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!