Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Ready for Retreat

I've been working on planning and cutting for projects to take on retreat. The two new projects are not design wall ready yet - blocks or parts have to be assembled first. But I always take along an extra project in case I finish everything else and still have time. This project has been cut for a while with the layout partially planned in EQ8. It just needed the layout tweaked and finalized, so here it is. 

Do you recognize those colors? Scroll up to my blog header and check out the quilt with the white background, and the fat quarters. Those colored squares are left over from that quilt, which was made in 2012. 12 years is long enough for extra squares to sit in a drawer. With the recent donation to PCQ of several black and white prints, I was able to supplement my own B+W prints and find a use for the colored squares. 

It's hard to tell in this photo, but there are actually two turquoise shades. In the blog header they look different enough, but in this photo they look the same. So I swapped out the lighter one for a paler one for more differentiation. Now I still have a handful of leftover turquoise squares from 2012, back in the spare parts drawer. 

The rows and columns have been numbered and kitted up for retreat. I also packed a black-on-white print for the inner border and a white-on-black print for the outer border. We'll see if I actually get to this project on retreat, or if I'll bring it home untouched. This will be a throw size donation quilt when it's done, so there's no rush.

My other projects for retreat are kitted up and packed in project boxes, ready to leave bright and early Thursday morning. My friend Cherie is flying in from PA to go with us. Bonus - the retreat ranch where we go is at a higher elevation and about 20 degrees cooler there, so it will be nice to get out of the Phoenix heat for a few days. I'm so looking forward to this getaway!

Monday, July 8, 2024

New Project on My Design Wall

Tired of seeing Road Trip on my design wall? Yeah, me too. Now that it's in one piece I've taken it down, although it needs a couple of fixes. With the design wall empty and available, I could lay out some projects that I'm prepping to take to social sewing or retreat. 

For social sewing on Wednesdays, I'll work on the PCQ community service project for July-August. We're using the large Friendship Star pattern again to make kits. Someone recently gave a generous donation of black and white fabrics; our chair passed them to me and asked me to do something with them. Since the pattern relies on strong value contrast, black and white prints will work well. I supplemented with a few pieces from my own stash and a quarter yard from a neighbor (thanks, Linda). I couldn't resist adding a bright red accent! 

Here are the black and white pieces laid out on my wall. This will be a twin bed size quilt when finished. Since I took this photo I swapped the placement of a few squares, but I didn't take a new photo. You get the idea.

The pattern as written is much scrappier to take advantage of the very random fabric stash the club has. The pattern has an alternating block layout, but if I can change up the layout to make it more striking in the black and white version, I might as well, right? 

I'll take the pieces off the wall and package them up into blocks, numbered and labeled so I can work on them as time permits at social sewing. My hive friends and I are also working on a couple of other things at social sewing, one of which has a deadline of next week, so these blocks may not get attention until later in the month, but at least they'll be ready to go when I need them. 

The Friendship Star pattern is one of the Free Charity Quilt Patterns on the tab above. While these patterns were designed to be kitted up for PCQ Community Service sew days, I'm offering the patterns for any charitable purpose. If you would like a PDF of Scrappy Friendship Stars, leave a comment and be sure to type your email address within the text of the comment so I can send it to you. 

Link up: Small Quilts and Doll Quilts

Friday, July 5, 2024

Woven Bricks, Daisy Version

 I was able to get time on PCQ's long arm at the very end of June, so I was able to quilt and finish my daisy print version of Woven Bricks.

Woven Bricks is a very simple charity quilt pattern* that we used for making kits for the May-June Community Service sew days project. So often the donation quilts I make are twin bed size because that's what several of the charities PCQ supports require. This one is a smaller throw, and it was refreshing to make and quilt something smaller this time. I think it came out about 45" by 60". 

Among the donated fabrics in PCQ's Floral bin, I found this red and gold border print stripe but there was only a yard of it. The red floral and gold tonal also came from the club's stash, as did the two sashing fabrics. 

With careful placement I could make the daisy print work, supplemented with the gold tonal for the horizontal rows. The red print used for the vertical columns gives it the woven look. 

Two of the charities we support can use throw size quilts, so this will go to one of them, a local family services agency that serves victims of sexual violence. I hope this cheerful quilt brings a measure of comfort to the recipient. 

Linking up with Alycia Quilts (July 5) and My Quilt Infatuation (July 11)

* If you would like a PDF of the Woven Bricks pattern for any charitable purpose, leave a comment and be sure to include your email address within the text of the comment so I can send it to you. 

Sunday, June 30, 2024

June Stash Report and Goals Update

 Wow, I can't believe it's the end of June already. It seemed like June was busy, but I don't have much to show for it. I was out of town for a couple days and then came down with a nasty virus, so I've been out of the sewing room a lot this month. 

No fabrics were purchased this month, and none of my own fabrics used, so no change to my stash report. The only complete finish I had used all club fabric for the front and back.

Mostly this month I worked on assembling my Road Trip top. A few partial seams, but not as bad as I expected it would be. I actually have the top all sewn together. And then I discovered I switched the placement of a couple of blocks so I'll have to fix it. Here's what it looks like before fixing: 

I haven't figured out the fabric usage in Road Trip yet. I'll figure it out and count it when I get the top fixed. I have quite a lot of leftover blocks and components, probably enough for smaller throw size quilt. I'll figure out what to do with them and count all that fabric separately. I'm tired of looking at Road Trip now, though, so I may put dealing with the leftovers on hold for a while. 

Another thing I finished this month is my community service top from the May-June kit. I had time on the long arm yesterday so I was able to quilt it. I haven't blogged about it yet so it'll get its own post later, after it's bound and finished. Again, the fabrics used were all club fabrics, so none of mine to count for my stash report. 

I actually accomplished more in June than I originally thought. I have a retreat coming up in mid July, so my goals and priorities have to switch over to retreat project prep now. 

Goals Update: 

June Recap

1. Finish the Road Trip top. Yes, but... It's all sewn together but I've noticed a couple of changes I need to make, which will involve ripping out a couple of blocks and replacing them. 

2. Quilt and finish my Tropical Stacked Slabs charity quilt. DONE and donated. 

3. Plan for making kits for the July PCQ Community Service sew day. Work on finishing the May-June top. DONE; directed the kitting up of the July project and finished my May-June top.

4. Prep projects for retreat in July. Started, more work needed. 

5. Finish the Kaffe Gradient flimsy. No

6. If time permits, prep a backing for something and book quilting time for early in July. Yes, got long arm time on June 29 and quilted my May-June community service top. 

Other: made six more Periwinkle blocks for Edna's hive project. 

July Goals: 

1. Prep projects for retreat.

2. Bind the May-June community service quilt (Woven Bricks pattern).

3. Make a couple Scrappy Celebration blocks in autumn colors for retreat hostess Shiela. 

4. Revise Road Trip top.

5. Finish the Kaffe Gradient flimsy.

Hopefully I can publish more blog posts in July, too. 

Friday, June 14, 2024

Stacked Slabs

Although I haven't been blogging much lately, I've been working on PCQ community service projects behind the scenes. 

We revised our schedule this year. Last year we were a little too ambitious, - and productive! - and we had a new quilt project for each month's Community Service sew day. Our batting budget couldn't keep up. Some of us felt pressured to finish a charity quilt top each month. This year we're allocating two months for sewing a given pattern. 

Our March-April project was a new pattern for us, Stacked Slabs. After finishing the top in May, I had time booked on the long arm at the beginning of June and got it quilted, and now it has been finished and donated. It's twin bed size because that's what several of the agencies we support need. 

When we made up the Stacked Slabs kits, I chose from the overflowing Novelty fabric bins and pulled everything with an ocean/beach/tropical/water theme: dolphins and whales, surfers and surfboards, palm trees, mermaids... I had made my Sea Turtle toddler quilt then, so I added in the turtle print leftovers, too. Then I pulled from the blue, teal, and green fabric bins to round out the palette. 

This pattern is super easy, just 4-1/2" wide strips cut either 20-1/2" or 10-1/2" long, laid out in rows staggered like bricks. No blocks, no seams to match, and the fabrics do all the work. 

After I had pulled all the fabrics for the top, we received another very generous donation of fabrics which included this stunning African print and some watery prints in matching colors. With careful planning, I was able to piece together a large enough backing featuring the African print. This could almost be a two-sided quilt. 

If you would like a PDF of the Stacked Slabs pattern for any charitable purpose, leave a comment and be sure to type your email address in the body of your comment. When I get a chance to update my Charity Quilt Patterns tab above, I'll add this pattern to it. 

Linking up with Finished or Not Friday at Alycia Quilts

Monday, June 3, 2024

Road Trip and Other Work in Progress

 Road Trip is at the point where I'm starting to puzzle it together. There are a few partial seams, but not too bad so far. I have the upper left corner assembled.

When not working on Road Trip, I've been thinking about my Black and Tan project. Here are a few test blocks. The pale one on the left doesn't cut it; too blah. 

Primary blocks have black corners. When they surround the alternate blocks they create a star, which will continue out into the border. I'm using triangle papers to mass produce those corner HSTs. I've revised the layout in EQ several times. If I'm careful with the value placement, I think the blocks will create an interesting secondary pattern. 

I need my design wall to work on the Black and Tan project and other quilts besides Road Trip, so I really need to focus and get Road Trip assembled so I can move on. 

Linking up with Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts

Friday, May 31, 2024

May Stash Report and Goals Update

 Well, some goals just weren't met this month. But all in all, I did get a lot done, especially on my Road Trip project. I was able to find more of the license plate fabric from a Google image search so I got another yard of it. I've used nearly all of it. I've finished reconstructing the blocks, finalized the layout, and now I'm working on the fill-in bits. Here's a photo from a few days ago.

The girls in the hive finished the warm version of the batik Scrappy Celebration in warm colors, so I can count out my share of the fabrics used. Per EQ, that's about 2 yards. Didn't make a dent in my batik scraps! I went with Linda and the chair of PCQ's Community Service committee to deliver both batik Scrappy Celebration quilts to Magdalene House and gift them to the recipients. No photos for privacy reasons, but the ladies were truly touched and very appreciative. 

Other than that, no finishes this month so I can't count anything else out of my stash. 

May Stash Report:

IN this month: 1 yard (license plate print for Road Trip)
OUT this month: 2 yards (my share of Warm Batiks Scrappy Celebration)

IN YTD: 23-1/4 yards
OUT YTD: 20-1/8 yards
YTD Net Change:  3-1/8 yards added

No worries. Road Trip is getting close to a finished top, and that will be a lot of fabric to count out because it's so huge and there are so many unused blocks and block parts. The Kaffe Gradient project is close to a finished top, too. Plus, I have a couple other projects cut or in progress using my own fabrics, so I'll be able to count the fabric out eventually. My goal is to break even for the year. 

Goals Update:

May Recap: 

1. Ship and/or deliver Ruby Jubilee and Sea Turtle quilts. DONE

2. Continue working on Road Trip. Yes, good progress. Finished remaking all the blocks and revising the layout; now working on filler bits and joining the blocks together. 

3. Finish the Kaffe Gradient flimsy. No, not worked on. 

4. Begin planning a new project for July retreat. Yes, cut pieces for a black & white project for retreat. 

5. Work on Black & Tan scrappy blocks. Yes, modified the plan and made several more blocks.

6. Quilt something on the club's long arm. No. But I have a time slot booked for early June to quilt my Tropical Stacked Slabs.

7. Quilt something on the club's long arm. No. But I have a time slot booked for early June to quilt my Tropical Stacked Slabs.

other: finished piecing my March-April community service quilt, Stacked Slabs. I made mine in tropical and ocean-themed prints from the club's stash. I pieced a cool backing for it from donated fabrics, too. Photos to come when the quilt is finished.

June Goals:

1. Finish the Road Trip top

2. Quilt and bind my Tropical Stacked Slabs charity quilt.

3. Plan for making kits for the July-August PCQ Comm. Svc. project. Work on finishing my May-June Comm. Svc. top. 

4. Prep projects for retreat in July

5. Finish the Kaffe Gradient flimsy

6. If time permits, prep a backing for something and book quilting time in early July. 

Plenty to keep me busy, especially since I'll be on vacation for a few days!

Linking up with Finished or Not Friday at Alycia Quilts


Monday, May 27, 2024

Road Trip Progress

 You may remember, I had all my Road Trip blocks on my design wall, but I was not happy with the look of the project. Here's what it looked like: 

In this layout, the blocks get lighter towards the outside edges. One of the fabrics is actually a cream background print, almost white. What bothered me was how the blocks seem to scatter or fade away at the edges. 

So I took them all down, took apart all the ones with the offending white fabric, remade some and made some all new blocks. I was fortunate to be able to get another yard of the license plate print, and I found some more of the khaki Grunge. In the new layout, the blocks with the lightest beige print are toward the center and the darkest blocks are around the edge. 

Here's what the wall looks like today. I need to make two more blocks for the upper right corner, and fill in with khaki grunge where the white squares (blank design wall) are. I still need to work on filling in the odd spaces. 

The bottom row reads dark in the photo, but that has more to do with the lighting than the blocks. I'm much happier with the new layout, even though it was a lot of work with the seam ripper to get to this stage. 

Soon - just two more blocks plus fillers - I'll be able to start puzzling this monster together. It'll require quite a few partial seams, and a bit of wrangling under the needle. This quilt will be over 90" square when finished. 

If my husband likes it well enough, we'll hang it in our foyer. If not, I'll drape it over the sofa in our den. Either way, I'm keeping this one for me. 

Linking up with Design Wall Monday at  Small Quilts and Doll Quilts

Friday, May 17, 2024


 The girls in the hive finished the second of the Scrappy Batik quilts, the warm one, as well as the cool one we finished earlier. We showed them both at PCQ's meeting Monday night. We don't have a photo of then both together, but here are separate photos of the finished quilts.

The warm version finishes at 72 x 99" because we got carried away and made too many blocks, so this one is twin bed size with a pillow tuck. 

The cool one finishes at 72 x 90".

Both versions will be donated to Magdalene House, one of the charities PCQ supports that needs twin bed size quilts. 

After making these, we're taking a break from Scrappy Celebration blocks. Edna has a new project for us. Here's a preview: 

Linking up with Alycia Quilts 

Sunday, May 5, 2024

April Stash Report and Goals Update

A busy and productive month! 

First, there was retreat, always fun and enjoyable. I had two deadline projects prepped to work on, Ruby Jubilee and Sea Turtles. They're both small quilts, and I was able to get both tops pieced. That means I can count out the fabrics used, which my stash report needs. 

Ruby Jubilee

April Stash Report

IN this month: 1-3/4 yards (from Prickly Pearadise Quilt Shop)
OUT this month: 8-7/8 yards (Sea Turtle quilt - 2-1/4 for top, 1-7/8 for back, 3/8 for binding.  Ruby Jubilee - 2-1/2 for top, 1-1/2 for back, 3/8 for binding)

IN YTD: 22-1/4 yards
OUT YTD: 18-1/8 yards
YTD Net Change: 4-1/8 yards IN

Since my annual goal is to break even or reduce the stash, I'll need to continue to use up fabric this year, but I have plenty of time. 

Projects with deadlines definitely took priority this month, but overall I did okay on my goals. The Ruby Jubilee challenge quilt has to be mailed in early May to be presented at the CSQ May meeting. Sea Turtles will be delivered in person on May 17. 

Sea Turtles for Damien

Goals Update

April Recap:

1. Finish prepping projects for retreat. Go, and have a good time! YES!

2. Make and quilt Ruby Jubilee challenge/baby quilt, due May 1. DONE

3. Make and quilt Sea Turtle toddler Quilt. Finished quilt is due May 15. DONE

4. Continue making warm color blocks for SC5. DONE

5. If time permits, finish piecing Kaffe Gradient top. No, not touched. 

6. If time permits, work on Road Trip. Yes, continued to deconstruct blocks and remake them without the offending white. 

Revised Road Trip Blocks

May Goals: 

1. Ship and/or deliver Ruby Jubilee and Sea Turtle quilts.

2. Continue working on Road Trip.

3. Finish the Kaffe Gradient flimsy.

4. Begin planning a new project for July retreat.

5. Work on Black & Tan scrappy blocks.

6. Quilt something on the club's long arm.

7. Prep backing for Edna's Stars.

Things are starting to get quieter in Pebble Creek as the summer heats up. We've had a cool spring and we made it through April without turning the AC on, but as the sun gets stronger and the days heat up, we'll need it soon. Most of the snowbirds have left so it'll be less crowded at social sewing in the Creative Arts Center on Wednesdays. It's so nice to have an air conditioned communal space where we can hang out and sew! 

Friday, May 3, 2024

Ruby Jubilee

The guild I still belong to in Missouri, Circle in the Square Quilters, is celebrating its 40th anniversary. The symbol for 40 years is ruby. So, the guild is having a Ruby Jubilee challenge. 

The challenge requirements are that it must be quilted and must either contain the color ruby, or have 40 of some element, or both. As an option, challenge quilts can be donated to Operation Shower, which hosts baby showers for military families, so the challenge quilt could be suitable for a baby quilt. 

I opted to work with the color ruby. I threw in a little opal, amethyst, and rose quartz as well. The fabrics are mostly batiks or prints that look similar to batiks. (The one that looks white is actually pale pink.)

My original idea was to make a Kool Kaleidoscope, but I only had a fat quarter each of some of my fabrics. After making strata, I discovered that I didn't have enough for my KK pieces, so I opted for hexies instead. If I hadn't mentioned it, you'd never know this was Plan B. 

No, there are not quite 40 hexies, but there's enough of the ruby color to qualify. And I think this little quilt will be a nice baby quilt for someone who's expecting a little girl. It finished at about 38 x 49". The back is the same light amethyst as the binding.

This quilt will be mailed off to one of my Missouri friends who will take it to the May meeting for me. I've been a member of CSQ since 1994 or so. Wish I could be there for the party! 


Linking up with Alycia Quilts
and My Quilt Infatuation

Friday, April 26, 2024

Sea Turtles for Damien

My great nephew Damien didn't get a baby quilt. I knew when his mom was expecting his older sister, so I made one for her, but since I'm not on FB, I didn't know about my niece's second pregnancy. They live near Miami, so I don't see them often. Recent family events brought us together, and - surprise - my niece has a little boy Damien who's about 18 months old now. 

Obviously he needs a quilt. After all, his big sister has one, so he deserves one too. Making the quilt is not a surprise for his mom, so I asked her what theme Damien might like. After some discussion about tropical animals (we ruled out anything with alligators!!!) we decided on sea turtles. 

I found a sea turtle panel and built the quilt around the motifs. It was one of the projects I worked on at retreat earlier this month. Now it's been quilted and bound, and just needs the label. 

The upper panel: 

The lower panel: 

Pieced fish: I embroidered the eyes with French knots. I would have liked googly eyes but I think Damien is still too young. 

The backing is all turtles:

The quilt measures 41" x 58", long for its width, but I think it'll be fine for him to drag around. I very seldom work with panels. The two motifs were side-by-side on the panel and I knew I didn't want that layout, and I wanted it to be narrow enough for one WOF backing. So it was a challenge to figure out what to do with it and this is the best layout I came up with. 

I'll see my niece later in may for another family event, and I'll give her the quilt then. I hope she - and Damien - like it. 

Linking up with Alycia Quilts and TGIFF

Monday, April 22, 2024

On the Design Wall: Hot Hot Hot Plus Cool and Breezy

The girls in the hive finished making the blocks for the warm colorway of Scrappy Batiks and laid them out on the design wall last week at social sewing. I think this is the final layout we ended up with. Edna reminded us to turn some of the blocks to feature the diagonal chains. She's now working on sewing the blocks together.

In other quilty news, PCQ's Community Service committee has been holding a regular sew day each month as usual. We no longer have a separate designated prep day so we have to do our kit prep on sew days or on our own. Since my role on the committee is Design Lead, I've been more involved in prepping kits than in sewing lately, and I see that continuing for awhile. 

The March/April sew day project was Stacked Slabs* and I had a particular kit that I wanted to sew, but I missed the March sew day and worked on kitting for May at the April sew day, so I'll sew my Stacked Slabs kit on my own. It'll be a good project to take to social sewing on Wednesdays. Here it is laid out on my design wall: 

Most of the fabrics are from the bins in the fiber arts room, all donated. I pulled everything tropical and watery I could find from the Novelty bins, and supplemented with turquoise and blue shades. Lots of mermaids, palm trees, waves, surfboards, and dolphins here. I even added some leftovers from my sea turtle quilt, too. Looking at the photo, I don't like the two green slabs, so I'll raid my own Aqua/Turquoise/Teal basket for a turquoise to sub in. 

Linking up with Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts

*Stacked Slabs is one of the patterns I created to be easy to kit up and easy to sew for PCQ's sew days.  The version shown is twin bed size 70" x 88"  but the pattern also offers a 60" x 80" large throw and 50" x 64" small throw. If you would like a PDF of the pattern for any charitable purpose, leave a comment and be sure to type your email address in the text of the comment.

Friday, April 19, 2024

Scrappy Batiks, Cool - Almost a Finish

 After the girls in our hive made our original Scrappy Celebration in a palette like the pattern, and a second one in brighter colors, and a third one in patriotic colors, we still weren't tired of making blocks. So we switched it up and went with black instead of white, and black-alternatives instead of low volumes. We combined these with batiks in bright and light shades for contrast. 

We were making blocks individually but using shared fabrics, and we ended up with too many blocks for a twin sized quilt. So I asked the girls to humor me and look at the blocks on the wall in a cool colorway and a warm colorway, and we liked it. Just a few more cool blocks were needed and we needed a lot more warm ones, so we decided to finish the cool version first. 

Linda assembled the top and did the quilting. The binding isn't sewn down, but we all wanted to see it anyway. She brought it to social sewing in PCQ's fiber arts room to show it off. 


We learned when laying out the previous versions that it's more pleasing to have the darkest blocks at the edges and corners, and the lightest blocks in the center. With the black contrast, this version has a luminous quality.

I love the quilting motif Linda used in these blocks. The custom rounded-square spirals complement the blocks perfectly. 

This is a donation quilt that will go to one of the charities that PCQ supports that need twin bed size quilts. 

It's been about a year since we started making the blocks for the first version. The the warm batik colorway is coming along, and after it's finished I think we'll be done with Scrappy Celebration blocks for awhile. We'll move on to something else; Edna already has a new project in mind for us. 

Linking up with Alycia Quilts 4/19 and My Quilt Infatuation 4/25

Friday, April 12, 2024

Amazing Productivity at Retreat

It's incredible how much can be accomplished in two and a half days of sewing at retreat - especially when some of the prep or components are done ahead of time. 

Paula participated in PCQ's two BOMs last year, one with beginner-friendly blocks and one for advanced quilters. She was able to set them into tops at retreat. The easy blocks got an on-point setting with sashing, and the challenging blocks were set with hourglass alternate blocks.

Nancy worked on seasonal table runners with a lot of precision piecing. 

Deb C finished her rainbow top made with selvage blocks. She raided her extensive stash for many of those selvages, and her rainbor ombre fabric for the alternate blocks is perfect. 

Edna finished her very - very! - complicated cross pattern. It took focus and concentration to get it laid out right, but the results are amazing. 

Janet W likes to make smaller items at retreats. This time she made an ASU themed apron and some project bags. She also made some library bags and a Frieda Kahlo-themed pillow, but I didn't get photos of them all. 

Jeri finished a gorgeous low volume top; she had most of the blocks made and ready to assemble, but the on-point setting with border blocks was complex. Thank goodness for large design walls! She nailed it, and now she's considering how to quilt all that negative space.

Linda put together a plaid flannel throw; the flannel is the softest ever, from the retreat hostess's shop. Being plaid, Linda had to cut very carefully so the stripes didn't go wonky. Looks good!

I was able to finish tops for two small quilts. One is my Ruby Jubilee challenge and the other is a sea turtle themed toddler quilt for a great nephew. Stories to come in a future post. All the planning and cutting was done ahead of time, but both of these projects have deadlines, so I'm glad I got these tops finished.

Retreat was productive, but by no means was it all work and no play. We definitely enjoyed happy hour every afternoon, and lots of socializing. And as always, lots of helping and sharing. I'll be going again in July and I'm already looking forward to it. 

Link ups: Alycia Quilts, TGIFF