Evening in the Garden Quilts

Adventures in Fabric Art


Thoughts on Sandwiching


I just spent ten minutes basting my newest quilt, and, as always, I gave thanks to the inventor of spray adhesive.  Without it, I wouldn’t be making many quilts.  My back just won’t take leaning over a table, never mind a floor, for the time it takes to pin baste a quilt.  I have jars of the right kind of pins, but haven’t used them in years.

I know some people can’t use spray baste because of allergies, and I’m really sorry.  If you just don’t care for the smell or residue, I have some suggestions.


I’ve tried three or four brands, but my favorite is June Tailor.  Its cheap (50% off at JoAnn at the moment!), it has less odor than some, and its not as sticky.  It doesn’t gum up my machine needles, which I hate.

The other important thing is that I don’t use much.  Lately, I’ve read bloggers talk about using a whole can for one quilt, or for three.  I think that’s craziness!  I can’t tell you how many quilts one can will baste if used lightly, because I use one for so long I lose track.  My guess is fifteen to twenty.  I shake well, then make a single light, zig zaggy pass over the backing or the batting.  That’s all it takes, and I don’t have problems with shifting.  Today when I picked up my can, it was very light and I wondered if I had enough.  Yep.  Can probably do the next quilt, too.

Also, I don’t handle it a lot.  I’ve read about basting, then turning the sandwich over to smooth the back.  I don’t understand why that’s necessary at all.  I tape the backing down to the table (floor), putting it under a little tension, so there are no wrinkles.  I spread out the batting, pull half of it back, spray the backing with spray baste, smooth the batting back down, do the other half.  Then I carefully arrange the top over the batting.  I pull half of it back, spray the batting, pat, not smooth, the top into place, then do the other half.  Then I remove the tape from the back, and consider where I will be starting the quilting.  I won’t have another place to spread it out like this again, so I use the opportunity to roll it up from each end.  Then I carry the “sausage” up to my studio and lay it on the sewing table.

And, I love my ping pong table!  I know a lot of you work in very small and/or crowded conditions, and my hat is off to you that you get anything made.  My knees and back are long past getting down on the floor for any length of time.  If I didn’t have my table, I guess I would cultivate a relationship with a community center, Y, church, etc., and push some of their tables together.  But you can often get a used ping pong table at a garage sale, and they fold and stand upright, so you can keep it in the garage and open it in the driveway when you need it.  Mine is in my unfinished basement, which has good ventilation.  Did I mention I don’t use much spray adhesive?  I’m still breathing.  Really.

Thanks for listening to my two cents on this.  Now I have some quilting to do!


March Progress and April Goals

2015-03-29 19.14.01

2015-03-29 19.14.17I really have been sewing a lot.  Darla at Scientific Quilter left it up to us whether we wanted to March-A-Long this month, and I did.  I hauled myself up to the studio every day (15 minutes always morphs into more for me, it’s just the getting started that’s hard).  I just didn’t always work on my goals.  I did make the three flying geese baby quilts, just because I caught the fever.  And a block for a friend.  And a custom quilt and matching stuffed toy that I posted to Australia this morning.  And an extra mug rug that…but I don’t want to talk about that yet.  Anyway.


March Goals

2015-03-07 20.59.211. Audit Jinny Beyer BOM Craftsy Class.  Yes, I am almost caught up on watching this.  And I sewed the first block.  By hand.  After cutting with templates.  Eek.  I’m glad I challenged myself, but I’ll be sticking to the sewing machine from now on.


2015-03-21 09.31.362.  Complete Step Three on Charlotte’s Scrap in a Box Mystery Quilt.  Yes!


3.  Continue studio organization.  Yes, I bought a vintage file organizer, and a couple more containers for inside the lockers.


4.  Begin nautical-themed art quilt.  I worked on this, but don’t know what I’ll do with it.  The photo wasn’t as good as I’d remembered.  This won’t be applique, as I’d planned, but I’m playing around with a photo-transfer idea.


2015-03-30 14.46.445.  Assemble scrappy log cabin blocks I made a few months ago.  Um, they’re on my design wall.  Not together yet.


April Goals

1.  Audit Jinny Beyer BOM Craftsy Class.

2.   Complete Step Four on Charlotte’s Scrap in a Box Mystery Quilt.

3.  Complete mug rug for Sandi’s swap at Quilt Cabana.

4.  Assemble and quilt the scrappy log cabin quilt.



How are you doing?  Hope you’re happy with your progress.  I’m linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced (if Lee’s back!).


Finished: Baby Geese 3

IMG_2308This week I finished the last (hopefully!)  of the Flying Geese baby quilts.  This was a completely unplanned series, started when I was looking for a pattern to use up some 6 1/2″ little boy scraps.  Then I used some bits of yardage to make the pink quilt where the geese change directions.  Finally, I made this to use this cotton lawn yardage and 3 1/2″ pink scraps (cut to 3 1/4″ for the 5 1/2 ” blocks) and some 6 1/2″ flowered squares.

IMG_2311pmThis one is not as graphic as the others, but it’s my favorite.  I love the variety of pinks, and I like the way the black and white looks against them.  It’s quilted with three rows of large, curvy free-motion feathers (in Superior’s pink Bottom Line, top and bottom) that were quick and fun to do.  I used an irregular black and white stripe to bind it.

IMG_2311The lawn fabric (the geese, and both prints on the back) had intimidated me for a while.  (I think I bought it online without noticing that it wasn’t quilting cotton.)  Once I starched it up and pressed it, it behaved very well.  There’s a little stretch to it, but the starch helped.  It’s also a bit transparent, but I pressed seams away from it, and everything looks good.

2015-03-18 15.15.18One problem was that the smaller flowers are printed very crooked, and they look a little funky on the back.  I used every last bit of these fabrics, so there wasn’t much I could do, and it’s okay.  The cat helps hide them, anyway.

PicMonkey CollageWhich one is your favorite?  I like them all, but I really like the last one, just in time for Spring.  Now that I’ve completed this fun exploration of Flying Geese, I need to return to my March goals.  I’m working on Clue 3 for Scrap in a Box.  I’ll show you that later.

wind_dandelion3Good luck on all your finishes.  I’m linking up to WIPs Be Gone at A Quilting Reader’s Garden.  Not that this has been in-progress very long, but Angie likes me to share!  And to Let’s Make Baby Quilts! at Michelle’s Romantic Tangle.


Sunday Stash Report: 3/8/15


This post is brought to you by Yuri, who says every quilter needs an attractive paper weight.  Actually, he had a strong belief last evening that it was time to feed the cats, and was hoping that if he sat on something important enough I would have to stop my work.  Or that he could stare me into submission.  I had already yelled him for trying to remove pins from my piecing.  I did make him wait till I finished my block.  So there.

No fabric bought, and I used 3 1/2 yards for the Geese baby quilt.

This week:  + 0 yards,  – 3.5 yards
This year:  + 26.5 yards,  – 45.75 yards
Net fabric destashed  in 2015:  19.25 yards

Hope all of you are moving your stash in the right direction!  I’m linking up to Patchwork Times.


Geese Finish

2015-03-06 11.07.16I finished the Geese baby quilt (38″ x 44″) made with Kona Ash and the bright “boy” scraps.  I am really happy with the way it turned out.  I took these photos in the bright sun just to show the quilting.

IMG_2283The quilting is all done with gray Bottom Line by Superior.  I wanted it to just be texture and shadows, no additional color.  The horizontal and vertical lines are all done with the walking foot, then I did the diagonals and the echo quilting in free motion.  It was a little hard to distinguish the geese that are flying horizontally, so I echo quilted inside of them, and I like the result.

IMG_2276The scraps include whales, construction trucks,  baseball equipment, and Mickey Mouse.  I was cleaning out my 6 1/2″ squares, so I made 51/2″finished  blocks to make the most of the fabric.  I used the two-squares-and-a-rectangle method, and this very handy chart to calculate sizes.

2015-03-06 11.07.36This is only the second Flying Geese quilt I’ve ever made, and the other was long ago.  I loved how easily and precisely the blocks went together using this method.  Now I’m going to do another, busier one using pinks!

2015-03-06 11.08.18Can’t wait to see your finishes!  I’m linking up to Whoop Whoop Friday at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.


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Getting it Done in May and June


Well, where did May go?  It’s always a busy month, with end of school stuff (not so much for me anymore, but my son did have to be moved home from college), birthdays, and holidays.  Still, I was thinking about reporting for the month about the 27th, and then…poof!  It was June.


May Goals

1. Finish Project Hope Online Quilt Show art quilt.

2. Make pair of pillow cases to coordinate w new queen quilt.

3. Make primary baby quilt

4. Scrap donation quilt. (orange and blue)

June Goals

1.  Make donation quilt (Tulips).

2.  Nautical baby quilt.

3.  Make pair of pillowcases (Nicey Jane).

4.  Piece top for SIL Christmas gift quilt.


Yes, I made all my May goals.  Considering that I’m retired, these were not lofty goals.  I prefer to make them very attainable, and feel the satisfaction of getting them done.  Without them I am sure I would wander around and do far less.  Plus, it gives me a place to write down new projects as they occur to me.  I know, some people track everything on spreadsheets, but that isn’t me.  My Goals page, my Flickr destashing group, Stash Reports, and my little calendar with the cat on the front are where I track my progress.  It’s working.



In addition to the goals I wrote down, I also made the aqua and gray zig zag baby quilt, and a flag for To Boston With Love.  Have you seen the flags hanging?  Look at this video of 1500 of them hanging in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.



The most satisfying May goal was the Project Hope Online Quilt Show.  Go there and see more of these beautiful, thoughtful pieces.  Lots of good vibrations sent out to combat the hatred in the world.  Be inspired and add yours to this great project.


I’m linking up with Getting It Done at Patchwork Times.



View From My Studio 5/2/13


This is my view today as I sew.  Really, it’s behind me as I sew, throwing natural light over my shoulder into the fabric.  I see this dogwood when I swivel around to press or check Twitter.  Can you see my nesting friend, Mrs. Dove?


Here she is.  She is like a Japanese taupe quilt, isn’t she?  She’s much less conspicuous than Robin, and she likes to sit with her head drawn back into her chest, behind the branch.  She’s been there for three days, continuously as far as I can tell.  She gets up and shifts around, but I haven’t seen her leave or eat.  Mr. Dove has not been around since he helped her helped her fix the place up.  Figures.  So we’ll keep each other company.  It’s a beautiful day here to nest or to sew.  I hope you’re having a good day, too.

Of course, all of us are sending positive thoughts to Libby Lehman for her complete recovery.

(Really, SpellCheck, you don’t know “taupe”??  Really?)

I’m linking up with Really Random Thursday at Live a Colorful Life.



Friday Finish: This one will go to a veteran!


Here is the blue and green quilt I made completely from stash to replace the first one that I started at the New Years Day Sew In.  Finally gave up on the weather and took these pictures inside, so they are what they are.


This was Judy’s Quilt of Valor design, but I had a little trouble cutting.  I was a bit feverish one evening and cut all the 2 1/2″ inch bars for the center blocks at 2″, creating some cussing and  a “design opportunity”.  I got out my strings to pull coordinates, and I think it does add interest.


I quilted between all the blocks, and 1/4″ inside all the frames.  In the centers, I alternated between using straight lines and a design of four leaves.  The leaves do echo some of the fabrics, but I think I just made them because I can, and it seemed too easy to use straight lines everywhere.  Next time I think I will follow my instincts.  Alternating vertical and horizontal lines would have looked great.  This is fine, though.


I also used straight lines in the border triangles, and stippled over the print background.  It all took awhile, but it finished with a lot of texture, and I like it.


What did you finish this week?

I’m linking up with Finish It Up Friday on Crazy Mom Quilts.

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Design Wall Monday: A bright baby quilt


No blocks on my wall yet, just fabric, as I play around with choices for a brightly colored baby quilt.  I love this half-yard of polka dot batik.  My current plan is to cut it into five inch squares and frame them with the other two fabrics.  I’ll choose the centers so that the turquoise fabric doesn’t surround turquoise dots.  The lighter fabric is quite calm in color, but this quilt will still have a lot going on.  Hmmm.

Are you playing with your fabric?

I’m linking up to Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times.

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WIP Wednesday: QOV


Thank you for your imput about the borders for this quilt. It was fine without a border, but I needed it to be a little larger. I didn’t have enoigh blue to use it by itself, but I think that the triangles separate it nicely from the busy print.


I am now quilting along the edges of the block frames and a quarter inch in on either side.  I think the centers will get closely spaced lines in the same direction as the piecing.  I’ll do the blue triangles in zigzag lines.


I’m linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.