Summer In Iowa

a couple of my blooming flowers

a couple of my blooming flowers


When I was dreaming of all the sewing I would do this summer I forgot about all the time the lawn and flower beds take. So I have shortened my sewing time, but I have gotten a lot of physical exercise instead and I guess that is good.

Carol's ready for the long-arm

Carol’s ready for the long-arm

My friends have been more productive than me. Carol had started this quilt a long time ago and the blocks were actually finished. She put it together this past month and it is so pleasant to the eye.


Joyce was able to join us and she had a finished project to share. These are not Joyce’s choice of colors, but she had acquired the fabric some how. Her granddaughter saw the fabric and loved it. Together they had pieced the blocks. Later Joyce assembled the top adding the fun prairie points. She quilted it on her domestic machine and did a great job.

Joyce's turtles

Joyce’s turtles

She is now working on quilting another quilt for a grandchild who loves turtles. The fabric choices are so fun.


Carolyn was so productive during our gathering. She was busy hand quilting this small quilt that she made from her stash. Carolyn lap quilts as she has done a lot of basting and it works.


In addition, Carolyn has started getting ready for Christmas bazaars. She designed and has made a bunch of these potholders. She treated the hostess (that’s me!) with one!


Sherry’s show and tell was a Coke table topper. It actually was made from the extra fabric when she made one for her daughter. This one was also for the hostess! I think I won the door prize at this meeting.

My quilt in progress

My quilt in progress

I have shared my work on clam shells in previous posts. They are finally all added to a quilt in progress. It looks like a small addition but it is a time consuming one. And I would say not one of my favorite hand stitching projects. However, I really like the result. This medallion quilt will have one more frame.

hand pieced blocks

hand pieced blocks

My progress on the had pieced blocks has not been going as fast as I originally dreamed. I had not taken into consideration yard and garden work when I was setting a timetable. I had also forgotten about small summer trips. but that is okay. I sew for pleasure not deadlines.

One dealine that I did give myself was to have the rock wall flower bed planted, mesh fabric laid, and rocks & bark applied. Doing this on hands and knees was another good exercise, but was only done is short spurts.

130 feet rock wall

130 feet rock wall

Lucy Boston, No Thanks

We go through so many trends and fads in quilting. Lucy was a little slow catching on in my part of the country, but she is alive and very well right now. If you are not familiar with Lucy Boston, she was an English quilt maker and made many lovely quilts. The one she made doing English Paper Piecing using the honeycomb shape has made her name quite common in the quilting world.

A Lucy Boston block

A Lucy Boston block

For a couple years I have seen the blocks and have been tempted, but have refrained until recently. When I bought all the supplies and made my first block with a group of friends.

I love my block and was thinking I would join this group and do one block a month just for the fun of it. I could chat and cut it out and begin basting at the meeting. Before the next one I would have my block completed. As a quilt takes 48 blocks, I would have enough in four years. I could live with this as I have several other projects in the works.

At the gathering of Lucy fans it was mentioned that you should do the framing of each block as you go or you will regret it when you want to put the blocks together. I read the instructions. It takes 16 background honeycombs for each block.

On the drive home, I thought about this. 48 X 16 = 768. Yikes! Selecting fabric for each block is fun. Fussy cutting is fun. Seeing a block come together is fun. Doing 768 honeycombs of the same solid fabric = BORING!

Castle Wall

Castle Wall

Facebook has a group of fussy cutters. It is so fun to scroll through it and see what others are doing. I fell hook-line-sinker for a quilt being done by a lady in the southern hemisphere. I love the internet!

Above is a picture of my first block. I hunted for a fabric similar to her centers. Go ahead and call me copycat. I can take it.

Look at the edges of the block. It is a square! There are no shapes needed to set the blocks. I have done the math. 48 blocks/ 3 blocks per week = 16 weeks or four months. I have already booked the long arm gal for this quilt.

I am not EPP these blocks.  I cut the templates with no seam allowance.  So when I am marking the fabric I am marking the stitching lines.  I guess the 1/4″ SA when I cut the pieces out.  I am hand piecing the blocks and find it rather a pleasant activity.

Yes, I had already set my goals for 2015 and was not going to get side tracked, but this is a hobby. Give me a break.

Sherry's quilt

Sherry’s quilt

My friends are staying focused if I am not. Above is a quilt Sherry has made for a daughter. It will be delivered next week right on schedule.  The fabric of choice is Oriental.  The appliqué was done my machine and is a first for Sherry.

Carol's quilt

Carol’s quilt

Carol’s 2014 get-r-done project was the above quilt. She just needed a little bit of 2015. Not only did she piece it, she also did the quilting. The center was done on a long arm and the boarder with her regular machine. She used a paper pattern for the boarder and did not mind tearing off the paper when finished.

I am liking the diagonal movement of both quilts as well as the quilting.

Making the blocks for the Little Black Dress II was a winter goal for Carol. She got it done and had the blocks attached by spring.


Carol teaches a class in her home. They have tried several patterns from Missouri Star.

Raw edge pinwheel

Raw edge pinwheel

One thing the Missouri Star is known for is leaving some raw edges. If you use pre-cut fabric you have pinked edges and can take advantage of them.

“Really Want To Make” project

I am working on my Really-Want-To-Make quilt. I am not certain if I am on schedule with it, but I am staying on the task.  I will say that I like the look of the clam shells, but I am finding this a boring task and would not recommend it.  In addition EPP the curved shape is tricky and not always a smooth curve when I do it.

I will end this post with some thoughts on what our quilts are worth. I have some of mine appraised as I want my children to at least appreciate the value if not the quilt itself. Appraisals will show what it would cost to buy all the materials and hire someone to make the quilt. The truth is that the market value of the quilt is often half of that.

All this being said, I quilt because I love to do it. It is my hobby. Doing so gives me pleasure. Hopefully it often gives pleasure to the person I give the quilt to.

Recently I went to the quilt show in Kalona, Iowa. There are two requirements to have a quilt in this show: 1. It has to be hand quilted. 2. It has to be for sale.


Would you or could you make the above quilt and sell it for 400$? My thinking is that quilters do not buy at the show as they are there to appreciate the work and be stimulated to do their own creations. Non-quilters also appreciate the quilts, but have no concept of the materials and labor.

Happy Easter

May you enjoy celebrating the Ressurection with those you love. My mother often crocheted a spring decoration for my children. IMG_7658 IMG_7659 IMG_7660

Made by Grandma

Made by Grandma

They were fun for the kids to open, but I probably enjoyed them more than the kids did. They still decorate my house each Easter season and mother has been gone for over seven years. IMG_7665 One of my granddaughter’s bedrooms was decorated quite neutral at there house. They didn’t want her to get tired of it. Thus adding a few pillows can set the stage for the current season. This year I made two grandchildren egg pillows. IMG_7663 As for their brother, I had to stay masculine. He just get a new throw pillow that matched his bedroom. The new baby in our family got a tie attached to his onesie. IMG_7669

First machine and hand appliqué

First machine and hand appliqué

It is fun each year to pull out things I made in the past and only appear for a couple months of the year. /

purchased placemats

purchased placemats

I did not make this set of placemats. Rather I purchased them prior to my quilting days. I love the gentle fabrics.

Wool work

Wool work

I made one new spring decoration. I copied one of my friends. I love it as the browns are more appropriate for my house than all the pastels.

First B-day

First B-day

May you enjoy the new springs in your life. We had one treasure just turn one! And only a grandma would buy the headband hat!

Valentine in the Sun

Happy Valentines Day

Happy Valentines Day

February is the shortest month of the year, but for those who live in the northern states, it seems like the longest. I often try to find a way to escape for at least part of the winter. My husband’s cows start calving in February therefore he cannot leave. It is fun when I can find a traveling partner who also is ready to escape winter for a week or two.

Carol's first project

Carol’s first project

This year we were able to find a condo on Padre Island. I am sitting on the balcony with the sound of ocean waves in the background. The humming of Carol’s sewing machine makes the harmony perfect. We set up our sewing studio in our living room. The above photo is that of her first project. She had purchased the kit sometime ago.

A Jo Morton pattern

A Jo Morton pattern

The above is my first project. It was started at a Jo Morton class years ago. Jo taught hand piecing where you make no stitches into the seam allowance when joining two pieces. Thus you have more freedom when pressing the block. You may press the seam allowance any way you want or it wants.  The hand sewing was done to make the star blocks. I finished them up after getting home from the class. Then I packed up the kit and put it away.

The perfect HST?

The perfect HST?

The one inch finished HST was probably the reason for the stall. I have now made them using a roll of paper piecing which makes a mountain of HST with speed. I really did stitch on the lines perfectly. I finger  pressed the blocks prior to the iron pressing. I came down on the block like a helicopter to prevent stretching it. Then why do I have such an assortment of sizes?

The little 17″ square quilt is finished due to a lot of fudge work. It is not perfect but it has left the UFO drawer.

My first block that finishes at three inches

My first block that finishes at three inches

My second project comes from shopping at a quilt show a couple of years ago. The samples all look so great there. But as I have another project already going at home, any kits purchased come home and get neatly put away. My frustration in getting this kit out is that I forgot to ask if I could take a picture of the sample after I bought the kit. That should be standard proceedure.

Once again I am sewing on a line yet not everything is coming out perfect. We have discovered that the same error appears on all four blocks I have finished. Could the paper piecing paper have an error? I am going to play with it a little when I proceed.

Carol's blocks

Carol’s blocks

Carol is making faster progress. She is working with Little Black Dress II fabric. There are three of us that are using the same fabric and pattern.

Most winter guests in Texas find the Rosa Markets fascinating.  All the garments are in a heap and you climb around in it hunting.  I was looking for wool garments as that has become a fad to felt the wool and then make a craft item with it.  It has become so popular back home that the used clothing stores rarely have ony wool on the racks.  We will see if I do anything with my finds, but it was a fun outing on a drizzling day.

marge at top

Another fun find has been quilt shops.  We did some research before we left home to provide us with stops along the route.  Of course there are some disappointments.  One had gone out of business and another was closed as they were moving.  It would be wise to call ahead.   Another had fabric that was on the market over ten years ago.  The price had been changed to 11.99.  It should have been on a sale rack and long gone!

Happy Valentines Day to you and yours!



I trust that you had a great Christmas time and are now recovered from all the commotion. It takes awhile for my house to recover. new year Part of why it takes so long is that I have to find things back.  I put so much away to make room for Christmas and then I have to find just where I put it.

Ready for hot water and soap bath

Ready for hot water and soap bath

After about 10 days of thinking of where and searching I found two boxes well hidden so they would not get broken. I remember the days of spring and fall deep cleaning. Those days are long past. But my things do get a good dish soap washing when they come back out in January. The furniture gets an oil treatent also. good place January is also a time to plan and set goals for the coming year.  Just what will I spend my time sewing and quilting?  For the last couple years my small group has had each member declare a get-r-done project.  I had set two for this past year.  One of them did come back from the quilter in December and now it is bound.  The issue is, that it was a nice quilt but nothing real special.  I spent a lot of $$$ having it quilted and now I wonder if it was worth it.  Just where do I want to invest my time and money?  Is there a reason that I stopped working on the quilt?  Could I have finished it in a less expensive way and put it to good use?

A once in a life quilt

A once in a life quilt

This year I have asked the ladies to think about a quilt they have always wanted to make, but have put it off. We easily get distracted by a new idea or a challenge or something the group is doing.  You might even have bought the fabric for it, dreaming of making that special quilt.  The above quilt is one of those.  My friend Clarene has finished the top and is now working with her ‘winter in Texas friends’ to get it hand quilted.

A lot of hand stitching getting started

A lot of hand stitching getting started

I have several in mind, but need to decide which one to take on for 2015.  The above photo is that of a quilt I started two years ago, and has been put on hold.  I do want to spend some time on it, but I also want to do that special quilt.  I will post progress on both quilts.  I also need to post what our small group is planning to learn by doing.


Easter bunny apron

Easter bunny apron

As for distractions.  I recently did a short program on APRONS.  The above is one in my collection and I have thought a few times of reproducing it.  Another lady asked for the pattern.  Yesterday I went to a print shop to photo copy all the sections on big sheets of paper and come up with a pattern.  This is exactly what I have asked the group to not allow!  Stay focused on our goals!  But I do have a granddaughter who would look so cute in it!

Another way to hand quilt

Another way to hand quilt

My friend, Clarene, that finished a Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt top is working on hand quilting another one.  May you enjoy many relaxing minutes of hand stitching.


We all attend many parties this time of year.  One of my favorite parties is the one I host with my quilting friends.  Not only do we share the passion of quilting.  As we have gathered for the last five years we have become close friends.  We care about the other lives these ladies represent.


Each one of us has our own set of relatives that we care about.  We share the joys and sorrows with one another.  Above is a sample of gifts the ladies will be giving to their loved ones.  Carol is fortunate that her siblings still gather together this time of year.  In addition to the fun fellowship they will each go home with a new table runner to sparkle up their home.

Album quilt of Carolyn's family

Album quilt of Carolyn’s family

Carolyn shared this family memory.  Several years ago she gathered the autographs of her immediate family and made a memory quilt of them.

Our groups monthly Christmas blocks.

Our groups monthly Christmas blocks.

Sharon had several near finished projects to share with us.  This one is the Christmas quiilt that we worked on through out the year.  The binding just needs a few more hand stitches


She also shared quilts returned from a new long-arm quilter.  We are always interested in who is new in the business of helping us finish our projects.  This was our groups block exchange for parts of 2013 and 2014.

Sharon's Sylivia quilt, finished!

Sharon’s Sylvia quilt, finished!

2012-2013 we did the Sylvia’s Bridal Sampler blocks.  We only did a part of the book and we each had more than enough blocks to make large quilts.  What is fun of this project is that we each have identical blocks but our own layout of them.

A fall panel quilt

A fall panel quilt

Sharon also shared a nice fall wall hanging she made using an opportunity fabric.


Even though fall is past for us, there is always next year and it is fun to be ready.  Carolyn will be as she finishes up this project.  The 9-patches were part of an on-line block exchange that she participated in.

Donna's Bingo quilt

Donna’s Bingo quilt

Some in our group were inspired by the Little Black Dress fabric line.  I placed a large order for the fabric and we spent a day cutting out the quilt of choice.  Donna chose the above pattern and it has turned out so stunning.  The total name of the pattern is Boxtrot 2: Bingo by Creative Sewlutions. We all love to make quilts but we also want our loved ones to enjoy receiving them.  Therefore we often have to step out of our box.  Good for you, Donna.

There are no photos of the final part of our party.  I wanted to give my friends a gift:  RELAXATION.  Between the main course and dessert, I provided each one with a foot soaking.  They were a little surprised when I asked them to remove shoes and socks.  They were replaced with a tub of warm water, body oil, and epson salt.  They each received a tsp. of body scrub to remove any rough skin.  The final step was a little body oil to seal the foot from dry winter air.

They all went home refreshed to face the hustle of the season.


All of us will entertain once during the Thanksgiving – Christmas season.  A lot of us will do it several times.  A few years ago the theme for my guild’s quilt show was hospitality.  At the time I had other things going, but when I saw this pattern by Kim Dielh I was ready to start something new.

Old Fashioned Hospitaliy

Old Fashioned Hospitality

My Old Fashioned Hospitality will be in our quilt show, just three years late.  I am not dedicated to hand appliqué but I sorta enjoy the sit-down activity.    Like anything else it takes practice; lots of it.

Nutcracker Sweater

Nutcracker Sweater

After my gifts to my three girls went to the quilter, I started doing some Christmas shopping on the internet.  I saw these cute sweaters.  I have three young grandsons.  The sweaters and shirts got ordered.  Children do not enjoy opening clothes at Christmas, so I just give it to them at another time.

Nutcracker Christmas dresses

Nutcracker Christmas dresses

Could I find dresses with nutcracker fabric used on them?  I did but they were 30$ and they were just cotton and very simple. Could I make them nicer and cheaper?  I like the ones I made, but cheaper was not part of it.  I was able to find the fabric on line.  The order was 40$.  Then the patterns, that bill was over 20$.  What happened to the 4-5$ patterns?  Dress number three gets tried on today and then hemmed.

Little Elsie's dress

Little Elsie’s dress

Of course, then I had to hunt for white tops to go under the jumpers.  Do you know that every knit top made has some character stamped on it?  It was a major hunt.  Yesterday I stumbled into Gymboree at the mall.  They had plain white knit tops, and I had a choice to two neck trims!  As I checked out I told the clerk my excitement of finding a collar on a little girl’s top.  She said that I was not the first grandmother to say that!  So dainty collars on little girls must be way out of style!

The outfit would not be complete without tights or leggings.  See, I am a little hip as I know the term leggings!

Newborn outfits

Newborn outfits

As I have been in fabric shops for the past couple months I have been looking for a tiny nutcracker!  When I was ready surrender this idea, I found just the ticket!   I just removed one pocket and covered one logo.  We have a grandson arriving around Dec. 20!  I figured we might need two outfits as he might soil one before the first picture is taken.

With this clothes concept conquered I went back to sewing on quilts.  I felt all my body relax as I did so.  I will not make clothes again!

More shopping done.  I found cheap nutcracker ornaments to add to the ribbon on each grand’s toy present.  I have bought a nutcracker statue to go home with each family.  I love a Christmas with a theme!

Why do us women do this?  Hospitality means clean!  We want our guests to think that we are always tidy and clean!  Last week some gals were coming to my home.  I just had to wipe out the fridge.  They might open it for the cream for their coffee! Now with Thanksgiving coming…



Last night I tried the overnight oven cleaning technique that is all over the internet.  This is the after picture, so you can see that it does not conquer all.  A few tips:  Have the last person going to bed, put the ammonia and boiling water in the oven.  I went to bed two hours before the husband.  He did not really enjoy the ammonia scented air freshener.  Second, and this comes from a former Chemistry teacher, do not use your heavy metal dutch oven for the boiling water.  You will have to make tomato soup in it or boil cream of tarter in it to return the surface to shiny.

May you enjoy the season of HOSPITALITY!  marge

Dots of Clean-Up

Another Christmas present is done! Or at least the quilt top is done and it has an appointment with a great long-arm gal.

Love N Mariage

Love N Marriage

These are T-shirts that my daughter brought me with much enthusiasm a few years ago. I did not share her enthusiasm. T-shirt quilts do not excite me. It took three years to come up with an idea. She loved the polka-dot quilt, but it was already spoken for. It was finished and there was still a box of polka-dot fabric.

Finishing the border

Finishing the border

If you have the space, you occupy it, I finished this quilt up in the lower level large family room. There were polka-dots from one end of it to the other!



The big box became a medium box!

Fortunately, there was the final pressing. I like to spray the quilt with Magic Sizing and walk away for it to have time to soak into the fibers. Then I press it. I walk away again to be sure the fabric is dry and cooled down before I shift the quilt to the next part to be pressed.

During these minutes away I began the clean-up and packing away of scraps large enough for another project. My friends might notice in the background that some tiny pieces actually got cut into squares.


I had created my own block of the month plan for 2014. I had three new quilts that I wanted to make and they are all pieced! They are all currently getting quilted and should be finished by the end of the year.

Polka Dots

Polka Dots

This is the last of the three Block of the Month projects. Yes, there are 12 blocks and it is not December yet. The inspiration to finish it was that each month when I got out the fabric to cut a new block, I had forgotten the little tricks to make it work. Such as one month I traced the pattern on the backs of the fabric. Thus the point is no longer at the top of the block! Thus I decided I just needed to keep at it so as I would not have to press the fabric every month. I could cut out multiple shapes at one time…..

I learned so much with this quilt. For one thing, the center circle covers a lot of sins, but not all of them. You can see that not every spoke is the same size. I also learned that this is the style of quilt my adult children would enjoy. One actually asked to have her name put on it! That has never happened!

like my dots


Inspiration from Sisters, Oregon

Inspriration always comes from other quilts. The above are a couple pictures I found on the internet.



The above quilt won a red ribbon at the IA State Fair 2013 and went on to earn a blue one at the DM-AQS Show.

Quilt Shows are where I get most of my inspiration. Last year at the Iowa State Fair I saw two polka dot quilts. I began shopping for polka dot fabric immediately. I started studing patterns for the dots. Patchwok Fundamentals is where I discovered the pattern I wanted to imitate. Later, I realized that I could have ordered the pattern!

Patchwork Fundamentals

Patchwork Fundamentals

 Below are a couple of my favorites from this year Iowa State Fair and they are both medallions. My friends know that I love medallion quilts.

Best of Show at Iowa State Fair!

Best of Show at Iowa State Fair! – Pieced

I love the colors of this one!

Blue Ribbon winner at the Iowa State Fair

Blue Ribbon winner at the Iowa State Fair – Mixed Technique

One more Ribbon winner. I would love to visit this imaginary farm.

blue - Iowa State Fair

Blue Ribbon – Iowa State Fair

Below is another quilt I have ready for the quilter. The fabric line is Little Black Dress II. And the pattern is Mezmerized.


My adult children are into more modern and I thought this might appeal to them. Instead they surprised me with love of the polka dots.

Our adult children have provided us with fun batch of grandchildren. Two of them are starting kindergarten this year. One of them has another grandpa who started school in Germany. There is a tradition there of giving a child a Schultuete on their first day of school. It is so cute and big! It is filled with things you might put in a Christmas stocking. Our little guy was so excited!

A first day of school Schultuete

A first day of school Schultuete

As a former school teacher I get rather nostalgic at this time of year. May all the little ones have a successful year.

Small Group Gathering

Clarene's medallion

Clarene’s medallion

My small group has been meeting for over five years. Clarene joined us for a brief time.  She and her husband love to travel so she could not commit for the long haul. The above quilt has just been finished.  It is hand quilted!  She and friends worked on it at her winter home in Texas. Years ago, we had each been challanged to make a medallion one border at a time. Clarene finished piecing hers on schedule and then waited for the opportunity to have it hand quilted!  It is lovely and worth the wait.

embrodery kit

embrodery kit

Five years in the making: Clarene had bought this kit years ago at a sale. She persevered to finish it! She hand quilted it on a lap hoop. Kits like this usually had the quilting lines, along with the embordery pattern, all printed on the fabric.  Many have been started, but fewer finished.

Clarene's Grandma's flower garden

Clarene’s Grandma’s flower garden

Clarene has the personality of if you start something, you finish it. Many of us quilters could learn from her. Her Grandmother’s Flower Garden is an excellant take along project. She does a lot of it while her husband is driving the motor home.  She claims that she did not know she was supposed to frame each flower with white.  We all love the result!  The stunning color goes with Clarene’s personality.

Of course we discussed the options of the best way to bind this special quilt design. Sharon is also nearing this delema.

Sharon's progress

Sharon’s progress

I find this pattern of quilt tops often at antique shows. Many women struggle with the finishing of this pattern. How do you quilt it? Do you quilt in every Hexy? How do you bind it? Do you make all those 60′ turns? Yikes!

Donna's first wool work

Donna’s first wool work

We go from very challanging to very relaxing. Donna look a class on wool work and fell in love! No ‘needle turning’. This makes another great travel project. Donna also winters somewhere in a warmer climate. This is also an easier project to finish. Put it in a frame!

Carolyn was working on hand quilting a darling house quilt, but I missed the photo op. Most women find real peace in handwork. I also think we are programed not to have our hands idle.

Our Christmas project

Our Christmas project

Joyce has not been idle. She has the Christmas project ready for a border! Others have also worked on theirs.

Sandi's finished project

Sandi’s finished project

Sandi even did the quilting on her finished project. You might not be able to see it, but part of the top is raw edged. The pattern has you use pre-cut charms and some of the pinked edges are exposed.


Today’s color scheme was a little challenging. Double Split Complimentary: your favorite color does not even get to be in the block!


Double Split Complimentry

Double Split Complimentry

I can enjoy both the pure color block and the subtle Civil War fabric block. That is our goal in this color study:sometimes try some different colors. At least add a surprise color to your favorite comfort zone of colors.

This block also provided a mini lesson on pressing.  We often hear “press towards the dark”.  but there are often times when you need to press the way the fabric wants to go.  HST and flying geese have a mind of their own.  Don’t fight them.  Let them determine how the entire block gets pressed.  On this block the top and bottom rows determine how the rest must go.  Turn the rows upside down and press accordingly.

Carolyn really enjoyed the design of the block; Sister’s Choice. She went wild making the block this past month!  May your small group also encourage you to go wild in your sewing room!

Carolyn's color blocks

Carolyn’s color blocks