Back to My Quilt Cave

We had a wonderful weekend visiting with friends and meeting new friends at our homeschool conference in Duluth. There was a lot of talking and laughter, two things I enjoy. The weather was cool, and the rain held off until the end of the conference. Then it got downright chilly, and windy.

So I am back home and happily puttering in my quilt cave this week. Here’s a peek at what I’ve been up to.

I am finished with the elephant quilt! The top is done. After stitching 24 elephants, I can safely say I no longer fear applique. I am so excited to see what my long armer will do with this. We have some ideas; it’s going to be fun!

The quilt was a kit I purchased from Reproduction Fabrics here in my town. Margo, the owner, said she picked the fabrics from her earliest shelf (1775-1825) plus yarn dyes. She was thinking of those fabrics coming into England in the mid 17th Century ( 1650 ish). Chintz was expensive and only about 15% of the total textile cargo. The balance was solids, yard dyed woven stripes/plaids and simple block prints.  The pattern is from Laundry Basket Quilts.


As I cut out the elephants, I also cut out little tumbler pieces from the scraps of the fabric. Once all the elephants were done, I had enough for a cute little mini. Here’s how big the pieces were (the scissors in the photo are 4″).  The pattern is from Primitive Gatherings called Tiny Tumblers.


Here are a few rows done. This is not a fast project, and I’m glad it’s small. I do like the look once it’s sewn together.


Here’s the finished top, all squared up. It’s about 7″ x 9″.



I hope to quilt and bind this little mini this weekend.

Another big finish for me was the superhero quilt. It is now with my long armer, so once it is done and handed off to its owner, I’ll post a picture.

I finished my mug rug for an online swap I’m in. Here’s a sneak peek but I can’t show the whole thing yet. It really is a very simple little mug rug, but I had fun putting it together.


I took a few minutes to clean my machine. Boy, it sure needed it! At least it’s proof that I’ve been busy. Here’s a before and after.

What’s next? One project will be a wedding quilt for a wedding in July. I have some of the fabric, but I’ll need to do some shopping for the rest of the fabric soon.

I also need to get caught up on my Year of Cultivating Creativity challenges. I think I have a backlog of things to get done!

Happy stitching, friends! Enjoy your weekend!


Quilting, Interrupted

My quilting has been interrupted by several different things this week. Most of them have been good. One of the high points of the week was quilt group. Who doesn’t like to spend an evening with a whole gaggle of other quilters? It’s always fun to see what the ladies have been working on.

One quilt that was shown was a postage stamp quilt. The woman showing it was completing the hand quilting on it. This was no small quilt — a very generous queen (if not a king) and, if I understood her correctly, was done before strip piecing became popular. In other words, think 1-inch squares sewn together! She indicated she had spent 250 hours handquilting it. 250 hours!! It was a beautiful yellow quilt, complimented with other pastel colors. I regret that I did not snap a picture.

A surprise gift was given to me by one of the ladies. Isn’t this little pouch cute? I had given her some batik fabric, and she thanked me by making a little pouch out of some of the pieces. I am absolutely delighted.  IMG_4010

I am working on a mug rug for a secret pal swap due at the end of April. Here’s a peek — not much to see, but I can’t show the whole thing yet.  IMG_4002

I ordered this book by Katie Fowler — An Artist’s Journey through Wonderland. It will be a good book for me to read every now and then, to remind me how to think about my creativity. I’ve never been a fan of Alice in Wonderland, but she puts the story in a whole new light for me. IMG_4013

Next week I head up north for a conference, so there will be little time for quilting. However, I get to visit with fun people, and I get to spend time by the water.

See you in a couple of weeks!



It’s Been a Quiet Week

It’s been a quiet week in the quilt cave, but a busy week otherwise.

I have a couple of mug rugs that I need to get done, so that was on my to do list for the week. One is completed; the other is still in its design phase in my head. This one, however, has been sitting in my UFO pile since January. Time to get it done! Technically, it’s not a quilt. It’s a handkerchief — two of them. I have a stash of hankies that belonged to my mother and grandmother. One day it dawned on me that they might make cute mug rugs.


The background was just a plain light green hankie, which I’m sure my grandmother had planned to embroider. The corner is another hankie that I cut up. I thought the two looked nice together. Rather than piecing the corner hankie, I appliqued it onto the green hankie. It got a little puffier than I would have liked, but I’m happy with the outcome. The background fabric is the same print as the binding. It was a little difficult to crosshatch because the material shifted around a little.

One of the last Creativity Challenges was to make a mini quilt. I had been wanting to make something a little more bright and colorful for spring, so I pulled out a kit I purchased at a local quilt shop and modified it a bit to fit on this shelf.


I posted a picture of this last week, but I wanted you to be able to see it finished and in its place. The shelf that it sits on was a built-in planter when we moved in to this house. Down the middle of the shelf was a metal liner for the dirt, etc. Since we were a little concerned about water damage, we decided to redo it. My handy husband and I put our heads together and came up with this. Not only does it have room for a cute mini quilt as you see in the picture above, it is also a built-in quilt rack. The rungs lift out so you can access the quilts easily.

Taken a few years ago at Christmas, holding one of my favorite quilts that I’ve made.

I have finished piecing the top of the superhero quilt; all I have left is to add the borders. I’ll be handing it off to its owner for finishing on Monday.

Four more elephants and the blocks will be ready to be sewn into a quilt top! Pictures soon, I hope!

Happy Friday, everyone! Enjoy your weekend!




If We Were Having Coffee


I’d tell you that sometimes I feel I am back at my roots, standing on a Dakota prairie, with miles and miles of wide openness. The wind is blowing around me, swirling the prairie grass and teasing my nose with various scents.

I’d tell you that I don’t know if I like it, this place where I am. Sometimes I hate it, and sometimes it’s the best thing ever. I’d tell you that lots of good things have happened in our family lately, while I’m standing still and life is swirling around me.

I’d tell you that I don’t realize I anchor all the activity going on around me. I don’t realize how much my family depends on my standing here, being here. I’d tell you that I’m grateful you often remind me of how important that is.

I’d tell you that sometimes I wonder if this is all that’s left for me, this anchor thing. I’d tell you that sometimes it feels so much less than what others are doing.

I’d tell you that now I need to quit overthinking this and just be content with my view from the prairie. I’d tell you that trust is hard; that trusting God is hard, sometimes.

But I’d also tell you that this view from the Dakota prairie is the most beautiful thing. Ever.


Friday Finish

A high point of this week was giving the batik quilt to its new owner, Deb. She was delighted with it, so that brought much joy to my heart. My dear friend and fellow quilter, Connie of Turnberry Lane Machine Quilting & Design, does all the longarm work on my quilts. She is amazing.

I chose the pinwheel pattern because it reminded me of the sun sparkles on water, of the walk from her cabin to the lake, and of the lovely colors in her cabin. It was made using Timeless Treasures Tonga Treats Bluegrass precuts.

The superheroes quilt top is all pieced, and is now ready for borders. I’m hoping to get to that today; we’ll see how my day maps out.

What am I up to next? I have a couple of mug rugs I need to get done, I need to work on a mini quilt for the Creativity Challenge, and I need to finish the design work I’ve been doing. My next large quilt project is a wedding quilt, so fabric shopping is in the near future!

Hope your weekend is all you want it to be! The sun is shining here (for the moment anyway), so things are looking up!

Let those stitches run!