Tuesday, September 21, 2021

A Scrappy Trip Lap Quilt for a Friend

There are only two ways to live your life. 
One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is.


A friend requested a lap quilt with some blues last year and this is the first time I have to work on it. Since there are still loads of squares, I combined some of them and pulled some blue fabrics from my stash to emphasize the color he wants. The scrappy variety of fabrics works well. There's not enough of any to run across the entire quilt. Instead, the colors add a twinkling aspect as they values change position. {At least, that's my story.}

Here's what I have after a week.

I'm not sure if this is a postage stamp quilt or just a one-block design. 

The Giants baseball quilt is coming along. Binding is all that's left so it should be finished next week.


Science journalist Chelsea Wald spent several years studying sanitation world-wide. Pipe Dreams amalgamates the history of toiletry throughout human development and looks unflinchingly at the lack of sanitation in countries without sufficient water or infrastructure as well as rural areas in developed countries that lack equal access. She discusses how we waste resources - including water, energy, and nutrients - by continuing to use technology that developed over one hundred years ago. 

She begins the book in Amsterdam where much of the country lies below sea level. Current western toilets depend on gravity to move waste. That's often not possible here. Additionally, they are working innovatively to keep their water clean.

One interesting chapter told of a company creating jet fuel from human waste. At the very least, methane escaping form current waste water treatment plants contributes to air pollution and global climate change. 

As Chelsea points out, there is a huge yuck factor discussing the issue but avoiding something everyone does doesn't make it go away or improve.

I mentioned this book to my niece and found out she it installing a compost toilet to the RV she is building. We had a great discussion about how her toilet works and about details of this book. Have I mentioned how talented she is? No sewing but she can make almost anything.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Scrappy Trip Finished

Too often the people complain they have done nothing with their lives 
and then they wait for somebody to tell them that isn't so.
~Charles Bukowski


This was a quick baby quilt and is still pretty. I enjoy using all my sister's scraps {and a few of my own.} So many nice fabrics. It's always fun to find new ways to combine the colors.

Scrappy Trip Around the World baby quilt

With sixteen blocks, the quilt finishes a bit larger than a baby quilt so it will be ready for an older sibling who didn't get a quilt originally. We want these little children to feel included and important when the new baby arrives. 

No large pieces for the back. It's simply some green remnants. I planned to simply cobble them together but then got the brilliant idea of piecing narrow strips of dark brown between them. So much better than the first layout. I'll remember this idea and use it again. 

Quilt back of green blocks outlined with dark brown

It's too hot to spend much time quilting so this is simply a grid with the walking foot. The binding came from my binding remnants and the excess after trimming the back. 

Scrappy Trip Around the World folded

Here are the details.
Quilt Specifics
Size: 48" x 48"
Design: Scrappy Trip Around the World
Batting: Hobbs Heirloom Premium Natural Cotton
Thread: Superior 50/3 green cotton thread
Quilting: walking foot grid
Approximate yardage: 7.5 yds

The SF Giants baseball quilt is pin basted and quilting has started. When there is narrow sashing I prefer to start with that and get it straight. Wobbles are definitely emphasized here so it's easier to handle when it goes first.  Is it visible in the photo that the stitching goes up and down on the white stripes? 

The ball players are on fields of green and I'm stipple quilting those now. 

A few pieces, such as the cap and shoes, are so small I'm undecided how to secure those. They could be quilted across them or along the seams. 

Then the ballplayers and the borders will need to be finished. My nose will be stuck to the grindstone even though it's still hot outside.


Leah Franqui's Mother Land is one of the best novels I've read in a while. Rachel marries Dhruv in NYC then they quickly move to Mumbai for a three-year assignment. Within a few weeks, her mother-in-law, Swati, arrives saying she's left her husband and moves in with no plan to leave. Next, Dhruv is sent to his home town, Kolkata, for a month leaving Swati and Rachel to work things out.

The book is written from the alternating points of view of the two women. Each of them thinks about the same events but from different sides. And eventually, they begin to understand each other.  

Nann at With Strings Attached recommended this book in an email to me. We seem to have some similar reading habits and I always note what she's suggests on her blog.

We moved all the lighter weight pots and doodads into the garage to keep them from blowing around. A quick trip to the store for final supplies just beat the first rain bands. Now we are hunkered down waiting for TS Nicholas to pass. This will be a nice evening to watch the Giants. If they win tonight, they ensure a place in the playoffs. Good luck, guys!

Post Script: I took the Scrappy Trip quilt to my son's house intending it to be a gift to an {unspecified} toddler friend but once G3 saw it, she reminded me green and blue are her favorite colors. Could she please have it? So it did go to a toddler and our family  acquired another funny story.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Another Scrappy Baby Quilt

Wear a mask. It’s much more comfortable than the ventilator.
~Nicole Zeisig, M.D.


There's still a bunch more squares. Remember, the shoe box was full. So this time I'm making a Scrappy Trip although every square is laid out instead of making the blocks from strips. Funny. The box holds lots of bright green but very few reds. 

Scrappy Trip Around the World toddler quilt

Plus my sister sent me a few bits this spring. She was cleaning out her house for a remodel and my house was the "recycling bin." Haha. We often prefer different colors so this gave me a wider set of scraps.

My first arrangements were a mess. Sorry; no photos. Then it hit me that not every color goes next to every other… but many can be linked by the other choices we make. Does anyone else remember Jinny Beyer’s color studies? She created runs of different colors to connect her “main choices.” As she originally explained her process, each quilter developed her own fabric runs. Eventually, she partnered with a company to print many of her fabrics and sold a tool with a fan of most of them. Once that idea resurfaced, it was much easier to create groupings. 

This one pairs many of my sister’s scraps, like the magentas, with some almost virulently bright greens I purchased for some strange reason. We both had a range of turquoise as well as cream, white, grey, yellow, and softer greens. Some purples found a home. And a smidge of peaches fit in as well. Using colors out of my comfort zone and planning workable combinations was both enjoyable and a good exercise. Perhaps we should trade scraps with others occasionally to keep us sharp.


Beloved Beasts
by Michelle Nijhuis

Beloved Beasts traces the history of animal conservation and preservation from the late 19th century thru today. The movement started with taxidermy and often killed off species as it collected them. Many of the original groups were founded for sport and tried to keep poorer people from hunting. By highlighting pivotal scientists, Michelle explains the development of our current efforts to preserve the environment and our planet.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

SF Giants Baseball Quilt Back

Close doesn't count in baseball. Close only counts in horseshoes and grenades.
~Frank Robinson


The back is sewn. At last. There was enough orange for all the words but not quite enough for the entire back. I planned to add some dark fabrics then realized all the leftover diamonds were in the scrap bag. These are the alternate rows that were cut so the front has perfect diamonds. All the tips here are cut off but who cares. It looks good. In fact, I think it looks better than good. The sharp black and white sets off the rest beautifully making a very graphic design.

There's only a tiny remnant of the diamond fabric left. 

Not just the words but the fabric choices make this a graphic quilt. I rarely use black and white because they don't look good with my color choices but they look great here. I need to reconsider them for future quilts, too. Isn't it wonderful to find something new that you enjoy! Just open your mind and try.

Hurricane season arrived with a vengeance. What havoc the storms are wreaking across the country. Places that don't usually see such problems and aren't prepared for the devastation as well as others that are struck repeatedly.

The Invisible Bridge 
by Julie Orringer

The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer opens in pre-war Hungary where Andras Levi has won a scholarship to study architecture in Paris. There he meets and falls in love with Klara who runs a ballet school. I've read many books about WWII but none featuring Hungarians who were part of the Axis. Well written and well researched. 

Monthly FUR (Fabric Use Rate) 

Only one quilt finished this month so August = 6 yds. YTD =  100.375 yards. 

Happy Labor Day. We'll be watching Giants baseball. What about you?

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

A Finished Scrappy Baby Quilt

We are too prone to engrave our trials in marble and write our blessings in sand.
~Charles Spurgeon


It took a while but I figured out which squares needed replacement. They weren’t the diamond shapes on the bottom row. Instead they were darks in two X blocks -  six black background fabrics on the left middle block and some reds in the lower middle block. They were easier to locate when seen in the blog post icon. The work wasn't nearly as difficult as feared. Most was finished during the evening news and now it looks much better. Not perfect. The quilt still retains its scrappy feel. 

I wanted the main diagonals to read as the darkest part of the quilt. {A medium-dark "pretty" color might be nicer but with so many brown/black/ dark green squares in the bin, this is how it came out.} Still, the rest of the colors are lighter now and set off by those strong boundaries.

Scrappy Trip Around the World baby quilt

The back is a single piece from my stash. Every once in a while there's enough for an entire back around here. The yellow and green stripe binding was in the leftover binding bin. How nice to use up so many different bits and bobs. It's always fun to find another way to organize our colors, isn't it? 

Now that I'm in Texas it's easier to find Hobbs batting and I chose their natural cotton. It's extremely thin and shrinks after washing. That's the look I prefer and the best weight for tropical climates. 

Quilt Specifics
Size: 42" x 42"
Design: Scrappy Trip Around the World
Batting: Hobbs Heirloom Premium Natural Cotton
Thread: Superior 50/3 green cotton thread
Quilting: walking foot grid
Approximate yardage: 6 yds

Again, it's perfectly symmetrical. I need to focus on some asymmetry soon. But for now, this one is off to a new baby. 

Previous posts:


The Narrowboat Summer
by Anne Youngson

On Nann's recommendation I read Narrowboat Summer by Anne Youngson. Eve and Sally meet on a canal path and try to aid Anastasia's dog. He doesn't need help but she does. Somehow they agree to take her boat to Chester for repairs while Anastasia waits for an operation in London. Along the way they meet several of her friends and have time to consider their lives. What will they do at the end of the summer?

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Wordy Decisions

Progress always involves risk. You can't steal second base and keep your foot on first.
~Frederick B. Wilcox


Taking things slower helped me find the correct words for the back. Some of my ideas were listed here. It was important to me that it relate to the Giants so Babe Ruth and League of Their Own didn't make the cut. Yes, Yes, Yes was a Giants slogan in 2015 and 16. But when I realized how well the Giants fit into the 7th inning stretch song, that decided things. 

That three yards of orange batik is coming in handy here. My first thought was using different background fabrics but Cathy's post changed my mind.  I want this to be highly visible... so everyone can read it without their glasses. 😊A consistent background will help.

Filling between letters, words, and rows takes time... and may take every scrap of this orange. At every step, I put it back on the floor to check the spacing. It's all improvisationally pieced. No measuring although it is cut with a ruler.

My solid black remnant was used up for the team name. I considered purchasing more, then realized the name would stand out if the other words used a print and a smaller font. So that was another easy choice... and used more stuff lurking in my stash. Hooray.


For several years I've intended to read This Book is Overdue by Marilyn Johnson and finally did this summer. 
This Book is Overdue by Marilyn Johnson

Each chapter illuminates how librarians adapt to the digital age. Marilyn celebrates their service to truth, free speech, and inclusion. Very well written but I wish I'd read it when it first came out. Things move so quickly now that many tools are out of date already. I will look for more books by her.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Scrappy Top Complete... Maybe

The future depends on what we do in the present.
~Mahatma Gandhi


The top is sewn but it's not a good finish. Some of the values are too dark/strong. The main diagonals should be the only dark points. 

You'll also note it's symmetrical. Most of my quilts are. Kaja's challenge is timely. I need to push myself to try asymmetrical arrangements... soon.

I may or may not rework this. The top half is definitely lighter than the bottom. A good example of what happens when we don't pay enough attention to value. Fortunately there's a bunch of sewing piled up so I have time to ponder.

It's so hot that a wrap skirt is the coolest clothing I can imagine. A wrap dirndl was the first thing my mother showed me how to sew. Fortunately I could remember the basic instructions and it only took a couple of hours.

The Kaffe fabric has been in my stash several years. The bright, splashy daisies feel like summer. 


When Beverly Cleary passed away this spring, I remembered how much my children liked her books, especially The Mouse and the Motorcycle. I reread it and still enjoyed the story even more now that we've spent time in California. 

Next I read one of her autobiographies, A Girl from Yamhill, which covered her early life until she left for college. She was a beloved only child but also had serious issues with her mother as a teenager. It was unpleasant to read how her mother pushed her into a relationship with a man in his twenties when she was still in high school. Good to read she gave him his marching orders. 

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Time to Use Some Squares and Scraps

Let the refining and improving of your own life keep you so busy 
that you have little time to criticize others.
~H. Jackson Brown, Jr.


I quilted the two easy baby quilts - a top that was ready and a set of blocks. The next ones will take a bit more work. There's a box in my workroom overflowing with 2" and 2.5" squares. Some are leftovers from previous projects. Some a tag-ends of WOF cuts. Whatever. The box is full and I need to use it up. 

Not feeling terribly original, I chose to use my old Trip Around the Block design. It's two blocks - a small Trip Around the World and a small X. The process is not fast {although it's not terribly slow either} but it's always fun to play with fabrics. And the design can be adjusted to build blocks that are the "right" size for each project. In this case, I want a baby quilt so nine 14" blocks are needed.

Here's what I've sewn this week. A bit of an old-fashioned feel. 

Scrappy Trip Around the Block quilt blocks

We'll see how it goes.


How have I overlooked J.A. Jance all these years? On Nann's recommendation I started the Joanna Brady set with Desert Heat and Tombstone Courage

When Joanna's deputy sheriff husband is killed, the search for the killer leads her to run for office. Set in present-day (written in 1990s) small town Arizona, the series is still interesting. I'll be reading more soon.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Butterfly Baby Quilt Flitted Away

The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have.
~Vince Lombardi


The butterfly quilt is finally finished. Can you believe these blocks began in 2017 and have been hibernating in a box for four years?

The inner border gives a needed break and the light fabric sets off the green backgrounds although a different light fabric might have worked better. Still, this is the best in my stash and these quilts are about using what's on hand as well as welcoming a new child.

Butterfly Baby quilt

Nothing much will show on the busy top but Baptist fans are always a good choice. The directional changes strengthen the quilting. This time I added a curve of petals in each fan.  That took care of the inner section. 

Butterfly quilt quilting detail

The inner border is a simple set of loops.  Then I foolishly created large pebbles for the outer border. It took forever, used loads of thread, and doesn't even show. Sometimes I outsmart myself.

Butterfly quilt outer border detail

The back is a large floral on white from my stash. The binding is a multi-colored batik that blends with most of the colors. 

Butterfly quilt folded

Quilt Specifics
Size: 40" x 40"
Design: String tulips and string block border
Batting: Mountain Mist Cream Rose cotton
Thread: Superior 50/3 light and grey cotton thread
Quilting: FMQ
Approximate yardage: 6 yds

Previous posts:


I'm losing details of each series by reading one novel and waiting for a couple of months. OTOH, there can be a different loss when reading too many in a row. The quirks of an author become annoying.  I decided to try a different tack - either read them all the way through or at least in groups. Trying to get more out of them without a surfeit.

Anyway I finished three more in Martin Walker’s Bruno mysteries: The Devil’s Cave, The Resistance Man, and The Children Return, plus the novella Bruno and the Carol Singers. This is an excellent series with well-developed characterizations, setting, and knowledge of the region and its history.

We also watched the latest Pixar movie this weekend. Luca, a fish-herding sea creature, meets Alberto, a fellow sea creature who lives in an abandoned tower. They dream of visiting the mainland and buying a Vespa. Their behavior reminded me of my brothers growing up. How did any of them survive to adulthood?

And then DH found Smigadoon! on Apple+, a six espisode take-off of classic musicals. We've watched the first three and enjoyed the talented actors.

Monthly FUR (Fabric Use Rate) 

Two quilts this month. July = 12.5 yds. YTD =  94.375 yards. I purchased some fabric this summer but am still winnowing my stash.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Butterflies Burst their Cocoons

I don't wait for moods. You accomplish nothing if you do that. 
Your mind must know it has got to get down to work.
~Pearl S. Buck


Ok. So they weren't in cocoons but only because they aren't real butterflies. These are blocks I started years ago that somehow ended up in a baggie in the back of a drawer. Actually only about twenty were sewn. The rest of the baggie was green backgrounds and black-and-white bodies. 

I decided to use larger pieces from the scrap bag and a few other leftovers to make the rest of the wings. The blocks finish at four inches so one hundred should be needed to make a baby quilt... And there weren't enough backgrounds and bodies. After all this time there's no more of either of these fabrics. 

I have no recollection of my original layout for these blocks or even how large a quilt was planned. These days I use found blocks to make baby quilts, the easiest way to move them along. So... how to make it work? My solution was to create a two-inch inner border so the butterfly blocks fit inside and out even though they don't "line up" all the way across the quilt.

Here are four light fabrics as possible inner borders. The one on the left is a remnant from the Shadow Stars border and I discounted it. Looking at it here, it should have had more serious consideration. The floral at the top gets lost at times. The blue at the bottom doesn't have enough contrast.

The print on the right was the final choice. It makes a soft break. 

Can you even tell the butterfly bodies taper? I can't. 

I first saw butterfly quilts in a Japanese version with solid black backgrounds. It reminded me of a traditional block Called Arkansas Traveller. The bodies in those versions  didn’t taper. Not wanting to copy exactly, I chose this bright green background and altered the body. Not thrilled with either decision. But I do like the layout. It makes the wings appear to curve. A very cool effect.

At least there were enough parts to create a baby quilt and it works well for that use.

Interestingly, yesterday I ran across another butterfly quilt Hubblebird recently finished. She used a black background and found directions linked in her blog for her slightly larger blocks if you’d prefer that to the small ones I started.


To escape an unwanted marriage in 1714, Addie bargains with a "dark god" to live freely until she chooses to die. The consequence is that she is forgotten as soon as people's eyes leave her face. Three hundred years later a young man remembers her. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab makes an interesting read. 

It's hot here but this close to the coast, scattered showers build almost every afternoon. This week though we hear lots of thunder and see rain all around but it hasn't fallen on us until today. We had an hour of good soaking rain so I won't have to water tomorrow. 

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

String Tulips Quilted and Gone

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's needs but not every man's greed.
~Mahatma Gandhi


Taking a {hopefully short} break from the baseball quilt. Family members asked for quilts for their friends having babies and this quilt was the easiest to finish up. The top was completed in April. It's better to quilt them soon after. What looked good becomes indifferent with time. 

String Tulip baby quilt 3

The tulip petals are outlined and echoed. The white background is stippled.  

String Tulip 3 stipple quilting detail

The ESS blocks are free-hand quilted in a zig zag design that moves easily from one to the other because nothing shows in all this business. 

String Tulip 3 zig zag quilting detail

The outer border is a free-hand loop. And it's done.

The back is three purple {approximately} half yard pieces sewn dark to light. Not clever but easy and adds more color. Because this quilt was so quiet... ;-)

String Tulip 3 quilt back

One more photo of it folded ready to roll into a mailer.

String Tulip 3 quilt folded

Quilt Specifics
Size: 47" x 47"
Design: String tulips and string block border
Batting: Mountain Mist Cream Rose cotton
Thread: Gutermann 50/3 light and dark green cotton thread
Quilting: SID and FMQ
Approximate yardage: 6.5 yds

Previous posts:

It's already reached its forever home and will be well loved. Several more have been requested. I need to search out some stashed blocks and bits. 

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Words on Back

Worrying about things you can't control is a waste both on the baseball field and in life..
~Tom Swyers


Like the Phillies quilt, no one should be in doubt which team is represented. I appliqued Phillies on the front last time but the border is already busy enough so the Giants name must go on back. Large enough for to read from the opposite side of the park.

This is the last of the solid black fabric. I could buy more but trolling through my stash brought two black prints to the surface. The team name will be strongest because it's the greatest contrast.  

And speaking of buying fabric, I purchased three yards of the orange batik seen here. Why did I think I'd need it? It turned out great for the writing on the back. There should be enough for whatever else gets written. I just need to decide. I don't want DH's name, or mine, or the year. It needs to be about baseball.

Here's some of the phrases under consideration:
  1. Bye, bye, baby.
  2. That ball is outta here.
  3. Adios, pelota!
  4. Don't stop believing.
  5. Yes! Yes! Yes!
  6. World Champions 2010, 2012, 2014
  7. There's no crying in baseball. {OK. This has nothing to do with the Giants but it certainly is funny.}
  8. Splash hit.
  9. Stare out the window and wait for spring. {Part of a quote by Rogers Hornsby, a one-year NY Giant.}
  10. Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game. ~Babe Ruth {not a Giant}
  11. Take me out to the ballgame.
It's time to make up my mind so the back gets finish.


Can you believe I found a new series just as it was published? Nev March debuted Murder in Old Bombay last year. The historical mystery is based on a report from her childhood about two young women who fell to their deaths from a university clock tower. Nev's story introduces Captain Jim Agnihotri, an injured Anglo-Indian soldier who reads about the deaths in hospital. Adi Framji, the widower and brother of the victims, hires him to look into events. 

A good introduction to issues in colonial India. And I kept my maps handy to track the movements of the characters.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Sashing and Bordering the Giants Baseball Quilt Top

There are three types of baseball players: those who make it happen, those who watch it happen, and those who wonder what happened.
~Tommy LaSorda


The red and white stripe worked so well on the Wheel quilt so once I realized I didn't want wide sashing, this black and white became the hands down choice. Orange and black are Giants colors plus the black and white reminds me of umpires... although baseball umpires wear solid colors. Plus the stripe goes so well with the border fabric, I piece I've held for many years not knowing where to use it.

Sashing the Giants baseball quilt

But the sashing is still too wide. So I trimmed the interior sashing down by half an inch. On to the next problem.

Despite yards and yards of the border fabric, my decision to highlight the white diamonds left me with too little to fill the corners of the quilt. Grr.  OTOH, DH purchased several Giants decals when I made the first {Phillies} baseball quilt for one of my son's friends. They will fit into these corners if I choose the right base. Solid black sounds best.

Still, here are two black and white print possibilities just to make sure all my choices are covered.

Two border post choices

And yes, solid black it will be.

Now to sew these long seams and start thinking about the back.


My father, who enjoyed native art and western stories, introduced me to Tony Hillerman's Navaho detective series. I loved reading each and discussing them with him. Now I'm re-reading. The Blessing Way opens with anthropology professors arriving on the reservation. One is an old friend of Joe Leaphorn who wants to research Navaho witches.  A young man is killed, livestock go missing, and the Navaho hold an Enemy Way ceremony to get rid of the problems. 

Tony is a wonderful writer with excellent knowledge of Navaho culture and history. 

Monthly FUR (Fabric Use Rate) 

One finished quilt this month. June = 3.75 yds. YTD =  81.875 yards.

Happy Fourth of July! 

Enjoy the day, Ann