Sunday, April 30, 2006

Retreat is over, back to the Real World

It's Sunday morning and I need to ease myself back into the Real World today after 3 days of quilting and relaxing. Yesterday Victoria, one of my quilting friends, came to my house and we had fun. After we shared some of our current projects we settled down with a cup of tea, assorted tea sandwiches and chocolate cake and got some quilting done. She cut nickels for a project and I took the fabric from a quilt I was making for mom and turned it into a whole different quilt. By last night I had all 99 blocks cut, sewn and pressed and ready for trimming. Today I am overseeing my FDIL as she puts the final borders on her first quilt. Later this afternoon I have to go to the office for a couple hours before I pick up Bruce at the airport at dinner time.

About 3:15 yesterday Victoria and I were talking about shopping and I mentioned that Marden's Surplus store is not far from my house. Marden's has a great selection of quality quilt fabric. Nearly all of it is less than $3 a yard. So, before you could count to 10, we packed up our projects, put on our shoes, grabbed our wallets and went shopping! Here's what I bought:

This quilt is one I put together last summer. It was a mystery by Dorothy Young, called Contrary Quarters. My quilt came out a little different than the original pattern. I will be giving it to my SIL and her family. Her DH is a Marine and is currently stationed at the American Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. I had white borders on it, but didn't like them. So I was glad when I found this fabric yesterday.

I decided not to waste time waiting for inner border and backing for mom's quilt. The gold is for the inner border. The cat fabric, which is the focus fabric of the quilt, I bought a year ago. The burgundy is the background. One of cool parts of buying fabric at Marden's is that if you buy what's on the bolt you get an additional 10% off the price. So the burgundy is about 5 yeards of fabric.

Recently on one of my quilt groups a quilter wrote that she occasionally buys a bolt of focus fabric and will make several quilts from it. That concept appealed to me so I looked for a couple of focus fabrics just to have on hand. I found two that I like. The top fabric was only $1 a yard. The bottom one was $2.99 a yard.

Since I have used most of my blenders I purchased a couple yards of blenders to put back in my stash.

My last fabric purchase was a yard of pre-made labels. I got 36 labels from this yard so now I have no excuses not to put a label on my quilts.

I also bought two yards of paper backed fusbile web to try my hand at applique. This month's issue of Fons & Porter magazine has a cute teapot and tea cup wallhanging. But I thought I would make about 3 or 4 of the teapots and put them on my Tea Time Splash quilt before I put on the borders.

Well, it's time to get dressed and get my day going. Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, April 28, 2006

I've Been Quilt Retreating

I took yesterday and today off from work. Yesterday was a sick day and today was a personal day. So I’ve been quilt retreating.

Yesterday I made two blocks for two comfort quilts. After starting my day today with a physical therapy appt, I took out one of the first projects I started in January 2005. It is one of two BOM quilts I started and only made the first two months blocks. I got the March block done and then the April and May blocks didn’t turn out quite right and I was getting frustrated. So I put the project away and took out a Triple Irish Chain I started last May. I spent the afternoon piecing some of the 7 x 7 blocks. I am making the quilt from Jinny Beyer prints so it’s very colorful.

The two BOMs are just not enticing me any longer. The one I worked on today I’m thinking of taking the 3 blocks I have done and making a table runner out of them. I have the fabric for the rest of the quilt cut and kitted up, but I just don’t have the desire to finish it. The other BOM is not kitted up so I still have the yardage available to easily turn into another project.

What do you when a UFO no longer entices you? Do you leave it sit for awhile? Do you convert it to something else? Or do you just plough through it and finish it?

Tomorrow my DS will be gone for the day and DH is still away on business. A quilting friend is coming over for the day. I don’t what we’ll do . . . Could be sewing, could be hand work, could be scrap cutting. Maybe I’ll get brave and quilt a table runner I have sandwiched. Then I could get a UFO done.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

What a Long Week!

I worked 70 hours this past week and woke up today totally exhausted. I was up for about two hours and then went back to bed for a nap.

But this afternoon I felt better and was able to put together my latest quilt, "Tea Time Splash." I cut and pieced the blocks last weekend and put them together today. I was inspired by the "Limeade" quilt in the book Super Simple Blocks — Creative Uses for 6 1/2 inch Squares. My squares are smaller than 6 inches finished though. This quilt was an exercise in just having fun and not really following a pattern. I just used the instructions for making the basic block and the general scheme of placing the blocks. I added the plain tea cup blocks for some interest and the tea cup fabric will also be the border.

My boss has left for China for the week and DH and the sales staff will be leaving on Tuesday for the remainder of the week. That means a quiet work week and some time to get ready for next weekend. My boss told me I could take a day off this week. Woohoo! I'm taking off Friday since DH will still be gone and going to have my own quilt retreat on Friday, Saturday and most of the day on Sunday. I'm planning to do some machine quilting on a table runner and a couple of quilt tops I've made recently. I've only done a little machine quilting and I want to improve my skills. Can't wait for Friday!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Long Week/Good Weekend Ahead

It was a busy week for me this past week. Long work days and short evenings led to little sewing getting done. On Tuesday night Bruce took me, Geoffrey and Tasha to a going away party for Adam Vinitieri, the kicker for the New England Patriots. We had a good time. The highlight of the evening was seeing David Ortiz, AKA Papi, of the Boston Red Sox. Thanks to Bruce, we got a picture of Tasha hugging David. She has been on Cloud 9 since then.

Last night I was going to start cutting fabric for my next new quilt, but ended up with a migraine headache. Ouch! So it instead of cutting it was an evening spent in bed. Today I am taking Tasha to the LQS to find border and backing fabric for her first quilt.

Lately I've been on a cool quilting high. I've been to work on a lot of different projects and have made 2 tops and am eagerly waiting to get another started. I have been working on UFOs too. I'm not sure where this feeling of freedom came from, but I'm enjoying it. I've decided not to stress about my UFOs, but have decided to simply enjoy quilting.

I have set a goal that after I get this next top done I am going to take some time to teach myself machine quilting so I can finish some of these projects I've been making.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Productive Quilting Weekend

I had a very productive quilting weekend. I finished my Chiclets quilt top. I've named it Around the Farm. It will eventually be donated to a soldier's family or possible to a child in Afghanistan. I also spent time sandwiching a table runner, ripping out borders on another quilt, washing and ironing fabric for a mystery quilt and another quilt I'm planning and I even made 5 blocks for the Triple Irish Chain quilt I started last May.

My FDIL, Tasha, wanted to make a quilt. So late last fall we chose fabric, in January she washed, ironed and cut it. This weekend she decided it was time to sew it. She did a great job and only had to rip out and redo two seams. This week we will choose border and backing fabrics. Then we will send it to the long arm quilter for quilting. Her quilt is named Here's Piglet. The first quilt I made last year had Winnie-the-Pooh fabric, but no Piglet. Piglet is her favorite character so when I saw the fabric on vacation last fall I knew I had to buy it for her.

Dorothy Young Mysteries

I belong to a couple on-line quilt groups and have lucky enough to do four of Dorothy Young Mystery Quilts.

This is the first quilt I did. Dorothy named this design Mazey Dazey. I call mine Where's Piglet? That's because I used Winnie-the-Pooh fabric and my FDIL pointed out to me that Piglet was no where to be found. This is actually the first quilt I made and completed. I tied it instead of quilting it. I made it for a co-worker who had her first baby.

This quilt is based on Dorothy's Contrary Quarters pattern. I say based on because I followed directions for making the blocks, but the blocks started speaking to me and I ended up with a different layout than Dorothy's pattern. I have named it Contrary Quarters Gone Awry. It is waiting for borders and to be finished.

Dorothy hosted a mystery over Christmas Weekend and I wasn't going to do it, but couldn't resist. I only made one block of the mystery of Gentleman Johnny Meets Zachary Taylor . Mine is called Did It Again because once again I didn't quite follow Dorothy's directions.

The last quilt is Dorothy's Magic Ribbons. For this quilt I let Bruce pick out the fabrics as it is going to be a quilt for our bed. It is still waiting for borders and to be finished.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

It's Snowing in April

That's right! The white, wet, fluffy flakes are falling from the sky tonight. I thought spring was here, but winter has come back for one more round! I love winter, but once spring has sprung, I'm ready for it to stay around.

I finished my HSTs for my Chiclets quilt last night. Next step will be to start working on the borders for the 16 patches. I didn't get any quilting time in today. I had to make a fitted cloth cover for the box we use to ship materials to and from conferences in the office. The box is 37 inches high, 43 inches long and 29 inches wide. It makes a great table, but needed a cover. So I volunteered to make one. Not as much fun as quilting, but it was sewing.

I will get in some good quilting time the next few days. DH is out of town until Friday which means light cooking in the evening (that equates to quilting time). This weekend is the Master Golf Tournament which means DH and I won't want to leave the house and that also means serious quilting time. That's good. I should be able to get my Chiclets quilt done. I have a block to make for my guild's 2007 raffle quilt and a row robin to complete for a friend.

I am so looking forward to DS moving out so I can create my quilting studio. I've read about so many people who have straightened up their studio, folded all their fabric according the Lois Hallock in her book, Creating Your Perfect Quilting Space. I have had the book since Christmas and about once every two weeks I read it one more time. I think I have it memorized by now! Soon, very soon, I'll get to renovate my new studio.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Baseball Season is Here!

I admit it - I love sports, especially baseball, football and golf. Today was the first game of the season for the Red Sox. I took Wally The Green Monster (see above picture) to the office with me so he could listen to the game with me over the internet. I know this sounds silly, but it is who I am. Bruce wouldn't have it any other way either. He is a life long Red Sox fan and was lucky enough to get to Game 4 of the World Series in 2004. The Red Sox are my adopted team. Coming from Minnesota I grew up watching the Minnesota Twins and have already seen them win two World Series.

Then there's football . . . but I'll save that discussion for football season. And golf - well Bruce and I spend every Labor Day weekend going the the Deutsche Bank Golf Championship in Newton, MA. The first year we went I almost got hit by Tiger Woods wayward shot!

Oh yeah, the first quilt I made is below and yes, it's made with Red Sox and Patriots fabric and that is my darling husband underneath it.

Other than being opening day, it was a quilt-filled day for me. I went to the small LQS near my office to find a gift for a friend. I ended up finding two yards of black fabric with orange, yellow and lime green teacups on sale and couldn't resist it. I also found a book - Super Simple Squares, Creative Uses for 6.5 inch squares by Lynda Milligan and Nancy Smith. It's got some great ideas for using 6.5 inch squares in quilts and pillowcases.

Then in the mail I got a pattern I had ordered - Four of Hearts by Four Corners Designs. It's a three color quilt made with log cabin hearts. The hearts are two colors and then there is a background. I'm going to make the wall hanging size as a wedding gift for my DS. Now I just need to decide what colors to use. I'm going to purchase the fabrics when I go on my shop hop in May.

Also in the mail was my Row Robin that I started last summer. Five other quilters have added their rows and now it's ready for me to finish.

As for the HST's it seems that any method that doesn't involve picking out paper wins. I agree. Although I am still trimming the ones I made yesterday.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Thoughts on HSTs

It seems every project I've worked on lately has included HST's. In the last 3 projects I've made HSTs 3 different ways.

First time I used Triangles-on-a-Roll to make 160 HSTs. Pin the paper on the two layers of fabric, sew on the dotted lines and cut on the solid lines. Then sit down and carefully pull the paper away before trimming.

Second time I made 72 HSTs by drawing the grid on one of the two fabrics using dotted lines for sewing and solid lines for cutting. Then spent time trimming them.

Today I made another 72 HSTs starting with 4 inch squares. I marked each square with one cutting line and two sewing lines. Then chain pieced the sewing lines. I've now trimmed half of them.

I think the grid method is the one I like the best. There is something about taking the pencil to the fabric and drawing my own lines that makes me feel like I've accomplished the task of creating the HSTs. I'm not a fan of trimming the HSTs, so if someone creates a way to make HSTs with minimal trimming, I'd be forever grateful.

So, tell me, what is your favorite way to make HSTs?

Day 2 - And More of an Introduction

I started my blog late last night so I thought I would better introduce myself this morning.

I am 44 years old and live in Dover, NH with my adorable husband, Bruce, and soon-to-be-married 23 year old son, Geoffrey. We live in a condo in downtown Dover. Living in downtown is cool. I can park my car on Friday night and not have to drive it again until Monday morning, unless we want to go the big grocery store. Within a few blocks of my home I have several restuarants, our church, the theater, a coffee shop and a great butcher shop. The only thing missing is an LQS. The closest one to me is 10 miles away! So most of my fabric shopping is done on-line.

I work with my husband, four brothers-in-law and my father-in-law. It is a family owned business. We specialize in hotel real estate brokerage and hotel real estate data. If you want to know where a hotel is going to be built or what hotels have been renovated recently or who owns a hotel, then you call us.

As for quilting, I started playing with fabric again in September 2004. I had spent two years taking drawing and painting lessons trying to satisfy my need to express my creativity. I wasn't thrilled with the results I was getting from the lessons and was trying to find something else to do. In July 2004 Bruce and I visited his aunt for the July 4th holiday weekend. On the bed in her guest room was this beautiful quilt all made from 2 inch squares. I asked her about it and she told me her aunt had made the quilt from the aprons her mother (and Bruce's grandmother) had worn when she worked at the hair brush factory. WOW! What a great way to honor your relatives. It took me another couple months and being laid up from shoulder surgery to finally decide to try quilting.

I signed up for a basic quilting course from and took the plunge. It only took me a few weeks to realize I was addicted to fabric and quilting. I have spent the last 18 months learning a lot about quilting, but I know there is always so much more to learn. In that time I have only completed 2 bed quilts - one baby quilt and one twin size quilt. I have many UFOs and am working hard on not starting anymore projects until I finish some of what I have. A few of them are very close to being finished and some of them only have a block or two done.

Here is a picture of my latest project. I call it PinkFinity. I was inspired by the Infinity Block quilt in the March/April 2005 issue of Fons and Porter's Love of Quilting Magazine. It's the first two-color quilt I've made and I love it. I still need to quilt it and I'm thinking of machine quilting stitch in the ditch around each block and then hand quilting hearts in the blocks.

Today I am working on a Chiclets inspired quilt that will be donated to one of my online groups for soldiers going to Afghanistan. Although it is a gorgeous spring day and maybe I can Bruce to go out this afternoon.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Day One

I've made the move to blogging. Having my own web site, at least more than one page is too expensive, and some days holding a pen and journaling is too painful. Besides, I love taking digital pictures of my quilting efforts and this will be a great way to document most of my quilting adventures.