Monthly Archives: December 2009

A walk in the snow

Published / by Mary / 18 Comments on A walk in the snow

We walked downtown early this morning for breakfast – walking in the snow definitely makes me feel more festive. (All of the photos will enlarge if you click on them)

So much for quick and easy

Published / by Mary / 19 Comments on So much for quick and easy

I got all the rail fence blocks made and probably would have had the top finished but just like it’s *parent* quilt, I thought this one might need a pop of red.

I’ve used piping before in between borders or bindings but never in the blocks however I think it was the only way I could get the little sliver of color I wanted in here.


As you can see, it’s going to be a very subtle effect and I’m probably going to regret inserting these when it comes time to quilt.

I started with a strip of red cut 0.75 inches and folded it in half to sew in between the seams.


Cut it into 8.5 inch sections (my unfinished block size)


And I am adding it to the appropriate blocks as I assemble the rows. I’ll only have 3 kind of randomly placed zig-zagging lines running through the top.

Here’s a block ready to be sewn into it’s row. I’m using a narrow 1/8 inch seam to sew the piping on first. Some people might just pin it in between the two blocks and sew but I have better luck sewing it first.


And so, rather than being done with this top, I’m slowly getting it assembled. I hope the red is going to be worth the trouble. You might be able to see it a little better in this final photo by clicking on it to enlarge.


By the way, how many of you use digital photographs to help you *check* your work? See that block in the second to the last row that is not rotated correctly? I might not have caught it until it was too late without the photo.

What a big mess for a little leak

Published / by Mary / 16 Comments on What a big mess for a little leak

I hate textured ceilings … it makes even small repairs complicated.

The contractor was late this morning and didn’t finish (although I had a feeling he wouldn’t get done in one day anyway). So this is what my living room looks like and will look like all weekend and until he finishes Monday.



And of course, the other side of the *curtain* is a mess but at least I can sit in my chair!


But what I need to do is go back upstairs and work on the rail fence blocks.


UFO’s & new projects

Published / by Mary / 10 Comments on UFO’s & new projects

As 2009 comes to a close, I’ve started looking at my database to evaluate my results. I track 5 major areas of my quilting.

  1. Tops quilted
  2. New quilts started
  3. UFO’s finished
  4. Stash used
  5. Quilts donated

For me, not all UFO’s are bad. Finished tops don’t bother me – I know they’ll get done eventually and I see them as a quick source of gift or donation quilts as I can quilt and bind them in a short period of time when they’re *needed*. The danger for me is having half pieced projects, those are the ones that when set aside never seem to get finished so for the last several years I don’t allow myself more than 1 or 2 projects in the piecing stage. Once I finish a top, I allow myself to start something new.

Of the 18 new quilts I’ve started this year:

  • 6 are finished quilts
  • 10 are finished tops
  • # 17 is a hand piecing project (the Applecore started this month) that will be worked on over time
  • #18 was started tonight from leftover strips from #16

And I quilted and finished 6 tops from last year so I consider this another successful year on the UFO front.

What do you track and how did you do with your UFO’s this year?

A leftovers quilt for donation

Published / by Mary / 5 Comments on A leftovers quilt for donation

As usual I cut too many strips so I started thinking about a leftovers quilt to empty to bin out after briefly considering just tossing the strips in the string bin. First I looked at doing another spiderweb.

green-black spiderweb

But then I thought I’m tired of these fabrics and just want some quicker so I think I’ll do a two rail fence.

b-g two rail fence

Of course my version will be scrappier but I’m lazy when I’m working in EQ6 and just use a single fabric where I’m going to use many in the real quilt.

On my Design Wall

Published / by Mary / 3 Comments on On my Design Wall

It was empty Monday so I didn’t show it to you but I got up at 2AM and after piecing my batting leftovers, I put this Boxed Squares back on the design wall.

When I put this away, I had assembled a section as large as my design wall 72 x 72 and I needed to add an additional 3 rows.


I finished the additional 36 blocks I needed.


I’ve already sewn these rows together and the top is done but I need to wait until it’s light outside to take a photo of the full top.

Originally I was going to add borders to make this bed size for Adam but since he’s chosen to have the other quilt as a wedding quilt, I’m going to stop at this point with the top being 72 x 90.

Piecing batting by machine

Published / by Mary / 7 Comments on Piecing batting by machine

Piecing batting is one of my least favorite things to do but I’m frugal enough that I do it. Sometimes I grab a couple larger sections and piece these by hand downstairs in the longarm room but when I’m going to piece multiple battings, it’s quickest to do them by machine.


I start with reasonably straight edges and setting my machine on the widest zig-zag possible, I feed two pieces through stopping frequently to adjust them so I don’t stretch them out of shape.


You might need to click on this next photo to see the seam.


Here I’m adding a 3rd piece and notice I always sew with the narrowest piece under the arm of the machine.


In just about an hour and a half, I’ve got 5 battings pieced – all of them 74-80 inches long. You can see the the top batting is thinner — that’s pieced from Warm and Natural.  When I’m piecing, I do make sure I piece the same type of batting together. The bottom four are Hobbs 80/20 which is the batting I use most frequently.


I tend to buy my batting on the roll rather than by the package and I think that makes it easier to use almost every bit of it. For those of you doing charity quilts you might want to check with some longarm quilters in your area to see if they’d be willing to save batting leftovers for you.

Keith is finally home

Published / by Mary / 8 Comments on Keith is finally home

It’s been a long, long few weeks and I’m happy that he won’t be traveling again before Christmas. He didn’t get the Christmas lights put up outside on the deck yet and I’m wondering at this point is it worth doing. We don’t have a tree up either and we’re leaving on the 28th to see the boys.

At least the neighborhood looks festive since others have put up lights.


I told you my memory was bad

Published / by Mary / 8 Comments on I told you my memory was bad

One of the instruction sheets on my site was recreated from memory because I’d lost the photos I had of this quilt which I made in 2001. I was very surprised to come across my photo on a group site where I’d posted it back then and to see I hadn’t remember the quilt as well as I thought I had.

The original quilt


My design 6+ years later – I’m shocked that those stars are friendship stars rather than sawtooth stars and I didn’t remember putting the star border on the bottom either (but I can understand not remembering which order I placed the colors in the rails). I was also surprised to read that I was  sharing the instructions for quilts I’d created myself that long ago.


The instructions for the Patriotic Rail Fence quilt are on my site.

I quilted today

Published / by Mary / 9 Comments on I quilted today

It’s been about 2 weeks since I quilted anything — where does the time go?

This top was pieced by Tamera and sent to me to quilt and donate as a part of our HeartStrings project.DSC_9370

It’s quilted with the pantograph WildFlower by Willow Leaf Studio and I’m not sure I’m that crazy about it. It’s the first time I used it and it’s a little slow quilting on the flowers – short sections with frequent changes in direction.

It looks better close up than in the above photo I think.


And here’s a portion of the back. All the photos will enlarge some if you click on them.


Do you send Christmas cards?

Published / by Mary / 8 Comments on Do you send Christmas cards?

Some years I do and some I don’t. This year the only ones I’m sending are these 6 postcards to the family members who do the monthly postcard exchange with me.


And when I walked out just now to put them in the mailbox it was snowing again! They’re calling for another 2-4 inches tonight and tomorrow.

Other than finishing the postcards the only other quilty thing I’ve done today is to piece a backing for a donated quilt. If I finish up on the computer and still feel motivated, I might just get a top loaded on the longarm before going to bed.

I was excited today to read the newest prompt for my Journal Your Christmas class and another one of my pages from last year was used as an example. It doesn’t take much to make me happy sometimes! Now I need to go do my pages from yesterday and today.

Journal your Christmas - dec 13 - 09

Playing with buttons

Published / by Mary / 10 Comments on Playing with buttons

I’d set aside the selvages when I cut out my Applecore quilt to use for postcards and started sewing them today. I thought they needed a little something so I went playing in my buttons. The ones in this bag were mostly red and green and I’d forgotten I’d bought them last year after Christmas but they’re just what I wanted tonight.


They may not be the most artistic postcards you’ve seen but I’m having fun.


I’ve got more to button up and then I’ll have to back them and finish the edges.


Published / by Mary / 6 Comments on Working…

I’m puttering around assembling the HeartStrings top, hand piecing the Applecore blocks, reading, and setting up and meeting with a couple contractors to repair the ceiling.

I’ve got some postcards to make for our family exchange and quilts to get washed so I can get them donated but I don’t have many goals for this month and am working at a very relaxed pace.

I’m reading the new Sue Grafton book — U is for Undertow.