Odori Quilt, patience and a new family member

I was thrilled – THRILLED – to be asked to be part of Fat Quarter Shop’s Odori Quilt-A-Long using Art Gallery Fabrics.  My to do list had completely other feelings but we won’t go there! I picked my fabrics and waited for the delivery of more gorgeous fabrics.  They did not disappoint.  I chose some of Bari J’s line Wild Blooms and am just smitten with them.

The pattern calls for WOF strips to be sewn together then cut into triangles using the Odori ruler. Since I hand piece, I’ve never felt comfortable with cutting a hand sewn seam, shuffling and sewing. Machine stitches are so much tighter and more stable than hand stitches. I can stitch a tiny stitch but not that tiny. I came up with a plan and am not going to share it because about 3 days in – too late to start over – I thought of a much better way to get started. I’ll share that process further down.

I cut. I pieced. I marked seam lines. I ironed. I sewed. I marked more seam lines. Pinned. Sewed.

Deadline weekend came and I still had more to go. My husband and I had purchased an RV and we were scheduled to pick her up that Friday. I gathered all my sewing, my iron and board, pins galore and a needle and we went camping for the weekend. Did you catch that - one (1) needle. Who does that?! I had a couple of moments of panic when I thought I lost it but found it both times.

I curled up in my favorite camping chair all weekend while my husband played with the new RV – christened Lily Mae, by the way. More pinning. More ironing. More sewing. And it was all so.completely.worth.it.  This quilt top is stunning. I love the colors. I love the pattern. I love everything about it. But most of all, I love that it pushed me out of my comfort zone. I’ve discarded several patterns because they involved steps that I didn’t think would translate to hand piecing. But pooey on that – I’m a quilter – we can do anything! If my great grandmother can quilt using the tools she had, I can figure out how to adapt any pattern.

Here are some progress photos and the details on the fabric I used.

Anywhoooo - here's what I would suggest for the first few steps if you want to hand piece. Cut the WOF strips as instructed. Instead of sewing them together, go ahead and cut them. This is a little tedious. I first marked my sewing lines on the middle strip. I marked my sewing lines on everything I sew - if you don't use sewing lines, I'm amazed at your sewing skills and you can skip that step. You need to figure out how many of each piece you need - remember that the outside strips are going to be both the tiny top and the wider bottom. Using your ruler, just cut that many out of each strip. Rotate the ruler to get the correct cut. Then sew 'em all together. I promise you - this was better than the way I did it! I plan to make mine a little bigger and this is how I'll cut the remaining out. Once I got the striped triangles pieced together, I followed the pattern. 


Quilts, sand and sticker burrs

Last fall I was invited to attend the beach wedding of two people who began as my daughters friends but have become family to my husband and I. Before the wedding, the bride asked if I would keep an eye out for cheap blankets for the reception. After the ceremony, they planned to have fireworks and dessert on the beach and she wanted blankets for people to sit on and cuddle up in. It was a fall wedding in Texas so there was no telling what the weather would do.

My heart lit up and I asked if I could be in charge of the blankets. Ok. Fine. I kinda didn’t give her a choice. My planning wheels started spinning.

The guest list was approximately 60 people so I had to plan big. I had dreams of a gorgeous set up on the beach but yeah, that didn’t happen. I brought several old old suitcases and a ton of old quilts, blankets and some picnic cloths. I also brought every one of my newly made quilts. 

We set up at the entry to the walkway to the beach on some benches I had the quilts and blankets stacked and overflowing and it was just perfect. It was a chilly evening and I was thrilled that many of them were actually used. I even got a great picture of the bride and groom with one. My heart smiles every time I see it.

The next morning, we left our beach house to get coffee and breakfast from the main house next door. There were quilts piled up on a table. We went upstairs to the entry and saw abandoned quilts on the porch chairs. My heart smiled some more.

My husband and I gathered up the quilts and blankets and started repacking them. Some had sand in them, others had sticker burrs embedded all over. My husband had asked me before the wedding why I wanted to bring all of my new quilts - they are going to get dirty, he said. As we were packing them up, he said it again “I don’t know why you brought the ‘good’ quilts!”  I looked at him and replied, “This is what quilts are made for.”


When I started this blog, I had grand plans. I was going to post every three days or so - at the very least, once a week. I had originally planned to make one of Kate's blocks every two weeks and them all being done the beginning of December.  Then I decided to do one a week so I could be done mid-summer so I'd have time to finish the top and get it quilted before my goal of next year. I thought I'd come up with cool things to talk about from Kate's stuff and all the quilts I'm making.

What I didn't realize was that the word blog actually means to completely freeze up whenever you are in front of the keyboard. I've started a dozen blogs in my head. I even dictated one to Siri and attempted to translate my gibberish. What I've discovered is that I just have to give myself a pass on the expectations. I need to be more regular (haha insert poop joke here) about writing and posting but this whole deadline thing has to go. 

So here's a no photo post about what I've been up to. And still need to do!

Still working on the two baby quilts. One just needs to be trimmed and bound - my favorite part. And i love the binding I'm using on this one. It's scrappy and may be my new go to way to do binding, even if it takes longer. All of the pieced blocks for the other baby quilt are done and sewn into rows. Just need to put the last few rows together, square it up, sandwich and quilt it, square it back up, and bind it. Oh and make the back and binding. That's all!

I've got one secret project going, three more to start and love every single one of them. I can't wait to share them and the other secret sewing I've done. 

I need to work on my daughter's quilt - I need to finish piecing it. Quilty math is involved there so I've been putting it off. My quilty math has been a little off lately. I gifted my first hand piece quilt top to my mom last year at Christmas but haven't quilted it yet. I started a double wedding ring quilt for my best friend's 20th wedding anniversary. I'm hoping to get it done by her 25th. I think my problem with that one is that I'm not sure I like the quilt for her and her husband.

I need to make some memorial quilts for friends. One for my sweet sister in love made with her father's clothes for her mom. I've managed to get them unboxed and looked at. I think we're going to make a work day out of that one and get all of the girls to help me piece it then I'll quilt it. Four more for a church friend using her husband's ties. I'm totally going to cheat with this one and have a work weekend with my mom and get them done. I have some good ideas; just need to schedule some time with my mom.

Silly me stopped my Fat Quarter Shop monthly sewing box and thought I'd try their Aunt Grace Baskets of Scraps block of the month. Got the first kit in this week and realized that it's an appliquéd quilt. Never caught that. So now I have to learn a new thing. I also want to start the Farmer's Wife quilts. Because I have nothing else to do. I want to piece my 100 blocks from the 100 Blocks 100 Days challenge I did last year.

Plus a secret project for my husband. A wedding quilt. A very overdue wedding quilt. A palette cleanser project I started for no reason. A gingham hexie quilt. 

I think that's it. Oh - and Kate's quilt blocks. I can't forget those. I have finished one that I haven't posted yet but it goes along with one of my secret projects. I have gotten several cut out and ready to piece. I'm going to pretend that this will break my writer's block and let my angst go.

OH! The most exciting thing that's happened is my very amazing and talented and super cool graphic designer kid created a logo for my for blog! It's gorgeous and was one of the best birthday presents every. We should get it up in the next week or so. Can't wait for everyone to see it!

Take care, have a great weekend and keep sewing.

Attic Window - third block

So. This blogging thing is hard! It's hard to be motivated enough to do this on a regular basis. After a day of work, even though my head is full of things to say and pictures to share, I crawl up on my couch and instead of reaching for the computer, I reach for sewing every time. Well, I guess I didn't tonight, eh? I'm so excited to share this week's block. In my head, every week, I say "this is my favorite" but this week - really - it's my favorite.

Pulling the fabrics for each block starts out every time with lots of Nopes and Uh-Uhs and a few "I don't like any of the fabrics I bought for this project" then somehow I pull the right combination and pow! Just like that I'm happy. My husband is color blind and I always ask him how fabrics go together which makes me crack myself up every time. [sidenote: I'll have to share the story of taking him to buy the material for our bed quilt someday.] He usually just shrugs and says no and yes and nods his head.

Anyhoo... today's block is called Attic Window. Kate's envelope of pieces for this one says "cut the 3 corner piece" then "1 seam allowance larger on the long side will fit better". I think that's what the first part says. Doesn't make any sense to me. But this envelope also has her name on it. Makes me happy.

Almost as happy as this square. It's made from two of my favorite fabrics that I've gathered for this project. I told myself that I was going to wait until the very perfect block to use these. Then I used both on one block - the center and the corners. Both of these make my heart flutter.

I did finish a project this week - can't wait to show it off.  It'll be a few weeks before I can tho. But it's super fun. This week I've got to square up a finished project so I can bind it. Need to do some final piecing on another project so I can quilt it. All secret sewing - the babies get to see them first!

Enjoy this block - I'll try to get another post up soon.


Second Kate Block - name unknown

The second of Kate's blocks and I managed to get another water color one! It still amazes me that she did that. Wait until you see one that she paper pieced! This picture doesn't do it justice - it's a lovely (cough cough) shade of neon yellow.

I'd like to take moment to again complain about quilty math.  Although I do think I finally figured it out this week. I'm NOT going to admit what I was doing wrong. Way too embarrassing. Anyone else out there get confused by quilty math?

Anyhoo... I love this week's block. It used a piece from Pat Bravo's Dare line - Thread on Delight and a piece from Bari J.'s line Petal and Plume - Panache Profundo. I love Kate's envelope and notes on this one. She scribbled the square on the envelope - because the painted one wasn't enough. The square pattern piece says "4 light, 1 dark or reverse the color" "Pattern copied from a quilt owned by Mrs. (we can't read her writing) Catoe in 1920" and "name unknown to me". Maybe I should call this one "Unknown To Me" because I am a bit of a smart alec....

I hope you like this block as much as I do. Not much of a story to go with this one. I had originally planned to do a block every two weeks then decided over the weekend to do one a week so I had to hurry up and do this one. Already missed a blog deadline - wanted to do them on Mondays but you know, life. Hopefully next week I'll have some more background story. Until then - enjoy!



A needle

My husband and I spent a couple of hours yesterday going through and photographing the contents of Kate's boxes. There is so much amazingness in them. I'll get them organized and start posting them but wanted to share one thing today.  A needle.

I'm a fiend for pin cushions. I don't always use them but I love them. Not normal ones, tho. I have a stuffed deer and a snail and my niece recently made me a Harry Potter one. And here was Kate, a prolific quilter and she keeps her needles on a piece of paper.

My husband had a great idea that I think I'll adopt. He suggested I use the needle for my last stitch on each quilt. It's another great way to keep Kate quilting.

Triple Bow Tie - the first Kate block

triple bow tie.png

After six months or so of secret sewing, I'm super excited to be able to show off some sewing again. I'll be even more glad when I can share the secret sewing but they aren't quite done. Soon, tho. They are both baby quilts so I have to finish before the kids are too old.

I finished the first of Kate's blocks today. I started with the Triple Bow Tie. It's one of the blocks that she water colored which makes it one of my favorites.

My theme for all of the Kate blocks is blue and white. I've chosen to use strictly Art Gallery fabrics for this project. There is an end run plan for them that I'll share later.  Assuming I like the blocks as much as I plan to!

Along with the painting of this block, Grandma Kate also had an envelope of pattern pieces. I love the notes she wrote on envelopes and pattern pieces.

The first pattern piece says "trip bow tie" then "2 dark, 2 light".  The bottom states "Original pattern cut by Mrs. PR Emert, about 1918."  1918 y'all! 

My version isn't nearly as delicate as her water color painting but I love it. I used fabrics by Katarina Roccella and Amy Sinibaldi - you can get the details if you hover over the photo.


I did learn a bit about how much I don't know. I want my finished blocks to be 12 1/2 inches square so they will finish out at 12 inches square. I thought I had my quilty math down pat but I didn't do the half square triangles quite so well. I found a chart online - thank goodness for all the quilting resources out there - and added 7/8 of an inch to what I wanted the finished size to be. Somehow, I still ended up with them too big. Since I hand piece, I can't just trim to fit. So I finagled a bit, trimmed as much as I could and then sewed a little off center. Overall, the block ended up a smooch too big but it'll work out in the end. 

The Scrapbook

The first is the worst, right? I really want to write this blog but am terrified of writing this blog. Ok, what I really want to do is just post a bunch of pictures and let them speak for me. That works, right?

Fine. Reality is that pictures may speak a thousand words but they aren't going to type for me. So I'll just start. Soon. Honest.

Long story short but here's how this all began. Last year, my Aunt Ruby moved in with my cousin Betty. Aunt Ruby is actually my great aunt - she is my grandfather's last remaining sibling. Betty is actually my mom's cousin which makes her my second or first removed or something like that. You can explain it to me 10,000 times and I'll never get it. a squared plus b squared equals c squared, I get. Lineage, not so much.

Anyway, my Aunt Ruby is 90 (?) and has never been married. Her mom, Kate, lived with her for years but passed away when I was an itty bitty. I was old enough to nick name her PomPom but not old enough to remember her. Makes me sad because I'm pretty sure she's my spirit animal.  

When Aunt Ruby finally decided she needed to move in with Betty, she had a ton of stuff that needed re-homing. Remember that unmarried part? She spent years buying and collecting what she liked and her house was chock full of the most amazing things. A lot (LOT) of it came to my house. Some is still in my garage waiting for its perfect spot but at least it has a home. We spent several weekends helping to clean out and pack up and rescue stuff.  

In addition to the items that I chose, Betty gave me some of Grandma Kate's quilting stuff, including a scrapbook and a box full of quilty goodness. My husband wouldn't let me open any of it on the hour drive home - he said I'd get too wrapped up in and should wait. When we got home, I crawled onto my bed and opened the scrapbook. As I went through the pages, tears flowed down my face. I'm tearing up just thinking about it. The pages were so delicate they started falling apart as I moved through the book. It contained twenty-five quilt square drawings. Most were named - Pidgeons in the Window and Rocky Road to California - but not all. Some had envelopes that contained pattern pieces with notes written on them. Some of the drawings had been colored with crayons. Some pieced with construction paper. Some water colored. WATER COLORED!!! Who does that? Kate did.

I decided then that I wanted to re-create all of the squares and blog about them. They need to be shared with the world. My plan is to post about one every two weeks. In between, I'll share parts of the box of quilting goodies that Betty also gave me. I'm going to see if Aunt Ruby will share some stories with me about Kate. Hopefully get some pictures from family of Kate's quilts. I have one that I'll share. Plus there are some quilt pieces in the box - I'm going to try to finish that quilt for her.

So that's the story. That's what I'm doing here. I'll post my first block tomorrow. 'Til then - I'm off to quilt and pretend like my quilt photos typed for me.