Friday, March 30, 2012

the edge of the earth....

Just a short post to let you know I haven't fallen off the end of the earth...just feel as if I have.

A respiratory viral infection has me ensconced under 3 quilts even though the thermometer outside is reading 80 degrees. I can't believe there was once a time I liked chicken I never want to see another a bowl of good thing to come out of this week is I got to eat some of my Walker's shortbread and I still lot 4 pounds. Now how often to you see that in the same sentence!

My only big excitement the past few days was a knock on the door by one of the guys who works on my yard. "Did I know there was a cat on the roof of my house?"
Yes we have another Dobby cat rescue story...the yard guys got a ladder and lured Dobby to the edge with a chicken leg (works every time!) Still have no idea how he got up there.

So I haven't done much sewing...mainly folding fabric, looking through old books and magazine, and organizing photos on the computer (when I can sit upright that is!)

Here is a photo from last month when my guild was selling tickets on our current donation quilt.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Where did the week go...

The past week was a blurr...
lots of quilting visits (isn't this a great conversation print!),
catching up on projects,
and trying to rid myself of a spring cold....

My friend Rachel came by and dropped off a Hydrangea that came from her garden for my garden. (Aren't friend plants the best!) She also brought her little (10-1/2 inches) New York Beauty for a visit. I love doll quilts and miniatures...
Also wanted to share this photo of a quilting friend's DMC threads all lined up in an antique spool cabinet...

I working on my Sprigs and Stars quilt for a few days. I needed to catch up. How bad is that to only be in March and already be a month behind! As of last night I am on track...can't believe two rows are finished! (Not that you can tell with the camera-hog cat laying on top of the blocks....)
Today I'm going to kit up my April and May applique blocks then put the whole thing away and go back to work on the Russian Sunflower...

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Russian Sunflower and stars top finish!

For the last couple of months I have been working on interpreting a circa 1840 crib quilt that belongs to Bill Volckening. It has been an interesting journey!

It amazed me how many design elements and sewing technique the original maker put into one 39 inch by 39 inch quilt. Last night after appliqueing the last circle on the last corner I took a deep breath, had a celebratory glass of Guinness with my husband, and then started drafting the quilting design.
And not to worry, the glass of stout came nowhere near the original quilt...while it is in my house it sits safely behind glass doors in the dining room cabinet!

I was happy to see there is a real Russian Sunflower. They were popular in American gardens the last quarter of the 19th century. A bit late for this quilt. I got some seeds and will try them in my side garden this year. We back up on a preserve and have lots of birds who will really enjoy them! (Like they do my blueberries which I never get netted in time!)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

My grandparents all emigrated from Ireland. My Mom's side of the family was from Galway while my Dad's were from Kerry and Cork. I've been back many times and still have some relatives on that side of the pond.

We are having the traditional Irish american corned beef dinner tonight along with some brown bread and smoked salmon. For dessert I am making my grandmother's banana pie...ok, maybe not traditionally Irish but she was born there and I'm told it was one of her favorites....

besides it is in our family cookbook. The photo above shows my grandfather and his siblings. Can you imagine having all those brothers?! (and there were two more that didn't make the photo!) At the time this photo was in the Boston Globe they were the largest Democratic voting family in Boston. Of course women didn't have the vote great aunt is quoted in the paper as saying she and her Mom will be first in line when the law changes.

There is a small parade in Augusta today. I've never gone down to it but may give it a try today. I can't get over how hot it has been here. When I was growing up outside Boston I remember a year when my Irish Step Dancing School was supposed to dance/march in the Boston parade but were pulled out midway due to the dangers of ice. They put most of us on Fire Trucks...wrapped in blankets!

On a different note but appropriate for today...I have a new favorite tool in the kitchen. After years of struggling with an old cheap potato peeler I finally opened up this new one from Pampered Chef...who knew what difference it could make! It is like when you finally change the blade in your rotary cutter and realize how dull your old one really was...I'll be glad to have this new one as I work on dinner tonight.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Quilt visits...

Didn't get as much quilting done this week as I had planned. But I did get to visit other folks who are being productive so I can share a bit of what they are accomplishing!

I was really surprised to see my friend Rachel's blocks at bee the other day...I started the same quilt right before Christmas! How wild is that!

My friend Julie is trying a new technique at a LQS. Very different colors for her. The blocks get fairly thick so they will not get some of her incredible hand quilting!
She also finished a T-shirt shirts!

I did get the last border on the solider quilt. It needed the extra length the double border gave it...also it allowed me to use up the extra two inch squares! The pattern for the quilt is called twist and turn and is on, Bonnie Hunter's website. I added the center house block (it was an orphan!) and the pieced border. It is a good group quilt!

Monday, March 12, 2012

We have had a mild winter this year. The spring flowers are in bloom and even the azaleas are starting to liven up the landscape.
What really surprises me however are how many insects are out already.
Yesterday I saw bees working hard (as expected)
and today there were butterflies around my front yard.
Makes me want to sewing with spring fabrics...

and to start planting some seeds for my veggie garden. This year I am going to plant a few russian sunflowers too!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

National Quilt day...a week early

Due to some scheduling problems...including a St. Patrick's day guild decided to celebrate National Quilt day a week early.
We decided to spend the day working on donation projects. All and all I think we got about a dozen quilt tops together. One is for the local veteran who is getting an accessible house next month

the others will be finished up and given to the Ronald McDonald house which provides family's a place to stay while their children are being cared for a local children's hospital.

It goes without saying we also had lunch that included and amazing amount of is a sort of southern law that if more than three women get together there has to be at least three desserts....

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

A short delay in piecing...

I had such great hopes of staying on track with the Russian Sunflower quilt...then my MS kicked in. Duhhh. (Still need to add one more border with 8 appliqued circles.)

So plans for getting the top finished last weekend have been extended a few days...first to get those darn muscle spasms that makes talking and walking difficult to calm down and second to recover from dropping an iron on my foot!

What was I doing with an iron if I wasn't working on the RS quilt? Well, I was frustrated so I pulled out some bright fabrics thinking they would make me happy. I wanted to get these started for our National quilting day program on Saturday where we are making quilts for Ronald McDonald House. I started doing the easy piecing...forgetting that then I needed to get to the ironing board and that ironing boards aren't all that stable. My being unstable (on my feet that is) and the ironing board were not a good combination!

So my poor DH, who developed excellent ironing skills while serving 20 years in the Air Force, is helping by pressing any projects for me when he gets home. Not getting a whole lot done here! Though I did throw a lot of new fabric in the washing machine for him to press tonight. Am I taking advantage of the situation? Heck ya!

Dobby has been very good while I've been sick...very odd. Most of the time he is a wild cat. (BTW, the wool quilt he has claimed was made in 1950 and has a wool backing. I didn't realize until today that I don't have a full photo of it...I'll have to wait until Dobby isn't guarding it...)

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Sunflower questions...

The Russian Sunflower and Star quilt is so close to being a top...good chance to be finished this weekend. About half the blocks are sewn together and the hourglass borders are finished!

A few questions came from bloggers with "no-reply" here are the answers...How big is the quilt? It should finish at 39 inches square...may be closer to 40. I hope that the quilting takes up that extra inch!

What fabrics and I using and where did I find them. These are all from my reproduction fabric stash. I've been hoarding...rather collecting...repros since the early 90's. My best advice is when you see a repro you like get a couple yards of it! Some of my fabrics still has the selvage on it but a lot is just fat quarters or less. I find it hard to use that last little bit...

I did document the fabrics that I was sure of to keep with the quilt. It is a wide range:#1 Cobb quilt by RJR, Smithsonian; #2 Laurene Sinema, SSI #3 Cobb Quilt RJR; #4 The Old Sturbridge Village Collection, Marcus; #5 Hannah Walker, DAR, Windham; #6 Dargate Ribbons, Maro Krager, Windham; #7 Family Tree, Mary Koval. I used several reds from the Moda Friendship line that comes out this month (I had a charm pack.) The background is Kona Bone.

Not all collections play well with one another. Some attempt to reproduce the fabric as it was when it was first made while others seem to attempt to pre-age the fabric and make it look like it does now. I'm not saying one is good or the other bad but they tend not to look "right" when used in the same quilt.

I have made a couple of quilts with the sole purpose of keeping a record of my repro fabrics: One was a Prairie Queen quilt;
an English Paper-piecing (in process);

and this star quilt top.

A few years ago I "purged" many of the repros that just were not getting used by cutting them into 1-1/2 inch strips and making a King Size log cabin (note there are also some of my favorite conversation and shirting fabrics in this quilt...wish there were more of these out on the market!)