Friday, March 28, 2008

Friday news

I'm close to being ready to head out for retreat. Haven't even started packing clothes yet - that shouldn't take more than 10 minutes - but the sewing stuff is in the CRV. It's a good thing there is no one here that needs to ride with me - we'd be in big trouble! I always take my good sewing chair whenever possible - sitting for five days on a folding chair is not a good thing for this aging back! I still need to pack the laptop also - so far I can't find the case my daughter gave me to carry it in. Must be in a closet here somewhere!

Those of you who have been reading my blog for some time are familiar with the classes I'm taking with Eileen Trestain, and AQS certified quilt appraiser and fabric dating expert. Last night was our last mid-century Album class, which covered the period from 1830 to 1859. We received our last packet and the fabric for the final border of the quilt. There were several print pieces to choose from but none of them really thrilled me, so I choose to take 4 yards of the natural background and will do an appliqué border on my quilt. Eventually - this is going to be a very long term project.

We also had an introduction to the class that starts next month, which covers the Civil War and Centennial period of 1860-1879. Like the class that just finished, we will receive patterns for a sampler quilt, including twelve different layouts! Both appliqué and pieced blocks will be included. Eileen brought one of her antique quilts from the period from which she drew many of the designs. I just went nuts over this quilt - I have a feeling I will be doing something like this!

Notice the first of my 2008 goals listed on my sidebar? I've been doing great so far - but this week I took a huge nosedive into negative territory. I may not be able to recover this year - oh well. Why should this year be any different from the years before LOL! I've ordered a twenty yard bolt of Kona Cotton for my Dear Jane background, and I came home from Eileen's Tuesday class with a large sack full of fat quarters representing the 1880-1910 period. It wasn't until I washed them all, pressed them, and put them in a basket for retreat - along with a bunch of stuff from my stash - that I realized that I'd no idea how many yards I bought. So I just now dug out the sales slip. 38 fat quarters, which equals 9 1/2 yards. That's 29 1/2 yards bought this week, and now I'm going to be spending five days in the basement of my most favorite of all quilt shops. I already know there is going to be no hope of decreasing my stash this year - not unless I sew like a mad woman and don't stop to eat or sleep.

It is March 28th - where did March go? The weirdest thing is this - it is snowing outside! And it's actually sticking a bit! This is western Washington - where it rarely snows even in the winter! Weirder yet is that it's snowing at the ocean, with accumulations of 3-5 inches expected by evening. Talk out strange, mixed up weather!

OK - need to pack clothes and finish getting ready. Everybody have a great weekend. I'm going to try to post from the hotel using my laptop - if I can figure out how to do that.

1. Quilt retreats
2. Safe travel home for my kids
3. Fascinating quilt classes
4. Marvelous quilt shops
5. Retreat snack foods!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Give Away!

Now that I've finally finished my Rosewood Cottage block of the month I have no use for the patterns. So I've decided to offer them in a giveaway!

This is a six part quilt. Piecing is easy. Appliqué is easy also as it's all done with fusibles. The patterns are already reversed for tracing onto the fusible. I did all the blanket stitching by hand with floss, but it could just as easily be done by machine.
If you'd like to be in the drawing for these patterns, leave a comment on THIS post. Be sure you send me a separate email in addition to leaving a comment if your email address isn't public on your profile or if you don't have a profile. I will do the drawing after retreat - and probably also after next week's quilt show - depending on how many people enter.

Good luck!
Update - Entries are now closed at 90 comments.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Preparing for retreat

I think we all go through the same thing when packing for a retreat. Packing clothing is just an afterthought. The important thing is choosing which projects to take. It's important to take a little bit of everything so one has a project for whatever mood should strike. So far these are the things I've set out to take. I think this is probably enough, don't you?

1. My current hand quilting project - a Double Irish Chain from my teaching days of 1991-92
2. My current hand appliqué project - the mid-century Album Quilt
3. UFO - Heirloom Stitches - I need to piece and attach the inner sawtooth border and prep the outside appliqué borders
4. Scrap project - hourglass blocks
5. Current long term project - Civil War Diaries blocks
6. UFO - pre-1830's medallion - last two borders to do
7. New quilt history project - 1880-1910 random sampler - need to prewash some fabrics for this one
I was going to take my Rosewood Cottage BOM UFO as all it needed was one more large block and the borders. However, when I started prepping it yesterday I suddenly realized how little time it would take to finish it. So I worked on it yesterday and finished it today. It felt great to move it from the list of unfinished tops to the list of flimsies to quilt, bind and label. I thought this was a really old project - at least ten years old - but my UFO spreadsheet says it was started in 2002. I'm pretty sure that's wrong - unless that's when I started working on it. I know I had the monthly kits for 3-4 years before I started it. I love how it turned out!

I thought I had all day tomorrow as well as half of Friday for prep time, but Jeremy called about an hour ago and asked me if I'd like to come down and baby sit Sophie for a few hours tomorrow. They have a funeral to attend. Of course I said yes - I jumped at the chance! There's nothing better than time with a grand child that one doesn't have to share with anyone else!

So, I guess I'd better get those fabrics prewashed tonight!

1. A nice glass of wine with dinner
2. Leftover Easter ham
3. 15% class discounts at the quilt shop!

Monday, March 24, 2008

One last block

All caught up until today. Seven weeks of blocks, 49 blocks total. I've chosen fabrics for this week's blocks also, as well as a few extras. They are all packed into a basket ready to take to retreat. They will be the first things I'll work on. I'm amazed how fast these blocks went together - almost halfway done with the quilt. I'm still thinking of how I might set this together. I like the way the quilts in the books are done, but that's only one possibility. I'm sure there are many others. Most of the walls in our retreat room are covered with batting for design walls, so I'm taking all the blocks along to play with.

Today's block is called Grammar Class. Better get back to packing!

Just about caught up

This past week I've been making Civil War Diaries blocks like a mad woman. My goal was to be all caught up with the posted lists by this morning. I almost made it. There's only one block that I didn't get done, and it will be done in the next hour or two. Once it is finished I'll have to put those aside while I prepare to go on retreat. Our PINS group - Phenomenal Internet Northwest Stitchers - is heading to Longview, WA and my favorite quilt shop for five glorious days. We converge in the shop basement every spring, coming from all over the Northwest. We met online 5+ years ago, and have gotten together twice a year ever since. I can hardly wait to see everyone again, see what they've all been doing, and compare pictures of our grandchildren. There are eleven of us coming this time - that's almost everyone!

Here are my latest blocks:

Troops Arriving
Lonesome Place
Whizzing Bullets
Sorrows of War
Another Death
Mrs. Massie's Party
Recovering Items
Battle at Williamsburg
Union Soldiers
Games, Music and Knitting
Everyday Chores
1. A wonderful Easter weekend with family
2. Healthy grandchildren
3. The Internet quilting community
4. Talented designers
5. Color everywhere!

Friday, March 21, 2008

A little bit of this and a little bit of that

Yesterday I morning I headed to the credit union to deliver the monster Oriental quilt to my customer. She is a good friend, a former coworker and our financial planner. It was so odd to be back in the building where I spent so many working years! She loved the way it turned out - said she had goose bumps all over looking at it. It was the most amazing response I've ever had from a customer when they saw their quilted top. Seeing her joy with my work made all those hours worthwhile. I'm so very glad she liked it! This is a very special quilt to her. In all the years she's been quilting this is the first time she's picked a pattern and special fabrics to make something special for herself. It's going to look fabulous on her bed.

Murphy's Law was definitely at work here this week - it just made me laugh out loud to see it in operation. After I mailed away all those scraps a couple weeks ago here came one of my Tangled Threads friends with a box of plaids. She has been cleaning out her sewing room and is getting rid of things she knows she won't use. Since I love plaids she brought all she had to me! Many of them are repeats of pieces I have in my stash already - plaids from at least 15 or more years ago. So, did I turn them down? Of course not! One can never have too many plaids LOL!

Catching up on the Weekly Block Lists

I've meant to post before now, but I guess I lost track of time. I've been in my sewing room making a valiant effort to catch up with the Civil War Diaries blocks. I'm getting there - I did seven on Wednesday and five yesterday. Can't believe how much longer it takes to make the paper pieced blocks! I've tried to clean up after myself as I work, but gave up yesterday. So this morning I'm looking at a big heap of fabrics on the ironing board that need to be folded and put away. Unfortunately some of them are from the shelves and some from the baskets for my mid-century Album quilt. Hopefully I can tell which is which, since the fabrics from the baskets are the ones that Eileen has certified as being authentic for each era.

Here are my new blocks - in no particular order:

A Little Broth - This block, being asymmetrical, caused my "Quilters Dyslexia" to pop out of hiding. Almost as soon as I started paper piecing it I realized that if I constructed it according to the foundation the resulting block would be a mirror image of the one in the book. I tried to reverse the pieces without changing the lines - didn't work at all. I finally printed a new foundation, used the light box, and drew a mirror image foundation. Would it have mattered if the finally block was a mirror image? Of course not! Would it bother me? Of course! Once again my anal personality rears it's ugly head!

At Last a Free Man

Drawing for our Clothes - finally a block that doesn't have to be paper pieced!

Old Abe Lincoln - when I ordered the second CD from Rosemary Youngs she included three of the Abraham Lincoln images. What a nice surprise!

Privilege of Communication

Runaway Slave

Second Term - I kept double checking the picture because the left side of this block looks like a quilters "humility error".

Another Battle Mail Delivery

Panic - This one drove me completely nuts! I unstitched so many parts of this one! "Quilters Dyslexia once more. I finally gave up trying to use the foundation pieces when I was about half way through the block - I just couldn't get the fabric placement right when working in "mirror image mode". The pieces started looking a little worse for wear as I'd picked out so many seams, but I finally made it come together after about three hours of tearing my hair. The resulting block looks like another "humility block". I checked the picture three times to make sure the fabric placement was correct, as it looks wrong to me in the final block.

Parlor Activities

Visit to Town

In spite of my troubles with a couple of these blocks I'm having so much fun making them. I think it's going to be hard to stop. I may end with a quilt bigger than the 100" square quilt in the book because I will have forgotten to stop at 121 blocks! I'm eager to get back into the sewing room today to see how many more I can finish today.



1. Signs of spring everywhere!
2. Lovely blue grape hyacinths popping up all over my gardens
3. Precious little grandbabies
4. Hot tea with milk
5. A place of my own - full of fabric!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A little bit of Easter

I was standing behind the door when they passed out the talent to arrange collections to enhance a decor. Mine always have somewhat of a cluttered, she just stuck it all out there sort of look. I think part of the problem is that I have too many things and they are too little to be able to arrange for truly pleasing visual impact. Oh well - no one really cares what I put out except for me, and so many of the things bring back happy memories for me. So for better or worse here are some pictures of our Easter decorations. I added some Jim Shore items this year - most everything you see has been around for over 20 years.

My favorite is the Easter egg tree - which actually has no eggs on it. I've blown and dyed many an egg over the years, but never got around to finish them with hangers, etc. So other things hang from the tree and the eggs are displayed in old Easter baskets that once belonged to Jeremy and Rebecca. I did the little cross stitch pictures shortly after we moved here - over 30 years ago now. I loved the little shop where I bought the supplies - it was like a predecessor of today's quilt shop. It closed in the mid-70's because the husband demanded half the value of the shop's contents in the divorce settlement even though he'd never stepped foot in the shop. Since Washington is a community property state Lola had to comply, so she had a huge going out of business sale. We were all so sad to see The Strawberry Patch close. Notice I used the Pinwheel Daisy top as the base - I see I need to make myself several more spring quilts.
The two big bunnies by the fireplace were made when I was making animals, teddy bears and dolls for bazaars. I kept these two for us. The blue one is made from decorator fabric. The pattern is an old Simplicity or McCalls - I don't know which. I know I gave it away years and years ago.

All the rest has just accumulated over the years as the kids grew up and decided they didn't want to keep any of this stuff. Now that they both have kids maybe I should ask them if they want any of it back. Nah - I don't think so!

A quilty Monday

Judy is hosting another Quiltathon today, but I knew I had to do other things today. So yesterday I did nothing but work on my own quilting until we went to R&R's house a little before 5:00.

So, do I have much to show for what I did all day yesterday? Very, very little! Two more Civil War blocks and that's it. These are Fasting and Knitting and Florida Has Seceded. I put post-it notes on all the pages of the blocks I need to make to catch up, and I've marked the blocks I've already done, both on the block picture page and on the tables of contents. I accidentally marked a block I've not done, so I need to do an extra one already LOL! I need to print more paper foundations for some of the catch up blocks before I can sew them. My next one will be A Little Broth - I have the fabrics chosen and the foundation papers ready.

So what did I do with most of my Monday? Well, I let my friend Kathie talk me into starting two more longterm projects LOL! You can see them on my sidebar. I don't blame Kathie - she didn't have to twist my arm too hard!

I'm going to do Dear Jane - duplicating the original quilt as closely as possible in colors and fabrics. I have a bolt of parchment Cotton Belle that still has over 16 yards on it so I'm going to use that for the background. I've written the author of the Dear Baby Jane blog and asked her to add my name to the list. Now I just need to learn to use the software - I've had it since it first came out. I also pulled the book - which I've had for years! - off my shelves and started reading.

I'm also going to start Nearly Insane. I've wanted to do this one for years - ever since I saw some of the blocks made up in one of my favorite quilt shops. I will choose fabrics as close to the original as possible. I'm pretty sure I have enough reproduction fabrics in my stash for all the blocks. I've joined the Nearly Insane Yahoo group because they have posted a file of all the blocks drawn in EQ. I think I printed at least 30 block foundations yesterday and started choosing fabrics for my first block. The original Salinda Rupp quilt is shown in the book America's Glorious Quilts, so I have that open on my ironing board and the magnifying glass handy. Those are such wonderful blocks - each one is like a little miniature quilt!

Today I spent straightening up the house because Tangled Threads meets here tonight. I finally got around to put out my spring and Easter decorations too - better late than never I guess!

Sunday, March 16, 2008


It is after 6:00 on Sunday and here I sit - back and shoulders aching, feet hurting, arms sore - nevertheless feeling great satisfaction and relief. I have finished the huge Oriental customer quilt. This is one of the most difficult quilts I've ever quilted, and certainly the most time consuming. I listed to unabridged recordings of all three books in the Lord of the Rings trilogy while I quilted, and was near the end of the third book when I finished this evening. I'm guessing that's between 40 and 45 hours of quilting - I sure wish I'd kept track! I know for sure I used over 4000 yards of thread - winding over 60 bobbins before I was through. I wish I could get a good picture of the quilt, but it is too heavy to hold and we don't have a room nearly big enough - or a ceiling high enough. I'm so glad someone else will have to maneuver this monster through a domestic machine to sew on the binding!

Now I can go back to working on my own projects without guilt - hooray! I'm WAY behind on my Civil War blocks and eager to get back to them. I did take time to make one this morning - the first one I've paper pieced. I think it took me longer to make it than it took to make all seven blocks the first week! I do like how it turned out - and can't imagine doing it without paper piecing. This is "Provisions", p. 179 of Civil War Love Letters.

Friday night I took time to attend a guild "sew along". Now that all my scraps are cut to size I'm very eager to use up my strings. I managed to finish 14 string blocks before we closed shop and went home. I really didn't intend to make another string quilt with red as the center strings, however I found the bunch that I'd cut and then lost when I was making the red center string quilt last year, so I needed to use them. This will most likely be another quilt for Hotel Hope.

I didn't do much stashbusting this week - none in fact except for the tiny pieces in the "Provisions" block - unless you count all the scraps I gave away. I added 13 1/4 yards with what came in the mail on Tuesday. That's OK - I believe I'm still comfortably in the negative so far this year - and I REALLY NEEDED these fabrics for my reproduction collection!!!!

1. The monster is finished!
2. A patient, understanding husband
3. A very quilty weekend
4. Coffee with Joseph and Rebecca
5. Successful surgery for Rick's mom

Friday, March 14, 2008

Stash Ins and Outs

I just knew my post about tossing my crumbs would generate some responses - I just had no idea how many!

Several of you mentioned options other than throwing them in the garbage. Believe me, I thought about those options. However, since this was purely impulsive on my part, and so very unlike me, I was 100% sure that if I didn't toss them immediately I wouldn't have tossed them at all. I thought about posting them free for the asking, but in the time it took to get the first response I would have changed my mind. I needed to do something drastic immediately in order to get the ball rolling.

So I threw them out. There were lots and lots of them, but altogether they didn't amount to much fabric. I put them into one of those little plastic bags from the grocery store and tied the bundle shut with the handles. They all fit into one bag once I squashed out the air. If there had been a large box of bag full I never could have done it.

The action did get things moving however. It had results that I didn't expect - results that delighted me. I received an email from a nice lady in the south east who stepped far out of her comfort zone to ask me to toss anything else I might throw away in her direction. She kindly offered to pay me the postage. She currently had very little stash due to circumstances - what she had fit into a small Ziploc bag. She has been working on charity quilts with what she has but wanted to do much more. In no time I had her full name and address. This morning I boxed up every scrap - large and small - that wasn't cut into squares, triangles, strips, bricks or strings. I stuffed them into giant Ziplocs, squeezed out all the air I could, and packed them into two flat rate priority mail boxes. Those hold a LOT of scraps if you work at it. When I mailed them today I discovered their combined weight was just short of 10 pounds! Considering a pound of quilting fabric is approximately 3.8 yards, I figured she got over 30 yards of usable scraps. It felt so freeing to send them off to her, knowing they will be used for charity quilts now instead of taking up space in my sewing room and waiting for me to get around to using them.

And here's the discovery I made - I feel like a large weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I wanted all those scraps used for charity, so I spent a lot of time this past year sewing charity quilts from my scrap stash. However, I can never sew all the quilts I want to and use up all my scraps in three lifetimes. Now I can have both. So stay tuned - I may be offering up some of my cut scraps next! The more I think of that idea the better I like it!

In the meantime I did fall off my diet a bit. You know how there are one or two particular foods that you can never resist no matter how much you want to loos weight? Well, that's what Judie Rothermel fabrics do to my fabric diet. I love her nineteenth century reproduction fabrics so very much. So when Z&S put her newest lines up on their website I felt my dieting determination slipping. So I found a flat rate priority box for me in my mailbox on Tuesday. This is what it contained - fat quarters of her two new collections - Cambridge and Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum III. I can hardly wait to take these to class with me to see what era Eileen will place each piece into.

1. The chance to share with other quilters
2. Flat rate priority mail boxes and envelopes
3. Plum trees bursting into bloom
4. The most perfect cup of coffee I've ever tasted
5. Chunky peanut butter on toast

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Grandma brags

I just can't resist posting more pictures of Joseph - what a precious little guy he is! And Sophie also - I certainly can't leave out that little sweetheart!

Joseph and Grandpa

Joseph and Sophie get acquainted

I think Joseph likes his quilt!

Yep - I think this is the seal of approval!

Uncle Jeremy is reading the story of Noah's Ark to his daughter Sophie and her new cousin Joseph. They are only 33 days apart in age. We hope they will be great friends and playmates as they grow up.