Saturday, January 31, 2009

February Goals

I've listed my February goals on my sidebar. As you can see they are - at least I think they are - much more realistic than my January goals. I really do hope to accomplish all of these during the month. I moved a few of the January goals back into the future for now as there are other things I feel I must accomplish this month.

The Circle Lord goal is of prime importance as I have a customer quilt that must be started by the end of the month on which the customer has requested Baptist Fans. It's a huge quilt that will completely fill my 12' table as it measures 120" wide. She told me she was in no hurry, but as I've already had the quilt a couple months and she insisted on giving me a down payment I feel it's time I got busy. I've not quilted anything for at least a couple months, so I'm doing a few of my own to help me "reacquire" skills that have gone stale. So I guess much of the month will be spent upstairs with Gandalf.

There are a few other things I hope to accomplish also that I'm not going to list. If I do get to them then that will be just "icing on the cake". (I'm not anything if I'm not full of trite sayings!)

January Goals - review

How did it get to be January 31st already? Time sure flies faster and faster as one gets older. I feel like I accomplished next to nothing today yet the day is almost gone. I did get in my walking to Starbucks and back and continued going through clothes and other things, tossing what I don't need any more. I took another big load to Goodwill, as went by the credit union to get some cash. Had coffee with Rebecca and Joseph. Other than that I'm just not sure where the day went!

OK - on to my January goals and what I accomplished. It's obvious to me that I was a tad bit unrealistic when I set these goals. How did I think I could actually complete all that applique? Especially now, when my eyesight is getting poorer and poorer. That was really overly optimistic. So - what did I get actually accomplish?

Completed round 2 of the sewing room redo - which wasn't on my original
January list
Finished the Peace on Earth top
Finished the Angel Dance top
Bound and labeled two quilts
Started applique on a Times Remembered

I also completed four pillowcases and almost completed my last UFO top - both of which I forgot to put on my January list even though I intended to do them in January. Getting all this done gave me a great feeling of accomplishment even though I didn't make it all the way through the list. I will try to be more realistic when I set my February goals.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

750 posts - wow!

Today is my third blog-anniversary. When I started writing three years ago today I never would have guessed how chatty I would be, nor how many people would be willing to visit. I'm so very thankful for all of you - my loyal readers. Blogging has been a tremendous blessing for me.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Thank you so much eveyone!

I had a wonderful time reading and rereading all the comments you left answering my question as to what type of quilter you are. The answers were fascinating. As I expected, many of you consider yourselves to be a bit of both, though leaning in one direction or the other.

I'm still amazed at the number of people who are "afraid" of triangles. Triangles aren't hard - they just take practice. Check out my several tutorials on piecing and pressing - you will find lots of hits about piecing triangles. And pressing too - pressing is as important as piecing. Many quilters piece triangles just fine and then stretch them out of shape when they press them.

I've also loved reading your ideas for my fall wall hanging. Some really struck a chord with me - and were things I'd never have thought of myself. Thanks for responding!

I did my best to answer everyone who left me a comment. If you didn't receive an answer from me then you are one of the people who are set up as "no reply" because you said you didn't want your email address available. I'm always really sad when I can't answer someones question for this reason. So . . . if you don't hear from me, check out whether or not your email address is available.

What comes next?

I've reached a VERY strange place in my quilting life. For the first time in over 15 years I have no UFO's that aren't at the finished (more or less) top stage. (I don't count the top I finished this weekend as I'm just waiting for it to tell me what the finishing touches should be.) I have no more sets of blocks with problems to solve. No more exchanges waiting to be put into a top. I must admit - this feels VERY odd!

So what comes next - other than heading upstairs to visit Gandalf and load the first of many tops needing to be quilted. I'm been thinking about this all morning. I have two things nagging at me - a huge bin of strings that I would so love to empty, and several drawers of scraps I've started working with. Both are pretty mindless, which is - I think! - what I need at the moment. I've put the completed hour glass blocks on the design wall and moved the rest of the hourglasses to a bin right by the machine. I've also put the current finished string blocks plus the telephone book pages cut to size and more into the drawer I've emptied in the island. The string bin is waiting for me to pull it closer to the machine and get to work. Right now I'm leaning toward the strings, as they are the most mindless of the two projects. I know I've emptied that bin a couple times - where do all these come from? They must be doing secret things in here in the dark when everyone is sleeping!

For today, anyway, I know it's time to head upstairs to load the first of the three charity tops. And then I'd better get hustling on the three waiting customer tops!

1. Gnarly bare branches against a clear blue sky
2. The first snowdrop of the year ready to burst into bloom
3. Daffodils beginning to poke through the soil

Loser Monday

Hmmm . . . let's see what I should talk about today. You got my weight loss report last week, and I've not weighed myself since then. Sharon has suggested we post a great low calorie dessert recipe. Since all the recipes I have are either from Cooking Light or Weight Watcher magazines and cookbooks I don't feel I can do that as I won't break copyright law. I can give you some suggestions however.
Jello sugar free single serve pudding packages - they have fewer calories than the fat free puddings
Healthy Choice fudge ice cream bars - rich tasting and yummy!
Any Weight Watcher frozen dessert or ice cream treat - I depend on these a lot
My other suggestion is to get yourself a pedometer - a good one that you can program to your weight, stride, etc. Then make it a point to walk when you can - take the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator, park farther away from the store or wherever else you go, move your ironing board out of your sewing room (if you are pressing seams as you sew - which you should be doing - this can really add steps to your daily total.) Shoot for 10,000 steps a day.

Good luck to all you losers this week! May your clothes be looser and your meals healthier and more filling.

The angels are dancing

As Joseph would say - "Wheeee!" I finished the appliqué on Angel Dance last night, and sewed on the borders this morning. I love how this turned out! And I love being able to cross another January goal off my list. I should have no problem finishing this in time to hang it over the piano for the coming Christmas season. This one is also destined to be big stitched - right now I'm thinking of doing an all over diamond grid. (This is a Linda Brannock design.)

I look at my January goals, and realize that I probably set my sights a little high. No matter - whatever isn't completed will move to the February list. Besides, I had a couple January goals that I forgot to list which were finished (more or less anyway) this weekend.

So - what's on tap for this week? Let's see . . . .

Today - walking to Starbucks, doing my business sales tax report, sewing whatever comes next
Tuesday - a Joseph day
Wednesday - Weight Watchers, turn of the century random sampler class
Thursday - another Joseph day
Friday - drive to the quilt show in Silverton, Oregon and visiting a few quilt shops on the way!

Guess it's going to be a busy week!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Stash report - Week 4

I lost a bit of ground this week, but not enough that I can't make it up with one weekend of sewing madly.

In - late 1800's large print (4 yards) and some new Jo Morton fat quarters (3 1/2 yards).

Rick and Rebecca gave me a gift certificate to Z&S Fabrics for Christmas. I've been checking to see whether they've received any new fabric that I liked. Found some last Friday, spent the gift certificate, and received the fabric on Tuesday. Even though it was a gift I'm still counting it as it went into my stash.

Out - 4 1/4 yards for pillowcases and approximately 1 yard used in the PINS round robin, for a total of 5 1/4 yards used.

YTD - 38.5 yards in 13 yards out

The last of my UFO's still at the block stage

After dinner last night I decided to sew together the PINS round robin blocks from 2004. I found a great fall background print of tiny leaves in my stash that I used to fill all the empty spaces. I also found this wonderful Jan Patek apple print that was perfect for the border. I was hoping I could call the top finished once I got this much together. Unfortunately, it doesn't say "done" to me. There are two large blank spaces to the left and right of the pumpkin and crow block. So I've pinned it back onto the wall in hopes that it will tell me what else I need to do.

So . . . here's another question for you. What would you do to complete this top? What would you put in those blank spaces that wouldn't take a great deal of time to do? Several ideas have occurred to me since I pinned it up there, but I'm not completely happy with any of them. I would love your help!

A weekend to sew!

I didn't spend the entire weekend sewing - I did take time for a trip to Starbucks with Rebecca and Joseph on Saturday and walked in the snow (!) to Starbucks this morning to have coffee with Kim. Most of the rest of the weekend was sewing, however - and it was wonderful!

Saturday I finally finished four pillowcases I've been meaning to do for some time. I bought the fabric last spring, intending these to be a birthday present for our SIL in September. When I started watching Joseph several days a week I wasn't able to finish them as planned, so Rick received wrapped fabric as part of his gift. Now, five months later, he has finished pillowcases. Bad Patti! Not any way for a MIL to behave toward a loved SIL! Rick is nutty about dalmatians, and I figured this fabric was as close as I'd ever find. The yellow case is for Rebecca, who loves cute animals of any kind. Too bad I wasn't paying attention and thus the animals are standing on their head! Thank goodness she doesn't care. The nicest think is that this gives me another finish to list for January!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A question for you

In an effort to get some of you lurkers to to comment, I've decided to ask a quilty question or two. I'd love to have you give this a thought or two and then leave me an answer. Or leave me a comment telling me you've answered the question on your own blog.

Which do you enjoy more - otherwise, what type of quilter are you? Do you love the process involved in making a quilt, watching it slowly come together and rejoicing in each step as you complete it? Or do you love to do simple, quick quilts that you can finish in a short amount of time so you can move on to another project?

If you are the first type of quilter, do you usually tend to do complicated, time consuming patterns? Or are you the second type of quilter - choosing quick to do patterns like those that are strip pieced and made completely or primarily without triangles?

Though I've certainly done my share of quick quilts, I much prefer complicated blocks and patterns with lots of triangles and and sometimes lots of pieces per block. I especially love quilts that contain both piecing and applique. I look at a complicated block as a fun test of my skills as a quilter. When I'm paging through a book or magazine to find a new project I choose more time consuming designs most of the time.

So what type of quilter are you?

Friday, January 23, 2009

All ready to sew!

I'm so excited - tomorrow I can finally start sewing in my "new" sewing room! This week was too packed with other things for me to have time to sew, but I have most all of tomorrow. Hooray!

This afternoon I covered the top of my new cabinet with a layer of Insulbrite, three layers of Warm and Natural, and a top layer of canvas. All set now to iron! I had to move it to get to the back - the first time I've used the casters. It is WAY too heavy to move easily - the fact that the casters have no brakes doesn't matter at all. I may need Fred's help to move it out into the hall if needed. Originally I was going to put a casing around the edge of the top layer, fit it with elastic, and make it removable. That's what several people advised me to do. When I came time to do so this afternoon I decided to follow my own instinct instead. So I just used the staple gun to tack it to the underside of the butcher block top. Yes, that will leave holes in the wood, but they won't be visible to anyone who isn't crawling around on the floor. Besides - this is what I bought it for. Years from now when I'm no longer able to sew I don't care if someone else wants to take the top of and doesn't like the tiny holes under the edges of the top.

Another thing that makes me happy is that I finally have a good place to display most of my pin cushions. I think they look great on the glass top of my two new chests. Each one makes me smile, as they either cause me to remember a special friend, or to remember a pleasant time when I made the pin cushion.

1. Continuing beautiful weather
2. A pleasant evening spent sewing with friends
3. Yummy recipes in a new WW cookbook

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Just pretend it's Monday

I got so caught up in my sewing room redo that I totally forgot about Loser Monday! I know it's so trite - but better late than never!

Last week was a nice success - down 2 pounds! Walking the 3.3 miles round trip to Starbucks several times a week has really helped - especially since I'm not allowing myself to have anything to eat. A skinny venti latte gives me my coffee and milk with few calories. I earned 20 exercise points this week!

I took the picture this morning - I'm confident that when I weigh in today I will have finally dropped below the 180 mark. I'll let you know later!

Hint for the week - another great healthy eating website is - Dotti's Weight Loss Zone. Lots of great tips and ideas, plus a very comprehensive restaurant list with points value of menu items. Check it out!

Update - lost another 1.6 pounds this week!

Monday, January 19, 2009

The updating is finished - and I love it!

I thought I'd post pictures as looking at them might help someone else with their organization. At times it seemed like it would never get done. All that is left is sewing the padded top for the ironing station. I plan to do that tomorrow while watching the TV coverage of the inauguration.

Everything in the ironing station cupboard used to sit somewhere on the floor. Now it's hidden until needed.

Marking pens and pencils, plus other miscellaneous stuff.

Bindings and binding scraps

Miscellaneous stuff

Cutting tools - newly rearranged in the top right drawer of the cutting island.

Needles of all kinds, plus other stuff. No, those aren't little condoms - they are finger gloves used when quilting with the linen thread you can see at the back of the drawer.

More oddball stuff. No, that's not a bra - it's a back support to wear when sitting at the machine.

And still more stuff.

I finally had enough drawer space to organize all my wool in one place - 5 of the bottom drawers.
Some of this is purchased, but much of it I felted from clothes I wore to work for many years.

I'm hoping to dye some of it pretty soon.

Moving two drawers of wool allowed me to rearrange the closet. I now have two drawers for every width strip - light an dark. I just need to rearrange the strips now. I was able to make better use of the shelf an the space on top of the drawers by moving stuff into the ironing cabinet. Notice one of the rolling carts is now here. The other moved upstairs to the longarm room.

I moved the short rolling cart to the far end of the cutting island near my sewing machine, as it primarily contains items I use at the machine while sewing. I can move it right next to me, set up the travel iron, and press my piecing without leaving my chair.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The building is finished

We have spent about 1 1/2 days of putting together IKEA furniture - having to deal with a few glitches along the way - and now the building is finished. It's been a long time since I've stooped that much! With help from my DH, and lots of help from my friend Kim, as this is definitely a two person job.

The biggest glitch concerned the casters for the feet of the ironing station. After a total of two trips to Lowe's, one trip to IKEA, and three trips to Home Depot. we finally found casters that worked. I guess one shouldn't decide to put casters on a piece of furniture that isn't meant to have them! The good news is that I finally found some that worked, and Fred was able to install them on the legs of the ironing station. All that's left now is to return the 4 I bought at IKEA, as they didn't work at all. What I thought was drilled holes for casters turned out to be holes for leveling legs, and all the casters fell out the first time we tried to move it!

Now all that's left is cleaning up, moving my stuff into the cupboard and drawers, and making a padded cover for the ironing station. I can already tell that I'm going to love this!

Stash report - Week 3

This week was easy: fabric in - none
fabric out - 1 yard

I finished the Peace on Earth top, which I estimated to be a yard.

YTD: fabric in - 31 yards
fabric out - 7 3/4 yard

Friday, January 16, 2009

I need to step up the pace

It's now the middle of January, and I'm not even close to being halfway through my January goals. Several things have prevented me from sewing for days at a time - not what I expected to happen. I'm not going to stress about it, however - after all, the goals were just to give me something to shoot for. Anything I don't complete will just be moved to February.

Tonight I finished the applique on the last tree of this little wall hanging and then stitched on the borders. This is one of the Jan Patek kits that I purchased earlier this month. I'm very happy with how it turned out. I will hand quilt it - possibly in big stitch - in the next month or two. Hopefully sooner. I'm so happy to cross off another of January's goals!

1. A three day weekend for Fred
2. Crisp cold, clear winter days
3. Several new cookbooks with tasty looking light recipes
4. Meeting a friend for coffee


Thanks to Karen I learned that some of the links to my tutorials "broke" when I combined the two blogs. They are all fixed now. Thanks Karen!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Thank you Suellen!

I received an email today from Suellen Wassem who lives in Ohio. Suellen is the designer of what I call my Star in a Circle quilt. The pattern disappeared long ago in the early 90's when the quilt was on display for over a year at the quilt shop where I worked. By the time I discovered it was missing it was no longer possible to get the pattern. I knew it was Kindred Spirits pattern, but that's all I remembered. I was so happy to hear from Suellen as I always give credit to a pattern designer. Now I can give proper credit to her. I'm going to add her name to the posts in which I picture this quilt, as well as on my sidebar.

Thank you Suellen!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Sewing Room Redo - Part 2

Some of you will remember that my dear husband agreed to a sewing room redo as my birthday gift in 2007 - so we were standing in line on opening day of IKEA-Portland, OR. IKEA has everything needed for changing your so-so sewing room into a dream room. Even if your room is really small like mine (8.5' x 12'). Their Billy bookcase system is perfect for fabric storage because you can get glass doors for each unit and the price is very reasonable. Some of the pieces in their free-standing kitchen line are perfect for cutting tables and more. (If you'd like to see "before" pictures of my room look here and here. After pictures can be found here.

I adore everything about the new room arrangement. It works beautifully. But lately as I've worked in the room I realized it could be even better. I could do something about all the wasted space under the ironing board. Wasted space is a really bad thing when your room is so small. I've also worried about how precarious this storage arrangement is, with the TV balanced on top of a rolling plastic cart. Though we don't live in southern California, we are still in an area prone to earthquakes, and are also supposed to get a BIG ONE one of these days. This would NOT survive such a shaking.

So . . . I've been looking at the IKEA website again. It's a great place to start - though going to the store is much better. I thought I knew just what I wanted - but changed my mind once I got there. My new ironing station will be made from this piece, which is from the same free standing kitchen line as is my center island. It gives me great storage underneath for things like baskets, quilting hoops on stands, and my jugs of water and Best Press. The iron can also go under here when not in use. My DSIL says he will make me a new big board that will fit on this piece. When not ironing I can use this as an additional cutting surface. I'm going to put casters on legs, so when I need to use my entire design wall (which is on the wall behind my ironing space) I can roll this out into the hallway. If I'm going to be sewing all day I can also roll it out there so I can accumulate more activity points on my pedometer! My current ironing board and big board will go upstairs for use in the longarm room. Right now I have to run up and down the stairs to press quilt tops and backs.

Here is what I got to replace the rolling carts. There are about 4" taller, which is a little taller than what I have now, but that's OK. I got two of them, plus a heavy glass top that will cover both of them together, plus a kitchen lazy susan (under $10) for holding the TV so I can rotate it as needed. These drawers are pretty much the same size as what I have, so I won't have to reorganize everything for switching over. I was going to buy a 4 drawer chest, but this is much better for storing what I have to store here. I thought I needed something in white to match the fabric cabinets, but this light birch matches my cutting island and my new pressing station.

If there is a gene for organization the it's one of my very strongest LOL! If you send me an airline ticket and promise to feed me and give me a place to sleep I will come redo your sewing room if you'd like!

Loser Monday

I promised Sharon I'd post before and after pictures. (If these look familiar it's because they've been posted before.) The first picture was taken the second Sunday in July - right after I attended my first Weight Watchers meeting.

The second picture was taken on November 14th when I reached the mile stone of 25 pounds down. I've gone from a tight Women's 18 to a comfortable Misses 14. I still have another 20 pounds to lose - I've not really accomplished much since the November picture. Last week my holiday eating caught up with me - I weighed in with a gain of 2.2 pounds. Since then I'm firmly back on program. This Wednesday I expect to see a loss.

My suggestion for the week is to go to, look around the website, and subscribe to the daily email newsletter. Lots of great nutritional info - and what to buy and what to avoid. She also has great recipes - remakes of your fatty favorites that are actually low in fat and high in fiber. One of her favorite products is original Fiber 1 bran cereal. She turns it into crumbs and uses it to coat things like sweet potatoes cut into fry-size pieces which are then baked in the oven. They really taste good!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sunday Stash Report - week 2

Oh my - I'm sure not doing very well with stashbusting so far this year! I didn't have much time to sew, but I sure found time to shop LOL!

Used - 3/4 yard for binding the two quilts I finished today

Bought - 18 3/4 yards plus one Fat Quarter Shop Jelly Cake

Wednesday was an unexpected Joseph day - but I followed my original plan of heading to Battle Ground to The Primitive Thimble - a marvelous shop for those of us who like homespuns and reproductions. This time I was looking for light homespuns to use as backgrounds on applique blocks. I knew they would have what I needed - and they did. Joseph helped me choose bolts of fabric to purchase. By the time we left I'd bought 25, 3/4 yard pieces. Many quilts are now calling for 20" finished applique blocks, so half yards wouldn't do.

I have always loved red and black together, so I couldn't resist when I saw this Jelly cake online at the Fat Quarter shop. A jelly cake consists of a Jelly Roll, a Charm Pack, and a Layer Cake. The collection includes other colors also, but it was the red and black that kept drawing my eye back to it. I'm really looking forward to making something with these fabrics. I don't know the total yardage here, and I'm not going to figure it out.

So - for the second week in a row I've bought way more than I've used. The good news is I think I'm done buying for some time now LOL!

Two down!

I'm happy to report I have my first two finishes for 2009. Granted - these were quilted last November - but I didn't get them bound until today. I have crossed them of my list of finished tops needing to be quilted, bound and labeled, and have listed them in the sidebar for January completions for May Britt's challenge.

These blocks from a worldwide blogger block exchange had been languishing in the drawer since 2006. They were finally made into a top last fall, and finished today. I love reading the familiar names from all around the world!

These blocks have been waiting since 2003, when I participated in at monthly $5 block. I paid $5 for the first kit, and as long as I brought a finished block each month I got the next month's block for free. The blocks themselves seemed quite colorless when I finished them, so I brightened them up considerably by choosing yellows, golds, purples, greens, and reds when making the flying geese sashing. I disliked the blocks themselves, but love the resulting quilt.

It felt great to cross off one of my January goals!

Friday, January 9, 2009

If only I'd been paying attention!

Since I don't have a picture appropriate to this post I decided it was time for an update on my granddaughters.

I've made another big change to my blog - but I doubt anyone noticed. I also doubt whether anyone else cares. I'm blogging about the chance only because there may be other bloggers who also weren't paying attention and would like to know what I discovered.

If you blog with Blogger, have you noticed the Reading List below your blog list on your Dashboard? Have you ever clicked on the "Blogger Buzz" tab? I never have until yesterday. That's when I discovered that I could import all posts and comments from one blog to another. I supposed I could have done this some time ago - if only I'd been paying attention.

So . . . I've combined my two Quilting Is My Passion blog into one. All the posts and comments for 2006 are now part of this blog. Just in case anyone is interested enough to read past posts that old - which you probably aren't. As I said - I'm probably the only person who cares LOL! Boy, it feels good to my "always organizing" persona! Now I need to fix the labels - I see there are some duplicates.

My favorite quilt

Update: I've just found out that this pattern was designed by Suellen Wassem from Ohio.

The quilt in the header is my favorite of all the quilts I've made. I guess the stars were aligned properly during the days this was being pieced - everything seemed to go perfectly. The fabric choices, the fussy cutting of the pieces, the piecing - all came together to form a beautiful whole.

I used a Kindred Spirits pattern that had just arrived at Daisy Kingdom in Portland, Oregon, where I was working and teaching quilting classes. This was in 1992, so the pattern has long been out of print. I begged the manager of the quilting department to let me make it for a store sample. It hung there for over a year - basted together and bound, as there wasn't time to quilt it before she wanted it finished. Once it was returned to me I did the quilting - which literally covers the entire quilt.

The quilt is pieced by machine and quilted by hand. I display it on the dining room table in the winter - set crosswise, and on a quilt rack in the living room the rest of the year. I wish I had a wall space to hang it permanently, but I don't.

Now that I've written this post, I've discovered I posted about this quilt once before - back in 2007. If you are interested in reading more about it see this post. The pictures in that post enlarge if you click on them - I don't know why the same pictures in this post won't do that.