Monday, January 31, 2022

Free Heart Quilt Pattern

Just in time for Valentines Day, here is a free pattern for a heart quilt.

A pdf of the pattern can be found here. I read through it a couple of times, and I will say that I think the measurements are incorrect. The overall measurement at least. It says it is 75” square, but it uses 5” squares. Since they would finish at 4.5”, the overall measurement would be 67.5”. Not a big deal, and a 5” border would result in a final size of 77.5”. 

When I was reading it, I was already thinking of ways to change it up. I would likely leave off the last white round and use colored squares there. I’m not that fond of that much white on the edges. Still a cute pattern, though, and it would make an adorable valentine quilt or a cute baby quilt.

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Cross Stitch Borders

 I really struggled with the border on my new sampler.

I ripped out a lot of stitches. Three times. It was so frustrating. I ended up making a reference line with a spare length of floss.

I also started in the middle and worked down each side with a separate length of floss.

I don’t know if that makes sense or not. It’s probably an unorthodox way of doing things, but so far I think it worked. I also used a ruler and laid it evenly across a line of the Aida to make sure I wasn’t messing up and everything was on the right line.

Friday, January 28, 2022

Another Finish

 I got Alan’s quilt done. It didn’t take too long once I got going on it.

Alan picked the quilting pattern, and it gives the quilt a lot of texture without being too overpowering. I love the way it turned out, and best of all, Alan did too. I will be making one of these for myself!

It’s not trimmed in the picture; I will leave that to Alan.

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Batting Hammock

This is the coolest thing ever. I don’t know if it’s called a hammock or a sling or a cradle or what, but it keeps the batting off the floor. 

Bill built it for me out of PVC and put wheels on it so I can kick it out of the way if I need to. I sewed a couple of one-yard pieces of canvas together to make the hammock part.
The basic premise is that the batting never touches the floor, eliminating the chance of picking up stray threads or dust. Here’s what it looks like with the batting in it:

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Customer Quilt

This is the first customer quilt on my new machine: 

It belongs to Alan. He made it last year from a bunch of mask-making scraps. I told him I love it and would like to duplicate it, and he said he is about ready to make another one as this one will be a gift. Maybe we can do a sew-along of sorts. That would be a lot of fun.

Bill helped me move my desk (one of my desks, I have several) from the house to my shop. It’s pretty big, and it wasn't getting used at the house. I think I will need a place to do paperwork, and this works in the space.

Here’s the view from the front door:
It just fits in the corner. I’m not crazy about the lighter finish on the wood….I am going to think about how I can darken it or maybe even paint it, but that’s a job for another day. I have too many more pressing things to deal with right now.

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Bill’s Quilt

A long time ago, Bill decided to make a quilt. He actually made two—one of them was a BOM from Joann fabrics back when they used to do that every year. He finished it and I quilted it. I wish I had a photo; someday I will get it out and take one. He later bought a Paula Barnes kit and I never did quilt it. I didn’t have much experience at that time with long arming, and I knew there would be some issues. Not all the blocks were flat, and the borders had a lot of extra fabric in them. He bought some backing fabric, and I had already removed the selvages and seamed it together. I kind of forgot about it, but after I had practiced some on the new machine, he reminded me about his quilt. Here it is: 

I have the binding made, and need to put it on. I’ll get that done this week. I was able to handle the issues with the quilt by using a cup foot and a pretty dense pattern.

When I got to areas with a lot of fullness, I used my hands to push on the sandwich a little, and I was able to avoid tucks. I think the light blue thread is really pretty on this quilt. I will most likely have another picture on here after I get the binding done.

Monday, January 24, 2022

A Little Quilting

 I have been working so hard on purging and packing, I thought I would reward myself with a little quilting.

It did not start out well, I had multiple issues with tension, thread breaking, etc. I walked away for a while, and when I came back to it, I redid everything. I checked the needle bar height, I rethreaded, I changed the needle and the bobbin. I finally got it looking good.
This is a small top, and I thought I could knock it out pretty quickly, but it took a little time to get tings operating correctly. Pretty sure the problem was something I did and not the machine. I still need binding, but I don’t have anything prepared yet.

I used up some remnant pieces for the back:

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Purging Part 2

 I got quite a bit of the shoes and clothing out of the house. I made multiple trips to Salvation Army and Goodwill. They don’t want hangers or boxes so I just loaded up the stacks of stuff in the car.

This is one of about four trips. I’m embarrassed that I let things get so out of hand, but it is what it is. A pictorial reminder to not let this happen again. 

I had a couple of bags of shoes and boots and purses.

I ended up buying these bags at Aldis:
They are not as big as some others I had, but they were pretty cheap—maybe around 25 cents each. 

Saturday, January 22, 2022


I am officially retired! Now I have to get my life rearranged and get myself transitioned back to Victoria. I am trying to sort through everything and decide what gets moved to Victoria and what needs to be disposed of. I know I am keeping too much; I will probably have to repeat the whole process again before I am satisfied. 

Another problem is the mess that i am making by dragging everything out to sort through it. I took everything out of the closet and laid it on the bed. This is what my bed looked like:

This is after I had folded everything and gotten it into some stacks. I am just overwhelmed with all the things I have accumulated. This is just clothing—there is more non-clothing things that need to purged as well. I am praying I can get through this quickly and not make a long-term project of it.

Friday, January 21, 2022

Crisis Averted

Remember this disaster?

I soaked it in Dawn and cold water. I also put a color catcher in there and kept swishing it around. I rinsed it in more cold water and laid it out on a towel. After it dried a bit, I check it, and I think it is going to be okay!

As far as I can tell, the migrated dye is gone. I'm so relieved! In fact, I felt so encouraged, I started a new cross stitch. It is the sampler one I bought a few months ago: 
I ordered the one-color floss one to start in February, but I thought I could work on this in the meantime.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

A Finish….And A Disappointment

I finished my flamingo cross stitch, and oh my goodness, I like it so much. The instructions said to soak in in a basin of cold water to remove the lines.

I went straight to the kitchen sink and ran some cold water. I soaked it for about 20 minutes, and then I drained the water and soaked it some more in some clean water. I laid it out on towels on top of the washing machine so it could dry overnight. 

Just look at this!

The pink floss bled! The green did too, a little bit:
I am so disappointed. All the time spent on it, and I can’t frame this. I have some experience getting dye migration out of quilts with Dawn liquid and hot water, but I am afraid to put this in hot water. Right now it is soaking in Dawn and cold water and I am praying for a good outcome. 

One more is my last day at my job. So much emotion! Some of it was good, and some of it not so good. I am ready to start something new, but after 29 years at the same place, there is some anxiety about leaving. I just need to stay busy and get through it. I have been having trouble sleeping due to the anxiety and the feeling of being overwhelmed with all the things I need to get done. I am trying to take it a day at a time.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Holiday Stitching

Yesterday was a holiday from work, so I had an extra day at home. I have been working on my cross stitch, and I am happy to say I am almost finished with this one:

The blue part is all I have left to finish, so it won't be long until it is finished. I am happy to have gotten so far on this one, and I am ready to start on the next. I read on another blog (Patchwork Times) about a February stitch-along using one color of floss. I ordered a kit for it and will see how it goes. This is the one I ordered:

It might be a little above my skill level, but I am going to try it and see.

Monday, January 17, 2022

Another Freebie

This one is so cute!

Can you believe it’s just 16 patches with fancy sashing. The pattern is here. The colored squares are 2.5”, so a jelly roll could work for this one. I want to make this one……it probably won’t be any time soon, but who knows?

Sunday, January 16, 2022

And A Few More

 At some point in the past, the disappearing nine patch and four patch quilt patterns were everywhere. It was probably 15 or 20 years ago when I got hooked on them and made a bunch. I found one last weekend that never got finished. I forgot to take a picture before I deconstructed it, but I took it apart and made it into several rectangles.

The lighting is weird on the photo….it is purple, green, and yellow, and each block is 3”. I don’t know what I was thinking when I made this, but I obviously had second thoughts.

I needed a little more to make them big enough and was hoping to use yellow, but nothing I had looked good with this particular yellow. I did, however, have a fat quarter of purple solid that matched pretty well.
I had enough purple to do three of them; I have three more that will need borders when I find the right color.

Friday, January 14, 2022

More Placemats

 I made some string blocks out of some strips that were literally in a pile on the floor. 

I know they look like a hot mess, at least they do to me. They weren’t big enough for placemats and needed borders. My first thought was to add narrow strips of various fabrics around the centers in a log cabin style. I had second thoughts as it sounded a little to busy for these already busy blocks. I ended up adding wider border strips of a single fabric.
Yeah, I’m not sure that’s an improvement. Next time I will try multiples of narrow strips and see how that looks. If that doesn’t look good, I will give up on using this style for placemats.

Thursday, January 13, 2022


I’m still a little overwhelmed with all the organization tasks required for getting all my stuff sorted. I made two trips to Goodwill today, and need to load up the car tonight so I can make another stop after work tomorrow. 

I was thinking some more about charity donations. In the past I made placemats for Meals on Wheels. It was about 15 years ago, but they always told me how they were appreciated. I pulled some strips from the strip bin—the center pieces were already sewn together, and started sewing. This is what I came up with:

The ones on the right we’re an experiment I was trying. Next time, I will make those three center strips shorter so I can add an extra light strip on each side. It’s all quick and easy, and I’m excited to make more.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Free Pattern

A long time ago, I made a quilt like this one:

I made each block by cutting the one large triangle, and five smaller ones for each color. I was really intrigued by this free pattern from Moda. I’m not interested in buying those cake papers, but I am interested in how this one is put together. You could make the whole block from 2-1/2” strips using the easy angle ruler. I wonder how this would look in scrappy colors, or maybe controlled scrappy. Of course, if I used those cake papers, I could use this with a layer cake. Hmmm, lots to think about.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Random Thoughts

I was thinking about how to get rid of some of my fabric stash. I can’t seem to just throw it away, and it is out of hand. How did this happen? That was what I was actually thinking about. For one thing, I have been living this dual life—part time in Victoria and part time in Lake Jackson. That has been going on for almost twelve years. I pretty much duplicated everything here that I had there. Including the fabric. The other issue: I was doing a lot of charity quilts, and then Covid  came along and no more donations. I kept sewing though. My work hours increased until I was mostly in Lake Jackson but the quilt machine was in Victoria, so not much got quilted. Oh, and Covid gave me lots of opportunities for online shopping, mostly out of boredom. 

I’m trying to think of how to make a dent in all this stuff……I need to check and see who is taking donations, if anyone is at this time. I need a plan, and I am too overwhelmed to make one. I have done quilts in the past for quilts for kids, foster kids, and QOV (and probably lots more), and I’m not enthused about those at this time, because my donations didn’t stay local. I think I just need to make the quilts, and then an opportunity will present itself. 

Monday, January 10, 2022

A Few More

 I didn’t do much sewing today…I was busy sorting all the stuff I want to take back to Victoria. Most of the projects are on the shelves, but it is still like an archeological dig. The farther down I go, the older the projects. I tried to be ruthless with the sorting. I filled the trash can twice and made a pile for donation. I am trying to sort everything so that the things that belong together are in the same box. It is tempting to just throw it all in a big box and pretend I will organize it after I get it moved. I rewarded myself with a little sewing time, and made a few more of the improv blocks.

I don’t know what I need to do to keep myself organized. I do know that what I have been doing is not working. My usual method is to do a huge cleanup once or twice a year, but that is no longer working. I think I will need to schedule a weekly cleanup, and be sure and keep my projects in their boxes when they are not being worked on, instead of stacking multiple projects beside the machine or in the shelf. Having a list of UFOs should help if I can keep from getting too distracted. My ADHD definitely makes it harder, but I think I can do better. Wish me luck, I need it.

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Scrap Busting

 I have spent some time trying to find a scrap busting project and sort of settled on one. Then I realized I had already started some other projects that totally consume scraps. I worked yesterday on my scrap vortex blocks.

I made five of them….only four made it into the pictures. I think the fifth was still on the ironing board. I made 10 of these last year, but without the black strips added in. Here are a few of the ones from last year:
I tried adding the random solid black strips this time to see if I would like it, and I do. I think it adds a lot of graphic interest. I will need to finish a set with the black and a set without and make two tops. That should make a pretty good dent in the scraps. At least it’s a plan.

Saturday, January 8, 2022

Binding is Finished

 I was able to get the binding sewn down after a couple of delays. It is not a big quilt. It finished at 53x57". It's nice though.

I had to finally bite the bullet and get a new phone. I have had to spend some time to get it set up where I can find everything. In other words, I am trying to make it look as much like my old one as possible. One thing I am excited about is the camera. I read a lot of reviews and decided on the Samsung 21 because of the high ratings on the camera. Here's the first picture I took with it:
It's pretty clear considering this is a dog who never holds still. I will need to do some reading to see how to use the full functionality. 

Friday, January 7, 2022

2022 UFO Challenge

The January number for the APQS UFO challenge is

I have to admit I didn’t finish my 2022 list until after I had seen the January number, so it was an easy choice for me. I finished the quilting and hurried up and got the binding done. 
The ideal plan was to use the border fabric for the binding; unfortunately the new die lot didn’t match the old one. 🙄 I shopped around and finally found a dark red print that matches the red in the border. It’s not what I would normally have picked, but at least the colors match. 
The backing was from a bolt I bought several years ago. I think it works well.