Dec 31, 2012

no sewing but that's okay

I put my Patience Corner tree skirt plan into action and have the materials all cut out for the 49-8 inch blocks for the plan.  All 196 pieces for each block component.  Sewing did not ensue once I got that done, however.

What I did do was the grocery errands, planning out the menu or meal ideas though that is often subject to change.  I also switched out the Christmas wall hangings for the snow themed items and put the ceramic Christmas tree and nativity set up for the year.  So far Ms. Mousie is staying out for Skyler as every time he sees me pick her up to stash her in the closet, he wants to play.  DJ said to leave it out a few more days, LOL.

Today apparently ended up being my day to spend time in the kitchen.  I wanted to make some carrot raisin salad with a cooked dressing (though I used craisins instead) for our holiday meal and cream of coconut cake, just to make the New Year's meal a little special.  Since I was also using leftovers from the freezer I pulled the rest of the pumpkin from the Christmas pumpkin pie to make a loaf of the Copycat Starbuck's Pumpkin Bread and made that too though the end product was flash frozen for DJ and I to have for coffee break time.  Well, we sampled a piece for uh, quality control purposes though.  I told DJ that the freezer looked a little bare without all those containers in there.  A few items are thawing out for use this week and a couple other were used today.  Who felt like cooking a meal after all the baking etc?  Hooray for leftovers!

I did do a little embroidery on the Witches Hooray runner that I will use as a row in my Halloween project but mostly I have been knitting.  This latest skein almost glows in the dark----Red Heart Super Saver "Mexicana".  I have two more rolled brim hats done with that grape fizz color I liked but I hope that this one is more unisex especially since it is the basic watch cap style too.  I'll probably do two alike though I think the second one I'll do on one size smaller needles 7 and 9's instead of 8's and 10's.

Tomorrow I will definitely sew and on a pro bono project.  I have been making quilts for Wrap Them In Love since the fall of 1999 or about 9 months after I got my first computer.  It has long been a standing tradition for us to sew for Wrap 'Em on New Year's Day for as the saying goes "what you do on NYD, you will do all year long."  Some years I did a little personal stuff and a little pro bono for a little more balance in my life.

So I pulled out Criss Cross that I had last worked on back in November to get it moved along a bit more.  It was supposed to be a Fun and Done! from Prairie Sky Quilting but I decided to do it conventionally after trying a few blocks.  I'll be happier with the piecing if I foundation piece it.  I have 3 blocks done at this point, meaning 12 quarter blocks.  The whole quilt will take 48 quarters or 6 sections by 8 sections.   Or I think that is where I left off anyway.  Find out soon enough!

Happy New Year to you all----may 2013 bring you health and happiness.

Dec 28, 2012

change of plans

I hate it!  And I think I know why.  I do not fly by the seat of pants very well.   I can tweak a pattern but have a much harder time starting off from scratch.  Sewing on this tree skirt, making it scrappy, doing crazy patches is going too far against my grain.

I am proudly a traditional quilter who likes to try new patterns and techniques.  I can produce a good facsimile, I feel, with my own fabrics but reinvent the wheel?  Not so much.  It is making me nuts.

I woke up at 2:30 this morning and this tree skirt thing was on my mind---among other topics, to be honest.  In spite of my best efforts to shut it all down I was awake till 6:30 and then blessedly, back to sleep till about 8:30.  SIGH.  Some nights are like that but I am not going to waste any more time worrying about it now.

My niece/god child likes the idea of lots of different fabrics for this so it will go with anything decor-wise down the line.  It does NOT have to be crazy patches----it can be planned ones, just a mix of them.  Of the ones I pointed her to, it was the colors, not the style or pattern.  The only thing she requested really was a white or cream backing, I guess so it could be used on either side.

I love my Patience Corner!  I love how the fabrics just glow against the light sashing.   Why not just make a piece large enough that I could cut the segments out of it?  Create my own yardage, in effect from the quilt top.  I threw it all on the bed to get an idea of just how big I would need to go, blockwise.  Of course, you know who had to get in there to see what was going on.  Sniff it out.  I could make a quilt and then cut a hole it in for the trunk??  Or I could do the Dresden Plate wedges since I already have the backing and batting cut??   I need to quit dragging my feet and just get going with this already!  After all, sewing is supposed to be fun, not have the prospect of doing so keep you awake at night for hours on end!!  EQ to help with the idea.

The more I mull this over, I think that this idea is scrappy enough for her but controlled enough for me.  Just make a 7 x 7 block square of 8 inch blocks, scaling the cut squares down to 3 inch finished instead of 4 1/2.    I can do that!   Any holiday fabric works in it so the stuff I bought will still work in it plus anything left from my own version of the quilt and stash.   I bet I can use the twister blade I made up as a Christmas stocking if I want.  The tree I was working on last night can be taken apart for the fabric.   If I don't use the batting and backing as is, I can find another use for it.

I'm off to cut 196 pieces for these blocks-------decision made.  Going for it!

Dec 27, 2012

some cutting etc

 After spending some time this morning on the photo editing project, I decided that this afternoon I could try some cutting and sewing.  Playing with setting up the Kenmore electronic machine now and trying to determine where my quarter inch is on this thing.  I do not think I can change the center needle position on the machine to compensate for the distance of the foot but for what I am doing at the moment, it is NOT critical.

I am going with a shortened Christmas tree for one of the Dresden Plate blades for the tree skirt, using the "Charley Brown Tree"  Button Up like the one I already made in Nov. 2011, as a start.  I am using a couple of the fabrics that were in the Sweet Saint Nick line at Connecting Threads and use stash for the star and flower pot I plan on appliquing.  The original pattern had you piece in the tree holder----no way!  This blade will be less "busy" than the twister blade was.

I just found out that my lefthanded blogging friend and her friend the "other Linda" are going to do another "Leisurely Turtle Race to Christmas with Squirrels Allowed"  (or LTRTCWSA) for 2013.  These two were trying to get me to join in but I had other stuff going on----when don't I?  BUT this starts immediately after this just past Christmas so I may have a leg up with these two tree skirts and my plans to finally complete my version of the Oxmoor House.  Now I have to tell you that my lefthanded blogging friend has done some swaps with me and some of her previous projects have and will be coming to my house.  The girl loves scraps and I can accommodate that!   Want to join in----you got till November 30, 2013.  No rules either!  This year they called it a draw---you are done when you say you are done, LOL.

Mail call today brought the fabrics that I was able to purchase from the Fat Quarter Shop, thanks to the gift certificate I won in the blog hop from Starwood Quilter and part of my Christmas gift money from the Bama Belles.  Isn't it pretty?   Better than the thumbnails I posted the other day.  THX y'all!

The next thing I know it will be time to start supper! I already had to make one meal already today (spinach pie)  plus threw some chicken in the crockpot to make some chicken noodle soup earlier today.  I may go with the soup and save the Seafood Creole idea for tomorrow instead.  Some of the fish needs to thaw slightly anyway.   Ambivalent.

And sew it goes------

Dec 26, 2012

After Christmas check-in

I trust that you had a wonderful holidays whether spending it quietly like DJ and I or with a houseful of family or friends that are like family.

DJ and I are in the habit of watching a holiday movie on Christmas Eve and then exchanging gifts or whatever we had stuck in our stockings. Here is how I spent my time during the movie----mouths on the snowmen row.  I drew them on free hand so they are all a little different.  I also put a little embellishment on the noses to make it look more carrot-like.  The eyes will be buttons but I think they need a little something on the hat bands----like holly leaves or snowflakes?  I should look for some findings or buttons that will work.

I realize too that I should have gotten that Halloween piece button hole applique by now but yet it is still hanging, waiting for me, like I don't know what time of year it is! 

DJ had handed me the credit card a week or two ago so I could order my own gifts online, sort of a spend down plan.  I have been knitting so much lately and am currently looking to get my existing knitting materials better organized.  To that end, I had found out that Denise Interchangeable needles sells empty cases so you can store your extra needles and some sizes of the cable lengths you have gotten over the years.   I ordered that along with the extra long cables that would be needed for using the Magic Loop method of circular knitting.  To help with the knitting technique improvement plan, I order a book on the subject Circular Knitting Workshop by Margaret Ratcliffe.  The existing reference book in my library barely even mentions circular knitting or knitting in the round---one page maybe so I thought it might give a bit more detail.  And it does, LOL.  When I have more time to study it I will work through the suggestions.  I am also looking for a free pattern to organize the double point needle set in a needle roll up thing---know if any good sites?

Because I know what is in the packages, DJ tries to get a little something just so I can unwrap a gift.  This years selection was two cans of whole cashews (he knows I'll share and he likes cashews better than peanuts, any day)  and a magnifying glass.  I had asked if he had one recently as I had lost the one I had.  Actually I had his dad's old one that had a battery operated light in it.  These old eyes--and well, those cataracts that I have to get fixed in the New Year too.  Well, I have one now!  It is the little things that trip the trigger.

I had gotten him a big bag of peanut M & Ms (my favorite, LOL) and a bag of Hershey's Kisses with a note to give them back to the cook when he was ready for me to make him some Peanut Butter Blossom cookies, LOL.    I was happy though that he had finally found himself a cordless drill at a great price and bought it for himself.   The one I had and he used a good bit of the time was no longer working----a long ago birthday gift he had given me.  I kept insisting that he needed to find something HE wanted and I could use his.  Between that and the cookies I baked him the other day, he is a happy boy.

Then the weirdest thing happened last night as we were eating supper.  A knock on the door and our crazy neighbor girl (probably in her 30's???) was standing there asking to talk to me.  She said her sister's boyfriend was in trouble and they needed to raise some money (for bail?).  She had a brand new set of pans she would sell me for 25 bucks that had cost her sister $100.   She knew I cook quite a bit so maybe I would have use for them.   I wondered if it was her Christmas present.  I am not saying that I believe her story, nor does DJ.  I also know that she tried to sell her TV that actually belonged to her mother.  Mom had a fit and made the people bring it back.  The reason we know this is the parents asked us if we had seen who had carried it out of the house. 

Well, I asked to see them first so she hauled the unopened box over to our house.  My pans are not in great
shape, they are Club Aluminum's I have had for 25 years, maybe?.  One has a handle that will not stay on, one saucepan was tossed when I ruined it and a couple t-fal frying pans don't looks so hot either.  Can't argue with the price--a whole set with lids for 25 bucks? . I had some Christmas cash and paid for them.   I looked online today and Amazon said list price was 200 bucks and this even has an extra frying pan--they were selling them for $135. 

So for now they are mine---unless her mom comes looking for them too, LOL.   DJ said to hang on to my old ones for about a month before I discard,  take to a donation box or take to a thrift store.  I've not used them yet, not with leftover Christmas dinner to consume.   We ran them what we could fit in the dishwasher  last night and finished the job this morning with room in the cupboards with the old stuff out of there.

Just a strange story, I know.

We had thunderstorms yesterday and even an EF 2 tornado down in Mobile.  I had told DJ that we probably better plan on having our holiday meal at mid-day as we know the storm risk was coming in the afternoon and evening and we could lose power.    We did too around 4 for about an hour to hour and half.  By the time I had drug out all the candles to light up the decreasing daylight it came back on---in time to heat up supper leftovers.  All in all here it was t-storms, no hail that I know of, some gusty winds--about 1 1/2 inches or rain. Skyler was more than nervous about that spending a big chunk of time under the bed yesterday.

I started another hat and am about 2 inches away from the top shaping.  Also get a load of that other skein of yarn.  This one is bright primaries called "Mexicana"---should be good for a boy even if the Grape Fizz screams girl to me.

Other than that I was editing labels on the guild's newest photo site to help our group's historian.  We have a Facebook page but everyone that prefers not be on FB never gets to see them.  Beth has all the photos for 2012 uploaded---all 600 of them so between the FB albums and my own secretarial notes I have access to the show and tell notes if not the sew-in materials.  I quit today at photo 235 and just before the Christmas in July sew-in.  We had been working together on this all year anyway-----I'm the secretary so take those notes and she is busy snapping the pictures and doesn't have time always remember the details I record.   I always send her a list ahead of the minutes that she can copy/paste the info to the pictures.  Seems to be working out for both of us.

No sewing of late----though I was playing with the old Singer yesterday to see if I could get any of my walking feet to work on it.  I found that the Jem walking foot would work.  Oh and that was about the time that the electricity went off too.  Once it came back on  I was trying to figure out how the cam discs worked and the machine came to a screeching halt.   I still don't know how the feather stitch looks on it!!  A belt or the clutch went out????  Yeah, right after I had wound about 20 bobbins too.   There is a guy that works on mechanical machines about 20 some miles from here but do I really need the machine to be fixed when I have others?  It does sew well though.

I ordered a walking foot that will go on the Kenmore electronic from sears parts online using the rest of my Christmas funds so that will be coming soon enough.   I had researched all that after the previous owner said she could not locate the walking foot that came with it---this is the one I won in the guild raffle table for 3 or 4 bucks several months ago.  I have not really played with it much but it has some nice embroidery stitches too, but no cams.

Maybe sew tomorrow a bit----tree skirt sections ideas to address, after all.  That's all I know for now-----


Dec 23, 2012

Christmas Eve Eve

 Today's achievements----

DJ had requested some white chocolate macadamia nut cookies.  Since it is one of my absolute favorite cookies (Pride of Iowas would be the next one, LOL) I happily obliged.  The recipe on the back of the Ghiradelli white chocolate morsels bag was the same one on the back of the chopped nuts so I went with it.

These are a little too crunchy once they cooled completely or else I should have baked them a minute less.  Actually I wonder if a half shortening, half butter deal would have been a better way to go.  Don't get me wrong, they are very tasty!  Also I was experimenting a bit as I only have one airbake sheet.  SO I put a sheet of parchment paper on the large old cookie sheet and baked on the lower rack using the airbake in the middle rack as I always do.  Those cookies baked smaller and over browned a bit but that could have been from the low rack.

I am going to track down the other recipe I normally use to see what the difference were---if any.  That last batch I made was not this firm---does that have something to do with the proportion of flour to fat???  There was plenty enough sugar in there!!  The yield was listed at 5 dozen and drop by teaspoons.  I used my cookie scoop, not completely full though and got 6 1/2 dozen.  Most of them went to the freezer!

2nd achievement---the row of snowmen is completed except for some embroidery for the mouths and button eyes.  I put some fusible on the back of some orange felt and cut them free form.  Drew the mouths on free hand too though the pattern had some shapes that could be traced off.  I don't know if I am doing anything more with this tonight.

I have some ideas about the next blades I want to work on for Allison's tree skirt and I may do some searching through my available Christmas patterns.  I am enjoying some Christmas music from a new to me group "Point of Grace" as I putter around in the sewing/computer room.  DJ is busily watching yet another Christmas movie while Skyler is sacked out in his kitty cube.   If you put his stuff away for awhile he stays interested for a little bit anyway.  The catnip underneath the bottom pad might have something to do with it, LOL.

And sew it goes-------

Dec 22, 2012

Saturday check-in

 This was the front of a Shoebox Christmas card that came yesterday for DJ from his friend and former co-worker Bob. I scanned it and put the inside text with the picture. Too funny but Bob is always finding great birthday cards and such.   (I didn't get cards sent this year but I don't always do that anyway)  If the cat had more black on him, who would it remind you of??

I ran the store errands today and both stores were a zoo.  Last year I remembered that I had a hard time finding a small ham for our holiday meal so felt there was no reason to postpone.  With the two of us we don't necessarily need to get a big spiral cut ham.  Dial it back!  No doubt I have forgotten something that I will be needing before week's end but for now, I'm set.

And I just finished the last of the hats by completing the green rolled brim hat that you see in the foreground.  There are two hats in each of the different colorways.  For now though I am out of business till I get another skein or two of yarn.   These are now packed up and ready for me to mail out to my pal Cindy in TN to add to the ones she needs for her project.  I still like the purple yarn about the best, but then purple is my fav color.  The green would be my next favorite.

This is what is next on my day's creative bent.  8 snowmen blocks and the sashing bits for the row quilt.   The top and bottom halves of the snowmen need to be joined.  I ran out of time and inclination last night, LOL.

 My friend at alefthanded quilter will recognize the snowflake fabric she swapped with me.  She said it was mine now so I could do what I want with the stuff.  I took her at her word!   The rest of it was from my stash though I "robbed" the moda marble hat band fabric from my old UFO Galactic Twinkle.  (The blocks have been done forever----I really should either finish that quilt or re-purpose the blocks!)

The pattern  "Seasons in a Row" designed by Sandy Brawner  (available at Quilt County ) shows embroidering the facial elements but I think I'll use buttons for the eyes. That can't go on till the quilting is done unless I am the one quilting it.  I could embroider the carrot noses and mouths though the bulk of the row will be done by the January guild meeting when they assign whatever the choice is for February.   I think we both know that is NOT happening when I have tree skirts to make.

I feel more like nap than sewing at the moment though--wait and see if that 2nd wind comes around, LOL.  DJ and Skyler are both napping so you get where I got the idea?

Dec 21, 2012

Christmas Shopping----for me

Thanks to Susan P at Starwood Quilter and the generous blog hop gift certificate I unexpectedly won. these fabrics from the Bonnie and Camille Marmalade line from Moda will be coming to my house soon.  I added in some of the Christmas gift money from my dear Bama Belles and got a couple more to do with it. I hope to include them in my Farmer's Wife Inspired Sampler when I get back to working on the blocks again.  THX again, y'all.

Can you tell I love orange and yellow??  And that green that goes with their Vintage Modern stuff?

DJ had asked me if I was still waiting on the part of my Christmas gift from him----I am but I had received notice that hit had shipped.  When I heard the mail lady out in the drive, I thought it might be here.  They only pull in the drive when they have a package, otherwise it is out in the mail box across the lane.  Instead it was the fabric I had ordered from thousands of bolts for Blake and Julia's tree skirt I will be making for them, a delayed wedding present.  DJ said "that just means more work for you" when I told him the present was NOT here yet.  Yeah, maybe but I enjoy sewing so that is not technically work.  Work is having to mop the kitchen floor because you spilled your extra full coffee cup all over the kitchen table and floor.  And having to do a load of towels since you soaked up a couple dish towels cleaning up the initial mess on the floor.  SIGH.

The ivy on the left is the backing.  The green is a bit brighter than I hoped but I'll probably use it anyway unless I have a better option in the fabric bin.  The red is perfect though not as orange as it looks in the picture. 

I will use the Frosted Tree Skirt pattern from Connecting Threads but sub out the kit fabric for the stuff above .  The kit fabric will combine nicely with a previous line from CT called Twilight Frost---won't go to waste.  It is no longer available on their website but the pattern is now able to be downloaded , now calling it "Star Bright Tree Skirt.   It  was gorgeous in the frosted blues!!. 

I had downloaded this from the website when it was up there.  The light cream will go where you see the white.  The creamy dotty print is the sashing.  I have to dig in the stash for the cornerstone fabric.  Where you see the medium blue will be the red  and the dark blue is the green print.  I think. Now that I see the fabric.  I may reverse the red and green but will mull that over before cutting.  I ordered enough that it can go either way but it would change the binding choice.  

I will finish up Allison's first, then do this one and get started back on my version of the Oxmoor House quilt.   But for today, I am going to get back to my snowman row that I started yesterday for the guild row of the month.  I drew it up in EQ so I could  foundation piece it but only got as far as their hats chaining 8 blocks through. 

And sew it goes------

Dec 20, 2012

Twister Blade

Hot off the press----

The newly remodeled bits of twister from my previous projects.  Some was part of a placemat and I was able to keep the dead center of it fairly intact but the rest of it, not so much.

I did have to put that "obnoxious green zigzag BACK in the mix--near the bottom left.  4 or 5 fabrics were not original to any of the three pieces I took apart.

Anyway, 1 out of 8 is done.  I think I am going to work on that snowman row now and get back to this once that fun project is done. 

Yep, got a plan so let's get back to the machine.

Dec 19, 2012

What a nice surprise!

About a week ago I had commented on Starwood Quilter's post about her lovely completed Farmer's Daughter Sampler.  Susan had been incorporating entries from a diary her grandmother had written in 1916, with her quilt block choices for her sampler.  It is a fascinating story of life on the farm in Kansas, the courtship of her grandmother in the year before she married her grandfather.

I met Susan in a yahoo group for Farmer's Wife, saw her posts and began following along, going back to the beginning to catch up with the "story".  I watched her grow the quilt to 140 blocks and commented along the way.I knew she was nearly completion so checked back to see if she had a picture of it yet.

Come to find out on that very post, she was participating in a Quilter's Blog Hop Party and offering a $30.00 gift certificate from Fat Quarter Shop.  And she emailed me this morning to tell me that I had won!  Are you kidding me?

I was just doing what I had been doing for months and answered a posed question--- never expecting that I would be picked.  I know someone has to win and it could be me but mostly I don't enter these things to begin with.  To be honest I had forgotten about it so the email sort of came out of the blue, LOL.

Thank you so much, Susan!  Currently she is showing us blocks of a 25 block sampler she and her quilt group made to represent home and community and sharing a bit about life and history in her part of Colorado.  The girl is a born teacher!  She is at block 11.

Well, the floors are vacuumed, Skyler wants round two of his treat bite or some play time with me and I still need to shower.  Sewing that twister mess back together is on tap for the day.  You know where to find me.

Dec 18, 2012

a start---twisting without a twister ruler

This was this morning---hat number 9.  I am liking this "green tones" colored Red Heart yarn though the color is not near correct.  Think more emerald and mint green, emerald being the chosen color for 2013, says Pantone.

I can get one more in the box, maybe two so I'll keep knitting in the evenings.  I'll run out of yarn about the same time that I run out of "box"
 This was this afternoon.  I decided to take my three Christmas twister pieces apart.  First I really like some of the fabrics and colors and know that I will go with the stuff for Allison's tree skirt.  I don't necessarily like the background fabric I used on the placemat piece on the left though, nor some of the spots I stuck some of this.

I hesitate to show you this mess as it really doesn't look like much yet.  I am going for that scalloped shape that I showed yesterday pinned to the design wall. 

So I un-sewed and played with placement a little bit but not as much as I could have.  Some of it could be kept intact.  It is all pinned to the piece of interfacing to keep in in place until I can get it to the sewing machine.  I am going to sub out that zig zag green though for a less obnoxious print though before I call it quits for the night.  Just decided that, LOL.

Since I am using bits that were cut were sewn and then cut with the twister ruler, I found that I had to go to my EQ file and sort of plan to sew this in a more conventional manner if I wanted to cut some other fabrics for fill or cut more of the small blades of background.  I would have to make a template and cut with all the pieces right side up so the thing would not be spinning backwards!.  A plus is that the pieces are cut on straight of grain now while a twister ruler is not.

 If you look at the drawing of my twister wreath, you may be better able to isolate what a block looks like.  It is just the placement of colors that makes it a wreath instead of some other object.  Well, that and the number of blocks used.  This is symmetrical and square; other designs are rectangular, longer than wide.  I could have just put plain blocks in the corners and thought about it in practice.

Anita Solomon Grossman shows a way to draw this up on her blog called "no waste windmill" for her book Rotary Cutting Revolution.  However, hers are larger than what I need .  I also don't think I could confidently cut through 8 layers of fabric either but it is worth a look,  especially if you want to do twisters in other sizes. Somewhere in between the large twister and the Lil Twister might be nice.  There is a way AND with less waste.

ALSO you need to go look at my friend at alefthanded quilter's blog post and tutorial on this especially if you are a left hander.  She takes a look at Grossman-Solomon's method and makes it far more easy to understand than I am doing.  Here you go!   She cut hers with a ruler.  (I made a template just to be sure)

Anyway, here is one block.  I am doing to do just one block for the Farmer's Wife Inspired Sampler at some point so had a pastel looking version in my file.

One template for the whole block---I know it doesn't look like they are all the same size necessarily but they are.     To make a template I print it off in EQ, rubber cement that to a piece of EZ extra thick template plastic and then cut out the shape.  Then I put a bit of rubber cement on the back of it too and let dry to get it a bit tacky so it won't slip while I am cutting.   BUT I do NOT cut around the template plastic but rather butt my ruler up against it and rotate my mat.

I invested in a small rotating mat when they had them 40% off at Connecting Threads---great investment, I found, when I was working on those small sampler blocks.  Works good for this.  I could not find any of that heavy template plastic here locally but I ordered that from Create For Less as there is a price break for 5 which should last a good long time.   They used to carry it at Walmart  in 8 1/2 x 11 sheets like paper, but no more.  Hobby Lobby didn't have it either---believe me, I checked first.   Joann's and Hancock's mean a trip to Birmingham or Douglasville, GA.  No thanks.

The floor is a mess but I am not cleaning it up tonight mainly because the vacuum cleaner kills my back and it is already a bit sore.  Still, how can you be creative and not make a mess?  Draw in EQ maybe, knit, embroider--maybe anything but quilt, cut and sew.  I feel a little better after at least making a start on my project.  I've got a ways to go but that's okay too.  The next blades on both sides will be less packed with piecing as I fly by the seat of my pants a bit.  That is normally my friend Cher's preferred methodology but I'll see how it goes, LOL.

Dec 17, 2012

Design Wall Monday

Everything creative has come to almost a screeching halt around here.  It happens.  It never stays long----no more than a week or two tops.  Whatever doldrums I may be in, normally lifts.

It is not like I don't have things to do. I added to my list even taking on more than the ongoing projects.   I will be making a 2nd tree skirt for my nephew and his bride but in a different pattern.  I offered and it can be a delayed wedding present.

I have a snowman row to get done before the January guild meeting too.  I've got the pattern and I drew up the first row in EQ so I can foundation piece it.  Even printed it out but did not feel very well yesterday afternoon and went to bed instead.

On the design wall I had to back the tissue paper section of Allison's tree skirt with freezer paper.  I was chewing up the seam allowance---probably when I cut the batting more than anything.  At that point I still had the interfacing to cut but that's done now too.  Also I stuck the pattern up there to keep me aware of the grain lines, should it matter of the pieced elements I want to do.

Everything is cut out.  I know what I want to do on each "petal" of the plate.  If anything foundation pieced is needed I have it printed up.  I may use an existing twister block or more or less create my own fabric with twister blocks for one of them.

The fabrics are pulled from the snowmen as well.  That is as far as it got yesterday.  It's ready.  I'm not.

 The remaining sale fabric is pressed and added to the fabric bin.  I even found some buttons that will go with this for the closure with loops deal---blending in a bit with the white background fabric on the top.

I have been knitting a little bit though.  I finished the one below last evening and then started another as soon as I had the gathering/finishing done.

Once I get the 2nd hat knit from this skein, I will have made 8 hats to mail off to my friend Cindy for her project.   I think I had 5 or 6 on a previous mailing.  The box I have ready is just about full.  I know she works on this year round. and I'll have to back off a bit.  Once I get out of the not wanting to sew funk, I'm guessing.  I have another skein in variegated greens to play with but I have procedures coming up next month that will mean a far amount of doctor's office visits and followup.  Tell you more about that later.

They call this yarn "woodsy" but it looks like camo to me so I decided to just go with the same style beanie/watch cap rather than the rolled brim.  I did two rolled brim knit hats and really like them.  Just to sort of change things up a bit.  I did convert the pattern to knitting in the round so no purling required and switch over to double point needles when the shaping rows start. 

As part of my Christmas gift from DJ I have ordered a book entitled Circular Knitting Workshop by Margaret Radcliffe and some longer cable cords so I can explore Magic Loop knitting too.  I don't have a problem switching to double point needles or even two circulars but it would be another tool in my arsenal.  I want to explore some alternative methods of casting on too but I think I can use some books I currently have in my library for that.  They just have very little on circular knitting.

So there you have it-------not much to see here but soon.

Dec 13, 2012

this and that on a Thursday

This was a day of doing other little odd jobs around the house----laundry and trying to re-make the bed around a little wild cat, baking a new to me sugar cookie recipe and then fixing potato soup and reuben sandwiches for lunch.  (leftover potato soup works great for a base for chicken or turkey pot pie which we will have in a day or so, LOL)  By the time I had clean-up detail done it was close to 1 p.m.  

I re-organized some files on the computer, did a little knitting on another hat and ordered part of my Christmas present when DJ asked what I had in mind for my spending money he normally gives me.  Easiest shopping that boy ever has to do---give me the credit card and I'll take care of  the shopping.

Next thing I knew it was time to cook supper---and more clean up though I still need to tend to my cast iron skillet.  DJ is forbidden to do anything with it  as he would have soap in there in a heartbeat.

And here it is evening----what to do, what to do?  Nothing on TV that I care to watch. 

After looking through the tree skirt pattern, again---I decided to at least get the backing fabric cut.  I cannot remember the last time that I had to use a tissue pattern for anything.  I had to confirm that you cut with the right sides of the fabric together.  I used to make some of my clothes (sundresses, dresses, shorts) but it has been years.  Maybe when I made the kitchen curtains, way back in 1997??   Since these sections have three straight edges I used my rotary cutter and ruler anyway. 

Well, I still need to cut the interfacing or as it says on the pattern "non-fusible fleece"  I am going to assume that they mean like a flat batting and look through the bag of batting cutaways a friend from Friendship Quilters passed on to me.  She has them all labeled as to size that will help OR I will use the batting tape to join what I need and work with it.

I am expecting some sale Christmas fabric from Connecting Threads to augment what I already have---primarily so I can make some stockings as well.  That should be here tomorrow----more washing and pressing ahead.  So enough I will begin piecing on these---piecing the 8 scalloped pieces like a  huge Dresden Plate really with an open hole in the middle for the tree.   5 inches at the top and flares to 17 with pieces about 22 inches long.  HMMMMM

Also I think I need to re-cut the loops though with something contrasting rather than matching the backing cream color---that can wait till I see what fabric predominates.   It closes with big 1 1/2 inch buttons which is kind of cute.

And sew it goes--------

Dec 12, 2012

quilt delivery day

I had time this morning and placed a phone call to the Alabama Children's Home Ministries to see what arrangements I could make to deliver 36 quilts from Bama Belles Quilting group. Since they are now to be delivered to the administration building rather than directly to one of the house parents, it was "come on ahead"

Nothing on the armoire--------though I had 10 piled up there this morning.

Nothing on the closet shelf though there were two stacks of at least 18 clear up to the ceiling in that space and a few more down below atop the shoe holders at the bottom of the closet.

But the car was loaded up with quilts.  Took me 6 trips to get them all out there as DJ was tied up at the doctor's office.

Then I filled the chairs in the reception area at the facility.  May they warm a child's heart and let them know that someone is thinking of them and supporting them in a hard time.  Bless you to all my Bama Belles friends and supporters.

Dec 11, 2012

Still partying!

Today was the Bama Belles turn to party!  We had decided to forego the potluck lunch deal and just go out to eat somewhere.  This is such a busy time of year and people not only have family events but have other groups to party with---other quilt groups, events their husbands are involved with, Sunday school class events, you name it.   Add dietary concerns and we decided to go the buffet route at Western Sizzlin' so you could pick and chose (or avoid).

Ten of us were able to be there today---pretty much our regular group really.  I was so busy running some errands before I was to pick up Marilyn that I completely forgot to bring my camera to take pictures of "show and tell".  Bev and Lois were taking pics with their cell phones so I at least have these that Bev took to share!  I would forget my own head sometimes if it were NOT attached to my body, I swear!  

A few of us had our Tons of Black Challenge pieces------others have started but are not done, anothers have not seen a pattern that tripped their trigger yet.  One said she could not find her yardage, another said she could have hers, LOL.  Whatever, they show up eventually.  I still have part of my Romance challenge piece left from two years ago??   You may remember seeing these in previous posts, the now archived material.   Regardless, I'll share them again if you are new to my blog.

First up, Lois' Night and Day using an Eleanor Burns pattern

Mine,  Mock Trip Around the World

Beverly's String quilt in a sunshine and shadows I want to call it set

Bev used Lorelei fabric to make her quilt but I think the "Tons of Black"was mainly in the pieced backing.  See it the 2nd picture.  Bev is the one who found all this fabric at a yard sale and donated it.  Lois washed it all up to take care of the stiffness so we could use it.  Up to us to find a home for it.

Then we had a couple other items to share.  I guess I did not get a picture of the bag with sunflower that Betsy had been busily working on as a Christmas gift.  Pattern was from Fons and Porter---very cute.  One of the others may have it though and just haven't emailed it back to me.

Here was a cute holiday bag that Bev found at a yard sale for a dollar!  The handles were hold together with a faux fur band.

Lois Twister Wreath

Lois Strings-----there is also a picture of the back so you can see how she quilted it.  

can you see the hands?

This is Lois' Quilt as well.  I want to say it is Daisy Chain maybe?  Or something similar to Double Irish Chain.  The embroidered bits are so pretty and were done as part of the quilting.  See the backing picture as well.

I got home about 2:30 or so??  About the usual time for a meeting day actually.  A good day spent with friends and no pinning!!

I had talked to DJ this weekend about whether he wanted to put up the tree this year.  Skyler was not horrid about bothering it or the ornaments but he wasn't exactly an angel either.  Still, he did not feel like the hassle of digging the box out of the shed rafters necessarily and I did not insist.  Instead when I got home from the party today, I told him I thought I would put the ceramic Christmas tree my mom had made for us years ago on the empty plant stand (he was definitely HORRID about messing with the plant that used to live there!!)  While Skyler often jumps up in the empty stand to look out the small window flanking the fire place, I thought he would leave it alone if I drug in a stuffed item that he adored last year.

My friend Joy who was my secret pal on Christmas made this stuff mouse for me years ago and I set it up under the tree along with another small stuffed reindeer.   Skyler spent a good bit of his time last December dragging this by its tail all over the house.  Miss Mousie would turn up in the kitchen, half way up the hall way but I would never catch him actually dragging it.  Today he latched onto it like it was an old long lost friend.   It was up and down the hall several times but it drags more easily on the laminate floor in the kitchen.  Silly, silly boy!   Of course, he is completely sacked out now.

I hope that you have had a good day----I sure did!

Dec 9, 2012

party and a plan

Yesterday was the Friendship Quilters' Guild meeting with installation of officers (I'm continuing on as secretary another year) and finishing up the program year business.  The highlight of the meeting to me, is always Show and Tell.  Not only did we have Christmas items on display but the Paint Chip Challenge items were revealed.  What fun!

Shown at left is the quilt that was made for Peggy, our outgoing president.  We were instructed to make a Sunbonnet Sue block and have it represent us in some manner.  My original block was misplaced and I had to hurry up and stitch another recently.  Unfortunately it did not have the same background though I was sure I had picked something that was like the original.  I was wrong----it sticks out like sore thumb down there in the lower left. 

Peggy made the rotary cutter holders for each of us.  LOL she said when her daughter spotted it she insisted she needed an eye glass holder.  Looks like it would work for that too!  Another person said she thought it would work for her cell phone.

Another member passed out the reindeer noses.  How cute!  One red ball for Rudolph, I guess.  The thread and between quilting needles were given to me as part of the installation of officers, the analogy being that a guild is like a quilt.  The president was binding, the vice president batting and the treasurer, backing.  Committee members were quilt blocks or as one stated, "blockheads."  Membership, charms and there was one at each table spot.

Of course, the potluck lunch was delicious too.  I didn't come home with much leftover peanut butter sheet cake but enough to keep DJ's sweet tooth tended to.  Aline and I were the only ones who ended up going from the north end of the county but we had a precious passenger come home with us.  Her great granddaughter lives with her mama and grandma in Pell City and grandma was moving this weekend.  Aline and Hans keep her a couple days of the week anyway but the phone call came and Lilly came back with us.

I guess Christmas is officially here as I got my hand crafted card from my friend Janet when I arrived home.  She paints and has the painting made up into a print for her Christmas cards.  I always look forward to this and of course, keep these and display them even into January when the snowmen and related wall hangings come out.  So pretty!

I was just exhausted by the time I got home as I had slept so poorly Friday night.  I tried to go to bed early but that just was not working.  DJ was up and the TV blasting.  The door being shut did not muffle it.  I think he needs his hearing aid adjusted again.

Finally by 9:30 I just gave up.  I knew that the historian would need the show and tell lists in order to post picture identification so I typed up the minutes.  Not officially in my duties but it helps her out since she is busy taking the pictures as people come in and hang their items.   (I borrowed her graphic for Peggy's quilt).  In viewing the pictures this afternoon apparently I missed a couple and will have to go back and revise my notes.   Beth said she missed a few that I had written on the list.  Next thing I knew it was 11:30 and I tried the bed again.  Thankfully, last night was a better night--still awake a little bit but not from 3:15 for good.

I mentioned a plan, quilting goals as it were.  Of course my two immediate piecing goals are
  • Allison's tree skirt and maybe stockings at some point.  She is not expecting it for THIS Christmas decorating time but I will get it done for her.
  • Adapted Oxmoor House Christmas quilt top completion-----at long last get that going.  Hold me to it, okay??
I was digging around in the closet looking for a former Christmas project and pattern that I apparently no longer have.  I am tired of moving stacks of stuff around to get at a buried container in the small closet.  Or guessing at a boxes contents.   (I share closet space with the air exchange unit). 

Later in chatting with Norma.  I said that I really needed to get a handle on the stuff that I have in this tower unit and make some room so the stuff can come out of the storage area in the closet.  Some of the projects are personal items but most of them are donation items or even fabric that I have pulled from various sources that could maybe be combined in some manner. Some I know I absolutely do not want to do or will re-purpose.  I would rather piece than quilt, any day.  I came up with the name "kit it and hit it" ---get these tops done and moved on to a child who needs it!!

Norma's thorn in her side are the fabrics and kits that she has gotten as mementos on previous holidays.  Not just hers but some that her mom who does not sew has gotten along the way on the same trips.  Hey, she knows a quilter who has taken good care of her table toppers and seasonal decorating needs so why make it yourself?  Last year Norma's two kids BOTH got married within a few months of each other so you know where her priorities had to be!  2013 is a whole new ball game. She's in and will write up a list of ones she wants to do.

Sometimes we start off great guns and then get off track with the squirrel, shiny object syndrome.  You have to allow for those but we both made a commitment to get these things moved along.  Honestly, that is what helps keep interest up---try something else for a while.  Squirrels are therefore allowed in our action plan.  It is fine to share links and get excited about something new.  We both know we want to continue with our plans for the Halloween row x row.  Guild is doing one too and I am really excited about it.  One pro bono top a month, two a month??  I got all those pizza boxes packed with stuff too.  Save that for another year?

But just how many things are actually in that tower???  Is this even do-able, realistic?  Do we need to put a cap on the number or re-visit it in a few months from now> 

I pulled stuff out of there this afternoon and took a good look at the contents and made a list.  There are 13 items on it.  Actually I am going to make it 14 as I want to finish up that Criss Cross quilt I have started.  I could list them here but really what they are is only important to me at this point.  I'll do a list on one the page tabs if you are curious, LOL.

Norma and I told Cher about our plans when she arrived on IM.  When I mentioned that a couple of the things I have were not even originated by me.  People donate things and somebody like me finishes them up.  Cher offered to take up to two of them off my hands.  You got a deal, girlfriend! 

Pictured above is one such item.  I think Anne was making a Hidden Wells quilt and a fairly good sized one at that.  There were 19 different strip sets already made up, about 3 yards of that gold tone on tone so that could have been for borders.   We are going to just split the strips sets and make a donation quilt for Wrap Them in Love.  I also had something that originated from my mom--or at least the pattern idea did.   Maybe one of the fabrics.  Anyway I thought it would be something less fussy than another one I kept with 1 inch finished strips in it!  Cher's skills are up to it but since she is a free form, design as you go kinda gal, I thought that might drive her up the wall.   It's on my list but not high priority.   I'll probably list a few personal items I would like to address too---there are probably 3 or 4 of those but just to have something to eventually cross off. 

Another part of the equation too is limiting fabric acquisitions to borders, background and binding, when possible.  I do not have much more room to put anything more in here.  Space is finite therefore something needs to be sewn and gone from this small room.  Right now personal items are in one drawer---they can wait for now.  The other 3 drawers, donation items.   I have a plan and will do my best to make it happen. 

I took the day off from sewing, cutting, knitting or embroidery.   My left wrist and thumb is a bit sore like I should have it splinted or wrapped.  Wrestling the crockpot around trying to wash it tonight did not do it any favors either.   Tomorrow I have an appointment to get my hair trimmed and later an eye doctor's appointment.  DJ will probably go with me as it is his doctor and he has some questions about his treatment plan plus I am reasonably sure they will dilate my eyes.    Then Tuesday is the Bama Belles Christmas lunch so my creative time will be limited but I never stay away long.

There you have it----hope you have had an enjoyable weekend.