Thursday, September 30, 2021

September Montly Mini and other things

 First up, my Montly Mini for September.

Another easy-peasy little scrap quilt that was a lot of fun to make! 

The hourglass units were made from scraps from my Flying Geese quilt from a few years ago. The orange and blue border fabrics you might recognize from my stash haul at our Bargain Garden sale last June. In fact ... my June mini features the same orange. Very simple quilting: machine in all the ditches, and a single line of big-stitch hand quilting in the border. 

The back is from a freebee pile I brought home from my small quilt group meeting a couple weeks ago. 

(psssst ... go here to see more "Monthly Mini's" on Wendy's blog)


Meanwhile, I finished the following top, which was accepted by Quilts of Valor.  (sorry about the crappy photo.)

Its made almost entirely from a line I fell in love with called Hickory Road, by Jo Morton. I still love it, but it grew to a size I can no longer handle in terms of basting and quilting. I was unsure QOV would accept it because its not "patriotic" colors, and not a completed (ie quilted and bound) quilt. But I got a resounding "yes" from the woman in charge in the Bay Area, so off it went.  It might have helped that I sent along a 108" backing piece to sweeten the deal. At any rate, I'm happy I won't have to struggle with it, and it will be going to a veteran.

Another top that grew out of my control was this one.

Made from another line I fell in love with, Upstairs at the Manor House by Jeanne Horton. I had bought a bundle of the entire line plus several large pieces, with the intent of making a large bedspread for my guest bed. I don't know what I was thinking as there was no way I was going to be able to baste and quilt a top of that size. Plus it was not planned out very well, as you can see. 

So I decided to divide it into two quilts. 

 This is the first one, which is going to a young mom I met up in Crescent City last July, who had lost her home in the Camp fire (Paradise, CA) two years ago. She told me she like muted colors which is right up my alley, right?  I'm calling this "Sand and Sea" because that's what it reminds me of.

I quilted wavy lines, which, to me, are evocative of waves on the ocean. 

Plus, I have a big enough piece left over from the original top for a second quilt, which will be a throw, or topper for my guest bed. Win-win, as they say!

All for now ...


Tuesday, August 31, 2021

August Mini

 I sewed along with Pam Buda earlier this summer, and made my version of Abigail's Doll Quilt. 


I intended to make this in blue. 

Actually, I did make it in blue. I had just enough of this really pretty indigo pin dot to make an abbreviated version of Pam's quilt. I wish I had taken a picture.

Pam's inspiration

So what happened is, I tried to "age" mine. I dipped it in a coffee bath to give the muslin a stained look. The muslin wasn't having any of it, but the back turned a very dark brown. Not wanting that, I went ahead and re-dipped it in a diluted bleach solution, and watched in horror as it sucked the color right out of that beautiful blue. Leaving it a very lovely ... gray.

Let me say that I'm usually pretty successful when it comes to using bleach. I know how to properly use it to get all sorts of stains out of clothing, etc. and when soaked in a weak solution, I've even be able to ever-so-slightly fade the commercial color from a cotton fabric. Never in my life though, have I seen what happened here. I was, and still am, stunned. 


At least I got the brown out of the back.

I can't say I'm entirely unhappy, as it is still a nice little doll quilt, and it really is a very lovely shade of blue/gray. I even found a little cubbyhole to hang it in.


Meanwhile I finished yet another scrappy Log Cabin top:

I'm debating whether or not to fix my mistake, or leave it and call it "quirky". Thoughts? 

And a sneak peek at another project I've been working on:


That's about it for today, now go check out Wendy's blog for more Monthly Mini's!



Saturday, July 31, 2021


My sewing has been limited to doll quilts lately, due to time restrictions and the fact that my sewing room has been in guest room mode for a lot of the summer and I couldn't afford to make a huge mess with a bigger project and clean it all up before the next guests arrived. Mostly I've been working from my vintage fabrics, which I've been itching to get back to for a while.  Meanwhile, my blog has been on the back burner. I know ... I should have kept up and at least taken pictures along the way, but ... 

I got ahead of myself and decided to hang my new little quilts right away.

Here's a partial pano of my string of doll quilts hanging above the closet in my sewing room. I think youve seen most of these before, at one time or another. Can you tell which ones are comprised of vintage fabric?

Here's the other half of the pano. The red quilt on the left is a re-work of a doll quilt I made from a vintage block and some other pieces a few years ago, that I was never happy with. So I took it apart and re-designed it. 


Its better now, but I'm still not crazy about it. You can see how degraded the fabrics are (not to mention dirty) Really, pretty junky but something made me want to rescue them (the pieces) and see what I could do. Oh well, I'll leave it alone for now. 

The three quilts on the right I made this month.

This is the third or fourth one of these simple one-patch mini's I've made from a stack of vintage (30's - 60's?) 16-patch blocks and they sure are fun. The fabrics are amazing, but I can only glean 2" squares from the individual patches, which is somewhat limiting. I still have a huge stack of them though, so there are sure to be more creations down the line.

This one is from the same bunch, but I cherry picked some of the more geometric pieces for it. I did use a contemporary fabric for the border, and vintage 60's (I think) for the binding. I hand quilted it with black thread, which was quite challenging visually. I finally took it outside where the natural light really helped. If you click to enlarge the photo, you'll be able to see the quilting better. 

This one was made from a different group of fabrics, mostly from a couple of vintage tops I deconstructed a while back. I struggled with what to do with the borders, and took it apart more than once. I ended up adding the red on top of the top and bottom bindings after the fact, which is why it looks so clunky. However it needed "something" ... and I like how it looks, clunkiness and all, and will leave it alone. For now, anyway. 

I have to say, this summer has been the busiest summer I can remember in many years, if not ever. In between several sets of guests, I made three back-to-back road trips (!) me driving, (!!!) which is huge for me. First a trip south to pick up my MIL and head to Temecula, where we shopped til we dropped at Temecula Quilt Co, and then Primitive Gatherings the following day. Oh, and a baby shower after the shopping trip. Busy busy. On the drive home, Apple Maps (or was it Google?) took me on a real adventure 😳 but I ended up finding my way home, safe and sound.

MIL Lela, above, and our sweet neice (Lela's granddaughter) Katie, who had her baby boy just about a week ago.

Next a fabulous quilt retreat in the Sierras with what we call our "beach" group. Not on the beach this year, but our hostess' home does have an amazing infinity pool! 

Lastly, I and my two best "crone" buds had our yearly rendezvous in Northern Cal and Oregon, which was the BEST, partly because we missed last year due to covid. 

Our attempt at a selfie in the redwoods. 😀 Can you guess which one is me?

Here's the link-up to Wendy Reed's "montly mini" page .. take a look!

love, Sandy                                                                                                (pssst ... bottom left)



Sunday, June 6, 2021

New Goodies

 My friend Claire hosted a one-off Bargain Garden event at her home a couple weeks ago, and I came home with some excellent finds. This was a PVQA event (our guild), held in lieu of the Bargain Garden we were unable to have due to our Quilt Show being virtual this year. I did not take any pictures while I was there, but I can show you what I bought. 


I didn’t buy much, just a small stack, shown with the Color Catcher they were washed with. No doubt the red and/or the orange released a bit of color in the wash. 

This is a huge piece, almost four yards. This is what it looked like when I bought it, and what it looked like coming out of the dryer. Its cotton, but its one of those fabrics that doesn't soften up with washing. Color wise, I guess you would call it a "madder"?  I would have been happy with a half or quarter yard of this, but that's not how purchases work at the Bargain Garden. Maybe having this big of a piece of orange/madder will force I mean encourage me to get out of my "box" and experiment more. 

Here's a close-up, with the ID, such as it is, on the selvedge. 


Next up are a couple of Cranston Print Works fabrics, which I've always been attracted to and buy whenever I see them.

If you know me at all, you know I love brown. I especially love this "faded" looking one. Don't be surprised to see it appear in a doll quilt soon.

Pretty Judie Rothermel print

  Looks like someone took a bite out of it.

Nice little contemporary looking print. I was surprised to see it was made by Thimbleberries. 


Not sure what to make of this one. Unusual, anyway. I'm not even sure what color I would file this under. May be good for borders or a binding. 


This looks like a repro to me, but ? I believe it definitely qualifies as "cheddar" which I have little to none in my stash. Its a fairly big piece, at least a yard. I'll get plenty of little color splashes, and a few bindings out of this.

This batik piece is about a yard and a half, big enough to back a lap quilt, which is no doubt what I'll use it for. What a great score on these pieces! I spent a whopping $18 for several yards of great fabric!


I’ve been itching to make some doll quilts lately, and also itching to dig into this fun stack of fabrics, so right away I gathered up some other Cranston and similar prints, and before you know it, I'd finished this little doll quilt.

Meanwhile that big piece of Cheddar was staring me in the face, so I got out some bonus triangles that were laying around and started playing, and next thing you know, I had this one. 

These were so fun to make! Wendy will be shocked ! I now have two minis, made from scratch (ie no cheating) for June, and its only the 6th! That's it for now, but I already have more ideas stewing. It feels good to be back in the "mini" groove.

 love, Sandy

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Stash busting

No big news here, but I, like others, have too much fabric. Which actually, I don't know if I really believe that. What exactly is too much fabric? I've already gotten rid of everything I don't want, and I really can't bring myself to part with the rest of it. Unless of course, its sewn into quilts, and even then sometimes I'm hesitant, ha ha! 

So anyway, I've been busy cutting strips from nearly everything in my cabinet, in an effort to ease the crowdedness in there, and hopefully create a little space for something new. Which is what we all want, right?

I thought I'd make a few Log Cabins.  First, while cutting the strips I kept all the colors separate and put each color into its own zip bag. Then when I decided which colors I wanted to use, I sewed long "snakes" out of the strips. This made sewing the blocks so much faster, and without any waste.

I like how this one turned out, but it was a mistake. Notice how there's more blue than white? That's because I added an extra blue log to each block. The reason I did this is, my sister called me right as I was starting to sew so I put her on speaker phone and I was distracted, and began sewing my blocks with blue around the center instead of white. Which means they would end with white, and I really didn't want that look. So I added an extra round of blue logs. The resulting cabins are a little off-kilter, but that has the added effect of making the red centers "dance" across the quilt, giving it motion. Which I like. And an added benefit was making the blocks 6" instead of 5", which makes the  quilt the perfect size for the VA requirements. I'll call it serendipity.

I decided to use all the colors for the one above, but still used the snake method for each color. For some reason, maybe its the red and yellow centers, it reminds me of a circus. 


Here's the start of the latest one. Same method. You can see the effect of the scrappy pieced logs (via the snake method) more clearly in this picture. 

I took a break from stripping and sewing logs to finish this darling little mini my mother-in-law sent home to me when hubby visited her last month. I'm going to cheat again, and use this as my Montly Mini for May. Montly Mini's are hosted by Wendy, who you can find here, along with links to others who participate in this fun challenge.


I machine quilted all the ditches, then did some simple big-stitch quilting (which I'm finally getting the hang of) through the blocks and in the border. Its now hanging in my sewing room. 

Lela (my MIL) also made the one on the bottom right, which she gave to me when I saw her in September. I love it, and it goes perfectly with my own quilts.

OK back to the log cabins. Here's the brown one which I just now completed and put some borders on. 

I gave almost no thought to the placement of the blocks except to avoid two of the same fabric lying next to each other. I'm liking the quirkiness that true random placement sometimes creates. Not quilted yet, but I'm already auditioning dark brown for the binding. Also lap size like the blue one, destined for either the VA or someone else who just needs a quilt.

I now have a backlog of tops that need to be quilted. I better get busy! 


Thursday, February 18, 2021

Exciting News!


My quilt guild, Pajaro Valley Quilt Association, is hosting a virtual Quilt Show starting Monday Feb. 22, and running through Sunday, Feb. 28. That's next week! You are all cordially invited to attend. The show is available to view all seven days, as many days as you want and long as you like. Its free, and you can view it in your pajamas!

Our featured artists are Joe Cunningham, and Margaret Fabrizio. We have a variety of wonderful quilts on display (of course) which this year includes a special exhibit of "Quilts from the 1930's".  Several of our usual vendors have signed on as well, available to sell their wares online. You can get all the details  here. There will be a link on the website when the show begins.

Above is this year's Opportunity Quilt, titled "Light Shines Through" made by PVQA members and designed by Sujata Shaw. Tickets will be available during the show, with the drawing in May. 

Meanwhile, take a look at Margaret Fabrizio's quilts. They're stunning! 

And Joe Cunningham is no slouch. You may remember he  collaborated with Gwen Marston in his early years as a quilter. Go here to see his more modern work.

Although I will sorely miss our live show this year, I am really excited about the virtual show. Members got a bit of a sneak peek a week or so ago, and I have to say I am really impressed! God bless the folks with the technological skills to put it all together. This is the first year in my 25 year history with the guild that I have not been involved in the Quilt Show (we used to call it a "Fair"). I loved every minute (mostly, ha ha) of whatever portion of the show I was involved with, but I admit I"m happy to let the newer members take over. Yay for the younger generation! 

OK, on to other things.

A long time ago, my friend Debbie asked me if I would make her a quilt. Let it be known: I feel really uncomfortable with "commission" quilts, even when they're free. Therefore I put her off for 15 years. I recently decided I needed to do this, but the quilt would have to be more or less my design, and from my existing stash. I gave her a couple of choices - traditional repro, or scrappy improv, like Berzzirkistan. Well, she showed me this:

Made by her Aunt Jackie, for her sister, Debbie's mom, who has now passed away. Unfortunately Debbie didn't inherit the quilt. 

I'm thinking, oh great. Red and black is about my least favorite color scheme. But ... it is an easy pattern. I told her I could not duplicate the quilt, but that I would "interpret" it, using a variety of fabrics from my stash, and it would be a throw, rather than bed size. She seems happy with that. 

Here's what I came up with:


The only fabric I had to buy was the border fabric, which I found pretty much immediately at Connecting Threads. I consider this extreme good luck! I could have searched for days and not found anything as fitting. I'm now in the process of stitching on the binding, and will hopefully get a chance to deliver it to her next week. It will feel good to get this off my list! 

Then we found out a couple days ago my husband's long-time friend Alan has been diagnosed with cancer. It sounds like he'll have a long battle including chemo, etc. Of course, I think he needs a quilt. I immediately dropped everything else and started on this:

The fabrics are mostly from a bundle of Tim Holtz Eclectic Elements I purchased as a "daily deal"  from Missouri Quilt Co. a while back. I also had some leftovers from another one like this I made a few years ago, plus a charm pack I picked up somewhere.

Below is the original one I made.

The story behind this one is, my client Tim came down with cancer and I wanted to make him a quilt. I knew he would not love my usual style (traditional repro's) so I struggled with how to come up with something that might be more appealing. Well, at some point previous someone had sent me a charm pack of these Tim Holtz fabrics. I thought what the heck am I going to do with these ugly things and almost threw them away. Fast forward, when I found them still untouched in my pre-cut bin, I gave them another look and thought, hmm ...  Luckily I was able to get a few yardage cuts plus another charm pack online, then filled in with a piece from my regular stash. Do you see that Civil War Presidents piece third row up? HA ha !!! I got a repro in there after all. 

Tim was over the moon when I gave him the quilt (not a reaction one always gets) and I was really happy  (although I wish I would have re-thought that black binding). I've been in love with Eclectic Elements ever since, seeing how effective the fabrics are when combined like this, and search them out at every opportunity, as they are a bit hard to find. 

Side note:  this is a really super easy and fast quilt to make, esp. when you have a large variety of curated fabrics. Anyway, the new one contains slightly different "Elements", but I hope it will please our friend. 

On another note, I have been totally uninspired in the mini-quilt department for the last few months (can you tell?) so nothing at all for this month. I still love looking at everyone else's though, and thank Wendy for continuing to host this fun monthly challenge! 

All for now ...

love, Sandy