Saturday, February 28, 2009

Ready to Leave

By 2:00 today I had the three quilt tops and BACKINGs ready for my LA quilter, and they were delivered. The third quilt is Bonnie Hunter's latest Mystery "Double Delight". I feel much more ready to leave for a month in Florida with those three quilts being worked on by someone ELSE. [I will see if there is a way to post a little to this blog using Charlie's new laptop while we are gone.]

Then got myself ready for the GR Women's Chorus concert tonight, "A Breast Cancer Orotorio". I have been listening and listening to the recording the Chorus made five years ago, before I joined. The songs really move me, especially the ending song;
"Teach me how to honor this day,
how to walk amid the billowing sheets of sunlight
arm in arm with the brilliant angel of death,
How to find my home with a fire in the hearth
in the green green fields of this life."

How much I need to remember every day that this one day is precious, and life is pretty darned wonderful, even with the difficulties we may run into.


Learning the Oratorio
Friends who came to the concert
This trip which is a gift to share with Charlie

Friday, February 27, 2009

Quilt backs

NOT my favorite part of the process, quilt backs, that is. But when I have the top finished, and I want to get the whole thing to the LA quiilter, a back is needed.

Since I am going away for a month, I want to get a couple of quilts into my LA quilter's hands, so that maybe one or two will be ready for binding when I get back. Therefore BACKs are necessary.

First yesterday I got the remnants of the front and a few other fabrics together for the back of a New Year's internet mystery I made from stash. I'm not super-delighted with the top, which happens with mysteries sometimes, but it did use up a great autumn leaves fabric I was hoarding. When I'm not thrilled, I dump a top in a pile somewhere, but this one was really finished, so "Get it out of here!" Got that back ready to be delivered.

Next Bonnie Hunter's mystery "Orange Crush" took a long time to find the right borders, again from the stash. Ended up with narrow borders from the fabrics used in the quilt, just barely enough, and then a wider plain black Kona. The backing fabric is a large paisley, and I'm considering asking the LA quilter to quilt this upside down, in order to follow the paisley pattern. BIG problem: the back needs to be pieced, and if the pattern is going to be followed, it really needs careful matching on the seams. I an do this, I can do this, I can do this? Hmm, that's my project for this afternoon. Can't say I remember any experience with this task, so it will be harried. 1) draw a line on the wrong side of the fabric through the same spot in the design. 2) draw a line on the OTHER piece of fabric through the same spots. 3) Cut 1/4 inch away in OPPOSITE directions. 4) Match up and sew. That's my plan.
Vertical seam down the middle, and one from the middle to the left. Not VERY visible, right?
Then I made an error of Inattention and cut in the wrwong place. Wrecked my whole plan because then I didn't have enough fabric for the whole back. Now there is a black strip 12" wide filing the gap. Darn!



Toast from fresh bread for breakfast
Clean house and clean sheets before our trip
Charlie now cooks three nights a week

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Doors in the Squares

Today I finished the companion baby quilt to the one in the previous post. This time colored squares and black "doors". What I had available for batting was fluffier/taller than I usually have/use, but there it was and I needed a batting. So this has ended up a little stiff, even after washing. The backing is this fun print that looks rather African.
Because we are going to Florida for the whole month of March, I am going to count this as my "March" UFO completion, in case I don't even take a UFO with me. So May Britt, this is my OPAM finish for March!
And just for fun, here are some wildlife photos.
Deer, right on the driveway, about 50 feet from the house. They don't seem to be interested in using the bench!
And then here is the view I got coming out of the den, walking toward the kitchen.
Nutsy, Zeke's stuffed squirrel, which has the same coloration as said dog. How he ended upright I don't know. Right in the area where Zeke is usually lying so that we can't move anywhere without his knowledge. Zeke? He was downstairs with Charlie getting ready for Obama's speech to Congress.
Lunch with Bob Miller in Holland, MI
Dutch butter crisp pastries
Doctor now approves of my blood pressure

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Doors out of the Darkness

Today I pulled out this top from last year and got it completely layered, pinned, quilted, l;abelled and bound before 2:00. I call it "Doors out of the Darkness", and I made a top of the opposite coloration at the same time. Another UFO or WISP (Work In Slow Progress).

I quilted wavy parallel lines in the blocks, then various rough circles in the border. [I had had only two of the dots of circles for the corners.]

Oh, and I used a bright red polka dot for the backing so it wouldn't be too dark for a baby, since this will go in our Guild's collection for the Neonatal Unit at our regional hospital.

May Britt, this is my UFO/WISP finish for February! Now I need to make another finish for March, since we are going to Florida for that whole month.
Warm house while the snow blows outdoors
Opera on the radio Saturday afternoons
Charlie has the tax info ready for our CPA

Friday, February 20, 2009

February Spoolspinner meeting

Our bee met last night, and though I had my camera in my pocket, I forgot to take any pictures.

So all I can show you is what I received from my Secret Sister.

The bright FQs were used as wrappers around the other gifts: a six pack of black and white FQs, a package of cocktail napkins, and a tablet of sticky notes.

The cocktail napkins say: The menu tonight consists of two choices: "TAKE IT or LEAVE IT".



No snow yet in the expected storm

More scraps cut up (30 minutes +)

Pesto on pasta for dinner

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Selvage Potholders

I took the "fabric" that I had made from selvages, and made five 6" potholders. I'm going to give four of these to the gals who dropped their selvages into my bag at SpoolSpinners Bee, if they can recognize any of the selvages!

And here are the backs of those potholders.
Next time, I am going to use only, or mostly, the selvage that has the printing on it, and dispose of the side that has no writing.

Now Charlie and I are going out to Leo's restaurant to celebrate our 41st wedding anniversary. How CAN we have been married for that long?



Still married after all these years

Still laugh together daily

But still both drop things in piles, rather than file

Monday, February 16, 2009

Cutting scraps, cutting scraps

I've CUT scraps off and on for two days. Now I have worked down to the BIG box of scraps. Guess I'll iron for 5 minutes and then cut to see how long it takes to finish cutting the scraps that take 5 minutes of ironing!
I am also working my way through the box of selvages I have collected. Several quilting friends have contributed. A little late I realize that I really only want the selvage side that has the printing on it, and the color dots. So I am sorting through for those. So far I have made a few pieces of "fabric" by sewing some together, and today I made a postcard for a friend who just had her gallbladder out.
Got rid of my gallbladder 10 years ago
Milkshake as part of lunch
Invited out for dinner, hoo-ray!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Correct, but still wonky

I went to add my photos to the flickr site for the Australian bushfire Star blocks, and there I found that everyone else was making all their blocks with LIGHT backgrounds. I hadn't seen this detail on the original blog posting, but there it was indeed in the flickr description. So that puts two of my three blocks out of the game. When I found this out, I went back into the sewing room and made two more to replace them.



I HAVE a sewing room and stash that hasn't burned up
Slept REALLY late today, no need to get moving
Heating up leftover chicken for dinner, so no hard thought

Valentine memory

Hmm. I can't read any of these hearts' messages. Hope they are good for Charlie!


Friday, February 13, 2009

Another star for Australia

Those stars are too much fun. I had to make another one when I remembered that eight points might no be enough for a truly WONKY, whacky, liberated star. And maybe stars aren't often "centered" against the sky, but wandering around the heavens!

Wonky stars for Australia

Today I made these two wonky or liberated stars. Tia Curtis is making a collection for those who have lost everything in the terrible fires in Australia. They are to be 12.5" unfinished, so I looked in the box of 4.5" squares to get the right sized pieces. There were the light blue triangles already cut! [I'm impressed that my re-organizing (which isn't finished) has such an immediate payoff.] However the first block, white with blue star, came out 1/8th inch too small. Probably because I thought I could do it OK with the wrong foot on the machine. Had to be enlarged with additional strips on two sides. So the second one I changed the foot back to the regular one, and made the pieces over-large and then cut the block down. And I then hada enough room to NOT match the corners where the star arms meet/don't meet. A little more wonky.

Here's the way the reorganization improvement was looking a day ago. No don't tell me there is work still to be done. . . I HAVE cut up that pile of scraps near the iron, and I have even "filed" a few more odd pieces that can be used in making backings. I, if only I, can tell that things have improved. And so far I'm doing 30 minutes of cutting scraps everyday. Two days. Hmmm, 21 days to make a new habit?

Now to go find an envelope for mailing these two stars to Tia, who luckily has a n FBO address in the US as well as one in Australia.



Charlie took the dog away while the cleaning woman was here (else Zeke barks the whole time)
Found those triangles!
Ate lunch on time

Oh, wow! I just went back and added the link to Tia's blog. I have never done that before. And it's easy. Sort of. So now you can click on her name and get the whole story at her blog.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

More organized?

The good news is this:

The labelled bins are reachable, and filling up. And that upper right corner of the bookcase looks like it is EMPTY! Not for long I fear.

The bad news is this:
A large pile of scraps that have been ironed, but still need to be cut up into useable sizes.

The really bad news:

This bin AND the one under it are full of other scraps!

Meanwhile at least I have unblocked my access to my clothes closet, and a few boxes and piles have been combined. I have pitched out to the library several piles of excapist novels that I have no need to read again. I have kept the bed clear of piles, at least at bedtime each night.

I feel that some progress has been made. Now to become a HABITUAL scrap cutter, not a scrap piler.



60 degree weather melting the snow like gangbusters

Mailed away two boxes, one of fabric

Finished my Secret Sister bag of goddies for this month

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Month of Hibernation

I have been calling February the Month of Hibernation for me and Charlie as we work into his retirement [and get ready to go to Florida for the month of March]. We both have had long-lasting colds right away, and that really did send us to bed for naps everyday and used up a lot of Kleenex.

Now that I am back from the quilting retreat, I have hopes of neatening up my sewing room, and even moving some of the furniture around. Today I emptied the two-drawer file cabinet I've had for years. It really didn't have much to do with sewing, except for a mass of Velcro tapes that were all stuck to each other like a ball of mating snakes. The file cabinet made its way down to the rec room where Charlie is setting up something like an "office" but with no desk. That effort also produced two paper grocery bags of trash and one grocery bag of books to donate to the library.

In total that work gave me about 2 square feet of additional floor space in the sewing room. Hmm. I need to keep working on this project. That's not enough space to move any furniture around!



Stayed in bed until 9:30 this morning
Hershey's "truffle" kisses
Chinese dinner out

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Final Retreat Results

The very first thing that I worked on at the retreat was my Double Delight, the fourth mystery by Bonnie Hunter. I had all the blocks made, and the setting triangles cut, so I just had to sew all the rows together. I had pieced a few of the setting triangles, and now that I see them in the final piece, a couple will have to be switched out since the piecing really shows on the polka dots and is distracting. Luckily I have a few large enough pink fabrics to do that, once I get my machine set up again at home.

People at the retreat had an interesting reaction to this quilt top. They LIKE it, and then say they are surprised they like it because the color combination is so unusual. They never would have thought that the cheddar yellow would go so well with the pinks. [But Bonnie says that this is an old combination, now gone out of use.]

The other top I managed to get together was a very quick one that I got off the internet. "Stashbuster Quilt" has very few pieces and is made from Fat Quarters. I had been given six FQs from the same line of fabrics, and I found six more to make this quilt. Each block has only five pieces and ends up being 16" square. Seet blocks 3 X 4. Very fast indeed.

So all in all I put together four tops on the retreat, finished my sample blocks for the Your Way Mystery, and I made a few leader-ender blocks for a future project. Now I need to find borders and backings for those tops, and quilt the little ones.

Dianne has offered to loan me a smaller machine for our monthlong trip to Florida, so I tried two out during the retreat, a Featherweight, and a Singer 301. Both worked very well. I have decided to borrow the Featherweight, mostly because it is a smaller package to fit into a crowded car.



Sunshine today!

Leftover chili I can serve for dinner

Charlie's first class on his Mac laptop

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

More Retreat results

There were a few pieces over the number I could use for the Strip Twist, so I put them together, and will have to do something with this little piece before it turns into a UFO. [How long does that take anyway?]

During the retreat I also refined my plan for the "Your Way Mystery* we are doing in the SpoolSpinner Bee. I now have black centers in my blocks, and I decided (at least for one block) how to handle the middle and corners of the 12" block so that it isn't too simple for that large size.

One the left are the 6" and 9" blocks, and on the right are the 3" and 12" blocks.



Quick insurance action on Charlie's dented car

More fun sock yarn

A quiet night at home

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Retreat Results

I've been at a quilt retreat for three nights, just returned in time for the Super Bowl game on TV. This retreat is one where you just bring whatever you want and work on your own projects--and have someone else cook for you, and have a lot of fun. We were 21 in number, and some (not me) tried a little "snow dyeing".

Several of the gals who chat together about Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilts suggested that we plan to work on a BLUE version of one of Bonnie's quilts on Super Bowl Sunday (when the men are all too busy with sport to care what we are doing). For this challenge, I took the Fat Eights of blue fabric that I had from an exchange last year and cut them into 6.5" squares. I had to add several light blues from my stash. I took these on the retreat with me, and on Friday evening and Saturday AM I put this "Scrappy Mountin Majesties" top together. It will be bordered and then given to the neonatal unit of our regional hospital.

Then Bonnie herself suggested that for Super Bowl Sunday SHE was going to be making "Strip Twist" and anyone could join her on that project.
I had 20 bright batik strips in a jelly roll, so I took them and her pattern on retreat with me also. I finished putting this top together just before leaving the retreat site this afternoon. I was interested in emphasizing the pinwheel effect in the middle of the four block sets. so I placed similar colors there to catch the viewer's attention.

More about the retreat results tomorrow, but now it is time to finish unloading the car and get the dirty clothes down the chute, and go to bed.



Charlie and Ray prepared the Super Bowl supper
Dry, clear raods for the return trip for retreat
The game was more interesting than expected.