Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Toy

When I visited my granddaughter in March, she threw this toy around, and I took this photo. I liked the colors.

I always thought these colors would make a great scrap slab quilt. When I was at Quilted Threads last Saturday, I chose these fabrics.

Yup, when the dust settles after Thanksgiving, I'll get started on the newest Scrap Slab Quilt.

If you'd like to know how these quilts are made, you can purchase my Scrap Slab Triangle Quilts tutorial here, at my Etsy shop.  Like the Birds, it is an instant download, so you can get started right away. I'll be teaching this class at Quilted Threads on Saturday November 11. There are a small number of spaces left, if you are interested in attending.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Mom's Busy

Nope, you're in the right place. This is me, Millie, and I have hijacked Mom's blog. She's been wicked busy the last few days - teaching and driving all over the place. She taught a very successful Birds class on Saturday, brought the Colorado quilt to be quilted on Sunday morning, and then she had dinner with a friend on Sunday night. Monday was crazy at work, and she's got to go to the teeth v-e-t today and there's a note on the calendar that says my teeth are being cleaned this week too. Well, we'll see about that.

Anyway, Mom's tired and she's gonna spend a few more days just chillaxing on the couch with her Kindle, and don't tell anybody, but I'll be curled up nearby getting scritches as she reads. She's been sewing the binding on the Snow Day quilt, and she bought fabric to bind the Colorado quilt when that comes back. She says she'll have it to show her Barn Building students at QT on October 28.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Colorado Quilt Backing Done

While this may not be the best photo of the finished backing for the Colorado Quilt, this is very accurate in terms of color.  The backing is done and I will bring it to the longarm quilter on Sunday.

The signature block is 21-1/2"  wide by 32" tall. The lower case letters are 3" tall.

The blue straightedge in yesterday's post can be bought at Home Depot, here. Like anything long and straight, you have to be careful not to bend it so it will stay "true." It works for me and I am happy. It's only 20 USD, so it's a heck of a deal. You will want to find a place to store it.

More ruler fun here.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Back Back...

It's getting there...

I bet you thought this was going to be easy.

Nope. Although I want the signature panel to be at the lower edge of the quilt, I don't want it to be under the barn block, so I had to do some calculations to work out where to place it on the back.  The hard part is done though. Tomorrow I'll just sew a WOF (width of fabric) piece to either side of this center panel and I will be finished.

I'll be able to show the quilt to my students on Saturday and then I'll bring it to the longarm quilter on Sunday. I am hoping to have it back to show the Barn Building class at QT on the 28th (also full.) Then I'll add the binding (still to be determined), take beauty shots (because my brother sure won't), show it off to my family on Thanksgiving and then mail it to Colorado.

Time to start thinking of the next quilt!

Hey, Sue of the Monarch Quilter's Guild.... email me! The address is in the sidebar!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

This and That

The signature panel is done. Now "all" I have to do is sew it into the backing. I'll get there. The last few days have been spent doing all the things I avoid doing when I am sewing. I prepared the Birds class I'll be teaching at Quilted Threads on Saturday, Oct 14th (It's full).

I worked out in the garden a bit on Saturday, pulling out weeds and dead plants in the so-called herb garden, and I dumped out some annuals I had in pots. They were past their prime. We haven't had a frost yet, so the perennial garden still looks good, and I won't trim it down until it's all dead.

I cleaned the house, did the laundry, vacuumed every room and washed the kitchen floor. I did the groceries and paid the bills, cleaned the litterbox and Millie's water fountain. I made bread and lunches for the week and had dinner with my dad and saw a movie (Battle of the Sexes, very good).

At any rate I want to have the backing ready so I can bring the quilt to Janet Lee for quilting next Sunday.

And oh yeah, I upgraded my iPhone. Now I have an iPhone 8.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Options, Options...

I'm almost done the signature panel for the Colorado Quilt.

This one isn't right. The dark numbers make it too visually heavy on the right.

Too top heavy.

This is good. Doesn't take up too much space on the back of the quilt.

This is nice, almost the same as in the first bird quilt, Flight of Fancy, but I don't want it to take up so much space on the back of the quilt.

I have decided on the third one.

If you want to make your own flock of birds, get my tutorial here, on Etsy. It's an instant download, so you can get started right away.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017


Last night I made the numbers 2-0-1-7 for the year and then sewed them together, then sewed my surname together. Tonight I'll finish the rest of the name panel, and assemble the backing for the Colorado quilt.

Oh, you are looking at the back of these panels. And yes, the back of every quilt I make looks just like these - neat, threads trimmed, pressed, and flat.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Signature Letters

I really want to get the Colorado Quilt quilted, so I am working on the signature panel for the back. I have made the letters of my name, and now I have to make the year - 2017. Then I will trim it all down to size and sew them together into a panel, then I'll assemble the backing.

If you'd like to make your own free pieced birds, click this link to my Etsy shop. The bird tutorial is an instant download so you can get started right away!

Monday, October 2, 2017


 Most free pieced barns are imaginary, or inspired by real barns. Most free pieced barns are not meant to be accurate representations, but when I saw my brother's barn in Colorado, I knew I had to make a free pieced barn based on it. I've been all over the country and never seen a barn like it. I think it's the most beautiful barn I have ever seen.

He designed and built it. It's post and beam construction, and he built it low on purpose, so as not to obstruct the view of the 14,000 foot mountains of Colorado that surround it.

When I make my free pieced barns (or birds, or anything else I make that way) I don't measure with a ruler, I measure by eye. It's a skill I learned while learning how to draw. I know I'm good at it, but sometimes it surprises me. When I put the picture of my free pieced barn next to a picture of my brother's barn, I was amazed I got the scale and general proportions just right. I also didn't want to clutter up the design with the bins and planters, picnic table, furniture, grill or gates. I knew that those elements could clutter up and obscure what I meant to be the central focus - the barn.

I didn't want to make an exact representation, but I wanted my barn to be close enough so you'd know which barn inspired it. As in all such interpretations, decisions have to be made about what to include and what to leave out, and what fabrics to use to suggest the original. Fabric choices were based on what fabrics I had in my stash, and what were available to purchase, so I did the best I could.

I was very happy with the way the barn turned out.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Concord Piecemakers

These are the ladies of the Concord Piecemakers who took the Bird workshop on Saturday. They had a grand time. Can you tell these ladies have a lot of personality? (hint: look closely at their faces)

Here are some of the birds they made.

Saturday, September 30, 2017


This morning, I found inspiration (or a color story) in the draining rack in my sink. When I take plastic stuff out of the dishwasher, it is often covered in water droplets, so I put in in the draining rack. This is what it looked like this morning.

Where can you find a color story?

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Before and After

For the last few days this has been the view into the dining room. Notice the empty walls.  I had taken the quilts down to bring to the Concord Piecemaker's Guild for my talk.

They were a great bunch of ladies and I hope we all had a good time. I talked a bit too much (sorry) and as a result the guild's show and tell did not take place. (Really sorry about that, I'dve waited, with pleasure, to see what everyone was making.)

It was an hour's drive home, but at 9:45 at night, the roads are blissfully empty. I set the cruise control and the GPS and stayed in the slow lane for the calming drive home.

At home I was too jumpy to go to bed right away, so I put my quilts back on the walls where they belong.

Yeah, that's better!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The Box

This is the handmade box my brother P is trading me for the Colorado Quilt.

This is the inside. Isn't it lovely? I told you he made it, didn't I?

Here's a detail of the beautiful dovetails in one corner.

I already know where I am going to put it when it arrives. Since the quilt has to be quilted before I send it to Colorado, it will be a while before this makes the trip across the country.

I can be patient.

Update from my brother:
"The box is made with Mahogany, the bottom is California Nutmeg and the lid is Eastern Walnut. All the joinery is cut by hand with a small hand saw and chisel. When possible everything has a hand planed finish. There you have it."

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Getting Ready

I'm getting ready for the talk I'm giving to the Concord Piecemaker's Guild in Concord MA later this week. I've got my talk written, and I've created the presentation with pictures of my quilts. I'm offering a CD with all my tutorials as a door prize, so I've got that ready, as well as copies of all my tutes in case anybody wants one. I've gathered the quilts I'll be bringing, and I'm preparing the materials for the class on Saturday.

It's gonna be a busy week for me.