Friday, December 28, 2018

Next, Please!

Since I finished the newer String Quilt/Phone Book Quilt, I thought I'd best back up and actually quilt the first one I pieced.  You know.  Back in June of 2011.  Actually I started in February of '09. Whoops!  But hey, I'm going back to finish it, so that's what counts -- right?!?

This one is made a bit differently, but is still pieced on phone book pages, using nothing but scraps!  In about the center of each block, I put a small piece of BDU fabric (camouflage fabric from one of my husband's old uniforms), and went from there.  You can get a feel for my "pattern" at this link.  Maybe more "system" than "pattern".  ANYWAY ...

Let me just say that I'm really glad I'm finally quilting it ... and that it's huge. Here it is, as I was making sure I had pieced a large enough backing:


And then sandwiched with the backing and batting:


It's really a cool quilt. I put so many of these fabrics into projects for other people (and for us, too) - it's really fun to see them again.

Because it's so huge (why did I do this to myself?), I struggled with how to quilt. Again, making it easier on myself, I'm going with my favored wavy lines - only this time, I'll eventually have a grid: three waves one way, three the other. Here's the beginning:


The gloves are a pain to wear, but they really do help with gripping.

Here's a look at the back:


I started on the cross-grid yesterday afternoon, but didn't take any photos. I hope to get back to work on it today.

I'm quilting in King Tut 953 - Lobelia. It's LOVELY shades of blue:


And above is my tip of the day - to help keep bobbins with the right threads -- use a golf tee! Very handy.

The girls have been very helpful in the process. They keep me relaxed and laughing, and are great company!

Thanks so much for reading!

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Check That One Off!

Hi everyone!  In my quest to reduce my stash and actually finish things, I've checked another project off the list -- the String Quilt!  YAY!

Here's a look, before I washed it:


Oh, right. The ball. I had help in the Studio that day.


Maggie seems to like it. A lot.

I asked my husband to hold it for me after I ran it through the wash. It's so long, he had to go upstairs and hold it over the railing:


And the reverse:


That gives a pretty good look at that triple-line wavy design.

I think I mentioned this is to go at the foot of our bed, overtop of the denim quilt. Here it is, all set:


Have I mentioned Maggie really likes it?

"Could you keep it down, please?"

Her sister does, too. That makes my heart happy!

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Stringing Me Along

... or something like that!

As promised, an update on the String Quilt.  Phone Book Quilt.  Whatever. Regardless of what you'd like to call it, I'm getting there.

After I removed all the paper (never again!  not for a while) I pieced together a backing, grabbed some batting, and sandwiched the thing together. And basted really well.

Not really.  I spray basted.  Don't judge.

For the quilting, I reached into my King Tut stash and chose this one:


It's "Sands of Time", in case anyone was wondering.  Shades of beiges.  Really rich.

This might be the largest thing I've quilted by machine. If not, it's certainly right up there. My Bernina did me proud! I went with sets of three wavy lines:


I do need to start practicing with my BSR (Bernina Stitch Regulator) again, but for now, I just really wanted to get on with things!

I decided to just add some 9-patches that were left over from something I was doing 10 years ago:


Just kidding. Sort of. As I was quilting, I noticed a "gap" between two fabric strings where either a slight seam let go somehow or they weren't lined up right or SOMETHING! But ... %$#@!!! HBO words uttered, then the fix with the 9-patches.

My FaceBook friends really liked the 9-patches on it and one friend suggested adding more. Sounded like a plan!

I added three here:


And one here:


I thought it was an exciting, creative solution! Other family members weren't quite as enthralled:


Sorry to bore you, Maggie!

Here it is, all set to trim up and sew the binding on:


Speaking of which ...


I must say, I love looking back at some of the fabrics! Most of them went into things I made for other people, so it's really fun to have bits and pieces sewn into something for us!

I'm still in the hand sewing phase of the binding:


It, too, is made strictly from scraps - just pulled from my 2.5" strips basket.  It's a slow process, especially since I should be writing Christmas cards and doing some baking for friends and neighbors, but I'll get there!

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, December 15, 2018


Hi everyone!  It's been a few weeks, but really - I HAVE been quilting!  I have picked all the paper off my String Quilt, have quilted it, and am in the process of doing the hand binding work.  I'll post pix of all of that next time.

Because I just can't have one thing going at a time (LOOK!  A SQUIRREL!), I started thinking about my next project.  My friend Denise and I decided we'd do a scrap quilt "together", and set about creating a board on Pinterest to kick ideas around.  We settled on an "x & +" quilt and agreed to start after the holidays.


So ... I couldn't just leave it hanging out there like that - right?  I mean, what if I hated how it went together or something?  I decided I owed it to both of us to make a test block. And I decided to use a bunch of Amy Butler prints I had from making bags. Here's what I came up with:


Hmm. I liked the process AND I'm still in love with the fabs. So I made another.


And then ... umm ...


Oops.  How did that happen?  I may have started obsessing over the blocks.  And the fabric.  And why did I have so few charm squares left?  Fortunately, I had some bigger cuts, so I started in on them.  Then, because I didn't think I had enough contrast going, I introduced a couple of "non-Amys" in there (the solid grey, the light with grey writing, and an off-white tone-on-tone that is also writing).

Some of the blocks above might make their way to the back of the quilt -- I'm just not sure at this point.  Maybe the low contrast is OK?  I might just send those first couple plus the other one with a touch of orange to the back.  Who knows? I don't even know what size I'm going for yet.

Anyway ... sorry, Denise.  I could very easily start over after the holidays!  Or keep adding to this.  If nothing else, I can attest that it's an extremely fun block to make!!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, November 26, 2018


Guess what I finally finished?!?!


That's right - I finally finished the Wonky Army Star quilt!  Actually, this was over a week ago, but I slacked off blogging again.  Sorry.

Here's a look at the back:

Digital desert camo, plus a strip of Star Spangled Banner fab for good measure

It may have taken over 5 years, but I got back to it and BOOM!  Done.  It feels wonderful!

I pieced my binding, of course:

Binding shot!

This will hang in my husband's study eventually.  He wants to do a little rearranging first.  I think it will look perfect in there!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, November 19, 2018

The Tedious Parts

Hi everyone!  I must confess, there are parts of the quilting process I find a bit tedious. I actually used to love doing the hand-sewing part of the binding.  It's a bit slow, but I loved it.

Rounding the second corner on the Wonky Army Stars quilt!

I still love it in the "it means I'm almost done" sense, but ... let's just say I'm thankful for the Audible app on my iPhone. (Zzz...)

One of the other somewhat less than exciting stages that I swore I wouldn't get myself into again is removing all the paper from doing a massive paper foundation piecing project.


As incentive to stick with both of these tasks, I've allowed myself to switch back and forth freely ... and I just might be testing out a block I'm going to be doing with a friend after Christmas. I have to be prepared, right?

For removing the paper, I use all sorts of tools (other than my fingers). Here are my favorites at the moment:


In front, a curved hemostat clamp -- excellent for reaching into corners!  In the rear, a small flat-headed screwdriver -- great for holding down stitching while pulling up on the edge of the paper.  I always MEAN to make my stitches smaller on paper foundation quilts, but I usually forget.  Using the screwdriver is helpful in avoiding undoing stitches.

Other than my Audible books, I have plenty of help/entertainment in the Studio. It's mighty hard to be bored with anything with my two Siberians around.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, November 16, 2018

I'm On A Roll

Hi, everyone!  Great, productive day in the Studio yesterday afternoon - all brought to you by make-ahead freezer meals.  I love cooking ahead!  Anyway ...

I started sewing the long columns together on my scrap quilt:


Yes, I used a combo of both pins and those cute clips to hold things together; I need to buy more clips eventually.

Anyway, then more columns to columns:


You may notice some parts of the phone book pages have torn away -- that's just fine! I'm eventually going to have to remove it all anyway, so yay!

Then I put even more together:


Though that looks like a mess, it's "organized chaos". I love having a large table leaf on the far side of my machine, where the quilt has plenty of room to spread out. I still don't know the best method of coping with everything in front of me. ??? Anyone?

Shortly before it was time to serve up my Korean Beef Sloppy Joes (I'll definitely be making those again!), I had the top pieced and trimmed up!


Now to remove all the paper, give it a good pressing, then advance to the quilting stage! ... and to plan my next scrap quilt.  LOL.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Phone Book Quilt

Hi, everyone!  I'm still sewing the binding on my Wonky Army Stars -- a little each time I hit the Studio.  I'm also still working on my "phone book" quilt.  As I explained in my last post, you cut pages from phone books and use them as foundation papers for (in this case) scrap quilts.


Just line the strips up and sew.  Sewing to the paper helps stabilize everything.  No measuring, just grab from those scrap baskets and GO!

After each page is covered, trim everything up to the size of the papers.  I've got three different widths going, just to keep things interesting.  I was inspired by the quilt at this link.  Oh.  And somehow I had some strippy rows just laying around that were rejected from another project - so I'm throwing them into the mix.

I started sewing block to block:


... then laid everything out to see how I was doing.


The girls were a big help!  (Maggie has learned to "go around".  They are both so incredibly well-behaved!)

I thought we needed a more length.  This will be an "end of the bed" topper quilt -- sort of decorative, sort of "keep the feet warm".


I finally broke down and bought some of those little clips.  They are WONDERFUL for things like this!

Here's what I've got:


I think that's perfect -- I'll trim those extras off and will probably use them on the back.  I liked the layout, but didn't want to leave it all on the floor, so I marked the rows:


... then gathered the long columns up and put them on my sewing table.  (I save the bread tag thingies and use them as row markers.)

Today, my goal is to get the whole top pieced together.  As you can see, I used a LOT of my scraps -- but somehow the baskets are still very full.  How does this happen?!?  More scrap projects to come.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Getting All Wonky

Hi everyone!  Sorry I dropped off for a bit there; it's been a busy time here.  The remodel is (mostly) done, so there has been a lot of cleaning, putting away, cleaning, reorganizing, cleaning, culling of junk, and cleaning.  Did I mention cleaning?  How does drywall dust get into EVERYthing?!?  Anyway ... I have been doing some quilting - for my sanity, really.

So ... back in January of 2012 (don't judge, please!) I started a wall-hanging for my husband -- Wonky Army Stars.  I finished piecing it back then and ... proceeded to set it aside.  Then came the 5-year gap.  What can I say?  I finally quilted it a week or so ago!!!


I used a variegated thread from King Tut - sort of sand colors, with some greenish tones in there.  Just perfect.  My Guide Dog for the Color Blind had helped me choose it, God rest his sweet soul.

I stuck to a simple "3 wavy lines" quilting motif that I made up as I went along.  It sort of echoed the lines in the black on black fab you can see there, with the helicopters on it.  I also chose it because, frankly, it was easy.  I had been WAY over-thinking and over-complicating it before I plunged in.

Here's a shot of me sewing the binding to the front:


The back is pieced - I'll show it to you in full once I get the binding sewn to the back.  The hand sewing always goes a bit slower.


It's coming along, however slowly.

In the meantime, and when I have to rest my hands, I have another scrap-buster going.  I WILL deplete my baskets of strips!  I WILL!!!  I'm using the method I used once before - sewing the scraps to phone book pages, as a form of paper foundation piecing.  I'll show you the blocks I've got soon, but in the interim, this happened the last time I used phone books and it happened again:


I can't help it.  When you live with Siberian Huskies like I do, things like this crack you up!  (I did put a sneak peek on the Army of Four Digest!). 

I'll be back soon with an update on the scrap-buster and the Wonky Army Star quilt.

Thanks for reading!