What I Am Up To

October 12, 2019

Usually, I post an almost completed project, or textile experiments I’m exploring.  You know what?  It takes me a long time to get something completed.  That’s why I don’t post often.

That’s not a complaint.  I enjoy making my projects, I love my sewing machines, and every time I walk into either one of my sewing rooms – yes, I have two rooms, and I use both of them, I do so with anticipation.

I was in a major hurry to complete the Petal Pizazz quilt blocks so I could take my embroidery machine in for a tune-up.  It had been a long time, so it was long overdue. Finished up the blocks, delivered the machine, then promptly stopped working on the project.

The reason?  The sashing fabric I selected.  It’s gorgeous fabric – a cotton/linen blend, with beautiful drape.  The drape is why I stopped in my tracks.  Each and every piece needs to be interfaced before I can sew the blocks together.   Fusing interfacing to fabric is not high on my “love to do” list.  In fact, it’s really high on my “let’s put it off for another day” list.

Not only does it have to be interfaced, it also has to be squared up, and I do that by pulling the threads till the thread goes across the entire width:

Raveled napkin


That fringe all gets cut off, so I’ll have a nice, straight of grain edge.

Why am I using this fabric?  Because it’s lovely stuff, and I purchased a lot of it.  They are really nice big napkins, so not only am I doing all the above to it, I actually start by removing the edge seam, iron the napkin, then go into fringe action.

What can I say? This fabric really is lovely, and I did purchase a lot of them.  I also sold a lot of them, and they dye beautifully too.   I hope to use them for an item of clothing one day.   12 of these beauties cost me less than $10.  I am not about to admit to how many dozens of them I still have.

So today, I am in fusing mode.  I know I won’t finish it all.  I can only stand so much time with placing my iron, counting 15 seconds, then moving it to the next little section, repeat, repeat, repeat – 72 times.  Yes, 72 times.  I calculated the amount of fabric I need fused with my iron size, and that’s how many times I have to repeat that step.  What can I say?  I’ll resort to doing math before I buckle down and fuse that fabric.  😉

I also made 3 quilt blocks as I got distracted, and one of them will be a future donation quilt.  The jury is out on the other design.  It’s a paper pieced design, that I drew in EQ-8, but it’s an awful lot of work, and I need to make 4 of them to be sure I like the effect, and paper piecing firmly resides on the “let’s put it off for another day” list.  It’ll probably never move off that list.  I’ll post pictures of them soon.

In the meantime, I am heading upstairs to fuse a little more fabric.  I do have 3 out of 12 embroidery designs sashed, so maybe my little bite, by little bite approach will eventually be turned into a completed project.



Dirty Paint Pour And Embroidery Designs

September 22, 2019

Last Thursday was my Ogden Art Group meeting, and we had a lot of fun learning about dirty paint pouring.

There are oodles of You Tube videos on the subject, and Karen kindly put together all the supplies, and had kits ready for us to try this out.  This is how mine looks:

Paint pour

I didn’t put enough paint on it, so moved some paint around with my finger on the right side to make sure the entire canvas was covered.  Along with white, only 3 colors were used, and it was fun to see how they blended, moved, and created cells.  I love the area with the cells.

I haven’t decided how I will use this.  It would be neat as the focal point of an art quilt, or I could keep it the size it is and add some beads.  Decisions, decisions, decisions.

I would like to try this again on ceramic tiles.  I could stand some coasters, and do have left over tiles from the Mod Podge project.  Something tells me the uneven surface will create very different images.  I might purchase some flat white glazed tiles to see just how different the two surfaces will react to the paint.

16 embroidered blocks were also made in the last couple of weeks, and I have 10-12 more to make.  This is the first time I’ve done applique blocks like this, and while it uses a lot of stabilizer, it is fun trying this applique technique.  As soon as I get the top pieced, I’ll take a photo and share the pieced top with all of you, but here is a sample of one of the designs:

block 4

The yellow fabric is some of my hand dyed fabric.  I’ve decided I’m going to use a piece of my hand dyed fabric in every quilt I make from now on.  There is no time like the present to use what I’ve dyed over the years, and it’s making me very happy to finally cut into some of my “precious” fabric.

Just for hoots, I used cactus fabric for the leaves, and the minute my husband saw it, he said, “You made a cactus rose!”  Now I had no intention of it being a cactus rose, but now that’s the only way I can see it too.

It is very satisfying making my fabric selections from my entire collection now.  The border is a William Morris print I was “saving” for something “special”.  Special is the present.  Nobody is guaranteed endless days to create.  It makes no sense to deprive myself of using the “good” fabric.

There are 12 flower designs in this quilt, and a cornerstone design.  It can be purchased from here.  Missi Skeldale has a facebook group, and that’s how I discovered this design.

Upstate New York is having the kind of weather I love.  Great, warm, sunny days, and nice, cool nights with low humidity.  This is my kind of weather, and I’m enjoying it.  I hope all of you are enjoying your September too.





Take 5 Block

September 2, 2019

Oh yes.  Today’s Take 5 block turned out much more to my liking.  Here it is:

Take 5 block

I’m a big fan of red and white.  I love high contrast.  The green is one of the radial symmetry blocks I’ve been making.  That is the fabric that will be totally used up from my fabric collection.  And btw, my interest in radial symmetry is all because of Beth’s Blog  She’s a friend of mine, and is leading me down the radial rabbit hole.  😉

Some of you might remember, I select one fabric from my fabric collection a year, and use it, till it is gone.  Imagine my surprise, when I realized the strawberry fabric actually looks good with this combination.  It’s all about the color.

Well, it just so happens, the strawberry fabric was going to be my selection for 2020.  Seems like it couldn’t wait politely for its turn.  All the strawberry fabric will we leaving the collection too.  I have quite a lot of it, and whatever doesn’t get used in the quilt top, will be used for the quilt backing.  I can’t believe how well this worked out for my fabric management system.

Yeah, right.  I have a fabric management system.  LOL  All I’ve managed to do, is put a couple of fabric pieces that were being stored very neatly on the floor in my daughter’s old bedroom, onto the shelves in my sewing studio.   Yes, I have a pile of washed fabric on the floor in my daughter’s old bedroom, and another pile on top of fabric bolts in there, and another pile on top of my blocking table in the same room, and another pile on top of a storage unit in her closet, and yet another two piles in my bedroom, and another on top of my hope chest.

Are you rolling on the floor laughing out loud yet?  I hate to fess up, but I have fabric in lots more places than that.  I am proud to say there is no fabric in the kitchen, laundry room, both bathrooms and the family room.  I should get some sort of credit for that.

I am in my happy place today – will see my daughter, did some sewing, my hunky husband is home today, the sun is shining, and only have the usual aches and pains.  I hope all of you are in your happy places too.



Take 5 Block

September 1, 2019

I was watching a YouTube video on a Sashed Take 5 Quilt and thought the big square would be perfect for one of the radial symmetry blocks I’m making.  Since my blocks were a different size than the ones in the video, I did some quick math – at midnight – and we all know how that can go wrong, and sewed a block with some scrap fabric:

Take 5 Practice

I like the block a lot, but don’t like these fabrics, so if you can, please ignore the fabrics and focus on the layout, this might be an easy block you’d like to make too.  And btw, my math was spot on.  Yeah for me!!!

I will be adding a 1″ sashing to the block to continue with each piece having a thin white piece of fabric around it.  Not only is it visually pleasing, it totally eliminated having to match seams.

I cut:

One 6″ square – the strawberry fabric

Three 3″ squares

One  3″ x 6″ rectangle.

The sashing is 1″ white fabric strips.

The above photo measures 9″.

A radial symmetry block would look great where the strawberry fabric is located.  I’m thinking a controlled scrappy approach would look good, and will make one tomorrow.

I am hosting a Labor Day gathering tomorrow, so might not get to sewing the block, but was happy to be spending this first day of September doing what I love – using my sewing machine, and experimenting with a new-to-me quilt block.

I hope all of you will be celebrating Labor Day with your friends and family, or if they are far away, doing something you love to do.



The Last Hexie and a Hoo-Ha

August 28, 2019

Yes, one more hexie to share.  I got to thinking about all the possibilities and decided to try the fused idea with machine button hole stitch:


There are pros and cons about this.

The pros:



Completely done by machine


The cons:

Stiff as a board

Used one layer of fabric, so the dark print showed through the light curved area.  Not obvious in the photo, but obvious in person.


I did finally get the flower petal depth to my liking though.  Practice did help, and you want a humongous laugh?  If I had turned the page one more time, I would have found the pattern for the flower and hexie on a previous page.  I forgot you have to turn the pages from the back to the front for Japanese books.   Ah well, it was good to exercise my brain.

And now for the Hoo-Ha.  I did not name it that.  I’d have named it Peek-A-Boo.  I saw it on Pinterest, but the blog with the tutorial is no longer available.  I studied the photo, and thought I should be able to figure it out, and I did:

hoo ha

I really like the texture, and this could be added to just about anything.  It could be a quilt block, it could be used for the yoke of a shirt, it could be used to accent a bag flap, or you could make an entire piece of fabric for yardage, and on, and on, and on.

It was really easy to make too, and while there are no pictures, I’m happy to share the written instructions.

You start with a base fabric.  I cut the floral print fabric an inch wider all around – to have something to hold when I was sewing it, or for seams in case I want to use it in something.

I made muslin binding for the light fabric on top.  It’s not like making binding for a quilt though.  I took a piece of fabric and cut 3″ strips.  Drew a line down the center – used a pencil and a light touch.

Brought the strips to the ironing board, and folded one long edge to meet the line.  Turned it and ironed the other side to meet the pencil line.  The result was a nice long piece of fabric with folds along the edges.

There were 3 pieces made for the photo above.

I laid them next to each other on top of the floral fabric, and kept them in place by using painter’s tape.  Then I drew a straight line across the 3 fabric strips every 4″.  I sewed across those lines.  That distance can be easily changed, and whatever length you use, will be the length of the floral fabric peeking out.

Then I turned the edges and using a straight stitch, sewed along the edges.  I turned and sewed without using any pins, and it worked perfectly fine for me.  I went down one side, then up the other.  Repeat across the piece and voila, you have completed making a piece of Hoo-Ha fabric.

My next project is a utility project.  I need to make a padded cover for the chair lift in my RV.  The darn thing has a seat that is a flat piece of solid metal.  My nether region does not appreciate sitting on a piece of flat metal.  😉

I’ve been using a cushion, and it slides around and makes me feel like I’m going to fall out of the chair lift.  Since I’m about 5′ up in the air when I get in the chair in the RV – picture me waving like Queen Elizabeth as I make my descent from the RV to anybody walking by – it wouldn’t be a good idea to fall out of it.  It would kind of ruin the image of a gracious RVer waving to her friends, so a cushion making I will be doing.

Wish me luck, folks.  I don’t do practical projects all that well.  I piece with the best of you, I can actually do a lot of couture sewing techniques, but when it comes to practical sewing?  My sewing mojo leaves the premises.








Hexie Cathedral Windows

August 25, 2019

This is the last pattern I’m making from the Japanese Quilt magazine I was gifted, and it definitely took a little time for me to get it right.   It’s basically a cathedral window concept, but shaped like a hexie.  The thing is the number of flower petals you create, drives the shape.  When you see the step by step photos, you’ll understand what I just wrote.

I started out by drawing a 6 petal flower – 6 of them – before I got the proportions correct.  And the funny thing is, if I had started by drawing a hexie the size I wanted, then added the flower petals to the straight sides, it would have gone a lot faster.

I traced the shape onto a 5 1/2″ square of muslin, then added another same size piece of fabric and sewed them together:


I used a small stitch length – 2.0.  Then I trimmed a scant 1/8″ seam around the stitched shape, and cut slits in one of the layers:


Turned the shape and shaped the flower curves with my thumbnail.

Next, you cut a piece of fabric and batting to fit – 2″ straight edges:


Place them in the flower center – which covers the slits you made when you turned the flower:


I used my sewing machine to baste the batting and fabric inserts in place – big long stitches – 6.0.  Trust me, the batting and fabric insert shifts if you don’t baste them in place.

Next you turn a flower petal over and hand sew it – just like you would for the turned edge of a cathedral window block:


I did not sew through to the back.  Sewing through the fabric insert and batting works just fine, and this way your back is nice and neat.

If you’re adventurous, I think this would like nice with straight stitch machine sewing sew the folds in place.  That would eliminate the hand sewing, or a button hole stitch might look nice.  And if you’re really adventurous, I’d try fusing the entire flower, then placing the insert inside the flower, turning the petals, and fuse in place.  The turned flower petals could be raw edge appliqued, but it would certainly streamline making this block.

The petal depth, determines how much of the fabric insert shows:


My points are not perfect on these, as I was in a mega hurry testing this idea, but you can see how these blocks would fit beautifully together – just like hexie pieces would.  The straight edges are 2″ long.

I saw pictures of a pillow made with this technique in the same Japanese magazine with the cat tissue box cover, and thought the pillow was really pretty.  Since I was successful with the cat, I gave this cathedral window idea a try.

Hexies are complicated enough, but trust someone to come up with a way to make them even more challenging, and trust me to be intrigued by the idea.  It did give me a great feeling of satisfaction to work out the details,  but I am taking a break from using that Japanese magazine.

That’s not saying I’m done with this idea.  I’m thinking a flower with 5 petals would work well, and there is no reason I can’t go big.  Or how about triangles, or any other shape that tessellates.  Ooh, the possibilities!!!




Kleenex Cat

August 21, 2019

I know, I know, I’m stuck on making cute projects right now.  First the scarecrow, and now this cat cover for a Kleenex box of tissues:

Kleenex Cat

My story is I’m experiencing a second childhood, and very happy about it.  I’m not hurting anybody, using supplies from my extensive in-house textile resources, and even some Shiva oil paint stick fabric was included.  It’s all good in my book.

I got the pattern from an old Japanese quilting magazine, when a Tucson friend started destashing her home.  Nobody wanted the magazines, and I was very familiar with their format from my machine knitting days, so some of them came home with me.

Most knitting machines were manufactured in Japan, and they had some great design magazines.  Used to take awhile, but I got pretty good at translating the instructions.   The Japanese quilting magazines had great graphs, and using the metric system, makes so much more sense than our US measurement system.

This cover used quite a lot of techinques – hand embroidery, fusible applique, and machine quilting.  The ears and tail are stuffed, and all I can say is I really enjoyed making this little project.



Christmas Crib Quilt

August 11, 2019

Hurrah!!! I finished piecing the crib quilt I was making with the same fabric as the quilt kit I’m bringing with me to Tucson.

Crib Xmas

It’s not as dark as it looks though.  I have lousy lighting in my sewing room, and the black fabric has little gold sparkles in it, and I must say I’m thrilled with how it came out.

This all started with a pattern by Paula Doyle from her Easy Stack Quilt book.  She has you make the 8 pointed star a very easy way, but you end up with smaller half square triangles.  I’m at the point in my life, that I don’t want to make “bonus” half square triangles.  It’s just one more thing I have to store, and these were good sized half square triangles.

I took a break and made the 2 embroidery designs, and in the midst of making the Scarecrow, I came up with a solution.  I used those half square triangles to add length to the quilt, instead of using more radial symmetry blocks.  I carefully counted how many I needed, and then switched making the 8 point stars to the “old” way.  You know, adding 7/8″ to the fabric square, then sewing a 1/4″ seam on either side of the diagonal drawn line, cutting them apart, and getting two half square triangles sections for the 8 pointed star.  It took a little more time, but I don’t have any half square triangles left over, and the name of my game is to reduce the amount of fabric scraps I have, not add to the collection.

I also added a strip of the fabric used to make the radial symmetry blocks so folks could see the original fabric.  This finishes  to 38″ x 48″ – a good size for a crib quilt, or to use as a wall hanging for anybody who celebrates Christmas.

I have enough fabric left over to make another 22 radial symmetry blocks, and have 7 put together blocks left over from making this crib quilt top.  Next up is a log cabin setting.  That probably won’t happen till winter though.  A few ladies in Tucson asked me to show them how to make these blocks, and it would be best if I bring the length of fabric with me so they can see the process from start to finish.




Scare Crow

August 8, 2019

I have no clue what came over me, but I just had to make this machine embroidered scarecrow.  It was included in the Festive Dangler package of designs from Anita Good Design.

It was so adorable.  This would appeal to a 5 year old, and I am far removed from that age, have no grandchildren, so have no reason for making it except it was so darn adorable.   Guess I’m into adorable this year.  😉


I haven’t attached the buttons yet, but couldn’t wait to share this with all of you.  Adorable, true?

There were a couple of errors in the design.  Only one sew around for the face before you trimmed it, and some reversal of what sewed out when comparing the instructions to the actual sewing for the hands and cuffs.

I used duck canvas for the face and was very happy with the texture it added.  Also used some fabric from Beth (the scarf), and the arms were made from fabric I purchased in the 1970’s for the grand price of $2.56 a yard – that included the sales tax.

Homespun plaid was used for the torso.  There was a stitch intensive plaid design for the torso, and I decided this design was going through thread like crazy, so skipped that part of the design.

I emptied 2 spools of thread totally.  Had a back up spool for one of the colors, and a close match for the second.  Had to wind 7 – yes 7 – bobbins for this project.  That was totally good in my book as I purchased a thread that did not work for machine quilting at all, but was fine for piecing, and worked well for the bobbin thread in machine embroidery.  It was purchased specifically for machine quilting, so I was disappointed about that not working out well, but happy to discover it worked with the other techniques.

My goal is to use up the entire 1,200 yard spool before Christmas.  I have never had a spool of sewing thread that had a tied join in the middle of the spool.  I was not amused.  And guess what?  I purchased 2 of the darn spools.

I do like trying new threads, but have to remember to purchase one spool at a time of a “new to me thread” in the future.  I mentioned to someone I’ve never met a spool of thread I haven’t wanted to try.  She thought I was joking.  Folks, I wasn’t.  I firmly believe in trying them all.  I don’t want to miss out on gaining experience with different fiber contents, weights, and/or textures.   There is something new to learn all the time.

And last but least,  I’m happy to share with everyone that my Delilah quilt won a Second Place ribbon at the Monroe County New York State Fair last week.  I am over the moon happy about that.


Camper Zipper Bag

July 25, 2019

I can not believe how excited I was to try making my first applique bag in my embroidery hoop.  I actually got up at 5 am to make it, and everybody who knows me, knows that is frequently my go to bed time, not my get up and start the day time.

This is why:

RV purse

Is that not the cutest little camper purse you’ve ever seen?  Wait till I show it off in our RV resort this winter.  And I’m going to tell each and every person they can make their own.  LOL

Seriously, I thoroughly enjoyed using my embroidery machine to make this, but I lost track of the number of mistakes I made  in the process.  Practically all of them were my fault.  Only one was in the tutorial, and that was simply mixing up the order of what was to be embroidered next – using the same color.  The problem was, I wanted to make the second embroidered object in a different color, and that is what got embroidered first.  Wouldn’t have made a lick of difference to anybody who was making it according to the directions.

I also used extra stabilizer under the embroidery, and lined the front.  Basically, I attached the lining and the front of the bag at the same time – one on top of the hoop, one underneath the hoop, then folded the lining out of the way while I did all the embroidery.  I taped the lining to the back of the hoop as it had a tendency to fall down into the embroidery area.   Can you tell that was one of my mistakes?  After all the embroidery was done, I folded the lining back to cover all the thread tails.

I used a heavier weight fabric for the backing, and didn’t line that.  I’m thinking it would have been a good idea to stabilize it with some Pellon sf101.  It’s 100% cotton, and would probably have extended the life of this little bag.   You definitely learn the tips and tricks of making these little bags, by actually making them, and using them. Go figure.  😉

This was a free design from Anita Goodesign, and I am very happy I downloaded it before it moved to being a paid design.  It was generous of her to offer it, and now I’m looking at what to purchase.  I have my eye on the Festive Danglers.

While my embroidery unit was attached to my sewing machine, I decided to sew out the free Dream catcher design from Kreative Kiwi.  I love her designs.


I used some of my hand dyed fabric and YLI’s metallic thread.  Now racking my brain trying to think of a name for her.  I don’t usually use metallics, and have never seen metallic feathers, but did not want to sew this out in a solid, dark colored thread.  I still might, as it just seems wrong to have such a sparkly dream catcher image in existence, but it is what it is.

My motivation was I wanted to name her something like Shining Star, or Shining Moon, or something in the ethereal or gossamer realm.  Suggestions welcomed. She will be included in a fabric book I’m starting, and she needs a name.

Don’t expect to see that book anytime soon.  It’ll be my first fabric book, and I want to include all sorts of different techniques in it.  I will post pictures as the individual pages are created, but they’ll appear sporadically, and not at all when we’re wintering in Tucson.

Hope you’re all enjoying your creativity, and taking some time to be kind to yourself, and others.