Friday, December 31, 2010

Pretty Sure Life Will Offer Challenges

I have been thinking about my goals for 2011.  The possibilities are endless, but I also know there are going to be some serious changes around here, so I am going to limit myself.  My husband is retiring from the Navy after 30 years, and I see it as moving on to more adventures.  However, it will be different than just moving to another location and new position with the Navy.

Possible goals: 
  • Exercise more than my foot on the sewing machine pedal - EVERY DAY!
  • Change my hair style.
  • Make at least one wedding quilt for family member.
  • Finish at least 8 UFOs.
  • Continue to work on Quilts of Valor and other Heart Strings quilts. 
  • Continue working toward simplifying and downsizing. which includes stash busting and organizing all our photos
I don't make resolutions, but I will decide on the real goal focuses in the next couple weeks.  Tonight I am just reflecting.

Happy New Year's to all of you!

Love a Challenge

 I love a challenge but do not consider myself to be competitive with anyone but myself.  This maze is something that we received for Christmas.  I have not made it through even one challenge yet, but I love the frustration and concentration required.  I decided that being frustrated with this helps me stay more focused. Found a video of it on the Internet, but it did not help me figure out how to get past my point of frustration.  Hopefully tonight I will make it just a little further.  What are you doing for New Year's Eve?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

May the peace and joy of this Christmas season help all of us know just how much we are loved.  God sent his son to all of us.  Rejoice and be glad!

We are celebrating Christmas with the kids and grandkids.  As we drove down, I finished the binding on this lap size quilt that will probably end up as a wall quilt next year, but felt it was more than appropriate to post it on this holy day.

It is another of the UFOs I had listed this fall. The center is a Nancy Halverson panel.  The border is also made up with her fabrics.  I used stitch-in-the-ditch to quilt it.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Lots of Snow and a Little Ice ...Amazing to See

 I live in the Minneapolis area, where we have received  over 28 inches of snow this month.  There is a lot of snow in my yard but this ice is very unique.  At one point the lamps were covered with snow, but we have seen some melting even though the temps have been mostly below freezing.  Look carefully at all of the photos.  The ice is in no way connected to the lamp, post or ribbon.  It is all balanced on the two icicles.  Nature is marvelous!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

21 Down and 27 to Go

I feel like I rally accomplished something this afternoon.  21 blocks done and only 27 more to go.  Then I can add the back and bind this Quilt of Valor before the New Year.  Don't you love the center strip of stars?

The Christmas Spirit

Just read about a couple of blogs and how the giving of quilts had inspired the writers' Christmas spirit.  I agree that the giving of quilts always makes me feel like I have helped others, especially when I give to those that truly need and appreciate the simple things in life.
At the moment, I am working on one Quilt of Valor and a few binding projects.  I would hate to spend a day without fabric, but I am also finishing up my year commitment of reading and studying the whole Bible (footnotes and all) , so it is getting a little more time each day than usual because I still have 127 pages left.

In the Christmas spirit, I offer this prayer from one of my favorite daily devotional websites:

God of peace, thank You for sending the Prince of Peace to bring hope and promise to the world. Amen.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Memories of Christmas Gone By

 Figured that I could share these photos without giving away anything more than some smiles.  My darlings are now in their 30s but still as sweet as ever.

 Merry Christmas to all of my readers!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Faster than a speeding bullet............BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Some days I do not think I move very fast or efficiently, but on other days so much is accomplished.  So exciting when it works out so smoothly.
  • I had an order for 8 shoulder warmers and discovered that it was more labor intensive than it seemed when I made the first one, but I still managed to get then mailed out in a timely fashion with some assistance of my friendly worker bee family.  Priority mail online is a blessing beyond imagination at times!  (No, I do not work for the post office or know anyone else that does.)
    The worker bees removing stabilier
    and threads  from the throws.
  • Added to that, I embroidered 15 throws to help a number of great-grandchildren remember their very special great-grandma.  Started them yesterday our 3:30 and mailed them back today at 12:30.  Once again, my friendly worker bee family came to my assistance by clipping threads and re-rolling the throws.  (Did not know you could mail things in plastic totes when you use UPS.)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Projects Completed

 The first project was completed last week and is another Quilt of Valor made by a member of my guild, and then quilted and bound by me.  It has been delivered to the group who will be presenting all the quilts in January.

The second quilt was complete to a point last week.  It needs to have one more star showing the date of my husband's actual retirement after 30 years of Naval service.  (Don't want to jinx it.)  It is going to hang in one of his offices to remind him of this milestone which is set for 2011. 

The third project completed has been in progress for 30+ years.  Actually, I had to complete only three this year (I was behind!) There are stockings for our orginal little family, my FIL, our DIL, our SIL, and our 5 grandchildren.  If we are blessed with any other grandchildren, they will have to have different red fabric because they don't make this stuff any more.  We might also need to have a larger mantle or a stocking tree to hold all the stockings. 

SHHHH!!!  The final project is not a quilt that I made, but one that I quilted and bound.  It is a secret because it is my granddaughter's Christmas present.    The label reads "A few of Zoe's favorite things because she is one of my favorite things.  Love, Mama  2010"

Christmas Came Early

Kevin brought home my Christmas gift.  It was easier to give it to me now than to hid it.  I am the very proud and delighted recipient of a brand-new Bernina 440 QE.  I plan to name her and learn to make beautiful music with her.  Oh, maybe I should say make beautiful quilts with her.  Guess I have been a very good girl this year!!!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Impressive Collection of Quilts of Valor

In preparation for a workshop for returning service members, the support team has been collecting Quilts of Valor, which will be distributed during the weekend.  My guild is helping with this, and my husband has been transporting our donations from Minnesota to Illinois a couple at a time.  Since I traveled by truck  with him this week, we were able to bring all the ones that are currently finished.  He showed me the collection this afternoon.  There have been a lot of busy, caring quilters working on these quilts.  Makes me feel so proud this combined effort to show how much we care and appreciate the service and sacrifices made by these veterans!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Quilting, Sewing, and Shoveling

The snow blower is up and winterized, so I used it to clear most of the 7 inches of light snow in the driveway and on the walk.  It was so much easier and quicker that the last time when I did the 7 inches of very heavy, wet snow with a shovel.  When we moved back up here from the south, I was just as excited about the snow as my husband, but I have been the one shoveling it, so am thinking it might lose a little of its charm come Feb.  Seems a little amazing that Kevin is on the road every time we get a really gorgeous, deep snow.

Oh well the snow is in its place so now I am going back to quilting.  I want to have at least three quilts ready for hand-binding by the time we head out on our next adventure, so I need to put the smaller projects aside for the rest of the weekend.  Hard part to that is that I am enjoying the small projects just as much.

A week ago, I mentioned that I was experimenting on a shoulder warmer for my sister who does playground duty every day.  She is in love with it.  She said besides making her warm, it makes her feel so calm and relaxed.  As a matter of fact, she said she fantasized about it all day at work (part time job) and could hardly wait to get home to use it again.  I have orders from other staff that do outdoor duty for about 12 of these, so I guess that they will make great gifts for lots of people.  One guy wants to do a special order and pick out the fabric based on the pjs he is giving his significant other for Christmas. (Sweet!)  I have worked on minor adjustments and am just about ready to offer my pattern or the actual warmer to others.  Those that have tried it think I should have it copyrighted whether I sell the shoulder warmers or share the pattern, so I am going back to my former post and marking it such.  If you use my idea, please give me credit for the design.  Next winter, I am going to market them at a few winter craft fairs.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Little Winter Warmth

The Shoulder Warmer is my design and should
be considered copyrighted.  If you use my
idea, please give me credit.
Living in the Midwest, one thinks about the cold.  Being part of an elementary school staff has you thinking about the cold of recess.  Kids are so much more tolerant of the cold than adults.  My sister requested hand-warmers, a shoulder warmer, and some medium size warmers.  I make them with flannel and fill them with dry rice.  The Shoulder Wwarmer is an experiment of sorts.  But I tested it last night and will probably offer some directions after Thanksgiving if it lives up to my sister's expectations. 
As we travel over the next couple of days, my needle will be sealing up the ends of the hand-warmers.  Once they are sealed, you simply pop the hand-warmer size into the microwave for a minute.  (Longer  than that makes them too hot to handle, especially because they are moist heat.)  The other warmers heat up at 2 minutes.  They make great, inexpensive, quick gifts that are very welcomed all winter long.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Wanted to Share

This is a customer quilt so I don't want to reveal too much, but this is a memory quilt created to mark a young woman's passage from high school to college.  Friends and family wrote messages and then her mom created this wonder quilt full of love and great thoughts.  I know it is for a special young woman because I had a chance to read the messages.

How can you create something like this? 
Pick a plain light background fabric and provide either fabric pens or permanent sharpies for friends and family to write messages.  Then use this blocks as parts of each block.  The picture does not communicate just how special this quilt will make the owner feel.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Weekend Efforts

Yes, I did do a little quilting.  I am doing some stitch in the ditch on to small Christmas quilts using panels from Nancy Halverson's collections.  I am good at straight seams, but there are a lot of small curvy places on one, and I am seeing improvement as I go.  Figure that it is an Advent calendar and will only be up for a month each year, so I can handle "coloring outside the lines". 
I am also continuing to do all the cross-stitch on my grandchildren's Christmas stockings.  I believe that the letter "Y" is my least favorite especially because it follows "r" in both cases.  Can you say rip-out!
The highlights of the weekend surrounded the visit of my daughter and family.  Had hoped to have both kids and their families, but Jon had overtime for the weekend.  Rats!  Thought I would include my favorite part of the aquarium adventure.  (We go every time the kids are in town, and sometimes without them.)  The movie is in sideways, but I thought it would still be fun to show my sisters why I think jellyfish are so soothing to watch.  Turn DOWN your sound because the background noise of pretty loud on a Saturday.

The next couple of weeks will be busier than normal because I have several customer quilts and a few of my own projects to finish, but with a forecast for ice and snow today, where else would I be going???

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Today's Quilting

I had pie-in-the-sky hopes of finishing 4 or 5 sets of HeartStrings Quilt of Valor blocks today.  We have more like 2 1/2 but they are from 5 different sets of centers.  I am going to work for about an hour on one of them and then need to work on some cross-stitch for the remainder of the evening.  Ho!  Ho!  Ho! (My daughter reads this blog.)

I am a bit concerned about making my goal of 10 more by mid-January, but think if I whittle away at blocks over the next two weeks, I will feel like the group can finish all of them if we meet 4 more times.  I have several trips planned so I will have time for binding, and several others seem to volunteer to do this, as well.  We might even have total of 23 done.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Tomorrow is HeartStrings Day

We are trying to meet at my house twice a month to work on HeartStrings.  Currently, we need to finish about 12 more Quilts of Valor by the end of January.  I received a bag of blocks at guild this week so I worked ahead a little.  I put this top together today and made 9 more blocks.  The stars as  center strips are going to create a very interesting look.   The touches of gold create a little different feel, as well.  My goal for our group is to put together at least 3 sets of finished blocks tomorrow.  Then I will quilt them over the next few days and find others to finish off the binding.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Weather Outside is Delgihtful!!

  Just like Mary, I like in the Minneapolis area and am enjoying the first snow of the season.  However, I have actually had to do the shovelling.  This is one of those really wet, heavy snows, so I am pacing myself.  I have been out and done the walk and driveway twice.  Used a ruler to measure and found that it was a total of 5 inches so far.  More is still falling... 

I live across from a golf course, that is a gorgeous sight with all the untouched snow.  Funny, but they just closed the course at the beginning of the week.

I am using the rest of the day to work on binding and embroider more of the stars for my husband's
retirement quilt.  Took me a lot of time to find theright font, but I am almost ready to start appliqueing the stars to the rest of the quilt. 

Friday, November 12, 2010

Cat and Mouse

This another of those not quite "quilty" posts.  Today during water exercise we had lots of laughs.  Imagine for a moment, 30 women between the ages of 50 and 83 playing a chase game of cat and mouse.  It was quite the workout trying to either stay ahead of the cats or to be the cat trying to catch the frisky mice.  The stomach muscles are stronger for all the laughter if nothing else.  It is a memory that will keep me smiling for days!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Several Not so Quilty Things

1.  My husband will retire after 30 years of active duty service in July.  Today I am working on creating some "save the date" postcards to send out to some family and friends.  Biggest problem was finding his ensign photo.  I knew it had to be here somewhere.  It is not like we have moved 17+ times in this 30 year time period.  Turns out it was hidden in plain view with other framed photos of the family.  This party will mark our move from military to civilian life, and we are planning to celebrate with abandonment or at least with some of the important people in our lives.  The military experience has brought us many benefits and unique life experiences, even if we also had to endure many separations and changes of location.

2.  Although this is about a special quilt, it also about memory.  The original stars I machine embroidered for my husband's retirement quilt just seem to big, so I am redoing them two sizes smaller.  Can't seem to find the right font, but I will.  I want to start sewing them on this weekend so I will find the right version today!!! If you remember, I said that this quilt was inspired by a Quilt of Valor that I quilted.  Ran across the photo of it a few days ago and was really surprised how different it was from how I remembered it.

3.  Met with my personal trainer for the second time yesterday.  I believe that the stability ball will become my best friend in time, but I did feel a little AWKWARD yesterday.  Oh well, I did not get into this shape in a day, either.  lol

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Ready to Deliver

 Since November is a time to be thankful and count our blessings, I thought this would share some of what my guild, my FIL and I have done to let others know that we want to pay forward all the blessings we have in our lives.
Today 9 of these quilts are being donated to
the Women's Advocacy program in my area.  It feels so good to have this many ready to go.  I made a few by myself, but 5 of the 10 were made with the efforts of my quilt group and 2 were made with the efforts of my FIL and me.  I have been collecting for about 5 months.  I also have 4 other small quilts plus one in this pile that will be headed to another organization that helps babies and young children.  This is a real "feel good" experience.

We have also made part of the 20 HeartStrings Quilts of Valor for a special delivery at the end of January.  Tonight I hope to receive a few more back that are quilted and also give out several more of the kits for making the blocks. 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Finished Last Night

Yet another UFO finished.  Yet another one quilted on my swirly day (or was that squirrely day?) This one is small - 38 x 40.  It will be donated as a baby quilt.  It came from the same pre-cut fabrics as the blue, green and yellow quilt.  I really am moving forward in the finishing of my UFOs.  Of course, I chose the easiest ones to finish first.

Now I need to focus on getting my husband's retirement quilt finished.   It is not one of my UFOs, but it is an important one to me.   I already quilted and bound it.  Wanted to applique the hearts on afterwards because the last one can't really be added until his retirement party, right?  It will happen in July.  Up until then, I want it to hang in one of his two offices to remind him that this will happen.  30 years of naval service is enough.  Loved most of the experience, but really want to find somewhere to settle for the last 30-40 years of our lives.  lol

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Another UFO Finished

I did a lot of quilting the other day.  I was into swirls.  This quilt has been waiting for me to do something for well over a year, or is that for years?  The fabric was from a different quilt that I purchased years ago but never convinced myself to do.  I decided to experiment with the pre-cut pieces and design some thing fun.  Although I did seem to get a little heavy-handed with the swirls it is very soft and cuddly.  It was a bit chilly tonight and having this one on my lap kept me just comfy.  It measures 42 x 54.  It will be a donation quilt, after I take it to guild to prove that I have finished it because it is one of my 11 listed projects. (4 done and two others just need to be bound,)
Considering that we got up at 4:00 AM to make a run to the airport this morning, I should be in bed sound asleep, but wanted to share.  (Actually, because it is now 12:19, it is tomorrow, but I plan to pull the darkening curtains and sleep in until ????????????  After I finished binding this quilt, thought about sleep, but instead I started hand stitching the binding on another small quilt created from more fabric from the same pre-cuts. 
Earlier today, a friend invited me to go to lunch and then look at fabric, so I spent time last night figuring out exactly what I wanted for my next UFO project and bought some butter cream batik for the background.  This is one of those UFOs where I had almost all of the fabric and the challenge but had to find the right pattern.  I have been searching for the months and finally found one that I will of course tweak to meet my goal of making it a scrappy queen-size for my new bed (Just got the bed, but have had the fabric for 2 years.),  I will begin cutting it out on Sunday after I finish another customer quilt.  I consider myself so blessed to have time to do what I love every single day.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Busy, Busy, Busy

As you will recall, my favorite piecing machine went in for repairs last Thursday and has been gone for almost a week.  That means it should be home some time tomorrow.  I have used the time whether wisely or not to have ALL the carpets cleaned (It has taken several days to really get them dry.)  We have also been to see all 5 of our grandchildren and their parents, my sister, BIL, some of her children, and meet our 2 grandniece twins.  On top of that I have been quilting more of my UFOs and charity quilts.  Yesterday, I quilted 3 lap size quilts, 2 wheelchair quilts and a pillow top for a dog bed.  Feels so good to have these done, or at least ready for binding when my machine returns.

I am the Queen of My Domain

While we were living in Texas, friends gave us a 1912 Singer treadle machine with a "King Tut" motif.  The actual wooden casing was in horrible condition.  My husband builds furniture to relax, so they brought it to us as a challenge.  There was no saving the actual wooden casing, so Kevin carefully took it apart and built his own version of it using what he salvaged to make patterns and some trial and error piecing and fittings.  All the wrought iron was painfully (what a chore) hand stripped, but he said IF there is ever a next time he will pay the price to have it sandblasted!  We voted not to put in the tray with the curved inside sections in the front, but there will be a piece, or a small rectangular drawer to cover the slot some time in the future.  Could not decide on what we wanted yet. The machine itself is having a complete overhaul and might require a couple months to finish because it is going to be fit in between all the other sewing machine repairs the man does.  For now, I am just going to enjoy another beautiful piece of woodworking by my wonderful and talented husband

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Crisis or Opportunity?

The crisis:  My favorite machine for piecing will not feed the fabric.  I know what the problem is but I have not figured out how to do that kind of deep cleaning myself, so my machine was delivered for a cleaning.  It will be out of operation for a week.  I do have a couple other machines, but this is the only one that fits in my sewing table.

The opportunity:  I have a number of tops that need to be quilted.  I quilted one and used one of the other machines to add the binding. (Not as easy as using my sewing table, but still did the job.)  Now I am going to sit and do the hand binding.   Should be able to deal with a few of these with a whole week to work this way.

I thing I like this kind of situation!  Of course, I would hate it if it went on forever.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What do you do with scraps that are too small?

Because I made a statement at one sew-in that I sew my "too small" scraps of fabric and batting into dog pillows that I donate to the humane society, I have received far too many bags of scraps from my quilting friends.  DO SEND MORE, MAKE YOUR OWN AND DONATE. (It feels good!)  Then this past week, I have been purging my studio and finding fabrics that are very old and not worthy of quilts or donation - not because they are too ugly, but because of what they are made of or because they really are very thin or too loosely woven.  So far this year, I have donated 10 dog beds and am getting ready to stuff and donate some more.  Upholstery and denim go into the covers.  Everything else goes inside: bits of batting, small scraps, leftover fleece, and rejected fabric donations that others do not want but can't seen ti just toss away, either.  The pillows need to be at least 18 x 18, but I have made a few that are 30 x 30 for a few big dogs. 

Update on backings for the HeartString quilts.  We now have 30 backs, but 54 kits.  Somehow, the needed backings will appear.  I have faith because these quilts serve a worth purpose.  I  will keep you posted.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Apparently there is still multiplying going on

I found a large number of strings for kids quilts when I opened one of my HeartStrings drawers.  I have spent a few hours with them and have bagged enough for 12 more kids' quilts.  Sure hope I can find people that want to take on the project.  As I said yesterday, I think that the HeartStrings Quilt Project is very worthwhile for the givers and each one of the receivers (who receive the quilts for many different reasons).  With all the kits created, we, the members of the guild and other willing people, do need to get the sewing machines up and running hot.

Why do I do the Quilts of Valor version of HeartStrings?  I make the quilts as a prayer for those who have served and sacrificed and also to honor those I love who have served or are still serving.  My husband is just finishing up 30 years of service in the Navy.  One of my brother-in-laws retired from the Air Force after 20 years, and my other brother-in-law has already served 16 years.  My nephew is serving in the Army.  My father and my father-in-law both served: one during WWII and the other in Korea.  My brother served in the National Guard.  Other family members have given of themselves in service to our country as well. 

Friday, October 22, 2010

What I learned today....Thoughts of Loaves and Fish

I have always known that the best laid plans of mice and men (and women) don't always go according to plan, but today I learned that this kitting project seems to have expanded beyond reason simply because my strips must multiply overnight.  The HeartStrings quilt project is something I feel is very worthwhile.  Another plus is that this type of sewing is great because everyone seems to be able to sew the strips, but there is that insidious side of strings in that unlike the loaves and fish in the Bible, the strips keep reproducing even after the lights are turned off and all the quilters have gone home.  I now have the red, white and blue strips sorted for Quilts of Valor (15), the category I refer to as other (18) and the kid quilts (12).  If you have been following this train of thought over the past few days, you will recall that I said I was making 33 kits.  Well as a former math teacher I can tell you that 15 + 18 + 12 = 45, and that is a LOT more than I thought we had in the way of strings.  Never mind the number of centers, foundation squares and binding we need ----Think about the number of yards need to make backings.  Fortunately, I have the batting already donated, so now I will have return to my stash and also plead with the guild members for about 160 yards of fabric.  (Actually, I think I have backs for about 10 of the quilts, so...)
I have one copy paper box and one large 50  gallon storage bin filled with yardage and strips cut from other projects and truly untouched at the moment.  (Those misbehaving strips in the charity closet better just stop multiplying for the time being unless they are multiplying in to real yardage!!!!)  Unless someone else comes in and hauls them home to work on in the next couple of months, they will be waiting until 2011 to get any attention from me. 
Like everyone else, I do have a life beyond HeartStrings.  I have Christmas gifts to finish, a couple of customer quilts coming my way and one that is going on the machine this weekend, and more quilts to create using my FIL's embroidery.  Also, I am the one that started the UFO Fun challenge in my guild, so I know I need to keep up the pace and get mine done - 3 down with 8 to go by May.  Each year I set several goals to challenge myself.  This year the goals include reading the full Bible, exercising at least 3x a week, and whittling my UFOs down to less than 10.  I am about 5/8 of the way through the Bible, which means I need to pick up the pace if I am going to meet my goal of reading all of it by December 31.  I also have several pleasure books that are screaming for me to sit down and read them.  Besides my water exercise at the YMCA, working out with the personal trainer has started (should have done this years ago) and I am starting to actually enjoy the exercise just for the sake of it --Not even thinking of being an average size yet, but I know I have muscles that have been way under used for decades.  =0)  (My sisters are wondering why I did not start sooner, as well.)

****Please note that I am blessed or cursed because I moved into an area where I was unable to find a middle school math teaching position.  I subbed one year, worked at a quilt shop for a short time, have done quilting for a number of people, and have been the one to help out when family members have been ill or in need of a grandma type.  I am making the best of it and am thrilled that my husband actually feels just fine with the arrangements.  Once we decide where we will live after the Navy, things will probably change, but I really do feel that this time has been a gift and a blessing.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Still Cutting and Kitting, BUT...

I have been doing what I promised myself I would do, but I decided to take a break of sorts and also kit up the UFO Christmas quilt with my FIL's redwork.  There are lots of 1 1/2" strips and 2 1/2" squares that will eventually surround either the redwork or some simple evergreens made with flying geese.  I am trying hard to stick to the patterns directions rather that do it my normal way.  Might just find a new technique that I like.  Once it is kitted, I will go back to the HeartStrings even if they take the rest of the week.

Making HeartString Kits

Do you have any idea about how long it takes to make 33 kits for HeartStrings Quilts of Valor or any other HeartStrings for that matter?  I do not know any exact amount of time, but I am now cutting the center strips, 10" foundation squares and backs.  If I have enough yardage, I also cut out pillow cases for the QOV.  I  worked on it  yesterday and again most of today, but the end is not really in sight, yet.  I am determined to get the clutter put away.  Over the last few weeks,  I had help with a lot of the cutting and sorting the strings for QOV, juvenile, and other categories.  Then the bagging of strips began yesterday morning.  Sharon and I bagged enough strips for 14 of the 33 kits we are currently  putting together.  (More strings are busy multiplying themselves in the closet.  Leaving the light on does not deter them one bit. LOL)

Since I have donated a lot of the fabric, my stash is starting to be a much more reasonable size.  However, foundation fabric was purchased again today (I buy it by the bolt.  Thank goodness for 50% off coupons.  =0)

Guild members and my FIL will sew these kits together. Then I will quilt them and get others to help with the binding.   I have a request for 20 QOV at the end of January so they are the priority.  We only need 10 more.  Whatever others are completed will be displayed at our quilt show in February and then donated to several different organizations in our area.

Love doing charity work, but I am going to try to spend some time this week on a few of my UFOs and a baby quilt.  Also have to make more time for the gym now that I have a trainer watching over me.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Another Finish -- A Collaboration with My FIL

In May my FIL and I kept busy making string blocks. 
This is the first large one where he made most of the blocks and I did the rest.  I made the pillowcases to go with the quilt.  It should have been about two block lengths longer, but it is only going to be on the bed a month out of each year, so we will be creative.  There is so much to see, that I am certain that naptime will be much more interesting for everyone.

Where have I been?

Actually, I have been cutting strips, sewing, and hanging around the house with my FIL.  Started the week with the final pontoon boat ride of the season and took my husband to the airport.  Tuesday, I went to the doctor for a sinus infection and sore toe.  Later that day I went to the podiatrist  and had an ingrown toenail removed from the big toe that I broke in March.  It is healing nicely.  Amazing how much better my foot feels.  Missed deep water exercise, but I will be back in the pool on Monday and will also be starting with a personal trainer in the gym.
Originally, I was going to spend the weekend in my hometown, but as life would have it, plans changed.  My FIL left for home about 30 minutes ago, so I am going to spend the remainder of the weekend working on the longarm, doing laundry, going to church, and sorting files.  Sounds like fun, huh?  I lead such an exciting life!  No complaints, but when I put it in writing it sometimes sounds rather boring. 
Expect photos next time.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Two More UFOs Finished!

The embroidered blocks are from
a Dakota Collectibles Collection
called Noah's Ark Babies
 I have finished two more of my UFOs so I only have 8 more on my list.  Binding is one of the things that I enjoy doing while we are driving from point A to point B.  We had about 8 hours of it this weekend, so I took both to do.  I finished just as we arrived back in town.  Of course, I did take a 2 hour nap one way.
The Noah's ark quilt is a collaboration with my FIL's embroidery and my pieces.  At one time I taught in a Catholic school and used the story of Noah as an overall theme for the year.  This will stay here and go into my Noah bedroom.
This baby quilt was a BOM from Sew Many Ideas
in Jackson, TN, designed by the shop owner.

When I lived in Tennessee a friend and I took this BOM class.  The owner designed hers with lots of embroidered bugs, but we decided to keep it simple.  We drove about 1 1/2 hours to Jackson, and after class went out to lunch and enjoyed an afternoon of goofing off.  When she asked me to quilt hers, all of us got a big surprise.  She came to the house but did not stop in the driveway.  She drove up into the side wall of my garage and then managed to reverse the car and careened down the hill just missing the neighbors gas meter.  Seems something stuck!  To me it sounded like a plane had hit the house.  She was fine, but her car was totalled!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

One More UFO Underway

I quilted the baby quilt I made in Tennessee.  I tried something new.  Front looks fine, but I should have pulled a little more snugly on one side.  There is just a little bump, but I will know it forever.  lol  Binding is attached and just needs the hand stitching.  Making this list was really worthwhile.  By the time we move again, I should have my stash and UFOs under control.

Redwork Wallhanging

This wall hanging is a simple design that showcases the redwork designs my FIL made using Redwork 1 by Betty Alderman for OESD.  Once again, I wish I was a better photographer because this red blender fabric is just right to enhance the designs. 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Aother Table Runner

Used Floating Star Charmer pattern from Creek Side
Stitches and embroidered work from OESD's
Feathered Beauties by Bonnie Shrapshire
Each of the three blocks
measure approximately 14".

I am making 3 of these table runners using the same fabrics and other embroidered foliage work from the Feathered Beauties software.  I love the pattern and the fact that there really is no way to cut off the points on the stars.  Don't they look sharp?  I do not think the photos give you a true idea of the colors, but trust me, they are wonderful.
I should have quilted Elaine's quilt on Monday, but the muscle in my back has other ideas about pushing the HQ back and forth.  Hopefully, tomorrow will be the day.  It is loaded and ready, so I just need to give the muscle a little more time.
I also pieced and quilted a redwork hanging that is listed on my UFO list.  I plan to sit and quietly bind it tonight.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Fun Idea Originally Created by a 13 year-old

One of my friends sent me an idea for us to use as a guild activity.  I took what the article offered and did it my way with some leftovers.  The  The original idea came from Olivia Jarvis, a 13 year-old.  The article cam from American Patchwork and Quilting, Dec., 2010.    She calls them Liv's Luv Buddies.  We are thinking of making these pillowcase style dolls  to pass on with pillowcases we will be making during our quilt show.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Lots of Work Done, BUT Not a Thing for Show and Tell Today

I cleaned up all the loose threads on the Noah quilt and have bound about 15", but there is nothing to show, yet.  Would have accomplished more but took time to talk to a friend and take care of a few other tasks tonight.
During the day, after swimming, I also made 3 more wheelchair tops, but I will wait until I quilt and bind them to show.  If you want to know what they look like see yesterday's post.  Based on all the info I have gathered, wheelchair quilts should be no bigger than 36x45.  The two tops I made with 6" squares required 63 blocks.  The two I made with 5" squares required 80 blocks.  Discovered that the one inch larger blocks were actually less manageable because there are so many different types of fabric, but there are only a few places where the corners did not match exactly. (Some of these fabrics do not lend themselves well to having their seams ripped.)  Once quilted and washed, I don't think anyone will actually see the few corners that are a scant 1/8" off.  I will know, but I can live with it.  These are comfy quilts that wash up nicely and have lots of textures because of the varieties of fabrics.  They will be a sense of calm to those that touch them.
Also went through the stash to find greens and browns to use in a few more table runners that will feature my FIL's embroidery pieces.  I am looking forward to cutting into the fabric tomorrow after I quilt Elaine's lap size quilt.
I am smiling and enjoying the fact that I have time for quilting pleasures!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sunday Report

wheelchair quilt made of shirting samples

Noah's Ark quilt with a herringbone stitch instead of using stitch in the ditch
 I started the morning with a little cutting and then headed out to church.  When I came home I quilted my first UFO using an odd stitch.  I had not quilted the Noah's Ark because I did not like the stark contrast of the white against the blue batik.  Although it is not really an original layout, I really do like the animal blocks embroidered by my FIL.  The blue and white batik looks a little  like water.The herringbone stitch seems to have softened the edges.  Now all I have to do is do the hand sewing on the binding.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Guild UFO Fun

We are going to challenge each other to complete some of our unfinished fabric objects, otherwise known as UFO.  You can choose as many or as few as you want, but you have to put into writing how many you are going to attempt to finish by the May meeting.  For each one that you list you have to put a fat quarter of fabric into the pot.  There are other rules, but lets just say I am going to admit to 11 UFOs.  Some just need to be quilted and bound, so they should be fairly simple projects, but there is one in that category that I am a little anxious about tackling because of all the embroidered parts.  Are there others in my head or in my stash?  I will admit to the ones in my head, but the others are my secret.  There are a couple of WIPs (Works In Progress), but since I have not laid them aside, I am not going to count them.  Guess I will have plenty to do in the next 7 months.  Should not have to spend much money on fabric or thread, either because I have everything to make the ones listed.

Just quilting and binding(couple are going to be donated):
  1. Frog Favorite from 2007
  2. Beginner lap quilt from Frog group 2007
  3. Noah's Ark lap quilt from 2009
  4. Baby quilt made while living in TN 2008
  5. Four Seasons quilt with lots of embroidering 2009
Have started but kind of dropped it out of my rotations:
  1. Christmas redwork 2009
  2. Flower redwork 2010
  3. Jamie and my buck a block quilt 2009
  4. Fat Quarter Sampler 2009
Have ALL the material but have not sewn a stitch:
  1. Christmas Nativity quilt by Nancy Halverson 2008
  2. Batik quilt using an Aardvark pattern 2009
After reading my list, I know some of you are wondering when there will be enough time, but I have my own quilting business and business has been very slow, so I am guessing that I am up for the challenge.  At the moment, I only have two quilts to quilt and one is mounted ready to go.  I will also continue to do charity quilting one day a week, but I have learned to let others do the binding on these.  Kevin's retirement quilt is coming along fine, and I just have a few borders, quilting and a little binding left for a couple of others. 

Life is good!  No complaints!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Remember the Table Runners?

 On our drive this past weekend, I finished the last of the 14 table runners I made from my FIL's embroidered blocks. I do have a redwork wall hanging waiting in line at the sewing machine but it is ready to assemble tomorrow.  Good thing because he just called and told me he had lots more to bring with him next week.  Some are Christmasy, but others will be more fun to play with because they are sketchy flowers and brightly colored birdhouses.  I have a couple of thoughts in mind but time will be the determining factor.  I know that some will be on point with a log cabin type border and a few will be made into wall hangings.  The ultimate goal will be to have them finished for his  church craft show in early December.

Busy Day

Began the day by finishing the quilting of Deb's yellow quilt and loading a wheelchair quilt.  Plan to sew the retirement quilt rows together before bed tonight - only 10, so it should go pretty fast.  As I cleaned up the studio this afternoon, I moved on to embroidering many of the stars that will eventually be needle-turn appliqued onto Kevin's retirement quilt - location of each star will be determined after I have actually quilted the quilt.  Thank goodness the Navy uses lots of acronyms.  I have 15 larger stars listing his assignments and positions and have 6 smaller stars listing some of the major operations he participating in during his career.  May add a couple of small blank ones to help balance things, but is TBD.  The only star that will not be sewn on at this point is the one with his actual retirement date, but I have already selected its spot. 

***Did have a photo of the quilt in progress, but can't decide on the privacy issue of showing all of Kevin's assignments.  Will discuss it with him and decide how to post after I have the whole thing finished.  As Sue asked earlier, should I put everything out there on the World Wide Web,

Monday, September 27, 2010

Kevin's Navy Retirement Quilt

 This is another quilt top made of all half-square triangles. 
Just graphed it out so that I had enough of each color. 
Fabrics are very scrappy and may need some more rearranging
  before I actually sew all the rows.The pillows you see
are not part of the quilt. 

 I have started Kevin's Navy Retirement quilt.  It is not a secret because I wanted his input.  He is actually going to receive it before the end of the year so that he can hang in one of his offices to remind him that retirement will happen next year.  He actually has to retire because the Navy does not let you stay more than 30 years.

The basic top will be sewn together and quilted with homework stars (something I do on Quilts of Valor to signify a job well done -- teacher in me).  Then I am going to do needle-turn applique stars with all of his duty stations and job assignments on larger off-white stars and then the more memorable operations like Desert Shield, Desert Storm, etc. on smaller stars.  If needed I will then go back an do a button hole stitch to help highlight the stars, but I decided that I did not want to do machine applique because I might want to add something else before his actual retirement.  The quilt will be 40 x 60.  The label on the back will list all the places we have lived during his service.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Happy 60th, Sue!

This pattern is called Fast and Fabulous and
was created by Sandi Irish

Sue's  birthday is still a few days away, but she got her package and opened it, so I can share what I made for her.  My idea is to make a 60th birthday lap quilt for each of my sisters and my brother.  As I stitched this one, I thought of lots of family memories and did a lot of smiling.  Maybe I chose the peachy color because of my own memories of the summer of peaches.  Sue swears we did not eat that many, but I remember eating them for every meal.  The flannel made me think about the fuzz on peaches.  Whatever the reason I chose the fabric colors, the whole quilt reminded me of Sue.
 It is a very soft, flannel quilt that is really more peachy than orange, but since the quilt has been sent I will just have to share this version.  The label has the right color peach.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Henry's Fish and Starfish

Henry is going to be one.  His bedroom is painted like an aquarium.  I made him fish quilts and now I have finished the fish.  The fish are not perfect, but they are fun.  There was a lot of fabric and stuffing to put inside the fish.  I used Fig Tree Threads pattern called "Stanley and Stella".  Each one I made was an improvement, but then again, no one will ever call them identical triplets, either.  I also made two starfish from kids' socks.  I found the basic pattern in socks appeal by Brenna Maloney.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Wheelcar Quilt

Someone donated some shirting samples ~~~ definitely not all cotton.  Sharon and I decided to attempt to make a few wheelchair quilts for nursing home residents where her FIL lives, thought these shirting fabrics would make them feel comfortable, if we could work with the material.  This top is 36 x 45 and considered to be just the right size.  There are several features that will make this a fun quilt for guys - lots of textures, and manly colors.  My husband questioned a couple of the salmon-pink ones but we decided to put them in.  Sewing the slippery fabrics was a bit of a challenge, but when I finished, I added a stay-stitching around the outside to help maintain all the seams and general shape.  Would not like to quilt this on a domestic machine, but I think free-motion meandering on my HQ will be just fine.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Charity Work Day

Had some members of the guild over to cut HeartStrings and pillow cases.  We will be sewing the pillow cases during our guild's quilt show in Feb, but it takes time to cut and coordinate everything.  Last year we made about 300 during the workshop and with several small groups of friends.  We will aim for at least that many again this year.  We have made a good start cutting, but we will need a few more gatherings to put everything together.  The strips that were too small for pillow case parts were added to the HeartStrings piles.  We will put those kits together over the next few weeks as well.  Felt great to accomplish so much in such a short period of time.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

HeartString Quilts

The ladies of the guild brought back the 6 quilts they had taken for binding.  It is so exciting to see the numbers grow.  Thank you to all who helped.  With the help of the guild and my FIL we have now finished 11 quilts and have several more out there being worked on.  Tomorrow, I am having a string cutting, sorting, and kitting gathering so that we can have more ready to be sewn. 

Some of the Quilts and Table Runners Bound on My Trip

I would love to show you all the pieces that I bound while on my latest trip, but one is a birthday surprise, so...  I do not think that I do the pieces justice when I photograph then because they actually are rectangles with 90 degree angles and straight sides, but... The larger bright quilt is Henry's, just like the smaller one.  I used Yellow Brick Road to make the big one, but over did the blocks so he also gets a smaller one.  One is for cuddling on the couch and the other is a twin size for his room.  The large one was quilted using a pantograph called "Drips"  and looks great on the back, however, it was the FIRST time I used it and did not realize that all the forward/backward motion was pulling the fabric.  The front has too many places where there are puckers, but somehow I missed them while I was actually quilting.  By the time I spotted the problem I was almost done.  Once it is washed a few times I don't think I will be as aware of the issues.  Decided that the way the grandkids play with their quilts this would be okay.  Henry will undoubtedly receive many more that will be smoother in the future.

As I have written before, my FIL loves to do embroidery on his machine.  These table runners used up a small number of the blocks and will add a nice touch to someone's Christmas table.  The Noel is a wall hanging with tabs at the top where a wooden rod will be inserted.  I have 8 more table runners that are just waiting for me to hand sew their bindings.