Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Month End Miscellany


Monkey Wrench
7.5 inch

For quite some time I've been trying to empty a couple of boxes of HST and triangle pieces and parts that have accumulated over the years. I've mostly been using them as leader/enders.  The black paisley parts were in a baggie someone gave me. I cut some low volume backgrounds to go with them.  Then found other parts to turn them into Monkey Wrench blocks for my collection. 

More Monkey Wrench (7.5 inch) blocks. These HST part were in a separate little baggie and I think most were my doing. 

If I don't have four matching HSTs but have 2 matching HSTs then I pair them up with others and make Broken Dishes blocks. The Broken Dishes are made with 4.5 inch unfinished HSTs. I think most of the colored parts were in a baggie that came from someone else. 

Toward year end all of the Broken Dishes and Monkey Wrench blocks will get made into comfort quilts for donation to various places. 

Still showing this month's leader/enders:

More 8 inch Broken Dishes...

...and some six inch Broken Dishes. 

Also this month I used some leftover bits and pieces of scraps from making little Friendship Stars for Hearts and Hands - 3 inch Bow Ties for my large collection and 4 inch Indian Hatchet blocks. 

More leader/ender HST strips for my vintage inspired quilt.  Only the center strip were my pieces left over from making Clarissa. 

Also I made some more 3 inch Nine Patches for my new start - Whirl.  These are being strip pieced. I sew the strips together then cut pieces to sew together as leader/enders. 

I ended up with a little assortment of HSTs that went into the Parts Department and I will probably use them in orphan quilts. 
Then there was a little scrap processing- I cut leftover scraps into 2 inch squares. 

Then a couple more heart blocks - Slabs with hearts in the middle. I started making these last year as a Rainbow Scrap Project and only need a few more blocks for a child's quilt. I guess I will try to finish those up in April when I work on crumbs, strings and orphans. 

In March the theme in my sewing room will be '30s.


1. The Saints of Swallow Hill by Donna Everhart.   - Depression era historical fiction. I do like to read about how people might have survived during the Depression. Before I read this book I did not know anything about turpentine camps. 

2. Perfect Alibi by Sheldon Siegel.  - Another Daley/Fernandez legal thriller. It is #7 in the series and I've read 1-6.  It always looks like they will lose their case but never do. 

3. The House At The End of the World by Dean Koontz. This was classified as mystery, thriller, suspense.   I think several years ago it might have been classified as science fiction but times change. This book gave me a few things to think about. 

4. Worthy by Catherine Ryan Hyde.  From ereads.com: "Catherine Ryan Hyde is well known for her beautiful stories of people who are on the down and out. The inspirational stories of people who never stop fighting to find the relationships that they are missing in their life can leave you wondering which Catherine Ryan Hyde book to read next."  I've read a lot of her books. Wish these stories could happen in real life to down and out folks.

5. Ghostwriter by A.R. Torres . - I finished it but thought it a little slow moving and not really a worthwhile read. 

6. The Irish Nanny by Sandy Taylor. - WW2 historical fiction. This is another era of history I like to read about but I thought this book was another one that was slow moving and actually the story was kind of weird.  As WW2 historical fiction goes, and I've read a lot of fiction and non--fiction books about WW2, this one barely makes a C grade from me. 

7. The Existential Worries of Mags Munroe by Jean Grainger. I just finished this one up last night in the middle of the night which is when I do most of my reading. I liked it and queued up book 2 in the Mags Munroe series. She is a Guarda in Ireland. She solved a mystery but along the way she does a bit of funny musing or I guess you'd call it existential worrying. 


I did a bit of winter sowing this month. On February 6 I started some seeds that need 60 days of stratification. The plants will eventually go into my native wildflower area.   I planted seeds of Rocky Mt. Columbine, Virginia Bluebells ,Jacob's Ladder, Rattlesnake Master, Cardinal Flower, Hoary Vervain, Indian Physic, Wild Quinine, Meadow and Prairie Blazing Star, Wild Geranium and Royal Catchfly.     Seeds that require 30 days of stratification planted the same day were Foxglove Beardtongue, Pearly Everlasting and Yellow Coneflower.   And I also sowed some Pandora Poppies to go into the cottage garden. 

On February 25 I winter sowed Scarlet Peony, Black Peony, Jimi's Flag, Hen and Chicks, Mother of Pearl and Pandora Poppies (in the milk jugs). Also for the cottage garden I sowed Painted Tongue, Love Lies Bleeding and Nicotiana.  I also sowed annual Scabiosa, Magic Fountain Delphinium, Tassel Flower and Black King Dianthus for the cutting garden and for a shady area and fairy garden area I sowed Columbine Leprechan Gold, Historic Pansies Mix and Bunny Ears, Floral Days and Miniola Heart Violas. 

If you want to know more about Winter Sowing just Google it and you will find a lot of interesting articles. When I started winter sowing years ago there was very little information. 

And today my grandson Jacob celebrates his 14th birthday. Gosh how time flies!


Monday, February 27, 2023

Wonky Log Cabin Finish

Wonky Log Cabin 
with heart centers
made with strings.

40 x 60

Quilted on my DSM with spirals in red thread.

The backing and binding.

And now it is ready to comfort someone.

And sew on...


Sunday, February 26, 2023

The Last Castle Wall Block

63 x 81

It's a top! 

This month the theme in my sewing space has been Hearts and Flowers. I challenged myself to move UFOs forward that fit that theme. You may or may not remember my blog post at the beginning of the month where I pondered what to do with three very old super sized Castle Wall blocks.  Well, now its the end of the month and all three blocks are out of the box and in quilt tops.  This last block was made in 2014 so it's about time I guess. 

Actually this quilt was inspired by a vintage c. 1890-1900 quilt top that Mary Elizabeth Kinch blogged about in 2018.  I've had it on my list of "want to makes" ever since I saw it. I have to say my version is a bit wilder and more colorful. 

I used lots and lots of scraps left over from making lots of other tops this month with valentine fabrics. I also threw in some scraps with birds and roses since those were in the Castle Block. 

The center section has lots and lots of 2 inch squares. 

And then there's 3.5 inch squares...

...and some 6.5 inch squares...

...and finally there are some 3.5 x 9.5 inch rectangles. 

And sew on...


Saturday, February 25, 2023

It's A Finish and I'm Tickled Pink!

Pink and Gray HSTs Comfort Quilt
56 x 72

It's a finish!

I quilted it on my DSM with horizontal, vertical and diagonal lines about 1/4 inch both sides of the seams.  I'm not good at stitching in the ditch or I would have done that instead of stitching on both sides of the seams. 

The binding is the same pink and black fabric as the backing. 

And this is the back.

And now it is ready to comfort someone. 

And sew on...


Thursday, February 23, 2023

The Mourning Quilt

The Mourning Quilt
It's a finish!
60 x 80
hand quilted

My granddaughter Kayla unexpectedly passed away in January 2022 at the age of 17.  Her cause of death is still kind of a mystery but the death certificate after autopsy listed it as "probable cardiac arrhythmia".  Kayla lived with me most of her short life and for a few years I was her guardian so she was more like a daughter than a granddaughter. She and another granddaughter, born 5 weeks apart, came into our lives when my husband was at his lowest point with oropharyngeal cancer - angels that gave him a will to live.   

I've struggled with depression since I was a teenager and I know myself well enough to set daily, weekly, monthly and long term goals or I would spend my days in bed. I set goals I can accomplish because I have a fear of failure (and debt).   After Kayla's death  I knew the grief could consume me so one of my goals was to work on a quilt of hearts every day- Sweetheart, Heart throb, Love, Cardiac Arrhythmia, Broken Heart. 

Most of the 4 inch Hearts are made of scraps - pink, white, red. I alternated light and dark blocks in the quilt. 

I hand quilted about 1/4 inch inside each block with perle cotton #12. I used white thread in the light blocks and red thread in the dark blocks. 

The red tone on tone backing has dragonflies in it. Kayla liked those temporary tattoos and usually wore a dragonfly or butterfly. The strange thing is that a week after she passed away she received a couple of dragonfly tattoos in the mail that she had ordered on line.    I used a tone on tone fabric so the hand stitched hearts would show up. 

I had an extra heart left over that I used for the label. My printing doesn't show up all that well on it. I guess I should have used black instead of red marker.  It reads:
Grandma's Mourning Quilt
2004 - 2022

And as for the rest of the story...I finished the quilt a few days ago. That night I woke up to go to the bathroom and strangely enough I thought I smelled Kayla's perfume.  Kayla knew I don't really like strong perfume smells. They make my nose run and my eyes water and sometimes give me a sneezing fit. A few weeks before she died she was wearing a new perfume. I loved it and told her it made her smell like a sugar cookie. That made her smile. 

And then after I went to the bathroom I decided to read a book (The Irish Nanny by Sandy Taylor) as I often do when I wake up in the middle of the night.  And strangely enough after a page or two there was a quote by George Eliot - 

“She was no longer wrestling with the grief, but could sit down with it as a lasting companion and make it a sharer in her thoughts.”

Like I said...strangely enough...

And sew on...


Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Just An Old Fashioned Love Song

Just an old fashioned love song.

And sew on...


Monday, February 20, 2023

Hearts and Hands

It's a top!
Hearts and Hands
54 x 69

My 17-year-old granddaughter Kayla passed away unexpectedly in January 2022 from "probable cardiac arrhythmia". Several members of the Sunshine Online Quilt Guild sent me some Heart Blocks and some Hand Blocks as a show of their sympathy and support. 

I've had the blocks in a box for over a year. Since this month in my sewing space has mostly been devoted to Hearts and the color pink I decided it was about time to deal with the blocks and get them sewn into a quilt for me. 

Over the past year I've looked at the blocks several times but was never sure I had the energy to get blocks in all different colors to play nicely together. The Sunshine folks must have had a lot of fun making the blocks -their unique personalities shined through on those Hand blocks! 👍 As I received them I wrote their name in marker next to the hand so I wouldn't forget. 

So, to make them all get along I first added a coping strip in a very colorful tie dyed fabric I had on hand 😀.   Then I sprinkled in some Friendship Stardust ⭐🤩 and made 4.5 inch Friendship Stars in some very colorful fabrics alternating solid and print backgrounds.   Then I had to make 3 Heart Blocks 💑 to add to the ones I received in order to have enough for the top and bottom borders. 

Sadly, that hand with the lace cuff was made by Carol who also passed away rather unexpectedly in December 2022. 

I am so glad I have this top assembled now. I just need to decide on a backing and get it quilted. 

I get by with a little help from my friends.

And sew on...


Sunday, February 19, 2023

Using More Reward Points (A New Start)

I needed a break from all of this month's hearts, pinks and other sweet stuff that has been the theme here in my sewing room so I made some 3 inch finished Nine Patches in civil war reproduction fabrics. 

I'm going to make this quilt that I saw on the Temecula Quilt Company blog from the early 1900s (maker and region unknown).   Sheryl is calling it Whirl and making it by hand and welcomed others to sew along.   I'm not going to approach the making of the quilt the same way she is - from the center out so I won't really be sewing along.  I'm first going to make a whole bunch of little nine patches and then assemble the quilt in sections.   I really like the quilt because it is vintage and it is unusual. 

                                 I started out by cutting up a bunch of small chunks of civil war reproduction fabrics into 1.5 inch strips and I'll strip piece some nine patches as leader/enders. 

This year I want to try and finish up lots and lots of UFOs. I'm going to try assigning a theme of the month in order too motivate me to move UFOs that fit that them forward. January's theme was KIDS! KIDS! KIDS! and I moved forward 20 UFOs that fit that theme plus 2 others.  I also told myself that this year for every 5 finishes I could reward myself with 1 new start. So in January I earned 4 reward points.  Of course this is just a game of solitaire and the rules may change at any point. 

So now I have 1 point left to use on new starts AND if I finish just one more quilt for a total of 25 year to date then that's worth another point! 

Now back to this month's theme of Hearts and Flowers and the Rainbow Scrap Challenge color pink.