Sunday, December 27, 2009

Blue's Clues Done!

Blue's Clues is done!  My granddaughter Reghan really likes it.  54" x54.5"

Free motion quilting in loop-de-loop pattern.
Three different turquoise and two different pink threads were used as I ran out.


I found the starfish fabric at Joann's.  I thought the colors went well with the Blue's Clues fabric.
Enjoy your quilt, Reghan!

Blue's Clues Quilted

Last night I free-motion quilted the three columns of Blue's Clues.  Today I'll join the columns, quilt over the joins, attach the binding, and be done!  My granddaughter may be coming over later today, and my goal is to have the quilt finished before she gets here.  The quilt will stay at my house so she has something to cuddle up with when she's here.

Almost finished!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Blue's Clues Top Finished

The Blue's Clues top is in three columns, each column to be quilted separately, then joined together.  Four of the large squares with the Blue's Clues fabric had to be pieced.  To avoid piecing I considered using alternate fabric.  The backing fabric was one choice and would have looked okay, but finally I decided to use the theme fabric.  The pieced squares don't look too bad.

Originally I had planned to use the dark purple for the border, but when I auditioned it, it looked too dark.

I tried the turquoise, and I liked it a lot better.  It's fresher and more kid-friendly, I think.

Tomorrow is Christmas.  I will be having lunch with my daughter-in-law's family, and have minimal responsibility as far as food preparation.  So, I'll have time to work on the quilt some more.  My quilting goals for tomorrow:  Spray-baste the quilt sandwiches, and do some free-motion quilting.  We'll see how far I get.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Blue's Clues Progress

I'm doing well with the Blue's Clues quilt for my granddaughter.  The four-patches and the plain squares are cut out and up on the design wall.  I've divided the quilt top into three large columns for easy quilting.  One and a half columns are done, and I'll finish the other one-and-a-half tonight.  I may also get the quilt sandwiches ready for quilting tonight, as well.  We'll see.  It's going together fast!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Blue's Clues Project

My next quilt project is a quick four-patch for my granddaughter Reghan.  Not that she doesn't have enough quilts.  This will make Number 4, and the girl isn't 4 years old yet!  lol

Earlier this year Reghan saw some (years old) Blue's Clues fabric in one of my charity fabric bags.  She asked, "Is that for me?"  The rest is history.

The four-patches will be in medium-dark turquoise and dark purple solids, with the Blue's Clues fabric as alternate plain squares, and a border in the same dark purple.  My goal is to have the quilt done by the weekend.  Although it's technically a Christmas gift, the quilt will be given to Reghan at my house and will stay here.  Since I don't expect Reghan, my son and daughter-in-law to come over before Friday, that gives me a few days to crank it out.  I have tomorrow off.  Get sewing, Grandma!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Scraps to Project Linus

After I dropped off the quilts at Sierra Vista yesterday, I drove about 45 minutes to Stockton, where the nearest Project Linus group is.  As I make my quilts, I put scraps that I no longer want to fool around with in a grocery bag.  When the bag gets full, I drive to Stockton and drop off the bag at the Project Linus coordinator Erin's workplace--a hair salon and spa.  I trust that someone in Erin's group loves to work with scraps, and I feel good that my castoffs will become beautiful quilts for needy children.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Sierra Vista Quilts 2009

Today I took nine quilts to Sierra Vista Children's Center, a local children's shelter.  This has been an annual Christmas project for me for a few years.  Each year friends and co-workers donate money, gift cards and discount coupons to fabric stores, fabric, quilt tops and finished quilts.  Through their generosity, this year I was able to create, finish or give nearly a dozen quilts to the children without spending much of my own money.  Unless otherwise indicated, the quilts were made by me.

Edna N.
Cindy F.
Fonda P.
Becky R.
Judy P.
Mary Jane M.
Lena R.
Valery D.
Veronica B.
Arax S.
Misti C.
Zita Y.
#1 Dresden Plate quilt top from Lena R.
Lena started this quilt top years ago.  She knew she'd never finish it, so she gave it to me for Sierra Vista.
The petals were already sewn to the background.  I added the dark green center and finished the quilt.

#2 Doggie quilt made by Becky R.


#3 Teddy Bear Quilt made by Judy P.
Judy found the in-progress quilt at a yard sale, took it apart and re-did it.
She practiced some new free motion quilting techniques, finished the quilt and donated it.

#4 Poodle and Friends
Made mostly with leftovers from my granddaughter's Poodle Quilt

#5 Fishing
Fish fabric donated by Mary Jane M.
Mary Jane donated yards and yards of this fabric.  I have enough to make several more!
Other fabrics in the quilt top are from my stash.

Mary Jane also gave this coordinating fishing lure fabric.  I have some left of that, too.

#6 Cars - Fabric from Edna N.
Edna gave this fabric very recently.  I had intended to do a strippie quilt, but ran out of time.
There's more of this fabric, so I'll do something fancier next time.

#7 Purple cats
I've had this cute cat print for years.  I love the bright colors.

Valery D. donated this large floral print very recently.
I knew it would look great with the cat print.

#8 Sailboats
The sailboat fabric is leftovers from On the Ocean Blue, a quilt I made for my daughter-in-law's mother.
The blue fish/seashell fabric is from stash.

The nautical stripe was sent to me by fellow Stashbuster member Cathy C. for possible use in
On the Ocean Blue.  I didn't use it in that quilt, but it sure looks great here.
#9 Patches - from stash

Trying to save some money, I used four different fabrics from stash to make the back.

Enjoy your quilts, kids!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Charity Quilts Done

I finished the last of the charity quilts tonight.  I'll take it to work tomorrow to display with the others.  The quilts will be delivered to the children's center on Friday.  I'll post photos of the quilts within a couple of days.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Charity Quilts Almost Finished

I took 6 charity quilts to work today:  2 finished quilts were donated by friends, 1 was an almost-complete top that I finished, and 3 were from scratch.  Tonight I finished 2 more quilts, which I'll take to work to display with the others.  Several people in the office contributed toward the quilts, and I like them to see the results of their contributions before the quilts are delivered.  Tomorrow I'll finish the last quilt and take it to work on Thursday.

Friday I plan to deliver the quilts to a local children's shelter.  I'm hoping my daughter-in-law and granddaughter will be able to come with me.  They came with me last year, but this year my daughter-in-law is on standby for an important appointment, and if she gets called, she'll need to go.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that our schedules will work out.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Charity Quilt Progress

I've finished 2 of 7 charity quilts:  Fishing and Poodles & Friends.  I was hoping to get all 7 quilts done and delivered this weekend, but it's not going to happen.  I've been going to extra church orchestra rehearsals lately, getting ready for Christmas, so I'm losing another evening each week.  I decided not to sweat it, and deliver the quilts in another week.

I'll wait to post photos of finished quilts until they're all done.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Strippie Quilt Top #5 Done


I just finished Strippie #5.  It's a variation on the other Strippies.  The nautical theme striped fabric had to be pieced to make it long enough--width of fabric or approximately 42".  Rather than insert narrow stripes around the secondary fabric per the regular Strippie pattern, I cut the nautical stripe extra wide.  Also, there wasn't enough of the nautical stripe for five wide cuts, so I shopped my stash and found some blue fish/seashell fabric that seemed to go with the sailing/ocean theme.  Again, I made wide cuts rather than attaching narrow stripes.

I tried several layout variations of the stripes and blue fabrics.  I liked this one the best.

Strippie Quilt Top #4 Done

I finished another Strippie quilt top tonight.  This one was based on fish-themed fabric donated by my co-worker Mary M.  The grass fabric and olive green solid were from stash.  This quilt top is one of several that will be finished and given to a local children's shelter for Christmas.

I've started cutting strips for another charity Strippie, based on leftover sailboat fabric from On the Ocean Blue and a nautical stripe from fellow Stashbuster Cathy C.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Strippie Quilt Top #3 Done

I've finished the third Strippie quilt top, to be finished and given to a local children's shelter in December.  The fabric is from stash, and the pattern is from  At 40x52 the quilt tops are small enough to get two of them out of a full size (81x96) piece of batting.  If I cut the batting in half the right way, I'll get two pieces 48x81.  I already had one full size package of batting at home, and I picked up a couple more at Joann's with 40% coupons.  So I should be fine now for batting for a half dozen quilts for the shelter.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Alice's View is Done!

I just finished Alice's View. The quilt is for my friend and co-worker Alice V., and the title of the quilt is a play on her name.  The quilt measures 61" x 61.5".  I was hoping to have it done for her birthday in early October, but it's a surprise and she'll love it even if it's a little late.  I plan to give the quilt to Alice on Monday or Tuesday, after I show it to my quilting friend Judy P.

I've had this project in my head for about a year.  I wanted to create a view from a window, looking out on one of Alice's favorite scenes.  For months I had spies in the office trying to find out where she likes to vacation.  Apparently she and her family don't go anywhere, but she reluctantly conceded that Hawaii would be an okay place to go.  (Whatever. lol)  I also learned that she and her family had recently been to Monterey Aquarium.  So I was really happy to find a panel that looks like a picture window and combines a tropical island with what you might see at an aquarium.

I did general outlining for the quilting in the center panel.

Loop-de-loop free motion quilting in the pieced areas.
 Bird of Paradise blocks to go along with the tropical theme,
as well as Shoo Fly blocks.

 Back of Alice's View
I was concerned about trying to line up the stripes since I quilt in separate large sections, but I'm happy about the result.

Another WIP finished!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Christmas Cards from Quilt Photo Ordered

About a year ago I created a photo book at, featuring lots of quilts I've made and little stories behind them.  It's a beautiful hardbound book, 8" x 11", which usually sells for $29.99.  I only had to pay shipping, thanks to an offer through Oprah, and thanks to my daughter-in-law who told me about it.  I've had credit for 30 free 4x6 photos on my account since then. 

Over the past year Snapfish has been emailing every now and then with different offers.  One of the recent ones was for Christmas photo cards.  I thought it would be fun to feature one of my quilts.  After fooling around with different cards available at Snapfish's site this morning, I decided to go ahead and get the free prints and use those as my Christmas cards this year.  I chose to show off Scrappy Stars which I finished this past summer.

Original photo with white felt design wall in background

Covered white edges with black in Paint program

Snapfish will add a bit more black to the edges of the prints.  I'm kind of excited about my cards, and I'm thinking of making a tradition of it.

Almost Done

The three sections of Alice's View are quilted.  I've joined the top and center sections together, and tomorrow I'll attach the bottom section.  Then it will be a matter of doing the binding, which shouldn't take long since I do it all by machine.  I'm so close to being finished!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Machine Quilting

I started free motion quilting Alice's View today.  I'm still very new to machine quilting, and I'm trying some outlining, which I haven't done before.  So I set aside today, my day off, to tackle it. I did the center window section, the hardest part, first. I figured I'd might as well get it over with. I kind of outlined the elements of the scene (mountains, trees, water line, fish, etc.). It's not perfect, but it's not bad. Now that the hard section is done, I can move on to quilting the pieced areas. I plan to do loop-de-loops a la Patsy Thompson, which are more familiar to me, and less stress than the picture part.

I'm getting close to being done!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Alice's View in Three Large Pieces

Center panel with borders added, making the panel the same dimensions as the surrounding sections.

Trying out different colors for quilting thread.

Eliminated a couple of colors, tried out black but think it's too dark.

Quilt top in three large pieces.

I took the center section to Joann's, and found a dark blue-violet to quilt the pieced areas and medium teal blue to quilt the center panel.  I'll quilt each of the three sections separately, then join them together.  Tonight I got the quilt sandwiches ready, using 505 spray to hold the layers together.  I'll start free motion quilting tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Updates: Alice's View and Dancing with the Stars

I got 3 of 4 sets of blocks sewn together tonight.  I'll sew the fourth one together tomorrow.  I'll use the measurements from those sets to determine how big the center panel needs to be.  I'll attach narrow black borders to build the panel to the right size.

On a completely different note:  Tonight on Week 7 of Dancing with the Stars, Mark Dacascos--Chairman on Food Network's Iron Chef America--lost a dance-off with Aaron Carter and is out of the competition now. Smileys As an avid fan of Food Network, I enjoyed watching Mark and rooting for him, and I'm sad to see him go.  But after last night's poor review by the judges, I wasn't too surprised.  Oh, well...  Donny Osmond is still in the contest and doing well, but I don't know that he can win against the likes of singer Mya.  I'll probably continue to watch the show just to see who wins.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Blocks Are Done!

I finished the last two blocks for Alice's View tonight.  Hooray!  Above are the blocks laid out with the center panel.  I need to sew blocks together to determine the finished size of the panel, then add narrow black borders to the panel to build it to the correct dimensions.

I picked up this fabric for the back today.  It's a companion print to one of the fabrics I used in a couple of the Bird of Paradise blocks (photo posted a few entries ago).  The blues and turquoises work well with the quilt top.  I'm not crazy about using a stripe on the back, because I don't want to mess with trying to line up the stripes perfectly.  I couldn't afford much, and my other (budget-friendly) choices were boring solids.  I found this at Beverly's in the $2.97 section, marked down to $2.22 a yard.  Yippee!  The piece was just short of 4 yards.  I may need to add a little bit to make it big enough.  We'll see.

Getting Closer to Done

Just two more Bird of Paradise blocks to go on Alice's View. Then I can start sewing blocks together to determine how big to make the center panel. I applied Fray Check to the cut edges of the panel so I don't lose much of the narrow border when I wash the panel. I'll have to apply some borders to bring the panel to size.

I also need to find some fabric for the back and pick up more 505 spray. I wish I'd thought of the spray yesterday, because I could have used one of my coupons before it expired. Darn!

I'm getting close to the finish!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Blocks Almost Done

I've got just 8 Bird of Paradise blocks to finish on Alice's View, which I should be able to knock out during the next few days. Then I can start putting blocks together to determine the finished size of the center--a panel that will need borders to bring it to the right size.

My hope is to finish the quilt this weekend and deliver next week.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Bird of Paradise Block Photo

Here's a photo of one of the Bird of Paradise blocks. There are a few like this one, and there will be several other variations using different fabrics. I can't wait to see the rest.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Bird of Paradise Blocks

After some time off for vacation, I'm back to quilting again. I'm working on Bird of Paradise blocks for Alice's View. These blocks have pops of color to make them stand out from the otherwise purposely dull background. It will be a couple of days before I finish a set of blocks and get pictures up.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Shoo Fly Blocks Done

I finished the Shoo Fly blocks for Alice's View tonight. Next are the Bird of Paradise blocks. However, it may be a few days before I do more sewing. My sister Cass, who lives in another state, is coming this week for a visit and a short vacation together. I'll get back to the quilt when I can.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Design Adjustment

I've decided to make an adjustment to the design of Alice's View. The Island Path blocks were so slow and I was getting really discouraged, so I decided to change them out for Shoo Fly blocks, which are also based on 9-patch. The construction is much simpler and I'll be able to move along much faster now. I feel good about the decision, and the overall design looks nice on my EQ sketch.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Dancing with the Stars

I don't usually watch shows like Dancing with the Stars, but recently I learned that Mark Dacascos (Chairman of Iron Chef America) was one of the contestants. I'm an avid watcher of Food Network so I decided to tune in to the dance competition just to see him. Mark, a martial arts expert, did very well as I expected. He got good scores last night, and as I see it, his biggest male competitors are Donny Osmond and Aaron Carter.

I'll keep watching as long as Mark is still in the competition--which should be quite a while as far as I can tell.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Slow Progress

Work on the Island Path blocks for Alice's View is very slow. So far I've finished three blocks, and will complete the fourth and fifth tonight--just a small dent in the 17 Island Path blocks for the quilt. I hope the Bird of Paradise blocks are quicker to make.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sewing Alice's View

I started sewing on Alice's View tonight. I'm working on two Island Path blocks at the same time, using paperpiecing. I got through most of one block, and I should have both finished tomorrow night. I've got a long way to go, but the remaining Island Path blocks should go faster now. It was a little disappointing that I worked all evening and didn't finish even one complete block. But the first steps always take a while, ironing fabric, figuring out dimensions for strips, etc. The pace should pick up. I'd like to have all 34 quilt blocks pieced by the end of the weekend.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Fabrics Chosen for Alice's View

I will probably go into more detail on my process later, but for now here is my collection of fabric for Alice's View. The fabric is mostly stash plus a few new fat quarters. There are five piles, each containing an assortment of dark mediums and accents. Each pile will be used to create several blocks, along with the dark violet-blue in the top right corner which will be in all of the blocks. There were more than a dozen fabrics that didn't make the cut, but they could come into play if I run out of any of the first picks.

Tomorrow I'll assign each pile to a color--pink, orange, yellow, blue or green. Then it's a matter of following my Organized Chaos map (see previous post) to make a scrappy quilt. I should be sewing tomorrow night.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

New Project

My next project is Alice's View, a play on the name of one of my co-workers. My idea was to begin with a picture window framing her favorite vacation spot. I had spies working to find out where that might be, and although she said she and her family never go anywhere, she reluctantly agreed that Hawaii would be "okay." Are you kidding? (smile)

With that clue in mind, I found the beautiful panel below, approximately 44" x 24". Although you wouldn't actually see the ocean life in the water through a picture window, it ties in to a recent trip that Alice and her family took to Monterey Bay Aquarium.

The panel will form the center of the quilt, surrounded by Island Path and Bird of Paradise quilt blocks. The quilt block color scheme will be rather analogous, creating a neutral sort of background, so as not to take away from the theme panel. I shopped my stash and found blues, turquoise, purple and greens that will work. I found one large piece of violet-blue solid in my stash which I'm hoping will be enough to fill the dark blues in all of the blocks. While I was out picking up some extra fat quarters for the project, I couldn't find more of the exact fabric, but I did find a decent substitute--mottled, not solid. I'll know later if I need it.

Layout for Alice's View (theme panel goes in the center)
Actual quilt will be scrappier.

Once again I'll be applying my Organized Chaos Grid and System to create controlled scrappiness. My plan is to use the same dark blue-violet in each block, adding two varying fabrics per block. Below is my map for the project.
Organized Chaos Map for Alice's View

Here's a funny little story. I found the theme panel on the internet at I needed it in a hurry and didn't want to take the time to look around locally to "maybe" find something I liked better. The fabric arrived in a couple of days, which was wonderful. Today I saw a bolt of the same fabric at my local fabric store! I laughed.

Strippie Quilt Top #2 Done

Strippie Quilt Top #2


Two of the fabrics in this strippie quilt are leftovers from my granddaughter's Poodle quilt. The black and white print is also from stash. The finished quilt will be given to a local children's shelter this Christmas.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Keeping Track of Ideas and Project Lineup

A member of Stashbuster asked the group: How do you keep your WHIMMs (Works Hidden in My Mind) in the forefront of your mind? Also, How do you incorporate all the different potential quilt projects into your lineup?

Usually I have a couple dozen WHIMMs floating around in my head, inspired by a myriad of things. I usually come up with my own designs, some of them being pretty well set early on, while others are just a wistful thought--perhaps a title (Alice's View, My Little Monkey), a piece of fabric (Paris Brown) or a color scheme from a piece of clothing (Cathy's Southwest).

Some WHIMMs live in my head for years, waiting their turns to land, like so many planes circling a runway at a busy airport. Others get attention right away, motivated by an absolute deadline such as a birthday or retirement--those need to land now! Usually I can see three or four quilts making their final approaches, all lined up, one after the other. The rest continue to circle the runway, waiting patiently--for now.

I'm in the WIPs and WHIMMs group at Stashbuster and I appreciate being able to keep a list of projects on the group's database. I can review the list and be reminded of my ideas. As I review, a quilt or two will begin to insist on being made soon. Okay, you're on the short list!

How do I keep track of the ideas? Some WHIMMs are sketched on paper and put in a folder for later. The folder is actually labeled Quilts Landing Soon. Eventually I draw nearly every quilt on EQ6, and some are created there long before I'm ready to select or cut any fabric. Northwinds has been in EQ6 for several years now. I have yet to cut any fabric. Perhaps this winter. Some ideas like Parts Only are completely in my head. I know what that quilt looks like in general and that's enough until its time comes.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Quilts in the Movies

A member of Stashbuster recently posted a message wondering if anyone had noticed quilts in the movies. I seemed to remember a quilt from You've Got Mail, where Kathleen (Meg Ryan) was sick in bed and Joe (Tom Hanks) came to visit her.

I did a little websurfing, but couldn't find the exact scene. However I did find a photo of Kathleen lying on her bed, with a quilt draped over the foot of the bed. More than likely it's the same quilt, a scrappy Pinwheel in cozy, comforting neutrals.

Here's the link to the photo, in case you're interested:

Stashbuster Members Meet

Yesterday I got to meet Diannia, a member of Stashbuster, face-to-face at my home. Diannia was selling some books through the Stashbuster Fling-It-All group and I was interested in a couple of the books. We live just a couple of hours apart, and Diannia and her husband happened to be coming to my town to visit family, so they delivered the books in person.

I got to see some of Diannia's beautiful quilt tops, and I showed her my stash,UFOs, PIGs, WIPs and messy studio. It was so nice to be able to see each other face-to-face. The visit was rather short, but we're talking about getting together again in the future. She comes this way now and then, and I go to her town once in a while, too.

So glad I got to meet you, Diannia, and looking forward to seeing you again!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Strippie Quilt Top #1 Done

Focus Fabric
Isn't it cute?

Quilt Top (from stash)

I finished the first Strippie quilt top last night. Originally I was going to add a border to make the quilt bigger, but I think it's an adequate size for a younger child, finishing about 40 x 52.

I've put together several combinations of fabric for more of these quick and colorful quilts. I may sew one more of these tops, then start a quilt due in October.