Utility Sewing

We had the most beautiful weather yesterday. Temperatures got up into the 80's and it was warm enough to be outside in the evening. We even put the fan in the window last night to cool our upstairs bedroom, which tends to be the warmest spot in the house on a sunny day.

Earlier in the day, I went out to feed the birds and check the greenhouse. The red azalea is about half opened up now.

Also, this rhodie I've been watching all week is finally starting to open up.

This next one is the one we noticed as we drove away on Saturday. Pretty.

We all sat outside yesterday evening. Even Gracie came outside.

Here's a cat all tuckered out after a long day outside in the sunshine.

Not so tuckered that he couldn't get his hackles raised when Uno showed up in his terrortory. 

Hey! Those are MY mice, MY gophers, and MY birds to hunt! Uno! You mangy interloper! You need to TAKE OFF before I kick your tail up around your ears!

We brought Smitty inside to avoid any fighting, but he kept an eye on Uno from the window. Man, was he ever steamed about that intruder.

So remember a while back when I discovered that some of the flannel fabric in the Salt Water Taffy quilt had unraveled in the seam allowance and I needed to patch it?

The other day I noticed yet another spot where the same thing had happened. Upon more thorough inspection, I noticed two more additional spots. It only happens where this fabric was used. This quilt was made from scraps that were given to me by people on The Quilting Board. Some were no doubt from well-used pajamas, and I suspect that's why this particular fabric is a problem.

So, I still have some cut-off edges from the backing, and I've been using that to make patches for it. Just for fun I'm giving them their own ties.

It's Gracie's favorite quilt, so obviously, I just need to patch it and make do. Besides, it makes me feel all Little-House-on-the-Prairie to be using scraps to mend a scrap quilt.

Previously I was calling this method of repair "tantalizingly tacky". But now I'm just thinking the quilt has extra super-duper added character. 

If I just keep adding more and more patches to it, people will start to think I did it that way on purpose. Maybe. But since it's really Gracie's quilt, her opinion is the only one that matters.

This morning I started making plans to sew the Doors of Ireland together. I've been planning all along to use a single Irish chain setting. I wasn't happy with just 9-patches, however, and so I found this block on the internet yesterday. It's still a single Irish chain, but a 25-patch instead of a 9-patch, which fancies it up a little.

The door blocks will go into the open areas, and it'll be set 5 blocks by 5 rows. I'll be adding borders too.

I was having a terrible time working out the math for this, but eventually got it figured out. This is the test block I made for the 25 patches. I'll be using strip sets instead of all those little tiny 25 patches.

The center shamrock is fussy cut from the fabric I'm going to use for the back and borders. I was able to find more of it online, and so I'll have plenty for this quilt.

It wasn't possible to fussy cut the shamrock and still avoid getting little bits of its neighboring shamrocks, and so you can see those little bits in the block above.

So now I'm wondering what you all think about this. Do you like the shamrock in the center? Or do you think I should stick with the green batik? I'm kind of 50% on it. The bits of extra shamrock don't bother me, but I'm wondering if I wouldn't like it better with the solid green center. I'll be checking in with the Resident Engineer when he gets home from work today too.

And that reminds me...I posted the final door to Facebook page of The Galway Pet Store, and this was their response.

It would be fun to notify some of the other businesses about their blocks, but so far, this is the only one I've been able to contact.

That's as far as I've gotten today. Our window washer guy is here, and so the cats are hiding in the basement. There are strange Mans in the house. We hate strange Mans as much as we hate Uno.

17 comments from clever and witty friends:

Linda said...


Dana Gaffney said...

Well shoot, I thought the shamrock in the center was so cute, but I think I'm leaning towards the green batik, leave it up the engineer, hopefully he won't be wishy washy. Take good care of that quilt, what Gracie wants, she should get.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Love the flower photos - we don't have any tree buds popped yet - maybe tomorrow. I think Gracie's quilt has as much warm character as she does. Now being a fancier of working anything tiny - I like the fussy shams - but making all those 'chain' blocks with strip sets would work up faster by being able to use all the same fabric.

Shari said...

I would go with the solid green. Your Irish chain gets lost or broken without it.

Marei said...

I like the shamrocks; it adds a bit of whimsy. You'll still get the "chain" because your (or OUR) eyes will see the green and just carry it through. So there's my 2 cents. Doesn't it drive you crazy that there is no 'cent' key on keyboards anymore? Makes me wonder when it stopped being used...maybe asking Mr. Google is in order.

Anonymous said...

Even though it is more work, and will leave you with a very holey piece of shamrock fabric after, I very much like the shamrock in the middle. It really cements the idea of this quilt being inspired by doors of Ireland.

Your rhododendrons and azaleas look wonderful. Wish our piddly little azaleas would just put out the effort of a bloom or 2.

Like Gracie and Smitty, I don't like strange Mans in the house either. Lol. Because it usually means a repair of some kind needing done by someone other than our trusted plumber and heating/AC guys.

Teresa F.

Beth said...

I would go with the batik center. It would keep the look of the Irish Chain intact and would not draw attention away from your doors.

Great response from the pet shop. Galway is such a wonderful town. When we visited, John and I felt as if it was a place in which we could settle and be happy, if it weren't for the unbearable quarantine requirements. It's unlikely we would ever move so far from home, but Galway had the feeling of home, which is a lovely, elusive thing.

Barb H said...

I'm voting for the shamrocks in the center square. It makes the quilt. . . Irish! So glad Gracie got her quilt back. She's still recovering from having that zipper and needs her comfy spot, right?

Lou said...

I like the shamrocks:)
So glad you are having lovely weather... here in Texas it only got to 60 yesterday and 48 last night... What the heck???? This is so unusual for us! Darn cold fronts!!!!
So glad you got a response from the shop! You might be able to google the others and get addys for them?

Diane Wild said...

I like the shamrocks but then again, maybe the batik??? I know the feeling of indecisiveness. I had a quilt laid out on the floor for days, rearranged the blocks numerous times. Walk away, come back and didn't like what I saw. Drives me crazy. If Mike can't help you out, let Smitty decide. It'll be wonderful, no matter which way you decide.

KMSC said...

I would audition the setting block with some of your Irish doors. The doors are so colorful, you may not want the shamrocks competing with them for attention. Just a thought. Gracie looks good for being a 14 year old cat. Life must be good at Three Cats Ranch!

Dar said...

I first thought I would prefer the shamrocks in the center, but after thinking about it, but after thinking more about the time involved to fussy cut them, the leftover holey fabric and most of all, distraction from your beautiful doors, which is the main attraction, I probably would just use the green batik. Either way you go it will say Ireland/Irish. Love shot of Gracie on her favorite quilt. She is such a beautiful girl. Makes me miss my baby even more.

Auntiepatch said...

I had to laugh at the photo of the Salt Water Taffy Quilt. The upside down birds and the area around them makes (to me) an unhappy clown face! It looks like he's saying, "Oh, no!"

quiltzyx said...

Nice way to start the day with those gorgeous flowers! Thanks!!
Well, I like the shamrocks, but after reading through the other comments, I can see reasons for sticking with the green batik too. Maybe you could use the shamrocks as a small border? I like the random patches on Gracie's quilt too. Whatever makes her happy I say!

Junebug613 said...

I knew they would like your block of their door! Cats don't seem to care what stuff looks like, as long as it's comfy! I like the patches. Shows that it's used a lot and loved.

Michele said...

I recently came across that exact same picture and am planning on making a quilt for our bed using it. Now to just find the fabric that I have in mind and do the math so that I get enough.

Brown Family said...

I love the way you are patching Gracies quilt! All the extra ties should be fun to play with!