Monday, September 25, 2006

Quilting another UFO

I spent the afternoon yesterday getting another UFO ready to quilt. This one is Blackberry Brambles. It was made as a shop sample to showcase some new fabrics, and to provide a window display for Blackberry Festival. As I was sandwiching the top I realized that either I didn't piece it very well, or hanging as a top for so long didn't do it any good. It's not quite as flat as I like my quilts to be - it really seems as if the blocks are larger than the sashing strips so they bubble up.

I have smoothed it all down as well as I can, and we'll just see if that will quilt out or not. I plan to meander it with leaves - just want to get this one finished up, and they are pretty active blocks so I think an allover pattern will do just fine for this one. I have a lot of the fabric for the back so I may make a matching pillow or two. I think I may even have an extra block also.

I added another couple of UFOs to my drawer this month as some shop samples came home, so I think I am going to push to get some of them done as well. I have some very nice ones waiting to be quilted. I also need to get busy hand quilting the log cabin. This is a commissioned piece - a very nice man came into the shop looking for someone who can finish his late wife's half done project. It's all blues, and unfortunately, backed with a sheet which makes the quilting a bit harder, but it's a good TV watching project, and one way to rationalize my increased watching time! If I can get 3 blocks a day done, I'll be done in no time. Plus get my quilting finger in shape to do some more quilting on Memories. I am determined to get the additional quilting done on it by the end of the year so I can show it in 2007.
Butterfly Pond

I also worked on getting Butterfly Pond ready to ship next week. I had to re-do the sleeve. Honestly, I do know that a 4" sleeve is standard show size. I don't know what I was thinking when I cut the sleeve (and sewed it on), but I cut the sleeve 4.5 inches so it finished at 2 inches! And I actually remembered to sew it in the binding, so I had to un-sew the top edge of the binding, take off the narrow sleeve, but the wider one on and re sew the binding down.

While I was doing that I did one more run through to cut off stray threads, and found a few little tangles on the back to deal with. I just need to put another label on, and it will be ready to go. I'm on the lookout for a box that's just the right size, but I may just go to the UPS store and spend a little extra money to get a box that is new! I wish I could just send it now, but there is a very specific window of time for it to arrive in, so I have to time it just right. I know - always something, right! I'm off the the sewing machine - lots to do today.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

It IS a small world, after all!

While catching up on some blog reading this morning I found a post that really brought home to me what a small world this really is. While I know that Fran lives in Colorado, I had never thought about how close she is to the place I grew up, until I read her account of the severe storm that we encountered while on vacation. It's amazing to me to think that here we are - two people that have never met in our lives, yet we have walked in the same places, and have many things in common in our lives! I think that it's amazing that we could sit down to a cup of tea, and have a very fun afternoon chatting and getting to know each other - but we've never even met! Anyway, it was quite a storm and this is one of the trees that blew down in Mineral Palace park, Pueblo, CO.

Plan for the day - quilting at my house this afternoon. Don't know who will show up this week, but I need to clean up my dining room before they arrive! I am working on a shop sample today. One the the best perks of my job, making shop samples. It does keep me awash in UFO's and scraps, though! Good practice for machine quilting, though, and Butterfly Pond started out as a shop sample. I did most of the cutting last night, just have to mark half square triangles and sew them. It'll be a pretty quilt soft greens, pinks, and yellow roses. The sample I finished last night was candy colored pinks and greens. Who knows what the next one will be! If I get this one pieced today, I have some rows for the row by row to finish up. Always something, but I really need to get some of this done and off of my to do list.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Sea of Quilts 12

Our annual quilt show is now over and quilters all over town are relieved, and inspired to create new works for next years show! It was a very nice show, as usual. Our entries were down a bit this year, which was actually a plus in the small category because they didn't have to hang them as high on the wall as they have in the past. Some of the categories were pretty small, only four or five entries. The large quilt, professionally quilted category had 30 entries, which was the largest category. Small quilt, hand quilted had only 3 entries (note to self, make sure to enter a small hand quilted quilt next year!)

I got two blue ribbons and a red this year, so I was very happy! My miniature Storm at Sea won in the Miniature category and Jewel of the Prairie won in the Large Quilt, Machine quilted (non professionally) category. Butterfly Pond placed second in the small quilt category. The prize packages were very nice this year and I got an assortment of nice goodies, including thread that I will definitely be putting to good use! Lots of fun and it's nice to be finished. I did a demo on hand quilting, which was fun. Not too many people there, so that was fine because it's really easier to do hand quilting on a one to one basis.

This week, I have to prepare for the EQ5 class I am teaching on Saturday! Last time I checked, I had 9 people signed up to take the class, if we get 10 we'll start a second class. I'm planning to just teach the basics, and if my students are interested to go on to more difficult classes later on. The drawing is really fun, but tricky to figure out on your own. I have really enjoyed using the program, and I do use it a lot, so it will be interesting to see if I can encourage these other ladies to get more out of the program. Some of them have never really used it at all, just loaded it into their computer!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Accepted in PIQF!!

I am bouncing off the wall - I just got my notification that Butterfly Pond has been accepted in the Pacific International Quilt Festival! I have been trying not to think about it, and when the envelope arrived today I was afraid to open it - but I did! Wowwee!!! Now I am all nervous about getting it packaged up and shipped off - and I need to change the sleeve on it. Plus all the double checking of loose threads.... I just don't know what to do first! Actually first I need to get it ready to hang in our Guild show this weekend, then worry about the rest. I am so happy right now I can't even express it - I am so glad I took the risk of just entering my quilt, anything beyond this is just icing on the cake.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Good day for quilting (kind of!)

Had a good day in my studio yesterday, did some cleaning up and organizing (much needed!). I made a quilted tote bag that came out really cute: I'm calling this design a Judy Tote to honor a friend of mine who passed away due to breast cancer this summer. I was thinking of her as I designed it, and used fabric from the heaven can wait line.

Got a box mailed to my Mother in law - her 70th birthday is Sunday and one of the brothers is organizing a big surprise birthday party for her on Saturday. We can't go, so I sent some framed 5 x 7's of us and the kids, and some inspirational books for her to read. I hope she has a really good day! I'm glad that we have one good organizer in the family, he does a really good job of making all of the holidays good for the family, and especially for mom.

Have to work today, but plan to finish preparing my quilts for the show tonight, maybe I'll have time to make another tote bag - I've got some super cute fabric picked out for my next one!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Joys of Being a Homeowner

Need I say it - I really miss having a landlord when I have an appliance (or plumbing) problem! Just last week I spent two days dealing with a toilet that was leaking. Last night one of my lids to an old pan fell apart in the dishwasher. The little screw went down into the pump area in the rear of the dishwasher. From experience, I know what can happen when something small and hard gets down in there, so I decided to take the cover off to get the screw off. As usual, I thought it was just going to be a matter of taking a few screws out and that would be that. The screws came out just fine, but then there is an impeller that needs to come out. Well, that screw was well and truly stuck and in the process of trying to remove it I broke the impeller. The screw then turned, but I couldn't get the darned thing off. So I went to bed thinking that I was going to probably have to buy a new dishwasher.

First thing this morning I went to to see if they could help me. I submitted a question, and got an answer within minutes - it seems as if my only choice is to break up the entire impeller to remove it. (I also checked on sears and picked out a cheap dishwasher, figuring that this project was going downhill fast.) After a bit of beating with a hammer and a screwdriver the impeller started to break apart. I was getting more depressed as the pieces flew, but when I finally broke most of it off, I discovered that with the removal of a few more screws the cover came off easily! At that point I was able to grip the base of the screw and remove it so that when the new impeller arrives from repairclinic I will be able to finish repairing my dishwasher for the princely sum of 35.00 including shipping - yeah! But I still miss having a Landlord to call when something goes wrong.

Here is a picture of Jewel of the Prairie. It looks so pretty hanging up on my wall I think I will leave it there for a few days just to look at! I am really happy with it - not my usual style of quilt, but so bright and colorful that I love it.

It was fun to make, a little challenging to keep all the pieces organized, but quite east to sew, and laying it out was a lot easier than I thought it would be. There are so many different colors that it was easy to keep from ending up with the same colors right next to each other.

This one will be in the quilt show this weekend. I need to put a label on it and it will be ready to go.

This morning I finished the baby quilt I was making for the show, so all of my quilting is done, I just have to finish up labels and sleeves. The baby quilt I just stipple quilted, then I bound it by machine, so it will be very washable and durable for a baby to use. I am happy to have been so productive over the past week, and am going to have to challenge myself to keep up the good work!

Monday, September 11, 2006


I think that a lot of us today are a little lost in memories of the awful attack 5 years ago. I've seen a lot of quilts made to document this event in our lives, but as of yet I have not made one. But September 11 is a day that will not be forgotten for the rest of my life. I don't know how it could be forgotten by anybody who like me, was not an eyewitness, but witnessed it through television and other media. The shock and disbelief that I felt watching the unending news reports will always be with me. I am always grateful that my family is safe, and I can hug them and laugh with them. I am thankful that God has blessed me so abundantly with people that love me and that I love, and that He watches over us all of our lives, even in scary, sad, and trying times.

My daughter and her husband came for the weekend. She has been learning to sew again, so I gave her one of my old machines and have been helping her. So much fun - her dad says I am corrupting her. She made a lot of little bags this weekend and I finished two baby quilt tops. I still have blocks cut for at least two more, and one needs to be quilted for the show this weekend. We went to JoAnn's and bought her some more sewing supplies, she got a rotary cutter and mat set, and I bought her a ruler.

Here's a picture of my completed New York Beauty blocks. We will be meeting at the end of September to decide how to set them together - we made 60 blocks all together. I'm excited to see how this quilt will come out. I'm not sure who the ticket chairman is, but I'm sure they'll do well with this one. I love the way the background is split, just something a little different.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Jewel of the Prairie finished!

I am thrilled to report that I have finished Jewel of the Prairie! It's hard to believe that in the past 5 days I got a queen size quilt quilted and bound. I am so glad it's done (well, I still have to label it - but that won't take me too long!). Now I just have to complete the baby quilt and I'm ready for the show on Friday. I'll be spending the day there helping to set up, I'm thinking of setting my camera up and taking pictures at interval during the day while the quilts are going up. I think that would be fun.

Back to the quilt. It is quilted with a swirl design all over. Nearly 500 yards of thread in the quilting (top only) I bound it with a bright green batik and did it all by machine. I've really refined my technique and I think the machine bindings look almost as good as the hand bindings. I think that if you are quilting by machine, that binding by machine is entirely appropriate.

Now to clean up the sewing room!

Friday, September 08, 2006

September Guild Meeting

Last night we had our first meeting of the year at Sand N Sea Quilt Guild. I enjoyed it very much - returned two very overdue library books, turned in my New York Beauty Blocks for the '07 raffle quilt, and I even bought a block of the month (a very cute little house for halloween!) I had a good time catching up with some of my quilting friends, and was inspired. All of these things are what I like about quilt guild. What I really don't like is that the same people always sit in the same spots, so I always end up way in the back. I feel like I'm butting in if I try to sit in a spot other than my usual place, and I'd really like to sit and visit with some different people sometimes. Maybe I just need to get over it and butt in!

Didn't do any quilting yesterday, but did hem 5 pairs of pants (with cuffs) and replaced an invisible zipper in a pair of pants. So I am free this afternoon to quilt. This morning I am busy getting the cars serviced. Glad I have a book to read while I am waiting! Our program last night was making name tags so if I get myself together I could even work on that while I am waiting. I might do some simple embroidery, I haven't done any for ages, and it really sounds like fun. I've been eyeing some quilt block kits that have embroidered flowers on them, so that may be a good hand work project for television season. Though most of the programs we watch aren't really good for watching while stitching - like Lost!

Off I go, nothing will get done while I'm here on the computer - but it is a lot of fun!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Post Vacation Blues

I just got back from a wonderful trip to Colorado and I feel a little down today. It doesn't help that I have got a cold, and a few deadlines to worry about. I am still anxiously awaiting the letter that tells me if my quilt made it into the PIQF show. I am trying to think positive thoughts, like "who will I tell first?". Wouldn't it be fun to go see my quilt in the show? It would be a great excuse to go visit my sister for a week-end. Then I start thinking about the cost of air-fare! But it would be so worth it!!

I have 8 days to finish quilting a queen size quilt, and finish a baby quilt for the quilt show next week-end. Last year I promised myself that I would not enter anything that was not finished, but I conned myself into entering my Jewel of the Prairie quilt because I may not be able to show it next year. And I entered the baby quilt because I had it all cut out. Unfortunately, here I am again, frantically quilting against a deadline. I suppose I do some of my best work at the last moment, but I think I'd like to not be working this way!

Monday I took Jewel down to the quilt shop and pin-basted it. I quilted 1/4 of it Tuesday, and another 1/4 on Wednesday. I should be able to finish it tomorrow, then have it bound over the week-end. The baby quilt has the top sewn, but I am not satisfied with the border. So, I may have to make a trip to buy a new border for it. So, I keep telling myself I'm ok, I have time, I may not be getting up early friday to sew labels and sleeves on. But I know I probably will!

Back to vacation. I took a ton of pictures, and may have some landscape ideas for quilts. We had a great time, and the whole trip went well except for the severe storm in Pueblo! We were trapped in the midst of 3.5 inches of rain in 30 minutes combined with 70 mph winds. In a Taco Bell Drive-through. We actually did end up getting some food, but there was no way to get to my parents house to eat it! So we very cautiously drove across the flooded street to higher ground in a dry cleaners lot and watched all the fools speeding through lakes of water. The amazing thing is that we didn't actually see anyone get stuck! About a half mile down the road a lady tried to drive her SUV through a railway underpass and just about drowned. I don't know what she was thinking! Luckily by-standers rescued her and no one was injured. There were tons of trees and branches in the streets afterward, and the next day we took a drive through a nearby park I played in as a child and there were about a dozen trees completely ripped out of the ground. Big trees laying around like pick-up sticks. We speculate that there may have been a tornado, but the storm was so bad no one could actually see it! It was an exciting thing, and it made our vacation very memorable! We were very glad to come through it safely, and to have an interesting tale to tell. We know God's hand is on us!

I am glad to be home and back to my sewing machine, even though I am a bit pressured at the time. The quilt is quilting nicely - I've really enjoyed working with the batiks. I'm promising pictures of the finished product next week!