Sunday, October 23, 2011

Two sleeves; curtain rod and 2 mugs

What is the question, the Great Carnac??

What helps a quilt to hang straight at doni's house???

I don't know about your quilts; but my quilts often need a little help to get straight with the world! When we lived in Newport we had this HUGE kitchen counter that was ceramic tile. I hate ceramic tile! It's so unforgiving; I clank, I chip and I break so many glasses and dishes because I don't pay attention!! Really, you only have to misjudge how close to the counter you are by a smidgen for a disaster!!

BUT it was a wonderful space to block wall quilts on!!! Just between you and me - I miss that portion of the counter now!!

But now we're in Brookings - a tiny little bowling alley kitchen. No room to block anything but a miniature!! I had to come up with a new plan.

I started help quilts hang straight on my quilt rack in NJ. I always sew a bottom sleeve on wall quilts. A tiny little dowel and a small tug on it when you pass by does W*O*N*D*E*R*S - believe you me! When my mom made the Red Wagon crows quilt it was a friendly quilt - it waved all over the place!! I said, that's okay mom, we'll add a bottom sleeve. She said, "Okay, but I think we're going to need a closet pole!" We didn't!

Trust me - the selvedge quilt was a nightmare and I was on a deadline [when am I not] so it had to be presentable FAST! Wash the quilt with Dye Magnets! Then dry for a short time in the dryer. Take out while still damp. Hang it on the wall quilt hanger and insert the expandable curtain rod in the bottom sleeve. Smooth it down the sides and give a little tug on both ends of the curtain rod at the same time. If it needs a little more encouragement (:>) thread matching mugs on each end. I've been known to put soup cans in the mugs for those really recalcitrant quilts!!

It seems to help, if still not happy with the results - rinse and repeat!!

This week I also finished a charity baby quilt. I live in a small town on the Oregon coast and every spring we hold a community baby shower. The quilt guild gives a baby quilt for every baby there. We had a workshop last month to make Bento Box quilts. This quilt is all from stash - including the Princess Pillow Panel+ back! All girly.

Although interesting backs lead to interesting problems. When I made A's kindergarten quilt, I backed it with a Kilban's Cat sheet. He really wanted the cats UP! I had to convince him that the cats were our little secret. People would look at the log-cabin-ish top [Crayon Box] and never know there were cats on it until he showed them!! It worked, but my DH got the biggest kick out of all that work on the top and to really impress A; all I needed was a sheet!!

The 'boy quilt' is cut and waiting for inspiration or time for me to work on it. It may be a lasagna quilt with some 'beachy' panels spaced in. The panels are just too cute not to be on the front!! I'll let you know how it turns out.

Another thing our guild is doing this year is a "Stay Robin". This is a "Round Robin" type mystery but it 'stays' with you' you do all the work and you keep it at the end. If you don't like it, well, no one to blame but yourself!!

For those who would like to 'play along'. We start with a center square. Any size; any style. I started with a paperless-paper-piecing Mariner's Compass. The first 'instruction' pulled from the basket was 'applique'. ICK! Oh well, at least it's close to the center so it's small!!

Now - I want you to do as I say, not as I do!!! My first border is due Monday - as in tomorrow!! Needless to say, I'm finishing it today!! And I'm vowing to never procrastinate on this project again ... HA! But we are skipping the month of December so you don't have to do the first two steps quickly if you want to join in!

I'll show you the applique step next week and tell you the new instructions then. Let me know if you want to play along. I'd love to see your pictures too!!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Big Finish!! It's circa 2001!!

We've had some pretty amazing sunsets this month! Taken from our deck on a day so mild that we ate BOTH lunch and dinner on the deck.

We also went to see the amazing Mr D!! He's the happiest 6 month old I've ever seen - during the day! The nighttime Mr D is not happy because he is apparently not sleepy. Poor sleep deprived parents!

Last weekend I was feeling left out - all my quilting friends in Nebraska were at the Fall Retreat having fun without me!! Yes, they did pass around the phone and I got to talk to them ... but really!! It's not the same! So I drug out my UFO from 2001 - most of their hand prints were traced on this quilt, so fitting that I was working on it! [Didn't help - still missed them!]But I did basically finish this very old UFO.

My friend ML wrote 4 mysteries that we participated in at a LQS. The first one was "Fowl Event" - ML loves chickens!! I finished that one right away and since my mother loved it - she got it.

The second one was - of course - Fowl Event Two!! And it had a different setting - it was supposed to be a center medallion. But I used up ALL my 'follow someone else's pattern' during the first Fowl Event. So I did a strippie of sorts. I still made the same blocks they were using - but put them in rows. I even named it "Fowl Event Two; kind-of; sort-of" back then. Then 9-11 happened.

My first thought was to contact all my friends and family to be sure everyone was okay. No matter that we lived in NE on that day; no matter that some of our friends were in other parts of the US. I needed to touch base. So I sent out a quick letter asking for their handprint on a piece of paper. I said they could include a note but I was on a deadline - send the handprint and we could catch up later! Deadline - HA!! This quilt was then renamed "Gather ye friends and family"

We had lived in NJ for 8 years; my DH worked in the Woolworth bldg - 2 blocks from the WTC. His train came into the city under the WTC. People were waiting anxiously at the Princeton Jct train station to see who would come home. Not all of them did.

10 years later ... I took this top to the LQS to long-arm it. And it continued to give me a really hard time!! Every problem a newbie has - it's in there!!

A rip caught the LA foot while I kept quilting in place!! Well, honestly, I was looking at the pantogram, not the quilt!! Yikes - she's not going to be happy about the LA coming home with the quilt!! Some bad words and both of us ripping like maniacs we got out that rat's nest; we steam-a-seam-ed the rip and acted like nothing happened!!

One groovy-board didn't have a repeat so we had to keep moving the board forward while the needle was down and we got the design off-kilter.

Another time the bobbin ran out - how embarrassing, I AM the bobbin reminder person on Stashbusters!! I'm supposed to know better!! When we started back up, I went backwards. We had to rip out 6 L*O*N*G inches of double quilting.

I thought I was finally on a roll. That's when I discovered the back wasn't long enough! Really?? I usually have to cut a foot of backing and batting off!! [I later discovered that I pinned the back on sideways!! And it was just 2 inches short of fitting the length!!] Note to self: put a pin in the TOP of backing and batting from now on!!

Took it home; put it in timeout for a week (!) [That will teach it!!] Last weekend I finished machine quilting it with my home DSM. I free motion quilted in each hand print with matching thread; added backing and finished that last row - stitch in the ditch freehand. Good practice!!

So presenting: Gather Ye Friends and Family. All done, except for the label. I need 5 hand prints of family members who have joined us since 2001 - SIL, DIL and the precious GKs hand prints will frame the label.

I see SIL next weekend - I'll get his hand print then. He already thinks I'm crazy, what the heck!! It's a bonus when you make them think!!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Home again!

Sure seems quiet around here!! LOL! The grandkids were great - and we had lots of fun. But the noise level and energy level is definitely for the young!!

I tried to cook food that their mommy liked when she was little. Didn't work! Sunday night we had the beef barley soup that Miss P likes. I made it at home and left some there for the parents. Mr M was not a fan! Oh, we got him to eat it but his face was hilarious!! Find a carrot, find celery, find tomatoes, find beans - please Nana - do not serve me this swill again!!

Monday night I made my famous [infamous??] stuffed hot dogs. Boil hot dogs; slice in half long-ways. Pile on mashed potatoes; cover with cheese slices and pop in the oven to melt the cheese. It was pretty much a staple when A&L were growing up. My friend GJ loves it - even talked a small cafe in Lincoln into making it for her!!

Well, Miss P didn't like the hot dog. Mr M didn't like the potatoes!! It must have been the cheese - cuz he's a potato fiend usually! We bribed them into eating most of it with cake and ice cream before bedtime!! Grandparents are tricky that way.

Tuesday was the absolute favorite! We went to MacDonald's, got our food - chocolate shake to share as the drink and let them play in the play-park!! A good time had by all.

The best meal seemed to be the 1/2 sandwich with crusts cut off; grapes on the side!

Miss P is in preschool this year and that helped our sanity a lot! She went M&W at 9 and was picked up at 1! During her school, I went to the Sherwood YMCA and took water aerobics classes and then did mini-grocery shopping for what we needed each day. It was wonderful and my knees really felt a whole lot better for the water exercise! Definitely doing that again. DH liked the fact that it didn't leave me time to go shopping!! He had quality time with Mr M while we were gone and it worked out great for them too. The old divide and conquer - an oldie but goodie!

We started trying to potty-train Mr M. He'll be 3 in November - not so interested. But we brought out the M&Ms and got Miss P into the act. Every time she went potty - he went in and sat on his "Cars" potty chair. We caught him at the right time once - and EVERYONE got a couple of M&Ms. If you want to see a determined 5-yr-old; offer M&Ms. I really believe she'll have him trained by the end of next week!!

I was supposed to work on a UFO this weekend. It's Stashbusters At Home Retreat. But the "Sliced Bread" WIP was calling me. I started it last March at the 'March Madness' event at our Brookings Guild. I'm surprised to say, there were some actually finished in the May show! How do they do that?? Mine is still in blocks, and a box full of strips.

Yesterday I made 15 blocks to fill in the numbers. I needed the quarter-block variations even for the pattern. There are 2 different 'points' and 4 colors. Hmmm - a picture might help!! Here it is on the design wall. Thanks to the photo - I discovered the bottom row is all twisting the wrong way!! Stay tuned for the corrected picture - next time. Hopefully with, the additional 31 quarter-blocks I'm making today to make it a row longer and a column wider. [by mistake, 5 quarter-blocks are already made, so I don't drive those math whizzes out there crazy!!]

C & I discovered this layout while she was here this summer - I needed some consulting and I love the results! Kind of Bento Box meets Log Cabin-ish with Broken Dishes thrown in??

Next challenge is to sew the blocks together - without screwing the placement all up again - hope I'm up to it!!

Of course, it goes without saying, this isn't what "Sliced Bread" is supposed to look like! The sample had the thin black strips between the blocks to calm them down. So, of course, the first thing I did was put the black into the centers ... I've been winging it ever since!! Below is one of the quilts started back at the March Madness gathering. B finished hers - it's beautiful.

We got home at sunset on Thursday night. And after laundry and grocery shopping along with other small errands ... life seems back to normal - if quiet!!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011