Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Linky Party Tuesday.....More Christmas Treats!

I'm hooking up with Connie at Freemotion by the River to show what's happening in my quilt studio today.  I started sewing at 6:00 this morning, and finished these:

These are the pillowslips for my granddaughters in Utah; we picked the fabric out at American Quilting in North Orem when we visited a few weeks ago.  I've got the process down to about 20 minutes per pillowcase now. 
I bought a charm pack of Kate Spain's Christmas line, "Joy" last April.  These fabrics matched up perfectly, so I cut another 40 5-inch squares from the remnants, and put together this disappearing 9-patch.

Most of the rows are sewn together, and I've got border strips to add, but this is coming together fast for a nice play quilt or table-topper.  I'm sure I'll get tired of these colorways soon enough, but I'm enjoying getting some Christmas things done.

Have a great day, and link up with Connie to show us what you're working on.


Monday, December 3, 2012

"Easy Street" Monday Link-Up

Much to my surprise, I made great progress on my "Easy Street" mystery quilt components this weekend.

I had all my strips cut for the grey/black-on-white four patches, but didn't think I had enough variety.  My friend Jo came to my rescue with some scraps, and I was able to finish all of these by last night:

It's easy to "spin seams" sitting in front of the television set; I even taught my husband how to do it......we got this one done...
I started in on my flying geese and couldn't understand why I had so many white triangles.....duh!  Read the directions, Kathy.  I only cut out half of the purple triangles, so it was back to the cutting board.  I have about 36 of the "geese" finished, and know I can get the rest done this week, just running eight or so through the machine every time I sew.  I'm busy sewing my granddaughter's Christmas pillowslips......trying to keep on top of everything.
I even got the black-on-white bricks cut.  Once I finish my geese, I'm anxious for the next step.  Bring it on, Bonnie!
We're getting into the Christmas spirit around here.  Got a few of my Christmas quilts mounted and need to get the wreaths up and the lights outside.
Have a great week,  Kathy



Friday, November 30, 2012

I'm Playing on Easy Street!

I'm a little "late to the game" but getting caught up slowly on Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt for this season, "Easy Street."  I'm doing it all from my stash, so I've done a few variations in color but I think most of these will work well.

Here are my selections:

My Black on Whites!

These lime-green/apple should play very well with my aquas/turquoise:

Some of these have been my stash since "Day 1"....the aqua/teal stripe and the paisley turquoise.....looks like I'll finally have a use for them.

I've got 64 of the four-patches done, and I'm twirling my seams.  Tedious, but I can see how useful this is.  My grey is a "funny" grey....it looks very grey until I pair it with the black/whites, but at least it's constant:

This weekend we get to play with our purples, and make tons of flying geese.  At least I've got both rulers (Easy Angle and Companion Angle). 


Don't you want to play on Easy Street?  Click the badge on my sidebar to go to Bonnie's "Quips and Snips" site for the directions.  It's still early, and, as far as I'm concerned, it's not a race anyway.  Just something fun to do, and I've been wanting to do one of Bonnie's mystery quilts for a long time.....just never got organized before.

Off to the Virginia Quilt Museum to work with my friend Jo.  She's bringing me a few more black on whites from her stash to give me some more variety.

Have a great weekend!  Kathy

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Getting Into the Christmas Spirit!

We're here in Utah visiting our daughter, Susan, and her family.  She has five lovely girls:  Casey, Jessica, Brooklyn, Lindsey, and Alexis.  Since we don't see them very often, I was looking for ways we could connect with them in the short time we are here. 

The "Daring Dortch" Girls!

Yesterday morning we went to an activity center, where the older girls, Susan, and I did the rope course....it was fun, and a new experience for me, Jessica, and Brooklyn, so we had something to share right there.  I had suggested that the girls bring their suits with them, and Susan and I brought them back to the hotel for some swimming in the indoor pool after lunch.

But on the way we stopped at American Quilting, a store in North Orem that I had located while browsing on the 'Net on Friday night.  Of course, they were having a Thanksgiving sale....and when one of the girls said "What are we doing here?" I got an idea.

"We're shopping for Christmas fabric for you.....I'm going to make each of you a Christmas pillowslip for your bed when I get home, and I'll mail it to you."

"Can we each pick out our own fabric.?".......it was amazing how much more interested they were in the store once they determined they could.  These were the fabrics they found:

We consulted on color choices for the "cuff" and accent strip.....I think they did a great job.  Casey went straight for the graphic christmas ornaments, Jessica and Brooklyn each liked the "presents" in different background colors, Lindsey immediately pulled out the Santa Claus fabric, and Lexie (age 3).....just grabbed bolts of fabric and smiled at me.

I'm going to have great fun making these up, and remembering our trip....and I hope the girls will remember our visit when they sleep on them.   Our "swimming expedition" turned out, well, swimmingly, and we all enjoyed the thrill of getting in a warm pool indoors when it's not "swimming weather"....


Last night we got to celebrate Alexis' birthday with pizza and a birthday cake that she got to decorate.  It is such fun to spend these simple, important times with family.

Lexie had a great time opening her present:  she was thrilled to get a "box"....which is why the older girls are laughing so hard.  "A box, I got a box" she kept saying.  "I love it".  Oh, to be 3 again.........

Casey and Jess, "amused" by their little sister
I'm so happy we decided to come this weekend; we've been planning this trip for over two years, and "life has happened" to keep us away.....just a reminder that life is too short to let these precious times get past us.  By the time we get home we'll be on the real countdown to Christmas....and I've definitely got some sewing to do!

Have a great week, Kathy

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

An Autumn Trip with the Granddaughters

Well, I've been busy traveling around this past week, with more travel next week, so I thought I'd share a few photos.....these aren't quilting related, so you can stop reading here if you want.

We packed up the car and took our granddaughters to Asheville, NC, to see the Christmas decorations at the Biltmore Estate this weekend.  We were supposed to go to the Big Apple, but seeing as how it was still a pretty soggy mess, we decided to reset our compass and head south.  I think we caught a spectacular late autumn burst of weather, and the trip  on US 26 through Tennessee and into North Carolina was beautiful.

We stopped in Weaverville, NC for lunch at the Stoney Knob Cafe, a great little restaurant with an emphasis on Greek food.  The girls just loved it:

Brianna and Maya at Stoney Knob Cafe

We headed on into Asheville, regrouped at our hotel, and then visited the FolkArt Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  We got to see a lovely "Black and White" art exhibit, that included many quilts.  Then we headed into town to have "cocktails" at the Grove Park Inn, and take in the beautiful view over the hills:

Maya on the Grove Park Inn Terrace on a beautiful Friday afternoon
Cocoa in the Great Hall at the Grove Park Inn.

Saturday's tour of Biltmore House was over the top....it's hard to overwhelm teenagers these days, but the girls were suitably impressed:

We had fun taking pictures in front of the fountain.  I'm so proud of my granddaughters; they take pride in their appearance and it shows.  I've seen them pretty messy, too, but when they go out with us, they try to dress appropriately and look their best.  I find it a measure of respect for us, and they know I appreciate it.

It was great fun to have them "all to ourselves" for 48 hours; sometimes you just need "face time"....phone calls, FB, and texting are all just fine, but one-on-one, acccompanied by hugs, is just the ticket.  Even PawPaw got the treatment:

Next week we head to St. Louis for Thanksgiving dinner with my sister, and then on to Utah to see our other five granddaughters......it's a "Thankful" month for family.

Have a great week!  Kathy

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I'm Back....in my Sewing Studio!

Well, it's been two months (and too many months) since my last post, but I'm finally getting my mojo back.  Just thought I would share a few things that I've been working on.  I bought some beautiful blue, silver, and gray Christmas fabrics late last winter, and finally found a lovely medallion setting by Kaye England that I thought would work well.  Maybe some of you would disagree, but I find the medallion setting with the low tolerances for piecing error, to be one of the hardest to work on.  I'm very happy with how this turned out.

"In the Deep Mid-Winter"

I finished another top about a month ago:  this was from a Konda Luckau pattern that was published about a year ago.  Konda blogs over at "Moose on the Porch".   She used Kate Spain fabrics, and I did, too, except my fabrics were a newer set that I purchased at Virginia Consortium of Quilter's "Celebration" last March.  I was able to mix them with some '90s bright greens and reds that I had.  It was fun to match up some pretty old fabrics with these "new" tints.   I love the softness of these colors for a Christmas quilt for a change.  It doesn't quite scream "Christmas" to me like some other prints.

I've got the borders on this; just need to piece a back now.  Somewhere there's a picture.....hmmm.....

And guess what.....some "Little Monkeys" are back.......

Yep, I've got twenty-five of these bad boys done; little 5-inch Monkey Wrench blocks. These are done in 1930s reproduction fabrics and scraps from a huge bag of dress scraps from that era that I inherited.  I think I'll try for a 42-block layout this time, to give me a bigger quilt (I'm getting tired of square quilts, but I get lazy making more blocks sometimes).

Hope all of you stayed safe this week, and dry.  We were very lucky to just get hit with rain out here in the Shenandoah Valley, but I know there are others who are just coping with getting power and water back. 

We're almost into November....hard to believe Christmas is less than 2 months away.  Have a Happy Halloween.....I think I'm finally back to my sewing on a regular basis....it feels good.

Yours in quilting,  Kathy

Monday, August 27, 2012

A Few Happy Photos.......

As I'm sure you can tell, my "creativity" has been derailed this month, but I thought I would share a few of the great photos that Jim and Linda are sending us from Colorado Springs where they are distributing the "canyon fire" quilts to those affected by the wildfire blazes.

It makes me happy to know that someone else has some warmth and friendship to count on, even in the midst of their personal trials.  These connections run deep and are comforting right now.

Even though our quilting business has languished, Guy took the time to finish two Quilts of Valor that were here, and we sent them off, too, last week.  Doing for others is part of the healing.

Have a wonderful week.....enjoy the last of these summer days!


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Quilts Arrived in Colorado!

I just thought I would let you know, despite the turmoil that has existed here in the last two weeks, my dear friend Jane swept all the quilts I had collected off the bed, and mailed them to my friend, Jim, in Colorado Springs.

He will be distributing them to his neighbors and friends who lost their homes in the Waldo Canyon fire.  It is satisfying to do for others, and I thought I would include a few pictures so you can see the wide variety we were able to mail:

All told, we collected and mailed 21 quilts; many thanks go to my good friends and quilting buddies:  Jane Moll, Josephine Millett, Janet Stultz, Christine Ratliff, Deanne Moore Quill, Carol Rogers and Wanda Shoemaker.  Quilters have huge hearts.......

Maybe I'll get back to my studio this week; I've got an urge to go pet some fabric.

Thanks to all of you for your outpourings of support over the last few weeks.  It always helps,   Kathy

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Life does seem a little unfair....

To all my blogging friends.....my beautiful son, Patrick, died early yesterday morning.  My heart is hurting, my granddaughters are grieving, and I am coping with the loss of a friend....we had a wonderful relationship.  He was ill for quite some time, and when he ended up with a perforated ulcer, septic shock, and renal failure, he had no resources left to fight.

I cry sometimes, when I think about my losses; otherwise I am focused on doing what I need to do to be strong for the rest of my family, and for his children. I am working to be the strong mother that he always believed I was.  He was so funny....he always thought I knew the answer to everything.  He would call and say, "Mom, what do you think about the economic situation, and why is the stock market failing?"  He was totally aural.....and not very focused on analytics........give him an answer, and he would believe it until something else piqued his interest.

We cooked together, for a long time.  He was bound and determined to surpass my culinary library with his own.  He was a true chef.....came to visit, trashed my kitchen, and was totally surprised when there was no dishwashing staff to clean it up!  But he loved my garden, loved sharing culinary surprises with me, and loved to call and tell me about some incredible meal, or some incredible chef that he had discovered.  He was my entree into the culinary world that I longed for.  He was a great mentor to young chefs.....he recruited people for his restaurant from the Culinary Institute of America where he trained, and he imbued them with the same love and respect for food that he learned there....it was his "army" training, and he was a better man for the discipline he learned there.

Please hug your children tonight.  You just never know when they might leave you.  Patrick was 38, he was beloved by all his friends, and his co-workers. He delighted in his daughters, and had no restraint in his love for them.  His brother was with him almost every day in the hospital.....thank you Jon for being there for him at the end....

He was funny, stubborn, bright, and infuriating.  He lived life to the utmost......he gave his stepfather fits for 27 years......Guy wonders who on earth will argue with him about the best football team, Michael Jordan, John Elway, or the latest hot shot to hit the basketball courts.  We will both miss him.

Thanks for listening....have a good week, and I will be back.  Just not for a while....

Miss you Patty......you were everything a mother could want, and then some....


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

What's Important in Life....

I haven't published anything since the 4th of July.  I have been somewhat consumed by family issues.  My son has been very ill and has been occupying a great deal of my time.  I did get all the quilts ready to send to Colorado (20 of them....yeah!!!))

My plan was to get them photographed by my daughter-in-law while she was here this weekend, and send a copy to each recipient to let them know about the love that was being sent their way from friends in the Shenandoah Valley.  That happened!  The photos were taken.

But Sunday night, I got a phone call.  My granddaughter told me my son was very sick.  I chose to travel 90 miles to check it out.  I waited 12 hours, watching him, and then decided to call the rescue squad.  He is now in the ICU, recovering from abdominal surgery, with sepsis, and kidney failure.  My priorities are quite clear.  I have been, and will be with him, until he recovers from this awfulness that has beset him.

My quilting is a panacea and a gift.  Tomorrow I will take in my Dazzling Dresden blocks to applique while I wait in the ICU.  My family is the heart of my creativity, and when they hurt, I hurt.  I will get the quilts packed for Colorado, soon.  My heart is there, their need is great, but their comfort will be longstanding, once they get their delivery.  I need not hurry.

Please pray for my son and his girls....I will be sewing and stitching and thinking about my friends tomorrow.


Thanks, yours in quilting,

Love, Kathy

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A Quick Fourth of July Project!

It's been a somewhat non-productive week, what with power outages, friends needing a place to stay, and various appointments.  But I got out some of my red, white and blue scraps, and decided to make some placemats for our Fourth of July table.

These went together really quickly:

The basic layout is as follows:

1 6-1/2 inch square (the blue background with stars)
3 2-1/2 inch strips (red and white) cut to 12-1/2 inches
4 2-1/2 inch strips (red and white) cut to 18-1/2 inches

1 backing 14 1/2 by 18 1/2; same for batting.

I just sewed around the edge, leaving a 5-inch opening, turned, and straight-stitched 1/4-inch around the perimeter.

Have a safe and Happy Fourth tomorrow.  I'm linking up with Connie at Quilting by the River for her Linky Party Tuesday.  Go check out what other folks are working on.


Friday, June 29, 2012

Asking for Help....

I don't usually utilize this forum to talk about personal things.  But tonight, I have a request.  My husband and I had an office in Colorado Springs for over 15 years.  I still have friends there.  Many of them, and those in their community, have been affected by the wildfire that burned over 350 homes.

Do you have a spare quilt to send me to help the families displaced by this event?  It is something that I care deeply about; I care about hurricanes, and tsunamis, but I know people who are affected by this.  I am always happy to help out with cancer quilts, hospice quilts, quilts for the Quilts of Valor program, but I KNOW Colorado Springs.  I spent 15 years traveling there several times a year.  It is such a beautiful town; it always filled me with joy to see the "frontier" in person.....blue skies, great air, a wonderful "small town" atmosphere in a great space.

If you could help, please let me know via a comment.  I am looking for children's quilts and "comfort quilts" 45 x 60 in size, if possible.

Thanks for listening to me; my heart hurts for entire communities shut down by the effects of this fire.  Maybe I'm getting off my duff and doing something for a small community, but it makes me feel good to do something where I actually know people who will benefit from it.

Just leave me a comment if you have something to contribute and I will send you an appropriate address.  Guy and I will quilt any tops you send us and send them on to Colorado.  Thanks so much for listening.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Where has a week gone?

It has been a terrible week for quilting/sewing progress.  We did get to the Shenandoah Valley Quilters Guild show in Bridgewater, VA, this weekend, and saw some lovely quilts, many by good friends of mine.

I did get one small project accomplished, on a day when I felt like sewing, and not fighting fabric, cutting, organizing, or cleaning:

Remember my Salt Air charms?  Well, I had a lot of four-patches and strips of solids left, so I made a nice summer table runner:

Guy quilted it, and it needs a binding.  Maybe that will happen this morning.  It's beautiful here today.....60 degrees and low humidity.  I think that's gonna change later this week, though.

Have a wonderful day....I'm hooking up with Connie at Quilting by the River for Linky Party Tuesday.....go visit and see what everyone else is working on. 


Monday, June 18, 2012

Design Wall Monday......It's been a slow week....

I just didn't have the inspiration to get into my studio much this weekend.  Lots of things going on here, plus beautiful weather and some gardening to be done.   But here's what I did work on:

I got 12 of my Little Monkey blocks done.....all 30s and 40s fabrics and some repros.  I inherited a bag of old dress scraps about two years ago; they are perfect for this pattern.

I also got the June Sew Red for Women block finished:

It's the "woven strips" block in the upper left corner.  I can see that twelve of these will make a lovely sampler quilt. 

I finished one of the flying geese borders for my mariner's compass, and am appliquing my Dazzling Dresdens to background blocks.  I'm using YLI silk thread and loving it....it just doesn't show.

I also got three quilts bound, but that makes for a sorta boring post.....like watching grass grow.....which is another thing we have around here.  I'll leave you with a photo of the view from my sewing room:

I'm sort of like "Mary, Mary, quite contrary".....I can sit at my sewing machine and literally "watch our garden grow."  We had squash three times last week.....you know what that means don't you?  Waiting for cucumbers, but harvesting something almost every day.  The blueberries have been incredible, we only have 6 "active" bushes, but we've picked more than 4 quarts already and more are ripening.

Have a great Monday....we're getting some rain here today, and I've got to trek into NoVa for some appointments, the dentist, and dinner with my granddaughters......it should be an interesting drive on I-81 and I-66.......stay dry, friends.....


Monday, June 11, 2012

Work in Progress......a Weekend of Paper Piecing

I've been flirting with doing some paper piecing, printed out some New York Beauty patterns from EQ7, did a practice piece with some scrap fabric, and then found a Mariner's Compass pattern from Cindy Edgerton that I forgot I had bought. 

This was a good project for someone who hasn't done foundation work for a while, because the base pieces were fairly big, and Cindy gives great cutting directions for fabric pieces that allow for a bit of leeway.

I've got the center medallion done:

I spent most of Saturday morning organizing my batiks, so I could start this project without totally destroying my batik bin looking for matching colors:

I got all my flatfolds in one bin, and my fat quarters, 2 1/2-inch strips, and charm squares in a drawer.  It's so much easier for me to make decisions when I can see everything laid out in front of me, especially with batiks, that have so much variation, even within colorways:

I bundled up all the odd scraps and threw them in a plastic bag for string piecing, applique, etc.

I'm always happier in my sewing room when I've made some attempt at organizing before I start a new project.  Do you like to "clean up" before you start something new?  I should be so fussy about my house......... 

Today I'm piecing flying geese borders:  smaller pieces, lots of pressing, lots of trimming.  It's a pain, but I keep reminding myself that the accuracy that results makes me very happy.  This is another exercise in patience for me......it's the opposite of power-sewing 4-patches and 1/2-square triangles.  It's a good way to start the week.

Have a good day today; if it doesn't rain I'm going to get my swim in this afternoon.