One more liner done

After the two signature wall quilts that I made, I decided to finish up one more basket liner for the bathroom. First, I’ll show you the wall quilts:

Teal and blue signature wall quilt

This one was for a woman’s daughter, and these are her preferred decorating colors. The daughter was graduating from college and the plan was for her to gather her friends’ signatures.

Antique blue, green, red, and unbleached muslin

The second quilt is for a woman’s co-worker who would be retiring, and she preferred these “antique” or muted colors. I love how they both came out.

center row left, latest basket finish

I finished the liner for the basket with a lid. I took the cane loop off the lid of the basket and the liner now covers the cane ball for the loop to go around. I don’t need to secure things inside the basket. I am not posting how I made this one because there are many mistakes in it. Oh, and we haven’t gotten around to painting yet. Can you relate?


Design Wall

Other quilters have shown and mentioned their design walls on their blogs. I have never felt the need for one, because where I used to live we had a balcony landing over the first floor living room and I was able to lay out the squares and view them from above.

I didn’t want to invest in anything costly, and I wasn’t sure I already had any flannel that was plain enough not to disrupt the quilt blocks design. I went to the internet and found a super simple way to put up a temporary design wall – use the flannel side of a vinyl tablecloth! I found one I already had, draped it over a door, and was able to lay out the blocks as I have them. In the case of the signature wall quilts, I am randomly using different fabrics, and I want them scattered throughout the quilt, not bunched together. Heaven forbid any identical fabrics touch!To make the setting-in triangles, I didn’t want to do the math. I could, but I didn’t want to. I’m sure someone out there has a chart for situations like this. The blocks in the quilt are 3 1/2 inch squares, so I just cut nine 4-inch squares. Eight of them were cut in half on the diagonal to make all the triangles on the sides, and one was cut into quarters on the diagonal to make the corner triangles. When I have them all sewn together, I can trim the excess before sewing on the border strips.

I began sewing the rows, but neglected to photograph my progress. I had to get the roast out of the crockpot! I am sewing in diagonal rows, starting with the upper left corner and ending in the lower right.

Do you see a fabric you love? My favorites are the bubbles, and the blue flowers with a white edging on light blue background.

I’ve found that cutting minimums are different in the different stores: one store said minimum cut is 1/4 yard. Two other stores said I could buy by the inch if I wanted to. In another store, I didn’t ask because I only bought fat quarters there.

Custom wall quilt for $

I posted a listing on my Etsy site (listed here) of a Signature wall quilt I had made for my aunt and uncle’s 50th anniversary party.

signature quiltEach block has an open space for a signature of the party attendees to sign with a permanent marker. I decided I could make them in custom designs for customers, and I’m pleased to say I have 2 on order to make.

The first customer is giving this to her daughter for college graduation. Her favorite colors are teal and blue, and the customer wanted input into the fabric choices. This meant visiting fabric stores (Not a problem!) and photographing fabrics I thought she would like. With each message containing feedback, I understood her style more and more.

Finally, choices are made, fabric is purchased, and the fun begins! Each block is 3×3 inches finished, and each corner of color starts as a 2×2 inch cut square. I place a color square in a corner and start sewing on the diagonal across that square. Then I simply feed the next one through without breaking the thread. This is called chain piecing or assembly-line sewing, and it is easy and mindless work. I sometimes solve world problems while chain piecing, and sometimes just sing along to the radio.

041718 a

After every square has one color corner, I sew a second color block to the opposite corner. More mindless sewing. I am careful not to have the same fabric design on both corners.

041718 bBecause I hate waste, I then sew a second seam 1/4 inch from the first, toward the outside. If I’m going to cut off the corner, and it results in 2 triangle pieces, they may as well be already sewn into a tiny half-square triangle.

041718 cSew…I mean so, with a little less than 2 hours of work, I have cut 42 white squares, more than 90 color squares (always have extra!), and sewn everything I mentioned already. I only needed 39 squares for the wall quilt, but it’s a good idea to have extra. I will try not to have any one fabric repeated close together, and I can grab one of the extras if needed. I already said I hate waste – the extra blocks will become mug rugs, or a hotpad, or a phone case, or an eyeglass case…or a future project I haven’t thought of yet.

I’ve heard this design called a Wonky Star. The first time I used this block design was in a full-size quilt for my son, using grey and blue. The layout was different, and made an interesting quilt.


2004 – Full-size bed quilt for Chad

The anniversary quilt was the 2nd time, and these custom quilts are numbers 3 and 4. I plan to regularly show my progress on the custom quilts.


New home and new projects

I know it has been quite a while since my last post. This blog has become more than just quilting, but will include any of my projects that I want to document.

I will be posting about making my Quick and Simple Quilt, in twin and full sizes. We have a guest bedroom now with two sets of bunk beds so we can host many sleepovers with children and grandchildren. We have a twin/full bunk bed and a twin/twin. I haven’t begun that project yet, but we will end up with 4 coordinating quilts for extra winter warmth.

This project is all about bathroom storage. We have been unable to find a wall cabinet of the dimension we wanted, so I’m making do. We were given a shelf unit that fits around the toilet. I had found mismatched baskets and filled them with bathroom essentials, but it looks too scattered.


bathroom shelf

Bathroom shelf

Please pardon the beginning of redecorating. I decided to keep the shelf, use baskets, and make them coordinate. The black basket with the white/black fabric liner is my starting point. Of course, this meant going to the thrift stores to find similar baskets. I found these:








I wanted them to fit in particular places on the shelves, and be of a very sturdy weave.

Preliminary fit

Next, I found some black and white fabrics that I thought would look great. We’ll end up with grey walls and some small black cabinets near the mirror. I had some matte black spray paint and got busy on painting the baskets. I did not document every step and I may include a liner tutorial on a future basket. The thing is, the first one always has mistakes and problems.

So, today I sewed the first basket liner. I had bought 1/2 yard of a few fabrics, and found that it wasn’t enough for the largest basket. So – white bottom fabric, where I will be the only one to see it. First I sewed the sides onto the square bottom.

It takes concentration to remember which way the seams go. I wanted to roll some fabric over the edge and tie a ribbon through a casing. I wish I had made the roll-over fabric a bit longer.

I left the corners open and hemmed everything, made the casings on the four side sections, made a ribbon of some leftover fabric, and put it all together with the basket.

I do like how it turned out. It will hold the cleaners and extra shampoo bottles, things like that.

I have the basket with the hinged lid partially painted, and I’m waiting for nicer weather before I attempt to finish the painting. The two baskets on the right side are options to keep, but I’d prefer to find taller baskets.


Like a pajama factory

This year the mothers of my grandchildren had a great idea and I ran with it. They suggested grandma-made pajama pants for their children for Christmas, and I was happy to comply.

I collected data on the little ones, who range in size from 18 months to size 12. I found a pattern online for pajama bottoms and managed to draw the size 10 and size 12 based on measurements and lines for size 8. Whew, I felt lucky just finding a multi-sized pattern from infant to size 8! I have 7 grandchildren, and my idea was to make pj pants for each one from a Christmas-patterned flannel, and for 5 of them an additional pair in a pattern each would love. The other 2 were not left out, you’ll see their quick quilts in a future post.

I went to the fabric store armed with measurements. I hadn’t noticed when flannel widths decreased, so I had to also re-figure the length I would need. If it comes in only 42″ widths, I had to figure I would get less once it was prewashed, and that was true – only 38″ in one case! I could not get two large pieces cut for the sizes 10 and 12 from one width of flannel, so I had to match up some of the smallest pieces next to the largest pieces.

I made a couple of errors along the way, but purchased fabric is never wasted, just used for another project. My dining room table became my cutting table for two weekends, and it was an organized chaos for a while. I found that I purchased the exact length I needed for the Christmas pattern pants. Too little fabric would have panicked me! I don’t live near fabric stores, so it would have meant a long drive to purchase more of the same.

Some of the flannel designs were one-way designs, meaning there was a right-side-up direction to the pattern. I had to be sure to cut the waist part of the pattern with the design going up. In at least two instances there was a definite lateral pattern as well. I had to use my knowledge of matching plaids to match the patterns as well.



I lined up the pattern on the fabric so that the two pieces that were cut would be identical from the top to the bottom, and from the side to the side. In the case of the plaid that meant finding a center in the pattern to fold.DSCN0445

(seams showing good matching of fabric pattern)




I pinned small tags to the pieces so that I could see at a glance which pair I was working on. Once I had all the pieces cut out for 12 pairs of pj pants, I started sewing like an assembly line.

DSCN0409I serged all the top edges and leg cuffs. I matched inner leg seams and sewed them. I matched center front and back seams and sewed them. I made a casing for the elastic waist and inserted the elastic, then hemmed the pants according to inseam lengths given by the mothers. Yes, I made it easy on myself at this point and topstitched. I rarely sew blind hems any more. It really is easy to sew loose pants in this style.

We decided to add long-sleeve t-shirts for each.


I was told the pajamas were a hit. In fact, one grandson defended me to a classmate on pajama day at school. The classmate swore there was no way a grandma could make pajamas. Michael said it was hard work, but his grandma did it.

I saw a picture…

Some of my favorite projects begin with seeing a photo of someone else’s project. This one didn’t turn out exactly like the original, but I love it just the same.

First, the complication. We are moving again, and I already packed up my patterns, foolishly thinking I wouldn’t need them. There is a baby shower coming up and I wanted to sew a gift, so I turned to the internet for inspiration. I found a photo of a baby drooling bib that looks like flower petals and calyces (the green parts that protect the bud before opening).

I eyeballed it from the photo, drew the pattern pieces, and started digging for fabric. I counted 4 large petals and 8 calyces, so I cut twice as many pieces of fabric for each, sewed them together right sides together, leaving the top portion open, and turned and pressed the pieces.

I found some bias tape in the dark green. Although it’s very wide, it would work. I would have preferred half the size. I opened the tape and laid the pieces inside, layering how it pleased me. I pinned it all and topstitched. I found I missed some places in the back, so I topstitched again. I’ll never admit that the original plan wasn’t double-topstitching!

If you have made your own version of something you’ve seen in a picture, I’d love it if you share it with me.

Flower bib

Flower bib


Simple potholders or hotpads

I belong to a quilting group on Facebook and this project for pot holders was posted. Here is my own photo tutorial on the simple potholders.


template for batting

template for batting

Using dish covers, I traced circles on the cotton batting. I made both sizes, blue and orange. 😉 You can use cotton batting or batting that is made specifically for potholders.


Widows and orphans and crazy patch

These are some of the potholders I whipped up quickly.



scrap pile

I gathered my materials – scraps from other projects and box of bias tape bindings. I plan to use up much of what you see.


On to the tutorial. To start, I placed a leftover block on the cotton batting. I did not use a separate foundation (muslin); I simply sewed right onto the batting.DSCN0042

I topstitched the seam lines, because I like the quilted look.DSCN0043

I placed coordinating fabric along the edges so that fabric covers the batting completely.DSCN0044

DSCN0045 DSCN0046

Trim around the batting.

Then I found another green print and cut 3 circles. Place one circle on the back of the batting with the right side up. The other two circles should be folded in half with right sides facing. Place them on the back of the potholder so the fold lines are together.DSCN0047 DSCN0048

I sewed a narrow zigzag all around the edge to keep the layers together.DSCN0049

Add a binding and you are done. If you are making a circle, you must use bias binding. DSCN0050

The folded circles added to the back allow you to use the potholder as a pan or lid grabber.DSCN0051