Done is better than perfect


After more than two years, my red and white Xs quilt is finally done!  It waited in its box for a long, long time before getting quilted.

The background is all loops, really the only free motion pattern I can manage over wide areas.  But I did try some new quilting patterns inside the Xs.  I gave up quickly and picked out my free motion attempts at fillers, but I had more success with the walking foot.

I used the border to practice some simple dot to dot lines, marking my turning points with pins.  Then I went back and did more in the Xs that had relatively large open areas.  Nothing complex, but I got better as I went on.

There were a LOT of thread ends to bury!

I used the bright red for the binding which went on really fast after all the pulling and pausing and turning during the quilting.

We no longer have a house with an upper deck, so my tall husband did his best to hold it up in the kitchen.


It is done just in time to put it on the couch for Christmas.  I guess I need to make a blue and white one for Hanukkah next since we celebrate both.  It is too late for this year – the last candle was a few days ago – but I can have it ready for next year.

I was really scared to put this one in the washer.  I would have skipped that step, but after being dragged around for all the sewing, the quilt needed to be cleaned.   I didn’t think to prewash the fabric way back when I was starting the blocks. I never prewash, but this time it would have been wiser.  Red and white – the bleeding potential was very high.

I did a lot of research about washing it and ended up putting it in with as much water as the washer allowed and double rinsing.  I also threw in six color catchers (the normal amount is one, maybe two for really strong colors).  They came out pretty pink:


But the quilt did not.  Yay!


The back is a crowded red and white winter village.  It is busy enough that the quilting doesn’t really show, neither the white or red thread.


I especially like like the little snowflakes falling on the rooftops.

044A1B9D-AA48-44D6-8EAC-1A47500D0C3CThe quilt is done, the tree is trimmed.  Now I just need to do absolutely everything else for the holidays.  It may be time to start panicking.





Red and White

I went way back into the closet for today’s sewing project.  Do you remember this one?  I finished the top back in May of 2016.


You can see posts about making the various blocks and putting it all together here.

Today I settled in with my walking foot and outlined all the Xs.  A lot of twisting and pushing to turn all those corners!  I did a row at a time and then paused to bury the thread ends so I could also stretch and unlink my shoulders.  I tend to have my shoulders around my ears as I sew.  I try to be conscious of it and put them down but they inevitably creep up again.


I sewed just outside the red, following the edge wherever it led.


It was a happy moment when I reached the last X!


Now I’m filling in all the white background with free motion loops.  It goes much faster, though it has been a while since I did it, so my stitch lengths are pretty uneven.  This is the stage where I really wish I had access to a long arm quilting machine so I could be more intricate with the fillers.1C1CA2B4-720A-4451-B403-0F5F1DCE897B

I have built up a backlog of quilt tops so my winter goal is to get them all finished.  There are at least four more after this one.

Online shopping

A couple of packages came in the mail today, the results of couch surfing fabric and yarn stores on my iPad while tired (never a good idea for the bank account).

But I’m forgiving myself because I’m so happy with the contents.



This is going to be the backing fabric for the red and white X quilt.  It is very different from the something-floral that I first had in mind, but I have a long time affection for little house prints.

Exhibit B: the back and front of my living room couch quilt:


And my purse (a little wrinkled from being in my non-house print work tote:


So it now seems inevitable that I hit the “add to cart” button when I saw that red and white.

Some progress at last

It has been rather hectic around here, and somehow posting on the blog fell by the wayside.  There hasn’t been a lot to post anyway, as crafting time has been scarce.

But today I finally had the house to myself – my husband pulled all the kid duty driving back and forth to sports and birthdays. The man knows I need the occasional day to myself to stay sane.  So there was sewing!


I finished the X block quilt top at last.  Over the last couple weeks in odd moments of time I added white around each block to make them 14″ square.  I also made four half blocks to fill in the ends of the staggered rows.  I added another white border all the way around, and then a randomly pieced border in the two reds to finish it off.

The photos required standing on a bucket in the driveway – the backyard was in shadow by the time I finished so it was the only sunshine left.  I really need to work on my photography one of these days.


I’m really pleased with how it turned out.  I love the vivid colors and the variety in the blocks.  Deciding how to quilt it is going to take some mulling.  I want the Xs to stand out, but the thought of outlining each of them is a little daunting.  That is a lot of twisting and turning bulky material through the machine harp!

I don’t have the backing fabric yet, so there is so time to think about it.  Two other quilt tops are in front of it in the quilting line as well.  But I’m happy to have another finished project to cross off the list.  Next up is the next mystery quilt clue, the last one in the QAL.

Red and white blocks finished!

I have finished making all the red and white blocks for my X sampler quilt!

Block 17 – Card Basket (This one might be my favorite.  Sturdy, not too fancy, but with interesting elements.)


Block 18 – Card Trick


Block 19 – Cats and Mice


And block 20 – Chuck a Luck. (I continue to think the names of these blocks make no sense at all. Card Trick I sort of see, given the shape, but what about the block below makes it a chuck a luck?  What is a chuck a luck?)


As I have been, I made some changes to the color schemes as I went along to emphasize the X shapes. Card basket and chuck a luck (can’t stop saying that) were changed the most, to get rid of colors in the corners and to stick to only two reds.

My layout plan:


The next step is to make all the blocks the same size.  They are between 10 and 11 inches now, so I’m going to get them all to 14″.  There will also be a red border of some kind. I have ideas in my head for that but nothing concrete yet.

There will be plenty of time to play with ideas today as I had to stay home to meet a plumber.  We are starting a kitchen remodel  and the first step was putting in windows – one to replace a door, and a garden window over the sink.  Where, it turns out, there is a pipe that is two inches too high and must be moved.  So for now, my kitchen looks like this:


It lacks a certain appeal, doesn’t it.

As always, all of the blocks for the quilt have come from this book.  The plan is to eventually make them all for various quilts – that will be quite the stack of blankets if I achieve it.


The previous X block posts can be found here.



Red and white: little triangles

Block 16 for the red and white quilt is the most ambitious: a multitude of little half square triangles, each finishing at 1 and a bit inches in a block called Birds in the Air.

I modified the block to enhance the X shape.  The original block:


I used the 4-at-a-time HST sewing method, sewing the four sides of the squares before cutting them into quarters.  Many, many dog ears to trim!

And here is my finished block, all 64 HSTs of it:


This is a 10 1/2″ block.  I can’t imagine making it with the measurements the book gives for the 5 1/4″ or 7″ versions!

You can see the previous blocks in these posts.

More red and white: Blocks 13 – 15

I’m continuing, slowly and in odd moments, to add to the red and white X blocks.

Block 13 is Courthouse Squares:


Block 14 is Country Lane:


Block 15 is Wild Goose:


I edited this one in several ways – I used two reds instead of one, made the corners white to emphasize the X instead of using red as the block pattern called for, and I also made the center red instead of white.

Info about the previous blocks are in these posts.

My progress so far: just over half way there unless I decide to go larger than twin. I still need to play with the layout once the blocks are all done, and add the block edges to bring them all up to 14″ blocks.  I think there will be a border as well.  I’m winging this one, so decisions will change I’m sure.


Red and white – blocks 10, 11 & 12

Three more finished blocks for the red and white Xs quilt.

Block 10 is At the Depot:

Block 11 is Wheel of Chance:

Block 12 is Cross Roads to Jericho

At some point I’m going to have to come up with a plan to compensate for the fact that some of these blocks finish at 10″ and some at 10 1/2″ but in the meantime it is fun to find all the different ways to make an X block.

All these blocks are coming from this book:


12 down, 489 to go!

Previous blocks are here (8 & 9), here (6 & 7), here (4 & 5), here (2 & 3), and here (1).


Red and white – 6 & almost 7

Red and white – 6 – I cut these out yesterday but didn’t get around to sewing them until this evening.

I was worried I’d lose all the pieces for the two blocks, so I just put them into the book on the pages for their block and closed up the book to keep all the pieces together.

Red and white - mistaken block 7

Block 6 is Friendship Chain.


Block 7 is called Aunt Nancy’s Favorite. I planned to change the corners to white to emphasize the X. Unfortunately I wasn’t paying attention when I sewed it, and I reversed the red and white in the corners and ended up with a star instead of an X. So this one will have to go on the orphan block pile and I’ll make it again.

The failed X-become-star: