Taking advantage

A few months ago I bought a Stargazey Heartz quilt pattern on eBay. I think Heartz is my favorite of all Jan Mullen’s patterns, so I was excited to find a gently used copy on eBay for super-cheaps.

When the pattern arrived, I was surprised to find cut squares of fabric included in the package! There were approximately fifteen 6″ X 6″ cotton squares, mainly in the green, blue, and yellow families. Apparently the seller had started cutting fabric for the quilt, and was now getting rid of the whole project – pattern and squares together.

There was also a dollar bill tucked into the package. You know my penchant for saving receipts? Take a look at the explanation:

Incredibly sweet, isn’t it?

Anyway, I put the squares and the pattern away, and didn’t think of them again until last night, when I went on a stash-ette expedition.

You see, I had just received Joelle Hoverson’s newest (gorgeous!) book, Last-minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts, and had to sew something from it right away. Because, well, resistance is futile. Sew. Right. Away.

One of the projects I had originally seen on the purl bee seemed like it would match my sewing craving perfectly: the puzzle ball!

As I looked through my collection of cottons, I came across the Stargazey squares. Looking at all the squares side by side, I realized that they went very well together. The person who chose them clearly had an awesome sense of color, and I felt no shame in taking advantage of her expertise.

I decided to pull the yellows and dark greens out of the pile, because the puzzle ball somehow reminds me of a frog. Without doing any work, I had great fabrics, colors that went well together, and to seal the deal, the squares were already cut to the right dimensions! Yay!

Just like that I’m more than halfway done ;).

Oh, if you’re going to make the puzzle ball and are struggling to find something with a 5.5″ diameter, my CD spindle proved to be the perfect size ;).


30 thoughts on “Taking advantage

  1. Jenn

    I’m with JoAnn, shipping is weird now. We mailed a package to our niece on Monday and because of the size, it was cheaper to send it express mail than to send it priority mail.

    I wish I could quilt. Maybe someday.

  2. Kitt

    Using eBay at 87? Now that’s awesome.

    (I remember my grandmother asking, “Kitt, what’s the Web?” The public-access cable TV analogy didn’t work, so I said, “It’s like a big scrapbook, and everyone has a page.” That satisfied her. She never would have understood eBay, much less used it.)

    That puzzle ball looks great. Can’t wait to see it finished.

  3. ames

    your quilting posts make me look guiltily at my mother’s sewing machine and big boxes of unfinished quilts. She can’t do them, she’s RVing for a living these days and doesn’t have room. . . but I could do wondrous things with her scraps and pieces. Oh, the guilt.

  4. Johanna

    Kaya now plays with that exact ball that my mom made for me when I was a baby. There is a second one at my mom’s house that she plays with there.

    How nice to see old patterns in a new venue for a new audience!

    PS Mine has a bell in it. It greatly adds to the baby appeal!

  5. Christy

    What great colors! And what a great story, I love when you get something from online that let’s you know there was actually a person on the other end of the transaction.

  6. mimi

    Regarding the receipt:

    Hello. I couldn’t resist commenting on this, because of your usual acerbic view of things. Would it have been “sweet” if the sender was 24 years old? 37 years old? I know several 85-year-olds and sweet wouldn’t describe any of them. Bitch on wheels comes close to describing my favorite “senior citizen.” Just because I’m a wrinkled old lady doesn’t mean I’m sweet. (And don’t get me started on “feisty.”) It was honest, thoughtful, and ethical of the woman to send you the correct change.

    Otherwise — Love your blog. Love your comments on another blog. You may be the only person who may get me interested in sewing again.

  7. Sibylle

    Hehe, when reading the article about the book at Cassies and after seeing the picture of this ball I could not resist to order this book. It arrived here saturday and I started the elephant right away. I messed up a little and now I have to fix it before going on with something else :)

  8. Sil

    What a fabulous eBay lady! 87 and online selling – she rocks.

    The frog puzzle ball also rocks, you should send ebay lady a picture when you’re done.

  9. melissa

    i’m excited to see the finished puzzle ball. the colors look great together.

    is it wrong that i want to make one into a catnip toy? cat toys tend to look boring. this is super cute.

  10. TracyKM

    My kids had one of those, but it was done in pale, babyish prints. I think it would look stunning in sophisticated adult colours/prints! Can’t wait to see yours.

  11. amy

    I love the colors! And I realize this is why my forays into quilting never took off. I have no gift for colors. I have black pants, khaki pants and blue jeans…because every top can go with one of those. Can’t wait to see finished ball.

  12. Carol

    As I was pondering the puzzle ball – would be a big hit with a toddler, but it’s not clear to me if I enjoy sewing or not – my husband gasps, “I used to have one of those when I was a kid! It looked exactly like that!” Well. He’s a better, ah, tailor than I am anyway.

    Those pieces look so small – please report out as to the fiddliness of this project. Thanks!

  13. Johanna's Mom

    i am johanna’s mom, kaya’s grandmom. i made a bunch of these balls for a whole other generation of babies who are now becoming parents themselves. it is a great toy; easy for little hands to grab and throw, even chew on, without any harm done.

    i made them with bells buried inside and added

    textures, corduroy, velour, etc to add to the whole experience. as johanna wrote, the ones i made for her are still in great shape, and now a new little one is enjoying them.

    *** and they go right into the washer and dryer and come out looking great. in fact, it ‘s like blocking a knitted thing. they come out looking better then they went in!! round and plumped up!

    a good idea lives on!!

  14. Michelle

    I just got this book today! I also got Last Minute Fabric Gifts (good but not as good as this one). I am going to make aht puzzle ball as well, as soon as I hit the Cambridge Quilt shop.

  15. Cirilia

    First–thanks for the link to those quilts, I’d never seen them, they’re awesome! And they look…somewhat forgiving? I bet that’s an illusion…

    I disagree with the woman who thinks “sweet” was demeaning. It was sweet, regardless of age.

    I can see the frog connection, it looks like the underside of the throat that expands!

    I got it in my head that you study linguistics…I’m probably wrong, but I’ve been reading some Bakhtin this week and thought of you!

  16. Elinor

    Awww, how sweet! That’s so nice of her! The puzzle ball is such an interesting pattern! I should check it out – my baby could certainly use one! Thanks for the links!

  17. Seanna Lea

    I’m not a big sewer, but the projects in that book are wonderful. I love the color wheel. Of course, I do need a new quilt. My old one is fraying after 10+ years.

  18. Jodie

    The puzzle ball looks awesome! I’m going to have to check out this book. When you recommended Denise Schmidt’s Quilts book I had to go get it! Hopefully it’ll have some great gift ideas.

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