Sunday, October 30, 2016


Sweet Surrender by Sue Cody

Count is up to 13 triangles-5 more to make.  The quilt is going to fasssssst!  I have decided that is because I am not doing any original designing on these blocks but rather just following the pattern.  The only choices are the fabrics which are incredibly fun to play with and hard to stop. They just make themselves.  Here are the 4 new blocks:

Did I tell you that I have adopted the use of silk 100 wt thread for applique stitching?  I love it.  It is so cooperative to work with.  It blends so well and drops out of sight after the stitch is made.  You don't really need very many colors but, like all sewers (seamtresses, sewists, sewinas, sewistas, stitchers, choose your favorite), I like to collect as many as I can and they sit in their box like colorful, shiny jewels in a jewel case.  Silk thread is, in any case, almost as expensive as jewels.

I have gotten so much helpful advice from my friend bloggers about how to do foundation piecing.  I am using this method instead of the more grueling epp.  This week I am going to prep the diamonds and little triangles for these big triangles.  Since my Juki is wending its way to San Diego for an overhaul, there is no machine sewing in my future.

This is hard because I have a vague schedule on fmq training and wanted to keep up.  I brought out the Pfaff which is a lovely machine but requires a different skill set for fmq.  Since I don't want to confuse my muscle memory, I ceased and desisted with that idea.  I cannot sew the big triangles together either because it is the Juki which has the miracle piecing foot.  AArrrggghh! has been very good so far with the return.  I thought i was going to be required to pay the almost $100 to ship and insure the Juki but they paid for that as the machine was less than one year old.  It will arrive in San Diego Tuesday 11-1 and the turnaround is 3 to 7 days.  They will pay to ship my Juki back to me.  So my report on is A+ so far.

I have had several people ask the name of my Salty Sardines quilt shown above.  Its actual name is Sweet Surrender by Sue Cody. What a name-maybe she is a Sarah McLachlan fan. I had to order mine from Material Obsession in Australia (shipping was very reasonable).  I am not sure if the pattern in sold in the US yet.  Here is a photo of the original quilt:

Lots of people have asked me the name of the background fabric I have been using.  It is a Robert Kaufman fabric called Valentina and designed by Valentina Ramos.  If you google it, you can find some online sellers.


The fall is migratory season and we have a lot of (for us) unusual birds-that is birds not usually seen at our feeders.
This week we had a red breasted nuthatch (too fast to catch on camera) and a black capped chickadee.  Here are a couple photos of the chickadee:

Our usual chickadee is the Carolina which is very similar except does not have the rustier breast.  In the past we has lots more birds.  However, once the dog and now the orange cat Yoshi have taken up residence, the population has declined.

I am linking up with the usual suspects and thank them for their platforms!

Happy quilting!


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........