Thursday, April 19, 2007

My Previous Life....

You know how weird it is to discover your PAST on EBAY!?

I used to design doll and animal patterns under the name "Needle in a Haystack!!" in the 1990's. After vending at Quilt Market a few times, I was picked up by the Butterick Pattern Co, and had quite a run with them, until coming up with 6 new designs every 6 months while raising two small children got to be too much to handle. Besides, how many bears, chickens, cows, racoons (yes, racoons!) can someone come up with before they all start to look alike?

This was also when the "made in china" crafts began to flood into the US and the really fun "craft malls" with handmade items were shortly over run by cheapy imports.

It was when I decided to give up the pattern designing and let it peter out that I bought my longarm machine and have never looked back.....

2 more sleeps until Lucy comes!!!


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Leaders & Enders....the adventure continues....

I had an email from a lady asking what else she could do with 4 patches if she kept making them for leaders and enders. I haven't done 4 patches for a while so I thought I would start throwing some together and see what I could come up with.

I like two-block quilts...they tend to have alot of interesting elements when you start to put two different blocks together. I monkeyed around in EQ and this is what I came up with usuing a variation of a jacob's ladder block and a variation of 54-40 or fight....Because I have a hard time naming quilts, this may become known as "Stars and Ladders." Original, huh? :cÞ

I'd like to do this using my brighter 2" scrap squares (the blocks finish at 9") various lights...but have the star points and the red/black of the jacob's ladder block consistant. To me the quilt layout has a stained glass look to it. The Choir I sing with rehearses and performs at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Columbia SC. The building is pre-civil war, and the stained glass is breathtaking. This mock up kind of reminds me of the colors in the stained glass when the lights shine through...but I'm concerned that the quilt might still have "too much light" in it. So we will see..... These are my first two "test" blocks. Hard to see what it will look like from here if I keep going.

Oh....the tri recs rulers are awesome for the star blocks. The pieces fit together perfectly. The star points and background wedges are both cut from the same width of strip ...3.5" The triangles in the jacob's ladder blocks are also from 3.5" strips and cut with the easy angle ruler. The 4 patches could be "speed pieced" with 2" light and 2" bright strips too.....so it could go together quite a bit faster than just "leaders/enders"

And yes, I shouldn't have my mind going off on another project when Lucy is going to be here SATURDAY! (5 more sleeps! WEEEEE!)


Sunday, April 15, 2007

From First to Most Recent Completion....

This week's Stashbuster Topic asks us to talk about our first quilt. What was yours?

This is a pic of my first completed all the way quilt! I was 20 when I made this in 1982 as a baby quilt for my baby sister when she was born. It's faded over the years of course, but it touched me when Mary sent the pic that showed she still had and treasured this little humble quilt. DH's grandmother showed me how to make cardboard templates, trace them and then cut the pieces. This was before rotory cutters! It's a wonder I ever finished this thing at all because I really hated that process, but it got me well on the way to my quilting obsession, and I haven't stopped since!

The fabrics came from a children's clothing outlet in Boise, Idaho. They would sell the bags of factory scraps, I had bought two bags, one pink, and one blue floral stripe. I guess I didn't know too much about contrast then! I quilted it in the ditch, not knowing any other way to do it, and learned to do prairie points for the borders. Oh, my quilting thread? Regular sewing thread, a double strand! I'm not sure I buried knots on the back either...Oh how far we have come, and enjoyed the journey!

Mary is now expecting her 2nd child, and I just finished the binding on the quilt (it's a boy! I found out today!) while I was at Tonyas. How's that to make someone feel old? I made a quilt for her when she was born, and now I'm making quilts for her kids!


Back From Tonya's!

Hi Hi Hi!

I'm home! Oh man, what a wonderful whirlwind quilting week I had at Chez Ricucci!

I ended up leaving later than expected....leaving here about 4:30 pm on Easter Sunday. I made it as far as Daytona, and had to stop and spend the night, just too tired to go any farther. Tonya's was about 3 hours more outside of Daytona, and I couldn't keep driving any longer.

I checked into a nice clean Day's Inn, and it was lights OUT! The next morning I got up, trundled off down I-95 and made it with no problems to Tonya's, arriving just before lunch.

I didn't mention that the day BEFORE easter....I got a new car :c) So this was the virgin voyage in my new Saturn Vue! It's raining today, so not a good day to get a pic, but I'll get one. It's silver, and I love it! It is the end of an era, Bonnie not being seen toodling around in her PT Cruiser, but life goes on.

I showed some pics for inspiration the week before I left...and the one that kept coming back to me was the string pieced lone star from many diamonds.....I have this quilt in a big book on antique quilts, and every time I'd flip through that book it would call to me "some day...some day..." Well, some day arrived! Before leaving for Tonya's I thought I'd do a few test diamonds to see how they'd look...and then, well, before long..I had enough for one BIG diamond (25 little diamonds!) and I knew it would work. So that was the main project I packed.

I brought a bin of crumbs/strings and we set out sewing! After completing the big diamonds, we had to go shopping for setting fabric (Oh horrors!) I had ORANGE on the brain because Susan was sending me some orange, and it hadn't arrived in the mail before I left (nor did I think I'd get so far as to need it yet) so orange it was..turns out the orange I found was BRIGHTER (does ATOMIC describe it well!?)than what Susan sent! I couldn't tell from her pics how bright what she was sending was...Borders are needed, not sure what I'm going to do yet. Flying geese come to mind...hmmmm. Just for fun....can you find the FLAMINGO fabric in the close up pic? :cD Have to have a flamingo in there to remind me of my trip to Florida!

After the star was set, we started playing around with a "bonnie" version of Tonya's LOVE quilt. I had wanted to do one, and made it fit my style by inserting string X blocks between the Loves. It needs one more border. It is SO cute! I'm thinking of calling it "Love on a shoestring budget" :cD Tonya and I both pieced the letters. Hers are better than mine. Let's just say I am very V challenged!!

Everyone here at home is fine and glad to see me. I'm also getting a lot of teasing about being a 'loafer' because Lucy comes this next weekend and I have the week off with her too and we are going to Paducah! Weeee! (Can't wait to meet up with Dawn and her friends too...)

Tired and happy in SC,

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Dreaming of Strings....

Some pics of string quilts for dreaming....

I'm heading south to visit Tonya in FL for spring break....and we are trying to come up with something we can sew on as a project "together". Just love these three quilts so much, that I can't decide! Of course, the quilt that uses the smallest crumbs would be great....

I'm knee deep in taxes here. It's gotta get done before I go, so sewing time is limited right now...(good thing too!)


Sunday, April 01, 2007


I finished the binding on Marie's quilt today, and took it over to her this afternoon. She was in very good spirits! Her daughter and granddaughter were also there and we had a good visit.

I have to tell you how TOUCHED and overwhelmed she was with the quilt, and the story behind it. I explained to her that the blocks were made by my online quilting group, blocks were sent to Becky, who pieced all the blocks into the top, then the top was sent to me for quilting and binding. I read her the lable. She was just so amazed that a bunch of women who have never met EACH OTHER (most of us) would make a quilt for someone they didn't even know. She doesn't know quilters very well, does she? :c)

She wanted me to thank each and everyone of you who sent blocks to Becky and to Becky who pieced the top. She said "How ever am I going to thank them!?" I told her that if she is feeling up to it, that her daughter can take a pic of her with the quilt with her digital camera, and send it to me so I can share it with you. I hope she has a good day :c)

I told you how Marie does beautiful water colors. She paints florals in very vibrant colors. The purple of Iris, the Golden Yellow of Sunflowers, the aqua blue of the ocean....and this quilt was SO full of the colors that Marie loves most, even she commented on it that "oh,it's MY COLORS!". Girls, you done good!

Happy and Grateful in SC,

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Quilting Done!

The quilting is done! I'm having fun with this "one big meandering feather" thing....it just fills the quilt, it's easier than a panto because you don't have to adjust rows, it just flows! I can see some more of my own UFO tops being finished this way because I like how it looks, and it goes so FAST....

Here is a pic of the back too...the color is off, it's an aqua turquoise that goes really well with the top!

I'm on my way into the clinic to work, I'll start the binding this evening when I get home.

The invisible fence is installed, and Sadie is so smart...she's only been zapped once. The collar beeps a warning beep first, and she knows when she hears that she needs to back away. I think it's the safest thing for all involved. Now she knows her boundaries, and I don't need to worry about her getting out of the fence and wandering down the road.


Friday, March 30, 2007

Home Again!

Nearly Dognapped! OH MY GOSH....I posted the other post because I was frantic.

While I was on the phone to 911 saying that my dog had been dognapped by a guy in a white van, a white van pulls up outside of my house, and there is my dog!

Turns out the guy in the white van is the father of Jeff's friend and he knew Sadie...saw her as he was running an errand to town, picked her up, took her with him, and brought her back. The whole thing was about 45 minutes of TERROR for me..but it turned out okay.

The invisible fence is going in TONIGHT!!

Bad Sadie the escape artist...giving her mama a heart attack!!


Thursday, March 29, 2007

This is the Quilt that Love Built

This is the quilt that love built.
This is the quilt with strings so bright
Pieced by Becky long into the night
Sent 'cross states on an overnight flight
Quilted by Bonnie with hopes that it might
Wrap 'round Marie with a warmth just right
This is the quilt that love built.

This poem came to me while I was fixing my tea this morning! The quilt top
from Becky arrived yesterday. I'm loading it today....it is JUST BEAUTIFUL!
I love the brights in it, and it is SO Marie. She does beautiful watercolor
paintings (and oils too) and her color choices are so vivid.....and this
quilt is SO Marie! I can't thank you enough Becky!

I'll post a pic when it's done.

The poem is going on the label :c)


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Who let the dogs out......huh, huh, huh???

Or however that song goes! I just realised things were far too quiet here on the home front. I went to check for the dogs in the back yard....and the gate was open!! AUUUGHHHH!

I hollered and hollered, no one came running. I grabbed my keys, ran barefoot to my car...started driving up the street with the windows down, calling and searching. I found them at the end of the street.....the neighbors dogs were barking up a storm at something that excited them, I looked across the street and there they were. Buddy and Sadie together...just meandering around people's yards on a holiday. BAD DOGS!!!!

Into the car they went and I hauled their doggy butts home scolding them all the way while they panted and smiled at me from their places in the back seat.

At least they stayed TOGETHER! I think that made them easier to find, and probably slowed down their wanderings a bit. I just need to tell people to PLEASE be sure the gate is SHUT all the way when they come in and out of the fence.

Here is a pic of the ugly hawaiian backing I used on the cabin fever quilt. It is NOT a pretty hawaiian...it is grey, gold, and black on white? Bleurgh. Whatever. It is now out of the stash, and every time I see it I will be reminded of the non-quilter friend who thought well enough to bring me back fabric from Hawaii....she meant well, she really did...and I don't have to have it in the FRONT of a quilt :cD
(Did I mention this fabric is a cotton/poly blend? I only found out when I pieced it and went to iron the seam....phewwwwyy....oh well...it's used!)

Here are a couple shots of the quilting on the 9 patch split baby quilt. I was pressed for time and so I just did a winding meandering feather-to-fill over the whole thing. It added great texture and was SO easy.

I'm headed out to take Jeff to work here in bit....massages this afternoon, and choir practice tonight. Wednesday is my busiest day I think.

In Stitches- - -

Monday, March 26, 2007

Busy Monday....

Where did the weekend go?

I know I spent a good part of Saturday at the "Doc in the Box" with Jeff and his sinus infection.

Yesterday I CLEANED! I did some organizing in the quilting room, moved some stuff around, straightened a bit. Not much sewing got done. I felt the need to just sit and do hand work so during the "HOUSE" marathon on TV I started binding on the Cabin Fever quilt. I'm binding it in purple...it's perfect. And it used up the whole 1/2 yard of fabric that has been sitting in my stash. Interesting story on the backing too......You know how when people KNOW you quilt, they are always finding fabric that "they" think you will like? Someone picked me up a hawaiian print from a trip to Hawaii and gave it to me with big smiles! (Oh,thank you very much.....I just LOVE it...(NOT!!)

So...this piece has been sitting in my stash because you just can't ditch "gift" fabric, with a good conscience, can you?? I used it for the back of the Cabin Fever quilt. The remainder of what was left I sliced into strings for using in string quilts. GONE! :cD

I sat for about an hour last night before going to bed and finished the borders for the 9 patch split baby quilt. You know how it goes when you are tired? I sewed one border on upside down :c( I wanted the braids to go around in a circle all pointing their way around the quilt...and ONE border is pointing the opposite direction. Can you tell? Do I care? *LOL* No way...I'm not picking out stitches when all the border pieces are on the bias...it would distort things too much so I'm going to leave it.

I really LOVE how this turned out...with the red cornerstones just ending wherever they end and running off the end of the quilt without turning the corners. You can see some of the weird junk I used....this border uses 2"X5" pieces so it was perfect for eliminating lots of short strips from my bin.

Braids are not "chain piecing" friendly unless you are working on several lengths of them at one time....and I was cutting all my border pieces from the same braid. This gave me the opportunity to piece more 1.5" squares for my leader/ender trees blocks.

I'm headed to work in a bit. I have a busy massage client day, and tonight is guild meeting. Cabin Fever is coming with me, both for show and tell, and to work on the binding during the meeting! Have a great day everyone!


Sunday, March 25, 2007

Cabin Fever & Thanks...

First off,I want to thank you all for your comments. I know the time I spend with Marie is more important than the time I spend chained to the sewing machine frantically trying to get her a quilt done "in time."

I also want to thank the Heartstrings group for their offers of blocks and tops! Wow....I am really amazed at how generous quilters can be. Becky showed me a top she had just finished...she was going to donate it to her guild to finish into a quilt and to be used for their charities, but instead she is sending it to me and marking it as a donation to hospice since Marie is in hospice care. Now I'll only have to quilt it, bind it, and give it to her :c) Thank you Becky!

Why is it we think that we have to tackle some things all ourselves?! Sometimes it DOES take a village! Thanks for making me see that. I'll post pics of the quilt when it arrives and when it is finished. I'd love to have some quilts done and on hand so that when the need arises, I have something.

So...last night I finished quilting on the "Cabin Fever" tiny logs quilt. Without the quilt being side lit, you can hardly see the quilting.....the quilt is so busy. This is for a show our guild is doing at the local main library in Columbia. The theme is log cabin quilts. They will be hanging for a month I believe (but I might be wrong) and I'm really looking forward to seeing all the quilts...log cabin variations are endless! From traditional, to contemporary to really arty..it's going to be a fun show.