Saturday, April 17, 2021

Safe at Home

 Welcome to Treadlestitches!

It's finished!  Safe at Home is my name for my house quilt, one of my Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects for 2020.

Last week, it was a roadblock.  This week, it's done and the way ahead is clear.

The pattern I used is called Home Made, was designed by Monique Jacobs, and was published in American Patchwork and Quilting magazine, issue # 162.  I used the house pattern, but made more blocks and set them differently than the original.  

When I started making the blocks in January of 2020, I had no idea what the year would bring.  I was just having fun using scraps of vintage fabrics, feedsacks, and 1930s reproductions in the color of the month.  

In March, the illness and death of the pandemic hit New York hard, and it was suddenly terribly real to all of us all over the country.  Home was more important than ever, as millions of kids (including our grandchildren) started virtual school, and millions of adults either worked from home or were unemployed.  

This quilt will always represent 2020 to me: the worry and fear we all felt every time we sneezed or coughed, the hilarious zoom fails of virtual preschool, the mask making, the dreaded toilet paper shortage, and the uncertainty still hanging over everything.

As I've mentioned on this blog before, I used a quilt-as-you-go method on this quilt.  (After all this time, I must admit I am REALLY tired of this backing fabric.)  I will be posting more on the way I do this in the near future.

 The border is a vintage 1930s-1940s print fabric, probably meant for dresses or blouses.  I only had just over a yard of it, so that determined how wide it would be.  I quilted simple diagonal lines in the border, and bound the quilt with a green solid, also vintage, from my basement "collection".

 My youngest grandson, whom I call Baby Buddy, was not really in a posing mood yesterday.  He's sort of ho-hum about the whole thing.

In other news, I got a few more half square triangles done for this year's RSC.  These are loose on my design wall, not yet sewn into groups of four, but this may end up being what I do with them.

And the blue ice cream cones!  I looked up some blue colored ice cream flavors on Wikipedia, and was surprised to find out about Blue Moon ice cream, invented in Milwaukee!  So I'm saying the cone on the bottom left is Blue Moon.  Above it is Blue Heaven, a blue colored Australian ice cream flavored with vanilla and raspberry (mine has little candies), next to a Blueberry ice cream with raspberry ripple and tiny sprinkles.  Lastly, we have a truly original imaginary flavor, blueberry with Victoria sponge cake, strawberries and cherries.  All this, and no calories.

Outside, the rhubarb is getting taller and looking very healthy.  Little Buddy hoped it might be ready to cut.  I made him some rhubarb cake from last year's canned rhubarb, so he's content to wait a little longer.

Leaves are appearing on the black raspberry canes, an encouraging sign.

Spring is progressing as it always does here, two steps forward and one step back.  There was frost on the grass this morning, but sunshine the rest of the day.

I'm wishing sunshine for you this week, and blue skies.

Cheers for reading,


Linking up with:

Angela at So Scrappy
Cynthia at Oh Scrap

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Roadblocks, Blue Blocks, and a Tulip Block

 Welcome to Treadlestitches!

Does this ever happen to you?  I've got a quilt that needs to be quilted, but keeps getting set aside so I can finish other quilts.  So finally I get very stern with myself and say, "That's enough!"  (I MIGHT not say this out loud if there's anybody else at home.)  "This quilt HAS to be finished, and I can't quilt anything else until it is!"  So the quilt becomes a roadblock.

My current roadblock is my 1930s house quilt, a Rainbow Scrap Challenge project from last year.  As you can see, making it a roadblock is working towards getting it done.  I put the top border on last night, and will work on quilting the borders this weekend.  Eventually I will finish writing up the tutorial on my quilt-as-you-go method, using this quilt as the main example.

More light/bright blue blocks for the RSC!  The reason I am always so far behind in finishing quilts is probably because I piece quilt blocks just about every day.  My treadle is facing a window that overlooks our driveway.  In the mornings, once I've got things ready for the day, I can sew while waiting for the baby to be dropped off.  When my daughter's car pulls up, I shut off the iron and the lights, and go downstairs.  No need to shut off the treadle, although I kept trying when I first got one!

The log cabin blocks share a lot of the same fabrics, as I'm running out of 2 in. strips.  I don't think it will matter, since they may not be in the same quilt.  I'm planning to make several baby quilts from the RSC blocks this year.

These crumb hearts always make me feel so frugal!  All the tiny chunks and pieces are recycled into something useful.  Some old triangles made their way into this batch.

Tulips aren't blooming here yet, except in the sewing room.  I made this block to try out an idea for a Hands2Help quilt.  Click HERE for the excellent tutorial by Kristina of Center Street Quilts.  It's easy to cut and sew, and makes a cute rectangular block, 6 in. x 12 in. finished.

Speaking of cute, you know what's coming now--photos of my grandkids!

This was Easter Sunday at my oldest daughter's house.  We were able to be together this year after being vaccinated.

Little Buddy drew this adorable bunny on our kitchen chalk board.  I do not have the heart to erase it.  Not sure why one eye has some kind of a problem. 

Baby Buddy has just discovered Duplos.  I have just discovered making quilt patterns with them.  We're both having fun.

Usually things go well around here when I'm babysitting.  But once in a while, when the dog is barking madly, the cat is throwing up, the preschooler is having a fit about nothing and the baby is trying to crawl away while I'm changing his messy diaper, I think back to that old TV commercial and want Calgon to take me away.  (I think Calgon was bubble bath???)  When it all gets sorted out, and I end up with both little ones, clean and calm, close to me reading a book, I know there is no place I'd rather be, and no job I'd rather have.

One more flower picture.  The barrel cactus in my little window garden is responding to the spring sunlight with these pretty pink blooms. This hardly ever happens, so I made sure to take a photo.

I hope all is well in your world this week.

Cheers for reading,


Linking up with:

Angela at So Scrappy
Cynthia at Oh Scrap 

Saturday, April 3, 2021

A New Blue Start

 Welcome to Treadlestitches!

Sunshine and blue skies have visited us this week, and it feels like a classic Wisconsin spring.

In between digging into my light blue scraps for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge color of the month, I finished this baby quilt to donate to Little Lambs for Hands2Help.

The star of this quilt is Clifford the Big Red Dog, shown here as a firefighter.  Back before Clifford was on TV, he was the hero of a series of books by Norman Bridwell, and was well-loved by children in my libraries.  He even helped me bridge the language gap with a little boy who was new to the school and only spoke Spanish.  His eyes lit up when he saw the book I was going to read to his class, and I think that familiarity helped more than my fumbling Spanish to put him at ease.

The pattern for this little quilt comes from this book, Seamingly Scrappy, by Rebecca Silbaugh.

It's called Field Day.  I replaced the green squares of the original with the Clifford squares, made fewer blocks, and left off the borders.  My quilt measures 36 in. x 42 in.

I always appreciate designers who give us a good pressing diagram.  This one was perfect, and made all the seams nest nicely.

The white background print of dogs was a leftover from a backing, and the print squares came from my box of extra squares.  I included this rainbow zebra ...

...a square just of Clifford's face...

and a lovely kitten to represent an alternate viewpoint.

The backing is this silly print with fire hydrants.  You might be able to see the quilting here.  I just followed the square "paths" in the ditch, with extra straight line quilting on Clifford squares.

 Meanwhile, more dogs!

Do your scraps ever surprise you?  I had no idea I had so many light blue dog-themed prints.

No surprise here, just awesome blue minions!  

We went to the playground this week for the first time since fall of 2019.  Little Buddy is so brave, crossing this rope bridge.

Baby Buddy just likes the wood chips.  When you're a baby, it's the simple things.

This is how we felt, being outside again in the park.

This week, my husband and I got our second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.  More and more of our family is getting vaccinated, and I am so thankful.  Soon this nightmare may be over, and we can all do the simple things we miss, like playing in the park.  Or going to quilt stores in person!

This tiny bunny in the center of the star is saying Happy Easter tomorrow to all who celebrate.  

Have a lovely week!

Cheers for reading,


Linking up with:

Angela at So Scrappy
Cynthia at Oh Scrap


Saturday, March 27, 2021

Pink and Purple Trip

 Welcome to Treadlestitches!

No outside pictures today, as we're having a gentle spring rain.  Birds are venturing out, however, and I can hear their songs and calls.  I saw our first robin this week, just one so far, but they'll soon be here in flocks.

I made this little Trip Around the World quilt on International Quilting Day last week, and it will be sent to Little Lambs Foundation as part of this year's Hands2Help Challenge.  (Click HERE for more information on how you can help!)  The donated quilts will go to babies entering foster care.

I have not been a lifelong fan of pink (understatement!).  Yet somehow I have lots of pink scraps.  In January, when it was pink month for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, I sorted some of the scraps, added in purple, and cut out the squares for this quilt.

The back is a soft flannel.  Simple quilting with a serpentine stitch and a purple print binding finish it up.

Plus, bunnies!  Just in time for Easter.  Want to make one?  It's super easy.  Recipe below.

Trip Around the World Baby Quilt
Here's the recipe for this 36 in. x 36 in. quilt.
I used six fabrics in the Trip Around the World part, which I labeled A through F.  All squares were cut 4.5 in.  Here's how many to cut.
A:  5 (center and four corners)
B:  4
C:  8 
D:  12
E:  12
F:  8
Lay out the squares in rows, 7 squares across and 7 squares down, following the layout from the photo.  An A square goes in the center, B squares surround it, etc.  Sew the squares into rows, and the rows together.
Inner border:  Cut 4 strips of a light fabric, 1.5 in. x width of fabric.  Measure the center and add the borders.
Outer border:  Cut 4 strips 3.5 in. x width of fabric.  Measure the quilt and add the borders.
In other news, it's the last Saturday in March, which means the end of green month for the RSC.  I thought I had all my blocks finished last week, but I forgot about the Happy Blocks.  Oops!
These don't look very green, do they?  The center squares are green, but the frames are just whatever color I had that goes with the novelty prints in the middle.  For some reason a lot of them looked good with orange.


Paddington Bear, tractors, cows, and those cheeky monkeys!  I love novelty prints!

Guess what else I love!

Sorry about the blurry picture.  Baby Buddy doesn't hold still much.  He got a new tooth this week!

Little Buddy was excited to show us the little Easter basket/box he made at preschool.  He's wearing one of his favorite dinosaur shirts.  I should apologize for this photo, too.   I didn't notice all the reflections in the glass of the bookcase.

A Trip Around the World quilt is as close as we're getting to traveling for spring break, but we don't mind at all.  Until we're fully vaccinated, we'll stay close to home and enjoy spending time with the family.

Have a good week, and Happy Passover and/or Palm Sunday to all who celebrate.

Thanks for reading,


Here's a great way to travel the quilt world--just click on a linky party!

Linking up with:

Angela at So Scrappy, home of the Rainbow Scrap Challenge
Sarah at Can I Get A Whoop Whoop, home of the Hands2Help Challenge
Cynthia at Oh Scrap




Saturday, March 20, 2021

Springtime in Wisconsin

 Welcome to Treadlestitches!  Happy International Quilting Day!

We are feeling the joy of early spring here.  Our winters are typically long and cold, but it's all worth it when the trees start budding out...

the rhubarb breaks through the ground ...

and lovely green tulip leaves appear.  

Speaking of green, I finished my green blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.

I love making these green hearts from tiny leftover pieces.  I wonder if someone (like me?) who loves plants and gardens but can't quite be said to have a green thumb could instead have a green heart?  I hereby apologize to all the houseplants I have neglected.

I tried to think of flavors for this month's ice cream cone blocks. I've got lime sherbet (with bits of lemon and raspberry), mint/blueberry, and pistachio, but the fourth one has me stumped.  I have read that there is actually a green tea flavored ice cream, but I'm not sure that sounds delicious.

Last are the half square triangles, four of each fabric.  I still don't know exactly what blocks I'm making, so they'll stay loose until I figure it out.

How are you coming along on your RSC blocks?  It's always great and inspiring to see everyone's projects.

This is the March block for Barbara Brackman's Hands All Around block of the month quilt, which is based on Louisa May Alcott and her family.  The block is called Anna's Choice, and Ms. Brackman chose this one for Louisa's sister Anna.  (Click HERE for the block.)  Meg in the book Little Women is based on Anna Alcott.  For my quilt, I'm using the same blue print and light background in all the blocks, and the RSC colors in the center.

New project alert!  It's called the Lemonade Challenge.  My quilt guild has literally tons of donated fabric, which we use to make charity quilts.  The intrepid ladies on the charity committee have made up packets of fabrics, mostly half yards and fat quarters, and challenged us to make a quilt top.


These fabrics are good quality quilting cotton, just not currently fashionable.  We have to use at least a small piece of 2/3 of the fabrics, but can add in our own.  I love scrap quilts (of course!) and I have lots of older fabric, so this should be fun.  Any ideas?  It's not due til October.

Sadly, no photos of Baby Buddy this week.  He was recovering from a cold and needed lots of cuddling.  I did get a not-very-good photo of Little Buddy, seen here with his usual fierce dinosaur face on.   Little Buddy and Grandpa set up pirate ships and forts in the living room, and Little Buddy added the dinosaurs to the mix.  We always have to have dinosaurs, of course!

One more sign of spring--the Sandhill cranes are back!  I wasn't fast enough to get a picture when they walked by a few moments ago, but here's one from last year so you know what I'm talking about.

The cranes are migratory birds that were once rare in Wisconsin, but have rebounded in great numbers.  For the past couple of years we have seen a nesting pair in the small wetland in the park behind our house.  They are about 4 feet tall, with a wingspan of 6-7 feet.  I am always overjoyed to catch a glimpse of them flying overhead, or just strolling past the window.

Spring is always a joyful time, and more so now as we begin to emerge from this terrible pandemic.  Have a good week, and stay safe!

Cheers for reading,


Linking up with:

Angela at So Scrappy, Home of the Rainbow Scrap Challenge
Cynthia at Oh Scrap