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Tattoo Quilt Finished

I don’t know why but WordPress loaded my pictures backwards so you get to start at the end of the finished tattoo quilt and work your way to the beginning. I made this quilt as a commission for an old friend who wanted a quilt like his tattoo. I loved the colors and the idea so I jumped at the chance even though I normally don’t do custom projects. It was a fun challenge and a lot more difficult and time consuming than I thought it would be. However, I’m really glad I did it because it was a like a really fun puzzle. It was nice to not have to follow a pattern and just see where my artistic license took me. Check it out. 

The Whole Kit n Caboodle Post

I guess. I mean, I don’t know. I haven’t blogged lately because I have so much going on that I have to really focus on. I’m supposed to be talking about quilting and cross stitching so here’s some pictures:

Endless appliqué with frequent cuddle breaks with Janis Joplin the cat  

This Carnival pattern by Carolyn Manning Designs is complete but I intend on getting it professionally framed. Soon. Or someday. Whichever comes first. 

Started Rosie the Rivetor. A kit by Gecko Rouge designed by Point Blank Art and Design. It’s a difficult one. 

I also EPP regularly but hand stitching is slow so we’ll save progress pics for another time. 

I miss my dog. But there’s spring around us so I dip my hands in dirt each day to feel whole, transplanting, seeding, thinning and building. Life moves steadily onward. 

Tattoo Quilt Progress Etc

I have finally made some measurable progress on the tattoo quilt. I initially began by make a gray starry background using very traditional piecing as you’ll see further below. Once this came together, I decided it was way too busy and bought the hand-dyed blue batik background you see behind the sun/moon. 

The fabric colors change depending on the time of day. 

I will use the gray starry quilt as another quilt. My husband says he really likes it but it doesn’t really elicit any excitement from me. Sometimes things don’t turn out like the picture in your head. However, I am very pleased with the sun and moon on the blue fabric. I have some ideas on adding color to the borders so we will see how that turns out. 

I got this Kaffe Fassett top finished. It is so lush and beautiful. I’m still thinking about how I should back and quilt it. Any ideas are welcome. It is quite big. 

I had this grand idea to make potholders and sell them on Etsy. Not so grand actually. These potholders are for sale on Potholders Listing but I’m not excited about selling them. I was really meticulous about the quality and they took me many hours to make so I feel like I’m selling part of my soul for $12.95. If you buy them, you will get a superbly made product that is really gorgeous. 

This is stitched from Carolyn Manning Design’s pattern Carnival. I’m 3.5 pages done of 9. 

I’m hand piecing this quilt using a Tula Pink English Paper piecing kit called Marquise. I am over half done finally. Of the kit at least. 

Kaffe Fassett Quilt and Tattoo Quilt Progress

img_0868I’m working on a commissioned quilt based on a tattoo. The tattoo is a stained glass effect sun/moon. I’m creating a background of stars in different shades of gray (not to be mistaken for anything nefarious). Then I will applique on the sun/moon in the upper right corner. There are 584 squares and rectangles cut for the background (seen above). I’ve started making stars out of these but I don’t have a decent picture yet.


I got my seeds order for my domestic dye garden. I have plans to acquire other plants besides these but for now I have: coreopsis, marigold, yarrow, cosmos, black hopi dye and red hopi dye amaranth.


While I’m at it, I’m also going to plant a mix of perennial and annual seeds for a tea garden. I enjoy a cup or two of tea each evening. I really want to make my own blends so I bought: lemon bee balm, fenugreek, chicory, chamomile, angelica, echinacea, hyssop and lemon something or other. I already have spearmint plants like weeds that are perennials in my garden. I hope these seeds grow like weeds as well.


While making the Tattoo Quilt, I’m also making this Kaffe Fassett quilt. It has a top and bottom border left to add in brown. I’m using the leftover pieces from it to form this wonderful mosaic that is the background for the sun and moon on the tattoo quilt. Sometimes one quilt inspires another.


And now for some gratuitous pics of Janis Joplin. If I sit on the couch to read, she crawls up on my lap and lays on top of my book while pushing her cold wet nose on my chin. I got her to sort of look at the camera then she immediately went back to rubbing her little face on mine.


No quilt I ever make will be 100% free of cat fur. This is what I have to deal with constantly. I don’t mind.

What are you working on or reading? Please share!

Finish It Up Friday

Since the last time I blogged, I have had a few finishes. The first is this Queen Anne’s Lace cross stitch project designed by Nora Corbett for the April 2016 issue of Just Cross Stitch. It was my first time beading in a cross stitch project and I truly enjoyed it. It opened me up to an entirely new sector of the cross stitch world!


Last time I had a finished top and this time I have a finished quilt! I stitched in the ditch for quilting and did a scrappy binding. This is a picture of the quilt after it was washed so it’s all wrinkly, just the way I like quilts! This quilt will be donated to Camp Heartland ( in May. I am doing a quilt and pillowcase drive for 120 camp participants. I have the quilts pretty much covered as I am teaming up with quilters involved with Quilts Beyond Borders. Camp Heartland fits in their mission because they serve kids ages 7-15 experiencing homelessness who have HIV or AIDS. I do need some help with the pillowcases, however. If you want to help, email me at So far I have 24 pillowcases collected. Delivery will be in early May.


And finally, there is one last finish. Charlie, my bestest friend, died last week. He was 12, blind, diabetic and arthritic but otherwise completely happy and the best companion. He had lost a little weight recently but from Sunday to Monday he went from a happy mobile dog making snow angels to unable to walk, eat or drink. After some tests, his doctor said she thought that he had some underlying disease or cancer that he wouldn’t recover from because it was making his diabetes (and many other bodily systems) out of control. I can’t remember all the terms she used. His health had been compromised already from two previous surgeries and he was in so much pain that day. He died in my arms while I was kissing his forehead. It hurts just to write this. I still don’t entirely believe he’s gone. I donated his stuff to the humane society yesterday and I couldn’t even look at other dogs. I think Janis Joplin, our cat, will be going solo for quite a while. Losing a pet is so incredibly painful. I’ve cried more for Charlie (I’m in tears typing this) than I have any human. He was by my side constantly for the last 3.5 years that I’ve had him. He loved car rides, vacations, day trips and walks. His favorite place to be scratched was behind his ears near his neck. He would let out a euphoric groan when you scratched there. His fur was so soft it felt like you were petting a fluffy bunny. He hated wearing clothes and would growl if I tried to put on booties or a jacket on him. He was totally loyal and would only walk with me or my husband. I never boarded him or left him behind in the 3.5 years we were together. We did everything together and my therapist said he could definitely be certified as a therapeutic animal. But he was more than “an animal”. He was Charlie.



My Path to Natural Dyeing

It was, oh, about ten years or so ago that I stumbled across the Leisure Arts leaflet that introduced me to dyeing cross stitch fabric using RIT dyes. That was my first foray into dyeing. It was fun and messy. I loved it. I continued to do it until I moved into this house and no longer had a place to do it.

These days, you can buy (synthetically) hand dyed needlework fabric from Picture This Plus and other places and it is wonderful. But it’s difficult to find *naturally* dyed fabrics. Like tea dyed or specific plants that can be used as a dyestuff. It is easier to find yarns and general fabrics that’s naturally dyed.

So I decided a while ago that I am going to do it myself. At first, I thought I could just wing it like I did with the synthetic dyes. You know, read the back of the package and go to town. But there’s no directions on the back of coreopsis flowers, or dahlias, or eucalyptus, or well…anything that grows out of the ground.

So I read a few books, like The Modern Natural Dyer by Kristine Vejar. I made copious notes. I made lists and bought supplies. I set up a room in my house for dyeing. (Hotplate in transit and not everything pictured).



As I was doing this, I got this harebrained idea that I should do this as a long-term investment and sell my extra dyed stuff and grown supplies to make the investment worth it. So I did all the business-related things to start my own business: picked a name (Tubaville), filed with the state and federal government, got a tax ID, etc.

This is going to be a long-road “hobby” business. To make this fully sustainable, I will be growing and collecting my own dyestuffs. My gardens are going to be amended with dye plants: cosmos, coreopsis, marigold, red hopi dye, black hopi dye, goldenrod, yarrow.

It’s winter here in Minnesota right now so there isn’t much to scavenge but I have gone on hikes to look for oak galls (unsuccessful) and did find a tree of dead birch leaves (successful!). It will be a lot more fun when my world is in full bloom.

Mostly I want to share my adventure with other people. This is a link to our past. Just like small and medium-scale farming has made a comeback, I think it is the same for natural dyeing.

At times, I feel a little overwhelmed like I did when I first started quilting. There is a big learning curve. It is a lot more complicated than the synthetic dyeing I did on my back porch. But the process to get there is rejuvenating and I’m really enjoying it.

Everything I do is tied together. I cross-stitch and use my pieces in quilts. I quilt and hand stitch a lot. And now I will dye the fabric for the cross-stitch again and the circle will be complete.

Quilting and other stitching projects


My goal lately has been to create quilts as art. I’ve made plenty of quilts for snuggling up in and even more to give to good causes. But my house is in need of some decorating. I made the above Typed Quilt from a pattern in Modern Quilter magazine. This is our family room in the basement and it is quite stark in there. Everything is neutrals and my husband said he would like to keep it that way (as opposed to the rainbow explosion we have going on upstairs).


I used all the scraps to piece together a back then I used the scraps from the back to piece together this little corresponding wall piece. The basement looks like someone lives in there now. I also just ordered some art pieces for down there. I’ll share when I get them framed and up. They were done by two artists that I discovered on Etsy. I love Etsy.


I finished this cross stitch piece the other day. It is the pattern Map of Hawk Run Hollow by Carriage House Samplings. It is fairly big 14″ x 14″. It took me a year to do. I purchased a mat and frame this morning so I will share an update when it is hanging up in my house. This is pretty epic for me as I usually just toss my finished cross stitch into a rubbermaid bin and forget about them. Lately, I have been picking patterns specifically for decorating my house. It’s a lot more difficult that way, because nearly everything is cute or folksy. And I am not cute or folksy. I like weird and colorful things. This is partly why I have started learning how to create my own cross stitch patterns.


I am working on a lot of things for a charitable organization called One Heartland. A few times each summer they have a camp at Camp Heartland in Willow River, Minnesota. The camp is special because it is specifically for kids ages 7-15 experiencing homelessness who have HIV or AIDS. Last year I rallied everyone together and we donated over 60 quilts. I am working with Quilts Beyond Borders this year to provide 120 quilts. Plus, I am having a pillow drive to make or purchase 120 pillowcases. Each camper leaves with some basic essentials that they probably don’t have already. Like toiletries and bedding. They use their pillowcases to carry much of their stuff home. The quilt top above is going to camp. An Instagram friend donated the middle main part of the top, I added on the borders and now I’m quilting it with my cat’s help as seen in the picture below.


After I get this quilt quilted and bound, I have a steady queue of projects. More on those in another post!

Thanks for reading!




I LOVE cross stitching. Like L-O-V-E. LOVE!

When I was 15, I was in the middle of a move. My family had most of the house packed up and I was waiting for the moving truck to return. As I was packing earlier, I came across a holly and ivy small counted cross stitch ornament kit. I had set it aside and, now faced with hours before the truck returned, I picked it up.

It felt like I merely blinked once as the hours slipped pass. In a few short hours, the ornament was stitched and the moving truck was ready for another load. I was hooked.

Cross stitching helped me cope through many moves over the following years. It got me through college and into my first home. It was so therapeutic to select colors and fill areas with x’s.

This was pre-internet and I lived in a rural area so in my early years I bought Paula Vaughan books from Walmart and stocked up on DMC floss. I eventually found a cross stitch magazine at a bookstore and entered into the world of mail order (Herschners!).

Now here we are in the middle of the technology and information age! And I want it all! Yet I am still finding gaps in what I am looking for even though I have the world at my fingertips. Gradually, I hope to fill those gaps.

I will naturally dye needlework fabric and design patterns that I can’t find anywhere else. I want patterns that are scary, weird, exciting and totally different. I want to create stuff that isn’t pretty or cute, that is challenging, that explores artistic concepts. This is only the beginning…