Monday, April 30, 2012


Embroidering names on tiny onsies and pants is a whole different skill set than I usually use.  And yet, how sweet in the end, maybe I should do this more often.  Bib design is Anita Goodesign.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Universe and Me

When I stop to consider it, I'm appreciative and amazed at the hand of the Universe in the work I do.  From the beginning, another spirit steps in, if I only allow it.

I have to admit that I didn't like the theme of "maps" for the small quilt that I'm doing.  I waited until very close to the deadline to  begin.  And then, the dance began.

*I decided to use beige Kona as the base fabric and went to the store and found exactly what I needed.  And then, I couldn't find it.  What?  How is that possible?  And yet I know to not look too hard because my eyes keep coming back to a piece of muslin

*I went to the art store for a pigment pen and in my happy search for just the right color I picked up a brush pen instead of a micron.  When I start my words, the lines are too bold.  At that point I can easily start on another piece, but the art store is ways away and I keep going.

*At the quilt show, I bought a tube of Smooch Spritz, with this quilt in the back of my mind but with no real plan.  It's just the right color to add an antique look. 

*The piece is way out of balance, the "continent" white spaces aren't right.  The map lines and quilting do nothing to restore balance.  I'm not happy.  Someone gives me gentle advice about just starting over when the piece just doesn't seem right.  I appreciate the advice but I don't take it this time.

*I make the accent GPS pieces and I like those, just what I wanted.  I arrange them on the quilt but the balance still is not right and even though the area is large, there are too many GPS pieces.  I leave it for awhile and come back and take off my favorites, the ones I did first, and it's better.

*I've had a hand-dyed piece of fabric laid aside for the border from the beginning and now it just isn't right, it's going to just disappear.  I know just how that binding is going to look, straight edge, conventional but with lines of beads interspersed along the edges.  I think several times about looking at my bead inventory to see if I have the beads I need, but I don't do it even though it's a pleasant thing to do.

*Maybe, perhaps, a curved border would be better.  Nothing seems right.  And then I spot a remnant that I got last week.  Bright turquoise with leaf outlines that could just read as waves instead.  I haven't done a border like this in years, and yet . . .  More width on the tops and bottom than the sides.  Gentle flowing curves.  And just like that, the balance is here.  The boredom of the piece is gone.  It says what I want it to say, shows the evolution of the map.

And I can free motion on that border, how fun is that, just the opposite of what normally happens.  And then the beads.  This is turning into fun.  But what should I put on the label?  Made by me, and the Universe?    

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Last night was the first time this season that I was able to watch Nora play softball.  For just awhile, though, because Aaron would by far prefer to go to "Old MacDonald's" than watch the games.  Notice Nora's very spiffy Under Armour, which was a good choice for last night.  Nora is probably the youngest player on her team and it was fun to get a look at how she might grow in the next couple of years.

I got home just in time for the last inning of the Reds game, a not-at-all-close win for them.  And for Nora's team too.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Thinking About Maps

The theme for the May Twelve by Twelve quilts is "maps."  Maps.  For me, this was definitely a think-as-you go project.

I thought first of those pictures of very old maps.  Vague maps with more writing than actual pictures because, after all, the thinking was vague.  I started with a piece of muslin (only because I couldn't find the Kona I bought for this project) and drew an abstract land shape, then used a micro pen to write words.  Lots of them.  I bought a brush pen by mistake, so the words were more bold than I'd pictured, but that's ok.  Then I used a bit of Caramel latte Smooch Spritz in the lovely glass tube to add just a little color.

Next, I superimposed lines for roads and rivers like a more modern map might have.  Painted a spots of yellow for cities.  Remember what treasures those maps used to be?  You might pick them up at a Welcome Center or from AAA every few years.  Carefully save them in a drawer.

Even though I'm not done, I did the quilt sandwich next, then quilted grid lines.  Grid lines were an important part of reading a map.  You might note that Bluffton, Ohio, for example, might be B,19 on the map and you'd look for the intersection of those lines.

The last part will be to make something that looks like the GPS on your car or your phone.  Angular roads, purple for the road you're traveling.  Curved arrows to show you which lane to take for your exit.  You get the idea.  Maybe there will be more than one stand-alone piece.  My thinking about this is that we don't treasure maps like we used to.  We just put in the data and the device tells us how to get somewhere.

This (or these) will go somewhere on the quilt, appliqued on the top.  I want to show maps from ancient to modern.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Memory Quilts

I'm finding that I enjoy making memory quilts, enjoy the process of learning about the person and trying to put together something that will honor her.  I feel as if I'm being trusted with something precious, whether it is tee shirts or photos.

For this quilt, there was a lovely red and white skirt with lots of fabric that I could use for borders for most of the blocks.  Borders add color and help make the blocks all the same size.  In this quilt, the tee shirts have been stabilized, making them like a woven fabric that won't stretch.  The borders are finished and the arrangement will probably be as it looks now.  In some ways, the hardest parts of this quilt are finished.

Now for a little rest.  Rest means more thinking.  What kinds of sashing?  What color?  And for this quilt, what will the back look like?  I have a couple of tiny tee shirt rectangles that I'll include in the back.  Parts of another skirt, a red and white gingham that is too light in both color and fabric weight for the front but which should surely be included.

I like the livliness of the quilt so far because this young woman had lots of interests and exuberance.  I'm thinking of bright sashings, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Hughes High School

Yesterday I went with my friend and her son to the art store, which was close to the beautiful high school above, and to Findlay Market.  Two of my favorites. 

I got some supplies for a project that I am way past due on starting, plus lunch and some generally yummy things.  Brown eggs.  I'm not sure why I'm so drawn to brown eggs, I understand that they are just like the white ones.  Pesto butter.  I'm never had it, and I have some frozen pesto in the refrigerator that I could conceivably mix with butter, which I've never thought of doing.  Marinated sun dried tomatoes.  Beautiful dark, curly kale. 

It occurred to me as I walked through the market that there are some things that I will probably never try.  Ground camel or goat, or a pheasant.  Because I no longer eat meat I'll miss out on those things.  The pheasants were $25 each.  Fiddlehead ferns, although they are lovely.  Goetta, which wasn't on my radar in my meat-eating days.  And of course there are some things that I'll try later, like Meyer lemons.  Many kinds of cheeses.  Morrell mushrooms, maybe.  All the kinds of fresh pasta.

I watched a young woman make Belgium crepes, making a huge crepe, adding spicy ingredents, folding it in half, then in thirds to make a cone-shaped goodie.  I'll try that one day, but yesterday was the day for a flatbread pizza with Asiago cheese.  Not the Vietnamese food that I'd planned to get.

For me, the value of going to the market is mostly seeing things, not necessarily trying them.  Seeing that whole leg of lamb.  Ox tails.  More kinds of sea food than are in my grocery, including huge blue gills from Florida, totally unlike the blue gills I've seen before.  Crusty breads and luscious little pies and cakes.  Creme brule.

I don't watch the food network, but I wonder if watching it is the same kind of pleasure.  Seeing different foods and dreaming a little.     

Friday, April 20, 2012


Crystals at Findlay Market.

I am a such a fan of the crystal guy at Findlay Market.  He has a nice selection of pretty crystals and polished stones, as well as spools of colored cords.  If you are buying a crystal for yourself, you select a crystal and a cord and he will make sure that the cord fits around your head and shows you how to tighten it to the desired length.

I asked him if it was bad luck that I lost the crystal I purchased in December.  I was a little reluctant to hear the answer, although I haven't had any bad luck.  He said no, that crystals are like cats - they really belong to no one.  You can't really own them.

Nevertheless, I look forward to the day that I find the necklace.  My other one, because I bought a new stone today.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Quilt Show in Pictures

Looking down at the vendor booths. Going up the escalator and looking down from above always lends a different perspective and helps me get away from the overwhelmed feeling that comes after an hour or so.

Although the lighting on the picture isn't good, I have to include a picture of Contemporary Quilt and Fiber Artists' Cincinnati Landmarks quilt. I kept coming back to it, standing back and watching people look at it. Forty-three members of the guild worked on it, a real collaboration.

Below is my friend Holly's quilt. Holly's quilt guild is Cincinnati Modern Quilters and they did variations of the Ohio Star for their display. I love her use of gray, would never have thought to do that.

My absolute favorite was the exhibit by Twelve by Twelve. Twelve women from over the world worked with a different theme every couple of months, working in a 12" x 12" format. I've seen pictures of the little quilts here and there and even have the book, but seeing the quilts in person was amazing.

I didn't realize there would be so many sets at the show. Some had a theme, some used a color. Below is a color group, either blue or purple. I think I could have studied this exhibit all day.

This year I really appreciated the concept of the tour busses and women coming from far and wide to spend several days. Next year, if I'm not working, I won't come from far and wide but I will spend several days. There were whole sections of quilts that I never even saw and lots more that I only glanced at. It would be fun to take a class too, just for that experience.

Just from my few hours at the show, I came home jazzed and energized. Happy to be a quilter.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Quilt Show

Coming tomorrow, a few pictures from the Midwest International Quilt Show in Cincinnati. Oh, my. It was very overwhelming and incredible.

And how fun to ride the bus across the river on a pretty Sunday morning and stroll on over. By the time I left, the downtown was bustling and I wondered why it's been so long since I've been there. I think the last time was with Aaron, some time before Christmas.

It was a treat to visit the Sulky and Superior Thread booths for some new threads and the ProChemical booth for some new paints and dyes. Of course, the best booth was Luke's Viking booth, always well done, and I got to visit with my working buddies. And I saw lots of people I knew here and there.

For now, Journey Group is at my house tonight and I need to get my head out of the clouds and clean.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Little Messenger Bag

You can get the instructions for this little Viking bag here. If you don't have an embroidery machine, just skip the embroidery part, which I did anyway.

What I love:
*The little owls. This is a chance to use those new duck fabrics that heavier than the basic cottons.
*The little touches of mini piping. The instructions call for lots more piping, but I like just a little. I don't have the mini piping foot, but the 2-3 mm embellishment foot works great for this.
*The way the bag handles slip into the bag. Pretty ingenious.

*The contrasting fabrics at the bottom and lining.
*The button and loop at the bottom (I added that.) Hint: add a small button under the larger one for space for the loop to slip under.

What I don't:
*All those little credit card pockets on the front. Twelve: crazy. Next time I'll just add a pocket or two inside.
*The little cell phone pocket on the back. Next time I'll just add a full pocket across the back instead.
*The lining doesn't tack down. I went across the piping one last time to pick up the lining and give it a little stability.

I'm pretty excited to make the changes and try this again.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Two and a Ticket

Two journal quilts, both Viking designs. I wanted to try out the design done on pink because it looked like it would be great for a little bag. The free motion embroidery on the pink one, toward the edges, was done with Sulky 60-weight PolyLite, my new favorite. The higher the number, the thinner the thread, and I like the way the 60 looks. Most of the lighter threads I've seen are cotton but my machine isn't a fan of cotton thread for free motion. This Sulky works wonderfully for me.

Tucked in with the little quilts is a baseball ticket from the game last night. My friend Ginger got tickets from work, really good seats in the first row of the upper deck, right behind home plate. It was a chilly evening, 44 degrees by the time we left. I wasn't tempted to have a beer, which I usually love at the ball park, just because it was so cold. The game was a good time, cold or not, wining or not (not!)

This afternoon's game is in the afternoon, so I'll be sewing and listening. NPR is fine during the winter, but I love to sew and listen to the ball games once spring comes. I have a birthday present to make, a set of napkins and a trivet in pretty, summery fabric.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


For us, no Asheville visit is complete without going to the North Carolina Arboretum, where Sarah and Winnie both work. Above is a tiny bonsai, from the outdoor bonsai garden, blooming for spring.

The quilt garden has been recently planted for the season and will be filling in quickly.

I love this gate, with a view of the mountains. There are little bird and animal tracks on the flat parts. We took a long hike along the trails leading away from the aboretum and into the Piscah National Forest.

Lunch one day was at Tupelo Honey South, with the same great food but a different feel than the one downtown. I love them both.

There was the yummiest birthday cake ever for Steph, from Short Street Cakes. How can they make a cake taste that good? Candles around the outside spelled out "Happy Birthday."

This week I'm having my usual Smoky Mountain/Asheville withdrawal. A few more days should have me back to my normal happiness space but it always takes me those few days back to find it.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Asheville Easter

We left for Asheville Wednesday afternoon and had a good trip down. The kids were awesome travelers this year. We had one small break, then dinner in Newport, Tennessee, with just a little more traveling after that. Birthday singing for Steph at Cracker Barrel, which the kids enjoyed tremendously.

Winnie and Sarah, Milo and Lucy. Milo isn't a biter, just a barker-at-other-dogs, hence the little muzzle.

There was a big and well-organized egg hunt in Fletcher, on the way to Winnie's dad's house. This year, the kids went without parents to a big field, each in a different age group, lining up around the perimeter, waiting until the whistle blew. I was glad that Aaron was wearing the pirate hat so I could spot him.

Key lime tart, from Earth Fare. Just the right amount of filling, a small amount, with a good crust and a fluffy layer of cream. Absolutely yummy.

Winnie's dad, carving the ham. The dogs kept watch.

It was a lovely Easter dinner, on Saturday, since Sunday was a traveling day. Deviled eggs, potato salad and taboli salad, green bean casserole, rolls. Then there was a hike around the lake where Winnie's dad lives. Gorgeous weather.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Happy Easter, Everyone

Downton Graeter's at Easter (Cincinnati)

And, Happy Easter, everyone, from Asheville.

Sun Print

Sunprint, made with Setacolor Transparent. Don't try it with Setacolor Opaque and think it will work just as well. It won't, and that's the only thing I'll say about that.

I'm making a list of the colors I need because it's almost time for the International Quilt Show in Cincinnati. Last year the Pro Chemical people told me they come every year and I hope to see them there. I've been looking forward to the quilt show for weeks now, ready to see some beautiful things. What a treat that it's only a few miles from home. That week, I'll be working at the store on Friday and Saturday, but I'll be there bright and early Sunday morning.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Other Egg Hunts


Two Journal Quilts

There was a baby quilt picture in a magazine, a pink whole-cloth quilt except for some patchwork in a lower corner. I wanted to try it out on a small scale, and this journal quilt is the result. I think I like it, but might be more apt to try it on the back instead of the front.

You've seen this Nora picture before, but I found an older package of photo transfer paper and wanted to try a sample to make sure it was still good. It was.

Long day today after a late night last night. Turns out that I didn't have to be nervous after all. It was disappointing that, in North Carolina, there was a commercial during "My Old Kentucky Home" and Sarah missed that part.

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Big Game

One of my friends said that her husband tapes his North Carolina team's games and watches them later, after he knows the score, so he can enjoy the game without the stress. Sounds funny, and yet . . . here I am, paying attention to the computer during the BIG game because it's just too hard to watch. I REALLY want Kentucky to win. On some level, I know it's just a game but I don't really believe it. All us Kentucky fans over a certain age remember that Duke/Kentucky game and it was just a game too.

A little humor, though: one of my West Virginia friends posted on facebook that "in West Virginia we've been burning couches for years." I'd like to think, as a Student Affairs person, that there will be some productive conversations about this at UK.

But, instead of watching the game, let's look at Aaron, being all happy with the skateboarding helmet from Aunt Sarah. He uses it for bike riding and is pretty pleased with it.

And let's look at Nora, all happy at Steak 'n Shake, sitting across from Aunt Tina. I can't believe how much that girl has grown up in first grade. It was quite awhile after her softball game, but she loves that uniform.