Jen’s Quilt

This is the quilt Jen made on our retreat weekend a couple of weeks ago. She saw this on Pinterest awhile back and decided she wanted it for her bed. It took a lot of effort to find a print she liked for the alternate blocks. I haven’t shopped for fabric in quite awhile, but I haven’t seen any nice florals in a long time. The print we found is rayon, but there wasn’t anything that was even a close second, so we went ahead and used it. She didn’t have any trouble sewing with it and it will end up being very soft and drapey, so I think it will work out fine. She did a nice job on this.  It was the first time she had made flying geese units and all her points and corners look good!

Jens quilt center

Of course, I had hoped to finish it before she came home for Thanksgiving last week, but it didn’t happen.  The borders are cut and I’ll try to sew them on tomorrow, then load it on the frame. It will be a busy weekend though with a wedding near Madison on Saturday, then a 40th anniversary party for some friends of ours in Chicago on Sunday.  First thing Monday, though, I’ll be ready to go! One good thing; Jen does not like quilts with heavy quilting because they are too stiff, so I’ll quilt this with an easy, open design which should go pretty fast.

December OMG: Dazzling Stars

After falling short on my October goal (it is STILL not finished), I didn’t set one for November. I’m feeling optimistic for December though and am going to set a new goal.  This one is a Glad Creations Design called Dazzling Stars. It will be a big quilt, finishing about 84” x 103.”

Dazzling Stars Center

The center has been finished for years and this giant stack of parts will make the border.

Dazzling Stars border blocks

It seems like a reasonable goal to get this finished. Hopefully setting it as my One Monthly Goal will be just the motivation I need.

Be sure to check out other goals at Elm Street Quilts and cheer everyone toward the finish!

Creative Clutter

Whenever I see pictures of quilters’ studios I wonder where all their stuff is.  Even at it’s cleanest, I have things crammed everywhere.  Once a year, over the Thanksgiving weekend, someone sleeps on the sofa bed (my thinking couch) in my sewing room.  To say it takes a Herculean effort to de-clutter enough to pull out the bed is an understatement.  I have a hard time staying on task in this room and could spend hours combing through UFO bins, baskets of scraps and boxes of patterns.  I was encouraged to be able to combine enough projects to eliminate two large bins. That must mean I’ve been sewing something!

It is nice to work in a relatively clean and organized room, but it still looks like this:



I’m unapologetic about it though.  I work in here almost everyday and can pretty much find whatever I need so it works for me.

Part of the “fun” of cleaning in here is rediscovering forgotten treasures.  In one of the bins I found lots of little block of the month bags.  When our shop first opened in 1997 my business partner, Kim and I had the brilliant idea to cut blocks of the month.  This was a relatively new concept at the time and our spin on it was that we would precut all of the pieces.  We optimistically cut 25 sets the first day and crossed our fingers they would sell.  It turned out to be more popular than we could have imagined and we ended up cutting hundreds each month.  Kim and I alternated writing a pattern (hand written at the time!) and making the sample each month.  As a result, I think both of us only have our half of the blocks finished!  In the most recent excavation, I came across some of these very first block kits and had a nice time reminiscing. 

1997 BOM

Meanwhile, the four patch fun for Trail Mix continues.  These are really small!  I now have 44 sets of four and can start part 2 of the triple four patches.

tiny 4 patch

DWM: Four Patch Fun

Sometimes when I want to push myself to make a particular quilt I will suggest a challenge to my small quilting group.  Such was the case with Trail Mix which is (in my opinion) the ultimate scrap quilt.  It was designed by Mabeth Oxenreider and  I first saw the pattern in an American Patchwork and Quilting magazine many years ago. Then it showed up again in the book Better Homes and Gardens Quilt-Lovers Favorites, Volume 8 and now it is a free pattern on the All People Quilt website.  Third time’s a charm so I am finally working on it.  Of course, I issued the challenge back in July and have just started it.  The deadline is next week so I hope to have a lot of time to work on it this week.

Yesterday, the first two sets of blocks were completed:  four patches and double four patches.

Trail Mix

Next up? Triple four patches, of course. Then there’s a couple of nine patch variations.  All of it is easy piecing, but there is a lot of it because the quilt finishes 84” x 102”.  What fun to dig through the scraps and find so many hidden treasures!

If you like scrappy quilts, be sure to down load the pattern HERE while it is still free.

For more design wall inspiration, be sure to check out the links at Patchwork Times.


It’s been a long time since I’ve written a blog post, but it’s been a long time since I’ve done any sewing to speak of. Last weekend I was hoping to change that when my daughter Jen and I attended the retreat weekend at Olive Juice Quilts in Onalaska, WI.  Let’s just say that Jen got a lot accomplished.  Me? Not so much.  She usually prefers to work on smaller sewing projects, pillows, bags and such, but decided instead to make a quilt for her bed.  We found the perfect fabric for the pattern she liked and I cut it out for her.  While I was cutting, she sewed a little makeup bag.

By the end of the weekend she finished the quilt top (queen size) and made five pillowcases in addition to the bag.  I cut out some Christmas stockings for her to piece at home so she could continue the momentum.

My project involved a jelly roll of Olive’s Flower Market fabric which I cut into 640 2-1/2” squares to make Missouri Star’s Sunny Lanes quilt (didn’t you always wonder how many squares you could get from a jelly roll?). Typically I like to do somewhat mindless sewing during retreats and this was the perfect project for that.  After I made the 16 patch blocks I couldn’t make up my mind whether I wanted the pink fabric to be the “lanes” or the white fabric.  In the end I decided on pink, but when the blocks were finished I started second guessing myself and shelved it until I could put it on my design wall at home or audition it both ways in EQ7. See what happens when you don’t sew for awhile?  You forget how and become paralyzed over piddly decisions.

sunny lanes

In the end though, it was a great weekend.  Spending a couple of days one on one with my daughter made it a fabulous success!

After returning home, it was back to the real world with volunteer commitments and home projects.  Only a few days until Thanksgiving and they will be spent cooking and cleaning.  THEN, I’ll be back to my regularly scheduled sewing!

Two Friday Finishes—On Saturday

We made it back from Kansas City but yesterday was filled with cat petting, unpacking, laundry, grocery shopping, dog walking, and an appointment with the guy who measured for new kitchen countertops.  By the time I was able to take pictures, it was almost dark, then dinner and cleanup and before I could write the post it was time for the Cub game.  IS this their year?   We’re almost afraid to hope, but last night they won the first of the 11 needed to win the World Series so it was a good start.

The silver lining of ten hours in the car was finishing the binding on two UFOs.  The first was a project that I started a couple of years ago.  It is Lillian from Villa Rosa Designs.  This is a fun pattern and would be great for a scrap quilt, but the center fabric I chose for the blocks was a little too busy.  The fabrics are pretty though (Moda Double Chocolat by 3 Sisters), so even though the pattern is lost, I still like the quilt.


I quilted freehand swirls in the quilt center and an echoed feather in the border.

Lillian closeup

The other finish is Porch Swing from Scrap-Basket Beauties by Kim Brackett. Does it seem like I reference that book a lot?  That’s because my small quilting group worked through the book and I had 18 UFOs as a result of it!!  You can see by the fold lines that this one waited quite awhile for the binding to be finished.

Porch Swing

I also quilted this with overall swirls.  That seems to be my go-to motif for donation quilts.

I’m linking up with Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Can I get a Whoop Whoop so check out some other finishes there for a little weekend quilty inspiration.

WIP Wednesday: More City Sampler Blocks

I didn’t bring a lot of sewing on the trip to Kansas City, but one of the projects was the City Sampler.  I also didn’t bring my regular sewing machine and brought this one instead.


I like the consistency of piecing on the same machine all the time, but this little workhorse does a nice job.  It’s fun to take it out every once in a while and use it a bit.  The stitch quality is awesome and it’s easy to get an accurate 1/4” seam allowance so it’s great for piecing.

Most of the piecing I did this week was blocks for the Tula Pink City Sampler.  Here are my blocks 46-54.

blocks 46-54 TPCS

These are quick and easy blocks and I’m having a good time making them. 

We’re leaving Kansas City today and only going up the road a little bit to the AQS show in Des Moines.  Luckily for Jim, he has a friend in the area so they will get together while I go to the show.  What a great way to end our vacation!

Plodding Along on Sewing

This morning I woke up early and finished piecing the Puss in the Corner baby quilt top.  I’m looking forward to getting home and finishing this sweet little quilt.

puss in the corner top

I also can’t wait to press it with my steam iron.  My mom doesn’t use water in her iron and it seems like I just can’t get it pressed well.  It could also be that I was trying to press on a little tiny pressing pad.  I’m a big fan of steam, though and really like how nice and flat my quilts look after I steam them into submission!

Jim and I are winding down our visit to Kansas City. The weather has been beautiful so we decided to go down to the Plaza for dinner to take advantage of it.  We sat outside and Jim snapped this picture of my mom and me.

Mom and Me

It’s always sad to leave, but we’ve had a nice visit and now that Jim is retired we can come more often.

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