Saturday, December 31, 2005

New Years Eve

A time for reflection, a time for letting go of the old hurts and problems in favor of a new beginning. I love new beginnings, wiping the slate clean and starting over, tucking away the good memories to review at a time in the future and taking a step forward. New Resolutions, New Goals.

As a quilter: a time to muck out the sewing room, reorganize, reassign, make lists. A time to finish up the old and start new. In that vein, I made a block for a hug quilt for an online friend. I used some old to start something new:

Just a block made from 1.5" strips of red sewn together and hearts cut from the piece, fused to the background, buttonhole stitched down. (And signed in the center -- that's not frayed fabric, it's writing with a red pen!).

I wish you all a Happy New Year!

Friday, December 30, 2005

Another Drab and Dreary Day

We have had at least a week of gray skies and relatively warm weather for December -- the snow is almost all takes longer to melt in the woods behind the house, but the front bare patches are actually green. It's rather hard to find a good spot to take a picture, so still resorting to finding places in the house. This will be the last finished quilt for 2005.

A closeup of the label, and a shot of the pieced backing -- the gold is actually a Christmas fabric and the teddy bears have Santa hats on them.

Seems like I blocked the light for the label....well, duh!

I've started working on a couple of designs for my newlsetter that I need to have finalized by the end of January. So, the month of January will be stressful, to say the least -- guess I don't work well under pressure!

Monday, December 26, 2005

Boxing Day

Christmas was wonderful at our daughter's. (Wish I could remember to bring the camera down when I come down to spend time on the computer -- haven't even checked the pictures yet and I know I got a good one of Briana in her Pollyanna dress!) I'll have to tie the camera to my wrist tomorrow.

Today was spent doing the usual day after Christmas stuff -- laundry, putting away the gifts, taking down the Christmas stuff in the main floor bathroom and turning it back into the everyday bathroom it is! Also pulled my sewing tables out away from the wall, tossed the two throw rugs in the washer, washed the quarry tile floor under the tables and sealed the grout (just under the tables, don't want to overdo you know :-). Put the clean rugs back down and moved the tables around to make room for the plastic drawers of scraps. Need to buy another set tomorrow and made room for that one, too. That was pretty much the extent of working in the sewing room though. I hope to get a handle on the scraps this coming year and keep plodding along in that direction.

I did finish quilting the Christmas Pineapple Blossom and even put a label on it, but haven't finished sewing the binding down. Hopefully tomorrow I will make some progress and get some pictures up.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone.
I'm going to be quilting today on the Christmas Pineapple Blossom and loading the car for the trip to DD's in the morning. A nice relaxing day for Christmas eve.
Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Early Christmas

My Christmas present finally came in, DH hooked it up yesterday and I've been playing today. I already had the Handiquilter, but ordered the handles and frame to put them on and they finally arrived. After putting a practice sandwich on, I ended up turning the handles upside down though -- my arms got tired this way!
I've already learned some things that frustrated me previously, and the only problems I had today were getting the tension adjusted correctly on the Brother machine and I broke one needle and had to stop and take the plate off and clean the dust out underneath it. I am learning to slow way down and it's nice to have the speed control on the handles and the start-stop button too! I'm pleased with my work so far, so that says something -- I've not been happy with my machine quilting for a long time -- so, I'm pleased that I am actually re-learning to do it right!
Tomorrow I think I'll load the Christmas Pineapple Blossom (after I make a backing for it!) and play some more!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Finished the Scrappy Blossom

The Scrappy Pineapple Blossom top is finished! Not a very good picture , but I did a cut 1½" dark red inner border and the outside border is cut 3½" navy blue print.

I pieced a backing from the leftover pieces of homespun and brushed cotton from the Buggy Barn tree skirt and a couple of FQ's of brushed cottons. It turned out dark and doesn't show up in a picture at all, so you'll just have to take my word for it! Also made the binding. Just need to make up a label now and oh, yes, quilt it!

And, I've decided to start posting my quilty new years resolutions as I think of them -- kind of a test to see how long my good intentions last -- I'm going to post them on the right hand side of my blog!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Cooky Day with the Grandkids

The aprons were a smash hit! This is me (I'm the white-haired grandma with no eyes when I smile - in case you couldn't tell).

Briana is 7, AJ is 22 months as of yesterday. He has hit the terrible twos and I love every minute of it! (Paybacks are extremely fun -- my own mom used to say, "I can't wait til you have kids of your own!")

We had a great time making cookies and playing. Then I had to drive back home, go out to dinner, then crash in the recliner! Totally worn out, but worth every second of it! LOL

Friday, December 16, 2005

Making Progress

Well, I see we're having troubles with pictures on blogger again. Anyway -- I got the top put together and a 1½" cut deep red inner border put on. Hopefully, Sunday I'll be able to put the final border on!

Tomorrow I will be baking cookies with grandkids -- such fun!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Back to the Pineapples

I worked on the scrappy pineapple blossom quilt today -- even took pictures. They're in the camera which is still upstairs and I'm too lazy to run up and bring it down, so I'll upload a picture tomorrow!
I have finished the blocks -- they'll be 6 across by 7 down. I hope to get them sewn together tomorrow and have pulled two fabrics for an inner border and the outer border. I'm pleased with the way it's coming together, except for one thing.
I love Miss Bonnie's idea of putting the needle over one notch to sew the second line on the scrap triangles before trimming, but for those of us that have short-term memory problems, there should be an alarm that sounds when we go back to sewing the next strips on the block! I have forgotten about half the time to set the needle back and it makes a difference in the final block size. I do not frog stitch unnecessarily, so will trim the blocks to size and hope it doesn't show! It's a scrap quilt, right?! LOL

Monday, December 12, 2005


Happy snow day! Actually, it didn't snow today, but it did over the weekend and we're supposed to get a lot more on Wednesday.

This wallhanging was made as a sample for Sew Many Antiques in Pearl City, IL last year. Now it resides at my house every winter. I like making a few wallhangings like this -- I have lots of wall space for hanging quilts!

No quilting today, but I did catch up on some paper filing and did some laundry -- well, actually, still need to fold a couple of loads!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Sunday's doin's

Today I baked cookies (I needed to try out a couple of recipes for chocolate cookies!) It was a tough job, but someone had to do it! Have you ever had chocolate cutout cookies? They are excellent! I got the recipe here: (actually, I got the recipe from their catalog -- they have the coolest catalog for spices - comes with recipes!

Anyway, spent the day baking cookies and watching the Bears lose -- waaah! Then stopped to take a picture of our Christmas tree this year: we have a 7.5 footer that I put the lights on the first year and DH stores in the shed in a huge box that he built for it, that takes the loader on the farm tractor to lift and haul onto the back porch so it can go in the library. We are not having Christmas at our house and DH was not looking forward to hauling it out, so I stuck this little 3 footer on a table, added a string of lights and there ya go! It'll suffice!

I took a picture of one of my Christmas quilts, too. This one was a mystery quilt way back when - probably about 7 or 8 years ago - it was an Inspector Cluesew mystery online. And, being a Maverick, I did mine with Christmas scraps! I love it -- it's one of my favorite quilts. It is folded over the back of the couch with a couple of my previous life's hobby - cross-stitched pillows.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Off on a Tangent

I'm way behind on my blogging again -- both readin' and writin'. I'm going to try to catch up this weekend. I did get a chance to get into the sewing room this week, and instead of working on my Christmas Pineapple, I got this brilliant idea to make my two grandkids aprons for next Saturday's cookie day. I'm going up to WI and we're going to establish a new tradition -- making cookies at their house instead of mine! So, I thought it would be fun to give Briana, 7, and AJ, 22 months aprons -- 'course you should know that I can't sew a stitch unless it's in a quilt! Plus, I didn't have a pattern -- so I found a facsimilie thereof and faked my way through it. The kids won't care and I think they'll like 'em. Didn't take too long, either!

So, then, I went back, figured out what to do for borders on the Christmas Pineapple and put them on today -- I'm calling it done (except for quilting, of course), and moving on. Probably go back to the scrappy pineapple blossom and make some more blocks.

Spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning up the sewing pit. I went to Bonnie's site this morning and saw her fabulous fabric cabinets all neatly lined up and stacked with fabric and was ashamed at the mess my fabric cabinets are in!
Didn't actually clean them out though, but put all my mess away that cluttered the kitchen island (cutting table), and the pile of "stuff" in the corner of the sewing room and both sewing tables. Have a stack of books/magazines/papers to go through and put away/file/throw away soon - probably go through them tonight yet. Left the pile of 2" scrappy strips on the sewing table so I can just jump right in and make a few more for the scrappy quilt. Well, that's my story and I'm stickin' to it!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Christmas Fabric Blossoms

In between laundry and hanging my winter/Christmas quilts today, I played with the new Christmas fabric. I discovered that making a "planned scrappy" is not as easy as it sounds! The above parts are actually two separate blocks. And one must be careful to make sure they are exactly the same two blocks -- putting one fabric in the wrong place changes everything and you lose the pattern! Ask me how I know!

Anyway -- the one on the left was way too boring for me -- yes, all the colors would have been represented if I make enough blocks, so the center star would be blue, red, green, yellow -- but wow, how boring it is. I much prefer the scrappier look of having all four colors meet -- each "star" will still be different because the colors will be in different spots, and that gives it some cohesiveness for those that can't do scrappy and still satisfies me because I love scrappy! I'm going to make more blocks and see where it takes me - haven't decided how big it's going to be.

And this is my first Dear Jane block. And as the author of the book says, "Done is better than perfect"! Actually, it was rather fun to make by hand. I have another one ready to press the freezer paper to the fabric, but I keep getting grabbed by the Pineapple Blossom whenever I walk into the sewing room!

Sunday, December 04, 2005

More Pineapple Blocks

I've been busy playing with fabric lately. Also started a Dear Jane just because. I'm planning on doing it all by hand, but we'll see -- have the first one almost done. Bought muslin for the backgrounds and will use scraps of course for the rest!
Also bought some bright Christmas fabrics yesterday. I think seeing all of Finn's great Christmas quilts inspired me -- I'm really running low on Christmas fabric scraps and these were calling my name in the quilt shop! I'm toying with doing a planned Pineapple Blossom quilt with them! We'll see....

Speaking of Pineapple Blossom, I've now made 16 blocks --couldn't decide how big I was going to make this quilt, thought maybe 16 blocks and a good border will make a nice size table cover or throw for the back of the loveseat, but they are so much fun to make, I just might make some more for a bigger throw. I have a whole pile of 2" strips just waiting on the sewing table for me to decide!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Ta Da (as my 21 mo. old grandson would say!)

The tree skirt is done! Yay! I did the binding while watching the Bears try to give the game to the Bucs today -- there's a lot of mitred corners in that skirt. So that's the last "have-to" get done project. (Well, I still need to get the newsletter out by Dec. 1 and finish addressing the Christmas Cards and wrap the gifts ...but no sewing projects.
I have to say I am really pleased with my quilting on this skirt. I am a terrible machine quilter...I usually just want to get it done and go too fast or can't coordinate my hand movements with the speed of the foot pedal and I end up with stitches either huge on the curves, or so tiny you will never be able to rip them out. But, I think I must have had it all together on this one, because I really did a nice job (I am so surprised!) on the quilting.

It doesn't show too well in the picture, so just take my word for it -- I did good! LOL

So, my reward for finishing this and doing a good job was I got to play for a few minutes in my scraps. What fun Bonnie's Pineapple Blossom blocks are. I only pulled out a few scraps to start -- will be pulling some different ones to make more this week for sure.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Saturday sewing

Here's the Buggy Barn tree skirt waiting to be pin basted. The fabrics were in a kit and they are perfect for my friend, so that was easy! There is a lot of waste in the fabric, but it's only a waste if you throw it away, right?! I don't consider any fabric that goes into my stash a waste. I'll be using it sooner or later.

Anyway, managed to get the skirt quilted today (and I'm actually happy with the quilting -- no toe grabbers and mostly consistent stitches) ;-) I just finished stitching the bias binding on and just need to hand stitch it to the backside. Maybe tonight, for sure tomorrow.

And then I get to play with the Pineapple Blossom block -- really looking forward to it.

Friday, November 25, 2005


I had a loverly, quilterly day today! I don't have any pics tonight because it was too late in the afternoon to get any good light, but I made another tree skirt today. It's from the Buggy Barn patterns and the top is finished. Hope to piece the backing, sammich and quilt tomorrow and then I can play in my scraps for the rest of the month - nay, year!
It felt so wonderful to be fondling fabric today -- I know you all know what I mean. It seems like it's been forever since I could sit down and sew and yet it's only been a few days! I need that fix at least a few minutes every day -- think from now on I'll set aside at least 15 minutes a day -- if I can't sew, I can at least sort and file my scraps -- I still have tons in baskets and totes to be put in the plastic drawers. That should satisfy the need to fondle fabric until I can sew again! And maybe I'll pull out that Hawaiian quilt that is still waiting to be finished -- hand quilting -- 15 minutes a day will have it finished before too long.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

It is a cold, windy day in the midwest and we're heading out to our son's this afternoon. I made a jello salad to take with this morning and I'm glad I don't have to do any more cooking today! Hope everyone enjoys their Thanksgiving!

I finished the tree skirt last night -- I put the lace all the way around the cutout just because I was on a roll!

I'm glad it's done and tomorrow I hope to start the other Christmas gift I'm going to make and then on to more fun things -- like the Pineapple Blossom blocks I want to play with at Bonnie's site (

Have a great day!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Our Thanksgiving is done

All the kids have gone home, the mess is cleaned up, the tables put back where they belong, except for this one! This is an old sewing table I "inherited" from DH's first wife. I usually have it in the kitchen between the two windows, but moved it to the library to make room for two dining tables. I'm going to keep it here for awhile, may put a small Christmas tree on it instead of dragging out the big one.
Anyway -- bought this potpourri last week in Nordstrom's and absolutely love it because it has just about everything fall-colored in it and it smells great!

The quilt the bowl is on was from a "lottery" block exchange at guild a couple of years ago -- we did I think 6" blocks for the big bowties and two 3" bowties and 2 plain blocks for the others. I won the draw and made this little quilt with the blocks. I have lots of little quilts I put on tables in the house, but the scrappy ones are usually my favorites!

Friday, November 18, 2005


Managed to work on the tree skirt today -- have it all together, although this first picture was taken after I finished the last leg, before I sewed the legs together.
The second picture was taken a few minutes ago -- the skirt is all together and the circle cut out, and I turned it over to show the back side -- didn't have enough of any one fabric I wanted to use, so used three fabrics for the backing! All the hand stitching of the seams between the legs is done; just need to bind and add the lace. Hope to get that done next week sometime. And that's been my day -- except for having a sneezing fit every minute or so, which makes it really difficult to sew!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

It started out as a good day.....

Had a blood bank appointment this morning (even passed the iron test -- there being enough iron in my blood that they let me donate -- last time I flunked!). I do apheresis (platelet donation) and they were going to put me on a new machine that is faster, but the guy before me was still on it -- he was a lot slower - my blood drains better! LOL Anyway -- got a new plate for my donation plaque - my 25th contribution! It was so blessed cold this morning that I had the seat warmers on in the car, and they have a heated pad to lay on and I had that on too! And then I got hot chocolate with my cookies! vbg
Anyway, ran two errands and picked up some lace for the tree skirt -- on sale, thank heavens, because lace is really expensive!

Then got two more legs on the tree skirt. So far, so good. The original tree skirt only had 6 legs, but we had the option of adding another and that was what I had planned to do, even though they will probably overlap in the back of the tree. I was worried about running out of the red center and outside print, and the inside green print -- instead, I ran out of the inner red print and the outside green! Scoured the cabinets -- those two fabrics are relatively new -- but no luck! But, since necessity is the mother of invention, I have a red substitute print that is actually from the same line of fabric and a green that is also, but not quite the same shade of green. I'll make sure that leg gets put to the back and move on! I hope to get it at least pieced together tomorrow -- the back stitching may not be done, but the skirt should be together anyway!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Wednesday's Progress

Finished leg four today. Also trimmed them all now that I have my brain around the quilt-as-you-go sewing in the back. But, as I was pinning them back on the quilt, I noticed the angles were different, in fact, the legs were all different sizes. Now, how did that happen? I used the same template to cut them all and the strips are all the same size also. Anyway, took them down, laid the smallest one on top of the rest, (one at a time!), and trimmed them closer to the same size -- couldn't do it exactly - I think that would have been noticeable. Pinned them back up and I don't think it will be noticeable at all. They still need to be stitched together and a binding applied, and maybe a lace edging, if I remember to buy some next time I'm out. What do you think?

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

My turkey

Here's my turkey! He's just a placemat size and he took me so long to make back then (probably 10 years ago!), that I only made one. I haul him out every Thanksgiving, though and put him on the buffet or any available tabletop.

You're all welcome to come over on Sunday afternoon and share the turkey (the fresh one). Bill always fixes it in the Weber kettle (he refuses to have a gas grill and even when his last kettle finally wore out, he specifically requested a new one just like the old one!) We do like leftover turkey though -- I think cold turkey sandwiches can't be beat -- usually better than the hot turkey the first day.

Tomorrow I have to clean house, but I think I can squeeze in some time to get another leg on the tree skirt -- I actually woke up this morning thinking about that skirt. I've never done a quilt-as-you-go before and couldn't picture how you fold the fabric over in the back and hand stitch down, so I worked it out in my head while I was laying in bed this morning. It was a good way to stay in a warm flannel-sheeted bed instead of having to get up and face the rain-soaked day.

A Cold and Rainy Day

A beautiful day to stay inside and quilt in front of the fire, but instead I had to be out among 'em running errands and getting groceries.
Did stop at the quilt shop and bought some fabric for a new tree skirt for a friend. This one will be from one of the Buggy Barn books and I think there's enough fabric to make two - bonus!
Stopped at JoAnn Fabrics for a plastic box and a glue stick (was looking for a journal for a little girl, but didn't find one there). So, went to Media Play, where I did find a journal for Briana. She's only 7, but last Friday when I babysat her and AJ, I discovered she likes to write in a journal. At they have printable sheets of prompts for a journal jar for kids, so I printed them all off, cut them out and put them in the plastic box (no sense playing with fire with a glass jar!). I'll give them and the journal to her on Sunday -- it's not a Christmas present, just something I think she'll like. Also bought some books for her older brother, whose birthday is Dec. 5.
Then stopped at the store to buy a few groceries and a fresh (not frozen) turkey. We're only going to be 12 for dinner, but I wanted about a 16 pounder for a little extra. Of course, the choices were 12 pounds or 21 pounds! I settled for 21 lbs, even though I didn't want one that big. I asked myself why I "settled" and the short answer was: I have a headache, I'm not going shopping to every grocery store in the big city, not knowing if they even have fresh turkeys yet, and I just want to get out of the rain that is supposed to turn to snow, and go home! Fair enough -- we'll have a lotof leftover turkey.
And now I'm home, and I need a nap!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Catching up with the Bloggers

I've been busy, busy, busy as usual -- went to Schaumburg to do some Christmas shopping yesterday -- think I have all but 3 gifts bought that I'm going to buy. Now I can mostly relax, wrap the gifts I have, and sneak in time to quilt, quilt, quilt!
Started a tree skirt from scraps (of course!), on Saturday. This is actually a quilt as you go type -- which I have never actually done before. Pattern was re-drafted by a friend on one of my lists known as "DustingYourStash", which as the name implies focuses on using up stash! It's over at YahooGroups and we try to offer a project every few months or so to work together on. The rest are planning on starting it this weekend, but alas, we are having Thanksgiving here on Sunday, so won't be sewing at all, so I started early! Got 3 legs done and another started today -- may be able to get a leg done a day! So - that's my quilty project this week.

Wanted to say Big Time Congrats to Bonnie! Valedictorian, no less! Must have been wonderful having your folks there for this big honor! And thanks for posting the pics of Charleston -- I have heard so much about the city and someday will get there myself.

Finn -- love your Paths to Piece quilt -- sew many ugly fabrics, sew little time! But even ugly fabrics look beautiful in the right setting!
And Fragments is an amazing quilt. Thanks for sharing that one.

My first quilt was a sampler, also. Took a beginners class (loved every minute of it), learned to hand piece and hand quilt and I was such a snob I thought that was the only way to quilt! It was just a 4 part sampler and I gave it to my mom in a nursing home at the time and can you believe it was stolen from her? I do have a picture of it somewhere (really need to get back to filing the photos -- must be 5 years behind by now). I quickly learned on the second quilt that I was not going to be hand piecing anything -- too many quilts, too little time! Amazing how fast one realizes how many quilt doors are now open after taking that first class. Did hand quilt the first 5 or 6 bed size before I got brave enough to take a machine quilting class. Also didn't start another quilt til I finished the one I was working on -- that lasted as long as the hand quilting. And there you go - the beginning of ufo's and scraps!

Dawn - loved your pictures of the Abbey. Beautiful. All this and quilting too.
And gotta go hunt down my turkey quilt, too. Maybe I'll get him posted tomorrow!

Sharon - glad to hear you and hubby made it back home and that his surgery this time was relatively minor. Sounds like you've both been through a lot the past couple of years.
I absolutely adore your Stewdio - can I come live at your house?

Sarah -- you've been busy quilting - wtg! What is Stash Sunday? And what kind of longarm machine do you have? Inquiring minds want to know, so I can drool witha specific machine in mind.

Tracey - beautiful wedding pictures, nice recollections of the trip and of your grandma -- I think we would all like to be remembered as well as you remember her. So wonderful that you were able to really spend time with her as a young adult.
And, I love the quilt, too -- once again, too many quilts to do -- just want to sit and sew for days on end!

Judy - I made my first quilt back in the early nineties (I'm always a late starter -- but once I'm hooked, I'm hooked for life!). Must be a theme on the first sampler quilts though to use pink or blue! And, I have a question -- how long did you machine quilt before you bought your first longarm? And what kind did you get? (I'm doing my own private longarm survey here -- I need lots of info so I can dream big and drool alot. And then, when I'm ready, I can start the big whine with hubby!).

Nines - prayers for both your mom and dad -- and you and hubby and kids, too. Hope everything went well. I always take some handwork with me to the hospital too -- but sometimes when I'm particularly worried, I can't concentrate enough to work on it. Sometimes it is just better to have some crocheting or knitting, or something that doesn't take any precise work. My DH had a triple bypass a few years ago -- we've done the numerous hospital visit thing. Last one though was a cat scan scheduled for 9 pm! Had to be there at 7:15 so he could drink the nasty barium stuff. So I brought hand applique. Still working on a quilt called Tulip Farm from a few years back, so easy to grab a bag of pieces and work on it. When I'm not particularly worried, I really enjoy the hand work!

Welcome Lucy -- I am so far behind, I am embarrassed. It is so interesting to read your blog and see your pictures. Beautiful work. Many years ago I worked with a man from Haarlem. We worked at an aircraft parts manufacturer and he was a customer service representative.
I like your little quilts. It's nice to do a little quilt now and then to actually be able to finish one in a day or so. You flower quilt is gorgeous - congratulations to have it hanging in a show in France. And, your daughter is beautiful. Is she learning to quilt?

Lynn -- really like your wonky houses quilt. Wish I had the time to make one of every quilt Bonnie has displayed on her website!
But first on my list will be the pineapple blossom quilt -- that one just speaks to me -- in fact it's very rudely shouting "do me now, do me now". Hmmm, maybe I'll make a couple of "littles" just to savor some scrappy quilting in between the holiday rush.

Well, I've been on the 'puter for 2 hours now and haven't finished catching up on all the blogs, but must go provide a lap for JR (my Jack Russell Terrier). He gets a little perturbed if his schedule isn't kept and we have lap time about this time every evening!

Thursday, November 10, 2005


Still no quilting getting done over here. Spent the entire day on the computer writing directions for a couple of quilts I designed for my newsletter. Designing is fun, making the quilt is fun, writing directions is a very large PITA! Anyway -- got the worst part done so now I can relax and get back to quilting this weekend.
Tomorrow I get to go up and hug on grandkids til they get sick of grandma kisses!

A little more on the Handiquilter story: I bought one of the first ones out because I thought it was about time someone thought of us regular quilters out here. (I had no idea that for a few thousand more I could have bought a bottom of the line longarm because I jumped in with both feet and didn't research the subject at all! In fact, I had no idea what a top of the line longarm would cost until I saw one at the first International Quilt Show in Chicago a few years ago! - one of those slap the forehead, "DUH" moments!)

The HQ has mostly been a source of annoyance for me, but I have figured out a few things and having the handles on the front with a speed control without having to mess with the foot pedal should be a great improvement. You're, of course, very limited with what you can do if you try to do special block type quilting and forget trying to do SID quilting (well, maybe after I practice a few years!) The Brother machine I have has a 9" throat space -- but realistically, there's only about 6" that's usable! It's great for free-hand, stipple, meandering and I guess for pantographs, although I've never tried to do pantographs -- seems like more work than it's worth to set them up on the table. The "table" is just an old, office conference table (very heavy in the first place, plus DH has wooden braces attached to it to make sure everything is level and supported). One of the big problems also is bobbins -- way too small -- need to be changed often!
So, my plan is to really try to improve my freehand quilting and learn to do feathers and such really well. I don't ever plan to do other people's quilts for them, but I'd like to be able to do my own really well! That's the plan anyway! I want to whittle down my ufo's so I can relax in the evenings doing hand-quilting, which is my first love and I never seem to have time to do it - there's always some project that has to be done now!
Anyway -- I think eventually I'll be buying a good longarm -- in a few years! I'll spend the years before then learning more -- that's what quilting is for me anyway -- a constant learning experience and I love it!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Simply Wednesday

No pictures here today either -- I've spent the day doing my house cleaning -- well, a good once over anyway! Rather be quilting, but who wouldn't!
It's almost 2:30 in the afternoon and I still haven't had a shower, so will be running up to do that soon.
Spent yesterday doing some more Christmas shopping - should have all of it done by Thanksgiving except for one item for DS. Good news is that I did some shopping for myself at the sewing machine shop. I have a Handiquilter (which I hate - but that's another story!). So, I finally broke down and ordered the handles with the speed control knob on them and the frame to put them on so I can actually stand in front of the needle and see what I'm doing. I have a Brother 1500 for the HQ. I've also had handles that DH put on the bottom front of the carriage so I could actually sit in front and sew -- but the foot pedal still needed to be slid along the floor as I went. So, most of the time the HQ table has been in the garage gathering dust. Now I'm going to set it up in the basement where I have plenty of room. I've decided to actually practice, practice, practice until I get good enough to justify buying a longarm (this may take a looooonnnng time! -- but it'll take a long time to save the cash for the longarm, too, so it evens out!). I'll still be limited as to size of quilt I can do on the HQ -- only have an 8 ft table, so basically, nothing wider than 72" fits comfortably. But I can get all the scrap throw-size done in short order easier on the HQ than on my Bernina, in theory!
Off to shower! -- JT

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Catching Up Again

Spent the week resolving email problems and other various and sundry aggravations. Didn't get to sew all week until yesterday. But I did piece together the backing for one of the Nickel scrap quilts:
I used the leftover nickel squares and some leftover half square triangles, added a light yellow fabric to fill in and all in all, spent more time on the backing than I planned!

I'm going to try to get caught up today with the blogs -- can't believe how much time I wasted on the computer this past week.

Was going to answer Bonnie's query about borders earlier, but forgot, so my answer is quick -- I, many times will just add a plain border because I just want to get the quilt done. Sometimes a plain border is better, too, because the scrappiness of the quilt needs to be calmed down and sometimes, I'm just not up to do the math (vbg.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

A Good Quilt Day

This is the Labor Day Madness quilt with a 2.5 inch dark purple border -- and that's where it's going to stop. I decided I didn't need to add anything else to it and it's a good throw size -- I might even be able to quilt it myself.

And this is the Pinwheel quilt made from the reverse blocks from the above quilt. I sashed with one dark tan fabric and cut 2.5 inch corner stones from leftover 5 inch squares. Haven't added a border, but I really like the way the sashing looks on the outside of the blocks, so may just leave it at that. This is the same size as the Labor Day Madness, so it's a good throw size, too.

Spent the rest of the afternoon working on piecing a backing with leftover HST's and nickel squares made into four patches. I think I have it designed on the wall, so just need to stitch it together and it'll be a backing for one of the two above quilts! And that's been my day!

Indian Summer 2

Today as I was laying in bed deciding whether to get up or not, I decided I was too sore and too lazy to go play in the dirt (actually I decided I felt like playing in the sewing room today!).

This picture is the one from the lily bed that has been cleaned out, north to the driveway of the flower bed that still needs to be cleaned out! Maybe next weekend!

And this is a shot of the front porch rockers -- hence the name! Now I'm off to quilt! I'll post pictures this afternoon of the Labor Day Madness top and the Scrappy Pinwheels top!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Indian Summer

Saturday in the midwest, mid-60's temps and time to get some things done! Yesterday I took all the screens down and washed the windows on the outside -- I hate washing windows, but might as well do them all at once and not drag it out!
Today, I swept the front porch, weeded the flower beds next to the porch and garage and emptied 10 bags of mulch into them.

Then, went around to the back, swept the back porch and then hauled in loads and loads of black dirt from across the lane to the beds in front of the porch. Had to clean out the frosted impatiens first and then filled in the beds -- this job should have been done a few years ago, no less!

DH put the screens away in the space above the garage, then blew the leaves out of the garage and drive and then ran the mower to mulch the leaves in the front and back -- this will be done numerous times before the snow flies!
Even though my back was aching, I took myself down by the road to clean up some flower beds.

This is a bed of hybrid lilies that was covered in weeds (we're in the midst of a drought -- down 12 inches of rainfall this year -- the only thing that did well were weeds!). Thankfully, the mulch is deep, which helps in pulling weeds! Still have a lot to do, but feeling good that I got this much done today!

Well, blogger is being tempermental again -- so will try to upload some pictures later or tomorrow!

Did manage to finish the Labor Day Madness top -- ended up with just one plain border. Have almost finished the Pinwheel blocks quilt, too, so will get those pictures up tomorrow, hopefully.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Labor Day Madness, once again!

I've been playing all day! Labor Day Madness is now a top. It's about 48" x 58" and I ran out of the fabric I was using for the rectangles, so that's as large as it's going to get. I have some very dark purple that I also used in some of the blocks that I think will make a nice 2" inner border and then I have a lot of leftover half-square triangles that I think I will leave as HST's and march them around the purple for a scrappy outer border. I'm pleased with the top so far -- it's a little brighter than the picture shows.
Next project will be to make the pinwheel quilt with the leftover blocks from this one. If I can get them both finished, I'll have Christmas gifts for two of my kids -- bonus!

Saturday morning

I want to thank everyone for their nice comments on my quilt and blocks and such. I try to reply to everyone, but most of the emails bounce. Just want to say Thanks anyway!
Today I get to play all day on the Labor Day Madness and Finn is going to be playing with the blocks sometime, too! It'll be fun to compare notes. So, guess I'd better get off the computer and back to the sewing machine. I'll check back later this afternoon.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

It's Finished!

It's finished! This is a queen size quilt I started I can't remember how many years ago -- It's called Shakespeare in the Park and the pattern is by Judy Martin, from her Creative Patterns book -- I made it the same year the book came out, but the book is on the second floor and I'm in the basement and no -- not running up two flights of stairs for it! Anyway -- I quilted the center of it a couple of years ago, on my Handiquilter -- then took it off and had to frog stitch part of the top, and long story short, finally finished quilting it last week, put the binding on and finished stitching it down today - washed, dried and on the bed and that's where it's staying! Feels good to have it done, plus it's totally scrappy from stash, all blues, yellows and lights!

Felt so good, I pulled out the Labor Day Madness blocks and spent the rest of the day playing with them -- I have 12 blocks finished and another 18 or so are subcut and stitched, just need to square up (which is a pain -- I'll do it later! LOL). Here's the 12 I have done:

Tomorrow I have a road trip to a quilt shop in Fulton, IL (on the Mississippi River), so won't be sewing, but will be fondling fabric (not buying -- just fondling!).

Now I need to catch up on email and the Mavericks -- haven't been able to spend much time on the computer reading what you'all have been up to!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Sunday evening mellowing out

DD, Stephanie, brought our dear grandson down to our house last night (they live an hour and a half away), so I managed to snag a couple of pictures! This first one is Grandpa and AJ, who is saying "cheese"! He'll be 20 months old tomorrow. He and Grandpa have a mutual admiration society going.
We have three kids, all married, but the two oldest boys and their wives couldn't have kids. Our daughter got pregnant on her honeymoon! So, AJ is our first. We also have a beautiful 7 year old step-granddaughter that lives with DD and DSIL -- but she usually goes to her mom's on the weekends.

This is Stephanie and AJ -- he has that look of "another camera being shoved into my face -- take it quick, Grandma, 'cause I'm moving on!"

This is the most photographed kid in the world -- both his mom and dad manage camera stores! His dad is a videographer on the side, too and a great photographer!

And my kitchen floor looked like Cyclone AJ hit it -- he pulled all the toys out of the toybox and then played with the ball all night!

Okay, I won't bore you with any more pictures from a doting grandmother!

Sunday Afternoon

This is the quilt I made for DD's friend, Darcy that was in the car accident. She was supposed to be married yesterday -- but that, sadly, has to be postponed indefinitely. As of yesterday, she's slowly coming out of the induced coma, but will require therapy for the tracheotomy, and then therapy in a rehab facility -- still unsure of the extent of her injuries. I designed and made this top this summer, then set it aside because I thought it was too boring! So, I pulled it out and quilted it and gave it to DD last night to give to Darcy.

It's been a really strange week for me -- kinda ruled by Murphy's Law since about Thursday! I'm afraid to touch anything for fear I'll screw it up! LOL So far, I've printed off twice as many pages as I need for a new pattern because the printer keeps messing up. I ran out of paper (who was it that took the last ream of paper and didn't buy more -- oh, wait -- that would be me!), ran out of ink, had to run into Rockford on a Saturday morning (hate to drive in Rockford on the weekends!)for more paper and ink. Fought with my Brother machine trying to finish a ufo -- finally figured out that it changed its own tension setting while I was doing some high-speed quilting - honest! Got three sides of the quilt finished and then realized I hadn't finished frog stitching the top side of the quilt! Gave up completely and started a new day! Came down to the basement this afternoon thinking I need to shred a whole pile of old papers (after seeing an ad in the paper this morning for a nice cross-cut shredder and thinking I might think about buying a new one), and the shredder died - think I burned out the motor! Will definitely be picking up that new one this week!
Spent the rest of the afternoon watching the Bears win! GO BEARS! and frog stitching on the ufo! I'm done for the day -- don't want anything else to go wrong! Tomorrow is quilt guild and planning on being there all day and half the night!
Now I have to go catch up on all the bloggers in the Maverick ring -- I'm a week behind!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Tuesday, Oct 11

Guess I've been MIA for awhile! Have spent most of the weekend working on a quilt top -- it's now quilted, labeled, and the binding is in process of being stitched to the back side! I'll get a picture up when it's finished. I'm feeling pretty good about this one, 'cause it's a ufo I finally finished and I'm giving it away too!

Got to spend last Monday with Grandchildren and Daughter and she took pictures of the fun they were having. I had DSIL email one to me -- AJ was so serious when he got on the motorcycle ride, I just knew it would be a great picture. However, DSIL never sizes the picture down when he sends it to me (he has cable -- I have dial-up -it literally took a 1/2 hour to receive! Grrr! Anyway -- I put it up on my isp home page at: if you'd like to see my grandson -- oh, and he really has blue eyes! LOL The little girl in the background is our darling granddaughter, Briana, 7.

Back to the quilting stuff: I've been "itching to stitch" lately, so pulled out another ufo and have been hand appliqueing in the evenings in front of the tv! This one is a pattern and class I took at least two years ago. I did go back a few months back and pull all the rest of the fabrics for it and cut all the rest of the pieces and "kit" them, so all I need to do is pull a bag out and work on it -- it's great! This one is "Tulip Farm" by Blackbird Designs, I think. The pattern was not well written, so it was a good thing we had a yearlong monthly workshop on it.

Anyway -- that's what's been happening around here in a nutshell!

Friday, October 07, 2005


It's done, finished, completed, get the picture. I finally finished the "commission" quilt from *&^$#! And, I will never, never, never, do another quilt for someone who says, "Would you make my mom a quilt with cardinals and birdhouses on it?" Like it's an easy thing to do -- NOT!

I also managed to sammich and pin baste the next quilt to be quilted -- that's about it for quilty things today! Still haven't gotten back to the Labor Day Madness or any or scrappy stuff -- but definitely on my agenda after this next quilt is finished.

It was unbelieveably cold this morning! No frost, but cold enough to have a fire in the fireplace in the kitchen -- first one of the season and from here on out, the fireplace probably won't have a chance to cool down til next spring! I even sat in the kitchen to finish stitching the binding on the quilt this morning! It was heaven! It is supposed to warm up to the 60's this weekend, but there's also a chance of frost tonight! Welcome to the midwest!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


Haven't been around lately, so need to catch up! Yesterday, I spent the day with DD and DGD, Briana, and DGS, AJ! Been a few weeks since I've seen them because we've been sickly around here and certainly didn't want AJ to catch another cold. AJ is 19 months old and a real card! I met them at the mall, DD bought a dress for a wedding coming up in 11 days -- we were going to babysit AJ for the weekend. However, today DD called and the bride (who works with DD) was in a horrible accident last night, may have a broken neck, definitely has head injuries that they've put her in an induced coma for right now. They don't think she's paralyzed, but she wasn't breathing on her own when they brought her in, so don't know the prognosis right now. I've talked to this girl on the phone and she sounds like a real sweetheart. We can only pray that she'll be okay. The wedding was going to be huge, with the reception in Lincolnshire, IL. In fact, my DSIL had the contract for videotaping it.

Quiltwise: today I worked on the commission quilt I hate! I actually finished the top and just finished pin basting. Don't know how I'm going to quilt it yet, but want to get it done and out of here!

Bonnie -- sorry I didn't get back to you -- the Labor Day Madness blocks are 10" unfinished. I think when you're working with 5" strips, you end up with odd sized blocks -- each section squares up to 4 - 1/4".
Love your newsletter -- haven't had a chance to play at your website lately, so will try to do that today!

I have one more thing to finish up before I can get back to my scrappy blocks, but I plan on working on them by the end of this week!

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Back on Track

I did manage to finally get the rest of my fall quilts out and hung yesterday. So this is the full view of the Fall Star Trip quilt.

This hangs in my "Clutter Room" which is also the sewing room, the room between the garage and the kitchen, where the pantry is, the microwave, and a half bath -- guess that's why it's known as the clutter room. It hangs on the wall going to the garage but it fills the doorway going into the kitchen, so you can see the quilts hanging there from the kitchen, the dining room and the library!

'Course, immediately after I hung it, I covered it with a piece of batting and went back to work on my Labor Day Madness blocks. I separated out the light colors from the 5" squares and some of the mediums that blended in too much. I'm still chain piecing parts, so I haven't sewn the blocks together, but I have 9 blocks on the wall: I do like the darker background rectangles, too (thanks for everyone's opinion!), so that's what we're going with!

Spent most of today at a quilt show/Autumn on Parade in the next town over. Good craft show, although I didn't buy anything. Quilt show was smaller than normal, but it was okay. Also went to the lqs and picked up the next "Buck A Block" this morning, so have other things to work on when I get that far!

Otherwise, tried to find a flight out of O'Hare for Vegas and gave up -- prices are about double. So, we cancelled the trip and notified the Navy Reunion people and the hotel. I'll get back to Las Vegas sometime! We'll be babysitting our precious grandson, AJ on the weekend we would be coming home anyway, so that's almost as much fun -- he's 19 months!
Tonight I need to do some checkbook balancing and cleaning up some paperwork around here, so I guess I'd better get busy!