Sunday, May 12, 2024

Final Border for Bramble Blooms 1

Life, though it is a gift, is not a privilege.
~Ross Gay


Audrey's linkup encouraged me to push on BB1 but it's still not complete. Here's the second round, a pink zig zag. All those points took way too much time and didn't all turn out as well as my usual work. But I'm pressing on.

These are leftover Crossroads blocks from a class with Sujata Shah. {There are still more. Sheesh.} I love them as a border but it may be too bright. 

So I made a few more. {And this is how I end up with miscellaneous piles of leftover blocks.} Some haven't been trimmed because the border needs some coping. 

And this is where it sits today. 

Mostly I've been working in the yard. The zinnias are coming along.

I found a solar fountain sprinkler and created a temporary water feature with an old melamine bowl. The basin needs to be wider so I'll keep looking.

My son helped put the new glider chairs together. Acutally, he did the work and I helped hold a few things. Now we have a place to sit and enjoy the flowers and pollinators. 

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Second Border on Bramble Blooms QAL

Earth’s crammed with heaven,

And every common bush afire with God,
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes, 
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries,
And daub their natural faces unaware.
~Elizabeth Barrett Browning


I quilted and mailed the quilt my granddaughter put together while visiting last month. Just in time for her sixth birthday. How exciting to see another generation of quilters in our family. It took most of the evenings. My remaining time involved moving bits and pieces around on BB1.

Yes, Audrey suggested applique in the first border. I didn't do that but thought it would be great on the second border. My grandmother's family joked that she would walk three miles to ride horseback one. That's how I feel about applique. I love, love, love other people's but go to great lengths to avoid it myself. 

Here are several attempts at the second border. Some may have room for applique; many do not.
Reprising the pink/red/coral print would be nice but it's not exciting me as a narrow border. 

HSTs in pink and blue vs plain strips.

Back to HSTs. Or what about QSTs? Better but not quite.

Throughout these pinups narrow blue and brown strips were added as potential coping strips. None work as well as hoped but I may try again. Eventually I recalled the pretty dogtooth borders on Baltimore Album quilts. Much of my fabric is now cut into tiny bits so what about a zigzag with triangles?

Using a coping strip to both offset the zigzag and blend with the background may be my favorite - in actuality rather than imagination. Of course, there's not enough of any white or pink for all the pieces. Here's a test varying the fabrics. I also think I like the zigzag without a center strip. 

Handling the corners will have to wait. Also, I may add some yellow bits. Thinking and testing. 


DH had surgery recently and I was present for some of the pre-op. Interestingly, they used checklists similar to the ones Dr. Gawande proposes in his 2009 book. Communication and safety are primary reasons for implementing checklists. Some of the best are used in the airline industry. Engaging and informative. I wish I’d read it years ago.

This weekend - May the Fourth be with you!

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

BB1: First and Second Borders Continued

When I started counting my blassings, my whole life turned around.
~Willie Nelson


My leftovers box contains a pile of Ohio Stars. Most have red centers but several have this bright, strong yellow. The four added as cornerstones make me smile. But now the white looks weak. 

Eventually I pulled some of my never-ending Chinese Coins to make this border. Who'd have thought this much pink/coral would work so well with the reds and yellows?

That pushes the white round out. Something needs to go in it and there's not a lot of white fabric left in this pile. While pondering, I pulled more Lattice blocks {another never-ending stack} for the outer border. 
Many of the same colors but it's too bright/varied. It's taking attention away from the center. {Bet you never thought I'd like less color.}

Taking the blue backgrounds out calms the design. I like this better. But now, more Lattices will be needed. And the white background area still isn't resolved.


What a fun book Cody Cassidy has written. Meandering through current archeological and anthropological research, he answers burning questions such as: Who sparked the first fire; who was the first surgeon; who wore the first clothes and told the first joke? Check it out.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, April 2, 2024


Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, 
and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, 
you should include all things in your gratitude.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson


Since my SIL retired she's enjoying many new hobbies. Fortunately she has a multitude of skilled relatives to show her the steps. She asked me to help her make her first quilt. Some of you may notice these are the same colors, and indeed some of the same fabrics, in the two quilts I made for her previously: a Lone Star baby quilt and the Farmhouse quilt.

She'd already cut the blues and whites into large triangles and sewed them into hourglasses. I spent the weekend talking her through sewing them into a top with setting triangles, adding borders (which included visiting a local quilt shop!}, and pin basting the quilt. 

The next time we get together, we'll work on walking foot and free-motion quilting. Fortunately, we own identical Bernina machines. I'm bringing some extra feet for her to test. 

Our mutual BIL also sews... and welds, rebuilds cars, etc. He made these blocks with leftover and gifted fabric a few years ago. We all helped lay them out and he spent his time sewing them into sets of four. 

While we were at the LQS, he purchased this cheery yellow to make narrow sashing. Now he has to cut it and sew the top.

As if that wasn't enough, Grandchild 3 {G3} visited and worked her way through my scrap bag. She pulled a bunch of leftover pastel squares leftover and laid out a throw quilt for herself. She maintained attention long enough to help sew the rows together. I may be finishing this on my own unless she visits again soon.


I spent several weeks reading Dress Codes by Richard Thompson Ford and enjoyed it tremendously. Starting in the middle ages when tailored clothing first developed, Richard covers laws limiting every aspect of clothing to maintain the social order. With the Great Male Renunciation where men eschewed colorful and embroidered fabrics to demonstrate they contributed to and supported Enlightenment politics. With pressure from seamtresses, women's clothing began to diverge significantly from men's. 

That's only the first quarter of the book. The rest discusses more modern sartorial effects from flappers and zoot suits to hoodies and the CROWN act. 

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Bordering BB1

We are one people, one family - the human family - and what affects one of us affects us all.
~John Lewis


With Ocean Waves V sewed {but still missing a border}, BB1 needs its first {and second} border{s.} My fabric stack contains lots of pinks and very limited amounts of other colors so pink was test first. 

Wow. They pump the energy of the center, especially the bright print on the left. That was one of the prettiest fabrics I'd seen in years but it's never fit anywhere. It will work with this project, though.

Next, dark browns were inserted as a narrow inner border, partly because there's not much yardage here. 

What would the dark brown look like as an outer border?

This was the final choice: pink/red print on the inside with a narrow dark brown outer border. 

Now to work on the next border. White with yellow cornerstones? We'll see.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Ocean Waves V and BB1 Centers

'Thank you' is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, and understanding.
~Alice Walker


The quilt became too large to lay out on the floor of my sewing area which made it a bit harder to put together. There may be a few triangles leftover but I'll put them on my guild's Free Fabric table. What a diversity of triangles from dusty reproductions to fairly current clear tones and everything in between. I thought this mixture might look terrible but it may be my favorite of all these quilts.

A quarter of Ocean Waves V

Although my BB1doesn't look different, all the appliqué is stitched - by machine. I deliberately didn't put a blue-green center in the lower right leaf and think I like it. We'll see how it weathers. 

Bramble Blooms #1 QAL center

Now to plan borders for both. Appliqué or some piecing? Time will tell. Audrey and I use a similar method here - we both pull fabric and set it around the centers. I'll try to take more photos.

Enjoy the day, Ann

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's 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