Friday, March 02, 2012

To Bee or Not to BEE!

I got a lovely surprise in the mail yesterday.

I had been complaining about the foot pedal to my featherweight, about how I hate that “one toe” button ---- how it would slow down and speed up and slow down, and it’s just not fun to sew with.

Randy picked me up a new “gas pedal” foot pedal for my featherweight when she was at a show last week! Yeeeehawww! I had to plug it in and see if it worked….like a charm, baby, like a charm!

Tomorrow my bee is having a Sew Day at Leann’s barn. I’m hankering to go. I haven’t spent time with these ladies much since we went to Camp Dogwood in January. I also know that Saturdays at home with my family are few and far between, so I’m kind of on the fence between what I want to do – and what I should do, when both are things I want to do, you know?

The last Saturday I was home, before going to Florida, DH and I had a lovely afternoon driving over to Welcome, NC to check out a new burger joint that had just come in. I love visiting small independent restaurants and places that are not “chain”. And this place was very well worth the drive it took to get there. We talked as we drove and caught up and just relaxed into normality for the afternoon drive there and back.

So I guess I’m waiting to find out what HIS plans for the weekend are – before I go running off to sew with the ladies. I can’t choose both – but I’m weighing my choice on his! I don’t leave for Virginia Beach/Norfolk until Monday morning, so we would have Sunday as an option to spend together too, depending on what he has already lined up.

And in the back of my mind I hear the voice saying “But I really want to go!”

I’ve even decided that I need to pull out those “Nearly Insane” blocks and start working on them again. Paper piecing small blocks on the featherweight is perfect as a “to-go” project. I can try out my new foot pedal! What do you think?

So off to the drawer I went --I had to go pull this stuff out and see if it was all there --- I thought I was half way done with this project. I know why it got way-laid---we moved to NC 4 years ago and I haven’t worked on it since!

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The bag of pulled scraps separated by color family is still in tact. As far as I can tell, EVERTYTHING I need is already in here.

((What did we ever do without ziplock bags?!))

The sashing fabric is here. The cornerstone fabric is here ----I’ve got it all ---

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I’ve got my binder with my foundation papers, I’ve got the half blocks that finish the edge already done waiting in page protectors. My book is right here – I had it spiral bound so it would lay flat – love that! But wait – I’ve got WAY more done than I thought!

Look at this diagram:

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There is an X through each block that is complete?! I’ve ONLY got 14 blocks to go! How come I thought it was more than that?

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Here is the whole thing laid out on my floor. I’ve been assembling the rows as I make them. I like to see progress, and it inspires me more to KEEP GOING than just a binder full of page protectors filled with blocks. But how come I thought this was only HALF way done?? Holy Moly!

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I have been in love with this quilt long before it was called “Nearly Insane’. Back then it was just the “Salinda Rupp” quilt, and I first saw it in Robert Bishop’s book “New Discoveries in American Quilts.” The book was published in 1975. I bought my copy from a guild “for sale” table for $2.00 around 1992. I’ve poured over the quilts in this book….this page has the most wear:

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Can you tell why? It’s even got a binder clip to hold my page open! I’ve taken magnifying glasses of different strengths to study the fabrics up close in each and every block until I was driving myself crazy ---and then I finally let go and decided to go with my own choices.

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One year for Christmas, DH gifted me with this huge coffee table book. It’s also so worn out that the pages started falling out ---so, it’s probably against all the “book rules” but I took the page out and kept it in my binder where I could refer to it:

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Which photo from which book shows the “TRUE” colors in the original quilt? Who knows. The colors are all so different between the different photographs that I just gave up and again went with my gut. After all, this is MY quilt. My interpretation of Salinda Rupp’s beautiful work of art.

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This book is also a favorite: The Ultimate Quilting Book by Maggie McCormick Gordon. Gorgeous antiques in here….can you see where I got my love of Cheddar, Red, Purple, and all things “Pennsylvania Dutch” era? Bring on the color!

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There is not a picture of the full quilt in here…but look at the close ups we do get of the actual blocks! While the “Nearly Insane” book gives good diagrams for the blocks, the colors in the photos and the fabrics used in the “modern remakes” don’t capture the feel of the original quilt to me, so I’m glad to have these other sources to show me the quilt as close as possible since the quilt is owned by a private party and is not view-able to the public anywhere to date.

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I look at these blocks and get excited all over again!

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I think that I need to take those last 14 blocks and get them DONE, don’t you?

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I started this in 2003—can it really be that it’s coming upon it’s 10th year UFO-anniversary?

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Bee Sew Day? Home Day with DH? How can a decision be so hard?


  1. I have the Nearly Insane book and another by the same author called "Just Plain Nuts" :) they are on my one day list. I like your colors, I don't think I have seen you show this one before.
    I have the same kind of foot pedal for my featherweight as my cord was fraying on the one toe foot pedal - I have a problem with mine though - it doesn't go as fast as I would like - I hope yours works.

    1. The original foot pedal is so easy to work on. I figure this one would be too. You might want to check the vintagesinger yahoo group, or another yahoo group called wefixit. Or buy the book My Featherweight and Me or I.

    2. I started the Nearly Insane in July/13. I love it. I don't work on it everyday but when I do I cant wait to start a new block. I love your blog. Thank-you so much for sharing. Barbara

  2. Hopefully DH reads your posts and will plan a golf game or something. :)

    Marilyn W

  3. I, too, have a new pedal for my featherweight. I was told that the new pedal is electronic and does not mesh well with the old machine. I had a problem with the speed going too slow. Mine also had a hesitation before the machine would actually start running. I finally gave up on the new and went back to the old one. I do hate the two "toes" especially because I have the use my left foot to control the pedal (I had polio as a child and my right foot is affected I have put electrical tape on the worn cord.

  4. Good for Randy, coming through for you on the foot pedal!
    What a happy surprise to be so much farther along on NI than you remembered. Why doesn't that ever happen to me? : )
    My Mother always taught me, "Go where you will be missed the most." Sometimes that works in my favor--sometimes not so much.

  5. Tough call for sure...
    I really like that "Nearly Insane" quilt--I had never even seen it before this post (I wondered what it could be when you referred to it...); uh-oh--I hear its siren song calling me.....Julierose

  6. Wow that is one gorgous quilt! It is hard to believe that you have been working on that one for that long! It is well worth the wait. I say go ahead and get the locks finsished so we can all see it done! I have to say I live through you and Jo's quilting! You guys really are my inspiration- I am glad she learned the crumb blocks from you and then she passed it on to us. I have to say if I could get ahold of some more crumbs I would be happy but I am working away at the blocks with what I have. Keep on inspiring me!

  7. What a pleasant surprise on your quilt progress!

  8. It's gotta be the BEE day. You know DH will understand, and you'll have Sunday together! You go girl. . .

  9. Love the nearly insane quilt. I keep hearing about crumb blocks. I don't know what they are but I have tons of scraps that I need to do something with.

  10. Anonymous2:48 PM EST

    wow Bonnie! I am always so impressed with your work! Incredible! Amazing! Truly awwww inspiring! Thanks for sharing.

  11. Personally as much as I love to quilt and sew, I vote for finding out what DH wants to do first. Mine is an absolute love when it comes to scheduling around me, which makes me try very hard to purposely schedule some date time with him, even if it's not doing anything much other than just being together.

    I don't have a Featherweight, so I don't know what kind of foot that is, but for the lady with the frayed cord, could you have your old foot rewired? Sometimes those very experienced repair guys can do magic stuff on the oldies but goodies!

  12. Good idea to wait until you can talk to DH...whichever you decide, you will enjoy....what a nice thing, to be able to choose between two lovely activities....

  13. Where would I be able to find the book for Nearly Insane? I have never seen it before. Have a great weekend.

  14. Go for it Bonnie. If anyone can do it, you can. Looking forward to seeing the finish.

  15. Anonymous4:24 PM EST

    Oh Bonnie, please please finish that quilt! I also have the book 'America's Glorious Quilts'. Fould it in a thrift shop for $4.00. I bought it because of the applique and can study it for hours.
    I say spend Sauturday with DH if he doesn't have plans.
    Thanks for all your wonderful thought and ideas.

  16. I'd love to see you finish your NI! With two Dear Jane's under your belt, you are definitely one quilter who can do it!

    I've been debating about getting the NI book since last year. There is something about those kinds of projects (NI, DJ, SBS) that just call to a quilter. But given that I started an SBS three(?) years ago but only got two blocks done, maybe NI has to (should) wait.....so I'll have to live vicariously through your journey!

  17. Wonderful NI quilt! You go girl...you will have that baby whipped up in no time flat! Maybe the hubby will have plans tomorrow and you can bond with him on Sunday!

  18. Your nearly insane quilt looks fabulous, it definitley needs to be finished next. What an achievement. Love your colour choices.

  19. "let" him come and take you to lunch from the bee. that would solve everything. or he can take you out when you get home.

  20. Your NI UFO confession makes me feel so much better! It's nice to realize master quilter Bonnie Hunter has old UFOs, too! Got any more UFO confessions for us?

  21. Only 14 to go, YEA Bonnie. If Dh has plans for you and the week-end go for it and work on the NI quilt in your spare moments. Not as fun as sewing with the girls but you would be at home gettting to know your new foot pedal.

  22. Your timing on your Nearly Insane post could not have been more perfect. I have just finished my Farmers Wife and am about to jump in and begin Nearly Insane. I have been teetering between doing it in "as close to original" or going modern with some French General.. Your photos convinced me to go with original.. can't wait to get started. BTW I have a copy of the coffee table book My edition Is just called "Quilts"(probably the American reference dropped for an Aussie market) It is in pristine condition I paid $5.00 for it at a sewing room sale

  23. Anonymous6:36 PM EST

    Need to know it this book has paper pieced foundations? I did find on Amazon but really no descriptions or pictures. It is beautiful!

  24. bonnie, it's gorgeous and you are nowhere near insane for tackling this project. i know it'll be stunning when done...

  25. Bonnie, DH knows you'll be in a great mood if you get to quilt with the ladies on Saturday. Besides, we are all anxious to see what Nearly Insane really looks like!!!

  26. Anonymous7:59 PM EST

    Bonnie, BRING IT TO VIRGINIA, We can set up our featherweights and SEW! The ocean's too cold to go swimming anyway. See you Monday!

  27. Anonymous8:31 PM EST

    Your insane quilt is gorgeous!!! Hope you finish it soon so we can see the finished quilt. sandi1100@yahoo.com

  28. Anonymous9:13 PM EST

    Love your quilt. So colorful. Can't wait to see it finished.


  29. Anonymous9:24 PM EST

    Bonnie, thank you! Thank you!! For showing your insane quilt and the books you wore out!!! I have my favorite books and magazines, and I've been pouring through it over and over. My husband would say, you just looked at that the other day. I smile and say, I know, but when I'm working on using my bonus triangles, I am looking for inspiration how to use it. That is a beautiful quilt! I am fairly sure that it will work out for both you and DH. Thank goodness your Sunday is free too. Rea from CNY

  30. It's a "wow" quilt. Hope you're finishing those blocks soon!

  31. Anonymous9:30 PM EST

    I love it. Yes, you do need to finish it. That will be one nice to look at quilt when you're done.

  32. Enjoy your DH this weekend. I have a DH that travels like you do, home time is precious to us right now. Until you showed the history of your unfinished quilt, I had taken that quilt for granted when I saw it in pictures. It is quite the quilt, thank you for inspiring me to study this quilt 2.

    LOL.... I did not know we had to keep track of time with certain projects. I have a Grandmother's garden quilt that is going on 20 years old, and it is not as fancy as your diamond hex.

    Keep up the good work!

  33. That quilt is amazing! I can't wait to see it once you finish it, which I know you will now that you are feeling it! I totally understand your torn feelings, too. I struggle often with wanting to spend time sewing and with DH at the same time. I wish I could figure out a way to do both! Either way, you'll have a great day :-)

  34. Work on that Ms. Rupp quilt, if not Saturday, when ever you can. How cool is it that you are so close to done!

    As to your Featherweight, Have you read in the book My Featherweight and Me? They talk about how a featherweight will slow down if the light has been on for a while, due to an expansion of the metal. It is a fixable problem, and they instruct how in the book. No I don't work for, know or in any way receive compensation from the author. I just have the book and have learned how to work on my own machine. It really is easy.

  35. Oh my!!! It's gorgeous!! Look forward to you finishing it!

  36. Sew today, dinner & Sunday with DH. :) Love the quilt, will be a lovely addition to your collection when you finish. 10 years for you, would likely be a lifetime project for me! LOL

  37. I have a Featherweight also. Due to the unexpected results from back surgery, I ended up without functioning toes. Trying to use that one button to power with is really hard and I was wondering where that alternate foot with the full width pedal can be purchased.

  38. gorgeous quilt - you will soooo love it when it's done.

  39. Thanks to a healthy dose of your archives I was brave enough to try to tackle my clearly insane stash. I've been at it all day and it doesn't look much better but I'm committed to chip away at it every day. You are very motivating.


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