Gravity Quilt 1

Gravity Quilt 1

The first Gravity quilt got a 4 hour session on the longarm quilting machine, and thanks to a threading mishap, I had to rip out 2.5 of the diamonds and redo them at home on my machine. I also had to finish the black to light grey areas of the quilt on my own machine, which was quite the upper arm workout.

In lessons learned, I did not trim the extra batting before removing the quilt from the longarm machine. BIG MISTAKE. The quilt ended up coated in lint that was hard to remove.

Quilt Started: September 2016.
Quilt Finished: January 31, 2017

This quilt is one of my Q1 finishes, for the 2017 FAL. See my Q1 list here.

Posted by Opal in Quilting
2017 FAL – Q1

2017 FAL – Q1

I hate clutter. Despite my attempts to keep my quilting projects corralled, the fabric and other supplies are stocking up. Therefore, I’m taking part in the 2017 Finish-A-Long to try to get a whole lot of space back.

This list is way too big for Q1. Probably even for the first half of the year! I figured I’d just make the big list and work my way through it. Maybe I can surprise myself.

1. Gravity Quilt A (done)

This one’s due February 1, so it MUST be finished!
The top is assembled, this is waiting on my longarm quilting appointment.

Gravity Quilt Top

2. Gravity Quilt B (done)

This one’s more flexible, but I’m also making it due February 1, so it MUST be finished!
The top is assembled, this is waiting on my longarm quilting appointment.

The OTHER Gravity Quilt Top

3. Romy’s One Block Wonder Quilt (done)

This one’s a birthday gift due in June. I’d like to have it done in Q1 so I’m not scrambling.

One block wonder

4. Karen’s Log Cabin Quilt

Started in 2000 by Karen, it’s languished in a closet for about 16 years … then it moved to my house to be procrastinated on here! Karen comes home in June, so I’d like to get this one done before she returns.

Some of the blocks are done

Some of the blocks are done

5. Rainbow Quilt 2

I have so much left over from the first rainbow quilt that I figured I would make a second one. I have about 50% of the blocks assembled. Part of the problem with this one is figuring out what layout to use for the HST blocks. I think I may stick with classic zigzag.

Just playing around with different layout options … which leads to too many options!

6. Mom’s Stash Quilt, #3

Quilt 1 and 2 were so loved that a third is requested. Mom’s stash of fabric is still going, even after making King and Queen quilts… maybe the third will be the end of the suitcase of fabric?

Mom’s Stash

7. Night Sky Quilt

I loved this quilt the moment I saw it. I bought the fabric for a Queen quilt and then did nothing. Time to fix that!

Night Sky

8. Blue Lucky Star Quilt

I bought all of the fabric to make the quilt top for a friend. Then he stalled and so did I. I want to get it done and out of storage.

Blue Lucky Star Fabrics

9. & 10. Gravity Quilt C & D

I had so much fun with the Gravity Quilts I decided to make more. I bought the Kona kits… which are now hogging valuable storage space.

More Gravity Quilts

11. Star Table Runner for Karen (done)

7′ long Christmas runner. Due for when Karen comes home in June.

Another Table runner in fabric only

12. Branches Table Runner for Karen

7′ long Christmas runner. Due for when Karen comes home in June.

Branches table runner

13. Star Table Runner for family

Christmas runner. Due for spring.

Half-finished table runner

14. Lotus Palette Table Runner Quilt Kit

OK, can we be honest? I hate this project. The applique makes me want to fly to pieces. I need this table runner out of my life!

Matti with the only completed block

Posted by Opal in Quilting
String Quilt

String Quilt

Mom's Stash String Quilt

Mom’s Stash String Quilt

Early in 2016, I started a quilt for a friend. She’d inherited part of her Mom’s stash of fabric and was looking for a way to turn it into a quilt. The fabric that wasn’t Christmas themed was mostly pale purple and pink.

The pair of us scoured pinterest, and eventually found some string quilts. So I started hacking away at the stash. The fabrics didn’t really go together, so the string quilt was a way to make it all gel. We choose black to make the diamond pattern, since a bold neutral was the only way to override the riot of colour.

I can’t honestly say how much fabric this quilt took, since I was dealing with random yardage from a stash, as well as my own cutoffs from other projects. This quilt is an excellent scrap buster; you can use random pieces or carve up yardage, it doesn’t matter.


  • 15″ square ruler
  • Rotary cutter and mat
  • A variety of fabric for the top, including one main sash colour (this tutorial assumes black)
  • Batting
  • Backing


  1. Cut a variety of fabric into 8″ strips. These strips build the strips between the squares. I trimmed to 7.5″, so anything between 7.5″ and 8″ is fair game. Since I was using yardage, I cut my strips at 2″ x 8″. The odd cutoff from my own stash was larger or smaller than 2″ wide, but in general the strips were uniform.
  2. Sew a random selection of strips together to make a 21″ long band of fabric. Use a standard, scant 1/4″ seam allowance and press to one side.

    Step 2: assemble 8" strips into 21" long pieces

    Step 2: assemble 8″ strips into 21″ long pieces

  3. Trim the strips to 7.5″ wide. Then, cut the corners by aligning the square ruler so that diagonal points meet the center of either end of the strip:
    String quilt, trimmingTrimmed block center
  4. Add 2.5″ wide black bands to the long sides of the strip.
    Block center with black bands
    Cheater tip: I used 2.5″ strips because I wanted my binding to be black as well. This way I could cut my black fabric up and not worry about leftover strips, because I would use it as binding.
  5. Continue adding fabric to the black bands, checking with the ruler lined up to the points you trimmed to be sure you’re adding enough to complete the square. I like pressing and trimming as I add each band so that I’m sure it works. When you’re done adding fabric, your block will look something like this:
    Completed string block
  6. Align your blocks with the black sashing in alternating directions to create the squares:
    Laying out string quilt
    Try to keep identical fabrics away from each other as you layout your quilt to keep the randomness going. When sewing a row together, ensure your black sashing lines up:
    Align black sashing
  7. Once the quilt top is assembled, sandwich and quilt as desired. Bind with the remainder of the 2.5″ black fabric.
Posted by Opal in Quilting
Lucky Star Quilt

Lucky Star Quilt

Early in 2016, I spotted someone’s Sparkle Plenty baby quilt on pinterest. I decided to make one myself, with the goal of selling it on Etsy.

However, when I started posting photos on Facebook, one of my friends fell in love and asked me to make it fit their queen bed.

To expand the quilt, I used this nifty online tool called Grid Paint to try layouts. After playing for awhile, I decided to make the stars grow like ripples in water: the white space grows as you move away from the center of the quilt.


  • Northcott Artisan Spirit Shimmer Chips – Pansy (purple stars)
  • Northcott Artisan Spirit Shimmer Chips – Sunglow (yellow star)
  • Bright White Muslin


Lucky Star Quilt

Lucky Star Quilt

Lucky Star Quilt in progress

Lucky Star Quilt in progress

Posted by Opal in Quilting

Impatient bunny

The thing about having constant red blotches on your face is that you just cannot stand waiting one more minute for them to go away. And so, we run from one “cure” to the next, in search of the miracle that will just make it stop.

(Really, this applies to most pain points in life, not just acne.

I know this, and yet I just spent 10 minutes looking online for something to magically make those giant spots on my chin vanish.

The current solution of jojoba oil 2-3x a day and sometimes manuka honey is working. I know that. But some part of me wants “working” to mean “wave a magic wand.”

Rome wasn’t built in a day. Skin doesn’t heal that quickly either.

Meanwhile, I hit my calorie target for the day AND managed to put spinach in my morning shake without disgust.

And so, I shuffle off to the bathroom sink with honey stuck to my chin, and I leave you with a pair of adorable bunnies. I would really like a bunny of my own.

Posted by Opal in Acne

Spots and stripes

I have a little problem with my skin. I’ve been pretty secretive about it over the years, which is pretty pointless given that it’s in full display for anyone who looks at me. I have acne.

It’s waxed and waned for over 20 years (nothing makes me feel older than the fact that I can now say “over 20 years since…” on a number of subjects), but the absolute worst points coincide with high stress situations.

The best my skin has been in my life is when I was doing a Fitness Bootcamp two summers ago and was actually eating both sufficient calories and lots of protein. It cleared right up and looked fantastic. But then stress hit and I slowly slid off of my new dietary habits. Now it’s 2 years later, I have what looks like only a few breakout spots. However, what is less glaringly red and 10x more painful is the cystic or nodule spots, and I’m now starting to scar.

For the last week I’ve been experimenting with Tracy’s jojoba oil cleaning method. It works. No, really. I have a whole lot of lumps and bumps that have vanished, and new nodules/cystic spots have taken 2-3 days to vanish instead of months.

I have noticed an increase in breakouts, and worse, I’ve gotten 3-4 cystic spots this week alone, but the healing is going so much more smoothly that I’m going to stick with it for a month before making any rash decisions.

I’m also trying manuka honey, which is REALLY when the new outbreak started gaining speed. I’ve taken a break from it for the last few days.

I’ve noticed that the nights when I have the best results are when I apply the oil, massage firmly, then use hot water on a quartered facecloth and hold it over the troubled areas until it starts cooling. I repeat the hot water thing 3-4 times, then pat with a towel to dry. That little bit of heat seems to push my skin to accept more of the oil.

I also need to ‘fess up that I’ve been very impatient with my skin and perhaps overdoing things in hopes I could accelerate the process. I’ve used a number of exfoliation methods in the last week, because I could SEE the sebum releasing in my skin and the fact that it was so visible but not gone was driving me crazy! I think it’s ok to exfoliate as long as it’s gentle. Gentle. That’s the keyword.

Next up is getting fully onto the eating bandwagon. I’ve been tracking my food with Spark People again, and was a little horrified at how little I’ve been eating – especially since I thought I was getting better about it. It’s no wonder my skin refuses to clean up: I think my diet was 800-1000 calories for most of the winter. You just survive on that kind of intake. You don’t heal or thrive.

The current target is 1650 calories per day while maintaining my water intake – I realized about a month ago that I was drinking water instead of eating. Whoops.

I’ve ordered 25lbs of good quality protein powder from Canadian Protein to help with this – it’s currently sitting at the local Canada Post outlet awaiting pickup. I know whole food is the better solution, but I also know that getting calories *in* is the big first hurdle. So until this whole thing becomes routine enough that I can switch to 4-5 meals rather than 3 meals and 2 snacks, protein shakes are the best choice.

Now, speaking of food … it’s after 1pm and I should really find some lunch before I delay myself into skipping another meal.

Posted by Opal in Acne