Friday, April 21, 2017

New Resident on the Hill

Snapping Turtle?

This creature showed up in our driveway this morning, just as I was getting ready to run some errands.  It "clammed up" the minute I got near so I can't be positive in my identification.

Or it could be a box turtle, though the pictures of them on the internet are more colorful.

The only other snapping turtle I've seen around here had more of a
prehistoric look with a spikey back and long tail.

It was long gone by the time I got back from Kroger.

Monday, April 17, 2017

The Queen Mother has left the building

RIP Angela

My beautiful, talented mother-in-law passed  away peacefully Saturday morning; her son, daughter, and faithful caregivers were by her side.  Angie would have been 97 in July.  She was the second oldest of eight sisters (one arrived after the photo below).  Now only the two youngest remain.

Family of Josephine and Ignacio Flores
circa 1940
Isn't that a classic photo?  Angie is seated second from the right.

She majored in art at the University of Kansas (go Jayhawks!) and got a job during WWII as a draftsperson at North American Aviation where she met her husband.  Once the war was over, she never plied her art professionally, instead putting her talents to use behind the home sewing machine, with a needle in hand, knitting sweaters, or wielding a paintbrush.

Sisters Quilt
This is one of many quilts she hand-pieced and hand-quilted over the years.  Each of the 8 sisters was to make 8 of their chosen block and distribute them to each other.  Well, all were not as talented as Angie so she ended up making a lot of the blocks herself.  She even made a second set for herself so that she could have matching spreads on their twin beds.  (I don't think she ever accepted that I am a real quilter because I do it all by machine!)

She did impeccable needlepoint, crewel embroidery, and cross-stitch work.

 Needlepoint bell pull
Crewel bell pull detail
One of many cross-stitch angels
She rekindled the painting gene in her later years -- that is, before she forgot how to paint.

Oil portrait of my Son-1 and family

Water color water lilies
She was always generous with her creations so the entire family has quite a legacy to remember her by.  She will be missed by many.

Thanks again to all of my loyal readers for lifting Angie and the rest of our family in prayer during these last difficult days.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Taking a break ...

... from taking a break

It was refreshing to have my son and daughter-in-law bring a picnic lunch today to celebrate birthdays for both me and my sister-in-law.

Son-1, SIL, DH, and Me!
SIL and I enjoyed our repast on these plates.

The Queen Mother continues to hang on by a thread.  I have not been able to even sew an accurate quarter-inch seam in the last two weeks.  But today I was inspired by Jo Kramer at Jo's Country Junction to break out what I have finished on this year's Bonnie Hunter mystery, En Provence, and see if I can make something with the bits I have done.

My first attempt was to simply put the nine stars with the yellow corners together.  It wasn't big enough, even though my blocks are bigger than Bonnie's (because I didn't read the directions on the first clue), and it left all the other units I had made needing a home somewhere.

So I decided to use some of them in a sashing.  First in a straight set ...

... and in an on-point setting ...

I think I'm favoring the on-point.  What do you think?  I'll come up with some creative way to use all the neutral 4Ps and purple 4Ps in the corners.  But I won't sew a stitch until life returns to normal here on the hill.

Thanks to all who have expressed concern and offered prayers.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Sunday, April 2, 2017

One Monthly Goal - April

I don't expect to have a lot of available sewing time this month.  Or, better said, if I get time to sew I'm neglecting what I SHOULD be doing.  So I wasn't going to declare a One Monthly Goal (OMG).

Until I remembered I do have one obligation this month -- my addition to the round robin block that was passed on to me in March.  I've been derelict in reporting about these blocks, mainly because I wait till the last minute and forget to document my process along the way.

To bring you up to date, Music City Modern Quilters decided to try round robin quilts this year.  Two groups of six quilters are participating.  Each person started with either a block or row of their own making which was passed on to the next quilter on the list.  Each month we add to what we got and then pass it on to the next person on the list at the next guild meeting.

This was my starting block:

Libby's starting point
It's an antique block design called Rolling 9-Patch.  I thought it had a modern vibe and offered some options in terms of colors and directions.  Well, I was thrilled with the coral flying geese that Emily added in the second round (forgot to get a photo of it) and I'll look forward to seeing what happens next.

This is the first block I received:

Maria's starting point
The maker threw me a curve right away  because I had already anticipated putting whatever block I received on point!  After thinking about it for most of the month, I was up against the deadline, whimped out and opted to just add a plain multicolored border to the 15" block to give the next person more color options (forgot to photograph, again).

Here's what came my way in March:

Katie's starting block
Maria's additions
I like the wonkiness of the star and the dancing square border, but I thought continuing with the wonkiness could get messy.  I also felt the green needed to be brought out into the next border, along with the pointiness of the star.  So here's my solution:

Round three - Libby's additions
All this circuitous rambling to say that my One Monthly Goal (OMG) for April is to finish my additions to Katie's round robin block.

Joining the monthly link-up with Patty D at Elm Street Quilts.

Rainbow Scrap Challenge - April


When Angela at Soscrappy announced the "color" for April, it gave me pause.  Multicolor.  Really?

But, like Angela said, we all have those scraps that can't be classified as a particular color because no color dominates -- especially florals and multicolored stripes.

Knowing my sewing time this month is going to be extremely limited, I immediately went down to the studio mess in my basement to think about my approach which was inspired by Cynthia at Quilting is More Fun Than Housework.  I felt that her recent Scrap-a-Palooza quilts, where she combined 2-1/2" and 1-1/2"  strips to create 9" blocks, would translate well into the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.

My 1-1/2" bin had a big stack of yellow strips so I decided to make that my starting point, but I couldn't find enough coordinating multicolored 2-1/2" strips in sufficient lengths to execute my plan.  On to the FQ bin where I found a collection called "Arabesque" -- black background with a lot of bright action.  Ah-ha!  I have tons of black with bright on the shelf I can add.

So here's where I stand, two days into the multicolor month.

Since the blocks finish at 9", a 7x8 setting would yield a nice 63" x 72" comfort quilt.  That's 46 more blocks to make.  It's the kind of mindless sewing that I should be able to handle this month while I tend to much neglected housekeeping and yard work.

Be sure to stop by Soscrappy to see what other quilters are doing with this month's challenge.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

A Friday Finish

Not Quite

My One Monthly Goal (OMG) was to finish the center portion of what I'm calling Poppies.  I posted on my progress here.

Well, I made great headway at the beginning of the month, as evidenced by the above photo, but I felt it needed a little elongation top and bottom.  So I cut more diamonds for the sashing ...

... and that's as far as I got.  Two trips out of town and minor crises at home slowed me down.  So I came close to accomplishing my goal and I'm OK with that.  It should only be a matter of days before I can call it done.

I'm reporting in with Patty at Elm Street Quilts for the month-end talley.  Hop over there to see how other quilters managed their OMGs.

Monday, March 27, 2017

When to Say "When"

How many?

Convinced a navy batik would be the "ideal" background for Rainbow Radiance, I stopped at Twisted Sisters Quilt Shop in Maryville on my way to Pigeon Forge last week and found this:

I washed it once in the hotel laundry with two Color Catchers and they came out just about as blue as the fabric.  So I decided to go with my original plan of a gray background.

Rainbow Radiance - Donna Lynn Thomas design
I certainly didn't want all the effort of those tiny HSTs to be ruined by a bleeding blue background!

Now home, I have washed it twice more, each time with two Color Catchers.

There's still blue coming out of the fabric.  So here's my question:  Would it be better to use more Color Catchers at one time?  I've heard people say they use as many as 5 or 6. I don't understand the science of how they work at all.  Or should I use another product?

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Monday, Again

Last Week of March

Wow, does anyone else feel like this year is speeding past?  I do think the older you get, the faster time flies, but .. REALLY?

On Wednesday I headed east again to A Mountain Quilt Fest in Pigeon Forge, TN.  Having skipped it last year, I was excited to return to one of the nicest, most relaxed, quilt shows in this area.  And it's free!  (except the classes and dinners)

Adding to the excitement, I was introducing The Joyful Quilter to several of my S'mores friends for the first time.  On Thursday Joy and I did the show and Friday we both had a class. 

The show was expansive and had a lot of variety, even though it was mostly local entries.  I'll try to put together a post of the quilts later this week.  I couldn't get online at the hotel so I have a lot of catching up to do.

In my class I had a refresher course with Donna Lynn Thomas on her On-Point Ruler.  I managed to get one block done and three more cut out.

Rainbow Radiance
Well, I guess I could have given it a little press before I photographed it!  I'm thinking I'll put the 4 blocks into a table runner and call it done.

The ruler is designed to take the math out of on-point settings.  The measurements on the ruler are calculated from the diagonal measurement of a square which is 1.414 times the side of a square.  It's not often that measurement comes out to something exactly on a standard ruler.  Frankly, I don't think I'd go to the trouble with just a block; I'd find a way to make things fit.  But where I think the value of the ruler comes in is when you want to put on-point squares in a border (or Seminole or some other similar on-point unit). In that situation all you need to know is the length of the border and a unit it is divisible by.  The ruler does the rest.  

In the evenings we ate prime rib, burritos, and fish & chips.  I haven't even had the courage to step on the scale since I got back home!  One of the more interesting places we ate was Quaker Steak and Lube.  I have no idea it it's a chain or local but the food was good.

There was definitely an automobile vibe there!

I did not venture up into the hills around Gatlinburg; I just didn't want to see the devastation from the fires last Fall.

Another Mountain Quilt Fest is history.  Well worth the trip.

Monday, March 20, 2017


or MIA?

Maybe some of each.  Thanks to those who checked on me.  I just lost my mojo for a while.  I needed to prep for a couple of upcoming trips and didn't feel like I had big enough blocks of time to get any sewing done.

Then we had that short-lived snow.  Negotiating our driveway is impossible in bad weather so I dithered (catatonic is probably more accurate) about whether DH and I could even get away for a little planned R and R.

As it was, we delayed our departure till Monday last week, then spent a couple of days in Kingsport and Johnson City looking at houses.  Oh, I forgot -- last you heard we were looking for property to build on?  Well, a couple of recent health issues convinced DH and me that life is too short to wait on construction.  Wouldn't this be a cheerful place to sew?

Dream Studio
This trip was only to familiarize ourselves with the more desirable neighborhoods.  It will still be quite a while before we can make a move and there's no guarantee this place will still be available.  I can dream, though ...

Once back home, I spent some time in the sewing room playing with red strings ...

... looks like a February leftover slipped in when I wasn't looking ... and another HST 9-patch.

I also spent some time cutting for an upcoming class.  Mountain Quilt Fest is happening this week in Pigeon Forge, TN and I will be working on Rainbow Radiance with Donna Lynn Thomas.

Donna Lynn has developed a ruler for on-point blocks that simplifies the math. 

I took a class with her two years ago but didn't follow through with the project.  I hope this time the concept sticks!

 Batiks are my fabrics of choice this time, but I'm having trouble picking a background.

I really wanted a navy blue batik.  Needless to say, there will be vendors, not to mention local fabric shops, where I might find a better choice.  But we'll only be working on  two blocks in the class, not much has been cut, so if I have to wait till I can shop at home, I'm not concerned. I just want to learn how to use the ruler -- not so much for this particular project, but the way she explains the concept it could be beneficial when I try to design something on my own.

Don't forget to check out the Orphan Adoption Event at Quilting is More Fun Than Housework.  You have until Saturday to put in a bid for my two orphans up for adoption here and here.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Please Adopt Me, Two!

Sports Themed Squares

Auction is closed. The winner has been notified.

Cynthia Brunz over at Quilting is More Fun than Housework is hosting an Orphan Adoption event this weekend. She does this twice a year. Go check it out and then find someone's UFO to adopt!

Some young sports fanatic would be happy to get a quilt made with these sports-themed squares.

There are fifty 5" squares altogether.  Half of them are basketball

Another 12-13 are baseball,

And the rest cover multiple sports

There are no restrictions on how you use these squares, but it would be nice to see what you have done with them.  Simply leave a comment below.  Please, include your email in your comment; last time I had so many "no-reply" comments that I had no way to contact.  If you are concerned about security, type "sewandso (your address) at (instead of @) some carrier dot (instead of a period) com."

This auction is open to US participants only until midnight CDT on Saturday, March 25.  Selection will be by random drawing of names in a hat. I will pay postage.

Good luck!!  

Adopt Me!

Cruise Blocks

Auction is closed. The winner has been notified.

Cynthia Brunz over at Quilting is More Fun than Housework is hosting an Orphan Adoption event this weekend. She does this twice a year. Go check it out and then find someone's UFO to adopt!

Up for adoption:  Eleven 12" (more or less) challenge blocks with a Fall/Cruise theme.

Package includes 5 additional 14" squares of this challenge fabric.


Participants in a 2007 Quilt Seminar at Sea were challenged to make a 12" block to commemorate our cruise to New England and Canada using the challenge fabric.

Two winners, as judged by the teachers, each took home half of the blocks.  Miracle of Miracles, my block was a winner!

I've used half of my blocks in this quilt:

Since I don't really need two commemorative quilts, I've decided to part with the remainder. Please note each block was made by a different person, not me.  As often happens in swaps, the quality and size varies.  

There are no restrictions on how you use these blocks, but it would be nice to see what you have done with them.  Simply leave a comment below.  Please, include your email in your comment; last time I had so many "no-reply" comments that I had no way to contact.  If you are concerned about security, type "sewandso (your address) at (instead of @) some carrier dot (instead of a period) com."

This auction is open to US participants only until midnight CDT on Saturday, March 25.  Selection will be by random drawing of names in a hat. I will pay postage.

Good luck!!  

Saturday, March 11, 2017

No Accumulation

Sure ...

This is what "No Accumulation" looks like in Middle Tennessee:

Thirty minutes transpired between the next two pictures.

An hour later and the driveway is clearing.  If you don't like the weather, just wait an hour!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Anatomy of a Quilt


(Credit to Kate at Life in Pieces for naming my quilt.)

Several years ago I purchased this fabric.

I was attracted to its graphic quality, but I also fell in love with the way it felt -- soft and slick.  I just can't resist fondling fabric in the store, on my shelf, on a friend's back .... I digress.  I purchased a couple other black/white/red pieces at the same time with the thought they would go together in a quilt.  Not to be.

After this fabric had "matured" sufficiently, I was inspired to use it for a stacked repeat project, specifically 4-patch posies for which I had an upcoming lecture and class to teach. That is where four identical cuts of fabric are stacked and cut into squares.  The four identical squares are then arranged kaleidoscope style.   I thought the graphic print would yield some interesting results ... and it did.

This ...

... and this ...
But mostly what I got was ...

Bland and boring!
Fast forward a couple of years, the blocks had marinated in the box long enough, and it was time to either DO something with them or pass them on to someone else. (Need I remind you the Orphan Adoption Event, sponsored by Cynthia at Quilting is More Fun Than Housework, is coming up March 16-19?)

The blocks definitely needed some type of sashing to perk them up.  After thought and some research, I decided a diamond sashing would be dynamic enough to offset the blandness of the blocks.

Poppies -- in progress
In fact, it almost looks like the sashing is the star (pun intended) and the blocks are the backdrop!  A row more of sashing top and bottom (don't have enough fabric for the sides) and the center will be done and I will have accomplished my One Monthly Goal for March!  Still thinking about borders. 

Looking at it now, I think I might have chosen a different arrangement of the posey blocks, but there's no time to second guess.