Monday, April 30, 2012

Sunday, April 29, 2012

One of the 7 Deadly Sins

Jealousy. Perhaps "envious" would be a better description -- and, I hope, not so deadly -- of how I felt reading about the recent experiences of several of my favorite bloggers. Why was I jealous envious? Because they

a. got to get away
b. got to get away with quilting friends
c. got to get away with quilting friends to quilt
d. got to get away with quilting friends to quilt with several of the Gee's Bend artists

Before you start feeling too sad & sorry for me (you are sad & sorry, right?), at this time next week I will BE AWAY! WITH QUILTING FRIENDS!! TO QUILT!!! The HMQG will be having our first Quilt Retreat!!!! No Gee's Bend artists, but I guarantee you we will have loads of fun! I have been so excited about this outing, I started 'packing' almost a month ago. I've been cutting & stock-piling projects, gathering sewing supplies, hoarding snacks & drinks (me to Shug: "Don't eat/drink that, I'm taking it to the Retreat!"; Shug to me: "We can buy you more in the WEEKS before you go.") I can hardly wait!!!


Reading about the time that niftyquilts, Bumble Beans & fiberliscious had at Quilt Camp caused me to go to my quilt closet & pull out this quilt.

denim quilt

This is the most Gee's Bend-inspired quilt I have made to date. The denim is from my, Shug's & my Dad's jeans & there is a bit of South African indigo fabrics. I think I made it in 2003 or 2004 but I have never felt like it is finished -- it seems to need something more, I just don't know what it is.

niftyquilts shared some of the quilts & quilt tops she & her friends bought after Quilt Camp. Seeing them prompted me to dig out this quilt.

vintage rayon quilt

This is one of the first vintage quilts I ever purchased. I've mentioned before how I am rarely moved to buy quilts, mostly I am content to look & enjoy, maybe, with permission, take a photo or make a sketch. But this one I had to have. The completion date is probably much more recent than the age of the top -- that variegated yarn was very popular in the 1960s. (I've always kind of wanted to take it apart, I don't like the way it was finished but I am afraid the yarn will leave behind big holes.) The gorgeous rayons are from the World War II era, late 1930s to early 1940s. I would love to know where & how the maker got the variety of prints that you see here. I've always thought it was luscious.

 vintage rayon detail

Monday, April 23, 2012

Weekend update

Saturday was Crafter-day for Shug & me. He goes early to his wood-turning group, I leave mid-day for my HMQG meeting. We don't see each other all day, each spending the day with their respective "tribe" & come home full of stories to tell about what we did & saw.

On Sunday, my plate was pretty clear. I could have worked on my QuiltCon blocks that I have been longing to experiment with, but now that I *could* work on them, I didn't *want* to work on them. (Please reassure me that I am not the only (crazy) person who does things like this.) So what I did do was stitch up some butterfly blocks for a flickr friend who did something nice for me. I made them with left-over pieces from the Shirts & Slacks quilt. I LOVE these butterflies & may have to make a whole quilt of them for myself!


And speaking of the Shirts & Slacks quilt -- it is finished!

shirts & slacks

I basted my HMQG row robin quilt & began quilting it with my new Brother machine (Frere Jaques) but ran into trouble. I'm sure it is just one of those rough patches in a new relationship, but I had to walk away from him for a while & didn't get very far with the quilting.

Why do we do it?

That is, open our doors to creatures -- furry, feathered, scale-y. We know that at the very least they are going to cost us money, they are probably going to disrupt our lives, they are very likely to do a bit of damage to our stuff. And most of the time, they are going to break our hearts.

We called Audrey our Good Karma cat. She showed up one morning a few months after my beloved gray cat, Zane, died. She was thin but very approachable. We gave her some food & water, went to work & wondered if she would be there when we go home. Of course, she was. She moved into the house that evening as though she were coming home. When we took her to the vet, we learned that she had worms, yeast infections in her ears & a pellet gun pellet in her side. She was so malnourished that you could hear her joints pop when she walked. The vet determined her to be about 12 years of age. We always wondered about her previous life & how she came to be on the street at such an age. That was almost exactly 7 years ago. She chose us to give her a comfortable old age & we were happy to provide it for her. We enjoyed her, she enjoyed us -- we loved her & I think she loved us.

But we had to let her go this week. Her kidneys were failing. Treatments helped for a while but she was losing the fight.

I can't speak for everyone but I will tell you why I keep bringing these heart-breakers into my life. Because pets are like icing on my cake. When life is good, they are that little bonus, a langiappe. And when things aren't so good, they are there to amuse, console, distract. I've loved every one of my pets & grieved their passing.

first finish

Rest in Peace, Audrey, we'll see you later.

Monday, April 16, 2012

I behaved myself

This past weekend, I wanted to start playing with my ideas for the QuiltCon Block Challenge, but I had quite a bit of obliged projects to finish up, so I worked on them.

I made up some samples for raffle blocks for our up-coming Houston Modern Quilt Guild Spring Retreat. I am getting crazy excited about going away with my Guild buds! (I also wanted/needed to do some more cutting of project parts to take with me, but that got postponed too.) Anyway, Tammy is our Swaps & Challenges coordinator & I am on her committee. She has some ideas & I have some ideas -- well, an idea -- for Retreat. Mine was for raffle blocks that we make while at Retreat. So I came up with a block & color-scheme & made some samples -- which I don't want to show until I've shown the group (next weekend).

So many of my Guild friends are SO good at making bags & pillows & pouches & pincushions & etc, etc, etc. They put me to shame. We have several members who are expecting babies & I offered to make -- well, something. I am at an especial loss when it comes to babies. But I found a cute fabric & bought some burp towels & I think what I made is pretty darn cute! But, again, I can't show them to you just yet -- the Mama-to-be is a visitor to my blog & I don't want to spoil her surprise!

Next Saturday, the Guild is gathering together the quilts & pillowcases for donating to the Star of Hope Mission. My quilts were done, but I wanted to make some pillowcases. There may be a million methods out there in the Internets for making pillowcases, but I've used the one from the ConKerr Cancer site. It is ridiculously easy! It probably takes longer preparing & cutting the fabric than it does to make the pillowcase. So I made 3 pillowcases to donate & 1 for me to keep! (I said I was good this weekend, not perfect!)


My final project was not so showy as the others. Shug wanted some fleece drawstring bags for carrying his wood projects to his wood-turning meetings. I had some fleece scraps left over from the red brick quilts & made up the first of several bags for him.

drawstring bags

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Retail Therapy

I went on something of a bender recently.

Not with vodka or gin, but with shopping. Very clearly, I was 'self-medicating', but, oh well, I'm not going to try to explain or defend it. It made me happy, it gave me pleasure, it didn't damage my liver.

I filled several virtual shopping carts with fabric (there is still one that needs to Proceed to Checkout). And they arrived in an avalanche.

There are the solids for the the Modern Quilt Guild block challenge. (That goofy piece at the bottom was on hand, I really want to try to use it.)

MQG block challenge

A bunch of pastel solids -- chalky and pale -- for an idea that I have knocking around in my head. I already had the dark gray and butter-colored pieces.


There is the stack of gray-ish neutrals  & a black & white polka dot that would be good background-y fabrics.


More pre-cuts than I need, but I wanted them. And that McCall's patterns print, because it makes me think of my childhood.

pre-cuts & 1 yard

I even bought another sewing machine!  Are you trying to tally up what I already own? Let me do that for you: there are the Bernina and the Featherweight, my day-to-day machines; the Singer 99K and Singer 66 Lotus, both hand-crank machines; Mom's old Kenmore, still not in working order; Grandma's old treadle machine, not working either -- needs a belt. Tally: 4 working, 2 not working. So what else could I need, right? Well, in those brief, dark days when I thought the Bernina had croaked, I did some machine shopping. I've always said that my perfect machine would be a Featherweight with a big throat space (there is a name for that space, I can't remember what it is). And guess what, there is such a machine! So I bought it!!! So add a Brother 1500S to my fleet. It has an industrial motor & only sews forwards & backwards. It came with walking foot, quarter-inch foot, free-motion foot & some others. I've not done much with it yet because I don't want to change machines mid-project, but I am nearly done with the Shirts & Slacks & my next quilting project will be my HMQG row robin (seen in this very staged photo).

new team member

9 inches!

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

People can be so nice

There is nothing like nice people saying nice things about you to help chase the blues away!

Claudia at Armchair Quilter and Deb & Mandy at Quilter's Crossing BOTH gave the the Liebster Blog award!! Claudia's blog is filled with family and great quilts (check out her triangles with free-motion quilted feathers and her amazing, minimalist quilt with dogs & cats & rabbits -- WOW). Deb & Mandy have a quilt shop in the opposite corner of Houston than me, so I am sad to say that I have never been there -- but it is on my Bucket List! Their blog features lots of fabric & tools & projects & fun in the shop. Thank you so much, Claudia, Deb & Mandy!! I am very grateful to you for your kind words.

There are rules with the Liebster Blog Award. I must

1. Thank my Liebster Blog Award presenters.
2. Link back to my presenters' blogs.
3. Copy & paste the blog award on my blog.
4. Present the Liebster Blog Award to five blogs with 200 or fewer followers that I feel deserve to be noticed and post links to their blogs on my blog.
5. Let the recipients know they have been given the Liebster Blog Award by posting a comment on their blog.

So, here are the blogs I have chosen:

1. Safieh is a fellow HMQG member. She is an extremely talented quilter & sewist & photographer. I love the images of her projects, home & pets. I feel lucky to call her an In Real Life Friend!
2. Diane at O'Quilts is traveling a path similar to mine -- we are both dealing with ailing Mothers and trying to find solace with our quilting -- sharing helps make the load lighter.
3. Cassie at elegantitus is awesome! I love her exuberant fearlessness & wish that I had been like her when I was her age. I would love to quilt with her & drink a beer (or 2 or 3) with her.
4. I discovered Dana at Water Penny  after seeing her charming quilt that looks like the cat got to it -- some of the blocks are straight, some are askew like we've all seen after our cats "help" with the layout. She also a gardener & is concerned with environmental issues.
5. I've been a flickr friend with Karen at capitolaQuilter for some time & was pleased when she finally started blogging. She is quite a quilter & is sharing her skills with tutorials on her blog.

I hope you check out the blogs of the wonderful women & enjoy their writing as much as I do!