Friday, March 7, 2014


February is a short month for quilting but it seems to me that more quilting is accomplished during this month than, say, July. Perhaps it’s because it’s cold outside and quilters tend to venture toward the sewing machines, quilting machines, quilting frames, and all that glorious fabric.

Which would you rather do?
Go outside and fight the blustery elements or snuggle under a quilt?
Go outside and shovel snow or whip up a quilt top?
Go outside and get stuck in a ditch or stay inside and get stuck quilting?

The February Pueblo West Quilters meeting ran smoothly and all the quilters were on their best behavior. Not a single antic all evening. The quilters must be reading this blog because they did not want to be mentioned.

Stop the presses… New information just in …

The Cactus Kilter Quilter struck again. This time, her antics got the entire meeting into an uproar. How? It all happened quite innocently…

“I’m not buying fabric this year.”

This Cactus Kilter Quilter found some kindred CKQs who couldn’t contain themselves. The theme of the evening was a quilter’s battle cry. “I’m not buying any more fabric until I’ve used up my stash!”

Well, I’ve cried that cry a myriad of times yet my stash seems to grow, not decrease. It’s kind of like saying, “I’m going to lose weight.” Of course you can lose the weight, except the weight finds you and brings a few extra pound friends along….
What I did was change my thinking from losing weight to getting rid of excess weight. So far, I’m maintaining so I don’t think I have any excess weight.
Along similar lines, I must have a fabric deficiency because I’m gaining fabric. So until I need to rid myself of excess fabric, I’ll maintain. Or gain.

Who am I kidding?

It’s an addiction and February’s helping me by producing these bitter, below-zero weather days so I migrate toward my stash… Oh no! There’s been a reduction. I need flannel for the chicken tablecloth I’m making. Couldn’t find wide flannel … oh look … I wonder if this terrycloth would work? Just in case it doesn’t, here’s some backing fabric... Wheewooo, that was close. There’s always a solution. Crisis averted!

February’s Block of the Month is the Square Dance Block, 6.5”x6.5” unfinished block. You’ll need a 2.5”x2.5” black square (center) and from an 18”x2.5” bright fabric strip cut 2-6.5”x2.5” rectangles and 2-2.5”x2.5” squares. For a visual, visit and check out the pix under #2 step. A variation can be seen at Notice the square within the square has parallel edges and not perpendicular (on point) edges. Nina Stevens used solids for her demo. I know a CKQ or two will whip up a few to get more chances to win them all in March.

The Cactus Kilter Quilter struck at odd moments. CKQ tends to possess a quilter and the next thing you know … take for instance Sew N Share. Everything was running smoothly until the very end when “She just wiped me out and didn’t call on me! I finally made it to Sew N Share and you just erased me!”  Yes, I know, you had to be there. No worries. In a few months most of us won’t remember who said or did what. You’re just ahead of the game.
I must mention that the above CKQ had a Mary Poppins bag because she kept pulling one quilting item out after another. I thought for sure she’d pull out an UFQ attached to her sewing machine. It was the After Sew N Share Sew N Share Show.

PWQ is tackling a mystery this year. We don’t know what’s going to happen but I’ve heard if we don’t take the clues seriously, there might be vomiting involved.

PWQ has an Annual Quilt Challenge and this year it’s a mystery. Literally. Becky Panariso challenged us with creating a Mystery Quilt. Our mission, if we choose to accept, is to select five fabrics with specific guidelines and cutting dimensions. Exact cutting dimensions.

Becky wasn’t immune from the CKQ. A CKQ popped up and asked, “Do I have to buy my fabrics?” followed by “Can I use fat quarters from the same color family?” Becky didn’t miss a beat and replied, “Stashes are okay but not fat quarters. By the time you finish making this quilt, you’ll probably want to throw up all over it if you used several different fabrics.”
CKQ ventriloquized from another quilter’s mouth, “You want me to cut out all those pieces?” A reference to a certain 1st Christmas quilt had CKQ hopping out of that quilter’s body fast. Squares are much easier to cut than triangles and diamonds. And no fussy cutting. (See the February Sew N Share pix and you’ll know what I mean.)

So who’s going to make a Vomit Comet Mystery Quilt? That’s a secondary challenge, don’t cha think?

Whether you’re gathering fabrics from your stash or from the fabric shops, the 2014 Quilt Challenge will be different from all the previous challenges. As mentioned above, we don’t know the outcome – yet – and Becky’s coming back for the next few months to dole out more directions Now, you can wait to select your fabrics and create your quilt later in the year (the last-minute CKQs) or you can utilize Becky’s knowledge as you come across those pesky issues now (the as-you-go CKQs), but either way, the deadline’s still the same, the first Monday in November for the unveiling of the quilts.

CKQ will be there to help you cut the strips too small and set your seam allowances too deep. She’s always willing to help – even when you prefer she distracts someone else. So keep diligent and measure thrice and cut once. Test your stitching and quilt on scrap fabrics. Now this doesn’t mean those scrap fabrics need to be tossed, you could create a testing journal, turn them into funky quilts, or functional bags and totes.

Our guest speaker, Terri Allen, demonstrated the 10 Minute Table Runner and brought kits and fabrics for purchase. Of course, a CKQ is now sorry she mentioned using up her stash because ooo la lah, some fancy cat fabric caught her eye…. No worries. Her friend, the quilter will purchase the fabric and CKQ will pay for her gas and the fabric might accidently end up in CKQ’s stash. Loopholes, aren’t they are the best?
Another CKQ turned out to be a future marathon runner and said she could stretch her table runner into a 30-minute runner by stuffing her 10-minute runner, quilting it, and then flipping and stitching it. Not to be outdone, another CKQ who reports on the marathon table runner decided to embellish her results with buttons and ribbons and beads. But the all-around, over-the-top CKQ took it to Olympic standards by reducing the runner into placemats, napkins and cup-holders. Oh and let’s not forget creating a centerpiece holder by enlarging the 10-minute table runner pattern.
A lot of CKQs are taking over the Olympics! Stay tuned. Some of these ideas might show up in future Sew N Share pix.

It’s such a challenging year and it’s only February. CKQ covered her forehead with the back of her hand and sighed. The first challenge thrown down was the Using up my Stash Challenge. Don’t buy fabric! Failed already? Begin anew. Use up your stash. Next came the 2014 Mystery Quilt Challenge. Trust me, it’s going to turn out great. Only if you don’t mind not knowing where you’re going… Finally, the CKQ challenged all of us. She’s a trickster so beware.

Then the truth came out…

It was cold outside so I sewed.
I couldn’t get out, shrug, so I sewed.
I needed a fabric to tie together all my stash fabrics and I happened to be at JoAnn’s and there was this sale – so I bought a lot!

…there really wasn’t a use up My Stash Challenge.

Tilting the windmill quilt to give you a different perspective…
The Cactus Kilter Quilter