Tuesday, March 14, 2023

A Second Optical Illusion Quilt

Anything one man can imagine, other men can make real.
~Jules Verne


Happy Pi Day! Every year more and more people notice this mathematical celebration for 3.14. (It's easier to remember using the American date notation.. which I've always thought awkward. Most everyone else orders from smallest to largest units day/month/year.) That aside, this day is the perfect excuse to look for  circles. Here I go again. 

Since finishing the first Optical Illusion quilt I've been wanting to try it again with lighter fabrics. What if I switched values using lights for the background and dark sashing? Problem 1: none of my darks interest me or they are too busy in print or value. Eventually I decided to try a blue and white stripe as sashing. However, I'm concerned it won't show against light background. 

I also want to see if I can play with values to make the center pop up even more: lightest in the middle and darkening as they extend out.

The quilt is semi-improvisational or perhaps simply my own style of improvising. I get an idea, tinker with sketches, pull fabric, mess around, sew some stuff, make changes, etc. But they are always mathematically-based. This time the blocks are foundation pieced. I sketched the sizes by imagining a plaid then cut them to size from newsprint. The main diagonal took about three-quarters of a yard and is pinned in place. Yes, I marked where it should fall but realize it will move a bit and the angles won't always match up since the block sizes change. {Go talk to your geometry teacher for a more detailed explanation.}

Here's a vignette of some stages of my progress running from top left to bottom right. The strips are sewed to paper foundation; that's what makes the corners white and sometimes kept me from understanding the color progression. 

Building colors on this Optical Illusion quilt 

The center four blocks are all white but the subsequent blocks are {supposedly} darkening from center to edge. With all these pastels and limited values {because I'm using only scrap bag fabrics,} it's hard to get the progression correct. So I've been laying strips in the general area and photographing to see what they look like. Lots of moving going on. 

I'm having fun and taking it slow. And... chicken pot pie for us today. What about you?


Emma Straub's This Time Tomorrow enters the life of Alice Stern on her 40th birthday as her father lies dying in the hospital. After a night of drinking, she awakens on her 16th birthday in her childhood room. What, if anything, can she change that day to alter the outcomes of both her life and her father's? 

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Woo Pig Sooie Quilt

Life is about that little space between what's over and what's next.
~Norman Lear


Like Audrey and several other people, I caught a heck of a cold and have been mostly out of commission for several weeks. Occasionally I manage some quilting time but quickly head back to bed. This silly illness wiped me out. I'm even eating canned soup!

However, my older son's lap quilt is finally a wrap. Red and white are one of my favorite combinations. {I need to make one of my own even though these aren't my college colors.} When it's open and flat like this photo, the phrase is visible. But when he wraps in it the design metamorphoses into ambiguity. Then it becomes a play in red and white. When I first started these word quilts, the letters were set on four light solids but limiting the choices to two solids improves the way the letters wink in and out. I'm immensely pleased with the effect. 

Woo Pig Sooie quilt

Spiral quilting again. This is about the largest quilt I can make with a spiral. Not much more will fit under the harp. I find the design easy now that I've made so many. These days, I'm all for simplicity. Perhaps I will get back to FMQ but not now. No energy and no interest either; I just can't figure out why. My rows are {sort of} parallel. They aren't perfect but you'll never notice. 

Woo Pig Sooie spiral quilting detail

The inner border is fabric purchased several years ago for binding. It looks good here. And it's out of my stash. This is a better use than letting it age in place. 

Woo Pig Sooie quilt - folded to show back and binding

I bought the backing fabric last week because I'm completely out of red... and some other colors, too. There was enough extra to add another border to the quilt. An old "Olivia the Pig" print binds it. I planned to use it for the back until I read underneath each pig. "Worn Out!" Probably not the best choice for a college sports team motto. No one will notice the phrase in the binding as long as you don't tell.

Quilt Specifics
Size: 74" x 74"
Design: String quilt
Batting: Mountain Mist Cream RoseCotton
Thread: Superior red cotton thread
Quilting: Spiral with walking foot
Approximate yardage: 12 yds


Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake looks at our current understanding of fungi. Eight chapters cover various aspects: from yeast to psychedelics, symbiosis with bacteria and algae to parasitism of ants. I'd previously read a bit about fungi connecting plant roots such as aspen groves but found Merlin's version very entertaining. His analogies entertain as well as explain areas of new research which include the beginnings of life on earth. 

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Going in Circles Slowly

Tell a man there are 300 billion stars in the sky and he'll believe you. 
Tell him that a bench has wet paint on it and he has to touch it to be sure.


The plan was to have the quilting finished by now but instead caught a cold and spent a few days in bed. So I'm still circling. A large lap quilt instead of a baby quilt takes more time, too. The spiraling circle is complete; I'm filling in the four corners now. Progress.

Clear cherry reds may be my favorite color. Too bad it's headed to a new home. I need to make a red and white quilt for myself. Hmm. Wasn't the plan to make some quilts for myself?


My book club chose An American Quilt for our first discussion this year. One reason I enjoy the group is that we read non-fiction. I expected it to be either a history of quilting or a story detailing the construction of a specific quilt. Instead, Rachel May uses her discovery of a hexagon medallion quilt to research the lives of the enslaved people owned by the family. Finding the wife was from Rhode Island, her own home state, she digs further into the triangle trade that implicates many from the northern states in the expansion of slavery. Definitely worth the time to read. 

Happy Valentine's Day.
Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

A College Quilt

"The best thing for being sad," replied Merlyn, beginning to puff and blow, "is to learn something. 
That is the only thing that never fails."
~The Once and Future King


So far DS1 hasn't said much about wanting a quilt jacket, too. Just a few comments I'm not taking that seriously. But he admired the Arkansas quilts I'd made for his friends' babies. Recently I realized a 3x3 grid {instead of 2x2} would make the quilt almost lap size. Besides being my favorite colors, red and white are both Valentine and Arkansas colors. Sending him a secret hug whenever he uses it.

What words? How about Woo Pig Sooie. However, instead of setting the -ooie as a four patch as I did here, I shrunk the width by half. Now the letters fit the available space. 

An "I" on its side looks like an H. Worrying about this, I shortened the bars at the top and bottom. Bad idea. {To me} the fun of this style is the ambiguous visibility of the letters. That "I" stands screaming, "Look at me!" So I unsewed the center and lengthened the bars. Compare the top and bottom photos to see what you think. 

Next up are the borders. Here are a couple of fabric combinations I'm considering. 

I'd like to gift the quilt for his birthday but his dog loves to eat quilts so this may be one he visits at my house until…

FUR (Fabric Use Rate)

I used 9.5 yards this month and so 9.5 yards this year. Woo hoo.


When an enslaved woman named Rose discovered her nine-year-old daughter, Ashley, was to be sold she quickly made her a sack holding a dress, a handful of pecans, and a braid of Rose's hair. The sack was passed to family members for a few generations and inscribed with the family's tale in the early 1900s. Eventually it was purchased at a Tennessee flea market and sold to Middleton Place, a museum on the grounds of the former plantation where Rose was enslaved. Currently the sack is displayed at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. 

Historian Tiya Alicia Miles researched the women through the few existing written records then used art, objects, and the environment to reconstruct a personal history of slavery, resilience, and love. NPR had an excellent episode with the author.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

The Quilted Coat Finish

Photo heavy post.

Nothing is really work unless you would rather be doing something else.
~J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

Quilted Coat

All that angst. Years of worry and insecurity for nothing. This was a piece of cake. As Barrie wrote, it wasn't work at all because there was nothing I'd rather have done.

Quilted coat, front view

Here's the side view. DS wanted the sleeves to turn up like this. He says it will keep his hands warm when he walks the dog. I say, that's what gloves are for. Still, his choice.

Quilted coat, side view

And the back. We’re celebrating the finish at a Mexican restaurant. Fish tacos for lunch! While taking the photos, two people complimented him on his coat. Imagine that. 

Quilted coat, back view

DH and DS think this is my typically colorful design. I think I was very restrained. Each piece was placed, photographed and replaced to keep it from being too loud {ok, that's relative} and scatter colors appropriately. I stuck with indigo, navy, and dark browns, many of which had nautical themes. There are a number of whales, fish, boats, etc. but I discarded several juvenile prints. I added a mustard and a few olives but discarded brighter yellows and greens... and replaced some of the whites with pale yellow and tan. This has wiped out my browns and my small stash of Japanese indigos. They couldn't have gone to a better project

Now for general information.  

Once the top layer was ready, I laid each section on batting and backing and cut those parts to match. At the front I chickened out and left a bit more room. Not sure why. 

DS wanted a puffier coat so he didn't like flannel. I thought about buying Thermore but because lots of Mountain Mist Blue Ribbon cotton batting is lying around, I used that. There's enough challenges in this jacket without trying a new batting. However, this batting shrinks about 3% so it had to be pre-washed. That meant it had to be quilted first. Planning for that shrinkage, I added an extra inch all the way around as you can see in the photo above. That’s two extra inches. 

After much consideration, I sewed the shoulder dart like the Tamarack jacket sews its large bust dart. Layering and quilting a part that will not lie flat seemed odd, but I think this method will be more comfortable to wear. Another plus is that there won’t be a seam to finish. On the negative side, I had to do this before washing the pieces. 

I pinned liberally, then sewed all three layers together around the perimeters at a quarter-inch {and zig-zagged for good luck.} The next step was quilting in the ditch because the prints are crazy enough but it may see hard future usage as well as machine washes. I wanted every seam stabilized.

I washed all six pieces on warm and machine dried to maximize shrinkage. {Might as well give it the roughest treatment now since someone may do that later.} And look how much it shrunk. Fortunately, there was sufficient room to recut. BTW I put three color catchers in the wash but no colors bled. 

Before putting the jacket together, I not only cut the center fronts to the pattern edge, I cut an additional 5/8" off that seam because it will be bound rather than turned into an allowance. He liked the extra length so I left that and just cleaned up the edge.

I sewed the sleeves to the front and back and used Muna and Broad's directions for flat seams to give extra strength. The front seam was pressed to the sleeve and the back sleeve seam was pressed to the back. This meant there was less of a stack when I sewed the side seams together. Then I sewed the sides and bound with Hong Kong seams. {My HK binding is 1.25" wide and the flat seam binding was 1.25 or 1.5" I forget which.} In the photo on the right, I'm loosely catching those seams to the jacket just to keep it neat.

Flat seam on the left;
sewing the side with Hong Kong seams on the right.
Notice how the flat seams nest.

Here's another view of the raglan sleeve seams. Remember how I simplified the blocks when I got to the seam allowances? Can you even tell it's not the "real" block? It made less bulk in the seams. {If you look really carefully, you might see the extra sewing line from the flat seam.}

Detail of raglan sleeve

Because there's no interfacing, I was hesitant to make buttonholes and instead made loops. I've done this before but made the loops a bit too large this time both in length and width.

The collar was quite a quandary. I definitely wanted one but knew there would be so many layers. I planned to use the Tamarack jacket method to bind all the way around after the collar was attached until I realized the top of the binding would be one way on the front but "the other side up" around the collar.  Martha Moore's method worked better for me. Basically, bind the jacket first then sew the collar "backwards." Put the top side of the collar against the inside of the back neck to machine stitch. Then hand stitch the underneath part of the collar to the outside of the neck. Martha is right; it's much neater {although it meant I had to unquilt the collar and re-quilt it after it was attached.}

There is a "wad" of layers where the collar and binding overlap but my machine handled it fine. And there would have been a wad with the other method. {My edge binding was cut 2.25" wide and sewn at 1/2". Single fold rather than the double fold I use on quilts. This binding was sewn with at a half-inch rather than the narrower binding I use on quilts.} 

Quilted coat - collar views

I didn't use patch pockets because I forgot to save enough material to match the pockets to the fronts. Instead I added them inside as a final step. I lined up the bottom with a horizontal quilting line on the outside and sewed that part by machine with the outside up so I could follow the previous quilting. Then I hand sewed the pocket sides invisibly... and told DS to be careful.

What Went Well
  1. Making a muslin. Oh, I didn't want to and oh, I'm glad I made two.
  2. Making a collar. I love them. 
  3. DS wanted a jacket that looked like a quilt so a single block was a good choice. 
  4. Taking lots of time to place each piece of fabric. 
  5. Altering the blocks near seam allowances to reduce bulk in the seams. 
What Could be Improved/Changed
  1. Flannel batting could be pre-washed, avoiding the "wash-each-piece-before-sewing-together" step. Or choose a batting that will not shrink such as Thermore.
  2. Consider interfacing instead of batting for the collar depending on the look desired.
  3. Quilt block seams should nest or use sashing to reduce the bulk. 
  4. Make button loops smaller and tighter. 
  5. Add side pockets. 
Quilting Specifics
Size: 42" chest 
Design: Raglan sleeved car coat
Economy-style block
Batting: Mountain Mist Cream Rose Cotton
Thread: Superior blue cotton thread
Quilting: Stitch in the ditch with walking foot
Approximate yardage: IDK but guess 9.5 yds
The lining, binding, and pockets took all of a 4-yard piece I had on hand. 
The inner bindings were another half yard.

Previous posts:

Paramedic and author Kevin Hazzard wrote this engaging book about our first paramedics. In 70's Pittsburg, a group of undereducated Black men trained under an Austrian anesthesiologist to form the first emergency response team setting standards of emergency care world-wide. It was good to learn about a forgotten chapter in our history. 

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Quilted Coat Construction

It's hard to beat a person who never gives up.
~Babe Ruth


Channeling the Babe, I just keep moving forward with the jacket. Well, mainly forward. Lots of redos. The muslin fit DS decently. I think the body is a bit loose but he likes it that way. The sheet used for the muslin is so old he had to be very careful putting it on and off. The shoulder dart could be extended half an inch, the sleeves need another couple of inches, and the jacket will be shortened four inches. {Currently it hits a bit above his knees.}

He wants it to look like a quilt. {He specifically commented on my colorful work. [I'm wondering what he's thinking. Is he planning a career as a clown?} I have a stack of Japanese indigos I've never used. Some browns might help. 

The sleeve was two pieces. I pinned the front and back sleeve together and drew a new single sleeve with a dart at the shoulder. Ok, it's slightly curved but will still be easier than trying to piece two quilted sleeve parts together. {There's a photo below.} When combining two pieces, be sure to take the seam allowances off both parts. 

Once that chore was done I copied all six adjusted full pattern pieces on my own tracing paper, back, collar, and both fronts and sleeves. No "line up on this fold line" on any piece. No "turn it over and cut again."

To figure things out, blocks go right on the pattern pieces as I work. When placements are poorly located it's usually quickly visible... if I pay attention. This is definitely ad hoc and improvisational. Already there are too many white squares and the green won't cut it. The yellow may be okay. Lots more work to do. 

The blocks will get smaller as the pieces are sewn together. I'm not sure how many will be needed but I don't want a bunch of extra seams in the seam allowances. I have a plan for that problem.  See the sideways "flying goose" in the left set? It's a simplification of the design to reduce bulk in the seams. Most of the goose will be discarded when the pattern piece is cut. The missing design won't be noticed... at least, that's the idea.

The left and right sides of the center front are identical because the jacket overlaps there. These blocks will be lined up so the center of each is the center front of both sides of the jacket. 

Here's my alteration of the sleeve with a dart at the top. It will be covered by a block and then sewn together and trimmed afterwards. The current decision here is whether to align the sides or centers of the blocks along that overlapped seam. It probably will come down to whichever will uses fewer blocks. 

Raglan sleeve pattern piece

In this photo the front left, back, and right front are above. The left and right sleeves are below. Things are looking more coherent. Extra background triangles are arranged on the bottom right. 

The quilt block is basically a four-patch on point. The triangles are cut a bit larger than needed. I matched the seams and mades sure the triangle apex sits at the seam of the four-patch so they will form decent squares. A good press and then I can trim the block to size, making sure seam allowances at all the four-patch corners are correct. As blocks are sewed together, I put the pattern on top and check that things are where I want and reach the cutting edges. 

All the while, batting choices run through my mind. Cotton, silk, or polyester. QS reminds me that "cotton kills" in the cold but it's not terribly cold here. Poly might be best but I don't have any. Does this jacket even need batting? Or just some flannel?


In The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna, Mika Moon lives an isolated life, moving every six months to hide her powers from regular people. One day, she begins posting online videos pretending to be a witch, which leads to the unexpected offer of a job teaching a trio of adolescent witches at Nowhere House. The story was much more fun than I expected. Well written, too. 

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

A Quilted Coat

Life is too short to wake up in the morning with regrets. So, love the people who treat you right, forgive the ones who don't, and believe that everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it. Nobody said it'd be easy, they just promised it would be worth it.
~Dr. Seuss


Five years ago my younger son asked me to make him a quilted coat. I just looked at him. What? Well, it didn't need to be a coat; he'd like a poncho. What?? Assuming he was kidding, I politely ignored his request. Turns out he was serious. I'm terrified of this project but what the heck. Dr. Seuss' words encourage me to jump in and try. Now that we're in the same town I have a chance to make one that might even fit. What's the worst that could happen? If it doesn't work, I can convert it into that poncho.

I looked at quilt coats online. Most are for women... not quite what's required. I started a secret Pinterest board to corral all the ideas. How long or short? What type of sleeve? Collar or not? Buttons or open? Pockets inside or out? It turns out I've missed a slew of coat quilt-alongs but some people posted their work. More ideas.

Every time I served as program chair for a guild, I asked Rachel Clark to speak, a talented artist who makes and wears exciting {and amusing and poignant} clothes. Everyone always enjoyed wearing her designs on the runway of our shows. She has a great website and some time-tested patterns. I even have two of them still resting in my files. 

I read anything else I could find about the process. Martha Moore's Buried Diamond blog was a {new to me} discovery. Such a beautiful coat! While I've French seamed several times, I'd forgotten Hong Kong seams. That might be a handy trick. It won't work for a reversible jacket but his won't be. 

There are also videos on YouTube. The Tamarack Jacket sew along by Grainline Studio is fourteen episodes of information for their jacket but much could apply to many quilted jackets. Muna and Broad have videos for their Grainger jacket with excellent tutorials. 

I looked at coat patterns. Raglan sleeves would give him more room. Eventually this old pattern showed up. 

Yes, the fashion sketches look dated. Somehow it reminds me of the Brat Pack movies like St. Elmo’s Fire and Pretty in Pink. But the line drawing on the back has a straight body. The epaulets, pocket flaps, and belt loops will be ignored. 

I made a muslin from an old bedsheet based on DS' {darling son} chest measurements {and what the pattern says fit.} It was way too big. Way, way too big. So I made a second one two sizes smaller. This week he'll come over to try it on.


Catriona McPherson's other series are deeply psychological murders {too much for me} but this is a romp starring counselor Lexy Campbell who marries an LA dentist when he visits Scotland, moves to California, and soon divorces him. On her way out of the country she becomes embroiled in a murder. The situations are funny and sad by turns but the dialogue sparkles. 

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

2022 Quilt Review

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power. 
~Abraham Lincoln

Quilting Review 2022

Why did I think life would be easier once the children were grown? Between helping family and aging, DH and I have had a busy year.  My sister sent me a birthday card once that said something like, "We love to mind business, mostly each others'." And I am fortunate to have such a close, loving family... even when they are in my business. {It's entirely different if I get into their business.}

Since we moved to the tropical south full-time, we have little need for more large quilts. Actually little need for quilts but my soul needs them. So most of my efforts this year were baby quilts. 

Looking back at 2022, I mades groups of quilts {in that never-ending effort to use up the scraps.}

Four-letter quilts

and string quilts. This one was the completion of the #AHIQPalette challenge. Only a month late. 

Blanca Peak Sunrise baby quilt

I used several sets of leftovers to make a lap quilt {that's still not quilted}. Although it used many blocks in my leftover stack, there are a least two more sets of blocks that have never been sewn into a quilt. Projects for the coming year. 

An Optical Illusion quilt has been on my list for decades and finally was completed this year. 

Optical Illusion baby quilt

Hopefully some wall quilts will get finished next year. I pulled out my sketchbook recently and have been delighted to find so many ideas. Now to get busy with them. 

Although I haven't commented as frequently as usual, I've read most of your posts and enjoyed my visits into your sewing spaces. Thanks for opening your personal space to us. 

FUR (Fabric Use Rate)

Again, no finished quilts in December. 59 yards for 2022.

Happy New Year! 

Enjoy the holidays, Ann

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Leftovers Top Finished

Never discourage anyone who is able to make constant progress, no matter how slow.


Plato's statement seems appropriate for this quilt. Work was slow. So slow. This despite the fact that most of the quilt is leftovers - either blocks or fabric ends - although I did purchase more red solids and blue prints for the outer HSTs. It's a joy to use everything in the stash and feel free to purchase something.

The larger the quilt became, the less a square shape appealed. After counting my circles, I added a second row of them to the top and bottom. Now it’s slightly rectangular. Putting the stronger/brighter colored circles on the inside seems to be working. None of blocks are sewed together {except some of the HSTs} which allows me to continue rearranging.

Here’s another photo with more of the outer round in place. I like it but… it still looks weak.

Adding a second round of tiny HSTs strengthened the design. This photo was taken at the end of the day and the color is a bit off. It actually reads more like all the previous photos. 

Leftovers quilt top

Now that the top is complete, I wonder if I simply should have made two smaller toddler quilts. My arm hurts when pulling this around so I may not quilt it immediately. And there goes that resolution to work each quilt all the way through. “No more UFOs,” said I. Hahaha. 

There are twelve circle blocks left if anyone is still working on Quilty365. Or they might become part of the back. 


Gabrielle Zevin’s charming story of bookshop owner A.J.’s life on a small New England island delighted me. Love, loss, and building a family of friends. I believe it’s now a film, too.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Four Sets of Leftovers

We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.
~Abraham Lincoln


Last time I left off with a disconnected border of circles on the angular center. No way am I sewing more circles but what if I added a row of smaller triangles? Because I've used all of these values in my stash, I purchased more reds and some lighter colors for these new little blocks although a few are tiny scraps - leftovers of leftovers. 

Border idea for Square Deal 3 quilt

The first photo didn't get me excited and I almost chose to simply make two toddler quilts but more thinking made me consider the light circles look "weak" against the strong center. 

Expanded border idea for Square Deal 3 quilt

I pulled the darker/stronger circles for a second attempt and like it better. Obviously sewing is slow going here but I'm inspired to continue with this plan.

FUR (Fabric Use Rate)

No finished quilts this month either so it's still 59 yards this year.


Hurricane Katrina destroyed 150 miles of the American Gulf coast but the aftermath compounded the disaster with levee failures as well as government mismanagement. In fact, the actions {and political parties} of local government officials caused tremendous differences in recovery. History professor Douglas Brinkley writes about the catastrophe, survivors, and heroes in The Great Deluge. Reading it so many years later reminds me of many response changes from staging locations to the Cajun Navy {a group of volunteers with boats} to allowing pets in rescue operations. 


has become difficult lately. I have trouble posting on some of your blogs and even commenting on my own. Hopefully these disruptions will be resolved soon. Sorry if I've missed responding to anyone and know that I am reading your blogs even when I can't comment on them.

Happy Thanksgiving. 

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

More Leftovers

You learn to speak by speaking, to study by studying, to run by running, to work by working; in just the same way, you learn to love by loving.
~Anatole France


Who remembers these Quilty365 blocks from Audrey? They're from 2015. Oh, my goodness. I started but didn't make it a year before my fingers complained vigorously. After laying these out, I found another baggie stuffed with blocks. 

Originally I planned to set them something like this straight set but it occurs to me...

Quilty365 blocks 

these could be another border on my Leftovers quilt. It would push the quilt to lap size. That would be useful after a year of baby quilts. The colors work; however, the circles don't relate to the triangles. Hmm. What can I do?

Leftover quilt with a partial Quilty365 border

If my new plan doesn't work, I can always make the original ideas of both. Did you notice I incorporated the last of the blue and white stripe into an outer border {just before the circles?} Even a tiny round like that brightens the quilt. Previously the zigzags in the outer border made the whole quilt darker… but darker may be better. We’ll see. 


Somehow the book Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris came up as a suggestion by my library. It was written in the 60s. I frequently ignore unsolicited suggestions but the description interested me. Charwoman Mrs. Harris sees a Dior gown at the home of one of clients and decides she must have one herself. Later I discovered it's currently a movie. Even later I found this it was previously made into a movie starring Angela Lansbury. The book is much better than the movie although the scenes and frocks are charming. 

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

What I Found in the Leftover Bin

'America was built on inefficiency.' ...The price for efficiency was paid by the bookstore, the hardware store, the sporting goods store that closed on... main streets all over America. These stores had helped to build their towns. But, compared to Amazon, they were all inefficient.
~Brian Alexander, The Hospital


Do you recognize these blocks? There are leftovers from three different quilts. The center, of course, are the absolute last of The Square Deal blocks. Intellectually I wanted to do something else with these blocks. They were going to be a border until I pulled the second set of blocks. Those were the row from the first attempt of Optical Illusion. Now the first set must be the center {again} and I couldn't find an arrangement I liked better. 

The four photos below highlight some of the ways I laid them out. While there's a little wonkiness because they aren't sewed together, most of the serration comes from the four different lengths of the Illusion {border} blocks. 

Four possible border layouts

In the end this was my favorite choice. Opposite sides have the same block lengths - long on top and bottom and short on the sides. Two medium-length blocks turn each corner. And the square blocks in the corner? Those are the last four blocks from our #AHIQStringTulipQAL. How's that for using it all up?

You can also see in the first photo some of the fabrics I considered to make the center cross but in the end chose a blue and white stripe. It's a whole yard so it was difficult to cut into it and use less than half. 

Square Deal 3 with final border arrangement

Quilters build supplies over time. Whether stash or scraps, we are always attracted to beautiful fabrics and simply must keep them around. Additionally, many of us keep sample and extra blocks from previous projects. {Sometimes I think the smart quilters donate all this stuff.} I save/collect all three of these categories but I have less patience with the crowding they create in my sewing areas. Hence, my constant efforts to sew them up and move them out. What do you save and how do you use it? Or do you? Do your savings inspire you or weigh on you?

FUR (Fabric Use Rate)

No finished quilts this month so it's still 59 yards this year.


This pair of books is an interesting commentary on current medical care in the US. The Emergency written by Thomas Fisher, MD, recounts the difficulties of care and paucity of resources in poor sections of Chicago while The Hospital by Brian Alexander reprises similar problems is a rural Ohio town.  Personally, I think undermining the Affordable Care Act shows tremendous lack of concern for all Americans. We are not living in the 18th century and every person deserves some level of health care. If we don't provide it collectively, we will never be able to afford it individually. Both books could start conversations about our future as human beings. 

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Green Diagonal String Quilt

News media and public health initiatives target these moms to tell them it is their responsibility to protect their kids from an unsafe, risky, and contaminated food industry that puts artificial dye in crackers, infuses arsenic into baby food, and keeps kid's palates from developing by packing children's menus with cheeseburgers and French fries. Interestingly, moms today get the message that it is their job to safeguard their kids, not that it's the state's responsibility to regulate and monitor industry practices.
~Priya Fielding Singh


Finished. How different the quilt looks  photographed from this direction rather than last time's. 

Green Diagonal String baby quilt

A remnant of green print made the best binding. Dark enough to create a border and close enough to the other green shades to blend in. 

Detail of Green Diagonal String baby quilt

My sister {of course} sent this owl panel as a joke. She has collected owls for me since college and that was more years ago than I'm admitting here. It wasn't quite wide enough so I bordered the sides with a blue print. 

Back of Green Diagonal String baby quilt

These three quilts used a significant amount of my scraps but there's still a couple of bags. I'll think about what to do with them while I evaluate the values. 

Quilt Specifics
Size: 44" x 44"
Design: String quilt
Batting: Hobbs Heirloom Premium Natural Cotton
Thread: Superior green cotton thread
Quilting: Spiral  with walking foot
Approximate yardage: 6.5 yds

FUR (Fabric Use Rate)

I used 6.5 yards this month and 59 yards this year.


Sociologist Priya Fielding-Singh expanded her doctoral thesis on family food access in this book. She includes stories of four families who gave her in depth access to their lives as well as information from other families across the Bay Area. It is one of the most privileged regions in the country but limiting the geography to a single area made the comparisons in her study more accurate. This book is an enlightening view of how finances affect food choices when all families want the best and healthiest life for their children.

Enjoy the day, Ann