Saturday, December 9, 2023

I Spy A Little Quilt, and Going Bananas

 Welcome to Treadlestitches!

 I spy a little I Spy quilt hanging on the clothesline!  

It's made of 5 in. (cut) squares.  I was inspired by this quilt top (below) that I finished for the quilt guild a few weeks ago:

The top was donated by a very generous quilter, who made a nice big stack of tops during the pandemic lockdown.  For this one she used novelty prints (my favorite!), alternating between light and dark.  People, I tried to do the same for my quilt, but the randomness of it drove me nuts.  I loved the look of the original quilt, but I just cannot do random! So I picked an alternate fabric from the stash and calmed it down a little.

Do you make kits for yourself?  I often do, especially when I'm cutting up scraps.  I can get excited about an idea for a quilt, get it ready, and then work on it when other projects are done.  That's what I did with this little one.  

As I was putting it together, I started noticing that most of the prints featured animals:  dinosaurs, cows, bugs, birds, plus fictional animals like Scooby-Doo and Daniel Tiger, and even a tiny bit of Bucky Badger.  Then I remembered that I did this on purpose when I made the kit!  (This is why I'm writing this stuff down now!)

Before I remembered my plan, I replaced one of the animal squares with this banana one.  Oops!  So it's all animals, plus one banana square.  Even the border is a grasshopper print.

The backing is butterflies on white.  The new poly batting is working out great, and will make the quilt warm and snuggly for the recipient.  (Thanks again, Joey!)

I had bananas on my mind last night when I was choosing a border for another Bricks quilt, so this happened.  I bought this bananas-on-denim print at a flea market, and now I'm down to only a yard left.  I'll show the whole quilt when it's done.

Update on the GSAFE auction:  The original goal was to raise $30,000.  The actual total was $37,337!  My three quilts brought in over $600.  I am over the moon!  I was just hoping they would get even one bid.  The money will be used to help LGBTQ kids in schools.   (Click HERE for their web site.)

We're getting our Christmas decorations out a little at a time.  Buddy and Little Guy helped put tiny ornaments on this tree and regular ornaments on the big tree.  They are handy to have around.

Who says kids need expensive toys?  Little Guy's favorites this week are actual rocks!  We gathered these at the lake several months ago.  They're great for loading into train cars or dump trucks.  I wonder if he'll have as much fun with his Christmas presents?

I hope you're having a wonderful week.  Happy Hanukah to all who celebrate!

Thanks for reading,


Linking up with these wonderful quilters:

Alycia at Finished or Not Finished Friday

Angela at So Scrappy

Sarah at Can I Get A Whoop Whoop

Cynthia at Oh Scrap

Saturday, December 2, 2023

Passing on the Comfort

Welcome to Treadlestitches!

It's a hazy shade of winter outside this morning, so indoor photos will have to do.  Here's my latest Rainbow Scrap Quilt finish, the first of the Uneven Nine Patch baby-sized quilts. 

Snicklefritz the cat is really getting the hang of posing on a quilt.  I think he likes this one.  Maybe because another name for this pattern is Puss in the Corner?

Here's a closeup.  The blocks alternate between light centers (like the Sneetches) and dark centers (like the stars and comets).  Each block is made from two light charm squares and two dark charm squares.  (Click HERE for some quick instructions.)  Of course there had to be a Green Bay Packers block!

This red block is my favorite: hands, and hearts, and love.

I'm sure you can't see from this photo, but the white fabric has a subtle butterfly print.  I bought several yards of this print for a different quilt, but changed my mind.  A strip of the blue butterfly print from the border makes the back wide enough.

Sometimes I wonder what happens to the quilts I donate.  I always hope they'll be loved and used, but you never know.   Just as I was thinking this, my friend Debbie C. sent me this photo.

It's a detail of a quilt found in Germany.  The tag on the back identifies it as being made by the Canadian Red Cross.  Hundreds (thousands?) of quilts were made in North America and shipped to Europe as World War II was ending, to help refugees and people recovering from the war.

This is the back, and the hand stitched label.

Here's what it looks like close up.  Great pattern, right?  And hand quilted.

The quilt was published in the Suture and Selvedge blog, which focuses on textiles and women's lives.  (Click HERE for the article). 

That started me thinking about a book I had read about similar quilts found in Europe, so I hunted it down on my quilt bookshelves.  It's called Passing on the Comfort:  The War, The Quilts, and the Women Who Made a Difference.  The authors are An Keuning-Tichelaar and Lynn Kaplanian-Buller.

Once I found it, I realized I had only skimmed it before, looked at the quilts, and moved on.  I am very disappointed in myself for doing that!  This week, I actually read it, and was very moved by An's narrative of living through the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands.  As a nurse and a Mennonite pastor's wife, she took in people fleeing and/or hiding, including Jewish children and adults, and did very dangerous jobs for the Resistance.

The quilts in the book were made mostly in the U.S. and Canada, and shipped out through the Mennonite Central Committee.  Lynn Kaplanian came along in the 1980s, saw the remaining quilts in a house she stayed in, and arranged for them to be exhibited.  She encouraged An to write down her memories.  

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in World War II history.

In other news, the GSAFE Quilt and Fiber Art Auction to benefit LGBT youth finishes on this Monday, Dec. 4.  I donated three of my quilts, including the crayon quilt above (but not my dog!).  Originally I had planned to give these quilts to other places, but I am finding that they are doing okay in the auction, even though they are miles away from perfect.  It makes me wonder.  Will I do more good by auctioning/selling quilts than by donating them directly?  Maybe I should set aside a few "special" quilts for these occasions? Something to think about.

May be an image of 11 people

This is us on Thanksgiving, Hubby and me and our three kids, two sons-in-law, and five grandkids.  We are so lucky to have all of them.

Have a wonderful week, and happy quilting!

Thanks for reading,


Linking up with:

Alycia at Finished or Not Finished Friday

Sarah at Can I Get A Whoop Whoop

Angela at So Scrappy

Cynthia at Oh Scrap


Sunday, November 26, 2023

Rainbow Quilt in the Snow

 Welcome to Treadlestitches!

It's gently snowing this morning, and for the first time this season it's sticking.  We're not expected to get more than a couple of inches, but the weather is letting us know what is ahead.  It looked like a good place to put my latest donation quilt finish, a 16 patch baby-size quilt.

The back is a warm flannel print, and the batting is the new poly batt Joey brought me.  It was easy to quilt, and will be nice and warm for a child to snuggle under.  It hasn't been washed yet, but it's in line next, after the Thanksgiving tablecloths.

I used the same border fabric as the Crossroads quilt I finished at the end of October.  The colors are set as a sort of rainbow.

There are so many little "pictures" in the 2 in. finished squares.  I spy a monkey, a ladybug, a football, letters, a frog, a hedgehog, and even a chicken.

The 16 patch above is the 4th Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilt I've made this year.  There is a fifth one not quite finished yet, and then there is this big pile of blocks, waiting to be assembled.  Yikes!  I am probably not going to get done by the end of the year.  Maybe I should make fewer blocks next year.  Or bigger quilts!

Remember this RSC quilt from last year?  I finished it in January, and later donated it to the GSAFE Quilt and Fiber Art Auction, which starts this Tuesday, Nov. 28.  GSAFE is an organization that works to help LGBT youth in schools.  Click HERE to learn more about GSAFE.

I have three quilts in the auction, and there are hundreds more items.  The theme is In Rainbowland, which really fits with the RSC quilts, I think!  If you're interested, you can click HERE to preview the auction items.  Bidding starts on Tuesday.  The goal is to raise $30,000.  By the way, my quilts are numbers 231, 236, and 237.

I hope everyone who celebrates had a happy Thanksgiving.  I know we did!  My little grandsons and I made the pies on Wednesday.  They stirred up the pumpkin filling and rolled out their pie crust (with help of course!)  Each of them made a small pie, and got to eat it after lunch as an early Thanksgiving treat.

What is this Guy doing?  Is he a robot, or an astronaut?  Believe it or not, there is a practical reason for Little Guy wearing this on his head.

The boys' school was closed for the holiday all week, so on Monday we took them to one of Hubby and Buddy's favorite stores, The Gem Shop, Inc. in Cedarburg.  We bought some small geodes, and everybody had to wear eye protection when Hubby cracked them open.  We had safety glasses for Buddy, but none for Little Guy, so Hubby put that plastic dome on his head.  He liked it so much he wore it off and on the rest of the day.

With Thanksgiving behind us, we're getting ready for the busy Christmas season.  I hope the boys will help us decorate this week, and we'll be getting out all the Christmas quilts.

Have a lovely week!

Cheers for reading this,


Linking up with:

Alycia at Finished or Not Finished Friday

Angela at So Scrappy

Cynthia at Oh Scrap 

Saturday, November 18, 2023

A Little Quilt, and A Visit from a Friend

 Welcome to Treadlestitches!

How's the weather where you live?  We have had lots of sunshine this week, and even a warm day or two, but the nights are below freezing.  Maybe that's why this old maple tree is finally giving up its leaves.

The back is a piece left over from a bigger quilt.  I had to add a strip down the middle to make it big enough.

I did get the little four patch top quilted and ready to donate.  I tried out some new poly batting, and I am very happy with the way it looks and feels.

You might remember this photo from last March!  My grandson is hugging a roll of higher loft poly batting, sent to me by my friend Joey.  There were TWO of these!  I nicknamed them Big Bertha and Gerta.  Unfortunately, I struggled using this weight of batting on my domestic sewing machine and with my limited skills.  Joey offered to trade a lighter weight of poly for these, since she can definitely use them on her long arm machine.

Somehow we managed to get Bertha into the back seat of Joey's car (thank goodness batting squishes!) and Gerta into the trunk.  It must have looked crazy to the neighbors, I hope we aren't on anybody's video.

Here's my new roll of batting.  I'm calling her Polly Esther.  She expanded a bit after I opened the plastic, but nothing like Bertha! 

Not only did Joey drive 3 hours to get here, bring me batting, and take Bertha and Gerta home, she also made this gorgeous thread/scrap catcher for me!  This is the prettiest one I've ever seen.

Here it is laid out.  I absolutely love it.  It might be too pretty to use, but it brightens up the sewing room, so I'm using it.  Thanks, Joey!

We had a lovely day when Joey was here.  We went to an antiques sale, and then out to lunch.  It's great to just have time to talk and laugh and catch up.

I'm doing a little piecing, like these Two Step blocks from Missouri Star, but I don't expect to get much done this week.  Thanksgiving is this Thursday, and I'm the main cook.  I'll be baking brown and serve rolls today to put in the freezer, and bread for the dressing either today or tomorrow.

This is the quilt guild Block of the Month for January, the Potato Chip block.  I'm way ahead of myself making these, but it's hard to stop!  (That's why it's named Potato Chip--you can't make just one!)

All the pieces for this block are 2.5 in. x 4.5 in. rectangles, and I have lots of them already cut.  So I may piece a few blocks while the turkey is roasting.

The little boys don't have school at all next week, so we'll find some things to do here.  Little Guy loved our visit to the library this week.  They always have interesting kid-friendly things for the kids to play with, like the pretend Farmers Market in the foreground, and the cardboard barn with chutes for "eggs" to go down.

One day this week was really warm for November, so I let the kids play on the playground for a bit after school.  Buddy is king of the mountain.  (Sorry for the poor quality photo.)

Thanksgiving is a lovely holiday, dedicated to being grateful for all our blessings.  I have so much to be grateful for!  Family and friends are at the very top of the list.

Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate, and have a wonderful week!



I'm thankful for these terrific bloggers and the linky parties they host!

Linking up with:

Alycia at Finished or Not Finished Friday

Sarah at Can I Get A Whoop Whoop

Angela at So Scrappy

Cynthia at Oh Scrap



Saturday, November 11, 2023

Happy Quilt #3, and Breaking Down the Scraps

 Welcome to Treadlestitches!

It's a frosty morning here in Wisconsin, but the sun is shining and it might get up to 50 degrees F today.  No rain, so I'm hanging out the last of my Happy Blocks baby quilts made from my Rainbow Scrap Challenge squares.

I enjoyed finding a home for all these light-background novelty prints.  I hope the child who receives it enjoys it.

The back is this cute kids print.  A friend gave it to me knowing it would make a great back.  Thanks, Nancy!

One of the best parts of being a scrap quilter is all the variety!

Are you a scrap quilter?  Do bags and boxes and totes of scrap fabric set your heart pounding with excitement?  (Yeah, me too!)  Do friends, family, and random people give you scraps?  Do you actually BUY scraps to use in your quilting?  If so, you know what I mean by breaking down the scraps:  making them into useful pieces for quilts.  Lately I've been working on scraps I acquired at our guild's annual Silent Auction.

When I say "scraps", I mean pieces smaller than a fat quarter.  If they're big enough, say 6 in. wide or wider, I don't cut into them, I put them in the Big Scraps basket to cut as needed.  

The smaller ones take more work.  I'm talking about strips, small scraps, etc.  LOTS of etc.

I often find strips in scraps from other quilters, which is great.  If they're already a width I normally use, even better!  I can just store them in my personal Scrap Savers System, an idea made famous by the amazing Bonnie Hunter.  The scrap strips above are NOT widths I use, or are irregular cuts, etc. so they will have to be pressed and trimmed or cut down.

If the strips are a good width like these 2.5 in. ones above, but are short, I cut them into squares and rectangles. 

After strips, I tackle the small pieces, cutting these also into squares and rectangles.  It's a bit more tedious, so I do a small stack before working on other projects.

It sure feels good to see them neatly stacked, ready to sew!

Now for the Etcetera, which is what I call pieces sewn to other pieces.  Many of these are strip sets, already sewn together, or the ends of strip sets from which pieces have been cut by the original quilter.  There are also badly made blocks and parts of blocks, which I guess the quilter gave up on but couldn't throw away.

I often wonder what other people do with these.  If you use them, I'd love to know your method.

Here's a weird one:

The fabrics are cute.  How could I make this useful?

I cut this up into 3 hsts (2.5 in. x 2.5 in.), 2 squares (2 in. x 2 in.), and four small bits for crumb quilts.  There was a second one of these, and I did the same thing with it.

The most common etc. I find are 2.5 in. strips sewn together.  This is a great size that I use often, and cutting them apart would make them too small.  If at least one of the strips is something I know I'll use, I put them in a basket with a seam ripper, and rip them apart while watching TV.  Ripping is a drag, of course, but I hardly notice it when solving a mystery with Hercule Poirot or "baking" with the Great British Baking Show.

As I was sorting and cutting and ripping, I found lots of 2.5 in. squares, many with novelty prints.  Treasure!  I added some from my stash and cut alternate blocks of a gray print, to make this little 4 patch top:

 It was great to have these squares for leaders and enders while working on other projects.  I hope to get it quilted soon.

 Snicky is good company in the sewing room, although he hasn't quite left his life of crime behind.  I have got my eye on you, Furry Friend.

Halloween is over, but a patchwork ghost made an appearance in our house! Buddy is pretending to run away.  These guys crack me up.

I hope your week is ghost free and full of fun.  And to all the veterans everywhere, Happy Veterans Day!  And THANK YOU!!!

Thanks for reading,


Linking up with:

Alycia at Finished or Not Finished Friday

Sarah at Can I Get A Whoop Whoop

Angela at So Scrappy

Cynthia at Oh Scrap