Thursday, December 31, 2009

My New Year's Resolution . . .

is to not make any New Year's Resolutions. They rarely make the cut, anyway. I'm just going to play it by ear, and make the things that appeal to me, and enjoy every stitch. I know I can live up to that resolution!

The movie we saw, "Blindside" with Sandra Bullock, was great. As polish on the apple, when I got home, there was story about Michael Oher, and the making of the film on 20/20. Seeing the real Leigh Anne Tuohy and having just seen Sandra Bullock's portrayal, I have to say her performance was dead on! What a dynamic and wonderful woman. I give this film ten stars! See it!

Gave Viki her next pair of socks. She gets so excited, and her whole face just sparkles. I wish everyone could get the kind of response to a hand-made item that she gives. She's just a very pretty little gal, anyway. Lots of sparkle and lots of substance.

Maybe I should just count my blessings of my friends here. They are all wonderful women.

First, my DSIL from Texas. One would think that we couldn't be as close as we are, since the only time we lived in the same town was for a couple months more than 40 years ago. We just have a great time together. We're the babies of the family, having married the two youngest sons. Her family commitments have recently begun to limit the amount of time we get to spend together, but we sure had a great run for several years, when she was able to fly free. Still, I do spend more time with her than all of my other in-laws combined!

Melanie is our strawberry blonde. Beautiful eyes and smile, great sense of humor, and just as cute as a button. Her needle skills are exemplary.

Her "twin", Marguerite, is a lovely blonde, very smart, energetic, thoughtful . . . an elegant beauty. She always describes herself as a slug, but she is extremely meticulous and everything she makes is perfect.

Mary J. is bright and brash. She always has a funny comment, and is ready for anything.

Laura keeps her light hidden under a basket. She's a very strong mother, and wonderful friend. She's perky and cute with short dark hair, a slender figure, and a great laugh. She's the one who got several of us started putting words on our quilts. She finds the most touching quotes, and inspires us all with her efforts in quilting.

Ginny is really sweet and lots of fun. Her back problems have slowed her body, but not her spirit. She loves to play along, and no one gets a bigger kick out of it when we all get silly.

Mary M. is our quiet observant one. She's supposedly retired, but she really hasn't quit working at Habitat for Humanity. I think she might have tended to be a project person, but we broke her of that! Now, she usually has several projects going at the same time. She is meticulous in her efforts, and her work is lovely.

Lela is our great audience. She's full of sparkle and laughter and is drop-dead gorgeous. Her only problem is that she denigrates her work . . . she makes lovely things all the time, not just her efforts in quilt making. She gives from her heart, and makes one feel so loved.

Michelle is one of our "baby girls". She was previously married to Melanie's son; after they split up, I think she might have been afraid that we would hold that against her, but she's learned that we love her because of who she is, not who she might marry. When she gives you a big smile, her eyes squeeze shut, and her whole face lights up. She's working her way through school, too, and we're all so proud of her strengths as a mother to Blaine, and admire her ability to keep "all the balls in the air".

Sossity joined us a few years back, and she's just a joy. She's very enthusiastic at every thing she approaches. She wants to learn it all, and is very productive. She just jumps in wherever she's needed and does a great job. Another beautiful young woman, and marvelous mother to Donovan.

Lanna is our lovey-dovey. Talk about having a boat-load of health problems, in the last several years. She's faced kidney cancer, brain aneurysms, and various other assaults that would have broken most people. But, she still approaches everything with a smile, and is another dedicated mother. We don't get to see enough of her is our only complaint.

Patti lives in Georgia now, but will always be part of this group. We suffer not seeing her for several months, and then, we just pick up where we left off when she joins us. She's got an irreverant wit, and is our world traveler, with her husband, an economics expert. When she's queen, we're all going to be in high clover.

Linda G. is too funny for words. I've known her the longest, since she was a student and later, a colleague of my husband. This one just sparkles! And, she's educational, too. How many people do you know that have read the biography of Mr. Ed . . . the talking horse. She's going to be a wonderful grandma for her first grandchild, because she will be ready to play at the drop of a hat. At least she always is with us!

Dawn has never lived near us, but once Laura introduced her to the group, she just fit right in. We don't know how we ever did without her. Our first meeting with her was a trip to Paducah one April. By the time autumn rolled around, we talked her into teaching at Retreat, and now she's one of our regulars. We were extra lucky, too, because her daughter, Holly, was at Purdue, and that sometimes gave her an extra chance to be with us, and we got to know Holly, too. Too bad Holly had to graduate and move to Oklahoma! She's ours now and we're not giving her up.

Can't mention my wonderful friends without mentioning Roseanna, and the loss we all feel since she passed away. We'll always miss her. She was the best kind of friend one could ever have. She just filled in any spot that needed attention; she was enthusiastic about any ideas that were presented. We're always going to have a little hole in our hearts, but know that her spirit will always be with us.

There now . . . I like counting my blessings much more than making resolutions. My wish to all for the new year is to be surrounded by soulmates, as I am. I love them all very much.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas is past . . . .

This was one of those whirlwind years. I can't quite believe Christmas has come and gone. For one thing, we changed our plans for a trip to Virginia at the last minute. The weather scared us off for the first time. We've never seen a flake of snow on any of our previous Christmas trips to Virginia . . . but before we departed Indiana, the kids got two feet of snow. They didn't get out of the house until Monday, late afternoon. We started talking about it, and on Tuesday morning, it was snowing to beat the band here at home. We decided we've always had such good luck, that we didn't need to be stupid in our advancing years, and put ourselves at risk.

It's probably the most laid-back Christmas we have ever had. We hadn't put the tree up, since we were going to leave, and it seemed silly to put it up for two days. DH decided he wanted meatloaf for dinner . . . I love cold meatloaf sandwiches, too, so that was fine with me. Our niece came for dinner, since she was across the street visiting her mother at the nursing home.

I made pumpkin bread and pumpkin pies, too. Our grandson came to spend the night, and had a buddy come over to play on Saturday. Sunday, I bundled the boys all up, and sent them down to Murdock Park to go sledding. I went to check on them after about 45 minutes; they were all aglow and happy, so I told them they could sled a few more minutes. Finally, at about 1 1/2 hours, I had to practically drag them to the van to go back to the house. Fed them hot chocolate and cookies, and got them warmed up, while I threw their wet jeans in the dryer. Neither of them had ever worn long-johns before, so they thought running around the house in their long-johns was great fun, too. Then, later, we took them to Pizza Hut where they both devoured a personal pizza each. I hope that these will be fun memories for them someday.

I went through some of the junk in my studio. What a mess! But, I put away lots of fabrics that were strung around the room, and organized a couple of my projects toward completion. I'm on the last block of Lori Smith's "Ode to the 30's" pattern, a flower pot with hexagonal blooms. The leaves and stems are all in place; just the pot and the blooms to finish. This may make the cut to go to Miss Mary's at the end of January, and become a finished top.

I actually cut the first borders for my Old Tobacco Roads, and need to trim the top before pinning them on and sewing them. I'm determined to have that one in all one piece before the clock strikes for the New Year on Thursday night.

DH is working an auction on January 1. He made the mistake of looking at the sale ad last night. They have about 65 lots of coins, and 27 guns, not to mention numerous antique toys, and other antiques. With the quantity of items, it's going to be an all day, and into the early evening kind of sale. He'll be beat when he gets home. It's the only auction all weekend, so they are sure to have a big crowd, and with the quality of items, lots of high prices. I'll have to make an appearance, but I'm going to try to stay home and sew!

It's Tuesday, and that's when our little group gets together. We're all going out to eat and then to the movie this evening for a change. We always have a good time, so I'm sure it will be fun.

Promise to post pictures with my next comments!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Still on target . . . sort of!

I've been making my planned pillowcases as gifts. Last Saturday, my grandson, Drew, helped me pick out a few more fabrics. Made one last night, and hopefully, Saturday will provide me with an adequate block of time to make a few more. If not, I'll just put my Featherweight in the car, and sew in the motel room on the way to Virginia. Driving time is reserved for knitting.

As is usual, with my quilting friends, our focus isn't on the approaching holidays, but on our planned retreat at Miss Mary's Quilting Cottage, at the end of January. I think I could easily gather at least 142 projects to work on that weekend . . . culling it down to a smaller number, but none the less, unreasonable quantities for the time available to us!

It's going to be very different without our dear friend, Roseanna, this year. She kept us all straight, and organized. She was younger than I, but still acted the part of our "group mom". Maybe we'll ask her brothers to come join us for lunch one day. We'll have to re-organize our usual menu; Roseanna always made her wonderful chicken rice soup. I think all of us will have trouble sitting any place but our usual spots, probably leaving her sewing station open. She will be with us in our hearts.

I've been collecting the clues for Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville Mystery, "Carolina Christmas". I peeked at Clue #6 this morning, and I'm in love. The quilt is stunning; might have to gather my fabrics, so I can sew on that one at Miss Mary's. I've got to put the borders on a previous mystery, Old Tobacco Roads, which I loved, as well; and I have Double Delight completely cut and ready to sew.

One thing I have learned in recent years is that preparing a project by getting as much cutting done in advance frees up lots of sewing time. One can really make a lot of progress when it's all ready to sew. Pre-cut projects in the "on-deck circle" are an Anita Shackelford Christmas quilt which appeared in Fons and Porter's Love of Quilting. I have blocks to finish for two of my grandsons, and blocks to re-cut for a quilt for my grand-daughter. As I mentioned previously, I started cutting some applique to be assembled with those blocks, and the blocks are too bold for the applique. Also, I found some fabrics that I think are better suited. Will probably put the blocks already assembled together for a NICU quilt. They will be darling for a little baby girl quilt, just not compatible with my applique work for Lisey.

My friend, Viki, quilted the Halloween quilt which was project with my grandson, Ben. He's going to be over the moon for it. A couple of the fabrics have glow-in-the-dark eyes. If he follows his brother's example, from a few years ago, he will be hauling people into the bathroom to turn out the lights, and see his quilt glow. It's just a simple quilt; some ten-inch squares of Halloween fabric surrounding a Halloween panel. But, I told him that I was having trouble figuring out the best way to put it together, and he just took the blocks and dealt them out on the floor, looked at them, rearranged them a bit and said it was done. I sewed it together in my motel room that night, and the next day, he had to take the top, and "try it on" laying down on the couch. He pronounced that it would fit, and it will be going back to Virginia with me. Viki did a great job, as usual, quilting it all over with spider-webs in orange thread. It's just adorable.

Time for a lunch break, and some knitting. I was to the toe on the second sock for Viki's current pair, when I realized I had way too many stitches. Had to rip it back to the finish of the heel gusset, and work down a few more stitches. I'm anxious to cast on my first pair of Socks for Soldiers, but won't until I get this pair complete!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Holiday Spin

It's the time of year when my imagination overdrives the amount of time available, and I end up spinning in circles, trying to accomplish last minute Christmas gifts, etc. I have some sewing planned, but mostly, it's going to be a bit laid back this year.

I finished knitting a pair of bedsocks for a girl who was in a serious automobile accident. Parents of one of her friends asked if I would make her some because she moves around a lot in her hospital bed, and doesn't keep covers on. Hopefully, her feet will remain warm! Also working on a pair for my quilting buddy, Viki; first sock is done, and I'm nearing the heel on the second. I signed up for Socks for Soldiers, and am anxiously awaiting the arrival of those supplies.

Our trip to Florida came and went in a big hurry. It was great, just too fast. Kathi and Sherri joined us from Oregon, and they are new to knitting. Sherri is brand new . . . still was working on her first dishcloth. She caught on quickly, and steamed right through that project, and on to a couple more. Kathi was knitting patterned dishcloths, with a bee hive and a lady bug on each. We did a little scouting on the internet, and found TONS of dishcloth patterns. Since we were in Florida, we found many that would follow a beach vacation theme . . . flamingo, hibiscus blossom, dolphins, palm trees. Made me want to knit dishcloths, but I have to finish the socks I have going first!

As usual, we made the trip to Dunedin, for lunch at Bon Appetit on the Marina, and then to Rainbow's End. I was remarkably well-behaved! I bought a batik scrap bag, a pattern, and some fat quarters. Stops at Patches Galore and Quilt Haven yielded some scrap bags, and the fabrics to make pillow cases as Christmas gifts. We went to Kneedles and Knobs, too, and I got the yarn for some Harry Potter items for grandson, Ben. He's just six, but he is reading the Harry Potter series by himself. He loves them, and knows all the finite details about the characters. I'm anxious to see how he will like his Harry Potter sweater and scarf.

We were able to attend Ribfest in Vinoy Park in Saint Petersburg on Sunday late afternoon. We saw Zac Brown's Band. The place was so packed, you couldn't even get near the booths to try the ribs. Multiple lines at each booth were 30 to 40 people deep. We ended up picking up pizzas on the way home! Glad I didn't try to get a Ribfest t-shirt as a souvenir . . . seems sort of like it should be against the law to go to a big food festival and not be able to get any of the food! I was with my friends, though, so I had a great time.

We caught the flea market one day, too, and while I didn't spend much on fabric, I scored quite a few books. I found lots of bargains on clothing at the outlet mall, so when it was time to think about packing to go home, we made a quick stop at the Pack and Send to launch my books, fabric, and dirty laundry toward home. I put my new clothing purchases and gifts in my suitcase, and off we went.

We had plenty of leisure time, too. I did a little knitting, a little sun-worshipping, and a lot of reading. Ate my fill of seafood while close to the source, too. We have some places that we love to go . . . Crabby Bill's on the Beach, for shrimp and a very tasty Margarita; then Back Fin Blue in Gulfport for wonderful crab cakes, with corn and crab chowder. Always ready to go back for those!

12/15/09: I intended to add pictures and post this sooner. Better to post now, than wait any longer!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Where does the time go?

As usual, I'm astounded at how long it has been since I posted last. Actually, I started to post, and paused to include some pictures . . . then forgot to photograph the NICU quilt top I made before giving it away. It was a variable star in purples with a rose bud applique over one block, in memory of my dear friend, Roseanna. We're all still reeling from the loss. Marguerite mentioned a little project for us for the Christmas season; she suggested we all hunt for a Christmas ornament that reminds us of Roseanna, to be placed on a wreath for her grave marker every Christmas. I suspect it will have lots of purple flowers, and some hummingbirds. One of her long-time projects has been a pattern by Patricia Cox, with hummingbirds and flowers. All the blocks are made and ready to assemble, so that will probably be one of our first projects to finish for her brothers. We volunteered to complete her quilts in progress, and Viki has offered to quilt them on her long-arm.

Roseanna's brothers asked if we would come out to the house and clear out her sewing room. Also, just come out some evenings and sew as we did when Roseanna was still with us. We said we would be happy to do that, and I suggested we could bring dessert. The "boys" were insistent that they would make dessert for us. We've all been talking about the task of her sewing room. We don't want to descend like locusts anxious to grab it all. Discussion has centered on each of us having a keepsake, and using the fabrics to make NICU quilts. Another suggestion was auction her books at a Guild meeting once evening, with the proceeds going to the Guild, as that has been a wish of the boys, too.

As far as own projects go, I just have four applique blocks to complete from my Lori Smith "Ode to the 30's". I finished the piecing last weekend, while my grandson played with his X-Box 360. Through the week, I made flying geese blocks for the border of my Bonnie Hunter "Old Tobacco Road" mystery. Next up is a quilt for my granddaughter, with Pinwheel Sampler blocks from Sindy Rodenmayer's Fat Cat Patterns. I pulled out an old QNM pattern called, "Victorian Medley" from Leman Publishing that I have had for years, to make a center applique medallion. Blocks chosen are a glove, a flowered hat, high button shoe, and parasol.

I also have blocks cut for two grandsons using Sindy's Bear Paw Sampler blocks. Addison's will have some applique jungle animals, again from Fat Cat Patterns, as a center applique to commemorate his performance in an opera, Noah's Flood. I haven't made a choice of the applique for Drew's quilt, but am considering something with planets. He's very interested in science.

On the knitting needles, I have cast on the second sock in a pair from Cookie A's Book Innovative Socks, for Viki. I have some Regia Silk (a merino wool, silk, nylon blend) to be made into a pair of Cookie's Monkey pattern which will be my knitting project on the upcoming Florida trip with Melanie, Marguerite and Patti. (Only 12 days to wait!) Will probably take some applique, too.

To top it all off, I have been on a reading binge, too. I really need to thin down the ranks of books I want to read. Read two last weekend, and I'm nearly done with another. Working interferes with my play time . . . but it also funds it . . . a conundrum if ever I've seen one.

Tomorrow, several of us are getting together again to make NICU quilts in memory of Roseanna. Her quilts will be featured at our Guild Show in the spring, with a special exhibit of all the NICU quilts made to honor her memory. Have to get my toys packed up for sewing at Mary J's tomorrow!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Good Grief! Almost two months . . .

. . since I last posted. Well, I have been busy! Mostly, I was getting ready to go to Retreat. I sort of have double duty because I am the program chair for the Retreat. And, my DSIL flies in from Texas, so I make sure her sewing machine and tools here are ready to go to Camp. This year, Dawn brought her friend, Joan, and came to my house the night before we went to Camp. We had a great dinner at The Smokehouse, and then Jan was delivered from the Indianapolis Airport by Marguerite. DH thought he was in a sorority house!

The next morning, we got going and loaded up the cars, and made a side trip to Rossville Quilts on the way to Camp Tecumseh, where we all acquired something we couldn't possibly live without.

In the weeks before Camp, since Ruthie took care of most of the hand-out work at her job . . . boy, I can't thank her enough . . . I almost didn't know what to do with myself. Usually, I'm making copies, and sitting down in front of the idiot box, punching holes and collating. I had just a few pages that I added, and those went very quickly. I managed to fill up my time by cutting lots of things, so they would be ready to sew at Camp. The inventory looked something like this:
1) Remaining blocks for grand-daughters Pinwheel Quilt, as well as applique blocks for center medallion.
2) Remaining blocks for two grandson's Bear Paw Samplers. Found an applique of a giraffe that I can add to one of these quilts for my grandson's performance in the Opera, Noah's Flood.
3) All the pieced blocks and applique blocks for Ode to the 1930's, a BOM that I purchased all at once . . . just adore it!
4) Christmas quilt by Anita Shackelford that appeared in Fons and Porter's Love of Quilting; cut all the pieced blocks, templates for applique, and all the applique pieces.
5) Bonnie Hunter's mystery, Double Delight . . . it's all cut, so I used some of it as leaders/enders as I sewed.
6) Beach umbrellas for my Florida sunglass quilt. The sunglass blocks were my own design based on a notepad I found in the shape of sunglasses. I used conversation prints in the lenses to commemorate one of my fun trips to Tierra Verde with my quilting friends. I pieced the umbrellas as leaders/enders, too. They are fun to do; it's basically a kaleidoscope block, and all the umbrellas are cut from bright striped fabrics.
7) My applique box had three or four blocks in it to work on, too.
I should have done what another friend did . . . signed up for the week-long Camp Tecumseh Retreat that followed our Guild Retreat, and kept sewing for another week. I think I might have had enough projects to carry me through . . . obviously, I couldn't possibly have made all those things in three days! However, they are all nicely organized, and I can follow through at home on lunch hours, and evenings, and one of these days, I'll have more quilt tops ready!
Overly-enthusiastic, under-achiever had a great time being with old friends, and making a few new ones, too!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Friendship, the thread that quilts our hearts together.

Those of us in our small quilt group that have blogs have often mentioned the blessings of our dear friends. Last night, we witnessed another gift of love among these women, and we counted our blessings yet again.

More than a year ago, one of our dear out-of-state members suffered an illness which left her with some comprehension issues. She has difficulty following written directions for some quilt patterns. She had been tidying her studio, and decided to pass along to the rest of us those projects that she felt she would be unable to construct. Among them was a Block of the Month by Pam Bono Designs, featuring beautiful pieced flowers. She had acquired all the kits, even when she was first suffering from her illness, because she so loved the design. Called Out of Darkness, her color choice featured a light background, with a ribbon border. (The quilt is shown on the website with a dark background with a floral border.) She consoled herself with the thought that one of her dear friends would enjoy making and having the quilt, and that made her happy. I'm sure you can figure out what happened . . . last night, we all got to spend the evening with her at her mother-in-law's home, while she visits. Roseanna stood up and walked over to her, and handed her a finished quilt top saying, "This is yours." Of course, I didn't have the camera with me. Roseanna is a very talented quiltmaker, and the quilt top is stunning. Needless to say, there were lots of tears of joy over this lovely gift. We are all so proud to be in this circle of friends. I'll try to round up a picture of the quilt top to share.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Camp is coming!

It's still about six weeks until our Guild Retreat, but things are coming together, and I'm getting so wired up, I can hardly stand it.

Thanks to a MAJOR assist from Ruthie, the great majority of hand-outs are ready to go, even hole-punched and collated. When she asked about the collating, I thought, "Gee . . . I'll sure miss walking around and around my dining room table . . . and punching four to six sheets at a time with my little three-hole punch in front of the television for a couple weeks in a row . . . and picking up all the little dots trailing through the house that escape the trap in the bottom of the punch!" Well, surprise, surprise . . . I don't miss that part at all! I just can't decide what to do with all this "extra" time! I just have a few things to print in color and add to the mix. Laura has a couple things ready to add as well.

I started putting a few projects aside with the intention of assembling the quilt tops while at Retreat. DSIL, Jan, is bringing her Bonnie Hunter "Carolina Crossroads" to assemble, if she ever gets all her nine-patches done. I have a heap of nine-patches to make also, but mine is the Bonnie Hunter "Double Delight", and I want to pull fabrics to make her Christmas mystery currently being featured in Quiltmaker Magazine.

Other good news is that Viki brought my cake stand quilt to Guild on Tuesday evening. We've got a barter thing going here . . . she's quilting my quilt tops, and I'm knitting socks for her. Each of us thinks we have the better side of the bargain. I just finished a pair of Lacy Mock Cables for her last night, and the second Monkey (Cookie A. design) is approaching the heel turn. Since one pair has been finished, I immediately launched a pair called Crystals, 'Combs and Cables Socks, in a beautiful hand-painted yarn, but I'm omitting the beads.

So, as far as what to do next, I think I'd better get the binding on the Cake Stand quilt so it will be a suitable sample at the Retreat, Patchwork Pantry!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

OTQG Retreat just 7 weeks away

Wow! I'm starting to get really wired up for our annual Quilt Guild Retreat. Today is the date that registration is opened to non-guild members, and there have been a number of inquiries. Plus, a couple people have called to inquire about bringing friends or relatives. Here's a new problem: Will we have to set a ceiling on the number of participants? The facility will technically sleep 80 . . . but that's half bunk beds. Fortunately, volunteers have been adequate in the past to not make that a concern. I'm getting to an age where I stop to think about it, and there are a few who absolutely have no business climbing a bunkbed ladder.

Things are starting to tick together very well. I've always had permission to make copies in my office, but my old copier has finally given up the ghost. Another friend with the same benefit in her office doesn't think it's going to carry over this year. So, I inquired with another friend who works for a local graphics company, and I saw her Saturday evening. She said that the copies will all be donated! I almost ran around the car and kissed her on the lips! That's a big task to not to have to worry about.

Next concern is that our volunteer for door prize collection has kind of slipped on the job. Not really a surprise, as she doesn't have a good track record for following through with those things for which she volunteers. My DH always makes a couple of mason jar lamps for us, filled with old sewing notions or wooden spools. Those are well-received. And, he's been after me to cull down my sewing box collection, so I'll pick out one of those antique beauties for the cause. I'm watching Hobby Lobby's ads for patterns to be $.99, so I can score some new apron patterns for the cause. I'll just have to make an announcement at the Guild meeting this evening, to see if others want to come up with something from their studios. I hate to resort to that, because it may impact the Traders Post at our Guild show in the spring. Personally, I can do without the door prizes, but they mean a lot to some participants. So, we'll just see what happens.

I started filling a tote with projects, including my Bonnie Hunter mystery, Old Tobacco Roads, which needs it's borders added. I have a couple others that are ready to assemble, so I've tucked them in, too. Been doing block samplers for a quilt for two of my grandsons and granddaughter; need to cut kits for the last couple blocks, and pack those up.

I think I'll be ready, but I know that there will always be that last minute frenzy. The biggest problem is that Retreat is over too quickly!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Why does time fly when you don't want it to?

And, how is it, that my office clock seems to have come to a dead stop whenever I look at it?

We've had some nice cool evenings, and I swear, that brings out the "nesting" syndrome in me, and makes me want to start at least 82 new projects! I grabbed to some knitting to try to relax a little and refrain from launching too many new things. I do have the excuse that I am preparing things for The Old Tippecanoe Quilt Guild Retreat, coming up in September. I almost think I might be ahead of schedule a little bit, because hand-outs are pretty much all lined up, and there isn't too much to do to get some instructions written.

Over the weekend, I finally put an apron quilt idea that has been circling the drain in my brain into actual fabric. I'm really pleased with how my sample turned out. Writing instructions for that will be the next task, and I was considering how troublesome it might be to draw in EQ6, since it has gathered skirts on the aprons. Fortunately, the old gray cells kicked into gear, and the instructions will include photos of the steps, a la Bonnie Hunter.

I've always said that I wished I could find my high school home ec teacher, who taught me to knit, so I could thank her again for all the years of pleasure my knitting has provided. Well, this morning, I was able to locate her address through my high school alumni website. I can't wait to sit down and write her a big old thank you. As usual, as students, we thought all our instructors were older than dirt, so I had to laugh when I determined that she was only 33 when she was my teacher. She really gave me a life-long gift by teaching me to knit, and I'll never forget her.

Lunch break brought a wonderful package delivery to my house. I ordered three books from Interweave Press' hurt and damaged book sale. The discounts amounted to from 40 to 75% off. I expected to find a corner folded on a page, or a scratch on the cover, or something to indicate that the books were "hurt". They are all perfect. They must have just been neglected! Titles include "Men in Knits - Sweaters that he WILL wear" by Tara Jon Manning; "The Best of Interweave Knits - our favorite designs from the first ten years"; and Folk Socks. I've already found a couple of wonderful possible choices to knit for my son in Virginia; the stash has a great ginger colored wool that will work for at least one of the choices. And, an adorable tank top called, "Lotus Blossom" for my daughter-in-law; I have several skeins of a stunning lilac Checkheaton Country Silk that will be perfect for that project. In this case, it's good that I am thinking of starting them in July . . . I may actually have them ready at Christmas!

Ladling into the "guilt" stash, it occurred to me that I should do some cutting, and prepare for sewing the next stages of pieces for a couple of stalled quilt tops. I have at least three that just need to be laid out, and assembled. It's always nice to do that at our Retreat, because we try to reserve the major portion of floor space in one of the rooms for just that purpose. It's so much fun to walk into that room and see the projects that near completion over the weekend. I can't wait!

This little "pep" talk has been good for me . . . I can feel my energy turning from the idea of new projects, to some of my lingering UFO's, and an excitement to get them finished. Then, I'll be ready to start something new!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Yesterday was a mixed blessing.

Yesterday, my youngest brother, Wayne Michael Hogan - Mike, passed away. He suffered with cerebral palsy all his life, and was 53, which I have learned is well beyond what most CP patients are expected to live. They expend four to five times more energy to do something an able-bodied person doesn't even have to think about. He had lost his ability to swallow (which happens in 20 percent of the patients), and was going to require a feeding tube. So, he won't have to suffer through that now.

He was born too soon in more than one aspect. My twin brothers were born at 6 months gestation . . . it's a miracle that they even survived. The doctors told my mother to put him in an institution and forget him. They didn't know my mother very well. We all helped at his exercises, which ultimately gave him the ability to walk. We gave him plates with peanut butter or sugar on them, to strengthen his tongue, and improve his speech.

He loved to fish, read, and watch racing on television. If he had been born a few years later, he would have benefited from all the programs that are now available to CP patients, and probably had a life of more contributions. He had a good mind, trapped in a damaged body. He made fabulous Lego creations, and he worked for one of my other brothers (a cabinet-maker) finishing wooden toys, and doing hand-rubbed finishes on custom pieces of furniture.

He had the sweetest, most gentle natured disposition, and was a terrible tease, too. He mocked all of us as we were growing up. In my junior high years for a time, one of my "fashion statements" was a headscarf and sunglasses. One day, I came home, and he came out of the bedroom with one of my headscarves on. "Madame Fifi" was born! I said Madame Fifi liked all things French . . . French couture, French movies, and especially French Fries. On my last visit to him at the hospital last week, I came into his room, and said, "They told me I would find Madame Fifi in here!" He just laughed and waved his hand at me in a "get out" gesture. We had a nice visit. He told me I look just like our mother, and gave me the most beautiful smile.

While he didn't have an opportunity to realize the full use his brain, he was the family pet . . . we all learned a lot about love from him. I'm going to miss him a lot. I wish everyone had an opportunity to feel the pure love he showered on his siblings. His illness was a burden, but he was a gift to us.

I had promised to knit him a pair of blue socks before winter, but he was gone before I even had a chance to start them. I think I will knit them anyway, and donate them to a charitable fundraiser in his memory. It will ease the sorrow, as the yarn slips through my fingers, and I can concentrate on good memories of him.

Yesterday was also my grand-daughter's twelfth birthday. She was selected to participate this week and next in "The Governor's Art Program" in Charlottesville, one of only 40 junior high students. She is the youngest in the group, and was a bit un-nerved by the whole thing the first couple days. Now, she is happy that she is participating. It will be interesting to see where this opportunity leads her. She is a talented artist and musician. My Mother had both of those talents, too. It's fun to see those talents continue through the generations.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Pedal to the Metal!

Zoomed along and managed to get my Basket of Flowers top completely assembled. The gals in my quilt group talked me out of an additional border. I must admit, it's a nice size, and looks cute as it is, especially since it has my own stamp . . . every blossom is a different fabric, and it will be embellished with some cute buttons for the flower centers, once quilted.

On a roll at the machine, so out came "Old Tobacco Roads" to get it closer to being assembled. Kept up a pretty steady pace, and have just three strips to join the top together. Then, a spacer border and a pieced border, and it will be ready to quilt . . . or turn over to my friend, Viki, to machine-quilt for me. Can't decide for sure what will go across the machine bed next . . . I made a few pink and white nine-patches for "Double Delight", the fourth Quiltville Mystery. Bonnie Hunter has her fifth mystery, "Christmas Lights" in the current and next two issues of Quiltmaker. It hasn't yet appeared on our local news stands, so I signed up for the Bonnie Hunter special shown on her blog-site. Since that publication comes out every two months, it should be easy to keep up with it.

My three-ring binder of Bonnie's stuff was gasping and stretched to its' maximum. So, last weekend, I acquired another file box, and started filing everything "Bonnie Hunter" in it. It is the kind of file box which will accommodate hanging folders, so her book is in one folder, the issue of Quiltmaker with her first appearance in another, and one will be dedicated to the new Christmas Lights mystery issues. I gathered all my hand-outs saved from her website, and set up folders for those, too. Also included the journals compiled as each mystery was made. I probably should start looking for a two-drawer filing cabinet.

Two weeks ago, DH worked an auction. There was a lovely featherweight, and not many bidders, so it came home with him. It is in mint condition . . . all the gold is perfect, and the case is completely unmarked. A little oil, and grease, cleaned the felt out of the feed dogs, and its' only issue is a little "thread-throw-up" on the bobbin side of stitching. Dropped it off at Sink Sew and Vac in Lebanon for some of Gary Sink's TLC. It will soon be operating perfectly.

At the same sale, there was an older Kenmore in a cabinet. The sale was on a Friday, so I was only able to attend for a bit on my lunch break. I asked DH what that machine sold for, and he said only a couple dollars, sold with some bedding and a chair. I kind of grimaced, because I always seem to run into someone who is looking for a reliable machine. The lady who made the purchase was pointed out to me, and I went over to ask her if she had intentions for the machine. She said she hadn't even looked it . . . her objective was the chair. So, we walked over to the items, and took a good look. She asked what I would offer, and I said, "Five bucks". We made a deal. Later, after work, I went to the Fairgrounds, in case DH had more acquisitions than he could fit in his van. Sitting around chatting over the day's sale, I learned that when the machine first came up for bids, no one would even open it. Two fellows put up $1 each to get DH to take it, and he refused. I could have had it for nothing! I'll polish it up a bit, and find it a new home, after I'm sure it is in good operating condition.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Bleary eyes make mistakes!

We've all done it . . . the "I'll just do one more thing" syndrome. Last night, I was preparing to sub-cut my strips for three-inch nine-patches for Baskets of Flowers. Thirty 9-patches are needed, fifteen of each of two colorways. I cut one strip set making 29 units, and I need 30. I was tired, and I thought I need to make another complete strip set to cut just one unit. Fortunately, I went to bed then. This morning, as I thought about it, I realized I just need one green 1 1/2 square to alter an opposite strip set, making the one remaining unit necessary. Did that for each of the two colorways, and I should be able to complete the nine-patches easily today. Then, press the sashing sets, and cut to size, and the quilt top will be ready to assemble, sans borders. So, now I can concentrate on the friendship phrase I want to place around the border. This is my current favorite:

"Sew a seed of friendship,
Reap a bouquet of happiness." Lois L. Kaufman

Received notification that the fabric has shipped that will become that border, so perhaps I can get my lettering ready, and by the time that is done, the fabric will have arrived. Maybe this will be the first quilt that Viki will quilt for me on her long-arm machine!

I'm going to keep going with piecing projects while I've got the "fever". Still have Bonnie Hunter's Old Tobacco Roads to complete, as well as a completely cut Double Delight. Truth be known, I'll never run out of projects!

Hope to put some of this long weekend to good use at the machine. Also, in the never QUITE completed task, should plow the studio. It was a mess, but with the window incident, it's even worse. Nothing to do but yank everything out and put it back properly. What a drudge, but it will be more inspiring to have a nice neat sewing space again.

Happy weekend to all!

Monday, May 18, 2009


As you probably have surmised, I succumbed to the offer from Hancock's for Mary Engelbreit's Basket of Flowers kit by Moda. It arrived on Wednesday, and I held off all the way until Thursday to start cutting it! By Saturday morning, it was all cut, and several blossoms assembled. I have made some adaptations to personalize it. First, I cut flowers from a matching jelly roll, so every flower is different. I woke up Sunday morning with the idea of adding buttons to the center of each blossom, once it is quilted. Since my dear friend, Laura, has launched me on my "words on quilts" program, I've decided to add a border, and a phrase about friendship. Haven't stumbled over a phrase that entices me yet, but I'll keep working on it. Last night, I finished all the red blooms, and have only five pink blossoms to stitch before assembling some nine-patch cornerstones, and three-strip sashings. Whatever the phrase is, I think I want it to be as "scrappy" as my flowers, so I might have to choose a light outer border. Because I prefer to cut the exact size and shape of each piece, I have plenty of fabric left over from the kit. I cut my triangles with an EZ Angle, instead of using the corner square technique . . . can't bring myself to throw away 40% of a square.

On Thursday, my E-bay bargain Shangri-la kit arrived. I read through all the instructions, and fondled the little 2" swatch patch packet attached to the pattern. There were enough swatches to make 12 little four-patches, so stiched them up to make a pillow. Found a remnant of one of the fabrics on-line to make the setting squares, and backing of the pillow. This morning's awakening inspiration was the idea of piping around each of the four-patches, so I went scouting for a little piece of one of the companion fabrics. It's so much fun with the old brain cooperates with inspiration without much perspiration!

Another inspiration was the idea to make throw pillows for Christmas gifts this year. Every other year, we spend Christmas in Virginia, with our eldest son, his family, and in-laws. They just make us a part of the family, too. The idea is that the pillow tops can be made up, and packed in a small box for the trip to Virginia, and I can purchase pillow forms once I arrive there.

Dh had his annual spring garage sale last Thursday, Friday and Saturday. He was kind enough to share some of the proceeds. He cleared out lots of stuff that had been "bonus" purchases at auctions where we wanted just one or two things from a box. He said this morning that he thinks he made about 5% on his investment. I told him that is fantastic in this economic time. And, he also made the front page of today's Lafayette Journal and Courier, in an article about garage sales. He said the writer didn't use some of his best lines . . . I told him, the writer was probably jealous.

We had one catastrophe early in the week last week. Some neighbor kids were playing ball in our side lot . . . they had permission from DH. At some point, someone gave them a hardball instead of the plastic ball they had been using previously. Double-pane window in my studio was lost. The kids came to the front door immediately to tell us. DH was crabby, but I tried to keep him from scaring them too much. I bought them a sack full of wiffle balls on Friday night, and tough guy located a wiffle bat yesterday. We're going to show them the location of the bases when our boys played ball in the yard. That will move them more toward the back of the lot, and away from windows! It's nice to hear the children's voices in the yard again.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Temptation is a terrible thing to waste!

It happens every year. While I'm in Paducah, I can't wait to get home to work on my projects because I am so inspired by new fabrics, and patterns, and tools, and techniques. Once I'm home again, I can't settle down enough to actually get the flow going. In the interim, I've been working on socks for Viki and Mary J. I'm telling myself, there are several tops close to completion, and I SHOULD work on those. Meanwhile, my mind continues to whizz, giggle, jolt, and veer to newer horizons. Then, this morning, I got a sale e-mail from Hancock's of Paducah, and it included a half-price kit for a quilt that I have been considering using Mary Engelbreit's Basket of Flowers line. How is a person supposed to resist that kind of enticement?

Then, when peeking around in E-Bay, there was another Moda fabrics kit on clearance. I could justify making a low bid on it, with the thought that the bid was so low, someone else would surely out-bid me . . . amazingly, I made the ONLY bid! I can't decide if I was lucky or not in this case, since the price was about one-fourth of the price of the original kit from one of last year's lines! This kit is packaged in a matching tote-bag . . . Did I mention, FREE SHIPPING?

Finally, there was another Moda kit for which we saw the finished quilt on display at Hancock's. It uses the Aviary line by Three Sisters, and comes packaged in a back-pack. It was $129.00 at Hancock's. I walked away easily . . . found the pattern on the Moda fabrics website, and thought I would put it away for a later project. Bought a jelly roll of those fabrics before going to Paducah, and thought I could fill in with some of the backgrounds to make my own kit for it. At the current prices, the additional fabrics to build my own kit would add up to about $100, but that wouldn't include the "free" back-pack or binding. Of course, I stumbled over a kit for $99. So far, I've resisted the siren call, but if I look at that kit again, and see that the distributor has only one left, I confess to considering a mad dash for the last one in stock!

Retirement can't come too soon for me . . . and I'll have plenty of projects to keep me busy!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Wonderful AQS weekend . . . again!

I must admit, I felt a little at loose ends without my DSIL, but those of us who were able to make the trip had a wonderful time on our Paducah adventure. Linda G. rented a full-sized van . . . rumor had it that 15 could be seated, but with luggage and purchases, and 7 of us, it seemed kind of tight coming home. Fortunately, we have some great packers in the bunch, and under seat storage was a help.

I had my camera, and I even took two pictures before something happened . . . it was tucked in my purse, and it seems as though the lens mechanism has been goofed up, perhaps from being bumped to the on position, and not having room for the lens to open inside my purse. So, not only can I not see the two pictures I did take, but I can't get the camera to turn on at all.

Everyone everywhere seemed to be very conscious of their spending. Some vendors reported shoppers looking things over and putting them back. I always have a problem with impulse buying, but even I held things more in check . . . though, I did have a slight spending spree on Saturday morning. I picked up six books at the AQS on Broadway store . . . $5 each. I've never been successful in finding six before, but scored five applique and a cross-stitch book. The AQS website indicated there would be a booth hop, but I asked at a vendor's booth, who has been a sponsor in the past, and she said they dropped it because there was so much uncertainty that there would even be a show. So, the money set aside for that became a fund for some applique patterns that I adored. I bought about ten one-yard pieces from the flat-fold tables at Hancock's . . . no yardage off bolts, and some half-priced jelly rolls. Replenished rotary cutter blades for DSIL, and learned that there was a free triangle ruler by OLFA with a $25 order. So, my blades are also replenished, and we have twin rulers now! I only bought one book . . . this is remarkable for me! It is a new Blackbird Designs book that has a wonderful Christmas quilt in it. I do admire their designs . . . just can't remember the name of the book!

One of our "playmates", Viki, is a marvelous long-arm quilter. She quilted the perfume bottles for my cousin, and has done a couple quilts for DSIL. A couple weeks ago, she asked if I would knit her some socks in exchange for having some of my quilt top stash finished on the long-arm. Boy, I jumped at the chance! I didn't tell her about the size of my backlog of finished tops; but I did confess that I would probably have to knit her 700 pair to cover what is made so far! In my handwork taken on the trip, I tucked in a ball of Opal Beach Colors, a bright yellow with orange, hot pink, lime green, and turquoise . . . she loved it, so I started knitting on the way home. We haven't really negotiated a "price" yet, but I think there should be several pairs of socks per quilt top. I've been thinking about which top should go first, but I have plenty of time to make up my mind. I'd like to have the socks done in advance, and she has a backlog of quilts from Alabama right now, as that Guild gets ready for a show in a few weeks. I'm rather thinking I should start with one of the oldest projects and come forward. So, today, at least, I think the first project should be "Chocolates in Foil", a pieced quilt that appeared in the FIRST issue of Quiltmaker! It is so old that when I started it, I was marking pieces with a template, and cutting them with scissors. I got a few blocks done, and put it in a box. Later, when I decided I could rotary cut it to finish, I mentioned to a friend that I had a "quilt in a box". Garnet said, "That's not a quilt in a box . . . that's GUILT in a box!"

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Paducah, here we come!

An oldie but goodie . . . made these Cypress blocks years ago, and decided they needed an applique border. Nearly done with the applique, I thought I would lay them out and see how it was going to look. In my opinion, the applique nearly disappeared. On to Plan B!

Used the same image . . . a vintage embroidery test pattern, by the way . . . just enlarged it, and changed to a "Boston Commons" set. I think it's going to work much better. When I was cutting the setting squares, I had two pieces of fabric in my stash. I cut the first one, and was able to get exactly 23 squares from it. Before I started cutting the remaining necessary squares, I laid it all out one more time . . . with Plan B in place, applique on the same peach background instead of the floral, I wouldn't need as many setting squares . . . anhyone want to guess how many I needed, exactly? That's right . . . 23 . . . somebody up there looks out for me and my projects!

Time flies when you are having fun . . . my friend, Melanie will be here shortly to pick me up, and we'll be joining the other five Paducah bound travelers. I'll be back before you know it. Smaller group, but one big van full of laughing quilt makers. I know it will be great fun!
Hope everyone has a pleasant weekend . . . I know I will!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Eau De Parfum!

Here is the finished product . . . the perfume bottle quilt I made for my cousin. It has 120 perfume bottles, each different, set in an attic window setting. This was taken at Guild the night before I flew to Atlanta, to give it to Diane. It looks great in her bedroom which is a lovely coral color. She has gold pillow shams and is going to put up new white sheers at the windows, and a gold dust ruffle on the bed. I made one additional block for the back, reversing the colors and used it as a label.

More later!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Time has flown!

I can't believe it's been over a month since my last post. I'll try to make up for that fairly quickly.

First, I've been having trouble with my computer at home, and yesterday, I had an opportunity to get it picked up and worked on, so that is in the works.

Second . . . found the camera! I had just about torn the house down looking for it. I remembered picking it up when I left Miss Mary's at the end of our Retreat. I put it and several other things in the car, and went into Quilter's Harvest to check out. After making yet another search at home, I got in the car, stuck my hand into the little wastebasket, and there it was.

Next post will show the Perfume Bottle quilt I made for my cousin, and a few pictures from my visit to her in Atlanta.

Hey . . . and the stock market went up a bit yesterday! Life is good!

Friday, February 06, 2009

Okay, Camera . . . Come out of hiding!

It's so frustrating when one can't locate a possession. I've looked high and low for my camera, and have yet to find it. And, of course, I have lots of items to photograph and post from my visit to Miss Mary's quilting cottage.

The BOM, Somewhere in Time, is completely assembled and bordered into a quilt top. I love the way it turned out. I'm sure, if I could find the camera, you would like it, too! (You can sneak a peek during it's assembly at my friend, Laura's blog. She posted some pictures of the first evening we were at Miss Mary's. I'm on the left in the picture of four of us seated at our machines. And, my DSIL is shown at her tan Featherweight machine.)

I made all the blocks posted to date for a Pinwheel Sampler for my Granddaughter. Ditto for two grandsons with a Bear Paw Sampler for each. My cousin's Perfume Bottle blocks have all received the attic window treatment, and will be laid out on the basement floor this evening, to begin assembly. Borders will make it ready to go to my friend, Viki, a long-arm quilter. I'm determined to take the quilt to visit Diane in Atlanta on March 4.

I have completed the applique of "Here Comes" . . . for my Santa's of the World quilt . . . starting on the "S" in "Santa Claus!" I'm using double-layer lettering for it, and it really pops. It has a peppermint letter with a dark red outline to complete each letter. I've also done a bit more of the embroidery of the names and countries of origin of the Santa blocks for that quilt. That's real close to completion, too.

My participation in Scratching Post and Quiltville chats have made me aware of several new BOM's being launched on various websites. Of course, I've passed these along to my quilting pals . . . I think they concur with my DSIL, constantly warning me that I'm out of control . . . the comment I got when I noted yet another BOM was, "Step away from the BOM's"!

It all goes to point out the accuracy in a new acronym of which I recently became aware: SABLE . . . sewing projects above and beyond life expectancy. I think I can live up to that!

Monday, February 02, 2009

Environment or genetic inheritance?

Had my 8-year-old grandson, Drew, on Saturday. We usually run errands, and play. He's very into Pokemon cards at the present, so our errands usually include a store where those cards are available. This Saturday's run included Target and Wal-Mart . . . I wanted to go on to Staples, but he was anxious to get back to my house to get his Pokemon cards organized. Grandpa gave him some plastic pages to hold his cards, and he likes for me to set up a tv tray and he sits down and spreads the cards all out, then places them in alphabetical order. My husband and I have reputations as being very organized, so we have taken credit for this trait in Drew. It certainly is funny to see this type of habit pop up in the someone so young.

Another purchase on Saturday was a bean-bag video chair. He just went ga-ga when he saw them, and asked if we could get one. I told him it could be an early birthday present, since it's just about four weeks until his birthday. Yesterday, my son called for some cooking advice, and I asked how Drew was. He had gone to spend the previous night with a cousin, and insisted on taking his video chair!

I try never to turn him down when he calls and wants to play. I know this time is short-lived, and soon, he won't find going on errands with his grandmother to be such a great idea. A couple years ago, I went over one morning when both his parents had to work. When he got up, I asked him if he would like to go to the local science and technology museum for children, Imagination Station. He said yes, and asked if he could invite a buddy. I agreed, so instead of going to the phone, he looked out the front door. Two boys were peddling by on their bikes, and he yelled, "Hey, guys . . . want to go have fun with my Nan?" Not a single detail more was given, but they both yelled, "Yes!", and peddled off to ask permission. It just cracked me up. About half an hour later, we were loaded up in my van, and off we went to Imagination Station, and of course, that favored dining spot, McDonald's.

These little jaunts with a car full of boys are so much fun. And, it's gratifying that Drew is so proud of me . . . someone will ask a question, and I try to give an answer or a promise to look it up. On one occasion, Drew announced, "My Nan knows how everything works!" Boy, have I got him fooled.

A couple weeks ago, we made a visit to Hobby Lobby. I needed a red for grandson, Addison's quilt to commemorate his performance in an opera last fall, Noah's Flood. Usually, while I'm looking at the various fabrics, Drew likes to push the cart up and down the fabric aisles. He came steaming around the corner and announced, "Look what I found, Nan". We have had some yardage in orange laid aside to make Drew a quilt, and sure enough, he had found a puzzle fabric that would be a perfect complement to the orange. So, I started making both Drew and Addison a quilt based on the Bear Paw Sampler blocks at Sindy Rodenmayer's Fat Cat Patterns. I had the first six blocks cut for each boy, and worked on assembly at Miss Mary's. I used a royal blue background with Drew's orange and puzzle fabric, and the blocks are very striking. New block for February has been posted, so getting back to those will soon be on the agenda. (By the way, Sindy has just posted a stunning new applique BOM called, "Baltimore Bliss". Wonder when I can try to fit that one into my agenda?)

Haven't sewn much since I came home from Miss Mary's. I signed up for two fabric swaps . . . neutrals in one, and civil war neutrals and shirtings in another, so cutting strips has been a priority. Just two pieces of fabric left to cut, but they needed a little pressing, before cutting. Also, participating in a Valentine's swap from Pat Sloan's yahoo group. I embellished a tea towel with hearts, and am about to finish a pin-cushion using an antique heart-shaped jell-o mold. I used Sandy Gervais' Candy Kisses fabrics, and they are really cute. Other "treasures" are some valentine candies, a valentine journal and note paper, a little red-work kit with cupid's arrow, and a tiny little flower-pot with seeds to launch a spring garden! Pictures will be posted later today!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Still rotary rolling along!

Still have "cutting fever", so I'm taking advantage. I've been cutting triangles to get my pinwheels finished for Bonnie Hunter's Old Tobacco Roads, her September 2008 mystery. All the bricks are cut, as well as the corner pieces. I might even think about cutting the flying geese for the borders.

Sindy Rodenmayer at Fat Cat Patterns has been posting both Bear Paw Sampler Blocks and a Pinwheel Sampler. Last trip to see the grandkids, I took a couple fabric selections to make quilt blocks with the eldest kids. They are just too busy, but at least they picked out their favorites. Last night, checked through the journals I created for those patterns. The pieces are fairly large, so I'm already thinking about putting those fabrics in the path of my cutter, while it's hot! It's nice to have many choices to sew for those days when one's brain wants to shut down, but sewing is appealing in a mindless way.

As I get some of these projects closer to completion, its good to downsize the container in which the project has been stored. Santa's of the World had a really big tote, since it contained extra fat quarters in anticipation of making borders. Since all the borders are now cut and ready to assemble, that container is down to only being about one-third full. Thinking about going to Miss Mary's, it seems like a good idea to combine several projects into one tote, thereby eliminating trips to the car to haul in stuff . . . being -19 outside, I find my mind is working harder on eliminating trips outside! Targetting to have two totes for projects, my Featherweight, and applique kit seems like a really good plan. Then, I only have to worry about clothes, and my food assignments!

About a year ago, I fell in love with a Christmas quilt by Lynette Anderson, called, "Friends for Christmas". The quilt has penguins portraying the three kings, a snowman, and whimsical reindeer. I had to have the book, and it should have drool marks on the pages. Yesterday, I got a sneak preview offer from Homespun Hearth for a kit to make the quilt, since I previously purchase the book from them. They didn't even have to threaten me with any kind of weapon . . . I jumped right on that bandwagon. One can never have too many Christmas quilts, to my way of thinking.

OOOOOH! That reminds me . . . I have a self-assembled kit for an Anita Shackelford Christmas quilt that appeared in Fons and Porters Love of Quilting. As soon as I finish the Santa's, and another Christmas quilt in progress, I'll have to decide what to start on next! Reminds me of a new acronym I learned today from a quilting chat . . . SABLE . . . Sewing projects above and beyond life expectancy!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

1320 feet or 1/4 mile, and counting . . .

Just an approximation of the distance I have cut with my rotary cutter in the last few days. Saturday morning, I awoke to a nice glaze of ice on everything. DH had been out to breakfast and back, and said there wasn't any reason to leave the house again. I said I needed to get my shower and get dressed, and he said I might as well stay in my robe and pj's all day, and be warm and comfy!

I cleaned up my Featherweight in anticipation of going to Miss Mary's Quilt Cottage on the 22nd. Not wanting to start another mystery before finishing Bonnie Hunter's Old Tobacco Roads, I have been saving the clues for Double Delight for a later date. Well, I peeked at the quilt in one of the later clues, and it was like an arrow right through my heart! I decided I could go through my pink scrap drawer and pull out fabrics to put into a container to save for it. I have a tote full of swatches from Mr. B's Fabric Club, and lately, I have been good about pulling things from that stash for these scrappy quilts. With those two sources lined up, it wasn't too far a jump to cut some to size, just in the interest of keeping the proposed quilt kit neat and tidy. Then, I found out there was a Monk marathon on television all day . . . perfect . . . I'll just cut until I get tired of cutting, or watching Monk, whichever comes first. Pretty soon, it was time to go to the blue scraps to select what was needed for eighty 3 1/2-inch squares. Put those in a little sandwich bag, and cut more pinks and neutrals. Then, I located some yardage, and four fat-quarters, to cut setting triangles. Had another actual quarter yard to cut setting corners. Might as well find a brown and cheddar. Found a perfect brown and cut it up . . . then, realized it was a bit smaller than needed, so I found a compatible brown to finish out. Had a perfect cheddar . . . but not enough . . . rounded up a light old gold, and cut what was needed from it. Now, I have a complete Double Delight kit to take to Miss Mary's . . . and my rotary cutter was just warmed up, and there were about 8 episodes of Monk to go.

What shall I cut next? I've been diligently working on the embroidery of my Santa's Around the World, so I could cut the piano key border, which would permit removing extra fabrics from the tote that one has been stored in, and have it ready to assemble, too. First, calculate size . . . then go through the scraps to cut as many "keys" as possible from scraps. That gave me about 40, and I needed 84 . . . on to the fat quarter stash put aside for this quilt, and cut the "keys" needed. That one is ready to go.

My Millennium quilt needs sashes and cornerstones . . . and star points, since it is getting a star and sash setting. Have about a dozen blocks sashed . . . so, cut prisms until the main setting fabric is used up. Will have to fill in with a couple of other Millennium prints to finish those out. Cut lots of half-square triangles for the star-cornerstones, and squares for the center of the stars. Also ready to go.

Get ready for bed, and think about work the next day . . . how dreary . . . think about my quilts some more. What else could I get ready?

Morning comes, and driving to work, re-think the Christmas quilt . . . it's going to be nearly square, and I'd like it to have some added length. How about a title . . . "Here comes Santa Claus" . . . now, I'll be singing that all day! A nine-inch border with words . . . won't Laura be proud of me . . . lunch hour, I cut two strips to make that border . . . can't decide if it should be on top or at the bottom of the blocks, but it needs to be inside the piano key border . . . cut six more piano keys. Went to the computer and did a banner in Printmaster of a swooping "Here comes Santa Claus". Started marking letter templates, and cutting some of them out while preparing dinner. Went through the fabrics again, and picked a red and a "peppermint" stripe for the lettering.

When dinner was over, and dishes were done, back to my post in front of the television to think about what else might be nearly ready. Really need to finish my perfume bottle quilt for my cousin, Diane. Have about 40 blocks set in attic windows, and another 80 blocks needed to be set. I'm using a black with gold confetti, and a gilded window-pane print from Michael Miller. Cut lots of strips, and using the large EZ Angle, cut all the attic window pieces to complete the remaining blocks. That will be ready to set together at Miss Mary's.

Already packed for assembly are two other projects. One is Somewhere in Time, a BOM from Block Central last year . . . all pieces are cut and ready to assemble. Also, have all blocks and pieces ready to assemble a Paducah Booth Hop from a couple years ago.

Still feel like cutting . . . need to start on my Farmer's Market, since it will be a BOM at Guild. Brought that tote upstairs . . . templates are all made, fabrics selected for the first block. Ready to cut the background, and launch the applique.

Cutting urge waning, but I can cut more pieces for my Old Tobacco Roads mystery, and get it out of the way. Have the four-patches all done, but need to make more pinwheels, and can cut the bricks needed. Might as well get that one ready to go.

Need to check on my Sweet Tea quilt. Started putting borders on blocks, and that could go along to be finished. Not much cutting to do there.

Wonder how much it will cost to rent a POD to have all this stuff delivered to Miss Mary's?

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Santas almost ready to assemble!

On August 15, 2005, I went to a now-closed quilt shop's Monday Madness, to begin collecting blocks for quilt designed by Quakertown Quilts' Susan Garman called, Classic Santas. Once a month, I dutifully attended to collect the kit for a "free" pieced block, and the applique Santa block to which I had subscribed. The concept was that the first pieced block was purchased for $5, and subsequent block kits were free, if one attended the meeting, with the previous month's block completed. I kept up with the pieced blocks, until the last meeting, when I was visiting grandkids. One of my friends kindly purchased the last block for me, so, my pieced blocks cost a grand total of $10. Each month, I also acquired fat quarters or half-yards of some of the other fabrics included in the kits, looking forward to being prepared to make the border. The original design included six-inch duplicate blocks of the 12-inch finished blocks, to be used as spacers. After making about four of them, I decided to continue with the pieced frame, but use some design elements from the applique blocks. Yesterday, on my lunch hour, I stitched down the last berry on a mini-block featuring three candles, with holly leaves and berries. Now, I'm attending to the embroidery embellishments, such as eyes for the Santas.

In two weeks, our little group will be going to Miss Mary's Quilting Cottage for three days of non-stop sewing, and nearly non-stop laughing. I'm in hopes of having all the embroidery embellishments done by then, so that I can assemble the quilt top. I've got a few extra embellishments up my sleeve, intended to personalize this quilt a bit more from the others made on the same program.

My DSIL will be arriving from Texas to play with us, too. It's such a joy to have her here, and I feel so fortunate that we are so close in hearts, since the geographic distance is large. We've been amused in recent years at how many people ask, or assume that we are biological sisters. Some say that couples start to look alike after living together for years . . . but who would think that the wives would begin to look alike after being married to brothers for years! Some of the gals from Guild, who see Jan at our fall Retreat, ask how my sister is, and knowing they mean Jan, I always say just fine. As to resemblance, at this point in time, we both have salt and pepper hair, wear glasses, and enjoy the same activities.

When I return from the mini-retreat, I should be receiving some blocks from a Quiltville Swap exchange of Bonnie Hunter's Boxy Stars. I have about twenty additional block units made, so I'll have another quilt top to put together. I can't believe how many wonderful people I have met on-line through some quilting groups. It's just too much fun.

So, from this vantage point, 2009 is going to be a productive one in terms of finished quilt tops!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

New Year . . . New Ideas Whirring!

The Old Tippecanoe Quilt Guild Scrap Bag Challenge was revealed at the December Christmas Party. That's my friend, Viki, surveying some of the 17 candidates. The weather was terrible that night, and kept only those who were not just dying of curiosity to see the results from coming. We'll have another display later in the year when weather is more cooperative.

Here's my entry. It turned out very nicely, if I do say do myself. The rules indicated that up to 20 pieces of scraps no smaller than 4-inches square were to be placed in a bag. There wasn't to be any deliberate color coordination. I received Cheryl's scraps which included some dress-making scraps, some brights, and even a piece of decorator fabric. I think I used thirteen or fourteen pieces, adding only the light gray background. Mine was one of only two that were hand-quilted. Sort of got my inspiration going in that direction, too, so I've resolved to finish a quilt that has been on my frame for entirely too long, as well as one I removed from my hoop to quilt the challenge piece.

This is Marguerite displaying her entry which was voted favorite quilt. It was called "Galaxy Diner", and featured conversational prints of Coca-Cola products and space novelty prints. It was adorable, and, as usual, the machine quilting is fabulous. That's just Marguerite's usual manner of working. In other words, Perfect!

This is an aging applique project that I have decided needs to be completed in 2009. The blocks were made in a scrap quilt class called "Scrap Soup". After assembly, it seemed to call for some applique in the borders, which is an adaptation of a Pat Andreatta pattern called, "Serenade". I decided to call this quilt, "Serendipity". I probably put it away because I got tired of all the little curlicue vines and the quarter-inch circle berries. Only one corner and one border remain to be finished, so it's first on my list.
In about 2 1/2 weeks, our group is making our little trek to Miss Mary's Quilting Cottage for 2009. I have two quilt tops ready to assemble and border; one is the Somewhere in Time BOM that was featured in 2008 on Block Central. The other is blocks from Paducah Booth Hop which featured a fabric line by Judy Martin. I found a medallion applique that is rather whimsical and well suited to the fabrics, making it a center block, to be surrounded by the hop blocks. The border will be a scrappy one, including all the fabrics in that colorway of the fabric line.
I'm also hoping to have my Santas of the World ready to assemble. All the Santas are appliqued, all the large pieced blocks are complete, and there were to be in the original design by Sue Garman, fourteen 6-inch pieced blocks to match the large ones. I made about four of them, and then got the inspiration to use the red piecing around the edge of the small blocks, and feature some applique element from the Santa blocks in the center. The elements I chose are a little wagon, a rocking horse, a pitcher, a couple of horns, a star, and a doll house. Have all the red pieced portions cut, and just need to applique three more mini-blocks. On each of the Santa blocks, I began to embroider their country of origin, name in that country, and English translation. So, I have a little embroidery to do, too.
This morning as I was whizzing the one-inch half-square triangles through my Featherweight, I thought about another of my "PITS" . . . project in tote storage . . . some gingerbread men and a gingerbread house. My friend, Laura, has us all thinking of placing lettering on our quilts in some fashion or another. Those whirring wheels in the back of my head suddenly spit out, "Welcome to Ginger City, a Gingerbread Village". So, whirring onward, I imagined the letters being gingerbread, too, with rick-rack trimming. Steaming along behind that image in my brain was a gingerbread steam engine, with "Ginger City Railway Company" down the side. I had to jump up and run to the basement to get that tote, and make note in my journal. Can you guess what Christmas quilt will be next on the agenda?
I'm collecting the clues for Bonnie Hunter's newest mystery, Double Delight. She said she would be posting clues sporadically, which I decided might give me a couple weeks between clues. Fooled me . . . last I looked, there were three clues up already. And, I'm still working on the last one, Old Tobacco Road. Have the four-patches done, and have begun assembling the pinwheel blocks . . . decided to think only in terms of 96 pinwheels . . . instead of 388 half square triangles!

I think I hear my Featherweight calling me to join more fabric pieces together. Need to bless that little beauty with a good cleaning, oiling, and a new needle. Also, need to do the same for DSIL's beige Featherweight which lives at my house for her periodic visits from Texas. Actually, it's jointly owned by us, so she always has one to use, and that way I get to keep it . . . otherwise it would have been looking for a new home! DH thinks 8 sewing machines ought to be enough to keep me going!

Friday, January 02, 2009

Will this one work, Paulette?

I promise to post this evening and include lots of pictures, but for the moment, this is a message to Paulette. An errand of mercy, one might say, to help her find a necessary fabric! My e-mail is not cooperating right now, so this provided an alternative! Wow! Picture is better than I thought it might be!