Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Little Boy Bag

Aaron loves his trains and likes to take a few train cars along to his sister's t-ball games. I made him this little boy bag, 10" x 10" for just that purpose.

Quilted on both sides, with reinforced straps and velcro because it is, after all, for a boy. Quilting on the back adapted from Leah Day's Double Stippling pattern. Think train tracks.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Weekend Shopping

My roll of Warm 'n Natural batting is getting slimmer and slimmer and I've been eyeing it with dismay. So, yesterday at JoAnn's while it was 50% off plus an additional 10%, I restocked. Almost a full bolt, 31 yards. It was actually Warm 'n White, which I prefer anyway. A big purchase, but I use a lot and appreciate having it on hand, on sale. I also got a few things from their notions wall, 50% off this weekend - Wonder Under and a few other goodies.

Steph and Nora got me a $25 gift card from Hancock as part of my Mother's Day present, and I've been saving it for this weekend. Five yards of clearance pastel batiks, webbing for bags, and some more goodies. My out-of-pocket was $1.04. Awesome, thanks, Steph.

And today, a ride to Lowe's with my neighbor, and I got three tomato cages, yellow, red, and blue. After weeks of rain and cool it's suddenly hot and past gardening time. Time to get going.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Little Patchwork Bag

Little patchwork bag - Indygo Junction pattern. I struggled a lot with the zipper, completely replaced it. The directions said to put it in by hand, but that wasn't going to happen. Now that I've done one, I know what to do differently next time. It's gonna be easy.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

For some time, I've been thinking about volunteer opportunities I might enjoy. True, I do church things: lead a journey group, serve on a committee, make workship banners. I post the pictures from quilt guild meetings. I wanted something outside of that, though.

So, when I got the chance to join a group that makes baby quilts for preemies at a local hospital, I really wanted to do that. A little of the work is done with the group at the local library and the finishing is on our own. Quilting is what I do, and this combines a little quilting and a little socializing. Perfect.

Last meeting I got a happy start on my first quilt, then had to put it aside to finish the Eden Park quilt. This was a busy week, no quilting, but this morning I finished the top. Lime green, turquoise, orange, and ladybugs. Some family's going to get a bright quilt.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


I'm finding this to be a difficult spring to get my garden out, but the things that come up by themselves are especially nice this year. The woman who owned my house was not a gardener, but she did have a few peony bushes at the sides of the house. One side gets almost no sun, but the peony bushes power on, not really thriving but still showing up year after year. On the other side, the scrub bushes threaten to crowd them out, but I'm working on that. Perennial wise, that's pretty much all I got when I moved in.

Last week, my neighbor cut down a tree beside her pool and gave me half a dozen hosta plants that had lived under it. I planted them between rain showers and think they'll do well in my shady back yard. I have mint in the back yard too, knowing well that it would spread but not caring that it would. There is a large sage plant that doesn't seem to mind the shade, as well as a couple of other herbs. A couple of years ago Sarah gave me several container shrubs that I never planted because I wasn't sure where to put them or how big they would get. They must be really hardy because they've survived in their pots pretty much neglected. I planted them with the hosta by the back fence and have a feeling that they will feel luxurious in their new surroundings.

Overall, my landscaping looks pretty neglected and dismal, but every year I add a little, do a little. It's always a choice, gardening or sewing, and sewing usually wins.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Switching Over

After an intense quilting project, it's always a little hard to start on something new. So, I've fallen back into the gentle piecing of the scrappy log cabin quilt and a little studio pick up. And a nice lunch with Becky to give her the Eden Park quilt, plus a visit to an art store. The store carries Procion dyes and fabric paints, much to my surprise. I usually visit the downtown location of the same store, which is much smaller and has no fabric dyes or paints. I got some urea and a gel resist and a little bottle with a tiny tip for the resist.

I'm reluctant to go outside and start the yard work because I know that once I start it will be so consuming. Despite the thunderstorm this morning it's a lovely day, so I'll promise myself one hour. That one hour should fill up my two garbage cans for the Thursday pick-up.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

I Think It's Finished

I think, although I'm not sure, that my part of the Eden Park block is finished. All the building outlines are quilted, same with the road.

The bushes are on and the little flowers added with a candlewicking stitch.

Oops, I see that I didn't add a little touch of metallic to the spire on the gazebo. Easy enough.

I'm reminded again that creating is really an act of faith. Starting with just an idea, yours or someone else's, without a clear image of the end result, if you show up on a regular basis the picture (or whatever) will emerge.

Monday, May 16, 2011

I'm As Clever As Clever

Nora's new softball uniform, picture borrowed from Steph. Nora's one proud girl.

"But now I am six,
I'm as clever as clever,
So I think I'll be six now

Forever and ever." A.A. Milne

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Getting There

I've been quilting the Eden Park block for my quilt guild's Cincinnati quilt. And, I'm getting there. The background quilting will soon be done and what will remain will be the pretty little quilting touches. Once that's done, my quilt partner will be doing the finishing - hooray.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Thanks for the Hats

Last week's mail brought a box from Sarah and Winnie with various goodies, including . . . many granola kid hats,

purchased at the end of the season at the camping/outdoor store at GREAT discount.

The kids are going to be styling next year,

although Aaron wasn't so sure he wanted to think about that yet. After all, spring has barely sprung.

Monday, May 9, 2011

UFO No More

Started, oh, long ago, maybe six years. I pieced the background (actually drew it out and did paper piecing, that wouldn't happen now) and cut out the flowers, then didn't know what to do next. Took it out of my UFO box on Saturday, quilted every strip twice, and redid the flowers on fused fabric. Added a few beads. Happy Mother's Day, Steph.

I didn't measure it before I gave it to her - probably 14" x 14".

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Hanging System

You can admire the quilt if you want to - it's from a Quilt University class several years ago. Long enough ago that the corners aren't mitered. Recently enough that I can remember making it in my bedroom at the Berea College Ecovillage.
What we're really admiring today isn't the quilt but the hanging system, which is really just a Target curtain rod with little clips that are perfect for hanging small quilts. And swapping them out in a month or two. Perfect for my kitchen. Probably for your house, too.

I'm also the owner of a nifty new Craftsman stud finder. I had my usual moment of "you can't use that, you don't know how" followed by my usual moment of "any man can use it, I can too." Which is true, but I do wish the voice in my head would hush sometimes. All you have to do is drag the tool across the wall. Duh.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

To Jess

My friend Jess is a great photographer with wonderful flower gardens to photograph. She sent me the top card last month to wish me a happy spring and my postcard below is on the way to her. I was using making the table topper last week and decided to serge a few curves to add to the pieced background. And I serged the edges - now why hadn't I thought of that before?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Not talking About It

We're not talking about what this serger project was supposed to be, because it isn't. What it will be is a batik pad for a rectangular casserole. (It actually is nicely squared, with two layers of batting.) And the knowledge that the chainstitch won't be replacing machine quilting for me any time soon.

Setting up the serger for a chainstitch/coverstitch is always a good exercise though. Lots of steps coming and going. The only thing that was really challenging was that the screw for the throat plate was really tight, which led to my usual dilema, which way does the screw go? The righty-tighty, lefty-loosy advice does nothing for me. Nothing at all. I can visualize that working either way.

So, I went to the internet and learned that the screw should go counterclockwise to loosen. Now that makes sense to me and I got a longer handled screwdriver and all was well. Am I the only person who had to research how to loosen a screw?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Times of Not Knowing

There are times of knowing, I think, just how a quilt will turn out. Maybe there was a picture in a magazine with good instructions. The quilt could have been computer-generated, with the ability to change colors and fabrics to get it just right. Or just a clear picture in the mind's eye. This wasn't one of these times.

It started in a Dena Crain design class on Quilt University. Lines on a sheet of paper, no more. Adding a few lines, taking more out. No color. No idea of what was intuitively forming.

And then the trying out of color and finally figuring out how to get it together. Wondering how to quilt it, figuring out what the quilt was trying to say. Going so slowly because I didn't know where I was going.

Yesterday, the bird, which gave me lots of thought. This morning, the binding, a different color than I'd planned.

As I often do, I'm thinking of my friend Jess and her leadership training, with her introduction of the concept that it's ok sometimes to not know where you're going as long as you're going in the right direction.

I miss you, Jess. And, thanks to Dena for the class and guidance.