Monday, November 18, 2019

Leading with my Leaders & Enders

Sometimes my Leaders & Enders project gets me so excited that I work on it exclusively.  That was me this weekend.  My husband's basketball team was in a tournament outside Philly, so I spent two afternoons watching his games on my computer so I needed something easy and mindless to work on.  For me, that is Bonnie Hunter's Leader & Ender challenge from summer 2018, Jewel Box Stars.  I'm adding scrappy sashing and cornerstones to let each of the stars shine.  Oh how scrappiness makes me happy!

When I wasn't sewing this weekend, I was knitting.  I visited WEBS yarn store and came away with some wonderful colorful yarns. both to make gifts and to make things for me. 

But when I got home and started putting the yarns away, I uncovered some other bits and bobs of yarn that I wanted to use up first, so I put the new projects on hold to knit up some leaf washcloths to take as a hostess gift when I go to dinner at a friend's house later this week.

Other bits and bobs will go into my Excavation Blanket, my go-to easy knit project as I travel and attend meetings these days.

Making puts me right in my happy place!

I'm linking up with Oh Scrap and Monday Making.

Sunday, November 10, 2019


Oh, how I love November!  No, not for the cooler temperatures, not even for Thanksgiving (which is my favorite holiday).  I love November because it means the soul-crushing grind of October is over!

So far this month,

I have napped...aaahhhh!

I have read multiple books...cozy mystery lover that I am, I read Thread & Gone by Lea Wait - A Mainely Needlepoint Mystery, Close Knit Killer by Maggie Sefton - A Knitting Mystery, and am currently reading Murder, Handcrafted by Isabella Alan - An Amish Quilt Shop Mystery.

And I finished piecing this quilt top.
All basted and ready to quilt!
I originally thought to give it to a friend who is adopting a toddler, but at 41 x 36, it feels like a baby quilt, not a toddler quilt, so I am giving it to my good friend's daughter instead as she expects her first baby.  For the toddler and her older sister, both of whom will be adopted together - yay! - I'm going to make something bigger, maybe quilts with their names on them.  We'll see.

And now that I'm not spending every evening reading essays and writing recommendation letters, I think I'm going to knit and watch an episode of something on Netflix.  Aaahhh, November!

I'm linking up with Oh Scrap and Monday Making.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

New Life

There's a new baby soon to arrive in the life of one of my friends, so we all know what that means?  Time to make a baby quilt!  But time is scarce these days - in the world of college advising, we generally call October Suck-tober because it is such a grind of writing recommendation letters, proofreading essays, and generally just hand-holding our seniors through a stressful time.  So instead of starting from scratch, I went digging through my UFOs.

When I came across the color words made from 1.5" squares that I started back in August 2010 (how embarrassing to have a UFO that old!), I decided that one more color word, Purple,

would round out a rainbow of words.  Since some words are shorter than others, I'm making some wonky stars with four-patch centers to fill space. 

This should go together rather quickly, I think. 

I'm linking up with Oh Scrap and Monday Making.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Life goes on

My heart quilt made it to my friend last Saturday.  She called me on Sunday to tell me how much she loved it, and how much she loved me.  She died on Wednesday morning.

My heart is broken.

I cried and cried some more.  I talked to friends and hugged my family.  And finally, yesterday, I went back to what always gets me through hard times.  I fired up my sewing machine and started a new quilt.

I've been wanting to make a quilt for my step-father for years now.  I've started several, but never finished one.  Yesterday, I started another one.  Here's hoping I stick with this one and get it to him sooner, rather than later.  He's one of those people I don't see nearly enough, don't tell that I love him nearly enough.  I want him to have a quilt from me so he knows I love him even when I'm not there to say it.

I'm linking up with Oh Scrap and Monday Making.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Better late than never

My heart quilt is done - I finished the binding while sitting outside in the autumn sunshine this afternoon. 

Tomorrow, I goes to its new home with my dear friend to provide comfort in her final days.  So much love went into this quilt.  So many tears.  So many memories revisited.  So much love.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Par for the course

It seems I can't sew a quilt together without making a mistake these days.  On my last finish, it was sewing a border on upside down.  On my heart quilt, I forgot a whole row altogether!  Remember my sketch?

I was so excited to finish on Saturday, an August finish as planned.

Do you see how I forgot to piece the row that includes the bottom tip of the heart?  I pinned a spare neutral 9-patch on to see if it made much of a difference...

Yup, it makes a significant difference to me.  Back to piecing 9-patches.  Out with the seam ripper to take off those bottom 4 rows.  An easy fix, but I'm annoyed with myself. 

The goal is to machine quilt it and bind it by the middle of the month, doable, but the kids start coming back to school today, so my time is no longer my own to use as I wish.  Gonna make this a priority.

I'm linking with Oh Scrap and Monday Making.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

My heart in pieces

My pixelated heart quilt is coming along, one scrappy nine-patch at a time.

My own heart is still struggling to come to terms with my friend's illness, but making this quilt gives me lots of time to reflect and process.

I'm linking up with Oh Scrap.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Switching gears

Yesterday, a good friend learned that she has inoperable pancreatic cancer.  I moved away two years ago, so I can't be there with her in person.  My mind and heart are reeling.  So, I'm doing what I always do when I need to re-center myself - I'm making her a quilt.

I'm starting with the little pixelated heart I made several years ago from 2" squares.

I wanted to echo that heart to make the quilt lap-sized.

It will be full speed ahead for the next couple of weeks as I rush to finish this and get it to her.  Everything else is on hold.  Including my breath.  I'm so scared for her that I am finding it hard to breathe.

Fuck cancer.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Plugging away at my Good Fortune

Finishing up my Sew Many Strips top has inspired me to knock out some more UFOs.  First up...Good Fortune!  So far, the center is done and the first of four borders is on.

And as my leaders and enders project, I've decided to give Kevin the Quilter's Simply Sensational Summer Scrap Quilt a try.  Apparently, all it uses is squares in two contrasting colors, so I pulled out my 2.5" squares in those two colors, along with a couple of 5" squares that I plan to quarter.  Is it possible that I'll be able to make the whole quilt with my precut scraps?

A couple twosies done, many, many, many more to go!

Friday, August 2, 2019

Sew Many Strips DONE!

Despite a long day of playing chauffeur and nursemaid to my family before working tonight, I squeezed in just enough sewing time to fix yesterday's goof and finish the Sew Many Strips top.  I love it!  Time for me to find a longarm quilter so I can get it finished and on my bed.

Turns out, I got a little carried away and made too many border units.  No worries - I really like this border, so I may make just a few more and use them to go around a smaller (baby? lap?) quilt.

Maybe I can make a center out of my overflowing HST bin.

But first, I am determined to finish my Good Fortune quilt top.

Just five more blocks to go before I can sew the center together.  I think I've created all the border units already, but I'd have to double check.  My goal is to have this top done before  Labor Day.  Since I have only two working days left before I get three weeks off, I think it is an achievable goal.

Knocking out the UFOs and busting the stash feels so good!

I'm linking up with Oh Scrap and Monday Making.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Bad news, good news

The bad news is that I sewed the first outer border of my Sew Many Strips quilt on upside down.

The good news is that I realized my mistake before I sewed on any more borders.

I'm loving how it looks, and am so excited to have it all sewn together!  It takes an awful lot of 1" x 2" (finished) pieces to make a bed-sized quilt.

Monday, April 29, 2019


I've been absent from the blog for a month - wow!  It's not that I haven't been creating, it's just that I've been more moved to knit lately than to sew.  The funny thing is, I'm knitting a blanket called the "Excavation Blanket," using up all my bits and bobs of leftover yarn from previous projects.  It appears I go scrappy no matter the medium!

I like to take knitting with me wherever I go.  Coffeeshops are great!
There will be fringe on two ends of the blanket - no hiding ends for me!
The other thing that has been taking up my time - please don't freak out and stop reading - is tarot.  I've always been curious about tarot cards, but never really knew much about them.  Besides, I thought you had to be a psychic in order to use them.  But then, while traveling back from Minnesota earlier this month, a colleague shared her cards with me and told me how she uses them to give her insight into what she should be focusing on in her life.  While I always figured people used them for divination purposes, I saw that they could be used for personal development and reflection, too.  I was intrigued, so I came home and started doing a little research.

I ended up buying a deck for myself, The Wildwood Tarot.  The imagery on the cards really appealed to me, and I liked the nature theme of the cards - there's lots of animals and waterfalls and trees.  I've enjoyed learning the cards, using them to try to tap into my subconscious, to not just go through the daily motions of my life, but to really reflect on what I am doing and why.

Since I've been studying the cards a bit every day, I wanted a way to keep them protected, but something more accessible than the lovely box that they came in.  I have fabric, so naturally, I thought I'd sew something.  I settled on a drawstring pouch.

While I like the pouch I made, the fabric choices and the design - lined with boxed corners - I wasn't able to find any thin cording to fit, so I have a thicker trim for the drawstring.  I wanted a double drawstring, but the trim I have is just not right for that.  Oh well, I still love it.

Fast forward a couple of weeks, and I've realized that the deck I bought is a bit beyond my novice card reading ability.  The book that accompanied the cards is a bit obscure, so it is hard for me to get a sense of what the cards signify.  I came to the conclusion that I need a more beginner-friendly deck to ease me into tarot card reading.  And what I found was the Everyday Witch Tarot.  True confessions time: as a child, I always wanted to be a witch - a good, friendly, helpful, tuned in to nature witch.  I wanted to make friends with faeries and tree nymphs and whatnot.  I loved the Piers Anthony Xanth series because of all the mystical, magical beings in them (not to mention, all the puns!).  But alas, I am a mere mortal, no special powers here.

But this deck makes me smile, brings back all those whimsical longings of my youth.  The artwork is fun and colorful, very different from the Wildwood deck, but they both appeal to me in different ways.  So, I bought it!  It arrives tomorrow, and in preparation, I've made a pouch for those cards as well.  This time, I found a thinner cording, so I've got the double drawstring that I wanted.  I love it!
I LOVE this dragonfly fabric!

I used the Wildwood deck to guide my construction since the decks are virtually the same size.

And in the meantime, since I am a leaders and enders kind of gal at all times, I squeezed in a couple more blocks on my Sew Many Strips quilt, along with a number of border units.  Bonus!
More than a quarter of the way pieced! 
Border units that don't fit on my design wall (I need a bigger design wall)

Sewing, knitting, reading my cozy mystery books and now tarot cards - I need to not have a job so I can do all the things I love to do!  (Just kidding - it is my job that allows me to afford doing all the things I love to do, and I find my work fulfilling to boot!  But my son was lobbying for 4-day school weeks yesterday, and I can totally get behind that suggestion!)

Saturday, March 30, 2019

The beauty of a blog

I was feeling like I hadn't made much progress on my Sew Many Strips quilt until I compared today's photo with last weekend's photo. Even if no one reads my blog, it is useful to me in this way.
I've got a little more than one quarter pieced.
It's slow going, but it's growing!  With all this work, this might have to be a quilt for me!

I'm off in the morning to visit some colleges in Minnesota.  My plan is to take some hexagons to sew by hand, as well as a sock that I would love to finish knitting.
I added this yellow hexi to my GFG quilt last night while binge watching Queer Eye
My 15-year-old has his learner's permit, so I let him drive today while I knitted in an attempt to remain calm.
I'm glad to have finished four quilts already this year; it makes me feel better about working on so many ongoing projects these days.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Sew Many Strips is no joke!

I sewed for hours this weekend!  I pressed and cut and sewed and then did it all over again.  I can't believe this is all I have to show for it on the design wall!
My design wall is only big enough to put up one quarter of the quilt at a time, so that is how I am building it.
Granted, I do have a bunch of twosies sewn together, waiting to become four-patches, as well as some longer units sewn for the borders, but sheesh!  When they named this quilt Sew Many Strips, they weren't joking! 

Of course, I love quilts with lots of little pieces (these strips measure 1" x 2" finished in the quilt) so I'm not really complaining.  But I am super impressed with the folks who have already finished this APQQuiltalong

I'm linking up with Monday Making and Oh Scrap!

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Quilty Adoption Offerings

My husband and I will be celebrating 19 years of marriage this May.  One of the triumphs of our marriage is the level of compromise we have reached when it comes to STUFF.  I am a packrat; he is a minimalist.  We've had a couple battles around this difference in approach, but I've gotta say, mostly it has been me drifting over to his way of doing things.  It turns out, letting go of things lightens me somehow.

My sewing room, however, is the place where I feel no guilt about keeping any and everything I want.  But looking at some of my UFOs lingering in limbo, knowing that I'll never get around to finishing them, saddens me a bit.  What makes me HAPPY is participating in Cynthia's Quilty Adoption Event twice a year!  I am able to give away my UFOs to people who actually finish them! (Really, I've seen pictures!)

This time around, I have three projects I am ready to release into the quilt-iverse.  If you are interested in adopting a project (or two or three!), leave a comment, making sure there is an email address so I can contact you if you are a winner.  I will draw winners using a Random Number Generator on Monday, March 25 with hopes of having everything mailed out by Tuesday, March 26.  I am happy to cover postage in the US and Canada (so sorry to all my other international friends).  There are no restrictions on what you do with your winnings - make something for yourself, for a friend/family or for charity.  I'd love to see a photo of the finished project if you think of it (closure, you know).  OK, here goes!  Ready for some scrappiness?

A.  PLUS Blocks

Back in the fall of 2016, I joined in the Charming Plus Quiltalong.  I enjoyed making these scrappy 6.5' blocks as a leader/ender project for a while, but I've lost interest.  There are 27 of them.


Back in the spring of 2016, I won a bunch of Violets blocks in Block Lotto.  I love participating in Block Lotto, but I'm terrible about putting the blocks together if I win.  I should just participate without throwing my name in the ring to win.  There are 43 of these 6.5" blocks: blue, purple and pink flowers with yellow centers on black/white/gray backgrounds.  Note that they are made by a bunch of different people, so actual size may vary a bit.


I'm not exactly sure when I started this flannel quilt based on Aunt Betty's Attic in the February 2003 issue of McCall's Quilting, but definitely by 2009.  It is now 2019.  Time to "fish or cut bait", don't you think?  Actually, I wanted every block to be a different pattern, but when you make a block, you actually get pieces for two blocks.  I wasn't sure if I wanted to make a quilt that was twice the size, or if I'd have pieces for two quilts.  I've decided I want to keep one set of blocks, and give one away.  If I am making the smaller size, I am more likely to finish.  Please note that only 31 of the 36 six-inch blocks are pieced, but there is material prepped for six more (an extra for some reason). 
 I'll include the magazine article with the instructions.
Please know that 1) this will only include the blocks, not additional fabric for the borders, 2) I just cut up whatever flannel I had at the time so there is no color scheme or theme and 3) this was early on in my quilting career and I think it was my first time using flannel.  The quality of the materials and my piecing are both questionable...

Be sure to visit Cynthia's blog for more items up for grabs!