Archive for December, 2012

Easy Street Detour

December 31, 2012

I was able to keep up with Easy Street until Clue 5. The day it was published I was getting ready to go away for the holidays. I did get some pieces cut but nothing sewed. While I was away, clue 6 was published. Of course, I’ve done nothing on that because I was away. I got home last night and this morning clue 7 was released. Tomorrow, the last clue will be released – at least, I think she said it’s the last clue. I’ll be sewing tomorrow with my friend Linda and I’m still on vacation the rest of the week so I hope to get caught up soon.

I went to Illinois to spend Christmas with my elderly parents and my brother. I drove Mom and Dad up to Chicago to spend a few days with my brother. Unfortunately, on Christmas day Dad (89 years old) had an altercation with the small, evil one. He lost.

The small, evil one.

Missy, the small, evil one.

The small, evil one (as my mother and I think of her) or Missy (as my brother prefers) is a 12 year old miniature Schnauzer. She is the smallest of his current pack of 3 minis. I think he said she weighs about 6 pounds. She is an aggressive dog. As my brother described her, she bites first and asks questions later.

Dad was sitting in the small, evil one’s place on the couch so she curled up next to him. I guess he forgot she was there and when he pushed himself up off the couch he must have dug his elbow into her side. She flew into a rage and bit him on the hand. Of course,  it was his dominant hand.

My brother was upstairs in the shower so while I was looking for bandages, Dad went to  rinse off his hand. I told him to wash it with soap. He didn’t because he said he didn’t know where the soap was but he didn’t tell me that until the next day. He’s legally blind so he didn’t realize the soap was right on the sink.

The next day we noticed that his hand was swollen, red and hot. He’s on blood thinner and kept flexing his hand which kept opening the wound and making it bleed. We kept telling him not to do that. So we had a fun-filled afternoon at the walk-in clinic. I learned that they don’t stitch animal bites because of the likelihood of infection. Stitches make the infection worse. His hand looked a lot better after a couple of days on the antibiotic.

Mom called the doctor’s office for an appointment after we got home from Chicago. When the nurse asked where he was bitten, she said “at my son’s house in Chicago”.  Then the nurse rephrased the question. I bet you thought that was just an old joke.

Frozen Fog

December 30, 2012

Have you ever seen frozen fog? The first time I saw it was years ago when my Dad and I were travelling across Iowa after Christmas. I didn’t know what it was. All the trees and bushes were white but it wasn’t snow and it wasn’t ice. Dad told me it was frozen fog. When the sun came out everything sparkled like diamonds.

This morning was the second time I’ve seen frozen fog. I was driving back home from Illinois. It was very cold – in the single digits in eastern Illinois and western Indiana. Add fog to the frigid temperatures and you get frozen fog. I probably should have taken a picture but I didn’t really want to get out of the car with a temperature of 7 degrees F. And, I didn’t have snow boots and I don’t think I could capture the beauty in a photograph. It wasn’t as sparkly as the first time. I think there was too much cloud cover and the fog hadn’t completely burned off.

See some images of frozen fog here.

60 Degrees of Separation

December 19, 2012

Linda Schiffer, owner of Seminole Sampler, turned 60 in November 2012. Time for another Sew and Tell production. This time I was the coordinator for the project. I’ve learned from past projects that it doesn’t pay to have too many rules when we’re doing a group project because they aren’t all going to follow them anyway. After much discussion we decided to make hexagonal blocks using a citrus color scheme. Linda and I love our hexagons!

Some of the Sew & Tell group with Linda’s quilt mostly hidden behind us.

I wanted little quilts that Linda could rearrange or group any way she chooses. I considered many different ways to connect the blocks and wandered the aisles of Michaels’, JoAnns and Hobby Lobby looking for inspiration. After binding each block separately, I finally decided to sew split rings on each corner on the back. I was going to use floral wire to connect them but that didn’t work out very well. Plan B went into effect the morning of the presentation so I just used some twine to connect them.

The blocks pinned to the wall for show and tell at Faithful Circle Quilters. Many of the Sew and Tell members belong to this guild. This is the arrangement I used when I connected the blocks before giving them to Linda. Sorry about the dirty wall.

Some of the blocks came from Linda’s designs in 3 books of paper-pieced blocks she co-authored with Jodie Davis. The books are Hearts and Flowers Quilt Block Designs, Victorian Quilt Block Designs, and Garden-inspired Quilt Block Designs. The 3 books were published as one books under the title, Quilting Made Easy.

First up: Amy

Amy’s block – Amy, Linda and I all love cats. Please note that Miss I-only-quilt-by-check HAND QUILTED this block! I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw it.

Back of Amy’s block

Aurelia crocheted the yarn for this chrysanthemum and made needle lace leaves. Linda loves everything Japanese.

Back of Aurelia’s block.

My block without the beads I added. I forgot to take a picture after I added the beads. 2012 is the year of the dragon. This is fused applique.

Back of my block.

Beth’s block. Each one she does is better than the last.

This one deserves some detail shots and explanation.

The first letters of the flower names spell Linda.

Each letter is made from a fabric whose name begins with that letter and is decorated with things that begin with that letter. The quilting around each letter is words that start with that letter. She also added buttons that say 60 and quilted the word tatsu which is Japanese for dragon.

The F is made from flannel and is decorated with flower beads and French knots.
The A is made from hand-dyed fabric from Art Fabrik.
The B is made of batik and has buttons and bugle beads (in the next picture).

The R is made of rip-stop nylon and is decorated with rickrack and a rose.
The I is iridescent fabric and has a charm that says “I love quilting”.

The C is made from cotton and is decorated with couching and crystals and charms.

Back of Beth’s block.

Deborah’s block. Deborah is one of our members who moved away. Deborah and Linda both like the designer of the fabric in the center.

Back of Deborah’s block.

Genie made a crane with beautiful free-motion embroidery wings.

Back of Genie’s block.

Kathy designed this cat sleeping on a pile of quilts because we all know that’s what cats do. See the smile on the cat’s face?

Back of Kathy’s block.

Peggy made a Texas Star. Linda lived in Texas as a teen. Peggy is a fairly new quilter. The pattern in the book I had was not the right size. Peggy figured out how to make it the correct size. Good job, Peggy!

Back of Peggy’s block.

Sandie made this block from one of Linda’s books. She added corners to make it a hexagon.

Back of Sandie’s block.

Sharon made this block of ice cream cones. I took the design from one of Linda’s books and changed it from a rectangle to a triangle. I made the paper piecing foundations for the block. Don’t they look good enough to eat?

Back of Sharon’s block.

Shelley is a sometimes here, sometimes away member. She made this log cabin, embellished with leaf buttons because they both like leaves.

Back of Shelley’s block.

Tobi is another of our away members. She made this block from another of Linda’s books after modifying the size.

Back of Tobi’s block.

Easy Street Part 4

December 19, 2012

More flying geese. It seems I have not yet mastered the ability to make flying geese the right size in the required size except with paper piecing.

What happened here?

What happened here?

When I first started quilting I had an early 1970s Kenmore sewing machine. I decided I wanted a new machine and had decided on Bernina but wasn’t ready to spend that much money. While talking to my mother, who is not a needlewoman, said, “Machines are probably pretty expensive now. I bet that’s going to cost $400-500.” I told her it was more like $3000. She said I didn’t need a machine that expensive.

I was complaining at a sew-in for a mystery quilt that had flying geese in it that the Kenmore was pushing the fabric off the feed dogs. Kathy came over and said, “Let me see that”. She sat down and sewed a bit, then said, “I’ve sewn on a lot of machines in my day. This machine is a piece of crap!”

That afternoon she wanted to go to Fabric Chest in Glen Burnie (sadly no longer in business). I don’t remember the motivation for going but Linda and I hadn’t been so we went, too. Fabric Chest was a Bernina dealer. As soon as we set foot in the door, Kathy asked if they had any used machines. They had a 10 year old 1230. Well, Kathy and Linda were so excited to show it to me that the sales clerk couldn’t get a word in edgewise. I think Kathy would have made me walk home if I hadn’t bought the 1230.

I haven’t been sewing Easy Street on my Bernina because it had to go to the hospital. My workhorse Janome Gem Gold has been doing all the work. Using Bonnie’s method of making the geese, some of mine turned out right and some didn’t. What I don’t understand is why the ones with the turquoise wings were a little smaller than the ones with the white wings. I ended up trimming most of my blocks. But, they are done.

Flying Geese squares done!

Flying Geese squares done!

Next time I have to do flying geese, I’m using Deb Tucker’s Wing Clipper ruler. It uses the make-it-bigger-then-cut-it-to-size technique.

I finally got the white bricks cut. And, I cut some of the green squares. Unfortunately, I’m not going to be able to work on Easy Street again until New Year’s Day. I thought I might be able to do a little work on it Friday while I’m getting ready to travel but I learned today that a member of my guild died so I’ll probably be going to the funeral home for the visitation.

Tip: Use a nylon scrubby to clean the trimming schmutz off the cutting mat.

Tip: Use a nylon scrubby to clean the trimming schmutz off the cutting mat.

See what others are doing on Easy Street.

Mimi’s Grad School December 2012

December 11, 2012

The first Monday in December is Mimi Dietrich‘s Grad School holiday potluck luncheon. Mimi was afraid we’d have too many desserts and not enough savory food so she encouraged us to bring main and side dishes. It worked better than she expected. Only one person brought dessert!

The food.

Getting the food ready.

Our group project for the last 2 years has been the Civil War Bride quilt. Eleanor decided that she would pretend she was making the quilt while her husband was off fighting the war. Much to her surprise, letters from her husband began arriving in the mail. Several of us thought she or her husband were writing them but they weren’t. Eleanor had no idea who was writing them. The last few months she has been asking this or that person if they were the letter writer. She never figured it out. She finally gave up and asked the person to confess.

Eleanor and her letter writing "husband".

Eleanor and Penny, her letter writing “husband”.

We don’t normally do show and tell in December but Jeanne Sullivan brought some of the samples from her new book, Simply Successful Applique. Her work is absolutely exquisite. I doubt the pictures will do it justice. Click on the picture to see a larger image.

Album cover. The letters are appliqued and embroidered!

Album cover. The letters are appliqued and embroidered!

Flower basket.

Flower basket.

Wallhanging with small blocks. I forgot to measure them. I think they're 3-4".

Framed wallhanging with small blocks. I forgot to measure them. I think they’re 3-4″.

Flower cluster butterfly Flower

A copy of the book is on its way to me. I can’t wait to read it.

Easy Street Part 3

December 10, 2012

Wasn’t sure I’d get this step finished on time since I usually don’t get home from work until 6:30 or later on Friday. Saturday was taken up with Saturday Sampler at 9:15 and a haircut at 10:15. From there I headed on down to Virginia for Jinny Beyer club at 1 pm.

On the way home stopped at Ikea and wasted an hour and a half. They’re on my shit list now. Don’t believe Ikea’s website when they say the item you want is available at the store. They did have what I wanted but not on the shelf and not as many as the website said and they had no intention of putting it on the shelf until the next day. This is after I tried to find the light bulb for a lamp I wanted to get in the marketplace area. So, I put the lamp back. Around the next corner I saw an employee and asked for help. She just looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language. Finally she said I needed to find someone in the lighting department to help me. I didn’t say what I was thinking which was, “If there had been someone in lighting to ask I wouldn’t be asking you for help”. I just said, “never mind” and kept heading toward the self-service area where I thought I would be getting what I came for. No concept of what customer service means. Didn’t get home till close to 6 pm. Sorry for the whining but I could have been sewing on Easy Street instead.

Almost done. Four units laid out. The finished ones are in piles of ten at the top of the picture.

Almost done. Four units laid out. I like to see progress so I do a few at time instead of sewing all of the right sides, then all of the left sides, then all of the triangles. The finished units are in piles of ten at the top of the picture.

This little guy in the bottom right looks like he escaped from the Baxtertoons in Cathi's blog.

This little guy in the bottom right looks like he might have escaped from the Baxtertoons in Cathi’s blog.

I hope Cathi agrees. Her blog is Quilt Obsession.

I finally finished all 64 blocks Sunday evening. I have lots of purple squares and some turquoise triangles left over. I still need to cut the white bricks Bonnie told us about in step 2.

See what everyone else is doing on Easy Street.

Mimi’s Grad School

December 5, 2012

Once upon a time a long time ago, Mimi Dietrich began teaching a year long Baltimore Album applique class at her local quilt shop. The participants enjoyed the class so much they didn’t want to stop meeting. So, they continued to meet once a month at Seminole Sampler in Catonsville, MD. This is also my local quilt shop.

In 1998, Genie (co-worker and Sew & Tell member) talked about wanting to take the class. At the time, it was thought that it would be the last time Mimi taught the class. Turns out it wasn’t. Mimi is still teaching the class every year except for time out for cancer treatment.

Genie and I signed up. She only knew that Mimi was a famous quilter who had written some books and taught classes. When she walked into class the first day, Mimi said “Regina!”. Genie said, “You’re not Mimi Dietrich. You’re Mary Ann So-and-so! (or something like that – I don’t remember the actual name)” Turns out they were high school classmates.

When our class ended in 1999, Mimi invited all of us to join her grad school class. There are 2 requirements to get into the group: 1) take Mimi’s year long class or have equivalent applique experience and 2) be invited to join by Mimi. We meet on a Monday so I have to use vacation time to attend but I try never to miss it. We never know exactly what’s going to happen but we  know we’ll have fun.

Have I finished my Baltimore Album? No. But, I’m in good company because several of the people in the very first class haven’t finished theirs, either.

Although we call it a class, it isn’t really. It’s very informal. Mimi calls us to order and talks about whatever business she has on her agenda. We do show and tell. We shop. We eat lunch.

In 2000 we added an hour-long afternoon session Mimi called PHD class for projects piled higher and deeper. The group decides on a project for the next year or so and those who want to participate stay for the afternoon session. We show what we’ve done on the project since the last meeting. One of the group presents a block or some other sort of presentation relevant to the project. I have yet to finish a single one of these projects. I don’t know why I can’t keep up.

I’m in awe of the talent in this group. Some of the women do museum quality work. I’m not one of them. But, man, you should hear the whining if they have to piece anything. It’s hilarious! I’m an equal opportunity quilter, applique or piecing, it’s all the same to me.

Easy Street Part 2

December 5, 2012
Linda, my local quilt shop owner, gave me this fabric to use in Easy Street.

Linda, my local quilt shop owner, gave me this fabric to use in Easy Street.

Finished 4 patches

Finished 4 patches

Finishing the 4 patches last week was quick because I had the day after Thanksgiving off from work. The flying geese took longer because I had to work on Friday. Saturday I had to go spring my Bernina from the hospital. The dealer is an hour and a half away so we didn’t get back to town until after noon. I went to JoAnn’s to get the companion ruler with my 50% off coupon.

Parts for the flying geese laid out for sewing. Some finished geese are in the container.

Parts for the flying geese laid out for sewing. Some finished geese are in the container.

Enough finished geese and leftover triangles.

Enough finished geese and leftover triangles.

I had way more purple triangles than I needed, so I cut more white parts and kept sewing. Figured some of my pieces might not be quite the right size because I had a few cutting issues. Whatever’s left can go on the back. Wouldn’t you know I screwed up cutting the white triangles and cut left ones when I was trying to cut right ones so now I have a few extra left triangles. Oh, well.

See what everyone else is doing here.