Something to show

Finally! Something that I can share that isn’t a surprise!

Remember those jewel-tone pieces parts a couple of blog posts back? Well the HSTs became hourglasses and I trimmed them down to square them. Then I decided to add some more brights and they made friends with some very bright 16-patches. And the result is almost glaring. Not quite as bright as it looks in the picture, but it just might glow in the dark. (As more rows have come together it’s settling in.)


Very bright!

It reminds me of the Elmer the Elephant books.

And then going all the way back to New Year’s day I’m finally working on the HSTs quilt. I’m making more of the little 3″ 9-patches and slowly trimming down the 2″ HSTs.

More HSTs

I think once these are trimmed down I will have all but some of the 3.5″ HSTs finished. I should be able to start assembling the blocks in earnest.

I’m finishing up the binding on one of the presents. Hopefully soon I can post something about it. (There should be lots of photos by Christmas time.)

Summer and Christmas

I know, I’ve even passed from Christmas in July to Christmas in August. The blog has been very quiet, but there really isn’t anything to show – it’s all presents. (Christmas and others.)

As I look through my photos -“Nope, can’t let X see that one.” “Nope, can’t let Y see that surprise.” It’s a Catch-22 when it’s mostly your closest friends reading your blog and they’re the ones that you make presents for!

And quite honestly I haven’t been doing a lot of quilting. I’ve traveled A LOT for work this summer, so home time seems to be laundry and catch-up. Plus I never put the A/C in the sewing area, so it’s been warm up there. I’m hopeful to spend more time on it as the fall comes.


New projects

I haven’t been spending as much time in my quilting room as I would like, but I’ve got a couple of new projects going.

The first is a “jar” quilt. I’m playing with the idea of making an entire pantry door, but these are the first few.




Then a friend gave me the following pieces for charity quilting. Obviously the rest of the strips are going to become 4-patches and I think the HSTs are going to become hourglasses. Then they will both be 4″ blocks and I can figure out how to work them together.


Genealogy rabbit hole

Larger quilt view

Larger quilt view

I fell down the genealogy rabbit hole a few weeks ago. Anyone who has been involved with this type of research can tell you that once you start, sometimes you find yourself in place that you hadn’t meant to be. It all started at the Vermont Quilt Show over the summer. They had an exhibit called  “For Fellowship, Love and Farewell” which was curated by Debra Grana and Sharon Waddell. One of the quilts drew my eye because it had a local connection to the Woodlawn Reformed Church in Schenectady. As my eyes roamed over the signature quilt, I noticed the name “Dorothy Rose”. I pointed it out to my companion laughing that it was my grandmother’s name. My grandparents lived in the Capital Region, but never to my knowledge in Schenectady.

Then I noticed to the right side, “RE Brenenstuhl”. Brenenstuhl was another family name and not a common one. Could this be my grandmother? The program said it was made in 1915. I did the mental math – my mother’s date of birth and calculated back. Roughly the right time period, she was alive then.



So my next step was the internet. If it was my grandmother she must have been young and the handwriting didn’t look super young. It’s large, but not really juvenile. A little research confirmed the church history that it was created in 1915. My grandmother was 4. Either she didn’t sign it herself, or it was another Dorothy Rose.

From there I accessed I found two Dorothy Roses in the Capital Region in that time period. Probably the other I thought.

I worked my way  through census records until I hit something useful – the 1915 NY census. Fred and his wife Carrie were listed as living with their 4 year old daughter Dorothy – in Schenectady on Sanford street. A search of Google maps showed that was only 3 blocks from the church! My probability factor just went up a heck of a lot! A telephone book entry from the time period said 2 Sanford Street (now, somehow appropriately the Woodlawn Branch of the Schenectady County Public Library.)

So now I was on a mission. After plowing through a couple census records, what’s a few more? Along the way I learned that my great-grandparents took in boarders (not uncommon), and cared for one of their nieces. They also briefly lived less than a mile from where I live now in the suburbs. Using the family names on properties from the census and the names of the roads in one of the developments I’ve got a fairly good guess of where they lived.

Now I’ve got more questions. I’m trying chase down some of the other names on the block to see if there are other family members. Some of the names match with “Aunt” names I heard my mother use. And I’m wishing I had thought to get a good high-res picture to see if my great-grandparents are somewhere else on the quilt. (Which begs the questions, if they are, why aren’t they with Dorothy and if they aren’t on the quilt, why not?)

Lynn Makrin, over at This Quilting Mama, has a better picture of the whole quilt in her post “Red, White … More Red & White.” She has graciously agreed for me to link over to her post so you can see more of the quilt. In her photo, you can see “Dorothy” near the top center.

A little serendipity at the quilt show and I’ve got a dozen questions to ask a grandmother I hardly knew.










Not sure

I’m not sure about this one. I’ve made several quilts from this book of patterns (Successful scrap quilts from simple rectangles by Judy Turner and Margaret Rolfe.) I love that the patterns in the book all use the same size pieces so it’s really easy to cut scraps as you go and pick the pattern after you have enough.

But this one is not coming out as expected. I had put aside all my floral and bright pieces like I do for crumb blocks and I thought they would play well. I’ve made a quilt from 30’s fabric from this book and I thought it was going to come out similar to this. But it’s not. The white doesn’t pop as much as I expected and the colors are more uneven than I expected.

What I hadn’t taken into consideration was that while 30’s fabrics are bright and pastel, they are really all mid-tones that stand out against the white. But mixing the lights and the mids (and even some darks) I’ve got a totally different mix going on.

Rectangle lights

The photo is of a 36″x36″ chunk. And the longer it lies on the living room floor the more it grows on me. I was going to make it as a charity quilt, but I think it’s going to do better with more rather than less. It’s headed for a twin/full-size.



Cathedral Stars

Remember those stars back in November?

Well I finally got the black fabric for the setting triangles and got it planned out. (Never did find the original black fabric I used in the blocks. I’ve got a feeling it got commandeered for a different project.)


The pattern is Cathedral Stars by Bonnie Hunter. Almost 2 years after taking the workshop I finally have a smaller version together.

The next step is to put the borders on it. I’m thinking a thin black border to make them “float” and then I’m not sure what’s next. Could be blue, could be red. Opinions?

And I made another one of the Bricks and Stepping Stones tops in a charity size this weekend. I’m trying to decide if I put the two together for a full-size quilt.

Bricks and Stepping Stones

The project for the last couple days has been a charity top made with Bonnie Hunter’s Bricks and Stepping Stones pattern.


On the floor it looked like this and I can now see one 4-patch sewn the wrong way. And of course that part is already sewn together….



Looks like there’s going to be some ripping out in my future!


Block of the Month

I’m doing my first Block of the Month (BOM) and I don’t think I like them.

First, you have to build the block the way they say. I prefer to overcut my HSTs and trim them down for accuracy, but there isn’t extra fabric to do that.  And everyone knows that the first block you make in a pattern is the worst as you try to figure out what you are doing. But that’s what you’re doing in a BOM, making one and moving on the next month. I think I’d rather make 20-30 of the same pattern once I figure it out.

But I’m committed and I’ve got the first two months done.


January’s Block

The pattern is Ooh-Rah through the Quilter’s Newsletter. The BOM is through The Joyful Quilter.

Snow day(s)

I’m finding that it’s a lot harder to blog now that I’m back at work full time. If I have time to blog, then I haven’t been quilting, so there’s nothing to blog about. If I’ve been quilting, I haven’t been blogging.

The last two days have been snowdays, and I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to work from home both days.  I was able to finish up a little early yesterday and spend some time with fabric.

A while back, someone had given me some vintage baseball fabric. The problem is it was a large print and cut in strips. I struggled with what to do with it, until I came on the idea of fussy cutting the scenes and then bordering them to a consistent size.  Yesterday and early this morning I finished them up – 18 fussy cut scenes (all I could get from the fabric) and 6 blocks made with an ivory baseball fabric. The blue is a bit brighter than I really wanted, but I had it in my scrap basket making it “free” (as opposed to the blue I liked better at the quilt shop at $12.85 a yard.) And it’s a kid quilt, it can do with being bright.


At 24 blocks it’s still going to be a little small for a charity quilt, but that’s what borders are for.

The other project I FINALLY got done during the snow days, was my placemats.


Four new placemats ready to go. Now I just need to throw a dinner party!

Productive weekend

It was a productive weekend. Lots of borders on quilts to finish them so I can actually get them quilted.

The Yellow Brick Road quilt got borders and a matching binding cut.2014-01-06_05-36-53_570

The pink and black quilt got double borders (sorry, super blurry).


And the crumb quilt got its borders too and a binding made. (I really need to work out a better way to get some pics other than draping them over the ironing board.)


Plus I got a binding on a charity crumb block quilt that I had quilted on New Year’s day. That’s a “Done” project.  Then these little guys are my favorite type of project, something from nothing.

These little hourglasses are leftovers from the hourglass quilt I made. (These were all too small to trim down to 3.5″ for the quilt, so I cut them down to 3″.)


I made four of these and they will become placemats. I haven’t decided yet what color to border them in yet. Dark red? Brown? Black?

And then to finish off the weekend I cut a new quilt from a Jelly roll.  All in all a productive weekend. Now I have to spend some quality time on the housekeeping I didn’t do!