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!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Two Guilds in One Day!

That was my yesterday. It started off with a BANG too...or actually it would be more like it started with ***NOTHING**** as in CAR WON'T START. Wont turn over won't grind, won't cough, won't sputter...

And I was already 15 minutes late getting out the door to drive to Mooresville!

Turns out my GPS had fallen from it's place where it is suction cupped to the windshield. In the night it had fallen BAM onto the hazard button, and unbeknownst to me, my flashers were busy flashing all night long in the darkness of my garage. So. In the morning. DEAD BATTERY!

Some jumper cables and some swearing got me running again and I was on my way. I had never been to Mooresville before. It's about 67 miles from me, but off the beaten path. That's what I LOVE about traveling to guilds! You get off the interstate, and it is amazing what you can find. Mooresville is cute and quaint, and the guild meets in the Citizen's Center which was perfect for our lecture and trunkshow..and for the workshop as well.

Mooresville NC Boxy Stars Workshop
We had a blast making Boxy Stars blocks from 2.5" strips. The differences in looks just from the variety of fabrics is amazing. I uploaded a little slide show for you to see. Be sure to check out the tie dyed socks!! What a hoot!

We finished up the workshop about 4:30pm, and I had some time to kill before heading home. My OWN guild meeting was having a special presentation of Amish Quilts, and I didn't want to miss that, but at the same time I didn't want to get there too early, so I dawdled in Mooresville, wandering through a lovely antique shop. The owner was such a ham. He conned (???) me into purchasing these drawers he'd salvaged from a treadle machine. They are beautiful, rounded drawers, not square front ones. Not sure what I'll do with them yet, but I couldn't let them go. Okay, maybe I'm just a pushover! I think they will work great in a skinny place. For now I've put them between my treadle and the sewing cabinet,and they will be fine there for now. I need to have a "top" made for the top drawer, because it is just open to the world on top.

So I wandered over to my guild meeting, getting there early enough to help with the Amish quilts. Just turns out I was a good one to have around early....I even had an extra quilt stand they could borrow to hang their quilts on. I helped hold the quilts, so I didn't get many pics of them. There were some BEAUTIES. I just love hand quilting on solid fabrics, I can't get over the texture and what those little stitches can do with solids. I am definitely going to play with more solids in the future. Let that quilting show!

These pics are of the two quilts that were hanging to either side of the stage...look at these stitches!

I wish I could have gotten pics of the ones that I was holding. One was SO humble...really what some would consider as ugly. Workman's clothes were the main fabrics. colors were brown black gold and blue...chambray? All different kinds of weaves of fabrics, from wool to almost a canvas feel to cotton twill. It was a tied quilt, and you could see through some holes in the backing that it was tied through another quilt! It was an Indiana Amish quilt, and those winters can be brutal. I'm sure this quilt kept someone extra warm.

I came home to a brightly colored box covered with hearts! Again, I thought it must be a customer quilt, but lo and behold.....it's a Valentine's Gifty Box!! Thanks Margaret D. I can honestly say I've never tried chocolate covered potato chips before! *LOL* But you know what? It has that certain amount of salty + sweet to make it REALLY good! I guess when you think of it, it is the same salty sweet as the chocolate or white chocolate dipped pretzels,and I love those too. And you know the salty sweet of the raisins in trail mix...yep! Gotta love salty and sweet!

The family went straight for the carmel corn while I horded the fancy chcolates from Bowlby Candy Co myself. MINE MINE MINE! And the fabrics....These are just YUMMY! Thanks so much, your gifty was the perfect ending to a completely quilt filled day!

Quilting with a Purpose...

Cheryl sent me this wonderful suggestion and asked that I pass it along to you! I'm happy to do so!

Hi, Bonnie --

President-elect Obama has called for a national day of service on MLK Day (next Monday), and I thought it would be a great idea if quilters participated in it by spending a little time that day to work on charity quilts. I just posted the idea on my blog, but I decided to ask if you would be interested in posting something on your blog. You have a very large readership, and I know you do so much quilting for charity, that I thought you might encourage people to spend a little time that day making charity quilts.

If you want to see what I wrote, here's the link

Thanks for considering this!

Cheri Sullivan (aka jovaliquilts)

I had a wonderful day yesterday with TWO quilt guilds. I leave Thursday for VA, and I'm tackling paperwork right now, so no time to update you..if I get all these ducks in a row, I'll be able to catch up more later!!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Saturday Evening Progress....

The more I sew these blocks to their sashings, the more I like this. Here is the Work-in-progress at my machine!Yes, the gingham is subtle...but I like that. It doesn't upstage the blocks. And where I used the scrappy cornerstones in the sashing, it repeats the 9 patch center of each block...and becomes part of the overall design.

Not sure about borders yet, but it will come :c)

I also have to HAVE to show you this darling bouquet that showed up at my door this afternoon. Thank you SO MUCH Karen J!! *hugs* You darling..you brought the yellow sunshine right to my door! I love the mug....when the flowers are gone I'll be using it for my morning tea.

Choices, Choices!

You know, sashing color can REALLY effect the look and the "feel" of a quilt. Remember these blocks? Here is Oscar after rearranging my "Nines In The Middle."

Before I left for The Netherlands, I had been toying with these blocks and how to lay them out, with what, etc.

My first draft was light sashings...but it became TOO LIGHT in the quilt. It took over...big blank blah.

Keep in mind my first go-to is usually red, but I have so many quilts with red, that red is off the docket for this one (which is why I also chose pink for Double Delight) No red.

I love the look of old quilts made with mourning prints. I had a lovely by Baum that I had never used..just petted. But it made the quilt look SO somber, I guess the blocks felt like THEY were in mourning too. So. Nope.

Bright green? AAACKKK! I got sea sick right away! Even though I love this color,and I'll use the strips I cut in something else...

The kicker with a scrap quilt is...it can't be a fabric that cancels out anything else in the quilt. It can't be the same color as major block parts because then those blend together and it looks like parts go missing.

Medium. I needed a Medium. I needed something that was darker than the lights, yet lighter than the darks. Something that would let each color and fabric do it's own thing without playing too heavy a part in the design...

I found a little blue gingham check in the closet, I had about 3 yards of it. I wasn't thinking I wanted blue at first, but I think it is what the QUILT wants.

Gingham is timeless. It never looks dated. It doesn't upstage anything. It's like a trusted friend, just willing to lend a helping hand! Click the pic to get a closer look.

Cornerstones and all of the squares in each block are 2" leaders and enders. Come to think of it so are the light triangles. Those 2" squares are just the ticket for so many things!

And in looking at these pictures, I STILL like that mourning print..but when you see it lifesize....the print is so busy and it just makes the quilt look depressed. I'm sure I'll find another quilt for THOSE sashing too....

I've spent the morning hooking up my backup "MY BOOK" for the computer. I've wanted this thing for a long time..I'm backing up EVERYTHING on it, and telling myself to back everything up monthly, if not every 2 weeks. I'm not going to lose anything. I'm already so happy that I switched to gmail for my email because never again will I lose my address book,etc. But I needed to back up not only my computer, but my website as well. I think 1 Terabyte will hold A LOT! :cD

I was also sick of all the usb cords everywhere, so I bought a hub thing, and now all the wires are OUT of sight. I hate a bunch of electrical cords and computer wires and cables everywhere in a big mess. It's a real peeve of mine. Now it is all straightened, cords bound up, all functional. Much better!