Sunday, October 23, 2016

SO FAR.....................

 I added two more triangles this week plus revised one which was too soft to fit the mood of the vibrant colors. I am almost halfway though making the triangles-not that speed counts-it doesn't.  I am just amazed at the contrast between the never-ending Chuck, Susan, and Me and this quilt.

Here is a nice purple flower. 

The petals of the smaller flowers are Kaffe fabric as are the dots and the leaves.  When I started none of the Kaffe fabric matched but now it does.  Another good example of the quilt taking over regardless of what I decide.  Isn't the leaf fabric beyond belief!!

Wow!  yellow and orange flower!  I love yellow.  The plums are Kaffe fabric.

Here is the block I revised:

New version with vivid blue hexie flower with rose center.  The blues in the little flowers respond better to this combination of rose and teal.  
The only change is the hexie flower which seemed weak in the original being a shade of powder blue which does not really align with the other vibrant colors.


On another note, it has been a depressing week.  In the middle of fmq practice, my beloved Juki froze.  It is only nine months old and has not seen that much use.  I also oil and clean after each bobbin.  I bought it online from Sewing Machines Plus.  So far, I have not been able to speak to a service rep but it is early days. I bought the Juki online because they never have problems.  I will keep you updated.  Everything may work out just fine.  I have a nice Pfaff so I am not entirely bereft. is some fmq practice I was able to do.

Now before you get excited about how talented I am, I copied this design.  The original design is by Valerie Smith.  You can see  a photo of her design in Machine Quilting Unlimited Jul/Aug 2016.

Valerie used a matching thin thread and a loftier batting.  Her article in this issue is a wonderful one about thread weight and the difference it makes in the final quilt.  Mostly I have used monofilament or 100 wt but the thread in my practice piece is a variegated 50 wt.  My aim is to expand my thread horizons.

I am also following Lori Kennedy at Inbox Jaunt.  She is making a weekly sunflower sampler.  We have completed week 2-the flower center.  I am quilting with 30 wt thread -Madeira rayon embroidery thread-I have a couple spools of this.  So first 50 wt and now 30 wt.  Okay-where is that rut?
Since I plan to use dissolving basting thread when stabilizing Caswell, I am trying it out here-both bobbin and top-thread just to see how it sews and if it really works.  It seems to be a major success!

Well, that's all for now.  Here is hoping I cheer up and my Juki issues are resolved.  In the meantime, some linkies are calling my name:  Bambi's show and tell, Em's Scrapbag, Patchwork times, Esther's blog, Let's Bee Social, Whoop-Whoop and Off the wall Friday.

Happy Quilting!!

Sunday, October 16, 2016


 I received a couple questions asking how these triangles were appliqued without getting warped out of shape.  You can see from above how it is done.  2 more triangles will be fitted between these three only will be upside down.  After a soaking to remove the glue and blue pen marks and a good pressing, this section will be cut into 5 nice triangles.

Here are close ups of the triangles:

This one is my favorite-I just love the berries.  The stem is just basted down at this point because I don't have a good shade of thread.  I have started using 100 wt silk thread which is so wonderful but I have limited colors.  Nothing seems to be right to me.  A couple new greens are arriving tomorrow so maybe those will be better but it is very hard to determine exactly what color the thread is from the photos on line.  It helps to pull up several sites which sell the same thread but have different photos of the colors-you can come to a general consensus as to color.

I like the bell flowers on this one.  I am using more Kaffe fabric aside from just the leaves.  This stem is still basted also.  I have had requests to see the evolution of a design instead of just the end product.  Here is an earlier version of the above triangle. 

The only difference is the yellow/pink leaves in the upper right.  You can compare the two and see the green leaves are much more effective as they set off the pink bell flower rather than compete with it.

I had a devil of a time getting the color of the blue flower right.  It looks a bit electric but it is not really.  This triangle also went through some translating.  I did not like the original hexie in the center of the blue flower so I sewed a Kaffe circle over it.  I still may change out the blue flower as it is not very strong.  However, is replaces another hexie flower which seemed to argue with the purple bells.

I kept the hexie flower and will use it sometime.

Here is what everything looks like so far:

There are 18 of the appliqued triangles and 4 half triangles so you can see it is going pretty fast.  Gretchen at Gretchen's Little Corner blog is doing foundation piecing for the big pieced triangles instead of epp.  She sent some good links for me to check this out and foundation piecing will be so much easier than epp.  I am so grateful to her as all that epp was really frazzling me.  It frazzles some people to applique and others to epp-just depends on what you like.  The end product of epp is spectacular and such fun designs can be made when fabric is carefully chosen.


On to free motion quilting practice..........

  All but one of the stitches comes from my new book Fill Harmonics by Sue Heinz.  This book is really helpful in learning and practicing fmq.  One advantage is that the printing is only on one side of the paper so that page can be laid on your light table and traced to acquire muscle memory.  The circle pattern is called potted pasta and does not really show to best advantage in this piece.  It looks better in this piece:

The Martelli hoops arrived.  I ordered a set 8" and 11" but soon realized the 11" would not fit on my machine! Duh! So i sold it on ebay and kept the 8".  I can recommend these rings-the cheapest I found was on the Allbrands site (49.99 for 8" and 99.99 for the set of 2).  Here is what it looks like on the sewing machine:

It has a slide in for the hopping foot and two handles to help move the quilt sandwich. The gripping is excellent with enough weight to hold firmly without compromising on ease of movement.  I have bad shoulder problems-I had rotator cuff surgery and while the shoulder is fully rehabbed, nothing is ever "as good as new".  One advantage is my hands are further apart and the rim is about 1" tall and the handles another inch.  There is no stress about pressing down with my hands and pulling and tightening the fabric while I am quilting.  I cannot say enough good about this ring.  I looked at several but this was the one that looked like it was for serious.  It is worth the price.

Look at this photo to get an idea of quilting area which I found to be more than adequate.  

All and all, I am very pleased with my new book and new quilting aid.
We will part with a bird photo-Here it is the middle of October and we have hummingbirds at our feeder.  I like to think that the travelers know they can get a bite to eat in our backyard before they continue their long migration.  We get so many hummers in October!

Okay, quilters and other interested parties, a new week.  Continue to enjoy October and find pleasant activities for yourself.  I personally will again be battling facebook which has it out for me-I have not even been able to access facebook for about a month! AARRRGGGGHH!!!!! Sometimes I think facebook is a malevolent dark force.

I am linking with Silent Sunday, Em's Scrapbag, Patchwork times, Esther's blog, Let's Bee Social, Bambi's blog, and Whoop, Whoop!

Sunday, October 9, 2016


Pretty wild colors!  So far I have been having a good time with this.  The fabrics are Day Dreams and Cuzco by Kate Spain.  I dug into my stash of Kaffe Fasset fabrics thinking maybe there were some additions there. But suprisingly no. All the fabrics seemed off kilter a bit except for some with leaf like prints which are perfect.  At first I made leaves in a coordinating aqua-green print but that was kind of boring so you can imagine how excited I was when I realized it was Kaffe to the rescue.  The leaves are orange, pink, turquoise, purple and so on.  It adds so much life to the applique.

One drawback for me in making this quilt is the English Paper Piecing.  This method of work is hard for me though I am acquiring some skill as I go along.  There are 18 of these large 11 inch triangles to make and they try my patience.  Also I did not realize how much fabric they use and hope I will have enough.  There are about 15 epp flowers to make but they are easier to make.

Here is a photo of the pattern:
You see on the original that Sue Cody uses a rose color at the base of her triangles.  I am using the aqua in a lighter version of the stems.  I am designing my version as I go along.These 2 fabric lines have some lovely colorful prints on white which are not really good for either the flowers or the epp triangles.  You really cannot see on the pattern photo but the borders are triangles (2 form a rectangle).  My current thinking is to use these white background prints alternating with the black and white background fabric accented by scrolling stems and Kaffe leaves-no flowers as the prints will provide lots of action.  Early days though!

I made 5 appliqued triangles but am having to rethink one as it is not right.  Here are the 4 that are finished.

All four of these have the epp flower and you can see that was fun to make.  You can also see the effect of the Kaffe leaves.  I am using 2 shades of the dark aqua for the stems.  The appliqued blocks make up quickly.  In order to be sure I have enough fabric choices for the applique, I will hold off on making the epp triangles for a while and just focus on the appliques.

 I began my blog last May and one of the first posts was to express my terror of machine quilting.  I quilted Mountmellick which did not turn out to badly.  Since then I have come to actually come to like the process after having taken a sampler class and working on my own to build my skills (a lot of this is in preparation for quilting Caswell-be still my heart!)

As part of the skill building, I ordered a quilting book which arrived this week and looks interesting.  It is Fill Harmonics By Sue Heinz.  It is a beautifully made book with lovely paper, printing, layout and with a spiral binding.  She has excellent instructions and some unique fills.  Here is what the book looks like:
You can see some interesting fills on the cover.  I am working on a big circular sampler (only mentally at this point) partly based on one by Margaret Gunn Solomon who also has a book coming out this month.  She is a great quilter.  

                         (Someone asked me if I get a kickback or anything 
                         if I mention a product etc on my blog. Wish I did!
                         Unfortunately, I don't. If I mention something it
                         is because I find it useful or interesting.)
I ordered something else interesting and that is Martelli quilting rings.  They look well make, easy to use with sufficient weight to keep the fabric in place and with spinning handles to aid in movement. I suffer from shoulder problems and have read that these help.  I will let you know more next week.

The new visitor this week is from Malta.  Malta, as you probably know, is a small archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea about 50 miles south of Sicily.  It has a long history of strategic importance as a naval base and has been ruled by a succession of different countries. With its temperate climate, lovely vistas, beautiful water, and interesting historical sites, Malta is a popular tourist destination.  I want to go there.  Flag proudly added.

Well, that is all the news that fit to print.  I'll chat with you next week and in the meantime, I hope you have a lovely October week, get some stuff done if you want to and otherwise enjoy life!


Sunday, October 2, 2016


The quilt is in 4 sections which I will quilt separately and then joint together.  I placed the border fabric by the side of the quilt so you can see something of what I have in mind for this.  How to keep 143 blocks in proper order one the way to the sewing machine. This was the challenge and I gave it considerable thought as to the best way to translate the order decided upon into reality.  Very tricky!  

I solved the problem by numbering the columns across the top and then again in the midsection.  You can see the number pined to the blocks in the photo above. This made it easy to sew the top in four sections and keep everyone straight.  This worked pretty well though i did notice when I took this photograph that the beach block is upside down and will have to be fixed.  Everything seems to be okay.

Here is the last section-lower right hand corner to be sown:

Rows and columns all set!  You can see the column numbers pinned to the top row.  I connected each column by using a microtech tool.  You can see the columns all joined with the little plastic staple.  No worry about pins falling out! And each column is still numbered.

You can see the number on the top block so I know I will sew the columns in the right order. 

Pin them together and line up these little soldiers:
I used the compensating foot which came with my Juki for the first time and what a difference!  All the seams are the same size and the blocks lined up like they knew what they were doing.
This is not a very good photo-I am still learning to put the focus in the correct place-you can see the focus is behind the compensating foot.  You can still see what a great tool this foot is.

Miss Blossom helped by keeping track of columns yet to be sown so they did not get out of whack: 

Her look says she knows how much I appreciate her help and caring.

I posted the center block briefly
 but I want to show it again because I like it.  Chuck, Susan and me.  I ordered some nice fabric with letters I was going to applique but unfortunately no S, K or M were printed on the fabric.  Back to the drawing board.

Over the next couple of week, i will make quilt sandwiches of the 4 sections and hang them on the design wall to look at and think about how to quilt.  I ordered a new book Fill Harmonics by Sue Heinz.  i am looking at this quilt as a bit of a sampler at this point and each block an opportunity to do something interesting.  Margaret Gunn Solomon also has a book coming out this month.  I like modern sorts of quilting like graffiti quilting. I'm not much of a feather person.

While Chuck, Susan, and Me is percolating on the design wall, I will be back appliqueing (my favorite activity) blocks for Sweet Surrender.  Gretchen of Gretchen's Little Corner blog also made this quilt.  She says the name reminds her of a racy romance novel.  Hear, Hear!  So I amuse my self my thinking up other names like suffering succotash, salty seas, smelly socks-you get the idea.  Any of these names I like better.  But I love the quilt with its angles and curving applique.

NEW VISITORS: Taiwan and Guatemala.  Hello to these two diverse countries.  Flags have been added to the growing list of inter-nationality. 

So long and talk to you next week.  Hope you enjoy the wonderful, fabulous October weather and do what you want to do this week!  Also........



Friday, September 30, 2016


I found a nice font to use for the lettering and made the letters with a brown pigma pen.  I learned how to make this lettering colorfast from Pearl Pereira when I made her Pearl's Garden Quilt.  I added my favorite Jacobean landscaping and choose flowers from Diana Lampe's great book Embroidery for all Seasons.

Now begins the assemblage.  After much thought how how to keep 143 blocks in the correct order and placement prior to sewing together, I decided to use my micro stitch tool to hook the blocks together in each row.  Then I will label each row so I know in which order to place the rows after they are sown together.  This should work.  We will see. Wish me luck.  I should have something to show this Sunday.  See you and until then:

Happy quilting!  

Sunday, September 25, 2016

I assigned myself several objectives which gave some definition to my time but still a lot of time was spent wandering lost among the fabric so to speak. Everyone who tries to create expects to spend some down time in the land of the lost.  This happened to me also about three months ago just after i finished quilting Mountmellick when  I developed a painful quilter's block-not the square kind-the empty kind.  I got over it-one always does but it does not seem you will while in this blue funk.

Let me tell you what I did accomplish this week.  The empty nester bedroom was cleaned and tidied-no mean feat- so I could lay out Chuck Susan and Me.  I divided the blocks into several parts-those derived from Chuck, those derived from Susan Smith Stonefields quilt, those I thought up, those which are so generic no one can claim them, and a couple from other designers.

Here are Chucks:

Here are the blocks derived from Susan's quilt pattern:

You can see the difference between Chuck's very imaginative and stimulating designs and Susan's simpler, softer designs which repeat several times.  The repeats are one of the main reasons I looked for another design source:  if I was going to go to the trouble of 143 blocks I want them interesting and different.  Nothing against Susan's quilt.  If you google Stonefields, you will see lots of beautiful quilts made from this pattern.  It was just not me.

Here are my designs which I hope have a lot in common with Chuck's outlook on design.

Generic blocks-we have all seen these blocks many times before in many different quilts:

What can I say-all are pretty simple and a lot use motif from a bit of fabric as the center.  

These last three are from 2 designers: first Dear Jane pattern and the second 2 are by Faye Anderson in her book published in 1990.

I believe in giving credit to my sources.  I have studied lots of quilts as I am sure you have also-we can all recognize when a design has a backstory.  

All the blocks have some deviation from the original be it shaping, color mood, little additions etc.  Next week i hope to be over my funk and able to arrange these blocks in their final order-maybe even stitch them together.  I am still working on the center block.  

On to new things.  I have begun Sweet Surrender (hate that name).  The pattern calls for 18 full triangles and 4 half triangles.  The four background strips are cut and marked,  and applique has begun on the first triangle..

How is that for a complete switch in color moods from C,S, and Me with its pastels to this wild coloration from Kate Spain.  I dug through my Kaffe Fassett collection but could only find some brilliant turquoise/green for leaves to add to my fabric mix.

That's all for now-I hope you all have a good week and enjoy what you are doing.

I will be linking up with Kathy's Quilts, Mondays with Bambi, Patchwork times, Em's Scrapbag, Esther's blog (she finished the wedding dress just in time), Lets Bee Social, Whoop, Whoop and Off the Wall Fridays.  Good Hostesses!


Sunday, September 18, 2016

My voyage with Chuck has ended.  I will show you the last four blocks.

This is "Cat in the Sun" block-another of those blocks from my basket of must use in this quilt fabric.  I shaped the window frame out of some of the browns that were in the same piece of fabric with the cat and the bird.

This second block is from one of Chuck's.  I love the 3 dimensional look of the box but wanted to fill the box with more flowers.
This pretty block of framed flowers is also one of Chuck's.  I followed her lead closely on this block.

This block is one of Chuck's abstract blocks which I think she intended to have been pieced together.  Not having much luck with my piecing skills, i decided to applique the pieces together instead of piecing.  I think it is a very dramatic and full of the fluidity Chuck so often displays.  I am not sure the light yellow shows off the pattern to the fullest but there you are.

The next block I made some time ago before I began blogging and displaying Chuck's blocks.  It is similar to the above block in that it should have been made by piecing but I again appliqued the block together.

There is no way I could have pieced this but I just loved her design and did the best fake-up I could manage. 

Chuck's book has 2001 blocks some of which I have made and shown you.  Her book covers so much more that appliqued blocks.  At least half is devoted to unique pieced blocks so still check out the book even if you are not an appliquer.  There is something for everyone in this book.

Well, there you have it. THE END. Good-bye Chuck!

EXCEPT........I had a great idea for a finishing center block and also there is one block which just has to go-totally wrong-so the numbers will still work out. I had to order some fabric for this finish up and maybe will show you next week.  I have also ordered my backing and the batting.  SO.......upstairs with all 143 of my little friends to be laid out on the bedroom floor and arranged and rearranged until they are all happy together. 

You know I do practice pieces of FMQing which has been really helpful in skill and confidence building.  Now that I have all the parts of Chuck, Susan, and Me, I will begin quilting her!!!! It will be a large quilt so the top of the quilt composed of 11x13 rows and columns will be broken into 4 parts and the borders 3 parts.  I am excited to begin and this makes leaving Chuck a little easier even though I won't be interacting with her designs. Also I have my new quilt and have spent some time with her this week getting to know her and her fabrics.

So...visitors.  Andorra is a tiny county in the Pyrenees nestled between France and Spain.  There is a population of about 80,000 and has an alpine climate with 300 days of sun and lots of skiing in the winter.  Someone living in Andorra visited my blog last week but they did not leave a comment so I cannot tell you about them except they live in a lovely place.

I was also visited by people in the Philippines, Morocco, Portugal, Costa Rica, and Malaysia all countries of mystery and romance to me.  I would love to visit.  All their flags have been added.

Now that the weather has cooled off (thank you to whomever is responsible for this), Blossom has returned to her comfy cushion placed for her before the window to enjoy the full effect of sun.  Here she is tanning her pink girl tummy in a posture otherwise known as total relaxation.

Hope you have a good week and get to quilt.  I hope to have an okay week without too much separation anxiety-I have laid out some objectives and am looking on the bright side.

In the meantime, I will be linking up with those wonderful, generous ladies who give of their time to provide us with a platform to see and be seen on their link-ups.  

Happy Quilting!
and see you next week