Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Nearly Insane (& Ebay Finds!)

I played hookey today after going through a gazillion chapter edits on the book! I went to sew at my friend Mary's house in Asheboro. We have been doing this a couple times a month since I moved here, and it is always so fun to get together and SEW!

Today it was just us two crazy girls....and I decided this would be a great time to see if I can light a fire under myself and get going on that "Nearly Insane" I started what...about FIVE (or more) years ago! When ever the book came out....anyway..that was when I started it, and it was soon after moving to SC from TX, so..at least 5. I'd been in love with this quilt FOREVER. It was made by Salinda Rupp in 1870 in Pennsylvania. It has the weirdest blocks I've seen in my life! They definately take a bit of time and concentration, and when life got busy for me with school and then massage practice, it got put away. The first picture is a scan of the original quilt from "America's Glorious Quilts." The next pic is of my first 6 rows together.

It's half done. It's more than half done...but I got stuck on this one block and just could not get over this speed bump. I think these kinds of blocks you have to be in the MOOD to work on,and this one I was just NOT. It wasn't even the hardest block in the quilt, or the one with the most pieces, but it is a lone star with chopped off star points and everything has to just fit just SO...I paper pieced it in a gazillion sections, and I am proud to say it took me only about..umm....four or five hours..*LOL* 88 pieces in the lone star. All in all I sewed TWO blocks today, and they are only 6 inches a piece!

I'm thinking I'm going to bring this with me to work on in my hotel room in VA this next weekend. I'll be there for 3 nights. I have most of monday to myself because the guild meeting isn't until monday night, so it will be a good hotel project, just me and my featherweight.

Anyone want to come play? If you are in the Woodbridge VA area, just let me know!

I love rescuing cutter quilt pieces from ebay. Lots of times I'll just square them, bind them and use them decoratively as table toppers, etc. This is a pic of a double wedding ring piece I adopted! It was in pretty bad shape...FILTHY. And it was as stiff as starch....funky smell. Yep. Definately bleechh! So I squared it and bound it with a piece of vintage red I had. Then very carefully I soaked it in a bucket with a bit of oxyclean...no agitation. I put it through a "hand wash" cycle in my machine to rinse and spin it, and then laid it out flat to dry.The first pic is it before washing, the second, after. You can see how much of the yuck came out. And that red whatever that looks like it bled in the first one is completely gone in the second. A couple patches came unstitched, but I can redo those. Considering how gross it was, I'm happy with how "primitive" it just looks now! I confess to hating "pretty" double wedding rings. I made one! I hate *IT* and I think those feelings transfered to all double wedding rings! However, I love how maverick this piece is, and it's going to be a great accent somewhere.

My other find? I'm almost embarrassed to show you these, because you will think I'm nuts! I'm definately "NOT" a "RETRO" type gal. Let's just face it, if an item is YOUNGER than I am, it's just not vintage! *LOL* But I came across these tumblers and ice cream bowls in my wanderings, and they brought back SO MANY MEMORIES of visiting my grandparents that I had to snatch them up. I even sent pics to my mom to see what she said, and she remembers these too! They were really popular in the 1960s.....melmac insulated tumblers, with a layer of raffia/burlap in between the outer and inner parts of the tumbler. I even have a picture of my brother having a rootbeer float in one of these when he couldn't have been more than 4? A couple years ago I was at a family reunion and we were talking about things we remember, and these where what I brought up. Now they are mine. It's like reclaiming a part of my childhood...I've seen a pitcher and ice bucket on ebay, and I definately have my eye on those too!

I think I'll go have a root beer float to celebrate!

Sue H left this comment:
Oh, how fun! We had lots of those insulated pieces. My mom worked at a factory -- Cornelius Company in Anoka, MN -- where they made that type of product. We had mugs, tumblers, ice buckets, but no bowls. Very cool.

This explains the other "regional" mystery! I was born in Minneapolis MN. My grandparents lived in Edina, MN. No wonder I attribute all my memories of these fun tumblers to visits to my grandparents IN MN!!! Thanks for the insight, Sue!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Liberated Quiltmaking Reprint!!!

I want to send you over to Tonyas Blog to read her post about the possibility of Gwen Marston's fabulous book, Liberated Quiltmaking, which is ABSURDLY out of print, being reprinted!

Gwen's methods are my inspiration for my own way to do Maverick Stars.

I can't paraphrase the whole thing here, but suffice it to say that Gwen has been my hero since I started quilting in the early 1980s. This book freed me up from the quilt police and brought joy into my life and let my inner child come out to play for GOOD!

I'd love to see this book be reprinted.

Visit Tonya's details HERE!
Let's get this book back on the shelves where it belongs!


We have a "BOOK AVAILABLE" date!!

According to my editor,Jenifer, we have a projected "available to the public" date as somewhere close to September 1st!

I'm thilled with knowing that I can finally tell you "WHEN" you can expect to see it.

Close to Labor Day is perfect, because I certainly feel like I've been IN LABOR this whole time!

I think I'm even experiencing that "nesting" response, because I've been in a cleaning frenzy since yesterday. I've gone through the whole basement, cleaned out shelves and closets and rearranged fabric, and sorted scraps, taken care of the huge pile of paper work that piles up on my desk.

The previous owner decided to "clean up" the look of the basement by painting the "mud room" half of the concrete floor WHITE. Can we say cleaning nightmare? Even scrubbing doesn't get it clean. But I tell you what, a solid cool concrete floor feels good on hot summer bare feet :c)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

4-Patch Hopscotch!

I've been playing for ME this weekend! This is called 4-Patch Hopscotch (©2008,yada yada yada!)

Not for the book, not for a customer, not for a workshop or trunkshow.....This was for ME!

On the quiltvillechat list at yahoogroups we are having a June UFO challenge. This "KIND OF" goes along with that, since these 4 patches are leader/enders that have been sitting around for a while. I used a bunch of them up in the Orange Crush quilt, but I wanted to play with them more.

I made the blocks first...using up more 2" strips. Those bins are overflowing to the point of not being able to shut them, so I wanted to see if I could make some headspace!

I also used more 2" strips and squares in the strippy border...fun!

I've pieced a back...browns that I wanted to use up. One is a batik with brown palm trees....palms are the South Carolina state tree. The other piece has forest-y type ferns on it, and the two look good together.

I a fun time meeting the ladies from the Piedmont Quilters Guild of Greensboro, NC. Greensboro is about 1/2 hour drive from me, and a beautiful city. I'm close to Winston Salem, and I never seem to need to head in the other direction to get to Greensboro unless I'm passing through while on the road. It was nice to meet so many great and welcoming quilters there! We had Greek food for dinner before the meeting. Mmmmmmm!! Mousaka and Greek Salad!

Friday was our Crumbs Quilt workshop, and what a fun mess me made!

Saturday I am headed to Woodbridge Virginia for a Sunday afternoon Boxy Stars class. I'd love to meet you if you are in the Woodbridge, VA area.

Here is the info I have:
June 22- 23:

* Cabin Branch Quilt Guild, Woodbridge, VA
o Sun, June 22nd: Boxy Stars Workshop 12pm-6pm
o Mon, June 23rd: Lecture & Trunkshow 7pm
+ Guild Contact: Pam Clifton at pameta@comcast.net

I'd love to meet anyone that wants to come out! Usually my workshops sell out, but this one has plenty of space I think because they scheduled it on a sunday afternoon in the summer. please contact Pam Clifton at pameta@comcast.net for more info

Back to my playground :c)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Broken Machine, Broken Dreams :c(

I bought this cute little number on ebay. The listing plainly states that the machine is in WORKING CONDITION.

Doesn't working condition usually mean that it has at least a belt and a foot pedal? There is neither.

The first picture shows the machine in the ad....the others, what I received!

Not just that, but the machine was packed SO poorly that the wooden base broke all apart in the shipping, and bent the spool pin! The bobbin hook mechanism was left to roll around the bottom of the box. :c(

It's a disaster. I love this little blue machine, and it's paint job and decals are beautiful. But when a listing says it is in "working condition" this is just not what I expect.

I have contacted the seller, and will be contacting ebay. Something else funny,as I was tracking the package,I saw he printed the label at only weighing 8lbs. UPS said I was to recieve this 8lb box. If that isn't fraud I don't know what is, because the box weighed 33lbs.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Mardi Gras Stars!

Remember this little number? I finished this when I got back from teaching in Louisiana in January. I finished quilting and binding it last Thursday evening while in Greenville SC! The sleeve had to wait until Sunday....

I am getting better at freehanding those baptist fans, thanks to Tonya! I still find it easiest for me to quilt WITH a hoop, although I keep the quilt very LOOSE in the hoop.

I had a couple gals ask me last night at guild meeting what good was the hoop if it was so loose, and all I could think of was that it acts like a 3rd and 4th hand for me.It's easy to turn, easy to prop. Whatever works for you, right? And this works for me. I've never been able to get small stitches with the hoop TIGHT...you have to be able to move the fabric, and tight hoops really make needles bend :c|

My favorite quilting needles? Roxanne size 11, just in case you wanted to know! I also quilt with those cheapy plastic thimbles that have an open top and are adjustible. I don't care if I lose these. I've got some in my purse, my pockets, my car, and in every room of the house,and no doubt some will find their way through the washer and dryer..

That pretty silver thimble that Dave found in the vent before we moved? It's lost again :c| See what I mean? I'm better with the cheapy plastic ones.

I have a confession to make on this quilt. I quilted it from the BACK! Because I was quilting with purple thread and could not for the life of me see where I was going.....I just put it in the hoop with the back side up and I could quilt just fine. In fact,I liked it so much that I'll probably do that again, it was really easy when quilting from the back.

I also completely used up this cutesy little girl/little boy fabric that had been in my stash forever....I think it's cute! I used more of that in charity quilts than I can count because it was donated to me. So now...it's ALL GONE! YAY!!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Mary Jo Musings....

I returned Saturday night from my trip to Greenville SC! We had a great time for the lecture and crumbs workshop. What a hoot it is to try to get people to think outside of their boxes. I bring a big basket of crumbs and scraps with me and as they are sewing along, I'll pull something REALLY LOVELY (**NOT**!!) out of my basket and challenge them to use this piece in their piecing. Some could do it with reckless abandon, and some just could NOT use that piece because it wasn't their color,their style, whatever. But no matter, we had a blast! I've got LOADS of pics to upload. I had friday off, the lecture was thursday, and the workshop was saturday, so a couple of guild members had the job of running me around from museums, historical living farms, and antique malls..not to mention dragging me out to lunch. Thanks ladies, it was SO great!

In return I subjected a couple of my escorts to the wonders of bargain shopping at the goodwill clearance center in Greenville! Yes, there is one there, $1.00 a pound for anything on the tables! Whooowhooo! Eyes were opened that once were closed!

The night before I left home to go to Greenville, I mapquested my route so I would know the best way to get there. Imagine my surprise when I saw it was I-85 all the way! Oh goodness! Lookee there! I-85 goes right through Charlotte and GASTONIA....and WHAT is in Gastonia, pray tell? Why....the fantastic fabulous MARY JO'S CLOTH WORLD of course!

Those of you who have never been there, never fear, I took pics :c) they don't capture it all, that's for sure, but this should give you an idea. Those who haven't been there in a long time can see how there is deconstruction and reconstruction going on all around, but Mary Jo's has put their foot down and is staying put in the midst of it all!

The front door used to take you in the mall entrance, and then there was another entrance to get into the store in the inside of the Mall. No more. The mall is GONE...and they have moved the entrance into the side of the building so you go directly into the store.

I love just walking through and seeing all the quilting fabrics arranged by color, or type, look at all these STRIPES in a row...a total rainbow!

Towards the back of the store are the reproductions. Notice the sign? We are really high tech here....stenciled letters on butcher paper :c)

I didn't have a lot of time, so I headed to the fat quarter table, and then to the remnant bins. I was there for maybe 20 minutes, but still managed to rack up a $70 bill...acckkkk!

This is all I'll post for now...tomorrow, hopefully I'll get to some more!

Dimensions of a Fat 1/8??

Yes, I'm still writing pattern info. It's really difficult to explain that Scraps mean Scraps, so I'm having to write some stuff using Fat 1/8ths because Fat Quarters are too big. What are the dimensions of a fat 1/8??? When you cut a fat quarter in half to get a fat 1/8 do you cut it the long way, or the across way?

*ADDENDUM* (or should that be ADDEND-DUMB!!!) A Fat Eighth (why does that look like it has one too many h's in it?!) is 9"X22". Thank you to those who answered so quickly! I knew I could count on you... :c)

I just didn't know if it was going to be 9"X22" or 11"X18". You can tell I've never bought Fat Eighths....or if I had, I probably wouldn't care about the exact dimensions anyway!

Carry On, Quilt On!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The Mystery Is Solved!

This is Step 6 of the Orange Crush Mystery......come sew and play!

My original plan was to use plain borders, but you know what? I had extra split four patch units! I'd been building more as leaders and enders and I thought it would be fun to use them in the border.

I also cleared out a bunch of red fabrics with a barnyard theme from the "get rid of it NOW" stash! I've got hoffman chickens and turkeys, (does the fact that it's 'hoffman' make it any LESS ugly?*LOL*)I've got cows jumping over moons (And I'm happy to say that other than scraps, this fabric is now ALL gone!) and I've got a 1990's vintage ducks and cattails! The best part is that they are now OUT of the stash. Hallelujia!

I've just got the binding left to do...more orange for the binding..whoowhoo!

I'm headed to Greenville SC tomorrow for a lecture/trunkshow and a workshop there. I'll be home Saturday night if I can get out of there in good time to make it home that evening.

I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for the huge group hug regarding Heather's birthday. It means more than you can know. Thank you all.