Saturday, December 13, 2014

Three dinosaurs, two Christmas quilts, and a very nasty stomach bug

Okay, it has been an interesting few weeks.   It started off fine.  I planned to get all the quilts done, then start cleaning house before Christmas.   Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans going awry.  Mine sure did.

The Sunday before Thanksgiving I was at home, alone because husband was on a trip to Michigan.  I was happily working on a little dinosaur quilt for a nice lady.  I had come up with this idea to trace the dinosaur pattern onto tear away stabilizer, stitch through it, then remove the stabilizer.  Yeah, well, that didn't work out so well, but more about that in a minute.

Anyway, on the peaceful Sunday night the phone rang.  It was late, around 9:30 or 10:00.  It was the wife of my youngest son calling.  She was in a panic. He had been injured at work and they had taken him to the hospital.  I knew it would take me 45 minutes to get there, so I left the house immediately.  By the time I got there a CAT scan had been completed and a doctor had been called.   To make a long story short, he had a head injury with swelling, but no brain damage.  He also had a fracture of his orbital socket and his left eye was injured.   Even with all these injuries, the stupid hospital staff decided to send him home, rather than keeping him in the hospital.  I was not happy, and I made sure it was known.  Because Susan was already so shaken up and worried, we decided that they should come stay at our house for a few days, until the swelling went down and Josh was up and about.  So, my week of being alone and working on quilts took an odd turn.  Thank the Lord that Josh was not injured worse than he was!!!  

The next day I spent working on the dinosaur quilt while Josh slept and Susan ran errands to get things settled with their jobs and their dogs.  The stitching went quickly and I was excited that I would get the little quilt done so quickly.  Then it came time to remove the paper.  UH-OH! Even though the big chunks tore off, there were still little paper bits stuck under the stitches.  Worse yet, some of my quilting stitches got ripped out while removing the paper. 
It was a total disaster. I was so upset.  By the time I got all the paper off I had messed up all the quilting.  I ended up spending the next two days removing every bit of stitching from the top.  Then I had to figure out some way to quilt it.  I drew all the designs again, this time on very lightweight tear away stabilizer.  After quilting it, I carefully removed the paper.  It came off better this time, but there were still little paper bits.  It took me two days with tweezers and reading glasses to get the paper off.  This is the finished quilt.  The owner was very happy with it.

This week has been eventful, also.  My husband returned from Michigan with some kind of flu like symptoms.  He has been feeling bad off and on all week.   The flu and a stomach virus are going around the school where I work.  Lucky me, I caught the stomach virus.  Three days of things that are not polite to discuss, and I still feel kind of lousy.

Even though all that has been going on I finished a couple of Christmas gifts.  The ornament table runner is 42" long.  It was made from strips, layered with batting and backing before quilting.  Then  the excess fabric was cut away and a backing fabric was attached by sewing right sides together. Then I turned it right side out, pressed it, and top stitched it with monofilament.  
  I also finished the first of two Snowman quilts made from Moda's fabric line Be Jolly.  It went together fairly quickly with rail fence blocks, printed panel blocks, and a couple of outer borders.  To quilt it I just outlined the snowmen, added snowflakes and loops behind them, and did a snowflake meander in the rail fence blocks.  You can't see the quilting very well in these pictures, unfortunately. 

I still have one Snowman quilt, a Christmas star block exchange quilt, and a customer Santa quilt to finish in the next week.   I had better go get busy!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Winnie the Pooh and Tigger and Roo

I just finished this cute little baby quilt.  It is a pre-printed panel.  I added many different textures to it and let the characters pop up.  The batting is Warm and White.  The top threads are assorted colors to match the print.  The bobbin thread is ivory.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Tumbling blocks

I just finished this tumbling blocks quilt.  It is 98 x 88 inches, quite a large one.  The batting is Hobbs polyester.  The top and bobbin threads are off white polyester.  The outer borders were wavy, so I used piano keys to take up some of the slack. The inner borders were also wavy, and the diamonds controlled some of it, but not as much as I would have liked.  The center section has hundreds of tumbling blocks.  Each diamond shaped piece got continuous curves.  The back is really pretty.  I love how all over quilting creates a secondary design on the back of a quilt. 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Let it snow, let it snow, oh PLEASE let it snow

I know about 100 eighth graders in Tennessee who are making this wish right now.  You see, our local weather man made the mistake last Thursday of mentioning that it might snow an inch or so on Sunday night.  In western Tennessee that usually means no school the next day, as the bus drivers just aren't that experienced in snow driving.   So, the kids are wishing for no school on Monday,  and SO AM I!  As their teacher I understand the need for education. I realize they need to be in the classroom to learn, blah, blah, blah.  Trust me, my students and I work our tails off every day of the school year. SO, I believe we are due for an extra day off.  It would create a three day weekend, which is always nice.  It would give the kids an extra day of rest and relaxation before they come back, and IT WOULD GIVE ME AN EXTRA QUILTING DAY!!!

That's the real reason I want the extra day off.  I have quilts to finish- three of them to be exact.  One is about half finished. It is a pretty red and white tumbling blocks that is getting thousands of continuous curves, a piano key border, and an interlocking diamond border.  

The second one is a little bargello that will get flames quilted onto it, to give it movement. It is not that large, so it should go quickly.

The third one is the one I can't wait to get my hands on.  It is the one my blog spot contest winner, Vicki sent to me.  It is a hand appliqued Santa quilt that I will be doing custom quilting on.   I was so excited today at the post office that the postman and I opened it right there and showed it to all the postal customers. It is gorgeous.  You will have to wait to see it finished, but it will be amazing. 
Here is a link to the pattern she used Classic Santa block of the month

Come back soon to see what I have finished.  Also, be on the lookout for another contest in the next few weeks. 

Wishing for snow,

Sunday, November 2, 2014


Congratulations to Vicki, who commented about her lovely applique quilt.  She has won free quilting on any quilt she would like to send, up to 100 inches square.  I can't wait to see what she decides to send me.  I love opening quilt mail. It's like Christmas in a box.  The pretty colors, the joy and surprise- I love it!

Right now I am working on a queen sized tumbling blocks in pretty shades of red with white sections for a very loyal customer.  It is getting semi custom quilting, so it is taking a bit to finish. I will post pictures when I am finished. 
Yesterday's mail brought me 11 R&S design boards.  They are wonderful!  I got zig zags, flowing feathers, and a geometric modern design.  I will stitch out samples and post those designs along with some of my customers' favorites.  

I hope everybody has a great week!


Monday, October 27, 2014

A Pinterest junkie

Okay, I'll admit it.  I have a problem.  I am becoming addicted to Pinterest.  What began as a few pins stuck on there to help me remember a quilting design or piecing pattern  has quickly become a collection of seven personal boards with topics ranging from crafts to recipes to classroom ideas.   I probably could further subdivide those into another 6 or 8 boards.  Every time I go onto the site to look for one thing I end up finding 30 or 40 things that I really like. 

What is Pinterest, you might be asking.  Pinterest is an online bulletin board where you can save all those fabulous recipes, home decor and craft ideas, clothing styles, hairstyles, and a multitude of other things. It is free to register and you can link to friends and family members, sharing your favorite pins with them. 

Some of my favorite boards to follow are Judi Madsen Quilting,  Quilting Ideas by Patricia C, Jan Krentz, and Sue Patten.  If you are ever in need of an idea for a quilting design, or just need a dose of quilt eye candy, you should visit Pinterest.

No matter what you are looking for you can find it on Pinterest.  There are even some men who have set up Pinterest boards with topics like car repair, fishing, and hunting. Pinterest is great for all ages and all interests.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Another Circle Lord Quilt

My customer, Nadine, asked me to quilt this kit quilt.  The pattern is called Spoolin' Around and it is from Starr Design Fabrics.  The muted batiks are so beautiful.  She wanted a pretty, swirling floral design on it.  After much debate and decision making, we settled on the Cosmos design from Circle Lord.  I have used this pattern before on her quilts and she really likes it.  I love the way the quilt turned out.  For top thread I used a khaki that matched the tan batik.  It looked great on the colored blocks, without being too stark.  For bobbin thread I used ecru colored magnetic bobbins.  The batting is Hobbs poly down. I love the light definition it creates without being too puffy or heavy.  This quilt kit is available for purchase from Star Design Fabrics.  It makes a 60" square throw.

A Writer's Retreat

I had the pleasure of attending the West Tennessee Writing Project's Writing on the Water retreat (nicknamed WOW) at Paris Landing State Park in Buchanan, Tennessee last weekend.  All I can say is WOW is right.  This was one of the best weekends I have had in a very long time.  From the natural beauty of the park to the fantastic participants, this was a great workshop.

My friend Sheena and I left the school at noon to set out on our journey.  According to the Tom Tom, it was about a two and a half hour ride.  We were supposed to check in at The Inn by 5, so we were good on time.  The drive was actually pretty nice. We were on several back roads, but we only got stuck behind farm equipment one time.

Once we arrived at the park we went to The Inn to check in.  We received our room key and went upstairs.  Even though the hotel seemed a little bit outdated, the room was spacious and comfortable.  The best part of the room, though, was this view from our balcony. If the wasps had not been so bad, I might have just sat out there the entire weekend.

After getting settled in we went downstairs to meet the group for getting to know you activities and dinner.  It was Friday night which, in the South at least,  means seafood on the buffet. There was fried catfish, fried shrimp, crawdads, hush puppies, and shrimp n' grits.  Yep, that's right- shrimp n' grits.  I had heard of it before, but never actually seen it until that night.   With my stomach problems I settled for a chicken breast, some salad, and some vegetables.  I made up for it with dessert.  The banana pudding was amazing, and it had about 6 inches of meringue on top.  I opted for the fudge volcano cake with ice cream on top.

After dinner we went downstairs for our first workshop. It was more of a getting to know you prompt. We were asked to write about a song we liked, and why it was influential in our lives.  I wrote about Randy Travis's Forever and Ever, Amen  because it is the song that applies to my husband Steve and I.   Others chose hymns, modern indie songs, and old fashioned country favorites.  Each of us had a story to tell, and there were many tears shed that night as we remembered lost loved ones and special memories.  The evening concluded with a fun-filled informal party in one of the guest rooms, where we played a game that was a combination of password and charades.  It was hilarous.

The next morning I woke before the sunrise and snapped this picture before I called my hubby to check in. 
That second day was filled with more writing, sharing, and laughter.  I didn't get a great deal of writing done, but I started on two very solid pieces that could easily develop into something.  When the weekend was over I was sad to leave, knowing I had to return to work on Monday.  I took with me some special memories, lots of photos, and the phone numbers of my new friends.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

FREE Quilting!!!

Last year's response to the blog and Facebook posting about Christmas quilts was so much fun to read.   I really enjoyed hearing about the quilts, tree skirts, wall hangings, and table runners you had stitched up to decorate your own home or give as a gift.

I thought it would be really fun to do it again.  So, in the comments box tell me about what you've been working on.  Have you designed something special for a family member?  Are you stitching up a fabulous tree skirt or table runner for your own holiday decorating?

On October 31st I will pick one person from all the responses here and on Facebook.  That person will receive free quilting with a pretty all over freehand design to match that special project. 
     Rudy will be wearing his Santa hat and awaiting your responses.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Fall is coming

The weather has begun to get a little bit cooler, the leaves are changing colors, and the stores have Christmas decorations out.  That must mean it is fall.   I made this little wall hanging to hang in our living room.  The blocks are from the APQS 2009 Fall Block Swap.  There are blocks from Canada, Australia, and a couple of different U.S. states.    They have been living in a zip loc bag in my closet for several years.  I decided it was time to finish up a few lingering UFO's and this was the first one finished.  It is custom quilted, on my APQS Lenni.  I used matching threads on the top because I didn't want to distract from the actual block designs. There are a variety of leaves and line dancing designs in the quilting

I thought I'd get to keep this one

This one was a challenge.  It was hard to make, wouldn't lay flat (because I'm not a good piecer) and gave me fits.

I ended up having to use double layers of batting in the four corner circles and in the large center circle.  This, combined with the quilting designs, took up the slack. 

It turned out very nice and I was excited to finish it to put it on my bed.  Then my new daughter in law saw it and really liked it.  Of course, I gave it to her for their house.  I hope they enjoy it as much as I intended to.

Grandma, will you make me a quilt

This fun little scrap quilt was made for my youngest granddaughter on a recent visit to our house.  She wanted to make a quilt, so she helped pick out fabrics and a quilting design.  I stitched it together, putting the strips in the order she wanted.  She was very happy to see it finished.  Cotton fabrics, polyester batting, Circle Lord Cosmos board for the quilting design.  Bunny quilting designs in the white strip. 

Carol's Custom Quilt

This gorgeous quilt was designed by Carol from Virginia.  She hand drafted the large motifs, then appliqued them in place before adding the borders.   Quilting it was so much fun.  It gave me a chance to do truly custom work, designing each motif to fit the spaces.  This quilt was huge, it used every inch of my quilting frame.  The battings used were a layer of cotton over a layer of wool.  The effect was delightful.  We were both thrilled with how it turned out.