Don’t Fence Me In a.k.a. The Wooly Bully

Don’t Fence Me In, the wool quilt from the first quarter of my Finish-A-Long is done and sent to its forever home.  This quilt was inspired by a photo my daughter Meaghan had found in a Pottery Barn Catalog over ten years ago.  Although this quilt doesn’t come close to an exact replica of the photo she shared, the inspiration is there.

The quilt was created using several curated wools from G-Street and thrift shops.  Cutting the wool required a zig zag blade in my rotary cutter and I went through two of them.  Even with the pinked edges, there was a LOT of debris on my cutting surface, in my bobbin and until I got it all together, on me.  Originally the blocks were log cabins then mid-stream I started making H blocks.  The placement of the log cabin blocks remind me of neighborhoods.  When I figured out what I had and what I needed I ended up with the H blocks surrounding the log cabins.  I found a lovely piece of wool blend for the backing.

This pleased me but also called for a change of name.  Originally I was going to call this the Wooly Bully.  When the project grew, it was a beast to move about.  And it was heavy.  But I titled this one “Don’t Fence Me In” as the H blocks resembled fencing to me.  It might have also had something to do with what was going on in the news during my piecing.

Terry Burris Quilting did the quilting, using a wool batting.  I put on the binding and off it went to Meaghan in Maine, where it’s warmth would be appreciated.

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I am grateful for Meaghans inspiration as well as her gratitude and the PHOTO when she received it, as I totally forgot to take one prior to sending it out to her.  This quilt is a warm hug from me to her.

Although not on my “List”, I made a little update in my kitchen.


Lemons!  My new valance in the window.  The lemon yellow matches the wall perfectly and was just what I needed to feel that spring is right around the corner!

More projects are nearing the finish line in this first quarter of the Finish-A-Long, and I can’t wait to get them done to share with you!

Posted in Accomplishments, Finish-A-Long, Uncategorized, Wool | Tagged | 8 Comments

I’d Be Charmed

My first finish of the year.  And it was not my original plan.  Actually, I didn’t remember my original plan until I found the pattern after I had pieced the quilt together.  That being said it probably would not have worked out the way I wanted.


This beauty started out in 2006 for a retreat I helped coordinate with the Fauquier County Quilters.  My co-coordinator was Karen Goula, who was instrumental in my getting anything done.  The retreat went without a hitch without this particular quilt.

The initial charm quilt was this one.  It’s a little long and not very wide as the apartment I was living in at the time had too much stuff for the space I inhabited so anywhere I laid it out was narrow.  Truth be told, I probably got bored and decided it was finished before it was supposed to be.  Terry Burris Quilting took on the job of quilting this beast.


There are a whopping 1274 pieces in this quilt.  It measures 81″ x 121″  which is awkward and doesn’t really fit a queen size bed (or any bed for that matter).  I’m considering cutting it in half and just binding the edges providing I can find the fabric I used originally.  Each half would still be over 600 pieces and the quilts would be more manageable and useful.

Charm quilts were popular during the 1870’s when factories were putting out a generous amount of fabric.  The quilts were also known as Odd Feller quilts referring to the idea that no two pieces of fabric would be identical.  The  quilts are a one patch quilt composed of only one template.  The other name for these quilts was Beggar Quilts because the women would ask their friends, neighbors and family members for bits of fabric to collect enough scraps to complete their quilt.

These delightful “Charmers” were constructed with a minimum of 999 pieces of fabric and no two pieces of cloth were identical.  A story evolved where mothers would make coverlets and quilts of different fabrics with the exception of two.  When the children would be recuperating from illness they would be kept busy trying to find the matching fabrics.  Another reason that one might find a duplicate would be that the quilter lost track of the material she already used, or received the same fabric from two different friends.

More recently, during the Millennium, many quilters celebrated by constructing quilts containing 2000 different fabrics.  After doing this one, I can’t imagine doing one with twice as many pieces.

During the end of October into November I kept tripping over and moving the box with this project in it.  Although I had plenty of other projects to complete, this was the one yelling the loudest and constantly tripping me up, so on the design wall it went.  I worked vigilantly and there were times I really would have preferred to work on something else (REALLY)  but I kept with it.  If I had put it away I probably would have never got back to it.

The quilt was inspired by the book The Classic American Quilt Collection One Patch put out by Rodale Press in 1995.  The pattern is called Natural Balance.  Construction is simple but you need to pay attention to color placement in order to make the pinwheels.  I’d Be Charmed has 1024 pieces.  I’m pretty certain you won’t find any two exactly alike.  She measures a generous 80″ square.  Quilters Corner in Midlothian did the quilting.  The backing came from AQS.


Although I had signed up for this to be my finishalong 4th quarter finish, it just didn’t make the deadline.  Still late to the party is better than no party at all!

Thanks for stopping by, and I’d love to hear about your “Charming” experiences!

Posted in Accomplishments, Charm Quilts, Finish-A-Long, Retreat, Terry Burris Quilting, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 6 Comments


Every year around this time I make an effort to tidy up my sewing space.  Generally it is a chaotic workspace with several projects going on at one time.

Over the years I’ve started projects, and for one reason or another moved on to a different project before finishing one that I had started.  Some projects would be started for a retreat, or at a retreat.  Others might come from a class.  And still others might come from some sort of challenge.  Working and moving might have a change in priorities and things get pushed aside.

Well this year I stated making a list of my UFO’S (unfinished objects).  I did this once before and it sort of shocked me.  This time was no different.  I haven’t finished tidying up yet and so far I have 50 projects that need finishing.  And as I look over the list, I know that there are at least another dozen projects in a bin somewhere in that room that also need something done to complete them.

That being said, this is the year of the UFO.  I’ve found this wonderful FINISHALONG challenge.  You can find all the details here:  What I like about this one is it is quarterly so I can chose more than one thing to finish, or if I have a lot to do on a specific project I can focus on that and hopefully get it done.  Also, you can start at any quarter.  So if you don’t participate in Q1, that doesn’t keep you from participating in Q2.

Also this year I am participating in the American Patchwork & Quilting UFO Challenge, as well as Quilter’s Corners Ready, Set, Goal 2020.  Funny thing though, each challenge picks it’s own project number for the month, and I have found that they don’t necessarily match.  Ready, Set is #3 (Don’t Fence Me In) and APQ is #2 (Free State Green).  It’s going to be busy!

Without dragging my feet any further, my finishalong goals for Q1 are:

#4 Finish my Antique Pineapple Blocks wall hangingIMG_5003

#5 Finish the Floral Wreath Wall Hanging started at least 15 years ago.


#30  Patriot Hearts needs to be hand quilted and bound


#46 Summer Harvest Table Runner needs to be quilted and bound


#47 Hexi Table Cover has to be appliqued to the base and quilted


Well, I’d better get busy!  Thanks for stopping by.  I’d love to hear if you have any quilting goals this year and what tools you use to keep you on track.

Posted in Accomplishments, American Patchwork & Quilting UFO Challenge, antiquing, Challenges, Finish-A-Long, Ready Set Quilt 2020, UFO's, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 11 Comments

Book Work

Some people iron as they need something to wear, I iron on Sunday morning.  And I sit while I’m pressing away with the television on.  Most Sundays I am entertained by Jane Pauley as I watch Sunday Morning.  This has been my habit for at least a decade.  Maybe two.  But if there is more pressing time than Jane time I’ll watch Sewing With Nancy or Quilting Arts.

Sewing With Nancy is entertaining and provides some simple approachable lessons, and there are retail opportunities to purchase the products that the program is focused on from Nancy’s Notions.  Of course, if your are a good note taker you don’t have to purchase, but again, the opportunity is there.  Much earlier this year I was watching and this creative quilter, Judy Gauthier, was Nancy’s guest.  She showed this adorable quilt called Packages, Boxes, and Bows.  Very colorful and a great use of scraps.  So was her Color Brick Road and Rectangles Squared quilts.  But she got me with Fretwork.

I enjoyed working on this so much that I made two tops and cut a third.  This will be a wonderful charity quilt!  This is my smaller version.


The instructions are for a baby quilt that finishes at 60 1/2 x 75 1/2 which I find huge for a baby quilt.  When I finished the first top I decided that for my purposes it doesn’t need to be that big.  Mine is 45 1/2 x 60 1/2 and plenty big enough for me to quilt.  It’s also a great size to have in the vehicle or for a toddler to drag around.

You’ve got to love the simplicity of a nine patch!


The “pieced” blocks are done reverse applique, and we are instructed not to overthink the process and allow the blocks to be wonky to add more whimsy and visual interest.

What I liked was I had everything I needed.  I didn’t have to go to the store as the pieces are small 5 1/2″ squares and 4 1/2″ squares.  What made me a little uncomfortable was the chance that there might be some raw edges in the corners if I didn’t pay close enough attention to that pressing.  Then again, these are not meant to be heirloom pieces, just working quilts.

And look what I had in my stash for the back!


Was this perfect!?!  I’m over the moon that it’s done.

The name of the book is Rainbow Quilts for Scrap Lovers by Judy Gauthier.  You can get it at Nancy’s Notions, as well as other retailers.  The book was released in 2017 so it might even be at your local quilt shop.

There will be others to show from this book in the next couple of years.

Oh, and have a Happy New Year!


Posted in Accomplishments, Charity Quilts, Fabric exchange, Nine Patch, Quilting, simple, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 8 Comments

Cooking Rotation

As I was sitting down to dinner a couple of weeks ago, I noticed that my dinner rotation needed some updating.  I don’t know about you, but I tend to depend on six or seven standard recipes that I rotate through.

Here’s the rub, I also get a couple of magazines a month with new culinary delights in them.  So there is no need for dreary albeit tasty standards.  So I decided to mix it up a bit.

If you still have your Better Homes and Gardens November issue “Sausage Beans & Olives Skillet” is a winner!  It’s on page 88 of the November issue and it serves six as written.  Because there are only two of us, I cut the recipe down slightly, so we would have 4 servings.  We like leftovers, and this is just as good reheated as it was the first night we had it.  The active time was close to the stated 30 minutes and I must say this will be a new go to for me.


The olives provide a nice brightness to the palate, and the savory sausage is delicious.  On the reheat night, I loved how the beans added a creaminess to the dish.  For the recipe go to: if you already passed your magazine forward.

We enjoyed ours with a nice chianti.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!



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Kinship Fusion

This was a huge undertaking for me to actually commit to 100 blocks in 100 days.  One of the reasons it was such a big undertaking is that I had just finished the Trinkets sew-a-long only about a month before.

The challenge began the first week in July, and all of the blocks were finished by the first week of October.  There was a lot going on in that time period personally and with my family as well.  But these blocks were my escape with their brilliant colors.   After posting my daily block on Instagram, I would peruse what the other quilters were doing with their blocks.  Check them out on Instagram under #kinshipfusion or #100blocks100days2019. There was a lot of fussy cutting going on and the variety of themes, color combinations, and creativity was inspiring.

Did I make a plan?  Well, not so much a plan as a color story.  Although I love these colors, the quilt is a bit loud.  Cheerful, but loud.  I’m calling it “Juicy Fruit”.  I had pulled these fabrics for a class I had at the Vermont Quilt Festival  (I will finish that project too!) and added a few pieces.

The best part was that I kept up and missed only one day.  ONLY ONE DAY – in spite of everything that was going on around me.

I’m sad to say though that this, although being a piece I dedicated myself to, is not really a ribbon quilt.  Heavy sigh.  In really looking it over, I see that I need to make some improvements with my points.


I nipped a few of them off.  But every so often I did nail it.

That being said, I don’t think I will be investing in the custom quilting I originally planned for it.  When I get it done I’ll show you what I decided on.  It’s still going to be stunning, and I might still show it, after all not every quilt is a winner and even a quilt that doesn’t win can inspire someone.

Things I would do different.  Well, this is a lot of quilt, and it really doesn’t go with my décor.  When experimenting like this it might have been better to break the project up into two or three smaller quilts for charity and then make something with other fabric choices more suitable to my surroundings.  And with all this practice behind me, it could be even more appealing.

I did add 8 blocks to the bottom so it would fit a queen size bed with a nice drop and tuck.  And it really does brighten a room!


Eye candy isn’t it!

The block a day, sew a long is a format that I have come to enjoy.  I can see myself participating in another one next year.  The community element is very uplifting.  Have you ever participated in something like this?  What do you think?  Would you do it again?


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A Stitch at a Time. A Little Progress

Posted in Accomplishments, Finish-A-Long, Sewalong, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

There was progress in August!

One thing that got done was my one monthly goal with Quilters Corner. I quilted and put the binding on the double four patch baby quilt!

Double four patch baby quilt

This simple block is a standard beginner block and it was a joy to put together. The quilting is done in diagonal straight lines using a standard weight thread alternating red with yellow. Generally it takes me a few evenings in front of the television to get a binding finished. Looking at this, it looked like I could stitch it down by machine. And I did. Seriously, why hadn’t I thought of this earlier. Instead of taking a few evenings it took less than an hour and no one is going to notice. This is a charity quilt that I’m hoping will be well used and laundered and dragged around. Although not very babyish, it measures 36″ x 47″ and it does have color.

Well that wasn’t the only thing I got done. There was mad progress on my Kinship Fusion quilt a long!

100 blocks 100 days Kinship Fusion Quilt-a-long

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel with this one. It has been a blast to participate and such an inspiration to see how other quilters have interpreted the blocks in fabric. I’ve used what I have on hand and I’ve dubbed this “selective scrap”. The color story reminds me a bit of Froot Loops. If you would like to take a peek at how others are working their blocks out, go to Instagram and check out #100blocks100days2019. There are over 3900 posts! There are many people participating from all over the world! Check out Gnome Angel at for more inspiration about this project and others.

But wait there’s more! I finished a “two-fer”! This was a piece from several years ago that I finally sent off to Terry Burris Quilting. Well it’s back and I put a binding on it and it to is now complete!

When you flip the Paper Lanterns quilt over you get a more serene look. The panel is beautifully framed by the Asian inspired prints.

The lantern block was very simple to construct and made good use of the prints I had collected over the years.

Paper Lantern Block

Although I don’t recall exactly where I found the block pattern, I suspect it was a magazine from about 10 to 12 years ago.

I also had a wonderful time with my friend Susan who came down and we had quilt camp. She was working on her pizza box project. I kind of got involved in that too.

First Audition of Susans Pizza Box Quilt

This may not be how she assembles it, but it sure did give me ideas on what to do with some of my 2 1/2″ squares. I was totally smitten!

Hope your bobbins are full and you too are making progress!

Posted in Accomplishments, Challenges, Charity Quilts, Quilting, simple, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 6 Comments

Just made it – the July finish, Mellow Yellow

This monthly finish was started as a Project Quilting challenge back in February of 2018. In case you didn’t know, Kim Lapacek of Persimon Dreams has had a Project Quilting Challenge that begins in January for several years now. On Sunday the prompt is announced and you have one week to produce a quilt. It doesn’t have to be traditional and you can find all of the details on the Project Quilting Page at Participating is a lot of fun, but so is checking out how others interpreted the theme. But I do digress.

The prompt Project Quilting 9.4 (season 9, fourth challenge) for February 18 of 2018 was Mellow Yellow. My interest was tweaked and I got to work. I pulled out neckties and background and got started. I got to a certain point and realized that I just wasn’t going to make the deadline. So my Mellow Yellow has really had time to Mellow.

One of my local quilt shops, Quilters Corner in Midlothian VA has started a Finish-A-Long and each month a number is chosen and that number will correspond with a project from your list of six. Well July was my opportunity to finish this project.

All I had left was the quilting, the binding and the buttons. Now, I’ll be the first to admit, I prefer piecing. Quilting is not my strong suit, I don’t enjoy that part of the process, but my skills will not improve if I don’t do more of it. And I love the work of those that quilt professionally. But I gave it a go.

Mellow Yellow started February 2018, Finished July 2019. Neckties, drapery material, and buttons.

The yellows are all necktie pieces sewn to a cotton foundation. The background is a blue chintz drapery fabric that contrasted well with the yellows. Notice that the binding is also neckties!

Piecing is my strength, my passion. Quilting, not so much. I’m not very good at it because I don’t practice. Most of my quilting is done “by check”. For these smaller pieced though, I really need to do them myself. And obviously the practice will do me good.

What I was going for here was the illusion of a radiating line from the yellow. I found some great threads while at a quilt show and couldn’t wait to try them out.

Superior Threads Sew Sassy 12 wt.

I changed my needle did a couple of practice passes, loosened my tension, and had a go at it.

Apparently my machine does not like this thread.

It was tough going with threads breaking, the machine jamming, my top thread going down into the bobbin. Things improved incrementally as the project moved on but still, I know I have a lot to figure out before I use this product for any work that I am going to put into a quilt show.

One thing I may do is go and get a second bobbin case for my machine and play more with the adjustments.

For this particular wall hanging – done is better than perfect. And generally, I’m pleased with the side that will be showing.

Til next time!

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The Finish-A-Long Q3

Often I am not sure about how I find some of the crafty quilty motivational blogs that help me get things done or inspire me to start something new. Sometimes it can be a blog I follow, that leads to another blog that leads to a challenge. This year I found the Trinkets Sew-A-Long sponsored by Alison Glass, and now 100Blocks100Days organized by Gnome Angel. These are fabulous for new projects but what about those that have been languishing incomplete in my sewing room for years (some for decades)?

Locally, Quilters Corner is sponsoring “Ready, Set, Goal 2019”. In July I listed 6 projects that I would like to complete. Each project should have less than a months worth of work to make it finished. This was easy – or at least I think it will be. We shall see and I will share my progress as the months pass. This months project is something I started with Project Quilting organized by Kim Lapacek of PersimonDreams it was the Mellow Yellow challenge and I bit off more than I could finish in the time allotted.

Mellow Yellow 30 Day finish for Quilters Corner. Needs a center and some quilting and binding.

So about those projects that have more than a months worth of work that are crying out for attention welcome 2019 Finish-A-Long! Each quarter you list the projects you want to complete, link up, and work it off. No bad vibes if a project doesn’t get finished, carry it over to the next quarter. For more information about this visit or put 2019 Finish-A-Long in your browser and move those projects forward! And do it quickly as Quarter 3 linkup is going on through July 18!

Sew, what’s on my Finish-A-Long list for Quarter 3?

I have had this beautiful pattern and quilt started since around 1998, it’s called Prickle Fish by Karen Stone.

Prickle Fish Pattern by Karen Stone. Project started around 1998ish.

Half of the blocks are done. Leaving 72 more foundations to construct and sew together. There is enough dark and medium fabrics that had been previously pulled and stored with the project, but the lights are a little thin and I may have to scrounge around for more. I’m not certain that I am going to set the blocks like the original pattern. I love the center but not so much the outer corners. I’ll play with it and decide after all of the foundations are done.

Foundations are not on newsprint but on standard copy paper. It appears that I’m light with the lights.

I’m kind of excited about this. I really like the palette I chose for this project! I’ll report back on my progress.

Posted in Challenges, Impressionist, Paper foundations, Quilting, recycling, Ties, UFO's, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments