Saturday, March 24, 2007

Stuck between quilts and a hard place...

I found myself this way when I lost my friend to breast cancer in december. In fact, I learned a valuable lesson...never machine quilt a customer's quilt when you are grieving! I am in the process of picking out stitching that I didn't see through my tears that the bobbin tension was way off..whhha....and doesn't it sound so "trite" to try to explain to an unhappy customer that "the week I quilted your quilt I was sitting at my friend's bedside while home hospice came in and out....and I watched her slowly slip away"....I should have waited to quilt that quilt. But I digress...
I have a massage client who has become a good friend who is now in the same process of dying from pancreatic cancer. Hospice started the past couple of weeks. I went to see her a couple days ago. She is in good spirts, is still walking around, but she tires so easily. I talked to her daughter, and she said hospice has confirmed that Marie is not long for this world. She is not in pain, meds are taking care of that, but it is going fast.
I want to make her a quilt...I've been pulling out parts of stuff all morning trying to figure out what I can put together for her. Or do I need to worry about it? I feel like I should have given her a quilt MONTHS ago.....I really think it will be her hubby who will need the quilt after Marie is gone, but.....
I don't have any quilts far enough along to just "piece more blocks and get it done" I've got a dozen of this variety, a dozen of that....I was just playing and I kept getting pulled away by work and family, now I need a quilt and some serious time to put it together.
And here this week I was piecing on a quilt for my sister's baby-to-come....and I should have been working on a quilt for Marie. AUUGH!
Does anyone feel overwhelmed about who needs a quilt and how to get it to all fit together around the rest of life that needs to be done too? I've got my little log cabin quilt in the machine, and I can't quilt a gift-quilt until I spend several more hours finishing this one before I can even load anything else in the machine...so what to do first? finish the logs and then piece a quilt for Marie? Do I have time? I seem to get paralyzed when life gets this way.
Most of all, I'm going to miss her terribly. I'm not ready to grieve again yet. Losing 2 good friends 3 months apart to cancer is just so hard.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Cabin Fever Quilting!

I'm quilting a bit on the tiny log cabin quilt that got big... :c) Picture is worth 1000 words or so they say, but blogger isn't cooperating with uploading pics. Is anyone else having that problem? I tried yesterday, I tried this morning...and it won't let me upload a pic....and I tried all three different browsers..whaaaa...

So instead, I'll send you a link to "Cabin Fever!"

It is machine quilting beautifully, even with all the thicknesses of the seams. Need I say this top weighs 1/2 a ton?

Gorgeous day out here in SC! Reports say we should be close to 90 degrees this weekend...I tell ya...it's either freeze or roast, there is not much time for in between....better get the A/C ready!


Thursday, March 22, 2007

New Pattern & Tour De Cure!

Hello Quilters!

I have added a new pattern to the Quiltville.com website! Before I give you the link, Please take some time to read the following message. There are two times a year I send out notices asking for pledges as there are two causes that affect my family greatly. One is the MS150 ride for multiple sclerosis in the fall, and this one today is in regards to the Tour De Cure for Diabetes which is June 2nd & 3rd of this year..

2007 Tour De Cure

*URGENT!!* Your help and support is greatly needed!

Every year my husband Dave cycles with a group of over 300 riders in South Carolina in the 150 mile 2 day ride called the "Tour De Cure" for diabetes. I do my part by providing massage therapy for the cylists after each leg of the ride! This year's Tour De Cure will be held on June 2nd & 3rd, 2007.

Each mile he will ride, each dollar we will raise will be used in the fight to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. This is our 5th year of being involved with the Tour De Cure and I hope it will be our best yet!

No matter how small or large, your generous gift will help improve the lives of the more than 18 million Americans who suffer from diabetes, in the hope that future generations can live in a world without this disease. Together, we can all make a difference!

For 11 years I have provided quilt patterns on this website free of charge. If you find this site to be beneficial to you as a quilt maker, I ask that you please consider making a pledge to help The American Diabetes Association fight diabetes as a way to say "Thanks!" for all you find here.

If you can spare even $20, please think of someone you know who is living with diabetes daily and all that they go through and all that your donation can do to help. If you know someone with diabetes, PLEASE donate and forward this on to those who have family members with diabetes. Your continued support is necessary to help find a cure for this disease.

Click to Sponsor Dave:

Thanks for all you do!

As for the new pattern, It's called Crayon Box!

It's a GREAT way to use squares, bricks and strips.....and almost NO matching of seams anywhere! The pattern makes a 12" block. Have fun!


Sunday, March 18, 2007

Still Playing...

I've had lots of comments on whether the 9 patch split is too light,etc....I have to agree with Sharon, if I do it more color controlled, it will give eyes place to rest. For instance, if I do red/neutral/blue...it would make a GREAT QOV (quilts of valor) pattern! I played with it in EQ 5 a bit, and changed part of the lights to a gold...The light areas would be all different neutrals..the blues all different blues...the constant factor would be the red/gold triangles.

The little sample I started yesterday is getting a braided border. It won't turn the corners right because of the cornerstones (can you just say NO to mitered corners!) and the cornerstones are just going to run off the edge wherever they end. I'm fine with this! It's been a great way to do some mindless piecing, and use up a bunch of short 2" strips in the process.


Saturday, March 17, 2007

National Quilting Day!

Did you get to sew today?? I only did a bit. I had one of those moments last night where a block flashed through my head, I played with it, went to sleep on it, got up this morning and EQ'd it...then thought it had to be put in fabric for me to really see. And you know what? Some things that look good in EQ just don't look as good in fabric?

I had an idea to take a split 9 patch, and color it a bit differently so that the 1/2 square triangles down the center were turned around...lights against darks, darks against lights, and instead of using all squares in the block. add some rectangles too to use some pre-cut bricks that I've got.

What I ended up with was a quilt with way too much light! I'll still put it together. My sister is due with her 2nd baby and it will work up cute for a baby quilt....but I'm back to the drawing board on how to color this better so there isn't SO much light. It really does look like there is more light than dark, and it should be completely even. Funny how those optical illusions turn out! I'm calling this one 9 patch split!


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Blossoms for Spring!

I'm heading off to work here in a few minutes, but I wanted to show you something pretty I've been quilting on! These are Elizabeth's embroidery blocks..I set them together at retreat, and today I finished the quilting. It feels so much like spring! I quilted with the windows open and a gentle breeze wafting in...I could hear the neighbors revving up their lawn mower for the first time this season...

For you in the frozen north...never fear...spring is coming!


Monday, March 12, 2007

Stashbuster Topic of the week....

I recieved an email from Suzanne asking:

What is your oldest UFO?
How old and why did it become a UFO?
When do you plan to finish it?
How many UFOs do you have?

This is a question that in the past would have brought on lots of guilt! *LOL* But no more. My UFO's have been little by little being cleared up into at least "finished top" status. I know some people would think of a quilt top as a UFO, but to me it isn't. I just haven't got the quilting done yet, but I still consider a finished top as an accomplishment. And I'm not going to count the number of them that are stacked in various rooms around here! But yes...it is on my mind to complete a number of them into finished quilts as time allows. It's the time that is the hard part. Usually if I stick something of my own on the machine, it has to be something that can be done lickety-split in between customer quilts....not something I can take days and days to do exquisite quilting on. That's why you see a lot of simple quilting on my own quilts. Time crunch!

The oldest UFO I had was those Lily blocks that I just finished setting with the string blocks, and that is on my list to machine quilt. It's not a UFO anymore, not really. I've already matched it with a backing, I just need machine time for it.

The other two that come to mind are the half completed Nearly Insane.....and the pink and brown Dear Jane. Both of which are tedious beyond measure and just don't hold my attention right now,but they will get done. They are BOTH past half way, and I don't know why they got set aside, but mostly I think it is because of lack of concentrated time (needed to feel a sense of progress!) and life getting in the way.

I've got some zip lock baggies of various sets of blocks that haven't been set. Like the puss in the corner blocks from the Road to Camp Gravatt quilt that I finished a couple weeks ago....and the T for Talula top that I just finished this weekend. The blocks were done, just not set...didn't know how to set them or what to do with them. I've got some samples of blocks I've tried that I like...and want to make more to make a full quilt out of them, but they are not really UFOs...just technique samples. I tell myself that quilters in centuries past had "orphan" blocks to catalogue different patterns, test blocks, pass patterns from one to another, teach themselves techniques...and I do to. Sometimes a block is needed because we need to see it in FABRIC, not just printed on paper, or a picture in a magazine.

That's the UFO status over here! And my method of clearing them up? Tackle and finish the one that is closest to completion. If you have something that only needs binding..bind it. If you have something that just needs borders...border it. Finish the ones that are the closest to being done so you can knock them off the list as fast as you can. It's a great sense of accomplishment (And RELIEF!)


Sunday, March 11, 2007

Is It Done?

I believe this quilt says it is "DONE". No other border needed. It just wouldn't fit the time period of the quilt if I added MORE to it...you know?

The one thing I hate about not putting a border on.....it doesn't leave a fudge factor for trimming and squaring the quilt once it is quilted. I look at antique quilts...did they square off their corners and make sure everything was perfectly straight and the corners were at the perfect angle before adding binding? No. They quilted it, and bound whatever shape the edge turned out to be. How come we have turned ourselves into such "straight edged and perfect corners" quilters?

But there you have it. I know if I quilt this the way that it is now, that the quilting will distort the edge a bit, it's the nature of the beast, fabric is a semi-fluid medium. When I go to square it, I'm going to lose enough in that 1" outter edge of the sashing that it will be wonky to the eye! My main thought for borders is that it gives you a wider place to trim off and it doesn't look so obvious if you shave a bit off here and a bit off there to square the quilt.

Talula would have just bound it and been done with it....no matter if there were bumps along the edge, and the corners weren't perfect.

Why do we (I?) get so worked up about this?!


Saturday, March 10, 2007

T is for Talula.....

One of my favorite "pioneer" quilters is Talula Gilbert Bottoms. I first learned about her "Legacy" (and the book by that name) somewhere around 1990. Two books were written about her, one more of a history, and then the second book, Family Ties, had patterns for her quilts.

She had an amazing life! She was born during the civil war. Lived an incredibly hard life...and quilted her way through hundreds of quilts into the 1940's. So you can imagine the types of fabrics and styles of quilts that passed under her needle.

I often find myself looking through pictures of her quilts for inspiration on settings,etc.

This is how I came upon the sashing I wanted to use for these murky double T blocks. I have had these for 4 years or more...worked on them at a couple retreats...they weren't getting any better! I was inspired by an antique quilt..but I think that antique's double pink background was not as dark as mine, and my T's are lost in the background. What to do?

I asked Talula! And I turned to a quilt she made that had red and green striped sashings, and big green cornerstones and I knew that was what I wanted to do. Originally I was going to just set the blocks together side by side so they all touched, but the T's were lost in the sea of dark double pink and it wasn't making me happy.

Talula..if you are out there, this T quilt is thanks to you!

On the homefront here.....Sadie's stitches were all inflamed and she was oozing between her sutures :c( She seemed to be itching really badly scratching and licking herself non stop, so I spent this morning at the vet with her. Got some meds, a shot...and a funky clown collar to keep her from licking herself! SHE HATES IT! I don't blame her. But it is doing the job, she can't lick herself at all...


Thursday, March 08, 2007

Bonus Block!

Due to popular demand, I have "FINALLY" written up my instructions on how draft a Spider Web block for string piecing. Spiderwebs are great for using up short lengths of strings and crumbs!

The directions make a 10 3/4" block.

Sadie is home from the vet today! She is sore from having her belly cut to be spayed :c( Poor thing! It didn't slow her down much though...when she came in to see Buddy they were both so happy!

In Stitches - - - -

Bound and Sleeved....

I finished the binding and hanging sleeve on my "Road to Camp Gravatt" yesterday. It felt good to sit and do some hand work. I'm feeling on the edge of punky. post-nasal drippy..bit of a scratchy throat. Didn't I just get over this? I think we MUST be on the edge of spring and that is why it keeps re-attaching itself to my sinuses.

Trees are blooming! I saw trees with puffy pink blooms and other trees with white popcorn blooms all over them. I saw yellow forsythia in full bloom! Today the sun is shining.....

I took Sadie yesterday to get her shots and to be spayed. That was all included in her adoption fees. Poor Buddy really seems to miss her! I pick her up late this afternoon. We've all gotten so attached to her so quickly!


Sunday, March 04, 2007

Cute Girl On A Quilt! :c)

Awwwwwwwwww man! She is TOO CUTE! Nap time on Mommy' bed :c)


Introducing Sadie Jane!

I'd like to introduce you to the newest member of our family! This is Sadie Jane! For the last while we have been thinking about adopting another dog so that our Buddy would have someone to play with when we are out working, or at school, etc. Poor guy...since I became not-such-a-stay-at-home mom, he has been really lonely!

We found what fun it was to have another dog for him to play with when we baby sat our friend's dog for a week while they were out of town.

I didn't want a puppy! I didn't want to have to housebreak another dog. I thought of all the chewing that puppies do...auughh! I am not home enough to do all those "new puppy" things to grow a rambunctious pup into a nice house dog. So I kept putting it on the back burner.

The other day I was standing in a long line at the post office (You know how it goes, one window open,and a line that goes out the door?!) And I grabbed the little local paper to read it while standing in line. There was an ad for "pup of the week" for the local animal shelter, and she seemed so sweet that it put the idea in my head to go check it out. That was a few days ago, I had to wait until Saturday to have the time to go there.

I looked at SO MANY dogs. I took many out to the play yard and tried to bond with them. The dog in the ad was a 9 mo old female, and she was too rowdy and barky for what I wanted. In the midst of all these kennels where dogs were barking wildly and jumping at the gates....sat Sadie. The sweetest expression on her face, her tail wagging, and not a bark escaped her! I asked the attendant if I could take her out to the play yard and we became fast friends.

She is about 1 1/2 years old. She won't get any bigger than this (which is fine with me!) She rode in the car well, and when she met Buddy for the first time they were both so happy and started playing right away! Within 2 minutes she had followed his lead out the doggy door, explored the yard, and came back in again. She is SO SMART! She is house broken,and takes herself outside if she needs to go.

She slept all night at the foot of our bed...she was so tired and wiped out from all the excitement of finding a new family and home!

She is curious about the cats, but doesn't bark or chase them...just wants to sniff them. Oscar put up with it for a bit....but then he finally had enough, hissed, and ran away. But I think they will get along fine.

As of a few minutes ago Sadie and Buddy were in a sunny spot in the back yard chewing blissfully on bones. It's a match made in heaven! I am a big advocate of adopting rescue animals. So many loving animals just simply need a home and someone to give their affection to.


Friday, March 02, 2007

Sneak Preview!

Hi Quilters!!

The quilt isn't finished yet, but there were such rave reviews over it at retreat, that I have made up the directions for the "Road To Camp Gravatt" top. I will put a completed pic of it on the page when the quilting and binding are done, but it is such a fun and easy quilt, I thought you'd like to get started in the mean time!

You will find the directions for "Road To Camp Gravatt" here

Always In Stitches - - -

Trunk Shows & Workshops!

Due to much coersion (and prodding and needling and encouragement!) I have decided to expand my horizons and offer trunk shows and workshops for my quilts to guilds and shops!

I've taught some guild workshops before and done a couple of trunk shows, but it was all very local and with people I knew. So this is a bit exciting and scary for me! If you are within 500 miles of Columbia SC, please forward the following info to your local guild program chairman, or your favorite shop owner!

(Yes, this message is completely spam, so I beg you to bear with this shameless plug of a post!!)


Scrap Quilts - This trunk show includes a variety of quilts made in traditional patterns, as well as original Quiltville patterns designed by Bonnie Hunter. Emphasis on traditional scrap and "utility" piecing. Focus is placed on using a wide variety of fabrics and leftovers from other projects. "If it's still ugly, it just hasn't been cut small enough!!"

Utility Quilts - strings, crumbs, and orphans: What to do with the humblest of scraps! String and "crumb" piecing is fast, fun and rewarding. Great techniques for charity quilts.

Scrap User's System- This lecture takes you through my years of scrap quilting and how I have organized my scraps and leftovers to be easily ascessible and workable into my quilt making. Also includes discussion of tools of the trade that I find helpful in my scrap using. I am a scrap USER, not just a scrap saver! There is a difference....this lecture will inspire quilters to organize their scraps and start turning them into beautiful quilts.

Trunk shows last approximately one hour + Q&A and will be illustrated with loads of my quilts. I will need two volunteers to hold quilts and a table to lay quilts on.

Any of the patterns listed on the Quiltville website can be taught as a workshop. Please contact me for details.

Crumb Piecing - students will bring scraps and strips to share with others in the class so that everyone has a variety of fabrics to play with. I will demonstrate a variety of ways to piece crumb blocks including wonky log cabin, string, and free form. I'll bring my own Crumb quilts for inspiration.

Fees for Lectures and Workshops:
All lectures are illustrated with actual quilts, not slides.

Lecture fee: $200 plus expenses

Attendance for all workshops is limited to 20 students.
1 day $400 plus expenses

Lectures and Workshops can be combined for consecutive days. Please contact Bonnie for details.

If your guild or shop is within 100 miles of Columbia, SC, no lodging will be required, except in the event of bad weather, but round-trip mileage is required at the current federal rate.

Most of my quilts are full bedsize...so it is neccessary that I drive to all lectures/workshops as there is no way to transport enough quilts for a successful trunk show by plane. :c) (Weight limits,you know?!) Due to having to drive for all lectures/workshops, I am limited to a drive no longer than 8 hours (or approximately 500 miles) in any direction from Columbia SC. Locations farther than 100 miles from Columbia, SC will require lodging and
round-trip mileage at the current federal rate.

I am also available to come teach and give trunk shows at guild retreats!

Massage Therapy!

Consider the Benefits of Massage Therapy for your Guild Retreat!

Did you know I am a licensed massage therapist? I am nationally certified in therapeautic massage and body work. Make your retreat extra special by offering relaxing and therapeutic massage for tired, sore, hard working quilters! Special attention given to all the areas that quilters abuse.....neck, head, shoulders, between the shoulder blades, mid and low back issues, hips, legs, feet, arms, hands....Your retreat attendees will experience the best of both worlds! What could be better than a retreat away sewing with quilting friends AND an on-site massage therapist? :c)

For further information contact Bonnie.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Monday Mayhem!

Today is the day I give notice to the chiropractor that I quit! This will be my last week. I've given them a month to find someone to replace me, but so far nada, and it is just NOT working for me. Isn't it funny how you think something will work great, and then you try it and it turns your life upside down, and you feel like a machine, and it just doesn't fit with your life?! I liked things better the way they WERE...where I could quilt in the mornings, schedule my clients in the afternoon and make it all work around MY life...so everything is a learning experience.

Here are some pics! I am calling the red/black/butterscotch quilt "Road to Camp Gravatt" in honor of putting the whole thing together at retreat. :c) I figure if there is a Road to St Louis, Road to California, Road to....? That there can be a Road to Camp Gravatt. No other names worked....and everything else I could come up with reminded me of food. I really don't like quilts that are named after food...*LOL* I really like how the wonky star points in the sashings turned out. Fun fun fun!

The other quilt is a maverick basket that I finished for a customer. It was her husband's great aunt's quilt top or something...and let me tell you this thing was not only wavy in ALL directions and had poofy spots in each and every block, but was a trapezoid as well! The only way to work this thing was to square it off, and add borders hoping to stabilize the whole thing. I squared it....added the top and bottom pink borders, and then the two green ones. I just thought you would get a chuckle of how EVERYTHING goes down hill on this quilt. Truly a happy ending for it. Spots were SO puffy that I had to use thick poly batting to suck it all up. It worked!


Sunday, February 25, 2007

Quilt Camp!

I'm home from Quilt Camp! What a fun time was had by all.

First off, this retreat was the best put together retreat that I have EVER been on. All we had to do was set up and sew! Meals were provided, snacks were plentiful...we had a full 6 ft banquet table PER PERSON (no sharing!) so there was lots of room to spread out......

The accomodations were great....it was an episcopal church camp, and we were in no way "roughing it!" If you have any interest in coming to SC for a retreat, definately contact Joyce or Sherry at Just Stitchin' Retreats to see what retreats are underway in the future!

The pic of the camp shows the lake....and the trails, the pines, it was a very relaxing place for a retreat! Plans are underway for a fall retreat in October, I can't wait!

During the retreat I had the pleasure of being the on-staff massage therapist, and we had ALL slots full! I gave 12 massages over the weekend, and it was a treat to get to know the ladies a bit better. I've been a member of the Devine Quilter's guild in Columbia since moving here 4 years ago, but this is the first retreat for me, and a great way to get to know the ladies. (We are called the Devine Quilters because we meet on Devine Street in Columbia, but I would like to think we are just Devine in all ways possible ;c)

I finished two quilt tops while at the retreat. I'll have to get pics tomorrow...it's dark now...but here is a pic taken by Sherry of me working away at my machine in between massages!