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Monday, November 23, 2015

A Little Distraction

I wanted to get a second cat after I felt Buster had adjusted to living here. It took him a while, but about 2 weeks ago, after more than 3 months here he finally started sleeping on the bed during the day without us. I thought that said something. So about 10 days ago we brought another cat home so now Buster has a brother. We're calling him Rudy. He's supposedly 2 years old but plays like he's only 6 months. Buster got bent out of shape for a while but he's pretty much accepted him now.
I wasn't really looking for a distraction from a new cat. I was looking forward to some serious sewing time. This weekend's storm dropped about 10" of snow, a little more than the guys wanted to see for opening weekend of the gun deer hunt. Usually when we expect snow I plan to do a bunch of sewing. I know I will have long stretches of time alone when Mark goes out to clear the 5 driveways he always does.  And it used to be the guys would head to the north woods for a weekend of deer hunting. I was looking forward to that when he retired. It hasn't happened yet cause they don't go north anymore. All this means is that I haven't been able to sew like I expected. But maybe that's a good thing, since I got a bit of a sore back with all the sewing that I did do.

I am actively working on 3 different projects. The blue and gray 2 block quilt I plan to finish putting together at Studio 3 so I didn't work on that one. I'm also working on a Christmas Tree table topper. That was a Studio 3 project I can finish there as well. At home this weekend I decided to work on a quilt with using the Album block.

  If you recall, I made a sample block about 2 years ago and decided against doing a whole quilt with the block. I couldn't stand constructing
the thing with those weird diagonal rows of patches. Silly me. That is not the easy way to construct it. One day it came to me that it would be far easier to make the 9 patch in the center and then construct 4 identical corner units to surround the 9 patch. So much better.

I made 25 blocks and  didn't want to stop. Considered making 2 quilts. Whoa. What would I do with a second quilt using the same blocks???  So I stopped to consider how I was going to set the blocks.  Here's a few.
 It's Design Wall Monday at Judy's.
See me there.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Float Your Star Points

The next raffle quilt for church will use this 8 pointed star variation.
 I call Catchfly.  I've modified it a bit so the star points float. This will allow us to trim all the blocks to the same size before joining them together. We won't lose our points and there is an added bonus of less bulk in the seam allowance. We all like that. Make yours either 9" or 12".

             Block finishes 9" x 9"

      From the light star fabric, cut:

1 center square
3 1/2" and
4 rectangles, 2 1/2" x 4 1/4".
Place pairs of rectangles Wrong Sides Together,
and cut once diagonally to make 8 triangles.

  From the medium or dark background fabric, cut:

4 equilateral triangles 4" tall (see below)
and 4 corner squares 3 1/2"

      You can use any 60 degree triangle ruler or your usual ruler with a 60 degree line on it.  Place the 60 degree line of your ruler on the long edge of your fabric strip and make the first cut.

   Rotate the ruler and place the 60 degree line of your ruler on the angled cut. You will see an equilateral triangle under the ruler. Cut your first triangle.  Rotate your ruler between these two positions to cut the 4 triangles.

Sew the star point triangles to the background triangles, matching the angles at the top center of the unit. It doesn't matter which side you sew on first, which piece is on top or which end you start sewing from. You will need to press the first one back before you add the second triangle.

Square up these units next. Center the unit in the square by placing the 1 3/4" line on your ruler at the points where the two seams meet. Trim away the excess. Be sure not to trim off the seam allowance at the top.

 Rotate the unit and measure a 3 1/2" square. Trim away the excess.

 The units are ready to go in the blocks. Join with the squares in rows, pressing seams toward the squares. Sew the rows together and press.

For a 12" finished block, cut
background equilateral triangles 5" tall and  corner squares 4 1/2"
star center 4 1/2" and star points from 3" x 5 1/4" rectangles cut once diagonally WST.
Trim the units to 4 1/2" square.

 Here you can see how the points of the star meet at the edge of the block when using the Tri/Recs tools. The floating points in the star made with this method will finish 1/2" from the raw edge of the block.

 I call the units in this block Sixtysomething units, since there are three 60 degree angles that come together at the top of the unit. Check out my Thirtysomething Block Book to see more quilt designs using 30 and 60 degree angles in square patchwork blocks.

It's cold outside. Time to join some linky blog parties and quilt. Let's check out Judy's first.


Saturday, October 24, 2015

Bloggers Quilt Festival

Amy's hosting her semi-annual online quilt festival again. I've participated in the past but since I've gone to Quilt Market a few times in recent years I was too busy to join in the fun. I like this kind of show - where you don't have to ship or haul your quilts anywhere. There's prizes too, though they don't interest me! Not quite as good as a real show of course but still fun. The rules state the quilt must be completed in the last year. At least that is what I am going  with.

 I pieced Grape Salad a while ago, put it in my last book but didn't quilt it till this spring.

This one's in the original design category.  I could probably put near all mine in that category. I've combined two kinda traditional blocks but adapted them to my Thirtysomething technique. I love two block quilt designs.

Quilted on my longarm. I don't like heavy quilting, gorgeous as it is. I think the quilts are softer with less quilting. That's my excuse for not doing it anyway.

You are invited to browse my blog more of course. And likewise, I will browse yours.Thanks for visiting.

Monday, October 19, 2015

In the Groove

It's been feeling real good to do some sewing. I don't feel like I am getting very far though. But since there is no hurry that's ok. I have about half the blocks done for my latest. I'm only showing what fits on the wall at Studio 3 here. I'm going to need a name for this thing. Any suggestions?

I also dug into my drawer of Civil War prints. OOhhhh that felt good. No concrete plans yet but they're formulating.

I've also finalized plans for our next raffle quilt. I will share the plans later but for now I'll just say it will be blue and cream and use this star pattern. I had the gals at Studio 3 try out my directions. I've chosen this star cause the way I make 'em the points float so we can trim the blocks to all the same size if needed. And since as many as a dozen ladies may make the stars there's a good chance we will need to do some trimming

Tomorrow is quilting at church. Our local nursing home has asked us for muffs for the residents hands. We love the idea. Basically all we need to do is make a little quilt lined with fleece and sew it into a tube. Okay, just not in that order.  I wouldn't be surprised if we make a few extra for ourselves!

Time to join the linky party at Judy's. Guess I will be blogging for a while.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Done enough

Once again I have a quilt top done except for the final border. I started this last spring but since the colors suggest autumn I lost interest in working on it. I finally attached the pieced border about 3 weeks ago. I left it at Studio 3 and since I don't have a big flannel wall there I haven't taken the picture till I brought it home. It was a struggle for me to use the big prints in these blocks. I am still uncomfortable with it. Anyone want to buy a quilt top? it's 78" square right now. Make me an offer.

The project I posted about last time is now at Studio 3 so I will work on that occasionally when I am there.  I have a pile of them there so when the mood strikes I can take my pick. That means there is nothing in progress here at home. Lots of ideas spin through my head and where it will stop no one knows. I want to put something on the frame downstairs too.

 Our church fall festival was this last weekend. We put out most of our quilts and managed to sell about a dozen for a pittance. Better than for nothing I am told. I have half a dozen tops here for church that I will consider quilting before I do more of mine. Once it gets good and cold outside .  .  .
Hmmm. Monday. Let's go check out the quilts at Judy's Linky Party.

Monday, September 28, 2015

No Excuses

I suppose summer is officially over. We've had a beautiful fall so far and I am outside enjoying it as much as I can. We are supposed to get rain this week so maybe I will have a chance to catch up in the sewing room. Does that sound like an excuse?

I've been working on a new tool/ruler I'm calling the 3 in 1 Tool. With it you can cut triangles, trapezoids and squares like you see in this block. It should be ready for Market next month.  I won't be doing a book to go with it. It's really a pretty basic tool and I think an improvement over what is currently available. You should be able to get it from me or through QuiltersRule.com the manufacturer.

Occasionally I sew at home. A few weeks ago I started a new 2 block quilt. I've only got 9 of the 49 blocks done. Yes it will be bed size.

And this just hints at the effect I will get when I add the second block. All design decisions have not been made yet. I may have to adjust my plans if I don't have all the fabric I need. I don't want to be buying more if I don't need to.

I am getting anxious to sew in the cellar a.k.a. quilting in Studio 2. I don't really enjoy the basement when I can be outside. It's not like I am looking forward to snow but that is when I enjoy using the longarm down there the most. Ever feel like life is too short?

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Good Intentions

Hi everyone, This last month we've had a few hot days and a few unseasonably cool days and some rainy days. Those days were ideal for quilting. And yes I've done a little so I imagine I didn't post about it here because I am out of practice.

I started this last winter if you don't count making up the kit. I did that last year. I don't know what it is called, Stack and Slash or something like that.  I wanted one of those no-brainers to work on when socializing. It stalled when I cut a piece wrong. It would take some thought to decide how to fix my error. I needed to rummage through my scraps because I didn't want to introduce a new piece. I don't intend to border it.

I've realized that going back between here and Studio 3 slows me down a bit. I don't have the big flannel wall over there. Nor do I have my stash. So any time I need either one, work ceases till I get a chance to work here. Good thing it really doesn't matter.

 Since fall is right around the corner the sun will be setting earlier in the evening so I intend to do more quilting in the evenings. I am hoping to get caught up on the comfort quilts I volunteered to quilt. I've also got another big quilt planned. I can share those plans in the next few weeks.

I have been doing a little blogging again lately so I will link this to Judy's linky party on Monday.
And Quilting is More Fun than Houswork.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Quilting in August

Since Mother Nature turned up the heat I went to Studio 2 and did a bit of quilting. Finally. The quilt tops are piling up. Not just mine but comfort quilts from the church ladies.  I've been making sampler blocks at Studio 3 for a while now and finally have SOME of them together in quilt tops. I am not even sure who put them together. I made about half of these blocks and I likely won't do all the quilting.

I still have as many blocks to put into tops. Some are already in specific piles and waiting for my attention and others don't play as well together. So I will focus on making sampler blocks to go with those. Then I am about ready to say "enough" with the sampler blocks and start something that requires more thought and planning.

A discussion we had at quilting last week was about what size quilts we should make. Apparently it doesn't matter. We've gotten measurements from the different charities and though each one has their preference, all sizes were requested. Good to know. Many of the ladies find it difficult to quilt anything bigger than a lap quilt on their own machine.

So yes, I am still quilting and looking forward to cooler "indoor" days when I know I will be back at the machine even more than I have been.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Just Do it

So I'm thinking about what I gotta do and what I wanna do. Then I stall and nothing gets done. I've been back since Sunday from a wonderful trip to Quilt Nebraska in Norfolk and can now make the time to organize and prioritize my quilting. It's not really a "got to" kinda thing but I do think I should. I've got piles of this, that, there, his, mine, theirs and miscellaneous and who knows what else.  So I straightened some piles and pretty soon I am going to get something done. Perhaps tomorrow at Studio3. I've uncovered these 3 recent projects. It is not like me to abandon them the way I did. I do have PHD's but they usually become that way because I don't know what I want to do about them next. Two of these I simply lost interest in. The third I've recently begun and just haven't gotten back to.

I don't wonder where my mojo's gone. I've been gone on several trips this summer and when I am home I'd rather be outside. Now that it is too hot I am back indoors so with any luck I should be back in the groove in no time. Besides I want to get a few of the comfort quilts from church quilted up before our festival. It helps me to have a reason.

Sunday on the way home from the airport we detoured by my sister-in-law's place to say goodbye to a nephew and his family leaving for a job in Texas. They were thrilled when I said I would take their cat. No need to think about it. It has been almost 2 years since we've had a cat leaving it's fur all over my quilts. So Buster is ours now. He is a bit neurotic. I can only hope with time he will relax and be happy here. He comes from a home with one dog and two young children. Quite a contrast to our place. Isn't he handsome?

Monday, July 6, 2015

One month later

   Wow, it's been a whole month. I didn't think I'd write much this last month since I was gone to California for 10 days and otherwise across the street.
Quilting has definitely been put on the back burner temporarily. I have even missed meetings at church. I am hoping to get things back on track re: my quilting starting with the comfort quilts. We have a meeting tomorrow so I will prepare for that later today.

  It is supposed to be hot and humid today so I will retreat to my sewing room later but only after I finish the three passes left with the long arm on the raffle quilt.  Only a few classes at Studio 3 have been cancelled cause I was gone and the holiday was in there.  So see, I have been doing some quilting.
  Re: quilting, the rest of this summer I want to focus on making comfort tops with the ever-growing pile of orphan blocks. Here is just a few more from the stack that I am auditioning. I will collect the rest from Studio 3 and sort through them. Perhaps even preparing a kit and passing it on to the gals at church.

    Our trip to California was fantastic. After flying overhead all these years I decided to take a slower route to see the scenery. I'd wanted to see the giant Sequoias since I first learned about them as a girl and never had the opportunity when I'd gone west to teach. I told Mark we could wait till he retired, so finally we went. I didn't want to drive there (we are in SE Wisconsin) and I didn't want to fly so we took the train. I really enjoyed it.  We took the train as far as Reno then rented a car and drove down the East side of the Sierra's to Yosemite Park. Then we drove through Yosemite and south to Kings Canyon  and Sequoia Parks. I never thought to fly back from there so we reversed the route and took the train back home. It is indeed a beautiful country and the trees are really awesome.  So glad we went. I won't share pictures cause really all you need to do is google images of the trees or parks.

     And as it is summer I've been outside. I've taken to calling my restoration project across the street my 18 acre garden. We are not doing a complete restoration but the removal of all the invasives still  qualifies it as a restoration. Between 11 acres of woods and 7 acres of the wetland we have our work cut out for ourselves. Some days we do nothing and others finds us "weeding" as we cut and/or poison the most invasive non-native species. I am continually amazed at all the wildflowers I keep finding. Though I am sure they have been there all along, because of our work we now have access to them and they can thrive and be enjoyed. This patch of Canadian Anemone was actually found growing along side the road a few miles from here. A huge patch that would fill my house, that we'd never noticed before.

Monday, June 1, 2015

One Less Pile

We had some rain over the weekend and I got a chance to sit down to sew. This has been cut out since the end of March. It felt good to sew again. Tomorrow I will turn it in to quilting at church and show the gal that made the centers of the blocks. It would be nice if the colors were better in the photo. Try double clicking the photo to see a close-up.b The top of the photo is closer to true color.

I missed the last meeting at church cause I was busy filling orders from quilt  market. I wonder what the ladies did without me. We always have lots of stuff in progress. I think we are about done with our 9-patch project where we made a bunch of scrappy 9-patches and then set them various ways in about 8 different quilts that didn't require triangles.  I am sure we used the same pattern a few times - like the snowball. We all like that one.  I think with the 9-patch project done we will move on to crumb quilts next.

I've also been wondering what I ought to work on next at home. Usually if I clean out the closet something turns me on. But there are lot of piles that should go in the closet so I will just clean the sewing room and see what I find. Probably not till next time it rains as I am still digging and pulling weeds. It's like a habit. I go through lots of garden gloves.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Sew Many Piles

No, I didn't fall off the face of the earth, or fall into a black hole. I've been deep in the woods. It's just been so awesome since we cleaned out the prickly ash and buckthorn. And the deer did not eat the flowers this year! I just love being out there and sometimes think of taking some sewing with me. Handwork, of course. Pack a lunch and enjoy. We don't have any benches or chairs out there, but a big old oak laid down right along side the path at the very top of the hill. We always take a break from our hike or work there, but not for long. A cushion is in order if I intend to stay and sew. This time of year we are pulling garlic mustard. Most areas are looking pretty good. We just might get it under control yet.

The work is piling up at home. No reason to count. It might motivate or inspire you, but not me. I don't want to know the number. A list would be more useful to me, but I'm not even doing that these days.  High on the to do list is quilting the next church raffle quilt and samples for class at Studio 3.  Attendance has been a little spotty, by myself as well, as many of us are always on the go.

I have one trip out of the way and that was to Quilt Market in Minneapolis. If you saw my facebook post, you saw that on the way home we stopped at the guys hunting property midway between here and Mpls and went for a 1 1/2 hours walk in the woods picking up nearly 50 mostly wood ticks on the way! Anybody want to buy some hunting land in the middle of Wisconsin???

Quilt Market was great. I didn't think I would like being in the first of 24 aisles, but it didn't seem to matter. Lots of interest in my Thirtysomething technique and new Block Book. I sold out of my stock of Square Up tools and have more on order. Lots of the shops were interested in taking it for demos at their shop hops this summer. There has been lots of orders too on my website since I added  Paypal Buy It Now buttons. Who has time to quilt? And did I mention that I have a special going on now when you buy both the Block Book and Square Up you save $4.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Busy May

April was busy and May will be busier.  I've been working outside tending the wildflowers.  The flowers and grasses are continuing to sprout in the savanah we burned a month ago The first flowers to bloom after the burn are the wood anemones and violets.  They are scattered all over the place.

 They aren't very showy, but hardly show up at all if you don't burn cause they are lost in the leaf litter otherwise. Right in the center of this bitty patch is a shooting star sending up it's flower stalk. I sure hope the dear don't devour them this year like they did last year. The state flower of Wisconsin is the violets and we have a bunch. 5 different colors actually. I tried to get a picture of them, but it's pretty blurry. I'll try again. We have white, red-violet, blue-violet and another shade of blue-violet and even yellow. Too bad they are so small; even smaller than the anemones.

I've done a bit of sewing, mostly in preparation for Quilt Market. I quilted another top and have another on the frame now. Two bindings also were done with one to go. That's the one on the frame now. Market has been on my mind lots and my sewing room looks like it. Some of the quilts are heaped in a pile on the floor. You will notice they aren't folded. I try to avoid folding cause I really don't like those permanent creases that can develop on the fold lines.

Things have also been busy at Studio 3. Five new gals have joined the rest of us. Only one of them is a real novice. The others just want to "Learn the right way". They are all real nice and I am looking forward to getting to know them and teaching them things like how to turn the rotary cutter on and off. If I don't write again this month you will know what I am doing.

Thursday, April 16, 2015


I was glad to go to Studio 3 for quilting this morning. I took the last quilt I did that needed binding. I got  3 sides done, but I ran short of what I cut, so set it aside to finish tonight maybe. Rather than run home for the rest of the fabric to finish the binding, I made this little Lemoyne Star block.  It finishes just 3".
I made the block just to see if I could. I think it turned out pretty good considering I switched machines half way through making it. I used a generous 1/8" seam allowance. I switched machines cause the second machine had a foot that gave me a better view of the needle and where it was going.

I didn't really doubt that I could make the 3" block with set-ins. But the other day at the Crazy Quilters show in Mukwonago I was talking with author Marie Bostwick of the Cobbled Court Series. I met her in Nebraska when we were both guests there for a quilt conference. She said the thing she remembered about me was that I said I would have no problems doing a 3" star with set-ins.  I guess I remember that conversation a little differently than she did. So when I found I had a few minutes this morning with a tiny bit of scraps I thought I'd give it  a go. And guess what? No problem. Imagine that.

I've got no plans to make more though I do think those little blocks are darn cute. It took such little bits of fabric the size I often toss in the trash. Ouch. Just think of all the little blocks I could make with the trash. Do I dare see how frugal I can be and . . .

Monday, April 13, 2015

In between

I finished the quilting on this quilt. Still have the binding to do. Hoping for a rainy day to do that.

I gave up praying for a cleaning lady and right now I'd rather be outside working so it's hard to get much sewing done.  I appreciate the break from some of the work when it rains, but not if it means I have to do housework instead. It's still to cold and dark to be outside in the evenings but by then I am usually too tired or sore from work outside to be of much use inside. I can manage paperwork at least.

And for a peak at what I've been doing outside, check out these pictures of burns I've  been helping at. This  pciture was at Jacki's. Again about an acre. She had a garden hose and 8 volunteers or more, some with backpack sprayers. The wind couldn't decide which way to blow making it a bit smoky.

The last picture was yesterday's fire on about 3 acres. The wind was strong coming up this steep hill off the marsh. My job was mostly to watch for the fire jumping across the  road. It didn't.

Sew much to do, so little time.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Spring Fever

It's that time of year again. My work outside is keeping me from producing much in the way of quilts. I was able to make some of the edge blocks for my autumn colors quilt though. And I am still planning to make a simple pieced border for  it. Two rows of blocks aren't showing because they don't fit on the smaller flannel wall at Studio 3.  I expect I will get it done by the end of April.
We had  beautiful weather yesterday (Easter Sunday) and I finally got my open woodland area burned. Brother and sister-in-law and nephew and his wife helped us burn the oak leaves on the ground. There are maybe 15 giant oak trees on this acre on a steep hill. We did a slow burn down hill against the wind. I don't imagine it was hot enough to really kill off any except the littlest tree seedlings that have sprouted up everywhere over the last 40 years or so. They aren't little oaks either, but ash, cherry, buckthorn and every other woodland species we have here. It's best to keep all those nasty little seedlings out of the woods by  burning it every year but that isn't likely to happen. If we keep them out the wildflowers are gorgeous, provided the deer don't eat them all. But more importantly we can get in there! And unless we get some buffalo or goats or cows to graze in the woods then the invasive buckthorn, multiflora rose and prickly ash take over. I could go on.  Better quit while I can.
Today was another perfect weather day for burning. We helped a few friends burn a few more acres of prairie.
Tomorrow it's supposed to be cold again with some rain. Good day to quilt at church. When I get home I may even get back to the longarm project I started downstairs last week.