May 30, 2006

day slipping by

Oh, to be like my cat! (Ignore the unmade bed). Here it is 6:30 and the day has just flown by. I am not entirely sure just where it went either considering that I have been up and at it for 12 hours now. Walked out on the trail early trying to avoid the heat, talked to Cher on IM and another local friend on the phone but that didn't take all morning. So where has the day gone?

Cut and pressed some binding for the 2nd quilt I worked on last night--polished cotton but the right color. I know how hard that stuff is to needle so I thought I better practice sewing on on the back, bringing it to the front and machine stitching it. LOL, that whole process took longer than it took me to quilt it. Here is the finished quilt--pieced by Linda S and quilted by Linda J. The only stash busting involving me is that piece of binding fabric that came from who knows where.

I still have one quilt to go to make my May goal of having the 7 WTIL quilts in my stack done. That Pioneer Braid--how to quilt it? Finn had a good suggestion of zigzags. I was thinking about marking big flying geese on the braids but have come to no conclusion on the subject. Besides, I am taking the rest of the night off. Ellen sent me the numbers I need for the quilts so a little document editing and marking took up a part of the afternoon. Thanks, Ellen. OHHH, you want to go to an online quilt show?? Please head over to the 2005-2006 gallery pages on Wrap Them in Love website and take a peek . Ellen has added several more pages of pictures of the quilts that have been turned in.

Ada came by today and asked if I had any of the fabric left that I had used for my round robin medallion. To my surprise, SHE has it. I had heard she had volunteered to fill in for the person moving out of state. I didn't think it was a done-deal. Maybe it is?

I had a whole project box of "possibles" since the block I came up with is a smaller version of what will be the raffle quilt for WTIL in a few months. At the time I made about 4 or 6 blocks for the quilt so the stuff is still packed up thinking that I'll make my own some day. I probably posted this on my old "lost" blog but here is what my round robin center looked like when it left my house. (Bonnie saw it and liked it for "leaders and enders". It may be on her site but it started here.)

No cooking tonight since we got a cheap pizza with a coupon for Papa John's for lunch and I threw a salad together. No biggie there. Tomorrow will another story, LOL.

A wonderful box of goodies came from Finn today. 2 tops with backs and binding, several quilt backs, cut 2.5 inch squares for leader and ender projects that I'll share with the group and some sweet 30's prints just for me. Oh she knows the key to my heart! Thank you so much, Finn for your help with WTIL quilts. I'm going to have to sneak over before we officially meet to pin or at least grab some batting and pin at Judy's or Aline's.

I am looking forward to getting some piecing done. One of our members who had moved to Birmingham about two years ago lost her battle to ovarian cancer on May 20th, we found out. A heart quilt will be made in Gail's memory. My mom made a whole pile of heart blocks and sent back with me on my recent trip "home." There are few things that just need assembly--the Whatever blocks from the sew in and the mostly done Pineapple Blossoms, 2 of them.

Guess that's it for tonight---

May 29, 2006

Holiday or typical Monday?

Pippi's napping spot atop the microwave--outside looking in

Hope everyone is having an enjoyable weekend and if traveling, a safe trip home. Interesting to see what other countries do to celebrate this same sort of holiday. Except for putting out the flag, it looks and seems like a usual Monday. Neighbors are home and have company over so a bit noiser than usual. People in the pool, etc. For DJ and I, tomorrow will seem like Sunday or Monday all over again. We just got our minds wrapped around what day it is (was) after coming back from vacation and will be confused all week.

Poor kitty was sick this morning about 5:30 and that sound roused me. Where did she hit and what needs to be cleaned up?? A moment of panic as the tops I had just done were in the same room but it was HER little quilt that got nailed. Off that went to the laundry so there was no getting back to sleep. She spends so much time with me here in the sewing room that I had to wait till she left to vacuum up my thread covered carpet. I ended up doing the whole house since she was safely ensconced in the pose you see above.

Grocery shopping this morning ( 3 different stops). I was trying to beat the heat. When I left the house it was 72 and when I got home from all my trips, up to 84. UGH--humidity is increasing and it is just plain blast oven HOT. Once home, I decided to make the cookout type meal for lunch, rather than supper. Yum! Lettuce tomato burgers , corn on the cob, lemonade and a piece of watermelon. If this is considered the un-official start of summer, then let it begin with summer food. I cannot wait for the fresh blueberries and peaches to come!

The gardenia bush looks like it will be full of blooms--so lovely and "creamy" smelling once open. The bush is getting so large it is amazing that Pippi can see past it from her window view. I love seeing the flower pictures on everyone's blogs so I'll be sure to share some of this when it they open up. I notice our most mature crepe myrtle is beginning to flower. We had some pop up thunderstorms yesterday afternoon but could use some real rain fall totals.

I'll start quilting again in a bit--I'm working towards a goal, after all. I am starting to think I might just make it especially if I keep to the "one a day" like I have been doing. Linda's are a little smaller than average so that helps. Looks like I pulled her "Ice cream Cone" top off the stack for today's endeavors. This one may definitely entail a trip to the fabric store or a call to see what she might have on hand from the top itself to come up with binding fabric.

Finn, I think I got my Amish Wallhanging pattern from Keepsake Quilting as a "patterns plus" so the fabric came kitted up with it. I didn't pick any of the solids out but could have come close now-- I have many of those in stuck away in their own basket. I should pull that out again just to see what they called that "upper left hand corner block". I know I could piece it a whole lot better than the original one. Maybe you and I should challenge each other to make one as you are always telling me that my personal project tallies never changes from "O". Something small I might be able to handle?

Other than that I am mulling the idea of a garden maze row for the round robin that I showed you in "Two, two--two posts in one"
that I have coming up---a strip is a rectangle, right? Maybe in a couple shades of blue to lighten up all that dark or even an orange or rust??
I would elongated it for the middle rails or maybe even another x at center. Since Lauren's center is a Grandmother's flower garden it would fit the theme. Stay tuned as I am apt to have changed my mind again in a few days time. Anything I decide is going to be better than paint, for pete's sake!

Catch you all later when I go '"round the ring"--------


POST NOTE: 8:30--two more little ones done--the ease of diagonal lines. When you cannot figure out what you want to do, the fall back position is the "KISS" philosophy. Binding only part left. One to go--Pioneer Braid. Now there is a stumper! How did some of you quilt yours? Bear in mind, that I stink at free motion.

May 28, 2006

and another one's gone

another of Linda's tops is done--crazy patches with plain alternating squares which I crosshatched with widely spaced lines. I even got brave and did loopy l's on the outer border. I found some leftover binding in the right color and a bit of matching yardage so no trip to Hancock's or Walmart for something appropriate--yahoo! 4 quilted with 3 to go. Sorry, no pictures of the last two. Pippi is laying on the one from yesterday that I forgot to put the label on and the one I finished will need laundered to get the markings out.

SO got to give you something to look at---Amish Wallhanging that I made for a friend back in the early 90's. I still have the pattern and one day will make one for me. It was hand quilted--rough going on that black. As many of us know even machine sewing on black is not easy for ahem, maturing eyes. Obviusly this was taken back when I also did some garmet sewing---not any more!

Not much going on here and I'm just going to go chill out with my sweetie. I think at this time we are watching the same movie but in different rooms but I'm pecking at the keyboard. Catch up with you all later.

May 27, 2006

another one bites the dust

Another quilty day---what else is new?

Marilyn ran up to the long arm quilters with me this morning to pick up the quilt I had dropped off a couple weeks ago. We both did a little bit of shopping. I was good and just got 1- yellow background 30's repro fat quarter and 2-1/2 yard cuts of two nice neutrals. One of the neutrals was perfect for the background of the Dresden Plates that Marilyn is making for her bed. She did a little more damage though finding some lovely lilac/lavenders for a butterfly quilt for her granddaughter. We would have stopped for lunch and maybe hit Hobby Lobby on the way home but Marilyn had an obligation with her mom around noon.

Later this afternoon I pulled out one of the four tops that we pinned for Linda S at the sew-in--little frogs in a log cabin-ish set. It didn't take too long to quilt since it was just nine blocks. I listened to the Cardinal-Padres game on Gameday Audio while I worked. Our paper said that the game was supposed to be on Fox this afternoon but they were wrong--dang it all. DJ was listening in from the living room and when it sounded exciting, he came back to see the play by play on the computer or would listen in with me (Cards won but it could have gone either way in the bottom of the 9th.) Then it was on to NPR's "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" and Michael Feldman's "Whadya Know" online radio shows while I continued to work. I put the binding on the quilt I retrieved and on Linda's frog quilt after supper (OR was it "breakfast" since we had waffles with cherry topping and bacon?). Those will get passed on for someone else to finish up, bless them.

Jane came by to pick up Finn's two tops and three other quilts that just needed labels sewn on. Here are two that Joy dropped off the other day. Joy made the Jewel box on the left--she used a spilled paint in primary colors for the large HSTs which was a challenge fabric I gave the group late last fall. Her granddaughter Helen used hers to make the paint cans in the quilt on the right. Helen is now 18 but has been sewing/piecing since she was about 7. Grandmommy taught her. She does a great job! Joy tells me that the two of them along her daughter and another granddaughter will be going to the Alabama Quilt Symposium together next month . With her permission, they've already been shopping in her stash for their fabrics for the event. I told Joy it was probably better that they DID raid her stash---that way she could see them enjoy it and what they made with it. AND the stashbuster motto: they'll make more fabric if you find you need some in the same color. They got into a couple of Billie Lauder's workshops, she said. Should be a good time for all.

Finn, I loved working on your scrap quilts! It did make we wonder if you pull the fabrics that are in a color group when you start with something like the basket or is completely happenstance that the fabric wind up where they do? The basket, for example, have an overall pastel tone but there are some darks at the bases. I like the scrappy backgrounds on the bowties especially since I usually just use leftover muslin. Why not use a print--it works! It was so fun to see little bits that I have also used in the past--the pinks that are in Beth's Snail's trail on the baskets, those happy Christmas trees in the bowtie that I have a strip of in the braid top, for example. If I'm having fun picking out little motifs, then I know that the kids will as well. Linda has little fun bits in hers too---I spotted some Mary Engelbreit fabric, a piece of that same challenge fabric and so on. Fun, fun, fun!

I suppose that this being a holiday weekend everyone is apt to be busy with friends and family so it will be a bit quiet for a few days. It will be quiet here since we already took our big trip earlier this month. Do our Canadian or Australian ring members having a comparable holiday to the States' Memorial Day but celebrated at a different time of year, I wonder. Hanne and Barbara, something similar in Scandinavia or Cathi, in Ireland?

May 26, 2006

2 down & 5 to go

I have already revised my May goals to just quilt the 7 WTIL quilts that I have pinned here at home. Since I didn't start until May 25th, that may still be a little ambitious of me with just 6 days to work with. As of 15 mins ago, I finished the 2nd of Finn's quilt tops that she sent for the Bama Belles to donate to the Big Oak Girl's Ranch. If you are a regular reader of her blog, Pieces from my Scrapbag, you will possibly remember her posting pictures earlier this year.

But here they are quilted--binding is not done but one of the Belles has already volunteered to do that part so I can keep quilting. Enjoy and thanks again, Finn for your generosity and kindness.

May 25, 2006

finished top & round robins

Lois' embroidered blocks in Picture Frame set---rows joined yesterday afternoon about 4:30. I mention the time only because you can see who followed DJ and I back out to the living room. Pippi was sure that I was headed out the kitchen to start supper and let me know she was available if there were any handouts to be had, LOL. She rarely ever gets any--a bit of turkey breast and a teeny bit of fish recently, though after it was cooked, not withstanding. Hope springs eternal.

You also see the ubitiquous TV, plant stand and the coffee table I did not crop out this time --even the dog door stop is not quite hidden. The coffee table and one side of the loveseat cushions are like my husband's office--or his little nest, as I call it. When he is not outside doing whatever, or in bed sleeping, he is in the living room with all his toys. Me? Mostly in my computer/sewing room with MY toys, of course.

I was messing around with my camera settings and may need to adjust them back to where they were as you cannot see the embroidered detail as well as I had hoped. There will be black binding on the quilt--not sure what is making the two sides look like there is something on there already--maybe afternoon shadows? There are 12 more 8 x 8 finished embroidered blocks to work with. I may try some big hour glass blocks between them but would need to see if Lois has a few more if I do that. Let's just say that is more in the "thinking" stage at this point. I'll entertain other suggestions though.

Definitely stashbusting going on with this quilt. Muslin, a good bit was from backing cutaways or recycled from other projects. Some of the brights were used in that Snuggle up you see on the left hand side of the church pew shots in the previous post. The black is leftover from my Kitty City quilt. I'm using a piece of tealish lacy looking tone on tone Benartex St. Nicole that Finn sent for a "fun" back. It was not quite wide enough for this oversized top but I wanted to use it if I could. I dug around in my teal/aqua/ greenish basket and there was a piece of Ozark Mountain calico that was close in color just the right width to split in half and sew end to end for the needed extra inches. Not sure where that came from--probably my mom.

On meeting day Pat lent me her Reber and Sindelar's Beautiful Borders, Backings and Bindings and I have been reviewing the reference books I have mulling over what I might try on that round robin. Pat had Aline's piece with her so I got to see how hers was coming. (Aline was not there.) Having missed the pass off meeting, others have had to fill me in. I've got a few ideas and was told I have till the middle of July to get it done though I don't want to procrastinate it too long.

Interesting thought in Martin and McCloskey's Pieced Borders: The Complete Resource about using a length of adding machine tape. You mark the ends and then fold it matching up the ends to find the center, then quarters, eighths and on down to get it down to unit size. I may try that just to see how it works. Janet Kime's The Border Workbook had some good ideas too but the math part was making my head swim--late at night and not firing on all cyclinders did not help. I will revisit all this in coming weeks. Meanwhile I will let the ideas percolate as it hangs off the shelving unit.

My tale of woe: I am a little afraid for the plight of my section right now. Not only is the next participant moving out of state next month--a recipe for losing or misplacing them OR not returning the subsequent rounds in a timely manner-- but I know she has cut off the points of a row of Aline's carefully pieced friendship stars on one round when she added her row. Cutting off points is not doing your best piecing. The worst was the report that she used paint!!! (at first thought to be magic marker or Sharpie pen) on the applique round. Wouldn't you be scared too? To be fair, she is a relatively new quilter but paint on Gary's quilt? Pigma pen, maybe. I guess if no one specifically said "don't use paint or magic marker" it must be okay? We should have known she was going to follow her own muse rather than the rules when her center square was a rectangle.

Don't get me wrong--free expression is not a bad thing. Normally it should be encouraged because many beautiful things result from that free thinking. Go for it! The round robin format, not so sure--someone else has to follow you and deal with the aftermath of your non-conformity. Even I'm chafing at some of the seemingly arbitrary rules-- the width particularly. Seeing that others are not following the rules, how much do you think I am going to worry that mine might wind up 4.5 finished instead of 4??? How much am I going to want to do stars and/or log cabins at a finished 4 inch when I want to do neither that size?

Gary had a volunteer to fill in the remaining rounds when it was announced that the group participant would be moving along with Mama in June. Mama insists that daughter wants to keep going--not sure if anyone really talked to the daughter to see what SHE wanted to do. As it is, Gary said he would personally pay the postage there and back to Virginia so she could keep on. Bad, bad vibes but I may be happily surprised in the end. I hope so. Again, I was not there when what to do was discussed by the group though I gave him my opinion on the phone prior to the meeting.

Enough complaining and worrying about that! Need to start up the laundry and get set up for quilting. The other photo, not knowing where it might land on the page--Pippi keeping me company in the sewing room thankfully, not under the table but next to it.

May 24, 2006

church quilt show pics

These pics were taken when we delivered 80 some quilts to the Presbyterian Home for Children located in Talladega in the fall of 03. That number provided a quilt for every bed at the facility as well as their emergency intake facility some 20 miles away. We sent 25 more down the following year but not enough to warrant a 2nd "quilt show" on the churches pews. That same year a bunch went to headquarters, the Friendship House (the Baptists home in Oxford) and the Salvation Army Battered Women's Shelter.

It was a gorgeous warm sunny day with the sunlight streaming through the open doors. The carpet is a rosy red color so the pictures show that reflected light---everything looks pink, LOL. Hope you enjoy the show!

right side looking back towards the door

from the back of the church looking forward

left side of the pews looking toward the door
The "Amen Corner" was even filled!

May 23, 2006

post meeting note

Here is Carolyn standing proudly at the meeting today with probably her 2nd or 3rd finished quilt top. The JOY quilt guild was giving a beginner's quilt class for anyone that wanted to come and Carolyn took it for a second time. I love that butterfly block! I hope to get a copy of the pattern so the rest of the Belles can make one. Wouldn't that be fun girls quilt?

We were few in numbers today but this close to a holiday weekend, I was not surprised. We helped Carolyn pin her top and one that Sarah had finished up. We pinned my Braid quilt too but all the ladies thought it should go to one of the boys with that dark binding. It doesn't scream "girl" quilt so I won't put it on the front burner.

Here are a few of the album cross blocks that we got done today. Betsy stack cut her three colors so each block had a different background. Carolyn got the hang of the blocks as well though it took a bit longer. The other two are mine from the scrap bag. I got the Picture Frame blocks in rows so it is not quite done to share. Oh I know you are all waiting with baited breath, LOL. I ask the girls to try the block and make one (or more) for the kids. They don't have to make a whole quilt of it unless they really like the technique. The patterns are theirs to do whatever they want with them.

Yep, Hanne, 5 a.m. awakening time and let me tell you, that is maddening to me since I often cannot get to sleep till 1230 or so even though I have gone to bed hours earlier. Really part of the problem is that Pippi has both DJ and I dancing to her schedule--it's light and she thinks we should be awake if she is and wants her breakfast even though she usually has enough left in her bowl. The window was open last evening as well and with the loose rock surface that is down right now the going to work crowd is making more noise--not sure when they are coming back with the asphalt truck to finish up.

I was dinking around a bit with EQ this morning--gave up and got up at 6:30--on both an idea I had for the next round robin but also with the Album Cross block. I told the girls I would post a picture of what one of my ideas looked like (alternating snowballs though it might look better with a planned quilt) and Jeanne's Whatever block. Kinda looks like arrows to me and kinda cool. I liked it better when the snowball didn't line up perfectly--easier to sew too, if I try it.

Regular little chatter box today, aren't I? Or else I posted a tomorrow's post one day early, LOL. Next time up I'll share the pictures of our mini quilt show from two years ago.

Off to see what y'all have been up to-------

meeting day etc

At 5 a.m. it hit me that the reason I was short 8 pieces of sashing and why some were cut too long for the horizontal on my Picture Frame quilt. Not every block has a bottom and left side. The right and bottom edges of the quilt are supposed to have a regularly cut border once the piece is completed. DUH. That's what I get for not paying attention and sewing mindlessly. SO do I un-sew some of last evening's endeavors and do it "right" or leave it and consider it closer to being finished? Dunno, but I'll figure it out at the meeting when I lay the blocks out. How much does it bother me? Knowing that I am not all that fond of doing borders in the first place, you might guess which way I'm leaning.

I am never sure how many quilts will be coming home with me or who all might be coming when the Bama Belles meet. Some have been ill and other have family obligations but we keep plugging away. I know we are getting close to our goal of 55-60. I know I had more volunteer's to do binding that I had quilts ready for it the last two meetings. That will change when I get into quilting mode this week. The pictures show how it is looking around my house as the quilts stack up for the Big Oak Girls'Ranch

Forget trying to use the hamper anymore as it is a quilt resting place at this point. I do have a little more space between the top quilt and the ceiling yet and I could re-stack them with the bigger ones on the bottom. I should possibly explain that my bedroom has two closets because there is no coat closet in the house, I guess. The off season clothes and coats go in the one behind the hamper and armoire. The one with all the quilts is the one that I use because obviously there is easier access.

It is my hope that we can spread these all out on the church pews before long and have Judy's husband take pictures of all of them. We did this once before when we took 81 to the Presbyterian Childrens Home in Talledega. I still get goosebumps thinking of how gorgeous those quilts looked. It was very moving to those of us that were there too when you think about the time and efforts that went into arriving at that moment. Have I shared those pictures with you before??

When I ran by the church to get that green fabric the other day, they had the fellowship hall set up for a graduation reception and no tables out. If we are going to get any sewing done, I'll have to start dragging a few out when I get there. Everybody but me arrives when they can, anywhere from 9:15 to 11 or whatever. I am always the first one there and early since I'm the one with the key. I don't want anyone to have to wait in the parking lot for me to open the door so I better get going--pronto!

May 22, 2006

Replies and other Monday musings

I noticed in some of my earlier pictures a hint of blue at the base of the quilt. The danged door stop had gotten in the way. Norma, you asked what it was--a molded dog with a metal spring type tail. I wanted a cat one but by the time I made it back to the store that had them, the cats were gone. It is cute though but I would prefer he stay out of the next picture.

The road crew was back bright and early this morning getting ready to put new asphalt down. DJ and I had hoped that they would get this job finished up while we were gone last week but no such luck. You can either get stuck in the "lead and follow" flow or try to avoid the mess by detouring in a creative manner. BUT it was errand day so I was heading in the "detour" anyway.

We walked but not quite early enough now that the temperatures are up--try 8 a.m. next time out. Low 70's by 9 a.m. and oh, goodie, the weathermen are saying the humidity will be going up. The power went off for a short time this morning right after I had turned on the computer. You start thinking--can't sew, can't read mail or blogs or get that address I needed to send out this card. The ceiling fan is off. How spoiled am I?

Several of the blogs have shown pictures of what is growing in their gardens and so forth. We have a couple roses open, a Stella d'Oro (is that spelled right?) lily that is flowering and this lovely stargazer lily. The gardenia bush should opening up in the next week or two.

I had to laugh though--I took the picture but on a 2M you take a whole lot more than you thought you did. I caught all the mess in our neighbors back yard---in what I call Hillbilly Heaven. The two cars parked in the yard--one emblazoned with a campaign sign, the peacock pens and all that backyard mess and his tree that fell almost a year ago that he was supposed to clean up though it is on our side of the property line. Thank heavens for cropping. Geez Louise.

Oh, Quilt Holder is average height--about 5'10" or so. I think the Braid quilt finished up at about 44 x 66 so perhaps the diagonals made it look bigger. He hasn't had to get up on a chair yet but he came close with that Christmas quilt. That is part of the reason he was griping about the quilt being so big--he is used to the smaller WTIL/lap size. I wish I had had my camera with me when his grandson stood back to back to see how far Josh had to go to catch him. Josh says he is 5' 9 1/2"--he just turned 13 in late October. Of course, PaPa D is shrinking a bit, LOL and that back won't quite straighten up. There is my sweetie, above.

And to keep it quilty, I'm going to get back to the sewing on the Picture Frame top in a few minutes--just the sashing strips to go. I realize that I also need to make up a handout for tomorrow's block (Album Cross) for the Belles. Probably need to make up a few block components as well. I'm thinking we can use a few more of those 2 1/2 inch strips for this one. Nice and scrappy!

May 21, 2006

another top finished up

Yesterday afternoon I finished up the top and bottom bands on the Pioneer Braid that the Belles and I had started last month. Strike through another of the May goals. The story behind it can be found a post from Friday Borders or Bust. Busting a little of everyone's stash on this one a little at time.

I had to laugh when I had it laid out one the floor at the church during the sew-in. Lois or Judy looked down on her way back from the pressing table "you know that you have one of those upside down?" I said it was by design since I was going to have 5 bands and could do an alternate direction thing. I hope I thanked them for checking first since I very well could have goofed. I see the outer band is bowed a bit--may have to do a slight trim.

Norma, see the plant and TV we spoke about off post? I gotta remember to move our little door stop before I take another picture, LOL. I would be interested in hearing how others take pictures of their quilts so they don't have hands, feet and household furniture in the way. Something temporary and collapsible would be great!

After I finished the top, I moved onto the tedious task of pressing miles of binding for 4 quilts. UGH--almost as bad as putting on borders, but necessary. I should not have procastinated that task so long because it just took twice as long and twice the tedium all at once.

From there I pulled out a quilt kit and started sewing a top for WTIL that will look something like this. Inside the frames will be some of Lois' machine embroidered blocks that I cut down to size. I have done one like this before but with squares. This time I wanted them to look more like a 5 x 7 photos. The blocks will not have that cornerstone though--I just took the easy way of drawing this up. I know that I intend to presash the most of the blocks on bottom and side rather than do long linear rows of sashing between the rows. Long have never worked for me when you try to line things up but pre-sashing like doing a Children's Delight block does. Of course, I thought I was so clever coming up with that idea and the next month it was published in a Fons and Porter magazine, LOL.

Sewing was a good way to pass the time while listening to the Cardinal-Royals baseball game on the computer. Pujols hit his 21st homer but Isringhausen was his usual scary self in the 9th giving the Royals a good chance to win it. I had intended to start quilting on my stack but it is fun to just stitch rather mindlessly. I may have another to pin come Tuesday translating to 2 more for the stack at this rate. That is the way it goes when we are in a push to get a certain number of quilts for the kids. Sometimes doing my part means quilting and other times, piecing.

Other than digging around the sewing room to find where I had put two sets of Pineapple Blossom blocks that are also on May goals and pulling out my old processor looking for and transferring some image/email files to CD, that's about it for me.

Hope you all are having a good weekend so far-----

May 20, 2006

Betsy's original Christmas quilt

I thought you might like to see a picture of Betsy's original Christmas quilt. This was taken at the Spring Sew-in 2001 but I know she had the top completed in September 2000. I found a photo of her standing with the top on one of my CDs. CD drive has been a real poop since I did a search on one of my CD's looking for it. I know which file but can't get the thing to open. It is not acting like it is on friendly terms with some others that I know DID open properly too. GRRRR. I scanned this one so it may look a bit fuzzy.

Anyway, Betsy did this one according to the patterns and gave it to her son Rob at some point. By round two, if you scroll down, you will see that Santa and the sleigh got ditched for the words "JOY" and those letters that gave her fits on the cookie jar were eliminated. Gone are the little house appliques---that is what she was working on when I first met her. She had the friendship star in log cabin block and folded flowers along with the two colored heart in the bag for inclusion so I know she was making changes for Russell's quilt. I followed suit.

Here is a picture of Betsy (standing) with our hostess with the mostest, Joy. Both pictures were taken at Joy's long time home in Anniston. Dear women, both of them.

I have not done diddly today in the quilting department but may decide to tackle that spaghetti heap of binding and press it. OR do some bluework embroidery on my snowman BOM.

Catch you later----

May 19, 2006

done at last

Not the best picture in the world but quilt holder was already complaining about how big it had gotten with the borders added. So I was not about to tell him to lift it up further and hold the top straighter. You get the idea. It is square and lays flat, trust me.

Just finished seaming the back, binding strips are joined but piled up with 3 other quilts worth.


Borders or Bust!

Here is another glimpse into my sewing room since I don't have anything finished to show you. Look who found a new hiding place! She squeezed in this little spot even after I put her little quilt atop the serger case so she would quit furring up my quilt tote. She did not stay long once I flipped the table skirting up and took this picture. She is back to sunning on DJ's desk.

Borders for the Christmas quilt are all ready for sewing as I found a wonderful forest green with some metallic overlay for the middle border. In retrospect, I probably did not get enough fabric for the back lengthwise. I'll either have to make a trip BACK to Hancocks or better yet, use more of the green and paisley and add some bands of those to make it longer if that is needed. Of course, this is NOT the time of year to be shopping for Christmas fabric but I found a nice almost Jacobean looking print on a neutral background that has all the colors that are in the quilt--hints of blue, green and reds. It will be fine for this.

I could have (should have?) started on the borders last night but just didn't feel like it. It is NOT my fav part of the process, after all. I wanted to sew but not THAT--I am sure that you all know what I am talking about there. Instead I pulled out the Pioneer Braid bands that I had started at the spring sew-in late last month and sewed those to the sashing bits. That top would be done except some goof ball (read: me) forgot to cut the top and bottom bands. The binding is cut but minus two wider strips needed--fortunately, I know there is more at the meeting place.

That Pioneer Braid top is a stashbuster or "something from nothing" quilt---2 inch strips from my stash boxes, a lot of which came from Ellen of WTIL fame--a whole Xerox paper box crammed full of cut strips. I add a bunch of my own by cutting through the scrap bag, 3 day marathon early this year. I don't know how many quilts I have already made with those baskets of strips. They are gradually diminishing. I still have enough strips pulled to make another of these, easy. The sashing bits I used were left from the church making tablecloths for their new shorter tables--choice of burgundy or forest green. One of our members helped make the tablecloths and would not let the ladies toss the leftover yardage because she thought we might find a use for them. And we did. The backing will be a piece that my mom sent home with me earlier in the week along with an add-on of WTIL kit red. Cher, Pam and my mom will know EXACTLY what I am talking about there! Lots of neat novelties for the quilt's eventual owner to pick out. There are little Christmas trees, Santas cats, fish, etc--like playing "I Spy".

So a errand or two to run and then you'll know where to find me.................

May 18, 2006

making progress

Some sewing progress happening around my house yesterday as I joined the bottom blocks/sections of Betsy's Christmas quilt yesterday in a few hours time. All those seams to contend with on the pieced spacer units--oh my! The top is done minus the borders.

I have decided to go with a nice red paisley that I have miles of--probably from my mom since I don't remember buying it. Those borders are cut and so is the binding from the same fabric. I just got the white inner border ready a bit ago but will need a run to the fabric store for a nice green to go between those two. I have greens but not enough of any of them---read: no yardage to speak of, just fats or thereabouts. I know Judy L hates phalanges on the long arm but that is about what this thing needs--a narrow bit of color. I am supposed to walk when DJ gets back from getting his oil changed so I'll make my run after lunch or better yet, when I pick up lunch. (My philosophy: if there are no leftovers to be had, this homemaker doesn't "do" lunch if she can help it--coming up with supper/supper ideas is enough! It's that or grilled cheese which I love more than him.)

So what are these pictures you are looking at, you might ask? Here I am thinking of the next project before the other one is completely done! What else is new, LOL? Well, it is the fabrics Lauren used in her round robin flower garden block-- wherever this lands on the page. Pat used a similiar orange color and a black with an olive-y green swirl for her pieced round. I know that really did not show up well in the picture---bear with me as I learn how to use this new camera.

The multiple fabric shot shows the five fabrics on the right that I might be able to use. The two shades of blue next to the two of Lauren's on the left were some that I purchased a few months back thinking I could use them for her round. I bought the green and gold as well on that trip. There is some yardage of a similiar green that I used on the sunflower round that I could use instead for more texture.

The orange was bought specifically for Pat's sunflowers but I dipped into the gold for that too. I'm thinking that the orange could possibly be used for background for my round if I go with something pieced for my squares and/or rectangles. I don't want this thing looking like Halloween though. The medium ranged blue might work and use the orange for accents? All that black needs some major toning down is my thought and apparently your thoughts as well from the comments yesterday's post received. Piano keys would be easy to do but I want to mull this over a bit more. I guess I am seeing more like four patches on point in my mind. I have not measured the center yet to see if a coping strip will be needed to get this thing up to something remotely divisible by 2 or 4 (4 inch finished is the requirement).

The girls don't even know my email addy let alone the blog addy so its okay to put the pics up, just in case you are wondering. When I get Aline's, I'll have to be more secretive!

Guess that's it for today-----

May 17, 2006

two, two....... two posts in one

Last night Jane brought over the round robin I do next having stood in for me at the hand off meeting on Saturday. I am to apply 4 finished inches of squares and/or rectangles. That might not be what the quilt needs but that is what is required. It is sooooooo dark because the last two people used black backgrounds that it has to be brightened up. The owner has the center section fabrics included for possible use though it is not a requirement. I was warned that Mildred loves a black and red combo and so far the two pass off's from her have been black. I hung it up to live with it a few days to see if inspiration may hit but y'all might need to give me some suggestions for it.

Even Hello did not want to load a picture properly for the blog page but clicking on the dreaded red X did open it up. I may have messed up the settings? Try this and see, I guess.

(See the other post for the day below.......danged computer!)

Silly kitty

Pippi has been hanging out with me here in the sewing/computer room this morning. Silly girl insists on drinking in here rather than by her food bowl but I have heard of other kitties doing that. She has stayed curled up at the bowl long after she was done drinking but that is not unusual for her.

What cracked me up was that I think she was about to fall asleep and her head was resting on the edge of the bowl! You know they don't like getting wet! Plus she looked like someone hugging the toilet after an all night "toot"--maybe just because it is a porcelain bowl? I moved her to up her perch where she remains looking out the window without the possibility of wet fur.

Yesterday she was all over the house checking things out as if she had not expected to come back home. Her scratching box, under the bed, under the cutting table, up atop the kitchen cabinet and a lot of time on top of the microwave looking out the window. Our little "family" is complete.

No sewing, stitching, or even much thinking about stitching either but that will change today as I would like to at least get the rest of the Christmas quilt together. I still cannot quite figure out what fabric I want to use for the borders as I am not wild about the plaid I had purchased initially. It looks too olive to me and would go well for another project. I have a nice Christmas looking paisley but is there enough and would have to get some of the green for the inner border. What to do, what to do?

Blogger is not cooperating with loading the picture of the round robin I was going to share though the danged thing SAYS is loaded. Who hasn't been there and done that? I'll try a different route in a minute. Between that the keyboard keys that are sticking, I don't know which is more of an aggravation at the moment.

May 16, 2006

Home again

My brother's four kiddos that I got to see while on my trip--the youngest of the nieces and nephews from their Christmas card photo taken last fall. Quite a whirlwind of activity at their house which gives me an inkling of what it may have been like for my parents with 6 kids. I believe my mom said she went home and took a nap after we visited, LOL.

DJ and I got home about 6:30 last night having left IL at 6 a.m. It rained intermittently the whole way back but thankfully, we got home in one piece. DJ drove most of the way but I took over once we hit the Alabama rest stop on I-59. There is much less truck traffic and winding steep grade hills than on the approach in towards Chattanooga on I-24. I am a bit of a white knuckle driver, I admit when it comes to that sort of thing. Kentucky, Alabama or Southern IL, I would help drive---TN, not so much. I am, after all, a child of the corn and bean field flat lands.

Had we not stopped to eat supper in 30 miles north of us, we would have had time to get Pippi from the pet store boarding area. Dang, you think one of us would have checked for sure what time they closed! I was just sure it was 5 and didn't verify that fact. I'll go spring her as soon as the shop opens at 10. See? that part I knew for a fact, LOL.

Today will be spent getting groceries, doing the trip laundry and just general catching up. I finished up all the applique pieces for Betsy's quilt--a long car trip will do that for you. I'll be ready to get the top assembled tomorrow. At some point this week I expect to make a trip to pick up a quilt from the long arm quilter so that might make a little dent in my plans. Gotta make a trip through the blog ring to see what the rest of you have been up to.

There is nothing like sleeping in your own bed, is there? Good to see our family especially since DJ had not been back for two years but good to be home. Maybe the poor man will finally get warmed up, LOL. Not like the 90's Pam and Cher have been dealing with but some low 70's would be nice. AND no rain, please, as long as I am putting in an order.

May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day!

While I am not a mother marrying late in life as I did, I have a mother and a lot of friends who are mothers so I'll pass along the greeting. I remembered what my blogger password was so could sign in on my step-son's computer. Whad'ya know about that?

My parents will be coming soon to pick me up so we can head to Champaign for Blake's graduation. We'll be blasting out of here tomorrow morning bright and early and DJ would like to drive straight back--about 675 mile drive or about 12 hours to get home.

Got Allison graduated on Friday from my old alma mater in its present incarnation. I was not only pleased to have Allison honored but one of my classmates graduated from the masters in nursing program and another friend has achieved doctoral status and tenured position with the university. Wendy was one of Allison's clinical instructors this past year. Her mom, dad, brother, both sets of grandparents and I had dinner out at a restaurant called Flat Top where you grab a bowl of the ingredients and sauces (like you would at salad bar) and another one for your meat. Then you get a separate bowl for your meat choice and leave it for the cooks to stir fry on a huge griddle looking thing. YUMMY!

I stayed over at my folks Friday night, helped Mom fixed lunch and got a some stitching done on one of the applique blocks. She and I ran over to my brother's who lives about 15 miles from them for a short visit---the kids all look like they have grown a foot! (I'll have to post a picture of them once I get home. Can't quite figure out my new digital camera or else it is not working properly)

Last night DJ, his son, DIL and grandson along with one of Josh's friends went to an arena football game (Bloomington Extreme) at the new US Cellular Coliseum. The place is right in downtown Bloomington and not far from DJ and I lived and drove by on a daily basis. Weird to see how different that all looks in that area. Lot of fun and the Extreme won over Peoria in a really convincing manner. Even better, we are all huge St. Louis Cardinal fans and they won too! Luann was keeping up with the score on her cell phone for us because we couldn't listen to the game on the radio.

We are going to have to get home just to warm up--never thought you would hear me say that did you? Cold, rainy and windy almost the entire time we have been in IL. No golf for DJ and Tracy though Tracy has some hopes of getting in a few holes this afternoon. That might be a bit optimistic. This seems more like their usual March or April weather.

I left my stitching bag at my folks so did some un-sewing on an extension to baseball jersey for Josh. He had dug out an old sewing kit of his mom's and started on it last night. Knew exactly what to do with a seam ripper but he said he had taken sewing at school (8th grade)--probably part of that life skills stuff! Somewhere in his endeavors the tip of the ripper broke off but the knife part was still intact though dull. No crafters around here either to substitute a pair of sharp scissors. I got the job done before I came in here to the computer. I almost called my mom to ask her to bring a spare ripper---oh come on! y'all know we have more than one!!

Guess that is about it-- have a great day, women everywhere. I'll catch you all late tomorrow.

May 10, 2006

almost getaway day

One last picture and then I'll stop yakking about this project until I can tell you that the top is done and on its way to the long arm quilter.

I must correct a misconception that Laurie Ann may have had. I wish I were that organized to be working on Christmas projects this early in the year, LOL! It is not my quilt but rather one that I am finishing up for the family of one of my quilt group members who passed a couple of years ago. Betsy had two sons---Rob has a quilt that Betsy finished but Russell and his family are waiting for this one.

I was able to spread the blocks out at our meeting yesterday and stood up on a chair to get it to fit in the picure. I finished up the blocks that spell out NOEL that fit under the Santa block once I got home. The only piecing that remains are two bands of flying geese that I hope to do this afternoon. The little mittens will probably be shifted up. Betsy had the spacer bands, the candy cane blocks centers, folded flowers and the friendship star in log cabin done. The Santa block is from a long ago block swap being pressed into service. Other than that, the rest of the blocks I have done.

Tomorrow Pippi will hopefully not be hiding under my bed when it is time for us to leave for our trip to IL. It may take some tuna to tempt her out of there if that is the case. Her usual haunts have been pushed aside for under the bed and under the table in the sewing room that I have jacked up for pressing/cutting. This is the only spot she can fit into, trust me. There and atop my tote bag. I had to laugh yesterday when I pull the bag out of the car trunk--coated with kitty hair! See how lumpy the thing is? How can that be as comfortable as her cat perch or the TOP of the bed? Goofy girl.

I have two college graduations to go to--my godchild/niece Allison graduates from what my alma mater evolved into: the College of Nursing at Illinois State University and my oldest nephew Blake graduates from the College of Engineering at University of IL. Toss in Mother's Day weekend and it is going to be a busy time as well as a whirlwind trip. I don't know that Mom and I will get any sewing or cutting done this trip--maybe on Saturday. DJ has a couple rounds of golf scheduled and a baseball game for his grandson. I found after the fact, that his son had gotten a pair of tickets to a Martina McBride concert in Bloomington for Friday night probably a late birthday present for his dad. Sweet thought but I can't go due to graduation. (Unless Tracy goes with him I doubt he will go by himself.)

SO consider me off a holiday or Beach Day as Darilyn says. A little packing remains though the laundry is done and a Walmart run has already been made for pantyhose and to gas up the car. Catch you later.

May 9, 2006

recent completions

my most recent completions to add to the Christmas quilt. Today I'll work on a couple of the applique blocks since I am off to my quilt group meeting soon.

I spoke of the block sources for these in my post on Sunday.

Bed of Roses block in Christmas colors--foundation pieced but that was mainly because it was a goofy size on the cuts I would have made conventionally.

Memory block--one of the few that the pattern actually called for

May 7, 2006

Part 2--pics in 1st one

I continue to plug away getting applique blocks prepped for the Christmas quilt so at this point I don't have much to share with you as they are not done, just ready for the next step. BUT it has been a couple steps forward and a couple back lately.

I spent most of the morning yesterday making two ornaments for a block and then hated the result. The fabric, while quite lovely (what looked like Hoffman metallics--cut squares I had purchased at one point) just didn't work. One was too low in contrast on and too much contrast on the second and they were ultimately too big for the space I needed. Maybe I can use it somewhere else down the line but not here.

SO after messing with those ornament blocks and getting really glue-y fingers, it occured to me that I had some Quilter's Glu-tube that came with another patterns plus for a stained glass quilt wallhanging. It's still in the package sealed up but would it work after all this time? Only one way to find out, right? Pretty slick!! Worked great on the next thing I preppd. I guess they recommend their own product of QTI's Quilter's Iron On Poly Paper for the templates but hey this worked and the paper pulled right out.

I moved onto 3 little mitten blocks (glu-tube, thanks!) and a snowman block that I ended up fusing. I could show you the fused block but it has some cute embellishments that will really make the block. (See the card that inspired it in the preceeding post.)

Last evening Pam and I were tossing around ideas of what could fill the space about 9 x 7.5 finished since ornament idea was scrapped. She had some good suggestions but some had been used already. Then it occured to me that a Little Brown House Pattern I have owned called "JOY" --a reindeer that I could possibly use. I had bought this as pattern plus from Keepsake Quilting" and it was hanging on my pegboard above the cutting table. I just wasnt sure how big they were in the wallhanging versus a quilt block. Go for it, says Pam when she saw the picture I emailed her. Might be fine even without the string of lights tangled in their antlers.

I thought two faces might fit but it will be only one--the original pattern has three. He definitely gets a red nose for Rudolph! I've made some wrong turns on this one. Ruined the first little face when the ink ran trying to mark the eyes with a sharpie and freezer paper template. Okay, that didn't work so the 2nd one I used a pigma pen and colored in through drafting circle thing with all the holes in it. Also I had to make two tries at the red nose "perfect circle" AND I miscalculated--not once but twice the dimensions to cut it for the bias strips though I am using the 2nd go round. That actually was a happy accident as it is just the right width--my first choice would have been too wide. I'm stitching on this blocks as I write this so maybe by tomorrow I can post a pic of it.

I fused the antlers down on this as I do not want to needle turn this stuff but will edge finish by hand as the areas are so small. The whole thing was supposed to fused actually but this quilt is going to a family with two small (correction: thanks, Jane!) BOYS and a teenaged daughter so I am not sure how it will used--coach throw or wallhanging??

All things happen for a reason, don't they? Had I not just had some recent practice on that round robin using bias press bars, sunflower making that translated to poinsettia blocks and making perfect circles this would be a much, much bigger chore with much room for review of technique etc.

My inspiration for this quilt's block changes have come from various sources--see the following (or is it preceeding?) post.


Inspiration comes from a lot of different spots. This was in an advertisement for a quilting publication, I believe. I made three of them this size for my own quilt but resized them a bit for Betsy's as they go in a space with a different configuration.

Then this one came from a transfer book--full sized sheet that I resized with Rapid Re-sizer software to get it to fit in an approx. 9 x 7 space. I love to do redwork embroidery and had done a similiar block for my own quilt so Betsy's will get one too.

A Christmas card my husband received several years ago. Resized it as well but bigger this time, not smaller. I cannot replicate the colors used necessarily but it made a cute version last evening. I had the most fun digging around in the scrap bag and Christmas fabrics to dress this little guy. Betsy had some neat star buttons and one that looks a lot like the sunflower that can be included on the block. Probably will use some perle cotton for the outlining stitch since there is a blue background.

Its coming together though slowly................

May 5, 2006

Followup, thanks to Jan

Thanks, Jan for sending along the picture of Beth's doll, doll quilt and her big quilt. Now I can post a followup to my post of yesterday. Looks like the doll's hais is a little worse for wear, LOL.

Beth got her doll quilt a long time before she got the bed sized quilt. I was determined that she would have it in time for her 10th birthday last year. There it is on her new bed in her new home in TN.

I should say that the fabric was purchased for this when Beth was just a baby, got stalled out for too long but now she has grown into it, I guess.

Today finds me working on a couple more blocks in Betsy's Christmas quilt. The train blocks are done and added plus two hole in the barn doors with a candy cane she had appliqued for the centers of both blocks.

I got the bright idea to try to make a pointsettia block instead of doing 2 Ohio Star blocks--hey, I can do this easy after making some that were about half this size for the round robin!! And yes, that means more applique, LOL. (Hanne, I'm using your hint on this one. ) I hope to prep a bell block that believe it or not, is in the book but maybe a bit bigger. Still more applique!

What's more, I am also considering the "Springtime Blossom" block that Evelyn AKA Starfishy and Hanne helped me with as it looked so pretty in reds and greens. That was not the correct name though--let me go get the info that Evelyn posted. Ah, here we go--- in her note of April 15, 2005

"a block from the quilt called Bed of Roses block - first published in Quiltmaker in March/April 1996 (issue 48) and re-printed in Quiltmaker's All-Time Favorites Spring of 2000 (photo of cover below). The original quilt is featured in 30's(?) pastels. I made my block in Christmas-sy fabrics - just in case I ever get around to making a Christmas quilt! "

Her example looks so pretty in Christmas colors so would be a good choice. I don't feel like adding two stars in Christmas colors if I'm piecing it-- there are already a bunch of stars in the quilt. This would give me a chance to try the block without committing to a whole quilt's worth too. Okay, that did it--convinced me, LOL.

Time to heat up our lunch and then back to work---

May 4, 2006

Girls and dolls

Today I am sharing some pictures of the dolls and their quilts that I made for my nieces. I had a ball with these! But realize that I never did get around to making any for the youngest ones, as I type this.

This one belongs to Rosie.

Randi called her doll "Amy". The Wild Goose Chase block is in the same colors and much the same pattern as a real quilt that I have started for her--another UFO, sorry to say.

Amber called her doll "Rachel" Rachel's quilt was a little puff quilt and just big enough for me to try making one. 121 squares was quite enough to convince me that I probably would never make a large version, LOL.

My SIL Jan will have to refresh my faulty memory. I know this is Beth's because it replicates the big quilt that I made for her but did I make her a doll?? I seem to have no pictures of it. Also did I post a picture of her quilt in my "Lost" blog?

I'm passing on the quilt meeting today to stay home and make some more train blocks for Betsy's Christmas quilt. Finn, there will be be a train included just not the same one as the pattern. I did the caboose and side car yesterday with the engine and passenger car on my goals for today. That should complete the top half.

Patti, I understood what you were telling me about partial seams and in fact, that is probably what I was doing. Betsy had left the seams partially finished around the dark blue tree applique. It still didn't make it too easy to manipulate it around a 2 x 3 spacer but we got the job done. I appreciate your help though. I've been looking at the sketch closely to see if we can eliminate it on the lower half but I know I can if I have to.

Catch you later----

May 3, 2006

what I've got so far

Here is what I have together so far. Betsy had most of this done--I only made one of the Christmas ornaments and that foundation pieced candle you see by the angel.

I had to join the loose blocks and then do the set in seams to make it fit together. Awful way to design a quilt in my opinion. I tried to draw a line to show you roughly what I got have gotten done .

I spent most of yesterday afternoon making this block, foundation piecing. Who wants to do the needle turn applique that the project originally called for? Well, some of you gluttons for punishment might but NOT this quilter. It is too big with no white space around. Back to the drawing board.

Well, back to EQ to find the ones I want and re-size them. that I need some coupling between the cars so draw that up so I can add it to the foundation piecing on the block itself. More designing and re-sizing and re-printing this morning.

The gray at the top is too light anyway on this block and the spot calls for a darker background. I"m thinking a nice blue background on the whole deal and run a colored strip along the bottom of all four cars.

I'll run to Hancock's in a bit so I can get to work after DJ and I trudge along our old Rails to Trails. I'll put on my headphones and think about what color cars I want to make--representational or something in primary colors? He is impeding the creative process here!!! BUT since Mr. Impatient is waiting I better sign off, get dressed in walking clothes and head on out. It is important to exercise but he has horrible timing, LOL.