Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Where have I gone???

Looking for me, try this new blog address.  I am sharing my adventures of quilting and life as we head for our year long adventures in Vermont.  We will be traveling to South Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota, and then eastward through lots of different states.  Translation: We will be visiting lots of family and friends, but we will also be seeing lots and lots of new quilt shops as we travel.  Then when we reach Vermont I will share those adventures, as well.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Based on yesterday, another post is appropriate

Yesterday, my FIL had ear surgery.  He has had hearing issues since I met him, but in the past few years they have gotten much worse.  The first surgery was out in Rapid City SD, and I was there to help him for a few weeks.  Then a year ago in spring, he had more issues and the doctor there referred him here, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, to see Dr. Levine.  He had surgery for a form of ear cancer (which seems to be gone). After this extended stay of several months, he was able to go home, but was back again for a check up and two cataract surgeries in December (All were very successful).  In March, he went to the hearing aid people in Rapid only to find out that there were more issues with his other  ear.  He arrived here at the beginning of July and Dr. Levine managed to see him and actually do the surgery in fast order.  This time there was no real sign of ear cancer, but we did not know for certain until the surgery took place.  It took about 3 1/2 hours to do the tympanoplasty with mastoidectomy. 
We were at the hospital for 12 hours so after arriving home, he had a pain pill he was off to sleep for the night.  We on the other hand sleep fitfully because we had seen all the blood, etc. that came out of his ear canal when the nurse re bandaged him.  This morning we re bandaged one more time and ate breakfast,after my husband left for work, Dad went downstairs and was soon back to sleep on the coach.  Sleep and rest are best for him, but he is the living example of the energizer bunny so he really fought the idea of kicking back until he had actually walked down the stairs and changed his clothes -  then he was beyond exhaustion, so................

Why is this posted on a quilting blog?  Well first because I am so impress with Dr. Levine and all he has done to help Dad.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Mystic Blues BOM from Joann Fabrics
 Secondly, sitting for all those hours gave me a chance to work on my hand-piecing.  I added sashing to a number of 15" blocks and felt like I was doing something comforting while we waited.  This quilt is my project for all of our road time over the next month.  I believe the top will be ready for quilting by the time we reach Vermont. Are these blocks as well made as my machine-pieced ones, NO, but they represent over 7 years of off and on work and will be something I will treasure for all the travels and experiences it will represent. The sashing seems a little wavy, but when smoothed out it is not too noticeable.  The photo shows that the blocks are a little lumpy, but I think at least 85% of that is because the blocks were wadded up in my bag after we were called back to see Dad after the surgery.  15% is simply my inexperience or lack of focus on the fittings but this is a quilt of love and comfort so I am not too concerned.  The blocks match up and seem to be the same size, so I can try to make my quilting help to ease the fullness.    It will be hand-quilted for many reasons: Sentimental as well as structural.  (Laughing and smiling about how many times I have had to readjust things. = A true labor of love and tactical comfort.)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Last Post from Minnesota

I have been very busy the past few weeks getting ready for my husband's retirement from the Navy after 30 years of service.  We are planning a big send off to simply celebrate his accomplishments and also to celebrate the changes that are just around the corner. There is also all the packing, sorting and reorganizing our stuff.   We are heading for Vermont for a year while he attends the Vermont School of Woodworking.  However, our life is also going to be focused on the simple things in life.  Love, laughter, faith, compassion, peace, joy and happiness. 

While Kevin is in school, I will be using my time on various things, but when we have time we are going to ride bikes, hike, see the sites.and, spend lots of time with our passions (quilting and woodworking).  Kevin will be crafting furniture, etc, and I will be quilting.  I want to build my quilting techniques and skills, learn more about my machines, develop my skills on EQ, and do some hand quilting.

I plan to share what I am doing with my quilting and will also include some of my experiences with the rest of you on a new blog:  Quilting from Robin's Nest.  ---  Don't look for any posts until early August.  Until then, enjoy your summer and find time for your own passions.

Monday, July 4, 2011


This is the last of the Quilts of Valor that I have gathered.  As my July 4th tribute to our freedom, I finished attaching all the labels and bagged all of the quilts that had not left the house, yet.  He took them in before lunch so that we could have one more of our things checked off the "moving" list.

After much discussion and planning, I am taking my HQ16 with me to Vermont.  I am going to use the shorten version of the table and will be able to do up to twin size quilts.  I did not like the idea of putting it in storage for 14 months.   I had hoped that my daughter, who is a quilter, would manage to get her house sold and move into a bigger place so that she could play with the machine, but at this point they seem to be in a holding pattern (Market is not strong anywhere, is it?

This afternoon I am working on reconfiguring my batting storage.  With the help of my husband and FIL we have gotten it reorganized and labeled.  Some has been cut into lap size pieces, but I had purchased several rolls of bamboo batting just before we decided to do the Vermont experience for a year.  I love the batting especially for larger quilts, so I decided that I would put it into my climate controlled storage for when we actually move to South Dakota after Kevin finishes his school.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Sharon and I spent the afternoon finishing up another sewing project.  We serged 84 pillowcases.  Jacquie had sewn the body and cuff together on 50, but we put together the others and then pressed and serged away the afternoon.  Hopefully tomorrow, my other good friend, Dar, and I will get all the cases turned and and tucked ready for use.  22 of the pillowcases will be used on the Quilts of Valor/Heart Strings quilts that I will be delivering at the start of July. 

Many hands make light work!  Thanks to my dear friends for helping complete another task before the move.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Fun Surprise

One of us is always a "goof", but we love him.

Our friends have been our friends since before we started our Navy travels, They are another reason for us wanting to move back home to South Dakota after our year in Vermont.  Tonight, we gave them the quilt that was made by my FIL, husband and myself.  They were very surprised!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Guild Happenings

Went to guild for the last time.  We had a final UFO activity where 37 members had signed up committing themselves to finish just one project to share tonight.  Many members got up saying that I had inspired them to do at least one project.  A few made me choke up because they said they did it because they wanted to honor our friendship.  What an amazing feeling to have!  I had my top done, but I was relegated to the "Hall of Shame" along with about 10 others who did not finish.  Of course, my excuse seems valid enough ---- I was quilting up lots of the Heart Strings quilts so that I could pass them on for binding.  (The group still heckled but it was all in fun.) 

I had a car full of quilts and items to distribute during the meeting.  I delivered 10 finished quilts, 5 quilted but not bound quilts, and 4 tops with backs and bindings.  I brought home lots of Quilts of Valor but have not counted them up yet.  All in all it was a win-win night for me.

My friend, Sharon, presented me with a purse she had made to honor the memories of all the Heart Strings and the cutting of strings.  One side is made up of squares of patriotic fabrics.  She did a great job of honoring my life as a Navy wife, as well.   The other side is representative of all the kid fabrics. (Is there a message in that about never growing up?)  It is so cool!  I know there is a pattern for this, but I do not know the name.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Show and Tell

Damask Rose quilt by Pam and Lintott enlarged 4 times the original.
 Mnay of you have seen different photos of the blocks going into this quilt.  The original pattern is called Damask Rose and came from the book Layer Cake, Jelly Roll and Charm Quilts by Pam and Nicky Lintott.  It was a lap quilt.  Enlarging it was one of those mathematical things.  The quilt is actually 4 x the size of the original.  I do not work in muted florals very often but really do like how it turned out.  The binding was not on this quilt when the photo were taken.  The binding is made up of all the fabrics.  Each piece is 12 inches long, so piecing the binding took more hours that I thought it would.  The person receiving this quilt is delighted with it and that is what counts most.
Kevin's design using embroidered blocks stitched by his dad.

This quilt is a project for Kevin, my father-in-law, and me.  Each of us did part of the quilt.  I still have to do the hand sewing on the binding, but that will wait for a couple of weeks.  The scrapiness comes from the fact that the blocks were all cut for other projects.  (Obviously Kevin and I did not count when we were cutting them.)

Now that Kevin is going to fine furniture building school later this summer, I don't think he will be making many more quilts, so this one is special.  Hope his long time friend loves it.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Thursday Efforts

Child's quilt

I actually quilted 3 quilts today.  The first was one of my Quilts of Valor.  The two small ones shown are going to be passed on for someone else to bind and then donate.  I mounted another child's quilt to be quilted tomorrow.   In the next few days (during the daytime) I will quilt several more quilts for children and several others that will be donated to a women's shelter.  Once all of these are quilted, they will be passed on to others to bind and donate.  The quilts tops were made earlier this year by my quilt guild during our Heart Strings sewing day. 

Child-sized wheelchair quilt
I also have 5 more Quilts of Valor to finish and maybe another one or two other Heart Strings, but I believe it can be done.  It is just a matter of sticking to the plan.

This evening, with Kevin's help, I trimmed the two large bed quilts I quilted earlier this week and set everything for binding.  Attaching the binding is my first task of the morning.  This my priority.  Never imagined how long it was going to take to make the pieced binding for the king-size quilt but I think it will have quite an impact on the quilt.  I will spend the next few evenings binding like a maniac.  Somewhere along the way, I am going to have to do some packing of my studio, but I am thinking that my daughter would LOVE to help me with this on Father's Day weekend.  (Hint, hint, hint, Jamie!)

Another Big Thank You

       I am continuing to collect Quilts of Valor for an upcoming Returning Warrior Workshop/Weekend.  The quilters from Fabric Town provided these.  There are 10 patriotic ones and 14 beautiful more feminine style quilts.  The generosity of so many quilters continues to amaze me.  Just wanted to share it with all of you.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wednesday Efforts

This was Kevin's last day of leave so he spent most of the day sorting, cleaning, and packing his wood shop.  I spent most of it making binding and quilting a queen-size quilt, but also spent some time at the chapel like I do most Wednesdays..  We did manage to take a few 15 minute breaks together and had our meals together as always when he is home.  I finished off my quilting time by loading another Quilt of Valor to be quilted first thing in the morning.  I have another ready to be loaded after lunch so I am beginning to feel like I am whittling down the piles.  The June 17th deadline is fast approaching for packing up my longarm, I will have a few weeks with my Bernina for any other sewing. (I figured out that I can do the attaching and hand stitching of the bindings after all the tops are quilted.)

Just have to remember to take time to breathe.  Probably will go to the Y for swimming tomorrow.  I have not been for a while, and I know it is something that energizes me.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Quilted but needs binding, ETC, ETC

The very large queen, or is that a king, quilt that I have been working on has been quilted.  It felt like a monster as I loaded it.  It was the largest quilt I have ever quilted.  It was basically edge to edge on my table.  Now for the binding.  It will be started in the morning, but tonight we(both my husband and I) are putting together another large quilt and hopefully loading it on the machine.  The clock is ticking for putting away the machine for 14 months, so I will spend most of my daytime hours quilting and organizing what other things will go into storage.  Life is wonderful, but moving is always a challenge.  What do i need to finish before I pack up the things I want stored in a special unit, what should I take with me to Vermont, and finally what should I let the movers have for storage. This is the most unique move we have ever made.  Life is not dull!

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Very Series Quilt

I purchased this kit featuring fabrics from Andover Fabrics with prints from The Very Series by Eric Carle.  I purchased it last year to make for my niece's new baby, but somehow it got put on the back burner and became a UFO.  I thought I had done most of it way back when. 

I took it along with me last week thinking that if i finished piecing the big quilt project, I would whip this up so I could finish it this month.  However, when I took it out to finish it so I can get it quilted before I pack up my machine, I discovered that I had only cut parts out.  I like making half square triangles, so that part when quickly.  The borders were a new experience for me.  I have done exactly 3 single border mitered cornered quilts.  This one has several borders, so I had a new experience.  I watched a video online because I did not completely understand the written directions.  The first corner was difficult to do, but once I figured it out the others went smoothly. 

I have finished the piecing of the king size quilt and quilted and bound several Quilts of Valor.  Now I need to quilt and bind the large quilt and a customer quilt.  Then I have 10 Quilts of Valor to quilt and bind for the Returning Warrior Weekend.  After that I will get this quilt and a "cousin quilt" quilted.  All of these needs to be finished by mid-June, so I will be spending a great deal of time in the studio.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

My Big Quilt Project and More

I have all the blocks made and have pieced 5 of the 10 rows.  It is looking great.  Thought I would get it on the fame this week and have it bound next week, but life has gotten in the way.  I am hanging out with my grandchildren and being moral support for my daughter-in-law and son.  My DIL's grandma passed away this morning.  I packed up my stuff and headed to Iowa.  What most of you don't know is that in the past I would never have considered making the 3 1/2 hour drive by myself, but for them and this situation I felt confident that I could do this.  I need to make a couple of potty/stretch breaks but it only took me about 10 minutes longer than when I travel with my husband, so I am bragging.  Of course, I ask God to send me an angel or 10 to keep me safe, but I am still proud of my efforts.

I do know my priorities!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Thank You


I requested Quilts of Valor from my HeartStrings group.  We need quite a few for the upcoming Returning Warrior Weekend.  The first 4 wonderful quilts arrived today.  Thank you for your assistance Alycia.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Way Off Line for a Few Days - or Was it A Week or Two????

I had a horrible cold that really took a toll on my quilting, thinking sleeping, and moving time.  Then my asthma kicked in to major overtime.  Wheezing, coughing, and dripping don't lend themselves to cutting, trimming, sewing, ironing, moving or much of anything else.  Even so, I did find one thing I could do that maybe was not really the best choice (dust factor) - sorting and ripping apart 10 years of quilting magazines. 

Looking through all of these magazines has been an terrific experience, as well. The real goal was to pair down some of the "stuff" in my studio space.   I was not specifically looking for quilt patterns or designs, as much as different trends, blocks, and possible quilts idea starters.  It was something of an eye opener to see all the changes and the new techniques.  I found ideas for using the rulers that I purchased but never actually used.  Guess that I will have lots of things to experiment with during my year in Vermont.  (Wonder exactly how much space I will have in the truck for taking my tools and ideas.)

Today I got back into the studio and sewed all day.  I had such a great day even with the wheezing.  Now I have a few non-sewing things to do so I can go back in to sew again tomorrow.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Another 12 Blocks

I managed to catch one heck of a cold during the week.  I have been down hard.  Don't want to use the rotary cutter when I am a little off balance due to the fluid in my ears.  Fortunately, I had time on Wednesday and Thursday morning to complete these 12 blocks.  Also manage to sew all the hst blocks, but I need to trim them to 2 1/2 square inches. 

Hopefully tomorrow I will feel more up for sewing.  I really do not know why Spring colds are so horrible, but I can tell I am on the mend, sort of..................

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Wow, Where Did the Week Go?

I have been putting Heart String blocks together, quilting QOV and HS tops, and now I am focused on the large quilt that I have been working on for several months (okay, off and on for several months).  I shared the blocks in person with Lin and now feel confident that I have the right plan for them.  I have quite a few blocks left to make, but I am going to aim at getting the quilt on the frame by the last part of this month.  I want to be binding it by Mother's Day or sooner.

The Heart Strings/Quilts of Valor quilts are part of a bigger project that also needs attention, but I managed to send a few off to another guild member for binding, so I am going to spend the rest of the week doing Lin's blocks.  Hope to post at least 30 new blocks by Saturday evening.  I decided it need to get crack-a-lacking.  More on this later.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Donation Quilts - Thank you for your efforts

Sherry made this quilt from a magazine pattern.

These quilts and quilt tops were put together by members of my guild.  They will all be given as donations.  I also received four other sets of blocks at guild last night.  They will be sewn together and quilted and the binding will be attached along with all the others I have received the past few weeks.  Then I will ask guild members to hand sew the binding.  The Quilts of Valor will go to a Returning Warrior Workshop in July.  The others will go to several groups we have selected.

QOV top pieced by Sherry

The blocks were made during our guild show
workshop and then pieced, quilted and
bound by other members.

Cindy took her blocks home and brought it
 back to  the guild meetings  as a top =0)

Blocks made at our guild quilt show workshop
quilted and pieced by several members

Lyn's Blocks

I would love to tell you that I have finished making blocks but since these photos were taken, I have only made 5 more.  Whether I like it or not, lifegot in the way and I still wanted to have 8 hours of sleep so something had to give.  The stashing and cornerstones are going to be scrappy.  I plan to add two sides and one corner to each block.  The only rule is to make it random but not to make any of the sashing strips the same color as the block.  This is going to be colorful quilt!

Learning and Spending

For Christmas, my husband gave me a Bernina 440Qe.  I have been taking classes to learn all I can about it before we move to Vermont.  I will only be taking one machine so it is important that I get the most out of the one I am taking.  All others will be in storage for 14 months.

Yesterday, I took a class on using the BSR (Bernina Stitch Regulator.)  It is going to be something that I will become an expert on in the next year.  Even with only a short lesson I felt like I had already improved my free-motion quilting skills.  I did not buy anything for the machine during the class, but I did buy the embroidery module before class.

Today, I took another mastery class and learned all about blind stitching hems, making button holes, and machine sewing buttons.  I bought two feet.  I will probably not use them all the time, but they are slick and useful.

At this rate, my husband will soon discover that he has purchased a Christmas gift that will keep giving, but will also keep costing.  I am sure he will adjust because he is always a prince of a guy!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

My Friend needs to have her tension adjusted and her parts cleaned and lubed, so she is off to the machine doctor

My HQ 16 has been a good and faithful friend, but the time has come (although inconveniently) for her to see the sewing machine doctor to have some work done.  I was in the middle of a project when she started to object. - finished the quilt but that is all she is willing to do.  Guess the silver lining is that I will not be tempted to quilt instead of piece for awhile. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Motivation, or something else needed. My husband is so wise!

I have been working on a quilt that I like, but somehow, I was allowing myself to be distracted from it.  The expression, "Just Do It"was not working for me, either.  My sweet husband overheard a conversation I was having with my sister where I told her I was having trouble staying focused on the task.  I guess he heard the problem and had the solution because I have accomplished more in the past 24 hours than I have in the last week.  I was telling my sister that I thought I was wandering out of the studio and getting involved in other "moving" tasks because I was cold.  For me cold hands and feet are not new, but the old solution does not work any more.  (I used to make myself a hot drink and heat a rice bag for my feet and relax with them for 5-10 minutes, but I am trying to cut back on my consumption of calories and just using the rice bag made me notice my cocoa desire more.) Riding my recumbent bike for 20 minutes helps  for a while, but I would have to do it at least 5-6 times a day and that in and of itself is a time stealer. My husband apparently had a great solution, immediately.  I now have a little heater in the room and I only have to leave to use the Internet, potty, eat or answer the phone.

Goals for today, quilt-wise, are to quilt a lap size quilt and make at least 12 more blocks for the "English garden" quilt.  Life is good.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Pillowcase works. Is it obvious?

Apparently he likes it.  His mom says he sleeps hot, so that explains his cheeks and ears.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Playing with Layout

 I am playing with the layout because I am do certain whether I like the sashing to be all the same fabrics as the blocks or a fabric of its own.  I am also strongly considering removing the mustardy colored blocks.  Thought at one time it would be the burgundy and pink that would go, but it seems to be playing better with all the blocks.  I have lots more to make, but do not want to cut into strips to make sashing unless that is really the right choice.  Below are three samples using off white on off white, tan on off white, and darker tan on tan.  Not necessarily the final choices but I can seem to find the very pale blue/green, so I am just auditioning what I have in my stash.  Any suggestions?


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Speed is improving, but.........

I am getting faster at making these blocks but it took a full hour to make 4.  That means I still have 62 left for this quiltt, but I do have 10 blocks ready to sew..  Actually, the longest part is making all the hst.  I chain them and then trim down to size, (Guess that time should be accounted for as well, but I made 14 sets of 8 hst earlier this evening and did not focus on the time.)  Once those are made, it is a matter of laying the the pieces out in order and then picking them up correctly.  Sounds like I might be learning from experience.  I had to unsew at least one seam on the first 3 of the blocks.  Decided that it must be time to stop.  Plan to complete at least the 10 blocks that are ready tomorrow, but would like to prepare another 12 before shutting down operations tomorrow.  This is really going to be a scrappy quilt, but that seems to be the kind I like the best.

Monday, March 28, 2011

What could I do but drop everything to remedy the situation?

My poor little Henry!  He seems to be distraught over the fact that he does not have a soft flannel pillowcase like his sister Zoe.  Apparently, according to his mother, he started talking in complete sentences last night and conversation needed to shared with me.  Seems he commented on the fact that he knew Grandma H loved him, but he could not understand why she had not made him a soft pillowcase for his pillow that he will be getting soon. 

Well, being that special kind of grandma, I had to drop everything and go to the store and find fish fabric to go with the quilts and stuffed toys I had made him earlier.  (He is, after all, 18 months+ now.)  I came home and immediately set to work making him two special pillowcases, just for him.  The light fabric reminded me of fishing nets.  The sharks are self-explanatory.  These treasures will be in the mail tomorrow.  Hope that will make it all better, Henry.

Henry's Pillowcases
***Okay I did a little fabricating with that story.  His mom did send a different photo and several emails today on the subject, but this one spoke to the heart of his problem.  He lovesthe pillowcase I made for his sister   The one I shared shows how distressed he was about having to leave Burger King after spending an hour climbing on the indoor play equipment.  The following picture is the one my daughter actually sent.  She had just told him to say "cheese" for Grandma.  It did touch my heart but I love telling stories.

Friday, March 25, 2011

24 of 90

I have not been working on these blocks as diligently as I had planned for the week, but I do have 24 blocks done.  Lynn and I both gathered fabrics for this quilt using a pillow with all the colors she likes.  I do not think the photo does the colors justice.  I am not certain if all of these locks will work, but each time I put up another block I change my thoughts on what works and what doesn't.  I will just keep making them and start adding in sashing and cornerstones.  The sashing and cornerstones are also from these fabrics.  Obviously this will be a very scrappy quilt.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Weather is one of those things, but having time for my visitor was wonderful!

I had some plans today that were not achieved because of the "FUN" snow and ice.  I had to take time to shovel and will have to do it again, but that is nothing new this year.  The challenge was that we have not really had ice all winter, but we did this time.  As I drove to chapel, I was almost hit several times, but my appointment with God was not to be denied.  Guess that will be counted as one of today's small miracles.  Even so, I was a little nervous about all the swerving vehicles.  I certainly was glad that it gave me more time to be home and enjoy the events of the afternoon.

When I got home I did the shoveling and salted the steps to deal with the ice.  Felt great to work out that way, but the focus was that I wanted to be ready for my visitor. .He is a retired Navy corpsman who has lived in this area for more than 50 years.  I spent a few hours talking about sails and sailing ships with my visitor.  He is making  special gift for my husband to say thank you for his help with several different projects and events. It was so interesting.  As we talked I found that we could easily relate because of my quilting and sewing experiences.  There was a lot of history shared, as well.  It was a delightful way to pass the day on this cold, wintry day.

Now I am going to go do some sewing.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

32 Pieces in Each Block

I am working on a customer quilt.  I need to make a total of 90 of these blocks.  At the moment I only have these 12 made, but I have discovered an assembly line idea that made the last two go more quickly.  None of the fabric selections are solids but some appear that way in the photo.  My goal is to make 6 to 8 blocks a day and then put it all together the first week of April.  I will update the blocks next week so that you can see how the look will change as more fabrics are added.  Once all the blocks are may, a few may be banished, but no judgements will be past until they are all made.

NOTE:  I actually like making half-square triangles.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Two More Quilt-As-You Go

I just finished binding these little quilts.  They are made from the short strips left over from making Heart String quilts for kids.  I like the way they turned out, but might add a solid border around the next few.  YES ther are still strings left and this project is a quick one  There are lots of different objects in the various strips so these will be entertaining for little ones.  They will be donated to a group that does many different things for children and families in need.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Experiment Underway

My friend gave me directions for how to make printed quilt labels.  I am trying it out even as I type and eat dinner.  If it works I will give everyone the recipe because it will make labeling donation quilts ever so easy.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

So Many Choices on How to Spend the Day

I have been working in the studio all day, but I am not sewing, I am cutting and making kits for our time in Vermont.  I am going to be without my HQ for 9-12 months, so I am going to spend a LOT of time getting to know my Bernina 44QE much better.  I am going to do a lot of free motion using the BSR, play with all the stitches, and do more SID.  I am also going to do more hand and machine applique.  The kits I am making today are fairly simple so that the focus can be on the quilting.  I am not making anything larger than a lap size but each kit will have the back and binding as well.  Batting will probably stay on the roll or be cut to size.  I am not planning to buy much of anything fabric-wise while there, but I will see all the quilt shops I can.

I have already made 3 simple kits that will include embroidered blocks stitched by my FIL, but I will probably go onto EQ and create a few more complex ones to use a few of the more detailed bird sketch design blocks.  I will also make another quilt similar to the Four Seasons one that I finally quilted two weeks ago.  However, it will probably be a lap size.

 Many of these quilts will be given to family members in the future, but  I have also designated some for donations and as comfort quilts for friends.  It feels good to give a tangible hug!

I am also taking along a number of unfinished, but not UFO status, quilts.  I am going to do lots of piecing so that I will be able to hit the ground running when I get back to my HQ.  (My sweet daughter has already offered to babysit the machine.)

How many quilts will I complete?  Well if I think in terms of tops, I figure that I will accomplish 4-6 a month (probably only 4-6 large quilts during the whole stay) with at least 3-4 being quilted during the month. I am also going to work at hand quilting my Christmas applique quilt that has been waiting for just the time. (Long cold winter nights seem to be just the ticket for quilting and snuggling under it while I do.  The big quilt kits that I have will see the tops finished but then they will be packed away for long arming until we get settled in back in South Dakota.

Kevin is going to be busy at his woodworking/furniture building school, but we plan to see New England while we are there.  We lived in Maine, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island during his military career, so we thought it would be fun to revisit some of the sites.  Fall foliage will also bring out the camera and the sketch pad (quilt designs).  We will be living near Burlington and the lake resorts, so we will have to take in those sites and sounds as well.  This our transition time and we are going to take full advantage of it.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

First Quilt-As-You-Go

Actually, it is not the first QAYG that I have made, but it is the first of the weekend.  These are all width-of-fabric  strips that are between 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches wide that are from my kid fabric stash.  I laid out the center strip and then added strips just like when I make Heart String blocks.  As I went along, I learned to check for straightness of the strip.  Just lined it up with a yardstick and then pinned it down and stitched using my walking foot.  Then I trimmed and added the binding.  Took longer to stitch down the binding than to make the quilt, but I love the look of double fold binding, so I do it every time.  This is a donation quilt and measures 40x45.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Opinions, Please

The short kid strips did not multiply last night, but after 9 hours of sewing, I still have about 3 more hours before I think I will be done making sections.  I am simply sewing and squaring the sections into the largest pieces I can at the time.  The final sizes will be cut later today.

I am almost ready to put my creations together but need to chose some backgrounds.  Of the solid Kona color choices laid out which three are your favorites.  Each quilt will have only one color as the background.  Let me know by Saturday because I want to put these tops together over the weekend. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

All Quilters Know Strings Multiply Overnight

I woke up thinking I just had about 8 sections to sew.  Then I cleaned up all the bags of kits and found enough short strings to make another 8 sections, so I am anticipating making 16 or more sections today.  Guess I have my work cut out or stitched up for the next umpteen hours.  I am going to finish this portion of my project today.

Sneak Peek

What do you do with all your short strings?  I am plotting and planning.  These will be used for some donation kid quilts.  I have enough more strips for another 8 sections or so.  Then my short kid strips will be used up.  This moving stuff helps me get my stash into better shape.  I have a number of plans for other short strings, as well.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Okay, Okay, Okay

The past week has been a joyous roller coaster ride as we set about making plans for our next huge adventure, but now it is time to live in the moment again.  I have donation quilts to quilt, customer quilts that are calling, and a messy quilt donation room that need my immediate attention, and a great desire to get my body moving, again.  So, I decided that I would use my blog to help me get motivated.  (Having lived in New Orleans for 2 years, I am really feeling the "Fat Tuesday" vibes ---- or maybe I would be just a thrilled with my mom's chocolate-cherry brownie dessert. --- Have to settle with a cup of Suisse Mocha and a daydream!) I find that if I post what I plan for just one day at a time, I feel that I can obtain the desired results.  So here goes...........................(Red text is my update at 2:30 - had to check what I was promising myself) ( Comments as of 10:15 PM are in green.)
  • POOL: Already went to the pool and worked out (Have been missing that because of so many other things)
  • BUY BINDING FABRIC: purchased four fabrics for donation quilt bindings and an adorable dinosaur fabric for my stash
  • GET READY FOR GUILD: loaded the container with Heart Strings kits, several quilts to be bound, handout for a challenge, packed up my two show-and-tell UFOs, loaded 4 boxes of pillowcases, and gathered my two receipts -- just need to fit it all into the car (in the car ready to go) (Brought far too much of what I had hope to share plus finished blocks for 9more Heart Strings - the Heart Strings group can work on assembling all of those next Tuesday.)
  • QUILT GUMBALL DONATION QUILT: load, quilt, make binding, and attach binding (in the frame but may not get quilting until tomorrow morning)
  • CLEANING: straight up quilt donation room (neat, tidy, and even vacuumed and dusted)  (Most of what I brought back will need to go back into this room, but I am promising myself it will be done neatly and stay bagged until the HS group meets on Tuesday.)
OKAY.................READY, SET, GO!  (I am going to have that cup of suisse mocha at 3:30.  I will see just how much I can accomplish before that.) (Never got to the cup of suisse mocha because I had 3 fun phone calls and also decided that I needed to cut more bindings while the fabrics were out.  I will try to have better follow through tomorrow.)

Monday, March 7, 2011

What A Difference A Week Makes

We spent a week going through transition classes to prepare for Kevin's retirement from the military.  He was preparing to begin his search for a new position and all the stresses of job hunting.  While we were there we came across a fabulous idea and have spent lots of hours talking, praying, researching and doing some real soul searching.  However, this decision has been years in the making.  We have great confidence that we will be able to pull it all together. In August, Kevin is going to go back to school to further develop his woodworking and furniture building skills.  He is already a good woodworker with many pieces of furniture to his credit, but this coursework will make him an even better one.  IT IS HIS DREAM!

I am going with him.  We will store most of our household goods and rent a small apartment.  Our daughter was very quick to volunteer to take care of my HQ for the year.  I will take both my Berninas, my laptop, and a number of kits that will keep me occupied.  I plan to really learn how to do all kinds of things with my machines and also learn EQ forward and backwards.  Of course, it also means that I will be able to visit lots of new and different quilt shops and maybe even take a few classes.  There is always something positive about change.

Eventually we will settle into the area where we grew up, but that is at least a year off.  More updates as I see how the pieces fit.

Actually, we have decided to embrace this adventure with out whole hearts.  It should be worth tons of new memories!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

What's Next?

Yesterday I quilted 2 Heart Strings donation quilts and sorted out 5 more backs for the other 5 I have.  Then I made certain all the bindings are ready to go.  I will try to quilt two of the quilts each day, so I can pass them off for binding on Tuesday night.  There will be more turned in then, so the cycle will start again.

I am also making a customer quilt from start to finish.  She bought the pattern and most of the fabrics on her own, but I needed to add in some to round it out.  I washed all the fabrics before we left for our last trip, and ironed most of them last night.  I have a few left for today and then I will piece the first few just to be certain that I understand the directions.  There are 90 blocks of the same design but many different pieces of fabric, so it should be fun and scrappy(my favorite kind).  Each block is 2 colors and then there is a scrappy sashing with cornerstones.  No border.  I plan to pace myself so that I do a very accurate job and so I can take care of all the quilting on the donation quilts, as well.

I have until June 15th and then my HQ will be put into storage for some time while my husband transitions out of the Navy and we relocate again.  We have some exciting and challenging days ahead, but we are both very enthusiastic about what we are planning.  More on that in the near future.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Two UFOs Completed

 I will not reach my goal of finishing all of my listed UFOs by the end of May for the guild challenge, but it feels good to be finishing up so many.  I will continue to piece the few that are just kits at the moment,  I will not get them machine quilted unless I get them finished before my Handiquilter get packed for the move because it may be a while before I can get it set up and running again.  Maybe it will be time for me to really practice my free motion on my Bernina???
The first quilt is a product of my FIL and I working together.  He made 3/4 of the squares and left the rest to me.  It hangs down about 6" on sides and foot of a queen sized bed, but I am going to make pillow cases for the head.  The Christmas strings quilt will be used on my bed at Christmas and then flipped over to the snowpeople side for January.  There were two seams that did not get stitched closed and they went undetected as I started quilting and I could not really do a great repair because there was no seam allowance to play with.  Therefore, I decided to add 5 ornaments that are somewhat blended into the quilt.  I figured that we have 5 grandchildren so there is one for each of them.  I am calling this quilt "Christmas Surprise."
This quilt is called "Four Seasons.  It was another collaborative effort.  My FIL used his embroidery machine to make the centers for each block.  I am not certain what company created the designs but believe the software designs were package as "Four Seasons." We used EQ6 to create the quilt layout.  The points are not perfect and my SID is more like SSCTDAT (Stitch somewhat close to the ditch at times).  I had not done anything larger than a small lap quilt on my domestic before (and only 3 at that) and will think hard before doing another.  Although the borders seem to hang loosely in the photo, that does not seem to be true when it is laying on the bed.  While I was doing the hand sewing on the binding, I fell asleep several times.  It is definitely a cozy quilt!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Not about Quilting

Kevin's shingles are healing and he is not contagious to anyone any more, so we followed through with our scheduled dinner last night.  I try to keep the meal simple enough so that I can enjoy visiting as much as everyone else.  Crockpots make this easier.  I made stew.  One pot was chicken stew and the other was beef stew.  Sadly, I have to report that while getting the right size pots out I broke out the bottom of my favorite 4 quart crock. (I did cry!)  Back to the stews...They must have been well received because there was very little leftover.  The beer batter biscuits disappeared as well.
The dessert was a new one and so delicious.  Banana Foster Tart.  Having lived in New Orleans I had experienced this dessert on several occasions and have thought of it several time since, but I was sure it was more of a delicacy than I would be able to concoct.  Believe me it is going into the keep and remake file.  SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO TASTY and decadent.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Binding Attached, Playing Begun

I promised myself that I would finish the binding on the 4 Seasons quilt this morning and then clean up. I am pleased to announce that I got it done by 9:30 AM.  Once the hand sewing is done on the binding I will post a photo.  For a first effort in SID on a large quilt, I am pleased.

Of course once I had it all folded and packed for travel, I got sidetracked and decided to experiment with making my own cup sleeve.  I have more strips and leftover binding than anyone can imagine, so that was a quick part.  I have collected a number of the coffee store paper sleeves and even someone's tracing.  I used all of them to decide what shape I needed and then did it my way.  There is no Velcro or any other means to attach the edges because I like simple, so this sleeve has to be made to fit my glasses.  I will make more in the near future but not today.  This one is going to wing its way to my sister Becky with the hope that it will fit a ceramic coffee glass that she made a while back.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Final Thoughts for Today

I really did not think I would finish quilting all the blocks on the 4 Season's quilt, today, but I came up with a more organized plan for quilting each block and it really sped up my quilting.  As I told you, the quilt seemed tremendously large and hard to manipulate on the domestic machine. The SID is not perfect, but then as I stitched I also noticed how many of my points were off.  Obviously this is go to be a warm, comfy quilt rather than a show quilt, but that is the kind I love most.  In the morning I will SID around the inner border, trim it, and add the binding.  I love it when I get to this point.  The end is in sight and I like the way it looks.

Tonight we are going to watch a movie and I will finish up the application of the 5 ornaments.  The tend to blend into the quilt a little, but I think that will make it more fund for my grandchildren.  I have 5 grandchildren, so they will like knowing that I was thinking of them while I worked on this quilt. 

I has been another productive and wonderful day!

Thursday Goals

Besides the 6-month visit to the dentist, I am going to be sewing.  My goal is to quilt at least 6 of the 9 remaining blocks today.   The quilting of each block took me about 40 minutes yesterday, but I think I finally have a stategy that will speed the process. Then, tonight I plan to finish appliquing the ornaments on my Christmas quilt.  Because I want to have both of these quilts ready to take along for hand stitching of the binding, I have to really focus today.

My husband finished all 30 of his large 16 patch blocks yesterday.  He has been careful to trim all the threads, press the seams with care, and do a pretty good job of matching all the corners. 12 of them have embroidered animals in the middle instead of 4 of the patches (The embroidered squares have a little pull in them, but his dad made them with love, so he will work with them -  He said the fit in because they will be part of a "loving quilt".  He is going to try and have it all put together in the next few days, including the border.  He said he thinks that I want to do the quilting, but we will see.  My schedule is full, but I like to keep him inspired.  lol

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I did it!

My goal for this day was to quilt four more of the blocks in the 5 Seasons quilt that I made with my FIL.  It is 5:12 PM and I have reached my goal.  I have 11 done.  That means there are only 9 more plus the inner and other border to do with the SSOITD (stitch-sort-of-in-the-ditch)  This quilt is far too large for me to handle easily in my domestic machine, but I thought it might be better for SID than on the longarm.  Fortunately the thread tends to blend in and as my husband calls these quilts - loving quilts, it is just fine with me.  I will try to do something more on this tonight be cause the ultimate goal is to complete the hand sewing on the binding within the next week.

While I have been working on mine he has continued to work on his own quilt.  Because he has shingles he can't do lots of his normal things, like go to work in a uniform (belt rubs on the shingles).  He has been handling work stuff over the phone and computer since nobody cares that he wears sweats if they don't see them.  He has some big pains in some areas so he sews a little, works a little, and then takes naps.  He does not know how to just sit still, except when he is reading and he tends to rest his book at his waist, so....

He has not lost his edge, though.  He has won 3 of 4 cribbage games in the last two days.  That means I have lost 3 of 4.  Not complaining though because I just like to spend time with him.

The Four Seasons Challenge

I have done a few smaller quilts using SITD on my domestic, but this is the first full size and probably the last!  It seems to take forever to do one block and there are 20 to do.  Wish I could say that all the stitches are hidden, but I am going to let some of that slide and just "get it done."  It is 8:55 AM and I am just about finished with the 7th block.  I am posting this right now so that I will feel accountable to report in later today.  I have a couple of small errands to do, but no snow to shovel, so I am setting a goal of completing 4 more blocks today.  Before the weekend comes, I plan to have it finished and have the binding attached so that it can be stitched down on our next car trip.  It is one of my UFO projects for guild. 

My UFO goal for the month had been to finish the quilt that Jamie and I were each making, but I decided that I needed to deal with some that would ultimately give me binding to do on our adventures.  I also have a queen size Christmas quilt that my FIL and I worked on together, and I got it quilted early this week and have attached and hand sewn 2 sides of the binding.  I have 7 round ornament appliques that I plan to add, as well.   I just keep plugging away.  No new quilts planned for me but have a customer quilt (one from start to finish) that needs to get going next week.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Heart String Blocks, Banana Bread, and MORE SNOW

6 x10 rectangles
6 x 6 with a 2 1/2 " border

juvenile prints 50 x70

2 Quilts of Valor and 1 for a women's shelter

6 x10 rectangles

All of the 50 x 70 size quilts were put together at our sewing day.  The 6 x 6 with the green dotted centers needs to have the binding added.  The rectangular block quilts are not finished but wanted to share.  There are a number of others that need just a couple more blocks or borders, and then there are some that are only halfway there.  I believe that 9 tops went home with members to be finished.  One lady called to tell me she was going to put her top together today since it was snowing and she needed to be doing something.  Hope that holds for several others, too.  Guess you can already figure out that I will have a number of quilts to quilt in the next few weeks.  Love doing these!

I spent the morning repacking all the semi-completed quilt tops and putting all the other things that I took to the sewing day back in their places.  I followed that up by making some delicious banana bread using my mom's recipe. 

As we finished lunch the snow plows went by in each direction so I headed out to clear away the snow.  My guess is that we had 13-15 inches total, but then it is snowing again, so...  While I was clearing the snow (already had cleared the snow the plow had added to the driveway) the plow made one more pass on our side of the street and re-filled my driveway.  The driver did smile and look a little guilty, but I am still glad I had cleared the first bunch because the second was just as large a pile.  Kevin came out and supervised, so I think he is feeling a little better. 

Now we are back inside.....had a hot drink and a slice of banana bread while we warmed up.  The laundry is almost done and I am going to get back to quilting the queen size Christmas quilt.  Hope to have it done today so that I can attach the binding and do the hand sewing while we watch a movie tonight.  It is just one of those cozy kind of days.