Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Why I’m not getting anything done

March 15, 2017

If you’ve seen the last several posts you may have noticed that not much has been happening here. I promised to explain. It’s mostly good.

When I saw the doctor at the end of September, I got my flu shot and the other pneumonia shot. I got overly tired and wasn’t taking my vitamins which spells disaster for me. A week later I caught whatever nasty respiratory virus  was going around, maybe more than one and spent several weeks being sick. I didn’t feel like I was completely over that when, damn, it hit me again a week or two before Thanksgiving. This time it progressed much more quickly. I did manage to make it to Thanksgiving dinner with my friends at the racetrack.

By the time the end of year holidays came around I was finally fully recovered. As usual I traveled to visit family over the holidays. I find it difficult to work there so not much got done while I was away.

As soon as I got home in early January I met with my realtor to start looking for a new house. I currently live in a 3-story townhouse. The configuration of the house just doesn’t work for me any more. A lot of the houses on my court have gone rental. After 30 years here, I knew it was time to leave this neighborhood when I came home one day to find someone banging on the door of a neighboring house, yelling “open the door, show me some ID, I’m here about a bail bond issue”. Yikes!

My main must haves were a garage (I’ve never had one), main floor master suite and lots of space for quilting. The main floor master and my price target pretty much put me in a 55+ villa (otherwise known as a townhouse). Someone asked me what the difference was between a townhouse and a villa. My answer was “about $200,000.” My realtor got a kick out of that answer.

Before I knew it I had three strong contenders to choose from. This happened much more quickly than I anticipated. I felt like I was on an episode of HGTV’s House Hunters. Will she choose the large country house with shared well and septic, the cozy charmer next to I-95, or the posh, new construction? My friend, Linda, dubbed the new construction “the posh house”.

I loved the development where the first house was but was leery of the shared well and septic. The charmer had a lot going for it and a lot of things about it appealed to me but, in the end, I felt cramped in it and there was that traffic noise from I-95 which would be 24/7. There was a large portion of the basement that I would have had to finish for fabric storage. The basement had no bathroom so it was find room to add one or run upstairs every time I had to go. There were some other things that needed work. By the time I did all that it would cost the same as the larger, newly constructed house. The first two were both condos where the fees ran around $450 a month. Kind of rich on top of the mortgage.

So, I went with the new construction which is a fee simple house (i.e., not a condo). The HOA fee is much more reasonable and covers all yard work, snow removal and common areas. This was an already built house that had a contract fall through. So, I didn’t have get to pick anything. At first it seemed a lot bigger than my current house but I’m not sure it’s that much larger. Maybe I’m delusional. It’s bigger where I need bigger and smaller where smaller is OK for me.

Second floor is two bedrooms, a bath and a loft. I’ll use the loft as an office/library. Anyone want to come visit for a sewing sweatshop? I hate to see these rooms sit empty all the time. After I furnish the guest rooms, of course. That will take some time.

First floor is garage, a front door entry way, kitchen, laundry room, dining/living room, master bedroom, bath and walk-in closet, and covered porch. The bath has a me-sized soaking tub and separate shower. Can’t wait to try out the tub – my current one sucks for soaking. The laundry and dining/living room are smaller than I have now but that’s fine. I’ll be spending most of my time downstairs. Everything for daily living is on the main floor if mobility becomes a problem. Could have used this when I broke my ankle. I can always access the lower level by going outside around the group to the back.

Basement is the quilting area. Studio sounds pretentious but sewing room doesn’t do the space justice. I’ve been in quilt shops that were smaller than the space I have in the basement lower level. Basement sounds to me like a black hole where this one is ground level at the back which faces south so there is a lot of natural light coming in the windows and slider. It has a room for my fabric. I’ve always known I had an excessive amount of fabric. I’m afraid it might not fit in the fabric room. An embarrassment of riches. There is also an area the builder calls an optional den that I’m turning into a sitting room. Linda has already staked out her spot for visiting sewing days. I look forward to many happy hours in that room. The main sewing area is something like 12 feet by 32 feet.


I closed on the house 2/28. Been bleeding money ever since. Lots of new furniture and stuff needed. So far I bought 4 bookcases for the sitting room and a cabinet for my Accuquilt Go and dies. Those were found at Mark Downs which sells used office furniture so saved some money there. I thought I’d go with something from Ikea to fill out the fabric room but ended up ordering Bush bookcases from Walmart to supplement the 3 large bookcases I have in my sewing room now. I’ve got a desk, rocker/recliner and Amish made dining table on order. Not so Next Day Blinds is covering the windows. Blinds were installed last week but the vertical blind for the slider came with the wrong valence and a problem track so they have to be remade. While showing Caren how the top down bottom up blinds worked, I found one that didn’t bottom up for me and found another today while testing the others. Today the shutter tech came to measure for the shutters on the first floor. You’d think that since the house has been on the market since November, the builder would have finished everything, but no, there’s still a punch list of things to be done. As Gilda Radner said, it’s always something.

Attempting to show photos of the empty rooms is futile because everything is beige which makes it difficult to see what’s what. I can show the kitchen. Is this awesome or what?


I’m standing in front of the pantry closet for this photo. To the right of the frig, out of sight, is what the builder calls a key drop – another section of cabinets and counter just inside the garage entrance. By square footage, I bet this isn’t that much bigger than my current kitchen but, oh, my, how much better this one is. My current kitchen looks big but there’s nothing there but empty space because of the entrance on one side and the slider on the other. Very little cabinet space and no counter work space to speak of. I end up using the stove as my counter work space because that’s where the light is. I’m not much of a cook but I can’t wait to cook in this kitchen. I’m not a big fan of wood floors in a kitchen but I’ll adapt.

I was fortunate that I didn’t have to sell my current house first. I had this plan fantasy about how I was going to move little by little so that I didn’t end up with a mess at the new house. External forces are at work (insurance company, mortgage company, etc.) to mess with my plan so now I’m planning to do the big move in mid-April and deal with the fallout. A friend in guild moved in November and said they now have a Room of Requirement (see Harry Potter) where all the still packed and partially unpacked boxes live. I wanted to avoid having that situation.

Now my goal for packing is to free the furniture that is going to the new house so the movers can get it out. Anything that doesn’t get packed by then I’ll have to deal with on my own afterward. My friend, Caren, moved earlier this month. I helped her pack, so turnabout is fair play. I’m getting her boxes and some help from her.

Can I get everything out in time to get my house on the market by summer? Stay tuned and we’ll see.

I don’t expect to get back to quilting until the end of April. Mustn’t forget to do my taxes.


Mimi’s Grad School: March 2017

March 15, 2017

Lots of show and tell again this month. Last year we started having drawings for prizes. You had to show something to qualify to be in the drawing. We think this is providing incentive for everyone to show something.

Polly and I worked on the same ship from Ladies of the Sea this month. Hers is the completed one on the left. As with last month I didn’t finish. Hang around for the next post to find out why I haven’t been getting much done. The points on those maple leaves were a pain in the ass. Polly thinks Sue Garman went a little overboard with the rigging on the ships. The backgrounds have more color than shows in these pictures.


Genie managed to finish 3 more Jacobean blocks this month. That makes 6 she’s done this year.

Clara is working on her Prairie Flowers (Barbara Brackman) blocks (the bottom). I can’t remember if the top piece is show and tell or a sample for the shop. Snow fell yesterday but I don’t think many people were saying “Yoo Hoo”. Shoudn’t it be “Ya hoo?”


Peggy H is doing Karen Kay Buckley’s Magical Medallions (or something like that).


I don’t remember who did this one. One year we swapped green and red squares. This block was made from the swapped fabrics.


Joan is making these lovely blocks from Little Brown Bird. She enjoys embellishing with embroidery.


Vera is also making Little Brown Bird blocks. Look how she used her fabrics in this block.

Patty is doing Rose of Sharon with her Accuquilt dies.


Ruth is doing quilt as you go on blocks from Affairs of the Heart by Aie Rossman. I think I’ve got the title right. These blocks are from a few years ago when we broke into several groups for our afternoon group project. This group was dubbed the Strumpets. We didn’t like that year so much because we didn’t get to see what the other groups were doing. But, you try something and if it doesn’t work, you don’t do that again.


Nechama did this block. I don’t remember the designer.


This is a portion of Kim’s center for her medallion quilt.


Kay, our southern belle, is a master of making the fabric work for her. She used one of her monogrammed linens for the tablecloth under the vase.

I don’t remember who did these. I really should do the grad school posts before I have time to forget.

Annette showed her Backyard Birds quilt that Kim quilted.


Annette is making a diary quilt based on Mimi’s book from several years ago. She plan to add family names to the tree block but hasn’t decided how to do that yet.

I hope you find the show and tell as inspiring as we do.

Mimi’s Grad School: February 2017

February 9, 2017

February saw us meeting at the beginning of the month as usual. This time Polly and I were the presenters and it was my birthday. Polly and I are doing Sue Garman’s Ladies of the Sea. I wanted to give the link to her website where the pattern is sold but the website has disappeared. Strange, because her daughters said they would continue to make her patterns available. Sue Garman died 1/8/2017 so maybe things are in flux right now.

Polly did the pirate ship, of course, as her first block. I chose the Dutch Hooker because my great-grandfather emigrated from the Netherlands to the US and the block looked fairly simple. Polly finished her block early where I was struggling the night before class. Mine doesn’t have any rigging yet and needs a sail transplant before that happens. The problem only shows upon close examination but it won’t hold up to any used so the part needs to be replaced. Then, I left my block on the wall so Polly took it home with her. First block of the year and already I’m behind. Sigh.

Polly does freezer paper on top needle turn so I decided to use that technique for this block. It’s been years since I’ve done needle turn. I hated the freezer paper on top. In January Mimi showed us a tip using a Roxanne’s white chalk pencil and an iron to make a thick hard line around the freezer paper. Heat the piece, then run the chalk pencil along the edge of the freezer paper while the piece is still hot. The heat melts the chalk to make a thick line. It uses up the pencil pretty fast. Then, the freezer paper can be removed and the chalk line turns under. That helped but it was still a pain in the butt with small pieces. Shift happened, thus the need for the sail transplant after attempting to fix the shift. I’m trying freezer paper on bottom and prepared edges with starch for the next block.

Polly read a couple of sea-faring poems and talked about pirates. I was a little nervous and zoned out so that’s about all I remember. We both talked about why we chose to do this quilt as our bucket list album and gave information about the ships represented in our blocks. Polly gave her pirate some attitude with a slightly cockeyed jaw.

I first came to Maryland in the fall of 1981. One weekend I went to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and discovered the Pride of Baltimore.

The ship was in the harbor and open to the public. That was a long time ago so I don’t remember much about the ship except walking around on it and talking to the crew members who were on duty. That was one of the things that caused me to be attracted to the Ladies of the Sea quilt. Sadly, the Pride was lost at sea in 1986.

Construction began on the Pride of Baltimore II in 1987. I’ve never seen this ship.

Everyone put up the blocks they worked on for this month. Some were catching up on the birds from last year.

Genie is doing Jacobean blocks.


Kay is taking elements from various patterns in her collection for her quilt.


Patty is making Rose of Sharon blocks using the Accuquilt dies.


Sue is making blocks that combine wool and cotton. I don’t remember the name of the pattern.


I think Peggy is making Karen Kay Buckley’s Magical Medallions.


I don’t remember who is doing these blocks but the one on the left is a different person than the ones on the right.


Debra is making these. I don’t remember the name. Eventually it will spell Merry Christmas.


Clara is catching up on Barbara Brackman’s Prairie Flowers, a grad school project from some years ago.


Joan is making these gorgeous blocks from Margaret Docherty’s Little Brown Bird.

Mimi is making lots of little baskets.

Annette made these diary quilt blocks. Mimi’s book A Quilter’s Diary is about making a quilt like this.


I’m afraid I don’t remember who made the red block on the left. The bee blocks are from Elaine. Joan H. made the gingerbread men block.

Nechama made this block. I don’t remember the pattern name.


Whew! What a lot of show and tell. Will we be able to keep it up throughout the year? Last year we started having a drawing every month for a prize. We’re continuing that this month. Polly and I will be giving the prizes next month.

The store extended their Super Bowl sale into Monday so we could take advantage of it. Polly and I are planning to design our own borders for Ladies of the Sea instead of making Sue’s borders. My fantasy is that I will make Sue’s borders into a strippy quilt so the fabric on the left is for in between the fancy border strips.


I’m not much of a heart person but the fabric on the right attracted me. I resisted it’s siren call the first several times I passed it but finally succumbed on my way to pack up my stuff to leave. I think this will be a back or border. I already have an idea for the front. It will have to go on the list of things I want to make along with hundreds of others as I contemplate the ordeal of moving all my crap wonderful belongings to my new house. Closing is set for 2/28.

Mimi’s Grad School: January 2017

February 2, 2017

Our January meeting happened at the end of the month instead of the beginning because of year-end inventory at the store and Mimi’s schedule. We displayed our cardinal blocks and the overachievers showed their tops and finished quilts.

Kay found an innovative way to use one of the Row by Row fabric plates. The block in the top middle with the yellow birds is a quarter the size of the rest of the blocks.

Nechama reduced the blocks to practically nothing, something like 25% of the full-sized blocks.

I had intended to have mine assembled by the meeting day but I was overtaken by events. I started house hunting on 1/4 and found three strong contenders within the first week. I wasn’t expecting things to move so quickly. All of the houses I looked at were villas in 55+ communities. They all have a garage and first floor master suite. They all back onto green space of some kind. Someone asked me what the difference was between a townhouse and a villa. My answer was “about $200,000”. I need to ask my realtor what the real answer is.

I felt like I was on an episode of House Hunters. Will she choose the huge house in the country with shared well and septic? The cozy charmer next to I-95 and the BWI flightpath? Or, the posh new construction? My friend, Linda, dubbed the new construction “the posh house”. I took a friend with me to look at the three contenders and she, as well as Linda, voted for the new construction.

I loved the community out in the western part of the county. Saw four houses there. Didn’t like the floor plan of two of them but the best one was under contract the day after I saw it.  I saw another one with the same floor plan but it wasn’t as nice. I decided I didn’t want to mess with well and septic so discarded the idea of that community.

The 12 year old charmer had a lot going for it. It had columns separating a little sitting area and dining room from the entry, a gas fireplace with a stone surround, sun porch, screened-in patio off the basement; a large workshop that could be finished for the fabric room. But, the rooms felt small to me and by the time I did the things that needed to be done, it would cost as much as the larger newly constructed house. And, there’s the traffic noise from the interstate and airport.

The first time we looked at the posh house my realtor said, “this house is a steal!” She was really impressed and she doesn’t impress easily after 30 years in the business. Whoever made all the choices has similar taste to mine. The first floor has a small covered deck and the lower level has a covered patio. The charmer wins on those points with the sun porch and screened-in patio but the rest of the house makes up for any shortcomings. Huge kitchen, hardwood floor on the first floor except for the master bedroom. The second floor and basement are also carpeted and the carpet is off-white. After having that color in my current house, I’d rather have something closer to dirt color. The only thing I can object to is that the sinks all have two handled faucets. I prefer one. That’s easily changed. I think I’ll probably change one sink in the master bath and the sink in the basement. The basement is ground level in the back so it’s more of a lower level than what I think of when I hear basement. The basement will make a fabulous studio. It was all finished except for what the builder calls the optional exercise room. I looked at it and said it would be perfect as a fabric room but I’d have to have it finished. The sales agent said they would finish it for free. Well, not so much as it turns out. The builder wouldn’t agree to that. I ended up paying a little more than the original asking price in order to get the finished room. They did agree to add an automatic garage door opener. Can you believe it wasn’t standard? In a 55+ community with a two-car garage door?

I still have trouble believing I can afford a house like this, especially in retirement but the numbers don’t lie. Linda has already staked out a spot for her chair in the studio when she visits. We’re aiming for closing at the end of February. I’m waiting for some of the documents I need to submit for the mortgage app. That makes me antsy and the stress eating is on. I look forward to being moved but not to the moving process. I’m fortunate that I don’t have to sell my current house until I’m ready so I can move things thoughtfully. I will not have a mess at the new place!

Clearing the deck

January 5, 2017

I had a bunch of blocks made in late 2016 that haven’t been documented here so here they are. I can’t think of anything clever to say about them.


More spool blocks


Another set of Wild and Goosey blocks

A bunch of Dutch 9-patch. Or double 9-patch if you prefer.


More bonus triangle blocks. I wonder where I put the rest of them?

More Ts for Two blocks. The background in these is a strong yellow color. Don’t know why it’s showing up so pale this time.

Applique blocks three and four of Home Sweet Home. Block three is backwards from the pattern but so be it, not doing it over.

Every year when I go back to Illinois for Christmas I say I’m going to take a picture of the castle at Eastern Illinois University when it’s lit up for Christmas. This year I did.


I don’t remember it being blue before. It seems like there are fewer lights than I remember (could be a faulty memory). That may be due to the state’s budget impass. They’re in year two without a budget. It’s really taking a toll on the state universities. Lots of employees have been laid off. A friend told me that neighboring states are waiving out of state tuition in order to attract Illinois students.

While I was in Illinois I delivered Sourdough Stars.


As might be expected, they put them down with the back side up. Can’t blame them, the backs are warm, soft fleece.

I pinned the pieces on this block, expecting to sew them down.



Well, shoot. See that dark spot in the upper right? That’s a hole, folks. There was a piece of some sort of plastic woven into the threads. When I pulled it out, it left a hole. I considered sewing it as is and finding something like a butterfly to add later as a cover-up but thought better of that. Fortunately, the background piece was bigger than required. I took off all the pieces and moved everything over so the hole is underneath a piece. Instead of sewing this block I moved on to the next because I want to verify that the block will still be symmetrical when it is trimmed down, now that the pieces aren’t centered on the background. I didn’t take any measuring devices with me so that needed to wait until I got home.

En Provence: Clue 4

December 19, 2016

En Provence mystery clue 4 is more triangle in square units. I am using the Accuquilt die and calculated that an 8.5″ x 4.5″ piece would give me three sets of side triangles. Unfortunately, I forgot about needing sets of opposites.


The above picture shows how I came up with the 8.5″ to cut 6 pieces. Unfortunately, while that does give 6 pieces, it doesn’t equal 3 sets. Sigh. One might think that folding the fabric in half and repositioning it would give the desired result. It doesn’t.


It’s hard to see but the paper used in the example above doesn’t extend beyond the triangle piece on the right. Duh! Because it is a half rectangle, it has to be the size to cover both pieces. In other words, in order to get 3 sets from the die, one must cut 4 sets. Lesson learned.

Linda left her scraps at my house on Friday afternoon. I was able to get these purple triangles from those scraps.


Linda, this layout might be interesting for that little project you were talking about doing with the pieces you cut with the colors backwards.

Uh, oh! What happened here?

The first triangle seemed to go on normally but when I got to the second one, it was clear something was wrong. I just thought that somehow it was cut too big, although that didn’t make sense. I didn’t understand what was wrong until I turned the piece over. When I did that I could see that the bias was on the bottom which means I sewed the triangles to the wrong sides.


All better now. All the needed units are complete.

See what everyone else is up to at the mystery link-up.

Mimi’s Grad School: December

December 17, 2016

Grad school met the first Monday in December with our usual potluck lunch. This year we decided to go ahead and meet at the regular time to have a meeting before lunch.


We came in to find a colorful bucket at each seat. Some of us swapped buckets to get a color we liked better. I ended up with yellow, although I kept eyeing the orange.


Why a bucket? Because next year the project is Bucket list album quilt.


That’s all I’m going to say about that until next year.

We showed off our Mama Bird blocks.

Nechama is making her blocks smaller, half-size maybe.


Several members are doing trees. Sue showed hers this month.


Every month Kathy adds something new to her tree.


She’s got a hummingbird at the feeder with a squirrel below; a kite stuck in the tree; the fire department rescuing a cat; a monkey that must have escaped from the zoo; the robin is building a nest; a deer is peeking out from behind the tree; a birdbath; a bear cub.

Our last bird for this BOM is the cardinal. The presenters showed their blocks.


En Provence: Clue 3, First Attempt

December 12, 2016

This week we are working with purple. A few days ago The Patchery Menagerie had an instructive post on the various flavors of purple.

Well, crap! I just read a blog that made me realize everything I did the last two days on Clue 3 has to be scrapped and I have to start over. I can’t even blame it on Linda since she wasn’t here (we tend to make more mistakes when we sew together). Here are the pictures of what I spent wasted the last two days doing:

I still needed 51 more after the above and finished enough twosies for half that amount before I stopped and came upstairs for the evening. Do you see the problem?

What did I do wrong? I neglected to read the instructions closely enough. I absorbed the word purple. What I didn’t absorb was light and dark purple. Somehow I thought Bonnie was calling the light purples lavender so purple to me meant the dark purples only. And, clue 1 was neutral only 4-patches so I was in the one-fabric mindset. I’m annoyed with myself because I used up several of my purples in the above mess which means I won’t have as much variety as I like when I do them correctly. I could take them apart and cut squares of the other color instead of strips but that seems like a waste of time. Maybe I’ll rip apart the twosies that I left waiting to grow up to be 4-patches because there’s no point in continuing with them. Darn! Darn! Darn! Darn! Darn! Very discouraging.

See what people who read the directions more carefully did at the link-up.

Do as I say, Not as I do

December 8, 2016

I have a bad habit of buying block of the month kits only to put them away for years before working on them. DON’T DO THAT! For the last several months I’ve had the itch to work on the applique blocks (it’s half pieced and half applique) in a BOM (Home Sweet Home by Kelli Saffell) I bought in 1999 from a store that is long gone. Yes, that’s right, the BOM is almost old enough to vote. My desire to work on it was frustrated because I couldn’t find it. Last week I couldn’t stand it any more and started an exhaustive search. Since it wasn’t upstairs where I thought it was, I assumed I’d taken it downstairs and put it in the UFO/kit cabinet. It wasn’t there. Hmm. If it wasn’t downstairs it must still be upstairs which is where I thought it was in the first place. I finally found it upstairs buried under a pile.

I knew I’d worked on the project a little bit at one time. To my surprise I discovered that I’d prepared all the applique for the blocks and, apparently, some of the applique for the borders and cornerstones. Great! Now I’ve got a head start.

I pulled out the package with the first month’s blocks only to discover that there was no background for the applique block and no fabric for the vines. Darn. I got gypped and it was my fault. That’s why you shouldn’t buy a kit and put it away without looking at it. If I’d at least looked through the kit to make sure everything was there I could have gotten the missing pieces from the store. Have I learned my lesson? We’ll see. Off I went downstairs to find replacement fabric. I found suitable replacements although I don’t have much of this style of fabric in my vast collection. I’d call it country-ish.

There is surprisingly no picture of the finished quilt, although each month’s kit has a picture of the blocks. That’s good because that’s the only way to know where the various fabrics go. I couldn’t find any photos of finished quilts online, either. I think I must have missed buying a kit or two and must not have gotten a reminder because I only have fabric for some or all of the leaves in the borders but no fabric for the other applique and pieced motifs. Maybe it was optional and I passed it up figuring I could use stash fabrics. Who knows? May have to take a shopping trip to Lancaster county when I get all the blocks done to find fabrics that go with it. I remember not buying the sashing fabric at the time because what the store used didn’t appeal to me. I thought I’d wait and find something later. I wasn’t expecting it to be this much later.

Above is the closet thing I have to a picture of the entire quilt. At least it gives me something to work with.

I haven’t done hand applique in several years. I suffered the tortures of the damned the other night while working on the first two blocks. The technique I used to prepare the applique is freezer paper on the bottom and the seam allowance is glued to the freezer paper. Sharp points are thick with fabric and glue. I broke at least two needles and bent another – all different brands. At one point I was using a flexible plastic thimble and managed to get a needle eye to puncture the thimble and lodge in my finger. Ouch! That hurt. My thread was shredding and breaking when I pulled the thread tight after a stitch. My Clover needle threader wasn’t threading the needles. I tried several brands of needles and three different thimbles. During the course of the evening I exhausted my inventory of curse words. I need some new ones. That was last Friday.

The first two blocks are stitched. It was the points on the hearts on the second block that were so troublesome. The blocks haven’t been washed yet to remove the glue and freezer paper. After that is done, they’ll be pressed and cut down to the proper size.

On Monday I bought two brands of needles (John James Gold Eye and Clover Black Gold) and switched to using my pink plastic thimble like the one below. I used to get them at my local quilt shop which is gone now. I haven’t found a new source. I like it because it’s cheap (I keep losing them) and it fits my finger better than closed top thimbles.

Image result for pink plastic adjustable thimble

In fact, I lost my thimble at guild last spring and was forced to use other types. One night a few weeks ago someone dropped something on their way out without realizing it. I hollered at her to stop so I could give it to her, then mentioned  that I’d lost my thimble last spring. Caren asked if it was pink plastic. Then, she pulled a bag out of her tote and said, “here it is”. She hadn’t realized for a long time that some lost and found items got mixed in with raffle basket stuff from our quilt show last spring. I was thrilled to be reunited with my thimble since I hadn’t found a local source for a new one.

I haven’t had any problems stitching this week. I even got the needle threader to thread the needles. I think part of the problem was that I wasn’t putting the thread in correctly. I seem to have the hang of it now. I’m currently using the Clover Black Gold needle.

I started to lay out block three. Got the bias stems pinned down and discovered I’d forgotten to reverse the pattern. All the pieces were backwards. Sigh. I had two choices: pick new fabrics and remake the pieces or use the pieces and make the block reversed. Guess which one I picked? After all, an applique pattern is like a chili recipe – it’s a starting point. No one will ever know that I changed it. I had copied the pattern onto tracing paper to use as a layout overlay so all I had to do was turn it over.


I center the design on the background, then pin the tissue paper to the background at the top. Slide the applique piece under the tissue and maneuver it into place and pin it. Block 3 is now being stitched.



En Provence: Clue 2

December 5, 2016

All of my scheduled holiday events occurred between Thursday, December 1 and Monday, December 5 so I didn’t think I’d get clue 2 done by the link-up day.

My quilt guild meets weekly except in December when we only meet the first week. Last Thursday was our daytime group’s December meeting and holiday pot luck. First event over.

On Friday, Linda and I went to lunch, then down to Bellwether’s open house. Dick and Jean Fries are brokers for hand quilting by Amish quilters. Jean also makes quilts for sale and still has some patterns for sale. She said this is the last year for the open house. This was my first time going so I’m glad we did. We didn’t get back until late afternoon due to excessive traffic. Why aren’t those people at work? So, no mystery quilt work took place on Friday.

Saturday I stayed home to rest, trying to encourage this respiratory bug to go away. I am getting better but it’s very slow. I decided that for clue 2 I would use my Accuquilt die. I dragged myself out of bed at the crack of 10:30 and went down to the studio to cut fabric. For these units I decided to starch the fabric before running it through the Go. The starch helps stabilize the bias edges. I got both background and constant strips cut and starched before lunch.

Mid-afternoon I went back downstairs to cut the pieces for the units. After running the first few sets of background fabrics through I realized that I better start counting or I’d have a boatload of extra pieces. I ended up with one extra background and a handful of extra side pieces for one side. I ran several pieces of short constant strips through and forgot that half of them needed to be wrong side up. But, it worked out because as I was sewing I found two pieces for that side that had selvage in them. I was glad to have the extra pieces to swap out.


Sets of pieces all counted out and ready to sew.

I didn’t expect to get the units sewed before Tuesday but found myself bored on Saturday evening so went down to sew. I watched the pilot episode of Designated Survivor on demand. I thought I’d recorded all the episodes after that but I was missing episode 2. Darn it. The series is far enough along that it isn’t available free on demand so I went on to episode 3. These units go through the machine pretty quickly when done in groups of ten. Good thing since Sunday and Monday are away from home events.


Finished units.

Sunday was the Sew and Tell holiday edition. There are currently ten local members who swap holiday gifts in December. Here’s all the loot laid out, nice and neat before the feeding frenzy.


Usually there’s a free-for-all as soon as the gifts are laid out but this year everybody acted like grown-ups. We sewed and talked a while and waited until after we ate and had show and tell – about two hours. Some people wrap the gifts and put name tags on, others wrap but don’t assign them, others don’t wrap. Beth always goes beyond what’s necessary. Everything she does is impeccable. Her gifts were in holiday Chinese takeout boxes. When I opened mine I found two wrapped items inside. It would never occur to me to wrap items I was putting inside another wrapping. So, what was in all those pretty packages?

Clear medical tape wrapped in a piece of fabric. The tape is good to put on the bottom of rulers and templates to prevent slippage. I bought some earlier this year so I probably have a lifetime supply now. I haven’t opened the magnet lights yet so can’t say anything about them.

The long zipper and trims came with a challenge to make something with them. Probably not going to happen any time soon. We had to choose among a sewing machine, the scissors I chose or a spool of thread with a needle. It’s a cute led light to hang on a key chain or bag. We also got to choose from several of the new Moda “merit” badges. Of course, I had to choose “Kiss my Stash!”

This ingenious thread snip keeps the snips inside the cover so you can’t lose it. There’s a button on the side that slides the snips out and back in.

Who can’t use nice, long, thin pins? Especially with the way I’m bending pins lately. I just noticed that there is something tucked into the twill tape labels. Wonder what it is? It’s two floors down so I’ll find out tomorrow. The silicon trivet thingies should work for an iron. I’ll have to try that. I have a cordless iron and when I just want to put it down for a few seconds to adjust things, I put it flat on the ironing board instead of back in its cradle. These might save scorching the ironing board cover.


Add some borders and quilting to this panel and I’ve got a quilt. If one wanted, one could cut all the pieces apart and do something clever with them. That’s not likely to happen.


I gave these zipper pouches. Linda got shades of pink. The rest got the above or shades of blue. I have no idea what to use it for.

I always look forward to Monday because my guild’s night group meets then. As with the day group, we only meet once in December. The first Monday of the month is also Mimi’s Grad School group. Every December I wish one group met a different day because each has a potluck for the December meeting. That means a potluck for lunch and another potluck for dinner. Oy vey! Two potlucks in one day is a little much. Added to Sew and Tell on Sunday, that makes three potlucks in two days. With the guild party last Thursday, that’s four potlucks in 5 days. Too much of a good thing.

See how others are doing on the mystery at the link-up.

And now I have to go cook for tonight’s potluck.