That Heinz thing…

Catsup. Or in this case, catch-up.

I was so happy to read that I’m not the only one who has a hard time keeping up with that “one block a month” deadline. I can make 120 blocks in a couple of days… but ask me to make only one a month? No can do. Are blocks like Lays Potato Chips? You can’t make just one – it’s all or nothing.

That’s food for thought… and no, I couldn’t resist that one.


This picture will seem random but I promise it isn’t.  I’ll get to that in a moment.

I promised to have an update on the status of my various sewing project…

  • Reproduction Sawtooth Star blocks. I have 20 done, but that’s only because I made 6 in one sitting.
  • Pink & Yellow X-Plus blocks. I’m stuck on three blocks, though I did get enough pieces for another 20 blocks cut out so I’ve made some progress.
  • Pink & Yellow Triangle blocks. See above – no sewing but I’ve cut more strips. Soon. Right?
  • Snapshots blocks. I’ve got Block 1 cut out and with Block 2 coming soon, I’d better get busy.

Still, there has been some sewing going on – my APQ quilt-along quilt in orange, black and cream is almost done.


I have to make a few more blocks – I obviously counted a couple of my blocks twice because I thought I had enough – and I’m trying to decide how to finish the sides so I’ll finish by Monday.  At least that’s the plan.

When I showed the pieces I’d been cutting for this quilt last week, I had a few questions asking if I used a Go-Cutter. I’m guessing you thought the squares and strips were just a tad obsessively stacked. That’s the result of two things – starch/sizing and the way I like to stack squares and strips. For the latter, it seems like I’ve always done that as it made it easy for me to count pieces quickly. (Perhaps I should do the same thing with blocks…)

The other reason they stack rather neatly is that I’m a “starcher” or “sizer”. Before I do any cutting, I spray my fabrics with starch or sizing until they’re damp and then I press it until dry with a hot iron. Just so you know, I use both starch and/or sizing depending on which one is handy and which one is on sale at the grocery store. Since I’ve never had any problems with flaking, shiny-surfaces or bugs, and since I go through cans and bottles pretty quickly, I tend to prioritize the cost.

Doing this serves two purposes – it shrinks my fabric and makes it very flat for cutting. First – shrinkage. I used to pre-wash my fabric but with pre-cuts and better quality fabric, the necessity to do that was less. And time was sometimes a factor. But I press with steam – a lot of it – and it was causing enough shrinkage that it affected the accuracy of the pieces before and after piecing.

The starch/sizing also helps me cut four layers of fabric at a time. I know, I know… other people can do this without requiring starch/sizing. But this is what works for me.

This does too.


It’s next on my “to do” list. The bundle is the coming-soon Collection for a Cause Mill Book 1892 – it rocks – and the lights are from several different collections, some of which are also coming soon.

So back to that first picture of Daysail – by Bonnie & Camille.  (Like you didn’t already know that.)  The bundle has been on the shelf in my office for a few weeks but I just found the little Aurifil thread kit.  Even though I have spools and cones of thread everywhere at work and at home, I always find myself wanting to get a few more spools.  Are you like that with thread?

And of course, that got me wondering about several thread-related topics…

What kind of thread do you use?

Do you use one kind for piecing and another kind of applique, quilting or machine-quilting?

Do you switch colors for piecing and/or binding?

Is there anything you’d like to know about thread?  Either a specific brand-question or something general.

I’ll tell you that I’m a little boring when it comes to thread.  I use 50 wt. Aurifil in 2324 for most of my piecing.  It’s only when I’ll be sewing lots of white pieces to white pieces that I will switch to white thread.   My favorite pale taupe-tan works perfectly for about 90% of what I do.

That’s it for today.  I’m grabbing that cone of Aurifil and then I’m off to buy sizing or starch.  I’ve got sewing to do this weekend!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

(I hope you make something beautiful!)

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A One-Two Punch: Win a Marianne Fons Quilt and Benefit Libby Lehman

In August we announced that Community, a fabric line from Moda’s Collection for a Cause by Howard Marcus, would benefit quilter and teacher extraordinaire Libby Lehman as she continues to recover from a burst aneurysm and stroke. Another luminary from the quilting world, Marianne Fons, has taken the next logical step and created a quilt from the Community line and is offering you…yes, YOU…a chance to win it, and to benefit Libby at the same time.

Libby's Log Cabin

Libby’s Log Cabin, stitched by Marianne Fons

The quilt is 60″ by 75″ and is featured in the January/February issue of Love of Quilting magazine. (It’s also on display at Creekside Quilting in Clive, Iowa.) Marianne named it Libby’s Log Cabin and says she stitched it in recognition of Libby’s contributions as a quilter and a teacher, roles Marianne understands well.

“Libby made wonderful quilts and taught her skills to so many people,” says Marianne. “She was always ready to help others out, for example being a leader in the switch from 35mm Kodak slides and projectors to digital image projection. She did research on digital projectors and shared the info with a whole bunch of us on the lecture circuit.”


Libby Lehman

Libby is home and learning to speak and write again, and walks with assistance. The proceeds from the Community fabric line will help pay for her ongoing therapy and 24-hour caregivers, costs not covered by insurance. That’s what Marianne hopes her quilt will do, too. She’s offering anyone who makes a contribution in any amount the chance to win Libby’s Log Cabin. The winner’s name will be drawn from a hat by Marianne on Friday, February 13.

If you’d like to enter to win, and help Libby at the same time, send a check made out to LIBBY LEHMAN MEDICAL FUND.

Mail your check to Libby’s sister, Cathy Arnold, at this address:

Libby’s Log Cabin

c/o Cathy Arnold

2220 Stanmore Drive

Houston, TX  77019

Marianne says Libby is a person she is always glad to see coming. “She always has a big smile, always has an intelligent take on just about anything, and has a great sense of humor,” she says. But Marianne also acknowledges that no one is immune from adversity. “My motivation in wanting to help her out is that this kind of thing could happen to anyone. If it happened to me, I’d hope people wouldn’t forget me.”

Libby's Log Cabin Flat

Libby’s Log Cabin



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