Down the Quilting Rabbit-Hole, With Llama In Tow

The GiveAway Llama Speaks….just a little lower on the page. Read on, lovely reader, read on…we promise you there will be Llama Drama. Part of the Drama is: How exactly does a Llama fit down a rabbit hole? Inquiring minds wish desperately to know.

Quilts: Crack for the middle-class crafter

I used to be a quilter. Took all the classes, including the super-precise block-pattern drafting class where we used protractors and radial grids to ensure the perfect points and Y-seams. I showed my quilts at conferences. I bought fabric like it was candy. I looked carefully for The Perfect Backing Fabric each and every time.

Sara's Flying Triangles, by Sandi Wiseheart. Hand-pieced and hand-quilted, completed Nov 1993.  Exhibited at juried and non-juried conference galleries.

Sara’s Flying Triangles, by Sandi Wiseheart.
Hand-pieced and hand-quilted, completed Nov 1993.
Exhibited at juried and non-juried conference galleries.

So, I used to be a quilter.

That, apparently, is like saying I used to eat chocolate, or I used to love cats.

Apparently, quilting does not leave your blood just because you sold your fabric stash, stored away your (three) sewing machines, hid your quilting books in the basement, and all the quilts you made have either been given away or stored in acid-free paper in a moth-proof bin in A Safe Place.

I know, because I tried all that.

Then one day, I went to a meeting of the Anglican Church Women (ACW) and helped hand-quilt a king-sized quilt. This was to be a Prize Quilt, a quilt to be raffled off [more info on this below!] to raise money to restore (and make safe!) our historic bell tower. I spent about three hours helping to hand-quilt one of the blocks, and by the time I left I was seduced back into the land of 1/4″ seams and blocks that fit together to tell a wee story.

Down the rabbit hole, Alice…

First, I started with the fabrics. Like this:

pretty fabric

and these:

roll of rainbows

and also this:

b and w butterflies fabric

For the sake of my modest soul, I shall stop there. Let us just say merely that I have once more obtained a wee stash of Very Pretty Fabrics.

And to get my skills back from the darkest depths of memory (the last quilt I did is the one above, finished in 1993), I purchased a couple of beginner-level quilting kits, the kind that result in sweet homey wall-hangings, the kind with painfully clear instructions, the ilk where you feel like if you go to another quilter’s home, you’ll find the exact same charming wall hanging or bed-cover.

However, practice is good for everyone, and I was determined to start off with A Beginner’s Mind, open and willing to learn new good habits and unlearn any bad ones.

Here’s just a couple of the quilts I’ve been working on:

Woolly Sheep Quilt Pattern
Kit bought online

As always, my work must be closely supervised at all times.

As always, my work must be closely supervised at all times.

AAAnnnndddd…..I may have gotten a wee bit ahead of myself and bought a kit for a queen-sized quilt. I was thinking of it hanging in our stairwell…or not.

Kit: Xanadu
Purchased on

It has colours. And rainbows. And that is absolutely all I need to say in my own defense.

xanadu kit

So. I know I’m in trouble…but I simply cannot help myself.

Actually, I am not resisting very hard, as you can see. Reason: I think it is an excellent idea for crafters to switch media, to switch genres if you will, in order to revisit Beginner’s Mind. When you see things as a beginner would see them, your mind isn’t cluttered by all the posts on Ravelry about the merits or coolness of this or that, or the inevitable This Is The One True Way You Do It.

I don’t think it is weird that I’m choosing rainbow, or gradient, fabrics to play with as I restart my quilting habit. I’ve been working with colour in my knitting, and in my batt-making, and I have so many preconceptions and preferences and Opinions that I can’t seem to break out of the purple/rose/green/blue trench I work in. Fabrics treat colours in completely different ways than hand-dyed yarns, for example. And combining these different sorts of colours in an unfamiliar media means I don’t have a clue what I’m doing…so I just do what I want with what I have.


I still want to finish my Hiro sweater by Rhinebeck, however.

The Llama Says: Shut Up and Get Back to the Prizes

Yes, Ma’am Llama.

For your winning pleasure, Ma’am Llama and I have two prizes for you this week: a book of 10 tickets (10 chances!) to win the lovely Bell-Tower-Saving Quilt, and, of course, some pretty yarn. Leave a comment on THIS post to have a chance to win. I will close the comments at early o’thirty on Monday AM, and announce the winners shortly thereafter.

Let’s Talk Yarn-Winning

Ms. Llama would like to give away some yarn. I haven’t properly scoured my stash for the goodies I have bought for you here and there during my many adventures this summer, but I did find this gorgeous skein of yarn for you:

giveaway Iron Horse yarn

I purchased this hand-dyed skein at Iron Horse Yarns/Fibres/And More in Natick, MA. The yarn was dyed by Deborah Smith, the proprietor of Iron Horse. (There may or may not be other goodies in with the yarn. I just do what the Llama tells me to do.) As far as the yarn goes, it is delightful. I may or may not have walked away from that shop with a double-digit haul of her hand-dyed skeins. (WHAT? They’re not for me, they’re for a colourwork sweater requested by my Loving Adorable Spousal Unit. NO, REALLY.)


Follow the Rules of Llama Engagement, leave a comment ON THIS POST BELOW, and you’re in for a chance to win the yarn!

(Disclaimer demanded by lawyerfolk: I don’t work for or with Deborah; I’d never met her before the yarn-purchase. The yarn wasn’t a gift from her; I bought it specifically as a prize for the Llama to get all excited about. There. Whew.)

Because we are giving away two very different prizes, please specify in your comment which prize you’d prefer, in some clever way, of course. (Perhaps just leaving a comment that succinctly says “Yarn” or somesuch.) Yes, you may put both Yarn and Quilt if you wish to have a chance at both prizes. No, you cannot win both prizes. One prize per gentle reader.

Now For The Quilt-Winning!


Here’s a picture of The Bell Tower Quilt spread out on a bed…the bed is queen-sized, but the quilt itself is king-sized.

The Auction Quilt, Christ Church, Bolton

I’ve made an online gallery with close-ups of each square and a PDF of the history of this part of Caledon’s heritage. It’s a rather homey account, but fascinating.

This is the Bell Tower we need to repair. The inside walls of the top section where the bell is, are crumbling due to time and weather. The bell itself is still in the tower, but cannot be rung because its support has fallen due to the instability of the inner walls.

This is the Bell Tower we need to repair. The inside walls of the top section where the bell is, are crumbling due to time and weather. The bell itself is still in the tower, but cannot be rung because its support has fallen due to the instability of the inner walls.


Feel free to skip this part if you don’t like this sort of thing.

There’s a raffle! You can win that pretty quilt above! Yes, even from Qatar or Germany or wherever you are! (I think the exception is Quebec, for some legal reason. I’ll check on that if I draw any names from that province.)

P.S. If you win and you are from Away, I am going to donate the postage to mail your prize to you.

As I said above, the proceeds will help us rebuild our historic bell tower. Yes, I know this is very charming, in an old-small-town way, but it’s a tiny town, and we have to raise $30,000, and this is literally the view outside my office window:


It was the first bell tower built in this farming region in the 1800’s, using brick from a clay bed just a couple miles away. (Chispa: The bricks were laid flat on the ground to dry on a local field; you can see critter tracks all over the wall and tower, including rabbit, raccoon, and KITTIES!) The bell was used to alert people to incoming tornadoes, floods, and functioned as the fire bell until Bolton had a fire department of its own. So it’s pretty special to our town.


There’s two ways to have a chance at winning the quilt: You can buy tickets from me, or you can win tickets from the Llama herself.

Buying tickets: I have permission from the church wardens to sell tickets to ANYONE who wants one. Price: 1 ticket for $2 CA  and 3 tickets for $5 CA (Paypal can do the calculations for you). If you would like to buy a ticket or several, drop me an email or leave a comment or send a pigeon or something. I currently have 20 tickets for sale right here on my desk, but there are several hundred more right across the street!

How this will work:  I won’t send you the physical tickets, because there’s no need, not really. I can send you pictures of your tickets, if you wish; otherwise, I will send you an email containing the All-Important Raffle Number(s) of the ticket(s) you have purchased. I’ll be at the raffle drawing, held here in mid-November; I’ll be holding ALL your ticket stubs so I’ll know if one of you wins. If it’s YOU, then you’ll get an email asking where you’d like the quilt sent.


The GIVEAWAY LLAMA is pestering me, just a moment please, while I go see what she wants…

Oh, duh. The Giveaway Llama says that she wants to Give Away a book of ten (10) tickets, worth ten (10) separate chances, to ONE lucky person, drawn by a random number generator. So, follow the Llama’s Rules, and leave a comment ON THIS POST below. Indicate if you are interested in winning the Yarn or the Quilt or Either One.

So there you are.

Prize One: Yarn.

Prize Two: 10 chances to win The Quilt.

I feel obliged to tell you that if one of you wins the quilt, I may have some ‘splainin’ to do to certain Church Ladies who have their sweet blue eyes on it for their own homes. It’s OK. I can handle those sweet ladies. You just think good Winning Thoughts.


I’ll keep ’em short and sweet this time, because that was a heck of a long post up there.

☄  This is the cover of an incredibly beautiful and inspiring book:


Yes, that city was built out of Legos. Click on the link to see a few more Lego masterpieces.

☄  We all know how hard it is to take a good cat photo. Here are the results of what happens when a professional photographer encounters a less-than-cooperative kittenish subject.

☄  This baby goat doesn’t quite know what to make of himself. Goatish existentialism?

That seems like enough inspiration and enough blogging to ensure that you leave a comment…because everyone wants to be a winner, right? Right.

About sandi

Knitter. Spinner. Quilter. UFO Wrangler. Sometime bead artist and weaver. Two toddler-age kittens, 1 permakitten, 2 grownup cats, 1 beloved dog angel, 1 spouse, 1 crazy life. I suppose that the 5 cats make me 1 crazy cat lady; OTOH, apparently, yes, I do need that much feline supervision.
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50 Responses to Down the Quilting Rabbit-Hole, With Llama In Tow

  1. Suze says:

    I would love to win that yarn – but I’d really like the Lego book!


  2. sewsable says:

    Would love the skein of yarnie goodness, I’ll keep my fingers crossed. sable at xtra dot co dot nz


  3. Abigail says:

    that yarn looks lovely!
    there is definitely nothing wrong with switching crafts every now and then. I myself am in the midst of a cross stitch jag. I’m finishing up an old cross stitch I started ages ago, and then I’m going to start one of my Son’s favorite book/tv character, Kipper.


  4. Donna says:

    Wow, wow, wow! I would so LOVE to win the quilt! We have a king size bed and when I looked at the prices of good quilts for a bed that size I almost had a heart attack! So please, please, please pick me for the tickets 😉

    Oh and I will be in touch about getting some tickets from you!


  5. faithellen says:

    Quilt chances please, Mlle. Llama!


  6. Teri Leonard says:

    Speaking of breaking out of your color trench – those are my Go-To colors on your give-a-way skein and I think I’ll stick with them! Gorgeous! – Your posts are always inspiring!


  7. molly says:

    you are a strong woman indeed if you can handle the acw ladies! they can be a fearsome breed! (this i know from many long years of experience!) the quilt is beautiful, but rather than risk their ire on your behalf, i would like to enter the llama-draw for the yarn….not that i need any more, mind you…hee hee! (and i thought that the kitty pictures were probably better than the ones that were originally planned – much truer to real life!)


  8. Carol Ann Burden says:

    Hi Sandi,
    Sounds like you are feeling more your creatively settled self!! It is great to have you back with us again! Love the picture of your church. I live in Nova Scotia very close to the ocean and salt air is terribly hard on bricks and mortar so I feel your congregations’ pain. Most of our churches are white clapboard but there is a large brick one nearby (the oldest continuing Baptist church in Canada) which has to have continuous repair to it’s exterior.
    I would love to win either of the llama’s giveaways, the quilt is absolutely gorgeous and the yarn is yummy. I am glad you are being seduced by the fabric, another fabulous outlet for your creativity!! I look forward to your journey! Stay well and happy!


  9. teabird says:

    Of course it’s ok to switch amongst crafts! It’s all creativity, after all…

    Yarn, please. Pretty please with a nice cup of tea… Thankee. Miss Sandi!


  10. Lisa says:

    I love all your project pictures.

    I am not a quilt person so yarn please! (though I do really like the rainbow quilt kit you bought)


  11. theoriginalaliceq says:

    I totally approve of multi-craftualism (not that you needed my approval). But, since I haven’t (yet?) fallen down the quilting rabbit hole, I have to say that the yarn is absolutely lovely, and totally in my palette.


  12. Heather says:

    The roll of fat quarters….swoon! Must resist temptation to get back to quilting…..


  13. Dee Jochen says:

    Go Sandi……..with the current fabrics, you can do color to your heart’s content. ahem, as a former quilter, that’s why I stay out of ‘those’ shops. Enjoy. Oh, and were I to be lucky (I never am!) , the yarn would be a delight.
    And thank you for my laugh of the day….the baby goat and the mirror!


  14. Ruth says:

    The quilt takes my breath away. I would have loved a chance to win it but alas I live in the province of Quebec. Who could say no to yummy yarn? Yarn please .


  15. Barbara Greene says:

    Ok here is my comment I would feel very lucky to win that beautiful yarn!
    I love the photo of your church!
    I live in a very very tiny trailer so alas there is no room for the beautiful quilt!
    Great to see you writing more in your blog Sandi, thanks.


  16. Sharon V says:

    Your post made me smile this morning, thank you for that. What’s more is that I would love the skein or the quilt, but instead I will forego both and would like to make a monetary donation for the restoration of the church. Please send me a PayPal address so I can help.


  17. Flo Olson says:

    yarn please – love your posts – you always make me smile and laugh! Glad to have you back 🙂


  18. For the past three years I have been knitting and crocheting almost exclusively as my home did not have space for a sewing room. We just moved last week and I’m slowly uncovering all of my sewing and quilting treasures and venturing into the world of multi-craftism. I would ask my husband how he feels about this, but I don’t think I really want to know.


  19. janeplus4 says:

    I feel badly that this is the first comment I’ve left on your honest heartfelt all things yarn and more blog just to win a skein of beautiful yarn. But, there it is. I’d love to win it! I’ve been following your writing since your days at Knitting Daily and one time you even wrote to me personally when I asked a question about a pattern – I was pretty impressed, and disappointed – at the time – when you left Daily – but behold! I found your wonderful writing via this blog shortly thereafter. Thanks for persevering and I must say offering your heart and inspiration when I too feel down. We’re all on this journey together! OK, enough – just thanks!


  20. skadrie says:

    Ooh, I would love a chance at either! I’ve been feeling the pull of the machine and unfinished quilt tops and stacks of fabric still waiting for possibilities! Ooh!


  21. Mary h says:

    Love your wide-ranging, self-revealing posts. As to the llama’s giveaway, since I entered a local quilt drawing (and am sure to win), I would opt for the yarn


  22. Meg says:

    My mother-in-law quilts and I always feel the pull to play with all the pretty fabric and awesome colors but have never succumbed to the siren call. Since she is making a fabulous quilt for us to replace the one we wore out, I’ll put in my request to the llama for a chance at the fabulous yarn. I’m so glad you are back, Sandi, and totally empathize with what you have experienced, since the past year and a half have been rough for me as well. Reading your blogs always brightens my day so thank you for sharing your creations and your wisdom!


  23. Arla says:

    I totally agree with all who have written so far. Welcome back Sandi!!! Although either would be nice, I would love to have the chance to win the exotic coloured yarn!!!


  24. Pretty colors, rainbows, kittens, historic old bell towers – there’s lots of good stuff in this post! (Thanks, I needed some cheering up.) I have to admit that I miss the bell calling all to worship that I grew up with – our “newfangled” churches don’t have bells. My dad used to be the “bell ringer”, he was a big guy, and I remember the first time he pulled it, the rope lifted him clear off his feet.

    I won a beautiful skein of yarn last June, so if you happen to pick me, keep going.


  25. I love seeing what you’re working on! And while that’s a beautiful quilt 🙂 I would really love to win that yummy yarn!


  26. babywren says:

    Gorgeous llama, I would love to win this yarn!


  27. Laura K says:

    Dude, I’m saying “Hi!” (hi!). ’cause I can and this post came up in my feed. 🙂 Thank you for the pretty colors today. They are lovely. I just want to tuck into that rainbow roll and eat it right up.


  28. Sarah says:

    Oh quilt please dearest sandi- I would love to own something with so much heart.


  29. Rachel R. says:

    Ohh, the yarn, the pretty pretty yarn!


  30. Rachel says:

    Quilt chances please? My adorable cats have decided that my current quilt is theirs, all theirs and I could use one of my own


  31. Lori Berndt says:

    Sandi, you are a talented, gifted lady. Your posts are so fun to read. I am glad you’re starting to get your creative mojo back. Enjoy the variety! Please ask Madam Llama to pick me for the yarn. Thank you.


  32. I’d love the yarn. The quilt and the church are lovely. And the Lego village is just amazing.


  33. Marilyn Nance says:

    The yarn is calling to me! I am just starting to quilt, having knit for many years. The two crafts do seem tied to each other.


  34. Alisha says:

    Either one : )


  35. D Louise says:

    Oh. Definitely. The yarn.

    That lovely quilt needs to go to a person who has
    1. a wall large enough to hang it on or
    2. a king-size bed that actually gets made once in a while


  36. Lila says:

    Ooh, such nice giveaway options. I’ll take either. Or both! 😉


  37. I would have bought that yarn – its so my colors. But I also have a guest room where that quilt would look perfect. ♡


  38. MarySue Moore says:

    Sandi, i would be most thrilled to receive either of these prizes. You are so generous, I would also like to purchase $50 of raffle tickets. I do ‘paypal’ so if you can direct me to more specific information I will send you or the church the donation! Bell towers are important!!
    Mary Sue


  39. Caroline says:

    Either of the prizes would be awesome – quilt or yarn. Yarn would be for me – but as parents have a King size bed and Mom is looking for a new quilt – it might just make the perfect Christmas gift for them.


  40. EagleKnits says:

    I took up quilting after I retired two years ago, and totally agree with what you said about how it changes your perspective when you switch crafts. I think both my knitting and quilting are better because of knowledge from the other craft. Both the quilt and the yarn are lovely, and I would love to win either one!


  41. Ba says:

    The yarn are my colors!

    I love batiks fabric. If I ever sell my quilting stash, I’m still keeping the batiks…


  42. Kitten With A Whiplash says:

    Please enter me for the yarn. The Xanadu kit is lovely, as are the batik and butterfly fabrics. They make me wish I were a stitchtician in the fabric realm as well as the yarn realm.


  43. Aubrey says:

    One of the shows I do is the biggest quilt guild show in the country. (In Dallas. In March. Just sayin’…) VERY dangerous place. And I’ve petted that yarn. Nummy. Also, a comment to your previous post – you are a writer. You see the world through your arts and crafts, and then tell us beautifully what you saw. A book of that would be lovely…

    no prize, please – just love


  44. ikkinlala says:

    I’d love to put my name in for the yarn, please.


  45. Sheila says:

    I’d love to win either prize. The yarn colorway is just my cup of tea. The quilt and your church are equally lovely. Good luck raising the money to repair the tower!

    Those cat pictures are great. Anyone ever owned by a cat has lots of similar photos. You get the shot all set up, the camera on, the knitting appropriately placed, and the cat turns its head right as you take the photo.


  46. pnbjam says:

    That yarn looks lovely and cheery. Count me in for that draw!


  47. sandi says:

    Comments closed in terms of the Llama drawing; however, if you have something to say, comments are still open for business! Let’s hear it!


  48. berrytina says:

    I’m new here! OoooOOOoooo… Quilt! May I please? So pretty…. Yarn is always good too though!


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