Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Arkansas Traveler Made Easy!

Last Friday, I revised the Arkansas Traveler pattern from Lee at Freshly Pieced and today I tested the revision with superb results.  This pattern change in addition to my shortcut for cutting the diamonds, makes this block super easy. 

And just look at these beauties....

The background fabric is Kona Snow and it really brings out the color in the prints.  I also love how the center diamonds in the top block make a tiny pinwheel in the yellow and white fabric.  This was totally by accident but a great effect.

My plan is to use the leftover fabrics from the Quilts for Boston blocks to make an Arkansas Traveler Quilt.    

I still have two more QfB blocks to make to finish my twelve blocks and here is what I've done since I showed you Block #5 - Arkansas Traveler (from the original pattern) last week. 

Here's my progress over the past weekend....

Block #6 - Banded Star pattern from Jennifer Ofenstein at

Block #7 - ET Phone Home pattern by Lily's Quilts

AAAGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!  This was the absolute worst experience in paper piecing for me.  The eight sections came together fairly easily; then when I was trying to sew the sections together, I couldn't get anything to line up.   I must have ripped out the four center seams at least 10 times before accepting defeat and then needed extra ironing muscle to flatten out the center section.  This block will look fine once it is machine quilted, nevertheless,  I decided to take a break from paper piecing for a while.

Block #8 - Disappearing 4 Patch

Block #9 - Disappearing Nine Patch

This block was deliberately trimmed for the wonky effect. 

Block #10 - Disappearing Nine Patch

So there you have my QfB progress over the weekend.   

I'm back paper piecing again today with the Arkansas Traveler blocks, so my frustration didn't last more than a couple of days.   I probably will try the ET block again sometime in the future, hopefully with better results.  

That's it for now.  Hope you'll come back to see more of my quiltiness.


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Arkansas Traveler Block

Finished the Arkansas Traveler block today and it is number five in my blocks for Quilts for Boston. 

My shortcut for cutting and creating diamonds worked perfectly every time, so I plan to share this process with Lee Heinrich at Freshly Pieced

Speaking of Lee, towards the end of yesterday's post, I wrote about this block and incorrectly attributed the design to Faith Jones at Fresh Lemons Quilts.    I edited yesterday's post with the correct information.

Lee and Faith are collaborators with Katie Blakesley at Swim, Bike, Quilt and they created and hosted the Summer Sampler Series quilt-a-long during July and  August 2011.  Earlier this year, they published the Summer Sampler Series Anthology and I was thrilled to purchase it.   As you probably figured out, the Arkansas Traveler is one of the blocks in this anthology. 

The block came out okay; I'm still not thrilled with the center joining.  There are twelve separate seams converging in the center and the bulk was simply very difficult to sew;  I guess I have to dig out the walking foot.   I also didn't plan properly which diamonds I wanted to point towards the center; hence the off kilter background pieces and the duplication of colors.   I've got the process organized for the actual quilt. 

After the block was finished, I thought about the pattern as written and played around with it to potentially eliminate four of the center seams.   So now, I  have to make another block to test the re-written pattern.....then I'll contact Lee and run the changes and shortcut by her.

Tomorrow afternoon, I'll be teaching another crochet class as the fill-in instructor at the Fleming Island Michaels, so I probably won't post my progress on the pattern re-write or my blocks for Boston until the weekend.

See you then.



Wednesday, May 8, 2013

More Boston Quilting

While I've been quiet on the blogging front, I have been very busy on the quilting and yarn fronts.

I actually finished the Lone Starburst block the day after my last post and can confirm the designer is Anna Politzer from Six White Horses Studio.

I really liked the blue and decided to go with it in the center.    I did clean up the white threads on the horizontal center seam; only needed one minor adjustment to have everything line up nicely.  

So then I started to organize the fabrics and the patterns for the remaining eight blocks.  My goal is to send 12 blocks to the Boston Modern Quilt Guild for the Quilts for Boston.  Twelve blocks with coordinated fabrics will make a very nice 36" by 48" comfort quilt.  

So I took a minor sewing break and played around reading all the other blogs I follow and  noticed the due date for the to Boston with Love flags was moved up to May 21st.   Oh oh....I hadn't even started working on these yet.    So it was necessary to switch gears.

I was only going to make a couple of flags using the paper piecing patterns from the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild.  Then I got carried away when I thought about the "B Strong" slogan that is appearing everywhere in Boston. 

So I ended up cutting out felt letters and appliqueing them to the flags.    I have my contribution displayed on my design center (aka my bed) and put them in the mail yesterday.   Amy Friend should be getting them tomorrow.   

Here's a close-up of the applique; although it looks like a zigzag stitch in the's actually a blanket stitch.   I also love the background fabric.

I alternated the backing and binding so from the reverse the flags would have a little character.

The other three flags were paper pieced or strip pieced.

Amy Friend at During Quiet Time, has made arrangements for all these flags coming in to Boston from around the world to be display at the Shapiro Family Courtyard at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.  Here's the photo I copied from Amy's blog announcing....

You can also click on the link above to Amy's blog to read more about the program.

So now I'm back to quilt blocks for Quilts for Boston and decided to make the Arkansas Traveler block from Lee Heinrich at Freshly Pieced.  I think I figured out a shortcut to cutting all those small 60 degree diamonds, and I'm working on documenting this process while I make the block, so the block progress is going a bit slower than normal.  Who knows,  after I run this by Lee, I might have my very first tutorial to post.  To ensure I can successfully replicate the shortcut, I have to make a lot more sections than are needed for just the one block, so I can see an Arkansas Traveler quilt in someone's future.


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Quilts for Boston

Here are photos of my fabric pulls for the Quilts for Boston.   There is a completely different color pallette for the small banners needed for to Boston with Love, and I read on another blog that the date for hanging the quilted banners in Boston is now Memorial Day weekend, so those will have to be worked on in between the quilt blocks.   I better get moving and select some red and orange fabric. 

Here's the first batch of fabric which I actually purchased for the 12.5  inch quilt blocks.

Here is what I pulled from my stash to join those above.

And here are the blues, teals, and yellows left over from the Bloom Bloom Pow Quilt-along

My plan is to make 12 Blocks for "Quilts for Boston" and the first block I made is the foundation paper pieced Circle of Geese, a pattern from  Beth Cheri at Pieced By Numbers.  I used a few blue and grey tones from the Swirl Charm packs by Whistler Studios at Windham Fabrics, since I didn't pull enough blues from my stash until after this was done.   The background white is "Snow" from Kona, which I think is a whiter white.

The second block is a crazy foundation paper pieced pattern called Log Cabin Heart from Jennifer Ofenstein at   Jennifer is the admin for the Addicted to Paper Piecing flickr group, so I uploaded the photo below today, so she could see what I did with her pattern.

I wasn't sure what border I was going to use when I started piecing it from scraps....and wished I had the foresight to use the flowered print in the border and the plain yellow as the background so the heart popped more. I guess I'll just have to make another and see.

The third block is a pieced heart I saw on the Boston Modern Quilt Guild flickr site by Alidiza.  The pattern is called Heart & Soul by I'm a Ginger Monkey for the Aurifil April Block of the Month.  I also follow Katy Jones as she monkeys around the United Kingdom.

For some reason I don't have great luck when piecing these small blocks. I was purposely methodical and slow when cutting, and even trimmed the blocks to a perfect 2.5 inches before piecing them and I still spent almost two hours ripping out seams to line them up properly. 
The fourth block is still a work in progress.   This bordered star pattern was not created by me and unfortunately, there was nothing in the pdf file or on this pattern printout to identify this specific designer.   I remember finding it by accident after having difficulty printing the Lone Starburst Quilt Block from Anna Politzer at Six White Horses Studio.   It is the exact same pattern, so I'll have to give credit to Anna.

I was planning on having half the star center be the yellow print; then I thought about alternating the yellow and blue star diamonds, but I'm not sure yet.   I really love this blue fabric (pattern and hues), but it may be too dark and overpowering.  I'm also thinking about sewing a slash with the yellow fabric on a couple of the blue center points.   You'll just have to tune back in tomorrow to see what I actually did.
Hope you come back and see all of my blocks for Quilts for Boston. 


Monday, April 29, 2013

Bloom Bloom Pow Update

I spent the better part of Wednesday and Thursday last week trying to catch up with the Bloom Bloom Pow Quilt-along since I hadn't done anything after receiving the Pearl Bracelet fabric except to arrange it in color group stacks; Light, Medium and Dark, on April 2nd.

This is the first quilt related photo I've taken outdoors using natural light.  The colors really show up well even in the late afternoon.    I really like how the colors pop on the travertine tile.
Lee from Fleshly Pieced sends out weekly posts with instructions for cutting and piecing and I was almost four weeks behind.  I cut all the Pearl Bracelet fabric and half of the white pieces Wednesday.


We had a beautiful sunny morning on Thursday and the natural light in the Maus's Sewing Room was perfect for sewing and photography.   With coffee mug safely tucked away from my sewing area, I began piecing the strips.
The dark strips needed to be offset to correctly cut the triangles.
I have to admit I was a little leery of making a quilt using equilateral triangles, but Lee's process takes all the guess work out of it.
Next we sew three triangles into half hexagons....
This was the first part of last week's instructions.   Of course,  knowing I tend to get board doing the same thing over and over, I jumped around and sewed strips, cut triangles and then made half hexies, before piecing every color.   I'm combining different steps from the last three and a half weeks of quilt-along just to keep myself entertained.   
By Thursday dinner time, I had almost half (actually 47%) the half hexies done and the rest not even started. 
All the half hexies were completed yesterday and today, I finalized the layout and joined them into rows.   

A lot of quilters have design boards or use the floor to arrange their quilt pieces, And although you can eat off my floors....I just can't make myself put my clean fabric on the floor.  So, I use my king-sized bed or the queen sized guest bed as my design centers which allow me to play with the layouts and the color arrangements without having to get down and then back up from the floor numerous times.

I began to sew the 11 rows together and noticed I wasn't getting all the point intersections to line up perfectly.   The photo below is close but will need a slight adjustment.

Just to the left of the slightly misaligned points above is the orange bloom below and that center is off by a quarter of an inch.   The rest of the row looks good, so I'll just adjust the triangle seams a bit until the points line up.   So glad I didn't press any of he seams yet; ripping out heat set stitches is never fun.

I am pleasantly surprised at how large this quilt is.   It will make a good quilt for the San Pedro Munchkin.   I'll have to find the right purple tones for the back.  
I probably won't blog about this one again until she is all finished and ready for her trip to California.   I have until December to make that happen.
So now my focus can be the blocks and banners for Boston.    More on my progress with those in tomorrow's post.   See you then.


Friday, April 26, 2013

Thinking of Boston

Eleven days ago, we were all shocked by the terrorist attack near the finish line at the Boston Marathon.   I grew up in Lowell, MA about 35 miles northwest of Boston, attended college on Beacon Hill and have fond memories of standing near the finish line at a couple of marathons on Patriot's Day.   I copied the following button from the Boston Modern Quilt Guild blog and I think it clearly represents the resilience of the people of Greater Boston. 

We're hearing so much about the evil perpetrators of the heinous attack and not enough about the victims, who will undoubtedly need financial assistance as well as, our love and support.   

Here is a link to the fund announced by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor, Thomas Menino to help the relief efforts for those who suffered horrific injuries on April 15, 2013.

                                                                         Donate Here

I was also heartened by the outpouring of love within the quilting community.....

And a few days ago, the Boston Modern Quilt Guild, of which I am a member, put out the call to quilters worldwide to send in completed blocks so they could make comfort quilts for those affected by the terrorist attack.

Here is a link to their post requesting blocks....Quilts for Boston  and a photo from the BMQG blog displaying the fabric color palette for the blocks which must be postmarked by May 24th.  

Quilts for Boston Color Scheme

Today's BMQG post showed a photo of the first block received and it has only been a couple of days since they put out the call.

Many of the inspiring quilters behind the quilt blogs I regularly follow have already posted photos of the blocks they've made for Boston, so I knew I needed to check my stash and join this effort.

Here's a photo of the fabric I purchased today when I really should have been looking through my fabric stash.   I have some yellow, teal and blue Pearl Bracelet fabric left over from the Bloom Bloom Pow Quilt-a-long I'm doing with Lee at Freshly Pieced and that will fit in perfectly with my fabric bundles below.   I may have to find more blues to balance the grays.

Now I just have to decide what blocks I want to make.     I'm giving myself one week to make 10 to 12 blocks for the BMQG.

So stay tuned.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

It Is Alive!!!


Bill Murray uttered that in one of my all time favorite movies.

It is also something that's said between the Maus and her brother Eric whenever one of us is out of touch for a bit of time.  Don't you love how I occasionally refer to myself in the third person?  Just seeing if you're all actually paying attention to my ramblings.

Well, I finally remembered I have this little blog here and decided it was time to update it.  I last posted something on Palm Sunday eve and then focused all my energies on Holy Week.  

After that, Bubba and I took a week long trip to Kissimmee, Florida where we've had a timeshare condo for almost 30 years.   It was really great to have this timeshare week when we lived in Connecticut and then in Northern Virginia.  And now that we're only two and half hours north of Orange Lake Country Club, we haven't been as often.  

The week began with us relaxing as we got in a round of golf and I then went looking for a church to attend Mass and found a wonderful Parish Church called St. Faustina's nearby.   Where better to attend Mass on Divine Mercy Sunday but in a church named after the patron saint of Divine Mercy?

While Bubba continued golfing, I spent a bit of time with a very special lady, Jadeine Shives of the Convention and Visitor's Bureau in Kissimmee.   I contacted her before our trip south so I could line up a hotel and develop an activities plan for the 796th Military Police Battalion Association 2013 Reunion.   I'll blog more about this event in the future.  

The day we got home, I went right over to Aimee's house (see the previous blog) and started making up the Silent Auction baskets for Marissa's Fundraiser.  We were truly blessed to have so many beautiful items donated....and while Aimee was in Vegas, she tasked me with putting the donated items into visually appealing baskets.   We had two live auction items (think big ticket hotel vacations) and 63 baskets/items in the Silent Auction. The event on April 20th was a huge success and Marissa's team raised over $12,000 for Wolfson's Children's Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida..  

Prior to Holy week, I sent my Quilt-a-long with the Sewing Loft and Patchwork Posse quilt out to my dear friends at the Missouri Star Quilt Company for some stippling machine quilting.   I got it back the same day we arrived home from vacation and had plenty of time to add the hand sewn binding.   

Here are a few photos of the finished quilt.....

The quilt sold for $110 at the Silent Auction.  Robert Robertson, who also hails from my neck of the woods in Massachusetts, bought it for his Mom.    Thank you, Robert.  I hope she enjoys it.

I gave Marissa a choice of quilts for the Silent Auction.....and she was undecided until she saw the scrappy cat.   The other quilt she liked was my previously labeled "Ugly Quilt."  

Somehow this ugly duckling turned into a swan....   

I'm still not a fan of the little flowered prints, but piecing the leftover precut squares together for the border really helped make this comfort quilt come together.

I love the back and the minimal quilting.

Don't look too closely, I still have the binding pinned.   This quilt will probably be my Spring donation to the Prayer Blanket Ministry at Blessed Trinity Church.

As you can see, I'm working on photographing my quilts outdoors in natural light, especially now that the pollen is gone and the weather is lovely once again.     The privacy screens on our pool deck are finally being put to good use.

I have my Bloom Bloom Pow Quilt-a-long fabric almost completely cut and hope to begin piecing it tomorrow.  I also have a few more blocks done for the tourquoise and gray quilt and the chevron quilt is almost ready for sashing between the rows.  So I'll definitely generate another post before the week is out!

See you then,