Friday, December 31, 2021

Shards Up Against the Wall

The clown blocks are all set up next to the sewing machine to be sewn in pairs. This left the design wall open for the Shards quilt. If you want to see Kaffe Fassett's Shards quilt, you can find it in "Quilts in an English Village." Also, given the quilt is available as a kit, you can easily find it with your favorite search engine. Or you can watch this Free Spirit video of Kaffe presenting the quilts from the book. The Shards quilt is presented at 30:15. 

I'm seeing that when I made blocks using favorite fabrics, I matched fabrics too closely so that they don't have enough contrast. I've already decided to make ten more blocks...and if they have more contrast maybe I can still capture the shimmering look. And given I like making these blocks so much, I could always make two quilts.

Meanwhile, Buddy is hoping that everyone's new year's resolution will be giving up fireworks.

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Shard Ending

 Before I began the Clown quilt, I had cut lots of 2.5 inch strips to make the hourglass blocks for this variation of Kaffe Fassett's shards quilt. I was sewing these as I was sewing the clown quilt. Not as organized as leaders and enders. More like two commingled piles.

At this point, I almost have enough blocks for the whole quilt. I want to get it up on the design wall to see how well the various blocks blend together. This will also help me decide what size to make it.

Okay, some of the Shards blocks may have gotten Clown Cooties.

And speaking of clowns...I had to drape Buddy's favorite "Mouse on a Wand" toy over my forehead to get him to look up. 

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Clown Convention

 Here are all the blocks completed for the Clown Kaleidoscope. When putting the blocks up on the design wall, I had one color repeats where the corners meet. Now I have to go back and rearrange the blocks for balance. I can also see that during construction, I began by favoring yellow, then favored pink and red, then finally green. 

And what more could a kitten (here referring to a diva cat with pretensions) want... Last night there was a hummingbird in torpor sitting on the feeder. And no, I did not bring it inside to make Molly and Buddy's dream come true. 

Saturday, December 25, 2021

A Holiday Kaleidoscope

Just in case you needed some clown colors to add a bit more merry to your holidays. I am just starting to add the corner triangles to each block.

I do have all the octagons finished and up on the design wall. 

Meanwhile, Molly is working on my list of resolutions for the New Year. As you can tell, it promises to be a very long list.

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Hourglass Frenzy

Here are the four latest shard blocks where each block has 16 hourglass units. In my Oct. 11, 2021 post, I show how I make them four at a time from strips and four patches. For this block, I just use two fabrics. But if I vary the four patches, I can make the hourglasses so that each fabric in the unit is different.

And please forgive this photo. Although I am getting better at adjusting the photos in Affinity Photo, there is a huge disparity of how the photo looks within the program and how it is showing up the blogger editing program. Guess I should first check to see how it looks elsewhere on different devices.

And in the Dec. 9, 2021 post, I showed what size strips I need to cut in order to make a particular size hourglass. I was mostly looking at larger sizes, and decided to add some smaller size hourglass blocks. For homework, I will let you show what happens when you use 1 inch strips. (Warning: these reflect how I cut and sew, so your mileage may differ.)

Oh, and here are the hourglass units I made for Part 4 of Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt. As a reminder, I am making an opposite quilt where I use secondary colors instead of primary colors. Where Bonnie calls for neutrals, I am using black and where she is using pink, I am using medium purple. For garnet (dark pink), I am using light purple.

Saturday, December 11, 2021

Kaleidoscopes for Klowns

 I am making progress on the Klown Kaleidoscope. I have had Kathy Doughty and Sarah Fielke's book Material Obsession II, but it wasn't until I saw their Stashbuster quilt on Cathy's Sane, Crazy, Crumby Quilts that I decided I had to make it. I loved that it used Kaffe fabric in such a playful way with clown dots in the my choice of fabric was essentially "what would a clown like to wear." And while they may not eat their vegetables, they are happy to wear Martha Negley vegetables.

I also have to thank Cathy for keeping track of quilts for me...she identified the quilt I was looking for on Sentimental Stitches...Fragments of Cloth. Now you might think it miraculous that she could know what I was referring to except she knows it is likely going to be a subset of her quilts. And so you can go here to see Cathy's version

You can also see that the quilt pattern is still available, but it is a real life pattern, not a digital download.

We all have our piecing preferences and I can assure you that none of them include cutting four triangles and sewing them together. I was willing to make a handful of HSTs but drew the line at cutting and attaching triangles. So this is how I made my units...again, only a matter of preference. 

I sewed the HSTs to strips of black fabric. The strips are the width of the HST plus an inch (bigger than needed). Then I cut these apart so I had an HST with the purple triangle on top of a black rectangle. I then take two of these and sew them with triangles at either end (head to toes). I iron it open and cut them apart allowing for a full quarter inch seam from the tip of the purple triangle. (I line up a ruler with the base of the purple triangle to keep my cut straight.) And yes, in theory you can make the rectangle size so that you only make one cut with no waste...but I have only been quilting for 50 years and don't have that kind of sewing accuracy yet.

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Hourglass, mystery and more

 Tomorrow, Bonnie Hunter will be coming out with the third step of this year's mystery. And I am caught up...given the caveat that I am making only half of the blocks/units.

I have also made four more shards blocks for the Kaffe Fassett quilt that features wonderfully mushy hourglass blocks. I have been making the hourglass blocks using a strip piecing method that I enjoy so much that I am planning on making a quilt that I saw over at Sentimental Stitches. The quilt and pattern are no longer on the website. I may have it on my oldest computer but that search will be for another day. 

The concept of the quilt is a series of columns of hourglass blocks, bars, and four patches that share common units, so they fit horizontally. In any case, you would need to figure out what size hourglass you're making before you can figure out the bars and four patches.

And yes, this is something I never do...make samples. Usually I try to figure it out mathematically, make a mistake and then generate some ridiculous concoction in real life. My scrappy stars come to mind. 

The number on the edge shows what the size of the hourglass unit is. The finished size will be half an inch less. The number scribbled in the middle is the size of the strips I cut to make the hourglass. For example, I used 4.5 inch strips to make the block that is 5.5 inches unfinished.

Recently Wanda at Exuberant Color showed some of her recent fabric purchases. I thought I would follow along by showing Martha Negley's new line. Of course, my display also includes one big blurry cat head.

And here is Molly in a brief excursion outside of her princess tent. She is demonstrating the appropriate ratio of feline to heated cat bed.

Friday, December 3, 2021

Mysterious Ways

 In case you don't have enough mystery in your life, Bonnie Hunter is graciously presenting her annual mystery quilt. This year the inspiration is Rhododendron Trail featuring pink, turquoise, yellow and neutrals. And each year I like to take her colors and take a twist around the color wheel. So when I see that she is using essentially primary colors, I have to consider using secondary colors which are commonly featured as Halloween colors: orange, purple, green. 

And yes, the picture shown is a rhododendron in my backyard today. We have not had a freeze yet and saw a day or two in the 60s. So I would guess this rhododendron thinks it's spring.

This is another rhododendron that is sitting across from the pink blooming rhododendron. It does not have spring on its mind and is having heat dome flashbacks and licking its wounds from being covered by fallen trees. And so this rhododendron will be my muse for my alternate universe Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt and will substitute black for the neutrals.

The substitutions will be purple for pink, light purple for garnet, orange for yellow and chartreuse for turquoise. And finally, black for neutrals. And yes, I realize I may get in trouble if the mystery quilt has a strong foreground and background. Oh well. quiltAnd to keep myself sane, I'm only making half of the units.

So the HSTs are from the first week and the bottom five piles are the fabrics that I cut for this week's assignment.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021


I use the same table to cut fabric and to layer quilts. Oh, and to pile loads and loads of stuff on. Molly uses this table to conduct her gravity experiments...knocking things onto the floor to see how fast Buddy runs out of the way. That is, Molly is measuring the gravity with which Buddy holds his life.

Today the table was cleared off and I used it to layer the zig-zag log cabin.

I used a polyester batting and I had forgotten how unruly they can behave compared to Dream Cotton. In any case, the layering is finished and we'll see how long before it is covered with stuff and cats.

While I was working on the log cabin quilt, I also continued making Shards blocks...that is, a variation of the blocks used to make the Kaffe Fassett Shards quilt. I cut a gazillion 2.5 inch strips and sewed them into half a gazillion strip sets. It has been a fun surprise to see how two strips of fabrics will combine into shards. It will also be a surprise if these blocks can be cajoled into the same quilt top.

And for those of you who claim to be fans of the Budster, here is Buddy chewing his toes in public.


Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Scrap Processing and Recovery

 In the last post I had just acquired a large tub of scraps, and this is what was hiding strips and chunks and stuff. I supplied the thread. 

The tub was a bit like a commercial Easter basket...where you can see a cute stuffed bunny, a chocolate bunny and egg. When you dig further, you find smaller chocolate eggs and jelly beans...and a whole lot of tangled plastic grass. In this case, there was a massive tangle of fraying strips. And many of the strips were accidentally cut as boomerangs or tapers, hence their destiny in the scrap pile. These were perfect for trimming to the 1.5 inch strips used in this log cabin.

Here is a closeup of the log cabin blocks. As you can see, it looked like it had a lot of movement and variety when my nose was up against it...and turned static when I started looking at the blocks from a distance. And that is where the choice of the lightening set was made.

And here are the spools I made from some of the scraps. For the most part, I wanted to make more light valued spools. There were quite a few strips cut to one inch these were just begging to become spools. 

And here are the leftover strips and larger cuts of fabric after making the quilt top and microspools. Not shown are the solids and various size/shaped chunks and bits.

While I had the joys of digging through scraps, Molly and Buddy had a tougher time. My sister stopped by to visit the tub of scraps in my sewing room, where she saw Molly sleeping in her princess tent. My sister laughed out loud and said that she didn't realize the tent was so small.  Molly has since required constant consoling despite the fact that her small stature (length, not width) matches her kitten branding.

However, Buddy's identity crisis is much worse. Here is Buddy nestled in the small heated bed. If you visit Cathy's blog (Crazy by Design) from a week ago, you will see her cat Alfie completely filling a similar bed. Is it a small bed like Buddy's...or the larger version? Is Alfie a stand-in for Clifford, the big red dog? Buddy wondered aloud if he was normal and maybe his sister is a pipsqueak, but he was drowned out by derisive laughter.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Scrap Processing

 Most of the scraps in the tub are left over strips and hunks, but there are a few bits of construction thrown in. And yes I am also finding one inch and 1.25 inch strips, and this block explains why. And I can see why this one bit of selvedge was saved.

And so far, this is my favorite of the prints that I have uncovered in the scrap bin.

Meanwhile Molly has abandoned her princess tent to wallow in wads of batting. Last week Molly sent an unsolicited box of fabric to Cathy at Sane, Crazy, Crumby Quilting, only to have the fabric hoarding space continuum whiplash and fill the void in the cat's play area with the new scrap bin. 

Monday, November 8, 2021


One of the less glamorous aspects of quilting is accounting. I usually keep my accounting to a minimum, except for the microspool project where I am attempting to have a charm quilt with no duplicates. Half of the microspools are light in value and half are darker. To make a 60 inch square quilt I need 1600 total microspools. And after taking out duplicates, I have almost 900 light value ones and over 1,000 darker microspools. This means it is time to put it together.

These are the duplicates.

I also put together all the strip sets I need to make the clown kaleidoscope quilt. The next step is to cut the strip sets and background fabric into triangles.

Last but not least I cut pairs of 2.5 inch strips to make more Kaffe Fassett Shard blocks. And to accomplish this, I apparently needed to have about every piece of Kaffe fabric or similar laid out on the floor in front of the design wall.

So with the microspools no longer at the sewing machine and no more need for clown strips or Kaffe mountains, I set out to clean up the sewing room. First, I found the sewing machine table. I also found a micro kitten project and a couple others I had started. Next, I started to clear off the cutting table...with the hope that once clear I could layer a few quilts. And last but not least, Buddy sorely wanted his play area in front of the design wall back so he could chase his laser mouse and feathers and mice.

And yes, I managed to put every piece of fabric away until I had a lapse...

I may have noticed that there was a quilter's estate sale over the weekend. (In this case, a moving/downsizing estate sale.) But to give you a sense of the scope, there was a room of fabric where one bookcase, floor to ceiling, was neutrals. Other bookcases were loaded with fat quarters etc. But as it turns out I have absolutely no need or room for more fabric. So I did not go...on Saturday.

Resistance was weaker on Sunday. I thought it would be good to get out...only to find lots of people lined up 45 minutes before opening, with limited parking in a hilly area with no sidewalks. (Most of the people were there for vintage collectibles.)  In a moment of clear thinking, I said, "oh no..." and drove off.  But I am a weak individual and within five blocks I had turned around.

And I was in the house for about a total of fifteen minutes...the first five minutes was realizing that the estate sale photos only showed about a quarter of the fabric stash, the next five minutes I stood like a deer in headlights and then I saw the scrap tub...I grabbed it, paid for it, and ran. (Plus the tub has wheels for faster flight.)

And it turns out that the bin is bottomless and refills no matter how much I take out. Buddy has lost his play area and I am cutting more microspools. A lot of the fabrics in the bin are reproduction-type, small print, single color...well suited for microspools. Also, it is fabric I have never seen before (or different color ways). So no more progress on quilts for me...I'm just doing endless laps in my infinite pool of fabric scraps.

Thursday, October 28, 2021

The Tortoise and the Hare and the Snail

Here are the strip sets I have made so far for the Clown Kaleidoscope quilt I am making as part of Cathy's (of Sane, Crazy, Crumby Quilting) string quilt marathon. The slight difference is that she is apparently making 26 string quilts and I'm making one, maybe, assuming someone doesn't come along and post something else or maybe Buddy wants to have a deep philosophical discussion. And yes, I am starting a movement called "Super Slow" Quilting that uses a distracted, jumpy attention span to reduce progress to a crawl.

Meanwhile, let's go back to the Clark County Quilters' show. This is a quilt called Over The Hill by Nancy Tubbs based on a Wendy Williams Block of the Month. First, let me assure you that the quilt is not blurry in real life and seems to stem from a problem with the photographer. This quilt won 2nd place.

I particularly liked this quilt because of this detail. The circles over the stripe would make a great fabric design and really gave life to this border stripe. The quilter for this quilt is DeAnn Perrigo of Quiltthyme Studio.

Here is another quilt made by Nancy Tubbs as part of another Block of the Month with Wendy Williams. This quilt is called What Next?, and it also won 2nd place, but for the "Mixed" category.


Here's my favorite quilting detail for this quilt, also quilted by DeAnn Perrigo of Quiltthyme Studio. Apparently I like circles...but the jaunty angles is a nice subtle touch in a quilt where all parts are calling attention to themselves.

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Chips to Shards

 Today I returned to Shards, the quilt from the most recent Kaffe Fassett book. The orange and green looks a bit off next to the blue, but hopefully it will have friends by the time I have finished. The last block features an old Kaffe fabric called Freckles along with Kathy Doughty's budgies (parakeets).

And today we return to the Clark County Quilters show to look at some tiny piecing. This is the famous Omigosh quilt by Sue Garmin, made by Vicky Mikesh (featured a couple of posts ago).

And here is a quilt made by Anne Gillihan based on the book by Tula Pink featuring 100 blocks. However, in the book, the blocks finish at six inches and here they finish at 1.5 inches. 

Here's a closeup in case you don't have a microscope handy.