Thursday, January 31, 2008

Not Your Grandmother's Quilt

That's the name of this quilt.
It hangs in my office at work and I look at it everyday.
When I was a new quilter in 1999 I told my friends at work
about my new obsession. One woman called me "grandma".
Imagine that! I was a little insulted on many levels.
The first being, "What is wrong with being a Grandma?"
I don't have grandchildren yet but I am definitely looking
forward to it. The second being, "You don't have to be 'old'
to quilt". Thirdly, I consider quilting an art form. Fourthly,
both of my Grandmothers were terrific women. And so on....

A few months later I made our boss a sampler quilt for her
wedding. The "grandma-calling" woman was impressed and
asked me to make her a quilt. I told her when she gets
married I will make her a quilt. (I figured she wouldn't be
getting married for quite a while, so I was safe).

Then a few months after that, I made this quilt specifically
to hang in my office with this name. When people stop by
to admire it, I always tell them the story.

I will be spending this weekend getting ready for retreat.
(15 more days). I have to decide what I want to work on.
There has to be a balance between what I want to work on
and what I have to work on.

Until next time...

Monday, January 28, 2008

First retreat brown-bag gift

This is hanging in my sewing room and I get to enjoy it everyday.

I won it in 2000 at my very first quilt retreat.
We do a brown-bag gift exchange and I'm sure most of you
are familiar with the rules. We draw numbers and go in order.
The person who draws number 1 has to choose a bag and
open it. The person who draws number 2 can either choose
a bag or steal the gift from number 1. There are only two
steals allowed for each number. It goes on until there are
no more numbers left and then..... because number 1 didn't
have a chance to steal since they went first, they get to
steal anything at the very end. This means that number
one has her pick of all the wonderful (and not so wonderful)

Well I got number one on my very first retreat.
And speaking of retreat---18 more days!

My friend Terri made this and I think it came from a
Debbie Mumm book.

I am very emphatic about keeping my blog about quilting
but I just have to comment on something. I have five
stitches in my upper lip (Nothing wrong, purely cosmetic).
It is healing nicely and doesn't even hurt EXCEPT when I smile.
I was wheeling around the grocery store and I know
everyone thought I was mad. Do you all realize how
much you smile???!!! I get the stitches out on Wednesday
and the first thing I am going to do is SMILE!!!

Until next time...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Ain't it the truth!

I have often wondered what I would be doing if I didn't quilt.
I have some friends whose hobby is decorating their homes.
And some friends who are gourmet cooks or very organized.

Well, I am a quilter. And those of you who are also quilters
understand what that means. For me, it means that I would
rather be sewing than just about anything else. I use quilting
as a creative outlet, as a way to love the recipients of my
quilts, as a social network with my wonderful quilting friends,
as a way to give back to my community and as an escape.
When I am quilting, I mean really immersed in a project,
the world falls away. Yet, sometimes I think about and
sort through problems. Many times I pray for people on my
prayer list. I listen to inspiring music or watch my regular
TV shows. No matter what, I am grateful that I have such
a passion.

And what would I be doing if I didn't quilt?
Probably nothing as fulfiilling.

Until next time...

Thursday, January 17, 2008

If you believe this one...

...I'll sell you a whole roomful of fabric!!!

I made this a few years ago for our brown bag gift exchange
at retreat (in 29 more days!). Needless to say it was stolen alot.
(We are allowed to steal or select a new bag)). I was so
happy that my friend Lori ended up with it.

I am making two more, one for our quilt show silent auction
and one for me! They go together very quickly. I actually
reversed the pattern because I have a thing about sewing
machines being backwards. Has anyone noticed that alot
of sewing machine pictures are shown from the back?
Makes me crazy. (Not hard).

Until next time...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

No such thing as ugly fabric

But pretty darn close. I'm sorry if some of you think this fabric is
beautiful. While I do think it would make a beautiful sarong
or Hawaiian shirt or moo-moo, I am finding it challenging to
make a quilt block.

Each year at our guild retreat (in 30 more days!), we are
instructed to make a block from a given fabric. Yes, it
is usually bordering on ugly. We get to put our name in a
hat for each block we make.
I will admit that even with the bordering-on-ugly fabric, our
retreaters come up with some very creative ways to make
them look beautiful.

This is a 12" square so you can see the pattern is quite large.
The rules for this block exchange are to make a 12" or 6" square
or a 6 x 12" rectangle. Since I am somewhat of a rebel I was
thinking about making the rectangle. I pulled some bright
fabrics (orange, turquoise, pink) last night and I think they
might actually help. So I'm off to browse the internet to
choose a block pattern. Hmmm, now that I look at it, could
I get some sort of stack & whack out of this? Maybe I'll
make the rectangle and a 12" square.

Watch me win these blocks!!!

Until next time...

Monday, January 14, 2008

Mystery Step 6

I played with these on my design wall and they look even better
from far away. This mystery has been so much fun.
Thank you Bonnie.

I did get my Christmas decorations put away and don't ya know
there is always something left that I forgot. The candy dish was
in the dishwasher so I will have to put that away tonight.

I am going to start a retreat count down. 31 more days.
I think this month before retreat is almost as fun as the retreat
itself, planning, organizing, dreaming and anticipating.
I have to do a brown bag gift and make my retreat block out
of the ugly fabric. I'll show that later. I mean it is ugly!
Also my friend Debi and I are in charge of the mystery quilt
this year. I can't give it away yet., but it involves scrappy strips!

Until next time...

Friday, January 11, 2008

Thank you, hun

Remember my quilt rescue post? Well, Mary gave me this beautiful
Jim Shore Angel to thank me for quilting her quilt.

You can see it here next to some Christmas decorations that I swear
will be all put away by noon tomorrow. That is, if I don't start
Step six of the Carolina Crossroads Mystery and can't stop 'til I'm done!

Last night at the Friendship Quilters Guild (just south of Baltimore)
was a blast. I grew up in Baltimore Hun, and felt right at home.
(the "hun" is an inside Baltimore joke). We combined a program
with two other guilds and had Eternal, Southern, Friendship, night.
Two members from each guild showed some of their quilts.
It is amazing and inspiring to see all the local, talented quilters.

I met the woman who won my quilt at our quilt Bingo in
September. It is so nice to donate a quilt and then hear how
excited the person is who got it. That sounds a bit off huh?
It is just as nice to donate quilts anonymously too, without
any credit or acknowledgement.

That reminds me, I want to make another soldier quilt for QOV.

This is called Stars & Bars and goes together really quickly,
especially since I have made five of them!

Well, my weekend is planned!

Until next time...

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Mystery Step 5 with pressing tip

It's early Thursday morning and I am eagerly anticipating
Bonnie's next step for her Carolina Crossroads Mystery. I
thought I read somewhere that she isn't posting it until
tomorrow. Can't wait!

Technically this step isn't done yet because I haven't finished
pressing and trimming the dog ears but I wanted to get the
picture taken.

Did anyone else spin their seams when pressing on the back?
This is a great little tip to decrease the bulk at the center.
You just snip a few stitches from the seam to the edge
and the seams all go in the same direction. I don't think
I am going to trim each block (except for the dog ears
which I snip with scissors). They are really pretty close
to 3.5" square.

Last night was our bi-weekly Southern Comforters guild
meeting. We combined with the Eternal Quilters and
Friendship Quilt Guild up the road (just south of Baltimore)
so we had the Eternal Southern Friendship night. A few
of their members came to our meeting and showed some
of their beautiful quilts. A few of us will be going to their
meeting tonight to do the same. We are meeting for
dinner before hand. I am seriously thinking about
joining their guild. I mean these ladies are FUN.

Until next time...

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Small is good

Just a little (pun intended) eye candy for today.

If I were to pick a few of my favorite quilts this little gem
would be among them. It is from this book.
I was a relatively new quilter when I made it and it does look alot
like the one in the book but I just love it. It lives on top of my
singer treadle machine in my foyer.

I have a busy week this week. Meetings three nights (two are
quilt related) so I don't anticipate much sewing. I WILL finish
Step 5 of Bonnie's mystery tonight though. I am half done already.

Until next time...

Monday, January 7, 2008

Quilt Rescue

On Saturday, my bee had a mini-retreat at my house. Six women
showed up at 9 am and we sewed until 10 pm. (We did have a small 
break to go to California Tortilla for dinner) There was a small scare 
because my son called in the morning and thought he could watch 
the Redskins game at our house on our new TV. "Sorry son, the 
TV is blocked by Mrs Brown and her sewing machine." (The Skins 
lost anyway--what a shock!)

Everyone got alot done (I was so focused I didn't take any pics).
I had two main objectives and finished them both. The first was to get 
my Step 5 hour-glass block cut out for Bonnie's mystery. Then I really 
wanted to finish quilting this poor quilt for my friend Mary. Now when 
I say "poor quilt" I don't mean it isn't beautiful (see for yourself-above). 
I mean this poor quilt has been through alot. Mary made it a few years 
ago in a Celtic class we both took by Peg Bingham (see Sept 17 post)
We had a friend that had just gotten a long arm and Mary commissioned 
her to quilt it. Well folks I am sad to say the quilting was TERRIBLE. 
I could go into details but all of Mary's friends are trying to put it 
behind us. Let's just say that I couldn't think of a single thing nice 
to say about ANY aspect of the quilting. Not one thing!

And she even had to pay $240! This was a friend of ours, so returning
it or asking for a refund was kind of out of the question. So Mary, 
being the sweet person she is, just put the quilt away, got it out every 
so often and the disappointment returned every time she thought about it.
Our bee members brainstormed over the years about how to fix it. 
After many ideas Mary decided that she loved the quilt so much that
she took ALL the quilting out. It took her months. I volunteered to 
quilt it for her. (I just quilt on my Bernina 153 made easier with my 
wonderful Horn cabinet) Well, if I do say, it looks GREAT! 
Probably because it looked so terrible before. Mary is thrilled and she 
asked me how much I was going to charge her. "Are you kidding," 
I said. "I consider this a quilt rescue!"

Until next time...

Friday, January 4, 2008

Bargains, Journals and Mystery

My oldest son and his girlfriend gave me a gift card to Borders
Books for Christmas. So, I got these calendars for half price!

The two wall calendars I have hanging in my office at work.
I figured that I will look at them more there than at home.
The spiral bound weekly calendar I use as a sort of quilt journal.
I write just short notes about what I am working on, what
stage it's in and anything else I think might be of interest to
any of my descendents when I'm gone.

What prompted this is a few years ago my two cousins and
I were cleaning out our Aunt's house because she was
entering a nursing home. We came across all sorts of
wonderful family heirlooms, including a few quilts,
quilt tops, linens, embroidery and lace. Also letters,
journals, and recipes from generations back. It was
so inspiring that I have resolved to ALWAYS label
my quilts. So maybe someday my great granddaughters
will be interested in my quilt journey too.

Carolina Crossroads Mystery Step 4 is done. I will do Step 5
tomorrow because my bee is coming to my house ALL DAY
for a little mini-retreat. Fun fun fun. I'll take pics and let you
know how much everyone got done.

Until next time...

Thursday, January 3, 2008

My sweet husband

Thinking up titles to each of my blog posts is sometimes very
difficult. I hope one comes to me before I finish today!!

OK so here's what my sweet hubby got me for Christmas.
(Well, just the quilt related things.)

Each year my LQS, Tomorrow's Treasures, in Crofton, MD
hosts a men's shopping day in early December. They give
the quilters a wish list to fill out but my husband,
THE SHOPPER, (no kidding) loves to pick things out for
himself without any hints from me. I just gave him a few
very broad ideas, like "batiks" or "beiges".

So here are the FQs. I don't know what gave him the idea of
the purples. I am not a purple person and only use it as an
accent color, maybe. But he liked them and that is nice.
Don't worry though, I WILL use them somewhere, somehow,
sometime. The batiks will be used in a New York Beauty
pattern I found on the Quilters Corner Club Yahoo group .
(More about that one another day)

He also bought me a new foot for my Bernina. It is #57, the
quarter inch with a guide. I love it. I think it probably isn't as
scant as when I use the regular #37 quarter inch foot but it
definitely keeps the beginning and end of the seams straight.
I used it to finish step four of Bonnie's Mystery and so far there
isn't any difference in the sizes of the blocks.

Now, Tomorrow's Treasures is a Viking dealer and I have a
Bernina so he had to go to another shop for this foot.
He actually went to three quilt shops total, because my
Bernina dealer, The Fabric Chest in Glen Burnie, MD
didn't have any. He ended up getting it at Cottonseed Glory
in Annapolis.

He did give me a $50 gift certificate to Tomorrow's Treasures
which I promptly spent on Saturday at their sale day. I got a
large batting for my bee mystery (see Oct 24 post) and
splurged on a Moda Jelly Roll and I really needed a few
more FQs.

I feel so lucky to have a great husband who supports my habit
and is comfortable going into quilt shops and quilt shows too.
(I just thought of the title for this post!)

Until next time...

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Mixed feelings

The holidays are over and while I love the anticipation and
busyness leading up to Christmas, I also love the calmness
and anticipation of new beginnings. Yes, I have resolved to
lose weight and exercise more. Actually my resolution is
just to be more healthy. I am at an age where health is
more important than looking or being a size 6. (I would take
a size 12 at this point!!!) I want to be a feisty, energetic
old lady. I figure if I start now I will make it.

I have been accumulating alot of photos over the last two
weeks since I posted here. (Sorry, I just couldn't bring
myself to turn on my computer over the holidays).

I will start with the gifts I received from my bee ladies.
We give each other gifts with a $3 limit. Some go over but most don't.
You do have to get creative to stay under the limit. This is a tea
towel that Mary embroidered. Too cute!

This is the most adorable little wallet. It has two pockets and a
zipper section for change. Loretto made this on her embroidery
machine too.

Flo made two potholders with great fabrics. My bee friends
collect sewing/quilting theme fabrics. Everytime we
see a new sewing/quilting theme fabric, we all buy enough
to give each other a FQ. Needless to say we have lots of
sewing/quilting theme fabrics. I have an idea of what to do
with mine but it is NOT high on my to-do list.

Tomorrow I'll show you pics of what my husband bought
me for Christmas. (Quilt related, of course!)

Until next time...