Saturday, October 30, 2021

Happy Halloween

 As the sign on my house says...

Welcome to Treadlestitches, Halloween Edition!

I didn't make any Halloween quilts this year, but there are little bits of orange and black in both tops finished this week.

This top has lots of black prints.  I started working on it two weeks ago, when I got the center (the six blocks and their tan sashing) from the charity committee to quilt.  Well, I couldn't leave well enough alone, and decided to make it big enough to fit a cot in the men's shelter.  I added the polka dot border (from my stash), and then made and added the piano keys outer border.

You never know what's going to come in handy.  Several years ago I bought a scrap bag at a flea market with lots of Route 66 fabric pieces, mostly squares and short strips.  It was fun to include them in this border.

I don't use a lot of black fabrics in my quilts for children, so I was glad I had these on hand.  There are also greens and grays, to go with the center squares.

Now it's ready for quilting.  I'm going to look around here and see if I can find enough flannel to back it with, so it's warm and cozy on our cold Wisconsin nights.

Does this ever happen to you?  Last month I needed a leader and ender project (read about what that is HERE), so I just grabbed some reproduction fabric squares and started sewing these 16-patch blocks.  Then, they took over!

When I got the blocks done, I had just about decided to put them together with an unpieced square of shirting fabric, but that seemed kind of ho-hum.  I had always liked a quilt made by Harriet Hargrave with this set, so that was the inspiration. 

Can you see which of the hourglass blocks is different?  I make my scrap quilts the way my foremothers did.  If I run out of one fabric, I add another similar one and keep going.

It's hard to see from the photo, but the border is a blue plaid.  It's a Marti Michel print from the 1990s, another flea market find.  How old does a fabric have to be before it's vintage?  

We're going to keep this one.  After I get it quilted, we'll use it on this twin bed, or curl up with it on the couch.  I'd like flannel backing for it too.  (Can you tell it's getting colder here?)

With those out of the way, I need a new piecing project.  Luckily, I have several (ahem! Understatement!) UFOs to choose from.  These blocks were finished in August 2020 and need to be set into a top.  I pieced most of them as part of the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  

What about setting them with a pieced block?  It seems to be a theme with me lately.

How about this block?  It's number 2314 in Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns.  It has several names.  I like Windmill best. Both blocks are 6 in. finished, so I'll need a lot of them.

Here's a preview of what it will look like.  Do you see the mistake I made?  Middle row, far right.

If it is possible to make a piecing mistake, I will make it.  This time, it was a cutting mistake.  The big pieces are not symmetrical, so they all have to be cut with the same side up.  I didn't always do that, so some of my blocks have a right twist and some have a left twist.  I'm not worried about it.

We have too much to do around here to worry about anything.  Baby Buddy and Little Buddy helped me cut out pumpkin-shaped sugar cookies.  The little guy was surprisingly good at it, all I had to do was keep him from eating the dough.

Don't be too frightened, but Little Buddy made this Haunted House for us from all the scariest toys and decorations he could find.  Some pretend dinosaur skulls got added in for extra creepiness.

Happy Halloween to all who celebrate, and thanks for reading!



Linking up with:

Angela at So Scrappy
Cynthia at Oh Scrap

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Welcoming Fall

 Welcome to Treadlestitches!

Is it fall where you live?  Here in Wisconsin, it's sunny out this morning, but the temperature went down to freezing last night.  Fall is for real now, and winter is not far behind. 

Time to get quilting!  I got this Very Hungry Caterpillar baby quilt quilted and bound (finally) and ready for its new home.  It will be donated to Project Linus.  The blocks were made as part of the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.

Look what I found for the back!  These are pieces from two different panels plus some of the fabric from the front.  I've had one of these panels in a box in the basement for years.  The date on the selvedge of that one was 2007.

Here's our sweet little caterpillar, changed into a beautiful butterfly.

Speaking of sweet!  Remember last week, when I was canning apples and pears?  This little guy made up his own game playing with the jar rings.  He was pretty proud of himself.  He kept putting the rings on the chair, and taking them off, and putting them on again.  Having him around is so much fun.

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!  And when life gives quilters scraps, we make quilts!  That was the idea behind our quilt guild's Lemonade Challenge.  Participants were each given a bag of scraps by the charity committee, and asked to make a quilt/top from them.  We had to use two thirds of the colors in the bag, but could add our own fabrics too.  Above are the fabrics I had to work with.

Tops or quilts were due this month.  This is my entry.  The pattern is called Double Slice, and comes from Jenny Doan of the Missouri Star Quilt Company.  (Click HERE for the YouTube video.)  Jenny made hers from layer cakes, but it's easy enough to just cut the pieces from scraps.  As you can see, I concentrated on the warm colors, and added quite a few of my own scraps.

The block only has 4 pieces in it, so it goes together quickly.  I donated my top to the charity committee, who will quilt it and find it a good home.

It's fun to see our wildlife neighbors in the park.  These Canadian geese were loudly arguing with another group of geese, apparently about which group got to eat the food put out for them.  They moved away as Baby Buddy and I got closer, but went back to honking as soon as we were gone.

My daughter sent me this photo of my two littlest buddies cuddling together.  They don't always get along this well, but they really do love each other.

Fall brings a lot of good family times for us, like birthdays and Halloween and Thanksgiving.  This year is already better than last year, now that so many of us are vaccinated and can feel safe sharing a meal and hugging again.  Yes, hugging, lots of it!

May this week bring you happy times with people you care about.  And fun with scraps and quilts!

Cheers for reading,


Linking up with:

Angela at So Scrappy
Cynthia at Oh Scrap

Saturday, October 16, 2021


 Welcome to Treadlestitches!  
I hope you're having a good week.

The quilt group I belong to is amazing.  One of the reasons I joined this group was their strong focus on making quilts and other items for people in need.  We all participate in our own ways, donating fabric, making blocks or quilt tops, saving labels and coupons for discounts on batting, etc.  This little quilt was part of my homework this month.  The group supplied the top, backing fabric, and batting.  I did the quilting.  

We have a small group of dedicated long-arm quilters on our charity committee.  In the last year, our group has donated at least 85 quilts, large and small, to local hospitals, homeless shelters, nursing homes, veterans, a hospice center, a center for abused children, Jack's Basket, and even the Humane Society.  The majority of the quilts were quilted by our long-arm volunteers. 

Some of the smaller quilts, like this one, can be easily quilted on a regular domestic sewing machine.  So some of us have volunteered to do just that.

You might wonder if I made this top, when you see all the novelty prints!  (Love those cats!)  But I can't claim credit for it.  Maybe when I bring it to the meeting next week I can find out who made it.

Here's the back, a soft green print.  The quilting is my usual go-to, a serpentine stitch grid.  I first saw this kind of quilting done many years ago by Laverne D., one of our group members, and really liked it.  This little quilt will be a warm and cheerful lap robe for someone in a nursing home.

A little more homework!  One of our guild members has been bringing flannel hearts for us to sew.  She very kindly packages them in groups of five, pre-cut and ready to go.  These hearts go to a local hospital, for use in the newborn intensive care unit (NICU).  Mothers of preemies pin the hearts inside their clothes to pick up their scent.  Then the heart is placed with the baby.  I must admit I had a little trouble getting these hearts sewn right (which is why you can't see all of them!).  More practice needed.

Here's my last homework project, which is not done yet.  Doesn't this look like a modern art painting?  It measures 30 in. x 56 in. which is kind of an awkward size.  If I add some borders, it could be a useful quilt for a local men's shelter, to go on a cot.  I'm thinking of adding black print borders just to the sides to make it wider, and then a scrappy piano keys border all around.  What would you do?  I'm open to other ideas.

As if I didn't have enough work to do, I keep bringing more home!  We went to the orchard on Wednesday and got a bushel of apples and a peck of pears.  I've got 17 pints of applesauce made from half the apples, hope that's enough.  We ran out last year, and commercial applesauce is just not the same.  Today I should finish canning the other half bushel as pie apples, and then I'll start on the pears.  Lids are still hard to get, so I'm just using what I've got left over from last year.

Friday morning was a Stash Enhancement Experience!  A quilt guild from a neighboring town held a quilters' rummage sale, which they call Granny's Attic.  They usually hold it as part of their quilt show, but the pandemic has prevented them from having shows the last two years.  Their members donate the fabric, and they use the money they raise for their own charity projects, including scholarships for area students.  I'm happy to say I helped them raise some cash!  I got some very cute fabric for less than I would pay in the store.

And now for something weird!

Just for fun, Baby Buddy's daddy pulled his shirt over his head!  He thought it was funny, and ran around after us, making this toy bear growl at everybody.  We have big fun around here.  

Looking after this little guy is my favorite kind of home work.  Even more fun than quilting!

As always, have fun and stay safe this week.

Cheers for reading,


Check out these linky parties.  Lots of great inspiration!

Angela at So Scrappy
Cynthia at Oh Scrap

Friday, October 8, 2021

Plus Two More, and Chasing Butterflies

 Welcome to Treadlestitches!

I had a wonderful time making quilt blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge this year, and now I'm putting those blocks into little quilts to donate to babies and children.  These two are the last ones using plus blocks.  [Did you participate in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge?  If not, join us, it's so much fun!  Here's the link:  RSC 2021.] 

After I finished the quilts, I realized they are kind of related to books we've been reading with the grand kids.  This book is a lift the flap book, which is Baby Buddy's favorite kind.  Kids, books and quilts are three of my favorite things!

 The un-pieced block here is an under-the-sea kind of print with some charming ocean critters.

When I finish a quilt, I feel like the minion in the center of the block above.  Happy dance!

Here's the back, with a strip of pirate fabric to make it big enough.

The second quilt is set with a solid sashing and a border from one of my favorite Dr. Seuss books, Dr. Seuss' ABCs.

My husband and I can very nearly recite this book by heart, having read it to our children and now our grandchildren.  Above, a Lazy Lion Licks a Lollipop.

I don't normally buy a special back for these little quilts, but in this case I couldn't resist.  I hope the child who gets this quilt loves the wacky world of Dr. Seuss as much as I do.

So that's six little quilts finished so far, from the RSC blocks.  There are going to be a lot more.  And I'm very happy to be making them, but I'm afraid I've been getting a little obsessed lately.  I'm trying to remember that there are no deadlines here, and I can slow down a little and enjoy all the other great things in my life too.

Speaking of great, The Great British Baking Show is back on Netflix!  I had to try making these jammy biscuits which were last week's Technical Challenge.  I think they turned out okay, although Paul Hollywood would probably find all kinds of things wrong with them.

Little Buddy ate two of them after kindergarten today.  Check out the crumbs on his face!  No complaints here!  Baby Buddy is in the background, dancing to music.  I have no idea what the dog is doing.

On the weekend, my oldest daughter spotted this turtle (tortoise?) in the yard.  It was fun to see it up close, it had such beautiful markings.  It moved a lot faster than we expected.


Can you see what this is?  For some reason, after a rain we often find little toads in the window wells on our patio.  They keep jumping, but can't get back out.  Baby Buddy and I rescued two this week.  I think this one was very happy to get back into the flower bed.

Rain kept us home two days this week, but today Baby Buddy and I braved the dark clouds and went to the playground.  He was running his toy train on the park bench, which for some reason made both of us laugh.  

On our way home, we chased butterflies through the soccer field.  Don't worry, we didn't catch any.  The real fun is just running after something beautiful.

As the Cat in the Hat reminds us, "It is fun to have fun, but you have to know how."

Have fun this week, doing whatever makes you happy.

Thanks for reading this!


You can start with these great linky parties!

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

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Plus Signs, and Signs of Fall

 Welcome to Treadlestitches!

Fall is starting out here with beautiful weather, and we've been enjoying it all we can.  (We know a Wisconsin winter is coming!)  My grandson Baby Buddy and I go to the park nearly every day, where I took this picture.  These leaves will soon be a bright yellow, but for now they are several shades of light green, like the Rainbow Scrap Challenge color of the month.

Hubby and I love big outdoor flea markets, even when we don't buy anything.  The last one is at the end of September, and is a sure sign of fall approaching.  We went last Sunday, and I was so tempted by this gorgeous fiddlebase Singer sewing machine.  The decals are one of the unusual patterns, and the serial number indicated it was made before 1900.  It had been electrified at a much later date.  I drooled over it for a while, but didn't even ask how much they wanted for it.  I'm not collecting anymore, I'm just enjoying what I have.  (Or at least that's what I keep telling myself!)

I almost passed by this battered old quilt, but then I took a look at how it was made.  It's kind of a 1930s crumb quilt.  Random scrap pieces are sewn into rectangles approximately 4 in. x 8 in., and then separated by plain strips of the same size.  Hmm.  This might be a fun technique to try.

In the end, this is what I bought at the flea market:  4 fat quarters (for $6 total), a pattern for making sewing accessories, and 4 cookie cookbooks.

Back home again, I finished two more little quilts.  These use the plus blocks I've been making since January.  The quilt above uses blocks in bright colors.

When I saw this light fabric with the mathematical symbols on it at the local quilt shop, I knew it would be fun to use with the plus blocks.  

The backing is the last big piece I had of this dinosaur fabric.  The cornerstones and binding were part of the loot I got at the quilt museum sale in June.

Here's the second plus quilt, which uses mostly pastel colored blocks, including pink.

The sashing this time has lots of colorful dots.  I got scraps of this cupcake fabric at a quilt show years ago.

The back is an Easter print (adorable bunnies!) and a strip of aqua to make it big enough.

This border fabric may look familiar.  I have been using it for literally years.  It came from a bag I bought at Goodwill.  There were 6 yards of the butterfly fabric, 10 yards of a coordinating fabric, and some blanket and sheet scraps.  I buy fabric EVERYWHERE.

The quilting I'm doing on these little donation quilts is very simple and quick.  I may branch out a little to keep it from being boring, but a 2 in. grid will help the quilts hold up to hard use and lots of washing.

Here are two more signs of fall.  Football is coming back (Go Packers), and Baby Buddy is wearing a sweatshirt.  We had a cool rainy morning last week, and his outfit was perfect for it.  Baby Buddy is of course also perfect, as all grandchildren are.

Have a lovely week, and stay safe!

Cheers for reading,


I'm linking up with these wonderful linky parties.  Come and join the fun!

Angela at So Scrappy
Cynthia at Oh Scrap