Sunday, March 19, 2017

March Madness Reigns!!

Whether you love basketball (DH) or are indifferent (me) March madness is everywhere!  Say what you will - it creates alot of time for quilting and other sewing!!  Which is always welcome.

We had our second "Mod Squad" meeting Friday and it was so much fun!  We had 9 members present and 9 15" challenge assignments for "Line" anonymously turned in.  One member couldn't attend and one who did, didn't have the assignment done.  It's all good!

We very carefully and politely critiqued each other.  Starting with what attracted us to that piece.  Then we tried to guess who made what - many surprises there! It was great fun - then we went out for lunch!!

Ignore the Christmas stocking pattern at the top left of the picture!  Now - pick out which one I did!!  (You can see the answer at the bottom of the blog!)  We have one nationally known Hand Quilter in our group.  Everyone one knew who did number eight!!!  It was gorgeous and modern looking; compiled with lines - met all criteria!  Eight of the nine offered to take it home and the ninth one insisted it was hers and she took it home!!  Tee-hee!

Happy National Quilting Day Weekend everyone!  Friday night we had "March Madness" - a 'quilt until you wilt' gathering.  There was loads of pizza and snacks.  But let's just admit, we wilt fast here!!  I was home at 10:30 and I was toward the end of departees! Later reports said two of the 20some quilters lasted until 1:30 am!!

Yesterday I spend much more time than planned on measuring and photographing QOV tops ready to send to the Long-Armers.  I'd gotten 7 tops with backing this last week.  We have made 18 so far and 3 are being finished by the 'toppers'.  Over double what we made last year!  Yay for us!

We are planning a presentation ceremony during the Memorial Day Weekend.  So we have enough to 'cover' the nominations we have been given.  That's a relief!!

Today I was totally hooked on the The Quilt Show episodes offered free this weekend. J, my friend in Nebraska TOLD me it was great - sorry J, you were right, I should have known better than to doubt!   Luckily, I rigged up a system where I could see the laptop playing the episode; hook on ear-phones so I could hear it above my machine sewing and sew the rest of the pillow cases I'm making for the Million Pillowcase Challenge and some for our grandkids :)  ...

 Thirteen inch pile of 27 finished pillowcases!! And that's about half of what I've made and turned in!!!

 On to the next (over-due) projects!

So did you guess which "Line" challenge is mine??  Here I am!

I found this 'modern' block on pinterest and quilted it with my walking foot following Catherine Redford's DVD of machine quilting. I love her technique of straight stitching interspersed with zig zag stitches! (Along the bottom of the block) It's Scary the first time you change it!!  Just remember to punch the button enough times to get back to the straight stitch ... not end up in the alphabet and have to rip that mess out!!!  Listen to the voice of experience!!  I'll only do that once, God willing!!!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Life after a retreat?? ... mostly naps!

We're home from 5 days of retreating above Forget Me Knots Quilt shop in Bandon, Oregon.  And boy, did we have fun!

We're at our first stop the Port Orford Quilt Shop!

Last week I was busy as a bee making kits for the projects I wanted to work on at  retreat.  I fit everything I was taking (Except the sewing machine which always sits in the foot well behind the driver) into my trunk!  And I was taking food, a blowup mattress with all the bedding too!!  Yep, it was a miracle!!

There were a few bad kits :(  For one, I brought 1/2 the cut pieces, I forgot that I like to make 2 at once for no matches of HSTs.

And one project was just too complicated to do in a distracting environment!! Rainbow colors wafting across a quilt.  I couldn't put it up on the design wall correctly.  BUT after most everyone was in bed, I was able to put it up (that's it to the right) and get it just right.  Then I sewed it in a hurry - to get the design wall free for the next person ... 7 boo-boos!! I'll try that one again here at home!

I also worked on a proposed pattern by a friend.  It had been in timeout on my portable design wall (flannel backed 'Popsicle' picnic table cloth) for a year and a half!  Now I know why!!

But I progressed it enough that I was able to take it off the flannel and have that available for the March Madness this week!! Pictures of first and last day!!

I touched everything I brought.  I didn't do any hand quilting but used that quilt on my bed!!  Hey - it counts!!  Tee-hee!

I did miss my usual bag of scraps.  Not just to play with but to share when someone needed extra brown!

Here is my favorite 'new' project:  A Plus Quilt.  I found this lovely little quilt on Pinterest here.  I've been collecting 'word' fabrics for a few years. (collecting sounds a little tame - lets say "obsessing over" word fabrics!)  But hadn't found a project that would use them to my liking!!  Well, I have now!

The blocks are only 3.5 x 5.5!!  And the bright little plus signs are a great partner with the busy, busy word fabrics!  It's going to be hard to 'finish' my other projects with this one occupying my mind!

We ate like queens and had both enough food and projects left over to stay another week!!  Tempting, we do have a washing machine up there - so we could rinse out our unmentionables when needed!!

Presenting our "Finishing School" Honor Students!!  We'll be back next year!

When I got home, I had a 'greeter' by our staircase.  ICK!  This little dude was over 8 inches long!  (I was carrying a ruler, you know!)  I told him to stay where he was and not try to get a ride with me upstairs!! 

It must be the start of slug season!!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Rainy Days get you down ... you'd better not live @ the Oregon Coast!

Boy oh boy - we're out of the drought now.  Some of us are dreaming of the days of the drought!!  I leave for finishing school tomorrow and am NOT looking forward to loading the cars in a deluge!  And that's what we're having today.

BUT rainy weather does make us stay inside and quilt - per chance??  And I've been busy.  I have two finishes - one is an UFO!!  Ticker tape parade!!

The prototype Christmas Log Cabin Table Runner!  20 x 44 which is a great size for our 66 x 38 table!  When I asked DH why that size, he mumbled something about having a place to sit and eat even when I was in the midst of a project!  Wise man!

Lovely little log cabin quilt ... or is it??

Take a closer look and notice it's a ruse!  Make all green log cabin with a red center, cut a neutral block the same size; make RSTs!!  I quilted it "around" the logs and I think that makes it even more like a real log cabin.

My second project is a quilt I found on the web "Kelsey's Quilt".  Very easy and you could use all kinds of fabrics.  A two color quilt?  A boy's superhero quilt? All pastels?  The list is endless.  What happens when you use dark sashing??  Lots of variations to explore. 40 x 44 and all from stash!!  

An artistic shot like my DD is so good with!!  But as a quilter I want to see it full out and straight please!!  But, since it's bigger than my table and since it's pouring outside - you'll have to settle for almost full out!! Variegated thread for the machine quilting.

I have a dozen pairs of fabrics (like the fish on green background) mixed in so you can play I spy with it too!

Doesn't finishing projects feel good!  It's amazing that we have UFOs at all!!! (And boy, do I!)

I made lasagna yesterday and it smelled so good.  It tasted good too - but today I had to make brownies to take along to retreat.  Nothing smells better than brownies baking!  I don't bake cookies very often, you can see why!

Isn't that saddest batch of cookies you've ever seen?  Luckily it tasted good - 5 different kinds of chips!!  Had to take it to guild Fun Day.  I kept eating the "worst" ones and could see that would lead to madness!

How can you make a "typo" when you're writing by hand???  Can you find it?

This is the top of the pin cushions for Finishing School.  Still have to finish those little gems.  Even though I promise myself I am NOT going to be sewing at the last minute again!!!

Woke up to a surprise Sunday morning!  Snow on the coast!  What??  We left NE to get out of this weather - NE is 77 degrees this week!!!  But it soon melted away and started raining again. :(

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

March 1!?! Time Marches on - indeed!

Life is getting back to normal, Heaven help us all!! I'm back at TaiChi and in the pool too. (Transpore tape was approved to wear in the pool)

I have a mission this year.  (I know, I have a mission every year, but it's usually forgotten about by now!!)  And this year I'm still working on it!!  The mission is to FIT in my SEWING SPACE!

Now I'm the first to admit I'm a wee bit spoiled by DH.  When I'm cranky he sends me to my room.  - The sewing room!  And our dining space has 3 Ikea cubby-book cases with 22 bins chock full of stash. (I magnanimously gave him TWO whole bins for paperwork!!)  Most visitors don't notice the horizontal bookcases and never suspect they hold fabric until a blabbermouth (me) tells them.

But I'm not talking about that space!!!  I'm talking about the 10x12 'spare' bedroom (we only have 2!) that is the designated sewing space.  Or as I like to call it "The Staging Area"!  It is so crowded in there that I have to move things from one flat surface to another to come up with room to sew.  Then I have to clear anything off the twin bed in there every night in case beloved insomniac DH wants to sleep in there during the wee morning hours. And yes, fabric overflow, any that doesn't fit into the 22 bins, is in there too.

Here's the problem:  Stuff - I have too much!!

Here's the other problems:  1) I am QOV chair in my guild.  That means I collect the QOV tops, send them to the long-armers, receive them back, give them back to the guild members.  This involves shipping boxes; piles going out, piles coming back.  And keeping track of paperwork!!!  I need a designated area for this category.

2) We try to see our grandchildren every month or so.  But my DIL is a school teacher with 5 and 3 year old boys.  Yep, they are busy.   My DD lives 6 hours away and her 8 and 10 year olds are in music and sports teams ... also busy.  So during winter months between the flu, the mountain pass, and trying to merge our schedules, we see them less.  So I start stockpiling things that need to go to both families.  I need a designated spot to stockpile those things so I don't forget any.  At Christmas I forgot the whole box!!!  (sigh)

So my plan of attack is to 'fix' the stuff in plain sight first!  Last fall, I was doing the great stash clean out.  I actually cut 30 some pillowcase kits for the DGKs and the Million Pillowcase for Kids charity project.  Then I got sick, busy, bored (who knows) ... and didn't actually make them.  I have been moving that box here, there and yonder in that room for months!  Monday, during Guild Fun Day I started sewing them.  My friend U helped and I turned in 12 pillowcases that night at meeting.  I have 12 more ready to finish and I actually sent the sad, floppy box that they were in to the recycling bin!

Monday was also the box raffle at guild.  I made 4!  (1) A little black tray-like box with 3 spools of quilting thread; 1 spool of dark thread, the Christmas pin cushion I made this year for the PotLuck, a clear bobbin box, and a crochet-chain summer necklace.  (2) A small round red basket with  dark red FQs from my stash stuffed into it.  (3) A square cardboard box from $1 Tree filled with embroidery floss on the the little flat cardboard 'spools', another pincushion and embroidery needles. AND (4)a clear project bag filled with extra notions: a pin box of old buttons, needles, scissors case, tape measure, etc.  Felt good but did not noticeably help the problem!!  Must remember to take pix of these before given away!!!

This week I have to finish the Finishing School pin cushions.  But I have no wool roving to stuff them with!  I'm going to get them ready to stuff and pick up some roving on the way to FS and stuff them there!!  It simply isn't worth the 4 hour round trip drive to get the stuffing!  And having it mailed?? Small town to small town?? That's a whole 'nother crap shoot!  So-o they'll 'get what they get and don't have a fit'!!

I really wasn't going to make these fiddle-ly little things - but they begged me!! LOL! One week from today we retreat!  Nine crazy quilters headed for a retreat center above a quilt store!  Yep, it's heaven!!  We'll be there for FIVE days! (counting the travel day on both ends) It's going to be great.

I was busy last weekend trying to keep up the finishing of baby quilts.

Beach Ball baby is an UFO that I started after finishing my Pies & Tarts quilt.  It's quilted now and ready to make it's debut on my daughter's Etsy store! Pictures show front and the quilting from the back.

 "Mom, I need some fabric projects to show off the brass collections!"  That's how you get into this situation!


Jungle Babies is also completely finished.  5pointed stars in the large squares and simple diagonal lines through the 4patches. Front and pieced back shown above.

I also worked on the pastels Magic Numbers - including drawing up my own 'block' to incorporate the additional sizes I cut.  It still needs to be quilted. So stay tuned.

I machine quilted the squares and sashing baby quilt - waiting to be bound.

And  I machine quilted one of the Christmas log cabin table runners.  I love it, it still needs binding.

Add a 15" square Modern Design "Lines" assignment for ModSquad and I'm going to be busy this weekend too.

Ladies - time to party in the sewing room!!  Let the wild rumpus begin!!