March 19, 2017

Project Quilting 8.6 = happy husband

See that happy man? He's smiling because his wife finally found the time to make him a quilted project.

The last Project Quilting challenge for Season Eight was about time and deadlines.  A nice twist to a challenge that gives us  7 days to create and finish a project that fits the announced theme and has at least one of these three things: Three layers stitched or pieced or includes appliqué.

I used up some blues and golds -- his alma mater's colors -- to piece together a bag for him. My plan was it would be a good bag to stash dirty clothes in on short trips. He says the project is too good for that.

He came to Tennessee to drive me home to Michigan as I end my 2-month stay watching my granddaughter. The three-month-old is now in a daycare program. She has gone three times and starts full time on Monday.

That meant this was a busy week as grandma finished up two quilts for the nursery's big window.

It was a complicated week as I strained something in my back when I picked up a small piece of material that is part of a US fabric map swap. That swap was intended to be completed by March 17. Ha ha. Then the granddaughter and I came down with horrible colds. (I blame her as the carrier as I had not been outside the house for two weeks).🤧

But I wanted to participate in the final challenge. It would be the first season I did all the challenge projects. So I pushed myself. And pushed. And pushed.

See up in Michigan I had the fixings of a clock. I had materials featuring newspaper pages and some with stories. As a journalist, who worked many years at newspapers I know deadlines. Up in Michigan. 😥

Also up in Michigan was computer novelty fabric -- perfect for deadlines a web writer faces. Up in Michigan!!!  😢

In my room, I had 44 sets of unique fabric for 50 states but there was not enough time to finish that project this week.

My fabric choices were limited -- mostly the mint, peach and lilac needed for the nursery quilt curtains.

And then I spotted the small pile of blues and yellows i had hoped I might squeeze in time to work on a lap quilt for my husband. No time for a big quilt but I could do a bag for him.

The finished piece is about 17 inches by 19 inches, not counting the handles. Larry's Michigan Bag was created near Knoxville, Tennessee.

You can see what others did for this Project Quilting Challenge 8.6 at

March 5, 2017

Bowtie patch honors Fred Astaire

Finished bow tie patch
The fifth challenge theme in Season 8 of Project Quilting is the well-dressed man. I pulled some blacks and kakis from my tiny travel stash, thinking that covers the formal and informal states of dress. I wished I had my collected ties with me.

Then, I looked closer at one material -- those were not random splotches of white. They were top hats and canes -- the accessories dancer Fred Astaire would only wear with a tuxedo. The ties were no longer needed as only bowties belong with a tuxedo.

(You can see the images better on the back side of the fabric.)

I remembered bookmarking a free 3-D bowtie quilt tutorial. Find it at

Back side of fabric

You start with 5 patches cut the same size AND there are no Y seams. Here's the block half done. Strange right?

But that's what leads to the center of the bowtie having dimension and  4 "pockets." It would be interesting to make a patch for the center so the undersides were a complimentary color. But even this version is interesting. I think I'll use it the next time I help a beginner who wants to learn to piece but doesn't want a "boring 4-patch."

A finished piece in a wedding party's colors would make a nice gift -- especially if the details were embroidered in a white square.

The finished wall hanging is 10 inches square, stitched and quilted by hand in Greeneville, Tenn.

You can see how others interpreted the theme and vote for your favorites at Persimmon Dreams.

Block half done. Unexpected, right?

Trying to show a pocket

February 18, 2017

So bright, so challenging, so loving

This is a big week of love for me -- Feb. 14 is Valentine's Day; the hubby's birthday is the 17th and our wedding anniversary is the 20th. I am still with my  granddaughter and her parents  but my husband was coming for a four-day visit.

The latest Project Quilting challenge is brightness and I know who is my sunshine. So I played with the idea of sunshine -- a yellow portrait of my husband. But none of my sketches followed my brain's eye. 

I thought about making a card with a mirrored surface so he could see himself. I even found at least five ways to attach shisha mirrors at Needle and Thread Alas, no mirrors in the stash I brought with me.

Playing and reading The Seed with my granddaughter led me back to the sunshine idea. The simplicity of the book's illustration inspired me to try a fused collage technique. 

I ended up nixing the sunshine and collaged sky but kept the foreground. I added 7 flowers to help focus the eye and framed the work in some checked fabric I forgot I had.

I learned it's smarter to fuse the fabric, then cut it. First though I cut a foreground from the fusible sheet, released the sticky side and randomly cut green shape. That left tiny gaps of stickiness peeking out. Plus, by fusing to the material and then cutting I could place the fabric to better use its lines. 

I can see myself using this technique again. My fingers were itching to turn the foreground into an English cottage garden with threads and ribbons. But I can see other possibilities -- especially a Michigan autumn scene.

The finished piece is 15 inches by 12 inches. A Bright Day was created near Knoxville, Tennessee. It was finished moments before my husband and I left for a night alone to celebrate the first 34 years of marriage.

You can see what others did for this Project Quilting Challenge at  You can even vote for your favourites.