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

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Family Quilts and December Mini

 I'll start off with the mini, which is another cheat (ahem..)  as I made this in 1999. But it has a story, so that should gain me some points, right?

 The story behind this little quilt is, my mom had ordered the pattern from a magazine sometime in the 1950's, but never got around to making the quilt. 

Backing up a few decades ... my mom grew up on a farm in Saskatchewan, the youngest of eleven children.  Quilts were made, but who knows what ever happened to them. One was a Sunbonnet Sue, which my mom was particularly fond of, but could never track it down after her dad lost the farm and all her siblings had scattered. She talked about that quilt from time to time, always with sense of loss. 

At some point she decided to make her own Sunbonnet Sue quilt, but probably got sidetracked with raising four kids, and sewing clothes for us, plus the cousins, neighbors, and everybody else as well. Sometime in the late '90's I found the pattern while rummaging through her sewing room. She said at that point she had no interest in making it, but I thought maybe I could make it for her. I also brought home some fabrics she had squirreled away, apparently intended for quiltmaking. 

The pattern was for a much larger quilt, and I think Mom was a little disappointed when I presented her with a wall hanging. But as you know I am not fond of applique, and although the applique in these couldn't have been easier, after six blocks I figured I was done. Plus I had just enough of her fabric to complete this small quilt, so there you have it. 


 While digging around in the trunk, I found one my mom did make. This sweet old quilt was made for my baby brother, right around 1960. Its one of only two quilts that Mom made once she was married.

I'm not sure the origin of those fabrics, as I don't think they're scraps from any of our clothing. It looks like she even made a make-do block.

I brought this home with the intent to salvage the butterflies and make a new quilt, but my friend Carmel, who studies quilts, said I should preserve it as-is. Sadly, it lives in my trunk. I do treasure it though, because its  history. And it shows just what she had to work with as a young mother without a lot of discretionary income. Much of the quilt is made from old sheets, including the batting which is flannel sheet. 

Further digging in the trunk ... 

... revealed this one, made by  Mom's sister Milly, who was the only one in the family (that I know of) who seriously continued the quilt making tradition. She gave me this quilt when I was in my early 20's and just moved in to my first apartment. As you can see, it is well used and worn. And obviously not re-folded in a long time - shame on me.

And humble. Aunt Milly was not a purist when it came to fabric. The brown print is some kind of polyester double-knit, which she used shamelessly in many of her quilts.

 I love the wide binding, and the big stitches! 

These are now hanging outside, for a good air-out. 

I will post a link to Wendy's blog, once she publishes the Monthly Mini's for December. 


love, Sandy

Friday, December 25, 2020

Merry Christmas!

My sister made Christmas cookies and sent us a tin full.

Aren’t these adorable?

There are more, but they’re still in the tin, individually wrapped, and I don’t want to disturb them ... quite yet.  

Do you, or did you ever make these? (decorated, cookie cutter Christmas cookies)?  As kids, our mom baked the cookies and we kids decorated them. It was fun, and we got pretty elaborate with some of them. (remember those little silver balls that practically broke your teeth when you bit down on one?) Anyway, my sister (with her kids)  has carried on the Christmas cookie tradition for many years - minus the silver balls. 

I have been sewing a lot. I finished my bedspread top, which for me is huge. I’m so glad it’s done! Now I have to figure out how to get it quilted (ie: find the right machine quilter) because I don’t think I ccould handle it. I’ll wait to post a picture til it’s completely done and on the bed!

Meanwhile I decided to make more of these:

I still have lots of orphan blocks, partial blocks and various bits and pieces, along with several bags and bins of scraps to use up. Haha, as if that’s possible, right? This is a fun project to work on when I don’t feel like working on something else. I know some of these blocks look like they’re a lot of work, but the process is actually very freeing because they don’t have to be perfect. Don’t forget I did not start from scratch as most of these started with “something “ already made. 

I’ve also finallly moving forward on making a postage stamp quilt, which something that has been on my bucket list for a long time. I’ve been saving 1 1/2” squares forever and have recently started sewing pairs together as leader/enders. Once I finally figured out a method to sew them all together so they consistently nest at every stage, I made some blocks and laid them out on my wall. 

My method, if anyone is curious, is to start with four-patches, making sure the seams all “spin” in the same direction - let’s say, clockwise. Then sew the four-patches together into 16-patches, making sure the outside seams are still all going clockwise. Then combine those into 32-patches, and so on. This way I can work block by block, and I can turn each block any which way whenever I put them all together. 

Well that’s about it for me.

I hope you all are enjoying your holidays, whatever way you can. I highly recommend zoom get-togethers, if you cannot gather in person with friends and family. I believe 2021 will be another tough year, but the tide has turned and there’s light at the end of the tunnel. We just need to preserve through the rest of this dang tunnel! 


Monday, November 30, 2020



I hope you all had a decent thanksgiving holiday, in whatever form that might have taken. My husband and I got "Thanksgiving dinner for two" from our local grocery store. With the exeption of the green beans (which were like cardboard and went promplly into the compost bin), the rest of the meal was actually pretty good, plus we had enough left over for two more meals. All that for twentyy bucks! Then we zoomed with family, which was fun. 

Here is my mini for the month of November. Again, it is a bit of a cheat, as I made it several years ago as a gift for my mother-in-law.

Does it look familiar? That's because its a shameless copy of someone else's quilt. The original was made by Marion Edwards - though I didn't know it at the time, but who has recently and graciously given me permission to post mine on my blog today.

Below is Marion's original "Three Dolly Quilt", and the book that inspired her to make it.

You may remember Marion Edwards Dreamweaver blog, which has been inactive for several years, but you can still find her (and her adorable quilts) on instagram. 

So back to the story of my own three dolly quilt. I had initially machine quilted it, very sparsely and purposely wonky, as I was going for the "primitive" look. However instead, I think it ended up just looking sloppy. Every time I'd see it over at my MIL's house, it bugged the heck out of me. When we were there last month, I asked her if I could take it home and fix it, and she agreed. So I picked out all the sloppy quilting and proceeded to hand quilt it, IMO a huge improvement.  And ... it makes it fresh, so hopefully that means it qualifies for this month's Montly Mini? 😄

It is now ready to send back to Mom.

To see more November Monthly Mini's, please check out Wendy's blog, The Constant Quilter. Enjoy!

Meanwhile I finished my Madders quilt, which I'm now calling my Autumn Quilt. 

And I machine quilted my Log Cabin in the ditch around all the blocks, and now I'm considering hand quilting inside the blocks. Yes that's a lot of quilting for these poor hands, but I really like how it looks. That's DMC perle cotton, which so far handles pretty easily, and I think I'm finally getting the hang of the Big Stitch. This may take me forever.

So... still have several things to finish. I still haven't sewn together my blue 16-patch bedspread. The blocks are all done, but they need to be squared up first. I'm stalling. What I really want to do is start something new (of course!). I have several ideas brewing... stay tuned! 

love,                                                                                                           Sandy

Sunday, November 1, 2020


 Yesterday I helped out with my quilt guild’s quilt giveaway to families who lost their homes in the CZU lightening complex fires. There were hundreds of quilts sent from all over, and from our guild members. There were all sizes and styles, from the most basic utility quilts to the more elaborately made. There were even a few hand-quilted vintage quilts that were donated. 

Now I wish I’d taken some pictures of those stacks of quilts. It didn’t occur to me I would be blogging about this event, but it’s still so high in my consciousness, and I really didn’t have a heck of a lot else to say anyway. 

A month ago I gave one of my own quilts plus one a friend made, to a couple who lost their home. You remember Berzirkistan: 

The recipients were very grateful, and, amazingly, also very upbeat and positive about their future, in spite of losing everything. 

Yesterday I helped a woman who’s story was similar to my above mentioned friends: family compound in a remote location, homes they spent years building with their own hands, adult children who also had homes on the propery, also burned out. This lady was something less than upbeat. She looked ... lost. I helped her select some quilts, and talked with her a while. It was her image that I woke up with this morning. 

This whole circumstance, the fires, the loss, and the aftermath, is impossible for me to fully comprehend. Beyond that, I am truly at a loss for words.

I have to confess I’ve been going through a bit of a slump mood-wise, and I even feel guilty about that because what do I have to complain about? I need to start reminding myself of my blessings, and making a list (each day?) of things to be grateful for.

I’ve been sewing. No mini this month, but I did hang a few in my sewing room. 

I’m calling this my Indigo Corner. Please ignore the mess below. 
Wendy posts the Montly Minis here, if you want to take a look.

Meanwhile, I made this:

Which is my repro version of an antique quilt, and current sew-along with Temecula Quilt Co. 

I’m posting from my iPad, which apparently doesn’t let me resize my photos, but you may be able to get a better view by clicking on them. 

That’s it for now! 

Love, Sandy

Things to be grateful for:

my home
my husband 
my community 
my friends
quilting, which is truly keeping me sane

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

September Mini - and Other Things


Just under the wire ...

This little quilt is another “Frankenstein” meaning it’s composed of leftovers, reject blocks, and various odds and ends. (remember, Frankenstein wasn't a bad monster - just misunderstood.) Some of these are rejects from my Summer Sampler, and I dug others out of my “spare parts” box. I think they ended up playing together nicely.

It was initially intended to be my July mini, but I deliberated for weeks on my border fabric, to the point where I became practically paralyzed and I had to put it away and move on to something else. I finally settled on this Cocheco Mills piece which I’d been hoarding for years, which was not much bigger than a scrap. There was barely enough, and then I mis-cut one side and had to stitch it back together, leaving a nice Frankenstein scar down one side. Barely visible, but still. 

(is it just me, or is there something weird about these photos? not blurry - which is my usual - the details are crisp but there's something unreal about them. The one below practically vibrates!)

I did not deliberate long on the back. This is another old print I’ve hoarded for a long time. I’ve lately been using more and more of these “special pieces” for small quilt backs, because I know they will be appreciated and enjoyed with the rest of the quilt. 

I thought it would be nice to hand quilt this, possibly because I was too lazy to haul out my big Janome with the hand-quilt stitch, and clear off the dining room table to set it up. Marking the fans was an unanticipated issue. The Sewline white worked fine in the darker places, and a lead pencil was ok on the light fabrics, but the constant switching back and forth between the two did not make for a smooth line. I know from experience yellow chalk could stain the whites, and I don’t trust those blue things.  

I thought about free-handing it, but I had too hard a time seeing my previous line of quilting! Problem ultimately solved by marking said line with 1/4” masking tape. This was not a relaxing process, so it went very slowly. By the time I finished, it was the end of September. Anyway, here it is! Be sure and follow the link to Wendy's blog to see more of this month’s mini’s.

I also finished my Summer Sampler, making for two finishes this month!

Those things that look like bleach spots are actually sun rays coming through the trees.

Thank you to everyone who followed this process and encouraged me along the way.  

The back is another piece I've been hanging on to for several years, waiting  for just the right quilt.


Meanwhile, this top was still nagging me. I felt it needed something more.

A single row of triangle squares across the top and bottom I think will do the trick.



Monday, September 7, 2020

Hello! I have reverted back to Legacy Blogger.

Yesterday it was 108 degrees at my house. No wonder I was in a foul mood when I posted. (could you tell? ;-)) We live about two miles from the beach on the central coast of California. I don't think it was much cooler on the beach itself. This might actually be a record high here. We do not have air conditioning, but rely on a few strategically placed fans around the house. One (rotating) in the living room, one in the bedroom pointed at the bed, and one about three feet behind my sewing machine, pointed directly at my head. You can probably figure out where I spent most of the day yesterday! 

Mostly I worked on machine quilting large fans across my Summer Sampler. In addition to pin basting, I went ahead and spritzed a tiny bit of 505 basting spray here and there, avoiding the edges as I was doing this on my dining room table. So far so good, everything is staying in place with no drifting, stretching or pushing. Which can be an issue for me, even with a walking foot. I'm using the stencil I got from Barb (Fun with Barb), and then extending the fans even larger with the guide on my walking foot.

I also used the technique (see arrows) where when you butt up to the prevously stitched fan, you turn and stitch down the one you are butting up to (directly on top of the previous stitching) for the width of your blades, about 1/2" in this case, then pivot again and sew your next fan blade going the other direction. This avoids having to end your stitching and start again, leaving all those loose ends to bury. It does take a lot of pivoting though, and could be challenging with a large quilt. I hope this makes sense.

Meanwhile ...

I've been looking at this antique quilt on Pinterest.

 I'm not the only one. Barbara Brackman featured it on her blog about Madder quilts a few months ago. Katy (katyquilts) was also inspired, and made a darling mini from her madders.

I happen to have a stack of madder prints begging to be used, and a few stacks of shirtings, many of which qualify more as scraps. Perfect for making four-patches. So away I went!

(btw in the photos my madders look browner than they are in real life. They're closer to the original, but maybe not quite as "orange".)

First I played around with an on-point setting with the idea of using this print for side triangles, but ass you can see, that wasn't going to work.

Then I laid them out in a straight set and played around.

Julie K had just sent me this cool cheater medallion. I love it, but I don't think it belongs in this quilt. (note: I also have a big stack of reds that are begging to be used, so you will see this again.)

 Meanwhile, I kept making more four-patches and the top grew.

I was trying to think of ways to make the quilt more interesting and engaging, so as I went along I increased the number of the more eye-catching fabrics.  Then I put them up using the "true random" (aka paper bag) method so that there would be random groups and lines of the same fabrics. This helped a lot, but I still thought it might appear somewhat ... boring?

Then I got the idea of adding a "rogue block"* which turned into several, which imo, was exactly what this quilt needed.

*"rogue blocks" being the brilliant idea of Janet Olson, the Rogue Quilter, when she used them in her 365 challenge quilt.

Voila!  Nothing like the original inspiration quilt, but my goal was to make it look "old", and I think I've accomplished that.  In keeping with that idea, I may do fans again, but meanwhile I'm waiting for a piece of fabric to arrive (a nice  vintage-looking shirting) for the back.

I had to revert to Legacy Blogger in order to manipulate my settings, but I believe your comments will again go to my email. I hope Blogger fixes the many snags with their new format, and in the meantime keep giving us time to figure it out - and to revert to Legacy when we need it. (are you listening, Google?)