How about some cross-hatching to start the New Year

Happy New Year! Happy to be back at my quilting frame. I have had my Mom’s Iris quilt on the frame for two and a half years now and it is my priority quilting project for 2016.


Because I have been away from the frame for two months (at least!), my body is not in the groove of the frame….I limited my time today to an hour and a half; I was able to get a bit done on the purple flower on the right-hand side of the quilt.

I am using an outline stitch around and inside her beautiful embroidery. Then I am cross-hatching the background of the white squares. Cross-hatching is a traditional, go-to filler pattern and an easy choice for a quilt like my Mom’s. I begin by measuring the edge of each side of the quilt block I am currently working on, marking the mid-point with my trusty #2 pencil.

These are the only marks I make on the white blocks.

Here is where I use one of my favorite quilting tools ~ painter’s tape.  It has less adhesive than masking tape; it comes in 1-inch rolls, if you hunt around for it at standard paint stores [Note – the big box lumber stores I shop at no longer carry this size tape. I take a ruler with me when I shop for tape anymore. When I can’t find the one-inch tape, I will buy wider tape and then cut it into one-inch strips, using my quilting rulers and an old rotary blade in my rotary cutter].

Using my tiny pencil marks to line up my painter’s tape, I start quilting, following the edge of the tape. I try not stretch my arms too far so I can save my shoulders for another day of quilting.

Just keep moving the tape, lining it up with the last line you stitched until it no longer sticks on the fabric.  [I have been known to unstitch a line of cross-hatching if I find I did not line up accurately with the previous line of stitching.]


The cross-hatching begins when you stitch across your first lines of stitching.


A quilting choice that I made a month ago for this quilt is to wait and stitch the machine embroidered flower rectangles in a lap hoop after I finish the main portions of the quilt. These are a bear to needle, due to many layers of fabric and stabilizer, and the thought of quilting them in the frame just depressed me. They kept me from sitting down to quilt at the frame at all. So, I have put these areas off until later.

Going to organize my sewing room and write some Christmas cards this afternoon before going to a Board meeting at the College.

Quilt on, friends!!



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Getting ready for 2016

Winter is my time to think through my many projects. This time round, I’m trying to plan out what really needs to get done and to give myself some deadlines so the projects actually get done!


As a retired person, I have found that giving myself the “job” of quilting has really helped me move projects from the hobby stage to the finished and out of the house stage. It is a great job, by the way. And I feel productive ~ I was teaching half day kindergarten when I retired and now I try to “work” at quilting half a day for at least five days a week. This includes my “must do” projects, my UFO projects and my teaching preparation projects. I then have my hobby projects ~ the #2 and #3 items on the above chart ~ that eventually move to “must do” projects ~ #1 column items. My hobby projects do have to share time with volunteering at the Orma J. Smith Natural Science Museum, birding, Women’s Circle, charity quilts, reading, blogging, gardening, and housework, etc.

Better get to work!

Billie the Barefootin’ Quilter

~ wearing her slippers on this cold, winter day!!!

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Summary for 2015

We have had a wonderful year!


So many places visited, so much sewing accomplished and so many new experiences.

I started teaching hand quilting, hand piecing and applique this year at Cindy’s Quilt Shop in Caldwell, ID.

I began and finished a small quilt for the American Quilt Study Group‘s 2015 Circa 1825 Challenge. Hand pieced, hand quilted and finished in time to send off for viewing in Indianapolis in September. I was perplexed when it was returned without judging notes, though; the quilts entered into this competition did not get to travel as promised, either. I still like it and will enter into the Boise Basin Quilters 201 show this next September.

I figure I invested about 300 hours in this 39″ x 39″ wall hanging.

I also worked with our local quilting group, Syringa Quilters, to put together and finish a quilt for one of Caldwell’s biggest supporters, Bill Crookham. Quilt

Christmas brought two more quilts to finish for grand babies, Bailey and Caleb Cook.

With  adding in time for trips to Hawaii, Los Angeles, Bishop, Clarkston, Anatone, Minnesota, West Virginia and Salt Lake City, it is amazing that so many projects actually were finished.

I also am the secretary for the Board of the  Orma J. Smith Natural History Museum and have become one of their Outreach Specialists.

Birding is my other passion. Hoping to spend much more time studying birds as well as observing them in the field.

Steve and I also host several families on Wednesday night for dinner. Love our community dinners to recharge in mid-week!!

Hoping to post weekly here in 2016 and focus on the process of quilting more than just the finished projects. Happy New Year, friends!



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Spring has come too early here!!!

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The weather has warmed up quickly here in the Treasure Valley and so has my quilting schedule. My little quilt constructed with fabrics from the In the Beginning line called “Circa 1825” has been accepted into the next round for consideration for the American Quilt Study Group 2015 Challenge.

I work on this everyday now. It has to be quilted, bound and photographed for submission before July 15, 2015. I have fallen in love with this little quilt I call “Job’s Tears En Pointe“.

So, of course, the warm weather has also inspired me to complete Steve’s quilt, and I work some on it about every two or three days:


Then there is the “pass the bag” applique project for Applique Society.


And classes to prepare to teach:

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Intermediate Hand Quilting, Let’s Make a Hawaiian Quilt, Appliquéing Stems and Circles,

Hand Piecing and English Paper Piecing. Whew!!!!!

Plus, I really am continuing work on Mom’s Iris Quilt


and repairing a top for my good friend, Susan Lemrick!

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Lucinda Ann Dunham’s legacy quilt

My great-great grandmother, Lucinda Dunham Freeman, was having another baby in 1850. Lucinda had followed her husband, the Rev. Azel Freeman, from small town to small town throughout the Ohio Valley for almost five years, setting up housekeeping and then packing it back up.  Now they were in Paducah, KY, and she was expecting again, at the age of 28. Her first born, Charles, was just a year old. So now,  she was making a new quilt for her new baby. She chose the quilt block named for President Harrison.


And she used overdyed, green solid material for her tiny triangles.


So, there is a written note that has been passed down along with this quilt that contains this story: ” Finished quilt September 25, 1850, the night William Prescott Freeman was born.”  William Prescott was my great grandfather; his son, Azel Thomas Freeman, was the father of my dad, Dell William Freeman. My son carries on the family name – Andrew Azel Farley.

The feather border is known as a Durham Running Feather. The whole quilt was referred to as a Harrison quilt.

Barbara Brackman’s blog on Civil War quilts featured the process of overdyed green solid fabric from this period of American history here.


I wish I had a picture of Lucinda. I have looked through some of the family archives but one hasn’t surfaced yet. The quilt is showing it’s age and I hope to make a reproduction of it in the near future.

Happy Quilting!!!

Billie Farley

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Quilting Angles and Squares

I began quilting spirals on Steve’s Angles and Squares quilt the day after Christmas and have been thrilled at the ease and speed of progress on this project!!DSC01298

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I am very happy and off to quilt some more!!! (Be sure to click on the pictures to enlarge them so you can see the stitching better!!)

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Angles and Squares – Steve’s Christmas Quilt


Merry Christmas, dear readers! And a Merry Christmas to my dear husband, Steve Smith!!! Guess what Santa brought him?!!! Of course, a new quilt!!!!

And of course, it wasn’t done by the 25th. He got to unwrap the basted sandwich version of his quilt but he didn’t mind. He was, and still is, thrilled to have his very own quilt….a first for him!!!

I started piecing the squares after finding a picture of a top that I thought he would love in Roberta Horton’s book, Plaids and Stripes: The Use of Directional Fabric in Quilts (1990: C&T Publishing). pg. 70.

I drafted my “8 block on graph paper then started cutting out pieces from fat quarters and scrapes of plaids, stripes and mountain related prints which I have collected and kept in my stash over the years for just such a project. Math became an issue when I realized I had cut many of my large triangles too small and ended up squaring up my blocks to be 8″ unfinished – 7.5″ finished. (The book has template for a finished 6” block).  Then I needed to figure out how many blocks I would need to make as well as how many half blocks to make, so I also drew up a blueprint of my top with borders.

I was so glad that I had a weekend retreat to build the top in October. It really was a fabulous feeling to have a completed, pieced top done in such a short time and it was still a mystery to Steve!!!!


The borders went on the week of Christmas and I spent several days basting the quilt sandwich together on the floor of my sewing room. Crawling around on the floor turned out to be good for me — it really loosened up my knees!!!I am now quilting it and having a grand time of it. It took a bit of thinking to decide what design I would use so I did some previewing of designs before making my decision. Here are my preview supplies:

  • a dry erase marker
  • a length of clear plastic yardage (I got mine at JoAnn’s in the upholstery section)
  • a cardboard tube
  • a rubber band
  • tissues or a clean rag


I laid the clear plastic over my quilt top and tried out various ideas by drawing them with the dry erase pen.


The marks come off clean when wiped with a tissue or clean rag. If left to dry on the plastic, water will remove them, also. Once cleaned, I store the plastic for future use on the cardboard tube.


I decided to do spirals in a free hand way. My quilting supplies include:

  • embroidery needles (Colonial Needles in a Big Stitch package selected by Pepper Cory)
  • Perle cotton thread #12
  • empty pill bottles
  • a 14″ hoop
  • thimble
  • finger glove grips
  • embroidery scissors


I use the pill bottles to carry around my thread. I poke a hole in the top to dispense my thread easily — never have to look for the end and it doesn’t roll away from me! I use a tooth pick to thread the perle cotton through the hole in the lid.

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I love the way it is project is quilting up!!! And it is so much fun to use a larger stitch and thread!!!



Bring on winter!!! I will be quilting!!! Merry Christmas all!!!

Billie, the Barefootin’ Quilter

Posted in Big Stitch, Quilt study, Quilts | 2 Comments

Getting Ready to Retreat…..

I am getting ready to go on a Quilter’s Retreat this weekend with ladies from Cindy’s Quilt Shop. We are packing up our sewing machines and projects to sew and bond together up in the mountains of Idaho at the Ashley Inn in Cascade. The air should be moist with the predicted rain and the trees will be just finishing up their colors but it should be a fun weekend.

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My list of possible projects has had to be reduced to just four…Angles and Squares...hoping to finish piecing the mostly plaid blocks together into the top and cut & attach on the four borders….


….. a stripy challenge quilt top, made from a jelly roll, that is part of the retreat


…..applique blocks for the cabin quilt and bind my summer sampler lap quilt.


I’ll also participate in the Christmas fat quarter game on Saturday night.


I have also thrown in several packets from my All American Star project as well as the Christmas quilt I am hand quilting.

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Know I won’t get everything done (or even worked on) but I don’t wish to get bored or run out of things to do!

Still have laundry to do plus some more prep to do on the bead pieces for the cabin applique quilt. Never a dull moment here!!!


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A Pleasant Surprise from Boise Basin Quilters 2014 Quilt Show

You could have knocked me over with a feather yesterday when my girl friend texted me with the news that my brown, eight-pointed star quilt, that I call Autumn in Tokyo, received a blue ribbon for the Nita Sale Award for Best Hand Quilted Quilt in the         Boise Basin Quilters 2014 Quilt Show. I also received in the mail today a label for the quilt:                                                IMG_0695

The jury is still out about attaching it to the quilt itself as the quilt was a gift to my dear friend, Cheryl Marshall. I am leaning towards keeping the label and blue ribbon and storing with a series of photos of the quilt, as well as some fabric samples, in a special scrapbook or treasure box.

Here are a few close-ups:


The finished product.



I used the printed Japanese fabric to inspire my quilting motifs.

Brown quilt magazine picture 2

This is where I got my inspiration to make this quilt.

I am still stunned!


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The Process Pledge

I recently found a wonderful blog, Fresh Modern Quilts: blog home of Rossie Hutchinson, and was introduced to The Process Pledge. Here is her thinking:

“I [Rossie] have made a process pledge.  The goal of the process pledge is to create a new sensibility in quilting blogs where we don’t just show finishes or occasionally confess about our moments of indecision, but chat openly and often about our works in progress, our inspirations, and our moments of decision. I know that many of us are already posting about our thinking on quilts and the processes involved from start to finish, let’s do more!  And let’s post about quilts as we work on them.  I want to see more half-done quilts, not just the finished thing with a journal entry about the process.”

So, here is my signed pledge:

 I, Billie Farley, pledge to talk more about my processes, even when I can’t quite put them in the in words or be sure I’m being totally clear.   I’m going to put my thinking and my gut feelings out there. 


So, what have I been doing for the past month? My Summer Sampler is close to being done. All nine sampler blocks are quilted at the basic level…just want to add details to three of the blocks…..maybe four. I have two of the four outer borders done and much of the sashing.

summer quilt 2014 close up 2

I have decided to keep pushing on with the hand quilting in spite of my SQD (Seasonal Quilting Disorder). There is a fall quilt in the works…a Shadows and Light quilt for Steve to wrap up in at home along with Strings of Beads setting blocks to go into our bed at our new-to-us mountain cabin . I also have great hopes for finishing my long-neglected Christmas quilt this upcoming yuletide season! (Not to mention the on-going Farmer’s Wife Sampler blocks and my All-American star blocks!)

Lots to look forward to this Autumn!


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