Friday, February 29, 2008

Still quilting Carolina Crossroads

Thought I should show a photo of my sewing machine with the Carolina Crossroads quilt in process of being quilted. I had previously, at a retreat, matched up the four parts with backing fabrics and batting. The middle two pieces were then quilted and sewn together, front and back.

When I came home from the retreat, other projects took precedence. Today I was ready to work on the next section becauseother things were finished. I have to admit that it helps that the kitchen got cleaned, and there was a clear, clean counter bar on which I could do the pinning.

So this is the third piece, I got it pinned, and it is about 2/3 quilted, stitch in the ditch. I am still considering whether or NOT to do some additional quilting in the middle of those "empty" squares. But if I did, what would it be? Good thing there is time to think more while I finish the quilting part!

Tomorrow the whole day will be spent driving to Ann Arbor with the Grand Rapids Women's Chorus for a day long workshop/event for women's choruses. We will hear 12 other choruses, and sing ourselves for about 10 minutes. And every chorus will be "adjudicated". I think this means we will get to hear from an expert how we failed to be perfect. Oh well, Other choruses are always interesting! Just no quilting will get done.



Another day of quiet

Clean house

Charlie liked dinner

Thursday, February 28, 2008

More Confetti blocks

Trying to bring the scrap pile down lower by making Confetti blocks, or some call them "Crumb Chaos." Patti put hers right adjacent to each other, but I'm going to try a narrow sashing. At least for the first quilt top.

At the moment I have about 40 blocks and about another forty "In Process".

When I checked the show box that is labelled "Confetti Blocks" I found that there are quite a few batches of Orphans, rather than Confetti blocks. So maybe this will be a combination of both!


Gratitudes today:

Exercise class humor

Leftovers for dinner meant no cooking

New Yorker cartoons

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Polka Dot FE quilt

Last year at a February Retreat everyone brought Fat Eighths of Polka Dot fabric to share with one another.

This year one of the ladies had actually used them to make a couple of crib sized quilt tops. I don't know the name of the pattern, but it is of the "Turning Twenty" or "Wicked Easy" type. I do know that she made the blocks half the size of the pattern and still had fabric left over from the FEs.

Isn't this a fun top?

I've been under ths weather, spending a lot of time near the toilet, so no other news from me at this time.



Breakfast with dear friends

Phone conversation with Sue

Time to read

Monday, February 25, 2008

Bordered squares

I spent most of the weekend writing my sermon and then delivering it twice. Sunday afternoon the tenors of the Grand Rapids Womens' Chorus had a sectional practice and it was all I could do to stay awake until I could get home and take a NAP. So no sewing to remark on.

Today I needed to just GET SOMETHING DONE. So I grabbed some purple 2.5" strips and made these bordered squares. I was thinking it would be a quick Neo-natal quilt, but the result was a little too dark. Pawing through more purple fabric I found these leftover printed border flowers, already cut. Amazingly there was enough for FOUR borders.
So here it is, ready to layer and quilt. I need to stop with the Neo-natal quilt tops and start doing some quilting!

Charlie is away on a one night retreat, so I'm home alone. I seem to always stay up too late in this circumstance.


Exercise today: 50 minutes of Strength and Stretch

Quiet day
Good GRWC rehearsal
ice cream!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Wierd or Random

Tracy at Tis a Gift has tagged me with the 7 Wierd Things request. Boy, Tracy, you must be reaching deep! Maybe I'll have to focus on "random" rather than "wierd".

1. Once you are tagged, link back to the person who tagged you.
2. Post THE RULES on your blog.
3. Post 7 weird or random facts about yourself on your blog.
4. Tag 7 people and link to them.
5. Comment on their blog to let them know they have been tagged.

Maybe I'll have to focus on "random" rather than "wierd".

1. Son Peter was born to us, and later we adopted our daughter Martha. Just because there are kids who need families, and we didn't think our genes were going to save the world. (Still of that opinion.)
2. I have a Master's in Theology (Biblical Studies) from Notre Dame. Therefore (?) I have been qualified to be a Lay Preacher in our Episcopal congregation for the past 10 years.
3. My husband, Charlie, is an Episcopal priest, and has been the Rector of Holy Cross in suburban Grand Rapids for 29 years. He just announced his retirement NEXT January. This means I too will "retire" from Holy Cross and preaching.
4. I read a lot of "escapist" novels of the historical romance genre. A total waste of time, but I seem to be addicted.
5. I want to be Gwen Marston when I grow up. See Whacky Baskets.
6. My Meyers-Briggs type is INTX (Introverted Intuitive Thinker). That's only 1-2% of the population, yet my son is the same type!
7. Because I have loved singing in ensembles, I joined the Grand Rapids Women's Chorus in 2005 when our family had commissioned a work by Libby Larson for them. Now I know a lot more lesbians than I was aware of before. Surprise, surprise, they're practically completely like heterosexual women!

Let's see, do I even know seven people I can tag?
Life is a Stitch
Quilting is My Passion
With Strings Attached

The real question is: Why do we do this?
I'm interested in learning more about these women because I find their quilts interesting.

And now a QUILT picture! Gotta have photos. Here is a Round Robin quilt I worked on in 2005. We were doing an exchange with Colac, Australia. On the left is the center square we received, a Triangle border, and applique border, and then a 1" border.

On the right is the "border" that I added, which was to be made of or include Squares. With that fan in the middle, I felt it was time to get this turned on point.
I am quite proud of this "solution" because it gives a layered look to the piece, and I managed to let the applique continue to shine. On Round Robins I keep telling myself, EVERY round can't be the Star. Let there be some resting places.
Dinner with friends at Leo's
Finished Monthly Secret Sister

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Spoolspinners Bee anniversary

Here is a photo of the only member of our Bee that has been in it since the beginning, Carol Kuipers. She was awarded two tiaras--both with SPOOLS on them, for SpoolSpinners. We celebrated with ordered-in pizza, salad, and desserts!

Then we had our regular meeting with a talk by our Big Spool on quilting designs, Secret Sister gifts, and Show & Tell. Lots of fun.

And I did get to show the completed top, or center of the second Whacky Baskets quilt. I had finished sewing the blocks together at about 5:30 pm, just before I had to leave for the meeting.

These blocks we made did not all turn out to be the same size. In fact they were quite a few sizes! I picked out 7" square blocks and 7 x 8" rectangles for this quilt. Each row of three has one rectangle in it, which helps to make everything more tipsy.

This now leaves 20 blocks that didn't fit into either top. Twelve are the same size, and 8 are really various. Should we put them all into one wall hanging sized quilt top? Should we divide them into several table-toppers? Should we just put the block in the drawing? No answer from the group tonight. We'll cogitate on this in the background and consider it again next month.



Yea! Job accomplished!

Got a glimpse of the eclipse last night

Woman at the well meditations

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Whacky Baskets #2 continued

There is plenty of black fabric for this sashing. Enough was bought for the backing. And I now have 18 blocks together in three strips of six. And I have three strips of three that are pinned on the bottom of them.

[These should be lying on my bed, so they are easy to rearrange and then pickup, in order, and rush to the sewing machine. However, THAT MAN has decided to go to bed! My goodness! It's only 10:48 pm. I could get a lot more done by midnight if my largest work area was still available!]

The black fabric is striped, which is making it look almost quilted already. I hope the blocks don't really show that they are two sizes, but only that the blocks are dancing around a little. After all, they CAN'T be evenly placed, since there are two sizes. The whole thing will be six by nine blocks, about 50" x 80". Then the applique folks will get to thinking about borders. Since the two tops are different, the same border treatment probably will not work.

The Spoolspinners Bee monthly meeting is this Thursday, so that is the deadline I am working against. Should be OK with two days.



I lasted 10 minutes longer swimming laps

Leftover stew and chili mixed for dinner

Making progress with Leader/Ender project too while working on this project

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Other Wacky Basket quilt

I'm working on the task I have been avoiding: The OTHER Wacky Basket Quilt. My Bee, the Spoolspinners, is making two quilts of liberated baskets. One is well on the way, and the borders are being appliqued with baskets of flowers. Photos are in earlier posts.

I'm working on the OTHER one. That is, I have been thinking and thinking and thinking about how to place these blocks together. They are about four different sizes. And this has stumped me for about three months.

I have finally decided that I will use TWO of the four sizes to make a large quilt top, and use the rest to make a smaller quilt.

Today I have been measuring, and re-sizing, and counting, and drawing diagrams, and you see the six blocks that finally have their sashings attached. The Twist and Turn setting was the best I could come up with.

Before I cut any more sashings tomorow, I need to be sure that I have enough of this black striped fabric to do the whole thing.
But right now my brain is fried. Time for a little escapist reading.



Exercise class friends ate most ofthe remaining turtles
GRWC practiced "Salmon Run" tonight
Loaded more songs on Ipod without Martha's help this time

Sunday, February 17, 2008

40th Anniversary celebrated

We had a great time for our anniversary! First champage and appetizers at Peter and Lynne's house. Then downtown to Leo's restaurant where we all had well prepared and delicious food for dinner. We laughed over how cold the people must be who rode past in a horse-drawn carriage while we drank more champagne in the warmth.

How fortunate we are in our children. They surprise and delight us with shared laughter and tales of their lives as 30-somethings. Lynne and John, their spouses, are valuable additions to our family, and provide more humor.

This morning before the early church service let out, Martha made our "No Stain" punch--one bottle of Vernor's gingerale and one bottle of white grape juice. Lynne was bustling around getting the food on the table and everything "just right".

And Peter was cutting up fake flowers Martha had purchased for the table decorations.
When the early service was over, we took the real flowers off the top of the cake, and cut the first pieces. One layer of chocolate and one of lemon. There were not a lot of folks at the 8:00 service because we had icey roads.

But there was a good crowd at 10:00 plus some friends from our exercise class.

So we cut another cake and ate more turtles and drank more punch with or without champagne.

And Lynne's Dad even drove over from Holland!

Marti and John left for the airport and St. Louis, and the rest of us went out to the bookstore for lunch.

When we finally got home at about 1:30pm, Charlie and I had quite a stack of anniversary cards to enjoy together. And then I took a nap! Entertaining is an exhausting business for me.

Charlie has gone back to church for the Lenten soup supper, but I am staying home with an apple and some sharp cheddar.


So many blessings!
Rack of lamb for dinner
John singing the hymn "Lift high the Cross"

Saturday, February 16, 2008

House work

Yesterday I reworked the house block by taking the roof off and building a new house UNDER it. That's the green striped, rather tropical looking house.

Then I constructed a new roof of dotted black fabric on the old house. That's the patchwork house. Hmmm. That roof looks a little narrow, and not straight. Guess we'll just called it "liberated".

This AM while DD and DSIL were still sleeping in, I put borders on the most recent Bargello.

I had bought this railroad track fabric when a local store was going out of business, just for the fun of it. Now I can see that it makes a good striped border which looks simply brown and black from a distance.

I always slow down once I get to the borders, andeven slower when it's time for the backing...NOW.

Guess I'll sew together some of those 10.5" squares that Bonnie suggested for backings. I have collected quite a pile of them. They are of a wide variety of colors and patterns, and I have to push myself to just put them together. Unlike Bonnie, I like to offset them by a half a square so there once again aren't seams to match.

Getting ready for the Anniversary Celebration tomorrow, I took Martha over to the church to meet the cake(s) delivery and set up the reception table for our anniversary party after the early service tomorrow. We have filled the refrigerator up with punch makings and champagne, and have the dishes of Jordan almonds on the smaller tables. Now I'm ready to put my feet up for an hour before we get ready for the Family Festive Dinner at a Restaurant.


Exercise: Up and down the stairs at the church

Flowers from Sue R.
Sunshine again
39 years, 364 days of kindness

Friday, February 15, 2008

Anniversary celebration

Sunday is our 40th wedding anniversary. Our daughter Martha and her husband are coming tonight from St. Louis to spend the weekend with us, so we will go out for a family dinner celebration on Saturday with them and son Peter and his wife, who live here in Grand Rapids.

The big party will be after church on Sunday after each service. We have ordered a small "wedding" cake for each coffee hour and will also have punch, cookies and turtles.

Here's how we looked 40 years ago in frigid Minneapolis leaving the church:

I guess we should have another photo taken in the same pose. Compare faces!

Last night I finished a Welcome-to-your-new-House-Block for Bonnie Hunter. Tanya [ ]suggested that friends do this, and for uniformity sake we should all use a "neutral" RED background.
I worked very hard to make the printed patchwork on the top one come out exactly on the seam lines, but then failed to make the roof big enough! So I will send her the bottom one that was a better roofing job, plus I had that yellow fabric with the already woven in. . .what do you call those little wooden sticks between the pieces of glass in a window? Anyway, they were provided nicely by the fabric. Plus smooches on the door to welcome her in.
In the same envelope I sent a block from the Carolina Crossroads, which was the thank you agreed upon by that group.
Exercise: 50 min class in the pool
Facial today
conversation with Peter
Martha & John here and laughing

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentines and Hearts

The UPS man stopped about 2 pm, and I thought it was going to be two new pairs of pants for Charlie.
But "No!" It was a Valentine's gift FOR ME from my Spoolspinners Secret Sister.

Here is a plate for my chocolates or brownies and a HUGE cup for my Hot Chocolate. Then there are four FQs of RED fabric, my favorite color, and a tin of sugar-free hot cinnamon candies! Yea! a candy for a Type II diabetic.

Thank you, thank you to my Secret Sister!

I have been looking at the Confetti blocks again, and there were 12 that looked pinky and pale compared to everything else. So I found some sashing strips that were of the same ilk, tho' a tad darker, and I sewed them into a 3 x 4 Baby quilt. It looked pretty unfinished and dull to me.
Then I remembered the packet of jewel toned, pre-cut hearts I got from Keepsake. Grabbing a few, I dropped them on the top as a sign of love, appliqued them down by machine, and now I am satisfied. This is really too large for the Neo-natal Unit, so this will probably go to Pine Ridge. [Still not really my style. Oh, why did my parents raise me to "use it up" rather than "throw it out"?]

I now have three little tops for babies that need backs and to be quilted. Is this a sign that I should do them myself and "practice" machine quilting? Or is it a sign that I should call a Long Arm machine quilter and pay her to do it for me?

I am doing a great job a AVOIDING the two jobs that need to be done by next Thursday!


Secret Sister
Smell of stew in the crockpot
Funny anniversary cards

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Snow and Sun

More snow again yesterday. Now the pile pushed together by the plow to the side of our garage is about four feet high.

But today we had SUNSHINE most of the afternoon. Hurray!

I carefully positioned myself in the livingroom next to the window so I could have the sun on my hands while reading. What a lovely feeling. (But I had to have a shawl around my shoulders because it is cold next to the window. 18 degrees F outside.)

No quilting today because of errands, tutoring, and grocery shopping.



Bright, white landscape

Solomon's eyes twinkling with humor

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Carolina leftovers

After much thought I finally realized that the Carolina Crossroads blocks were nine-patches. So I made BIG nine-patches to set between the "Ring" blocks I had put together with leftovers a couple of days ago.

So now I'm looking at it and not too thrilled. I hope getting the RIGHT borders on it will make a terrific difference. It is pretty dark, so I started with a 3/4" light mini-border. It's all sewn. And now I'm kind of stuck for what comes next. This will be a baby or neonatal quilt, so not very much bigger. The big nine-patches are looking HUGE to me.

Therefore I laid it aside and did "thoughtless sewing" for the rest of the afternoon and evening. That is, I put more pieces onto Confetti blocks. And I spent time reading other quilter's blogs.



warm sewing room on a wintry day

classical music on WBLU

sharp cheddar cheese

Monday, February 11, 2008

Another little top

Yes, I am working on the Carolina Crossroads leftovers! Yesterday I put together the five big "Ring" blocks from Bonnie's mystery. They can be combined as a large 9-patch, but I don't know yet what to use as the alternate patch. Still thinking on that one.

Today I finished this one to use up the 18 nine-patches with 5 light squares. It is 26 inches square. I made the binding from the rest of he border fabric. I should be able to quilt this on my home machine. This could be a neo-natal quilt, or if I do a GREAT job finishing it, I could put it in the Small Quilt Auction at the Guild show next October.

Healthy Habits: Low on the exercise this week. Bad weather cancelled exercise classes. Weight loss in the past month = 1.5 lbs. Well, it's not good, but it's better than going in the other direction!



anniversary reception all planned

new-to-me Mary Balogh novel

Charlie cooked steak for dinner

Friday, February 8, 2008

Leftovers from Carolina Crossroads

For some unknown reason I looked in my box of 3.5 inch patches, and there was a pile of 9-patches!

I usually have at least three little quilts for donation to the Neonatal Unit at our regional hospital when the Guild collects them in March. So I have had it in mind that I should make a few that size. I finished putting this top together yesterday.

Today I have been worrying about the LEFTOVERS from the Caolina Crossroads quilt. I had about 20 rail fences that I decided had too dark a center rail. I had about. . .Oh, another 20 9-patches with the accent corner, which I decided was too LIGHT a yellow. And then I had a few dark cornered 9-patches, and a whole lot of little squares and little strips of three squares.
So, entirely out of keeping with my normal prqactice of piling the new projects on top of the old projects, I felt that this pile of leftovers has to be HANDLED.
I sewed a lot of little things together so that they made whole 9-patches. However, the yellow "accent" squares were migrating around because there were so many of them.
Now I have counted them:
20 rail fences, 20 9-patches with dark corners, 40 9-patches with the accent corner, and maybe another accent (or two) in the block. I have put everything else away into the drawers. Tomorrow I will have to devise something with these blocks. Those railfence blocks are really dark. I could make 5 of Bonnie's Ring blocks, and still have a lots of 9-patches leftover. I can't think about it any more right now. I'm DONE.
Swimming today. Steps: 2838
Hot shower in the locker room
Afternoon nap
Dinner at new friends'

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


This winter "arrangement" of evergreens and dry stalks was given to me by my gardening service folks back in November. It was claimed to be OK for outdoors all winter, so I set it on the deck where we can see it from the dining table. I placed a statue of a nearly naked boy reading in front of it because the wind blew it over once or twice. This is what it looked like a couple of weeks ago when we had had a minor snowfall.

And on the right, you can see what the classy arrangement looks like from the dining table tonight! Can't see the statue at all. I hope that little cave is keeping the wind off and the naked boy is warm and toasty like an Eskimo in his igloo.

The snow on the top railing of the deck is about 8 inches deep. Howevere, the wind is beginning to kick up, so it may fall off before morning.

Charlie felt it was necessary to cancel the evening Ash Wednesday service because of the terrible driving conditions. We had freezing rain so that turned to ice and then the snow fell on top of it. But there were services at 7 AM and 10 AM, so the work with the veil was not futile!

After staying in bed until 10:45 (!), I spent a wonderful day enjoying my sewing room with occasional glances out the window.

I bound the Baby bargello quilt and put it down the chute for washing.
I spent 15 minutes ironing scraps, and then 15 minutes cutting up some of them (ironing goes faster than cutting).

Then I was inspired by Patti of "Quilting is my passion" to make what she calls "crumb chaos" but I call "confetti" blocks from the scraps and strips. I just played and played with them. When I had one finally up to 6.5 inches square, I got down the shoe box with some previous confetti blocks to put it away, and I found there were already 44 blocks in there! That's the box containing the stack of blocks at the far end of my cutting table, then there are about nine confetti blocks laid out that I completed today. Plus I have quite a pile of partial blocks. I will put a couple of quilts together from these for Pine Ridge. Can you tell I have a project that I'm avoiding?

Closest to the camera is a block I made from seven orphan Drunkard's Path blocks which I also found today. Following on in Gwen Marston's liberated mindset, when squaring them up, I purposely made the circle NOT match each other's seams. I don't know what I'm going to do with that, but at least the seven now make SOMETHING. A perfect table mat for when we have a "blue moon", two full moons in the same month?



furnace that works
Slimfast when I don't want to think about food

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Bargello Bowl Baby

Here is the quilt made of the leftover strips from my Bargello Bowl top. I have finished quilting it today on my regular sewing machine with a circles on each square, and diagonals in the border following the "Michigan" printed there. Our Guild supports the Neonatal Unit at the regional hospital with a quilt for each baby. I figure that some father will want to have that border for his Michigan baby. The colors are for the University of MIchigan, but, hey, we all live in the state and can say it just means we are proud of our state! I'm going to use some scrap binding that is two different navy fabrics.

The other news of the day is that I made a new Lenten veil to cover the figure of Christ on the cross at the front of the church. Charlie, who is the Rector of HolyCross, wasn't able to get it to stay in place and recruited some help from the Junior Warden, Ken Race. First they tried again with the long bamboo pole from the basement.

The reason for the pole is to avoid having to get out a long aluminum ladder out from the shed on the other side of the parking lot, and then SOMEONE having to climb the ladder, which creaks and wobbles.

Well, here is Ken on the ladder, leaning his right arms against the wall for security. This project took all of 45 minutes because of all the attempts to get the darn veil to cling to the wire crown on Jesus' head, and hang evenly on each side. The Altar Guild has no idea what a good time they missed by getting all the other work done on Sunday after church and leaving this to Charlie!

Now with the veil in place, we are ready for the Ash Wednesday services tomorrow, beginning with the one at 7 AM in the morning.

However, there is a prediction of sleet and 3-5 inches of snow tonight, so maybe everyone will stay home waiting through the morning for better weather later in the day.



Toenails cut and feet checked by nurse today

Finished quilting the Baby Bargello

Supper with the Reunion group

Monday, February 4, 2008

GOEs and Retreat

My smiling partner for reading the GOEs was Jim Young from Northfield, Minnesota. You can see the papers on his left, and he is typing our paragraph of evaluation for this particular question into his laptop, from whence it magically zips to our supervisor and then to the Editors, and then finally to the candidate's Bishop and Commission on Ministry.

We had an evening and full morning of training for doing the evaluating before we started on Tuesday afternoon. We read and wrote reports on 35 three page essays, finishing by about 1:00 on Thursday afternoon. We sat at this desk together roughly from 9-12am, 1-5pm, and 7-9pm each day. It is certainly a good thing to have a person with whom you work easily! BUT I never left the hotel except to walk between buildings during the four days. I did do some hallway walking on two days.

I managed to get on an earlier than planned plane out of Baltimore, but could not do the same in Detroit. Luckily the snow in Chicago was not yet affecting Grand Rapids, and Charlie picked me up at midnight Thursday.

After a quick packing up of my quilting projects, I drove north to a retreat group on Friday and was set up in my corner by 3 pm.

That afternoon and evening I sewed together 2.5" strips from a swap to make a Scrap Bargello quilt, following the suggestion of Bonnie Hunter that SuperBowl weekend could be celebrated with a "Bargello Bowl". It was fun to think about other women all over the country working on this same idea on Saturday and Sunday. I finished the top about 1 AM Saturday. And Sunday afternoon I put the leftover loops into a neonatal quilt top.

Off and on I worked on the layering and pinning of the Carolina Crossroads sections. And I finished stitching one of them "in the ditch". That top is so busy that I don't think any quilting is really goinig to show up.

One of the reasons going on a quilt retreat is so much fun is the collaborations, or opinion-giving that is going on around the room frequently. Jan Lewis has just laid out the blocks for a "Turning Twenty" quilt and Sandy DeCarlo is giving her reaction to the placements. Carol Kuypers is looking on as she works on her own hand project. You can always get lots of "help" with decisions, but you have the final Veto over it all.


Exercise: very poor this week, except for the days I walked through airports


My OWN bed

Interesting meal conversations

Charlie's chili and Ray's hospitality for the SuperBowl supper