10 April 2014

Lizard Toes

butterfly lizard

After spending nearly all my free time in March quilting, I'm addicted once again. I have no deadlines now, other than the spring quarter of the Ravelry WIP challenge and a long-looming Christmas-turned-birthday-gift quilt. Yet I couldn't pull myself away from fabric, the ironing board, the cutting board and the sewing machine...

First, I finished up two more lizard bandanas. They'd been awaiting hems since before the beginning of March.

It fits!

And then, joy of joys, Pieces of Braid has been juried into the Denver National Quilt Festival!!! It will be on display May 1-4!


Pieces of Braid Front

While I was working on a log cabin-style quilt top of luscious green batiks last year, I took frequent breaks to create blocks with scraps that wouldn't fit in the quilt in an effort to prevent boredom. I was trying to use up leftovers from a patchwork dress and a gored skirt I'd fashioned years earlier, and some of the leftovers weren't big enough to go in more than one or two of the log cabin blocks. Yet they were too pretty to discard.

So I used the small pieces. I made a crazy quilt square. I made a simple mariner's compass square. I tried my hand at Ricky Tims' Convergence technique.

Simple Mariner's Compass

lime convergence

Two of my Boredom Breakers were lizard appliqués on plain 12.5-inch squares. I loved the way they turned out, and I envisioned an entire quilt of lizards, if I had enough leftovers when I got done.


I got done last year, and I have enough leftovers!

Last weekend, I finally cut out 46 more 12.5-inch squares. And then...

I cut out 46 more lizards. That's 552 lizard toes!!!

Now I remember why I cut out only two blocks a year ago when playing around with my Welcome to the Jungle leftovers!

46 squares of lizards to sew, 46 squares to sew, take one down, zig zag around, 45 squares of lizards to sew...
46 squares of lizards to sew, 46 squares to sew, take one down, zig zag around, 45 squares of lizards to sew...

mallard toes

twinkle toes

army toes

lilac toes

tropical toes

Nevertheless, this is going to be one awesome quilt when done.

I'm typically a cut-as-you-go quilter, often not having a final plan until I create the final row of blocks or sometimes even the final block. I instinctively knew I would get very discouraged and bored with this project if I had to look forward to cutting out lizards every weekend for the next year or so.

So I braced my poor fingers and my grandmother's embroidery scissors, and I cut. All. Weekend. Long. !!!

My grandmother died in 1979. I can't even begin to tell you how many of my projects those little scissors have seen over the years. I have no idea how long my grandmother used them, but she embroidered a lot, so I suspect these little scissors are far, far older than me.

old tiny scissors

Not too far into cutting Lizard Toes, the little scissors were no longer sharp enough. They likely weren't sharp enough years ago, but I kept using them anyway.

The frustrations of accurately cutting all those little toes with dull scissors began to get to me, so my dear, sweet husband attempted to sharpen the scissors (and even offered to cut out some toes for me!!!). These scissors are so old, the sharpening process loosened the bolt holding them together, and, sadly, they barely work now. I wish I could take that hasty moment back, but perhaps one day I will be able to get that bolt replaced.

I was forced to use my own three- or four-year-old embroidery scissors, which never seemed as good or as perfectly fit to my hands. Soon, they needed sharpening, too. Unfortunately, that didn't help much, but I did finish up the cutting.

After the cutting was all done, I decided to buy a new pair of embroidery scissors. I was shocked at the variety available. And the price range. I was even more shocked I found a pair very similar to my grandmother's!!! So they came home with me. I have tested them, and I'm falling in love. But I won't be cutting any more Lizard Toes for a while. I wasn't even sure I wanted to appliqué lizards any time soon. I never thought I'd tire of lizards!

new tiny scissors

Perhaps if I join Aunt Marti's challenge a little late and appliqué one square per day, I can be ready to piece this quilt in 44 days. I think I could get the 48-block quilt pieced in a weekend once the appliqué work is done... Unless the weather is really good and we opt to ride our bikes instead.

However, I have a 2/3rds-done quilt top that needs to be completely finished (quilted, bound and shipped, too) by mid-May, and that birthday gift-to-be takes priority.

My (working name) Lizard Toes quilt began as a Boredom Breaker. Perhaps it can continue in that role as I try to finish up other WIPs (works in progress). Certainly other projects will serve as Boredom Breakers when it comes to zigzagging all those Lizard Toes!!!

Linking up with Quilt Matters here and Crazy Mom Quilts here.

one a day

fraternal twins

layout is going to be fun


  1. Really captured the lizards indeed at your feed, who knew they could dance so well though

    1. Yes, Pat, I have a lot of lizards at my place! I even learned a group of lizards is called a "lounge". Imagine that! A Lizard Lounge at my sewing machine! Me, of all people!!!

  2. Those scissors must have a lot of stories to say.
    Good to see that its still in use.

    1. I agree, Haddock. Sometimes I wish inanimate objects such as Grandma's scissors could talk. Just think of the family history they could tell!

  3. What an interesting post. The lizards are amazing. Applique is not my thing at all (I got turned off at my first attempt). I really admire anyone with the patience. Love the positive/negative use of batiks. Very clever!
    I wish I had something from my Nana too. She died at the age of nearly 101 in 1999 and was a seamstress for many years.

    1. Thank you, Catherine! I do love hand applique, especially Hawaiian. But I'm not so sure I'm going to enjoy every single minute of zigzagging around 42 more little lizards! (Still trying to do one a day...)

      Wow, you got to enjoy your grandmother for a good long time! All my grandparents died too soon...

  4. Looking great! Congrats on Pieces of Braid getting juried into the show. That's fantastic!

    1. Thank you, M-R! This is definitely a big feather in my cap!!!

  5. Whatever do you mean? Lizards have no toes. Otherwise they would be geckos. Right? But then I'm a goat. What do I know of lizards?

    1. Thanks for making me smile, Marigold! Geckos have suction cups, lizards have claws. I think my lizards are domesticated. Ha ha ha!

  6. Ooh, especially love those Lilac Toes!

    And congratulations!!!!! Those judges know a good quilt when they see one. :D

    P.S. Now you need to post a video of Lizard doing the moonwalk.


Dusty words lying under carpets,
seldom heard, well must you keep your secrets
locked inside, hidden deep from view?
You can talk to me... (Stevie Nicks)

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