Friday, September 30, 2016

A Strange Thing: Rory & Rey Investigate

The kitties have greeted the arrival of my new batting roll with a large amount of suspicion...  There's been sniffing and cautious nips and lots of slow circling.  I'm just thrilled because I wasn't expecting it until Tuesday!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Black and White and Bright

It's still technically September and I have the first of the August block drive quilts for Covered in Love to show!  It's been a while since I made that kind of record time.  If you remember, in August we made disappearing 9 patch blocks from black and white fabrics with a bright accent.  There will eventually be 5 of these quilts!

This first quilt was actually a top made completely by Amanda from Louisiana.  She managed to stay high and dry during their recent flooding AND get this entire top done!

Just look at those cute elephants, and scissors!

I quilted just a quick overall stipple.  I backed this one with some yardage sent in by Nancy K. from Tx (thank you!) and bound it with colorful scraps.  Still need to add a label with Nancy K. and Amanda's names.

Next is the first top I assembled. I am going to be playing with a couple of different layouts for these. One upshot of making so many tops is that I don't have to settle on a layout, I can try them all!  This one has the colors running in diagonal stripes. The sun and wind came out to play when I hung this one up.

Lots of cute novelty fabrics in these.

I decided this time to add everyone's home state (or province) onto the label, kinda fun to see where all he blocks are coming from.  Thanks to everyone who pitched in!  We took September off from the block drives but October is back on and I posted the new drive this week!  I hope you'll sew along with us as we make string blocks this month.

Linking to Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it Friday.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Second verse: Same as the first

Happy Fall, stitchers! Break out the pumpkin spice everything and play the holiday music.  I for one can't wait for the weather to get the memo and catch up to the date on the calendar.  You all were gracious enough to let me take September off from out block drives to play some catch up.  Now we're ready to hit the ground running again!

For October we're going to be doing the very same block as we did last October.  These were very popular and several people asked for a reprisal. They make fabulous quilts, so why not?! You can find the original post and tutorial HERE.  These are 10.5" foundation pieced string blocks. No theme and no color scheme, just plain old scrap busters. Everything goes!

Last year you all sent in enough blocks to make 8 beautiful scrappy quilts to comfort families losing a loved one.  I can't wait to see what happens this year!

In case you're new around here, Covered in Love is a charity that donates quilts to families losing a loved one in the hospital.  There is a fairly in depth update on the program here.  Many of the quilts we donate are generated through monthly block drives where folks all around the quilt-y internet send in blocks which are combined into quilts. Anyone who wants to participate is more than welcome and you can make as many or as few blocks as you like.

The link to this month's tutorial is HERE. If you would like to participate or have questions please leave a comment (make sure I can contact you) or email

Saturday, September 24, 2016


On the design wall this week, more of the string log cabins I showed you last week.  These sure are fun to make!

Linking to Oh Scrap! and Design Wall Monday.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Cozy Flannel Quilts

You may remember a while back I was playing on the design wall with flannel scraps that I cut to standard sizes a long long time ago.  Rather than make one bigger quilt I opted to turn those into one medium and one baby quilt, which are finally done! 

The baby quilt is 32" square. Rather than traditional binding I folded the backing over to the front and sewed it down with a decorative stitch.  Both these quilts are exceptionally cozy due to the flannel.

The larger quilt measures 64" square.  I stippled them both, the larger one with a tighter stipple.  Even though I used a fatter-than-usual seam allowance I still worry about the flannel fraying so the heavier quilting will provide support to the fabrics.

I think my mom has her eye on this bigger quilt for a little girl undergoing treatment for leukemia.  That's going to mean a lot of trips through industrial washer-dryers at high heat so the extra quilting is important for that reason, too.

There are lots of fun kid-friendly print in these quilts, some are ooooold.  The Tasmanian devil flannel dates from when my mom made me some pajama pants when I was about 6 and I got to pick my fabric.

No feeling better than cleaning out a box of scraps and turning them into a quilt or two!  I hope you're all having a productive week and a great weekend.

Linking to Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it Friday.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Scrap Situation

I'm still assembling and quilting CiL quilts, but I needed a kind of mindless project to work on in between.  It started off with sorting my over flowing strings bin, trimming anything I could to 2.5" to make binding for upcoming quilts.

Then I started trimming the smaller strings to 1.5" wide...

...and next thing you know I'm making scrappy log cabin blocks.  For centers I'm using a donated charm pack of marbled fabrics.  The blocks end up 12.5" (they should be 13" but my seams must be a little fat) and I need 24 of them plus 6 end cap blocks to make a quilt.  Maybe this will put a dent in my strings bin? It could happen.

Here's Rory, the height of dignity, helping me put together a disappearing 9 patch top.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Helpful Cat...

I step away from the machine for TWO seconds and she's all settled in, daring me to try to move her.

Rory is just sooo darn helpful when I'm quilting :)

Thursday, September 15, 2016

A Somber Sunday Morning

A while back (in July!) I posted about this top made from a Jelly Roll Amanda sent me.  I roughly followed the "Sunday Morning" pattern from Amanda Jean's book.  Although the colors aren't my favorites, they'll be perfect for someone who'll receive it through Covered in Love.

I was tickled to find the perfect plaid for border in my stash. There was even enough to cover about half of the backing!

For the rest of the backing I used a great khaki colored fabric someone donated to me.  It has flowers, humming birds, bees and the like on it.  Perfect!

The quilt just got a quick large stipple for quilting.  I dealt with a lot of thread breaks on this one, prompting me to finally figure out how to adjust the height of the presser foot on my new-to-me machine and (as a result) finally be able to put a proper FMQ  foot on it.  Someone in the past had seen fit to glue shut the front panel so that mere mortals couldn't fiddle with things.  Nothing more satisfying than overcoming someone who thought you weren't smart enough to be trusted!

I hope your week was good and you have a great weekend!
Linking to Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it Friday.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Tortoise and the Hare

I've got two projects on the design wall right now, a quilting "tortoise and hare" situation.  The September Nurture circle blocks are on the right.  Made from low volume and red/purple scraps I got them done relatively quickly last night.

The tortoise in this case is a top I am s.l.o.w.l.y. getting together to show off novelty fabrics.  I love the way it is looking and I am halfway there, but because each block has to be custom assembled it is taking its time.  Currently I can make about 1 block per 45 minutes or about 1 column per day.  Slowly but surely...

I'm done with work for another week and looking forward to some good sewing time I hope you are, too!  In closing, enjoy this picture of Rey demonstrating how NOT to sit like a lady :)

Linking to Oh Scrap! Moving it Forward Monday and Design Wall Monday.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

A Celebration of Mina

One of Covered in Love's most frequent and dedicated volunteers is Mina from Kinda Quilty.  She frequently sends not only blocks and occasionally finished quilts, but quite a few tops.  This week I finally finished a string top she sent that I've had for an embarrassingly long time!  As fortune would have it, two of Mina's other tops returned this week via US post from Judy's house aka the quilting spa. You can see Judy's post with great pictures of the wonderful job she did quilting here.

I bordered Mina's top with some green yardage and quilted it with a large loopy stipple in a khaki thread.  As a side note, that large spool of nice thread along with a lot of flannel yardage good for backings was passed to me through the chaplains from a family member of someone we gifted a quilt to :)

I posted a long update about Covered in Love on Wednesday if you're interested.  The program has grown and evolved so much since it started.  I owe everything to the volunteers, like Mina, who support Covered in Love and believe in me. Thank you thank you!!

The Mexican Petunias have really showed out this summer.  I hope you're looking forward to a great weekend!

Linking to Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it Friday.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Covered in Love: an update

I realize it's been a while since I gave a proper in-depth update on Covered in Love.  Honestly, back when I started and wrote the original explanation of purpose for the main page I knew what I wanted to do, but didn't really know how it would play out in reality. In the past year and a half it's grown over time and morphed into something different than I imagined, but better.

The purpose of Covered in Love is, and always has been, providing comfort quilts to the families of patients who pass away in the hospital. Whenever possible we (that is, nurses, the hospital) try to get people someplace more comfortable to die, whether it's a hospice or their home, but sometimes that isn't possible. These are the people CiL serves.

I am often asked whether we actually give the quilt to the patients, of just to the families after a death?  The answer is, well, it depends.  We don't always get a lot of advance notice that someone is going to die (after all, if we had notice we'd have moved them to hospice) or everyone is so caught up in the efforts of saving their life that it doesn't become apparent until the last minute that it isn't going to work.  (In the beginning we had so few quilts that we didn't want to give one until we were really sure that person was going to die, and soon.) But sometimes, more often that you'd think, we do get enough notice to put a quilt on the bed when the patient is still alive, and sometimes even lucid enough to smile and enjoy it.  One example is when people are taken off of "life support" because everyone realizes efforts to save them have become futile.  Typically it's planned a day or so in advance to give family time to fly in from out of state and so everyone can make arrangements to be at the bedside.  Once someone is taken off life support it can take anywhere from minutes to days for them to pass.

In these cases, where the family is sitting by the bedside, keeping a death watch, making quiet phone calls to keep concerned relatives up to date, sharing stories of better times, crying, laughing and drinking lots and lots of coffee, a quilt provides a nice focal point. Something to talk about when you don't know what to say. Something to look at besides the drab, vinyl and press-board hospital furniture.

When CiL first started out we had a very narrow focus: exactly the sort of scenario I outlined above. That is, patients who had been in the hospital for some period of time, whose families decided this fight wasn't going to be winnable and withdrew aggressive treatment in favor of comfort care, but who were too "far gone" to make it to hospice.  In the beginning we had only a few quilts, less than 5 a month or so, so this small target population worked out well.  Five a month wasn't enough to serve all those people, perhaps half of them, but we weren't tapped in well enough to find them all, anyway. We never once ran out of quilts.

As the number of quilts grew, so did the demographic we served.  The chaplains have always been careful to keep their distribution true to my vision for the program and we began to have a surplus of quilts. So we branched out. I told one of them, "People die every day in this hospital, we just have to find them."  We began giving quilts to the families of patients who "coded" and died. That is, suddenly their heart stopped or they stopped breathing and efforts were made to revive them but were unsuccessful.  A few have been given by special request of nurses to patients they had gotten attached to who were dying, but not quite yet and discharged to hospice.

In the future we can certainly give out more in the ER where patients sometimes come in dying and never make it as far as being admitted.  Should we ever find ourselves with more quilts than we need, there are 2 other large hospitals in Tyler we can share with.  Just recently I dropped off a load of quilts that put us over 115!  The chaplains keep me updated regularly about the status of their quilt stash. Some weeks they may pass out 8 or 9 quilts, sometimes 2. Things go in waves like that.  They tell me about a husband who kept his quilt clutched to his chest when he finally walked out of the hospital for the last time, without his wife.

The success of CiL has been thanks to every person who has donated quilts, blocks, quilting, batting, fabric, and time to this program and its success truly belongs to all of us. Never doubt that what you do matters and thank you so much.  If this all ended tomorrow, I would be satisfied.

It isn't ending, don't worry ;) As I mentioned last week we are taking this month off from the usual block drive to give me a chance to catch up a bit, but check back at the end of the month for next month's drive.  Meanwhile I'll be posting some finishes here, and of course finished quilts, tops, or UFOs are always welcome donations.  Leave a comment or email for more information.

Sunday, September 4, 2016


Yesterday I sat down at my quilting machine for the first time in weeks, maybe a month to finally get some quilting done.  I started myself off easy with a quick little flannel baby quilt.  No sooner had I cut the threads off the machine than Rory made use of the fresh quilt!

My quilting day was fruitful, with two Covered in Love quilts added to the pile. You'll have to wait for Friday to see those ;)  With the triangle quilt finally off the design wall I threw some of the August CiL blocks up there to get a look at them.  This is not at all a final arrangement; I see that much lighter patch in the lower left, and the quilts will be smaller than this.

I'm looking forward to finally having a finish this Friday!

Linking to Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times.