Sunday, December 30, 2007

Gayle Bong Scrap Quilt finished!

I haven't named this quilt yet, but...
66.5" X 86.5"

Pattern by Gayle Bong in Save the Scraps book.
I blogged about this pattern a few posts ago, but I think it bears repeating - this was a fun and fast pattern (it looks more complicated than it was) and the directions were accurate.
A tiny bit about borders... I really don't like the border part of a quilt. But, by doing just 2 strips here and there at night I was able to finish this top in good order. There is a pieced cream/floral border, a floral border and then the scrappy pieced outer border. So lots of borders for someone who doesn't like borders! But the end results are well worth the extra effort!
ALL from stash!!! I even got to use some pre-cut 2.5" strips from my strip bins. I used my LARGE floral fabric that I didn't want to cut down into little pieces. I used some medium value fabrics that sometimes I have a hard time using, but like buying because they are pretty. The fabrics I used don't exactly "match", but because of the white borders - there is enough space around them that it does all work. Yes, I even cut the last tiny bit of 2 oldie but goodie fabrics for this top. The backing is even from stash - a very nice piece of mottled rust/brown flannel - I bought it for the backing for another quilt and didn't get enough - but it was perfect amount for the back of this quilt. Everything is all neatly folded together and ready to send off to be quilted. I figure - about 11 yards for this quilt. I can't wait to get it back from the quilter and snuggle under it!!! As much as I love my fabrics sitting on a shelf, I love them ever so much more when they are in a quilt!
And - in case you are wondering... yes, we did get rain instead of snow so Little Boy could not go sledding. However, snow is forcasted for tomorrow so I expect I will be troopsing up and down that hill to supervise exciting sledding in the very near future. In the meantime - today I went out for a nice bike ride in the extra balmy 4C (high 30's) weather we have - no snow banks/slush to fight - ok, so I still wore ski pants and my winter hat under my helmet. By myself! Not sure when that will happen again (both the clear roads and being by myself) but at least I enjoyed it today!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Snow Fun!

Now, I know that most of you would consider a snow day the perfect sewing day. Not so in my household...

Yesterday's snowfall was perfect for sledding, light and fluffy! So, I asked DH to go to the hardware store and see if they had any sleds. He came home with this ski-do type sled that had to be put together and me, well I was very skeptical of the whole thing. I mean, I grew up with those blue plastic sheet sleds that you could roll up and the red boat sleds. But, once put together it turned out to be perfect, as the photos of happy Little Boy's face can vouch for! You can click the photo collage to enlarge. What a thrill to watch him having so much fun!

We spent a few hours outside yesterday going up and down the hill, up and down and up and down again! Getting a "steering" sled was really the perfect thing because if you can see on the bottom photo - our sliding hill has a narrow part up top that he has to steer though (trees on one side and a pile of dirt/rocks on the other from our foundation project this past fall). Once he passes the narrow part he then has a wide part to do some swooping S curves. Then - quick - at the bottom - which by this point has leveled off some so he isn't going to fast - he has to turn to the left to avoid going over the enbankment that goes down to the road. He is doing GREAT! We are expecting more snow today and DH is going to take the tractor and make a barrier out of snow at the bottom of the hill just in case Little Boy misses that last turn - I don't want him flying out onto the road. I have my fingers crossed that the snow doesn't turn to rain, as predicted because a little someone would be very disappointed.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Orange Bear

Orange is Little Boy's favorite color. This bear was specially made for him, in yarn that he picked out, complete with... an orange bow!
We went into a yarn shop awhile ago... and on display was a darling little felted teddy bear, a brown one. Oh how Little Boy wanted that bear - but it was not for sale. However, the very nice lady at the shop offered to knit him his very own and he right away understood what that meant - he could pick out his own yarn color, hence orange! Clever boy.
In due time the bear was finished and I picked it up a few weeks ago when I was in the area. The lady asked me if I would mind taking a photo of Little Boy with his new bear... I am happy she did because these are some of the best Christmas photos of him this year. Now that the festivutues of Christmas is over (we have had a wonderful 2 days) we will go to the hardware store today or tomorrow to get these printed to mail to family, friends and of course, the lady who knitted the bear.

He is sitting in a rocking chair that has been in my family for just about forever. I am happy that I took photos of him in it this year because it looks like he is just about growing out of it! Yes, he is wearing orange socks. And yes, if you look closely at my tree ornaments you will see a little strawberry pin cushion!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Missing Puzzle Pieces

Hummm, I think there are a few pieces missing. Actually, I knew that chances were very good before I even started on this one that there would be missing pieces - the old owners of this place left a bunch of puzzles on the shelf. Abondended and left behind puzzles are usually the first clue. The big mystery that I love to solve is.... how many pieces are missing?
While it seems that most everyone else is busily trying to finish last minute Christmas stuff, we are in low gear, very low gear around here! Blissfully so.
But, back to old puzzles. I enjoy piecing old puzzles. DH could not believe that I would continue onward after I was able to figure out that 3 outside edge pieces and that red boat piece was missing for sure. I knew that pieces were missing, so why continue? Ah, but how many pieces are missing? I just have to know! As you can see - there were several more pieces missing.
One thing that we used to do a fair bit when I was little was go to these great New England auctions. Loved, loved, loved going to these things and sometimes my parents would bid on a "lot" of items and the odd puzzle or two was bound to be included in the lot. So, I am used to piecing puzzles with missing pieces! It doesn't bother me one bit. After I finish the puzzle I write on the outside of the box how many pieces are missing - just in case missing puzzle pieces bothers the next person who comes along. And me? The mystery is solved. I'm happy.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Using a large print in a quilt

Basically, I think there are 2 ways to really use your stash... you can either start with a pattern/idea and start cutting, or start with the fabric and then find the pattern/inspiration to use it. In this case, I started with one fabric that I wanted to use and went looking for the pattern.

I think I can honestly say that I really like all the fabrics in my ever diminishing stash! In playing along in the "Stashbusting" game I am not interested in making a quilt with BIG pieces just to hurry the process along. I prefer quilts with lots of little pieces - most of the time. And these small patterns usually work very well with my stash of small scale prints. The other thing I will not do is put together fabric that really doesn't go well together just because I had it on hand - I feel that my time/energy/effort/talent has a value and I want my finished project to look nice and most of the time that means that buying additional fabric is necessary in order to make a project and have it come out the way I want it to look. So, I never feel badly if I need to buy a fabric(s) in order to be able to create something wonderful! But - I do try to use what I already have on hand first.

All that being said... I've had this 2 yard piece of beautiful floral sitting on the shelf for some time now... And all my other fabric - well even though they sort-ov match there really isn't a close match - but they all would sort-ov match if there was a bit of distance from each other! So - I was on the look-out for a pattern that did not cut my large print focus fabric down to nothing AND something that would give a little border around it - a bit of space - so the mis-matchyness of the other fabric would not be obvious.

Don't you think this block is the perfect solution? The 2nd block is a 9 patch with borders/cornerstones, but I don't have an individual photo of it.

And here is a photo of my quilt in progress! It is all pieced together since the photo and I am now working on the inner/outer border part. When finished it should measure 66.5 X 86.5. When figuring out yardage used - I always go by what size the backing is - 5 1/2 yards in this case! All from stash. But not in a "I've got to hurry up and use it" way, but in a "I love this fabric and really want to make a perfect quilt for it so I can enjoy it on my bed instead of just pulling it off the shelf once in awhile to admire it" kind of way.

I even used some medium value fabrics in here - these are always a challenge for me to use! And some really oldy-but-goodie fabrics too - I always feel a tiny bit sad cutting that last piece of a fabric from stash - silly me! And a good many fabrics from my Dresden Plate project (which I am still cutting out). I questioned some choices (even cut strips of "back-up" fabrics just in case, but stuck with my original choices and altogether I think it is a nice mix! I did not buy a single piece of new fabric to put this together! Of course - it always helps that I try to have neutral background yardage on hand for instant use.

Pattern info: From the book Save the Scraps by Gayle Bong (bosum buddies is the name she uses). She used a more neutral fabric for the alternate blocks but I think it was perfect for my large print! The directions are really accurate and everything went together fairly quickly. This is the 2nd quilt I've made from this book (I made a huge Bars quilt 2 winters ago)... and there are still some more patterns I would like to try in this book - plus I plan on making another Bars quilt in the future.
You can get your very own copy of this book at Amazon here:  I highly recommend it!

Edited on March 19, 2011 to add another great pattern for a large print:
I blogged about this quilt here:

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

In Between Storms

Look who is back in time for Christmas... none other than DH - yes - the very same DH who kissed me goodbye at the airport in October and swore he would be back in 2 weeks. Excuse me, but I think maybe the 2 of us have a different way of keeping track of time because in my book - end of October to mid- December is more than 2 weeks!

Fortunately, his trip was in between storms! And, as it was - he was supposed to be on a 3 o'clock flight, but actually came in at midnight. I was just happy that it was DH traveling by himself instead of me with my son - delays with a little one in tow can be unbearable! Well, because it is hours to get to the airport and the weather was sort-ov up in the air anyway, I had thought ahead to pack an overnight bag so Little Boy and I were all set.

While waiting we did NOT go shopping. My son - well, he HATES shopping. Have I ever mentioned that before? I think so! And this time of year, well the stores are just zoo-ey and then he sees stuff he wants because of course right now they just have toys everywhere -even if your intent was to look at - say - measuring cups - there is sure to be a toy of some sort right in the same aisle and chances are that particular desired toy is complete j-u-n-k anyway. So, what to do during a 9 hour wait?

Well, we drove another hour and 1/2... I have friends up there and we had a very nice 1 1/2 hour visit. Then - off to the indoor ride place. There, we happily spent some time - a nice warm indoor distraction that did not involve hysterics in a store... the drive was worth it! We got something to eat. We browsed the bookstore (although he doesn't like shopping - he does like the bookstore!). I got a book on computers (I am determined to ACE PowerPoint this winter) and he got a child's magazine. Then we headed back to the hotel before the weather got bad, had "naps" and had to get up around 11 to go to the airport.

The next day before heading home we stopped off at the stores and I ran in while DH sat in the truck with Little Boy - who had no interest what-so-ever in going in so was perfectly happy with that arrangement. I was happy too - gave me a chance to get a few stocking stuffers and that all important "Santa" wrapping paper! Plus got our favorite bread/fresh fruit at the big grocery store. Also had a chance to run into a shop that made a bear for my son - will have to post a photo of that later because it is on my other computer!

No sooner do we get home - next storm started right in. Did I care? Nope, not one BIT - you see... DH has a MUCH bigger snow shovel than that little snow shovel I bought at the hardware store. Before I let him go away next time - tractor lessons are a must - I will not be shoveling snow by hand again when we have a perfectly good tractor sitting up in the shed. I am not sure that you can in the photo, but Little Boy is ALL smiles!!! Happy days!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Amazing Knit Soap Bag

I decided to knit some soap bags for Christmas presents to go along with a nice bar of soap. My yarn was Debbie Bliss cotton dk 84m/50g ball - it is a nice thick weight cotton (28 rows of 20 stitches on size 4mm/US6 needles will be 10cmX10cm square). Phew - ok got that written down so now it is safe to throw away the empty label.

Anyway, I used size 8 needles and the Chinese Wave pattern... so far I've made 2 bags and now I am out of yarn. But, the bags I made are W-A-Y big because even though they look pretty darn near perfect compared to the soap - the knit bag s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-s! Oh well, maybe it will shrink? And if not, I am happy with my 1st trys and as soon as I get more yarn - will try again - and even better, by making them smaller I should be able to get 3-4 out of each ball instead of 2.

The Chinese Wave pattern:

Cast on an odd number of stitches (for the 1st one I did 45 and then the 2nd I did 25).

Row 1: Knit

Row 2: K1, Slip 1 - repeat ending with a knit stitch

Row 3: Knit

Row 4: K2 then the rest of the row Slip 1, K1 all the way across until ending with a Knit stitch. I am almost positive I had to K2 at the end to get it to end with a knit.

That's it - keep working until it is as big as you want. The 2nd one I did was a perfect 7" square and while it is the correct width for the soap, I should have made it 5" long instead of 7" - next time! If you have smaller soap, make it smaller!

Bind off and leave 4X the length of yarn - thread that with your yarn needle, fold the piece over and sew 1 side and bottom together. I threaded a single crochet chain through the top for a drawstring closure. Viola!

Now, I have to tell you - my original intent was 2 Christmas presents, but my Little Boy latched on to one of these in a BIG way. He really, really wanted one - to which I replied that maybe he would get one for Christmas (I NEEDED to get that soap/bag in the mail today for it to reach its destination), but what Momma can resist this logic?.... "You know Momma, you don't have to wait for Christmas to give someone you really love a present". Um yeah, ok. I think my sister will understand! Besides - the one I gave to him - I kept losing track of what row I was on so the knitting is a bit funky and he doesn't know it. The joys of giving gifts to young children - they just don't see any flaws in your work!!! Ummm - the perfect one is going to my Mother in law! Even though it is the bigger of the 2 bags - it IS the one with perfect looking knitting!

And the AMAZING part of this knit soap bag? Little Boy declared that it was AMAZING - I started AND finished it in the same day! Too funny - he is used to me working on quilts that take much longer than just a day! Amazing indeed!

Edited on 13/Dec/2012:  This post seems to get a lot of traffic and I have people e-mail to ask if they can make this bag to sell at craft fairs.  I don't have a problem with that - craft away!  If you make one, it would be nice if you linked back to me (we all love readers!), but you don't have to.  Anyone can come up with their own patterns if you know knitting stitch patterns.  I would recommend a knitting stitch book.  My library has one and I borrow it all the time.  If you want your own book, if you would order it from my Amazon link, I would appreciate it!  I have copied a book from Amazon below that has very happy reviewers!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Just a cold week

It has been a cold week - the warmest day being when it was snowing. We have gone out to play a fair bit, but still, when it is that cold outside (supposed to get down to -16C tonight - that would be 3F)... well, it is good to have some indoor activities. Besides the fact that everything is very icy with a light dusting of snow on top - very slippery.
We've made cupcakes AND cookies, painted, made all kinds of block buildings and did more crafts. We made our weekly trip to the library - they have a beautiful tree set up right next to the reading sofa... I read and read and read to my son until my voice is hoarse. He likes several stories a day, plus some sort of reference book AND now he has added chapter books to the mix - right now we are reading a Magic School Bus book about the solar system. The other thing I convinced him of - Santa won't leave any toys at all if he sees how FULL the toy box/play area already is - so we spent some time sorting toys and taking toys out that are no longer played with. Almost all his toys fit in one play area and I want to keep it that way!
Me, well in little bits and pieces I've been working on a summer top and a summer dress - I am up to the zippers so next trip to the store - zippers are on the list. Yeah, OK, so maybe I am dreaming of warm summer days!!! LOL. More on these projects another post.
Well, I did make that fleece neck warmer and hope to make a few more for gifts - will get more fleece when I get the zippers. And, I went to my Thursday quilting group with dresden blades in hand to cut. I cut some and another lady helped me out. But, it is slow progress and cutting with scissors really aggrevates my carpal tunnel - so I've come up with the bright idea of cutting the straight edges with my rotary cutter and having DH cut the rounded edges for me when he comes back. But really, all in all - very slow progress with any sewing projects this week.
Cooking wise - well other than baking - not much activity in the kitchen either. I've stuck with pre-schooler approved food such as speghetti, meatballs, chicken noodle soup, ham steaks, rice, baked beans, mashed potatoes, boiled carrots, mixed veggies, pudding, apple sauce - well, you get the idea. I just haven't felt like cooking 2 seperate meals - 1 for him, 1 for me, this week.
Like I said, just a cold week. I think my energy is frozen somewhere in all that ice outside!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Easy Neck Warmer

A neck warmer is very easy to make and I think they are much safer for kids than scarfs... and fishermen... and mechanics... and anyone with a job around machinery that might catch a dangling end of a scarf. And an added plus - they always stay "wrapped" around your neck. Besides, I find that most kids won't bother with a scarf, but they are willing to pop a neck warmer over their heads.
Believe it or not, 1 size usually fits most - from 4 years old to adult. OK, so I could make it a tiny bit smaller for Little Boy, but he really doesn't like anything TIGHT so my size is a happy fit for him - afterall, the point is to keep his neck warm, not make a fashion statement. Oh - well, except for that favorite color - orange! Then again, it really doesn't look so big once he has his jacket on.
My head measurement is 22 1/2" and my son's is 19 1/2". I guess if you were making it for someone with a bigger head - adjust accordingly, but fleece is pretty stretchy so you should be ok with using my measurements.

I've never had a pattern for these, but this is how I make them:
1. Cut 1 piece of fleece 20" long X 7". This is the main color that will show, so in mine it is orange. *** The 20" length of fleece is where you want the stretch to be. This way it will stretch to fit over the head.
2. Cut a 2nd piece of fleece 20" long X 7 3/4". Yellow in mine. Again - stretch along the 20" length.
3 and 4). Right sides together, sew together the 2 pieces of fleece along a 20" edge - starting 1/2" in from the edge and ending 1/2" before the end. Use a 1/4" seam.
4. Now - sew the other 20" edge together using a 1/4" seam - you will need to re-adjust the fabrics so that they are even with each other (because 1 piece is 7" and the other is 7 3/4") On both long edge seams the fabrics are even with each other - this is how you get the 2nd color contrast along the collar. Again - start 1/2" in and end 1/2" before the end.
*** You can start/stop 1/4" in if you want - then you don't have to go back and sew the little holes closed, but I find it easier to give myself the extra room to put the short seams together in the next steps. Up to you.
5. Turn right sides out.
6. Wrap around into a band and right sides together, sew 1 color fleece end to end with a 1/4" seam. Now - I just go back and sew the top and bottom where there is a little hole from beginning and stopping 1/2" in instead of 1/4". I just find this easier than trying to line everything up perfectly the 1st time around.
7. On the 2nd color of fleece sew ends together from the top down a ways, backstitch - skip about 3", backstitch and sew to the end. I go back and sew the little holes at the top and bottom. Now all you need to do is handsew the 3" gap together by hand.
8. Ta-Da! Enjoy your new neck warmer. One of these days I have to experiment with a dressier (stretch) fabric for indoor wear.
I hope you can figure it out with these instructions. They really are easy to make. Go on - you have time to go buy some fleece if you are trying to come up with a Christmas present for that outdoor person in your life. Fleece is usually pretty wide, so you really won't need much to make several - just be sure when you buy it that you remember you need the stretch on the long edge.

Oh - and if you cut fleece on your cutting mat (like I do) - one of those bath scrubbies will take the fuzz right off your mat.

Happy to pose with us in our photos is Bella - a bear I made a long time ago and Little Boy just loves her! She is wearing a bead necklace one of my sisters brought back from Mexico for me, but Little Boy thinks it looks better on her than me! I guess I should get around to embroidering her nose with floss - she just has a cloth template glued to her face which is sure to peel off with all this extra loving she is getting! And of course, the ever present Elmo! And yes, Little Boy took my photo.

I need to check out the book below - Improv sewing!  I guess that is what I do sometimes - create my own ideas!

If you are going to but something from Amazon anytime soon, I would appreciate it if you would use my links! Thank you.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Bargello top finished!

The pattern is free over at - and if you decide to make one - check out my tips from my September 12th post.

Ta-da! Last week I cut the border fabrics and this week, bit by bit - I got them attached! Of course, Little Boy just loves this quilt - after all, it has orange in it (his current favorite color, pink running a close 2nd) and it is all "rainbow-y". I was planning on backing it with that bright yellow, but if he is claiming it - then I probably should get some fleece or flannel, the softer the better.

I thought I squared this up pretty good, but one edge is not completely straight. It was a bit tricky to square up with all the tiny rows and no "straight" line to shoot since everything is all staggered. After the fact I am thinking that DH's laser light leveler (you probably even have one around your house) would be perfect for shooting down the length of a top to make sure the edges are straight - before adding borders. After it is all quilted, I am sure that slightly bowed edge will not even be noticable - and it DOES lie almost completely flat on the floor so I'll call it good.

Originally, I thought I would add a wider orange inner border, but when I laid it all out (before sewing, phew!), I thought the orange detracted from the design - so it got left out. Here's how I laid out my 2 options on the floor to help me decide.

And here is a photo of the perfect, perfect, perfect border fabric I scored last trip to Marden's!!! Border fabric for this top was on the list and was I ever thrilled when I saw this sitting on the shelf!

I'm very happy with it! This used up a bunch of my medium value calicos -the ones I think are pretty, but never seem to use because there isn't enough contrast, plus just cleared out some of those older prints - still pretty, but gosh, they have been on the shelf long enough! Much better to have them in a quilt, don't you think?

And, thanks for all the comments on my yellow/purple color choice from my last post. Even though I have TONS of that yellow, I probably will go with the purple - will just have to use narrower sashings to stretch the fabric. Still, that yellow is going to be put to use sometime this year - I am already searching for the perfect pattern, although I certainly have enough to use it for a backing on something else... decisions, decisions!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Color Choices

Please help me with a color decision here...
I've got the 12 blocks finished!!! Now the hard part - deciding on the sashing color...
So - here are the choices:
A. If I use yellow, the outside border will be purple.
B. Choice A, but also adding a 1" border of black around each block for added definition.
C. If I use purple then I will add a narrow yellow inner border and a wide outer border of a different purple print.
Recognize the purple? It is the left over fabric from doing my purple strings! And the yellow is left over from what I need for a backing for my Bargello. So either way - it means I don't have to buy any new fabric!
BUT - I am frozen by indecision here as I like both colorways equally. So please add your 2 cents here... A, B, C or something different. THANK YOU!!!!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


It started to snow yesterday morning and it is STILL snowing this morning. By late afternoon there was an irresistable build-up of snow out there and Little Boy and I just had to go out to play! Here is a special photo for DH so he can see how the new snowsuit fits that he airmailed over here last week - it is perfect! And, it's arrival was very timely, wouldn't you agree?

Last week when we were at the hardware store we bought 2 snow shovels - 1 Momma sized and the other just right for Little Boy. So, we spent some time shoveling - I concentrated on the doorway and walk-way over to the truck; and my son - well - he just randomly dug! When we got the shovels he was full of questions like WHY would I be buying snow shovels when there is no snow? I told him - always better to be prepared ahead of time and you know what he said to me yesterday? "Good thing we are prepared with our snowshovels, Momma!" We made snow angels, had snowball fights, took a walk and overall, just had fun! We were actually outside much longer than I anticipated which tells me that the snowsuit is nice and snuggy -wuggy warm. I expect we will do more of the same today.

Coming inside Little Boy decided that we should have some hot chocolate to celebrate the first snowstorm (we always celebrate such fun little daily events!). And, oh horrors - no cookies! So, we mixed up a batch of brownies - here's a photo of my Little Chef!!! And, of course, like all good chef's he samples his work along the way, what a chocolate mustache! I've misplaced his apron - got to find it soon.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Stashbusting Sunday #2

In my last post I mentioned that my community started a quilting group this fall. It started every other week and is now every week. So, come Thursday morning - I have a quilty get together for a few hours with like-minded folks and even though we've only met a few times so far, I must say - I love it!!! This is the first time I've ever been able to go to any type of group for sewing in a loooong time.

This past week I didn't want to bring (i.e. LUG) my sewing machine so before Thursday I started pulling these fallish type fabrics from my stash and cutting 6" strips from each fabric... to make this Dresden Plate quilt with the icecream cone border! Here is a photo of the book too - I've mentioned this book before on my blog because I used the directions for my green ocean waves and also my red (in progress) ocean waves.

I've been wanting to make this Dresden quilt for a time now which is why I bought 5 yards of muslin at Marden's last trip - it was on the list!!! Most of my fabric that I cut for this top was just slightly over 6" in width, so this pretty much uses up that stack of fabrics - the remnants will get cut into 2" strips for the 2" strip bin - I still need to add a few more colors, but this got me off to a very good start! I used my quilt meeting time tracing the templates onto fabric. I was happy with my choice because it was easy to socialize as I traced. And as much as I love that dear son of mine, it sure is nice to have adult company once in awhile! This coming Thursday I will spend my time cutting the fabric out. I would ear mark this as my Thursday project, but Dec. 13th is our last meeting until after Christmas and chances are I will keep working on it at home once I get on a roll.
A fun story about this fabric - some people in the group have absolutely NO stash. We are talking very limited budgets here and many of the quilters are TRUE scrap quilters - using blue jeans/cordoroy, old clothing and scraps from various things to make their quilts. Not everyone, mind you, but some people. I remember when I used to have NO fabric too. My sisters, Mom and Nana would give me their scraps and that is what I made some of my first quilts with. Some people just haven't quilted before so they don't have anything to start out with. One week I taught a lady how to thread her sewing machine and adjust the bobbin tension. Then, there are the quilters who have been in big groups, gone to lots of classes, have sizable stashes, etc. So, it is a fun mixture of skill levels and styles. But anyway, back to my story - one woman just loved, loved, loved my fabrics and asked if she could have any scraps if I had anything left over... you see... she wants to make a tea cup quilt and needs a 4"X6" piece of fabric for each teacup. JUST SO HAPPENS, that after tracing off the dresden blades, each 6" wide strip of fabric has about 5" left over - perfect, perfect, perfect for what she needs. So, when I go on Thursday I will give her those end pieces. So - that's about 30 different 6" strips of fabric, with a few more left to add- being put to use, by both myself and this other quilter.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

December begins...

Little Boy and I went to the "H"ardware "S"tore today bright and early to buy a Christmas tree. Living in a rural area, we have a wonderful hardware store that carries all sorts of goodies. For awhile now we have been looking at the Christmas trees - and there are some very lovely ones, pre-lite, all decorated, fiber optic, etc., etc. But, I explained to my son that we didn't need one of those trees because we had plenty of decorations of our own at home. When we got to the store he was very excited that they had a plain tree - just what we wanted, and that is the one we got! Dressed up pretty, didn't it? Since this photo I've added the red tree skirt. And I was relieved that it was still there because today is Tax Free Shopping Day in New Brunswick (our tax is 14%) and with the trees - they set them up and when someone wants it - that is the tree they get. Just to put us in the right mood - there was even a little sprinkling of snow.

The store was very busy with the 14% savings - lots of grandparents there buying toy presents... to which my son had ALOT to say. First off - he wanted to know why they were buying toys if they didn't have kids. Then when he found out they were grandparents - he wanted to know how many grandchildren. One man said he had 4 grandchildren, but he only had 3 toys in the basket and my son very quickly did the math and told the man that he was missing a present! Then he would survey the toys and say that certain toys weren't babies age group toys so they better not have a baby! And then 1/2 the toys he announced that he was going to put on HIS Christmas list. Phew! Lots and lots of chatter to get our tree today! And believe me, when my son is excited - the entire store can hear his very high pitched excited yibber yabber.

Anyway, our afternoon project was getting the tree decorated. I don't have a huge selection of decorations, but I just love my red apples and birds - once those are on the tree it is getting pretty full! My Mom always had red birds on the tree and then one summer day I was at some craft store and they had all these birds on clearance - I bought LOTS of them for my own Christmas tree, including a funky flamingo just for fun. I have some musical instrument ornaments that I bought in Germany and then lots of little "presents" - they were a garland that I cut apart, plus some shells and other odds and ends. My ornaments have been packed away for 4 years now so it was nice to get them all out again. And Little Boy? He loves the birds!!! Want to bet that the bird tradition continues? It WAS alot of work getting that tree set up all by myself, but worth it - Little Boy went to bed very happy about the tree tonight! And night-time distractions are a good thing around here because he misses DH so much.

Outside I've managed to string lights along almost the entire length of our covered porch. It is cold and windy outside so basically I've been doing it 1-2 strings at a time. Little Boy picked out jumbo rainbow lights and they really are pretty.

Also this week we went to a gingerbread house decorating party! It was hosted by the library - they provided 30 houses for free - you just had to sign up. Everyone brought their own frosting and decorating goodies. It was lots of fun to see all the different varieties! My son sure did have a fun time!

Baking wise we've made cookies and apple butter bread (did finally get that apple butter made from the apples we picked off the tree!). I made 2 pork shoulder roasts this week - they were $4 each and were good sized too so how could I pass up such a deal? I did 1 in the crockpot and 1 in the oven for 5 hours to compare - it was much easier to pull the pork with the crockpot one. Anyway, pulled the pork and mixed it with onions and bar-b-que sauce for sandwiches. Froze most of that in individual serving sized. Made yummy corn bread, mustard coleslaw and a lime bean salad to go with the pork. I know, I know - a true summer menu, but I can't think of anything better to go with pulled pork! Hamburger was also on sale so I also made chili, shepherd's pie and speghetti sauce, plus I made up a batch of crock pot potato soup. Cooking is very time consuming, but I like to eat good food so usually don't mind. Still, I will be happy to eat with DH again - because of course, Little Boy eats entirely different food than what I spend hours preparing!!! Oh well, I can't stand frozen entrees so I might as well cook for myself, even if I do end up with tons of leftovers.
AND I have been going to a new quilt group that recently started in our area. First we met every other week but it is so popular that now we are meeting every week. I thought of a project to bring this past week that I could work on without lugging my sewing machine in to the meeting... you will just have to wait for Stashbusting Sunday for that - oh, well - that is tomorrow!
How did it get to be December so quickly??? My days are so full and time seems to fly right by. So, December begins and we have our tree up - we are off to a good start! I have a feeling that it is going to be another busy month!

Friday, November 30, 2007

The Ruler Game

This ruler is a Bias Rectangle - part of Kaye England's Cut for the Cure line of rulers. I bought it a few years ago and... well, I've never used it - can you see - it's still wrapped up. You can see the Cut for the Cure rulers on Kaye's website here - . I also have the kaleidoscope ruler - I used it to make my Octagon Flowers quilt last year. Love that ruler and have plans to use it again. So, now I want to try my hand at this Bias Rectangle ruler - thanks to -

Laurie (aka Quilter gone WILD) recently posted about her collection of un-used rulers. She picked one, read the directions and got busy and is now making some lovely pineapple blocks. You can check out her progress here -

I wanted to play - so I picked Bias Rectangle. Except - I couldn't find any directions, shoot I couldn't even find the ruler anywhere on the internet. Ah well, it is a Kaye England ruler so I looked up her site, got her e-mail address and fired off a question - how do I use this ruler? Don't you know, she answered, within an hour no less, with very detailed directions. Turns out my ruler was discontinued and made into 2 seperate rulers, but with Kaye's instructions I can figure out how to use it. This is the 2nd time I've e-mailed Kaye England with a question about a ruler and I must say, I am super impressed with her immediate answers and detailed information!

Instructions in hand I now know how to flip the thing around to cut what I want to cut. And lookie there - those 2 units are the very same shape as Judy L's Tri-Recs rulers she has been using on her pink quilt ( !!! Which means, I can make Judy's quilt without buying new rulers!!!

Sooo - who else wants to play The Ruler Game in December? Go on - go pick one!!!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

About those segments...

Those fancy dancy new blocks I posted about the other day.... they are just 6.5" 9 patch blocks sliced in half 2X... see?

All of mine have either blue or purple for the outside pieces and yellow for the inside 4. There are lots of different ways to lay these little segments together.

Why do I have stacks of these segments? Did I have an original plan? Hummm - interesting questions... My ORIGINAL intent was to make Sister's Choice from Bonnie Hunter's site and I had a fair amount of 9 patch blocks made before I got carried away with my rotary cutter! Actually, I was a bit annoyed because my seams weren't coming together perfectly (the dangers of switching sewing machines during the same project) so I thought if I cut everything down smaller it would be less obvious. Of course, about 1/8" is not very obvious anyway so I am not so sure why I thought that bit of a smidge off was so glaring in the first place! I guess it doesn't really matter anymore because almost every single 9 patch is already sliced and I do really like the resulting new blocks. I think it would be fun to make starting out with a bigger 9 patch block too - the 6.5" size cuts down to some small pieces. But back to the project in hand/in progress/started and needing to be finished - I figure that I should have enough segments to make 12 of those 12" blocks I like so much. With wide sashing, cornerstones, double borders - should bring it up to a nice sized bed quilt.
I got the idea for cutting the 9 patches into 4's from a post of Nine's from last November - Don't ask me how I remembered this idea months later or even who posted it, for that matter, but one day - it popped into my head as the perfect solution for my abandoned start on Sister's Choice.
I would like to make Siser's Choice someday... I just won't switch sewing machines mid-project!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

New Blocks!

I've been wondering what to do with these "segments" for awhile now ... so for the past few days I've left them out and have played around with them some - this is what I've come up with... I need 16 little segments to make a 12" block. I've already started to piece 4 segments together to make 1/4 of the block - just have to piece those units together into blocks now that I've made a decision! And, I have stacks of these segments. Stacks. Oh yes, it is good to come up with a plan for something I already have on hand!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Unexpected Surprise!

My son was very surprised - and thrilled - to see Santa this past weekend! He has a preferred item on his list that he asked for (he even remembered to say please and thank-you), but he also gave Santa some options... just in case Santa can't get his first choice. "You know Momma, it is good to have a back-up plan and Santa probably likes options." He cracks me up.
Just look at his sweet, excited face!!! What more can I say? A picture is worth one thousand words!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Stashbusting Sunday

I made some progress on my Purple Strings - Little Boy wanted the 4" anchor block to be added - so there it is (bottom right). I can't tell you how happy that made him! I even cut a few strips from those 2 fat quarters I got at Marden's to add - a little snippet of new fabric mixed in with this collection of scrap bin strips! Of course, no one else except for me would ever know which fabric is which, but I "know" all my fabric, so it makes a difference to me!

The top is laid out on top of another - bigger quilt for size reference - and the ripples you see are some stray building blocks... And, it was not until today that I realized something... I ALWAYS put my quilts on my bed the OTHER way. ALWAYS. My bed has beautiful head and foot boards and is extra high - so if I rotate the quilt - it fits perfectly - no squishing the quilt down into the footboard and a nice overhang on the sides. And, I don't do a pillowtuck because I usually have at least 3 pillows on each side - and how do you tuck all those? SOOO - this quilt needs a bit of re-orgnization... meaning - time to rip.

If you've followed my blog for any length of time, you will know that I hardly ever, ever rip - a wonky block - leave it be, a piece of fabric sewn wrong side up - leave it be. I put it all down to sewing with a young one underfoot. But this - well, this affects the entire, entire quilt. So, better to rip now and get it rotated... because I really want the strips to go up and down on my bed, not across. Right now, if I add another 12" length (6" top and bottom borders) it will come out at 100" - the exact size I wanted - except I really wanted it 100" wide, not long. Ooops! So - those long rows need to become a little bit shorter and the extra length moved over into another row. Then the top will be wider than long. Why haven't I ever noticed before that I put a quilt on my bed like that? I guess because with most of my quilts it doesn't really matter - the design pretty much stays the same either way you turn it.

Stashbusting wise this past week - I've also cut out the fabrics I bought at Marden's for the borders for Bargello and for Grandmother's Choice. NOT a whole lot of sewing going on right now, but I figure if it is at least cut - well, it is 1 step in the right direction anyway.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Knit knee-sock slippers

NO, I did not knit these, they were a gift to me from a knitter.

You see, I know someone who had the pattern, she bought the yarn, she could NOT find the needles anywhere! And no, I have no idea about her pattern source. So, I told her I would look for the needles for her when I was in the states. Very hard to find - I think it was super sized dpn's, but I can't remember exactly anymore. Anyway, the local yarn shop ordered them for me after making sure, sure that I really did want such large needles because who knits socks on such large needles? And maybe I was confused because Canada actually has a different knitting needle size than the rest of the world. Who knew? But anyway - the jumbo needles were ordered and when they came in I mailed them off so the happy knitter could knit her socks/slippers. And as a thank you, she not only paid me back for the needles and postage BUT she also made me my very own pair!!!
Aren't they GREAT? And warm too! I have warm, happy feet!!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Persistent and determined...

My Quilter's horoscope says that the Taurus quilter is persistent and determined and always finishes a project... ( It also says something about giving lots of quilts away, etc. etc.

SOOOO - Just for fun, I started to scroll though my 2006 projects (2007 isn't done yet, so doesn't count!). Take a look at all the photos below... What do you think....???? Persistent and determined - through 3 countries with a Little Boy, yup that is me - I love to finish a project!!! NOT that I always love the project when I am working on it - sometimes it takes shear grit and determination to keep at it, but I keep my eye on the prize - I love the finish! Didn't I just say that? Even if I don't immediately finish a project, I keep going back to it, time and time again - until it is finished. Some tops take me years to make, others I complete within a month. But eventually, I get them all done. And guess what? Sometimes it is my "ugly duckling" quilt that I end up loving the most.

You would think that all I do is SEW, but NOT so! Our days are jammed packed full of activities, business, cooking, traveling, visiting, play dates, etc., etc., so I am not quiet so sure how I got all this done. It is actually a bit of a surprise to myself! BUT - sewing is how I relax - or destress. I am not sure if I was really stressed in 2006 and as a result - did a lot of sewing OR if I was super relaxed because of all the sewing! LOL!!! Let's just say - sewing "balances" me.

Actually, I've been so busy this past week that I did this post in segments - a little bit each night. I didn't realize it was so long until I got to the end... So - here goes -

January 2006 - Austria - I was working on: Cot quilt, Grandmother's Choice Blocks and Octagon Flowers. I also knit a scarf.

February 2006 - Austria - 1st FINISH for the year - Cot quilt! I was working on Cars and Stars and Desperado. I knit 2 scarfs and pieced a little doll quilt.

March 2006 - Austria and Cape Cod- I completely pieced my huge Bars quilt! Cars & Stars has an inner border, I started on Mitre Box Squares and Desperado is finished. (2nd and 3rd finishes for the year!). Desperado was made for one of my niece's - for her Teepee!

Also in March, I gave this quilt to one of my Grand-nieces - it is made from left-over log cabin strips - using only the light pastel colors. I made this last year and just had gotten it back from the quilter.

April 2006 - Cape Cod and Canada - A border month! I added borders to Whirly Gig, Broken Dishes and 2 baby quilts - all these quilts were made prior to 2006! I also quilted an I Spy top (pieced several years earlier). And, I finished off 2 small flanned quilts for Little Boy. I started a scrappy blues square quilt. I sewed Little Boy a sunhat and made a girlfriend a top. Up to TEN finishes now!

May 2006 - Canada

Mitre Box squares is done! Scrappy Blue squares is done! I am working on green Ocean Waves. Twelve finishes!

I also mail a comfort quilt to my Nana's cousin. For some unexplained reason - s
he did not receive this quilt until right before Christmas!

June 2006 - Canada and Cape Cod

Put final borders on my heart swap quilt - 13th finish. Blocks were swapped YEARS ago. I made the connector blocks and additional heart blocks in summer of 2005. Continue to work on my green Ocean Waves... I am also working on a Country Wife top and checkerboard borders for an old log cabin top.

July 2006 - Cape Cod and Canada

I KEEP working on Green Ocean Waves and Country Wife. Also, I am working on a plaid Ocean Waves (it is now in Austria so no recent progress, but here is a photo anyway!). Little Boy got a small cuddle quilt (#14 finish). I also made him his 1st pair of hand-made flannel PJ's - he loved them so much that ever since I've made all his PJ's.

I also gave my adult niece this quilt - the main setting squares are made from her kindergarten dress! This quilt was made previously, but I just got it back from the quilter. Oh, and I made my girlfriend a tank top.

August 2006 - Cape Cod and Canada
We are up to the borders on Octagon Flowers! I am also working on my checkerboard border for my log cabin. I made my sister some valances and knit 2 booga bags.

September 2006
Some finishes! Green Ocean waves and Octagon Flowers (Up to 16 now)!!! I am working on a seashell table runner that I started in 2003 (still not finished!), continue to work on Country Wife and my Checkerboard log cabin, plus I am knitting a shell scarf (still on needles!). Oh, and Little Boy up-ended my scrap bin and on the bottom were a bunch of wonky hearts, so I made more.


October 2006 - Canada and Cape Cod

Finish #17! Cars & Stars is done with a final border!

Little Boy gets MORE PJ's and a fleece robe.! I KEEP working on Country Wife. Whirly Gig is back from being quilted and I give it to my Dad (see April for photo).


November 2006 - Cape Cod

FINALLY - Country Wife is finished (#18)!!! This quilt was a big challenge for me to finish, but I am not sure why! I started it in the summer of 2005 and am thrilled with the final top. I am making fleece mittens and American Girl doll clothes for Christmas presents. Little Boy is wearing his new fleece robe that I made him last month.


December 2006 - Cape Cod and Austria

I was working on Grandmother's Choice blocks, got Shakespear completely pieced, but not sewn altogether (that would take several more months! and started Judy's Gratitudes block... Most of my Grandmother's Choice blocks and the Gratitudes are still in Austria - I think I will ask DH to send them to me!

Quilts that I gave away this year: 2 for nieces, 1 to a grand-niece, 1 to my Dad and 1 to my Nana's cousin. Little Boy, of course, gets his fair share of quilts! Shakespear was pieced for my DH's niece. Broken Dishes will go to a sister and Stars & Cars will go to a nephew when they come back from the quilters this year. I might have also given a queen scrap Road to St. Louis to another sister, but that could have been the year before. I do like to give some quilts away, but I also love to keep my own BIG bed quilts and rotate them around!


I do NOT remember making each and every single one of these quilts and when... but by reading old blog posts and sorting my digital photos by date, I was able to piece it together. And we are talking only 2006 here! A lesson learned - I really need to LABEL all my quilts as soon as they are made - even if I think I will never ever forget. I really like my digital camera and sorting photos by date!


2007 will be a bit harder for me to track because I have my photos spread out between THREE different computers right now. I've had a very hard time switching over to Vista and my Canon software hasn't been upgraded to Vista yet. My favorite computer doesn't have Vista though, BUT for some reason that computer has stopped reading the Canon card! And, then I usually put photos on my laptop when I travel. Hopefully by the end of December I will have all my photos merged onto 1 computer and backed up for good measure! I wonder what I accomplished sewing wise in 2007? How do I bust my stash and create beautiful quilts? By being persistant and determined!