Friday, September 13, 2019

Blaming It All on the Meds -

My burgeoning string bucket.

I know it sends some into heart attack mode, but I see endless possibilities and wonderful creativity packed to capacity within its confines – or even exploding over its sides in crazy rainbow volcano fashion.

It’s like an archaeological dig. 

As I work at kitting up projects for future rounds of piecing mayhem, anything deemed too narrow (or too unloved) gets dropped off the side of the cutting table, landing in this bin in layers – you can pretty much tell what I’ve been working on by layer upon layer of off cuts. 

There are YEARS worth of strips and strings in here – all destined for something wonderful to come.

Wonky Courthouse Steps blocks.

This project started out long ago as a treadle project, because things don’t have to be perfect.  I had a stack of blocks, but definitely needed more.

Other than “regular” string blocks sewn on foundations, and the occasional crumb block here and there, I haven’t really given myself time to just play improv style -

I KNEW I was finally on the mend from this creeping crud when sitting on the couch stitching bindings by hand in between rounds of coughing fits and naps was just not enough to keep me occupied.  I didn’t want to be dealing much with a rotary cutter or trying to match seams, and a quick search brought out the box with a handful of wonky courthouse steps blocks.

The process is simple.  Start with a square.  Add two neutrals either side (of different widths) and then add two different colors top and bottom.  Repeat.  Two neutral sides, two colored sides, two neutral sides, two colored sides until the block is the size you want it to be, and then square it up.

Use the strings “As Is.” Let things tilt, lean, and angle at will.  No straight marching little soldiers in this batch.

Because I am playing with random widths of strips, blocks are often NOT symmetrical with the same number of strips per side.  Just piece until it is big enough.  Don’t purposely try to center anything.

I’ve gone this far in 2 days.

I can’t stop.

The second column from the left is sewn together just to see what it looks like with seam allowances taken up.  I think I need to go a bit longer. I am hoping for twin size.

Things I’ve noticed – these blocks take as many neutral strips as they do colors, so it is more neutral than you think.  My neutrals in this bin are running low – mostly for the longest outside pieces. I have shorter pieces for the inner rounds.

Yes, I can dip into my 1 1/2’’ and 2’’ neutral strips from the Scrap User’s System, but the objective here is to use strings.  I have a big bin of neutral strings at the Quiltville Post Office and I can pick them up when I go to do mail order today.

(Did you see that I got in a bunch of the new Karen Kay Buckley Scissors? You’ll find them along with the Bohin needle threaders and Bohin folding seam rippers under the Rulers, Notions & Tools category in the Quiltville Store.)

Things I’ve noticed over the past week since this crud befell me -

Don’t assume it is just allergies.  I thought it started out as a ragweed reaction in Pennsylvania, but it quickly exacerbated. (And always on a weekend, right?!)

If the cough is “productive” and changing to yellow/green SEE SOMEONE QUICK.

Drink lots, make a big pot of soup, indulge in much binge watching of Netflix, hand stitch until you can’t hand stitch any longer.  Nap some more.

Buy more Kleenex.  LOADS of Kleenex. More Kleenex than you would ever think possible.  With so much blowing, you really could have taken up the tuba.

Savor another cup of tea and keep it coming.

And when you finally feel your Sew-Jo coming back, pick up a project like this that doesn’t take much thought and allow yourself to just make simple choices. “Do I like this color here? What about this print or stripe? Does it need something bolder?”

And give it loads of time.

I am so grateful that I don't travel again until the first week of October.

If you can see the needle and thimble in this photo, you are doing better than I am!

When you’ve had enough of the wonky machine piecing – settle yourself back down in your comfy chair and question yourself once again why you thought a black hanging sleeve against black fabric being sewn down with black thread while on copious amounts of medication was a good idea?

And keep going – because you are almost there.

I have heard from several of you who read yesterday’s post about HollyAnne Knight’s online course: Free Motion Quilting Academy that is now in the registration process for the next 8 week session. I am so glad you are excited and I hope you’ll share your progress as you work through this fabulous online course. 

If you missed yesterday’s info, click to THAT POST. You can be free motion quilting that stack of completed quilt tops on your home machine in no time.

I am off for a shower (I need to feel more human!) and breakfast, and then Sadie and I will be taking a drive over to the QPO to check on things there.

More wonky courthouse steps blocks await this afternoon.

Quiltville Quote of the Day

Whatever it is you're going through, just keep going! I've posted this one before, but it tickled my funny bone this morning.

I am ready for the creeping crud to move on out of my chest, my sinuses, my ears, and out of my life!

Enjoy your Friday, everyone!


  1. Glad you are on the mend! Continue to care for yourself!

  2. Your wonky string blocks remind me of spinning tops...a Topsy Turvy quilt! Love it!!

  3. I like the idea of Wonky Courthouse Steps from “skinny strips”. Thank you, hope the crud is totally gone soon.

  4. It is awful to be sick. Hope you feel back to normal soon. Both of your quilts are so beautiful.

  5. Those wonky courthouse steps remind me of Japanese lanterns...now I'm going to have to pull out my bin of strings...

    1. that is what I "saw" also.....and a sudden craving for a cup of tea !

  6. Hurry, get well! We leave for Kenya in just a month!!

  7. I love your wonky blocks! I once made a king sized wonky log cabin quilt from my strings. It was so great to use up all those bits of fabric I'd been saving! :0)

  8. I'm so glad you're on the mend. I must admit I giggled at your medical advice. But you make me giggle every time I read a post. What a joy you are!

  9. Stitches will make the time fly. Feel better

  10. I am thrilled to learn about wonky courthouse steps!! I can't stand to throw away my scraps and skinny strips. With this technique I can dig into the overflowing basket in my sewing corner. I saved triangles for years and discovered your Wonky Stars pattern that is perfect for using them. I've been making the star points as my leaders and enders. Thanks so much for sharing your sewing ideas and adventures.

  11. Your quote today. *gigglesnort*

    As someone who gets every nasty respiratory bug that comes by, I sympathize. So glad you've been able to lay low this week and recuperate at your own pace. The wonky courthouse step blocks are adorable!

  12. Overload of Scraps for sure! Scrappiness makes a pretty quilt. Good to get the Sew-Jo back.

  13. I had to share your quote this morning to a friend who is actually waiting for a kidney stone to pass. It gave him a laugh, he really needed one. Thank you

  14. I remember buying that same black fabric you are using for a backing...at Britex (in San Francisco) 30+ yrs ago. It has aged long enough.

  15. Hi Bonnie, so glad you are feeling better! Sounds like you're doing everything you should be to recover. Love your wonky courthouse steps. Take it easy!

  16. Bonnie, it looks like you are really "Rockin' The Courthouse Steps".
    Hope you feel better soon.

  17. Thanks Bonnie for another stringtastic idea! And take care of yourself and feel better soon.

  18. OMG just love that you keep the humor while having the creeping crud. I was sick for almost three months this past spring - kept thinking I was sick with something other than allergies, and alas it was only allergies. I know what you mean about copious amounts of meds and the endless need to buy more Kleenex. Sounds like you've rounded the "feeling better" corner, so please take care not to over do just yet. that was my big mistake, but I learned my lesson.

  19. Bonnie, you blow me away with your productivity! You get SO much done. I'm envious.

  20. That bin of strings makes my heart sing!!! I once had a bout with something that resulted in going through an entire box of Kleenex in 48 hours. Seriously, how was that much even up there?!1?!? Feel better soon!

  21. Love these �� Bonnie . your picture has me seeing thoses wonderful spin tops from my childhood. These are now under my needle and this years leader ender is progressing right along with it . ��

  22. Bon nie: Can I come and play in your string bucket. Mine is on the light side. Do hurry up and get well soon. I miss your quilt cam videos.

  23. So happy you are on the mend. When you move off the sofa and head to the machine, that's a good sign. Love the wonky blocks. Love all the items falling out of your bin. Take care.

  24. These wonky courthouse blocks are adorable, looking forward to seeing your setting for them.
    So pleased you are getting over this infection crud and all. Your Sadie is the best therapy you need to get well.
    Take care
    Love and quilty hugs
    Anne xxx

  25. Hilarious! Thank you! In times of being unwell you have unleashed such descriptions that have given me stomach cramps from laughing so hard! Get well soon you crazy lady - but let the humour linger on!

  26. I'm so sad the antibiotics didn't make you feel far better far faster, but I'm glad you're finally feeling closer to normal. Love the blocks you've been producing!

  27. The string bucket is enough to make your head spin!

  28. Bonnie,
    Since you will be traveling again in the not too distant future, it might be wise to confer with your doctor about having medicines to bring with you in case you start feeling the "crud" again. Several folks I know, bring their meds "in case" along with them while they travel. Not knowing this, when we traveled to Ireland and couldn't purchase aspirin because it requires a prescription over there, might have saved me a couple days worth of headache as the locally available OTC med did nothing for my headaches.I did see a doctor and get the Rx.

  29. Found the thimble, sure hope the needle is with it. Feel better soon.

  30. Love the wonky steps, so freeing to just sew and not think too hard. Thanks for all you to. You are truly an inspiration.😍

  31. Love the wonky steps, so freeing to just sew and not think too hard. Thanks for all you do. You are truly an inspiration.😍

  32. Love it. I get a smile on my face just reading this. I am glad that you are feeling better. What a blessing to all of us who read and follow this.

  33. I love the Scrappy courthouse blocks! I have a ton of strips left over from making a diamonds are forever quilt for my Nephew's wedding and so it would be a great treat to give it to his new kids for a couch quilt. For your"Crud"... Try to find a table top air purifier. Sally Beauty Supply carries one. They're open to the public.

  34. I have made a lot of wonky log cabin type blocks; these are so much fun. I haven't tried the courthouse steps variation. I still have to figure out how I am going to use them. These haven't seemed to make a dent in my scraps, though!


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