Sunday, March 19, 2023

Quilting Status


I participated in all six Project Quilting challenges. It is hard to take good pictures with quick deadlines, and even when there is time, in the winter, but this picture does show the scale and colorways of each quilt.

2023: 15 Minutes to Stitch Week 11

 I've been awful with providing updates, but I have been good at keeping stitching or working in the sewing room, cutting scraps or decluttering and organizing every day. This week, it was difficult to eek out time every day, but with the Project Quilting challenge, I pushed aside cleaning time and managed a substantial amount of quilting.

15 minute days this week --14 out of 14
15 minute days this year -- 77 out of 77 days
Success rate  = 100%
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Quilt Reveal: Fear of the Missed Deadline

 I was going about my merry way, planning today's post to say I have been quilting for the last two weeks but have nothing to show for it. Just cutting some scraps, organizing the sewing room, finishing quilting Boundless.

I even figured I could show you my library stack to keep the post from being too boring. I went to the main library recently and gathered these books.

Then I thought, is Project Quilting over? And sauntered my way to the website to find out. Nope, there is one last project, and it is due in three hours! I can't make a quilt that fast. I already used up the last of my scrap in last week's project.

Then I read the challenge post. It is about conquering a fear. Seriously?! It is daring me to make a quilt in three hours. Very tricky, people. Can I make it?

Step aside, I have another emergency quilt to make. Anyone who complains about the lack of vacuuming can blame the Kim and the Project Quilting people.


To make it quickly, I raided the Spare Parts box. That is where I put my orphan blocks that are leftover from other quilt projects. Since my project last week used leftover from another project and I got away with it, I decided to push the rules even more. What are they going to do, fire me? It is the last project of the year.

I figured I could use these pieces and fill in with the leftovers from the Boundless quilt and the box of scraps I am currently cutting for my scrap quilt.

I decided to just use the pieces based on their size and not worry too much about anything else. If it fits, that is where it sits.

I even took a break to make a scrappy lunch - throwing whatever I could find in the kitchen together to get it done quickly.


Ta-da! And because of the deadline, there was no time to take a lot of in progress pictures.


I had to edit this post to show you how close I came to missing the deadline.

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Boundless: Dust Off a Quilt Book

Welcome to Dust Off A Quilt Book blog hop. For this blog hop, I dusted off a book I kept renewing at the library. It is called Use Scraps, Sew Blocks, Make 100 Quilts by Stuart Hillard.


The library wanted it back, and I wasn't done with it, so I tried to buy a used copy, and they were out of stock so I tried and succeeded in buying yet another used copy. It's from a different library. Normally, I don't work that hard to buy something.

 What do I like about this book? Well, there are 100 quilts in it, as the title says, all made out of scraps. Although it includes some traditional patterns, they all have a little twist that makes them from looking like the same old quilts.  It shows you how to make the block, but it also shows you a quilt made with that block which I find really helpful. Most of them are virtual quilts, which only makes sense that it would be difficult for someone to actually make 100 quilts before writing a book.


It makes me think of Pinterest, lots of inspiration, but the limit of 100 keeps you from scrolling mindlessly and gives you enough choices to find something to make. There is one to three pages to describe each quilt, so there isn't as much hand-holding as a beginner might need. There is more reliance on the general instructions than a beginner person would get in most newer patterns. No pictures showing how to cut each piece and how to sew each seam. But if you read the general instructions and follow the directions, I think it tells you everything you need to make the quilt.

The book doesn't say the fabric requirements, except in a general way, or how many blocks you have to make. This is the quilt I made, and I did not have any trouble following the directions.You have to look at the picture and count the blocks and use the picture to figure out the layout. Or you can make whatever number of blocks you want and choose a different layout. I would have to do all that if I were copying a quilt from Pinterest.

It is a simple pattern using jelly roll strips, but to me, it doesn't look like a simple quilt. I can't imagine anyone saying I made a quick and easy quilt and didn't make any effort. The jelly roll strips have pinked edges, which is annoying to me, but I figured I could trim the block to a consistent size. Unfortunately, I trimmed after I put in the corner triangles.

This led to some improv-looking triangles. You can't see it very well in these pictures. I like to tell people when I make something improv so they know I did it on purpose. I knew before I started trimming that it would happen, but it doesn't bother me so I didn't bother to dust off the seam ripper. In fact, I like when things look improv because then I can chalk up any mistakes to improv too.

I didn't notice the flange in the border until I got to that part. But it is what makes the quilt special so I added it. I haven't used a one inch border before. 

If I make this quilt or border again, I should 1. o sew the flange to the border first, then attach the border to the center, and 2. make the outer border bigger and then trim it down to size before attaching the binding.

Finished quilt top, sandwiched. The pattern combined with the fabric gives the quilt an art deco vibe. 

I was in too much of a hurry to notice that I didn't lay out the blocks the same as the picture and wound up with five instead of four center diamonds. It looks fine to me.

Quilting in progress

Ahh so close. I have to admit that I wasn't able to finish it on time. I still have to finish quilting it and binding it.

Because of my limited schedule and because I would rather make a good quilt instead of meeting a deadline, I decided to show you what I have. I probably won't be done with it by the end of the blog hop. It will be finished soon though and I will show the finished quilt when it is ready. 

Thank you for visiting, and do come back to see the finished quilt.  Links to the other people who are participating in this blog hop are in yesterday's post on my blog.

Sunday, March 5, 2023

Progress on Boundless Quilt


I have been quilting the Boundless quilt which I am making for the Dust Off an Old Quilt Book blog hop. It is a baby size quilt that should fit on the curtain rod above of my couch. I am very happy with how it is turning out.

2023: 15 Minutes to Stitch Week 9

I focused on Boundless for this week's stitching so that I can be finished in time. The photo is the back of the quilt. I did cut some scraps for Unallocated so I can make progress on cleaning out the fabric room.  My separation anxiety book is due at the library so I had to finish reading it which limited some quilting time, but blog hop deadline kept me sewing every day.

15 minute days this week --7 out of 7
15 minute days this year -- 63 out of 63 days
Success rate  = 100%
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Zoey Update


I have been asked to provide updates on Zoey's communication, and I want to keep records of her progress. Here on the blog is a good place to do it.

She started out with two buttons, "Love You" and "Go Outside". One day it clicked to her that she could communicate with me using them. I definitely respond faster to what she wants when she pushes the buttons because I know what she wants, and because I want to make sure she understands what each button means to me.

Since then, I have added other buttons. And also some foam holders that helps keep the buttons in the same place. They move around so I will need to tape them down to the floor. One button is lost (I haven't taken the time to look for it), so I opened the new pack and only used one out of a pack of 6. Currently her buttons are:

1. Love You

2.Go Outside

3. Settle

4. Go Potty

5. Play

6. Eat

I moved the Go Outside button from the door to the foam. So now all the buttons are in one place, but there are two types of containers because when I bought more buttons, this set was cheaper. She didn't have any problems making the change, as far as I can tell. If she accidentally hit the wrong button, I may not know, since I have to respond as if it was on purpose so she knows what they mean. I pushed all the buttons and she tested all the buttons so she would know which one is which.

I am not sure she fully understands the Settle button means. I take her to the couch and tell her down and pet her when she pushes it. She may have thought it means "couch" since a couple of times she was way too excited to be settling. It turns out that there were balls that had rolled under the couch. But the last couple of times she pushed it, it was my bedtime. The first time she did,  I told her Yes it is time to sleep. It took me some time to get upstairs since I had to put the clothes in the dryer and dishes in the washer so I am not sure it was fast enough for her to make a connection. Last night (Friday), she pushed it again and I didn't realize the time, so I watched TV with her on the couch. It seems like I need more training than she does on how to use that button.

I don't think she knows the difference between the Go Outside and the Go Potty buttons. But it is something I want to know since I can tell her "Later" when she clicks the Go Outside button when the neighbors are out, but I don't want to say "Later" if she has to go.

I just put out the Eat button Friday afternoon, and she knows exactly what it means already. This morning she kept pushing the Eat button after she had already eaten breakfast. I kept telling her "All Done." Then I remembered that she needed to take her anxiety medication. So she was right, and I was wrong.

She doesn't push the Love You button much, maybe because she doesn't need to. She gets pets and attention if she just walks up to me.

It is very tempting to add another set of buttons, but I wanted to make sure she has enough practice with these first before adding more. As work gets busy, I am not going to have time to respond to every button push to train her on what it means.

Saturday, March 4, 2023

Quilt Reveal: Mended Heart

I am making a baby size quilt for the Dust Off an Old Quilt Book blog hop which starts this upcoming week. I will be sharing it on Thursday. But it means I don't have much time to work on the Project Quilting challenge. I promised myself that I would only participate if I can make something very quick and simple. Before I saw the challenge, I was thinking about an Artist Trading Card (ATC).

Then the Project Quilting challenge for this week was announced. Sew Not a Square. I figured that would be easy because it takes extra work to make something a real square. My elephant quilt last time was a very long rectangle. I don't usually dictate the size of my improv quilts. It is the size it wants to be.

Then I remembered that I had already posted the hearts that I made from a scrap sandwich. How cool would it be if I met the challenge before I even knew what it was! I quickly checked the date, and found that I had posted it last week. That doesn't meet the criteria that it has to be made during the challenge week. Bummer.


I dug around on the sewing table. I know I had recently thrown away a bunch of scraps and was hoping I hadn't thrown away the scraps from the hearts. I hadn't. Sometimes being lazy works in my favor.

 I could have made an ATC from these scraps, but I decided to make another heart. That way, I wouldn't have to worry about getting a specific size from the result.

So I cut and "pasted" by sewing scraps together to make a coherent whole.

To the back as well as to the front.


Here is the finished project along with its inspiration.

While I was at it, I made the front legs of Zou the Elephant a little bit longer and added a few other pieces.

It feels strange to call Mended Heart a finished quilt on my list of quilts since it is so small but since it is officially a quilt for the challenge, I have to add it. The other two hearts are incorporated therein and won't get their own finish row even though they were finished on a different date.

Sunday, February 26, 2023

Yet Another New Quilt Start



The busy season at work is about to start soon, so I have to pack in as much fun as I can while I can. I've been wanting to make this quilt as soon as I saw it, and these oranges make me think of the quilt-along with spice names for the color choices, like paprika, turmeric, and saffron. I didn't have time for a quilt-along and didn't want to make a sampler block quilt. I don't have an official name for it, but I am calling it Spicy Stars for now.

I am really enjoying making it so far.


 I took Zoey to a cemetery yesterday for a walk. She tends to react to other dogs and while she needs the training, I wanted to enjoy the walk at a place where I could avoid dogs and people.

2023: 15 Minutes to Stitch Week 8

I think I missed last week's report, and during these two weeks finished the piecing the backing of Boundless.  I started Spicy Stars. I also sandwiched Boundless and cut some more scraps for Unallocated.

15 minute days this week --7 out of 7
15 minute days this year -- 56 out of 56 days
Success rate  = 100%
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Thursday, February 23, 2023

Uses for Fabric Scraps

I wanted to show you a couple of things I have made recently to use the fabric and batting scraps I have.


These hearts are made from the leftover batting strips from  the last quilt I made, Zou. This is the trimmings from the quilt sandwich. I covered the rest of the batting from other scraps and sewed them down, then cut them into shapes and added the rickrack. Pinking shears add a nice decorative edge. They can be used to decorate a holiday tree or a banner, used as prayer flags ,or given out as gifts. There is also a Facebook group called I found a quilted heart, where people leave these types of hearts out as a say to brighten someone's day and people can post the ones they find.

The rest of the batting strips and fabric waste can be used to make these Scrappy Balls. Basically just roll them into balls and decorate. This one is made from scraps of quilts I made earlier this year. It isn't finished, and other people are able to make really cute ones. There is also a Facebook group called Scrappy Balls that show you the pretty decorations people have made. They make great bowl fillers, pin cushions, toys for dogs or children, etc.

 Over the last few years, I have been following the Konmari approach to decluttering. Touch everything and decide whether you want it to live in your home. I have a big house and I am going at a slow pace, one shelf, drawer or box at a time.  I saved the sewing supplies for last because I knew they would be difficult for me. I haven't finished with the basement, but I think I will feel better if I do the sewing space first because it will be more useful to me.

The last few weeks, I have been working in the upstairs sewing storage room, a few minutes at a time. 

Yesterday, I grabbed a small box of fabric scraps and started processing them.  Most of the scraps in this box were things other people would just have thrown away as trash. When I make projects like the ones I showed you earlier in the post, I make them right away. I don't usually keep trash in a box, but I think this box was meant to be trash that was supposed to be thrown away, but I wound up having some usable pieces in it too.

That's what I did with them too, just throw them away. I don't store little fabric or batting snippets because I know that I can get new ones whenever I want.  

I don't like to cut pieces into certain shapes for the future because I always wonder if I might need some other size. What if I need 5 3/8" instead of 5 1/4"?  So what I do is cut for specific scrap quilts. That way, I know that piece has a place to be, and I know exactly what size I need. It is best to cut for scrap quilts you already have in the works. Do as I say, not as I do.


Most of my scrap quilts in process are 1 1/2" pieces and I wanted something that uses bigger pieces. I came across this quilt pattern by Michelle Mckillop called Unallocated. When you put it on point, the light and the dark triangles form lines which looks really good to me. My quilt may not look like hers because I am letting the fabric scraps dictate where they will fit in the quilt based on their size, so although I will have a light and dark triangle per block, the side strips are not all mediums. Hopefully it will work out though. And again because of the size of the fabric, I am not using the same fabric to sash the block. I will try to make it the way she did as much as possible.

I realize this new project just took me farther from my goal, but the year is young.

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Quilt Reveal: Zou

There are a total of 6 challenges for Project Quilting. Usually at this part of the Project Quilting challenges, I participate in fewer of them, so I didn't know how long they last.  I've been doing better this year because I decided to add a challenge to the challenge. Make a quilt you already want to make. That is how I managed the red and white quilt I made last time.

This week, the challenge is to make a quilt that is inspired by a book that I've read. I've been told that twisting the rules is a way to show off my creativity.

The challenge immediately made me think of this elephant. I had watched the Mary Fons video. She had given a link to an Artificial Intelligence website that makes drawings for you. I played with it quite a while and it came up with this drawing of a patchwork elephant. It had five legs, and when I asked it to keep going and complete the drawing, it just added a different elephant made in a different style.

Anyway, making this patchwork elephant is on my list of quilts to make. And I had pink fabric on the table from the pink challenge and I had been using pink fabric for the Dust Off an Old Book blog hop project, so a pink elephant sounded good.

All I had to do was find a book about pink elephants. There were several, but I needed something that as big enough to be a novel and quick to read. Here's the book I found:

It's called Murder of a Pink Elephant by Denise Swanson. I was able to get a digital copy from the library so I could get started reading right away. I spent a lot of time reading it, but then I read the fine print of the quilting challenge, and nowhere did it say I had to actually finish reading the book. I like reading cozy murder mysteries so I will finish it next week. I have a quilt to make.

It turns out that I didn't have a lot of scraps from the Dust Off blog hop because it used pretty much all the jelly roll strips, so I clipped off some fabric before I started piecing the back.

 I cut some small scraps and arranged them on a fusible. I made it in three pieces.

I pressed them down and cut out the shapes. It is always so ugly and scary at this point.

I pieced the background from scraps and placed the elephant on them.

 Sandwiched and quilted. 

Filled in some missing spaces and chose the binding.

I started hand stitching the binding, using a running stitch like I did last time, but for some reason, I had to stitch each stab at a time, so I switched to machine stitching to save time.

I just looked up names for elephants, and found out that the Japanese word for "Elephant" is zou 蔵. I call Zoey, "Zoey Zoo Zoo" sometimes so that sounded like a fun name for this elephant. I present to you, Zou.

2023: 15 Minutes to Stitch Week 7

I worked on Zou this week. I finished the Boundless top and have started piecing the backing.
15 minute days this week --7 out of 7
15 minute days this year -- 49 out of 49 days
Success rate  = 100%
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Sunday, February 12, 2023

Circles and a Brand New Project



I had a productive week working on three quilts. I sewed the latest batch of circles with the last batch(es).

 I had a question about the order I put the circles. It is chronological, but very loosely. I try to put the big circles in a way that will balance with the other big circles in the quilt. That is why the big circle that was not made in this batch but is on the right. The circles on the left were made in previous batch(es) and the ones in the middle were the latest batch. I don't try to make them chronological in each batch. I am allowed to change the circles around if I want to separate certain colors, shapes, etc. 

Generally, I would be making one row at a time, but because of the big circle, I decided to make them by columns. I want to be able to sew these together so that the circles don't get lost. I do have a box to put them in, but putting them together as I go along keeps them in somewhat chronological order.

This is only half a row. I will add more circles as I make more batches before I attach to the mother ship.

 I pressed the Jazzy Blues triangles. I still need to trim them. I will count them after I trim them. I want to make sure that I keep making progress on this quilt.

I've been invited to join the Dust Off an Old Quilt Book Blog Hop which is coming up in March. You can join too. 

I have decided I should get started so I can be ready by my blog hop day. Last time I showed a finished quilt top but it wasn't quilted. I thought about quilting the same project because having that deadline will make progress on it, but I decided that the blog hop readers deserved a new quilt. Hopefully using a jelly roll will make it a quick finish.

2023: 15 Minutes to Stitch Week 6

I had seen these little buttons that you record words so that your dog can communicate with you and I got them about the time I got Zoey. I want better communication with my dog. I have been pushing them and getting her to push them but she hadn't made the connection that she can communicate with me using them.

After my post last week, Zoey pushed the "Love You" button. It might have been an accident, but I gave her attention, scratched her ears and gave her a treat. She went back and pushed it again, and she got the same treatment. I think she made the connection, and she ran to test the "Go outside" button. So I let her out. She has been pushing the "Go outside" button all week and she definitely understands what the buttons mean. The "Love you" button got pushed under some furniture so she didn't use it during the week. I am so proud of her. I have more buttons I can use, but I wanted to make sure I didn't rush it.

I worked on three quilts this week!

15 minute days this week --7 out of 7
15 minute days this year -- 42 out of 42 days
Success rate  = 100%
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