6
Stitches: feather/lazy daisy leaves, herringbone/french knot, straight, french knot =4
Embroidery motifs: 2 (sayings, basket of apples)
Total = 17

Block 2 (lower right)
Fabric: 0
Lace and trims: 1
Threads: gray embroidery 3024, DMC embroidery 400, Sullivan's ??? = 3
Stitches: feather/quarter buttonhole wheels/straight = 1
Embroidery motifs: 1
Total =6
Grand total = 23

Block 3 (lower left)
Fabric: 0
Lace and trims: 1 (butterfly twill tape)
Threads: perle Irish variegated 5063, thread arts ??, perle 5 dk brown, perle #5 951=4
Stitches: buttonhole, chain arches/lazy daisy flowers, stem/lazy daisy leaves, french knot flowers = 3
Embroidery motifs: 0
Total = 8
Grand total = 31

I'm starting off slow with the stitches because I'm a little rusty but I think I'll be doing bullions and cast on stitches and ribbon roses in no time!  I also want to try some different techniques - cut lace embroidery, reverse applique, Irish crochet, beaded crochet trims, etc...

Another challenge that spurred me on to this point was the Ad Hoc Improv Challenge of adding words to quilts.   I have three UFOs that are waiting for me to piece some words (prepping, tea towel challenge, bird brains) but I didn't feel like working on any of those this month.  (I also have a couple of crazy quilt UFOs -crazy farm, valentine bed runner, glow in dark fairy garden- but didn't feel like working on those either). But I will be embroidering lots of words on this quilt starting with an Irish proverb I embroidered on block 1: 
Say but little and say it well. 

Thank you all for the best wishes for a speedy recovery yesterday. This is day 11 of herniated disc/sciatica and I'm feeling better every day..I just can't sit or sleep for very long.  But I'm alive and know there will eventually be an end to the pain and  I've found out there's a lot of things you can do standing! 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

It's a Top! : 42-Cents Forever Stamp

 42-Cents Forever Stamp
74 x 92.5

It's a top!

Instructions for the quilt top can be found in the book Treasury of Quilts by Betsy Chutchian and Carol Staehle.   I usually don't use the same colors as any quilts I make from books but I think it was the double pink background in the photo in the book and on the book cover that attracted me to begin with so stayed with the same color scheme.  The postage stamp pieces also caught my eye.   The instructions in the book have you make strip sets but I sewed together each of these little 1.5 pieces individually. Strip sets aren't usually my style and aren't conducive to using my smallest of small scraps. 

I've had a herniated disk, sciatica, dizziness and nausea (and extreme pain) for the last week and I feel best when standing so have had little time for sewing.  When I did sit down to sew for a few minutes here and there I needed something mindless and easy to work on and this was it (along with several hand projects).  Otherwise I've been walking, trimming scrub trees invading the property and working (standing) in the kitchen to process the garden bounty.