Saturday, November 10, 2012

Mondo Bag

I got sidetracked from my quilting the other day and made a couple Quiltsmart Mondo Bags - one for my sister and one for myself.  They go together rather quickly and look cool.  Here is a link with a YouTube video showing them.  The only thing I did that really wasn't following the directions that saved a lot of time was I didn't cut the two sides apart that are on the panels (two per Mondo Bag) until after I had finished sewing the them - just remember not to sew the line between the panels and you are good to go.

I have almost finished the blocks for Carris' quilt but ran out of a fabric and the quilt shops didn't have it so I am waiting for the mail.  In the mean-time I started a quilt out of Quilts from the House of Tula Pink by Tula Pink of course.  I am actually following directions, shocker, and making the quilt that is on the cover of the book.  I have a good start, but just got to the white wedges part and will post about how that works - random is meeting random so I have my doubts.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Stitching Time

A lot has happened since I last posted... not surprising since it has been so long.  I suddenly find myself with time to spare so quilts will dance and I will be posting more often than I have.  Sadly the reason I have time is I am on leave from my job to spend some quality time kicking cancer's proverbial but.  On the bright side I have way more time to quilt and my parent's home has room for me to sew in and that is a good thing.

I started Carys' quilt today, well earnestly started since I had sewn a few stitches in Anchorage.  It is full of happy blues, greens, a dash of pink, a multicolored agate swatch and let me not forget a sprinkle of Peeps.  Just when I started really getting going the needle on the machine broke and a bit fell in the machine's works and it hasn't worked since.  :(  Tomorrow it will have a nice visit with the sewing machine repair shop and all will be well.  If only I were patient.  Oh well, here is a sneak peek.

Happy fabrics... so many possibilities.

This could be the start of something interesting.
BTW, thanks Gayle for the fabric funds.  A good day anyway, and mom's violets are a cheerful sight... they remind me of Grandma Grace and Aunt Olga, they had such a way with violets their thumbs were practically purple.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


My Uncle helped me make this table top and send it here from Anchorage.  My house has one we also made that has an orange design on it.  Brandi, Kevin, Paula's family is growing... Thane has a new baby sister... so I thought they could use a bigger table.  I blocked out the design with painter's tape and contact paper, then Kim dropped by and helped me paint the design.  Over the weekend I painted layers of polyurethane to protect it from daily wear and tear.  This table has the oil-based polyurethane and seems like a lot tougher finish than the water based polyurethane I used on my my table.   Kevin and Kim took the legs off the old table and voila... a new table is born.  The bottom picture is of Kim setting up a tent in our living room... you can see a little of our table in the foreground.  You can tell the same person designed both.  :)  The new table top is great and everyone is happy with it, so a job well done.


Chloe's Quilt

This is a light quilt with no batting (for the summer in Louisiana)

The houses were sewn when I did the other house quilt... didn't take long to make two houses instead of one when I was cutting fabric for it.  These are for my mom and dad... still deciding on the border.
Last weekend I supposed to be in Anchorage at a conference, then have a personal day (free day) in town before heading back to Newtok.  Weather didn't permit.  So I was a little depressed... and sewed my frustration away.
I love living here... I just missed having a break in my routine.

Island League Quilts

Aurora... one of the embroiderers.
 Newtok hosted the Island League Tournament this year (hosting duty rotates between sites).  As something a little different the students embroidered blocks and we made mini quilts as the trophies for the games.  It was fun to hear the students get into the embroidering job and the winners looked happy with their spoils.  Districts are this week and we are hopeful that the Newtok Jaegers can earn a seat in the state games this year.
Sportsmanship, Boys (We won this.)

Sportsmanship, Girls (Chefornak won this.)

 The initial plan had a somewhat complicated sort of Mariner's Compass extending from the central block... the pieces of that headache are still showing on the sportsmanship awards.  It was close to the tournament and the design was simplified to have them done in time.
3rd Place Boys (Chefornak won this.)

2nd Place Boys (We won this.)

2nd Place Girls (Toksook won this.)

1st place Boys (Toksook won this.)

1st place Girls (Chefornak won this.)

Monday, February 20, 2012


Felt like camping this weekend... the heat was out at home.  Last night I could see my breath in the livingroom.  Somehow the pipes didn't freeze.  I snuggled down under a pile of quilts and thanked my lucky stars I had an electric mattress pad.  My roommate abandon the house and slept on our neighbor's couch.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Qaspeq for Gina

This is the qaspeq I made for Gina in Kipnuk.  She was named for a former student and friend of mine who always was ready to share a smile.  I never heard her speak a harsh word about anyone... and now she is gone much too soon.  Her sister welcomed new baby Gina into the world in January... and I hope she is blessed with the kind heart of her namesake and a full wonderful life.

Wii Play With Scraps

the side... pinned with interfacing fabric between two layers
I like to play Super Mario Brothers III... I can finally run and with the help of my roommate we have finished the game (every level all the star coins...) and are about to do that again.  So there is this cardboard box in the living-room with all this Wii junk (me trying to find another game as awesome as Super Mario III) and I had just finished Kim's quilt.  There wasn't much fabric left over so I made a pen case to see if I could remember the one time I ever sewed a zipper... then I made a bag for the Wii stuff.  I have a pile of pictures but it is kind of hard to see my process... there is an inner wall (a loop of a wall sewed into the seam) to separate things and a pocket on the outside for remotes.  It is a bit too small, but it works and looks a lot better than the cardboard box.
my laughable planning process

inner pocket with side

base with outside

box that has to go

my bag

I should have made it a little bigger :)

pen/pencil case for Kim

Friday, February 10, 2012

Buffalo Chips (not what you think)

Buffalo Jump
 First off let me say the song "Buffalo Soldier" by Bob Marley and the Wailers is near impossible to extricate from your head once lodged there by the mere mention of buffalo.  Having grown up in Yellowstone National Park I am fully aware these are bison, but I am not going to get all Monk about it and just let it go.  This is that quilt I found cut and well on its way in my fabric bins.  I don't remember starting it either... but I like how it turned out.  It is off on the larger picture... the closer one gets the colors better... I am still contemplating what border to put on this.  If I can find some of the Kenti cloth looking fabric I am leaning that way.  I think it is a Kaffe Fasset fabric so I'll be off the Glorious Color and investigate.  Bingo!  It is called "Shirt Stripes" and I think I'll use the blue colorway to contrast with the red I used in the quilt (I did use blues so it will work.  I am totally plugging for Glorious Color because I have used it for fabric orders for years and years and they are always super quick and the fabric pictured is as expected (though sometimes prettier). They don't pay me so take it for what it is.

I already blogged about this quilt but only had one crappy picture so I guess that is all I have to say until it is done.  :)

Buffalo Jump (17 squares by 17 squares each about 5 inches... you do the math)

... and finally for the chips.  I meant electronic chips since this is a quick note about about my awesome FIRST FTC robotics teams.  One won an award for perseverance and the other was part of a winning alliance that earns them a ticket to the state meet in Fairbanks next month.  Woot!  I couldn't be prouder of the teams' behavior and extraordinary work they put into their bot this season.  I am looking forward to seeing their robot change by March and zoom about at the state competition.  What a great experience it will be.

Twice a Day (but not by perscription)

Kim's Quilt Complete?
 As promised some pictures of Kim's quilt in its ready to be be quilted state.  It really fits Kim who isn't fruffy (even though there are pinks and purples) and a lover of plaids.  Yes, I know there are no plaids here, but the plaids I had just didn't inspire me at all.  What do you do with plaids?  They apparently gather dust in my fabric bins. 


Photos Found - Start with the Farmer's Wife Blocks

I found a way to download my photos - but not the cord yet.  I thought I would start by posting pictures of my latest Farmer's Wife Quilt-A-Long blocks.
Broken Dishes... my favorite :)

This was made thrice but I really like the block... the fabrics sing together.

The points aren't perfect but they are pretty nice anyway.  I made the next block too.... but it is 2 inches too big so I guess it will be a pot-holder or mug rug.  That is what I get for not getting the templates printed and just trying to figure them out on my own.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Imagine That

Still no pictures... picture this.  I am using a souvenir napkin, a la 50's I think, of Alaska as a center panel for a quilt.  I have done this before with a table cloth and gave it to my Aunt and Uncle (or as my students tease me... my Aunt Knuckle).  The print is in primary colors and so far I have a scrappy row of reds around the center.  I am thinking almost a sampler of different blocks setting off the panel.  The next row is going to have a navy blue and white Hawaiian print with yellow star print playing off it.  Anyone else play with table clothes in their quilts?

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Do you ever feel misplaced?
I seem to have seriously misplaced my cord that allows me to free my photos from my camera... searching.   Speaking of misplaced I was cleaning the fabric bins last weekend and found an entire quilt I had begun and set aside.  This isn't an unusual event, but the weird thing is I don't remember beginning the quilt.  It had fabrics I would use and I totally could tell where I was going but I really don't remember beginning it.  I must have been very stressed out and busy when I did it.  Perhaps in the move from Kipnuk?  Anyway I sewed it up already.

I think I'll call the quilt "Buffalo Jump."  It features a running buffalo print offset by random colored squares framed in red prints.  It is a rather dark quilt, being mostly rich browns and reds and dragged from my memory reading about buffalo jumps the jumps were described as "buckets of blood" since the processing of a large number of buffalo at once was not a very clean undertaking.  The reds in the quilt with the buffalo blocks reminded me of that.  "Buffalo Jump" sounds happier than "Bucket of Blood" too.  Maybe "Bucket of Blood" should be my next quilt... has to be modern and abstract... scary I am even thinking it.
Here is a very poor quality shot of a tiny piece of the quilt... searching for the link between my camera and my computer.  I don't think PhotoBooth does a good job.

Next project is a group of wall hanging quilts that the students are embroidering centers to for the upcoming Island League Basketball Tournament.  Paper-piecing to follow.  We had games in Newtok last weekend and we are almost into Wednesday and the teams are still here... it is officially too cold to have students travel though it is warm enough for a fire drill.  Brrrrrrrrr.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Last weekend :)

Slightly chilled :)

Kim with her quilt in progress...

I needed the school's floor to lay out the blocks.


I can't find the #@****! cord for my camera so the pictures will have to wait until later.  I just finished the stripey quilt for Kim.  I used an idea from a Kaffe Fasset book (can't remember which one) but it basically was cutting striped fabric squares diagonally and sewing them back together into chevrons.  I did this with little squares that were made into 9 patch blocks and off-set them with larger squares.  Simple but a nice clean happy look for my good friend Kim.  I had some plaid fabric for her, but couldn't get into any sort of plaid mindset... still looking for inspiration there.  Any ideas for plaids?

I also took some of the scraps and made a bag for the Wii junk in the living room — quite an improvement over the cardboard box that was dong the job (though I should have made the bag a little larger, I didn't realize there was that much stuff for the Wii).  Favorite Wii game by far is Super Mario III.  It is hard to be in a bad mood with that happy music and the ability to leap about and keep using those continues when you mess up (also handy to play with someone that is there to pop your bubble).

Other uses for the scraps from Kim's quilt were... a gift for Betsy's birthday, a pen bag, and a wonky log cabin quilt using an idea from Block Party.  What a great book!  I would love to get involved in an on-line quilting bee.  Hmmm.  Speaking of the book I shipped off a box of not being used quilting books last week too.  I love quilting books but find I very very rarely actually follow a pattern.  I get loads of ideas from them... though the books with a bajillion line drawn block patterns are overwhelming.  I prefer pretty pictures of fabulous brave fabric combinations and patterns put to work.  Surprise me and I'm yours.  Any new favorites out there that I should check out?  Frankly the blogs have been feeding my brain lately... so many talented people generously sharing their time.

Lastly I tripped over my Farmer's Wife blocks and said oops.  They were sort of forgotten for a while.  I had seven blocks and sewed five more last weekend.  Pictures pictures pictures to follow.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Out Of Africa

This one is for Bethany in Toksook; I hope it is helpful (to others too).

I made this quilt when I had a pile of African fabrics that my cousin had sent while she was in the Peace Corps.  I loved the fabrics but I was stymied trying to get the fabrics to work using the quilt patterns I had been been using.  I needed something to "turn the volume down" so they could dance in a quilt.  When I was sorting fabric looking for a solid the African prints landed near the yellow orange print I used in the quilt.  All those prints needed another print to dance, what a surprise.

The pattern for the quilt I made up, but I have seen this pattern since, so like most quilts I owe my ideas to others. First I cut the mix of prints into 2 1/2 inch strips.  I don't know how many (sorry) some math person could figure it out, but I just cut some fabric and sew... this time I made two quilts because there were a lot of all of the fabrics involved and I wanted a quilt and I also wanted to give my cousin a quilt to welcome her back from the Peace Corps.  The other reason I don't know is the fabric I had was "Pieces, Pieces" an odd mix of shapes and sizes, not the standard 45" most fabric comes in off a bolt.  I would start with a total of about 15-20 strips... total guess let me know what you used and how big your quilt ended up.  Next cut 5 or 6 strips of the "background fabric" about 5 inches wide.

Sew the 2 1/2 strips along both sides of the five inch strips.  Then cut your new 3 fabric strips into five inch sections.  Each of these five inch sections will have a 2 1/2 inch strip sewn to other two sides and you have finished blocks... super easy.  Now just lay them out on the floor and arrange them as you like... Note I did turn the blocks to make the pattern.

I know many people have different methods for how they keep track of the rows as they sew... My method is to pin a post-it not in the the top left hand corner of the first block in each row.  The Post-it has the row number and sometimes other notes (the last quilt I made had two blocks that I had to make after laying it out so the notes pointed out where those blocks went).  Then I pick them up in stacks and go sew.  If I can just leave the blocks out on the floor as I go, I sometimes just make larger and larger blocks (2 by2's, then 4by4's etc.) until I have the top put together.  I added a 3 1/2 inch strip of the "background" fabric as a border around the edges.  Once your quilt top is done you assemble the "quilt sandwich" baste or pin, quilt, then bind, then perhaps sign... take pictures (I didn't do this on my early quilts and now I wish I had pictures of some of the)... and enjoy.  I like to use Quilter's Dream but there are many different battings available to choose from.

Bev Palm did the quilting on this particular quilt.  She has amazing long arm quilting skills and cusomizes what she quilts to the quilt (and the quilter).  I must admit I am always jazzed to make a new quilt top, but not as into putting the sandwich together.  I love the work done at this stage, I guess I'm just too lazy to wrestle the quilt through my not very fancy machine.  Some people ask what machine people use... I have an old Kenmore.  It is loud, but sews OK.  Since it does its job I haven't replaced it.  I think too much money is spent on really fancy machines; especially by beginners.  If your machine can consistently sew a straight stitch... life is good. 

See... this is guaranteed to be fabrics made in Africa :)
I even had an embroidery label made (You can see this quilt is a few years old).
I think this is my longest post ever.  Last words... if you run out of fabric, don't stress yourself out.  The quilts you make will sometimes be more unique due to how you solve the unique problems you have living in bush Alaska.
BTW Congrats Sarah and Dylan!  (They just got engaged.)