white elephant craft gifts

This is the last post of 2013 and the end of my first little book.  I will continue to post, but it will go to a second book – if the first one goes well. In any case, this was the first I could post these photos.  These are two of the three craft white elephant gifts I made for my extended family’s gift exchange.

I made this leader ender denim quilt.  I have made several of these: random squares with polar fleece back and no batt.  They are super warm and comfortable. I did add the triangles using my new templates.  I love the way the triangles look, however, I wouldn’t place them on the edge because somehow they make the edge a little wobbly.  I think I needed to trim the intersections of the triangles on the edge off.  In any case, it is warm and super comforting.


The other quilt is pure Christmas: psychedelic and a little overwhelming.  It is exciting, chaotic and of course, being my quilt wonky.

I really love the way it worked out.  I used bells and bells on the tops of the trees, so it jingles when it is shaken. 

This quilt is unusual for me as well because I used pre-quilted fabric.  I have never done this before.  Mainly, because the pre-quilted fabric is often so poor quality.  I had about a yard of the dark blue pre-quilted fabric from my aunt.  It was one-sided and older, so the fabric while pretty, had a little polyester in it.  I picked up some more quilted fabric at JoAnne’s: the holly, white background fabric with green leaves and berries.  This was two-sided with different, but related motifs on each side.  It is a slightly better quality and feels like it is at least cotton on the top and bottom.  It was also 70 per cent off.  I only bought a half a yard which was barely enough to do the front of this quilt. I am regretting a little bit not buying more.  I loved how quickly this quilt went together because of the prequilted fabric.  The downside is that the finished quilt is pretty stiff. This is fine for this decorative piece but if I were making a bed quilt, I wouldn’t like that. 


I will post again in 2014, so, my friends: may 2014 be a year full of joy and blessings for you!

what do you do when you are waiting to buy fabric


I am waiting to go get fabric with my friend today.  I am really excited to go with someone who is not just going as a favor to me, but rather is excited to go the fabric store.  Plus, there is a giant sale at Joanne’s.  Please don’t go, I hate crowds.

So yesterday I didn’t have any special intention.  So I spent a weekend kind of shuffling around.  I helped other people do their things, watched too much Raising Hope past episodes on Netflix and sorting leader enders.

beginnings and enders

So, in the process of finishing my denim rug ufo, I got out all of my denim scraps to make more strips.

But because I am a quilter or crazy, I couldn’t just cut the strips.  I had to cut a new batch of ender leaders.

2014 ufo here I come!


John and Missy’s quilt

This is a quilt I made over ten years ago for my brother and sister-in-law’s wedding.   I was reminded of it when I was cutting charms.  I saw it a few years ago at their house and it was in surprisingly good shape, because my sil is such a careful steward. Anyway, speaking of memories:

The dark blue squares and light blue striped squares are from Steve’s shirt.

The blue squares with the red shapes – which are actually Clifford are from a pair of Eliott’s shorts.

The white background squares with the pink paisley are from my Grandmother Amann.

The rainbows are from one of Eliott or Paul’s crib sheets.

The green and white stripes are from a strange suit my neighbor gave me.

There is some pepper fabric from Steve’s shirt in here too.

The center fuchsia plaid is from a cotton dress I wore for a long time.

A couple of these I still have fabric from and cut squares from last week.  Wow. A line of quilts that goes back at least ten years.


I did something fun last week.  I cut some 2 1/2 squares for a friend who is doing a charm quilt.  She suggested that I cut some for myself as well.  This is what I ended up with: a snapshot of my scrap collection.  This is every quilting fabric I have in my scraps.  To be clear, scraps for me are pieces of fabric that are smaller than a fat quarter.  With my awesome organizational skills, I have determined that a fat quarter (give or take a little) is the smallest size that I can neatly fold.  So my scraps are stored randomly.  Whenever I start a quilt I go through them and pull all of the colors for that particular quilt.

So it turned out I had ninety-nine.  So I had include one more from my grandmother stash to make an even hundred.  I will use mine for a leader and enders over the next few months.  It’s great to look at these little swatches because they are full of such great memories.   The yellow plaid one is from a shirt my son had when he was about four.  The bright red floral, call it b-7, is from a weird maternity dress I never actually wore.

One of the things I love about quiltmaking, is the lines that can be drawn between work.  In painting, an artist may have motif that repeat, or a color scheme, but in quiltmaking the fabric can often draw relationships between work.  Also, for me personally, the fabric can have great meaning and memory.  I love the idea that some of these lines are now drawn across the country to a new completely different line of work.

51 plus request for advice…

So I finally counted my grandmother’s flower quilt and I have 51 “flowers”.  Here is the crazy Roberta count:

9 brown, 7 blue, 6 pink, 6 green, 6 plaid, 4 gold, 4 peach, 3 green plaid, 2 white, 2 pink floral, 1 different green, 1 peach plaid.

Yes, that is 51, and worse,  only 5 sets that can be laid out as traditional flowers in sets of six.  Awesome job planning. So I laid out four of the five flowers sets and I have 3 lights and 2 darks.  Except that the one set of dark a weird brown color I am not thrilled about. So after some complex drawings, I decided just put them together randomly in alternate lines of 8 and 7. This means I only need 2 more flowers to make 53.  Don’t ask me to explain the math. I will show you my flower football notes which I believe will get me partial credit on any quiz.

Anyway, I was starting to think about how am I going to put this sucker together.  I have made satin quilts before but a long time ago, before I cared about washability and stability.  That would probably be about the time I started this quilt.  Any recommendations for what fiber I should use batt and backing would be awesome.  I don’t believe I have any silk fibers which means the satin is either polyester or rayon.

On another topic, the ufo for this month is the cross stitch which I have been working on for at least eight years.  I’m 0 for 2, on finishes for ufos this year, and I am afraid this may be 0 for 3.  But I will give it a shot.

not sure

Well, I am nearing the end of this quilt.  It is a quilt for Paul.  He specifically chose red and black as the color scheme.  Then, we went to the fabric store and he fell in love with this Asian themed fabric.  He said for me to use as much as possible in his quilt.  I’m not completely sure it works.

On another note, I went through all of my boxes of scraps and organized them.  I was looking for yellow fabric for the flower quilt.  I found a few good yellow scraps, but I also found a bag of cut squares.  They were in my aunt’s things. However,  I think they were actually my grandmother’s because of the color scheme and also because I got a very similar bag when she died. I have been doing leaders and enders, but my box of little squares is getting sparse.  After the first denim ender leader quilt, I cut some two-inch squares.  Every time I am piecing a quilt, I piece a few in the same color scheme.  Then, I tend to incorporate them into that quilt.  You can see them in the doll quilts.  Anyway, it was nice to refresh my pile of ender leader pieces without actually having to cut them myself.

denim ender leader wrap up

With the holidays, I missed showing you some projects that I finished for gifts.  Here is the finished ender leader denim quilt.  I am very happy with how it turned out.  It is backed with polar fleece, then I simply brought the edges up and over and used a zigzag stitch to create the binding.  It’s funny how denim can just glow.  Since these quilts always evoke landscape for me, I did some circles for the quilting, reminding me of the drainage fields I saw once when we flew to the west cost.

I put this in our ten-dollar gift exchange in North Dakota, and my sister, Becky, won it. She traded for it, so I was excited that she was so interested in it. I have a mental image of her all snuggled up under it that night.  (I wish I would remember my camera sometimes).

On a different note, I want to let you know that I have joined the amazon affiliate program.  You may notice on the sidebar that I have added a picture of what book I am now reading and what I am currently listening to.  If you are interested in the book, the picture is a link to Amazon.  If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission. I will be doing more with this later, including book lists and reviews.

Happy New Year, and may your year be full of blessings!

quilting queue

I finished pin basting two more quilts yesterday morning:

This one is pinned at least.  I don’t have any intention on how to quilt it yet.  Next week I probably will do some hand quilting on Saturday morning.  I backed it with red polar fleece (you can see a little bit in the right corner) so it will require less quilting.  I may still tie it.  I have some problems still with some squares that have some stains or holes in them.  I will probably do some hand quilting on those squares.

As I was pinning this one, it became very apparent to me how to quilt it.  I debated doing some hand quilting, but I am certain it should be machine quilted.  I have ideas for most of the quilt already. Since it is so obvious what direction I am taking with this quilt, I will probably quilt it next.  I have four quilts in queue for quilting right now, these two, the other small quilt and the denim cathedral window quilt.  I have that quilt in four pieces, but three of the separate quarters are nearly done.

denim quilt

I finished my first ender leader quilt top.  Now it just needs to be quilted.  What an easy project!  I love these simple denim quilts because they have a real minimist appeal.  You can barely see it but I did some hand stitching. The stitching is just long parallel lines of running stitches. I need to pick up some polar fleece for the back.  By the way, up until this point, the quilt is 100% upcycled.