Dec 31, 2007

checking in and wrapping up

Well, 2007 is almost gone and another year is starting in just hours here in the SE, USA.

See my deterrent to sewing last week? It was late when I started and obviously she wanted my attention. I had about two seams sewn at the time. Okay, Pippi, you win!

I had planned to write about my goals for 2008 and how I was not able to cross one single thing off my Top 10 UFO personal projects for the year. I'm not going to dwell on not meeting those goals as I did exactly what I did or did not want to do with my craft. After all, there are only so many hours in the day--it can't or won't all get done, even if I don't work outside the home. I'll revise that list for my own needs to keep me on track but won't beat myself up if I fall short.

Truth be told, I couldn't get at my own pinned tops on my closet shelf even if I wanted to (which I don't)---there is a pile of pinned quilts for Mexico blocking it. I did count up what I did get done with the donation quilts this past year. I prefer to focus of what I did accomplish rather than how I "failed" after all. 30 tops from my own stash or from donations from others and 59 quilts quilted on my trusty old Viking 500 (seen above), including my own, those donated by others or some that were made by the Belles. Not too shabby. That means a lot to me--almost 60 kids have a quilt now and I had a little something to do with that happening. I appreciate those of you out there that helped make that happen too--you know who you are.

I haven't posted for a week and there are a few others things to write about anyway. It was a quiet and rainy Christmas with just DJ, Pippi and me. I did some sewing in the afternoon while DJ watched TV. I fixed a turkey dinner with trimmings that we enjoyed. DJ had requested and got an apple pie---I rarely make this type of pie and even did a lattice top. The heck with tracking calories for a few days! I didn't gain any pounds back and even lost a teensy bit, keeping up my walking program. Bless his heart, DJ's son sent us 5 boxes of Fannie May Candies though--mint meltaways, pixies, trinadads, peanut brittle and a box of assorted chocolates. I'll behave myself and practice portion control--and enjoy every little succulent bite.

Most of my family got together this past Saturday at restaurant near my parent's home. We won't be making the trip back till May or June---especially not with the awful weather they have been having in the Midwest this winter! Not wanting us to be left out, Dad sent a check and in essence, told us to go out for dinner on him. What a wonderful surprise! DJ and I went to our favorite catfish restaurant on Thursday evening. Still would have rather been "home" but that time will come and in better weather for traveling.

I wanted to show you a top that my mom sent me last week. This is the same pattern as her Merkitty Challenge quilt but she made some modifications to get a rectangular quilt for the kids in that case. She and her local quilt group were testing the instructions as a mystery quilt so she had to follow the directions on the first go round, LOL. The green will go better in my house so I get to keep it after I quilt it up. I have since found out the pattern source--one of the free patterns on Connecting Threads called French Blue Medallion Quilt" available in pdf for downloading.

As usual I was scrambling to get my row robin obligation completed by the mailing date of today. I don't mean to put off working on these, I really don't. There is always something else that needs done first. Maybe I just work better when on deadline, I don't know. It was Tuesday before I really got a good start on the hearts--see above, cat on sewing machine table, LOL. Joy is not likely to read my blog so I can share my output with you.

She did not want traditional red or pink colored blocks. These colors will go with that established by the two rows that were done before mine. Kind of odd stitching hearts on Christmas Day listening to holiday music--like, what day is this anyway?? I used the 6 inch foundation pieced patterns found on Ula Lenz' pattern page for most of them--well, the first purple one was supposed to be an inverse color on one half but I just did it all with the WOW background. Three others were from Quilter's Corner Club-- block numbers 2, 3 and 5. Well, I did #1 as well but the color I chose didn't work out as well so it will go in an abandoned block quilt at some point.

The last quilt I am showing you is one that Lois pieced. Itty bitty split nine patch arranged in a ribbon and star set. The block finished at 3.5 inches-- brave girl. I had offered to quilt it for her since that is not really "her thing" but have not gotten to it for a variety of reasons---challenge quilts, mock triple rail top, row robin obligations primarily though. Since it was the last WTIL quilt for the year, I was determined to get it quilted up and by last evening, I did. What fun seeing little bits of backing fabrics and such from the Belles sewing projects as I quilted it! I ran over to Lois' home this morning to get the binding she had prepared for it. Enjoyed a cup of coffee and a chat before I had to run off and do a couple errands before lunch. She has another Chiclet top done and more blocks this size. This picture in no way does it justice and I'll get a better one for you, Lois, once that binding is stitched down. I also stitched up a backing some yardage from my stash---one less piece hanging in the closet) for the mock triple rail and cut the binding for it this evening.

So tomorrow being New Year's Day: on the "Wrap 'Em" list we have held that whatever you do that day you will do all year. No surprise, I'll work on a UFO donation project. NOT my UFO, mind you, but a UFO. Ginny, one of the Bama Belles will be moving to GA soon and had started a Pioneer Braid top for the kids. I'm in the mood for some mindless sewing and this will fill the bill.

I don't even want to count how many UFO's are in the hamper in my sewing room. It is full to the brim. Well, one thing on top is a PIM--the fabric is pulled and the book is with it for a top I have wanted to try for some time. My plan is to pull at least one thing out that hamper a month and get it moved along. We have no immediate goal for delivering quilts to any specific spot so the pressure is off in regards to a time frame. It is possible that I CAN work on some of my own projects this year. My most immediate goals are to get the commissioned t-shirt quilt pieced and the quilts destined to Mexic to Pam quilted up. The Belles will help me with the binding detail, I know. I'll put my mind to that top 10 list--who knows, it might just find a cross out or two this year.

All the best to you and yours in the coming year------

Dec 25, 2007

Merry Christmas


Long, long ago.
In a world dark and cold,
Night so still, winter's chill.
One bright star was shining.
On a bed made of hay, in a manger He lay.
Shepherds came, they knew His name.
King of Kings, a brand new day.

They saw the Light in the darkness
it shines on us in tenderness.
It brings out the hope that's in all of us.
May it shine It's light on you this Christmas Night.

On this Christmas day
May that star light your way
This Christmas Eve , I still believe
That same star still shines on me.

Nativity scene found as a poster HERE

lyrics to "One Bright Star" written by John Barlow Jarvis and performed by Vince Gill on his album "Let There Be Peace on Earth" --a song I have enjoyed listening to this week.
Merry Christmas!

Dec 21, 2007

can I still call myself a quilter?

Well, there is not a speck of quilting or sewing going on around here--can I still call myself a quilter? No stashbusting, no cutting, no quilting that quilt that has been waiting for a month. Early this week I twisted my ankle while on my daily walk. Not the first or last time I will do that to my notoriously weak ankle but fortunately, no bruising or swelling so I have been able to continue with my routine after laying off just one day. BUT it has bothered me to get up and down on my foot initially; once up and moving, I don't notice it. Also it hurts to depress the gas pedal so I figured the sewing machine pedal would be the same.

I have been tracking down and printing off heart block patterns for the row quilt that will need to be tended to, sore ankle or not. I found a file I had of heart links needed updating and augmenting as I worked. Also backed up my saved quilt files and pdf's. That's just planning for the future, not sewing. In my search I tracked down a few patterns for purchase (my husband just lets me do the "spend down" thing for Christmas though there is one package I can open that will be a surprise---easier for him and I get what I want) I also found a couple of patterns that will work well for donation quilt work--still, planning for the future with that, not putting it into practice. The large piece of fabric that you see at left is one that my mom sent as a challenge piece for her and I---maybe the Polar Opposites pattern I found on the South Sea Import Fabrics page would work along with some of the fabrics I used in my version of Merkitty challenge. Now that WOULD be stashbusting when I get around to working on it.

So what's up around here? A lot of knitting actually. My long ago knitting UFO, the collar to be specific. I did the binding off stitches on 6 inches of ribbing for a roll collar first thing yesterday morning. If I were hoping to avoid this "antiquing" any further, I would finish sewing all these pieces together. But will I anytime soon? I love doing Aran patterns and love to knit. Finishing? Not so much. (Note Pippi in her perch all scrunched up by the drafty window--also note the cleaned off dresser so I could put up the ceramic Christmas tree Mom made years ago. All the pinned quilts are stuffed up in my closet for now)

I've been itching to start the new cardigan pattern for a week or two and postponing that desire while I worked on the collar. The pattern I ordered just arrived, the larger double point needles I will need for the sleeves are here and the yarn has been purchased weeks ago so let's have fun for one day anyway!! Can't sew or don't want to sew enough to try it?? Row quilt deadline is the end of the month.

You work this raglan sleeved sweater from the neck on down so I got about 8 rows down from the neck front by bedtime last night. I'm a redhead so I think that the fall colors will look pretty good with my hair plus go with some of my clothing. I tried a "new to me "cast on method by chaining on from a crochet hook rather than the method I learned umpteen years ago. (Mom taught me how to knit when I was almost 13--some 40 years ago) The Denise Interchangeable Knitting needle set was a gift from my parents in my teens or 20's --one the best things I have ever received from anyone. (The computer in 98 from my husband wasn't bad either, LOL. ) Needed, used and will never wear out. (NAYY of course)

As I looked for the link myself sometime back to order replacement needle tips , I found out that they make these in pink now and a portion of the funds go to breast cancer research. Mine is the original blue and replacement cords are not the same color, but that's no biggie. Still fits and works the same as mine. The story of how this present company owners came to the business is fun to read--a search for replacement parts from the original owners found that the business was for sale. They loved the product enough to buy it and become the family business for the last 5 years.

Christmas will be here before we know it. Are you ready? The house is all decorated, the little bit of shopping I did is done, cards are all sent. No holiday baking going on with my watching my food intake but I may mak DJ a pie for Christmas Day and we will indulge in an egg nog latte---only one though. I came home with a bag of Hershey's Almond Kisses when I went for a hair cut at Wally World this morning and DJ asked "should you be eating those?" I told him that I can eat what ever I want but I am chosing to watch it, the doctor did not put me on a diet. I also said that they are small--the ultimate in portion control. A serving size is considered 9 of them but I am sure not doing that!

We will probably go out to see the Christmas lights this evening if the rain holds off but other than that---it is quiet and just us three chickens rambling around the house as usual. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, whatever fits at your house------

Dec 16, 2007

surprise packages, donation top and punkin' recipes

A little of this and that---first up the triple rail top that I just finished on Friday evening. I used an Mary Ellen Hopkins pattern of the month from back in August 2000. The plain squares really don't show up as well in my version as you can see the heart at the center really well on hers. Quilt Holder said "this isn't finished" when he was trying to figure out which direction it went, meaning there was no border. It's not getting one--first, because it is a donation quilt top and it is big enough and second, I am not fond of putting on borders in the first place. I cut the side triangles slightly oversized so it has a tiny built in border anyway.

Stashbusting here, though in small bits. About a third of the blocks were leftover from some that Nancy had shared with us but I pieced the rest at the fall sew in---many from the scrap bag or batting bits. Some I swapped with Theramae for a bit more color in both of our tops. When I got down to the last three rows all I had left were blue blocks in various shades so I pieced a few more from the scrap bag. I look at this as being an ongoing project---triple rail blocks and bowties. Both can be assembled once enough blocks are accumulated and make good use of the scraps on hand and the muslin cutaways. I still need to seam the backing fabric and cut binding for this but the quilt group does not meet until the 8th of January so there is no rush to ready it for pinning.

I also wanted to share a couple of surprises that came in the mail yesterday. Veronica read my comment about not having the Santa insert made for my Katrinka Design multi-seasonal banner and whipped one up for me!! Apparently she had the block pieced and just waiting for a use so she said she "couldn't resist" . What a cool surprise! I had taken this wallhanging down so I could display the Mumm Santa but had to at least pin it up on the bedroom door so I could enjoy the new Santa this season! And there was more-----

The little holiday tissue holder was also included. The fabric squares came in a card from Cher . Thanks to them both for their generosity! Isn't it fun to get quilty surprises?

No sewing or quilting going on here. I DO have a top to quilt but figure it can wait one more day. I spent part of the day working on some computer maintenance yesterday. I decided to work on the sweater collar instead . I am currently about half done with it. I decided to go with the roll collar version so it needs to be knit to about 6 inches and then doubled over. Since the whole sweater has been set aside for about 7 years or more, there is no real rush to complete it. Probably going to go to my godchild/niece whenever it is done........

Carol asked about the pumpkin bar recipes I mentioned that I planned on taking to our recent holiday potluck. I actually made a layered pumpkin dessert for the event but will include the recipe for the one I normally would make for pumpkin cheesecake bars. You know how it is--spot one you would like to at least try and make others be the guinea pigs? I have made some changed to the original recipe to reduce the fats if not the calories!

    Layered Pumpkin Dessert
  • 8 individual Hostess Twinkies Snack Cakes (come in a box of 10)

  • 1-8 oz. package Neufchatel cheese -- softened

  • 1 cup powdered sugar

  • 1-8 oz. tub Cool Whip, fat free -- divided use

  • 2-3.4 oz. box vanilla pudding mix -- instant, not cooked type

  • 1-15 oz. can solid pack pumpkin--not pie filling

  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (original called for 1 1/2 tsp. but that seemed a little much to me)

  • 1 cup lowfat 1% milk

  • Slice Twinkies in half lengthwise and place cream-side up, in single layer in 13x9-inch baking dish. Using a mixer, blend together cream cheese, confectioner’s sugar and ½ of whipped topping until smooth. Spread evenly over Twinkies.

    Combine pudding mix, pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice and milk. Whisk until well blending and layer over cream cheese mixture. Carefully spread remaining whipped topping over pumpkin. Lightly sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice. Refrigerate several hours or until set.

My thoughts were that the pumpkin mix would also be good in a graham cracker crust and either top the filling mix with the pumpkin or the other way around. Probably would be enough for more than one pie. You could mix the cream cheese with sour cream instead of cool whip (as you do for blueberry dessert topping) and it would still be good.

    Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
    Serves : 48
  • 1-16-oz. box pound cake mix

  • 3 eggs

  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

  • 4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, divided use

  • 1-8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened -- (nuefchatel is okay)

  • 1-14-oz. can sweetened fat free condensed milk -- (not evaporated)

  • 1-16-oz. can solid pack pumpkin, not pie mix

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup chopped nuts, I prefer pecans

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    To make the crust:
    In a large mixer bowl on low speed, combine the pound cake mix, 1 egg, melted margarine and 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice until crumbly. Press into the bottom of a 15 X 10-inch jelly roll pan.

    To make the filling:
    In large mixer bowl, beat the cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually beat in the condensed milk. Add the remaining 2 eggs, pumpkin, remaining 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice and salt. Mix well.

    Pour over crust and sprinkle with chopped nuts. Bake 30-35 minutes or until set. Cool in the pan and then chill before cutting into bars. Should be stored in the refrigerator.

Source: Unknown, from my files

Dec 12, 2007

Post 1 of 2--challenge quilts and parties

In lieu of our usual 2nd Tuesday meeting, the Bama Belles Quilting Club had our annual Christmas potluck at our friend Judy's lovely home. Last year it was so cold that Judy's husband had lit a fire in the fireplace but not so this year---it was in the mid to high 70's so the windows were open and we enjoyed the living room space instead. We had 14 or 15 of us in one spot. A couple were out of town, another in the hospital so still missing a few but a relaxing time to just visit and enjoy each others company along with some good food. I left pleasantly full--those small bites of everything add up to a full plate. Oh, Carol asked about my pumpkin squares recipe and I will post it in a later post--maybe tomorrow. I actually used a different recipe than I first planned and will post them both, Carol.

Right after we ate and put the food up, we presented Theramae with her friendship quilt. That's her holding the quilt and asking what she had done to deserve this--more like "what hadn't she done?" She is a charter member of the group and a good friend to us all. (Ada, Jane and Rosa are to her right in the picture) after Jane did the official presentation. I just barely got the lovely pillow case that Aline had made to coordinate with the quilt in the shot--a dahlia similiar to one of the blocks in the quilt with blue accents that we used in the quilt for sashing and cornerstones. (Poor Theramae had fallen last week and hit her face on the way down so she looks bit banged up in the picture. )

The quilt full out and not hiding behind that danged plant in my living room. Linda S had told me that she had checked the previous shot on my blog and her block was one that was hiding. This time it won't look so much like stained glass and you can see the machine quilting I added to it.

Okay, on to the Merkitty challenge quilts with thanks again to Kitty in KY from the WTIL yahoo group for sharing the fabric with us. There will be a couple more at some point but these were the ones shared yesterday and I have them in two posts since I had so many pics to upload. First up, Aline---the appliqued cat shape is one that her husband had used to make a clock in the past. I think it lent itself well to the theme of the quilt--sort of like the "gingham dog and calico cat" of years past?

This is Lois' completed quilt---I showed you the top in a post from last month. She quilted in a wave pattern, free motion, I think. Perhaps you can see the blue fish fabric she used a little better this time and the blue and purple turtles on the green? When asked what the pattern was, Lois said that she didn't remember but she would think twice about using it again. Turns out that it told her cut those white sections as half square triangles when they SHOULD have been quarter square triangles to control the bias edge. (I'm going to look in BlockBase and see if I can find it though) Looks like she made a pretty quilt in spite of the challenges, right?

Excuse the pins on this one that Beverly made. I send links on to the group that I think that they might be interested in since we all are trying to come up with ideas of how to use our stash. Kairle's tutorial on string piecing was one such sites. (Strip Twist from, I think?) Beverly sashed hers between the blocks and used planned fabrics but same technique. (Her feet and hand peaking out and Lois' arm, LOL)

Stay tuned for post 2 of 2

post 2 of 2--Challenge quilts continued

continued from earlier post----

Linda S showing her quilt called she named "Bubbles". The Merkitties print had small bubbles in the print. Linda has made several quilts that incorporate ragging techniques. She also shared two quilts that will be given as Christmas gifts. I have pics of those as well but will save them for another post.

Jane and Sarah (her mom) teamed up for this top which I may have posted on the blog before. The "rule" was that I needed to see at least a square inch of kitty fabric. It meets the criteria--third row, 1st block on the left. I think this one is a bit like an "I spy" with fun things and various blocks incorporated into the quilt.

Another Jane and Sarah quilt but this time with larger sections of kitty fabric. I love the pink and green frog print that she used. The pink tone on tone is the same print I used in my quilt top, actually. Since it was used on a previous quilt back, Sarah may have used the cutaways from that in this top. I'll have to ask her. She is a whiz on not letting bits and pieces of fabric OR batting go to waste.

I may have posted this one before as well. My mom made this one and mailed it down to me several months back. Not sure of the pattern source but I love this idea of framing a focus fabric like this. When she reads this, she will let me know if there is some spot to direct you to or if it was her own design.

And bringing up the rear, here is my top. Pattern: Jacob's Elevator from Trudie Hughes Crib Quilts though I made modifications as I have written about in previous posts. This was a "stashbuster" quilt though the blue Moda Marble was purchased specifically for the project. Having only a half yard of challenge fabric to work with and it was fussy cut at that, I needed more of a blue as close as I could come to it. The pink was leftover from a quilt back. My cream on cream background and the lime green leaf print were pulled off the shelf. I used the same background fabric for a recent row quilt and just barely had enough to eke out the top and I almost had to piece some of it together to be sure I had enough. Don't look too close at the points where they join--I can do better.

One of the girls said that we should learn how to make this one. I thought about that last night a bit (one of those nights where I was awake for about 2-3 hrs in the middle of it) Since there are 3 or 4 divisions of block components rather than true blocks, we could do this as a non-mystery, mystery next year rather than "block of the month" thing. One month, make 48 four patches and the next month, puss in the corners and so on. Think it might work out. I'll run it by them and let them make their fabric selections if interested. Also, it should take us up to time to do another challenge!

Dec 10, 2007

Monday, Monday.......

Hurray! My challenge quilt top is finished as of last evening when I finished the borders. My piecing abilities were sorely tested on this one with lots of points to match where the geese points and square in a square met. Challenging mostly because the flying geese were just a hair off in size but I was beginning to wonder if I could piece a 4 patch correctly too. *SIGH* Lots of un-sewing and realignment attempts. You try to do your best work on any project and I know I can do better. Be kind when you see the pics, please? I want to post the challenge quilts as a group after our party tomorrow.

So instead, here is Pippi thinking that she can get up on the shelf where she used to squeeze on top of those three baskets. Sorry, Kitty, that ship has sailed, LOL. It was all cleaned off that she could have gotten on any of them when she wasn't interested in climbing up there. Obviously, the quilt shop yard sales and such have filled it all in again and some serious stash busting will be needed. (Finn, your quilt top is up there as I tracked down the print I need for a border from my stash---it will be one of the first ones pinned for 08) She thought she MIGHT park on the sweater parts instead but moved on. I really need to dust and just generally clean house but it will wait a day or two.

Mostly I have been busy piecing my quilt top since I last posted. DJ is waiting for a haircut, more sandwiches for lunch to spare the cooking time and so forth. I got my walking in this morning followed by 7 other stops to run errands.

Now I'm headed to the kitchen to make my contributions to the Christmas potluck--pecan pie squares and a layered pumpkin dessert that sounded interesting. The heck with watching calories for one day anyway.

Pam wanted to see a picture of our tree. I like the white lights and DJ put on the little red bows. I don't think you will be able to see the ornaments necessarily---we have several ceramic mice and snowmen/snowwomen ones that my mom made years ago that HAVE to go on the tree. Some soft ones are down on the bottom if Pippi wants to bat at them but mostly she has just ignored the whole deal. Time was, she would run off with a different soft ornament and I would find them laying in the hallway when I got up in the morning. (Like delivering dead critters to her mama, I guess, but only getting half way there with the spoils?) The tree skirt was made by my mom too.

I have hopes of starting my Christmas cards today too---DJ mailed all his days ago, LOL--while I was sewing. Just to boost my sewing confidence I want to finish up my triple rail top this week followed by quilting the last WTIL top for 07. I'll do a few rows on the sweater neckband along the way too--pickup work. A row robin obligation (hearts of some form or another) will follow and then the commissioned t-shirt quilt to prep and piece. That's the plan at this point.

Dec 5, 2007

checking in

Best laid plans are subject to change. I had intended for a week or so to get that last WTIL quilt in the stack quilted---it didn't happen. SO challenge quilt first and then close out the 07 year of donation quilt work.

What intervened? Well, the last couple of years other than the nativity set being put out and DJ adding lights to the cedar tree outside, I have not decorated for the holidays. Much of my previous decorating surfaces is no longer available for various reasons so I couldn't go all out even if I wanted to. Which I didn't..........

Then DJ was looking through a sales flyer and found a reasonably priced 6 foot artificial tree and bought one as a surprise for me on Friday. We decorated it that afternoon. I spent the rest of the afternoon putting other things up and going through the boxes to see what we could get rid of. I was horrified to find out both of my snow globes had lost their liquid and one was still dripping---my good Dept. 56 one that had been a gift and I don't think I can replace, gone. The other was a department store promotional one for 2000--cute but not so emotionally attached. Which strands of lights work and which don't? Why are keeping this stuff? I was able to combine two boxes and hope DJ can do the same with the inside and outside lights.

I am showing the two little quilts that are on display. The one above is a "take off" on a Tonee White angel quilt from "Appliquilt for Christmas" The golfing friend's wife and I started this on one of their visits. I enlarged it a bit and probably scaled the angels down a bit in size so I could add the line from "It's a Wonderful Life"----did the little girl say "his" or "its" wings? I recorded the last part of the movie and listened to it repeatedly before I did the stitching. I heard it as "his"

The other wall hanging is up in the spot usually reserved for my Katrinka Designs "Multi-seasonal Banner"--never did get the Santa insert done for that thing, and should. This Debbie Mumm Santa that Joy and I worked on together is up instead. As I look at this, I am reminded on our day of sewing together as well as her being my secret pal "gifter" that year--some of the fabrics in the pieced border are gifts from her. The ornament he is holding is a hand painted one from a friend in Bloomington, IL and my former quilt guild, now deceased. I also have a little wreath up on my sewing room door that Carolyn had made. Gifted quilter and gifted artist.

I have a Christmas log cabin quilt top completed and even pinned but obviously, not gracing my bed--still waiting to be quilted and antiquing up in the closet. SIGH, maybe next year. This is Pippi's "new" napping spot. She had ignored her wool throw for weeks when it was sitting on the pressing/cutting table but throw it on the bed when she had decided the pillows were the place to be and she is all over it, LOL. I picked this woven throw at the Amana Colonies years ago when DJ and I took a little mini-vacation there.

I do have hopes of working on my own version of the Oxmoor House BOM though this year. After all, I finished one last year for my friend Betsy at her family's request after she passed away. The picture shows the top though I think I have one after I finished the binding and it came back from the long armer. This was the second one she had worked on and I knew she was making substitutions in blocks from those in the project bag. It was not going to be an exact replica of the one that went to her other son. I redesigned it to fit in those blocks. I did the same for my own quilt, long set aside.

Which brings me to the next deterrent to sewing this past weekend--- Jane had given us tickets to the lodge pancake tickets and she and her mom were at the event when we arrived. She said a couple of the girls were going over to the Birmingham area quilt shop to their Christmas open house and they had room in the car if I wanted to go. Miss a day of shopping with the girls? My low back and right knee were expressing dissatisfaction with me and I had already decided to lay off a day of walking. What time are you leaving and were do we meet?

The shop Heart to Heart was featuring their HQ proquilting machine and was doing some hands on, door prizes, goodies and so forth. I got a few 30's fats, one pattern, the quilt sampler magazine for my collection. I even found some little glass bulbs to put on reindeer antlers, a block that I had included in Betsy's quilt though I used something else for hers.

Then the girls wanted to run down to Knit and Stitch in the same strip mall. I didn't even know there was one down there---let's go! Oh, the yarns were so pretty. Aline got some floss to start some redwork Sunbonnet Sue's from an Aunt Martha transfer but I was more fascinated with the sweater that one of the women was working on. A cardigan #9725 from Knitting Pure and Simple that was knit from the neck down and without sewing sections together. On display in cool variegated yard was the pullover version #9724 yarn. I got them both--only one was in stock but the owner will mail the other one when it comes in. Turns out that is the same pullover pattern that Cher used on one she made. We lost them temporarily while Aline and I paid for our purchases--they had run into the Sew Bizz shop a couple of doors down. Turns out they service and sell Brother machines and parts which is good to know as an owner of same. Terry found some fabric she wanted there. (She also insisted that we stop at a garage sale coming and going--to each their own) Lunch at Cracker Barrel and home around 4.

I found a Coats and Clarks yarn at Wal-mart the next day in fall colors that will look good with my auburn hair but not enough skeins so I ran up to the supercenter north of us and got the rest. Since the whole thing is knit on a combination of double point needles circular needles I thought I was good to go. Yikes, I was missing the #9 points from my Denise Interchangeable Knitting set I had received as a long ago Christmas gift from my parents but thankfully, the company has been sold from the original makers of the item. The new team have a website rather than the ancient address I had on file with the kit and sell replacement points and cables. I also found out that the largest sized double points I had were 8's. Found an online supplier for those since Wal-mart only had straight needles. After the fact, I remembered that I could have probably drove down to Hobby Lobby some 15 miles from the house to see if they possibly had any. Oh, well!

I wanted to knit, doggone it! I thought about the ancient knitting UFO I had--a pullover Aran knit that probably won't even fit it has been sitting for so long. It might fit my niece though. I hate sewing these sections together. That and time factors is what was holding this up---one stinkin' shoulder seam, really. Someone, somewhere (Pam?) suggested that I just join it with the sewing machine--a little hard to feed on my contrary machine but it worked. I picked up the neck stitches and have a couple rows done for pickup work, TV time with DJ. I probably won't get it done in time for Christmas but maybe her birthday. A little progress anyway. I had also started an Aran cardigan a couple years ago--the back is done and a bit of one front--as a carry along project on a plane trip. No shortage of things I can work on when the mood strikes.

Monday I spent the morning doing the calculations on what I needed to cut for my merkitties project. I did some re-designing on the corner units first since I noticed that there was an easier way to piece them then I had it in the original drawing. Once it was straight in my head, I cut it out and stitched up the strip sets. The design requires big flying geese units so I'll use the no waste four at once method there. Another part, some diagonal corners for the fill in parts. I did the Puss in the Corners and half Puss in the Corner's yesterday and I'll do a pile of 4 patches today and move on to the square in the squares if I have time. Some progress on that then before the Dec. 10th deadline. Thank heavens, this is not a huge quilt, LOL.

Well, that's how it goes around here. I think it has warmed up sufficiently to get dressed and head to the walking trail. Sun's out, breeze is blowing but up to 48 degrees so should not have to bundle up too much. I just got some thermal underwear that I could have used three days ago but I am just as happy not to have to use them.