Archive for October, 2018

Help reforest Colorado

October 29, 2018

GoFundMe campaign to help provide trees to reforest an area of Colorado that was destroyed by the forest fires in July 2018.


Back to Ringo Lake

October 26, 2018

Some time ago I sat down and designed my back for On Ringo Lake. For Bonnie’s mystery quilts, my habit is to blow up a block from the front to make the back. I was so pleased that it went so smoothly. I cut the first pieces, then had to set it aside for other obligations. I was excited to get back to making the back today.

My draft of the block with measurements.


My cutting list:


I finished cutting the pieces and put them on the design wall.


It went together very smoothly. Everything fit perfectly and it was sewn in no time. I was puzzled that it was so much smaller than I expected. On Ringo Lake is a big quilt. This block was supposed to fill most of the back expect for slab borders around the four sides.


My sketch and numbers for the back:


The numbers are all accurate except for the ones in the sketch. The correct numbers are the size of the quilt top, rather than the back. Somehow the block that I expected to be 69″ was only 39″. How did that happen? It looks like I somehow expected  3 x 13 to result in a 69″ block. Needless to say, it doesn’t. The block turned out 39″ finished as one would expect for a 9 patch where each square is 13″. I have no idea what I was thinking.

Would you believe I have a math minor? That’s pretty much a joke because I wasn’t particularly interested in math. Somehow I got to my senior year in college without thinking about a minor and discovered that I needed as many hours for a minor as a major. Something I didn’t have and couldn’t get before graduation. The solution was to find two subjects where the hours added up and go for a split minor. That’s how I got a minor in math.

So, here I am with a block that’s 30″ smaller than expected. Sigh. But, no lasting harm done. I just have to make more borders to fill out the size needed for the back. It might be more interesting that way.

I also made a couple more Sweet Poison (modified Kwik Krazy) blocks.


And more leader/ender pieces.


State of the Stash 2017

October 25, 2018

I found this unpublished post from February 2017 in my drafts. I belong to a Yahoo! group called Stashbusters. Every year in our birthday month, we’re asked to report on the state of the stash.


My stash hasn’t changed much this year. I don’t feel like I was very productive last year and this year isn’t going to be much better.

Last summer I went nuts during Row by Row and acquired an extremely large number of kits, none of which have been made up despite my fantasies about how that was going to work. How did I get so many? I joined a Facebook Row by Row swap group. Don’t do that if you can’t resist temptation. That said, I wouldn’t make any bets that I won’t do it again this year. I do try to discriminating but there are so many good designs. Four rows make a nice size wall-hanging. I plan to make double-sided ones by theme/season so one piece will serve two purposes.

I got magazines under control last year. I got a magazine rack at The Container Store. Each section comfortably holds 3 magazines. Each title has a slot. When a new magazine or catalog comes in, I go through the oldest one to see if there’s anything I want to save and then it leaves the house. Eventually, I’ll scan the articles to save into Evernote to eliminate that paper as I go. This system has been working wonderfully and it takes very little space.

Evernote is an electronic filing cabinet that is accessible everywhere on all my devices. I quickly found that the free account wasn’t sufficient for my needs so I now have a paid account. I use it on my phone all the time.

I’ve been cataloging my patterns in Evernote and storing them in alphabetical order by first letter in a file cabinet. This is an ongoing task. I take a picture of the front and back of the pattern. That way I can see how much fabric it calls for if I need to know that while shopping. I’ll actually be able to find a pattern when I want it. I haven’t decided how to handle templates and specialty rulers.

I’d been wanting a new machine for a long time but put it off until retirement when I’d be using it often enough to justify the purchase. The time came last year. I finally got fed up with my Bernina 1230. It broke and I got it fixed at one of the largest dealers in the region. It seemed to piece ok but made horrible loose stitches when I tried to quilt. I borrowed a friend’s walking foot in case that was the problem. It wasn’t. I don’t know if I messed something up with I sewed with invisible thread before doing the quilting. Changing the tension for quilting seems to make the stitches worse. Janome came out with the 9400 in May and that’s what I got. I’ll take the Bernina to another shop where I had it fixed once before to see if they can get it working right so I’ll have a backup or a machine for a friend to use when visiting.

Many of you are playing the what’s in the box (WITB) game. Well, my box is a 3 story townhouse that I’ve lived in for 30 years. I settle on a new house on 2/28. The new house is also a 3 story townhouse except they call it a villa which means it’s larger. Someone asked me what the difference is between a townhouse and a villa. My answer was, “about $200,000.” I’ll have to ask my realtor what her answer is. It’s newly constructed in a 55+ community so the master suite and laundry are on the first floor. And, for the first time in my adult life I will have a garage. Yeah! Fortunately, I don’t have to sell my current house first. Hopefully, that will make for a less hectic move. I do NOT want a mess at the new house.

Many people have asked me why I’m moving. The configuration of my current house just doesn’t work for me any longer. I’ve been increasing dissatisfied with it for years. While I’m not impaired, I’m not getting any younger so at 66 I wanted a garage, first floor master and no yard work or snow removal to worry about. One day I came home to find a bail bondsman banging on a neighboring door and yelling for them to open the door and show some id. It’s time to get out! More and more houses on the court have gone rental over the years – it’s just not the neighborhood it was 30 years ago when I moved in. How can I have been here 30 years when I can’t possible be that old?

As crowded as it is, my studio is larger than many peoples’ sewing rooms but the space in the new house is astounding. I’ll be able to move around without knocking something onto the floor. The entire finished lower level will serve as the studio. I will have an entire room to store my extensive fabric collection on shelves. The builder calls it an exercise room. I just hope it will all fit. I like to be able to see my fabric and pull a stack off the shelf to pull from as needed. It will be nice to have it all organized so I can find what I’m looking for. I’ll be measuring next week so I can figure out how many shelf units to buy. I would like to fit my existing shelf units (8 ft high, 9 ft wide) in with the new ones. A cutting table will sit in the middle of the room. I’ll probably have to change out the light bulbs to the proper light for true color.

Some of my fabric is currently stored in short Billy bookcases from Ikea. I think these will work on the TV wall to hold books. The TV will sit on top. I could fill a library with my quilting books. The books are all cataloged in Book Collector. It will be nice to have them all readily accessible. Currently some are in boxes, some in piles, some in bookcases in two different rooms.

There will also be a sitting area in the new room. What luxury! Some of the books will live there. My friend, Linda, has already staked out a spot to work when she visits. I found a cute pouf for a footstool at Tuesday morning that is knitted – perfect for a sewing room. My great-grandfather’s rocking chair will go here. I’ll need to buy a second chair. I will have to make a tuffet for that one day.

I will have room for a couple of large work tables. I can’t decide whether to get 6′ or 8′ tables. 8′ would be better but I wonder about the weight – would they be too heavy for me to move around as I get older?

I’ve tried to track my fabric in and out for the last few years but that didn’t last long. I once tried the one out for every one in. That didn’t last long, either. My plan is to weigh the fabric as it leaves the old house so I can get a handle on how much I actually have. The final number will be frightening. What I haven’t figured out is how to handle kits. Do I weigh them now or wait until I break into it and start working on it? I’m kind of leaning toward the second given the amount of time it would take to do that.

I also plan to inventory all the kits and projects in Evernote. Using the phone app makes that an easy task. Just start a note entry, snap the picture and make any notes I need to and tag it as needed. Every already started project will be stored in a see-through plastic bin with some sort of label – probably a sticky note stuck to the inside of the side that’s visible in the storage location. There is a large closet where these will be stored, although I’ll have to have more shelves installed first. The unstarted kits will be in decorative boxes in an attractive shelf unit that is currently holding stuff in my sewing room.

After I get settled I’ll get my quilt appraiser in to appraise the studio for insurance purposes. When I give a large quilt as a gift I include an insurance appraisal with it but I haven’t had my personal quilts appraised except for the one that was displayed at the Quilter’s Hall of Fame in 2015 as part of Mimi Dietrich’s induction. One of the quilts made by my great-grandmother was appraised many years ago. I think I’ll have her appraise all the antique quilts. The family quilts are probably all in the $200-$300 range because they’re utility quilts from the farm. I do have one antique applique quilt that I fell for and bought at a show. I don’t think I’ll have all my personal quilts appraised.

I dread the work ahead but look forward to the end result.


October 25, 2018

I found this unpublished post in my drafts. Apparently I stopped writing in the middle of a sentence. I don’t remember what else I intended to write so here’s what I did write.


A popular fund raising activity for guilds here in central Maryland is Quilt Bingo. There are 6 or 7 different guilds that put these on. It’s bingo where the prizes are quilts. What quilter doesn’t need more quilts? They usually have raffle baskets and, some have door prizes. I have a reputation (not entirely undeserved) for being lucky at bingo. The first time I went to a quilt bingo, I won 3 times. Thought I was going to get mugged in the parking lot. I don’t even remember how many years ago that was but no one has ever let me forget it. I went to a basket bingo 6 or 7 years ago and bingoed 4 times but the last was a tie and I lost the call off. It was my birthday weekend so when I hit, I softly sang, “Happy Birthday to me”. I did have the decency to be embarrassed by the fourth time I yelled Bingo. Every time we talk about going to a bingo, people say “you always win”. They don’t remember all the times I haven’t won.

One bingo, either Four Corners or the Baltimore Modern Guild, ended with what they called the Biggest Loser game. Everyone who hadn’t won a bingo game, door prize, or raffle basket got to play. We were all given a special game card and started the game standing up. If your card didn’t have the called number you sat down or maybe you sat down if you did have the number. Can’t remember – makes more sense the second way. The last person standing was declared the biggest loser and won a quilt. Even though I didn’t win that game, I enjoyed playing it because it was so different.

This past week saw us at not one, but two, quilt bingo events. On Oct 21, 2017 Patty and I went to the Southern Comforters Quilt Guild of Bowie bingo. The first time we went to this one, (6, 8, 10 years ago?) I won a Yellow Brick Road quilt on the first game. Nothing since at this bingo until this time. I won the second game. Unfortunately, Patty didn’t win. I got close a couple of times and was going to let her claim the win but other people won those games. This event wasn’t as crowded as it has been in the past so there weren’t many tied games.


I won Grape Harvest, made by the members of TBDB, Bowie, MD

Friday, Oct 27, 2017 was the Village Quilters of Catonsville bingo. Patty and I sat with our friend Caren and her husband Paul. It drew a full house of 276 players which makes for a lot of tied games. One game had 7 or 8 winners and another had 6 – most I’ve ever seen. Usually there are only 2 or 3. Tied games are decided by calling additional numbers just for the winners. If you don’t have the number on the card with your bingo and another winner does, you lose. The last person with a number wins the game. The people who lose ties usually get a consolation prize. No one in our group won anything, darn it.

Patti, who ran the bingo, is also a member of my guild and was part of the group I went to lunch with Thursday. She said they ran out of consolation prizes for the tied games. She called her husband and told him to bring a pile of small quilts she’d left at home because she didn’t think they’d be needed. She used three of those plus some door prize bags to make up the difference for the consolation prizes. In past years, they’ve given out unneeded consolation prizes as door prizes at the end of the night.


T for Two off to the quilter

October 25, 2018

I finally got the borders on T for Two and took it to the long-arm quilter this afternoon. Yeah!


T for Two at guild for show and tell. I couldn’t get the whole thing in the picture because there was a table in front of it. I didn’t feel like making the effort to put it up on my design wall at home at this point. I’ll take proper pictures when it is finished.

My original thought for the back of this quilt was to reflect Bill’s interest in the Civil War and Becky’s love of books. When I laid out the fabric, I realized that idea wasn’t appropriate for a bed quilt. I realized it would be best to have Becky pick out a fabric she loved for the back so she can use the quilt either side up.

When I looked at assembling the back, I decided that I had to match the print as best I could. Pretty good job, even if I do say so myself. It’s hard to see from the picture but it’s a very delicate metallic filigree design.


Here’s how I matched the print. It takes patience but wasn’t at all difficult.


I decided the match point should be the center spine of the design. I folded one of the fabrics at the chosen point closest to the selvage and pressed it.


Then I laid the fold on top of the second piece of fabric, matching the print as best I could. I used Easy Piecing seam align glue to hold the fabrics together. It worked very well for this and for matching the border print pieces on the front of the quilt.


I unfolded the top piece and carefully carried the fabric to the machine. The glue isn’t permanent so will pull apart if much pressure is put on it – this is by design. I then stitched in the crease of the fold. Toward the bottom of the picture you can see that the fabric isn’t fully opened to show the crease. That is because the glue went through. I just gently pulled it away to reveal the crease. After the seam was sewn I trimmed it to .5″ seam allowance, pulled the seam allowances apart and pressed open. After the 3 panels were sewn together, I trimmed the top and bottom so they were even (I hope).

Now I have to figure out what to use for binding. I’d like to find something that works for both sides but may end up making a two color binding.

While I was dragging my feet on the borders I accomplished these items.


Checkerboard leader/ender. Some sets of four 4-patches, some 4-patches and some twosies ready to be 4-patches.


16 more blocks for Sweet Poison. Pattern is Kwik Krazy and Kwik Krazy Too, modified to add leading strips.

My friend Caren said she’d smack me if I gave this quilt a statement name. Tough. Sugar and carbs (sugar in disguise) are poison so Sweet Poison it is – unless I come up with something I like better. While I was working on these blocks the potato chip fabric looked so good I could practically taste them. I resisted for a while but finally succumbed and bought a bag of chips to get that craving out of my system.

Now that T for Two is off my plate for a while, the world is my oyster. I can work on anything I want without feeling guilty. Yes! I have so many things to work on I almost can’t decide where to start. I’ll keep on with Sweet Poison until the blocks are finished but switch off to other items. I’d like to get On Ringo lake to the quilter before the next mystery starts the day after Thanksgiving.

Oops, I did it again!

October 16, 2018

What did I do? Let’s leave that for later.

Here’s the view from my driveway yesterday. They’ve started construction on the final group in my development which happens to be directly across the street from me. The next few months are going to be even more annoying than the last few since they’ve run out of space to store their supplies. These are the forms for the concrete walls. They poured the footers last week.


I expect to see this again tomorrow. The many, many concrete trucks line up along the street and one by one hook up to the red device which is a crane sort of thing to reach all the way to the back of the lots. It pumps the concrete into the forms.


In the meantime, here’s what’s been going on lately. I went to my guild’s 3-day fall retreat at Pecometh in Centreville, MD.


Maria, my long-arm quilter, showing what she did during the retreat.


This pile is not everything Maria made during the retreat. We decided her Indian name is “Sews Like Wind”.


Pat is testing the fit of the apron she made on one of the other attendees.


I caught this beauty resting on the sidewalk while I took a break from the sewing room.


The American Quilt Study Group had it’s annual seminar in Bethesda, MD. I volunteered at the bed turning where I saw this stunning quilt.


Antique quilt with crumb pieced border


Close-up of crumb pieced border. More colorful than it appears from a distance.

I got there early so got to see a lot of the quilts while I helped lay them out on the tables. There were 6 different tables. I neglected to count how many quilts were on each table. The quilts are laid one on top of the next. As the presenter finished talking about the current quilt, the helpers folded it over to stack on top of the others at the end of the table. The next time through the quilts were unfolded from the pile and talked about until all the quilts were laying flat. Repeat that process until the end of the event.

Here are some of the botanical quilts that caught my eye.

I also served as quilt police in the antique quilts made in Maryland exhibit. No, not that quilt police. This was the real quilt police to make sure none of the quilts went walkabout, keep people from touching them, no photos of the prohibited ones, etc. The pictures of these are on my camera and I haven’t downloaded them yet so no photos of them here. If you want to see some, go to Barbara Brackman’s blog.

On the home front, I finally finished this block from Anna’s Blue Baskets/Jo’s Floral Album. I don’t like this block at all. Don’t know if it’s the design, my fabric choices or both. Whatever.


The shipyard work stoppage ended and I got the embroidery done on The Golden Hind. That rigging was a pain in my be-Hind. I haven’t done the inking on any of the ship blocks yet. Polly was threatening to have me keel-hauled if the shipyard work stoppage continued.


The Golden Hind from Ladies of the Sea by Sue Garman.

Got the first border on T for Two.


While I was dragging my feet on the borders for T for Two, I got the following done.



On Ringo Lake. I still want to add a 3″ aqua/turquoise border to finish it off.

Leader/ender 4-patches.


Triangle gatherings 7-10, probably not in that order.

So, what was the title of this post referring to? I started yet another project. I have a whole closet full of UFOs/WIPs. The last things I need is another project. In my defense, there will be some things that just need borders and/or backs moving to the long-arm quilter as soon as I get the remaining borders on T for Two.

I picked up Kwik Krazy and Kwik Krazy Too patterns from my guild freebie table a few years ago. They are stack and slice crazy quilt blocks. I really enjoy that type of piecing. I decided to do a test block to see if it would work if I inserted a 1″ unfinished strip between the pieces for a stained glass look. Turned out surprisingly nice considering I just grabbed fairly random scraps.


Kwik Krazy test block.

I have an astounding collecting of food fabrics. I cut 36 squares from high-carb food fabrics (no repeats, of course) to make 18 blocks from each of the two patterns. I’m using unwrapped chocolate bars for the lead strips. Had to ask my friend Google if I could get more of that since I only had a half yard and it’s a few years old. I have 4 yards coming. Hope I calculated correctly so I have enough for the blocks, sashing between the blocks and binding. I’ve made the first 7 blocks. Discovered that I forgot to make sure all the fabrics were right side up before I sliced the squares up. So far, one fabric was upside down so I have to cut new pieces as I go since I started with a fat quarter and don’t have enough to cut as a square.


Blocks from Kwik Krazy Too. The blocks haven’t been trimmed to size yet.

Writing this post was yet another way to avoid putting the next border on T for Two or putting things away so the cleaners can clean tomorrow. Procrastination should be my middle name. Sigh. Hopefully I’ll feel guilty enough soon to go downstairs and cut the strips for the next border.