Tuesday, February 03, 2009

It's a backing!!!

Yes, I really DID turn that pile of odd fabric pieces and older FQs I wanted to clear out into a backing for the Strip Twist! And you know what? It didn't turn out half bad! I think it will quilt up interestingly enough. But the best part is that I annihilated 7 to 8 yards of fabric out of the stash! GONE!

And as the retreat gals from last weekend would agree, this is definitely something that deserves a big Earth Wind & Fire YAAAAAOOOOOOWWW!!! :cD


Monday, February 02, 2009

Today in Charlotte....

I have to tell you about my annoying day.

For a long time now I've been researching domestic sewing machines because I really want to find one with some features that I'd love to have. My main machine is a Bernina 1080 and I love her. She's been good to me. I have several vintage babies and they are fun, each have their own quirks and personalities.

For a few trips now, I've stayed with people who have either the Janome 6500p or the 6600p and I've tried them out.

But try to find one here in Winston? No way. The guy here kept saying that it was the same as this Elna he had...but it was missing what I really REALLY want in this machine...a push button thread cutter. Do I need to spend this much money on just a thread cutter? Well, yes I do.

If you love paper piecing as much as I do, you will understand that it is a pain in the Patootie to be paper piecing on something that you can't do "chain piecing" on...you grab the long thread tails to get them out of the way, and then sew..oh..maybe an INCH or two at most...and then have to whip that paper out from under the presser foot, leaving long tails again, and have to trim four threads, two beginning top and bottom and two ending top and bottom, before you can press and add the next piece. It's a PAIN! All those wasted 3" long tails of thread...everywhere..ugh.

So...I've been researching these.

Today I made a call to a shop in Charlotte who said yes, they had a 6600p and quoted me the price, and it was reasonable, so off I went in my trusty vehicle and drove 90 miles to go look at this thing.

From the MOMENT I walked into that shop....it was a bait and switch! (GRRRRRR)

I told him I was the one who called from Winston and I'd like to see the 6600p.

He said "oh you don't want that, we have something better...have you seen the pfaff? have you seen this, that, the other?" Well yes, but they were all about $1000 more than I wanted to spend.

He talked DOWN that 6600p up one side and down the other, telling ME what I wanted, what I needed and what I could get on any other machine. (Are you feeling my frustration?)

He left me stranded several times while he went to go tackle something else. While he was helping a lady with a load of school machines, I just nearly picked up my purse and left the store.

He told me the machine was $1300 which was a good price. I asked how much the freestanding table it was in was...and he said $500. (ouch!)

I asked about the difference between the 6500 and the 6600, which was the dual feed thingy. I know people who have that love it. I've never needed it because I've never had trouble controling my patchwork on my Bernina, and I didn't like the big humongous foot that goes with that dual feed thing.

Besides that, I was just NOT going to give this man my business no matter if his machine rolled over and begged for me to take it home. So I left.

On the way home I called a few friends who had either machine and talked to them more about it. One loves her dual feed. Another said she barely uses it unless she is putting on a binding. Another who doesn't HAVE the dual feed says she just uses an add on walking foot when she needs it and it is fine for her (Which is what I"ve done with my Bernie all along)

I was still so fumed I needed to calm myself so I pulled over at the nearest Antique Mall off the interstate. :cD It worked! I wandered, I pondered....I bought a red ceramic apple cookie jar just like my Grannie had, a 1955 framed printing of the Serenity Prayer (how apropos, huh?? *LOL*) a hooked rug for the guest room that will go at the end of the bed, a red scotch plaid thermos lunch box that reminds me of the lunch box I had in 2nd grade (Hey, it was only $2.00...cheap therapy!) and a hooked chair pad for the kitchen desk chair.

I came home...looked up sites online...and found myself a 6500p with a table included! No Sales Tax...Free Shipping...no Bait and Switch, just a nice email that said "Thank You for Your Order" and I am done. The table only added $260 to the price of the machine instead of an additional $500.

I feel vindicated.

I feel like calling this Bozo in Charlotte and telling him what he missed out on because of his crappy salesmanship techniques. But mostly I feel it isn't worth the effort, and if he hasn't figured it out by now, he never will, so why should I bother?

So now I am eagerly awaiting my 6500p so that I can paper piece these pineapple babies and cut the threads as I go and lift the presser foot with the knee lift (which I have never had) All while it is flush in it's own little table.....and justify that it really didn't add THAT much to the expense of this quilt because it was all scraps to begin with,right?

PS..so many have asked me where I ordered the machine and table together. I got it from SewingMachinesPlus.com Tell them Bonnie from Quiltville sent you!

Happy Twister!

I'm a very Happy Twister! Retreat was the perfect weekend to work on this top.

I got there early...wasn't sure how long it would take me to get to Camp Dogwood, which is just north of Charlotte on Lake Norman. Beautiful! The facilities were perfect.

I was the first one there, so I set about moving tables around so we had access to plugs, etc. And then I set up my stuff to start sewing. I tell ya....I was sewing for a good two hours before others strolled in with only slightly guilty faces after confessing to have quilt shop hopped on their way to retreat :c)

This top was my MAIN project for retreat. And I am happy to say because my strips were already cut and waiting, that it was finished in a bit over a day. The rest of the time I finished hand quilting a project, and worked on binding another, and made a complete mess with my 5" pineapple blocks, but I was in heaven!

There were 8 of us total, and the laughter and chatter was so infectious. I don't think I need to tell you how hard it is to hear sometimes between two halves of a room---machines whirring and music blasting---but we had some hoots and hollers over mistaken interpretations,thinking someone said one thing, when they really said another, and that sent us off in peals of laughter all over again. Very much good for the soul!

It was just the best time, I can't describe it. It was fun to see what everyone else was working on too. Some beautiful applique (how it could be so perfect between all the laughing and carrying on, beats me!) And lots of UFOs in progress..

The first night we went out to Big Daddy's for sea food. YUMMY. I tell you, there was so much food that I went for a SENIOR MEAL plus salad bar, and it was still more than I could eat.

Back to retreat, change into jammies, more sewing!

After that no one left for anything. There were plenty of leftovers and food to make up all our meals without a need to go anywhere, which meant MORE SEWING TIME! I loved this...microwave and fridge to our disposal and we were happy campers.

And look! our Mascot! This is Woody. He just wandered in and made himself at home. We found out he loves crackers, but hates pretzel sticks..*LOL* Definitely a friendly old guy, he soaked up the tummy rubs and ear scratches. We asked the gal who works at the facility who he belongs to. She has no clue, so he just must visit the camp as a renegade :cD (Walkabout, you know?) Such a sweetie.

I got home last evening, unloaded the car, and during Superbowl, I managed to get the borders on the Strip Twist after having a hard time deciding what looked best with it! I went from red to blue to green to black and back....and finally decided on gold and purple. Those were two colors from the center that just really popped at me and I wanted to play them up.

So now that is together....I have this pile of purples I'd like to clear out. I'm considering sewing them together in some form for some kind of backing. That, and putting the binding on the hand quilted one I just finished, I've got plenty to keep me busy!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Superbowl Twist!

Nope..the movie didn't happen,but it might tonight!

Still, as I'm packing for the retreat tomorrow, it occurred to me that I didn't post more about the Superbowl Twist Challenge!

It's not a mystery, because steps won't be given. This is an "at your own pace" project, with a goal of using up leftover 2.5" strips, maybe a jelly roll you haven't found a place for, or a coordinated pack of FQs that haven't been purposed for something yet, or all of the above.

You can make it a long weekend of Superbowl Sewing, as I will at the retreat, or you can sew when you can. Remember, no rules? The Strip Twist pattern is found HERE!

There will be a lot of chatter about various projects people are working on at our Quiltvillechat@yahoogroups.com list. But you don't have to be a part of the list to participate. It's just a good quick technique project where you can sew pedal to the metal and have something to show for the weekend.

It is up to you if you want to donate this quilt to a charity of your choice or not. Mine is going to be a class sample, and then when I'm done using it as a class sample, I will donate it to a worthy cause.

I'll take pics of my progress while I'm gone, and we'll see how much I can actually get done by Sunday eve when I return! It goes so fast, I better plan on throwing in some probable border fabrics just in case I get that far.

I leave here at 8:30 in the morning, I hope to be sewing by 11am! *LOL* (Bring it on, I'm SEW READY!!)

Oh, and special thanks to Forest Jane for the graphics!

Play Dates!

Where, oh where is Bonnie, you ask?

Playing! Jason and Kim came up last night and are staying until Saturday morning. It's so good to have them here. They brought Coheed and Cambria with them, their wonderfully fun orange striped tabbies.

My birthday and Jeff's birthday were both this past week, so we are being treated out to Chinese Buffet for lunch today by Kim and Jason. Nice, eh?

And..I think Kim and I have conned the guys into going to see Marley & Me at the matinee. The guys are dragging their feet, but I KNOW they'll like it if they just let themselves have a good time, instead of worrying about being caught dead in a chick flick movie in the middle of a Thursday afternoon!

I leave in the morning for my Bee's retreat at Camp Dogwood. I still have yet to pack, I think that will come after dinner tonight. Strips are already cut of course, just need to pack the personal stuff!

So you probably won't hear more from me until after the weekend!


Tuesday, January 27, 2009


I'm an animal lover...you know that. So many of you know that, that you send me little tidbits that I LOVE and in turn I want to share them with you.

You HAVE to watch this video! Special thanks to G McG in Canada who forwarded this to me:

PS...I tried this with Sadie and Buddy, but they just don't get it!!*LOL*

12:00 12:00 12:00 12:00

Don't you hate it when you wake up, look at the clock, and that is what you see? Blinking 12:00's??? Well, the power must have blipped in the night. It was sprinkling when I woke, but no big thunderstorms or anything, just enough of a blip to reset the clocks. Makes me LOVE my battery operated ones as I have to go around and reset everything! Not hard, just a pain..not even a thorn in my side...just an *UGH!* If that is all I have to complain about, I guess I'm doing good :c)

These are the other goodies that came home from Virginia with me!

I really love this blue enamel iron. Every time I've seen a blue iron, it had a natural gas little tank on the back, but this is a "heat on the stove" iron. So guess where it is sitting? On my wood stove in my studio. Love that color! And these things weigh a ton....I can't imagine ever having to iron with one.

The orange gingham apron...Don't you just love with the chicken scratch stitching on it? I took one to Lucy when I visited in December, hers was green with white stitched tulips on it. Now I've got this orange with green stitching, and I've got a brown with white stitching. Just love gingham. It's a happy little fabric, no matter what color it is.

I also found a sugar bowl, a pink depression glass juicer, a stuffed quilt heart pillow, and this lovely book. It's called The Heiress, and is copyrighted 1859 by Mrs Ann S Stephens. It is inscribed inside in ink "I shall be very very glad to find myself with you. Ever Yours, Ann S Stephens.

Who was she very very glad to find herself with? We may never know..but this book was given to someone she loved. And now it's mine. I can't wait to read it. I love the language. Just for kicks, here is a paragraph:

" She understood him. She felt that her empire in that heart was there still, though it might be in ruins. Still she struggled hard to suppress the exhibition of his wild delight, but it broke through her tears like lightning among rain-drops. It dimpled her mouth - oh, she was beautiful then~ One moment of expression like that is worth a life-time of the symmetrical prettiness which ordinary men admire in common-place women. With the conviction of his continued affection, Lady Jane recovered much of her composure. Her manner, unconsciously perhaps to herself, became gentle, pleading, almost tender. Now and then her voice was almost playful, and once as she lifted her eyes to his, there was a faint reflection of her mood upon Lord Clare's face."

Some things never change...nearly 150 years later...we are still sucked in by romance! *LOL*

By the list in the title page, it seems that Mrs Ann S Stephens was quite a novel writer. I found a bit about her HERE. Can you imagine women of the day passing her books amongst friends, trading hands at the quilting bee and discussing the plots? I can!

On my list today...getting ready to leave for a bee retreat on Friday morning! YAY! I need to remake a class sample that was given away to a charity.

If you are looking for something to do for Super Bowl Sunday...consider piecing a Strip Twist with me! It uses 2.5" strips, all colors, all fabrics (or you can be more discriminating if you want)and turns out great. This one has been on my website for about 6 or 7 years, long before Jelly Rolls became the "in" thing! It sews really fast, and I plan to make a dent in those 2.5" strips in the bin....If you've got a jelly roll...it's a good project for that too.

I've also been cutting a gazillion...well, I really only need 400, but can always use the extras....2" light/neutral squares for a border for the "nines-in-the-middle" quilt I started before Christmas. I got way-laid while I've been working on other things, but that is my goal today to finish the border. Or at least try!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Country Magazine...

A couple months back I got a phone call from an editor at Country Magazine asking if I could supply her with a picture of a string quilt to go with an article that someone had written. Could I EVER!!

What came of this was a very fun email exchange, some phone calls, and me doing a photo shoot to get things "just right". I did shots in the yard, on the porch swing, and of course in the guest room. I even sent her a pic of my overflowing wicker laundry basket of scrap strings.

The magazine came while I was teaching in VA! I am so tickled with the story that goes with the pic. It's perfect. And there in the middle of the pic for all the world to see is my Emmylou (also called Louisa, and LuLuBee)like she owns the bed AND the quilt (which she does)

This was fun to do because *I* didn't have to write the article, nor supply a pattern.

I love the magazine, too...I've read through it cover to cover and think I'm going to have to subscribe. This is my kind of life style!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Treasured Finds..

Of course you KNEW that quilts would have to come home with me, right?

These are two "not so beauties" that had enough personality and pioneer spirit and the whole feeling of "making do", that they had to come home with me.

The first one is this basket..maybe you caught it in the slide show below. I LOVE baskets..adore them! And this one just really spoke to me because it is slightly color controled (but it breaks it's own rules!) and even though one of the baskets is shredded. I think it's still a good "display" piece.

The baptist fan quilting of COURSE caught my eye. Look at that texture! Those lines are less than an inch apart..probably closer to 1/2", and that is why this quilt didn't fall apart any worse than it has with the wear and use of the years. Let's face it...more quilting means less migration of batting, and a longer lasting quilt. If you just outline quilt something 1/4" from the seam lines, you leave all this empty un-protected space allowing the fabric to wear out between the stitches. If you just outline quilt, you leave even the seam lines unanchored. When the stitching crosses the seams like this, it reinforces the whole quilt.

The second one is STARS! I love how the diamonds are divided across their bellies :c) It almost makes circles. This one VERY MUCH reminds me of a Talula Gilbert Bottoms quilt. If you aren't familiar with Talula, well what can I say. Follow the link above to Amazon. I saw the book Legacy for as low as $3.95 used, and $7.00 new,but it didn't look like there were many copies left. She was the most inspirational lady I have ever read about, a life full of quilts, and a hard life at that. Most of her quilts were utilitarian in nature, but I love each and every one. She started post civil war, and quilted through the 1930s.

I'm pretty sure this is a newer "old" binding on this quilt. It's more like a feedsack era print than what is in the quilt itself, and it is not as yellowed. So someone somewhere decided that the borders (or at least the binding) on this piece were too worn and needed to be replaced. Oh, the life of a quilt! I wish it could talk and tell me the stories, the lives of those whom it covered in it's journey to me.

Of course I love the plaids, the stripes, the shirtings, the chambray and other work-clothing-related patches. It tickles me when stripes go any which way with reckless abandon. I'm not sure if the sashing was more RED before it mellowed into the red/pink, but it's got the same colorway going on as my album blocks quilt, which I NEED to load in the machine and finish the quilting on.

I've got some other goodies, but I think this post is long enough for now! It's DS Jeff's 19th birthday today. My baby is 19. Wow.

I'm doing his favorite dinner....grilled pork chops, baked potatoes and all the fixin's...salad, home baked rolls, and angel food cake with strawberries for dessert. What more could a young man want? (An I-phone for one...Keep dreaming!)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Antiquing Through Virginia!

Inspiration comes from EVERYWHERE! Even one of the churches that one guild used as their meeting place had 4 patches of tiles in the bathroom floor! You know....it's EVERYWHERE. And I am so inspired by what I find. I know it isn't always something that is unique or one of a kind. It isn't anything I can claim as my own. But I am inspired none the less.

Not all of us want to reinvent the wheel when it comes to a pattern design..we want to reach back to the past and connect with quilters gone by, and pick up the needle where they left it. I'm grateful for the simplicity in their designs. I'm grateful that some of them pushed past the boundaries of preconceived notions and used what they had whether it matched or not.

This trip left me with wonderful inspiration. I did bring home two quilts that I absolutely love....however, the camera battery is dead as a doornail and is charging as I type. When I can get pics in the day light with a charged battery, you'll get pics. Probably tomorrow.

Antiquing through Virginia, Jan 09
However...I was able to take pics off the memory card and upload them to a slideshow for you!

My travels took me up I-77 to I-81...past Roanoke (one of my favorite places on earth!) up past Harrisonburg and to Mt Jackson. The wonderful lady I stayed with lived in Mt Jackson, and we traveled back and forth for the workshops, etc.

I can tell I've lived south for too long. I forgot completely about my "emergency" can of diet coke in the backseat.....good thing we had removed the body bags of quilts from the car, because the next morning I was left wondering what this brown condensation was on the inside of my car roof! Uhhuh. I'll have to oxyclean that one out! The can of coke exploded. I can see it....all of us tucked snug in our beds, somewhere around 3am, while this spraying and spritzing is going on inside of my car. Oh well. If you can't laugh, then something's wrong, right? It will clean. Too bad we missed the show! It got to a whopping -9 degrees that morning.

I left Harrisonburg on Saturday, feeling uplifted from two great workshops and a trunkshow, my only regret being that the Virginia Quilt Museum is CLOSED during the month of January. I'll just have to go back.

I arrived Saturday evening in Alexandria, and Lynne was to be my hostess with the mostess for the entire week I was there. I love her and her hubby! Lynne and I have a common friend, so it was very much like "Any friend of Aby is a friend of mine..." and we fell right into step. They have a wonderful townhouse close to DC. Needless to say though, we didn't wander into DC during the inaugeration. Not only was it too cold,but we both agreed we'd rather be comfy on the couch stitching away and watching it on TIVO than dealing with crowds of people.

While staying at Lynne's we tackled 3 guilds: Mt Vernon, Springfield, and Fairfax chapters of Quilters Unlimited. I'll be back up there again in June when I teach for their show right along side Mark Lipinski. I can hardly wait!

Upon advice from a quilter somewhere along the line, I decided to fore go going home via I-95 which is the dreaded roadway of anyone having to go up and down the east coast. Instead I took 29 from Alexandria, traveling through such places as Culpeper, Charlottesville, Lynchburg, on down through Danville to Greensboro, and over. The time really WAS about the same and I had way less semi trucks to deal with. Lots of antique stops along the way (but my camera was dead by this time, remember?) and gorgeous scenery. I think I'll go back UP that way in June. It should be gorgeous then, and there are more antique places to check out!

Needless to say, it's great to be home. It's been wonderful to meet people IN PERSON when I've only known them via email and the internet. Some people I got to see AGAIN, renewing those friendships. I am constantly amazed at what a close wonderful world the quilt world can be.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

On The Road...

My camera has a dead battery. This is not a good thing on a trip! But thanks to my friend Shirley Anne...(otherwise known as SAO from Midlothian VA) you can still visit along to see glimpses of workshops and trunkshows and show and tell and other quilter mayhem by visiting her blog Shirley Anne's Heart.

It is so fun to meet people in person after knowing them by email. Catherine, Margaret, SAO..you guys are a blast! I love the little tote bag and goodies that Catherine gifted me with. I'll get pics (when camera is back charged) and show you when I get home just what this gal does with pockets, plackets, collars and cuffs!

I'm in recycled fabric heaven, Catherine! Thank you!

Web Server Clean Up!

Hi Ladies!

I got a message after my trunkshow this morning that some were experiencing a mysterious malware on my site.

I panicked and right away called my webhost. They did a check, and indeed someone had hacked into Quilville.com! (they are now on my dirty list..who ever they are)

The clean up has taken place. The website is now safe for your viewing.

I'm having a good time in VA..busy busy, a different guild every day...

I'll be home late on the 23rd!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

All Done & Ready to Run!

I finished the binding and the hanging sleeve on Double Delight today. I don't know why it took me so long, but I just had a hard time making myself sit on the couch to do it while there was so much else needing to be done. I just can't let everything else around me just stay undone while I sit, you know? Never the less, it's done.

I'm still not sure about those corner 9 patches. They were a bad afterthought maybe. but when you have left over parts, or at least when I do...I am always looking for a place to use them up. Doesn't matter. Finished is better than perfect,and a completed quilt is better than one that never got started.

Scrappy pics of the back. There is one dark print..the darkest one, don't know if you can see it clearly, that I bought when Jason was maybe 2 yrs old. He's now 25 so that should give you an idea! I bought the whole flatfold of it. Don't know why. It never went with anything. It wasn't burgundy and it wasn't pink and the flowers in it are a hunter green. This DOES go down in history as one of the most ugly unuseable fabrics in my stash. But it's mostly gone now, all that is left is what I trimmed down in to strips and squares after trimming the quilt.

Unlike some, I really have a hard time using large florals. I think it's because I tend to make quilts with small pieces, and the only place I can think of for a big floral is in an alternate block or a border. I'm happy this pretty floral found a place in the back of this quilt.

And Ms Tonya...I assume you are safe in FL! And if your body clock is anywhere where mine was after returning from Amsterdam, it will take you a few days to surface! I am trusting the kitties (and you and your hubby) made it stateside okay!

Guess what Tonya..I FOUND MY LOST LETTERS! You will never guess where they were hiding...in the plastic shoebox full of leaders and enders. They were hiding in there for some unknown reason,but now I can continue on my love letter surprise. Just in time for Valentine's right?

I don't know if I'll get a chance to post over the next week and a half or so. I'll be gone until the 24th......miss you guys!