Monday, January 29, 2007

Have You Signed Up Yet?

Cynthia is hosting a siggie swap. Have you signed up yet? I did. How fun to have a blogger siggie swap. Come on and join us! You can fit in some time to make the blocks and send them, can't you?

The siggie swap blocks are part of my goals for February. I'm calling February my "Month To Quilt For Others." I have gifts to make for retreat attendees. I'm making bindings for HeartStrings Quilt Project. I'm not a fan of making string blocks, but I want to contribute so I'm making bindings for the quilts.

February starts a new quarter of No Buy for Stashbusters. I have my eyes on three fabric collections: Heirloom Lilacs, Dick and Jane, and the 2007 Hoffman Challenge fabric. I'm hoping I can last until May to buy the fabric. Of course, there's always the gift cheques in my drawer that have been there for a few months already. Plus if I buy now, what will I buy on my Shop Hop in May?

What are your goals for February?

Saturday, January 27, 2007

A Little of This and A Little of That

This weekend is the first weekend without football since last August. I've been a football fan forever, but I never realized until last night how football dominated my weekend schedule. Of course now that most of my quilting time is relegated to the weekends my weekend plans revolve around quilting and football. Grocery shopping? Stop at the small grocer during the week. Fabric shopping? What's that? Dinner with friends? Only if they like football, come to my house and don't mind if I hand quilt while they are visiting. Laundry? Yeah, I can do that between games and needles of thread.

With no football on the calendar for tomorrow it's like having another day off! I can go to the big supermarket tomorrow and buy enough food for the whole week. So what else I have done so far this weekend?

Last night I finished my Tulips mini whole cloth quilt. It is my first finish of 2007. The top photo shows the quilt in its actual colors. The second photo shows the quilting better. This is my first hand quilting project. I like it. Not bad for a first complete quilt. I used a variegated yellow and blue YLI thread on it.

Today I did a little of this and a little of that. I cut strips for binding to send to Nancy for her birthday charity string quilts. There are a lot of quilters who are making the string blocks and I confess that I don't care for the string blocks. But I do want to contribute so I offered to make binding for Nancy's quilts. I have enough strips cut for four quilts. Tomorrow I'll sew the strips together so I can send them to Nancy.

I also cut nickels for my football swap. I am the hostess for the swap so tomorrow I will swap out all the packages and get them ready to mail out. I straightened up the closet in my studio. I was trying to find a pattern I know I have, but couldn't find it anywhere. I traced a red work angel to work on tomorrow. Instead of doing the snowmen some bloggers are doing I found this BOM red work project that started this month on Bobby Socks. So I thought I would give it a try. I need to go buy embroidery floss tomorrow. I need to make sure I have enough red to complete the whole project. I don't think there will be enough red in the skein I got in my Stitch-It kit last week.

Last August I bought a small table top drawer set at IKEA for my studio. I started working on it then and couldn't get it together. The nails kept bending and not going in properly. Then I tried using wood glue and that didn't help either. Today I asked DH if he could make it for me. He did and now I have it sitting on the end of my sewing table full of my marking pencils, sewing needles, sewing machine tools and attachments and other odds and ends. All those items had been sitting in a blue basket on a nice wood tray, but they are all neatly put away in the drawers now.

I also started marking my Birthday Garden quilt. I have several different marking tools so I'm experimenting with each of them to see how they work. Did I tell you this quilt is my experimental quilt?

Finally it was time for watching Tiger Woods playing golf and I wasn't ready to stop playing for the day so I pieced together two pieces of batting and sandwiched my Don't Touch Me quilt. I decided to do free hand cross hatching. I started with the same blue and yellow thread I used on my Tulips. I quilted about 8 inches and decided I didn't like it so I'm going to frog it and use white thread instead, maybe cream if I can find some in my thread stash.

I can't for tomorrow. As much as I eat, breath and sleep football I am happy to have a day off tomorrow. Woohoo!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Here A Journal, There A Journal, Everywhere A Journal

I was straightening up my bedroom today and realized I have four different journals, all sitting within 5 feet of each other. Then I realized I have at least four other journals around the house. Of those eight journals two of them are devoted to my quilting. I also have two small notebooks that I use for writing my shopping lists when I go quilt shopping. Also, if that isn't enough place to write about quilting I have a Filemaker database and an Excel workbook I use for creating and tracking quilt projects.

I only use one journal all the time now. I bought this journal at Barnes & Noble a few years ago only because I love tulips. I didn't start using it until I started quilting and needed paper to jot some notes down. Now I use for nearly every project I work on. It's 8.5 x 11 and the paper is lined. All of my journals are lined. I refuse to buy unlined paper.

Here's a picture of one of my work pages. At the top of the page I put the name of the project, the date I started working on it, where I got the pattern or inspiration, what fabrics I used and my thoughts about the project - what worked, what didn't work, what I would a different way the next time. On later entries I started recording if the project was hand or machine pieced, hand or machine quilted and the date completed. I enjoy doing this work with pencil and paper, even doing the quilt math by hand.

I use my Excel workbook when I want to "draw" my quilt ideas. I'm not comfortable with colored pencils and graph paper, but put a laptop on my lap and I can design a quilt complete with fabric requirements in no time. I also started a spreadsheet earlier this month where I'm tracking my quilt expenditures and the amount of time I spend quilting. Call me a techie, that's OK.

I have a Debbie Field's Quilt Journal I've never used and never will. Would anyone like to trade some fabric or some quilting gadget for it? If you're interested, let me know.

I need to get off the computer and finish the binding on my Tulips quilt. I started it a week ago and haven't finished it yet. It won't take long to do, it's only 22" on each side, I just need to pick up the needle.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Happy Belated Anniversary Mom & Dad

My parents celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on January 11th. I have a set of 8 x 10 black and white photos from their wedding. My friend scanned them for me. This is the only picture of I have my parents and both sets of grandparents. They had to move up their wedding date because dad's leave was changed at the last minute. The night was cold and icy, but the wedding went well.

Doesn't my dad look dapper in his Navy uniform? He joined the Navy when he was 17 near the end of WW II. He worked in the laundry room on a ship in the Pacific. His biggest war story is his ship was anchored next to the one where the Peace Treaty was signed at the end of the war. He still has his Navy uniform and his pea coat. When he dies my son will get those items.

My mom still has her wedding dress. She hasn't been able to wear it for years. I will probably take it someday. Not sure what to do with it, but I have plenty of time to think about it.

My dad has been in a nursing home since last summer. But on their anniversary the staff helped my mom have a celebration at the home. They had cake and balloons. My brothers made it. My mom has a cousin who was married within days of mom and dad's wedding and they have celebrated every major anniversary together in the last 60 years.

I never knew either of my grandfathers. But I did know both grandmothers. My maternal grandmother is the one who taught me to sew, crochet, do beadwork, and needlepoint. She lived with us until I was six years old and then married the widower across the street.

Not much quilting going on the last two days. I've been trying to decide what color thread and what designs to use for quilting my Birthday Garden Quilt. I have a butterfly stencil I'm going to use in the middle of each charm block. This morning I decided this is my quilt and I don't intend to enter it into a quilt show so I'm going to experiment with different quilt motifs and different thread colors. So today I treated myself today to 7 spools of Mettler silk finish thread: pink, navy blue, purple, yellow, red, green and white. Now the only step that's keeping from starting the hand quilting is marking the quilt. I'm going to experiment with marking and not marking the quilt too.

When I first joined Yahoo Groups I used to send in a quilt question about once a week to gather and assess the answers. I haven't done that in a long time so I thought I'd start asking a question here, hopefully once a week. If you take the time to answer I will aggregate the answers and post them here.

Here's the first question: What is your least favorite element to make in a quilt? Mine is curved pieces. I can't bring myself to cut them or sew them.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

My 100th Post

Hooray! This is 100th post! Thank you to everyone who stops by here to read what is happening in my quilting life. I know you don't leave comments all the time, but I appreciate every comment that you leave.

DH left the house at 5:30 AM this morning on his way to LA for the week. I rolled over and slept for another two hours. Then I had until 3 PM to do whatever I wanted to do before football started for the day. So how did I spend my day?

First I worked on writing the pattern for my Birthday Garden quilt by making a table runner so I could take pictures of every step. I have a new appreciation for pattern writers. It is tough to write patterns. Although I got the directions written, I'm not entirely pleased with the results. I think the border, at 6 inches is a bit wide. I'm thinking 3 inches would have been better. What do you think? Would anyone like to test my pattern for me? It's a great scrap buster and takes only a couple hours to sew it all together. If you're interested in making the table runner, let me know and I'll send you the pattern.

Once the pattern was written I thought about finishing the binding on my Tulips quilt, but wasn't really interested in doing that. So I cut some muslin squares and ironed some transfers from my Stitch-It kit onto it. In about an hour I had finished this coffee cup. I like the way it looks. The floss got a little fuzzy in places, but it's OK for me. My question is: What can I do with this square now? If want to do some more squares do I have to put the muslin on top of another piece of fabric to make a block? Can I just this piece as a regular piece of fabric?

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Goody Day Today

No, I didn’t buy any fabric goodies, but I did get a few quilt goodies today. A few days ago someone in one of my quilt groups asked what three quilt books you would recommend if you could only have three. Someone suggested "Quilting Makes the Quilt" by Lee Cleeland. In the book Lee shows 12 different quilts each one quilted 5 different ways. I knew I had to have the book since I'm getting ready to start quilting my tops. My local Barnes & Noble didn't have it in stock, but could it from the warehouse so I ordered it. On Thursday I got a 15% off coupon for a B&N in store purchase. Yesterday I was notified the book was in so today (after having to work for a few hours) I stopped at B&N to pick up the book.

I always stroll the bargain aisles at B&N hoping they decide to put a quilt book or two there, but have never found one. However I did make an interested find there. So many of you are doing stitchery snowmen or redwork and I've commented that I was thinking about giving it a try and many of you have encouraged me to try it. Anyway, I found this Stitch-It Kit by Jenny Hart for less than $7! How could I resist? I've already read the book and may start practicing tomorrow. The iron-on patterns are cool and can be used up to 9 times each. Stay tuned for my first piece.

I got a two more goodies in the mail when I got home. I've been hosting a nickel swap throughout the football season and on of the participants sent me this cute Charm School - Lesson One pattern for using some of the nickels I won. Although I'm thinking I might use some of the Moda heart charms I got as part of my Christmas present. Finally I had sent some orange fabric to another quilter and in return she sent me some polka dot fabric.

I finished quilting my mini Tulips quilt earlier this week. I've started the binding and should have it finished tomorrow. I'll post a picture when I'm done. DH and I are watching a movie tonight and then he has to pack. Tomorrow he leaves at 5:30 AM for Los Angeles. So I'll get to sleep in and spend the day playing in my quilt room - at least until football time.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Sunday Night Check-In

I don’t have a chance to spend 15 minutes a day quilting during the week and make up for it on the weekend. Today I spent about 4 hours hand quilting my mini whole cloth Tulips quilt. I worked on it while watching the Bears beat Seattle and the Patriots beat the Chargers. It’s been a couple months since I hand quilted and my fingers were letting me know that the callouses haven’t formed again. Ouch!

I also spent some time this weekend pulling fabric from my stash to make a table runner to test my Birthday Garden quilt pattern. I’m going to make it in purples, greens with a splash of pink.

I’m still on no buy and other than a purchase at Thanksgiving I haven’t purchased fabric since October. In fact, the fabric I bought at Thanksgiving is all used up and didn’t even make it into my stash.

Yesterday DH and I had a couples pedicure. I’ve never had a pedicure and, before yesterday, had never painted my toenails! I enjoyed the pedicure immensely and it’s amazing to me how just a little bit of color on your toes can change how you feel. I wish it were summer for a day or two so I could show them off. Oh well, I guess I’ll just have have another pedicure when it warms up.

Patti posted this link to see type of person you are. She and I are INFJ. So is another quilter she knows. She has a theory that even though INFJ's are only 2% of the population that most of them are quilters. Help us test her theory.

You Are An INFJ

The Protector

You live your life with integrity, originality, vision, and creativity.
Independent and stubborn, you rarely stray from your vision - no matter what it is.
You are an excellent listener, with almost infinite patience.
You have complex, deep feelings, and you take great care to express them.

You would make a great photographer, alternative medicine guru, or teacher.

Well it's late and tomorrow the drive to work is going to be ugly so I'm off to bed. See you later.

Friday, January 12, 2007

I Need A Social Life

Scene: Yesterday afternoon, 2 PM, my office

I walked into my office, shut the door and exclaimed to my office mate, "All I do is go to work, go home, eat and go to bed, get up, go to work, go home and go to bed. I need a social life." I continued, "I get up on Monday morning, go home, eat, go to bed, Tuesday morning repeat, Wednesday morning repeat, Thursday repeat, Friday repeat. Saturday I try to spend as much time as possbile quilting and Sunday is all about football. It's hard to get me out of the house on the weekend to even go grocery shopping because I want to quilt and watch football. I really need to do something to shake up my life." Football season lasts another three weekends and then I'll be able to go grocery shopping on the weekends and not have to worry about taking time away from quilting or football. Don't misunderstand me - I love football. I love quilting. But I think because we've been so busy at work that I haven't had time during the week to relax and by the time Friday rolls around I'm ready to do nothing but relax, quilt and watch football. Leave the house? Are you kidding?????

So what's the answer to my dilemma? Well tomorrow morning will help. DH and I have a date. We are going to get a couples pedicure and then out for breakfast. I've never had a pedicure. DH has and he says I will love it. The pedicure is one of my Christmas presents to DH.

Today I learned that the weekend in May when I go on my annual shop hop DH and my boss will be at a conference in Las Vegas. This means I'll be able to shop on Friday and Saturday and sneak in a play day with my quilting buddies. I'm so excited! I just can't hide it!

My stash shopping funds are growing nicely. My boss gives $50 gift cheques for birthday gifts and an occasional "good job" reward. I save mine for fabric shopping. I have quite a few saved so far. Today I added to my fund because I sold I my treadle machine. I know, I know some people are wondering, "What was she thinking???" Well I purchased the treadle 18 months ago and haven't used it once. It had become nothing more than a printer stand in my studio. The woman who bought the treadle will definitely love it and take care of it so all is well.

We are supposed to get a winter storm on Sunday night/Monday morning. I can't wait! Too bad we don't have Monday off (thanks New Hamphire laws), but just the idea that the weather is going to be wintery is good enough for me! Maybe the roads will get to bad I'll be able to work from home. We'll see.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

See Dick Run

See Dick and Jane. Run Jane run.

Did you learn to read with Dick and Jane books? I did. I remember sitting in first grade reading class. First slowly pronouncing every word as I learned to read. Then being able to read the whole book without missing book.

Well, Michael Miller has designed a line of fabric - Dick and Jane. I think I am in love! The whole fabric line is incredible! I can already visual several quilts or play mats made with the fabric. Too bad I'm on a No Buy pledge until April. But I'm going to start marking the days until I can buy the fabric.

I know Hancock's of Paducah has a 12 FQ pack of some of the fabric, but I want a piece of every design.

OK, OK, I'll stop salivating now. You may go back to your regularly scheduled quilting.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Free Time Sewing Project

I managed quite a bit of quilty time this weekend and I'm so happy! Yesterday morning I finished piecing the backing for my Birthday Garden quilt. Then I looked at the pile of 2 inch strips I had left from my brithday FQs and couldn't bring myself to add them to my stash. So I sat down at my sewing machine and started sewing the strips into pairs. Then I sewed the pairs together to make four-fabric strip sets. The strip sets were cut into 2 inch segments and sewn together to make 16-patch blocks.

Then my DIL and I spent about 30 minutes trying to set the blocks so that no two blocks touched side-by-side or diagonally. Finally I couldn't look at the blocks anymore and decided I was OK with diagonal touching and sewed the blocks together. The quilt is about 30 by 36 inches right now and I'm very happy with it.

While I was putting it together I kept thinking about what I was going to do with the quilt. I don't know anyone who is pregnant and I could have donated it to the local homeless shelter for pregnant women. But, once I hung it on my design board and started to show my DIL my Birthday Garden Quilt it came to me - I'm saving this little quilt for the grandchild my DS and DIL keep telling me I will get in five years. I can wait that long to use it. And why not, how cool will it be to have a quilt made with fabric from grandma's quilt? I love the idea.

Well, it's time for Sunday night dinner and to watch the rest of the football for this weekend. Only three more weekends of football and then I'll be counting the days until baseball season starts. Oh yeah, there will be some golf in there too, but golf is on nearly every weekend all year anyway.

We had extremely warm weather here this weekend. Yesterday the temp reached 70, if not a little higher. How depressing! I so need a good snowstorm. This 70 degree weather in January is ridiculous! I live in the northern part of the country to get my snow in winter. OK, I'll stop whining now!

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year

Welcome to 2007! Many bloggers have written about their accomplishments in 2006 and plans for 2007. I have updated my list of projects on the side bar for 2007. I didn't make many changes to the list since I've been keeping it up-to-date on a regular basis.

So what did I accomplish in 2006? Well, I learned to hand quilt. I'm still working on my first hand quilting project, but I may put it aside to work on my Birthday Garden Quilt. I learned how to hand piece. I truly enjoy hand piecing, but save it for long drives or to take with me when we go away for the weekend. I learned how to properly put binding on a quilt! And that let me finish a quilt for my mom, one for my dad, one for my SIL, one for a friend's new baby boy and one for our bed. I like sewing on the binding and find myself looking forward to finishing a quilt just so I can add the binding. Mmmmmm . . . I wonder if one could make money offering to add the binding to someone else's quilt.

I finished many tops that are waiting for quilting: my Pink Finity quilt, an Ohio Star Table Runner, an Autumn Table Runner, My Tea Time Splash quilt, a mini Christmas quilt and an I Love Orange Wall hanging.

I also finished some smaller projects: a bar topper for DH, a Quilter's Wallet for me, two fabric Picture books and, just in time for Christmas, 8 small tote bags that I filled with various little items and gave to some of our nieces and nephews. The bags were well received, almost better than what was inside.

My learning goals for 2007 are to start machine quilting and to learn appliqué. Now I never thought I would do appliqué, but I keep finding myself drawn to the hand work side of quilting so I guess it would be just a matter of time before I would start appliqué.

I also have a surprise project to start off 2007. When I posted a picture of my Birthday Garden quilt on one of my groups I got some requests for the pattern. I designed the quilt myself using techniques that intrigued me. I was more than happy to write up the directions and share them. But, before I could write the pattern, I offered to share the design with the whole group. It turns out that one of the moderators thought it would be a good idea to share the pattern over a long weekend when many of the members are getting together for a Retreat. The members who are unable to attend will be able to work on my quilt!

I'm excited. I certainly never expected anyone to want a pattern I designed for myself. Let alone have the chance to share it on-line. If any of you are interested just let me know. I'll make it available the weekend of April 27 - 29. I'll have fabric requirements in the next couple weeks. Stay tuned for more details.

It's almost time for the Rose Bowl so I'm off to grab my hand quilting and start dinner - butternut squash stuffed with sausage and apples - yummy!

Adding A Copyright Notice

Judy at Quilting With Ragdolls wrote a post about copying photos and text from other blogs. It's a thoughtful post and it inspired me to add a copyright notice at the bottom of my blog. It is scary that in some people's eyes that can take the words and pictures of someone else and claim them as their own.

The company I work for sells intellectual property - hundreds and hundreds of bits of information - and nothing leaves our office without a copyright notice on it. I just never thought I would have to add it to my blog. So I have a copyright now at the bottom of the page.