Saturday, January 31, 2015

Sew Quickly!

By golly, I might just make it, if I could stop the mal-piecing!  yep.  One of these things is not like the other...And I don't have enough fingers to count the number of times I've sewn triangles onto the wrong side of the bias square over the past few days.  SO frustrating!
 I eventually did get enough of them done to round up the border, which at this point in time is now sewn together and part of the top.
Tomorrow I will add one more 2" border around the edge, then call the top done.  Tomorrow I also plan to piece the back, and on Monday, I will baste and begin quilting.  Goals are good.

Of course I made these grand plans before my husband announced at 9am this morning that we're having a Superbowl party.  Happy happy joy joy. 

I've let him know that I may not play the gracious hostess for the entire game, because slapping on those borders and piecing the back take precedence.  After all, tomorrow is February, and the entry deadline is February 14.  You can enter your work online here, just follow the link to entry rules and forms, and click online entry.  That's my plan.  Goals are good!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Stitch Faster, Stitch Faster!

Faster than a speeding bullet.  That's how quickly the entry deadline for Best of the Valley quilt show seems to be approaching.  I've taken pictures of most of the little quilts I'm planning to enter, but the piece de resistance?  It's still in pieces.
 There are piles waiting to be cut.
 And the last partial blocks to be pieced.
Despite my progress, I'm still WAY behind.
My table assistant isn't much help.  And then I get distracted, and check out the orchard, to see how the trees are.
 (I really wanted to check in on Mr. Roscoe, to be sure he's feeling good.  He's feeling good.)
So.  I hope you're putting together your entries for the quilt show.  And I hope, for your sakes, that you are further along in the process than I am!!!

Better get back to work!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

A Day Off

Yesterday, I was up before 5am, so that I could catch the guild bus to Ontario, CA, for the Road to CA Quilter's Conference.  For the past 6 years, I've been down there early in the week to help out behind the scenes, and I haven't always made it back to see the show.  This time, I've been deep in the stitching of The Wedding Quilt.  I knew I couldn't spare a week, or 3 days, or 2 days.  But 1 day?  I could spare that.

Let me tell you, at 5am yesterday morning, I was NOT motivated to get myself out the door onto the bus.  But boy, howdy, I'm glad I did.  There's nothing that inspires me to quilt more than going to a quilt show.  (Then again, here I sit on the computer, instead of at the sewing machine.)

I didn't take many pictures, though this quilt caught my eye.  My daughter worked at The Cantor for two years.

Other than snapping some other photos for friends, I only did two things:  I looked at the quilts, and I shopped.  And I shopped.  And I shopped.

Okay, so I know that I shop at quilt shows, but I usually come home with a bag of perle cottons and other embellishment items.  This time?  I bought more than that.  First, there is the usual assortment of perle cotton, thread, cowry buttons, cheese cloth, etc.  Notice I had to buy a seam ripper.  I've broken TWO in the past few weeks.  Wonder what's up with that?
 And I bought fabric.  Oh, my goodness, did I buy fabric.  And a wool batt.  Only the reds are 1/2 yard cuts.  The rest are 1, 2, 3, and 5 yard cuts.  oh.  my.
 This is my favorite.  I bought the rest of the bolt, and still I need more.  I think it is PERFECT for the back of my son and daughter-in-law's wedding quilt.
Every time I thought I was done shopping, I turned around and found something else.  And something else.  And something else.  I quickly ran out of cash, and moved on to plastic.  I was really done, really I was, when I found Artistic Artifacts.  (I was on my way back to the bus.)  I knew I should just walk past them, because I'm a sucker for whatever catches my eye on a given day.

I was out of cash, but I saw some square sequins that I REALLY wanted.  I asked, "What is the minimum, for a charge purchase?"  She assured me that they didn't have one.  But then she asked if I realized that the display I was looking at had more items on the other side.  ummm, no.  I hadn't.

By the time I handed over my bounty to the vendor, she laughed and said, "Looks like that minimum charge question wasn't really a problem, was it?"
There are leaves and shells and squares and circles and little medallions that say, "love."

I couldn't carry anything else, so I trudged back to wait for the bus.  It was a good day, a very good day.  And I didn't regret giving up a day of piecing to go to the quilt show.  Turns out I bought the batting and the backing and the thread for the quilt I am working on.  yay!  And now, I need to go back to piecing half-stars and quarter-stars, so that I can piece the center together and start working on the borders.
Goals are good!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Definite Progress

By the time I stopped sewing yesterday, I had most of the full blocks done for the quilt.  Two more setting blocks, and I might clap my hands with glee.  And then it's on to the half-star blocks, which will need to have the triangles cut carefully, if I don't want bias all along the edges.  It's always something, isn't it?

Or maybe I can slap on a border at the end, so that bias doesn't matter?  Now there's a thought.  ;)

Nothing going on, other than sewing and sewing and sewing some more.  Hopefully I'll get to the quilting stage sooner, rather than later.

The assistant is still assisting.  Sorry about the sideways tip of the photo.  I've finally figured it out.  Unless my camera is level when I take the photo, the image flips when I post it to anything.  It's still rightside up on my computer, but put it on the blog or facebook?  It flips faster than you can say, "HEY!" and there's no righting it.

And I guess that's it.  I need to get back into the workshop, sooner, rather than later.  Sew faster!  Sew faster!

P.S.  The entry deadline is February 14.  tick tock.  tick tock.  For detailed information, check Best of the Valley.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

A Block A Day, At Least!

I finally set all of my have-to-dos aside yesterday, turned on my music, picked up the rotary cutter, and went bananas.

 It took more than a few hours, to get this block on flannel.
 But by dinnertime, this one was sewn together.  whew!  Only one more star and a bazillion half stars left, as well as seven alternate blocks.  That goal is pretty steep.  I can't believe I'm still telling myself it's going to get done.  What a nut!
The gardener came back yesterday.  He was very embarrassed about the state of my yard.  Apparently he was in the back and his guy in front didn't know the difference between iris and daylilies.  I think he does now!  Isn't this just the most distressing photo of iris you could ever imagine?
 I am very thankful that the assistant did not notice the iris bed hidden by my car.  See?  I knew they bloom in February!  The first bud is making itself known.
I have the feeling I'm going to celebrate this year's iris blooms even more than usual, since I expect them to be very few and far between.

I think I'll go sew, to take my mind off of it.

Happy Quilting!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Time Wasting

I meant to work on my quilt for Best of the Valley, but I got caught up in distraction.  I heard that a friend injured herself recently, so of course she needs a postcard, right?  I had a "blank" on hand, so I finished it with a few well-placed embellishments.
 I had a stack of black/white/pink squares from another friend, that I'd been moving from one horizontal surface to another, and then back again.  I decided that enough was enough, and I should sew them into 4-patches.  But then the 4-patches needed to be alternated, so I dug into the bag of her scraps and set them with more pink/black/white prints.  The quilt top needed to be bigger, and the next thing I knew, I'd added a couple of rounds of borders.  It now measures about 36" square.
So much for getting something "important" done today.  I folded the top and hung it in the closet.  I'm sure that one of these days I'll need a quickie baby quilt, so I s'pose it's good to have something on hand.

Maybe tomorrow I'll get started on that show quilt.  wow.

Goals are good!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


I finished my first set of Postmark'd Art postcards for 2014.
 I photographed all of them, though they are pretty repetitious.
 Just in case you thought there was only one card,
 They're actually a set of three.  Plus one, that I showed you the other day.
 If they look vaguely familiar, I had a flashback to a quilt I made back in 2013.  I loved the splash of beads across the quilt, and had wanted to repeat it at some time.  I guess this was that time.
 "Inspired by Cindy"
Suzanne Kistler 2013

Here's a close-up, in case you couldn't quite see the beads.
I still haven't worked on a quilt yet this year, but ALL of the unwashed fabric that I've found piled around the room has been washed AND pressed AND put away.  And I found a stack of donor squares that I'm going to try to sew together this afternoon, rather than put them aside once again.

Baby steps.  They're all baby steps.  But it's all forward momentum, and forward momentum is good.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Happy Blogiversary!

According to my calendar, I began this blog 7 years ago today.  My, how time flies!!  I hope we are having fun!  Apparently I'm not bored yet, as I'm still showing up.  :)

I'm currently working on a set of 4 postcards.  I found the pieced strips in a UFO box over the weekend, and thought they'd make nice cards.  They just needed a little oompf.  Last night I came up with a vision, and today I'm stitching it down.  What do you think so far?
That heart bead gets a bit lost in the photo.  It's more distinct in person.

It's been a busy week.  The cats were due for their vaccinations, so we went to the vet.
 Watson was in the black carrier on top of the big cats, because he's a pest.  He makes the big boys hiss.
Two days later, it was time for the dogs to visit the vet.
 I wonder if the tech felt at all intimidated by all those teeth behind her back?  Or how about the vet, when he walked in and saw the welcoming committee?  (My son was with me, acting as Canine Wrangler.  I wrangled Pixel.)
On Friday, my gardener did the unthinkable, and cut back my iris garden.  I've been feeling violated and suffering a severe sense of loss, for I am doubtful that this year's iris crop will even exist.  It's been four days, and I've yet to come to terms with it.  Spring just doesn't welcome me, when I have nothing to watch to help mark the passing of days.
 I tell myself that "iris are resilient!"  "They will survive!"  I know they will bloom again, but will they bloom in 2015?  Probably not all of them.  All of those hints of green in the above photo used to be beautiful fans of leaves. 
Maybe it's a good thing that I've commemorated them in a few quilts?  I can always imagine that they're in the garden, and not just on the wall, right?

 "Queen of the Garden"
Suzanne Kistler 2002

 "Hey, Beautiful!"
Suzanne Kistler 2014

"Psalm 46:10:  Be Still"
Suzanne Kistler 2008

wow.  Has it really been six years since I finished that quilt?!  I was right.  Time is flying by and leaving me behind.  I'd best sign off, and see if I can get something done today!


Thursday, January 8, 2015

Baby Step

 I finished a quilted card yesterday.  I should have photographed it on the wall, instead of on a horizontal surface.  Indoors, outdoors...either way, you need to tilt your laptop to see it properly.
 Guild today, cat vet yesterday, dog vet tomorrow.  Too busy to do much stitching.  Eventually I might have something good to post.  Baby steps.  It's all baby steps.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Slow Off the Starting Block

yup.  I thought I'd be fast and furious for 2015, at least when it comes to quilting.  But here it is, already January 6, before I even step both feet into the Studio.  Since before Christmas, it's been one foot in to toss things, and then step out again.  oh.  my.  That does not bode well for the year...good thing I'm not much for paying attention to omens!  ;)

Today I sat down with my 2015 UFO list.  hmmm.  hem.  haw.  How many? looks to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 38 UFO's.  I think I only added seven.  That might be a new record low, both of New Year's additions, and carryovers from the past.  Not bad.  Not bad at all.

So.  What have I been doing, instead of quilting?  Well, I've been spending a lot of time out at the walnuts, hanging out with Roscoe, and cleaning.
 He's still skin and bones, but his wounds are healing.  His ear and muzzle were the worst.  They probably still hurt.
I haven't been good about checking in with other bloggers.  But Franki's blog pops into my inbox, so I don't have to go looking for it.  She had this post on Christmas, that inspired me.  When I finally, finally got my Christmas cards out yesterday, I sat down with some of the extras and tried my hand at transforming them into boxes.
I think I need some practice, but these aren't too bad for a first attempt.  :)

As I said, today I finally wandered into the Studio.  My plan was to clean up an area and MAKE a plan.  But I got distracted.  That seems to be a theme these days.  I found several woven quiltlets that needed to be secured.
 After an hour or so, they were all stitched down and trimmed.  Now they are back in my quiltlet box, waiting for the next birthday or event that needs commemorating.
 Lest you think that I haven't thought a thing about quilting, I have proof that I've at least thought about it.
In the bottom righthand corner is a stack of new Christmas fabrics.  Yes, I succumbed to the lure of a New Year's sale.  I think I came away with a record low 7 yards.  Since my actual need was 0 yards, I may have overbought. 

Then again, my two LARGE bins of Christmas fabric have been condensed to a single bin after all of the Christmas sewing I did this year.  I may have been low on a few Christmas colors, and the price was most definitely right.

The photo also shows you the enlargement of one of my quilts-to-be.  I would LOVE to be able to have this one together for a Call for Entry in September.  Goals are good, and all that.  In the foreground is a belated birthday card that still isn't together enough to mail. 

So.  January, 2015.  A New Year, a new UFO list, a new set of deadlines.  What is my first quilting goal?  I would love to have Daniel & Monica's wedding quilt finished to enter in Best of the Valley.  That means I have about 6 weeks to finish piecing and quilt a queen-sized quilt.

On your mark.  Get set.  Sew!!

P.S.  I just remembered the three baby quilts that I cut out last year but never sewed together.  oops!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!!

Ours started in the best possible way, with the discovery of Roscoe, languishing at the pound.  We'd been by 4 or 5 times, looking for him, had his picture posted on their bulletin board, advertised on Craigslist, put him on Facebook...and I walked in and found him cowering in a corner of a cage.  It was going to be my last visit, since I was mentally preparing myself to give up on finding him.  After 15 days, what was the likelihood?  Slim to none?  He was so bruised and torn up, I didn't recognize him.

 A trip to the vet, some heavy-duty pain killers and some TLC from his people did wonders to perk him up.  Here he is, after 24 hours at home.
He is feeling MUCH better.  He still has lots of puncture wounds, but now he's healing.  Our theory is that someone stole him to fight him.  By the looks of him, and where they found him (Woodville), I'm 95% convinced that's what happened.  It would be hard to sell me on a different scenario.  (BTW, he's a lover, not a fighter.  However, he will defend himself, if necessary.)

It is good to begin 2015, with everyone/every dog where they should be!

And now it's time to wrap up 2014.  What did I accomplish?  Apparently I finished 18 quilts, 64 postcards, 33 quilted cards, 40 heart ornaments, and 3 garments. 

Oh wait!  I finished three more postcards on Monday 12/29.  I forgot about them!
(I really should put a new cover on my ironing board!)

It looks like I finished a lot more than it felt like.  It felt like I didn't get any quilting done.  2015 is going to be a year for finishes.  I can feel it!!

And the amazing thing?  I ended with a mere 30 carry-over quilts from my 2014 UFO list!!  That is an all-time low, for as long as I've been keeping record.  Sure, there will be new additions, but not that many.  Maybe a few baby quilts that are already cut out, and the wedding quilt, but wow!  I might actually conquer this list if I really put my mind to it!

And with that, we'll announce our motto for 2015, "Goals are good!"

Yeah, I know.  Same old, same old, but it's a classic, and it works for me.  Why mess with a good thing?  Happy New Year!!!