Sep 30, 2009

WIP Weds

Another installment of WIP Weds---another week gone and about to switch the calendar over to another month already!

So what am I doing this week? LOL, same thing as last week actually but a little further along. I had decided that I want my Strip Twist quilt to be an 11 x 12 set (8 inch finished blocks) for a quilt that finishes about the size of my Scrappy Bargello as that is working well. I need just a touch more length to go over the pillows though.

As of last night, I had 96 blocks done and 36 more to go. I had purchased 4 more fabrics in the Hearth and Home fabrics so looks like 9 blocks of ea. one. My goal is to have these finished up by week's end. I plan to start with the strip sets during game listening time tonight.

The flimsy assembly will probably wait as I think I need to get started machine quilting on the donation stack which numbers 8 at the moment. 2 of them are my own. I know of about 4 more to be pinned as Linda C has been a busy, busy girl, LOL. More for the stack, in other words! Most are simple zoom lines, stitch in the ditch so should not take too long. Then I will have binding for the quilt group volunteers to work on. Also Marilyn has asked me to quilt up a couple small tops sometime in the coming month. There is also a possibility of another t-shirt commissioned top, I have found out.

The other stack you see on the table above is my FAB friendship quilt. I need to mark the off squares and the setting triangles. I had ordered a couple of stencils from the Stencil Company since I would like to hand quilt that stuff and I hope one of these will work in those areas. Good for a stand up job. (I will stitch in the ditch on the blocks themselves). I hope to get this one pinned at our next meeting as well.

Earlier in the week Lois had called me about making that run up to Boaz and the long arm quilter at Out of the Box. You may recall that we had planned to go a couple weeks ago but that fell through at the time. BUT Lois got her name put on Susan's list of quilts but the poor girl is really covered up with the influx of quilt show entries and ones destined to be Christmas gifts. There was not as big rush to get it up to Susan for that reason. Beverly was able to get away today too.

Here are my day's purchases then. I found a nice rich brown and that middle chunk of yardage on the left was on sale as a flat fold but will work great for part of the backing on the Strip Twist at Out of the Box as it measured out at 6 yards. Perfect! I plan on using any leftover Hearth and Home yardage that is not destined to be binding to get the backing up to the extra required width (8-10 inches over the two widths of yardage)

Next we ran over to Wilson's Discount Fabrics. There I found the lighter plaid that I will work into the mix for that Strip Twist back. I also found a background cream on cream for background for the Atkinson Design's that Norma and I have been talking about doing for several months. The other two 30's repros will be used in the place of the green and yellow posie areas of the design chain. We ran into a woman from the JOY group that Lois and Beverly both knew at the shop. I asked if she wanted to join us for lunch at the Mill Street Deli as it was our next stop but turned out her husband was waiting for her in the car.

I picked up the little striped bundle of 4 fats at Hobby Lobby as we stopped in Gadsden on the way back to Calhoun County. I want to try Robbie's "4 Fats and All That" purse pattern that I got the quilt show. A little coordinated set should work fine to test it out. Only 5 bucks so not much lost if I don't like the process or goof it up in some manner.

We have had a couple of cool nights and gorgeous days, low humidity levels. The internal house temperature is down in the high 60's instead of high 70's/low 80's that I find so miserable. Last night was the first time I have slept without the ceiling fan on in months and months. I had the window cracked even though our thermometer registered mid 40's at daybreak and had a quilt pulled up. Gotta love it! What's more, I do not even want to hear "we need to turn on the furnace" come out of DJ's mouth till the daytime temps get down in the 50's and stay there. Get a blanket or put on a sweater if you are cold! I did switch the fall/winter wardrobe to the forefront this morning and put most of the shorts outfits and sandals away. Watch it get up in the 80's again, LOL. Not much sign of leaves changing color at least where I live yet but fall is here.

Hope you have had a good day in your neck of the woods and thanks for stopping by---------

Sep 26, 2009

quilt shows

I had just started to sew a bit this morning when a little black and white furry fella jumped up on the sewing table and wanted some cuddling. He doesn't do that often so block stitching fell by the wayside for the time being. Before he left, he hopped up on the other table to inspect the sack from one of yesterday's quilt shows and almost got the decorative jute tie removed and chewed on the bag handles a bit, LOL. Nosy, nosy, nosy!

So here are the contents of that bag as shown below:
I won a door prize at the Gadsden (AL) guild's show! The bundle of 17 batik fat quarters was donated by the Quilters Cottage in Cullman who was one of the show vendors. I had a choice between this and a grouping of some neutrals. While at present I would have more use for the beiges, creams and tans, I picked the brightly colored bunch. (After finding a stack of green fat quarters in the donation bin at the meeting the other day, I am considering making a double 4 patch as shown on so those would have come in handy though I have bunches of my own to use). I am planning on seeing if any of the Belles would like to go field tripping up to the shop next month.

The purse pattern (above) is hot off the press from Qwiltz of Bowdon, GA who were vending at the JOY Quilter's show. Robbie had the purse in the picture at the show. It only takes 4 fat quarters and this is a nice sized purse! I was hoping that she had a pattern done up from a cute wallhanging she has hanging in the shop that I had fallen in love with but not yet! I'll keep watching---and asking.

I drove by to the Gadsden show first since I had a couple of errands to do on the way up. They are no longer using a viewer's choice for ribbon selection but rather the show is judged. I didn't know that when I entered my pieces but no matter, as I didn't really expect my work to be awarded one. There were a lot of bed sized quilts which surprised me in a way---some shows there seem to be more lap, wallhangings as we all know those are faster to turn out. I also didn't expect that they would hang and number the donation quilts Betsy had asked me to pack up if the Belles had any to share. No matter there either though I think the makers might have been a little surprised to see them turn up again, LOL.

The quilt below won best of show in addition to a 1st place ribbon made by Edna C of Jacksonville. I believe that this was an original design. It was made as part of a black and white challenge plus one at either the JOY group or Sew What Quilt Shop, not sure of the origins there just that a good many of the group participated. If you click on the link and then the gallery link, it will take you to their facebook album. On page 2 you will find the other entries in this category. Our Betsy made the panda one. I know and maybe the cat got viewer's choice???

I think this was one of Nancy A's quilts but not sure--no printed program to refer back and verify but I thought this was an interesting setting for the stars. Do not know the pattern source

This one I know for sure is Nancy H's quilt. She had displayed at the Golden Springs show earlier this summer but silly me, forgot the camera then! I didn't let that opportunity pass me up this time! Her kitties names are embroidered in the outside border. To the rear of that you see Deb's red quilt. (I know both quilters this shot.) The red one had red quilting stitched in--feathers and such that looked redwork embroidery. No idea of pattern source for either of these though Deb's is a traditional block--Corn and Beans, maybe?

The quilt below was made by fellow Bama Belle, Aline as a gift for her brother Joe. French Braid, unsure of the designer but I know they were giving classes for this at Heart to Heart in Trussville (AL)

My friend Jane was white gloving, Betsy and Gary door hostessing and a couple of other quilters I know were there when I was the show. Jane invited me to have a cup of coffee with them and then next thing I knew it was almost 1! Time flies. I got a bite to eat and then went back south to the other show in Jacksonville.

This was the JOY group's first show and they are holding it this weekend in conjunction with the Mountain Echoes Festival. It poured yesterday and 70% chance of rain this afternoon so I don't know that the weather is going to cooperate much for outdoor festivities.

Below are two quilts I thought were particularly well done. They were using borrowed quilt racks and set it up in long rows in the church gymnasium area maybe a little too close together? I couldn't really back up far enough to get a full shot of many of the quilts, unfortunately and many had to be taken at an angle.

Glenda's basket quilt--possibly done as a BOM at the area quilt shop

Nancy A's Christmas Star. She indicated that she substituted flowers in the center so it could be used more year round.

Here comes that aforementioned rain---almost right on cue, too. Better make sure it is not raining in anywhere.

Have a great weekend in what ever YOU chose to do!

Sep 22, 2009

Meeting day check in

When I last posted I was about to be working diligently to get the binding done my queen sized Cheese and Crackers quilt since I had entered it in a quilt show. You can see that Skyler insisted on testing it out as I worked. He had briefly tried the front some months back but this was new territory. I had even left the room for a time and came back to find him burrowed UNDER it as well, LOL. I felt I should pass on the trip with the girls to the quilt show at the museum this past Friday as I felt I needed to keep plugging in under to finish in time for today's pickup. I am P-O-K-E-Y when it comes to binding. Slow, slow, slow and it can takes me 3-4 days for a full/queen. In spite of Skyler's best efforts, I got the binding completed by Saturday morning.

The application of the sleeves was done by Sunday afternoon. At one point I had started using a smallish applique stitch and then thought "why?" I am not planning on keeping them on the quilt for long anyway so why not a running stitch? Thing went much more quickly after that decision was made. That left some time to pick out the small area near one corner of the quilt that had some tension issues and re-quilt that. Now I won't worry about the quilting pulling out.

I thought you might like to see a couple of the quilts that have been turned in recently by the Bama Belles. This fun quilt at left is from Jane. She used a bright pink bee fabric for the borders but the focus print of this Naptime quilt is a butterfly fabric. You just know that a little girl is going to love this one!

This cool batik rails quilt was done by Aline. I love how she combined them in color groupings of 4. Adds a little interest to a simple block. I think it could go for either sex, don't you?

My car was loaded up with quilts in pillow cases so even though I wanted to sew on my Strip Twist quilt this week I did not feel like lugging my Brother with me to work on it at the meeting. What to do instead? I don't want to start a project on one machine and not see it thru on the same one, after all. I toyed with the idea of working on my triple rails as it is an ongoing project with blocks leftover from a couple of previous tops but that wasn't really tripping my trigger.

Since my scrappy bargello is off the bed and a show entry I had put my old favorite bowtie quilt back on the bed. It is lightweight, yellow background and just so darned cheerful with 40's-50's prints. I love that thing and I love making bowtie blocks, particularly 3-D bowtie blocks. Good for scraps, unisex appeal for the kids and I haven't made any for awhile. That's what I wanted to do!

But first, I needed to cut through the scraps in my basket to get some more 3 1/2 inch squares to add to the mix. The fabrics were up to the top of the basket rim when I started this morning at the meeting. There has been time when it is up to the handle but I don't want my scraps getting out of hand. Been there and done that and don't want to cut for days on end again! (I'll help you though, Mom! LOL) This is how it ended up when I left at 2:30. Some 1 1/2, 2, 2 1/2, 3 inch strips. 2.5, 3 and of course the 3 1/2 inch squares. The strips to the left are for rails and the Grandmother's Scrap Bag I will do at some point. ( The only thing I didn't cut was the 30's repros leftover from the Cheese and Crackers. I put those with the rest of the like fabric. )

There is so much of that gold tone on tone that I dearly love that I decided to use that for the background fabric on the bowties rather than my usual muslin. In that basket were some of the bright leftovers from my Twisted Sister quilts--one of them is shown HERE. When I got home, I dug through the 3 1/2 inch strips and pulled the ones that I thought would contrast with that gold and whacked those up after we finished our evening meal. I also pulled all the other 3 1/2 inch squares and put the whole bunch in a small shoe box sized container. That puppy is full to the brim but ready for the next meeting and some time with the Jem. I love it when a plan comes together!

I came home with 4 more pinned quilts, one of them is my 2nd Jungle Snuggle Up shown HERE. The others belong to Linda C but I quilt her donation quilts till she learns how to use that Gracie set up she just got used from a quilting friend. That brings my quilt stack total up to 8. The girls keep asking if I have any binding for them to do so one of these days the answer will be "yes, I do". Next week, I am thinking. There were enough hands on deck at the pinning table that I only needed to help do my own so I kept cutting with some time out to seam two backs. The Jem came in with me for that.

Quilt related goals for the week---
  • press and wind the binding for the FAB friendship quilt and mark it once the stencil I ordered comes in
  • more Strip Twist blocks provided we don't have any more thunder boomers like yesterday
  • two quilt shows either Friday afternoon or Saturday--leaning towards Saturday at this point
  • recover the pressing board when the iron quick silver cloth arrives
That should be enough to keep me out of mischief, don't you think?

Sep 17, 2009

change of plans

Just got a call from one of the Belles and it is changing my sewing plans for the day or more likely the rest of the week! Betsy and her husband are with the Gadsden Quilt Guild and the question was "do you have any quilts for the show?" (Next weekend, same as the JOY group's first show. I am not a member of either group but JOY exhibitors have to be member owned or member made. Gadsden doesn't matter)

My first thought was that I had none that had not been shown already and the one possible candidate was in use on my bed. Come to think of it, I have two but one will need a sleeve added and the other one needs binding and a sleeve. (If you read my blog regularly you have already seen and read about these two quilts but if you haven't read HERE and HERE for the stories behind them. I may have even included the pattern sources, LOL).

I threw the bargello in the washer as it was the one on the bed. It has been washed once since I first put it on the bed back in March and trust me, the quilting with those lovely Baptist Fans looks even better than when that picture was taken! (Thanks again, Norma!) Then I headed into the sewing room to cut some sleeve materials and zigged it up for application. The Cheese and Crackers quilt actually will be easier to put the sleeve in since I can sew one side into the top of the raw edge and then hand finish the binding.

You know, that Cheese and Crackers quilt has been waiting since May for me to do the binding. I guess push just came to shove, didn't it? I have been looking at it on my screen saver for months and there seemed to be no big rush to actually finish the thing. Now there is! I'll be the one doing the handwork for several days and Strip Twist goes on the back burner yet again.

And speaking of Strip Twist, yesterday I DID get the extra yardage cut and found a suitable substitute for the light "background" piece in my stash once I got to looking. Always good to shop there first, right? A pile of 10 blocks are partially done. Next week, maybe between all the other stuff on the calendar.

Sep 16, 2009

WIP Weds

I guess this post could be more like "what is on your design wall?" for a Monday. No matter. It IS what I am working on here.

On the design surface that is my sewing room shelving unit hangs my FAB friendship top that I completed this weekend. Part of it is obscured behind the sewing table. I am contemplating what to mark in the plain squares and setting triangles. Crosshatching would be easy enough by machine but I am thinking about a motif for hand quilting which I dearly love to do. That's why it is hanging rather than folded up. I still have to scrounge up something for backing and the binding needs to be pressed and rolled as well before I put it up. I hope to get it pinned next week at our quilt meeting.

I made the purple block on the left 2nd row which has the names of the +2 FABS and found the Diana Leone purple border fabric at Hobby Lobby last week. Purple being the FAB color, it fits. You might be able to tell that I cut the setting triangles larger than I needed (by about 2- 2 1/2 inches) so it floated the design and eliminated the need for a small white border to be sewn to the top. I added the fuschia/hot pink colored flap to the scheme as I thought it needed a bit of a spark between the white and the purple--break it up a little color-wise. I cut that bit a little wider than I normally would in this instance so more color would be seen. I figure it picks up on the colors in the two pink blocks, one of which has that color in it plus the pinkish tones in the border print. Oh, I will be quilting this on the DSM so no worries about it catching in the hopper of a long arm set up.

And here is the other quilt in progress, Strip Twist from G. E. Designs. My FAB retreat project which is not been moved forward much more than pre-Herb and Phyllis visit. The pizza box is loaded with cut sections to be sewn prepped a couple weeks back. The loose pile of blocks on the table are the blocks I managed to get done yesterday afternoon. The yardage, more fabrics to be worked into the mix from the Hearth and Home line. I wanted a couple more greens for the mix and a rusty orange that I did not get with the original kit purchase. The yellow plaid is to replace a strip on some block sections that I had seamed already but I feel looks too noticeable. There is some unsewing ahead there but I will be happier with the result if I do it. The binding for the FAB friendship top is piled up there too.

I was chaining just one fabric grouping through the machine at a time just to keep from mixing sections up. I think I will continue in that manner today. Then I will get 5-6 blocks done at a time before moving on to another stack. At some point I will need to cut into the newly purchased colors but also search out something to replace the light "arms" as apparently that has been discontinued. I only have 3 WOF strips remaining of it and am not sure there is anything in my stash that will "work". And that is how it goes around here in the sewing room.

The rest of my life? Walking this morning (boy, is it muggy lately!) and a few errands after that on the cat's behalf, LOL. After attempting to scrub out the litter pan this morning and not getting anywhere, I just decided it would be easier to run back to the dollar store and get a new one. He was using Pippi's old one which we had for 12 plus years. Maybe not a "green decision" but it was time, more than time.

There is a chance I will run up to Boaz with one of the Belles later this week to drop off a quilt top, maybe go to Wilson's for a look for that phantom replacement fabric? Marilyn has asked me to go the quilt show at the Gadsden museum on Friday afternoon. The JOY quilt guild will be having their first quilt show soon. I have been told it is the same weekend as the Collinsville quilt walk and the Gadsden guild's show. Nothing going on and then everything all at once!

That's it for this installment---thanks for stopping by!

Sep 11, 2009

now back to our regular scheduled programming...........

I tell you, Skyler looks like I feel--worn out and needing a nap or at least a good night's rest. I believe he is going to be happier and more relaxed about things without extra people around. You know how cats notice every little thing out of place? I've got the linens and dishes washed up and back in place. The rooms and their contents are put back in the usual spots. Just DJ and I around. No extra legs to rub on or avoid or shoes to sniff.

DJ's golfing friend and his wife arrived here Tuesday evening. One of their sons live in the Asheville, NC area so they drive on down to see us from there. Rounds of golf were planned for the boys on Wednesday and Thursday. Phyllis stayed back here with me. By the time she got up Weds. morning, I had already walked and was trying a new cinnamon roll recipe. It was a very slow rising recipe so we were able to leave for a time to pick up the down rod we had to order for the ceiling fan. She loves to look at recipes and my cookbooks so she kept me company while we waited for the dough to do its thing. Leftovers for lunch for us and the boys were told NOT to pig out after their round because I was I cooking dinner for us that evening. They obeyed, LOL.

Yesterday Phyllis and I ran a few errands at the Oxford Exchange---mostly because I needed some fabric from Hobby Lobby but we had a couple other stops along the way as well. Out to supper, their treat, last night. Evenings, a lot of yakking and TV viewing and such. DJ has actually known Phyllis longer than Herb as they went to grade school together years and years ago. They were gone by the time I got back from walking this morning on their way down to Columbus, GA to see some other friends. There is a possibility that we will go through all this again in two months time.

We had been without a ceiling fixture since Weds. last week. After fumbling our way through the first step in the fan installation, it did not take us long to figure out that the down rod we had purchased was NOT going to work. We took it back expecting to find what we DID need----wrong! 4 stops later we still had not found one that didn't have threads on both ends. The last two stops they suggested that we go to a lighting store and see if they could help us out. They were able to place an order for the right finish, length and connections for us expecting it in a week to ten days. Whatever it takes.

In the meantime DJ had left the "trouble" light hooked up on the kitchen cabinets in order for us to have any light in the kitchen while we waited for the part to come in. Come to find out, the kitchen light, utility room lights along with the washer and dryer and the living room lamps are all on the same circuit. He had just plugged up the loose wires with wire nuts as once that plate went up correctly we were not taking it down to stick the old light back up!

So as you can see from the picture, we are back in business. DJ needed me to hold the light, confirm which screws went where or read off the directions for confirmation, be the ground girl and hand him tools or get up on the step stool and hold this or that while he attached or wired whatever. We had to make a run for the energy saver candle like base lights in the correct wattage and longer chain pulls. The light works. Fan works. Color me happy! Oh, I know I can't run the fan with my gas stove as it will mess up the burner flame. I can't do that with the box fan either unless I deflect the air flow in some manner.

Even better, I am still talking to my husband, LOL. He said he thinks that any couple thinking about getting married should have to do a job like this and see if they can still get along afterwards. He may have a point there. This was our third ceiling but too long between jobs for us to remember just what is up with it. In between we DID hang a Larsen storm door though.

I have not sewed anything since last Tuesday. I had set aside time to help DJ with the fan and just never got back to it again. I started cleaning my areas on Friday---purging some books and magazines to take to the library for donation really. Really hit my spaces on Sunday afternoon. Monday, the rest of the house and got groceries. Tuesday my quilt group met. I thought if Phyllis had gone to the golf course with the guys as she sometimes does that I would sew a bit but that didn't happen this trip.

SO the fabric store run yesterday was to get some fabrics for the on point setting and borders for my friendship blocks from the FABS. I had asked Michelle and Mayvis to sign a section of WOW so they would be included in the 6th block. I'll whip up the block and cut the setting squares and triangles in a few minutes. Back to strings all over the house. Back to normal, in other words!

Hope things are going well at your home-------

Sep 1, 2009

WIP Tuesday

Yeah, I know---a day early with the progress report post. DJ has plans for me tomorrow but more on that later.

I have been sewing off and on for the last couple days on the strip sets for my version of Strip Twist. I elected to keep the center squares and "arms" the same throughout the blocks. I am NOT following the directions in the pattern but that is my choice. My decision to go this route is sort of backfiring as my sections are cut a 1/4 inch bigger and then I can't quite get out enough cuts from the fat quarter strips that were in the kit-- close but no cigar. I may need to get some more of the Hearth and Home fabric depending on how many blocks I am able to squeeze out for the top. I am thinking I need a bit more green in the mix anyway. Some unsewing and creative re-piecing and/or fudging the pieces that are "oh so close" will probably be in order as well. If it worked for our quilting foremothers, it will work for me too.

As I work I have been listening to either Gameday Audio and listening to the Cardinals play ball or listening to the e-audiobooks offered through our local library system. Woohoo on the baseball games--out in front by 10.5 games as of this morning so maybe a chance at the post season? It helps to pass the time to listen to this stuff especially when doing the rather boring strip work. The blocks themselves will be more fun and get me closer to a top. I am shooting for bedsized if possible--90 blocks.

Skyler cracked me up with the way he was laying on the couch yesterday. Lately he has been started to lay on his back with the belly up and inviting some pets. The fact that he would allow belly rubs just showed how wiped out he was from his maniac running earlier in the day.

My baking adventures continue. I made a batch of gorditas last week that turned out quite well. I used a tutorial and recipe from the King Arthur blog Baker's Banter but there is a printable recipe for "Caesar Grilled Chicken of Soft Wrap Bread" HERE. DJ who doesn't have a clue what I am doing in the kitchen most of the time could not believe that I made the bread myself even though I had been in and out of there a good bit of the morning, LOL. (I used a rotis chicken and bought the caesar dressing this time around)

The week before I had tried to make a whole wheat pizza crust from Taste of Home found HERE. I believe that I had a problem with the yeast---not the fault of the recipe, just the user. It was taking so long to rise that I panicked and made an different recipe to use. DJ had cautioned me not to try another recipe as "mess with a working monkey". Finally it got to the point where I could punch it down but of course, we didn't need a 2nd batch of dough then. Not having any directions as to what to do at that point, I threw it in the freezer in a greased bag. I thawed it in the fridge overnight and fixed it yesterday. Much to my surprise, it worked! Nice taste to the crust too. DJ is always telling me how much he likes my homemade pizza and he doesn't know why I am not more confident about it. Ah, maybe because I am trying to learn a new skill and I don't want to ruin dinner??

One of the local hardware stores had a moonlight madness sale last week with two hours of 20% off prices. DJ and I had talked about getting a ceiling fan for the kitchen which at this point is the only room other than the bathrooms without one. He has been so busy with yard work this summer that I told him this could wait till things slow down for him--a month or two if need be. He wants to get started on it early tomorrow morning and will need my help. I said we should wait till we know the hardware stores are open. I know from past experience that inevitably we will need something we don't have on hand. The biggest thing is we are dealing with a vaulted ceiling and a drop rod.

Since I have sat down to write this note he got a phone call from his golfing friend from IL. Looks like they will be here late Tuesday and plan on golfing Weds and Thursday. Labor Day will be just that----cleaning the house up. Shortly after that call on old friend who now lives in NJ also called---old home week, I guess.

That's about it for me-----off to cut some strip sets.