Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Winner and a Spool Block

I decided to go ahead and pick a winner. Blogger still seems to have some problems, but I don’t want this to drag on forever. Who knows when it will be fixed! So…I put each name on a slip of paper and put them in a bowl and picked one. The winner is Anne-Mette. Check out her blog – she seems to like food as much as handcrafts (me, too!).

Congratulations, Anne-Mettes! Send me your snail mail address and I’ll get your winnings sent off right away.

I completed a spool block and was happy it is fairly flat and square. This will be a good project to hand piece at guild meetings and I won’t forget what I learned from Jinny. As I was stitching, it dawned on me that I had some yardage that might work as a back. The spool block is sitting on 4 yards of -YIKES – briefly interrupted by an earthquake!!!!! Scary!!! TV is saying it was a shallow 5.8 also felt in New York and Ohio but centered in rural Virginia between Richmond and Charlottesville. Okay, what was I saying – oh, yeah – the backing fabric is Windham Fabrics A Little Bird Told Me 1840-1880 by Maren Scott. I bought this a few years ago because I loved it and 4 yards should be plenty for this spool quilt. I might use this dot fabric – Garibaldi by Sara Morgan for Blue Hill Fabrics - for the binding. Shopping in my stash! Love it!

Last Sunday my husband and I made tomato sauce out of 45 lbs of tomatoes from the farmers market. We use the recipe from the Ball Blue Book of preserving.

We’ve learned to cook it on all burners to speed the process; otherwise, it becomes an all day (8am-10pm) project. Dave puts the tomatoes through the food mill and I do the canning.

This year it only took us about 8 hours and we got 7 quarts of sauce. It is SO GOOD! The flavor is so intense.

This morning I pin basted my triangle quilt. I can imagine the quake would have been much scarier  if I had been on the floor at the time instead of a chair.

Len was a good beagle during his first quilt basting.

That’s it for now – have to check out the news about the quake.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Hand Piecing

I’m having a problem with blogger. So sorry if you’ve tried to leave a comment on my Giveaway post and weren’t able to. Try it on this post and I’ll include you. Remember, you have to be a follower to enter. If that doesn’t work I’ll extend the deadline beyond Tuesday noon. Not only is it not letting people leave a comment it also isn’t updating my blog roll. : c (

The past two days I’ve been in a hand piecing class taught by Jinny Beyer. She is such a classy person. The class was held at her studio in Great Falls. This is a lovely shop. She carries so many great notions and gifts for quilters. Quilters from California, Washington, Pennsylvania and North Carolina traveled to Virginia just to take Jinny’s class! I know it was worth my one hour commute.

I should have taken a photo of my block before I pressed it. It was so puckered I thought it was a lost cause. Amazing what a good steam pressing can do! Yeah, it still has some issues and I need to add the border fabrics.

Here is a look at the back-
Jinny says she just lets the seams fall where they may! Not sure she meant to this extent! I wish I had taken a peak at the back of her block.

Here are some notions Jinny recommends-
John James GoldnGlide quilting needles were wonderful to use. I plan to try them out the next time I do some hand quilting. I’d never used this Aurofil 28 wt thread before. Jinny uses it for hand piecing and for hand quilting if she can’t find the color she wants in the YLI quilting thread. Some lucky ladies will be back to the studio tomorrow to take her hand quilting class. I can’t imagine sitting for another whole day of class. It is really hard for me to sit that long. I’m more of a do a little quilting, do a chore, maybe some reading, do a little quilting, walk the dogs, make dinner, do a little quilting kind of quilter!

After I did my homework last night I made my own templates for a spool quilt. This will be my next carry around project (the hexie flowers were it for 10 years – I know – I don’t do a lot of quilting on the go) so I don’t have any expectations of getting it done soon. I don’t even know how big I will make it. The blocks will be 4 ½” finished. Many of these fabrics are Windham Fabrics Farmhouse West 1890-1940 by LB Krueger. This makes the 4th quilt I’ve selected fabrics for, but haven’t started cutting – not yet! Yikes! I’ve wanted to try a spool block ever since I started seeing Klosjes (Dutch for spool) in blogland. I think many bloggers are using a stamp and ink. I didn’t want to go that route. I settled on the color scheme after browsing through Dixie Doodles blog.

I won a giveaway from Janet of Rogue Quilter. Thanks, Janet! I won a wonderful Lori Smith pattern and Comfort by Howard Marcus for Moda charm pack. I think I will use my charm pack to make a tote bag for myself.

Have a great weekend – hope you find some time to stitch!

Monday, August 15, 2011


Thanks to all of you who have clicked my follower button. I’m having a giveaway to celebrate hitting the 50 follower mark. Since it is a giveaway to celebrate followers you must be a follower to enter. Just click that follower button and leave a comment on this post. I will pick a winner next Tuesday, the 23rd, at noon. The winner will receive a copy of Scrap Quilts The Art of Making Do by Roberta Horton. This is one of my favorite quilt books. I have a copy and found one at the library book sale. As much as I love it I don’t need two copies! Also included is 1 ½ yards of light fabrics. The LQS (local quilt shop) was having a dog days of summer sale last Saturday. I needed batting and because I’m trying to limit my fabric purchases I defined my needs before going into the shop - plaids and lights were on my list. I didn’t find any plaids I wanted, but did find some lights. I doubled my light fabric purchases – one for me and one for the giveaway!

It just dawned on me that maybe a lot of you already have this book. It was published in 1998. If that is the case, but you would like to be in the drawing for the fabric, just say so in your comment. If you win, I’ll send the fabric to you and pick another person to receive the book.

I finally hung the quilt I won from Lori of Humble Quilts. I love it! It is in my sewing room where I can be inspired by it! I used just 5 appliqué pins to hang it. That was a tip from Dawn of Collector with a Needle. Have you seen her little quilt gallery? So fun!

I’m very pleased with how my hexagon flower quilt is coming along. I have 63 flowers. Only 24 still need to be appliquéd to a background. I attached the sashing and cornerstones to the rest of the flower blocks last week. Blocks are 7" finished with 2" wide sashing.

Because my sewing room is in the basement I'm relying on artificial light. It looks much better in real life. When it's finished I'll take a photo outside.

I had a little mishap with a rotary cutter blade the other night. My blade needed changing and when I opened the package one of the blades popped out and sliced my thumb. It took a while to stop the bleeding. I am such a wimp, especially when it comes to my own blood and especially on my right thumb. Ten years ago I had 16 stitches put in on this little digit. When I got home from the emergency care center that kitchen mandolin went straight into the trash. I still can’t see one of those things without wincing. So, BE CAREFUL with any and all sharp objects!

Daughter was home for a few days and has already gone back to school in Athens, Georgia. Here are the gifts she brought us from Japan. The 2 larger boxes are candy and crackers. Little sachets were in the pink boxes. The Japanese wrap everything beautifully. Those four packets in front are rayon fabric. Not sure what I will do with them. If I ever go to Japan I will seek out a quilt shop. I must know if the fat quarters are individually wrapped. 
; c ) 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Family and Flight Delays

We got a call from our daughter yesterday afternoon. She was safely in San Francisco – Yay! But her flight to Dulles was canceled – Boo! Instead of arriving super late she opted to take a flight out this morning. Spending the evening with new friends in San Francisco, a city she has never seen may have played a part in her decision! I totally understand – even if it means we will have less time with her. She leaves later this week to go back to school in Georgia.

We missed her at our family gathering yesterday afternoon. We celebrated my step dad’s birthday. Having the family together reminded me of this lap quilt we made last year for my step sister who was having some health challenges. Blocks were signed in California, Minnesota, Georgia, Maryland and Virginia. We are a big family- brought together back in 1976. My mother was a widow with 4 children and the man she married was a widower with 5. Not an easy feat, especially since most of us were teenagers at the time, but they made it seem so. We probably get along as well as or better than most “regular” families. Even though they are in their 80’s we still gather at their house for holidays and when those who have moved away are back east for a visit. The step designation almost seems inappropriate now.

I added this sentiment to two of the blocks –
How much like a patchwork quilt we are;
Some of us are bright and gay,
Some are quieter, more delicate and subdued.

Yet how well we blend together,
The quieter ones set off the colorful
The brighter ones accentuate the pastels.

Often the more fragile pieces
Hold the sturdy ones together;
Blessed are we to be varied.
All of us are stitched with love and tied to one another.

-Author Unknown

I would venture to guess that Anon,
who wrote so many poems without signing them,
was often a woman.
– Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own

I Googled “Anonymous was a woman” to see who to attribute it to and found this interesting article in the Yale Alumni Magazine titled Your Favorite Famous Quotations: Was it by Voltaire? Yogi Berra? Or Some Woman You’ve Never Heard Of?

My pink plaid chair – 

I love it because it is small – it doesn’t take up much room and when I sit in it I can lean back and my feet still touch the ground!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Commercial Break

Last week Mary Jenkins announced on her blog Little Welsh Quilts and other Traditions the release of her new ebook Little Welsh Quilts. I ordered it from Rainbow Disks and was surprised to find it in the mail Wednesday afternoon. That was fast! I enjoyed skimming through it last night. This is my first ebook. It is on a CD and what is really neat is there are videos on it – Mary demonstrating her handwork. I love her little quilts made in the Welsh tradition. I think what strikes me most about these quilts is the lovely and unique hand quilting. A little Welsh quilt is going on my to do list! Mary has an organic way of quilting. She reminds me of a quilting friend who rarely purchases fabric from a shop. I showed you a quilt of Jenny’s here and here is another. 

Jenny purchased the top on ebay, repaired it, added the border and quilted it.

Clarification - it's Mary's philosophy of quilting, not the style, that reminds me of Jenny.

Jenny likes quilting spirals (very Welsh according to Mary). Maybe if you click on the photo above you can see better the overall quilting pattern.

I finished the backing for the half square triangle quilt. Now I just need to find the right time to baste the layers together. I baste quilts in my dining room. I have hardwood floors and the table is conveniently on rollers so it is easily moved out of the way. I’m thinking I need to do it one morning when my son takes Duke (the goldendoodle) and Len (the beagle) to the dog park. Duke knows how to behave when I baste a quilt, but I’m not so sure about Len. I’d rather test him out on a smaller quilt!

I’ve also been stitching my hexies. I was using my Roxanne thimble. It doesn’t fit me as well in the summer because my fingers swell a little. After a lot of fumbling I remembered the thimble made of goat leather I purchased at the QU show in June. Dawn of Collector with a Needle recommended Elaine’s Thimbles. It feels very comfortable. Thanks, Dawn!
Okay, I know I shouldn’t let him do this. This chair was a yard sale find. It was originally covered with a plastic fabric – I think it was a vanity chair. I should have taken a photo of the whole chair - it has a pretty heart shaped back. My husband thought I was crazy when I spent more than he thought I should recovering it. I thought it was worth it, so why do I let this rascal even near it?

My daughter returns from Japan Sunday evening. Can’t wait!

Happy Stitching!