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.

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.

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 · FAL · Finish-A-Long · Quilts

Star Mother’s Youngest Child quilt


Here’s my second finish for March: Star Mother’s Youngest Child.  The book, from which the title of this quilt is taken, was about Star Mother’s youngest boy who came to earth to experience Christmas before he was destined to take his place in the heavens, shining brightly forever.  He landed at the home of a cranky old woman, who, childless and alone, just wanted to have one Christmas to celebrate before she died.  And so the two came together.  The illustrations are charming, and the child’s spikey hair and ugly countenance reminded me of the weirdo star in the bottom left corner, the points going the wrong way even though I tried really hard to get them like the picture of this quilt from the Moda Bake shop pattern.  But in the aggregate, I think it all works okay.


Whenever I’m looking for a back, I usually go for whatever cheap fabric I’ve picked up on sale, or snagged from IKEA or the Marimekko from the Crate & Barrel outlet.  I went to the guest bedroom closet, where these lengths all hang, washed, pressed and waiting and lo-and-behold! I’d purchased some of this Sweetwater Christmas line when I was buying the rest of the fabrics for this quilt.  It had been two years and so I’d forgotten. I pieced it carefully to make the seam as invisible as I could.  I’ve tried doing pieced backs.  I usually fail at that sort of thing because at that point, I’m just so ready to be DONE.


I had also purchased this black/red stripe for the binding and even if it was on the original, I just didn’t know if it would work for my sensibilities.  When I went to quilt night last week, Laurel told me it was just perfect.  Sometimes you just need that atta’boy to help get these quilts done.  I hand-stitched the binding while 1) watching a movie, 2) attending a baby shower another night, and then 3) coming home and talking to my husband after a long day.


My quilter used Superior’s King Tut in a tight red/green variegated color in a medium meander.


Quilt Label Closeup

For the label, I scanned a picture from the book when the little child first knocks on the Old Woman’s door, and included a quote from the last pages of the book.


This is #108 on my list of 200 quilts.  Frankly, I can’t keep up this pace of finishes unless I stop sleeping or eating (neither of which is very likely).  The last two quilts have been in the pipeline for a couple of years, and I just had some extra time this semester and was able to get them finished (along with the help of my quilter).  But for today, it’s nice to see this all done, lounging on my sofa.

ChristmasQuilts stack

That makes five Christmas quilts I’ve done in my lifetime: two have been given away, and the other three reside here.  It will be fun to get those out this coming December.

FinishALong Button

This is another one of my Finish-A-Long quilts; original posting showing all my goals is *here.*