Friday, September 30, 2005


So, I did get to play in the sewing room today and even took some pictures, but right now I have to figure out how to get to Las Vegas on October 10, because TransMeridian Airlines is no longer flying, thank you very much. We had reservations to fly out of Rockford, IL on the 10th and they even charged our credit card already, and now they are no longer flying period! Nice of them to leave travelers stranded in Orlando and Vegas, too.
We were going out for a Navy reunion of my DH's squadron. I'm thinking if we can't get out via Rockford, I'll just get our money back -- don't really want to fly out of O'Hare or Milwaukee.
Anyway.....I'll see about getting the pictures off the camera and onto the 'puter later!

More Stars for Finn

This is a table runner I made last spring. I would have made one more star, but I really liked the light blue background and didn't have enough! And, to keep it scrappy, here's a closeup of the center:

I also spent all afternoon yesterday playing with the Labor Day Madness blocks. Just did what I call "mindless stitching" which is chain piecing all the parts. I put two together trying out different centers and background fabrics and decided upon using all yellow centers and I "think" the darker background fabrics. Definitely going to weed out the lighter star points -- didn't like how they tended to fade into the background. Still need to square up about 80 parts today and play some more!

These are the blocks with the lighter background rectangles and the yellow squares.
And the ones below, I changed the background rectangles to a darker beige (they are not sewn in -- just pasted on top! So, what do you think? The lighter backgrounds or the darker? The centers of the blocks will still be scrappy, and the lighter points will not be used -- just don't show up that well. I like the darker scrappy look!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

No stars today

Been busy cleaning house and doing all those boring things that need to be done every now and then today, so didn't dig out any star quilts to post. It'll be on my priority list tomorrow!
I did manage to get an hour in on the hand applique of my DD's friend's mother's quilt! LOL Only have the leaves to finish on 4 blocks and then I can put it together, quilt it and get it off my mind.
I hope to get busy on the Labor Day Madness quilt from Pat Speth's workshop this past Saturday - it'll be fun to start chain piecing those blocks. I want to make them really scrappy with lots of color in them.
A friend at guild brought some of the scrappy quilts she's made with the 5 inch squares and also some she's done with smaller scraps. She's been stitching the "extra" half square triangles together (the ones from when you do a connector corner or sew and flip corner and move over 1/2" and sew another seam so you automatically have a small hst). She's got a great ocean waves quilt started just from these triangles. She said she's been saving scraps that she cuts into the biggest size squares/rectangles she can for years -- I sent her over to Bonnie's site to give her some more ideas on what scrap sizes work well together and just to show her all the possibilities Bonnie has come up with!
Well, off to finish printing some work out and then heading up the stairs to relapse in the recliner!

Monday, September 26, 2005

Sunflower Surprise

Last week I had a rant about my friend who buys good fabric for backings and how it drives me crazy because I use old fabrics, ugly fabrics, or piece my backings. Finn rightly pointed out that we are all different in our quilting pursuits.

I happen to love sunflowers. I mentioned this to that same friend a year or two ago. Saturday she gave me this quilt! It is all machine appliqued. She said she wanted to learn how to machine applique, so spent her time learning on this quilt for me. She's been working on it since last November. The workmanship is superb and I absolutely love this quilt. It is hanging in my kitchen on the front wall where I can look at it every day.
And the thing is....I would not have bought this pattern and attempted this quilt at all -- too many little pieces, too fussy, not sure my skills are up to it, etc! I am not the precise quilter she is -- we are all different in our quilting pursuits! I will treasure this quilt always.

Nickel Squares

These were taken at the Nickel Squares workshop I went to on Saturday. Lady holding the quilt is Pat Speth, Author of the Nickel Squares books and instructor, of course. She's holding a scrap quilt she made with leftover strips cut from 5 inch squares she used in another project. She sewed the strips together as leaders and enders!
The other picture is the one block I made at the workshop and some of the partial blocks I chain pieced -- my brain was too foggy from this miserable cold to do much of anything -- but I did enjoy the workshop. After all -- it was scrap overload -- everyone's quilt blocks were different! One quilter had been saving up red, white and black fabrics forever and decided to do her quilt with only those fabrics -- she had about 4 blocks done and they were fabulous -- wish I'd remembered to take a picture! Maybe I'll get a picture when she finishes the quilt.

Star Quilts

Good Monday afternoon! I'm slowly getting organized around here -- doing laundry, had to run to the store & bank, and take some pictures which I'm hopefully going to upload now!
These first two are just two of my star quilts. The blue and yellow stars was a mystery quilt designed by Beth Ferrier umpteen years ago. Used to do a lot of online mystery quilts -- hardly ever do them now! The one on the right is my Fall Star Trip. Colors don't show well in the picture, but it's browns, reds, greens, golds -- it's one of my favorite fall quilts.

So there's a couple of my star quilts, Finn!

Friday, September 23, 2005

Friday night

Well, it's been another strange week! This is getting to be normal around here -- better look out!
My DB fell while changing a lightbulb in his basement, broke a couple of bones in his leg, had surgery today to put a screw and plate in. He'll be in the hospital a few more days, then 6 to 8 months before he'll be completely healed. He was standing on an overturned washtub and fell 10 inches! Let that be a lesson....we all do dumb things like that!

Thanks for all the comments on my menial task musings! I did spend all day yesterday working on the problem that was at the top of the list. Note to others: when you design a quilt, make sure you write down the sizes of each block as you make it! DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT finish the quilt and wash it and expect to go back and easily figure out each block size! LOL I'm doing a BOM in my newsletter of a garden quilt with lots of different sized blocks. I had some problems when I first put it together and had to rework some of the blocks -- however, I had them written down in 3 different areas and 3 different sizes and no clue which paper was the latest! Sometimes I just shouldn't be allowed to feed myself with metal utensils!
I perservered however, and all the instructions for all the blocks are finished -- I'll just need to pick the next blocks for the newsletter and copy & paste!

Second on the list is a quilt I'm making for DD's best friend's mother. It could be called a commission quilt, except I'm not taking any money for it. Goal is to finish it before Christmas, which shouldn't be hard, if I actually work on it! So, today, I appliqued another cardinal and cut out and pinned the next one on the block. Two more to applique, and then a boatload of leaves to applique, put it together, add borders and quilt! I'll keep at it now that I have it at the top of my list!

Tomorrow I have a workshop at my guild -- a Nickel Squares workshop with Pat Speth, the author of the book. Been fighting this rotten cold/cough all week, so got everything packed and ready to go (featherweight checked and ready!) -- I'll decide how I feel in the morning and hopefully will be able to go -- it's an all day thing and I need the break! I think this cold/cough thing is turning into laryngitis - so that'll be a bonus for my friends! vbg

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


Welcome back, Finn!

Do ya ever get the feeling that something is bothering you, but you can't put your finger on it? I do -- quite often! LOL I had to clean house today -- I do some of my best thinking while doing menial tasks. Figured out that I have a couple things bothering me -- stressing me -- and mostly it's deadlines I've put on myself. So, made a list of things that are stressing me, put them in order of what needs to be done first and what doesn't need to be done at all. Now I have a clear picture of what I need to do to reduce the stress in my life!

Managed to stitch the bindings down on all three quilts waiting in line - one less thing on my list, but not really a stress inducer --- I knew I'd get them finished! Won't be going to DD's tomorrow to babysit as I still have a cough and have now given it to DH -- don't need to spread it further -- so will tackle the one big stress inducer at the top of the list and hopefully find peace of mind soon! And when that job's done, I'll start on the second one and just keep plodding along! I'm motivated to clear my mind and my stress 'cause I wanna play with scraps.

Monday, September 19, 2005


Well, this cold really knocked me flat last night. Didn't get much sleep -- every hour on the half hour I coughed! Feeling better today, but not great yet -- in fact, had to give up my quilting bee and quilt guild tonight because I don't want to pass this crud around!

So... I did manage to pull a backing, batting and sammich a table runner today. Even got most of it quilted, just have a couple of in the ditch parts I need to go back and do and trim and put the binding on -- then I'll have three waiting for the bindings to be sewn down! That's okay though, because I don't mind sewing bindings down -- the quilt is truly finished then!
Next on the stack is the fall scrappy I put together last week -- so looking forward to getting that one sammiched and quilted, too. I've found I've had much more success taking pictures outside of my quilts. I'll try to get the next few done and take pictures this weekend.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Finished Quilting

Here's the quilts I have finished quilting this weekend -- both of these quilts were designed by me and will become a pattern as soon as they are back from the testers. The one on the right is done in bright colors-- I have a hard time working with them. The second is done in soft muted colors -- ones I like to sew with. The bindings have not been sewn down yet -- but I wanted to take pictures outside before dark!

I have a miserable cold and just don't feel like sewing any more today, so I think I'll just take a nap and then pull some more backings for a couple of other table runners and maybe get them pinned today.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Later that night....

Well, managed to get the straight line quilting done on the second wall hanging. And the border marked for the freehand, so, hopefully, will finish another quilt tomorrow. Then I'll be stacking them up waiting for bindings to be sewn down! vbg
Just got back from our usual dinner out on Saturday night and heading up now to relapse in the recliner with the Jack Russell on my lap!
Have a good one!


Well, didn't win the Mega Millions last night, so back to the old grind!

Just got back from the memorial service today, had to check email and now I think I'll go up and take a look at the next quilting project. I still have to stitch the binding down on the one I finished yesterday and I need to spend some time clearing off one of the sewing tables that gets overloaded whenever I have a project going! Need to take stock on how many small projects I do have that need to be quilted -- I want to get the scrappy fall one done soon, too. So -- time to get off the computer and get up to the sewing studio. See ya all later!

Friday, September 16, 2005


We had a rather interesting night last night -- the electric/telephone pole at the road directly in front of our house caught fire. Our neighbor noticed and told us about 10:30 pm. I called ComEd -- they called back about 11 saying someone was on his way -- he showed up at midnight. He put the fire out and then shut off our power. He was out there all night and at various times more trucks arrived and left. I didn't sleep for sour apples last night! (Our bedroom is in the front of the house, second floor -- I kept thinking the guy was probably eye level with our windows! -- Not that there's a lot to see in old people's bedrooms! LOL) Got up at 7 this morning -- they are still out there, still no power. They finally got the pole out of the ground and a new one put in (the fire had burned through the pole at the top --but I don't believe it got to the transformer which was lower on the pole). They then hooked up the transformer and our power came back online at 7:40 this morning -- 30 seconds later they were gone! So, I've decided to come down with a cold and I didn't sleep well -- can you say cranky?!

Anyway -- did manage to get one top quilted today -- I must be the world's worst machine quilter -- by the time I get to the borders I just want to get it finished! When I win the lottery, I'm sending every top I have stacked waiting to be quilted out to a long -armer! Heads up, Bonnie -- I plan on winning the Mega Millions tonight! vbg

Tomorrow we have to go to a funeral for an old friend's wife, so probably won't be getting much quilting done til late in the afternoon. I had hoped to get the second one started today, but things don't always work out the way I hoped! Ah well! It'll still be there when I get back -- maybe I can learn some patience in the meantime!

Thursday, September 15, 2005


This has been an interesting week. We've been having 90° temps here and are in a drought, so Tuesday afternoon a storm came through. We got about 3/4" of rain and last night it was 47°! Welcome to the midwest! Today was cloudy and a little bit of rain -- great day for quilting!

Yesterday, after I ran my weekly errands, a quilty friend and I went to a nearby town to the quilt store to pick up our first "Buck a Block" block. This is a bom using Thangles™. The blocks are only 8" unfinished, so we'll be adding 2½" sashing strips to finish them. We have a choice of making a small, medium or large quilt, but I'm only going to make the small one -- I think it's 50 x 60. I picked up the block and the Thangles™, 1 yard of fabric for the sashing -- using my own stash for the cornerstones and haven't decided on borders, because she didn't have the fabric for the borders I want. Also bought a cone of thread. I spent about $29 - $12.98 of which was for thread! What I'm finally getting friend bought her block, the Thangles™, some fabric for sashing, some fabric for cornerstones, and the border fabric and then bought a couple of extra yards of the border fabric for her backing! I almost had a cow right there in the store! She has tons and tons, and tons of fabric at home - plenty of which she could use to make a backing for any quilt! She "justified" it to me by saying she'll give the quilt to her DS and DDIL as a gift and she wanted the backing to match! She spent about $55! I've been thinking about this all day and I guess I'll have to accept the fact that I cannot convert every quilter I know to using stash and scraps! I know that I'm going on a fabric diet from now until at least the first of the year and I'm going to shame my friend into doing it too! vbg

Today I spent the entire day playing in the sewing room! Did my Buck a Block block, also did a second one with fabrics from my stash for another quilt -- both of these quilts are being done with Christmas fabrics -- everyone needs a Christmas quilt or two! The second one I made using "Triangles on a Roll™" that I've had in my sewing stuff for years -- made up umpteen of the HST with them, so shouldn't have to make many, if any, more over the next 12 months!
Oh, and yes, cut the leftover fabric strips into 2½" squares for the scrap bins!

Then, I pinned two quilts -- both wall hangings to machine quilt; started on one, hope to have it done tomorrow and start on the second one. Think I'll be in finishing mode for awhile -- I have a few tablerunners and covers and wall hangings that are piling up just waiting to be quilted, so I need to spend some time getting them finished. Oh -- and I used old fabric sitting around here waiting to be used for the backings. I have a whole stack of fabrics I pulled from my stash sitting on the bottom shelf of the cabinet just waiting to be backings -- and I like to piece my backings from that stash, too!

Okay, off my rant on the backings issue now! Guess I haven't quite accepted the fact that my friends can't do scrappy or not match their backings to the fronts!

Monday, September 12, 2005


Today was laundry day, clean the bathroom in the basement day (disgusting), and generally spend time on the computer day!
Did manage to finish writing instructions for a quilt for my newsletter -- that's a big relief -- now it's mostly ready to go out October 1. I don't like leaving things for the last minute, but at the same time I can really procrastinate about writing quilt directions!

The only quilty thing I did today was cut 5" squares for a nickel exchange at guild. We've been exchanging nickel squares (about 30 of us) since January. Sept. 24 is the workshop given by Pat Speth (it's been full since the first month it was announced!). I have made a Nickel quilt from her first book -- didn't buy her second book. We'll be making two quilts, Labor Day Madness and the Pinwheels at the same time -- both are from her first book! I'm looking forward to the workshop -- just to have a day away from home and doing nothing but quilting -- it's just so totally relaxing! The quilts finish at 60 x 60 and 50 x 50, I think, so I may make some extra blocks and end up with two twin size quilts - that's the plan anyway!

Thanks to everyone for welcoming me to Quilt Mavericks -- I love to read what everyone is working on. I'm loving how Finn's "Bonnie's Bricks" is coming out -- I have the same problem though, in that some of my strips are pretty long and it becomes more difficult to get a good variety -- you have to go back and cut the strips in half or quarters and throw them back and remix!

Talked to my DD today -- she's the mother to our soon-to-be 19 month old grandson, AJ. AJ was born 10 weeks premature and weighed 3 lbs 6 oz at birth. He spent the first 5 weeks of his life in the NICU in Racine, WI. He's now 25 lbs and doing well, except for a problem he has with his throat sometimes. He's had a cold for a week now, and with all the coughing and wheezing, he was starting to get a lot sicker. DD took him to the Dr on Friday, again on Saturday, and on Sunday he went to ER. The oral prednisone has finally kicked in today, so hopefully he's on his way to better health. It's so difficult when they are so young -- and he's a real lover when he doesn't feel good -- he just walks over and lays his head in your lap, or climbs up and lays his head on your shoulder -- so different than when he's feeling good and off and running!

Well, time to give our Jack Russell Terrier my lap for the rest of the evening!

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Playing with strips

I spent a few minutes playing today -- not really a string quilt because I used some 1½" strips I had bagged -- lights and reds -- they were just handy. Strip pieced them and then placed a 4½" square ruler with the diagonal line on one of the strip seamlines and cut them out -- it works great without foundations and I think working with different width strips would be okay, too. But, actually, I kind of like what I ended up with and will sew a bunch more strips together whenever I have a free moment. There's quite a bit of waste, but I think you could also cut 2½" squares from the leftovers -- maybe use them in the borders of a quilt or in another quilt sometime.

The square that is separated on the right was cut with the diagonal line of the ruler through the center of the red strip instead of on a seamline -- just playing again! I think there's lots of possibilities to play with here, too.


Finally finished the Fall Scrappy Top today -- the picture is a little dark, but I'm happy with the quilt -- ended up being 45" square. Thinking I'll probably quilt leaves in the black squares and just an "X" in the nine patches.

Have to set it aside for now and finish a couple of quilts I made for my new pattern and still have some writing to do for my newsletter -- deadlines loom. I will do some playing with EQ5 because I was designing another scrappy in my head using the same squares in the nine patches. A little more planning and I'll have a "Leaders and Enders" quilt designed and ready to go.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

It's called progress

I got to sew all day! YAY! It feels so good!
I got the top together for my pattern -- only had a few mistakes and managed to work them out! Sent out the pattern for testing this evening, so that's one last thing on my plate for awhile!
Then I got to play with the fall scrappy nine-patches. Amazing how much easier they went together after I frog stitched and squared up! I know better than to sew when my mind is someplace else! Anyway -- it's looking pretty good. I'll get the borders on tomorrow afternoon (#1DS and DDIL are meeting us for brunch, so won't be able to sew til afternoon, after they leave!) Then, I'll post a picture. I love getting a top done, even if it's not quilted yet....just a nice feeling of accomplishment!
After that I'm going to play with scraps -- test out the string quilt without a foundation idea and maybe some mile a minute blocks like Finn makes -- I have some great kids prints that I think will look great in the M-A-M blocks!

Friday, September 09, 2005


I have a this age of computers, why is there more paperwork now than ever before? I thought computers were going to save us from paper......I'm drowning over here!
LOL - Enough of my whine.
I plodded through the bill paying and the tax filing and the shredding and now I am ready to sew!
I've already checked out what everyone's doing today and Dawn at Quilts and Pieces has a new quilt in the making -- it's a great strings quilt. I have a question though, can you make a strings quilt without the paper or muslin backing? I made one once with muslin backing, but I'm thinking you could just sew the strings together, press and square to size. Would that work, I wonder? Guess I'll have to try it for myself to see.
Today's project though is testing a new pattern, then squaring up the fall scrappy blocks and stitching them together -- hope by Sunday I'll have a tablecover made. I think I can sew the rest of the weekend, so will be checking Bonnie's site again for a good scrap quilt to start for the Katrina survivors -- probably need to check the ufo drawer for one that just needs quilting, too.
So, that's the plan! Ever moving onward and upward!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


Came downstairs today and into the kitchen to start the coffee, sunlight streaming through the kitchen windows and reflecting off the hardwood floors showing the lovely white dog hairs and the dust bunnies collecting next to the island in the kitchen. I just love the sight, NOT! So, spent a few hours cleaning house and getting back into the routine after a long weekend.

The fall scrappy was calling my name, so pinned a batting on the big quilt hanging in the clutter room -- which is also my sewing room and arranged the pieces on the batt. Searched for more black fabric to make the quilt larger, but alas, only have enough to cut the borders, so back to the smaller size for now.
Then, DD called with some unsettling news about our step-grandson who is 9, that his mother has decided she wants her new husband to adopt him, even though our DSIL has been raising him since he was 4 months old.
Anyway -- ever try to quilt when you have other things on your mind? I sewed the blocks of the fall quilt into rows, pressed and laid them out on the batt. As I was sewing I was telling myself, "you should have squared these 9 patches up", but I went ahead and sewed them to the black blocks anyway! And I don't like it, so now I will spend my time frog stitching the seams, squaring up the blocks and redoing it! I wish I'd listen to myself sometimes!
Tomorrow I will be heading up to DD's to babysit AJ, our 18 month old grandson, so will take the fall blocks up and frog stitch while he's napping. Probably take a hand-applique project that I have a deadline on too. (Promised DD's best friend I'd make a quilt for her mother -- that has birdhouses and cardinals on it -- don't know why I promise these things -- I'd rather make a scrappy one that I want to make -- not one to someone else's specifications! Someday, I'll learn!)

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Fall scrap quilt

I'm baaaack! Made it through the procedure today and am on with my life.
After a much needed nap this morning/afternoon, I sat down to sew (I couldn't do it earlier, nurse said I had to stay away from machinery - normally that wouldn't stop me from sewing, but I was pretty tired since I've been up since 3:30 this morning.)

So now I'm about to find out how to post a picture. I laid out a few of the fall scrappy nines with the plain back alternate squares. I think I'm going to love it. In fact, I think I'm going to make it much bigger than I originally planned. The border fabric doesn't look quite right, but I think a thin black inner border will help it along. The border fabric has frosted leaves on a black background, although in the picture it may not show that well. The colors are not that great in my house -- this was taken on the basement floor -- the carpet is a light off-white with tan -- looks real yellow in the picture. But good enough for this purpose.

I usually lay a piece of batting over a large hanging quilt in my sewing room and use it as my design wall -- just haven't gotten a round tuit yet!
So what'dya think?

Monday, September 05, 2005

Rockin' on the Porch

Hi! I'm Joanne
I'm a 50-something quilter.
My DH and I live in a log home in northern Illinois. We have a lovely front porch with a couple of great rockers and a swing. Rockin' on the porch is a great pastime!
I'm into scrap quilting, Slashing My Stash™, and designing my own quilts, all of which can be done at the same time!
Come on up and Sit a Spell!

I'm just getting this blog set up, so not a lot of intelligent stuff to talk about. It's actually too humid out to be rockin' on the porch this evening and besides, I have to have a colonoscopy tomorrow morning -- don't want to have to go through too many doors to get where I have to go! -- I know... more information than you ever wanted to know!

I spent most of the day on the computer writing instructions for building a quilt for a newsletter I publish. Still have one more quilt to write the instructions for and then it'll be ready to publish. This was a project I thought would be fun to do (the newsletter), and lots of people say they enjoy it, but it does get a little harder each time to come up with new and exciting things to put in it! The focus of it is to make quilts to use up or at least reduce your stash...but stash has a way of breeding in those closed cabinets and there never seems to be less than there was the day before! I try to come up with designs for small quilts using only stash for the newsletter. I also occasionally design a quilt and make a pattern -- I've published one since May! Working on the second one though. In fact, yesterday I spent the day quilting - actually making the quilt from my own instructions! It came out pretty good, if I do say so myself. Might eventually get a picture of it on here....sometime in the future.

I did do a little scrap quilting/designing today -- actually playing with fabric. Just a simple nine-patch with a plain alternate block set 6 x 6.
Bonnie Hunter ( is my mentor! I want to be like Bonnie when I grow up! She has some great ideas for using scraps and making what I first heard about in The Applique Society newsletter as "Betweens Quilts". Bonnie calls them simply leaders and enders -- instead of using a scrap fabric and sewing over and over it to start a line of quilting, actually use two squares, or strips, whatever to begin and end your sewing for another project. Eventually, you'll have enough "leaders and enders" for another quilt.
Anyway -- back to the nine-patch -- I've been working with fall fabrics and have a lot of 2½" squares that I've cut from the scraps and have been piecing them while working on the pattern quilt. Today I made nine-patches with the fall fabrics -- all mediums and darks. Picked a border fabric from stash that happens to have some black in it and chose black for the alternate blocks -- I think it'll be fabulous, but I'll know for sure tomorrow when I get it put together!

Time to head up to the recliner -- JR, our Jack Russell Terrier, is wanting my lap for a long nap!