Posts Tagged ‘Anna’s Blue Baskets’

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.

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.

They’re Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!

September 27, 2018

If you’re of a certain age, you might remember the song with this refrain:

And They’re coming to take me away Ha Ha
They’re coming to take me away ho ho he he ha ha
to the funny farm where life is beautiful all the time, and I’ll be happy to see those nice young men in their clean white coats
and they’re coming to take me away ha ha

I’ve been told before that I’m nuts, so why are they coming to take me away this time? I saved a bunch of bonus triangles from one of the Bonnie Hunter mysteries (Allietare, I think) and started making the Triangle Gatherings blocks, a free sew-along in 2017, from Primitive Gatherings. The free blocks are no longer available. I believe they’re working on a book or pattern or something.


That green square is 2.5″. The blocks are made with 16 1.25″ (0.75″ finished) half-square triangle squares. If I’ve done the math correctly, the blocks finish at 3″. They’re so cute!

I forgot to mention last time that Patty came over for company while she stitched the binding on this quilt:


One of my procrastination tasks was to prepare this block from Anna’s Blue Baskets/Jo’s Floral Album for applique.


I made more border strip sets for T for Two like this:


I might have enough of the narrow border pieces but I probably need to make one more set of the wide border.

Here are the two options for the top border.

I was originally picturing it with the version on the left. Linda suggested the version on the right. I think she’s right – I like that better now that I’ve seen it. I’m waiting to hear from my friend which one she likes since she’s the one who has to look at it. Next week I need to start getting the borders on so I can get the quilt to the long-armer and git ‘er done!

Still in procrastination mode, I decided it was time to add the cut scraps from Genie’s stash to mine. They were in a box in the storage room – 3 shoe boxes full of strips plus some loose stuff in the box. The 2.5″ strip box had mostly short strips. I took the strips that were long enough and paired them up for 16-patch blocks. The short strips were dumped into the string box. I got enough blocks for a kid quilt (In the Pink) plus 3 extra for my collection.

There were some sewn pieces in the scrap box as well which went into what I call the ABS (already been sewn or parts bin) bag. Linda likes to do improv piecing so I told her before she came over last week that her mission, should she choose to accept it was to take the ABS scraps. ABS scraps are anything that’s been sewn to at least one other piece of fabric. Might be half-square triangles, strip set, partial blocks, etc.

Then, while she was sorting them into piles of things that sort of go together, I shoved the pile of random scraps from Genie’s box and said, “take these, too.” Then I ran over and grabbed the pile of 2.5″ short strips from the string box and gave her those also. Hey, it’s rare for me to want to fling fabric out of here so I have to take advantage of my mood. By the time she finished sorting, she went home with two filled shoe boxes, a shopping bag and the bag the stuff was in when she started.

The 2″ and 3.5″ strips from Genie’s box went into my strip bins to await inspiration.

Circa 2012/2013 I made this bargello (I Used to Be a Layer Cake)¬†wall hanging from a pattern and layer cake that I picked up at Linda’s store. I liked the fabric but didn’t want to buy yardage so this was the perfect solution to get a taste. It looks like spring to me. It’s been waiting for a back all these years.


I had chosen a backing fabric that would only be big enough by doing the John Flynn diagonal seam back technique. Unfortunately, the fabric I chose was a stripe which meant that after the pieces were slid to make the width, the stripe would need to be matched. I finally decided that was a stupid choice and went with this fabric from my stash. The picture on the right shows the binding fabric.

The bargello piece went to the quilter yesterday. It was made from this pattern, layout #2.


More string blocks were made.


More leader-ender twosies . . .


and foursies.IMG_20180926_171923.jpg

I can’t believe tomorrow is Friday already. Last Friday Patty, Linda and I met our friends Caren and Paul and Caren’s friend Carrie at the Baltimore Modern Guild’s bingo night. Everyone in the group won except me won a door prize. Patty won two bingo games. I’m happy for them but it’s always more fun when I win.

Tomorrow I go to my guild’s 3-day weekend retreat at Pecometh retreat center.