WIPs, early

I have the Four-in-Art reveal tomorrow, so am writing about my works in progress today.


TakeMeBacktoItaly front

Take Me Back to Italy, both a Schnibbles quilt and a Finish-A-Long quilt

Four-In-Art #3 (check back tomorrow)

Snapshot Label completed

And if you read my Instagram, you know I cleaned out my sewing studio drawers this week as I was looking for a spool of thread and one thing lead to another (plus I was doing Grading Avoidance, a truly marketable skill I’ve developed), but while doing all that, found this sweet little Polaroid patch that Debbie sent to those who participated in the Polaroid Swap last summer.  So I was able to get that stitched next to the label on onto Snapshot, and calling it FINISHED.

MCM4 quilt square

Not one, but two quilt squares for the Mid-Century Modern Quilt Bee.  I don’t tend to press the heck out of my blocks, as I don’t believe in wearing out my quilts before I get to use them.  So maybe the one on the right doesn’t look quite as spiffy as its twin.  But it is just fine, really.



Yeah, yeah, yeah.  I’m still thinking about it.  It’s my EPP quilt, and the top is completed, but I’m not going to show it until I’ve finished it.  It’s coming.


A new crazy idea that surfaced one day last fall, and has taken this long to bubble up.  I’m showing you the bitsiest vision of it I can, because frankly, at this point, it’s really really a Work-in-Progress.


Can I show the fabric that is headed this way?  I finally dipped my toe in the Spoonflower water, and purchased a ten-pack of fat quarters from their weekly contest.  I already have an idea.  This:

Facets Pattern-cover

Yep, I swiped this photo right from Anne’s website (she’s having a sale on her patterns).  I think the chickens will look fabulous running around this quilt.

Don’t we all have too many ideas?  And not enough time?  That’s my set for this week.

Linking up to Lee’s WIP Wednesday.

Creating · Housekeeping · Quilts

QuiltPro Quilt Software

I’ve used QuiltPro software for about a decade now, choosing it first because it worked on a Mac as well as a PC (I’m a Mac user, and Electric Quilt has ignored people like me).  I’ve been reading about another quilt software program that you rent monthly, and thought I ought to talk about an alternative to that, especially since QuiltPro is having a sale right now of 30% off. 

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What I like about this program is its simplicity.  It didn’t take me long to figure it out–click on the square icon and draw a square, click on the triangle (there are two kinds) and draw a triangle.  Click on the paint can and color in your shapes.  It does have a fabric library, but after a few times, I’ve skipped over that and just use the solids, coloring in what I want to show value and placement. (And sometimes I wonder if that’s not why we’ve had such a surge of popularity in using solids–we see them in our quilt software and then want to make those quilts? Who knows, but I’ve thought about it.)

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And if I want to, I can change the colors by double-clicking on one of the little squares.


There’s a block library if you want it, but I use QuiltPro mostly to work up a design that’s in my head, like this one:

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Which became this:


and this


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Or this design, to make use of some lovely bits and pieces from a cherished set of fabrics, which became this:


A quilt for a friend who needed some quilty hugs.  And I’m now thinking about how to make this one, dreamed up recently:


Sometimes when I read quilty blogs, I get the feeling that whatever is being shown, or pitched, becomes an extension of that quilter.  That is to say, that if you buy this, or shop here, then that’s like a ‘vote’ for that quilter, and you say you like her better.  I don’t really care if you use QuiltPro or not.  I do use it and I’ve had great success with it as a tool to help me get done what I really do love: quilting, so I thought you might want to know about it.  I used to draft blocks using graph paper, pencils, rulers, drawing out the templates by hand.  This program does all that for me (yes, it prints the templates too, so I can measure them to use with my rotary cutter and rulers).  It’s my tool.  I’ve used this tool in my little quilt group, Good Heart Quilters, when we do our block swaps, or someone needs me to draft up how their chevron quilt will look.  It’s been very helpful in a lot of ways.


Here’s a photo of Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth, who lost both of her legs in combat.  She was recently profiled in the New York Times–go read the article; it’s short and sweet and makes you want to cheer.  But I liked what she said here:

“Q: When you wake up do you feel a sense of loss when you realize what happened to your legs?
A: Of course. But I have a different perspective for what my legs are now. Now they’re just tools, you know? If I still had my legs, I would be in line for a battalion command, and instead I’m flying a desk.”

I want to fly my version of a desk–my sewing machine–making quilts and sewing and playing with cloth and squares and triangles and designs.  I love quilting and am happy to have my rotary cutters and rulers and yes, my QuiltPro software.  It’s just a tool, you know, to get the quilting done.

200 Quilts · FAL · Finish-A-Long · Quilts

Take Me Back to Italy!

TakeMeBacktoItaly front

I have this thing for Italy.  So when I saw Va Bene!, a line of fabrics depicting scenes and buildings and landmarks from Italy, it had to come home with me.  Many of our trips are detailed on my travel blog, Traveled Mind, which I’ve maintained for several trips, and it serves as a journal of sorts.  It’s always fun to go and read it to remember the perfect bruschetta pomodora in the courtyard just beyond the steps of Santo Spirito in Florence (and is why I put the snippet of fabric showing this on the quilt label).


The facade of the church Santo Spirito, Florence


Brushetta Pomodora (pronounced with a hard sound: brus-ketta)

Recipe is found *here.*

So with this memory floating in my mind, I fell in love with the tomato fabric and the sights fabric and the background fabric with the Venetian gondolas and knew that I wanted to make this for Another Year of Schnibbles that Sherri and Sinta are hosting.

Schnibbles Hat Trick Version 1

This was my first attempt.  I ending up snipping off the piano key borders — even though they are in the original pattern — because everything seemed “mushed” together.  I think a quilt should have strong focal point, or perhaps several places where the eye can travel to, and with the borders and this fabric, it just wasn’t working.

TakeMeBacktoItaly detail

I also quilted the nine-patches in the ditch, and then did a heavy stippling on the triangles to smash them flat into the background, hoping the nine-patch design would pop up a bit.  I think it also helped with that no place for the eye to rest thing I was talking about.


Windows of Santa Croce


I’d purchased this tea towel on a very hot day when we were touring Lake Como, and tucked it away in the suitcase.  You can’t always find fabric in distant places, but there’s always a tea towel or two, showing the sights.


Florence Duomo exterior



Tuscan countryside

My husband is a great traveler, very adventurous, and loves to rent a car and just drive around, trying new places to eat, finding the out of the way place, avoiding the tourist traps, although he will put up with a few if the sights are top notch.  So Italy fits us well.  Enough people speak English, the food is amazing, and the scenery is picturesque.

TakeMeBacktoItaly label

So what else could I name this quilt but Take Me Back to Italy?

This is Quilt #112 on my 200 Quilts list.

It’s also my second finish for the second quarter of Leanne’s Finish-A-Long,

FinishALong Button

. . . and my first Schnibbles in Another Year of Schnibbles.


 That’s a pretty big pedigree for such a small quilt, but this one can handle it.

 It’s Italian.

Quilts · WIP

WIP–Not the last person to post–Wednesday

The last few weeks I’ve been the last person to post on Lee’s WIP Wednesday over at her blog Freshly Pieced.

Or at least in the last five.  There’s a whole bunch of us that bring up the rear–we’re kind of like in our own special club.  We have our own T-shirt, motto and mascot.  (I’m just kidding about the last part.)  But I’m determined to be near the front of the bunch this week, so I’m posting this in hopes that I’ll be in the middle of the pack.  Like how I’m mixing metaphors–Bunch (of bananas)?  Pack (of wolves, or Cub Scouts)?  That’s what happens when an English teacher gets tired.

Italy quilt front

I’ve been working on Sherri and Sinta’s Year of Schnibbles quilt.  It’s an interesting size–bigger than my art quilts, smaller than my usual quilts.  I love the Italy fabric by Dear Stella–there is still some in the Fat Quarter Shop last time I looked.

Italy Quilt Lombary Back

And the tea towel I picked up on Lake Como is perfect for the back.  At first I thought I’d bought it in Milan, but it was so hot that day, all we did was hang out on the roof of the cathedral in the shade–I don’t remember buying anything.  But I did hit the few shops that my husband would stop at when we were in Bellagio on Lake Como (and no, we didn’t see George Clooney).  Anyone else has a husband who will just keep on walking when you stop to invest a few dollars in the local economy?  Hmmm.  Thought so.

So that’s what I’m working on.  I finished up the art quilt (check back in a couple of weeks for the Big Reveal), and you saw that I completed Christmas Treat (last post).  When I know I have papers coming in (like I do in two days), I kind of wind down the sewing so I won’t be fretting while correcting mixed metaphors and cleaning up typos.  I don’t want to be wishing I was sewing, although that’s next to impossible, really.

WIP new button

Linking up to Lee’s WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

200 Quilts · FAL · Finish-A-Long · Quilts · Something to Think About

Christmas Treat Wallhanging

Christmas Treat front

So, out here on the old sewing ranch-a-roo, I finished up Christmas Treat (name is courtesy of my husband) and took it outside to pose for pictures.  The front.

Christmas Treat back

The back is an old Alexander Henry fabric with quirky angels flying everywhere.  I’ve hoarded this and now only have about a yard of the black colorway.

Christmas Treat label

The label.  I like to print mine out and border them before I stitch them on.  If you do a search for “labels” in the search box on the blog, you’ll find posts about how I do my labels.

Christmas Treat final

The final full shot.  It’s #111 on my 200 Quilts list.  It’s a big day because of the following four reasons:

1–this is my first Finish a Long completed.  I probably won’t finish the blue flowers at this time as the shop owner likes that it shows the back;
2–I actually did some free motion quilting on this that I’m not mostly ashamed of.  Don’t look too closely, as I don’t do enough of it to show it off, but I’m pretty happy with how it turned out;
3–I took this sample (above, of Christmas Treat and below, of Lollypop Tree block) to Bluebird Quilts & Gallery, my local quilt shop, and she booked me in to teach two classes.

Lollypop Block

4) my husband took a new picture of me that I think is a pretty good rendition of who I am at this point in my life.  As the Mid-Century Moderns know, we scrupulously monitor our images, preferring instead to be behind the lens instead of in front of it.

ESE April 2013

About photographs: we swim in a sea of digital images, and most are out of our control, as was demonstrated by the plethora of images that came forward about the Boston Marathon tragedy.  Our grandparents had a handful.  Our great-grandparents had, like, maybe three.  So does having so many pictures make it any easier to find one you like of yourself?  If you’re like me, my husband took about ten shots before I got one that I liked–one that represented on the outside how I generally felt on the inside.  So, here it is.  Banish all other images to the dustbin.  This is the me as I am this week, all sunny yellow in sunny Southern California.

Two Lollypop Blocks800

Okay, class info:
Class will be taught at Bluebird Quilts & Gallery, at 22320 Barton Road, Suite A, in  Grand Terrace, California (just north of Riverside).

I’ll teach Wednesday, May 22nd from 10 to 3:30 p.m. and July 29th, from 10 to 3:30 p.m.

I need at least four, preferably, five people to carry the class.  I’m including the pattern (my own, drawn from the original Lollypop Tree quilt from the 1880s), and freezer paper (have you priced this stuff lately?  Whew!).  Cost is $50/full day class, including pattern.  Call the shop (909) 514-0333 to sign up, if you think you’d like to take the class.  They’ll have class supply lists for you when you sign up.  Their hours are Sunday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Closed Saturdays.


And the Razzy Award Goes To. . .

First, congratulations to Beth Baird, on winning the Practical Bag Pattern with this comment:

“I would totally love this kind of a bag. Our grocery stores no longer give us plastic bags, so this would be perfect for replacing those. And when we travel, it would fold up in the bottom of the suitcase or carry-on to bring home fabric from a shopping spree!”

I’ll get that in the mail to you today!

Thought I’d show you some of the ancient projects that didn’t make the cut into the Finish-A-Long group.

Millenium Quilt

This was a quilt done during our Millenium Year–you know 2000, when all the computers were going to quit and the world was going to end.  I have some a snippet of fabric that says “2000” on it.  I pulled out all my old projects and had my husband help me evaluate them.  He kind of shook his head and said, “Yeah, I’m not quite sure if this is worth your time to finish.”  Agreed, but this doesn’t get the Razzy Award.

Old Christmas Quilt

This gets the Razzy Award.  Note the outdated colors of burgundy and forest green, the precious pre-printed Currier and Ives-type panels combined with Santa Claus motif fabric.  I never even listed it on my 100 Quilts list (the other one is).  I mean, at the time, I thought it was “all that” as one of my friends says when referring to someone who convinced they are God’s Gift to Mankind, but we all know that all things pass away, even a passion for burgundy and forest green.

I am working today on a more updated color scheme, trying to figure out the quilting for my Christmas Lollypop Tree Wallhanging.  I seem to get at stuck spots too often on new projects, as if making a decision has to be practically perfect in every way (thank you, Mary Poppins).  It doesn’t, I keep telling myself.  One of the quotes I have on my syllabus is “The perfect is the enemy of the good.”  Sometimes I think it should go: “The perfect is the enemy of the done.”

And I’m listening non-stop to the news about the Boston Marathon bombers, probably just like the rest of you.  I’m glad at times like this to have the cloth under my fingers, keeping my hands busy while I still think about the sad events of this past week.  Take care of yourselves!

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My daughter’s hand.  Thanks, Barbara.