Archive for December, 2007



One of my MCQ quilting friends, Sarah, invited a few of the ladies to luncheon. She had received a generous gift of dinner for 4 on the Minnesota Zephyr. We met at Sharon’s in Minneapolis, and arrived just in the nick of time to catch the train. I was running a little late, and our poor friend Deb, was so under the weather she didn’t know what day it was, ( feel better vibes to Deb ~ ~ ~) so we made a quick call and told Kathy to get out of her pjs, we were on our way. Ten minutes and she was ready to go.

What fun! We were seated in an elegant dining car with lovely vintage china, real table linens, candles, a strolling quartet serenaded us, and the food, oh the food! A 5 course dinner! Shrimp cocktail, wild rice soup, baby green salad with feta cheese and pine nuts, prime rib (literally a half a side of beef) and a slice of cheesecake large to enough to have required it’s own package of cream cheese.

We had a blast, and laughed about many things, but, I don’t think we ever got too out of line. We’ve been nearly kicked out of a Baker’s Square before. Can we help it that we find ourselves funny?

It was kind of a gray day, but that made the passing scenery seem serene ( probably I should think of something not so alliterative, but I’m tired.)

This was the last running of the train for the season? maybe ever? We never heard a definite story. I’m very fortunate to have been able to enjoy it with some terrific friends!


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What a difference a day makes. Whatever evil took over the last couple of days has vanished. I’m not going to say I’m 100% functional, but sitting up without watching the room spin is a good start.

I have worked a bit on my resume, and applied for a couple of things online. Monster wants to know my, “target career title.” Well, so do I. I’m a flexible, intelligent, trainable monkey, and am capable of doing many things. I hate to put myself in one little pigeonhole and miss out on something interesting. I don’t necessarily have to do what I have done before. A new challenge would be nice. I’m going to have to think about this.

I’m going to go work on a new pattern to publish and sell. Can I put famous quilter in the target title?

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I know whining really doesn’t help, but, who invented the stomach flu?  I want to send it back.    I have things to do… wahh.

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The Big Day


I always stress myself more than is really necessary during the holiday season. It all falls together in the end. And if I just remember to not tell people about the multitude of things I wanted to do but didn’t get done, they think I actually got it all done.

We had a nice day at my parents. My brothers and their wives each have 2 little girls. Christmas really needs a three year old around to keep things lively. I was having a bummer of a back day, and wasn’t certain I’d be able to participate in the ball rolling that was going on on the floor. I managed to get my creaky back down there and find a comfortable position. No sooner had I accomplished this than my 3 year old niece got up, sat in her little rocking chair and sighed, “I have to sit down for a while, my back hurts.” Sympathy pain, you gotta love it.

She was the inspiration for the gifts I made the girls this year. She has needed to carry things with her lately, but doesn’t always have pockets. Without pockets, one is required to make many trips transporting your treasures every time you move from room to room. So, I made little purses for the girls. She was very happy filling hers with all the holiday loot that would fit, and became angry when she wasn’t allowed to carry home her leftover dinner in it.

I hope you enjoyed your holiday as much as I enjoyed mine.   Usually I simply enjoy the fact that it’s finally over, so I feel the need to emphasize, that it really was a great day!

here are photos of the purses:


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Shop Samples

The Leftover Challenge


This is a little challenge pattern I wrote for my friend Lucy’s Quilt shop. I made a shop sample for her, and couldn’t resist turning the leftovers into something fun too. I need to work on photo placement – this seems like the longest post ever.

What can you do with the leftover bits from creating this pattern?

Here’s my story.

I started with the, “Sunset,” pattern from Sunflower Hill Designs. (note: I added an inner border, 2” cut)

The pattern is accurate and easy to follow. As a bonus, you end up with some (I got 96) pieced ½ square triangles, and some 4 ½ “ strips.

I’m not one to let anything go to waste, and nice leftovers are a quilt with half the planning done, right? At the very least you know the fabrics coordinate with one another.

The 4 ½” strips became simple table runners. I added a 1 ½” cut inner border, and a 3” cut outer border in coordinating fabrics. “Very simple, very easy.”


I was so excited about the ½ square triangles, I neglected to spend a bit more time paying attention to sincere accuracy in my piecing. I go for overall effect, so I’m okay with missing a few points here and there. You’ll have to design your leftovers at your comfort level.

The leftover ½ squares will create spinning blocks that spin in both directions. I made 8 blocks that were pinwheels, and 20 blocks that were paddlewheels. I have both kinds of blocks spinning in both directions. Because the fabrics are fairly low in contrast, the paddle wheel blocks look a little more like diamond in a square blocks.




Since I had blocks that were going in different directions and things just wouldn’t fly for a pinwheel/ paddlewheel secondary block variation, I decided to try a variation of a Trip Around the World quilt. My two styles of blocks each, “read,” like one style of block when something was placed in between.

I “fussy cut,” the circles (2 ½” squares) and surrounded them with 2 ½” strips. I trimmed both the paddle/pinwheel blocks and the alternate blocks to be 5 ½”. The setting triangles were pieced to form an interior border. A 3 1/2” square cut on the diagonal, is sewn to an 8” x 3” strip. I folded the strip in ½ to mark the center, position the triangle,  sew and trim. I know there is probably a more mathematical solution, where I could make a template and be more conservative with my fabric, but, it would be mathematical and involve math.


I laid everything out on my design wall, and pieced the diagonal rows together. I had thought that the stripe would be enough of an outer border, but, it just wasn’t quite right. So, I added a 4 ½” outer border that really frames it nicely, and pushes your eye through the quilt.


This photo came out awfully dark, but the border really does look good. Now, I challenge you to show your leftovers!

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I have a bunch of things to catch up on today. Including actual laundry. I’ll spare you photos of that.

First off, many, many thanks for the massive love you sent me yesterday on the war project. The MPR interview was like an early Christmas gift. I am humbled.

Next, THANKS! to Gerrie who sent me this delicious hand dyed(with indigo) scarf as part of the Pay It Forward game. You can play too! if you are one of the first 3 commenters, I will make something and send it to you within the next 365 days. I am only doing this for those who comment. I love the e-mails too, but, good grief my comment section is lonely!


Gerrie gets a second round of THANKS! It was on her blog that I saw the flags at Reed College that lead to the big war memorial project. Once again, I am humbled.

Be*mused had a link to a nice tutorial for flying geese blocks yesterday. As promised, here is a photo of a quilt I made a few years ago. I used a very similar method to create this modern take on the traditional. I love how we can start out with a similar idea, use similar methods, and end up with totally different results!


I have more stuff for you, but, not more time right now. I will be gone tomorrow, there might be exciting news by the weekend…….

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I have now officially used up 3 minutes of my alloted 15 minutes of fame.

My other blog,   And Still Counting,  chronicles the progress of a war memorial art quilt that I started last spring.  Last week, Bob Collins from Minnesota Public Radio came to my home and took some photos and interviewed me about the project.  You can check it out here:  MPR

Folks from around the globe are helping out with the project, but, there is always more to be done, and I am always grateful for help!

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