"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jer 29:11 (NIV)

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Design process musings

One of the quilts that is currently in process is my tea towel quilt.    I've been stumped for a while on how to work with the block ideas that were going through my mind because nothing was gelling.    And i have to admit that a lot of the problem was the fact that I tend to be very much bound to precise, symmetrical designs.   Designs that I can create on the computer and then make.    But this quilt just has not wanted to cooperate with that kind of perspective and style.   Nothing like having a quilt that wants to throw a "temper tantrum" and not play nicely.

As I've started making blocks, i started to baste them down the interfacing that I'm using as a base at the moment.   And my first layout is pictured to the right.   However, while I like the blocks there was something that just seemed to be missing (yes - other than the rest of the blocks needed to fill in all that white space....).  

After thinking about it for a while, I decided to put in the River Thames.   And will be putting a little boat on it to represent the boat I was on for a river tour.  However, putting in a river that winds through the quilt top in a similar manner to real life isn't something that can be done in a planned out, graphical manner.   So I pulled fabric out for the water, and plopped it down on top of the quilt in roughly the direction I wanted the river to start flowing.  Being brave and daring (or was that desperate because the dratted quilt wouldn't cooperate?), I took my scissors and started free-from cutting the river out being careful to not cut the towel and blocks that were underneath it.

What I ended up with is a meandering river that I'm happy with.  The third pic here shows how the river looked right after cutting.   To get the curves and turns in it that I wanted I'm going to have to use 3 different pieces of the blue.   I'm planning on using a wee bit of fusible web underneath the river, and then just straight stitching the fabric down leaving the edges unstitched.  

After cutting the river, I unbasted the blocks that were under the river and moved them out of the way.   I will be putting pieced blocks in and around the river, but didn't want the flags or the silhouette block under the river.   In playing with the layout this evening I've also decided that the quilt is demanding that not all blocks be placed at right angles to the tea towel.  Hence the flag that is placed at an angle.

I think I'll be much happier (and have a much "quieter" quilt) if I don't leave the quilt as a plain rectangle.    I may even end up cutting it and moving sections around a bit in the layout.   Haven't thought about that for sure though.

1. I received word today that the conversion of my teaching license from initial practitioner to practitioner has been approved, which means I'll be eligible for a contract for next year.

2. the weather here has finally warmed up!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Easter Weekend Progress.....

In spite of being at school for too many hrs getting grading done (school was closed for Good Friday) and bringing papers home to get graded, I've managed to make progress this Easter weekend.  

Yesterday I made the remaining string blocks needed to finish up the quilt top for American Heroes.   Today I added the rows at the top and bottom of the quilt.   Only had to frog-stitch one full row and part of another to get it right.

Then I made a couple of English flag blocks for my London tea towel quilt.   The picture is fuzzy because the camera just didn't want to cooperate with me today.    Blocks are basted down to gridded interfacing in a temp layout.   Still under consideration for blocks are the ubiquitous London phone booth, a Beefeater guard from the Tower of London, a Guard from Buckingham Palace, and London Street blocks.  Meandering through the quilt will be the River Thames.   On the river I want to put an applique version of the tour boats similar to what I was on when I was there.   Flag blocks were made with ribbon and raw edge applique.


1. God's gift of eternal life through His Only Son.

2. God's provisions for me.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Retreat fun

Last week was spring break where I teach school, and one of the online groups that I'm a part of had their semi-annual retreat that weekend.   Such fun to be able to attend for almost the whole retreat, even if it meant driving through Chicago which I hate doing!  

I was a little more restrained in the projects that I took to work on with me.    There were four main projects - the wedding quilt, my fav fabric quilt, my London Tea Towel wallhanging, and my pumpkin BOM.  I had also taken fabric to make a sample quilt of the next full quilt design that I plan to submit for publication.   Ended up not getting that done because the fabric I took was all too similar in color to make the pattern work.   Did get fabric that would work, but did not get the top started.

First thing I finished up was the Fav Fabric quilt because that just needed the border added to it.    The top is now ready for quilting.  I plan to do that this summer.   It will go to my niece as a belated gift for her graduation from army reserve basic training last fall.
Next up was finishing the remaining 4 locks of my pumpkin BOM that was started way back in 2005.   I do believe it has aged enough.    ....smile....   I put the 12 blocks together with the sashing between the blocks and rows.   Still to do on this quilt is a wee bit of embroidery on one block and completion of the top panel.  The top panel runs the entire width of the quilt and is 15" tall like the blocks.   The BOM has a full width pumpkin vine and I want to change that.   I plan to put the words "Blessings from God" at the top with vines, pumpkins and leaves twining around them.   Still need to design the lettering before I can complete the top section.

Next up was putting together a quilt top for American Hero Quilts.   The center of the quilt shown here was inspired by a quilt block that I saw posted on Pinterest.com.   I made 8" unfinished blocks from red scrap strings.  The blue is a patriotic remnant that I had at home.    The center of the quilt measures 60" by 60".   To make it large enough for the size that is requested, I still need to add two more rows of blocks at the top and bottom of the quilt.  However, I did not have anymore of my red strings at the retreat with me, so I had to wait to make more blocks till I got home.   Those blocks are in process now and the quilt top should be finished tonight.  It will be done once the 4 rows of blocks have been added.

Next posting will show progress on tea towel wallhanging and the wedding quilt.  


1. 31 more school days till summer vacation!

2. I'm feeling better!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

First Setting Block Pattern Is Up

I've uploaded the first pattern for the BOM setting.   This pattern makes the blocks that are needed for the quilt border.

You can find the pattern on my website here -


1.  Blocks that go together easily!

2.  Spring weather and no snow.  =)

Spring Break Doings....

Have managed to get a wee bit of sewing done this week so far in between what has seemed like a bazillion errands.    Did have to go into school this week as well and spent almost 6 hrs there grading assignments.   Brought a large stack home with me as well that still need to be graded before Monday and the return of school gets here.

 I've managed to finish off two quilt tops for kiddo's so far this week.   The first one will be quilted this summer and is earmarked for an agency in Phoenix that serves moms who are single parents.   One of my best friends is the director of the agency and I plan to make several of them to send for the mom's to have to choose from if that is what they want to spend their 'points' on.   This quilt top started with a charm pack of Moda flannels and some other flannel scraps that a friend gave me.

The second and third tops were made from challenge blocks and will be going to Sunshine.  The one with the winter bears still needs a border, but I'm still trying to figure out what to do for it.   Both will finish out at approximately 42" square.

 The final quilt top is one that I started yesterday.   The center checkerboard squares came from Pat, online friend.    They were part of a box of fabric for charity quilts that she sent me several yrs ago.  I made 64-sq checkerboard blocks with the squares and had these two purple blocks (among lots of others).  I added the piano key / churn dash border around the outside with the last of the purple strips that I had pulled out for a previous quilt.  

The quilt is now resting on my 'design floor' until I figure out what to add next to it.   It is currently about 31" wide by 43" long.    It really needs a border that will add more in width than it does in length.   I'm just not sure what that border will be.

Gratitudes -

1. The quilt retreat is here!!!!!!!!!!

2. For having the 'problem' of too many kids signing up for my classes next school year.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Tea Towel - Finally in progress

I finally have the start of a plan for this quilt....lol.    Have found several blocks and block ideas that I'm working to put together for the quilt.   It's been interesting to search for block ideas that relate to London.

The first block I've finished is a silhouette of Queen Elizabeth.   I used raw edge stitching and machine applique to make the block.  

The second block I made was made to represent the Pearlie Kings and Queens of London.   I used 37 buttons to make the design.  The buttons were all sewn down by machine using a zigzag stitch, with a length of 0.  I've got enough buttons to make one more 'pearlie' block, but haven't decided on a final design yet for it.

I've got ideas for 4 or so more blocks to make for the quilt.    


1. Warmer weather is finally here - yeah for spring!

2. Feeling better!   Yippee.....

April Block is up for the BOM

I've finally been able to get the pattern for April's block uploaded to my website for everyone to makes.

I called this pattern Tulips because that is what it reminded me of, and because I'm thankful for the warmer weather nowadays!

To get to the pattern, click the link below:

1. Feeling better - and hoping to continue that!
2. Spring Break is here.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Running late with the next block

Thanks to being sick this week and ongoing issues with my computer I'm running late with getting the next block and pattern posted for my BOM.  

Forgive for that, am continuing to work to get the FTP software configured so that I can upload the document with the pattern