Monday, December 12, 2011

My How Time Flies...

I didn't realize that I hadn't posted in a while.  Life has been busy with work, family (Grand baby #5 will arrive on the scene tomorrow) and being fully immersed in the holidays. Thanksgiving is a blur now as I prepare for Christmas.  I am making quilts for my dad, brother, son-in-law and my daughter's significant other of their favorite sports teams.  Unfortunately,  there is a heated good-natured rivalry among the men folk in my family.  My dad and son-in-law are devoted, die-hard (although somewhat unhappy) Washington Redskins fans.  My brother (they must have found him in the cabbage patch) is a boisterous, fun-loving Dallas Cowboys fan and so is my daughter's boyfriend.  So family gatherings are loud, raucous, and interesting to say the least.  They are each receiving a lap quilt.  I will post pictures a little later.

I am continuing to work on the Farmers' Wife Sampler quilt, although I have not completed nearly as much as I wanted to.  I did finally complete block #13, Buckwheat.  I put it together and it was wonky, so I took it all apart and re-sewed it.  It looks better.  It has a lot of pieces as most of the blocks in this series.  But I made a commitment to do it and I will see it through.  This is a photo of my second attempt.

I haven't started on the Dear Jane challenge yet because I  do not know where I want to go with it just yet as in fabric choices and design.  It is on the back burner until after the holidays and I can give it the time it deserves.

I completed the African Snowball quilt and my friend Carrie quilted it for me on her Tin Lizzie.  She did a wonderful job.  I am going to bind it this week,  but here are pictures of the front and back of the quilt.  It turned out quite beautiful.  I have a nice zebra print that I am going to use for the binding.  It should work well with this quilt.

I have a lot going on...everyone have a great week and thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving...

Sorry there are no pictures this time.  They will come later with an update on what I have been up to.  Just wishes to everyone to have a beautiful and bountiful Thanksgiving season with family and friends. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Happy Friday

It has been a hectic week and I can honestly say that I am happy that Friday is here.  Not much sewing going on this week, but I did take a field trip to Jinny Beyer's Studio in Great Falls, VA.  The area has a lot of artists and there was a studio hop going on.  Jinny's shop was busy and she was cutting fabric and trying to greet visitors.  I did buy some fabric, mostly jewel tones, (sorry no picture) caught up a little with Jinny while she cut my fabric.  It was a pretty day.

I made 2 more blocks for the Farmer's Wife Quilt Sampler.  And I am enjoying this exercise.  It is requiring me to think before I cut, and to think before I sew.  I am getting a little better in trying to be more precise in the piecing of these blocks.  The fabrics that I am using are so wonderful, that I want to do them justice by making good blocks. Not perfect, cause I am not, but nice. Fall has finally arrived and I am enjoying the change.

Here are pictures of blocks #9 and #12.  I hope to get some sewing in this weekend, so I may have more to share later.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Progress on African Snowball and Farmer's Wife Sampler

After surviving one of the rainiest and soggiest couple of weeks that I can recall in a long time, I had no choice but to stay in and work on quilt projects.  Good thing too...I completed the African snowball quilt top.  I opted to put on 2 borders with the outside border only on the sides.  I really like that border fabric but I thought it would overwhelm the other fabrics if I were to put it on the sides and the top and bottom   I have a backing picked out and hope to get this quilted over the next couple of weeks.    I also completed 4 blocks for the Farmers' Wife sampler.  I now have 10 completed and I only have 101 more to make.  This is my side project and I am enjoying it.  I am making the blocks with various shades of the Daiwabo taupes.  I think fall is on the way and I am looking forward to it.  Happy quilting.  Sorry for the quality of the pics -- lighting was not the best.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Storm has Passed...

Irene has come and gone, thankfully. We are still getting earthquake aftershocks, (19 since last Tuesday) but I haven’t felt them, which is a good thing. My heart goes out to those who lost loved ones.  That is the hardest thing to deal with in all of this turmoil.  But, life has pretty much returned to normal if there is such a thing.

I know in some previous post, I said that I would not be doing another challenge for a while if ever again. I find them stressful and the pace somewhat unreasonable. Some people are so prolific in their quilt making and I just find it hard to keep up. Also, I get bored easily, so the challenge may be just that, but if it does not hold my attention, it’s off to the UFO bin, which is overflowing. I do plan to complete each UFO and donate them to worthy causes; it is just taking longer than I had planned.

To compound all of this, there is just nothing new and sexy going on in the quilt world right now. Remember, when the 2-1/2 inch strips were all the rage. There were all kinds of books and patterns out. There were tons of projects just for the strips with accompanying rulers and templates. And then someone came up with Bali Pops in all of the different flavors along with the various copy cats. Then there was the strip cutter and Accuquilt Go die cutters. Just amazing stuff… But I think we are experiencing a loll right now. Well except for the automated pin dispenser. I am still trying to figure that out.

So, I have decided to do another challenge…one that I chose for myself and a few of my friends (even though they are getting cold feet). To make it more challenging, there are no rules to speak of and a very, very long time frame if we complete it by then.

This quilt has been on my mind since well…1999. I purchased the book and the software when it became available. I even attempted once to piece what I thought was one of the easier blocks. The block was never completed. I wasn’t ready. But now I am…and I am going to do it along with all of the other projects that I have going on. And to make it more challenging I am going to do another quilt simultaneously (sp?), to keep my mind and hands focused and busy. I am going to start the Dear Jane (DJ) quilt that I have wanted to make for the last 10 or more years. The other quilt that I will work on is the Farmer’s Wife Quilt sampler (FWS). No,  I am not crazy…and that is all I am going to say about that for right now. Below is a picture of the FWS blocks that I have completed, so you will know that I am serious (for right now).  The DJ blocks are taking a little longer.  Check out the website and you will understand why.   I guess I also need to mention that the DJ blocks finish at 4-1/2 inches and there are 225 blocks; the FWS blocks finish at 6-1/2 inches and there are 111 blocks.  That is the real challenge.

I am finishing up the African snowball quilt top over the long holiday weekend and then back to the ocean waves. And in between those 2 projects, I will put together a DJ or FWS block or 2.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Progress on the African Snowball Quilt

It has been a rough week here in the Washington, DC area.  First we had the earthquake that rocked the area on Tuesday and the many aftershocks that everyone else felt except me.  I think I was too exhausted from the first shake down to feel them.  And now...Irene is lurking off the coast.  We are expecting rain and winds up to 60 mph.  I went to the store this morning (along with everyone else and their relatives) before work and there wasn't a "D" battery on the shelf.  My area is prone to power outages so I thought I would post this update before the lights go out. 

I am making good progress on the African snowball quilt made with charm squares. I still have a few more blocks to make to complete the top.  I haven't decided on a border yet.  I think most snowball quilts look better without borders.  I will make a decision after I get all of the blocks sewn together. It looks pretty good and I can hardly wait to get it quilted.  Be safe!!!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Olivia's Quilt

I was able to finally concentrate in this awful heat and get Olivia's quilt completed.  I remembered to put a label on it and to take pictures.  That is a major accomplishment.  It has been carefully wrapped and is on its way to Olivia.  I had fun making this quilt and picking out all of the different fabrics.  I probably used about 50 to 60 different fabrics including the borders and the backing.  I can cross this one off of my never-ending list.  I think I am now going to finish my ocean waves quilt from way back when.  Let's see how far I get in a week and that will determine if I put it aside for something else.  Think Fall!!!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Trash to Treasure Pineapple Challenge Quilt

I accepted Gyleen Fitzgerald's challenge to make a small 4-block pineapple quilt based on her method and pineapple ruler.  This is the first challenge that I have participated in as I am not a perfect quilter and prefer not be under the scrutiny of the quilt police.  But I like pineapple quilts and the challenge was to use fabrics from your stash (Trash to Treasure) and to add applique.  The cornucopia is my first attempt at machine applique.   Each participant was challenged to interpret the month of their choice.  I chose November, my birthday month and the month of my favorite holiday - Thanksgiving.  Any way, it was an interesting and fun diversion and I will probably not do another challenge quilt for a long time.  I named my little quilt November Harvest.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

When you have to work on the weekend...

You might as well try to have some fun.  The painters worked this weekend and as the facilities manager, I needed to be there with them until the job was completed  So I expected to be in the office all day on Saturday and hopefully only a half day on Sunday.  I guess I could have found something to keep me occupied through out the office.  But I decided that if I had to babysit the painters that I wanted to do something a little more fun than paperwork.  So I packed up my sewing machine that I travel with to sew-ins and classes and put it by the front door.  A while ago I felt like the quilt that I sleep under  had become much love-worn, so I decided to make another quilt for me!   And it needed to be quick and easy.  What is more quicker than a snowball quilt?  I had a ton of African fabric charms (I buy them every time I go to shows) and some Michael Miller jet-black fabric.  And off I went to spend the day in my office...making snow ball blocks.  It can't get any better than that.  We had warned those staff people who just have to come in on Saturday (I don't get it) to stay away while the painters were here, so I didn't have any interruptions.  And to make the deal even sweeter, Create TV featured quilting, crocheting, knitting, and sewing shows all day.  I should have over 100 snow ball blocks done by the end of the weekend.  And to make it even better, I also made bonus half square triangles based on Bonnie Hunter's system.  So, I will have 400 inch and a quarter HSTs.  This quilt is going to be a stunner!   So, here is a pic to show you that I really was at work...working.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Postlady only rang once...

I never win anything.  I leave comments on all of the blog giveaways and for some unlucky reason the random name selector thing just never gets around to my name.  But I keep trying.  Recently I was notified that I had won a prize for playing a game and naming a list of TV moms from their pictures.  It is a sad testament to how much TV I have watched in the past. For some Iof the TV moms I could remember the first and last names, while for others I could only remember the first names, but I was surprised to have won.  So on Saturday morning, the mail lady knocked on my door and left this goody package for me.  Needless to say, I am thrilled. Thanks to Kelli at for giving me the opportunity to play to win!  It was fun and I absolutely love all things Bali Pops and I will make myself a cup of tea while contemplating my next project with my winnings.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Quilters Unlimited Show and a Challenge

Quilters Unlimited Guild had their annual show this year.  It was a little bit of a transition from what we have been used to...different building...different show vendors...missing long-tme vendors, long lines.  But the quilts were beautiful and we enjoyed the camaraderie.  I always enjoy seeing my quilting friends and it was especially nice to see Linda (  My friend Wendy and I spent the morning and a better part of the afternoon at the show and we were both exhausted by the time we left.  I did have a chance to take a few photos of some of my favorites from the show to share...

I love all quilts with half-square triangles.  The picture does not do it justice.

There were many New York Beauty and Cinco de Mayo quilts. 

This one was a real beauty.

Finally, I thought I would stretch a little and participate in a challenge by a well-known quilt lecturer and designer. Here is a picture of the first block...I will share more after the June 30th deadline for the challenge.

More to follow soon...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

When you are overwhelmed by your fabric stash…Make pillow cases

In my effort to re-organize, downsize, reflect (you get the picture) I have come across bins of fabric that I purchased during my early days as a quilter. Back then, I mindlessly purchased lots and lots of fabric because, well that’s what quilters did. I lovingly chose fabrics for all of the potential quilts that I was going to make for family and friends. I had all of these ideas for quilts swimming around in my head causing sleepless nights and non-stop day-dreaming at work.

Well….do to my infinite wisdom (and trying to be budget conscious), I decided to make Mother’s day gifts for my family members. The main criteria were to make the gifts from my stash. I didn’t have time to make everyone a quilt or a cute wall hanging. And since pillow cases are all the rage right now, I asked my friends to give me a quick lesson on making them. They are so easy and fun to make, so I continued on. Now, I needed to keep on track and shop my stash to find just the right fabrics for everyone’s gift. I am feeling good about this effort when it would have been so much easier to go to Macys. I was excited at first to look through my fabric. There was some yardage, a lot of fat quarters. And there were the obvious mistakes. I obviously had quilts in mind when I purchased it, but I can’t remember back that far and I really don’t know what I was thinking about. That excitement immediately turned to dismay, when I saw how much fabric I had collected in a 10 year time frame, most of it completely forgotten. Needless to say, I have more than I will ever use in my anticipated life time. Three hours later, I found enough fabric to make 6 sets (2 each) of pillowcases. I didn’t put a dent in the overall stash, but I felt good about not spending more money to make gifts when I had everything that needed right there! Everyone loved their gift…that makes me happy. And I have turned into a pillowcase-making maniac. My goal is to make one pillow case for charity for every set that I gift to family. So the moral to this story is “who knew” or when life gives you too much fabric… make pillow cases. There is a great tutorial here: . There are others, but I really liked this one (and I watched them all).

Here are a couple of my new creations.

I also hand quilted this small wall hanging panel and glued on crystals for my aunt.

On another note, I am quilting tops for long promised gifts and getting back to long-suffering UFOs. I will post pictures soon.

Monday, March 28, 2011

An Evening with Karen K. Stone & UFOs

Karen K. Stone was in town last Wednesday for a trunk show/lecture and 2-day Clamshell Quilt workshop for my guild.  As a beginner quilter, Karen's work peaked my interests, especially her Cinco de Mayo and New York Beauty quilts.  Her trunk show was impressive and her slide presentation was entertaining and fun.  I love her use of color and the randomness of her designs.  I took her New York Beauty class sometime ago and unfortunately I didn't get very far.  It was my first foray into paper piecing, so the finished block leaves a lot to be desired, but I have since made progress with the paper piecing skills.  So I will dig through the UFO pile soon and finish it one day. 

Speaking of UFOs, the pile is steadily growing.  Not necessarily unfinished blocks, but I have a lot of tops  that need to be quilted and/or the binding put on.  I am trying to work through them, but it has become a bit overwhelming.  But I press on.  Below are a few pictures of Karen's clamshell quilt (lots of color and texture) and a reposting of the wonky NY Beauty block from her pattern. It is not listed on my works in progress list because I have vowed not to add another quilt until I complete something and remove it from the list.  Somebody pinch me (virtually) if I fail to keep to this promise!

P.S.  I did not take the Clamshell class because I also vowed absolutely not to take another class for one specific quilt unless there is some awesome technique that I just have to learn...pinch me again!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A Shot in the Arm...

That was what I received from spending 4 glorious days and 3 nights at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival in Hampton, VA this past weekend. My energy for my craft was waning a little because of family and work obligations. Not to mention that the extreme weather conditions just wore me out…but I think I am back.  The quilt festival was wonderful. I saw lots of friends that I do not get to see often, friends that I correspond with online and my girlfriends who are just the best. It amazes me how you can not see someone that lives within a 25 mile radius of you for months and then you travel 150 miles away and there they are. It’s funny. So, I am sending a shout out to Carrie, Wendy, Stacey, Michelle and Robin. Thanks for a wonderful weekend. And Linda, if you are reading this blog entry, it was good to finally meet you.
The quilts at this show are always something to behold. This year did not disappoint. There was a quilt to satisfy everyone’s palette, traditional, contemporary, art, insightful, inspirational, thought-provoking and controversial as well. I am continuously amazed by the level of talent that quilters possess. And every time I think that I have witnessed the best of the best, a fellow quilter achieves a higher level of genius.  The quilt that won Best of Show is below.

And what is a quilt show without vendors…too many to mention. I had been on a no-buy fabric challenge since early last December. However, the challenge ended for me this past weekend. My goal was to buy one of those over-sized ironing boards, but the vendor sold out before I could get to the booth. So….I used my ironing board money plus some for these new additions to my stash. It’s a bit much, but oh well…I’m loving every bit of it.
I am off to complete some works in progress and start on something new.