Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Sampler progress...

As promised...Here's the latest progress on the Christmas Sampler so far.
The green strip on the side isn't staying there. I was just testing out the color and then realized I wanted a larger strip and a different color. I still have to make the large section to go in it's place that has the feather tree on it with all the ornaments. But those are all to be hand sewn on and I'm saving up the hand sewing for the coming week after I have surgery. Yes, terrified as I am to have surgery, I have to have a little issue taken care of that's being a drag. It's outpatient, but I think I'll probably be on the couch for a week. So hand sewing and embroidery work for that. Yuck! lets not mention it anymore.

I finished the Santa on the bottom and the little house on the right of the pear, but I need to do some embroidery work on both and once I get the pear sewn to the Santa he gets his hat put on because it goes over on that block. But it's coming along and since it's for Christmas it can wait in the box or on the wall and get set aside when something else comes up that I want to do. I figure it will still be totally complete before the summer. Now off the computer so I can sewing!

PS: Karen asked if I collect elves. No. Sharon saw that I inherited my Mom's elves so she sent me the last one she had left from when she bought them years ago. He'll be happy now with other of his kind. *s*

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Lots to say...

Thanks for all the encouragement on slow and fast quilters. I guess I get more done than I think, it just feels sometimes like I piddle too much. I'll have the plan to start sewing early and it's 1:00PM before I even enter the room. So anyway...

Valentine Quilt done. Got all the quilting done Sunday night late and then yesterday trimmed the edge, made the binding and set it aside for sewing last night while watching tv. I put it on the coffee table before I went to bed. It's bright, not at all prim and that's fine. Most of my Valentine decorations are pretty bright too. Thanks to Sharon at Red Geranium Cottage for giving us the instructions to this little quilt.

This morning the mailman rang the buzzer and handed me this tiny package from Sharon over at Quiltgranny's Shoe. I knew something was coming since she had asked for my address, but I had no CLUE what?? Sharon I was floored and got the giggles once I saw him!

Thank you! Thank you! The wayward elf can live here with my elves and be perfectly happy! He's eagerly adopted! I had to put him in a little bundle of cloth so he'd stand up...he's missing his bottom cardboard base which Sharon remembers her son may have eaten! I'll find the perfect color of card stock and get him fixed this week. Along with this little fellow she also sent Mary Englebreit sticky note pads and a beautiful FQ of the most wonderful golden orange homespun. I know it will made come cool pumpkins on a future quilt. I think I know the pattern already! Thanks so much for thinking of me! The package made quite a trip getting took more time than normal, but I think the elf wanted a little vacation!

I got 12 more blocks done for the strip quilt and now I think I only have 12 left to make and then that can be readied for quilting too! I think I heard the dryer click off, so that means fabric to iron and more to switch from washer to dryer. I have swap blocks to get made and out in the mail this weekend. I was gonna post my progress on the Christmas sampler but I'll save that for tomorrow. Happy Quilting everyone!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

I really wish I was a faster sewer. So many seem to have that ability to sit right down and get moving and keep going until they have a whole quilt top done. That ain't me. Don't know what it is about me that makes me less focused, but I know I'm not the only one. I try to, but I look around, I get up, I watch tv, I check the internet...all in just minutes but they add up. I have to accept that I guess and realize it's not a's a hobby.

Today I am getting an early start and going until I get some things done (says the gal who's on the computer). I started these yesterday, got everything cut and got 2 blocks of 6 done. Thanks Sharon for telling us how to make these. They will make a great table mat! ON that note....GET UP JUDY!! I'm off to sew and OFF THE COMPUTER!! *s*

Friday, January 25, 2008

Package Day...

Ready for another rant? Again with the tiny mailbox. I swear one of these days. Yesterday we had a relief driver so the guys stuffs two very thick priority packages of fabric in the tiny box and then leaves me a pink card for the boxes he couldn't fit in the mailbox. Hello...I was home! You could have rung the buzzer. I love my regular guy even more now. SO today I head out with my little card and go pick up this:
My Annie came! She's so perfect and little! I can see more of these girls coming to live at my house the the future! I also got a box of wool felt pieces to add to the colors needed for some of the sampler quilts I have coming up. The two poor Priority envelopes that were wedged into the mailbox contained my selection of fabrics I wanted from the Merrimack 1800's repro line, and these lovely guys below:

A few more homespuns for my Christmas sampler. Some red/green/ gold variations that I'll use for pieces and binding of the soon to be finished Christmas Sampler quilt. I doing the last of the few blocks on the bottom and should have the top together in about 2 weeks.

Now back to the string quilt and cutting some pieces for a valentine runner...another project thanks to Sharon!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

String quilt...

I should have known better than to post and not give details. I always love to receive details so I humbly apologize for not sharing all the current particulars for the blocks I'm making.

I think Beth came up with the 4 inch measurement because she was in close proximity to the actual quilt. Although I think I remember her stating in an email that she kinda wished she had gone smaller. These are perfect for me. I'm making them 4 inches, so they finish at 3.5" when sewn together.

I cut my strips at 1", 1 1/4" and 1 1/2". I did not measure with extreme precision. I just guided it toward the line and whacked.I cut way too many strips...I already know I did. I had scraps and then I kept looking at my stack of FQ's and wishing I had just a smidgen of that or this and I started cutting. Who knows there could be more than one quilt before I'm done. Oh and I also decided not to use a backing fabric. I started on a thicker muslin and hated the stiffness of the joined seams. So those got the backing cut off and from then on I have just sewn strip to strip. I sew like 12 at a time in chain piecing fashion. I have a mat on my sewing table beside my machine and I just use the corner 4 inches to measure the strips keeping them at 45 degree angle. You don't have to maintain that angle, I decided to so I am. It's your choice.

I'm making mine the same size I believe Sharon's quilt is made.... 7 blocks by 10 blocks. When I say blocks I mean each tiny block. I think this will make it work for both the wall and the table perfectly. I have 42 made as of today. 4 more rows to go and I think I can bang those out tomorrow. I would have gotten further but I sewed together some Valentine charm squares and then cut them again to make new squares. Well, you'll see. I saw it some where in a book once, but I think I went too big...and oh well. I have to put a border on tomorrow and then quilt it and I can get it on the coffee table for the holiday.

So there's all the details. I expect to see some lovely string quilts out there. I'm still sewing the Christmas sampler blocks, but slower and hey, Christmas is a long way off and I have a few holidays before then that need quilts too. SO I'll still keep up with it, never fear!

Monday, January 21, 2008


Well I've been working so much on all the Christmas blocks and hand quilting the red schoolhouse quilt, that I over did my muscles in my forearms. They are mad and not letting me forget it. They need a break for a few days...So I switched gears a bit and decided to do a bit of machine sewing.

I've been enjoying all the great pictures of Carol's visit to Sharon's house and after the great "after quilt show party" they had at Sharon's the other night, I knew exactly what I wanted to make!! While visiting a few blogs here and here, I noticed a great small quilt on Sharon's coffee table. Who knew at the same time that Beth had noticed the same quilt and was hard at work re-creating it! We've been sharing notes ever since! She's much farther along than I am, but hopefully I'll catch up tomorrow. Here's my blocks so far:

I grabbed all my 30's scraps and started cutting strips. I even went into the stash and cut a few of the new colors too. I have a huge tub of strips to finish sewing this week and I hope to have it on the coffee table this weekend! Just in time for spring!

Today, after my regular doctors appointment I stopped of at JoAnn's to pick up some of that thin crappy muslin that I so callously discarded in another visit. My how times change. I used the thick stuff and it really was too thick for me, so I'll try the thin stuff. But, quite frankly, I like making them with no backing at I might stick with that. While I was there I finally got to pick up another pair of quilting gloves. I had bought the yellow size Large a few months ago, but they weren't the right size. The gloves fit, but the fingers were way too long. I have stubby fingers.... to go with my stubby legs, and stubby body. So I got the medium and they are the perfect fit! Now why is she going on about gloves, you ask? Well, I can't use the brand new, never used yellow Large ones so if anyone would like them, just send me your address and I'll mail them to you. They are brand new and no reason to have them sit in the drawer and never be used. First person to ask gets them! My email can be found on the profile page, just let me know.

Thanks for indulging me this weekend about he snow. I've craved it for the last few years and now I'm satisfied. I saw it, I touched it.. hubby scraped it off my winshield. My hero!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Snow damage...

We didn't do too badly...

we got a nice pretty enough picture and nothing on the roads. It did get a bit hairy in the late night/early morning with black ice, but you have to understand that after 3 flakes of snow, they sanded the roads. We freak around here people. The paper today said December 2004 was the last snow. I knew it was awhile ago.

Todays' temp..30. I tried to scoop the balcony railing for one snowball but it was solid ice on top! Now to clean off the car and hit Trader Joe's. Thanks for letting me get so excited. I know some of you are sick of snow, but to me it's exciting as long as no one gets hurt and we don't have to go out.

Saturday, January 19, 2008


SNOWING!!! my house. My house. I know some of you are sick of snow, but I haven't seen a flake in about ...3 years I think? It's finally starting to stick on the grass and cars. I don't care if it never sticks to the roads, but if sure is fun to see it.

PS: UPDATE: The snow is still coming down hard and heavy. I love to take pictures in the night since all the flakes show up! Our cars are almost covered!

Friday, January 18, 2008


I've been working right along on the Christmas Sampler. Seems off to see a Christmas quilt after the holiday but I really want to get the top done and out of the way. SO while I'm still interested, might as well keep going.

Rather than show you again the block or blocks I got done, I laid everything out on the design wall and this is where I am so far.

The top section is sewn together and I couldn't figure out why it was a bit to the right of the middle section. I went back and realized that I forgot to add the border around the top section. I'll put that on tomorrow. I have 2 more little trees to make and sew under the left paper pieced santa. Now that the pieced are together I can finish the Old Time Santa's hand and birdhouse tonight too. I also prepared a few block from the bottom to start tonight.

I also forgot to show you my new purchase. Had to come back and edit the post to add this. I ordered one of these today after drooling over them for a very long time and seeing others collect them. I won't say which one I got, that will be a surprise. But wow, they are so very cute.

I've been to several blogs were ladies have shown their messy cutting table and listed 15 things on the table. I think I have more than 15 at the moment. It's a disaster in this room. I always find that the more scrappy the project the worse my room gets. When you have to sort through loads of scraps to find just the right piece it makes for messy stacks of fabrics. So here's my contribution to the pictures. Lets see if I can list 15 things on my table...
small scissors
ruler holders
all my rulers
rotary cutters
my new Christmas list pattern (all 12)
the Christmas sampler pattern
tv remote
dvd/vhs remote
jar of basting pins
long straight pins in their container
Needlework hoop
floss on a ring
3 books
several pieces of wool felt
3 chocolate kisses...because chocolate is needed every day.
scraps of fabric
green envelope with needleturn freezer paper patterns
my mortgage payment can't see it but it's the white rectangle in the front left corner
seam ripper

that's 19 so far and I won't add what's kept in the black baskets. Meaning...I need to clean up this weekend! Hubby's on his way home with a few things from the grocery store and I want to be ready to move out to the den and sit and sew. Happy sewing!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Still stitching...

Right now I am having the best time working on these 2 quilts. I got a few more blocks done and I have some big paper pieced Santa's to make today. I got stuck on this Old Time Santa block and was overwhelmed, I guess, by the small pieces and what to choose for the background. Heck it wasn't hard at all really. I think I was just stuck and over whelmed in general. It's over now.
So here's Santa so far...a tad bit un-finished. I have to finish at least one pp Santa so I can add him to the old time guy's left side. I need the extra edge to be able to sew down his bird, hand, and birdhouse. It goes over onto the other block. Isn't it funny how you notice things in pictures that you don't see before?? The roof for the birdhouse isn't white. That's the freezer paper. It's black. I also forgot the staff and didn't remember it until I visited Karen's blog and saw her blocks, so I cut one out... but I think I'll change it to brown before I sew it. I'll see when I compare them.

Next up the log cabin block...

I have a bone to pick with these patterns, but I'll try to be brief. What do you do with the paper pieced block? I thought it said to add the seam allowances. So many times it does or doesn't need them. The flag didn't need any side allowance, but the top and bottom did. Now I make 7 little flying geese and it's way to tall, so I took one off. I don't mind the changes. I'd just like to understand how to do it. If I made the pieces exactly as she drew them, when I sewed them together all the tips would be cut off. I don't mind wonky, but having all the tips cut off in the same place looks badly pieced...not wonky. Oh well, I'll climb down now off the soap box.

Someone asked for pictures of the boys. They don't cooperate as well anymore, so I took them on the sly during morning nap time! Pixel sleeps in the box by the patio window... and Noodle...well, the big boy takes over the whole end of the sofa! This is why I own the purple pet Dyson with the cat hair attachment! You don't leave my house without a special treat to take home. We laugh all the time about us never being able to get away with a crime. The cat hair would give us away immediately!

Monday, January 14, 2008


I've been quite a busy little beaver here in Virginia. Sewing along and getting all sorts of things done, so I have lots of pictures to show. Carol and her new blogging/quilting friend Karen got me inspired to pick up my Christmas Sampler blocks again and work to complete my quilt so I got moving. I was going really well, then stopped when I came to a very complicated old time santa block with tons of little pieces and kinda left if hanging. But the showed me I could move along to different blocks and skip santa until I had a bit more motivation. It worked...Santa is all cut out and ready to go. Just have to pick a background and start pinning.

In the mean time, I worked my fingers hard! Everyone had such a good time doing the I picked him out and got that done quickly. Funny how you see things in pictures you never see before...the same pattern on the backing and the pear fabric. Oh well.

Then I decided to tackle the wreath. My this would have been torture to needleturn. Wool felt to the rescue... even so it felt like I took 1000 stitches!

I also finished Month 2 of the Sweet Land of Liberty quilt by Cheri Payne that I'm also currently doing. As I predicted, month 3 showed up stuffed in my 3x5 mailbox Saturday just like I expected. Now I know that living in a condo means that you get cluster boxes, but do they have to be so dang small? I had 3 priority envelops stuffed in there together! It's 3x5 inches people, geez! Anyway, I call her Flying Lady Liberty...

Oh, the extra little piece of muslin on the side isn't a's there and gets 3 buttons as well as a button on the blue flag field. Here are the two blocks sewn together... click to enlarge

If you take a peek at the lower left corner you can see the blocks from month one..and the fact that if I sewed them together I would be missing about a half inch! Oh well, another strip to even things out. Heck, who cares, scrappy works for me!

I mentioned having to un-wedge 3 envelops from the box saturday right, one was my 8th month of Lori Smith's small quilts, and the third was my 3 books from The Quilted Banty!
Libby was right..very fast and special service. I ordered these thursday after seeing Libby's book. What a treat and all on sale! There are more than enough projects in these 3 books to keep me busy for a year! Best yet, I ordered the Cheri Saffiote Payne book just because it was her book...I love everything she does, but I was thrilled to realize what patterns I got! I had seen this Calendar Tree embroidery so many times and wanted to make it but knew I would have to "wing it" or hunt the pattern. Lucky me, there it is!

So there you have my weekend of sewing fun! Now to get back, eat some lunch, and get moving on some more stuff. I have an Easter quilt that needs planning out and fabrics pulled!

Friday, January 11, 2008

New blogger...

I found a new blog today. Lea from Japan over at Simple Blessings left a comment on my new SLOL block. Lea has more quilts in her Flickr folder by Cheri Payne than I have ever seen in one person's grouping! Her primitive work is stunning! She has also completed the Sweet Land of Liberty quilt I'm working on right now and is in the process of quilting it. Her blog is written in Japanese but a few gals convinced her to also try writing it in English too. The older Japanese posts show up to my computer screen as question marks and weird symbols. I can't read the earlier posts but....the pictures speak for themselves!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Old Glory...

Another block done...and none too soon as I expect the next shipment to be any day now. Lord knows if I don't keep up current on all these things I have going I'll never get them all done. Plus I'm having too much fun doing the blocks. I changed up the colors in this block and I like it better this way. All I have to do is add the button eye. I'm not sure if I should do it now or wait until the quilt is all quilted before adding buttons. Anyone?

I have the flying angel block all ready for sewing,... well now that's not exactly true. The pieces are marked, cut out and ready to be laid out, but I have to measure the background and put them all in their proper places. Then they will be ready for sewing down. I'll get that done before supper so I can relax and sew tonight.

I ran up to JoAnns today after my doctors appt. to pick up some muslin. When did that stuff become tissue thin? Yuck. I promptly put it back and went over to the solid fabrics and picked out a nice piece the same color and a much heavier weight with no pieces of left over cotton stalk bits. I know there are a few more blocks coming up that need muslin, and these fabrics will work perfectly. I also picked up some thin Pellon interfacing to add a little umph to the back of the embroidery sections. Normally, if I am doing a piece for...say the tote bag, or a single wall hanging I back it with batting. But I eventually have to add batting to the quilt and I didn't want double batting, so this stuff should iron on, hide the knots and tails, and give it some heft without feeling too heavy. I'll let you know how it works.

Off to lay out a flying angel!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Tote bag done...

The tote bag is done and I only have a few battle scars from the experience. I swear involuntary reactions suck! I feel like a pin cushion! I swear I hate working with pins, but they do their job.

The tote bag instructions were a little wonky, but I knew how to make a bag so I just fell back on those skills and did what I usually do when I make them and all turned out well. I am really glad that I got these fabrics, they turned out really well and I love the colors. I chose not to make the embroidered handle instead just making one from a 4" strip and folding in on itself it to make a nice 4 layer 1" strap. It will be a good bag for sewing retreats.

A look at the inside...I pieced the lining which worked fine for me. Once it's stuffed with stuff who sees the lining?

I also got my embroidery Eagle done for the SLOL quilt and I faux paper pieced the flag that goes under it. Once I get it trimmed out and sewn together, I'll post a pic for you to see.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

A good thing...

This afternoon I was over at Covered Porches reading her latest blog post when I saw her new project and followed her link to where she found the original design at Quilting Adventures. I love to follow links so I clicked. I really love how links lead to new blogs and, new blogs lead to great finds!

Quilting Adventures had this cool stitchery and she mentioned that she was stuck because she couldn't quite get how to do a certain "Fly" stitch. May Brit left this amazing link in her comment and so I followed it to see what a fly stitch was...just out of curiosity! Oh my, I think I have been forwarded to HEAVEN! A page where you can see a wonderful lady do almost any stitch you want done for you! This is fabulous! Called Needle 'n Thread, Mary Corbet shows you every stitch you can imagine. I finally learned how to do a decent stem stitch. I truly sucked at it before and no wonder. I wasn't doing anything near a stem stitch. Anyone who learns visually rather than by written directions...this site is for you!

Thanks ladies for the great trip through the blogs to find a wealth of information!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Another fun quilt project...or two or three...

So the story about the new BOM quilt I promised yesterday. I was over reading at Kim's Big Quilting Adventure and I see this wonderful new Christmas quilt she found on Sharon's blog. Sharon had shown the quilt, which I think actually belongs to Nancy No Blog. Very cool and very fun quilt. You can see the quilt here, here and find out how all this started here. I won't show the picture here since it isn't mine...check it out on any one of her posts.

Turns out that her local shop is offering the quilt as a BOM and now she can find the pattern. If you want the details about the pattern, read the comments to her posts for all the info. Carol at Brown Quilts was in, so was I. Carol called the designer, I called the store and the pattern is on the way to us both! So we will follow along with Kim as her class makes the quilt. The shop was quite amazed to be hearing from people all the way across the country. They don't know how determined quilter's can be.

Speaking of new patterns....right before Christmas, Sharon went to the infamous Country Loft in California. Fabulous store that I'm kinda glad I do NOT live near...otherwise I'd be broke all the time. Anyway, Sharon went to visit and took scads of pictures..part one and part two... of all the great stuff and after drooling over my keyboard I grabbed my phone and called the store to place an order. I did say I was patheically short on holiday decorations, remember? Hubby ran in with my package just a few minutes ago!Here's what I ordered...A kit called Homespun Santa's and a cute pattern that has a funky Christmas Elf and a poem about Christmas. Don't mind the color on the pattern, it got a little weird, but it's a nice muslin. I've actually gotten quite a few stitchery patterns for next year so I should be quite busy. I love doing stitchery at night almost as much as needleturn. Mindless stitch after stitch. There should be no shortage of things to choose from around here to work on.

Which reminds me...get my hiney off the computer and get back to work. I'm cutting strips for the tote bag today and getting it together. Hopefully I'll have a finished bag to show tomorrow!

PS: housekeeping note: I'm still adding old blog posts back to my blog, so if they show up on bloglines or whatever reader you use, check the date for current posts and speed on by. Thanks!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Just puttering...

Puttering is the best word to describe the last few days around here... I'm still trying to get the very last bit of Christmas erased from the house. Everything came down yesterday morning but the tree and by afternoon it was un-decorated and missing the top half. I had 3 strands of lights on this year and one went out, but only half the strand. It's not supposed to do that. I tried fixing it on the tree but that was not happening so I waited until it came off last night to see what the problem was. First I replaced one of the fuses...who knew lights had fuses? No good. Then finally after starting to go light by light, the section popped on and just one green bulb was dead. After replacing the bulb and the green cover it was fine. I still don't know why that bulb took out 2 lights before it and the rest of the strand after it? I'll keep my fingers crossed and try not to use that strand next year unless I have no choice. Nothing worse than getting a fully decorated tree and THEN the lights go out. I still have the bottom of the tree to pull apart and stick in the tree duffel, but I'm gearing up for the job by writing a blog post.

Other than doing chores, I've been getting small things done on lots of projects. I started hand quilting the Little Red Schoolhouse quilt I finished in November. Nothing to show really.

I started the next embroidery block for the Sweet LOL sampler that I'm doing with some other gals as a BOM. In the original pattern, the Eagle block was supposed to be done on muslin with a dark gold floss. I open my packet to get my fabric and see a dark gold piece of background the same color as the floss. Not gonna work. So I picked what I thought was a nice light tan that showed up great with the dark gold floss and started sewing. Once I got the words done and started the gold, I couldn't see the stitches. What shows up as a big lump of thread, doesn't do as well with 2 strands. So I had to decide to toss and start over, or adapt. I chose to adapt. I picked up a very dark red and started sewing. It won't be the stately gold eagle, but I like it. I still have feather stitches to do above the words and I think I might go with a dark taupe color.

I got all my swap blocks done and out to my partner Carol. After I saw these little 9 patches when Darlene and Wendy showed them on their blogs. I fell in love! Since we were kinda done with swapping nickels, I asked her about swapping 15 of these each month and she was more than game. They are a lot of fun to make!I finished my embroidery sections for the cute tote bag if you remember, and I sat down right after Christmas to make the bag. I thought about doing it with homespuns and picked out a set of deep red, dark green and dark tan that I got at the quilt show last year. then I started thinking about what a tote bag demands. You stuff it full, slop it over your shoulder and it ends up slung on the floor. These homespuns were a bit looser weave and I realized that the potential for snagging would be really high. So, I preferred to use cottons. Couldn't find the right combination in my stash and had no other choice but to find some NEW cool fabrics and order them. They came yesterday morning and I am so happy. Just what I wanted. I'll sit down right after the tree is down and get to work on the bag.

I have so many plans for projects over the next year, so I hope to get better at planning out my time and getting things done. Plus I ordered a new pattern to start soon with another group of gals for a cool Christmas quilt. I'll share that story tomorrow. Not like I don't need loads more to do!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

2008 arrives!

Happy New Year everyone!

I thought long and hard about making a list about what I accomplished, what I didn't...etc. Not gonna happen. One I lost almost all the old post past April of last year, and the brain doesn't quite remember all the quilts. I might make a tally one day this week and share, but other than that I think I am going to just keep moving at my own pace and have fun! No pressure.

I have my current and soon to be started projects on my sidebar to keep me (and you) updated on where the progress is at any given time. Now I'm off to eat lunch, sew a bit on the machine, and maybe think about getting some decorations put rush, no pressure.