Feb 27, 2007

meeting day rolls around again

Pippi this afternoon when I came home from the meeting---sunbathing. What a little cutie, IMHO. It got up into the mid to high 60's today. Gorgeous weather with no rain due in till late tomorrow.

Mostly we pinned today---7 of the 8 (miscounted yesterday) tops that I brought plus Theramae had two tops and Beverly, one. Fleeta and Rosa were working on some more Heartstring blocks and Beverly brought in some she did up at home and will make me three more since we figured that we could squeeze on three center strips from the red center fabric.

Another group followed us in the fellowship Hall this afternoon. One of our members was on the decorating and set up committee for an event that is actually tomorrow. We left just a little bit earlier than normal but to be truthful, I don't know if my back and legs would have wanted to stand on that concrete flooring for another 3o minutes to do that last top. I had to seam the batting for 4 of the quilts so my knees were begging me to sit down and stay down, LOL.

The quilt pictures I am showing are a couple of the tops that my mom sent featuring the same John Deere tractor print. I don't think I showed you these before. ( And if I did, it was month's ago.) I quilted both tops last month on the last quilting blitz. Theramae did the binding honors. At right is the double attic window set. Below a churn dash variation. How very different they both look.

After supper I whipped up 5 heartstring blocks. I am going for a 5 x 7 block set on this. Cher was saying how heavy the quilt had gotten with the muslin backing so I'll just add a border to bump it up in size when I join them. I spent the rest of the evening sorting out the 2 inch strips into darks and lights. I pulled out all the short pieces which can be used for a pineapple log cabin I have started or some narrow strips for a Railroad Crossing. I also pulled out all the Christmas strips too ---would anyone want these for some Christmas crumb blocks or something???? I really don't have much use for them. It has taken some time but I am down to two partially filled baskets now from what had been a packed to the brim Xerox paper box. String blocks galore and several log cabin quilts as well as Pineapple Blossoms will do that.

That's it for tonight---bed is going to feel good. I am SOOOOO behind in reading and commenting but one of these days........

Feb 26, 2007

a couple more...........

I am still having a grand time piecing! 1st pic shows the Frogs in Race car Snuggle Up that I finished up yesterday. Originally it was supposed to be one row longer but I decided to forego that once I had the top done--more un-sewing. I moved the squares over the right side for a little bit wider top after I cut a couple more squares. Normally I cut the squares 4 or 5 inch finished while these are six inch finished to keep from chopping up the cars too small. The binding will carry out the race car theme a little further---black and white check like the racing flags.

I also pulled a piece of fabric that I have had for years and years---a crinkled looking black that looks like old faded jeans but is not a denim fabric. I had planned long ago to make a jumper out of it----not going to happen. Actually I am thinking about seeing if Linda S wants to take it on what is left for one of her raggy quilts--I've even got the red bandana fabric that might work with it. More then one way to bust fabric!

The one at right I just finished this afternoon-- kind of a Bright Hopes variation from a pattern I found online. Does anyone know what the source might be??? I wanted to link to it here on the blog. The pdf file does not give a name of the quilt OR any contact information. I would not have needed a pattern really since Bright Hopes is a favorite of mine but usually I would frame it with 4 different fabrics and make a 8 inch finished block set block to block without the sashing row. Maybe I needed the picture after all, LOL.

I think the sports uniform fabric is some that Cher sent for our boy quilts. I have enough squares cut to make another that I will arrange a little differently BUT I was supposed to cut them 7 1/2 inches---maybe two strips were cut that and then I started cutting 6 1/2 inch centers in error----oops! Recalculate the framing strips---2 1/2 x 8 1/2 instead. The red is what I am using on the heartstring blocks, the light blue is leftover from the scrappy strippie and I love that tone on tone "kit" gold. (Veronica, Pam and Cher know exactly what I mean by that.) The binding will be a navy blue star tone on tone that I dug out of my stash--not sure of the source.

A little story: DJ was headed to the golf course this morning and has been a little discouraged about his play the few times he has been out this winter. In past years he would go out regardless on the "marginal" days . Since we were sick for three weeks in late November/early December, he has been worried about a relapse of the cough/cold. It is either too damp, too breezy, too cold and he stays home. He is also NOT one to hit some shag balls very often or hit the putting green to warm up all leading to rusty skills once he does try to play . Before he left, I was trying to give him a pep talk---"I don't want to hear you say you are going to give up golf. Can't never did anything!" He countered with "how would you feel if you were sewing and kept sewing things on backwards or upside down?" I might set it aside for a few days but I would NOT quit forever since I could just be having a bad day, tired or just not paying attention. If I don't "feel" like sewing, I know not to do it.

Well, talk about the power of suggestion! I flipped on of those top two rows on that top above this morning. They were already joined too but you know, I kind of liked the way it looked instead of them all facing the same direction with the gold on the top and blue on the side. Happy accident then.

The quilt group meets tomorrow. I doubt that we will get all nine of the tops I have on hand pinned. Some of the others may need the pinning table as well so I won't hog all the time we have available. I have a hunch that I'll be off in quilting mode by the end of the week. It is all cyclical---cut, sew, pin, quilt and hope someone volunteers for binding, LOL.

Feb 24, 2007

sewing the day away

Still sewing the away for the past three days----

Thursday's output was backing for three tops, binding for two more and applying borders to two tops that Jeanne had sent for donation. I had planned to refer back to her old blog for pictures of the tops but see that something weird has highjacked it---oh, my!! Her long time readers may recall a Delectable Mountain top she did in orange-peach-rust tones as well as neat rail fence with skinny strips in blues and greens. (I promise I will get pictures of them once they are quilted)

Jeanne helped me out by cutting the binding and borders for the DM and provided the backing for both tops. I did some slight remodeling on the Rail Fence as it was a tad long. I took the last two rows off and moved one row plus 2 blocks around to the side but had to re-sew them so the rail went the right direction and zigzagged like they are supposed to. The other block will probably land in another top down the line--that strippie thing worked out pretty good earlier in the month, after all.

I started off Friday morning by making the binding for the Rail Fence and then moved onto the top you see above which I just finished a little bit ago. This one uses the "giant" modified nine patch blocks technique that are later quartered using a technique from Slice 'Em & Dice 'Em by Nancy Brennan Daniel. It probably says in the book somewhere NOT to use directional prints. But I did and then found myself ripping off the sashing bits to turn them upright. I overcut the amount of 6 1/2 inch squares but that worked to my advantage in the end.

This is a stash buster all the way around. I got the bright idea to make 8 of the larger nine patches but needed to dig out a similiar bright green in order to sash them. Then decided that I needed another row this morning. Not enough of the black hotwheels fabric---use another airplane. Couldn't find anymore of that red print since I used it all in the RR Crossing as part of the backing. I found the leftover RR crossing sashing bits since it used the same print cornerstones, removed them and sewed them together in a four patch to squeeze out the last row square. The print transporation squares were some that Ginny gave me, some fabrics from the donation box, a few fat quarters I owned. There are Finn's dots too. Maybe not the most gorgeous quilt ever made but I hope that a young boy will enjoy it even if all does not match---its close enough and I wanted it that way!! (right?)

I will use the fabric at right for the backing--not sure who it came from now. Finn, does it look familiar? I'll need to sew about an 8 inch band of fabric on it for length and that same yellow that I used in the RR crossing will work for that. Too neat to cut this up in small pieces.

Next up: another one from the kit basket-- Frog in race car Snuggle Up. After that, I am cutting out two more. One will use this beetle fabric in this configuration. It is inspired by a Ursula Reickes' pattern from one of the quilts for baby books but I re-drew it in EQ to eliminate the seams that result in a block to block set. I see a series of background and center squares alternating with a pieced four patch so drew it up that way. Triangles on a roll will work well here. Then there is some dalmatian fabric from the donation box that is calling to me too though I best decide what I am doing with it first, LOL. Patience Corner, maybe as I haven't done one of those for awhile.
Well, that backing and binding is not going to sew itself. Back to work.

Feb 21, 2007

break time

Today's output-- I finished putting the borders on the Framed 4 patch a little bit ago. DJ is holding it upside down from how I had it pictured in EQ but it would be incumbent on me NOT to complain to the quilt holder. This should definitely be a girl quilt with that pink background, don't you think? The blocks came from Nancy as a donation for kids quilts. This set was all the same color so they went in their own top while the green, blues etc all went in another that I assembled in late January. It can be seen HERE for comparison and I think can go to the Boys Ranch.

My EQ sketch looks fairly similiar but at the time I drew it up I was not sure what background fabric I would be using.

I continue to get better acquainted with the Brother machine today. I did notice that I was harkening back to the days of the old Kenmore and trying to use the knee lift as the control---we are talking 30 some years ago! It was an old machine of my mom's, in a cabinet and what I took with me when I was in nursing school.

I also did a bit of stashbusting for the quilt's backing. I know that I used some of it for the backing on Beth's Indiana Puzzle quilt because the fabric she picked from the suggestions I had was not wide enough and I filled in with the complimentary piece. She will be 12 and I know that I bought all this "Peppermint and Sassafras" line when she was just a baby. I have some over cut binding and a 10 inch square of it left---outta here! They will make more of a nice neutral tan should I need it down the line. All that is left to do is press the binding and mark a line down the middle of the zigzag's for quilting later. After supper for that though

Spring is feeling like it is right around the corner here in NW central Alabama. The crocuses have been in bloom for about a month now, the daffodils are about to open and the camellia has been trying to burst out in bloom for weeks now. That is not good when the temperatures got so cold the past two weeks and we had almost a week of nights in the 20's. Today we are up in the mid 60's and heading to 70's by week's end but that front came with rain and thunderstorms this morning. The birds are out in full force digging for worms and our car port is full of worms that have crawled out and didn't crawl away so will probably will dry up. What I call "worm suicide" I tried to take a picture of the oak tree (the lone oak in Lone Oak Subdivision) across the way as it was loaded with those black birds. I see them on the larger view so hopefully it will click open. It had gotten so loud with them singing! I hear the frogs too. Good to get some fresh air in here.

That's it for now--got to start supper preparations.

Feb 20, 2007

whole lot of nuthin'

Sunday I started off great guns sewing on my new Brother machine pictured at left. By the end of the evening I had the bulk of the pink and brown framed 4 patch that I showed HERE assembled with just borders to go---and two days later, that is as far as it got.

I really like the machine---nice stitch, runs quietly. The threader works wonderfully and I found that I am sorta getting used to the concept of a knee lift to raise the presser foot as well as a button to raise the needle. Another cuts the thread when the stitching is complete if you want---I still found myself using the scissors or the side cutter, LOL. (Clearly I need to develop some new habits.) The short threads worried me a bit that I would unthread the needle--and I did but only one time.

What seems odd to me is that you could conceivably sew without a foot! I had to correct myself when I first said that to Pam and Cher while chatting. That statement made it sound like I physically did not have a foot/leg when I meant the foot pedal. Near as I can tell if you poke that green button to start the seam and also set the speed with the slide switch, you don't need the foot controller!! The first seams I took that is what I did. The screen said "remove the foot controller" once I pressed the button -- I was thinking "then how will it sew?" I tried it and found out but how practical that is with the stops and starts of piecing, I don't know.

Shortly after I had asked Mom to pick up the machine for me at the dealer in Bloomington (IL) she called me to say that she had gotten another machine as well. I thought maybe my asking her to go shopping led her astray. She already had a Brother NX 400 and has used it for several years. Somewhere along the line she had checked out THIS PQ 1500S at the dealer. She tells me that it goes really fast. Not sure if it is meant for a short arm set up or not? Looks like a lot of good space between the body of the machine and the table base.

Yesterday was errand day though it being a federal holiday threw a little kink in my usual plans---the bank and post office trips had to wait till today. I delivered the t-shirt quilt as I had hoped but just dropped it off at his office. He was not in but I had already been paid so did not need to see him anyway. Hope it is okay. Linda S had another top and we had arranged to meet up at Hancock's for delivery. Nice and bright with fun fabric for the back which she had just purchased.

Once I got done running around I had to put on my "treasurer hat" for Home Extension since it is dues paying time. I wait till I have a stack to deal with and it took several hours to get all that paper pushing, ready the bank deposit and set up a bulk mailing. I have had this job since 2002 having reluctantly agreeing to do it. I was not elected to the position and at no time have I ever heard when the term is supposed to end. I do not attend the board meetings or planning meetings. I will go to the cooking school in the fall and occasionally if my schedule permits, sew chemo hats, tote bags and pillows for cancer patients. There is a new president after many, many years. She called to get a current number of members and I told her to start looking for my replacement. I'll see this period through but she has got to find someone else come fall. I just do not have time for all this.

Today, the bank and post office errands were ran. The rest of the day was clearing up other personal paperwork and some other household chores. A decent meal for supper that took a little time to prepare. The rest of the time I was working on a play list of songs that I enjoy. Mix of genres since I do like R & B, soul, country, some rock. Even classical. Small rant: I hate top 40 country radio because they play the same stuff incessantly and it all sounds the same. The morning group on the station DJ turns on when he exercises has a feature called "Hit or No Hit" where they play a song and then ask people to call in with their opinion. Usually I really don't care for their selection but today I actually like it. Because I was looking for songs for the playlist, I wanted to include the one from this morning. I knew it was one by Kenny Rogers and Don Henley so did a google search. The song is "Calling Me" not that those guys would bother to say so. Come to find out , it was released in early March 2006 off Roger's "Water and Bridges" CD and was just up for a Grammy in BEST COUNTRY COLLABORATION WITH VOCALS. Sheesh--those dodo's at the sation should not be acting like it is a new release--only been out for a year. Are they that clueless in the music biz stuck in top 40??

I'll get back to sewing tomorrow but it just didn't happen today. As DJ is always saying "who gave you all these jobs anyway?" Normally, it is me. I may just go curl up with a good book---my SIL sent me a couple to read and then share plus I promised her our copy of Hiaasen's newest book. Oh, and there are two quilt mags on the night stand that I have not even opened that have been there for a week. Guess that's it for now--------

Feb 17, 2007

done-done x 3

I am happy dancing--I reached my goal of having three quilts bound a day earlier than I thought possible. Not my favorite thing to do and I am easily distracted by the computer--or anything to NOT work on it to be honest. I cannot cross one darned thing off my goal list though because the only things on there are PERSONAL projects. The donation stuff gets done--my own stuff doesn't, I'm afraid. I suppose I could set up a tally list of how many WTIL tops I have made and how many quiltedmore or less for my own purposes but have not yet.

At lunch time today I told DJ that I had just turned the corner onto the 3rd side of the t-shirt quilt binding. That was more than I had done yesterday at the same time as I had not even started it. He had been teasing me about not getting in production done the day before when I took a 20 minute break (he said 5 mins should be sufficient, LOL) After lunch when I left him to deal with the dishes, he said those fingers better be flying. I took the last stitch in it at 3:30.

No picture though---it is far too big and too heavy to even think about asking him to quilt hold. Besides the poor boy got pressed into duty on the other two I finished. You can see the top HERE so just imagine the all over wave quilting and brick red binding the same color as the lettering I pieced.

I was switching the sewing table back around to its usual position and setting up my new machine so look who popped up into my chair once I vacated it? I think I need to read the manual a bit as I have no clue how to wind a bobbin, thread it or what all those feet are for. There is a knee lift too and built in thread cutter, etc to learn how to operate.

I had finished the Interlocking Square (at right) binding Thurs a.m. and started right in on the Toadie BQ (below?) so was done with it by Thursday evening. Linda S stopped by with a quilt top Friday morning and picked up the Toadie and 4 others that I had stashed in the closet that will go to the Boys Ranch---she says we have 31 at her house now which is what I had told the girls---we are halfway to goal with completed quilts. I delivered the quilts that are going to the Presbyterian Home for Children to the appointed spot later in the morning stopping by the hospital to see Sarah. Thankfully she is doing much better than when I saw her earlier in the week.

Other than that about all I have done is work on binding. Hardly been out of the house. Took the lazy way out for supper tonight but we'll live--not going to starve by any means because I fed him a corn dog or two. Just not in the mood to deal with cooking pork tenderloin and the stuff to go with it.

DJ wants me to watch something with him on TV so I'll wrap this up for now. I intend to get some piecing in tomorrow---once I figure out that machine. About time don't you think since that machine came home with me two months ago almost?

Hope you all are having a good weekend.

Feb 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day/meeting wrap

Happy Valentine's Day!

The EQ sketch is similiar to a quilt that was made by one of the Belles several years ago combining a 9 patch heart block we had found online along with a Mary Ellen Hopkins style heart from the Connecting Up #4 book. Well, some of them showed up in that strippie quilt I showed you in the two previous posts. I had a little pencil sketch of her quilt but had not drawn it up till this morning. Anything to get out of binding, LOL, but I thought it might make a nice Valentine's greeting as well.

My husband and I don't make a big deal out of Valentine's Day. After all, our anniversary was about 2 weeks ago and that is far more important and personal to me than a holiday, more or less, exploited for commercial gain. What holiday isn't these days, come to think of it? No special meal and so forth. He got me a sweet card and then took my car in to get the oil changed and a new wiper blade. I appreciate his taking care of these things and consider that a present of sorts because it shows he is looking out for me. We still have Fannie May's that his son sent for Christmas and it is always a contest to see if the anniversary flowers will make it till Valentine's. My mums look pretty droopy but I guess you could say they did.

A few of us Belles met yesterday--the ones that I had spoken to on the phone or in person basically. I didn't expect many on that short of notice. Ginny brought the Toadie BQ that she had quilted on her short arm set up and the football quilt she had made for the Donoho school raffle for us to see. I cannot share a picture of it yet but will when she gives me the heads up. I had the t-shirt one for the same raffle to show her because I was going to put the binding on it at the meeting place.

Rosa needed some help laying out a king sized star quilt blocks she had made along with the scrappy cornerstones. A BOM on steriods and all in gorgeous batiks--yummy! It really helped to push three of the tables together and get an overall view of what colors to put where. She and Theramae put their heads together on that.

Lois had a top to pin and one to drop off. Even better, her husband had repaired/replaced the handle on my grandma sauce pan that I use to mash potatoes, cook pasta, you name it. How many times my husband had threatened to toss that pan or offered to buy me a whole new set!? He kept wrapping electrical tape on it to keep the crumbling wood on and have something to grab onto. Nope, you will NOT get that pan away from me! I would have used it even if the handle was a stub. My SIL had offered my brother's help with this as he does woodworking too. Lois' husband Les was closer or Steve might have been asked to help out especially since he has his shop set up now. But I digress....... LOL, I often do but that is what you get when you just write in stream of consciousness mode (it shows, doesn't it?)

Back to the quilt top she had finished---a Whatever/Chiclet type top with the 16 patches she has been making at home. I had printouts of a couple other arrangements she might consider--Road to St Louis and this one that Joy had made that looks like 16 patches and pinwheels alternating . I think she said she had 12 blocks leftover. Lois, if you are reading this check out this archived post for the zigzag layout I mentioned. It would take 13 and you cut two of them in half more or less plus seam allowance. I can tell you what size to cut the setting triangles is you need help there OR refer you to the table found on Bethany Reynolds site for on point sets HERE though a printout where you could see the vertical lines might help. (That would be in the April 06 archives near the Whatever post)

Theramae brought two she had finished binding and picked up four that I had quilted to do the honors. She also brought in a block she had found in an old quilt book or magazine. She could not remember the name of the pattern but thought it was "Loop the Loop" or something similiar. She thought it might be one for us to try--possibly for the sew-in. I had to draw it up in EQ to see what happens with the loops when the blocks are joined. Not crazy about the colors though it is a nice paisley print in EQ6 but the snapshot will give you the idea.

Rosa also brought in Bonnie's Hidden Spools or King's X to share. She had done this with one of her quilt groups in Florida and thought we might be interested in giving it a whirl. She had sections of the hers in progress so it was easy to see how it went together. String like, scrappy effect without the foundations.

Actually, both blocks or techniques intrigue me. I wonder how the loop one would look done scrappy! I can see alternate methods of construction as I look at this that might eliminate some lines where the blocks join. More fodder to keep me awake at night thinking of quilts.

Back to the meeting wrap up--I am all over the map today, LOL.
We pinned three tops then and it was approaching noon. I needed to come back and put the binding on that queen sized t-shirt quilt--my primary goal for the day. Off we went to Quizno's for a sandwich and a sit down break and chat. They went home after lunch but I stayed on. The church has nice wide tables that they use for serving at potlucks and dinners so I was able to put that out in front of the machine and seat myself on the far right corner. I pulled over one of the smaller tables to my left to hold the bulk of the quilt to put on the binding. Those sure helped when it came time to trim off the batting too.

SO I am not getting any binding done pecking at the keys. This week's goal is to bind the butterfly challenge, my Toadie BQ and the t-shirt quilt. Antoinette will be taking the quilts that we have set aside for the Talledega Presbyterian Home for Children down later in the week and that butterfly goes along with that bunch. Then I am piecing all week, next week--my reward!! That might make more to pin on the 27th but hey, it is all cyclical. I think we are about half way to our goal for the boys' quilts but I need to do my part towards getting there.

I have been trying to get caught up at least reading my blog list--if I don't stop to comment, I have probably been by but had my hands busy binding. I was up to the Q's last night, LOL. See you online............

Feb 12, 2007

post retreat check in

Checking in after the weekend retreat. I did drive up on Saturday as I hoped to join my friend Joy and other friends. Because the Belles that had planned on going on winter weather threatened day, the window of opportunity for some of them being able to go had closed. I didn't let that stop me though and I had a great time running away from home for a few days time.

Betsy made the trip up Friday afternoon so she was sewing away on her challenge quilt top (she used Square in a Square) when I arrived. Joy's granddaughter Helen was working on a "Twisty Star" block she had started at another quilt retreat--I believe the pattern was from a Triangle on a Roll book and when I first arrived, had been quilting on a Ricky Timms "Convergence" quilt. Joy was working on a Grandmother's Flower Garden and her friend Debbie a wonderful, fly by the seat of your pants styled cat quilt in black and white fabric. She said she was NOT leaving till that top was complete--it was except for using more of the fabrics to make oversized nine patches for part of the borders.

One of members who had relocated back to Indiana had come down on Thursday night and I got to see her for a short time before her husband picked her up. They are on a two week trip to TX and NM and up through MO so the sewing retreat was Mary Frances' first stop and her husband visited with a friend in Anniston while she sewed.

I got the sashing and borders applied to the strippy I was sewing "in spirit" from leftover blocks and showed you on Friday. I think the light blue is a nice contrast with the colors in the odd blocks. Only one block blends in a bit but I can live with that, LOL. Bust some more stash this way---whatever is left is going to be used for the back though I know it but it will need something added to it. That is my job for the day--prep backs for 4 quilts. Below is the basket that is stuffed with the quilt kits that remain. 6 to go.

The other top is a "cheating" Railroad Crossing that I cut out this past week. The striped fabric is the piece I chose for the "Use It from your stash" challenge. (I'm using it on the back too but have to add some other stuff with it) This time the stripes go the direction I had intended them to go. Joy said she had some striped fabric that she could use in this manner so I left the EQ printout with my notes on how many and what size to cut the sashing, etc with her to use. I have started doing that with all my quilt kits---some picture or copy off the pages of the book and pack it with the kit. I've got one here that my mom and I cut out once and neither one of us can figure out what the heck was intended for that fabric---like I was to add more of something I had on hand??? I should just dig that one out and re-purpose it. But I digress.................

I took the last stitch in this top at 11:50 Sunday morning. Just in time to pack up my stuff and load the car as we were going to lunch at a town halfway back to Debbie's home in Georgia and on the alternate route home for me.

The closeup I took just to show you what the fabrics actually looked like. The quilt at a distance back probably just looks like something grayed rather than the nice bright primary colors. I just finished piecing what was left of the striped fabric along with bits of two others (one similiar to the cornerstones here) for the quilt back. I am subscribing to the theory that they will make more if I want to make another one similiar to this.

Good time visiting and a short stop at the quilt shop next door to the workshop set up---a yard of a nice mottled red that I had found there once before and wanted a bit more of and a beetle fabric on a nice gold-y yellow with red bugs. I thought they were lady bugs at first. I was looking on the Avlyn Fabric website to get a jpg for EQ , it is beetles. I gave Joy has a chunk of it for a bug jar quilt so plans to make. Pat had given me one she had started so no doubt, some of it will probably turn up there as well. Mainly I want to use it for a "Frosty and Friends" block from Ursula Reickes' book More Quilts for Baby that Cher had made with similiar fabric.

Frequent readers will remember my talking about Vanessa who owns the quilt shop as well as Nessa's tea room where we had a catered lunch when Cher, her sister and I visited with Joy. The restaurant area is upstairs while the area we had the retreat is directly below and the quilt shop, right next door. The area downstairs has the longarm quilt machine set up on one side and there is an embroidery/monograming area in the way back. Two neat things happened. One of the girls who works in the shop and does the bookkeeping/inventory came out to see how we were doing in the front. Mamie said they had an over run of shirts; if we wanted any of them, we could have them for a dollar each!! Oh boy--a couple t-shirts to slop around the house in for me and I found 3 nice golf type shirts for DJ and one long sleeved knit shirt with a collar that I thought he might like. I wish I had gotten more.

The other thing: Nessa had a large party coming in for supper that evening. She too had stopped in a couple of times in between meal prep--yeast rolls and things that could be done ahead and then reheated. Just as we were trying to figure out where we wanted to go for dinner, Nessa came in and said she had bought too much food and would we want to have a steak dinner? Oh boy--don't have to ask us twice. By that time there was just four of us. Debbie had some dietary issues and had to ask how the meal was prepared as certain condiments, etc were off limits for another week. So we had steak, garlic mashed potatoes, glazed carrots, green beans, homemade yeast rolls, a wonderful tossed salad and for dessert, brownie fudge sundaes. FOR FREE--she would not accept any payment for the meal. We collected some money as a "thank you" for letting us use the space. They had let us use the shop mats, rulers, cutters and even had scissors tied to each table and all the strip plugs and extension cords we needed. Makes it a lot easier to just plug in, set up the machine and get to work!

It was about 1:30 or so by the time we finished with our Sunday meal and I had about an hours drive back home. I wanted to stop and see Sarah and her daughter Jane at the hospital so didn't head home once I hit the turn off I should have taken to my house. From there I went to see Ginny's quilt showing at the Donoho School's Fargason Center Gallery. You can see the quilts HERE. The one that I am waiting to see is the football quilt that she is making for the same fundraiser that I made the t-shirt quilt for. She had two "Faces" quilts that I had not seen at a previous show, one of her recently deceased father-in-law and one of her daughter's teachers. The others that I had seen were fun to revisit.

I had originally cancelled the Belles meeting for tomorrow thinking that most of us would have gone to the retreat on Friday. LOL, its back on for whoever has not made other plans. Ginny has the toadie quilt BQ quilted and ready to pass on for binding and will take one (or more?) to put on her short arm set up to practice on. Fine with me!! Lois' husband has my "grandma pan" handle repaired and I've got some patterns printed off for the 16 patches she has been whipping up at home.............and so on. Theramae will take some of the ones I quilted home to finish the binding and drop off any that are ready for pictures.

Well, guess that is it for now. Best get back to those quilt backs and bust some more stash------

Feb 9, 2007

Sewing day

The group did not make the trip about an hour or so north of here after all as we were under a winter weather advisory from about 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. this evening. Figures, doesn't it? The one weekend that we plan something? There was a chance of sleet, freezing rain etc so we thought it best not to chance it. I will probably go tomorrow for the day--it's downright cold and damp but no precip in the forecast.

I did do a bit of sewing here at home though. NOT on any of the 7 kits I just cut, LOL. I had been considering combining some of the leftover blocks from previous projects and digging out a few blocks that we had made along the way and doing something with them. This morning I thought that a strippie might fill the bill--48 inches across would work for 6 or 8 inch blocks. DJ got up to find me digging in the bins for the blocks I had set aside. I hit the machine shortly after that, working in my pj's till about 1030.

Inventorying the blocks on hand I had found that the 9 inch finished nine patches would just need one more segment to get the length I wanted. I pulled a couple apart to rearrange them into a checkerboard. (The 9 patches and the framed nine patches were leftover from the two tops I assembled a week or so back.) I made one more framed nine patch block and borrowed one of Nancy's pink and browns for a little more variety of color. Made a three more album cross blocks so I could repeat that row again. I only needed to make one more 3D bowtie to complete that row. The hearts were from a old BOM from several years past---good chance to put some of them to use as well.

I am debating what color to use for sashing between the rows and the left/right border. I have a nice medium sky blue on hand that might work. A tan? I used some of it for a block background---it might just fade in? Black or navy? Not sure that I have enough on hand of either of those. I'll let the blocks hang for a while to see what trips my trigger but will take suggestions. Just feels good to move these blocks along--not doing much good piled up and waiting till who knows when. A something from nothing top that looks bright and cheerful. Maybe not the loveliest quilt ever made but hopefully it has some "kid" appeal.

I made the few half blocks and four patches for the Road to St. Louis that were needed to complete those kit components along with the missing framed 4 patches needed. What I probably should have been doing was sewing and applying the binding for that t-shirt quilt. Naw, I felt compelled to sew--after all, I have been waiting to do just that while working on the commissioned piece, quilting all those tops and cutting for two days.

Feb 8, 2007

still at it--stashbusting

Well, I am still at it again today but I knew I would be, LOL and planned for it. I have cut out three more tops today and have 6 project bags in my little basket to haul with me tomorrow for the sewing retreat.

I would like to prep one more but that will have to wait till after supper--I am on break at the moment! Actually I sat down to draw the Road to St. Louis up in EQ since I will be using larger blocks than shown in Hughes book. That's it at left. BUT my back keeps telling me to STAY down, LOL. DJ came home from playing another 18 holes of golf with our out of town guest about 3 so I've been on my own most of the day. Now he wants me to give him a haircut and also put a request in for potato soup for supper. I'll do it only because it ain't gonna happen till Sunday otherwise.

SO I thought I would share just what I cut and/or prepped today. Pat F, one of the Bama Belles had given me some yardage for the kids with a rather large race car in brights on black with bright green frogs driving them and some "go with's". There was even some black and white checkboard stuff like racing flags that I had previously used for binding---I had cut enough for another quilt. She had purchased the stuff, then moved out of state and knew she would not get to it.

I had been thinking about what to do with that for a couple weeks now--picking and rejecting several ideas because it could not be cut up too small. Last night I finally decided Snuggle Up but cut the strips 6 1/2 inches and alternate the race car fabric with a gold, green, royal blue and red. I had done something like that at one time with a bright tropical print and like the way it turned out. Use the checkboard binding. SO that was top #1 today.

There was still plenty of that race car stuff left though---so back I went to trying to decide again. Warm Wishes, maybe? Like the design but have never made one yet. I had thought about BQ originally and doing the blocks large as originally called for but had rejected that--I like smaller blocks as a rule.

I had planned to cut the race car squares to finish at 7 inch and DID cut two strips that way---then messed up and started cutting the remaining fabric at 6 1/2. GRRRRRR. Sit down and resize the blocks and the block set up to accomodate the goof. It will look sorta like the picture above ( Debbie Beaves pattern originally---Norma got me onto this!) Top #2 sacked up.

Next up---I cut the setting half square triangles and quarter square triangles to accomodate Nancy's framed 4 patch blocks. The fabric is a soft pink and her blocks are in this color range. That Easy Set ruler I spoke about in my previous post came in handy again today-cut strips and stack cut. Looks like I only need to make 2 more blocks--Nancy had enough for the top. I will use a phlange of a darker pink to bridge the border and the quilt body. I had unearthed a brown calico print from my under the cutting table bins for this. Something that I KNOW belonged to my mom at one point. Top #3 all ready to roll.

So the brown fabric yardage is no more, the race car stuff is all cut up. Most of a red kit fabric (Veronica, Pam, Cher and my mom all know exactly what that is!) is gone. A little less of some lime green and gold too. Busting stash for sure. BUT what really makes me feel good is knowing that soon this will be something usable for the kids. Stuck away on the shelf, it is not doing any good but creating more clutter.

Only other things that I have done besides cut and scheme---

  • made some Peanut Candy to take for a sweet snack to share at the sew in. The recipe is from one of the Alabama senator's wives for the Alabama Peanut Producers--approx. half of all peanuts grown in the US are grown within a 100 mile radius of Dothan, AL after all. DJ told me at Christmas that I best not make it too often as it is pretty addictive
  • loaded and unloaded the dishwasher
  • loaded up my machine and sewing supplies in the car
  • played too many hands of Superior Canfield--what else is new, LOL?

Guess he is ready for the barbershop to open. Please don't tell me that I am wearing you out reading this! We are all busy women. Yes, I get a lot done but I have all day to do it. All part of the cycle--cut, then sew, then quilt--and repeat. I just do all my work at home where many of you have a job AND housework/homemaking duties as well. You might be lucky to only squeeze this sort of thing in on the weekend or a few hours in the evening.

Feb 7, 2007


Yep, I am hitting a stack of fabric that has been piled up on the pressing table for a couple of days now in preparation for some kit cutting. I have several ideas for donation quilt tops---all using a different technique or some blocks that the quilt group or a quilting friend has sent us. I am not entirely sure whether some of the fabric was sent by Finn, Cher, Pam, my mom or the donation box at this point. I hope once the tops are done, that some one will recognize it and smile when they see it has indeed been used for the kids.

One top I already cut out this morning/afternoon will be a Railroad Crossing type quilt but use a striped fabric instead of pieced strings similiar to the one you see pictured. THIS time I will have the stripes going vertically to the block and not horizontally, LOL. I like how the quilt turned out but I know that I "messed up" since it was not my original intention.

I found a nice lemon yellow at the long arm quilters shop the other day for a background fabric and pulled a primary colored stripe from my stash. I am counting this as my February challenge fabric from JudyL--pull a piece and get it stitched up. Does buying background fabric negate the fact that I am stashbusting the actual piece? HMMMM. Originally I had bought the yardage to make some bias binding on a quilt that had all the primary colors but got plenty of it since I knew I would eventually make a top much like this one. Truth be told, I probably could make another one just like it but could use the leftover stripe for backing.

The 2nd one that I just cut is probably the technique that Bonnie showed in her posting of Jan 16 HERE. She had described it as a "double cut nine patch". I found the book, used, on Amazon and had been looking at one she called "The Village" as a possible one to try. I had some cut squares of all manner of transportation things that I thought would work out for the giant ninepatches---15 1/2 inches before you cut them. So many of them have a blue background so I pulled a light green from my brights bin for what will be the sashing. A piece of green solid that came from somewhere for will be eventually be the cornerstones. I whacked up the rest of the yardage for binding. I also cut some of the bright primary stripe fabric for this and also a strip of that neat yellow with polka dots that I know Finn has used in this top---or one very much like it--for a little more interest.

There is a nice piece of light green background with trains on it (again from Finn maybe?) that could be the border fabric or backing--too nice to cut it up too small. Just looking at the pattern there is no reason why you can't just sash and cornerstones a bunch of cut squares but the idea is to try something new---keep it fresh.

Next one up is cutting the corner half square triangles and quarter square triangles for a zigzag strippie set that I want to use for setting Nancy's framed 4 patches in pink and brown tones. I found a light pink print on Monday when at Hancock's when Linda S asked me to help her pick out some backing fabric for a top she had just finished. (I'll get back to it once I finish up this note)

I was testing out an Easy Set ruler (by Sharon Hultgren and that I have owned for some time to cut the RR crossing. Pretty slick cutting everything off of strips instead of trying to cut a humungous square into quarters on the diagonals. No calculations needed but you cannot use it for in between sized blocks. I also own a Setting Triangle by Lynn Graves of Little Foot, Ltd. fame that was given to me as a gift. That one requires that you line up by the unfinished size of the blocks and you can use it on measure a full inch mark as well as a half inch mark ( i.e. 9 inches and 9 1/2 inches). At this point, no preference of ruler. As far as I can see they each have their use.

On a personal note, our house guest arrived after we had gone to bed (he sleeps in the van regardless) last night. He and DJ left about 8:30 to go play 18 holes and will also get a round in tomorrow. I had originally planned to go up to the quilt shop with Linda S and out for lunch but I had a horrid sinus headache this morning and called to cancel. I medicated and then went back to bed for a while and enjoyed the quiet house. Once I got up for good I did the laundry and started calculating and cutting. I'm not cooking tonight--we can go out for something--so far the choices are BBQ or Chinese. I'm leaving it up to DJ as I "pick" any other time.

Tomorrow, more cutting---probably a "Leap Frog " Old favorite from McCall's Quilting Quick Quilts May 2001 or framed blocks of some sort. (I found a pdf file for something with a slightly different twist but do not know the source to share it---the author gives no website in the file). Also I would like to cut some setting blocks for a "Road to St Louis" top that will use some of the 8 patch blocks we have made though I will need to resize the cutting directions to accomodate our sized blocks from 6 to 8 inch finished. It is an old Trudie Hughes pattern from Even More but I found a picture of one online HERE scroll down about 2/3 rds of the way. JoAnn Belling's quilt classes and some neat eye candy on the way.

Friday and Saturday I'll be off retreating so I'll be ready to get some of these kits sewn. Guess that's it for now

Feb 4, 2007

goal met

Well, Nancy was right---I got the three WTIL quilts quilted before Tuesday but I thought I might. 6 quilts in 5 days time, as it turned out. (They are small and I have lots of time to work on them--superwoman, I am not.)

Friday was a simple grid zoom lines that Aline had done with a piano key type border. Yesterday, a 50 x 70 ish double attic window top that my mom had made. Today, binding on the double attic window and then my little butterfly challenge top seen HERE in its unquilted state. Even sucked it up and did some free motion in the hexagon centers. Didn't look too bad as I tried to do a concentric spiral. I took the last stitch on the binding and label at 5:20---just in time for the Superbowl game.

What is next then? Binding on the two tops that I quilted for Marilyn once she brings it over for me to put on--tomorrow, I think. Eileen asked if I ever was going to work on something for myself. Well, I don't think she meant the challenge top necessarily, LOL.
Actually, I have my 30's sampler dug out again and hope to get the last 5 blocks quilted. I had to set it aside when the commissioned work came my way. I am not entirely sure what I want to do with the borders though. I have it in the back of mind to hand quilt a simple cable but I think I could still do that even if the binding was on it BUT I want it on the bed sometime in my lifetime, LOL.
The longarm quilter called me late Friday and said that the t-shirt quilt was done. I ran up yesterday morning to pick it up---more binding only this time I get to hand finish it myself. The only other thing I want to do this week is some kit cutting. I've got fabric for three, maybe four, quilts stacked up on the cutting/pressing table--any of which I could work on at the sewing retreat Friday and Saturday. Tuesday, clean up the house and Weds/Thursday mess it up again. DJ will entertain our houseguest--they just need me to cook supper.
So what are you looking at here? DJ had gotten a foam topper for this bed and then decided that he didn't like it. He had it rolled up on the bedroom floor and was cutting sections off of it for kneeling pads. Of course, Miss Nosy Nose had to get in there to see what was going on.

She was not happy with me getting her picture in there either. She vacated and off she went to the kitchen with me in tow. How many times a day do both of us truck out there with her to look at the food bowl? Naturally she does not need a thing in it. When I go, she won't even touch the food till she gets a taste of her Petromalt. That is why she is just sitting looking nonchalant. Silly girl.
Pam was having a Superbowl gathering and said Hawaiian meatballs were on the menu. She gave me the recipe and I had all the ingredients on hand to make a batch for us in the crockpot. I did make a run to the store for chips and some salsa. Kinda fun to just do the finger foods stuff and nothing that I had planned on doing. By half time I was back in the sewing room putting labels on the quilts piled on the hamper. Needless to say, I would have preferred the Bears win but the Colts played the better game. (Heck of a run back first play though.) Danged talking heads were right---and I hate that. By 8:30 I was sick of hearing Phil Sims talk --and talk-- and talk.

Feb 2, 2007

quilting mode

Old picture from last year but wearing the same clothes, LOL (not long after I cut off about 12 inches of hair and sent it to Locks of Love). What's a post without a picture?

I'm off in quilting mode for a few more days. There is a stack on the hamper and the armoire again. I am trying to get it all moved along. The hamper stack needs labels sewn on so I can't put them away yet. The armoire stack is WTIL tops. 3 more to quilt, couple to bind. Pippi is laying on what I thought would be the next one up. If I can convince her to get off of it, I'll quilt it. If not, the next one in the pile. (Okay, okay 4 of my own personal projects are in the closet and out of sight so those don't bother me as much. LOL)

So if the quilting is done, then someone will help out with the binding. That removes them from my house however temporary as that might be. If the labels are put on, then I can stash them in the closet or take some more over to Linda S' for storage depending on where they are headed. Either way, I'm getting the hamper back, LOL.

Wednesday I marked and quilted a simple grid for a top for Marilyn. I am waiting for her to make up the binding for it and another top I did a week or so ago for her. I still had time that afternoon and did "zoom lines" on a flag like top that Cher had sent us. Yesterday it was a Churn Dash variation John Deere top that my mom had sent. Those both need the binding and labels applied---my early afternoon goal.

So three more WTIL's by Tuesday---entirely possible as these are not huge quilts--just "one a day". I know I cannot just sit and stare at the TV set for the Superbowl so will need to keep busy doing something, anything, to keep the anxiety level down watching our beloved Bears. Tuesday will be time to clean up the house as our guest is coming either late that evening or the next day. Friday and Saturday is a UFO retreat at our friend Joy's house--week is pretty much spoken for already. Not at all sure what I will work on at Joy's---too many choices there.

You know where to find me----