Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Something(s) to Show For Myself: Geese Arcs, Vintage Quilt Repair, and Clam Shells

Hello, my lovelies, and Happy Wednesday!  I've been "distracted" by work and a series of minor but mildly disabling medical maintenance over the past week or so, but I was finally able to get back to my projects a few days ago and have some progress to report.

Two Arcs Completed, Forty-Six Arcs to Go...
First and foremost, I have actually begun piecing my son Lars's Geese In Circles graduation quilt!  This needs to be completed, as in bound, labeled, and delivered to the church office, no later than May 26th.  I've paper pieced two of the flying geese arcs so far, which leaves 46 more to be pieced and then all of the cutting and curved piecing that needs to happen to the dark purple background fabric to complete the blocks.  

I Love How the Darker Colors Recede Into the Background Fabric!!
As soon as I'd finished piecing the first arc, I laid it on the background fabric to make sure the colors are working the way I want them to against the dark purple.  I was super hesitant about some of these color choices and I definitely would not have chosen such dark shades of blue and green had I not been able to preview and play with color and value ahead of time in my EQ8 design software.

72 x 96 Geese In Circles, XL Twin Graduation Quilt EQ8 Design
I ended up printing this foundation paper piecing pattern from EQ8 onto two sheets of 8 1/2" x 11" copy paper.  I carefully taped them together, aligning registration points with my light box, and then I had 48 copies printed out onto blueprint paper on the large format printer at Staples.  

Oversize Foundation Paper Patterns Printed on Blueprint Paper
Yes, one of my readers did alert me to the fact that you can buy large enough sheets of newsprint to fit this foundation pattern in one piece (thank you!).  That's why I went to Staples in the first place.  The problem is that I can't fit those huge, odd sized sheets in my printer's paper tray, and the large format printers used by the FedEx Office Store as well as Staples print onto paper that comes on giant rolls.  So even if I bought the oversize newsprint from Staples, they can't print my foundation patterns on that paper!  I chose blueprint paper because it's the lightest weight paper they had for the large format printer and it's the same stuff my pineapple log cabin foundations were printed on, so I knew it would work for what I'm trying to do.

Too bad I didn't think to number the patches on that master pattern before I had the copies made!  Ah, well...

Meet Goldilocks, my Bernina 475QE
I pieced the first arc entirely on my new "Goldilocks" Bernina 475QE travel machine, to put her through the paces, get acclimated with the new machine, and to identify what all I'd need to pack up and take with me in order to sew these blocks on-the-go.  Isn't she a cutie?!

The B 475QE, or any of the new 4 Series Berninas, are fully featured machines that could easily be the one-and-only for many quilting and sewing enthusiasts across a variety of skill levels.  She sews beautifully, purrs like a kitten, and has all of the features I've come to rely on heavily when I sew on Big 'Nina the 750QE.

In My Studio: Goldilocks B 475QE on Left, Big 'Nina B 750QE on Right
I'm including this photo of both machines in my studio to give you an idea of the relative size of these machines.  

As you can see, these large foundation paper piecing patterns can definitely be pieced in the smaller (normal sized) throat space of the 4 Series Berninas:
FPP Oversize Flying Geese Arc on my Goldilocks B 475QE
...They just fit BETTER in the oversize throat space of a 7 Series Bernina:

FPP the Same Oversize Flying Geese Arc on my Big 'Nina 750QE
So, in answer to my husband's silly questions: No, I will not be selling my 7 Series machine now that I bought the cute little Goldilocks!  I love my B 75QE and I'm totally spoiled by having all of that roominess; I just wanted something smaller that would be more portable.  The hope is that, with the big machine available in my studio for sewing in solitude and the smaller machine ready to take to a sit-and-sew or quilting bee for uninterrupted stretches of social sewing, I can be more productive and move these projects along faster.  The more quickly a project progresses, the less I grow bored with it and the sooner it's finished.  The sooner a project is finished, the sooner I can tackle the next idea that's tickling my fancy, and the faster my skills develop.  

After ensuring that Goldilocks can handle my geese arcs just fine, I switched back to my Big 'Nina so that I could make a direct comparison between the two machines.  The vintage Craig's list desk where I've got Goldilocks set up in my studio works fine for my sergers and vintage Singer Featherweight machines, but it's not ideal for a modern Bernina because the kneehole of the desk is too narrow to accommodate the FHS Free Hands System presser foot lifter (a feature I can't live without!) unless I shift the machine to the left significantly and am no longer sitting with my body centered on the machine needle.  Using the B 475QE machine at this particular desk workstation requires uncomfortable ergonomic compromises!    I am also accustomed to always sewing with my machine recessed into a cabinet, which gives me an enormous work surface compared to the slide on accessory tray.  So it felt good to sit down at my plus-size Bernina again!  

I'm going to bring Goldilocks to my bee on Monday afternoon, where I assume I'll be setting up at a kitchen table or something like that instead of at a desk with a kneehole opening.  I don't anticipate any issues using the FHS in that scenario.  However, I am toying with the idea of ordering just ordered one of those SewEzi portable sewing machine tables for my Goldilocks machine.  Even if I can't manage to cram the folded-up table into my little convertible coupe, I will still be able to use it with my Goldilocks machine when I want to do some piecing downstairs in the living room.  I have a fantastic studio, but when my husband is home I like to hang out with him in the evening instead of hiding away upstairs, you know?

Let's see; what else do I have to share with you today?  Between piecing the first and second geese arcs (and shopping for a portable sewing table), I took a few moments to piece some irregularly shaped  fabrics together for that vintage quilt repair:
Vintage Quilt Top Undergoing Surgery.  
In the photo above, this formerly yarn-tied 1970s era quilt has been removed from its original backing and batting and is on my design wall awaiting repair.  See those two large holes near the center of the quilt?  Since the damage spans multiple patches in the original quilt, I'm piecing several fabrics together from which I will cut out patches in hopes that the repairs will be less obvious that way.

Like the Fabric Mix, Not Sure if the Perpendicular Piecing Lines Are Too Straight
I am trying to stick with the original quilter's color palette, spirit and print selections as much as possible, and I think the mix of fabrics that I pieced together in the photo above does a good job of blending into the way the original quilter mixed disparate fabric prints and colors in this quilt.  However, I might have made my piecing lines too straight and perpendicular to blend in with the original quilter's freeform piecing style.  I deliberately cut and pieced random angles for the next patch, and here I could not resist incorporating a couple of fabrics that reflect the current owner of this quilt (who is the quilter's granddaughter).  The music notes are because she's a phenomenal vocalist, and the Tula Pink Disco Kitties fabric (deliberately bleached to blend with the older fabrics) is because she was unjustly deprived of a kitten recently under dubious circumstances.

Tula Pink Disco Kitties Scrap With Musical Notation Fabric
The Kaffe Fassett prints in both photos were also bleached, by the way.  His prints have the right style for this era, but the colors were just way too bright to blend with the faded original fabrics.

New Patches Overlaid on Large Holes on the Design Wall (not sewn)
There are lots of smaller damage spots that will need to be repaired on this quilt as well, and I'm planning to repeat some of these same fabrics for smaller patches in those areas.  The original quilter used several patches of almost every fabric, so mixing my new fabrics across the face of the quilt will help them to blend in.  That strip of solid lilac fabric will blend better once there are a few other patches of lilac fabric in other places!  I had considered fusing some kind of lightweight stabilizer to the entire quilt top, but now I'm leaning towards stabilizing weak areas on an as-needed basis, both to minimize time involved and to preserve the softness of the original quilt.

I'm looking forward to loading this vintage top up on my longarm machine and turning it into a quilt again!  I've decided to do either a freehand meander or a very basic, loopy edge-to-edge pantograph in an off-white thread.  I don't want the quilting itself to be what jumps out at you in the finished quilt; its job is to securely attach the fragile quilt top fabrics to the batting and backing for strength and stability.

My 40 x 40 Modern Baby Clam Shell Quilt is Now Officially a WIP!
One more thing to show you before I go: I've started cutting out clam shells for the Modern Baby Clam Shell quilt that I designed a few months ago!  This baby was born in mid-December, and I'd like to get the quilt to her sometime BEFORE she starts kindergarten...  It's not my top priority with Lars's graduation quilt deadline looming over my head, but it's definitely on my radar, so to speak.

Cutting 9.5 Inch Clam Shells from Layer Cake Precuts
Y'all, tracing around templates and cutting pieces out Old School style with a scissors takes SO LONG!!!!  It took me the entire episode of Bachelor Home Town Visits and I still have several more print clam shells to cut out as well as ALL of the turquoise Grunge textured solid fabric remaining to be cut out.  This would be so much faster if I'd purchased the regular size Accuquilt GO! die cutter that fits their giant clam shell die rather than the GO! Baby cutter...  But I'm not buying a new die cutter just for this baby quilt, so I'll continue with my tracing, scissoring, and grumbling for the time being.

Cutting Progress for my Clam Shell Quilt
Such a happy mix of prints for a baby quilt, don't you think?  Cutting these shapes out of 10" layer cake precuts is yielding a pile of quarter circle scraps that have interesting possibilities as well.  Perhaps a Mill Wheel baby quilt is in my future?

Okay, my "quick catchup" post rambled on forever as usual, and now I need to get ready to take my son for a haircut, drop him off at his evening activities, meet a friend for dinner, and go to choir rehearsal.  

My To-Do list for this week includes:

  • Piecing more flying geese arcs
  • Getting the borders on my pineapple log cabin quilt so I can store it out of my way until I'm ready to quilt it (most likely AFTER my Paducah longarm quilting workshops with Beth Calle and Judi Madsen, and AFTER I finish quilting the vintage quilt repair job, the baby clam shell quilt, and Lars's graduation quilt)

I'll be linking up with:
Colour and Inspiration Tuesday at
·       To-Do Tuesday at Stitch ALL the Things:
·      Midweek Makers at
·      WOW WIP on Wednesday at
·      Needle and Thread Thursday at  

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Getting My Ducks In a Row, Or My Geese Lined Up In Circles

Hello there, and happy Saturday morning!  I'm pleased to report that I've actually STARTED on my son's graduation quilt.  I haven't sewn a stitch yet -- just prep work so far, but I have a feeling the upfront prep work on this project will pay off with an accelerated pace once I do start piecing.
Precut Geese Patches, Bagged and Labeled

First things first: After the Disastrous Dye Bleed Detour of 2018, my first step had to be checking each of these fabrics to make sure there was no loose dye from the dark fabrics waiting to bleed all over my yellows!

Once Bitten, Twice As Likely to Check for Colorfastness!

I just snipped off about a 2" square from each fabric and stuck it in a glass of boiling water.  The white paper towel beneath the glasses makes it easy to see whether any of the fabrics is turning its water into Easter egg dye.  Happily, there were no issues with any of my fabrics this time.  I was able to skip the step of preaching/preshrinking my fabrics because they are all Kona Solids.  Since they're all from the same line, I predict that they are all going to have the same rate of shrinkage.  I am totally cool with that shrinkage happening AFTER I quilt this, because I like that puckery texture and I'm short on time.

Bigger IS Better When it Comes to Light Boxes!

Since I designed this quilt in EQ8, I was able to print my foundation paper piecing patterns for the arced flying geese directly from the software onto newsprint.  However, these are 12" blocks and the foundation pattern is too big to fit onto a single sheet of newsprint.  I used my giant lightbox to precisely match up the registration marks on the two pattern sheets and then taped them together with Scotch Magic Tape (unlike cellophane tape, Scotch Magic Tape won't melt when ironed).

Foundation Patterns Taped and Ready to Go!
I printed and taped together six of the 48 arced geese foundations and then set them aside to start cutting into my fabric.

When paper piecing, I have best results if I roughly cut out each patch the correct shape but with an oversize seam allowance.  That makes it easier for me to tell if I'm positioning the piece correctly when I sew it to the foundation, which translates into less ripping out stitches and redoing!  Going back to my EQ8 design, I printed templates for all of the flying geese triangles directly onto card stock, but set the seam allowance to 1/2" rather than the default 1/4" that I'd use for traditional piecing.

Precutting Fabric for Paper Piecing with Oversize Template
Each triangle in the arc of flying geese is a different shape and size, and I have 14 different shades of blue, yellow and green in each one so I know I need to be organized to piece these accurately.  Since there are 48 blocks, I'm cutting out 48 patches from each template. As you see above, I use my rotary cutter and ruler to cut strips, and then I use the ruler to cut the straight edges of each triangle from the strips and freehand the rotary cutter around the curves.  This is actually going pretty quickly since the patches don't need to be exact, just roughly cut with room to spare, cutting four at a time.  I did mark my grainline on each template, though -- I want a straight grain on the bottom of every little goose unit.

All of Unit T4 in Kona Solids Oasis Have Been Cut and Bagged
All of the patches for a given template get bagged in a ziplock baggie, labeled with the template letter (generated by my EQ8 quilt design software), a number indicating the order in which the patches get sewn to the foundation, and the Kona Solid color of that fabric, in case of an oops requiring more fabric.  I am also cutting extras of everything -- it's so much faster to cut a few extra pieces up front than to have to go back and cut a replacement patch later on, interrupting your piecing groove!

Here's my quilt design again, in case you missed my previous post:

My EQ8 Design for Lars's Graduation Quilt
It's an extra-long Twin size for a college dorm.  Forty-eight blocks, each block finishes at 12" so the quilt should end up around 72" x 96" or slightly smaller, depending on how closely I quilt it and how much shrinking happens in the first wash.  I love, love, LOVE that I can design any quilt I want in my EQ8 software, color every single patch with actual fabric so I know exactly what it's going to look like from the very beginning, and then print out my own personal foundation patterns and templates to turn that idea into reality.  Seriously, my quilting software is probably my favorite quilting tool second only to my sewing machine!  

Introducing Goldilocks, my new Bernina 475QE Travel Machine!

...But, speaking of sewing machines, look who followed me home from the Bernina store last week:

Meet Goldilocks, My New Bernina 475QE!
This is the newly-introduced Bernina 475QE and she's my Goldilocks machine -- not too big, not too small; not too pricey but still fully featured, with all of the Bernina features that I use on a regular basis and nothing extra that I don't need (or want to pay for) on a travel machine.  I'm totally smitten.  I'll post a full review of the machine within the next week or so.  Meanwhile, there are more flying geese triangles to be cut out for Lars's quilt!

Have a great weekend, everyone!  I'm linking up with:

·      Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts 
·      Main Crush Monday at Cooking Up Quilts
·      Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt
·      Moving it Forward at Em’s Scrap Bag:

Monday, February 11, 2019

Detour: Exploratory Vintage Quilt Surgery, Or What Have I Gotten Myself Into This Time?

This quilt belongs to a friend of mine from church choir.  It was made by her grandmother, she has had it since before she was married, and it holds a lot of special memories.  She brought it to me for advice on how she could repair it herself, but I offered to do it for instead.  I knew this was going to be a can of worms and I didn't want to tell someone who is not a quilter how to take apart a treasured quilt that she might not be able to get back together again.

Vintage Quilt Top On My Design Wall
There are several places where entire patches of fabric have shredded and disintegrated, and obviously those pieces of fabric need to be replaced.  However, although I'm dating the quilt to the late 1960s to 1970s based on the fabric styles and what I know of its history, all of the fabrics have been seriously compromised by UV damage due to the quilt being used regularly as a picnic blanket over the past few decades.  

Detail of Damaged Section
The original orange backing fabric is badly shredded and torn, and my friend is ready to give up the orange anyway, so my first step was to carefully clip off all of the yarn that tied the quilt layers together at 4" intervals and then remove the binding so I could discard the old batting and backing and get a better look at the condition of the quilt top.  It was amazing to see how much brighter and darker these fabrics once were, in places where the fabric was protected by the binding or in a seam allowance.

See the Color Difference Beneath the Binding?
The whole thing is really fragile and  even the fabrics that don't have any holes or tears yet are just a tug away from a rip.  I already told my friend that I think it needs to get quilted instead of just tied this time.  First of all, I don't know how to tie a quilt and I'm not really interested in learning.  But more importantly, I want to drastically reduce the amount of stress on these fragile quilt top fabrics as much as possible.  With a tied quilt, it's too easy to grab it, shift position if you're sitting on it, or whatever and end up tugging just at the top fabric because the layers are able to shift independently of one another.  I need to strengthen this quilt from the inside out.

Quilt Was Originally Tied at Four Inch Intervals
Speaking of the inside, look at the back of the quilt top once I separated it from the batting and backing:

Back of Quilt Top, With Mysterious Seams
I don't quite know what to make of it.  I mean, I can see that it's a utility scrap quilt kind of thing and the fabrics may be garment scraps and/or bed sheets as likely as quilting cottons. And I'd classify it as a crazy quilt construction, but it's not a block construction and I can't figure out where that square seam allowance came from in the middle of the foundation fabric.  Anyway, I've been mulling this all day and I think I need to carefully snip away as much of that white foundation fabric away as possible.  For one thing, it's shredding apart.  The quilt top fabrics also shrank at different rates from the foundation fabric, so it's sagging and bagging away from the quilt top and preventing it from lying flat.  More importantly, though, I've decided that the only way to extend the life of this quilt significantly is to reinforce the weak vintage fabrics so they don't keep ripping, and I'm going to do that by fusing Jenny Haskin's Sheer Magic embroidery stabilizer to the back of the quilt top.  This product was designed for machine embroidery on delicate silk fabrics, and it's great because it's soft and filmy like a chiffon and doesn't change the hand of the fabric you're fusing it to.  I'm hoping the Sheer Magic will lend invisible strength to the quilt top fabrics even before I quilt them to new batting and backing.

Giant Hole to Repair Revealing Ripped Foundation Fabric Beneath
In the meantime, every time I handle or move this quilt top I hear another rip coming from somewhere.  Just its own weight is enough to rip it!  And if it's that fragile now, it' going to be even worse with the foundation fabric removed.  Maybe I ought to do that in sections, remove a big area of backing, fuse stabilizer to that section, and then remove more backing, rather than trying to remove ALL of the backing at once and having a giant, fragile spiderweb of a quilt top that I'm trying to fuse things to?  

My friend's husband told her she should just throw this quilt away, but as a person who makes quilts myself, I just know how much it would mean to the quiltmaker to know that her granddaughter still loves and uses this quilt so many years later.  So I'm going to do my best to make it functional again (although I'll warn them that this quilt is best enjoyed indoors and out of direct sunlight from now on).

For the patches that need to be replaced, I wanted to find fabrics that would blend into the quilt top without standing out as obviously newer or different in style.  I found some things in my stash that were possibilities, but the colors were way too bright and saturated so I bleached them.  Very happy with the results!  Do you think I can sneak a leftover scrap of Disco Kitty fabric into this quilt?  I just don't want the new patches to draw too much attention to themselves.  The goal is that, when I'm done with this and give it back to my friend, it still looks like her grandmother's quilt to her.  Not sure if the kitties draw too much attention, but those Kaffe Fassett jelly roll strips on the left look fantastic after bleaching -- they will definitely blend in with the original fabric prints.  Too bad I didn't have larger pieces of those!

Bleached Fabrics, Possible Replacement Patches
My husband is annoyed with me for taking this on right now.  He doesn't think I can get Lars's graduation quilt done on time.  But I've started it, sort of!  Last night I cut out oversize templates (1/2" seam allowances on all of the triangles) for the paper pieced flying geese arcs and put each one into a labeled quart sized plastic baggie and matched it up with the appropriate fabric.  I've got a Sit and Sew this Saturday from 10 AM to 3 PM and my plan is to get as much of this quilt cut out as possible so I can start paper piecing those arcs by this weekend...  So the vintage quilt repair might have to hang out on the design wall for a bit until Lars's quilt is well underway.  It's just as well, because there's a lot about this that still needs to get worked out in my mind, like do I patch the giant holes in the quilt top before or after removing the base fabric and stabilizing the fabrics that I'll be stitching into with the new patch?

And so, I'm linking up with To Do on Tuesday at Stitch All the Things, and I'm setting a GOAL for this week: My goal is to get all of the triangles cut out for Lars's graduation quilt!  All of the pieces for all 48 blocks, all cut out and in the proper baggies so that I can work on paper piecing at Saturday's Sit and Sew!

Thursday, February 7, 2019

New Fabric and New Glasses Have Arrived!

Kona Solids Arrived for Lars's Graduation Quilt!
Look what came in the mail yesterday!  I just noticed that I have the two lightest blue shades reversed in that photo, but that's pretty much how they will be laid out in the quilt.  The background fabric is definitely purple, even thought it looked nearly black in the computer-generated design rendering.  All of the colors look brighter in this photo because of sunlight streaming in though the kitchen window, but we are NOT complaining about sunlight in the Carolinas when so many of you are bundled up against snow and sub-zero temperatures!  Although, I can't resist gloating that it got above EIGHTY degrees in Charlotte today, and I ventured out in sandals for the first time this year.  I knew that the sun would come back if I got a pedicure!  It's like saying "I believe in fairies!"  and then Tinkerbell comes back to life!

Here's my EQ8 design for these fabrics, in case you missed it from an earlier post:

My EQ8 Design for Lars's Grad Quilt
It is really nice to know for certain what these fabrics will look like together before I start cutting or piecing anything.  I'm glad I decided to order different fabrics.

I took my Jingle quilt top to the guild meeting for Show and Tell last night, which was fun.  It felt good to show my work to other quilters who understood what went into the making of it.  I haven't gotten any more quilting done, though, but I did get caught up with some work I needed to do for my interior design clients and I'm continuing to acclimate to the new iMac computer.  Oh, and I got new glasses today -- not just readers, but progressive lenses that I can wear all the time that are supposed to help me with night driving and midrange computer and music reading.  I've never worn glasses full-time before and I feel kind of silly, like I'm wearing a costume, but I hadn't realized the slight deterioration in my distance vision until I popped these glasses on today and suddenly things in the distance were sharper and clearer again!  

New Glasses.  Do I Look Like Velma Now?
Even Without Glasses, I Was ALWAYS a Velma...

Tomorrow morning I've got to put some orders in and wrap up some paperwork for the client I met with today, and then I've got to take my Bernina 750QE in to get a board swapped out.  My dealer ordered the part for me and is having me bring the machine in to get it done while I wait so I won't have to go a single day without my Main Squeeze sewing machine -- how awesome is that?  And while I'm there, I'm going to check out THIS new machine that has been intriguing me on the Bernina web site:

New Bernina Model B475 QE
This might just be my next studio addition, and if it is, we're not going to call it "another new sewing machine."  We're going to call it a "Bernina Travel Accessory."  I need to leverage the power of Social Sewing if I'm going to get that graduation quilt done on time, and that means I need a sewing machine that is easier to schlep around to bee meetings and sit-and-sew without a fork lift.  Yes, I do have two little Singer Featherweights, but I miss some of the modern Bernina bells and whistles with those vintage beauties and I'd like to be able to swap back and forth between machines.  I really like the smaller size and weight of the B475, the 5.5 mm feed dogs, the jumbo bobbins (same hook system as the 7 Series Berninas so the BOBBINS are interchangeable!), and the fact that I can use so many feet with it that I already own.  There's the bright LED light, the piecing straight stitch that I love (although it has a different stitch number on this model), the FHS knee lift, and I could even use my BSR foot on this machine if I wanted to.  My walking foot would fit this machine, if I wanted to work on attaching binding somewhere besides my studio, and because it's not just a straight stitch, I could use it for machine appliqué as well...  Best of all, MSRP is below $2,500 for this machine.  I believe it's sized between the 3 Series and 5 Series models, kind of like a Goldilocks "just right" sized machine, and I have high hopes!  We'll see how it sews tomorrow.  No rush.  I have plenty of cutting to do before I start piecing that quilt. 

Have a lovely evening and happy sewing!

I'm linking up with Esther's WIPs on Wednesday linky party because I'm SO EXCITED that this Geese In Circles grad quilt is finally a WIP instead of just an idea in my mind!

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

The Agony and the Ecstasy: Six Years In the Making, Jingle BOM Quilt Top FINALLY Completed

Jingle BOM Quilt Top Finally Finished!
I actually got the final outer border on this quilt top a few days ago, but I've been transitioning from my old Windows laptop to a big, beautiful, and largely inscrutable iMac computer this week and that's been slowing me down quite a bit over the past few days.  The highlight was when I logged into my email and deleted 62,000 "archived" emails from my google accounts, thinking they were just junk mail going back 8 years or so...  only to discover belatedly that I deleted the entire contents of my in-box as well as all the emails I'd saved in various folders.  Goodbye, vendor quotes and proposals...  Aaargh!  But I've managed to load my EQ8 and PhotoShop software on the new Mac and I'm learning my way around a little better each day.  This is my first blog post on the new computer.  I'll try to keep it brief in case I delete everything again by mistake!

This quilt began with Erin Russek's 2013 Jingle Block of the Month pattern, which you can find here.  

Erin Russek's 2013 Jingle BOM Pattern
I swapped out one of her blocks for a 54-40 or Fight block, set the center medallion straight rather than on point (after cutting it too small when I trimmed it), and added the inner and outer borders.  I also customized my quilt with a hand embroidered monogram in one block and hand embroidered dates that I worked on the quilt in another block.  Here's a close up shot of how those pieced "corner blocks" came out in the outer border.  

I had no idea what I was biting off when I started this project in April 2013, but I'd always  admired appliqué and the center medallion was so pretty, and Erin's BOM introduction said it would be a great project for beginners...  Erin's appliqué tutorials are excellent, by the way, but I also struggled with getting all of the pieced blocks to finish at the correct size without any triangle points floating or chopped off.  Then there was the Great Bloody Red Dye Disaster, the quandary of How the Heck Does the Block Border Get Sewn Together, the catastrophic overtrimming of that center medallion, and countless other setbacks along the way...  I've learned a lot with this project, and I'm going to have a blast custom quilting it!

Jingle Border Detail
Cutting those borders too short to miter turned out to be a very fortunate mistake, because I love how the emergency solution turned out.  My quilt guild meets tonight, and I'm planning to bring this top for Show and Tell even though it's just a flimsy.  Then it will get packed away neatly with its backing and binding fabric in the To Be Quilted closet. By the time I return from the marathon of longarm quilting workshops I'm taking at Spring Quilt Week in Paducah at the end of April, I'll have at least three and maybe more quilt tops waiting at home to be quilted with all those fresh new skills!

Next Up: Lars's Graduation Quilt
Meanwhile, I decided that the fabrics I'd purchased for Lars's graduation quilt aren't going to work.  I was trying to support my LQS and "make do" with fabric I could buy locally, but this quilt is a BIG DEAL to me and to my son, and I just couldn't bring myself to compromise the design.  So I recolored the whole quilt in EQ8 using actual Kona Solid fabric colors so I could be certain of getting that three-dimensional chain effect, and then ordered all of those fabrics online from  According to the tracking information, the mail truck should be delivering that fabric sometime TODAY, so I can start paper piecing those 48 arcs of flying geese!  This quilt has a May 26th deadline and I'm  hoping to get the top completely pieced before I leave for Paducah after Easter.  Stay tuned...

I actually did a pretty good job with my January OMG goals -- I finished the Jingle quilt top, I finished the workshop appliqué block (although I'm tempted to jazz it up with some hand embroidered embellishment), and I did a wretched job of machine binding that outreach quilt  (I learned how NOT to do it next time -- and at least now it's done!).  Too bad I missed the deadline for the end-of-January follow up post!  

So here are my OMGs for February:

My Pineapple Log Cabin, Patiently Awaiting Borders

  1. Get the borders on my Pineapple Log Cabin quilt so it can be a finished top
  2. Seam the backings together for both Jingle and the Pineapple quilt and set aside
  3. Make the binding for both Jingle and Pineapple and set aside
  4. Repair/salvage a quilt that was made by my friend's grandmother
  5. And, my One MAIN Goal for February will be to make the first 24 blocks for Lars's graduation quilt (the circular flying geese design pictured above).  

If anything gets loaded onto my longarm frame this month, it will either be that vintage quilt repair for my friend or else the baby clam shell quilt (unlikely, since I haven't started cutting that out or piecing it yet and I've been cooking up some machine embroidered embellishments for that one that will take some time).  My larger "First Quarter 2019 Goal" is to wrap up these UFO quilt tops -- and piece Lars's graduation quilt in its entirety -- so that I will have those tops waiting for me when I return from all of those longarm quilting workshops I'll be taking during Paducah Quilt Week at the end of April.

I'm linking up with:

February OMG at Elm Street Quilts

·      Midweek Makers at
·      WOW WIP on Wednesday at

·      Needle and Thread Thursday at  
·      Finish It Up Friday at
·      Whoop Whoop Fridays at
·      Finished Or Not Friday at

Last but certainly NOT least, I'm linking up with TGIFF -- Thank Goodness It's Finished Friday, hosted this week by Kathy's Kwilts and More!