Oh Sheet!

This past summer I enjoyed a free internet swap of vintage sheets.  I had been collecting old sheets for about a year and wanted to be able to share the vastness of the fabric with others, meanwhile expanding the ole sheet stash.  It was nice to take a large double size sheet and turn it into 7 different fat quarters from other vintage sheet enthusiasts.

So, fast forward to April 2017, in our Monthly Estitchers meeting, the demo was showing how to make a booklet out of fabric to keep your quilt blocks while finishing the quilt.  Helen called this a Quilt Portfolio and it is a magnificent idea.  She handed out instructions and I saw some places I could improve upon and decided to ditch the instructions and wing it.  If I make another one, it will be improved on again, the concept is marvelous no matter how you make it.

For those of us that do hand work in the quilting process, for me right now that is la passacaglia, you work on your project intermittently for a long time (this could also apply to hand applique).  I had stuck my unfinished medallion in a drawer and thought, cripes…it is either going to get dusty/dirty, or wrinkled.

So I decided to join the fun of making a quilt portfolio and started going through my stash to see what I could come up with.  Either I found something I liked that was already spoken for in my long list of to dos, or it was too small.  So I decided to look through my vintage sheets and it just so happened I had a piece that I could quilt front and back with the same material.  And this sheet as much as I had cut out from this, the rest would probably go unused for a long time.

I basically make a book cover (like those you made in high school for the text books) from quilted fabric.  Easy.

When Helen was doing her demonstration, her hand applique blocks were beautiful but I noticed as she turned the pages, the fabric would not stay put to the page.  Her pages were made from simple quilted muslin, which adds a nice cushion to some of the depth of her applique blocks.  I wanted mine to be made so the blocks would stick to the pages.  I started thinking of design walls.  A design wall can be made from batting or from flannel.  Just so happens I received a bunch of flannel free a few years back and had nothing planned for those pieces, and they matched the sheet I used.  Perfect.  Now the blocks will cling to the flannel and each page becomes a keeper/design wall.

sheetbook1sheetbook2sheetbook3sheetbook4The blocks shown above are the progress on my la passacaglia.  Next is a block I made to turn into our Estichers meeting which will go toward a raffle to support toys for tots.  The next blocks are ones I bought at an estate sale for a little bit of nothing, which I will be able to turn into something one day.

NOTE:  I rugged-ized the front and back part of the portfolio with a piece of foam core board bought at the dollar store.  Besides my time, I only have $1 plus tax in this project.  For those of you who decide to make this, if you use spray starch be very careful.  Starch is sugar and will attract silverfish and other bugs which can eat your cloth.  If you have bugs, I recommend plastic storage.  We probably have a roly poly and silverfish in our home from time to time in the wet months.  Now I will have to come up with a place all its own to store the Quilt Book Portfolio.

Sewing/quilting on a budget.  It can be done.

And on previous posts, it is a woe is me run of things breaking down.  I have added one more thing to this list.  The dang TV went on the fritz.  It is only 3 years old.  So we will be doing without that for a while.

I am still quilting on the jelly roll wrong quilt and am looking for a new name for it.  This will probably be completed within the next couple of weeks.  I am ready for this one to get washed (get the blood out) and move onto another fun project.  This quilt book portfolio was a nice break from quilting.  Sometimes it is nice to stop the long project for a bit and start and finish something else.  Finished is nice.


Just dropping in to say hello!

Life has it’s ups and downs.  I probably don’t have to tell you that.  I do have a bit of good news.  My sewing machine foot that was broken (keyword was), I have fixed for now with some clear epoxy and have been quilting away on the Jelly Roll Wrong quilt.  To see the quilt with little detail you can click on the link here.  Yup that is me the pudgy one sporting my t-shirt that has Bob Ross on the front that says “No mistakes, just happy accidents”, which could be my motto.

On the note of Jelly Roll Wrong, when I started quilting it, my sewing machine prefers a heavyweight thread.  And so for years I have been buying vintage Star thread which is no longer made.  You can also buy a newer version of this heavier weight thread at joanns but only in black and white and I really like color.

So I picked out a blue periwinkle and knew I would run out, and that has happened.  So alot of the strips of the quilt will be with blue thread and now I am using white.  Not so bothered by that as it is a quilt to use and one day someone will gaze upon it and note how I must have struggled to get it together (ha-ha).

On a same but different note.  One of our female cats was pregnant slated to give birth sometime in late may.  Earlier in the week you could tell something was not right.  She did not feel good and just kind of laid around but did not offer any social interaction with us humans (some of you are probably thinking this sounds normal for the average cat).  Yesterday she had 1 live baby and 3 dead ones, with the live one not being taken care of.  They had all their extremities and were just very tiny and premature.  Sadly, where I was quilting the quilt, she must have found comfort being close to me in my absence on my project and had one on the jelly roll wrong quilt.  So there is afterbirth and blood on a portion of the quilt that is still under my domestic sewing machine.  I know I can get the blood out with peroxide and then using a stain remover (and because nothing was prewashed all the sizing is in the fabric and will help out with stain removal, but I cannot do this until the quilt is finished.  So this jelly roll wrong quilt may be renamed.  The good news is the portion she aborted on, was quilted so I will not be needling that area.  I will take any suggestions offered to take command over the stain removal and how to proceed with this unplanned event.

The car is still broken and due to my skills I have built up over the years, I am going to attempt to fix it myself.  With the wonder of youtube videos and being good with wiring and a wrench, I think I can I think I can :).  I may only be out the costs of towing, dealership diagnostic fees and purchasing a new brain for the car.  My repair bill will hopefully come in just under $1000.

Each month this year, something terrible has happened.  It started with my mother having a stroke and her recovery.  Then I hit a dog.  Then the car stranded me deciding to break down.  The cat had dead babies.  I wonder what next month holds?  None of these things are truly bad.  It is just a string of ongoing madness.  I will remain optimistic on all these things and wonder what doors are being opened for me down the road because of said strings.

Thank you followers and readers for your positive encouragement!   Sometimes a kind word to a complete stranger goes a long way.  You have became the wind beneath my wings and have uplifted my spirits and I will quilt on.  It is good therapy!

Sunday Sign Off

Priorities are sometimes necessary evils.  If I did not go to work to earn money, I would not have the computer to type the text you are reading today.  I would also not be able to support my hobby.  However, if I had no money the hobby budget would get cut first because of its low priority.

It has been a long week.  I am employed and enjoy my job.  I missed a few days because one car was getting recalls repaired, whilst the other car decided to completely break down (did I mention, no phone, in the middle of no where, with plenty of farm dogs.  Farms don’t just have one dog these days they may have 3 or more.   And a 2 1/2 mile walk to safety.  The nearest town became guardian angels because it died in the middle of the road as I was unable to push it to the ditch, fire trucks surrounded it in the lane to protect it from those yaking on their phones and driving way too fast,  The sheriff dept also cameo’ed in the midst.)  The repair bill will exceed $3000.  Corrosion in the wire harness that goes to the computer which all is under the hood and is exposed to the elements.  To this point both cars are paid for however, the one that left me stranded is only 5 years old and out of warranty.  My mind goes a bit crazy trying to figure out why this happened.

In my previous post I spoke of my machine being down.  My hoping foot broke.  This foot exceeds $50.  So, I will put off quilting for a bit until I can recoup my losses.  I can always piece together one of my UFOs and that is an option to relieve all the stressors around me, gnawing my craw.  Sewing is not a monetary priority, but I will figure out a way.  I did manage my hobby when I was dirt poor, so my make do attitude will give me a good kick in the pants.

In the meantime I will continue with EPP and La Passacaglia.  It is a slow even process that is calming, but when you have little ones around it is not all that calming until after they have went to bed.  I will have time to do some rearranging of the sewing space and getting out a UFO to finish piecing.  I really hate not finishing Jelly Roll Wrong, but I am certain it has more patience than I and will wait for another day.

I will not abandon this blog, but I think I will take some time to focus on something else.  Perhaps work overtime to get closer to my +$3000 repair bill.  So today I am signing off.  No pictures, just words, afforded by having a good life.  Will you hear from me again?  Yup.  When you ask?  That is do be determined.  Now I am off, probably to go mow the lawn or something.  If you miss my posts too much you can always go back in the time and read all about my past quilting adventures.  Thanks for visiting!  And come back soon!

Machine Down (sounds like a movie title) And Steps of La Passacaglia Processes

This weekend I made marvelous quilting progress on my Jelly Roll Wrong quilt.  And then it happened.

I noticed the last time I moved to a different area on the quilt after feathering, I lowered the foot and brought my bobbin thread up, and the foot seemed to be loose.  I tightened the thumb screw.  It was already tight.  Why was my clear, see-thru, hopping foot at a funny angle where my needle wasn’t centered?  I took the darn (no pun intended) thing off to find out it had cracked and broken and was still together but causing it to look askew.  So, I will be visiting my LAQS to order/purchase another.  So the Jelly Roll Wrong has been stalled.

The machine is down and my hands want to do something (other than be bored and find food I do not need to eat).  I sat down last night and started stitching on my La Passacaglia block again.  My pieces for this block are not quite accurate as I traced them from a copy from the book Millefiori.  So a copy of a copy looses accuracy.  And I do not want to go to all that work and throw accuracy out the window.

First you must copy your page from the book.  Without removing it from the book it would be hard to get it without the roll or hump of the page that could affect your pattern.  The tools needed for your template making are as seen below, plus template plastic.  I used plastic with a grid.  Next cut out the shapes you have copied.  It feels kind of naughty to cut paper with my good scissors.

Next, trace your paper copies onto your template plastic.


When cutting out the plastic, you have to trim all your ink lines to get the most accurate shape.


Using your book page lay your template plastic on top of the shape and see if it overhangs.  You want the shape to fit INSIDE the outline in the book.  Once this success is achieved, you are ready to trace onto freezer paper.


I trimmed the pentagon on two sides.  Look at the slop the pencil lead created while tracing at the various point on the pencil and the angle while tracing.  A quilting tip for this tracing process, a sharp pencil will get you the best accuracy.  Once you have your freezer paper cut out, align it with the template plastic and trim any overhangs of paper to again get the best accuracy.

Creating the papers for this block is a tedious process full of inclusions of inaccuracy.  I wish they sold papers for this and they were reasonably priced.  Perhaps I will make a special die for this and send it off to Accuquilt.  So my hands are making up for no machine.  What is your superpower?


Make your own bed pillows

The last time I purchased bed pillows was about 3 years ago.  I had found an $80 pillow with memory foam goodness that I wanted and it finally went on blitz sale on black friday for only $20.  I bought 5.  Sadly these pillows have already broken down.  If you head rests on them they go completely flat.  I do not recommend the isotonic brand sold at Belks.  A pillow should last more than 3 years.  Three years is the average life of a $10 polyfiberfil pillow.  I tend to be on the frugal size and dislike spending all that money on quality or what I thought was quality only to let me be disappointed.

So I had some red stripe pillow ticking and decided to make a bed pillow like I had when I was a little girl.  That pillow was awesome and I used it until I left the nest.  It was a pillow stuffed with latex foam pieces.  Indestructible against drool and vomit and completely washable.

So I had to make a trip to Joanns to get the foam.  Unfortunately they no longer sell latex scrap foam but they do sell this which is close.  This bag of foam was on sale for half price so I got two bags for the price of one, which for my pillow firmness is exactly what I needed.


To make your pillow you will measure your existing pillow and add 5/8 seam allowance for each seam.


My scrap of pillow ticking fabric I had purchased in a $20 bag of fabric from Goodwill about a year ago and held onto this piece of fabric just for the pillow making purpose.

Cut your pieces the desired dimensions.  I made my pillow with a gusset because I like my shoulder to be up against the pillow but not resting on it with plenty of neck support. Gusset pillows are more difficult to sew.  Make sure you mark your corners at 5/8 for applying your seam allowances.

Sew your pillow up and choose an end to leave an opening for stuffing.  Stuff your pillow.



If you notice on one end I have safety pinned it closed.  You can sleep on it a few nights and make sure your stuffing is just right.  I recommend then stitching the pillow closed with contrasting thread.  The contrasting thread will allow you to reopen the pillow and add more stuffing or remove because you will be able to see the stitches.  (My pillow as a youth had a zipper installed, and you could install a zipper).


And do not worry if you cannot get the corner of the gussets just right.  It will be tucked away in a pillow case for no one to see.  Sewing imperfections in this case are ok.  Just make sure where your corners come together there are no gaps for foam to leak out of as some of the pieces of foam are small.  I have $5 and some change in this pillow.  It will probably outlive all my other pillows and when I find it does go flat, I will reopen it up and remove the old foam and install new.

In the process of sewing this pillow I had to remove my current project off the table.  I am still quilting on the jelly roll wrong quilt.  I have it 45% quilted.  It is going remarkably fast.  My progress will allow me to post pictures very soon so keep checking back……..happy sewing!



Retirement—-Off Topic

One of my coworkers announced he was retiring a few weeks ago.  And due to the fact he had moved to a different area some 5 years ago, I seldom saw him.  He came yesterday to see me and say goodbye.  I started to tear up, and realized from a previous co-workers retirement that I would never see him again.  So it was a corporate death.  I would no longer talk to him, see him, laugh with him.  I would have no more work “quality” time with part of my work family.  I cried and cried, and came home early.  He is a father like figure and is passing away out of my life and there is nothing I can do about it.  It is almost like death, the difference being he gets to play golf in his spare time while I am working, working….going on….as if he was never there.

The last time a co-worker retired was a little over 2 years ago.  This coworker I worked directly with everyday and had been in retirement mode for 5 years and did very little.  However, he broke my monotony and made me laugh.  When he left I cried for days.  And just as suspected I have not seen him since and hope I will run into him so I can hug him which is not allowed on the job.

So I am dealing with loss.  These people are in my life and suddenly are gone.  They are only in my work life, but now they are not there.  I am so happy for those that get to retire.  But inside my emotions are on the sad side.  Goodbyes are so hard.  I suppose this is all one sided as my sadness is a direct result of me thinking only of me.

Have any of you worked with someone who retired and it made you sad enough to cry on the job?  Did your melancholy last for days?  Or was it in the moment?  Am I weird for having these feelings?  Am I being narcissistic?  I have worked with other people who I did not bond with and therefore it did not bother me at all.  Is this the 6 degree part of life?  I thought it was just me being hormonal, but that is not due for sometime.  And of course while writing this in the comfort of my own home, it welled up again and the tears began.  The retirement aspect exhausts my emotions.

I will cry big time when it is my time to retire, if I make it.  So many people I will never see again.  Retirement is so final…..:(  Retirement is like a corporate death….:(