Sunday, April 21, 2024


I am beyond frustrated at this point. I want to print out a pattern that I bought and saved on my phone. I would like to have the pattern in a reasonable size to keep beside my sewing machine as I cut and assemble. My laptop has developed a problem with the appearance of video content, making it next to impossible to see anything clearly on the screen. It is only two years old, but was a cheap purchase. I ordered and received a new Acer laptop yesterday and finally have it set up. I want to use Google Chrome as my default browser, but Microsoft wants me to use Edge. I like Chrome and have it used it for years with no problems. I had to Google how to get around Microsoft to be able to download and use Chrome. Everything seems to be working now. 

 Printing was a problem on my desktop computer. Sometimes it would print and other times not. The desktop is probably 10 years old and the printer drivers are not being updated any longer. Printer software is notoriously unstable and the ones on the desktop are no doubt corrupted to some extent. I can print with an HP app from my phone but that can take some time as the file circulates through the internet before winding up as a signal that will print. It is finally done printing and I will be sitting at my sewing machine soon. 

My back is all healed and the surgeon has said everything looks fine; no need to come back to see him again. I have gotten my quilting mojo back since it is now comfortable for me to sit and sew as long as I like and whenever I want. I have made six smallish quilt tops in the past week or so. They are crib or baby-sized and I can quilt them myself (nothing fancy, mind you) on my Bernina. Our guild supports two or three local organizations that love our quilts. These will go to them. Recently, in addition to quilt kits, our guild has supplied baggies of 49 five-inch squares of novelty print fabrics. Each one is different and make a very easy "I Spy" quilt for children. It is relaxing to sew these squares together into a quilt top, not worrying about what fabric goes next to anything. 

My niece recently gave birth to a little boy - two months early which left me flat-footed as I had planned to make this quilt for her. I am starting it today or tomorrow. I only recently  received the back ground fabric I needed - Essex linen in light gray.

This is a photo taken by a friend. I thought it would make a good art type quilt.

This is a very simple baby quilt made with 5" squares.

Another simple quilt made with 5" charm squares. For one who has said she didn't use precuts I find that I have a lot of charm squares - 5" and mini 2.5" ones. I am starting to use them now that I realize how many of the darn tings I have; they give a quick start to a baby quilt. Already cut and coordinated, they need only the inspiration for a decent setting and some alternate squares of sashing from jelly rolls.

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

 All Better Now

The surgeon told me when I had my back surgery (March 2023) that it would take a year for full healing to happen. Not that I would be in a lot of pain during that time, but from a medical perspective it would be that long before everything was fused, etc. Well, it's been nearly a year and my back feels great. No pain and I can stand without my back feeling tired and wanting to sit down. The past several days I have been able to sit at my sewing machine and sew as long as I like.

Saturday our guild is having a paper piecing workshop. I already know how to do this, but want to show support for workshops and also socialize. I resurrected a UFO from (10?) years ago. I have completed five of the blocks and prepped another for Saturday. It's a pattern by Carolyn Friedlander and I am excited to finish it up.

I have a number of her patterns and have made several of her quilts. The latest pattern I have acquired is her Alphabet pattern.  

I have made Grove. Pieced but not quilted.

 I have this pattern, "Hunter." Each block has many narrow blades and I haven't tried it yet because I am wondering how well I will be able to line up the pieces for applique.

I started Eads with a fair number of blocks completed. I need to dig this one out and finish it! I don't remember if this is paper pieced or not.

I have Outhouse ordered. Simple but effective with repetition.

I hive several other patterns by this designer, but at the moment I can't recall the names of the patterns and therefore can't find them to show pictures of them.


Thursday, January 25, 2024


One of the times of the year I like is January, followed by February. Nothing much going on after the hubbub of the fall and winter holiday season. My cup of tea. Plenty of time for quilting and other leisurely activities. I am slowly making progress on the desert palette quilt. I am quite pleased with the colors I have chosen and the slow pace of evening EPP sewing.

My back is fairly comfortable. Not perfect, but much better. No need for ibuprofen, etc. I have been getting chiropractic treatments, but remain skeptical that they are doing anything more than depleting my wallet. I don't feel much different afterwards. I still thing chiropractic is 95% placebo. I know there are lots of people who believe otherwise. This has been my experience.

I recently visited my brother in Escondido, CA (San Diego). I had a very relaxing time. The timing was good as I missed the extremely frigid weather in St. Louis and the heavy rain and flooding in San Diego that happened upon my return to St. Louis. The days are slowly lengthening and we are almost through January. Can spring be far behind?

My calendar is fairly empty allowing me time to make an entry for our guild's president's challenge - "Make a Pink Quilt." I am the president of the guild currently and also a breast cancer survivor. The parameters - other than the color pink -were non-existent - make a quilt of any size or technique that reads as pink when first viewed. We will vote on our favorite in February and the quilt with the most "likes" will get a small prize. I look forward to what folks come up with. I am continually amazed at the creativity of our members.

My entry was inspired by one I saw at It consists of half-rectangle triangles. I was a bit challenged at first because you need to make two types of triangles which are mirror images of each other. When I finally got that idea straight in my head, things progressed swimmingly. I like the pattern because it looks like a twisted breast cancer awareness ribbon.

I finished a memory quilt for a friend and it has been gifted to her. Her two sisters also wanted one, but I didn't have enough fabric left to make two more quilts. I decided to make them each runners that can be used across the foot of a bed or on a longish table. I made one with log cabin blocks and the other will be blocks from Denyse Schmidt's "Free Wheeling Single Girl" quilt. Here's the finished memory quilt.


 I made one of these quilts each for two year old identical twins. Both are scrappy and pretty similar. I varied the border fabric so they can tell them apart. It's "Dancing Plus" by Jan Ochterbeck at I don't normally make the same pattern more than once as there are so many fun ones out there to try. This pattern is very forgiving. No seams to match except for sewing the blocks together. I have made it any number of times and it is scrap basket friendly. A neighbor h ad a baby over the winter. It's a boy and I will be making this again for the new baby. Maybe in blue and green.

 Lastly I will be starting an Elizabeth Hartmann quilt for my niece who is due in April. The shower is this Saturday. I bought her some things from her baby registry so there is something from me to open at the shower. Her theme for the nursery is animals. I will be making Fancy Forest", which I have made once before. More of that mirror imaging in the piecing. I follow Gyleen Fitzgerald's suggestion and lay out all the pieces for one block next to my sewing machine. She calls it "making the picture". I still manage tp get things backwards at times, especially with mirror imaging but it does help. I imagine I will have some time with the seam ripper.

I will make one fourth of the quilt. Each section repeats, just in a different colorway. and there are already two of each animal in each quarter. The size of one section is plenty big enough for a baby quilt.

I have chosen a mantra for the coming year. This is in lieu of a New Year's resolution. It is a focus for my thoughts and this year it is "believe", as in believe in yourself, love, friendship, etc. I have a subscription to the weekend edition of the New York Times. I had a daily subscription some years ago and could not keep up with all the content. It is a great newspaper and I missed it so have taken the weekend edition again. Anyway last weekend it contained an article on delight practice which sounds goofy given the current state of affairs in the world. It consists of taking note of small things that delight us in our daily lives. A sunset, smile from a friend, etc. Quilting has many such small moments to savor. A perfectly pieced block, fabric selection for a new project (even if you never make it!), stitching down the last inches of a binding, etc. I encourage you to try it.

Monday, November 27, 2023

Desert Palette Quilt 

I have been working most evenings on the quilt that was inspired by the desert near Santa Fe, NM. I am working on it in EPP, a technique that lends itself well to the pattern which has a jillion Y seams. I don't like doing them by machine, although Gyleen Fitzgerald has a great technique for them. I like handwork and needed a new project for evening TV watching. I changed up the colors a bit from the tile mosaic at the Governor's Inn in Santa Fe to more closely reflect the desert palette I experienced on my road trip there in September. Specifically there needs to be more  green - sage, gray green, and some brighter (almost) spring green. I am pleased at how it is coming along. I have about 70 blocks finished and need either 96 or 108 depending on the width. I will know better when I can lay things out and measure. The blocks are finishing at 5" square. I figure the quilt should measure at least 60" in length, giving a total of 12 blocks per column. 45 to50 inches in width seems about right, so then either 96 or 108 blocks are needed. I am not in a hurry and enjoy the process. Either amount will be okay.

The Inn looked like this yesterday after a light snowfall. The pool was supposedly available a bit later in the day. It is heated to 87 degrees. I doubt I would have braved it, though.

I am also nearing completion of a memory quilt for a friend. It is turning out well, although today I realized I had miscalculated the width of the borders that are needed to make the last element fit. I cut the borders to a width of 2" finished and should have made them 3". A simple enough fix to take them off and sew on the correct ones. The 2.5 strips that will be taken off won't be wasted as I need that size to make the strip sets for the final borders. I hate wasting fabric so was glad to realize the strips are completely usable. I have plenty of fabric on hand, too, so I can recut the borders without the fear of running out of fabric. I was intending to go  to a local quilt store today to select backing fabric but I want to soldier on and get the top completed today if possible. A longarmer form our guild told me a couple of weeks ago that she can get it quilted for me in time for Christmas. I hope so. I could quilt it myself, but it would by ever so much nicer to have it professionally done.

A friend gave me an EPP kit last month. She said she will never make it and thought I might like it. I do!  It is a lovely pattern with all the paper pieces and acrylic templates (for cutting the fabric) and will probably be my next evening project after the desert one is finished.

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Back Surgery

 I had back surgery March 28, 2023. The pain from the compression fracture and herniated disc has been alleviated with an L3-L4 lumbar fusion. The surgery was laparoscopic and spared me a large incision. The surgeon still did all the same work internally, so there was a healing process from the surgical wound. Currently I am pretty comfortable. Physical therapy has been completed, and while I have good mobility and am pain free, I need to build strength and endurance. I will call on the services of a personal trainer for that. I still have to limit time sitting at the sewing machine, but I have been working on a memory quilt for a friend from his deceased wife's clothing. I have also done quite a bit of EPP and knitting, which require no time at the sewing machine.

Besides the memory quilt and EPP, I need to finish up a quilt for a friend's grandson who became a US citizen last October. I am using a pattern from Gyleen Fitzgerald in red, white, and blue. It only needs one more column to finish it up. I will send it to a longarmer to be professionally quilted.

Last weekend our guild had a retreat held at a location new to us. It was a wonderful venue and quite an upgrade from our previous meeting place. The sewing room was large and we each had our own table. The room was so big and we were able to spread out, that it seemed almost as thought there were fewer of us than there were! The food, served buffet style was excellent. We have booked our retreat for the next two years.

Since I am feeling better, I have been traveling some. First was a three day trip to Eureka Springs, AK, and then a12 day road trip to Santa Fe, NM and Colorado. I rode a narrow gauge steam train in Colorado which was spectacular and the highlight of the trip. From there we traveled north through Rocky Mountain National Park and then home to St. Louis. Two weeks ago I traveled to Livonia, MI (Detroit area) for a reunion with people I worked with prior to retirement. We stopped both coming and going in Kalamazoo, MI to visit a friend's daughter. She is also a quilter and asked my opinion of the Singer Featherweight. Since I have three, the response was what you would expect. She will be visiting Missouri at Christmas and I will gift her one of mine. Since two of the three that I own were given to me and I don't use them all that much, this will free up one of them and make her happy. A win-win situation.

                                                         Favorite photo from Santa Fe trip

Tile mosaic from hotel breakfast room. I am making this now with EPP.

Desert Palette in New Mexico

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Back to Quilting!

 My back has healed enough that I am not in constant pain and can sit at my sewing machine long enough to make it worthwhile. While I was unable to do that, I did some hand work - mostly EPP projects. Lately I have been putting together and quilting smallish baby-sized quilts. Our guild makes up kits with donated fabric. The kit includes everything needed to make a small quilt from start to finish - 5" squares in various coordinated fabrics, batting, backing, binding fabric (already cut!), and a label. They do a really nice job with the kits and are generous with the items they include so you don't run short.

Currently I am working on Hexagon Charm School with Gyleen Fitzgerald. I am also participating in her sew-along from  her booklet, "Evolution." Although these blocks were made in the smallest size using acrylic template intended for EPP, I managed to sew them by machine to speed things up.

I have photos of several other things I have made since feeling better, but the photos are on my phone and I am composing this on my desktop. When I get the photos transferred over, more photos will be forthcoming.

Friday, April 22, 2022

Some Respite in Sight (I hope)

 I still have terrible back and leg pain from a piece of protruding disc that is caught between two vertebrae and impinging on a nerve root. I also have/had (healing now) a compression fracture of one of the lumbar vertebrae. Yes, it's as painful as it sounds. I have tried hot/cold, prednisone, acupuncture, physical therapy and pain killers. However none of this is going to move the vertebrae off the nerve. I will probably need some relatively minor surgery to fix this.

In the meantime I have been able to sit for a time in some comfort in a recliner and work on EPP and other hand sewing projects. That is truly a blessing as otherwise the time hangs heavy on my mind and hands.