Welcome to my blog, we're talking about quilting and other good stuff. I'm glad you stopped by ... look around, add a comment, become a follower if you feel inclined, tell your friends about me, and come back soon!

Wednesday, February 28, 2018


Time to back up and redo the math for my baskets! 

I laid out the 9 basket blocks I already made, but for some reason I don't like how the spacing looks. 

I get the feeling I'll have a weird shaped quilt if I make it 36 x 36, on point.  And I'd really like to  set this one on point!

I recalculated the cutting needed for a 4" block ... 1-1/2" HST units, yikes!

I made a test block and it looks nice made up though. 

What a difference in the size from the 6" blocks I was making!

My question to myself was, can I go the distance with this size block?  Those little 1-1/2" HST are a nuisance to sew together and keep a straight seam!

I'll make enough to set on point and see if I want to go ahead.  Otherwise I might go with my original plan of using a straight set for the 6" blocks.

Either way, this quilt will be done well before the September deadline!

Sew forth and sew on ...

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Busy at the Bee

I collected my last Bella Russo gift yesterday, a very nice shoulder bag!

I think I'll probably use this shoulder bag more than the cross-body bag we got the first week, simply because it's not as flat.  My wallet is kinda thick because it has a check book in it, so I need a roomy bag.

So here's my entire set!  It includes a cross-body bag, a reversible bag, a shoulder bag and a lunch tote.

The gifts were free, I just had to go once a week to collect o-n-e at a time.  So, driving to the casino an average of 45 minutes each way, four times - you could say I traveled 3 hours to collect this 4-piece gift set.

Whatever ...

On another note, at this month's bee we were making heart pillows to be donated to Howard University Hospital for mastectomy patients.  I posted about this project in an earlier post, you can read more details here.

There were a ton of pillows to be finished off ... stuffing and more stuffing.

One person added a strap to hers - a great idea that I wish I'd thought of!

Sewing the opening closed, then stuffing a few more!

We even added custom made labels to each pillow, got to have that finishing touch!

I don't know how many we finished Saturday, but we turned them out by the basketful! 

Some of us will make even more at home to be donated later. 

I'm really glad we took on this community service project, it's a worthwhile cause and I know the pillows will be appreciated by the recipients.

That's it for now, have a great Tuesday.  Sew forth and sew on

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Hearts and baskets

I went by Maryland Live! casino yesterday to get my third Bella Russo bag. 

This week's gift was a reversible tote bag; it's made of vinyl and is sturdy and quite roomy.  

I think I like it best with the flowered print turned to the outside, the other side looks a bit dull, in my opinion.

I can see myself using this tote a lot!

Last October my bee donated heart pillows to Sibley Hospital, to be used by women who have had a mastectomy.  The pillows are placed beneath the armpit for support after surgery, during the healing process.  You can read about it here.

They were very well received and the word spread, so now we're making some for Howard University Hospital too!  Each member of the bee is asked to make at least 5 of these pillows.

It's wonderful to be able to contribute to people in need, but at the same time it's so very sad that so many women need these pillows.  If everyone in the bee makes just five, that's 100 pillows, 100 women needing them...

Four more of the flower baskets have been made.

I had my doubts about the one at the bottom right; a more solid gold would have worked better with that red fabric.  Oh well, it's pieced and will go into the quilt!

Nine baskets finished - looking good!

Have a great Tuesday, sew forth and sew on

Monday, February 19, 2018

Guild eyecandy

We had a wonderful guild meeting Saturday, in spite of the threat of snow!  Here are a few quilts shared by our members and visitors:
charm squares!


2" squares!
Black history month quilt!

A visitor's quilt!

A visitor's indigo quilt, front ...

... and back!
art quilt challenge!

a retreat quilt finish!

a visitor's baby quilt!

I hope you enjoyed the show.  We never know what will be shared at guild meeting, but it's always interesting and awe-inspiring!  Sew forth and sew on

Saturday, February 17, 2018

How it's made - flower baskets

Today I thought I'd show, step by abbreviated step, how I put together my little flower baskets!

The block measures 6-1/2" pieced, using three different fabrics - I chose red for the petals, black for the basket, and gold for the background. **PLEASE NOTE: I used my Deb Tucker Trimmer to make the HST's, so I cut my fabric for that ruler.  If you use another method, you'll need to cut fabric in the appropriate size needed**

You'll need to cut these pieces:

Black - (1) 4 x 4" square
Gold - (1) 4 x 4" square, (3) 2 x 3-1/2" rectangles, (3) 2-1/2 x 2-1/2" squares, and (1) 2 x 2" square
Red - (3) 2-1/2 x 2-1/2" squares and (1) 2 x 2" square

First you'll create half square triangles using your favorite method.  I'm using my Deb Tucker Trimmer, so I drew stitching lines on the back of the gold 4" square, paired it with the black square, stitched and trimmed.  Your black/gold units will measure 3-1/2" and you'll have two of them. You only need one for this basket, save the extra one for a future project!

Now do the same again, using your gold and red 2-1/2" squares.

After trimming, the red/gold units will measure 2".  You only need five of these units for the block, just tuck the extra one away for a future project.

You'll also need to sew the red 2 x 2" square to one of the gold 2 x 3-1/2" rectangles, using the flip and sew method to create a diagonal corner (I used my Simple Folded Corners ruler).

Lay out the units as shown below:

Remember - this is an abbreviated tut!

Notice how the block now has four main areas - the petals at the left, the petals-plus-basket in the middle, the background with part of the base sticking out on the right, and the base of the basket at the bottom. 

Starting from the left, sew together the two HST pairs and attach the 2 x 2" gold square to make one vertical (petal) unit.  Sew together the HST pair (petals) at the top, and attach it to the black and gold unit (this piece is not yet sewn together in the picture).  Sew the last HST to the bottom of the 2 x 3-1/2" gold rectangle on the right side.  Lastly, sew the remaining 2 x 3-1/2" rectangle and the pieced rectangle together for the base.

We will sew the block together in vertical rows.  Starting from the far left - attach the red and gold petal unit to the middle  (body) of the basket.  Now sew the gold and red panel to the right side of the block.  Lastly, attach the base (it got turned upside down in the picture).

This the finished block.  Please let me know if the instructions are unclear, sometimes I don't say (or type) everything I think - which might not be so bad!  If necessary I can add more pictures.

Sew forth and sew on

Friday, February 16, 2018

A little progress

This weather is so funny lately, I don't know whether to pull out my shorts and sandals or my wooley scarf and mittens!  In either case, we've already gone through two of the six weeks ole Punxatawny Phil predicted.

This week's scrappy triangle block #19 reminded me of a circus tent, with those vertical stripes at the bottom.

It gave me a chance to use more of that cute monkey fabric that I got from JoAnn's bargain table last year.

All stripes, easy peasy!

I've sewn a few more of the flower basket blocks, with three more cut out and ready to trim and sew.

There are a lot of different shades of gold in my stash and they will make the quilt interesting, but I don't want to go too dark -  it's a small quilt after all.

I think I'm going to go ahead and try a diagonal layout for these little beauties.  When I get a few more done - maybe 15 or so - I'll be able to play around with it to make sure.

Since the quilt must measure exactly 36 x 36, it might be kinda tricky to do a diagonal layout.  I want to avoid having a border that's almost as wide as the middle!  But that's why they call it a challenge, right?


That's it for now, have a great Friday, sew forth and sew on.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

A bag and a block

Yesterday I went by Maryland Live! casino and picked up my second Bella Russo bag. 

This week's gift was a cute little lunch tote, a nice gift even though I don't tote a lunch anymore.

The inside is very roomy, with a zippered pocket on the outside.

Gee I wish they'd just give us all four gifts at once and get it over with!  But they know ... if you come in there's a 99% chance you'll play their slots and spend more than the gift is worth!

I also cut out two more of the little baskets for my challenge quilt, but I had to stop when I realized I was cutting almost twice the number of pieces I needed for the half-square triangles. 

I was able to use some of my larger scraps, and I also cut into a fat quarter that I got from Hancock Fabrics when they closed in 2011.  It's just been lying there for six years ...

That's it for now, have a great Tuesday - sew forth and sew on

Monday, February 12, 2018

Testing, testing...

My guild's challenge for the Fredericksburg, VA, SewExpo this year to make a 36 x 36 quilt, using half-square triangles.  It's due at the September meeting, so I may as well get started on it, eh?

About two years ago my friend Pat made a basket quilt from a pattern in an old Fons and Porter magazine that I thought was just gorgeous, including the red, yellow and black-and-white colors scheme.  I don't have access to the pattern and I don't think Pat remembers which magazine it was in, but I took a photo of her quilt and I've been able to figure out the measurements for a 6-inch block.

Sometimes it's fun to redraft a quilt block by looking at a picture, you can move the lines around if you don't like the original pattern, and do all kinds of stuff! 

This one wasn't hard to redraft; I knew I didn't want to make a triangle at the bottom of the basket, so I converted that area to HST's and a rectangle unit.

My rulers - the Deb Tucker Trimmer I for the HST's, and my Simple Folded Corners ruler for the rectangle unit. 

Easy peasy!

The finished test block looks great, I think it'll be a winner for the 36 x 36 HST challenge!

I have a lot of different red and yellow fabrics, I'll stick with just one per block.

I can always do a straight set with 25 blocks, but I'd really like to set these pretty baskets on point.  I haven't figured out how many I need without having a humongous border, though.

Have a great Monday, we're moving towards the middle of this very short month.  Sew forth and sew on.

Friday, February 9, 2018

The good news is ...

The good news is - I've already filed my 2017 taxes!

And the other good news is I pieced this week's scrappy triangle block, another easy one.

As I mentioned before, the most "difficult" thing about these blocks is choosing the fabric.

This was my first effort, notice how blah it looks with that large triangle?

It looked okay when I laid it out, but when I got it pieced I realized the large triangle completely drowned out that small print fabric that touched it.

I really wanted to use that cute print, so the triangle had to go - it wasn't hard to replace it!

The other good news is I've dashed out more of the little churn dash blocks, I now have over 120 done, yaaay!

I'm going with a 13 x 15 setting, without sashing, with a green 2" inner border.  The outer border will be 4" for sure, but I haven't decided on the color yet.  Alternating black-on-white with white-on-black?  Or should the inner border be black-on-white with a green outer border?? There's plenty time to decide!

That's my good news, now I have to fight with Pepco over the ridiculously large bill they just sent me.  Sew forth and sew on.