Sunday, September 30, 2007

Organization Complete

I've put my time off work to good use so far I think. I'm also giving my arm lots of exercising. The physical therapist gave me several exercises on Friday to prevent frozen shoulder. They are very painful to do but I'm making myself do them nevertheless. The therapist is encouraging my doctor to order an MRI on my shoulder. I'm emailing her tomorrow morning also to second that request. If I'm going to need surgery to fix this shoulder I want it sooner rather than later.

The exercise my arm is getting by finishing my organizing tasks is painful also but much more pleasant for me. I've filed away all the items I've saved from years and years of quilt magazines. My filing cabinet is now stuffed so it's a good thing I've decided to let all my subscriptions lapse. I've decided I'm not that crazy about the labels I've given the hanging folders and the file folders but I'm not going to change them now. It most likely doesn't matter anyway - I know I can't remember what 95% of the filed items are. Please don't ask me how many of these items have been removed from the file long enough to make something from them. Let's just say I'm saving projects for my retirement LOL!

I also took a trip to Office Max for some acrylic storage boxes. The remaining magazines are now arranged on the bottom shelf in such a way that I'll actually be able to find the one I want. I've now been able to move my jug of water for the iron up off the floor and onto the shelf. On the shelf above I've folded all the dish towels I have for future stitching and appliqué. Looks like I should start doing something with them too, don't you think? Maybe for Christmas this year. There is now room for one of my baskets of DMC machine embroidery thread, so they aren't all piled on top of themselves. I've also labeled all the notebooks on the top shelf so I can find the one I want right away without having to pull down three or four others first. I thought I'd also show you my two storage walls now that all the fabric is put away. Not any extra space so I'll have to stop shopping LOL!

Now that I'm not having to wear the sling I'm actually going to try some real sewing. I'm going to stitch together the Halloween wall hanging. I can hardly wait!

Be sure to check my blog tomorrow - I'm going to draw names for the first two give aways. If I find more items in the filing cabinet to give away - and I just might - I'll post those also.

1. Driving to Starbucks for the first time in two weeks.
2. Toasted sourdough English muffins dripping in butter
3. A comfy new sweatshirt that's all soft inside
4. Surprise visit with Rick and Rebecca
5. New pictures of Sophie!

Portland Quilt Fest 2007

I am back driving short distances - very carefully. I went to physical therapy on Friday, where I received exercises to do three times a day to prevent frozen shoulder. The therapist told me I didn't have to wear my sling all the time - hooray! I can't reach my right arm up far enough to hold the wheel where I usually do, but I can hold it firmly enough in the 4:00 position that I feel it's safe for me to drive. Painful, but safe for short distances.

I was able to drive myself to the place designated for meeting five North Star Quilters friends so we could head to Quilt Fest in Portland. We had a marvelous time. Dozens of spectacular quilts to view, as well as one of the traveling Hoffman Challenge collections for 2007. Several dozen vendors also - something to excite any quilter alive. I took over 80 pictures so will be able to share many of the amazing quilts during the next few weeks.

Lucky for me, my budget, my will power, and my crowded shelves, most of the vendors had little to interest me. Not to say they didn't have wonderful things to buy - I'm just not into batiks, hand dyes, brights, shabby chic, Asian, African, or any of the beautiful bright prints by the young designers of today. It was fun to see what they had but I wasn't tempted. Only four or five of the booths presented any danger, and I was able to be good in all but two. I bought a Bare Roots pattern in one booth - a neat stitchery of a quilt shop, quilts, and other quilty things.
Then I reached the booth for my favorite quilt shop - Momma Made It. I already knew I was going to spend money there because I'd asked her to reserve a kit for me that I'd seen when my friend Kim and I visited the shop shortly after I hurt my shoulder. This is a design by Lori Smith - one of her Seasonal Quilts collection called Spring Baskets. Sharon has such a marvelous way of putting fabrics together. The other thing I really like about her kits is that they are more a collection of fat quarters and yardage to use in the quilt than an actual kit. No instructions on what fabrics to put where - she leaves that up to the quilter. So there is still lots of room for personal choice and each quilt will look a bit different depending on where the quilter uses each fabric. She'd also just gotten in the Civil War Dressing Gown collection by Judie Rothermel, so of course I had to have a set of those fat quarters.

So that was the extent of my purchases - a collection of fat quarters, a collection of fabrics for a particular quilt, and a pattern. I could have been swayed to purchase so much more if I'd allowed myself to do so, so I was actually pretty happy with myself. We had a marvelous morning - what's better than time spent with quilty friends?

Saturday, September 29, 2007

More Giveaways

I've gone through most of my magazines, and have filed away about 75% of the things I've saved. I'm very happy with that progress, as I'll be able to finish easily tomorrow.
I have two more patterns to give away. I must have gone through a phase where I was buying a lot of foundation patterns. These are two more good ones. Leave me a comment if you'd like to be in the drawing for one of these.

Lady Liberty - 52" square - designed by Karen Stone

Indian Orange Peel - 63" square - designed by Karen Stone
I imagine I will have a few more to post within the next few days. Stay tuned as I finish cleaning out my filing cabinet.
I still have one tall stack of magazines left. I didn't realise there would be so many that I don't what to rip apart. I have a whole bunch of beautiful Australian Country Threads magazines, as well as other Australian magazines. Those don't seem to contain nearly as many ads as American magazines. Then there are all the McCalls Vintage Quilts magazines. And all the Quilt Samplers - I have every one of those. Plus others I think. I will go through those one more time tomorrow. I need to make a trip to Office Depot to get some of the clear acrylic magazine holders so I can stand them up on the shelves. Much easier to find what I want that way!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Comments and drawing entries

I have 36 names in my basket for the drawing. Comments are still coming in, and I anticipate posting several more items for give away.

Since my blog is open to comments by people who do not have a blogger account, it's going to be important that those without accounts identify themselves by more than their first name when they leave a comment. Last names aren't important - unless you win of course - but something to identify you would help a lot. So far I have at least three "anonymous" comments where all I have is a first name. This isn't a problem unless two people have the same first name.

So - if you are leaving me a comment and you don't have a blogger account - and thus are labeled as "anonymous" - please leave me more than your first name by which I can identify you.

I'm working diligently to get through my magazines. I'm now on the second stack. I hope to be finished by the end of the weekend so I can start filing. There are some magazines that are going straight back onto the shelf - I figured that would probably happen. I can't bear to take apart either my Australian magazines or Quiltmania or my Quilt Samplers. Speciality issues by QNM have very few advertising pages so those are going back on the shelf also.

I've learned one thing -here all this time I thought QNM was my favorite magazine and the last one I'd want to cancel the subscription for. However I'm finding myself saving many more things out of McCalls and American Patchwork and Quilting than I am QNM. I love the articles in QNM and usually read it cover to cover - which I can do just fine at the library. I've not changed my mind at all by doing this - I'm going to let all my subscriptions lapse.

1. I believe my shoulder is starting to get better - hooray!
2. A wonderful class with Eileen Trestain
3. A letter in the mail from a blogging friend
4. A new haircut
5. Physical therapy today!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

To show you how serious I am about this . . .

I decided I'm not going to wait for a specific date or post to do some give aways. I know while I'm sorting and filing that I'm going to find some very nice patterns that I'll never use - some of which were quite expensive. Sure, I could sell them on Ebay, but it will be much more fun if I give them away.

So, starting with the previous post - the one about magazines and my filing cabinet - leave me a comment if you want to be in the drawing. At this point I don't know how many names I'll eventually draw because I don't know how many things I'll find to give away. I'll be posting while I'm sorting, and comments on any posts I write during this process will count. I'll toss your name in for every comment you make. I wonder how many things I can find to give away. Hopefully I won't go broke on postage LOL!

Here are the first three I've found:

The Wedding Star, a foundation pieced pattern by Judy Niemeyer. Enough foundations are included for a quilt 54" square. Instructions are included for other, larger sizes.

Mexican Tiles, a 50" square applique quilt featuring sunflowers

The Happy Rick Rack Quilt designed by Karen Stone. Foundation pieced 64"x78" quilt. Foundation papers are included for the quilt.

Quilting magazines, patterns, and Internet printouts

I belong to several yahoo groups having to do with quilting. Recently there's been a discussion on one of the groups - Stashbusters, I think - about quilting magazines. Quite a few people said they were letting their subscriptions lapse and/or weren't buying nearly as many quilt magazines as they used to buy. Reasons varied from "patterns are all recycled oldies" to "magazines are just fancy ways of advertising specific lines of fabric" to "I won't buy a magazine unless it has at least three quilts I want to make.

When I first got into quilting in the late 70's there weren't many magazines - or books for that matter - about quilting. Quilters Newsletter was the first magazine I found. I subscribed immediately and devoured every issue. I bought back issues when I had the chance. I subscribed to Quiltmaker as soon as I discovered it, and had all but a couple of the first few issues. I subscribed to Quilting Today, and had every single issue of Traditional Quiltworks. I tried a couple magazines that I didn't care for, and let my subscription lapse after a year. I subscribed to new magazines as they were introduced to the public. At the height of my quilting magazine mania I believe I had eleven or twelve different subscriptions! Most of them came either quarterly, or semi-annually, with two or three coming every other month. As quilting became more and more popular the magazines increased the number of issues per year. After about 10 years I had at least ten to twelve linear feet of shelf space devoted to quilt magazines. Something had to go!

My solution was to ask my husband for a filing cabinet, hanging files and file folders for Christmas. Happy to oblige - it makes his shopping very easy when I know just what I want - we picked up the cabinet the day after Christmas. For the next several months I went through my magazines, saving everything I thought I might ever want to make or read again. These were carefully sorted and filed by technique and subject matter. I also filed all my patterns, which freed up more shelf space. This filled three drawers of the filing cabinet. Doll and teddy bear patterns and cross stitch charts and magazines filled the last drawer. I kept intact only the current year of quilt magazines.

Fast forward to today. I didn't keep up with my sorting and filing, so once again I have large stacks of magazines to go through. In the meantime I've filled up the space that used to contain magazines and patterns with more fabric. Doll and bear patterns, cross stitch charts and more have moved next door into the filing cabinet in the computer room to make room for more and more quilt patterns. Magazines keep coming in the mail every month, and quilt patterns continue to sing me their siren song until I can't help but put them in my shopping basket.

It's time to bring this senseless accumulation to a screeching halt. I've not renewed a single one of my quilt magazines. I'm not keeping any at all. I can peruse the latest issue of each magazine at Barnes and Noble and will allow myself to buy one now and then if I must. If I decide I have to have something arriving in my mailbox I'll subscribe to one of the great Australian magazines. Or maybe Quiltmania, though I can get it at the bookstore also.

Just like I'll never use up all my fabric, I'll never make even a fraction of the quilt patterns that I've so carefully torn from magazines or brought home from the quilt store. Or even a fraction of the quilts in all my quilt books. And the people on the Stashbusters list are right. Many of the quilts in magazines these days feature a single line of fabric - they DO look like big shiny ads for those lines. It's been a LONG time since I saw anything really original in a magazine either. That's great - beginning quilters are buying those magazines and all those patterns are new to them. Quilt magazines definitely serve an important purpose for many, many quilters - I'm just not one of them any more.

So while I'm out of commission - unable to sew or quilt - I'm going through all the magazines on my shelf and trying to be very particular about what I save. When I finish doing that I will file what I save - along with the stack of previously ripped out things and purchased patterns that aren't filed - into the already-very-full filing cabinet. This will give me a chance to look at everything there and ask myself whether or not I'm really going to make each one. I know I'll still keep a good many of them, but I'm willing to bet there are lots more I will now be tossing in the recycle bin.

1. Delightful dinner with Rebecca and Rick
2. More range of motion in my right arm
3. Wonderful friends and neighbors who are stepping in to drive me around when Fred can't
4. Weight Watchers ice cream bars
5. Payday tomorrow!

You Are Sunrise

You enjoy living a slow, fulfilling life. You enjoy living every moment, no matter how ordinary.

You are a person of reflection and meditation. You start and end every day by looking inward.

Caring and giving, you enjoy making people happy. You're often cooking for friends or buying them gifts.

All in all, you know how to love life for what it is - not for how it should be.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The verdict is in . . .

Apparently I have a torn rotator cuff. I'm still on pain meds and in a sling. I can't return to work until October 8th at the earliest. In the meantime I have exercises to do 5-6 times a day and I'm to ice my shoulder 5-6 times a day also. I'm to have physical therapy as soon as I can get an appointment, which is about a month out right now. I can tell them to give me a cancellation which might get me in about 2 weeks sooner - I'll just have to figure out how to get myself there if they call. Luckily I have a wonderful neighbor and my great Tangled Threads friends that I can call on if need be. I want to do everything they tell me I need to do in order to heal - I need to avoid shoulder surgery if I can possibly help it.

So - I guess I won't be doing any quilting and not much in the way of sewing for another couple weeks. Now that I'm all caught up on my blog reading I can start reading quilt magazines. I have a big stack that I need to go through - many only glanced at till now. This is my chance to read what I haven't and tear out everything I want to save. I have a big stack of things already that need to be filed away; now I'll be adding to it. I figure I should be able to file with just my left hand, don't you think?

In every cloud there is a silver lining - I have more time to catch up on quilty things I put off when I'm focusing on sewing. I also have another 41 days of paid sick leave accumulated so I'm in good shape. I have several things I can blog about even though I'm not sewing, so I shouldn't be bored.

1. Changing leaves against a deep blue sky
2. A delicious dinner of soup and salad
3. A marvelous Saturday spent with kids and granddaughter
4. Understanding customers
5. A special package from Britain

Half-square Triangle Squares

I've added the link to one more "tutorial". This shows one of the ways I love to make completely accurate half-square triangle squares. Nancy Martin and Marcia McCloskey developed this method years ago. Nancy developed a ruler called a "Bias Square" for this method. Having that particular ruler isn't necessary any more, as most any square ruler has a 45 degree angle line across the ruler.

Some people don't like this method because they don't like to cut long bias strips off their fabric. It's still possible to use the method, however, by cutting large squares. Just cut a large square, cut it diagonally, then cut the resulting triangles into strips by making cuts parallel to the first diagonal cut. The width of the strip depends on the size triangle square you are cutting - you will find the "rule of thumb" for the strip width in the tutorial.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Road trip

My friend Kim and I had a wonderful road trip on Thursday. Getting out of the house was "just what the doctor ordered" as far as I was concerned. We started out with breakfast at a little restaurant where Kim can get her favorite biscuits and country sausage gravy. I had an egg, two link sausages, and three dollar pancakes. Perfectly sized breakfasts found on their "early bird" menu.

Next we headed up I-5. Kim programmed our destination into her GPS unit and demonstrated how it worked. Pretty clever - but then for $400+ dollars it should be! Our first stop was Sisters Quilt Shop in Chehalis WA. A tiny shop that is completely stuffed to the ceiling with fabrics and more. You really need a shopping list before you go in - otherwise the choices are too overwhelming. They had a little Halloween wall hanging displayed in the window that I decided to get because the kit contained already cut pieces - except for the face. Since I can sew a bit but can't cut at all I figured this was something I could do. I've already placed the pieces on my design wall so they are ready to be stitched together. I also got two sizes of the new yoyo makers. I want to do some fabric garlands for our Christmas trees.

Our next stop was our ultimate destination - Carriage Country Quilts in Des Moines, WA. This was a top 10 quilt shop in the Spring 2007 issue of Quilt Sampler. I'd been there once over four years ago during a shop hop and have always wanted to go back. It certainly didn't disappoint. We were there for about an hour, and I found lots of things of interested. I walked out with the following in my shopping bag - a kit for a Halloween wall hanging all done in wool, a couple stitchery patterns, and a kit for the Winter Wonderland BOM stitchery quilt by Crab Apple Hill. I've been wanting to do a quilt combining stitchery and piecing, and since this was done in my favorite red and white setting I decided it was perfect.

Following this spending spree we stopped for lunch at a little place about a block south of the quilt shop. We each had a large crab salad - marvelous! It was piled high with six ounces of fresh Dungeness crab meat - pure heaven for the palette! OK on the diet too. What wasn't OK as far as the diet was concerned was the marvelous garlic cheese toast we had with the salad. Oh well, calories don't count on a quilt shop road trip, right?

On the way home we stopped at our favorite Momma Made It in Longview. Sharon was getting everything ready for her booth at the Portland Quilt Fest that opens this Thursday. We got a preview of some of her new quilts, and both Kim and I reserved a kit that we will pick up at Quilt Fest. I won't tell you more now as I expect to take photos and post about the Fest next weekend.

All in all it was a marvelous day. Yes, I probably spent more than I should have - I certainly didn't need the things I bought. But it was great medicine for me and helped me feel ever so much better. Now if only I'd get some range of motion back in my arm I might be able to sew more than 2" squares again!

1. A road trip planned by a Tangled Thread friend for a house-bound one wing quilter
2. A homemade lunch brought by a Tangled Thread friend
3. Pumpkin flavored coffee creamer is back in the stores
4. I'm all caught up on my blog reading!
5. Good health insurance

More Tutorials

Last year I wrote several posts about precision piecing and pressing - how I liked to do things. These posts seemed to be well received at the time. Since I don't imagine there is anyone who goes back to my 2006 blog any more to read I thought it might be helpful to add them to the "Tutorials" links on my sidebar. There are five posts all together. Hopefully they won't seem too disjointed being separated from the other posts on last year's blog. I hope they may be of some use to my readers of today.

Please let me know what you think. If you like this sort of thing I can try to create more. The trick is guessing what you might like to see. If there is anything in particular please leave me a comment with a suggestion for a future tutorial.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


In the 18 months or so that I've been blogging I've posted several different tutorials. I've had a couple people suggest that I post links to those tutorials on my sidebar. Now that I'm back to typing with two hands - sort of, anyway - I've begun. Right now only two are listed - the Crumb Chaos block tutorial and the appliqué hints. I know there are at least four more to list that I wrote in 2006 on precision piecing and pressing tips. I will try to get those links posted tonight or tomorrow. I hope some of you find these useful.

One of my Tangled Threads friends has taken pity on me as I'm going stir crazy here at home. She is picking me up in a few minutes an we are heading north to a wonderful quilt shop that I've visited only once over 4 years ago. It feels like cheating, but I guess it's really not. After all, the doctor says I can't work, and I really can't when I can't write or type much. It's a beautiful day for a drive - or should I say ride - and at least I'll be out of the house. I'll report on the trip tonight.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Good news

I got an email from my doctor this morning. Good news - the arm isn't broken. I'm to stay in the sling until my follow-up app't next Monday afternoon and cannot go to work. I'm going to take as much advantage of this unexpected "vacation" as I can considering I'm doing everything one handed. At least I'm getting caught up on everyones blogs - I'm starting the "Q" list right now, which as you can imagine is the largest list. I still don't have the OK to type two handed so comments will be at a minimum. It is so great to finally be catching up with everyone!
My doctor's nurse said I could try moving the arm a little bit now and then - while keeping it in the sling - so the joint doesn't freeze completely. That's great - that tells me that I should be able to start shoving pairs of 2" postage stamp pieces through my featherweight. I need to use my right fingertips only long enough to get each pair aligned. I can do that without moving the shoulder at all. Hooray! my fingers are just aching to touch fabric again!

This does mean that someone else will need to sew the sleeves on the remaining antique quilts. That makes me sad - I was so looking forward to doing that. Rick did bring four more home yesterday so I could give them any information I could by looking at the fabrics. I got to touch them a little, and Rebecca took lots of pictures of them for me. So I will be able to share a few more with you as soon as I can type better.

Since a post doesn't feel complete without pictures, I'm showing you a quilts I made years ago that I've not shared before. All three of these are class samples I made in the early 90's when teaching quilting at Daisy Kingdom. All three were sold when I was participating in the Quilters Market organization.

1. Good news about the x-ray
2. Great books to read while I am housebound
3. Pull-top lids on soup cans - I can't work the can opener one handed
4. Get well messages from so many Internet friends
5. Lots of accumulated sick leave hours

Monday, September 17, 2007

Crumb Caos update

I've been getting a lot of requests for a link to my Crumb Caos tutorial, so I've added it to my side bar. Maybe I should create a link list on my sidebar of the various tutorials I've done in my blogging history. Maybe when I can type with two hands again LOL!

Still waiting to hear the verdict on my shoulder from my doctor. Don't really expect to hear anything until sometime this afternoon.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The best laid plans . . . .

I'm a person who likes to know what is happening from day to day. If I plan things and something disrupts those plans I'm not a happy camper. That's the "J" part of my "INFJ" personality.

Yesterday I left work early because I just wasn't feeling well. I'd not been home even an hour before I really started to feel lousy. I will spare you all the grisly details - you don't want to know - but the last straw was me rolling out of bed onto the hardwood floor, smacking my entire right side. In no time at all I could tell I'd hurt my shoulder. I couldn't lift my arm away from my body at all.

Well, I just got back from urgency care. X-rays are inconclusive as far as they can tell at the moment. they need to be read by a radiologist. My care giver sees what looks like a crack at the top of my arm bone where it joins the shoulder but she isn't sure. The physicians assistant dealing with trauma walk ins wasn't sure either. So here I am with my arm in a sling, shot full of drugs, and waiting for a radiologist to read the X-ray. That may be tomorrow or it may be Monday. In the meantime my arm is immobilized. I didn't make it to the guild Sew Along last night. I have strict instructions to do NO quilting! I can't even think of touching Gandalf, my long arm. I called Cher and told her I couldn't quilt her top. I have another customer quilt that needs to be done by the 25th - time will tell whether or not that's going to happen. At least the rest of the customer quilts have no deadline.

Gone are my hopes of doing the first customer quilt, a charity quilt, and the 4 tops of my own that I stitched backing for on Thursday evening. No hand quilting on Fireworks. Nothing but pain and boredom. Right now I'm looking at the silver lining - at least the shoulder wasn't dislocated. And since I can't drive do I can't work I might be able to catch up on blogs. Won't be commenting much however, as I'm sure I shouldn't be typing.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Hand quilting progress

I'm enjoying hand quilting again so much! And there is no sign of any pain in my hands from arthritis - a definite miracle in my book. The first three fingers on my left hand are starting to develop their touch callouses again from being pricked a tiny bit with each stitch. As long as I quilt a little each day they will stay this way - getting tougher and tougher the longer I quilt.

At least one person commented that they liked the cable on the quilt sashing. I liked the cable also when I stitched the first one, but it wasn't in proportion to the width of the sashing. I was using a stencil, as this was before I learned to create my own quilting templates and stencils. When I'd finished two cables I realized the proportions were really bothering me. That's when I decided to quilt 1/4" from each edge. Much better as far as balancing the sashing quilting with the rest of the quilting, but rather strange looking. The more I looked at it the more I disliked it. The cable was slow going, so I finished the 1/4" from the seam stitching on all the sashings. Then I put it away for several years. When I got it back out last weekend I realized I still thought the sashing was very strange looking with a skinny cable running down between two straight lines of stitching. That's when I knew it was time to rip out the cable. If I were starting from scratch today I'd just draft a cable the width of the space between the two lines - too late now since the lines are stitched in every strip of sashing. The pencil I'm using is supposed to wash out - I sure hope it does! I have a fall back formula of dishwashing liquid and a couple other things for getting out pencil - just in case I need it.

The good news is the sashing quilted up WAY faster this way, and as of now is almost all done. That will leave a single row of blue stitching down the center of the narrow inner border, and something on the outer border. The quilting on this will be done soon - hooray! I guess I'd better start searching my stash for fabric that coordinates so I can have my binding ready.

I always handquilted my quilts almost to death, because I love the visual texture created when light hits the quilting. This quilt was no exception. I've posted a couple blocks so you could see the quilting - these are the best shots I could get.
It will be such a good thing to cross this one off my list of flimsies!

1. A cool morning breeze with just a hint of mist caressing my cheek
2. A fat, ripe Italian prune
3. Three quilt backings prepared and a fourth that needs only one seam stitched
4. Customer quilts coming in from several unexpected sources
5. Chili dogs for dinner - first time in ages!

Monday, September 10, 2007

It's growing!

Quilts go together so quickly when one has blocks already made LOL!

The Crumb Chaos quilt has doubled in size. Three more rows are needed at the bottom. They are stitched together and only need to be attached to this unit. Then a single row of blocks needs stitching together to go all the way from top to bottom on one side. Add borders and a quilt top is finished. I'm going to ask Rick and Rebecca if they want this one for a camping quilt. It will depend on whether or not Rebecca thinks it's too pink. If they don't want it then it's another for Hotel Hope.

Amazing what can be made with scraps many people throw out!

I like it!

I slapped a bunch of Crumb Chaos blocks on my design wall this morning before I went to work. (Do any of the rest of you feel a need to touch fabric just a little in the morning before heading out?) I even took them down in pairs for sewing together and stitch three of them. When I got home today I finished stitching together the rest of them, webbing them the way Bonnie describes here. I've never tried this before, but thought it sounded like a good idea. It didn't go perfectly - somehow I managed to get the top row twisted just a bit - but the rest were OK. Bonnie's right - this IS a great way to sew a quilt together. All the blocks land where you want them to, they are all going the right direction - presuming you laid them out that way - and it's much, much faster than any other method. I'm going to be sewing my tops together this way from now on. Thank you Bonnie!

I need 288 blocks for a quilt for our bed with a long drop. I need 117 blocks for a Hotel Hope quilt or a camper quilt. With 1016 blocks I think I'm going to be busy sewing tops for quite awhile!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Another finished flimsy

Tonight I finished the second string top. This is the first time I've made blocks with a specific color and width for the first diagonal string. I really like how it turned out! I like the first one I made too, but there's just something about the strong diagonal statement the red strings make. I know I'll make more tops similar to this as I have so many remaining strings. For now, however, the strings will be put away in favor of finishing more projects. I have 1016 mile-a-minute blocks that need to be sewn into quilt tops - that's the next thing on the menu.

This weekend we went out to Long Beach, Washington and spent time with Rick, Rebecca, Jeremy, Chelsea and Sophie. We stayed at Chelsea's mom's family place. I didn't take any pictures, but here is a picture of the view from the living room that I took there the first time we were all together. This time our weather was marvelous - high 80's with very little wind. Unusual for the beach! Unlike in the picture, the beach trail was dry so we took several walks to the ocean. Sophie got to play in the sand for the first time - she loved it! It was a wonderful relaxing weekend - so relaxing that I totally forgot to get out my camera! Chelsea and Jeremy were taking lots of pictures, so hopefully they will share. It was great having a weekend to watch Sophie play and cuddle her when she wasn't too busy exploring her world.

I spent a lot of time in a chair handquilting and just enjoying everyone's company. This is the first time in several years that I've done any handquilting - last time I tried the arthritis in my hands gave me a lot of trouble. Not a problem at all right now thanks to my copper rings, so I took full advantage of it. Here is a picture of the quilt I am working on. I finished quilting all the blocks, and started working on the sashing. I'd already quilted the sashing 1/4" from both long seams. I took out the two cables I'd quilted - I didn't like them from the minute I put them in because they looked funny in between the two rows of 1/4" stitching - and quilted a straight line down the middle of the sashing instead. Much better looking and much faster! I'm confident I can finish quilting this one by the end of the month - that will be such a good feeling! I think I started quilting it at least 5-6 years ago.
1. Wonderful weekend with family
2. A beautiful, healthy granddaughter
3. A walk on the beach trail with all my girls

Friday, September 7, 2007

A Flimsy Discovery

Reducing the number of my UFO's has been a goal of mine for the past several years. I started keeping track of UFO's in 2003 - the list from that year began with 68. 2004 began with 65 - doesn't look like much difference until I take into consideration the fact that I started 8 new projects that year.
2005 began with 45 - better, especially considering that I started 9 new projects in 2004. I began to see a problem - the list was never going to go down much if I kept starting new projects. So I tried to be good, starting only 2 new projects in 2005. I thought I'd learned my lesson but I guess not. I began 2006 with 49 and added 7 more during the year.

This year I started with 58 UFO's. I guess I've been kidding myself. Yes, I've been finishing, tossing or giving away UFO's - a total of 54 that have been either completed or given away since January 2003. However, since I started tracking I've reduced the yearly starting number by only 10. And since I've added 5 that I can remember this year - and I'm sure others that I can't remember, I'm not sure I'm making much progress at all!

This discovery has called for drastic action - thus my participating in two different UFO challenges this year as well as putting my list out in public for you all to see. I thought I was being good this year - I told myself that I had really started only two new projects - Joseph's quilt and the mid-century album quilt. That the scrap tops didn't count. Hah! Of course they count! What difference does it make if I start new quilts from yardage off the shelves or scraps from all my baskets and bins - they are still new quilts!

I thought I was still in good shape, however, because almost all my flimsies were ready and waiting to be quilted - batting cut to size and backs constructed. Who was I kidding? I discovered this might not be the case when I was looking for a couple UFO's I could finish quickly last weekend. This afternoon I've pulled everything off the shelves and taken stock - was I ever fooling myself. You see on the shelf the sum total of tops with batting and backing ready and waiting to be put on the machine - 6! Two of those - the Burgoyne Surrounded quilts - are basted together with Quilt Taks that must be removed before I can put them on the machine. A third has thread basting that must be removed. That leaves three that are really ready for quilting, plus second Christmas table runner that is on the machine and that is it! So much for thinking most all my flimsies were completely ready for quilting!

On the family room table you see the true state of affairs. Stacks of flimsies with neither backing nor batting ready. A few flimsies with batting but no backing. And on the floor a Double Irish Chain with the hand quilting started - exactly 4 motifs in alternate blocks. This one needs to have the hand quilted motifs finished and then I'll put it on Gandalf to machine quilt the rest. I didn't even show you the hand quilting project in my basket.

I guess I have some serious work ahead of me before I can proceed much further. I see a time of piecing many, many backs in my immediate future! One good thing anyway - that should clear out a little space on my fabric shelves!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

More information on the antique quilts

I emailed the curator of the Oregon City museum collection with questions about the quilts and other textiles. I got a response today about some of them, including the red and black woven coverlet. I thought you'd be interested in what I learned. I've copied her email below.

Here is the information for the red/black coverlet:

“This coverlet was made by Grandmother Melissa Mayfield LaCray, wife of George LaCray. Their Donation Land Claim was near Viola, OR. They sheared the sheep, she washed the wool, carded and spun the yarn, made the hanks and dyed it then hand wove it on the loom that Grandpa George LaCray made. Made in a special room outside because the loom was so large. Faded by the sun out under the cherry tree”. It does answer the question as to what type of loom the coverlet was made on.

The information on the blanket reads as follows:

“This was among the first virgin wool blankets manufactured by the Oregon City Woolen Mill. It was the property of John Bonnet who was superintendent of the OC Woolen Mill for 14 years, from 1868 to 1882. Thereafter, he gave this blanket to his son, Robert Bonnet, who was born in Oregon City in 1876. Before his death in 1954, Mr. Bonnet expressed a desire that it be preserved as one of the oldest pure woolen blankets ever manufactured in the West”.

The quilt with the love apple appliqué and the name CJS Green has the following info:

“This coverlet was mother’s when she went to housekeeping in 1832. She gave it to me in 1864 when I was married. I wish it given to Cornelia Jessie Spencer (CJS Green) July 15, 1906”. Unfortunately the donor’s name is not listed.

FYI- these were part of a donation of quilts, blankets and quilt blocks from the Clackamas County Pomona Grange #1 in 1994.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Tired but happy

It was way hotter today than it was supposed to be. The temperature reached 89 degrees, which is almost 10 degrees hotter than expected. I know that doesn't sound hot to most of you, but that's much hotter than comfortable for most of us around here. It's especially high for September. Thank goodness for the air conditioner in the longarm room!
Gandalf and I spent most of the day together. For those of you who are a bit mystified - no, Gandalf isn't my husband. My longarm is a Proto Stitch Wizard, so he had to have a name appropriate for a wizard. My goal was to quilt two flimsies today - and I made it! I chose two small ones that already had backs and batting prepared to size. By 2:30 I had them both quilted, so I took a break and went to Starbucks. The binding was already made for one of them, so I made binding for the other and by 5:00 the binding was machine stitched onto both of them. All that is left is the hand stitching on the back and the labels. I think I'll have three UFO's finished by guild on Thursday after all!

The first is a small table top quilt made from an orphan block. I stitched the block in the early 90's when I taught a class at Daisy Kingdom that covered half-square, quarter-square, and three-quarter square triangle squares. I used blocks from Marsha McCloskey's On to Square Two - a great old book for learning to piece complicated blocks from triangles. I think I turned the block into this little quilt around 2000 - I can't tell for sure because I guess I left this top off my UFO list! I just played with the quilting on this one and tried a bunch of new things. Some turned out better than others, and I'm happy with the results. It'll look just fine on one of my end tables in the dining room and it will be finished!

The second little quilt is made from the My House booklet by Little Quilts. I bought the kit for this quilt years and years ago at Stitchin' Post in Sisters Oregon. It sat around for 3-4 years before I made the top in 2001. I'm very happy to have it finished as I've always really liked it. It'll look great on the wall in the summer. This took three to four times as long as the other to quilt because it is primarily ruler work and stitch in the ditch. The only freehand quilting is around the flowers and the flower tendrils in the background of the flower basket.

I planned on oven roasted chicken breasts and baked potatoes for dinner tonight, but it was way too hot to turn on the oven. My husband - a prince among men - said to just make him a sandwich and he'd be fine. So tuna sandwiches were our dinner fare - and mighty tasty they were!

Happy Labor Day!

I wonder how many quilters will actually be "laboring" in their sewing rooms today - especially those of us who spend most Mondays "laboring" in a job to support our habit! Spending time in my sewing room can hardly be called labor - unless you are talking about a labor of love.

Last night I finished the rest of the blocks for the current string top but I didn't get them sewn together. There was only a short time left before I had to head to bed so I decided to start sewing the strings into strata to use in cutting out either Chinese Coins blocks or "rail fence" type string blocks. Being the anal person that I am I pressed seam before I added another strip. I decided VERY quickly that I agree wholeheartedly with Elaine Adair, another blogger who's was creatively stitching up strings last spring. Elaine does all her strings on a paper foundation because she decided it was easier to do it that way than having to measure all those string pieces. It's also MUCH easier to iron all those narrow little pieces when they are attached to a piece of paper to hold the narrow seams in place. Ripping off the paper does take time, but so done measuring the strings and pressing all those little hard-to-hold seams. So I've cut up the rest of the phone book pages into 3 1/2" and 4 1/2" strips, and I'm looking forward to sewing long lines of strings as shown on Elaines blog above. Check out several of her May posts to see all the wonderful things she's done with her strings.

Now on to something I've been meaning to blog about for awhile. My name was the last one that Finn drew out of the "hat" when she was giving away things to celebrate her 1000th post. I eagerly watched the mailbox to see just what Finn chose for me. What delightful fun to open the package after it arrived and pull out the treasures one by one! Some wonderful vintage fabrics from the 30's-50's, including a piece with delightful nursery animals. An old block from wonderful blue and red vintage fabric that will make a marvelous pillow. Some vintage "that green" from the 30's that someone marked with several kitties and one doggie. They are quite large, so I'm guessing the features are to be embroidered before cutting them out, backing them with another fabric, and stuffing them to make a large pillow toy. I'll probably to that to the dog and one of the kitties, and use the rest of the green in a quilt with my 30's reproductions. Once again, thank you so much Finn! You are a sweetheart!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Woven Coverlet

Both Jeanne and Finn have suggested that the red and black woven coverlet may have been woven on a narrow loom and then seamed together to make a larger bed covering. That is certainly possible - I'd not thought of that. Home looms were much narrower than commercial looms. I have no idea how much home weaving may have been done in this area in the past. I do know that the Oregon Woolen Mills were established in Oregon City in 1864, and that either the woven coverlet or the fuzzy blanket was woven by a commercial mill in Oregon City. At first I thought it was the blanket, but now I'm thinking it was more likely to be this woven coverlet. I'm looking forward to finding out the answer - I'll ask Rick to ask the collection curator when he goes to work next week.

A quiet Sunday

Just what I wanted. Except for the fact that the Mariners look like they are on their way to losing their 9th game in a row.

I'm stitching the sleeve on the last of the antique quilts. This is a log cabin in browns, creams and oranges. Rick said it's from the 1850's. It's a summer coverlet - no batting. Nevertheless it's "quilted" heavily in the ditch throughout. This one is in great shape - even the binding - except for a few logs in one part of the quilt. The repairs in this area are beautifully done but with fabric that was new at the time of the repair. I'm guessing that was the late 70's or early 80's because the fabrics are multicolored calicoes from that time. The repairs were done before the Center obtained the quilt; repair with these fabrics would never have been done by someone skilled restoring antique quilts.

I'm also moving full steam ahead on the string blocks. I've now completed 68, with 20 more to go. I'm hoping I can get the top together today - or at least finish all the blocks. I'm getting a bit tired of ripping off paper so I'm eager to try something else with the strings. Speaking of strings - I'm sure mine have been having reproductive orgies in the dark of the drawer - I know when I started that there weren't nearly this many. They won't even behave and stay in the drawers - they insist on spreading themselves all over my floor!

1. The gentle breeze blowing this morning
2. Chunky peanut butter on toast
3. Sleeping in
4. No end to quilty possibilities
5. Antique quilts

Saturday, September 1, 2007

This and that

I've been looking forward to this holiday weekend for days now. I have at least three times as much planned as I'll have time to do I'm sure LOL! This is the first weekend I've had to sew since I completed the sewing room and the never ending stack of mile-a-minute blocks. I've sewn sleeves on two more quilts and have only two more to do. There are at least two others that are currently on display and won't come down until the middle of the month so will have to wait for them.

I had a surprise waiting for me when I unwrapped the third and fourth "quilts". They weren't quilts at all! I have no idea how to date either one of them, but since they belong to the Interpretive Center I'm guessing they are both from sometime in the 1800's.

The first "quilt" is a black and red plaid woven coverlet made of wool. The interesting thing about this textile is the fact that at some time it was sliced down the middle and then sewn back together. It also has a wide black binding made of heavy cotton. I'm guessing the binding was added later for some reason - I've never seen pictures of this type of woven coverlet with a binding. The edges along the one seam allowance look like they might have been the edges of the piece before it was sliced in half, so I'm guessing that the binding was put on after the pieces were seamed together because the outside edges were the cut edges and likely to fray. The top and bottom binding feels like the edge of the coverlet is inside, whereas there is no ridge to feel inside the side bindings. I'd love to know the story as to why it was cut in half and then later sewn back together.

The second "quilt" is a fuzzy wool blanket that was woven in the textile mill that was in Oregon City on the banks of the Willamette River. It is reversible in that one side is red with black and cream stripes while the other is cream with black and red stripes. It has obviously seen some hard use. I'm sure it was beautiful when it was new.

This morning I'll stitch the sleeve on the fifth quilt. It's an appliqué quilt that I'm guessing is from the 1840's or 50's. It was a red and green with touches of gold when it was new, which is very typical of that period. The applique is beautifully done, as is the quilting. The red fabric in the love apple appliqués is deteriorating rapidly. The fabric of the rest of the appliqué is in fine shape, but the color has all but gone. When I started to unroll it I thought it was a whole cloth quilt because of the lack of color. The green and gold can still be seen in places - very faded now. The very narrow binding is so thin it's almost worn away. "C.J.S. Green ?" is written on a back corner in black ink. The ink is dark and clear - it looks like it was written much later than the quilt was made - maybe by an owner who was guessing as to who made the quilt.

As far as my own projects go I have several things planned. I've brought out my string blocks again as I want to get this second quilt top finished. Right now I have 42 finished blocks. I'm going to need almost twice that many for another Hotel Hope top. Once I finish this one I want to try some other things with my strings. I want to do the String X quilt on Bonnie's website, as well as a Chinese Coins quilt. There are also several quilts in Gwen Marsden's Liberated Strings book that I want to do. Good thing, as somehow my strings now fill two drawers. And here I thought I had only a partial drawer left!

I also want to get upstairs and quilt a few of my own tops. I'm supposed to have 3 UFO's finished by guild on Thursday for our UFO challenge, and so far all I have is the one table runner. My stash won't miss the fabric if I have to pay two fat quarter penalties - it's just that I hate to admit that I couldn't get more than one UFO done over the entire summer. Maybe I should take my Mile-a-Minute blocks for show and tell LOL!

1. Fall weather is here!
2. Pumpkin spice lattes at Starbucks
3. A new haircut
4. Time to quilt my own flimsies
5. A bacon and scrambled egg breakfast