Russian Rubix Continues

Friday was the Black Friday Sew-in. I didn’t do anything in terms of giveaways or prizes. No time this year and no prizes.  I don’t seem to be a reviewer for Lark  any more since they closed their NC office and my contact was laid off. C’est la vie.

Russian Rubix with 3 Borders
Russian Rubix with 3 Borders

I worked on the Russian Rubix for the amount of time I had to sew. I wasn’t able to sew all day on Friday, but I am pleased with the progress I made. My progress:

  • I finished all but two blocks for the borders. I thought I made all the blocks I needed, but realized, after putting the last border together, that I had forgotten about the corners.
  • I sewed another border on. Before I actually sewed the border and kept it there, I sewed it on, ripped it off and sewed it on again, but there are now three borders on the RR quilt.

As you can see from above, the top is starting to look like something other than a floppy mess. I am thinking of using Kelly’s letter fabric as the back. I have fabric I may as well use it. I have a nice large chunk and that might make the back easier than piecing a back. Right now I need some easy.

Book Review: 1001 Patchwork Designs

1001 Patchwork Designs1001 Patchwork Designs by Maggie Malone

This is a bit of a cheap date review for a couple of reasons: little text, old book, iffy quality. Since I have been talking about blocks and their structure I am going for it.

I don’t know why or when I originally bought this book, but it was awhile ago. The publication date in my copy is 1981. The age and some of what the author says makes me think it may not have the same level of scholarly research that the Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilts or Jinny Beyer‘s The Quilter s Album of Patchwork Patterns. This is not a bad book, but I think, at the time, the provenance of blocks may not have been considered important AND there is nothing about where the author got her information I don’t think anybody thought it was important, but this book may have been a step in the direction that ended up as the two books mentioned above. There is a bibliography at the end, but no footnotes or reference notes.

The books starts with an introduction in which the author describes her theory of teaching as well as a bit about the book and block structure. The introduction also directs the reader to a section on drafting.

This book has one of the best lines about drafting I have ever read, “The major advantage of being able to draft a pattern is the flexibility it allows you in designing a quilt.” The section goes on to enumerate the variety of ways knowing how to draft a pattern can help you in your quiltmaking. It was awesome to read why drafting is important. While I prefer to draft blocks in EQ, knowing how to draft really helps in the process and in designing quilts in general. The thing I like about this section is the practical tips on how to use the drawings in the book to start learning about drafting. There is an example of some of the math that is useful.

After a couple of pages of introduction and the few pages on drafting, there is a very little additional text in the middle of the book. All the rest of the book is comprised of pictures of blocks until a few sections at the end of the book. I actually like this, because I have enough text in my life and sometimes I want to just look at blocks. I tend to focus on the text, and skim the photos, so little to no text is better in this kind of book. I also like it that the blocks are black and white, mostly line drawings. It keeps the distractions minimal.

Towards the end of the book, there are the ‘obligatory’ pages on Determining the Quilt Size, Fabric Requirements, Quilting and Setting the Top. The final pages of the book include a bibliography and index.

In looking through the book, I saw a lot of blocks that are now showing up in the Modern Movement, such as some of the circle blocks (pg.192-193) so popular in quilts now such as The Circle Game. The #854, the Rising Sun, looks pretty familiar as well. The Snowball Wreath, #974, is also shown, though none of these blocks have any piecing directions. This is an inspiration book only and you have to know how to draft in order to use these blocks. Of course, there are directions elsewhere on the web.

I hadn’t ‘read’ the book in a while. It called to me when I was looking for blocks to suggest to TFQ. When I pulled it off the shelf I was pleased to see that the blocks were divided into section by the structure of the blocks, as mentioned before. When I started looking through the first section, I had to wonder if all of the blocks were categorized in their proper structure? One I wonder about is #274, Golda, Gem Star. I can see where it could have a Nine Patch structure, but I still wonder. It is not listed in the index of Beyer’s book, though I see blocks that look similar in Beyer’s 5×5 Base Grid category. After doing some additional research, I found this block on Pinterest and in BlockBase under the same name with #2741 from the Brackman book. Also, there is a reference to QNM 1978. This block makes me wonder where she got her information. The blocks are great and that is just my librarian brain.

This book is really good inspiration and a great start to the drafting of blocks.

View all my reviews

Creative Prompt #286: Lotion

Body lotion

Definition-“A lotion is a low- to heavy-viscosity topical preparation intended for application to unbroken skin.[1] By contrast, creams and gels have higher viscosity.

Lotions are applied to external skin with bare hands, a brush, a clean cloth, cotton wool, or gauze. Many lotions, especially hand lotions and body lotions are formulated not as a medicine delivery system, but simply to smooth, moisturize and soften the skin. These are particularly popular with the aging and aged demographic groups, and in the case of face usage, can also be classified as a cosmetic in many cases, and may contain fragrances.

Most lotions are oil-in-water emulsions using a substance such as cetearyl alcohol to keep the emulsion together, but water-in-oil lotions are also formulated. The key components of a skin care lotion, cream or gel emulsion (that is mixtures of oil and water) are the aqueous and oily phases, an emulgent to prevent separation of these two phases, and, if used, the drug substance or substances. A wide variety of other ingredients such as fragrances, glycerol, petroleum jelly, dyes, preservatives, proteins and stabilizing agents are commonly added to lotions. Lotions can be used for the delivery to the skin of medications such as:

It is not unusual for the same drug ingredient to be formulated into a lotion, cream and ointment. Creams are the most convenient of the three but are inappropriate for application to regions of hairy skin such as the scalp, while a lotion is less viscous and may be readily applied to these areas (many medicated shampoos are in fact lotions). Historically, lotions also had an advantage in that they may be spread thinly compared to a cream or ointment and may economically cover a large area of skin, but product research has steadily eroded this distinction. Non-comedogenic lotions are recommended for use on acne prone skin.” (Wikipedia)

lotion tissues


hair lotion

lotion making kits

Blow Dry Lotion

tanning bed lotions

hand lotion

jellyfish sting lotion

Wilson’s Leather Lotion

hand lotion


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.

We are also talking about this on Twitter. Use the hashtag #CPP

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.

Inspiration Wednesday

Dramatic Clouds
Dramatic Clouds

Aren’t these clouds dramatic? I really like dramatic clouds and can never seem to get a dramatic picture that looks like what I see. This one looks pretty close.

It is a busy day. I made the fillings for the pies yesterday, but need to bake them today. Mom bowed out for Pie Day this year. I am also making a Pineapple Upside Down Cake instead of one pie. I wanted to change it up a little.

For those of you preparing for Thanksgiving, have a good time and enjoy the process.

More Receiving Blankets

3 Receiving Blankets
3 Receiving Blankets

I went to Stone Mountain and Daughter, a fabric store in Berkeley, a few weeks ago looking for some fabric for pants. I didn’t find the pants fabric I wanted, but they had a nice selection of flannel at a good price, so I bought some pieces to make receiving blankets for a friend’s daughter who had a baby a few months ago.

I know the colors are not totally matchy matchy, but I liked something about the combination.

Decorative Stitching
Decorative Stitching

I like making receiving blankets for gifts, but they are still a pain to make so I used some large and loose decorative stitches. I am pleased with how they look and will send them off soon.

DWM- Thanksgiving Week 2014

I have been sewing a little, but it feels like I have been riding a stationary bike: sewing for hours and not going anywhere. I need to change that and finish something. I know I shouldn’t be product oriented, but sometimes finishing something big gives the ego a good boost.

Thanksgiving Design Wall
Thanksgiving Design Wall

The design wall looks different than last week, though I am sure you can see the similarities. As you can see, the design wall is packed. I kind of sewed everything that wasn’t already sewn down and threw it up on the wall.

1. Two hot color four patches that I thought I would use as the beginning of a quilt, but haven’t done anything with yet.

2. Red and turquoise four patches. I made one additional since last week.

3. Completed red and turquoise four patches. The most recent one is on the top.

4. BAMQG donation blocks. I made them using leaders and enders. Aren’t they cheerful?

5. Same FOTY rectangles as last week. I am looking at The Great Unwashed and wondering what fabrics I want to wash and iron so they can be included in FOTY 2014.

6. One Field Day Zipper ‘block’. I cut the patches apart from each other on Saturday and somehow that one ended up on the design wall.

7. Russian Rubix Octagons. I still have a few blocks to make for the border, so I still may need some of the octagons. I am not sure if I will use all of these in the Russian Rubix quilt or if they will be part of the Snowball/9 Patch quilt I have in mind. Since the border is nearing the end, I will know pretty soon.

8. Black & Grey Teenaged Boy Donation blocks and I happen to be using them for rewriting my chunking tutorial.

9. PIQF Crosses. I think TFQ and I will probably abandon this project, but I had so many pieces cut that I decided to work on sewing them. I may give the blocks to the guild as donation blocks or I could put them together as the center of a donation quilt or I could make a pillow.

10. City Sampler block n.31. Bleah. It went together like a log cabin and I am not very happy with the way it turned out.

So the process continues…


I am linking up with Judy over at the Patchwork Times.

Researching Block Names

Frances' Grecian Cross
Frances’ Grecian Cross

Recently Frances posted on Twitter about the name of a block. She posted the picture of a quilt. I didn’t see the thread until several people had chimed in and Nonnie had tried to draft the block. There are three tools I use to find the names of blocks:

  1. Barbara Brackman’s book, Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns, published by the American Quilter’s Society, 1993. I have the reprinted edition. This book is out of print, so you should buy it where ever you see a good used copy.
  2. The Quilter’s Album of Patchwork Patterns by Jinny Beyer, published by Breckling Press 2009. I wrote a review of it, which you can find in a post from 2013.
  3. Blockbase, an electronic version of the Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns.

Brackman’s book is the original scholarly block dictionary. It was not the first block dictionary, but it was the first book, that I know of, that attempted to organize blocks into families/type and note their origin.

Beyer’s book went much farther, but, clearly, built off Brackman’s book. There are more references to sources, more drafting information and more of an attempt to group blocks in the Quilter’s Album of Patchwork Patterns.

Grecian Cross Notecard
Grecian Cross Notecard

BlockBase is a wonderful tool for actually drafting blocks and printing templates or rotary cutting directions. However, not all of the information from the Brackman book is included in BlockBase. Many of the blocks have only the Brackman number rather than all of the names. I make an effort to amend the notecards in BlockBase as I come across new or additional information that would improve retrieval. For example, a very common name of the block above is Grecian Cross. This name was listed in the Brackman book, but was not in BlockBase, so I added it.

It is helpful to know something about drafting to use any of these tools. By ‘drafting,’ I mean knowing the basic structure of blocks, e.g. is the basic structure a 4 patch or a 9 patch? The reason this is important is that if you only have a picture of the block, it cuts down on the number of blocks you need to look through if you know the basic structure.

Sadly, using patterns all the time does not foster the understanding of the basic structure of blocks, because the quiltmaker only needs to follow the directions of the designer/patternmaker.

Knowing a block’s structure is also helpful in designing quilts of your own. You may not want to mix 9 patch structured blocks with 4 patch structured blocks as the seam lines won’t always line up nicely. Or you may want to look a a variety of different 16 patch blocks so that you can design a quilt with an interesting secondary pattern.

These tools are not only good for looking up block names, but are also good to learn to understand the structure of blocks, get inspiration for new quilts and see how the authors have colored the quilts. You really need these books, if you have any serious interest in quiltmaking beyond buying fabric and making quilts.

You might notice that blocks have different names. People took blocks and republished them under different names or added a line here or divided a square there and deemed it a new block. This phenomenon is still happening today and it is something of which we just need to keep track.



Book Review: The Bag Making Bible

The Bag Making BibleThe Bag Making Bible by Lisa Lam

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have an idea to make the perfect work bag. I haven’t yet found a pattern out there, but with the right knowledge of techniques and an ok pattern, I can probably make something that will work.

After reviewing Big City Bags by Sara Lawson, I put the book in my database (I am a librarian after all!). In the course of testing the records and the search results, I came across Lisa Lam’s The Bag Making Bible and had to look through it for more ideas.

If you have this book and Big City Bags, you have everything you need to make almost any bag out there. Big City Bags by Sara Lawson has good techniques, but is mostly a project book. Lisa Lam‘s book focuses more on techniques, but has projects to go with each technique. The projects are not the focus of the book. In fact they are even hard to find, hidden as they are in the midst of detailed instructions for techniques.

One of the different aspects of this book is that the techniques build on each other. This is a more down and dirty, ‘here’s everything you need to know’ kind of book than Big City Bags. It goes from very basic (explaining parts of the sewing machine-pg.14) through intermediate (explaining a pattern with a glossary of terms) to advanced (modifying patterns). You will have to think, because skills or techniques you learn in one section are referred to again in another section.

On careful examination of the table of contents, I saw that the projects were, indeed, named and given a page number as a subheading under the main point/heading of the chapter. I like this idea, because by scanning the list of techniques, I can find projects that will illustrate the technique I want to learn.

The book is laid out in a pretty standard way: Table of Contents, Foreword and Introduction. The introduction has one line that explains the premise of the book “I have purposefully moved away from quick and easy bag projects because I believe that when you spend a little more time in creating something special you will cherish the results all the more.” This is a great description of the premise of the book.

The first sections after the above are all about the basics. They start with Basic Equipment. The author has good photos of the basic equipment, some of which I have never seen in a bag book. I like it that these unusual tools are included. I did wonder why no rotary ruler was included in the list, though a rotary cutter is included.

The sewing machine section includes some information on machine stitches and photos of the machine feet.

The next section is called Anatomy of a Bag, which covers all the aspects of a bag from parts you have heard of like flaps to parts like the gussets, which are less common.

The basics continue with ‘Getting Started’, which discusses using patterns, ‘Understanding Patterns’,’Fabric Preparation and Cutting,’ Modifying Patterns and then the book continues on to the techniques and projects. The ‘Understanding Patterns’ section is good also for garment sewing.

‘Choosing Fabrics’ is very complete. It includes a description of different types of fabrics and the pros and cons of each. The section talks about how best to use the fabrics for bags. This section has a subsection on choosing interfacing and interlining. Again, there are descriptions and definitions of different types and weights of interfacing.

I like the section called ‘Working with Colour and Pattern.’ The author has some beginner level suggestions. While there is no color wheel, the section gives the reader some suggestions about choosing colors as well as using pattern/motifs.

This is where the projects come in. The techniques are all associated with projects and the project teaches the reader those associated techniques. For example, in the Structure and Reinforcement section, there is a chart of ‘Volume Adding Features’. These are darts, pleats, etc and the chart tells the reader the benefits and suggested uses of each. The project photos have good detail shots and lots of instructions which, together, help understand how to use the featured technique while putting the project together.

The book has sidebar boxes throughout the book. The color and pattern section has boxes about using texture and sourcing fabrics. Some of the sections have a ‘Need to Know’, which covers important concepts that don’t fit into the other text.

I like the section on ‘Linings.’ It includes a chart of different types of pockets (charts are a good way to get a lot of information across quickly) as well as photos of the linings.

As with Big City Bags, zippers are covered really well. This book helps me understand what Sara Lawson was doing when I followed the directions for her Flush Zipper Pocket on the Petrillo Bag pattern. I was able to make the pocket from Sara’s excellent directions, but didn’t understand the underlying concept until I read this book. This is a great example of why these two books work really well together.

Information about zippers leaks over into the section called ‘Closures.’ Again, Lam includes a chart of different types of closures with benefits and suggested uses. There are photos different types of closures and how to insert them. I really liked the instructions on adding a pull tab to a zipper. This would have really helped me in some projects I have made recently.

Different types of trim, such as tassels, and edgings, such as piping, are also covered. Ready made handles and the different types of pockets that can be used are defined and instructions are provided.

I do think this book, and most bag books, could have benefited more from photos of the inside of the bags. I thought this, especially, when I saw The Organized Office Bag project. There are plenty of gorgeous pictures of the outside, but, frankly, the inside is heart of the matter for me. How many pockets are there?

This is a comprehensive book and would be a great addition to any bag maker’s library. It is a necessity for anyone who wants to understand bags and their components to an extent of designing or modifying patterns.

View all my reviews

Creative Prompt #285: Lobster

Lobster roll

Maine lobster

Lobster Man

Red Lobster Restaurant

The Lobsters once again team up with the Bay Area’s best new works company, Z Space, for the third iteration of the wildly successful comedy.

Lobster Ink is the hospitality education system that educates staff and management within the hospitality industry worldwide.

Lobster Shack

The Lobster – 2015 movie

Choc Lobster is a brew first brewed in 2012 that evolved from our Super Small Batch program that we began at the pub to make weird one-off batches.

Definition– “Clawed lobsters comprise a family (Nephropidae, sometimes also Homaridae) of large marine crustaceans. They have long bodies with muscular tails, and live in crevices or burrows on the sea floor. Three of their five pairs of legs have claws, including the first pair, which are usually much larger than the others. Highly prized as seafood, lobsters are economically important, and are often one of the most profitable commodities in coastal areas they populate.[2] Commercially important species include two species of Homarus from the northern Atlantic Ocean, and scampi – the northern-hemisphere genus Nephrops and the southern-hemisphere genus Metanephrops. Although several other groups of crustaceans have the word “lobster” in their names, the unqualified term “lobster” generally refers to the clawed lobsters of the family Nephropidae.[3] Clawed lobsters are not closely related to spiny lobsters or slipper lobsters, which have no claws (chelae), or to squat lobsters. The closest living relatives of clawed lobsters are the reef lobsters and the three families of freshwater crayfish.” (Wikipedia)

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.

We are also talking about this on Twitter. Use the hashtag #CPP

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.

Various & Sundry #13 – Mid-November

Fabric, Thread and Supplies
Need some discount fabrics? I mean full quality fabric for less? Check out this post on The Stitches Swap. Just go look. You know you want to go and look.

Hawthorne Threads has now produced its own fabric line. I saw it the other day while I was browsing their shop and didn’t quite understand what I was seeing. Fabric Worm / Birch Fabrics did this a few years as the modern movement was getting off the ground. I guess Hawthorne Threads thought it was a good idea. If you click on Hawthorne Threads as a designer you will see their three collections, Fair Isle, Bengal and Calliope. they have a pattern for an apron using the Calliope line on their blog. Need a gift? There are similarities in the designs even though the collections are different. Glad to see they are reaching beyond just being an online fabric shop.

Patterns and Projects
Moda has their Modern Building Blocks quilt project, which I really like. Not sure how old it is, because I can’t find the original post. Still here are the directions for putting all of the blocks together.

I found a really nice Pineapple quilt.

I know Thanksgiving is first, but I love this poinsettia table runner, even though I don’t love table runners.  I love the colors (not screamy Christmas) and the design (Drunkard’s Path). Thanks to Mark Lipinski.

Tanesha has been working on art journaling pages and she did one recently that I really like. Check it out on her page.

Moda has a post on their blog about quilt math, Bake Shop Basics: Quick Quilt Math by Oda May, using their precuts. They had to make some assumptions, but I think it is a good post to add to your toolkit.


Weeks Ringle posted about a subject near and dear to my heart. I call it “…but I am not creative”, which is similar to the title of her blog post. while I am fortunate to come from a family with a long tradition of needlework and a mother who encouraged (and paid for) a lot of our crazy creative ideas, not all of my quilts are perfect. I cut off points, my borders don’t fit, I can’t draw a human face. For me, creativity in my chosen medium is about getting better. Every quilt I make and technique I try further my knowledge. It also keeps my brain active and keeps me interested. What I would like to say is “banish the phrase (and related sentences) ‘…but I am not creative’ forever.” Don’t acknowledge the concept, don’t think about it. Everyone is creative, but you have to nurture and practice creativity, just like everything else.

Did you know that Abby Glassenberg has a podcast? No? Me either. There is a link on her blog. She is up to episode 32. Does this mean I am not paying as much attention as I should to new media or does it mean I am part of an insular little community that only talks to itself? I might think about that.

Judy Martin writes “Regardless of your skill or experience level, you can win the coveted Best of Show just by playing my new game, Quilt Show. It is out and available. The game retails for $34.95. It is for 2-4 players. You can read more about it or order it at: (no affiliation)

If you’re curious about the game but want to see how it plays, I have some short videos you can watch. Richard Ham has a series of videos where he plays games and explains what he is doing as he does it. It’s a great way to follow along and tell if a game is right for you. I’ve added his three Quilt Show videos to my Video page. And Dan King, the Game Boy Geek, does a video review of Quilt Show, explaining how to play. I’ve added his video, too.

The game would be great for retreats or Quiltmakers’ Game Nights. I am sure it makes a great gift. 😉

I found about the 45th anniversary of QNM from Judy Martin’s newsletter. See the quilts and read about the event on their blog.

There is an Amish Quilt Exhibit at the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles. Read the article and go see it if you get the chance. I was disappointed that none of the modern inspirations were shown in the paper.


I was featured on the Quilty Therapy blog in her healthy sewist lifestyles series.

If you want a good bio of Judy Martin, she was a Battgirl recently and you can read all about her. Yes, I am an inveterate Judy Martin fan. I love her original blocks, her newsletter and her quilts. The follow-up post on Judy’s quilter, Lana talks about Quilter’s Dream Batting in such a way that it makes me want to try it. Have you used that batting?

Thoughts and Ideas
The Badass  Quilters’ Society had this “To be a BadAss Quilter is to be confident enough to embrace your own style without the need to mock the style of others. To at least aspire to fearlessness in your craft as well as authentic, compassionate and ethical treatment of each other. To be generally opposed to dumb-ass behavior that separates, denigrates or makes light of another’s work, style or lifestyle. In short, we are opposed to being a jerk about most things and about quilting most of all.” to say on a post that I marked to share back in April. Regardless of whether you want to call yourself ‘badass’ or not, the sentiment is really good. What is wrong with your style that you are embarrassed to own it? Why are you reluctant to make a change to a pattern that would clearly be better with your change? Why do you make fun of someone else’s work? The article goes on to discuss all the different types of quiltmakers out there. Go forth and embrace your quilt-i-ness!

Abby Glassenberg wrote a blog post on whether money trickles down to fabric designers. The Bad Ass Quilt Society wrote a follow-up post to Glassenberg’s post. I think it was an excellent example of how our expectations of pricing are way off. I don’t buy kits, but I have run my own business and I know everyone is looking for a discount. One of the things I like about the quilt industry is that it is still filled with a lot of small businesses and women owned businesses. Do you really need a discount?

Other Artists
Next week is the American Thanksgiving, one of my favorite holidays. Perusing some of my favorite sites (see link list on the right hand side), I saw that Quilt Rat had posted a turkey that is perfect for coloring. Print out a few copies, buy some new boxes of crayons and set the kids to work while you cook.

I heard Kevin Kosbab speak the other day at the Bay Area Modern Quilt Guild. He has a really interesting lecture on Mid Century Modern. Look for a more detailed post about him later. See his work and buy his stuff at: Feed Dog Designs

Doing Good Green T Quilt

Green T Quilt
Green T Quilt

I have the Green T quilt in my possession and I am applying the binding. This is the quilt that Gerre and I worked on together at the last Charity Day. Gerre quilted it and did a fantastic job!!

She quilted in a big circle and it really looks fantastic. I used the Reflections fabric (RJR, I think, from the Dark Ages) in a kind of olive green color. It is a little mottled, but I think it fits well with the variety of greens in the quilt.

Gerre and I make a good team and I told her so. I told her I want to work with her again. She is working on quilting the postage stamp/16 patch, which I will bind as well.

I really liked working with Gerre. I am thrilled that we have made this quilt together and I am proud of how it has come out. Yes, I know it is not finished, but I am thrilled with the way it has come together.

Russian Rubix Returns

Did you read the UFO post? I was really thinking about this project when I wrote it. This project is becoming painful. However, I refuse to let it beat me. After talking with Friend Julie a week or so ago, I was ready to dive back in. It is often easier to move on with a project after getting someone’s perspective.

Corner Detail
Corner Detail

I made the top border including the corners, which fit over the side borders. This was not helpful, as they had nothing on which to rest since I hadn’t made the side borders yet. Thus, I decided I needed to make the side borders as I thought it would be easier to put on the top and bottom borders which had the corners if there was enough fabric on the sides to accommodate the corners.

I decided I want this design for the border on this quilt. This decision means that I have to be ok with the idea that two of the borders may have to have a spacer to make them fit. I am not 100% sure the sizing won’t work, but it looks like it won’t. We’ll see as I make more parts of the border, sew bits together, trim other bits and the seam allowances are taken up.

Russian Rubix with borders in process
Russian Rubix with borders in process

I had a few hours on Sunday and spent the time making a side border. It was really nice to just be sewing. I feel like I haven’t had much time to sew lately, so that was part of the reason I enjoyed it so much.

I have a bit left to do, but essentially I finished the side border.



P.S. The piece, as usual, is too large for my design wall, so I had to use tape to keep the border up on the wall. that is the first time I have done that, but I doubt it will be the last because of the size of the pieces I seem to make.


DWM – Mid November

I spent most of the day yesterday out with Kelly and making banana bread. The Young Man budgeted for $40 worth of bananas for his Eagle Project and then BOUGHT THEM!!! People ate bananas, but $40 is a lot of bananas and we had a about 20 left after the project. By yesterday 12 were left, which meant 3 double batches of banana bread. I spent about 3.5 hours in the kitchen, including a walking trip to Trader Joe’s because I ran out of eggs. I got some steps in, but used up a lot of sewing time on this ‘project.’

Design Wall November 17, 2014
Design Wall November 17, 2014

Thus, the design wall looks pretty similar to last week’s version. I have high hopes that the end is nearing on a few projects, but time will tell, especially with holidays coming up.

1. More of the red 2″ squares for my 4 patches. I really need to cut some 2″ turquoise squares. I just can’t seem to get to it.

2. Black & Grey Teenaged Boy Donation Quilt blocks. I finally finished that last block that had been languishing, for, what seemed like, weeks. Next step is to layout all the blocks and look at them. I need to decide whether to sew them together with sashing or not. I hear red fabrics crying out for my attention when I think about this quilt.

3. Pieces and part of the PIQF Cross blocks. I have the other background parts cut as well; they are just somewhere else waiting for me to have a moment to decide on the fabric for the on point squares.

4. Start of a donation block for BAMQG. Made with leaders and enders technique yesterday as I sewed another side of a Russian Rubix border together.

5. My PIQF Cross blocks, some only partially sewn.

5.5 This is the PIQF Cross block that TFQ made. Somehow it got separated from its friends, though, perhaps, it volunteered to play referee between the red 2″ patches from and the Teenaged Boy Donation Quilt. 😉

6. Russian Rubix Octagons. I am still making a few blocks for the border. I am not sure if I will use these in the Russian Rubix quilt or if they will be part of the Snowball/9 Patch quilt I have in mind. If I do that piece it will be the third quilt I make from that collection of fabrics. It is interesting to do that. Perhaps I can consider it a series?

7. Most recent FOTY rectangles. These are the last of the fabrics that TFQ pressed for me. I need to toss another load of new fabric into the wash and continue on.


I am linking up with Judy over at the Patchwork Times. Looking through a few of the other links is fun. I see projects and things that I wouldn’t have otherwise seen.

How UFOs are Born

I was talking to a friend the other day. She makes sculpture out of the stuff she finds in her recycle bin. She makes about one piece a year. It was so fascinating to hear about her process and how she gets her ideas. Somehow we got on the topic of process and she said ‘sometimes, you have to put a piece aside and let it be for awhile.’

I froze, mentally, at least.

Have you ever had a moment happen where you think 10 minutes have gone by, but only seconds passed and you are able to pick up thread of the conversation with nobody the wiser that you just checked out? That happened to me at this moment. A movie started playing in my head of all of the UFOs that I had dredged out of the darkness of the fabric closet and finished in the past couple of years.Then the voice inside my head started screaming NOOOOOOOOO!

I pulled myself together and my friend was still happily chattering on about process.

This one comment made me think about how perfectly good projects become UFOs.

You start out happily working on a project. You are excited, love the fabrics and are already imagining it on your bed or wall or being opened by a lucky recipient at the next holiday.

The first blocks are challenging and you feel excited as you see them come together. The more blocks you make the more mundane and rote the sewing becomes. Boring follows close behind. Still, you think about other things, plan your grocery list and cross things off your mental to do list as you push fabric and thread under the needle of your machine. The charm and allure of the project hasn’t dimmed completely.

You are in the home stretch as you begin to piece the border. Then the process all goes horribly wrong. Your math is off. There is an extra inch where you don’t need it and the fabulously pieced border won’t fit.

Suddenly, you feel tired. The excitement of the project is gone and it is just a big pain in the neck.

You wander off, work on something else, add new deadline. A month passes and the project is taking up space on your design wall and you need the space to finish your donation quilt. You take the project off the design wall just for a small rest, put all the parts in a box and put it front and center on a shelf. Months pass and the space on the shelf is needed so into the closet, near the front, the project box goes.

More months pass. The box gets moved to the back of the closet as some rearrange new fabric.

5 YEARS LATER (+12 other completed projects)

A fabri-lanche hits your fabric closet. You decide this is a good time to take inventory and clean out. Everything comes out of the closet and you go through it before you put it back in. You find the project about which you had totally forgotten. The fabric is old looking and no longer interests you. You throw it into the guild charity bag and know that someone will do something gorgeous with it.