Thursday, September 22, 2011


When an unexpected spot came up at the long arm quilters last week I knew I had to take it.  With so many UFOs  it was too good an opportunity to let slip by.

My recent blogposts witnessed me scrambling to get a top ready for the imposed deadline.  First I thought I'd finish off a medallion  quilt that needed a whole lot of circles for the final border.  When it looked like I wasn't getting them made fast enough, I quickly swapped to a task more likely to be successful.

I have previously referred to this quilt as Sue Ross' blocks, but now its name is "Cat's Paw".  After making the final block I planned to put the blocks together quickly, add a couple of borders and send it off to be quilted.  The quilt had other ideas.   Finding the right border fabric was proving difficult, and after collaborating with my webpal, Carol,  I followed her wise counsel and "Cat's Paw" was shelved  for a more achievable goal.

Looking through my UFO cupboard I found 2 projects that could be finished.  With  6 hours before deadline (and that includes travel time) I only needed to construct two quilt backings and two simple borders.

Did I say simple?  The centre of the quilt is simple.  I copied the pattern from Kaffe Fassett's "V&A Quilts" page 25.  I even had some of the fabrics.  It was put together in the last couple of years, I couldn't say when exactly.  I felt my quilt needed a thin brown striped border before a larger 6" finished floral border.

Here is where the title of the post comes in.

I used a favourite, untouchable fabric for the border.  It is from the American Folk Art range from years ago.  It has been in my untouchable drawers for some time.  Yes, I have a drawer full of untouchable fabric.  Too nice to cut up, waiting for that special once-in-a- lifetime quilt.  If you're honest, I bet you have something like that too.

While cutting up my special fabric, I realized that it may never see the light of day unless it gets used and it seemed like the opportunity was ready to be taken.  No, the quilt top is not a masterpiece.  Far from it.  Very simple.  But I like how my fabric lifted the quilt and I know I am going to enjoy it more than I ever could while it is hidden in the drawer.

Without too much planning I cut my fabric and pieced the inner border.  Then I looked at my outer border fabric and realized  I would have to mitre the corners.  There are plenty of pictures of old quilts where the stripes just cross in the corners at 90 degrees, but I can't be so cavalier.   Time was running out and my stripe was not your ordinary stripe.  There and then I decided to make a different corner block and avoid the problem.   With 1 hour to go and I cut and sewed and cut and sewed, every now and then taking the time to breathe and glance at the clock.  For your benefit, I also took a moment to take this picture.

Briefly, my story ends well.  I will wait for the quilts to come back to post about and show the second quilt.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Monkey style

I thought I'd do something different today  instead of going to just my old favourites blogs.  I swept through the blogs like Tarzan swinging through the jungle.

I started at  It was easy to pick an interesting blog post.  After reading it, I left a comment and then scrolled down the sidebar to find an unfamiliar blog.  From there I was led  to so many blogs I've never seen before.  If I came to a dead end where only shops were listed or there was no blogroll, I  started back at the beginning.  How refreshing.  I got to see some great work and now I have a new source of inspiration.

The one rule I made for myself, was to leave a comment wherever I went. Quality sewing time is diverted to create blogs, especially the nicer ones with the appealing,  inspiring pictures.  A small comment left behind is a nice way of saying thankyou and I may meet lots of like minded people.  A real win-win situation.

Lots is written about being a "no-reply blogger".  Don't let that stop you from leaving a comment.  You can't get a reply because there is no return address to your comment.  But you are still entitled to have your say.

I have been doing some machine piecing.  Trying to catch up with the Barbara Brackman civil war blocks blog

and I set myself a goal to make 20 of these blocks last week.  They are sewn in a foundation pieced technique.  I fell short of my target.

If it seems  to you that I am swinging between projects a little like Tarzan you are right.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Basket Case

Going to and from my sewing group I usually drag my 12" round basket with me.

It's a useful size, deep enough for more than I need.  Looks good, is light and I can grab it easily.  I am fond of it.   Here's the problem.  It has no lid.  That is OK moving from one room to another.  But it doesn't sit in my car so well.  I'm not saying I'm a bad driver, but occasionally the traffic stops abruptly and my basket and its contents are flung wildly around the car. 

My mother came up with a nice solution for me

It is a cute little box (with lid) that reminds me of my primary school sewing box from more than 40 years ago.   It came as a little carry-all for potions and creams.  I think it is now far more useful than it was originally!

Unfortunately at 10"x8" it is too small for my new pincushion!  Thank you,  Janet for thinking of me.  It will be my stay-at- home pincushion.

In front of the gorgeous pincushion are 10 blocks waiting for  a border.  20 more brothers and sisters have to be produced and then I will have finished the top of my version of Karen Cunningham's  "New England Fall" started 2006.  Hopefully I will show you the completed top next post.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Finger Sitting

The mother in me demanded a clean up of the sewing patch.  A pile of quilts ended up looking so pretty together that I thought you might like to enjoy it too.

I know I'm not the only one who pulls out fabric in a frenzy to find the right piece while the idea is current and clear.  And then fails to put it back neatly.  The process repeats itself endlessly before eventually, there is no available working space.  I won't share a picture of my mess.

While cleaning up I discovered some UFOs that were never going to become FOs.  It was powerful to move the blocks to the orphan block box and put quarantined fabric back into general circulation.  

With this in mind, restraining my urge to start more new projects has been like sitting on my fingers.  It's been tough to hold back.  So many gorgeous quilts flying through the ether...still only 24 hours in my day.

"Pointless" has been machine quilted.  Kate cleverly worked out the thread colour to match red and blue. Thanks Kate for the nice job doing an allover Baptist Fan pattern.  It remains my 'go to' pattern for allover quilting.  Binding is on, and label is ready to be applied.

"Pointless" even has a new owner,  Sarah, our youngest.  She likes the front and thinks the back is cool.  She is  too young to remember the country period of patchwork.  And Sarah even likes the name, which for those of you who haven't been keeping up to date, is not a nihilistic expression of existentialism, but rather, recognition of the absence of points on some stars.

Having fallen dramatically behind with the Beyond the Cherry Tree Album quilt, I have recently put in a burst of applique and am now only 8 blocks behind.  From a glass half full perspective, I have finished 15 applique blocks!

I am unwilling to try "new Blogger" because I think the old version is fine.  I frequently see comments on blogs about Blogger acting up.  Any comments or advice about "New Blogger" will be welcome.

Now I have to take my husband's car off to be repaired.  I scratched it during the recent trip to Canberra.  I didn't notice but he did.  I suppose I would feel the same if someone borrowed my sewing machine and it didn't come back the same way it left.