Friday, September 30, 2016

Blocks, blocks, and more blocks

Just a bit of Halloween fun . . .

I dug through the whole drawer of Halloween fabrics to find a good variety for this block. I knew I wanted to fussy cut something for the door and windows of the house to make it look spooky. I'm thinking it still needs something added around the edges of the door to make it stand out more. Maybe I have some tiny orange rick-rack, or I could add a simple embroidery stitch around the door.

And I caught up with my blocks for the Facebook Farm Girl Vintage group this morning. Chicken Foot was a bit time consuming but worth the effort.  The Maple Leaf block was actually done already but I took it apart to change out the background pieces so there is better contrast. Plus the original green square was cut wrong and made the block pucker. It's all fixed now.  Even the small blocks are done! Yay!!!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

New Farm Girl Vintage block

This one is Autumn Star. Another beautiful block from this book. I knew when I bought the book that I would enjoy it, but had no idea how much fun I would have making each block.
The Sew Vintage group I'm in meets once per month and we've been working our way through the blocks and having some fun along with it. For our October meeting we've been challenged to make a block from the book but give it a Halloween theme. So the past 2 evenings I've been thumbing through those blocks and trying to come up with an idea.  Any suggestions would be welcome!!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

My readers are right

Thank you to all of you who gave me the advice to add that red border. I definitely like it and agree that it gives the eye somewhere to stop. This quilt top is so busy that it really needs that stopping point.  So, it's ready to quilt . . . As soon as I find a backing for it.  I think there is enough of the red left for binding so I want the backing to have some of that aqua and maybe a touch of red.

My alarm clock went off at 5:00 AM this morning so my husband could get to the airport for his flight to North Carolina for a week of golf with a bunch of guys. I am NOT a morning person but just couldn't get back to sleep. So, besides the borders on the Christmas quilt, there are now borders on a children's ABC panel.

The panel was in the stash of course and so was this stripe. I think the stripe was left over from a couple of wall hangings I made years ago from some fun Dick and Jane reader fabric.  There was just enough to make a mitered border.  I am going to look for an appropriate backing and want to try quilting this one myself. We'll see if that happens.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

5 minute table runners

I needed a break from binding this afternoon and the result is 3 of the little 5 minute table runners. All of these were kits. I love them and they fit just perfectly on the main shelf of the baker's rack in my kitchen, so I can have several of them to change out seasonally.

I can add these to the 5 I already have: Summer veggies, Christmas, 30s repro print, Easter, and Valentine's Day.  And I have a fall one cut out and ready to make.  But I probably need a Halloween one too now that I think about it. 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Border or no border

I'm struggling with whether or not to add a border to this quilt.  If I do add the border it will be a narrow one, maybe 4" or so.  Or maybe I'll just use the red to bind it without borders.
What do you think? Borders - yes or no?

Thursday, September 22, 2016


Yesterday evening I made a little road trip with friend Sylvia and Pam to see this magnificent statue called Dignity.  She stand 50' tall overlooking the Missouri River at Chamberlain - a Native American woman wrapped in a star quilt. You don't need to be a quilter to appreciate this.  My photo does not do justice to this work of art. 

The diamonds in the star quilt move, and allow the wind and light to come through. At night the statue is lit from below and that star quilt is incredible to see from the interstate, but even more so from close up.
This photo was "borrowed" from Facebook and was posted by Jennifer McManus, who I do not know. But it's the best picture I've seen so far of the night time view.
The statue is a gift to the state of South Dakota from a Rapid City business man and his wife, and created by a South Dakota artist. How lucky we are in this state to be able to enjoy this beauty.
Check out the artist's web site to learn more about Dignity.
And read more about it here, with a much better photo.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Stash enhancement

On my weekend road trip to New Ulm I did just a bit of stash enhancement.  First stop - at the Old Alley Quilt Shop in Sherburn MN on my way. It's actually in an old bowling alley and the wood floors are very unique. They have a wonderful selection of fabrics and patterns.

In New Ulm, the first shop we visited was Sewing Seeds. Wow!!  That was a great shop! They had a special sale going on for French General fabrics.  But they also had a huge selection of Kim Diehl, and lots of other things I couldn't resist petting. And OK, I made some purchases.

The Thimble Box in downtown New Ulm was a very friendly shop too. If you want panels or novelty prints this is the shop for you. I've never seen so many panels before and she had some very unique ones, with quite a few samples of ways to use them.

Spinning Spools was our last quilt shop visit and was definitely worth the stop. It's a small shop just past the downtown area with a side door located in a fun - and funky, artistic - garden area. For a small shop they had a lot of eye candy. Lots of bag patterns and samples hung everywhere we looked.

Between the yardage and the fat quarters I picked up 8 yards to add to the stash but already have a plan for some of it. The French General prints are going to become new Sew Along bags. The Minnesota Shop Hop fabric with canoes and mosquitos will become traveling squares for guild. Just a bit of retail therapy will provide hours of entertainment, right?

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

UFO #1 is a flimsy

I used all but 1 green block to finish this top. It's about 48 by 60. There is a bit of the orange and black left, and various pieces meant for more blocks that didn't happen.  I cut, stitched, and pressed the binding for this one out of leftover black from the blocks.  And I had enough of a cream, orange, black print in my stash to piece a backing for it.  So, it's ready to be quilted.

This is definitely not what my original vision was, but since I no longer remember what the original plan was - Done is better than perfect, right?  It's big enough for a nice throw and would make a decent donation quilt.   Plus this will be another 7 yards out of the stash once it's done.
Now - on to the next UFO. That will be the red and aqua pieced and applique blocks.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Working on UFOs and WIPs

On Sunday afternoon I pulled out 3 sets of blocks that need to become finished quilt tops.

I finished the last of the floral applique blocks this weekend and now I need to figure out how to use them with the large and small pieced blocks. These are not too old yet - just the 2015 Saturday Sampler blocks. But I don't want them to languish in the UFO pile for too long because they are so pretty.

These 20" rail fence blocks have languished in my UFO pile for several years. Maybe 6 or 7 years? I have no idea. I used a jelly roll and the number of blocks just didn't work out well. There are only 8 of them and they were set aside along with about 3 yards of a brown coordinating fabric because I had no idea how I wanted to arrange them. 

The last set of blocks I pulled out are these X blocks. These were done with the special X ruler. I liked the blocks but got bored with the colors I think. There are only 6 of the green ones and 10 of the rust ones and plenty of leftover fabric. Again - some planning needed in order to get these to the flimsy stage.  I'm not sure of the age of these blocks either but I know I bought the ruler on a guild bus trip to Nebraska, so that would have been either 5 or 7 years ago.  It's time to finish it up.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Road tripping

On Friday morning I set off to meet a cousin for a little girls' weekend. We've tried to meet at least once each summer somewhere between our respective homes - mine in SD and her's in Minneapolis. This time we met in New Ulm, Minnesota. 

New Ulm is famous for it's German culture in the midst of Scandinavian Minnesota. Cousin Julie and I visited the Schell's Brewery. At $3, the tour is one of the best bargains ever. This brewery is the 2nd oldest family owned brewery in the country and has been in business for about 140 years. During Prohibition it bottled root beer, which is still made. The grounds are beautiful even this late in the season, with flowers and peacocks. We only saw one peacock and he was perched above a window.

The beer sampling was fun and probably provided $3 worth of beer. I think we tasted 6 or 7 different brews. And I also sampled the root beer. 

Our whole visit didn't revolve around beer. We ate ribs and spƤtzle at Veigl;s Kaiserhaus, shopped in a variety of interesting shops in downtown New Ulm, visited a bookstore and 3 quilt shops. More about the quilt shops later this week.

And we've already been talking about where to go next time.


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Mason jar swap

A lovely group of ladies make up a monthly group we call Sew Vintage. There are about a dozen of us that meet one Saturday afternoon a month. We all share an interest in vintage fabrics - really anything vintage.
This past Saturday we had a mason jar swap. Anyone participating brought a mason jar filled with something (anything) and maybe decorated or just plain. We drew numbers to see which jar we would receive in the swap.  I brought a mason jar with tea and chocolate but took home a much more interesting jar. 
Louise added a dresser pull to the lid of this cute pedestal mason jar. And she stuffed it with 2 1/2" squares of 30 reproduction fabrics, plus some vintage buttons.  How cute is that!! 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

More churn dash blocks

I made a couple of the 12" Churn Dash blocks and used some darker combinations this time. I think ultimately this project will need a good mix of light, dark and medium blocks. But I have lots of autumn fabrics in that drawer to play with and lots of neutrals too.
Another name for this block is Hole in the Barn Door. Thus the pattern name for this free download:
Just Quiltin's pattern is called Barn Dance. She has a great layout using many different sizes of the blocks.  Find it at:
In reality, I haven't been in my sewing room at all since Sunday. I'm getting lots of hours in at work instead.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Saturday Sampler blocks

The month's Saturday Sampler block is done and ready to go for next month. Most of the individual blocks have been a design I would use again and this one is definitely one of those.  I like the look of the star points in the blocks especially.

Our bonus block for next month is done in Halloween colors and I think mine turned out pretty cute.  This past Saturday I won the bonus blocks at Saturday Sampler. There were only 3 blocks including my own.  I'm kind of thinking of making pillows out of them. 

Monday, September 12, 2016

RSC16 update

The colors for September for RSC16 are rose garden hues - reds with a touch of gold. My favorite color of rose is red so I chose a deep red for this month's Crown of Thorns block. I have some gold scraps left over from Allietare, so a gold block is yet to come. And I still plan to make a light pink one to fit with one of the previous months' colors.

Counting the red block there are now 12 of these so I've reached that point where there are nearly enough for a whole quilt.  Since these are 16" blocks, having enough for a quilt top doesn't take long.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Contrast is important

I had to be reminded about the importance of contrast today. I was cutting some pieces for more churn dash blocks, and pulled these 3 lovely fabrics. But as I was pressing the rows it became easy to see that there just isn't enough contrast here.

The block would be OK but not particularly emphasizing the churn dash.  A darker piece to replace that dark orange would make a big difference. So, back to digging in the scraps . . . And I think it is going to be worth the time spent to pick out those seams to make the substitution.

This brown will be much better.  Right now I'm watching a little Vikings football and will take this block apart.  And I can save the dark orange pieces to use in another block where they will show up better.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Playing with stash and scraps

Do you believe that a finish entitles you to start something new? I see it as a reward for finishing something. Especially when the "something" is as big and complicated as Allietare was.

Last weekend I saw a great quilt online, done with different sizes and variations of the Barn Door or Churn Dash block.  The designer calls it Barn Dance and has a free pattern on her blog.  I kept thinking it would be great as a scrappy quilt.  Of course that made me start thinking about what I might have to play with.

There are plenty of cream/neutral fabrics in my scrap bin. And I have a small drawer full of autumn fabrics that have been collecting for a long time.  So this 24" block is the result of digging through those. This is actually the largest block in her pattern.  This could make a nice little table topper or pillow left just as is. But I may need to make some of the other size blocks too just for fun and see where it takes me.

Sometimes it's just relaxing and fun to make something with no real plan. But then again this is probably why I have so many UFOs and WIPs. My next REAL project needs to be binding my Traveling Stars quilt.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Farm Girl Vintage

Another Farm Girl Vintage block is done. I love this pinwheel block. So, I'm caught up with Farm Girl for both the online group I'm following and the face-to-face group I'm in. It's really exciting to lay these blocks out and play with some combinations.
Right now I'm leaning toward breaking the large blocks into more than one quilt. The kitchen and food themed blocks would make a great wall hanging. 

Sunday, September 4, 2016

A big finish

A finish always gives me a rush, but this one is extra special. 

Allietare is Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt from last winter and my first attempt at one of her mystery quilts. They all have a TON of little pieces because her designs really focus on being scrappy.  I started this one back on Black Friday (2015) right after Thanksgiving and stayed caught up for a couple of weeks. But eventually I fell behind and I was very worried that it would become a UFO.

I haven't admitted this until now, but I kept the project box on the floor right next to my cutting table with blocks "in progress" laying on top. That way I had to look at it every single time I walked into my sewing room. And I kept plugging away at it.  The last stitch of the binding and the label went on today. So after 8 and a half months, it is finished. And after not liking it for much of that time, I've come to love the way it looks.