Wednesday, October 08, 2008

PIP's progress

Making an effort to devote some time to some of my "projects in progress". (Sounds less negative than UFO!) The handles are all appliqued to the tea cups border of my Sweet Tea quilt, so it's time to begin assembly of those blocks. The pattern called for a 1/4" accent strip around each of the tea pot blocks, but I am replacing that with piping. I did a test block, and love the look, but had to "reverse" sew it. I'm using my Pfaff, and to use the piping foot, must disengage the even feed . . . which means, of course, that it doesn't feed evenly. Each of them is going to have to be pinned to maintain the proper alignment. The blocks get a blue floral print around each, followed by a striped border to complete the frame. The original design has butted borders, but I don't like that look. Think I will miter each one, even though it is an uneven stripe . . . I'll just be happier with the look. There are only five blocks, so it won't take too long.

Last night, Laura did a program for The Old Tippecanoe Quilt Guild about including words on quilts. She had thirty quilts to show her progress, and emphasized that it is a means making a quilt more your own. Her examples are all stunning, but the quilt she just finished for her son, Jess, will take your breath away. She used a quote from "A River Runs Through It", and the fabrics are predominantly batiks. I hope she posts a picture to her blog. Through her inspiration, I've put words on a couple quilts recently, and now I'm looking at my Sweet Tea quilt, thinking it needs an outer border with words. First thought was "Sweet Tea" . . . but how pedestrian! So, I'm on a quest to find a simple little tea poem that I can adapt. Since that quilt is a Block of the Month from a quilt shop, it could use some personal touches to make it different from the other kits sold in town. I've already made some adjustments, such as the piping, and more fabric choices in the tea pots and tea cups. Commentary on the outer border will really personalize it.

Looking around at the things "simmering on the back burner", I picked up my Santas of the World, and continued the applique on the tenth block, the Lapland Santa. Just two Santas left to make. It needs seven small blocks for spacers, and it will be ready to assemble. To personalize, I started embroidering the Santa's name, and country of origin on each block. A couple weeks ago, I stumbled over the perfect fabric for the outside border. It is a creamy white, with Merry Christmas in red, green and gold, in several languages. Got enough for a nice wide border, and used a 40% off coupon at Jo-Ann's . . . really made a dent since it was $10 a yard originally!

I stitched up all the attic window pieces that were cut to perfume bottle blocks. Need to cut more, and that one will be ready to assemble, too. I think it will probably need words . . . something about perfume, no doubt!

Finally, I've been cutting rectangles and stitching four-patches for Bonnie Hunter's "Old Tobacco Road" mystery. Since all the clues have been posted, I've been skipping around on that one. Four projects at a time seems much easier to manage!

In a couple weeks, we are going to Virginia to see our son and his family. I'm taking my Featherweight, and since we gave our granddaughter a Featherweight for her birthday, we can do some sewing together. Sindy Rodenmayer at Fat Cat Patterns has a nice pinwheel sampler, and a Bear Paw Sampler posted. I'm going to cut kits for the first three blocks of each, so that Elise and Addison, my grandson, can each start a quilt. Ben, the five-year-old, will want to do everything the big kids do, so big blocks of super hero fabrics are going to be the order of the day for him. I always ask my daughter-in-law privately about my ideas . . . then, I ask her again in their presence, so that they see that I respect her rules. I don't think the grandkids should see their grandmother in Time Out!

Monday, October 06, 2008

This and that!

I didn't post any comments about our trip to Nashville, Tennessee, to Ben and Amy's wedding. Amy's mother is one of our dear quilting group, who lives now in Cleveland, Ohio. We were all invited to the wedding, but none of the husbands wanted to go . . . imagine that?

It was a perfect weekend. Three of us piled in my mini-van and started out on Friday morning, destination, Quilter's Attic, in Goodlettsville, Tennessee, directly north of Nashville, just off I-65. Patti, in the mean time, since she had a shorter drive, slept in a bit, and then departed from Atlanta to meet us. We reconnoitered pretty close to our time schedule, and after bringing the quilt shop to its knees, headed to our weekend lodgings.

Marguerite had secured a reservation for us at The Bluebird Cafe for Friday night, and that alone was worth the trip. We saw Amanda Green, Jason Blume . . . and, of course, my brain has let go of the other names. The performance was great, the food was delicious, and I would highly recommend making the effort to see a show here. It's a showcase for songwriters, performed in the round, and up close and personal. Very talented people, and so much fun to see them join in and perform together.

The next morning, we went for the historic side of Nashville, visiting both Belle Meade Plantation and The Hermitage. Beautiful homes and grounds, and we had a nice lunch at the cafe in the visitor's center of The Hermitage.

After a stop for a little ice cream to energize us, we made double time back to our hotel and got beautiful for the wedding . . . fortunately, it wasn't much of an effort for the other girls, and I just schlumped along! The wedding was absolutely beautiful in a lovely little old church, The Church of the Assumption. On to the reception at The Parthenon. Just inside the doors, there was an old fashioned photo booth set up for wedding guests to have their pictures taken, and contribute to a scrapbook for the couple. It provides some really fun candid photos of the guests for the couple. Of course, we decided the occasion called for a picture of the "Siamese Quilters", and somehow we managed to cram into the booth, and take a few riotous pictures. Later, the mother of the bride joined us, and we did it again . . . this time, noting in the scrapbook, "with five you get egg roll". Fortunately, we were also immortalized together on the steps of the Parthenon, and that is the picture shown above. Bottom to top, is Melanie, our cute little redhead, Linda - beautiful mother of the bride in mint green, classic beauty - Marguerite, Patti - the bell of Atlanta with the great legs, and me as the top of the totem. I sure do have pretty friends! And, they have beautiful hearts, too!
Of course, before departing for home, we had to make plans for our next get together, which , for some, will be Pinehurst, in October, and for others, Tampa in November. We just never tire of being together! Of course, we were also talking about our Retreat in January, and what we will eat and what we will sew!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

DSIL might be right?

Every now and then, my sister-in-law, Jan, tells me to chill, and that I'm out of control. Last night, as I was cutting batiks for a Quiltville swap, and my mind was racing on pending projects, plus a couple new ideas . . . I thought, "I need to get a grip!" Then, I had a new worry . . . was I merely at the level that DSIL usually comments, or had I reached such a new high that even I could see the "whirling dirvish" to which I had descended . . . or is it ascended?

Here's what I was thinking about:
1) Cutting batik strips for the Swap . . . mission accomplished, as it happens. Maybe I should put this in the "completed" column!
2) Pat Sloan's "Farmer's Market" quilt for which I picked up a couple backgrounds, and grazed my stash for a few others. I've started a journal, and need to start making my applique templates. Several in our group are doing this one, and our Guild received permission to use the pattern for a Guild BOM/Retreat project for 2009. It's really fun to see the same block made with different fabrics.
3) Sindy Rodenmayer's "Summer Pond" BOM. I stumbled over Sindy's website earlier this year, and did not hesitate to subscribe. She's very talented, and has lots of applique patterns, which I love! When I first looked at Summer Pond, I thought it was cute, but didn't think I had anyone who might enjoy the quilt. Then, in the middle of the night a couple nights ago, I woke up thinking of the pattern executed in Asian and gilded fabrics. Of course, that led to the remembrance of a fabric I saw in the Quilter's Attic in Goodlettsville, Tennessee, last Friday, that I fondled several times, but didn't buy. Now, in my mind's eye, that's the only background I can see being used for these blocks. So far, I haven't succumbed to ordering it for this quilt. I thought I should stumble around in my stash a little more to be sure that I don't already have something suitable. P.S. I launched a journal, just in case . . . ready to make applique templates!
4) Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville "Old Tobacco Road" mystery. This is already started. The first clue called for 4 patches made with 2-inch squares. I have a box full of Benartex fabrics, all squares from Mr. B's Fabric Club, and quite a few "quilter's candies" . . . two-inch squares that were given out at quilt shows a few years ago. So, I made the first 150 four-patches using those. Then, I got sidetracked going to the Retreat, and haven't gone back to this one . . . but I do have the journal made, with all the clues inside.
5) Perfume Bottles in Attic Windows for my cousin. I've been working on this one, and I'm almost to the half-way point in framing the blocks . . . and loving it! I love these little blocks so much, I can't stop making them. I see a new gilded fabric, and can hardly walk away from it (see above)! Need to cut background for the last 30 blocks I cut, but will do that after Diane's quilt is assembled. I made an additional 70 in the last few weeks. As I work on these blocks made with gilded fabrics, I see some that would be great in the Summer Pond pattern noted above. One green print bottle framed this morning will be a knockout Turtle for that one!
6) Sweet Tea. Tea pot blocks are made, piping is made, and the blocks need to be framed. Only three more handles to be attached to the tea-cup and ribbon border. I can see assembly of the top in the near future for this one.
7) Garden Glories. This is a set of patchwork blocks that I made several years ago, and designed an applique float for diagonal set using a vintage embroidery test pattern, enlarged. It has one morning glory, one bud, one two-pieced leaf, with stems and vines embroidered. BUT . . . there are 24 of them, using three different Fossil Fern prints (blue, violet, and pink) for the blossoms. The detail is time consuming, but it will be stunning. A couple weeks ago, I got the pieces out, and told myself, if I just do one each week, I'll be done in no time . . . finished the one that was nearly done at that point, and promptly fell off the wagon! Wonder if assembling the center blocks, leaving the seams open for adding the floats of the diagonal set would be good inspiration.
8) Millennium quilt. Considering projects that don't need too much more work brings on the guilt. Just need to get the star-sash done on each of these, and it will be ready long before the NEXT Millennium . . . probably should make these star sashes a "leaders and enders" project, to make them go more quickly.

THEN . . . there is the journal issue. I pick these up at Michael's, most often, but now and then, somewhere else. Like to pick them up when they are on clearance, and tuck them away. Using a journal, I've found, is particularly helpful when going to a project after setting it aside for a while, to refresh my memory of where I stopped and where I intended to go. It's fun to try to match the journal cover to the theme of the project. Perfume Bottles are in a little journal with hearts on the front . . . significant because when I first met my cousins, who were all siblings who had just met, I trimmed sweatshirts with hearts embellished with ribbons that tied them together. Bonnie Hunter's Orange Crush was recorded in a journal titled, "Fresh Squeezed" with oranges and a reamer on the cover. Farmer's Market has "Strawberries and Cream" for the strawberry block. I put aside "Fresh Lemonade" for an applique in an Australian Patchwork magazine called, "Lemon Zest". A journal full of ideas is a Mary Engelbreit design that says, "Keep it under your hat". So, yesterday, I was looking for one to use for Summer Pond, and decided to pull the collection out of the drawers and cabinets of my studio and count them up. IF, I FOUND THEM ALL, there are 80 journals ready to be used for future projects. Fortunately, I think I have enough fabric in my stash to accomplish that goal!

Jan . . . I think I'm out of control!