Friday, March 28, 2008

And the Winners are.....

Before I get to who won - I want to let everyone know that Mary saw me having such fun with this drawing and had an extra Abe herself - so asked me to let everyone know to keep an eye out for an Abe drawing on her blog early next week. So if you are not one of the lucky winners today, there is still another chance to own an Abe!

I used a random number generator to pick three numbers and it came up with 10, 2 and 1. Those numbers correspond to Ardis, Takako and Linda - so ladies you are the lucky winners of an Abe head! If you will email me your snail mail address I will send your Abe head and another little surprise out in Monday's mail (I apologize but I have a horrific day ahead of me at work today and a wedding tomorrow so I won't be able to get to the post office until Monday.)

Thanks to all who entered!

Have a Pieceful Day!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Pay it Forward

***Just a reminder - today is the last chance to enter the drawing for a piece of Abe fabric. The contest ends at midnight and I will post the winners tomorrow - good luck everyone!

I also want to announce that I joined the Pay it Forward Challenge on Linda's blog. So I am looking for 3 people to send a handmade gift to who are willing to reciprocate to 3 other lucky people. Here is how it works:

The rules are that the first three people to join the challenge on my blog will receive a gift handmade by me. I have 365 days to make and send your gift, though I hope that it won't take me that long. You in return will post on your blog inviting 3 more people to join in and receive a gift from you. I will try my best to visit your blog and make something that you will like. If you leave a comment please be sure to indicate that you are signing up for the challenge.

To join, please leave a comment on this post.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Great Quilt Classes

Have you ever taken a really great quilt class? My favorite class was for what we now affectionately refer to as the Jimmy Buffet quilt.

The picture is of the 2nd of these quilts that I made. This one was for my nephew and his wife and presented to them at their Bahama wedding this past June. You can barely see it in the pic but there is a tiny wedding dress on a clothesline between the palm trees.

This was a class taught by Mary at the LQS a few years ago. It was a great class because I love the quilt, it was how I learned to paper piece (a testament to Mary's teaching abilities as this was probably not the ideal quilt to LEARN to paper piece on!), I not only finished it (rare for me for a class quilt) but made 2 more as well, and since then Mary and I have become very good friends (she is part of the posse)! Mary posted about this quilt on her blog today also (which is what spurred me to post about it) so hop on over to her blog and take a look!

Have a pieceful day!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Civil War and Dear Jane blocks

I managed to get some Civil War and Dear Jane blocks done this past weekend. The block in the first picture on the bottom right is one of this week's suggested blocks as are all three in the second picture.

As my hand is still bothering me I tried to stay away from the hand applique and piecing and did some paper pieced and some rotary cut/machine pieced blocks. I also spent an inordinate amount of time on one Dear Jane block - Paddle Wheels - that did not get done. I'm still not sure if the problem was me or EQ but I set it aside because it was getting too annoying to keep playing with it. I'll go back to it another day and probably hand piece with templates.

Have a Pieceful Day!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

Last month at Quilt Fest NJ I bought a package of machine embroidery designs and I spent yesterday making embroidered dish towels for myself, some of the posse and the friend whose house we went to for Easter today.

They are a combination of fabric applique and embroidery. I also made an embroidered fleece blanket for my friend Sue's new grandson.

I decided that with trying to give my hand a rest to heal, this would be a good time to play with the embroidery machine and try out some of the techniques and designs I never seem to have time to play around with. I have a UFO that is a flannel and denim rag quilt that has been hanging around for a couple of years now. I started it to have a nice warm, cozy couch type quilt. The colors are all autumn and I planned to embroider leaves in some of the denim blocks. This weekend I finally started the embroidery!

I am very pleased with the results and can't wait to get the rest of them (20 total) done and put the quilt together!

Have a Pieceful Day!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Civil War Blocks and a Giveaway!

It is my week to pick the Civil War blocks so here are my picks:

Misfortune pg. 125
Bull Run pg. 195
Hand Grenade pg. 131
United No Longer pg. 253
Bolts of Fabric pg. 179

Love letters:
My Greatest Trial pg. 189
Tents of the Enemy pg. 43

I tried to pick a nice balance of challenging/time consuming and easier/quicker blocks. As always, these are merely suggestions!

When you buy the Civil War books and/or CD's from the author she sends you a piece of fabric with 3 Abe Lincoln heads that are shown in the book in various blocks (see Old Abe Lincoln block in the diary book for example). Since I bought both CD's from her I received a total of 6 Abe heads. I only plan to make one quilt combining blocks from both books and I think 6 Abe blocks would be too much....

So.... I've decided to share the Abe wealth and give away the other 3 Abes. To share the wealth as much as possible I will give one Abe each to 3 people picked at random (and maybe another little surprise as well). If you would like an Abe, leave a comment on this post saying that you would like to win an Abe. Comment by midnight (EST) Thursday, March 27 and I will post a winner on Friday.

Have a pieceful day!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Happy belated National Quilting Day to everyone too! The only thing I did quilt related on Saturday was go shopping! I bought 12 yards of batting for the quilts I still have to quilt and 27 fat quarters at a $1 fat quarter sale at the LQS.

My hand is still bothering me so I've been trying not to use it. It doesn't seem to bother me when machine piecing although rotary cutting is kinda iffy. So yesterday all I did was piece some blocks for a raffle quilt that were already cut. I did pull out a lot of my fabric yesterday to take an inventory of sorts. This was prompted by my buying a Scrap Quilts book on Saturday. I decided that as soon as my hand feels better I will start cutting and sorting my scraps the way Bonnie Hunter from Quiltville recommends. I also vowed that when I do buy fabric for stash it will be in larger amounts. I am lacking in larger pieces to use for borders and backings. I wish I could say I vowed not to buy anything else until I use some of this up - but been there, done that and it didn't last! It would take years to use all this up and I know I don't have that kind of willpower - but I will at least try to restrain myself as much as possible!

Have a Pieceful Day

Friday, March 14, 2008

Injury update and Show and Tell

Can I rant for just a moment? I leave work early on Wednesday afternoon to go to the doctor for my hand - drive the hour commute home from work, get to the doctor's office only for them to tell me that they have me in the book for NEXT Wednesday. Now, I have a trial on next Wednesday so I know I would not have made the appt. for that day - plus I wanted to get in there asap to see what the issue was with my hand. Not only that, but they were "double and triple booked" so they could not squeeze me in. They put me in for the next day (yesterday). So I go back yesterday and he tells me pretty much nothing I didn't already know "there are a lot of muscles and tendons in the thumb area and it could be any of them - take an anti-inflammatory for 7-10 days and come back if you are still having a problem." Well, I could have learned that from the internet. As a matter of fact, since it was already hurting for over two weeks - I've already done that! Oh yeah, and I forgot to mention - on Wednesday it started to hurt less than it has been and when I went to the doc on Thursday it was hardly hurting at all. So I guess I'll just be glad that it seems to be going away and I'll try my best not to do too much hand sewing for the next week or two.

Notice I said "hand sewing"? I have noticed that with the exception of rotary cutting, it does not seem to bother my hand to machine piece. So that's what I have been doing - more Civil War blocks.I also did this week's Dear Baby Jane blocks. I did have to do a little hand applique but like I said the hand was feeling a little better so I figured I'd try it.

Since it seems like all I've been doing is blocks lately, I thought in commemoration of DD's first Lacrosse game (actually its only a scrimage) today I would show a quilt I did a few years ago when she was starting high school. The picture doesn't show it very well but in some of the smaller blocks there are embroideries (I had them done at a local shop that does the jackets, etc. for the sports teams - no embroidery machine back then) of the different sports in our high school. The center block is the school mascot - the Viking.

It was an old pattern from Quiltmaker magazine that I had saved. They have since reissued it as a pattern but I still had the old magazine from 10 or 15 years ago with the pattern. The pattern called for applique but I decided to do the embroideries instead.

Have a pieceful day!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Book Review

No quilting going on here this week due to my hand injury. (and its killing me I tell ya!) I go to the doctor today so hopefully I will at least have some idea of what it is and whether quilting will make it worse. I can endure a little pain no and then but I don't want to do permanent damage. In the meantime I thought I'd post about a book I really like - no affilliation, just admiration!

When working on the baby quilt a few weeks ago, because the borders were cut from a panel and were "directional" so to speak, I needed to miter my borders. I've mitered borders before but sporadically enough that everytime I do it I need to look at instructions again. So after looking at the instructions in the pattern and in another book on my bookshelf and not liking the methods they suggested I pulled out this book by Darlene Zimmerman. She has, in my opinion, the perfect method for mitering borders. She also has the perfect method for joining the beginning and ends of binding - not to mention how to do scalloped borders, prairie points, etc.

So, what is your favorite quilting "reference" book?

Have a pieceful day!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

More Dear Jane

Yesterday I machine quilted the little quilt for DH's coworker's new adopted daughter and also finished two Dear Jane blocks from our Dear Jane group last week. Thursday's block from the Dear Baby Jane online group was one I had done previously so no need to do that one!

I also cleaned up and organized my sewing space. I don't have a room dedicated to sewing - I steal space wherever I can throughout the house for storage and my machine is set up in a little room/hallway off the living room. It can get very messy very fast if you let it and with no door to shut and hide it that is not a good thing!

My hand has been bothering me for a couple of weeks and is getting worse. I think it is some kind of tendinitis. When I tried to hand sew the binding on the baby quilt I was in a lot of pain. I made an appointment at the doctor on Wednesday so until then I think I will be taking a little respite from stitching - especially hand work.

Have a pieceful day!

More Civil War Blocks

About a week ago I broke down and ordered the Civil War Love Letters book from Amazon and the CD from Rosemary Youngs.
Here are my blocks for the last two weeks (I have chosen to do 7 blocks every 14 days instead of every 7). Some are from the suggested blocks and some are my chosing. Coincidentally, some of the ones I picked are in this week's suggested list!

From Top Left: Florida has suceded; Sewing Society for Soldiers; Jersey Boys; Abomination of Desolation; Another Death; Letters and Papers from Home; A Visit to Town.

I don't intend to do all the blocks in both books - just a sampling from each and then I will put them together into one quilt. I haven't decided how big of a quilt yet - I guess it will depend on how long it takes me to tire of making these blocks or when I run out of blocks I want to make!
Is it just me or did others have trouble with blogger and/or bloglines this weekend? I tried to post several times today and kept getting a server error.
Have a pieceful day!

Friday, March 7, 2008

It's a Boy

My best friend Sue is a grandma! Her first grandson made us wait till a week after his due date but was born on his great-grandma's birthday making his arrival all the more special! I stopped at Sue's last night on my way home from my Dear Jane group to give her this pillow I made for her - it's been ready since the beginning of January and I've been dying to give it to her but was waiting for the actual birth. The stitchery is a pattern from Bare Roots. The pillow I kind of made up my own pattern for. The fabric comes from fabric Sue used in the baby quilt she made for the baby shower.

Funny story about the pillow: when the posse went to Quilt Fest NJ last weekend, at one point Sue called me over to a vendor booth she was shopping in and said "look at this pattern, isn't it the most adorable thing?" well, I looked down - and it was the pattern for this pillow! I thought I kept a pretty good poker face but she told me last night that my facial expression made her suspect that I had already made it or was making it for her! She didn't say but I'm sure when I (and the others we were with because they all recognized it too) didn't encourage her to buy it (because that's what friend's DO at a quilt show, isn't it - pushe you over the edge when your on the fence about buying something?), that must have clinched it. Good thing I don't play poker, huh?

One quilty note about the pillow - this was the first time I used my new ruffle foot for my machine. I bought it back in November at a quilt retreat when one of the posse was sewing with one and we all ooh'd and ah'd - and of course what were we to do but run to the local machine store (which happens to be 5 minutes from the retreat site) and all buy one for ourselves! I loved the way the foot did a ruffle and I think I will be making more quilted or stitched pillows for baby and christmas gifts this year.

Have a pieceful day!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

I'm a Quilt-ing Fooooool

Remember that Frank Zappa song ? Oh, wait a minute, that was Dancin' Fool, not quilting fool - oh well. Then there's his other classic "Watch out where the huskies go, and don't you eat that yellow snow" - very good advice set to music I must say.

So tonight with DH still away, instead of doing CW blocks, or Dear Jane blocks, I decided to quilt a wallhanging that has been hanging around (or should say NOT hanging around) for a couple of years now. Why so long you ask? because I could never decide how to quilt it. So here's my advice for the night (sorry, it is not set to music, Frank Zappa I'm not) -
  • don't go grocery shopping when you are hungry
  • don't get your long hair cut short because of one bad hair day
  • don't set out for a night at the clubs without making your friends promise not to let you call your ex at 2 am when you are drunk, and
  • don't quilt a quilt with a design your not that sure about simply because you want it out of your "to quilt" pile.
The irony is, as soon as it was done, I could see in my mind how I SHOULD have quilted it ~sigh~

So I have decided that this quilt needs to be hung high up, in a room with bad lighting. Maybe then the piecing will show and the quilting won't LOL!

On another note, I thought I'd show you the 7 Dear Jane blocks I had completed before joining Dear Baby Jane. I am doing my baby jane in Autumn colors. I plan to use a dark purple for the sashing but I'm still looking for the perfect one.

Mary and I took a trip to Bennington, Vt. in September 2006 to see the original Dear Jane. I would recommend it to anyone - nice town, lots of great restaurants and shops, the original Dear Jane quilt is incredible to see in person and the rest of the museum is very nice too.

Here is my first Dear Baby Jane block - the wonky look is from my photography, not my quilting! I'm not that happy with the colors and may redo it eventually.

Thanks for stopping by,

Have a Pieceful Day!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Come Sail Away....

DH is away this week so I've been getting a lot of machine stitching done in the evenings. When he is home I tend to do more handwork in front of the t.v. Last night I put the binding on the Brown and Pink Take 5 and did some stitching in the ditch on this sailboat quilt. Tonight I did the free motion quilting on it and now its ready for binding! I really like this quilt. I made one for a baby shower last summer - the theme was sailboats so when I saw this pattern it was a no-brainer. I was so pleased with the way it came out I bought some extra fabric and made one for myself to keep! This will probably be hung in either my kitchen or my office for the summer. Notice the capsized boat in the middle row? That's my favorite part! (Don't worry, the crew was unharmed and another boat picked them up).

So that is two quilts quilted this month so far. I have about 9-10 quilt tops in need of quilting and in January I set a goal of 2 per month. I met my goal in January but in February didn't get any quilted. Since I have two done this early in March I'm thinking maybe I can get two more done and catch up.

I haven't done any more Civil War blocks - I think this weekend will be a marathon session for those. I did do my first Dear Baby Jane block - forgot to take a picture though. I will post it to the flickr page tomorrow.

Thanks for the well wishes for Max - he is feeling better and is pretty much back to his old self - except for being depressed because DH is away. He hates it when anyone (especially DH or DS) is not home and sits by the sliding glass door looking out to the driveway until they get back.

Have a pieceful day!

Monday, March 3, 2008

One Sick Puppy

I am behind again on my Civil War Diary blocks. I had the free motion foot on the machine to quilt this Take 5 quilt. I set the machine up for quilting one night during the week and then did not get to it. Here is a pic of the Take 5 quilt. I pieced this quilt over a year ago - I fell in love with the fabrics and wanted a quick pattern to put them in. It is for the back of the couch - just in time for Spring - oh well, it will get a lot of use next year - or over the summer when DH freezes me out with the AC! The colors look a lot nicer in real life - don't know why that didn't translate in the picture.
Yesterday morning DH and I had to take our dog, Max to the vet. He is having trouble walking and was visably in pain. He has also been steadily losing weight. He had a negative test for Lymes Disease back in November so now they did more blood work and I have to bring him back next week for an X-ray and more blood work. They did give him an anti-inflammatory to relieve the pain -which seems to be working. Although he is is not back to his old self he is able to walk without pain now.

Last night I also started quilting another quilt so tonight I plan to finish quilting that and then maybe even get a Civil War block done - or maybe a Dear Jane block - did you notice the Dear Baby Jane button on my sidebar? I must be out of my mind. And I wonder why I never seem to get anything finished???? Oh, well, the point is to enjoy it, right?

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Opening Day!

This is what DH thinks of when he hears "opening day"...

This is what me and the Quilting Posse think of...
The first quilt show of the year!!!!

Yesterday the posse (that's what Mary's husband calls it - if I wrote what MY husband calls it I'd undoubtedly offend someone - so we'll stick with posse) headed out to The Quiltfest of NJ.

Six of us set out bright and early (the 7th was ill and couldn't go - we missed you Ann!). We had a scare on Friday night when they were predicting 4-8 inches of snow into Saturday morning but when we woke on Saturday the snow had stopped and there was only a couple of inches - and the roads were clear.

As always, the quilts were awesome and the vendors did not disappoint either. We all did our part to stimulate the economy. (I'll post pics of some of my new goodies later or tomorrow).

After the show we headed to a great Chinese restaurant and had a great dinner - there was a huge lazy susan in the middle and we put our plates on it and spun them around so everyone could try each other's dishes.
A day spent with good friends at a quilt show and then out for a great dinner - what could be better after a long winter!