Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Celebrating retirement

Here we are after the official retirement party at the church for Charlie. [DD Martha, DH Charlie, DS Peter, DDIL Lynne, and me] We went to the local Hilton Hotel bar on the way home and the family had a drink together. Mine has not yet been delivered, so my hand is empty. But we were all "feelin' groovy", and very happy to be together. (Waitress took the photo with Martha's phone.)



The new Mac laptop for Charlie is functioning

Cleaned off three shelves next to it for his "gear"

Enjoying the earliest hours of the Australian Open each night

Friday, January 23, 2009

Fun Bed, Shoo-Fly

Here is the "fun" bed. I had ordered these linens as a way of celebrating Charlie's retirement and brightening up the dark cloudy days of winter. Then he got his terrible cold the day before retirement, and I didn't want him to get his GERMS on these joyous bubbles. So I held off until yesterday when he seemed a good deal better. In the afternoon he went in a laid down to take a nap, with no comment whatsoever about the new look!

Well, I'm enjoying seeing them every time I glance in the room. And I slept very well under/over them last night.

I changed my sample blocks for the Spoolspinners' Mystery from Nine-Patches to Shoo-Fly by adding a triangle to each corner. I hadn't thought it through thoroughly enough for cutting size, so the smallest one ended up too small, and will have to be put in the orphan box.

Going forward I will make the center sqaure black, and make the corner triangles more wonky. This will make it a combination of 1)Spoolspinners' Mystery, 2) Black & White Challenge, and 3) "project improv". At least that's the plan for now.



Charlie Ramsden fixed the lights in the den

Smell of fresh baked bread in the house

New book by Mary Balogh

Thursday, January 22, 2009

My oldest UFO

Now I really want to thank May Britt for challenging me to finish one WISP (work in slow progress) each month in 2009. I have finished my OLDEST UFO.

This quilt was started when my husband was in seminary, and he graduated in 1974. So this is at least 35 years old. I knew next to nothing about quilting, having no instruction, but some sewing skills. I had made a quilt of LARGE blocks for my daughter, and then I saw a photo of a "Thousand Pyramids" quilt. I began taking apart the clothes that my children had outgrown and cutting a few triangles from each using a cardboard template I had made. These piled up for quite a while.

Then I began sewing them into rows. At some point I didn't want to wait any longer to start quilting BY HAND, so I layered what I had and began. My "Plan" was that I would eventually add some MORE rows (how?), and then borders. Really there wasn't much of a plan because I didn't know what was necessary. "Just do the next thing." Not a bad motto when in deep trouble, but not what could really be called a Plan!

I stopped quilting at some point with most of it done, but not all. I was making other quilting projects, and learning more. I didn't know how I was going to finish this quilt. So it languished, went to the bottom of several piles, was moved from home to home, and finally in this house, has been resting on the guest bed in my sewing room for about 8 years.

Several times I have thought about getting it finished, but I couldn't face the task of adding batting and backing for the borders. (Or any additional rows, for which I have some cut triangle pieces).

For the last several nights I have slept in this bed because Charlie has a dreadful cold and I'm avoiding his germs (I hope!). As I was falling asleep last night it suddenly crossed my mind that I could simply BIND the quilt and call it quits. After all there are lots of old quilts that just end with the binding (and this is an OLD quilt to me). What a release that would be, to not keep thinking that there were onerous steps that HAD to be completed.

So today I did it. I even chose two leftover bindings from my Bindings Box and used them rather than making "new" binding. To me it seemed fitting to use something old for this task.

Now that it is done, I counted the triangles, and including the half-triangles there are 350, not really 1000. So I'm calling it the "350 Triangles Quilt", measurements 49" X 64". And DONE. Halleluia!



Fun new linens for our bed (yellow & orange with big polka dots)
A warmer day, so I chopped some ice on the front steps
Out tonight to dinner and a play

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

MLK Day work continues

Here's where the MLK Day work on a charity quilt has ended with more work on Inauguration Day. I began putting the blocks together last night. Today I added the muslin inner border and the red second border. Now I'm auditioning two different blues for the final border. I think this will make a "boy" quilt with the Blue theme and then the red border fabric has pictures of cowboy stuff.This will be a neo-natal quilt for the Guild collection in March.

After all the Inauguration TV watching and then the evening news, Charlie and I watched a video of MLK's "I Have a Dream" speach tonight--and there was the Washington Mall again, full of people, but in 1963! We both remember watching that event on TV at the time. What an amazing change in our country. God bless Obama and keep him safe. And may we all do our part to sacrifice for the good of others.


That I lived to see this day in America
Footcare nurses so happy and fun
Charlie's REAL first day of retirement (Mondays were his day off)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Lots of squares

Last week I presented the first real step in our Bee's home grown mystery. I made these sample blocks to show them that these four sizes are quilte different from each other, and one should take that into consideration when choosing the fabric. Now everyone is to make one block of each size of whatever block they have chosen [based on a nine-patch]

Today I have done some work on a charity quilt in honor of Martin Luther King's Day, as suggested by Barack Obama. I had a pile of 2.5" squares that I was using as ;eader/enders, but now I worked on them full time until 2:00 and I have 30 of them done. I figure that is about HALF of what I need for a neonatal quilt. Our Guild collects those in March, so this is a good time to get a little ahead.
Now I need to cut some more muslin and blue fabrics!
Good farewell service at Holy Cross yesterday
Lead three last communion songs with my guitar
Came home to the beginning of a new life
Lynne made pot roast for dinner

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Double Delight Clue 3 & more improv

Thursday I took the day off from Double Delight and had fun, fun, fun making some more orange.pink blocks for 'project improv'. Here they are laid out on the floor to see how they look butted up against each other. More are in process but not up to 12.5" yet.
Yesterday I went back to working mostly on Clue #3 of Bonnie Hunter's Double Delight, which is pink Nine-patches. We need 130 of these babies. Right now I'm around 110. I assumed that I would have some extras that I could use in a neonatal quilt for the Guild's collection in March. Maybe not. Looks like I'm going to come out just about right!

Drove in constant snow across town for lunch with friends today, and tho' the driving was not too hard, it was a little tense, always expecting to slide around. I'm considering staying home from the symphony tonight, but will see if this snow continues or not. Hate to stop doing things because of the weather!



Four wheel drive on my Forrester

Steak AND shrimp for my noontime dinner

Happy dogs "helping" me shovel the walk

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Double Delight and Another Challenge

So, having finished ALL the 240 little blocks, I fell for the idea of making the first block Bonnie described in her mystery Double Delight, rather than waiting until I had made 130 pink nine-patches. This big block requires careful pinning (PINNING!) of the little blocks together. We are going to make 30 of these, which will use up ALL of the two sets of 120 square-in-a-square blocks. Plus one of the pink nine-patches. I made one, and it made me tired.The next step is to make the Double Nine-patches that are the alternate big block. So I had to make one of these, just to SEE it, and also find out how difficult these were to put together. Easy-peasy as it turned out.
I continued making nine-patches segments for a short time, but the pile of what is left to do suddenly overcame me, and I wanted to do something else.

Reading blogs yeasterday I found that Jacquie of http://tallgrassprairiestudio.blogspot.com/ has issued a challenge to those who want to join her in 'project improv', which she describes as "to support each other in our goal to quilt improvisationally, to quilt outside the lines and to find our own voice as quilters."
Her idea is to start with wonky log cabin blocks, and agree to send in one 12.5" block (in specific color sets) to be put together into charity quilts.

So I want to try the PINK/ORANGE color group. And because I was tired of the Double Delight, I set to work and made this block:

And because you need at least two blocks going through the machine to save thread (using each as a 'leader/ender' for the other), I started another as well, and then another becausse I was cutting off tail ends. . . . but I pulled myself up short and stopped [until tomorrow].


holiday lunch with the lectionary group
compliments on my jacket
fun with orange/pink

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Twelfth Night, Double Delight!

The Wise Ones have arrived at the manger and are giving presents and adoration. Soon Herod will be on their trail, so everyone had better move out SOON.

And THANK GOODNESS! I trimmed the last of the 120 blocks with chocolate brown corners!m Getting to this point took me most of yesterday and today. I should cut all the scraps into useable squares and strips like Bonnie does.

Now I am cutting 1.5" strips for Nine-patches of "double pink" and shirtings. Maybe I'll get a few together this evening.



only a few interruptions today

new furniture arrangement in rec room could work with tweaks

new music at chorus rehearsal last night, "Breast Cancer Oratorio"

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Double Delight step 2 + Epiphany

Here's the progress I made on the Step 2 blocks today.
These blocks do seem to take quite a bit of time, especially for the trimming and pressing. I am doing them in groups of 10 at a time, changing position from sewing to trimming to pressing helps me not get too stiff. But I still keep slumping. Got to keep the bend from my hips, not curving my back!
At the top you can see that I "took a break" from the Square-in-a square blocks and made a few of the pink 9-patches for a change. I peeked ahead and know that we are going to be making a whole bunch of those next.

Charlie and I had our last Epiphany celebration at Holy Cross, here is a photo of two of the Magi leaving on the last verse of "We Three Kings". These were SINGING Magi, which is not always the case. Each sang one of the verses. And afterwards we had Crown Cake with prizes inside, and a pinata, and the White Elephant Game, and then the DE-greening of the church. A long celebration, expecially because we had the addition of the Morris Dancers as a gift to us.
So much love at Holy Cross
Another farewell dinner last night
Zillah only barfed once


"WISP" , which means "Work In Slow Progress", is what May Britt and Khris are challenging us to complete...one per month for 2009.

I've joined in because I was so motivated by Finn's challenge to work on UFOs [a less gentle name]the last four months of the year. I would like to get through a lot more of them in 2009.

Here's the little icon you can put on your sidebar if you join in. And register your interest with them at http://tagalongteddies.blogspot.com/2009/01/gobsmacked.html .

I'm continuing my Slow Progress on Double Delight with Clue 2. I think I have 40 of 120 blocks made and squared up.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Double Delight, Clue 1 finished

I worked most of the day today, of course with some breaks, making these Square-in-a-square blocks. At one point I timed how long it took to make 10, and it was a little over 30 minutes. So if it is calculated out, 120 blocks must have taken 6 hours in total over two days.
Clue 2 requires making another 120, but a different coloration! Boo-hoo!
I think that I should work on some other project and use this as my "leaders and enders'.
Meanwhile I can't do anything without winding more bobbins.
Pork sandwich for lunch
visiting dog, Zillah, tho' energetic has caused no problems
planning for quilt retreat in February

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Double Delight - Clue 1

These are stacks of 10 each of all the parts needed for 120 blocks of Square-in-a-Square. Bonnie Hunter has started her newest mystery. Blue middle and "shirtings" for three of the corners, "cheddar" for the last corner. Mine don't EXACTLY meet her descriptions, but they are all from my stash!
I have sewn three stacks together, and am trimming the last batch. Each one needs to be 3.5 inches square.

Unfortunately she has moved a head to the second clue while I have a long wayto go on this one. O well, she keeps reminding us that this is NOT a race. Enjoy the process!

Stopped my forward progress in order to have New Yesr's shrimp with my honey and watch most of the Rose Bowl game.
Never got in the car all day
Pickled herring
Planning for changes to the rec room

2009 = Flexibility

On the first day of the New Year, I have chosen the word "Flexibility" for my Word of the Year. This is instead of making a "resolution".

I hope to be open-minded about how my life is going to change with Charlie's retirement, and to become better at adapting to what will necessarily be different as we AGE together.

I also need to realize that my body is not a flexible as would be good for me. Therefore this word is to remind me to do some flexibility exercises each day (or five out of seven), especially for my shoulders and knees.