Thursday, September 30, 2010


There's a simple explanation for why I quit scrapbooking about 2006.  That was the year that Guitar Girl took photography in 8th grade and I never saw my camera again.  My eldest brother took pity on me and sent another of the same style of digital camera so I would have one.  That was quickly taken over by Skater Girl.   This past Christmas, he sent a 3rd camera in the same model.  At last! A camera of my own!  This is what I've been using for blogging.  And now it's gone.  Skater Girl's is on the fritz and she took mine to school for photography class w/o asking. ARRRRGGGG.

Maybe this phone-camera version will give you some clue as to what I've been up to.  I've had an idea for about a year to make mono-chromatic crazy strips for a quilt.  This test-drive will become a pillow case.  With the fabric that was left from the JC project, I cut 5" friendship squares.  Then some 2.5" squares and some pieces for a Double Wedding Ring. Everything else was thrown in a bag for this.

     After I got the strip done, I still had some more sections partially together so I kept going until I got a 6" square.  This will be the center of a throw pillow.
     It's fun for me to look at these and realize there's pieces that went into Keeley's, Hillary's and Rita's quilt.  The one with pink and purple was left over from a romper that I made for Guitar Girl when she was a toddler.
     I need to go buy about a yard of something solid-ish to finish piecing these, then they will become a Christmas gift.   Which means I better get to my job to earn some $ for fabric.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Shopping Bag

 I was attending a meeting recently, and during one mind-numbing discussion I was inspired to design a tote bag using 2 fat quarters and a jelly roll strip.  

I have a set of shopping bags that I made a decade ago from some clearance denim fabric.  I thought that batiks would be pretty and hold up well.

Sew the 18" side of the two fatquarters together.  If your fabric still has selveges on it, leave those for the bag-opening side and sew the opposite sides together.

I used French Seams, making 1/4" seam with the wrong sides together, and 1/2" for my final seam width.  A serger would work fine for this step.

My pieces of fabric were not the exact same size.  Once they were sewn together, I tidied up the edges making sure to use the sewn edge as my reference for making it nice and square.

Sew the side seams the same way.

Fold over about 1" from the opening of the bag.  Stitch in place along selvage edge.  (For fabric without a finished selvage, turn under 1/4" before stitching.

At this point it looks a lot like a pillow case.  To make it a square bottomed bag....

Turn the bag inside-out.  Create a triangle in which the bottom seam is centered.

Use the 45 degree angle mark on your ruler to check for placement. The bottom bag seam should be at 2.5", and the bottom of the triangle will measure 5".  Mark this line, then sew across it.

I also stitched these triangles down to the bottom of the bag.  It's easy to get strange puckers on this step, so take your time (or just skip it if it's too annoying).

To make the handles, fold a 2.5" strip of fabric (the width of a fabric) lengthwise and sew 1/4" seam.   Cut the fabric in half  for the 2 handles.

Next, I slid the seam around so it fell in the middle of the tube.  Finger-press the seam open, then sew across all 4 ends.

Take out your handy seam ripper, and make a 1" turning hole about 1" from one end of each handle.  (If you are more organized than I am, you could remember to leave the hole while your are sewing)

Turn it right side out, making sure to square up those corners in the process.

Press the handles with the seams running down the center.  Don't worry about the openings, they'll be hidden when you sew the handles on.

Somehow, my photo of positioning the handles is missing.  I marked the center of each bag panel, then aligned the inside edge of the handle 2" from the center (4" apart) and about 2" from the bag opening edge.

Stitch the handles down securely.  I suggest at least a rectangle from the top of the bag to the bottom of the handle.  You could use decorative stitches, cross - hatching....anything you'd like.

My bag's finished measurement is 17" tall, 10" wide and 5" deep which is slightly smaller than a standard paper grocery bag (17" x 12"x 7").  I lost some width because of the French seams and because one of my fat quarters was cut a little wonky.

The bags I've been using are 17"x14"x5" and the typical reusable bag is 14"x 12" x 9".

I'm thinking it would be great to color code shopping bags, the way I do cutting boards to prevent for meat, green for produce, etc.

I had been thinking about a 3 fatquarter bag, but that would double the volume, and I'm not sure I could lift it when full.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sharing the Love

I am so blessed to be surrounded by wonderful people.  I started blogging about a year ago (and have made over 100 posts!) and have learned so much and had so much fun!!!  I have participated in quilt-alongs, have won and donated to give aways and have given and received so much advice and insight!

To celebrate, I've coordinated what appears to me to be a complex, multi-site give-away/ introduction event. To you, I hope it's a seamless, easy way to win lots and lots of really cool stuff!

My friend Lucy is a brand spanking new quilter.  We bartered some patterns for applique.  But since it took a while to work out the details, she ended up buying more than one of Helene Knott's Veggie Cat patterns.   This one is available from   Want to benefit from Lucy's mistake?  Make an encouraging  post on any of Lucy's  Aug or Sept Blog post or this Flickr post to cheer her on while she works on her 2nd ever quilt.  I'll make sure there's enough fabric that you can complete this applique as well as receive the pattern.   

Just so you much as I love the veggie cats...Helene is an AMAZING landscape quilt artist!  I am working at stuffing my piggy bank so I can head to the Oregon Coast to take one of her classes.  I also have information from a reliable source, that she's in the process of designing some dog blocks to rival these kitties.    

Anna is teaching a Hawaiian Style Applique class in West Yellowstone, MT  Oct 8& 9.  Can't make it to the class?  Win  Green Batik Fat Quarters by posting a comment on this link.  

This heirloom 1896 quilt was a gift to Anna's Grandma.  She is teaching a reproduction of this in a West Yellowstone workshop.  I've been making a variety of quilts using half-square-triangles from 5" friendship squares.  I'm thinking that it would work great for a variation of this quilt.   To win a set of batik 5" friendship squares and some jelly roll strips that you might make this quilt with, become a follower of Victoria Rose Quilts 

As for me...I just always wanted to be the most popular kid in the school.  To win a packet of  lime/raspberry/purple  5" friendship squares and  fat quarters, become one of my blog followers.  If you're already a follower, leave a comment on this post letting me know you're a follower and you want to win. 

Oh that's not enough?  Everyone who enters by cheering on Lucy, being excited about Hawaiian Applique, wanting to make HST blocks and pretending to be Marjorie's friend also gets entered into a Grand Prize drawing that includes another Helene Knott pattern, some great fabrics, and whatever else we can find lying around.  

Like most give aways...we'll give you extra credit (another entry) for blogging about the give away or the West Yellowstone, MT Sisters Weekend Workshop where I get to do a trunk show and finish up some UFO/ UFQ's!   I sure hope you're as excited about this as I am.  I'll announce the winners October 1st.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Wisconsin Block

Way back in June, Chartreuse Moose sent me 2 pieces of fabric from Wisconsin.  This great swirly fabric and one with fans.  I've been trying to find a way to use them both...but gave up and made this "Polka Dot" block.  I thought it would be a nice change from the majority of blocks being pieced.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sidetracked Again

I was enjoying reading Friday blog posts when I was totally distracted by the "Hexie Caddie" that Vreni posted.  So I followed her link to Penny's Tutorial.  Somehow, neither post prepared me for how big this caddy really is.  It's 8" across at the widest point. Still super cute and practical....but I may need to rethink the proportions for my little sewing area.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Cat Skirts

After I made the Helene Knott Stalker Cat skirt for myself, my friend Lucy started to beg me to make one for her.  We bartered some and now the tan skirt goes back to her and I have several more of the patterns from this series to sew up.  Somehow we ended up with duplicates of some patterns, so we're planning a dual blog give away.  Details to follow.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Flowers of my Labor

This Labor Day Weekend...I got distracted by a quilt project.  Hard to imagine isn't it?

I had been collecting green/pink batiks for a quilt for my niece Hillary.  I had envisioned an English Pieced hexagon quilt.  Then I found this pattern by American Jane.  Which was originally done with a Jelly Roll...but I felt obliged to fuss with the colors so I would get pink and black flowers with green leaves.

Success was largely due to the fact that Stitch & Snip in Garden Valley had 3 perfect pinks.  Harley Dude couldn't figure out why I was so excited to take a ride with him on a hot Saturday.
The pattern is easy, but kind of fussy because of color placement, and also all the edges that end up being on the bias.   To make things difficult, I also enlarged the quilt by making the top row 4 flowers across instead of 3.  However, I only bought as much black background fabric as was stated on the pattern.   There are some creative substitutions along the edges.

Here's where I need your help.  The original pattern had circle flower centers on what are the black flowers in my version.  Here are my options: 1) add pink round applique centers to the black flowers  2)  add round centers to both the pink and black flowers 3)  leave it alone  4) add hexagon shaped centers.

Saturday, September 4, 2010


How is it even REMOTELY possible that I don't have the right hot pink batik in my stash to finish this project?

The answer came when I took an emergency run to buy some.  Hot Pinks are hard to come by.  3 quilt shops and a fabric store later, I have 1 fantastic match and 3 that will have to do.

I had enough fabric for the quilt, but got caught up in the secondary pattern, wanting to emphasize the flowers and leaves effect.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Fabric Mischief

Anna, from Victoria Rose was here to visit for a couple days.  You know what that means....Mischief with Fabric.  We started with the traditional swapping of the fabric... all those pieces that we've been collecting for each other the past few months.  The gifting of patterns.  The exchanging of ideas.  Brainstorming.  I even bribed her into taking my orphan muddy fuchsia hexies by giving her four 1/8ths that I found to match.  I made her promise to blog more so we can all see what she's making.

Today we headed to Quilt Expressions for more quilt fabric.  This piece was simply irresistable.  Perhaps the inspiration for my next wildflower quilt???? They are moving to the old Schuck's building on Chinden & Glenwood - across from the fairgrounds and next to Fred Meyer.  She was telling us about the skylights that were installed... WOW!  How cool is that?  Gigantic store with natural lighting.  I wish her well and will do my personal best to keep her in business.   I didn't mention it to Karen at the time, but I suspect the move is really to get her walking distance to the Starbucks.  Oh...and is it wrong to admit that my immediate thought was that the new location is roughly 2 miles from my house, which is an excellent distance for a fitness walk?

I added to my leaf quilt project fat quarters.  I've been collecting green batik fat quarters to make a silhouette applique pattern along the lines of the Columbine series I designed for Victoria Rose to use in the Heritage Quilt workshops in West Yellowstone.   I need to get started on this so I can get something to Brandi to practice her quilting magic.  She does amazing textures with machine quilting.  I am constantly in awe.

And a couple more blues for the Betty Jeanne quilt. I cut out a Delectable Mountains and a Bear Paw out of the blues collection when I was cutting out the USA quilt.  But I'm still deciding if it'll be hand or machine pieced.   I'm thinking that the old broad isn't getting any younger...I'd better machine piece in the interest of time.

I don't normally buy patterns.

Anna brought me Wing Dance.  It was designed by Sheryl Mycroft and is available at Random Thredz.  I LOVE this pattern.  Not only is it batiks...but initially, I loved the randomness of it.  It took serious study to realize it's a HEXI!   See if you can figure out the hexiness on your own.

I had been generally admiring a shop sample of the American Jane pattern called  Merry Go Round  for months, but today saw and had to buy Triple Crown.  I decided that this is my solution to speeding up the process of making my niece Hillary her quilt.  I had promised a Hexi, thinking English piecing....but I'm liking this a lot better.  I have a shocking collection of lime/pink prints...and substituted a black-on-black for the white in the pattern.  What do you think?