Search This Blog

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Birthday Stitch Day

Saturday was an Amazing Quilt Babes birthday stitch day. For those of you who haven't followed my blog for long, here's how they work:

  • Birthdays are "assigned" at the beginning of a calendar year when all our stitch dates are set.
  • There can only be one birthday stitch day per month.
  • Your Amazing Quilt Babes birthday may or may not fall in the same month as your REAL birthday.
  • The birthday girl brings her project, cut, marked, and ready to sew by 9AM on the assigned date.
  • The birthday girl brings a dessert for lunch (chocolate is usually involved).
  • The other Babes bring sack lunches, sewing machines, cutting tools and sew until 3PM or 4PM.
Last Saturday was Vicky's Amazing Quilt Babes official birthday stitch day. She had chosen a pattern that required a large number of half square triangles. Carol and I had sewn about 180 HSTs before Saturday, so we could be a little ahead when the group started. We set up an assembly line of sewing. Ibby and Vicky sewed the half square triangles, Shirlee pressed them open, and Carol trimmed them. I floated between all three. Of course, I "got" to bring home the trimmings bag.

No one really wanted to know the numbers, but all in all, I think we did a FINE job. We only got 18 blocks sewn together, but all the HSTs were completed (not quite all pressed and trimmed). And we are SICK, SICK, SICK of HSTs! So those numbers?

She needed 80 blocks. Each block contained 10 HSTs. That's 810 HSTs. The method we used required each HST to be handled 6 times (cut, marked, sewn, cut apart, pressed, trimmed). That's 4,860 times those HSTs were handled by us! No wonder we only got 18 if the 80 blocks needed complete!

Here we are: The Amazing Quilt Babes
Sharon, Carol with Daisy the puppy, Shirlee, Vicky, Ibby

I think this group is pretty wonderful! They are my best friends, my quilting buddies, my "go to" people! I hope everyone has some people like this in their life!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A little of this and that!

I'm still working on those borders for Rolling Through the Hard Times. I haven't been able to spend much time on them, but they are still on the table! Instead, I've been cleaning out the stewdio. Putting fabric away where it belongs, getting projects and supplies together for upcoming classes and retreats wears me out!

So that I could do a LITTLE sewing, I've been working on some blocks for our Babes Birthday stitch day this Saturday. We have 80 blocks to do, and each of them have 16 half square triangles. I thought it would be nice if we could have some made ahead to get us going. I'll post pictures on Saturday of our work.

It wouldn't be a Quiltgranny post without pictures, now would it? I've wanted to learn how to knit socks for ever so long! Last year I learned to knit, and I've now I've gotten all my supplies for the socks. I even went so far as to BUY "Knitting for Dummies" which is a great reasource, btw. Now I have to get my courage to just start! I think this weekend might be the time.

When I went to Gwen Marston's retreat last fall, I met Melissa who was knitting socks. We talked a lot about them, and I commissioned her to make some for me. Here they are:

These are from Kaffe Fasset self striping yarn:
These have the design up the back:
And these cranberry ones are the socks I seem to be wearing all the time these days:
Here's my guild friend Peggy and I, showing off our hand knit socks at a guild meeting. Do you think the others thought we were nuts?I also got side tracked from working on my borders when Hubby brought home 15 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken that he found on sale. I can it, and it is so much healthier than processed canned chicken - much lower in sodium and fat. 15 lbs of chicken, once cleaned up makes about 9 pints of canned chicken, plus dinner for 2 two times.

That's it from here in the Midwest, on the edge of the prairies where it has been gloomy for over a week. It feels like we are in northern Europe right now with the fog, temperature inversions and high humidity. Where is the sun? I could use some right now to keep me going.

I hope your days are sunny and you are quilting, sewing or knitting up a storm!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

As many of you know, we moved a little over a year ago from a HUGE house to a much more moderately sized one. In doing, so I gave up a few things that I still miss, like the pool and a HUGE stewdio, but overall, those are just minor things. I still have a nice stewdio, and I don't miss the pool maintenance, so this is OK. I truly love the new house, and the 3 acres we have as well.

I HAVE missed, though, a large quilt display wall. At the other house, when we remodeled the hearth room, we took cabinets off a wall, and used it for my large quilt displays. Here, at this house, we have a more open floor plan, and very few walls for pictures or quilts. I was bemoaning this fact in November, as well as wondering where we would put our very large Christmas tree. My son had the solution. He said, "Mom! Move this over there, move that over here, and take that downstairs! Then you have a place for the tree and when the tree comes down, you can use that entire wall." So we did. And I contemplated life with a display wall again during the Christmas season.

When the tree came down, I discovered that the 94" custom made wall hanging system was about 2" too long, and it looked strange with the top of the adjoining door met it. I called our builder (who just happens to live down the way) to look at it. He got it all fixed up for me by customising the doorway header, and extending the molding all the way on the other wall.

He then added the bottom of my hanging system to the molding, repainted everything, and I'm back in business! YAYAYAYAYAY!!!! I am so happy!!! It feels like my house again! I still need to work with the lamp cords, but that is easy in comparison!

Now, on to the quilting. I'm finished with the borders as far as I can take them until more fabric arrives from Equilter. I know it's been shipped, so I'll take a break from them and work on some of the little exchanges that I've got going on. I'm really liking how this border is turning out! AND, it's using a lot from my stash, too.

Several of you have asked for the "recipe" on how this border is made, so here it is!
These make the units, and then you flip one upside down on either side of how this one sits.

I also got this nifty tool the other day, and it's great! There are a few tools that I've found over the years that really help, and this is one of them. I've used stilettos, and bamboo sticks and even my seam ripper point. BUT, because this one is a thin plastic, if I should happen to run over it with the needle, it doesn't hurt my machine (or me!).

Here's Hubby and Mayo taking their late afternoon nap together. Aren't they sweet? Guess they were tired from all the builder's work! And he's wrapped up in his flannel quilt that really needs to be replaced, but he loves it all the same.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Trash or stash?

I've been working steadily on the borders for the oriental fabric quilt. So far the name is Rolling Through the Hard Times. It's rather tedious to cut the squares for the flying geese, and the squares for the joinings, and the rectangles for the finishing edges just a little at a time. I've been trying to stretch the last of the black fabric so I don't have to add to the stash. BUT, after all that careful cutting, I am short by about 1/4 yard. I've ordered it from Equilter, and I will dutifully add it to the stash counter. But golly! I only made it 8 days into the year without buying anything! Of course, I think this is different don't you?

Now, to my original question. My stitch group, The Amazing Quilt Babes, come together a couple of times a month to sew, laugh and talk. Last time we were together, Carol, was working on some applique butterflies and when she was ready to go, this piece of fabric was going in the trash.

Can you believe that?!!!!! She was going to throw it away! I just couldn't let her do that, so now it's on my cutting table to make some flying geese. Do you think I have to count it as part of my stash? Or can I just say it was trash? LOL!

Oh! By the way....see that little piece of black fabric laying there? That's all I have left of the black fabric I used. I AM feeling pretty good about using it up!

Sunday, January 03, 2010

The new plan

So after much consternation, contemplation, procrastination and a few head aches along the way, here is the new plan for the border. Yes, you see it correctly - the bottom center is sewn upside down. And you know what? It's going to stay that way!

We are all tucked in, waiting for the snowstorm to hit here anytime. By tonight they say it will be blizzard conditions with a windchill of 26 below. It's a good day to sew borders, doncha think?

Here's a view of the south side of our yard BEFORE this next snow arrives:
Mayo has to wear her booties outside now, because it so darned cold with subzero wind chills, her pads freeze!
She seems to appreciate them, too!
But only for a short while, and then it's time to get back inside!
And a final laugh for the day!

Measure once, twice....

It looks like the mis-measurement elves are back in full force this year, aggravating me already! LOL! Or maybe this was left over from last year, since I actually started this top last September when I was in Elk Rapids at Gwen Marston's retreat. I now have all the applique done, and I really, really, really like this top.

However! It isn't done yet, and I think I was so excited about the design of it I just wasn't thinking - which is not so unusual for me! As you know, I make my quilts to fit my giant king bed that has a 20" deep mattress on it. That means a giant size quilt! So, instead of the usual long and narrow type quilt, I make mine wide to fit the drop (about 100"-105") and short (at least 86") and then make pillow cases to match. In this instance, before I am finished with it, it now measures 74" wide by 92" long. Hmmmm, a little backwards (or sidewards). I still need to get it wide enough to cover the bed, side to side, so I've been trying to figure out what to do, and where to do it.

Of course, I have my quality control monitor to help!

I think I am going to play with a flying geese border similar to the one shown on Lessons from Mama by Terry Atkinson. Of course, you know what that means, don't you? Math! Measurements! Let's see if I can get this right this time!

I hope you are having a wonderful start to the New Year, and you are happily measuring quilting away!

Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to one and all!

This morning when I took the puppy outside, I saw the last of this year's Blue Moon. We won't see another one, you know until 2012, so I felt especially blessed to see it shining so beautifully through the wispy clouds when I went out in the cold, crisp air.

On Wednesday, I was contacted by Duschene Clinic (part of Caritas Clinics) to ask about a quilt for their fundraiser in January. A little short notice ... but ... I was happy to have this quilt on hand to offer. This quilt is a bit lighter than the picture shows, and it's more of a shabby chic colorway. A sampler is always fun to make, and I really like the garden path sashing. Their pancake breakfast is going to be held on January 31 in Leavenworth, KS so if you are anywhere near, check it out, so you can help!

You may have noticed that I've added something new to my sidebar. I am going to try very hard this year to work primarily from my stash. I've done pretty good at this over the last few years, but I never tracked it. Now, I can do that easily with the ticker located on the right side of this blog. You'll see I'm in the "weeds" at the moment, but very, very soon, I hope to be able to make a good report to start out the new year right!

I don't make resolutions for the New Year, but this year, I am promising myself to keep smiling, keep quilting, and keep blogging. I think I can do all those! How about you?