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

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Final Set of Diagonal String Blocks

we are each other's harvest;
we are each other's business;
we are each other's magnitude and bond.
~Gwendolyn Brooks, "Paul Robeson"


The last of these values in my scrap bag... for now at least. If you followed earlier posts, you know some of these were removed from the earlier quilts. Such quiet values now. They still look good together, perhaps because most are soft, greyed tones. That little bit of blue adds the right amount of interest.

Next I'll sew these together and quilt it since I'm really trying to work all the way through instead of piling up partial finishes. {We'll see how long that lasts.} Keeping the blocks in order and turned correctly is important. This is a small enough quilt to use the webbing method to sew the blocks together. I find that is the most effective way to keep them in order although the webbing can get caught on my sewing table edges. 


The Windsor Knot by S.J. Bennett begins a mystery series with Queen Elizabeth as the sleuth. I'm not sure why I picked it up but am delighted I did. No, the queen doesn't wander around with a magnifying glass. Instead, she works behind the scene protecting her staff, guiding her advisors, and using all her intelligence to solve the murder of a young man at her favorite castle. There are several books in this series but who knows if there will be more in future. 

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

A Quilt from Palette Leftovers

Be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, 
sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and the wrong. 
Sometime in life you will have been all of these.
~Lloyd Shearer


Lots of reworking of this layout, I'm still not sure this is the "best" but I'm sure this is enough messing around. Funny how the colors affect the mood of each quilt. The block is a simple, traditional scrap design with fabric on the diagonal. Examples abound from Rod Kiracofe's Unconventional and Unexpected to multiple books on scrap quilting. It's a classic way to use and/or utilize our fabrics. Perhaps it's not so funny/unexpected that the color choices "make" these quilts. 

Diagonal Scraps 2

Most of the fabrics are my own, purchased by me. A couple are old clothes from our closet. But there's a wide variety of styles including batik, conversation prints, reproductions and 30s. While sewing them I enjoyed combining all these disparate designs.

Most of the back is a rabbit print. Do you see them? As usual, there wasn't enough so two greens fill in the rest. The binding is an orange and white deer print that I frankly thought I'd never use up.

Diagonal Strips 2 back

For all that there are wonderful fabrics in my stash, I spend more time working through my scraps... although the rabbit print was stash. 

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

More detailing continued at the house this week as I reworked the hanging mechanism of one of my quilts. Susan on Blue Moon River described various methods she uses to hang her quilt art. Because I'd already sewed the hanging sleeve on my quilt, I modified one. 

Ersatz welt buttonhole allows the quilt to hang

The {poorly made} welt buttonhole would never do on a coat where would be used daily but gives enough space to hang the piece without leaving raw edges. Next time, I'll make the buttonhole before attaching the sleeve. But now, it's above the piano so we can enjoy it daily. The quilt is the first one I blogged about. Funny, that. 

FUR (Fabric Use Rate)

I used 13 yards this month and 52.5 yards this year.


Aleisha finds a book list while working as a library clerk and starts reading them. When Mukesh comes in looking for a way to connect with his granddaughter, she shares the list with him. And a beautiful friendship is born. I enjoyed the book, the list in the book, and the other list of Sara's personal favorites. 

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Palette and Scrap Bag Leftovers

If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous he will not bite you. 
This is the principle difference between a dog and a man.
~Mark Twain


This quilt began with leftovers from the Palette prompt. I added more of the brighter strips from my scrap bag. I am determined to empty that bag... again. How does it refill so quickly?

Now to sew the blocks together and quilt it.

The last few weeks have been focused on sorting the kitchen drawers. Many gadgets were tossed... after putting them in time out for a few months to decide if they'd be missed. I measured and photographed drawers, dumped all the gadgets in a bag, and headed out.

The first drawer was easy since the utensils were already separated. They just need dividers. 

The next two drawers were a bit more difficult. These are they after much culling. So many medium-sized tools.

Drawers before

The store has planning shelves like rotary mats where measurements are marked. Arranging the boxes and checking that the tools would fit inside was easy then. 

Drawers after

More drawers remain but I want to see how this works first. And, yes, I discarded one of those scissors. 


Nann beat me to this book which I've had on hold several months. Elizabeth Zott's chemistry career detours when she starts hosting a TV cooking show. Despite advice/orders from the producers, she does it her way. 

This is Bonnie Garmus' debut novel but I can't wait to read more from her.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

AHIQ Palette Challenge Finished

Political correctness is not wrong, it is merely unfashionable. As the British broadcaster James O’Brien put it to those who resent having to suppress their  offensive thoughts: “Where would you like your sewage? In the pipes underground or flowing in the streets?”
~Nesrine Malik


Finished. Just a bit late but now I can move to the next prompt with a "clear conscience." The hardest part was deciding to only work from the sky.

Blanca Sunrise baby quilt

My pile had many bright scraps but the softer, grayed ones better matched the photo... IMO. Although the pinks are the brightest spot, even some of those are greyed. 

The back is {most of} the remainder of the blue and white stripe used on the border of Shadow Stars. The binding is a print from my stash.

Front, back, and detail of Blanca Sunrise baby quilt

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


Hot, lazy summer days seem a good time for re-reading. 

The Tearling trilogy by Erica Johansen is a fantasy series from a few years ago. I don't recall reading the final book so I started from the beginning. It's easier to read books with scary or gruesome parts than to watch it on the screen. Has anyone else read them?

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Finally Picking a Palette

It is the randomness of books, of taste and curiosity that ensures libraries remain a place where a broad cross-section of society can drop in, wander, browse, and leave when they like.
~Andrew Pettegree in The Library


Well, not exactly choosing one... I just hadn't worked on my idea. Since Kaja proposed Picking a Palette this photo has been in my mind. The Navaho know it as the Sacred Mountain to the East. We climbed therein years past. The Great Sand Dunes National Park sits along the southwestern side. Snow usually lingers throughout the year making beautiful displays each sunrise.

Blanca Peak, CO

Additionally, the scrap bag is {again? still?} overflowing. Lots of darks went out with the Optical Illusion quilt but many mediums and pastels remain. Perfect. Again, I chose a simple scrap block made of strings on the diagonal sewed on paper squares. Any size will do although mine are usually less than six inches. {On the diagonal,  a center strip of nine inches.}

Here's where I am so far. Not fast but at least it's started. 


How public are libraries? What belongs in them? How resilient? 

The Library by Andrew Pettegree contains a sweeping overview of libraries, the collectors who built them, and the quick dispersal of most. Whether from lack of interest by heirs, changing religions, or war, many libraries quickly disappeared when their original patron died. 

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

AHIQ Prompt July 2022: Sun

Even after all this time
The sun never says to the earth
"You owe me."
Look what happens with a love like that
It lights the whole sky
~Daniel Ladinsky, "Even After All This Time"


I posted this on AHIQ but wanted to add it here, too. 

Our family is already anticipating the solar eclipse that crosses Texas in 2024. Since some of them live in the path of totality, there's a place to easily visit and view. With my mind stuck on sun and eclipse not to mention sunrise, sunset, sunshine... SUN seems like a possible prompt.
How to start? Use the color or a traditional block including medallions, rising sun, and a galaxy of star blocks. Songs and quotes often include the sun. Some of my favorites: 

    Peter Pan is the sun and the moon and the stars!
    Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy.
    It's gonna be a bright, bright sunshiny day. 

Whether you create a paean to our bright, particular star; segue off a traditional design; or simply grab your yellows, Here Comes the Sun!  "It's been a long, cold lonely winter." Let's make some time for joy. #AHIQSun is the tag so we can all follow your work. 

Join the celebration!


High Conflict fortuitously came to my notice this spring. Amanda exposes some of the ways conflict escalates into us vs them / good vs evil and how we can work our way out of the morass. She draws on different groups worldwide to highlight the forces that encourage conflict, including conflict entrepreneurs, humiliation, and false binaries. 

Reigniting curiosity, wonder, and a sense of community with former opponents helps cut the outrage and blame in which high conflict thrives. While our opinions may not change, our ability to live respectfully  with others of differing viewpoints increases. I encourage everyone to read it.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Optical Illusion Quilt

Faith grows when faith is all that’s left. 
~Dietrich Bonhoeffer


As I wrote a few weeks ago, this particular plan came from a talk Sarah Nishiura gave at the Iowa Quilt Museum. She didn't show her finished quilt - or at least I didn't see it. I assume she made one since she has a series of quilts with grid changes. In the talk, she gave general instructions to "make each row narrower" so that was what I did. {Well, I chickened out on the final row but went back and remade it.}

Optical Illusion baby quilt

But the idea has been rolling around since I saw Ancient Directions by Allison Goss at a Festival in the 90s. Additionally, Margaret Miller wrote about warping blocks back then, too. Blockbuster Quilts addressed it a bit and I believe she wrote another book with more detail. But it took Sarah's offhand comment to get the match lit under my tail. So, thanks to all these quilters for the inspiration. I hope they help you, too.

Blockbuster Quilts by Margaret Miller

The green main diagonal on my quilt is not a solid. It's remnants of a tone on tone print that was the back of my Wheels quilt. Because of that, most of the scraps and strings are much darker making this a very dark but dramatic baby quilt. A narrow border keeps all the bias edges in line. It's a print with sea turtles. One of my favorites. The back is four quarter- to half-yard pieces that have been hanging out in my stash for much too long. Since they needed to be a bit wider, I added a grey across the middle. 

Once the top was complete, spiral quilting was the only way to go for me.  

Back of Optical Illusion baby quilt

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)

My tracking has been lax {nonexistent} this year but through June, I've used 39.5 yards.


When a friend told me about this book, it sounded interesting. Then I realized it's an earlier book by Rachel Joyce. I'm probably the last person to read The Unexpected Pilgrimage of Harold Fry but I've enjoyed it tremendously. 

Harold receives a letter from a former co-worker telling him she is dying. He writes a short note in response but on the way to mail it, finds himself choosing to walk across England to visit her in person. 

Parts of the book reminded me of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? but Rachel has a kinder heart and a talent for misfits and ordinary people with sad, lonely lives. 

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

An Optical Illusion

At a time when so much evil exists, we have to take good care of love.
~from Seaside Hotel


Haha. It worked pretty well. All except the outer round. Each round is narrower than the previous but I thought the last round would be too small so I repeated the size of the penultimate round. Mistake. Not terrible, but it loses some of the effect.

With much grumbling, I found just enough of that green to create a smaller round. Do you see the difference the new final row makes? All the greens curve inward instead of having the final round seem to curve outward {although it doesn't.}

The discards are set aside for a future play date. There's no more of the green center string so I'll have to get creative. 


Interfaith minister Barbara Becker who volunteers with hospice and helped her parents through their final days, wrote about "living with the end in mind." Recognizing we will all die can help us live our lives more fully and remain connected to our loved ones. It's a thoughtful book that I found worthwhile. 

Enjoy the day, Ann