Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Year

to you all. A new beginning tomorrow.

Today I finished up the top I have been working on, froggy stitches and all. I'm much happier with how the top has turned out with the change of the black corner squares.

I think this one will be hand quilted as soon as I finish the one I'm working on now.

In appreciation for the care the Emergency Vet Hospital gave my Lady cat, I gathered up all my left over fleece and flannel from other projects and have been putting together kitty quilts to take to the hospital. I've finished three tops and have many more leftovers I can use. I'm still chasing Lady to the litter box with my spoon to check her blood sugar. She's become very sneaky with her bathroom habits and will trot down the hall going into my bedroom if she sees me coming. The minute I turn my back and return to whatever I was doing she sneaks to her litter box and I'm foiled again.

DH called tonight to wish me a Happy New Year. He will rotate off the boat in less than 3 weeks for a 2 month vacation. I'm looking forward to having this time together.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Sewing Day

I declared a holiday and gave myself the whole day to sew. I've been working on "Victorian Opulance" and have the top almost done.

I'm not please with the effect the black corner blocks are giving. My eyes are drawn to those huge black blobs, they need to be changed. I laid it out on the bed to see how it's short so maybe an added row to the top with a pillow tuck. I have a partial border I laid aside and forgot. A few added blocks and I will have the top border done.

I've let my house go today, thats what holidays are for. The living room where I sew during the months DH is gone is a disaster with bits/pieces of fabric scattered hither and yon, furniture shoved out of the way to make room for my folding table. I'm not a very tidy person when I sew. I need to put on my cleaning hat and pick it up before I go to bed.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Raffle Quilt and Rain

Today I decided I needed to bring out the fabrics for our Raffle Quilt and start prepping for our meeting on the 7th. I've learned how to do fast flying geese and have cut all the little pieces, marking them for our beginning quilters. As soon as the stoppers are cut, I'm finished until it's time for building the blocks, trimming and assembling them.

The center medallion has gone to my sister to build. The applique border off to my three cousins who will share the applique process.

We only have 10 blocks to assemble for the outside border. We chose the "Flying Dutchman" block. How appropriate for our family heritage which is mostly Dutch with a bit of Belgian thrown in.

Our family is closely innertwined as sisters married brothers. When we get together a stranger couldn't pick out sisters and brothers from cousins. It's fun at times trying to explain who my sisters are as we all resemble each other. There are 14 of us sisters/cousins/brothers, 9 gals and 5 guys. It gets harder and harder for me each year to pick out who's children belong to whom as the next generation gets married and starts families of their own.

It's been raining here in the PNW for what seems like weeks. The creek out back is close to flowing over it's banks. My neighbor next door has to have a sump pump in her crawl space. I'm glad my house is up high enough the creek doesn't hit our property line when it's over the banks. Last year it washed out the bridge she built across to her other neighbor and carried her picnic table off. She never saw it again. I'll be glad to see the sun come out and dry us off.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

A wallhanging....

I have all these Aboriginal and African fabrics. I traded FQ's, FH's and some yardage. I did this one when I first received these fabrics. I have some left, I want to do something with them. It's not enough for a quilt, another wallhanging, but where to hang it. My walls are getting full, it's quilt haven here.

I had fun with this wallhanging. The contrast fabrics are American, purchased here. I love the Aboriginal fabrics, they're different and quite a conversation piece. It's my favorite, some of the fabric reminds me of fried eggs. some the Kapali.

Some look like ants, theres snakes and turtles. It's fun to look at and catches my eye as I walk through my living room. My wallhanging looks planned, it wasn't. I liked the pattern, I made the blocks and threw them on the floor hoping they would come together in some form. They did, I like the effect.

As the year comes to an end, I'm plotting out some goals for me. A fabric diet is at the top of the list. NO more fabric again this next year, use what I have, use the odds and ends of projects done in the past. . Take all these bits and pieces as I progressed along the quilting trail. It's time to step out of my particular comfort zone and try something different, something that crosses the line from yours to making it completely mine. I've never enjoyed a planned from picking out the pattern to choosing the fabric to match the pattern purchased. I need to be myself and color it my way.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Appreciation for....

the job our maintenance department and Security people got me baking cookies today. How many times do we forget the service people who bring our mail, plow our streets during the winters, pick up our garbage/recycling even on holidays, Security who keeps our small communities safe?

I thought about them this morning and realized in all the years I had lived in this private community I had never said a "Thank-you" to the good folks who are invisible in our daily lives.

I think of the many times my friend's husband gets up at 3 o'clock in the mornng on an icy or snowy day to make sure the roads are sanded so I can get up the hill by my house, or out in the worst of a snow storm and we do get snow here in Washington where I live, to make sure the roads are plowed so I can get out to my appointments or shopping.

My garbage man who comes early in the morning sometimes before I have the sleep rubbed out of my eyes. If Christmas or another holiday falls on the day my garbage/recycling is to be picked up he's here doing his job and hoping he can finish early enough to spend what remains with his family.

The security people who patrol our dark roadways keeping the speeders in tow, who check our homes when we are on vacation. They are the first responders in my community when a problem arises.

We don't often think of these fine people who do their job not expecting anything in return and we often forget to tell them "thank you for all you do during the year".

My cookies might not be much, but when they are dipping them in their coffee at break time they will know I cared enough to think of them during this holiday season.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Christmas sewing is done, packages are mailed

Now that the Christmas sewing is on it's way, I can concentrate on finishing this quilt. Joanne needed a pattern tester and I volunteered. What started out as a wallhanging is evolving into a queen sized quilt for ME. I love the colors, makes me think of the richness of the Victorian era. "Victorian Opulence" it became.

I set it aside (thinking another UFO was in the works) when I ran out of the green fabric hoping that someone on one of the lists I belong to might dig through their stash and find just what I needed. Finally getting discouraged at ever finding the elusive fabric, I purchased another green that will work. A border of flying geese will set it off nicely.

I think of myself as a Maverick, who else would think to put hot pink, lime green and purple together. The pattern came from a magazine, a couple challenge fabrics and off I went in my own little world of colors. This was a fun challenge project. I don't think I'll do another one. The batting is bearding through the black and it looks as if my cats live on it.

Our weather has finally warmed up some. For the past few days Jack has been around leaving such a heavy frost it looked like snow had fallen. I'm glad the temps have risen above freezing and it's raining again, much as I dislike the rain.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Dusting Stash got me to Thinking

WOW....I dusted 13.5 yds of stash today stitching up 13 pillow cases. I even tallied up the money score on this one. Figuring at the very lowest of prices cause I usually shop the LQS, at $5.98 a yard thats a pretty good chunk of change.

Why do we hoard and accumulate stash? Are the fabric companies going out of business? Is our LQS going on strike? I think not. It seems to take over not only our homes but our lives as well. Our tastes change, colors come and go, the popular patterns fade. Why are we so facinated with collecting every new fabric/gadget/pattern that comes down the pike?

Why do we keep exchanging blocks to put in a drawer with the idea that someday we will make a quilt out of them? I have many more exchange blocks than I will ever want to set into a top let alone turn it into a quilt someday. What am I saving them for, my children to dispose of after I am gone?

Why do we start a quilt or project only to lay it aside for something new and exciting? Do we get bored with the latest new idea because it's not challenging or isn't something we really like but are doing it because everybody else is? Why do we abandon what we are working on when a new pattern comes out or a new fabric we just have to try out and start yet another project that will join all the other unfinished ones?

Why do we buy fabric? Is it for a project and we need it or as we walk down the fabric aisles a fabric catches our eye and reaches out pleading for us to pick it up and take a yard or five? Do you ever feel you want to reclaim your sewing room and move everything you've hauled out to the living room when you haven't anymore space left? I know I am tired of a sewing room that is loaded to the hilt with a closet full of rolling carts of fabric, tubs with yet more fabric, spools and spools of thread when a med gray would do as well. Lace, bias tape, buttons, several cutting matts, more rotary cutters and scissors than one person can use. I'm drowning in quilting gear and can't justify pitching all the extra's.

Is there a law somewhere that says to be a quilter, crafter, sewer we are required to start as many projects as we can and never finish them? Does it say we have to collect so much "stuff" we are litterly drowning in it? Does it say we are not allowed to buy only what we need for the project at hand, to finish that project before starting several new ones?

All these questions were swimming around in my head as I kept dragging out fabrics for my pillowcases. The drawers didn't empty, there is still plenty there. I would pick up a lenth of fabric and think why did I buy this, it's pretty but what am I going to use it for. After all, how many pillowcases can I make and how many can my kids and Gkids use, they last for a long time.

My solution to my delema, to go on a fabric/book/gadget diet. My sewing room has to loose some weight, it's way to fat.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

It's been a busy week....

The week started off with a trip to town for errands on Monday, progressed to my annual physical on Tuesday. I must be healthy, only a couple screening tests to schedule.

Yesterday I got busy and collected the cape I had cut out a couple months ago as a Christmas gift for my GGD and stitched it up. I'm rather proud of how it turned out as clothes sewing is not my forte.

A new year is right around the corner. Time for changes. UFO's that were started years ago when I first became interested in quilting need to find new homes. I've lost touch with the things I've put together when that color or that particular pattern was popular. Not everybody needs a Wedding Ring, a Lone Star, a DJ. It's time for a change.

Monday, December 12, 2005

I finally finished my tree skirt

the other day. It's the same one Joanne (Porchrocker) made with a group we are on. I think it turned out well and hope my grandson and his fiance like it. It was to be a Christmas gift, but time slipped away and it became the only Christmas sewing I did this year. 8 yards of lace and I was short 3". Tomorrow I go for my annual physical so will stop by Joann's to see if I can match this lace. I think I might have purchased all they had in the sale bin. Darn it anyway, might have to make a fabric bow to hide the discrepancy. My granddaughter loves it, I will make her one as well.

I'm ahead of the game for next year.

This is lady, one of my Kat quilt police. The minute I lay a project on the floor for a photo session she appears like magic to check it out and have a test nap before she gives her approval.

Lady is my lap Kat. If I sit down with some hand quilting she is right there, ready to jump up and check out what I am doing. She's my diabetic who needs her insulin twice a day and finding her come shot time is a challenge. Her favorite hiding place is on the shelf under the coffee table snuggled up in the quilts.

Roscoe is our Manx, he should have been named "Big Foot". While he likes to check out the quilt progress, he has a thread fettish, jumping up on my chair and snagging the thread off the spool on the sewing machine. In the blink of an eye he can unwind miles and string it from room to room while eating as fast as he can. He spends a lot of time in his very own "basket" out in the garage keeping his people company or sunning himself in front of the window on my cutting table.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Football Sunday's.....

Theres something to be said about a cozy fire in the fireplace, a good football game on TV, settled back in your favorite chair handquilting. Sunday's are lazy days when I work on my latest handquilting project while keeping my hubby company listening to the games. A good day to make progress on the latest UFO, I'm working on.

Shopping for fabric....

Thursday I met my sister and cousin to pick out the fabrics for our 2006 Family Picnic Raffle Quilt. What a challenge that turned out to be. My favorite LQS had a 40% discount on everything in the shop. The gals are disolving their partnership, one going on to bigger things, the other re-opening after the first of the year. So happy to know the shop isn't closing permantly. My cousin couldn't make a definite decission on anything, (don't know why she chose to be part of the process) kept offering up her stash at every turn and suggesting pattern changes. What part of NO she doesn't understand is beyond me. With the help of my sister, we finally gathered up fabrics, had them measured, cut, paid for and out the door to a smattering of snow falling.

Yesterday we met at another sister's home to cut and distribute some of the fabric for parts that need to be done before another meeting and blocks assembled. I wanted to do it with my sister and there came my cousin with a bag of her stash in hand. I'm sure glad I did a sample block to show how well our chosen fabrics worked together. She and her two sisters are doing the applique border and I'm crossing my fingers she doesn't add to what has been designed.

While cutting the fabric, I came to realize not only did we buy too much but have enough for a second smaller quilt. I used EQ for yardage requirements before being tipped off the program over estimates the amounts you need. All in all a nice day.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

A Sad Day Going to memorial services for babies is so sad and disheartening. My nephew lost a 10 month old little boy in a tragic accident over Halloween. Curtis and his wife are such wonderful people. They have adopted 4 or 5 children nobody wanted and were just days away from signing the papers to adopt this little guy. My thoughts are with them in their time of sorrow.

Yesterdays Fun....

Every year my cousin's family and mine get together for a picnic in July. We started this after a death or marriage. I can't remember which event prompted it, but seemed we only managed to have the whole durn family together at these two times. This has been 10 or 12 years ago, time does slip away as you get older. In 2000 I got the bright idea to raffle off one of my mothers quilts as all the family would simply die to have one, no pun intended. It went over so well everybody wanted to do it again the following year. Time passed, years went by and my mom said she felt funny letting me raffle off her quilt so didn't want to do it.

Last year 2 months before the picnic a raffle quilt was brought up and were we actually going to do one. The cousins, my sisters, mom and I all dug through our stash and came up with tons of fabric, all ugly.

The end result ..............

a pink/green "Sunshine & Shadows" log cabin.

Time came for the drawing and my GD won it.

Invitations were sent out and 11 of us gathered at my house to start on a new quilt for 2006. My 4 cousins, 5 sisters and Mom all arrived, arms loaded down with quilt books, pictures from past picnics, food, and visions of what they wanted to do dancing around in their heads.

The table was cleared, the pictures came out and what a time we had trying to decide who wore what which year. oooh's, ahh's, lots of laughter, and look at this, look at that before somebody said "Where's all that food, we gona eat or what????"

Stuffed like 11 fat little tics, it was time to get down to business. Books came out, suggestions flew left and right. Finally 3 patterns are selected, voted on with a 5-5 tie, my mom picking one nobody else wanted. Throwing that one out she became the tie breaker. Lots more chatter, changes here, changes there, the pattern doesn't look the same but...WE HAVE A PATTERN!!! It's Dutch, it's a windmill, it has to be B&W. More chatter, more changes, a committee to shop is picked. We're ready now, LQS here we come!!!!

Friday, November 18, 2005

I'm new ......

and what a neat way to keep a journal of your daily comings and goings, meeting new friends with interests that mesh with your own. I'm a quilter who enjoys the traditional rather than the artsy hang on the wall style although they also have their place in the quilting world.

I started this quilt for my Great Gdtr some 5 years ago and finally finished it a couple months ago. I didn't do as much quilting as I had planned, I just got tired of it hanging around and wanted her to have it before she graduated from HS. I guess you could call it an artsy quilt cause it sure ain't traditional by any stretch of the imagination.

This top has been hanging around far too many years and now I am getting it done. It's a kit quilt from way back when and I am keeping to the era by handquilting this one. I'm not very fond of blue and wonder if I will ever put it on my bed. I found it in mother-in-law's attic along with a pile of finished quilts that had seen much use and love. Why is it we don't seem to save that history behind the quilts? As I sit handquilting I wonder who did did this, was it my MIL or her mother. Why wasn't it finished?