Tu-Na Quilts: On Pins and Needles

I spend my winters in the Sonoran desert around Phoenix, Arizona. I’ve loved the saguaro cactus from the first time I’ve seen it. Click here or here to read more about what I wrote about these majestic beauties.


And I love to see the cacti bloom in the summer. Click here or here to read more about what I wrote about some magnificent desert blooms.

tunaquilts 10a
tunaquilts 1a

The U.S. seems to have unusually snowy and cold weather this winter. Here in the desert we have not been immune to this unusual weather. We received over two inches of rain in two days last week and awoke several days to frost on the golf course. On Sunday, Tu-Na Helper and I, along with my sister and her husband, took a very short drive to see the snow which had fallen around the area. 

tunaquilts 12a

People who’ve lived here over 30 years have never seen snow on the Superstition mountains. It stayed for three days.

tunaquilts 13a

It’s not unusual to occasionally see the tip of Four Peaks (just to the left of the Saguaro in the center of the picture) with some snow. However, it is unusual to see snow this far down on the mountain and this deep.

When I started planning for the upcoming Sew Let’s QAL, I decided to make several useful projects for myself and my sewing room in my Arizona house. It seemed just natural to incorporate some cactus fabrics into the blocks. (Click here to read the Sew Let’s QAL introductory post in case you missed it)

I couldn’t resist buying a half yard of each of these three when I was shopping at my local quilt shop earlier this month.

tunaquilts 11a

tunaquilts 9a

tunaquilts 7a

I also found a few cactus fabrics in my stash.

tunaquilts 3a

tunaquilts 4a
tunaquilts 1

So I decided my Arizona sewing room will have a few new projects made with cactus fabrics. I also added other fabrics from my stash.

tunaquilts 2a

I’ll use these fabrics for all the blocks in Segment One making one larger project.

I’ll use the fabric groups below for the remaining blocks for Segments Two and Three. I’ll be making several blocks from each fabric group for my projects.tunaquilts 5a

tunaquilts 8a
tunaquilts 10a

tunaquilts 6a

What I Learned Today:

  1. I change my mind a lot (Tu-Na Helper already knows that) so I reserve the right to eliminate or add other fabrics. That’s half the fun of picking the fabrics.
  2. I can teach my sister something new. To remove a small cactus sticker from a finger (or other body part), cover it with white school glue and let it dry. Then peel it away. I keep a bottle in our first aid kit.
  3. We haven’t had to use it yet.

Question: Do you think of color when you think of a cactus or the desert? I even found tiny purple wild flowers on Sunday.

Thanks for stopping by and do come again.

Karen, Tu-Na Quilts


28 thoughts on “Tu-Na Quilts: On Pins and Needles

  1. Leslie Schmidt

    I love all your fabrics, Karen. I’m sure your blocks are going to be spectacular. I’m afraid I usually think of green when I think of cacti. I’ve never seen any in person when they are blooming, but I have enjoyed your photos. I’m looking forward to seeing what you clever designers come up with. We have a friend who lives somewhere in AZ, and he has sent us pictures of the snow he has received. It looked like Minnesota! We’ve had over 20″ in February.
    Stay warm.


  2. Betty K

    I truly miss Arizona. I grew up there from 4th grade thru my 40’s with a small break or two in between. I enjoy all the cacti pictures.


  3. Kate

    It has been a weird, wet and cold winter this year. I’m very ready for spring. Love your cacti fabrics and the colorful pairings. Looking forward to seeing what you’ve got planned for those fun combos.


  4. piecefulwendy

    Anything flowering makes me smile these days! It sure isn’t flowering around here (yet). I think more about flowers on cacti now that I have friends who live in desert areas. I like the yellow flowers, so bright and happy! I like your fabric combinations, but I understand that you might change your mind while you are constructing them. I do the same thing now and then!


  5. Melva Nolan

    Nice selection. Did you see my post about the poppies in bloom at Picacho Peak State Park with my Blooms blocks for the Adventure Quilt? lol. Yes, there are pops of color in the desert!


  6. karenfae

    I love seeing your photos as it is of course things we just saw in October and we loved the weather then – the photo with the snow on the mountain we just saw in a photo my nephew posted to the family on facebook – it was the view from his upstairs balcony looking off to the mountains – he loved it and said he hadn’t seen that much snow in the view since he moved there some years back.


  7. Patricia

    Yes, I think of color when seeing a desert. It stared long time ago when my parents would spend winter in Yuma. They loved to walk in the desert and introduced me to the tiniest flowers. Some times you had to look very close. Sorry, for the wordy comment. Memories of my parents.


  8. Barbara Mitchell

    I have a stash of cactus fabric myself…..your stash is amazing! The pictures of the Snow on the Superstion Mountains are spectacular…we are ready for temps in the 70s this week…


  9. nancyangerer

    love your fabrics. Lucky you to have a LQS and such great fabrics. Ours closed a year ago (do to health problems of the owner), but we wouldn’t have had those fabrics any way. I am going to have to shop more when we travel.


  10. thimblepie2012

    How brave to prechoose your fabrics, though of course you reserve the right to change your mind. I, too, love cacti. I bordered a cowboy quilt with some fabulous Alexander Henry cacti; the flowers looked like sea anemone. They were shades of pink and maroon. Looking forward to seeing how your blocks turn out.


  11. Lu

    Love the pictures of the snow covered Mts. We hiked to the top of Superstition some years back and it was quite fun. Sit up there and had our lunch. Can I borrow your pictures of them?


  12. Sheila M Herman

    I love the fabric choice – really looking forward to seeing what becomes of the selection. To watch you in action, to learn tips and tricks from an expert and to share that cup of coffee as the sun is shining on our backs. Oh wait, the North Dakota sun has lost its heating element. Please send one our way.


  13. thedarlingdogwood

    This will be fun to watch, Karen!! I love all the cactus fabrics you’ve found. I don’t live where cacti grow so I didn’t know the school glue tip–thanks!


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