May 2024 Donation Blocks

I have continued to make donation blocks from the green scrap drawer. I have more than enough to make a quilt, but I need to finish my Diagonal 9 patch project first.

Various & Sundry 2024 #4


Because I love the Minikins patterns, I have made more of them and, thus have updated the Minikins page.

Projects, Classes, Patterns, Techniques & Tutorials

 Moni Malene has some interesting pouch patterns. The pattern appears to have just one main pattern piece that you sew and fold into a pouch. I see a number of her videos on Instagram.

For a long time I have been using the AllPeopleQuilt video tutorial for a binding invisible join. It worked really well at the beginning, but lately it hasn’t been working. The binding has been coming out too saggy/baggy and as I hand stitch the back of the binding down, I have had to adjust to the bagginess. Finally, I got fed up and went looking for another tutorial. I found several, of course, but tried the Madam Sew tutorial. This tutorial was not ideal, but it worked a little better than the AllPeopleQuilt tutorial this time. I know the basics of an invisible join, so it didn’t matter than I couldn’t follow the end of Step 3. The measuring is the key and that, I think, has been the problem. Something about the differences in the way the two tutorials measure the ends of the binding makes one work and one not work. What do you use as a guide?

Tools, Books, Fabric, Notions & Supplies

Cutter Pillar magnet sets work with your lightbox to hold your design in place. I bought a set and will let you know what I think.

Media, Books and Articles

In Make Modern Issue 57 ( can subscribe to the library’s electronic copy via Libby-try it!), Sarah Ashford writes an article called 10 Minutes a Day. In the short article, she talks about the benefits of quiltmaking and how getting it back into our life when it has been banished by life can help our health. She also gives ideas about what you can do in 10 minutes. I am a huge fan of this type of strategy. The other day I had 10 minutes left in my lunch hour so I sewed one seam shut on several pouches I was making. Did I finish the pouches?


Sarah adds up the minutes for us, which really brings the power of 10 minutes per day into focus. 10 minutes per day becomes 1 hour, 10 minutes per week. 1 hour, 10 minutes per week becomes 4 hours and 40 minutes per month.

Did I make progress?


As you know I like to finish things, but I really care about progress. Just finishing that one seam means I have one less thing to go next time I get to sew. Make some progress.

A kind friend sent me a pattern out of the blue. It is the Encore Purse Insert by Studio Kat Designs. This is fortuitous as I have been thinking of making myself a purse organizer. I am not familiar with this pattern so I went looking for reviews. I only found one, but in the course of my travels, I found a site with a ‘knowledgebase‘ that includes a variety of different sewing topics. Note the topics are general sewing related, as far as I could tell. You have to be a member to see search results, so I can’t tell you about the quality.

Events, Shops, Exhibits and Shows

The Quilter’s Hall of Fame has a GoFundMe. They are in urgent need of funds for repairs, maintenance, and preparation for our upcoming Celebration and induction of our 2024 Honoree in July. Read more by clicking on the link.

Ace Makerspace is a new (to me) member supported 501c3 makerspace in Oakland near Emeryville here in the Bay Area. SIL2 and I met them at the EBHQ Show last month. This was one of the bright spots of the show. The 24/7 shared workspace includes classes and skill-sharing. They have several different sections that include Textiles, 3D printing, art, a laser, woodwork, metalworking and a large collection of other types of tools and areas. They have 25+ classes that are open to the public every month. You can take classes without being a member, which is nice since memberships are on the steep side


Petunia Pouch Start

Petunia Pouch Start
Petunia Pouch Start

A few weeks ago I bought a couple of new patterns when Sotak Handmade was having a sale. I am sure you saw the Little Pyramid pouches I made. I have also made a Purse Organizer from one of her patterns.

I cut out the Petunia Pouch over the weekend. This is a different kind of pouch. It has a zipper up the middle of the front. From the pattern, I can’t exactly tell how it all goes together.

I do like Sotak Handmade patterns, so I am hopeful that this is a good pattern.

Zentangle Basic

The last time I did a Zentangle, I think, was in 2018. I have a very nice book by Rick and Maria**, the Zentangle Founders that I bought at the class I took with my mom.

Zentangle May 2024
Zentangle May 2024

I was out of town last week and desperate for some creativity work, so I pulled out my Zentangle supplies and did one.

I followed the instructions in the book, because I have forgotten most of what I learned in the class. I didn’t do any shading, but can go back and do some later. You can see how the shading changes the look in one of the previous tiles I made.

I don’t really need the tile, but I have it so I’ll figure out something to do with it.

My doctor wants me to do things to reduce stress. This might be a good activity.







**N. B. : Obviously, you should shop at local quilt shops and small businesses. However, if you are too busy or can’t find what you need there, I use Amazon affiliate links and may be paid for your purchase of an item when you click on an item’s link in my post. There is no additional cost to you for clicking or purchasing items I recommend. I appreciate your clicks and purchases as it helps support this blog.

Retreat Bag FINISHED!!

Crafty Gemini Retreat Bag: Finished
Crafty Gemini Retreat Bag: Finished

Yes! After YEARS I finally finished the Retreat Bag from the Crafty Gemini Organizer Club. WooHoo! I can’t tell you how excited I am to cross this one off my list.

Why? I think, mostly, I am glad to have it done. I have not found a bag yet that I am SUPER excited to use and this is no exception. I hope that it will be a good bag to use, but I am not optimistic. Sad but true.

Crafty Gemini Retreat Bag -full interior (finished)
Crafty Gemini Retreat Bag -full interior (finished)

The inside uses that fabulous Brocade Peony fabric from Philip Jacobs. I LOVE* that fabric. I have a lot of it, because I love and have used it quite a bit, but have never found the exact perfect project for it. I’ll keep looking.

As you can see (and I partially showed before), this bag has three interior sections. The top section is divided into three pockets. The middle section is open with pockets on the edges to hold a long ruler and other long things. The bottom is a mesh pocket. The mesh pocket is the one I sewed on upside down and had to rip out.

Crafty Gemini Retreat Bag ruler pocket
Crafty Gemini Retreat Bag ruler pocket

As soon as I finished the bag, I tried the ruler pocket, because I like that idea. Predictably, it is not sized well for Creative Grids  6.5 inch x 24.5 inch rulers.** I was able to get the ruler into both pockets, which holds it very well. It wasn’t easy to get it in and getting it out meant straining the pocket seam almost to ripping. As you know, Creative Grids rulers are half an inch longer than most Omnigrids rulers and that half inch makes all the difference in this project.

Crafty Gemini Retreat Bag - partial interior (finished)
Crafty Gemini Retreat Bag – partial interior (finished)

Now, I should have known that this would be a problem and constructed the pockets differently. If I were to make this bag again, I might make one of the center pockets a flap with Velcro.** This would mean that I could slip the ruler into the top, then press the flap over the rest of the ruler. I’ll have to look at that pocket and see if I can still do that. I have an Omnigrid 24 inch ruler**, but I almost never use it. Frankly, it probably doesn’t matter as the long ruler I bring with me to Sew Day is the Karen Kay Buckley Adjustable ruler**. It is less likely to get broken in transit, because it breaks down into 4-5 pieces. Really, I don’t even really need this pocket.  Again, I should have thought about that in advance. It is possible that I could remove the “ruler pockets” and add another zipper pocket to the center  even with the binding already stitched down. If I don’t do something, then that center area is just wasted space.  Bleah!

Crafty Gemini Retreat Bag - top zipper pocket
Crafty Gemini Retreat Bag – top zipper pocket

The zipper pocket will, I hope be useful. It will definitely be more useful made out of vinyl than it would have been made out of fabric. The “out of sight out of mind” adage is alive and well in my life.

I think dividing it into three was a good move even though I can’t put larger items into it. I think packing a large pocket full would have made it misshapen eventually. I am not sure what I will use this bag for, so that could also never have happened.

Crafty Gemini Retreat Bag - mesh pocket
Crafty Gemini Retreat Bag – mesh pocket

The mesh pocket is one large space. The problem described above might happen below. Oh well. I don’t want to worry about it until I have to worry about it.

I like how the white mesh works with my Brocade Peony fabric. I can still see the design, but it tones down the Brocade Peony colors (motifs?) just a little.

In general, this pattern was pretty straightforward to put together. It was on my list for 1,000 years, because I just didn’t get around to it. As is usual with Crafty Gemini patterns, the written instructions are very basic and, for me, almost unusable. There are no pictures, because the videos that come with the Clubs and projects are very detailed.







*What is it with me and CAPITAL letters today?



**N. B. : Obviously, you should shop at local quilt shops and small businesses. However, if you are too busy or can’t find what you need there, I use Amazon affiliate links and may be paid for your purchase of an item when you click on an item’s link in my post. There is no additional cost to you for clicking or purchasing items I recommend. I appreciate your clicks and purchases as it helps support this blog.

Brown Strip Donation Quilt Finished

Brown Strip donation quilt - finished
Brown Strip donation quilt – finished

This quilt was finished and shown  at the last meeting. Joelle left before I could take a photo, but she was kind enough to send me some. I forgot that I made this way back in February. I thought it was a more recent project.

Carrie did the binding, but I am not sure who quilted it. She added some orange, which I thought was a bold choice. It kind of goes with the turquoise. It is always interesting to see the choices that others make. It is a good exercise in not being in control of every step. As I have said a million times, I love the team effort.

Brown Strip donation quilt back- finished
Brown Strip donation quilt back- finished

The back is one piece of fabric, a postcard print, which I would love more if it weren’t beige!

The Pink Project v.1

The Pink Project is done, but I have decided that I am not done with this idea. I have packaged up the pouches and they are ready to send off to the president of our organization. I like having an opportunity to make pouches for a good cause and try out new patterns.

I had a tote from the organization I used to hold them all. Next time I’ll have to use one of my tote patterns and put all the smaller bags inside. Here are all the pouches for The Pink Project v.1:

Yes, I added the Friesan to the mix even though I originally made it for me. It has been sitting on my shelf unused since it came back from the Fair. I can always make another.

All the others were made for this project. I have a new pattern from the Sotak Handmade sale, the Petunia Pouch, that I plan to make for v.2 of the Pink Project.

Another Look at Corner Store

Corner Store Blocks - late May 2012
Corner Store Blocks – late May 2012

At the Retreat, Nicki was working on a quilt that reminded me of the Corner Store quilt.

I started this quilt in 2011 after seeing a very small version of it in a book by Lark Crafts called Pretty Little Mini Quilts. It is a quilt you can do in different ways and with scraps. Both Nicki and I used scrap triangles, so the corners are asymmetrical. I put triangles on two corners (opposite each other) while Nicki put triangles on one corner and then arranged them so all the of the triangles were touching. She called them ‘gems’, which I think is a lovely term.

This is a great scrap quilt, because you can use charm squares for the background and use up a bunch of scrap triangles.


While I don’t think you need it, I have a tutorial on making a Corner Store block.

More Retreat Bag

Retreat Bag mesh pocket
Retreat Bag mesh pocket

I made some progress on the Retreat Bag over the last few days. This is the mesh pocket shown where it will go on the bag. You can see where it is if you compare the Brocade Peony fabric on the top and the bottom.

I used white mesh, so the colors in the bottom of the photo are a little duller.

Retreat Bag interior
Retreat Bag interior

I actually sewed this on to the main part of the Retreat Bag, but I sewed it upside down, so I had to rip it out and now it is just clipped where I want to sew it.

I thought about not ripping it out and opening the bag like a book, but decided it would be handy to be able to hang the bag up and not have the zippers on the bottom.

New Donation Block Inspiration

BAMQG Donation Block
BAMQG Donation Block

I saw this block on Saturday at the guild meeting. The blocks is very appealing. I suspect it is all that pink, but it could also be the combination of pink and green.

I didn’t get the specs, but think the patches are 2.5 inches (cut), the pink sashing is probably .75 inches (cut) and the green sashing is probably 5/8 inches (cut). Once I get some of my other projects out of the way, I might try one of these blocks.

Claire is really doing a good job trying to inspire everyone to participate in the guild donation project. She always has something new to inspire us.

Patchwork Wheel Block Again

Patchwork Wheel Comparison
Patchwork Wheel Comparison

Although I don’t need more ideas for donation blocks, I can’t help thinking about them. After yesterday’s post about the new block Claire has put forward, I was somehow reminded that I have been thinking about the Patchwork Wheel blocks the guild collected in 2012.

As I said in a post back in the day, I just used the kits I was given to make the blocks. I could definitely make more of these blocks using some of the 2.5 inch squares I have collected. The blocks would be small and I would need a lot of them to make a whole quilt. I think I used 5 inch squares in the quilt I made before.

This is a different pattern and worth thinking about making again.

Green Diagonal 9 Patch

Green Diagonal 9 Patch
Green Diagonal 9 Patch

I only mentioned this quilt briefly in the Retreat Projects post. Now that the Retreat Organizer is off the design wall, I was able to put this quilt up so I could look at it and work on it.

As mentioned I started this quilt at the retreat, but I just made blocks. I didn’t really have space to put them up on a design wall and look at them. Now that I can, I am pretty pleased. I like the variety of greens. I also like the contrast with the background.

I still have about 60 blocks to make, which is a lot, but doable if I sit down and do it.

I could use this as a leaders and enders project with the Retreat Organizer, but I have been using the green donations quilt blocks as leaders and enders. I’ll start making blocks again soon.

I haven’t actually worked on it since I put it up yesterday, but the opportunity it there. This will be the newest of the Niece-phews quilts.

Retreat Bag Once More

I had to clear the Retreat Organizer off the design wall, which encouraged me to start working on it. I made small amounts of progress after work each night last week. I feel well into now and was sad not to be able to work on it yesterday.

First, I was on the hardware step, so I added buckles and made straps. In the photo above (left) I have the female side of the buckles attached to the exterior. On the right you can see the male side of the buckles with the straps attached, but not attached to the exterior of the bag.

In this pattern, the straps are appliqued to the exterior not appliqued and sewn into a seam.

Retreat Organizer interior vinyl pocket
Retreat Organizer interior vinyl pocket

I also worked a little on the interior. This is one large pocket that has been divided into three.

This was originally supposed to be a fabric pocket. For me, out of sight is out of mind, so I made the pocket(s) out of vinyl. I put some fold over elastic** over the edge to avoid looking a raw edge.

On the picture you can see some tape and tissue paper, both of which I used to sew the dividing lines on the vinyl. These are pockets you could customize. I almost left one big pocket, but decided even a vinyl pocket might become a black hole of doom.

This project is off the design wall, which is great, but it is now spending most of its time on my ironing board. I really need a larger work table.

You can find this pattern with all of the videos on the Crafty Gemini website as the Retreat-in-a-Bag project.




**N. B. : Obviously, you should shop at local quilt shops and small businesses. However, if you are too busy or can’t find what you need there, I use Amazon affiliate links and may be paid for your purchase of an item when you click on an item’s link in my post. There is no additional cost to you for clicking or purchasing items I recommend. I appreciate your clicks and purchases as it helps support this blog.

Finished: Pink Palomino Pouch

Palomino Pouch #2
Palomino Pouch #2

I finally took some time on Mother’s Day to finish this pouch. It has been laying around for a few weeks. It was the  perfect project for Mother’s Day. I got to sew AND I finished something.

Palomino Pouch - end
Palomino Pouch – end

This is the second one of this pattern I have made. It is a fairly easy project, though the turns on the curved end are tight. Again, I did some fussy cutting, which I think looks nice.

I know this isn’t exactly pink; it’s more peachy, but it does show the range of pinks. I am definitely in the “give me bright pink” like the Bluestem Pouch camp. Still, this is a nice soft look

I was also pleased that the gluing together part worked for me this time. I had a better idea of how to do it and I am sure that helped.

The other thing I did was to sew down the quarter marking areas. I did a few steps over the quarter marking to tack the various pieces in place, then I went around the whole pieces. That worked pretty well, though those curves are tight for my machine.

Palomino Pouch interior
Palomino Pouch interior

The inside looks like an inside.

I used a leftover zipper and one of the zipper pulls from Sew Hungry Hippie. I also forgot to put a label inside. Oh well.

Lost and Found Blocks pt.4

These three blocks are the last blocks I found from the batch with the Handbag Sampler.

Vintage block
Vintage block

I did not make this block. And, sadly, I don’t remember where I got it.

It is really interesting in a couple of ways. First the layout is quite unique and reminds me of some of the innovative designs that were NOT selected for the 1933 World’s Fair.

The fabrics in the circles are also interesting. they look like 1930s or 1940s fabrics. Not sure. I could ask TFQ.

Eye of God block
Eye of God block

I am pretty sure this is a leftover block from the Eye of God quilt. The Eye of God was begun in a class in July 2004 with Virginia Schnalle through CQFA. It was one of the first improv type piecing classes I took and I think the quilt was really successful. This blocks has an interesting feeling of spirals because of the way I placed the fabric.

I suppose I could make this into a pillow. I don’t really need another pillow on my couch, but perhaps as a gift?

Passionate Purple block?
Passionate Purple block?

Finally, this block has a really subtle color scheme. Even though it is not a group I would normally use, it is very successful.

It has to be a leftover block from the Passionate Purple quilt, which means that some of the circles came from AJA and Julie.

As with the other blocks, I am not sure what to do with these.