Wednesday, September 5, 2012

More Baltimore Blocks

I have finished a few more of the blocks for my guild challenge quilt.  If you remember, I decided to combine two challenges--using the fabrics for the challenge without buying more of any of the fabrics, as well as making a beginner Baltimore album quilt.  I'm using Mimi Dietrich's Baltimore Basics and having a blast!  Anyway, here are five more of the blocks--just two more to go, then sashing, borders and on to the quilting!  I have until the end of January, but that isn't all that far away, is it?

 Well, there they are--not perfect, but I think they look pretty good.  

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Time Zooms!

Time isn't flying by--it has been zooming by!  Sorry it has been so long since I have posted--it isn't because I'm not quilting.  Actually, I'm not sure why--I suppose because I have been so busy quilting.  I shared a picture of the whole cloth quilt I'm working on.  Still working on it, but I've finished the inner medallion and am quilting the swags around it along with the grid as far as my frame reaches as I go around.  Is that clear as mud?  I am working in circles because the lovely Quilter's Dream wool batting I'm using has a good bit of loft--beautifully fluffy--and I don't want to let it get bunchy in any one place by working too far out.

More mud?

Here's the other project keeping me busy~

These are the fabrics for my guild's 2012  Challenge.

Here are two of the blocks.  I'm making a very simple Baltimore Album quilt, using Mimi Dietrich's book Baltimore Basics.  That book is out of print, but she has just come out with a new book for anyone who wants to try making a BAQ.  It's called Baltimore Blocks for Beginners.  I haven't seen it yet, but I'm betting it's just as great as her others.

Here's the one I've been working on today--it's finished and clean, just waiting to be ironed and put on my design wall with the others.

Now I'm getting really ambitious---just ordered Barbara Burnham's book Baltimore Garden Quilt.  I may be getting in over my head, but I'm looking forward to trying!


Monday, July 9, 2012

What I'm Working On Now--Summer 2012

Welsh Beauty Whole Cloth by Benartex
Budsgram over at A Few of My Favorite Things me to share what I'm working on now that I am finally (and joyfully) through with the Tetris quilt.  Check out the beautiful Klojes she is hand piecing, along with her other  WIPs.  Here's what is going on in my neck of the woods.  In my hoop, I'm hand quilting a queen size whole cloth quilt.  The top is made by Benartex, and I'm using a Quilter's Dream wool batting in it, quilting with Gutermann hand quilting thread.  This quilt is a "someday" quilt for whenever my daughter gets married.  It's a joy to work on---the needle glides through the batting, and there are no seam allowances.  I can easily see why some hand quilters move to making just whole cloth quilts!

This is the first block for a Seven Sisters quilt.  I enjoyed English Paper Piecing so much when I pieced and quilted My Daddy's Garden that I wanted another EPP project to work on---perfect for traveling, waiting in doctors' offices, or when it's just too hot to have a big quilt snuggled up against me.  I'm using a variety of 1930's reproduction fabrics and 1 3/8 inch diamonds.

I feel like I owe an apology to this one---I think I started cutting out this Double Wedding Ring in January 2010, so it's about time I got busy on it again.  This one goes in the frame to be basted as soon as I can set it up in king size (not a task for the faint-hearted).  I'll miss Benjamin's help on that, but will take him up on his suggestion that I put the frame in his room---there's hardly anything else in there now!

Finally, here's what is in the planning stage.  Our guild challenge deadline is in January, and I know it will be here before I know it.  I'm thinking about a four-block Baltimore Album quilt using Mimi Dietrich's Baltimore Basics book---only problem is that I love all the blocks in the book.  I guess this is where that thing called "discipline" comes in?  I think I used all mine up with the Tetris quilt....



Saturday, July 7, 2012


I feel like doing a victory dance today---I finished the Tetris quilt just in time for my last guild meeting, but I've been waiting to post a picture of the finished quilt until after I gave it to Katie's boyfriend, Ryan.  Well, he came down yesterday to get her after her week home, and he finally got his quilt.  his reaction was all I could have hoped for---he really liked the quilt a lot.  In fact, he raved over it.  That's a good feeling when giving any quilt, but if you followed along with me, you know that this quilt turned out to be quite a challenge.   I learned so much from making this quilt---quilt making skills, but other things too.  I persisted in spite of pretty significant setbacks, and that's a really good feeling.  I came closer to getting the result I wanted in the finished quilt than I ever have before.  It was worth all the trouble, and  I'm glad I started over  and kept going instead of giving up.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Still Stitchin'

I haven't really disappeared, and I haven't forgotten the blog.  But I did get a little bogged down....just wanted you all to know that I'm still stitching away on the Do-Over quilt, and it seems to have consumed my whole field of vision.  I had a little boost when Ryan came down to get Katie and I showed him the quilt top---he loved it and was very excited about it.  So I basted and then stitched and stitched and stitched.  140 blocks done.  Inner border done.  Outer border---one side down, three to go.  It has to--really, really has to---be done a week from Monday.  That's my guild meeting, and it will be my only chance to show it to my friends there.  Can't justify holding on to it until after the Fair--
after all, it's a graduation present, and graduation is over and done. 

Here's a little glimpse of it, just to tease.....

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Lots of Sewing--No Quilts....?

I haven't disappeared----I've just had a really crazy week.  Make that two weeks!  The Do-over quilt is pieced and ready to go in the frame, but I finally got inspired about Mother's Day presents for my mother and my mother-in-law.  I've been making purses the last few days, and I'm about pursed out! Along with that, Benjamin had the hooding ceremony for his Master of Arts in Teaching degree, Katie's boyfriend graduated from college, and Katie came home unexpectedly for a few days.  If Katie comes home, Ryan is pretty sure to follow, so he was here overnight middle of the week.  I seem to do a lot more cooking when the kids are around---a lot more laundry too! 

Right now, I have Katie's high school graduation quilt soaking in the washing machine---I'm following instructions from Vickie Welsh to try to remove red dye that leached from the music notes onto the cream background.  I had tried everything else I knew to do.  You can check out her research at her website,  I'm keeping my fingers crossed and said more than one prayer as I poured boiling water into the washing machine this morning to boost my hot water heater's output.  I'll let you know how it turns out for me--don't know if this method will work since the quilt had been washed, but it's worth a shot, right?

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Doing Over the Do-Over Quilt

I really didn't mean to wait a week to post again--it really wasn't because I was grieving over the quilt.  As a matter of fact, I took the opportunity to point out to my family just how mature and stoical I was being......I also pointed out that eye-rolling was not only rude, but also dangerous to one's health.  Instead of grieving, I got busy deciding the best way to re-do the quilt.  I didn't have enough fabric from the first one to do the quilt, so I played with what I had and looked at options.  As it turned out, I wound up with fabric combinations that I think are better than the first quilt.  See what you think:

If you have been following along with this quilt, you know that the design for the quilt came from QuilterGeek--it isn't a pattern (yet), but the idea, a diagram, and a few instructions.  I changed the size of the blocks and made a few changes in the colors.  Then I cut out the whole quilt, salvaged the backing from the first one, made the binding, wound a bunch of bobbins, and was ready to go.  The UPS guy brought the new fabric Tuesday evening, and by Wednesday evening I was sewing.  I finished sewing the last of the blocks late Saturday afternoon.  What a good thing that the shortcut for quarter square triangles makes them quick and easy---and almost fool proof!    The blocks are up on my design wall, and I'll start assembling them tomorrow.  Graduation, however, is Friday, May 4, so I'm not going to make my deadline....but a good quilt is worth waiting for.  :)

And just look at all the lovely scraps (and lots of leftovers
                in my fabric closet)
                                                 .....the possibilities are endless!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Post Mortem on a Quilt

Here's how the Tetris quilt story is playing out.....yesterday evening, I finished taking out the quilting stitches (100x140 square inches of quilting = a lot of stitches).  When I took apart the quilt sandwich, the back of the quilt top was white with the residue from the batting.  I've had occasion to take apart QIPs before and have never seen anything like this.  I can't help but feel that something had gone wrong with the batting.  Next step, rightly or wrongly, I washed the top and backing in my washing machine, which has a really, really gentle delicate cycle. 

When I removed the quilt top from the dryer, the situation actually was worse than ever---the batting shreds had rolled up in the seam allowances, apparently having latched on to the threads in the cut edges of the blocks.  At this point, it was obvious that this quilt top was a lost cause.  Even if i could remove the batting/thread rolls and balls, I feel that the integrity of the quilt--it's sturdiness--would be so compromised that I couldn't be confident it would hold up to any wear at all. 

And I'm sort of sick of the sight of it.....I would include a picture of it, but I feel too sorry for the poor thing.

Next over.  Tell you about it in my next post!  It really is true that ordering fabric IS a universal cure for sadness.  :)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Not So Warm Fuzzies

Today has not been a fun quilting day.  It should have been---I finished quilting the 140 blocks of the Tetris quilt last night and got started on the border, but I realized I had a problem when I was quilting the last few rows.  This quilt has three rows of black blocks at the top and then black outer borders.  I had been dealing with a lot of lint and fuzzies on the quilt, but I assumed that they were just from the exposed batting at the edges.  But as I quilted the black blocks, I found I had a white quilting line--the batting was coming out as I drew the thread through.  I had been using a lint roller, but it wasn't working.  This is what it looked like:

Quilters are a great bunch--I asked for advice from some really busy quilters, a couple who are nationally known ones and some not so well-known.  Bottom line--once this happens, it's going to keep happening.  Washing the quilt won't help, and a lint roller will just continue to pull out more batting.  So out comes by trusty seam ripper......looks like it's going to get a lot of use in the next few days. 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Quilt Faster! Faster!

I am trying to turn myself into a speed quilter right now---I am quilting on a deadline, and this is no time for dilly-dallying around, stopping often to admire my stitching, look for a magazine with a picture of a quilt I thought of, or take a break to cut up and sort a few scraps.  I have a graduation quilt to finish, and graduation is less than a month away!  Last night, I was doing elaborate math problems figuring out how soon I could finish if I did X number of blocks each day---I had to stop because my math skills tend to involve fingers and toes, and I needed both hands to keep quilting.  Here's the quilt last Monday--

Here's the quilt Wednesday--I use my Grace Z44 to baste my quilts.  I do the actual quilting in my lap using a Q-Snap frame, a square made from PVC pipe.  I like being able to turn my work this way and that as I quilt.  I keep saying that one day I'm going to try quilting in the frame, but then again, if it ain't broke. . . . .

Today is Easter Sunday, and I am plugging away at it--37 blocks in three days, and still a few more hours until bed time!

One of my guild friends shared a treasure with me this week--one that had been given to her at some point in the past by another quilter, and I'm fascinated by it.  Take a look:

These patterns, and others in the box, all seem to have come from Progressive Farmer magazine, which is still being published (and also has a very up-to-date website).  They don't seem to have any quilt patterns included any more, which makes me long just a bit for those "good old days"--until I think of all the riches a quilter can find on the internet. 

 Here's one more of the designs in the box:

Isn't this design adorable?

I remember when newspapers would have sewing and quilting patterns advertised in the classified section of the paper.  Sometimes they offered the iron on transfers by Aunt Martha, I think.  In fact, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution had a column on sewing in the Sunday paper for a good many years after I got married.  When I see my mother tomorrow, I'm going to ask her whether she has any patterns or newspaper clippings tucked away somewhere--maybe there's another treasure like this one, just waiting around the corner, ready to jump on my quilting "to do" list!

I hope you were blessed today by remembering that He is Risen!  Hallelujah!  What a Savior!


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Buttons Scattered Everywhere!

 As I told you in my post yesterday, our Katie's junior recital was Sunday afternoon.  She gave an amazing performance, and her joy in the music was contagious.  Katie will graduate next year from the same college as her grandmother and I.  She has been studying piano since she was six years old, and in spite of all our moves here and there, her first piano teacher was a piano major at this same college, now Shorter University---and last year, he taught Katie's course on composing.  How cool is that!  Here are a few pictures, including one with her boyfriend Ryan, who will be performing his senior recital (vocal performance) at Shorter in two weeks.  You can probably imagine how proud Katie's dad, brother and I are of her--so much so that we just busted the buttons off our shirts with pride. 

Katie and I sat in this chapel almost three years years ago for the first part of freshman orientation--I remember sitting in one of the pews after she left, praying that God would bless her during her time at Shorter.  He has!

Now that Katie's recital is over, it's her turn to take care of Ryan as it gets closer to his recital and graduation.  Just one more year, and it will be her turn!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Quite a Week

It has been quite a week--such a busy, exciting week that finishing a quilt pales by comparison.  How often does that happen?  Yesterday was our Katie's junior recital--she is a piano performance/piano pedagogy major, and one of the requirements for her degree is a thirty minute recital during her junior year.  Her program included two movements of Ravel's Sonatine, two Chopin Mazurkas, and a Beethoven Sonata.  She gave an amazing performance--and she did it with so much joy!  I think there will be a video posted to Youtube at some point--if so, I'll let you know and post a link so that you can watch and listen. 

The other nice thing about yesterday was how many people in Katie's life were there to share the occasion--both her grandmothers, two of her aunts, a cousin, lots of her friends, her boyfriend and his whole family, her brother, lots of people from the church where she is pianist.   As it turned out, one of her dad's cousins was in Georgia on a visit, and she was there, never having met Katie until yesterday!  I wish Gary could have made the trip--he's counting on it for next year.

That finished quilt?  Here's a picture of the whole quilt--wish I had pictures of yesterday to post---will do when I get them.  But here's the Double Irish Chain, all done.  (And I'm hard at work on the whole cloth quilt and the Tetris quilt.) 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Double Irish Chain, Bias Binding, and Bread--Oh, My!

Here's what I've been working on---I finished the hand quilting on my Double Irish Chain quilt Friday afternoon--then decided on a binding fabric, made hundreds of feet of continuous binding, and attached it that evening.  If you quilt, you know that feeling of almost unbearable excitement and expectation--soon you're going to have that finished quilt, the product of weeks or months--sometimes even years--of work and creativity.  Sounds almost like childbirth, doesn't it?  Babies are better than quilts, but quilts don't leave stretchmarks....

I don't know if you can tell or not, but there on the ironing board you can see hundreds and hundreds of feet of continuous bias binding.  My friend Laura and I worked on the "tube" process of making it last summer until we both had it--now it's fun to do, and I can make a lot of binding in a short amount of time.  I usually make a lot extra, which I keep in a plastic zipper bag to use on small projects.  I've been stitching the binding down, but haven't quite finished it because I got caught up in another project.

The other distraction has been bread making.  I used to make all our bread, grinding the wheat and baking at least a couple of times a week.  With the kids grown and gone most of the time, and since neither Gary nor I need all that bread (!), I've gotten away from it.  My wheat bread recipe made four loaves--waaaay too much, and it takes a lot of time.  But somewhere (and I wish I could remember where) I saw something about making artisan bread in five minutes a day---Impossible! was my first reaction.  But I found the site, got Gary to order a Danish dough whisk for me ($7 on Amazon), and tried it this weekend.  I spent five minutes mixing the ingredients yesterday, five minutes today forming the loaf--that's it!  And the bread is fabulous--and about 40 cents a loaf!  Seriously, you have to try this--look:  The website is  This takes you right to the recipe and tutorial--even if you've never made bread, you can do this!  And Jeff and Zoe generously share lots of recipes on their website.  I just can't wait to get a copy of one---no, make that all three of their books!  Oh, and if you are really brave--or not on a diet---check out ZoeBakes....


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Birds and Quilt Blocks

I have been having fun this week making the blocks for a new quilt.  Over Christmas, Katie's boyfriend asked if I could make him a Tetris quilt, sending me on a hunt for a pattern.  I found one by QuilterGeek, a very clever young woman who has simplified her first design for the quilt and has shared it on her blog.  Each block uses three graduated shades in a quarter square block.  The surprise for me has been how beautifully the colors pulled together, even though I thought some were not going to work.  I'm excited because Gary helped me put up my Fons & Porter design wall today--it only took a few minutes, using a level to get it straight and push pins to hang it.  Sure beats laying out all those blocks on the floor!

At the same time--literally--I've been chasing away grackles that found my bird feeders.  They not only devour all the bird feed like a hoard of locusts, but they scare away the finches, chickadees, titmouse, and cardinals.  I searched a bunch of sites for suggestions, and finally decided to try switching out the bird feed for something they don't like.  Now the feeders hold black-oil sunflower seeds and nyger.  The grackles came back for a little while this afternoon and pecked at the feeders a bit, then gave up and started scarfing up what had fallen to the ground earlier.  I'm hoping they'll move on to greener pastures--or other feeding places!

One last thing--the Double Irish Chain is almost done!  Just 3 1/2 more blocks and then the binding.....can't wait for that moment when I get to cut off the extra batting and backing and get that first glimpse of what the quilt is really going to look like!


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Tempted Quilter

This weekend, I fell headlong into temptation. 

That got your attention, didn't it?  One thing I've learned is that the road to JoAnn's is paved with good intentions---along with the road to, A Scarlet Thread, Connecting Threads, Marti's Fabric Studio . . . well, you get the picture.  I had this really great resolution---I would finish quilting the Double Irish Chain and at least get the queen size whole cloth quilt well under way, and then I would baste and start quilting the (queen size) Double Wedding Ring before I bought any more fabric or started another quilt. 

I am safer around chocolate and cheesecake--or even chocolate cheesecake--than I am around fabric.

So this is my true confession--I had been looking at fabric for several days, trying to decide on the best way to approach making a Tetris quilt when it came time to start it.  Then I would look at batting (for the DWR) that I'm not going to start quilting for a while.  Then I would pull out That Perfect Stitch and read the reviews of battings, then get my little packet of Quilter's Dream samples.....then I would look at fabric some more. 

To make a long story....well, still kind of order to avoid buying fabric, I ordered a Quilter's Dream wool batting for my DWR (that I'm not going to start yet).  Thus, I could save myself from giving into temptation and buying fabric.....after all, my quilting budget for the month was pretty well blown, and I had satisfied the urge. 

Until I walked into JoAnn' was just a few 1/4 I would have all the shades for the Tetris quilt....which I would not start.....

Until today.... . . .

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Quilt Guild and Lasagna, Part 2!

Just a quick update--I got to my guild meeting in plenty of time to slide the lasagna into the oven to stay warm, and then I started to say hello to everyone---especially Anne, one of the ladies I was doing refreshments with. I asked if I could help her bring in her other stuff, but she didn't have any--you should have seen her face when I asked about the salad and bread!  But it was okay, I told her as I comforted her, anyone could forget...not a big deal.  Then Mary came in carrying a tray of food, plastic plates, and I offered to help her bring her stuff in--she didn't need any help either because she was just helping the two ladies who had the meal last night.  You see, I was a little early with my lasagna....we are signed up for April.  I just love quilters though---it's hard to phase them.  We just put out the lasagna beside the sandwiches and chips and ate until we couldn't hold any more.  Another plus?  I didn't have to cook dinner tonight--and neither did a bunch of the guild ladies who took some lasagna home with them!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Quilt Guild Day! Birthday! and Lasagna too!

The fourth Monday of each month is my favorite day of the month--with the possible exception of payday.  It's the day that the Happy Quilters of Laurens County have their monthly meeting, and I am so incredibly blessed to be a part of this group.  The women are so welcoming and kind, and when I moved here a couple of years ago, I felt at home right away.  Well, you can tell from our name, can't you?    We aren't a fancy guild, I suppose--we don't have a waiting list for members, as I've heard some guilds do.  We have some very fine quilters, but probably the folks at Houston or Paducah don't need to lose too much sleep (although we are all getting better and better with each quilt!).  We meet, we talk and laugh and pray and show our quilts to each other.  Then we pray again.  And then we eat.  And then we have a program and get to talk about quilts some more.  Nothing much to get excited about, I suppose---unless you are a quilter.

Tonight, I don't have a quilt to show.  I've sort of missed my self-imposed deadline on the Double Irish Chain.  But I expect I'll be forgiven--I'm bringing lasagna--lots and lots of lasagna.  You should see my kitchen!  It's a disaster!  But I took a break from cleaning up to come say hello.  If you're in the neighborhood, you should come join us--I promise we'll have enough!

Just for pretty--I enjoyed the amaryllis I was given for Christmas so much that Benjamin ordered a couple of more for me--this one is called Appleblossom.  It had five blooms at once and is about to bloom again!  Can't wait to see what the other one looks like!

Another reason this particular fourth Monday is special---it's my son's birthday today.  He is such a blessing from God, just as he has been since the day he was born, twenty-four years ago today!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Dude....That Is Totally Wicked!

So--I have been dipping into a book my dear one gave me for Christmas this year--A Treasury of Mennonite Quilts by Rachel & Kenneth Pellman.  It's all pictures and some background information, no patterns. It is truly inspirational--I've been thinking about starting a Lone Star quilt and there are some breathtaking ones in this book.  My favorite--at least for the next five minutes or so--has a steel grey background with the star points in solids.  I'm surprised by how well the grey works, and it would be so much easier to quilt than black.  A couple of years ago, I made an Amish-style Diamond In A Square with a black background, black thread, and even back batting inside it.  My eyes are well over forty (it's not polite to ask about the rest of me, thank you very much), and it was hard! Pictures?  Okay---there you go.

Anyway---I was describing the quilts in the book to someone in an email and got to the "The quilts are,,,,,," and I got stuck.  Cool?  Awesome?  Ba-a--a--d?  Totally wicked?  Well, obviously, the last two are just totally inappropriate for Mennonite quilts....oh, no!  There I go again with the "totally" stuff.  You know, I don't even really have to tell anyone I have two young adult kids/ children/offspring---my vocabulary gives me away!  After a while, I came up with beautiful, inspirational, and a few others.  I'm having my revenge on my kids, though--Ben is hooked on Creedence Clearwater Revival--I mean, like, totally. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Still Hand Quilting? Absolutely!

I heard a lady on a quilting podcast the other day refer to people who are "still hand quilting," and I got tickled.  We've had indoor plumbing for nigh on to 30 years, but Ethel and Herb down the road are still using the old outhouse.....Sometimes I envy my friends who produce so many quilts, but I also feel a little sorry for them since they are missing the best part of quilting.  I love rocking the needle through the layers of the quilt sandwich, drawing the thread through, and watching the design grow under my hands.  I'm working on a scrappy Double Irish Chain right now, much more slowly than I would like, but it's going to be beautiful.  My piecing is far from perfect, and I don't get 20 stitches to the inch, but it's still going to be beautiful.  I love this one because there are scraps from just about every quilt I've ever made, from clothes I sewed for myself and my kids.  There are scraps from a Quilt Til You Drop all night quilting I went to when I lived in Alaska, where we exchanged 2 1/2 inch strips we called "worms" then, and there are lots of other scraps I've exchanged with others through the years.  Even the white muslin is scrappy--I used leftovers from other projects--I tried to use all the same kind of muslin, but there are variations in it.  Within my hoop yesterday, there was a teapot, a snowman, an airplane, two dogs, an apple, a pear, a basket of spools, and assorted flowers, spots, and other splashes of color.  As I hand quilt, slowly I'll admit, I have been reliving so many good memories--just because I'm taking my time.

Friday, February 17, 2012

What'll I Say?

When I started thinking about setting up a blog, the intimidating part was the technical stuff--how to do it, where, and how do people get all those cute buttons to show up on their pages anyway (still working on that one).  It never occurred to me that, having done all that, I would find the hard part to be committing words to paper--or screen.  I always have words.  I love reading other blogs and commenting on the posts, even though I know that it's unlikely that anyone will ever see my thoughts--the act of putting the words out there is so powerful and satisfying that it's worthwhile even if no one ever sees them.  I guess I've answered my own question--writing this first post is significant to me because this time it's mine, just mine, unfiltered. 

My son (and tech support) tells me that this first post should give some idea of what my blog is going to be if that is an easy task!  Here, wait.....Here goes.....oh, gosh.....I'll be writing about quilting, cooking, husband, quilting, almost grown/almost gone kids, life after home schooling, being a SAHM after the kids leave home,  being the adult daughter of an aging parent.....and quilting.  Whew!  Want to see a picture of my most recent quilt?