Monday, July 30, 2007

Monday Miscellaneous

I worked on pinbasting much of the weekend. Here is one quilt that now has the walking foot grid quilting done and is ready for the freemotion. Scary. This quilt will go to our guild's Quilts in Force (quilts that are donated to the local police forces to distribute to children in traumatic situations, often domestic violence.) It is suggested we donate at least two a year to the cause. I have one with teddies almost done and this one will hopefully be finished in the next week.

I found this backing fabric with the flying cats and dogs on sale at Hancocks and just loved it. I went through my stash to find some coordinating novelties. Hopefully it will be loved by some little person. And, thankfully, little persons aren't too picky about freemotion quilting!
One of my longterm goals has been to improve my freemotion quilting. I know I need to practice, practice, practice!!! One book that has really been helpful is Pat Sloan's new book. I probably have 7 or 8 other books on machine quilting, but this one has been the best so far. In addition to the book, Pat has been offering tips on her blog since early July. I've been printing those off and keeping them alongside the machine. I love Pat's down-to-earth machine quilting--well, quilting in general. She gives such practical tips. And I especially like her no-mark quilting suggestions. I have always hated marking my quilts and have had a couple of bad experiences with some marking tools that were "guaranteed" to wash out.
On Saturday my LQS had a little Christmas in July thang! Kits for ornaments and pins could be purchased. Since I was looking for some handwork to do while my husband has a thyroidectomy next week (I am always a nervous wreck in such situations), I purchased two cute stitchery kits and a yoyo wreath ornament kit. Will be so cute when done! And I couldn't resist the Thimbleberries charm packs, Mr. Halloween's Party--I bought two! I would love to have a Halloween wallhanging for the dining room. I'll look for a pattern--or maybe devise one. I have quite a bit of other H fabric so hopefully some of it will "fit in" with this. Oh, dear, more projects.

Friday, July 27, 2007

The Kindness of Blogfriends

What a lovely surprise landed in my mailbox yesterday afternoon! From Finn came this adorable piece of vintage fabric and 2 little quilty hearts! The fabric is 36" from selvage to selvage so you know it is old!!! And kitties and yarn??? Two of my favorite things. It will probably be too hard to cut into it though!
And wanna see some more eye candy? Hop over to Libby's blog and look at that gorgeous box of wool roving. And, of course, I'm gonna have to order some.
This morning I am pinbasting three quilts (well, if my back holds out that long!) so hopefully next week I'll have something quilty to post. I am"forcing" my DH to take me to see Hairspray later today LOL! Love to see John Travolta dance.
Have a terrific weekend, blogfriends!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Can't Leave Well Enough Alone

Remember Scrapbag Explosion, my fun little 2" squares playtime guy? Well, he was in queue to be sandwiched and pinbasted when he started talking to me. "Hey," he says, "I'm not done. Give me more!!!!" Not being one to ignore talking quilts, I drug out the little plastic drawers full of 2" squares and started playing around on the design wall. I'm not sure how these new borders will eventually end up, but it did give me an excuse to do that mindless chain-piecing that I am so fond of!!!! Of course, there is one small problem. I have just a bitty-bitty amount of the tan solid left in my stash. This may entail a shopping trip.....

For a walk down memory lane, go on over to Knot Garden's blog and look at her wonderful hollyhock photo! Made me remember making hollyhock dolls with a friend's two darling girls about 25 years ago. I did a little googling to see if I could remember how we did that. Thank you, Denver Channel! The directions are here for making these adorable dollies:

Aren't these fun?

Kansas City is getting some much needed rain today. I was getting tired already of the hose-dragging routine. And I'm sure the tomatoes will enjoy it.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Lookin' For Inspiration In All the Wrong Places...

In addition to a compulsive desire to make quilts and play on the computer for endless hours, I have a deep love of reading. That hobby has been on the backburner for several weeks (unless you count quilt books, quilt magazines and quilt directions!!!) until day before yesterday. I had been on the waiting list at my local library for this book for ages. Finally, I got the email: "Come get your book." Oh, and was it ever worth the wait. Eat, Pray, Love (by Elizabeth Gilbert) is a wonderful read. It's about a 30ish woman writer who decides to "find herself" after a disastrous divorce and the breakup of a second romance. She travels to Italy (my mostest favorite country in the world next to America), then India and last Indonesia in search of--well, food, God, and romance. I absolutely could not put the thing down and it consumed all of yesterday and a bit of the day before. Because of that compulsiveness I mentioned in the first sentence, I went online to my library to request all other books by this author! I tend to overdose on one author then move on to the next LOL! I lost track of how many John Grisham novels I read before discovering Rick Bragg, then Lisa Scottoline, Janet Evanovich, Sue Grafton, Dan Brown and those three fantastic Ya-Ya sisterhood books!!! And there have been more! For the longest time I was on a CIA/spy/mafia/intrigue kick and couldn't get enough of those types. I went through my women's biographies phase, too. Jackie, Eleanor, Dolly (Madison, not Parton, though I'd love to read Dolly Parton's life story too), even Marilyn Monroe. Not to appear sexist (in my own mind) I spent a lot of time with Harry Truman and John Adams! Books that take place in a certain locale that I'm interested in can just take over my life. Before my husband and I went to Charleston, Savannah and Natchez one year, I devoured every book I could find--fiction or nonfiction--on the Civil War and the deep south. It is really quite amazing to be able to get so lost in words and mental images. I was like this as a kid too. I read all the Betsy, Tacy and Tib books and all the Carolyn Haywood books.
Well, now you know more about my reading habits than you ever cared to know.
Just to keep this post the tee-tiniest quilt related, I made the penny rug pictured above several years ago, but darned if I can remember the designer's name.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Very Quilty Days Part 2

A few of my favorites from the quilt show I attended on Friday. Enjoy!
(Click for "big").

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Very Quilty Days Part 1

Thursday my quilt guild met and had back for the third time as speaker Gerry Kimmel Carr. What a delight she is. And so generous. She brought along tons of her books that are out-of-print and told us they were free for the taking! You could leave a small donation to a charity if you so desired. Oh, yes, I did! This designer is special to me because I think I have to credit her with my love of primitive folk art. Back in the 80s I was heavily into counted crossstitch. There was a wonderful shop about 35 minutes from my house called Saltbox Sampler that featured beautiful crossstitch patterns as well as quilting designs. One day I noticed Kimmel Carr's amazing quilt called Snowbound on the wall. It is now considered a classic. It is a fantastic applique quilt. I can remember seeing that quilt and thinking it was the most incredible quilt I had ever seen. I immediately bought the book. Of course, I had no knowledge of needleturn applique at that time! Gerry is a master of that skill. I can't put my fingers on the book right now (if you could see my quilt bookshelves, you'd totally understand why!!!) and no, I never did make the quilt, but it was a constant inspiration to me as I was easing back into quilting after about a 20 year absence. The darling little childlike scenes of playing in the snow were just captivating. Over the years I have used bits and pieces from the book and someday....someday...I will make that quilt! Gerry had a quilt shop back in the day inside her family's hardware store in Liberty, Missouri, and I grew to love her dark fabrics and plaids and primitive-looking designs. I was still working full-time and raising two boys who played every sport that came along so I really didn't have much time to pursue quiltmaking, but here and there I would use one of Gerry's ideas. She has retired from publishing books but still designs for Renee Nanneman's Needl'Love series and still does speaking engagements. She showed many, many of her grand quilts on Thursday, but I didn't think to ask her permission to put the photos out on the internet. Trust me, they were divine!

Then on Friday, another delightful quilty day was had. My mini-group came to my house for brunch. Then we headed to a small town, Eudora, Kansas, for a quilt show and of course, some quilt shop therapy! The first shop we hit was having a 20% off everything sale!!! I love to use Mettler 60 weight thread for hand applique but find it very hard to come by around these parts. So when I saw that this shop had the whole ball of wax, I stocked up on some colors missing from my "collection". I also had to add a few more 30s prints to my stash. I have on order a darling paperdoll redwork pattern. Hope it comes soon! I purchased the two new Clover yoyo-type makers--a heart and a flower. Will show those after I have tried them out. Got a new book called Sweet Inspirations and some backing fabric for DS#1's snowball quilt--finally!

And the quilt show was amazing, as well. For a small town there were truly a large number of outstanding quilts. I'll show some of my favorites next post.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Parts Is Parts

I have been intrigued by the wonderful quilts made from orphan blocks being shown over at Finn's Riding the Orphan Train site. I decided to lay some of mine out on the floor just to see if anything would come of it. Well, as you can see, it's pretty much a hodge-podge!!! Not much of a color scheme happening. I would have a lot more orphans except that the last few years our Guild's boutique has sold them and I've donated quite a few to the cause!!! I thought by laying them out I could maybe see if there were enough if any one color family to do anything with, but--alas--I'm not seeing it!!! Finn, HELP! I know they don't need to be matchy-matchy but at the very least they should probably play nice together. Oh, well, I'll keep collecting LOL!

In the "I Thought I Had More Time Department" is this little baseball quilt for a new baby boy coming in October. I had the fabric bought and pre-washed and ironed, but no pattern, no plan, no idea!!! Then I learned that the baby shower is THIS SUNDAY for Pete's sake! So marathon sewing took place this weekend. Granny to be had suggested "think baseball" when it was determined the baby was a boy so at least I had the goods!!! I am almost finished with the quilting--need an idea for the inner and outer borders. One nice thing about baby quilts--it doesn't take much time to handstitch the binding. So I am hoping to have it done done, along with a sock beagle, some bibs and various and sundry other baby loot. The shower is two hours away from here so there may even be last-minute handwork in the car!!!
And what would a quilt blog be without the occasional quilt cat photo??? Here are Rocky and Natasha carefully guarding the Libertyville quilt for me. Isn't that special???

Thursday, July 05, 2007

I'll Show You Mine...

and you show me yours---Work Wall, that is. Here are some ongoing projects up against the wall. The 12 Days of Christmas blocks are sewn together. I ended up using 7 of Cheri Saffiote-Payne's blocks and improvised on the other 5. Had to throw in a few prim stars (just to make it all Christmasy, you know). The little doll quilt I'm calling Heart, Heart, Star (remember Duck, Duck, Goose from the playground?) I had lots of chunks of the 30s fabric that weren't big enough for much, but just right for cutting some applique shapes. I wanted a muted, washed out looking doll quilt just like a 30s mom might have made from old aprons, housedresses, and workshirts. Just fun.

The jam jars are from a new project started on Pat Sloan's yahoo group called Farmers Market. Can't wait to see the next block! Pat is such a generous designer and I love her whimsy!

I sure hope you'll show me yours. Work Wall, that is!

Monday, July 02, 2007

If Betsy Ross Had a Blog...

she might post these images. Here is a rendering of her stitching up the first American flag. Next is a depiction of her presenting her beautiful piece to the leaders of the Continental Congress. And last is the wonderful thirteen-star symbol of our independence and freedom.

Many historians refute Betsy's legacy as more fable than fact, but I choose to believe that this fellow-stitcher contributed significantly to the spirit of our nation. Her story is so intriguing. She chose to marry outside her faith and was "read out" by her Quaker congregation--irrevocably shunned. She and her husband struggled to keep an upholstery business afloat when fabric was not all that easy to come by. Being asked by the leaders of our fledgling nation to sew a flag to carry us into our quest for independence must have been a great honor. Visit the Betsy Ross homepage for a fascinating insight into this stitcher's life and times. You can tour her house in Philadelphia and learn how to cut a 5-pointed star in one snip! And, I'm pretty sure if she were alive today, she'd be a quilter!!!