Category Archives: Friendship

A Very Old WIP & and Squirrel

Since my shop closed, I have been working hard to take all of my sewing supplies out of the guest room and downstairs to the shop area. I want to have a ‘real’ guest room and since we have family coming for Thanksgiving, now is the time to finish this project. As it goes, I found lots of forgotten projects while cleaning out the guest/sewing room. One was a scrappy rag rug I knit back in 2016. I loved this little project but didn’t know what to do about the knots where I joined the strips when I was knitting it.

It felt strange to leave the knots exposed. I was concerned they would unravel somehow. Thinking about it, I decided to cut some fabric and hand sew a backing on to it. I made sure all knots were pulled to the back and then tightened them. Then I pressed edges of the backing fabric under to make it the same size as the top. Because the top is so loosely knit, it flexes and changes shape easily. This made it really difficult to make it match the backing so I used tons of pins and started to sew.

After stitching back to front, I tied some yarn ties to further attach front to back. It looks pretty sad from the back but I kid you not, the back was the same size as the front – it was like herding cats to sew these together. At any rate, I feel like it is now a bit sturdier. When I made this, I used the tutorial by Amanda Jean over at Crazy Mom Quilts. (Oh how I miss her blog!!) It seems like she doesn’t worry too much about the knots joining the fabric strips. I just hope this all holds together well.

I think this is so darn cute!!

OK – on to the squirrel that took me down another path. On Instagram I noticed some little hearts that quilters and sewists have been leaving for others to find and enjoy. It was started quite a while back by a woman over at After reading her website, I decided to join in and make a few. The idea is to leave these pretty hearts wherever you please in the hope they will brighten someone’s day. I started to follow the hashtag #IFAQH and #ifoundaquiltedheart and saw how much these mean to some of the recipients. The process of making something and anonymously leaving it for others, with no expectation of any recognition is very satisfying. If you are interested in participating it is simple, nearly free (since we all have scraps, right?) and very easy.

My first set of hearts

I spent some time yesterday running errands. While I was out, I drove over to our community hospital and left these hearts in various places. I thought about people who might need some cheer and surely there are plenty who are using the hospital who fall into that category. I dropped mine at the bus stop, the cancer care center, the lab/mammogram building and lastly, right at the front entrance. All were left tucked a bit out of the way but I am hoping they catch someone’s eye and make them smile.

Do you see that little purple heart, just behind the ‘n’?

I loved placing this heart behind ‘kindness’, displayed on the way to the main entrance. Seems appropriate, yes?

During this month of Thanksgiving, it is often a time to focus on our blessings and to help others or extend our blessings to them where possible. This is one small way to do this. If making these little hearts appeals to you, I encourage you to give it a go. If nothing else, check out the hashtags on either FB or IG – it will warm your heart.

Sewcial Bee Sampler Round Up

One of my favorite projects from this year has to be the quilt I made with the Sewcial Bee Sampler Quilt Along.  Remember this?  Hosted by Sharon Holland and Maureen Cracknell, there was one block released each Wednesday for twenty five weeks. There were several reasons for this being my favorite. One was the block design. The blocks were based on common piecing methods but Sharon and Maureen gave them a really modern look, probably because they included solids in their fabric selections. It gave the blocks such a fresh look.  Also, the blocks were doable.  I have been quilting for a while but I am definitely still in the advanced beginner stage and fussy, intricate blocks tend to frustrate me.  Finally, the community developed by Sharon and Maureen.  This was actually the main draw for me.  So many quilters joined in – I would have to say there are hundreds of SBS quilts either finished or in progress.

The use of social media greatly enhanced the development of a friendly group participating in this QAL.  Also, Sharon and Maureen were really dedicated to staying involved in the conversations on Instagram and put out a strong, positive vibe by giving great feedback and praise as we all shared the blocks we were working on.  While this is not my first QAL, it is the first time I really paid attention to the quilts others were making as I made mine.  With previous projects, I wasn’t as involved with the other quilters so I didn’t see as many projects made from the same quilt pattern.

The Sewcial Bee Sampler quilts that were made are gorgeous. I have had such a fun time perusing the #sewcialbeesampler hashtag and looking at the color schemes, fabric choices, and the ways quilters chose to set or arrange their blocks. I thought it might be fun to share some with you today.  When you look at the quilts one after the other, it is so cool to see the varied interpretations of the patterns Sharon and Maureen developed.

Let’s start with the queens of the quilt along, Sharon and Maureen!  Believe it or not, Sharon made two quilts (I had enough trouble keeping up with just one!) The quilt above was made with the same fabric for the block borders and sashing which gives a cohesive look to the quilt.  It makes the blocks float on the surface.

In the second version of the SBS quilt, Sharon used uniform frames for the blocks and chose to set them with a blue sashing.  Notice how distinctly the blocks stand out when sashed like this.  She used a palette focusing on blues, pinks and white which is really sharp.

This quilt is Maureen’s project. It looks like she sashed hers with a denim color chambray fabric. I like that she has some really vivid pops of color – the three bursts of yellow that stand out to me.

Also, because Maureen often designs fabrics with a large focal point, she was able to use those and do some great fussy cutting for block centers. Look at the shot above and you’ll see an owl, dragonfly and her gorgeous orange peony.

Cynthia of Quilting is More Fun than Housework, also used Maureen’s Garden Dreamer fabric for her quilt.  You will find the owl and the peony in her quilt as well.  Same fabrics building many of the blocks, yet it looks different.  Maybe partially due to the white sashing and varied fabrics used to frame the blocks?


My friend Mari of Academic Quilter also made a quilt.  She chose bright, colorful fabrics which gave her quilt a definite summery vibe.  It makes a person happy just to look at it and I think it is the colorful palette she used. She also framed her blocks in a variety of colors.

Let’s take a look at an international version of the SBS. I watched this quilt grow on Instagram.  Mariana (@cosertejercrear on Instagram) is a quilter who lives in a town just north of Valencia, in Spain.  She began quilting six years ago.  Because there are no quilt shops or guilds in her part of the world, Mariana has made friends with lots of quilters over the internet. She orders her fabric on-line and says most of her quilty friends are American.  Participating in a QAL that has such a strong presence on-line makes the world feel much smaller as we are always communicating with quilters from every corner of the world. Looking at Mariana’s quilt, she used really bright colors and lots of prints.  This could be overwhelming but it isn’t — she used white frames on the blocks and a calm, blue sashing to set the blocks. It ties everything together neatly.

This one will surprise you.  Lisa made the SBS quilt as her first quilt project ever. I know…. that is crazy, right?? When I saw her posts on Instagram (@knitluxe) and realized she was a newbie quilter, I wanted to know more. She has been a crafter for a long while who has done a lot of knitting and has made clothing but this quilt is her first attempt at quilting.  She lives in New Mexico and clearly has a talent for sewing!  Like Sharon, Lisa framed her blocks in white and also sashed them with white.  Again, the blocks are floating.  The crisp blue tones look great with the white setting. Kudos to Lisa for taking on something like this as her first project!

Last but not least is my friend Sarah’s quilt. Sarah of Cedar Fork Stitches lives in cold, cold Montana in a really rural area.  I think she told me she is 40 minutes from town.  Kind of remote, I’d say!  She and I have been friends on Instagram for a while now.  (She is @cedarforksarah)  I love Sarah’s quilt for the personal twist she put on it.  She chose to skip the frames on the blocks, added a few of her own blocks and put a great border on the quilt.  The chambray she used for the sashing and borders is really rich and sets her blocks off well.

Clearly this post could go on and on because there are hundreds more quilts to see.  If you want to take a look, hop over to Instagram and search on #sewcialbeesampler. As I write this, there are 7,280 photos in the hashtag.  Really amazing and far more than I think Maureen or Sharon anticipated!!

I am looking around at the quilt alongs and block of the month events that are starting to line up for 2018.  I’ll be back with a round up of some fun events in a few weeks.  If you know of a good one, leave it in the comments and I will check it out.  I am definitely going to do at least one.  Just need to decide which one!



A Quilty Lunch Date

We are still on vacation in Maine and having the best time. The weather has been wonderful and we have been to lots of fun places. It has been exactly what I was hoping for.

We have coffee on the deck each morning and watch the lobster boats come in and check their traps. So cool!

When Ray and I decided to plan a trip for this summer, I reached out to several quilty friends that live in various parts of the mid-west and the east to get ideas for our trip. It was so great to bounce ideas off of Janine, Mari, and Kitty since I haven’t been out here for such a long time and really, never came this far north and east. All three women were so kind as to give me loads of ideas to choose from for the trip. After much discussion, Ray and I decided on Maine.

Some time later, Mari and I were chatting via email and she suggested that since she has family in Maine, maybe she could plan a trip to visit during the time that we were scheduled to be up here. Guess what, it worked! Today we were able to meet  each other in person. W decided to meet for lunch in the tiny town of Hallowell. The criteria for the meeting place was that we split the distance between us and drive to the midpoint, and that the town had to have a quilt shop (naturally). Hallowell worked out perfectly.

I was so excited to get together with Mari. You might remember that I followed along with Mari’s 2015 BOM, Classic Stitches, last year. I loved making that row quilt and learned so much from Mari’s tutorials each month. We have been on-line friends for two years now (which seems so crazy- two years already?) When we were both walking up to the restaurant that we planned to meet at it was like seeing a long-time friend. We greeted each other with a big hug and a fantastic lunch followed. Conversation flowed so easily. The afternoon flew by, too quickly actually.

Mari was so sweet to bring me a gift. She is a thoughtful soul.

Yummy fat quarters and gorgeous spools of Essential Thread, plus treats (some of which we may have shared after lunch?) The fat quarters are hand dyed by Vicki Welsh. I do have a small stash of Vicki’s fabric, but I don’t have these colors. They are a beautiful addition of gorgeous color.

What a fun day. We did get over to the quilt shop and both of us indulged. I will take pictures later on to share with you. I am so happy that I got a chance to spend some time with Mari in person. What a treat! I know we aren’t likely to get together again for a long while but who knows….hopefully we will have another opportunity to meet somewhere in the future. Till then, blogging, quilting and emailing makes for a very cool friendship. Thanks so much Mari for making the trek up here! It was so much fun.

Gratitude-Part 5

Hope everyone is having a good week so far. All is well here. We had a great weekend. Made some good progress on the Downieville house. Drywall is in (we had taken down old paneling in the our bedroom). Tomorrow they will texture it and then we can paint. Yahoo!! My husband is doing the lion’s share of the work on this house but drywall is not a fun project; one he happily paid someone else to do. I bought the paint yesterday (gray with a creamy trim color) and cannot wait to get those walls painted.

In other exciting news, my daughter received her acceptance to a high school program she applied to for next year. She has worked very hard on this application process so she is overjoyed. (All of us are actually!)

But the best part of the week so far, is this. Here is the backstory. I had a very special friend, Betty, who we lost to cancer 15 months ago. She battled Multiple Myeloma for almost four years. We were friends for almost 20 years. We worked together (she was my manager for a while but mostly we were co-workers) and we played together. We were in a book club together for a while. We made trips to museums, walked together until she couldn’t do that any longer, and she introduced me to the joy of dim sum about ten years ago. I keep a small photo of her taped to the wall in my sewing room so she can cheer me on when I am in there working on a project.

Betty was skilled at both knitting and crochet and could do huge damage in a yarn shop in no time at all. She created beautiful pieces though. When Julia was born she gave us a sweet crocheted blanket. When she was going through chemo and making herself chemo caps, she made Julia a gorgeous purple hat with a cute flower attached to it. Anyway, after she died, her husband gave her yarn stash to his sister. His sister, Marlene, shared this love of knitting with Betty. When Marlene was in California, visiting from her home in Washington DC, they would hit the yarn shops. If they were across the country from each other, Betty told me that she and Marlene would text pictures of yarns, colors and projects to each other. It made sense for the yarn stash to go to her.

Here is the surprise. Yesterday I had lunch with Betty’s husband. We try to get together for a visit every couple of months. He brought me a surprise from Marlene.


Isn’t this gorgeous? Marlene chose to make me a scarf with some of Betty’s yarn.  What a treasure. I love the flecks of color in this yarn.

scarf resize

The yarn is a recycled product by Rowan. Manufactured in Italy, it is made of recycled clothing and fibers to create a silk, cotton and viscose content. It is wonderfully soft.  She sent me a copy of the pattern she used ( I can kind of, sort of knit but would not be able to make something like this) and it is called “Best Friend”. That choked me up. I will treasure this. I am so grateful for Marlene’s thoughtful gesture and this gift that she sent me. It was such a wonderful surprise.

Linking for the first time over at Handmade Tuesday, as well as Freemotion by the River. Thursday I will link this to Yvonne’s Thankful Thursday Series on Quilting Jetgirl.