Wednesday, December 31, 2008

#5 UFO for Finn

Today I worked on the Sixteen-patch UFO, and finally had the binding made, extra wide again, and began applying it to the back of this quilt. And then I turned it to the front and sewed it down by machine there also.

For the label I simply WROTE my name the date and the place on this back square.

Here is a closeup of the quilt motif that Catherine used for the plain squares. At first it looked a little small to me, but I'm getting used to it.
At 4:40 in the afternoon on the last day of the year...out of the dryer came....
my 5th UFO finish since September! Now it is temporarily on our bed so I can enjoy looking at it.

Thank you, thank you Finn for the challenge! I know that I wouldn't have worked so consistently on these without the challenge.


Phone talk with Sue R.
Met the challenge
Good dinner and talk at Kim's

Later: I was reviewing my photo album of "New & UFOs finished in 2008" and I have found that I finished two more UFOs since September! I don't know how I forgot to count them in my total for Finn, but since this is over my goal, it really doesn't matter. I feel good, though!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Year end UFO work

I have been in Finn's Challenge to work on UFOs before the end of the year. I said I would do FIVE between September and Dec. 31. Saturday I picked up #5 from my friend who does long-arm quilting. This is (nearly) a queen-sized quilt--so I had handed it to her rather than attempting it on my domestic machine. Today and tomorrow I'm going to finish the binding and label.

These 42 Sixteen Patches were left in a bag about 15 years ago, and I finally got the center of the top together at our Bee retreat in September. It took me a couple of months to get seriuous about all those setting triangles to finish it off.

I don't have anough more of the blue for the binding, so it's going to be the green.

This is an unusual size for I usually am making twin sized quilts for Pine Ridge, or toddler quilts. Maybe I'll keep this one, at least for a while!


Like many of you, my other project for the end of the year is to get everything in the sewing room back on the shelves. I did some work in order to clear the bed for a Christmas visitor, but otherwise the room is a disaster.



I HAVE a sewing room

Sunshine today

Wind Storm did not cut our electricity

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas and Christmas Mystery

We decorated sugar cookies on the 24th(Charlie, my daughter Martha, grandson John) ,

sledding was TRIED,

fantastic dinner and dessert on the 25th,

played "Follow the Star" , a homemade family board game about 35 years old (DIL Lynne, DGD Samantha, Charlie, DGD SaraRachel, son Peter),

and I began a Christmas mystery from Dorothy of pocketfullofmysteries. Most of the blocks finished by Christmas bedtime.

Today I began sewing the rows.

Water, heat and electricity all working fine,
Lots of help in the kitchen
Everyone healthy and in a good mood!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Almost ready

Here's the counter full of grocery bags for the feasting to come.

And here's Zeke, having just been out in the snow, wanting to go out again!

And here are the shepherds and sheep waiting in the "field",

And here are the "mile-a-minute" blocks I've been sewing when I just HAVE TO sit down for a spell to rest my knees.

Dear daughter and family did not drive straight through from St. Louis yesterday, but stopped for the night in Joliet since the roads were so icey. Hope they will get here by 4:00 PM, since I'm counting on John to make the clam chowder for supper!



No panic around here

Driveway finally plowed at 10:30 AM

Rain instead of snow at the moment

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sermon delivered

I got through it. I didn't realize how worried about preaching in front of the Bishop and other priest from the diocese I was.

We have blizzard level winds and drifting snow, but we luckily drive west to church, not north or south, so the roads were open.

At the regular morning service, my only duty was to lead some music during communion with my guitar. That was no strain, and we also sang some familiar and wonderful Advent hymns, and one of our other lay preachers had a good homily about Mary accepting God's great INTERRUPTION of her life. For lunch we didn't go home, but went to Schuler Book for soup and salad.

Then back to the church for Matthew's ordination. The service was delayed in starting because of the driving conditions, but all went well, and we had a congregation of about 55 people, many of whom drove home and back again after the morning service.

No photos, since I forgot my camera!

And when I asked the Bishop afterwards if I needed any theological correction on my sermon, he said, "No, I agreed with everything you said."
Hoo-ee, what a relief! And my knees were exhausted when I got home.

Now maybe I'll have a little time for quilting in the spaces between Christmas prep.


Kathie and Jo got to the service
Not many vehicles on the road
Charlie heated up leftover soup for supper

Friday, December 19, 2008

More on Advent banner

Earlynne asked about how the banner in the previous post was made, with the idea of copying it for her church.

I took a class on making wreaths with "snippets" by Cindy Walters. Here is a shot of the bottom of the wreath where you can see the different fabrics which were backed with a fusible web and THEN cut into snippets and laid out as a wreath. When everything was positioned correctly, they were ironed down.
I added the candles with their little strip of highlight in the same way, with fusible web. Before adding the flames I finished the quilt--borders, minimal quilting and then binding and a rod pocket at the top and bottom in the back. (I put a straight curtain rod in the bottom to help keep it straight.)

The flames are not permanently attached because each week of Advent the number changes. I suppose I could have attached ONE, but I made them all the same.

I cut circles of a fashion fabric (which is translucent and has sparkles imbedded) for the light auras and with fusible web again attached the fabric outer flame shape, and the inner flame shape. These four completed circles are stored in a kitchen drawer until needed. Each week another one is simply PINNED in position. I always hope that the pin heads will be mistaken for another one of the sparkles.

This photo is to give a sense of the size, 48" tall and 54" wide. It's pretty big for the house banner, but I have a bare wall behind the counter stools where I hand fairly large quilts.

Here you can faintly see the banner on the back wall through my kitchen window from the outside.

So are there any more questions?

Winter storm here since 1 AM. Looks like all the schools are closed, and the COURTS. I don't remember that happening before.

My statue of a cherub reading a book is standing in front of that post. I guess his head is under that little peak.

These are regular height chairs on the deck.


Friday is one of my "stay home" days, so what if it has been snowing since 1 AM.?
SpoolSpinners' holiday party last night
Making progress on my sermon

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Advent 3

Maybe you need to be assured that we are celebrating Advent?

Yes, we light the candles for dinner, three this week.

Yes, the Advent Wreath banner is hanging in the kitchen.

Yes, the creche figures of Mary and Joseph and the donkey are making their way around the livingroom under the beneficial eye of the angel.

I'm not working on any quilting. I'm working on a sermon for Sunday afternoon when our congrgation will celebrate the ordination of a son of the parish on the feast day of St. Thomas, the Doubter. The combination of these is my topic. How to interweave them is my problem.


Breakfast with my Reunion group
Shopping for the church Christmas basket
Escapism reading

Monday, December 15, 2008

Secret Sister quilt REALLY finished

I am somewhat recovered from my sore throat and cough, and I finished the quilt for my Secret Sister. For the border I decided to continue quilting in circles as I had done in the blocks. It happened that the top of a shot glass was just the right size for this, but I outlined a slightly larger spice bottle for the corners.

And here is the whole quilt, which measures 32" square, out of the washer and dryer, and ready to pack up for the "reveal" this Thursday.

I notice that the blue is more wrinkled than the rest, and I assume that is because it is batik and did not shrink as much as the regular cotton fabrics.

Oh, Charlie reported from the Auction after the Chorus concert on Saturday that my Floating Four-Patch quilt sold for $225. Since I had calculated that the MATERIALS cost me $250, this is not as much as they should have gotten---but people are always looking for bargains, rather than being generous to the cause. Somebody, I don't know who yet, "got a good deal". And I am glad to have made my donation to the Chorus' finances!



Made it to exercise class this AM

No coughing last night

Charlie telling me last night about church

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Finishing Secret Sister quilt

Besides coughing, having a sore throat, feeling very tired all day, and finally deciding that I could NOT sing with the Grand Rapids Womens Chorus tonight, I have been finishing my Secret Sister quilt. One small step at a time.

Because I wasn't thinking straight when I bought ADDITIONAL fabric for the binding (to match the narrow blue inner border), I didn't get enough. I am so used to cutting my binding 2.25" wide that that is the number I used in my calculations. Well, in this case, for the first time, I wanted to make a WIDE binding, in fact the width of that inner border, which was .75 ". The only way I could figure out to do it with 13" WOF, and needing four strips, was to make SINGLE layer folded binding, instead of my usual double layer.

Practically always I sew my binding completely by machine, first on the back, and then folded over to the front and stiched barely over the folded edge. Probably it was a good thing that I wasn't very swift today, for during one of my quiescent periods I remembered that it is often a good thing to make a TRIAL piece when doing something new. The exercise which followed showed me that I needed to make a few adjustments to my method, such as not folding the bind right down the middle, but a little to one side. An "off-center" fold gave me a little more fabric for the front of the quilt to cover the first stitching from the back, and to make that "front" line of stitching line up on the back just a little onto the backing instead of on the binding itself. [See following photo.]
Maybe I'm not being very clear because my head is not working real well.
Anyway, I got it done, including the label and hanging sleeve.
But I then remembered that I hadn't done any quilting in the wide border because I wasn't sure HOW wide it was going to be with this unusualy binding. So I'm NOT done. I'm not thinking well enough to figure out a quilting pattern for that yet. (And thank goodness I didn't sew down the bottom of the sleeve, but only caught it iin the binding so far. I"ll need to pin it out of the way while quilting!)
Got my cookies for the reception done earlier
Wooly socks for warm feet
Choosing Christmas Eve hymns with Charlie

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Icicles in the sun

As Charlie was driving out of the garage this morning, I saw the sun was shining on our crop of icicles. A nice change after days of cloud producing snow, rain, and FOG.

Here's the wider view. So great to see the blinding white after days of darkness.

My colonoscopy was "fine" the doctor told Charlie (in my presence) but I don't remember a word of it. Came home, ate a small supper and went to bed for another two hours courtesy of the remaining anesthetic. Only trouble was I missed Jon Stewart's commentary on the Illinois governor. We don't really need comedians as long as we have politicians, said Will Rogers.
Dianne took me to the doctor's office
Charlie came straight from his meeting
Now I can assuage my THIRST

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Orphan medley

This is my fourth day to have a bad sore throat and feel very tired. I stayed home from church and from the GRWC rehearsal because I wanted to rest, and I didn't want to pass the germs around. Rain/snow today, which results in FOG.

But I have been working a little each day on the Orphan Medley in my last post. Today I bound it, including a label.

My last piece of work was to put a "fancy" quilting bit in the one while muslin patch.

Now it is out of sight. Mingling with some family laundry.
And I am preparing for a colonoscopy tomorrow. So only liquids to "eat".
Books by Mary Balogh for escape
Chicken broth
feather duvet keeping my feet warm

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Orphan medley in process

Here's my distraction of the day. I am so IRKED with the finishing of the back seams on my Carolina Crossroads that I keep finding other things to do "for just a few minutes". Then I don't return to the Carolina Crossroads!

This will be a baby or toddler quilt for someone at Pine Ridge. I had quite a few orphans blocks in my 4.5" drawer, in fact they were filling it to the brim. So I grabbed them and some already cut 4.5 inch strips yesterday, and got the middle of this together. To me it looked rather blah, so I went with bright borders. Now it is pinned, so I have another chance to practice my machine quilting.



Bread dough in fridge, ready to go

a warm house

ham sandwich

Friday, December 5, 2008

Zeke makes snow angels

Snow fell yesterday, and last night, and now during the day. Zeke was inside all morning.
When I let him out at noon, he went through his usual activity: sniff the snow, push his nose along the ground under it, flop on his shoulder,
and then roll and wiggle back and forth,
lie upright looking all around, and then roll some more.
Can you see the "snow angel" he has made in the snow? Charlie and I say "He made another dog angel."

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Quiet Tuesday

I have to finish one more UFO for Finn's challenge, and the Caroline Crossroad was calling to me from a corner of the pile on the bed in my sewing room. I am at the stage of sewing the already quilted section together. But I haven't done this before and I find it to be onerous. Therefore it was set aside after 1.5 of the 3.0 seams were done.The seam of the day had been sewn with the batting and backing pulled back out of the way already. Today I finished this half-done seam diagonally across the back. First I trimmed one side of the backing to 1/2 inch to fold it over the seam line. Instead of sewing the folded back edge down by hand, I used Elmer's GLUE, a la Sharon Schambers binding technique. Then I sewed the seam again from the front to hold the glued edge on the back. It almost worked. I had to sew down three one inch areas by hand afterwards.

Now there is a much shorter seam left, and tonight I did the trimming of both halves. It helps to "just do the NEXT thing" when I'm dreading a job, or don't know how I'm going to get the whole job done.

When I was very frustrated with the carefulness required for this, I saw some bright blocks I had pulled out when I was working on the doll quilts. The pinwheels are from a project at least 12 years ago. I followed a truly RANDOM placement by a blind drawing of the next block, and then the next row. Here it is at the next stage, 5 x 5, which comes out to 20"x20". Now I can let it rest for a while more, as I think about white or black for the first border. This was enough of a break for me to go back to the other project.
Never left the house today
Public radio's classical music
Another step done on a tough project

Monday, December 1, 2008

December turkeys

Because of the snow last night our exercise class was cancelled and we were at home this morning to see these visitors. When you see the driveway in front of them, you can get a sense of their size.

Here's a closer view so you can see that one turkey is up in the crabapple tree, trying to eat the crabapples. The others were scratching the ground and turning up a few from under the snow. They all stayed around for about a half an hour, marching hither and yon. These photos taken from the kitchen window.

Today I realized that I had enough fabric for a pillowcase left from the borders of the Floating Four-Patch quilt (Nov 26 post has photo). I spent the afternoon making eight smalled floating four-patch blocks to enhance the cuff, and then I sewed the pillowcase together with the method that encloses all the seams. This is the first one that I have made WITHOUT a little flap of folded fabric in the cuff seam. I considered it, but decided that it would actually detract from the pattern in this case. I delivered the quilt and pillowcase to the Grand Rapids Womens' Chorus at our rehearsal tonight.
We are doing a special performance for hospital staff on Thursday, and only 16 of us can be there, instead of the usual 38. Our director said, "Just imagine you are a Small Ensemble." With only four basses we were strung out and I certainly felt close to the sopranos in front of us.


Quiet day at home
Roads were not slippery, though they looked like it
Maybe we ARE ready for performance on Thursday!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Fourth UFO finish

Yesterday I finished the FOURTH of the five UFOs I told Finn I would complete before the end of 2008.

I put these old blocks together in to a "flimsie" at our Bee retreat in September, so this is a pretty quick finish. I have no purpose in mind for this one, so I wasn't too worried about my quilting ability.

I did get the feathers on each of the black border pieces. But WOW, they are right when they say black on black is hard on one's eyes!
I kept trying to turn the piece so I could see where is was headed, and then also where I hada BEEN as I tried to run back on the previous line.
NEXT TIME I'm going to try something more like fern leaves, where each one is separate and more pointed.

I had a nice piece of open floral on black fabric which I used for the backing and binding.

Tonight we are having another of our small dinner parties for parishioners at which we have a chance to say a more personal "good-by" than will be possible at the last big event in January.

I'm serving almost the same menu each time, and here are the carbs:
Apple Crisp from my mother's recipe, made with organic Spy apples,
and homemade European Peasant bread from the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.
We use the bread to sop up the gravy from the Chicken and artichoke casserole.
Great cooking smells in the kitchen
Phone call from Kate
A sunny day in usually cloudy western Michigan

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving feather

I got up LATE, yea! After breakfast I did all the prep possible for my two vegetable dishes, creating the good smells of bacon (for the green beans), then onions saute-ing. Now everything is packed and ready to go to the Miller house on The Lake (Lake Michigan), where I certainly hope the smell of turkey is in the air.

Therefore I sat down to the next step of my machine quilting---a border feather. YIKES!

Well, I couldn't think of anything else to fill the space. I sketched the center line, and marked the width of the edges to avoid. And this is it for the first one.
Can't get the "repeat" lines to fall on top of each other a good deal of the time. I need to get away and breathe for an hour!

Then it will be time to change clothes and go. So no more until this evening, or tomorrow.

So much to be thankful for--a heated house, no real hunger, good health in all but minor matters, a more racially tolerant country.
And our family and friends.

Slow down and enjoy each bite!