Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Double Delight Delema

Or should I call this the continuing caper of the curious cat....those of you visited last year while I worked on Carolina Crossroads will remember I had a similar conundrum - missing blocks.

I am fairly sure I know who the culprit is...she doesn't even attempt to look innocent but no amount of begging will get the location of her current fabric stash out of her.

The problem is I started out using only one brown fabric for the triangles. I thought it would give some continuity to all the scrappie-ness of the greens, shirtings and purples. I spent an afternoon cutting a large baggie with all the brown needed. I had only made about 6-7 blocks when the baggie disappeared. I have looked everywhere. It was last seen on the coffee table in our familyroom on top of the finished blocks.

So I am tired of looking and since our new president has limited me to the Army Field Manual it is doubtful my "little terrorist" will be giving up any information anytime soon. (I found the missing Carolina Crossroad 9-patches under the sofa in the livingroom and behind a radiator when we moved last year...there were also several buttons, two spools of thread and many 2 inch fabric strips) So onto plan B...scrappy all over! I pulled a couple of browns from the stash and recut the triangles. You know of course this means I will find the originals tonight...I also found some blue courthouse step blocks I thought I had lost. They were wrapped up in some flanned I had used as a design board. I put the blocks together last night and will put on a simple border today. I think I was making this for my sister but don't remember anymore...how do you call someone and ask, "about three years ago did I promise to make you a blue and white quilt?" And before you say anything...I know this isn't really blue and white! I have problems limiting color in my quilts. You should see my red, white and blue that ended up with green, yellow and pink in it!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Feed the wolf

I am a bit of a news-aholic....so it stands to reason the inauguration was on the TV all day yesterday and I have been watching closely our new president's first day in office. It has all been impressive but to be honest predictable. That is until today's National prayer service...the sermon given by Rev. Sharon Watkins was inspiring!

Up until that point the service was a bit disjointed...a bit of trying to please everyone...sounded a bit Catholic, then definitely Southern Baptist, and then whoops there's a Greek Orthodox priest standing on the pulpit behind a clapping and dancing choir (he looked really uncomfortable!) I know the Obama team has used the term patchwork in several speeches but this event was downright scrappy! Anyway, I had gone back to the kitchen to do dishes when I heard her start to speak so I returned to the living-room. I am glad I did. (I tried to find a copy of her sermon online but no luck yet.)

It wasn't overly preachy...I think I came back in the room when I heard the crowd laugh for the first time. In a very nice way it was a warning to the new administration that power can corrupt, that vengeance can eat away at you, and that we all depended on them to remain true to basic values.

She used an American Indian fable as a teaching point that went something like this: a grandfather told his young grandson that inside each of us are two wolves struggling - one filled with anger, resentment and self pity – and the other filled with compassion, faithfulness, and hope. "Which one wins?" the grandson asks. "The one you feed," answered his grandfather.

Did I mention she is the first woman preacher to deliver a sermon at a National Prayer Service...things are a-changin'!
(the photos are a couple more the fun quilts worked on by members of my guild during our retreat last weekend!)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Quilt Retreat Recovery

I got home from the quilt retreat with my local guild a bit exhausted but glad to have gone. Before even bringing in my bags I headed to my bed for a good three hour nap...yikes. I sewed for hours past my bedtime two nights in a row and that catches up with a girl! After much sewing I got a few blocks of my mystery quilt done...I have stacks of square and square and 9-patches to work with now so I think progress on this quilt will start moving along now!Remember this quilt? I finally got the borders on this weekend. Much easier for my DH to understand a large quilt coming out of the bag than a couple of blocks! Anyway this top is ready to be quilted! A sort of finish....

The space were sewing in was really large and had a decent size kitchen...what more could you ask for? We did have a visit by the quilt police...who knew!Actually he was a park ranger who was just curious about quilts...but check out the really fun strippy tops in the making int he background!
There were lots of really fun projects. One of the things I like about this group is the diversity of their quilting. We had every thing from "turning 20 again" to really complicated paper-piecing projects. (The colors in this quilt are so much more vivid in real life...) We also had a couple of Bonnie projects in the works.
The quilt above has lots of plaids. She used several shirts in order to get the scrappy look she wanted. No big surprise she roomed with Bonnie the year she stared this quilt!

Check out the back of this quit..a good use of more plaids!A lesson learned this trip...if you put a half finished project in a box for six months it can take you almost that long to figure out how it goes together when you take it back out again. I did want to label this photo - how many quilters does it take to put together the Carolina Crossroad blocks...
But in the end it was worth it...isn't this one beautiful!

I have more photos but I've got to take Macbeth out on his walk. It has started to flurry and he is so excited! He keeps running into the computer room and "telling me" to come to "his" window by the front door to watch the funny stuff come from the sky. We don't get much snow in the part of Georgia so I'd best go out and play with him for a bit!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

What to pack...

Packing you ask? "Haven't all your blogs been whining about unpacking?" you cry. Well, this is good packing. (as opposed to unpacking old towels and your husband's golf clubs....) I am headed off to a quilt retreat for a few days!

I wasn't sure I was going to be able to go. When I got around to asking there wasn't any space left in the cabins (the guild starts planning this a year in advance...) I had pretty much decided I would only go up for the day but my eyes aren't doing too well and I can't drive in low light which would only give me a few hours of sewing time before having to pack up to come back home...sad. Anyway, a quilter dropped out and I got the call there was an open spot!
So what to bring? I have cut all the pieces for Bonnie's mystery quilt...I am doing it in purples, greens, browns, shirtings, and golds. Totally scrappy (except for the brown which I used the same one all the way through...not sure why. I think I was just in a groove cutting strips or something....) So mystery quilt is project #1. (This is also a nod to Bonnie since she was my roomate at this retreat the last two times I went...I'm going to miss here but she will be there in spirit/scraps)

I also have a set of blocks won by a member of this guild many years ago who passed away after a long battle with cancer. Her husband gave the blocks to the guild and no one quite knew what to do with them. So they are 80% put together...why do I have so much trouble with that last finishing lap? Oh ya...I trimmed a setting triangle too early and now have to (gulp) unsew the block and reset a new one...duhhhhh. So this is project #2. (the photo of Goldie is from her "supervising" the packing....)

And finally, I have the 1930's dresdan plate project all packed up and ready to come with me...This is hand work and should be good for the cabin at night. Project #3.
Past years I have overloaded myself with projects. Some never even get unpacked when I get there! So if I limit myself there may acually be progress...what a concept! Even so, there is the sewing machine, the bags with the projects, ironing pad, rulers, cutting mat, rotary cutters, bottles of wine (not to be used in cunjunction with the rotary cutters....), cookies, snacks, and of course some clothes and a quilt (weatherman says it will be really cold!) The photo above is from the end of my street. This leads to the Savannah river. At the bottom center you can just make out the raccoon tracks. She like to use this area to wash her food. I haven't seen her yet but see her tracks and her tricks (upended trash cans!) often in our area.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Moving is Evil and must be stopped....

Today is a day free of unpacking! I will just avoid Goldie's disapproving stare...though I think she is starting to like hanging out on top of all the boxes...I have a new mantra though courtesy of Karen at Living Life at Leehaven, "moving is evil and must be stopped." I like it.

I spent yesterday afternoon at the doctors. Looks like I may have another kidney stone on the way. Not my idea of a good time. My blood pressure was sky high and about every 10 minutes I feel like someone is punching me in my side. Duhhhhh.... She did give me some good anti-spasm pills that at least got me to sleep most of the night. Amazing how good that feels!

So today is a relax, drink lots and lots of fluids, graze on the fruit salad Dh cut up for me this morning and hope it all goes away soon!

I picked up Carolina Clay - The Life and Legand of Slave Potter Dave at the library this week. If you are interested in American pottery or southern history this is a great book. The author is a distant relative of the man who owned Dave and set about writing the book in part to find out more about his own family history. This is by no means a hard-core history. He sometimes wanders off and makes it a bit more like fiction than history but tells you before he makes the trip so you can suspend disbelief and follow along without wondering where the heck he is going. He doesn't avoid the ugly parts of what was happening in this part of the country just prior to the civil war and the decade following. To say I am enjoying reading this book may be a stretch (it is about slavery and some evil times in our history) - but I am learning a lot and at times it is fascinating.

There is quite a bit about how the style of pottery/stoneware in the Edgefield area developed and the photos are wonderful. He even shows some of the face jugs that began to be popular here in the mid 1800's. It was through the facejugs that I first learned of Dave and Edgefield pottery. (on a quilting note...in the center of Edgefield is a small museum with lots of pottery and wonderful antique quilts!)

On a totally different subject...I pulled fabrics for Bonnie's new mystery quilt. I wanted to use some of my greens and purples instead of the blues and pinks she used in hers but now I am not so sure. I may just make a little test block today....is that cheating?!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Mystery to me....

Not a lot of quilting going on here. Most of my time is spent organizing and folding fabric. One of the challenges from the move is the movers sort of threw fabric in where ever to fill space...so a drawer is full in the bedroom, the jewelry box got a fat quarter, the inside of a casserole dish some 2-1/2 inch strips, and even in the shoe boxes were tucked some 6 inch squares. How they did this without my seeing is a mystery to me. So as I unpack any stray fabric pieces end up on the couch and every night I iron, fold and put away. Guess I didn't get too far last night since this is what greeted me this morning....

I did need a few minutes away over the weekend so I went out and bought some fun yarn colors. Do I have a plan how I will use it? No, but look at those colors....happy place.
The saga of the Tom cat continues. He was back several times courting Goldie this past weekend.He made the mistake of being out in the yard when Macbeth (my Scottish terrier) went out to play. Now Mac loves cats...most cats...maybe not cats who are stalking his little sister.
Tom got out of the tree fine after about 20 minutes of wiggling around on that branch!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

red, white and blues....

Today was another unpacking day...this is getting a bit monotonous no? I did make some headway in the sewing room and hang curtains in the bedroom. That all just about wore me out...I hid in the kitchen for a bit making a huge batch of Beef Barley Soup. It has been a rainy day so it felt right.

Above is my husband's Red, White and Blue quilt I am determined to finish this year. This quilt has gone to one class, two workshops and multiple retreats. It has crossed the Atlantic (twice) and been lost once by Delta Airlines for almost two weeks (I guess I should have tipped the guy a bit more so it would stay lost....) I think I have procrastinated putting the three borders on because the next step would be to quilt it...it will be a pain to quilt. But, I am going to do this one way or another.....

The only excitement today was the neighborhood Tom cat has gotten a bit bolder...more like a peeping Tom.

That is Goldie...sleeping on her favorite chair surrounded by bits of Christmas waiting to be boxed up and a box of fabric bits that I save for when I pack boxes. The Tom cat spent most of the afternoon perched on that window waiting for her to wake up and pay attention to him!
A couple of times in the past week I have almost let him in the back door thinking he was my Brownie...not sure how well he and MacBeth would get along!

Friday, January 02, 2009

New Year...new list

Resolutions are a lot like lists. I am a list maker. I have a list of all our DVD's on an excel spreadsheet. I have an inventory list of all the items I like to keep on hand in my baking pantry. I make lists of all the diets I have ever tried and of all the quilts I have ever made. So why I wonder do I drag my feet when it comes to making resolutions? It isn't that I don't have goals...they just change more often than any list can update.

But this year is different. In 18 months I will turn 50. I think I have grown up enough to finally make some resolutions...

Don't worry I am not going to bore you all with the details. Just the quilt-y stuff!

First: tame the habit.
What, you say? It isn't like quilting is addictive and dangerous...or is it? Don't worry it isn't quilting per say that needs to be tamed but my rather messy fabric, paint, threads, beads, and anything-that- looks-like- it- may- be- fun habit. Put aside I am struggling with the tail end of a move...the amount of "stuff" I have isn't boosting my creativity it is oppressive!

(A lot of you know I have MS...I am now giving you permission to not feel guilty about laughing)...yesterday I feel into a box, which tipped over and I couldn't get out. You see it was one of those tall china boxes that the movers decided to throw my fabric into. There are box towers in my room making it tough to move around. I saw a fat quarter at the bottom of the box and instead of calling for help I tried to reach my short little arm to the bottom of the tall, tall box. In I went...over went the box jamming itself between the bookcase and some other boxes and putting me in such and awkward position I couldn't get back up! Also I was afraid of wiggling too much and taking down the bookcase (been there done that!) So where am I going with this? My "stuff" is not only creatively oppressive it is a bit well, dangerous!

So in the next month I am moving anything not directly related to quilting into some storage boxes and putting them under the bed. A lot the painting stuff and fabric is going to the Girl Scouts (a neighborhood girlscout is helping me with the clean out.)

Second: Take those quilt roadtrips
This is one of those "lists" I was taking about earlier. I want to go to the Quilt Museum in Lincoln, to Houston, and to another American Quilt Study Seminar to name a few. Maybe I can't do all of them this year but I need to pick one and just do it!

Third: Finish my husband's quilt
Now I could make a long list of the projects in bags. Cover a page with excuses for abandoned quilt tops. Or even, just bore you to tears with the number of orphaned blocs lurking in my quilting room. think the Island of misfit toys meets Sio's sewing room. The only quilt that really, really needs to be done is the Red, white and blue quilt I have been working on for (drum roll please.....) seven years!
(Seven years and I just searched my all my digital photos files and I can't find one of this red, white and blue....so instead you get a pic of Goldie.) Those of you who have been quilting awhile know what I am talking about. The quilt that you just don't like...don't like the fabrics...don't like the pattern...don't like...just don't like! But he does...a lot. So I am going to knuckle down and just get the d@*&% thing done.

So that is it for quilting resolutions...nothing too serious...the rest of the resolutions take care of that . I am just trying to get back to having fun with my quilting...is that too much to ask?!