Sunday, February 25, 2007

I hope I'm not boring you . . .

I just couldn't resist posting these two pictures than my daughter-in-law sent me tonight. Being a grandma is just the very best!

It took me all weekend, but I finally got all the hour glass blocks pressed and trimmed. There must be hundreds of them. This is a good stopping place I think, so tomorrow evening I'll clean off the cutting table and get back to sewing string blocks. Cher and I are having another cutting session next Saturday, so I have to make sure there is room for both of us to work.

I hope everyone had a wonderfully quilty weekend!


1. Good arch supports in my shoes - I stood almost all weekend!
2. A plastic tote full of completed hour glasses
3. Homemade turkey soup from the freezer.
4. Freshly washed flannel sheets
5. Two patchwork quilts on our bed for snuggling under in the winter


Saturday, February 24, 2007


I've completely filled up my design wall, so I couldn't resist posting this picture. This is 180, 3" hourglass units. I think I have at least twice this many left. I'm going to have to start sewing them together so there is more room on the wall. I still have no idea whether I'm going to make it as is or like a medallion. Come on folks - let me know which you think you'd like best.

Mid-Century Album Class

If you've been reading my blog for awhile you will remember me talking about the pre-1830's medallion class I took all last year from Eileen Trestain. It was a wonderful class - filled with information about all aspects of people's lives before 1830. In each class we received a packet which included fabric appropriate for the period, a post card showing something appropriate to the period, a packet of information on the subject for each month, and a letter from a "family member". My medallion is still where it was several months ago - still needing the last three borders.

January was the last class in the first series, and day before yesterday we had the first class in the second series - the mid-century album class. This covers quilts and fabrics from the 1840's and the 1850's. As in the first class, Eileen brought many pieces of vintage fabrics, vintage blocks, and vintage quilts for us to examine. As in the earlier class, we learned that the fabrics of the period were bright and colorful. What looks like a dull faded brown today was originally pink or purple. (The true browns are still dark and unfaded looking.) Turkey red, chrome yellow and orange, and poison green were very popular. I was amazed to learn that teal was also very popular - there were many teal fabrics in the quilts we examined. Prints include large paisleys, oddball shapes that reminded me of one cell animals we examined years ago in biology, plaids, wide elaborately designed stripes, and florals, as well as many other things. This was the era of the Baltimore album quilts, so we saw much of the "fondue" fabric that shaded from dark to light across the fabric, or from one color to another. The quilts were made from dress goods fabrics, so we learned how the dressmakers used the wide stripes to add details to garments such as sleeves cut on the bias with a stripe going around the arm and stripes that chevroned in the bodice, among other things. Our packets all included the letter from a relative, a post card, a large packet of information and patterns and two pieces of fabric appropriate for the era. Eileen told us we will receive over 400 pages of information and patterns over the course of this class.
Of course, when I got home I had trouble going to sleep because I was so excited about the class. And it was all I could do last night to prevent myself from diving right in and starting this project. Each month we will received patterns for several pieced blocks as well as appliqué blocks in two sizes. This month's packet included at least 8 different layouts we could choose. The blocks are two sizes - 8" and 16". We can do all pieced, all appliqué or a mixture of both. It's going to be a hard choice every month - already I want to do every block in my packet!
The pictures show many of the blocks that we'll be able to choose from during the year.

Obsessed with hourglass blocks

I kept wondering why I feel so driven to work on this quilt. I'm enjoying every minute, but it feels like I MUST get all the blocks up on the design wall as soon as possible. I finally figured out why - it's because I still feel guilty about starting a new project. My postage stamp top is up on the longarm waiting to be quilted. My string blocks sitting on the corner of my cutting table are an ever present reminder of an interrupted project. I don't know why I ever thought making this top would be a quick process. After all, it takes a LOT of 3 1/2" units to make a quilt top! I have all the hour glasses sewn together - now I'm just pressing and trimming them. I still have no idea how many I've made. There are 110 up on the design wall, which finished would measure only 30" by 33". I still have a huge pile on my ironing board to press, and a tub full already pressed to trim. I'm guessing maybe something in the range of 500?

I'm still not sure how I want to set these together, so I'd love your opinions. I've got two choices. Either make the entire top just as you see the blocks set out on the design wall, or make it medallion style the way I did my Broken Dishes. When choosing remember that all these blocks are the same size -they won't be two different sizes like the half square triangle squares in Broken Dishes.

I've been lazy this morning in that I'm not dressed yet. I need to do that because we are heading to Jeremy's and Chelsea's for another visit. I can hardly wait to see that little girl again. I bet she's changed a bunch in just a week.



1. Weekends

2. A new iron that steams and doesn't drip

3. Signs of spring

4. A new rotary blade

5. A hubby who fills my gas tank


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Thank you!

So many of you have left such sweet comments about our little Sophie. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment! I love reading every comment each of you leave on my blog - no matter what you are commenting on. So many of you have mentioned how alert she looks - I think that's because we've caught her at the right time. She definitely sleeps a LOT. The first three pictures I posted yesterday were taken by either Jeremy or Chelsea. They are loving this little miracle so much.

I'm finally finding a little time to catch up on my blog reading. When I started I had almost 140 blogs listed in my bloglines! I'm now down to 99 - hooray! I'm trying to leave at least one comment on every blog so you'll know I checked in. It feels like I have so many dear friends to catch up with!

Our daughter has been working incredibly long hours at work - 12 to 15 hours a day including all of last weekend - so we will have dinner with them but won't have the usual game night afterwards. So it's looking like I can spend at least 2-3 more hours on my hourglass blocks tonight. If I manage to toss a whole bunch more up on the design wall I'll take an updated picture.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

New Sophie pictures

I just couldn't resist posting a few more baby pictures. This little girl is just way too cute!

From top to bottom:

Going home from the hospital

In her swing

After her first bath

Chewie is very curious

Up to my ears in hour glasses

I had such good intentions for this past weekend. I planned to finish my string pieced top, then quilt both it and the postage stamp quilt. Since I took a personal day Friday I figured I could easily accomplish those goals over the four day weekend even with a couple visits to Sophie tucked into the schedule.

Well, so much for my plans. Sometimes I can be so easily distracted! My friend Kathie is making an hourglass quilt from 4 1/2" squares of 19th century reproduction fabric. She's been sending me updated pictures regularly of the quilt's progress - and it is beyond wonderful. All last week I was thinking about my big tub of 4 1/2" squares that have been aging for a decade or more on a shelf under my cutting table. So Thursday night I took out a couple squares and made a pair of blocks - only one pair of blocks just to see how they looked. And that was my downfall. This was just WAY too much fun! So Friday evening found me with that tub - cutting sets of squares into quarter-square triangles and stitching them together. Hundred and hundreds of them. I couldn't believe how many were hiding in that bin! I worked on them all the rest of the weekend other than a visit with Sophie and her parents on Sunday. By last night I had completed the first stitching on all of the triangles, and the second stitching on half of them. I pressed 30 blocks and trimmed them to size so I could see how they looked up on the design wall. I love it! Totally not fabrics I use these days, which made it all the more fun. Many, many fabrics I didn't recognize at all. I finally realized that they were from fabric clubs I belonged to years and years ago where they'd mail you a bunch of 5" squares every month. That was long before Nickel Quilts became the fashion, so I'd trimmed them down to 4 1/2" squares to get rid of the pinked edges. So many of these squares represent the only piece I have of each particular fabric. Others are from maternity clothes I made myself over 30 years ago, as well as many of the outfits I made my daughter over the years. How fun to see these again!

Thus I failed my one goal of completing at least a couple more UFO's before starting a new project. But I figure that's OK - this completely emptied my bin of 4 1/2" squares except for a stack of solids that I'm going to give away - so I'm sticking with my goal of starting new projects from my cut scraps only.



1. Fabric surprises hiding in scrap tubs

2. A short work week

3. Wind chimes singing in the wind outside the bedroom window

4. Snowdrops and crocus blooming along our front walk

5. A great first checkup for Sophie and Chelsea


Thursday, February 15, 2007

Introducing Miss Sophie Marie

This isn't a great picture of me - my lack of sleep really shows - but it's a great picture of Sophie and that's all that matters. She is such a little sweetheart and a perfect Valentine's Day gift for everyone. It was so hard to leave the hospital last night - I could have held her forever. I can't wait to get back there this evening.

Thank you everyone for all your good wishes and congratulatory comments. They are all very much appreciated.

(Note the hourglass quilt blocks in the floor!)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Sophie has arrived

This will be quick post. I know several of you are waiting to hear so I wanted to post at least a little info.

Miss Sophie arrived this morning around 1:30 or so - we don't know the exact time yet. She was delivered by C-section because she was just determined not to make an appearance any other way. Could be because our daughter in law is a tiny petite little lady, and Miss Sophie weighted in at 9 lbs. 8 oz. and measured 22 1/2" in length. We haven't been able to see her yet, but did see a few pictures of her daddy holding her right after delivery. She has a small amount of dark hair and a very healthy set of lungs. She was crying in every picture except one, I think.

We got home and to bed about 3:30 a.m., which gave us about 2 hours sleep before we had to get ready for work. Not sure how long I'll last today before I head home for a nap. I hope to be able to post pictures this evening.

1. A healthy baby granddaughter
2. A loving son who will be a terrific daddy
3. A wonderful daughter-in-law who will be a terrific mother
4. A long weekend coming up
5. Two+ hours of sleep


Monday, February 12, 2007

Having fun with scraps

Once again I went to bed on Saturday night with one plan then got up on Sunday morning and did something different. Instead of quilting the postage stamp top I made my 40 exchange blocks to send to Cynthia and then started making string blocks.

I know all of you were eager to see the postage stamp quilt, so I draped the top over the longarm and took a picture. In fact, I took a bunch of pictures on a bunch of different settings. No matter what I did the sashing always looked deep blue. Take my word for it - it's not blue at all. It's a deep royal purple. And the yellow setting squares are bright yellow. Since yellow and purple are complementary colors, the two really make the top sing.

Long time readers may remember the string quilt I started at a quilt retreat last March. This is the first time since then that I've worked on it. Seeing all the string blocks being pieced for the Heartstrings project made me eager to get back to work on this one. I got 15 more blocks pieced. I included pieced strings this time as I found them in the tote. Don't the blocks without the sashing look pale and uninteresting next to the blocks with the sashing? I need 33 more blocks to finish this top - that will make it about the same size as the postage stamp top.

I know I'll still have a big tub of strings left after that, as the number of strings hasn't seemed to decrease in number at all. I'll still make more blocks, but will switch to the Heartstrings method where a common color is the first diagonal center string in each block. That has the same effect as the sashing - it makes the blocks come alive. They will still be made from true strings - which are usually of uneven width from one end of the string to the other, but should still look much more regular than these do. I made these by starting at a corner instead of the middle - because I didn't know any better!



1. Lots of quilty ideas everywhere

2. A big basket of appliqué to stitch at the hospital tomorrow while waiting for Sophie to arrive.

3. International block swaps

4. A big box of strings

5. Gas efficient vehicles


Saturday, February 10, 2007

Another UFT completed

I don't have a picture yet - hopefully tomorrow. Today I finished the Postage Stamp flimsy. This has been my leader-ender project ever since I first read about that process on Bonnie's website. Of course it didn't even begin to put a dent in my 2" square baskets, so I've already started a new 2" square leader ender project. Just sewing pairs together for now - not sure what I'll do with them.

I'm happy to report that I busted about nine yards of fabric today. I used up four yards of purple that I originally bought as a second purple choice for Sophie's quilt. This became the sashing and a bit of the backing. A few 2 1/2" strips were left to add to that drawer but that was all. I also pulled about 4 1/2 yards of fabric a friend had given me and used it for the back. A fat quarter of yellow was used for the setting squares. Sure felt good to bust all that stash!

First thing tomorrow I'm putting the quilt on the longarm. Since this is a donation quilt I'm going to do a very fast large meander on it. Then I'll pull 2 1/2" strips from the drawer for making a scrappy binding. This should be done in no time at all. It sure feels good to have another UFO so close to being finished!

Still no grandbaby yet. Sophie is taking her own sweet time at arriving. If she doesn't make an entrance on her own by Tuesday the doctor will induce. So hopefully I'll be posting pictures of our first grandchild before too many days have passed!

1. Scrap bins full of possibilities
2. Warm rain falling today
3. A new book to read
4. New Smartwool socks
5. Cornbread, butter and honey for dinner


Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Time out for a word from our sponsor . . .

Well, not exactly my sponsor. More like me in the hat I wear for work. I'm sure you all know this, but a reminder now and then can't hurt.

Most people never look at their credit card statements or bank statements. Only 11% of people with checking accounts balance their checkbooks and of those only 5% balance them more than once a year. Between credit card use, online banking, ATM's and overdraft protection people depend on their financial institution to keep track of how much money they actually have.

If you are one of the people who never check their statements then please make an effort to change your habits. As a credit union employee I check my account every day to see what has cleared through checking and what charges have hit my credit card. Today I found three fraudulent charges, all for Lowe's in California, that totaled well over $2000. I immediately went downstairs to have our cards blocked and learned there are lots more charges that have been OK's but won't post to the account until tomorrow. The total amount of the fraud so far is over $4200 - all charges from California, We live over 1500 miles from California and haven't been there in over 10 years.

Here's the really scary part. Both of us still have our credit cards in our possession. As I have taught many fraud classes to our new employees I'm very careful with our information. All credit card slips are shredded. We never leave our cards in a locked car. We have new cards delivered to the credit union instead of our mail box. We never put credit card information online unless it's a secure site and we have initiated the transaction. Nevertheless, these charges were made with a card, so someone has obtained all our card information, including the encoded information in the magnetic strip, and has produced a fraudulent card. Somewhere someone took our card out of our sight - at a restaurant or a store - long enough to run it through a card skimmer and store our information. They then downloaded this information to a computer and sold it to a professional thief who pays well for information used to make fraudulent cards. They had a field day with our card for two or three days until I caught them. Imagine how much fun they could have had if I didn't keep close track of our account?

So please - be very careful with your personal information. Keep your eyes on your credit cards. Shred all receipts and other items with personal information. Regularly go over your financial statements. Report any questionable entries immediately. Never leave your purse or wallet in a locked car on an unlocked drawer somewhere at work. Keep your social security card in a locked box at home or a safe deposit box. Never give out your social security number to anyone who doesn't have a good reason to ask for it.

OK - taking off my Credit Union Training Manager hat and stepping off my soapbox - back to our regularly scheduled program.

(It's a good thing I'm not shopping for fabric any more - not having a credit card for 10 days or so would have put a serious cramp in my shopping in the past LOL!)

Monday, February 5, 2007

Hot Apple Pie

Tonight Kim picked up the quilt I did for her, and gave me permission to share pictures of the quilt. I love this little quilt, and had so much fun quilting it. She calls it "Hot Apple Pie" because she can just picture it as a table topper with a hot apple pie straight from the oven sitting on it to cool. She received a little gift from Moda with 2 1/2" squares of four different fabric lines, so this is what she made from it. I love the sunflowers - they are different from any I've seen in a pattern before.

My oldest UFO - going on 18 years old now

I know the month and year I started the first block of my oldest UFO because I wrote the date on it with Pigma pen when it was finished - June, 1989. I'd read about Elly Sienkiewicz and her quilts in Quilters Newsletter magazine, and became fascinated with Baltimore Album Quilts. I ordered her first book, Spoken Without A Word, which she self published. It now goes for over $350 on Ebay! I bought her second book Baltimore Beauties and Beyond, Studies in Classic Album Quilt Appliqué as soon as it became available in May of that year. I started with lesson one and made every block in turn through lesson 6. As I finished each block I carefully wrote my name, the month and the year in an inconspicuous spot in the design. About the same time I got the book I learned that Elly would be teaching four days of classes in Portland, Oregon at Daisy Kingdom, so I told my husband that's what I wanted for my birthday and Mother's Day. I spent four marvelous days with Elly, and showed her the blocks I'd completed so far.

About the time I'd finished twelve blocks I started teaching quilting at Daisy Kingdom. All my classes were piecing classes so I moved away from appliqué. Over the next several years I took several more classes with Elly and started 8-10 more blocks which are still incomplete. Then I lost interest in appliqué for quite a few years until I discovered folk art and primitive designs.

I'm sure I'll finish this quilt some day - even if I do nothing but set these 12 finished blocks into a quilt. Much better, I think, would be for me to finish the blocks too. They are much more complicated, with woven baskets, three dimensional flowers and fanciful birds. I take them from the drawer now and then and note that it really wouldn't take all that much effort to finish them. I even keep them out on my cutting table for a few days. Then I carefully roll them up and tuck them back into the drawer. The time to finish them is not yet here.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Super quilting Sunday

I know many people in blogland are tied to their televisions watching the Super Bowl. It's never been a big thing around our house. Even when the Seahawks went last year and I watched the game we didn't do anything party-like. My husband is watching but doing Soduku at the same time as he doesn't really care about the outcome.

All in all, a perfect day to spend quilting. I slept in, then caught up on my email and blog reading. Then I headed upstairs where I loaded a customer quilt onto the machine. She just wanted a big meander so the quilting took half as long as it took to load the quilt. I don't think I've ever finished quilting something so quickly! Then I loaded the other customer quilt I have to do. It's a small one designed by a friend of mine - Kim of Water Pail Designs. This is one of her new patterns so it's very exciting to me - to be asked to quilt a piece that will be photographed for the front of the pattern. It's a primitive design - right up my alley - so I'm having lots of fun quilting it. I have all the piecing quilted, as well as the appliqué on the border. All I have left is the border itself. I need to check out some of my primitive books for border ideas before I go on, and hope that the border begins to talk to me. Update - I got some border ideas from a couple of Ginger Cookie Company books. I finished it tonight. That's two customer quilts for me today - plus one of my own this weekend. This is a longarming record for me! My machine and I become better friends each day!

I need to fix dinner now - low fat oven fries and marinated flank steak and vegetables. Then I'll get back to my quilting. It feels so good to be so caught up on customer quilts. I should be able to load another one of my UFOs tomorrow. I have one with bunny rabbits on it - I think it should be next because it will be perfect for Easter decor.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Another finish!

I accomplished at least one of my goals for this weekend - I finished this wall hanging. This is one of my very oldest UFO's. I started it in 1992 from what are definitely fabrics of the 80's - pin dots, tiny calicos, mauves and blues.

In 1992 I was lucky enough to attend both the International Quilt Market and Festival in Houston. I was teaching quilting for Daisy Kingdom, and they agreed to pay for my room, food and classes if I covered my plane fare and helped set up their giant booth.

I took a one day "Peaky and Spike" class from Doreen Speckmann. She was a delightful teacher that the quilting world lost when she died much too young of a heart attack. I loaded this on the machine last evening and finished most of the quilting before bed. It didn't take long to do the border this afternoon. I used several different quilting designs that I've not ever done before - I'm still very much a beginner when it comes to longarm quilting. I'm very happy with how it turned out - as long as I don't look too closely. After all - done is better than perfect, right?

I've hung this over the piano - I think it will be a nice decoration for the first half of February. It's so nice to have it all finished!

Friday, February 2, 2007

Dawn of a new day

I slept in just a bit this morning so was home later than usual. I happened to glance out the front window just in time to see the most marvelous sunrise. I ran to grab my camera, went out on the front step, and discovered the battery was dead. By the time I replaced it and got back outside the color had already faded quite a bit. It still is a spectacular sight - what a marvelous way to begin the day!

Update - we have beautiful blue skies, so Mr. Groundhog will definitely see his shadow. Seems like he does every year - in this rainy country we can count on sun on February 2nd!

1. A vibrant sunrise
2. An incredible full moon
3. Sleeping in
4. Friday dress down day
5. An easy day at work ahead of me


Thursday, February 1, 2007

No buy

I did it! I didn't buy any fabric in January! Hooray! I'm determined to do the same in February!

Has anyone placed Kim's February "no-buy" badge on their blog? I've been trying for over 20 minutes with no success as you can see. Every time I save the "revised" HTML blogger changes it by adding extra quotation marks, an extra > and an extra forward slash. I'm sure it's not Kim's code - she certainly knows what she is doing. I think it's Blogger. I can't try any more now because I need to get ready for work.

I'd like to know whether anyone else is having the same trouble I am, or whether they've been able to place it successfully. Please let me know one way or the other. I really hate being "badge-less". Update: I guess Blogger was having problems this morning. It finally decided to accept the HTML without changing it - Hooray! I'm no longer "badgeless"!

Have a super day everyone!

1. We're on the downside of the work week
2. The huge orange moon hanging over the western horizon yesterday
3. Tiny snowdrops blooming by the front walk
4. Online tax payment for my business
5. My new glasses for computer and hand work