Friday, September 25, 2020

Small Potatoes

 Welcome to Treadlestitches!  I'm so glad you came to visit.

Yep, these are small potatoes, all right!  My grandson aka Little Buddy helped me harvest these from a galvanized tub on the back porch.  We found a few even tinier ones, and we set those out for the squirrels.  Because squirrels are always dear to a quilter's heart, aren't they?

I grow these mostly for fun, but I will clean them up and roast them in the oven with carrots and onions and maybe even sweet potatoes.

I had heard people call things "small potatoes" all my life, but I actually went and looked it up.  The expression "small potatoes"  originated in the 19th Century, and means insignificant.  That just about sums up my sewing this week.

After finishing my red blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, I had some big plans for quilting.  They did not happen.  Time was not my friend.  But I did start another baby quilt for Jack's Basket, blocks seen above.

Somehow, there is always time to start a new project!  I based this one on a quilt from this fabulous book:

No Scrap Left Behind by Amanda Jean Nyberg.  (If you love scraps, this book is for you!)

The quilt in the book is called Ring Me, and is on pages 102-106.  As you can see, my block is not exactly the same as Amanda Jean's.  I often buy books for inspiration, not just great patterns, and this one delivers.  I will probably set it differently, too, but without the book I might never have gotten started.

So far, just a few tiny blocks were cut and pressed.  Then I went to the virtual quilt show I mentioned last week (find my post on that HERE), and watched a video with quilt teacher and shop owner (and Wisconsin quilter) Judy Gauthier, author of Rainbow Quilts for Scrap Lovers (and two more books in the series). 

  I could hardly wait to get out my scraps and make this test block.

Can you believe this block is made from squares?  Judy shows you how to cut them and sew the pieces back together.  I couldn't believe this method made a block that is so easy, and actually lays flat! 

The pattern is called Blended Hexagons, and is on pages 43-49.  Judy's quilt is very modern, and absolutely beautiful.  Now I'm thinking about a whole quilt like this, but made from 1930s fabrics.  I think I might know a way to make mine without set in seams. 

The last thing I made was a pair of baby sweat pants.  They're a little too big for my youngest grandson right now, but he keeps on growing so they'll eventually fit.  It's been a long time since I made clothes of any kind, and I had to reorganize my patterns.  It is absolutely impossible, at least for me, to get the pattern pieces folded back into the pattern envelope, so I put them all in gallon sized zip lock bags with the pattern envelope on top.  Now maybe I can find what I'm looking for.

Although my sewing this week was pretty insignificant, the week was still a good one.

Some of our red raspberry canes bear twice a year, in both summer and fall.  This little berry is my bit of red for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge here at the end of the month.

 This guy makes sure no berries go to waste! 

What with one thing and another, time just keeps speeding ahead.  I can hardly believe this is the last weekend of September, and that it is already officially fall!  We are enjoying the lovely weather here, and trying to store up the sunshine for the coming winter months.  Sort of like squirrels!

 In the week ahead, I'm wishing you sunshine and sewing time, or just any time doing what you love.

Cheers for reading,



Come join us at the link up parties!

Linking up with:

Angela at So Scrappy (Home of the Rainbow Scrap Challenge!) 
Cynthia at Oh Scrap





Saturday, September 19, 2020

A Pieceable Week

 Welcome to Treadlestitches!

It has been a pieceable week here.  I've been using my red scraps to make blocks for my Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilts.  Wanna see what I've been up to?

For these house blocks, I'm combining feed sacks, vintage fabrics, and 1930s reproductions.  The pattern is called Home Made, and can be found in American Patchwork and Quilting magazine issue #162, Feb. 2020.  It was originally designed to be made from flannels.

This one is made of feed sacks, except for the windows and the door, which are repros.

Next up, shoofly blocks made from 1800s reproduction scraps.

The center square of this block is cut from a toile fabric, and has been in my 3.5 in. squares box for a very long time.  It's oriented oddly, but I like it anyway.

Lastly, I made seven Text Me A Quilt blocks.  The pattern is from Scrap Basket Bounty, by Kim Brackett. 

It's funny how many novelty prints are one-way designs.  Most of the darker red prints weren't, but five out of seven of the light backgrounds were one way.
The original quilt used text prints for the backgrounds.  I actually had one this time.  It says "You're My Type".

This block has a secret!  I'm running out of lots of these light print scraps (it's a miracle!), so I had to substitute a different dog print to finish this block.  It's in the three squares in the middle row--can you see it?  Just a fun little surprise for someone with sharp eyes.

It's hard to believe, but we are getting to the end of the year for the RSC.  Next month is our last month, and then we start putting the blocks together to finish what we started.  I have 4 quilts going this year.  Why on earth do I always make so many Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilts?  Must be because it's fun.

It could also be because it uses up scraps!  In other years, I would have been to several quilt shows and rummage sales, and would be incorporating new scraps I bought into the stash.  (Yes, I actually buy other people's scraps!)  This year, I've been using yardage more of the time, which tends to MAKE scraps, like the ones crammed into the basket above.

It was long past time to straighten this out.  These are what I call my big bright scraps--smaller than fat quarters but larger than the largest strips I save.  I organized them by color and rubber banded them together.  Now I can see what I've got, and easily grab any particular color.  I've done a similar thing for my 1800s reproduction scraps.

Nearly every year, my friend Deb C. and I go to a quilt show in Madison.  Here's us there last year, back when we all did everything in real life.

You might be surprised to know we went again this year.  But this year, it was Virtual.

It was definitely different, but still great.  We each viewed the quilts on our computer/tablet in our own homes, and talked on the phone as we did.  Serious social distancing.

If anyone had overheard us, I'm sure it would have been hilarious.  We were two old ladies trying to navigate some very sophisticated software.  I veered off a time or two and got lost.  We were clicking on these circles on the floor (we called them donuts) that moved us from quilt to quilt, and trying to find our way through a rotating map that made us just a little queasy.

There are some pluses to virtual quilt shows.  No one is standing in front of the quilt you want to look at.  You can zoom in on the pictures if your device allows.  There were even videos from some of the quilt makers explaining their techniques or inspirations.  No need to look around for a vacant chair when you need a rest, you're already sitting in it.  Cups of tea are handy and won't spill on the quilts.  And if you feel like making some slightly bitchy comments (like, why did that quilt get a ribbon when the other amazing one didn't?) no one can hear you except your friend.  

I did miss the real vendor booths.  The online vendor mall was just not the same.

The show went live Sept. 10-12, the usual dates when it's in person.  Amazingly, the show is still online.  I logged in this morning, and all the features seemed to still be there.  It also looks as though you can still register (which just means getting a log in).  If you'd like to check it out, go to  (If you try this, please let me know if it works for you.)

There are links at the show to talks/lessons given by some of the teachers.  I enjoyed the one by Weeks Ringle on Palette Building and also Sensational Quilts for Scrap Lovers by Judy Gauthier.  To get to these videos, click the schedule link at the top of the screen and scroll down. 

If you go, please consider donating to support the show.  Just click the Support Us link at the top of the screen and donate online.  The quilt show is PBS Wisconsin's largest fund raiser.

BTW, the quilt above was the winner in the Kids Quilt Challenge, made by quilters under the age of 15!

I can't close today without mentioning the loss of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  My mom and I have loved her for years.  Mom sent me the bobble head above for my birthday some years ago, and it lives in my kitchen window.  We chuckled together about the Notorious RBG.

Justice Ginsburg is someone all Americans can be proud of.  Her courage, tenacity, humor, and above all her kindness to everyone, including those with whom she disagreed, make her loss very hard to bear.  She will continue to be a role model, and will have an important place in our history.

Have a good week, everyone, and stay safe.

(Does this look weird?   The hand in the middle holding Baby Buddy is Grandpa's.)



Linking up with:

Angela at Superscrappy (home of the Rainbow Scrap Challenge)
Cynthia at Oh Scrap 






Saturday, September 12, 2020

Ironing Out the Wrinkles

 Good morning, and welcome to Treadlestitches!

It's another rainy day here, but I'm starting today with a mug of tea and the cheerful color of the month.  September is for red scraps, brought to you by Angela at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  (See link below.)

I only got two of my RSC blocks done this week.  These are the vintage nine patches I'm removing from an unfinished top and "remodeling" into double nine patches.

I really love how this unknown quilter used every shade of red and every sort of red print.  It's the variety in scrap quilts that makes my heart go pitter patter.

I love all things vintage, including this used 1960s iron I bought at Goodwill a few years ago.  So imagine my panic when it began to have problems heating.  Without an iron there is no pressing wrinkled scraps for cutting, no pressing blocks or borders or backing--in short, no piecing!  What was I going to do? 
Bad luck with irons has followed me around, so I knew what I didn't want.  Twice, before I got the good old G.E. iron, I bought new ones, and was VERY disappointed.  The expensive one quit after about a year.  The cheap one quit right away (saving me time, I guess).  Both of these irons had automatic shut off, which I absolutely hate.  Manufacturers had apparently not thought of that particular torture for quilters when my vintage iron was made, and I had gotten used to having a hot iron whenever I needed it. 
Meet my new iron, the Knapp Monarch Dry Iron.  I ordered it from the Vermont Country Store, and it came right away.  (I know this seems like a commercial, but I am not affiliated with any suppliers.) It's a dry iron, meaning it doesn't use steam.  Since I don't use steam either, it's like a dream come true.  (It's probably my own fault, but I tend to distort quilt blocks when I use a steam iron.)

Check out the sole plate--no holes!  This kind of iron would have come in handy when I was transferring children's crayon drawings to fabric.  The old irons left little round steam holes in the design.
As with everything, there are pluses and minuses.
Here's what I like about the iron:
1.  Heats well.
2.  Heats quickly.
3.  No automatic shut off (!!!!).
4.  Not too light weight, not too heavy.
5.  No steam holes (in case I want to do fusible web, etc.)
And here are some minor issues.
1.  Makes a loud clicking sound when it gets to the heat you've selected.
2.  Hums every so often as it heats up.
3.  To turn it off, you have to unplug it (no off switch). 
The first two issues can be "solved" by turning up the music.  The last one is more of an inconvenience.

I hope I have this iron problem solved now, but I won't know for a while if the Knapp Monarch is reliable in the long term.  I do like that it does one simple job, and does it well.  Like a treadle!

Once I had the new iron, I had some catch-up work to do on this project.  This is my Diary Quilt, which I started back in January.  I picked quite the year to do this, didn't I?

Each of these big squares represents a month, and each strip is one day.  There are half strips at the end, to get all of the days in.  I didn't take the post it notes off before taking the pictures because I'm afraid I'll get them mixed up. 

I was so far behind!  At the end of April, I just kind of ran out of steam.  So the last two weekends I've been sorting through strips and making the blocks for May, June, July, and August.  The little block above is for last week.  The school bus marks the beginning of the school year for Big Buddy and Little Buddy, and the strip with hearts is for the family party we had on Labor Day weekend, our first since Christmas and just our kids and their spouses and kids. 

Little Buddy is in preschool every day now, so we see him less, but we're making the most of it.  Baby Buddy is starting to eat solid food, not just his toys.

Now that I'm caught up on the Diary quilt, I can enjoy making more red blocks for the RSC.
The Rainbow Scrap Challenge has been so good for me.  It has helped me to see color everywhere, and not to just get stuck on the same old thing.
This week may we find relief from stress and anxiety, and joy in the little things around us.  Stay safe!
Cheers for reading,

Linking up with:
Angela at So Scrappy
Cynthia at Oh Scrap





Saturday, September 5, 2020

A Tale of Two Loves

 Welcome to Treadlestitches!

When I say two loves, I'm talking about quilts, of course.  (My life may be crazy, but it's not a soap opera.)  I have two desperate all-consuming loves in my quilting life--antique quilts/reproductions and modern/bright colors.  I can't choose one or the other.  Thankfully, I don't have to.

It might seem weird, but I work on both kinds of quilts at once.  So this week I have a finished quilt and a top to show you.  The top celebrates the Rainbow Scrap Challenge color of the month, red.
 In 2018, quilt historian and pattern researcher Barbara Brackman hosted a block of the month on her Civil War Quilts blog.  (Click HERE for the first post.  All the patterns are still online, for free.)  It was called Antebellum Album, and celebrated the friendships among Northern and Southern women and girls before the Civil War.

Each month Ms. Brackman wrote an interesting post about a real person, and provided us with a pattern for a 12 in. block.  The blocks had suggestions for inked inscriptions.
I am TERRIBLE at inked inscriptions, but I tried.  The one above says May the Circle Be Unbroken.
When I got the blocks done, I had to figure out how to set them.  Ms. Brackman's suggested set made a square quilt, but I wanted mine to be rectangular.  Eventually, I made 3 more blocks, and alternated them with the suggested pieced blocks.  
There were a couple of blocks I had trouble with, so I just substituted a different one.  (It's perfectly legal to do that, BTW).  I chose traditional red and green for my color scheme, but many of the other quilters used more modern fabrics, and they were great.
This is another one I'm going to have quilted by someone much more talented than me.

And on the other hand, I finished the little Pennants baby quilt.  I'm calling it Pennants, but I didn't have a pattern for it.
Here's the basic recipe if you'd like to make one.
First, get some 4.5 in. strips of colorful fabrics, and a few light strips in the same size.  Everything in this quilt is cut from 4.5 in. strips.

Next, get a triangle ruler that will help you cut 60 degree triangles.  I made 8 rows of triangles, alternating bright and light.  You need 5 light triangles and 4 bright triangles per row, plus 2 bright half triangles.  I mostly just used full triangles for the half triangles, and squared them off after they were sewn.
I added 4.5 in strips of light as the first border, cut from a print I've had for a while.

Isn't this fabric cute?  I got some pieces of it second hand.

This is the selvedge:  Tiny Town by Max & Nobie for Moda.

The outer border is made of forty 4.5 in. squares (4 in. finished).  Snoopy surfing is my favorite.
Here's the back, a Windham fabric, Colors and Count (I think), and the binding is orange.  I am really crushing on orange right now. 

Look who turns 6 months old today!  It's our Baby Buddy!
This week has been one of the crazier ones lately.  The kids get here earlier, since Big Buddy has to log into his virtual school before 7:30 every other day and Baby Buddy has to get dropped off before their Mama takes Little Buddy to preschool, where I pick him up at 11:00.  It is much harder for their Mama, getting 3 kids off to 2 or 3 destinations, all of them with whatever they need, plus getting herself off to work.  I'm sure we'll all get used to it, but it may take some time.
This is a weird year, and all we can really do is roll with it.  Sewing helps.  It really does.
Happy Labor Day weekend, Americans!  Stay safe.
Cheers for reading,

Linking up with:
Angela at So Scrappy
Cynthia at Oh Scrap

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Shades of Purple


Welcome to Treadlestitches!  It's the last purple week of 2020 for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.
So I dragged out all the purples, and boy was that fun.
Above is an antique quilt top from my collection, set with purple.  And that's why I bought it.  It's a little unusual to see purple as the sashes on a quilt older than the 1930s.  This one dates to about 1890 to 1920.

Here's a closeup of the sashing fabric.  Do you see where some of it is discolored?  It was common for purples to fade to brown or tan back in the day.  

Inspired by the old quilt, I'm thinking of putting my little Thrifty blocks together with this reproduction purple.  What do you think?

 I laid the new repro fabric (on the left) against the old quilt top.  They are very different shades of purple.
I noticed the same thing when cutting my scraps for my RSC blocks this week.  There are so many different kinds of purple!  Some are named for flowers and other plants, like lavender, lilac, violet and periwinkle.  Some are named for fruits and vegetables, like plum, grape or eggplant.  I love them ALL.

Why did I only buy a fat quarter of the bat print?  There is barely any left now.  (Please excuse the threads on the block, sorry.)

The purple 1930s house blocks are done, just in time for a new color later this week.

The roof of the house above comes from vintage dress fabric, and the background of purple flowers on white is cut from a feed sack.

The body of the house came from this Gingham Girl flour sack, made for a flour mill in Arkansas City, Kansas.  It was meant to hold 10 pounds of self-rising flour, but looks as though it was never put to use.
Polka dot house's roof came from a feed sack.

The only vintage fabric in the block above is the background of flowers on white.  It's like an old friend, I've been using it in so many quilts.
 My oldest daughter and her kids were here on Wednesday and Friday, which was fun for everyone, especially Little Buddy.

Grandpa is holding on to this wiggly guy.   Baby Buddy is wearing his swim suit.  Can you believe how cute clothes are now for babies?

This is as far as I got on the pennant baby quilt.  The top is done, the back is chosen and cut, and the frankenbatting has been hand sewn together.  I'm hoping to get it quilted today.
One of those silly kids hid this Peppa Pig under my pillow!  So she's going to stay with me, and help me in the sewing room.
I hope you have all the help you need for your sewing this week.  Take care of yourself, and stay safe.
Cheers for reading,
Linking up with:
Angela at So Scrappy
Cynthia at Oh Scrap