Stepping Stones #2

Stepping Stones Color Test
Stepping Stones Color Test

I am really not starting this quilt, but it is firmly in the hunting and gathering stage. I have wanted to do another Stepping Stones quilts since I made the first one now that I know the color placement.

I thought this would be a good quilt design on which to use the various Bonnie & Camille lines I have (Bliss, Ruby, some Vintage Modern).

The idea has been on my mind and this week, I just got a bug in my ear to try out the colors. Not sure I like the great. It is kind of dark. I like the tone of the grey in the middle patch on the right, but I am not sure about the other greys. I have another block underway and will see when I put the two blocks together.

What do you think of the overall look?

Sampler Class: Fusible Machine Applique’ Tutorial Part 3

We are making the Flower Wreath block. To find out how to make templates, including the ring, see Part 1 for making templates and Part 2 for making the ring and positioning the ring on the background.

Flower Wreath
Flower Wreath

Now we are going to stitch the ring. If you haven’t started, check the Supply List in part 1 and grab your 3″x5″ tearaway backed fabric. Your ring should be applied to the background and ready to stitch. If your ring is not fused and ready to stitch, go back to part 2.

I stitch in layers, so that the stitching is easier, there are fewer starts and stops and the piece looks more finished. Now that you are ready to stitch, it is time to choose your thread.

Choose thread
Choose thread

Whenever you choose thread, you must consider the stitch. If the stitch will be dense like a satin stitch, you should choose the color by looking at the thread wrapped around the whole spool. That will give you a better sense of the color the satin stitch will end up.

It you will be using a straight stitch, you should unreel a bit of the thread and look at one strand on your fabric. You may need to pool a little of the thread together – less dense than the whole spool and more dense than one strand.

Now set up your machine for zig zag stitching. You will need to choose a stitch density. I like a semi-open zig zag that is not too wide, because it uses less thread and looks more interesting. Dense satin stitching, however, can really highlight and outline each piece. I use the following settings on my machine:

  • Ring: width: 3.0, density: 0.45
  • Flowers: width: 3.0, density: 0.45
  • Leaves: width: 2.0, density: 0.5
  • Flower centers: width: 2.0, density: 0.5

Even if you haven’t chosen all the fabric, I like to get the ring stitched down first, so I can audition the other fabric without worrying about the ring. Yes, it is fused and shouldn’t go anywhere, but I still like it to be stitched down.

In order to choose the stitch density, you will need to test. Get the tearaway backed sample piece you have prepared and start testing with the width and densities I have provided above. Stitch lines of zig zag stitching 2-3″ long using a contrasting thread similar to the thread you will be using to stitch the ring. Adjust the width and density on your machine until you are pleased with the look.

Stitch ring
Stitch ring

Put the ring on the machine and start stitching. I always leave a long tail that I can pull to the back and tie shut later. My zig zag does not automatically tie the ends. If your machine is more advanced you may not have to tie a knot on the back. I don’t want my zig zag to come out if it gets snagged while being used, which is why I tie the ends.

I use my applique’ foot, which has a red arrow in the center to stitch out the zig zag. I place the tip of the red arrow on the raw edge of the ring and follow it around. You should stitch with needle down or use the hand wheel to put the needle down when you stop. If the center point on your foot gets off the raw edge of your ring, stop and readjust. Stop with the needle down on the outside of the ring’s curve whenever you need to readjust the needle to accommodate the curve. Turn the fabric to the left to get the center point of the foot back on the raw edge of your ring. The stitching will be slightly closer together on the inside of the shape, when the needle punches the fabric to the left,  and more open on the outside of the shape or when the needle hits the background.

Tail of thread
Tail of thread

When you have done about half – 3/4s of the stitching on the ring, stop and pull the beginning thread to the back and tie it off, if you need to.

I tie the beginning off before I get to the end, because the beginning and ending threads can get tangled up and make it impossible to make small, neat knots. I have tied all four ends together in a pinch, but prefer to make the knots as small as possible.

Fold work back to tie
Fold work back to tie

I also use this technique also if I have to stop and pull the work out of the machine because of thread breakage or necessary bobbin refill.

I fold the work back (I only used my pincushion so I could photograph what I was doing. Normally, I just hold it with my wrist as pull the front through to the back and tie the ends together. I don’t take the work out of the machine unless there is a good reason – like a big knot, or thread breakage, etc.

Completely stitched ring
Completely stitched ring

Once your knot is tied, continue stitching to where you started. I don’t overlap much once I get to the beginning, perhaps only a stitch or two, because I don’t want the look to be too different.

I pull the work out of the machine and tie off the ending threads. You may not need to do this if your machine does it for you.

Now do the same thing, but on the inside to finish stitching down the ring. Once you have stitched both the inside and outside of the rings, your ring will be complete and you will be ready to place the leaves and flowers on the ring.


Choose fabrics by putting scraps on background

If you have not already done so, choose the rest of your fabrics. You will need fabric for the flowers (1-4 fabrics) and leaves (1-20 fabrics). If you have not cut out and fused the wreath to the background, please go back to part 2. The leaves can be the traditional green or you can use something else. If you use one color, you might want to mix up the prints to increase interest. You can also use different colors. Make the block your own.

Make visual decisions visually
Make visual decisions visually

I thought about making the leaves green to make them more realistic, but decided I was still of a mind to use a variety of turquoises and aquas and keep my quilt’s color scheme of aqua/turquoise with red consistent. I found more leaf fabrics in my scrap basket. It is important, with my limited color scheme, to make sure the viewer can see the individual leaves. For that, I will need to have enough contrast between the various aquas and turquoises. Remember, when choosing your fabrics, to make visual decisions visually. Put your potential fabrics on the background and step back to look at them. From my test piece (right) you can see that there are a variety of tones of aqua and turquoise. Some of them blend a bit into the background. I want movement and interest.

Cover fusible with fabric
Cover fusible with fabric

Once you have chosen all of your fabrics press the wrong sides, cheek to jowl, to one side of the fusible.

You are not going to be able to cover every inch of the fusible, which is why you have a pressing cloth or applique’ pressing sheet. If you press directly, the fusible that is not covered by fabric will end up on the bottom of your iron.

Cover this piece with a press cloth and press the fusible to the fabric following the directions on your fusible’s packaging.


Trace leaves & Flowers
Trace leaves & Flowers

Make all of your leaves and flowers. Flip the fusible so that paper side is up. You will be able to see your different fabrics through the paper. Place a template face DOWN on the appropriate fabric and trace with a writing implement. I use a Sewline pencil, but you can also use a pen, regular pencil or anything. I wouldn’t use a Sharpie even though I don’t think the paper will allow the marking to bleed through to the fabric.

Once you have traced all pieces**, cut them out right inside the drawn line. You should have 20 leaves, 4 flowers and 4 center flowers.

  1. Take all of your pieces and arrange them the pleasing way. Arrange them into the position you want them to end up once they are fused. You are doing this to look at the effect. Once you are pleased with the arrangement, take a photo or sketch out placement.
  2. Fuse & Stitch Flowers
    Fuse & Stitch Flowers

    You will need to stitch the flowers first, then the leaves and finally the flower centers. The flowers and leaves are on the same layer, so you can stitch them in any order. Anything that will be covered by another piece will need to be stitched before you fuse the covering piece.

  3. Place the flowers on the ring using the press marks you used to place the ring on the background (or fold the background in quarters and finger press again). Place them symmetrically along the ring, or in a pleasing way to your eye.
  4. Fuse them into place and get ready to stitch. You can also reference the machine applique’ tutorial for more information. Again, pay attention to where the layers of the design are placed. If there are leaves that you want to place under the wreath, you will need to satin stitch them before you fuse the wreath down entirely.  For the flowers, you will need to satin stitch down any parts of the design that will be covered by another piece of fused fabric, such as the centers. The design will look better if you satin stitch a layer and then fuse the next piece down.
  5. Flower Wreath Layers

    Place the interfacing under the background. You could use a machine basting stitch to stitch the interfacing temporarily to the background, but pinning works fine, too. You will need to zig zag with the interfacing under the background.

  6. Stitching flowers
    Stitching flowers

    Satin stitch all the other pieces down using the thread you chose. When you stitch, the middle of the stitch will cover the outside raw edge of each piece. I line up the red arrow on my foot (see photo) with the sharp edge of that raw edge. The pieces you will satin stitch have curves, thus you will need to manipulate the stitch so it is smooth. This means that you will need to stitch with needle down.

    Stop stitching to create smooth curves
    Stop stitching to create smooth curves

    Stop with the needle down on the outside of the curve for the leaves and flower petals. For the inside point between the flower petals stop above that point on the inside. If you do not have a machine that automatically stops with the needle down, then you can use the hand wheel to move the needle into the downward position when you stop. Do this carefully without moving the fabric. Once the needle is down you will need to assess the way to turn the fabric. Always turn the fabric very slightly to ensure a smooth curve. You may only need to take one stitch before adjusting the fabric again in order to get around the curve smoothly. For the outside curves, generally, you need to turn the fabric to the left to make a smooth curve. (Updated 10/30/2012: My engineer SIL says: You turn it clockwise for outside curves and counter clockwise for inside curves.) The stitching will be closer together on the inside of the shape and more open on the outside of the shape when you move in this direction. For the inside point of the flower, between the petals, you will need to take a slight adjustment of the background to the right. For the pointy ends of the leaves, stop the needle on the outside of the leaf near the point and adjust the fabric to the right very, very slightly. Take one stitch, stop on the outside of the point again. Adjust very slightly to the right. Your goal should be to get the needle into the same hole on the inside of the leaf until the arrow or line on your machine’s foot is in line with the raw edge of the other side of the leaf. When you move the fabric always keep the needle down. Before starting, take a few of the shapes, e.g. a leaf and a flower, make some test pieces and do a test on junk fabric so you get the feel of the procedure. This is not something you should work on when you are pressed for time.

  7. Arrange leaves
    Arrange leaves
  8. Once you are finished with the flowers, change your thread and adjust the width and density of your stitch, if desired.
  9. Arrange the leaves in a pleasing manner. I placed 5 at a time on the background and stitched them down.
  10. Stitch leaves
    Stitch leaves

    Arrange and stitch all of the leaves. My photo shows only 10 sewn leaves.

  11. Place the centers on the flowers and stitch them down. Follow all the directions above for tying off and moving the needle to create a smooth curve.
  12. Back of block
    Back of block

    Once you have stitched all the pieces, rip off the tearaway. I use a seam ripper to get the ripping started on pieces that are surrounded by stitching.

  13. Once you are finished with the entire stitching and tearaway ripping, trim the background down to 12.5″




**Nota bene: These pieces have no right direction. You can trace them any way and apply them anyway and they will look fine. Pay attention if you are cutting out letters or another motif that has a special direction. Put the right side down on the paper backed fusible and trace the motif backwards.

Blogger’s Quilt Festival: Renewed Jelly Roll Race

I am entering the Renewed Jelly Roll Race into the Blogger’s Quilt Festival. Amy’s Creative Side is putting on the Blogger’s Quilt Festival. My entry number is 430 (though on some screens, it seems to show up as 431. Very strange). If you haven’t entered, don’t, because *I* want to win!

Me, yes. You can win next time. 😉

OK, truly, I also would like people to be exposed to my blog. Do you have a friend you can refer?

Here is the schedule:

  • October 26 – 31 Linky open
  • November 1 – 4 Nominations are made (this is where you nominate me)
  • November 5 -8 Vote for your favorites
  • November 9 Winners announced
Renewed Jelly Roll Race
Renewed Jelly Roll Race

The Renewed Jelly Roll Race is my most recent finish. I have another quilt that is nearing completion, but I am pretty excited about the RJRR! It really is a  quilt that came out of something I was going to toss. I felt like the original Jelly Roll Race quilt was a huge, ugly failure. An ugly duckling into a swan.

I became intrigued by a discussion at my Modern Quilt Guild about Jelly Roll Race quilts. I had heard of them in passing, but during the discussion, finally understood the concept. People wanted to do the quilt top at a meeting. I sew slowly, so I didn’t want to race.

I bought a Jelly Roll and got to work sewing the strips together. For a person who doesn’t like really long seams (I prefer chunking!), this project was kind of a nightmare of long seams. It was kind of a tedious job and I soon realized I had no control over color placement, no control over fabric pattern placement. Basically, I had no control.

Jelly Roll Race - Finished Top
Jelly Roll Race – Finished Top

This was a problem for me. While I like serendipity and happy accidents, this quilt was not turning into the successful result of a happy accident. It was turning out very, very badly. My fears were confirmed when the top was done.

I liked the colors. I liked the fabrics. I sincerely disliked the top.

I put it away and left it for awhile hoping it would grow on me. Periodically, I took it out, hoping I would like the top and be willing to put some work into finishing it. My heart sank every time I saw the top and I began wondering what the designers of the Jelly Roll Race concept were thinking.

I began looking at other JRR tops and all of them looked cute or interesting. ARound this time, I heard a CraftyGardenMom podcast. Tanesha was also working on a Jelly Roll Race quilt. She said she cut 20″ off the first strip to make the quilt more irregular. If I had read any directions I might have known that. I wasn’t about to rip all those seams and start over, but I did feel a spark of hope that all was not completely lost.

Jelly Roll Diamonds
Jelly Roll Diamonds

Last year I finished a very successful quilt from my Fabric of the Year series called Fabric of the Year 2010. This quilt is made with diamonds and I still have the Creative Grids ruler. I came upon it and the spark of hope grew brighter. Since the top was languishing, I decided to be drastic. I decided that I would cut the top up into diamonds. What is the worst that could happen? The top could not be any uglier or anymore useless than it already was.

I tried sewing the diamonds together by themselves, but VERY quickly realized that the diamonds were busy and needed their space.

I sewed the diamonds together in chunks with Pure Elements Linen as the sashing. I go into quite a bit of detail about the construction in a post from February.  I sewed and sewed and sewed. The sewing seemed never ending. Diamonds are not hard to sew together, but you do have to pay attention and there were a lot of them. I ripped out a lot of seams to make lines match up. There are a few that don’t, but I can live with them.

Renewed Jelly Roll Race - back
Renewed Jelly Roll Race – back

DH helped me with the math, but I still had quite a few diamonds leftover. I decided to put the extras on the back. You could say that the quilt is two sided, but the quilting wasn’t design with the back in mind.

The back is my typical pieced back, but I haven’t done anything like the big off kilter diamond in a long time. I kind of like it.

This is an original design and there isn’t a pattern. If you want to make one of these quilts, make a Jelly Roll Race quilt that you dislike. 😉

The coup de grace may be that this quilt was chosen to be part of the New Quilts of Northern California exhibit at the Pacific International Quilt Festival, which was held in Santa Clara, California October 10-14, 2012.

So, the bottom line is that this hideous mess was salvaged into something that I like. I want to make another Jelly Roll Race to see if I tame the technique even a little bit.


  • Pure Elements Linen by Art Gallery/Pat Bravo Designs
  • Terrain by Kate Spain Jelly Roll
  • Random purples for the back from my stash

Blogger’s Quilt Festival Stats

Finished quilt measures : 61?x 61?
Special techniques used : Jelly Roll Race Technique
Best Category : Favorite Throw Quilt, Favorite Professionally Quilted Quilt, Viewer’s Choice (of course!)

Quilted by Colleen Granger of Sew Little Time Quilting.

Sample of Links About this Quilt:

  • Renewed Jelly Roll Race at the show:
  • Finished Quilt:
  • Renewed Jelly Roll Race Update:
  • The Beginning and the End
  • Renewed Jelly Roll Race Progress:
  • Trying out backgrounds:
  • Jelly Roll Race Spark of Possibility:
  • Jelly Roll Race Beginning:

Sampler Class: Fusible Machine Applique’ Tutorial Part 2

We are making the Flower Wreath block. To find out how to make templates, including the ring see Part 1.

Flower Wreath
Flower Wreath

Choose your fabrics. You will need fabric for the flowers (1-4 fabrics), leaves (1-20 fabrics) and the wreath (1 fabric). The leaves can be the traditional green or you can use something else. If you use one color, you might want to mix up the prints to increase interest. You can also use different colors. Make the block your own.

I am going to try and use a variety of turquoises and aquas to keep my color scheme in the aqua/turquoise with red range. I have a few of the leaf fabrics picked out from my scrap basket, but need to find more. It is important, with my limited color scheme to make sure the viewer can see the individual leaves.

Cut piece large enough for ring
Cut piece large enough for ring

The ring is the biggest pain to deal with so I deal with it first before I even really think much about fabrics for the other parts. I decided to use one of the Pat Bravo Pure Elements solids in the turquoise range, but more on the green side. I haven’t used it in this quilt before. I picked it to highlight the leaves a little more.

Cover fabric with fusible
Cover fabric with fusible

Now you need to make sure that your fusible will cover your fabric.

I used a package of Steam-a-Seam 2 Lite, but there are many fusibles that will work just fine for this project. Use what you know how to use or what you have on hand.

Tear the paper carefully off of one side of the fusible (or follow directions for your fusible) and stick it to the fabric, smoothing it carefully so there are no puckers or bubbles. The fusible is sticky so you can stick to the fabric and reposition it until you are happy.

Back of fusible backed fabric
Back of fusible backed fabric

Since the pieces I had were 8.5″x11″, I needed to cover an extra piece (bottom of the photo above) that was wider than the 8.5″ width of the fusible. I cut a piece from the fusible (white part in photo above) and re-positioned it  to cover the part of the fabric I need for the size of the template.

Once you are happy, fuse the 2 sided fusible (should have the paper left on one side) to your ring fabric. Follow the directions on the package or website. You may want to cover your ironing board and the piece with junk fabric or an applique’ pressing sheet to keep your iron and ironing surface clean.

Turn your fusible backed fabric so that the paper left on the fabric is face up, as in the photo above. Place your ring template face down on the paper and trace around it with a pencil.

Ring cut out
Ring cut out

Cut out the ring carefully on the line. I used an X-acto knife to start the center. I did use a pair of fabric scissors, but not my Gingher scissors. It is kind of hard to know what to do, because you are cutting both fabric and paper and you need a nice sharp edge. I use a pair of my mid-range scissors and hope for the best. They still seem sharp even after a bit of this type of cutting.

Fold the ring into quarters and finger press lightly. Again you will be lining up the folds to center the ring.

Retrieve your background. Fold the background into quarters and finger press, so you can see the folds.

Line up ring on background
Line up ring on background


Remove paper from the ring.

Line up the folds of the ring on the folds of the background. If they are all in alignment, there should be a ring fold snuggled with a background fold evenly. If you want to check, measure from the edge to the ring. You do need an absolutely square block for this to work.

Press the ring onto the background so it sticks.

Carefully bring background with the ring stuck to it to the iron. Check to see that your ring is still in place. According to your fusible directions, press the ring into place.

Your ring should now be firmly ironed on to the center of the background.

Leave this piece on the ironing board temporarily.

Get the tearaway you purchased (or had) and cut two pieces of tearaway stabilizer a little bit larger than your background. Place your background on top of the tearaway and pin it to the background. This will provide stability and prevent the piece from puckering when you zig zag stitch the pieces.

You are now ready to machine applique’ your first part of the block. See part 3 for machine stitching the block.

Sampler Class: Fusible Machine Applique’ Tutorial Part 1

Frances and I are back in action with the Sampler class. I am excited, but nervous because I haven’t done this in awhile. The next class is about fusible machine applique’.

Flower Wreath
Flower Wreath

Supply List:

  • Notebook for notes
  • Pen to take notes 😉
  • Mechanical Pencil
  • Fabric (at least 4 different, preferably more greens to create variety in the leaves; scraps work well)
  • Fabric Scissors
  • Paper scissors
  • Small ruler
  • Glue stick
  • Template plastic
  • Dinner plate or compass
  • Fusible web, such as Misty Fuse or Steam-a-Seam 2 or Steam-a-Seam Lite
  • Applique’ pressing sheet
  • Tear away stabilizer (the size of your background)
  • Iron
  • Ironing surface
  • 3″x5″  piece of fabric backed with 2 layers of tearaway stabilizer
  • Flower Wreath pattern sheets
    1. Aqua-Red Sampler Blocks
      Aqua-Red Sampler Blocks

      Cut a piece of fabric for the background .5″ to 1″ bigger than the finished size of the block. If you have a regular background fabric, use that, if not use a coordinating fabric. I took a look at my current blocks to help me decide what background I wanted to choose. This is a coordinated scrappy quilt, but I also wanted to find a background that would work well with the applique pieces that I was planning to put on top of it.

    2. After cutting out a background, you need to put it aside for the time being. You will need it after you make the templates and the ring.
    3. Rough cut pattern out for templates
      Rough cut pattern out for templates

      Cut out all the templates from the paper. Leave a little of the paper around the edges. Feel free to adjust the design of the flowers or leaves, if you want the shapes to be a little different.

      All patterns rough cut
      All patterns rough cut

In the photo above, you can see all of them templates rough cut out, except the circles. The circles print from EQ7 on two sheets of paper. You will need to rough cut the two pieces for each circle and then tape them together. In order to tape the pieces together, hold each piece for one circle in a hand up to the light and match them up you. Before you hold them up, have the tape ready just to tack the pieces together. You can use a light box for this procedure also.

Fold circles in quarters
Fold circles in quarters

Fold circles in quarters to make a line down the centers. This will help you line them up to make the ring for the wreath.

I never did this before and had to figure it out, but it works pretty well.

Layer Circles
Layer Circles

Using the folds, layer the circles together so you can see the black line of the upper circle. Draw a line around the smaller circle using the smaller circle as a template. You will be drawing on the larger circle. Use a soft implement (pencil or roller ball pen) that doesn’t skip to draw the circle. Once you have drawn the circle, you can put the smaller circle away with your other templates. I use a zipper bag for all of the pieces and parts.

Check width
Check width

Fold up the larger circle. Check the width of the ring of the wreath using a small ruler to make sure it is even. Once you are happy with the line. Cut along the line without opening the circle.

Complete Ring Pattern
Complete Ring Pattern

Once you have cut out the ring, open up the ring.

Now you are ready to make the templates. Grab all of your patterns, your template plastic and your glue stick.

  1. Glue the paper templates to the template plastic.
    No template plastic on folds
    No template plastic on folds

    The only tricky part is for the ring. I avoid the folds in the pattern and only put the template plastic on the parts of the ring where the fold isn’t. Why? Because I want to be able to fold this piece and put it in a zipper bag. Also, by adding the template plastic in quarters you save template plastic and you can use smaller pieces. Finally, you don’t end up with a circle of leftover template plastic.

  2. Trim the templates to the line on the pattern.
Front & back of templates
Front & back of templates

Depending on the kind of template plastic you have, your templates will look something like the photo above.

Part 2 will talk about choosing fabrics etc.

You can find more detail about machine appliqueing directional motifs, such as letters in a separate tutorial.

A-B-C Challenge Sashed

A-B-C Ready to Sash
A-B-C Ready to Sash

You will be pleased to know that the sashing drama is over. The quilt top is double sashed.

“Double sashed” means that I have sashed each block and then added sashing between the blocks.

A-B-C Sashing Complete
A-B-C Sashing Complete

I did not chunk this quilt and I am partially sorry I didn’t.

One of the benefits of chunking is that all of your sashing lines line up. When you put a quilt together in rows, it is possible that your sashing lines will be off from row to row.

I did not sash, because I didn’t want to have the checkerboard problem I had earlier this year with the inside border for  FOTY 2011, which was that the white looked weird because it didn’t line up problem. I wanted to have really long pieces of sashing so that there would be as unbroken a line as possible.

At this point I am not sure it would have mattered. I am pleased with the red and white dot fabric I used. I think it is inspiring me to have a Year of the Dot in 2013. We’ll have to see if I can figure out what that means.

A-B-C Sashing in process
A-B-C Sashing in process

Next step is to figure out what else I need to do for the borders. I worked on different things last weekend, but didn’t come up with anything that excited me. If I had more of the Sevenberry red dot, I would put a thin line of the grey around the edge and then a fatter strip for the border. I don’t want to go hunting for more fabric. I’ll find something I have to make it work.

Black Friday Sew-in

Sandy from Quilting… for the Rest of Us announced the Black Friday Sew-in on Big Tent yesterday. Here is her message:

” Do you, like me, want to avoid the Black Friday shopping rush like the plague? Join me for our second annual Black Friday Sew-In! I’ll have a giveaway on my blog that day–instructions will be there for how to enter. I’ll also be opening up a linky for any bloggers or podcasters who want to do their own giveaways for BFSI. Plus, if you’re on Twitter, follow the fun using #BFSI (Same hashtag as last year but that’s okay–you’ll be able to review last year’s fun if you just keep scrolling down.)

Event Details

  • What: Black Friday Sew-In
  • Who: Quilting…for the Rest of Us Quiltcast Supergroup
  • When: Fri Nov 23, 2012, 12 am – noon EDT “

Pam at Hip to Be a Square has been mentioning on her last few podcasts. Hope you will be able to join in. If you are not on Twitter, you can watch along via Tweetchat by typing in the hashtag #bfsi and watching the scroll of tweets fly by.

Creative Prompt #180: Trapezoid

Trapezoid bone (smallest in the distal set)

trapezoid is the alias of Niel Cicierega (Urban Dictionary)

Trapezoid American folk music group

Issey Miyake Trapezoid

Trapezoid calculator

Definition: In Euclidean geometry, a convex quadrilateral with at least one pair of parallel sides (see definition below) is referred to as a trapezoid in American English and as a trapezium in English outside North America. The parallel sides are called the bases of the trapezoid and the other two sides are called the legs or the lateral sides. A scalene trapezoid is a trapezoid with no equal sides or angles, in contrast to the special cases below. A trapezoid with vertices ABCD is denoted Trapezoid small icon.png ABCD.

Take 5 minutes to do any kind of artistic response: poem, doodle, quilt, pastel, pencil. ANYTHING counts. No rules; just do it!

Post the direct URL (link) where your drawing, doodle, artwork is posted (e.g. your blog, Flickr) in the comments area of this post. I would really like to keep all the artwork together and provide a way for others to see your work and/or your blog.

The Creative Prompt Project, also, has a Flickr group, which you can join to  post your responses. I created this spot so those of you without blogs and websites would have a place to post your responses.

I know what you are all going to draw, paint or sing and what I am going to draw, so I am going to stop trying to find non-math Trapezoid things.

FOTY – Late October 2012

FOTY - Late October 2012
FOTY – Late October 2012

The time is really flying by. I was thinking about ordering my turkey next week (maybe the week after). I bought some pumpkin for Thanksgiving and Christmas pies last week in my attempt to get ahead of the major shopping in the next few weeks. I am behind. Behind in blogging, my house feels like a wreck, behind in cutting new and used fabric. Everything.

Case in point: it has been almost two months since I last posted FOTY fabrics. The last blog post was in late August! Gracious!

Still I was able to get some new fabrics cut up. I was also able to scrounge some squares from fabrics I have been using. Are you able to see the projects I was working on in this group?

I see some blocks I made, a journal cover I made and a few fabrics slated for journal covers I will make. One reason I love this project is that it is like a memory book in fabric.

Even More Doing Good

Patchwork Wheels in Progress
Patchwork Wheels in Progress

I decided to try out the 3rd quarter blocks (though I thought they were for the 4th quarter. I am behind – whatever), Patchwork Wheel, for the Charity Girls at BAMQG. The kits I picked up made 2 blocks each and they are quite…exciting? Loud? Wild? blocks. I don’t know which. I kind of like their exhuberance, though.

The square parts were already cut, but I had to make the HSTs. No problem. They included the fabric cut the parts and I drew a line down the middle and sewed. Worked like a charm.

I have to say that I did start putting these together stupidly. Instead of waiting to finish the HSTs and then put the blocks together in 4 patch segments, I sewed allt he squares together and had to put them together in rows. Yes, I could have unsewed, but I didn’t.

Patchwork Wheels Finished
Patchwork Wheels Finished

They came out well. There is nothing hideous about them.

When I saw the four of them together, i decided I wanted to make an entire top from such blocks just to see how it would turn out. Jennifer is saving some kits for me, so I can make more blocks and sew them together in a quilt.

Yes, the fabrics are wild and crazy, but I think they will be perfect for some kid with a wild streak in her. It hought of making some HSTs for the the project using my Triangle Technique but I am not sure if that would be helpful. Each pair of squares makes 8 HSTs and I think the blocks look better scrappy. I’ll have to see.

Donation blocks 1-4/Yellow & Pink
Donation blocks 1-4/Yellow & Pink

I wanted to finish another top before the next meeting , as a result, I have been making yellow and pink checkerboards.

These blocks are really cheerful and I am enjoying making them.

I am doing something a little different with these blocks. After the mosaic result of the pink and green blocks, I decided to be a little more choosy about the pinks and yellows I chose. The pink with the gold rings (upper left block, lower left corner, last row, 2d patch) is about the darkest pink I am using. All of the yellows are light and cheerful. I weeded out some of the Pat Bravo yellows-tending-towards browns for this particular project. There are a couple of pinks that are a bit too light and some different pinks that blend a bit with one of the Pat Bravo yellows, but all-in-all I am happier with how this project is turning out.

Donation blocks 5-8/Yellow & Pink
Donation blocks 5-8/Yellow & Pink

At the moment I am out of yellow and need to cut some more before I can make more blocks. I do have some that I sewed together randomly to white, black on white, etc. I could rip those out, but I don’t know if I am that ambitious. We’ll see.

I want to clear off my sewing table of 2.5″ squares and pink and yellow were what I had left. Good thing they go together. I might give away the rest of the squares and move on to something else. We will see.

Pink & Green Donation Quilt back
Pink & Green Donation Quilt back

Finally, I took a photo of the back for the Pink and green donation quilt. These colors are a little darker than the fabrics on the front of the quilt, but they are first quality fabrics that I was not going to use in my own work. I really liked some of them, but the pattern or the colors prevented me from putting them into a quilt. I hope someone will enjoy this back.

Jennifer told me today that the group has made 93 finished quilts for charity this year. I think the one I put the binding on might be 94. I would love to believe that is some kind of record for a guild. Probably not, but I like to think this program was a success. Jennifer and Deborah are rock stars.

Finished: Charger Case

Charger Case Open - with chargers/cords
Charger Case Open – with chargers/cords

After the skirt misadventure, TFQ and I decided to make a charger case. I was using a very elegant vegetable bag crammed full of tangled cords and that was the inspiration.

We used a SewCraftyJess tutorial for a jewelry case and modified it slightly.

Charger case - closed
Charger case – closed

Some of the modifications we made had to do with size.I also noticed that Jess, who did the tutorial, must have had a different type of vinyl (I used the leftovers from my clear bag project), because she did not need a roller foot or tissue paper. I need both of those at various times to force the vinyl through the machine. I don’t think this is problem/issue if you are using some of the flannel back oilcloth and keep the flannel side against the machine bed. For the purposes of this charger case, I couldn’t guarantee that I could have something between the vinyl and the machine bed at all times. This is when I put the tissue under the vinyl. Yes, the bits of tissue paper had to be picked out with tweezers, but that was the lesser of two evils (the first evil being me screaming and berating the vinyl, my machine, etc). I have some tweezers with very sharp points and long handles and they worked very well.

Charger case - half open
Charger case – half open

Also, as the layers built up (vinyl twice for top stitching, zipper, etc), the thread started to break, so I lengthened the stitch length and that worked better. I might use a larger thread than 50wt if I made another charger case.

I thought not stitching the back to the front would be a problem, but it seems not to be, though you could stitch all the way through the layers if you wanted.

The tie was a bit of a puzzle. I ended up machine sewing it to the center of the binding on one of the short ends. It seems to work fine. I might try velcro or a magnetic snap if I made this again. I used the technique for making the ties that I use for making bag handles (4x desired width, fold in half and press, fold outside edges to press line and press again, fold on original press line, stitch around entire outside edge). The ties would have had more style if I had made a point at the end.

I am pretty happy with how it came out, though I am thinking that aqua dots might have been a better choice for the inside. I wanted something light so I could see what chargers were where. All of these little tweaks are why I made things more than once – to see if my imagined tweaks would work better.

PIQF Part 3

I have mentioned the quilts, but not delved in, so here we go. Again, if you forgot or are new here, you can view my set of PIQF 2012 quilts on Flickr. I have been uploading them in dribs and drabs. It takes time to add the names of quilts and makers and I am not inclined to spend all my free time uploading photos. It might take me weeks to get through that, so go and look, read my blog, then go back to Flickr and look at more quilt photos later.

Renewed Jelly Roll Race at PIQF
Renewed Jelly Roll Race at PIQF

As I said, the Renewed Jelly Roll Race was at the show. Sharona, of New Pieces, encouraged me to enter last year and the encouragement followed me to this year. Friends gave me lots of nice comments about seeing it there. It was hanging straight, too, which was a relief. Thanks for your support, friends and all.

While I did whine a bit about the various aspects of the show in one of the previous posts, there were some good quilts there.

I saw quilts by friends. Amy won an award. Pamelala had three quilts in a new style on display. Awesome to see her artwork evolving. Maureen’s jar quilt was in a primo location. Kathleen had her Wonky 9 patch in the New Quilts of Northern California exhibit with mine. Marie had two quilts, one was a lovely pink quilt. Yes, I am feeling the pinky love lately. I do see another pink donation quilt in my future. Chris had two quilts in the show, both continuing her explorations in quiltmaking. Marci G really showed off her computerized machine quilting expertise in her quilt.

Friday's Flowers by Judy Ball-Farber
Friday’s Flowers by Judy Ball-Farber

If I had to choose, I might pick this quilt to be my favorite of the whole show. I really like certain types of flower quilts and this one has the added bonus of great colors.

I like the spray of flowers. The artist also machine quilted additional leaves, etc, I think, to lighten up the piece. If she had appliqued them on, the piece would be too heavy. As a result, there is a space between the sprays and the leaves. Again, as a reward to viewers who look longer and closer, the machine quilted leaves fill in any gaps that might show.

Civil War 9-Patch by Julie Kuto
Civil War 9-Patch by Julie Kuto

TFQ and I often ask each other, when visiting a quilt show, what quilt made an impression on us or what quilt are we thinking about. As shocking as it may seem to you, Julie Kuto’s Civil War 9-Patch is the quilt that I thought about the most during the show.

I am not thinking about this quilt because of the fabrics, as they are obviously not my style. What I liked about this quilt was the combination of 9-patches and 4-patches. The 9-patches are about 6″. I didn’t have a ruler with me, so I didn’t measure. The 4-patches fit next to each square of the 9-patch, so they must be 2″ finished and on point. Small, yes, but not impossible and great for scraps. I would love to see a lot of people make this quilt, or the 9-patch/4-patch combination in different fabrics. It is always so fun for me to see different interpretations of quilts.

Civil War 9-Patch by Julie Kuto detail
Civil War 9-Patch by Julie Kuto detail

Julie does a great job with contrast in the 9-patches. I would want the 4-patches to stand out a bit more than they do , so I would pay attention to the contrast. When I say ‘stand out,’ I don’t mean jump out as the primary element of the quilt. I mean I would like the viewer to know that I went to a lot of trouble to piece 4-patches that small! I would want them to blend into the temperature of the quilt in general.

As an aside, Julie’s quilt, while not my colors, does not depress me like some quilts made in the Civil War style do.

Line Study #1 by C. Krugel
Line Study #1 by C. Krugel

I thought this was an interesting quilt. I think it is one of the most well done pieces of this style that I have seen.

There is the right amount of color. The black does not overwhelm, e.g. the artist paid attention to the ratios of black and white to each other, which helped make the quilt successful. There is the right amount of color. I also like it that there are some curves and that the pieced strips mimic each other, provide continuity, without duplicating each other.

Line Study #1 by C. Krugel detail
Line Study #1 by C. Krugel detail

The quilt looks very sheer in the white areas, in that you can see the seams. I don’t think it detracts from the overall look of the quilt, but I think I might have done something differently.

I think the piece is hand quilted, though it may just be partially hand quilted. I like the way the lines show up. They are also spaced enough to add interest without looking done by a computer. I like it that the viewer can see them pretty well (contrast of thread and fabric is good).

Hanami by Leslie Harris
Hanami by Leslie Harris

There are a couple of things I like about Hanami. The most is important is the flowers. The varying size of the flowers creates a lot of movement in this piece.

There are some flowers behind the more prominent top flowers made from fabric that blends into the background more. These flowers are a surprise reward for looking closer at this quilt.

I also like the stitching in the center of each of the flowers as well as around the edges. The stitching adds a lot of interest to the main flowers, which are mostly made from solids. The stitching relieves the flatness that can be a quality of solids. It is machine done and Ms. Harris did a great job.

I try to find something good in all of the quilts I view at the show even if they are not my style. I noticed that stitching is still very popular. I will venture out on a limb to say that there was more hand stitching this year than I remember. I could be wrong, though. I don’t actually count quilts with various techniques.

Here is a selection of links from past PIQFs so you can compare some quilts:

PIQF 1999

PIQF 2005

PIQF 2009

More of Doing Good

Pink & Green Donation Top
Pink & Green Donation Top

I have been, as they say, feeling the love for making donation quilts. I have talked about how good it makes me feel to make the various donation quilts I have made such as the pink and green one shown here.

I recently had the opportunity to actually finish one of the donation tops someone else (or multiple someone elses) made for the group by hand stitching down a binding. It felt like such a small thing to do, but then I had the opportunity to give one of these quilts to a child in need. I asked, the guild leadership agreed and the quilt is in transit to provide comfort to a  girl who doesn’t know what her body is doing. I felt so good knowing one of those quilts is being sent to someone I know.

I am a sap, I know, but sometimes I need to be reminded why doing good is important.

BAMQG Donation Quilt
BAMQG Donation Quilt

The binding I stitched down is for a quilt made from the checkerboard blocks the guild did in the first quarter of this year.

I don’t know if I made any of these blocks, but I recognize some of the fabrics. Perhaps they used fabrics I donated? I don’t know.

I have to say that there is something to be said for using blocks of many colors. My versions with the sashing and monochromatic color scheme have a very different look. Mine are bigger also, because of the sashing and borders. I don’t think I have seen one of my tops completed by someone else yet. I am scared and eager to have some of them go out into the world.

BAMQG Donation Quilt detail
BAMQG Donation Quilt detail

The binding uses leftovers, which was interesting. I tried to line up the colors in the quilt with the binding colors. It worked ok, but did not match exactly all over the quilt. That is ok.

Whoever did the quilting did a great job. The hearts are subtle and I hope they convey love.

UGH! I am making myself sick now. This post is DONE!


26 Projects – October Update

I skipped September, because I was sewing slowly due to the rotator cuff injury. I didn’t feel like I was making any progress. It was a good idea. I feel like I am back in the saddle.

  1. Original Bullseye: needs border, backing, quilting and binding, which are all hard to do if you can’t find the project. It is lost. I know it is in there somewhere. As I mentioned, I did a test and found that my original idea didn’t work. I think a plain border will set off the blocks fine IF I ever find the top. Bleah!
  2. A-B-C (A-Z) BAMQG Challenge – I finished all the blocks and a few extras. I have a total of 30 and they are all sashed. I have a couple to trim and may have done that by the time you read this, then I will make some decisions about sashing.
  3. Aqua-Red SamplerFrances contacted me about getting back in the saddle. We met yesterday! Hooray!
  4. The Tarts Come to Tea: I haven’t quilted on this since April 2011. I need to work on the quilting. I was making good progress and then got sidetracked. Quilting the Whole Cloth quilt is getting me back in the swing of quilting, so perhaps there is hope for this piece.
  5. Garden: I started this piece in a class with Pamela Allen in 2006. As mentioned, I used this piece for my beading demo for the 2012 EBHQ Voices in Cloth show (March 17), which means that I added some beads. I finished machine quilting this piece, removed some of the beads and have started to put beads back on to it. I think it might be done with the few beads I have put on it. I have to look at it and decide. If it is done, then I need to put a facing and sleeve on it.
  6. Pointillist Palette #4: Fourth is a series of 6 quilts; needs tiny square patches sewn together. Mrs. K. gave me more PP fabric. I think it is a sign to work on this.
  7. See: needs satin stitching.
  8. Self Portrait: started in 2006 at a class at Quilting Adventures in Richmond, Virginia. I like the piece, but don’t know where to go from where I am. Mouth? Hair?
  9. Spiderweb: I woke up one morning thinking I would work on this project. I found that I had already designed the border blocks! Yay! I want to sort through the blocks and make sure I have  just enough to make a quilt for my bed. That means I will have extras. I could make a quilt that would cover my house with the number of blocks I have already made. Progress. Hooray!
  10. Under the Sea: class project; like the design, but not the colors much.
  11. Flower Sugar Hexagon: sewed more hexagons together. Sewing Y seams is a bit of a chore, so I get tired of doing it after awhile.
  12. Young Man’s t-shirt quilt: have cut up the t-shirts and am still in the process of applying fusible. He cleaned out his drawers and found some more t-shirts to add to the quilt. Oh Yay! <– just a bit of sarcasm
  13. New: Super Secret Project: top, back and binding made. Ready to go to the quilter.  Stay tuned. 😉
  14. FOTY 2011: at the quilter, needs binding.
  15. Flowering Snowball: Back from the quilter; need to hand stitch the binding.
  16. Stepping Stones: at the quilter, made binding, which she will sew on for me and then I need to stitch down the binding.
  17. New: Wonky 9 Patch: needs quilting and binding.
  18. Corner Store:  Top and back are made. It is ready to go to the quilter.
  19. New Super Secret Project #2: Top and back are made. It is ready to go to the quilter.
  20. Infinity blocks: blocks sewn together into a quilt top, borders on. Back and binding made; ready to go to quilter.

Finished or Abandoned projects that were on the list:

  1. Stars for San Bruno #2: Finished! YAY!
  2. Pavers. Finished! YAY!
  3. Kissy Fish: Finished! Yay!
  4. Stars for San Bruno #3: Finished! YAY!
  5. Food Quilt: Finished 5/24/2012. YAY!!!!
  6. Renewed Jelly Roll Race Quilt: Finished 9/9/2012 YAY!!!
  7. Whole Cloth Quilt: Finished 10/5/2012 YAY!!!


  1. Flower Garden: The flowers were too spiky. This is going to Pam for a cat bed.
  2. Pineapple: will remake blocks at a later time with more care.
  3. Moon and Stars: This quilt was barely a quilt and was not interesting. I realized I didn’t want to devote time to it. So, I finally just decided to give up and get it off the list. I will send it to Pam for a cat mat?

Hunting and Gathering

  1. Spin Wheel: really not started, but supplies gathered. Cutting fabrics as I go. TFQ does not consider this a UFO, which is why I have moved it to the Hunting and Gathering section. She says, and I have to agree, that quilts are not ‘projects’ until the sewing starts. OK. I’ll go with that.
  2. Windmill quilt.

I am pretty pleased. I have 6 projects off the list and 8 with a definite plan.

And…in other News

Bali Cracker Macaron (test photo)
Bali Cracker Macaron (test photo)

My camera seems to be working again. I bought a new, smaller SD card and the camera is now saving photos to the SD card again. If only I had known (remembered? this is ringing a bell) to not try and cram 4GB of memory into my poor 10 year old camera, I probably would have been fine.

What do you think? I took the picture of the Bali Cracker (crazy name, BTW!) and only cropped. I didn’t adjust the color or anything.

Yes, retail therapy was my prescription on Monday after work and this Cracker came today with sister, Pop. I think I will make another Stepping Stones quilt from these. I just have to find some yardage, though I think I could find some turquoise in my fabric closet that would work just fine.

I don’t want to get into a fight with people about the right and wrong of Boy Scouts, especially after the latest scandal to follow the most recent scandal. Sigh. The Young Man is a scout, as you might have guessed. I find it to be a good program for boys who are not sports oriented. The national organizational leadership, IMO, needs some attitude adjusting, shall we say.

Moving on.

This group has come out with the new merit badges for the year. They are:

  • Welding
  • Search & Rescue

Take a look at the merit badge requirements at:

Both are useful skills, but I think that sewing would be much more useful than welding. The BSA needs to, SERIOUSLY, consider a sewing merit badge. Sewing on a button is a useful skill, don’t you think? Running a sewing machine? Reading a pattern to make a fanny pack or a sleeping bag?  Dealing with denim, Gortex and ripstop nylon fabric? I know that many artists weld and it is a sign of power, but really, welding over sewing? Sheesh.

Also, I painted my toenails purple. Now I keep getting startled every time I see them.

Have a great weekend!