Make your own Alphabities Tutorial

I have written about this a couple of times. In googling my blog, I went back and read all about my first post on making your own quilt letters for patterns. We have all tried various methods. A small torn piece of paper or post it note with the letter written on it pinned to the fabric can work over and over.

I started saving bread wrapper plastic ties. And I made a set with those. Those were nice plastic, but kept finding those would not stick to anything and the children ended up playing with them, so I gave in and let them.

I talked my mom into making a set for my birthday one year. She obliged. She embroidered using her programs on her embroidery machine and stitched on felt, pinked the edges. These have been a life saver for me and have allowed me to grow as a quilter.

I noticed the other day that the majority of use with this alphabet is during the 365 quilt block challenge. As you all know I am going with a red theme. I noticed those reds have slowly left their mark on the first 8 letters of the alphabet. Make me wonder now if the quilt will bleed after completion???? I will continue to use the set my mother made me but decided that anyone could make a set using fabric. No fancy machine required. Here is a list of items needed

  • Alphabet panel
  • contrast or matching fabric (size will vary according to alphabet size.
  • sewing machine
    • If you are using a relatively new machine you will need a walking foot as well
    • If you are using a vintage machine pre 1959 you should be ok without the walking foot
    • The sewing machine is optional you can always baste these together by hand or hot glue them
  • Left over scraps of batting
  • scissors and/or pinking shears or rotary blade with pinker
  • Contrasting or matching thread

The alphabet panel I chose is made by Moda in the line called “Its Elementary”

I also used Moda fabric for the backing of my quilt sandwich, this is basic grey and called “Maven”

Here is where there is a fork in the road. Because you will decide which direction you want to take this panel. At this point you could make your quilt sandwich and quilt the panel as desired. I thought when I started this project that I was unsure how well me and my pinking shears would get along cutting through so many layers. Make sure before you quilt everything together and you are using pinking shears they are sharp and can do the job. Also, make sure your hands are up for the job. Using pinking shears is hard work!

I chose to pink my letters from the panel first, which in hindsight, I could have just cut these with normal scissors or a rotary cutter.

This panel does have printed guidelines for cutting. These measure around 3 inches. I found that the letter J was the largest letter. This panel has many repeats of common letters, but I only counted two Zs so you can really only make two sets. One for you and one for a friend!

I trimmed and retrimmed until I got each letter the size I wanted. Remember this is homemade, don’t struggle with the perfection of squareness, these are NOT quilt blocks, they are quilt aides.

After vacuuming I decided to trim the rest of the trash can, this made the biggest mess. Work smarter not harder like me.

I took the largest or should I say tallest letter and cut a strip that was approx half an inch larger than my pinked trimmed letter. I found my scrap batting pile and layered my pieces. I actually placed my printed letter by itself on the batting and trimmed the batting, then placed it on the coordinating/contrasting fabric and trimmed around that about a 1/4 inch all the way around. I used less than 9 inches of fabric, probably closer to 6 inches WOF.

And here is my little ravioli letter J. When you sandwich your pieces they are quite small. This first one I pinned. The pins were just in the way. The batting really behaves well and keeps everything from shifting. When you quilt these pieces together you may or may not want to use a walking foot. I chose not to and stitched on my featherweight. You could get out the fancy stitches on the embroidery machine and doll these letters up with cute threads!

I recommend if you will be using these on a vertical surface you use flannel to back your letters or felt. This tip can help you mark your rows for your pieces from your design wall to your machine. So many uses!

These little quilt sandwiches do remind me of ravioli. I suppose ravioli is a lot like a quilt, it has a back, filler, and a front and is all handmade!

As an afterthought, you could also hot glue a magnet onto the back of these and store them on the fridge! Let everyone spell out clever stuff at the fridge.

What are your other options for lettering your pieces?

If you have the right flat head flower pins, they do make stickers you could affix to those. I suspect this may run you less than 20.

If you have the accuquilt cutting system there is the alphabet die, you could certainly cut out all your letters using that. If you don’t have the die, it is expensive. It can be used over and over. Binding clips work well with paper or fabric.

There are pin heads that have the alphabet on them. As I understand it, these are hard to use because just take a look at your pincushion, you see how many pins are there. Can you imagine if they all had a letter on top. It would take time to get used to that system. I know little hands in this house are always pushing my pins flat to the pin cushion. These would probably get lost too. Or worse, the bent pin. Yeah, you know the one. The one you pull out blindly every time you need a pin. Those pin sets run more than $20. Alphabet beads, alphabet buttons. These would be cute stitched to some felt and you could make those tiny.

You could also opt for just plain alphabities. They are probably the most affordable option. I am brainstorming on what to do with my left over pieces in the alphabet. This panel would be perfect for a scrabble quilt. I am liking the magnet thing. I could quietly leave a note for those who are still home sleeping and tell them how much I love them!

I presume since these are now quilted and have the potential of getting used and dirty, the edges are pinked so you should not have any unravel of fabrics. I will hold off on the washing bit as long as I can. Those of you who use the alphabet system while making a block, they are true lifesavers, aren’t they?

I hope you have found this tutorial helpful. If there is a tutorial you would like to see on this blog, leave a comment and I will see how I can fit that in!

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog!


We have a Winner!

Winner of the tatted doily is……drum roll please……..

Karen Fulbright, congratulations!!!

I have emailed the winner. To the winner, you have a week to respond to my email or I will have to draw another name.

Well, as I suspected I have not gotten to much this past week. I did start custom quilting on a panel.

This is a panel my mother purchased. And she has very little money invested and no time. She asked me to custom quilt it, I said yes. *sigh*. As much as I wanted to say “no”, it is for mom. Not agreeing with my own logic, I just want to be done with it. Standing on my soap box, if I had customers who wanted me to custom quilt this I would say no. I do not have the right set up. I do not have micro handles for all this fine work. My quilting is sloppy. Time is precious…..I digress.

But I decided to make this panel work for me. I decided to change the way I float a top. I decided to baste this and then roll it on the belly bar attached to the batting and the backing. It is working, but the panel itself is wonky. Fabric connoisseurs we all know that some fabrics warp and weft are warped. This is one that is. Not badly. Hence why I basted it. In the coming week I look forward to finish the quilting of this panel. I also look forward to the fact I do not have to bind it. HAHA!

As far as piecing, I did manage a 6 inch block on Wed. This block had cuts up the K in the alphabet, geez. That is why I kind of put it off. I rather like how this 365 six incher turned out.

And whoa, this is rather blurry. I guess something got bumped on the touch screen of the camera. I highly recommend if you have a camera to turn that setting off! I am constantly bumping it!!

I sewed very little binding by hand this week. I tried to give my hands a break in the evenings. Excuses, excuses….may I be frank? I was just lazy. I have a bad case of no sewing mojo and am rather forcing it right now. We all know when the mojo is gone it is hard to focus and accomplish much with needle and thread. I think it is the time of year. I see through the years since I have learned to tat, I tat in August. Must be an natural algorithm for my hands vs time. I do have the mojo to do that, but I am afraid if I do pick that up, I will not do anything quilting related. And this is a quilting blog.

Accuquilt came out with a new die, which I purchased. It arrives shortly. I need another project start like I need a hole in the head. Serial starter……It would seem I have become this… I turning into my mother? Or is my focus just messed up?

Due to me binding the yellow and black quilt last week, I changed my seam allowance and did not change it back. All of the blocks in this post are now too small…..arrrrggggghhhhhh.

I noticed how off when I made these. I failed to measure the 6 inch block and when I did, it was almost a 1/4 inch off in size. These may get put in a special box that if I have enough blocks, I can opt out of these three. So the seam allowance is now where it should be.

I recently watched a YouTube video of Edyta Sitar. Her baskets pattern for 4 inch finished basket blocks is wonderful. I watched what she had cut out for pieces, and knowing that it is charm pack friendly decided to figure out her pattern. Many failed attempts, and charm cuts ruined I managed one. I probably should just break down and get the pattern.

I had ordered a new bobbin case. I did not chose the option to go with the manufacturer. Does this sound crazy to any of you longarmers? The longarm company listed the bobbin case for sale with the “real” manufacturing info on it. So instead of paying them 40 dollars, I bought it on amazon for $16. Turns out my bobbin case is made by Towa in Japan. The mark up of that is ridiculous!

So I wanted to throw something on the frame that I could quilt up pretty fast to see if it worked. Ah, I suspect my original bobbin case is actually messed up. I had no tension issued since using this case. So, every time I load a new bobbin, the incessant need to get tension perfect has vanished. I only struggled with this for 2 1/2 years. That is probably the definition of crazy. I have another on its way. And the new one has a different style back lash spring inside which I always wondered if I could use with my set up. Now I know.

This took less than 30 minutes to load, iron, and quilt. That is just what I needed on Monday, or was it Tuesday? This week all the days ran together.

Goals for the upcoming week:

  • Finish quilting the fall panel for Mom
  • Make new alphabities with a tutorial for those interested
  • Pick up the tatting shuttles and work the Jan Stawazs doily
  • make the 365 quilt blocks I have currently cut out at my sewing machine
  • glue baste more hexies that I cut last weekend from scraps

Can I do it? As bob the builder would say or even Barrack Obama, yes we can! Or in this case, yes I can!

Congrats to the winner of the doily, be looking for another giveaway in the coming month. I have a whole wall of pieced/quilted wall hangings that can have a new home.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog!

A Giveaway!

I am having a giveaway! Do I have your attention? Those of you who follow my blog know that I tat. Back in February I tatted a doily and have not found a purpose for it at this house. This would be cute framed, stitched to a quilt block, adorning the underside of a candle, or adorning the bottom of a vase atop a coffee table.

I will just place this in a regular mailing envelope and send it to ya. How does one win this tatted doily? Click the raffle copter link. Ensure to give your name and use a current email address so I can get ahold of you if you win. The cutoff date to enter is midnight August 28, 2021. I will announce the winner on the 29th. I will give a week for the winner to claim their prize. Because of this being relatively small I will open this up to any english speaking person in the entire world. Good Luck! Make sure to leave a comment how you would use this doily (not required to win). Everyone loves a good idea. Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Quilting Dance

Ah, the struggles of juggling life and our hobby, eh? One week is feasting on a finish, the next week is famine for one reason or another. I would not know how to react if I did not have several interruptions while trying to quilt, sew, or piece.

My set up goes between houses and all rooms of the house. The longarm is down the street. The ironing mat is in the kitchen with the cutting mat. The sewing machine station is in the living room. The fabric stash is in the bedroom.

As clever as we may be, our time is dedicated. I have a 40 hour work week (which by the way, overtime looms). And then there is the dastardly deed of cooking because of the hungry mouths to feed. And then there are the lovely distractions of quilting youtube channels. And of course housework. And the more people that are in the house, the more interruptions you will naturally have. Some days are better than others. This week was focused on responsibilities and children.

So what did I get done? The yellow and black scrap quilt is QUILTED!!!! YES!!! I am ecstatic! Binding is sewn by machine and lacks my hand-stitching around the perimeter. So close. The day I finished quilting this, I walked home in the rain. Sorry everyone no pictures yet. Today was our first day of no rain.

I decided to video the last part of the border. I went back to watch, the 30 plus minute video was kinda slow. As I was scrolling through my video, I paused at just the right time and saw my foot hanging in mid air. It made me chuckle. I fast forwarded through to another part in the video and again, it looked like I was dancing at my machine. So I decided to save everyone the woes of watching a boring video and sped it up! I call it the quilting dance. It is silly. I tried to put it to music, that is a tad funny as it is so unprofessional, it is clear I do not know what I am doing. I tried to figure out what the hum was in the background of my video. It could be one of two things, the hum of the window AC unit, or more than likely the hum of the deep freeze which was right below the camera. I would have had more footage but the darn camera battery died.

And because this video acted as a timing device I can accurately add up the hours it took me to quit this over several weeks.

I estimate the borders took 12 hours. Each row took about 30 minutes and there were 15 rows. Seven and half hours for the body and 12 hours for the borders which equals 19.5 hours which is half a work week. It took me longer to quilt it than piece it oddly enough.

And as with any quilt finish, so to speak, there is a let down time for me. While I bind, my mind kinda gets a little down because I have looked forward to this coming together for so long. Now my mind has to process the next thing to look forward too.

And because my tables were filled with binding and not much sewing happened.

I only got two 365 blocks done.

I managed to sew two more corriander quilt blooms.

I did some more scrap maintenance. I got out my larger strip pieces of fabrics and utilized the accuquilt cutter. I cut out papers for english paper piecing as well as fabric to cover the papers.

We had a large bin of caramel corn and I saved this for sewing storage. At the time I was not sure what I would put it in, but that was defined this week.

I glue basted and glue basted and glue basted. Everytime I had a spare moment while watching quilting on youtube, I was gluing away. I actually ran out of the good glue. I had read you could also use school glue. I reloaded the pen two more times with just stick elmers glue. Glue is glue eh? And because it is school glue it will wash out. I did make sure before I did all this work that the glue does release a few days later. My jar inventory grew. I still have some pieces to glue baste, but gosh I sure did utilize some fabric scraps that have been lingering for a very long time.

These are one inch hexagons.

This was several days worth. It will look nice to display while I am not doing anything with them.

So in the coming week, I will be doing overtime. *sigh*. I estimate I will be too tired to do much sewing. Hopefully I can finish the hand stitching on the yellow and black quilt and get a good photo finish. I look forward to bringing you that post.

I am now posing a question to those that watch my youtube videos, what content would you like to see on there? Please leave your suggestions in the comment section and I will do my best to meet them. Perhaps I need to have a giveaway to spruce things up.

Ta-Ta for now! And thanks for reading my blog.

Holy Cow, Scrap Happy August 2021

Well, this month flew by!

Please visit all the participants of scraphappy!

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, JanMoira, SandraChrisAlys,
KerryClaireJeanJon, HayleyDawn,
Gwen, Bekki, Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin,
Vera, NanetteAnn, Me, Bear,
Carol, Preeti, Edith and Debbierose

For scrap enthusiasts, please visit my recent blog posts. You will be glad you did.

I have a Quilt Hop share, a weeks worth of quilting, and How to Catch Up your Quilt Along. Good tips on strategy, lots of quilters eye candy and my progress on stuff, scraps included. Usually on my scrap happy post I review my accomplishment for the month. I thought this month I would go back in time.

I have two shares in this post. Both of these quilts defined a more serious journey in my hobby. I will go with the oldest first. I call this quilt the No Name Yet quilt. I have never named this quilt. I have been naming quilts since 2008. This one was made around 2004. This was before the Pinterest and social media. When you made a quilt before this technology you visited books and turned pages or just dreamed it up in your head.

My first child was born in 1999. That milestone turned my life in a non-normal way. He was such a wonderful good baby. He has grown into a wonderful man. I am in awe of his smarts on things I am not smart on. He is really good about politics and people. He has charisma.

When he came into this world, it turned ours upside down. Anyone having a baby knows that you no longer think of yourself first. You now have a great responsibility to your child, to the community, to all of mankind to rear a human being who will be good. I now can say within 12 weeks I had bonded with him and then was forced to go back to work. I so wanted to stay home with him, but we could not afford it. Once I went back to work, within a couple of months, my marriage was no longer stable.

I can now say looking back the arrival of this perfect slate I was about to write on, unsettled my husband (now EX). I think he was jealous. He sort of went through a midlife crisis that never ended. One day I thought things were ok and the next the switch flipped and it was no longer ok. We legally separated. For the sake of my child, I accepted things in life I should not have. Would I have changed my path if I would have known? The answer is probably no, just because my son, now grown, is a good human being. I fear if I would have done things differently, that may not have been the same result.

Without going into many horrible specifics, my Ex was hooked on pain pills at the age of 26. His whole family was. Which made me staying with him the hard road to hoe. I never had any money. And then when my son was 6 months old, he quit is good paying job, which left me as a sole provider for a family. I could not let my baby down.

I made many sacrifices for about 5 years following. Living with a drug addict, you take the small things for granted. Receiving mail in the mail box. He would actually go hunt down the postal jeep and get the mail in case I came home from work early to hide the bank notices. I could not have any quarters, nickels, or dimes. If there was any change in the house, it was only pennies. The silvery stuff always seemed to disappear. I lived from day to day.

He would write hot checks and sign my name. I had a warrant out for my arrest for something I did not even do. His mother covered this up and helped him get that issue resolved. How? I have no idea. So many secrets with the family of druggies.

I seriously think, the pain killers then turned into a more sinister drug of choice. During our divorce, I demanded he get tested for drugs. He bragged in the courtroom, that he only tested positive for prescription drugs. That mentality told me I got out when the getting was good. He was on the harder stuff and had enrolled in narcanon. They had prescribed him methadone, which is what he tested positive for. The cat was out of the bag.

During those 5 years of a roller coaster ride leading to my divorce in 2006, was the advent of EBAY in the early days. I bought a box of precut squares, a quilt kit so to speak with a pattern for a whole 7 dollars. I have no idea what the pattern was called, but it was old enough it was typed out with hand drawn illustrations showing you how to make it.

So each day, or each bad day, I would sew nine patches. And then I learned to sew the star corners. And then I learned about how to make the sashing friendship stars. And before you know it, I had a nice size quilt. I felt so good that I made a nice large quilt top for only 7 dollars (plus shipping). And then it came time to quilt it. The local lady had just started her business, and I gladly took it to her. I think it cost me $54 for the quilting. She supplied the batting. And I did have to purchase backing. It was on the sale rack at the quilt shop and was $35. This was soooo much money when I could hardly keep the lights turned on and food on the table. But I made do. I wanted this to be a quilt.

This used to be very bright and colorful, but the chlorine in the water and much use has faded this quite a bit. This quilt has seen better days. And if I would have known then what I know now, I would have gotten the quilter to not use polyester batting. That batting acted as a scrub brush on the backside of the fibers and has slowly filled this quilt with holes.

The story does not end there.

During the divorce, contents were listed of who would get what. This was on my list to get. Of course, when I got back into the house, this quilt was no where to be found. I suspect that in a guilty moment, my ex returned it to my front porch in 2009ish in a garbage bag. The quilt (as well as a quilt my grandmother made) was wet inside the bag. I tried my darnedest to save my grandmothers quilt. The fibers were just too old and oxidized. That quilt disintegrated. But all the work I had done on this one, I had it back!!!! I was elated!! This quilt represented my struggles. It represented perseverance. It also represents the quilt of my grandmothers I lost. I am probably pretty sure that being in a wet bag for no telling how long probably deteriorated this quilt. But I have used it and used it and used it. It has held up well.

My points on this quilt were really good considering I was new to this. I was a bit disappointed when I got it quilted. I wanted it fancy. All the lady did was simply medallion pantographs or meandering. So, I had outgrown my longarmer. That planted a seed a long time ago, which changed my life. It steered me towards a longarm.

So you see, the heartaches you go through do have positive takeaways.

This was on the ground outside for less than 3 seconds before a large wolf spider came to check things out. YICK!

This quilt has become so thin. But it is oh so soft!

Much of this is starting to become holy! Scrap quilt enthusiasts, I ask you what I can repurpose this into? It has such a story and represents a younger chunk of time in my life. A time of good and a time of bad. I don’t need any pot holders, or appliance covers. I think it is too worn to make a jacket out of. It would make cute Christmas stockings, but we don’t celebrate Christmas. Ideas? Leave your suggestions in the comment section.

There is so much more to this story. That quilt holds all of that together for me. A memory I can gaze upon, and know I am in a better place in life. It sparked something inside me to continue to grow as a person, a mother, a human being.

So, fast forward to the start of Missouri Star Quilt Co. We all know how smitten we were with the tutorials every Friday. I still tune in every Friday to see what Jenny Doan magic has happened. That magic has slowly faded for me, but this is where the second part of my story starts.

After discovering MSQC, I found their forum! It was a magical place of strangers from all over the world asking questions, showing their quilts, a true network of minds. I enjoyed the forum for years, but spend very little time there now. In their forum they had groups. Each group had their own thing. I joined a group for a fabric swap of nothing but polka dots. So you would send 40 ten inch squares of your polka dot yardage cut up to the admin, and then when all members sent their squares she would divey them back up and send them back. So my large blue and white polka dot yardage turned into a layer cake all all different polka dot fabrics from all over the United States. It was so neat to be in a fabric swap. You could take something out of your stash and turn it into a layer cake with great variety.

I dreamed up the idea of an all polka dot quilt at that time. My mother had just purchased the accuquilt go baby with the tumbler die. And boy oh boy was it easy to fold your 10 inch square twice and then run it through the machine for perfectly cut tumblers. I am thinking this happened in 2009ish??? Because I no longer had money issues I had amassed a stash of fabric which included polka dot fabric. I had one large piece for the backing, and I had a smaller piece for all the sashing. This was 100% polka dots.

No fanciness to this. When it became a quilt top, by this time Pinterest was out and I wanted to quilt this in pebbles. And I knew my longarmer would not do this. So this is the quilt that started free motion quilting. This quilt took about 3 1/2 months on constant quilting. I tugged and pulled, stitched, and bound this twin size quilt. All of this took place on my 6 1/5 inch throat space machine. I honed and refined, my set up was established. This quilt represented the baby step I took to my big quilting machine. Without working hard at this, night after night, I would not have gotten to the journey where I am today. Persistence prevailed. This quilt is very worn. This went through potty training two little girls. It has been washed oodles and oodles of times. It is now faded and worn. What can I turn this into? Can I recycle this into something useful? I know someone is bound to have a great idea.

The polka dot fabric on the back, you can no longer see polka dots, I swear there were there. They have faded into oblivion! Can you see the holes near the tumblers. Yeah, this one is worn beyond worn. But again, it is oh so soft.

The binding on this one is furry too! LOL

Now back to present time, I am back at my 365 quilt block challenge blocks. I have travelled 2 months in time in the past month. I was in mid August patterns. I am rounding out of October now. That means I have less than 45 more blocks YIPPPEEEEE!

As my reds narrow in volume, it is getting harder and harder to pair things together that have contrast but also resemble a quilt block!

One of these is kinda muddy.

And I am very close to being finished on my yellow and black laundry basket quilts mystery. It has gotten hot it Texas, and I am going to let it be for now. This weekend it is supposed to cool off. I lack the border at the bottom of the quilt, and it will all be custom quilted.

Life is rather 365. A journey of a quilter. I go from novice, to quilter, to longarm quilter. This 365 quilt block challenge red quilt I am working represents perfectly where I am today, where I have been, and where I am going.

Thanks for reading about my scrappy life! Thank you for visiting my blog!

How to Catch up in Your QuiltAlong

Anytime us quilters start a project we have very good intentions of finishing. At the beginning we are all excited about the process, and then something happens…..TIME. It may be we don’t have time, or something else is consuming our time, or we ran out of fabric, or we are looking for the perfect fabric in the next step. Fill in the blank, stuff happens. It is possible that a life event steers us out of our sewing time and then we fall behind.

First I would like to say, for any quilter who feels they are behind, DON’T! Most quilt alongs have steps published at a regular interval. That regular interval is for those quilters who currently are not having any life interruptions (lucky!) Let’s face it, we all work at our own pace. Some like to be the tortoise while others like to be the hare. This is what makes the world go round. Regardless of what pace you are, you do not have to keep up. Notice the phrase “quilt along”. part of that last word is long. Long can equal time span. Keep this in mind the next time you want to rush. Sometimes rushing takes the fun out of it and panic sets in. Chill, it is just instructions and some fabric. If you work to your own pace and ignore the need to catch up, you have mastered the best part of quilting. Quilt at your own pace. This post will help those in a quilt along that have fallen behind, perhaps by months, years, or decades. No matter how much time has lapsed, it is still a project you want to finish.

I have learned this lesson the hard way. Let me explain what happened to me. And then we will discuss a great way to be organized and work those blocks to completion. Bare with me here….

In December of 2019, I stumbled upon the 365 quilt block challenge. I was currently sewing the quilt along Frolic by Bonnie Hunter.

The clues for frolic were kind of meager and I was going along and it may have been an evening worth of work. So, why not two quilt alongs? I am one who likes to sew everyday.

And so approx mid December I signed up for the 365 Quilt Block Challenge. This was probably not the best time of year to sign up for a quilt along, plus I was joining at the end, instead of waiting a couple of weeks for the actual beginning. This quilt along is perpetual so it just goes on and on all for free. (Which is great for those of us who fall behind).

I built the blocks that I could at that time and was enjoying it so. The easier more basic blocks presented themselves at the beginning of 2020. Those blocks could be accomplished in about 30 minutes, give or take. All was well with both of these quilt alongs and then then the final clue was released for frolic. It was a clue that would take me months to complete. Frolic done me in. I decided I would never do another Bonnie Hunter mystery. I kept up every week, but the execution of the pattern at the end was complex and time consuming enough that I could sew, and sew, and sew. And the completion would just not come. (Note: the pattern she did not want revealed until the end, so it was done different from previous mysteries).

The completion of Frolic eventually happened (me working diligently every day) in mid March of 2020 as the pandemic presented itself. Was ecstatic to be done. And glad I had another quilt along to jump back into. Because it was mid march, this left me behind by 2 1/2 months already. And then because of the virus I started working nights. And the sewing free time that seemed so easy on my other shift was neglected until June when I said enough is enough, I am going back to days.

At this point I was 3 months behind. It made me a little anxious. I was worried that I would miss out on something by being on a different time line than everyone else. That was a worry for naught.

And during this time, supposedly from the corona virus and folks working from home, the computing software that distributed the clues would not be deposited to everyone by mail chimp each day. To curb that disaster the admin of the quilt pattern Katherine Kerr, started the quilt along midstream to a different website totally. I had to sign up for yet another account.

The good news I had everything in my inbox through April. But, the way the new system worked, you had to login to the database at and get your daily pattern. The patterns were only out there for 3 months. If you did not print them off or download them, they would be gone until the next year.

And then July 4th holiday of 2020 happened. With most things locked down, including fireworks. That meant it was a stay-cation, and I sewed what I could for the 365 Quilt Block Challenge. I can’t remember if I took a week off or it was longer than just 3 days. But, I got so much done! I did not catch up. I was still months behind.

By this point, I had grown tired of not being timely and started other projects. Quick quilts! I needed it.

I kept busy, but not at the right project. I found the mess I would make each day to accomplish a block was just not working for me.

And finally Christmas of 2020 came around. I had saved up oodles of vacation time and chose I would play catch up for the quilt block challenge.

And then another squirrel presented itself and it was a scrap one. I had plenty of those scraps already cut. So another project happened. At this point I decided to totally ignore the 365 project. And I continued to ignore it for months with many more projects.

Recently, I had a poll asking what viewers/readers wanted to see. They wanted to see that 365 quilt DONE! So I put my big girl pants on and dived right in where I left off. You see, a quilt along, you can dive back in at anytime. There is no race…you set the pace.

I do a lot of reading with my hobby. A research sew to speak. And I came across the paper plate method which worked well for me for months. But it had its drawbacks. Those round plates take up valuable real estate on my sewing table. And if a stiff wind blows, it will blow your pattern as well as your pieces all over the place.

This weekend I made a bunch of quilt block boards. This is a Lori Holt idea and I have been using one for a couple of years. It holds my alphabities my mother made from felt. They are always stuck to the board when not in use. The boards stack like the plates, but because they are a mini design wall you can stand them more upright out of the way, and everything stays put.

This tutorial works for me. It may not work for you. You sometimes figure things out as you go. It took me over a year to figure this out. It makes the whole process speedy!

Step one:

  • Pick your fabrics for your blocks. I find some days my picker is broken. But, that design element will add lots of different appeal to your finished quilt. Notice below that I have stacks of block patterns. Between each pattern are a variety of fabrics. Since I am going scrappy, this method really helps me use fabrics at the bottom of the fabric pile. I tend to gravitate to the same fabrics each time. This helps get rid of that redundancy of fabrics.

Step Two:

  • Starch and iron each piece in the pile. If you starch it heavy enough, it will save you ironing time which can wait until the end.

Step Three:

  • Assign your alphabet to your pattern values. For those of you who do not have alphabities, start saving your bread tie plastics. Make your own set. These are homemade as well. These have saved so much confusion. Let’s face it, if your block BOM goes all the way to letter P, if you have a pile of pieces it is hard to keep track of which is what.

Step Four:

  • Cut and then sub-cut according to the pattern

This is ready to sew, but hold off. While you already have all your tools out at the cutting and ironing station, you might as well take advantage of the time you will save if you do a bunch of repetitive work at the same time.

Step Five:

  • Each board has a new assignment of A, B, C, D, E, etc. Stack the boards with the pattern of the block. You are ready with the copious amount of sewing.

Step Six:

  • Sew and repeat the sew with each board. Finger press your pieces, they are crisp enough you don’t need to press until the end. After the final pressing trim. I find this method helps me do 5 or 6 blocks in a day. And it is very satisfying to accomplish a goal set before you. These are baby goals. If I looked at how many months I am behind, it seems like a monstrous goal. That monstrous goal is not monstrous, it is just filled with many baby steps along the way. Think baby steps and you will get there.

Since the beginning of this quilt block challenge, during the making of Frolic, I decided to keep a calendar handy to place a star on each day I made the block. I would put two stars for the days I would make the block and the bonus block. This has helped me keep track perfectly where I am. I am so glad I decided to do this. In the beginning I had great intentions of finishing early. That did not happen. And that is OK.

This selection of fabrics was not the best. But finished is better than perfect. This will add lovely character to an area that does not have this grouping of fabrics.

I thought about deleting the first half of this post. It felt like excuses. Life IS an excuse. Cut yourself some slack. Quilt at your own pace. Enjoy your results. Baby steps.

In one day I have made these blocks. Some of these have many pieces. This is the key to my success. I hope you will use my key for your success. Good Luck with your quilt along!

On an additional note, do not be fooled. Many of these pieces are cut and sewn on the bias. The good news is that the pattern calls for oversized pieces. After you sew and finger press you trim to the exact size you need. This added effort adds precision every time. Some blocks are perfect. Some are not. As quilters we know all too well about the fudge factor. I intend to fudge these all together when the time comes. In the meantime, I will not worry about it.

A couple more hints before I go, change your needle and rotary blade often. I upgraded from my omnigrid ruler to a creative grids. A good grip ruler will help you with any quilt at any time. If you rotary cutter is pushing the fabric moving it underneath the ruler, it is time for a new blade. Invest in the things you use the most. You will be glad you did.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog!

Quilt Share Quilt Hop

Last weekend our little town hosted a quilt hop. I failed to bring my trusty camera. I had my phone and it has a camera. Photos were snapped. Mini movies taken (a glitch/accident). Photos in the cloud. Photos uploaded to instagram. Photos deleted. Then I panicked! I had only shown a handful. Photos have been recovered, whew. Welcome to the quilt share!

First, I made sure to get good photos of my work. No matter how good of a quilter you may be, when you snap the photo the rectangle quilt turns into a trapezoid. To snap photos head on and straight is very pleasing to the mind, er…my mind anyway.

At the Creative Arts Center there were portrait quilts, and oh my they were lovely. A talent this person has! Quilts by Leo Ransom.

And then there is the air force quilt. This was beautiful! Simple and formal at the same time. My favorite of the show.

And then there was the small church with all the vintage quilts draped over the pews. Lovely and serene.

There were quilting demos. My experience tends not to go to these, but because of not being around other quilters for almost 2 years, I decided to enjoy the people aspect, not so much the project aspect. I was pleasantly surprised. It was lovely to laugh and see smiling faces. Human bonding interaction. I am not one who necessarily bonds with strangers, but this time it was different. Perhaps a good thing to come from the corona virus is the appreciation for people around you.

There was the chicken wire quilted quilt. There is something about chicken wire that I adore!

Two years ago at the hop I purchased a charcoal fabric with batik style chandeliers. I have used this in many of my quilts. I found more of this fabric and got one continuous piece of 4 1/2 yards. Did I need it? Nope, but have had buyers remorse I did not get more. It will get used, eventually.

It was an overall good experience. And I speak only for myself, but when I gaze upon a beautiful quilt I did not make, My mind romances at the notion of all the tenderness and caring and time the maker put into the make.

Now onto normal weekly news, I got a ton done!

Plenty of 365 blocks got complete. I believe I am not on October 17th!

I got so excited I decided to layout my project.

Apperently not enough room in the kitchen! Jeez this thing is getting big!

I have quilted at the machine too! Texas weather this year never seems to surprise me. We had a cool front come through at the beginning of August (this never happens). This made garage quilting a lot more tolerable temperature wise. And the neck fan is amazing! I have one more rows of blocks, as well as the borders to quilt. I am close. To make a pass of two rows of blocks is about an hour. This will help me tabulate how many hours I have in just the quilting.

Because the quilt hop is over, this is the time of year we start getting to use new quilts. There are a couple that need to be retired out of usage at this house. Eventually I will get photos snapped of those so I can dream of their recreations. Either I will donate to the thrift store, or make a robe or coat out of the least worn parts. Not exactly sure the direction, but my house is bursting with quilts! Perhaps I should list some for sale on etsy?! I have never sold on etsy. There is always a donation opportunity. Not sure where to donate in this area.

The kittens are old enough now to be afraid of the vacuum. Poor babies, but gosh they are so cute. Momma cat has not been feeling well. She does not have much appetite. She is barely keeping up with feeding now. I know she is hungry. She tells me just looking at me. I thought she might have hairballs, but that is not it. I thought she might want to eat something different. That is not it. All of a sudden she begs for human food but will not eat it. We have had her for 5 years and she has never shown interest in our food. I know she must be very hungry. I do not want to turn her and the babies out into the heat because the heat will make her not eat either. A trip to the vet may be necessary in the coming days. I called out vet to schedule an appointment. It is closed because of self isolation and covid. I would hate for the cause of the virus to kill the cat.

Well, this wraps up quite a week in the quilting department. I hope you enjoyed the slideshow of quilts. Thanks for reading my blog!