Thursday, February 29, 2024

Next Round

 Progress on the Tula Nova quilt has slowed to a crawl. The next shape is a compound star, five triangles around a pentagon. I couldn't resist making two of the stars using a different circus animal fabric (although they may just be animals at a birthday party where they were forced to wear jaunty hats). 

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Bad Buddy

I am spending most of my time quilting the spools quilt...I used to call them microspools until I saw the work of folks who really do micro piecing. These finish at a relatively large 1.5 inches. And as I was quilting it I found a spool that had a Buddy gash. 

Happily, I found a hunk of the original fabric in the bin of brown scraps.

I extracted the gashed piece.

Then I stitched in the replacement piece by hand. Although it's fixed, Buddy is still in the dog house...where he will stay until his next bout of bad behavior. Then I will take him out of the dog house so I can put him in again.

And here's an early warning that the March fabric giveaway will be posted on March 1...where you can have a chance to win fabric without Buddy gashes.


Thursday, February 22, 2024


 Here's a handful of hexies. For a layout, I am thinking of having black surrounded by white (and/or vice versa) with bright colors winding around. But color organization of the brights will help a lot. Keeping this in mind, I am keeping a eye out for white and black fabrics in my stash with animal images because I tend to overlook them.

I was asked about a lizard pattern and I thought alligator...a few days ago I remembered the chameleons. I never made a tutorial for this pattern, because despite varying opinions, I'm not crazy. I did show my cheat sheets for piecing the block here. The finished quilt is here.

Tuesday, February 20, 2024


With the Cheshire Cat showing up with all its purple, it really didn't get along with the pink and blue circus animals. So I went back a row and went with the two greenish versions of the circus animals. I still don't know what I'm going to do with the next row of stars.

But apparently once you say circus animals, any animal wearing a goofy hat thinks they belong. 

Monday, February 19, 2024

Next Addition

The next step of the Tula Nova quilt is a bit complicated. There are two shapes: stars and diamonds. The stars are a compound shape composed of smaller pieces. These are ideal for making a strong color statement or adding geometric interest, but not ideal for silly novelty fussy cutting. The diamonds however are perfect for adding the grumpy Cheshire Cat fabric from Tula's Curiouser (Alice in Wonderland) fabric line.  Here are six of them, but I need ten. 

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Quilting Dangers

 I received an email yesterday from a much smarter person than me. It was a very nice email that showed me the beginnings of a Tula Nova that used the same hallucinating kitten. What went unmentioned was that this quilter had the presence of mind and excessive brain capacity to make the center piece and the triangle below it as one the kitten was spared the trauma of its toes being thoughtlessly chopped off.

And unfortunately my thoughtless behavior occurs often enough that it is not uncommon for Molly to perch like this in the sewing room. I will try to do better. That said, I did find a gash in the seahorse quilt as I was quilting it (Buddy!!!!) and I unpicked quilting and a couple of seams and was able to tuck the gash under a seam. The seahorse is a bit more curvilinear than the others, but I am always impressed by how forgiving fabric is.

And speaking of gashes in seahorses, here is an alligator I made a while back. 

Saturday, February 17, 2024

It's a Circus

Here's the next round of the Tula Nova quilt. Turns out the only fabric that wants to be in the same quilt as a hallucinating kitten and swimming rats are...circus animals. I first saw the circus animal fabric at the Sisters Quilt Show in a quilt by Sarah Fielke.  I hunted for the fabric online and when it arrived it was the canvas cotton fabric. For this, I cut out a stiffer paper to baste around and other than looking ridiculous, it should fit in. 

Friday, February 16, 2024

A New Start

 Okay, I started a new quilt when I have creeping deadlines for finishing two other quilts. And I can even feel future me tearing her hair out a month from now...and the yelling! To make it more fun, future me may not even remember I started this quilt.

This is the Tula Nova pattern by Tula Pink. Rumor has it that Tula is going to have a new color way of her Tuna Can fabric sometime this year. So I thought I would splurge and use one of the tuna can cats as the center. My only plans for moving forward or outward is to not have a plan.

Thursday, February 15, 2024


My sewing time has been devoted exclusively to machine quilting the seahorse and charming spools quilts and chasing after Molly...only one of which might be slightly interesting for a blog post. So I was happy to see an octopus stop by...except it may be a predator of the seahorses. The octopus block is 9 inches finished and doesn't seem to have any functioning mouth parts.

Unfortunately Molly does have functioning mouth parts, so in an unguarded moment of neglect (no cover on the Juki) she grabbed a mouthful of thread and ran. We both panicked and did our best keystone cop routine until I finally decided to use a few brain cells. I sat down and started brushing Buddy...and, of course, Molly and dangling thread didn't want to miss out and I just happened to have scissors next to me...  In the aftermath, I have turned security measures up to 11 out of 10 while Molly has returned to her baseline naughty of 12 out of 10.

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Hexies Addition

 Here are some hexies I prepared as I procrastinated machine quilting the seahorses and the spools. I also made a miscalculation, that is, I figured out how many hexies I had prepared and how many I would need for a 60 by 72 quilt (roughly). I really shouldn't have done that. I've prepared about 300 and I would need 2000. 

Also, I should give Molly credit for her research on cats and dragons. I don't know if she conducted her research using verifiable resources or used an AI software product or is planting the story for AI software to find. All I know is that right now she is meowing loudly...probably trying to raise funds for her Save Cats from Dragons Foundation...or maybe she wants her dinner.

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Quilting: Hardware Edition

I may have gotten a very good deal through an estate sale auction, and for me this might advance my hardware from the mid 90s and a tractor ball to 2005. What I really wanted is a needle down feature like the Juki...that has the unfortunate "feature" of cutting the thread with the foot pedal...the same motion that lowers the needle on my Bernina. In any case...the first step was to get the machine to fit in my sewing table. Here I have laid out tracing paper so I get pattern for the insert.

 Using the tracing, I cut out an insert from a Dry-Erase foam-core board. Next step is to figure out how to use it...

Meanwhile, I would like to clarify some confusion about the lack of images of dragons and cats together because dragons eat cats. First, with the Chinese New Year approaching you may realize that this is the year of the Dragon. And in the Chinese zodiac, there is no cat. Some stories say it was the Rat who tricked/killed the cat so there is the Year of the Rat and no Year of the Cat in the Chinese zodiac. We, of course, know that the dragon ate the cat.

Meanwhile, in the Vietnamese zodiac, there is both a Year of the Cat and a Year of the Dragon. Moreover, the year of the Dragon follows the year of the Cat. Another way to say it is that the Dragon comes after the Cat...and, of course, the dragon eats the cat.

Monday, February 5, 2024


Buddy is peeking out of Molly's princess tent to announce February's fabric giveaway winner: Susan. She is requesting neutrals, black, white, silver and gold. We are definitely nervous about the request for gold...we avoid metallics in fabric because dragons hoard gold and might move in. They also like to snack on cats and that's why you don't see images of dragons and cats together.

Friday, February 2, 2024

More Quilting

Quilting the seahorse quilt can be a bit tedious, so I am alternating between the seahorses and the spools quilt. For the spools, I am sewing along the length of each spool so I am walking along the indent of a spool on the right and then to the left as I move down/across the quilt.

I have not worked with this quilt in a while, so it is fun revisiting all the different fabrics as I move across the quilt. 

Here's Molly sleeping in her princess tent. Today we had a rousing playtime. We began with a mouse on a wand...which has a bell attached that alerted Buddy (AKA FOMO) that Molly was having fun. He usually busts in and takes over, but this time he just watched intently from the side. (He also ignored the toy when I tried to share playtime). Then I switched to the laser mouse which Molly was enjoying a lot until Buddy came up to me, asked for the laser mouse toy, took it by its handle, and walked off and dropped it by his food dish in the kitchen. 


Thursday, February 1, 2024

February Fabric Giveaway

Please forgive my recent absence. I was kidnapped by a British spy novel series and now have a slight lull in the action. And yes, I am also machine quilting the seahorses...slowly...which limits what I have to show. 

This month Buddy will run the fabric giveaway. Like past giveaways, if you are interested in having a change to win, leave a comment specifying what color/theme of quilting fabric strikes your fancy. You can also ask for a rainbow assortment of colors that match Buddy (taupe, brown, gray and rotund). Unfortunately, given the cost of postage, the giveaway is limited to within the U.S.

On Feb. 4, at 11:59pm Pacific Standard Time, I will plead with Molly to use her super secret random number algorithm to pick the winner. I will notify the winner by email the next day. If you are anonymous or no reply, please leave an email in the comment so I can reach you if you win. If you win, I will email you for your address and get more clarification about your fabric selection preferences.

Meanwhile, here in Portland we had a day with a spectacular sunrise. A little more inspiring than midrange tones of gray. However, in the most recent Quiltmania, there was a tumbler block quilt that  fit the bill for a Portland sky quilt. You can see it here: