FAL · Finish-A-Long · Quilts

Finish-A-Long First Quarter Wrap-Up

I joined Leanne’s Finish-A-Long because I had too many quilts malingering in the closet together, and thought this might help me.  This post is a wrap-up of my first quarter with FAL.

My opening post mentioned the following 7 projects:

Wonky Star Quilt • Wonky Star Pillow Shams • Autumn Quilt • English Paper Piecing Quilt Top • Lollypop Tree Quilt Top • Summer Treat Quilt

I found out later that quilt tops are not considered part of the finish, so I get to roll some projects over into the next quarter.  But here’s my wrap-up of finishes, in the order I finished them:

Into the Woods art shot

Finish #1: Autumn Quilt was given a name of Into the Woods, and I did finish it and get a label on it.  I let my father have it — on “long-term loan,” as he would say — because he loved the colors so much.

Summer Treat

Finish #2: Summer Treat, shown here in her glamour pose, languidly draped across a chair.  This quilt has a tutorial, found *here.*

OnceThereWasASnowman Quilt

Finish #3: Once There Was a Snowman, an improv or wonky-construction block quilt.  Glad that’s done, and I owe it to the FAL.


Finish #4: Star Mother’s Youngest Child, based on a Moda Bake Shop pattern.  I’m already looking forward to Christmas, when I can put these last two quilts out on the guest bed.  Anyone coming to visit?

Wonky Pillow Shams 3D

Finish #5: Wonky Star Pillow Shams, to go with Star Mother’s Youngest Child, above.

So I finished five of my seven projects, as outlined by the rules of the Finish-A-Long.  But even though I didn’t have all seven finished, I don’t feel bad, because I add the following to my finishes for the first quarter of 2013:

LollypopTree Top Finished

Lollypop Tree Quilt Top

FFB Tablerunner back

Springtime Table Runner from Far-Flung Bee blocks (last year’s bee)  Tutorial for block *here*

Sofa Cushions

Cushions for the sofa.  I know it’s not quilting, but the fabric had been draped around the forms for about six months.  Happy to have it done.

Hot Mitts

Hot Mitts for my kitchen, Tutorial *here*


A quilt for my newest grandson, Chris


Sunshine and Shadow, a quilt for my sister-in-law Janice
Tutorial *here*


An art quilt for our Four-in-Art group: One Black Leaf

Bostonian Bag side view

A satchel (or purse) called the Bag Bostonian.


Two handmade pouches

Snapshot Quilt Polaroid detail2

Snapshot, a Polaroid Quilt, and last. . .

Bit of EPP

. . . my EPP quilt, which is all pinned up and still can’t be shown all the way.  Yet.

Now I have to go grade my brains out.  Or take a nap.

If you want to add some notches to your quilt frame, racking up those finishes, please visit Leanne’s Second Quarter Finish-A-Long sign-up.  I’ll post a link when I declare my projects for the next quarter.  By the way, shoot high.  I noticed that some add their smaller handmade projects to this, but I don’t need motivation to get to those–it’s the BIG projects that I need to move forward on.

200 Quilts · Quilts

Snapshot: Polaroid Quilt finished

Debbie of A Quilter’s Table hosted a Polaroids swap last summer, and although I put together the top fairly quickly, I didn’t send it to the quilter’s because I wanted to do the quilting.  Finally I wised up and took it over to Kathy.  Smart move, because now it’s finished and not still hanging on its hanger in the closet.

Snapshot Quilt

But it’s all done now! Dave and I snuck out yesterday morning in our jammies to grab the few rays of sun that morning, he holding up the quilt for me.  Thanks, hon. (We always have cloudy mornings until mid-summer.)

Snapshot Quilt Polaroid detail1

When I put this up on Instagram, some folks said they wanted to see some details shots of the little blocks.  I think of this quilt as kind of a travel, a memory book quilt, with all its little snapshots of different things.

Snapshot Quilt Polaroid detail2

So when I found this circle design, my quilter agreed to quilt it for me; it reminds me of wheels on a car, going round and round for a summer trip.

Snapshot Quilt Polaroid detail3

It was fun to use some old novelties in my stash, like the block that has “2000” on it–from all those turn of the century quilts we were doing thirteen years ago — when we thought all the computers in the whole world were going to crash.

Snapshot Quilt signed Polaroid

This one’s kind of like an album block.  Krista and I hatched up Project Gingham last year after I found a bunch of ginghams at a garage sale.  She made this block for me and signed her name.  It’s a treasure. How do you make these little blocks?  Diagram *on this post.*

Snapshot Quilt Polaroid binding

I found this stripe-y fabric at a little quilt shop not too far from my house, and it turned out to be perfect.  The Polaroids are bordered in Quilter’s Linen in bright green and blue.  Tutorial on how to make this quilt *here.*

Snapshot Quilt back

The backing is a Marimekko print that looks like a grassy field.

Snapshot Quilt label

And here’s the label.  I love the quote from Eudora Welty, a great Southern writer: “A good snapshot stops a moment from running away.”  Amen, Eudora.  Well said.

This is #110 of 200 lifetime quilts.

EPP · Four-in-Art · WIP

This and That for a WIP Wednesday

WIP new button

Many thanks to Lee of Freshly Pieced Fabrics for hosting all of us quilters on WIP Wednesday.


Picked up this pattern at the Glendale Quilt Show and slid in one more project before my Spring Break ended.  I love the vinyl see-through fronts, so I can find those scissors. . . or spool of thread.  I’ve already packed up one with a hand-sewing project.


The project is a little bird pincushion made of felted wool fabrics.  Now to find some movie-watching time to work on it.


What else am I working on?  Our next Four-in-Art reveal is about a month away, and we had to move the deadline because some of us were panicking.  I resolve to not panic anymore.  (Which involves getting stuff done early.)

California Christmas Tree

I’m teaching a class for a local quilt shop (if peeps sign up. . .) and while it’s based on the idea of large globular shapes in a roughly floral design, I didn’t want to copy Kim McLean’s fine work.


So I pulled up the original quilt from the 1880’s, and tried to combine elements that had that funky vibe.  I just finished it, and after I order some kind of Kona red (do you know how many reds there are in the Kona fabric rainbow?), I’ll start constructing a vaguely Christmasy-Hollandish wall hanging for my sample in blues and greens on a red background.

Bit of EPP

I’m also working on this one — in my mind.  The quilt top is pinned to its backing and laying over the chair in our living room while my subconscious mind figures out a way to quilt it.

I’m trying to be patient.  Lollypop Trees isn’t even pinned to a backing yet as my subconscious can only handle one quilt at a time.  There are many other ideas working their way forward, but that’s enough for today, I think.  Click *here* to head back over to Freshly Pieced and see other fabulous Works-in-Progress.

Classes · Creating

Bostonian Bag and a Wrap-up

While this post has lots of pictures of my recent class, the Bostonian Bag (which they titled Bag Bostonian), it is NOT a tutorial nor are there any patterns.

Class 6

For this you’ll need to take the excellent class from Kathy Ranabarger at Sewing Party in Orange County, California; our class was held last Friday, March 22nd.  And because it’s a wrap-up of some of the details of the class, the post itself may not make any sense to you at all.  (Hey, I have many days like that!)  In the photo above I’m on the right in the aqua sweater.

Bostonian Bag side view

First off, here it is.  It’s a good-sized bag. . .

Class 1

. . . and the ten-member class made excellent progress. But nearing the end, I was nervous about beating the traffic home, so I left a few minutes early but not before taking lots of photos of Kathy’s samples to jog my memory.  I told the class I’d post them in case they needed them too (so, this post is picture-heavy).

Bostonian Bag details ESEFirst, here’s some details, just for visual ideas: the bag bottom with decorative piece, the side trim piece wrapped to the inside and stitched down by hand, and the pockets I made in class: a double pocket (one on top of the other, and on the other side, a zipper-closed pocket.

Class 2

Class 3

So, after the fabric’s been quilted, the pockets made and the lining basted to the bag on the sides and top (wrong sides together), the decorative trim is attached to the zipper-opening edges (shown).  Kathy showed us how to install our zippers in class, and I’m pretty sure we were all successful in getting those in before we left for home.  Next was sew the side seams together, lining right sides together, so the seam allowances ended up on the outside of the bag, which is covered with a decorative trim piece.

Side Cover Strip ESE

(Click to enlarge so you can see detail.)

I did end up interfacing the side trim piece, as my 1/2″ seams were pretty bulky.  I pinned down the trim piece, then stitched it by machine as she showed us in class.  I kept going at the end: I stitched right off the edge of the bag on my trim piece, continuing along the pressed-under seam allowances, top-stitching them down.  I then folded the piece over as Kathy showed us, then trimmed and hand-sewed it down as I was using two colors of thread (one dark, one light) and it just wouldn’t have worked to machine-stitch. (See very top grouping of photos, illustration in upper right.)

Bag Corner

“Boxing” the corner, with a five-inch measurement, centering the seam at 2 1/2″ inches.  Stitch along that line.  In that same top grouping of photos, you can see my bag corners in the lower pocket photo.  In the final bag, I wasn’t really keen about how the bottom trim piece stopped an inch short of the boxed corner, so in the future versions of this bag I’ll either 1) box the corner in deeper (maybe at 6″) or 2) make the bottom decorative piece longer.

Hardware Bostonian Bag

Attach the bottom trim piece to the side, by sewing the point to the side trim piece. The ring moves freely, and is not sewn down.

Class 4

Handles are next.  Flatten out the bag, take the handles out and let them relax, then place them near the top, centered on the bag.

Handle Placement

I put a couple of pins to anchor mine, then did a backstitch all around the outside, starting about 4 holes down from the upper left holes, taking it up to the end, then backtracking all the way around the tab. I wasn’t really keen about how the inside looked and ended up cutting some more lining fabric to applique it over the stitching, so it will be unnoticeable.  I have to say that attaching the handles was one of the more frustrating parts of the bag and it took me some time.  Sit in really good light, use a heavier hand-sewing needle and thimble on your finger for pushing it through the hole (which is sometimes not easy to locate and yet other times it is), and work steadily.

Now here are a bunch of photos of the samples we saw that day in class.

Teacher Bag 1

Teacher Bag 2

When she attached this particular bag handle, she used a running stitch, which looks like this on the back.

Teacher Bag 3

Teacher Bag 4

Teacher Bag 5

Teacher Bag 6

Handle attached with a back-stitch.

Teacher Bag 7

Teacher Bag 8

Teacher Bag 9

Teacher Bag 10

And here’s a few more of mine:

Bostonian Bag unhooked

Bag unhooked.  I think I could fit a small laptop in there, or at the very least, a tablet.  It’s quite roomy inside.

Class 5

Our class.  This was a fun group of ladies to sew with.

Full Bostonian BagAnd that’s it!

Another March finish for me.  Actually I took this class the last day of Spring Break.  I started Spring Break with tune-up visits to doctors, getting the have-to’s out of the way before I quilted all week. So in the spirit of a teacher giving a grade to things. . . I’m at an interesting place in my life right now, and so content and calm about what I’m doing that I’m sure the proverbial “other shoe” will drop from the sky at any minute.  I have a job I mostly enjoy, love my church and congregation as I’ve been going there for nearly a quarter-century and know their histories, and they, mine, and we have both endured each other’s quirks and habits. My husband and I have worked out a good balance between together time and “cave-time,” and really enjoy each other’s company when we are together. I could make a list of all the good things in my life, of which family and friends would occupy the top spots, and I’m sure that your list might echo mine in magnitude and depth. I also have this blog, and love to write and quilt and have the wherewithal to do both.

As I listened to others talk while our class was in session, I caught whiffs of the same sort of feeling: one woman expressed pride over her daughter’s achievements, another woman was having her sewing room re-made which I gathered was something she’d looked forward to for many years, and several of us found we had connections (via our children) to UC-Davis, of all places.  Perhaps it was the beautiful weather, or a relaxed and informative class or the fun of getting something done in a creative environment, but I could see that many of us were living in a “parallel contentment.”  Maybe we’ve just learned not to sweat the small stuff. . . and at our age have figured out which is the small stuff and which isn’t.

While the grading will pick up to a dull roar in the next few weeks of the semester, it’s really nice to feel this way — especially tonight, when some nice tunes are on the playlist and the fragrance of the wisteria blossoms is drifting in through my open window.

Happy Quilting.

200 Quilts · Quick Quilt · Quilts

Chris’ Welcome-to-the-Family Quilt


This is where I was Wednesday morning, after listening to hours and hours of a new audio book: Beautiful Ruins.  My mother’s still reading listening to it, so I’ll withhold my review until later.  But the really good thing about audio books is that when they are playing on your desktop computer in the same room as the sewing machine, a lot gets sewn, like a quilt top for our new-to-our-family adopted grandson Chris.  This is my Sashless Quilt, with the tutorial found *here.*


Full length shot on our front porch, with hands belonging to my tall husband Dave.


This isn’t a complicated quilt, it sews up quickly, and I love using favorites from my stash like the bicycle fabric.  I’d been saving that for a long time and this was the perfect use because my son (Chris’ Dad) loves bike riding, owns a bunch of them and takes all his sons out on bike rides.


I started cutting this on Monday, sewed Tuesday and Wednesday morning, quilted Thursday, did the binding on Friday.  Hey! I felt like Rita from Red Pepper Quilts, only I’m not listing it in my ETSY shop.  (I don’t even have an ETSY shop.)


The “label.”  Sometimes with quilts I know will be washed and washed, I don’t mess with a formal label, but simply write directly on the quilt with a Micron Pen.

Glamour shot, reclining on the sofa.  I did the basic quilting: stitch in the ditch.  I’d played with the idea of doing echo-quilting alongside the seams, but in the end changed my mind.


I gave it to Chris as they arrived on Saturday evening to celebrate my husband’s birthday.  Chris’ younger brother Andrew used it first.


Later on, after dinner and all the adults talked, Chris nabbed it and settled into a movie.  Or was it a game?  I can see that at the dimensions of 46″ x 57″ he will soon outgrow the quilt, but I didn’t want it too big–it’s a “welcome to the family” quilt, like what his brothers received when they were newborns.


Chris seems to like it–I’m so glad!

It’s Quilt #109 on my 200 Quilts list.