Blocking a quilt


I need to get my quilt in the mail for the AQS show in Grand Rapids

The event is Wednesday, August 20 through Saturday, August 23, 2014,DeVos Place Convention Center,Grand Rapids, Michigan but they need the quilts in Paducah by Friday.   So once again I am scrambling to get it together on time.

I have to add, for people who have not seen this one before, it is hand quilted.

I had to wash it because I have brought it to several lecture/trunk shows and it got a bit dirty.    I wash it in the washing machine and dry in the dryer but that tends to contort it a bit.

I take the quilt out of the dryer while it is still a bit damp and pin it to the floor pulling out the wrinkles as I pin.   I pin it directly to the floor using T-pins.   Now don’t be scared that I am ruining the floor.  The floor is not a perfect hardwood floor.   It is pine and has lots of imperfections, cracks, gaps, scratches etc.  The house is 130 years old and there were 2 layers of linoleum and carpet and sub-floor nailed over it  so it it full of holes.   A good thing to use if you don’t have a floor to pin it to is Styrofoam insulation sheets.   They come in 4 x 8 foot sheets and are easy to pin into….but then you need to find a place to keep them.

Anyway I use T pins


They go into the floor and I add as many as It takes to get it to look nice and flat. (if this we just going on my bed, which it will after shows, I would just fully dry it and let the wrinkles work themselves out naturally)


After it is fully dry I will take out the pins and then any extra wrinkles will be steamed…that should take care of it and it will be ready pack for shipping.

I also have to pack this one


This one needs to have its hanging sleeve adjusted so it hangs better….right now it bunches up a bit on the right.

If you plan to go to the AQS show in Grand Rapids I would love to meet you.    I plan to be there for sure on Saturday Aug 23.  I will plan a time that I will be hanging out by my quilt and let you know when that will be in a later post.

Here are a bunch more pictures of the quilt drying (hopefully more entertaining than watching paint dry)….click on the pictures to enlarge

If you want to see how I did the Trapunto I did a short Video here 

Happy Quilting


More Flowers …

More garden pictures today…..something quilty tomorrow (click on pictures to enlarge)

Happy Gardening


The Quilt Top Told Me

I couldn’t wait to start hand quilting the  vintage star top that I just re-made ( see post here  ) .

Remembered a piece of fabric I had that would be perfect for the backing and I had a wool batting waiting to be used so I got it basted and ready to go.

I always pin baste on the floor.   I start by pinning the backing fabric to the floor (you can use masking tape but I use push-pins) .  next I add the batting and smooth that out, then the top smooth again, then I add the safety pins.  I do not use a huge amount of pins, they are at least a foot apart.


You can see in the picture that the top is not even and square.   The reason for that is that I did not re make the borders.   I used wool batting because it is easy to quilt but also has a good loft which will help to fill in the bumps puckers in the top.

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Here, folded over the corner, is the backing which I purchased a few weeks ago….I intended to use it to back a much older top but it was too dark.


I think it works great with this top.   It is not a color match with any of the fabrics in the top but is a good coordinating color.

On to the quilting.  I have described how I select a quilting design in the past but often I don’t plan at all.   That was the case here.   I put the quilt in the hoop and I said “how do you want to be quilted?”.   This sounds crazy and I really didn’t say it out loud but I did ask the quilt how it wanted to be quilted.    The quilt told me “I’m not a fancy quilt so don’t get carried away”.  The quilt was right …it is a basic scrap quilt, the star it made up of lots of scraps all pieced together to make the diamonds, the fabric is very coarse, the border is very wonky, it is NOT a fancy quilt.   Elaborate quilting on this would look silly.   As Mammy said in Gone With the wind:

” we could give ourselves airs and get ourselves all rigged up and we were like race horses and we were just mules in horse harness and we didn’t fool anybody. “

So I’m not going to pretend this mule is a race horse.  A mule is a fine animal and this is a fine quilt.   So simple it is.

I went to the cupboard and took out a plastic bowl (this came from a healthy choice frozen dinner and I call them my fancy eatin dishes) to use as a guide


I used a pencil to draw the line around the bowl and then just did the inside arcs by eye.


I think it is going to look just right.


It adds texture and movement without being overly done.


And Teddy approves.


I have made some progress on the applique quilt as well.

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This one is a race horse ….so I want to take my time and do it justice.

Both are beautiful but in different ways.

Happy Quilting


Quilt top and garden


I added 2 borders to the quilt top . I think the new fabric really works with the vintage blocks.   I was going to add a gray border as well but I think I will bind it with gray.   It is 80″ x 97″ now .  I have gray fabric ordered for the backing and I plan to use it for the binding as well as backing.

It needs a good pressing but here it is


And here are a bunch of pictures of my garden that I took this afternoon.  The lilies are looking great and they smell even better!  (click pictures to enlarge)

Happy Quilting/Gardening


Star Fix


If you saw the crazy star top I got yesterday you might think I am crazy.


I took it apart and fixed it …and it was very revealing.    First I took of the border (I left that as it is and just took out the star) and then took apart the star.

Before I show you what I found lets talk some geometry.  Thanks to Mrs. Barron, my geometry teacher from over 30 years ago, I do know some geometry facts.    There are 360 degrees in a circle so I want to make a star with 8 points I must divide 360 by 8.   that gives me 45.   so I need 45 degree diamonds to make an 8 point star.

Now lets look at the pieces once I took the star apart.


The problem becomes apparent when I look at the pieces.  The angle is wrong.   They are very poorly cut and not at all accurate but they are also 15 degrees off.  These are closer to 60 degree diamonds and doing the math 60  x 6 = 360  so only 6 of these could possibly fit in a star…..but the maker was determined to make it with 8 so they forced them in.    Here are the other 4 and they were cut in odd ways in an attempt to make it fit.


I had to cut them to the correct size…..I made them as large as I could, using the correct angle  …. here they are with the trimmings.


next to work on the setting squares.    It was no surprise that they were all different sizes


and the setting triangles were perhaps the most laughable.


I re cut the squares and used some old fabric that was a good match to make the triangles.

I sewed the diamonds into a star


and then I set in the squares and triangles.

Now to do the borders.    I placed the star in the center of the border to show what a difference there is.


The borders were pretty bad ….they were not cut straight and so they are very wavy and uneven.   If I took them apart and trimmed them and sewed them back together I would have lost a lot of size.  I decided to leave it as it is and just cut out the extra length.


The seller stated that the top was about 80″ x 84″   in reality it was 74″ on top, 84″ on the bottom, 99′ on the left, and 94″ on the right.

It is now 68″ x 80″ and this is what I cut out


It will be a while before I get to hand quilting it, but now it is ready.

Happy Quilting




Sometimes I buy a quilt top even though I know I shouldn’t. The one that arrived today is a case in point.    I saw it on eBay and loved the simplicity.   In the picture I could tell that it wasn’t flat….but I figured it would be relatively easy to fix.  This is the picture that the seller posted.


I can tell it isn’t flat, the bottom has a pretty good sized fold in it in the center, but the pictures did not show how bad it is.

This is what the seller said about it:

This is a vintage machine pieced lone star variation quilt top. Cotton and cotton blends. Some stains.  It measures approximately 84″ x 80″

I measured it.   It is 74″ wide at the top, 84 inches wide at the bottom, the left side is 99 inches, the right side is 94 inches and here is what it looks like


It is way beyond a simple fix!

I will have to take it apart and start over.  I will use all the old pieces of the star  and re-cut them to the correct size ,and the border will be cut to the correct length so that it will be closer to square.

It has a lot of potential  and I think it will be a great quilt but it is going to be a lot more work than I would have guessed.  As you know if you are a regular reader this is nothing I have not encountered before.   It really won’t be all that hard to fix and I will post pictures of how i do it soon.

Happy quilting


Garden Pictures

Front Garden

I took a walk through the garden this morning and I sure found a lot of weeds!     But the flowers are growing pretty fast too.   (click on the pictures to enlarge)

Happy Gardening