Wednesday, September 29, 2010

15 Minutes

I have been wanting to try this for awhile and yesterday I decided to stop what I was doing and give it a go. Well....let me say it is addicting! Before I knew it, I had 2 sets made and really wanted to continue but needed to get back to my current project so I reluctantly put my scraps aside. Here are my 2 blocks, 6.5 inches in size. No idea what I will do with them but I'm going to continue making them and somewhere along the way I hope inspiration will speak to me!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Design Wall Monday

This is what I'm currently working on. I started this almost a year ago at the Utah State Quilt Festival. I've started and put it aside many times as other projects came and went. Now that I no longer have any "promised projects" I am able to get back to this. I've loved seeing the vibrancy of the Kaffe Fassett fabrics for awhile and thought this was a great pattern to use them as the diamonds are a pretty good size. Unfortunately the picture just doesn't do justice to the fabrics. The pattern calls for vertical sashing and a small inner border and wider outer border. If you notice the column with the half diamonds is longer. Apparently I am to cut off some on both sides once I have all my columns done. Actually, not having to have exact measurements is liberating. I can't wait to complete this!

Friday, September 24, 2010


I didn't do any quilting today although I had plenty of opportunity. I don't know what it is, but sometimes I just can't get myself going. So, instead I decided to post a few photos of quilts I've done that make me happy to think about and to look at.

This quilt was done when I lived in Ohio. We had a flying geese exchange and the rule was to use batiks and have contrast. I decided to put the blocks together to resemble an Ohio star. I loved being part of this group and was sad to leave it. I made sure I used at least one of every piece exchanged (we made 2 of each set to exchange and we made 2 sets each month to dole out to every member participating). This was the only quilt I've had quilted for me.

This next quilt was a result of a class I took at the 2009 Utah State Quilt Festival. I made a slight change to the pattern. I used Moda fabrics, using a charm pack, jelly roll, and some added fabrics for the borders. The pattern is called square dance. This is one of the first quilts I quilted on my longarm. I really love this and it currently hangs in my living room.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Manly Man and Pride and Prejudice

Last night my husband and I watched the first dvd disc of Pride and Prejudice, the Colin Firth version. What may surprise you is my husband is the one that wanted to watch it. It's a favorite for both of us.

I started thinking about the fact he liked this movie. It wasn't like this when we first got married over 30 years ago. I've always viewed him as a manly man. He knows cars, watches racing on tv, and likes to hunt and fish. Knows how to wield a hammer. Give him a power tool and he's there. And yet, there's this soft side to him.

I can't pinpoint when it was he started to like romantic comedies. But it's not like this is all he favors. Give him a Bruce Willis action movie or a big budget Transformers and he's all for watching those. But somewhere along the line he began to enjoy the movies I liked. Or maybe he liked those all along but was afraid to say anything. At any rate, this series makes me smile, makes my husband smile. We had a pleasant evening watching the dvd. And a bonus....I'm almost finished with the wall hanging I've been working on. How great is that?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sewing and Thunderstorms

I am spending the day sewing and doing laundry. Was doing great in the sewing room and then a storm moved in. Years ago I never worried about sewing during storms. That was when I lived in Oklahoma. In the spring, if you only sewed when there weren't storms you spent little time sewing. Of course that was also the day when I didn't have a sewing machine with a computer inside it.

These days I unplug my sewing machines whenever I'm not using them, even though I plug them into surge protectors when I do sew. I don't know why I do that. The surge protectors are rated for a pretty good surge. But....if something were to happen I'd be kicking myself afterwards. My husband thinks I'm being silly. I unplug my computer when I see lightning outside. He doesn't worry too much about it.

So, I'm waiting for the storm to pass. I could do some handwork, since I do have a binding to put on a wall quilt. However, I usually like to save that for the evening, working in front of the television.

I do have a basket full of scraps though. I think I'll go cut them into strips and squares. After seeing numerous blogs about managing stash and what to do with strips and squares I am motivated. Someday I may have a picture of something made out of my scraps. Stay tuned.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Peaches and Tomatoes

Last night I had my first foray into canning. Last week a friend showed me the process so I figured I should put my new "skill" to use! It really wasn't as scary as I thought it would be! The peaches look good, however the jars aren't as pretty. Our water has lots of minerals in it and I had read if you add vinegar to the water bath it would keep the minerals off the jars. Obviously from the picture you can see I forgot to add it! Oh time!

I also put these tomatoes in the freezer for use over the winter. Connie tells me the skin will fall off when they are thawed and they'll be nice and mushy for the soups I'll be putting them in. Getting ready for winter!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Longarm Guild

Today at my longarm guild we had a great treat! We met in the shop of Renae Haddadin ( What a talent she is! I'm a newbie, got my longarm machine last summer, so it was really impressive to see her work up close and to ask questions about it. I can't say what it is, but be on the lookout as she has a fantastic new product coming out. I can't wait to get my hands on mine!

I am very fortunate because in my guild we have national award winning quilters. And....we have newbies like me. A comment was made by a new member today....the same comment I made last year when I joined...."I'm only going to quilt quilts for myself...not make a business." That got a laugh last year and again this year. The more experienced ones say they all said that too. So I wonder...will I ever feel proficient enough to charge someone for my quilting? I'm not sure...all I know is I enjoy having the machine and learning. Having all these experienced quilters around is a bonus!

Friday, September 17, 2010

I can!

It's not every day you learn something new. Today I was lucky enough to learn to can fruit with a friend. Last year I bought a huge box of peaches. They were fantastic but in the end I had to throw many away because I was afraid to try and can them, having never tried it or even see it done.

Connie and I went to a local grower and each bought a box although I bought half the amount she did since there is now a question as to whether or not my lumberjack (I call him that now that he is growing a full face beard) is allergic to them.

She got everything ready and before you know it we had canned peaches! We did end up with juice and peelings and even some of the sugar syrup on the floor, but we won't go into how that happened! I couldn't believe how easy the process was when you had the right equipment!

My mother never canned but my dad's mother did. I thought of her doing this in light of all the specialized things we use today. We used the dishwasher to sterilize the jars, had a little magnetic doodad to pick up the tops of the lids, and a great lifting rack to take the jars out of the water. I wonder what she would have made of all this!

I came home eager to get started on my peaches but had to go out in search of jars and hoping to find a canning rack like Connie's. I guess canning must be very popular out here because there wasn't a pint jar to be found! This weekend I will be out and about searching for some because I want to can the peaches I have. I don't want to throw any away this year!

I'm even contemplating going out to a local u-pick place and get some more tomatoes and can them! I already put up a bunch of tomatoes in the freezer. Another trick Connie taught me. I wonder what my grandmother would have thought about that! In either case I think she would be pleased. She was also a quilter. I wish she had been around when I started quilting. And now I wish she was also around to see me can. I think she would have been proud.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Come Home With Me

I went to one of my favorite LQS yesterday to pick up a Clover yo-yo maker. I don't know about you but I have a real problem with my yo-yos having a large gap after I've gathered them. Maybe it's because I don't make enough of them to know how far apart I should put my running stitch but in any case it's enough of a headache that I decided to buy the gadget. I'll let you know how it goes when I get to it.

The story though is about fabric. I had declared I wasn't going to buy anything new because I have a great stash and enough projects to keep me busy for a really long time. Perhaps more than my lifetime. However, well, you know how it is. I saw a layer cake of Moda's basic grey/origins fabric. I have nothing like it in my stash and I think that was the problem. I have what can be called a multiple fabric disorder instead of a multiple personality disorder when it comes to fabric. I like so many different types! It becomes a problem when working with my scraps.....but that's another story. This fabric was calling to me!

I went browsing the store. I came back to the layer cake. I went back to browsing the store....and I came back to the layer cake. It just wasn't going to leave me alone! Not only was that fabric calling to me, everything in the store was 20% off. Now tell could I ignore that?

So I picked up the layer cake and thought what would I do with it? I really don't know but I did know I might need a border with it. Of course the store had bolts of the origins line. So I picked out a fabric I really liked and bought 2 1/2 yards of that.

What's the moral of the story? There is none! But....the fabric makes me happy. As I sit here typing this post I have the layer cake sitting next to the computer and I look at it. I flip through the layers and smile. It's a simple thing and it makes me smile. Now who can argue with that?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Where Were You?

Where were you the morning of September 11, 2001?

Another anniversary and sometimes it's easy to forget the horror of what we witnessed on tv. Well, maybe not forget, but maybe the intensity is gone. I was living in Germany where my husband was stationed. It was early afternoon there and I was making a potato salad to take to the chapel's single airman/soldier dinner. I had the Today show on as usual and it began. When the 2nd tower was hit I was incredulous and when the first tower fell I started crying and called my husband at work. He hadn't heard what had happened. One of my neighbors came downstairs and she must have seen the horror in my face and she hugged me tight. I couldn't believe what I had witnessed and yet I carried on with my tasks all the while glancing at the tv. I just didn't know what to do, what I could do. All I could do was pray and carry on.

I called the chapel trying to find out whether or not the dinner would go on. I couldn't get through. I thought for sure the dinner would be cancelled but since I wasn't positive I went ahead and got in my car to take the potato salad there. I had to go through the post gate and it was chaos. They weren't letting everyone on the post. They let me through when I told them what I was doing and when I got to the chapel there was only the coordinator for the dinner. It was cancelled.

I came home and wanted to watch everything and learn everything and yet I did not. Our boys were in their early teens and my husband didn't want them to be scarred by my intense interest. I am a news junkie and when events unfold I can easily watch the news all day. They were especially worried as our post housing area was not behind the safety of a fence. We had German armored vehicles outside the posts that were fenced in and the boys saw this every day as they rode the bus to school. There was no such security for us and there were rumors all over the place about unknowns watching our community. A number of days in they surrounded our community with rolls of razor wire and set up a gate to go in and out. The boys felt safer and for the most part their lives went on without too much worries. Our lives went on.

When I came back to the states in 2002 and talked with others about their experiences I realized how far removed we were from "real" worry and danger. Friends had spouses in the Pentagon that day, people we now know were there that day, lost people they knew. At the time we had scoured the rolls and were "relieved" there was no one we knew. We all look for that personal connection. And while we didn't lose someone we knew, we felt the loss. We were changed. Our country was changed.

I don't forget. I go for days without thinking about it but there will be something that triggers a memory, a question. And I remember, not just on the anniversary but many days throughout the year. I think about the people in the towers. I think about those in the Pentagon. I think about the people on the planes. I think about families who lost loved ones. I especially think about the firefighters and police....those who were sent out to rescue. So today I ask you to remember and pray. That's what I'll be doing.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Finish Line

Harvest Goose Chase is done! And not a moment too soon since the auction is Saturday night! What a sense of relief, especially since I had so many issues in getting this completed. But what a relief! I feel really good and now wondering what I'll be working on next. Well, I actually know what I'll be doing. I have a friend that moved over the summer and I started a small wall hanging for her. Unfortunately it didn't get done in time and with all my travels over the summer and the auction quilt...well, you know the story. But....I do have it pieced. All I need to do is quilt it, make some yo-yo flowers for it, and bind it and then I can send it on its merry way. It's way overdue and I don't want to make her wait any more....3 months is long enough!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Almost there

I am feeling like a kid on a long journey asking "are we there yet?" I say that because of the long protracted journey of the auction quilt. It's quilted but not without another challenge. This one was my doing though. I have a longarm and I'm always looking to improve what I do. Since the quilt has an autumn theme I thought what better than leaves quilted across the surface? No matter I hadn't done any, not even on my domestic sewing machine. I did pull out my dry erase board and practiced. Practiced enough that I thought "I can do this!" Well, I did do it...sort of. I spent about 10 minutes sewing and stopped and looked and didn't like what I saw. The thread was blended...blended so well that I had trouble keeping track of where I was going and let me just say, it was not pretty. Now, if this was a quilt I was keeping I'd have no trouble going on. But....It was going to be looked at and my name would be on it and I do have some vanity after all. Soooo.....I spent the next 3-4 hours hunched over the longarm with my seam ripper. I even spent time underneath the machine looking up to make sure all the little threads were gone. Don't ask why I didn't take it off the machine because I really can't answer that!

After a dinner break I went back to work and quilted it with an overall meander. I know there is applique but at this point I wasn't going to take more time and try and do anything special with it. The applique proved to be a pain in itself because of the unsewing I did when I started with the blanket stitch. I've never had a problem with fusible but of course this time I did. Some of the leaves weren't adhering and since this was going to be someone else's quilt I took all the blanket stitching out (fortunately I hadn't gone too far) and laid it all down with satin stitching. Looking at it I see it's not perfect, but this was made with love and has that handmade quality to it. At least that's what I'm telling myself! I there yet? No, but I see the light at the end of the tunnel and this time it's not the lights of a train coming at me. I have the binding attached and will spend the next couple of days sewing it down and then there is the label. Let's hope I don't have issues with that!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

To do or not....that is the question

Do you ever work on a project and wonder why you ever started it? I have a quilt I've been working (or not working) on for over a year. I purchased the kit from Keepsake Quilting last year intending on completing it for my church's Journey to Bethlehem auction last year. Well, for some reason I just couldn't get the oomph to keep going on it and didn't get it done in time. So, I put it away and thought "I'll keep it and get it done for next year." Well, it's next year and over a month ago I pulled it out and looked at it and thought okay...I have enough time to complete it. Well, here it is and the auction is a week and a half away and I'm still not done! I haven't put the time in my sewing room to get it done. I don't know why I'm resisting getting it done. Is it the applique (not my favorite thing to do...don't know why I picked this pattern!), is it the color (not my favorite colors...don't know why I picked this!) or is it wondering how I'm going to quilt it?? Whatever the reason, it's downstairs in my sewing room and I need to finish it. They'd like to have it this Sunday and I know I can't get it done by then but I know I can complete it by auction night, the 11th. Still wishing I had picked something else though!