Lost and Found

May 20, 2016

Years ago when I didn’t have broadband internet access at home I bought a USB drive so to transport files between work, where we had a T1 line,  and home. That worked great until the day I couldn’t find the drive. I worried that it might have fallen out of my bag somewhere away from home – I had personal financial files on it that I wouldn’t want in other hands. I mostly thought it fell down into the loveseat which is a double recliner.

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When I change purses, some stuff always seems to get left behind in the old purse. The other day it was time to change purses again so I took my current purse and 3 prior ones and emptied everything out to decide what should go into the new purse. I know you’re already ahead of me – I found the USB drive tucked away in a small pocket in one of the purses. I KNOW I checked the pockets of that purse when I was actively looking for the drive and didn’t find it. I guess it tucked itself away in a lining fold and hid until now. What a relief!

At some point at work, they started encrypting files copied to removable media. Now, I need to find the paperwork I brought home with the password and instructions on how to access those encrypted files. I should be able to access the files added to the drive before the encryption began being used.

Wednesday I went to the library and then to the battery store to get a new battery for my cell phone. When I got to the battery store, my reading glasses were gone. I hang them on the neck of my shirt and the seat belt often flips them off. Did I leave them at home or did I lose them at the library? They aren’t my only pair so it wasn’t that big a deal. I figured if they flipped off and out of the car at the library, they would have been run over by now. I had to go back to the library today to pick up a hold book. Someone had turned in my glasses. Yeah!

The quilt shop in town decided to feature a guild every month starting with Faithful Circle Quilters. During the month of May we get a 15% discount instead of the 10% Monday guild discount. I took advantage of it and bought 9 yards of the row by row houses fabric for the back of That Town and Country Quilt that I am 5 months behind on.

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Perfect, right?

I followed that by a visit to JoAnn’s to get some solids for machine quilting practice. There was a display toward the front of the store with solids that were 30% off so I picked things from that shelf. After pulling several bolts down, I happened to notice the price – $14.99 a yard. What!? They were very nice but I’m not paying that kind of price at JoAnn’s. I looked a little more closely and discovered they were Cloud 9 brand, organic cotton, made in the USA. I put those back and pulled from the $7-8 range. After getting cut, I discovered cheap solids father back in the store.

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Each of these is 1/3 yard so 4 yards.

Today was a perfect spring day, weather-wise. That has been very rare this year. It has rained most days for the past month. So we had about 36 hours or so without rain. Of course, the rain and cold are returning tomorrow to mess up the Preakness weekend. We have hope that next week will be warm.

When I drove to Illinois last month I put something out of whack and my right leg has been bothering me ever since. This week I started having tingling and numbness down the leg. Patty and I were supposed to go to the York, PA quilt show today but we’re going tomorrow instead so I could go to the chiropractor today. I’ve never been to one before although I have considered going when I’ve had problems like this in the past. Would you believe that what prevented me from going was all the new patient paperwork? That’s finally behind me.

After I made the appointment yesterday afternoon, there’s been quite a bit of snap, crackle and popping which means things are moving around. I was sure that by the time I got to the appointment, whatever was wrong would have fixed itself, finally. It didn’t. This practice is owned by husband and wife who are both chiropractors and also offers physical therapy, massage and acupuncture. Everyone in the office was very friendly and things felt very peaceful. The wife was my doctor. I really like her. She explained things very well and I never felt she was in a hurry to get rid of me. She didn’t do any manipulations today, just evaluation. My right sacroiliac joint is stuck, not moving the way it is supposed to. When the doctor finished with me I was turned over to the physical therapist to learn some stretches to do. I go back Tuesday to discuss a treatment plan.

Baltimore Museum of Art

May 15, 2016

First I have to do the obligatory whining about all the rain. The Baltimore-Washington area just set a new record for the number of consecutive days of measurable rain at 15. But, the rainy, gloomy days have gone on even longer. It’s just that we got a little break here and there. Thursday didn’t have measurable rain but it poured again on Friday and Saturday. Today was sunny but cold. We’ve been running 15-20 degrees below normal for the last month. It’s supposed to rain again on Tuesday and Wednesday. The TV forecast actually has 3 days after that of no rain but the weather apps on my phone aren’t so positive. Sigh. As our family friend, Ruth Wolf, would say, “Enough with the whining, already.” Or, Barbara L would ask, “Do you want some cheese with that whine?”

Week before last 20 members of the Baltimore Applique Society met at the Baltimore Museum of Art for a tour of the current quilt exhibits. Anita Jones, the textile curator, spent about an hour and a half taking us around the various textile exhibits.

Some of the pictures are a little blurry. I forgot my camera so had to use the phone. It’s a little too light for me to hold steady sometimes.

The main event for the Baltimore die-hards was this Baltimore album quilt.

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I love crazy quilts. I’ve always deluded myself into believing that I want to make one but I don’t really enjoy embroidery that much. This quilt was supposed to be in the crazy quilt exhibit last fall but was withdrawn because it needed some conservation work.

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This isn’t a quilt but the designs are very quilt like.

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This sampler has very tiny stitches.

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Anita showed us some other items that didn’t interest me. Eventually we ended up at the exhibit of the newly acquired modern quilts.

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In the adjacent room I found this chair made from yellow school pencils.

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And this interesting cabinet made from scrap wood.

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After the tour we had lunch at Gertrude’s, the restaurant in the museum. The chef, John Shields, once had a cooking show on public TV and has written several cookbooks. Not the place to go if you’re on a budget. I was at the table with Anita Jones (on the left) and Mimi Dietrich (on the right).

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I ordered a sangria. I’ve forgotten what they called it. The fruit-looking things are frozen juice, mango I think.

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For the main course I had the seafood salad with shrimp, scallops and crab over field greens with roasted lemon vinaigrette. I forgot to take a picture of it. Two of us ordered desert. This is the Gertrude’s Candy Bar.20160504_134409.jpg

I had the triple Crème brûlée with flourless chocolate cake.

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Most expensive lunch I’ve ever had but I enjoyed every bite.

Procrastination report

May 8, 2016

It’s been a busy couple of weeks and I’ve successfully managed to procrastinate working on quilting the baby quilts. I dragged out the first set of twin quilts last week, fully intending to finish them. I managed to do the ditch quilting on the one that wasn’t pieced as quilt as you go. Then I started procrastinating because I didn’t want to do the quilting that shows. Here’s what I did instead of quilting the quilt.

More double 9-patch blocks:

Some leader/ender spools:

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My string piecing during the news is working out for the most part. I don’t manage every week day. Monday is guild night so I don’t see the evening news. Friday night I woke up from a little nap just about news time but was too tired to be messing about with dangerous machines. I added these blocks to the collection:

Once a month I get together with a group of people that started as a lunch time group at work. I decide it was easiest to do something mindless so I have a bin of random scraps that I’ve been working from for the past 2.5 years. This bin is dedicated to the once a month sew-in so it isn’t the same container I’m working from during the news. So far I think I’ve made the string pieces for 4 quilts. The bin still looks full, doesn’t it?

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Most recently I’ve been working on the pieces for a String X quilt – a free pattern from Bonnie Hunter. Monday I bought fabric for the background and border. The majority of the fabric in the strings came from Amy. There are a lot of turquoise and green so I thought these fabrics would work well.

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I need to update my stash accounting to add 3.5 yards.

I was able to borrow a die for the triangles from Patty. Cutting a lot of pieces from one fabric is where the die cutter definitely saves time. So, in my ongoing quest to not work on the baby quilts, I started assembling blocks for String X. Here are 4 of them to show the design. I still need to make 6 or 7 more string pieces to have enough for 12 blocks. I’ll decide on an inner border and binding after the body is finished.

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Yesterday, after finishing all the String X blocks that were ready, I decided it was time to get back to the baby quilts. I’m only doing walking foot quilting so how hard can it be? You’d be surprised. I started stitching and saw this:

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What the hell!? Look at those loose stitches! I had to rip it all out and come up with another plan. I reverted to straight stitching instead of the serpentine. I need to give it a close examination today to see if it is acceptable – I saw some stitches that looked a little loose. I may have to revert to quilting it on my Janome Jem Gold or wait until I have a new machine. I don’t want to have to use the Jem because it is a 3/4 size machine and doesn’t have any decorative stitches. I also hate to delay longer because the girls are already 2.5 years old. I want to use the alphabet on the Bernina to quilt the girls’ names into their quilts. I’m going to give it a try and hope it works better than the serpentine.

This is on a Bernina 1230 using the walking foot and the serpentine stitch. I didn’t notice any problem when I did the ditch stitching with the edge stitching foot. I did some test stitching on a practice piece and it was okay. Why is it okay on the practice piece but not on the quilt? I’m going to take a closer look at my piecing to see if there is a problem there. The machine had its maintenance and repair several weeks ago so it shouldn’t be misbehaving. Could it be a bad walking foot? People claim this is the best Bernina ever made but I never bonded with it the way many people do with their machines. In other words, I’m not in love with the Bernina brand.

I am so ready for a new machine. I put it off until after I retired so it would do more than sit unused in the cabinet. I retired 2 years ago so it’s time now. I do love my Jem so I’ve been holding out to get the latest and greatest Janome. The 8900 came out in 2012 so I figured maybe this was the year they’d introduce a new machine for quilters. I was right! Thanks to Linda for letting me know that a new model is coming at the end of the month. I can’t wait to see it. I’m hoping for a special introductory price although I’m a little leery about buying the 1.0 version of a new model.

Faithful Circle Quilters 2016 Show: Quilting with Friends

April 23, 2016

The Faithful Circle Quilters of Columbia, MD guild puts on one of the best guild shows in the DMV (DC-MD-VA). Our show is during the even numbered years. Milltown Quilters has their show in the odd years in the same location. A lot of people think it’s the same guild every year because it is in the same location.

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A couple of weeks ago one of our members had the idea to hang little quilts the size of a block around the railings at the entry to the church where we have our show. Members jumped in and we quickly had a multitude of little quilts to hang. They were so popular with visitors that there were traffic jams on the ramp caused by people taking time to look at all the little bits. There were enough to hang some out by the highway to attract passers-by. Fortunately, we had no inclement weather during the show.

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Our raffle quilt doesn’t photograph well. The light blue background always washes out for some reason. The flower blocks are machine embroidery made by deceased member, Joyce Schneider. Her husband donated the blocks and remaining background fabric to the guild. Margo Cramer designed the quilt and border and wrangled it to completion. Maria O’Haver did the quilting. I neglected to take a picture of the quilting. It was won by a guild member.

These are some of my favorite quilts from the show and, of course, my quilts. I hope the artist statements are readable.

This quilt won Viewer’s Choice for large quilts.

In My Garden is one of my quilts.

This was Viewer’s Choice for small quilts.

I love this hexagon heart quilt by Margaret Minton. Dawn’s quilting is gorgeous.

Farmer’s Market 20/20 is another of my quilts. It has another 20 fabrics on the back.

I love this Sunbonnet Sue doing all manner of quilting activities. In the row below, she buys the fabric in the first block, sews it in the second block, then wears the finished apron in the third block.

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Another one of my quilts. This one won Viewer’s Choice for medium size quilts! Detailed post for 2001: A Calendar Odyssey.

This one was made by my friend, Genie, for the Cuddly Critters Linus challenge. I just love it. It’s much prettier in person than in the photo. Every year or two, Stephanie bags up fabrics in brown bags and issues a challenge for Linus quilts. One year a member had to downsize and donated tons of flamingo fabrics for the Linus quilts. Our members rise to the challenge and make wonderful quilts. We had an entire room plus the hallway lined with the Cuddly Critter quilts.

Mother Goose and Friends is another of my quilts. It was a joy to make despite the half-inch sashing and cornerstones, the small sawtooth stars and the prairie points.

Joyce Ritter’s butterfly mobile won Viewer’s Choice in the Other category.

Some of the silent auction area. It’s hard to get photos because of the cramped space.

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Peddler’s table where guild members sell their excess items. This is an extremely popular area. On Thursday morning when the show opened, the first thing attendees wanted to know was “where are you selling the members’ stuff?” I heard there was a line of people waiting to get into the room. This picture was taken on Saturday afternoon after 2.5 days of selling.

One of the things our show is known for is the decorative vignettes scattered around the show. Member bring items in and Sandy McDonald and her team work their magic. Some, like this one, are themed to the quilts. These decorations add a special touch to the show.

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A popular section we added in our 2014 show is the $10 and under boutique. Members make items to be sold here. I scored 3 bibs for my mother so now I don’t have to make them. I was able to get one before the show and took it home to Illinois with me last week. It was a big hit in the dining room of the facility. I’ll have to draw off a pattern before sending the other two off. Now Dad wants one so Mom will have to share.

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Drawing winners for the raffle baskets and quilt. I neglected to take photos of the 7 baskets. There were 2 that each contained 200 fat quarters – that’s 50 yards each, folks. One woman bought some tickets and gave them to her granddaughter to disperse with the instruction, “Don’t put any in the ones with all the fabric!” Many of us felt that way. I didn’t win any of the raffles. In the upper right hand corner, the woman in the pink jacket is looking at a 2 week old kitten being cared for by a member. He wasn’t happy to be so popular.

It’s all over now until 2018 which will get here sooner than any of us are ready for.

2001: A Calendar Odyssey

April 23, 2016
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2001: A Calendar Odyssey

I thought we started this project in 2001 but Mimi says we started it in 2002. I had already named it so let’s believe it was started in 2001, OK? The picture above was taken when the quilt was hanging in the Quilter’s Hall of Fame exhibition for Mimi Dietrich’s installation in 2015.

This block of the month, Folk Art Fancies, was designed by Lisa DeBee Schiller. I can’t find any website for her.

Where possible I try to do something I’ve never done before on our grad school projects. For this one it was my first log cabin and first fused applique with hand buttonhole stitch.

Each block has a star in the background because of Lisa’s Texas background. One night at the Baltimore Applique Society meeting, Kathy Siuta, Anita (whose last name escapes me right now) and I were talking about the project. Kathy said, “I’m not from Texas. I don’t want stars in my blocks. I’m from Maryland – I’m going to put a crab on mine.” (I don’t think she actually did that.) I said, “I’m from Illinois. What would I put, Abe Lincoln’s head?” Anita said I should put a log cabin. She meant an appliqued, actual log cabin house because she does not piece. Her comment sparked the idea of a log cabin background. As soon as I got home, I started playing around with the graph paper. I attempted to echo the star idea with the placement of the light and dark of the log cabins. I think it would be more visible had I done the center blocks with all dark logs instead of the pinwheel. Hindsight is 20/20.

The logs are .5″ finished width. The applique is fused with hand buttonhole stitch. I don’t recommend doing this. I had trouble with the fusible sticking to the background over all the seams. Of course, it could be that some of the fusible was too old. I used whatever I had – Heat and Bond, Steam a Seam II, and who knows what else. Some of it was picked up at the guild freebie table so was of unknown vintage and brand.

I was too lazy to figure out all the log lengths so didn’t cut the logs to size. I just took a strip, sewed it on and cut it off at the end. DON’T DO THAT! You end up with bowed logs that make a not-square block. I wish it showed more in one of the pictures so you could see how bad it is to do that. I decided to consider it a design decision – just as the logs in a log cabin aren’t straight, neither are the logs in my log cabin blocks. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

Maria O’Haver did the quilting. Thank heavens she takes whatever we throw at her in stride. I’m sure a lot of long-arm quilters would have refused to quilt this one because of all the layered fused applique and log cabin seams and the embellishment that I had to add before the quilting was done. Maria just shrugs and gets on with what needs to be done.

Last week the quilt was displayed in the Faithful Circle Quilters guild show. Our show hasn’t been judged since 1998 or 2000. We do have Viewer’s Choice awards. This quilt won Viewer’s Choice for medium size quilts. Quite unexpected and exciting. It never even crossed my mind that this quilt might be that popular because there are so many talented quilters in our guild. There is stiff competition in all categories.

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Margo Cramer has been making the Viewer’s Choice awards for many years. If I remember correctly, they are different every show and each is one-of-a-kind. The pansy is hand applique. Margo does stunning, museum quality applique. She matched the color of the pansy to the color of the details card for the category. Medium size was pink.

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My January. I switched the December and January blocks in the pattern because I thought they made more sense this way.

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February. I couldn’t resist using the 2 heart prints for the hearts.

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March. I fussy cut the fabric that says “Happy St. Patirck’s Day”.

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April showers bring May flowers

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May flowers with the Maypole

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June

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July

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August

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September. Many apples for the teachers.

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October. I don’t remember who came up with the idea of ruching the flowers on this block. The cat is made from a Mr. B’s Cats print from Benartex. I wish they’d do this print again in more colors.

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My December. Beth Rice gave me the ultra suede for the moose. I borrowed the idea of the light string around the antlers from Marylou McDonald. I had to put them on before it was quilted because they go under the applique but Maria was able to work around them. I found the little heart button for the nose at a shop in Lancaster, PA during the 2014 Row by Row Experience.

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The center wreath contains elements from the surrounding 12 blocks. I have a patriotic fabric with bears on it so I cut one out and added it to the wreath because it was so cute. Detail shots of the wreath are shown below.

Anita’s log cabin made it onto the label. The backing is a Jinny Beyer Y2K print.

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Mimi made labels for us to document our quilts hanging at the Quilters’ Hall of Fame celebration. I still need to sew this onto the quilt. It is in a safe place and I actually remember where it is! Oops, I just noticed that Mimi made a typo. I wonder if she knows? I’m sure not going to tell her. The pretty border is on the card that came with the label – the label has plain edges.

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Mid-April Status Update

April 22, 2016

The first two weeks of April were very busy. On Monday April 4th, we had Mimi’s Grad School class during the day and guild meeting in the evening. On Tues I packed and Wed drove to Chicago. Friday I went to the big quilt show in Rosemont. I didn’t take many photos. Guess I’m just jaded by having gone to too many shows. I think the really good quilts were going to Paducah. On Sat I drove down to my parents home and spent a couple of days with them. Tues came back to Maryland. Wed was turn in day for my guild’s quilt show. Thurs through Sat I worked at the show. Sun was tax prep day. Whew!

I got a little sewing in last week and more this week. Still just making blocks. Got quilt a few done due to changing up the way I’m working. I was doing one block at a time with leader/enders which used lots of leader/ender pieces. I decided to try doing two blocks at once, using one block as the leader/ender for the other. Then, using a true leader/ender when the second block was complete. I can make four blocks in an hour this way.

I’ve kept to the idea of working with the scrap strings during the news except for nights when I have guild or Baltimore Applique Society. Here’s what I’ve done the last couple of weeks.

And last but not least, the leader/ender blocks. Beth gave me a nice little box with charm squares for my birthday. I filled it up with block kits for leader/ender spools.

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Saturday Status Report

April 2, 2016

Over the past couple of years, I’ve written dozens of posts in my head but they never made it to the computer. Did you enjoy them? Of course, not, unless you’re psychic. If you are, please let me know – I could use some winning lottery numbers. I also found myself reluctant to post about quilts until they were complete. As slow as I am at finishing things, that makes for posts that are few and far between. I decided to try semi-weekly reports showing what I’ve done since the last report. It probably won’t be every week – like the next two weeks which will be very busy so there won’t be any sewing happening here. There are two or three events that should generate their own posts.

The last couple of days I’ve felt like Penelope, Odysseus’ wife, who unpicked her work every night before going to bed. I’ve been doing a lot of unsewing and practice sewing (no bobbin thread). Sigh.

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We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto.

In the last post I showed some of my scrap containers and committed to sewing scraps during the evening news. I should have specified that’s evening news on weekdays.

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This is one of my string bins. It weighs 7.4 pounds according to my hand-held luggage scale. I don’t know how accurate that is but let’s stick with that. At 4 yards per pound, that’s about 30 yards of fabric. I want it gone because I prefer to use pretty containers and I already have a string container which is overflowing. I also have a string bin that travels to sew-ins. I worked out of that one one afternoon a month for 2 years without a noticeable reduction in contents.

Shall we play a guessing game? How many quilts will that sack produce? How long will it take me to empty it? I’m guessing it will be quite a while before we have answers to those questions.

This week I  made 25 6″ blocks from that sack. I still have reach the point where I can stir up the contents without getting them all over the floor.

I worked on the Dutch 9-patch or double 9-patch, if you prefer.

That’s 30 blocks. I made one more but it needs some discussion.

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Do you spot what’s “wrong” with this block? I put wrong in quotes because, technically, there is nothing wrong with this block. But, I reversed the positions of the large squares in the outer 9-patch. The coloring above is how the block is shown in Barbara Brackman’s book and Jinny Beyer’s book. I didn’t find the coloring I’m using (that I saw on a blog mentioned in my last post) in either book. I thought for a while that I would keep this one like this and just mix it in. After reflection, I decided to fix it because what attracted me to the block was the way the 4 squares of the center 9-patch stood out in the field made by the other fabric. That didn’t stop me from making 4 more of them the “wrong” way – I had to fix them also. Here are the two versions side by side.

The “wrong” one is on the left and the “right” one is on the right. The one thing I don’t like about the coloring I’m using is putting the blocks side by side with the florals touching each other and the go-withs touching. I’ll have to come up with different ways to set the blocks when I get to that point. It’s going to be a while before I have to worry about that. Here’s the bin of block kits after the 34 blocks I’ve made so far. As you can see, I’ve barely scratched the surface.

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Want to play more guessing games? How many blocks will this bin produce? How many quilts will it make? Again, it’s going to be a while before we know the answers. This will get set aside for a time. After the quilt show in two weeks, I have 4 baby quilts to quilt and bind – two sets of twins. Not to mention all the UFOs that deserve to be worked on.

I would get very confused and screw up more blocks than I have if I tried to sew more than one of these Dutch 9-patch blocks at a time. That makes for lots of leader/ender sewing.

That’s 24 rows of tumblers. I only have enough variety to finish the row that is under the needle right now so I’m going to have to devote some time to cutting spool kits for leader/enders. The 3″ spools were Bonnie Hunter’s leader/ender challenge from several years ago. They are so fun to make. I think of them as quilter’s candy.

Oops. I did it again!

March 27, 2016

I couldn’t help myself – I started another project. I read this post showing the Dutch 9-patch and started envisioning the blocks with florals and go-withs. She did a 12″ block which makes for some odd measurements for the center 9-patch. I drafted it as a 9″ block which makes for more pleasant cutting – 3.5″ and 1.5″. I finished the cutting yesterday. I don’t know what word to use to describe how I feel when I see a box like this full of block kits ready for sewing. It gives me a thrill.

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I have no idea how many block kits there are and I don’t really care. I’ll probably pick my favorite blocks for a quilt for me and the rest will make quilts that will eventually live with other people. Patty thought it was rash of me to cut all the fabric without sewing a test block. I told her that I have faith that math works.

For the most part I cut a 3.5″ strip from each fabric, then subcut it to get the squares. What do you get when you do this? Scraps, lots of scraps. I was already drowning in scraps.

The left picture is 3.5″ strips left from cutting fabrics that were full width. The fabrics on top of the bin in the center are the crumbs left from cutting a 1.5″ square from a floral 1.5″ x 3.5″ strip. They’ll be good for more Wild and Goosey blocks. The mound above the top of the tub on the right is the remainder of strips from fat quarters and less than full width fabrics.

I got my sewing machine back from the Bernina hospital a couple of weeks ago. I didn’t want to set it up until the stop in the cabinet was moved so it sits flat. I still can’t budge the nut. Barbara L volunteered her son to help so I’ll have to take her up on that but not until after our guild’s quilt show. I went ahead and set up the machine so I could sew some blocks to see how they look. It felt really good to sew again.

While tidying up a while back I found some more leader/ender spool block kits. These were done while doing the above blocks.

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What am I going to do about the scraps? I think I have a plan. My friend, Clara, has a unique way of getting her hand applique done. One day at Mimi’s Grad School class she was showing a quilt and said, “This is my Dr. Phil quilt.” We asked for an explanation. She has one project she allocates to work on while watching Dr. Phil and another for Jeopardy/Wheel of Fortune. So, what if I work on sewing scraps while watching the evening news instead of sitting upstairs playing games on the computer? Do you think if I do this I can use the scraps faster than I make new ones? Check back in a few months and we’ll see how it’s going.

I started tonight with the tail ends of the 3.5″ strips. I decided they should be strips like Chinese coins. I got 2 longish strips sewn. The rest of the pieces should get sewn tomorrow night since we have no guild meeting because it’s Easter Monday and the church is closed.

I really have to get sleeves made and sewn onto the last 3 quilts entered in the show. Someone in guild said one of the local stores had the ready-made sleeves but I forgot which store it was. What are the chances they’ll still have some?

Rescue Mission

February 29, 2016

Took a long walk the other week when we had a nice, warm day. I was surprised to see ice on the pond given how warm, relatively speaking, the winter has been. I thought the shadows of the branches made interesting patterns.

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I’ve been in a slump since coming home after Christmas. Some days I don’t even go down to the sewing room at all. Am I hibernating because it’s cold? Or am I avoiding the sewing room because there are too many have-to-dos before I can return to want-to-dos?

What are my have-to-dos?

  1. Allietare – I want to get the top done so I don’t add another UFO to the pile. I’m at the bordering point. The back is designed and partially completed. Can’t continue with the back until the front is done.
  2. Bindings and labels and sleeves, oh my! – My guild’s quilt show is in April. I have to bind, label and sleeve my entries. My quilter returned five quilts to me last year that I was saving for binding until winter. Three of the bindings are finished. One side is left for the fourth quilt. One quilt for the show has a sleeve. Part of the problem with sleeves is that I don’t know how many of my entries will get into the show. Too many large quilts are being entered and we only have so much room for large quilts. I don’t want to sleeve the quilts that aren’t going into the show.
  3. Twin quilts #1 – I never got into the position where I was expected to gift quilts to every co-worker for whatever occasion like some people I know. Only one of my direct co-workers got a quilt because she is special. The co-worker who had twins is also special to me so when I heard he was having twins, I immediately picked a pattern and fabric. The twins for these quilts turned two in November. The quilts have been sitting waiting for the quilting. Time for me to get on it so I can give them.
  4. Twin quilts #2 – I used Jo Kramer’s Pinky Swear pattern to use the bonus triangles from Bonnie Hunter’s 2014 mystery, Grand Illusion. I had two colorways of triangles so made two quilts – pink and brown and blue and brown. When I showed the tops at guild, I said it was too bad I didn’t know anyone having boy and girl twins. A few weeks later I got a Christmas card from my oldest friend with the news that her daughter was expecting boy and girl twins. The grandmother-to-be bought the backing fabric for the quilts and now I need to quilt them.
  5. Mimi’s grad school BOM. I want to keep up this year. My January block bird still needs an eye and feet. I’ve got a week to get February’s block done.
  6. Jinny Beyer BOM – I’ve got the border fabric and the background but haven’t made any blocks yet. I’d like to keep up with this one also.
  7. 365 block challenge – This is a free block of the day. So far I’m only collecting the patterns. Can’t decide what color to do. Today’s choice is rust and orange. This is more of a want-to-do than a have-to-do.
  8. Town and Country block a day – This is a purchased pattern. Haven’t started it either. Linda and I were going to work on it together. She’s mostly been out of town since Thanksgiving dealing with family issues. I don’t expect her to be back home for good until summer. I’m holding off until she gets back. It’s also more of a want-to-do.

Last week while I was working on the one sleeve I’ve done, I broke my Bernina 1230. The sleeve was all sewn except for the basting for the ease. I tried to use the long stitch and the basting stitch on the Bernina but it just stitched normal stitch. I tried all the things like pressing the clear button and turning the machine off and on with same results. I wondered what would happen if I changed the stitch length. When I did that I heard a clunk and the needle didn’t move any longer. The take-up lever moved, the feed dogs fed but the needle didn’t go up and down.

Packed it up to go to the repair shop. Took off the next day after guild, not knowing that the shop is closed on Thursdays. It’s an hour or more drive depending on traffic. Sigh. Decided to wait until Patty could go with me. We went up last Friday. Having a companion makes the ride seem shorter. I talked to a technician the day before. His analysis of the problem is that the needle bullet is stuck. What is a needle bullet, you ask? The way I understand his explanation, there’s a piece that moves in and out of a hole to keep the needle up to skip stitches to make the long and basting stitches – the difference between the two stitches is the number of stitches to skip. The bullet wasn’t moving during my first trials so it stitched normally. When I changed the stitch length the bullet moved but got stuck so kept the needle from moving to make stitches. If that’s what’s wrong, it’s a $5 fix.

She’s overdue for regular maintenance – like a horse that’s been “rode hard and put away wet” as the saying goes – which is probably why the bullet got stuck. So she’s going to get her checkup and some new light bulbs and probably a new light switch. I didn’t even know there was a light switch on the back of the machine. Perhaps I knew when I first bought the machine but forgot. The lights come on when I turn on the machine and they go off when I turn it off so who needs a switch. The technician said that on this machine that switch has to be changed out periodically. Who knew? He also said that the bulbs rarely burn out, they just get dimmer over time. They’re so dim right now they’re pretty much useless.

Patty and I came home via Patches in Mt. Airy, MD. I finally found my gift card which is why I wanted to go there. I had no intention of buying a bunch of fabric because I’ve got more than plenty at home. As we walked in the door, we saw the sign for a sale where you get 20% off anything you could fit in your bag. We turned around and went back to the car to get bags. I’m sure you can figure out what’s coming. I had to rescue a few things from the store.

I promise I wouldn’t have succumbed if it weren’t for the magic word, “SALE”. I couldn’t resist. What is it about that word that dissolves all self-restraint? I picked up a few fat quarters of bird fabrics to add to the ones I already have for the back of the grad school BOM. I didn’t find any fat quarters of them in the bin but the cutter offered to cut them. Nice!

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I had to get a half yard of the pirate parrots to have some for the back and some for stash. If I ever need a P novelty for alphabet or name quilts I’ll have it. I won’t be able to find it but I’ll have it. Also got some male and female cardinals.

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The color and feel of this flannel grabbed me. I kept going back to pet it so finally agreed to get enough for a back. There was a paisley in the same color next to it from a different company but it didn’t feel anywhere near as nice. I left the paisley on the shelf. The color doesn’t show very well in the photo.

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I love making quilts where you stack a bunch of fabrics, cut them up, shuffle them, sew them together then trim the resulting blocks. This book of holiday designs from the now defunct Buggy Barn has several that appeal to me.

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The gift card has been a problem since it was purchased. I received it in a class where we each brought something to give to another member of the class. I got a call that there was some problem with the system when the card was bought. I called back and it was supposed to have been fixed. I wanted to use the card when I was at the shop in November but I couldn’t find it. They were too busy to look it up at the time. I found the card recently so gave it to Jackie as part of my payment. She looked at me and said, “There’s nothing on this.” I told her it had never been used and reminded her of the problem when it was bought. She grumbled about people not following through but took off the $10 that was supposed to be on the card and said she’d figure it out later. Thank you, Jackie.

The real rescue mission was at guild on Thursday. I’ve been doing pretty well at avoiding picking up fabric from the freebie table. No one wanted this box of homespuns. The powers that be were going to throw them out if no one took them. Well, we can’t have that. Homespuns for me are like civil war fabrics – I like the resulting quilts but I don’t often buy the fabrics off the bolt which makes it hard to make the quilts. Just before we left Margaret M. said she was glad I took them because if I hadn’t, she’d have had to take them and she didn’t need them.

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I’ve washed and dried the homespuns and folded them. I always try to wash fabrics from a non-store source as soon as I bring them home because I never know what kind of conditions they’ve been stored in. They need ironing but I won’t do that until I’m ready to cut them.

After I got them all folded, I trimmed the edges on the fifth quilt waiting to be bound. I could set up my Janome Gem Gold but I think I’ll wait until the Bernina returns. I’ve got enough hand work and prep work to do before then to keep me busy.

State of the Stash 2016

February 6, 2016

Today is my 65th birthday. My mother had to take to her bed, horrified at the thought that she is old enough to have a child my age. I belong to the Yahoo! group Stashbuster. Every year during our birthday month, we’re encouraged to write about the state of our stash.

The last two years I claimed that I was going to start tracking yardage in and out but that didn’t last long. I’m going to make another stab at it this year, hoping the third time is the charm.

I’ve definitely bought less fabric locally since my home quilt shop closed in 2014. I have monthly meetings at two area quilt shops but hardly ever visit the very small shop a couple of miles from my house. But, the Row by Row experience made up for less local shopping. In 2015 the Row by Row frenzy found me visiting at least 53 shops in 7 states. Of course I had to buy something at each shop to support them. I wish I could say that I haven’t bought any fabric so far in 2016 but that would be a lie.

I fell off the wagon pretty quickly and bought these Doctor Who prints online from Missouri Star Quilt Company. That’s 2.5 yards plus a panel. JoAnn’s had some different prints. I don’t often buy fabric from JoAnn’s any more but the Doctor Who prints are enticing. We’ll have to wait and see what happens.

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I bought 4 yards of background fabric for the Jinny Beyer 2016 BOM. Nothing in my stash went with the focus border print I’m using so Jinny picked out this pale green print to go with it.

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My team bought 7 yards of fabric to make kits for our bird for Mimi’s grad school BOM but since that most of that doesn’t go into my stash, it doesn’t count. Yeah!

On the outgoing side, I’ve been more prolific since I retired than before. My quilter returned 5 quilts last year. Although I didn’t get around to binding them until this year, I’m not counting them as outgoing stash for this year. I suppose I could count the bindings that hadn’t already been made as being used this year. Then there are labels and hanging sleeves to make.

That’s why I have so much trouble accounting for things. What counts, what doesn’t, how do you count it, etc. If I weigh it, what conversion equivalent should I use – 4 yards per pound, 3 yards per pound, split the difference? It’s hard to believe that a 5 pound bag of trimmings that fits in a plastic grocery bag is 20 yards of fabric. What about kits that I’ve added fabric to? It’s very easy to forget to include the stuff off the freebie table at guild.

I hope to complete more projects this year. I’ve been spinning my wheels. Is it because it’s winter or because I have things I have to work on instead of the things I want to work on?


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