Friday, January 4, 2008

Surprise, surprise!

Look what I found in a bookbag in my bedroom! I started this this past summer when I drove out to Colorado with a friend. She was moving back there. I had pieced this, and began to hand quilt it on the trip. It's about 47" square.

This was draped over my quilt frame, and my husband stopped and stared at it. "Wow!", he exclaimed. "Tell me we're keeping that!" LOL! It will live in our kitchen (with dark red walls behind it). Just a little more hand quilting, and the binding and sleeve to go. I'm going to get the binding put on in just a minute here.

There will be time for a little hand sewing at church tonight. My DH and oldest 5 are going to a 24-hour retreat starting at 4 PM. For some crazy reason, I volunteered to prepare supper tonight and lunch tomorrow. At least I can hand sew when I'm finished with my responsibilities!

Off to prepare binding...


Carolina Crossroads ~ Unit 5 Finished + Box

Finished unit 5...100 3-1/2" square hourglass blocks.

This is my little magic box from which will come a Carolina Crossroads quilt some day. Bonnie teased me this AM by posting a pic of the finished quilt...from the BACK!

I am eager to see the final design, but I guess I'll just have to wait . Good things come to those that wait. If that's true, I have a whole lot of good things coming.


Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Rest of the Story...String Quilt History

My FIL and his wife are visiting with us. I showed him the string block quilt, and he was so surprised (above is one of the 3 blocks quilted thus far). Turns out I got the wrong information about the blocks before. They were actually pieced by my FIL's GRANDmother in the 1930's. Her name was Minnie Parker. Of course, my dry sense of humor had the label in mind..."Started by Minnie Parker, quilted by Maxi Parker."

Back to true history. FIL's aunt kept her mother's quilt blocks and tops, and FIL inherited them when his aunt died. So Aunt Ruby didn't sew any of them, she just saved them for posterity.

The string used to piece the blocks? That's another story. FIL's grandfather was a farmer. He became crippled when a mule he was riding threw him then stepped on his back. Grandfather eventually opened a mercantile. My FIL personally wound the strings from feedsacks and the string "zippers" at the top of meal bags and animal chow bags into a ball so his grandmother could use them for piecing quilt blocks and tops.

So there you have it...the rest of the story.


Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Carolina Crossroads Unit 5 Start

Above is the first step of sewing Unit 5 of the Carolina Crossroads quilt. My accent color is black, so back to cutting I went. My sewing machine faces out a set of French doors. Great for light, horrid for cold. It has been uncharacteristically cold today. It's only 28 degrees now. Frigid for us!!

Some half units ironed. This is from the "foot" of my ironing board (the new cover was a Xmas gift from DD3). In the distance you can see my L-shaped table with my sewing machine to the left and my computer straight ahead. The priority mail boxes are there to block out the light that comes in the window behind the computer. They are not a permanent feature...only between 1-3 PM. Please don't report me to the post office officials.

Today I rec'd a DVD on freehand machine quilting by Dawn Ramirez. What a hoot! I can't wait to try some of her techniques. I think our I Spy baby quilts are the perfect place to practice. I'll be sewing wonky feathers and dwirling in no time.

I heard from an old friend (hi, Cindy) today via belated Xmas newsletter. Seeing her return address just put a smile on my face. So many good memories. Nothing like a good friend, is there?

Have a good night,


Another Reason to Be Thankful for Teenagers

My wonderful son (shown above in case there are those who wonder who in the world I could be referring to--he's 14, DS2) showed me that I can take extremely detailed photos with my camera. Yes--the very one we've been using for more than a year! The reason to be thankful for teenagers is because they can teach you all the ins and outs of your electronic gizmos. Who needs a reference manual when you've got a teenager? I have 5 teens, BTW (18, 17, 16, 14, 13).

So...stay tuned for those close-ups. He also introduced me to the joy of no-flash photography (alleviating those pesky glares on glasses and windows, not to mention shiny painted walls). I took a pic of a runner I'm quilting, and the thread looks like railroad tracks on a landscape picture. I'll post more pictures later.

Thank you, God, for teenagers. You don't hear THAT every day!


For Kairle...There's No Stopping Us Now!!

Just a quick post for my friend, Kairle. Look what I found this AM!! There's no stopping us now!

I know I'll hear from her when she sees this :)


Tuesday, January 1, 2008

New Year, New Projects

Above is my latest block love. I've been seeing pictures of this quilt in magazine advertisements for years. Some day...some day...

Twelve made so far. They are 7" finished size. Each set spins in opposite directions, so one is used for the border and one for the center. Each set has one fabric for the center and one for the outside. See the sets?

The space is where a border will go to separate the center from the border.

I think one of the things I like so much about blogging is the understanding of the other quilters. I bet none of those reading this are thinking, "Why is she making another quilt? Didn't she just finish one? How many does she need? How long will it take to finish this one?" I've heard all those questions in the past few days from folks. I figure if they are asking, there is no need to explain...they won't get it anyway!!

I'm looking forward to getting back to ordinary life. My parents are leaving tomorrow and my husband's are arriving in the afternoon. I hope to get back to our regular schedule Monday. I plan to take all the Christmas decorations down this weekend and make the house look normal. No home made cookies for a month (she says in half seriousness).

Off to take my daughter's friend home and pick up my son from work.

Until tomorrow,


Monday, December 31, 2007

Quilting in the New Year

Inspired by Tonya, who I've never met in person, but have read her blog faithfully, I tried my hand at marking freehand fans tonight. it was sooooo easy. These are 1-1/4" apart. I decided to quilt them with white thread on navy blue fabric. Have I lost my mind? Partially, LOL!!

This is what I got finished in less than an hour. Some of my friends say I piece and quilt entirely too quickly. It's a burden I'm willing to bear! These are going so fasy. When I quilt the blocks, I have to turn the quilt at the end of every piece because I can only quilt from right to left. That takes time.

My family, parents, and temporarily adopted daughter watched "Flywheel" tonight. It is by the same church that made "Facing the Giants" more recently. A very moving story line about a husband/father/used car salesman who is not doing a good job at any of those things and turns his life over to God. Watch it if you haven't. After the movie, we prayed to thank God for the past year and trust Him for the one coming up. I hope you do the same.


Hand Quilting Godsend

This is a Christmas gift a friend made for me this year. It is called a chatelaine. It's already been so useful in keeping all my hand-quilting supplies together. She paper pieced the strap, and it has neat features...

The third square up from the bottom above the spool of thread has a magnet sewn under the top layer of fabric. I don't use this much, but it is a cool feature.

This is a built-in needle book that snaps closed. It is also on the thread side.

This is on the scissors side. It is a little pocket for my thimble. What a GREAT idea! Right below it is another pocket that I keep my hera marker in when I'm doing a quilt that I am using it on.

These are "hangers" for scissors and thread. They are thin straps with snaps at the end. I am using safety scissors because all I'm doing with them is cutting thread. I started with my pair of trusty Gingher embroidery scissors, but they are way too pointy and sharp. I didn't lose any blood, but I had to hold my breath that they wouldn't fall open and inflict a fatal wound to me or a quilt.

Just wanted to share this special gift with you.


Machine quilting on I Spy Quilt #1

Here is our first (of this batch anyway!) I spy quilts quilted. I used a variegated primary color thread and just quilted swirly pinwheels in the yellow blocks. I did the same in the border. I don't usually quilt in the novelty prints. How did that "quilting thread" square get in there?

The yellow thread blends into the background and seems to disappear from view.


Sunday, December 30, 2007

My Blue Nativity Quilt ~ Better Late Than Never...??

Above is a nativity quilt that I intended to hang in my foyer this year. The bright yellow basting thread is still on it because it's not finished. It is hand quilted with navy blue thread.

I didn't get the embroidered piece at the bottom until several days before Christmas. By that time, all my other decorations were cemented into place. Maybe next year? I did not know that it would take over 2 weeks to embroider one little piece of fabric. This is about 34" x 40".

This quilt is about the beauty of blogging. I have never found an applique method I liked. I read a blog of a woman who loves to applique. She even has a tutorial for this very method on her site. A big bloggy thank you to her at Thee Handworks.

I should make a list of all the *inspirations*, ideas, and insights I've received from reading a handful of favorite blogs. I'm talking about the ones that make me want to be a better person, be more loving, smile at my children more (now the rubber is meeting the road, huh?). They are out there, and I appreciate them.

Just a close-up of the manger area.

And CLOSER still, LOL! Next thing you know, you'll be in the manger. This method (back basting) was so easy and effortless (notice I didn't say fast--I don't want to lie) that I will not be afraid to applique again.

Have a blessed Sunday. I'm off to choir practice in a few.

My DD2's best friend will be staying with us for a week. She often calls me her 2nd mom. I can't hold a candle to her first one, so I'll be happy with that.