Tuesday, October 21, 2014


I an linking up to Scraptastic Tuesday It is a monthly linkup of scrap quilts, old or new or in progress.You can read about it by clicking on the link and view the quilts and if you want link up your own scrap quilt.

I admire quilts with 2 colors or 2 fabrics or a limited number of fabrics  but it is hard for me to stick with that kind of quilt if it is of any size. For me there can never be too many colors or fabrics.

My quilt is from 2005 and I made it as an "in progress" sample for a quilt in sections class I was teaching.
I worked out a method for randomizing my scraps so each colored strip appeared on the opposite side of the braid each time it was used. I used an odd number of color families, 5 for this quilt,  and I made stacks of each fabric. I had stacks everywhere in the sewing room. They were all lined up on my sewing tables, desk, ironing boards and every horizontal surface. Then I went around the room and I picked them up in order of red, blue, green, yellow, and orange to make working stacks. I also had a stack of "wild card strips, fabrics that didn't fit a color category to add at times when the next fabric on the stack didn't have enough contrast.  Working this way I did not have to make choices for each strip. I worked on 3 chevron strips at a time to avoid getting up to press after each addition.

My borders and vertical are not pieced but are irregular striped fabric. The binding was pieced and I rounded the corners of the quilt to avoid seams falling at the corners.

Be sure and check out the other scrap quilts, better yet, link up to one of your own and join the fun.

Thursday, October 9, 2014


It is really bad when I have no pictures of anything quilty to post about. I am stitching straight lines on the MEH project and one photo looks like another.
However... I think I might work this pattern up in EQ and give it a try. This is a Kleenex box that was in a large Kleenex package in assorted patterns. I noticed just now as I am sitting here that where the ends of the box are folded to make the box square the pattern is perfectly matched. I like the colors and I think I can come up with an easy pattern. Could this be desperation because I've had nothing much for a long time to post about quilting?

I am finding inspiration here in our new location, though I am not sure I can interpret it in a quilt.
 These first 2 photos are both shots of the same view from the front side of the house. It was a foggy morning last week  and the angle of the sun gave  a golden glow to the fog. Of course it is impossible to capture that exactly.

This photo was taken on the other side of the house in August about 7:45PM. I have always loved the way the sun shines in the windows or filters through the trees at that time of day when the sun is low in the sky. This too gave the air a golden glow.  I came across these photos when I was looking for birthday party pictures to put in a digital album. I also found this one below.

These are the animals who have trained me as a companion. When I got up very early one morning they came in the sewing room to keep me company. The dog just went to sleep in  the corner but the cat sat on my sewing chair and talked to me. This has now become their habit. Kitty frequently looks me up and talks to me. I thought she was saying meow but I have learned her language and I have come to understand that she is saying nnnow. Meaning she wants to eat NOW or she wants to go out NOW or she wants me to sit down in the recliner and provide a lap for her to sit on NOW whereupon she will allow me to pet her.

Being a companion has it's perks; kitty provides some extra warmth when I am cold and walking the dog adds about 4800 steps of good exercise.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

MEH Challenge and Birthdays

I am slowly making some progress on the Mary Ellen Hopkins Diva challenge. I work a little and stop and think a little. now that I have finally decided how I will quilt the octagon spaces it should move along faster. I am going to quilt through them as though they were 9 patches. I am not going to quilt across the strips that l want to look as though they are on top of the strips they cross. That means a lot of stops and starts. I looked at Mary Ellen's quilts in the book I have and it appears that most or all of them that straight or diagonal allover grids; that would have been easier but it is what it is now.

I am sure I am not alone in second guessing as there are always more than one way to do something and not every options appears to us before we start. I have to remember that though I can see a better option after I have finished (or gotten half way through) I have never felt I ruined a quilt with my quilting.

Fall is the time for great grand child birthdays. This one below was 3 weeks ago. The tall boy in the back row is a friend and the other 5 are my great grands. It is really hard to get a photo with everyone looking decent. There is always someone moving or clowning around. The birthday boy here is in the orange and brown shirt. The birthday theme was ninja turtles. You can see the celebration tablecloth  that I  made from hand dyed fabric that I almost threw away. It came through the party without mishap (big surprise).
The blond boy in the lower left corner has a July birthday and we usually have a big family outdoor party at their house,  This year his dad was recovering from a tib/fib leg fracture with no weight bearing and grandma and grandpa (my daughter and son in law) were
 spending every minute getting ready for our move out here so.... no big party this year for David. He did get his presents though and some arrived at his cousin's birthday party, he seemed happy with that.

 This was the second fall birthday last weekend, same 5 ggkids and same place, same celebration table cloth. This is the oldest great grand, he is 12 this year. His cake was his choice, over the top chocolate brownie cake with chocolate frosting and slathered with M&M's. I forced myself to eat one piece I had to have ice cream with it in order to tone down the chocolate.
Next week will be another birthday party and then no parties till November. We always celebrate the only girl party at Thanksgiving; I don't think she minds.

I have decided that I am going to make a Birthday Quilt to replace that rather lame Happy Birthday banner. Maybe I will make it so we can change out the name for each birthday.

In December I will have a BIG birthday. 
Would it be alright 
to have the birthday quilt 
for the first time 
on my birthday?
Would that seem  
like I was making myself 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Tree Skirt Again

When our church group had our retreat we took some time on Saturday afternoon To visit a couple of quilt shops. i was looking for Christmas charm packs but didn't see any but I saw a kit in one of the shops that included a layer cake Solstice by Kate Spain. I didn't want the kit but that was the only way to buy the layer cake. I guess I could have waited but now that we have move it is not so easy anymore to get out to the quilt shops.

I cut the layer cake into 5 inch squares over the weekend and and on Monday I sorted them into rows of 5 squares to a row in the way I want to sew them together. Here they are on a tray in stacks of 5 squares. Right now they are in order but after I cut wedges with a 9 degree ruler the order will likely change some.

 I made 2 tree skirts using this tutorial from Annie (Freezeframe), It is  good tutorial and not hard to do.The one on the left is the second one that I made.

 I am still quilting the MEH challenge. These blocks are 4 1/2 inches  and I am wishing that I had made smaller blocks;  I am going to have to do some quilting in the negative spaces.
It is not going to be quick!

Thursday, September 18, 2014


Yesterday, Mr Spontaneous decided to put u some shelves here and there, which I have been waiting for. We spent some time in the basement looking for shelf hardware and we moved lots of boxes looking for it. We both got kind of cranky and when Jack sat down to rest I came upstairs to look for the hardware. My daughters friend was here and when they didn't hear Jack making any noise the friend wondered if I did something to him. I think she was joking. Anyway when I got back downstairs he told me that while he was sitting there thinking he remembered where he had put the stuff when he took it out of the box weeks ago.  So the shelves are up and some more things have been put away, which means they are out of the sewing room. I had set up my space for quilting but  I never did get back to the sewing room, except for getting things out of boxes to put away. 

Today I got the thread box out and decided what I want to use and I started quilting my Basement Diva, Mary Ellen Hopkins challenge quilt. I am still not sure exactly how I will quilt everything but I have started quilting in the ditch and I believe I will be changing some things when the pattern changes. Mary Ellen named this Metamorphosis and I think I will keep that in mind as I quilt it. 

We'll see how it goes.

Monday, September 15, 2014


Six of us from the quilt group at church went to our annual retreat at a YMCA camp in NW Pa. We met there on Friday and got settled in our rooms in a nice lodge just across the lawn from our work area. We had a lovely big room to work in,with big windows on 3 sides and enough space for triple the number of people who attended.

 This was the view from the windows at the end of the room.

Most of our meals are in the dining hall right across from our sewing/quilting room.
We have our meals with whoever is camping there that week end. It has usually been the Father/Daughter week end for the the Y Indian Guides and it was again this year. It is nice to just walk across the hall and have our meals without having to cook or go out somewhere. The food is not gourmet but it is adequate and we have no complaints. Friday there is no dinner served so we bring something for a pot luck meal.

Everyone was productive. Betty, Dorine and Cathy are show their with their projects below each of them.

Betty and Cathy each worked pretty steadily on one project, a double 4 patch for Betty and a Judy Neidemier paper piece project for Cathy. Dorine had 4 projects,  2 that were finishes and 2 that she started. This is a T shirt quilt that she started Saturday from her fathers Bald Eagle T shirts. Her Dad passed away this past year and she is making this for her mother.

Elaine, on the left, had more than one project too. She made a baby quilt from a kit and applied binding to another quilt and made these "Take 4" batik placemats.
Kim worked on one project all weekend. She had a lot more blocks in more colors that she finished after I put my camera away.

I layered up my Mary Ellen Hopkins Basement Diva challenge; it was great to have 4 tables pushed together to work on. I made "Take 4" placemats too; I didn't finish them at the retreat but I did finish them today. Somehow, I managed to make one of them 1/2 inch wider even though I trimmed them all very carefully. I know how I did it. I decided they all needed to be just a bit smaller and I was interrupted after the first one and I had not written down the measurement. So..... when I got back to to trimming, I just went ahead and cut without checking.

There is no photo of me but if you look closely I am reflected in the window behind Betty while shooting her photo.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Watermelon Inspiration

Jack's favorite summer fruit is watermelon and we have been eating a lot of it this summer. It seems like as soon as one is all gone we buy another. After the second one I told him that we were not buying another watermelon unless we bought a watermelon knife. As quickly as the words were out of my mouth, he did a quick U turn and went to the aisle where they were located and  picked up a watermelon knife.

So.... I have been cutting up a lot of watermelon. The knife does make it easier and the watermelon this year seems to be especially good  and, though I too like watermelon but I will be happy to see the last of them for a while

Now that we live where there is a compost pile I have not only been cutting up watermelon I have been cutting up the rind so it will compost faster.
This photo shows the rind from the last one that Jack choose. It was the biggest one to date and I told him from now on I will pick the watermelons.
I really took the photo because I thought the color combination was pretty, it would look good in a quilt.

You never know 
from where 
your inspiration 
will come.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

A Little Quilting

I set up my Q Snap quilting frame yesterday with my BIG UFO and did a little quilting. This quilt has been around  for probably 10 years or more and I get it out every once in a while. The ladies in
The Friendship Group made the blocks one year and the border blocks another year. It was my first year in the Friendship group and I asked for 2 - 12 inch blocks.
I said I would like all the fabrics to be different but it was OK to repeat the neutral fabrics if they needed to. It is a testimony to their good nature that they did not elect to toss me out of the group. Those blocks have 48 pieces. In my defense I did ask the shop owner who was the leader of the group if it was OK to ask for that block and she assured me that it was.

 This is a closeup of one block showing  the sashing which formed another secondary block. Most of the quilting is in the ditch with circles in the block center and 3 overlapping circles in the sashing neutral rectangles. I have decided that when I get the quilting finished in the center of the quilt I am going to machine quilt the borders. The quilting will be in the ditch and I am telling myself it will be OK. I do not want this hanging around unfinished for another 10 or more years.

 I believe that the configuration of this room is more conducive to having the frame left up. I can get around it easily to get at anything and it will easily move to the other side of the room when I set up for machine quilting the MEH Diva challenge quilt.

The photo on the left is where I have my machine and one of my work/cutting tables. The quilt frame is set up at the end of that table.There are still some boxes under the table that are waiting to be unpacked when there re shelves on which to put their contents.

These two are my trainers. They are training me to be a proper companion to them. They have taught me to understand pretty well their oral commands and body language .

When I started to photograph them the cat followed me everywhere I moved and posed for me. The dog moved where I told him to but didn't seem too excited to have his picture taken.

I guess I am working out OK as a companion. The dog was prodding me to get up from the computer last evening and when got up to go to the living room he cat was waiting in the hall and followed me to my chair where she promptly jumped up on my lap and curled up, purring, the minute I sat down.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

A Little Sewing etc.

I  did a little sewing today, the key word here is little. I finally got round to piecing the back for the Diva MEH challenge.  I should say I started it; I sewed 2 short seams before we took off on another shopping trip. I had to piece a 20 inch wide strip of the big dot fabric that will
 go down the center with  4 inch strips  of the zigzag on each side. If I had purchased 6 1/2 yards of the dots instead of whatever it was that I did purchase, I would have been able to get by with one long seam. I don't remember my logic if there was any logic for buying that amount but it will be OK. Quilts usually turns out to be more interesting when I run short and have to improvise.

I didn't get any further today because Mr Spontaneous was ready to go and shop for another 4 foot Lifetime table. We didn't find it so I will have to order it to pick up at the store. I am finding that out here everything is far away. When we decide to shop for something it is not a few blocks away as it was in our apartment. We have lived a short distance from everything for the past 40 years and this is a big change. Walmart is close and Walgreen's and Rite Aid and Giant Eagle are close. The Mall and Joann's and the quilt shops are no longer 10 to 20 minutes away. I will have to plan my shopping trips a little better and that is probably a good thing.


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Not there yet!

We are still settling in. As always the sewing room gets all of the things that need to be dealt with, either unpacked,  disposed of, put away to a yet to be determined space or decided upon.
I am trying to make a decision about whether I want shelves or a design wall on the one open wall. I am leaning toward shelves and thinking over the options for a  portable design wall. I have  several design boards that I use that I can stow away when they are not in use.

I have some things in the sewing room that were not there before. the blue chair ended up there when the movers brought it in and it will not be staying, it may go to another room or it may go out the door. The narrow chest in the corner was in the sewing room before and holds odds and ends of sewing supplies like freezer paper and fusible web and other general supplies.  The green cabinet is 30" W x 23" D x 80" tall; Jack built it for me a long time ago before I started quilting,for craft supplies. Over the years it has held various things, most recently, it was in the living room and had season and occasionally used table ware, vases, seasonal decorations etc.  It is staying in the sewing room and holds Christmas dishes, quilts and things waiting for shelves. The Christmas dishes will stay, I think I will keep the quilts that are not wall hangings where they are. I plan to use one shelf for kids games. The closet in the room where the grand kids sleep when they visit is completely full of toys and games. the games that I have that are not duplicates can stay in the cabinet, along with kids craft items that they always used, when they visited. I am sure I will be seeing more of them from now on.
So.... no sewing yet, but soon. I don't want to start working on anything until I find a permanent place for most things. In the mean time I have not abandoned my blog but I have no quilting photos to post.
We are making progress, a little every day.

Sunday, August 3, 2014


I wasn't really ready to sew on Friday; I don't have the room set up and there are still things that need to be unpacked and the boxes are taking up space and blocking access to things I need.  

The great grandkids arrived and wanted to sew. I don't like to discourage them by making them wait just in case they lose interest altogether in sewing. I dragged out my cutting table and my Janome Gem (that I am going to give to Grace) and she made a pillowcase.

 Her brother wants to make one too but I have to get more organized. It is just too much trouble cutting with a scissors, the light on the machine is not working since the move, and there are some other issues with trying to sew in a makeshift setup.

We'll get there........ but not today,
maybe not tomorrow either.

Thursday, July 31, 2014


We are moved and it went pretty well with nothing broken or damaged. Last Tuesday we ran out of steam and time when we were packing and that wasn't too bad after all. We went back to our old apartment on Monday this week to finish up taking down the window coverings and getting all the stuff in the bathroom vanity. Jack patched nail  and screw holes while I cleaned the stove and refrigerator. We left more stuff to gather up than I thought and when we once again ran out of steam I called for help and our DIL and her friend came and helped us.
At this end we could have paid a little more attention to the unloading as some things went to the basement because they were not marked and in the sewing room the boxes ended up in the corners and along the walls and the furniture and more boxes in the center of the room. By the time I paid attention it was too late and it took 2 days to get it sorted out. It is still not finished but I can move around but there will be no sewing for a while.
My computer has been acting up for a while and I thought it was my mouse and we replaced it and my keyboard with a new wireless mouse and keyboard, however........... everything worked fine but I started having the same problems again and Jack went on line and ordered me a new Dell. It came yesterday and I am in the process of sorting out what I want to transfer. I have a lot of stuff that I don't want to transfer and a lot that I had previously but on a flash drive.  No pictures today! With all my computer issues I am not even going to try.