Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Bad Blogger!

I've been AWOL around here, and I apologize for that.  Lots of things have contributed to that, but I won't bore you with that list.

I actually meant to post this back in October and for some reason never got around to it.  So, here goes!  Better late than never!

My hairdresser was going to have a baby, so of course I had to make her a quilt.  When she requested grey with brights, well, I knew that was right up my alley!

And I dithered about trying to decide on the BEST pattern to do for far too long.  I finally came to a decision.  I had so much fun doing my Mod 9-Patch that I thought a variation of that would be fun.   I was inspired by Kristy Daum's Parallel quilt pattern as well.  (Kristy's Modernized D9P is the tute  I used to make my Mod 9-Patch)

Here is my start.  Not too exciting yet, is it?

I realized that I'd used the red and the hot pink for all the corners, so then I made some more 9-patches with the background in the corners to break that up a little.  Just sewing by the seat of my pants, as usual.

Eventually I got it all done and even quilted it all myself.  It's not much fun to wrestle a quilt around under the presser foot in the summer heat, but I persevered and finished.  I quilted straight-ish lines vertically, which I like a lot.  Some of my spacing is a little goofy and it's not perfect, but that's OK.  I was more concerned with DONE.

Here it is, with DH being my quilt holder.  I think it came out OK!  

detail shot 1

detail shot 2

And here's a shot including the cute flannel I put on the back.  I love that zebra that you can almost see, so I thought the black&white binding echoed that, and it goes with the front well also.  

I put a label on it and gifted it to my hairdresser.  She loved it!

My local guild had our quilt show at the end of September, and I've had my annual post-quilt-show-loss-of-motivation.  It happens every year.  I started doing some random sewing, but I can't seem to concentrate on any of the projects I should be working on.  

I had to interrupt my sewing to do Thanksgiving host duties, and now I've gotten an icky cold with a terrible cough.  I don't even feel like going into the quilt studio, so I'm taking good care of myself this week, in hopes that the cold goes away soon.  I've got more to share with you of what I've done lately, and I hope to post more soon.  I'm just hanging out in the office with my computer and my vaporizer!  *cough* 

By the way, I saw on IG that Cheryl Arkison, co-author of Sunday Morning Quilts, is on The Quilt Show this week, and you can see it for FREE!  She demos both making slabs, and improv quarter circles (think Drunkard's Path).  Here's the link if you want to watch it.  I loved it!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Late to The Party, and Still Not Done!

Long time, no see.  Wow, my poor neglected blog!  I really didn't plan on being gone from it for so long, but what with one thing and another, blogging just kinda fell by the wayside.  I feel a little out of practice now.

I've been so busy and have had so much going on that I'm not sure where to even start.  So I'll just confine myself to the update on the Liberated Basket Medallion Quilt Along for now, since I'm a little late to the party.

Confession time:  I haven't been working on my Liberated Medallion quilts.  I had a quilt show to get ready for, and I went to a quilt retreat in California.  I knew I'd be late for the link up because the quilt show was the same weekend.  And then there were technical difficulties.

Tall Basket Medallion

I've decided that the "Tall Basket Medallion" is DONE.  It just looks complete to me, so I'm not going to try to do anything more to it.  So, for the "something fishy" round, I'll be putting some fish fabric on the back of the quilt.

Wide Basket Medallion
back to this stage!

As for the "Wide Basket Medallion", I've been unsewing!  I've removed the last round of wonky stars.  The more I looked at it, the more I didn't like it.  It just didn't "feel" right to me.  I like what I'd done so far (through the log cabin round), and I don't want to settle for just anything, just to be done in time for the Quilt Along.  Comments from both Quiltdiva Julie and Lynn at Patchery Menagerie confirmed what I had been thinking.  So, it is currently in pieces, waiting for my attention.  Back to the drawing board, as they say.

The technical difficulties was that, unfortunately, my poor Bernina sewing machine decided that she needed to go to the "spa" right before the quilt show.  It's been two weeks now. I sure miss my machine!  I've got 2 other machines (one of which also needs to go to the spa), but they're just not the same.  And I don't like to switch machines in the middle of a project because the seam allowances just won't come out the same, no matter what I do.   Hopefully she should be ready sometime this week.  *fingers crossed*  I'm still not sure quite what I'll be doing for the star border - the possibilities are swirling around my brain.  I'll be keeping the stars, and possibly adding more, but the rickrack border is gone and so are the "string" blocks.  I won't be working on this until my machine is home, so I've been thinking in the meantime.  While being involved in other things, of course!

I'll definitely be keeping you updated on any progress!

In the last 6 weeks I've been to California for a quilt retreat,  my guilds' had a (combined) big quilt show, I've made 2 or 3 other projects, and miscellaneous other stuff.  So, I have so much more to share with you, but it will have to be in other posts.  See you soon!

Friday, September 02, 2016

Gwennie-Inspired Medallion QAL - Star Border Reveal!

 I was so excited about this month's assignment of stars in this next border!  But it hasn't been an easy-breezy task, for some reason.  As much as I love liberated stars, I really struggled with these borders this month.  And I barely finished in time.  And now I'm posting a day late, but better late than never!

For lack of a better name, I've named my two quilts Wide Basket and Tall Basket, at least until I can think up better names!  (I'm open to suggestions)

Wide Basket 30 1/2 " x 30 1/2 "

I decided to work on the Wide Basket top first, as this quilt seems to be harder for me to design and work on.  Possibly because of the limited number of fabrics and colors?  Using solids?  Who knows?

I didn't have a clear idea of where I wanted to go for this border, which makes progress hard to achieve.   And it was like pulling teeth Every. Single. Step. of the way.  But I dug in my heels and made it work, gosh darn it.  I'm not entirely happy with it, but I can't tell you why.  This quilt is the epitome of Gwen's liberated adage "If it's too short, add to it and if it's too long, chop some off."  I had to do some of both this month.

I made stars, to get started.  These finish at 4 1/2 inches.

I made some more stars.  I played with placement.  Nothing clicked for me.  Then I decided that I didn't want stars all the way around the quilt.  I want this quilt to get taller, not wider.  (I did achieve square, so that's a step in the right direction.)  So I tried coming up with other ideas of what to do. Meanwhile, we were having a heat wave and it was too hot to be upstairs in the quilt studio.  So I only sewed in the evening when it started cooling off.  

More rickrack sounded good.  I like that.  Then, after I made one star of each fabric, there were still big gaps around the border.  So I started looking through Gwen's books.  Aha!  How about some strings?  Sounds good to me!  So I made strings.

For some unknown reason, I cut those strings too short.  Now what?  Add to them, of course.  And that is why my strings have an inner border of the gold.  To make them fit.  And it works.

These two stars look like they're holding hands while they dance!
If you look closely at this photo, you can see that I had to add to the strings to get them to fit the length of the border.  I was concentrating so much on design that I had no brain left for math to get things to fit together properly.  So, I totally faked it.

This green star is one of my favorites.  I accidentally grabbed the wrong green for that one star point, and now it is even more liberated!  It makes me smile.  ;)

So now I have to really put on my thinking cap and come up with something to fit the prompt for September: "something fishy".  That sounds challenging.  I have a glimmer of an idea though, so hopefully this month's border might go easier.

Wendy at the Constant Quilter has given us the 5th and final prompt for the QAL and here are her thoughts:

Being from Maine, my theme choice for the final border is
“Something Fishy”
As with those who have gone before me (Lori, Cynthia, Cathy and Katy), you can interpret this as loosely as you like. Here are a few examples:
Fish fabric or appliques
Sea birds (they eat fish!)
Marine mammals (they eat fish too!)
Lighthouses (they see fish)
Boats (they catch fish)
Ovals and triangles (i.e. fish shaped)

So, Wendy's kind of left it wide open.  Possibilities!

Next up for some stars was the Tall Basket quilt.

This was my start.  I wanted to use the black polka dot fabric that I have in the center of each little log cabin for this "starry" border for some cohesion and to calm down that busy quilt a little.  I made very scrappy stars, because I love scrappy best.

Again, I didn't want stars completely surrounding the quilt top.  These little stars finish at 3 inches and take about 1/2 hour for each one.  They're fun to make, but they're not fast. 

Tall Basket 27" wide x 30" high
I love the way this came out!  I made the stars "dance" in the border, just to liven things up.  It's such a wild quilt top that ordinary just won't do.

side border detail

top border detail
Now to come up with "something fishy" for this top too!  Again, I have a little "seed" of an idea.  Hopefully it'll work out!

Be sure to go visit Lori's blog Humble Quilts to see the link-up for all the participants in the QAL.  There are some wonderfully fun and liberated medallion quilts being made!

Sunday, August 14, 2016


This is going to be kind of a "catch-up" post this time because I have a lot to share with you.  This is going to be a long, photo-heavy post.

First up is a scrap project I've been working on.  I have a drawer in my cutting table that I've been putting 2 1/2 inch squares in as I'm cutting fabrics.  After quite a few years, it was getting pretty full.  I've been working on sewing them into "two-sies" for a while now.  I've kept changing my mind as to what quilt pattern they would become....there are so many possibilities!  4-Patches, 9-Patches or what??  I played with lots of ideas.  Then one day, my shoe box that I keep the "two-sies" in got too full to close and it was time for a decision.

Meanwhile I had seen this link from Ebay on Facebook:

This old beauty was intriguing to me.  I finally figured out what this block design is.  The big clue was that the blocks are set on point.  So, after a little while with a pencil and some graph paper, I had it figured out.

This is the block:

This is really just a rough sketch.  Imagine background rectangles in place.  The block will finish at 8 inches square.  That's gonna be a lot of 2 1/2 inch squares!  The inspiration quilt uses half square triangles, but since I already had plain squares sewn together, I thought I'd just keep it simple and use those.  I think there are a few HST's in there as well, just because they were in the drawer.  I'm using scrappy white-on-whites for the backgrounds.

I started out doing the "kitchen sink" approach and using any of my older fabrics in my squares, but when push came to shove, I had to edit out the old ugly fabrics that I just couldn't stand any more. Some of those squares actually went into the trash!  I figured "Why make a quilt with fabric that I don't love, when there is so much that I do love?" Right?  That still leaves me with a lot of 2 1/2 inch squares!  And I can always cut some more if I need to.

So this is now my latest long-term project.  I have a number of blocks sewn, as you can see in the top photo, but lots more to go.  And no rush on this, I'm just using up my scraps.  Really, only some of my scraps!  And now it's time to start cutting more 2 1/2 inch squares to replenish my stock of them.

I've also sewn some preemie quilt tops.  I still need to get them quilted up.

This was just left-over bits and pieces that I inherited from a friend 9 years ago.  Finally getting it together!

Remember back in April when I posted about playing with the Rail Fence block from Sujata's book? You can see my post here.  (scroll down a ways)  I determined that, to use the fabrics I wanted, I need to make a 14" block.  Well, this was my sample block to see if my math for the conversion was correct.  And, it's a miracle - the block came out the perfect 14 inch size!  Each Rail Fence unit in the block is a 3 1/2 inch square.  See, amazing math skillz!  I used an older true Madras plaid and a solid for this one.  This block didn't need much more to be the right size for a preemie quilt, just a couple of borders.  (The target size for a preemie quilt is 18" x 24").

I had more fabric left over, so I made one more to use it up.  This is a little different, but I hope someone enjoys it.  Now, on to the quilting.

The Tacoma Modern Quilt Guild was having a summer event to show off some of our quilts and sell some small items, so I made some potholders.  I was thrifty and recycled some bits and blocks as well as using some fun fabric.

Each of these is a one-of-a kind potholder.  Two are string blocks from the string bin.

Also one-of-a-kinds.  Leftover 8 inch squares from The Parts Department.

These two were someone's leftover strip sets that  I rescued from the quilt shop.  They're a set of two and are two sided with the same fabrics.

Another two pairs of rescued strip sets potholders and the top two potholders are also pairs (one blue pair, one red pair) of some cheater selvage fabric. 

The top left is a pair of potholders of left-over charm squares that I "inherited", while the top right pair uses some left-over 9-patches, also "inherited".  The bottom two are two pairs of a different cheater selvage fabric. 

All of the potholders!

Now I need to make more potholders for the other guild's upcoming quilt show, to sell at the Country Store we have at the show.  It's a good thing potholders are fun and fast!

I also did some "secret" sewing, for next year's Challenge quilt.  The challenge is ""Get Creative with Black"!  You'll have to wait until next July to see the results of that.

Now I have 3 quilts back from Shari, my long-armer, to get bindings on for the quilt show!  They need to be turned in mid-September for the show at the end of that month.  I was a slacker this year and only finished these 3 quilts.  My reveal of these quilts will be when the bindings are on, so stay tuned!

For my sewing this month I have to do those three bindings, make potholders and maybe some bags, make a baby quilt and work on my Liberated Medallion QAL quilt tops.  I hope I can do it all!  If the weather stays a reasonable temp, I can stand to be in the quilt studio.  It's cooled off today from the last 2 days, so that's where I'm headed now.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Gwennie Medallion QAL Part 3 - Update

Remember that my log cabin border wasn't done on Basket #1 in my last post?  Well, I couldn't let that just sit there mocking me.  Something had to be done.

This is where I was on Monday.  The more I looked at the Courthouse Steps partial border, the less I liked it.  I decided that it might be best to just keep things simple.

Ta da!  I finally have the log cabin border done!  It is a simple log cabin-style border, with two light sides and two darker sides.  I think it gives the quilt some "breathing room" and kind of calms those crazy 9- patches, instead of getting too busy.  And now this will work better with the Star border that is our challenge for August.  I'm happy with this now.  And I already have some ideas of where I want to go next!

This weekend is my DH's big art show out in the garden.  He's been working like a slave to get everything ready, and tomorrow is set up.  Hopefully we'll have good weather, not too hot and not rainy.  We seem to be one or the other every year.  The weather report looks good for not too hot, but we may have some showers.  And I hope we get lots of customers!  Cross your fingers for us!

Have a great weekend.  I hope you have some time to be creative!

Monday, August 01, 2016

Gwennie-Inspired Medallion QAL - Part 3

Our challenge for the Gwen Marston-Inspired Medallion Quilt Along this month was Log Cabin borders.

Basket #2
19" wide x 22" high
The photo will supersize if clicked on.

Sorry this photo is so crookedy.  The quilt top really is straight and flat.  I just can't seem to take a straight picture these days.  (It may be all the "quilt stuff" on the floor in front of the design wall.  Shhhh....)

I was excited about this theme, as I love log cabins.  But sadly, I spent most of the month flailing about in the quilt studio.  Nothing seemed to "gel" for me.  I tried so many different things, and I have a pile of rejected 'orphan' blocks.  I know that the flailing is part of the design process and try to be patient with myself, but I do get frustrated at not making much progress.

And then, finally, it started clicking!  Yay!  I added the white border as a resting place for the eye, and a little breathing room. I also added a different color/fabric square in each corner of that border, just for a bit of whimsy.  Once I'd decided on the black polka dots for the centers of the cabins, then all those crazy colors and fabrics started playing well together.  I actually had a lot of fun just sitting and sewing all the log cabins.  And I thought it was time to repeat some of that wonderful vintage fabric that's in the basket in the corner squares.  I don't have very much of that fabric left at this point, so I'm not sure if or how it'll show up again.

These log cabins are very liberated!  It was a challenge to get the borders to fit.  I ended up adding coping strips in the bottom border, as I didn't have quite enough room for another log cabin.  Very Gwennie, right?  And, to add to the Liberation going on in this quilt, none of the borders ended up the same width!  

This quilt top is very, very bright.  I'm hoping that a good dose of the blacks and whites will calm it down to a reasonable level as it's almost too bright, which is not something you'll find me saying often.  *grin*   We're normally pretty overcast and grey here in the Pacific Northwest, even when it's not raining.  But now it's summer and the sun actually comes out once in a while.  Then those bright colors I love really show up.  Whoa, it's even brighter than I thought!  I may need sunglasses!  I just hope it's not too bright.

On the other hand.....

Basket #1
still unfinished
Click to super-size this photo too!

This quilt top is still not done, but I thought I'd show what I have so far.  I think I've decided on these Courthouse Steps log cabins.  I'll be adding these as only the top and bottom borders.  It's getting to be pretty wide and so I want to make it more vertical.  I'll be posting this again when I have the log cabin border completed.

To see what all the other QAL participants are doing with their medallions, click on over to Lori's blog Humble Quilts to see the link-ups.  

Our challenge border for this next month is Stars.  I've got my fingers crossed that the stars will go better (faster!) than the log cabins!  *wink*

Monday, July 04, 2016

The Twin Sister block - a Tutorial

This is my American Independence Day gift for you!  Happy 4th of July to all my U.S.A. readers!

I wrote this tutorial for the Tacoma Modern Quilt Guild, that I belong to, and I thought I would share it with you too.

12 inch Twin Sister block

This block is called the Twin Sister block, among other names.   This tutorial will make a 12 inch finished block.


* Red (background) – 1 square at 7 ¼ inches, then cut square into quarters from corner to corner, as in the diagram.

one 7 1/4 inch square, quartered

 * White – 2 rectangles at 4 ¾ inches by 9 inches
The white fabric can be solid white, white on white, or white with a blue or red print on it.

* Blue - 2 rectangles at 4 ¾ inches by 9 inches
The blue fabric can also be a solid or blue with a white or red print on it.

Think patriotic!

2 blue and 2 white rectangles


Place a red triangle on top of each blue and each white rectangle:

Sew the triangle to the rectangle along the long side of the rectangle, stopping at the end of the triangle.

sew with a scant 1/4 inch seam

your unit should look like this

Press the triangle open, with the seam allowance towards the rectangle.  Repeat for all four rectangles and triangles.

Each rectangle now has a red triangle sewn to it.  Sew one white rectangle to one of the blue rectangles in the following manner:   Match the rectangles when sewing them together, orienting them so that the short side with the red triangle attached on the blue rectangle is matched to the long side of the white rectangle without the red triangle attached, as in the diagram below.

The finished unit should look like this.
Press the seam allowance to one side. 

Repeat this step with the other two rectangles.

Note that the second unit needs to be oriented the same way as the first – if you sewed the short end of the blue rectangle to the long end of the white rectangle, you must do the same for the second unit, or your units won't fit together correctly.

This is what you should have at this point: two units oriented and sewn the same way.

Match the center points and sew the final center seam.  Press seam allowance to one side.

Your block should now look like this.

Your block should measure 12 ½ inches across.  A little larger is okay too.  You can trim all the blocks to the same size before assembling them into a top,

my block came out a little over 12 1/2 inches across

You’re now going to trim the excess off of those long rectangles, like so.

Just carefully line up the ruler with the outside edge of the red triangle and trim away the excess.  Save that triangle!

The last step is to set your machine to a long basting stitch and stay-stitch the edge of those long rectangles.  The outside edges of the rectangles are now on the bias and the stay-stitching will keep them from stretching until you can sew them together.  Remember to handle these edges with care.


You can use those triangles you just cut off the block to make pinwheels or other units to be used in the border of a quilt, or to make a small doll quilt or tablerunner.

If you use my tutorial to make a block (or several!), please leave me a comment to let me know if you liked it.  And I would love to see what you made!

Please remember that all photos are copyright of by Indigo Threads.  If you share this, please give me the credit for this tutorial.  Thank you! 

Have a fun and safe holiday!