Thursday, July 26, 2007

string quilt on it's way

My free motion quilting practice continues with my latest charity quilt for wraptheminlove.
These are the string blocks I had fellow quilters from my guild retreat help make in April and now it's a finished quilt. As I took the rainbow rail and the wedding quilt for show and tell to my guild meeting-I did not bring this one. It also gets credit as a Heartstring (see sidebar for link) as I included one of their labels as well. I used a flannel backing and no batting for this quilt. Meanwhile binding on the wedding quilt is going on and this morning I should turn the last corner before having to leave for work. I am going to stop and work on the labels tonight. I have an idea and want to play around with it. As my sons occasionally read this blog, I am not going to post any photos or reveal anymore details until after the wedding-August 8th, and of course we won't be back until the end of that week. Suffice to say, the wedding quilt received suitable oohs and aahs from my fellow guild members and I am very happy with how it turned out. I am not so sure how the kids will feel about having to lug it home on the plane, but, too bad-I want to enjoy seeing them unwrap it! I just sent off 11 quilts to our charity headquarters and that brings my group total up to 50 for the year. The second quilt I am sharing is made by Anita D. a member of our charity group and my guild. She is an amazing quilter-when I emailed her on Sunday or Monday saying I had room for 2 more quilts and did she have any finished to add to the box...she came through on Tuesday night with two gorgeous quilts. This is a great one featuring the color red. She uses a version of the Handiquilter to do all her quilts for our charity group-and her quilting is terrific. She is lucky enough to be retired and can spend much of her time devoted to her quilting-she does wonderful, wonderful scrappy quilts and we are very fortunate to have her as part of our group. This is something I so enjoy about quilting-the gathering together of kindred spirits creating both art and function that will benefit others.

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Saturday, July 21, 2007

currently working on

I am on a roll today-I posted the Sisters photos and now will share the current project I am working on: a stack of string blocks with four strings stitched so far on each one-and the string bin holding the strings I am using. I am stitching for a while, doing house chores for a while, taking a computer break, having a cup of coffee, then start all over again. Next up: free motion quilting on the string quilt I want to show on Tuesday night. Dinner is the last of the leftovers from Wednesday night and tomorrow I will cook up various foods for lunches and dinners for the coming week. I approach cooking pretty much the same as using my stash- I always pull from the fridge and cabinets ingredients I need to use up before they go bad and/or have been around long enough it's time to use them. Or, they are part of an idea I want to make...I may have to go shop to add to what I pull...but to me, it's the same approach I often take in quilting- get an idea, pull from the stash, shop if I absolutely need to. Stitch up a bunch of blocks or units, cook up a batch of whatever. Sometimes you run out of a fabric or ingredient, you have to be creative and find something else that works. Sometimes I pull ingredients and then search for some recipe that uses them all...or make something up if I am too lazy to look. The longer I use this approach- the more I find myself making stuff up. Someone asked about the pattern for this string quilt I am showing a photo of in this post- oh, did I mention this is the quilt for my friend who came through surgery with flying colors? muslin foundations cut six and a half inches square-a string set on the diagonal in her favorite colors-plus a few I threw in just because. I am making sixty three "blocks" and will set 7 across by 9 down..a good sized lap quilt.
Mindless stitching after the wedding project is just so relaxing...and more happy colors to boot.
I just love days like today-when you can do as you please and enjoy the doing of them at your own pace. And, another whole day of the same thing to look forward to. Life is good!!!


My Sisters Quilt Show photos

To kick off ....a wonky sorta Gee's Bend flavored quilt. I am currently reading Collaborative Quilting by Freddy Moran & Gwen Marston-reading as in actually reading the text- when I first bought it, I certainly paged through and enjoyed all the photos but didn't take time to read it cover to cover.

It was really great to see a few maverick/wonky inspired quilts at Sisters...I am sure I missed many wonderful quilts-as we certainly did not cover all of the places where they were being shown.

here is my idea of an applique I would love to own...maybe one day even try and make!

This is my idea of a wonderful orphan quilt ! Finn....sorry, I did not note names on any of the quilts I took photos of- so can not give the proper person credit...just really enjoyed this quilt.

we could not resist showing this amazing quilt- the closer you got, the less you knew what you were looking at!


Thursday, July 19, 2007

belated birthday's all about Alice

I am a pretty orderly person, given time and opportunity. Lately, chaos has had the upper hand and so...I am picking up here on my blog where I mentally left off. Alice birthday photos..I need to upload Sisters photos and that will happen next...whenever time permits..and then there is the finished rainbow quilt to share and probably a wedding quilt too by the end of this week. A new project is poised to take over my life...a friend is under going surgery today. Surely a quilt needs to be made as a coming home to heal celebration for her. I know the colors and I know the pattern-just need to pull stash and get it done. If you miss hearing from me- email me, as I have email access though not blog access at work. I read email at work if I remember to take a break.
yes, it's been crazy busy at work lately and I still have an issue to resolve -stubborn thing.

The wagon is from her parents and the alligator push toy is from her uncle, leaving the doll and quilt from nonna- I am correcting my spelling thanks to my son pointing out nona means nine in Italian...I may as well defer to his superior knowledge now :-)
and out of sixty or so photos...I think I captured the fun of the gifts ...and will leave the rest on my computer. Suffice to say she had a wonderful time with the boxes, ribbons, and paper as much as the contents proved to be. I apparently missed the photo of her sprawling face down on the quilt, loving it up. oh well....she continues to enjoy rolling around on it when it's on the floor-along with a wonderful Pooh fuzzy small blankie that arrived in the mail last week.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

I want to come back next time as my dog

Does it get any better than this? Her attitude is perfect-life should be all about lying out in the warmth and her person opening the door to come in or out as she pleases. Oh, and fill the water dish with fresh water. Throw in a snack and a walk and it's a perfect life in her opinion. This is our Zoe, a four year old boxer. Her coloring is called brindle and yes, she is a pure bred. She's fixed and due to a "funny" ear (besides being not cropped, which in the US means not show quality) not a chance of being able to be shown. She is also not always friendly with other dogs-she especially does not care for black dogs...most especially of the collie or Australian sheepdog variety. A funny dog and always thrilled to meet new people-she will lick them to death if they let her. She does not lick us, as we do not ever allow it. Not that she hasn't sneaked in a lick once in a while should she find us on the floor or within range. In an earlier part of my life I had cats-they were wonderful and full of personality and I am now sorry I don't really have any photos of them. I do not have plans in the foreseeable future of having any either-Zoe is quite enough to keep up with thank you. By the way, she was napping before I had to open the door and take this just would not work through the sewing room window...I tried.
Still have not done Alice photo editing, but, I did go spend time with my aunt and other family members, have done a huge amount of stitching, and made plans with friends to tour the lavender festival/farms tomorrow. Check it out here.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Friday and no morning email

Every morning I read my email with my coffee. For some reason yahoo is not connecting-no matter what I try on my end. I clearly can access blogger, so it's not an internet connection issue.
Annoying not to be able to be able to follow my usual morning habit. Instead, I have put the time to good quilty use. Last night I figured out the rest of the colors for the remaining rings (could not really go any further until I did) and did all the cutting and stitching of half square triangles. To me, the tedious part is now done. Putting all the squares together is fun and downright addicting I find. I had to talk myself out of putting in too much yellow-and put a light purple instead-I think that will work out better in the color balancing overview. While I cut and stitched last night I added more tunes to my music library-I am going to have to download to my ipod soon-so much new music to enjoy. I actually put away all the leftover extra fabric lying around the sewing room last night as well. All the scraps from the wp are in one basket until I am done with the top. I really need to get back to cutting up scraps...I never quite finished cutting them all up-and I have certainly been adding to them lately! I am so happy it is Friday...I have been skipping the gym in the morning (very bad) and will talk myself into going tonight-our gym is half a mile away at the local rec center and I love it. They stay open until 10 pm and some of the younger body builder guys like working out on Friday nights-something to admire as I slog away on my machine :-) I want to buy an ipod shuffle to use while I work out-the music they play tends to be not so much my taste and it would be nice to put together a playlist designed to motivate me to work out faster. I have several ideas like this that I hope to actually accomplish before the year is over. It's all about how I chose to use my time of course. So far, I have not been too inspired to spend the money on another ipod. I am pretty much in a no buy frame of mind, unless it is something I absolutely need. I think perhaps an ipod shuffle will go on my wish list for being given as a gift...I like that idea a lot. And, I still have not worked on editing Alice birthday photos...we are going over to see them on Saturday for a game night, so that will be my deadline for working on that project. No need to do it tonight however, as there is all of tomorrow .

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

rainbow rail - a finished top

I burned a bit of midnight oil last night working on the two current projects-stopping at just short of 2 am when I was down to the last seam on the rainbow rail top. This morning I stitched that up and then asked M about a border-the answer being yes, of course it needs a border. sigh. I know she's right, but, that meant more time/work needed on this top. We thought the white with the colored polka dots would make a nice border. I went to the fabric room to pull butterfly flannel fabric I have been saving for quite a while. I pulled it out and looked at it closely. I put it up against the top...yes...those colors work as a border. So, into the washing machine went lengths of flannel, border and backing lengths. While that was going, I worked on the wedding quilt project. Choosing colors for many rings so I could stitch and see some more rings completed. I needed to go back and cut more wow strips as I had done such a good job of cutting squares, I failed to leave enough strips for the hsts! Finally the fabric was out of the dryer and ready for strip cutting for the borders. This stage of the top always seems extra long and often tedious to me. I measured down the middle and cut the long strips to that measurement...instead of doing an average-the end result are a few not so evenly "gathers" along the seam length. Too bad, I am not re-doing them. This will be a snuggle under watch tv sort of quilt-and once it's quilted, it will be just fine. I stitched the other two ends and had M hold the top up for a photo. The design wall is engulfed in wedding rings...and all sorts of loose squares waiting to be stitched. I just need to press the flannel pieces and seam the backing together-then it's off to the longarm quilter. This ended up finishing at 54 inches by 67 inches.
I want bapist fans quilted on it...and though I would love to handquilt this, I want it done sooner rather than later-it's my most recent ufo from last year. I started this in a class taught by Billie Lauder -Beyond the Rail Fence- there is a book out by that name over here.
Nice to have this done-the leader/ender idea really is so helpful. I will pull out another project -I have so many waiting their turn! later on. I am going to focus on getting this wedding quilt top to the hand over to the quilter stage now. I bought the king size batt for it yesterday using a lqs coupon...a nice savings. Dinner is cooking in the crockpot-chicken and yam soup. It's very very warm outside, but, with the a/c cranking, I am quite comfortable..even on the "cold" side.
I just can not think clearly if it's too hot-I need all my brain cells firing for getting these rings right! I promise, next post will feature Alice's birthday family party. I only have 60 to 70 photos to edit first LOL.