Wednesday, February 24, 2010

That Checkerboard Border......

I'm not concentrating well enough to want to work on those 40s blocks after all. I decided instead to finish the quilt that was on the machine, get the binding on it..and spend the afternoon with my feet up in the recliner binding to the "Lifetime Movie Network." Always good for a "man hater" chick flick! *LOL* I happen to like movies...I don't like sit-coms with canned laughter, and a movie can take up to 2 hours of my time, where those 30 minute jobs leave me playing with the remote trying to find something else to watch way too often!

SO..the quilt is done, and as I was trimming it I thought I'd see if I could get you some pics......of the border...and what I did to the BACK! Because --- I pieced WAY too much border! I don't know what I was thinking, but I just kept piecing and piecing and before I knew it...I could have circled the house with this border!

This is going around a quilt I set "on point"...AND YOU KNOW what happens to even measurements when you put a quilt on point? They are no longer even! They are 1.414'd into oblivion. So this is when I take a clue from antique quilts and just go to lobbing them off where they need to be lobbed. The spacer border helped with that. Actually, the number of squares worked on the lengthwise borders, but the top and bottom end with like 1/3 of a square...so be it! :cD

The fun part was taking some left over reds and piecing them into a back with the checkerboard remains put in there as a spacer. Look...MORE COW FABRIC! I swear that has to be the end of it, but those cows have been lucky for me, so I'm happy to put them in the back of one of these quilts for Scraps & Shirttails II....This was the last hunk, so if there are any others, they are in the strip bins, or the pre-cut square bins.

That big red check reminds me of picnics :c) (Please bring on picnic weather...it's SNOWING here in NC TODAY!!)

I really like the leafy design for the quilting. I needed something with a fairly small repeat because the units in the border and the quilt front are small...so scale was important to me with this one. That said...it probably took me 20+ pre wound bobbins to quilt this thing!

I'm now going to attempt to get the binding on.....and then do the hand stitching this afternoon. At least, that's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Post Surgery...

Thanks for all the well wishes....it really was much of a non-event. It would have BEEN a non-event except for the need for anesthesia, which I hate at all costs....

I also hate IV's....because I have rolling veins and it just plain hurts and I'm a big baby. So there.

I remember walking down the hall to the OR with the nurse (Male, of course...oh jeez...why can't we have female nurses for female procedures?) and I remember thinking to myself "Gee, there are a LOT of people in this OR...)as I climbed up on the table....

I was strapped in, strapped down....My arms straight out to the sides of me. I remember the anesthesia guy putting an oxygen tube in front of my nose and turning it on...wrapping the tube behind my ears.

I remember him telling me that they were going to get me drowsy and he started the IV drip, and it felt very strangely cold going in my arm. I thought to myself, "Boy could be nice if they could just warm that up...." And that was the last I remember!

I have no recollection of ANYTHING....just waking up in the recovery room sitting in a recliner with my feet up and someone talking to me. How I got there? I have no clue! If I said something stupid, I don't remember! I guess that is the blessing of anesthesia....

The curse of anesthesia is that I fight nausea for the rest of the day. Upon coming home, I tried to settle my tummy with some tea and toast and went to bed. I slept 5 hours...ate some more..went back to bed....

This morning the only thing I'm feeling is tired (probably from too much sleeping!) and my throat is sore (probably from that forced oxygen thing and dryness)but other than that, I think I'm good to go.

I'm just puttering today....getting things ready for leaving for Georgia tomorrow! The guys are going to do the heavy lifting of the quilt duffel bags and boxes of books into the car.

I think it's a good day to pull out those blocks I was working on over the weekend! I have this idea to take these vintage 1940s fabrics that have been sitting around for too long and combine them with the recycled fabrics....and more of that plain muslin and come up with something that REALLY looks 1940s vintage, not REPRO or RETRO...but real... ;c)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Quick Post....

Things to be grateful for:

Sunny Saturday Morning :cD

90 Minute massage for ME :cD

Clean house.

Clean Quilting Studio.

Laundry Done.

Quilt on the Quilting machine.

Salad with poppy-seed dressing for lunch!

Matinee Movie!

Life is most definitely leaning towards good!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Goodie Box!!!

I just opened the front door to let the doggies back in, and look what was sitting on my doorstep!!

A whole box of shirt parts....colors, glorious colors...all washed and ready for piecing!! (She actually aplogized for not ironing them, can you imagine? :c) )

I met Donna in Alabama when I was there a couple weeks ago, and we sure had a great time. I've got a bunch of other shirt pieces she sent home with me that are quickly working their way into quilts!

First of all, it is amazing how FAR fabric from a shirt can go....and sometimes I feel like I've been sewing with the SAME ones over and over, especially when using them in places like leader/ender squares where they never seem to deplete....so having Donna gift me with a whole new MIX of shirt parts is a very welcome gift!

Thank you, Donna for thinking of me!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Bits & Pieces!!

Yesterday was ugh...one of those days you just endure and go through because you have to, not because you want to.

I had my mammogram....and it was fairly uneventful other than wishing I had NOT worked out with a trainer on Monday, and that we had NOT worked so hard on upper arms/chest in that workout! My pecs were already sore before they did the smash and mash on me! *LOL* Note to self.....do not schedule a mammo after an upper body workout!

The other doc appt....was a follow up to last week. UGH. Without going into too much detail, I ended up with an ultrasound to check some things out that were discovered to be a bit out of whack at my yearly last week.

Results of that ultrasound have me scheduled for outpatient surgery next tuesday to remove a growth on the wall of my uterus. BLECH. The doc told me it is basically laproscopic, easy...go through the cervix with a tube that has a camera...and a little claw thing that can go in there and do its thing and I should be out of surgery in 30 minutes.

There shouldn't be much discomfort after....just crampy like with a bad period, not even a whole lot of bleeding is expected. Good thing...cuz I drive to Georgia 2 days later! And after the exams last week and yesterday....I'm glad they are going to put me to sleep for this one. I don't care what they do as long as I don't have to be awake for it.

I may sound brave, but really.....I'm a bit freaked and ask for good thoughts and prayers please!

I have here a sneak preview for you! I can't show the whole quilt, but I want to show you the ohio stars...and where they ended up...in the border! You can see the quilting detail here. The rest of the quilt will have to wait until I finish the next book, but I just KNOW you are going to like it!

The binding is on this one....a brown and black check that just finishes it off so nice! I was thinking solid black, but that ended up being too stark....so the brown/black combo is a good choice.

DH and son are going on a ski weekend starting this afternoon...so guess what I'll be doing?!? YEAH!!!

I've made some progress on my checkerboard border too....here you can see that I've sewn the sections into "twosies" and am now sewing the "twosies" together into "foursies" That muslin doesn't look too shabby! I really love antique vintage quilts that used muslin as a utility fabric....this just gives that same feel to me when used with the recycled fabrics. In my opinion, I'd choose muslin ANY DAY over any white on white/cream on cream out there. Let's face it...they didn't HAVE white on white prints galore in the era of quilts that I love. Less is best for a vintage look. Muslin fits the bill just fine!

I'm teaching 9-patch Split from my website when I head down to Baton Rouge next month....I've updated the design and changed the layout! It's the same block...just set barn raising instead of diamonds. I really really love asymetrical blocks because there is so much you can do to change the look of the quilt.

I had a lot of fun with this one...it's all recycled fabrics other than that solid red that is in there...

And here is a close up detail shot of that braided border....Yep! It's the same braid that is in "Adventures With Leaders & Enders" only here it's used as a border, instead of the body of the quilt. And no..you don't have to worry about chopping it off where the border ends, leaving you with a partial square at the end. Just let it fall where it may. Life is more fun when you "live random" ;cD

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Just Piecing....

More piecing, and more piecing....

And as I went over my calendar this morning, double checking, I get to be home for 9 more days before I have to go anywhere...so....LOTS more piecing!!

It's wicked cold out there. Hovering a few degrees above freezing, but windy as heck, and I hate windy more than I hate anything, so...yep. Staying in!

I just finished getting a quilt off the machine, and I'm going to prep a binding so I can do the handwork tonight. Tonight might even start EARLY as in BEFORE DINNER..just cuz I am really feeling the desire to put my feet up and watch some chick flick kind of drivel while I stitch a binding. UNDER a quilt is the best place to be right now!

So what is she piecing on now? A Checkerboard Border!

Did you ever look at one part of your stash...and think to yourself.."Man, I really REALLY need to do something with this stuff?" Well, that's how I've felt about this tub of leftover muslin pieces. It's not even yardage...it's PIECES. Some of it is trimmings from backings...some of it is left from when I used to design dolls and made umpteen thousand pairs of bloomers for said animals and dolls....and the scraps from that are in here...

I spent yesterday ironing some...and cutting it into 2" strips to alternate with the 2" strips of dark recycled fabrics I'm using in this border.

Then...I put the TV on Primetime On Demand...and sewed mindlessly while NOT watching CSI last night! *LOL* I got lots of strip sets sewn, some dark light dark, some light dark light..and here they are all cut into their little subsections.

It's probably not even enough to do two sides of that border, but at least it is enough to get started with.

I'm not even trying to make sure that all the muslin is the same "dye lot". I like it in antique quilts where there are variations in color/shade and I'm just letting these fall where they may.

I'll see how far these sections go...and then make some more....so far, it hasn't made a dent in either the dark 2" recycled strips, OR that over stuffed tub of muslin pieces and parts!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Talk About Matchy-Matchy!!!

This pic is from my recent visit to Athens, Alabama!

Carla just sent me a picture of her gorgeous "Double Delight"....I absolutely fell in love with her border treatment. She quilted the whole thing on her home machine, kudos to her, she did a great job!!

After looking at the pic for a minute...it struck me how funny it is that she and I are dressed to MATCH the quilt?!? I know this isn't intentional. It was a cold and dreary rainy drizzly yucky weekend, and I dressed for the occassion in my favorite velour cowl necked sweater. It's baggy. But comfy! And she dressed for the comfort of taking a class too....who would have thought we would match the quilt?

Without the quilt you wouldn't have thought a thing of what we are wearing, but the moment you pull the quilt out, it looks planned...hehehehe

Come to think of it....often when teaching a class I can look around the room and see who is dressed to match whatever project they are working on! The lady working on the red and black would be wearing red, the lady working with patriotic colors is wearing red or blue, the lady who loves pink...well, her machine is pink, her chair is pink, her totes are pink, her clothes are pink, and yes...she has the pink rotary cutter, mat and her project is of course, pink as well.

The colors that we are attracted to are just the colors we are attracted to, and it is fun to see where and how that shows up!

I've had a productive weekend! I finished the quilt with the ohio stars in it. I can't show a pic because it's for the next book...but it's on the machine now and I am so tickled with how it is turning out!

I'm on a run to get to the gym, I've got an appt with my trainer at 10am. After that, it's book order stuff, tax stuff (BLEH!!) and working on a checkerboard pieced border for another top.....just color me BUSY today!

Friday, February 12, 2010

From Georgia to Michigan!!!

If you are in either of these places, I have some info for you!

I was just contacted by Tiny Stitches quilt shop in Marietta Georgia to do a lecture/trunkshow and book signing in their shop on Sunday, Feb 28th at 2pm!!

We are planning on having a lot of fun, and they have promised treats and goodies, so come on out!

In another unrelated but upcoming guild visit...I'm heading to Grand Rapids Michigan for a round of fun there! I am told there are still some openings in the classes if anyone wants to sign up!

Here is the info from my calendar:
March 22-23:

* West Michigan Quilters, Grand Rapids, MI
o Mon, March 22: Cathedral StarsWorkshop
o Tues, March 23: Star Struck Workshop
o Tues Eve: Lecture/Trunkshow
+ Contact: Dianne VanderMeer

I'd love to see you come on out!

Star Update..

I have discovered that if you really REALLY want to do something with a quilt...don't dwell on how many you need, and let that sheer enormity of pieces stop you from making a quilt with real impact!

It was only after I had about half of these 6" Ohio Star blocks made that i realized just how many I was going to need to finish the job! 56!!! (Would that stop you from tackling it?)

I am still plugging away on them. I've done maybe 35...so I am more than half way. I'm just doing them as I have time to do them. They are simple, quick, and adorable, and I'm loving putting the different fabric combos together.

Why does quilting have to be a race? Why do we always have to rush rush rush through a project so we can start another one? It's something I've asked myself over the past few years....I think since doing my first Dear Jane, and all the talk was about "enjoying the journey" Which is a huge lesson in life for me. It was always "When I get to....or after this one I'll...." instead of living in the here and now and just loving it for the sake of enjoying the whole process.

I plan on working on these through the weekend as time allows..I did spend some time yesterday re-straightening my quilting space and especially the cutting table, because I tend to be a little whirling dervish while I sew. It never gets really really bad, but I'm not a "put everything away as I use it" kind of gal either....so I spin for a while, and then take a break and straighten my chaos, and then spin for a bit more.

Chiropractor appt this morning, and then I'll be back for some more. And it's such a cold ugly day out....I think this would be a good morning to start a crock pot full of good old stick to your ribs chili for supper....don't you?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Making a Mess!!

I have been spending what time I could find the past couple of days and playing in my quilting studio (AKA...BASEMENT....it sounds so stuffy to say studio..*LOL*) making a complete mess and piecing 6" ohio star blocks from recycled fabrics!

ARE THEY NOT CUTE?! I just love traditional blocks. I never get tired of them. I don't feel like I need to reinvent the wheel on something like this.

And as I look at these pics...ugh..I really NEED a new ironing board cover... :cÞ

I'm piecing them easily from 2.5" squares, and cutting the quarter square triangles in matched pairs using 1.5" strips and my companion angle ruler. I'm shooting for variety, so using everything in the recycled realm.

I am happy to say that after 3 weeks of filling book orders (Other than when I am out of town of course) that I am finally CURRENT on the book orders! The hardest part this week was explaining to a lady who ordered her book "10 days ago" why she hadn't received it yet. Because the books didn't arrive on my doorstep until Jan 21st, and I had to send out all the pre-orders before the current ones could be tackled....and that I am ONE person, not amazon! But...we've got it handled. From here on out it will be smooth sailing.

I even took labels, invoices, my address stamps, and my pre-paid postage from stamps.com with me to Alabama so I could mail out any books that didn't sell at the workshops or the trunkshow, so I wouldn't have to do double shipping, shipping the box of books home and then having to mail out from here. We just stopped at the post office on Sunday morning and into the mail slot they went! How's that for quick thinking?

Today is the dreaded yearly female physical. BLECH. I know it's a necessary evil, but I hate it when I move somewhere and have to find a new doctor, and so I put it off. I hate the paperwork associated with a new doctor as well. I hate waiting rooms! I hate sitting in the exam room being covered by nothing but a huge paper towel! (I'm thinking I need to just bring a snuggie..*LOL*) But after this is done, the only thing I have left to do is a mammogram (Have you had YOURS?!) and I'll be all caught up on the physical stuff. That just leaves the eye doctor and the dentist! :cÞ

I'm passing on the gym this morning because the Doctor is down the ROAD from the gym and I don't want to make two 9 mile trips to town in a short span of time. Maybe I'll piece more stars this morning and then hit the gym after the doc...now there's a thought!

Monday, February 08, 2010

Home from Alabama!!

I made it safely home from Alabama last night......was wondering if I was going to GET to come home....my flight out of Huntsville was supposed to leave at 6:20...and about 2pm they called (or the computer called cuz it was not a real person on the line) to tell me that my flight to Washington-Dulles was cancelled.

I turned right around right then and called the United number, while Teresa who was driving me headed straight to the airport in case there was another flight I could take.

We got me on a flight from Huntsiville to Chicago instead....and then Chicago to Greensboro......longer time in the air, but at least it would get me home!

Well, the flight to Chicago was delayed.....and delayed.....and then I started to worry that I wouldn't make my Greensboro connection! Turns out I did..barely. I got off one plane, went straight onto the other! Talk about Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect $200!! But I got home.

The funny part is that the pilots kept giving us Superbowl score updates all the way home...fun :c)

SO....here I am just trying to get caught up on email and get my life back going, you know how it is after you've been gone 4 days? That's what it's like over here. But mail and blog first.

The ladies (and one gentleman quilter too) were all so welcoming, and I laughed and laughed and just had the BEST time. The weather was horrible, it rained all except the last day, but you know what? We were all together, sewing machines humming, toasty warm inside, great food, great fun....it was the perfect sewing weekend!

Two classes that I dearly love...we did Star Struck on Friday, and My Blue Heaven on Saturday.

We were even spoiled by cooking such as this!

How can you beat a chocolate drizzled strawberry cheesecake pie with an oreo cookie crust?! You serve it with Alabama BBQ, slaw and beans! Believe me, we did NOT starve. :c)

I was also able to vist two definitely different shops, and could NOT walk away from these fabrics. When you need muddy colors that are not neutral....and they are in the $5 per yard bin...what's a girl to do?

We even traipsed through the rain to an antique mall on a quilt hunting expedition! This one they wanted way too much money for....but you know what they say, a picture is worth 1,000 words?! :cD It was ADORABLY scrappy....great idea for those leader/ender 4 patches you've been stock piling! The pencil marks were still visible where the maker drew her quilting lines.

I love the shirting plaid used as the background fabric.

I love how the value changes in the squares between the 4 patches.

Sometimes they are dark and color coordinated. Sometimes they are dark and mixed up scrappy, sometimes they are light which just makes it look like a completely different block but isn't.

I also love the light outer border! I realized something about myself...I usually do DARK outer borders. Maybe it's that "MOM" thing in me that says...."That is where hands will be grabbing and tugging at it, and that's where it is going to get grimey first...." But I like it....hmmmm...ideas for the future!

I just LOVE little 4 patches....so this one is definitely on the horizon for me. I'd love to duplicate that quilting too!

So, this morning (shoot it's already after 10, it's half gone!!)I've got unpacking to do, book orders to do, housework, laundry, all that other mundane stuff to do, but I'd really like to be sewing by evening. I'm inspired! And watching two full classes of quilters sewing with pedal to the metal over the weekend and knowing that *I* was not getting to have machine time.....means that I've really got a hankering to spend some piecing time at SOME POINT today!

I hope you get some too....even if it is 15 minutes...it's better than nothing, right? :c)