Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Day Blog Hop Giveaway!

Elizabeth over at Such a Sew and Sew is hosting a Leap Day Blog Hop Giveaway.  I'm giving away these 8 great Michael Miller Fairy Frost Fat Quarters:

Leave me a comment on why you'd like these fat quarters for a chance to win.  Since Leap Day is such a "magical" only comes once every four years, sort of like "Brigadoon"......I thought some Fairy Frost seemed appropriate.

If you want to be entered twice, become a follower of my blog. Check back with Elizabeth's blog to see what other bloggers are giving away.  The blog is open from now (February 29th, 8:30 EST) until March 1st at 12:01 a.m. Pacific Standard time.  If you do not have a Google account, use the name/url {url optional} commenting option and make sure you leave your e-mail in your comment in the following format: address (at) domain name (dot) com.; the winner will be drawn randomly and I'll announce the winner by March 2nd........

Have a great Leap's a rainy day here in Virginia and I'm headed to my quilt studio to make the best use of an extra day of sewing..


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Try it on Tuesdays!

We got a new stand-alone scanner from our kids for Christmas, but you know how time gets away from I decided I was going to practice with it and transfer some 35mm photos of quilts I made before I had a digital camera.

I had a pile of photos I wanted to scan; I've scanned these before using my HP inkjet but the images just didn't come out correctly. 

It took me 15 minutes to scan 31 images; and I could rotate them, enlarge them, or delete them if I wasn't happy with the image I saw on the screen.  Brought the scanner downstairs to my laptop, plugged it in the USB port, and uploaded the photos to my picture album:

Total elapsed time:  35 minutes.  What's really impressive is the scanner's portability; I can take the scanner to the pictures, instead of trying to balance stuff on the printer, or next to the computer, where there never seems to be enough space....or maybe we're just messy.

Anyway, I thought this was a fun way to "try something new" on Tuesday.  Want to see what other people are trying.  Head over to Jo's Country Junction and link up. 

Have a great day...I'm going to go play with my photos and put them into my Quilt Album software......


Monday, February 27, 2012

Design Wall Monday

I started another color study last week.  I've been wanting to work in gray mixed with solids, so decided to mix pink, purple, lavender, a few coordinating prints, and just "go with the flow."  I made 18-inch, 8-1/2 inch strips out of these:

I had this bundle of Cherrywood Grays in my stash.....don't know what I originally bought these for, but I must have had something in mind.....I think I've had them about 6 years:

 I cut everything into 8 1/2-inch squares, and then into triangles; assembled squares by alternating the triangle strips by descending row, and the grays from left to right and diagonally from light to dark.  I ended up with this:

Now I'm auditioning sashes and borders; I had one darker gray that I think I'll use for sashing, and remembered I had an interesting Fossil Fern that I thought was blue buried somewhere in my "hand-dyed" box.....guess what, it's gray, and I had two different shades.  So this is today's project:

I find I sometimes have to give myself permission to "play", but when I do, I end up having a good time.  My only rule is that I can't agonize over anything too much, and I have to finish within a week; otherwise it becomes a chore and not a "play date." We'll see where this ends up.  You might want to see what's on other design walls today at Patchwork Times.  You can link up and show us what you're working on.  Have a great Monday!


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Sometimes, It Just Doesn't Seem Fair.....

John and my Granddaughter, Brianna, eating crabs
Ed and Brenda, enjoying our Crab Feast
My son has been very ill for many years. John, his best friend since high school, has been totally "there" for him.  He and his wife, Susie, have sheltered him after surgeries for the last several years.  Last summer, we had a wonderful visit with John, Susie, their beautiful children, and his parents, Brenda and Ed, to celebrate Father's Day in Rehobeth Beach.  We had an incredible Crab Feast.  It was so lovely to be treated to good food, family, and friends.  We were surrounded by our children and grandchildren, in Brenda's and Ed's new home.....we celebrated our sons' friendships and their loving care for each other.

Brenda will have surgery for cancer on Tuesday at Sloane-Kettering in New York.  I made a comfort quilt for her to bring her warmth and to remind her of our wonderful time at their seaside a cancer survivor,  I will never forget some of  the trauma associated with this diagnosis...with chemotherapy, radiology, and recovery.  This quilt is winging its way to Delaware to help her with my hopes for the best outcome for her.  Please keep Brenda and her family in your thoughts and prayers.  Just asking for your good wishes.....sometimes, it just doesn't seem fair.....I guess we all do know, that sometimes bad things happen to good people.......




Friday, February 24, 2012

Does Neatness Count?

I've been on a mission today.  About a week ago I decided to start throwing out some of my old quilt magazines.  Of course, that required that I go through each of them and decide if I wanted to save any patterns.  As you can see from, I had a ways to go back.  That's the Jan/Feb issue of Quiltmaker from 1996......

I've been through McCall's Quilting, American Patchwork & Quilting, Fons & Porter, Quiltmaker, and assorted Quilt, Quilt Home, The Quilter.......who knew I had this many isues.  I've filled one box, and have another stack ready....

I have ALL of American Quilter from the American Quilter's Society (yep, Volume I, Issue 1), and all of Quilter's Newsletter Magazine from 1995, plus a variety from the 1980s.  I can't bear to get rid of them, since they encompass a huge amount of historical information on trends, techniques, and pattern history.  However, they are now "rounded up" and in chronological order on my shelves. 

Of course, I couldn't stop there.  I have a narrow, rolling three-shelf cart that sits to my right by the sewing machine.  It has all my "sewing tools"....bobbins, feet, machine needles, machine oil, seam rippers.  Of course, it also collects dust like a magnet.  Since today seemed to be about organizing, rather than sewing, it got a thorough cleanup.  Of course, dangling threads began to bother me, too, so I decided to reorganize my thread holders.  Of course, this has taken me almost all day; no sewing took place, but the end result is something that I've been aiming at for a week--just look at my table! 
This table has been covered with magazines, rulers, extra threads, papers, notebooks, pencils, you name it.  The last time I put the binding on a quilt I knocked 15 magazines and the iron on the floor.........
I even found all of my fabric pencils, cleaned out an old Art Caddy that had pastels, oil sticks, and watercolor tubes in it, and grouped all of them together:

My "occasional" scissors have all been grouped in their own little basket, ready to grab for trimming:

Now that I've gotten rid of the "clutter", I can start on a new project.  I bought some of Cindy Edgerton's "Little Bitz" yesterday at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival, so maybe I'll start a new paper-piecing the add-a-quarter and add-an-eighth rulers, too.  Sometimes you just gotta clean up before you can mess up......(do you think I should vacuum, or would that just be too much?)

Have a great to a French Wine Dinner at the Woodstock Cafe tonight....nice to spend the day cleaning without having to cook dinner!


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

What to do next?........It's a Puzzle

I've spent several days working on my "Puzzled in Provence" quilt, from the "Puzzled" pattern downloaded from the Moda Bake Shop.

The quilt was designed by Kristy Daum who blogs at  Her finished product is at left.    I thought it would be neat to utilize my American Jane "Breath of Avignon" fabrics that I have been hoarding carefully saving for just the right project. I purchased them two years ago at VCQ Celebration at Smith Mountain Lake, and since I'm headed back there in two months, I decided it was time to use up some of my treasured goods (before I added to them).

 I wanted a pattern that would highlight the beautiful patterns in the fabric, but with a fun, geometric style, and this just fits the bill.

I am pretty pleased with the layout below, but of course I've worked myself into a dilemma.  I have three yards of the most gorgeous floral, that is part of this line.  I fully intended to use it for a nice large border, bringing this quilt up to a 70 x 82 size (I'm getting a little tired of my 60 x 60 square quilts.   

Of course, dummy that I am, it never occurred to me that my floral border wouldn't work because my "setting" puzzle squares are BRIGHT white, and my floral white yardage isn't white at all, it's CREAM (a pale, very pale cream, but cream, nevertheless. 


You probably can't see the difference from the photos, but boy, can you see them when the fabric is held up to the main body of the quilt.  Now I'm back to "square one."  Pondering a narrow sashing border, with some other border that doesn't "quite" match.  Using the floral for the back; saving the floral for another quilt........aargh.  I guess the only good thing about this is that I did not "stubbornly" sew on a border, convincing myself that it worked, when I knew it didn't.

What are your "best laid plans" that went astray lately?  I am pleased with the basic top; I think it does showcase the fabric as I had hoped.  But I had a finished quilt in mind, and that's probably not going to happen the way I "saw it" in my mind.

Guess I'll do a little judicious shopping at Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival tomorrow....the hubby and I are here so he can see some gorgeous long-arm quilting (his first major Quilt Show).  Plus, I suspect, we'll do a little shopping.  Superior Threads has a booth here, so we're also aiming to beef up our thread collection.

I'll let you know how I solved my dilemma (and am happy to listen to some comments and suggestions, folks).....

I guess we'll call this "Wanderings on Wednesday" since I'm 230 miles from home and wondering what to do next.........

Sunday, February 19, 2012

No Snow? It's a Go Slow Sunday.....

Well, will it snow today or not?  I was up at 4:30 this morning, with my mind racing several different ways about quilts, cooking, kids, things I needed to do.  I got on the computer about 5:00 a.m. and decided to download a program I'd been reading about...QuiltAlbum.  It's an organizing program for quilt records.  I've been taking pictures of my quilts pretty faithfully since I got my digital camera in 2005.  My girlfriend Nancy and I even got out all the quilts in my collection last May and photographed them and recorded dimensions, why I made it, and the like.  But that information can just languish if you don't get it into some organized form.

I think this program will do the trick.  It's easy to use, easy to manipulate, and I'm getting the hang of it quickly.  Here's an example of what one of the printed pages looks like:

Coupled with the photo scanner my kids gave me for Christmas, I actually think I can get some of this information saved for posterity.  I can print out all the information and put it into a notebook.  The import function is a piece of cake, and it's a lot more intuitive than blogging, for example.
While I was scanning through my quilt pictures, I came across a few quilts and things I made over the years for my Mom.  Here's a picture of the wall-hanging I made for her many, MANY years ago (maybe 1969?)  It's the Irish Blessing embroidered for my very Irish mother, Hazel Skelly.  It took me months to finish this.  Mom kept it hanging, in a cheap wood frame, in her living room.  I brought it home with me after we cleaned out her apartment last year and hung it in our guest bedroom.

I also found this little gem at Mom's.
I bought this pattern at a Quilters Unlimited show at Northern Virginia Community College sometime in the early 1990s....It was foundation pieced; probably could be paper pieced so easily today. I think it came with all the fabric, since I know I didn't have anything resembling a "stash" then.  I knew NOTHING about binding, centering, 1/4-inch seams, blocking, or doing much pressing.  Some of the seams are coming apart, but I gave it to my Mom as a gift and she loved it.

I made Mom this Irish Chain wallhanging for St. Patrick's Day one year; she kept it hung above her bed.  I was improving a bit by now; I quilted it in the ditch on my machine, but it's pretty amateurish. The fabrics are blatantly Irish (four-leaved clovers and cheap cotton), but Mom thought it was great!

I was reminded as I was browsing through pictures to put into my Quilt Album that my mother never criticized anything I ever made for her (and she could and did criticize a lot of things)!  Anything I created for her was greeted with the enthusiasm a mother shows her 7-year-old when they give her a home-made Mother's Day card.  I'm so glad I got to please my Mom with my creations; she was proud of what I did and grateful to receive my gifts.

It's a go-slow Sunday browsing through pictures and memories.  Sometimes it's just nice to sit and reflect on what we have done, and stop the frantic pace of trying to control what comes next.  Have a great week.....will it snow?...I guess I'll just have to be patient and wait to find out.   

Saturday, February 11, 2012

What I Did This Week......

This has been an odd week.....finishing some old stuff, and starting a few new things. I have a few "large" quilts in mind to begin, but just didn't seem to have the creative energy to start the cutting process.  I put the borders on my Gulf Stream quilt, but can't decide what to do for the back.  I took some of the scraps left from that quilt, and made a cancer quilt for a friend who will be undergoing extensive chemotherapy over the next several months.  That's quilted, but it needs the binding.

Then I decided to work on the Sew Red for Women Blog Hop.  I went to Burgundy Buttons and downloaded this Chevron Heart pattern by Leah Albertsen:  it finishes to a 12 1/2-inch square, and seemed like just the thing to work on the week before Valentine's Day.  I combed through my stash, and came up with this combination of reds and pinks, plus I had a long strip of white that I decided to use for the background fabric.

I cut out 2" squares and made thirty-six little half-square triangles.  I don't usually work with little measurements, but since I'm taking a Bonnie Hunter class in April, I decided I needed to get in some practice.  The triangle squares look like this:

When you sew them together (in the right order, I might add....ask me how I know), you get a cute litle chevron heart strip:

After I assembled the rows, I sewed them together (and only had to "unsew" once!).  Added the little borders, and ended up with this block:

I even got all my points nice and crisp!  I can't wait to see the March block.  Want to join in?  Click on the button in my've got lots of time, or go to Leah's blog to download the pattern. 

Off to the showers; red wine beef stew is simmering in the crockpot and I've got an all-day meeting in Harrisonburg.....the house should smell great by the time I get home.
Happy Saturday.....there's a little snow on the ground here, but clear roads.....the best kind of "snow day."


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Try it on Tuesday!

Trying to learn how to link up with others blogs; here's a post of a new technique I tried doing "illusion quilting" on my Bernina.  This is a mini-quilt I've made for the Virginia Quilt Museum "Little Quilts, Big Talent" fundraising initiative this year.  It was a fun exercise and I hope to do more of these.  I tried linking up the specific blog in which this was posted, but wasn't very successful, so I've reposted the pix.  Perhaps my "Try it on Tuesday" lesson shouldn't be about quilting, but about how to link specific posts.  Anyone want to give me a tutorial?  If I've done this successfully, you should be able to go to Jo's Country Junction and see all the other great things people have posted today. 

Friday, February 3, 2012

"Signed, Sealed, Delivered", I'm Yours!!

Well, that MoTown song just reverberates in my head today.  I just delivered a quilt to a client who was extremely happy with my effort.  I was a nervous wreck.....I have just gotten into the business of quilt repairs (no, friends, I am not a "restorer" or a "conservator").  I just want to make people happy with the quilts they have in their family that they want to "keep going."

Here's the quilt I delivered to James today:  It was a difficult quilt to work with.  It had been "finished" by a cousin sometime in the seventies, with a mauve border, mauve back, and a big, puffy, polyester batting.  But, what an interesting quilt. 
The Finished Product
Last picture before I took off the Mauve Borders.
Here's a view of what the quilt looked like before I took off all of the mauve border.  The picture below shows the incredible fabrics that each parallelogram was stitched too.  Hand stitched, for the most part, but the parallelograms were machine-stitched together.  It was such an interesting exercise for me to see the entire quilt construction process, laid out before me, as I peeled back the layers of quilt history here. 

Photo of the foundations for the blocks

Some of the "unraveled" stitches'
in the blocks
It was a difficult quilt to work with:  created in the 1950's from accetates, I think;  a relative of James' had bordered it in pink/mauve, big border, great big poly batting, and a mauve backing.  It was tied on the front.  The stitching wasn't the greatest (sorry, James, but I have to tell true stories here).  But I was struck by the incredible symmetry in all the pieced parallelograms.  I know, you can't see them here, but they are there.  There WAS an idea to organizing this quilt. 

I took the backing and batting out.  I cut down the mauve border. I was left with "grandma's quilt" and what was her vision.  I picked a burgundy broadclock cotton back, and burgundy sateen for the borders, and the same for the binding.  And then I repaired.  And I repaired, and I repaired.  Lot's of love went into this quilt, lot's of hand-stitching, and I believe, a little wear.  But an order for design was also a part of it. 

This quilt was made with love.  Each parallelogram was hand-stitched, and stitched into the long columns. The maker made chevrons from the same fabric to bring two columns together.  The more I examined the quilt, the more I was intriqued by the ingenuity of the quilter to "make this work."  Of course, 70 years after the fact, there were some irregularities and just plain fabric fading to deal with.

But, when I presented the finished product to my client today, I was so proud to know that he understood that I was not preserving, necessarily, a work of art, but a piece of his family's history.  I can only be proud to be part of that.  Signed, sealed, delivered, I'm yours, James! 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A lot of quilting going on here.......

I finally got a chance to take pictures of the two Quilts of Valor that Guy quilted earlier this week.  They are from Karen, and I think they are just stunning.  It is always so intriquing to see the quilts come out of the box when we receive them....we are designated longarmers for the Quilts of Valor projects, and have signed up to do two quilts a month.  It's a worthwhile endeavor, and we have received quilts from all over the mid-Atlantic, and in this case, from the Caribbean.

This is a detail of the quilting Guy did on this can't tell from the photos, but the background is pale blue; he used a lovely light blue thread, and I think the results look great.  Isn't this a great pattern....?

I love this quilt, too.  Again, I am awestruck at the ingenuity used by quilters, just combining the primary red, white and blue colors.  It's an honor to be a part of this organization, and just get to see other quilters' expressions of their patriotism and thoughtfulness for those who protect and defend us.

This reminds me I need to go start cutting up some more patriotic fabric.....I'm starting my 4th QOV that I'm piecing myself.  If you want to know more about the Quilts of Valor project, go to their website and look around.

Have a great day....Happy February!  Kathy
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