Post image for First Finish of 2016!

A small one, all it needed was binding and a sleeve, but still, it’s something moved from UFO to DONE, and it kicks off my tally for the Q1 Finish-a-long.

I gave this a very wide, single binding, Amish style, which I picked up from a Gwen Marston video somewhere a long while back. The binding is 3/4″ wide, and if you’re as accustomed as I am to bindings that are half that, your eye might be telling you this is truly a “mini” piece and only about 6″ square. Actually, it’s close to 17″x17″. I’d dallied with the idea of wrapping this around a canvas board and literally framing it, then decided to experiment with letting a wide binding be the “frame.”

And since I’ve already been asked, yes, this is my original design, inspired by a Craftsy class with Sarah Fielke, that I watched probably back in 2014 sometime. Or earlier. 2015 was about 2 minutes long and that’s thrown off my time sense of how long ago I last paid attention to something. Anyhoo, this is all needle-turn applique, no fusing, and hand-quilted. I enjoy the applique part, but am still somewhere short of having learned to love hand quilting.

Finishing this up, I remembered it was originally planned as one of a pair, and that somewhere around here there was a second background with stripey “table” at the bottom, ready for design #2, which was going to feature a bowl or basket and maybe more flowers or some fruit, although it never got further than the background part. The true miracle is not that I managed to actually finish something, but that I found that second background exactly where it should have been: in the “handwork” drawer. Given that I packed up my studio in Hilo by shoving whatever would fit into whatever bin had some space in it, and that “unpacking” on this end involved little more than figuring out how many of what size bins would fit in the closet, and where the other’s could be stacked, it’s a miracle I can find anything. My stash is now utterly disorganized, and likely to remain that way for some time while I focus on finishing a few more things.

Next up in the FAL queue, the Grand-Daddy of all UFOs. It’s so old, I’d completely forgotten about it…


2016 Finish-a-long

by Stephanie on January 14, 2016

in 2016 Finish-a-Long,UFOs

Post image for 2016 Finish-a-long

Is it too late to say “happy new year”? Consider it said anyway. Better late than not at all, right?

We moved into our new home in Olympia, WA, on December 30th, just in time for New Year. When I say “moved in,” I mean camped out for a week on an air mattress and a couple of folding chairs, and made multiple to trips to Costco (10 minutes from my house!!!) and Target (two locations!!!) while waiting for the things we shipped from Hawaii to arrive. Two large shipping crates full of stuff — about half of it bins of fabric and UFOs — have been in a warehouse in Seattle for 2-1/2 months while we were in temporary residence at my sister’s house in Idaho.

The crates arrived last week, and it’s all been unpacked, including this hefty pile of all the basted and partially quilted or “RFQ” (ready for quilting) things. They are mostly backing side out not because anything’s a big deal secret, but because that’s how they got folded and packed.

It feels like a good time to join the 2016 Finish-along.

2016 FAL

As I unpacked, those UFOS you see up top there got set aside to be my Q1 targets. I’m not even sure exactly what or how much is in that pile, so let’s have a look. Well, I’m gonna have a look. Pictures will come later as I actually get back to work on these:

1) ermagerd, the minis. These were pieced so long ago, and have been hanging around in various quilty states ranging from “no idea how I”ll quilt that one” to “quilting’s done, now what?” Decisions need to be made on how to finish and hang these. Regular binding and a sleeve does not feel like the right choice, but I’m lost in waffledom on other options. I need a deadline to force a choice and get them done.

2) a pretty spring-time wall-hanging, from last spring (or was it the year before)? Ooh, year before. Nevermind. It’s backed and basted and ready to quilt and I’d like to call it done before next spring rolls around. No idea how to approach quilting it, other than all those improv bits have a lot of seam bulk, which could make me regret attempting anything tricky.

3) my Kaffe Diamonds lap quilt, a venerated elder in the UFO clan, and fairly well along quiltingwise. I’ve been using it as FQ warm-up practice whenever I’ve worked on other projects over the past couple of years. All those sessions have added up and it’s at least half done. Count this as another one I’d really like to wrap up, if I can make up my mind how I want to quilt the border.

4) A needle-turn applique something from a while back. Needs binding, or maybe to be made into a pillow. I can’t decide.

5) A second version of my “Down East Garden” quilt. Basted and ready to go, except guess what? I can’t seem to settle on a plan for quilting it.

6) A long-forgotten lap quilt from way, way, way, way back that predates the big move from NYC to Hawaii, and was found by my mom in a closet in her house and sent over to me. I’d totally, completely, forgotten about it.

My friends, we have a theme going here! None of these quilts are going to get done until I make a decision on how to proceed with them. That’s gonna be my big goal for this round of the FAL: move out of waffle mode and get decisive!

Six items feels like “who am I kidding”, especially since item 1 is multiples, but hey, I can dream, and maybe a whole bunch of ’em will get done.

Some other things that need attention include this website, given I’m not in Hawaii any more. Header and sidebar and other updates are being pondered as you read this.

Hope all your new years are off to excellent starts and that you will accomplish many wonderful things over these next 12 11-1/2 months.

aloha for now,


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Post image for Aloha means hello and goodbye

Two weeks ago, after several months of juggling logistics, making endless decisions, and cramming as much essential stuff as we could into two shipping crates, my husband and I eased two nervous kitties into their travel carriers and said “aloha/goodbye” to Hawaii.

If you’d asked us a year ago if we ever planned to move back to the mainland, we’d have replied, “probably not.” We loved Hilo, enjoyed our life there, and didn’t feel any call to return to the continental US. But we did need to find a new place to live, and when we looked around Hilo and found nothing at all that came close to meeting our wants and needs, a still small voice inside whispered, “maybe this is a sign that it’s time to move back to the mainland?”

So we considered that, and over the course of about a week it began to feel like a good idea, and the right time to take that leap. Lovely as Hawaii is, it’s a long way from our families, and as the years have gone by we’ve been missing time with family (real time, not just phone and internet time) more and more. And there was that long list of things we’d been saying we were going to do someday when we had more time (and money) to travel. Moving back to the mainland would change that equation quickly and dramatically.

Then my sister chimed in and said, “If you’re ready to make the move, but don’t know where you want to end up yet, why don’t you come stay in my guest room for a while and figure it out from there.”

So here we are, hanging out at my sister’s place in northwest Idaho, enjoying being somewhere new and different, and getting a thrill out of cooler weather.


It’s an invigorating leap of faith to make this move without knowing yet what’s next. We’ve got some ideas, and are planning to enjoy this time with family we haven’t seen enough of in recent years and allow intuition and synchronicity to guide us.

Not much sewing has gone on at chez Venus the past few months, and for now my machine and stash are in a crate in a storage facility in Seattle. It may be a while before I have much of anything new to show you, unless I get to playing in my sister’s stash (she’s got plenty, and extra machines I can use, too)…

… updates to come as things unfold for us.



Almost two years ago I posted some process pics from a “one block wonder” project I’d begun with a certain someone in mind. Two someones, actually. Five yards of a stunning Philip Jacobs print (“Bountiful”, seen stacked but not yet whacked above) got turned into a stunning large wall-hanging gifted to my parents last year for their 80th birthdays. Commentary and pics of early stages are here:

And then, having kept the thing under wraps until it could be presented, I forgot to post any pictures of the finished object. Here it is:


Somewhere I must have written down the finished size, but where that info is I’ve no idea. Let’s say it’s around 54″x72″. I’d intended the wall-hanging aspect to be optional, but Mum claims it is far too beautiful for use on the couch, so on the wall it is.


The central, uncut, motif blends in beautiful. Dad, new to OBW magic, was quite mystified how I’d pulled the whole thing off, until given a quick course in OBW construction and a closer view through his trifocals.


Still not loving those mauve-ish plums, but the grapes are fun:


The quilting is an overall meader which, IMO, is always a good fit for an OBW. I changed up the thread color a few times, to minimize contrast.

Still loving that sneaky full-hexagon cherries block:


So that’s a wrap for this one.

Those other finished OBW tops are still languishing in a bin, and I haven’t even started sewing up the triangles for the newest one yet. I’ll get to ’em :someday” for sure.


Post image for 15 Minutes Play Workshop

Continuing with the long-overdue QuiltCon catch-up theme, my second QuiltCon Workshop was 15 Minutes Play with Victoria Findlay Wolfe. I’ve been a member of the 15MP blog for a while, and took this workshop just for fun, which it was. Victoria is just as charming in person as you’d expect from her online presence, and I learned a few new tricks for making scrappy quilty fun.

I’d brought along a Dresden Plate template, which got put to use as I sliced and diced my way through some of the charm squares from the QC big-spenders’ swag bag. Here are the “blades” reassembled on my design wall at home, with various blues from the “large scraps” drawer mixed in.


They have not been sewn up yet. I suspect they are destined for the “orphans & extras” bin. I’m feeling “meh” about them, although they’re an improvement over the original “so not me” charm pack the pinks and oranges started from.

Victoria very smartly brought a stock of her new templates with her, and I snapped up a large diamond (and a 5″ hexagon that I’ve been playing with recently, more on that another time), and made this large star block:


One of these days I’ll rip out that one too-dark piece and replace it with something else. I’m iffy on this one, too, other than thinking that if I toss enough of this kind of stuff into that “orphans & extras” bin I’ll have enough to put together a Kitchen-Sink style slip-cover for my couch.

Not kidding at all. It will be totally awesome. Not that I’ve started on it yet, or anything like that.

First, I have to resist the temptation to start in on two or three projects inspired by Victoria’s new book on Double Wedding Ring Quilts. I’m particularly fond of this one (look at all that lovely orange!).


Although I have no business contemplating another 90″ square quilt if I’m ever going to get a scrappy slipcover made for the couch…