Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Round and Round on Ocean Waves V

186,000 miles per second is not just a good idea, it's the law.
~Albert Einstein


This is the fourth round and I think there's enough for a fifth. Wow. Someone cut way too many QSTs. At least they are all going into this final Ocean Waves quilt. Although I've complained about the repetitive sewing I want to finish this quilt. 

Ocean Waves V in progress, starting round 4 

And here it is with the next round of triangles sewn. 

Ocean Waves V in progress, round 4 finished

There's at least a yard of the fabric used for Bramble Blossom #1 stems that might make work in the border here. Using up more stash stuff. Win/win.

Kawandi placemats in blues

Meanwhile I've continued working on the kawandi placemats. Four finished; all with this soft brown plaid backing. My previous set is multicolored. With Fiesta plates in a variety of colors, it seemed more monochromatic placemats would better set them off. The top left print on the left-most placemat is a gift from Sujata Shah who is visiting this year. We'll certainly be eating off these. 

The center of BB1 is basted. The next step is machine appliqueing them. Then I can start on some borders. Way behind but still plugging along... very slowly.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Trying to Finish Off the Ocean Wave Triangles

There are two ways to be fooled. 
One is to believe what isn't true. The other is to refuse to believe what is true.
~Soren Kirkengaard


When will they end? There are still a bunch of Ocean Wave triangles: both individual and in sets of four.  I thought there were just enough for a five-block baby quilt but, no. Silly me. While I love the finished quilts, I'm sick of making the same pattern. 

Here's my plan to avoid counting and continual cutting of new triangles.  As I finish a "round", I'll move the outer half and quarter blocks out, add a new "round" and fill it with waves. As soon as there aren't enough to finish one more round, this quilt will be done. 

In the photo above, I've moved the outer blocks, added a new round of center squares and then filled the waves in around them. These are leftover triangles from all my previous Ocean Wave quilts, ignoring all colors and values. The Use Them Up philosophy.

There seems to be enough triangles for one or two more rounds. Perhaps one and a half. Then it would be a rectangle. 


Since I enjoyed Steven's previous book, The Guncle, tremendously, The Celebrants was on my list. It reminds me of The Big Chill although the friends meet for multiple "living funerals." The two Jordans (Jordan and Jordy), Marielly, Naomi, and Craig made a pact in college that each could call a meeting once - when they desperately need to be reminded that they matter and that their lives mean something. 

Steven writing highlights the joys of connection and friendship despite the unexpected twists of life. 

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Slow Progress on Bramble Blooms QAL

Your voice matters. If it didn't why would some people keep trying to take it away?
~ US Rep. John Lewis


Very slow progress. I changed the curvy leaves that were my first choice and constant downfall. You'll notice a couple still have curves and I may replace those later. 

Bramble Blooms QAL - Improv roses

Taking a cue from the striped stems and Audrey's post, I added a second leaf color. It looks much better.  

I also turned the background 180 degrees so the bubbles show up more. They inspired the stem and leaf colors. Although it's hard to see in the photo, I'm hand basting the seam allowances. It's a pain but less painful than trying to needle turn.


DH and I saw Wonka over the holidays so I pulled Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to re-read. Although it's classified as juvenile fiction, it was still enjoyable. I think my grandchildren may like it when they're older. BTW, we both loved Wonka. What a delightful adaptation. 

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Ocean Waves IV

It's no trick to make a soup out of fish, but making a fish out of soup is a challenge.
~Czech saying


This is a soup made from fish. I just threw a line into the depths of my leftovers and there were all the pieces. Not the most original or exciting but we both love the colors and design. We’ll keep this “fish” forever.
Ocean Waves IV

It took longer than expected this time. Restarting in the summer may have been reasonable but trying to quilt in the excessive heat was a mistake. So it was put away till fall. Because of health and family issues, I didn't work diligently. Even making a schedule didn't help much. But after New Year's there was finally time and determination to get busy again... plus, I'd already embroidered 2023 on the corner. Can't be a liar.

The foolish plan to SID all the triangles was part of the difficulty. This is too large a quilt to turn so much fabric (although I did it) but I couldn't think of any other choices. 

Next was the red centers. FMQ wreaths are alway a choice but my eyes don't let me see marks on dark fabrics. Instead I mixed spirals and circles. Pretty good and certainly easier than a wreath.

Free Motion waves spirals and circles 

By then I was tired and ready to be done so simple loops fill the outer border. They are very quick and easy.  

Finally, it was time to bind. I pulled two choices: a busy print on black and a stripe. I wanted to use the stripe (which works well with the back) but the print matches many of the triangles on the front much better (probably because so many of them are 10-15 years old.)

Quilt Specifics
Size: 103" x 92"
Design: Ocean Waves
Batting: Mountain Mist Cotton
Thread: Superior red and white cotton thread
Quilting: walking foot and free motion
Approximate yardage: 20 yds

Previous posts:

Belated Happy New Year. 

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Working on the Center of Bramble Blooms and Ocean Waves

God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December.
~J.M. Barrie


The quote made me consider using roses in the centerpiece but my applique skills are rusty to say the least. Red circles are more my style... and ability. A pink center was much too soft/ill-defined; the black center is better. After rereading Audrey's post, I went back through my stash for stronger yellows. Here are three that might work. 

The one on top was too green. I thought the one on the lower right would work but it's still too light so I'll be making petals from the remaining yellow. 

The stems are a stripe that both Audrey and I purchased. I thought of it as binding but immediately noticed {and admired} when she used it in this quilt. My two-yard cut is a bit of overkill for stems only. We'll see where else it works.

On to leaves. The large olive green leaves match the darker strip but are making the bottom too dark. What about adding blue polka dot leaves, too. And why are my first leaves always wavy? This needs quite a bit more thought. 

I'm behind schedule quilting Ocean Waves and need to double down. Fortunately the quilting is now free motion and that usually goes faster.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. 

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Finally Starting Bramble Blooms QAL

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.
~Gilbert K Chesterton


Are you as busy as I've been? All summer it was too hot to move. Now there are a multitude of projects to finish {and some that still need to be started} from summer as well as the swell of fall, family, and holiday activities. Additionally, some sinus/allergy issues continue. 

I finished my jacket before the start of cold weather; however,  Ocean Waves is intended as a Christmas present. Lots of quilting still although it doesn’t look different than last time. Forty-one center squares need to be quilted as well as the border and binding. That means five to six squares daily, two to three days for the border with a final day or two for the binding. Having a schedule should help me finish on time. 

I decided to alternate it with Audrey's Bramble Blooms QAL. The first step in this project was to pull fabric. My, oh, my. So many value gaps. The whites are fairly diverse but there is no progression from beige through brown. The same problem with light and dark greens. 

Nevertheless, I divided them into three groups and chose this assortment to start BB1.

Creating a center background was the second step. That lovely piece with printed circles is all that remains of that fabric. I've been determined to find a place to showcase it, so it was the first bit pulled. Everything else was chosen because it worked with that.

FUR (Fabric Use Rate):

This statistic was left off the previous post but November used 9.5 yards and the yearly total is now 58.25 yards. Quite the slow down.


Originally I thought On Fire Island would concern protagonist Julia's last summer of cancer. Instead, it begins with her death. Julia's spirit follows her husband, Ben, as he works through his grief and learns to live again. A teenager facing adult life and an elderly widower are the main supporting characters. Jane weaves them all into an engaging read.  

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

My Quilted Jacket

Figure out who you are, then do it on purpose.
~Dolly Parton


Finished in time for cooler weather. The flannel batting was very difficult to seam and makes the jacket cooler to wear. Or perhaps the open neck makes it cooler. I like the shawl collar and it wasn't that hard to sew. Horizontal lines are matched on the sleeves; I didn't worry about matching each block of the Chain.

I started by planning the front then matched the same location at the seams as I moved to the back and sleeves. It worked pretty well. 

My muslin was pinned higher than the final jacket buttons. So this final version hangs a bit further off the shoulders. Something to remember. Before sewing the parts together, I adjusted the collar seam at the back to get a slightly closer fit. 

The jacket is bound in the same fabric as the background. I didn't want it to show much. 

Quilting Specifics
Design: Shawl collared jacket
Quilt block: Triple Irish Chain 
Batting: cotton flannel
Thread: Superior blue cotton thread
Quilting: Walking foot
Approximate yardage: IDK but guess 9.5 yds 
(not counting the batting/flannel)

Previous posts:


The Things We Make by Bill Hammack explores how engineering builds on scientific and mathematical discoveries even when they aren't well defined. The opening chapter shows how mostly illiterate stonemasons built enormous medieval cathedrals using rules of thumb. Using topics such as photography, ceramics, steam, and faucets to show how engineers and tinkerers use observation to create new technologies. The book ends by emphasizing that the myth of  a "lone" inventor discourages technological advancement and innovations may not solve the problem the inventor expected. 

I hope you find time to read this engaging book but at least listen to half hour summary on YouTube.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Still Working on my Quilted Jacket

Whoever said life was about the journey and not the destination never had to look for a place to park.
~ Henry Grabar


My sister finally visited me. Usually I visit her. What a wonderful week we had: butterfly pavilion, arboretum, choral recital, lots of meals with extended family… and the Quilt Festival. Lovely although smaller than previous years. We also worked on a shirt for her. Now she’s on her way home but we’re planning future visits. 

Before she arrived I worked on my jacket. Each pattern piece has it's own translucent paper template that allows me to align intersections better (not perfect.) Once the tops were sewn, I cut lining and flannel {instead of batting} for each piece from the blue.

Stitch in the ditch was the choice for the previous jacket; it showed off the prints better. Since this jacket is all solids, I grid quilted on the diagonal, going from point to point on the design. I did use a washable marker when the points were further apart. 

The cotton flannel filling was a big mistake. There were no problems quilting the separate pieces but it was very difficult to sew seams. Probably because it was too tightly woven. It's not even noticeably thinner than Mountain Mist batting. It does crinkle less but there are easier ways to achieve that effect.


Americans expect parking to be "convenient, available, and free"... in other words "perfect." We are only now facing the environmental consequences of paving so much land for automobiles. Henry Grabar explores current issues of urban parking and offers possible solutions in an engaging and humorous manner. 

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Quilt Jacket Progress

A grandmother pretends she doesn't know who you are on Halloween.
~Erma Bombeck


Many, many pieces have been moved but it seems to be working out now. The design centers horizontally on the back although I'm thinking about exactly where that piece will fall vertically. To the right is the right front. It's lining up to "semi-match" at the side seam. 

With the right front pieces sewed, I can decide where to position the pattern piece. That big notch near the top left is where the shawl collar attaches to the shoulder. In order to avoid quilt design seams at the buttonholes, the pattern may be moved a bit more. Then I'll know exactly where to place the back vertically. Then on to the left front and sleeves. 

A second placemat is finished. I've been sewing on them while waiting at airports. It's a bit too crowded to sew on board any plane these days. 

FUR (Fabric Use Rate)

Finishing two more placemats used 1.5 yards so my running total 48.75 yards this year.

Killers of the Flower Moon 
by David Grann

A staff writer for The New Yorker, David Grann researches forgotten events... and writes excellent books about them. One is Killers of the Flower Moon which I didn't think was "forgotten." Growing up in Oklahoma, I occasionally heard of the murders of many Osage to steal their oil wealth. And Jimmy Stewart starred in The FBI Story which surely covered the case. How much more could there be? It turned out to be quite a lot. By conniving to place Osage under guardianship because they were deemed incapable of managing their own money, the government set them up to be manipulated and robbed by upstanding {white} men in their community. Then the murders started. Conspiracies and coverups continued until the nascent FBI entered the scene. Even when some of the evildoers were convicted, they were given short sentences {at a time when most murder convictions meant a death sentence.} David knows how to research and it shows. Plus, he writes a gripping story whose lessons shouldn't be forgotten again. 

On a happier note, let's all pretend we don't know who those little trick-or-treaters are next week.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

A Quilted Jacket of My Own

Listen! the wind is rising,
and the air is wild with leaves.
We have had our summer evenings,
now for October eves!
~Humbert Wolfe

Finally! Some rain in southeast Texas. The whole area is exceptional - the highest/worst level of drought. A few weeks ago some rain fell east and west of us. It was hard not to be envious but the entire western Gulf needs moisture desperately. And, a cold front came through that dropped our temperatures {briefly} to the upper 70s {25 C for you logical people.} Still wearing shorts and sandals; typical for Houston.


Before they are completely out of style, I'd like my own quilted jacket. Although it's unisex, I don't want to use the same pattern as my son. That makes it harder because I have to fit a new pattern. Also, raglan sleeves are the easiest to make with all these layers. 

Nevertheless I struggled on, fitting a shawl collar pattern. Again, the pattern was much larger than needed and I sized it down a couple of times. This might not be your result, especially if you live somewhere colder and wear a sweater or jacket under your coat. 

The entire time I was fitting the muslin, I also considered the fabric. Should it be a quilt block or random pieces? What colors do I usually wear? I decided to use this medium blue as a background but wanted browns and greens also.  Something nice and quiet. And... it's not working. I think the prints aren't right but neither are the colors. I actually made about eight attempts before giving up.

Next I decided to use solids. Here I've pulled every solid in my stash and winnowed it to these colors. There's not enough so a shopping trip is planned for next week. 

The Data Detective
by Tim Harford

British economic journalist Tim Harford's latest book discusses how we can all better understand statistics. While it's easy to dismiss all statistics {or at least those we don't like} as false, they are often "the only way of grasping much of what is going on around us." Dismissing these numbers out of hand can be as deadly as mindlessly believing them. This book present ten suggestions to improve our understanding - including "searching your feelings", considering who is missing, thinking about the presentation, and demanding transparency of the data. An informative and interesting book we all should read.

Tim's podcast Cautionary Tales has weekly discussions. 

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

More Kawandi Placemats

We often think of joy as meaning "without pain," or  "without sorrow" - which our consumer culture has us believing is a state of being that we could buy.... What if joy, instead of refuge or relief from heartbreak, is what effloresces from us as we help each other carry our heartbreaks?
~Ross Gay


Occasionally Ocean Waves gets a few minutes of quilting but most of the time it's too hot. Instead, several household tasks called my name. For example, I replaced an older set of napkins with new ones. 

We’ve been traveling most of the month so I mostly worked on a second set of Kawandi placemats. Being handmade of small, random rectangles, they are a great project for trips or afternoon visits. My first placemats (and plates) are more multicolored. I thought a monochromatic set of mats might give the eye a place to rest. So this set will all be light blues... mostly.

The backing is basically a fat quarter. I cut each batting 15" x 19" because it will shrink a bit when it's washed. With all the seams on the front, each placemat takes about 3/4 yard. Here's the start although the fula ended up a bit too far in. 

Quilting the outer edge of a Kawandi

After one round it looked like this. That first round of quilting is always the hardest going through at least four layers of fabric and batting/filling. There's even more layers when a new fabric is introduced. Stab stitch is my only option for getting the sewing reasonably close together.
First round of fabrics on a Kawandi

Here's a detail of the end of the first round of quilting/start of the second round. From here it's a simple "squared off" spiral and  the quilting itself becomes much easier.

Turning the first corner quilting a Kawandi

One placemat down, seven more to go. Since this is a monochromatic color scheme, my fabrics are a bit larger than most. I'm repeating that pink flower on light blue several times in each mat because I have a yard of it and I hope it will add some coherence to the result. 

Kawandi placemat in light blue
Kawandi placemat

Sujata gave me some lovely Indian cotton including the piece in the top left. It's very fine, like Madras plaid and sews much easier than my cloth. At least I know not to include tightly woven batik. 

FUR (Fabric Use Rate)

September finishes took 7.25 yards for a total of 47.25 yards this year.

The Correspondents
by Judith Mackrell

The Correspondents by Judith Mackrell relates the stories of six women who covered the European theater in World War II. Barred from combat zones and battling prejudice, they fought their way to the front. Englishwoman Claire Hollingsworth first broke the news of the war. Martha Gellhorn, second wife of Ernest Hemingway, stowed away on a Red Cross boat to the Normandy landing. Sigrid Schultz reported on the Nazi regime from its inception while hiding her Jewish identity. Helen Kirkpatrick became the first woman to report from the front with equal privileges of men.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Crossroads Baby Quilt 2

A lie ain't a side of the story; it's just a lie.
~The Wire (TV series)


This quilt uses up all the remaining Crossroads blocks. Most of the background colors are organized into columns. Although many of them are dark, the quilt still works. 

Crossroads 2 baby quilt

The very last Crossroads block is on the back - just to move them all out. I thought it would be an easy back but had to paw through a lot of remnants to find a group that works with the block. The outer blue fabric is new this year. Yes, I still buy fabric.

Back of Crossroads 2 baby quilt 

The binding is a red and white stripe purchased years ago with the idea of binding "all" my quilts with it. That would have been a neat idea if I'd remembered it before it disappeared in the stash. There's quite a bit more. Where will it show up next?

Crossroads 2 baby quilt detail

There's no immediate use so this quilt begins rebuilding the Baby Quilt Stack - ready for the future.

Quilt Specifics
Size: 45" x 45"
Design: Crossroads
Batting: Mountain Mist cotton
Thread: Superior white cotton
Approximate yardage: 6.5 yards

The Buddha in the Attic
by Julie Otsuka

The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka is a novel that reads like history. Julie traces a group of Japanese picture brides from Japan to San Francisco where they first met their husbands. Many of the men misrepresented their careers. Women who thought they were leaving rural life became itinerant farm workers with their husbands. They bore children who embraced American life - the only one they knew. After Pearl Harbor, the families lost everything they'd ever managed to amass as they were sent to internment camps. 

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Optical Illusion 2 Finished

If you work with your hands you're a laborer. If you work with your hands and your head, you're a craftsman. If you work with your hands and your head and your heart, you're an artist. 
~St. Francis


Of course it's spiral quilted because very little shows on printed fabrics and the spiral strengthens the spherical illusion.
Optical Illusion 2 quilt

Look how different this quilt is from the first Optical Illusion. Same size and blocks; the only difference is the values themselves and their order.

Optical Illusion 1 quilt

As I wrote before, the sashing and border took about a yard of fabric. I was hesitant to use the same fabric for both but am exceedingly pleased with the result.  The binding is a diagonally printed plaid purchased for another quilt. Despite being certain it was the solution, it never worked. These strips have been hanging around for years. Finally, some of it has a use. 

Optical Illusion quilt 2, front and back

The back is the bird fabric with a yellow strip to add width. It all looks very soft and sweet. I may make another when enough lights fill my scrap bag. 

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

Previous posts:

FUR (Fabric Use Rate)

With very few finishes this year, I haven't kept up with the count. August used 7.5 yards for a total of 40 yards this year... I think. Wow, that's not much for what seems like a lot of work. OTOH several quilts are "in progress" and they don't count until they are completely complete. 

Project Hail Mary
by Andy Weir

Since reading The Martian I've looked forward to each new novel by Andy Weir and finally got Project Hail Mary. Ryland Grace wakes from a coma with amnesia in a spaceship with two dead bodies. His memory returns in flashes so the story follows two lines of current and past events. The ship is in the Tau Ceti system to find a way to stop solar dimming on earth. An exciting and interesting read. 

Enjoy the day, Ann