Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Libby's challenge . . . and more blocks

Libby challenged all of us to post a picture of our ironing board - so here it is. Right now it's not very scary because it's not been that long since I put on a new top. However, hiding beneath the latest cover is enough to make the most hardy quilter shiver in fear. I just staple a new cover right over the old one when needed. I think before I do that again I'm going to have to remove the rest of them - the bottom edges are so thick with fabric that I don't think I can find room for a single other staple.

Here are my three newest Civil War Diary blocks. All three are from the first book. From left to right, top to bottom they are Guerrilla Warfare, Soldier's Box, and Sewing Society for Soldiers. I particularly love the way the last one turned out!

This afternoon I'm starting a new quilt history class with Eileen Trestain. This one covers quilting from 1889-1910. This class also meets once each month for 12 months - and means I'll have an Eileen class two days in a row for the next year. What a great way to spend some time!
Tomorrow my little Tangled Threads quilt group heads for Cannon Beach, Oregon where we have rented a house through Sunday. We always have a great time when we go on a retreat together. I will be driving back on Friday - of course! - so I can be at the airport for Joseph's arrival. I may or may not head back to the beach on Saturday - it depends on how well he is adjusting to the huge change in his life. If it seems better that we lay low for a few days then I will head back on Saturday to join the group.
1. Another beautiful day
2. Spring is in the air!
3. Nummy leftovers for lunch
4. Quilty friends near and far

Monday, February 25, 2008

Marathon quilting and movie session

Sometimes I have the urge to do a movie marathon of old or not-so-old favorites. Last Friday I watched all five Harry Potter movies while I stitched the binding on our Crumb Chaos bed quilt and finished the hand stitching on the rest of the pot holders for the Fort Vancouver kitchen. This weekend I quilted the last two crumb chaos quilts so yesterday evening and today I watched all three Lord of the Rings movies while I hand stitched the binding on those quilts. No real point in posting full pictures of either of them - especially since I don't have enough quilt holders here for decent pictures. They look much like the rest of the Crumb Chaos quilts.

I'm happy to report that all seven large quilts and one small quilt are now finished. The next UFO I complete will be something else entirely. That must wait however, until I finish the curtains for Joseph's room and quilt the waiting customer quilt.
Our kids are in flight right now on their way to Guatemala via Los Angeles. I was amazed to hear that Rick slept well last night. Rebecca was way too excited and only managed to doze a bit. They have a bit of a layover in LA - the flight to Guatemala leaves at 1:00 a.m. - UGH! By the time we get up in the morning, however, they should have their son in their arms once again. They got new pictures via email just this morning, so we have those to hold us until they arrive on Friday afternoon.

1. Daffodils blooming along with our crocus and snowdrops!
2. Leftovers for dinner - easy!
3. Online flight tracking
4. Lots of finished UFO's crossed off

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Seven random things

I've been tagged twice again to post seven random things - thanks Ila and Sara! This will be the fourth time I've played so I'm not sure if I can come up with seven new things. I'll give it a try, however.

1. I loved cutting out paper dolls when I was a child. I didn't play with them once they were cut out - I just loved the process of cutting. I also loved cutting pretty pictures out of magazines and glueing them into cheap paper scrapbooks. I could do this for hours. I think it really helped me as a quilter and dressmaker because it allowed me to develop extremely accurate cutting skills.

2. My sister and I loved to draw and color when we were children. These were the days when paper towels came in white only. Most of our pictures were colored on paper towels because they were always available and cheaper than any other kind of paper for drawing - or at least that's what my mother thought at the time.

3. The beginning of the school year was one of my most favorite times as a child. I loved all the wonderful new supplies - fresh crayons, a little new bottle of paste or Elmer's glue and fresh pencils. I loved choosing a new pencil box to keep them in. And I especially loved getting a fresh, new, sparkling clean and unwrinkled tabled of lined newsprint.

4. I always had a new dress to wear on the first day of school made by my mother, who sewed beautifully. And new shoes and socks. Even when they were saddle shoes - which they almost always were. Saddle shoes were cute on small feet - they just looked big and clunky on my big feet. They still looked great, however, until they got scuffed. Then I'd faithfully polish them every night before I went to bed.

5. I do not like heights - at all. I never have. Even when there is a high railing I can't stand near it and look over the edge without feeling extremely uncomfortable. Made hiking in the Grand Canyon especially difficult!

6. I am half Swedish and half "mixed breed". My father's parents came to the US from Sweden as young adults. My mother's family were Americans for many generations. When I was in high school my mother was contacted by a distant cousing who "found" our very large branch of the family. Her passion was genealogy so she sent my mother very detailed information about our family tree. Her desire was to be able to join the DAR, and figured mom would want to join also. Mom didn't, but found the information fascinating. Apparently we are somehow related to every single Hardenbrook in the country, as the first Hardenbrook came to this country when it was still an English territory. This cousin traced us back to fourteen generations to Germany (if I remember correctly), when there still stands a "castle" (really just a large house) called the "Hardenbrook Castle".

7. Even though I love books I'm not all that crazy about libraries. There is one really big problem with libraries - they make you return the books!

This meme has been circulating through blogland for some time now so I'm not going to tag anyone else. If you want to play along please consider yourself tagged and post away! Leave me a comment so I can head over to your blog to learn more about you.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Another day - another Crumb Chaos quilt

I actually finished this quilt yesterday, but wasn't able to put it on the bed until this morning. I love how it turned out - including the bright orange border! Unfortunately it's not as big as I thought it would be - I'm amazed at how much the quilting made it "shrink". I never seem to remember to allow for that "shrinkage". And since I didn't shrink the cotton batting it's going to be even smaller after it's washed. It's plenty big enough to keep us warm, it's just lacking enough drop to cover the mattress on all sides. I guess I need to write myself a big note to remind me to make the next quilt at least 8" bigger in each direction than I think it needs to be. Of course the problem is where to put the note so I'll see it the next time I decide to make a quilt for our bed! I do love the bright colors - they will really brighten up the room on gray winter days. Now I just need to make new pillow cases and throw pillow to "go" - the ones we have now look a bit out of place on this quilt!

I decided to push myself this weekend to get the last two crumb chaos quilts finished - I want to see the end of them! I'll load the big customer quilt on Monday if not before. Making backings and bindings for these quilts has certainly helped me bust some stash - at least 8 yards for each quilt for a total of 24 yards. That's certainly a good feeling!

Here are a few more of my Civil War blocks, plus a picture of the first two weeks production all together. I'm so thrilled that so many bloggers have decided to keep us company making this quilt!

Now I'd better head upstairs. I still have to make the curtains for Joseph's room also - and it's less than a week until he comes home!


1. Purple crocus and white snowdrops along the front walk
2. Beautiful round mushrooms for stirfry
3. Warm golf weather for Fred
4. The smiles and cheerful greetings from all the workers at Starbucks

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Time sure flies by . . .

when one is having fun. I can't believe I've not posted since Saturday! I know I've been busy - other than one morning when I wasted time playing computer games. I can't help but get mad at myself when I do that - I really don't want to spend precious time that way!

Sophie's birthday party was delightful. When we saw her just over a week before she was walking fairly confidently. Now she is running. I'm sure she is leading Jeremy and Chelsea on a merry chase these days. She sure doesn't take after her grandma when it comes to having a sweet tooth - she loves vegetables but didn't seem at all interested in eating any of her cake. Much better for her in the long run! She didn't like the birthday hat at all but we managed to snap a few pictures before she ripped it off her head.
One more Crumb Chaos quilt is finished - hooray! This one is a snuggly couch quilt for Fred, who always curls up on the couch under a quilt when he watches TV. Between having a flannel back and soft 100% wool batting it's about as snuggly as they come. I used a new panto to me - Splash by Jodi Beamish. I love how it turned out.

I've not posted Civil War blocks for a few days either, but I've been hard at work on them. Making them is like eating chocolates - I want to do another, and another and another. Since we are doing only simple blocks so far they make up very quickly - 10 to 20 minutes apiece for most of them. It's so much fun pulling from the stash for these! I have sixteen made so far, and am now waiting for Dawn to choose next week's blocks. Today's blocks are Splendid Victory, John Morgan, Abomination of Desolation and Bitter Enemy.
You may have noticed a new ring code on my sidebar - Sew Many Blocks. The Bloggers who are doing the Civil War Diaries blocks have joined this new ring so readers can easily move from blog to blog to see how we are all progressing. It's so much fun to compare fabric choices for the same blocks. There are quite a few quilters who have jumped on this band wagon with us - so make your way around the ring and come along for the ride!

Today I'm hoping to get started on quilting the Crumb Chaos quilt for our bed. I put a bright orange border on this one - Fred thought that was a strange choice but I love it. That color will look great against our navy blue bed skirt - once I get around to make it. I've had the fabric for years - ever since we finished our remodeling. It's about time I got it out of the closet, don't you think? There is enough there for curtains too. Speaking of curtains - I need to get the curtains for Joseph's room finished this next week also.

The huge customer quilt that I need to do - which was delayed a week or two later than I expected - needs to go on the longarm as soon as I finish our bed quilt. The quilter delivered it back to me yesterday afternoon, and I know she's really eager to get it back. It's beautifully pieced of orientals - way out of my comfort zone! - and is one of the biggest quilts I've ever quilted - 113" x 125". It's all custom work, so that will be taking much of my time in the next couple weeks. It's a good thing I'm ahead on my Civil War Diaries blocks!

1. Tiny "Cutie" oranges
2. The first strawberries of the season
3. Upcoming quilting retreats
4. Purple crocuses along our front walk
5. My favorite baggy sweatshirt

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Saturday stuff

I'm probably not going to get much quilting done today - but that's OK. I loaded the fourth large Crumb Chaos top on the machine last night so it's all ready for me to start quilting as soon as I can get to it. This is the fourth backing I've done with the flannel I busted from my stash - and is probably the last. There is still flannel remaining, but it is mainly in long narrow strips I've trimmed off the other quilts after I've finished quilting them. I will use it for something - I may try to piece it together to back a smaller quilt. Or I'll add some brushed cotton plaids from my stash.

This morning I had coffee with Rebecca and since then I've been catching up on email and blog reading. I still need to wrap Sophie's birthday gifts - I'll do that soon. The party is late this afternoon and includes dinner - nice to have a day I don't need to cook!
I thought I'd share a picture of the doll quilt I posted last week being "modeled" by Gigi and her mom Katelin. It was a big hit! Mom Katelin insisted that the lights be turned out in the room right away because Gigi wanted to take a nap with her new quilt. It's so much fun to make doll things for a little mother who actually plays with her dolls!

Here, too, is today's Civil War Diary block "Oath of Allegiance". This one was the trickiest so far - because a 5x5 grid doesn't translate easily into a 6" block. I cut the squares to 1 11/16th inches - close enough!

1. Hot cocoa on a cold day
2. Beautiful sunny (but cold) weather for our holiday weekend
3. Audiobooks
4. Aveeno lotion for my extra dry hands
5. Spring bulbs shooting up all over my garden

Friday, February 15, 2008

Friday report

Tomorrow is Sophie's birthday party and I have yet to do any shopping. So today I need to focus on that instead of quilting. I meant to do it yesterday but you know how that goes . . . . I have a pretty good idea of what I'm getting so it shouldn't take all that long. Then I'll come home and piece together the remaining flannel for another quilt back.

Here is the Civil War block for today. One of the interesting things about doing these blocks is reading the stories that go along with them. The author paired every block with a journal entry from the time of the Civil War that inspired the block. Today's block is called "Special Blessings". The journal entry is by Rachel Young King Anderson, a mother of three who worried about her husband away fighting the war. Her diary was written at age 43 in Missouri. The "Special Blessings" entry was written on New Years Day. She is thankful that her husband, son and brothers are still alive and that they have food to eat and clothes to keep them war. She prays for the Lord's mercy to bring them safely through to the end of the war.

OK - time to hop in the shower and get moving - it's going to be so much fun to shop for this birthday!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Two more finishes

Today I put the last stitch in the second camping quilt for Jeremy and Chelsea. I really wanted to get these done so I could deliver them both on Saturday. We are heading down for the celebration of Sophie's first birthday - which really is today. It seems impossible that she is already a year old!

I must admit that I'm really getting tired of the Crumb Chaos quilts. Three of the large ones are now done, with four more to go. I think I have enough flannel for one more back - probably for the smallest remaining quilt. I will be so happy to see the last of these! It does feel good crossing them off my sidebar list however.

I'm putting up pictures of both of them so you can see how similar they look. Funny - since every block is different. These are both quilted with the bear, moose and evergreen tree just like Rick's and Rebecca's. That's what they requested, and it's certainly appropriate for a camping quilt. I'm a bit tired of that pantograph too - the others will definitely have something different on them!

Today's block and a meme

Several people have joined Kathie and me to make the little Civil War blocks. Kathie has the list of participants on her blog. Looks like there are eight of us now - how fun! Here is my block for today. I just love that cheddar print!

Perri tagged me for the "7 things about me". I did this one last year or the year before - let's see if I can think of seven new things. First I need to post the rules . . . I am to tell you 7 things about me that you will be so excited to learn, you will never forget me.

1. Once you are tagged, link back to the person who tagged you.
2. Post THE RULES on your blog.
3. Post 7 weird or random facts about yourself on your blog.
4. Tag 7 people and link to them.
5. Comment on their blog to let them know they have been tagged.
Here goes - what you always wanted to know about me but were afraid to ask . . .
1. As far as I'm concerned there is no dessert that is "to rich" - no matter what others say. Once I made a mocha chocolate cheesecake that included 3, 8-oz packages of cream cheese, sour cream, and a dozen eggs. No one else in the family would eat it because it had coffee in it. No problem - I ate almost all of it - including five pieces in a single day.
2. I love some books so much that I can read them over and over and never tire of them. I've read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy five times, and listed to the audio books another six times. It's about time for me to listen to them again I think. But first I'm going through the Harry Potters again - my sixth time to listen to them. I also read every book again each time another in the series came out.
3. Breakfast is my favorite meal. I'd happily eat breakfast for dinner seven days a week.
4. I absolutely hate to exercise. With a passion. I know I need to however - and I'll start again - as soon as I've made all the quilts I want to make.
5. We are as addicted to books here at our house as I'm addicted to fabrics. I've cataloged about 75% of our library and are up to over 8000 books. And no - I've not read them all. Yet.
6. I'm not a summer person - it's my least favorite season. I can't stand the heat and we have no air conditioning. I love fall the best.
7. I was born when my mother was 40 and my dad 42. They'd been married 21 years before they had their first child. My sister was born 2 1/2 years later. They had to get a baby sitter for their two and four year old children so they could celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. I was named Patti for the doctor who delivered me - Patrick Murphy. If it weren't for Doctor Pat encouraging my mother to try one more time to have a baby I wouldn't be here.
I think many of you have already been tagged, so play along if you haven't been tagged and would like to be.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A new project

When 2008 began I decided wanted to focus very hard on finishing a large percentage of my UFO's. In prior years I have planned to do that - but because I also started many new projects my UFO list at the end of the year was always as long as the list I started with. I'm determined not to do that this year so I've really resisted starting new projects. Other than I've been fairly succesful so far - I've finished nine UFO's and started only one new project - Bonnie's Carolina Crossroads mystery quilt.

Yesterday my friend Kathie at Inspired by Antique Quilts threw me a temptation I was unable to resicst. She is making blocks from Rosemary Youngs' two Civil War books - The Civil War Diary Quilt and The Civil War Love Letter Quilt. She plans to make one each day, choosing from both books, until she has enough for a quilt. I've been drooling over these blocks ever since the books came out, so I decided to join her. She chose the first seven blocks, and now I'm to choose seven more for our second week. Dawn has decided to play along too - even though she isn't sure if she can keep the one block a day pace - so she will choose the seven blocks for the third week. It's going to be so much fun to see which fabrics we each pick for each block. We will post them on our blogs so you can see too.

Here are my first two blocks. I've posted pictures of the back side also because I know some of you like to see how I press seams to eliminate bulk.

Anyone else want to play along too?

1. Nineteenth century reproduction fabrics
2. The ladies trouncing of the men at hand and foot
3. Rotary cutters and rulers
4. Breakfast for dinner!
5. Four day weekend coming up for Fred

Monday, February 11, 2008

All sorts of good news!

Here is our latest picture of Sophie. Take a look at what they have written on her onesie! This was their creative way of announcing the expected arrival next October. We are all so excited!And now for Joseph. The kids' appointment at the US Embassy is Wednesday February 27th. That means they'll all be home on Friday February 29th! Only two and a half more weeks before I can get my arms around that little guy!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sunday Stash Report

This week I used stash on my Crumb Chaos quilts borders - a total of 7.5 yards. I also used another yard for the backing and binding of Happy Jack.

No new fabric entered the house this week.

Let's see if I can make a fairly accurate estimate on my stash depletion progress so far this year.

In: 15 yards border fabrics for crumb, string, and postage stamp quilts
1 1/2 yards reproduction double pinks
14 3/4 yards reproduction fat quarters

Out: 1/2 yard for bindings on Christmas table runners
7 yards for backings and bindings for Spare Parts and Leftovers
24 yards flannel for Crumb Chaos quilt backings
1/2 yard for Crumb Chaos Camping Quilt binding
7 1/2 yards for Crumb Chaos quilt borders
1 yard for Happy Jack backing, binding and sleeve

2008 so far - 31.25 yards in and 40.5 yards out for a net decrease of 9 yards. Better than I thought I was doing - those reproduction prints are always my downfall!

What I've been up to this past week

I can't believe it's been five days since I posted. Time has just been flying by. I've spent 90% of it in one sewing room or the other - talk about being focused and one track minded!

When I left Fort Vancouver after my first day of volunteering I brought home a small pile of 1840's reproduction fabric scraps to make into pot holders for use in the fort kitchen. The sewing machine hadn't been invented during this time, so all the stitching needed to be by hand. It's been a long time since I did any hand piecing. I found it very relaxing just sitting piecing away. I felt like our foremothers must have felt - squeezing as many squares and triangles as I could from each scrap. I started with simple blocks like Broken Dishes and Hourglass. The last few were pieced with an oddball assortment of triangles and squares - not really a named quilt block pattern - just serendipitous creations that used up the scraps that were left. I finished three of the pot holders for turning in on Tuesday - the rest are waiting for more wool scraps for their insides.

On Friday I'd used up every one of the Fort scraps, so I switched back to working on my Crumb Chaos quilts. I finally got word from everyone as to what colors they wanted for borders. Friday and Saturday were spent cutting and stitching borders on the remaining six quilt tops. What a great feeling to have every one of those tops finished! I loved crossing them off the unfinished tops list and adding them to the flimsies list! I also pieced together flannel squares for the backs of two of the quilts, and started working on a third. I'm starting to run out of flannel - I hope I can find enough for the entire back of the third quilt.
This afternoon I quilted the small project I'd loaded on Gandalf last week - the Happy Jack Halloween quilt that I pieced last fall while my shoulder was healing. I also took time to bind and label it and also added a sleeve. It'll be fun to have a Halloween quilt at last to hang up next October.

Tonight I'm pressing a huge king size quilt back in preparation for putting it onto the longarm. This is an important customer quilt I've been dragging my feet on - it's past time I got it on the machine and started quilting it. I hope to get it done this week as I'm eager to get back to quilting the rest of the Crumb Chaos quilts.

1. A willing quilt holder in the house
2. Great news from Jeremy and Chelsea
3. Temperatures in the 50's the last couple days
4. Sleeping in
5. Ultra soft wool batting

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Blogging Frustrations

I know I'm not the only blogger who is frustrated when a person asks a question in their comment but has their profile set to "no reply" - or even "private". Quite a few bloggers have mentioned this lately in their posts, and I'm going to add my two cents worth.

I really do want to answer questions people ask me. However, I don't want to answer them in future posts. After all, this blog is my quilting journal with other parts of my life thrown in now and then - and responding to people's questions isn't what I want to talk about when I write in my journal. Besides, many people may not be interested in the answer to a particular question. I'd much rather answer questions in a personal email - it's better for me and it's better for the person asking the question.

I'm not at all sure why people are afraid of making their email address available in their profile. Mine has been available for over two years and I've never noticed any increase in junk mail because of it. If you are worried about, that then set up a separate email just for your profile. I want to answer your questions, but the only way I will do that is if I have an email address for you. If you aren't sure how to set your profile so your email address is available then send me an email and ask, and I'll help you work through it.

A good start to the month . . .

when it comes to finishing things. Yesterday I finished the first of the seven large crumb chaos quilts - a big camping quilt for Rick and Rebecca. I think the back with the flannel squares and rectangles is just as interesting as the front. I said I was going to quilt this with a blowing leaves pattern, but I was overruled by Rebecca. Last year I bought a pantograph of moose, bear and fir trees because she'd fallen in love with moose after seeing them at Glacier. She begged me to use this pantograph even though it really wouldn't show much on such a busy quilt top. I'm glad she did - it shows up much more than I thought it would - especially on the back. I know she's going to love how it looks when I deliver it to them tomorrow at our regular Wednesday get together.
This morning I had to quilt a baby quilt for a customer - a rush job I obtained last week. When I finished that I decided to load the crumb chaos doll quilt as I wanted to use the same pantograph with loops and stars. It turned out perfectly - I'm sure our very young friend with the adored dolly will just love it. The perfect way to use those last 10 crumb chaos blocks.

I'm on such a good roll now when it comes to finishing UFO's that I wish I could continue. Unfortunately my next priority must be the other customer quilt I have waiting - a queen-king quilt requiring extensive custom quilting. I've postponed tackling this quilt long enough - I need to get it done. I'm sure it will go smoothly once I get started. Getting started is always the hardest part for me. It's always been that way - and I've never been able to figure out why.

1. Audio books
2. A sweet crisp red delicious apple
3. A sleepy dog happy to stay on the bed for the day

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Stash report

Sunday is stash report day - for once I'm meeting the date Judy has set us LOL!

It's been a good week as far as purchases go - there were none. As far as busting stash - the report isn't so good. I didn't bust any that I didn't mention on Wednesday. Until yesterday afternoon I was still piecing flannel into 20" squares for camping quilt backs. Since then I've been prewashing, pressing and sorting the fabric purchases - as well as fabric gifts - from the last six months or so. I'm still doing that this morning. Once I'm finished with that I must get upstairs and start quilting R&R's camping quilt, as I have another top to quilt with a midweek deadline.One thing I did figure out, however, was a much better estimate of how much flannel I busted last week. Now that it's in 20" squares plus long strips to enlarge the back to the needed size the match was pretty easy. Looks like the 15 yards that I guessed in my Wednesday report was WAY under. I'm happy to say that I actually busted over 24 yards - a much better number! I have a total of 66 20" squares plus the extra strips, which should back at least three and possibly four more quilts. And it's so nice to have all those flannels out of my stash! I'm storing the squares on hangers in the sewing room closet for now. That keeps them nice and smooth, ready to sew together into quilt backs with no more pressing.

1. TV shows on DVD
2. A dry day for Fred's golf game
3. Tiny snowdrops blooming along our front walk
4. Daffodils shooting up through the soil
5. Healthy Choice paninis - yum!