Monday, December 28, 2020

Monday Memory 120~ Grandmother's Garden Hexie Deal


Summer before last and one of the few yard sales we went to I scored a great deal I forgot to share.
These hexies brought back memories of my Grandmother's "Grandmother's  Flower Garden" quilts.
As you can see these directions have reference to the 1987 "Quilts and Crafts" so this bag of fabrics had to be from around that time.  Although rotary cutters had come on the market, many of us still used cardboard templates.

I found this bag with some cut pieces and some squares waiting to be cut.
The bag also included a cardboard template you see above.

As you can see, this was a fantastic deal.
I bought the bag because of the deal on the fabric.
I have not been interested in hand stitching hexies, because I thought that to be
a long, difficult and tedious process.
I had been given little paper piecing kits from a quilt guild at the state fair 2 years in a row.
People claimed it to be habit forming?

We made quilt templates out of any stiff but not too heavy to cut cardboard.

Only 3 pieces out of the entire bag had been sewn together and they were done by hand.

I found it interesting how they stored them by folding the middle piece so they could be stacked.
Check out the tiny stitches. That's what I always observe when looking at these vintage pieces.  
People strived to make tiny and consistent length stitches both in piecing and quilting.
So a couple of weeks ago, while cleaning up my sewing room, 
I came across this bag of hexies.
I apprehensively looked at this bag again.
When I first bought them I thought some day I might machine stitch them,
but that's not easy either.
Then I started watching English Paper Piecing on You Tube.
I don't like messing with glue or starch.
Then videos about just regular hand piecing of hexies came up.
For some reason that interested me.
So a couple of weeks ago, while watching TV, I tried it.
Yep, it's habit forming.
While it took me an hour to make each of these, it's still a progressive process.
Since I was VERY pleased they didn't come out wonky,
Oddly a few years back, 
I found this great deal.
Again, I thought they might come in handy if I machine stitched hexies.
I had no interest in hand stitching them. 
This is how we build our stash.
If its a great deal you buy it, just in case you might need it.
Well, now I need it.
I'm using the 3½ inch template to cut out more like the hexies in the bag.
I had also a couple of years ago,
accidently bought a fine tip heat sensitive Frixon pen that hadn't been too useful
until I started using it with this template. 
It can mark the holes!

So for the next couple of months,
while warming up in the south,
I hope to hand stitch more of these,
while they continue to bring back memories of my
Grandmothers, Aunts and neighbors that always made the hardest quilt patterns
two of which I believe to be the Grandmother's Flower Garden and Double Wedding Ring.
by hand.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Thoughtful Thursday 170 ~ Mail Box Hot Pad & Free Quilt Design Software


Its been a rough year for all the mail carriers.
They have worked long hours all year due to a shortage of workers.
Many have had to cover for those that became ill or needed to stay home and take care of family.
Now, with the extra load of holiday shipping, many are working 7 days a week.
The USPS have been begging for people to apply for work, but they are still short handed.

I decided I wanted to make a potholder showing a mail box for my carriers.
In the process of not finding a pattern for a mailbox, I found a present to myself.

A free quilt design Software called Quilt Assistant.  This is NOT a trial offer. It really is a free software for drafting quilting templates and paper pieced patterns. It will also allow you to digitally color the block or print a blank pattern to color. You can also upload a picture and draw lines to create a paper pieced pattern for the picture.  This will save me a lot of time with upsizing or downsizing a pattern.

Unfortunately, I haven't found a way to save the pattern to share online. I can only print the pattern. I can save the file that can be opened by this software or another high priced quilt design software so you don't have to recreate the design. 

So click here to download this

So if you have just one more gift to make, then think about pulling out your scraps and scrap batting, spend some fun time with a new software to design your own personal pattern and make a pot holder?

It is a special time to think about those front line workers that never have been allowed to stop and rest for a moment. We owe our livelihood to them in ways we probably haven't thought about.

I also have a special nurse in my life too.

Think about it.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Quilt Shot 129~ Hour by Hour: Call to Action QOV Quilt


Designed by Nancy Cann
Hour Glass blocks made by different Elkhorn Creek QOV members
Yours truly sashed the blocks and added the border
Now it will go to another member for quilting
and someone, maybe me, will bind it by hand.
The "Call to Action" request was to make quilts to help other groups catch up with their nominations.
Yes, I'm VERY lucky to have a great cutting table.
Got this cutting mat back in the 80s. They truly did make them then.  
Along with the "lip edge" cutting rule which I absolutely love. You can hardly find one.


I found out I could lay my ironing board across the end of the cutting table, and it was at a much better height to iron and even slightly slanted.  Used my OLD cordless iron I got back in the 80s. It won't hold water, but I rarely steam anything these days anyway.  As I ironed the top was slid off to the table where it didn't wad up and wrinkle again.

Mr. G loves it. That's the only approval from a Veteran I need.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Gingerbread Man Cards ~ Including FREE Embroidery File


Here are my Christmas cards for this year.  Seems everyone is baking cookies this year. So, here is my diabetic friendly Gingerbread Man!
I created this simple single stitch line embroidery file in the .pes format.  Multiple stitch lines cause the embroidery to fall apart from the card stock. 
This is a great way to practice some floating embroidery. If you have a little one (at heart) around the house, they can decorate your practice pieces?
Please find the link below to my free embroidery file below. 

Tuesday Tutorial 
First apply painter's tape to the BACK of  complete embroidery frame. 
The tape should be place at the top and bottom to hold the card but not in the way of stitching.
Yes, leave the inside frame inside.
This is my 5x4 frame.
I always like to printout the file to see how it fits inside the frame.
Each sheet of card stock is cut into fourths.

Placement marks are put on both top and bottom tape.
Then an assembly line begins.

This single stitch embroidery file only takes about 1 minute.
For my machine I have to hold the beginning top thread to help it catch the first stitch.
Notice how the card is on the placement marks at the bottom on the blue tape.
Usually I only needed to line up the bottom and the top fit right into place.

The tape lasted for all 38 cards.

After I download some new fonts I liked from DaFont, my favorite free font place, I used my Open Office Word processing program, also a free download, and created labels to stitch onto the card.   I took a quick supper break while the papers dried from the Coffee Dying Process. The way I do coffee dying is not a long process at all.

Just added a piece of scrap fabric and some quick straight red stitching for a bit of highlighting.

This little Gingerbread man is ready for someone to decorate him.
Diabetic friendly too!
Not a single calorie!
(note there is no preview available because it's an embroidery file.)
Consider this my Christmas gift to you! 
As is my tradition,
Merry Christmas!

Update Note: In the comments below, Angela reminded me of a tip or really a rule to follow about needles which I failed to include in my post.
Shared over at:

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Quilt Shot 128 ~2020 Mask Quilt


This quilt is made from scraps from making 665 face masks.
It's my answer to this year's Elkhorn Creek Quilt Guild Challenge,
which was announced at the beginning of March.
"Anything that has to do with the number 2020"

First all the scraps were sorted into piles by size, not by color.

I made blocks that represented something about the experience of making
masks during the Corona, COVID 19, China Virus,
whatever people wanted to call it.

 Several of the individual blocks have been posted already.
A few Crumb Blocks were created to represent
how life was moving on with people socializing in public life.

The Variable Star represented my state Kentucky before it all started.
A bit organized with folks still running the routine of going to school, church and other events.
The second Variable Star represented the first case of the virus in Kentucky.
Upon hearing of the first case, our Governor called a shut down and everyone rushed to the grocery stores.

So the Wonky Log Cabin was made as chaos started happening
as people scuttled around to figure out how to get their work done,
child care for kids not going to school and not able to go to public child care,
or worse how to buy food and make a house payment without a job.
The elderly "Vunerable" (highly likely to suffer the most due to medical conditions)
 found ways to buy groceries without going to the grocery.
At this point I was so thankful for my church family making sure I had food to prepare,
by adding my needs to their grocery pick up list and bringing me the items.

Heart of the Cabin declared the home was a safe haven for many of us.
Many got to be with their families and loved ones more than ever.
Several found out there was something called Zoom to help with work, school and allow many of us to attend church.

Meanwhile, New York City was getting hit HARD.  I had been planning for a long time to make some New York Beauty Blocks. I love paper piecing.  Four of those blocks were placed at the top of the quilt since it was the top of the news for several weeks. 

USPS and other delivery systems became a way of life since stores had closed and the "Vunerable" couldn't get out and shop.  My daughter is a rural mail carrier and worked many long hours.  I found out she had not been provided masks so I made some and "mailed" to her.  Above is the scrappy block called USPS in All 4 Corners of the World I made from scraps of her mask to honor all the delivery people, including all truck drivers.

Four Won't You Be My Neighbor six inch blocks were made and added to 4 blocks,
since the home became headquarters and neighbors started meeting neighbors on walks,
and checking on each other.

One went into a block to honor all those that worked tirelessly in the medical field including my other daughter, an RN.  In this block I included a scrap from her mask.  Another crumb block.

My nurse daughter got the Tweety mask. I don't think she Tweets.  Notice my mail carrier daughter's mask in lower left.  A scrap from the very first mask is in bottom right corner. 

 One was placed with a New York Beauty, because the streets of 
NYC became empty has people stayed home.

The LOVE block is a paper pieced block designed by
Through all this, it just seems to me more love has been spread around among everyone. Also, our love and hearts go out to all those that have lost loved ones during this time.  Some have died of something besides the virus and none of the family got to be by their side during those last moments.
Also during this time a ton of my friends and strangers came to my front porch to pick up their requested masks, or to donate fabric.  I saw more people at my home during this time than the whole time I've lived here since 2011!  Many I got to speak with from a distance. Something we don't usually do since we now have the internet.

I donated ALL the masks, although several left a generous money donation or fabric for me to keep making masks for more people or simply to cover my costs. I slowed down and eventually stopped making masks once someone had the fantastic idea to get donated machines and supplies and have folks at the prison in the neighboring county to mass produce masks for various groups that needed them. 


And before it's finally over, How Wonky Will our Cabins Be?
Scraps were pieced together to make the backing.

Plenty of scraps were STILL left for the border and you can see HERE.

I made the first block in April,
then stopped to make a graduation quilt
Then more blocks were made in between making
There were also a couple of baby gifts , coffee can, mug organizers and
 Pumpkin and Star yard flag as well.
 Finally, in September the blocks were laid out in various formations for the top.
It was SO hard to make up my mind.
I'm not crazy about sampler quilts.
I guess its the organization that drives me crazy,
because there is no pattern?
The only pattern here is the progression of this worldwide Pandemic.

 THIS is always the moment when it really gets exciting:
The last 4 inches.

The Guild Quilt show is not until March, 2021,
when I will be south of here.
So my goal has to be to have my challenge quilt finished before the end of December
to leave with someone to turn in for the quilt show.