Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Handwork Holiday

I will be taking a vacation in July, with plans to do hand work while I travel.  I've decided to commit to not using my sewing machine for the whole month of July.

That means packing up some partially finished projects.  Tereece Beesley fans, you are excused until Aug 1.  The bottom right background sections are mostly pieced now.  Having put together 100+ unique pieces for the cartoons, I'm looking forward to how fast the popsicles themselves should go.
And Monet needs a little break so I can get excited about it again.

But I finally get to start on the hexies...which will look a little like this.  This quilt is for my sister-in-law Rita.  I have over 1050 hexes cut out with 126 glue basted and ready to stitch.

Any leftovers will be rolled into a scrapier hex quilt for my niece Hillary.  Hers will be lighter pinks and greens that have a more yellow undertone.  I did discover that one of the fuschia fabrics had a streak of a rather brown shade of burgundy.  Looks like I'll be hosting a hex scrap give-away later in the summer for those blocks.

I have also been working drafting 6" blocks for the USA quilt.  Since I don't have the EQ software, I'm relying on my Power Point graphics skills.  I figured out how to save them as a step...figuring out how to load a document onto the blog.   I am planning to sew this quilt by hand, so I could get started this month...but I'm nervous about reds bleeding so I will pre-wash the fabrics in batches before I start.

Update:  I discovered a way to upload PDFs to and add the links through Blogger.  I added the first 8 blocks that I drafted on the side bar.   No particular logic to the order...though I did start with 9 patch blocks figuring they would be easiest.  I will be hand stitching these, with the more detailed ones using English piecing.  I'll post pictures & tutorials when I get started on them.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Fabric Treasure Hunt

Today...I am really going to work on the popsicles.  I promise.  But isn't it OK to multi-task?
 In my last post, I mentioned that I was thinking about a quilt block for each state.  And I have fabrics from 6 states on their way.  Thanks to my family, friends, and blog-mates for being willing to play along.  I set up a USA Quilt page on the blog to post the fabrics and blocks as they get done.  If you want to help me collect the fabrics from 50 states, want to piece along with me, or are just curious...  check it out.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

More Distractions

When I was finishing up the piecing& quilting on the Pinwheel quilt.... I pondered if there was any quilt that I liked well enough to piece...just for the sake of the end product.  Since I don't like making more than one of anything....I  started thinking about samplers.  Which took me back to when I started quilting and I had planned a 50 block quilt to represent each of the states.  I have a binder of ideas and patterns that I had put together.   However...back then I didn't applique, and I hadn't spent much time in some of the my pattern choices might be different now.  (I will omit the details of which state I chose for a "Boondocks" block.) This all reminded me of another project I started at that time, that I dug out of the "Archive" basket.  (That's a cross between a UFO bin and a scrapbook, filled with things I either have finished, or have no desire to.)
This used English paper piecing and was intended for the back of a jacket in 1987.  No telling where those missing states are.  But this trip down memory lane reminded me of 2 reasons that the USA quilt had not been made.  1) I couldn't imagine displaying a red,white & blue quilt  (remember...this is the 80's when everything was mauve & slate blue) and  2) I was drafting 12" blocks, which would make for an enormous quilt.

So that got me thinking.....What if I made the quilt just red and white.  And made 6" those Dear Jane quilts that I'm in awe of.  BUT WAIT!  Wouldn't it be cool if the fabric for each state came FROM each of those states!!!!  And I just happen to be going on a cross-country road trip this summer.
And I had just bought the Quilter's Travel Companion...with the thought that we are going to have to pee sometime...and all quiltshops have bathrooms.  Long story short...I spent several hours planning a route that would get us to a quilt shop in each state.  We'll be a little pressed for time when we get back West...but those are states in which I have friends & family so there are still opportunities for collecting fabric from those states.

And...of course, I figured out that I'd really only need 1/8 yard of fabric, which could be mailed for a 1st class stamp.  So I could always lure my family, Facebook and Blogger friends into joining my treasure hunt.  After all, it would be less than $2 to participate.  Since I started this evil plan a couple weeks ago...Harley Dude brought be a fat quarter of red from his bike trip to Oregon, and Debbie picked up some red in Maui while she was on a business trip.

Today's Distraction:  I'm off to the Boise Basin Quilt Show.
Wearing the Stalker Cat skirt.

Editor's note:  Harley Dude is now referring to this as "A poodle skirt for cat butlers."

Friday, June 25, 2010


Here's the zinnia fabric skirt that I started the other day when people were in the way of my quilting.  The fabric has been carefully aging a decade or so (like fine wine)  in the stash.
With poppies on the reverse side.  My family prefers this side to the zinnias. It has only been in the stash about 5 years.
But here's my new love.  Stalker Cat.  One of the Helene Knott, Garden Patch Cats.
I love this cat so much, that it's probably a really good thing that my real cat is orange...because if she were white, I might be inclined to dye her green.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

If You Give a Quilter a Day Off From Work

If you give a quilter a day off from work,  she will want to work on the Popsicle quilt.  But she will find teenagers sleeping in her living room, where she needs to work on that quilt.

So she will follow through on her idea to make a pattern from her favorite second-hand cotton skirt, so she can make lovely summer skirts out of pretty quilt fabrics.

But then she will be distracted by the new applique pattern and decide that the cat in the pattern needs to go on a skirt.  Then she will worry that the white fabric she chose will be too sheer, so she decides to line it, which somehow evolves to a reversible skirt.
 But the fabric was not off it goes to the laundry room,  where she remembers that she bought zinnia fabric for a summer skirt years ago.

And when looking for a pink facing fabric for the zinnias, discovers the poppy fabric, that goes with the new tank top proving that fuschia is a neutral color.  Which will get her excited about another reversible skirt that she can make while the fabric is drying.

But when setting up the ironing board, decides that it's time for the old cover to be retired, and starts to make a new cover from a scrap of white fabric.
And discovers it's too short.  And decides to do something else.   Then is dismayed to find that she doesn't have a white zipper for the white skirt...and in her frustration wonders if 10 am is too early to start drinking.  Which makes her think about margaritas, which reminds her of the Popsicle quilt  that still isn't getting done.

(With appologies to Laura Joffe Numeroff)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

(It might have been me)

We just got back from a motorcycle rally.  
Someone snuck some handquilting into the saddle bags.
And convinced the group to stop at the bar that just happens to be across the street from the quilt shop in McCall. 

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Oh boy oh boy oh boy.

 I am totally loving my collaboration with Watercolor Artist Terrece Beesley.  I should probably issue a statement of disclosure.  We are cousins-in-law.  I think that her mom Shirley & my mother-in-law Reva are orchestrating this project Beyond The Grave.  "Oh, those Nelson Girls".   I'm working hard at translating Terrece's amazing painting into a lap-size quilt.  I have been blogging this step by step.  Probably a snooze for the artists in the crowd, but hopefully useful to the piecers/quilters in the crowd.  My goal is to get the popsicle sticks done before bed time tonight.

Today, Brandi at and I have been hatching evil plans >:-)
She is an amazing machine quilter from CdA.  ( Coeur d'Alene for you unfortunates who don't live in Idaho, but conveniently abbreviated for fools like me who don't spell well in French.)  A couple weeks ago she posted Playing with Texture (I borrowed one photo, but the others are amazing...go check them out) which totally resonated in my brain.  For reasons unknown, I started to think about the veining on leaves.  Today we've been busy plotting a talent trade.  I'll do a little applique for her...and she'll do a little quilting for me.  I'm thinking about 18" leaf , reverse applique blocks (similar in style to the Silhouette Columbine blocks) .  Trying to decide on the season.  Black/white Winter.  Hot pink, orange, lime Spring.  Dark green Summer.  Gold, orange, burgundy Fall.    I'm leaning toward summer green...quilted in lime.   

I've been doing happy dances all day!!!!

Popsicle Background, Lower Right

Making Progress

Finished the drips.  Much fussy cutting and some applique to get this to look the way I wanted.
Replaced the blue section that is supposed be behind the clear wrapper.  I hate un-sewing, but it was completely worth the effort.
Not 100% happy with this, but will reserve judgement for when the next sections are done.  I think some embroidery and quilting will fix part of what I don't like.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Popsicle Cartoon Piecing

My Tuesday progress was piecing the lower, right corner of Momsicle Popsicle. The top of Sarge's hat and his eyes will be appliqued on later.

Because the lines enlarged to nearly 1/4" I had to figure out how to get the pieces to match up right.
My solution was to trace the pattern piece onto tissue paper
Trim 1/4" seam allowance
Then I made temporary "tape" out of the sticky section of a Post-it notepad. 
And used those to hold the tissue pattern pieces in place.
I used different colors of tissue paper to indicate what I'm going to put together as a unit.  (The pink tissue section is the photo is the lower edge of the unit...I still need to fill in the upper part.)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

David's Pinwheel Quilt

Here's the Pinwheel Party Quilt Along.  The cat is there for scale (yea, right...she just wandered into the shot).  I did two of each of Anina's blocks.  She put together a block-a-week project which was supposed to look like this. That would make a nice baby quilt...but my nephew is a large-grown up.    The sashing pinwheels drove me crazy.  Then in the end, I had 13 extras...which I used to make this quilt wider for a queen size (82x93ish).  
   My big lesson was the difference between black fabric.  Hopefully, only I will notice the difference b/w black, dark black, and charcoal.  I did machine quilting in 1" strips, top to bottom( Left to right in the photo)  Love it. It gives the traditional pattern a modern feel.  And I ended up with a 1/4" binding. I had planned for a 1/2", but ran short (barely enough as it was).  It took extra time as I had to hand sew the binding, but I really like the end result.

Letter to Fabric

Dear Batik Stash,
The purpose of this letter is to put you all on notice.  Many of you have been sitting safely in bins earmarked for specific projects.  I know many of you feel safe from ever being used.  That all ends today. Browns...I know you thought that you would someday be pinecones or Ponderosa pine bark, but some of you are destined to be popsicle sticks.  Thanks for being willing to take one for the team. are on stand-by.  You may still become leaves, but Beetle Bailey needs a hat.  Yellows....I'm disappointed in you.  I thought there were more of you waiting in the wings.  I think there are some deserters.  If I ever find where you are hiding, I will promptly put you into service. Trusty Blues and Raspberries...thanks for always being there.  I can always count on you.  Welcome to the new members of the do a great job of making everyone else look good.  Pinks, Oranges & Cherries...this is your shining moment.  I bought you just out of sheer joy.  Gathered one or two at a time, you are now a cohesive team.  Work together and make me proud!  I look forward to getting to many of you intimately over the next few weeks.  Thanks for your absolute beauty and sacrifice. 
Love always, Applique Addict

Saturday, June 12, 2010


Here's the whole stack.  Teasing and taunting me.  Pushing me to finish the UFO's so I can start a whole new adventure.  I have lots more raspberry, and a fair bit of orange and yellow in the stash.  I think this week's shopping sprees have secured the pastels I was lacking, and the perfect fabric to represent the "drips" of the popsicles.  Admittedly, there are a few pieces that I bought mostly for a couple other quilt ideas in the same colors...but will borrow freely in case I never get to the others.

Knit One Quilt Too in Kuna did have some great browns for the popsicle sticks.  And some pastels, just because.
I used my birthday month 20% off coupon at Quilt Expressions on these.  (If you see anything you like, they also have an on-line store with hundreds of batiks).

Plus a batik with dragonflies which I might use for the Dragonflies in Flight pattern from Pacific Rim Quilt Company.  

Friday, June 11, 2010

Addiction: Quilt Planning

Some of the symptoms common to addictions are:
·         Tolerance - the need to engage in the addictive behavior more and more to get the desired effect
·         Withdrawal happens when the person does not take the substance or engage in the activity, and they experience unpleasant symptoms, which are often the opposite of the effects of the addictive behavior
·         Difficulty cutting down or controlling the addictive behavior
·         Social, occupational or recreational activities becoming more focused around the addiction, and important social and occupational roles being jeopardized 
·         The person becoming preoccupied with the addiction, spending a lot of time on planning, engaging in, and recovering from the addictive behavior                                Source: that I've diagnosed my problem, let me use symptom 4 (social activities) to tell you all about symptom 5 (spending a lot of time on planning...)
     I spent a great deal of time pondering how I was going to transfer these 8.5"x11" printouts into a pattern. After a couple false starts, I came up with the perfect solution (which frankly, solves the problem of an Aspen Tree quilt that I haven't been able to move from design to quilt successfully for 3 years and 4 attempts).  I printed the photo on "draft" "black & white" with the photo size at 7.5" on one side.  That is 1/8 scale for a 60" final quilt which was my goal.  Then with a fine point marker, I outlined all the design elements that would eventually become individual pieces.  I used dotted lines on the sections that are the drip-marks from the popsicles, to keep them straight from things that need crisp edges.
     Next Stop:  Kinko's.  I recently discovered that they have an enlarger machine that will print on 36" wide paper.  It took us a while to figure out how to do it, but the first enlargement was at 400% and produced a version that I trimmed to 36x32.  That was cut EXACTLY in half.  (Kimberley at Kinkos explains that the scale will be off if there is any difference b/w the 2 pieces)  The 2 halves were send through the enlarger at 200% and TA DA!  The brown thing in the photo is a yard stick to give you a sense of scale.  I got all that done before work.  Yet another day with a silly smile on my face.
   And once at work, I had a last minute cancellation of a client, which usually bums me out (no client = no pay) but not this time.     You see...there's a Craft Warehouse across the street from my Thursday job.  These tie-dye fabrics will be perfect for the red popsicle drips onto the cartoon.
And, of course, I added to the batik pallet.  Fantastic raspberries and a bunch of pastels...something that is completely missing from my stash.
   Hmmm...I think that today's off-site team building workshop is only a couple miles from the quilt shop in Kuna....

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Popsicle Cartoons

     I am completely obsessed with Terrece's Watercolors.  I sent the links to my co-workers and they couldn't stop oooing and ahhhhing.  By the end of the day I'd decided to make the popsicle painting into a quilt, and spent spare moments imagining my extensive raspberry batik stash as popsicles.   Good thing the boss was gone, or she'd wonder why I looked so happy all day.
     I spent some time on-line looking for cartoon fabric for the background.  After much searching, I found one that is called "Dysfunctional Family" which is amusing in it's own right.
     I had decided that I wanted to make this a lap-quilt size rather than an art quilt.  After all, the original is art for the wall...this will be something to snuggle under while admiring the artists amazing work.  60x70 seems to best match the original proportions. So I set about cropping and enlarging sections of the background to get a sense of scale.  [sound of screeching tires here] Whoa.  The cartoon faces will be 4" tall.  This means that the cartoon fabric is not going to work.  I'm currently thinking that the solution will be a variation of a crazy-quilt strip. I need to go buy some pastel batiks.
    And as I was dozing off to sleep last occurred to me to use the speech bubbles to embroider the quilt signature info (name, date) in pale thread.
    I love it when a plan comes together.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Family Secrets

Time to share family secrets! my family.  Anna's family.  She has family members who make amazing, detailed, perfect snowflakes out of tissue paper.  She sent me a declassified pattern to try as an applique.  Here's what came in the mail. It's just like the snowflakes that we probably all made as children, with the main difference being starting with a circle.
I decided that I wanted to make a flake for a big throw pillow (22").  This is how I adapted her directions

I decided to make a pattern for 1/2 of a flake, so I could see how the snips that I planned would look, before I committed to the fabric.  I made a centering crease on a 11x17 piece of paper, then lined up my hexagon ruler to mark the angle.
Then I lengthened the lines with a long ruler.
And folded along the lines.  At this point, I realized that the directions were starting from a circle.
So I went back and trimmed the paper to make a 1/2 circle with all the folding lines. 
   Then cut out notches on both sides.

Open it up and decide if you like it.   I considered making the snips bigger so it would look lacier, but then decided that I wanted to quilt facets into the final, so left it a little chunkier.
I took an 18" square of white fabric and folded it the same way, ironing and starching with each fold.
I did find that it was helpful to make the folds accordion style rather than  always folded toward the center.
Next, I lined up the paper template and made the cuts with a rotary cutting tool.  Use your big blade - there are many layers to cut through.  You will have to press hard!
The inside corners need scissors to finish the cuts. 

The folding process means that the cutouts on the inner layers of fabric will be smaller than the ones on the outside.  I went back and trimmed these to size with small scissors.
Then I pinned it in place with short pins
And basted it in place.  My friend Michelle, would insist on spray-baste for this step, but I find that hand-basting is fast (and free).
Then I did needle turn applique.

Oh, and if you are curious about the color scheme....I first headed to the blue bin.  Then realized that I emptied that stash and didn't have anything that really worked.  I considered a dark green - like snowflakes in a forest. The ah-ha came as I was digging through the green box.  My Christmas decorations changed to lime and raspberry the year that I couldn't resist the Magenta Metallic fake tree.  I could put out lime green snowflake pillows with the Christmas decorations, and not feel bad about leaving them out well into Spring.