Caliper + Protractor = ACCURATE HEXAGON!!!!!!!!!

OK, those who follow my blog know that when I start a quilt and run into problems it means that there is a BIG problem with the pattern.  If you read my previous post you know that I had issues with the small templates that come with the pattern so I reversed engineered the templates for rotary cutting.  It took a some time to make a few samples until I achieved perfection! I was on a roll!  Well, little did I know I was on a roll like a large ball of twine that was heading downhill.

This is where I was yesterday, after I called a quilting buddy for some guidance and tips Thursday evening on attaching the first ring to the middle hexagon!

Notice I stopped working on the melons….. I realized that there was a problem with this pattern.  Not sure what, but a problem.  Puckers, star points cut off, and the hexagon not matching up with the seams on the triangles!!!! Grrrrr

This morning I decided to do an early morning house cleaning and then I am free to work the problem out!  Well, it has taken me 3 more hours to work on the problems.  In order to find the problem I cut out 6 each 3 1/2″ squares, marked the 1/4″ seam line, and 6 each setting triangles and marked the 1/4″ seam line.  NO PROBLEM – right – WRONG.  When I pinned the first square and triangle together the triangle was about 1/8″ larger than the 3 1/2″ square.  But I worked around that for the purpose of just getting this test started!  Here is the ring made from the background fabric!  Looks good doesn’t it – well now the problem is on the outside of the ring – the triangles are off about 1/8″ or 1/16″ of an inch and we all know what that will do if I continued on with the 2nd ring of the Medallion.

Test Pattern for the first ring in Robin’s Nest

After sewing the test ring, I thought – OH BOY – time to sew the test center hexagon on my new improved ring!  WRONG AGAIN.  I went to the pattern and started checking the pattern for the large hexagon – and it is off at least 1/8″ or 1/16″ on 2 or 3 sides.  I called for my Engineer and he brought his protractor and caliber and I pulled out Marti Michell’s large hexagon template and between us we now have a perfect Hexagon pattern for the center that should patch all points!  But that does not help the fact that we still have an issue with the lovely triangle template that came with the pattern.  Now the issue is the outside of the ring – to try to continue on without resolving that issue the entire Medallion will be a total disaster.  Thank goodness I stopped working on this quilt at this point because to continue on would be another total disaster.  Here is the hexagon pattern that was provided.  IT has the problem.  All sides should have been 3″ but the are not!  Another Grrrr!

Original hexagon pattern

This is the one that Clay and I worked on and it is perfect – 3″ on each side with 1/4″ seam allowance added.


Here is what I am working toward:

Robin’s Nest Medallion

I have now turned over the triangle template problem over to the Engineer – good project for him to work on in the morning!  ME – I am headed for my chair and watch a movie and forget that I have put a lot of hours into a quilt pattern that has problems.  Jaydee sent me a picture of Robin’s Nest being made by another quilter and it is easy to see that they had issues but kept going – Good Luck to them!  Maybe I am just too much the perfectionist, but when I pay good money for fabrics and patterns and have to totally revamp the pattern by making corrections that the Designer should have caught, it tends to be upsetting.

Tomorrow is another day and I will be ready to move on and hopefully it will work out.  I will have to remake by 6 red stars – too much ripping on the current ring!  When will I ever learn to double check anything these Designers publish?

Have a great week-end.

POST SCRIPT:      Quilter Error – I double checked the triangle template against the ‘test’ piece this morning with a fresh look.  I think I may have picked up 3 of the triangles where I did not cut them accurately – So now I  have CAREFULLY cut out a new batch for the ‘start over’!  I will also be making my notes that I have to pay close attention to when cutting, sewing the ring together.

Robin’s Nest Project Has Begun

Our internet service has had issues the last month or so and the service finally went belly up for good last Saturday.  I enjoyed the quietness and think I did progress in quilting…. Hum!  Today the technician came out to fix last week’s technician and customer services boo boo’s.  So now back on-line and in the fold again!

I started Robin’s Nest this week-end.  I have studied this pattern for 2 years and it has been on my 2017 Goals for 4 months now.  This is a fairly complex quilt and not as complex as Ms Billings and Phebe, and others, but it is a striking quilt.  Templates are provided, but when one is making 3 1/2″ UF stars, using small templates and a rotary cutter is not for me.

I made one block using the templates and was not pleased.   So I decided to reverse engineer the templates and convert to rotary cutting. I made 3 other test star blocks to ensure my rotary cutting measurements were accurate.    The 4th one appeared to be perfect (until I looked at the picture I took) and realized that one point was off.  So back to the drawing board on size of the strips.   The hexagon is 1 inch, so you can see how small the pieces are in making this star block.  Notice the bottom two points – Amazing how we do not see our little mistakes until we take a picture!  I have had problems with flying geese before, but now I know the secret in getting them perfect!

The “OOPS” Star

Points Corrected – I replaced the Flying Geese that was off!

Here are the measurements for a 3 1/2″ star block using rotary cutting and no templates!

There are 17 pieces in each star.

  • Cut 4 each 1 1/4″ squares for the corner from a 1 1/4″ strip from the light fabric.
  •  1 each 2″ square for the Center from a 2″ dark fabric strip.
  • 4 each 1 3/4″ squares cut once diagonally for the Star Points from a  dark 1 3/4″ strip
  •  2 each 2″ squares cut diagonally for the Flying Geese background fabric (light)

When I sew the Flying Geese I use a scant 1/4″ seam allowance, then I go back to the full 1/4″ seam allowance to put the rest of the Star Block together.  It comes out perfect.  I am using 50wt Aurifil thread and a Husqvarna Designer I.  (this is important because all machines are different)

I cut the center hexagon out using freezer paper (I do cheat on this – I purchase the pre-cut Jenkins freezer paper and print the pattern out – it saves me a lot of time).  The leaves, or whatever they are, will be hand appliquéd in either blue or black fabric.  I have 2 more stars for this portion to be completed and then I will cut out more triangles in black that will be the next “border”.  I am using the template for the triangles to connect all the stars.

Next will be 12 more Star Blocks and they will be in Blue.  I am using a mixture of Barbara Brackman’s Union Blues, Richmond Reds, and Pam Buda’s Cassandra Crossings.  I will probably be using more from other reproduction fabric lines as I work on each border in the quilt.

I have not loaded the Grace frame as of today, but maybe tomorrow or this afternoon.  Things appear to now be settling down and I will have more time to quilt.

We have a “cookie” sheet bird feeder.  Hubby took a picture of the Doves feeding – it is so much fun watching the birds and the deer feeding while I am sewing!  The cat next door sits on the ground just wishing for one of the birds to drop off the feeding tray for a good snack!  LOL

Doves on a Cookie Sheet – and One in Flight!

Have a great day and Happiness is peace and quiet and sometimes boredom! (well only today!)

Productivity is Good for the Soul of a Quilter

Here we are – almost half-way through April.  I knew the minute we lost that hour that time would race by!!  Today I have no brain cells – teaches me again that overdoing has a price to pay!  But, alas, yesterday was a banner day – I finished the sleeve and label for the Eagle and the label for the Batiks in 9 Patches quilts for our friends.

Bobby’s Eagle


Belinda’s Batiks in Nine Patches


This morning our babies were feeding when I was headed to the Studio.  They are so funny!  They let us know when they are out of corn, but yet still will run away.  I have found that if they are feeding I just keep my head turned the other way while I am walking to the Studio and they do not run away, but try to talk to them and only one of last year’s babies will keep eating.  Love to watch them at feeding time.  New babies will hit the ground in June – We feed about 5 now so it will be really be crowded this summer around the corn!  (excuse the blurred pictures)


I call this baby Daisy – She will stop and look at me while I talk to her.

I believe that these are the twins from last June! One is skittish the other one is the one who lets us know it is time to feed them! LOL

Today is a “slow thinking, slow selecting, and just SLOW”.  I think I am relaxing from getting the quilts finished and in the mail before Easter.  I am reviewing all the ‘want to do’s’ and making some real decisions on next step.  I will also load a quilt in the Hands Quilter and later will be putting the leaders on the Grace Z44 and loading the 24″ x 24″ wall hanging for hand quilting.

Have a blessed Easter season and pray for the USA and the World, especially pray for our wonderful President Donald J. Trump!


The Eagle Has Landed!

It appears that April will be a very quiet and productive month for Clay and I – and it is about time!

I have been working on a lap quilt and a wall hanging for gifts and so happy to report that they are both waiting to be quilted on the long arm!  The Eagle quilt is a pattern from Eleanor Burns and this is the 4th one I have made for my Veteran friends.  The most difficult piece in this wall hanging is the stupid beak!!!!  Each time I have made it I tend to go ‘what?’ and after a few minutes the light bulb clicks in.  Guess if I made one a month I could make it with my mind and eyes closed!  I had a big laugh on me when I was working on the star points.  I love Eleanor’s rulers for Peaky and Spike and especially for Flying Geese, the problem is that I have one of each size and yesterday the brain was getting close to “stupid” and when I started trimming the flying geese I realized something just was not correct!  So I threw those pieces away and started over again only to have the same experience.  BUT, alas, when one has too many rulers one had better REALLY check which ruler you are supposed to be working with.  I just could not believe I was having an issue – so I pulled out the Eleanor Burns bag of rulers and guess what – YUP I had picked up the wrong size.

Now here is my excuse for being stupid!  The weather was changing and the pressure was dropping like a rock – little did I realize that a cold front was blowing in.   I was determined to get the stars finished and I did, but after supper the Vertigo set in and that is when I confirmed to myself it was the weather change.  For my Fibro and Meniere’s friends – you know what that means.  YUP – go sit in a chair and veg until things settle down.   Life is so much fun when you never know what the weather will bring you!  Guess it is like the box of chocolates!

This morning I finished the borders on the Eagle and that is the end of me for the day.  It appears that this will be the weather pattern for the next 2 weeks – so maybe a lot of appliquéing will be accomplished as now we have high winds today!

I will appliqué the tail feathers down this afternoon.  I used a blue Hoffman 1895 batik and some Hoffman for the gold stars and found a beautiful piece of Moda fabric with the black and gold.  I love the metallic look for this wall hanging.  (Oh yes – the Eagle will get an eye!)

Eagle Wall Hanging

This is the lap quilt that I made last week – so happy to have peace and tranquility and problem free time for quilting!

Gretchen is working on a Tulip Quilt.  When she first posted the quilt I thought it looked familiar, so I went through my patterns and found it.  It is called Tulip Dance by Annette Ornelas.  She was a guest speaker in 2008 at a local guild and I purchased her book and some patterns.  I only did one project, a Heart Block, and made a large pillow cover with it.   She has some neat 3 dimensional patterns which are based on a cathedral window type block.  I did the appliqué by machine, if I made a quilt I would do the appliqué by hand.


Today is done so tomorrow I will get the 2 projects ready for quilting.  Have a great day!

What Happened to March?

Greetings from sunny South Texas where the weather is now changing from day-to-day whether we like it or not!

I did not make a March Goal list because I knew we would be going out-of-town, and along with the other unforeseen requirements I would be surprised if I did accomplish anything regarding quilting.  But, alas, I did complete a few things.  I actually had 6 days of non-interruptions, peace and quiet, and quilting time.  That was a gift.  I am hoping for a peaceful non-eventful month!  The Navigator was fixed by our Lincoln dealer under their Loyalty Warranty (whew!)  The “lost” part on the Town Car that our mechanic lost when we had to replace 2 computer modules was replaced – so we have no issues on the table – and I hope it stays that way!

This month I finished the binding on Oh Glory!

I have half of the first block from the 2017 Quiltmania Mystery Quilt done (as you can see I am not in a hurry in catching up).  The other part of the block is a mirror image of what I have completed.  It is reverse appliqué and an easy project.

This is a quilt I made with some left over 3″ 9 patches that I will not use.  It is a quilt from E. Sitar and she mixes batiks and other fabrics together. After making 300 3′ blocks I realized I did not like the mixture.  I pulled all of the batik 9 patches and made this quilt for a friend.   This will be a “surprise gift quilt” and I will quilt it on the long arm.  I am surprised it turned out so well since I do not consider myself a good scrappy type person!  It will be a nice lap quilt finishing at 48″ x 48″.

I did have to make 2o more 3″ 9 patches and then I ran out of the alternating fabric, so I improvised!  I did the 3 outer rows with one tone and the middle with the ones that I was short on.  It turned out nice.

This is a picture of a quilt that I made for Hubby and two other Veterans.  I will now make one more for a “gift” quilt that will go along with the 9 patch quilt above.  It is an old Eleanor Burns pattern and I love making it! – Especially for a Veteran.  They have been so mistreated!

I ordered a Z44 Grace Hand Quilting Frame in late February and just before we left on our trip the new one came.  Clay stained and put a beautiful finish on it and yesterday we decided to put it together.  I asked him how long it would take as I was going to do housework.  He said an hour…..It took 6 but it looks great in its new home in the Den.   Today is a lazy day as the weather is about to change AGAIN but I think I am going to get my housework done today so tomorrow I can start on the new Eagle quilt as I would like to get them in the mail by the 10th of April.

Next step (next week) I will put the leaders on and load something to work on.  It works like my long arm (I think), so maybe there won’t be a learning curve.  What is nice about this frame is that it has a take up roller for the batting!

GOALS FOR APRIL:  Number One – wake up each day (LOL).

  1.  Finish the Gift Quilts (quilted and mailed)
  2. Work on my appliqué projects
  3. Find a long arm quilter for 3 quilts for the San Antonio Show in September
  4. Make a wall hanging appliqué and hand quilted quilt for the San Antonio Show (only stress for the year)
  5. Start on Robin’s Nest
  6. Take a Knitting Class
  7. Finish setting up the Grace Frame and load a project to “practice” and become un-rusty with my hand quilting.

I may add to the list – depends on how the next week goes.  Have a great day – am off to clean the house!

Dallas Quilt Show – Traditional Versus Artisan Quilts

One of my goals this year was  to attend the Dallas Quilt show.   We arrived in Dallas on Thursday and the show was Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  I was so excited because I have always heard excellent comments regarding their show.  I joined the Guild (from afar – about 300 miles away from home) for the last 3 years.  I had considered entering the 2018 Show and wanted to have the experience of attending before I did that.

Today I am going to share pictures of a few of the quilts that were awarded ribbons at the show.  As a traditional quilter, it is apparent to me that the quilting world has gone nuts and about as far left as one could go!   Quilters who read my posts know that the last 3 years have not been the best as far as my quilting goes and it has put me out of the mainstream as far as shows.   What a shock I was in for at this show.  What a change!

First of all, I am a traditional and purist quilt maker.  I do not use glue, thangles, kits, jelly rolls, precut, laser cut, and the things where the math is not required to make a quilt.  I love to make quilts the old-fashioned way.  I love to work on quilts that are challenging and keep my brain sharp (LOL).  NOW, this is MY choice and preference and I am not trying to be negative to anyone who prefers using all the tools available for all quilters.  I also love the autumn colors, batiks and reproduction fabrics but not Kaffe Fassett fabrics as they are just too busy.  I have made one quilt using his fabric when they first came out and it is still waiting in line to be quilted!  Think I would go blind quilting that one.  But 3 months ago I decided if I was going to do scrappy and fussy cutting I probably needed some of his fabrics to include as a ‘zinger’ in my quilts.

I am trying to learn how to work with scrappy quilts, but for some reason it is really a challenge for me because my eyes focus on the pattern and not the colors. This is why I label myself as a Traditional Quilter.  It takes time to make my quilts because of the complexity and especially when appliquéing and because I am so the perfectionist.

During the last 3 years, the Modern Quilt movement started just as the “Contemporary” quilts became popular in 2004 where fabric designers like Kaffe crept into our quilt world, adding different fabrics to traditional ones.  For awhile, the traditional remained popular.  But now the Modern Quilt movement has appeared to take over at the quilt shows.  These quilts consist of very loud colors (very bright) and patterns that have no reason or rhyme to me.  They can be made in less than a week as color is the most important point in these quilts.  So now we have Artisans taking over the quilt world.

I am not being critical of those who love these quilts, it is just not my idea of a quilt. The Art quilt does not have a main focus color, thereby not drawing the eye to the theme of the quilt.  It is understand this would not apply to animals and/or people in quilts.

To conclude, I also understand that to stay in business (fabric and quilt shops) they must continue to bring new and innovative ideas in order to stay in business.  But I feel that they have forgotten the Traditionalists.  Missouri Quilt Company does seem to mix both and mostly with the “louder” fabrics.  Hats off to them.

So here we go – I will let you be the Judge of some of the quilts that won ribbons and the Best of Show.  What are your thoughts?  Are you a Traditional (purist), Modern Art, or Contemporary quilter?  Please no nasty comments – I respect individual preferences.  I am just wanted to share my experience with others.

I will start with the Modern/Artisan quilts that won ribbons.

This quilt could give  me a headache!  What is it all about anyway?  Color?


Nanette being Nanette I stopped and spoke with one of the Judges that was “traditional” and asked him what were the Judges thinking when they awarded this quilt Best of Show!  Mostly no response he just kept smiling, but did say that the appliqué quilts were not good this year!  You can be the judge of his statement as you look at some pictures of the appliqués quilts.  I forgot to mention that the Judges in this show were 100% bias in awarding ribbons.  Two of the Judges were Fiber Artist and the one gentleman was a Traditional quilter!  Easy to see who was in control of the Best of Show decision!

The quilt above was made by a woman who discovered her heritage through a DNA test and it took 2 years to make this quilt that represents her Heritage.  Here are a few close up of a few blocks.  There is some broidery purse within the quilt, but these flowers are done with individual petals – great gradation of color!  So beautiful!  I am not certain, but it appeared to be needle turn appliqués.

This is a quilt called Nearly Insane and received a Blue Ribbon and a ribbon for hand quilting (if my memory serves me correctly).  Gretchen is making this quilt in blue and yellow and is doing a fantastic job.  It is a very difficult quilt and takes a lot of time to make a block with all the pieces in each block!


Nice quilt.

This is a pretty red/green baltimore style quilt and it won the Past Show Chair’s ribbon.  If you look closely on Row 2, the vase block is not straight.  I spoke with the quilter and she indicated that she did not catch it in time to correct the problem, but has won a 2nd place ribbon at another show.  She also has a quilt entered in the Paducah Quilt Show.  Good for her!

This is a pretty quilt, but the scrappy distracts from the block centers.  Too busy for my pea brain to handle.

This quilt took some time to study the color and make those points on the stars come out perfect – no ribbon. It could have been the colors.

The last quilt (below) is a Di Ford pattern called ‘Phoebe’.  The lady had some problems with the quilt, but still received a blue ribbon.  This is a very difficult quilt to make and she did well!  She indicated on her card that she had a lot of problems with it and it easy to see how.  Every piece has to be squared in order for the quilt to work well.  If you study the picture carefully you can see she had problems on the right side along with the sashing between the stars.

Well, I have had just too much fun today.  TV problem resolved, and Lincoln is going to inspect the Navigator and hopefully they will realize it is a defect!  Fingers crossed.  Now I am ready to go sit in my chair and finish the binding on my Oh Glory.

Have a wonderful day and enjoy some stitching!

Home Sweet Home? Another Problem Year Starting!

We arrived home from the trip to Dallas Quilt Show, Choctaw Casino, and a visit to friends in Mineral Wells, Texas on Saturday afternoon.  I have now decided to never go to the Casino again – I lost more than I won on this trip.  So since they are keeping my money and not giving me a chance, I will give up that hobby!  LOL.  But the Choctaw’s are smiling (Clay is a member of the tribe – so we have given our fair share forever and ever).

On the way home (and I should have known better) I ask God to please not give me any problems to work on at home for at least the rest of March 2017, as I would LOVE to have 5 days in a row to come to my Studio and work on projects.   I remember when I was younger that I used to ask for ‘patience’, only to learn that one should never ask for that because then we are tested until we learn patience!  Therefore, it is rare that I ask for anything for myself, but pray for others!!!   This year is just not going as I had planned.  DARN!

Before we left Mineral Wells Saturday morning for home, we noticed a crack in the tail light of the BRAND NEW LINCOLN NAVIGATOR!  We figured “no problem” as it only has 2500 miles on it since we purchased it in December and we had purchased a bumper to bumper extended policy.  So that issue did not bother me.  Right before we left on the trip we had to have  two (2)  modules replaced on the Town Car to the tune of $1360.   Of course the Automotive Repair business  screwed up and a part of my driver’s side door was missing and we discovered that right before the trip and after the fun and games with computers happened.   This was the reason for the trip – to get us away from never-ending problems.  No wonder the last 3 years have put me behind on my quilting!

BUT of course, Sunday morning it appears that something had happened to the Whole Home DVR system while we were gone – no problem there – the technician will be here tomorrow.  But I digress, let’s go back to the Navigator!  Just received a call from our Salesman – item not covered and the cost is $2,000.00. to repair the tail light cover!   Talk about wanting to get back in the car and leave again………..But the bottom line on this lovely problem is that the dealer (thank you God for little favors) has agreed to split the cost.  They will pay $1,000.00 and we will pay the other $1,000.00.  We have never had an insurance claim and I do not want to start now.  Someone had to just maliciously hit that lovely little tail light because the car was parked 99% of the time we were gone at the Hilton or the Choctaw Casino.

Another disappointed was the Dallas Quilt Show and that was costly, but I had always heard it was a great show.  I will be doing a Post on the show with some great pictures of some beautiful applique quilts, but also a Compare and Contrast on Traditional Quilts and Modern Art Quilts at the Show and all about the Judges.  But alas, for some reason I do not feel like doing that now – I cannot imagine why!!!!

I did accomplish 2 things today – put the binding on Oh Glory, and mended the bottom sheet that all of a sudden started ripping – of course what does one expect in this day and age for $100 for a set of sheets – to last more than a year??????  How dumb I am to think that something out there is a quality product?

All in all, I enjoyed the mini vacation, but I am not pleased with coming home.  That darn black cat must be lurking around here.   But on the positive side – the trees are blooming fast and it is so nice to see the green come back.  Spring is one of my favorite times before we start living in the 100 degree weather!

Have a great evening and when I settle down I will do a post on the Dallas Show.  I will try to be ‘nice’.