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.