Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Bee Blocks

STLMQG hasn't been meeting these last couple of months, but the girls in Sew Bee It are still on schedule with bee blocks via email. When we do get together, I'll have blocks for several of the members. This month Krista asked for Granny Square blocks and sent a link to the tutorial she wants us to use.

I actually had never made Granny Squares blocks before, but these were fun to make.

She asked for two blocks, and making a pair like this enabled me to chain piece them so they went together quickly. The tutorial gives instructions for trimming the blocks, but I have found with bee blocks it's better to let the owner do her own trimming so she consistently gets the size she wants.

She asked for scrappy, no particular color scheme, so I raided my scraps and put together a warm combo and a cool combo.

I enjoyed pulling the fabrics and making these blocks. Maybe I'll have to make a scrappy Granny Squares quilt myself someday.

When the Sew Bee Its worked out the schedule for handing out this year, I told them I'd continue to make blocks and be part of the bee for as long as I was still in St. Louis, but I didn't sign up for a month to hand out. At that time, we thought we would go to AZ in April to find a house in the area we want to move to.  Since our moving plans are on hold, probably until next year, I'll continue to be part of the bee and sign up for a turn to hand out later in the year. I miss getting together with the girls and I'll be glad when this is all over and it's safe to get together again.

Linking up with Quilt Fabrication

Monday, April 27, 2020

On My Design Wall: That Squirrel

Remember last week I succumbed to the lure of a new project? This one:

This is where chasing that squirrel has taken me.

No, it's nothing like the inspiration photo, which was selvage strips in concentric squares separated by a dark charcoal background. I wish I knew where the image came from so I could give credit.

According to EQ, I'll need 2-1/2 yards of background fabric to fill in between and around those striped blocks. I have very few large cuts of fabric in my stash, but let's look at what I have that might work:

Grey Polka Dot:

Beige Texture:

The grey polka dot is too busy. The beige texture is boring; also, some of the warm colors were never prewashed and may bleed onto such a light background later.

I want a dark background like the inspiration photo, to really make those warm bright colors pop.  But not black, which would be too harsh. I went shopping on line and took screen shots of the likely candidates, and plugged them into EQ. Here's the one I selected, which is sort of a grunge-like crosshatch texture:

I like the darkness of it to set off the bright colors, and the texture. I ordered 3 yards, but it may not get here until mid May. No problem, this is a squirrel project with no purpose and no deadline, so it can wait on my design wall until the background fabric gets here.

From the inspiration to the EQ design to the layout on the wall, this project morphed from concentric squares to a square spiral to an oblong spiral with a finished size of 64 x 80".

I kind of like the square spiral better, so I may revise the layout on the wall. It would finish at 64" square. We'll see. I have plenty of time to play with it. What do you think - square or oblong? Why?

Link ups:
Small Quilts and Doll Quilts
Love Laugh Quilt

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Hands 2 Help 2020 Check In

Today is check in day for those of us participating in Hands 2 Help at Confessions of a Fabric Addict. I have two quilts in work this year:

This is Have Faith, a block pattern from L'Fair Quilts. The blocks were made by my friends in Sew Bee It last year. I added pieced sashing and I got them assembled into a top.

Now it's basted and ready for quilting.

And this is a Chunky Churn Dash using bright squares sent to me by Wanda at Exuberant Color. Pardon the gloomy indoor photo; I need to take a better one outdoors.

The CCD will go to Little Lambs. I need to check the size of Have Faith and the requirements of the other organizations to determine where Have Faith will go.

Thanks, Sarah, for hosting and organizing Hands 2 Help!

Friday, April 24, 2020

A Small Flimsy

Even though I've been bouncing around between projects, I was able to get this little flimsy sewn together.

At 36 x 42" it's baby quilt size, so it will go to Operation Shower when it's quilted and finished. The prints may not be traditional baby quilt prints, but I'm sure they'll appeal to someone, with that sweet little floral and those girly colors.

I have a soft purple flannel for the backing that was given to me by my friend Cherie for donation quilts, and it harmonizes well with the fabrics on the front. I plan to quilt it with an allover meander and bind it with either the coral or the neutral.

Link ups:
Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Alycia Quilts

Wednesday, April 22, 2020


My Brother-in-law says he's gotten lots of chuckles about his mask. I'm just glad to be able to put a smile on people's faces during this trying time.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Chasing a Squirrel

I saw something on Pinterest the other day. It caught my attention, as squirrel projects do, and I had to drop everything and pursue it.

It was made with selvages. I don't collect selvages, but I have some 1-1/2" strips and I can easily cut more.

I sewed strips into pairs, then cut them into 4-1/2" lengths, and sewed two pairs together for a block. Here are the starter blocks on my design wall.

Meh, it's okay, kind of juvenile.

What if I limit the palette to just warm colors?

Much better. I really like where this is going.

The original inspiration photo was nothing like this, but that doesn't matter anymore. This project has grabbed my attention in a way that nothing has lately and it feels good to focus on something. I cut more warm-colored strips and I'm making more blocks, so we'll see where this goes.

Link ups:
Small Quilts and Doll Quilts
Love Laugh Quilt

Friday, April 17, 2020

Finished Flimsy: Keep Positive

Although I've been distracted and it took much longer than it should have to get this top finished, it is finally finished. I'm calling it Keep Positive.

The palette was inspired by these prints, and I pulled lots of greys and a few yellows from my stash. Then I threw in the red and the blue for more variety.

When I showed it here when it was laid out on the design wall, I mentioned that I added a little surprise. Look who made an appearance! The colors in the Paddington Bear print worked perfectly, and a whimsical touch wouldn't be out of place here.

This will eventually become a donation quilt, but everyone can use a little positivity and optimism now. At 56 x 67" this will make a nice throw for someone. It's not too feminine or masculine, not too elderly or juvenile.

Linking up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Alycia Quilts, and Wendy's Quilts and More

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Coral Flying Geese

Those flying geese units that were in work last week are on my design wall now.

The purple looks really dark in this gloomy indoor photo, but IRL it harmonizes nicely with the other fabrics.

This will become another donation quilt for Operation Shower.

Friday, April 10, 2020


The scattered projects I mentioned on Monday got put on hold. St. Louis County put out a call for cloth masks, so I made masks. Lots of colorful masks using some of my old batiks.

I committed to three dozen and someone from the county is picking them up from my front porch this morning. I chose colors and motifs that could appeal to both men and women.

I ran out of elastic after making all the ones for family members, but I saw on line somewhere about using tee shirt yarn. Much more comfortable than elastic! I cut my tee shirt strips 1" wide and pulled to stretch and curl them, and cut the pieces 6-1/2". Thank you to whoever posted about tee shirt yarn.

Some of the tutorials for masks have wire inserts - twist ties or pipe cleaners - to shape the mask over the nose. I found that my own masks fit better with wire, so I added pockets made of seam tape that twist ties can be inserted in. The seam tape is just the right width. Since seam tape is wound over cardboard and has creases where it's folded, I cut 1/4" away from the fold and used those creases to fold under the closed end.

I've heard that microwaving cloth masks can disinfect them, but you can't microwave masks with wires in them, they may catch fire.

If you live in St. Louis County and would like to help with their mask drive, the contact info for the Health Department representative that's coordinating the mask donations is

Link ups:
Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Alycia Quilts

Monday, April 6, 2020

Scattered Projects

Like others, I'm having trouble staying focused and I'm feeling a bit scattered.

Last week I had a Plus quilt laid out on my design wall, ready to sew together. It should have been a quick top, but I got side tracked. I did work on it off and on, and now the pieces are sewn into rows.

Instead of focusing on this project, I played with my stash and pulled fabrics for another baby quilt for Operation Shower. I played in EQ until I had something that I could make using the available quantities I had. I love-love-love this palette. So much so that I started cutting before I remembered to take a photo.

So what am I making with these pretty fabrics? So far, a few of these...

But I got distracted from this project, too. I made 16 masks for family members. And of course I forgot to photograph them. I mailed some out, and on Saturday afternoon DH and I drove around to the local people and delivered them to their front porches. We actually got to chat, briefly, from the acceptable social distance. My BIL has a new office job in a hospital, and they didn't give him a mask even though he has to go into all the nurses stations, so I gave him several. I'll make more as needed; a nephew is an anesthesia equipment tech and his wife is a nurse. The husband of a niece is a fire fighter, and he says they're short of masks at the fire station. I've used up all the elastic I had, so I'll be making tie-on masks next. 

Meanwhile, I finished basting the quilt that was laid out on my dining room floor, below. Since the furniture was already moved, I laid out another quilt to baste. It's still there; I'll get to it this week so I can move the furniture back where it belongs.

Saturday morning my AFS buddies got together for our monthly coffee klatch via Zoom. It was so good to see and talk to my friends! We did show and tell on Zoom and it worked pretty well. So far everyone's healthy but one of the girls is a nurse and she's lost a coworker to the virus.

DH is transitioning to working from home and is setting up an office area. He'll go to his actual office part of the time this week and start working from home full time asap. I'll be glad to have him staying home and not exposed to others, but he'll be very frustrated trying to do his work without all the resources at hand that he's used to.

So this is the new normal now, and will be for awhile. Thank goodness I have sewing and quilting to keep me occupied. We'll just hang in there. I hope you can, too, and that you're staying well.

Link ups:
Small Quilts and Doll Quilts
Love Laugh Quilt

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

March Stash Report and Goals Update

What a month this has been! Our plans have changed drastically. I don't know about you, but I feel like I've kind of lost my sewing mojo a little while simultaneously having more time to spend sewing. Or maybe it's just that I can't seem to focus very well. Anyone else having trouble concentrating?

At the beginning of March I celebrated the completion of my WIGSP, a hand pieced top that's been in work since 2008. My friends in CSQ Piecing Group who helped piece it celebrated with me. That was my final attendance at Piecing; I resigned because of my planned move to Arizona.
CSQ Piecing Group with WIGSP now called "How Many"

Well, the house-hunting trip to AZ scheduled for this week is cancelled. DH's retirement date was to be April 30 but his work will be extended through the summer. Our plans to buy a house in AZ are on hold for at least six months, then we'll relook at the situation. Therefore we didn't put our current house on the market this month as originally planned. In addition, our beach vacation with son and grandson planned for May to celebrate DH's retirement is cancelled. The Paducah quilt show and annual trip with my quilting buddies is postponed until September. My busy April calendar is suddenly looking very empty.

So with extra time in the sewing room, let's look at my stash report and goals and see how I did in March.

Stash Report
IN this month: 10-1/2 yards (Connecting Threads sale order including backing for Color Spoke Puzzle)
OUT this month: 7-3/4 yards (Corona Medallion flimsy)

IN YTD: 26-1/2 yards
OUT YTD: 54-5/8 yards
YTD Net Change: 28-1/8 yards OUT
Note: I'm not counting the fabric used in the WIGSP flimsy because it predates my stash report days and was never counted in as part of the stash.

Corona Medallion flimsy

Goals Update 
March Recap: 
1. Thoroughly clean up the sewing room.  Um, yes-ish. Somewhere between a lick and a promise and deep clean.
2. Gather up small quilts for donation to Operation Shower. YES, donated seven small quilts that had been hanging in a closet for years. 
3. Get Checkerboards and Dresden Plates appraised; ship it to AQS. DONE (AQS will hold it until the rescheduled show in September)
4. Finish making blocks for Fan Medallion. DONE. Not only finished making the blocks, finished the top. 
5. Layer, baste, and quilt Have Faith. Currently being pin basted.
6. Start something new. Yes, started new Plus quilt for donation. 
7. Keep up with bee blocks for the last month. DONE. I will continue with Sew Bee It for as long as I'm still in St. Louis. 
Have Faith being basted on the dining room floor

Craving, made in 1998,
one of the small quilts I donated to Operation Shower

April Goals:
1. Quilt and bind Have Faith for Hands 2 Help.
2. Talk to Sandy about quilting How Many and Corona Medallion; order batting and backing.
3. Layer, baste and quilt Color Spoke Puzzle.
4. Assemble Plus top for Hands 2 Help.
5. Make a baby quilt for Operation Shower.
6. Look through UFOs and find something to move forward.

This photo kind of expresses how I feel: The Plus quilt on the design is partially sewn into rows. While vacuuming the sewing room, the exhaust from the hand vac I used blew some of the unsewn squares off the wall.
Results of cleaning up

We'll see how focused I can stay in April. Maybe as time goes on the news won't be so distressing. Meanwhile I'm just staying home. DH is still going to work because his company is deemed essential (they make rotary die equipment for printing and cutting medical labels and masks). He's able to practice social distancing at his office. We'll continue like this for at least the next several months.

I hope you all, my blog friends, are staying safe and well. How has your life changed this month?