Friday, October 8, 2021


One meaning of synthesis is to combine a number of different pieces into a whole.  To me that means a quilt.  This quilt contains 800 different pieces sewn together to make a whole entiny.

I made the top in 2006; and now I finally quilted the top and made it whole. I think it deserves the name, Synthesis.

This is probably my favorite quilt that I have ever made. It has everything that thrills  me in a quilt -- many, many different fabrics including a stripe fabric, lots of small pieces, and a fun and easy graphic block with a history. For 10 years, I kept thinking my artritic hands would improve so I could hand quilt it; but I was fooling myself.  Finally, I decided if the quilt was ever going to see the light of day, I would have to machine quilt it. Then, it took me another 5 years to work on my machine quilting skills. I still don't feel as though I have done it justice with the quilting, but I still love it!

The Stats:  Synthesis, 2006-2021, 47" x 47", Machine pieced, machine quilted.

For more about the history of Betsey's Block check: Q-BITS: BETSEY'S BLOCK (

Tuesday, September 21, 2021


I was looking through my design sketches of quilt blocks recently, and realized that I have used so many 3" and 4" blocks in my quilts.  Some were used as single blocks, but the majority of them were combined with another block to produce secondary patterns.

Looking for a challenge, I decided to see how many of those little blocks I could work into a small quilt.  Over the years, I have made several strippy-style quilts, but never a row quilt.  The idea is similar except one is vertical and the other is horizontal.  A horizontal row quilt sounded right for this project ---- "A Row to Hoe".

I used 13 different 3" blocks for this quilt for a total of 48 blocks.

The design and piecing of the quilt top was easy, but the challenge came for me, as always, when I got to the machine quilting. With every row being different, they each required a unique quilting design with numerous starts and stops with several thread color changes.  Always a learning experience!!!

The Stats:  A Row to Hoe, 2021, 27" x 34", Paper pieced, machine pieced, machine quilted.

I have missed my Navy grandson who has been deployed on his submarine and out of regular communication.  We have always had interesting conversations about my quilts.  He is very creative and understands about color, space, and light; and is also interested in associated family stories.  He is now back to his home port; and I am looking forward to having face-to-face conversations with him again.  'A rough row to hoe' is farm-speak for meeting a challenge and accomplishing it.  I'm sure this 19-year-old submariner can teach his 82-year-old grandmother something about meeting challenges.

Lots of rows to hoe on the Haines Family Farm when
 the snow melts and Spring and Summer arrive - c1950s.

I have never 'hoed a row' in reality, but now I have done so symbolically in a quilt.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021


 Occasionally, I enjoy working in a crazy quilt format.  It is easy with no corners to match; an unlimited color scheme using up small fabric scraps; design as you go with no expectations; plus fun practice on my new sewing machine.  It is relaxing and with a little introspection, you have cheap therapy all rolled up in a small quilt!  This is "Tenets".

The Stats:  Tenets, 2021, 25" x 28", Foundation pieced, machine embroidered, machine pieced, machine quilted.

A word or two about the title, "Tenets".  To me it means the personal philosophy that I attempt to follow in my life.  Sometimes, I fail miserably, but I try to "get up and try again".  The other words/phrases included in this crazy quilt (and life) are a snippet of those tenets that I attempt to live by.

Our son, the high school math teacher, says that the only way to learn math is to do it again and again.  I was struggling with the learning curve on my new sewing machine; so I decided to listened to his advice and apply it to my machine.  This quilt gave me time (and time again) to practice on most of the available tools of my machine.  I feel that I am the master of it now!!!  It pays to listen to your kids occasionally.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021


All these years of quiltmaking I have shied away from curve piecing on the machine.  A couple of times I have done a practice block then discarded my idea for the project.  The idea of matching up a concave curve to a convex curve with seam allowances seemed to be more than I wanted to conquer at the time.  Since now I quilt only to satisfy my creative urges and as a learning experience, it is time for curved piecing.

This is what I have learned:

#1:  An accurate pattern is imperative.  I discovered that even 1/16th of an inch error can mess things up.  I'm sure there are very good patterns in the marketplace; but I'm old school and design and draft my own patterns.  I have confidence in my mathematical and drafting skills, but had to tweak my orginal pattern.

#2:  Practice does make perfect (well, almost!).  After doing the curved seam sixteen times for these four blocks, I feel confident and even found it easy. Granted, these are 5 1/2 inch blocks, so the curve is relatively shallow; therefore a smaller block may not be as easy.

#3:  Not sure I am ready to tackle a 4 inch-New York Beauty block yet, but who knows.  I may be harboring false confidence!!

When I finished the top, I wasn't that fond of the design.  Now that it is quilted and finished, I'm liking it better.  Guess it proves the old adage -- "It's not a quilt until it is quilted."

The Stats:  Fanfare, 2021, 28" x 28", Paper pieced fans, machine pieced curves, machine quilted.

Saturday, August 21, 2021


Sometimes I just want to make a small quilt with a traditional pattern that to me is always fun to make.  A pineapple block is one of those blocks.  I think this is my third quilt project using it -- this time in the format of a table runner. 

The Stats:  "Scalloped Pineapple", 2021, 18" x 36", Paper pieced, Machine quilted.

This is the first quilt I have quilted on my new Bernina.  The learning curve has taken me a couple of weeks, but it is going well now.  Everything is in a different place from my old machine; so my muscle memory must be getting old, or is a slow learner! I kept pushing the wrong buttons at the wrong time. The Bernina produces beautiful stitches with the perfect tension, however.

The name for my table runner comes from one of my family's favorite dishes -- Scalloped Pineapple.  I received the recipe from a coworker at my first government job back in 1961.  That was a long time ago, and over the years we have enjoyed it as a side dish with ham or turkey at holidays or with any family meal.  It is also good to take to potlucks.  The leftovers are even good cold right out of the refrigerator for breakfast the next day!

Scalloped Pineapple

4 egg yolks, beaten; 1/2 cup sugar; 3 1/2 cups crushed pineapple with juice; 5 slices of sandwich bread, cubed; 1/2 cup melted butter.  Mix all ingredients, put in greased baking dish.  Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.


Make a quilt with the traditional pineapple block --- and call it Scalloped Pineapple!


Tuesday, July 6, 2021


I finally got around to photographing the doll quilt cupboard that Bob has been working on.  The back story ---- Back in the 1990s when Bob's mother was downsizing, he found the little cupboard that his Grandpa Bloyd had made in the 1940s for Bob's two sisters.  Knowing that he would not inherit it, he took this photo and measured it so that he could replicate it at some point.

It was 30" high, 24" wide, and 12" deep made of plywood with 2 drawers, 2 upper shelves, and 1 lower shelf.  Bob's copy is made of salvaged wood.
When he started to work on it in his workshop, he commented it sure would make a cute quilt cupboard.  So, naturally, I had to make 5 doll quilts (documented in the previous two blog posts).
And here it is:

In the beginning, Bob thought he would make it to sell; but I think I have convinced him to keep it.  I just can't part with it just yet, as I've been a doll lover and anything associated in miniature since my childhood.

So what will happen to it? ---- I hope someday to have a great-granddaughter that will enjoy it.  My granddaughter said, "What if you have a bunch of great-grandsons?)  I told her we'll take the dishes and doll quilts out, and fill it with little tools!

For now, it has found a home in my sewing room. The pages from my collection of Dick and Jane books and teacher display pages above the cupboard say it all ---- "Funny, funny Sally."

Friday, June 25, 2021

DOLL QUILTS #3, #4, #5

My previous post shows doll quilts #1 and #2 and explains why I'm making these tiny objects.  I have now completed #3, #4, and #5, and am through with doll quilts for the time being.  I think five are enough for the purpose.  Besides these "not so nimble anymore fingers" are tired of sewing on 1/4" finished binding! 

Number 3

The Stats: "Triangle Doll Quilt", 2021, 11" x 16", Paper pieced, Machine pieced, Machine quilted. 2.5" blocks.

Number 4

The Stats:  "I Spy Doll Quilt", 2021, 13" x 16", Machine pieced, Machine quilted.    1.5" blocks.

Number 5

The Stats:  "4-Patch Doll Quilt", 2021, 12" x 15", Machine pieced, Machine quilted. 1.5" blocks.

Below is the first doll quilt I made at age 11 under the tutelage of my grandmother.  I was more interested in learning to quilt, than playing with dolls at that age.  But we decided to make the quilt for my favorite doll from early childhood, a baby-sized boy doll named Jerry.  It is made from my grandmother's sewing scraps reminiscent of the 1940-1950 era.

The scraps I have used for my current doll quilts may not be consistant with our image of doll quilts, but I used what I had refusing to buy anything new just for a doll quilt.  That's what my grandmother did!

The next post will be with the miniature cupboard that Bob has almost finished.  It is adorable!

Saturday, June 19, 2021

DOLL QUILTS #1 and #2

 Back in the 1990s when Bob's mother was downsizing, in the basement was a child's miniture cupboard that his Grandpa Bloyd had made for Bob's sisters.  Knowing that he would not inherit it, he photographed and took measurements of it at that time.  He has wanted to duplicate it since then; and is now working on it.  When it is completed, I will blog again about it.  He mentioned that it would be charming as a little quilt cupboard ---- that is all I needed to hear, and I am now making doll quilts to fill some of the shelves.  I have completed two with more in the works!

This one measures 10.5"x15"
with 2.5" blocks.
The flying geese blocks are 1"x 2" and the
quilt measures 11.5" x 15.5".

To minimize bulk, I'm not using any batting, but using flannel for the backs.  The binding is single fold, 1/4" finished.  They are paper pieced and machine quilted.

They are enjoyable to make taking very little time in comparison to a larger quilt; and use up lots of little scraps. 

To be continued ---------

Monday, June 14, 2021


A letter H quilt has always been on my quilt bucket list. 

 As the legend goes, the H block was developed to mimic the flags with a large H on them in the civil war to indicate a hospital.  It was turned into a quilt probably by a mourning mother or widow.  

The Stats:  H Brand, 2021, 21"x29", Machine paper pieced, Machine quilted.

My attraction to the block has been that it is the first letter of my maiden name.   The Haines family came to Colorado in 1886, pioneering in the sheep and cattle industry.  I inherited their sheep brand, which is a wooden large H.  Our sheep were not branded like the cattle; but the wooden brand was dipped in blue paint, then imprinted onto the lambs.

Of course, I also have pictures from the 1930s --

My grandfather in the sheep pens in the 1930s.
I always remember him dressed this way with a tie,
even working the ranch/farm.

My grandfather (2nd from left) and his cronies in the cattle pen in the
1930s.  These weren't cowboys, they were business men.