Waggons West Etsy Shop

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

"There are a LOT of stitches on your machine..."

  And I have definitely been adding to them this week.  New badges coming soon, once I finish all the custom orders. 

Unfortunately, all I can show you are badges since my other projects are for swaps. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


Yes, it is finally Spring around here.  A rather cool Spring, but things are green and the flowers are blooming.  Actually the cool weather tends to extend the flowering season.  That is a bonus. 

I was out yesterday shooting pictures of some secret projects.  A bit of blooming myrtle was a perfect match.  I'll share the projects once they reach their final destination. 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

And Side by Side

After much figuring and ripping, I finally finished piecing one.  It went from one long string of blocks to this diamond pattern.  Spud 3 approves!  It is a twin sized top.   I need to find backing and figure out how to quilt it.  I am open to suggestions.  I want it to be vaguely historic. 

I keep naming this one different things.  So much so that I have a couple different picture folders.  One is called Riverbed.  The other is historic trip around the world.  I wonder what it will be once it gets quilted.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


I don't know how I missed it.  I started this blog three years ago on March 22, 2011. I've spent the last couple days reading it all in reverse order.  How interesting to see what I have chosen to record and preserve. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

End to End

I am challenging myself to convert fabric stash to flimsies, to try new things, to make bigger quilts and to continue to work on technique.  To that end,  I pulled out a bunch of historic-ish fabrics from my stash to make an historic-ish twin-sized quilt.  Mostly to learn how to construct it and to determine what goes into making one. 

There it is pieced end to end.  Enough 3.5 inch blocks to make a twin sized quilt.


And here it is all rolled up.  Yes, there is a madness to my method.  I will try to explain it some time but it will require some input from Mr-I'm-the-mathematician-sew-here-trust-me-the-seam-ripper-is-your-friend.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

PQ 5:6 Triangles, Flying Geese at Sunset

Whew!  It is finally the last week of Kim Lapaceck's  Project Quilting.  A week I looked forward to with equal parts excitement, sadness and dread.  Excitement, because it is always exciting to get the new challenge.  To spend time thinking about what to make and to figure out how to do it.  Sadness, because PQ is over for another year and I will miss these bi-weekly challenges and more importantly bi-weekly deadlines to get a quilt finished.  (During the 6 weeks of project quilting, I managed to finish 9 quilt projects.)

And then the dread...  As you may know, my personal challenge this season was to make large quilts.  Big enough to cover up Spud 1.

I started small with the baby-sized Snailerpark trash quilt.  The real challenge on this one was the Free Motion Quilting. 

Week 2 saw the production of a bigger but still rather smallish picnic quilt.  Stitching over all of those flat-felled seams and pockets almost did in me and my machine. 

Week 3 was larger still with the good wrap up on the couch Good N Plenty quilt. Completely fun and manageable in the time frame!

Week 4 was the 60 x 60 inch big star quilt, made of half square triangles and hand quilted.  In three days.  From start to finish.  Totally exhausted!

Week 5, the even larger, twin sized Jam and Bread quilt, again made of triangles.  This time the triangles were quarter square triangles.  I didn't think I could possibly get this one finished.  A trip out of town.  A pieced backing.  The need to go to use the tables in the multipurpose room at church to get it basted.  A wee bit of assistance on that from the spuds on Saturday night, and I managed a finish.

Thus the dread of week 6.  Was I up to the challenge of making the next size up?  A full sized quilt in keeping with the pattern of the rest of the season.  Dread.

I might have made it except for one thing. Triangles.  The week 6 challenge was triangles.  That is all.  Triangles for two weeks from a quilter who just doesn't do triangles unless she absolutely has to and now more triangles.  A giant full-sized quilt with more triangles.   Let's just say I did a wee bit of whining. For most of the week, I was pretty much convinced that this one lone triangle-shaped coaster made of chalkboard fabric was going to be my entry.

But Thursday night, I couldn't help myself.  I had to do at least a little bit better.  Since I wasn't going to be able to go large and I didn't want to go home, I decided to try and tackle paper piecing.  I've tried many times.  I've sat through the classes at least three times.  I always come up short.   Literally.  My pieces are always sewn on too short.

This was the week to conquer my fear.  I found a pattern for flying geese in a circle.  I printed out a couple patterns and I went for it.  Amazingly enough, only the very last piece of the last block was too short.  I made two blocks.  Added some coordinating fabric and called it quits.

And so you have Flying Geese at Sunset.  Sunset of time.  Sunset of the season.  Sunset colors.  It measures approximately 12 x 16 inches.  It is made from some lovely quilter's cotton I bought on my Birthday last year to make something just for me.  It has a felted poly batting and is hand quilted and hand bound.  And it is finished in time to post as my very last challenge quilt.

Be sure to check out all the other great triangle quilts made this week.  

Thank you Kim for all your hard work producing Project Quilting.  Thank you Diane Lapacek for your evil genius in coming up with the challenges.  And Kudos to the many talented quilters who produce a quilt in a week for no reason other than the challenge is there.

Because she asked so nicely, I've linked this week's post to Go Go Kim's SewJo Saturday link party.  Even more great quilts to admire!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Guest Post: Kim Lapacek of Project Quilting

 You visit this blog so you likely know that I have been playing in and sponsoring Project Quilting for the past two seasons.  Season 5 is coming to an end.  I've invited Kim to the blog today to share more information about PQ.  

From Kim....

If you’ve been following along with Season 5 of Project QUILTING, http://www.persimondreams.com/project-quilting/season-5,  you know that it’s been an exciting season.  I recently taped with Nancy Zieman of Quilting with Nancy for a ‘Nancy’s Corner’ about Project QUILTING.  Not only was it an amazing experience but it also helped me get all my statistics about the history of project QUILTING all nicely together.  

Project QULTING began in 2010 when I discovered Project RUNWAY and fell in love. 
At first, it made me want to learn to sew clothing.  Then, I actually thought about and I really didn’t have time to add another hobby into my world but I did know how to quilt.  I gave my mother-in-law, Diane Lapacek, a call and she agreed to come up with quilt challenges for Project QUILTING and the quilting fun started!

Challenges are posted on Sundays during the ‘season’ and quilters from all around the world have just one week to come up with a concept, create the quilt, finish the quilt and link up to qualify for prizes from various sponsors.  It sounds daunting but trust me…it can be done.

Since Project QUILTING began in 2010, 793 quilted items have been created.  174 quilters from all over the world have participated in a least one of the 33 challenges given so far.  Nine countries have been represented by quilters for a project QUILTING Challenge – this includes 38 of the States in the US and 4 Providences of Canada. 
Project QUILTING is a quilt challenge for quilters of all levels!  We’ve had newbie quilters all the way to Professional Quilters join in the fun.  A weekly voting poll allows the public to vote for their favorite quilt of the challenge and then random prize winners are literally drawn from a hat out of everyone who has participated.

The final challenge of Project QUILTING is happening THIS week and the theme is Triangles, http://www.persimondreams.com/2014/03/project-quilting-season-5-challenge-6triangles.html.  If you want to join in the fun it is not too late.  The challenge is posted and you’re not going to want to miss out on a chance to win great prizes from sponsors – Marcia’s Crafty Sewing & Quilting, Woodland Ridge Retreat Center, For Quilts Sake, Studio Cherie, Sew BitterSweet Designs, Waggons West, Pat Sloan, Amy's Creative Side, Fat Quarter Shop, Bungalow Sewing & Yarn, and Seldom Seen Quilting.

I hope you decide to join in the fun and don’t forget…It’s Time to Think Outside the Square!

Thanks Kim. 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

PQ 5.5 Jam and Bread

Updated with new pictures up front.  Scroll down for details.

  A bit of a close up showing the fabrics and the very simple quilting.

This week's PQ challenge is to be inspired by the grocery store.

My inspiration was Jam and Bread.  Blueberry and strawberry jam and plain old white bread.  I also added in the red gingham backing like the wax paper sandwiches used to be wrapped in at the diner.

The blocks are all hour glass blocks.  If this quilt has a story it is simply that it is finished.  It has been a difficult week with lots of travel and a touch of a cold to keep me from getting much done.  I've had the blueberry fabric in my stash for a while.  I found the strawberry that almost matches it on Etsy.  I was going to use it for a checked border around the blueberry hour glass blocks but changed my mind.  I'm not sure it was the right choice, but it is done so I will move on.

Sorry, it is too big for me to get a pic without including my friend Floyd and his collection of hats.  Spud 1 is holding it up.  He is complaining that it is big and heavy.  I have no sympathy.  He is the one who insisted that all my PQ quilts this season be big enough to keep warm.  If he gets a quilt big enough to warm his big toe for the last challenge, he will be living large.  

Here you can see the fabrics a little bit better. While I have been working large this season, I have also been learning a lot.  I'll share some of the things I've learned once I get some rest. 

One more view with the edge folded back.  I love making rounded corners.  I didn't use the big plate on these so they are a bit tighter than usual.  I won't make that mistake again.  The binding is actually a green gingham.  I love white space and gingham binding. 

 The details.  It measures approximately 68 x 77 inches.  It is made with quilter's cotton.  The machine quilting forms a diamond pattern.  The binding is also machine stitched.  It has a dense poly batting.

Project Quilting was imagined by Kim Lapacek of Persimon Dreams.   You can check out the rest of the quilts made this week and vote for your favorite on her blog.

You can see all of the quilts and vote for your three favorites here.  

Friday, March 7, 2014


I made it to Patches and Stitches in Huntsville this week.  They have the answer for everything. 

This is my score from this trip.  Needles, marking pens, thread, scissors and an HST ruler big enough to mark my 10 inch blocks. 

Hot and Hot in the Cold.

It has been a very long week. 

The robotics competition in Peoria (finished with the fourth alliance thank you very much). 

The ice storm delay. 

The travel through the ice storm in a state that doesn't seem to know how to plow or salt.  Huge chunks of frozen snow pushed kinda sorta to the edge but close enough to throw the cars and trucks around if they hit it.  Watched a salt truck dump about 6 inches of salt in one spot at an intersection.  Add in the freezing temps and black ice and it was an adventure. 

Then the trip to Birmingham to pick up the car at the airport.  At least we planned so that we could have dinner out.  I had ripped a page from one of my cooking magazines listing restaurants in Alabama.  We decided to choose one and try it out.  Really.  With no more research than a name and town we googled the address and went.  No idea what to expect.

When the GPS said we were there, all we say was a Valet parking attendant.  Hmmm...  A few cars honking at us and a trip around the block and we found him again.  Left our car in good hands.

We were early for dinner but that gave us time to sit at the bar and sample the martini menu.  It was one of those places where the bartender talked about making the rhubarb tonic and freshly squeezing the blood oranges.  The blood orange martini was amazing. 

I can't even begin to describe the menu.  Everything was fresh and local.  The attention to detail was incredible.  Everything fit perfectly. 

And all of my photos have disappeared from my phone so I have nothing to show you.  Weird.  I will have to see if I can figure out what happened. 

The restaurant is the Hot and Hot Fish Club. Turns out the chef is a James Beard award winner.  It was a wonderful treat. 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Featured. How Cool is That?

My little Instructable earned a Featured label this week.

I'm pretty excited about that! 

PQ 5.4 Lemoyne Star

Lemoyne Star

When I was a kid, there were several ways through the woods to Grandmother's house.  One of them was on the Lemoyne Road and went through the village of Lemoyne.  Like many small towns at the time it had a grain elevator and rough tracks to cross over.  Lemoyne was further blessed with two State highways.  This was not the preferred route.   Crossing the tracks was difficult.  They were raised up a bit and went behind the elevator.  There was also a difficult approach to the expressways.  They came up at an angle, making it very difficult to see on-coming traffic.  There was always a certain level of anxiety approaching the crossings.  Even as kids, we knew it was tricky, if not down right dangerous.

By the time I learned to drive, they had installed crossing guards on the tracks and there was a new by-pass over Lemoyne Road.  The journey was much easier and we were more likely to go that way.

One bonus of squaring your blocks is that the whole quilt comes out square-er (is that a word?)

That is pretty much how I feel about the traditional Lemoyne Star block.  It has always been one of my favorite blocks but going that route meant cutting out trapezoids and learning Y-seams.  Tricky, if not down right dangerous.

Quilting with Perl Cotton

Then along comes the inestimable Jenny Doan of the Missouri Star Quilt Company with her Big Star Tutorial.  All of the sudden the block became easier and now I am much more likely to sew it.

A closer look at the backing fabric. 

Jenny gives you wonderful instructions for making the block.  Having just finished piecing my second quilt using the technique there are a few things I would add to the instructions:
  • If you really want this to look like a traditional Lemoyne Star, you will need to choose solids or small print fabrics that do not have a clear pattern or direction.  

  • Pin.  I'm not usually a pinner but the 10x10 inch blocks can slip around when you are sewing them.  A walking foot will help.  Adjusting the pressure on your pressure foot might help (I haven't quite figured that out yet).  Pinning helps.
  • Anyone who places the ruler and cuts an angle like Jenny must have magic ruler placing, ruler holding and cutting super powers.  No matter how hard I try, I cannot get four perfect 6.75 inch squares every time.  I'm happy if I am close some of the time.  

  • It is better to cut as best you can and then trim the blocks down to 6.5 inches.  You will end up with a final block that finishes at 24 inches.  But you will be more likely to keep your points and match your corners.  

  • Every seam you sew after you make your half square triangles will be on the BIAS.  The good news is that they can be eased stretched to make your corners meet.  The bad news is that they stretch like crazy which can result in some crazy lumps in your top.  Once again, pin and sew with caution. 
That said, go ahead and make this block.  It is fun and it doesn't take many 24 inch blocks to make a huge quilt in short order.  

Another picture of the whole quilt.  It goes wall to wall in the foyer so I can't get a picture without the hats in it.

The Timeline:

Wednesday after dinner:  Start cutting.  Get all of the blue and most of the white cut.  Make and trim HST for one star.

Thursday:  Buy more fabric.  Cut rest of white fabric.  Cut and trim blocks for the rest the stars.  Get the rows stitched for each of the stars.

Friday morning.  Stitch the rows together to make the stars.  Iron everything.  Arrange and re-arrange the blocks.  Stitch the final nine-patch.

Friday afternoon:  Cut and piece the backing.  Iron everything.  Baste.  Buy pearl cotton.

Quilt top spread out and ready to baste. 

Friday evening:  Start quilting.

Saturday Morning:  Keep quilting.

Saturday afternoon:  Take Spud 1 out to buy shoes.  End up having to drive into the city and take all day.

Saturday evening.  Keep quilting.  Cut and prep binding.  Stitch on binding.

Rounded corners, number fabric and pretty backing.
Sunday (after midnight):  Finish!  Take terrible nightime indoor pictures and write blog post.


I love gingham binding!
The details.  This quilt measures 72 x 72 inches.  It is made up of 9 Lemoyne Star blocks.  The fabrics are all quilters cottons.  The white background fabrics are all white on white prints.  It has a poly batting and pieced quilter's cotton backing.  The binding is gingham.  It is hand quilted with No 5 Perl Cotton.  The binding is machine stitched.

Add captionFor some reason, these big star quilts turn the spuds into quilt monsters.  They always throw the quilt over their head and start running around.  I can never really get a clear picture of them because they are moving so fast.
This quilt was created as part of Project Quilting Season 5.  Challenge 4 is "Across the Universe"

 All of the blue fabrics in the quilt are stars or space themed this quilt represents the theme in a number of ways.  Traveling across space and time in memory recalling those trips to Grandma's house and traveling across the vast expanse of the quilt both by hand and machine in the time available also seem fitting to the theme.

Project Quilting is the brain child of Kim Lapacek of Persimon Dreams.  The challenges are dreamed up by Diane Lapacek.  Quilters are given one week to come up with a completed quilted project inspired by the challenge prompt.  Be sure to check out the website, the Project Quilting Flickr group and the Challenge Quilts and Project Quilting Face Book pages for more great quilts.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

3 Yard Minimum or the Answer Really is FORTY TWO

Note to self:  If you LOVE it, buy THREE yards.

Because you will discover that TWO yards is not enough.

You will discover this three quarters of the way through your project.  When you realize that in addition to TWO 10 inch squares, each block also requires FOUR 6.5 inch squares of the same fabric.

You will also discover that every other fabric you pulled that might work only has enough fabric for TWO 10 inch squares.  And you have FOUR more blocks to complete

After remembering where you bought the too short fabric you also remember that you have been working non-stop using up said TWO yards of fabric, are still in your jammies with your hair sticking up.  (And you probably smell bad as well.)

So you shower and then discover that you have no clean clothes.  (You would have done the laundry but you needed the machine to wash that last quilt project and were so excited to take pictures you forgot about the laundry.)  Eventually, you find a shirt that isn't disgusting AND you remember to brush your teeth and hair.

Only to discover that you have no cash and the car is out of gas.  Of course gas has gone up THIRTY cents over night and that ATM number ONE is temporarily out of service.

Finally, with what gas remains after driving around looking for a functioning ATM, and with what cash remains after paying for another tank of gas, you head to the fabric store.  Which is not the one TWO miles down the road but rather the one that is TWENTY miles away.

Arriving just in time to see some blue-haired teeny bopper on assignment from her pattern making class (seriously!?!) take the LAST spot in the parking lot.  Never have you seen the lot that full.  You brace your self for a long wait at the cutting counter and start the long trek in from the hinterlands.

Realizing in short order that you both a.) forgot to take your advil and b.) neglected to wear your brace for such a short trip to get ONE yard of fabric.

Amazingly enough,  most of the drivers of said cars occupying ALL of the parking spots are in club and will likely remain there for another TEN minutes.

You rush to the back of the store (as fast as your pained, over taxed, un-braced knee will allow) to see without much surprise that the fabric you came to get is gone.  There are ZERO yards available.

Using up SEVEN precious minutes deciding the best blend was either fabric A or fabric B you decide to grab TWO bolts and get ONE yard each.  Brilliant.

Making it to the counter just ahead of the rush (you see THREE ladies wondering out of the club room with more soon to follow) you ask for ONE yard of each fabric and use up the last of your cash.
Thank you no bag necessary.

Only to realize once you are half way home that FOUR more blocks will require TWENTY inches fabric to cut EIGHT 10 inch squares and that you will need an additional NINETEEN and ONE HALF inches to cut out the 6.5 inch blocks.  TWENTY plus NINETEEN and ONE HALF equals THIRTY NINE and ONE HALF inches with some trimming and squaring room lets just say that you need FORTY TWO more inches of fabric.

And you just spent your last cash on TWO pieces of fabric that are THIRTY SIX inches.  Not FORTY TWO.  There is no way TWO - THIRTY SIX inch pieces of different fabric will ever add up to FORTY TWO inches of the same fabric. 

So...  If you LOVE it... buy at THREE yards. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Save a too Spicy Soup

I posted this hint years ago but the blog is in cold storage.  Since I just listed it again on Facebook, I thought I ought to post it again here.

So you have made the perfect pot of Chili Colorado and are ready to serve it.  One last sprinkle of cayenne and the lid falls off.  You now have half a bottle of cayenne and the soup is inedible.  You can either dilute it until you have enough chili to feed a hundred or you can try this trick. 

Add a cup or two of salad or olive oil.  Something that is consistent with the flavor of the soup.
Stir until the oil turns red.
Allow it to float to the top and then skim it off.

Capsaicin is a fat soluble molecule.  It will be extracted by the oil.  You will probably discover that the soup is not spicy enough after this.  Add your spice back slowly.

If you are a thrifty type who can't stand the thought of throwing away a cup of oil, you might try to save it and use it at chili oil.  I've never done that.  I have no idea of the safety of doing so since the oil has been infused in soup and probably has remnants of vegetable and meat matter in it.  If you try, keep it in the fridge and treat is like a leftover.  Remember, I have no idea if this is a safe thing to do... probably not if there are little spots of soup in the bottom of the container.  They will be anaerobic and could grow all sorts of bacteria.  Of course they come out of boiling soup so they might be sterile.  I just don't know.  I dump it out.

Sunday, February 16, 2014


I rarely ever use the fabrics from only one collection in a quilt.  Even for the fabrics I love, I usually manage to sneak one or two other pieces into the mix.  Now, one of the reasons for that is that I am a scrounger.  I really can't afford to pay full price for fabric. So I get some at the thrift stores, I break into my inherited stash and I shop the remnant table.

I really like the remnant table at Hancock's of Paducah.  I get there a few times a year.  I save up for the trip.  I can usually find some pretty large pieces from fabric lines I have admired.  They usually end up on that table at the end of their run.  Meaning these are probably some of the last of these fabrics available.  That isn't entirely the case with the fabrics in this quilt but some of them seem to be missing from the collections available on-line.

Regardless, the story of this quilt is that I found a collection of pink and green fabrics on the remnant table.  I bought some.  Left some behind.  Some were from Moda's Paris Flea Market by Three Sisters.  Some were big florals and there was one pretty pink from the collections for a cause line.

I knew I was going to make a random sized block quilt from them.  So I started out with the beautiful green rosebuds and the tiny pink cause fabric.  I quickly decided I wasn't going to use the large florals.  Gorgeous as the are, and as well as they blend, they just didn't fit the vibe of this picnic quilt.  So I made 4 and 9 patches out of the flea market fabrics.  I laid it all out on the design floor and was appalled.  Even though the pink was a perfect match for the colors in the rest of the quilt it stood out like a sore thumb.  Horrible.

I pulled out all of those blocks and started trying to re-figure what I could do.  I had started with remnants that were 1/2 - 1 yard pieces.  I didn't have a lot.  No matter how I cut, pieced and salvaged, I was one block short.  I could make a smaller size but it just didn't fit my plan.  I set the whole thing aside.

Shortly thereafter, I was able to make another trip to Paducah.  I searched the entire remnant table and found two pieces from the collection.  One was the pretty pink roses on the cream background.  The other was more of the green paisley.  Except that when I got home I discovered it had the yellow-y olive background instead of the blue-r green in the blocks I'd already made.  It didn't matter.  I set that one aside, used more the cream roses and finished it off this week to a 60 x 60 inches picnic blanket.  

This is another quilt in my recent projects that absolutely required a printed backing.  I'm not all that into fancy backings.  At least I haven't been up until now.  But this year, every quilt I've finished has a printed backing.  Hmmmm.   For this one, I found a nice creamy 108 backing at my LQS.  What a joy to not have to piece it.  And even better, my dear Mother-in-law got it for me.  I really am trying very hard to finish WIPS and PIPS and use only stash.  I am allowing myself to buy backing fabric as I don't have a lot of those in my stash.

Oh, the orphan blocks became part of a smaller tea party quilt so they didn't go to waste.  I have a few scraps and that one small piece of olive paisley left.  Perhaps I will make some sort of table runner out of them. 

The details:  60 x 60 inch quilt.  Made from the Paris Flea Market collection of quilter's cotton.  Backed with quilter's cotton.  It has a dense poly batting.  It is quilted with a large loopy meander.  The binding is slightly scrappy, machine stitched and hand finished.