Various & Sundry 2019 #12

I really can’t believe it is November — oops! I meant I can’t believe November is ending. The good part of November ending is that it is the YM’s birthday today. He was born on a Saturday so this particular birthday is special to me. I am now the mom of a 23 YO! How can that be? The bad part of November ending is that there are very few days left to make projects for Christmas! Yikes. On so many levels, time is just flying along.

I updated the Quilt Gallery Menu (check the header) to include more quilts, tutorials and pages of series quilts. Take a look!


OMCA: Woman Statue
OMCA: Woman Statue

As I mentioned in two recent Burning Man posts, I went to the Oakland Museum of California. I did see some other things besides the Burning Man exhibit. One was this beautiful statue that was 40 feet tall and a fraction of the original’s height.  The lines and shape of the body are simply amazing.

Projects, Patterns, & Tutorials

Charlotte Hawkes of Scrapitude fame is coming out with a  new mystery quilt in January. The kickoff post, which I found a little confusing, is already posted on her site. Thanks to Valerie of Evening in the Garden for the link.

Remember I talked about Mega Pinnies? I saw a post from the designer where she showed a whole bunch of different Mega Pinnies. It is fun to see the different fabrics used. Also, I found that you can buy the pattern from the author’s Etsy shop.

LillyElla of Undercover Maker Mat fame is back with a Mini Maker Station pattern. This would make a great swap gift or a great gift in general.

The Daredevils QAL is finished, but I found one block I forgot to post. Katherine’s Block is one of the best of the bunch. I like the way the circle is split.

Scissor cozies are something I haven’t thought about, but I saw the tutorial and thought that it would be a nice idea for a future gift grouping.

In the paper department is a site that has origami and paper folding. I saw a project called a Mette Ring. I have to try it as it reminds me of a slightly different take on a wreath.

The directions for Bonnie Hunter’s newest mystery quilt, Frolic, were posted today. You can see all of the posts on the Frolic Mystery Quilt tab.  The directions are only free for a limited time, so make sure you save them if you can’t start now.

Fabric, Notions, Tools & Supplies

SewTites is having a sale through December 2. Get some! They are fabulous!

I found glitter vinyl on the Sew Hungry Hippie site. I cant’ remember if I told you about it. If I did then this is a reminder to go look at it. I think I might be in love with glitter vinyl!

Other Artists

Charlotte of the Slightly Mad quilt Lady talked about how to discuss your quilts in a recent post. She follows up on that topic in an even more recent post by clarifying that ALL quilts have a story and we must all tell their stories. I agree. If we don’t tell the stories, they will be lost and that is a crying shame.

Because of my job I found out about a site called Behance. Of course, I did a search for ‘quilt’. I update it every day and look to see what I can see. Through that site, I found Karlee Porter’s site. Her lion is fabulous!

I have heard of Lynn Carson Harris before. Today’s Quilter, perhaps? I don’t remember. I just know that I like her quilts: lots of pieces. She is also working on a  series about domestic abuse. This is a subject near to my heart, not because of personal experience, but because it primarily (not exclusively!) affects women and children. A number of the donation quilts I make are sent to a local domestic violence shelter to comfort the victims who have taken shelter there. The quilting on LCH’s quilts is wonderful.


I often think of QALs and SALs and BOMs as another thing on my to do list. Gretchen posted about why she likes them and it really made me think about these group projects in a different way.

I always think of creatives like musicians as just making their music and that is enough creativity for them. Boy was I wrong, at least in the case of Sir Rod Stewart. He has worked on a creative, non-musical project for 23 years and he finally shows it off. I can really understand how he would want a break from the music, but would still want to be creative. This is amazing and I am thrilled he finally showed it off. I use a lot of creative problem solving at work, but it is a lot different that the part of my brain that is used when I sew. Both are good. I can see the benefits of engaging in both.

The article about drawing to learn is really interesting.

Amish Acres in Indiana is set to close. My friend thinks it would be a great quilt retreat and I should buy it.

Frances of the Off Kilter Quilt and Quilt Fiction fame wrote a long essay about why she makes quilts, the making of quilts in general, quilt stories and selling quilts. She writes “I said I wouldn’t go into quilters underselling their quilts on Etsy, but I will say that while it bothers me, I think I understand why you might sell a quilt easily worth $1,000 for $250. For most quiltmakers, the point of making a quilt is not having a quilt, at least not after you’ve been quilting long enough to have more quilts than you know what to do with. The point of making a quilt is making a quilt. In this way, making a quilt is similar to taking a trip to Paris. You purchase fabric and thread just as you would an airline ticket. Working on the quilt is akin to spending a series of gauzy fall afternoons walking along the Seine or through the Tuileries Garden. You wouldn’t count that time as billable hours. You are passionate about being there—in fact, being there is part of what gives your life meaning. When you return home, you don’t expect someone to reimburse you for your travel expenses. The cost of the travel (the fabric, the thread) is the price you were willing to pay for the experience.  ….” Go read the rest of point #4 (or the whole thing!). It is well worth your time. She makes some excellent points.


Philip Jacobs has a Zazzle shop full of items covered by his designs.

Check my Cafe Press store for holiday gifts.


Edgestitch had a reminder to go get a Mammogram. When was your last one? I want to extend that out to general self-care. I get a haircut religiously every 5-6 weeks. I get a pedicure every month. I exercise. These things cost money and there are other ways to care for yourself. I think it is  important to care for yourself because you can’t care for the others in your life if you are falling apart. What is your self-care routine?

Creativity Quote

Life is busy right at the moment. I’ll get back on track next week. In the meantime, I read an article* in the Wall Street Journal about Julianne Moore called “Julianne Moore is fighting for safer kids.” The article is by Jason Gay, and was posted Nov. 6, 2019 8:34 am ET

“I ask Moore about winning her Oscar, and what it meant—if, after being nominated four times, including twice in 2003, for supporting actress in The Hours and best actress in Far From Heaven, it loomed, perhaps heavily, as a goal. “You can’t have it as a goal,” she says. “It can’t be. It’s a marker. I remember somebody asked Jodie Foster about winning an Oscar, and she said, ‘Oh, my God, it was such a relief.’ ” Moore smiles. “I laughed, because that is how it feels. You have to work for the work. You have to like the process and like doing it because you like doing it. And yet our culture has these competitions and these prizes…so on one hand, it feels like, Phew.”

I left in the surrounding text so you would understand the context, but I have highlighted the sentences that spoke to me.

Hope you are doing well!




*The link will probably bring you to a paywall. Logon to your public or university library and get access to the WSJ through them.

BAM Challenge

BAM Color Challenge November 2019
BAM Color Challenge November 2019

The guild did a color challenge recently where people were supposed to make something they like from a color swatch they picked out of a bag.

It was a small, but mighty group. There were people who participated for the first time and also those who don’t have a lot of spare time. I was really thrilled to see some new folks participating Everyone did a wonderful job.

Design Wall Monday November 2019

My design wall is not full right now. Neither design wall is full as I work on gifts for Christmas and upcoming birthdays.

Design Wall - 25 November 2019
Design Wall – 25 November 2019

My small design wall is not completely empty either.

There are two projects on the left. I have the leftover Strip blocks from my donation quilts in the very upper left hand corner. I am saving the leftovers for a quilt that will encompass all the colors.

Directly under those blocks are the 2.5 inch squares for Fabric of the Year 2019.

Bottom left: the Ring Toss block is still hanging around.

In the middle, you can see that I have made progress on the White improv donation top since yesterday.

That’s all there is. Stay tuned as I get back to making some quilts.

White Improv Progresses

White Improv Donation Top - November 2019
White Improv Donation Top – November 2019

Now that I finished the White Strip Donation Top, I can work on the White Improv Donation Top in earnest.

I spent time on it this past weekend and the slabs are getting bigger.Except for the middle, the piece is still very much in process. The strips I have are very uniform in size and I feel like the other pieces are all triangles, so this isn’t an easy piece to put together.

There is a large-ish slab in the bottom of the drawer and I don’t know if I will make a journal cover or if I will use it in this piece.

Successful Scrappy

Valerie made a comment about the White Strip Donation top the other day and it got me thinking about successful scrap quilts.

White Strip Donation Top: finished
White Strip Donation Top: finished

I think the strip and improv donation tops have been successful because of the consistency of color used. Primarily, these quilts are monochromatic. I say primarily, because fabrics often have different colors on top of a primary color, so other colors are included in monochromatic quilts. Also, for many of them, I have used a different color (complimentary, usually, though neutral as well) for the sashing and border.

I have used a different color as sashing or border to provide contrast in the strip quilts. The White Strip Donation Top I recently finished has a different look. I used fabrics with a  white background for all the pieces. Readers can see some of the other colors as they dominate the image (click on it to see it larger and get a better view), but the overall look is still white.

I often worry about the successful color selection of “paper bag” scrap quilts. Many find it fun to grab a piece out of a paper bag and use it without thought or consideration. I find this method of selecting fabrics to be incredibly stressful. I like to carefully select my fabrics. In that way, I feel like I have a better chance of a successful final project.  I don’t want to spend time on a quilt that ends up ugly.

Scrapitude Carnivale Finished
Scrapitude Carnivale Finished

Making the Scrapitude quilt was an exercise in faith. It was a mystery quilt so I had no idea how it would come out. Often, I wait until the end to see the finished product, but this time I stuck to the schedule. I still carefully selected my fabrics and was careful to use the same type of prints for the background-dots on white.

I love the way this quilt came out and I do enjoy looking at it. I wonder, though, when I look at it if I should have included the blacks, dark greens and some chocolate pieces? I like all the fabrics I chose.** I often think of making another version of this quilt and making the changes I wonder about.

I think carefully selecting fabrics even if you are grabbing from your scrap bin is really key to a good looking finished quilt. The quilt will look like your style. You will like it and you will enjoy working on it.




** I think it is absolutely key to only work with fabrics you like. Whether it is the brand, the designer or the colors, life is too short to work with fabrics that make you cringe.

Mondo Bag Finished

Mondo Bag
Mondo Bag

I have worked on this project a little bit over the past several months, but decided I needed it out of my workspace. I finished it on Sunday.

It is big!

I thought of using it as an officer bag, but I really like the fabrics I used. I think I will keep it and use it to carry my hand quilting project around.

Mondo Bag lining and handles
Mondo Bag lining and handles

Again, the method of construction foiled my attempts at organizing the fabrics. I still think it looks good and I really like the lining and handle fabrics.

White Strip Donation Top: Finished

White Strip Donation Top: finished
White Strip Donation Top: finished

All the blocks for this quilt were made from my scrap drawer. I know I can make at least two more quilts from this one drawer. Yes, I used some yardage for the back, the border, the sashing and the cornerstones, but that is a small amount compared to the blocks, I think.

Burning Man pt.2

Burning Man Temple - detail
Burning Man Temple – detail

The other thing I saw at the Burning Man exhibit was the the temple. Apparently, they burn it down. Along with the Man, this is a symbol of letting things go or not being attached to things.

The wood was not finished and it looked like balsa wood, but was much heavier. The wood looked like slightly better quality than plywood, but I don’t know what it was. I also couldn’t find a plaque that would tell me.

There was an amazing amount of detail.

Burning Man temple: eye shape
Burning Man temple: eye shape

My favorite shape was the eye shape. I could see how I could piece it and the variety of fabrics would make that shape part of a unique quilt.

Finished: Bat Tablerunner

Bat Tablerunner: finished
Bat Tablerunner: finished

I finished the Bat Tablerunner on Wednesday and was really glad. I wanted to get it to Amy at the meeting. Fortunately she will be there! It isn’t in time for Halloween, but she is happy to use it next year.

Bat tablerunner - back quilting
Bat tablerunner – back quilting

I didn’t intend to quilt it myself, but I ended up doing it, I thought I would just get the project done and it wouldn’t be another WIP in the world, even if it wasn’t on my list. I feel good that it is finished and Amy can enjoy it.

I might have chosen a different color for the back, but I just used black over the whole back. I did switch colors on the top.

I am particularly fond of the orange bat. I think it came out pretty well.

Bat tablerunner - machine binding
Bat tablerunner – machine binding

I tried the Bat binding tool and didn’t find it helpful. I just felt like I didn’t need it to get the binding on. I suppose I didn’t take the time to learn to use it. I am sure there is a video around that I should view. It would probably help me understand better whether it would be useful. I did use Sarah Goer’s method to create a machine binding. It looks pretty good and I am proud of it.

Carrie the Raffle Queen

Carrie's raffle prize work
Carrie’s raffle prize work

Carrie, a self-described inexperienced sewist, made the most amazing group of gifts for next year’s raffle baskets.

One of the reasons I love my guild is that people step up when you ask them to help. Carrie just decided she was going to make some items and did it! I was not expecting this many gifts

This is an amazingly generous group of gifts. It means that each basket will have a book, a group of the items pictured above, a cord holder, some fabric, an organizer, scissors or clips and a small item like a threader or finger light. I think this is a good amount of stuff.

Carrie's raffle prize work-detail
Carrie’s raffle prize work-detail

I think I will have to get busy and make pouches in which to put the various items!

I might even be inspired enough to make Jane Market Totes in which to put the items. Then, again, maybe not. I have a lot of shopping bags.

Guild Leaders & Enders Demo

I did a demo at the guild meeting with sewing machine and everything. I created a handout, which might be useful to some of you. I didn’t do a video, but there are some on the web already.

Bonnie Hunter is the leaders and enders queen. She has a number of books on the subject and also writes about the subject frequently on her blog. She also writes a column for Quiltmaker magazine on scraps. Her blog and shop can be found at

The basic concept is: instead of just stitching over a scrap at the end of a seam, you insert piecing from another project. So each time you start or end a seam and you are ready to snip the thread and press, you sew some component of another project. (Color Girl Quilts blog)

Keys for me:

  • Designate, at least in your mind, a primary and secondary project. I like to have them completely different. Different shapes or different colors or something so I don’t get confused.
  • Work small. Once the project gets too large, it is difficult to keep it in the subordinate position.
  • Keep patches/units ready to go near your sewing machine.
  • I find it easier to work on two completely different projects. Anything with a ¼” seam allowance will work.
  • Having shorter bits of thread between pieces keeps the thread trash to a minimum on the finished quilt. While this might be picky and odd, I sincerely dislike a lot of thread ends handing around a finished quilt.

The point of leaders and enders has little to do with using thread bunnies regularly, but to get more done. Using the leaders and enders method, I get a lot more community quilts finished.



Burning Man

Burning Man Dragon Vehicle
Burning Man Dragon Vehicle

No, I am not going to Burning Man. I did visit an exhibit of their costumes, vehicles and ephemera at the Oakland Museum of California with my sorority alumna group last week. I was really fascinated by the vehicles and the costumes. I also learned a lot about Burning Man, the organization, in general.

It was hard to get close enough to the costumes to see what they were made of. It did make me want to construct an elaborate Halloween costume.

Burning Man Dragon Vehicle - detail
Burning Man Dragon Vehicle – detail

Mostly, I took a photo of the dragon because I thought the YM would like it (he did!). I looked closer, however and found that it was made of common household metals – like muffin pans and cake tins. I couldn’t help but think of a group of mothers getting together and building this thing. It looks very fierce from afar, but close up I saw a message of home and kitchen, a place in which to take refuge.

Theater vehicle
Theater vehicle

Another vehicle looked like an old fashioned theater. I wasn’t tall enough to really see inside. I, also, couldn’t get close enough to see if they were showing movies, but I loved the plush seating, the flocked wallpaper and the aura of one of the grand old theaters.

Big Wheel
Big Wheel

Finally, I couldn’t help thinking of one of those old bikes with the huge front wheel when I saw the last vehicle.

It also made me think of a Big Wheel. I couldn’t tell if one person could drive it or if three people would need to work together to drive it.

There were others, of course. I didn’t take pictures of everything there. It is an interesting exhibit and well worth the time to visit.

White Donation Strip Quilt Progresses

White Strip Donation Quilts - November 2019
White Strip Donation Quilts – November 2019

It is a slow process, but I am making progress. I have all the sashing cut and placed. I have also started to sew the sashing to the blocks.

It is hard to see because of the color, but I think you can make out the blocks.