Sunday, January 26, 2014

Next Project

I was going to list out a bunch of quilts I want to make in 2014, but I'm so wishy-washy sometimes on what I feel like doing.  So I'll pick as I go.  I decided once I've finished up James River Blues, that I've earned the right to start a new quilt!  "Earned"?  LOL.  Okay, I've made a deal with myself.  Finish up an old UFO and you can start a new quilt!

After much going back and forth, I decided to do "Hurrah" by Minick & Simpson!

When I first saw the pattern unveiled at Market, I knew I wanted to make it!

I have a stash chock full of Minick & Simpson fabric.  I'm so funny sometimes - I don't want to use a particular fabric because then I won't have it any more.  Does anyone else do that?  But no more!!

So 2014 will be a stash year.  I think M&S is a great way to start! 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

I Survived Road 2014

I pooped out and came home about 1:30.

That list I made served me well.  Primitive Gatherings and Jaybird Quilts were on the same aisle within a few booths of each other.  Bernina -- yes, I went there -- was just over on the next row.  I bought bobbins!  Seriously!  That's all I bought there.  Anyway, I was done with my list in 15 minutes.  That must be a record for Road!  The pictures are lousy, but here they are.

At Primitive Gatherings I picked up some dark and light blue charms.  That's it!  Do I get kudos for that?!

At Jaybird Quilts, after hugging on Julie and Mary Ann (and Lawrence), I snagged the Mini Hex N More ruler, three mini patterns, Radio Way, Disco and Northern Lights, and a charm back of Kona solids to make the Mini Disco.  I didn't have the Sidekick ruler, so got that, as well as Julie's new block of the month design book, Park Bench.  More than was on my list, but that's the way it goes!  I met Julie when she first started blogging, and have so enjoyed watching her career blossom.  She's such an adorable young lady, and I'm proud to call her my friend!

The last thing I decided to get after pondering it for a while was an Oliso iron.  I know several folks who have one and they love it.  I will probably take it to Louisiana with me when I go next time and leave it there.  The little $10 iron I bought at Walmart over Christmas didn't get very hot, but I was able to iron enough with it to get my money's worth.   

I did some shopping for a friend at Superior Thread.  She sent me a list and I was totally lost looking for that thread.  A nice lady who works there saw my look of bewilderment, took the list and found everything for me in three seconds flat!

I picked up two patterns, one for me and one for a friend.  That concluded my shopping!

There are some awfully beautiful quilts hanging in the show.  The best of show was -- well, it WAS the best of show.  I won't post a picture here because I don't think I'm supposed to, but it was a stunning applique quilt by Sharon Schamber.  The Road site, I'm sure, will post the winners after the show.   There were a lot of gorgeous traditional quilts.  There was one basket quilt in particular that had baskets quilted in the solid blocks between the pieced baskets.  It was stunning and I think it won a ribbon as well.

I'm going to go back tomorrow for a little while.  I want to look again at the new and larger Sew Ezi table.  That might make it more comfortable sewing in Louisiana than up on that fold-out table.  They will ship it there for me if I decide to get it.  Need to think about that overnight.  Also Bernina has an awesome sewing chair.  I'll look at it again tomorrow and decide if the show price is special enough to get it now or wait until later.

I am so happy right now.  I haven't been to anything quilty since last January.  It was a much needed break in the monotony of my quiet little world.  And I'm heading into the sewing room right now to work on those 44 remaining James River Blues blocks.

Oh oh oh oh, I forgot something.  (Quit laughing!)  In the entryway to the convention center, there are quilts hanging from the various vendors.  The last one caught my eye.

It was the same block as in James River Blues.  It's a common block but I don't remember the name of it right now.  Anyway, the blocks were much smaller and the setting was stunning.  As you can see, part of the blocks were black and it really made a wonderful setting.

Okay, now I'm done!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Monday, January 20, 2014

James River Blues Blocks

I've sewn for two days - and I've loved every single second of it!

When taking inventory of the tub with the blocks, I was disappointed to find that I only had 30 done.  I was sure there were many more than that.  I did find lots of parts and pieces, and scraps cut to the correct size.  I had done so much cutting up front.  That's probably why I was sure I was further along.  But it was very easy to pick up again.

So now I have 100 blocks done!  Just need 44 more!

I made this project so much harder than it had to be by using the scraps.  I had bits of fat quarters and small odd shaped pieces from which I was able to cut at least one square.  There are a wide variety of fabrics, from Judie Rothermel dating back to the late 1990s up to more current reproduction fabrics from the last couple of years.  Nothing was strip pieced.  Those squares were sewn together one at a time!  Tedious, sure, but so enjoyable! 

I'm just about out of scraps now.  Before I go cutting into yardage, I want to look around at the quilt show next weekend and see if I can't find some small cuts of blues and shirtings that might work for fillers.  Variety will be key here. 

This was a fun weekend.  I definitely need to do this more often!!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Lost and Found

I couldn't find my leader scrap anywhere, so I started a new one.

Then I found it.

I am dazzled by my brilliance!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Weekend - Finally

This has been an extraordinarily long week.  Several reasons for that, but nothing interesting enough to talk about here.  Just suffice it to say I'm real glad it's Saturday.

I was supposed to get fasting blood work this morning - a self-imposed date - but I'll do it tomorrow.  I was up half the night and now the coffee pot beckons.  Plus, Penny is in there chowing down on her food and it just made me jealous.  I know, I know, I shouldn't be jealous of a dog but I am.  I mean, she does nothing all day except sleep, look cute, and then eats whenever she pleases.  I heart my dog.

This weekend will be spent plowing through the house.  I'm in the mood to pitch and toss and box and generally start the process of getting rid of stuff.  Maybe January spring cleaning?

My plowing will include rounding up five Short List projects, rounding up a few tops to send out to be quilted, and then pulling in maybe three UFOs to work on.  I'm afraid if I pull more than three, I'll get overwhelmed again.  I've suffered from overwhelmitis a lot in the past five years.

The first project I'm going to work on - starting today, even if it's just for a few minutes - is James River Blues.  Why? 

Because there are three tubs assigned to this project.  Yes, three.  The nuclear physicist or brain surgeon that I am, I thought I'd do scrappy totally from my stash instead of just choosing 12 blues and 12 backgrounds.  Literally scrappy.  I dug around in the scrap bin one day unearthing every Civil War blue or blue shirting scrap I had.  Couldn't be black; had to be blue.  Then I spent another three days doing the same in the stash.  I'm committed now because I don't think I can switch to a limited number of fabrics at this point.  I don't know how many blocks are made but I suspect there are quite a few - probably more than half of the required 144.  In any event, it's mindless sewing, more or less, and that's just what the doctor ordered up for today.

I think the reason I put this aside is -- well, there are several reasons, most of which I probably can't remember now, but work was a big part of it. We sold the company a year after my boss' death, and that is probably the biggest project I've ever undertaken or will ever undertake.  Getting Penny was another big part.  She'll be five years old next month.  Do the math.  Here, I'll make it easy.  I started this on 2/22/09.  The few hours of down time I had for that first couple of years were spent with her.  She was my sanity at the end of a long day.  I missed my Daisy so much and, I'll admit, the bonding took a while with Penny, but we bonded and we're happy and I love her so much.  Time to get back to the project that she interrupted.

Wow, going back through the blog turned up quite a few quilts that need to be finished.  Best not look any more right now.  I'll get overwhelmed again!  I'll be at the Bernina if you need me!

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Best Laid Plans

Well, I've been home a week and a half and have accomplished little to nothing.

My second day back at work I developed a horrible toothache.  Got in to see the dentist immediately.  He sent me to the endodontist immediately.  I'm going to need a root canal - that couldn't be done until the 20th.  The 20th.  That was like almost three weeks away.  The good news is that the crown won't have to be removed; they can go through it.  The bad news is it's another blasted root canal.  I told the dentists that I was sure every tooth in my mouth had been root canaled at least twice!

But both doctors assured me that the antibiotics and Prednisone would make it feel much better very quickly.  It didn't.  Not until today.  A week later.

So I haven't felt like doing diddly since I've been home.  The box with the clamshell project that I shipped back here to CA is sitting unopened.  I finally got clothes in the laundry yesterday as I was down to the last decent pair of underwear.  And you know what all moms probably say about decent underwear!

And the Saints lost!

But I digress ...

I think things will go better from here on out.  I plan on making headway on something in the sewing room next weekend.  I think I'll make clamshells 50 at a time, and then put them aside for a few days and do it again.  I did get the bed measured that this quilt will go on and made the header that the first row of clams will be attached to.  I did that on my last day in Louisiana.  It's just a matter now of making the rest of the clams and attaching the rows.  I will have to machine applique them, and I'm not looking forward to shoving around that much quilt top through the machine.  This quilt will be beautiful but it's going to be a slow process.  I want it done this year, so I'll keep plugging away at it. 

Another thing I want to get back to is my Short List.  That totally went by the wayside in 2013 because of the health issues.  The two quilts left on the list will be easy enough to finish up. One needs a final border and backing pieced.  The other needs to have the backing re-pieced because I made it too small.  Then I'll make a new Short List.  I already know one that will go on that list, or maybe two.  Five is the max on the short list!

Since a couple of folks emailed me to see if  I had fallen off the face of the earth, I thought I'd best post something. 

Here are some Christmas quilts that I shipped back to Louisiana.  The one in front was made not very long after I started quilting.  It was a "hard" quilt for me at that time.  The pattern was a free Moda pattern (which I wish I could find), and the fabric was Robyn Pandolph's Folk Art Christmas I and II - in the good old days when she was with Moda.  It will probably always be one of my favorites!

So I'm all caught up now on news - which wasn't very much.  But I managed to make a long post out of no news!

EDIT:  I found Moda's Folk Art Christmas Stars pattern!  It was Item #PS11, and was made using the I  and II collections.  I don't have the great color copy, but just a photocopied cutting sheet.  All of my newbie notes all over it crack me up!  I really wish Moda would re-release some of those old free patterns using the new lines.  I found several that I had printed off and they are great!  They were all in an overflowing binder on the bottom shelf of a bookcase.  I was so diligent back then about keeping it all organized!  I even found the info on the first two beginner classes I took in September of 2001!

I really examined this quilt over Christmas.  Considering I was a brand-spanking new quilter, I did a wonderful job on it.  All of the points were there and it was square and flat!  LOL.  I will definitely make this one again!

Sunday, January 05, 2014

The New Year

I'm back home and trying to get unpacked and organized.  I left a huge mess.  I pulled out every box I could find to ship stuff, and left the extras piled in the kitchen.  The garbage folks won't like me this week!

I didn't take a lot of pictures when I was home because it was so blasted cold outside!  I think my blood has thinned living in SoCal.  It's supposed to get really cold in Louisiana this coming week, so I guess I left at just the right time!  The flight home was uneventful and passed swiftly.  Not so with the flight going over.  We were grounded for three hours in Dallas because of weather, and then had an exceptionally nasty flight on the little American Eagle to Louisiana.  My legs were rubbery when I got off the plane.  I'm usually not bothered by turbulence but was this time!

I drove my brother's Jeep around while I was there.  The farmers were harvesting their sugarcane, and those trucks were dumping huge amounts of mud on the roads.  We had just enough rain to make everything real slick, so I was driving very carefully.  Of course, his Jeep got very dirty.  I should have washed the mud off before I brought it back to him, but it was too blasted cold for me to fool around with water hoses.  And I forgot to put gas in it, too.  Sorry!  I promise it won't happen again!

I did take one trip while I was there back to the town where I grew up.  High school classmates were meeting up at a seafood restaurant for dinner and I decided to join them.  It was wonderful visiting with folks I haven't seen in more years than I care to remember.  I also visited with my mother's first cousin while I was there.  I spent a lot of time with her family in the summertime when Mom was working, and have such fond memories of those times.  She is the best cook!  It was a 2.5 hour drive each way, and I felt a little beat up driving the Jeep, but I'm really happy I went.

The old quilt I finished for my sister-in-law made her cry.  The top was really challenging as it was all hand pieced, but I managed to get it flat and square and then grid quilted it in one direction.  My friend, Sally, made a gorgeous quilt label for it which she shipped to me in Louisiana.  I thought I had packed all the quilting supplies I would need but forgot hand sewing needles.  I ran to WalMart there on Christmas Eve, and I found one of those variety packs.  Let me tell you, those were some dull needles, but I managed it to get it sewn on in time.  I had queried Gail about who made the quilt and when because I knew I wanted to label it.  She didn't know I had finished the quilt, and asked me why I wanted to know.  I told her I always wonder about the quilter who made these old tops.  Well, she sure was surprised to see the label with her grandmother's name on it!  I was so happy that I could finish it for her.  I love you, Gail!

It's confusing reading the label because Gail's grandmother had the same last name as our family name.  No relation, though!  That's a real common name down there, kind of like Smith or Jones!

Penny was SO happy to see me when I picked her up yesterday.  Two weeks must seem like a lifetime to animals.  She's adjusted very quickly to being home, but is keeping me in her line of sight.  If I disappear around a corner, she comes running to find me.  It was a long two weeks for me, too, without her!

I'm going to try to swing another trip in the summer.  I'm already homesick!