Thursday, March 31, 2011

UFO Update - 3/31/11

March UFO Update - Judy picked #1 for March - that translated to my Stage 1 Projects - which I did in January -  (check out the UFO-2011 tab above).

So - I just "fiddled" this month.  I love to just "fiddle" sometimes.  It's therapeutic.

My UFO Update at the beginning of the month said -

I did my Stage #1 UFOs in January!  I can do whatever I want this month!

So here is my TO DO LIST for March - (in no particular order) -

1.  Figure out how to make a button for my sidebar - so other lefties can link back to my blog (if they want to).

2.  Work on getting my taxes done.  I've been procrastinating - and, of course, I know better - having been on the other side of the desk for many, many years.

3.  Practice my free-motion quilting (Stage 3) projects.

4.  And play with my new toy.  She came today!!


So - what did I actually get done????

1.  The button for lefties - I basically said screw it!  I found the HTML codes and all - but I still need to set up some sort of Flickr or Photobucket account for the picture - and I just plain don't want to deal with it right now.  I would much rather sew.  So - instead - I made a new page/tab and labeled it Lefties.  (I already know how to make a new Page.)  If you are a Lefty and want to be listed - leave me a comment and I'll see what I can do.  If you want to link back to my blog - just list me in your Blog List - that works just like a button would anyway.

2.  Taxes - yeah - got those done - YAY!

3.  Practice my free-motion quilting (Stage 3) projects - Nope!  They will still be there when I get the urge to tackle them again.  They aren't going anywhere anytime soon.  (Unless Judy picks #3 in the morning!  Wouldn't that be a hoot?) 

4.  And play with my new toy.  Yup!  That I did!  I was going to do a post on my first impressions of her and all of that but then I thought - no free publicity.  There are plenty of blogs out there singing her praises - best thing since sliced bread, etc.  Personally, we have some issues - and I think that she's waaaaaay too expensive - even on sale.  But then again, that's only my opinion, I could be wrong.

Other things I did -

I introduced you all to BOB - my alter ego - Bitchy Old Broad.  She needs a new cell phone - that post will probably be next.  Stay tuned.

I spent a lot of time playing with and organizing my scraps.  That is always FUN!!  I LOVE playing with my fabric - fondling it - sorting it - pressing it - trimming it - folding it.  Sometimes just LOOKING at it is soothing.

Oh, yeah - almost forgot - (Swiss-cheese brain, again, I swear - and it was only a couple of days ago - geeshh!!) - I entered one of my quilts in the Weekly Themed Contest and WON!!  Third time's a charm, I guess.  Mainer-meinca reminded me to enter the St. Patrick's Day Contest - and Noriko's Bea Paw Quilt won! ( I'm too lazy to link all of the links - but if you want to read all about it - just back up a few posts to St. Patrick's Day.)

OK - that's all I can think of right now - I'm just waiting to see what number Judy picks for April.  I'm hoping for #3 - please - please - please!!  Or #7 - I want to work on my Floral Applique, too!!  Of course, I could always work on those along with whatever other number Judy picks!

Yeah, right - like I'm going to get all of that done in one month at my Slow Poke rate!

But, hey, a girl can dream, can't she??

Talk to you later - gotta go - gotta sew -

LHQ - Scrap Management


Note - these instructions are written in LEFTISH.  If you are right-handed - just reverse the directions.

One of my readers recently asked me about Diane -

How is Diane doing?  I never understood why you would want to cut certain shapes when you don't know what you are going to use them for.  I can see 2-1/2" strips as they are so versatile.  Or FQs or 5" squares...

And my awesome answer was - (just checking - as always - to see if you're paying attention)

A couple of years ago I read Bonnie Hunter's ( "Scrap User's System".

She has this method of cutting scraps into standard sizes - sorting them into separate baggies, boxes, bins, etc. - and then sewing pairs of, say, 2" squares together as "leaders" and "enders" while you are making other quilts.

Before you know it, you have a bunch of "twosies" - then you sew the "twosies" together for "foursies" (four-patches).  Then she has patterns for scrap quilts that call for, say, a hundred four-patches (from 2" squares) - and you already have them sewn - "between the lines" - so to speak.

'Cuz - nobody really wants to make a quilt that starts off with "Make 100 four-patches from 2" squares."  (I made "Christmas Lights" with a bunch of four-patches that I had done that way.)

It's a really cool system.

Anyway - that's what I'm doing with Diane - cutting my scraps into 3-1/2" - 2" and 1-1/2" strips - and 2" squares - then sorting the rest into "strings" - "crumbs" - "bits & pieces".  That way they are all pre-cut for scrap quilts - and they really are quite versatile - if you make scrap quilts.

I have the scraps from the last six or seven quilts I made - plus all of the left-overs from other quilts through the years - so I have a ton of scraps.  I should do a post on that, huh?  Give credit to Bonnie - but show what I do with my scraps.  What do you think?


She agreed - so here's the post -  This Is How I Do It -

And one thing I forgot to mention in that email exchange was - that one of the main reasons 2-1/2" strips and FQs and 5" charms are so versatile - is that that is what the fabric companies make/cut now - so pattern books are built around using them.  (You don't really think it was the other way around - do you?)

Anyway - you really should check out Bonnie's site -

Bonnie Hunter's ( "Scrap User's System".

Somewhere along one of her sidebars is the link to her Scrap User's System.  It's terrific!!

I use it to sort my stuff into the following categories.  These categories are arbitrary and flexible - so make a set that suits your style with the sizes that you use the most.

First - let me define what I mean by SCRAP -

I consider a SCRAP to be anything less than 6" wide - the length doesn't matter to me.  If it is larger than 6" - it goes with my fat quarters.  To me - 6" is a useable chunk of fabric - but it's a totally arbitrary cutoff number that I chose a long time ago - so pick a size that suits you and your stash.  (I'll do a post on how I handle the rest of my stash in a couple of days.)

STRIPS - any length - in a bin - sorted by size/width (1-1/2" - 2" - 2-1/2" - 3-1/2" etc.)
I don't necessarily cut squares until I actually need them - and I can always sew a light strip to a dark strip and then cut them apart to make four-patches.  The ones in the baggies were cut using Diane - I wanted to keep them separate - so I could tell which of the strips had been die-cut.  (I also included the baggie of 2" squares - also die-cut.)

STRINGS - any length - less than 1-1/2" wide - in a bin
String quilts are very popular - you can never have enough strings.  And if I need more - I just raid the "STRIPS" bin.

CRUMBS - in a bin
Bonnie has a tutorial on her site for making "Crumb" blocks - they use up the odd sized chunks and left-over triangles, etc. from other projects - check it out - it's really cool!

BITS & PIECES - in a bin -
I save the little bits and selvages -in separate baggies - to use for "Snippet" quilts and "Selvage" blocks - someday -

THREADS - baggies (Yes - I save thread bits)
Check out this book - it looks like great fun - Fast, Fun, and Easy Incredible Thread-A-Bowls

When I'm done - I have this -

I know - I'm a pack rat - I don't throw anything out.  If you have scraps you don't want or can't find a use for - send them my way.  Scrap quilts need variety - a little of a lot of different fabrics.  The more the merrier.  Even ugly ones have friends!!

Talk to you later - gotta go -

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What's on my Design Wall - Wednesday

What's on my Design Wall - Wednesday??

NOTHIN'!! - absolutely NOTHIN'!!

The last few weeks I have been playing with my new toy.  I call her Diane.  Last name MattDiane Matt.  (DIE - an' - mat)  I know it's corny - but that's the best I could do.  It was either that or Lady GOdiva.  (Readers under the age of fifty might have to google that one! - haha)

Anyway - Diane helped me to get my scraps in order.

I needed to GO! from this - 

to this -

and this -

and this -

I had bins of scraps from my last six or seven quilts - so processing them took time - but  I didn't care how long it took me.  I did it at my own pace - and I enjoyed every minute of it.

Quilting is not a race - it's a process - and I'm a SLOW POKE QUILTER - so there!
And WELCOME to Toni - The Quilting Pirate - my  newest follower - and another Lefty!!

Talk to you later - I GOT A GO!!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

BOB went to Target

WARNING - BOB is my alter ego - Bitchy Old Broad.
BOB's adventures are basically rants - some funny - some silly - some stupid - some sad - some just plain bitchy - depending on your point of view.  (If you haven't already - you may want to read my post - Meet BOB.)  If you prefer not to read rants - STOP READING NOW!!

BOB  went to Target one day.  The total came to $9.87.  I did some quick math in my head and figured I would get 13 cents change from a ten-dollar bill.  I don't like pennies - and I don't like dimes even more - so I gave the clerk a ten-dollar bill - and - twelve cents.

She looked at me - she looked at the money I had given her - she looked at the register - she looked back at me - she looked at the money I had given her - she looked at the register - about three times.

I could see that the ten-dollar bill didn't bother her - she had expected that.

It was the twelve cents that she didn't understand.

She started to give it back to me.

BOB told her to "Just key it in."  - so she did.

When it popped up 25 cents - she gasped and said "How did you do that?"

Before BOB could decide whether to explain the arithmetic -

or to say -

that while she (the clerk) had probably slept though math class - I had actually paid attention -

my husband said, "Magic!"


I think this story is sad.  Some people just don't know simple arithmetic or how to make change anymore - and I think that's sad.  If it doesn't show up on the register - they can't figure it out.

I think that's a real shame.  Now if I only knew what to do about it.

Maybe if they taught math in school??? 

But then again - it's probably just me.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I WON!! - YAY!!


I can't believe it!

I just found out this morning - it's official - check it out!

Noriko's Bear Paw won the most votes on the Weekly Themed Contest!  YAY!!
(Scroll down to March 14/11)

And Marjorie Harwood won the Judge's Choice Award for her Irish Chain.  Congratulations, Marjorie!


I won a Star Hanger and my choice of a pattern from Rocking Chair Quilts - so I chose - .

"Cupcakes Galore".  It just looks so HAPPY!  And I love Cupcakes!

Thanks to Quilting Gallery for hosting the contest and Rocking Chair Quilts for sponsoring this week's contest with it's great prizes.  And thanks to all of you who voted for Noriko's quilt.  And thanks to mainer-meinca for suggesting that I enter this week's contest.  My competition was awesome!  I still can't believe I won!  Thank you all so much!

For those of you who missed it - the Story of Noriko's Bear Paw Quilt is on my last post.

And - just so you know - only one person found the 12th block!

Try again, guys - c'mon - it's there - I promise!!

Talk to you later - gotta go - gotta sew -

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Noriko's Bear Paw Quilt


Noriko - 2002

Hand-made the templates - hand-drew and hand-cut the patches - and hand-pieced eleven "Bear Paw" blocks and two corner units of a twelfth block.  Before moving to England - she gave the completed blocks and cut patches to her friendly, neighborhood accountant -

Kitty(Me) - 2009

Who machine-pieced the two remaining corner units of the twelfth block - altering the design slightly** - and assembled the quilt top with alternating plain muslin blocks.  (The better to show off Noriko's beautiful blocks!)

Kitty(I) used the remaining cut patches to machine-piece three more blocks for the backing - assembled the backing - prepared the binding - the hanging sleeve - and the label.

(I wanted it to be easy to distinguish between the blocks that had been hand-pieced by Noriko and the blocks that had been machine-pieced by me.)

Kitty(I) then sent the quilt to her(my) friend -

Mary - 2009

Who machine-quilted the quilt on her long-arm quilting machine and hand-stitched the binding, the hanging sleeve, and the label.  She then returned the quilt to Kitty(me) who then returned it to Noriko to enjoy - finally finished and looking good - with a little help from her friends.

(The pattern used was Deb's Feathers -
with white thread so as not to detract from the blocks on the front.  It shows up beautifully on the dark green on the back of the quilt.)

(Here's a closeup of one of Noriko's blocks)

** Just for fun - which block is the twelfth block?

Anyway - that's what the label says - (The stuff in parentheses is extra info for this blog post.)

But there's more to the story - 

Epilogue -

Kitty(I) emailed Noriko to double check her address before actually mailing the quilt to her.  Noriko replied and graciously declined the offer of the quilt - she had meant it for me to keep!!  When she came back to California on vacation that fall, she included a visit to me - and was able to see the final quilt.  (She still insisted that I keep it!)  We had a very nice visit!

And - as my sister said - "I got to see my friend - and - I got to keep the quilt!"

This quilt is truly special - and I will always think of it as Noriko's quilt.  All of that hand-work is simply amazing!!  You really should see it up close!

And - at meinca-mainer's suggestion - I entered this quilt in the Weekly Themed Contest - so - once again - VOTE FOR ME!!  Thanks!!

Talk to you later - gotta go - gotta sew -

Friday, March 18, 2011

Five Question Friday - 3/18/11

(Here's the link if you want to do it on your blog.) 

The questions come from My Little Life and Mama M.  She has a "Blog Hop", too.  You'll see the list of blogs to "Hop" at the end.

The Questions for this week are -

1. Have you ever testified in court? For what?

2. Do you still have your wedding dress?

3. Is there a special place you like to go when you're happy, sad, stressed, etc.?

4. If you have kids, do they sleep with you? If you don't have kids...will you let your kids sleep with you when/if you have them?

5. Do you watch late night TV?


1. Have you ever testified in court? For what?
Yes - none of your business.

2. Do you still have your wedding dress?
No - it accidentally got thrown out with some really old clothes one day many, many years ago.  So sad.  It was a pretty dress.  I have pictures, though.  When I showed one to Grandson #1 - he said - "That was YOU - Grandma???"  Yeah, honey - that was me!  (Over thirty years ago!)

3. Is there a special place you like to go when you're happy, sad, stressed, etc.?
My Happy Place is My Sewing Room.  I LOVE My Sewing Room!!

4. If you have kids, do they sleep with you? If you don't have kids...will you let your kids sleep with you when/if you have them?
Nope - never did let the kids sleep with us.  They had their own beds.  And - horrible parents that we were/are - we expected them to use them.

5. Do you watch late night TV?
Sometimes - Jay Leno and Craig Ferguson mostly - not much after that.  


Tomorrow I'm going to post the story of Noriko's Bear Paw quilt - the one I entered in the Weekly Themed Contest - so please come back tomorrow to read it before you vote.  Thanks!!

Talk to you later - gotta go - gotta sew -

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!


Today is all about being IRISH and the wearing of the GREEN!!  GREEN RULES!!

Meinca-mainer - did a post asking for photos of GREEN quilts - and I sent her some photos of one of mine - Noriko's Bear Paw.  (I'll post the story on Saturday because tomorrow is "Five Question Friday".)  Check out her blog here - and - on my sidebar.  She's making some really pretty stuff!!

In exchange for photos - she offered to send a fat quarter to all who responded.  I asked her to send me her "ugliest" fat quarter - just for fun!  Can't wait to see what I get!  One person's "ugly" is another person's "not so bad".  So we'll see.  Should be fun!

And - while I was looking for any quilt that I had made that was GREEN - you will never guess what I found -

This is the "second" thing I ever made - A Green/Pink Apron and Matching Potholder - in 7th grade Home-Ec class.  I even have the pattern - it takes only one yard of "material" as it was called back then.  And yes, I am that old!  I don't think they even have Home-Ec classes any more - do they?  That's too bad - they really should!

Here's a close-up of the pocket - not bad for a kid - huh?

What fun!!  Almost makes me want to make another one - well, almost - not quite!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

Talk to you later -

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

LHQ - Borders


Note - these instructions are written in LEFTISH.  If you are right-handed - just reverse the directions.

I want to show you all my JELLY BEANS Borders.  To the experienced quilters reading this - this post will either raise your eyebrows or have you saying - it's not just me!!

Either way - This is How I Do It.

First I have a confession to make - I DON'T MEASURE MY BORDERS! (Gasp!)

I cut the number of border strips that I need according to the pattern - but after that - there's not a tape measure in sight.  I use a ruler to cut - but not to measure.

After I cut the border strips - I have to decide which one goes where.  This is especially fun when I have fabric with a one-way design.  (You know - the ones you don't realize are one-way until you get them home and it's too late.)  I usually choose one motif and try to have it run "around" the quilt in a "circle" from the top left corner.  You can decide whichever way you want - it's your quilt!  Have fun with it!

Left -

Bottom -

Right - 

Top -

All four -

I do my side borders first.  I was going to show you using the white borders - but they didn't show up real well with all of the white in the blocks.  (You can barely see it here - the white strip going from top to bottom on the left side.)

So I will show you with the green outer borders instead.  These had been cut lengthwise and not pieced.

I fold my quilt top in half - side to side - right sides together - and lay it on my pressing surface - with the fold closest to me.

PAT - 
I take both strips that I previously cut for the side borders - lay them down on the quilt top - and "pat" them down - no stretching - just "patting" - and I leave a couple of inches hanging off each end.

Then I gently press the strips - up and down - no stretching.

CUT - 
At one end - I slip a small cutting mat under the fabric and cut the border strip even with the quilt top - (and add the scrap to my scrap basket for later use).

At the other end - I slip the cutting mat under the fabric and cut the border 1" - 2" longer than the quilt top.  (Don't tell the Quilt Police!!)

Remove the border strips - temporarily -
Unfold the quilt top - to a single layer -
Put the side I'm working on - right side down - even it up - fold it back a little.

Take the border strip that I want for that side - right side up - and even it up - using the same line I used for the quilt top.

Fold the quilt top back down to match the border strip.

Pin - starting at the right end.
At the left end - I should have 1" - 2" extra - I call if my "creep insurance" .  The Quilt Police are probably having a hissy fit right about now - but too bad - for me it's easier than coming up short by 1/8" - I can and will cut it off later.

Sew your 1/4" seam - removing pins as you go.
Here's a shot of my pin box - and it's lid.

I take the lid part to my sewing machine - as I pull out the pin - I just put it in the lid.

Set the seam first - with steam.

Trim the end even with the quilt top - in a perfect world - the trim will be the extra 1" - 2".

My world is not perfect - this one "crept" a little.

Reach underneath and pull the border out.
Press the seam toward the border from the wrong side.

Turn the whole thing over and press from the right side.

Do the other side border and the top and bottom borders the same way.

When I'm done I fold my top in half and then in half again.  I use my cutting mat grid to measure it for the longarm quilter (she charges my by the square inch) - and double check that the corners are square.

They usually are.

In this next photo you can see that it's a little big for my design wall.  I have the top right corner taped to the side wall.  (The design wall is at an angle - the side wall is straight.)

Ta Dah!!

And - just so you know - the left border - the one I put on first - is on backwards!!  The motif goes the wrong direction!!   OH CRAP!!  So - now I'm pretending that it was an intentional design decision.  Works for me!!

Talk to you later - gotta go - gotta sew -

Monday, March 14, 2011

Meet BOB

Dear Reader - Let me introduce you to BOB.

Reader - Meet BOB.

BOB - Meet Reader.

BOB is my alter ego - Bitchy Old Broad.

BOB has had many adventures - some funny - some silly - some stupid - some sad - depending on your point of view.  The adventures are all true and have actually happened to me or to someone close to me.  One of my favorites is Bob went to Target - so I'll post that one first.

When I started this blog - and before I made it a blog for Left-Handed Quilters - I intended to include an occasional rant from time to time.  It's my version of "I See DUMB People!" - because sometimes something just rubs me the wrong way - and I have to tell somebody - this blog is my somebody.

I will try, of course, to remember to change the names to protect the guilty.  And I will try not to be mean or nasty - but I make no promises.  You can never tell what will happen to BOB next.

Now I know that some of you don't want/like to read rants - and that's OK - don't read them - I don't mind at all.  And just to make it easier for you to identify BOB's adventures - I will always include BOB in the title so you can tell at a glance and easily skip the post if that's what you want to do.  It's entirely up to you.  You never know, though - you may have had a similar experience - or you may even agree with me. 

But then again - it's probably just me.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Five Question Friday - 3/11/11

(Here's the link if you want to do it on your blog.) 

The questions come from My Little Life and Mama M.  She has a "Blog Hop", too.  You'll see the list of blogs to "Hop" at the end.

The Questions for this week are - 

1. Do you know what your REAL hair color is?

2. Do you plan ahead for summer, or fly by the seat of your pants?

3. What is your favorite meal to cook?

4. Do you get offended by not receiving thank yous?

5. How did you meet your best friend?


1. Do you know what your REAL hair color is?
Yeah - it's white.  Used to be gray - now it's just plain ol' white.  Doesn't clash with anything I wear, though - so that's good.

2. Do you plan ahead for summer, or fly by the seat of your pants?
Fly by the seat of my/our pants.  We don't have school-age kids so summer to us just means more kids are out of school - and traffic is more of a nightmare than usual.  We plan for the traffic - not for the summer.

3. What is your favorite meal to cook?
Who says I cook?  Like the saying goes -
I only have a kitchen 'cuz it came with the house.

4. Do you get offended by not receiving thank yous?
Absolutely!!  I think that manners are sadly lacking in society these days.  It seems that "Please" - "Thank you" - and "You're welcome" are now considered old-fashioned - so "last century" - and I think that's a shame!  How hard is it to say "Thank you"???

5. How did you meet your best friend?
Best "girl" friend - through another girl friend.
Best "guy" friend - at work - then I married him.


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