Thursday, August 30, 2007

Second antique quilt

This evening I sewed a sleeve onto the second of the antique quilts. This is a silk crazy quilt from the 1890's - at least I think that's what Rick said. This quilt has very thin batting. The backing was placed right sides together with the top, sewn all around to encase the batting, turned right side out, and then machine stitched very close to the edge. As is typical of crazy quilts it is not quilted. Many crazy quilts were tacked together invisibly in various places to keep the backing in place - this one was not. The backing, which is a loosely woven, almost gauzy type print has actually turned to the front along at least one edge. What's interesting is that at some time - I'm guessing later than the quilt was made - someone sewed a row of machine stitching from just inside the edge to almost half way down into the quilt. The stitching goes all the way through, so the lining is sewn down to the top along his line. The stitching simply stops for no apparent reason part of the way down the quilt. I wish the quilt could talk - I'd love to know who sewed that row of stitching and why. It certainly wasn't to prevent the back from turning to the front because it was no where near an edge. It also starts about 1-2" from an edge, and whoever stitched it didn't smooth out the back before they started - the back is bunched in wrinkles between the start of the stitching and the edge of the quilt. The fabric is disintegrating in places as is also typical of crazy quilts - the metals used to weight the silk were corrosive, causing the fabric to disintegrate. All the seams are covered with simple embroidery stitches in many different colors of thread - feather stitching, herringbone, and cross stitch. It is very nicely done - obviously by an accomplished needlewoman.

I'm looking forward to seeing these quilts on display so I can read any information they have about each one. The accession tags are tied to the wrappings on each quilt but no information about any of the quilts came along to me with them.

I feel so honored to be able to touch these quilts and preform this service for the Interpretive Center. It makes me feel such a close kinship with our foremothers who plied their needle as much out of necessity as for pleasure.

Monday, August 27, 2007

1016 Blocks!

Yep - you read that correctly. One thousand sixteen Crumb Chaos blocks. I never in a million years imagined I was making that many. I just kept going until I was sick and tired of sewing crumbs to strips for the first step. Obviously this will make several quilts - but for now the blocks will be set aside at least until I finish sewing sleeves on all the antique quilts. The saddest, craziest thing is this - look at how many crumbs are remaining in my crumb drawer!
Part of the problem is caused by making the blocks themselves. I've come to the conclusion that making Crumb Chaos blocks from crumbs is a never ending, cyclic, crumb producing endeavor. Why, you ask? Because as soon as the blocks reach a certain size, there is a crumb size piece left at the end of each strip. I know that's why my drawer isn't emptier.

I'm going to deal with this in a way that was shown by someone posting about heartstrings blocks months ago. I sure wish I knew her name so I could give her credit. Here is her solution - she sews strips from the crumbs and rolls them up into large rolls, then uses these strips in string quilts. I kept a couple pictures from her post for inspiration - it seems like maybe she has her own blog. I'm hoping she'll recognize herself in my description and leave a comment with a link to her post so she can be given proper credit. I've sewn a bunch of mine together already and wound them around toilet paper tubes, and have tossed a bunch more for sewing into the now empty bin that used to hold 1 1/4" strips. I'm going to do this with all my crumbs until I get sick and tired of making strings of crumbs. By then I'm hoping the drawer is MUCH more empty. Then I'll start making string blocks again in an effort to empty that drawer also. Or at least get a good start on emptying it. Right now it's stuffed to the gills!
I have the first antique quilt laying out on the dining room table waiting for it's sleeve. I'll sew the muslin sleeve when I get home from work tomorrow, and then start stitching it on at Tangled Threads. This is very much a utility quilt - nevertheless the quiltmaker made an effort to create interest by the way she stitched the dark and light fabrics together. It is tied with wool yarn and backed with mattress ticking. It was sewn on three sides and the turned inside out, at the same time putting the filling inside. One edge is folded over to the back and stitched down. It is in good shape for a utility quilt - there is only one warn spot that I can see where the fabric has broken down and the filling shows. I believe Rick said this one was from the 1880's. Right now it's the least interesting of the four that I have. The other three are all rolled around acid-free paper tubes, but this one is in a large acid-free box. I decided to start with it so I could get the bulky box out of the living room as quickly as possible.

1. A fun work day today - volunteering to assist at the Parks Foundation Golf Tournament
2. Unexpected dinner with the kids
3. Fresh pineapple from a sweet neighbor
4. Finished CC blocks!
5. Continuing beautiful weather

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Mission accomplished - another finished UFO

I did it - I finished the Christmas table runner - label and all. I took the last stitch in the binding during the 8th inning Mariner loss to the Texas Rangers. I really like how this turned out. I did a freehand holly leaf and berry chain all around the outside border, and freehand holly leaves and berries in the white setting triangles. I figured holly leaves were simple enough that I couldn't mess them up. It feels so good to cross another flimsy off my sidebar, as well as avoiding becoming queen of the UFO's.

Now I must put my own projects aside for quite awhile. I've promised to sew muslin sleeves on all the antique quilts in the collection belonging to The End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center. My son-in-law is lead historian and interpreter for the Center and he asked whether I'd be willing to do this. I jumped at the chance, as it will allow me to check out these antique gems in minute detail. I will take pictures of them as I work on them. I've forgotten how many there are - at least 12 I think. I have 4 on the dining room table right now, including a log cabin from the 1850's. They are hanging them all for a display at the beginning of October so the sleeves must be completed by then. Lots of hand stitching - good thing I really enjoy that!


I was making good progress catching up with my blog reading. I was down to under 2200 posts. I was keeping up with new posts on blogs I'd already caught up with. Then blog reading disaster struck.

On bloglines I've sorted the blogs I'm subscribed to into different folders - quilty blogs, designer blogs, craft blocks, and other. By far the greatest number of blogs are quilty blogs and those are the ones I was catching up on. Well, if you click the folder itself instead of the little "+" to the left of the folder then all the unread posts open on the right side of the screen. All 2000+ posts. And since there was no way I could begin to read that many the window was closed before 99% were read. In fact it was closed before any were read - because I immediately tried to undo what I'd done. All that did was close the window immediately.

So now I have no idea where I am. Maybe that's just as well - I can start fresh. I'll read each blog as new posts appear - reading all the posts on each blog until I get to one I've read before. Here is hoping I can recognize a post that I've read before LOL!

A wonderful day with quilty friends

Yesterday was about as perfect as it could possibly be. The weather was cool in the morning, with clearing skies and sunshine in the afternoon. I drove over to Portland to pick up Cher at 9:00, and then headed to Canby, Oregon to Holly's. This was the first time I'd met Holly. She is a delightful lady and quilter - of course! - and has a lovely home full of quilts that she's made. After seeing her quilts and her sewing room we set out walking to Canby's quilt show. Holly's home is only a couple blocks from the center of town and it was a perfect day for walking. The quilt show is held in an old church, and the quilts are displayed by draping them over the pews. There is also a display of featured quilts at the front of the sanctuary, plus more quilts on tables in the fellowship hall. We had such a pleasant time chatting with the quilters and examining the quilts. Holly said on her blog "I can't believe I forgot to take pictures" - I'll add that I can't believe I forgot my camera! I take my camera to everything quitly. I have a camera on my cell phone - doesn't everyone these days? - but I never remember it's there and I'm not sure how to use it LOL!

After the show we walked a few more blocks to the quilt shop. This is a shop I used to frequent for Thimbleberries club for a couple years, but quit as the drive was just too long for me in the evening. The owner retired and sold the shop, and this is the first time I'd been there since the new owner took over. It was very interesting to see how the personality of the shop changed. I'd always loved almost everything that was in the shop before - now there were still lots of things I loved but still more that weren't my cup of tea. I looked at lots and lots of things - patterns, stitcheries, and more - and I didn't buy a thing! I was so proud of myself. My friends won't believe it when I tell them.

We next had a very tasty lunch at a Mexican restaurant in town, and then drove over to Oregon City because none of us had been in the quilt shop there before. What a lovely shop! It had something for each one of us - hard to do as the three of us have very different tastes. We did a lot of looking there but I don't think any of us bought a single thing. If you'd told me first thing in the morning that I'd go to two quilt shops, see lots and lots of things I loved and not spend dime I wouldn't have believed you either LOL!

The three of us will definitely get together again, as we had a marvelous time. We are hoping that Dot at Rantala Rags can join us next time - once her two broken arms heal. Poor Dot! What an awful thing to happen to anyone, but especially to a quilter!

A much needed break from CC blocks

I had a chance to catch up on reading my Yahoo groups emails yesterday, and was horrified to discover that I was second lady in waiting on the UFO queens list. This is NOT a good thing - I do NOT want to be queen. My last UFO finish was back on May 7th. Right after that I started concentrating on sewing up scraps instead of finishing up UFO's, and that put me in my current plight. Every time I finish a UFO my name drops back to the bottom of the list. If I should become queen I must write a post telling all about myself and my quilting and answer a bunch of questions, and I must also finish a UFO within one week's time. If I fail I must send in a fat quarter to the keeper of the fabric. It's not that I can't spare a fat quarter - I certainly can! I just want to keep the pledge I made to myself that I'd finish lots of UFO's and would never come close to being queen. Too late to keep that pledge completely, but I can keep from becoming queen.

So - since I finished quilting the minkee quilt for my friend Lanny my machine was empty at the moment. I figured I could find something small that I could quilt very quickly and still have time to quilt my other customer quilt this afternoon. This Christmas table runner was perfect - especially when I discovered that I'd already started the quilting. I must have had to remove it from the machine in order to do a customer quilt. I was amazed to see that it took me just over an hour to finish all the quilting. I've now finished machine stitching the binding and will do the hand stitching during the ball game this evening.
The blocks in this table runner are from teaching precision piecing in the early 1990's. I have two more table runners to quilt that are almost identical to this one. I decided I didn't want to make more blocks and I didn't want a little Christmas quilt, so making them into table runners was a perfect solution.

Lesson learned - I'm sure there are LOTS of tops in my flimsy stack like this that would quilt up very quickly. I think it's time to balance scrap sewing with quilting and get back to finishing UFO's.
1. A wonderful Saturday spent with quilty friends
2. A gentle breeze blowing through the trees
3. A good meeting with my boss on Friday
4. Perfectly ripe Italian prunes
5. A cutting table that doesn't move when I lean against it!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

I'm getting there!

I focused on Crumb Chaos blocks yesterday - can you tell I really want these finished? I now have 534 completed blocks. That means I finished 172 more yesterday. The little pile on the sewing machine is what's left of the stack that needs only one more piece sewn on to be finished. I'm going to tackle those this morning before I head upstairs to quilt. The stack on the big board is comprised of blocks that need more than one more strip before they are large enough to trim.

I never would have believed that I could make this many blocks and still have a half drawer full of crumbs and two half-drawers full of 1 1/4" and 1 3/4" strips. If you'd told me this before I started I'd have said "no way is there that much fabric in those drawers". What a sobering thought - I don't want to begin to guess how many blocks and quilts I could make with the fabric on the shelves.

I'd not had a Sophie fix since our camping trip two weekends ago so we spent Thursday evening driving down to Newberg for a nice albeit short visit. Sophie was 6 months old last Tuesday. She can sit up if she wants to but she doesn't want to. All she wants is to be on the move. I don't think I've ever seen such an active baby. No holding or cuddling either - she just wants to be exploring. So we all spent a lot of time on the floor playing with her. She's still army crawling - I think she could get up on her hands and knees if she wanted to but she's way to busy moving around to take time to learn. She's still tall - 27" long - and slim - 16 pounds - because she is so active. It's been awhile since I posted pictures so I'll bore you with a couple more. Nothing like a doting nana, right?

Rick and Rebecca are patiently waiting on their adoption paperwork to move through the Guatemalan government system. They've had the papers for 5 weeks now, and R&R have heard nothing. This is a very good thing - we don't want to hear anything during this stage. As long as there is no news it means that so far the paperwork is all acceptable and nothing needs to be redone. This is the longest stage - it's so hard to wait. I marvel at their patience.

1. Continuing cool weather
2. Rain last night!
3. A relaxing weekend
4. A great visit with Jeremy and his family
5. More choices in 100 calorie snack packages

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Oh dear - time has flown too quickly

I can't believe it's been almost a week since I posted! Bad blogger here - so sorry! I have been catching up with others however, which is a good thing. My bloglines now reports that I have only 2350 posts to read - over 1000 less than I had last week. At this rate I may be all caught up in another 2-3 weeks! I'm managing to keep caught up on the new posts on those blogs I've been reading. If I've not reaching yours don't feel badly - first I started with those with the fewest posts, and now I'm just going down the alphabet. I'm at the "L's" - but of course the "Q's" are way bigger than any other letter LOL!

Before I forget I want to give Hanne a great big thank you for nominating my blog for these two awards. I'm very touched that you feel this way Hanne. I often wonder why people come back to read my ramblings - if I can provide inspiration to others that makes me feel so nice and fuzzy warm inside.

I know many, many bloggers have already been nominated for these awards, and since I still have so much reading to do to catch up I have no idea who has or has not been nominated. So for now I'm going to postpone nominating anyone else. There are so many of you that are such an inspiration to me - I've no idea how I could choose only a few.

Speaking of Hanne, check out her blog to see her marvelous new shelves. She showed her hubby pictures of mine and he insisted they go right out and buy her some. I can't believe how quickly they got these together and filled with her fabrics!

I've done very little in the way of quilting this past week - probably one of the reasons for my lack of posts. If you remember one of my goals for last weekend was to clean the garage. Well, it took way longer than I thought it would. Shouldn't be surprised - when I decide to clean the garage I do a really deep clean. And did it ever need it! We have always been able to fit the cars inside, but all around the perimeter the shelves needed straightening and organizing, the floor needed sweeping desperately, and the whole window-workbench area was a mess. The window particularly - bugs and spiderwebs everywhere. (One would think we were saving them for Halloween!) The laundry is in the garage so I always try to keep that area fairly clean and swept, but the rest of the place - ugh!

I brought the radio out once the ballgame started and I realized I'd only begun, and finished about the time the ballgame ended. I filled the pickup with stuff for the dump - our second trip in just over a week. You'll recognize the green shelf - it's once again loaded but this time with stuff other than fabric. I just couldn't resist taking pictures. I know - it's just a garage - but I had such a marvelous feeling of satisfaction when I was finished that I couldn't help wanting to show it off a little. It had been way too long since I'd done this - hopefully we can keep it up better from now on.

I'm still plugging away one the same batch of Crumb Chaos blocks - trying to finish them. I think they are taking lessons from the scraps in the bin and multiplying in the dark of the night when everything is quiet. Probably won't get them done this weekend either - I absolutely MUST get the two customer quilts done this weekend that didn't get done last weekend because of the garage project. Then I need to quilt one of my own - my name is getting dangerously close to the top of the UFO queen's list on the Stashbuster yahoo group.

Wishing everyone a marvelous weekend. I'm going to read a few more blogs while I wait for my daughter to call saying she's ready for our regular Starbucks outing.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Déja vu?

Hmmm . . . it seems like I've been here once before. These pictures seem VERY familiar. I think this is the view of my sewing room just before the redo. Nope - these aren't new Crumb Chaos blocks. These are the same ones - blocks that are almost finished but not quite. And remember my joy at getting through all those 1 1/4" and 1 3/4" strips? Short lived joy indeed. During the redo I discovered I'd grabbed a few handfuls of each and stuck them in one tub to work from, as I didn't have room for two tubs. Here is the glaring reality - still a large drawer of each size strip. At least now I have room to put both drawers next to the machine while I work, along with the basket of partially finished blocks. These won't get done today - in fact need to stop working on these for awhile and get to the two customer quilts that need completing. One for sure needs to be finished today, and the other one sometime this week. I had a sneaking suspicion all along that longarming for others probably wouldn't really be my bag - I have too many of my own things that I want to do. Even though I've never advertised at all, however, the customer quilts wander into the studio at the rate of a couple a month. At least I can use that to justify the machine purchase - to me anyway. Fred doesn't need me to justify it at all - what a sweetheart!
All my fabric is now put away. I've washed and ironed all the pieces from the splurge shopping of the last few months. Shopping I justified by telling myself I was spending my bonus, which was just like a gift. You may have noticed, however, that the fabric diet badge is gone - I just couldn't keep it in good conscience when I'd bought so much. Now the buying must come to a halt however. I have a small amount of room in two places on the shelves - the 19th century reproduction section and the Jo Morton section. That is it! And when I put away the fabric that currently resides in baskets under the island - fabric for my two Eileen Trestain reproduction classes - there will be no room whatsoever left on the shelves. I think this is a good thing. It's going to force me to use up fabric before I can buy more. And at the rate I'm going that will be just this side of forever, since sewing up all my scraps doesn't make a bit more room on my shelves!

Guess I'd better get busy now as I have several goals for today. I want to get a pedicure - it's so hard to bend over these days to cut my toenails and they really need it. I told Fred to leave me the truck as I want to continue the garage clean out, so I guess I'd better have at least a few things tossed by the time he gets home from golf. I have that customer quilt to do, I need to run to the post office, get to B&N to look at the newest Quiltmaker, as it has an article about Jo Morton, and I need to find something for dinner. Two things I can say with confidence - I'll never, ever run out of things to do in my life, and I'm never, ever bored!

1. Continued cooler weather for us - highs in the very high 70's and low 80's
2. A riot of colored blossoms in my front yard
3. Space to move around my sewing room
4. Exactly 200 more working days before retirement!
5. Fat free hot dogs and whole wheat high fiber hot dog buns - it's been so long since I've had a hot dog!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

It's a beginning . . .

When I started blog reading today I had almost 3600 posts to read. And this was just posts on the quilting blogs to which I subscribe. That doesn't count all the other blogs I subscribe to! Of course the quilting blogs are of first importance to me, so those are the ones I'm starting with. I'm down to 3454, so that's a beginning. As long as the number is still dropping at the end of each day I figure I'll eventually catch up. I'm so eager to see what everyone has been up to!

I will try to leave at least one comment on every blog I visit, but probably that will be it. If I comment as often as I'd really like to it would take me years and years to catch up!

A moment of insanity

A huge thank you to Finn, Mary, and Wendy for letting me know you couldn't get to my blog. It is now fixed - which you will know if you are reading this. Here is what happened . . .
I created a private blog for my Tangled Threads group to use for between meetings communication. None of them had been bitten by the blog bug, but they heard me talk about blogs so often that they decided we should have one for ourselves. They have all jumped in with both feet and have fallen in love with this way of communicating. It's especially great for someone who has had to miss a meeting. Anyway - our meeting was at my house last night, and some of them asked me to show them how to upload a picture to the blog. After doing that I showed them a few other things, like how to add information to the side bar. I brought up my blog to show them what the sidebar looked like there. I also showed them the permission settings and the invitation feature. Well . . . you can probably guess what happened. I got mixed up on which settings page I was looking at. I thought I was looking at the Tangled Threads permissions setting page, and noticed the "Anybody" spot was checked. I wondered how it got changed, and changed it right back because I know the ladies want ours kept private. So when I read my email this morning I discovered right away what happened - I changed the privacy settings on the wrong blog.

Eveything is back to normal now - thanks for the heads up. The pictures shows us Threads hard at work having fun at the meeting last night.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Finished - at least for now

The room is all together. The fat quarters are all refolded and put away. In honor of the event I even tucked the featherweight away on the shelf inside it's table and put the beautiful table top cover on the top of the table. There never was enough room to do this before. The shelves are almost full, and when I prewash the bunch of fabric waiting under the ironing table and put it away - my splurge from my bonus last spring - there will be no more room on the shelves. I'm happy to say that there is no longer fabric filling half the shelf to right right of the ironing board - it's all been shifted into the cabinets. This is my entire stash except for my small stash of solids, which I keep upstairs for longarm practice. I still had to stuff things into corners in ways I was hoping I wouldn't - plastic shoe boxes of cut scraps, and UFO's. I still need to make my first priority the using up of oddball size scraps, and bringing UFO's to the flimsy stage my second priority. My goal will be to have accomplished that by the end of this year.

For now I just gaze around the room and try to convince myself that all this is really real. I've waited a long time for this - I've been sewing for over 50 years. I will enjoy sewing here for at least another 30-40 years if I am lucky.

I'm sure you are all tired of seeing pictures of this room by now, so I'll call it quits. I hope to get back to posting pictures of quilting projects soon. But not this weekend. We are heading to the mountains camping - finally! - for the first time this summer. Our son had to work unexpectedly so he and Chelsea and Sophie won't be there, but Rick and Rebecca will be. Our weather is supposed to be beautiful. I can hardly wait.

Tonight I'm hoping to catch up on my emails, and tomorrow I'll start catching up on blog reading. I can hardly wait to see what you've all been up to these last few weeks.