Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year (what else?)

One last post for the year 2008. It's been an interesting year, ups and downs, triumphs and frustrations, but I can't complain! Christmas was lovely, despite a nasty cold. I enjoyed having my girls home, and sharing my grandson's first Christmas. And as a bonus found out that next Christmas there'll be another grandbaby to enjoy! One of the best presents of all!

Quilted a lot this year, but nothing spectacular. Oh, but the ideas are running through my head for the next fabulous quilt! Nothing concrete yet, but the inspirations are coming together, and the designing is under way. Fabric and stitching be happening soon, I think!

I spent the last couple of days finishing up a UFO project. A set of blocks from a Swap I did with my fellow Quiltsy Members (Quilting street team on Etsy). The colors were blue and green and they were a lovely set of blocks, but I could not figure out how in the world to set them together. Nothing seemed to work in blue or green and it just muddied up the blocks and they didn't stand out. Then I was inspired to try an alternate color. I didn't have a good orange, but found the nicest yellow that was perfect to set them off! Now each block sparkles like the jewel it is!

One of the nice thing about working with these blocks is the fact that each of them was exactly the right size and square! How often does that happen in a swap? I tell you, the Quiltsy team is one talented set of quilters, and any quilt you would buy from them would would be well worth your money!

I even have the back ready. I pieced it (yeah, me!) using the one leftover block which was a duplicate of my own, and the leftover fabric that I purchased to make my blocks with. I even have plenty for binding! All I have to do is rustle up a square of batting to fit and I'm ready to quilt. That would be a good project for tomorrow. Well, Happy New Year to you all! Stay safe and have a wonderful evening, and I'll be back next year (I know, I'm just corny that way!)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Another Rescued Project

As you know, I have a hard time resisting something for free. It's hard to turn someone down when they want to give you something for nothing - but I am learning! But this particular project was before those days, and it is one of many partially done projects that I am determined to finish, even if they didn't start in my own sewing room.

I had a set of six finished blocks, and a couple small pieces of yardage with a few strips thrown in for good measure. I decided the blocks just needed a simple setting with sashing, then bordered with the same brown. There was just enough of the yellow to make the binding. The leftover strips were enough to make hanging tags which I thought looked quite nice.

I thought all the hand-painted faces on the kitties were adorable, and I love that hungry looking one looking down at the mouse!

The bells were also on the package, so I added them with a touch of blue embroidery floss tied with a little bow. A couple of the cats had ears that were pressed down, but I pressed them back up because I liked them better that way. All in all a very cute quilt, and better a finished quilt than a baggie of bits and pieces!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Oh, Christmas Tree...Take 2

I know, what does a Christmas tree have to do with quilting? Nothing actually, other than the fact that it kept me from doing much yesterday! Why would that be, you ask. Well, it has a lot to do with the fact that I own two cats and a dog. And they have been inside for several days because of bad weather. And when my daughter set up the Christmas tree the first time we heard a crack down at the stand.

I was puttering around in the sewing room yesterday morning, then walked into the living room only to find to my total disgust and horror that my beautiful Christmas tree was laying on the floor, ornaments scattered all around and the angel topper laying in disarray above the mess.

So I got to spend the next few hours disassembling our tree, repairing the stand, reassembling the tree and then decorating it....again. We attached the tree to two walls with fishing line, hoping to discourage a third incident. (Been there, done that before!) Despite it all, the tree looks lovely, my angel still works, and all is well. Plus I have strategically placed a basket to prevent the dog from going behind the tree. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we'll survive for another couple of weeks!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Talk about a long term project...

I finally finished that Christmas quilt I have been working on for several years! I think it's been four years since I purchased the fabric for it. Last year I actually layered and pinned it, but never got around to quilting it, so this year that was a priority for me. I actually finished it Thanksgiving weekend, but due to the abduction of my camera wasn't able to take pictures. (My camera went to Portland in my daughters purse by accident!)
That is where a cell phone can come in handy. These pictures aren't the greatest, but at least I can share what I accomplished!
This is the applique that I did on the corners. That was two years ago! I used batiks to make the lovely holly leaves and berries. To make the berries nice and round I stacked freezer paper for the templates and used spray starch painted on the seam allowances to turn them under nice and tight (a great trick gleaned from watching Simply Quilts!). I've tried basting and pulling the seam allowances around a mylar template, and also tried using a metal washer, but the seam allowances just didn't stay in place as well as they do when you use a touch of starch.
This is the aplique after quilting. I did a fairly small meander in the white, and went around the holly berries. I think after I take this quilt down I will add veins in the holly leaves and perhaps some beading to give it a little sparkle.

The outer border gave me the most trouble, mostly because the pattern in the book had a very cool continuous line leaf pattern that I really wanted to use, but I had already layered the quilt. So, I ended up biting the bullet and making a stencil for the pattern. It took me longer to make the stencil and do the marking than it did to do the quilting, but it was well worth the effort. I used my heat tool with a stencil tip, but wasn't too thrilled with how it worked. There were a lot of burned plastic lumps left on the template and it chewed up my blue pen something awful. But I did get the results I wanted and I suppose in the end that is what was most important. Next time I'll use my light table and mark before I baste! In the black border with holly leaves I free motioned my own holly leaf design which really worked out well! I used a gold toned thread after using a metallic in the center and not being impressed with that. The non metallic gold tone looks just as good.

All in all a job well done, if not a timely job. I am happy with the quilt and it's beautiful hanging over the mantle! Now it's on to other quilts that are begging to be finished, one of which will be the strip robin. It needs to be hung in my husbands office!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Why Should You Buy a Handmade Quilt?

This topic has been rambling through my head a lot lately. With budgets being tight and people trying to get the most for their money I am frequently asked this question. Of course, when I am put on the spot I can't come up with the articulate reasons that I can after a day or two of deep thinking, Winnie the Pooh style!

Reason No.. 1: Because you LOVE it! To me, this is one of the best reasons, though there is no quantifying or qualifying it. It's like meeting the man of your dreams, or finding a Bosom Friend - you just know it. Something in that quilt touches something in your soul and you have to have it.

Reason No. 2: A handmade quilt is one of a kind, and you will never find another just like it. At least in the case of the quilts I have made, you are highly unlikely to find one just like it. Two quilters can use the same pattern and the same fabric and come up with two very different quilts! Some of my quilts are made as shop samples, and if I have made it with the fabrics it was made for you may be able to find another one, but for the most case they are one of a kind quilts. I work a lot from my stash, so there may be fabrics used together that you won't find anywhere else.

Reason No. 3: A handmade quilt will endure. I have made each of my children a bed sized quilt for their first big bed - at the age of 2. With one exception every one of these quilts endured throughout their childhood all the way through high school. The exception was a quilt I made with 99 cent a yard fabric, and it wore out much faster. Each of these quilts were used daily, washed when needed (and you know how it is with kids!) and generally treated with little respect. When two of my daughters were in high school they wanted to buy one of those bed in a bag sets you can get for less than $100. Neither one of these lasted more than a year.

I have a quilt that I made 18 years ago for my bed. It is a special quilt, hand quilted and has lots of hours of labor in it. I have used it regurlarly for about 4 months out of the year, washing it at the end of each use. It still looks almost new, and I know that eventually I will be able to hand it down to one of my girls as an heirloom. Yes, you can buy a quilt for around $100.00 at any department store. But how long will it last? I can tell you that I have made a good amount of money repairing these inexpensive quilts, and they are no bargain - you will get a year or two out of them and a few washings, but that's about it.

Reason No. 4: You are supporting an artist, not a factory. By buying handmade, your money actually goes to the person who is doing the work, not a CEO or the Chairmen, or a bunch of stock-holders. You are helping someone support their family and a way of life that is getting lost in this busy world. A quilt takes time and thought. It comes from the heart and imagination of the quilter. There is love in this process, and the world needs more love!

Reason No. 5: Quilts keep you warm! There is nothing better than snuggling under a warm quilt with a hot cup of tea and a book on a chilly day - and you can turn the heat down and save a little money on your heating bill, too.

Reason No. 6: Quilts are wonderful decorating accents. Ask an Interior Designer - a beautiful quilt can make a room! Whether it's hung on a wall as art, or draped over a chair as an accent piece, the right quilt can make your room a beautiful place to live.

I can probably come up with a lot more, but these are the ones that come to my mind right now. I don't think any home is complete without a quilt or two (or a dozen!) but of course, that's my passion. I do know that the expense of a handmade quilt is small for the value you will receive when buying it. There are times when buying on the cheap is good, but just like in clothing, if you spend a little more on quality, you will get a lot more for your money in the long run!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Day by Day

I'm feeling better, and am getting back to normal! I've been busy and getting things done, including doing some cleaning out in my sewing room. I started to organize my UFO's (UnFinished Objects) and got to 9 before I gave up and started stashing them in drawers and bins! I do have a rather large basket of things I'd like to finish before year's end, so have my work cut out for me!

One bit of very good news is that I found all my small sewing scissors! I have been baffled by their disappearance, but had no clue as to where I had stashed them. I figured that they were in the bottom of my chair or something similar. I was looking for some red and green quilting thread to make yo-yos on Friday, and found them in my tin of quilting thread. I had done a demo at the quilt show in 2007 on hand quilting, and left them in the tin, and put the tin up on a decorative shelf a month later without looking inside. Was I ever happy to see them! Especially the one that goes around my neck - it's so handy to have to use when I'm hand quilting.

I suppose I don't have much else to add for now, but am excited to share my new projects as I finish them. Can I get 9 done before the end of the year? We shall see! Tomorrow I will post my list and I'll keep my progress updated.

Oh, I got a pattern written up for my journal covers and will have that listed in my Etsy shop soon! In the meantime, here are a couple that I did for my friend Patti:

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Holiday Ball

The ladies of the house have been recently invited to a holiday ball. The invitation says we are to arrive dressed in our best Jane Austen attire, so I have spent the last couple of days looking at dresses online. I will probably be inspired to read some of my books also before the event, but what caught my imagination today was the quilt made by Jane!
Isn't it lovely? I really like the simplicity of it, enhanced by the lovely array of beautiful fabrics. I wonder where she got all the fabrics? Leftovers from clothing, traded with friends, purchased with the intent of making a quilt? What did she think about while she sewed it all together, was it an enjoyable escape, or a project she wanted to get finished? I'm sure as a quilter I look at it much differently than a non quilter would. I can imagine her deciding on the placement of the diamonds, fussing over whether the reds are too close together, or if that dark patch looks right in that spot. Running her hands over the top, gathering the memories behind the fabrics and enjoying the feel of the quilting. Feeling accomplished that she has created this thing of beauty out of bits and pieces.

I will probably read her books with different eyes now!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What Can I Say

I have been remiss in my blogging, but for some reason I just haven't felt like I've had anything to say. There has been a lot going on, but not too much of it having to do with quilting, which is what I like to write about. I've been working on a couple of projects for myself, which is nice. I made this beautiful quilted journal for my Etsy notebook. I knew I wanted to make it Orange for Etsy, so I used the leftover fabrics from Dancing Fans to make smaller log cabin blocks like in the quilt. It came out wonderfully, and I am enjoying using it!

I am also working on a new winter quilt (technically it will be a comforter) for my bed. I am going to use two layers of fluffy poly batting and tie it with embroidery floss. I am using a light brown sheet for the back. I discovered that I had accidentally purchased a fitted sheet, so had to make a special trip to exchange it for a flat one! Anyway, the top is done so now I just have to layer and tie it. I may layer it tomorrow, it would be nice to have done this weekend because next week I go to have my gall bladder "sucked out" as my daughter puts it!I have quite a few loose ends to tie up in the next few days, but I hope to make a return to more regular blogging as I recuperate. Hopefully I won't be out of my sewing room for too long, but I think a break will be a good thing for me. I'm looking forward to being a little lazy and reading some books and playing video games without feeling guilty!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Shop Samples

I took my camera last week to document some of the samples I have hanging in Threads That Bind right now. Some of them will be coming home soon, so it's time to create some new ones! This one is just a simple border I added to a panel. The panel is really cute, and it's made to be customized with a name, address and initial in a heart on the tree.
This is the paper lantern sample I made from a pattern. Isn't that orange geisha next to it wonderful? It is from a series of four different ones. Very dramatic, and lovely.

This is the dancing fans quilt that I made last year - I'll be taking it home soon and adding it to my Etsy shop! It is a beauty, so I'm thinking it will have a new home very quickly. I'm not much on orange, but this quilt is so attractive that it almost makes me wish that it would look nice in my house (unfortunately it would look very out of place in my country house!).
And the final picture today is of one of my original design, All Seasons Basket. The blue and yellow is a spring version and the Brown is the fall one. I'm currently working on a very elegant looking Chrismas version with a fabric featuring partridges in pear trees! It will be very lovely. I have many patterns printed up of this quilt, so I just need to get to get busy selling it- one of the to do list of things I have that's about a mile long. It's been selling nicely at the shop here, so I think it's a winner! My next pattern I'm working on is for my quilted journal covers. Just needs some tightening up and I'll have that one ready to market.
I really enjoy working at the shop, it's a great outlet for me, and Sharan has been such an encouragement in my life. I appreciate her so much for all she's done for me. I have learned so much from working there, not to mention developing a taste for the wonderful fabrics that we have! It's a wonderful thing to have a job that is enjoyable, challenging and fun, and I am truly thankful that I am so blessed.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Complete Joy!

Nothing like finishing a project to put a smile on my face. Especially one that has languished in a pile for far too long a time. Many months ago I took an oriental panel and some coordinating fat quartes intending to create a small wall hanging to showcase the panel. I also purchased a ruler and a book on Piping hot Binding to go with this project. I got the fan blocks for the corners paper pieced some time ago, but since then it's just been sitting.

I was asked to do a demonstration on piping at the quilt show, so I decided to use this project as my demonstration piece (since I have never actually made a quilt with piping on it!). I used narrow piping around the panel, and the edges of the fans. I finished the top last week, and as I have a sample at the shop that's ready to go home, decided to quilt this one and bring it in so I can have the other one! I just did some stitch in the ditch in the seams, and did some free-motion to outline the details in the panel. I think I'm going to add a few gold beads for stars in the sky tonight, and I will take it in tomorrow.

So, in celebration of finishing a project I've been working on the quilt I am making for my bed. Some of those Midas touch fabrics are pretty wild, so we'll have to see how this one comes out! I've change my idea of how I want to put the stars together several times, and have returned to my original scrappy star idea! Some quilts just have a mind of their own (and some quilters are loosing theirs!).

Monday, October 06, 2008


This weekend I was thinking about where inspiration for my projects comes from. I can be inspired by many different things to create something, and sometimes the idea just takes off and takes on a life of its own.

Memories of the Titanic is one of those inspirations - the first time I saw the movie I caught a glimpse of a pattern on the floor. Right at that point I decided to make a quilt inspired by that little flash of blue and white. When I got home I tried to sketch it out, but was not satisfied that I had the design correct, so next time I saw the movie, I was able to confirm that I was on the right track.

At that point I recognized a familiarity to the design, and incorporated it into a storm at sea pattern that would be on point. I sketched out my center design, pieced a block, then started looking for fabrics. I had previously done a group project using storm at sea with scrappy blocks, so new I wanted my fabrics to be scrappy and all blue with a white background. I found a tone on tone white with swirls that was perfect for the background. It took a while to draft out the edge pieces as this was on point, but I wanted to square it off for a plain white border to add some quilting to.

When I looked at the quilt now I decided that it was nice, but needed one more border to draw the eye out to the edge of the quilt, and I didn't want a plain fabric border. Playing with the Snail's Trail block, I came out with a wave pattern, and drafted this out to circle the outside edge of the quilt. For this block I chose to use a designated set of fabrics to bring out the wave effect the best.

At this point I realized that the center block was not the best choice for the center, it was just too plain. Of course, this was my inspiration block to start out with - I didn't want to take it out, but it just wasn't working. After some drawing and thinking I decided to replace it with a compass.
The top declared itself done, and the quilting commenced. I used warm and bright batting to keep the flawless white of the background as white as possible. Quilting the compass and storm at sea blocks was easy, but when I came to the white border I was stumped. I had lots of ideas, but it seemd the drawing skills for the designs I envisioned were quite out of my league (and I was hand quiting it). After setting the project aside yet again for a period of time I developed a swirled motif to quilt in the border, and pushed myself to finish the project for a quilt show. I was very pleased to win Best of Show for this quilt in 2005, then to have it juried into the Denver National Quilt show.

Then, there is my lastest quilt - Northen Lights, Free-form Bargello. This was totally inspired by the fabrics - Glacier Lights by McKenna Ryan. Sharan asked me to come up with a sample using these fabrics and I was thrilled to work with them. At first I was thinking of a blended log cabin quilt, but in my head popped the idea of making and Aurora Borealis picture using Bargello. I was familiar with the technique, though I had never actually make a Bargello quilt, so I simply started designing on the fly - cutting and sewing strips as I went, taking notes, and the results were exactly what I was thinking of when I started. We are offering this as a kit at the shop, and hopefully I will refine the pattern to work with other fabrics as well!

Lastly, this set of postcards was inspired by a beautiful sunset. The colors were so lovely that I though it would be fun to capture them in a set of postcards. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole project, and they will always make me think of that perfect summer sky!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Climbing The Wall

Whew, life has been very busy this past month and the final event was our church Ladies Retreat this weekend. I have been on the board for some years now and really enjoy not only going to our retreat, but also helping to put it on. Our theme this year was simple pleasures and we went overboard treating the ladies to all kinds of wonderful simple pleasures.

We began with greeting the ladies in our bathrobes, which was great fun and inspired ladies to dress down and relax. Our speaker was wonderful - Mary Ann Zimmerman spoke to us about the Road Signs of Life, so we decorated the chapel with road signs on loan from the Dept of Transportation! The first night we made flip flop bags to put on the beds secretly while everyone was at chapel - notepads, erasers, key tags, all in the shap of flip-flops. Very fun! The second night we had silk rose petals strewn on our beds with a pampering bag of goodies to enjoy. Then, as the ladies left they were treated to goodie bags with avon products. I'm sure they all left refreshed and feeling very much cared about, which was our goal.

On to the main point of my story. At our retreat center there is a large gym with a climbing wall at the back of it. During free time in the afternoon on Saturday, they open this up for anyone who is brave enough to attempt to climb. This has been a very popular activity, usually a line of people waiting to try it, thinking of trying it, or just watching. Every year I say - next year maybe I will try that, it looks like fun - kind of! Several years ago I was inspired by an older member of our church who tried it. She said that as long as an activity was not against scripture, and it looked like fun, that she would try it.

This year my youngest daughter got to come for the first time and her next oldest sister came down from Portland to join us. I love spending time with my girls! Well, they both decided they wanted to climb the wall, and I said, well, maybe this year I will try it. By lunch time time they wore me down enough to say, I think I will try it. Right before they opened up the wall, there was a game started in the dining room, and I though, well, maybe I will just stay here, and not have to do this hard, scary thing after all (major cold feet!) It didn't work, they came in and grabbed me and in their sweet way, forced me to get in line to climb! I was hoping that time would run out, but eventually it was my turn to step into the harness - my hands were sweaty and knees shaking before I even stepped up to try!

I was hooked up to the line, then one step after another up I went. I gave myself permission to quit when it got too scary or I got too tired, but the cheers of my friends and my daughters below urged me on. I had to stop a couple of times to regroup. But up, up, up, I went until I was able to Ring the bell at the very top and was gently lowered down. What an experience! It made me feel very empowered, but most of all it made me realize how important it is to encourage others. If it wasn't for the encouragement I got, I would not have even tried. Or I would have tried, but quit partway up. And my gratitude for the man at the other end of the rope. He had a tight grip on me, and was not going to let me fall. When I was tired I was able to lean on the rope and rest. In my everyday life, God is the man on the other end of my rope. He is there to balance and support me. I feel like I have to climb the wall of life on my own power, but the truth is that He is there supporting me all the time. And He is also my encourager, whispering, go ahead, keep pushing, you can do this. And my friends, my family are all there, too, urging me on every step of the way. I can't express in mere words how this makes me feel - confident, less worried, more hopeful. Anyway, it was a great retreat, and just that afternoon makes it all worth while!

Not to mention the sale at the quilt shop we visited - 20 Fat Quarters for $20.00! That was a great bonus, and was another great highlight of my weekend!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sea of Quilts 2008

Well, it's all over, the show is done, packed away and everyone has gone home. It was fun, exhausting, and exhilarating all at once! There were some fabulous quilts there, it's amazing to see the scope of machine quilting people are doing on their own. Our Best of Show was a lovely applique quilt that was machine quilted by the quilter on a Gammil longarm machine.

This is a close up of the wonderful quilting, close stippling and a feather wreath that looks like trapunto.This is one of my favorites - Christmas pickle! It's a beautiful quilt all done in batiks. It was professionally quilted, but the piecing is what stood out on this quilt.
Last, but not least, this is the cute pincushion that I am teaching as a free class at the quilt shop on Oct. 11. I made several samples and this one will be given as a door prize at the Quiltsy Trunk Show tomorrow night. Look for Quiltsy Trunk Show and click on the link to take you into the room. Not sure if you have to be a registered buyer on Etsy, so it would probably be a good idea to join first. You can find the shops that are participating by searching for sewso under tags and titles. Good luck, and hopefully we'll see you there tomorrow afternoon/evening!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Setting up the Quilt Show

Today was the day to set up for Coos Sand 'N Sea Show - A Sea of Quilts. Our show takes place at the Boys and Girls Club. They have a nice large gym there that is great for the show, and we are able to store our stands there also. Instead of actually posting all the pictures here, I'll just put a couple. You can see the rest on my Flickr page.
The day starts with bringing up all the stands, sheets, clips, and other supplies from the basement storage area. Unfortunately, it's a pretty dusty and dirty storage, so things need to be wiped down and cleaned. The sheets need to be pressed, and the stands arranged in a grid. Everything needs to be exactly in the right place to be sturdy, so it takes a bit of time and care to be sure that it's just right. Then the uprights go in the stands, and the crossbeams attach to them.

We hang sheets to back the quilts, then the quilts go up! There are some beautiful quilts this year! Tomorrow there will be public voting, then on Sunday the ribbons will go up! I'm excited to see who wins - I didn't enter anything this year, so at least I don't have to be wondering if it's me!

There's also a great vendors area, so I'll take some pictures of that tomorrow, too. It's all part of the big Fun Festival that the town puts on every year. Fun for everyone!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Messy or Creative?

Looks lovely, doesn't it? Excuse my mess, and actually this is the cleaned up version of the mess! I don't know if I could even function in a fully clean and organized situation, but it is one of those things I might like to try someday!

This is my cutting table. It is covered with things that I need to work on this week. My plan for the day is to sew my way through these piles and have them gone by evening. Then I will organize the left-over piles and deal with them, leaving a clear space to do some quilting work on for the rest of the week. I really need to do something with that overflowing box of fabric that was given to me that is resting on the floor also! At least the garbage bin has been emptied recently!
Ironing board, and notions area. Not too bad, I worked on that over the weekend. There is a stack of magazines on the dresser that needs to be sorted and put away, or at least moved to another area! The balloon sculpture is from a clown that I recently did some sewing for. I suppose I ought to take a picture of it and then give it to someone. It is already starting to get floppy and not as cute as it was! In the back corner is my strip bucket which is absolutely overflowing. Time to start some string blocks to make some more quilts from.
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My sewing table, which looks much better than it did earlier this week. I have found some fabric to finish the quilt hanging on the wall, so want to work on that. I even have some backing fabric for it, so it is ready to work on. Also there is a stack of t-shirts that I really need to work on finishing for a t-shirt quilt. I have about half of them fused, but it's such tedious work I have a hard time pushing myself to get it done! Right next to the machine is fabric I bought to make some placemats and napkins that I want to get done this week also. So, as you can tell I don't have a lack of projects to work on, just a lack of initiative to get them done! That's why I did all my shopping yesterday, and planned menus for the week, so I can actually get a ton of sewing done this week and break out of the doldrums. Wish me luck!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Back Talk

Today I had to have a heart to heart with myself about quilt backs. You see, I'm a boring backer. In fact I used to back all my quilts with muslin or white fabric, but that was when I was exclusively hand quilting. When I moved on to machine quilting I started using more prints and colors, but out of all the quilts I have made I can only think of two that did not have a back that was only one fabric. Yes, they are easy, but they are boring.
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What brought me to this train of thought is the quilt I am trying to get finished this week. My daughter picked out the fabrics, and I did the cutting and sewing. When I pulled it out to quilt it, I went to the fabric store and bought a beautiful fabric to back it in. Unfortunately, it was too beautiful and in the end I could not bear to use it for the back of a quilt and pulled a bright pink gelato out of my stash. There was just enough (I thought) for the back of this quilt, all I needed to do was cut a strip off the top and piece it to the side of the quilt to make it about 55 inches square.

After I cut and pieced my strip to add the the side I shook out the rest of the fabric, and discovered that an 18" square had been cut out of the other end! Oh, great, now what do I do? I could have gone back to my original plan and used the fabric I purchased, but I remembered having leftovers from the top, one of which I was thinking of using for the binding. Happily, I had not one, but two long strips of green fabrics from the top! I used those with pink strips, making a very lively and appropriate back for the quilt, and the rest of the pink I will use for the binding. And I saved the other print for a future quilt.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Not just Another Day at the Races!

We headed up to Seattle this week, planning to see our horse McLaren run in his very first race. As is the norm for this family, nothing went according to plan - you would think we should be used to this, but you always have hope that this time everything will go well!

On the way to Portland we got slowed down by a fire near Albany, but we did make it up to our motel and had a good nights sleep. We met Mark, Jo and Asher (what a cutie!) for breakfast, but I wasn't impressed with the food and think we need to find another breakfast spot! We picked up Tracy, and actually made it up to Auburn, home of Emerald Downs, with no problems, then headed over to see how McLaren was. After that we headed over to the motel, and had to make a hard decision. We ended up scratching McLaren from the race as we were concerned about him being fit to run that night. It was a tough thing, and it was hard to go and see the other horses run, and see our boys name in the program and hear it announced, but not get to see him compete.

We made it through the evening, and of course none of the horses we wagered on won (until the last race, when Tracy had a winner!). What a big disappointment! But in the long run, you really have to look out for the welfare of your horse, and that is what is most important of all. We hope to be able to enter him in a race next weekend, but I won't be able to go because I am joining my fellow OCEAN team members in manning our first booth at the Blackberry Festival! I'm looking forward to a good time doing that, and will hopefully take my mind off the race and not be nervous about it!

On to the last straw for the trip. On the way home we were caught in a massive traffic jam on I-5 due to an RV fire which sparked a 20 acre brush fire! We were stuck on the highway in 95 degree heat for over two hours, which slammed us right into rush hour going home through Portland. A 7-8 hour drive took us over 11 hours! An exhausting trip, with no gains for us, but we are home and that is great. Now I'm looking forward to a productive week of sewing, and hopefully a little more blogging! More quilting news to follow!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

County Fair Results!

I got my quilts back from the fair yesterday and am very pleased at my results! I got 5 blue ribbons and 3 red ribbons. I won a special reward for the miniature category which was very nice - a $25.00 certificate from Threads That Bind. So maybe I won't end up owing my whole paycheck for a change!

I didn't get to see the exhibit, so I'm not sure how much competition there actually was, I am in the professional division, but I look at it as less competition (of a higher level!) We all know each other, so it's fun - especially trying your hand at something you know someone else is fabulous at!

I love that there are so many categories to enter in, there are 6 different categories for miniature quilts alone, so I may have to make a few extra for next year. These are the three larger quilts I entered the yellow one is Party Mints, it was entered as a lap quilt. The blue one is Baby Blues, it is a baby quilt, and the fall one is Grandmother's Flower Baskets and it is a sample for a pattern I am working on.

Then I entered an assorment of smaller items. The Eiffel Tower Journal Cover got a red ribbon, and my quilted postcard got a red ribbon. The rest were all blue, including my two miniatures! The yellow and blue miniature I finished the morning that the fair items were picked up. The scalloped binding was a last minute decision and not as well done as I would like it to have been, but it still qualified for the blue ribbon so I am happy.

It was a pattern from a Miniature Quilts magazine, but I made it in different colors. I love the blue and yellow combination, so bright and cheery. I ran out of fabric for the border, but had one in my stash that I loved, but didn't want to use. So I ended up running to the fabric store to look for more, and found the same thing, plus the cheery fabric I used for the back. I am going to make myself a quilters wallet out of the border fabric that I have left now!

Saving the best for last, the happiest thing I got from the fair is a commission to quilt one of the loveliest vintage grandmothers flower garden quits I have ever seen! It is a fabulous quilt and I know that not everyone is as thrilled as I am about getting to handquilt something like this, but it is such a wonderful quilt!

Yes, that is a quarter in the center of the flower! Each of the flower petals has a design from the fabric centered on it, and the green path around the flowers makes the whole quilt beautifully straight, not slightly skewed like most of these are. I think there is a special name for this variation, if you know what it's called let me know. It is in pristine shape, not a spot on it. I am so honored to be able to put my stitches in this quilt, I cannot even tell you! What a joy this will be!