Monday, April 30, 2007

Forgotten project

In the process of clearing out those three plastic shoe boxes I found these five Courthouse Steps blocks that I paper pieced years and years ago. This is why I was saving tiny strips and squares. I'd forgotten all about these. The logs measure 1/4" finished and the blocks 3" finished. Not sure what I can do with a strip of 5 blocks. I remember that I couldn't believe how long it took me to make each block. I thought it would be a fast project. Was I wrong! I think I worked at least half a day on these five. Of course much of that time was spent searching through bins for the just the right fabrics. No way I'd be that picky these days. I can see my growth as a quilter just looking at these blocks.

Anybody have any idea what I could do with this strip of 5 blocks?

All gone!

All the tiny triangles are now sewn together into squares. Part of me realizes that I must be nuts, while the other part of me is busy spinning ideas of how I can put these together to make a quilt. This went very quickly - helped in part by the fact that many of them were already matched light and dark with right sides together as they were trimmings from the folded square technique of sewing triangles. I usually sew those with two seams 1/2" apart so the half square triangle units are already finished. I'd not done that with these because I thought the triangles were too small!

I've now taken care of all three plastic shoe boxes of "stuff" saved for paper pieced miniatures. The squares I've dumped in with the crumbs, the narrow strips have joined the strings and now the triangle box is emptied. Some wouldn't think that's much progress as I've not actually used any of them yet, but to me three empty plastic shoe boxes is a definite step in the right direction.

I've no idea when I'll have time to press and trim them - probably a few each day for awhile. Tomorrow at Tangled Threads I'll go back to Joseph's quilt, Wednesday is spent with the kids and Thursday is guild. Friday and Saturday morning I must quilt a gift for a very dear friend. Saturday afternoon and evening will be spent with all our kids and Sunday I'll finish Rabbit Garden. Time goes very quickly when one is blessed with such a full life!

1. The happy sound of my featherweight
2. Artichokes and melted butter
3. Another warm spring day
4. Tissue boxes to match the bathrooms
5. Sweet dreams for Miss Sophie


Sunday, April 29, 2007

Tiny triangles

Well, I didn't accomplish everything I hoped to this weekend but I didn't do too badly. I fixed the two triangles in the bunny garden quilt by opening the long seam of each and taking out the extra fullness. It didn't take me nearly as long as I thought it would - even stitching those two seams back up by hand went quickly. I also made the binding for the quilt so was really on a roll. However, today I decided I just didn't feel like putting it back on the machine and quilting, so I guess I'll take a fat quarter penalty to guild on Thursday after all. That's OK - I have lots of great fat quarters that aren't really to my taste any longer. I could have finished it - I just chose to do something else.

I prepped both "tutorials" for Thursday night - one of string blocks and one of crumb blocks. I illustrated the steps in each one at a time by making a bunch of partial blocks in various stages of completion and pinning them to a piece of batting I can hang on the wall. That way I can demonstrate each step without trying to get everyone crowded around the machine to watch. I hope it works well - I think it will. I'm going to take a couple machines plus lots of strips, strings and crumbs as I hope everyone will have time to make a couple of each block.

I finished the guild program visuals early this afternoon and was once more sucked into the fun of mile a minute blocks. So instead of quilting I took down the plastic shoebox of little bitty triangles I've been slowly adding to over the years. You know the ones - the little trimmings that those of us who are obsessed with fabrics can't bear to throw away. For years I thought I'd use them to piece some little paper pieced blocks - like tiny square in a square blocks. Lately I realized that I just can't be bothered to make something like that as I'm no real fan of paper piecing. So this afternoon I started chaining them through the machine to make tiny half square triangle squares. The smallest measures about 1" unfinished. I don't think I'll trim them for perfect accuracy because they'll be centers of mile-a-minute blocks. I'm happy to report that the box is about 40% less full than when I started. That's a lot of little triangle squares to press! It's a good thing I have a TV in that room - I can put in a good movie and get started.

I know - you don't have to tell me - I'm really obsessed if I'm saving scraps this tiny. But I keep telling myself that I paid just as much for them as for the rest of my fabric, and they'll make a nice warm quilt for a Hotel Hope resident one of these days. I love fabric, and it hurts me to throw even the smallest scraps away.
1. Blooming hawthorns and dogwoods
2. Blue skies and a cool breeze
3. The chance to share with quilty friends
4. Fresh, clean sheets
5. Chocolate caramel coffee creamer

Saturday, April 28, 2007

A busy weekend

This is a very busy weekend quilting-wise. The weather is beautiful so I should be outside working on the garden, but I have too many things with deadlines.

Last night was our quarterly North Start Quilters "Sew Frenzy". We meet at the church at 6:30, have a potluck dinner, then supposedly sew until midnight. Never make it that late LOL, but usually stay until about 11:00. Last night was "quilters choice" in that we could work on whatever we wanted to work on. Most of us worked on Hotel Hope projects, including me. I finished a dozen more string blocks, and the box looks fuller than it did when I started! I think those things multiply in the dark of night!

This morning I had to have Shadow at the groomers at 8:00 so it was a short night. I sat in the car working on Joseph's quilt. Usually it takes about 90 minutes but today they'd overbooked so it was almost 3 hours! It got REALLY hot in the car but I refused to leave - I knew if I did so I'd head right to the quilt shop down the street! So Saturday morning coffee with my daughter was more like noon time coffee, but at least I got another block finished. This one represents the kids' cat Mara, named after Luke Skywalker's wife. I couldn't find a gold and white fabric I liked so I compromised with this. At least it has her pink nose! (In her portrait Mara is laying on the quilt I made for Rebecca when she went off for college. She picked out the colors and fabrics - her tastes are very different from mine.)

This afternoon I'm going to fuse the rest of the sashing pieces and the sun block for this quilt. All that will leave is the handwork before I can stitch it all together. I really like how it is turning out!
I need to get a UFO done this weekend also so I don't have to pay a penalty at guild on Thursday. I thought I could quickly finish quilting the one on the longarm but I ran into problems. It's a round robin that I'd hoped to have quilted for Easter - that didn't happen! Unfortunately the person who added the four large triangles when she put the center on point didn't measure too well. Two of them quilted beautifully but the other two are WAY too full. If I quilted them this way there's be tucks all over that part of the quilt. So I took it off the machine so I could carefully take out a couple seams and take the fullness out of the pieces. I'll have to stitch it back up carefully by hand because all the borders outside the triangles are already quilted. My goal is to finish that tonight so I can get it back on the machine tomorrow morning and finish the quilting. That will leave only the binding and the label - which I hope won't take too long. I have four charity quilts to quilt for guild too, and I'd like to get at least one of those done before Thursday.

I also have a mess all over my sewing room - yes, I really do! It's not that bad a mess as messes go, but it's driving me nuts. Too many things to put away from too many projects. Hopefully I can get that done tonight too. Never a dull moment I guess!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The first block is finished

I'd forgotten how much I enjoy this kind of appliqué - fuse the shapes and blanket stitch by hand. I used the "doughnut" method of fusing so there is only about 1/4" fusible all around the outside of the shape. This holds the piece in place but assure the quilt remains soft and cuddly. I usually always match the embroidery thread to each piece but when I tried using white on this block I just didn't like it. I switched to black and decided immediately that I liked it much better. This is a quick method of appliqué - the block was done in about 3 hours.

I made this dog a dalmatian - or the best approximation of a dalmatian that I could because Rick and Rebecca's Leia is a dalmatian and that is their favorite dog. Leia is a real sweetie. Like many dalmatians she is deaf, but that doesn't slow her down for a minute.
One of my UFT's - Rosewood Cottage - is this kind of appliqué. The whole top is finished except for the bottom border and a bit of blanket stitch on the left border. When I finish Joseph's quilt maybe I'll get out this top and finish it. It shouldn't take too long.

1. Spring flowers blooming everywhere
2. New pictures of both Sophie and Diogenes
3. Beautiful new fabrics bought with my bonus money - counts as a gift in my mind!
4. A nice lunch with my assistant
5. 431 days left until retirement


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

I just KNEW it couldn't be all my fault!

This is an oldie but goodie. I'm posting it in case some of you haven't seen it. I wish I could give the author credit but I have no idea who wrote it.

A recent study has indicated that fabric gives off certain Pheromones, that actually hypnotize women (and men ) and cause them to purchase ungodly amounts.

When stored in large quantities in enclosed spaces, the Pheromones (in the fabric) cause memory loss and induce the nesting syndrome (similar to the one squirrels have before the onset of winter, i.e. storing food), therefore perpetuating their species, and not having a population loss due to their kind being cut up into pieces and mixed with others. Sound tests have also revealed that these fabrics emit a very high-pitched sound, heard only by the breed of women (and men) known as "quilters". When played backwards on an LP, the sounds are heard as chants -"buy me, cut me, sew me!" In order to overcome the so-called "feeding frenzy effect" that these fabrics cause, one must wear a face mask when entering a storage facility and use ear plugs to avoid being pulled into their grip. (One must laugh, however, at the sight of customers in a fabric store, with WW2 army gas masks and headphones!) .

Studies have also indicated that aliens have inhabited the earth, helping to spread the effect that these fabrics have on the human population. They are called FABRIC STORE CLERKS. It's also been my experience that these same Pheromones cause a pathological need to secret these fabric purchases away when taken home (or at least blend them into the existing stash), and when asked by a significant other if the fabric is new, the reply is "I've had it for a while".

I think I must have very acute hearing as well as having definite contact with these aliens!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Dancing and singing . . .

all the way back from the mailbox. My siggie blocks came! They are so beautiful - so wonderful! So many friends from around the world! Thank you so much everyone, especially you, Cynthia, for putting this all together. What a very special quilt this is going to be!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Birthday meme - May 7th

I've been tagged by Beemoosie to investigate the date of my birth. Since the anniversary of that day is coming up soon I thought it was an appropriate time to play.

Three events:

1. 1429 - Joan of Arc ends the Siege of Orléans
2. 1824 - World premiere of Ludwig van Beethoven's Ninth Symphony in Vienna, Austria.
3. 1952 - The concept for the integrated circuit, the basis for all modern computers, is first published by Geoffrey W.A. Dummer.

Three births:

1. 1812 - Robert Browning, English poet
2. 1833 - Johannes Brahms, German composer
3. 1840 - Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Russian composer

A death:

2002 - Seattle Slew, American Race-Horse - Triple Crown Winner (I was born in Seattle so this seemed appropriate)

Holidays and Observances - I'm not at all crazy about any of the three choices so we'll just forget this one!

Play along if doing so strikes your fancy!

Joseph's Quilt

Now that our kids are back from Guatemala and we have seen lots and lots of still pictures as well as video of our grandson Diogenes, I figured it was time I really got started on his quilt. I pulled a bunch of fabrics last weekend - as many primary and secondary crayon box colors as I could find in my stash. I was very surprised to find that there weren't all that many! I pulled a few more last night and started on the blocks.

Because they have a dalmatian and a gingery golden cat I started with the cat and dog blocks. I wanted there to be no doubt that these two blocks represent Leia (after the princess in Star Wars) and Mara (named after Luke Skywalker's wife). For the bunny and duck I choose fabrics I thought would look good with the others. I've cut the background for the blocks with hearts and flowers and have traced all the shapes on Heat 'n Bond Lite; I still need to cut the appliqués. Doing the blanket stitch on all these blocks will be my handwork for the next several weeks. I think this is going to be such a cute quilt!
My goals for tomorrow are to fuse the rest of the appliqué blocks and finish the quilting on the UFO I've got on the machine. I thought I'd get more done today, but we learned last night that Jeremy and family were coming to Rick's and Rebecca's today so they could see all the pictures of Diogenes and Guatemala. So we spent the afternoon with all of them - an unexpected treat. Our new grandson is so cute! He sure sleeps a lot - though we did get to see him awake a few times in the movies. We are counting the days until they can bring him home, which they now say is 5-8 months. I certainly hope he's here by Christmas!

I spent considerable time during my lunches this week perusing the Ikea website. I found some other very nice things for my sewing room besides the Billy shelves. We decided since I have to take most everything out of there to put the new shelves in that I might as well do the whole thing at once. That way I have to mess it all up only once, and can enjoy it all finished that much sooner. Works for me! It will finally be a room that looks as nice as it functions. So I'm also counting the days until our Ikea opens - seems like I have lots of reasons to count calendar days in the next few months!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A solution to a problem

When I sorted my fabric baskets last weekend I realized how frustrated I'd become with them. I've stored my fabric in them for years and it really shows - the bottoms sag a lot. They are stacked high enough that the only reason they are stable is because I put extra floor tiles under their front "feet". And it's almost impossible to see what's on the bottom of each stack - never mind pulling it out easily.

As I was putting the fabrics back into them it really struck me how much empty wasted space can be found both between the top of one basket and the bottom of the next, as well as along the sides. Since my room is so very small I just can't afford to have that kind of wasted space.

I've been wanting new shelves for years, and suddenly I decided I just didn't want to wait another 15 months until I retired. After all, I just received a nice bonus at work - why not get them now so I can enjoy them longer? So I asked my dear hubby if new shelves could be my birthday-Mothers' Day present this year. Since he is a dear he said "Sure! Just choose what you want".

Now all I need to wait for is the opening of the new Ikea store across the river. They say summer - I sure hope that means June!

Here's what I'm thinking about getting - the white ones. They will look so pretty with the lime green walls. Aren't they great? They even have doors to protect the fabric from dust. They come in both narrow and wide widths so I can fit as many as possible across each wall.

So soon it will be goodbye red, white, and blue saggy, wasteful baskets and huge saggy chipboard shelf and hello beautiful white cabinets. Happy dancing more each day!

Don't I have the most wonderful husband ever?

Monday, April 16, 2007

Happy dancing!

Some girls love diamonds and fancy cars. Not me! Give me some little plastic boxes and pieces of cardboard and I'm a happy camper!

You all know how much I love organization. Well, when I ordered some longarm supplies I also ordered 6 floss boxes. I was tired of my broken down system for holding embroidery threads. I set this up years and years ago when I did counted cross stitch - now I use the floss for blanket stitching appliqués and embroidery. I'm thrilled embroidery has come back into fashion - my mother had me doing my first embroidery at about age 5-6.

And look what arrived today! I can hardly wait to wind all my thread around these little bobbins and put them into cases where I can actually see what I have and what all the colors are. These will take up WAY less room than my current shoe box system. It will also make it much easier to see the thread colors!

Now I can bring the rest of my freezer paper boxes out of the closet. Would you believe I have 6 of them? (This doesn't include the roll I'm currently using either!) Some of you may remember when Reynolds decided to discontinue the production of freezer paper. This was right after appliquérs learned to depend on it. We raided the store when we could find it - stockpiling it for the day we couldn't get it any more. Word would pass from quilter to quilter as to which store go in how many boxes. I was so afraid I'd run out - I kept thinking "I'll buy just one more". As it is I think I've got enough to pass along to a granddaughter to use for all of her quilting life LOL!

Update: I don't want to start any rumors! Reynolds is NOT discontinuing the production of freezer paper. This happened about 1990. A huge letter writing campaign was launched by hundreds and hundreds of quilters all over the country, and petitions were circulated and sent to the company. After a year or two they stated publicly that they would not be discontinuing making it. Unfortunately in the meantime those of us who'd become addicted to appliqué during that time had stockpiled a lifetime's supply.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Sunday Success

My goal for today was to finish the last appliqué block for Heirloom Stitches and finish putting the top together. Success! I finished just a few minutes ago. Because the border on this quilt involves so much appliqué I'm putting it away for awhile. (Here is a link to the pattern in case anyone wants to see what the border looks like.) There are other projects that need to be a higher priority than this right now.

I have several charity quilts to quilt, as well as three customer quilts. I need to get going on Joseph's quilt. I'm going to do machine appliqué on that one because I want it to wear as long as possible.

My take along hand appliqué project will be blocks for my mid-century medallion.

If I want a break from that I'll do the border appliqué on It's a Wonderful Life. I've waited long enough to finish it. I didn't particularly care for the appliqué in the pattern so I'm going to design something of my own. It's time to swallow my fear of designing and just do it! I guess I've never posted a picture of that almost finished top - I could find one anyway - so here it is. The borders are sewn on - I just need to do some appliqué on them.

Finally I need to finish at least one UFO so I don't have to pay a fat quarter penalty at guild on May 4th - not to mention avoiding becoming UFO queen on the Stashbusters list. (In this case queen is NOT a good thing to be!) One of my charity quilts is also on my UFO list, so I can accomplish a two-for-one if I just get that one quilted, bound and labeled.

We had a wonderful visit with Jeremy, Chelsea and Sophie yesterday afternoon. This is the first time she's been awake during our entire visit. Apparently she is already sleeping almost 8 hours at night - amazing! Neither of our kids slept through the night until they were at least 8-9 months old. Yesterday she'd been awake since 9 a.m. and was still awake when we left at 6:00 p.m. She's definitely taking after her dad - he didn't sleep much as a baby and gave up naps entirely before he was two years old! Unfortunately I forgot to take my camera!

Friday night I spent a great evening with Cher at the artist's reception for her quilt guild. The featured artist was Judy Hopkins. I always thought Judy lived in Alaska year round, but apparently she lives in Oregon for four months every winter and belongs to the same guild as Cher. Judy has written 16 quilt books that feature rotary cut quilts and clear, easy-to-follow directions. The books she hopes will be her major legacy are her three block books - Around the Block, Around the Block Again, and Once More Around the Block. Each block features 200 traditional blocks with rotary cutting instructions for making them in 6 different sizes. Whenever I need to make a pieced block for a swap I grab one of these books. Judy is also the creater of the Scrapmaster ruler which for years has been a marvelous tool for cutting up my scraps. There were quite a few of Judy's quilts hanging on display, and we received a guided tour from Judy in which we learned the story behind each quilt. It was a delightful evening - made even more wonderful by the wine and great food available to everyone.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Thoughts on a beautiful spring Saturday

Several people tagged me this past week for the "Thinking Blogger Award". I feel so honored and blessed that my scribblings and pictures are inspirational to other quilters. At times I really miss teaching quilting, and this is the next best thing. Thank you so much - all of you who read my blog - especially those of you who make comments - I appreciate each and every one of you more than you can imagine. And a special thank you to those of you who tagged me - I hope I can continue to be an inspiration.

To pass on this award to only 5 blogs is so very difficult. I see I now have 201 feeds listed on Bloglines - no wonder I can't keep up! There are quite a few that are craft blogs instead of quilting blogs, and I love to look at all the things they do that I know I'll never do myself. Several are always posting wonderful flea market and thrift shop finds - things that remind me of my childhood home during the 1950's. I love to see what they do with these finds. Putting together a mixture of accessories to make a perfectly decorated room has never been a strength of mine. And every time I've ever been in a thrift shop or similar place I can't see the treasures because I can't look past all the junk. I skim read those blogs and enjoy them mostly for the pictures, so it wouldn't be fair to tag any of them.

I love the quilting blogs the most - of course! And many of my favorites have already been tagged. So forgive me if there are repeats - I'll try not to repeat too many. I comment regularly on all the quilting blogs that I love, so I hope each of you already knows how much your posts mean to me. But still I must choose - so here goes:

First must be Finn at Pieces from my Scrapbag. I have her to thank for opening my eyes to all the possibilities in my scraps. They've all sat for years - both in sorted plastic bins and boxes and two huge tubs of a mishmash of stuff that had yet to be cut and sorted into usable shapes. My finished Broken Dishes quilt, the string top I just finished, my Postage Stamp quilt, and all the other scrap blocks I'm making can be directly attributed to reading her blog. Thank you, Finn, for all the inspiration you've given me. You are a remarkable woman who's taken many lemons in your life and turned them into the best pitcher of lemonade ever.

My second choice is a group of bloggers who love the same sort of quilts I do, and we all find inspiration in each other's work. I believe all of them have already been tagged, but I must mention them nevertheless - Libby, Dawn, Karen, Vera, Laura, Darlene, Judy, Lucy, Bonnie, Nancy, and my friend Kathie in New Jersey who no longer has a blog. Ladies, you mean so much to me and inspire me every day.

Jeanne also loves the same kind of quilts that I do, and I find her extra inspiring because she has taught me to put my own touch on my quilts and not always follow the pattern. I'm still a very small "child" when it comes to learning this, but I'm taking baby steps thanks to Jeanne. She also presents a daily reminder to all of us that it's the small things in life that really make each day worth living - to remember these small things and be grateful for them.

Norma and Cher are an inspiration if for no other reason than that I've met them "in the flesh". Cher and I have gotten together regularly since we first met at my guild's quilt show last year. It's been great fun getting to know her, and it's thanks to her that lots of my scraps have now been cut into usable shapes and sizes. I've met Norma only once - at the Pacific Northwest Quiltfest in Seattle last summer - but I think she and I would be friends "in the flesh" also if she lived closer. I love reading about her quilting and life in British Columbia - a place I've visited many times and always loved.

Linda and Pam and Cher are a tremendous inspiration because of all the charity quilting they do for Wrap them in Love. Mary is another quilter who makes many quilts each year and gives them to people in need. The selflessness shown by these four women is an incredibly beautiful thing. I am in awe of their generosity of spirit and the number of quilts they create each year. I hope to join them in their efforts as soon as I retire - in 443 days (but who is counting?)

Well, that's more than 5, but who cares? I know there are others I've forgotten. My life has been so enriched by all the wonderful women I've "met" via the Internet. I can't imagine what my life was like without each of you in it. Thank you all for sharing yourself.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Disruption in our environment

Tonight it suddenly occurred to me that the disruption in my living room resulted in me feeling such an organizing urge on Saturday. When part of my life spins out of control, or something happens to disrupt the status quo, my strong organizing genes take over and demand that I get something else shaped up to balance the two.

And the disruption in the living room was major. Can you imagine entertaining your family for Easter in a room that looks like this? All the furniture was shoved to one end of the room and crowded as close to the fireplace as possible. We had to clear a minimum of 8 feet in front of the piano and it's not a large room at all.

This piano holds great meaning for me. My parents bought it used from my one of my dad's brothers and his wife when I was six years old and it was over 75. I took piano lessons from then until my junion year of high school when activities and homework no longer allowed me practice time. I used to get up at 6:00 a.m. every morning to get in my practice before getting ready for school and then practiced again when I got home. As my adult life got busy with family, work, church and other activities I played less and less. For one thing I was happy, and playing, which had always been my emotional therapy in a childhood filled with challenges, no longer was so important. But I still love to play, and try to sit down every once in awhile to loose myself again in the music.

The last couple years it's been impossible because it has gone so badly out of tune. When the tuner was here last month he discovered the tuning pins were loose and needed treatment before it would hold a tune. So last week they tilted it on it's back on this very funky folding cart and painted some sort of solution on the tuning pins to make them tight again. Boy, was it ever dusty behind there! This is the first time it has been moved since we remodeled about 10 years ago. It had to sit this way for days so the solution would dry and tighten up all the tuning pins. Tomorrow afternoon they will come tilt it back into place and tune it. I can hardly wait to sit down again and play some old favorites.

Weekend sewing

As I said in my last post, I didn't get much sewing done this weekend. I will show you what I did accomplish - not much but still very satisfying.

From top to bottom:

First finished mid-century album block
Last Heirloom Stitches block - house appliqué is almost finished
Pieced Pine - not the best picture but gives you the idea
Mystery Block - not the best picture either - I think my camera setting was wrong
Quilt center - all but the final appliqué block

I hope everyone who celebrates had a wonderful Easter yesterday. I cooked dinner for Rick and Rebecca and we watched the DVD of their new son. They fly to Guatemala on Wednesday for their first and only visit with him. The next 4-7 months will be long for all of us. I wish I could show you a picture of him - he is so cute! - but we aren't allowed to post pictures of him on the Internet until they bring him home and he's really theirs.

Not much sewing going on

For some reason I went on an organization binge this weekend. I know - many people think I'm already really organized. But gaps in that organization were really starting to bug me. My UFT's (unfinished tops) were scattered her and there throughout the cubbies in my island, and it seemed like I had to pull open every door and check every cubby every time I wanted a particular one. Murphy's law was in operation of course - the one I wanted was always in the very last of all the cubbies. Magazines were stuffed anywhere there was a bit of space - three ring binders likewise. Thread was so far from the machine that I had to get up every time I wanted a new spool. HSY's (haven't started yets) were also scattered throughout. It looked OK, but took forever to find what I wanted.

Saturday morning I tackled reorganizing the cubes with a vengeance. Now all the UFT's are together on the door side of the island, as are the hussies. The drawers are along the bottom so I can pull out a drawer instead of getting down on my hands and knees to peer into the cubbies. All the thread is in one cube stack easily accessible from the machine. All the magazines and notebooks are together (though I still need to label the notebook spines). Drawers containing oddball stuff - like the glue gun, teddy bear joints and other tools, paint and stencil brushes, etc. - are all together beneath the notebooks. I know exactly where in the island everything is stored - what a great feeling!

This carried over into the closet, the shelf above the ironing board where I was wasting a lot of space, and the fabric baskets where the top baskets were threatening to fall over because there was so much stacked in them. I resorted the fabrics the way I use them now - I pulled out all the reproductions and put them together in three baskets. The non-reproductions - mostly all my older fabrics that I'm not using right now - are still sorted by color now I don't have to dig through them when creating a copy of an antique quilt. Large florals are all together now in their own two baskets. Large pieces of Jo Morton fabric are now with the rest for use in her "Little Women" quilts. The baskets are still stuffed, but nothing is in danger of toppling over and burying me. The shelf next to the ironing board is now cleared of all the VCR tapes related to sewing - I put them in the bedroom where our only remaining VCR now lives. This allowed me to move the remaining plastic boxes down - now I can reach all my scrap boxes without a step stool! I carried three more empty plastic boxes upstairs to store under the longarm - I've emptied 11 total now by making scrappy tops! I reorganized my DMC machine embroidery thread and moved it from the floor of the closet to the top of the ironing board shelves.

I think that's about it - I knew it took more than half the day and I felt I'd had a workout by the time I was done. I'm sure the pictures aren't very exciting to most of you, but I posted them anyway in case they help one of you with more organizational ideas.

I finished the day doing actual quilt related things - that was nice! I finished the stitching on my first mid-century album quilt block, and prepped three more for appliqué. I also cut all the background fabric I had into 18" and 10" squares so I can prep several more blocks when I have time. I finished piecing the last couple Heirloom Stitches blocks and started the stitching on the last of the appliqué blocks while watching the first few episodes of the last season of West Wing. I'll save pictures of those until I can show you a finished top (minutes the borders) - hopefully by the end of the week.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Sophie is growing

I've not posted any Sophie pictures for awhile - not because I don't have lots of cute ones but because I don't want to appear to be a totally obsessed Nana. Even though I am! So here are a couple that Chelsea sent us today. I thought the second one was especially appropriate - obviously watching Felix mow down 12 A's totally tuckered out this little Mariners fan.

We got an early Easter gift from Rebecca and Rick - a cute picture frame with the first picture of Diogenes. This made me realize I've not printed a single picture of Sophie! So I need to head out to get another picture frame and print some of our girl.

Cousins - only 28 days apart. How fun! I hope they get to spend lots of time together as they are growing up.

Two days of progress

I may have a B+ personality according to one of the recent tests that's going around blogland, but I am obsessive about a few things - and quilting tops that list. Sunday I didn't even get dressed - didn't want to take the time away from my stitching. Yesterday after work was the same. So here are the results of one day plus about 6 hours of stitching.

All the rest of the blocks for Heirloom Stitches are cut out, except for a few background pieces for the "Pieced Tree" block. The last appliqué block is all glued and prepped for stitching except for the house piece which needs to have the windows and door done on it first. The Morning Star block - which goes in the bottom right corner - is finished. The Card Tricks block which goes above the Morning Star has only the last few seams to be stitched. The center of the "Mystery Block" is under the machine needle, and the rest is waiting to be stitched together. If you look at the pictures to the left from the top down you will see all these in order.

I also have the first block of my "Mid-Century Album Quilt" half done. This is one of the 8" blocks, and was the in-class project for the March class. I started the stitching while watching the Seattle Mariners King Felix mow down the hapless Oakland A's batters to earn a victory in the first game of the season. (Let's home this isn't a repeat of last year when we proceeded to beat them in the first game then lose to them in 17 of the other 18 times we faced them.) As the game progressed I watched more closely and stitched less - hopefully I can get the block finished at Tangled Threads tonight. I posted a picture of my block to the left, which should allow you to see some of my appliqué method. If you'd like more info and pictures about how I appliqué and a list of my hints click here.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Appliquéing and babeling

I got such a big chuckle out of Journey's post about babeling - I just had to try it myself! So in honor of our new grandson I translated the first paragraph of yesterday's post to Spanish and then back to English. Here is the translation from yesterday's post:
Voluble Quilter - the name thy is Patti! Here I have been joining the pieces upon a storm of my remainders and have been obtaining much of the way to quilt of the charity. But everything what takes is a little deflection and before it knows it I it is vagando under a entirely diverse trajectory. I blamed it in a block of appliqué that I had to finish for ramilletes and the points, and the great sensation to move a project from the list of UFT to the information written in thin paper enumerates.
It's no wonder people come here from foreign countries and can't understand us - even when they can speak some English. Language has always fascinated me - the way the same words can have so many different meanings in different contexts. Throw in our American slang and an English-is-my-second-language person is sure to be lost.

Today I've been watching Season 3 of MI-5 and appliquéing the next to last appliqué block for Heirloom Stitches. Now that I've finished it all I have left are the December blocks, and then I'll be able to sew the center together. Here are all the blocks I've made laid out on the floor as they will be sewn together. I love the colors and fabrics Homestead Hearth choose for this BOM!