Ovarian Cancer Quilt

I had posted my blocks and a link to the virtual quilt (here), but how much more lovely the cloth version!

the finished quilt

Finished and Delivered

The quilt was completed exactly one month from the time we decided to move the due date for blocks from May to January. Thanks to Sue. one of the F2F co-leaders, and her son it has been assembled, quilted and bound. Happily, it was finished in time for our friend in hospice to see the real thing.

She had selected the ovarian cancer colors and intended to make a quilt to be auctioned. Eventually this quilt will be sent to The Ovarian Cancer Quilt Project.  Auctions are on odd years, so it will be 2017 for this one. Check the site; the project is educational as well as fund raising.



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The Book that Interrupted Quilting and Posting

City on FireCity on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Although 900 pages is overwhelming, it was a good read.

The first three or four chapters introduce readers to various interrelated groups of people; other characters are introduced along the way. At one point I counted 8 subplots going. More were added.

As you might imagine, that made for a lot of cliff hangers–but they weren’t really intense till the last 150 pages. There were a few times I wanted to say, Just get on with it. But generally the pacing was effective. Time was not linear. Some background was withheld till the last 300 or so pages. There were two major sections that provided back story. There were some sections set in the future.

Most background bits and character sketches were relevant and interesting. More for understanding character than furthering plot, though some did move the plot along. It was fun to see a scene reappear from someone else’s perspective or as background to something else going on. I am sure it happened more than I recognized.

Interludes likewise provided insight into characters and added to plot: a letter from father, never sent, two communications from a son/grandson. There was an article written by one of the journalist characters split into two–it provided characterization and background, and the second part moved plot. However, readers got to see characters reading it and reacting before we got to read that portion of the article. There was a fanzine published by one of the characters. Some of it was important to the plot, some was extraneous but added atmosphere.

It is a book for enjoying the journey more than finding out whodunnit.

Most of the plots were tied up. Some resolutions I’d anticipated, some were very surprising. A good mix. I have noticed a tendency in current fiction to explain how things turn out years beyond the ending; I prefer the older suggestion/hints approach to the future.. This novel projected for a couple of characters, but it was not excessive.

Characters were well drawn. I can think of only one that was totally unlikable. Most were sympathetically presented, even some I’d not have liked if meeting them in real life.

The descriptions captured mood of the city and of the people. Some were interesting for themselves. my favorite was of the subway near the end. I’ll leave you to find it.

View all my reviews


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A Quilting Class and Two Doll Quilts

A couple Saturdays past, my local guild offered a workshop on Free Motion Quilting on a domestic machine with Christina Cameli. She would talk about strategies and designs and we would go do a couple rows trying them, then we’d repeat instruction/sewing for several rounds.  It wasn’t long before it occurred to me that I could turn a practice sampler into a doll quilt. The size was right.

doll quilt sampler

17 x 20

Down to the ribbon-candy row comes from the class. We had marked straight lines; at the bottom I didn’t bother. I can see I should bother. I also think ribbon candy would work out better if I drew in the middle line. Next time. The doll won’t care. I can’t decide if I like the square spirals in varying sizes or if I’d rather make them equal. I don’t love the three and four circles in the larger circle row, but after I did the large circles, they seemed too empty. I do like the pebbles above, both in the lines and in open space. And the long meander works up really fast. The circles-in-the-triangles row happened because we had just done a zig zag to test tension and then Christina showed us beads on a string.  I decided they didn’t need a separate row. I rather like it and may use it on another quilt someday.

I showed the quilted piece to a friend and mentioned the doll-quilt destination; she volunteered the “perfect” fabric.  Not that I don’t have fabric, but those big dots do fit well with the circle motifs. Too bad I didn’t have the end in mind at the beginning; I’d have used white thread for the workshop; it would have contrasted as well as the black.

I will be making more doll quilts this way–much better than a practice piece with no destination.

Our class prep had suggested four quilt sandwiches, and some of the more speedy quilters used all four; I did half of only one. I always knew I was a slow quilter, so this was no big surprise. But I was left with pieced batting in the size for doll quilts as well as class sandwiches. And I had a block ready to be made into a doll quilt.  (Some of you have seen the block before, here before the border was decided.) So more practice.

Here is a tip for quilting on pieced batting:

pinning tip

Note orange among purple

Luckily i had two colors of PinMoors so I put orange along the stitched batting line. (Ignore the orange flower pin; only the PinMoors are markers.) Even though I’d stitched the two pieces of batting together, I wanted the extra security of quilting over them. With marking the line, I was always reminded to quilt carefully when I came to it. I’ve also marked with a double line of pins when I didn’t have the two color option. And I have yet to try the tape for piecing batting–that is on my list next time I shop.

The floral print suggested small flowers in the quilting.

Flower meander

Flower meander

Christina had suggested various motifs to insert into a meander, and that seemed good for this quilt, flowers and leaves. I started with a flower to hide the beginning, and because it was tiny I slipped into small meandering. Since it was only 18 x 18 I continued small; however, I’ll be careful on a larger quilt to move right into a larger meander!

Here is the finish:


18 x 18

The binding is another story.  In the past I hadn’t paid much attention to fabric weave or thickness when looking for the right color solid, so this piece from my stash was a gaberdine. Well, my sewing machine balked at the multiple layers at the corners and the join. Maybe a denim needle would have helped. But it was easier to just stitch those few places by hand this time. Nowadays I am glad it is easier to find the right color in quilt weight fabrics!

Linking with  TGIFF and Finish it Up Friday. Tuesday I’ll link with FreeMotion by the River (button in sidebar).





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Oregon Covered Bridges

I’ve long been a fan of old covered bridges, maybe because I was born in Ohio, and my dad would go out of his way on any Sunday drive to find one that was near. When I later lived in Cambridge, OH, there was one that had been moved to the city park and remnants of another at Salt Fork State Park that had not been moved. The latter was mostly submerged when the dam made Salt Fork Lake, and what could be seen of it was slowly rotting.

Then there was the Covered Bridge Festival in Parke County, IN, where the county claimed to have the most standing old bridges in the US. Now I am in Oregon which claims the most in the west. Yesterday I went with a Parks and Recreation van trip for seniors to see some of the Oregon bridges. This was my second trip checking out Oregon’s bridges–I forget the location of the first. But the first thing I noticed both times was that most are white in contrast to the red of the midwestern ones. So while others in the van were asking why Shimanek was red, I was asking why all the others were white.



For most of the day it was drizzling, so I could get only some whole bridge shots.

But most photos were shot under the roof, inside.

Hoffman Bridge, lower right, is unique for the shape of its windows.

It is Oregon, and winter, so there is moss.

And Gilkey Bridge is beside a railroad.

Gilkey RR

Up until the 60s there was a covered bridge over the railroad too.

Gilkey RR detail

Love the lines in those supporting beams.

Travel is fun for itself, but when it also offers design potential, how much better!


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F2F More January Blocks

After hearing that “Miss May” was in hospice care, we switched her to January and got her blocks made post haste. In addition, Kate, one of the co-leaders assembled a virtual quilt and Sue, the other, will assemble the tangible quilt and bind it after her son has quilted it.

Of course one of my blocks was Sunny Lanes since I have decided to make it each month in each colorway.

Sunny Lanes

Sunny Lanes 12 1/2 x 12 1/2

This block is the closest to the original coloring presented in Barbara Brackman’s Encyclopedia that I have made. Her schematic shows stripes where I have medium solids. But this is the four fabric arrangement. Although I had a variety of teal prints, they just didn’t play well together. Scrappy is nice, but so is the original plan. And the stars are not so dominant as the photo makes them–White on cream fabric really attracts the light.

My other two blocks are Ohio Star and Jacob’s Ladder.

Ohio Star

Ohio Star went together smoothly; however, Jacob’s Ladder had a mishap.

I know how it happened. I’d pressed the bottom row seams the wrong way for easy piecing. Instead of repressing, I turned it so the pressing was right. Geometry never being my strong suit, I didn’t realize it was not reversible. It amazes me that I walked by it and looked at it umpteen times between finishing it and finishing the others and never saw the mistake.  Luckily it was on the top, so that when I went to package them the next morning, it glared at me, and I had time to fix it.

I just may play with making a quilt from a block with the top pair like the left hand bottom pair–it could work.







Filed under quilting

F2F January

January’s blocks have made it across the pond, so now I can post; though it is the second post on quilts from Sherri Lynn Wood’s book, it is the first attempt.

The January request is for greens.  That and a preference for modern. Perfect timing since I am ready to play from the “scores” in Sherri Lynn Wood’s Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters.

My limits. Color green (as requested); 12 1/2-inch blocks (Footsquare–the second F is for Free style, any block we choose). My plan was to start with Score 2, strings, then use the string set in Score 7, Layered Curves. (Combining Scores is part of Score 10, Showing up, so you could say I am starting at the end. The book is well enough cross referenced that this is possible.)

Green block 1

12 1/2 x 12 1/2

Wood invites reflection after each piece.

What surprised? I was surprised by how little the blocks shrunk I’d started with 9-inch “squares”  and ended with 8 1/2-inch squares so had to trim off 2 inches. (She does say to expect to lose 1/2 inch with each cut; however, I’d missed that on the first read.)

What was satisfying? I liked the couple places where I could make use of “bleeding,” blending two shapes into one. I liked the flow of the outer lines that created an irregular square in a square; I liked the piece in the lower left leading into it, but what was dissatisfying was the big light (it really is a light green, not white) piece in the lower left. It drew too much attention to itself. But to trim it more would have eliminated other colors I liked and needed.

What to do about it?  Maybe not use #7 when I have a set size and a need to trim (or start smaller and add rather than trim). The main problem was the predetermined size. Still I don’t think it is totally  impossible to combine defined with improv.

Where go from here?  On to the next block.

Block 2

12 1/2 x 12 1/2

This one was made from two light squares and two strip-set squares. I’d started out thinking some Drunkard’s Path arrangement so cut the curve and stitched. (#2 and #7 again). On a whim instead of following through, I cut the half square triangles (HSTs) and assembled.

I was quite surprised that I couldn’t arrange the squares in BOTH a pinwheel and an interrupted circle. (Geometry was never my strongpoint.) Once I realized that, I played till I got this setting and was quite satisfied.The design has a coherent rhythm; it was actually helped by having to be trimmed though I lost some color repetition.

Finally, what to do with the Sunny Lanes traditional block that I have been making for each month?

block 3

12 1/2 x 12 1/2

At first I considered cutting it all out irregularly, and I might have followed through on that if I didn’t have the size restriction. I decided to make the HSTs regular and play with what would be 4-patch blocks in the traditional version. I used the last of my strip set in the center and learned that if I want to alternate the direction of subcuts from a strip set, I really need an even number of strips to get a checkerboard effect;however, the center “stripe” doesn’t look too bad (successful “bleeding”?).

Ideally I’d have had some strip set left for the corner “4-patch” block substitute. Since I didn’t, I made do with left over bits. I did have to cut a strip of the bright green because I wanted it in each corner.

This was my first venture with Wood’s book. Other experiments have been blogged (Diluting Orange posts) about before you see this. Check there for my “What next?”

I’ll link up with AHIQ when the time is right (button in the sidebar).



Filed under design, Portland OR, quilting

Diluting Orange a Bit More

Continuing (started here)  with Score #7, Layered Curves, from Sherri Lynn Wood’s Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters.  After getting a suggestion from Lisa to make stripes, I thought about it.  Straight stripes seemed too clashy with the patchwork, so I thought I’d try parallel curved stripes. I tested the idea on one patch (that will become three).

Six test blocks

I had intended more than one stripe, but the block seemed to distort more with each parallel seam than it had with the single, so I stopped with one. Of course it could have been operator error. I may try again.

At this point I am wondering if putting stripes in half the blocks is enough; if stripes in all the blocks would be too much; or if I should make double stripes in one set.

In spite of my decision to not use three blues, I ended up using them. I decided there was enough contrast for the few times they would meet and that I would try to avoid having them meet too often.

At least the orange is under control.

Linking with Wednesday and Thursday linkups–buttons in the sidebar. ETA: Just found Monday Moving it Forward–that’s what’s happening to this one, so linking up.



Filed under design, quilting