Another Quilt Top Donation

February 2, 2019

Hard to believe, but this is the third quilt top I’ve sewn in Tucson to be donated.  I ran out of fabric I brought with me last month, and am now using fabric donated to a local church to make these quilt tops, and from Linda’s closet.

This is the last one in the BQ look:


I really like the way I got the black strips to form rectangles behind the large floral prints.

This one is good size 60″ x 72″ and two of my friends helped hold up the corners so I could take a photo in our craft room.  Thank-you, Linda, thank-you Barb.

We have the craft room scheduled for quilting on Tuesdays and Fridays, and people come and go.  We actually welcome anyone who is creating with textiles.  This is an inclusive group of ladies, and we have a lot of fun.

Social sewing is the bees knees – a saying my Dad used to say that means it’s great.  We all help each other with our individual projects, talk about our families,  and of course share lots of info about websites.   There is so much out there on the internet.  No one person can find everything.

Oh, I also polished off 2 spools of thread, and am working my way through the wound bobbins from my dearly departed Janome sewing machine.  I did bring plenty of thread with me, and it feels good to know I’ll be bringing home a little less than I brought with me.   Lighten the load in the RV is my mantra.  The less I bring home, the less I have to unpack when we get home.  😉

Onwards to making a pair of shorts for myself.  There is no guarantee I’ll be sharing photos of that.  Apparel making is a very slow process for me.  Sometimes the fitting takes two weeks, mostly because I get frustrated, give up, then get a little fortitude back and try again.  Wish me luck!!!






4 Patch Into 16 Patch

January 12, 2019

I joined a block swap in Tucson Estates this winter where each person makes a 4 patch, and then receives one from each participant.  I thought we were going to make 1 block to swap, and it turned out to be 4 blocks to swap.  Multiply that by 16, and that’s 64  blocks.  Good thing it’s an easy block to make.

I’d never seen this before, and it is a variation of the popular disappearing 9 patch technique – of which I’ve done, but never starting with a 4 patch and ending up with a 16 patch block.

Here is what you start with – a simple 4 patch:


These happen to be 3.5″ squares, but you could make them any size you like.

The first cut is to take 1.75″ off each side.  That is one half of each block, so if you want to start with 6″ blocks, you’d cut off 3″ from each side.  This is what it looks like when you make the first cuts:


Then you rotate the cut pieces:


And sew them together:


Now you cut 1.75″ off the top and bottom of this block:


Then you rotate the cut strips again and sew together:


Voila!!! You have created a 16 patch with not a lot of little squares to sew together.

Pat N. taught us how to do this, and she did a great job.  Thank-you, Pat.

Will I do this again?  Only with different ironing or opening up the center of the 4 patch and twirling the seams so you can iron towards the dark fabric all the time.  I found I couldn’t get perfect point matching because the seams didn’t nest for me.

I’m not a pinner, so that could also be the reason.  When I’ve made this block before, I’ve always ironed toward the dark fabric, and never had the need to pin.  I’m a big proponent of nested seams.

16 more blocks to make, and then onto the shorts/pants.




Skirt Repair

January 5, 2019

I was a member of the RTW Fasters 2018 group on Facebook, started by the blogger Sarah Gunn at Goodbye Valentino, and it wasn’t all that hard to not purchase any Ready To Wear clothing at all, but it was hard for me to sew my own clothing.  True to my procrastinator personality, I finally started focusing on clothing in 2019.  Better late than never.

This was the first time I did not pack all my clothing in our RV for our annual snow bird flight to Tucson, and when we arrived, I realized that my skirts had been shoved against a metal hinge, and had 2 slits across the abdomen.  Accidents happen, and heh, I can sew, I can fix these garments.

Yes, I repaired this skirt:


See the top yoke?  It used to be twice as long.  I measured down from the elastic to the top of the tears, and cut evenly around the entire skirt.  Then I had the joy of removing the seam that attached the yoke to the gathered skirt second tier to get the torn section off the skirt.  That took some time.  Part way through the job I managed to find the correct thread tail to just pull, and all the overlocking came out – like the top of a potato sack string.  That was a win for me.

Next step was to fold down 1/2″ from the yoke bottom, and stitch the yoke section back to the gathered skirt’s second tier.  That required sewing basting stitches, and pulling the bobbin thread to pull the fullness evenly from the skirt’s second tier to fit the yoke.

It actually went pretty fast – after I pinned, thought I pinned inside out, repinned, realized the original pinning was correct, and repinned for a third time.  Yes, that’s what happens when I sew in a social setting.  I am so happy to be visiting with friends, I don’t pay attention to what I’m supposed to be doing.

Okay, sewed the 2 sections together, and realized I needed to get some matching thread for one more sew around.  Luckily a friend offered me to shop in her thread collection, and we found a perfect match.  One more seam, and voila!!! my skirt is wearable again.

I only wear this skirt in Tucson.  Lots of people walk around wearing this style.  It’s not all that flattering, but it’s cool, and so comfortable, I don’t care.  It’s actually cooler than wearing shorts.

The upshot?  It took me longer to repair this one skirt, than it took for me to piece this entire quilt top.  That could be why I haven’t made a lot of clothes for myself.  I’m way out of practice, and it takes me forever to accomplish much, but you know what?  My next project is a pair of shorts or pants for myself.  At the rate I sew, y’all might not hear from me for 2 months.  😉

I have the pattern, tracing paper, elastic and thread for this project, so as soon as I finish making a nametag for my quilt club at Tucson Estates, and  17 more 4 patch blocks for a group project, shorts/pants it is.




Endings and Beginnings

December 31, 2018

2018 is on its way out, and 2019 is on its way in.  The years are all starting to melt together, and I don’t mind that.

A lot was accomplished in 2018 despite two stress fractures, and I’m hoping for lots to be accomplished in 2019.

You won’t find lists of what was created in 2018 here though, or a list of resolutions.  I used to keep track of how much I created, how much I got out of my house, and realized, quit counting things, Diane.  Not all that easy for an accountant.  It’s in my DNA to count things, so the numbers are still running around in a corner of my mind, but no longer a focused activity.

Instead, I’m taking each day as it comes, and try to celebrate something joyful each and every day.  It could be the sun is shining, the birds are singing, the laundry is folded, etc…  I can’t type the laundry is finished, because honestly, I think our clothing, towels and sheets are in cahoots, so something is always dirty.

Life is moving quickly now.  I’m taking time to appreciate my family and friends with actions and words.  My parents were good role models.  Not a day went by that they didn’t kiss each other, and say they loved each other.  I was blessed to be raised in such a family.

I realize that isn’t true for everyone, but know that if you are my family, if you are my friend, I love you, I appreciate you, and am grateful for knowing all of you.




Another Comfort Quilt Top Completed

December 21, 2018

Hard to believe, as I’m usually slow as molasses to get a top pieced, but I completed another quilt top today:


It’s my version of a B2B pattern.  I have no clue what size blocks the B2B pattern starts out with, but I had enough fabric to cut twelve 9.5″ squares of the floral pattern, and winged it for the measurements for the background and solid color stripes, using graph paper, and drawing the sections as wide as was pleasing to my eye to get twelve 12.5″ finished squares.

I had seen the layout used on a block of the month pattern from another website, and thought it would work great for my idea too.  Said idea was to totally use up that floral fabric, and it was a success.

It’s hard to believe, but I’ve gone through 7 yards of fabric in 2 weeks of sewing in Tucson.  Let me tell you, I’ve never accomplished that at home.  Must be something in the desert air that is encouraging me to sew, and this one was made in a little under 5 hours of actual sewing time.  That 5 hours, includes getting up and down to iron seams, chat a little while waiting for my turn at the ironing board, sew a little, help a fellow quilter out, then back to sewing a little on my project.  That’s what I call community sewing – more of a social event, than a peddle to the metal sewing session.

I am totally out of Comfort quilt fabric now.  From now on, my quilt projects will be lots more involved, and take a lot longer to complete.  I only packed 2 more projects for this 4 month vacation though.

One project is using solids – and only solid colored fabric – for an experiment.  Not sure how  it’ll turn out, but I have lots of time to work on it.

The second project is an Elizabeth Hartman pattern, and that requires a lot of concentration and organization.  Not too sure how that will fly in a social setting, because lets face it,  I end up doing almost as much talking as I do sewing.  No apologies about it either.  I love seeing what the other people in the room are making, catching up with their families, trying new recipes, and restaurants.

Not to forget garment sewing, but I actually brought a pant pattern down with me.  Also ordered material from – really only to get the Kona color card, but added the apparel fabric to qualify for free shipping.  What the heck,  a girl has to do what a girl has to do, to get free shipping.

I desperately need new clothes and entered the RTW Fasters group on FB – which just so happens to  end December 31 for encouragement.  It’s hard to admit that I didn’t make one single garment – the entire year folks!!!  BUT, I didn’t purchase one single garment either.  I’m just really late to get with the group and actually start making some MeMade clothes.   The challenge might be ending, but it worked to get me inspired to make some clothes for myself.  That’s a win in my book.

I hope you are all enjoying your creativity, and there is lots more to come.





Comfort Quilt # 17

December 14, 2018

I’m in my happy place – Tucson – and finished up my last comfort quilt for 2018:

Comfort quilt 17

I prepared a couple of quilt kits for Tucson, as it is so much easier bringing just what I need in the RV.  There is limited space for all my quilting supplies, so condensing is the way to go.

This was made with 2 Christmas fabrics I had in my collection who’s time had come to be used.  I had just enough for this project, and happily, one of my friends here said her church is happy to receive quilt tops, so I decided to donate it to her church.  It’s not easy machine quilting on my small travel sewing machine, so this was a win-win in my book.

I also donated the binding and backing fabric for a total of 5 yards, yes 5 yards of fabric going to a good cause.  Now I’ll have room in the RV to buy more fabric to bring home with me, but shh, that’s a secret between you and me.  😉




Pfaff Passport 3.0

November 9, 2018

My almost 15 year old Janome 720 Platinum sewing machine well and truly died a few weeks ago.  I loved that little sewing machine.  It sewed through lots of layers, and never needed to be repaired.

The computer board died, and the turn wheel seized up.  The machine has been discontinued, and even if the parts were available, it would have cost more to repair it, than it was worth.  I did check with a couple of different shops before starting the search for a new sewing machine.

Many hours of research later, I narrowed it down to two machines, another Janome, or the Pfaff Passport.  I was interested in the Ever Sewn line also, but one of the youtube videos promoting the machine, showed it sewing out decorative stitches.  In the short bit shown, there was a thread loop on the top.  Combine that with no dealer support, and I ruled out that machine. It was half the price of what I ended up purchasing though.

My priority was good stitch quality, light weight, needle down abilty, able to sew without the foot pedal, speed control, needle threader, free motion available,  and a few decorative stitches.  Went to the local dealers, test sewed with the machines – with my own fabric, interfacing and batting layers – wrote on the fabric samples what machine was used to create the stitch samples, then came home and thought about it.  I find if I can take my time with making a decision, I’m usually happy with it for the rest of my life.  😉

The Pfaff Passport 3.0 was the winner.  It came home with me yesterday, and I did a bit of sewing with it today.  It threads differently, so I will have to get used to that, and I’ll have to get familiar with which button to push for the function I want, but that will hopefully be a short learning curve.

Here is what my little darlin’ looks like in my sewing cabinet:


And yes, that is snow on the trees, visible through the window.  It was a good day to turn on all the lights in my sewing room, and familiarize myself with my new sewing machine.  I had to make my own sunshine today, because I sure as heck wasn’t getting any from the dreary Upstate New York sky today.

And WOW, I think my new little darlin’ just named herself.  Sunny!!!  I had a dear knitting machine friend named Sunny.  Coincidence that name came to mind?  I don’t think so.  Sometimes our brain makes connections without us even being aware of it, and this is one of those times.





Dyeing Again

October 20, 2018

It’s been a long two years since I’ve dyed anything.  I was happily dyeing fabric, and then broke my left wrist.  It took a full year to recover from that break – which was actually more of a shattering.   Right after that, I broke my right femur, then 6 months later I broke my left ankle.  I had real good reasons for not dyeing, didn’t I?

Everything is A-Okay now, so out came the dyes and all my supplies.  I started out  with an ice dyed t-shirt and napkin scrap:


My t-shirts sometimes become one large bib at times, so I save them by overdyeing them.  The food stains disappear, and I get to wear the rejuvenated t-shirt again in public.  Happy Days!!!

The little fabric scrap is from a cotton/linen blend napkin.  I purchased oodles of these napkins years ago, and decided it was time to start using them as I intended – to dye them, and use them to create comfortable summer tops.  Yes, I’ll have to take out the seams as those were sewn with polyester thread, and it will be a lot of seaming to create yardage, but I wanted that look.  I want the seams to be part of the top designs.  Hopefully it will create lovely lines, and my tops will be interesting and unusual.

I threw the fabric scrap in the bottom of the container, then put in a colander, the soda soaked t-shirt, ice cubes, and sprinkled lots of Cherry dye I received from a friend.  Have no clue what it really is as the little container just said Cherry on it.  Added very little Procion 629 to tone down the Cherry, and then added even less Procion Grape 801.

The Grape was added at the last minute as an entire shelf of dyes was exposed to a lot of heat from a dehumidifier – by accident, and I was worried they were ruined.  Happily, the Grape still worked, and the purchase date was May of 2004.  Imagine that.  All those years, all that heat exposure, and it still worked.  More Happy Days!!!

The dye container sat in my laundry room for a good 7 hours, and the ice wasn’t totally melted.  No surprise there.  I have the heat set at 67, and had 2 layers of big ice cubes on that shirt. Worried the dyes wouldn’t take, I put the whole shebang in my dedicated dye microwave, and zapped it for 55 seconds, checked the container, and it was still cold, so kept on zapping and checking till the container warmed up.  Then every 15 minutes, I’d zap it for another 55 seconds.  I did this for an hour.

Next step was to rinse it in cold water, then let the t-shirt soak overnight in cold water.  Rinsed a very little in hot water this morning, then threw it in the washing machine on super hot.  I love my LG washing machine.  It heats up the water for a Sanitizing cycle, and saves me from having to raise the temperature on my hot water tank.   I used my usual detergent – All Clear, and Voila!!! all the excess dye came out with minimal water usage.

I am soooooooo happy to be dyeing fabric again, and decided purchasing a Wonder Washer would make dyeing those napkins much easier than doing a lot of stirring, so am ordering one of those later today.  The goal is to dye those napkins in gradations with the lightest pieces close to my face, and gradated darker towards the bottom of the tops.  Stay tuned to see how that works out.



Santa is Pieced

October 8, 2018

I’ve been busy working on projects, and can happily share the completed quilt top that has been a work in progress for a couple of years – yes a couple of years:

Santa Done

All that embroidery is by hand – the large Santas and the small cornerstone designs, then it was arranged differently from the original pattern.  I saw this setting at a quilt show and loved it, so made it happen for my quilt too.   Now for the quilting by check book.  😉

I also finished up a huck towel.  I’m a member of a few art groups, and this one tries new ideas every month.  All I can say is, huck embroidery is not my thing.  This is a one and done:


Now, what next?  I have so many new patterns I want to make, and so many unfinished projects that could be tackled.  Wonder which will win?


Santa Quilt

September 1, 2018

No, it’s not Christmas, but it is September first.  Where in the world did summer go?  We’re still having summer weather, so it’s shorts and t-shirts being worn everyday, but Christmas in my sewing studio.  Why Christmas?  The Santa quilt has finally gotten some attention again.

I’ve talked about working on the Santa quilt so much here,  that it is way past time to give you all a status update.  This might take the record for taking me the longest quilt to piece, but here is how it looks so far:

First Row

The Santas are hand embroidered redwork designs (so are the little cornerstones inside the stars), and all  embroidery has been done for over a year.  I placed 5 little pieced blocks  around the Santas to add interest.  Then I added a 1/2″ black border to set off the blocks.  All 12 of them are ready to be added to the lattice.

Each lattice piece is different, and there is no pattern, and that is what I’ve consistently been screwing up.  I’m winging it and trying to make the stars wonky.  Wonky is hard for me.  Precise positioning is easy – as those little blocks around the Santas pretty much well prove my point.  Some of them have 32 pieces in them, and they finish to 4″.

I’ve taken each visit to the seam ripper with a good attitude though.  It’s only fabric.  I have more of it.  Mistakes happen, and either having to take BP medication for the first time in my life, or old age has mellowed me out.  Surprises even me.  😉

I love, love, love this quilt, and hope to get it completely pieced by the end of September, but am not making any promises.  I thought it would be pieced by the end of June, then the end of July, then the end of August.  Now I know it will be completely pieced when it’s ready to be completely pieced.