Saturday, February 26, 2011

UFO Update

TA DAH!  JELLY BEANS has its borders on!

Isn't that the prettiest border fabric?  I just love it.  (That's why I told you not to judge it before the borders were on.)  You can see the A1 sticker in the top block - I left it there so I hung it on the wall the right way - and will leave it on until I label the top of the top for the long-arm quilter.  Can you see that the white fabric actually has a very light green toile kinda print in it?  It's really faint - sorry - but it is really pretty.

So - now that the top is complete - I have moved this UFO from Stage 10 to Stage 5.  It still needs the back, sleeve, binding, label, etc. - but the TOP IS DONE - YAY! 

I know everyone else in the UFO Challenge has completed their UFO all the way through the binding and label stage - and I congratulate them.  BUT I am also a SLOW POKE QUILTER - and I have the badge to prove it.  ;))

In the next day or two -  I want to show you how I did my borders - when I get it written up and all of the photo links worked out.

I don't know yet what the March UFO # is - and at this point - I don't really care.  ;))  I'm a retired CPA - and I spent over thirty years trying to get something done by a certain date.  Trying to meet a deadline - any kind of deadline - is just not a part of who I am any more.  The RETIRED part doesn't have to do that any more.  I can do what I want to do - when I want to do it - and at my own pace.  I may play along - just for fun - and then again I may not.  We'll see.  Stay tuned.

Besides - part of my new toy came today!  When I get the actual toy - I want to play with it!

Talk to you later - gotta go -

Thanks, guys!

I want to thank those of you who took the time to leave comments on my posts.  I really enjoy reading them - and like I said - they let me know that I'm not just talking to myself.

I want to thank Julie and Rose for commenting on my ILHQA post.  We may have another meeting in a month or so. (haha)  Maybe we can scrounge up some more members by then.

Julie - I'm glad you liked my "Hello, Kitty" line.  It seems that everyone but me can say that phrase - so I thought the AA formula was perfect.  And I totally agree with you about "left-handed" scissors and other tools.  Right-handers (no offense) have no idea what left-handers need or want.  They think if they just "reverse" it - it will work.  If it were only that easy!  And they usually "reverse" the wrong part anyway.  Why should the blades come apart when you use LH scissors? - that's not the part we need reversed.  Why can't they reverse the blades so we can see the edge we are cutting like RHs can?   And why can't I figure out how to get that done?  Who do I have to talk to?  Hey, you - scissors guys - yeah, you!  Listen up!  Julie and I want to talk to you! (RH - try cutting out a heart or something while holding the scissors in your left hand - see what we mean.  Are the handles comfortable in your left hand?  Do you cut clockwise or counter-clockwise?  Can you actually see what you are cutting - or is one of the blades in the way?  When you are done - are you holding the heart or the part that goes in the trash?) 

Rose - I have problems with rotary cutting, too.  I was thinking of trying to work up some left-handed blocks and cutting diagrams.   What do you think?  And - hey - you need to start a blog so we can follow your projects.  It's not really hard - it's just time consuming - like most things - and it's a whole lot of FUN!!

And I heard from mainer-meinca - one of my right-handed followers!

WELCOME ALL RIGHT-HANDED READERS!  Just because my header says -

A blog for Left-Handed Quilters - my attempt to reduce the global confusion once and for all.

it doesn't mean that you are not welcome.  You may not necessarily "get" some of our left-handed dilemmas - and wonder why we have trouble sometimes - but it might make for some interesting reading.  And I want to post other stuff about what I'm working on - some photos - and whatever else strikes my fancy on any particular day.  So again - WELCOME!!

Oh - hey - I just thought of another example of "just reverse it" for our right-handed friends.  Let's say the "normal" keyboard is left-handed.  What if I "just reverse" the keys for you so you can use it right-handed?

OK - here you go -

= - 0 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1  

\ ] [ P O I U Y T R E W Q

' ; L K J H G F D S A

/ . , M N B V C X Z

Now try typing something.  You have to think about it - huh?  Not as easy as it sounds -  huh?  Bet you can't find anyone out there to teach you, either.  Bet there aren't any books or classes available.  Bet all of the typing instructions you find are for the "normal" keyboard - not yours.

Anyway - mainer-meinca gave me some GREAT suggestions - one of which was to join some SWAPS.  I told her -

Swaps are not "my thing" just yet - I have too many UFOs that need to be worked on - have you seen my list? I try to work on them - and try to take photos as I go along - and then try to blog about it - but before I know it - a week has gone by and I have only done part of what I intended to do - and either not sewn a stitch or not blogged a word.  And I thought I would have more time when I retired - yeah, right!!  I have been working on "Jelly Beans" this week - I'm running out of month - and will be posting my progress soon.

So -

Talk to you later - gotta go - gotta finish up JELLY BEANS -

Friday, February 25, 2011

Five Question Friday

I was visiting mainer's blog a couple of weeks ago and she had this "FIVE QUESTION FRIDAY" thing going on.  I answered the questions on her blog a couple of times - and - it was so fun I thought I would do it on my blog too.  Thanks mainer!  (Here's the link if you want to do it on your blog.) 

The questions come from My Little Life and Mama M.  She has a "Blog Hop", too.  I wasn't quite sure what a "Blog Hop" was - but I checked the link and thought I would give it a try.  Who knows? Might be fun.  We'll see.  You'll see the list of blogs to "Hop" at the end.

And mainer has a quilt entered in the Weekly Themed Contest - called "Asian Splash" - so VOTE FOR MAINER!  Go to the logo on the right sidebar.  When you get to the site - bookmark it on your computer.  Go to your bookmark and VOTE.  I know it's a round-about way to do it - but if you try to vote from my logo - it will think I am trying to vote again - and the site only allows one vote per IP address - not email address.  That's just the way it's set up - so you have make your own bookmark - sorry.

Anyway - here are the questions for this week -

1. Can you drive a stick shift?

2. What are two foods you just can't eat?

3. Do you buy Girl Scout Cookies? What is your favorite kind?

4. How do you pamper yourself?

5. What is your nickname and how did you get it?


1. Can you drive a stick shift?
YUP - can - and will - if I have to.  I learned how to drive using a stick shift and drove several different ones throughout the years.  I still hate being stopped at the top of a hill or incline and trying to get just the right combination of brake/clutch and accelerator so I don't roll back down the hill - and into the guy behind me.  I obviously prefer an automatic transmission.    

2. What are two foods you just can't eat?
Can't think of any.  I even like liver.  My kids gag on the stuff - so, yay - more for me!

3. Do you buy Girl Scout Cookies? What is your favorite kind?
I haven't bought Girl Scout Cookies in years.  Used to though.  Don't remember my favorite kind.

4. How do you pamper yourself?
I get a pedicure once in a while but my husband pampers me all of the time.  I love him.

5. What is your nickname and how did you get it?
My nickname is "MOM" - even my husband calls me that.  Or "GRANDMA" - if the grandkids are around.  Original, huh?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

LHQ - International Left-Handed Quilters Anonymous



I once mentioned that I thought that we needed to start our very own "International Left-Handed Quilters Association".  (ILHQA)

I've changed my mind - I think we need to call it -


Then we could have a meeting online - and I could say -

Hello, my name is Kitty - and I'm a Left-Handed Quilter.

And then you could say -

Hello, Kitty!


Sorry - I'm in a goofy mood today - and I've always wanted to say that - but it's kinda hard to work into a conversation!

And - I'm curious - just how many left-handed quilters are out there in blogland?  Hundreds?  Thousands?  Millions?  (No, Kitty - it's just you and your six followers!)

So - leave me a comment and answer two questions for me - if you would, please -

1.  Are you a lefty?
2.  What gives you the most trouble in the right-handed world of quilting?

Thanks -

Talk to you later - gotta go - gotta sew -


Wednesday, February 16, 2011




So - do you want to know what's on my design wall today??  Here's hoping that you do.  (If not, too bad - I'm going to tell you anyway...;)))

The Patchwork Times UFO Challenge for February is #10.  My version of that is to work on my Stage 10 projects.  (Check out my UFOs - 2011 tab above.)

I picked JELLY BEANS to work on first - a simple kit from Connecting Threads - Riviera Collection (no longer available - sorry).

The colored strips came pre-cut - 2-1/2" wide - with pinked edges.  The white fabric was yardage included in the kit that I rotary cut myself.  (It still needs a couple of borders - so don't judge it just yet.)

Mathematically - five 2-1/2" strips sewn together with 1/4" seams should come out to 10-1/2".  In reality - mine did not!!  Once again, I lost my 1/4" seam allowance!

Has anyone out there seen it?  I thought I had it right here a minute ago!  Where - oh, where - did it go?  As you can see - my strip sets did NOT match the white strips that I cut to fit on the ends!  They are all SHORT!


I have my 1/4" presser foot.  I have my perfect "scant" 1/4" seam allowance settings.  I have everything I need.  What happened this time?  (I lose it every once in a while - but usually find it again soon enough.)

I was having such fun just chain piecing my little heart out - adding one strip right after the other - to twenty-five blocks.

This time I think the cutting was to blame - not the sewing.

I think that the pinked edges messed me up.  If the 2-1/2" is measured from pinked tip to pinked tip - I think I may have lost a couple of threads on each tip - with handling, sewing, and such.  Add up the lost threads on both sides of FIVE strips - and I think I found my 1/4".

At least that's what I think happened.  Who knows?

And at this point - who cares?  I had twenty-five blocks all sewn together.

(And - YES - I noticed it when I sewed the first side - but somehow it didn't register in my Swiss-cheese brain - and - YES - I did a test block before I sewed them ALL together - the test block came out OK - go figure!)

So - what to do now?

"Un-sew" all twenty-five blocks?  No - I don't THINK so!

Figure out something else?  Of course!  This is where we quilters get CREATIVE!  This is where I, for one, start having FUN!

Now - don't get me wrong - if this was any other pattern - or something that I was going to enter into a competition of some sort (the UFO Challenge doesn't count - it's not being JUDGED) - then I would have been a whole lot more careful and all of the blocks would have been tested at each and every step.

But, hey - this is JELLY BEANS - a fun, little, simple quilt - knock it out in no time at all, right?

Then I remembered something that I discovered many, many moons ago.

Rule #5 - Sometimes blocks don't have to be the RIGHT SIZE - they just have to be the SAME SIZE!

So - I trimmed them all down to 10" square.  Who's going to know the difference?  I'm not going to tell.  (Well, I'm not going to tell everybody - just you..;)...and you're not going to tell, right??)

So now all the blocks will fit together nicely.

I have the first three columns (A/B/C) sewn together - and the last two (D/E) sewn together.  I basted the match points before sewing them "for real" just so I would be sure that they matched,  (The blocks have already come up short - I don't need mismatched corners, too.  I'm sure that would push me right over the edge on this one - and JELLY BEANS right back into the UFO pile.)

All I have to do now is sew the two sections together - add the borders - and move this one up to Stage 5.  Then I can choose another UFO from my Stage 10 list .  Which one? - which one?  Shut up, Kitty - you have to get the borders on JELLY BEANS first - before you get bored - then you can worry about the next one.  (And you wonder why I have so many UFOs!)

Talk to you later - gotta go - gotta sew -

Monday, February 7, 2011

LHQ - Foundation Paper Piecing

LEFT-HANDED QUILTING - Foundation Paper Piecing

Note - these instructions are written in LEFTISH.
If you are right-handed - just reverse the directions. (I love saying that!!)

As promised - here is a step-by-step tutorial on how I make my "hearts" - Foundation Paper Piecing.

WARNING - This post is going to be really - really - really - really - really long!!  I thought about splitting it into several parts - but couldn't decide just where to split it - so here goes.........

In my post - LHQ - Scrapbook - Overview - I briefly mentioned -

that - I take that one step further and say that my quilts are not "DONE" until I have documented the whole process in a scrapbook - with photos - the story - a fabric card - and a foundation paper pieced heart (for a memory quilt).

Remember TIHIDI?
THIS IS HOW I DO IT - Foundation Paper Piecing.

WARNING - My method is COMPLETELY BACKWARDS from the way you may have seen it demonstrated before.  Just so you know!!

First - a little background -

A few years back - I came across a box of scraps - all in baggies of various sizes - all separated by quilt.  WOW!!  So many scraps - so many quilts - so many memories.  I wanted to do something very special with them before I put them back into my "stash".

I decided to make a Memory Quilt.  And I wanted to use the scraps in a way that would remind me of the actual quilts that I had made - and not just a jumble of fabrics that I had used once upon a time.

Foundation Paper Piecing to the rescue!

I decided to make one foundation paper pieced block from each one of the baggies.  Each block would represent one quilt - how simple!  And a "heart" seemed appropriate - so I added that step to my "process".  Now my quilts are not "DONE" until I have made a "heart" from the scraps - one "heart" for each quilt.

I use  a Large Crazy Hearts pattern by ABC Patterns - Temecula, CA -  but you can use any pattern you want  The link doesn't show an image of the hearts - but mine has a dozen different designs - all with only four patches - great for quilts with only a few colors.  I can always add more fabrics - and kinda fake it a little.

And - as usual - this post originated when my sister-in-law e-mailed me asking -

How do I "Foundation Paper Piece" to make the hearts for my (someday) memory quilt?

I have heard the term "paper-piecing" but am clueless about it.


My awesome answer (just checking to see if you're paying attention...:)) was - 

People use the terms "Paper Piecing" and "Foundation Piecing" and "Foundation Paper Piecing" interchangeably - but they are actually three different things to me.

Paper Piecing - aka - "English" Paper Piecing -
This is a technique that uses a paper/cardstock pattern/shape as a base/template.  Fabric is basted to the paper shape - such as a hexagon - and then the pieces are sewn together - whip-stitched along the edges.  After all sides of the shape have been stitched to another shape - the paper is removed and re-used as the base/template for another piece of fabric.  You have probably seen quilts with hexagons in a circular flower pattern - Grandmother's Flower Garden - it's most likely paper pieced.  Hexagons and stars are popular shapes.

Foundation Piecing -
Foundation Piecing is a technique that uses either paper or fabric as a "foundation" - with fabric sewn directly to it.  A square of muslin, for example, is used as a base for a block on which a strip is placed - right side up - diagonally from corner to corner,  Another strip is placed - right side down - on top of the first strip and both are sewn to the muslin base.  The second strip is "flipped" over to show the right side - and another strip is placed on top of it - just like before.  This is repeated (sew - flip) until you get the corner covered.  You turn the block around and sew strips to the other side of the diagonal.  When the entire muslin square is covered - you trim it up and sew it to other blocks - with or without sashing between the blocks.  The "foundation" is usually left in the quilt.  Some really old quilts have been found with newspaper used as the "foundation".  "String" quilts  use this technique.

Foundation Paper Piecing - FPP - 
What we use to make the "hearts" -
On the other hand - "Foundation Paper Piecing" is a totally different technique that uses a paper pattern as a "foundation".  The pattern pieces are numbered and fabric is sewn to the paper foundation in numerical order.  (I saw instructions once that wanted me to sew the pieces in "chronological" order - I'm not exactly sure how to do that!)  Pieces are added one at a time - sewn - pressed - and trimmed.  Then the paper is removed - carefully.  You use a size 14 needle - to make big holes - to perforate the paper.  And you use a really short stitch (1.5mm) - to keep the stitching tight - so the seam doesn't pull apart when you remove the paper.  Some patterns can get quite complicated.  It's possible to get really sharp points and make some very intricate blocks.  Pretty  much like "paint by number" - just "sew by number".  It is not as hard as some say -  it's fun - and it can be really addictive.

MY WAY - I do it all a little differently - 'cuz I'm special...;)

WARNING - My method is COMPLETELY BACKWARDS from the way you may have seen it demonstrated before.  Just so you know!

First off - everyone is all paranoid about the ink from the foundation paper bleeding onto the fabric - so they put the fabric on the side without the printing - which makes sense if you use copier paper - but it's a total waste of time - and it makes the whole process harder than it needs to be.

I just copy/print my patterns on special foundation paper - HCTW - Fun-dation.  (It's usually available at Joann's.)  It is a non-woven interfacing sheet - seems to absorb the ink - so the ink doesn't bleed - and I don't have to reverse my patterns.  It's great stuff!!

I put the chunks of fabric on the front - the printed side - and then flip it over and stitch from the back.  It's easier to see the numbers on the front - I can tell what the block will look like - it won't be reversed - and the line is visible from the back so I don't have any trouble sewing on it.

I usually make several "hearts" at a time - so I gather up all of my fabrics - some muslin squares - foundation paper -  pattern - ruler - and rotary cutter.  (The size of the muslin squares will depend on the size of your "heart".  I need my squares to be 6".)

Here I have the fabrics ready for the 5 B/W/R quilts and the Pillowcases(s) scrapbook page.  I  have them paired with the scrap card so I know which one I'm working on.  And because I didn't want 5 hearts with all fourteen fabrics - I chose four different fabrics for each heart - the focus fabric - and three others - plus the black accent strip.  (The Pillowcase heart will have the five pillowcase/focus fabrics plus the two border fabrics and the white accent strip.)

I will need 6 heart patterns - so I "rough-cut" the patterns (A-L) apart -

and choose which ones I want.

Then I set up my sewing machine - 
  • Regular presser foot - the center mark will follow the stitching line
  • Needle - Size 14 - (new) - to make big holes - to perforate the paper
  • Straight stitch - width 0
  • Short stitch length - 1.5mm - to keep the stitching tight - so the seam doesn't pull apart when you remove the paper

MY WAY - Fabric on top - wrong side to the paper - sew from the back

NOTE - The pattern will not be reversed if the fabric is right side up on the front of the paper and sewn from the back - only the numbers will be reversed.  I will refer to the fabric side as the "front" and the paper side as the "back".

Prep - cutting the chunks of fabric
Using scraps - rough cut a "chunk" of fabric for each patch -  make sure that the "chunk" is larger than the patch by at least 1/4" on all sides.

I want two "chunks" from the Floral -

The first patch will be for "Pillowcase Heart" - patch #1 - (set that aside for now).  (You can almost see the patch numbers 1-2-3 down the left side and #4 on the right.  I should have darkened them up for the photo - sorry.)

The second patch will be for the "Multi Heart" - patch #4 - accent top piece.  Patches 1-2-3 go from left to right on the bottom.

Then I choose the order of the other fabric/colors (patches 1-2-3 from bottom to top)

cut the chunk of black - patch #1

cut the chunk of white - patch #2

cut the chunk of red - patch #3

This heart should look like this when it's done - not bad!!

Now we get to the fun stuff!!  The sewing!!

Sewing patch #1 (black) and #2 (white) to foundation
I want to "fussy cut" the black patch to make sure i get one of the white strips in the patch - and need a 1/4" seam allowance - so

I fold the pattern on the line between #1 and #2

Place the folded pattern on the #1 (black) - where I want it

Trim the black - 1/4" past the edge

Put the #1 (black) patch on the front of the pattern (right side up) and flip it over to check it from the back - to make sure the whole area is covered -

On the front - I layer patch #2 (white) right side down on top of patch #1 (black) - raw edges even (you can't see the black patch - but it's there - under the white one)

Flip it over and check it from the back again - make sure both fabrics show 1/4" past the line between #1 and #2 - (now you can see the black)

Sew on the line - a couple of stitches extra at the beginning and end of the seam -

This is a shot of the sewn seam -

From the front - press to set the seam -

From the front - press the patches open

Check out the back - to make sure the areas are covered -

Adding patch  #3
Fold back the pattern on the line between #2 and #3 -

Trim patch #2 (white) - 1/4" past the edge of the pattern

Turn it to the front

Add patch #3 (red) - right side down on top of patch #2 (white) - raw edges even -

Turn it to the back - make sure both fabrics show 1/4" past the line between #2 and #3

Sew on the line -

Again - the sewn seam -

From the front - press it -

From the front - press patch #3 (red) open -

Check it from the back - again -

Adding patch #4 -
Fold back the pattern on the line between #1/2/3 and #4 - (you may have to pull the paper away from a couple of the stitches - but that's OK - the paper should tear pretty easily - just be gentle so you don't undo the stitches)

Trim patch #1/2/3 - 1/4" past the edge of the pattern

 Turn it to the front -

This next bit is a little "extra" step I added - and has nothing to do with the pattern.  Since the quilt blocks had black "accent" strips - I thought it would be cool to put one in each of the hearts. I'm showing it here in case you want to do something similar in one of your blocks.
Add the folded black accent strip - raw edges even -

Add patch #4 (floral) - right side down on top of patch #1/2/3 - raw edges even -

Turn it to the back - make sure all of the fabrics show 1/4" past the line

This time I just basted the line - just in case
(it's a PITA to have to "unsew" these little itty-bitty stitches) -

 Check it from the front - and sew it "for real" -

Check it from the back -
got it a bit close on the left side - just below the black patch - but it's OK - I still have about 1/8" past the seam line -

Turn it around - 

After I have pieced the entire heart - and before I trim it - I put it right side down on a square of muslin (gotta luv that muslin) -

and sew on the line - completely around the heart.
I start on a flat side near the bottom right of the heart -

Backstitching a little at the end -

As seen from the muslin side -

Then I trim it to about 1/8"-1/4" around the outside of the heart.
(I find it easier to cut clock-wise - holding the heart in my right hand and my scissors in my left.  That way I'm left holding the heart - not the scraps!)

Here's the trimmed heart -

I clip the "V" - and trim the bottom point -

and remove the foundation paper - carefully -

All the paper is removed -

I turn it over and make a small slit in the muslin -

And turn it inside out (using my "Purple Thang") -

And press it - 

Now it's all nice and neat - with no raw edges showing - MAGIC!!

The hearts will eventually be appliqued to plain blocks - but I haven't decided what size or in what combination or layout yet.  Right now I'm just collecting them for my "Someday Memory Quilt".

So gather up your scraps.  Try to keep them separated by "quilt" - so you can make a separate "heart" for each one.  I just put mine in baggies - then all of the baggies in one box - and make a bunch of "hearts" at one time.  Works for me!!

Talk to you later - gotta go -


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