CQJP 2012


Starry, Starry Night


This is the first week’s work on the January Block, portraying about 25% of the block.  

January’s block is entitled “Starry, Starry Night”. I’ve always loved the song, “Vincent” by Don McLean. A portion of the lyrics reads

Starry, starry night.
Paint your palette blue and grey,……
Catch the breeze and the winter chills,
In colors on the snowy linen land.

I now spend my winters in Yuma, AZ, where there is no snow, but having spent most of my life in Indiana, USA, I love a starlit winter night, when the light of the stars and moon cast shades of blue over the snow banks. My block attempts to convey that beauty.

The second weeks TAST stitch is the buttonhole stitch..I used it to highlight the “snowbank” representation.

I stitched the seam with the baseline curved on the fabric. It’s a little hard to see the white on white


Also, there’s a small snowman glittering in the moonlight, stitched with the buttonhole wheel.

On week 3, I let the Featherstitch become the trail left by a falling star that I tatted.

The star was tatted with one strand embroidery floss combined with 1 strand of Balger metallic blending filament.  The trail was stitched with two strands of the blending filament.  I wanted to trail to sparkle, but not be too prominent.  The filament was not the easiest medium to embroider with, but I achieved the result I wanted.

The Feathers stitch of Week 4 seemed appropriate for creating a small shack in my block. It looked a little unfinished after I stitched it, so I added a few straight outline stitches to the edges to define.

I guess I’m the romantic, but the words of the song, “Somewhere Out There” kept playing in my mind as I stitched:

Somewhere out there, 
Beneath the pale blue night, 
Someone’s thinking of me, 
And loving me tonight.

Also, this week, I embroidered the TAST logo onto the block with stem stitch to finish the January Block.

January’s block encompasses my love of music, my memories of Indiana nights, and the start of  the 2012 TAST, CQJP and FB’s Tatting Challenge.  Creating Starry, Starry Night has been a fun journey into the realm of crazy quilting. Who can say what February will bring?


“A Birthday and a Birth Day”

February CQJP

In honor of Arizona’s Southwest Heritage, I used several fabrics in earthtones, with a couple featuring kokopelli, the Native legendary icon.

koko1 koko2

misc0003I am a square and round dancer.  Each year we have an annual Square and Round Dance Festival in Yuma, AZ, my winter home.  This year, we were the only Square Dance group in Arizona to receive endorsement from the state of Arizona to help promote its centennial.  We were very proud to display the state logo on our Festival Ribbon.  The ribbon had to become part of my block.


Throughout January and into February, I was feverishly working on a baby quilt.  I chose Winnie the Pooh fabric for the quilt, and finished it just in time to mail it.  The post on it can be found here.  The colors were spring green and blues.winnie

I wondered how to incorporate a memory of the quilt into the crazy quilt block of earthtones.  Finally, with the help of Photoshop, I pictured Winnie landing on an earthen Native pot, with a sign heralding the birth.

winnie for crazy quilt2.tif

Then came the big day, February 28, when Molly Ann joined our family.  Her big sister is so proud of her.  I had to include photographs of both.  I printed them in a sepia tone.  I tried using Tailor Computer Printer Fabric to print Winnie and the photos, but when I ran them through cool water, they bled miserably, so that was not an option for a quilt I expect to wash.  Evidently, there is a colorfast version, but I did not find it at the local fabric shop.    I then printed them onTailor Print ‘n Press, an iron on transfer sheet.  While not real satisfied with the resulting texture, it did a good job transferring to white fabric, and was colorfast when tested.  Each of my blocks includes tatting.  I outlined Winnie’s announcement with a simple ring and chain design (my pattern).  The photos are framed with tiny rick rack.


And finally, my February block, A Birthday and A Birth Day were finished!

March CQJP Block

March in Yuma

My CQJP (Crazy Quilt Journal Project) block this month is titled “March in Yuma”. It embodies some of the more memorable events of the month.

We live full time in an RV and spend 6 months of the year as “snowbirds” in Cactus Gardens RV Resort in Yuma, AZ. The 400+ site park has become our winter home with friends. The exodus toward the north begins in March, and there are always many “end of season” parties, each one a “last chance to get together with friends” before heading our separate ways.

I appliquéd a 4 leaf clover to symbolize the 4 end of season parties we attended. Each one was separate, but the friends involved are interlocking and combined, just as the leaves on the clover. I used the same pearl cotton to couch around the leaves and create the stem. Later in the month, I used the couching on several more elements of the block. I found I liked the way it defines the seams.


I appliquéd a miniature quilt block and used the Running Stitch as quilt stitches.  The little block symbolizes our park’s annual Quilt and Art Show.  (There’s another line of couching between the peach and green section.)P1210917


(That’s Bernice and I demonstrating tatting at the show….I’m on the left.)

My husband is the Shuffleboard Leader for our park.  4 mornings a week find him on the courts at 7:30 am with his cleaning crew, ready to play by 9.  He also heads up the Yuma Encore Shuffleboard (Y.E.S.), a league of 6 teams.  In March they had a full day of tournaments to end the season.  I had to include a shuffleboard reminder on the quilt, and the whipped wheel made perfect pucks

Court details were stitched with the Running Stitch.


I used Week 12’s TAST stitch, barred chain to embellish some of the seams on my quilt block.


Two more elements make up the quilt block.

We were invited to a Dinner Theatre.  The play was Green Misconduct, and the tables were strewn with shamrocks.  My tatting for this month’s block is a Celtic Shamrock (pattern by Yarnplayer).


I mounted it on the white on white fabric, the one fabric common to all my blocks.

I have a bit of Native American blood in my veins, and perhaps that’s one reason I’m drawn to the sound of Powwow drums.  Each year, the Strong Hearts Powwow is held in nearby Bard, CA.  To symbolize the Powwow, I created a Dreamcatcher, with a couple of my beaded feathers hanging from the bottom.

P1210704           P1210917

All of these elements combined make up “March in Yuma”.




 April is a month of change for us as each year we leave our winter home in Yuma AZ and head eastward.  As I thought about what to do with my CQJP April Crazy Quilt Block, I decided to create “Twilight in the Desert” for just as the day comes to an end in the desert, so does our time in the desert end each April.

 I created a saguaro with the satin stitch. I  first cut a saguaro shape from dark green fabric, and attached it to the block with Wonder Under.  I then drew a line down the center as  a stitching guideline.  The completed saguaro looks like this.  The green fabric underneath really helped to hide any minor “cracks” in the stitching.  I’ve grown to like the satin stitch a lot more as I worked with it this week.

2007 Trip Slideshow Part 1 (576)  2012-04-27 - CQJP May - Twilight in the Desert - Saguaro

Although the stitched saguaro is depicted at twilight, we have photographed the saguaro at sunset, which is a beautiful time of day!

An Ocotillo in bloom uses the stem stitch and the detached chain stitch covered a few weeks ago.

2012-04-27 - CQJP May - Twilight in the Desert - blooming Ocotillo         2012-04-14 - AZ, On the Road, Ocotillo

When you follow a blazed trail through the desert, often the only way to mark the trail is with rocks.  They can be piled as cairns, or  laid on the sand in the shape of an arrow pointing the way.  On the block, the stones are French Knots.

2009-03-24 - AZ, Yuma - Foothills Hike (1034)b2012-04-27 - CQJP May - Twilight in the Desert -stones

For the CQJP block, I used the wheatear stitch to create a transition between sections of the sky.

2012-04-27 - CQJP May - Twilight in the Desert - sky transition

I’ve decided to symbolize our travels throughout the summer with a highway running through my blocks.  To accomplish this, I used a bias cut black strip, with a running stitch down the middle.

2012-04-27 - CQJP May - Twilight in the Desert - HighwayWe left Arizona to travel through New Mexico and then into Texas, where we are currently for a month.  I used printable fabric to make the boards for a road sign.

2012-04-27 - CQJP May - Twilight in the Desert - Road SignTo complete the scene, the  Harvest moon appears large on the horizon.  We’ve never gotten a photo of the occurrence, but we have observed the moon over the desert when it looked as large as it does in this photo from the NASAwebsite.2012-04-27 - CQJP May - Twilight in the Desert - Harvest MoonsaguaroMoon_seip

As twilight deepens, the animals that found shady refuges during the day begin to come out.  A small newt (Netty the Newt – pattern by Anne Bruvold) is spotted near the road, and in the distance there appears to be movement.  Is it really a group of animals, or perhaps mythical creatures created from the dying heat mirages of the day?  Twilight in the Desert can truly be magical!

2012-04-27 - CQJP May - Twilight in the Desert

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We were on the road again in May.  Spring brings so many wildflowers to our nation’s roadsides, it seemed natural to choose “Roadside Flowers” as my CQJP May theme.

2012-04-17 TX, On the Road - Wildflowers in Bloom (4)     2012-04-30 - TX, Scenic Drive, Kerrville-Ingram-Bandera (8)

2012-04-30 - TX, Scenic Drive, Kerrville-Ingram-Bandera (1)2012-04-30 - TX, Scenic Drive, Kerrville-Ingram-Bandera (2)

I originally planned to use many different floral prints, but as I searched for fabrics, they just didn’t seem to coordinate.   I finally chose just two floral prints and 3 shades of green.  I decided to paper piece a fan shape for the block (it seems as if most crazy quilt designs contain random shapes; no matter how I try not to create symmetrically, I seem to keep returning to symmetrical designs), so I laid out the long strips of the  block on paper to use in piecing.

The first TAST stitch of the month, Crossed Buttonhole Stitch was used to embellish the center most seams of the block.  I’ve been surprised to see how decorative variations of the common buttonhole stitch can be.

crossed buttonhole

The next week’s stitch was the Half Chevron, and it embellishes the next two seams on the quilt block.  I like stitching this stitch.

half chevron

On the quilt block, the Bullion stitch was used on the next two  seams with a variegated floss.  As I stitched the seams, I envisioned the stitches as flowers hanging from a vine.  However, as I completed the block, it worked better rotated, and the bullion flowers became upturned.

bullion stitch            bullion stitch rotated

I used the Butterfly Chain Stitch on the next seams of the quilt block, again as flowers, but the blue floss (with yellow centers) I chose to complement the fabric colors, does not show up as well as I’d like.

butterfly chain

I decided to use the Knotted Cretan Stitch to create a simple  variegated green vine running along the last 2 seams of the flowers.

knotted cretan

I used the white on white fabric, common to all my blocks for the quarter circle of the “fan”.  It seemed a little plain, so I added a flower from a lace panel Bernice shared with me.

lace panel

As I had in May, to symbolize our travels, I added a “highway” bias strip to the block.  It was the adding of this element that changed my mind on the orientation of the block, and I turned it 180 degrees from what I originally planned.


As we entered each state in May, I snapped photos of the Welcome signs.


These became the signs on my quilt block

states1      states2

Finally, all that was left to add was a tatted element.  I wanted to use all the floss colors I had embellished the seams with, so I wound 5 bobbins, each with 2 strands of DMC floss.  I used a poster tacky adhesive to stick the 4 flower color bobbins together so they wouldn’t tangle.


I used Sheron Goldin’s pattern, “Mother-In-Law’s Edging” and the same technique as she describes for a double bobbin, except that instead of a double bobbin with 2 thread colors for the flowers, I have 4.

The 4 flower threads are held together and the green bobbin is used to encapsulate them for the core.  In other words, the stitches are not flipped.


As I came to the place for a flower, I removed the bobbin holding the blue thread from those stuck together, and tatted the flower made of rings.


Then, I placed the blue thread bobbin back with the other three, and resumed the encapsulation stitches with the green.   I dropped the 4 flower threads after 12 encapsulation stitches, and added a ring of green between each flower.

Here’s what the edging looked like after a couple of flowers.


Since my embroidery embellishment was symmetrical on the sides from the center out, I placed the edging colors in the same sequence; here’s the finished tatting.


I didn’t bother hiding the thread ends, as they will be included in block side seam later.

And this is the finished “Roadside Flowers”:



We spent the month of June at McCormick’s Creek State Park in Indiana, volunteering as camphosts (a position we’ve had for the past 5 years).  We also had two major family events in June.  A granddaughter and a grandson both graduated from high school.

us at McCormick's

This is a rather lengthy explanation of how I made this month’s block. If you have come just to see a photo of the completed block, it’s at the very end of this post. If you would like to read about the evolution of the block, read on.

I wanted to commemorate both our stay and the graduations in my crazy quilt block.  I finally decided to divide the block into two halves, one for each graduation and somehow have the park running between the two.  It seemed logical to base the park portion on green tree colors, as our campsite is surrounded by trees.

I also wanted to incorporate Alyssa’s school colors, white and purple, and Cameron’s of blue and red, along with their photos, if possible. The question was how to make them all come together?  I finally decided to create a green, leafy mosaic running diagonally down the block and blue on each side.

At that point, hexagons seemed to provide an answer.  I could print the kids’ photo, name, and school symbol each on hexagons.  Then I would make the park mosaic from hexagons slightly smaller.  I would include some park photos as well.

The hardest part of each block for me is always deciding on  the design.  Once I’ve decided, then I really enjoy laying the block out, perhaps even more than its construction.

I used MSPublisher to lay out the block.  I’ve used this program a lot over the years as a quilt design tool.  I found that my 12 1/2” block would hold 18 hexagons in the diagonal part.  The three park photos would be centered.


I had often thought of trying English paper piecing.  This seemed like a good time to try it on a smaller scale than most projects.  I could not get the templates for the hexagons sized precisely enough with Publisher, so I switched to Adobe Photoshop Elements to help there.  Once I had the two exact size hexagons, I duplicated them, and printed them on cardstock.  I also used Photoshop Elements to crop the photos into hexagon shapes.

If you need more information on English paper piecing, you will find a detailed tutorial with explanatory photos  at this site:  Hexagon Paper Pieced Tutorial by Janet M. Davies.

I used Tailor Sew-In Colorfast Sheets to print the photos onto cloth.   For the names and school icons, I used Tailor Print-N-Press Transfer Sheets to print them on my white on white fabric (the one fabric common to all my blocks.

hexagons1     hexagons2

I basted all the individual hexagons to the cardstock forms, then played with the ones for the center until I had them laid out in a pleasing pattern.  Once I saw how I wanted them, I turned them over and numbered the hexagons to correspond with my pattern numbers.   Numbers 3, 10 and 15 would be my park photos.  Then I just pieced them together by number.


I found a denim look fabric swath to use on Cameron’s side of the block, and a pastel star printed blue for Alyssa’s.  These were basted down to the muslin block base.  Pictured to the right of it is the completed green mosaic and those for the graduations.

P1240075       P1240077 copy


After pressing, I removed the cardstock forms.  Before sewing the fabric to the cardstock, I had punched two holes in each form.  I used these holes for the first stitch as I basted the hexagons to the forms.  This was the only stitch that penetrated the cardstock, so now it was a simple task to cut that stitch, and remove the forms by flipping them out with the closed scissors inserted through the larger hole.

P1240080     P1240083

I blindstitched the green mosaic to the block, but before adding the graduation mosaics, I wanted to embroider them with the first TAST stitch of the month, Buttonhole Wheel.  I used it to embellish the center of each three hexagons. Cameron’s presented a bit of a challenge as I wanted to use both red and blue.  I threaded two needles with the colors, and alternated the stitches, simultaneously creating a two buttonhole wheels with the same center.




Now I attached the graduation mosaics to each side.

 The second stitch of the month was the Cable Chain Stitch.  I used a variegated green floss to add the stitch around the perimeter of the center mosaic.

P1240840 (2)a

I liked this stitch, and as I added it to the block, I was reminded of a string of beads.

Usually there are 4 new stitches each month, but June included a “catch-up” week, so the third and last stitch of the month was the Palestrina Stitch.  I found this a hard stitch to master, but finally was able to stitch it rather fluidly.  I love the way it adapts itself to corners and turns.

For the block, I used it to create a border around the graduation mosaics.


All that was left was to add some tatting to the block.  Leaves from the pattern, La Feuille Frivole, by J Paulson was the perfect link to tie the center of the blocks with the side.  I tatted 5 and scattered them on the block.

La Feuille Frivole pattern by J. Paulson

And here’s the June completed block “Hosting and Celebrating Family”.

P1240840 (2)




…In September

Yes, that’s right…  my July block is finished, and I’m only 2 months behind now.  :-)    If you not interested in all the details, you’ll find the photo of the block at the bottom of this post.

If you are a follower of my travel blog, Traveling Dancers, you know that we traveled in the east all summer.  (I’m also behind about a month with posts to it as well).  I didn’t spend as much time on my crafts as usual.

Picture2Before we left for our summer journey, we had Christmas in July with our family in Indiana.  Had a great time.  My CQJP is meant to be a journal of my year, so Christmas in July had to be a part of the block.  I found the pattern, Tatted Christmas Tree on the Be-Stitched website.  I added red, white and blue beads.  This is the tree on my blocking board.

Now the big job was to design my quilt block.  We traveled the full length of the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina and Virginia, during July and the first of August.  The beautiful mountain scenery had to be my focus.

I started with a photo of the mountains.  This is screenshot of the photo inserted into MSPublisher.

photo in Publisher

Next, using the freeform line tool, I sketched over the mountain ranges.  I drew a square box, and moved it over the sketch until I found the section I wanted to portray in the block.

line drawing over photo

Deleting the photo, I was left with this line drawing for a pattern.

pattern for block

Needing a full size 12.5” pattern, I cropped the drawing into quarters and printed each separately.

drawing a    drawing b

drawing c    drawing d

I taped the four prints together, then traced each segment (reversed) of the pattern onto freezer paper.  I ironed each onto my chosen fabrics allowing 1/4” appliqué seam at the top of each and making sure the bottoms would overlap.

Starting with the top piece, I added each part of the block, appliqueing just the top of each, and then removing the freezer paper.  Leaving the paper gave me an edge to turn under the fabric against, helping to shape the curves.  After the appliquéing was finished, this was my block.


While traveling the Blue Ridge Parkway, one of the stops we enjoyed most was at Mabry Mill.  The site contains a reconstructed pioneer village around the original mill.  The view is so iconic, some states have actually stolen the image for their own advertising.

While there, we purchased a bag of freshly ground grits, one of Ron’s favorite foods.

P1250793I noticed the bag was  made of cotton, as  the flour sacks of the early twentieth century.  I thought it would be fun to include it in my block.  After ripping the seams, I colortested it and found that it didn’t fade.  I then cut a rectangle from the front of the bag.


This became the focal point of my block.   Running behind the patch is the “highway” I have used in my months of travel this summer.

Then, using Picasa, I took 4 photos from the month, and gave them an old Polaroid look.  Using Publisher, I added a script font to each to resemble someone having labeled them by hand.  I then reversed the images and printed the photos on Tailor Print ‘n’ Press Transfer paper.  I wanted this as opposed to the printable fabric, as you can get a glossy look to the transfers, making them look more like real photos.


The photos were scattered randomly along the edges of the Mabry Mill patch and appliquéd.  A white on white fabric has been the common factor to all my CQJP blocks.  I cut a circle from it and used it as a background for the tatted Christmas tree.

Finally, I was ready for July’s TAST stitches.  The first, Bonnet Stitch, I used to outline the Mabry Mill section.  I really liked working this stitch.


I also really like the Up and Down Buttonhole Stitch.  I used it along the edges of the “Polaroids” and the Oyster Stitch (which I don’t like) on each corner.


Finally, the Palestrina stitch was used to create a red, white and blue border around the circle containing the tatted Christmas Tree.  To make it tri-colored, I threaded 3 needles with the threads, then took the stitches alternately.


And finally, July is finished, only a little over 2 months late.  Here is the finished block, “Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway”.



Posted in appliqueCQJPEmbroideryQuiltingTAST,Tatting

August CQJP


We continued on with our trip into the Northeast.  After finishing the drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway, we continued up along the Skyline Parkway through the Shenandoah National Park.  As we would be covering so many miles through several states, I decided to show our progress on the CQJP block as a map with the highlights pictured.

Using my Delorme Street Atlas and Photoshop, I created the map.

August Map for blockThe photos are as follows:

Virginia – Skyline Drive;  New York – Country Music Park (where we square danced);  New York – Niagara Falls;  Ohio – Lake Erie; Indiana – Auburn Automobile Museum.

To read about our travels, check our travel blog posts, beginning with theShenandoah National Park – Skyline Drive, and then continue by  clicking on “newer post”  below each post.

I printed the map on Tailor Print ‘n’ Press Transfer paper and transferred it to cloth.  In order not to detract from the  map with a busy pattern, I chose a simple log cabin design using warm and cool colors from nature.  Once I had several solids chosen, I cut them into inch strips and laid them out in a log cabin design.

2012-10-02- CQJP - September Block Planning 2012-10-02- CQJP - September Block Planning-001

The map was bordered with the white-on-white print common to all of my blocks in the set.


Then the highway that has been running through the travel block was sewn in with the first seams.


The August TAST stitches were Algerian Eye, Cast On Stitch, Linked Double Stitch, and Pekinese Stitch.  I worked each one along the bands of color, mirroring each on the opposite corner.  For my tatting this month, I added 5 butterflies from different patterns.August in the Northeast (August)

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Posted in CQJPEmbroideryQuiltingTASTTatting



In September, we began the journey west for the autumn/winter season.  We stopped to visit friends, Allura and Lynn in Kansas, joined friends Bernice (also a CQJP and TAST participator) and Hoyt in Oklahoma, and then Bernice and Hoyt traveled with us to join friends, Rusty and Lovetta in New Mexico.  It was a great way to end our summer of travel, so I decided to dedicate the block to the idea, “The Best Roads Traveled Are Those Leading Back to Friends”.

I hadn’t really done a traditional Crazy Quilt block for the project, so that became my pattern.  Here’s a pictorial record of the block construction:

September Block -001

I chose royal blue and cranberry as my colors for the block.

I folded the patches and played with them until I liked the layout.

September Block -001b

Bernice has a sewing machine with an embroidery feature, so she offered to stitch the names for me.

I printed the phrase on Tailor Sew-In Colorfast Sheets.  It was to be my focal point.  I added a border to it, and started with it in the center of the muslin backing.

September Block -002

Using a stitch and flip method, I began adding the patches.  Most of the edges could be stitched by machine, but a few angled sides had to be blindstitched down after sewing the block.

September Block -003September Block -004September Block -005September Block -006 September block -007September block -008After the block was stitched and trimmed, it was time to add the tatting and TAST stitches.  In keeping with the floral design of the patches, I used one of the embroidery stitches of the month, the Drizzle stitch to form a flower with a button center.  This was an unusual stitch, and not one I’m likely to use again.

drizzle stitch

The remaining stitches, sheaf, pistil and knotted buttonhole, I stitched as highlights for the names.

For the tatting accents, I created hearts and flowers from different patterns.

hearts and flowers1 hearts and flowers2

All that was left was to add the highway running through the block.

Best Roads Traveled (September)

While in Oklahoma and New Mexico, we hiked in the Wichita Mountain Wildlife Reserve and  in the El Morro National Monument.  To read the posts about those locations, see our travel blog, Wichita Mountains and El Morro.


October brought us “home” to Yuma.  In 2007 we sold our place in the country in southern Indiana to live fulltime in an RV.  Our family is beginning to scatter, but many members are still in Indiana.  However, we’ve now spent 7 winters in Yuma, AZ, so it has begun to feel like home as well.

Yuma is a city of contrasts.  RV parks sit next to commercial establishments which exist side by side with the lettuce fields.  Yuma probably grows more lettuce than any other state.

2006-03-02 - AZ, Yuma - Lettuce Fieldsb

The area is low desert, elevation of 200 feet above sea level, yet is bordered by the foothills to the east.

Sunrises and Sunsets can be beautiful. 

2006-03-04 -1- AZ, Yuma - Cactus Gardens - Sunrise  2007-02-11 AZ, Yuma - Sunset

Often at sunrise, you’ll spot hot air balloons in the sky.

I wanted to portray both the foothills and the lettuce fields in my quilt block.  I decided to include hot air balloons as well.

First task, sometimes my hardest, was to choose fabrics.2012 October block (2)

I had thought to do a landscape pattern including the foothills and lettuce fields, but when I began laying it out, there were just too many colors when I included the different shades of green.   I decided to use desert and sunrise colors, but to lay a patch portraying a vintage postcard on top of the block.

This would be a way to show the lettuce fields with a “Welcome Back to Yuma” theme as well.

Using Photoshop Elements, I created my postcard from two photos I had taken earlier, one of the lettuce fields and one of a sunrise (I used the colors of the sunrise to form the fill for the letters of “Yuma”.  I really enjoy playing with Photoshop.  Once I had the design, I lightened it to “age” it and printed it on Tailor Sew-In Colorfast Sheets

AZ, Yuma - Lettuce Fields Vintage Postcard old look_edited-2

Here, I’m still choosing among colors and trying to decide how to create a sunrise effect.  I loved the patch with the cacti, but had a hard time deciding how to make it blend in with the other colors.

2012 October Block-002

It was now time to design the balloons and decide on their placement.  The highway common to my “travel” blocks would come to an end with our arrival in Yuma.

2012 October block-001 (2)

At this point, the colors did not seem to be working well together, and my idea of a sunrise was not coming together.  Trying to decide what I could do to make the fabric colors blend together better, I finally went to the fabric shop and purchased a very sheer apricot organza.  I overlaid it for the top portion of the block, trying to simulate the hazy glow that appears just at the moment of sunrise.  This seemed to be the element I needed to make the block work.  I stitched down the fabrics to the backing.  Here it has not been trimmed at the top yet.

2012 October Block

I wanted to include my white-on-white fabric common to all my blocks, so I cut the balloon fabric from it.  For the baskets, I used cream colored Aida cross stitch fabric.  The TAST stitches for the month would create the design on the balloons.  They were Buttonhole Wheel Cups (balloon on left), Closed Base Needlewoven Picot (Balloon center), Italian Border Stitch, Knotted Loop Stitch (both on right balloon), and Beaded Hedebo Stitch (baskets).

October balloonstatted hummingbird for OctoberOne more element left to include…some tatting.  After quite a bit of thought, I decided to create a hummingbird.  There are always a few flitting around in our park.  A few beads created it’s luminescent wing.  A little bit of glitter paint created sunrays on the organza.

Finally, Yuma Sunrise was complete.

Yuma Sunrise (October)

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As I thought over all the many activities we had engaged in throughout November, I realized it was going to be very hard to choose just a few to highlight for my monthly CQJP block.

I help keep our small RV park library organized by sorting and shelving books.  As the main librarian had not arrived yet, I spent quite a few of my spare hours in November working there.  It occurred to me that I had seen quilt tops portraying book shelves, why not create a bookshelf for my block, with each book representing a different activity.

I love computer graphic design, so this became one of my favorite blocks to design.  Here is a screenshot of some of the early planning on MS Publisher.

bookcase planningI searched online for texture images, and used a different one for each book spine.

texture6 texture7 texture11 texture15

bookcase planning2

Once I had decided on all the book titles, and laid out the books, I had to decide how to incorporate the TAST stitches for the month, and a piece of tatting.  The tatting was easy, as a book worm came to mind.  For the stitches, the Open Base Needlewoven Picot just had to become leaves, so a potted plant would grace a shelf.  The other stitches, Arrowhead stitch, Portuguese Border Stitch, and Magic Chain Stitch became bookmarks, stitched on separate ribbons.

The final planning screen looked like this:

bookcase planning3

In order to create the fabric block, I first found some fabric with a wood grain like print.  I decided it would be too hard to appliqué the books individually, so I decided to print each shelf on Tailor Print ‘n’ Press Transfer paper, then machine pieced the block with strips of the wood grain fabric.  The flower pot was cut of the white on white material common to each block.  I really liked shaping the plant from the Open Base Woven Picot stitch.

P1310745To make the bookmarks, I cut short lengths of ribbon, stitched with the embroidery stitches, then sewed them to blank book spines at the top with a drop of fabric glue at the bottom of the bookmarks.


The bookworm is simple tatted rings

Best Loved Tales (November)

And here is the finished block, Best Loved Tales, with titles such as Autumn in the Desert,Thanksgiving Dinner Shared with Friends, New Friends, etc :

Best Loved Tales (November)

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Posted in CQJPEmbroideryQuiltingTASTTatting




The last CQJP block design, that of December, came easy for me.  How could you have a Journal Crazy Quilt without December’s block being about Christmas?  However, Christmas is rather low key in Cactus Gardens without any family there.  And even though we are not with them at Christmas, the family is much in our thoughts.

I decided to design a Christmas tree with the family portraits as the ornaments.

A couple of years ago, I designed a paper pieced pine tree for a quilting project.  With some small modifications, it would become the basic pattern for the tree.

Original pattern, set on diagonal:

pine tree

After modifying:

pine tree2_edited4


I had decided to use a tatted angel for the top of the tree, so there had to be another background strip added at the top to provide room.  I chose 3 different green prints for the tree itself, and a lighter green print as a background.


In order to incorporate my white-on-white fabric common to all the blocks, I added two packages under the tree.  The embroidery stitches for the month (TAST) were Knotted Cable Chain, Berry Stitch, and Buttonhole Eyelet.

I used the first as red garlands on the tree, and the others as as the bows on the packages.

After finding an appropriate photo for each family member, I cropped them into circles using Photoshop Elements, then grouped them together and printed them on Tailor Print ‘n’ Press Transfer paper.

family photos


It took a while to appliqué each of the photos, but I was pleased with the block when finished.

You Light Up My Life (December)

All of the blocks for 2013 CQJP are now complete.  I’m not sure how I will set them together, or whether they will become a wallhanging or a quilt for the bed.  I have thoroughly enjoyed both the CQJP and TAST challenges, and have learned a lot from each.  This is a photo of the blocks together, pinned to a green covered bulletin board in our rec hall.  Keep in mind, they were designed to be 3 columns wide by 4 rows tall.  The bulletin board’s size would not permit me to display them that way.

2013-03-05 - AZ, Yuma - Cactus Gardens Quilt and Art Show -001


3 thoughts on “CQJP 2012

  1. Pingback: CQJP January and TAST Week 4 | Spare Moments Stitching

  2. What a fabulous set of blocks! Now I see why I felt a connection to you. We have lived a lot of the same life! Until my husband’s death in 2010, we were also full-timers, in a 5th wheel. We alternated wintering in TX with AZ, and summered on our land in SD, traveling in between. I miss that lifestyle, as well as the desert. =)

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