A little bit of stitching

I spent 10 days away from home since my last post.  I went to visit my daughter and 3 of the grands, and got to enjoy the fun of a certain youngster’s birthday party.  Have you ever been to one of those “bounce” places?   WOW !!  Six kids from age 5-10, 3 adults to monitor among 300 or more other kids. My only “job” was to keep my eyes on the 5 year old, and I lost sight of her in the first 30 seconds.  When I spotted one of the bigger kids, then I spotted the 5 year old, and fortunately they stayed together for the better part of the hour.  Heart stopping moment, that lasted for only a few seconds.  That didn’t happen again, but golly!!!  (This grandma almost got fired!)

While I travel, I play with my English paper piecing project.  I managed to get a couple of my diamonds together.  I also realized looking at the photo below that I need to get two more pieces attached to the diamond in the second row on the right end.  🙂

EPP on the wall with houses

Every once in a while, I dig the diamonds out of the giant ziplock and give them a press and put them on the wall.  19 are complete.  I have LOTS more to go, so I need to take more trips.

Do you see the houses on the left side of the photo?  I took a class called LIBERATED HOUSES at Ocean Waves Quilt Guild a week ago with Barb Vedder and made these funky little houses.  I used scraps and enjoyed the process.  If your guild is looking for an energetic and fun speaker, I highly recommend her.  Check out her website for more info – Barb’s website

I took 5 or 6 bins of scraps to share with the class and the guild members had a great time !

My liberated houses

Here are a couple of blocks made by others in the class….

OWQG Liberated House block made by a member

3 favorites made by an OWQG member

This was a fun class and a great way to play in the scrap bin!

Speaking of funky houses – I visited the San Antonio Arboretum  Botanical Garden in February, and spotted these 2 in the new Children’s area.

Funky houses at San Antonio Arboretum

Off kilter house

I’ve played with my embroidery machine a little in the last week too, making 2 t-shirts for the youngest granddaughter. She just turned 2 and I had fun watching the wild antics of at least 10 kids under 5 at a birthday party last weekend.

Unicorn applique tshirt

Dino Shirt for 2 year old!

One project for the week was working on our Senior Quilts for church. I chair this project every year, and this year, we only have one graduate.  (What a change from the 10-15 in previous years).  Last Saturday we laid out the pattern, and then marked the rows, stacked it all up and I brought 1/2 of the rows home. Another quilter is working on the “other half”.  I had a Material Girls quilt bee on Wednesday, and took my half for the bee.  I used Bessie – my Featherweight to stitch the blocks.  I have my rows completed, and just need to give them a good press.  When the other quilter gets her half finished we will “join the rows” together!

Bottom half of Senior Quilt 2018

Don’t forget today is the day for the next step in From My Carolina Home’s mystery Quilt.  Go check out the block post and get your directions for Scrap Dance Square Dance !  Coming Down The Middle Step

I’ll be working on my pieces tonight!  I am all caught up with the last step!  Photo’s to come!


A mystery and more

NOTE: edited on 12 March 2018 to fix the photo problem!

I have mentioned previously that I am participating with From My CAROLINA Home doing the Scrap Dance Square Dance. Last Friday the 2nd clue came out (January – clue 1 was all cutting ).

I had a busy few days so I didn’t get to sew until Tuesday. I have taken on the 2nd Time Around again for the guild, and we had a work morning Friday. The afternoon had me off to visit my friend in Assisted Living. I thought I was going to help with her sewing group, but the flu epidemic has made gathering of any sort off limits. Most wise for fragile folks especially. So, we visited in their apartment and avoided any close contact with anyone else in the facility. We were all in good health, so my only concern is catching someone else’s bug. Lots of hand sanitizer going and coming! I’m avoiding touch with people at church too. When they are shaking hands end sharing God’s peace, I raise 2 fingers in the classic V and proclaimed “Peace be with you during cold and flu season! When asked, I explain that because I was unwell in January, I just can’t risk another bug. I have places to go and can’t miss out!

So, anyway Saturday was busy with our senior quilt project at church and babysitting for the nearby granddaughter for a few hours. I got a 2nd visit in on Sunday too. Nothing warms a Grandma’s heart quite like the greetings she gives. Hard to describe, but let’s just say she gets VERY excited when I arrive. My Monday was a meeting for our next quilt show (April 2019), and more 2nd time around! So, THAT is why it took me until Tuesday!

I blocked the entire day, and finally managed to get into the sewing room after 3pm. Let me just say that the day was most frustrating and sewing was a wonderful way to unwind. In fact, I was having such a good time I forgot about dinner! Hubby was working on some details on his trailer jets …that is about model railroad term for tractor trailer on a flat car. Seems he brought home nearly everything on the HO layout to repair!!

Trailer Jet maintenance

Here is a close up so you can better see the “scale” of these cars.  Those binder clips are the small and medium size – and of course, he has an old rotary cutting mat to work on to save the counter top.

Trailers on flat cars

The wonderful furniture he has now for his hobby area was my friend June’s sewing room furniture. You might remember it would not “fit” without modification in my space, so I “let” the hubby have it! This pull out tray was where my friend used to have her sewing machine.

Meanwhile…. I was busy working on the clue.

I managed 38 of the 56 I need.

Travel the rest of the month to visit grandkids will stall any more progress until after March 3.

Happy stitching. Go Check out Carole ‘ s blog, http://www.frommycarolinahome.wordpress.com

More in March when I return…written from the airport. … as I travel. ..

Retreat and UFO

Every year, since I have been a member of Ocean Waves Quilt Guild, there has been a retreat in early February.  I’ve attended many of these retreats and always enjoy the time spent with so many creative, talented people. As in the past, we meet at a lovely beach front hotel in Ocean City Maryland, where we are greeted most mornings with spectacular sunrises in our ocean front rooms. 

640 Dawn's early light - Ocean City MD Sunrise

There are 9 more photo’s in this sunrise series you can see hereOcean City Sunrise photo’s

It is inspiring to wake up early at this retreat, so you don’t miss the glorious sunrise.  Breakfast is at 7:30, and we are sewing by 9 am !

I took with me many items to work on at the retreat.  Turns out, only ONE project captured most of my time and energy.  I dug out one of my oldest UFO’s and brought it along, with the intent of quilting.  Just how old is it?   You can read about it back in 2012 here – https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2013/11/25/unfinished-projects-starting-to-bug-me/

and here https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2013/01/18/crossroads-pattern/

and here-  https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2013/01/18/playing-with-borders/

About a year ago, I came across a bit of fabric that was in the same deep red/brown tones and I tucked it into the box for backing of this project.  So, when I pulled it out to take to retreat, I just needed a bit of batting.  This project was about 44″ square.  I am happy to say I finished all the quilting during the retreat. I cut the backing and batting and pin basted in our hotel suite on Tuesday night, so I was ready to start stitching when the classroom opened on Wednesday morning.  I worked two solid days quilting this, and thought it is small, there were TONS of starts and stops, and turning constantly. I decided right away I was going to “pull up” the bobbin thread, and use my lock stitch on my Janome for my start & stops, and not burying all those threads. It’s a wall hanging and a 6 year old UFO !  (I’m not putting it in a show, so hush you quilt police)  (Oh, and by the way, I KNOW there are a few crappy HST and a few geese that lost their points in this project….they jumped out at me while quilting….hey it was before I knew what I was doing…..)

Quilted and bound


I did most of the quilting using my walking foot. The exception is in the wide border of hearts, I used a stitch that is connected hearts, and in the narrow red border I did the same stitch.  On the outer red heart border I did some wavy stitching.  I like to use these built in to the machine stitches if possible.  They make quilting a lot easier.  If you want to see close-ups of the various quilting that I did, look at the photo’s here – UFO Finish  .  (There is also a photo of the back where the techniques I used really show). 

Yesterday,  I trimmed it down to about 40″ square, as I felt the final borders were TOO wide.  I used up a bunch of left over bits of the red to make a scrappy binding, and did the Susie’s Magic Binding technique. (Some call it binding with a flange or piping) If you have never tried this method, check out the tutorial here – Susie’s Magic Binding Tutorial(Watch the video’s too…)

I used the same fabric that is in the area around the flying geese in the flange for the binding. I love that little pop of color along the edge. I added a hanging sleeve while I was doing the binding, and the last thing that needs to be finished is to hand stitch the bottom and ends of the hanging sleeve and make a label!

Since this was the “big deal” for me at the retreat, I will stop here and ask – what is the OLDEST UFO you have sitting around, and WHY didn’t you finish what you started?  

I will tell you why this went “in the box”.  We were doing a new project every week in the class and I was overwhelmed.  I also could not figure out how to “finish”.  Our instructor had scaled the pattern in Pat Sloan’s “I Can’t Believe I’m Quilting” down to just a 1 block project instead of a whole quilt, and I didn’t “know” what to do at the time.  Of course, a few years of experience were needed under my belt before I could say, enough is enough and a wall hanging is just “fine”.  🙂

More about the retreat in the next post!


Quilt Retreat packing

I just realized I never published this post….so here you are…from Ocean City MD.

Our annual retreat begins tomorrow evening and runs through Friday. 27 quilters will converge on a lovely hotel at the beach in Ocean City Maryland and we will be laughing and talking and sewing and eating and drinking and sewing some more.

Our guild gives you the option to work on your “own” projects or work on an instructor led project during the retreat. We have a member who teaches often at a local quilt shop and is gracing the members with her talents, and teaching skills. She is a thorough and patient instructor and I would learn a lot by taking on the project they have selected…..but…………I have too many UFO’s and too many projects not even started yet to contemplate starting another. This is the 3rd year where I will bring my UFO’s to the retreat and work on them. 2 years ago I did the machine quilting on a twin size log cabin quilt, that I later entered in the guild quilt show. Last year, I was busy building blocks for the Bonnie Hunter “Talkin’ Turkey”. (SHHHH….that UFO haunts me, hanging on the wall in the sewing room, with the borders hanging there).

So, what to take? Maybe I will get that big TURKEY off the wall, measure it, and get one round of the borders pinned on & back it up & take it along for a ride! I could get a LOT done in 3 days.

The other thing I have looming is the additional border for Grandma’s Kitchen. I made a decision after laying it out on the guest room queen size bed. I decided I needed 9 ” more for a good drop on the quilt. (We have those fat mattresses!).

You might remember in my last post that I mentioned I had already ordered 3 yards of 108″ wide backing…..well…it arrived today. My dilemma is the current length of the quilt top, and the addition of top and bottom borders. 3 yards is 108″. My quilt top is currently 92 1/2″ long. If I add 9″ borders top & bottom….I will “run out” of fabric by several inches!! (What was I thinking ordering exactly what I thought I needed, before I FINISHED!!!!!!) I didn’t want to piece the backing!!!! I wanted 1 piece….hmmmm……. So, here I am, contemplating life – Do I need to make it longer if I add additional borders on the side? How “funny” will it look if I put 9″ borders on the sides and NARROWER borders top & bottom? Or no top & bottom borders…..Or, just suck it up, and piece the back with a coordinating fabric that will give you LOTS of clearance for quilting!!! LESSON IN LIFE — BUY MORE FABRIC than you think you need, because you will really need it. And EXTRA fabric could become binding, and STASH!

So, you wonder, what will the borders be? That was not a tough decision. I’ve seen photo’s of 2 of the Grandma’s Kitchen Quilts where Piano Key borders were used. One was an inner border, and one was the final outer border. So, I decided on using my “left over fabrics”, cutting strips and making piano key borders. It gives me the scrappy that I crave! And, there should be a reduction in scraps left over from this project. To pack up for the retreat, I will pack my bin of fabrics that are left, and cut some phone book pages, and get them ready for making some string piano keys. I think there will be a variety of widths, which will make it more interesting. I don’t think I am going to cut more than 2 or 3 strips from each of the left over fabrics until I see “how many” blocks I will need to get around the outside of the quilt.

My “just in case” projects (just in case I need more to do) will be some fun panels for childrens books. I have acquired through ‘fabric acquistion road trips” many panels, and a certain little girl will be 2 in March; and there are 2 that I have plans to make, dealing with “dogs” and “cats”. Shhh….surprise…..

Quilt retreat

Good morning from Ocean City Maryland where Ocean Waves Quilt Guild has gathered for 3 days of fun. Our retreat is always a great time of fellowship and fun , laughter food, and some sewing and learning.

I brought 3 UFO’S to work on along with 2 new projects. I’ll try to post photos after I return home and let you know what actually got worked on.

Grandma’s Kitchen – Some assembly completed

Grandma’s Kitchen – Some assembly completed!

Some decisions still to make!

before borders Grandma's Kitchen

(before borders)


I have gotten the rows assembled and joined, 2 borders on.  The photo below shows the colors of the borders better than the photo’s of the whole top, because of the lighting.  (I seem to be taking these photo’s late at night!)

Border fabrics for Grandma's Kitchen

With the current borders, the top currently measures 73 1/2″ wide x  92 1/2″ long.  I am contemplating one more round of borders so I can use it on my queen size guest bed.  I think I will bring it in from the sewing room today and lay it out on that bed and take a look and see what kind of drop I want.  I think I need to add 10 1/2 inches for a queen on the width.

closeup of borders Grandma's kitchen

Someone on the Quilt Along with Pat Sloan Facebook group yesterday asked me about the fabrics when I posted a photo.  If you have been following along since last summer, you know that primarily I am using 30’s reproduction. Many are Aunt Grace by Marcus Fabrics, like the pink border (Simpler Sampler).  I used the pink from the border in 2 blocks – in  the checkerboard block in the center of row C below –

Rows A - C Grandma's Kitchen

and in block 25 –

Block 25 Grandma's Kitchen

There are several companies doing 30’s fabrics now, and I lost track of all the names.  I used Spring Fling for PB Textiles by Terry Atkinson & Liz Lois, for the white and yellow print that is in many of the “filler pieces, and in some of the blocks (like block 4 below). I liked it because they coordinated nicely.  Some of the whites, like the stripe tone on tone are “just scraps” from my stash.  The medium blue 2.5″ border is VIP by Cranston (2011). It is a nice blender and I had just 1/2 yard in my blue box of stash.  There are several tones of blue in various blocks and it was the best choice with the pink border.

Yesterday, I ordered the backing fabric and it appears to be “on the way”.  I went in search of 30’s reproduction in a wide backing. Marcus Fabrics had one print that I already included in the quilt manufactured in 108″ width.   Way back in block 4 I used the white background multi floral in the 4 patch center of the block.  In the pattern, this block was partially repeated, and I had enough to use again in another 4 patch, and in some of the filler blocks.  I was pleased to find a fabric that would really work with the quilt!

Block 4 of 25 Grandma's Kitchen Challenge, pattern by Pat Sloan

My challenge turned out to be getting a 3 yard cut, and my first order had to be cancelled when the shop only had 2 2/3 yard….  The fun thing about a group like Quilt Along with Pat Sloan is how helpful people are when you post.  One lady got busy searching and found two other sources, and I communicated with one and verified they had what I wanted and I placed my order, and got confirmation of shipping late last night.  By going to the manufacturers web site, I was able to get a list of shops that had ordered the fabric, and that is how I started my search originally.  I tried to order from shops I had done business with in the past, and I quickly learned the fabric was not going to be easy to find !  Turns out, Marcus did several of the prints in 56″ wide, but only this print in two color options in the 108″ width! R34-5878-0199 by Judie Rothermel

So this is where I am at on the project as of yesterday —

Borders on Grandma's Kitchen

If you have an interest in seeing the blocks “up close”, you can see them all in my Grandma’s Kitchen Flickr Album  

or search back thru the blog posts using the Grandma’s Kitchen tag as a search criteria.

The pattern for this quilt is available for free from Pat Sloan – http://www.ilovetomakequilts.com/grandmas-kitchen-sew-along.html

Pat is doing a “quilting” series for this pattern, so now, I need to go study!

If you were to add 1 more border, what color would you go with? I may have to go out and survey the 30’s yardage I still have, and start making some choices.  (Do you remember that clothesline fabric with the black background?  Oh, how I wanted to use that in this quilt, but it was such a large print, and the scale was just too big!)

What are you working on?

Grandma’s Kitchen Update and Scrap Management

Once I got all those “scraps” put away, I felt free to sew again!  More about scraps in a bit.

I’ve been working on a pattern by Pat Sloan called Grandma’s Kitchen.  This project was a “weekly” block beginning last June and concluding in December.  I’ve been posting periodic updates as my blocks were made.  I am primarily using 30’s reproduction fabrics, but have used some more modern fabrics for the neutrals.

I am now starting to build those blocks up into “rows”.  The pattern has lots of “filler” pieces that were not part of the original block construction.  About October the layout was released and when I saw those “filler” pieces, I decided to wait until all 25 blocks were made and I could make better choices of fabrics.

You might remember if you have been reading my posts that I spent a little time with the printed pattern and my felt tips markers planning.  My choices were made, and even the hubby got involved in the fabric decisions. (He really is a smart guy when it comes to this planning !)

Once I got all those “scraps” put away, I felt free to sew again!

I also have finally beaten the bronchitis that has laid me low for 3 weeks, so hanging out for hours in the sewing room has been a joy!  I worked on Row A on Friday.

Row A Grandma's Kitchen

The yellow strips are those “filler strips”.  I am using the yellow where ever the pattern called for a dark strip.  The white strips around the 2nd block (the candy dish as Pat called it) are a coordinating print.  I chose it for where ever the pattern called for a light strip. I used this white in several blocks during .

The friendship stars (4th block from the left) were “filler blocks”.  I used a bit of that red in another block near the end of the process, so I thought it would be nice to bring it near the top of the quilt. Balancing all these fabrics is kind of fun.  I want the colors not to appear to heavy in one area.

The next photo will show Rows A – C made.  I worked on Rows B & C late Saturday.

Rows A - C Grandma's Kitchen

Row B has more “friendship stars” in the first block, and I was glad the red was spaced out a bit, and glad I did not use the same fabrics for the filler blocks.   Row B has filler blocks (orange and purple checkerboard made with 2″ squares) and strips of white and yellow, and a “repeat” of the last block in the row that I had to create.

Row C had a much larger “checkerboard” that was a full block.  These were made with 2.5″ squares. Following the pattern, it was interesting to work this one, because the bottom row was to be all the “dark” (red)checkers, and it continued on, under the next block as a filler.  I went with it, and find it is interesting. I was surprised, because I would have thought making them the light (yellow) checkers would be more logical. Who am I to argue with the designer!

I’m having fun putting this part of the project together.  There are a lot of decisions yet to be made on fabrics as I approach the remaining stack of blocks.  I know which “colors” I want to use for the upcoming filler blocks, but not which fabric yet. I’ll get there & give you another look as I make further progress.  While I am making these filler blocks, there are scraps being generated! I’m keeping everything together so far, as I don’t know which bits & pieces I may work into the project.

Scrap Storage System – more info!

Speaking of scraps…here are some pictures from my last round!  It never ceases to amaze me how much “good stuff” is left at the end of a quilting project!

Ready to put away

This is the “last” of the pieces out of my yellow stacker.  They are cut and ready to put away!

Someone asked me how I “store” my scraps once they are cut to size.  I like “uniform” containers and am trying to get similar containers for all my scraps.  I like to size the container based on the size of the cut piece. Too big of a container means the little pieces get bounced around and messy.  I’ve already ironed these, and don’t want to do it again. I want to reach in the container and USE the pieces without going back to the iron.  I need to “invest” again in containers and house my 2.5″ squares and my 2″ squares. I have an over abundance of both and have resorted to cardboard boxes and plastic baskets.  (I also have a container the size of the one on the bottom left FULL of 2″ squares in ziplocks…leftover from 2 of those “watercolor” classes. UFO!!!)

Scrap Management Storage containers

I am using “shoeboxes” for strings.  Generally I consider a string anything that is 2″ or smaller.  These tend to be pieces that are not “width of fabric” and are the first thing I grab when I feel like making string blocks.  Mostly they are sorted by color family. The reds and oranges and yellows are together, the blues and purples are together and the neutrals are together. The boxes aren’t labeled yet, but are easy to figure out. I like them in color families because I like my string blocks more “orderly”.  I do have a container of 1.5″ strips in the previous photo and that box gets full rather fast, and when it does, the remainder end up in the string box. String pieces may not be as carefully trimmed to size, as I don’t care if the piece is 1 3/4″ or 1 5/8″…the precision is not necessary.

Shoeboxes for strings

In my previous post, Scrap Decisions , I included a chart with the range of sizes that I cut and store.  Someone commented about the “bricks”…those are the rectangles.  I don’t cut a lot of them, but I do use them from time to time, and find them handy to have on hand.

If you are just starting out with “saving your scraps” – you might not want to keep as many sizes etc as I do.  You have to figure out what you are going to use!  Because I follow Bonnie Hunter, I mirrored my system along the lines of hers, using sizes she typically includes in her patterns.  On her blog, she has a tab called Tips & Techniques, and on it you will find a blog post about her Scrap User’s system – Bonnie Hunter’s Scrap User’s System

The link to Bonnie’s system is very lengthy, so get a cup of coffee, and read (after you finished reading my post of course)!  And bookmark her blog, and LOOK AROUND at the wealth of free information she willingly shares with her readers!  She has a tab for FREE PATTERNS and at the top of that page is a handy chart which sorts her patterns by “strip size and block and brick size”.  This might help you chose what to store!  And it might help you decide “how” you want to store your scraps.

I also follow other quilters, like Pat Sloan who offers lots of sew-alongs that include free patterns. (Fore example Grandma’s Kitchen!)  On her website http://www.patsloan.com/  you have to “work a little harder” to find her free patterns.  She has a ton of stuff, so spend some time there as well.

Lastly, I mentioned in other posts, that I used information from Joan Ford as I developed my “Scrap Storage System“.   Joan’s website https://hummingbird-highway.com/ will give you links to books she has written on the topic, and why she saves what she saves as well as freebies and fun stuff.

What ever system you follow or develop for yourself, make sure it is one that will work for you and that you will find yourself USING your scraps!  I also have fun posting my scrap projects periodically and sharing the post with OH SCRAP!  

I find lots of other “like minded” scrap quilters projects on the weekly link-up and enjoy perusing their blog posts!  (In fact…I am linking up today!)  (You might have noticed a button to OH SCRAP on the sidebar!)

I have had a great time making projects using patterns that Carole – https://frommycarolinahome.wordpress.com/ has come up with, and I have USED those scraps from my Scrap Storage System in every one of her “Scrap Dance” projects.  My scrap boxes are full right now, and I am looking forward to the Scrap Dance Square Dance project she has on her blog.  This is a monthly project.  I may “increase” my size from twin to something larger if the mood (and the overflowing boxes) call to me.  (There is a button on my sidebar to Carole’s blog)

Do you save your scraps?  How do you do it? Do you follow other scrap quilters?  Who ??