Saturday, November 30, 2013

Friday Finish -- Almost

OK, so it's Saturday.  I probably could have finished Tall Tree on Friday.  Button sewing was all that was left to do.  But it was much more fun visiting with GSs #1 and #2!  I knew I wouldn't have time after that to make it to the PO, so why push myself?

Here it is, decorated with a couple of the numbered knit stockings I bought at Cracker Barrel.  It was the display model, so they all smelled like wood smoke and I discovered that Day 9 is missing.   A good dose of Febreze fabric refresher took care of the smell.  The kids will have to be creative on Day 9.  Actually, DIL is an accomplished knitter and I know she could have done a much better job on the stockings.

It's on it's way west.  A day late, but it's done!!

It's hard to tell from the photo, but it's as tall as a door.  I thought it would be easy paper piecing, but the large chunks of fabric were awkward to handle.  Be warned:  don't wait till the last minute on this one.

After I got it in the mail I had time to make 24 Celtic Solstice units for Bonnie Hunter's new mystery.  Hoping to do a little every day so as to not be too far behind when the next clue is revealed.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Too Much Good Fortune?

Is there such a thing as too much good luck?  Hmmm......

I have been rejoicing in my family's recent good fortunes -- son and daughter-in-law landing new jobs, another DIL getting a pay extension till the end of the school year, me getting the dates I wanted for jury duty, grandsons returning for Thanksgiving, dodging the tornados in Indiana and the icy snow today......

Then I wake to be informed that the microwave has died -- a fast and painless death, apparently -- one day before Thanksgiving.

Hey, wait, we still have today to replace it so I guess my good fortune continues.  It could've crashed tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Tip for Tuesday

Today I offer a tip on organization.

These clear Protect-n-Stor plastic storage boxes can be found in the scrapbooking section at Jo-Ann.  The are about half the cost of other similar storage boxes and they are frequently on sale with other storage options (like Monday when all storage was 60% off).

They have an inside dimension of 12x12 which accommodates flat storage of blocks less than 12".  I can stack five of these in an Itso cube from Target.

So how do I use these?  I kit up projects which I definitely plan to make and for which I have selected fabric by cutting the basic strips and pieces so that I can return the remainder of the fabric into circulation on my shelves.  I also write notes to myself about where I left off and what I plan to do because it can be months before I get back to the project.  I go a step further and label the box if the project requires any special tools. 
That way if I want to grab a project to take to a retreat or sit 'n' sew I know what tools I will need.  And if I am missing that tool, I can quickly check to see if I left it in the box the last time I worked on the project  (it happens more than I want to admit ;D)
I've been accused of being OCD.  Not sure about the O part, but the fact I have 50 of these boxes prepared definitely makes me guilty of the C part!!
I'd love to hear about and share tips from my readers.  Look for another tip next Tuesday.

Tuesday Morning

Greetings on this foggy, wet, chilly Tuesday morning.  At least it's not white -- yet!  We had some large fluffy flakes about 2 yesterday but by 3 it had changed to pellet sleet.

Temperatures rose by bedtime and all the sleet is gone.  A second wave is expected later today.  Could be our first significant snow of the season.  We'll see .....

Cold gray days like this are best spent in the sewing room.  However, mine is in the basement with minimal heat so it will be a game to see how long I last.  I really need to finish Tall Tree.  At least the handwork can be done in the warmth of the living room.

Look for a new feature -- A Tip for Tuesday -- later today when I begin a somewhat regular series of tips that I have found helpful in keeping myself organized, improving my accuracy, saving money, and having fun in the sewing room.  I'd love to hear some of your tips, too.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Monday, Monday

Good Monday morning to all!

These three quilt tops will soon be on their way to comfort tornado victims in Washington, IL.  I'll be making backs for these this week and finishing up the Tall Tree.  I think that is all that I can reasonably expect to accomplish with the holiday in the mix.

This is one of my favorite go-to baby quilts -- no pattern, just pieces and parts. 

Studies have shown that infants respond to high contrast colors like black/white and red/white.  I used a double-dozen 6-inch charm squares with leftover WOWs.  So easy!  I try to keep one of these on hand for last-minute gifts.  Guess I'd better get started on another one! <LOL>

This was a sweet panel of Hawaiian-style stencil-looking blocks.  I framed each little panel with coordinating color and found the perfect sashing fabric.  Border I bought at a shop on Kauai.

The third top is a pattern called Peppermint Twist.  I had planned to make three of these as Christmas quilts for DILs and SIL -- even had them all cut out.  I quit after just one.  I was working with a new machine and hadn't mastered the quarter-inch seam on it.  Nothing was coming out to the correct size.  I have since incorporated all the cutout pieces into other UFOs.

So excited that the two older grandchildren (ages 29 and 23) will be coming over Friday.  We don't get to see them often enough as #1GS is gainfully employed by a startup energy company in DC and #2GS is soon to graduate from Northeastern Univ. in Boston.  I am so proud of them and what sweet and thoughtful young men they have become.  I even have two wedding quilts in the queue for any eventualities (none, yet).

I hope everyone has a safe and happy Thanksgiving.  We've got bad weather heading our way and though TDOT has improved its methods of dealing with freezing road surfaces, southern drivers don't always know how to drive in it.

Linking up with Judy at Patchwork Times for Design Wall Monday.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sunday Stash Report

When I took this picture I realized I only bought 10, not 12, fat quarters last weekend so I can deduct a half yard <g> .
Moda's "Collection for a Cause" Millbook Series ca. 1835. 
Sales benefit the American Quilt Study Group
If you have even the slightest interest in antique quilts, you should check out AQSG. 
There is probably a regional quilt study group in your area --
a great way to learn more about quilts and fabrics.

I'm crediting myself for the half yard miscounted last week.  And I gifted a friend with a yard of batik for her birthday yesterday.

Beginning total:  13 yds.
Incoming:  0
Outgoing:  1-1/2 yds
Current total:  11-1/2 yds.

I didn't get the backs done that I had hoped to.  This project  -- Cindi Edgerton's "Tall Tree" -- has a higher priority.  I should be able to count it out next week as it needs to be finished by Thanksgiving.  Once I add a border it will be ready to become a quilt.  A little embellishment with buttons to hang ornaments and it will be ready to go.  I used mostly scrap greens and the whites came out of my FQ collection.  The border -- well, do you ever buy fabric because it's cute but then realize the "cute factor" won't hold up to cutting it into small pieces?

That's the story for this fabric.  I think it will make a perfect border.

I'm also making progress on Cathedral Stars.  All blocks are finished and I actually have one corner section complete.  The setting triangles and borders are cut.  Hoping to get a few more rows put together.

I will be making two backs for quilts I'm sending to Terry at Quilt Crazie for tornado victims in Washington, IL.

Linking up to Patchwork Times.

Best wishes for a pleasant Thanksgiving to all!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

BHUFO Challenge - Update

Cathedral Stars report:  MY BLOCKS ARE FINISHED!!  This is a happy quilt!

I have: 

1.  sewn three rows of one easy corner.
2.  laid out the very middle section (believe me, there's method in my madness).
3.  cut my setting triangles (today at guild).
4.  decided on borders (still subject to change after I audition them with the finished center).

I've also worked on the Tall Tree this week -- that deadline is more critical. 

With the holiday next week and family coming and going, it's highly unlikely that the flimsy will be finished before the first Celtic Solstice clue comes out.  I had only set my goal at finishing the blocks, anyway.  But thanks, Jo (Country Junction) for issuing the challenge.  I would not have even gotten this far without it.

Check others' progress at Country Junction.

A blessed Thanksgiving to everyone.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Jo's BHUFO Challenge

I have accepted Jo's (Country Junction) challenge to finish a Bonnie Hunter UFO before the first clue of the new mystery later this month.  I started Cathedral Stars in a class with Bonnie in March 2011.  I finished all 25 of the HST blocks (actually 30) right away but hit a snag with the Tri-Recs star points and only finished a handful of blocks before setting it aside.

Last week when I inventoried what I had already accomplished I found I was only 2 blocks short of a quilt!  All I need to do is assemble the remaining 25 star blocks.  This is what I was facing at the beginning of this week.  The lower right pile is the two sets of star points and 4-patches.

Before I left home on Friday morning, this is what I had accomplished -- 15 blocks, 10 to go!!:


If I can find a large enough design wall I might be able to get the center portion finished.  I haven't really put any thought into borders; maybe I'll use a combination of the gold and purple in my HST blocks.  Most likely I will have to be satisfied with getting the blocks finished and take it to retreat in December to get it all together.

Heading North

Even though I live in the South, I belong to a quilt study group located in Indiana & Ohio.  We get together about five times a year to study antique quilts.  I'm not as fanatical as some about dating antique quilts; I just enjoy looking at them and learning as much as my feeble brain can absorb at one sitting.

This weekend's program is packed with a variety of topics -- none of which come to the surface of my mind at the moment -- plus we will spend a little time planning for next year.  Even though I belong to a similar group that meets right here in Tennessee, I can't tear myself away from the Midwest braintrust, especially when I know what the next year holds in new information about old quilts.

I'll post some photos -- with permission, of course!  It's so tempting for us to show what we've seen, but it's important to remember that the quilt's owner has first rights to publication.  It's a courtesy to always ask.

DH does not share my interest so he will remain here, tending to life as usual.

Have a good weekend, everyone!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Design Wall Monday

I'm wondering if anyone else out there works in a fractured manner like I do?  Here's the scenario:

Last Monday I made the bold plan to complete 10 Cathedral Stars blocks each day.  Well, 2 visits to the dentist on the other side of the county, a girls' day out terminating in a memorial service, Kroger senior shopping, and handbell practice greatly inhibited my progress.  Plus, I was asked to make a 10" block in red/black/cream for a comfort quilt. 

Ah, I thought, I made a mockup in those colors some time ago.  Indeed, the block would finish at 10", but the snowball corners were too white -- wouldn't play well with the other blocks. 

I had kept all the fabrics together because I liked the block and intended to do something with them "someday."  I'll just make another block and substitute cream corners, I thought.  But, as long as I'm cutting, why don't I just go ahead and cut all the fabric to make myself a quilt.  A 4x5 setting would be a perfect lap size, sez me.  Trouble being, I only had enough fabric for 20 blocks -- not 21.  Are you following me here?

Nevertheless, I began making blocks -- maybe like the loaves and fishes I would miraculously have enough for the charity block.  NOT!  So this is what is on my design wall today.  Because I've used a variety of reds and blacks, as well as a variety of creams, I'm waiting to lay them all out before adding the snowball corners.

Meanwhile, Option 2:  I took a pineapple class with Anita Grossman Solomon this summer at North Carolina Quilt Symposium.  I finished one block in black and cream that would finish at 10".  I could applique a red heart on it.  Or, better, I could finish the second block already cut out and incorporate the red in the center.  That took most of Sunday morning but I'm please with the results.

Bottom line:  I only finished 5 Cathedral Stars blocks last week.  But the good news is that when I inventoried what I had standing by, I was only 2 blocks short of a quilt!

This week's goal is to make two backs that I can count in my stash report, finish 13 Asian pinwheel blocks, finish 4 blocks for a December block exchange, and knock out some more Cathedral Stars blocks so I can use the December retreat to lay that one out on a bigger design wall.

Be sure to check out Judy's blog at Patchwork Times to see what others are working on.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Stash Report #2

October Total:  -4 yds
This Week Fabric In:  15-1/2 yds
This Week Fabric Out:  1-1/2 yd (gifted)
Total:  +10 yds

OK, so it doesn't look so good.  But three quilt shops in one week -- really, how often does that happen?  At least just knowing I intended to report kept my buying in check.  And I concentrated my purchases on backgrounds.  I'm slowly beginning to realize that I can use up any of my weirdly colorful fabrics when matched with an appropriately calming background.  It's only taken me 13 years ......

On Tuesday there was an evening memorial service for a quilting friend in a town about 50 miles north.  So four of us decided to make a day of it.  After convening from 3 corners of the Midstate we headed over to Quilters Attic for their Fat Quarter Frenzy.  I came away with 14 WOWs and neutrals.  Not too bad, especially at half price.

Then we ventured north of Bowling Green to Whittle's.  I held myself to two backgrounds and a Moda "Scrumptious" charm pack (they were sold out of the layer cake that I went for) and another yard that I gifted to a friend who drove me around yesterday.

We still had time to stop at a winery and have dinner before the visitation.  A whirlwind day, but the weather was nice and the friends nicer.  Love my quilting buddies.

Yesterday there was a small quilt show about 50 miles west.  So another group of four piled into one car for the trip.  We met up with others in Waverly for lunch and to celebrate a birthday for one of our "adopted" daughters.  The show was nice, but small, and though we intended to stay till 4 to pick up our quilts, we left early.  Giving us time to stop at Granny B's in Dickson and use the discount coupon we got at the show.  Out goal was to select fabrics suitable for "stacked repeats" since we have upcoming opportunities to work on One Block Wonder and Four-Patch Posies. 

This piece I got will go into a One Block Wonder. 

It will be very subtle, I know, but I think it will be surprising.  I cut up some photo copies today just to test it before I start cutting and I was pleased with the results.

If it needs some perking up I'll add some colorful cubes.

I'll be linking up with Judy at Patchwork Times.

Monday, November 4, 2013

A Big Day, A Good Thing

Today was the day -- actually, 9 a.m. CST was the moment -- when registration for Mountain Quilt Fest at Pigeon Forge opened.  Eight of us are going to share a couple of suites near the new convention center.  We were all sitting at our respective computers with fingers poised, ready to register because classes fill up fast. (And, indeed, many are already full.)

E-mails were flying between 8 and 9 as the registration form did not appear until the stroke of 9.  About 10 minutes till 9 the class list went haywire and I had visions of this being like Obamacare signups.

But, great news!  It went smoothly and we all got what we wanted.  A week in Pigeon Forge in March is a good thing!

Sunday, November 3, 2013


Remember the layer cake squares I lost last week?  Well, as I was cleaning up my sewing room on Friday, I put a remnant back in the "Christmas" drawer and there they were!  They are Christmas fabrics, after all.  What distresses me is that in less than 2 hours I could forget where I put them.  Aging is no fun, but the alternative is even worse.

The better news is that I got serious about cleaning up and reorganizing the workspace.  I prioritized projects that need to be completed before Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year.  I gave serious consideration to taking unfinished projects out of the UFO queue (still under consideration), and successfully consolidated a couple of projects from 2 boxes to 1.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Fall Has Fell - with deference to Pogo

It's amazing what a couple of frosty nights will do to the trees.  In a matter of days the maples in our neighborhood have developed varying shades of glinting gold, radiant red, and blazing orange.  Unfortunately the trees on our hillside are mostly walnut and oaks -- they just turn brown.  But I do have this view out of my kitchen window:

The lawn maintenance crew was here Tuesday afternoon.  Since we have very little lawn to speak of, they spend most of their time picking up sticks and blowing leaves out of the beds and off hard surfaces.  By Wednesday morning this is what the path down to the driveway looked like:

My garden angel takes it all in stride.