Sunday, February 25, 2007
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 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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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