200 Quilts · Quilts

Riley’s Quilt

Red, White, and Blue giveaway info is at the end of this post.  Many thanks to all who entered!


If my grandchildren come to visit me long enough, we can crank out a quilt.  Last time it was Keagan’s.  This time, it was Riley’s.  I discovered last time that simpler quilts are best, so I started leafing through my BLOCK Magazines from Missouri Star, until I happened on her pattern titled Slice of Life, found in Volume 1, Issue 4.  You can get a download here.

Riley Quilt layout

Riley picked out blue and green prints from my stash (using your stash is also a good thing to do) and he ironed while I cut.  He arranged the squares on the wall into groups of nine.

Originally the book called for “layer cake” squares, which if you have a layer cake (or have the pre-cut sizes memorized), you are set, but I don’t.  I get grumpy when patterns call only for precuts, and don’t tell you what the actual dimensions are, so I’m telling you that I cut squares that were 10-1/2″ square. [Yes, I know they are bigger than a layer cake.] I narrowed the sashing, cutting it at 2″ (sewn in it will measure 1-1/2″ wide).  You make three of these giant nine-patches, then cut them apart like this.


I cheated a bit, and folded the giant 9-patch into fourths, and took a bare sliver of fabric off the fold when I cut–kind of like when the local quilt shop cuts fat quarters.  Then we arranged these new designs up on the wall.


Sometimes Riley took a break with his little sister.


I sewed the giant pieces together, but sometimes Riley did.  I pinned it a LOT when it was his turn at the sewing machine, also teaching him not to sew over pins.


Everyone helped pin baste the quilt on the kitchen counter.  We would pin a large section, then shift the quilt.

Everyone helped quilt, even the littlest sister, as well as my daughter, mother to these three charmers.

Binding was next, again from the stash.  Late that afternoon, they went to the beach and my husband and I headed up the mountains to our church’s camp for the young women.  I sewed on the binding all the way up, and while we waited for the program to start. I finished it.


Backing is Marimekko fabric.RileyQuilt_8c

He couldn’t think of a title, so I wrote a couple of details on the back.  I think this is the section that Riley quilted–I think it’s great that he helped in all phases.  This is Quilt #184 on my 200 Quilts List.

The youngest of these grandchildren is eight years old, so I imagine her turn will be next!  Baby Blues comic strip ran these this week, and I thought it fitting (although the sisters do quite well, too!)

Congratulations to Nancy S. who won the bundle of Painter’s Palette Solids!  I’ve been in touch with her via email and will get the bundle sent out to her.  I had the best time reading over all the comments about fireworks, from those who had a first date watching them (that happened to me, too, early in our courtship) to those who watched barges-full launch them into the air.  Thank you all for your wonderful responses!!

(This is for those who mentioned that they watched them over the Washington Monument.
I did too.)






Some Friday Finishes

Christmas Trees

Working on some Christmas Trees to go around this guy:

Santa Quilt center

I finished up the center, bordered it with red, and arranged and sewed the blocks from my bee-mates in the Mid-Century Modern Bee.  I think they look swell.

Cross-X Blocks_1

Krista invited me to the Friendship Cross-X block swap.  Or + and x.  or X and +.  So many names for the same block.

Cross-X Blocks_2


After hours of listening, I have one more hour to go on Catherine the Great. I’m glad I learned about her and her times, but it is a loooong book to listen to.

MCM Bee Rene block

Finished Rene’s block for our Mid-Century Modern Bee for November.  I just realized I forgot to make the signature block (we do one of those for all our blocks, and send it to our bee-mate), so I’ll be slicing open the envelope and sliding it in before I head to the post office today.  She used *this* tutorial; these are fun and easy.  Another for the I Need to Make That list.

I noticed it’s getting harder and harder to carve out some uninterrupted time in the sewing room, so yesterday’s long day was very welcome.  So many things I want to do, people I want to be with, traveling I want to do, and grandchildren I want to see.  I was able to help my daughter’s oldest children sew a small project (a sleeping bag for a stuffed animal).  I’ll leave you with Riley doing his first stitches:

Okay, back to the sewing.  Today is partly errands, mostly sewing, which should continue through the weekend.  Monday?  The re-grading of the (shockingly bad) second essay.  Yep.  I made them all re-do it, so now I get to regrade it.  Now I know I’m nuts.


A Quibble and A Muse or Two

Santa Quilt measuring

To prove to my Mid-Century Modern Bee, that I am on task, getting ready for their blocks, I decided to start on the center Santa.  And instead of raw-edge fusible applique, I went with needle-turn hand applique.  The directions are sketchy, at best, on this center square, just the big piece of art (shown in disguise, above) and a note to cut the finished center piece to 24 1/2″ square.  I didn’t catch that one at first, and started appliqueing.

Santa Pieces

I traced the pattern, in reverse (taped up onto a window) onto freezer paper, which I then ironed onto the top of the fabrics, and cut 1/4″ around. This pile was where I started on Saturday morning, while I listened to our church’s General Conference, a respite in the wild and crazy world.

Chopping off the Top of the Tree

I was pretty far along when I realized that the picture was too big for the alloted measurement, by 1/4″, and that was with no seam allowances.  So I cut the top of the tree off.

Santa Center appliqued

This is where I am tonight.  I must have really gotten excited about shrinking this as it now measures 22″ top-to-bottom approximately, but now I have enough room for a smaller inner border of red.  That’s the quibble.  Now to the Muse(s).


My grandchildren came for the weekend.  This is the first set (4 girls) –well, three of the first set.  We made cookies that we later decorated when the second set (4 boys) arrived.  I’ve made each grandchild a quilt, so you could say their very arrival on this earth served as inspiration.

Men Ready for Meeting

The father of the four sons, Chad, is on the left and the father of the four daughters, Matthew, is on the right, flanking my saintly husband.  While they look fully grown to you, in my mind, their are young boys, scrappily fighting in the upstairs bedroom over who gets the Transformer toy, like Chad’s boys in our front room shortly after they arrived.  Boys will be boys, and that always involves a bit of wrestling around.


I was the muse for my sister Susan, when she made me this beautiful shawl/scarf, which I’ve already used a couple of times to keep me warm while grading.  A noted historian, she writes comments on my blog like:

“I find the names of these blocks quite interesting in their historic nature. Fifty-four Forty or Fight refers to the battle over the Oregon boundary between US and Great Britain. It was a campaign slogan in 1844. Clay’s Choice no doubt refers to the great Whig politician Henry Clay, who helped broker the Missouri Compromise that would set back the sectional conflict until the eruption of the Civil War in 1861.”

I love her and was glad to learn about my quilt blocks!

Caitlin's Quilt Top

My quilt group is also inspiring–we’ve been going strong for about fifteen years, and Caitlin (above) is a new member with her first quilt top, just finished last Friday night.

Greek Fest Cross

I saw this when we went to Greek Days at the local church, just a couple of miles from us.  It reminded me of the Marcelle Medallion, which has been so popular around the web, and I can’t tell you how many pictures of stone floors I have from around Europe, quilt patterns in all of them.

Greek Fest Visit

I was quite impressed by the stories told by the priest, as he led us through his sanctuary, telling us of connections both modern and ancient, and it was an interesting point and counterpoint to the thoughtful talks I listened to in my church’s conference, as all these things remind me that we are more alike than different in our hearts and our minds, whether or not we worship the same.

Sunrise October

This morning, we tiptoed out of the house, the grandchildren still asleep before their big day at Disneyland, to see this glorious sunrise.  We stopped to take it all in, then moved on, pausing at each street, savoring the changing colors.  This, too, is a muse of grand proportions.

It seems that every time I hit a rough patch, it stills me enough so that I can move in a new direction.  Who would have thought that after finishing Kaleidoscope, with all its fussy English Paper Piecing, I would be appliquing a Santa down to a new square of cloth?  But this is the direction the Muses have beckoned me to follow.

I am always frustrated by the rough patches and I can hear my parents chuckling in the background, as they know I like things to always be still and placid and never, ever, in turmoil.  I’m a harmony junkie, if you will, not only in relationships, but everywhere in my life.  “This too will pass,” my father used to say to me when I’d come to them in tears, upset by something or another, yet I always found it hard to believe their soothing counsel.

But I feel quite enriched this weekend, in spite of the chaos of an afternoon of eight children.  I savored their noise and games, hoping it would never end, but of course realizing (that for sanity’s sake) it needed to.  The trip to the Greek Days Festival on a hot October’s day.  A visit to my sister last week.  A new sewing project.  Thoughtful and touching messages to the heart.  And last, but not least, the best inspiration of all: the anniversary of our first kiss, twenty-five years ago.

May your muses find you this week.  Happy Quilting!