Saturday, May 30, 2009


I've been working crazy busy hours still. That project finished yesterday, the new project won't require the crazy hours, so there is a big sigh of relief that I will have time to clean and garden. Remember the freesia I showed you on Mother's Day? I was feeling very guilty that I hadn't found the time to plant those outdoors. What was I doing? Well besides working, I went to the thrift store and bought another couple of bags full of ties. That's a few of them on a very busy carpet

On Memorial Day weekend, we went to the Asian Festival. It was good as usual. I bought a beautiful blouse for a very good price. We do look at the booths for a short time, but most of the time, we like to sit way in the back under the trees and watch and listen to the shows. They have several stages, five I think, all of which have one show after another. I didn't realize until the photos were loaded on the computer that his lady was balancing a basket on her head.

Then the next day we went to an American Indian Pow Wow. It was very casual with just a few booths, but we had never been to one. They had people show how to make moccasins, fringe, etc., and they had dances. We spent a lot of time talking to the people in the booths. I don't do that enough - just talking to people to find out what they know that they can teach me.

Eventually I managed to plant the freesia outside. I have a barrel near the sidewalk and thought it would be a great place to plant the fragrant flowers. The next day, I came out to admire my handiwork, and apparently something had pulled them out and chewed out the roots. I guess the delay just gave me a few more days to enjoy the flowers.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Kitchen Sink Quilts

Michele wanted to know about my scrap quilts, and I how I quilt frugally.

I am not consistent with my scraps. Once upon a time, when I was a new quilter, I used to envy people's scrap collections. I really love the way scrap quilts look and I wanted to make those - without having to buy little pieces of fabric everywhere. Since then I have amassed my own collection, and I was sometimes worried that I had gone the other direction, with having too much scrap fabric.

What do I do with my scraps? Several things:
First of all, whenever I work on a new project, I go through my scrap stash and see what surprises I can add to that project. Each of my quilts have at least one fabric that has come from another quilt.

Sometimes I use several fabrics from my stash - to simply use them up so I have space to buy more new stuff.

When I am finished with the cutting, I cut up the leftovers into several sizes:
1. If it is a fall color, I cut a 3 1/2" square for a harvest quilt I will someday make - it will likely be a charm quilt with no fabric repeated.

2. If it is a fall color, and there is a chunk left, it can go into the Dear Jane quilt, so it will be stored there.

3. Lately, some of my scrap fabrics have to be saved for applique for the same quilt. Let me tell you, it is very difficult to continue to save the fabric after the bulk has already been cut up.

4. If any other color, and I am willing to let go of the fabric, and it is a small enough piece, I will cut the leftovers 1 1/2" x 3 1/2" pieces for the rail fence quilt Leader and Ender quilt I am making. The quilts I have been making have required me to save fabric for the applique - I am afraid I am going to have to dig through my scrap stash to cut some more fabric for that quilt.

5. Other pieces get used for the border and / or back and/ or label. With the scrap stash getting out of control, I figured that as long as I saved a small piece for a future quilt, I could simply use up as much of the fabric as possible on the same quilt itself.

6. Another way I've used up the fabric is to make a small, doll quilt for my someday quilt wall. These little ones also make good gifts. And postcards and ATCs also use up scrap fabric well.

Remember the purple quilt that served as a background for the lilacs a few posts ago? That one had a large amount of leftover HSTs. I used squares to make triangles. I could have trimmed off the rest and thrown them away, but they were sewn into many HSTs. I have been seeing people make small quilts for Mini Quilt Monday, and thought it would be a super way to finally have a finished quilt under my belt this year. I dug out this bag of HSTs and am in the process of making a mini quilt. It isn't finished yet, but maybe soon, in the next quarter or so, I'll have a quilt finish to show you.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Trunk Show

One of the ladies at work asked me to bring in some pictures of my recent work. She remembered me bringing in photos a couple of years ago and wanted to know what I'd been up to lately. Since all of my photos are digital, and I haven't gotten around to printing them, I couldn't accommodate her request. When another woman asked, I decided to finally bring some actual quilts in.

I was trying to decide which quilt to take, and my daughter recommended that I take the pumpkin quilt. I also took in my purple parfait and my drunkard's path quilts.

Sometime in early February, yet another woman from work told me that she was ashamed that she hadn't taken down her Christmas decorations. I told her she could feel better because I still had my jack-o-lantern quilt on the wall. It worked, it made her feel better.

When I brought the quilt in, I had to confess to her and all the rest of them that I had to take it off the wall to show them. Consider it my good deed to making you feel better; that there is someone who is much farther behind than you are!

Saturday, May 16, 2009


Judy Laquidara has been posing questions on her blog, and since I tend to be wordy, and since I am late reading her blog, I figured I would answer here.

Set 1

The first question is . . what usually comes first . . the pattern or the fabric? Do you find a fabric that you love and let it speak to you about how to make it or do you come up with a pattern (purchased, self designed, modified purchased, whatever) and then choose the fabrics? There are times a particular fabric calls me and I have to find a pattern for it. Then there are other times, a pattern calls me and I have to find the fabrics to go with it. I can be flexible with scrappy quilts.

What is hard for me is to get a set of fabric and figure out what to do with the whole set. My mother bought a set of fabric for a particular quilt, and then decided to switch to another pattern. I don't know how to do that, unless the quilt is really scrappy, because that's too much calculation for me to decide if there is enough fabric of each type.

Set 2

When you see a pattern you want to make, are you more likely to:

(1) Make the quilt in fabrics/colors as close as possible to the quilt shown on the pattern; I try not to get steered by the fabrics in the pattern, but I have to tell you it is very difficult. It is usually the color that makes me like a particular pattern. I know that I can choose the colors for a different pattern, and a different color for this pattern, but it is hard to steer too far away from the original layout. I will make minor adjustments due to fabric availability, preferences, etc. If it is a simple choice, such as predominantly green versus predominately red, that choice I can handle. There are quilts that have an odd fabric in the mix just so they can get the third color in it - green, purple, and orange with a few orange pieces in it. I would rather find a green or purple fabric with orange in it to get the orange in there instead of a stray weird block, so I'll make adjustments like that.

(2) Ask the quilt shop ladies to help you choose the fabrics and then buy whatever they suggest . without regard to whether you love it or not. I know you wouldn’t buy it if you hate it but if they suggest something you’re not head over heels in love with, would you still buy it and then use it in that quilt? I have learned not to be satisfied with fabric selection until I am thoroughly excited about the whole set of fabric. When I ask for help, from quilt shop or fabric shop clerks or from friends and family, I will generally ask them to continue to help me until the fabric sings to me. It helps that they give me fabric choices I wouldn't have considered, but generally I will let them know that I don't like this or that particular choice, and try to tell them why, so they can help me find the next fabric.

(3) Go home and “shop” your stash and see what you can come up with before buying fabric? If so, do you still try to duplicate the colors shown on the pattern?
When I decide to make a pattern, I do see first if I have fabric that will work on that quilt, then fill in with the rest from the shop if necessary. I generally have an idea in mind about what I want colorwise before looking for it.

(4) Totally go with fabrics you want without regard to anything shown on the pattern. This is my goal to someday be able to come up with my own color scheme in a pattern I admire. I think I can do this with traditional patterns that I have seen in many different colorways, and with quilts I make up on my own.

I don't think I do any one of these more than any of the other.

Set 3

1. Are you more likely to buy a kit or fabric/pattern if you see a sample made and hanging in the shop? Yes. It just looks better in real life than it does on a pattern or in a book.

2. Have you ever bought a kit or fabric/pattern that you weren’t planning to buy and probably would not have bought except you saw the sample and couldn’t walk away? You know you wouldn’t have bought the kit or fabric/pattern had it not been for the sample. Yes, there was one quilt that I saw in a shop, and when I saw the pattern, I knew there was no way I would have bought that pattern without having seen the real quilt. Even though the color scheme was the same, the sample was just so much prettier.

3. Do you enjoy making quilts from kits or do you prefer to choose all your own fabrics? I like to choose my own fabrics. The only time I prefer the kit is if it is on clearance! And then, I will probably take it apart and mix and match so the end product won't look like everyone else's.

4. When making a quilt from a pattern, do you read through the entire pattern to be sure it all makes sense or do you start with Step 1 and work straight through it,. then on to Step 2, etc.? I start with the cutting directions, and then go to step 1. I've learned to read the directions on certain blocks, like hsts, flying geese, etc. before cutting, so that I can make them my way instead of having to make them a way that I don't prefer.

5. How often do you make the same pattern more than once? Not usually. There are a couple of patterns I have made more than once, but generally I get bored with the same old thing.

6. How often do you buy a pattern and then make changes to it before you ever start the quilt? I don't generally make big changes to a pattern, but my goal is to look at the picture / pattern more carefully and decide what I like and don't like about a particular pattern so that I can make changes before I start.

This question hasn't been asked (yet), but I generally find patterns on the internet, or buy books and magazines instead of single patterns. Single patterns are bought to make particular quilts, and I feel more guilty about not making quilts related to single patterns than I do with books or magazines which also have eye candy value.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Happy Boy's Day

I received this beautiful card from Tanya in honor of Boy's Day. It is three dimensional. It was lovely getting something in the mail that wasn't bills, and to get one all the way from Japan was an especially wonderful treat. Thank you for thinking of me Tanya.

I'm sorry the picture is blurry. I think I changed some setting on my camera that is making a lot of my closeup shots blurry, and I don't have time to figure out it right now. You should see my flower pictures. I'll try to remember to replace the picture later.

Another Wildflower block is done. I really like the way this block looks. My eyes seem to fill in that green square. I am almost all out of the BOM kit, so the remaining blocks will take a little more time, because making decisions about what fabric to use seems to take an agonizing long time some days, and the following day, the same decision seems very clear and simple.

Friday, May 1, 2009


There is a quilter at work, and she asked me what I was up to. I was explaining to her what I was doing. I told her I was trying to do a little sewing everyday, in order to finish one block a week. I explained to her that it was originally a block of the month program at the LQS, and I had received some kit remnants, etc. All this stuff you know. You know what she said to me? She said,

"You do understand the concept of block of the month, right?"

I tried my best not to corrupt her like you have corrupted me.

I have recently become acquainted with BOM Quilter. She enjoys making BOMs, and she will generally show you the 5-7 blocks she has made each day. I make one every 5-7 days. I think we average out somehow. You can see hers and be inspired. You can see mine, and not feel so far behind. The exciting thing is that she is also making this Wildflower Sampler. I hadn't seen anyone else make it in Blog World. Anyway, I have two blocks made that I hadn't shown you. I was thinking I should maybe save them up and show them all to you at the same time, and maybe make you think that it was possible I made them all in one day. But that would take three more weeks, and you would all have forgotten me by then! Then you would come back the next week, or even, gasp!, the next day, expecting to see another 5-7 blocks.