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September 3, 2019
Another Grandmother Quilt from Fret Not Yourself

It's time to make the back for the Ohio Star/Log Cabin quilt. At least it should be since that's the next step and the leftover fabrics are in a pile on the dining room table. They'd make a good start but when I spoke with SIL last week she mentioned she will be a grandmother soon. So I changed course.

Possible fabric choices

And cut a bunch of diamonds for a Lone Star. The fussy-cut centers used all of that scrap and only made four. That's lucky because it forces me to get creative. Soon ...

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January 9, 2019
A Finish and an Annual Review from Fret Not Yourself

Still turning tops into quilts and this is the latest. Hooray. Simple parallel lines using the walking foot always make an effective design on Coins. 


Chinese Coins XI quilt
One of my irrational fears is that the seam will fray or rip. Stitching in the ditch is one way to assuage that, plus it helps stabilize the layers when quilting on a domestic machine. Then I stitch a "presser foot" away from the seam on each side and end by halving the remaining space until it looks right.


Parallel quilting on Chinese Coins XI quilt
I planned to quilt with ...

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November 6, 2018
Sashing the Square Deal from Fret Not Yourself

Once the center {minus one block that kept falling down} was arranged, I started laying out a border. The darker border seemed to make more contrast but a single round lacks weight. A second round on the right creates better proportions.

Starting a border around the Square Deal block

With that start in hand, it was time to think about the sashing and inner border. The inner and outer blocks are different sizes. About six inches is required to get them to fit together. Black was too dark {forgot to photograph}. I next tried some narrow strips of Chinese Coins ...

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October 30, 2018
A Square Deal from Fret Not Yourself

Right before sewing things together, I found a huge flaw in my design: it would be just under fifty inches. Too large for a baby quilt and too small for a throw. This one feels like a keeper so it needs to be larger.

A double border overwhelms the small center {no photo} but increasing the block to a 16-patch makes it a bit larger without ruining the design. This works well for me. The layout works, the right scale looks good, and it adds eleven inches to the length. Two weeks later and I'm almost back to square ...

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October 9, 2018
A Border Ready and Waiting from Fret Not Yourself

I'm still working on the HSTs and came up with a great plan while putting the extra HSTs away. In the box were the Cultural Fusion Crossroads blocks that have been waiting over a year.

A dark block anchors each corner while the remaining Crossroads blocks were added in two possible values. They both look good to me. The one on the right needs a very strong border while the one on the left needs something else. The blocks won't fit together without some type of border or adjustment.

Dark and light borders around HST center

Compare the ...

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September 29, 2018
Designing with Half Square Triangles from Fret Not Yourself

The blocks on the design wall make me happy. I had no idea they would look this good. The mix of warm solids float on blue and green strips. My last red quilt was the watermelon quilt and that was years ago.

{Of course} I'd made a few extra blocks, so I added them as a partial block border around the center.

Testing HST border around center block

It doesn't inspire me.

For some reason {probably because the fabric was there} I made more HSTs thinking a four block quilt would work. Think of Princess Feathers and other ...

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September 18, 2018
Still Clearing the Scrap Bag from Fret Not Yourself

I've said it before but it's still true. My tiny scrap bag holds an endless amount of scraps and strings. Even though Chinese Coins XI was intended to empty it, the bag looked just as full as always. More sewing was required.

Extra Coin columns

Arranged in columns, these do nothing for me. Not good or bad, just very boring. What else could they become?

They'd make good borders for a medallion but I finished several recently. However, I keep considering sashing. Now would be a good time to actually try that. Since solids are the largest ...

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March 24, 2018
Adding Roses from Fret Not Yourself

Re-reading Freddy's Houses recently I was struck by this statement:

"When I start building a quilt I hate the way it looks. The blocks are jumbled, messy, and chaotic, and the design makes no sense. I force myself to keep going, keep designing, until eventually I see order emerging from the chaos: 10 colors don't work, but 100 colors do!" - Freddy Moran

Who'd have thought Freddy and I start our quilts the same way?

I dislike many of my quilts near the beginning. In fact, I've found over the years that the quilts I like at ...

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February 20, 2018
Circular Anomaly Fused from Fret Not Yourself

There's not a lot of time right now and I don't feel very creative or original but several workshop projects are sitting around. So I can continue to push these partially finished tops and UFOs along. For example, fusible interfacing was ironed to all the second layer pieces of Circular Anomaly as each was pinned in place. They should be fused before pieces get lost or start fraying. Here's a late-night photo I took in December but never posted.

Circular Anomaly layout

I started fusing that layer in the top right. Although the ironing time spread over ...

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January 30, 2018
Chinese Coin Demonstration from Fret Not Yourself

Since agreeing to give a short demonstration on Chinese Coins that date looms ever larger in my mind. Several of my Coin quilts were gifted away while others are tops at best {and some are just ideas in my brain.} It didn't seem right to have only photos to show; I need to finish {and keep} some. And I need to create a simple-yet-interesting Coin top to start them off.

How to best explain this process to new quilters is another issue. What process? As my sister aptly noted, I just pull everything from my stash and scrap bag ...

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January 20, 2018
Change the Border, Change the Quilt from Fret Not Yourself

"Our true nationality is mankind." H.G. Wells

Bordering the Spiderwebs
I sewed the scrappy little spiderwebs.  Despite the waviness of the edges, the sides are the same length; a border will stabilize it. That's where it got interesting.

There's just enough of the white print... but it looks dull and unfinished.
Border ideas for spiderweb quilt
Top left: spiderwebs sewn
Top right: white border only
Bottom left: narrow purple inner border
Bottom right: narrow blue inner border

The blue works better and gives some needed definition. Funny how quiet the white print looked before it was cut ...

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January 5, 2018
The Racetrack is Quilted and Bound from Fret Not Yourself

The Racetrack is is open for business. Starting the New Year with a finished quilt. Hooray!

For years I've known this block design as Racetrack or Snake in the Grass. Boy, that last name does not do it for me. Yuck. Looking through my reference books I couldn't find either name nor could I find the design under any other name.

It's similar to Polka Dot, Drunkard's Path, and Robbing Peter to Pay Paul blocks but the important point is that the "road" must be centered on each side. I wrote about that aspect last year ...

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December 16, 2017
More Decisions for Fifth Chinese Coins Quilt from Fret Not Yourself

For once I remembered to take photos while finalizing the design. Four of them are grouped to hopefully enlighten my thought process. At this point many Coin sets are sewn. Each column still has three to five sets so some movement or insetting is possible. And there's always the seam ripper.

Putting the upper coin facedown on the lower coin and aligning the left side before sewing means a wider column in the end. When they are sewn the left side is smoothly aligned and the right side is uneven, only that right side is trimmed much. It also ...

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December 12, 2017
Fifth Chinese Coins Quilt from Fret Not Yourself


Jade Snow Wong's autobiography, Fifth Chinese Daughter, relates a first generation girl's struggle to find her identity in both her family and American society. Published in 1950, it has never been out of print and still resonates with women worldwide.

This is my fifth Chinese Coins quilt for #AHIQChineseCoins. Who'd have thought there would be a series of this basic design? Not me. However, the simple structure has given me freedom to explore other ideas. I've found quite a bit to say.

It amuses me that Coins was one of my go-to plans for philanthropy quilts ...

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December 9, 2017
Ready to Quilt from Fret Not Yourself

Propeller Baby Quilt
Final decision for the posts is slightly larger circles. Previously they were the same size as the propeller centers which was too small. As Robin wrote, eye movement stops there. I also tried circles large enough to touch the geese but that was too far. {And I forgot to snap a photo.}

Also the bright red colors on white were too strong. The new reddish print is darker, subtler, and {perhaps}mimics the angles of the flying geese. The off-white background matches the propeller backgrounds better and tones things down.

Until now I hadn't considered a ...

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December 6, 2017
It's a Bird, It's a Plane from Fret Not Yourself

Propeller Baby Quilt
Flying geese complement the airplanes. Their dark background contrasts nicely with the light background of the propellers.

Propeller baby quilt with flying geese sashing
Propeller baby quilt with flying geese sashing

But what to do for the posts? What about circular designs already printed on a dark blue fabric? Too dark.

Propeller baby quilt with flying geese sashing and dark blue posts
Another post possibility for Start Your Engines quilt

These small red circles are blocks I still haven't put together from Audrey's Quilty 365. They look like the Japanese flag but seem a bit small against the blues.

Propeller baby quilt with flying geese sashing and red circle posts
One post possibility for Start Your Engines quilt
That blue fabric that didn't ...

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November 25, 2017
Start Your Engines from Fret Not Yourself

There are plenty of quilts at my house, all the Great Debaters have been gifted, but I have a never-ending need for baby and toddler quilts. Usually these are made from project leftovers and scraps because it keeps the fabric moving. I rarely tell the mothers because non-quilters don't understand the modern usage of 'scrap.' Frequently they think it's used fabric... or that you found it on the roadside rather than paying good money for it.

Here are the leftovers from Propellers and Planes. "Oh, look, Sally. Look, look." {Who remembers Dick and Jane?} Enough for a baby ...

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September 28, 2017
AHIQ25: Use Your Words from Fret Not Yourself

Today's the last day for this invitation to use your words on quilts but it won't be my last time to use this technique. Summer vacations put quilting on hold but hopefully you had some time to work on a project or at least to think about a future project. There are so many ways to incorporate words and letters: applique or pieced, free-hand or accurately.

I've been focusing more on the mechanical "how" of adding words but what you choose to add is even more important. What moves you to creativity? A poem, a family scene ...

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September 14, 2017
Piecing Sentences from Fret Not Yourself

Still working on the Phillies quilt but I have progressed to the back where I'm adding pieced words. And it's so much fun. Why did I hesitate so long before trying it?

After piecing his name one letter at a time, I totaled each remaining letter and sewed batches. It worked well until the m's. There are two, right next to each other. For some reason I pieced them exactly the same. It looks a little dorky. Oh, well. Dorky is good.


Of course, adding these sentences to the back is a major point but, as importantly ...

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  • designing a quilt
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