Sunday, January 31, 2010

Another finish!

I finished the quilting on the Tran-quilt-ity Favorite Things block swap top last night and got it all bound today. Wooohooo! This pic is pre-binding. I decided to use this top as a quilting sampler of sorts. I am so new to machine quilting and so many things I am terrified to try. I knew that I would be keeping this quilt as there is no way I could donate a quilt that had blocks made from friends in it, so thought it would be a good one to try new things. After all, I won't care about the quilting booboo's in it and Lord knows there are many!
Let's see, some of the new things I did was: I used a variegated thread (daring, aren't I? lol), I tried to stipple, I tried to follow a pattern with free motion quilting instead of just meandering around. I learned a lot doing this and had fun. When the light is better tomorrow, I will take some pics of the quilting for you.
Let's see...I also did a mountain of laundry, cooked for the month, cut out some pieces for my Quilted Christmas block swap top that will be appliqued on, and relaxed and hung out with the family. Life doesn't get better than that!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Date with an Enabler

So, I am working away at work today and I get a text: You working?
I answer: yes...until 2:30.
Text to me: craft bits and pieces? (local shop with CHEAP craft supplies..including fabric)
Text from me: depends on the is BAD here
Text to me: ok
Text from me an hour later: it is sunny here now if you still wanna go
Text to me: ok..when?
Text from me: 2:45 and maybe we can hit Ivy Thimble, too
Text to me: ok!

After a few hours together, this is what my enabler, who shall remain nameless (cough cough Shellie cough) did NOT talk me out of:

I got a great Thimbleberries book, a book on 1930's quilts, and a bunch of odds and ends fabric at Craft Bits and Things. My enabler..cough Shellie cough...also bought some goodies, but I noticed she spent around 7 dollars..mine was around $18. Hmmm...
Then off to Ivy Thimble..a cute quilt shop in a railroad car. They have the most wonderful assortment of fabric there, albeit expensive. You can find a lot there that you can't find in other local shops. Unfortunately for my nameless enabler..cough Shellie cough..and I, they also have a BIG selection of 1930's reproduction fabric. I LOVE that I have infected my nameless friend (Shellie) with a love for this fabric. We both are still collecting it and haven't started quilts with it yet. I think my enabler (wink wink Shellie) has a pattern picked out, but I haven't found my perfect one yet. We didn't do too badly there. Here is what I got:

A few more quarter yards of '30's fabrics for me and a jelly cake of Moda's Glace. I have a jelly roll of that, and now have some more to work with. My enabler ( whisper Shellie whisper) also bought some '30's fabrics. It was a great way to end the week..with a new good enabler friend (cough wink Shellie), some great new fabric and books and a weekend ahead of me! I have barely touched my sewing projects this past week. I think I got burn out from the log cabin quilt. My new goodies and time spent with my friend have gotten my motivation back.
Now, the best part of this get together was that my enabler ( know who..cough) bought me an early birthday present, even though it is HER birthday in 2 days. Look what she got me!!

Hahahahgigglesnortguffaw!! Finger guards!! I guess she loves me and my fingertips enough to protect them from vicious rotary cutters. Gotta love someone who is practical yet cracks you up at the same time! lol There were two in the package, so I had to open it up and share with her. Enabler also lost part of a fingertip once!
So, all in all, thank you, my dear nameless enabler ( whisper Shellie), for your gift, your time, your friendship, weekend motivation and most of all, a wonderful few hours spent with a dear friend!!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Little History

A friend I went to high school with has come back into my life a few years ago. I really don't see him much, but he does visit with my husband quite a bit at our store. He came over to the house a few months ago while I was sorting out scraps for a quilt and inquired about my interest in quilts. He also noticed the old aprons I have hanging on a rack in my kitchen. He deals with a lot antique items and I think he saw the horror on my face when he told me he uses the old quilts as wrapping for moving furniture and for nothing more. Well, since then, he has sent home 2 quilts and an apron for me through my hub. I will show you pics of them in upcoming weeks. Today I wanted to share the newest quilt he sent home. Here is a pic of it (not very good, I know):

Now, I know it doesn't look very exciting like that, but check out these closeups!:

The center is filled with jungle scenes of elephants, big cats, jungle trees, etc...and this whole quilt is HANDQUILTED!!
Around the center is a border of this:

Flowers and a braid surround the center.
Then comes this whole scene of hunters with spears and dogs on leashes chasing deer:

I really cannot tell you how incredible the quilting is on this! Last but not least for the pictures is this:

The tag reads: Eleanor Beard Hardinsburg KY
Google Eleanor and find out about her!! This is a real find for me. I love the history of quilts and Eleanor and these quilts play a big part in history. Eleanor is credited with starting one of the biggest Kentucky quilt cottage industries starting in the 1920s. At the height of the business, she employed over 1000 people and again, she is credited with the survival of the town of Hardinsburg and the surrounding towns during the depression. The Roosevelts, Grace Kelly, Henry Fonda and the Duchess of Windsor were just a few of the rich and famous who owned these quilts made my mountain women of KY! They were made from everything from silk to cottons. I can't wait to do more research into Eleanor. I think I feel a quilt named for her in the works for me. I can only hope I am up to her standards!!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Tattered Pioneer swap blocks

On the Homesteading Today site, the quilting forum often has block swaps. This last swap was a Tattered Pioneer block swap. I love the ladies that participate in these. There are all skill levels and they are probably the most encouraging and helpful bunch of folks I have ever met. I have learned soooooo much from that site and it and the people on it, are helping me and my family get more and more self sufficient. Here is a picture of my new blocks I received:

Aren't they wonderful?? You can see what a gorgeous quilt these are going to make. One of our members who goes by Tallpines, sent all participants this lovely little surprise:

Isn't that just the cutest little pin?? She made all of us little Tattered Pioneer pins with all the little accessories!! Just goes to show how generous quilters are!! Thanks everyone for all these wonderful blocks and the fabulous pin!!
Also, the anniversary party for my inlaws was a HUGE success and they were so surprised!! Can't believe we pulled it off. They did LOVE the quilt..and so did the guests! We did take lots of pictures and hopefully someone caught their expression when they saw the quilt. Will post as soon as I get the pics!!

Thursday, January 21, 2010


I took last night off of quilting as I needed a mental health day away from this quilt!! I was worried that it would put me so far behind that I wouldn't be able to catch up, but I really need to give my hands and elbows a break. Today when I started back at it, everything went wrong. Tension was off, needles broke, phone kept ringing and then BAM!! all fell into place. I just finished quilting it! Now, tomorrow night I will put the binding on it and it is complete. 6 days from start to finish. Next time I decide to make an entire quilt in a week, someone slap me...PLEASE!! lol The good news is that it is done (well, almost), I lived to tell about it, and it will be my second UFO complete for 2010. I know it isn't really a UFO, but I included it on my list because I knew I had such a short completion time. It still counts, doesn't it??
My inlaws, Pete and Bev, built a beautiful log home years ago and sold it last year as it just got to be too much for them with all the land. They have built a nice little ranch house that is just perfect for them at this time in their lives. The log cabin had a long, long winding driveway and at the end of the driveway near the house, Pete had a sign up that said "Pete and Bev's Hideaway". In memory of that log cabin and that sign, I hereby christen this quilt "Pete and Bev's Hideaway". Here is a picture of it sans binding:

Off to bed now. Hope everyone is making progress on their projects!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Still at it!

Tonight I got my quilt all sandwiched and started quilting it. I have the entire middle section done. I am so excited. If I stay on course like this, I should have this done in time! Must be because I had spirituals playing in the background!!

As you can see, I decided to go with an all over meander pattern. Maybe someday I will be brave enough to try something different..but not on this one!
On a different note, my RA in my hands is going wild. They haven't hurt this badly in awhile. Not sure if it is all the constant sewing (I wouldn't think that this would be too strenuous!) or if it is the stress or both. I am thinking it is the actual sewing though, because I only have a few tiny aches in other joints. That is one of my 3 biggest fears with the RA...losing the ability to care for my Patrick is the first, not being able to sew and not being able to work in my garden are the other two. So far God has blessed me with 3 years of remission with only the occasional flare ups which is a blessing considering I stopped taking all my meds 2 years ago. Guess I will continue to leave it up to Him..if I am meant to continue sewing and all, He'll take care of it. If not, well then, I am sure He will have something better in store for me!!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Two more steps down...3 more to go!

Yay! Tonight I got the borders on and the backing pieced for the log cabin quilt. Now, tomorrow I will get it sandwiched (was hoping to get that done tonight, but it soooooooo ain't gonna happen!) and start quilting it. Any ideas on how to quilt it?? I have a Janome 6600 to quilt it on and I have only done a few tops with free motion quilting. I really need some ideas!!
All in all, not bad after working a 10 hour day and then cooking dinner, doing some laundry and running errands. Good thing I had Bruce Springsteen and then AC/DC to hep me up and help me get this done!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

I LOVE log cabin blocks!!

See these?? This is JUST what happiness would look like if happiness did, indeed, have a look!! You can't look at log cabin blocks and not smile. Expecially if you are the one who just made all 36 of them and they are done and gorgeous!! Now, the only thing that would make these look better is for them to be in a top. That will be either tonight or tomorrow night. That gives me 4 nights to get it sandwiched, quilted and bound for the surprise party Saturday. I really must love my inlaws, because I have always wanted a log cabin quilt of my own and I am giving them this one!!
This is the layout I have chosen for my happy blocks:

So many wonderful layouts available for these hard to choose, but this one just said "pick me...pick me!!". So, I did!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Love/hate relationship

Today I did something I have never done before. I spent the day at a FTDP (finish that darn project) day at a local quilt shop. I could never figure out why you would want to lug your machine, all your sewing supplies and fabric somewhere else to sew when you could just sit and go at home. My new quilting buddy, Shellie, and I wanted to get together, though, and I thought this would be a great way to get to visit her AND get something done and it sure was! I got a LOT more done there than I would have at home with all the interruptions. We munched a lot, yakked a lot, laughed a lot, bled a lot (don't ask..just PLEASE keep me away from sharp objects!!) and got a lot of work done. Shellie got a whole top done from her Christmas swap blocks..including piecing the backing!
Now, what I got done is part of my love/hate relationship. I LOVE LOVE LOVE log cabin blocks. They are so timeless to me and sooo many patterns from them. I decided that I needed to make a log cabin quilt for my inlaws 50th anniversary...NEXT Saturday! I decided to work on making the 30 blocks I was going to need for that at the sew in. Came in, humming away..chattering away..telling everyone I love log cabins...4 hours later I was telling that same group of ladies I HATE log cabins. Okay..I still love them, but boy, was I sick of them!! All in all, I got 19 blocks almost done while there. Came home, had dinner, had some wine with the hub and watched a few episodes of Northern Exposure (we love that show and are working our way through the whole series again). Put the last strip on all those blocks and decided to prep for finishing up the other 11 blocks tomorrow. Hmmm....what is this? Math genius that I am....I need to make 36 blocks...NOT 30 blocks total. Sigh...thank goodness I discovered this tonight, but now I am feeling let down. Thought I was 2/3 of the way done and now I am not. Oh well..I hope I don't hate these blocks for good when I am working on the next 17 of them tomorrow. The good news is that I am making them all scrappy, so it is all from stash..and we love that!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A great block and new swap!!

Isn't this block just too cute?? I made it as a trial one for a new swap that Marie Bostwick is sponsoring. Marie is the bestselling author of the Cobbled Court novels including A Single Thread and A Thread of Truth. She not only writes about quilters, she IS a quilter! We had a great time with a Christmas block swap that she sponsored so we are doing one for February for Women's Heart Health month. We are using a pattern inspired by her book, A Single Thread, called Broken Hearts Mending. We get to choose whatever colors we want to make for the hearts and are using white as the background. Interested in joining us? Just click on Marie's name or on her link on the left side of the page. Then register at the site and go to her forums, find the quilting one, and you will see the thread to sign up. Even if you are not interested in the swap right now, come on over to the site to chat with us on the forum or to check out her books and quilt pattern!!

Monday, January 11, 2010

A Quilted Christmas block swap top almost done!

I am almost done putting together the top for Marie Bostwick's "A Quilted Christmas" block swap. I was going to wait until I had it all completed, but then saw Shellie's and decided if she could put hers up without the final border, so could I! lol I LOVE Shellie's done with the white background. I went the opposite and used a dark red print, but only because I am planning on filling in with a lot of folk artsy stuff and I think the dark will highlight those. As I get those added on, I will keep updating pics of the top. This is a BIG is 84" x 84" now, so will finish up at 92 x92 when I am done. Just perfect for a family snuggle! So, here is my version (so far!!)

Thanks, ladies and new friends, for all these wonderful blocks!!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Lamborghini of scissors

Are these not a thing of beauty??!! I have my faithful pair of Fiskars that I have used forever...the Ford Focus of scissors, lets say. Hub, Tom, bought me these for Christmas. Well, he bought me a pair, but they were lefthanded and I am not. lol It took all this time for the store to get stocked up again and today I came home with these. I am in awe. They feel soooooooooooo wonderful in my hand. Just the right weight..and pretty!! These are DEFINITELY the Lamborghinis of scissors! I guess hub was worried about them being lonely, because he also bought these to go with them:

These snips are going to come in handy!! What an amazing hub I have!!
The entire family except for me came down with that horrible stomach bug yesterday. Needless to say, that kept me busy and I was up til about 3:30 this morning watching over Patrick. Since he has cerebral palsy, he cannot turn his head well and if he vomits it can be VERY dangerous. Fortunately, everyone seems to be over the worst of it now and are all resting. So, tonight I finally got the Favorite Things top all pinned and it is now sitting here waiting to be quilted tomorrow.

I have decided that I really want to start working on some new skills this year, so I have decided I am going to do the Bunny Hill Blocks of the Month. The designs are adorable, and there is applique and embroidery involved along with the quilting. I have my blogbuddy, Bonnie, at Institches With Bonnie, to thank for bringing this site to my attention. You can click on the Snowbound icon to the left to check this out. Anyone interested in playing with me on this one??

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

When the door a window!!

Well, I was all gangbusters about pinning and quilting the Favorite Things swap top tonight, but the only batting I had was way too big. I had already purchased those for 2 other tops. Well, since I didn't want to cut that batting down, I decided to put that on the burner until tomorrow. I do work right next door to a Joanne's, so I will just pick up the right sized batting tomorrow.
So, I decided to take out the Christmas swap blocks. I have taken them out a few times, and while I had some nice layouts, nothing really popped at me. I have 22 blocks, but a few of those are duplicate hostess blocks. So..what to do?? Here is a pic of the blocks. I just realized I haven't shared these yet, and I am soo excited about them!!
These two are from Shellie and Dorothy

These are from Sandra and Diane

Teresa and Lillian did these two

Diane and I did these

Patrice and Beth sent these two

Debbie and Jacquelyn created these

Cathy and Pat made these

Sharon and Kathy made these

Marci and Pam made these

So, you can see why I am so excited!! These all are AMAZING blocks and it looks like we all shopped for matching fabrics! Anywho..after playing with them this evening, inspiration hit and I LOVE what I have planned for these guys!! At least it looks great in my head...lets hope it plays out that way in reality!!

I LOVE the snow!!

So, you better believe I am just LOVING it here in Rochester, New York, right now! I think we have about a foot and a half of snow right now, not as much as I would like, but it will do. I think I am the only one here who is thrilled about the weather. I get so much more energy when it is cold and snowy. I love all that cold and snow encompass..soups and breads, casseroles, warm, cozy houses, and quilts!! Speaking of which, I didn't do anything last night quilty, but I did do a tiny bit of knitting on a sock. Working 10 hours on Mondays just wears me out.
I did get 16 of these blocks done for a Tattered Pioneer block swap on the Homesteading Today quilting forum on Sunday. Instructions were for manly colors and the center square had to be this navy color. I did buy the fabric for the center squares, but the bigger blocks came from stash. I like the way they turned out and can't wait to see the ones I get back!

Hopefully tonight will be pinning the Favorite Things swap top and maybe even starting to quilt it. Not sure, though. I am thinking I might get more accomplished if I jump from project to project..that way I won't get bored. Hmm..dilemmas... dilemmas..

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Still producing..

Well, I went into the sewing room still debating the Christmas swap blocks or the log cabin to start...and I heard a soft little whisper..calling my name...that got louder...and louder...and then LOUD! It was the package of My favorite things swap blocks! (Man...they are BOSSY!) Not one to take talking fabric lightly, I grabbed them and we spent the afternoon together getting them all placed and sewn together. Now that they are a family, they are quiet once again (thank God, because I was going to see if I needed meds!). So, here is a pic of the new "family" done, yet to be quilted:

and another angle (the blocks on top were suggesting I was favoring those on the bottom):

Thanks all that participated in this swap. Can't wait to get it quilted and snuggle under it!! Wait..what was that?? Did you hear it?? Sounded like a little whisper coming from the sewing room......arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Wow...2010 already

I swear I am stuck in 1984. How can it be 2010? I am still contemplating my goals for 2010 and will letcha know when I have them all set. The most obvious one is to finish off my UFO's. Long list over there on the left and small list of those completed last year. So, against my better judgement (I hate pressure) I signed on to a UFO challenge on the Tra-quilt-ity yahoo group. I just completed my first project. Yes, I know it is a small one, but sometimes you just need a finish to get you motivated to move on. It is another Light and Dark table topper. Hoping to keep this one as I am really drawn to this pattern, but not sure where it will end up. I think my friend, Cheryl, had it right..I think this one is destined to be a full size pattern for me. WHEN and IF I get some of those UFO's done!!

Now, off to finish up 16 blocks for a tattered pioneer swap, then decide which UFO to tackle next. I think the choice for now is either the Christmas swap block or making log cabin blocks for an anniversary quilt for my inlaws (due jan 23). What do you think? My brain tells me to start the log heart tells me the Christmas quilt..sigh!