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Monday, October 29, 2007

Crabapples!

The borders are ON! I can't go any farther with this. And for those of you wondering, I am still quilting customer's quilts, in fact am in full swing for the holidays...so any piecing time for me comes before 9am, and after 5pm, and on Sundays which is the one day I don't work on customer quilts if at all possible!That's why it seems the biggest push for me gets done over a weekend when my "days off" are supposed to be:c) I try as best as I can to work my quilt job like a normal 9-5 job with massaging scheduled in between. Sometimes I am successful at it, sometimes I get behind. It's hard to schedule your life in advance when you don't know what whammies it is going to throw you!

Would you believe I made WAY MORE checker parts than I needed to? Of course! Who is actually counting when you are dealing with random short strips? All I was thinking is I needed 864 individual squares for the border, and that seemed daunting so I kept piecing strip sets together!

Now I'm going to have a bunch of scrappy 9 patches to play with later on down the line.


The quilting on this one is going to have to be later down the line too because I've got too much in the queue. That's fine with me, I'm not sure how I want to quilt it anyway! Those big setting triangles have wide open space for some designing....the trees themselves are busy and full of lots of seam allowance. I was thinking diagonal lines from top to bottom, old style.

The outer border was an after thought. It still kind of is. I can say that when piecing a border from a gadzillion 1" finished squares, that border is going to be stretchy and wavy no matter what you do because of the weight more than anything. So I like to add one more border to sandwich it in between two "stable" pieces. Then it also won't get too chopped off in the binding or stretch too far out of whack while quilting. After I got the checkered border on there, I tried EVERYTHING in every color to find something that would work for the outer one. Green was too much green....gold was just too soft for the darks in the quilt center....red was TOO red and made it look like Christmas. This is actually a red with black. So it has the look of a dark dark red, and it seemed to be best to me. Oh, and the quilt top finished at approx 70"X70" (Tree blocks are 8")

My mind has been running to and fro, and can't seem to settle at all. I think that is why I have been such a piecing hound over the past few weeks. With DH's job closing looming closer...(and that putting us right in the middle of the holidays) And his not having found another job yet...I'm finding it harder and harder not to panic. So I stay busy. It really IS out of my hands. I can't get him a job..I can't march up to the plant manager of the plant that is close to us and say "You must hire him because we want to stay here". I'm having a hard time letting go and letting life take me where it wants me to be.

He has an interview in Atlanta on Wednesday at the head quarters of the place that is close to us here..but they have 3 plant openings, and two of those would move us out of the area. Only one would keep us here. The interview in Winston-Salem has him thinking he wants THAT job....

There is one more in Eastern NC that he is waiting to hear back from, he got a phone call from them the other night and said they would get back to him.

And I still haven't told anyone at my massage job because I don't really have anything to tell until these interviews are done. But still it is killing me. It takes all of us there to make the rent, and if one leaves, the others have to carry that extra rent amount. I don't want anyone to have to do that for me. I feel bad about that...but I don't know if I am staying or going, so what good does it do to put THEM up in a tizzy?

Off to machine quilt for a while.....

My Checkered Past, Present, And Future!

At least it seems like these checkered borders are going to take forever! I sewed lots and lots of strip sets Light/Dark/Light, and then Dark/Light/Dark...cut them into 1.5" subsections....and now I have chained them all together into two-sies....ready to be pressed and sewn into four-sies and then eight-sies....etc...


I added a narrow BROWN inner border to the quilt center..it pulled in the browns from the tree trunks and really warmed up the whole thing.

Stay tuned...more unveiling to follow!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Darn It, Mereth!!


Mereth had a suggestion.....and so I followed it. I had ONE extra tree block and so I laid it underneath the quilt top...and put it as if the tree top part was the next border of the quilt..and it sings.....

She was right..it doesn't take much for you to know if it is a yea or nay situation! And..thank heavens I have way too many 1.5" strips in this bin just aching to be set free and sewn/cut/sewn into a checkerboard border.

Sometimes you just can't take the easy way out!

I may however, decide to put a "spacer" border before the checkerboard one..maybe another narrow red something? I'll have to measure the top and see what I need to add to it to make the math come out right for the checkerboard.

Back to the sewing machine!

Time to finish the trees...

Remember these trees I started eons ago?? I took the blocks with me when Randy and I were in Charleston. I got the center pieced there, and we found these border fabrics at "People, Places & Quilts" (PPQ to those local here!) in Summerville, SC.

I haven't sat still long enough to trim up the center from the floating triangles, and decide if I really WANT these fabrics for the borders. What do you think?

FYI...the sashing is a true deep red,not that pinky color it turned out to be in the second photo! The setting tris of course are....what else...poison green :c)

Part of me wants a busier border since the center is so scrappy. The other part of me says...oh just use the fabric and be done with it!

Maybe just a saw tooth border and then the final border? I've been looking through my books on antique quilts for ideas for the border, but nothing seems to suit.

P.S....I keep coming back to look at the pics because stepping AWAY from a project and looking at it from farther away (like in a reducing glass) can give you ideas...but someone please please tell me that my latest thought of doing a complete 9 patch checkerboard border with 1.5" strips/squares (3" finished border) is going just a bit overboard?!?!?! :cÞ (But I still think it will make the quilt look more complete? Not like I was trying to just slap something on there and be done?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Early Bird Catches The.....CAT?!

Or more like it is the other way around! I was sitting here at the computer early this morning and heard a squawking ruckus downstairs!

I jumped up...knowing Oscar had done it again! He had caught a bird, and had brought it inside, LIVE! Only this one was live enough to get away from him and fly around the house!

I first saw it go to the ceiling fan, and then behind the TV cabinet. I ran to get DH who was still in bed.

By this time I was trying to get Oscar AND Sadie the dog to stay away from the area the bird was in! I had no idea how damaged the bird would be, but he seemed to fly okay, because no sooner did I look behind the TV than he/she flew up to the top of my kitchen cabinets!


The camera was right there, so I thought..what the heck! Get some pics..it's blog fodder, right? But before I could get a pic at the top of the cabinets, it flew into the dining room and clung to the cord on the blinds. Poor thing must have been scared out of it's mind!

By this time I was grabbing the closest thing I could find that I could drape over it...a linen table cloth! But..it got away and flew into the next room and landed on a chair. At least it was a flat surface and it made it easier to drop the table cloth on it!


Poor thing was peeping and trying to bite me. I think it is a female cardinal? Mostly brown, but definately orange beak and some red feathers here and there (along with the feathers that were on the floor in the kitchen... :c( )

I took it out to the front step...opened my hand...and it flew away down the street. I don't think it was that damaged. Hopefully no bad kitty teeth punctures.

Now the Roomba vacuum is going downstairs to suck up the feather fluff.

And it's not even 8 am yet! How's that for an exciting morning?

Friday, October 26, 2007

Fine Finishes....

I've had a crazy day today, along with the rain! I made it to the office for my 11am appointment, which did not show up.......and the rain kept coming harder and harder. My next client called to reschedule....so I got the rest of the afternoon off!

I finally made it over to the bernina store to get two new bulbs for my 1080. BOTH were burnt out. I bought those, and finally a straight stitch plate (watch me break needles when I forget to switch back when I need a zig zag!!) and a clamp on table lamp to take with me to retreat next week in Georgia!

Well, do I have to mention that the bernina store is not far from the good will clearance center with the $1.00 a pound goodies? Aiiiiyyyeeee! I needed more light shirts. Light 100% cotton shirts are not as easy to find (and less variety) than the colored ones...so I started out just picking up light shirts (NEEDED) but then started throwing in dark shirts in wonderful colors (WANTED) and still find myself rationalizing that I got out of there for only $17.00! There was a dress for me in that bag, and a couple shirts as well for WEARING, not for taking apart and quilting....but still. This shirt fetish, it's got a hold of me BAAADDD!

And just to prove it, I finished the top that I made from the pockets, plackets, collars and cuffs! I finished the border tonight and really love how it turned out. Stars in the corners! 4 patch centers that carry out the checkerboard pattern...fun fun :cD Believe it or not, this quilt is 100% recycled SHIRTS!

I can't call this Rocky Road to Kansas. I just can't! I didn't make it in Kansas..or on the way to Kansas! I finished the blocks in Virginia! I've toyed with a few names:

*Rocky Road Through Richmond (lots of R's..I like how that sounds! Sewed blocks there one evening)

*Fall's Church Frolic (worked on the blocks there two evenings)

*Virginia Bound (Because I also worked on the blocks in Petersburg my last night when I only made it half way back to SC!)

I think I am leaning towards "Virginia Bound". It's short...and includes all the places that I worked on the blocks while in Virginia. What do you think?

I even found this cool "Virginia" fabric on the $1 a yd table at Hancocks! Is this perfect for a back or WHAT?! :cD


I also have some pics of the "true friends" quilt that I finished binding before I left for my trip...forgot I uploaded the pics, and certainly didn't remember to post them :c)

OOooohhhhh....RAIN!!

It started raining last night. It hasn't stopped! Isn't it wonderful?? Those of us in the south east know how desperately we need the rain! It isn't pouring hard, just a steady rain. I slept with the windows open. It is still relatively warm here in SC, and so much of the year we can't sleep with windows open because of heat and humidity. This felt great! I woke up to sound of cars driving down the rain washed streets....*lazy stretchies* just Nice.

I removed a couple of posts from my blog this morning. I feel like the angst has gone on long enough. I'm tired of the whole mess. Those of you who have been following me for a while know of which mess I speak. I want it over. NOW. I need to move on, this isn't the kind of quilter I want to be. This isn't the kind of woman I want to be. It seems to have brought out the worst in me, along with those who chose to send me anonymous derogatory comments about my reaction to the violation of my pattern copyright. (No way to reply to those...pretty cowardly to send anonymous no name/no return address comments) Of course they were only protecting their own friend. And maybe I would have done the same.....but I still would hope that I could look at the the situation with a discerning mind and be able to see truth for truth. Friend or not..when the facts are straight out in front of you.....what stands as true? Maybe that truth varies from person to person depending on what side they chose to be on and how loyalty influences how they see the facts. At any rate, I feel like I am at an impasse.

If I keep letting this eat at me, is it going to turn me into a better person? I don't think so. Expecting apologies from those who have lifted my designs is an unrealistic expectation. I know that. That's the only justice I want. I don't want to fight with lawyers, and I am sure they don't either, and who has the time/money/stamina to deal with that kind of fight anyway? In the long run.....what is that going to prove? Does anyone really WIN? And it isn't about winning.

Anonymous posters have called me hateful and selfish and unprofessional for posting things the way I did. I tried a phone call, but it went nowhere. No admittance to infringement...no offer to remove the patterns, tho the fact that another version was made to alter the pattern "sufficiently" pretty much proves that she realized she HAD to do something. The facts that my copyrights pre-dated hers meant nothing to her. The only answer I got was that everything was already at the distributors and couldn't be recalled.

Those who have supported me.....it means more to me than you will ever know. My life has really been thrown into a whammy in the past few months, a lot of which I haven't talked about, and you lift me up. Thank you.

Those who have condemned me.....you don't know me very well. I'm not out to make money on my designs at ALL.

I have to say that hurt, no matter what shape it comes in, or how it manifests itself, makes us all react differently. You rallied around YOUR friend, and that is understandable. But you attacked me because I wasn't close at hand to defend myself. I am not the ogre you made me out to be in your nasty posts.

I want my designs used for charities, for gifts, for teaching classes, for spreading the love of quilting the way it used to be. Quilting is about sharing. Quilting binds women's lives together. I haven't made a DIME ever with all the work I do in providing a website with patterns to encourage quilters in the love of quilting for the sake of quilting. All expenses incurred by providing this resource are my own. And to me it IS worth it. Because the good far outweighs the bad.

I apologize if I have been petty. I hope you will understand why. Imagine yourself in the same situation. How many of us would have been a "saint" considering the circumstances?

My last thought to Out on a Limb is this....if I were in your own quilt guild...lived local to you...would you still have done this? Would your friends still have rallied around you? I really don't think so.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

"Out On A String!!"

Hello Quilters!

I have added a new pattern to the Quiltville website!

Do you love string piecing? Do you have a bin of random sized small scraps that you just can't bear to part with? These little pieced diamonds may be just the ticket for you! I foundation pieced these little gems onto diamond shapes cut from recycled phone book pages. I also used the old fashioned tried and true method of using inset Y seams to sew this block together. I know there are "easier" methods out there, but I just didn't want additional seams in my block corners or in the side triangles. Sometimes a bit of extra effort is worth it! These block instructions will teach YOU to sew those Y seams too! Pattern available Here:

Things in Quiltville are in a bit of an upheaval as my DH continues to interview for jobs in (and out)of our area. The plant he has been working at is closing it's doors and being moved "more centrally" and combining with another plant somewhere in Iowa. No offence to Iowans....I really want to stay in the south east! He has 3 interviews pending with 3 different companies, one of which would keep us where we are and we wouldn't have to move. You know which one I am pulling and praying for?!? You got it! I want to STAY HERE!

Please keep my family in your thoughts and prayers during this small upheaval in our lives. I know it is small potatoes compared to those losing their homes in california fires right now, and other places around the world. But I still need your prayers for my own sanity :c)

As the holidays come closer, I want to thank you for being part of MY quilty family of friends! I love your emails and the pics you send of the quilts you have made with the instructions and patterns from my website. I am encouraged to find I'm not the only one wondering how I ended up with so much fabric and how was I going to sew it all up in one measly life time!

In Stitches - - - - - - - - - -

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

12 hours of sleep works wonders!

I fell asleep at 7:30 last night! I think I needed it. I couldn't keep my eyes open, and slept all night. I vaguely remember it raining. We need rain so bad. I looked out side this morning, and yes the streets are wet. It finally feels like fall here in SC! Love it.

The leaves were gorgeous going up toward DC through NC and VA....and on the way back you could see that more had changed over the 4 days that I was gone. The only thing that I don't like about fall/winter is the getting dark at 5pm. If it gets dark at 5, I'm ready for bed at 7, and it feels like I accomplish only half of what I should during the day.


I need to finish with the rest of my trip! On Sunday afternoon, Amy and I took the metro into DC to go see the exhibit at the Renwick Museum! I love that the museums in DC are free. Because it was a Sunday, there were not a lot of people down there. We did stop and watch a dance troupe and some singers doing a performance about global hunger. Interesting contemporary stuff. But I think there were more performers than there were watchers...
(this arial viewpic is linked from their website)
We walked the few blocks from the metro station to the museum. Of course, they didn't allow pics of the quilts, they wanted you to buy a $45 book....so...I took pics of the banners out side!

This is one of the only pics I found of quilts in the exhibit, linked to their site.

I left DC about 4 pm and started my trek homeward. Traffic getting OUT of DC, even on a sunday afternoon was horrid and it took forever at 23mph to get anywhere. It was 7pm before I made it to just south of Richmond, near Petersburg where I decided to pull off and spend the night. I checked into a Days Inn, ate at a seafood place near by, and went back to my room. Yes....me and the featherweight sewed some more! It was there that I finished the last block for the string quilt. YEAH! I was deep into an episode of Law and Order, so I pulled out some X album type blocks that I had pre-cut ages ago and chain pieced those.





In the morning, I packed up and headed the rest of the way home! If you ever travel down (or up) I-95....follow the signs and take an exit at Selma NC! The down town area is loaded with antique shops! I thought this would be a "short" detour, and it took me 3 hours! *LOL* I had fun just cruising the antique shops, and even found some goodies to bring home. I fell in love with this old english tea pot. Another store had these cute (not antique) vintage looking enamel ware cups and pots with sayings on them. I had to buy the one that said "kitty treats" for Oscar's treats. it was too cute to pass up. Another shop had tons of quilts, the prices were up there tho, and the condition was not so excellent on most of them. I did however find this little cutter piece that someone had bound! I love the burgundy resist fabrics in it and the shirtings of course. I also love how it is a "SQUARE ROUND" drunkards path variation instead of the usual completely round ones that we see!

I made it home around 5pm and laid down for a 2 hour nap. I've been trying to catch up on more sleep ever since. I think after last night's 12 hours I'm good to go.

I have more pics of quilts I took in the antique malls, but they'll have to wait for another post. The day is passing, it's already 9:30 and I've gotta hit the door running!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Road Weary Traveller...

I am back from Falls Church, VA!

I had a wonderful time there. What a fun group of ladies! This was the Falls Church branch of Quilter's Unlimited that encompasses the whole DC area.

I arrived friday afternoon, and enjoyed lunch at a wonderful vietnamese place for "Pho" which is a noodle soup that you can add all kinds of good things to. One of the fun things about travelling is trying different foods in different places. I'd had pho before and really enjoyed it, but it had been a while (like a YEAR!) so it was time to have it again. These two pics were taken with my phone. And yes, I got plenty of funny looks while taking them, but what the heck..they'll never see me again anyway so let them look!


The appetizer was veggie egg rolls...yummmmm....and you can see the plate that has all the goodies that you add to the pho noodle soup. And a pic of the soup itself!

I stayed at the Marriott Residence Inn in Falls Church. What a great place! I've never stayed with them before and it was really homey and comfortable. It had a kitchenette which was handy. A little sitting room with sofa and chair and TV, a desk (to set up featherweight on!) and a little kitchen table. It had a cozy bedroom with a comfy bed and the usual bathroom, but this was really nice!


I went to work right away setting up my featherweight and commencing to sew since I didn't have to meet up with anyone until dinner time. I brought the "rocky road to kansas" blocks with me that I had been piecing with the shirt crumbs..you know the smallest parts when taking apart shirts? collars, cuffs, pockets, plackets, etc? I used the evenings and free time to finish piecing ALL the blocks that I needed for this quilt! They are DONE! Now I just need to set them together and figure out what to do with the borders. I love how big these blocks are. 15" (the quarters finish at 7.5") so it goes really fast. 20 blocks does a queen quilt. This is what I had done laid on the bed before I commenced to making more blocks...

Later friday afternoon I met up with Amy and her daughter and we made a run to G street fabrics, and Joanns for some notions. I bought 4 FQ's at G street.. (such control!) and nothing at Joanns. Amy and I got a long great! From there we went on to Sweet Water Tavern for a yummy dinner with another quilting friend, so there were four of us enjoying dinner.

From there it was straight to the guild meeting. I was so thrilled with the turn out. It was a full house with several people coming from outside the area. My friend Aby came! It was so good to see her in person, it had been a couple of years I believe. Tracy also came. That meant a lot because she is in the middle of packing up and moving. Here is a pic we took together. And yes, I am soaking wet! It decided to down pour (more like hosing down rain!) while we were loading my car. What a mess! There was no telling if it would stop or not, but of course, shortly after everything was loaded, it DID stop!

I came back to the hotel after the meeting, just energized from talking to so many people about scraps and quilting. I sewed some more on the string blocks while watching Law & Order on TV! Before I knew it, it was midnight, and I crawled off to bed because the next morning was the workshop.






The workshop went GREAT! One of the things I love about teaching is seeing the different fabrics and color combinations that people are using to make their quilts. Each one had a story on who the quilt was for, or why they were using the fabrics they chose. Machines were humming, voices were happily chattering to each other. What a great day! Of course, we had the requisite M&M bowls...one with peanuts, one without!






























4pm rolled around rather quickly and it was time to pack up. I went straight back to my hotel room thinking I was going to lie down for just a little bit, and before I knew it I had slept 2 hours! I guess I needed it. I got up, went and got something to eat, and then came back and worked on the rocky road blocks again. I'm going to have to name this something else! Maybe I'll call it "Frolicking to Falls Church" or Rocky Road to Richmond (Stopped and saw a friend on the way!) but we will have to see!

This post is rather long with the pics, so I'm going to end it here and catch you up with the rest in my next post!

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!