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

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Fabrics for the Back of Optical Illusion 2

The game isn't over till it's over.
~Yogi Berra


Remember this top from spring? It’s a game that isn’t over even though it was “rain-delayed”. I meant to quilt it immediately but got sidetracked by finding all those Ocean Wave units. Who’d have realized it would take all summer to finish one OW quilt? And it's still not done; the weather is simply too hot to work on it now. 

Junk lying around bothers me. Unfinished projects and excessive amounts of materials become junk. Yes, I’m a minority voice but stuff that’s not being used weighs on my soul. So the OW quilt is folded but visibly present so I'll restart it this fall. Meanwhile, there are other projects to push over the goal line. 

For this quilt I had to dig through the boxes to find something for the back. A soft, pretty front calls for a congruent back and these birds fit the bill. Needing more width, I chose this soft yellow. It’s new fabric I purchased on sale because I was completely out of yellow. It was difficult to use something that haven’t been “aging in place” for year but I really want a pretty back, too.

These are now sewed together and the layers are pinned. Quilting next; most likely a spiral. Let’s see if I can whip this out before then end of the month. No rush. I’m saving this quilt for family: they’ll like the soft colors; I like the illusion.

Why is there so little work this period? Mainly because another Christmas stocking was needed. They seem to get more colorful over the years. (That black thing at the top is a comet.) It still needs jingle bells but they haven't arrived.

Each stocking takes about a yard of fabric and hours of work. This is the eleventh I've made. I'm wondering who in the family will continue these? A devious plan is forming in my mind. When they come for the holidays, I'll set them to beading some of the simpler shapes. Next year they can learn how to sew the stocking. Bwaa-ha-ha.

The Lonely Hearts Book Club by Lucy Gilmore

During these hot summer days I read two "library" books. In The Lonely Hearts Book Club by Lucy Gilmore, a young librarian starts an impromptu book club with an elderly patron who's become almost bedridden. As more misfits join, they rediscover the book that resonates in each of their hearts. 

Love in the Library by Maggie Tokuda-Hall

I purchased Love in the Library by Maggie Tokuda-Hall, illustrated by Yas Imamura, for my grandchildren and of course read it first. Maggie tells how her grandparents met in the library of a WWII incarceration camp. The afterward shares historical information and photos. We should all read it.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Crossroads Baby Quilt

Attending to what we hate in common is too often all the rage (and it happens also to be very big business), noticing what we love in common, and studying that, might help us survive.
~Ross Gay


Helping with Vacation Bible School gave me a very nasty summer cold. How did I forget all the germs little kids bring with them? Instead of quilting on Ocean Waves, I spent a week in bed with boxes of tissue and an assortment of medicines. Once over the cold, I still felt lethargic so decided to dig through my box of leftovers. And look what I found - more Crossroads blocks.

Crossroads quilt block

These were started in 2016 for a class with Sujata Shah which I had to miss due to a family emergency. Two years later I made more for a possible border {then changed my mind.}  Some were finally used on the Square Deal quilt. That is one of my favorite quilts - made of three sets of leftovers. I'd forgotten how many were left. There are almost enough to make two baby quilts although many have dark backgrounds. If I make two, I'll only need four more blocks. This seems to be a better project while it's so hot and I'm still worn out. 
The first layout doesn't work. There's a strong dark/light division down the middle. Remembering to use the camera saved me from this mistake.

After moving some blocks around, a better arrangement appeared. It's interesting how wildly different the widths of the roads are depending on what year I sewed them. Major highways and dirt roads. What can I say?

Crossroads baby quilt

The back is a lovely piece of pink on white hummingbirds that has been hanging around for years now. My sister gave me the pink fabric that widens it enough.

The binding is another remnant of a red and white print. It's always nice when stuff from my stash and leftovers combine so well.

Quilt Specifics
Size: 45" x 45"
Design: Crossroads
Batting: Mountain Mist cotton
Thread: Superior white cotton
Approximate yardage: 5.5 yards

As soon as the quilt was finished, I delivered it to a friend's new baby. Even when it's hot, a quilt is good to have on hand.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Quilting Ocean Waves Again

Through (Fannie Lou Hamer’s) example, I learned to think less about what I don’t have and instead focus on what I do have and how it can be be of use in the service of others.
~Keisha Blain


Since this is a large project I’m quilting on my home machine, my first step is to quilt the main diagonals… again. Done without tucks this time. Next I found straight lines the length and width of the OWs. Now I’m trying to fill in by ditch stitching all the remaining triangles because many of these pieces are older and I hate the thought of seams fraying. I really should be using free-motion but currently the walking foot is still working. {Those free-motion orange peels from point to point would have been much simpler and easier. Ah, well.} 


Dipo Faloyin’s book, Africa is Not a Country, is my current read. It’s a continent I’ll probably never be able visit so his insights were especially interesting. Starting in his home city of Lagos, Nigeria, he uses seven dictatorships as background for the complex struggle for self-rule, freedom, and democracy. Topics range from colonialism to white savior complex, and from soccer to jollof. His love and enthusiasm for the diverse people of Africa shines throughout. 

Enjoy the day,

Tuesday, July 4, 2023

A Big Pleat on the Back

There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; 
true nobility is being superior to your former self.
~Ernest Hemingway


Two weeks of guests with heat advisories daily. No rain; temps well over 101 F (38 C) but no fires. It meant everything we did was inside. Fortunately, the A/C only went out once. It finally rained Sunday and we are grateful the temperatures have dropped 10 degrees. Funny how the heat wave made mid-90s seem cool. 

Guests left yesterday so I returned to quilting. I’m still having major difficulties posting photos but that pales in comparison to the mess on the back. After quilting about ten diagonals, I noticed all this bunching on the back. Huge pleats. It's only happened once before and I'm not sure exactly what my mistake was this time. Obviously it was pleated as it was pinned; I’m just unsure exactly how that happened.

I'll be taking all these seams out. Perhaps I can save half of them. We'll see. This will take a while.


I read the novella Foster by Claire Keegan about a young Irish girl who goes to live with relatives for a year and found it thought-provoking.

Happy Fourth of July, America!

Enjoy the day and the fireworks, Ann

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Choosing a Back for Ocean Waves

The trouble with blaming the powerless is that although it's not nearly as scary as blaming the powerful, it does miss the point. Poor people do not shut down factories... Poor people didn't decide to use 'contract employees' because they cost less and don't get any benefits.
~Molly Ivins


As I've repeated ad nauseam, the point is to use up more of my ancient stash... especially larger yardages. There's about four yards of this darling owl print which I purchased because it's my college mascot. Fortunately, it's also DH's mascot so it's going on the back of the Ocean Waves quilt. The white Xs on black fill out the rest, 

The layers are ready but I still can't get many photos to load here. Sorry. Pinning is the next step but since it’s summer, I’ve been visiting and hosting family. Time enough for that step when it quiets down. It’s more fun to enjoy in-person visits again. Hooray. 


There's a new book called Marple of short stories using Agatha Christie's characters. They are all good but some are better than others (of course.) They were good afternoon reads, perfect for down-time when visiting.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Bordering the Waves

To be happy at home is the ultimate result of all ambition; 
the end to which every enterprise and labour tends.
~Samuel Johnson


Is it just me or is anyone else having difficulty adding photos to their posts? I've sent messages to Google but have yet to see an improvement. Eventually I got two photos added; don't ask me how. 

The border idea worked. One light and one dark unit make a four-patch of triangles. {Look back here to see the basic units.} Groups of four-patches formed this border. 

Adding them only to the top and bottom made the quilt slightly rectangular. Since this quilt has become fairly large, that's a good outcome.

The last of this Kona red made a border around all sides. 

As I mentioned, the quilt has gotten pretty large. Just the OW blocks made it 85-inches square.  Nevertheless, DH and I will be very happy with this old-fashioned quilt at home.


It's too hard to try to add book cover photos but I finished two books recently. First was The Spare Man by Mary Robinette Kowal. Her delightful Lady Astronaut series made me eager to read this new book modeled loosely on The Thin Man. A rich woman marries a detective; they are blissfully happy with a dog (who in this case is her service animal.) While on their honeymoon (a cruise from the moon to Mars) they become embroiled in a murder.  The setting was inventive as well as the Thin Man reprise but it's not my favorite book. Hopefully things will improve through the series.

Next I re-read The Pelican Brief by John Grisham because we watched the movie again one evening and I wanted to compare them. Oddly, I like the movie better; the plot is tighter. Fewer people fell in love with Darby (Julia Roberts) and the behavior of evil oil magnate Victor Mattiece was more believable.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Ocean Waves at Work

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things 
that you didn't do than by the ones that you did do. 
~ unknown


These triangles aren't twenty years old, just fifteen. At least I won't be disappointed to find them in another five years. I divided the triangle units into two sets since there are enough for {at least} two quilts. These are the "darker" ones. I made as many OW blocks as I could from them... that will fill a row. So this is it.

As for the solid: All I know now is it's four yards of Kona. It's {probably} possible to match it, but this will be enough... and then it will be gone transformed, too.

The quilt could stop here but a border will create a better finish. Some of triangle units remain which could be utilized. Woo hoo! More of them used up! We'll see how my idea works. If it bombs, they will become part of a gift quilt. One way or another, they are not going back on the shelf or into storage.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

On the Shelf

How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.
~Annie Dillard


This year DH and I are spending our days in home repairs. Last year was kitchen organization. The results are relaxing as I can quickly put my hands on tools. A few more things may be recycled there. Our church sets up apartments for formerly homeless people. When they are ready to transition to their own housing, they take all the furnishings. We are constantly on the lookout for good used items and purchase other things. 

This year the roof started the ball rolling; it has become an avalanche. With so many people in and out of the house, pounding all day, thinking is hard. It's better to continue the theme by clearing out the closets and shelves. I've done a bit of my clothes closet but prefer to work through the storage and quilting areas. On a shelf I found not one, but two boxes. One contains sets of triangular units; the other is simple QSTs. Most are leftovers from my previous Ocean Waves quilts but a few were a start on {yet another} OW for my daughter. Hard to believe some have been "resting" fifteen years. This time I am determined to use them up. All of them. There are certainly enough for two quilts: one for DH and the other for DD. There will still be leftovers and they will make gifts for the apartments. 

Here's my basic Ocean Waves unit(s): one light and one dark. Not squares at all. Which doesn't bother me because no method of making OW blocks is trimmable. You have to sew them accurately from the beginning. 

My basic Ocean Waves units

I've always loved this pattern even though there aren't different ways to set the blocks. Why have they languished in the shadows so long? To try to spark my interest I {finally} read Bonnie Hunter's instructions... and realized why she creates such beautiful mystery quilts. She easily divides her quilts into many different blocks. She "sees" multiple blocks. Her basic triangle is a HST.

Until I reviewed my previous posts, I didn't remember exactly how I made my version but it was nothing like Bonnie's. {No criticism; just interesting how our eyes work.} Since my basic triangle is a QST, right away her method won't work with my scraps because all the edges would be bias. 

Here's how the two triangle units create an Ocean Waves block: six light units and six dark units. Oh, boy. My fifteen year older eyes and hands are grateful these triangles are already cut and mostly sewn.

Ocean Waves block layout

I know I have some solid yardage squirreled away. Why I ever purchased 4-6 yards of anything is unknown but it will be useful making the centers. 


Over several years {the hundred Sundays} Stella Levi related her family history to author Michael Frank. For nearly five hundred years the Jewish community of Rhodes thrived along Christians and Muslims after the Spanish diaspora. Even though Italy gained control of the island in 1912, they mostly modernized living standards and education. However; in mid-1944 the Germans rounded up the 1700 Jews of Rhodes and sent them to Auschwitz where most were murdered on arrival.

The details of life on Rhodes in the years between the wars are interesting. Don't you wish we could travel back in time instead of merely through place?

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Love Two

The range of what we think and do is limited by what we fail to notice. And because we fail to notice that we fail to notice, there is little we can do to change, until we notice how failing to notice shapes our thoughts and deeds.
~R. D. Laing


The mockup should have helped... and it did in a way. The print/solid combinations are not what I might have chosen otherwise. But the final version is still a surprise. That L looks quite bold. White may be a mistake but I pushed on quilting it instead of setting it aside to marinate like Audrey wisely does. 

LOVE2 baby quilt

Many things stay the same through the "Word series". Spiral quilting; narrow border; similar size; all the various words we use with babies. {Oh, my. Word Series and World Series. Only funny to baseball fans. }

Here's a closeup of those two shot cottons. The pinky-red makes a good background for the white L and the purple border ties everything together. And I'm sure you noticed the backing is the very last {I promise} of the Kaffe fabric that is a skirt and the back of a previous baby quilt

The binding is more of the coral-with-arrows so now one of those two pieces is used up. That makes room for more wonderful things. It was hard at first to use my "best" fabrics but the more I do, the easier it becomes. There will be more fabric in stores and I feel free to purchase whatever interests me.

I'm unsure if I'll give this quilt away now or keep it to see what I can do about the white L. So frustrating. Any suggestions?

Quilt Specifics
Size: 46" x 46"
Design: Coin or String quilt
Batting: Hobbs Heirloom Premium Natural Cotton
Thread: YLI cotton thread in blue
Quilting: Spiral with walking foot
Approximate yardage: 5.5 yds

Previous post: Reprising Love


Bridge to the Sun relates the actions of Japanese Americans in World War II. Not the famed 442nd who fought in Europe, but the Nisei who worked as translators and interrogators in the Pacific theater. Their ability to read formal, informal, and casual Japanese script saved Allied lives. Many of these soldiers volunteered for combat, even more dangerous for them because of the risk of capture by the Japanese as well as the risk of being mistakenly shot by Allied troops. I'd heard of the Navaho code talkers but didn't realize the debt we also owe to Japanese Americans.

One section of the book covered an area where my father fought, something I've rarely read about and that he never discussed with me. 

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Reprising LOVE

What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness?
~Jean-Jacques Rousseau


Sewing a back for the Optical Illusion was the alleged task but all these scraps are scattered around my sewing area. Although I started to simply push them into the scrap bag, they insisted I pull out more material for a front instead.

I said I wouldn't repeat any words but Love is the greatest thing of all... and I wanted to make one with a different V.  I'm truly running out of fabric (hooray!) but there are these two shot cottons that have been saved way too long because they are so "precious." Who am I saving them for? If I don't get busy, they will end up in an estate sale. So, I set them down to see how to use them today.

Mock up of LOVE2 baby quilt


Like Alexander Hamilton, everyone knows his name; however, no one knows what happened to him after the Revolution. When John Adams went to Europe before the war, people were excited to meet him until they realized he wasn't his cousin, Samuel. Stacy Schiff researches meticulously. The book is filled with information - names, dates, events, speeches, diaries, and articles; more difficult because always Samuel moved in the background and regularly burned his correspondence. 

It took me several weeks to finish but was well worth the effort. I wonder what Lin Manuel Miranda would have made of this had he taken it to the beach instead of Ron Chernow's book?

Enjoy the day, Ann