Monday, March 30, 2015

Happy Talk, Happy Quilt

I'm happy because ...

Log Cabin Triangles
I gave myself permission to take a day away from log cabin triangles ... more about that later....

... and I finally convinced myself that leaders and enders are a far more efficient use of thread than startie-stoppies ...

Mastering the Tri-Recs Star
... and plugged away at finishing the last 8 stars ...

Happy Talk from Another Can of Worms
... getting close to finishing a UFO that has been staring at me every time I go to the ironing board.  Just two more sashing strips to assemble (as leader-enders), then the borders.  This quilt has been in the planning stages for at least 5 years, maybe more.  At some point I cut everything and began working on the stars -- my least favorite to make but the most impressive when done.  I didn't realize how close to finishing I was till I decided to finish the stars as leader-enders in between log cabin triangles last week.  Following my 2015 resolution, I will FINISH this -- soon.

But, for now, it's back to log cabin triangles.  I will be teaching two classes in NW Illinois in June and needed to prepare a couple of shop samples.  My plan to smash all the recently-purchased "modern" FQs into one quilt went south after a week of making triangle after triangle.  So I took one of my favorite combinations and turned it into a table topper.  2.25 yds out

Log Cabin Triangle Table Topper
Today I will take another favorite combo and construct a table runner illustrating 3 different construction types.  A whole week of making triangles and this is all I have to show for it.  In the process I pretty much decimated about 25 of the FQs I purchased in Pigeon Forge.  They may become pillow tops ....

Weekly Stash Report - March 30, 2015
     In last week:                        0.0 yards
     Out last week:                     2.25 yards
     In year to Date:                 51.25 yards
     Out Year-to-Date:             22.25 yards
     Net Used 2014                  29.00 yards (red means more in than out)

Linking up with Patchwork Times. and Freemotion by the River

Monday, March 23, 2015

Monday, Back Home

Sew what's new?

A week away from home seems like a lifetime, even when I'm having a great time with best friends.

Time to play catch-up, and first on the agenda is an updated stash report.  I actually was very restrained in my shopping at and around Mountain Quilt Fest in Pigeon Forge.  (By the way, if you haven't been to MQF in a while, the new venue at LeConte Center is such an improvement!)

Back to shopping ... except for a yard here and there, and a 3-yard wide-back purchase, I stuck to fat quarters.  As I said in an earlier post, I am making a new class sample and I wanted to use "modern" fabrics which I don't have in my stash -- and I'm not sure I want them, either, so FQs was the way to go.

Modern Fat Quarters
I needed to keep the prints on the small side as my strips are only 1-1/2" wide.  And I was trying to stay in a color pallette taken from one or two focus fabrics.  I also had to make a field trip to the vendors to fill out fabric options in one of my classes.  Total purchases:  25.5 yards.

Speaking of classes, the teachers this year were outstanding, for the most part.  First up for me was "Split Geese" with Donna Thomas.

Split Geese missing corners
Donna was well-prepared and packed a lot into a half-day class.  My main reason for taking the class was to learn how to use her On-Point Ruler.  Granted, it wasn't really necessary for this particular block.  The value in the ruler is when you want to figure out how to make a block -- say, an antique block you see in an old quilt -- where some of the units are on point.  The ruler does the math for you!

Next day I learned how to combine piecing in log cabin blocks with Flavin Glover.  Not that I couldn't have figured it out for myself; I just had never looked at a log cabin that way.

Half log cabin blocks with 4-patch center
Flavin suggested I add the sashing and I added the cornerstone in the middle.  I am looking forward to making more of these blocks.  I'll probably set them in fours, like this, then sash the fours with something else.  I have had that sashing fabric forever but couldn't find a place to put it.  I mainly used it as my color inspiration but I'm loving how it looks.  Unfortunately I don't have a lot of it so this will be one of those quilts that's as big as the fabric allows.

I have to say that Flavin Glover is probably the most generous teacher I've ever had.  Besides being just a classy lady, she gave us loads of handouts for all sorts of possibilities.  Everyone was doing their own thing and she worked the room tirelessly.  If you have a chance to take a class with her, jump on it!  You won't be sorry.

That evening I had a class with a vendor -- not sure if it was just because I was exhausted or because it was basically an infomercial for her products .... 'Nuff said.

My last class was "Castle Wall" with Mickey Depre, another excellent teacher.

Partially finished Castle Wall block
I intentially booked a handwork class on the last day so that packing up would be easy.  Because the class was small, Mickey pulled several tables together so that we could sit around them and chat while we were doing our stitching.  I have both arthritis and carpal tunnel which makes handwork like this difficult, but I had no issues once I got the pieces traced on the fabric with the templates.  Maybe just because she made it such a relaxing experience.  I have selected fabrics for several more blocks and I'm looking forward to some slow stitching in the kitchen while I'm keeping an eye on dinner cooking.

Well, that was my week of classes.  But what's does a quilter do after a long day of class or walking the show floor?

She goes to Margaritaville!

Have a great week, Y'all!  Spring has sprung here in Middle Tennessee.

Weekly Stash Report - March 23, 2015
     In last week:                      25.5 yards
     Out last week:                     0.0 yards
     In year to Date:               51.25 yards
     Out Year-to-Date:           20.00 yards
     Net Used 2014                 31.25 yards (red means more in than out)

Linking up with Judy at Patchwork Times.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Wildlife Wednesday

A visit from Woody

While we had 4 inches of snow on the ground, I tried to keep the birds well fed.  Then this bully showed up.

Bully Blue Jay

Not only did it make a mess of the seed, it gulped down as many as its cheeks would hold before flying off to enjoy them.

Piggy Blue Jay

Last Sunday this prehistoric-looking creature perched on the sitter's car.

Male Pileated Woodpecker
There was a second one in a nearby tree, but I couldn't get close enough to determine if it was female or a contending male.  Nevertheless, this one faced a conundrum:

Is that other bird in the mirror or in the glass reflection of the mirror ....  I tried to get a better photo outside but he spied me and flew away.  These birds are HUGE and the sound of his wings as he flew overhead was amazing.

We haven't encountered any wildlife here in Pigeon Forge, TN -- well, none of the non-human kind .... But we did have a great visit to Pappy's in Maryville yesterday.  I'll report on all of our shop encounters at the end of the week when I have some time to edit and digest what we've been doing.

Have a great Wednesday, Y'all!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Shop Hopping in Pigeon Forge

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I made it to Pigeon Forge on Sunday in time to meet the rest of the girls for dinner.  My trip was lengthened by a side trip to see our new property on Tellico Lake.  I was pleased to see it's just as it was when we closed the deal in January!

View from Lot 41
Unfortunately the Main Man has been so busy with "real" work (a blessing when you're a self-employed architect) that he hasn't had much time to devote to designing the new house.

Yesterday we girls hit all the major quilt shops in the area.  However, Silly Me forgot to take the camera to document all the stops.  First up was The Cherry Pit, then The Red Barn and Iva's in Sevierville.  Because we still had time before registration openend, we drove on up to Susan's in Gatlinburg.  Susan always has good deals during Quilt Fest week -- $1/yard off and $2 FQs, including bundles.

Even though I was restrained, I added 16.25 yards to the stash -- mostly fat quarters.  Here's the thing:  I need to make a sample for a class I'm teaching in Illinois in June.  I always try to use very different types of fabric between samples to inspire folks who can't see past color or fabric style.  Since my first sample is in batiks, I wanted to go very modern and I just don't have those types of fabrics on hand.  You understand, right?

Today we're headed to Pappy's in Maryville.  Twenty percent off everything in the store!  This could be dangerous .....

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Slow Week

Where have I been?

A little over a week ago we were covered in 4 inches of snow.  OK, Northerners, don't laugh; but it was the largest single snowfall we've had in many years and it was crippling to many of us, especially those of us who live on a hill on the shaded part of the street.  We kept power and cable, but the basement temp couldn't catch up so very little sewing occurred.

I did manage to finish this little piece for the youth group auction.  1/4 yard for binding

Gone Fishin'
(Sorry for the poor picture quality.  The organizer took it on her cell phone and I can't get it to come in straight, even tho I rotated in photo editor.)  I have not heard how much it sold for, but the evening of talent and auctions raised $7,000 for the kids' summer mission trip.

The rest of my time was spent preparing for classes at Mountain Quilt Fest in Pigeon Forge, TN.  Any readers who are going to be there, shoot me a line and I'll try to meet up with you.

I recently purchased this little bag specifically for quilt shows since it's small and has a nice long chain for wearing cross-body.

Little Red Bag
But the REAL reason I purchased it:

Check the name!

I had to get prepped for Quilt Fest early because yesterday SIL treated us to an afternoon at the SEC men's basketball tournament.  Here we are enjoying ourselves at the SEC Fan Fair before having brunch at the Hilton.

SIL, DH, and Me

Wish someone had reminded me to suck in the tummy!  It was fun and the first time we all three had been on an outing together in the 7 years since Pops passed away.  SIL had thoughtfully made arrangements with our favorite Saturday sitter to be sure she would be on duty and comfortable being alone with MIL for most of the day.  All went well; Kentucy won (Georgia didn't) and we came home to a delicious crockpot of stew I had started before we left in the morning.

So for the benefit of the stash report I'll say nothing in and negligible out.  I know next week's report will be much different after a week of shopping in Pigeon Forge!

I'm off to meet the girls in just a few so I'll wish you a happy week.  Don't forget to let me know if you are in PF!

Linking up with Judy at Patchwork Times.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Hello again ...

... dear deer

It's been quite a while since I have seen evidence of deer in our yard -- except that the Chinese holly is a lot sparser.  We have a new development going in over the hill behind us and the developers have been raping the landscape to create "buildable" lots, so I was not really surprised that the deer may have moved on.


Seven -- yes, seven mostly adult size deer started ambling down the hillside as I was policing the kitchen last night.  They heard our activity and froze in place.  It's amazing how sensitive their hearing is!  Then a car drove down the street and they retreated up the hill.  They probably went back down the hill to the river after dark.

I love living in the midst of nature -- tho I don't like what the deer do to my garden.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Are we there yet?

... to Spring, I mean

Yesterday morning we woke to 3-4 inches of snow -- the highest measurable snow in 5 years.  At least it's not on an inch of ice like the last snowfall!  I can admire and appreciate it since we had no reason to be out and about.

Angel Garden
The overnight caregiver, on the other hand, is stuck here yet again as her replacement was unable to get here yesterday morning.  We are SO blessed to have help that are committed to the job and work as a team to make sure MIL has someone here to care for her.

We were forewarned and had time to get the weekly shopping done Wednesday.  And I was able to make it to handbell practice later that afternoon.  Even left my car on the street because I was scheduled to make dinner for Room in the Inn (Nashville's program for the homeless) Friday night at our church.

Telephoto from lower deck

Regrettably the church had to cancel for the second time this season (November through March) because we depend on volunteer drivers to go pick the men up at the Mission campus.  So I will make some BBQ with the pork I roasted Wednesday and freeze what we don't eat tonight.

There was a land office business at the bird feeder yesterday.  See the line of seeds stuck near the top?

Depleted Feeder

That was how high it was in the morning.  By mid-afternoon it was at the midpoint.  By sundown it was empty.

The usual suspects showed up -- Chickadees, Juncos, Titmice, Nuthatches, Finches, Sparrows, Downy Woodpeckers, and a lone Red-Bellied Woodpecker.  I love the way she uses her short tail to balance.

Red-bellied Woodpecker

The funniest was a lone Mourning Dove who shook the snow off its foot with each step in the snow.  The Gold Finches are already showing their bright yellow plumage.

Gold Finch

Feeding the birds is "cheep" entertainment!

Hope y'all stay warm today.  Take a moment to pop over to Addictions of a Fabric Addict.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

I Fell Off the Wagon, Again

 And I was doing so well!

I almost got through two months without any major acquisitions.  Of course, hunkering down in the sewing room without venturing out in the elements had a lot to do with it.

A trip to Indianapolis for a meeting -- on possibly the only two decent days in February -- created an opportunity for me to stop at two of my favorite shops:  Whittles near Bowling Green, KY and the Back Door in Greenwood, IN.  I shopped with a purpose and don't feel too bad about my purchases.

Ehh, I may have doubts about this one which looks a lot limier in the light of day than it did in the shop.....

Much limeier in real life 

These will go with my other Henry Glass soft country prints for a project currently underway.

Henry Glass prints

These are intended for Son-2 and DIL, pattern to be determined.

Destined for Conway

These will be used for Wonderful 1 Fabric Quilts (I hope they'll work -- but not together!).

Border prints for 1-Fabric Wonder

And this was just a luscious yellow I couldn't resist for my stash.

Luscious yellow - take my word for it!
The ice on the driveway is mostly gone and I was able to get the van up last night.  Now to unpack from retreat (two weeks ago) and take stock of where I left off ....

Weekly Stash Report - March 1, 2015
     In last week:                      24.0 yards
     Out last week:                     0.0 yards
     In year to Date:               25.75 yards
     Out Year-to-Date:           20.00 yards
     Net Used 2014                 -5.75 yards (red means more in than out)

Linking up with Judy at Patchwork Times.