Saturday, December 30, 2017

End of the Year Recap

Oh my, it’s been ten days since I’ve written anything. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season, regardless of what you did or did not celebrate. I hope it was warm with the love of family and friends, that the spirit of giving and sharing was present, and that everyone enjoyed good times and good health. It was all that here, and I am so filled with love and contentment as I write this 2017 recap post.

I’m going to divide this post into two sections; quilting and personal. Feel free to skip one or the other as your interest dictates!


It was a great year in which I finished 19 quilts. You can see them in my Quilt Gallery tab at the top of the blog, under the header.

I also made 4 whole cloth baby quilts (for donation) and 84 kennel quilts/beds for Best Friends that are in addition to the regular quilts. I plan to continue making donation baby quilts and some kennel quilts in 2018. The latter will be primarily to use up specially-dedicated (animal-themed) fabric stash.

This first collage shows the five quilts that were 2016 Rainbow Scrap Challenge (RSC) quilts that were finished during the first quarter of 2017.

Top Left: Rainbow Rails, made of vintage sheets
Top Center: Cool Improv, made of tiny bits of blue, green, teal and purple fabrics
Top Right: Warm Improv, made of tiny pink, red, orange, yellow fabrics 
Bottom Left: Rainbow Dresdens, with doily and yo-yo centers
Bottom Right: Rainbow 16-Patch (I’m so original with quilt names, eh?)

Next are the 4 Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilts I started and finished in 2017.  

Top Left: Scrap X+plosion, a quilt made of “kitchen sink” fabrics 
Top Right: Color Me Quilt (pattern by Emily Herrick). I added one extra crayon.
Bottom Left: Reading Rainbow
Bottom Right: Rainbow Selvages (more creative naming) (*insert dripping sarcasm*) 

I have five other RSC2017 quilts which are in process at the end of this year. They'll be finished in 2018:  Starry, Starry Day, the Plus Quilt, Bow Ties, Rainbow String Quilt (started 2016), and Geese Migration.  I’m planning of participating in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge again in 2018. What a great and supportive group of quilters! Come visit the RSC linky party at So Scrappy to see some other rainbow finishes

And finally, I’ve picked the following three quilts as my overall favorites for 2017 (one is a repeat picture). All of them were such enjoyable makes. Each step of the process was fun, although I had different reasons for enjoying the making of each quilt. 
Reading Rainbow. What a fun journey this quilt was for me! From the piecing of “books", to the hunt for great selvage “book titles”, to the silly additions that were added to the “shelves” as the mood struck, I couldn’t wait to see “how it ended”!  I would do another bookshelf quilt in a heartbeat. Well, maybe in another two or three years.....  It will be a gift for my friend Nancy Burkey (see post HERE from last year). Her home burned down in the Santa Rosa fires this fall. When I finished it, its purpose seemed so clear to me. You may recall that Nancy had her first book published last year. She was lucky in that the manuscript for her second novel wasn’t harmed in the fires. But I figured she could use the quilt for warmth of the figurative and literal kind. I’ve love the notion that a quilt is like a hug, and this quilt is my hug to Nancy. 

The Tulip Quilt. This was a joint effort with my friend Terri, for another friend Diane (are you still with me?)  It was fun to find out what colors Diane liked and then find fabrics to fit our ideas. We settled on this tulip pattern, the quilt color way, and both pieced half the tulips. I sewed together the quilt top and quilted it. Terri did the binding. Each step was a collaboration over the course of six-plus months. And I’m thrilled that in the process, Terri and I have become closer friends. 

The Pineapple Quilt (another original name, brought to you by me)
For the pure joy of each step of the quilting process, this quilt takes the cake fruit! It was another fun ride during the long, languid days of summer. When it was finished, it was such a soft and dreamy quilt! I’m happy to say that it captured my granddaughter Lauren’s heart, and she wanted it. And so it’s now serving her well. 


Life had it’s ups and downs this year! There were twice as many of the ups as there were downs, and the year is ending on a high note.

In February, we learned that DH Bruce once again had cancerous growths in his arm. After almost 8 weeks of tests, surgeries and recoveries, Bruce is cancer-free with all arm function intact. That was confirmed in his 6-month post-op checkup this fall. Down, then way up. 

Trump was elected President and took office in January. What a downer! But the spunk and sheer number of of supporters of the Women’s March immediately followed. Exhilarating! A real UP! I’ve never been overly fond of politics, but this Presidency has been a personal source of depression for me all year. 

My brother Steve came to stay with us in July. He is transitioning from a working citizen to a retired one. I helped him with all his retirement paperwork, healthcare, etc. He isn’t good with that stuff. Now Steve has begun making plans about where he wants to live and travel, etc. Definitely ups and downs here. But we figure he’ll be out and on his own by next April.  

I began a personal weight loss and good health journey mid-year. I’ve lost about 30 pounds (final weigh-in for year still to come), and got a Fitbit for Christmas. I’m walking more, and enjoying it. This will journey continue into 2018. I’ve got some more weight to lose, and becoming more fit is always a win.

We had a great Christmas season! My daughter Megan lives in Seattle and visited us (and her two brothers, who are also local) for a week. She was masterful at splitting her time between her dad’s family, us, her siblings and friends. I asked my kids if they’d humor me with a group picture. To my surprise, they were all enthusiastic, not grumbly. 

My three: Megan, Shane, Ryan
Shane with granddaughter London (AKA Rudolph)

Bruce’s daughter Stacy with our granddaughter Oakley
There were lots more fun pictures of the family, but I won’t bore you with them here. Although family gets a smaller share of blog space, they have the lion’s share of my heart.


In my first 2018 post(s), I’ll be sharing my quilting goals for 2018, my planned Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects, My “On Ringo Lake” progress, and whatever else is under the needle. In the meantime, friends, have a Happy New Year from all of us (Cathy, Bruce, Alfalfa and Darla)

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

On Ringo Lake Part 4 Progress

Yesterday I had the chance to finish up my Part 4 triangles for the On Ringo Lake Mystery Quilt Along being hosted by Bonnie Hunter. In my chosen color scheme, I’ve substituted grays for the browns she called for.

And these are all my component parts to date, all trimmed and stacked as neatly as possible in a plastic lidded box.

I’m linking up to the weekly progress post at Bonnie’s blog. You can see all the other participants’ fun colors and progress by visiting HERE.

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Now, I want to share a little personal story here, because my blog (which I have made into bi-yearly books) is a sort of artistic and personal journal for me.

In December 2001, my first husband (and father of my three children) and I decided to divorce. It was not a pleasant time, but that’s not what the story is about. He moved out of our large home in January 2002 and the divorce was final in March 2002. It was the time of the Salt Lake Olympics, which were local to us, and I remember watching them alone.

Bruce Kizerian and I met in May of 2002 and began dating. I lived in the big house of my former marriage until we finally sold it in December of 2002. Bruce and I rented our current home in January of 2003, officially purchased it and got married in July of 2003 and have lived here happily ever after.

This story is about my first (and only) single Christmas, in 2002, while Bruce and I were dating (and had already decided to get married).  Bruce and his best friend Mike (wife Terri) and friend Rob (wife Diane) was in a local folk trio called the Muddy Gutter Boys; I’ve mentioned them before. When they played December gigs, their program was always Christmas songs. One of their songs was a cover of the country group Alabama’s song "Christmas in Your Arms".

The first time I heard them sing it, we were performing at a party located in a brick church nestled in the foothills, and it was cold and snowy outside. I watched and listened to the song, and began tearing up when they got to the following lyrics:

It was only last December 
I had no Christmas spirit in my heart

My world lay cold and shattered 

In the ashes of a dream that fell apart

But now you're here beside me  

No greater gift is wrapped beneath my tree

And the arms you wrap around me 

And the precious gift of love you give to me

My dear friend Terri saw my tears, and I explained the personal nature of the lyrics. Now she says the song always makes her think of that night. And I always tear up at the song, no matter who sings it. Bruce and I consider it our Christmas song.  

You can listen to it on Youtube, HERE

The Muddy Gutter Boys, after 53 years,  have stopped performing this year due to member health issues. 

Cathy maroon

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Still Sewing Stars - and a Tulip Quilt Finish!

Hi friends. I can’t believe how quickly the weeks are flying by. Christmas is only 9 days away!

But let’s talk about quilting first, shall we?  On Thursday Bruce and I went to visit our friends Mike and Terri, who live about 30 minutes away. Terri had finished binding The Tulip Quilt that we did together.  She had sent me this picture of her Quilt Supervisor Trixie doing the final inspection. It passed!

You can see the backing fabrics. The majority of the back is the green and pink and gold floral, with a stripe of the pink and white at the bottom back and in the binding. Isn’t it lovely how Terri curves the corners? She is able to do this with regular (not bias) binding.

There’s also one tulip on the back (not shown) that bisects the pink and white fabric. We used it as the quilt label to put in all the information.  :-)  In the pictures you can see more of the added texture of the looping vine quilting I did. One loop is a heart, and that is a sort of “Where’s Waldo?” kind of thing. Only Terri and I know where it is!

The guys took our picture standing on the hearth holding the quilt. This is officially done and ready for gifting. It looks like all three couples will likely get together sometime between Christmas and New Year.  The com

This quilt is my Finish Along Quarter 4 goal #1. Not my first finish of the quarter, just goal #1. My list is HERE.

And then there are the Friendship Stars. It’s slow going because of my process. With every row I add, I starch (using Best Press) and press most of the seams open. Then I trim each block before sewing them together. There is probably not a single perfect block among the 200+ that I sewed, but that’s OK with me. They are going together well. Look at those fun, happy colors!

I’ve noticed that the busy-ness of the pattern really forgives and hides the piecing imperfections. And that has helped me relax and enjoy this as I put it together. Matching so many seams is pleasant work, and it helps keep everything lined up.  Below is a shot of the right side with the white inner border sewn on. The blue blocks are just pinned for now.

For a galaxy of other rainbow projects and finishes (including other lovely star projects), why not beam over to Angela’s Scrappy Saturday linky party?

I’ll work on the blue round this week, but it will be between so many other things. My regular sewing day with Cousin Kim is tomorrow, and I hope to get a start on Clue #4 for Bonnie Hunter’s On Ringo Lake Mystery Quilt Along. And maybe get the white border on Starry Starry Quilt and begin the blues.

Today I have a Christmas recital to attend this afternoon for granddaughter Lauren. Then she'll be over on Thursday for a baking day. We’ll be doing sugar cookies and biscotti.  But honestly, I’m marking time by counting the days that my daughter Megan flies in from Seattle to spend a week with us. She arrives next Friday - only 6 days from today! There is so much to do in preparation for her visit and for Christmas.

And argggghhh! Last night I was up until almost midnight, reading. My ebook was expiring in one day, and I made it to the epilogue. I had seven e-pages (about three regular pages) left when it expired. Couldn’t turn the page. So, Bruce and I need to have a coffee date at Barnes & Noble so I can find the book and read the last few pages.  (#storyofmylife)

Cathy maroon

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

On Ringo Lake, Part 3

I admit it. I’m struggling to keep up with the clues to Bonnie Hunter’s On Ringo Lake Mystery Quilt Along. The biggest problem is my right arm. So much repetition makes it throb then go numb (hands, shoulder). Past injuries and carpal tunnel. So I’m doing an hour or two per day and using lots of Ibuprofen. This, too, shall pass. But I’m having fun and loving my fabrics.  Here are the component parts. They’re not all sewn and trimmed yet, but I will get there over the next couple days, before the release on Friday of Clue #4.

Linking up to Bonnie Hunter’s Part 3 Linky Party HERE.

Christmas is done other than baking some biscotti for neighbor and friend gifts. The hardest part was just deciding what to do, hence my late start. I’m going to see if my granddaughter Lauren (13) will have time next week to help me once she is out of school for the Holidays. She’s a gymnast/cheerleader and has lots of friends and commitments, so fingers crossed.   And I bet we will add sugar cookies to the baking list for her family and friends! But in the meantime, I have collected the recipes and will be buying the supplies. I’m excited. Lauren, you may remember, helped me paint Ringo the wooden cockatiel last summer HERE. (Scroll to the end to see Ringo). Over the years, Lauren and I have made pincushions, garden art, sewed backpacks and pillows and made cookies. We always go out to lunch and have a fun time.

The Tulip Quilt is finished, and my friend Terri did a fantastic job with the binding. I will share pictures on my Saturday post.

I hope you’re enjoying the Season!

Cathy maroon

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Starry, Starry Day

So much sewing this week, but not a lot of finished results to show for it. But our annual family FIESTA is today, and I spent a good part of the week in preparation for that. In addition to some housework (have to break down and do it sometime), there was a lot of prep and cooking of the enchiladas, fajitas, mole’, etc etc. Today I still have to wrap Christmas presents for the grandkids - the best place for them is under the tree, wrapped, to avoid curious eyes and little snoopers. Of course, I will outsmart them by writing their names on the tags in shorthand so no one will know what belongs to whom.  HA!

OK, so let me start with the most underwhelming things first. My brother, who is living with us until spring, needed some flannel pajama bottoms for our cold winter. Thanks to JoAnn’s Black Friday sale (which started on Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, when there were no crowds), I bought some FUGLY flannel for him. PJ bottoms made. He loves them.

I also worked and finished up my Clue #2 to Bonnie Hunter’s On Ringo Lake Mystery Quilt-Along, and that was detailed in my last post. Just lots of coral-colored geese.

And then your Christmas fabrics overflow-eth, make table toppers and runners! I have NO Christmas table runners, so I did get a start on one, using my oldest scraps. It’s a basic patchwork of light and neutral background squares onto which I fused/stitched holly leaves and berries.

The red and green are left over from Steve’s quilted Christmas stocking that I showed last week. It’s pin basted, and the backing will fold over as the binding/facing once quilted. Should be quick work to finish this up tomorrow. And then maybe I can pull some cute scraps out and work on something more fun!

The Tulip Quilt is quilted and delivered to my friend Terri, who will be binding it this week in preparation for Christmas gifting to our friend Diane. Terri will get a finished picture and send it to me so that I can post it here in the next next week or two. We plan to have a luncheon get-together (the three of us ladies plus our hubbies, The Muddy Gutter Boys) before Christmas to exchange gifts.

And Friendship Stars is coming along. I’ve finished the green round of stars and have moved on to the next ring, which is red and orange. It’s grown enough now that I have to hang it sideways on my design board.  Linking up to Scrappy Saturday at Angela’s blog.

The pattern, with the movement of the white patches, is very forgiving overall. The myriad seams, which are crazy-awful to press, help line things up as one is sewing. There are a lot of cut-off points and not-perfect seams, but they get lost in the busy-ness of it all. I’m loving it, even though it is far from smooth and flat. But all that will be inconsequential once it is quilted and washed. And my thoughts are turning to..... how should I quilt this?  I’d welcome your thoughts.

Once the flimsy is sewn, it will go on the back burner until January so that I can begin putting together my Plus Quilt top. Or start the promised Hot Rod Quilt for my brother (groan). I’ve collected the fabrics for that, and narrowed the design ideas down to a couple, and am running out of excuses not to start it. The up-side to the hot rod quilt is that my dread is inversely proportional to his excitement, so I’ll be focusing on his excitement to carry me through. :-)

Cathy maroon

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

On Ringo Lake Part 2, plus Belated November Recap

I’m still playing along with Bonnie Hunter’s “On Ringo Lake” Myster Quilt-Along. The instructions for Part 2 are on her site, but suffice it to say that there are thousands of us all over the world are stitching up a plethora of flying geese units! This time around there are so many that the cutting and sewing was quite challenging. But they’re done and pressed, but not all trimmed yet. In the meantime, I am linking up to Bonnie’s Part 2 show and share post HERE.

And today I’ll finish quilting the loopy lines on the Tulip Quilt so I can drop it off to my friend Terri for binding (then washing and wrapping) for our friend Diane’s Christmas present. We will make sure to get a picture of the finished quilt first!  :-)

I forgot to tally up my quilting and weight loss progress for November and post it last Saturday, which was the last Saturday in November. So now is as good a time as any. The color of the month for our Rainbow Scrap Challenge in November was dark neutrals - black, brown, dark grays. Although I didn’t use up all of my scraps, I did sew 12 brown bow ties, 26 black bow ties, 4 brown strings blocks.

And my weight loss continues, slow and steady, just the way I want it. I lost 4.8 pounds in November. But I lost too many of those pounds in the last week when I was sick (over 3) and did gain one back when I started eating again. No surprise there. I’m still down a total of about 29 pounds since June. And I’m loving the new Weight Watchers Freestyle program that they introduced here in the US this week (earlier in the fall in the UK). We don’t have to track the no-point foods (fruits, veggies, eggs, fish, chicken and turkey breast, and most beans, etc.  We still track foods not on those lists (fats, dairy, breads, potatoes, rice, pasta, etc), but it’s simpler. It’s all about the nutrition, which is why it works so well!  :-)  But if I’m being honest, I am craving some Kahlua and eggnog. Maybe ONE SMALL glass this season?

Cathy maroon

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Moving Things Along....

Nothing much got accomplished in the sewing department this week because I was hit with The Cold From Hell, complete with laryngitis. We had to reschedule our annual Fiesta with the family to next weekend. But I got a lot of good reading time, plenty of rest, and Bruce fixed dinner for three nights. And now that I’m feeling better today, it appears I’m no worse for the wear. In fact, if I weigh the plusses and minuses, I think it was a pretty good week! And I do have some things to share.

The Friendship Stars flimsy has begun.....  The yellow stars and most of the pink ones are sewn together. This is slow going because I didn’t trim them as I made them, knowing they would sit around for the better part of the year before assembly. So as I work on each group to attach, I must press, starch (with Best Press) and trim them. There are a lot of seams and it’s sometimes frustrating to figure out which way to press in order to nest them or otherwise reduce bulk. But it’s working so far.

But it will be a long process to finish this up!  In the meantime, why not join us over at Angela’s Scrappy Saturday link-up to see what everyone else is working on?

And I finished up Step 1 of the Bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilt, On Ringo Lake, and am now busy cutting out flying geese for Step 2.  I may or may not have a mid-week progress report on that. For now, there is nothing to show except a new rotary blade, LOL....

I did manage to work on a few things early in the week.  First, I made my brother a quilted Christmas stocking (ancient green and red fabric picked by him) to join the rest of the family stockings (assuming I can find them before Santa comes calling).....  The little stockings, which have since had rick rack hanging loops added, are ornaments which will hold gift cards. They have been filled and mailed to their recipients.

Did I mention that I am done with Christmas shopping already? We ordered the last of the toys from Amazon before Thanksgiving, and they have arrived. They'll be wrapped this week and put under the tree. Everything else was gift cards except the Fitbits I bought for daughter Megan and myself. We have 2 December birthdays (daughters Megan and Stacy),  but one wants a quilt and the other cash, so that’s easy.

I had ordered this gray reindeer fabric from Spoonflower last year, and made it into a cushion this week. I’m not crazy about the white-with-silver-swirls fabric I had to use at the ends, but needs must when you don’t have quite enough of the main fabric. It is now on a couch in the living room and looks cute enough.

And finally, I did this test block for a Rainbow Scrap 2018 project. Yep, I like it! I saw a quilt (no pattern or other information) online, so I worked out this block using a 2” grid. It will finish at 16”, so I guess I’ll be making 20 of them for a 64x80” quilt next year.

That about finishes it up for me this time. I plan to make a grocery store run today, then spend the afternoon sewing and listening to Christmas music. It’s heavenly to feel good again and have some energy!! Thanks for dropping by!

Cathy maroon

Monday, November 27, 2017

On Ringo Lake Mystery Quilt Part 1

Along with hundreds, if not thousands, of other quilters across the country/world, I am participating in Bonnie Hunter’s annual mystery quilt-along. This year, Bonnie’s inspiration was taken from a family visit to Minnesota and Ringo Lake.  The colors she chose were aqua blue, coral/melon, chocolate brown and neutrals of white to ivory. Since I always try to use my stash first, I switched the chocolate brown to dark grays. The colors look great together.

Our first step was to sew dozens of small nine-patches. Bonnie gave lots of great time-saving and accuracy tips for us, and in no time at all, my patches were finished and trimmed. I can hardly wait for Step 2, which will be released on Friday. I’m linking up to Bonnie’s weekly sharing post, HERE.

If you are new to my blog, welcome! I’m an avid quitter who blogs once or twice a week, mostly about my quilting. But sometimes I add in other creative pursuits (stitching, gardening), our cats’ antics, and occasionally personal stuff. 

Meanwhile this week, this is on the design board, just plastered up there. The blocks are only partially trimmed, and I’m just beginning to sew them together. It will basically be a medallion layout using most of the colors of the rainbow. Stay tuned!

And I’m quilting the Tulips quilt this week for a friendChristmas present. I really need to finish it off this week so I can pass it on to my buddy Terri to do the binding. Terri and I both sewed the tulips, then I sashed it. Now it’s basted and ready for quilting.

So much quilting, so little time!  See you back here on Saturday for Rainbow Scrap Saturday!

Cathy maroon

Saturday, November 25, 2017


I hope my American friends enjoyed a nice Thanksgiving. And for those of you outside the US, I hope it has been a wonderful week. We had a small gathering at our house - just Bruce and myself, my brother Steve and my son Shane and granddaughter London. The turkey was huge, and the appetites matched it. London, who is 8 now, helped me by setting the table and making a centerpiece of Thanksgiving decorations. I had made two pumpkin pies, then our wonderful neighbors brought over a huge Costco pumpkin pie as a “just because” gift. Needless to say, Shane and London went home with a pie and lots of leftovers. The weather was beautiful - clear and about 60 degrees, unseasonably warm. Just a great day all around!

I didn’t get much sewing done this week, but it was productive.  First, I finished Rainbow Selvages.

It finished at 60x72”. The backing is a piece of Tula Pink ponies fabric in gray and teal, and the binding is the same gray woodgrain fabric that I used on my Reading Rainbow quilt. I’m glad to have another Rainbow Scrap finish!  You can see other great work and finishes at the Scrappy Saturday linkup at Angela’s blog.

Reading Rainbow was also a Finish-Along goal of mine for 4th Quarter 2017.  It was #4 on the list published here.

And then I got Tulips basted. No quilting yet. With the Thanksgiving prep and celebration, I didn’t even get into the sewing room after Tuesday.

Yesterday, Black Friday, we took down and put away all the autumn decorations. But our first errand was to go to Costco, thinking we would be fighting crowds, to pick up a couple Fitbits (wristwatch-type fitness bands) for daughter Megan and me. We arrived 25 minutes early, thinking there would be lines for the 9:00 opening. But there weren’t. We sat in the car for 5 minutes, then did stand by the door for another 5 (third in the short line that was now forming), and at 8:45 they let us in. No mad rush. We got our 2 Fitbits, plus a couple Christmas movies, and there was not waiting even to check out.

So, we came home and moved the furniture out of the living room and then I vaccumed and we rolled up the big rug. I cleaned hardwood floors underneath and did a deep clean in the living room - shelving, windows, shutters.  Next, we rotated the rug, and then rearranged the furniture to make room for a Christmas tree. The guys brought up the boxes of decorations and the tree.  I did get all the decorations out, but lost steam and took a nap after that! Today I can set up and decorate the tree after I do some grocery shopping.

And then later today I will begin sewing the first clue to the On Ringo Lake mystery quilt from Bonnie Hunter. Fifty nine-patches. Christmas music is now allowed, and I’m excited to welcome back Michael Buble, Andrea Bocelli, The Chieftains, and Amy Grant (among others) to serenade me.

Have a wonderful week!

Cathy maroon

Friday, November 17, 2017

A Dark Week, In Color, Weather and Mood

This was another week of dark colors for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. Many of us are trying to finish up year-long rainbow quilt projects and making blocks from our dark black, brown and gray scraps. Perfect color choice for November, right? Why not join us over at Angela’s blog for Scrappy Saturday.

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“Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall”. The saying is taken from a song recorded in 1944 by Ella Fitzgerald (when she was with The Ink Spots) which, in turn, was taken from a line in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem entitled “Rainy Day”. (Yes, I had to look it up).  The line has pretty much summed up the last month for Bruce and me. I’ve mentioned before about a dear friend Colleen who died suddenly in late October and possibly about Bruce’s lifelong BFF who suffered a major stroke but is, thankfully, home and recovering nicely. And now our friend and neighbor - and honestly, a local “hero” - Cal, died this week. He is the one for whom I made a What Cancer Cannot Do quilt a couple years ago. Cal fought valiantly for 7 years, but lost the battle this week on Tuesday, the same day that sewing legend Nancy Zieman died. He was only 52. The rain and clouds this week have matched our moods. Things can only get better, right?  We’re counting on it!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 
Back to what you’re probably here for!  These are the only dark scraps I got sewn up this week; 26 bow-tie blocks that will finish at 4”. That brings me to 240 of 304 needed.

I got both the Autumn Sampler and my Rainbow Selvages quilts basted. I should have the selvages quilt finished by next week to show you. I also pieced the tulip quilt top for a friend Diane. This is the one that my friend Terri and I are collaborating on for a Christmas present for Diane. We split the making of the tulips. Here it is without the final white sashing on the top and bottom.

I accidentally cut the vertical sashing 2.5” wide instead of 2”, so the top grew in width by an additional 4”. When the top and bottom borders are added, it will measure 72” wide and 88” long. That’s bigger than I like to quilt on my machine, but it will be perfect for Diane, who is tall. Once it is quilted, Terri will finish up the binding. But one way or another we will get a finished picture to share.

This week I also put together a trial quilt block for a project I’ll be working on next year. I have a huge store of vintage linens, both from my family and from years of collecting (and occasionally selling online). But some were just “cutter” quality, meaning they were stained or had bad parts with holes, etc. I wanted to give them a new life. So, this project will combine sweet little cotton fabric prints with bits and bobs of embroidered and lacy linens.

It will be a jumble of pieces, sizes and orientations. I’d like to make the blocks in sizes of 6, 9 and 12” so that they will hopefully be easier to sew together later. But who knows if the scraps will let me stick to that plan! I would also like to try a combination of machine quilting (in the ditch between blocks) and hand quilting and/or embroidery on the blocks. This would bring an element of crazy quilting into this piece for me, which is something I admit to missing after having not done any for a couple years. 

And finally, to beef up the visual aids on this post, here are some pictures of my “Teddy Bears". Alfalfa and Darla have taken to napping on our bed.  Both of these pictures were taken the same day - one in the afternoon and one in the evening. Because cats are Superstar Nappers.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! I’ll see you back here next week!

Cathy maroon

Friday, November 10, 2017

Two Flimsies and Some Dark Blocks

Ok, don’t tell me. You want to see the flimsies first. I know I would want to if that was what you posted on YOUR blog. So without further ado, here they are. (For the uninitiated, a flimsy is just a quilt top before it is sandwiched with batting, backing and quilted). 

This is my Rainbow Selvages quilt top. It was originally going to contain just 14 columns, but I added the brown column, extreme left, after adding the planned black and white (polka dot) column on the right. It measures 60x72”.  I like this so much more now that the top is complete. The texture is so much fun!  I have a couple choices for a backing, but have made no decisions yet on that or the binding. I think a fun scrappy binding might be the ticket if I have enough leftovers. Must go stash-diving!

The second flimsy is my autumn farm girl type sampler. Please excuse the distracting blue low-tack tape holding it up (in addition to pins); it is too large for my design board.  I probably should have just let it hang, but it makes it look wonky. 

I am pretty amazed at how this turned out. You see, some of the original blocks were made 3 (or was it 4?) years ago during the Vintage Farm Girl Quilt-Along. I was learning as I went, and the block sizes ranged from 12 1/8"  to 12 3/4”. They were supposed to be 12 1/2” unfinished. So first, some blocks had to be added to and of course everything trimmed. There went some points. And the 1” sashing didn’t leave much wiggle room. But it got done, slowly, imperfectly. Not a competition-level quilt by any means, but not bad.

Then, since I wanted the leaf fabric of the outer border, of which I only had one yard, to orient with the leaves falling down, the cutting was a challenge. That’s why there are cornerstones - there was not enough fabric without them! And then, when it was all sewn up, I measured the top. And nearly fell over. And measured again. The width at the top and bottom were exactly - EXACTLY - the same. Not an eighth of an inch difference! The length at the two sides had a 1/8" difference, which I don’t even care about. How the heck did THAT happen??? Anyway, if it looks wonky now, get over it. It isn’t!  YAY!!!

My plans are to get these two tops basted this weekend and maybe even quilt one. They are both on my Finish-Along Quarter 4 list, so they will get done before the end of the year!

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I want to thank you all for your thoughtful comments on my post last week about gathering and saving ideas for quilting projects (for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge and quilting in general). And there were many great ideas and comments about scrap and fabric storage, settings, and organization. Thank you all so much!  And be sure to check out the rainbow lineup over at Angela’s So Scrappy blog. It’s Scrappy Saturday, and there are always great ideas and eye candy over there!

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By early in the week, I was digging into my scraps. Since Dark Neutrals (gray, black, brown) are the color of the month at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, I sorted all the colors and decided to play with the browns first.

First I made twelve 4.5” (unfinished) bow tie blocks. This brings me to 214 made of 304 needed. I’ll probably do a few dark gray and black ones, but these will carry over into next year.

And then I whipped out the brown strings and made four 8.5” string blocks and sewed them together.  

In fact, I sewed all my string blocks together into foursomes (like above) and took an inventory. It appears I have 12 more 8.5” string blocks to make: 2 orange (to finish up an orange foursome), 2 blue (to finish up a blue foursome) , then two more foursomes out of any of either red, green or purple, depending on what the scraps dictate. It would be quick work to finish this by year-end if I didn’t have so much ahead of it in line. But I may get to it by the end of the year. If not, it will finish up in the first quarter of 2018.

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And how fun is this??  Bruce had the day off Friday and we went grocery shopping together. I spotted these Lehi Roller Mills (a local Utah mill and bakery that makes great breads and mixes, etc) items on an end display at our local (Harmon’s) grocery store. What caught my attention? They are all in sacks of Lori Holt Vintage Christmas fabric! Lori, of course, is a local sew-lebrity fabric designer (for Riley Blake fabrics, also a Utah company). So I guess I shouldn’t be surprised at the collaboration. 

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Finally, I asked last week if any of you were participating in the Bonnie Hunter annual Mystery Quilt-Along, On Ringo Lake. It appears that several of us are!  Here is my fabric pull. I decided to go with grays instead of the browns that Bonnie suggested, mainly because I have grays. I could’ve gone out and bought some chocolate brown, but I’d rather use my stash. The grays look good with the colors, and it will all look better in our newly-remodeled living room.

Have a great week, and stay warm!