Sunday, June 27, 2021

Accentuate the Positive

 Quick post here for the Positivity Quilt Along.

This is what I've got done so far.  I'm making the blocks from my favorite bright colored fabrics.  

I've been wondering, though--is the color scheme appropriate for this kind of quilt?  Is it too childlike, or too cheerful for people experiencing a loss?

If that's the case, I will donate it to a different cause.

I have loved making these fun and easy blocks.  I have no idea how exactly I will set them together yet, but I'm sure it will come to me.  

I especially like the idea of passing on our positive energy toward others.

Thanks to Preeti and Bernie for getting us started on this.

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Taming Down the Stash with Bonnie and Marie

 Welcome to Treadlestitches!  And welcome to the last purple week for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  I have loved making quilt blocks with all the wonderful shades of purple.

Regular readers of Treadlestitches will know I babysit three of my grandchildren while their parents work.

Running after this adorable bucket head and his brothers keeps me pretty busy.  So I when I get time to quilt, I need to be as efficient as possible.

My favorite projects are charity quilts for children, and I love to buy the fabrics for these quilts at rummage sales, flea markets, etc.  Processing these fabrics into my stash takes more effort than if I had just bought them at the quilt store, but it's worth it for the variety and the price.

Thank goodness for people like Bonnie Hunter (who pioneered the scrap user's system) and Marie Kondo, author of The Magic of Tidying Up.  Today I'm going to show you how I process a big haul, like the one I wrote about last week.

First, I wash all the larger pieces.  I'm removing sizing, if the fabric was never washed before.  Some fabric softeners make me sneeze, and there are occasionally pieces that smell like cigarette smoke or that unmistakable basement odor, so everything except small scraps gets run through the washing machine.  I use a fragrance-free detergent.

Then I fold the fabric, more or less following the Marie Kondo method (called Konmari) that I learned about in this video, from Stephanie Soebbing of Quilt Addicts Anonymous.

In the photo above, the fat quarters are on the left, then half yards, then one yard pieces, then multiple yards.  All of these measurements are approximate.

Once the fabrics are washed and folded, they get filed into bins.  These bins hold the fat quarters.  They are arranged by color.  Right now I have a big bunch of multicolor fabrics that I'm not sure what to do with.  (Any ideas?)

These are the half yard baskets, similar to the ones in the video.  You can tell at a glance I need more red and more purple.

The one yard pieces are in bigger bins.  They're very good for borders on children's quilts.

The biggest pieces, more than 1 yard each, go in these soft-sided bins on the closet shelf.  They're great for backing, but also for borders or binding.  After recent shopping trips, I'm stocked up here.

Now, what about the scraps?

I divide the scraps into big scraps (on the right) and small scraps (on the left).  Big scraps are at least 6 in. wide, and could be cut into a variety of sizes, so I leave them to cut when I need them.  Small scraps are less than 6 in. wide.  (In the center are two packs of Halloween charm squares, which I just filed in the charm square box.)

Big scraps are rubber banded by color and put in this big basket.  Then when it's purple month, I grab out that bunch and cut what I need.  Also, if I use most of a fat quarter and only have a big scrap left, it goes here.

The little scraps are cut into strips or squares and rectangles, depending on the size of the scrap or any projects I'm cutting for.  I modified Bonnie Hunter's excellent scrap users system to suit how I sew.  The sizes I cut are (from left to right), 5 in., 4.5 in., 3.5 in., 2.5 in., 2 in., and 1.5 in.  I have drawers or small bins for each of the strip sizes, and boxes for each size square.

When I trim the scraps, I'm usually cutting them to the largest size I can.  If however I think I would use two 2.5 in. strips rather than a 5 in. strip, then that's what I cut.  I'm always thinking about what I'm planning to make and what I already have. 

Strips and squares etc. are stored in the closet. 

When I'm cutting for a scrap quilt, I start with scrap user's system, then go to the big scraps, then to fat quarters, and so on.  

The bins are stored on a book shelf, in a dark corner of the sewing room, where they are not exposed to sunlight.

It's taken me a while to change to this system, and I find that I really like it.  I can see what I have (and what I lack), and seeing the bright colors is inspiring, even on a rainy day.

More positivity blocks for Sew Preeti's Quilt Along!  Sorry the photo is so dark, it's a rainy morning here.

The grand kids were having a pool party last Sunday at our Father's Day cookout. The pool was mostly for Baby Buddy, but he wasn't having it.

The summer is going by so fast!  Next Sunday will be July 4th already!

Here's wishing you a happy week ahead.

Thanks for reading,


Check out the linky parties, you are cordially invited!

Angela at So Scrappy
Cynthia at Oh Scrap

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Summer Fun and Games

Welcome to Treadlestitches!
Happy Juneteenth!  I hope things are going well with you today.

The little fun and games quilt is finished, and ready to be donated to Quilts for Kids.  

I made my pieces smaller than the original pattern, so I could have the whole design, but in a smaller sized quilt.  Simple quilting in a 3 in. grid with the good old serpentine stitch, and straight stitch for the red solid areas.

I love looking at all the little pieces, like that minion jumping for joy.  I hope the child who receives it has as much fun with it as I've had.

Here's the back.  I keep a box of 5 in. squares, and sometimes use them to make the back wide enough if it's only a little off. 

The pattern comes from Jo Kramer and Kelli Hanken, and was published in this magazine:

American Patchwork & Quilting, issue #164, from June of last year.  It took me a whole year to get around to this quilt, but I finally did.

Here's what it looked like in the magazine.  Jo Kramer writes a twice-daily blog (no kidding, twice daily!) called Jo's Country Junction.  When she mentioned on the blog that this pattern was available in APQ, I immediately subscribed.  Once I had paid, I could download an electronic copy (which I did!) and then the print copies are mailed to me as they come out.  I am really enjoying getting a magazine again.

Back before the internet (does anybody else remember those times?), I subscribed to several quilt magazines.  It was the best way to connect to the wider quilt world.  I could see photos of far away quilt shows, prize winners, antique quilts (my favorites), and read about new techniques. The very best quilt magazine, in my opinion, was Quilter's Newsletter, which ceased publication several years ago.

This week, I went to the annual rummage sale at the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts & Fiber Arts, and got these old magazines and books from the free boxes outside.  Reading these is taking me on a trip down memory lane, back to 1997.

Guess what else I got?

You guessed it--fabric!  A whole cart full!

Yardage, fat quarters, and lovely lovely scraps!

More novelty fabrics for kid quilts!  Bugs, cupcakes, Halloween, minions, happiness!  Bargain prices, too.  This kind of sale benefits everyone.  People clean out their stash, the museum gets the cash, buyers like me get affordable cotton fabric, and kids' charities get quilts.  I can't wait to start cutting into this gorgeous stuff.

June is purple month for the Rainbow Scrap Quilt Challenge.  It's positively purple in here!  I'm starting Sew Preeti's Positivity quilt along (read all about it HERE).  It's an easy pattern, but I'm having a hard time finding bright fabrics that are not too juvenile.  These quilts will go to adults who may not be interested in Curious George or zoo animals.

The ice cream blocks are done for the month.  I've been struggling with purple flavors, anybody got any ideas?  So far google and I have come up with ube and cotton candy wonderland.  Maybe plum?  Or blackberry?  The berries are purple when mashed.

Purple poinsettia star blocks are in progress.  It can be tough to find 1800s reproduction purples, but I've got a few.

We've got a busy summer going around here.  Little Buddy has play group every morning, and Big Buddy goes to play practice.  We do have some time in the afternoon to hang out in the shade.

We were blowing soap bubbles with bubble wands.  I couldn't figure out how to take a picture of the boys when the bubbles were in the air, since I was the one making the bubbles.  Baby Buddy loved this so much he started clapping his hands.  We have to make more time for bubbles.

Happy Father's Day tomorrow for all who celebrate, and Happy Juneteenth today! 

Cheers for reading,


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



Saturday, June 12, 2021


 Welcome to Treadlestitches!

Playing with purple scraps is so much fun!  Last week's commenters were right, all shades of purple play well together.  I use the cut off corners from the hearts to make HSTs for the Friendship star blocks.  Still don't know how exactly I'm putting these blocks together.

Log cabin blocks are done for the month.

The monster in the middle says hi.

Happy blocks are done, too.  Novelty prints in the center, "calmer" prints on the outside.

Of course I have a favorite block!  Who wouldn't love this sassy cat?  Large and in charge.

My little buddies and I are spending more time outside now that summer is really here.  First, we have to do our work, watering the garden.  We're not growing much this year, as I'm being more realistic about the kind of time I have for weeding etc., but we always have to plant a few tomatoes and green beans.

Work done?  Now we can play!  Baby Buddy liked crawling through this tube at the playground.

Little Buddy loved running through the sprinkler.

Baby Buddy didn't like the sprinkler AT ALL.  He was much happier putting rocks in a container.  And dumping them out.  And putting them back in again.

Both buddies liked playing in water.  I just filled up an old plastic container, and added toys and boys.

Playtime for me!  When the kids weren't here, I worked on the Fun and Games baby quilt I mentioned last week.  The original didn't have a border, but I kind of wanted one.  It's ready to be quilted up this weekend.  More details next week.

According to some scientists, play is beneficial for all of us, children and adults.  So when I play with my scraps, I'm just looking after my health.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Enjoy the weekend!

Cheers for reading,


Come play with us at the linky parties!

Linking up with:
Angela at So Scrappy
Sarah at Can I Get A Whoop Whoop (More than 1000 quilts made for Hands2Help 2021!)
Cynthia at Oh Scrap

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Shades of Purple

 Welcome to Treadlestitches!

Purple scrap sewing is happening today!

I just love it when I open the sewing room door and immediately see the Rainbow Scrap Challenge color of the month.  

The 2.5 in. strips are running low, I'll have to cut some more.  Does that  count as using up scraps?  Or am I making more scraps?

Purple is one of my favorite colors, but I sometimes have a little trouble putting different shades of purple together.  For example, above is our scraggly little lilac bush, whose flowers are a lighter shade.

The star points on the right are more lilac or even lavender.  The star points on the left are a deep purple (not to be confused with the British rock band of the same name).

So do all shades of purple go together?  What do you think?  Maybe I should just relax about this.

Who could relax around here with all this noise?  School is out for Little Buddy, and we're all enjoying the summer together.  These guys like to bang on pots and pans after breakfast.  I wonder why we keep buying toys.

You can tell it's summer in Wisconsin when the Farmers Markets open up.  It's early days yet, but I did get some spinach, asparagus, and a pint of honey.

Look what I found lurking around the back porch!

Maybe that's what scared off this American goldfinch, caught on camera as she was flying away.  

On the agenda for today is this little project, left over from last month.  I've even got it all organized.

I laid it out last night when I should have been getting ready for bed.  The pattern is Fun and Games, by Jo Kramer and Kelli Hanken.  Many of you probably know Jo from her excellent blog, Jo's Country Junction.

The pattern is in American Patchwork and Quilting magazine, Issue #164, and the issue is dated 6/5/2020, exactly a year ago today.  Jo's version used yellow solid where I used red.  I also changed the size a bit.

I can't wait to sew this up.  It's been on the back burner for a while.

Summer is going well here so far, and I hope it is for you, too. 

Have a lovely week!



Check out all the fabulous quilts at the link parties below!

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