Monday, March 31, 2008

No fingerprints!

I'm down to quilting the last eight to ten inches of border on the Peppermint Pinwheel Quilt. I presume I will finish that this evening, and begin application of the binding and sleeve. The fingers on my left hand, which are under the frame, hover between leather-like callous, and bloody stubs. There are a couple spots which have been pricked so continually, that by bedtime, little chunks of callous have fallen out, and I literally have holes! I had the quilt with me yesterday, as my DH and I went to an auction, and I worked in the car and in my seat at the auction nearly non-stop. A lady sat next to me, and complimented the evenness of my stitches, so that was encouraging! I was afraid they were beginning to get larger as fatigue crept in.

I had an e-mail notification that my software for the Civil War Diary and Civil War Love Letter patterns shipped on Thursday. A follow-up on the tracking information showed it was in Indianapolis on Saturday night, so I'm hoping to find it has arrived when I go home for lunch today. I know I have several projects lined up for post quilt show, which will be Saturday, April 5. Can't believe it is so close, and on its heels, our annual trek to Paducah. A couple of our veterans can't make the trip this year. I'm sure we will have a good time, but it just won't be the same without them. I'm going to try to be on a fabric "diet" this year, though I have considered that a few charm squares and fat quarters won't hurt.

At yesterday's auction, DH bought a little plastic bag with about 20 advertising thimbles in it. They were all quite dirty, and you can imagine my surprise when he handed a silver one to me. It was slightly out of round, but a few seconds with it wrapped in an old rag, and a gentle prod with a pair of pliers, and it is nearly perfect again. After we arrived home, and he was cleaning them up, he found another. Not too bad for a $4 investment! Both of them are free of holes, with their biggest problem being a lot of black tarnish. They polished up pretty well, and reveal a country scene on one . . . . house, trees, pathway and sunrise (or sunset depending upon one's viewpoint), and an interesting fleur de lis type design on the other. I told him I was delighted to have two silver thimbles for a present on our 42nd wedding anniversary. He said no amount of money was too much to spend on me!

Next post will have pictures of my London Square top . . . which I have decided needs borders, and the finished Peppermint Pinwheel!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

On a Buzz!

I can't believe how cleaning and organizing my stash has revved up my quilting buzz. Last night, I went downstairs to pick out some neutrals for a swap, and found three candidates for backgrounds in the Civil War Diary and Love Letters books. Yesterday morning, I woke up with a setting solution for my 2006 Florida Shop Hop blocks. I'm so anxious to get that together as a result, I could hardly sleep last night. As noted before, I'm still plodding along on the hand quilting of my Peppermint Pinwheel. It MUST be finished by next Friday to be turned in for our Guild show. To top it all off, my job is interfering with my chosen life style! I'd much rather be home sewing!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Tuesday evenings are reserved for spending time with my quilting friends. Our Guild meets the first and third Tuesdays, and our small group gets together on the alternate Tuesdays of every month in each others' homes. We ooh and ahh over each new project, offer advice when one hits the wall, and generally encourage each other in not only our quilting, but in life.

When someone has to be absent, it's as though a piece of the puzzle is missing. Last night, we were without Melanie and Laura, who are both in Florida. Melanie is a sparkling little redhead, cute as a button, and twice as much fun. Laura often hides her wit and wisdom, but when she gets going, she's just a riot. She's a great story teller, often poking fun at herself about her cooking and domestic skills. She's the maven of lettering on quilts in our group. She's the master of both "wonky" pieced letters, and taught us the technique of enlarging a title on the computer, selecting various fonts to enhance our message.

At our Miss Mary's retreat in January, she encouraged Marguerite to make some wonky letters in Tonya's style. At the same time, Laura was working on a challenge with lots of lettering. Laura collects phrases that she believes will translate well to a quilt, and tell its story a little more. Her comments are always heartfelt, and true. She encouraged me to do the lettering on my little tea pot quilt, and I'm so happy with the way it turned out.

So, now she's in Florida, and I'm working on a piece with Rising Star blocks, and the title across the top, "You Are My Shining Star!" I can't wait for her to get home, so I can show her my progress. I know she will be encouraging, and delighted to see it.

Sometimes one just needs a personal cheerleader's endorsement to make everything perfect!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Start-itis infection continues uncontrolled!

As previously noted, I received an invitation to play in Monkey Sock Swap Four . . . and to my pal, I received an e-notice this morning that Little Knits has a half-price sale on Brown Sheep Wildfoote, as well as Regia yarns. I would be happy with a skein of either of those . . . and you might even save a little money, too! I have purchased quite a lot of yarn from them, and been very happy with their service and selections. One thing I like about their website is that they have a listing of various yarn weights on a tool bar to the left of the screen. One is designated for sock yarns only, although, one should also read the text of their sale ad in the main portion of the screen for some additional sale listings. Just wanted to share that!

A few weeks ago, I laid aside some yellow scraps to be used in 12-inch Rising Star blocks. I pieced those over the weekend . . . just 13 of them, set on point. Since Laura has many of us launched into adding words to our quilts, I woke up Saturday morning thinking, "You Are My Shining Star!" I used Printmaster to create a headline in a wonky type-style, and printed it full sized as a placement guide. I knew I had a piece of yellow fabric with brightly colored stars edged in gold in my stash. I was delighted that I had an adequate amount to make a border, as well as my letters. Last night, I appliqued "Y" onto my border strip, and decided I will be happier with it using that fabric for the capital letters, and re-introducing some of the yellows in my blocks for the remaining letters. I'm also replacing the dots of "i's" and the exclamation point with stars. I'm having so much fun with this, I almost have to force myself to put it down, and attend to finishing the quilt I registered to be shown in our Guild Show!

DH worked at an auction Saturday, and after playing with my grandson for several hours, I went back to the sewing machine, and finished piecing my London Square blocks in scrap purples. Once it is pressed, I will post a photo. I'm still trying to decide if it should have a border. It's already 80 X 96 inches.

Bonnie Hunter is launching a new Mystery Quilt on April 1, called, "Orange Crush". I didn't play last time, and when I saw the finished quilt, I was kicking myself. Yesterday evening, I went to grab a journal from my stash to put the instructions in, and had a perfect candidate. The art work is oranges and a reamer, and says, "Fresh Squeezed". I'm thinking that was the perfect indication that I am SUPPOSED to play along this time! Brights are resting on my mind as the perfect candidate for this one.

I've been admiring the Civil War Diaries and Civil War Love Letters blocks, too. I have two tubs full of 1800's reproductions, not to mention a couple hundred charm squares left from my Millenium Quilt (the one I'm WAY ahead on?). I like controlled scraps, so usually have a single background fabric to unite all the components. Since I have an entire shelf unit of neutrals, I should be able to find one for that project. I bought both books, and I'm awaiting the arrival of the CD's to print out the patterns on freezer paper. (I haven't picked out a journal for it yet!) Once our Guild Show is behind me, I think I might have to keep a fire extinguisher next to the sewing machine . . . or my head, in case my brain bursts into flame from racing from one idea to the next!

I wonder if tidying up my fabrics giving a better idea of what I have, and where it is, are contributing to "Start-itis"? Might just be gasoline on the flames!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Well, duh!

I've been invited to participate in Monkey Swap Four, and just carefully posted my questionnaire answers there . . . instead of where they belong . . . here! So, here we go again!
1) Measurements: shoe size US 8 1/2; foot length 9 1/2"; circumference 8 1/2"
2) Yarn preferences: colors - surprise me; clashes - none!; solid or variegated - yes!; favorite sock brands - Online, Opal, Regia, Cider Moon . . . seldom met one I didn't like; New yarn - bamboo or cornsilk?
3) Cookie A. Patterns: Twisted Flower, perhaps
4) Allergies: None; Love my friends pets, but none in my house; smoke - NEVER!
5) Shipping: Resident of USA, but happy to ship anywhere!

Looking forward to another fun adventure!

Monday, March 17, 2008

I think I have "Start-itis"!

I'm not sure if it is the time of year, or just because I've been handling so much fabric in my stash. I just want to start some new things . . . maybe its because I've been so good recently and moving PIP's into my quilt top collection. By the way, I found another euphemism for quilt top collection - flimsies, meaning a quilt top which needs batting, backing and quilting. I have many of those. I should start taking pictures of those, and perhaps it will inspire me to do more quilting.

I have been surfing around the Sew Many Block webring, and I just love the blocks being made from the Civil War Diary and Civil War Love Letter books. In cleaning up the stash, I realize I have two full tubs of 1800's reproductions, as well as a container with 6" squares left over from making the blocks for my Millenium Quilt . . . I swear I will finish that one before the next Millenium! I couldn't stand it any longer, so I ordered the two books and CD's for printing out the patterns.
Was looking through my Australian Patchwork Quilting Magazines, and always find lots of fun things there to make. I managed not to select any fabrics, mostly because I can't make up my mind on color palette. I limited myself to making applique templates for a quilt published last year titled, "Peaches and Cream". I'm leaning toward bright and whimsical . . . I have four tubs full of bright fabrics.
Judy Martin has a nice Quilt of the Moment on her site called Bluebonnet --- . . . can't remember the rest of the name. I love her patterns. They are so precise, and easy to make. One of the tubs I need to go through has lots of small pieces of blues in it that might work well for this one.

After I think about starting something new, I think of my PIP's, and feel guilty. I've been pretty good in that regard. Saturday, DH worked at an auction, and I set together the blocks from a November 2005 quilt shop hop in the Tampa, Florida, area. Most of the girls who "played" have their quilts together, and some are even quilted. We all admired a setting by Keep Me In Stitches on Dale Mabry Boulevard in Tampa. Several of them used the same set, so I wanted mine to be different. I worked with Sharyn Craig's "Setting Solutions", and made good progress. Now, I need to put on a plain border to frame it. I'm considering a row of smaller stars to add some length . . . like I need another bed-sized quilt top in the stash!

I just have 15 blocks to make in my scrappy purple London Square blocks, and again, cleaning up the stash yielded a suitable fabric for the border . . . at least it looks to be a likely candidate at the moment. I may change my mind, once the blocks are assembled, and I can take it for a "test drive".

I've been quilting steadily on the borders of a piece called, "Peppermint Pinwheels" that I have entered in our Guild's show in 2 1/2 weeks. I had to put it aside a few days when the callous on my index finger of my left hand cracked . . . boy, was it sore. I usually rub in a little Bag Balm or antibiotic ointment at bedtime to get past the soreness in general, but this called for a "glob" and wrapping in a bandage. Happy I was able to keep the Featherweight going on the other piecing projects as it heals. I think I can probably go back to quilting tomorrow.
P.S. Couldn't get my camera to cooperate and load my picture. So, this has been laying around in drafts for a bit!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Time for Tea . . . and other matters!

First of all, I finished my "alphabet challenge" piece. We each drew letters, and mine was "T". Perfect for a collector of tea pots. Rules were that each quilt must illustrate an item or shape beginning with the letter, and using color named with the letter. Besides the tea pot, I have a time-piece, and all is executed in teal and turquoise! I found the tea pot at Sindy Rodenmayer's Fat Cat Patterns. I reduced it 75% to fit into this 14" maximum finished size. I sweet-talked one of my pet land surveyors into drafting the 10" by 12" ellipse for me. He was quite proud of himself when he delivered the drawing, saying I couldn't complain about the "ellipse-service" I had received! I designed the other elements of the block, and finished it off with piped binding. I'm quite delighted with it.

Still up to my hips in re-organizing my fabric stash. I hosted my quilt group Tuesday evening, and took them to the basement to see the effort so far. They were astonished at the quantity of fabrics, but I keep saying, I've been quilting for thirty years! I have to admit, though, it is a bit over the top. I'm sorting into themes, such as batiks, 1920's repros, 1800's repros, sewing themed, tea pot themed, Christmas, Halloween, and fabrics with metallic trim. I still have about eight or ten tubs to go through, but at least four of those are all Christmas fabrics. Then, there's my carousel, an auction bargain from several years ago. I intend to pull each basket off the carousel, and a lot of them are vintage, and will be cut into strips for scrap projects. The first picture is the table where I've been working my way through all this stuff. The second is the far end of this basement room, displaying my carousel, and you can see some of the plastic containers I have emptied on the floor to the right. To the left in the last picture is the result so far. I still have projects on the top shelf, and a few have slipped onto shelves below but they will be removed to limit all the lower shelves to fabric stash only. I'll post another picture when I get further along . . . and then, I'll be able to clean up my studio a bit better, too!
I was surfing around the Stashbuster's web-ring, and came across another title for UFO's or PIP's . . . PIGS, or projects in grocery sacks. I've heard of the "Tote Bag Filing System", where one stores all the components of a project in a souvenir show tote bag. I've graduated from that to individual plastic boxes for each project . . . take a look at those stacks! And, bear in mind, I've moved some of those contents to my "quilt top collection"!