Join Janet on her adventures as a designer, writer, maker, and farmer in montana. no two days are ever the same. you might even see a bear or two.

A Riot of Color

A Riot of Color

I worked on the Big Sky Knitting Designs website yesterday morning until I couldn’t stand it any longer. By then it was too hot to work outside, so I attacked my pile of sewing and mending projects. One of our bathroom towels had started to come unhemmed—I fixed that. The husband blew out the crotch in another pair of work pants; thankfully, I noticed the busted seam while it was still small and easy to fix. The Candy Coated quilt top that I finished a few weeks ago had several problems. I bought what I thought was enough fabric for the backing, but the quilt is approximately 70” x 96” and the backing was only 90” long. (Note to self: Don’t do math at Hobby Lobby at 8 o’clock at night when you don’t have the correct dimensions of the top with you.) I was annoyed at myself but still wanted to finish that quilt, so I removed the bottom row of strips—which were 10” tall— from the quilt top to make the top 70” x 86” and pin-basted it to the backing and batting. However, it’s been gnawing at me ever since because I really prefer the 96” long top. I bought a different backing fabric last week, so yesterday, I unpinned the top and repurposed the batting for the comforter that we will tie at sewing on Thursday. The backing will get used for something else, probably another comforter top. I sewed the row of 10” strips back on to the Candy Coated top and it will get reassembled with the appropriately-sized batting and backing and put into the “to-be-quilted” pile.

The comforter top to be tied on Thursday is done. Last week when Margaret and I went to the Amish store, I bought a two-yard length of 108” wide blue paisley fabric. I’ve become a fan of 108” wide fabric because I hate to piece quilt backs. Also, it eliminates the possibility that I am going to miscalculate and end up with too short a backing. The 72” x 108” piece was perfect for the backing of the 60” x 80” comforter; I cut off the excess from two sides (two chunks which are plenty big enough to be used for other projects), and put everything in a bag to take with me on Thursday.

I trimmed the comforter that we tied last week and made binding for it from black Kona. The binding is attached and needs to be sewn down, but that can wait a few weeks yet.

This is the comforter we tied last week:


This is the top I am taking on Thursday:


And this is the next top I’d like to do:


My friend Holly and I were talking at quilting last week about choosing colors and prints that go together. These comforters are all made with scraps left over from other projects and it reminded me of something I read when I first started quilting. Quilters tend to gravitate toward the same types of fabrics. I am unlikely, for instance, to go into a quilt store and buy fabrics in muddy earth tones. I am going to head for the bright, retina-burning prints. Someone else may prefer mostly batiks. Someone else might like muted Civil War reproduction prints. Over time, our fabric stashes become internally harmonious. Those orange and purple 5” squares were stacked on top of each other, and despite the fact that I wouldn’t normally think to combine those colors, I think they play well together. And the black Kona squares provide a bit of visual respite.

I am also convinced that the reason I have a much easier time with colors now that I am working in fabric instead of yarn is because most yarn lines—with the exception of Cascade 220, of course—are limited in the range of colors. And at the time I was designing, it was not always easy to find yarns in colors other than muddy earth tones. I am much more comfortable with combining colors now that I can find material to work with that hits all my buttons.

[My idea of clothing heaven is lots of bright jewel-toned tops and high-waisted boot cut jeans in 100% cotton.]

I finished another small project for myself which will be the subject of a blog post later this week and started a special pillowcase project that will only take about another 15 minutes to complete. That clears the decks of everything except the re-useable makeup pads, apron grading, and the Ritzville quilt binding. (The Ritzville sale is in two months and I don’t want to leave that binding until the last minute.)

At some point this fall, I need to deal with the overflowing bright prints scrap bag. I went through and took out the pieces that are big enough to cut 5” squares and left the rest, which is mostly strings—long pieces between 1-1/2” and 4” wide.


I found a supplier of bulk 1/4” bias binding in 50-yard lengths for $19.99. Besides being cheaper—a package of Wrights binding is 4 yards and costs about $1.99 not on sale, although occasionally Joanns runs a special—it will be easier to use for the sample aprons I anticipate having to make when I grade this apron pattern. When I use the Wrights tape, I always sew shorter leftover lengths together so I don’t waste any. That isn’t a huge hassle, but it will be nice to have a long roll of it for cutting off what I need. I am also kicking around the idea of buying a bolt of a quietly-patterned quilting cotton to use for grading these aprons.

A Mixed Marriage

A Mixed Marriage

Making Something Old Look New Again

Making Something Old Look New Again