Aug 29, 2007

quilts on the brain

I am having a hard time wanting to get going today--just piddle dinking around more or less. I DID do some drawing in EQ6 though. This new version seems to have a snap to grid type thing so placing the blocks using the custom set quilt settings is so much easier than in 5 and the copy/paste feature that was added after version 4 helps too.

SOOO what are you looking at? I believe I have figured out what I want to do with my Merkitties from Michael Miller challenge fabric shown HERE. I've been mulling this over for a week or so now--something that has a big enough square to feature the fabric but not something I have not necessarily made before. Only have a half yard to play around and I don't want a bunch of decapitated kitties.

When I came home from my quilt meeting yesterday afternoon, one of my birthday present books Trudie Hughes On Point had arrived. I was flipping through that and the other Trudie books in my collection last night as I was considering a couple of her patterns for the challenge. Last year I used her "Interlocking Squares" for the butterfly challenge and was pleased with the results but want to try something different this time around.

This "Jacob's Elevator" should fill the bill. I drew the quilt up since I was having a hard time visualizing my colors when compared to the color plates in the book. Merkitties has a soft pink, creamy ivory, two shades of a lime green for the mermaid tales and the royal blue background but I'll use a tone on tone for the geese parts since I don't have a lot of it to play with. I used the design from Crib Quilts but she has a slightly different version in a prior book Even More. The difference between the two designs is the one in Even More is done as blocks, sized 8 inches. The version in Crib Quilts are based on a 6 inch grid and done in rows. I rather like the finished edge look of the chains on this one though I think I would do the corners as a large half square triangle instead. I'm not ready to cut it out yet but it is good to have come to a decision. To me it is just the like looking at a menu: the longer I look, the more likely I am to change my mind about 4 times before the waiter comes back to take the order. LOL, and then most likely order the first thing I chose.

The quilt group did meet yesterday. I know that 4 of the girls were not going to be there but some I was not expecting came so it evened out. Judy was the only one machine piecing. Pat and Rosa were both helping out with binding. Sarah started sewing some batting together from that scrap bin as soon as she arrived while Jane and I (intermittently on my part) were pinning with Theramae. Linda C. is new to quilting and needed a little help with combining fabrics that had once belonged to her mom. She had just grabbed a pile of fabrics and was a little overwhelmed like "now what do I do?" I told her my theories/practices on the subject and just encouraged her to start mixing and matching a bit. She also wanted me to show her how to use the rotary mat, cutter and ruler combo. She had a old quilt booklet on hand that advised cutting templates for something that could be easily strip pieced. I could show her how to make a template if she really wanted but quilting has advanced beyond that point, and in most cases, no longer necessary. Pick out which blocks she would like to try and I'll work with her on making them, step by step.

Truthfully, when I left the house I did not know how long I was going to be able to last there. Because we had house guests Monday, they got my bed and I had the single air mattress. Not much sleep and my back, shoulders and knees were not happy with me. The analgesic I took was making me even woozier. The wife left for the golf course with the DJ and his golfing friend while I was at the meeting and they left for IL after their round. BUT, I stayed on till 3 as Theramae and I pinned another three quilts right before we left for home. No new ones were turned in so no pics to share till the binding is done. The ones I just quilted were divided up for binding detail though I kept one out that I had started and will get busy on it after I post. I laid down and napped for about 2 hours after I got home and amazingly, still slept last night and until 7. I knew when I went to bed that walking was not on the morning's schedule so that "internal alarm clock" got to hit the snooze alarm.

The purple and yellow quilt is one that my friend Woodlyn made for her daughter (Joy's granddaughter). Pretty, isn't it? This is one that I would love to make for myself one day--and in those colors. "Morning Star" from the Nickel Quilts book. I asked her at the recent retreat if she could share a picture of it. (She gave me permission to post it here) Somehow I did not get one taken when she brought the quilt to show us at the quilt group a few years back. You see, the Belles had gone through our stashes to share purple nickels for the quilt. It is fun to look at the closeup view and see bits and pieces that I remember. Woodlyn used the same soft yellow throughout the quilt. One day, I will to do this..............

And whenever, Norma decides she is ready to take a break from customer quilts and me from my quilt stack (4 more for now), we probably are going to try the 4-patch stacked posie pattern from HD Designs. I got some fabric calling me that I purchased at the retreat for this purpose. Then there is a "Kris 3 patch" that will use some more of that retreat purchased yardage and a "Road to St Louis" from another of Trudie's books that has some of the 16 patches done......and the ones from Sloppy's 40 Fabulous Quick Cut Quilts. Ohhhh, I have a pretty ones to share with you that my mom pieced and I am going to quilt for Pam's Mexico project that came from there. Quilts, quilts and more quilts--hey, that's a book I haven't looked at for awhile. Inspiration overload! Come back down to earth and go bind, girl.

Aug 25, 2007

Happy dancing and cutting up

Wahoo, as of 10 p.m. last night, I finished up the last of the 9 quilts in my stack. Very productive day yesterday as I bound three and quilted two. The first one was very easy, just channel quilting on some horizontal rows. The 2nd was a little more challenging as it had a bit of a wavy on one side, wider than I normally would use on my own border---so I marked and quilted a cable and dart design. I also realized that one edge had been shorted of fabric when it was pinned so I had to add a bit before I could bind it.

Aline had brought over some fabric late Thursday evening when I mentioned that I needed something "black" for the binding. She had 3 pieces that were "possibles" and told me to keep them--some her daughter who will be relocating from England back to the States by year's end had sent her to use. DJ took one look at "more fabric" and said if I keep it up, I'll have to move out some furniture, LOL. He might be right.

Pippi has grown attached to the bedroom window perch in the past two days. If not there, she is stretched out on the bed. Anywhere but under the bed, please and thank you. Just before I took the picture she was chirping at some birds and peering upward to the eaves. Naturally, she quit that when I tried to get her picture. With company coming late tomorrow, I probably won't see her for a few days.

When I got back from my morning's walk, DJ had already started cleaning up his area of the house a bit, not wanting to have to do it all in one day. I MAY get started at least in the sewing room. Part of it that straightening up was to get a box emptied out---my challenge box from Ellen specifically since it was sitting where I have been storing the table I put in front of the sewing table to hold the quilt weight. Bust that stash, after all, for some future or current projects.

I had mostly fats and some odd bits of yardage and I have some specific scrap quilts in mind for this. I cut some "nickels" and squares 2 and 2 1/2 and 3 1/2 squares for bowties. I also cut strips 2 x 3 1/2 for Grandma's Scrap Bag and strips 2 x 5 for some more basket weave sections to add to the leftovers from the top that Nancy had started . Also 2 1/2 inch strips---Faux Log Cabin and "Ducks in a Row" from Claudia's Quilt Shoppe which were presented as a part of her "Short 'n Scrappy" series from a few years back. The link will take you to her gallery page where she has a planned quilt shown. I believe that she has the actual pattern in a booklet for sale now--Slash Your Stash, published by Leisure Arts if that is the correct quilt whose corner I see. I have resized mine down to a 6 inch block so I can use more of those 2 1/2 inch squares and strips.

Some bits were tucked away intact in the fall colors box since I have three Thanksgiving/fall themed row robins coming up. A few bits of purple got stashed as well as couple of bug jar fabrics---one of the Belles gave me a jar quilt she had half started to finish up for the kids at some point. But I cut up most that didn't have another obvious purpose for a planned project or current UFO. In the foreground, I cut out what will be a Puss in the Corner in two colors. The EQ printout is hanging on the pegboard.

After that week's worth of quilting, I believe that I could use a break from the machine for a couple of days. Best get a handle on dealing with the aftermath of concentrated sewing and put the cut bits away. Oh, and run to the store for some celery--got a taste for Manhattan Clam Chowder for supper tonight. I'd rather be curling up with the Fons and Porter mag that came today than clean, any day.

Aug 23, 2007

goofing off

A lazy day here so far but that's okay with me. I took today off from walking since I go 5 days out of 7 and slept in a whole whoppin' half an hour, LOL. Miss Pippi seemed to think I needed to be up. I've been goofing off weeding out my music files and ran a couple of errands. Also been shopping online a bit.

The Bama Belles gave me some spending money for my birthday with the instructions, more or less, to use for me rather than for the donation quilts. That sort of eliminated buying fabric---did enough of that lately anyway!--since I only buy stuff for me when I have a special project in mind---which I don't at this point. So I found some used books at a good price to add to my quilting reference library.

I have been busy quilting since last Friday afternoon and have 6 of the 9 quilts in my stack done. Not quite one a day--some span two days and one day I did two small ones. This is the only one that I can show you as the binding will need to be done before those are ready for their official photo. I showed you this top and told you the story behind it HERE. It seemed easiest to just do an all over grid than go around the star points in the ditch.

Joy sent the binding for her two quilts with me but the only thing is, she cuts hers a lot narrower than I do. The only way I could think to use it was as a single fold binding and press the quarter inch back on one side of it. I got the quilting done rather handily but applying the binding stymied me. No matter which way I turned it, the fold was on the wrong side and seemed backwards to the way I sew. I ended up trimming off the backing and batting and sewing it back to front and then stitching it down with a blanket stitch so this one is done except for sewing down the label.

BUT I am not so happy with the results--the corner miters are not as neat as they usually are and there are spots on the back where the stitching shows up way to much. Still, it is DONE even if not quite up to my standards for my work. Is there some trick to getting it lined up so it doesn't show???? I am thinking about substituting something else for the 2nd quilt she sent--the binding for it would leave me in the same boat.

Look what came in the mail today! Ellen, the founder of Wrap Them In Love sent this on to me. I love this gold on gold veined fabric which was donated by a fabric company to her for our donation quilts. I had told her that I could use some more if there was any to be had expecting it would be in a box like she did last time. I have no idea hoe much is possibly on the roll but it measures about 2 inches out from the center of the cardboard core.

Long time "wrappers" will recognize it as one of the long ago kit fabric companions---the other was a cobblestone looking piece in two color ways of red and blue. There was also a tone on tone vein in red and blue and a variation with a black vein on red and blue background. A decent shade of red actually--the blue not bad either. The hardest to work with was the gold with a red or blue vein though we certainly gave it the good old "college try". HERE are three quilts that I did in series from the blue version of the fabrics--The first one being Vogie's "Millennium Mystery" and the 2nd and 3rd quilts were done with the leftovers from the first one as I over cut, big time.

My friend in Kentucky also sent another box of backing fabrics that arrived a couple days ago---all different colors including a nice pink check. That's already out in the car. I am almost packed up and the meeting isn't till Tuesday, LOL. I already warned the quilt group that we may have to have a binding party so come prepared with needles.

Well, if I am going to get any quilting done on the basketweave top today, I better quit playing around. The cook is serving leftovers so that gains a little more machine time.

Aug 20, 2007

A little morning excitement around our little lane. It turns out the thunderstorm that blew through here Friday around supper time did a little damage we didn't know about. It got a little windy for awhile and over an inch of rain in a short time but who knew? Earlier in the day I had seen part of a dead tree at the park where I walk had been "decapitated" with lots of sticks laying in my pathway that I cleared off rather than trip over them. Another tree downed but not on the house or vehicles was noted on the drive home. Our across the lane neighbor had an outdoor tent blown over and some damage to his fence, how we haven't figured out.

Last evening the next door guy comes over and said he had called the cable company on Saturday. Cable guy told him that this was dangerous--his house might catch fire. This was Sunday evening. Did we have a number to call the power company and talk to a humanoid? DJ did and called it. A limb had broken but not completely loose on his tree in the easement and it was laying right on both of our power lines. No emergency to the power company on a Sunday since we weren't without power. No need for the automated line for reporting this. Power Guy was out here at 7:30 this morning.

This is the 2nd time we have had this happen with the wispy trees between our lots---one blew over about 2 years ago. See that stuff laying on the ground by the truck? That is what is left of the tree our neighbor was to remove. His tree, our property it landed on. Last time though, it tore up some shingles on our newly re-roofed house and the metal pipe that the electrical wire attaches to so we had to pay the electrician to come out to repair it. All he had to do is clean up the log----sigh. The tree that is closer to the road is also worrisome as there are some dead limbs on it but it is away from the power, telephone and cable lines. I think, LOL.

I am back in quilting mode so will not have much to show you for a week or so---probably not till the binding is done on a few of these. Saturday and Sunday it was a 9 block McCloskey butterfly top that one of the Belles had made. Then I picked up one of the tops that Ashley in GA sent us---I have a couple more blocks to go on that one. Too cute with nice brights and kitty fabric at center.

This is how the sampler BOM top turned out though that was taking my attention this past week. I gave up on the "Shasta Daisy" block for now as the sewing was not going well. Since the top was intended to be a full sized bed quilt, I have some leftover fabric. I was having problems sleeping (what else is new?) the other night and thinking about the leftovers and how they might be used. A Puss in the Corner in two colors was dancing through my head too. The things that keep me from sleeping!! Finally I just bailed and went to work in EQ just to put it down on paper and let those ideas rest. Finally by 2:30 I could go back to sleep for a few hours anyway. I have since marked the off squares, probably for something to hand quilt when I feel like it. Not sure what to do in the wide outer border yet but I doubt it will keep me awake at night, LOL.

Next week DJ's golfing buddy is coming down to see us on Monday and Tuesday--this time with his wife. They will have been to see their son who lives near Asheville, NC first. I'll have to give up my bed and bathroom. (Herb sleeps in his van and uses DJ's bathroom ordinarily) Sunday will be house cleanup time so that just gives me this week to tackle some of my quilt stack. Best get to it...........

Aug 16, 2007

box upon box upon box

Yesterday was a big mail delivery day around my house! I still had not found a home for the 30 some yards I had gotten at the quilt retreat and my sewing room was getting a little smaller around the periphery. (And it is only 10 x 10 to begin with).

The fabric you see in the foreground is some that a friend and fellow Wrap 'Em list mate had sent so I could make a choice for a challenge fabric for the Bama Belles this year. These are 8 yard cuts so I have enough for a couple years worth. A quilt shop in KY had donated yardage to her and she had some to share. This was the

one I picked for us to work with this year. Michael Miller "Merkitties" Actually it is a little brighter green but I was more concerned with getting the royal blue background adjusted in editing. Soft pinks and ivory colorations with that brights.

As if that were not enough, Kitty also sent that big Barnes and Noble box full of backing fabrics. Our postal person honks to let us know that there is a package peither on top of the mailbox across our lane or she is delivering it to the door. DJ headed out though I know I had packages coming. He hauled the box in along with a stuffed to the gills priority box. Apparently someone had donated100 yard rolls and bulk yardage so she passed some along to us. I already have put that piecing of shirting type stuff to use and laundered up another 10 yard section. You will see where further down in the post.

The priority box that DJ brought in was full of challenge fabrics came from Ellen. It was bulging with scraps, strips, yardage! The idea is that she would pack whatever she could get crammed in there and we make one or more WTIL quilts for $10 to cover mailing etc. Now that is a "win-win" situation since things are cleared out of the shop and we get some new fabrics to play with for our quilts. There were a couple of 2 yard sections that I will probably use for a two color Puss in the Corner--positive/negative probably--of another Michael Miller cat fabric. But a big pile of 2 1/2 inch strips already cut, sandwich bags stuffed with 2 inch and 2 1/2 inch squares along some half square triangles. Stray blocks or block componenets as well as stuff I can cut up/trim down of my chosing. Miss Rosie's Quilt Co. Grandmother's Scrap Bag pattern is calling me for some of those bits and pieces.

I set this all aside to work on that last Joann's BOM---things were not going well. Either not cut correctly or the seamtress error with the flying geese etc so I may well junk this one out. I already know that I am making an 8 block top so I'll see what background fabric is leftover if I need to make a replacement for another use.

Then as I was preparing supper, the doorbell rang again---this time, it was the UPS driver and a package I expected from my mom arrived. DJ had to haul THAT one in too amidst groans that he never gets anything in the mail or words to that effect. 10 quilt tops that she made and I will back and quilt---these will be going to Pam for the Mexico project in spring '08. I got busy pairing the tops with backings last evening and took this picture after I finished. Either I used some fabric that mom sent adding some stuff from my stash to make it wider, some of what Kitty had just mailed or I pieced it from things I had on hand. Stashbusting my stash and their too, LOL. Actually I did have to make a run to Walmart for 2 yards of a pink to finish the last one but 2 yards plus a tad for the wider ones for 10 quilts found a use.

Pippi of course, is supervising the whole deal. She still has that "poodle paws" thing going on if you look at her front legs. Mom has all her binding pressed and wrapped on the large cardboard piece propped next to the quilt stack with labels as to which one goes with what quilt and how long it is. Me? Still need to press 4 quilts worth--right next to it and the iron. The box also had a nice pile of abandoned blocks for me to play with. More quilts inspired by Finn on the horizon. The other thing in the montage up there---I just emptied off the last bit of thread on a 6000 yard spool in 5 months time. Some of it is wound up on the bobbin rack but that is a lot of thread---must have been a busy girl! (The gray one is what it looks like to start)

Lastly, here is my fabric from the retreat. The two on the end on the left were in a grab bag but we didn't count those in the tally. Last I heard the total for the group was up to 250 some yards and that was without two people "fessing up". The fats I got mainly since I thought they might work in the orphan block quilt I was working on at the retreat though I found more yardage for two of them at the fabric sale. A few purple, yellows, teals--my fav colors after all. A couple of backgrounds in creamy tone on tones and two rusty browns that may end up on my medallion round robin for that last border. (Once they are displayed at the quilt show that last round will be re-worked as I hate that polycotton brown and that mess in the corner has got to go.) The wild tropical floral on the right end was purchased so I can try the 4 patch stacked posie pattern that I picked out for my birthday. Norma is responsible for that "itch" since she pointed the pattern out in IM and I was intrigued by the whole thing. Maybe if she and I ever get caught up, we can give it a whirl.

I will make a separate post with the quilts/wrap up from the quilt meeting on Tuesday since that is a shift of gears, so to speak. Stay tuned..........

meeting wrap up

We had kind of a lazy day on Tuesday when the quilt group met. No one really felt like sewing, pinning or much of anything. Mostly it has just been so darned hot down here that is saps any energy you might have had. I had spent three days sewing at the retreat so I mostly filed picture in the album, chatted and took it easy though I did pin one before I left for the day with Theramae's help.

Betsy had invited a fellow DAR member to the meeting so it was good to meet Linda C and help her with a half finished quilt her mother had left. Her mom's pencil sketch did not help but Theramae and I pointed out just where the blocks sat and she sat down to hand stitch one together to use for a guide.

The Square in a Square is Betsy's quilt from the 06 challenge---just in time for me to pass out the 07 stuff but hey, that's okay! Really it is just in time for me to take down to Talledega soon. Beverly helped out by finishing the binding.

The green and white top uses some sports yardage that someone had donated. Theramae put it to good use with this positive-negative "Illinois Roads" pattern. I love the gingham binding cut on the bias like she did.

This little quilt has a story--my mom started hand quilting this bear panel quilt before the first grandchild was born in early 83. It get set aside and I brought it back with me in June. Theramae likes to do hand work in the evenings so she finished it up. Everyone said we should set it aside as a family keepsake but Mom said to donate it and that's what I will do.

The girls fixed a potluck lunch----yum! Pasta salad, chicken salad, chicken chow meain casserole, fresh green beans and potatoes, cukes, tomatoes, broccoli salad, and cream of coconut cake. You know how you often make something to carry to a potluck because you spouse won't eat it or you have so much that you will be eating it for a week if you take the leftovers home? We got to bring some of it home so no cooking Tuesday evening. I put the leftover cake in the freezer though once DJ got a serving and one set back for another meal. The girls gave me a fun card with some spending money--which incidentally was the amount I spent for the retreat costs but I think they want me to go shop some more with that. I'll set it aside for now and think on that.

Since we weren't doing anything pressing at the meeting, some of us took a ride out to Pat F's house---both of our Pat's are building this year but we had already been to Pat M's to see the layout. It was closer for the girls that lived north to head on home from her location so we said our goodbye's after taking the tour and I went back to pin the quilt I had left on the table before lunch.

Guess that's about it...........

Aug 13, 2007

retreat wrap up #1

What fun this past weekend and a great way to spend your birthday if you can! Good times, good company and good food since it was catered for us by Nessa who also owns the quilt shop and the space where we met. Since one of the reasons we were meeting was to do the reveal on our rows, I will show you those first.

This is mine---love those 30's repros---I made the spool row

This is Joy's sections---she did the grandmother's flower garden section and continues to work on a full sized version of it at the retreat. (I made the fan row) The last row is special as Mary Frances used some signature blocks the Belles had made some years back but added a strip on the top and bottom of the original rail fence section. Mary Frances has a friendship quilt that is also signed so she chose to donate these to Joy, our group's original leader.

Mary Frances with her house blocks--I did the 2nd row from the top--my blocks again to the left

Betsy with her Patriotic rows--the three to the right were already joined--I made the row closest to Betsy

Debora with her Halloween Row--I did the bats with the Boo block on this one. She only needs to add one more row to complete the quilt.

And in case you are wondering, I will be doing it again the next round as we decided to allow 6 weeks between rounds. Joy twisted my arm enough. Both people I had confessed this (my mom and Cher) said "I knew you would!" The longer time between rounds will only work if I do not put it off for 5 weeks prior. Blame will be strictly mine if I do, LOL. 7 of us will be participating.

A little story here from Joy. She had made this "Quiltmaker's Gift" quilt for donation to Wrap Them In Love. I think that the pattern may have come from Connecting Threads--either with the fabric purchase or as a free pdf pattern. She liked the star in the 2nd row called "Compassionate Star" and it is really clever how it goes together-- half square triangle units were done with the blue and you do a shorter diagonal flip corner thing over it and it is assembled like a friendship star would be.

Anyway, she made 12 of these stars resized for MY row. THEN she read the directions where I had listed the colors I would like in my quilt and I had said "no browns please" The dark is actually a navy floral print and the brown in question was a tan--not totally 30's vintage but very cute. Not wanting the blocks to go to waste she assembled them into another top for the kids. We will probably pin these two tomorrow at the quilt meeting. Oh, the girls named this one "When All Else Fails, Read the Directions" She ended up making the 9 inch friendship stars that are shown in my row picture.

I'll share a few more pictures of our "show and tell" and what I managed to get done at the retreat in another post. You know how tempermental uploading can be at times. Sequentially, it will probably be off a bit.

retreat wrap up #2

Okay, a little commentary and some quilts in progress during the retreat. The Snail's Trail is being made by Helen, Joy's 19 year old granddaughter. Helen has been piecing since she was about 6 or 7 having learned her lessons well from her grandmommy. She loves to play with the arranging her blocks. The color is probably a little off but it is yellow and purple which just so happens to be her college colors though she has been working on this off and on for several years. When the picture was taken, she was half done with it.

The cat quilt is Debora's. She was working on getting the binding machine stitched down at this retreat having spent her sewing time in February working on the top. Vangie is a left helping to hold up the quilt. She also got another top bound--a vintage string quilt with tinkerbell fabric for the backing. Fun!

Mary Frances is hiding behind this star pattern. We found some lovely plum fabric that may be going with the top or perhaps for binding/backing. She remembered that we had tried those "Mary's Triangles" when she was still meeting with the group. Now she is back living in Indiana and her husband came down with her for the weekend. I love the fabrics she used and actually have some the postage stamp focal print in a stack and whack top that I started with the class several of the Belles took at the Trussville quilt shop. Her sewing project was an antique Lemoyne star top that she was edge finishing by adding the fill in sections so it could be trimmed down to a square.

This picture will not near do Kim's quilt justice. It is the "Eureka" pattern from Animas Quilts, a Jackie Robinson design. Kim's fabrics were probably the same ones used in the quilt on the cover of the Keepsake magazine or close to it. I think she said that this was only her third quilt---WOW! She is hand quilting it and was keeping those fingers busy. We just couldn't get it high enough or straight enough for full out viewing.

This one is Debora's as well (our friend Joy in the foreground) "Boston Commons" done at a retreat that several of the girls had attended last fall sponsored by the Trussville quilt shop. Unfortunately, one of the girls had cut and purchased all her fabrics and then was unable to attend. But the worst of it was that the pattern had several errors and the opinion was that the teacher knew about it as she had to add some coping strips and so forth. Lot of unhappy quilters who probably did not finish their tops. I can see where this would have been a piecing nightmare as they did not use QSTs on the edge triangles and that bias end could pulling like crazy if one where not mindful of their pressing. Debora finished hers so she was able to do some private instruction and guide Vangie with piecing her top---in lovely batiks, greens, tans, etc. --while Debora used Oriental prints. We found a nice pink that looked like chopsticks for her backing.

This is a top that Debora was finishing up as well---this was another of the quilt shop retreats from a year or so back. (Joy had made several re-sized block tops for the kids and I know I mailed them to HQ late in 2006). She used Hawaiian prints for this one. Oops, some of my blocks peeking out from underneath on the design wall. Tell you about those later.

This is Joy's daughter Woodlyn (who came up from Texas) with her fall themed quilt. 16 patches with alternating pinwheels. By Sunday afternoon she only needed to put on the final border. Woodlyn used a focus piece of fabric with blue skies and a country fall scene but her daugther who also quilts really did not like this top. We all did though! It is to go on the guest room bed and Alicia told her mom that she might expect the houseguests to drop off. (I said if it worked, I might need to borrow it to keep the golfing buddy away, LOL) Anyway, one of the shop owners came back with a "we, the undersigned think that this gorgeous quilt" or words to that effect and we all signed it. Actually, Mamie then printed it on a fabric label and we signed it again.

This is another of Woodlyn's quilts---just picked up from an Alabama long armer and will be given as a wedding present soon. I think it is a quilt from Nickel Quilts but I recognize the pattern as "Jewel Box"

Looks like I have to do one more post---my output in that one.

retreat #3

Kim working on her "Eureka" Quilt while Mary Frances stitches on her little featherweight. You can see what a neat space we were working in. There is room enough for 10 of us to be sewing. Nicd brick walls and hardwood flooring. They had 4 kitchen table set up and then a grouping of 3 molded tables in between. The dining room is upstairs in the same building and is also a neat spot with antiques, tin type ceilings.

Here is Vangie working on a chenille baby quilt. You can see a bit more of the room set up in
this shot. The cutting island is huge and is directly behind her with a pressing station to the left--there were two areas set up till the big board got sold to one of the girls who could only come for lunch. (Patti was hand piecing a double wedding ring while she visited.)

I apparently did not get a picture of Betsy's "Nantucket Sailboats" or her at the machine but you will when the quilt is finished. She was very close to done with it so we may pin it tomorrow.

I got the abandoned block top done with some minor changes in positioning. Hurray! I had arrived at the retreat about 10 on Friday and most of the girls had a jump start on Thursday night. I found a couple fats at the quilt shop and worked till about 1:30 in the morning stitching up the flying geese section but didn't actually join the rest of the sections I had joined waiting for the geese filler till Sunday. I'm not crazy about that floral filler I used but it is what it is---top done.

Here is what I did Saturday and Sunday. I only stayed up till about 11:30 Saturday night and left for home a little after 4 on Sunday. The blocks are a BOM from Joanne's that Nancy sent a few months back that have been waiting in the basket for me. They are a block of the month project from Joann Fabrics and the pieces are all pre-cut. I didn't get to the last block. Nancy already had the first three months done but I will not make near as large a quilt as the BOM showed. Stay tuned, LOL. I had called DJ about 2 to tell him that I was going to stitch one more block and then leave in about a hour or so. He asked "why"--I was having fun and was not ready to quit just yet. Later I thought I should have said that I quilt for the same reasons he chases a little white ball all around a cow pasture because I love it.

I may show you my quilt shop purchases later. I had birthday money to spend and that is exactly what I did. Nessa and Mamie gave us a 10% discount in the shop and I was pretty conservative there. A few fat quarters, something for borders for my fall round robin medallion and so forth. BUT the fun began later.....all around that big cutting table is shelving and we were told we could have anything we wanted for 2.50 a yard but we had to cut it ourselves. Hey, no problem!! There was some good stuff to be hand and who doesn't need a reasonably priced quilt back? Debora is getting a tally from the other 4 quilters but the 5 of us left sewing on Sunday were up to 230 some yards. I own up to 35.5 yards purchased over the weekend and I didn't begin to be the leader, trust me.

Nessa took good care of us in the food department. Delicious entrees including (steak on Saturday night) and desserts plus she shared her recipe for peanut butter cake and a sugar free peanut butter pie with us. Might not have been a cake with a candle in it but who cares about that? As if that were not enough, they invited us to their house after church for leftovers. We knew it was good stuff so you didn't have to ask us twice--more money for another bit of yardage. (Norma, it was something I think I can use for the stacked 4 patch posie)We could sew a bit longer since the original plans were for us to pack up by 12 and head to a town 30 mins away for lunch. Because one of the girls lived in the opposite direction, she could eat with us after all.

No way was I going to get on the scale today or all week for that matter. The Belles are having a potluck lunch for me tomorrow to celebrate my birthday. The spoonfuls to taste everything add up.

Today I was back down to earth---walked, grocery shopping and trying to clear up a few things on my desk and so forth. I found my "lost" rail fence sections when I was on a search for something one of the Belles needed so that's good. Still need to pack up my stuff for the meeting tomorrow so best close......

Aug 9, 2007

Think I have it.....retreat bound

No sewing today---yet. I have been messing around in EQ to figure out a layout for the abandoned blocks quilt top. There are still blocks leftover so I know another one is on the horizon from the original pile that I had--more butterflies, Wyoming Stars and so forth. My mom is sending me a few more blocks in a box heading down this way soon. In the meantime, I can cut the checkboard stuff and start assembling this. Not sure about that band of sashed flying geese but it probably does add some horizontal interest--not necessarily in those colors either. What can you do that is 4 inches wide by 36 inches long?

The doorbell rang yesterday and our neighbor two houses down handed DJ a big sack of green beans and other with okra and cukes. I HAD to get the appliqued blocks for the "due soon row" stitched down so was not ready to deal with these goodies from the garden just then. I got done with my obligations in time to give DJ a haircut and then he helped me snap beans while I prepped the cukes. My wrists I noticed are not very happy with me today for all that snapping, LOL. Good eatin though--funny thing is that we had prepared frozen green beans on our leftover plates for supper. I scraped those things off so we could make room for the fresh ones. There is no comparison.

I blanched most of the beans for the freezer but had no clue what to do with the fresh okra. I think that if I have eaten any of it, it has been the sliced and frozen variety and just a little bit of it to toss in gumbo or my version of jambalaya. BUT computer to the rescue for that too.

I will be gone to the quilt retreat in Collinsville from Friday morning till Sunday afternoon. My friend Joy is hosting this with help from Debora. The main thing is the reveal for the row robins. Debora is teaching a mini-session on needle turn applique too--trust me, I can use all the help I can get. Some of the bunch is going up today so they are probably hard at it already but I had my reasons for waiting to go till tomorrow. There will be a few new people joining in the next row that I have not met but I am not sure that I want to participate again. I am busy enough that it seems like I always end up putting it off till the last minute and I don't need another UFO project. Plus it sounds like the theme is already been set by the organizer---what if I don't want a holiday or seasonal project??

DJ and I went to Lone Star Steakhouse for lunch today as tomorrow is my birthday. One thing I cannot cook properly is steak so why not let the experts fix it instead? I still need to pack my overnight bag and gather up some of the quilting odds and ends. Put away the laundry. Oh, and get the stuff together for the applique thing. Catch you when I get back...........

Aug 7, 2007

Ridin' the Rails and other stuff

I believe that I am about to "ride the rails" a bit though I did not officially sign up for the challenge Finn suggested. First, I didn't think I had enough blocks laying around here for inclusion in an abandoned block quilt. I had some appliqued butterfly blocks that the Belles had made, a nine patch basket block Theramae made, some oversized bowties from Beverly had done and some old BOM's of mine. Well, maybe I did after all.

I started pulling out block bits---some block components that were not stitched up leftover from previous quilts, a stack of peach colored HSTs from the snowball and Ohio Stars. I found a pile of odd sized big flying geese that needed to be used some way but the size discrepancy made the originally planned Cyclone blocks out. I also thought I could part with 4 log cabin blocks that were leftover from a quilt made for me in my old moderator days on a yahoo group---after all, I had the quilt and had not done anything with the blocks in about 8 years.

So I started in: the peach HST's turned into 5 churn dash blocks by raiding my 2 inch strip bin. The flying geese I trimmed down into HST's---the broken dish strip of 7 blocks. The remaining HST's of any color and stripe--friendship stars with hollow centers, six of them. I had a nine patch basket started when I demo'd it to the quilt group but hated the colors so I made another one from leftover backing bits. I finished the nine patch star that had been pinned to muslin for demo purposes. I stitched 3 "Here and There" blocks (those arrow looking things in the center top, from an early fall Quiltmaker in '89)

Then I looked at the old log cabin blocks. None of them measured the same size and I have had hard time dealing with that much non-precision. I pulled them apart Sunday evening and saw where the things had gone wrong. Yesterday I re-cut them---logs cut 2 1/2 are just kinda big in the first place--and re-sewed them back in the order they had been in---just remodeled. So now what???

Well, I got a phone call from my mom telling me that she had some blocks that she was sending (among other things--quilt tops for Pam's Mexico project that I will quilt up and donate for us). From her description, some of them might fit right in to the scheme of things. After all, two of the Wyoming Star blocks are hers (peeking out from underneath that green Grandmother's Choice). I'll hold up till the box arrives before I start tweaking things in EQ to see how this can all go together. I think I have two donation quilts in the making

What else? The boring but necessary. Errands. Fixed some reuben sandwiches for lunch and reheated Sunday's leftovers for supper. A search, cursorially, for the leftover basketweave blocks. Here I am making more as scraps arise and I cannot find the original bunch! I cut and sewed binding for two quilts, pressed some for two others but not the stuff I made yesterday. Pippi has developed an attachment for the pressing/cutting table lately so I have a hard time working around her when she is all stretched out. She is right in arm reach for pets and loves so I am not complaining. I am not ready to quilt the tops that it goes to yet anyway. Next week, but not this one. I am having too much fun piecing.

This is what I am supposed to working on---5 appliqued house blocks for the last of the row robin obligations. One is supposed to represent my house so I could make it a green ranch if I chose. It has to be done by Friday and the three day retreat I am going to. Fortunately it can be machine appliqued but I am half wondering if it might be easier to just do it by hand.
The stumbling block is that she cut the pieces out intending to hand applique them so they need to be trimmed down. That's not the part that has me puzzled though. There is no template available to get the shape drawn to cut out the fusible. How do it get it from that to stuck on the background?? I like to window that fusible stuff out so the piece is not so stiff so I don't want to just slap the stuff on the pieces. Suppose I can copy those sections and get a reasonable size replication?? Where do the windows and doors go in the scheme of things? Won't know till I try. Best get with the program..............
Oh, one last thing. Ginny, one of the members of my local quilt group, has just received word that two of her quilts have been accepted into IQA in Houston. She has a website where the quilts can be seen HERE--one of the accepted is a self portrait Faces in Cloth V and the other is her FIL, Faces in Cloth IV. Very talented girl.
1:25 pm Edited note: Woohoo---copying the sections worked! I trimmed the two sections with straight edges down by a quarter inch all around and then copied off the peak-y one but made sure it was evenly cut first. Copied it and then I can rubber cement the piece to template plastic so I can cut the fusible. The roof piece, I did a little differently and just copied it, marked off the quarter inch lines all the way and then glued the corrected piece down to the plastic. Still need to cut those down to size and then mess with the Steam a Seam.
Also I thought of one other thing that I was asked about in comments and had meant to include in my post: what/how did I mark the quilting stencil for THIS quilt. Mechanical pencil with 0.5 HD (I think that is right--can't find the extra lead to verify) lead and a light hand. Then I washed the quilt with a Shout Color Catcher to get the markings out. Most of the lead disappears as you quilt but not all of it -- there is always an errant marking. You can use regular #2 pencils but be sure to keep a sharp tip on the pencil to keep as light a line as possible. I got a little Fiskar sharpener, free, from an office supply concern when I ordered enough 18 x 22 quardrile paper to last me a lifetime -- that thing is wonderful! Dual sized and mechanical but it works better than my battery operated Bostitch sharpener that probably needs the knife replaced. But I digress--for colors you might try Berol Verithin pencils from an art supply house. They come in myriad colors even the turquoise that we associate with wash out markers. Depending on what background color I am marking I have used red, silver, yellow. Test first though.
Now back to applique work. lchj

Aug 2, 2007

Latest finish

My latest finish---Finn's and my blocks with the hand quilted Snowball alternate squares. After piddledinkin' on the computer with this and that the better part of the day, I finished up the last bit of binding. I interrupted DJ's watching some wretched Steven Seagal movie to hold this up--what the heck does he see in those films? There were pencil markings to wash out and it came out of the dryer beautifully---the quilting even more defined and full of cuddle factor with the soft peach backing fabric. I'm glad I re-pinned it. I am a little sad to be done with the hand quilting so will have to find another project to fill the desire to slow down and enjoy the process.

When I was putting the binding on the other day, I found out that I was about 8 inches short of having enough to make the angled join. I was NOT going to take all that off again but thought perhaps there was a bit of that Mumm floral in the scrap bags. Maybe not though as it had been used for backing, bowties, maybe turned up in the Pineapple Blossom or Heartstrings blocks the Belles made for a group quilt. I dug around for a while and then flashed on the idea that perhaps it was with some pastel fabrics I have set aside for Log Cabin Baskets. Nope, but I found a scrap of a 30's print from a past BOM quilt that was just right----I bet most people would not spot it right off but it is there.

Speaking of Log Cabin Baskets---this was the Wrap 'Em yahoo groups raffle quilt from 2005. We were to make a block for the quilt and a block for drawing amongst the participants and I got some of them. Someone other lucky person got the quilt though. (Tickets for the current one are available now on the website---link in my sidebar)
Someday I will make a quilt of my own though though maybe not with the garden lattice stuff. My impression is that it would not be too easy to get the rails and x's to line up. I later made one block in 30's repros to be included in my Pioneer Sampler----I hope to finish up the machine quilting on that one when things slow down a bit with the donation quilts. Currently I have 8 pinned and waiting for me and 7 tops at the church to be pinned. Once those are done, I WILL move onto my own stuff, though I cannot promise that I won't still sandwich some more donation work in between.

And just because I have not posted any pics of my Kitty lately doesn't mean that she can't stay out from under the bed and be friendly. She kept moving her head around so it took about 6 attempts to get one of her face, LOL. Looks like she is just barely tolerating the picture taking to me if you look at those ears. She's doing okay eating wise--not great but okay. Lab tests later in the month to see where her kidney function levels are.
Nothing much going on today. Walked this morning early but that's a part of my morning routine most days. I've got the Brother set up to do some piecing today--a block for a special friend and some odds and ends. See what strikes my fancy after that but it will be piecing, not quilting for a few days. Tomorrow I best get busy on the last round of the row robin since it is due in a week.
I am sure that you join me in saying a prayer for those involved in the collapse of the interstate bridge in Minneapolis, MN. The fatality count may rise and a lot of people were injured or missing from what I am reading online. The rescue workers job is not finished nor is the healthcare workers caring for the injured. Just goes to show that things can change in an instant. Sobering thought.