Friday, May 28, 2010


I have stashbusted myself into a corner. Or made a stupid mommy-mistake. Either way, it leaves me with the same problem to solve.

My five year old needs a green quilt. He doesn't know he needs a green quilt, but since everything else in that little boy's life MUST be green, and I'm feeling a little guilty about getting rid of the one totally green quilt I've made, the Weed Whacker.

In my defense, I hadn't fully come to appreciate the importance of green when I traded the quilt for some DVDs, I really really wanted those DVDs, and my machine quilting was such a disaster that every time I got near that quilt I wanted to reach for the seam ripper. Sending it to live 7000 miles away seemed like the best idea at the time. (Although I hear that since then it's changed owners and may wind up back in this country.)

Quinn has never missed the green quilt. I've never missed it. I still don't. It's just that I've been snuggled up under the blue bargello and thinking about how neat it would be to make a green one for his bed and I realized that I used most of my favorite greens in the Weed Whacker. I've been using up my other greens in the baby quilts. And he can't have the green that I'm saving for a pink and green scrap quilt for myself...

Guess it's time to dig through my stash and see what I can actually come up with.

Friday, May 21, 2010


This is a new quilt and I've already posted about it a lot, but it's my newest favorite so here's my double Irish chain with Sawtooth Stars again, this time as my entry to the Blogger's Quilt Festival.

I love these scrappy two color quilts.

I've decided to name this one "38" because it turned out to be my birthday present to myself. My husband had been called in to work a long overtime shift on my birthday and instead of sulking or going to do something alone with the kids, I settled in and worked on a new project.

(Bill had already given me my fantastic quilty presents the night before, and we went out for dinner later, so everything worked out just fine.)

Especially the quilt. I'd fallen in love with a picture of an antique quilt in a libraray book. There wasn't a pattern, so I had to draft it myself, leaving out the applique border. There are twenty-four stars, each a different dark blue print, and the chains are scrappy.

I backed it with a thrift store sheet that I'd splurged on a couple of weeks earlier because even though I didn't know what I was going to use it for, I loved the stripes and the texture. And I quilted it with free motion spirals, a technique that I'd just figured out on some of the little baby quilts.

I'm wish I'd kept track of which day I got the math figured out and started cutting fabric, but it was right before my birthday on March 26th and I had the whole thing qulted and was shopping for binding on the 31st. That's got to be one of my fastest quilts ever!

My first Blogger's Quilt Festival Post

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

something special

I've got a new goal that I've been playing with for a while now, but not actually committed to.

More days than not, I want to do something more than just getting us through the day, whether that's quilting or knitting, an art project or special game with the kids, or taking them for a walk, or making cookies. Something.

I do already do those things, but I want to do more of them.

So today I read the littlest guys my favorite Dr. Seuss story from when I was little. Our copy went missing a long time ago and I had never gotten around to reserving it from the library until this week.

And because I couldn't get motivated to work on any of my current projects, I started a Buttercup Bag. I fell in love with the fabric at Walmart last week and bought a yard for two bucks, and the lining was marked down to a dollar a yard, so I've got a grand total of seventy-five cents invested in this project.

It would be done, but I'm going to stop at Joann's tomorrow and see how much a magnetic snap will cost. Far more than the rest of the project, which makes me a little nuts...but if I add the snap, I'll actually have a chance of using it. And it's too cute not to use.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The blocks for my latest baby quilt are still sitting next to my sewing machine... Strawberry Fields has started to slip off of my new little design board... I've still got those eight hundred and some inches of binding to hand sew...

I had hours to work on my projects today, but I am not motivated. Maybe taking the kids to play at the coast yesterday drained all of my energy for the week.

Not that the day was a total loss. I've done laundry and dishes and made sure the kids did their schoolwork, and set up the Wii so that we can use it to watch Netflix. And I've got a pot of white chicken chili simmering for dinner. I've followed links from sewmamasew and entered a ton of giveaways for fabric and quilty goodies.

And I've learned things. Did you know you could reupholster a shoe? If I had extra shoes that fit, I might be tempted to try it.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

still dreaming of strawberries

Strawberry Fields is another one of those quilts I plunged into without really looking at the instructions to see what I'd have to do. Not a bad thing in this case, since I think those little pieced two inch squares might have scared me away. They aren't hard at all, just a little fiddly.

Two evenings of work, and I've only got four more blocks to choose fabric for and piece. I cut out my setting triangles already because I'm choosing everything else to go with this red floral and if I actually cut it up, I couldn't get side tracked and not finish the quilt.

My mother's day splurge came yesterday, two Moda scrap bags from Fat Quarter Shop. I love the gorgeous colors. The blue and yellow strips are going to be a lasagna quilt, and I'm sure I can come up with something fun to do with the other set.

Bill's first words when I showed him what Mom sent home with us yesterday were "Don't burn down the house." (Mom had already warned me not to let it fall off of the table and give one of the kids a concussion -- she didn't think I'd actually dare to plug it in because of the cord.)

I am so determined to use this thing! The cord isn't the slightest bit frayed and I promise not to turn my back on it.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Strawberry Fields

I want to make Strawberry Fields. Actually, I wanted to make Cheddar Cheese and Crackers and even went and bought the yellow solid, but then I got distracted by Strawberry Fields.

And there's no reason I can't make both.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Time for the Binding

I got all the binding for the newest baby quilts cut and machine sewn yesterday and, counting the binding for my own courthouse steps quilt, I've got 864 inches to hand stitch. That's after subtracting the one I finished today.

If I quilt the Irish chain that I pin basted this morning, and cut binding for the other baby quilt I got quilted today, the total is going to be more like 1200 inches.


While we were cleaning up the enclosed porch so that the repair guy will be able to pull the washer out of its spot and work on it, Alex found a big box of sewing stuff that I swear I've never seen in my life. Near the top was a yard of unspectacular pink and white striped flannel.

So of course I made a front to go with the potential back --

Instead of batting, I layered it with white flannel (also from the mystery box) and used my walking foot to quilt diagonal lines. I really love how soft this little thing came out.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

I brake for garage sales!

Sometimes. If I'm not in a big hurry and there's a decent place to park and what I can see from the road looks promising.

I almost always stop for estate sales. That's how I wound up buying a sewing machine on the way to my sister's baby shower a couple of weeks ago.

We were headed to the casino for lunch yesterday when Alex and I saw another sign for the same house. Bill doubled back and parked in some loose gravel I never would've had the guts to take the van into, and hiked up the road with four kids in tow.

They hadn't unearthed any more sewing stuff, but Alex found half a dozen pairs of old screw back earrings, and I found some pairs for myself. (Did I post that we found my missing diamond earrings? And that I re pierced my own ears so I can wear them again?)

And I found a nifty pair of scissors --

Maybe it's the homeschooling mom in me, but what's with the "official school system design for smooth safe cutting" -- is that supposed to be a selling point?

We went and had a fantastic lunch and on the way home I saw the barn sale sign. We don't brake for barn sales. We drive five miles farther down the highway to find a safe place to turn around and then double back and drive as long as it takes to find the barn in question.

From the road, there was nothing to see, just a huge piece of orange fleece that had been spray painted BARN SALE and nailed to the side of the barn. Inside, there was all kinds of stuff.

I found a little wooden loom, and a pretty sparkly candy dish, and a prettier sparklier fairy light candle holder, and some very very old school books for twenty five cents each --

The one with the mermaid is copyright 1915, and the speller in the corner is copyright 1907 by the people of the state of California (huh?) I've got a science workbook from 1933 and another reader from 1911...and none of them smell a bit musty. I didn't realize how old they were until we got home last night -- now I'm wishing I would've dug a little deeper into those boxes.

I also found this one from 1948, "Covering the gamut of personal relationships from first date to last baby"

And there was a huge rubbermaid tub of sheets for five dollars, which I told Bill he had to buy for me and I'd explain later. I'd rummaged through just enough to see that there were lots of white sheets and quite a few vintage sheets, more than enough to be worth the five bucks. Surprisingly, Bill didn't ask questions.

When we got it home, I did an inventory. Eight white sheets, some of them with rips I'll have to work around, but it looks like I've got a ton of white squares-to-be here. Ten vintage sheets. Nine more newer sheets.

And what I thought was a set of lavender sheets was yardage -- twelve yards of nice cotton -- that's like a bolt of Kona! I have no clue what I'm going to do with that much lavender, but I'll figure it out.

I should not have been at all surprised that when I put the first batch of sheets into the washer, it gushed water on them and then refused to lock. What does suprise me is my newfound knowledge that Whirlpool was, according to the repair guy I talked to last night "handing out replacement washers like they were candy" two years ago. Wish I'd known that while they were stringing me along until my warranty ran out!

Turns out that if you unplug it for an hour, it resets something and tricks the door latch into working. Please cross your fingers that this trick will work long enough for me to get caught up on laundry!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

wool felt and rocking chairs

The little inner voices told me to leave the house early yesterday so we could stop at the thrift stores. I wasn't in the mood for more sheets, but I called Grandma and asked her if she wanted to meet the kids and I for lunch and run around a bit.

The voice knew what it was talking about. At the second store, I found a HUGE bag of "wool scraps for quilting" for $3.75. Lots of different shades of Green and brown and red and plaid...

I can't even guess at how many yards there are here. The bag's got to weigh at least ten pounds, and the pieces are big. Some is yardage, some is cut from clothing.

Wool felt is one of those things I've been drawn to but haven't tried because it's kind of pricey. I've felted a few pieces of wool clothing, and made myself a holder for my dpns out of an old Pendleton shirt, but that's about it.

And suddenly I've got so much wool I barely know what I'm going to do with it! So I'm reading blogs and looking for ideas, because that's easier than digging through my collection of quilting magazines to find the patterns I know are there.

I've already run three loads through the washer, and I've got several more to go because I'm sorting it by color to avoid tragedy. But I really should do the actual laundry, which won't be sorted nearly as carefully.

I'm thinking one of my first projects should be an owl bookmark.

I also need to make a thread catcher. I didn't know it until I saw Beth's and followed her link back to Bonnie's. But I need one. Somewhere I've got a huge bag of Bill's torn work jeans, but I don't know if it's in the attic or shop or barn of if I got rid of them in a fit of sanity.

I'd called Alex over to look at this make your own hankies tutorial (we've been using old cloth diapers, which there are only a few of) and she asked when I was going to do something with all the old jeans in her room. Her old jeans have glittery embroidery on the cuffs, so I can make a really cute thread catcher. Or six.

I also want to find a pattern for this H block quilt. Since it's so neat looking and I've got a kid whose name start with H.

Oh, and I got so distracted by the wool that I almost forgot the rocking chair! There's a junk store that we drive past every time we go to town. Most of their inventory sits out in the rain, occasionally covered with a few tarps. For months, they had a couple of old wooden rockers. I'd drive by and think about how much I wanted a wooden rocker to sit and weather on my porch and look picturesque, but I never stopped to see how much the guy wanted for them.

And then they were gone and that was that.

The thrift store had an old, unpainted wooden rocker marked down to ten bucks. So as soon as Grandpa's done doing some minor first aid, I've got my porch rocker.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

I guess the next logical step after a piecing binge is a quilting binge. I got the three new baby quilts pin basted last night and two of them quilted.

Nothing exciting, just the mindless meandering that I can slip into without really thinking too hard.

There are so many great fabrics in the yellow quilt, all hand-me-down scraps, so it was literally all I had of them. I really wish this one was big enough to snuggle up under.

It'll probably hang around on the quilt ladder for a while, until I'm ready to let it go. I've done that with several of the baby quilts that I didn't want to give up. First it was the red one with the swirling quilting, then the blue and white one. And now that I've made myself a blue and white quilt with swirly quilting, I don't feel so attached to the little ones anymore.

The next step will be a binding binge, but that dosn't sound quite so much fun, does it?

Monday, May 03, 2010

I spent last night with my box of 2 1/2" squares.

First, I finished the chain blocks to go with those scrappy sawtooth stars.

For no reason I could put my finger on, I had to force myself to finish them. The blocks for my birthday quilt, which this is a repeat of, were a lot more fun. Maybe that's the problem -- I've already done this quilt and wasn't in the mood to do it again.

Once those were done and assembled, I started something new. This one was fun -- at 2am, I had to force myself to go to bed and leave the last two borders until morning. Then I laid awake thinking about the borders, so it might've been better if I'd just stayed up and finished the whole thing. I was trying to be good!

Now I'm working on that new block from Quiltville I posted about yesterday. Those go together quickly, I've just got to cut some more strips.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

The cats are together!

I'm not sure I'm happy with the size of the quilt, or which machine I'm going to quilt it on, but I'm trying to step back and be happy I've made it this far.

I do, through one of Grandma's miracles, actually have an eight yard length of dark floral that will be more than enough for backing and binding. Who gets rid of this stuff?! And how is Grandma always in the right place to find it? It's been sitting my stash for a couple of years now, waiting for just the right project.

The cats might be it.

Today's inspiration:

Except for that little Christmas scene I started and forgot, I haven't cross stitched in several years, but the samplers at Time to Stitch might be what gets me going again. And if they aren't cute enough, there are the little applique quilt patterns.

I was tempted by the new block Bonnie has in Quiltmaker, but after seeing the quilt Beth has going, I've got to start one of my own.

And these little embroidered wigs at So September are making me wish I hadn't messed up the password on our Paypal account. I really should do some embroidery before I go buying patterns for it. Maybe fireflies in a jar?

Saturday, May 01, 2010

One of these days, I'm going to learn to write my blog posts in another program. Yesterday's was all typed out and just the way I wanted it -- until I hit "publish post" and Blogger suddenly decided to shoot me to the log in screen. I'll try to recreate it later, but today I've got other things on my mind.

Some of the gals at Stashbuster are retreating this weekend and since Bill has to work both days, I decided to publicly announce some goals and plunge in myself.

Goal #1, the big one, is to get the floral 42 cat blocks sashed and assembled into a top. I've been putting that off because it's big, because I've got too much time and emotion invested in this quilt to just randomly throw the blocks together, because I'm afraid of how huge this thing is going to be, because I couldn't remember where I'd put the muslin for the sashing....

Now that it's all pinned together and ready to go, I'm stressing about what I'm going to back it with (solid yardage in the same sort of dark floral as I used for the cats, or pieced from several dark florals?) and if I'm going to do it on the longarm or the Janome.

Until recently, I was happy enough to get a top done and let it sit for months (or a year) until I got time on the longarm. Now that I know I can do them at home, I'm impatient.

The rest of my goals for the weekend keep shifting. I want to pin baste the blue and yellow string quilt, pin baste the brown Irish chain, get the binding machine sewn onto the two new baby quilts, maybe finish the scrappy sawtooth stars...

Guess we'll see how much energy and motivation I can maintain!


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