Quilt Bee · Tutorial · WIP

Design Wall Recover, In Progress Quilts

Linking up to Lee’s Freshly Pieced with this post.

WIP on

First up, re-cover my pin wall.

New Pinwall

(1) How I built my pin wall: 2 sheets of 1/2″ foam core art board taped side by side, covered with gridded flannel bordered by plain flannel.  I wish I had more gridded flannel, but at the time, that’s all I had.  I have seen it at JoAnn’s.  Then I wrapped this layer to the back and stapled in place using really short staples, then covered that with tape. I then affixed it to my wall by using door jamb covers–long rounded metallic bars, each about six feet in length; I used four: two for each side, top and bottom.  I also put a flat washer on two screws and screwed them into the wall at a stud, at the midseam of the foam core art boards.

Pin wall 2

(2 & 3) Over that, I layered this Thermolam Plus, using straight pins to anchor it into place. The fabric really sticks to it – like magic, and when it gets all thready, use one of those sticky roller things that is used to clean off clothes.  NOTE the number on the upper left side (TP970).  That will save your bacon when you go into buy more, because now they’ve renamed it Quilter’s Batt or Fleece or Something or Other, and you just have to go through the bolts to find this magic stuff.

The little pin cushion hangs on my pin wall with giant corsage pins.  I am not a pin-cushion person, although I have many beautiful ones given to me as gifts.  This little one holds these pins which are helpful for holding large swaths of cloth, like when you are smoothing a quilt backing onto a quilt top already on the wall to check for size.  Or for holding necklaces, notices for doctor’s visits, etc.  I put all sorts of stuff along the edges of my pin wall.

Ironing Board Cover DIY

Next up was a new ironing board cover.  I fell in love with this sewing machine fabric when I saw it on the Fat Quarter Shop, and of course they had it to me within two days.  It’s by Timeless Treasures and is pattern # SEW-C1485, if you want some.

I just trace out my old cover, leaving GENEROUS seam allowance width all along the outside edge (like 1-1/2″ and that doesn’t even seem like enough).  Make a casing, leaving an opening at the bottom.  I thread through some old hem tape (notice the lady’s hairdo is right out of the 1980s) but warning: 3 yards is not enough (I had to piece some more on the ends).  I think the picture of the ironing board up on its end looks like one of those bugs that goes into that position when tapped (stink bugs?).  There are many good tutorials online for making ironing board covers, if you do a search.

Alberta Slab

What other works in progress have I been working on?  I made this “slab” for the Alberta Flood quilt block collection, hosted by Cheryl Arkinson of Dining Room Empire.  The deadline is July 30th, and so far she has 276 blocks!

MCM Block July 2013

Finished my block for the Mid-Century Modern Bee.  Deborah of Simply Miss Luella wanted a house block of any kind.  I made my favorite one, and happily, she loves it!  You can find a PDF to download here, where I made one for another bee.

Rhonda's Hot Mitts

And finally, hot mitts for my friend Rhonda for her birthday (which was in June–sorry, Rhonda).  Happy Belated 29th birthday, Rhonda!!  May you see many more 29th birthdays!  Tutorial is here.  It’s also one of my Finish–A-Long projects–that makes TWO down, and many more scary ones to go.

FinishALong Button

And lastly, thanks for you all your sweet comments about going to a retreat.  I’m working my way through replying, as it seemed to strike a chord with many of you.  I appreciate the time you took to write and leave your thoughts–it enriches us all.

Quilts · WIP

It’s Wednesday, so WIP on

WIP on

Finally! I have a use for my phone app, purchased so long ago and hardly used.  Anyone else like that?

Yep, it’s Wednesday so that means I’m thinking about my works in progress.


Well, today, it was Schnibbles.  I really had fun making last month’s quilt and although I’m fairly certain I won’t be able to keep this up, winning a prize for my Schnibbles certainly helped my motivation.  It hasn’t come yet, so I can’t tell you what it is, but Mr. Random Generator Number HATES me, so I was pretty surprised when Sherri emailed me with the news.  But as I lay in bed the other night, listening to the night sounds and thinking about if I should do this month’s pattern, all of a sudden I knew exactly what I wanted to do.  It involves old sheets.  But not vintage floral sheets.

Berries and Strips

Long before Martha Stewart ruled the linen universe and long before everyone’s beds looked the same, you could go down to the department store and there’d be all kinds of sheets in all kinds of patterns, mostly percale, but a variety of eye candy for the bed.  One day in Wisconsin, in their department store, a set of Porthault knock-off linens were in the marked down bin.


Porthault?  I was stunned, and snapped them all up: pillowcases, top sheet, bottom sheet and an extra sheet.  The cool part was that the top sheet and pillowcases had a gentle scalloped edge that was taped with blue linen tape.  Verrry classy.  Well, I wore out the bedding, but still had that extra sheet.  Some years ago, I cut it into large squares to use as table decorations for something-or-other, and I knew I still had those lovely lily of the valley pieces of sheets.  Somewhere.  I rummaged through the boxes in the garage last night and found them (you don’t have fabric in the garage?  Really?), and went to work today making my Schnibbles.  I have a set of papers coming in on Tuesday when I enter the Grading Galaxy, hoping to return just before my sister and her husband arrive for a week.  Now you know why I thought I ought to get busy and get this done.

Schnibbles GA take 1

Here’s the second iteration.  The fabric has two-toned blue lilies of the valley and yellow mini-tulips with green stems and little red dots here and there.  So I added some red thread and some green thread to two of my spools, along with some yellow spools just for interest.

Row Tag

Here’s a close-up of the fabric.  I have my row tag on there, ready to sew up the blocks into the top.  I have enjoyed digging into the stash for this quilt, pulling blues from all sorts of different kinds of fabrics. I do like sewing with one line of fabric, I guess, but I always seem to sneak an extra bit from what I have so as to break up the quilt.  (I guess that means I don’t really like sewing from just one line of fabric.)

Trimming Up strips

I cut strips of my Porthault knock-off sheets into strips for the first border, and angled the ends to help disguise the seams–I have a lot of seams because I’m cutting from those squares from long ago.

Schnibbles GA take 2

First inner border with cornerstones is on in one of those dreaded nighttime photoshots.  I stopped here for the night, and will figure out the outer border in the morning.  I was able to slide in three blue blocks made with fabric from my very first pieced quilt (#3 on my 100 quilts list, never blogged about).  I like using this fabric in quilts here and there.  I like tying both ends of my quilting life together like this.

WIP new button

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced.  For sure, I will be at the end-of-the Linky list tonight!

And here’s the only picture I could find of the sheets on the web.  Sorry it’s so teensy!


I just went and looked up Porthault *online* and a sheet set is going for about two grand.  Yep.
Of course, it is the real thing, and not the knock-off.  Makes quilt fabric look like a bargain.


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.

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.


Really? It’s Wednesday?

I’m not yet “jammified” (in my p.j.’s) but I could be, for how energetic I (don’t) feel.  Bob Hope noted that “You never get tired unless you stop and take time for it.”  So I’ve taken some time for it this week, after my Ta DA! post of earlier.  I also heard Joyce Carol Oates once talk about how, after a novel was newly finished, she took her time to coming back from working–she read poetry until she felt sufficiently ready to start work again.

I was asked to teach a class on the Lollypop Tree quilt, as I’ve noted before, I made up my own pattern, and thought I should get going on the class sample.  It was intended to be a Kaffe-fabricked Christmasy design on Kona red.  What it ended up becoming was a whimsical Kaffe-fabricked design on aqua polkadots.  The red one is still in my future. . . perhaps tomorrow, after I grade some of the late essays and finish up prep for class.

Leaf Progression LollypopI became stuck on this one leaf.  You can see the progression, of trying desperately to become unstuck, and I just noticed I put two of the same in the photo.  Ignore that.

Lollypop Tree Wallhanging ESE

I finally got to this point, and although I’m still not happy with parts of it, most of it is coming together.

Eric Maisel said that “If, because of anxiety and self-doubt, you procrastinate and only think about working, you’ll feel more exhausted than if you’d created for hours.” I certainly had a lot of that going on today, but I think it was also because I was listening to the end of a Graham Greene novel, which was driving me a bit batty.  Then I switched to This American Life and listened to the two-part episode about Harper High School, which starts *here* and ends *here,* which I’m still thinking about, and which should be required listening for every American, no matter where you stand on the gun-control debate.  It was sad, frustrating, illuminating and it got me working through my puny problems of how different pinks should go where.  Perspective is always a valuable thing.

Then I went downstairs to the kitchen and made two dinners: tonight’s and tomorrow’s, as I don’t get home from class until later and my husband and I just aren’t up for cooking, or for going out.

Leon Golden Egg

After dishes, I finished off a good book–the latest Guido Brunetti mystery–and then traced off and cut out another Lollypop Tree, ESE-style, to begin again tomorrow with a red background, for my  shop sample for the class.

I was talking to a biologist friend once, describing how sometimes I felt as there was nothing creative coming forward (this was when I was an undergrad in Creative Writing) and yet the deadlines didn’t seem to go away.  “Ah,” she said.  “You’re in lag phase.”  I didn’t know exactly what it meant, but the gist of it was that while I felt like I was doing nothing, my ideas were percolating, growing, or “metabolically active” as a biologist would say, before I entered a time of real growth (log phase, if you must know).  I’ve experienced this more than once.  During that time, I feel unfocused, blasé, wiped out, or just plain stupid, if you must know the truth.  I ingest vast amounts of silly internet videos, or lollygag through quilt images online, or read blogs without commenting.  Then slowly, something shifts, I become truly bored with being bored and I get back to work.

“If you work it will lead to something. It’s the people who do all of the work all the time who eventually catch on to things.” –Sister Corita Kent

WIP new button


Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

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.