Sunday, January 29, 2006

More from the textile talk

This is another of the quilts brought by one of the attendees to the talk at the local antique gallery on textiles. The photos barely do this one justice. The colors are so saturated and bright and bold and beautiful in real life. I liked it. It is hand quilted in a grid pattern. the quilting is very good.

It is an around the world done in the 1920's. It is about 70x70 inches with 1-inch blocks and 5 borders! The yellow and pink really pop. Solids were popular in the 20's and most the prints are lareger floral.

It had been made by the woman's grandmother and It has spent the past 30 years or so in her mom's closet but recently the woman had used it to cover the floor while her kid's played. It is her quilt, but on the side I did reccomend she just buy an import for 30 bucks for the kids to play on and put the family piece aside. The kids will appreciate it more when they get older that way. She went off the buy acid free tissue at the Jeff's.

This is the end of the quilts from that day though. The rest of the bags contained woven coverlets and samplers. They were fun just not quilts!

Anyway, I have to get to work sorting today. One closet...ok, one corner at a time.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Antique Textile talk

This morning I went to a lecture on antique textiles an appraisals at a local antique gallery. A nice way to spend a saturday morning! A few folks brought in some interesting pieces...mainly samplers and woven coverlets but a few quilts. The photo is of one that I really liked. It is a solid green and off-white with a double pink sashing and border. I'm not sure which block came first..did she start with the wonky ones and get better or start with the perfect blocks and then go nuts! I'm not sure the appraiser really cared for it (she looked at me funny when I asked the owner for permission to take the photo) but I thought it was a hoot!

It was nice to go to one of these and get to sit down and listen. I was very well behaved and only spoke up twice. (Major self control for me! When old quilts are around my mouth tends to run like racecar engine!) The woman was very gracious however and gave a lot of publicity for the exhibit at the Augusta Museum of History that I worked on so maybe some of the folks there will also go to the museum.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Finally Friday...

I was rummaging through my photos to find something interesting to show you all...looks like I need to set up a photo shoot since it seems I have more photos of other folks quilts then my own! Anyway, this is a project that has been almost finished for over 7 years! I can't believe it either! It is one of those projects with no real purpose...I just wanted to try 3-inch stamp baskets. So no timeline means lots of time! Anyway, I want to finish it this weekend so I can make one of those big fat checkmarks on my to-do list! That is if I can find my to do list....

This has been a long week...I am so excited about it being Friday I could just take a nap! About noontime I began to think about not meeting friends after work and going straight home. By two I had called a neighborhood teenager to ask her to take Macbeth for his afternoon walk. By three I called ahead to the Italian restaurant to have takeout ready for me so I could use the drive through. By four I began to think drive though was such a good idea I called in a perscription to Walgreens...that way I don't have to get out of bed on Saturday...

I'm not ususally like this...and I wasn't the only one like that this week. When I left at 4:15 I was the only one left on the Administration Floor and the parking lot was almost empty! It is nice the days are getting longer again. I don't drive well at night so the longer the day the easier it is for me to get around.

(Just to show how "out of it" I was...I accidently saved this as a draft on Friday night and forgot to publish it!)

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Late to work

First the good news = Macbeth, my Scotty terrier, is no longer ignoring me. Hopefully the lab reports will go as well.

The photo is of a miniquilt I made using 3/4 inch strips for the log cabins. The difference between Bonnie and I is mine finished quilt is about 15 inches by 15 inches where hers will cover a real bed! I stitched this by hand during in ice storm where the lights kept going on and off. It has some of the first reproduction fabrics that I collected - the Harriet Hargrave shirtings, cadet blues, and indigos. I ended up tying the quilt since there is so much seam allowance behind the strips.

I'm allowing myself to take it slow this morning. Last night my muscles were acting up...I'm sure it was a combination of stress and just plain being tired. I called in and told them I was coming in late to the office so I could take some extra time stretching, drinking coffee, and patting the animals. I didn't have anything scheduled so I do not feel guilty in the least! I may even cruise past the quilt shop on the way and see if they have that perfect blue and green stripe I need for the donation quilt (of course I only have an 8-inch square left in my stash!)

When I do go out today I will have to use my cane to keep my balance...I so hate that. The alternative however is to get these funny looks from people like "I can't believe she is drunk this early in the day." MS irritating in how erratic it can day fine the next I have problems seeing...standing...speaking etc. Today is not a bad day - just not a good one. I've had thoughts of embellishing a cane! I mean if you have to have one it might as well be wild, right?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Stress Stitching

My little scottish terrier, Macbeth, had to have surgery today. He is fine. I, on the other hand, am a mess.

When I was grooming him last week I noticed a strange bump on his neck. I thought it was an ingrown hair and tried to take care of it but by Friday it looked really bad. I brought him to the vet and he said he would have to cut it out. Well on the surface it was only 1/2 inch across but it was huge underneath...the poor pup has a 2-1/2 inch row of stitches right behind his ear. He is soooo angery at me he will not eat anything. He will not play with his cats. He will not chase his stuffed camel named Sadamn. He will not even look at me. He is killing me!

The worst part is they had to send the specimen out for pathology. I hate the wait. My DH was watching me like he thought I would have a breakdown right there in the reception area. At least he didn't blink when I paid the bill..he knew better. (Though he has often commented that we pay more for animal medical care then we do for our own!)

So my DH is pushing me out the door to go to quilting bee tonight. We are working on a new donation quilt to raise money for Camp Rainbow - a camp for children with cancer. I'm trying to make some very diverse quilters happy (art, contemp, traditional, advanced, beginner, applique, got the picture?!) Last year we used 1930's prints, the year prior we used country/reproduction, so this year folks were lobbying for brights. Me, I love all of them. I'm being a bit more adventurous and doing the design myself...this makes some of them makes me nervous! Hopefully all will go well. I'll have some photos soon. I'm sure I'll be asking for advice!

Macbeth is asleep now. I'll say a prayer to St. Francis and go to bee...

Too much stuff

Today my DH and I got word we most likely will be moving overseas. We've talked about it for at least a couple of years but things just never came together. This time it looks very likely and I'm a bit unsure of the whole thing now. The problem? Too much stuff.

It isn't just fabric (that is all coming with me!) It is the 12 suits I haven't worn since I left corporate, the 11 pewter dishes still in their boxes from our wedding day, the ten boardgames left behind by the stepchildren when they moved away, the nine Lladros given me by friends who thought I liked them when they saw me buy one as a gift for my sister, the eight putters all of which my husband thought would solve his golf game, the seven pairs of worn out shoes, the six boxes of old photos, five broken coffeepots, four chairs that need re-caning, three crystal decantars, two pullout couches, and lazyboy recliner with worn spot. (sorry, I couldn't help myself.....)

The point being, I only have a limited amount of energy and time. I know I'll feel better when it all is done. It is all that in between stuff that wears me out! I'm hoping the local MS group takes me up on my offer..if they pull it out into the front lawn and run the yard sale they can have the profits. (If I have the disabled vetrans come again my neighbors will think I'm having an affair!)

I may even part with a few of my antique quilts. My nieces and nephews aren't interested and I've already given my sisters a few. It comes to a point that I just can't take care of them anymore. A few years in storage certainly isn't good for them and a trip across the ocean is tough too. So many decisions!

Anyway, I've included a photo of my steeple chase circa 1870 that hangs in my DH study and will be replaced by the red, white and blue if and when I get that finished!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Wrong side of the camera

I've reorganized my photos and was excited about posting some from the retreat when I realized all the photos were of other people's quilts! Guess I got so excited by their work I sort of forgot my own! So this morning I laid my Red White and Blue Quilt out on the floor and with my dog Macbeth's "help" got these photos.

This qilt top made it's third trip to our retreat this year! This is not a typical quilt for me. Four years ago I was in the hospital so my husband brought me a stack of my antique quilt books to browse through. For the first time he pointed to photo of a quilt and said, "I really like that one." Bells went off...adreniline rushed...finally a quilt that I could make for him. A quilt that he would like!

When I got home one of the first things I did was rummage through my reds, blues, and shirtings and piling about 15-20 differnt fabrics into each stack. I drafted my pattern and was ready to go! That night I showed him the stacks. He looked at them for a few minutes then picked out one red, one blue, and asked if I had a solid white to go with them! My heart stopped. A solid white? In a pieced quilt? Me?!!! Fortunately he thought the dismay was because I only had a fat quarter of the red he choose..."this may not be enough will it?" Yikes!

So, it is his quilt. I went out and bought some Kona Snow and a few yards of the red. For the past three years this has been the quilt that haunts my UFO pile. Each time I think about starting a new project the little "finish it" voice in the back of my head whispers..."Michael's goose in the pond."

Now I only have three sides to put on it and the top will be done. Because it has been handled so much the blocks have become a bit wonky but I am not letting that stop me. I do like how graphic it looks both in photos and in person. It does not "go" with any room in our house but it will be his quilt!

I'm off to the store now to get some things for dinner. This fall I planted a window herb garden and now I have a lot of fresh herbs to play with. I'm trying a new Shrimp cakes recipe. (any way I can slip some vegetables into the diet I'll try!)

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Recipes and other rules I don't follow

Almost immediately after my Monday posting my computer went into meltdown. Long story short it took several nights of nerd-dom to get it working again...time I could have spent quilting, cooking, or unpacking. (ou know I was miserable if I would have been happier unpacking and doing laundry!) Anyway, it is back up to normal and I am slowly adding my "non-essential" fles - like my photos - back onto the hard drive.

The quilt in this photo is one I made for my Mother. The Thanksgiving after my father died she told me she would like a quilt for Christmas. She is not a quilter! I went through my UFO's, bagged up some likely ones, and brought them to my quilting bee. There I had one of the women my mom's age select the one she would like. I thought that was being smart but I learned something worth passing on...there are reasons that some quilts become UFO's:

1) This project had gone through at least 3 moves. Bias cuts don't travel well.
2) When you are no longer in that "color-mood" finding fabrics to finish projects can be painful. I had all the star fabric but not enough of any for the corners. The mustard was at the bottom of a pile that fell off the shelf when I was looking for my dark black. Is there a fabric guardian angel? 3) It is possible to sew on binding for an entire quilt while your flight is delayed in the Atlanta Airport.

I got several emails about Kibbe. It is a meat dish that can either be stuffed or served in a 9x9 pan and layered. I first had it while traveling in the middle east and have adapted the recipe a bit. If you would like the recipe I'll email it to you. Like many middle eastern recipe's it can take a bit of time but it also freezes well to can be used for several meals (more time for quilting that way!)

Did you know if you have "UFO's" in you text when you spell check it asks you if you mean "wife's" that someone's idea of a joke?!

I guesss I'll get back to work on the computer...

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Retreat recovery

This is the view from the building here we held our guild quilting retreat. It was a beautiful if not productive weekend. With so many quilters in one place I have problems is much more fun to look at other quilter's projects, take pictures, visit a local second hand shop rumored to have fabric (I got a scotty planter and a blue plate instead!) or to just munch on the amazing home-made cheese crackers. (Did I mention we ate as much as we quilted this trip)

I am making kibbe in a tray with greek salad for my much abused husband...the hot water heater broke while I was away. I'm amazed he had fixed before I came home!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

midweek crisis

I can't believe I heard it come out of my mouth. There we were in our weekly meeting trying to work out a puedo-crisis (those are when the schedule/project screams to a halt because a person or persons who are usually not present failed to complete or communicate something)...Anyway the words came out. The little voice in the back of my head screamed, "you idiot." (the voice sounding a lot like Tonya) Before I could get my mouth to form a retraction my words echoed back..."you'll come in tomorrow! Thanks, it shouldn't take long."

Tomorrow was supposed to be a play day...tomorrow I was going to sleep-in, run to the museum to take pictures then stop by Fresh Market and buy all the food my husband hates so I can enjoy it while on retreat and not bother him. Tomorrow I was going to be a artist...a camper...a late night pajama party participant where we read each others old quilters magazines and go "ahhhhh" over each others projects. What was I thinking...what makes me want to fix everything...I'm only supposed to be part-time (health reasons) but find myself the last one there on a regular basis.

I am determined not to let this kill my weekend. I'm going in wearing my jeans and my bright red quilting sweatshirt with pins in the cuff. I'm setting the alarm on my computer to play "Chain Gang" at it's loudest volume at 1100 hours and I'm not shutting it off until I'm on my way out the door!

Anyway, back to packing. My husband is in shock at the amount of boxes and bags that are piling into the Tuscon! I think he's hoping they all don't come back. We had a long discussion on why I'm bringing two sewing machines...silly man. He has two putters in his golf bag...does that make any more sense?

I've included a photo of one of my favorite antique quilts. It hangs in my guest bedroom and was purchased in Pennsylvania about 15 years ago. It is on my list of one's I'd like to replicate.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


Just a few minute whine husband is getting nervous about my going on retreat this weekend. He though it was only an overnight but it goes from Thursday until Monday morning. He is delusional in his thinking that I will get more rest at home than at retreat! At retreat meals are made for home I would make at least 4 major meals. At retreat I make the bed at home I clean up after many animals plus my husband. At retreat we are so far in the boonies my cell phone doesn't work while at home my boss has all my numbers. I think he is confused by the number of project bags piling up...silly boy thinks I'll acually work on all of them!

The photo is of my wonderful Scottish terrier - Macbeth. He is 5 years old and loves everyone (even more if you are a cat!) Him I will miss during retreat! My boy is sitting on a wall size New York Beauty done with Mary Englebreight fabrics with some others thrown in to change it up a bit. I made the top as store sample and used it as a practice piece for my machine quilting.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

What day is it anyways...

Only a few more days until the quilt retreat...I keep finding projects and adding them to the pile in the Dinind Room to bring with me. Seperation anxiety? If I don't have my bags of fabric, boxes of beads, bags of every color thread, and at least a half doxen needles for every possiable application then my mouth gets dry and my hands shake. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Last year I packed a dozen projects for three days and only one pair of least in the middle of the woods you can wash out your socks but where are you going to find a bright blue batik when you need it!

The photo is my bright strippy star that was also in the show this past October. I fashioned it after a 1920's pastel quilt in my collection. Funny my husband couldn't understand why I would make one "just like" one I already had...have I mentioned his issues with color?!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Scrappy Stars

I just organized my photos from our Quilt Show last October. Check one thing off my New Year's resolutions list!!!
Making the quilt above gave me a chance to cut into some fabrics that I loved but either only had a fat quarter of or loved to much to acually cut. The block is called floating star and for anyone with fear of point this is a great one! The fabircs include Moda, Fasset, Hoffman... you name it! It was of course quilted by Bonnie (believe it or not I did finish a few quilts BB...Before Bonnie.) Happy memories making this quilt!


My husband wanted to cheer me up so we went out for Indian food and a movie. The food worked wonders the movie was an odd choice - he chose Munich. I liked...not loved...the movie.
T here were however some folks in the women's room that had some very strong feelings about it so some advice - First, it is about a terrorist event and the actions that followed. Terrorist acts are usually bloody and upsetting. If you don't want to be upset then don't go. Pick a comedy. Second, it was directed by Spielberg so you know the blood and the action will look real - very real. (This was the guy that kept people out the water around Cape Cod for many summers after Jaws.) If violence bothers you just a little then prepare to be bothered a lot at this movie. And finally, if you thought the ending of the last Harry Potter movie was too ambiguous then this movie is definitely not for you! I will not go on and on about the message of the movie nor about Middle East relations however it is a political movie and the message is vague enough that your own bias can color how your interpret the ending. (even though in true Spielberg style it ends not once by at least 3 times - he really wanted us to get the message but in doing it that way I believe some folks that would have gotten it will get confused and the additional "this is what I really mean" endings are lost on those who never would have gotten anyways!)
I have some vague recollections of the hostage situation at the Olympics in Munich. My mother was overseas during WWII and she was particularly upset. She rarely ever sat down and watched television then but that day she stayed at the kitchen table only feet away from the television but wouldn't directly at it. Periodicly she would make me and my brother leave the room. I wonder how much the terrorism of that time period by the Arab or Arab supportted organizations influence how my generation distrusts that part of the world.
Yikes, too much heavy stuff.....

Saturday, January 07, 2006

There is always at least one solutions

As I sat in my quilting room last night (feeling very bad for myself I must admit) I found myself counting the ways I could not quilt because of my hands and eyesight (before you feel too bad for be both of these get better with a little TLC and sometimes some major doses of steroids...Tiny Tim I'm not!)

I began to try some of the old handpiecing standbys....using freezer paper on top and english paperpiecing. The freezer paper was set aside since it ment using the iron and it is amazing how heavy those are when you aren't feeling well! The English paperpiecing has it's own challenges. Anyone who comes to see me right now finds themselves drafted into threading needles - I have dozens of them all lined up with 18-inches of grey tread attached and neat little knots at the bottom! The fabric cuts don't have to be accurate since it is wrapped around the cardboard anyways. The pieces aren't too big nor too it uses up some small pieces left over from lots of reproduction quilt projects. When I started this I wanted it to be a true charm quilt...part of the reason it is unfinished. Now I'm happy just to have a piece added! There are (at least) two like blocks already and there is no way I would "reverese sew" them out so now it is a scrap quilt. Like many of my projects there is no defined end point...currently it almost laptop size. (The size it ends up being may be directly related to how long it takes for my sight to clear up!) I'm sticking with the reproductins becasue I sort of know without seeting them what they look like so even though I may end up with a few "what was she thinking" places the whole should be OK!

Since I mentioned my "therapy" cat I figured I should let her out into cyberspace. This is Brownie. She has had more medical care in the past year then 70% of Americans and continues to believe all 7.5 lbs of her can take on any animal in our neighborhood! She knows all quilts I make are for her and has been known to rearrange blocks left out on table to her own liking. She is sitting on an almost quilted store sample wallhanging I almost finished a couple years ago...

Thankful for Fridays...

I'm so happy to be home and in my quilting room I could almost cry! I've been battling a cold for weeks and when I finally thought it was over my MS kicked me in the head (at least that is what it feels like!)

This is not whining....but I can't thread a needle, can't trust my hands near the sewing machine, and my eyesight is so wonky I don't trust myself to pick out fabric. So here I sit folding and may not be quilting but next to patting the cat it is cheap therapy!

The good news, my boss has loaned me a monitor that would make a sports bar patron spill their budwieser...I think my neighbors across the street can read my email the screen is so big! So, besides finishing some analysis for him due Monday, I can still play in blogdom.

I am posting some close ups of the wonderful quilting done by Bonnie on my Christmas Quilt. It is amazing how much more productive "I" have become since she moved here!
The quilting in each block is different (swirls, squiggles, loops, and fern looking plants!) and in the plaid border are some wonderful feathers. It was tough to photograph since the most elaborate quilting is either in the white or plaid areas!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

First Quilt Photo

If they shopping malls can put up their Christmas decorations at Halloween I feel Ok about posting my Christmas Quilt 4 days after New Years. It only hangs for a couple months a year so this was my last chance to get a photo for awhile!

I finished a couple of years ago and quilted for me by Bonnie Hunter. There are over 80 fabrics in this quilt...I only know because someone told me there had to be 75 for it to really be a scrap quilt (who makes these rules!) I obsessively counted the fabrics and then added 5 more just to be sure! I kept a journal while I worked on this quilt. I started just wanting to document how I chose the blocks and the fabrics but it became much more. The initial blocks were made as we entered Iraq. I pieced most of them while glued to CNN and listening to the "embedded" reporters. It brought back some memories.
New year new postings! First there is an excellent exhibit at the Augusta Museum of History on quilts from 1840-1940. I helped curate the exhibit which meant finding quilts in the community to loan to the museum, sew on sleeves, find folks to donate money/time/supplies, and to research and write labels. I really enjoyed it but my real job did get in the way! I'll post photos of some of the quilts this weekend. I was so busy getting it all ready I never got the camera out!
This an example of my schitzophrenic(spelling?)approach to quilting...I work on an exhibit of antique quilts on month and now I am working on my first batch of postcards! My quilting room is divided between traditional and hand-dyed fabric; lots of buttons then lots of beads; calligraphy pens and stamps with paints. It is a wonder I finish anything (which isn't saying I finish much!)
Speaking of finishing - I am packing to go on a retreat next weekend. Four days of quilting, talking, eating, and well, quilting some more. I have a project that has now gone on retreat with me for three years! I absolutely need to finish the top this year! I also have 12 Baltimore Album blocks that have sit in a pizza box for over 7 years (yikes!) Cleaning your quilting room can be so humbling...