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Revisiting an old favorite

Bento box block pattern is one of my favorite quick assembly quilts.  This one will be a baby quilt, probably donated to a local community hospital.

Bento box quilt blocks


Mom’s t-shirts

Last summer I was visiting my mom and she pulled out a stack of t-shirts that she’d saved.  Every trip with a grandkid to Europe, every cruise, and every other big trip she made, she would buy a souvenir t-shirts. When she asked me if I would make her a quilt from her t-shirts, you can bet I said “yes” right away.  And it took me a few months, but I finally finished the quilt up and mailed it off to her.  She got the package just a few days ago and called to say how much she liked and how much everyone she showed it to like it as well.  And, now that she’s seen it, I can share the photos of the finished project!

For anyone else thinking of turning t-shirts into a quilt, the only must have item is fusible interfacing.  It will keep the t-shirt pieces from stretching and make it much easier to construct square blocks!

tshirt quilt

While not all of the t-shirts were from cruises, there were several that were so I chose the tropical fish fabric for the sashing between the t-shirt pieces

Detail of t-shirt quilt

I really like the Maui t-shirt. She got this one when she went with my aunt to Hawaii to visit my cousin there.

Detail of the sashing

This shows a detail of the sashing with the bubbles quilting pattern I used.

Back of quilt

I found this fish fabric a long time before I got the t-shirts for the quilt. It was a very nice fabric and really inexpensive, so I bought yards and yards of it. I had no idea what I would do with it, but it turns out there was a perfect project just waiting….


Beating the winter blahs

Unlike some less fortunate than I, winter blues don’t affect me much.  I do, however, get the winter “blahs.”   Laziness sets in and I spend way too much of my free time sitting on the couch and playing Spelltower on my iPad.  In order to battle these tendencies, I’ve been working to finish several of my quilting UFOs (for those not in the quilting inner circle, these are “un-finished objects” – I haven’t gone all X-Files yet).

I’m currently quilting a piece that my mom “commissioned” (I wouldn’t dream of charging her a cent for anything I make for her!) me to make out of her collection of t-shirts.  After my dad passed away, she went on a lot of trips in the US and abroad.  Mom liked to have a t-shirt as a souvenir of the places she visited and she’d wear them for awhile and then put them away.  Last time I was there visiting, she asked me if I could use the t-shirts to make a quilt.   So I packed the shirts in my suitcase.  Too many months later I’m finally getting to the last stages and finishing the project.

I have one finished quilt top in the wardrobe storage unit in my quilting studio which I think I will probably pay a longarm quilter to finish. It’s  just a little to large for me to wrestle around on my machine and since it’s a very modern, improvisational quilt design, I think it makes more sense to have it machine quilted.  That is scheduled to be taken to the longarm quilter some time in February.  She also drives school bus part-time, so working around my schedule and hers might take some doing.

A third UFO is one I’m puzzling over.  It’s a utterly simple quilt composed of diagonal arrangement of 6 inch blocks.  The fabrics I used are blue-green solid (reminiscent of the ocean), black tone on tone (one featuring ravens), and cream/black Pacific Northwest native inspired designs with orcas and bear paws designs.  I’m torn between a simple all over quilting design done by the long arm quilter and doing hand quilting to highlight the Northwest theme.  I think I’ll take it along on my  quilting retreat this weekend and see what my talented pals have to suggest.

Finally, one UFO will probably not be finished anytime soon, but I’ve made a New Year’s resolution to plug away and make progress.  This is my king sized Flying Geese quilt that I am handquilting.  Going to chase those “blahs” by listening audiobooks and sewing!

Will I manage not to accumulate UFOs in the future and finish off my projects in a timely manner?  Probably not, but I’ll have fun trying.

Barley Pilaf

Just passing on one of Hanna’s blog posts. Doesn’t have much to do with quilting, except that we both seem to get more industrious when the days get shorter. I did some cooking this weekend, as well as finishing the machine quilting on two projects. Even put on the bindings. I haven’t taken any photos yet — if it’s not too cold and blustery next weekend, I will probably head out and find a fence and some natural light next weekend to get a few quilt portraits done.

Mad Baking Adventures

I have risen from the dead!  The zombie apocalypse is upon us!

But not really.  It’s been a while since I posted on here, because I may have forgotten that I had this…  HOWEVER, I made a pretty delicious thing, and I wanted to share it.

So I present to you,

Barley Pilaf (a recipe and an equation)

1 1/2 c of barley
3 c + 3 T of water
a pinch of salt

Throw all of this in a rice cooker, set it for brown rice if you’ve got the option (if not, just turn it on and let it go).  Once the rice cooker’s done doing its thing, let it steam for about fifteen more minutes and fluff it.  Set it off to the side.

2 ridiculously huge carrots, diced (seriously these things were longer than my forearm)
Some fresh ginger
1 t cinnamon
1 t cumin

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I’ve been away!

It’s been a long while since I posted anything here — summer was a bit slower as far as the quilting went, but later I’ve been gearing up again.  In the works are two western themed quilts with some great cowpoke novelty fabric — I’ve got both completely pieced and backings made and I’m part way through quilting one.  I’ve got some handpieced blocks made from repurposed silk men’s ties, and a few other things in the works.  I’m going to get organized and get some photos posted soon, which I hope you’ll find fun to see.  The cooler fall weather is definitely conducive to my productivity.

Cactus Blossoms

A few weeks ago Marilyn in my quilting guild taught us ruching to make flowers.  Not being a frilly, flowery type, I decided to create a piece that used the flowers sparingly.  The piece is about 20 inches square and features bead embellishments on the prickly pear, a nod to my alma mater (fellow TCU alums will get it!), and a howling coyote hat pin.  I also tried out free motion quilting by “pebbling” the soil.

photo 1 photo 2 photo 3 photo 4 photo 5

It’s the highway that’s the best

At long last, the Route 66 quilt is finished! A couple of months ago I took the finished top and back to a long arm quilter to finish. She even had a Route 66 highway sign design in her library. So I’ve added the binding and a few embellishments to the back, et voila!

The blocks (left to right, top row to bottom):
New Mexico / Wandering Path / Windy City / Texas Ranger
Crossroads America / Missouri Puzzle / Illinois Cornfields / Missouri Daisy
Oklahoma Twister / Oklahoma Square Dance / Illinois Crossroads / Arizona
St. Louis Star / Wandering Star / Road to California / Chicago Geese
Illinois / Journey to Oklahoma / Missouri’s Gateway Star / Rocky Road to California