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!


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Floating Four-Patch

Catherine Martin finished quilting my "Floating Four-Patch" and I picked it up today. All batik blocks, mostly from an internet exchange, and more were made on our Bee retreat in September.

I took Gwen Marston's idea for long narrow triangles and made a few spikes for each side of the border--something to contrast with all the squares.

And then I told Catherine to quilt it with something like Baptist Fans. I see some circles, which I don't think you would ever get with Baptist Fans, but I like the effect. It's a little whacky!

I got the binding on this afternoon, so now I just need a label (which I will WRITE on the white muslin backing) and a trip to the washing machine.

This quilt is going to be an auction for the Grand Rapids Womens' Chorus on December 13.



Catherine's work

Enough matching fabric for the binding

Turkey tomorrow!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Second "Whacky Basket" Quilt

Here is the SECOND Whacky Basket quilt our Bee made this year, black/white baskets and colored backgrounds--the one that was for ourselves.
I finished the borders on the top last week and brought it to the SpoolSpinners meeting. Everyone admired it, we put all our names in a box. The winner is the woman on the right, Timmy. She will have to finish it. But I am glad that the borders seemed to meet with everyone's approval, and I can say my part is DONE.
Here is what the "real" quilt, or "Whacky Baskets" #1, looked like before it was given away in the Guild raffle. These blocks had COLORED baskets and black/white backgrounds.
As you can tell, we have some expert applique-ers in the Bee. And these borders got lots of compliments at the Quilt Show.
[My borders on #2 were a great deal more simple!]
There is an explanation of the method of making the baskets in my post on January 19, 2008.
A sunny day tho' snow was expected
Chicken soup and leftover apple crisp for dinner
Phone call from Martha

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Seventh doll quilt, completed last night. This too was an orphan block from a larger quilt. I added two simple borders and then pulled out an old quilting stencil to mark the border design. By luck it was almost an exact FIT!

I have been using these little quilts as another exercise in quilting on my Pfaff at home. It seems like nonsense to take them out to a long-arm quilter.

Mary aasked about the dolls I found. I was primarily looking for "ethnic" babydolls. The center doll with the bottle was bought by a friend for $18. It is soft bodied, but has a rubbery head and hands. The two on the left were $8 at Toys R Us, and their hands are soft. The "twins" in the back were $10, and their hands have velcro so they can hug each other.

At that point I bethought myself that there are older girls who need dolls also, so the last two are meant for them. In the box is a Disney "Einstein" doll ($10) and the totally soft "Groovy Girl" with no box was $11.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Doll quilt factory

I could enjoy these three new doll quilts from my seat in the dining room during dinner tonight.

This is #4, made from an orphan block. I once had about 20 of these blocks made into a twin quilt with a lovely interlocking design. Obviously I had a left over block, and this is what I did to get rid of it.

This is #5. I had a pile of pre-made 4.5" blocks and many of them were blue, so they got put together. Then it seemed to be too rectangular, so I put only two borders on it. This "counts" as a UFO finish to me because the blocks were all made long ago. Must tell Finn, that's #3.

The back is an orange and black African print. You can see a tiny bit of it in the binding.

And here is #6. I had five of these blocks left from another quilt, and some leftover green single bias binding. Still one more block to use up!

This one has a wild pink and white batik for the backing.

I've been working on these for several days, and there is one more in the wash machine.

So as part of my weekly shopping trip today I went to Toys R Us and bought five more dolls. No pic since I stored them in the trunk of the car so I'll be sure to have them WITH me for the Guild meeting next week.



Rutabaga is not as bad as I thought when I was a kid
[mixed with potato]
Ready for "Show and Tell" at the Bee tomorrow
Funny old dog trying to chase deer

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

First Snow

A little bit of snow left in the morning.

It is always interesting to see how the plants change as the fall progresses, and then the snow falls and everything looks NEW, changed. I notice different textures and shapes that I overlooked before.



Heat in the house

Hot water for showers

Bass sectional at my house went well

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Convergence now doll quilt

Not real happy with the way it looks from afar---but I am happy with the effect of the quilting. Finally found that I did need to go around all/most of the circles. And I "dotted" the centers of the big circles. This now will go on the small pile of doll quilts for the Santa Claus Girls. And it is my second finish on Finn's challenge.

Next: Finish the borders on the SpoolSpinners' (my bee) second Whacky Basket quilt, so we can have a drawing among our members. All the baskets were from an idea of Gwen Marston, which we doubled by cutting two layers at once. I set this group in the twist-'n-turn manner.

I first tried a white fabric with colored polka dots as a narrow inner border, and after a night's sleep took it off. It was too close to the baskets, making them look cramped. So now I'm working on an addition of more black strips before anything different.



November waited this long before appearing

Saturday TV quilting shows

Spaghetti and meatballs!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Failed "Convergence"

I found another UFO when I was piecing a back from a pile of 10 1/2" squares. A Convergence mini that I consider a failure. I love the fabrics together, but the angles of the cuts weren't doing it for me.

But I hate to throw it away!

It could be part of the BACK of some quilt. But it could also be another doll quilt.
So I used the accompanying check for the back, layered it and stitched in the ditch on all the seams. Made sense to follow around the golden flowers free hand. Now I am trying to figure out what to do for quilting those pesky circles. Here's a better photo for the quilting, but the colors are off.

So I look out at the lake and see that the Kousa dogwood has turned red and a volunteer baby oak is golden.



I now have a better opinion of the American voters
Cascade Nature parks millage PASSED!
that I have a laundry in my home

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day

A sunny, warm day to drive to the polling place. No traffic on MY driveway!

I parked in the church lot at 12:21, and was back to the car, all done at 12:36. It was quiet, spacious, and very business-like inside. Not a lawyer to be seen anywhere.

One woman was filling out her card with me, and there were about seven people working on their ballots, with five more empty places to sit or stand and vote. My ballot was #720, but I have no idea how many regtistered voters there are in my precinct.

Coming back home, there was still no traffic on my driveway, but this time I noticed the pattern of fallen leaves under the red maple.

The temperature is 67 degrees, amazing for November in Michigan, so I walked around the garden taking photos.
Autumn Joy sedum
Beverly Crabapple
American Cranberry Viburnum.
And through my head I kept hearing a song we have learned in Womens' Chorus:
I am open, and I am willing,
for to be hopeless would seem so strange,
It dishonors those who go before us,
So lift me up to the light of change!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Pink doll quilt

Yesterday I was having company for dinner, AND I was inspired to see if I could make a doll quilt in a day. Thursday I had gotten my baby doll for the Santa Claus Girls collection, and my "Mod" doll quilt didn't seem quite right for her. (No problem because the Guild needs extra quilts for the extra dolls that are turned in.)

After setting the bread dough to rise, I picked four fabrics out of my Pink container, cut 2.5" strips, and started sewing a doll-sized "Streak of Sunshine".

When I was cutting across the strips, also 2.5" wide, I ended up with a couple of odd sized end strips...2", and 1 3/4 " and 1 1/4". I decided that I would fling them into the middle of the regular 12 strips for "interest", and I also sewed them together going "down" instead of "up", making a little wave in the middle of the regularity. A baby bargello! Then I made the Apple Crisp.
Of course I forgot about this when I was planning the quilting in the afternoon! In a hurry to get this moved along, I decided to just quilt on the diagonal to make an X in each square. I soon ran into a complexity when I arrived at a set of those smaller RECTANGLES in the middle of the quilt. Two seconds of thought, and I just soldiered on, going from one corner to the next corner of those rectangles, just like I was doing for the squares. The result is a "bend" in the quilting, much like the effect of the Storm At Sea piecing of squares and rectangles. I think I like it.
However it may be a bit subtle for the doll owner to recognize!
I made the chicken casserole and then managed to make the binding before the company arrived, and later I sewed the binding on after they left. Threw it in with the regular weekly laundry this AM. So it is ready to donate and I really finished it in one day.
I feel good about taking a break from the UFOs I have been working on, but not taking on a new LARGE project.
Thanks to Finn's shout-out in her blog I have been getting a few new visitors here. Thanks for your comments!
Meal all came together at the right time
Mexican Train game last night was lots of laughs
Memories of good times at Holy Cross