Does anybody really know what day it is?

April 8, 2020

Does anybody really care?


Having been retired for almost 5 years was good training for self-isolation. Being an introvert also makes it easier to stay at home although I do enjoy my quilt groups and other outings. My calendar started clearing out on March 13th with the cancellation of Jinny Beyer club for the next day. After that the cancellations came fast and furiously. I still have a couple of appointments (chiro and hair) on my calendar for April but I plan to cancel them.

Around mid-March I went ahead and made a hotel reservation for early May for my dad’s 97th birthday but that’s probably not going to happen. Dad’s nursing home has been locked down since early March. Mom’s independent living facility quarantined everyone to their apartments a couple of weeks later, probably because of the governor’s ban on large groups. Everyone in the facility eats in the dining room at the same time. Now the workers bring the meals to their apartments. Mom thinks it’s odd that the only people they’re allowed to interact with are the staff which are the only people who are allowed out of the building. It occurred to me several weeks ago that it’s quite possible mom and dad will never see each other again. That makes me sad. Mom tries to talk to dad on the phone now and then but that doesn’t work out very well. Dad can’t hear and has some dementia. He sure is a tough old bird, though.

Have you been busy during your coronacation? I sure have. Lots to show to you. Not necessarily in order.


These are blocks left over from my big quilt. When I cut the leaves out I just cut from everything that I felt went with the border fabric for the big quilt. Didn’t bother to count. Had 35 left over so cut one more. I’m pretty sure I sewed this together but I don’t have a picture right now. Trying to decide whether or not to border. I think I might have decided not. I will post about the big quilt finish another time.


I finished the Anna’s Blue Baskets/Jo’s Floral Album top. I auditioned a vast number of fabrics for the sashing strips. Finally landed on this one which was perfect. Ended up having to piece some of the sashing strips because the fabric was so uneven at the sides that I lost a few inches after cutting a straight edge. I had just enough fabric. Then I sat and pondered the various techniques I knew for making LeMoyne stars. Those cornerstone stars are 3″ finished. I finally had a lightening bolt hit and thought “Deb Tucker!” Sure enough the smallest star her LeMoyne star ruler makes is 3″. I ordered that sucker so fast it would make your head spin. The stars came out perfectly and were reasonably fast to make. I dithered over the fabric for the yellow for a while. I made a test star with a darker gold but decided to go with the lighter yellow. I like this project a lot better now than when I started it.

I’d like to lecture about the LeMoyne star block vs. what a lot of people are calling LeMoyne star lately but I don’t have all the visuals to do that right now. Maybe another day. A LeMoyne star block is made with 45 degree diamonds and is drafted on an 8-pointed star grid (the lines radiate out from the center). The look-alike block is made with half square triangles which create an uneven parallelogram rather than a diamond. That block is drafted on a 16-patch 4×4 grid. I think Brackman’s book shows that block as Star Flower but I’m not sure I’m remembering correctly.


I use Karen Kay Buckley’s Perfect Adjustable Square ruler (scroll down to find it) to square up applique blocks. I think her instructions say to make the ruler the size you need on the inside and draw a line to cut on so the ruler isn’t squashing the applique. I just make it the size I need on the outsize and cut.


I finally finished making the Frolic blocks and got the body assembled. I didn’t use Bonnie’s colors. I never got excited about the mystery this time. Assembling it was sheer drudgery. I still need to trim the edges, assemble the border and attach it. I found Bonnie’s instructions for the mystery this year very confusing. Then, the way she had us cut pieces left us with a boatload of leftovers, enough to almost make 9 more blocks. So, I laid out the pieces for 9 blocks and made a list of what I need to fill in the gaps to make a 9-block straight set quilt, not on point like the big one. My 9-block quilt does not have matching sets of pieces like the big one. I just used what was left over. I had to get this one assembled so I could put the next one on the wall to arrange.

Gudrun Erla ran a free quilt-along on March 22 for her Elvira pattern. Someone in her Gudrun’s Quilt Crew Facebook group said it should be called Elvirus. I think I’ll call it Coronacation #2: Elvira/Elvirus.


Took me about 10 minutes to pull the fabric for this one. I see a lot of these in my future because it is fast and easy and uses up fabric. This is her lap size which is a huge 63″ x 84″. I think a lot of mine will be the smaller size for donation quilts.


I took some time to clear some surfaces in the fabric room. One of the things I uncovered was some 1.5″ white logs cut for a Curved Log Cabin (MSQC tutorial). The floral 2.5″ strips were nearby. Was that my original plan? Beats me. This is Corona Spring, not yet assembled. Gracing the design wall for now while I complete some of the tasks on the many projects laying around the sewing area. I’ve been flitting from project to project, can’t you tell?

I also finished cutting blocks for another floral and green quilt that I’m calling Corona Garden. It’s using this half log cabin block from Kea Bee.

I got out a UFO box with the triplets in it. Norma Campbell, a local teacher, is a master of Trip Around the World quilts. One of her classes is Triplets where one set of fabrics results in 3 baby quilts. I took the class years ago. One day when I was in the shop they had a bunch of animal print bolts lined up and I decided to take Triplets to the wild side. When I got the box out I was surprised to see that this top was ready for quilting. I’d forgotten that I’d finished a top. Fortunately, I’d made notes about what I did for the borders and that I planned the same thing for the second top.


Triplet #1


Triplet #2

The note said to use orange Stonehenge for the flange. Hmm. No orange Stonehenge in the box. Apparently I bought it the day we decided that. It came home and went into the to-be-washed pile and never got put with the project. I found something I liked better in stash so everything’s good.

I got out the backing fabrics to check size and, darn it, they’re too narrow for the long-armer but not long enough for two lengths.

The backs are directional so now I have a dilemma. I’m going to send the pictures to my long-armer and ask her advice. I might could do the John Flynn diagonal back thing but the formula makes my head hurt, especially if you have a quilt that takes more than one length of fabric. Jinny Beyer created a worksheet. It looks like John added a calculator for how much fabric you need on this page (scroll down to the diagonal back instructions). I’ve never actually done one of these. I did cut fabric for one once but a stripe is a bad choice. I ended up using something else that worked out much better for the quilt. For the triplets, it would mean the print doesn’t match where the seam is but it would keep the animals all going in the right direction.

I wasn’t ready to work on the third one so I packed them back up in the box and put them back in the UFO closet.

I got a call from a neighbor that her sister-in-law’s niece who’s an ER nurse at the hospital was asking for scrub hats for the nurses to keep their hair clean of virus. The nurses are terrified. I made these two. I made 3 men’s scrub hats but forgot to take pictures of them. It took me quite a while to understand the instructions for making these. They aren’t my best work but they should serve the purpose. There’s a reason I don’t make garments. The surprisingly hard part was finding coordinating fabrics that are big enough. Fat quarters are too small.

While I was doing all this sewing, this kept happening:


All that mess of thread is the top thread wrapping around the bobbin and jerking the bobbin case out of position. Sometimes it will sew fine for a good while. Other times this happens several times a day. I’m ready to throw this thing against the wall. It’s a Janome 9400. Some people have no problems with their machine and some of us have nothing but problems. Apparently, quality is inconsistent from one to the next. I thought I’d try a new bobbin case in case that might help. It seemed a simple question for a dealer, “Do you have a red dot bobbin case for the Janome 9400?” I called on Saturday. I figured they’d go to where they had the Janome accessories, look at the package and see if it’s a red dot and if it’s for the 9400. They seemed confused by my question. Finally said they’d have to do some research to find out which one was the right one for the machine and they’d call me back. Well, it’s now Wednesday and I haven’t heard from them. Next week I’m calling a different dealer. I’d call the one where I get the machine serviced (not the one I bought it from) but they’re completely closed for the duration.

This first happened last fall, maybe? The bobbin case was turned 180 degrees from normal. The tech just said, “That’s not right” and yanked out the bobbin case. Did he damage something when he did that? I’m waiting for it to happen again so I can just leave it with the fabric stuck in it and take it in again when they reopen. The bobbin and bobbin case just rattle around and make terrible noise which is why I wanted to try a new bobbin case, maybe it’s damaged. The bobbins are Janome branded so they are correct.

I’ve set up my new travel machine to use. I get a free cleaning if I take it in before the 1 year is up in October. Since the May retreat is cancelled it wouldn’t have had enough use to need a cleaning. At least this way I can get some more use on it. I don’t have an insert for it that fits my Horn cabinet and I don’t like using it on a 30″ table because that makes it too high. I can adjust the table to 23″ but that’s too low. Sigh. Maybe I need to drag my old 1970s era portable sewing table downstairs and set it up. I think there might be something wrong with the light on this machine so I’ll have them check that when I take it in. One of the holiday gifts from someone in my mini-group a couple of years ago was a strip lighting kit that goes on the underside of the harp. That will be perfect for this machine. I just have to remember where I put it.

I’d like a new small table for my new old Bernina so it can stay up all the time. I don’t have an insert for it for my big table, either. A new table is something I was going to look for at the big regional quilt shows this spring which have, of course, all been cancelled. Next big regional show is scheduled for September.

Keep safe and let’s Dump Trump in November.

Hometown Girl

January 26, 2020

The Maryland Historical Society has been running a year-long exhibit of Mimi Dietrich’s quilts. It is coming to an end mid-March. If you are in the area, I highly recommend going. Three antique Baltimore Album quilts are also included in the exhibit.

Mimi has led over 50 tours of the exhibit so far. Contact the museum to arrange a tour with Mimi for your group. For those of you who can’t make it to the museum to see the quilts in person, she is doing a virtual tour on her blog. Start with this post and read forward. She might actually get to a quilt in the next post. I suspect she’ll do one quilt a day or perhaps a group of related quilts as a post.

I’ve known Mimi since 1998 when I took her year-long Baltimore Album class (no, it isn’t finished) and I was surprised by a couple of the quilts in the exhibit that I’d not seen before. The Hon (you have to be familiar with Baltimore to get this) quilt advertising the exhibit was a surprise when Mimi first showed it because it is very non-Mimi in style. It’s one of my favorites and is a lot of fun because it is full of iconic Baltimore things. I’m sure she’ll explain all the details in this quilt when it gets its turn in a post. The only reason I get this quilt is because I’ve lived in the Baltimore-Washington area since 1982 and have received the appropriate education in things Baltimorean.

Please check out the virtual tour and continue to follow it as she progresses through the exhibit.

2019 Finishes

January 1, 2020

Well, this was a shock! I felt like I’d accomplished a lot and had a bunch of finishes this year. As I went through my posts for 2019 I only found one finish that was posted. I do have other finishes so I will go back and post them so I can include them in this roundup.  I need to do a better job of posting my finishes in 2020.

I got 7 quilts back from a long-armer shortly before I left for the Christmas holiday and I already had 4 (I think) quilts waiting for binding. I’ve got 3 more ready for quilting.  I have one quilt at my primary long-armer which should be coming back soon because I need it for our quilt show in April. I’ve got lots of blocks ready to be assembled into quilts. One quilt is waiting for a backing so it is almost ready for the quilter. Another just needs borders sewn on and backing made and it will be ready. 2020 should have a bumper crop of finishes if I can keep up with the binding, backings and labels.

So, on to what did get finished in 2019.

The March Snowman, Going in Like a Lion, Coming Out Like a Lamb, from the Snowmen Will Melt Your Heart collection is the only one of the Snow people that was completely finished (no label yet, sigh). January, February, April, and May are ready to quilt. I finally finished the embroidery for June and it is ready for assembly. The July-December pieces are still waiting their turn for realization.


I Used to be a Layer Cake was finished in April.


Flying Home was finished in the first half of the year.


T for Two was finished in time for me to gift it when I went to Illinois in early May.


Mocha Meringue was finished in the fall.


Sweet Poison was finished sometime around mid-2019.


In the Pink was finished in late summer or fall.


9-patch blues was finished December 29.


String Weaver was finished December 28.


I think that’s it for 2019. I can’t think of anything else that was finished in 2019. I will try to post my finishes more timely in 2020.

Sweet Poison finished in 2019

January 1, 2020

My friend, Caren, said she would smack me if I gave this a “cause” name. Maybe she won’t notice when it’s hanging in our quilt show in April. All of the fabrics are high carbohydrate  foods. They may taste good but they’re all sugar in the end. The “leading” and binding are a chocolate bar print. I will be the first to admit that I eat way too much chocolate. But, as I once told my mother, life without chocolate and pizza isn’t worth living. I need to add ice cream to that.

This one was finished in the spring or early summer 2019. Sometime in 2019 anyway. It is 68″ x 68″.  I didn’t think it looked right with a border but I felt the binding should be a little wider than the .5″ sashings. I wanted to do 1″ but when I did the calculation for how wide to cut the binding (6 x width of binding + .25 for turn) it came out to 6″. That’s just plain ridiculous. The binding was cut at 4.5″ to finish as a .75″ binding.


This is a combination of two similar patterns: Kwik Krazy and Kwik Krazy II by Two Kwik Quilters. Would you believe I got them off the freebie table at guild? Half the blocks are from each one. They are available at I added the “leading” for a stained glass look. I see that she offers a similar stained glass pattern. The “leading” fabric is cut 1″ to finish .5″. I think my blocks came out to around 11″ inches or so with the addition of the leading. These are the type of pattern where you stack squares of fabric, cut them all, shuffle, then trim up to a common size at the end. I made two other tops with these patterns before this one although they are still waiting to be finished. That’s a story for another day.

Accuquilt offers a die with a similar pattern in a 10″ block (I think) for the Go! Big cutter and has just come out with one for a 6″ block that fits the Go! cutter. The patterns I used have 9 pieces per block. The Accuquilt dies have 10 pieces per block. I think I might get the 6″ block die to use for scraps but, in general, I think I prefer the larger one because you see more of each piece. I don’t have a Go! Big and no plans to get one so I’ll continue to use my patterns.

The back is more high carb foods. Gotta try to use up that stash. It’s not going to happen but I have to believe I can.


It was quilted by Maria O’Haver, Pangor Quilt Design Studio, using a candy kiss edge-to-edge design. I don’t have a picture of the quilting. Frankly, it’s very difficult to see because the prints are so busy. This quilt will be entered in our show in April 2020.

I seem to have lost the pattern. Perhaps it is with the label I chose that I haven’t made yet. I don’t know where it is, either. It will turn up. There are a limited number of places it can be. Actually I can think of only two. I haven’t looked there yet. I’ll come back and add that when it’s done. The quilt police are almost at the door.


In the Pink finished 2019

January 1, 2020

This quilt originated from 2.5″ strips from the scraps of my deceased friend, Genie. Gone but never forgotten. I don’t think I had to add anything from my stash. It is 48″ x 56.5″. It will be donated to a charity supported by my guild. Charity was a very important part of Genie’s life. She worked diligently to make quilts for various good causes.

Once again, the quilt is even, the pictures are not.


The back is an old Jinny Beyer print from my stash.


The white thing hanging off the top right corner is the label that hasn’t been sewn on yet.


Stephanie Sanidas, one of our guild’s charity group leaders, did the quilting. She did a simple diagonal cross hatch.


I expect the quilt to be included in the guild’s charity quilt display at our quilt show in April 2020.

String Weaver finished 2019

January 1, 2020

This quilt was made from scraps. I was tired of doing the diagonal string thing so sewed them straight up and down and set them to look like they’re woven, one color one direction, the other color the other direction. It is 50″ x 61.5″. This was finished December 28. The binding is pink with black polka dots.

Once again, the quilt is straight and even, the pictures aren’t.


The back is the same one used on T for Two.


Daria Phair quilted it with a butterfly edge-to-edge design.


This was made with the idea that it would be a donation or gift. I’m finding that when I made a quilt for someone specific from the get-go I don’t have a problem giving it up when it is finished. I’m going to have a hard time giving up these quilts made for non-specific destinations. Sigh.

Again, will have to update after a label is made.

9-Patch Blues finished 2019

January 1, 2020

This quilt began with blocks that probably came from the freebie table at guild. I don’t remember where I got them. I found them at the bottom of one of the scrap bins when I was sorting out the strings and crumbs. I finished the binding on this while I was away for the Christmas holiday. I pulled a fabric from stash to make the binding but before I cut anything I looked on the shelf where I keep binding that I’ve already made for some projects. Sure ‘nough, I found one for this quilt. Whew! Good thing I didn’t go ahead and start cutting. As I sewed the binding on I discovered that it was a scrappy binding. My first time doing that.

As I was getting to the last few inches of binding I felt something pulling on the quilt. Here’s what I saw:


My brother’s dog decide to curl up on the bottom of the quilt. This is only the second time he’s seen a quilt but he sure knows what to do when he sees one.

The quilt is straight and even on all sides, the pictures aren’t. It is 45.5″ x 57″.


The backing is flannel. So soft and cuddly.


It was quilted by Daria Phair with a bubble edge-to-edge design.


This is intended as a donation or gift.

Will have to update this after I get the label on. The quilt police are probably on their way now.

Mocha Meringue finished 2019

January 1, 2020

I can only find one post where I wrote about this project and that was when it was ready for the quilter in April 2019. This was a free pattern to go with a fabric line from Marcus Fabrics. Seminole Sampler (gone now) had the fabrics that struck a chord with me. Robbyn helped me gather all the cuts I needed for the “kit” except for the black inner border which I could pull from stash. This had to be around 2012-2013 or so. I pulled it out to work on sometime before 2017 (I moved that year and remember working on this at the old house). I took it to retreat in 2018? maybe, assembled the blocks and discovered that the inner border fabric was missing. It sat waiting until spring of 2019 when I finally finished the top. The quilt is 54″ x 64″.

Although the pictures make it look like the quilt isn’t even on all sides, I assure you it is. I just can’t seem to hold the phone straight to take the pictures.


I had quite a few leftovers since this was a kit I made and I always round up on fabric requirements to allow for mistakes, mine or the pattern writer. The back used all the leftovers that were large enough with a few additions from my stash. It was hard to find the right color and feel to go with these fabrics.


It was quilted by Maria O’Haver, Pangor Quilt Design Studio, using a leafy edge-to-edge design.


I’ll have to come back and update after I add the label (hanging head in shame).

Flying Home finished 2019

December 31, 2019

Another one that was finished in the first half of the year that didn’t get written about is Flying Home. This was a Missouri Star Quilt Company video tutorial. I positioned my parts as shown in the accompanying PDF, not the way the sample quilt in the video was done. It is 47″ by 47″.



The back is the Gyleen Fitzgerald back. I think the instructions for this were provided in one of her appearances on The Quilt Show. All of the large pieces are cat fabrics. All fabrics for this quilt came from my stash. I was pleased to find I had the perfect stripe for the binding.

It was quilted by Rachael Kim Komet in a feather meander. I let her choose how to quilt it.

I made this with the idea that it would be a donation quilt or gift at some point. I’ve been using it as a lap quilt in front of the TV. Am I going to have trouble giving it up one day?

I Used to be a Layer Cake finished 2019

December 31, 2019

As I reviewed my 2019 posts to remind me of my finishes I discovered that a number of them weren’t posted. This one is from the pattern, I Used to be a Layer Cake, from Black Cat Creations, designed by Nancy Altsman. It is 41″ x 56″. It was finished in April.

Does it go this way?


Or this way?


I think I like the first one best. … Hmm. After flipping back and forth from the pattern and the photos, I think the pattern shows it as the second one. Now that I look at the quilting I believe the second one is the correct way. The more I look at it, the more I like it this way.

Here’s the back.


It’s kind of hard to see but the quilting is a feathery design that follows the color bands. It was quilted by Maria O’Haver, Pangor Quilt Design Studio.

I need to get a sleeve and label on this so I can register it for our show in April.