Bamboo – Further Along

Making headway. The width is now about 42″, with the fill-ins being place-held with batik blocks; the panel length will approximate 62″ – with borders added the quilt top will end up a reasonable size for a lap quilt.

Tentative Layout

So it’s looking like I will want between 7-10 more “bamboo” blocks – that’s getting to be within range (it was beginning to feel as if the end of the project was nowhere in sight). I’m giving up on getting any overlap between the blocks – bits of sashing to make blocks fit is going to have to do.

Truth is I’m feeling pressure to get this quilt done. I want to get onto a bit of garment sewing – I need to make a pair of pants and maybe another casual jacket to take to Florence at the end of April – that’s just a month away.


Bamboo – Making Progress

I’m making headway slowly on the Bamboo quilt top. I’ve created some more blocks – they’re getting better even though I’m not getting faster! The tapering of the inserts is looking more like I want it to. I’ve also started joining blocks and fitting in inserts where needed to make row segments. I’ve got 15 blocks assembled – I figure I’ll need between 35 and 40 to make a lap-size quilt.

Bamboo – Beginning To Take Shape

In the picture I saw originally, there are some leaves overlapping from one block to another: 

The only way I think this can be done is if the whole quilt top was constructed using raw edge appliqué. I’m doing this with slashing and inserting contrasting fabric.  I’m stumped about how to accomplish the overlapping across blocks! Nevertheless I’ll keep working away at these blocks.

What I’m Working On…

A couple of days ago I started a new quilt – the previous one really didn’t challenge my sewing skills (I was making it specifically for a friend who didn’t want anything too “fancy”).

This time, I’ve started building something I think I’ll end up calling “Bamboo” – blocks cut freehand with contrasting inserts to look like stems with long narrow leaves. Quite difficult to execute, actually – these first five blocks started out with 9″ wide fabric but trimmed up somewhat less than 6″ in width because of the curvature that occurred with the leaf insertions.

Free-form Blocks

However, after eight blocks I think I’ve finally figured out how to execute the blocks – do the initial slashing cuts, then lay out the pieces and remove fabric from each cut so that when the inserts are stitched and pressed the block retains most of it’s shape and the size will be closer to the starting size. This block is cut, now to add the leaves and stem.

Setting Up The Block

I’m not worrying about keeping block size consistent – they’ll come out whatever size they do; then I’ll fill in with other smaller piecing to make the whole work out.


My amaryllis now has 6 flower blooms – four showing and two to come. That’s the most I’ve ever had on a stalk. The third stalk is still peeking out of the bulb – it’s not clear if it will actually grow or not.

Amaryllis Stalk #2 – with 6 blooms!

This set of blooms makes me smile each time I look at them.


In the late summer I offered to finish off, back, and bind a queen-size hand embroidered crazy quilt my friend Ruth has been working on for the past many years. She almost finished, then lost interest and put the quilt away. I know she intended going back to it, but I also knew she probably wouldn’t get there. So I offered to complete it for her – with my sewing machine using decorative quilting stitches where she’s done hand work, but it would work.

Yesterday I dug out the quilt from the closet, this morning I opened it up and started by trimming the quilt edges to make them straight, machine basting flapping bits of fabric – there’s quite a bit of beading near the edges – broke a needle on one. My next task will be to remove beads near edges so I can properly machine sew where I need to.

I also need to add fabric to three corners, and figure out a way to decorate a seam that joins a panel across the quilt near one end – lace, silk, bits of crochet, whatever bits and pieces I can find in my collection of stuff that kind of goes with what Ruth has used.

Hand Embroidered Crazy Quilt

Here’s my problem – the quilt needs a backing. I can set up a backing using a light cotton (the quilt is VERY heavy already and doesn’t need anything weighty on the back). But how am I going to stabilize the top to the back? I can’t stitch over existing embroidered edges because it would look awful and there are beads on lots of those edges. Do I tie top to back with bits of yarn? I have to do something.

If anybody has any idea how to attach a back to something like this, I’d love to hear your suggestions because I’m stumped, I must say. The underside of the quilt does need to be concealed because there are thread ends and raw edges throughout that will ravel and come out if left exposed.

Charm Pack Quilt – 2

Just finished piecing the charm pack quilt. Three borders – two narrow and one wide. The overall finished size will be 47″ x 60″ – a good lap quilt size.

Quilt Top Pieced With Borders

Now my problem is the back. I have 53″ of potential backing fabric (the same fabric I used for the dark wide border). To make that work I have to extend the length by 12″ in order to have enough hang-over to be able to quilt the project. I have enough leftover blocks to create a strip and with borders I can make the insertion strip the required width to give me the length I need for the backing.

The width also has to be extended – I have a workable 42″ in the width-of-fabric – I need a finished width of  51″. I will have to extend the width another 11″ – 12″. That will mean using almost a third of the blocks in the unused pack for an insertion strip.

The easiest way of doing this is just to extend one side of the length and of the width but that  will end up being trimmed and I want the entire inserted strips to be included in the back with the trimming coming from the major background fabric. Those extension strips will need to be inserted approximately 8″-9″ from one edge of both length and width.

That’s for tomorrow. Done enough for today. Got further than I expected.

Charm Pack Quilt – 1

A couple of weeks ago my physiotherapist handed me a Northcott charm pack with blue/turquoise fabrics – forty-two 5″ squares in 10 different coordinating colours. Not enough to make a quilt on it’s own. I went through my stash pulling out blues and turquoise fat quarters, half-yards, and scraps to cut another forty 5″ squares which would get me closer to what I’d need for a good-sized lap quilt. This quilt isn’t for me – she wants it to use in her new house.

Charm Pack with Quilt Backing Fabric

I thought about a lot of possibilities – finally decided to do a disappearing 9-patch. I didn’t want to invest a huge amount of time executing fine detail – setting up a 9-patch didn’t take long, cutting the blocks into quarters went quickly, arranging the resulting blocks is now my challenge. Because I didn’t think the blues/turquoises had enough life, I decided to use a golden yellow (with hints of blue) as an accent colour. I placed the yellow blocks at the centre of the 9-patch so they were all cut into quarters when I spliced the 9-patch blocks. Here is my current layout:

Disappearing 9-Patch using Charm Pack

Not big enough for a good size lap quilt – so far just a 5×7 array. The question I’m deliberating right now is whether to extend the quilt with a narrow border in light blue along with a wide dark border (I actually bought a second charm pack, in case I didn’t have enough for the quilt center – I could use the charm pack squares to piece an intermediate 2.5″ border then finish with a wider dark border). Or, I could add sashing between blocks/rows and space out these elements – but what colour to use for sashing?

I have to keep thinking about this – not sure what to do,  yet.

Oh, and I came across some appropriate backing fabric for half-price so I picked it up.

As I was leaving the physiotherapist’s office Tuesday, I noticed the additions to the tree in her yard. I think there’s a pottery studio in the garage – used by the previous owner – these faces bits of the potter’s work (top face missing it’s left eye).


Amaryllis 2 2018

I got a second amaryllis for Christmas – so far the first stalk has completely bloomed. There’s a second stalk well on the way and I think I’m seeing a possible third stalk peeking out….

Amaryllis 2 2018

Crazy weather – it snowed last night, then turned to rain, then the temperature dropped well below freezing leaving black ice patches. I haven’t been out yet today, but just about to venture forth.

Kantha Jacket – Completed

Just finished the jacket. Yesterday, I assembled the double-welt pockets, stitched the shoulders, added the collar, pinned in the sleeves. This morning, I sewed the sleeves in (bound the seams), stitched the sleeve underarm and jacket side seams (bound those seams), and finished with a hidden binding on the bottom edge.

The buttonholes took a bit of crafting – in the end I used a double thread (a black combined with an almost navy) to provide a bit of definition to the buttonholes so they show (a single thread wasn’t really visible). Last the buttons.

Kantha Jacket – Front

Then I tried the jacket on – it fit, but the sleeves were about an inch and a half too long. I removed the cuffs, shortened the sleeves and restitched the cuffs. The sleeves are now a little longer than 3/4 length – I can bring them down by lowering the cuff should I want to.

Here’s the jacket back:

Kantha Jacket – Back

I’m pleased with the result. It fits like the jacket I bought in San Francisco three years ago – a useful addition to my wardrobe.