Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Mom On Strike...What a RIOT!!!

I was sent this ebay auction and you just have to CHECK IT OUT!

A HUGE Hooray is going from me to this courageous mother! How many of us have been in this same situation?? I can't tell you the number of times I have felt the same way!

I hope you can check it out soon, and be sure to check all the posts down the page...what a crack up!!!


For Lynn....

This is a pic of a quilt I made from Lynn's mystery quilt pattern! My guild in IDAHO did the mystery..so you know how many years ago this was. It was PRE-long arm and that had to be before 1995 :c) I needed the quilt bigger, and I liked the blocks on point so that is how I set them. I gave this to my neice Jessica when she was born.


As The Blog Turns..

Hi Ladies! I hope you are all busily quilting away!

We have a new member! Siobhan, aka Yankee Quilter has been visiting our ring for a while and working on her own blog. With much arm twisting she has joined us :c) You can check her blog out at Scraps and Thread Tales Siobhan and I both belong to the Pieceful Hearts guild in North Augusta, SC (just across the Savannah River from Regular Augusta GA!) and this is the guild that has the retreat this weekend! I'll bring the camera so we can get pics of us working on our stuff. We have both determined to crank on our UFOs! Tonya was a member here too, before she hailed off to the wilds of Egypt...this is how we all met.

Now for a funny! I was a guild last night, Carolina Pine Quilters in Aiken, SC. I want to let you know how much our ring is enjoyed by guild members! I had a couple people talk to me about it, that they have to click through the ring daily to see what we are all up to, and they've even talked about it with each other on phone calls, "Did you see what is on so and so's blog?? You have to check it out!" *LOL* I was even told "Oh, Bonnie, it is so exciting that you get to go see Lucy!" :c) So our little blog lives have become part of other people's daily haunts. I just think it is so fun!

Two more days until retreat! I am gearing myself up to really work on this pink and brown DJ. Between this retreat and the one with the Carolina Pine Quilters in Feb, I should be able to pretty much get this top together I think. I've even started thinking what I need to do with the borders. I'm going to complete the star points from the sashing into the border at least. Depending on how big it is at that point, I just might bind it with the remaining brown indigo...cut in scrappy strips because I don't have any one of either piece to do the whole quilt...I bought quarter yard packs of these...

The Carolina Pines retreat is on Hilton Head Island the same weekend as the Jinny Beyer Convention. (Feb 3-6) We rent a beach house and pack it to the gills with people and sew on our own projects. The Convention has a quilt show, and it is free to visit. Wonderful to see Jinny's quilts up close and personal, along with those of invited guest artists. She also has a vendor shop set up there, so we shop a bit....but I usually just sew sew sew...and I love walking the beach this time of the year!


Sunday, January 08, 2006

Special Welcome to Dona at Quilting WIth Cats!

Quilt Mavericks has a new member and you can find her blog at Quilting With Cats

I hope you will all stop by her blog and give her a warm welcome!


Stand Still Projects...

You know how it is when you have a project you love, but you can't make yourself work on it for whatever reason?

I have a project like this. I'ts my double pink and chocolate indigo Dear Jane variation that I started almost THREE *cough* years ago. It's sat at way over 1/2 done for almost 2 years now. I love it....every time I pull it out I pet it...and yet I have had the hardest time making my mind want to work on these tedious little jewel blocks. What is with that? Why do projects get this far only to stagnate?

One of my goals this year is to finish the top. I have pulled it out to take inventory (again!) of what I have done. It is 1/2 assembled into the top..I just need to do 6 1/2 rows left..The blocks for these rows are about 1/2 done too. They just need the storm at sea sashing and little square in a square cornerstones pieced and set with the blocks, and sew them in rows.

I have a retreat this weekend with my guild....we go up on thursday, and come home monday so that is a HUGE chunk of sewing time! Can you feel me trying to pump myself up about getting into gear with this quilt again? I have printed out all the block patterns by row...I have printed out all the foundations for the sashing parts...I have the fabric pulled and ready to go. Please please please let me have fun with this project again! I don't want to force myself if it is a drudgery. I want that spark of *YES!!!* When you are excited about something and it is coming together just as you envision it, and all your muses are working together with you to keep you inspired.

I'm taking this project! I'm gearing up for working on it! I hope that after the MLK weekend when I return I'll have alot to show for my efforts and the time I spent. Everyone who retreats with me knows that when at retreat I basically chain myself to my sewing machine! *LOL* Other people go off talking, walking, shopping, eatting.....and I've always put the pedal to the metal and cranked on the quilts while at retreat. I hope I can have that kind of energy for this project that has been at a dead end for so long :c)


Saturday, January 07, 2006

Continuous Machine Quilted Fans

I've done fans on quilts by machine before, using a 'circle lord' attachement, which works much like a spirograph, remember those? you put the peg in the hole, stitch the inner arc, backstitch to anchor threads, move the peg to the next hole, stitch the next arc, and on and on, leaving these 1" to 1.5" toe catcher stitches between each arc that you'd have to go back and clip later. Thousands of them it seemed like! Still, it was a good accurate fan, if people wanted to pay for it. I gave them a deal if they would clip the toe catcher stitches themselves. :c)

Circle Lord has since come out with a continuous baptist fan template which eliminates starts and stops, but in order to do the fans in a continous line, instead of ending at the previous fan stitching, it echoes about 1/8" from the edge of the previous fan before it starts it's next arc. Still, I think this is a good alternative for customers who don't want to pay the higher price for the time and headache it takes to do the non-continuous toe-catcher fans, and for those who don't want to clip the toe-catchers..which includes me!

The set up comes in pieces, and it lays on the quilting machine table on top of that rubberized shelf liner stuff so it is 'non-skid'. You plunk the stylus in the groove and away you go. Sounds easy, huh? Well, I'll have to quilt alot of baptist fans this way for people to make up the $550 it cost me for this set up. Am I really going to quilt THAT MANY fanned quilts with continuous fans? I'm not sure. But my DH the accountant says I need more overhead than I have to show, so I guess this is it. Big over head. Big fans!

I used it on the double sashed string quilt that went stupid earlier this week. I figured I couldn't go wrong even if I did screw it up since the quilt was semi-cursed anyway! And you know what? I actually like it! Yes, I can still tell where the fan blades end and echo the previous fan, it's not like hand quilted fans....but for how easy it was, it still has that circular feel. I'll wash it after I bind it and see if that look is even improved more after washing as far as the echoed parts go. It was kind of tricky to get the rows to line up just right...but for a first shot I don't think I did too bad!


Roll Roll Cotton Boll Class Supply List!


Roll Roll, Cotton Boll 

Full Quilt, 85” X 100”

Roll Roll Cotton Boll is a dynamic scrappy quilt, combining traditional blocks with the freedom of string piecing in the alternate blocks.

This is a BOOK REQUIRED class.  Students must come with my book String Fling to class.  Books can be found through your local shop, or signed copies can be ordered through my website at http://quiltville.com

Due to the time restraints in class – with the average class giving us only 6 hours of sewing time, we will be focusing on the pieced blocks and the string blocks during class time.

While the complete yardage for the entire quilt is given here, please keep in mind that you only need to bring enough supplies to keep you busy for a 6 hour class.

1 3/4 yards red print for blocks – may be one fabric or scrappy.
2 yards pink fabric scraps for blocks and pieced border.
1 1/2 yards brown scraps for pieced blocks
1 1/2 yards green scraps for blocks and pieced border
1/2  yard green for inner border
5 yards of light/neutral scraps, strips and strings for block backgrounds and string blocks.  look for a wide variety of prints, stripes, plaids and novelties ranging from
white to cream to beige to tan. May include small figures, leaves and flowers as long as the fabric ground reads as neutral

We will be focusing on skill building with the use of the Easy Angle ruler for the large and small half square triangles within each block. 
For use with the Easy Angle Ruler, please come with the following pre-cut before class:
SOME 3-1/2” strips in pink and brown for large block triangles
SOME 2” strips in neutrals and red for the small block triangles
SOME 2” strips of neutral and green for pieced blocks.
where 2” squares are needed, they can be cut from these strips in class.

**NOTE** if you prefer using any other triangle method such as thangles or sewing-big-trimming-down please do not cut your fabric into strips as above.  Any method that gives you a 3” finished and a 1-1/2” finished half square triangle can be used.

Along with your book and your fabric, and your Easy Angle ruler – we will need the following:

In addition to the basic requirements of  Sewing Machine with 1/4" foot, (ALSO bring a regular
open toe foot if your 1/4" foot has a guide on it.)  pins, needles, thread, seam  ripper, scissors,
rotary cutter, mat and ruler you will need:

Foundation paper: Any paper can be used! I use phone book paper as my foundation as it tears
easily and is readily available.  Unprinted news print type paper, or doodle pads from the dollar
store also work well! Please avoid velum as it curls when touched with an iron.  Cut a handful of
8.5" square foundations from paper before coming to class.

A 8.5" or 9.5" square ruler is helpful in trimming up string block units.
I like to use a size 14 denim needle when doing the string piecing.  They make bigger holes in the paper
to help the paper tear away easily.

Come and sew and have a good time!
If there are any questions, please do not hesitate to email me at quiltville@gmail.com.

Friday, January 06, 2006


My dear dear friend who happens to be an engineer (and tries to teach me to think like one) once told me that if something stops working, or working differently you have to go backwards in time to the point where that happened to see if you can pinpoint things YOU did that made the difference.

I just went back in time removing different elements from my template and checking if it made a difference. I found it. It was the calendar and the java clock in the calendar that were throwing things off. I'm not sure WHY, something with this java fighting with the page java, but when I removed the whole calendar and clock..voila...things went back to working fine.

So the cute calendar is no more...but it isn't as if I really needed it there, now do I? :c)

Thanks Dawn for all your help in putting up with me to figure this out! I think I'm good to go now! NO MORE BOX BAR at the top! YEAH!


I hate IE!

I've had this problem the last couple of weeks with IE....which has taken the navigation bar from the top of the screen and bunched it up all in a box on the upper left of the screen. I have no way to fix this. I have tried! I even made a 'test' blog to see if I could figure out what/why it is doing this..but to no avail.

I have emailed the help at blogger....of course I got a very prompt auto-responder message back, but really who knows where this kind of problem is going to land on the 'priority' scale.

To those of you with only IE to view my blog..I apologize. :c/

I'm going to ease my troubles with some chocolate I stashed back from christmas stockings...and go pet some fabric :c)


Ohio Stars & Rails Done...

I started this quilt the day after 9-11. Alot of people started patriotic quilts that week. It only took me this long to get this one FINISHED! Who would have thought that this long after...we'd still be at war in Iraq.

The reason this took me this long was because I wanted to hand quilt this project. I could have machine quilted it quickly, but somehow when hand quilting and doing other hand work I am able to put my thoughts and prayers into the stitches....stitching with a purpose, you know?

Yesterday someone asked me how I decide which projects I want to hand quilt, and which to machine quilt. I guess it depends on the look I want for the finished quilt.

With this quilt, color wise....I would have had to use three colors of thread that contrasted greatly, red, navy, and white. And the patches in the 6" stars are so small that outlining them would be a pain. What would I want to quilt in the red sashings and the white sashings? I'm not crazy about dark machine quilting thread on light areas, or white machine quilting thread scribbling all over dark areas. However, hand quilting is different! You just see little dots and dashes, and mostly texture...where in machine quilting you see a line of thread. It's like the difference between a running stitch, and a stem stitch. Machine quilting is like a stem stitch because you see the whole line.

Busy busy scrappy quilts where hand quilting isn't going to show, or machine heirloom detail quilting isn't going to show are great candidates for all over edge to edge machine quilting because the threads blend in. Something like this ohio stars and rails? Nope..it needed to be hand quilted to me.

I hand quilted this with white thread and you can barely see the white stitches. Just the dimples where the stitches are. This wouldn't have been the case if I had machine quilted the whole thing with white thread.

I like to hand quilt solids. Or other fabrics that read as solids. This is another place where machine quilting can require changing alot of threads unless the quilting design is SUPPOSED to contrast with the fabrics. Batiks can usually handle wonderful machine quilting where the thread contrasts. Amish quilts? Nope. They are something that screams "HAND QUILTING" to me. It's the feeling it requires. I think you can get a subtleness with hand quilting that you can't with machine quilting.

Don't get me wrong...I LOVE MACHINE QUILTING! I wouldn't be doing what I am doing if I didn't...and I still machine quilt a lot of my quilts, just certain ones require me to spend more time with hand work, and I think this is all a good thing.

Other differences between hand and machine? I do not like cross hatching by machine. It's that thread line on top of the fabric thing. I love it for hand quilting, but for machine quilting? It just reminds me of a matress pad. It's too perfect? Too stiff? Not to mention all the starts and stops. It's nightmare for a machine quilter. I'd rather see something flowing machine quilted in there than a straight rigid cross hatch grid. But for hand quilting....it's gentler, softer and I like it.

I guess that's one of the great things about quilting....we can each do things the way WE OURSELVES like them, no matter what anyone else thinks. And it is great that there is differing opinions out there. It's highly likely that our opinions change one way or another over time too, and I am always open to new ideas. Quilt to Please Yourself!


Thursday, January 05, 2006

Borders added

Here are some pics of the borders I put on the double sashed strings quilt. Yes, I'm keeping it like it is, I would be crazy to pick it out, and maybe some day the indiscrepancies (sp?) might tickle someone. So be it :c)

Does anyone else ever pull out UFOs that are nearly done and you can't remember how they got that far or why it didn't just get finished? That is how I feel about this one...it was nearly done. Why did it get put away and why did it end at that stage and why can't I remember? Maybe it had something to do with midterms or finals or something. Definately a brain warp, but now it's done.

I'm happy at the amount of fabric this used too. I'm still working on using stuff from stash, and this one is no exception. The inner border and the outer border came from yardage, of which there is NONE left to go back on the yardage shelves! What little there was of the cream is in strips in the scrap bins, and the blue was only a long 5" strip and I folded it and stuck it in a drawer with the blue fat quarters. Still doesn't look like much room happening on the yardage shelves though! I still couldn't find room for more fabric if I tried.

Last night (after the piecing fiasco) I bound 3 sides of the ohio star quilt. One side and the sleeve left to go....hope to get to that tonight.

It's a gorgeous day here! I'm sorry for you folks in the frozen northlands..but I was just out in my yard in a short sleeved t shirt and it felt nearly hot! I think this would be a great day for walking buddy in the forest, hopefully the ground has dried from the rain we've had...


Wednesday, January 04, 2006


Sometimes you find yourself being Maverick when you DON'T WANT TO BE!

I had some time this afternoon so I was digging through some projects trying to decide what to take on retreat with my guild over Martin Luther King Weekend (Jan 12-16. Low and behold, I found this pile of string blocks...4 quarters make the block with 4 sashings and one cornerstone in the mddle. 11 blocks were done, and there were block quarters done and trimmed and ready to be set into the remaining 9 blocks. So I get a lightbulb moment to start these this afternoon, telling myself it won't take long at all to put them together, add sashings between the big blocks, and border the thing and call it good.

I've been working on it the past few hours...I just sewed all the rows together...and found out AUUGHHH! There is a huge giant problem with the direction of about 1/2 the blocks! The first set of blocks I did, the diagonals of the string pieced sections were set so they made an "O" and the last 9 I did I unintentionally set the diagonals in the string pieced units so the 4 of them made an "X"!!!!!! Here I thought I was making all the same block..but I guess I wasn't. SUPRISE!!

I laid the blocks on the floor, laid the sashings with them..and I didn't even SEE this problem until they were all sewn together and sashed! Now..there is NO WAY I am going to unpick half of this quilt. It can just be X's and O's and tough beans! Can you see in the pic where the blocks change direction somewhere in the middle of the quilt? :c/ Yes I'm tired, Yes I'm distracted! I'm calling it a night, I'll deal with borders tomorrow...*rolling eyes at myself for being So blind"

Ps..the colors aren't very "true" in this pic. They are a lot brighter in person!


One Down, On To The Next!

I finished quilting on my ohio stars quilt last night....right in the middle of watching CSI! I didn't want to miss the episode to start on the binding, so I picked up the next basted quilt I was going to work on, and started stitching away. I've got a few fans done down one side of the border on the "shoofly" quilt....So far so good.

You can see I've marked the fans with regular old white blackboard chalk. It's cheap, you can sharpen it in a pencil sharpener if you want (the big sized hand sharpener kind) and the marks stay long enough to see them, but brush away pretty easily if you need them to!

I've discovered something though....I just went from quilting with WOOL batting on the ohio stars, to quilting with hobbs 80/20 in the shooflies, and there is a DEFINATE DIFFERENCE in how it needles! Quilting the wool was like quilting through butter. It is loftier than the cotton, but it needles SO easy. It was a dream to hand quilt.

I love hobbs 80/20 for machine quilting. I think it can't be beat for the look that it gives, but for hand quilting? I think I'm preferential to wool, or the 100% organic cotton from hobbs, or quilter's dream cotton. It's just more hand quilting friendly than the 80/20 is.

I'll finish this quilt, and the amish one that is layered with hobbs 80/20 black (because I needed a black batting in it) but for future hand quilting jobs, I'm sticking to wool or 100% cotton that is easier to needle!

Today I'm going to attach the binding and the hanging sleeve to the ohio stars quilt and start the hand work on that tonight. I'll post a pic of the finished quilt as soon as it is bound and washed to get the markings out!


Monday, January 02, 2006

She's Got A Ticket To Ride.....

I'm going to Haarlem to see Lucy!

I am SO excited...I bought my tickets and booked my flight today. A week with Lucy in The Netherlands!

I will go on April 22nd....it's an overnight flight that gets me into Amsterdam at 7am Lucy's time. *yawn* Do you think I'll be able to sleep while on the plane? I'll sure try! I don't want to miss a thing being tired while I am there!

My trip is planned to end with a special holiday called "Queen's Day". I guess it is a huge celebration and there are lots of flea-market type sales..people selling things, it sounds so fun! All the bulbs should be out in April, so we are hoping for some good weather to see the beautiful flowers.

I'm coming home on May 1st.

After booking my flight and realizing that yes, this is REAL....I found the form online to fill out to get my new passport. The last time I used my passport was when I went to Japan in 1989! Passports are only good for 10 years..so I need to get the new one. I do have the old one and along with my birth certificate and other forms of ID I think I can prove that I am me, and they will give me a new updated passport.

My job in the next couple days is to go get passport photos taken.

Haarlem! Here I Come!

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year!

Yes, now it is officially 2006 and I wonder how long it will take us to get used to writing it! As well as having to remember it's a new month, it's also a new year. It usually takes me a couple weeks to get it right :c)

I've spent the last couple of days working on a project with Tonya..getting her instructions for free style pieced letters onto some pages on my website so she can direct people there more easily. They are buried in her archives now and it's hard to find which one you are looking for, so I had this brain storm....and some pages were born! Now she can direct link them in her side bar on her blog, as well as have an easy place to send people to come looking. I'm hoping this will be something that grows with other instructions to other fun things she is doing!

You can check out what we've done so far Here!

There are 6 pages with instructions for letters, the sidebar tells you which letters are on which page. It isn't alphabetical because they are on pages by degree of difficulty. Each page of letter instructions has other pics of quilts with pieced letters for inspiration...(and pictures of kitties with letters too!) There is a gallery page for her other letter quilts and a bio page too :c)

I'm still quilting on the stars quilt. I probably won't finish it tonight like I want to...fingers are feeling pretty much like hamburger! But I know I am close, so I'll work on it a bit....


Friday, December 30, 2005

Nearly New Year's Eve..

I'm not sure where today went.....but I am happy to report that the 'no fabric buying' is still in force! Not because I willed it to be so, but because even with a 40% off coupon and sales going on at Joann's and a GIFT CARD...I couldn't find a single piece of fabric that interested me!

I went to Joann's with the intent to use up this gift card that I had in my wallet that was close to expiring. I looked at the books, but there was nothing there to interest me either. I bought a new soapstone pencil marker thing (used the 40% off coupon on that) some quilting needles, and some quilting thread. I also bought a leather thimble by clover that has the coiny thing on both sides. I thought I'd give that a shot as well!

There is still $1.03 left on the gift card! It will probably expire that way, because it costs more than $1.03 to drive all the way across town to Joann's anyway. (This is a good thing)

I need thimble therapy. I admit to losing my silver TJ Lane thimble :c( I don't know WHERE it went. I had a suspicion that it got swallowed up in the depths of the couch cushions, but when I looked I couldn't find it. I swear I will never pay $50 for a thimble again. It was too pretty to lose and I feel so bad about it. I think I'm better sticking with the cheapies...and then I can have extras all over the house and in my pocket, and in my purse, and in my car and not feel the least bit bad if I lose one!

I'm about to go crawl into my jammies even though it's only 6:30pm as I write this. I want to curl up with a fire in the fireplace and quilt some more fans...I'm still pushing to get this quilt finished being quilted by sunday night..that's my goal! (Heck, I only started this one clear back in march right before Lucy came to visit...i need to finish it, I don't want to drag it into another year! And if that isn't bad enough, the top was pieced shortly after 9-11!)

Then I can move on to quilting some of the littles that I basted this week.

I'm raring to head into 2006 and quilt it with a vengeance! :cD


Thursday, December 29, 2005

Website Update!

If you've been peeking in here over the past couple days, you can see I've been messing around with changing the look of things. I finally got the bug and decided to do the same thing to my Website!

Let me know how you like the new look :c) I'm still working on it....(but heading off to do some hand quilting in a few minutes!)


Basting Party!

Last night I got out several small wallhanging size stuff that I want to hand quilt. Yes, these are the ones I was thinking of yesterday, wondering if it is okay to hand quilt fans on EVERYTHING! I'm nearly done with quilting on my ohio stars and rails, so I needed to line up the next one so I could just move on to it... I had a basting party all by myself. Loaded those puppies on the machine, found pieces of left over batting to use in them, and did a huge big stitch (toe catcher size!) basting meander all over them....I basted 6 small quilts! Probably more than enough to keep me busy hand quilting in the evenings for the next year, but at least they are off the shelves.

I think I'm going to quilt the "Flies in the Buttermilk" Next..and yes, it will be more fans. I've got to check if I have enough brown quilting thread, or if I need to get more over the next couple days. I used brown to quilt the 6 point string star, and it really had a great primitive look to it.

I found backings out of stash..it's great when you can use yardage without having to piece it because the quilt is small! I used up some funky stuff too.....One of the amish littles has a black with neon turquoise print! And one of the other amish ones has a black with a kind of mod red/grey ropey thing in it. Definately makes these more of a Bon-ish instead of Amish look!

I'm coloring my hair today. It just looked so drab and the highlights I had gotten in October were pretty far grown out. Time for a perk-me-up.


Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Is there such a thing as....

Too many baptist fans??

I'm pulling out small quilt tops, wall hanging size, that I would like to work on when I finish quilting the ohio stars and rails quilt. I am trying to think of fun ways to quilt these, but all I want to do is quilt fans! I just love the texture, and the quilting goes so easily...

Is it boring if I just keep quilting fans on EVERYTHING?


Emmy Lou Be My Valentine?

I just went downstairs and found my little scaredy-cat Emmy Lou on the table..on top of the little valentine topper I put out yesterday (yes the christmas stuff is GONE, and I have moved on to the next red holiday, folks!)

Emmy is such a timid little thing. She was a rescue kitty....saved from the top of a tree when she was a kitten by a friend who's dogs had chased her up there, and continuted to terrorize her, probably waiting for her to fall and become dinner.

I adopted her on the spot. She is one of those kitties who has an automatic-touch-activated-purr-starter! All you have to do is lay a finger on her and she roars up her purr motor to beat the band. But the trick is....getting her to let you touch her in the first place. I think because she was an abused orphan kitty that she has programed herself to live a solitary protection based life! She will come in to eat, she will find a dark corner to nap for a while out of sight, and then outside she goes again. She has the most timid meow you've ever heard, almost whiney! (And very feminine) Occassionally she will feel safe enough to jump up on my bed if I am laying there, and allow herself to be petted. But that is usually short lived and out she goes again.

What makes it worse is that Oscar, our white kitty, loves to terrorize her and chase her whenever he sees her. Of course, because she won't stand up for herself...she runs as soon as she sees him, and the chasing and hissing is on. Bad Oscar. Poor Emmy. I wish she'd just ONCE stand up for herself, quit running, and fight back!

The 4 bags of clothing, shoes, purses all got dropped off at Good Will on my way to the guild get-together last night. GOOD RIDDANCE! I purposely dropped them off that soon after cleaning the closet so that I wouldn't get second thoughts and be tempted to pull stuff out of there again. GONE! Feels so good... :cD


Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Cleaning Virus on the Loose!

It's a good thing that no one is home today but me. I'm not sure if it is because this is the first day in a week and a half that I have been home alone, or if it is because Christmas is OVER and we are facing a new year, or if it is hormones and mood swings, but I've been bit by the cleaning virus! So far it's made me tackle the upstairs...all three bedrooms including reaming out my 15 yr old son Jeff's room. Toxic to say the least! (someone tell me why he had three 1/2 eatten packs of ritz crackers in his drawer?)

I've done 5 loads of laundry (two of them were Jeff's!) to get everything taken care of from the week away, and as I was putting things away in my closet this lead to cleaning OUT my closet....arranging things in there. I got rid of FOUR tall kitchen sized drawstring trash bags full of dresses, blouses, sweaters, tshirts,sweats, shorts, shoes and purses. Someone want to tell me WHY again that women have to have so many pairs of shoes that we never (or rarely) wear, and what is this thing with the "purse graveyard" shelf at the top of the closet. Am I really ever going to use any of those ever again, or will I find myself more apt to just buy a new one when I come across it?

I also discovered something...my clothes are in the colors I also like in fabrics. I guess I wear what I like to sew with! Lots of blue, all shades, some black, grey, splash of red, green and maybe a bit of purple. Very little yellow or pastels. I'd say over 60% of my closet is in one shade of denim or another....that goes for shirts,both long and short sleeved... pants, skirts, jumpers, dresses. DENIM. Or khaki!

I dress for comfort and I can usually be found in jeans in the winter with a long or short sleeved tee. Most everything (except for some workout clothes) are 'lady' type tees...I don't wear the unisex man's type tee because I don't like the neck that tight around me. I tend to go for v neck or slightly scoop neck.

In the summer it's drawstring lightweight cotton capris or walking shorts...feet are usually bare or in sandals. Winter time it's sneakers or a pair of comfortable leather clogs.

When we were in the Smokies I went shopping one night while the guys were skiing...(bought 3 new bras, I think that is what started this, because I came home and tossed three old ones that were replaced with the new ones)at a shop called "Goodies". Nice mid range price department store...I looked through everything including the sale racks. NOTHING appealed to me. NOTHING! (Other than the bras, which are all basic white and were 25% off!) There was all kinds of women's "working at the office" type fashionable clothes...but you know what? the blazers and jackets were the most hideous fabric I'd ever seen! I'm talking big bulky plaids that reminded me of bad upholstery from the 1970s. Orange and avacado green. I kid you not! Slinky fabrics, lots of 'dry clean only'.....I don't think I'd survive having to dress for work like that.

I also don't like how the pants are cut and I'm anxiously awaiting the day when they put the waistline on pants back up where it belongs...ON MY WAIST. I've bought some new pants recently that sit lower, now they aren't really "hip huggers" but they are a couple inches lower than my natural waist, so now my tee shirts aren't long enough and i get belly hang out...egad! If they are going to make the pants lower, don't you think they need to make the shirts LONGER?

I'm just a natural fiber lover I guess....in clothing as well as quilting. I'm glad I don't have a clothes fetish, I'd rather BE quilting.

I'm going to drop these 4 bags off at the Goodwill on my way to a stitch group get together tonight. It's a 'white elephant' swap, and a left over dessert sharing for the goodies. I have neither, but I can probably wrap up a stack of FQ's I'll never use that someone else might want, and I could bring some beverages instead of a dessert. It will be fun to go just for the company of WOMEN after being stranded with too much testosterone around me for so long!


Monday, December 26, 2005

Boxing Day :c)

As it's called in all countries with ties to the crown....The day after Christmas. I was dreadfully low on groceries after being gone for a week so I had to brave the crowds this morning, which were not too bad considering. Sam's Club is not one of those places with huge return/exchange lines, and I do avoid the mall (otherwise known as the MAUL by myself and those who know me who share the same revulsion for the place) at all costs. I came home with some groceries, and two long sleeve V-neck tees that I really did need..and voila! I'm staying home the rest of the day.

Last night we went to a friend's home for desserts and company. A fun time was had, it was a great visit and cozy in their home. I came home with their leftover ham-bone because they were going to toss it...and knowing I am the official "after the holiday" soup officianado, they gave it to me! So I have simmering in the crock pot...one ham bone and bean soup fixings. Yummy.

I've quilted to a couple more old classic movies today, both black and whites that were on the TCM channel. Nice since that channel is commercial free! I've probably got 3 rows of fans left to quilt across the ohio stars and rails quilt..and the callouses are back into protecting my fingers after a couple days off duty.

I'm posting some pics of the finished "The Best Things" Quilt. It turned out way more maverick than I would have expected...It does NOT hang straight, even after washing and blocking it and trying to force it into square..*LOL* It was square WHEN I started...all I can figure is that quilting with a hoop and moving that hoop from place to place, and having LOTS of quilting can pull it right into distortion. *sigh*

Oh well....I am thinking of all the antique quilts I love seeing in books and how their corners are pulled off square, and border edges are anything but straight, and how much MORE I love them because of that human element. And though I used synthropol in the wash water..there was one place where the red did bleed a bit pink into the shirting print border. And YES, I prewashed those reds! I suppose this is much the same kind of thing our fore-quilters would have had to deal with too, and I probably would have loved their quilts just as much or more in spite of it, so phooey. And I am still a lover of that solid red...so I'll keep using it. I just might wash it twice before I piece with it in the future though!

However, I still feel like quite the maverick soul thumbing my nose at the quilt police saying that borders must all be the same width, they must hang straight with square corners and binding miters must be sewn down. HA! I happen to like my origami folded pleated binding corners. I won't stitch them shut for anyone. I think Gwen would be proud, don't you? ;c)

On the school front...I found out that somehow the transcripts that the school sent to the national certification board got LOST. Which means I still don't have a date for taking my exams to get my license. BAH HUMBUG on that. My goal was to have it done before the holidays, and then to have it done before my birthday in Jan...now who knows when they'll have all the stuff together to be able to give me a date to sit for those exams? I guess I'll be getting ALOT of quilting done!


Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

We returned from the cabin in the Smoky Mts yesterday afternoon........Good grief, so much packing and unpacking!

The weather was cold and icy, there was snow on the ground on the drive up there, but luckily (HA!) none fell while we were there. The cabin was up a steep grade, and then the driveway was really steep too, it would have been hard to get the cars up it if it were icy!

The guys skiied and snowboarded to their hearts content. We watched all the old movies and musicals that I had brought, as well as finding our way to the video store to rent some that we hadn't seen before (newer ones...I think my son had his fill of the old classics!)

We grocery shopped and mostly cooked meals and goodies in the cabin, took long walks (HIKES UP HILL!) with the dog, napped, read, and best of all quilted until my fingers were too sore to quilt anymore!

I finished "The best things" quilt...will get a pic of it as soon as I can get things settled here. The binding and hanging sleeve went on last night. I'm also about 3/4 the way handquilting on my ohio stars and rails quilt...weeehhhaa! my push is to see if I can get it done by new years day.

When the fingers were too sore to quilt any farther, I started a little crocheted afghan. I haven't really crocheted in years and years...I think it was working with that scarf last month that put me in the mood. Feeling that soft yarn slide through your fingers is quite nice! I never did learn to knit, and I don't feel the need to, but this afghan thing is just an alternative to needle work at night. Sometimes my eyes are too bleary to hand quilt or applique at night, but I don't have to have so much concentration to add a row to an afghan.

Christmas services at church don't start until 11, so I don't have to be there to start the organ prelude for about an hour. I'm headed to the shower to get ready but I wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, and let you know that we are all home here safe and sound.

Pumpkin pies are in the oven!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Off To The Smokeys!

I wanted to wish everyone a great week before we head out. I had to come back and put my email lists on 'no-mail' so that my inbox doesn't explode after a week of being gone. I have this one friend who forwards me every forward there ever was..she must send everything to her entire address book, so I took her address so she will get sent to spam filter first. I can fish what I need out of there when I get back! *LOL*

I feel like there should be more to do to get ready..like we are forgetting something, or neglecting something, but truth be told, I think we are as ready as we are going to get! It is supposed to snow up there tomorrow so I am glad we are going today.

Everyone stay warm and quilty and post lots of pics so I can see them when I get back! :c)

Merry Christmas to you all!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Packing The Projects..

I was emailing Tonya about how much I love the little fun quilting details she adds to her quilts, and how fun it is to draw things freehand as quilting designs. This is what I did for the feathers in the two corners of my wonky "The Best Things In Life Are Quilted" Quilt...this is the first quilt I did using Tonya letters, and I used lots of bits of UFOs and crumb blocks for the center, even some rejected Dear Jane blocks are in there.

Anyway...drawing the feathers was easy with a blue washout marker. I wanted it to be funky and have that 'childlike' appeal to it, so each feather plume is quilted individualy as tear drops...just as if it were a continuous line pattern. The nicest thing about drawing designs is....you can make it FIT THE SPACE! It is so hard to find a stencil sometimes that will fit what you want, but if you can draw it, you can make it fit the area you need it to.

I've quilted zig zags in the narrow borders, diagonal lines going through the letters and the shirting print background in the outer border. The borders are also all different widths, which gives the quilt a catty-wompus off centered look which I think is fun. FYI...the evening stars in the border are 3" finished! Tonya thought I was nuts when she was over and saw them, I was INTENDING to do a whole bedsized quilt from them. Insane. I'm glad they made it into the border of this quilt along with a rejected border of flying geese that didn't work for another project. This was fun to put together! I hope to do more 'orphan' quilts like this in the future.

The whole quilt is quilted with PURPLE THREAD! I've got one border side left to finish quilting, and then I just have to finish up the middle with the baptist fans. My goal is to have this one DONE by the time I come home on the 24th.

I tried to get some good detail shots for ya, but alot of them turned out blurry, or you couldn't see the quilting detail...but I hope this gives you an idea. Pardon the machine basting thread snippies everywhere! You can click the pics to get a bigger view. I know the quilt looks like it has so much WHITE on the outside, and I usually do dark borders...this light border is a new thing for me, but I am going to finish it off with red binding I think which should frame it in a bit better!

Today I'm meeting my girlfriend Sandi for lunch. I've known her about 3 years now, and how I met her is so funny. We had just moved here, I was at the post office mailing off a customer quilt, and the line was out the door..she was a few people ahead of me in line, and she had a huge tote full of envelopes she was mailing out. My first thought was "I'm glad there is more than one teller or I am going to be behind her forever!" Then I heard her talking to the gal in front of her explaining that she was mailing fabric, that she sold fabrics on Ebay! Well, I butted right in and introduced myself. I was in a new town in a new state and I didn't know any quilters yet! She does mostly brights and novelties, with rare novelties being her specialty. We hit it off and though we love different things, we have a fun friendship and we meet for lunch when we can to catch up. She made us this card that we pass back and forth, and we take turns buying lunch for eachother so every once in a while we feel like WE are being treated. The card is in my wallet so it's MY turn to buy lunch today. She will decide where we go! Then next time, She will treat ME to lunch. We have the card because we can never remember who bought last time! *LOL*


Thursday, December 15, 2005

Leader-Ender Update...

I thought I might be close to having enough length to this leader/ender strippy I'm working on, so I trimmed it into sections. You should have seen this when it was all one length! Now, it wasn't always one length, I had it in several sections, but it still was angled at both ends. I joined them all together in one long length so I could cut the sections where I needed them cut, and not lose ALL the angled ends when I squared them up.

These segments are about 83" long and about 6" wide. I'm planning on 7 of them...that only gives me about 42" of quilt width, right? I'm planning on setting them with some fabric between them. What I can't decide is if the rows between the pieced panels should be as wide as the panels, or should they be narrower? Maybe cut the 4.5" or so?

Well, if I cut them narrower than I might need to piece more lengths of the leader/ender part. For a bed quilt I was aiming for 70 X 80 or so for the middle, giving me room to add borders and fancy it up a bit. I guess that just answered my question...if I make the alternate strips finish at 5" wide, that gives me a center that is 78X83 It will be an almost square quilt, but alot of antique quilts (that I love to replicate) WERE square.

Weeeeeeeeeeeeee! So now I just need enough leader/ender segments to finish that 7th strippy panel and I will be able to put this one together! Another "free" top that was nearly completely pieced while working on other projects! And that 2" bin of scrap squares that I keep by the machine doesn't seem to be dimishing by much either.

Not sure when I started this one....it was after I had enough 9 patches for the zig zag 9 patch I did earlier this year.

The other dilemma...do I use a shirting as a setting fabric? Or go for something authentically old looking that will show the quilting detail..like...a tea stain muslin color? If I use a shirting, feather quilting isn't going to show in there very well.

One thing I also like.....after studying antique quilts for years and years, I love what adding a strategic solid fabric does to the quilt. The solid receeds while the prints come forward. The solids don't upstage the prints, they give them a place to perform. Some people think you shouldn't use solids (that they will just read 'flat')...I think they are awesome places to set things off, and quilting detail shows really great in solids where it can be really hard to see in a print. Especially if you are recreating the look of authentic antique quilts. There is a place for solids!


Sleepless Nights

Don't you hate it when for some reason you wake up at 3am and after 5 hours of sleep you just can't lay there any longer? Not sure what woke me, whether it was a bit of discomfort still from the cryo, or the freezing rain that I could hear on the awning over the hottub on the deck outside....or cats that decided to bite my toes at 3am. I tried going back to sleep after reading through the blog rings, but then at 5am DH's alarm went off so he could get up for his workout at the YMCA before heading to work and I just said oh heck, just get up! So here I am. I'm dragging...but I figure if I get moving now, I can take a nap later :c)

Laundry will be tackled shortly. I'm starting to pile stuff in the living room (no one actually ever lives in there...it's just an out of the way room!) for taking to the cabin on saturday. I was going to take my machine, but you know what? I think I'll take all hand work. I've got two quilts that are partially hand quilted. I've got a quilt that needs applique finished in the border. I've got a hexagon medallion in christmas colors that has sat for a couple years..it used to be my 'take along' project to guild meetings before I started school and was too bleary eyed at guild meetings to be able to sit and stitch on little 1.5" hexagons. I think I'll have plenty to take. I could also crochet another scarf with some yarn I have....blue this time, little sparkly things in it. That might work if my fingers get too poked up from hand quilting and applique. So I think I'm set in that department.

Today I'm returning some books on CD to get some new ones. I'll load them up on the MP3 player and this will save my sanity if because of cold icky weather I am locked in a tiny cabin with two guys and FOOTBALL GAMES ON TV. I can drown them out, really I can! I'll just sit and smile and stitch and listen to a book instead of those games...

Oh and this is cool...I LOVE old movies. The classics. Things like old musicals, funny movies like "Don't Eat The Daisies", etc. My mom and stepdad for the past couple of years, being on a very fixed income and having 8 kids and umpteen grandchildren, have started recording old favorites of theirs onto DVD and giving us those for Christmas. It's GREAT! I admit to already peeking in the package that mom sent and in it are the folowing:

An American In Paris
Three Little Words
Hit The Deck
The Harvey Girls
Summer Stock
Night & Day
Look For The Silver Lining
Please Don't Eat The Daisies
Support Your Local Sheriff
Call Me Madam
Merry Andrew
Singing In The Rain
Easter Parade
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (My fave when I was a kid!)
The Mating Game
Father Goose
Meet Me In St Louis
In The Good Old Summertime
The King & I
Interrupted Melody
Come September
Lover Come Back
The Court Jester
The Glass Bottom Boat

A lot of these I've never heard of! So this will be very fun. Lots of old movies to quilt to!

We can't check into the cabin until after 2pm, so we were planning on getting there a bit earlier than that and grocery shopping before we check in. We are taking both vehicles so while the guys are skiing, I can run to town if I want and not be too stranded. The other reason for this is because DH's pickup won't hold us all plus the dog....and my PT won't either. This is one time we needed a mini van and we don't own one. The cabin is only about 2 to 2 1/2 hours away so it won't be bad to drive two cars. (More book on CD time for me!)

I was looking at my calendar, and I've got two retreats coming up! One over Martin Luther King weekend in January, at Hickory Knob SC. It's a guild retreat, fun fun fun for 4 days! We start friday and come home monday. The other one is to Hilton Head, SC...it's the same weekend as the Jinney Beyer Convention there. We go and see her quilts, it's open to the public, and there is a little vendor mall they set up. Some of the gals take classes, but I like to work on my own stuff, so I'm just there to get away from it all.

I sure would love it at some point if we could have a Quilt Mavericks retreat! I know we are scattered far and wide, but if you are ever in my neck of the woods, you are welcome to come by! I'd love to meet y'all!


Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Don't Cryo For Me, Argentina.....*singing*

Pardon my spoof on songs from Evita! Andrew Lloyd Weber might consider that a very bad rendition of his song....

I had the cryo surgery this morning. It wasn't TOO bad, but still pretty uncomfortable! Though anything that happens around private body parts is not comfortable to me, even after having 3 babies it doesn't get any easier to have things stuck in me down there...

And all the while the doctor (old and bald, thank goodness, not young and handsome!) telling me to relax and let my knees fall out to the side..yeah right! I told him that we ought to freeze his prostate and see if he can "relax"?! :c)

They have to freeze your cervix for 3 to 4 minutes...and nitrus oxide is -50 degrees Celsius! I feel crampy, enough that I don't feel like doing much (I think concentrating on a customer's quilt is out of the question), but not bad enough to keep me in bed where all I do is feel it. Maybe a walk later will get my mind off the cramps. Ibuprophen has been taken, and there is this antibiotic cream that I am supposed to use at nights? Great...more goo....*LOL*

It is OVER. That is all I care about...not pleasant, but at least over! It's been almost 2 hours, and I still feel like an ice cube deep inside..*LOL*


Sunday, December 11, 2005

Baskets For Sew Catherine

Catherine posted a couple of pics on her blog of her mini basket blocks, which are SO darling! This made me excited too because I have a quilt top of these babies all ready to hand quilt, and the drive to do so really hasn't attacked me until I finish some other hand quilting-in-progress. (hoping to make a big dent in the hand quilting department next week while being gone!)

Anyway..the story of the basket quilt is one I thought you would enjoy, because there are actually TWO basket quilts!

When Lucy and I met via email and started writing back and forth and forming a friendship, we got this idea that we would both make this tiny basket quilt....really an insane thing because there are 180 of them in the quilt. That's a BUNCH of basket blocks!

SO! We get this idea that as we are each cutting out our own baskets, that we would cut them in sets of two, save one for ourself, and send the other cut out block as a 'kit' to each other! We sent them in groups of 20 or so baskets at a time. This way we were sharing the fabrics, but each doing our own work on them. By the time Lucy arrived here last March, we both had ALL the basket blocks DONE. I had spent lunch breaks at school appliqueing handles down, and then when I had enough handles done, I'd machine piece the batch, and then move onto the next batch, etc. It took me quite a while to get 180 baskets done.

While she was here we made a pilgrimage to Mary Jo's Fabrics in Gastonia, NC...and we picked out setting and border fabrics together. We even had sewing time here at my house with both machines going on the kitchen table and we had them laid out in two separate rooms! I got mine finished, Lucy's was still in progress when she packed it up to take it back to Haarlem, I still don't know if she finished her top or not...did you Lucy??

The wind was not cooperating with me while I tried to take pics. I really don't know when this will get quilted, but it has very special memories in the making of the tops!