Sunday, July 15, 2018

Moving On

With the dementor quilt finished, I can move on. I have a number of projects ready for assembly. These are the vintage butterfly blocks...I have made bright blocks and subdued ones. These are the subdued ones.

Meanwhile, I should admit that Molly has completely lost her mind. Here she is at her new post by the front door where she spends too much of her time yeowing to be let out. And yes, I have reminded her that she is an indoor cat and has not been outside since she was a free range kitten in Virginia. What is truly weird about this is that her "brother" will go run and hide at various times of day as a variety of threats pass by...including speeding trucks and multitudes of dog walkers.

My next task was to clear off the cutting table so I could layer the I-spy quilt. Molly and Buddy could sense the vacuum and quickly filled it. And please note, that Molly is roughly 2/3rds the size of her pony Buddy.

The I-spy quilt is reversible. I am layering the quilt in two steps. First, I sewed the front to the batting. This provides a grid for aligning the back. I start in the center and align the block intersections with the machine quilting intersections. I also make sure the seams of the quilt back line up with the grid.
This means the one row underneath is exactly aligned to match. I pin both sides right under the fold. Then I carefully flip the back to the right side. The one row that I'm pinning is aligned underneath and does not move when I flip the rest of the back over. I pin the one aligned row. Then I repeat row by row until I come to the end. Because I began in the middle, I next row by row to complete the other side.

This is a very simple and easy process until a beached whale washes up and slows my progress.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Red postage stamps

Here's a red postage stamp block.

Here's a close-up. If you would like to see more red hot patchwork, visit the Rainbow Scrappy Challenge.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Demented Quilt Top Assembled

The Garden Mosaic/Demented/Dementor quilt top is finished. The squares and half square triangles are 1.5 inches finished. My version of the quilt is 92 inches across...I left off the last 3 square/triangles from each side.

The inspiration for this quilt comes from Garden Mosaic, a pattern from Free Spirit.  I did not follow the instructions, however. I made this using strips to make bat wings. You can find out more here.

And here is the quilt with Molly. She thought she was going on a climbing expedition. Happily, she is taking a nap instead.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Close, but no cigar

There is something about assembling a quilt top that makes it seem like it should come together so much faster than it does. And its that false sense that keeps me sewing well after I should just step away from the sewing machine. I was making lots of weird mistakes, yet I persisted. Then I was putting horizontal sashing on the bottom of the top panel...and discovered I had made the sashing WAY TOO LONG. So I took out blocks until it fit.

Yup, when I took it to the wall, I cocked my head and realized the sashing had been fine. My problem was that I had sewn the top panels together along the long edge instead of the short edge. Oops. Where's my seam ripper...

Let's blame it on Buddy.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Red coins

Here are my red coins. Hopefully, I can use them to pay for admission to the Rainbow Scrappy Challenge where we are celebrating red for the month of July.

And if you are wondering how Molly is spending her Saturday afternoon...

 Oops, I disturbed Buddy's nap behind the design wall.

Friday, July 6, 2018


Yikes. This quilt is growing like a fungus that is consuming my design wall. The original quilt, Garden Mosaic from FreeSpirit, finishes at 96 by 96 inches. I'm not taking this one out that far, but its still a lot to handle.  After I finish the panels, I will move onto the three horizontal sashing strips.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018


Bonnie Hunter has started her new Leader/Ender project and I played around with it a bit today to see if I wanted to join in. First, I'm going to use 1.5 inch/2.5 inch strips so my final blocks are 4 inches finished. This will let me use extra postage stamp scraps left over from my Rainbow Scrappy Challenge projects.

Also, I'm going to make these two blocks and alternate them to make the same pattern. And I'm making it all scrappy so I don't have to think too hard.

We interrupt this blog post to get Molly's reaction to my starting a new project.

And here is Buddy's reaction.

And yes, having a pony on the sewing table is a great recipe for project chaos.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Back on track...

Okay, I'm back on track. I cut more light fabrics, 2 in and 3 in strips. I also cut more dark fabrics, also 2 in and 3 in strips. I then sewed the strips together...2 in light strips to 3 in dark strips AND 3 in light strips to 3 in light strips. These were cut into 2 inch strip sets.

At this point there are light squares sewn to dark rectangles and dark squares sew to light rectangles. Then its back to the sewing machine to sew the light square sets to another light square set so the light squares are on opposite sides (see above). Same for the dark squares.

Then two triangles are cut from these strip sets using the Easy Angle triangle. I align the ruler to give a quarter inch seam extending from the corner of the square. And the strip sets have just a little extra room so there is a sliver left over as waste...let's call it wiggle room.  I call the resulting triangles bat wings. Some of you may call them angel wings.

Then a bat wing with a light square is sewn to a bat wing with a dark square...and that's the main component that I'm using for the Garden Mosaic/Demented/Dementor quilt. I think that block unit is called cotton gin or cotton reel or some such.

In any case, I now have the 50 new components needed to pull the final quilt together.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Back at the sewing machine...

I'm still in an epic battle with chaos in the sewing room. I had spool bits as a leader and ender project. And with help from a klutzy pony and a cat studying gravity, these spool bits were spreading far and wide. So I got it rounded up enough to stuff the project in a box. (Yes, putting klutzy pony and scientist cat in a box might be a better choice.)

And here is my final stack of components needed for the demented garden quilt. Except oops, I'm missing 50! So now I have to cut some more strips. Yikes.

And here is the demented garden quilt parts so far. This is how it gets laid out. Except I will need three rows of sashing. One row goes where the arrows are. Another one is through the center medallion but will extend out the width of the quilt. Another row of sashing goes at the bottom. But first, back to component building.

And here is Buddy demonstrating his hunting technique. It's called...wait in your favorite place for hunting and wait for the laser mouse to come to you. In the morning, Buddy adds a step...trampling me until I get up and come play with him.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Left Facing Seahorse Tutorial

The basic preparation for a left facing seahorse is the same as for one that faces right...but I will go ahead and repeat it here.  This seahorse is based on a .75 inch grid and its finished size is 6 by 13.5 inches. There are three colors: a bit of black/dark for the eye, the background fabric (in this example BLUE) and the seahorse color (in this example pink).

First, cut one piece of black or very dark fabric that is 1.25 by roughly 1.5 to 2 inches for the eye.

Next, we'll cut the main fabric, the blue background and the pink seahorse.

To start, I cut three strips from both the BLUE (background) and PINK fabric. From each fabric, cut a 2.75 inch, a 2 inch and a 1.25 inch strip.

From the 2.75 inch BLUE strip, I cut:

one 2.75 by 5 inch rectangle
one 2.75 inch square
one 2.75 by 2 inch rectangle

From the 2 inch BLUE strip I cut:

two 2 by 3.5 inch rectangle
six 2 inch squares

From the 1.25 inch BLUE strip I cut:
one 1.25 by 9 inch strip
nine 1.25 inch squares (for flip triangles)

plus extra 1.25 lengths of the BLUE that will be sewn then trimmed. At least 18 inches.
(If you want to pre-cut these instead of strip piecing: cut one 1.25 x 3.5 rectangle and a 1.25 x 2.75 in rectangle.)

Next, for the PINK fabric:

From the 2.75 inch PINK strip I cut:

one 2.75 by 6.5 inch rectangle
one 2.75 by 2 inch rectangle

From the 2 inch PINK strip I cut:

one 2 inch square
one 2 by 4.25 inch rectangle

From the 1.25 inch PINK strip, I cut:

two 1.25 by 2.75 inch strips
one 1.25 by 9 inch strips
nine 1.25 in squares
two short lengths somewhere between 1.5 and 2 inches for the eyes.

plus extra 1.25 lengths of the PINK that will be sewn then trimmed.
(If you would like to pre-cut this, cut one 1.25 by 4.5 in. strip, one 1.25 by 2 in. strip, one 1.25 by 2.75 in. strip and 1.25 by 3.5 in. strip. These are for the tail and back of the head.)

Let's start with the eye:

Sew the 1.25 by 2 inch (or so) length of black inside the 1.25 by 2 inch (or so) lengths of purple. Trim across the three strips so they are 1.25 inch long. You end up with a rectangle that is 1.25 by 2.75.

This is the same step as the right facing seahorse so I used the same photo...and that's why the fabric is different. So just for this step, pretend purple is pink.

Next, we have to construct the seahorse building blocks. Because we are changing the seahorse direction, the flip triangles are sewn to different corners as shown in the diagram.

The next step is much easier than it looks. I have laid it out to correspond with the seahorse (kind of) so you can see how it will go together. But really you are making the basic building blocks of the seahorse.

A: Sew the 1.25 by 9 inch pink strip to the 1.25 by 9 inch blue strip. After its sewn and ironed, cut the paired strip into two 3.5 inch lengths and one 1.25 inch length.

B: Sew a 1.25 inch pink flip triangle to three 2 by 2 inch squares of blue. (As a reminder, a flip triangle is a square that is sewn along the diagonal in the corner of another square. The inner part of the purple square is ironed over the sewn line to make a triangle. The bottom two layers are trimmed away leaving a quarter inch seam.)

C: Sew a 1.25 inch blue flip triangle to one of the 1.25 by 2.75 inch strips. See diagram for direction. This is the seahorse's back fin.

D: Sew three 1.25 inch pink flip triangles to the 2 by 2.75 inch blue square. This is the section just under the seahorse's back fin.

E: Sew three 1.25 inch blue flip triangles to a 2 by 2 inch pink square. This is the ear or whatever that is on the top of the seahorse's head.

F: Sew a 2 inch blue square onto the 2 by 2.75 inch pink square. See diagram for the direction. This is the seahorse's forehead.

G: Sew a 1.25 inch blue flip triangle to the bottom left corner of the 2 by 4.25 inch pink square. Then sew a 2 inch blue flip triangle to the top right corner. See diagram for the direction. This is the seahorse cheek and nose.

H: Sew a 2 inch blue square to the top right corner of the large 2.75 by 6.5 pink rectangle. Next sew the 2.75 inch blue square to the bottom right corner. See the diagram for the direction. This is the seahorse's belly.

At this point, all the flip triangles are ironed and trimmed.

Next, we will sew some of the building blocks together so we can see the seahorse take shape.

1.  Sew the eye piece to the bottom of seahorse forehead (F).

2. Sew the ear piece (E) to the top of one of the long pink/blue strip sets.

3. Sew the short pink/blue strip set to B3 (as shown in the diagram). This is the tip of the nose.

4. Sew C to its pink strip companion to make the back fin.

5. Sew D to the top of the second long pink/blue strip set to form the bottom of the back fin and the top of the tail.

Next, let's build the seahorse face.

The forehead and eye component is going to be the center where we build all around it starting with a partial seam.

Take the seahorse cheek (G) and partially sew it to the bottom of the eye as shown in the diagram. Next take a 1.25 inch strip of pink, and sew it the full length from the top of the forehead to below the cheek.

 Cut away the excess pink strip, trimming it to align with the seahorse cheek.

Next, sew a 1.25 inch blue strip across the top of the seahorse's head.

First, trim the blue strip that was sewn to the top of the component. Next, sew a 2 by 3.5 inch blue rectangle to the left side of the component (also known as the seahorse forehead).

Then finish up by completing the partial seam, sewing the seahorse cheek component to the blue rectangle.

Now its time to tackle the tail.  This will follow a basic log cabin construction built around one of the 2 inch blue squares with a single pink flip triangle (B2).

1. First sew the pink strip to the left side of of the B2 square. Trim.

2. Next, sew the pink strip to the top side of the B2 square. Trim.

3. Next, sew two 1.25 inch blue square flip triangles to the top corners. Iron back and trim.

4. Sew a blue strip to the right side and trim.

1. Sew a 1.25 inch pink square as a flip triangle to the bottom right corner.

2. Sew a pink strip along the bottom and trim.

3. Sew two 1.25 inch blue squares as flip triangles to the bottom corners.  Iron back the flip triangles and trim the excess in the back.

Your seahorse tail should look like this.

Now, lay out the pieces as shown. In this example, the top of the back fin has been sewn to the bottom fin/top of tail.

1. Sew the back ear piece to the seahorse head.

2. Sew the nose piece to a 2.75 by 5 inch blue rectangle.

3.  Sew the last B square to the bottom back tail.

4.  Sew a 2 by 3.5 inch blue rectangle to the left side of the tail.

 1. Sew the head pieces together.

2. Sew the center front blue piece to the seahorse belly.

1. Sew the belly section to the tail.

1. Sew the back lower section of the seahorse to the front lower section.

2. Sew the head to the body.

And now you have a left facing seahorse!

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Another section

One more panel. This one is next to the center panel, top right side.

And here is a close up.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018


Today I made a furry quilt in three-dimensions. Okay, it's really the cat tree that has sat in its box by the front door for a very long time.

Molly quickly figured out that she could use it as a gateway to the top of the bookshelves. She also found it to be an excellent platform for her piggy-back rides. Given the platforms and hidey-holes are relatively small, I suspect it will also be a Buddy-free zone. I will be securing it to the wall in case he tries, though.

The instructions say to not let the cats use it unattended. I read the instructions to Molly and I'm sure she will comply.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Another demented stage

Today I spent more time on the demented quilt and less on cleaning up the sewing room. We did have a huge management reorganization, however. Emboldened by positive remarks about her contribution to this blog, Molly is now the editor-in-chief for this blog and responsible for its content. Today we had our first editorial board meeting. I said this seems more like a cuddle, and Molly said, "Just a little more under the chin, please."

Despite the reorganization, I did get all the strip sets sewn and pressed. Since Molly was promoted, Buddy is now in charge of supervision. Unfortunately, he loves to be held and that informs his supervisory style. I did explain to him that I can't see past his massive head and my crushed spine is quite painful.

Next, I completed the section on the left. Either I made it too long, or I still have to add some to the right side.

Buddy is just the type of supervisor you might expect. This is him sleeping behind the design wall. The rest of the time he did the usual dog routine of asking every five minutes "Whatcha doing? Can I help? Is it time to eat? Is it time to play? Whatcha doing?"

And Molly stopped by to remind me that only her best poses can be included in this blog.