Friday, November 28, 2014

My Mother

My beautiful, talented mother passed away this afternoon. We moved her to a hospice residence last Saturday. She received loving care from the nurses and staff there. They kept her comfortable and pain free. My youngest sister and I were with her and held her hands as she passed from this earth. I miss her already.
My Dear Mother

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Until further notice...

Some of you may have noticed my absence lately. I have had a lot on my plate and something had to give. Most things have been managed. I am so grateful to have these things taken care of. But, my 91 year old mother's health is swiftly declining. We are also concerned with the quality of care she is receiving at her private facility. We hope to soon move her to a hospice residence.
This is my mother last year.
So, I am putting my blog on hold. Hopefully, I can begin posting again in the new year. I will still enjoy reading your blogs as often as I can.

Please keep my family in your thoughts and prayers.

Friday, October 31, 2014

I'm a lucky girl, too!

In the online community I have met so many talented and generous quilters. So many have helped me improve my skills with their tips. But, every so often there are people that you just really connect with. Recently, Debbie who blogs at  Kitten Creates posted a comment on my blog. I checked out her blog. She had posted a cross-stitch quilt top for sale in her Etsy shop. It had belonged to her mother, but she had only done a little of the embroidery.
 I bought it and love working on it late at night because it is mindless...which is what I am late at night. LOL. I am embroidering it in the blue and green option. But, I can't bring myself to rip out her mother's stitches just yet. I began work on a different part. Debbie also included a few yo-yo's she makes from the 1930's prints. 

 Debbie and I chatted back and forth by email. She has a lot of 1930's prints. Some are reproduction and some are vintage. She is making several projects with them. I was finishing up my Dresden Plate quilt top with 1930's. At first we intended to swap some of the fabrics, but I finally just packed up most of my 1930's repro prints and sent to Debbie. You can see those on her blog post here.

Then, a few days ago, my hubby brought in a package with the mail. My first thought was that I could not remember ordering anything. Then, I saw Debbie's name and address. Inside was a veritable cornucopia of yo-yo's. Look how sweet!
There are about 70 yo-yo's (I lost count). I  am already making plans for these little cuties. And to top it off, she also sent a pin cushion she made of some of my own scraps. 
The pin cushion is filled with sand, so it will sharpen my pins. Plus, the added weight makes it stay put on my chair arm. I love it!

I was just over-whelmed by her generosity! I rarely get hand-made gifts because people figure I can do it for myself.

(Some of you may have noticed an error message where my blog was supposed to be. It took a while, but I am finally back. I just wish tech support would not assume I have a clue what they are talking about.)

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Thanks, Little Sis!

Oh, my goodness! I can not believe how long since I last posted. I've made 2 out-of-town trips in the past few weeks...all that packing and unpacking. Ugh! When I was packing for the last trip, I noticed that I packed my quilting project and supplies before I packed clothes. Hee, hee! I also did some fabric shopping on both trips.

About a week before my trip to visit my sister and mother, my sister called and said she was at a yard sale. She said they had 6 fat quarter bundles for $2 a bundle. Three bundles had 5 fat quarters, 2 had 8 fat quarters, and 1 with 7. Did I want them? Of course! My sister is not a quilter, but she is a seamstress and knows good fabric. She is also an avid yard sale shopper. She got them all for $8 total.

This is what I got...23 Mary Engelbreit fat quarters all in the same collection. I have wanted to do something in her fabrics for a long time. I already have 2 pillow panels that match these. Plus, yellow is my favorite color to include in a quilt. It was meant to be, don't you think? 
And, I got 15 fat quarters called "Boys Like It". I could not find much info about this collection. The denim-looking piece actually is denim. They are really cute. lt be great for some little boy a cowboy quilt.
I figured at $2 per fat quarter, that would be $76 worth of fabric for $8. My sister's husband was kind of in shock about how much these could have cost.

On my trips I had been working on my "Mimi's Bloomers" applique. When I got home I was thinking about how I could keep my squares neat and yet portable. Well, duh! My sister had given me this Omnigrid case a few years ago for Christmas. Look! It's perfect! I can just grab and go next time.
This afternoon I will be finishing up this hand-applique block. Then, I plan to prepare the large center block for this quilt. What are you slow stitching today? Check out Kathy's blog to see what others are slow stitching today.

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Finish Line

Yesterday for Slow Sunday Stitching, I stitched on the binding for the baby quilt that I made during Friday Night Sew-In. The photo does not show the true color of the backing and binding, but you get the idea. The pink is printed with tiny white butterflies. It is such a sweet, baby girl pink.
Here is the finished quilt. I love the bright fabrics. Just need to label it, wash it, and send it to California.
Last Thursday Sharon and I surprised Cheryl with her Lap Kitties quilt. She swears she never smiles in a photo, but check out this happy face!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Friday Night Sew-In

Last night I participated in my first FNSI. Wendy at Sugarlane Designs is hosting right now. You can click on the badge on the sidebar for more info. I'm a little late posting because I went to a quilt show today. But, now I'm home and can show you what I worked on last night. I've been trying to decide how to make a baby quilt for my great-granddaughter #2. She is 3 months old already!

I knew it had to have butterflies. I had collected some fabrics and finally decided I wanted to go simple and showcase the fabrics. Here are some of the fabrics I chose. 

I picked out Streak of Sunshine from Bonnie Hunter's free patterns. I made an extra row so the the quilt was 9 rows across and 10 down. I only put on a narrow border instead of 2 borders that the pattern called for. Then, I decided to try a decorative stitch that was on my new sewing machine. If I had it to do over, I would not do it. It's a row of cute little butterflies.
Here is the quilt, all trimmed and ready for a binding. 

This quilt went very quickly from cutting to quilting. I will attach the binding tonight. For Slow Sunday Stitching I will be hand-stitching the binding.

Check out what others sewed at FNSI here.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Pressing Business

Yes, I admit it! I am one of those people who hated the idea of pressing every seam as I pieced a quilt. I would try to stitch as much as possible before I would go to the ironing board. Okay, so once the quilt was together, who was to know about all those "flippy" seams? It's not like I was going to enter it into a contest. This is what I would tell myself.

And, then, one day Sharon was pressing a top for me while I did other sewing. Busted!!! She really got on my case. Luckily, I had won a small ironing table at my quilt guild. The base of the table is a wooden TV tray with padding and a beautiful fabric cover stapled on. Isn't this cute? It sits right next to my sewing center.
Several years ago I began to cut background pieces for a Sister's Choice scrap quilt using a Bonnie Hunter pattern. Then, I misplaced them. I found them recently and decided to drag out my bag of 2 ½" strips. I began making 9-patch blocks. This was so much fun. And, *drum roll* I pressed every seam. I have gotten 30 of 9-patch blocks stitched. I clipped them together in lots of 10.
 I just had to see what a completed block would look like. See, here is the back without a single flippy seam. 
Here is the finished star block.
All my blocks will be scrappy. To bring it together, I found a bunch of fabrics in my stash that are a funny green. It's sort of a sea green...difficult to describe. All the star points will be one of these green prints. It gives the eye a place to rest. Hopefully, this bed-sized quilt will be mine to keep. We will see.
Happy pressing!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

No "real" Pets on Quilts

I've noticed the Pets On Quilts blog hop is under way. I love quilts and I love (some) pets and kids. But, I just can not imagine allowing them on my quilts. Don't all you pet-lovers get upset with me. Once I give away a quilt, I really don't care. I give quilts for people to enjoy. I make baby quilts that will probably get drug around. Or, could end up with who knows what on it. 
This is my granddaughter #2. She is 19 years old and in college now. This is probably one of my first completed quilts. The reason she is looking "sheepish" is she is sitting on a rather large magic marker stain (her handiwork). But, she still has this quilt and still loves it. 
Today I will be stitching down the binding on the quilt Sharon and I made for our friend Cheryl. We decided on a black binding. The batik backing is blue with some purple, pink, and turquoise. 
Not only did we applique cats on this quilt, but Cheryl owns 2 black cats.When it's Cheryl's quilt, I'm sure Peanut and Pepper will be spending a lot of time on it.

I am linking up to Kathy's Slow Sunday Stitching

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

End of Summer Break

Have you ever just needed a break? That was me this month. I just needed to step away from projects and blogging for a few weeks. I still read other blogs and occasionally commented. I watched some YouTube quilting videos. But, there was no sewing or blogging going on. I did begin reading the "Outlander"
series by Diana Gabaldon. Just needed a change of pace.

On Saturday, the Tennessee Valley Quilter's Association had our annual Assembly Day. One day a year, all the 24 or so guilds in the association come together for a day. There were over 500 quilters assembled. This year's main speaker was Jenny Doan of the Missouri Star Company. Oh, my, she is an awesome speaker! There is no way to see her presentation and not be inspired! Now, I am raring to go.

 A few months ago Sharon and I decided we wanted to make lap quilt for our non-quilter friend, Cheryl. We knew we wanted to make something colorful and cheery. She owns 2 black cats. So, I found the perfect pattern. This is what we came up with. 
I had some trouble getting a good photo because the wind was blowing. So, the cats at the bottom look smaller than they actually are. We each had a batik jelly roll, so I cut and Sharon sewed. Then, we cut out and fused the cats. We had reduced them by 25% because our blocks were not as large as called for. Sharon machine appliqued around each cat with decorative stitches and different, colorful threads. That was mostly because the black Kona easily ravels.
Yesterday I went to Sharon's for what she calls "stitching and bitching." She had started on the piano key border, but couldn't decide on the corners. That's when I remembered a small piece of fabric sent to me by a fellow blogger (sorry, don't recall who). I brought the quilt top home with me. I finished and attached the piano key border. I had just enough of that gifted fabric to cut into the 4 cornerstones. Not a smidgen left. Here is one of the corner stones. Isn't that the perfect print?
In the next few days, I will get this quilted and labeled. Sharon will put on the binding. We plan to give it to Cheryl on Thursday of next week.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Where Did June Go?

Wow! June went by so quickly! As someone at my guilt said, " You just wake up and it's a new month." But, though the month of June seemed to whiz by, I actually finished 2 quilts. That's quite an accomplishment for me. I sometimes feel like the queen of unfinished quilts. UFO's galore!
My first finish of the month was this queen-sized quilt for my son. He loves the blues, browns, and tans in this quilt. That was what I did not like about the quilt. Different strokes for different folks as they say.
Excuse the fold wrinkles. I had taken it to show at my guild.
 Then, on the last day of June, I finished stitching the binding on the semi-quilt-as-you go scrappy herringbone quilt. Every fabric in this quilt came from my stash or my friend Sharon's stash. She provided the batting strips. Last year someone donated a lot of fabric to my guild and we had a special sale. I bought the backing for about $2-$3.
The binding looks crooked in this photo. Trust me, it a fault of my photo taking abilities rather than my quilting ability. LOL
The herringbone quilt is the perfect size for a sofa quilt. It's plenty long enough. I had planned to keep this one for myself. My other nap-sized quilt is a little short. But, my granddaughter #1 (age 20) claimed it before it was finished. I took it to her yesterday when she had surgery for a kidney problem. She is doing great and will go home today. She loves that quilt!

I am going to use the fabric my sister gifted me with last week to make a special quilt for myself.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Slow Stitching and More Slow Stitching

The last few days I have been visiting my mother and sister. They live about 200 miles away. It's a nice little drive in good weather. My main purpose in going at this time was to attend a Parkinson's Disease seminar with my sister. She is 10½ years younger than I, but was diagnosed with PD a couple years ago. They finally have regulated her medications well. If you met her, you would not see the tremors she once had. Sadly, this disease has more in store for her in the future. 

My sister sews, but is not a quilt maker. While on a vacation to Hot Springs, AR last month, she visited a quilt shop. She surprised me with 2 beautiful Henry Glass fabrics (1 yd. each). Aren't they cute?
She also asked me to take a walk with her Friday afternoon and she introduced me to one of her neighbors. This neighbor is also a quilter and has a short arm quilting machine. She had a Quilt of Valor for her nephew on the machine and ready to quilt. 

I have been working on the quilt-as-you-go scrappy herringbone quilt. Every evening at my sister's, we would sit and chat while I stitched down the binding. It seems like this binding is taking me longer than usual to finish, though it's not a super large quilt. 
I tried something different this time. I sewed on the binding before I trimmed the backing and batting. I liked the result because I seemed to be able to control my fabric better. How do you do it?

Today I drove back home in a hard rain and then took a much needed nap. Now I am ready for some more slow stitching. Hopefully, I will finish up this binding tonight. Check out what  others are slow stitching today on Kathy's blog.

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Bane of My Existence?

So, a few months ago, Sharon and I decided we were going to make Maureen Cracknell's Herringbone quilt. The tutorial is here. In Sharon's sewing room we cut 2½ inch strips of our scraps for several get-together sessions. I cut my panels a little wider than Maureen's. I also, only intended to make 6 panels instead of eight. Then, we began to sew. The strips are supposed sewn onto a panel of cotton batting at a 45° angle. Easy-peasy. The first couple of panels went well. Then, for some reason I began to find it difficult to maintain that angle. I ripped out and ripped out. Then, I set it aside. 

Meantime, Sharon finished hers and her daughter-in-law claimed it. I brought mine home, unfinished. Yesterday I stitched the final panels. Looks great, doesn't it?
But, look at the far, upper right side. And, this close-up.

Oops! Totally put those strips on going in the WRONG direction. No matter how I turn them I have the same result. I'm going to make another panel. Do I replace a panel or add a panel? What to do? What to do? 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Finished, Labeled, and Delivered

I finished my son's quilt this afternoon. It was too large for my hubby to hold it up for photos. He has shoulder problems. Too much shade at my son's place. So, we did the best we could to take photos.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Almost A Finish

This week I have been quilting on the Disappearing Nine Patch quilt. This is the quilt I did not care much for and my son claimed. I put borders on it to make it fit his queen-sized bed. As I machine quilted it and began attaching the binding, it has started to grow on me. But, my son is adamant that it will be perfect in his apartment...and he is right. But, this is the last of my quilts he will get for a while. Others are waiting for quilts, too.

I tried something a little different on the machine quilting. I have never gotten the hang of free-motion quilting. On this quilt I used a walking foot and choose a wavy decorative stitch on my machine. I hope you can see some of the quilting in the photo below. 
I didn't quilt it very heavily. The wavy lines are about 2" apart and go from top to bottom. I used straight lines on the inner border and straight and wavy quilting on the outer border. I began hand stitching the binding yesterday while my friend Sharon machine quilted. It is so fun to quilt and chat at the same time. This is the largest quilt I have ever made and the binding seems to go on forever! Today I will listen to an audio book on my Ipod as I sew.