Sunday, November 30, 2008

Four Seasons Quilt Swap New Session

I have posted the sign ups for the Session 5 of the 4SQS. Go Look-see if you think you might be interested!!

My link function will NOT work. So go here...

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Turkey Day!

3 of 5 rows added on. You get the idea, now go eat some turkey!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Little Dresses Update

This picture looks cruddy, I know. I had to have taken 30 yesterday in my hallway, under not the greatest lighting. That obnoctious alphabet mat needs to go for sure! Once I get it together, I can pin it to my board and get better pics without my shadows in the way! Or better it in the bedroom where it will eventually live.

Things have progressed well in the last week. My order of more stripey fabric came yesterday. All of the squares but the one remaining are bordered, and I have enough should I use it for the binding.

(double click for a better look)
Fourteen of Fifteen done, mostly. One needs to have the paper removed and possibly change the velvet sash to a smaller width (below).

Here's another of my recently done dresses. This pink fabric is in some of the stuff in the room already. Lisa sent me some great fabrics this week. one of the soft aquas will be used for the last dress block. IT's just the color I was hunting too!
I have gone nuts over these silly little bows, nearly ditching them altogether. If you remember, I started out with pink bows, and had done 4 or 5 when I discovered the pink stripe fabric (and that I did not like the bows with the stripes!). They are a wasteful pain in the butt to make. It takes about 45 minutes to make 2 bows. Paper piecing...(UGGH!)
Then, with the aid of Photoshop, I manipulated the colors of the bows a bit, and discovered that green ones were more attractive. I also realized I had done the central fabric incorrectly, and it needed to be the floral of the ribbon, rather than the ivory. I had that green floral (Moda Blackbird) material to do a skirt or dress for Sophie and had not gotten around to making it yet. It matches the quilt nicely. It will appear again in the borders somehow too!
Only, I found one more error in my PP planning (curses!!...fortunately I decided to just make ONE green bow to see if I liked it first). I made a modification to the PP pattern so that the floral "ribbon" will mate up properly, and now have 9 of these made. I need a minimum of 10. Ideally, if I could locate another half yard of the yellow floral (ribbon fabric), I'd do 20 of the bows. I have this material in Sophie's crib bumpers, but cannot bring myself as of yet to cut them up. The last go-around on the bows is definitely my favorite - they appear larger (fuller?).
So, the top is just about ready to be assembled. One block and one bow left, and a bit of manipulation of the sashings to make them have ribbon points (wait and see here)....not to mention rearranging the blocks a dozen times before sewing!

So, in 2 week's time, I have gone from this ...
to this...
Good improvements!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Swap Frustrations

Many of the people that read this blog have been participants in swaps, so they are able to share in my frustration. In fact, some of them have even hosted swaps as I do. You know the challenges of satisfying all people even more.
My round robin is coming to a close soon. People are finishing the quilting on their pieces, and sending them out to their final recipients. And then we anxiously await the happy email saying how much they like their quilt.

Or maybe not so much like that. This particular quilt did not really suit the taste of it's new owner, much to my disappointment.

In this round robin session, I allowed preferences as to what they like or dislike, and each of the 4 partners working on a particular quilt were given these. The intention was to more closely customize a final quilt to the end recipient's taste. It seemed good in theory. The problem is when quilter's take their own liberty to ignore these preferences, as is permitted (though not preferred). People come to expect a quilt that adheres to their stated preferences, forgetting that this is still a swap. I'd like to think that when people state things that they definitely dislike, a quilter will read these as a requirement for the quilt. Problem is, some people apparently dislike some colors that may be requested, and chose their own.

As the hostess of this swap, I feel somewhat responsible. But in reality, all I actually did was the quilting & binding. The center has a lovely applique. Simple, but still leaving the door open to make this in the requested colors. Because the borders are basic, I was stuck trying to be creative with the quilting (a position I prefer not to be in!!).

I used an ivory rayon thread in much of the center, and a variagated rose-red King Tut for the outer border. The center has some additional patterning, and is filled with a small stipple. Double click and you can see the details.
I mimicked the center flower on the outer border to try to carry the design through. This shows a little bit from the back side.
It's hard to blame anybody here. I hate to do that. Swaps by nature incur risk. I know that better than most, having a number of crappy swapping experiences this year. I am sorry you do not care for red. I am sorry that this was not specified in your preferences. On behalf of this quilting project, I did all I could to ensure that you received a nice quilt. That's all I can say.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Wanted: Need Some of This

Has anybody seen this, or have any of, this fabric?

I bought it about 2-1/2 years ago at Joann's. It is not their usual rough stuff. It's their premium fabric line, running about $9 per yard, and is very fine and heavy weight material. I checked yesterday, and they did not have any in my store, and were amidst a computer issue so all available clerks were busy with a catastrophe. I was not about to wait abolut with my kids, close to naptime, to ask about a likely needle in a haystack.

Please email if you have any. I ultimately would like about a half yard, and would trade about anything for it!

I Missed my Chance... be a real Pioneer Woman. And to make a real Thanksgiving dinner. If only... If only I'd had a shotgun this morning...

We have followed these turkeys over the last 5-6 months. In about May, they began appearing in the early morning hours, walking right through our yard. Now, we live in a subdivision, not out in the wooded country. It's quite a sight to see a turkey family of 15-20 (5 adults, rest little birds) walking down the sidewalk!

Now they are obviously all grown, and it is an even bigger sight to see the flock of large adult birds within 10 feet of my study window, oblivious to the fact that many of us will be eating their kin next week for dinner. They are just lucky it is November, not May (open season for Turkey!).

Thursday, November 20, 2008


OK, so I listened to you all, some of you that is. I have to admit, when I went to bed Wednesday night, I was pretty convinced that the green was best. It matched a rug that is in Sophie's room very well, and it was, well, calming.

In morning's light, I did another mockup of the green and the stripes, and was pretty sure that the stripes were best (even before I got positive reinforcement from readers). Sophie even picked the stripes. She's not to be trusted alone though as she is only two. My husband jokes that when I get this quilt completed, Sophie will be begging for Star Wars bedding just like her brothers do!

So, I had a half yard of this stripe material. I knew I needed more if I went the stripe route. It's actually a bit hard to find, although I do have another yard of it on order right now from equilter. I may use if on the binding and other room accents.
This closeup shows the glorious sheen of the material. It is truly lovely. And girly! I am waffling on using the paper-pieced bows at the cornerstones though. I don't like the rose material that the bows are done in with the stripes (plus they are just a PIA to make). I'm weighing some other ideas while I complete the last 3-4 of these dress blocks, and await the Lakehouse fabric to arrive. Maybe they need to be done in different material, or maybe they ought to just be ivory (easy) squares! Don't know yet. Oh, and there is a border still to design :-)...this is just what is on the top of the bed!

Need advice

I just love my dress blocks, and I even like the bow-n-ribbon sashing. But what I am floundering on is whether I ought to do another narrower border (0.5") around every block to help unify them more. I think the answer is definitely yes. My quandry is which material to use.

I have some of this Lakehouse Dry Goods Hydrangae Garden ticking. It is a lovely stripe, with a bit of almost metallic/sheen in the pinks. I will do the stripes around all 4 sides of the blocks the same (probably even miter the corners), but for the sake of this mock-up, I just layed the dresses and sashings on the fabric.

My other fabric candidate is this sage print. It has a fine flower pattern on it. It too looks great in the bedroom, but brings a more subtle look. I cannot decide which to use!!!
I think I know which one I am leaning towards, but I want other opinions.
Also, are the bow colors OK if I did use the stripe?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Royal Day

I got the Royal treatment today! I mean...I got the Royal Mail treatment today. Two great squishies arrived, both postmarked from the UK.

The first is another of the birthday block swap New York Beauties from Kate. Very colorful!... and thanks for the scraps for the flying geese border too :-)
The second package was from Anne, and is my ALQS2 quilt. It did not photograph as it is all pastels, but she is a very machanical quilter - immensely accurate. The fact that she never misses a triangle point strikes accord with my sense of order! There's no use in making a triangle if you are just going to chop off it's point with your next seam!
I think she may have made this with the thought that I might put it in my 2 year old daughter's bedroom, as it is decorated partly in pink. Either way, it will likely go there since the rest of our house is mostly in deeper colors. It just looks like a little girl to me.
Anne's quilting is textbook. Her hearts look like they were done by a programmable long arm, although I don't think that they were. I think she just knows how to make it all look perfect.
It's very lovely; thanks a lot Anne.
Here's Dress block #9 for Sophie's quilt (yes, only 6 more to bore you all with!!). I particularly love how the sash turned out.
I have also tried making a couple of these paper pieced bows. They are a bit of a pain in the arse, but thankfully there are only 8 more to do!! The next shot shows the sashing fabric I have leftover from the curtains (golden-pink floral). I really love this material, and the flecks of bright green in it. Thoughts...should the paler pink fabric in the bows be a deeper tone??

And one staged view of 4 blocks with the sashing. I don't want to sew sashing to blocks until I know exact block placements. Soon...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Planning at a Snails Pace

OK, so these are nothing new. You have all seen them a few weeks back. The plan for what I plan to do with them is all that is unseen, unless you consider my afternoon's meeger effort of adding a mere 1" border around each block. My mind has been taxed lately with completing other things, worrying about the quilting on a piece that I hope to have back before Christmas, and general life (my class, kids, etc).
I have wasted an inordinate amount of time today drafting a bow pattern to use at the junction points where the sashings will come together. The first one I drew up would have been a beast to construct. This can be paper pieced rather simply. And since I only need 10 of these, I'm not overly concerned about the complexity. I am tentatively planning to use a button as the bow centers. The sashings will all be the same fabrics, so as to make the colorful array of little dresses appear cohesive.
(colors not necessarily as I have shown...this is just for pattern/size placement)

The sketch above shows where the bows would be - at the junction of 4 dress blocks. The sashings will be done to resemble a ribbon. I think I have enough of the yellow floral fabric that is the outer stripe on the curtains shown here. It has hints of rose and lime green, and is just generally sweet and old-fashioned. It also tones down the many shades of pink being used.
I have a couple of Linus tops completed this week as well. One is still awaiting it's ladybug, but they're generally done. I'll photograph them tomorrow.
Now to go ponder if I want the entire top of this quilt to be 15 dress blocks, or if I ought to alternate with something else?? Thoughts?? ...indicision!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Two more from Julie

The bottom two arrived today from Julie (aka She sent two because she was uncertain of the first one's colors. I LOVE the 2nd one especially and think it blends wonderfully.

Playing a Little

It was an easy sell...convincing my husband that our 7 year old Olympus was not taking great pictures any more. Within 5 days or so we had a new Panasonic Lumix, with about 200 times the capabilities of our old Olympus. He did the research and said that this was a very good camera for the $$. Who was I to complain. Now I have to learn to use it. That could take another 7 years.

Here's a few of the NYB blocks I have thus far. The top two are from Terri (left one has a problem, but she sent it along anyway). I'll probably fix it so I can use it. These blocks take quite a while to make. I made the bottom two. They are 8", and should employ red, orange and/or purple batiks. I'd prefer them to have all 3 colors, but I failed to specify this early on in the swap. I'll love whatever I get. It's a very spicy color combination. I am excited - I have heard of 3 other people that have just mailed their blocks to me! I can't wait to see all of them together. I just wish I'd requested a small piece of a couple of the fabrics each had used (say 4"x4") so that I can do a cohesive flying geese border for this!...

I have been playing with the new camera, but have by no means mastered anything. These 4 pics were assembled with a scrapbooking software that I use, so I have no idea what it did to the original resolution.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Birthday Block Swap Blocks

...for the month of November.
For Debra - pattern selected is 14" Autumn Tints in pastel 1930's prints.
Angelina chose a southwestern Arizona theme. THis is my rendition of a saddle blanket. Hope she appreciates the trouble all those pesky angles was!! :-)
And I don't have a group 4 block to do this month because it is my month to receive. I got 2 of my red, purple and orange batik New York Beauty blocks today.

Friday, November 07, 2008

So Many Questions

To quilt or not to quilt?

To border or not to border?

AAHHH...! My head's gonna pop soon :-)

This is borderline too big for what I like to quilt on my machine. But I have wanted to try the quilting in sections method so that I might be able to quilt the top I am assembling for my daughter (twin bed size) - just to see if it's feasible. I know that I can hide the seams with this piece, as it is quite busy. I want to do feathers down the diagonals. My local machine quilter wants me to pay dearly for her to do the feathers (only because she'd rather do the more simple all-over pantographs).
center medallion. Not sure if I love this, but it's done.
So, I added the last 4 squares. Finished them up while my kids were not yet awake this morning. Need to assemble the blocks and then... A border? I only want to add about 3-4" per side at most. Any ideas on what to do? I'm kind of devoid of good suggestions. I have been hoarding my better blue fabrics for another big project for next year so I hate to use any of them for a boring 4" border (takes a good half yard to do). I do have some of the sunflower fabric I could use. What would you do??? or am I just being anal worrying about this?
And one totally unrelated subject, but I am looking for feedback. My digital camera is taking less and less great pictures. I have an Olympus C-700 with a great 10x optical zoom. When we got it 7 years ago, I LOVED it. The pictures were crisp. Now I feel like more and more I am having to rationalize why they are either bad light or grainy. I think I am in the market for a new camera. My only requirement is that the optical zoom be equal to the Olympus. Does anyone have good camera suggestions? I am in the $500 maximum mindset. I'd love to hear from you if you have a camera that you think is awesome.
have a great weekend

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Marathon Quilter

My pictures are a tad fuzzy, but progress is moving ahead on this project at warp speed. Before my kiddos awoke, I did 8 more of the 10" log squares using different blues than the ones I did yesterday. At nap time (and I use that term very loosely with the 4 year old wild thing), I assembled the center medallion. My vision was a little different, but what I did will manage OK. With different color fabrics, the intertwined look of the star would have been better.
Here's the overall layout. I have 4 log blocks still to make, and I am contemplating doing another 8 to make it bigger. I may choose to do a 4" border instead. This pattern requires even numbers of blocks to look right, and another 2 rows is really larger than I want to make it. Ideas?
The download from my camera is acting funny today, so maybe tomorrow I can show a closer up picture of the pieces. Today I haven't the patience to figure out the problem.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

I must be nuts

If I think I can handle yet one more unfinished project in my sewing life!

I have an assortment of various scrappy blocks in even more various stages of construction across my sewing tables. So why do I need to start more???

Am I tired of those silly florals already??...there's 5 more of my 20 blocks to complete piecing.
What about the scrappy greens that just need their white framing?

Oh, I am most definitely certifiable now.

This afternoon I cut for all, but have 8 of my 24 blocks pieced. All log-cabin (I think!). I have discovered I need to substitute a fabric for my center blue and white as I only have enough for 20 blocks, not 24. That distracted my progress a bit. Now I have to wait for my son's bus (so sewing is over until 8pm).
It's nice soft, all scraps I have...some Asian (dark blue Kona Bays), and a few this-n-thats. The sunflowers always remind me of France :-)
I cannot really show the arrangement I have in mind until I have at least 8 more blocks. So stay tuned...maybe tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The Adventures of a Real-Life Bridezilla quilt content, unless you consider the quilt hanging I made as a gift.

Inquiring minds have asked me about this wedding from Hell, so here it is!

My husbands friend from highschool got married 3 days ago. It was my nightmare wedding. It was the kind that make you wonder how anyone could botch everything so badly. It has left me shaking my head since Saturday about how bad I hope this gal's life must be that she takes out her frustration on her husband's friends as was done. I'll stop there.

Here's some of the highlights...
~wedding started intentionally 15 minutes late allegedly on account of a chronically late uncle. Turns out the bride appeared at the church at 4:10 herself.

~My hubby was a groomsman in the wedding so we were there at 3:30. I got roped into assisting a totally craftless bridesmaid put tulle on a wagon that her 8month old son and ring bearer rode in. The dumb wagon was right in the way of the church entry, so that guests had to step over tulle to go in. I felt like such a smuck, but it was her doing. Then she left to go be with the rest of the party, leaving me there, IN THE WAY!

~I learned from friends there that one close friend was not actually invited (best man had to call a few days before to find out why), another was invited but invitation came without his wife's name on it, and yet another's invitation came to "Joe and Mary" (wife's name is Sue!).

~Bride chose pink and brown as her colors. Bridesmaids looked like total sausages in their pink and brown dresses. Could they not order the proper size??? I mean it...pepto-pink sausages. I have nothing against larger gals, but let's be real. No size person ought to be squeezed into a pencil-straight skirt and strapless bodice satin gown so that the ripples of one's underwear and every crease of her buttocks show. It was just ugly. I thought they'd just tear in half once they sat down. Simply frightful.

~After service we learned that there was a limo for the bridal party so I had to drive our car over to reception since my hubby was in the party. He told me later on that they had a bottle of champagne in the limo, but the limo driver didn't have bottle openner (and this was some special bottle that had a recessed cork!). HA!

~I went in with the wife of the Best Man to find that there was no table card for me. Great! Where the hell was I supposed to sit?? We also quickly learned that the entire party minus the spouses was at a "head table" facing everyone else. This is the absolute most archaic arrangement in modern wedding times. I guarantee you, if any of the Bridezilla's maids had spouses rather than a list of exhusbands, as the case is, then they'd have been sitting at the head table. Instead, the reception had two parents/family tables (all filled to 8 persons), 8-10 other guest tables (filled to 8 people) and our table...four of us loser wives of the groomsmen! It was a joke, really a joke. Are you telling me that they couldn't make some modification to the head table to include spouses there??? Afterall, we are as much friends of the groom as our husbands are.

~The food, you wonder??? Awful. Mushy, cold and cheese (no, I don't eat cheese so it was largely repugnant offerings of bad casseroles). Did I mention cold? And I was only the 3rd table to get fed too. The salad was actually OK, as were the rolls, but that doesn't fill one up. My mother-in-law told me she went to an event at this same banquet hall (Keeley the Katerer, Warren Ave, Portland, ME) and found that the salad greens were not even washed! The salad was gritty! Had to chuckle.

~There was nothing personal about the hall decor whatsoever. It was just bland. Often you'll find a picture board of the bride and groom, or flowers, or a personalized table number (I have seen tables named after places the couple visited, or animals they enjoy, or just something). Nothing here. Just ugly.
~The music stunk. Bad DJ.

~She tossed a bouquet and forced absolutely EVERY single gal onto the floor to stand for it. Sort of degrading watching the best man's divorced 68 year old mother being pulled out there for the archaic tradition. As you guessed, I chose not to toss a bouquet. If gals are single, that is their choice and not our's to point them out and remind them that they may or may not be the next to marry.

~There was no garter. Probably because they don't come in 10-12" sizes. I really did not need to see Mrs. Thunder Thighs that badly.

~At receptions, the bride and groom always go around to each table and visit with each guest. We were seated at table #3, but we (remind you we are only the good friends of the groom and the lonely wives club) were the last table they came to. Once Bridezilla was introduced, she quickly turned and ran off to her girly friends. It couldn't have been more rude. She left her hubby to chat with us, but it was SO obvious of her disdain for his friends. WHY? There was no "Sorry we missed you last night at the rehearsal dinner (it was halloween)", or "Thanks for coming today to celebrate with us". Nothing.

~As we were getting ready to leave, we heard that there was a bridal party brunch the following morning at a local hotel. Apparently none of the groomsmen of the wedding knew about it though!!

~It's the kind of wedding that you just want badly to tell who this was. She ought to be staked to a public pole so we can all laugh at her, mock her for her utter rudeness and lack of proper ettiquite. I can't fault her too badly for the hall's lousy ambiance and crappy food, but just about everything else that went bad was at her doing. She did the invitations and guest lists, and dress selections.

~It just makes me sad I actually thought I'd make her something unique for her wedding. So sad.
(picture taken prior to quilting)

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Winner 2nd Year in a Row

Despite allegations that our local section of Project Linus is about to shut down (due to lack of leadership), we still held the annual Book-Blanket challenge yesterday. About 30 quilts (and books) were entered, and mine won! I just loved this quilt. The colors were sweet and crisp. And the book that accompanied it (Big Bear Little Bear) was equally lovely for a young child. The shot below I just realized was taken before the quilting was actually completed...oops! My mother's quilt, all done in brightly colored butterflies (and I am still trying to locate a picture of it) won 2nd place. As great as that...because there is a chance that the Linus group will not exist in my area soon, the present coordinators sent me home with nearly 30 yards of awesome fabric, maybe a fourth of it in fat quarters, and the rest in at least 1 yard pieces, all donated by Mardens. They wanted it to stay in this area, rather than shipping it off to the Northern Maine Project Linus chapter. How great is that!!
Now about Project Linus closing up shop...The current coordinator does not want all of the duties of this position. Neither do I, but I have spoken with her about how I can help. There is a possibility we may actually get people to assist so that Linus can continue, but if not we can still arrange to make blankets for the major children's wards in our area. We've discussed the possibility of a different person adopting a hospital, and being the administrator of it's receiving of quilts,etc. I'd get the names of people that currently make blankets and we'd have to arrange drop off or pick up to me, and I could take to the hospital. Many details left to iron out. I can't have my sewing time minimized, but I really want to help out. Under this scheme, blankets could no longer carry the Project Linus tags, but the children that are sick and in need would still receive a loving blanket.

When I was not busy with what has to have been the worst wedding in history this weekend, I was wiped out and nauseaus. So, there has been NO sewing whatsoever. I managed to cut pieces of large floral prints for a quilt I want to make this week. I did get four dresses done this week. There's now 8 awaiting some embroidery and borders. I am a bit frustrated to see that the background appears to look different on some of them, and I am not sure why. I also have small spots on one piece that will hopefully come out. It is time for a new camera, as I can no longer take nice clear shots of anything, sigh!!