Thursday, February 26, 2009


I'm headed out of town for the weekend. Going to see my dad and my sister and meet my sister's new puppy. My sister called last night to say she and Daddy were at the ER. Nothing life-threatening, but definitely worth a trip to the hospital. And so far he is still there waiting on some test results, so I am preparing to spend some time at the hospital during my visit. That means I need to take some handwork with me.

Every time I pack supplies for a "go" project, I can't figure out how to transport a few needles and pins. Guess that means it was time to make a needlecase.

I dug around in my scraps and found this piece of strata made by my friend Virginia for a Louisa Smith project. A red print piece for the lining and a spare bit of batting were cut 3" x 5.5" and stitched to the piece of strata. I took a piece of old rayon seam binding and sewed it in half lengthwise and turned it to make a tie.

A little piece of felt trimmed with pinking shears and an old button finish this off just perfectly. I'll be taking a double wedding ring quilt that belongs to one of my directors to work on the binding, but I'm hoping Daddy will get to go home before the weekend.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Retreat - Day 1

So I gave you a hint at my new project in an earlier post. And I was able to complete the center medallion on my first day. Don't be alarmed that it doesn't look square. That is just the way the design wall is hanging. I was able to cut the three simple inner borders and will add them at a later time as this quilt progresses. I have to say I am quite pleased at the results so far. This is my first feathered star and paper-piecing certainly helped with those points. I even have a true quarter inch seam left all the way around. Don't you love it when a plan comes together.

Thursday night we played Quilt Guild Bingo. You can find instructions for this game in the Fons and Porter September/October 2006 issue. You can download the playing cards from their website. The first block I made several years ago was taken up and used to make a cuddle quilt. My friend Gwen made this replacement block for me. To play we each contributed three fat quarters to the pot.

Finally, after quite a while, I won and got to pick five fat quarters. Later I won a second time and got to pick ten more. I had forgotten to bring my fat quarters from home, so my kind friend Peggy loaned me three. The picture below reflects my winnings after repaying Peggy. I noticed as I was posting this picture that I seemed to have gone for pinks and blues that evening. I think the little pink one in the middle on the bottom may be a Japanese fabric.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Retreat - Packing and Set-up

Wednesday was a busy day. The weather was supposed to turn bad late afternoon, so I took advantage of warm, dry temperatures at mid-day to load my car with as much as I could-particularly the big and heavy things like my tables and machine. My sewing table has iron legs and I had temporarily attached one of those magnetic pin wands there a few days earlier. While loading the table, the magnet slid down the leg and fell off. I picked it up and placed it somewhere and then forgot about it.

I drove 12 miles to work. Around 6:30, I drove home...through a rain and hail storm. Back at the house, it was just sprinkling while I loaded the dog and made a round trip (45 minutes) to drop her off with my friend. On Thursday a.m. I drove over an hour via interstate highway to get to the retreat. Upon arrival I unloaded, moved the car, then discovered where I had put the magnet.

I just cracked up laughing. Had to go get the camera and take a picture because I figured I couldn't get anyone to follow me out to the parking lot. Everyone laughed with me. I still can't believe it survived the hail storm!

This is my station. The camp provides 8 foot tables and most folks share with someone else. But after attending a few retreats, I decided to bring my own table because it was a better height for working. I borrowed a t.v. tray for my overflow. You can see my sidekick right in front loaded down with my gear and bag of Hershey's Cherry Cordial Kisses. The 2 x 4 foot ironing board table in the back is mine, but I brought it for community use.

What you can't see is my design wall taped up behind me with my projects stacked high in a rolling cart beneath it. I am just inside the door to our big room, so everyone passes as they come and go. I'm not far from the snacks either.

This is the view from my sewing machine. I can see everyone in the room even if they are kinda far away. You can see how much light is provided by these great huge windows.

Our group has over 50 people, so we can't all fit in one workroom. The other room is on the other side of the dining hall. It is smaller and has fewer windows, but it is cozy and warmer and they have a real kitchen next door with a refrigerator. It is also easier to hear each other with the lower ceilings.

It doesn't seem to matter which room you are in. A good time is had by all regardless and we visit back and forth all the time.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Quilt Retreat, here I come!

My guild is having our annual quilt retreat starting Thursday. This is a 4-day sew and eat-fest in the woods about an hour and a half north of town. I can think of nothing better than being at camp and sewing.

It takes days to pack. A few years ago I came up with a packing list that gets revised every year to include the things that I forgot to take the year before. Projects that have been cut out and set aside in separate bags are stacked high in my rolling cart. There is no way I will get to all of them, but I want to be prepared in case I get bored!

But that didn't stop me from starting a new project. Here's just a hint. It's been on my list of wanna-makes for several years now and I decided not to wait any longer. The main fabric is this great vegetable dye piece made in India.

I hope to have lots of fun things to post next week and maybe you will get to see more of this latest work.

Oh... and we are supposed to all bring snacks for the group. Guess who pulled the big bag of chips I had bought off the table a la fruitcakes. Yes, she had eaten half the bag by the time I got home from work this evening. Thankfully she did not get sick this time, but she did not get dinner either.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Recipe block update

So I stayed up till 2:30 am Tuesday morning so I could finish this thing before my art group meeting that day. Chased little red beads all over my filthy floor as I only had a handful of them for the coffee beans.

I think it needs a little something more. A little bit of defining embroidery on the cake plate and icing might do the trick. A friend suggested I quilt over the recipe to help it lay flatter. I don't like that it is rumply since Donna Leigh Jackins did such a marvelous job hand-lettering it and the waves detract from her perfect penmanship. But I do like my wavy binding.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

It helps if you read the front first...

I love the ladies in my art quilt group, but I can't say that I enjoy the deadlines for group projects. I am always late with them and feel guilty about it every time. We started a recipe block challenge last fall and they were due in December. Enough said about that.

Today was a beautiful day here, so after taking the dog to get her annual vaccines, I decided I would get this recipe thing out to finish. I have lots of parts already in the works, so it was time to baste the little 12 x 15 quilt to begin the quilting. Spray basting seemed the best way to go.

I laid out some newspapers on the front porch ledge, read the back of the can, and shook well before spraying. I started with the backing. Next went down the batting and another good spraying. But something was not quite right. They were damp. This was not what I was expecting. I pick up the can and discover I have grabbed the Magic Sizing instead of the basting spray. That explains why it said "Quickly iron sprayed area with a smooth and continuous motion." I was puzzled as to why I didn't remember that step in the spray basting process. So, I have to get the iron out and dry them out before I can start over.

So back we go to the porch. I grab the can and read the back and with new newspaper (since the other was soaking wet with sizing) I spray the back and then the batting. I placed the top slightly off-target and had to adjust it. Oddly enough, it wasn't sticky when I picked it up. "What is wrong with this spray?" I asked myself. Turning the can around, I find I have picked up the can of uv protection spray. I wondered why it said "allow to dry 3 hours."

Now all the while, Maisy is convalescing on the sofa having suffered an allergic reaction to one of the vaccines. Leave it to the 6-year-old neighbor to point out her swollen little face which has escaped my notice. Some Benadryl and a nap have made great improvements in her condition. And I found out via the web that this can be a reaction to some vaccines although she has never experienced this before.

So back to the porch a third time. But this time, I read the front of the can first to be sure I had the one labeled Quilt Basting Spray. I have the Bernina set up in front of the t.v. in the living room so I can quilt while watching Peter Perfect in a little bit. In the meantime, I have been working on getting my binding ready to stitch while I watch Saturday Night Live later. Hopefully I will have a finished project to show you before the week is out.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Quilter's Sidekick

I have finally finished my quilter's sidekick that I started at an art group meeting back in September. This thing has been sitting on a shelf all these months waiting to be completed, but I just wasn't motivated. I think I ran out of steam after having to quilt the fabric in the beginning. So it was finally time to wrap up this project. Now I'll have it for our quilt retreat in a few weeks.