Saturday, May 31, 2008

Lazy Saturday

I stayed up way too late last night reading "The Saddlemaker's Wife" by Earlene Fowler. I had tried to start it before, but just couldn't get into it. Last night I did, read about 100 pages, and made myself go to bed. So I slept in this morning. When I got up I was originally going to quilt on Basic and Beyond, but SBS called to me and I ended up making B-1 Stamp Baskets. I had seen Alex Anderson making a four inch version on The Quilt Show, and kind of used her technique. Since I was making four 3" baskets I modified the pattern a bit so I didn't have to deal with bias edges and applique. I ended up hand appliqueing both sides of the handle, it was just easier that way.
I made chicken stir fry tonight, using up some of the Farm share vegies, still have a bit left from that first week, arugula. I plan on trying arugula pesto on Sunday. I am not a big fan of arugula, hopefully this tones it down a bit. I liked the radishes in the vegie saute last night. Got two more bunches on Thursday so can try them again with some other vegies. I was hoping to get carrots, but no joy. Guess I will have to buy a few. Sunday is the local Farmer's market, but I don't want to buy a lot of vegies this week. We got 8 baskets of strawberries, which are actually going fast. yummm
Tonight we went to see our DD in "The Adding Machine", an early 20th century German-esque comedy. I don't think the Germans were particularly comic then, but it was well done. I will go to the closing performance as well.
Forgot to mention that I signed up for four classes at PIQF next fall, a bit carried away. There were more overlapping ones that looked good as well, this was a feast year. I'll be taking two days off from work this year, the first time in a few years that I have done that.

Friday, May 30, 2008

SBS G-5 Mariner's Compass

This week's BOW was a challenge, an itsy bitsy Mariner's Compass. It wouldn't have been so bad if it didn't have split points, but it did. It is finished, and as the saying goes, finished is better than perfect. Actually looks pretty good from four feet away .

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Memorial Day Weekend happenings

Monday was Memorial Day (observed) and Chin Health Day. This was my first Chinchilla event. I never knew chins were popular pets until I met Holly, who supports California Chincilla Rescue along with keeping her own chins. They are adorable. It is fun to visit them, but I am not getting one of my own. supported this.

When I got home I got to sit in my new la-Z-boy recliner and test quilt. It works well, got well onto the third side of the quilt. I was watching “The Longest Day” on TV as I quilted, an appropriate Memorial Day viewing. Still need to watch “The War” so I can return it to a friend of mine.

This week’s SBS BOW is G-5, a 16 split point Mariner’s Compass. These are awfully narrow bits of fabric. On Monday night I printed the paper piecing templates and modified the piecing so I could do them in 8 sections. Tuesday I cut the fabrics and started piecing, I ran out of time and energy, so hopefully this will be finished Wednesday night.

On Monday I made a Swiss Chard – Tomato Frittata for dinner. Sauté some garlic and chopped red onion until tender in olive oil. Remove center ribs from Swiss Chard, chop into ½” bits and add to garlic/onion mixture. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add some liquid if it gets too dry, or drain extra liquid if necessary. Mix 4 eggs with 4 large leaves of fresh, sliced basil and add garlic/onion/chard mixture. Add a little more olive oil to pan, heat and pour in egg mixture. Put sliced fresh tomatoes on top of the eggs. Cover and cook for about 8 minutes on low. Flip eggs (I slid eggs out onto plate, covered with pan and flipped), cook another 4-6 minutes (covered) until edges brown. Serve with grated sharp cheddar cheese and toast. This served two.

Tuesday was back to work, then to get my hair cut and then home to do another thread or two in Basic and Beyond. The border is stitched from the baskets on the right around the top to the hearts on the left. I made Taco Salad with no tortilla for dinner. I don't know if I will manage to finish off the contents of the Farm Share before I pick up the next one on Thursday.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Quilting Chair and quilt progress

Went shopping today for a new chair and actually found one I liked. I had gone about a year or so ago and no joy. Until I started hand quilting again, I didn't really miss it, but now, I am. So tomorrow DH will pick it up. Today we rearranged the living room so it would fit nicely. Meanwhile I have been quilting sitting on the couch. Not too bad, but the chair will be better. And this is only possible with the small lap hoop. The floor stand hoop does not work sitting in the couch. The lap hoop is better for the border anyway. I am officially half done with these last rounds of border quilting!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Busy Day

Today was a busy day. Stayed up way too late last night (Basic and Beyond border is now almost half way done) since I had taken a nap when I got home. So of course, today I got up late. Did a lot of weeding this morning, early afternoon. Perhaps not the best idea what with all of the sooty particles in the air. The Summit fire in Santa Cruz country has caused the whole area to smell like a campfire. Campfires tend to give me headaches, and I had one today. It is now 25% contained. We felt a few sprinkles and hoped they would grow in order to help the firefighters. Don't think they did though. But the cool air supposedly did help, so that is good.

Went to see "Jekyll and Hyde" tonight. Excellent adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's novella. They had four actors playing Hyde. They also played the ensemble cast, with only Jekyll playing only himself. The Hydes were all very distinctive, and it was obvious which character they were playing at any given time.

Off to do a thread in the quilt, then to bed.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Empty Spools 2009

Today the Empty spools 2009 catalog came. Lots of great teachers will be there next year, but I am going to register for the class with Suzanne Marshall. I hope I get in. Won't know for a few weeks. I have admired her work for years, and she has an applique method different from any I have tried. Since she lives in Missouri, I don't get the chance to take classes from her very often (I think this is the first time she has been close), so here's hoping. It won't be until Aug/Sept 2009, so I should have a chance to finish a few things first. I'll be going with two friends, this is something to look forward to.

Meanwhile I have been quilting on my Basic and Beyond quilt. Several more threads in the border. Basic and Beyond was from my second quilting class, we learned to draft more blocks and how to piece them, all by hand. It ranges from basic nine patches to a Mariner's compass in the center (the beyond), with various levels of difficulty in between. We used "Quilts, Quilts,
Quilts" by McClun and Nownes as our textbook, but I threw in a Mathieson Mariner's Compass. I started this when I was in my "dark phase", my quilts were made with dark colors. A friend remarked on this, and I agreed, and started working with some lighter colors, but this quilt didn't get them. But I did learn a lot while piecing this quilt. Then I had my last baby (a week after the classes finished) and other things had a higher priority . I got back to it several years later, and discovered a hole in the sashing when the basting was almost done. I ended up replacing sashing, batting and backing and rebasting. Then I started hand quilting it, off and on over the years. I am down to the border, and hoping I have enough quilting thread to finish it. There is no way I will find the same color after all these years (it is a dusky blue). I have some that is close, so will use that if I have to, so all is not lost.

Still haven't found a good place to sit when doing hand work, which is why so much has been done at the machine lately. Maybe this weekend I can do some shopping...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

SBS - F-4 Old Maid's Puzzle

I am still calibrating my placement on the Bernina 630, I thought it was a little different from the 200e, but not so you'd notice. When I thought it was different I adjusted my placement. Bad idea, F-4 ended up way too big. So I did a measuring set of strips (three two inch strips sewn together) and discovered where I ought to sew and redid the block. Now it is 6 1/2" within a thread all the way around. That's the way it ought to be . 14 down of 140, a tenth of the way there.
BTW, a big congratulations to Kristi Yamaguchi, the winner of Dancing with the Stars!
While I was watching DWTS last night I pulled out my oldest UFO to hand quilt (working on the border). I realized as I was stitching why I don't do this as much as I should. It is not comfortable in that chair, and I got rid of the chair I used to hand quilt in. In retrospect, not such a good idea. Now I need to find another chair that works for hand work.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Dancing with the Stars

Yes, I am a DWTS fan, especially this season with my favorite Ice Skater, Kristi Yamaguchi, style, elegance, and who knew she could dance. I don't think she did at the beginning, but she is an extremely hard worker (you don't get Olympic gold without hard work!) and willing to take the advice from those who know. So unlike some other women on this show (not so much this season) who would argue with their dancing pros. Or want to do things their way. Go Kristi! I am voting for you.
Now to go fold my washed backing and batting for High Country Garden, then a little hand quilting.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Back from Gold Country Retreat

My sister and I joined 26 other quilters for a retreat this last weekend. Lots of fun, oohing and aahhing, and progress made on lots of quilts. I managed to get the last nine Patchwork Party blocks done (yeah!) and pulled out an ancient UFO to get the top completed. These were patterns from High Country Quilts in Colorado Springs, I got one pattern each month in 1997 (or thereabouts). I started the BOM blocks in October 1998 and finished the center in January 1999. Not too bad on the center, but then it hung around. I wanted to make it 'bigger', a problem I have. I thought a border of pieced blocks would be nice, and I had lots of leftover fabrics, another issue. I bought fat quarters of fabrics instead of the kits. Would have been a lot cheaper to get the kits, but oh well. Somewhere along the line I did get some border fabric, so finally just added a skinny black border and the floral border. Now to quilt it.
This is most of the Patchwork Party blocks and most of the pieces for the Feathered Star center. Getting there.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Sylvia's Bridal Sampler C-4 Sister's Choice BOW

I needed to get this week's BOW done quickly since I am going on retreat later this week. And I am getting better, so should be able to go. Tomorrow back to work, then Thursday to retreat (YEAH!). The BOW (block of the week) this week was Sister's Choice. I made several of these when I made a quilt for my sister with her fabric choices. Sister's Choice seemed like a good pattern for it, and I was thrilled with how it turned out (a few years ago now). Anyway, those were even multiples of 5 so I could easily rotary cut it. These are 6" blocks, not so evenly divisable. So I went back to templates (like Jennifer recommends), and got it pieced last night. As long as I was working on the SBS blocks I decided to make one or two more, so went to the list of old BOWs and picked two from the A row, A-8 and A-09. I paper pieced A-9 Chinese Coins. I discovered a new trick while doing that. With freezer paper piecing you can loosen the seam allowance bit and iron it opposite of normal. I was using plain paper so couldn't, but wanted to so that the center row and column could nest. So I modified a tip from Ricky Tims, put Scotch tape over the seam line, gently tore the stitching from the paper, and then ironed it the way I wanted it to go. Worked like a dream . Ricky uses the tape when he needs to remove stitching, but hey, it works great for this too. Then I went to work on A-8. Another revelation. I have been using Marti Michell's templates for the Patchwork Party blocks. I also have her E set for stars and found that E34 is perfect for the corner squares and E-35 is perfect for all of the triangles, so the only template I needed was the center octagon. With MM's corner snipping, all the pieces aligned perfectly, making this block a breeze to make. Only wish I had picked fabrics a bit better. I ended up making this block a second time, the gold just washes into the background and the two blues were just too close. But it was so easy to do, barely took any time at all to make that second one .
On another note, I have been catching up with watching The Quilt while stitching. Bonnie McCaffery was on, and mentioned vidcasts on her site. Check them out at , great techniques and things that look like a lot of fun to do. Want to try her fantasy fabric pins soon.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Shoo Fly quilt done!

Late last night I finished the Shoo Fly quilt - named Winter Garden Pool by my DD, the recipient of the quilt, since the fabric seems to shimmer. I don't have a great place to take pictures, so here is most of it.
Short history of this quilt - it began with some fat quarters I got at PIQF many years ago from the Cotton in the Cabin booth, designed by Sandy McCay. It took a while to decide on the pattern, but the Shoo Fly quilt in one of the Elm Creek quilt books caught my eye. I decided to make as many Shoo Flys as I could just using the fabric I had. Later, I added the indigo sashing and the green skinny strip (perfect match from an old Diana Leone fabric). I used wool batting, which is very poofy. But it did scrunch up enough in my Bernina, with some work. This is a full size quilt, roughly 88" x 96".

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day

Been sick for the last few days, but I think I am on the mend. Very little quilt progress is made while lying in bed. However I am now done cutting the Patchwork Party blocks to take with me to the Gold Country Retreat. And the Shoo Fly block quilting is well over half way done. So the end is in sight. And the cutting table has finally been cleared off so I can trim the extra batting from around the quilt. That will help when quilting in the middle. Now to find the binding. I know I cut it when I cut the borders, at least I think I did. I should bind it once I trim the batting, but that means reconfiguring the sewing machine. Not that hard to do, but well, I'd rather finish the quilting.

This morning I woke up to OJ by the bed, and coffee on its way. Then DD made me my breakfast of choice, French Toast, bacon and fresh strawberried. Yum. First food that has tasted good for a few days, hardly ate at all yesterday. And the headache from hell is gone (I hope). And I can sew again. So life is good. Wonder what they are going to fix for dinner?

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Back to the Shoo Fly Quilt

I really want to get the Shoo Fly quilt done before I go to the quilt retreat next weekend (leaving in 7 days). 24 blocks done, 48 to go. Watched Grey's Anatomy that I missed last Thursday, so glad it is on their website, while I quilted. It has a wool batting, which would be perfect to sleep under up there. Need to figure out what I am going to work on while there. I plan on bringing the Featherweight, so not quilting, piecing would be perfect. I think I will bring the Patchwork Party blocks, and the Sylvia Bridal Sampler stuff, just in case.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

More Sylvia's Bridal Sampler

This week's BOW was D-3 Mother's Delight. I can't say it was a delight to sew, working on it too late at night and managing to cut right then use the wrong parts of the paper piecing bits. Fortunately I cut the pieces largish and it all worked out more or less.

On Sunday night I listened to the Sharks go into quadruple overtime and decided to work on some simple SBS blocks, because I obviously didn't have time for a complicated block (NOT). I ended up making three simple ones, the Nine Patch, Churn Dash and Bright Hopes, so I now have 10 blocks done.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Patchwork Party Progress

Last night I went to my SQG and worked on the Patchwork Party Blocks. Got two completly done and one more well on its way, which is now done. I have been using Marti Michell templates to cut out these blocks and must say they make piecing a whole lot easier. Cutting is more work, but the accuracy you get when piecing makes up for it, IMHO. And it is really noticable when you try to put bits together the wrong way! I was working on an ice cream cone section (for those of you familiar with Doreen Speckman's terminology), and tried to put the 30-60-90 triangles on backwards. The trimming at the tips won't match up that way, but does when you put them together properly. So glad I had done the trimming instead of having to do the frogging (rip-it, rip-it).

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Quilting the Shoo-Fly Quilt

I started quilting the border of the Shoo-Fly quilt on Thursday and got the free motion feathers done (yeah!). Also did a zig zag around the quilt so I can trim it a bit more now, after the cutting table is cleared off.
I found an article in Fon's and Porter's Love of Quilting about quilting blocks and the sample block was a Shoo-Fly, talk about serendipitous. I am slowly getting better (more even) as I quilt the blocks, but it is a slow process. I have 72 blocks in the quilt, and about 12 done, so 1/6 of the way. So not too bad considering I went out to dinner with friends tonight. Saw the Sharks game against the Stars every now and then, was so glad when the Sharks won!
Saturday is stitching with my small quilt group. I plan on working on the Patchwork Party blocks so decided to start cutting tonight, taking a break from quilting. Got one of the 12 cut out, and would like to get at least two more cut and ready to sew. We'll see.
I also printed out the rest of Sylvia's Bridal Sampler and got that into a binder. Found some more sheet protectors so now all of my blocks are safely stowed away.