Quilt bucket list

My quilt bucket list is getting shorter. The completion of the (non traditional) Hexie quilt top inspired me to move down my list. It’s really a short list and consists  of 3 itmes.

Hexie quilt-check

Churn Dash


In reality I was able to accomplish 2 things with the Hexie (pattern here)quilt. Mark the quilt off my list and use remaining jelly roll strips from a previous project. This inspired me to move on to my next bucket list item, a Churn Dash quilt.

Though I cant say why I have never pieced even a single Churn Dash block, I do love them. churn dash quilt, paper piecingSo Friday night I pulled all my fat quarters left from the Mosaic quilt. Once I decided on my block dims and patch sizes I pulled 19 fat quarters from the pile. From a fat quarter I can get three 12″ finished blocks. And of course my favorite muslin for the background fabric.

churn dash quilt, paper piecing

All fabric was cut to 5″ squares. You  need 4 colored patches and 5 background patches for each finished block. Then I paired each colored square with a muslin square.  made my hst  by drawing a diagonal line  from corner to corner, stitched 1/4″ on both sides of the line and cut down the middle making 2 hst. Do this 2 times. Right sides together of course. For the bar between the hst, I stitched a 1/4″ seam down the sides and cut the block down the middle at 2 1/2″making 2 blocks. Do this 2 times. Easy peasy, why hadn’t I made these before?

After doing all my cutting Saturday I was able to make 6 blocks. Yesterday I completed 17 more. The plan is to make a 7 across by 8 down top though this may change. There is still a pile of the fat quarters that I can use on yet another project or add additional blocks/borders to this one/

Lighting and my sewing room

OMG I have been missing out. If you aren’t aware, I live in an earth home. The front wall of my home is exposed, the sides and back are below grade. That means any room in the rear of the home has no windows so lighting is a struggle. Guess where my sewing room is?

Over the years I have tried different lighting options. These are what I have settled with over the last couple years:

LED’s in the ceiling light

Halogen floor lamp (which really throws bright light and heat)

LED clip on light

An additional LED floor lamp that I drag around my room when and where needed.

Like most of you (I’m certain) it has taken me a while to finally setup my 10′ x 10″ sewing room to be comfortable. Function hasn’t been as big an issue  as much as feeling cluttered with different layouts. Because of my limited space large pieces of functional furniture is out of the question. Then there are items like…my mother in laws sewing cabinet that I really like but my machine doesn’t fit it, an oak table from the late 1800’s that my husbands great grandpa made and my son’s Radio Flyer wagon. These things I have put to use making my work areas.

For the last year I have been comfortable in my current setup so I decided it was time yet again to try other non expensive lighting options. For $25 each I purchase two  4′ 4500 lumens LED shop lights. My dh placed one over my piecing table and one over my cutting/ironing table. Girl let me tell you, “I am in heaven”.  I’d show you photos but now that I can see it appears my room is a little past due on a paint job.

If you struggle with lighting or lack thereof you may wish to try these. They do not throw light horizontally. Meaning I have a dark corner in the room. However each shop light provides more than enough light to the areas they are placed over.

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Freemotion by the river


Another finish. Or is it?

hexie quilt, paper pieced, paper piecing, foundation piecing. no english paper pieced hexieLast night I finished putting this together. Do I add an outside border or no? When I started this hexie quilt it was to use up scrap batiks that I had on hand. If you haven’t been following my progress here is a recap.

I don’t hand piece but have always wanted to make a hexie quilt. With a pile of batik strips left from previous projects in hand I sketched a few templates on paper. Some didn’t make sense but I finally decided on the finished 1.75″ x 2″ blocks and 1″ x  1.75″ half blocks. You can find the free templates on my pattern page.

It sure took a lot of hexies to complete the inside 39″  x 45.5″ section. 482 whole hexie blocks and 24 half hexies containing 2,482 pieces of fabric.  Then there are the outside hexies.  Even though there are so many repeating blocks with small pieces I had so much fun piecing this and it went together better than I expected.  I did have to change my routine and use pins instead of glue basting. Pins were the only way to line up the blocks accurately.

Each hexie took 3 minutes to complete and I started piecing this around March 16th. As it lays now the top is 56″  x 64″.  It doesn’t need to be larger as a sofa quilt but I think it does need an outside border.  The problem, I ran out of batiks because I don’t keep a large stash. Actually I don’t keep a stash at all.  The chances of finding a match locally that blends well will be almost impossible.

While needing more for the outside border is my present concern there were other issues. Look at the 2 bottom rows of hexie’s, they are not offset.  I mis-calculated the whole and half blocks. Regardless I love this top. After reversing the color for the border blocks I wish I had used muslin for the hexie shapes and colored fabric for the block corners.

I’m off to a new scrap project now. There is a large pile of fat quarters left of from the Mosaic quilt. Stay tuned for what I decide to do with those.

Would you like to see what others are working on or have finished?

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Hexie quilt is almost finsihed

My hexie quilt is almost finished. For the center, all 482 whole blocks  and 24 half blocks are completed. The photo shows just the center which measures 39″ x 45.5″. This would be an ideal size for a baby quilt but I am planning on retiring the current quilts draping my sofa. A little splash of color to my earth tones living room will hopefully liven things up.

How many pieces of fabric are in this quilt? I’ve done the math, so far there are 2,482 pcs of fabric. To this section I will be adding a border then 2 rows of blocks around the outside. Actually a block and a half to the sides and 2 rows to the top and bottom. From there I am not sure. The only thing I can say for sure, “I have used up all of my scrap fabrics in this fabric line”. This is good for my lack of storage space but doesn’t leave any room for error as you will see in upcoming photos.

I’ve been thinking about quilting this top and the only thing that makes sense is straight line quilting. Cross hatching to be precise. Years ago when I made quilted jackets I would always do cross hatching and I loved it. Since I have had my long arm though I’ve not done much and definitely not this large of scale. It will be a little tricky since my machine is hand guided but I do have a gam-guide to assist. If you don’t know what a gam-guide is stay tuned and I will post a photo when I have the quilt loaded on the frame.

For a free download of my paper pieced (not epp) hexie templates click over to my pattern page.  As always, if you make something with my pattern I would love to see photos.


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Mosaic quilt along part 3 begins today

mosaic quilt;, flyinggeese; flyinggeesequilt
Mosaic block 3. Make 1 block

We all deserve a little break from the Mosaic QAL.  I am certain you will be relieved to hear this is the only block we will be making this month. If you have fallen behind on the previous 8 blocks you will have a chance to catch up.


Fabric for geese, background/sky fabric and sashing: Use any remaining strips you have left from last month first. Cut no more than necessary to complete this block.

Fabric for the inside star.

For the very center of the star (A4 of template) cut one 4″ x 4″ square.

For the four corners of the star (B1, B5, D1 & D5 on templates) cut four 3″ x 3″ squares or a 3″ strip.

For the star points (A2, A3, B2, B4, C2, C3, D2, D4 on templates) cut a strip 3″ or 3 1/2″ strip, depending on your comfort level.

For the inside star points (A1, B3, C1, D3 on templates) cut four squares 3″ x 4″


Continue piecing the geese templates as you have the previous months. This should clean up many of the remaining strips.

Will you be following the same color scheme for the outside geese border in May? Maybe change the sashing color on the border templates? This is the reason behind cutting the strips as needed for the March and April blocks.

paper pieced quilt
Block placement

After completing this block you may wish to go ahead and sew your 9 blocks together. That’s okay (see photo  below for block placement).  Next month we will be piecing the flying geese border. At that time I recommend attaching the flying geese strips to the top and bottom rows. Then joining your rows. Either will accomplish the same.




Thoughts and tips

I have been paper piecing with strips for a while now. From my 2″ x 18″ strips I can get 9 colored geese shapes covered. There is very little trimmed off at the 1/4″ seam. The end of my strip after piecing the 9 geese is the size of one of the sky patches. Think about what you would have left if you precut your geese fabric to, for instance 2″ x 3″.  Once you stitch that patch on and trim both seam allowances you have 2 nice triangles. Do that 9 times then lay those triangle in front of you to form squares. They add up.

The other option is to precut your geese fabric into triangles. Of course you want them large enough in case  you don’t have it perfectly centered when you stitch. There is nothing worse than removing stitches because your patch doesn’t cover the entire triangle. Or it’s lop sided, you end up with more than enough seam allowance on one side but not the other. If that’s not bad enough, what if you precut and discover you have cut too small or large? Either way you have wasted a lot of fabric. Once you have mastered placement and angle of your fabric strips piecing with strips is more economical. That is, if you don’t cut too many strips to begin with.

Another idea to keep in mind if you find pp with strips helpful and timesaving. We all have scraps, some more than others. Print an extra template and use the scraps in different widths to determine the size that  works best for you. They don’t have to be cut to exact lengths and widths but they do have to cover the shape on the template. Paper piecing with strips pictorial

paper pieced flying geese

Quilted and bagged

Starlight is quilted, photo taken and sealed in a bag.  Its a quilt I designed after a mosaic floor.  It will be heading to its new home soon here in S Illinois. The pattern and quilt were created for Kerry and his 3rd grandbaby. The quilting is a simple meander pattern. The fabric is batiks (jelly roll strips) and my favorite muslin.

The pattern includes full size templates (no taping) and directions for completing a 16 block quilt. Quilt in photo is 9 blocks. You can purchase the pattern  here.

I’ve been waiting for a dry sunny day to hang it outside so I could take a photo. In case you missed a previous post, I hang my smaller quilts from the gutter of my home to take photos so it must be a dry day. For larger quilts I raise the shed door and hang from there.

In addition to Starlight, I also have the Venice Rose finished, pattern by Norah McMeeking.  The center medallion is by me. This top was finished almost 2 years ago but I wanted to wait until I had a little more experience quilting before I loaded it on the frame. I’m not completely happy with the quilting but I will get there one day. The fabric I cant say because it was so long ago. The quilting, well I can say there are feathers and pebbles. But I don’t know what you would call the back and forth lines. I tried cropping my firewood wagon and the bark on the porch out of the top photo, its such a mess. Unfortunately we aren’t done with the firewood yet this year. See what others are working on.

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Not your nana’s hexie quilt

This is Not your Nana’s hexie quilt. I pieced this quilt using the paper piecing method, not English paper piecing.  I really enjoyed piecing this, yes really.

not epp hexie, hexie quilt, paper piecing
Not your Nana’s hexie quilt. This is not English paper piecing


The rows still need joined so the hexies look unbalanced. There were just not enough hours in the weekend to finish this up.

I have always admired hexie quilts but never found the time to make one by hand. Lori over at Quilting Needs revived my interest.  Cutting, basting and hand stitching all those hexagons is more than my hands and patience can handle. Which is what led me to, “why cant I make a hexie quilt with regular paper piecing”. Not EPP.

The finished blocks are 1.75″ tall x 2″ wide. So it will take many blocks to make anything larger than a crib sized quilt. You could enlarge these blocks on your printer if you a techy.

This was a great project to use up some left over 2.5″ jelly roll strips. I cant tell you how many  I started with because the majority were not full strips.  As a rule I don’t keep scraps of fabric but since I had so many partial and full strips from the same line I saved them.  Now that I have the pattern I’ll make use of future scraps as they are available. As you’ll learn below, even the smallest of scraps can be used for this top.

Cutting pieces

All  hexie patches should be cut to 2 1/2″ x 2 3/4″.   A 2 1/2″ square will cover patch #1 on the template but you have to be precise as the fabric will lay right on the side cut lines.

For the background fabric, patch #’s 2-5 I used my favorite muslin. In fact I love it so much  it is  the only fabric from which I save scraps. It’s a staple in my sewing room.  It blends well with any fabric I have paired it with including batiks.  It is not your typical gauzy muslin. From this I cut my corner pieces 1 1/2″ x 2″.  You could get by with 1 1/4″ x 1 3/4″ blocks but you will have to be precise here as well.  Again, I cant say how many yards I used since most of the muslin was either already cut into strips or large trimmings from previous projects. This truly was a scrap quilt.

From gluing the first patch to the template, stitching and pressing  each block took a whole 3 minutes to complete. 20 blocks in an hour isn’t as good as it sounds considering how many I actually made.

The section of the top (in photo above) includes 481 whole blocks and 26 half blocks. That is a total of 2483 pcs of fabric but who is counting, baah?

Once I have joined these strips I will be working on more blocks to extend the size of my quilt. The fabric  will be reversed.  After putting several of these together with reversed fabrics I wish I had done all of them this way. I just love that little splash of color against the natural muslin.  Well on second thought…  The fabric strips would have went so much further this way and I do not want to make several thousand blocks. The purpose of this quilt was to use my left over jelly roll strips and make a hexie quilt.

hexie paper pieced, not english paper pieced

Now for the pattern

If you make something with this pattern I would love to see your finished top. As always, any feedback is also appreciated.

Tip: pin baste the strips together  before  taking the strips to your machine.

paper pieced flying geese



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The first 26 rows

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The first of 26 rows in my hexie quilt is complete.

The first row of This is not my nana’s  epp  hexie quilt has been completed.


This evening I stitched the first 19 blocks together. Like the individual blocks it went together rather quickly. After laying all 500 blocks on the floor and deciding on their placement, I then stacked them in the order I wished to join them. On the paper side of each row I wrote the row# and order number on each block. The remaining 25 rows should be complete before the weekend is over. At that time I will add a photo and the free pattern.

I’m trying to decide how large I am going to make this. There will have to be wide sashing’s in this top otherwise it will be crib size.

More photos and a free downloadable pattern coming soon.

paper pieced hexie scrap quilt
First of 26 rows

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My search for cotton sheets

For the last couple of weeks I have been looking for waterbed sheets. Not microfiber or poly/cotton blend, but 100% cotton king size attached sheets. You know where I am going with this right?

Finding 100% cotton  attached waterbed sheets has been a struggle ( WOW, the price has tripled since my last sheet purchase and they aren’t even cotton).  And just because it says cotton doesn’t mean they are 100% cotton. You have to read the fine print. Somehow manufacturers are getting away with labeling  cotton/poly blend as “cotton sheets” .  Why not call them poly sheets?  Why not call them what they are, cotton/poly?

After searching the web for days I’m convinced they do NOT exist.  I refuse to pay well over $100 for something that I don’t want. The attached waterbed sheets are nothing more than 2 flat sheets sewn together across the bottom and pockets sewn on the corners of the bottom sheet, that is it.

So…if you have a waterbed and know my struggle, here is my  solution.

1)Measure the width and length of the bottom sheet only, add seam allowance. Purchase 2 flat sheets that are large enough. For a California King waterbed your bottom sheet should measure 76″x96″.  The sheets I purchased were a queen size. Nice crisp white 100% cotton!  Some of the full size sheets would have been large enough, but I needed trimmings for corner pockets.

2) Trim the bottom sheet to size leaving a seam allowance. For my bottom sheet I chose a 2″ seam allowance and cut my  sheet to 78″x98″. The reason for this: my flat sheet already had a nice 1″ hem down the sides. The excess fabric was  cut from one side and the bottom of my sheet. This meant I only had 1 side and the bottom to hem.

3)Turn and hem your seams.

4)For the corner pockets I cut two 19″ squares of fabric, then cut them in half diagonally. For the long edge of your triangle you will want to add a nice heavy seam.  For the 2 short sides, fold over and press a 1/4″ seam.

5)Line up the short sides of your triangles with the corners of your bottom sheet, right sides together. Stitch. Flip pockets and press.

6)If you have ever had a waterbed you know that the top sheet is never long or wide enough. For my top sheet I did absolutely nothing to it. (Trim and hem if you like.) Find and mark the center bottom of both sheets. Pin or glue baste the 2 sheets beginning at the center. Stitch. You can stitch all the way out to the corner of your bottom sheet if you like. I chose to follow the standard which is the area inside the corner pockets.  Launder and make your bed.

Now off to purchase more flat sheets since I know this can be done.

This time I will purchase 1 king and 1 queen flat sheets. The king size I will cut down and use my trimmings to make matching pillow cases.







Quilting for my sister

Today I finished  quilting a top for one of my sisters and 2 of my own. The top I quilted for my sister, well it was definitely a learning experience for me.

I belong to a couple online long arm  groups. Most of the members in these groups quilt for other people and have varying degrees of experience. For some it’s to supplement their retirement income, others have made it their full time job. Then there are those like me  who purchased a long arm solely to quilt their own tops. These groups have been invaluable to me being a new LA quilter.

Daily someone comments about tops that are not pieced correctly.  Usually due to improperly cut and pieced borders. As a piecer and quilter I read the comments and all the replies with suggestions. The first thing I have taken from these groups and applied while quilting this,  a zigzag stitch for your outside basting.  This is supposed to help prevent puckers around the outside. To my amazement it worked. I know if I had done a straight stitch there would have been pleats all around the outside of the quilt.  A large meander stitch in the border was also useful at keeping the pleats at bay.

The center medallion was not laying flat at all. The triangles that form the border for the center star were wavy, puckered. The fan blocks around the quilt were far worse than the triangles. So I had this quilt with borders that were too small. When loaded on the frame the borders were snug on the belly bar but inside of the quilt waved down the bar. It was difficult to keep an even tension on the top.  This is where another item came in handy that I learned about in these groups. I don’t remember where I purchased them or what the official name is. Lets just call them c clamps. They are pieces of pvc pipe that snap onto the bars for floating a top. But I purchased and use them to keep my leader ends from flopping around while I am quilting.  After smoothing the top the best I could I applied and kept fairly even tension throughout the top using the c clamps. The fan blocks still had to be manipulated with one hand while guiding the head with the other. Same with the triagnles

Another problem I had with this top is the fabric print. The border print is very busy and this makes it difficult to see where you have been when quilting. To fix this issue, other quilters suggested  a black light, a light from the side to cast a shadow or even turning off some of the lights.  The light from the side made all the difference. It cast enough of a shadow that I was able to see my previously quilted lines.

I have to say, the quilt turned out better than I guessed it would. Sure there are mistakes and I didn’t fix any of the piecers errors. But now I understand  all the bantering about improperly pieced tops.  It was a learning experience that I will never forget. If it hadn’t been my sisters top I would have turned it away.

Top left and center is the finished quilt. The next 5 show areas of the wavy top while loaded on the frame. The last photo is the very busy border fabric.

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Hexie quilts

Anyone who has ever made an English pp hexie quilt has my admiration. Recently Lori over at Quilting Needs revived my interest in making a hexie quilt. Unfortunately hand stitching all of those hexie’s is out of the question for me. Too many years cutting hair, rolling perms and typing have not been kind to my fingers.  But I really want a hexie quilt. 🙁

After playing around with ideas in my head I thought I had it all figured out. However, my design ideas didn’t bode well on paper. Why cant I paper piece a hexie quilt? Not English pp. It was rather easy once I wrapped my head around it.  I cant say if I am the first to make one this way but I sure would have appreciated  others had they shared this idea. For me the best part is no turning of fabric, no basting and no Y seams.

So…with leftover batik scraps in hand and my newly printed templates I set out to make a hexie quilt.  In the coming weeks I’ll share the templates and photos here.

My Mosaic Quilt is on the frame.  I’m pleased with the quilting I have done so far, with the exception of the pebbles I stitched in the sashing. By the time I have quilted all the sashing I should be a master pebbler (to my amazement that is a word in the dictionary).

You can only quilt so many practice sandwiches before you are ready to move to the real thing.  I made many little girls happy with baby doll quilts. After my quilting started improving I would  cut the nice sections from the sandwiches, bind them and giving them away. It made no sense to throw all of these in the trash. So if you are learning to quilt on a long arm or domestic machine think how happy little girls would be to have a nice quilt for their babies. Or a matching quilt.

4/9/2018 update

This is where I am on the quilt today.

not epp hexie, hexie quilt, paper piecing
Not your Nana’s hexie quilt. This is not English paper piecing