Thursday, May 31, 2018

I-spy Block Party

I have lots of 4-patch i-spy blocks and singles to finally layout on the design wall. The first one I made did not benefit from Molly's help because she was not even a twinkle in her father's eye. This one, however, has her full attention from cutting table, to sewing machine, and to ironing board. She does not approve of my using the design wall so I am using lots of pins and toys to distract her. And now I see that I have made it too wide...I only need nine blocks across and eleven down.

Here, let me distract you with a rose in the backyard. This rose is confused because it was planted in among the azaleas in the back yard.

So let me distract you instead with a rose from the front yard.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Questions, questions, questions

Back in 2011, I designed and made a 8.5 by 11 inch quilt each week...almost all of them using fused batiks. I still use those 52 designs as a resource for my patchwork designs. The chameleons that I made yesterday, were my first attempt at that design. It takes a while to work out the kinks to each pattern,

The block I showed yesterday is 22 by 14 inches unfinished. It's quite large, but its built on a .75 inch grid. That means that the smallest piece...such as the made from a 1.25 inch square.

And now the seahorses are in rebellion. I only have five more to make to finish the blocks for that quilt...but I stopped because the tail is a bit fussy. After the chameleons, these will be easy! (The pattern for the seahorse is under the tutorial page on this blog).

There were also some questions on the pattern for the tilted i-spy blocks. The link to the instructions for this can also be found on the tutorial page.

Meanwhile, for those of you with blogs, you may be aware that the Blogger program is being redesigned. In addition to changing requirements for signing in to make comments, we are no longer getting comments in email. I'm not keen on corresponding through blogger, so I am using this post to clear up some of the questions I've had over the last few days. Once the email link is resolved, I'll go back to individual replies (unless you are a no reply comment, of course).

And to end on a cheery note, I'm sure many of you saw a video of Buddy and Molly that went viral over the weekend...well, although the resemblance is uncanny, that's not Buddy and Molly. Believe it or not! If you haven't enjoyed the video yet, here's the link:

Monday, May 28, 2018

Chameleons 1.0

We are approaching the end of our first year in Portland, Oregon. And while I have heard quite a bit about banana slugs, for some reason, no one has mentioned chameleon invasions of sewing rooms. I may have to consider some predator patchwork, but don't really know who finds a chameleon delicious. I have much to learn.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Demented Spies

I now have two sections completed to the Dementor quilt. I was visiting this blog, minding my own business when, Oh Scrap!, Gayle of Mangofoot presented a new quilt she was working on that was quite fabulous. She introduces it here. I'm making it in a different fashion that I explain here.

Meanwhile, I'm pulling the I-spy quilt together. There are 99 blocks for each side of this reversible quilt. I'm putting four I-spy blocks together at a time before I try and figure out the final layout.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Pink Pinwheels and Roses

A few years ago I began the Hidden Gems quilt popularized by Chantal here on the Rainbow Scrappy Challenge. Unfortunately, I only had enough blocks for half a quilt, so I am adding to it as we go along. Here are four pink pinwheel blocks. For more pink piecework, please visit the Rainbow Scrappy Challenge.

And I have discovered that gardens are a big deal here in Portland, and given how many front yards feature roses, it may be required by law. Strangely, this house has a rose garden planted under a couple of pine trees. Here are a couple I brought in the house to share with Molly. She wanted hummingbirds. In any case, this is my offering for yesterday's launch of the Portland Rose Festival.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Green Stars Quilt Finish

The green star quilt is bound and finished. I'll be donating it to my local quilt guild's Comforting Quilts effort.

Molly thinks people would prefer to receive a kitten instead.

Here's Buddy peeking over the design wall.

And here's Buddy performing his duties as a tripping hazard.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Dementor panel

Here is one finished dementor panel...only fifteen more to go. My method of construction is a bit weird, but this was the only way I could construct this and preserve points. For this to work, I will have to add in a row of sashing strips following the flow of half square triangles, dark and light squares.

As a reminder, at this point I am cutting out triangles to make bat wings. Then a bat wing with a dark square is sewn to a bat wing with a light square. Those squares are my base units. Each section uses 56 of these to make a 7 by 8 panel. (The sample above is a 4 X 4 panel.)

The overall quilt called Garden Mosaic was designed by Free Spirit where they provide another construction.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Finishing Up

I layered the green star quilt and started to quilt it by machine. I was having trouble with the green thread I was using so it took me a while to get set up. Then I was ready to make fast progress. Molly had other ideas.

I think we chose our priorities wisely.

Happily, once Molly moved up to her loft space, I was able to finish the machine quilting.

Here's a view of the front and back.

And here's Molly after her nap.

And here's her pony Buddy.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Sunday Sewing

I unearthed this baby quilt to layer it and begin machine quilting.

I also worked on the dementor quilt...I now have all the strips sewn and cut into two inch strip sets. Two of these are sewn together and pressed. Next, I will cut two triangles from each.

As I was sewing on the dementor, I found pink coins that got lost on the sewing table. I also added a few more spools.

And yes, another I-spy block...I found this delightful fabric on the free table at my quilt guild.

Last but not least...a bit of a diversion. I have been taking improv classes at Curious Comedy Theater here in Portland. And on Friday I saw a wonderful show with the two-person team Pillowtalk.  Typically, improv is made in the moment and then is gone forever. But in this case, the show was recorded. Here is the link to the show on will want to forward it to start at 11 minutes in, and the show lasts 17 minutes.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Fully Pink

I have finally committed to pink...with a large pink postage stamp. The postage stamps are one inch finished, so this block finishes at 20 inches.

And here are some pink coin sleeves. For much more pink, visit the Rainbow Scrappy Challenge--graduation edition.

And for a brief peek into the future, here are the coins in all the colors we've covered so far this year.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Four Landscapes

On Wednesday, I took Laura Wasilowski's workshop Four Little Landscapes. She presented three workshops for our guild. She was a lot of fun and I learned some "clean" fusing practices that are really helpful...because eventually some piece or other is going to get turned around and this prevents problems for the ironing board or iron.

At the workshop, my sister let me use her ironing setup because sharing is caring. My sister does not have cats and does not use an Oliso iron. So yes, maybe I forgot to put her iron upright but at least now she has a scorch mark to remember me by.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Fools for Spools

As I was making the speedy chickens, I used some of the excess chicken skin for spools. These are a bit brighter than most of the others. We'll see how well they all fit together. While spools make a good leader and ender project, I had too big a pile of loose bits and they were making a bit of a mess. So I'm moving the spools along and will use the Dementor quilt as my leader/ender project.

I also worked on sorting and stacking the flat folds of fabric for Molly's shelving unit.

She gave me a grade of C-.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018


We had a quilt guild meeting on Monday, so I picked up a small handful of scraps to use in the spool quilt. The spool on the top left is a good example of grabbing fabric I would never have in my this case horseshoes. There was just enough for the background. On the top right is an odd brown and orange paisley.

Meanwhile, I discovered one of the shelving units holding my stash was tilting. Its the one that Molly sleeps on. So I took all of the fabric off and reassembled it. Now I'm taking the opportunity to evaluate the stash as I'm putting it back. These are large hunks of at least a yard. Of the fabrics that no longer thrill, I'm saving a half yard and will give the rest to the guild. 

And here is the peony in the front yard that is blooming. I was surprised that it wasn't pink.

And here is a rhododendron that sits by the side of the house near the peony. Both of these are hidden from view unless you are going to the far side of the house.

Monday, May 14, 2018


It was finally time to get back into the sewing machine saddle and I thought the dementor quilt would make for a good ride. Here is one section. There are 56 four patch units to a section and I need 16 sections. I was considering how I might make consistent progress on this quilt, maybe by making a certain number of units per day.

Molly was daydreaming about knocking the blocks to the floor.  She calculated that I could make one unit per day and MAYBE have enough time left over to tend to her every whim.

Buddy was bored and daydreaming about breakfast and laser pointers and cantering around the barn.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Kittens, Rose Edition

This is all of the pink I could muster today. I had a second jaunt across town to our quilt show where I was scheduled for a second demonstration of sew-in circles. If you would like more pink patchwork in your life, I suggest you pounce over to the Rainbow Scrappy Challenge.

I typically use the sew-in circle for animal eyes and lion faces. However, for the demonstration I went with the drunkard's path because its just a smaller four patch sew-in behind a larger four patch. And the seams make it easier to center.

For an example of using sew-in centers, see this post about two Dear Jane blocks. I use the Dale Fleming method for the six-minute circle which I explain here. The method as applied to owl eyes is discussed here.

But this sewing machine was the star of the demonstration. First, it made it clear to attendees that they shouldn't take anything I say seriously. For me, it was perfect because it let me sew in the circle, but I didn't have to take down one of my regular sewing machines. And this is relatively light so it was easy to pack and handle.

And while we're on the subject of naughty cats...dear sweet Molly was under the weather Friday morning and I was torn about whether I should cancel the demonstration at the quilt show and get her to the vet or see if she got a bit better.

While she wouldn't eat her breakfast, that morning she did chew a hole in my silicon sheet that I was going to use in the demonstration. That's when I reiterated to her that I will not take her to the vet for a gut obstruction given her love of chewing plastic and paper. I would be willing to set her up for brain surgery to rewire that part of her brain...or even remove her naughtymus, the part of the brain where naughty behavior originates.

Needless to say, she has rebounded and has made up for lost time in eating, cuddling and racing around the house in crazy mode.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Quilt Show Prep

Today, my sister and I went to help hang the quilts for the NW Quilters' Show. Here is the Bunny Hop quilt. My sister is also running the treasure hunt this year. It's a game for children at the show to answer questions about the quilts. I suggested the question: How many bunnies were massacred to make the border of the Bunny Hop quilt? My sister ignored me.

And here is the owl quilt, formally known as Parliament.

And here are the Dandy Lions. Having the quilt show was wonderful for giving me a deadline to finish three quilts. Okay, two quilts. I didn't finish the hand quilting on the Bunny Hop quilt, but if anyone asks I'll say I wanted to have an interplay with negative space. I did check the quilt to make sure I hadn't parked the needle half way through a stitch.

The Pigs in a Blanket quilt was the only one that was already completed with label and sleeve. In any case, although I did try to delint the quilts, there is probably enough DNA to make a clone of Molly and/or Buddy.

Here is the quilt my sister made for her grandson Ezra. He has a new bed so she made him a quilt with his favorite colors: turquoise and teal.

 I also spotted Barbara Stanbro's quilt Snips and Snails featuring her brother as a boy holding a snake. Unfortunately, my photo is fuzzy, because that snake is truly awesome. Happily, you can see nonfuzzy images of her quilts and fuzzy images of cats on her blog Cat Patches.  You can go here for a good image of the quilt.