Saturday, April 30, 2016


with a 3-5 mph west southwest wind.  A great day for a bike ride.  I was not over dressed for the weather which means that I would have appreciated one more layer.  Once I put my hat on under my helmet I was happier.

We didn't quite make 19 miles but that's OK.  I am woefully out of shape.  No excuses. 

We didn't head out to ride until after lunch.  I had time to start quilting the Block of the Month Quilt (BOMQ) I am getting better with my SID technique.  I find that if I relax, keep my eyes focused on where I am going, instead of watching the needle, I do better.

I wanted a design that would not detract from the bright border.  Piano Keys would work.  I didn't relish ruler work, though.    Using my Westalee echo guide I quilted straight lines free hand. 

Now I am at Design Decision.  I know that I want to quilt feathers in the "negative" space between the blocks.  I just am not so sure about what to do about the triangles.  Feathers, probably.  And what to do with each block?  It isn't so easy custom quilting but I did NOT want to just meander meaninglessly across this quilt.  I think I will just pebble around the Rose Wreath.  That's about all I know for now. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Measure Once, Cut twice

Everyone has their favorite method for measuring a quilt for borders.  I fold the quilt in half, top to bottom, right side out and measure through the center of the quilt, double that measurement and cut two borders that length for the sides.  After I have attached those borders and pressed them I fold the quilt in half lengthwise and measure through the center, double that and cut two borders that length for the top and bottom.  It squares the quilt up quite nicely.  For this quilt I cut the final borders parallel to the selvedge because there is less give in the fabric, thus, creating a more stable border.
I wasn't sure about the flowery fabric for the border.  I  was afraid that it might draw the eye from the blocks.  Needn't have worried, I guess.  I would love more drape, but I have no more suitable fabric. I think I will quit while I am ahead.

I was talking to Mom tonight.  She has trouble finding words sometimes.  She made a comment, referring to her difficulty finding words.
"I'm not that perspicacious, I guess."
 "Now THERE'S a word, Mom.  What's it mean?"
 "Oh I don't know."

I looked it up.
adjective: perspicacious
having a ready insight into and understanding of things.
"it offers quite a few facts to the perspicacious reporter"
synonyms:discerning, shrewd, perceptive, astute, penetrating, observant, percipient, sharp-witted, sharp, smart, alert, clear-sighted, farsighted, acute, clever, canny, intelligent, insightful, wise, sage, sensitive, intuitive, understanding, aware, discriminating;   

 Nice word.   Turns out, she did know, after all. 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Close Enough

   The pattern calls for a 2 inch border in the same fabric as the setting triangles and the background block fabric.  I used a very nice batik but I did not have enough for the border. 
No way was I going to buy more fabric.  I have too much as it is.  I found a bit of another, similar batik and went with it.
 Close enough.

I just don't know what is next, border wise.  I think that the flowery fabric will go next, in a 1 inch border.  Followed by another 1 inch border of the dark green and topped off with a 4 inch border of the flowery stuff again.  It isn't a huge quilt; barely a full.  Should be a fun one to quilt.

Saturday, April 9, 2016


Well over a year ago I signed up for a Block of the Month class.  I made it to one class, maybe two.  Over this winter I would peck away at the project.  I completed the last block today.  Yesterday I set up the design wall to audition the blocks.  (that is a pull string in front of the star on the left)
I had just enough background fabric for the setting triangles.  The pattern calls for an additional 2 inch border all the way around cut from the same fabric.  Since I won't have that I may just go with a dark, narrow border.  Then light, then the flowery focus fabric, then light then ON THE FRAME!

I have completed two columns.  I just don't have a photo to show you.

That Rose Wreath block in the middle was laborious.  I switched out the 201 for the 237 so that I could Zig Zag around the applique.  (I am not a fan of applique)

Boy is that a quiet machine. It treadles beautifully, never spinning backward. It makes a decent straight stitch but I switched back to the 201 just for consistency.  

Steven worked on cleaning his shop today.  I have to get out to mine.  He said as much

Friday, April 8, 2016

This One is for you, Mary. TUTORIAL: Strippy Block

Today, as I was chatting with Mary about quilting, I told her about how I have been using up my scraps.  I mentioned this in a previous blog, but I promised her that I would write a tutorial specific to this method.  So, here it is.

I learned about this technique last year.  I attended a local quilt guild meeting where the speaker described it.  She uses the slippery newspaper ads that come in Sunday's (or other) paper.  Cut them into squares of any size and sew strips of any width to the paper on the diagonal and you have a very colorful scrappy block.

Step One:  Cut some paper to size.  I used five inch blocks.
 Step 2:
Gather your strips.  I prefer one inch strips but any size will do.  Anything less than 3/4 of an inch is really to narrow, IMHO.  Mix light and dark as well as some really bright ones 
Press and sort
 Step 4:
Prep your square.  Smear some gluestick glue on the diagonal of your paper square and place your first strip, right side UP, on the glue.  Press to set the glue.  You can skip the pressing if you want and just put your next strip on top (right side down) and then press if you would like.  Stitch.  When I am using very narrow strips, I use the 1/8 in seam.

It is recommended that you set your stitch length to a small stitch and a #90 needle. 

But don't set your stitch length too short or it will cut the paper and you won't have it for the foundation anymore.  AMHIK.  This is a European 201. Between 1 and 1.5 was too small.  Just over 1.5 was ok.  I thought it was closer to 2.  I need new glasses.   For an American gauge I think 15 SPI is ok. 
 As you can see I started over.
Press the seam open and place another strip on top of either strip.
Stitch.  I used a 1/4 in seam on this one.  You can do either.  The narrower your seam allowance, the wider the finished strip, right?
Keep adding strips on each side.  I usually complete one side and then finish up the other.  It doesn't matter one bit if you go back and forth.

When you get close to the corner, audition a wider strip to see if it will fit when stitched and pressed over.  Here you see there is just a wee little bit of the corner peeking through.  True, that would be caught in the seam allowance when sewing these blocks together, but I like to have plenty. 
So I added just a narrow little strip
And now it is just right
Keep working outward until you have covered the whole piece of paper.
Square it up.  I like to use a squaring ruler because the original paper may not be cut exactly to size.
Use any size square you would like.  The principle is the same.  Have fun.  Use up those scraps.  Free Quilts

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Saturday, April 2, 2016


I was a mother before my son was a father.  I remind my granddaughter of that every time I see her.  Of course, I don't know that she understands me.  She is almost two and has many words.  She may, however, not comprehend the complexity of before and after.  Just the same, it is helpful for me to verbalize it, particularly when the DS instructs me on how to care for his most precious little girl.

Yesterday and today I was the sole caretaker of this wonderful human.  The kids are away on a long weekend so the Grannies get to play with the DGD.   Today I turn that duty over to the other grandmother so that I can beat the storm home.  The winter was incredibly mild, rarely a storm.  April, as I knew it would, brings an early spring mess of snow and freezing rain.  Truly unpleasant traveling conditions.

I am a country girl. The nearest grocery store, a Whole Foods is a 6 minute drive or a thirty minute walk.  I opted to walk yesterday.  I was over dressed for the 70 degree weather.  Very few people were out on foot.  Those I encountered were college kids either walking to class or out for a run. I am certain that I was virtually invisible to them.   I had a back pack too, but mine was full of food.

Where I live we have a limited choice for groceries: Price Chopper or Hanaford.  I know where everything is in the Price Chopper.    I wandered around the Whole Foods, looking for something less expensive.  I didn't find it.  I ended up with everything on my list for just under fifty bucks.  The ingredients for a meat loaf, some toddler toothpaste, a dozen eggs and some organic coffee. 

True, everything I bought was either organic or natural ingredients.  I do expect to pay more.  I am not really complaining.  The meatloaf was delicious.  Truly.  The DGD didn't eat it but she did eat some brocoli.