Monday, September 24, 2012

Secret Pal Fun!

One of the small groups that I am in is called "Rather Bees", short for "I'd Rather Be Quilting", shortened more to "Bees". This group has been around for over 20 years and it is still going strong! We have about 21 members when we all show up, and the regulars are about 6-16. It's a fun group. We take over someone's house each Tuesday night and have fun visiting and stitching. Those who want to participate draw names for Secret Pals and we leave secret gifts for our pal now and then throughout the year. We also celebrate the Zero Birthdays big in this group!

Well, this January, I turned one of those big Zero birthdays and my pal asked each member of the group to bring a card along with a few fat quarters and 4 1/2" cut squares. I opened each card and stash of fabric with joy and at the end, one of the girls said she was to gather them all back and my secret pal would take it from there...well, at our Valentine's party about 3 weeks later, this is what I received! Drumroll please..............

It is big enough to cover the top of my king sized bed! WOW! What a thrill ! Thanks Secret Pal, whoever you are! In the package was the scraps and a rhyme that basically said since I like to do appliqué so much, she couldn't wait to see what I designed for the borders! What fun... By the next week I had several borders sketched off, taking ideas from some of my favorite books. We all took a vote and the border shown below in the book, Stars All Around Us, by Cherrie Ralston, won hands down! You can see my sketches and directions for the pieced top, Scrappy Hourglass, from the magazine Sew Scrappy: Quilts for Fabric Lovers, Vol 2. To make things a bit more special, I found out my good friend, Mary Helen Schiltz was a contributing editor for this magazine. But I know she is not my Secret Pal, so I am still trying to figure that out...

Since I have finished all my current projects, I decided it was time to get started on these borders. First I need to make enough hourglass blocks to add 24" to the quilt length so that it can be tucked under my mattress. So I went digging in my stash for a bit more fabric... Ooops! There was an avalanche!


Soooo, I did a little organizing after digging deeper and choosing the fabrics I needed! LOL
This Pattern calls for you to lay the light and dark squares together and draw a line down the center. Ask any quilter who knows me and they can tell you that I always say I am not a piecer! I look for shortcuts anywhere that I can find them. See below for the shortcut to avoid drawing that line. I used a small ruler laid from corner to corner and kept the point lined up with the ruler as I stitched.

So far it is working good! I will keep you posted as I go along. I'll stitch these 192 blocks for a while and try to get started on the appliqué to work on now that football season has begun! It's great bonding time with the hubs. Once I get started on the appliqué, I will show you what I get accomplished.

Have a great evening, & take care,



  1. Wow it's beautiful, can't wait to see the finished project!

  2. Looks like your secret pal is taking very good care of you. I have participated in secret pal type trades and have always had good luck. But I know people who haven't.

  3. What a wonderful surprise and I can't wait to see your borders.
    It is going to be so nice to have something that fits your bed and a reminder of the wonderful friends in your group.


  4. Wowee! that is a fabulous quilt from your secret pal.
    20 years! that is so great that you all get together.
    Looking forward to watching your progress.

  5. What a fantastic birthday gift. Since you say you are always looking for ways to increase the speed of your quilting I wanted to suggest one of the few useful quilting tools I have bought and actually use all the time. It is called the Angler 2 and costs about $8. It is a small piece of platic that you align with the needle of your sewing machine and lets you skip the line drawing for HST. It does what you accomplished with the ruler, but is secured to the throatplate of your machine and much easier to follow the line. You can chain sew really fast. You still need to watch your fingers and pay attention, but you never have to draw a line again. Just thought I would let you know a way to get through the piecing more painlessly.

  6. love your scrappy hourglass quilt and lucky you not having to sew it together! This is still one of my favorite quilts I have made, I love going back and looking at all the fabrics! applique borders are going to be wonderful and funny thing is Cherie is a friend, I love the idea of combining them both!
    good luck and show us when your done!