Monday, October 15, 2007

Weed Whackin' at Retreat!

Shelly sent me a great email with pics from her guild's retreat! She had asked earlier if she could demonstrate Weed Whacker to the girls, and I said OF COURSE!

They are the Illinois Valley Quilt Guild in Ottawa, IL. The retreat was held at Cedar Creek Retreat Center in Marseilles, IL!

It looks like they had a great time, not to mention a great room for their machines at retreat!

The pics speak for themselves. Wonderful Colors, lots of scraps being sewn up.

Great Job Girls!

Over Being Crabby!!

I had a fun phone call last evening from our Tazzie! It is always a delight to hear her voice. I don't know how Aussies feel about listening to American accents, but I am just enchanted with her Aussie one!

We were talking about the changes that our children go through when they hit those teenage years and go from sweet darlings to AUUUGHHHH! As we were laughing about this, I told her I needed to show her (or send her) the fabric that I used on the back of the latest string star quilt.

It's CRABS! I think this came from Fabric.com at some ridiculously low price and I was at the time charity quilt coordinator and was going to do children's quilts with it...but it just seemed to fit the crabby mood I was in this past week and so I used it to signify how even unpleasant experiences can be the catalyst needed to get those creative juices flowing again. How many of you find that you sew like a banshee and feel that creative frenzy when you are stressed? I know I do! The motions of cutting, ironing, playing with color, fabric, shapes, and designs is centering to my soul. Without my quilting time, I'm like Linus without his blanket!

So! As you can see...the string stars are quilted with baptist fans...the sleeve used up the last chunk of this bright huge dot fabric I had in the closet. The binding is on and ready to stitch down! I used red strips from the 1.5" strip bin in random lengths for the inner red border, and used more red strips in random lengths from the 2.5" strip bin for the binding.

I'm headed to Falls Church, VA on thursday do do a lecture/trunkshow and a class! I am so looking forward to this road trip. The weather has turned SO lovely, it finally feels like fall here in the Southeast. The quilt will come with me so that I can do the hand work in the evenings while gone. I've also got the crumby quilt that I made at Tonya's in January quilted and the binding is on it and in the sewing on process too. So you will get a pic of that one when it is complete upon my return.

Just remember, when life gets you crabby, don't get mad, get quilting!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The $1.00 a pound dress!

You asked for it..here it is!

This was a fun dress...easy fitting (loose) and it is two layers. The top layer is sheer and crinkly (ie...no iron, no wrinkle!) and the bottom layer,the under-dress is cream. It felt so feminine! Oh, I love weddings.

The shoes....anyone remember the old Steve Martin joke about "CRUEL SHOES??" I think these shoes were the next runner up in the cruel shoes contest! Oh well....

It's a lovely day here in SC, windows are open, breezes wafting in. It's a good day for quilting at the machine, and that is just what is on the agenda today! (minus the cruel shoes!)

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Sneak Preview!

I have had some fun playing with some orphan string star blocks!

I haven't had a chance to post about last week's retreat at Camp Gravatt, nor about Randy's and my trip to Charleston (which was FAB!) but I'm in a hurry, so hopefully I'll get to that tomorrow. Let me say that it was HOT HOT HOT...in the high 90's with unbearable humidity, and my poor California friend Randy was not used to that kind of Southern Oppression! (While a pic was being taken at the close of retreat she said "Hurry up! I can feel my hair frizzing as I stand here!) :cÞ

While at retreat, I was gifted with a baggie of strings and partially pieced string panels from Stephanie! She knows I love this stuff, so instead of tossing it..she brought a big bag with my name on it!

I made a couple more string stars to round out the number to 9, set them with easy asymetrical sashings, and used 4 patches made from the leftover strips from the star struck quilt as my cornerstones! I am calling this quilt "Out on a String..."

Stephanie's strip pieced panels quickly became stringy sawtooth triangles for the border...I think it turned out really cute. I'm going to use this one as a tutorial for teaching 8 pointed string stars (Yes, with set in Y seams and everything, I think they look best that way)

As to the setting, I think this would be a great setting for any blocks you've got hanging around out there! I played with this in EQ 6, and I really like it. I've got some swap blocks I also hope to set this way. The sashings just go on two sides of the block, and then you can twist and turn them any way you want...

I'm off to my choir director's wedding! I got my hair highlighted and trimmed yesterday...felt good to have some "pamper me" time. And get this...the dress I am wearing is gorgeous and came from the $1.00 a pound bin at the good will clearance center! I kid you not!....The shoes came from Burlington Coat Factory, and were NOT as cheap :c|

Will report back later! Have a super weekend everyone...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

double vision!!

If you are seeing double on my signature, that is because I just figured out how to add it into my template so I don't have to add it in html at the bottom of every post I make! Trouble is...it will automatically add it to the bottom of every post in my blog (all 2 1/2 years worth!)...including where I have already added it!

And I don't feel like going back and editing it out of every post that has it showing up double...

Just consider this my version of the double mint gum jingle!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Little Projects, Precious Old Pieces....

I have a new hobby...or is that HABIT?!

When I am browsing through ebay, I often come across "cutter" quilts for sale, with mixed emotions. Some quilts just are too damaged to use in any other capacity, and in my own home I have bears, bunnies, pigs, pillows,etc made from the remnants of old quilts. These little quilt pieces are still loved and appreciated this way and not shoved into a corner or a closet!

Do I advocate cutting up a perfectly good antique quilt just because you can make more money off it it by "piecing" it out? Heck No!

I hadn't bought just the cutter pieces before, because I didn't want to make bunnies or bears. But it occurred to me that if the piece was big enough...and in okay enough shape...that I could bind it and display it as a table topper. Many pieces end up looking like doll quilts or crib quilts.

It is a good way to get a sampling of actual fabrics that were used during a specific time period in history! It is a special feeling to run your fingers over these fabrics of a by-gone era and see and feel the stitches of the woman who pieced this "cutter" piece and wonder what her life was like.

A few weeks ago I came across this cutter piece. It was a long narrow piece of a log cabin quilt. It is a tied quilt, pieced on a muslin foundation, wool batting is used inside, and the backing is a wool blanket. This quilt must have been HEAVY! I cut it in half, squared it up, cutting out some of the really damaged areas (Hence one half now is shorter than the other)and found a blue stripe in my stash that would look like it fit in with the other fabrics in the cutter and used that to bind them. This quilt is tied with what looks like "string"...maybe it came off of some seed bags or something and was saved for tying quilts? Who knows....

What is amazing to me too, is that the quilt was machine sewn on an early machine. She used black thread to sew the strips to the foundations.

I'm happy to have these little pieces in my collection! I finished the binding on them during the workshop up in Burnsville NC on monday.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Stars Abounding!

The Star Struck Class went so wonderfully! You know, this was the first pattern I ever uploaded to my website, and it's been over 8 years now! I am always constantly amazed by how different the blocks turn out in the wide variety of pallets that the quilters choose to make them!

This was supposed (SUPPOSED!!!!) to be a scrap stash reduction class. However, it is also the week of the Burnsville quilt show, which means there were vendors, and the guild really wanted the vendors to be happy and to want to come back....so half the class had jelly rolls! *LOL*(If you don't know what a jelly roll is, it is a bundle of 2.5" strips put out by moda..just perfect for strip piecing.) I rationalized that jelly roll purchases are okay if you use the strips in a project right away, and they are not allowed to just go INTO the stash. They sure did make beautiful blocks!

There were about 13 of us I think. A couple of the ladies had to bow out due to family interruptions and emergencies. Dorothy's brother came to town to visit, and Roma's grandson got hurt in a scooter accident, so we missed their presence! I was glad to have time with them the evening before at dinner.

It was a fun day of power sewing! These ladies really took to their machines like this was the QUILTY 500, instead of the Indy 500! Lots of laughter, lots of chatter!

I made my way around the room giving every one a shoulder/back massage. Lots of moaning, groaning, purring and "I'll have what SHE's having" jokes going off! (Thank you Meg Ryan from when Harry Met Sally!)

Pictures are worth more than 1000 words, so I'll upload and let you click to enlarge! I'm going to put these on small size so they don't take up too much space!

You'll see the photo of the old building across the street from the town center where the class was held! See the quilt block on the building? Had to get a pic of that! It was also fun driving down the road in the beautiful mountains and coming up on barns with the quilt designs on them. It really is a wonderful project they are doing there! I can't wait to go back there again. They are a wonderful group of ladies. SEW much fun!

Beautiful Beautiful Western NC!

I had a wonderful time in Burnsville, NC!

On Sunday evening I met up with 3 other ladies in Weaverville for dinner at a very fun place called the North Star Diner. I had FRIED GREEN TOMATOES for the first time! They were amazingly good. This recipe had orange peel in the batter. Yummy. :c) I guess after being in the south for 8 years, I can finally say I had them.

I spent a wonderful evening visiting with Dorothy and Roma and Fran. Fran's quilting room is in her walk-out basement and is fully stocked! Not to mention she lives in the most beautiful setting in the rural western NC mountains. Just GORGEOUS. I started thinking that if we have to move ANYWHERE that I wouldn't mind if we had to move to the mountains....

The temps there were quite a bit cooler than here in Columbia! Yes, I know it is now october, but I didn't bring a jacket, sweater, or socks and shoes..I was still in sandals. Silly SC girl! ;c) Fran took good care of me though and loaned me her denim jacket because it was in the 40's in the morning! The leaves have not started turning yet, but I think they are getting close....

Fran has her house decorated so cute with quilty things everywhere! Here is a pic of the bedroom I was tucked into so cozily! I love her displays of antiques mixed with quilty items. TWO antique yellow and white quilts adorned the painted metal bedstead, and on dressers and chairs were fun stuffed bears and bunnies, and mini quilts with displays of her grandfather's reading glasses.

In the hallway was a recycled church pew full of dollies and special quilty animals...

I'll put the class info in another post since I don't want to overload this one with pictures...

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Just A Quickie!

I am headed out today to travel up to Burnsville, NC to teach a workshop tomorrow! I am being hosted by the Mountain Piecemakers, and it should be a terrific day! I love driving up into NC and catching the blue ridge mountains outside of Asheville.

There is a "quilt art" project going on in the county up there, putting quilt designs on old barns and historic buildings! It is so fun to drive through and see these in the beautiful mountain setting. Here are just a few for your perusal :c)

Have a great Sunday/Monday everyone!