Arizona Scrappy Quilt II

April 16, 2019

Okay, the votes are in and the string triangle version won, hands down.  Too bad, because let me tell you, this entire quilt top would have been pieced by now if I hadn’t started making those triangles out of strings.

Now this is not the technique’s fault.  It’s the total lack of neutral strings in my extensive fabric collection that is causing the trouble.

I sorted through my one lone scrap drawer.  Hardly any strips, and most of them were nice pretty colors.  Nope, I need neutrals.

Went through my fabric collection and removed the ones I thought would work well, cut off a strip from each – all 3″ wide across the width of fabric because I could make them narrower easily, and this was the fastest way to contribute to the cause.

Went to quilt club and came home with only 3 pieces that would work, and one of them has so many slubs in the cotton, I decided not to use it.  White background, with green polka dots, and big white slubs running across the piece = not great quality fabric in my mind.

This is my entire amount of neutral strips:

Sewing room mess

They are draping from every flat surface around my sewing machine, and over the top of my embroidery unit.   Kind of sloppy, which kind of drives me crazy, but it’s the only way I can see the pattern and make sure not to repeat fabrics close to each other.

I worked almost 5 days on those little triangles, and only have 6 squares done.  I must be the slowest string piece quilter in the world,

16 patch with top string row

Looks pretty darn good to me.  That is why I’m continuing to make them, and have to say, it is very satisfying to see how well the strip triangles complement this scrappy quilt top.

All my telephone paper squares are cut, so all systems are green for more string triangle piecing.   I wish I could just sit and make all them without having to monitor which fabrics are used in each block, but I flat out don’t have enough variety, and I’m not buying anymore fabric for awhile.  I already own more than I can use before I go to the great big sewing after-life paradise.

Let me tell you, string piecing is great for people who use Bonnie Hunter’s Scrap System for storing their scraps.  I’ve done too good a job of using up my scraps as I finish each quilt.  Whatever fabric was left over from each of my quilts, usually ended up in the backing fabric, or donated on the free table at my local quilt guild.  I do like sharing with my fellow quilters, and I am a finishing.  I don’t even have any orphan blocks.  Seems I’ve been a bit too efficient with my scraps to easily make string quilts.

I do love string quilts.  I do love the texture all those different fabrics add to a quilt top.  It is worth the time.  This will be completed, and I can’t wait till I get to go back to Tucson and show this quilt to all my Arizona friends.



Arizona Scrap Quilt Project

April 8, 2019

We are back home from our wonderful Arizona get-away, and I am happily working on the 4 Patch into 16 Patch Swap quilt.  That has a link so you can refer to the original post on the blocks.

Here is what I’ve done so far:


I sewed together 16 of the blocks to form the center, and placed a small border around the blocks.  Picked up a shirt from Goodwill while in Arizona just for this quilt.  Bonnie Hunter suggests using cotton shirts in her scrap quilts, so I thought I’d give it a try.  No great buy for me.   It was $4.99, but I sure like the look.

Then I placed some 4 square blocks around that for a play on different block sizes.  I liked that too, and added another small border with the shirt fabric.

Then I was stumped.  Started cutting a block, made a mistake and cut a slit in the center of a block.  Time to step back and not force adding the next border.  Packed it up,  brought it home and played around with the blocks on my design wall for 3 days till I liked the third border idea.

Putting blocks on point adds more interest to the quilt, and I am debating about what to use for the triangles to square them up.  It might not show in the first picture, so I took a close-up:

string or solid

Should I go for the string pieced triangle look on the left, or the print fabric on the right?

The string fabric goes well with the scrappy look, but it’s kind of dark, and those are darn light neutrals.  White on white neutrals looked lousy, so I tried  light cream fabrics.

The print fabric goes well with the plaid shirt fabric – really well, but not too sure how well that look plays with the rest of the quilt.

Decisions, decisions.  I find I spend more time on this part of making a quilt, than anything else to do with the quilt making.  I would really appreciate hearing your opinions on which look you think makes for a more interesting, cohesive quilt top.





March 27, 2019

My time in Tucson is quickly coming to an end.  The weather was cooler this year, but I still loved it.  In fact, I prefer 60’s and 70’s.  It’s now in the 80’s, and let me tell you, an RV gets mighty hot in full sunshine and 80 degree temperatures.

I belong to two quilt groups here, and have made such good friends.  How do quilters manage to “click” so well with each other?  We certainly have.

I’m not one to do a lot of social sewing at home, but that is the only type of sewing and quilting I do while I’m on vacation in Tucson.  I don’t have room in my RV to sew, and while I can sew outside on my patio, it’s a lot of work to set-up and take down, and then there is the breeze.  We are in a great location, and enjoy the breeze when we sit outside reading on our patio, but not so enjoyable when pieces of fabric take flight. So off to the craft room I go.

It’s been pure joy to sew and chat this year.  After coming to the same resort for 8 years now, we’ve all gotten to know each other pretty well, and get along great.  We’ve gone on fabric shopping trips together, and quilt shows together, and some of us have gone out to eat with our spouses together.  We’ve formed a great little community here.  I’m really going to miss my Tucson sewing sisters.

One of them – Linda – gave me a parting gift, and it pretty much well sums up how we all feel:




Tucson in February???

February 23, 2019

This is what I woke up to on Friday:

Arizona snow 2019

Before the day was done, there was a good 3″ of snow on the ground.  What the heck?  This isn’t supposed to happen here in February.  Bah Humbug.

In between the snowing, the sun would come out, then it would snow again, then it switched over to rain, then the sun would come out again, and last but not least, the hail arrived.  What a Friday!!!

Me?  I stayed put inside our RV.  The fireplace was on, there were good movies on TV, and it was safer staying put, than risking a fall and broken bone.

The good part about staying put is I went through some of the photos in my phone.  This was a great seahorse quilt made by Janet, and it won a ribbon at our recent quilt show:

Janet Seahorse 2019 quilt showWhat a beauty!!!  The beads, the ribbons, the shells, the sheer fabrics.  I could go on and on.  And Janet is pretty darn cute herself.  😉

We had  a wonderful time visiting with my Oregon cousin and her husband this month too.  We drove them all over the West side of Tucson – where we stay – hoping they will decide to purchase a home here.  It would be so nice to have family nearby.  They are a pleasure to be with, and I dearly hope I showed off enough of the pluses of living here – despite the unseasonably cold weather.

We have to unhook our RV and bring it in to the dealership for a couple of repairs.  That means packing everything away, so nothing jostles in the cupboards and fridge, then unpacking it all once again when we get back.  We really have to do this.  Our hot water system broke.  Let me tell you, washing your hair in ice cold water is no fun.  I do heat up some water in the microwave, but I have such respect for the pioneer men and women who settled the west.

Tomorrow I’ll be going to the big Tucson Quilt Guild show at the Convention Center with a couple of friends.  It should be lots of fun, and I’ve heard from some who’ve already attended, that it’s a great show.  Can’t wait.

I hope you are all staying safe and warm, and enjoying every adventure that comes your way.


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.  😉