Sunday, January 31, 2021


Simplify - was the guiding idea as I cleaned off my cutting station on Saturday.  It’s my 2021 Word, and I really need to apply it to a lot of parts of my life.  But I'll start in the sewing room.

I get so lazy when cutting projects, and tend to just push pieces off to the side, thinking I will take care of them later.  But then “later’ doesn’t come.  The surface has now been cleared and even dusted.  All of the scraps and other odds ‘n ends have been organized and put away where they belonged.  Some specialty rulers are hanging on hooks on the wall where they are much handier.  Simplified!

Near the top of that pile were a bunch of triangles trimmed from those QOV star blocks.  Those are now Hourglass blocks and in a bag with quite a few others - all in red, white, and blue.  Underneath that pile of scraps was a whole baggie of triangles trimmed from another past project. These are green and cream.  I had actually begun sewing them into HSTs but then stuffed them in a bag.  Add all these HSTs to the coral and blue ones that were hanging out near the top of the big basket, and I have the parts that could make some cute doll quilts or pillows or something.  I guess this proves that I have trouble throwing these triangle trimmings away from every project.

Once that surface was clean I got back to cutting out the Simple Whatnots project that I’ve been slowly working on.  Laundry Line has a LOT of little pieces, but I’m nearly done with the cutting and will be able to start sewing it this week.  

Sunday sewing will hopefully include a finished binding, and pulling some yellows to begin my RSC blocks as we move into February.   

January was semi-productive

How do I define "semi-productive" you ask?  Well, there were no full sized quilts completed this month, but I did get a lot of my monthly goals done so there was forward progress on plenty of things. My only complete finishes were a bag, a table runner, and 3 pillowcases.  But I did make LOTS of blocks for ongoing projects, and took 2 projects to be quilted (by credit card). My January plan really focused on small projects and organizing.  In those areas I'm pleased with my progress.

I'm a list maker, and feel great when I can check something OFF a list.  So the past couple of months I've actually printed my goal list and pinned it next to my work space to keep me going in the right direction.  That doesn't mean I don't go off to chase squirrels, but it does give me better focus most of the time.    

  • Saturday Sampler - January sections - DONE
  • Cut out 1 Simple Whatnots project - Not quite done, but almost
  • UFO Challenge project #7
    • Unity quilt - finish Rnd #4 - DONE, added Round 5 & delivered to quilter
    • 1 Sew Together bag - DONE - Laurel Burch cats
  • Ritzy Cracker - sew "2-sies" into "4-sies" - NO
  • Pillowcases
    • 1 Harry Potter for Mason - kitted up & ready to sew
    • 2 flannel Harry Potter for Steph's kids - DONE
    • 2 zebras for my granddaughters - only 1 DONE, but other is kitted up
    • 1 car pillowcase - kitted up & ready to sew
  • Organizing
    • set up new project cabinet - DONE
    • clean cutting station AGAIN - DONE
    • label the drawers sorted by color - No labels yet as more sorting needs to happen
  • Quilt, bind, finish the following:
    • Gnome table runner - DONE
    • blue snowflake runner - DONE
    • 2 Winter Moose table runners - NO
  • Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2021 - PINK
    • Wisdom - 5 blocks - 6 blocks DONE
    • Gingham - 2 blocks + 4 green frames - DONE
    • Blossom Time - 5 blocks - actually got 8 blocks DONE
    • Diamond Tile - 2 blocks - NO
    • Ohio Star - 1 or 2 (to make quilt bigger) - 2 DONE
    • String blocks - 4 or more - DONE

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Getting ready for some weekend sewing

After work yesterday afternoon, I picked up 2 quilts from the quilter, and I'm hoping to get the binding made for them this morning so I have binding to do while watching TV later this weekend.

And I kitted up 2 presentation pillowcases for our Quilt of Valor group.  With some leftovers, I made 3 quick Patriotic Stars blocks for a future QOV to add to the stack we have gathered so far.  I think I'll add some of these blocks to my February goal list.  They are quick to make and we do need more to finish a quilt top.  

Our February color for Rainbow Scrap Challenge was announced this morning - YELLOW!  Another bright cheerful color!  That makes me happy.  So I'm off with my morning coffee, to play in the sewing room for the morning. 

Friday, January 29, 2021

A big basket

A big basket of scraps is currently sitting in the middle of my sewing room - and it’s mocking me every time I walk in.  I’m almost afraid to dig into this. 

This basket is about 20” deep and it’s packed full of scraps.  It was the one scrap bin I didn’t dump out and sort by color a couple of years ago.  Nothing new has been added to it recently, which is good, I think.  But I’m working on goals for February, and emptying this basket needs to be on that list.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Gnomes with red hats

 Gnomes seem to be all the rage lately, and I've finally joined the fun by making the Twister Gnomes table runner.  

This runner is currently on the top of my treadle machine cabinet.  It turned out pretty cute, although I'm not completely happy with my quilting.  I actually followed the pattern and did parallel lines of quilting down the length, but not stitching over the gnomes themselves.  It's OK, but could have been better.  And it's really ugly on the back because I used the grey thread that matches the top but really stands out on the red and black backing fabric. And not in a good way.  

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

More scrappy blocks, acronyms, and organizing

Blossom Time blocks have become my Leader/Ender project lately.  Over the weekend I made 8 more of the individual tulips.  And now I've assembled "quad" numbers 8 and 9.   

These are only 13.5" square right now, so I'll just keep making them until I have enough for a good sized quilt.  I've been using up a variety of background scraps - white, beige, small prints.  Whatever is handy in the scrap bin ends up in the tulip blocks and in the narrow 1" sashing strips. 

One pink Twinkle Star block joins the collection this month.  This makes 15 of these blocks total so far, including the ones I made in 2020.

In the most recent Quiltmaker magazine Bonnie Hunter's column featured this scrap block.  She calls it Around the Corner, which is appropriate, as the side sections are sewn on by going "around" the center.  The first seam is actually done as a partial seam.  The finished size is 6".  I only made 1 of these just to try it out.  BH had the center square the same as those corner background triangles, but there was this cute little black and white elephant square on top of the pile, so I used it instead of white.  It's pretty cute, but I'm not sure yet if I'll make more.  It's hanging on the edge of my design wall for now.

As I've worked on scrappy blocks a lot this month you would think that my scrap bins would be diminished.  But you would be wrong.  I swear they are fuller than when I started.  My pink/red/orange bin is definitely worse, but maybe the scraps are just "fluffier" because I've been digging for the pinks.  While driving on Monday I got to thinking that maybe I need to sort those 3 colors and separate them.   

On the organizing front there are no pictures of success to show but I haven't been idle this week.  I've gone through my "GIFT" basket that was overflowing with patterns I've torn from magazines or printed from the Internet and saved as ideas for "Some Day".  GIFT is a new acronym I saw recently - Great Ideas For Tomorrow!!  Another hilarious acronym and it reminds me that I need a better system for keeping those ideas all together.  

I sorted out lots of patterns I'm sure I'll never make and added them to my donation box.  And I pitched about 5 pounds of paper printouts that also would never likely become projects.  

That basket is no longer overflowing because I only kept the things I really felt I might actually make.  Yay!!  It sure felt good to go through that messy pile and get rid of LOTS of the paper that had accumulated.  My "word" for 2021 is SIMPLIFY, and getting rid of excess patterns is another small step toward that goal.  

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Sew Together bag #16

 Check it off the PIG list for 2021.  

This is my 16th Sew Together bag.  It's a Laurel Burch cat print from years ago.  I really love her art so I've been "hoarding" a couple of fabrics to use for something special.  I guess this qualified as special.

The rest of the fabrics in this one are batiks.  Orange makes the ends of the bag really stand out, and the deep purple of the edge bindings calm it all down.  

Next . . . the navy blue bag.  But maybe not right away.  

Monday, January 25, 2021

Design Wall Monday - January 25

 The Gnomes are all blanket stitched finally, and the runner is now sandwiched and ready to quilt.  Normally the blanket stitching wouldn't have taken so long.  But 4 different thread colors, and those little wispy beard edges slowed down the process.  I think the grey thread I used to quilt the snowflake runner will be perfect for this one too. 

A bold red and black backing was pulled from the stash.  I do wonder what I originally bought that for since there was about 3 yards of it.  It's always good to find something in the stash that works for a backing.  Even the batting was a scrap left over from another quilt.  This will be my main goal for this week - quilting and binding this Gnome table runner.

I'm linking up with:

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Digging into the pink

 January has been the month to "think pink" for Rainbow Scrap Challenge this year.  And I did a LOT of sewing with my pink scraps.  Here are a few of the blocks I made so far this month.  Aren't they cheerful?  

However - it doesn't seem like I made much of a dent in the scrap bin.  I think those scraps multiply in the dark every night.  There is one more week in January, so I need to dig a little deeper into those pink scraps and use up a few more.  

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Baby steps forward

 Between work and watching the inauguration yesterday, I didn't get much sewing done.  I had good intentions, but it just didn't happen. 

One of the hard steps in making the Sew Together bag is stitching those pockets into the folds of the end sections.  The other difficult thing is then sewing that end to the quilted bag front along with the binding that encloses the raw edges. LOTS of layers of fabric.

The end looks a little rumpled right now, but once I've had a chance to apply a bit of steam it will be better.  However, normally I manage to push each of those "pleats" so they lay in the same direction, but this one just wouldn't cooperate.  

It's ready for the final step of putting on the top zipper and the binding that makes the finished edges and the handles.  That is a much quicker step because there are NOT lots of layers to sew through.  

This is Sew Together bag #16.  I posted about #15 on May 1, 2020.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Cat bag progress

 I made a little progress on the Laurel Burch cat bag.  The pockets and lining are ready to add the end sections.   Usually I've purchased colored zippers that blend better with the lining, but I was able to buy a large bag of white 9" zippers recently.  And the closest place to buy zippers otherwise is 70 miles away, so it seemed like a good option.  They are inside the bag and the only zipper that is outside will match the bag colors much better. 

I love that black lining with the stars. It makes me think of the art projects for kids where they scratch off the black coating to reveal the colors and picture underneath.  And the orange batik looks great against the cat fabric of the outer part of the bag.  

Next steps are the hardest - stitching through many layers of fabric to attach those end sections to the lining and pockets, and then adding the edge binding and attaching to the quilted outer bag.  Lots of thick seams make for slow stitching. 


Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Stay At Home Round Robin

I know I shouldn't start something else new, but . . . I couldn't resist.  For the past week I've been seeing info about SAHRR - Stay At Home Round Robin - online, and have been very intrigued.  I've enjoyed the round robin and row robin projects our guild has done in the past.  This one will be done by ourselves, but with a different person assigning each new round.  

Check out the information here:

Early Monday morning I checked out the info on the 1st Round.  The host recommended we go to each of the "co-hosts" to see how they interpreted the instructions.  That is what finally convinced me to dive in.  Each of the 7 designers had unique ideas for the piano keys assigned for Round 1, and each of them used totally different center blocks, even different sizes. 

So, I had a couple of orphan blocks tucked into a labeled project box that would make excellent center squares.  This one is the 9" Jackknife block that Bonnie Hunter had in a fall issue of Quiltmaker magazine, and she has recently been showing 2-color blocks she's working on using this pattern.

I have to admit that I tried out the block, but had some major issues getting the hourglass sections the right size even though usually the hourglass is so easy.  I cut them wrong the first time, and again a second time due to not following the instructions properly.  Once frustrated with the block it went into the orphan block box, possibly never to be seen again.  But yesterday I decided it could maybe be rescued with this project.  Luckily I had enough of that little dot fabric in the scraps to add the 1.5" border, and found 4 little red squares in my postage stamp tin. It felt like it needed that border to stop the eye before adding anything.  Next came 2.5" piano keys and dark blue corner squares. I had to sliver trim the piano key border lengths to fit but that's OK.  

This finished block is now 13.5" square and is hanging on the design wall waiting for next week's new round assignment.  The nice thing with this SAHRR is no pressure.  I can choose to add a round or not depending on whether I like it or can come up with an idea for it.  

Monday, January 18, 2021

Design Wall Monday - January 18

 The project that is front and center for later today is another Sew Together bag.  The interfacing is now attached to the end sections and the lining pieces.  So now it's ready for the next step, which are the 3inside pockets with zippers.  

The ends are that orange batik and the linings are the black batik with stars.  I have a deep purple for the edge bindings and handles.  I think this will be a really cute little bag.

I've linked up with for my Design Wall fun.

No sewing has happened around here since last Wednesday.  We had planned to leave Friday mid-morning to drive to Omaha to meet our niece and husband at a college basketball game.  We are all Jackrabbit alumni and fans, and our Jacks women were playing the University of Nebraska Omaha Mavericks on Friday and Saturday afternoons.  Well . . . a winter storm was moving quickly toward us, and our niece suggested we drive down on Thursday. So we left right after lunch. Good thing we did since I-29 was closed by 10 PM that night. 

The basketball games were fun - with ugly wins both days.  And the evenings were a blast with card games.  On Friday night we played Shanghai where the object is to build various sets and runs of cards. Each player has 3 chips to "buy" a discard out of turn.  A great game!  And on Saturday we played a different card game -Tripoli.  And her husband loves to cook so he kept us filled up with yummy food the whole weekend.  

It was a wonderful escape.  We felt very safe since my niece has already had Covid, and her husband is tested frequently at work including twice in the past week.  Both work mostly from home these days anyway.  And the basketball arena required masks and social distancing, and had fewer than 300 fans. 

When we got home on Sunday afternoon we saw the effects of the terrible wind that came with that storm.  For the second time this year, very strong winds have tipped over the buffalo statue on this street corner here in Mitchell.  The buffalo and steer statues are a long time fixture on a corner just north of the interstate.  Thank goodness that steer is more solidly anchored.   


Friday, January 15, 2021

Sewing & winter storms

Thursday afternoon we were under a winter storm watch (soon to be warning) which put a kink into my plans.  And it's all about me, right?  Mother Nature has been showing her multiple personalities lately.  Tuesday and Wednesday were nearly 50 degrees, which isn't normal for South Dakota in January.  Thursday the wind began to howl - tipping over semis on the Interstate type of wind, and the schools east and north of us began to close early.  So we pushed up our "road trip" to Thursday afternoon which meant I didn't get to sew.  But I'll survive.

Those flannel pillowcases are now finished and ready to mail to 2 kiddos in Australia.  Flannel may not have been the best fabric choice for their locale, but it was what I could find at the time.  The Hogwarts theme should make them happy, as they have just begun to read the first Harry Potter book with their parents.  

The only other thing I have to show is the "test block" I made for the Grassy Creek mystery.  Where my navy blue is, Bonnie Hunter had red. And she had orange where I put purple.  Otherwise I kept her colors of gold, grey, green.  It's not bad as is, but I may make another block with the "right" colors and see if I like it better.  

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Lunch hour sewing

 Getting more organized this past couple of weeks has helped me when I only have a short amount of time to sew on any given day.  

I've long made monthly, and sometimes weekly, sewing goals and posted them on the blog.  List making has always been one of my "go to" ways to stay on task with work or at home.  So, this month I copied those January goals from my blog and printed them.  That list is now hanging right by my ironing board where I can see it at all times.  

On Wednesday I mostly had my lunch hour to sew, and when I walked in I checked the list for something quick to work on.  The pillowcases were already kitted up and in a labeled box, so I had a ready made project.

The cuffs are now on 2 of the 6 pillowcases kitted up in the box.  When done, there will be 2 of the flannel Hogwarts/Harry Potter pillowcases for my niece's kids in Australia.  And there will be 2 of the zebra pillowcases for the spring birthdays of my granddaughters.  I left off the contrasting trim on the flannel cases because it would have added to much bulk in the seam.  And yes - the flannel has been washed and dried before making these.  Side note - I really do NOT like sewing on flannel.  

One other quick project was to sew the 4 Blossom Time tulip blocks I had made this week into a "quad" block.  This ends up being 13" once the 1" sashing is added between these little tulips.  This is the 7th quad set that is done.  And I love, love, love how cute and cheerful these totally scrappy blocks are. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

More organizing

Somewhere in my sewing room was a gallon ziplock baggie full of zippers.  Where had I put it last spring when I made the most recent Sew Together bags?  I needed to find the zippers to see if I had a purple one long enough for the next Sew Together bag.  And the search caused a little more organizing to occur, which is good.

And yes - I found the bag of zippers and yes, there was a long purple one just perfect for the next Sew Together bag.  The kit was something I put together a couple of weeks ago, along with sorting the parts and pieces for a couple more.  The Laurel Burch fabrics are all so wonderful and I've been hoarding this cat print for just the right project.  This should be a very cute bag. 

I had this lovely big basket up on a shelf and now it's holding the kits I've gathered for bags and aprons.  Tucked into the front is a ziplock bag full of the zipper pulls and other things I've purchased to use with bags.  And there is still room to add all the zippers, so everything is together but not in a messy pile.

When I found the zippers in a drawer, hiding under it was another gallon bag holding a forgotten project called Bricks and Stepping Stones.  These blocks were a wrinkly mess, but I pressed them and they look pretty good.  The "bricks" are all children's prints left over from baby quilts and burb cloths I made over the years.  This could be an I Spy kind of quilt once it's done.  

And in the bag with the blocks was this big stack of bricks, already cut and there was a photo of a finished quilt that I had obviously printed off the Internet so I would remember what I was making.  I'm wondering if maybe this quilt belonged to Lorri 2 R's, and that I "borrowed" her photo.  

Bricks and Stepping Stones is one of Bonnie Hunter's free patterns found on her website.  Go to: .  It's made with 2" squares or strips of black and white to make 4-patches (3.5" size), and 3.5" by 6.5" rectangles.  It's a simple pattern and the bricks are cut, so it's going onto my UFO list so it has a chance of being completed.   

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Blue and white quilts

 My new blue and white/cream Snowflake table runner is decorating my dining room table, and seeing it reminded me that my hanging quilt was still a very Christmas-y one.  

So I took down the Christmas one, and pulled out an old favorite from several years ago that has a very snowy feel.  This one began with a fat quarter bundle of sparkly blue prints that made me think snow. I did end up buying a similar sparkly white for the background, and a little extra yardage to make enough blocks, and for that inner border.  It has often been on my guest room bed in the winter.  I saw the half snowflake applique idea in a magazine and it worked so well.  I'll really enjoy this one on the wall probably well into March. 

I also set out my little snowman mini quilt that hangs in this metal stand on my fireplace hearth.  This one makes me smile every time I walk by.  It's just cute. 

If I remember correctly this was a challenge issued by Cindy to our Sew Vintage group.  We might have been doing Washtub Club at the time.  I think she gave us the white square and a scrap of orange and challenged us to make a snowman.  I used scraps from the blue quilt above, and some buttons (pearl snowflakes and plain black) to embellish it.  This mini sits on my fireplace most winters ever since.

Do you decorate with your quilts?  

Monday, January 11, 2021

Design Wall Monday - January 11

 Mid-January already?  How did that happen?

My second Blue Snowflake table runner is nearing completion.  I have one long side left to stitch down the binding which should be accomplished today.  The first one was sent to a Secret Santa swap partner in Ohio for Christmas.  And this one I am keeping for myself.  

These were made from a "half" jelly roll plus some cream yardage found in the stash.  The blues are all kind of a dusty color of blue, and the prints were kind of vintage looking florals and blends.  The snowflakes were laser cuts that I purchased somewhere, for who knows what.  And I quilted both runners myself with simple straight lines angling back and forth down the length, and about 1.5" apart.  Then I added quilting lines on each of the snowflake parts.  The quilting thread is a soft grey that really works nicely.  

What is one your design wall this morning?

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Saturday was productive

 Not only did I finish the flimsy for Unity on Saturday, but I also accomplished a lot more.  More time than usual was spent in my sewing room and it was fun.

Sections 5 and 6 for Saturday Sampler are now done.  So far every section we've made is a different size and shape.  This is like a mystery quilt, and it's fun to imagine what we'll be doing with these parts and pieces as we go forward.  Tiny flying geese - with no background fabric - and "chubby chevrons" were our blocks this month.

Those last two Gingham blocks without frames have now joined the rest of the blocks with their frames added.  I may have to play with some layout ideas soon for these so that I know how many I'll need to make a whole quilt.

And I made one more wisdom block - out of a deep blue batik that was trimmed from the backing of the table runner that is nearly all quilted.  I should be able to finish quilting that today, and get the binding on as well.  Photos of that once it's finished.  

All in all, it was a very productive day!

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Border or no border?

I can't decide - does this need a border or not?  I'm looking for advice.

If I were to add a border my thought is a narrow black one on the sides to match the top and bottom.  Then I could add a narrow pink one, and finally a little wider black border. 

What do you think?  

Friday, January 8, 2021

Back to work on Unity

 My plan for the final step on the Unity quilt is pretty simple - narrow borders and flying geese on the top and the bottom.  That matches the original pattern, except I’m making the geese a little bigger.  I’ve decided not to add the additional pieced “rounds” to the quilt that were originally planned.  It will end up 54 x 66.  I may add a simple outer border or I may leave it that size.  

The flying geese are 2 x 4 (finished) and will all point the same direction in the strip.  The parts are all cut and about a dozen are stitched so far.  I love how these look with the variety of fabrics. 

And while the pink and lime green fabrics were still out, I made one more pink Gingham block and framed the 2 lighter green Gingham blocks.  That makes 22 done, with only 2 darker green blocks left to frame.  I think 30 blocks will make a nice sized quilt, and I'm getting kind of excited over how these blocks are looking together.  

Thursday, January 7, 2021

A squirrel - but at least it's pink

 Yesterday while waiting for the engineers to quit messing with the humungous spreadsheet they wanted me to work on, I went downstairs to sew.  That is certainly a benefit to working from home.  I can walk away from my desk instead of wasting time staring at my computer screen.  And the first thing I played with . . . a squirrel that crossed my path earlier in the morning.

Pat Sloan had posted her free Wednesday block and it was so cute.  "Home is . . ." was the name of the block and she had it done in the prettiest blues.  Click that block name to go to her tutorial and the pattern.  I had this light bulb moment that this 14.5" block would be a wonderful addition to the 2021 Rainbow Scrap Challenge, and so I made it in pink.  I still need to applique a little heart above the chimney to match her pattern.  

And then, since I was still waiting on that spreadsheet, I sewed the Gingham block that I had cut on Tuesday night.  These are quick to cut and quick to sew out of simple 2.5" squares.  

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Organizing projects

One small step is done towards better organization and simplifying my sewing space.  My project carts were delivered yesterday and I spent a couple of hours moving projects and labeling these boxes.  

I left the wheels off of the carts so that I could stack them more easily.  Each of the 12 "drawers" in this cart is actually a removable project box.   In spite of how my photo looks, the boxes are all the same size - and the same size as many that I already had.  So I've labeled a lot of other project boxes, but my plan is to keep some of the current UFO, WIP, and PIG projects in this cart where they are easy to see and access.  There is still a TON of work to do to clean up and organize that room (and my stash), but I'm one step closer.

A little bit of sewing happened as well.  Online at  a beautiful quilt made with string blocks that had a neutral half and a color half.  Her blocks were small and used narrow strings but I have a lot of wider strings in the bins, so my blocks are 9.5" square.  But putting 4 together with the color meeting in the middle, an 18" block is created.  Several of these would make a nice size donation quilt.  

Now today I need to catch up at work so I can take another afternoon off to sew later in the week.