Wednesday, June 15, 2016


Welcome to Palindrom Week!  Today's date reads the same forward and backward.  Isn't that cool?

This post is an update on what I've been working on lately, so lots of "this and that".

Not the final layout, just a tease
I've finally gotten all my black and white blocks made, sliced, re-sewn and trimmed to size.  I started this project way back in January 2015.  This was a long-term project...and it really hasn't taken that long!  That kind of surprises me when I realize when I started it - only a year and half.  That's record time for me!  I've decided on the layout, gotten my blocks marked and I'm hoping to get it sewn together soon.

I had a little brainstorm while I was laying these blocks out and came up with an idea to mark my blocks easily.  Remember VHS tapes?  Remember they came with labels for the tapes?  Well, I dug in my tape storage and unearthed some of those labels.

I thought they would make great *free* labels for my quilt blocks, so I don't get the order they're laid out in mixed up when I pick them up to sew them together.

"action shot" of the labels 
Here they are, in use.  I go by row (letter) and block (number).  I always put the labels in the upper left hand corner, so I know which way is "up" on the block.  They work pretty well and the free part is good.  I'm being "green" and utilizing my resources.  Unfortunately, those resources are limited, so I don't know how much longer I can use this particular system.  I may have to find some blank price stickers or something.  Those would work just as well, they're just not free.  Hope you like my little tip!

Here is another quilt top laid out on the design floor.  I'm working on the border of this older UFO that was a block exchange with my friends in Calif. a *few* years ago.  10 or 15 maybe?  I don't even remember!  You can read more about this project here.

 I've been waiting for some border inspiration to strike, and it finally did thanks to Gwen Marston.  She used this border on one of her quilts and I really liked it.  Believe it or not, I still had the scraps from making some of these flowers and they were big enough to use!  Can you tell I never throw away anything?  I tell ya, folks, it's a blessing AND a curse!  *grin*

And....I'm letting myself start a new project!  I'm going to do the 'Basket Case' quilt by Cluck Cluck Sew.  I even got a jelly roll just for this - the first jelly roll I ever bought for me.  The jelly roll had 40 strips and the pattern calls for 42, so I had to add a couple of strips from my stash.  I did such a good job, color-wise, that I can't even tell which two strips those were.

Here are my jelly roll strips all laid out and paired up.  They are all batiks (Hoffman Bali Pops) and the color way is called "Lorikeet".  Very tropical and summery.

And here are my first two blocks.  You make two blocks at a time with this pattern, and it's so easy!  Now if only I wasn't so distracted with all my other projects so I can get back to sewing this!  I just can't seem to sew fast enough to do everything I want.  How about you?  Do you have the same problem?  Do you start or work on multiple projects at a time?  Inquiring minds want to know!

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Gwennie-Inspired Liberated Medallion Quilt Along - The Start

OK, I'm a day late, but better late than never, right?

I totally spaced on Lori's Liberated Medallion Quilt Along (see it here on her blog Humble Quilts).   When I saw her post yesterday, I remember that I wanted to do this too!

Lori started out the Medallion by giving us the prompt "Basket" for our center block.  And then I saw all the wonderful baskets popping up in Blogland!

So, after I emailed Lori and got permission to play along, I went and found my basket block that is already done.

Basket #1
I had made this last year after my class with Gwen Marston on liberated baskets the previous year.  (see the post on that class here)  Well, it doesn't fit with the other basket blocks I've made for that project - it's too soon to call it a quilt yet!

my baskets as of March 2015
It's a different size and it just doesn't fit with them well.  So, I thought it would be perfect for the Quilt Along.

Basket #2
And then I found one more (in the bottom left in the picture of all the baskets)  It doesn't match very well either - all the others have a more pastel background.

So, I have choices.  I haven't decided quite where I'm going with this, and options are good. 

The print fabric is a vintage late '60's/early '70's one.

Here are my possible fabric choices to go with Basket #1.  I think I need to add in some of the gold/mustard for some spice!  Oooo, shopping!

This is gonna be fun!  I love a liberated quilt and a good QAL too!  And I just had the Medallion class with Gwen this spring to get me started thinking medallions!

The next border's prompt is "Childhood" and I already have some ideas in my head.  Now if it would just cool down enough that I can go upstairs and play in the quilt studio.

Click here to go to Lori's and see all the other baskets that others have made to get started.  I'm humbled by their creativity!

Monday, June 06, 2016


I have so much to share with you!  May was another busy month....and where did it go?   It seemed to just zoom past me!

I took a class that I've been wanting to take for a long time, at the local art gallery.  It was Fabric Printing with Linoleum Blocks.

The actual block carving was much more difficult than I thought it would be.  It was very hard work, and very tough on my arthritic hands and wrist.  As a matter of fact, my wrist (that I sprained 2 years ago) is still giving me pain after 3 weeks.  Above is my first test print on paper.  It showed me that I needed to carve away more background material.

And here is my best print on the fabric.  Not perfect, but OK.  I have 3 prints from the class and now have to decide just what to do with them.  

I learned that this process is not for me!  Always good to know, but a disappointment to me.  I guess I will stick with rubber stamps for printing on fabric.  I have yet to try carving one, but I'm pretty sure it will be easier than the linoleum block.  And I have a lot of purchased ones to play with before I need to worry about carving one, so that's good.

I taught my 3rd bag class 2 weeks ago.  Probably my last one for while.  I had 3 repeat students out of four...they said because they had so much fun in the first class they took that they wanted to do it again.  And we had a lot of fun! 

V's bag

S's bag

C's bag

J's bag

I also made a bag as a gift for my sister, but totally spaced on getting a photo of it.  It was really cute.  You'll have to take my word for it until I can get a photo, I guess!  LOL

I went down south to visit my sister for 5 days.  We had a lot of fun.  Visited a couple of quilt shops, saw my niece and nephew who are both living in the area again, and went to dinner a few times.  But mostly we sewed!  I made a block for the BOM and then some other random things.  

This is the sample block for the June Block Of the Month for the Tacoma Modern Quilt Guild.   It is a pattern by Bonnie Hunter called Pineapple Blossom.  The colors for June are lemon yellow, cerulean blue and white.  

By the way, I found a fun website!  It's called "Color Palettes", and it's a lot of fun to play around with.  And I can see it being very helpful for planning a color scheme for a quilt.  Just pick a color or two and pages and pages of suggested color schemes come up.  Whee!

But mostly we made bags.  Sally is making some to sell, and I was making them "just because".  I've been using Noodlehead's Open Wide pouch tutorial, but decided to use a Missouri Star video this time, for doing the zippers a little differently.  I did use Noodlehead's dimensions for the pouch though, as those are good sizes.  I didn't do the zippers perfectly (wrong both times!)  but the pouches came out good anyway.

smaller pouch
I used some fabric I've been hoarding for years on this one!  It finished at 11 inches wide by 7 inches tall.

and the lining

the larger pouch
And for this pouch I used some new fabric that I love!  (my sister loved it too and had to order some for herself) This one finished at 12 inches wide by 9 inches tall.

And the lining

I don't know if you can see in these photos, but I added ribbons and beads on the zipper tabs, so they're easier to open.

I forgot to get photos of the bags my sister was making.  Her bags were very sophisticated, with linen and batiks.  

We had some fun playing with Zoe, my sister's tuxedo cat.  

Zoe was modeling for us on a vintage quilt that my sister owns.  It only took about 60 photos to get one good one!

And here is Zoe begging for her breakfast.  She does this sitting up pose all the time.  What a silly kitty!

I hope you have time to be creative this week!

Monday, April 25, 2016

April's Been a Busy Month

I've managed to get quite a bit done this month, thankfully.  First up was taxes, of course.  It's never a fun process, but it's done for another year.  I taught another bag class, and I've been busy sewing.  Yay!  Always my favorite thing to be busy with.  I'm having trouble deciding where to start this post.

My purple azalea
We've mostly had lovely weather this month, and we've had some beautiful flowers too.  A week ago today our high was 86 degrees!  Today we had a high of 54 degrees with alternating rain and sunshine.  Pretty chilly after that warm spell.  But really we can't complain.  Except for the allergies - they are brutal this spring, because we've had so much rain.  Everything is yellow and sticky, and everyone is sniffling and sneezing.

I made another  bag sample for the quilt shop.  I finished it and got it over to the shop so quickly that I completely forgot to get a photo while I had it at home.  Here it is at the shop:

front of bag
back of bag
I had 5 students for this latest class, and all but one got their bag completely done.  C. just had to finish the top edge when she left.

C's bag
J's bag
S's bag
Same fabric as mine, just in the red colorway
I forgot to get a photo of N's bag.  I'll be teaching this class again at least one more time this month, possibly twice.

Forget-Me-Nots in my backyard
I finally decided on what fabrics I want to use to make one of Sujata's Rail Fence blocks from her book Cultural Fusion Quilts.   I decided to use my DaGama 3 Cats indigo fabrics that are made in South Africa.  (I collected these fabrics for many years at Pacific International Quilt Festival).  I only had 15 fabrics large enough, so decided to make 4 half-size blocks with the smaller cuts to fill in for the last block to make all 16 blocks that the pattern calls for.  So I figured out the math for the half size block, made one to test my math skills and it worked!

the first 8 inch block - isn't it cute?
While making the first block, I discovered that my indigo fabrics are not 40 inches wide but 35!!  So, I wouldn't be able to get enough fabric from my 1/4 yards (not fat quarters) for the 16 inch blocks that the pattern calls for.   So, more math skillz.  I figured out that with the 35 inch fabric, I could make 14 inch blocks.  I have yet to test that theory.

Then I finished making the other 3 half-size blocks, since I had already cut the fabric.

all 4 of the 8 inch blocks
So, now what to do with these?  They wouldn't work with the 14 inch blocks.  So I decided make a table-runner.  

quilting the table-runner
And here it is, all finished!

It just fits my coffee table in the living room. I love the way this looks!  Rather traditional fabrics, but a very modern vibe to it.  And I can see and enjoy those wonderful DaGama indigos!  I can see that I have a little wiggle in my border that I'll have to deal with.  Oh well, finished is better than perfect, right?  *grin*  

Here is a pouch I made for my Secret Sister in the Tacoma Modern Quilt Guild.  I used Noodlehead's tutorial for the Open Wide Zippered Pouch.  I love this pattern and have made a number of these useful bags. 

fun fabric for the inside
I had to do take-down of my DH's pottery display at the Spring Fair for him as he was traveling for work.  I saw this photo and had to snap it to share with you.

Roy Rogers
Roy Rogers was one of my heroes when I was growing up, and I love this photo of him!  Look how young he is!  I'd love to know the story behind this photo.

Google to the rescue!  I found this from a search:  "In 1938, a youngster named Roy Rogers opened the show (he returned with his wife, Dale Evans, in 1973)".
From an article in The Seattle Times, dated 1997, about the history of the Puyallup Fair.

I hope you get to do something creative this week!  Happy quilting!

Rhododendron in bloom

Friday, April 08, 2016

Liberated Medallions with Gwen

At long last, here is my post on my 3 day class with Gwen.  I had so much fun!  I can't believe it's taken me so long to get this post done, but here it is.

Warning: this post is photo-heavy!

The class was offered by the wonderful quilt shop "Quilted Strait" over in Port Gamble.  They have a wonderful facility, and are very attentive to the students' needs and make every attempt to keep us happily sewing.  If you ever get the chance to take a class there, I urge you to do it!

I'm not going to spend a lot of time "talking" about the class, I'll just show you my photos.  Right to the good stuff, OK?
I love the texture Gwen's hand-quilting adds to this piece.
These are some of Gwen's quilts that she brought to show.  Somehow I didn't get photos of her medallion quilts - doh!  

Another one with Gwen's beautiful hand-quilting.

One of my favorite parts of Gwen's classes is when the students have Show & Tell:

A whole cloth medallion (limited piecing),
made as a test before the class.

A "Ferris Wheel" quilt.
Pattern by Karen Griska of the Selvage Blog.

This is the back for the previous quilt top.

the back of the previous quilt
The next few photos are of Nifty Quilts' quilts.  You can see more at her blog.

The is the back of the previous quilt.

The back of the previous quilt.
Not really Show & Tell, I just loved this bag!
And now, here are my photos of the students' work, taken on the last day of the class.  Unfortunately, by the time I was taking photos, some of the students had already left and I didn't get photos of their work.  Trust me, it was awesome!

this one was being done by two sisters

Nifty actually got her top finished!
And here is the quilt that I was working on:

This is what I brought to get started with.  This has been languishing in the quilt studio for a few years, because I was undecided as to how I wanted to proceed with it. 

This is where I was at the end of the class.  Sadly, I haven't done any more yet.  Well, I took away the pink/yellow fabric because it seemed too overwhelming when I got it home.  It's up on the design wall, and I'm thinking.....