Friday, November 27, 2015

Simple Projects

Today I had a choice:  brave the shoppers on Black Friday?  or quilt?  Guess what I chose?  Like there was any competition for my time! 

I pieced together another baby quilt, bringing my need-to-baste stack to 4...or is it 5? quilts.  I really should put up the tables, but I have things to do every day, which preclude putting up tables to baste massive quantities of quilts.

Oh?!  You wanted to see the quilt?
 Here's a close-up.  The large squares are filled with rockets and planets, since I didn't have enough of either fabric.  The 4-patch blocks are made with star and Milky Way prints.  I didn't realize it, but the stars glow in the dark, which is actually kind of cool, since this quilt is for a 4 year old Big Brother of soon to be here twins.  I think he will appreciate the nighttime surprise.  :)
 I showed you the box of fabrics that arrived in the mail.  When I saw that Jan had included some of her signature fabric's selvages, well, I had to whip them into a stocking and mail it back to her.  It arrived today.  yay!
 The last addition to my SAQA quilt collection is now hanging in a place of honor.  I love this quilt.  It was made with "ink, paint, coffee/tea dye, trapunto and free-motion quilting."  It is truly stunning in person.  The sea urchin shells stand out from the background.  I absolutely love it!   It is called "Found on Whangaumu," and was made by Mathea Daunheimer.  The Google tells me that Whangaumu is in New Zealand.  wow!
 Another thing that I whipped up was cinnamon rolls for Thanksgiving breakfast.  I LOVE these things, and they are so easy to make!  Just thaw some Bridgeford frozen bread dough, flatten it, add butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and (optional) dried fruit and chopped nuts, roll it, slice it, and put it in a pan that has melted butter and brown sugar in the bottom.  Let it rise for an hour, then bake for 30 minutes on 375.  For extra oompf, I add buttercream frosting.  Oh, yum!!
As the temperatures drop outside, I really really want to spend more time at the sewing machine.  Yet the colors of fall beckon me to run outside and enjoy them, too.
Prioritizing isn't easy, but, as usual, quilting won.  yay!!!  :)

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


Guilt or Quilt?  That was the question.  I answered with a bit of both.  I started cleaning, but then got distracted.  It was a good distraction, a productive distraction.  It began with a box of scraps, sent by a dear friend.
 I set them to washing, and then picked up some selvages that were strewn across my sewing table.  Those shouldn't go to waste, and so, they did not.
This morning the fog descended.  I delivered coffee to the walnuts, helped walk the dogs, and now?  It's the perfect weather for hunkering down with my sewing machine. 
Goals are good!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Finding the Groove

I tell you, it feels like it's been a long, LONG time since I've had consecutive days to sew.  I think about quilting; I dream about quilting.  But actually quilting?  That doesn't happen very often.

Now that I am home, I am making a concerted effort to spend time getting reacquainted with my sewing machine.  So far, so good, though I've yet to sit down with it today.

Over the past few days, I've made the missing blocks for the baby quilt I started piecing on retreat a few weeks ago.  The top is now waiting for basting, along with MANY others.
 I finished up a few postcards, for the Postmark'd Art exchange.
 These are for the "No Theme" trade.   Apparently I have a theme, albeit an unspoken one.
 I was straightening the room, still trying to find carpet and happened to look up.  Well, there you go!  There it is!  The "missing" 12" quilt that I bought in Houston.  I'd put it in a safe place - on the bulletin board, behind the door.  No wonder I thought I'd lost it!
I've cut the hanging slat, and need to drill holes before hanging it in a place of honor.  Once it's up, I'll take a better picture, and tell you what it is called, and who made it.

Other than that, other things seem to always take precedence, like trimming some trees to allow the well driller's rig in for next week's foray into a search for water.
I supervised the chainsaw operator.  I'm not sure he was thrilled with my supervision, but he kept saying, "This is just like date night!"  umm, yeah.  Can you tell that we've never done date night?  After 34 years of marriage, an outing to trim trees is seen as something special.  hahaha!  :)  yep.  True, that.

And now, my studio calls to me.  It's saying, "Clean me, clean me!" but louder than that is the sewing machine that is singing, "Turn me on and use me!"  Guilt or quilt?  Which will win out?

Friday, November 20, 2015

A Little Finish

 In my hunt for the misplaced 12" quilt, and the quest to clean this mess of a "studio," I cleared off enough of a work surface to get distracted.  Oh look!  Room to quilt something!!

I reached into the bowels of the closet, and found this cute little star quilt.  It measures about 32" x 40", just the right size for a baby or a wheel chair.  I knew it wouldn't take long to quilt, so I set to work on Wednesday.  By the time I went to bed last night, I'd tied off the last stitch in the binding.
woohoo!  Mark one DONE!  And hang another pieced top in its place in the closet.  oh well.

The air is getting chilly, the leaves are finally changing, and there's talk of rain again in our future.  We are next on the well driller's list, so the big equipment should be driving onto our ranch right after Thanksgiving.  It's a huge investment, but without water?  The house and surrounding acreage are worthless.  The thought of it is enough to make a person want to hole up in the sewing room and sew until the sun goes down.

Goals are good!!  :)

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Simple Stitching

I can't tell you how good it is to just sit down, grab fabric, and sew.  Grab, sew, press.  Grab, sew, press.  The only thinking going on was to determine if the fabric was light or dark, and to make sure it was long enough to cover the foundation.  Grab, sew, press.

I showed you the beginnings in my last post.  I finished both tops yesterday.  Each measures 40".  One was made with 10" blocks, the other with 8" blocks plus 4" borders.  These are my favorite types of "I Spy" quilts, though don't ask me why.  I just think they are a lot of fun.
The first quilt has more "formal" fabrics, the second has a lot of juvenile prints in it.  Sometimes I just can't help myself and have to add parameters.
 Another thing that I've done recently is to hang the new 12" quilts that I purchased from the SAQA online auction this year.  They are above the door.

My first purchase was "Cloudbreak," by Gwen Goepel.  I think you probably know why the ocean view called my name, right?

When the first week closed, and the remaining quilts ended up in the SAQA store, I was stunned to find Aileyn Renli Ecob's "Philodendron Phantasy" listed.  Oh my!  I quickly hit the "buy" button, and it was mine.  I met Aileyn at Asilomar years ago, and have been a huge fan of her work.  It's usually all hand-done, but her machine work is also exquisite.  

The following week, I watched the quilts sell, first this one, then that one.  I pick my favorites each day, then whittle the list as they sell one by one.  I hadn't intended to buy any other quilts, but somehow I did.  This one is "Trail Ride," by Jennifer Landau.  I should have taken a picture of it before I put it on the wall.  It's full of texture and detail, that make the viewer want to touch it.  Good thing it's hung at the 7' level!  :)
There is also a fourth and final 12" SAQA quilt, but I've somehow lost it in the mess that is my sewing table.  It called out to me in Houston, and I just couldn't go home without it.  I don't have favorites, but if I did, this would be it.  Perhaps I will have located it and hung it by the time I get together my next post?  Goals are good!!

And with that, I think I should see what I can accomplish today.  Surely it will be something sew-y!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Odds and Ends

There hasn't been much sewing going on in the studio, but I've been thinking about it.  I thought about it when I saw a nifty table at an estate sale yesterday.  I went away with sand dollars, but went back today for the table.
 I think it's made of walnut, though I'm not certain. 
 Once I'd cleaned it, I put it right to work.  I've topped it with an ironing surface, and oh, look!  There are the white-on-white prints that I bought from Calico Mermaid on retreat.  They are all washed and pressed and ready to add to my stash.
So, ummm,yeah.  The place is a MESS.  I tried to fit it all into one frame, and came up with this:
 The pile of strips on the floor has been transformed into a few string blocks on the wall.
I even went so far as to sew one group together.  yay!  It only measures about 32", so I think I will add borders.
 I made a birthday card for my baby.  He's an engineer, whose current job consists of lots of measuring.  Some of the fabrics include numbers and measuring tape and gears.  Oh, and coffee!  :)
The seasons are changing.  There are three things that really make this obvious.  First is the gingko tree, that is finally beginning to turn.
 Second, the buzzards are back.  The trees at the end of our block are filled with dozens of these red-headed creatures.  I believe this is the fourth year they've come to visit.  They creep me out quite thoroughly.
 And last but not least, the butterflies are on vacation.  Every winter we get butterfly visitors to our swimming pool.  Maybe this is normal?  But if you asked me what normal was, I would never identify winter butterflies or visiting buzzards as a candidate!
And I guess that's all I've got for you this evening.  There is more on tap.  Let's hope I actually get enough done to have something to show you soon!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Last Few Hours

I'm up early again this morning.  My usual is to write for an hour, then go about my day.  But, for some reason, Comcast email is down and I feel isolated.  It is a very strange thing, because 15 or 20 years ago, email was barely taking a place in the list of options one chose to communicate.  It's a bit stunning to contemplate, if you think about such things.

When my email is down, I think about such things.  :)

I'm still at retreat for a few more hours.  I had trouble finding my focus yesterday, and flitted from this project to that, never settling with one, or finishing anything.  I was like a Maria-sized flibbertigibbit. 

I started the day by cutting out seaweed.  This was for a quilt I started at least two years ago.  Once it was cut and pressed, I needed to lay it out to see if it would work.  Space is precious, so I hauled it back to my room and laid it out on the bed.
  I think it will work.
 I tacked down one strand, just to be sure.  Yes, I think it will work.  Once convinced, I switched to something else.
I fiddled with silk during the afternoon, but neglected to take a picture.  I left my primary project untouched, hoping that this morning I will be inspired to finish prepping the applique parts.  Brunch is not until 10 or 10:30am, so that gives me plenty of time to get something done.

In the meantime, I can pack, and I can smell the roses.  The weatherman says it will be raining by midnight.  I hope he's right!
 We need all the rain we can get!
Happy stitching!

Saturday, November 7, 2015


So many hours!  So many projects!  So little progress, in the great scheme of things.  But it's all forward momentum, so that's good.

I've made some progress on my quilt from that David Taylor class back in 2014, though I'm still not to the point where everything is prepped and ready to go.  Baby steps.  It's all baby steps.

Speaking of babies, I've pieced one baby quilt and part of another.
On the second one, I'd cut the parts from scraps.  Unfortunately, I only cut enough to make 27 blocks, not the 30 required to complete the quilt.  These have been returned to the UFO box, and I'm on to the next thing.
Do you recognize these strips?  They were leftover from that Made in the USA challenge entry that I made back in August.  Rather than toss the trims, I sewed them together.  Now I have a single piece in the UFO pile, rather than a dozen strips.
I stopped at the Mennonite Quilt Center on my way to Wonder Valley, and picked up some extenders for my blue collection.

When I got here, Calico Mermaid set up shop.  I did a similar shop with her, to expand my white on white collection, though I have yet to take a picture.

And with that, this has been a nice chance to check up on my email. 
 The sky is glorious, the air is crisp and clean, I'm ready to walk back to my machine and get back to work. 
 Perhaps by the end of the day, I will have more to share. 
Goals are good!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Touching Base

When all has been said and done, I may have gotten a bit carried away when shopping at Festival.  But it's all such good stuff!  Each bag holds a new squeal of delight when I discover the treasure it contains.  It's like Christmas every day, Quiltie Christmas, that is.

I also brought home a number of exciting ideas for new quilts, that I'm really looking forward to working on.  But in the meantime, my studio is filled with things half-done.  Two such projects have been moved to the forefront, because I know they will be show-worthy, if I ever get around to finishing them.  Goals are good.

I've spent a couple of days sewing through barriers like this one, that keep quilting from being pure pleasure.  These are four Komforters for Kids quilt tops, ready for sandwiching and tying.  I'll turn them in at next week's guild meeting.
 We've had a couple of good drenchings of rain.  Pixel is ready for the next storm.  Bring it on!  :)
 Yesterday, the dogs were a bit excited.  When I looked to see what they wanted, I found a water trail leading from the pool into the house.
 It wasn't from either dog, so I told Pixel, "Find the kitty!"  She did.  He was only half wet, so he must have stepped in right at the step.  He wasn't very happy about the experience.  Silly kitty!  Save swimming for summer time.  And never swim alone!!
And with that, I'm off to finish packing for retreat.  I have SO many ideas, it will be impossible to sew them all out.  However, I am hopeful that I will make noticeable progress on at least one or two projects.  Goals are good!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Home Again

Houston.  What a trip!  What an experience!  What a source of inspiration!

That's probably enough with the exclamation points, but wow.  Just wow.  If you have never been, and you are a quilter or quilt lover, then I highly recommend it.  I am truly blessed to have been there twice.  Truly.

I wouldn't even  know where to begin with sharing quilt pictures, I had so many favorites.  I took quite a few, but they're mostly to remind me of effective color combinations, or quilt lines I wouldn't remember, or textures that made me want to reach out and touch them.

I have no idea how many vendors were there, but I do know I visited more than I should have.  When my roomie wanted to see my haul, I spread it out on the bed.  oh my.  I was more than surprised that it actually fit into my suitcase.
 There is thread and fiber and fabric and freezer paper sheets and a starch pen and, and, and...  I brought a goodly amount of cash with me.  I left with much less.  There were two bead vendors that could have kept me from visiting any other vendors.  I'm glad I decided to move along, because there was definitely a lot more that I wanted to see.  This first group is from BeadStuff.
 These are from BowerBirds.  Do you see the groups of five petals, sold as flower units?
One of the owners made beautiful bead necklaces.  If I could wear this type of necklace with comfort, I probably would have purchased one.  They were absolutely stunning.
 I imagine some of the flowers attached to a crazy quilt.  Can't you just see it?
Since I've been home, I've been swamped with laundry.  Who knew that I would accumulate so much while away?  I'm certainly surprised.  In between loads, I've stitched together a quilt top for Komforters for Kids.  It's not what I'd prefer to be doing, but I'm not really sure where to start.  I have a dozen projects in mind, all are vying for priority.  While I vacillate back and forth, I stitch something useful.  Hopefully I will make up my mind sooner than later.

But don't worry.  We've got Retreat coming up soon, and that means four days of sew 'til you drop, and you know that I will try my best!