Pterodactyl Bait

What do you do when you have an intimidating quilting task in front of you? Do you dive right in and tackle it like you are the boss of that big, bad task?

Or are you like me? You play dead. You avoid. You dust (you know it’s bad when I start dusting instead of quilting). You sort your leaders and enders by color. Etc. Etc.

Or you maybe you start cutting out a new project?

That would be me this weekend — happily watching TV from my kitchen island, and starting a new project as I reveled in my new French General Petite Trip kit and ignored the pterodactyl that is sitting mockingly and menacingly on my sewing machine. (Oh sure that little Spring Chicken looks all innocent and sweet, but when it comes to quilting her, the giant talons come out in a quite intimidating fashion.)

Besides the presence of that looming bird, I justified my petite detour because I was excited to try out a new tool that Cindy snagged for me at Joann. I’ve been a bit frustrated with the preciseness of my cutting skills. It seems that my ruler always slips when I’m at the top of a WOF strip. At a lake house quilt retreat several winters ago I noticed that the fabulous Ms. G, my long arm quilter, had a handled gizmo for her big ruler. Her quilts are always perfect, so I thought that I’d find a similar tool one day and make it mine, but none of my local fabric stores carry such a thing.

I mentioned my slippage frustration to Cindy and she surprised me with a Dritz Ruler Grip when she came to New York for a visit two weeks ago.


Dritz Suction Cup Ruler Grip from Joann.

Now Cindy does not use such a gizmo. She is married to a thrifty Hoosier, so she thriftily uses homemade, removable, non-skid shelf liner pads on her ruler and displays excellent results with same. I, however, am entranced with the handle aspect of this tool. It just makes it easier to grab your ruler and keep cutting and cutting and cutting. I can lean on that handle and use my body weight to keep everything in place.

I can already see that my cutting accuracy has improved by using the Dritz grip; I’m less frustrated, and I’m not wasting fabric. My French General kit is completely made of 2″ squares. I should have all of the <accurately cut> pieces ready for sewing with another hour or two of ruler/grip and rotary cutter work.


The kit includes loads of extra fabric. Because of my new grip handle, I hope to save it for another project. 

Meanwhile the pterodactyl that is draped over my machine is calling my name.






Mid-January Power Sewing

Except for my exercise plan <ahem>, I’m having a very productive early January! I took two big winter weather events in stride and stuck to my quilting plan for the year. I know it’s early, but it’s still a reason to celebrate, don’t you think?  Let me enumerate:

  1. I rearranged my sewing space based on some great advice/comments I received to my Let There be Light post. As a result, there is currently nothing below my window — whew. Boots has been able reclaim his napping spot and my computer desk is oriented so that it’s facing the door, not beside it. My ironing board is now where the desk was and the sewing cabinet is back in it’s old spot to the left of the window.  Somehow the flow feels much, much better. I should learn more about Feng Shui (including how to pronounce it). There is certainly something calming about a well-designed room.

    Bootsie lounging in his favorite chair with the sun warming his old bones. He’s an indoor-outdoor kitty, but he hasn’t been outside in days. The snow would surely be above his head! My original design Boudoir quilt is in the background. 

  2. My Drops of Rainbow quilt has been back from Ms. G, (my wonderful long arm quilter) for a couple of weeks. I attached the binding right away, but then got distracted by Christmas. Since it wasn’t a planned gift, I brought it and my hand-binding kit down to the family room, expecting to  finish it quickly. Then came more distractions, additional glasses of wine, mountains of bon-bon eating, etc. etc. Meanwhile, the quilt was put to good use. My son likes to sleep on that sofa and he’s an equal opportunity quilt snuggler, so the not-quite-completed quilt made for handy napping. However, Friday night’s big snowfall meant that there was no more viable distractions/excuses: it was time to start bonding with my quilt. I finished the binding on last night.

    I know, I know, I’ve read that you can attach both sides of a binding with a machine, but I love the handwork at the end of the creative process!

  3. One of my friends retired this year. Around the same time, her daughter passed away quickly and unexpectedly. My heart aches for her and I’m making a quilt to hopefully bring her some comfort. Finally all the pieces are cut and I can start putting them together. I am hoping for a May completion date, which will be in time for her birthday. True Blue from Miss Rosie’s Spice of Life Quilts will contain 100 cream/blue blocks surrounded by a piano key border. IMG_0803[1]
  4. My Pottery Barn up-cycled table runner is nearly complete. I created this paper-pieced Spring Chicken to go with the dust ruffle flowers and she just makes me smile! You can make her too with this pattern.Spring_chicken_logopic

And just for fun, here is a frost-covered maple tree that marks one of the farm’s boundaries. When I drove by yesterday (Sunday), there was a magnificent hawk perched in the very tippy top branches. Alas, I scared her away before I could snap a portrait, but the tree was too beautiful to ignore. This blue is unedited — it’s incredible, isn’t it?IMG_0807[1]



A bright clear and cold Sunday morning at the summit of the farm.

Are you accomplishing your January goals?