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

Pacific Grove Blues

Pacific Grove Blues_front

Oh, yes, you’ve seen this before, but only (as the Australians say) as a flimsy, a quilt top.  So I needed to get a few projects done and finished and this was next on the list.  I was originally going to name it Sand and Sea, but changed my mind to keep it fresh.

Pacific Grove Blues_block

This is the block, made in fours and arranged into the quilt.  The original post has more information about the pattern, if you’re interested.

Pacific Grove Blues_back

I call it Pacific Grove Blues, because of the time we spent in Northern California last month walking along the coastal path in that very interesting town.   I don’t have the label for this quilt finished yet, but will, soon.  Of course, I visited the fabric store that was there, Back Porch Fabrics; look for the review of that in an upcoming post.

Carmel Blues

It also hearkens back to an earlier quilt, titled The Blues of Carmel, made from a fat quarter purchased there, and homage to my mother’s blue blue eyes.

We watched these waves every morning, trying to get to the walking just before sunrise.  A peak experience, as my Dad would say.

Pacific Grove Blues

It can now join my growing stack of Schnibbles on top of the guest room armoire.  My husband keeps asking me what I’m going to do with all of these little quilts.  I really have no idea.  Table toppers for holidays (especially the last one, that’s all patriotic)?  Doll quilts for the granddaughters? (But I’ve already made them all doll quilts.)

What would you do with a bunch of little quilts? Any ideas, besides stack them up and enjoy them?  We’ve all heard quoted a million times that factoid from the book by Malcolm Gladwell about how it takes 10,000 hours of practice to get really good at anything.  I figure by cranking these out, I’m keeping those 10,000 hours of practice alive and going.  I don’t really know how much longer I will continue to do these Schnibbles, but I have to say that Carrie Nielson of Miss Rosie’s pattern company always has solid designs and colorations, and I can always keep learning something new about how to piece something, or put a combo together, or be exposed to a new block and its possibilities.  I like keeping my options open.


FinishALong Button

This is one completed project from Finish-A-Long, hosted by Leanne of She Can Quilt, Quarter 4 of 2014’s goals.

This is quilt number 123, on my 200 quilts list.


WIP: Bits and Pieces

America is a Tune_label

I’m finishing up bits and pieces, collecting bits and pieces, and am covered with bits and pieces of thread (On Mondays and Wednesdays — my teaching days — I’m always worried I’ll stand up in the front of the class with snips of thread sticking to me).  Above is the label, all sewn on, for my recent Schnibbles quilt: America Is A Tune (it must be sung together).  Finished that up tonight.

Carmel Blues Redux in process

This is the Schnibbles from last month all pinned up ready for quilting.

Santa and His Blocks_1

The blocks from the Mid-Century Modern Bee are starting to come in, and as they arrive, I iron them and smooth them up on the pinwall next to Santa.  It’s so fun to see them come in, with their nifty signature blocks (we decided to do a signature block and I’m really happy we did!).

Some Other WIPs:
Lollypop Tree–it calls to me from the guest room closet where it is on a hanger, like a siren song.  I ignore it, for the most part.

Friendship Quilt Blocks–I just need to sew them together.  What is taking me so long?  Our novel for class, Moon Over Manifest, has a signature quilt in the story line, so I took in a few blocks to show the students.  As I looked at the signatures of the women, I thought of each of these ladies.  This will be a gem.  At some point.

Santa (above).  I could start working on the houses and trees, I guess, now that I’ve finished up my Four-in-Art quilt for the November reveal.  (Suppressed squeal of joy)  Come back in a few days and see the gallery.  We have eight total now, so it should be a fun blogging/Flickr day.

Friendship Swap Blocks with Krista–we finally worked out our schedule and are ready to go.

I also have fabric for a Halloween quilt — oops!  Next year.

Not a WIP: finished my novel Light Between Oceans–loved it.  Can recommend it highly.

WIP new buttonLinking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced,
if she decides to run it, as I know she’s been very busy with getting things ready for market.


America Is A Tune: October Schnibbles Quilt

America is a Tune_quilt front

America Is A Tune (it must be sung together)
finished October 2013
Quilt #122 on my 200 Quilts List

I was making this quilt all during the recent embarrassing shut-down of our country.  It was embarrassing because I’d been thinking about the ideals that began our nation, and I felt that no matter what your political persuasion, the sacrifices of those early leaders would pale in comparison to the sacrifices being made by those now congregating in the halls of Congress.  And perhaps because they made those sacrifices, maybe those early leaders recognized the fragility of the nation, and worked hard to get it going and keep it going.  The title of this quilt is from Gerald Stanley Lee, a clergyman writing at the time of World War I, and I think it kind of expresses what I would hope we, as a county, could embrace again: working together.

Okay, enough on that, but I am really happy the shut-down is over.

Clover Schnibbles

Sherri and Sinta chose Miss Rosie’s new pattern, Clover, for our Schnibbles this month.  I couldn’t face making all those teensy blocks, so this was my plan:

AmericaIsATune Quilt schematic

So I cut the center “flower” blocks 3” square (finish at 2.5″).  Then cut a bunch of 1 3/4″ squares and sewed them into a four-patch, which would finish at 3″ square, too.  I randomly picked these measurements, and so also include how I constructed the side setting triangles and the corner triangles.

America is a Tune_quilt front detail

And although it happened again: this pattern included no cutting instructions for those of us who don’t buy gobs of Moda pre-cuts, this brilliant design is all Carrie Nielson, from Miss Rosie’s Quilt Company, so get the pattern before you start.

America is a Tune_back1

What prompted this was a visit from my son, who is a political animal–eats, drinks and sleeps politics.  Somewhere in a chest of drawers out in the garage was a little T-shirt I’d bought for a grandchild at the Senate Office Building when we had our sabbatical in Washington DC.  And when looking for that to give to him (so his daughter could wear it), I found this tea towel, with some of Washington DC’s landmarks.

America is a Tune_back

My favorite one, the World War II Memorial isn’t on here, nor is the World War I memorial, which is hidden off to the side of the Lincoln Reflecting Pool (on the left, as you face Mr. Lincoln).

America is a Tune_back2

The backing fabric is an ancient fabric from Susan Winget.  I’d been saving it for a patriotic quilt, and it now has found its home.  I quilted it in a cross-hatch design, while listening to The Light Between Oceans, by M.I. Stedman.  I have three hours to go and I’d better get going on quilting last month’s Schnibbles, so I can finish the book and talk to my mother about it.


Quilts · WIP

WIP Wednesday: Schnibbles Time, again

Schnibbles Patriotic pieces

It’s Wednesday and it’s been a long time since I’ve linked up with the fabulous Lee at Freshly Pieced Fabrics and I mean to remedy that today.  I’ve got all the Schnibbles bits up on the pin wall and I need to get them all sewn up and quilted and DONE, because my bee-mates are sending me my green and snow blocks for my Santa’s Village quilt, and I want to see them all arrayed.  Funny how one project pushes another to completion.  It’s like how tiny the toddler is at the tail end of the family until you bring home the newborn. Then it’s time for that kid to grow up, get potty-trained and pull their weight in the family. Yep, this is kind of like that.

WIP on

Linking up with Lee!

WIP new button


Sand, Sea, Schnibbles and Y-seams

Joyce Carol Oates, the very prolific American novelist and writer was asked what she did when she finished a novel.  Did she go on vacation?  Did she stare into space? “I read poetry,” she said. “I find it is good to let the mind rest a bit from the ardors of a novel.” Well, at least that’s how I remember it, when I attended her lecture as a graduate student at our local University of California.

Sea and Sand Quilt Top Schnibbles

After last week’s wrestling of the difficult quilt (coming up), this is my poetry after a novel, say, The Brothers Karamasov, or something.  I missed last month’s Schnibbles outing–too busy with the beginning of the school year, but I was pretty determined to do one this month.  It was a squeeze play, especially after I started reading the directions.  I couldn’t make heads or tails of them, as it was a pattern geared strictly to pre-cuts, which I don’t generally buy.

Back Sea and Sand

(I like the back with its little open four-patches seam allowances.)

I stormed downstairs all lathered up about my frustration, but luckily my sister Susan had given me a treat to assuage the raging quilter within: some delicious cookies from Joan’s on Third in Los Angeles.  It rescued me, and I went back upstairs, figured out how to cut strips from my fabric and get going.  If you are not a pre-cut user, you have been warned.  However, there is a nifty method for making those pieced triangles/checkerboards in the corner, so Miss Rosie’s pattern company was redeemed again.  (Still think there should be directions for those of us who use fabric-by-the-yard!)


The original pattern’s name is Mercerie, and they do it in many different fabrics, hence, the need for charm pack directions.

And the Y-seams?

FAL Tutorial Header

On Tuesday, I’ll be doing a guest-blog post about how to sew the Dreaded Y-seam.  Stop by Leanne’s, of http://shecanquilt.blogspot.com to see the secrets.

In the meantime, read some poetry.  Here’s one from the Poetry Daily website:

On My Seventieth Birthday I Try to Skinny-dip in Boston Harbor
by Sandra Kohler

I cover my nakedness this morning
with an outsize purple tee, “Outrageous
older woman” scrawled in pink across
the chest. A gift from my son, daughter-
in-law. Beneath it, the only part of
my body where my skin fits me still,
unmarred by time—my shoulders.

Sunrise, ebb tide, half an inch of water
covering Tennean Beach’s pebbles, mud
I sink into as soon as I step out toward
dawning sun. Planning this baptism I
forgot to check tide charts: I’d have to
wade through seventy feet of muck to get
my feet wet: no quick strip and dip here.

Turning seventy: I never imagined this.
Years ago, when I’m visiting my eighty-
something mother-in-law, she’s gossiping
about a neighbor, calls her “an old lady”
—stops herself, says, “I know I’m old
too, but not inside.” Inside, what age
am I? Thirty, eighty, fourteen?

Will sinking into this muck renew me?
On the drive home, passing a shallow
wetland between abandoned factories,
I see a flash of white: two egrets gingerly
wading, stepping, spreading their wings
in the risen light over a brood of hatched
fledglings, as new as aging is to me.

200 Quilts · Good Heart Quilters · Quilts · Schnibbles · Something to Think About


Citrus Front_ quilt

Citrus, 31-1/2″ square, finished July 2013

This is a simple Schnibbles quilt, with rail fence and sawtooth star blocks, in bright citrusy colors.

Citrus back_quilt

The back, with my sister’s gift of a tea towel as part of the backing.

Citrus quilting

As I was at our annual summer retreat, I chose a simple leafy pattern–one I could quilt while we talked about children, grandchildren, hymn-singing at church, marathons, and could-you-please-bring-me-a-piece-of-chocolate sort of conversations.

Citrus quilt Label

I was tired today, after nearly two days at our retreat, so no big fancy quilt labels for this one.  Just handwritten in Micron pen, the title, my name, the place, date and dimensions. Truthfully, this is 31 and three-quarters-inch wide, but just couldn’t face all that, so I’m calling it 31-1/2″ inches square.

Citrus and Village Faire quilts

Here are the last two Schnibbles I’ve made.  I’m thinking that whatever the next pattern is, it needs to be pink.  Or aqua.  Anything but yellow, orange and green.

Sewing on Binding_Citrus quilt

The house was quiet this morning as I sewed on the binding. My husband had not yet returned from his scientific meeting. The weather was cool so I had the windows open, listening to the faraway sounds of traffic, the nearby sounds of insects, birds, a dog barking his good morning.  I could have machine-stitched this binding down, the chunk-chunk of the needle going through so many layers of fabric, but instead, I picked up a needle and thread.

I thought about all the conversations I’d had in the past forty-eight hours at our annual summer retreat.  The topics of conversation varied from books to quilt tops to sewing pillowcases to “how do you make bias binding?” to no conversation at all as we concentrated on our tasks, letting others carry the call and response around us.  There is something so rich and rewarding about being in the thick of this, of feeling surrounded and accepted by all these creative, productive and interesting people.  We have all brought our fabric, thread, and know how to borrow each other’s books for patterns, search Pinterest or the web, or locate what we want in a magazine or on a blog.  We all seem to find the time to begin the quilt or table runner or creamy white blouse or Polaroid blocks and bring them to the communal sewing circle, so we can keep our hands busy while we solve what really is on our mind.  The machines hum a nice alto line while our chorus of soprano voices slip in those concerns and cares that worry us at night, all of us telling a story of being unable to sleep because a friend moving away, or how to find the money to go to another state to meet an adult child’s sweetheart, or how to recover from a foot injury, or recover from a broken heart of a life called away too soon.

The stories are as varied as we are, from new mothers (am I doing this right?) to mothers of teenagers (can I send them to the moon?) to mothers of grown children (everything will work out).  We are young, running marathons.  We are older, with a litany of physical complaints.  We are professionals, earning retirement and benefits, and we are under-employed, wondering how to find medical insurance.  We are so different.

We are the same, with thread and scissors and stars and triangles and squares of cloth.  After days of sewing together, we are tired and head back to our houses with our half-finished projects, our conversations, our new friends, our memories, all packed away until the next time.

All of this is on my mind, as I think about how this is being repeated at every retreat, every sewing circle, all of us being bound together like this quilt I am working on, a stitch at a time.


This quilt is my first finish on my list of things to do in the Third Quarter of 2013’s Finish-A-Long (FAL).

FinishALong Button

It is #118 on my 200 Quilts List.