Saturday, November 29, 2008

Sewing Instead of Shopping

We had a sewing marathon on Black Friday.  There was some discussion about going shopping but it fell by the wayside.  The girls each had projects to do and I was the consultant.  I spent some time cutting some batting squares for a rag quilt.  I ironed some stuff for the girls and I (oh no, I really did this???) hemmed pants for Jenny.  
Here's Aimee, Kevin's girlfriend,  learning to use an older Elna sewing machine that she will be taking with her to play with.  She was working on her first quilt, a rail fence baby quilt.  She has never sewn before and it was all pretty new to her.  She learned to use a rotary cutter and ruler, everything has to be sewn in a quarter inch seam, how to iron the darn fabric and the pieces.  I'm pretty sure she'll have a finished top to take with her.  

Jenny brought a bunch of projects to work on.  She free motion quilted two quilt tops -- one had some additional straight stitching.  She fixed a top and hemmed another pair of pants.  I stitched the other pair she had gotten ready to stitch. 

We had a nice day although Jenny kept us at it as long as it took for her to finish what she needed to get done.  She's hoping for a darning foot for her sewing machine for Christmas.  (Brian, did you get that??) 

I was able to get two of the three dogs to stay still long enough for a picture.  So here are some of the dogs who came for Thanksgiving weekend! 

The kids are leaving today so I should be able to introduce myself back to at least one of my sewing machines today.  My studio is really great for two sewers but it just doesn't have room for a third one.  It was probably good down time for me cause my shoulder has been a bit sore and now it feels much better.  

Have a great Saturday all!  I'll be back to sewing in a few hours. 

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

The dinner has been eaten, the dishes done.  I loved the look of these cranberries before I made the sauce.  I need some fabric that looks like that!  And, I wish my hands weren't covered in pumpkin pie filling yesterday ... I would have snapped a picture of that pumpkin as it was a beautiful color too!  

We had a 16 pound turkey  -- didn't sound all that large but a little bit hung off  the roasting pan.  YUK -- the oils from the turkey were burning in the oven and every time we opened the door smoke poured out.  We had to have some windows open to keep the air clear.  But, wow, it was a very good turkey and made plenty of gravy. The carcass is now being made into stock so we can make soup some time this week.  And, these berries were great too!  

Jenny and Brian arrived and Jen hit the puzzle.  It took a couple of hours but we finished it off.  Weird puzzle -- we could actually put pieces in wrong and it looked right.  Finally when we were down to 6 pieces we realized we had to move some pieces so we could finish.  I've never seen that in a puzzle before.  This was only 750 pieces.  Next up is a cute black and white springer spaniel that looks like our dog, Christy.  Maybe we'll put that up tomorrow.  

Here's a monopoly game we started after dinner.  Notice the hole where someone should be playing.  And, I was.  But, I spent the first 10 turns in jail.  We didn't have the rules so our rules were we could get out of jail with doubles or after the third time we'd get out.  Every time I got out of jail I either landed on go to jail or pulled a go to jail card.  Once I finally got out of jail and made it past the go to jail space I thought I was home free and could finally pass go and collect my $200.  Well, no.  I landed on a property and had to pay rent.  And then I landed on pay luxury tax and I was bankrupt.  I never once got to pass go!  What a riot.  We were laughing so hard.  Everyone else was buying property and I was just sitting there.  An hour or two later they are still playing but two more people have gone bankrupt. (Probably happily!) 

Tomorrow is a sewing day for me.  I'm not interested in shopping.  I did cut some sashing out today.  If the girls go shopping which they are talking about doing I am going to start a new mystery quilt over at Mysteries for Relay.  Click on the button to go to the main page.  You might be able to join tomorrow and sew with us.  

It's been a great day despite the smoke from the turkey cooking.  Happy Quilting, Bonnie

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Day Before T Day

Yesterday between 3 and 4 I scraped off whatever snow was left on the driveway.  Unfortunately it is a fairly long driveway and was about 2/3rds covered with snow.  I felt very virtuous for clearing it off.  I was also slipping like crazy at the end of the drive.  

Fast forward 15 hours or so.  I got up to a driveway once again covered in snow!  Probably not even an inch.  We decided it would melt off as the temps were to  be above freezing.  Thank goodness cause there was no way I could scrape it off again!

No sewing for me today.  It was baking day.  I made two pumpkin pies, an apple pie and a batch of cream de menthe brownies. Yum.  I purchased 3 aluminum pie plates -- designed for one use than toss. Yikes.  It created a problem when I poured the pumpkin pie into the pan and then tried to put it on a pan to put in the oven.  Imagine the pie plate bending in half making a perfect little spout for the pie filling to pour out.  Luckily I hadn't started moving over the floor.  Just pie filling on the counter.  Oh fun.  Eventually got it in the oven and cooked.  They smell quite good.  Although I'm not a pumpkin pie fan.  I'll be eating the apple pie myself.

I don't know if we'll get some stitching time tomorrow or not.  But, I will get a bit of knitting time.  I don't buy quilt kits because I enjoy picking my own colors.  However, I did buy a sweater kit some years ago.  So many years ago I'm not sure how long I've owned  the darn thing -- probably more than 10 years.  It was quite a surprise to me though when I ran across it while going through the box of yarn.  Easy decision. I decided to make this sweater.  I may not like it when done though.  I'll have to see.  I started on the back and I've knit about an inch and a half. 

Enjoy your stitching or your celebration.  Happy quilting. Bonnie

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Another Snow Event

It snowed overnight.  It must be mixing with rain because it is quite noisy.  Usually you don't hear snow like rain.  When I got up at 6:30 the driveway was clear. Pat gets up early for work but he was up even earlier as he ran on the treadmill, cleared the driveway and was at work by 7 am. And, tonight he is dishing at a community Thanksgiving dinner.  He'll be asleep within 30 minutes of coming home! 

Today's agenda is mostly house cleaning.   All surfaces will be vacuumed/dusted. Kitchen floor will be cleaned. Bathrooms will be cleaned and that is it!  The puzzle is still being worked on -- less space is undone but still not easy to slap those pieces in.  I am using the kamikazi method -- swoop in try to get three or so pieces in and leave.  The bumblebee quilt is in rows so today or tomorrow I will sew the rows together.  Oh yes, I need to clean up the sewing room so all three of us can work up there.  I plan to continue to cut out the rag quilt.  I've been working on batting squares a bit but need to step it up if this is actually going to be done by Christmas! (and to be shipped out also!) 

Have a great day.  And, happy quilting if you can fit it in!  Bonnie

Monday, November 24, 2008

Scrappy Eye Candy

It has been a quiet few days in Institches land.  I have nothing new to show you. The picture of the quilt I wanted to show you turned out poorly.  So I am going to share some photos of scrap quilts.  Faithful Circle Quilters in Columbia, Maryland has a quilt show every two years. We usually hang 300 quilts which is pretty amazing.  In addition there are demonstrations by various guild members.  I will be sharing with you scrap quilts made by Pat Neal that she showed during a demonstration.   I don't know if these are original ideas, from a book, or ideas that took off in her brain after viewing various books.  But they are stunning scrap quilts none the less. First is this wonky log cabin.  She said she was just using up leftover fabrics.  Although most of the fabrics are bright and black and whites some appear to be rather subtle.  Hum, throw all my brights together, eh? 

This next one appears to be a 9 patch and a plain square.  Except, that isn't an even 9 patch.  Hum, we could change the expected size of a pattern to get a different look.  Lots of the fabrics seem to be the same from the log cabin.   I bet she buys lots of fabric when shopping! Notice the border is made up with at least one extra piece of fabric. And, see the little prairie point added to the border?  Pretty cute.  Now, I know I don't have that many bright scraps, do I?  Something to think about. 

And now, what I think is the most spectacular quilt of all she showed. She used a diamond shape to make string pieced blocks.  Then she added the yellow but to add that little wow touch she put large (giant size?) rickrack between the yellows and the string blocks.  I think it is stunning.  If you look at the blocks themselves there appears to be no rhyme or reason to the fabrics she chose to sew into the block.  Some are lights, some mediums and some dark.  They are scattered around.  I think Pat said she just grabs from a bag (or basket or box or ....) and puts whatever string is in her hand into the block.  What makes this a WOW quilt is the yellow that holds the whole thing together.  I am also wondering if she put a selvedge into the block with the white polka dots on black.  Hum, maybe I
should be saving those darn selvedges! 

I really wished these were MY quilts but I am so happy to have pictures of them to inspire me.  Hopefully they will inspire you too.  Happy Quilting.  And, yes, I plan to get a few minutes of quilting in today.  Snow is predicted for tomorrow and the all wheel drive car will go to work with DH -- and I'll stay home to clean house for T-Day visitors.  

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Stripper's Mystery Is Done

As I have been blogging about almost being done for several days I am proud to announce the Stripper's Mystery is done! (And, that includes the label!) It really isn't all that big but sometimes I just put things aside cause I get bored. (How one could get bored with this bright cutie is beyond me... but I did have a full time job up until June!) This is from May 2006.  Now to find a place of honor to hang it for a while.  Probably will go in the studio for a while. It really is way too bright for the rest of the house.... although maybe in one of the guest bedrooms!  

I didn't actually do anything up in the studio yesterday -- nor have I today, yet, but I will.  I did some ripping yesterday and today I am ready to get on with some resewing and then doing the bumble bee blocks. We mailed off a blanket for Project Linus, some blocks for Heartstrings and the Stars and Stripes for the quilt guild drawing in a couple of weeks. So now, without further ado -- I'm out of here!  Happy quilting! Bonnie 

Friday, November 21, 2008

One Finish and One Close to Finish

They're DONE!  Yipee!  Wow -- I finished these in 7 and a half weeks.  This has got to be an all time record for me.  Now I have to decide if I like the feel of them on my feet.  They are not knit very tightly so I can feel the threads more than commercial socks.  And, these are really thin socks while I am used to thicker ones.   I guess I will wear them a few times before I decide to make any more. 
 I do have a whole book on socks where you knit both at the same time on 2 round needles.  That could be fun.  And, it has patterns for several different weight of yarns.  

And it would be helpful knitting both at the same time -- these pretty much started out at the same color but it didn't take long until they didn't match.  Now, honestly, not too many people are going to notice and/or comment on it.  By the time I got to the one on the right I had evidently loosened my tension so much that I have several stripes more.  The top is a bit longer too.  Oh well. Done is done! 

These will be brought out to razzle dazzle the family on Thanksgiving Day.  

What else is happening around here?  I'm about done with Stripper's Mystery -- I've even got the label on it already.  If I am efficient I make a label in advance and then stitch it in by machine when I sew on the binding.  Yep, I was efficient and got the label in.  The other day I sewed the rest of the label on.  Now, I just have 1/2 the binding to turn.  This isn't all that big either so really, no excuse.  Watch for pictures tomorrow. 

And, I did what I call a sample rag quilt.  4 patches, 8" cut size of the flannel.  I decided it is a bit boring to cut out but I'm going to do it next weekend when the family is all here.  The girls are going to do some quilting while the boys do their thing which I assume is watch football on tv.  Now I am in the process  of cutting the fringe.  I need to get the spring loaded scissors -- or borrow someones if I make a whole quilt.  The sample will be hitting the washing machine with the next load if I get it done soon. (Yep, I'm planning on bagging the sucker before it goes in.) 

My next item is putting the blocks together on the mystery quilt -- it is fabulous.  I'd like to get it going so I can get some opinions from Jen regarding borders.  It's going to be a New Year's Eve Mystery Quilt over at Fabricholic Anonymous.  Check previous posts for the yahoo groups address.  No pictures until next year -- sorry!

Ok, time is a passin'.  I'm ready to finish the strippers mystery and then on to the blocks.  Oh yes, I also have a 4 patch posie I'm in the bordering stages.  I want to move one block and then get on with it.  

ENOUGH..... happy stitching all. Bonnie

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Do You Keep Up With Site Stats?

Ok, I admit it.  I like to know that people are reading (or at least showing up at my blog.) To that end I added a site counter early on. And, I check it fairly regularly. (No, not every hour...!)  What a hoot.  For the longest time the most popular hour for reading my blog was 5:00 AM. Yep, as in crack of dawn.  My guess is it was overseas readers but I don't know for sure.  Maybe it was hubby reading before work. As to most popular day -- Tuesday. Tuesday?  My little brain tried to rationalize that:  weekends are too busy.  Monday is a busy work day for those who work.  Yes, Tuesday rolls around.  Stuff is under control at work, an hour or two opens up and everyone surfs the web.  Sounds logical to me! 

So all you Tuesday surfers at 5:00 AM.  Thanks for coming by to
see what's happening!  

Here's a little eye candy.  This was made for Faithful Circle Quilters 2008 Challenge.  A huge box of Crayola Crayons were dumped into a brown paper bag. We each drew out one crayon without looking. The challenge was to create a quilt that represented that color.  I got the plum crayon and proceeded to use the word plum > plumb and how we had to plumb (go to depths of)  our imaginations. 

Hindsight is I must not have had the quilt as taut as it should have been when I basted it -- it bags a big. I was all set to hang it in the bathroom until darling hubby burst into laughter.  Plumb -- plumbing! Well, ok.  That isn't such a good word association. It will be hanging in the studio for awhile! 

I'm on to my quilting day.  Hope your day is happy and productive! Bonnie

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

All Time Low High Temperature

Does that make any sense at all?  Well, according to the local news today's high temperature is the lowest for this day since 1955.  (It was 30 degrees and normal is 48!) Overnight it is suppose to be in the teens tonight and over the next few nights.  Looking at the 7 day forecast there were little snowflakes showing on 6 of the 7 days!  Wait, it's too early for snow!  Of course, so far, none is suppose to accumulate more than an inch or two.  Phew, safe for a bit longer. 
A couple of days ago I showed you one of these blocks in progress.  Now I have two done to send to the guild in Maryland.  Ooooh, I hope I win these babies.  I really like them.  And they look quite complicated but they really aren't.  I figure they could be laid out similar to log cabin blocks -- a dark and a light side so there are lots of ways to build a quilt if you have enough of them. 

I was all set to baste another quilt today at the Wednesday quilt day.  Oops.  The fabric I had thought to use for the backing was about 5" to narrow.  Ok, on to Plan B.  So, I was going to turn the binding on Stripper's Mystery.  I took some polyester turquoise thread.  Now, I am not one to use much polyester on quilts, I've had problems in the past. My thoughts today were, hey, it's a wall hanging.  It's for turning the binding. How much trouble could I get into here.  Evidently a lot!  The thread I had grabbed was a very fine thread and it just didn't feel sturdy enough.  After 1 needle full of thread I put that aside.  Plan C was to work on a Christmas quilt that I have (or haven't as the case might be) been quilting on for a few years.  Oops -- didn't grab the thread for that.  Which left Plan D -- knit on the socks.  YEAH I had everything!  I am now at the toe of the second sock.  Woo Hoo!  I will probably finish this sock in the next day or two!!  Yippee.  Something started and finished in less than a year!  

My next dilema.  Do I start another knitting project or do I do more hand quilting on the Christmas quilt? I have a nice tubular head scarf I want to make -- pattern and yarn are already in the house (hey, I'm thinking of using something from the yarn stash!) But, I am having some difficulty finding the right needles.  Maybe I'll review my needles again tomorrow. 

Tomorrow's plans:  probably a load of laundry.  And finish Stripper's Mystery.  You'll get to see a picture then.  Finish the sock in the afternoon or evening.  Figure out a backing for the wall hanging for the bedroom -- it matches the pillow shams I showed a couple of days ago.  I might even try to baste that here as I won't be going to Wed. Quilters next week.  And something new for dinner, maybe ... or frozen pizza... I'll see how I feel about it.  

Have a happy and PRODUCTIVE quilty day! Bonnie

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Winter Is Back!

Someone has taken the powdered sugar and sprinkled it all around my neighborhood! 

Or at least that's what it looks like to me.  We had snowfall last night -- snow that looked like tiny pellets of ice.  I was at quilt guild last night and there was only snow falling about 3 miles from my home -- not the other 15 miles to the guild.  Thank you!  I didn't expect to see any of it this morning.  But, here it is.  And, I guess the leaves really are off the trees now.  

Yesterday was very successful sewing-wise even if I don't have a whole lot to show for it.  The second pillow sham is done and on the bed! Waahoo.  Pictures will come in a few days when the new bedspread arrives.  The first block for Faithful Circle Quilters block drawing is finished.  And I machine quilted the Stripper's Mystery quilt.  

Today I will be moving on to other things, kind of!  I will make another block for FCQ. Part of it is cut, part is pulled.  I'll unearth the binding fabric for the Stripper's Mystery.  And, I need to move a quilt that is still blocks from one bed to another.  We are getting a new bed in one of the guest rooms so need to clean it off.  And, there is always that blankety, blank puzzle!

Happy Quilting All.  Bonnie 

Monday, November 17, 2008

Puzzle Time

Do you like to do puzzles?  We do especially when the house is full -- it is an option for non-tv watchers.  So, over Labor Day we had a puzzle out on the dining room table.  It was a bunch of baseballs.  Kevin said it had been his and he worked like a dog on it off and on until it was finished.  We decided that was a success so we brought out another one.  It was a nice picture of Big Ben in London.  Jenny got involved with it and worked like a dog on it.  Except it is a pain in the XXXXXX. First, it is a lot darker than it shows in the picture. It tends to glare back at you.  Then, the light needs to be just right in the room to be able to see the pieces.  Jen was up a few weeks later and worked some more on it.  Pat and I both take turns working on it.  Jen separated the pieces into type.  And then she was picking up every piece to try it in a spot.  So, I've been doing that too, off and on.  Well we are now a week and a half away from T-Day.  T-Day dinner will be at the dining room table not the kitchen table.  So the pressure is on to finish this blankety, blank puzzle!  This morning I got several (maybe 5 or so) pieces in.  The problem is you can put a piece in that looks like it is right and later it proves to be wrong. And a few taken out.  ARGH.  I'll keep  you posted.  We have bought a couple more puzzles that appear to be a bit easier.  I hope so.  It's fun to try a puzzle every once and a while but not one that refuses to be put together. I believe I hear the trash can calling this puzzle!!

It is time to go up to finish the other pillow sham.  Don't know how long I will last as I woke up at 5:30 or so bright and awake.  Maybe a nap is in order later. (after the pillow sham!) 

Happy quilting all. Bonnie

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Success! A Small Finish

I am snoopy dancing!  I have finished one of the pillow shams that I have been fussing around with for a month. (Or so it seems.) Today I quilted the piece that I basted on Wednesday.  Then, having a couple more hours of sewing time left I started putting together the other sham.  In a little less than two hours I had the sham done and on a pillow. Phew, it fit. Even though I was using a sham I had taken off the pillow as a pattern I was still slightly worried that I might have measured something wrong. It is on the bed.  It isn't bad with the coral bedspread but I did order a new matalesse coverlet in khaki.  It should be here by the end of the week.  I plan on finishing the other sham tomorrow before I allow myself to do anything else!  YEAH -- the end is in sight on this project.  I still have a wall hanging to baste and then quilt that matches the shams.  Maybe that will be my project on Wednesday at the quilt group. 

Before I did the sham I put together this block for Faithful Circle Quilter's November opportunity Block of the Month.  FCQ is my guild in Columbia, Maryland.  I still am a member but obviously I don't get to the meetings often.  I like to do these to try different blocks and to use little pieces of fabric up.  I don't remember the guild ever asking for 2 blocks from one of these boms but they did on this.  The extra blocks are going to be made into quilts for veterans.  What a great way to get some nice blocks.  I need to applique the star and trim the block.  And, then I need to find some more red strips and do another block.  Not a hard block at all.  

I've had a happy quilting day.  I hope you do too!  Bonnie 

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Rain and More Rain

It was raining when we woke up this morning.  It was raining when we went to fill my car with gas and buy a few groceries and it is raining now.  And, as an added bonus there is a tornado watch in our county.  So, after watching The Wizard of Oz last night I know I'll run to the basement if I hear a freight train coming my way! 

No sewing today. Got the heal flap done on my sock last night.  Today we moved furniture in our bedroom.  And, some went upstairs and some came downstairs.  When all the moving was done we went to a local craft fair in support of the local high school band.  Bought a couple of decorations for the upcoming holidays.  

Since I didn't quilt at all today I thought I would share a baby quilt I made earlier this year.  It is probably from Quilts for Babies as Easy as ABC. (I've sung the praises of this book before... published by That Patchwork Place or whatever they are called now. Author: Ursula Reikes.) 

Hopefully tomorrow I will spend the day quilting. Or at least part of the day.   

Happy Quilting.  Bonnie

Friday, November 14, 2008

Quiltless Day

Hum, that almost sounds like guiltless.  But, no, I'm not planning on doing any major quilting today.  We are off to look for a new bed. (Kevin -- you want to start Snoopy dancing?) And, after yesterday and Wednesday, I might need a brain infusion to be a better quilter! 

Yes, I had more troubles with a block yesterday.  I started another star paper pieced block. I am drawing individual blocks for the 5-pointed stars.  And, they are 4".  So, I happily draw about 10 of the stars. I figure one or two blocks a day and I'll get through the 51 I need in a reasonable amount of time. HA!  I ripped out little itty bitty stitches at LEAST 5 times.  I wasn't willing to toss the units because I would have had to start all over and I had one section correct (out of three). So, I carefully measured and cut the fabric.  I pinned and flipped.  It fit perfectly.  I pinned so I could sew.  I sewed.  I flipped.  And, then I personally flipped. YIKES -- it didn't cover the paper! URG. Again, and in one instance, again.  So, now my mantra is cut it bigger -- way bigger.   I'll keep you all posted. 

I didn't spend any time machine quilting yesterday cause ... well you know why.  Plus the 6 loads of laundry or so.  

Hope everyone has a happy quilting day.  Or for those nonquilters enjoy your day. Pat and I are off to the big city of Scranton to do some shopping. Bonnie

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Basting Success

I took 3 quilts to the Wednesday group to baste today.  And, they all got basted!  Woowee!  Of course, not everything ran smoothly. 

This morning I still had to piece the backing of a lap quilt.  But I had bought more than enough fabric to make the backing.  So, I measured the quilt top, I measured the backing. I ripped the piece to the correct size.  Except, it wasn't the correct size!  It was too small.  So, I remeasured the quilt, the backing and then tried to add some more. I needed 7" or so I thought. I cut it 14"  but some how it didn't end up that big.  Then, I tried to sew the short ends together so I could add it to the bigger piece.  Well, somehow I sewed the long sides together but I realized it before I sewed all 43". Ripped that out, sewed the small sides. Ironed the thing and then sewed it onto the backing.  It fit but there isn't a lot of extra fabric hanging around.  Sheesh!  

I had the other pieces ready to baste.  One is a pillow sham. The other is a small quilt I made at a class. I think it was called Stripper's Mystery.  The class was taught by Gyleen Fitzgerald. She's a great teacher and a lot of fun.  The cool part is people ended up with very different looking quilts.  I'll post pictures when I finish it.  This quilt has been quilted once and then I ripped the stitches out because I didn't like how it looked.  This time I will stitch in the ditch and let the fabric shine.  Oh well.  

I Hit Some Sales

Traditional Veteran's Day sales were yesterday or over the weekend.  When I got my Joann's mailer I went through writing a list to jog my brain as to what I might like to look at.  Tuesday came and I was still trying to talk myself into going or staying home.  (I had a coupon for 40% off cds at Borders so it was talking to me also.)  I finally decided to go and began double checking some things.  I'm looking for some different size knitting needles, muslin was well priced, novelty fabrics, books -- these all were on sale between 30 and 40% off.  And, there was a 10% off everything coupon.  I was actually really restrained!  And, my bargains were amazing.  So, what did I get? 

two or three fall garlands, gourds and loose leaves at 80% off!  Woowee. 
two books at 50% off.  One was a seasonal banner book, the other quilting designs. 

one cd of the original Harry Potter movie's music.  I had lost my copy and I like it.

What I didn't get was any knitting needles.  Boo.  When I finish the socks I'll want something else to knit. (Of course, I could work on the hand quilting...) 

And, last but least I hit the big grocery store in Scranton that has the cereal Pat likes a lot. Not a bad day altogether.  And, for some reason I popped out of bed and sewed a block before breakfast.  So, even a little quilting activity there!  

Happy quilting all. Bonnie

Monday, November 10, 2008

Quilter's Day Out

Yesterday was Quilter's Day Out sponsored by Mountain Laurel Quilters.  It's held once a year and recently has been held at Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort right on the Delaware River.  There was a glorious tree near the front.  In the distance you can see the Delaware River made famous by the painting, George Washington Crossing the Delaware by Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze owned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. (sorry -- got sidetracked.) The trees across the river have lost most of their leaves.  There was a wonderful porch along the front of the hotel where you could rock and view the river. It was warm enough to spend time sitting there but I only lasted a little while. 

The day includes demonstrations, some vendors, a nice lunch and a guest speaker.  The speaker yesterday was Anna Faustino.  Here she is talking about how she created this picture.  The background is woven from two identical paintings of the trees.  She kept us laughing, amazed and in awe of her body of work.  And, she kept saying you can do this. 

And, I suppose you can with her new book Simply Stunning Woven Quilts published by C&T.  And, yes, they are amazingly stunning.  Anna's background is in art, teaching, and designing.  She was born and raised in Russia.  She is definitely an art quilter so don't look for a quilt to snuggle up with on the couch. But WOW her work is fabulous! She shared many of them with us during her talk.  I'm sorry I couldn't get pictures without the head in them but these are well worth the viewing! 

Besides her woven quilts she does a lot of applique using couching. This one is completely different then the woven quilts.  She also enjoys using technology.  Some of her work utilizes photographs that she has enhanced with colored pencils. 

Are you sitting down now? 

Anna has been quilting for a little over 4 years!  I don't aspire to be an art quilter but these just amazed me!  They are gorgeous! Needless to say she is entering her quilts in shows and is winning ribbons galore.  Check out her web site to see more about Anna Faustino. (See link above.) 

So, here I am working on my fabric creations.  Not as flamboyant but well loved by my family.  I was glad to have a chance to see her work.  I might try some of the weaving ideas but I generally make quilts to cuddle up with.  But, wow on what I saw yesterday. And, I did do a little shopping at the vendors.  Bought several reds to incorporate into my election challenge.  That isn't going so well.  I am having to rethink how I am making the stars.  There must be some secret to getting the stars to come out with a quarter inch at the points cause mine sure aren't doing it.  I think I'll just paper piece them.  That would work just as well and probably take less fabric!   I should be getting back to quilting.  But, lunch calls, it is 1:30 EST. Oops... time flies when you are retired.  

Happy quilting all.  Bonnie

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Quilts from the Past

Since I am working on testing a mystery quilt I can't share photos or comments or . . .   So I will share two quilts from the recent past (ie the last year or so.) 

I won most of these blocks at a guild block drawing several years ago. I love how bright they are.  And, yes it is the basis of my headline.  Sharon was happy because the block on the left in the headline is hers! This was done in time for me to submit it in my guild's spring of '08 show. I chose to make several more blocks to get it to this size.  It was nasty making all those triangles but I really love the look of it.  Hum, I wonder where it is now?   One of these days I'll hunt for it. 

When I worked at the elementary school every new baby born to a staff member received a quilt.  This is one of them.  I think the soft pinks looked better in person but it was a simple, fast quilt to do and that is what I needed at the moment. 

I still make bow tie blocks just to have hanging around.  I use them as leaders/enders often. And, when I get a huge bunch I will lay them out and see if I want to make another top.  It would be good for a Project Linus quilt.  I think the block ends up 6" finished.  I made another bowtie quilt around the time I made this pink one and I put plain white blocks in between the bowties.  Such a versatile block. 

Ok, off to finish the last clue or two of the wonderful mystery. It is quite a quilt. I am pretty sure I will love it finished!  I'll let you know in the next few days! 

Happy Quilting. Bonnie

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Oh My Funky Star!

I have taken the challenge to create a quilt based on the election.  My thought is red or blue stars that represent which way the states voted.  (Don't know what I'll do about the states that split the electoral college votes!) 

Here's my first attempt at a star.  This is from Fons and Porter's web site.  (You have to register to get to the free patterns.) Look for Making Stars under Online Extras, Sew Easy Lessons.  It uses hand drawn stars on freezer paper.  For every pair of stars you draw one star on the freezer paper and when finished you have a negative and positive version.   I'm still working on the other star. 

The only problem I have now is the size came up smaller than planned.  Hum, I'm going to have to see if I can get it to the size I want.  This should do a great job of busting some of my red and blue stash.  And, I'm talking little pieces rather than yardage... boy will that feel good.  Now, can I finish at least the top by the end of November.  Stay tuned!  Happy quilting all!  Bonnie 

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Fabricholics Annonymous

Barbara asked for the location of Fabricholics Annonymous.  You can now click on the name and go to the front page.  This isn't a really active group which is sometimes great.  We have a couple of mystery quilts a year.  A rare recipe.  Friendly talk. And it is an international group.  I enjoy it.

Quilting done: cutting half square triangles. But, not all are cut.  I was slow moving out this am so didn't get to the group until late.  Do you know how boring it is to trim 150+ squares?  Ok, most are done.  Tomorrow I am on to clue 1.  (I will go back to the trimming later cause those puppies aren't used until clue 6 or so!)

I also started (kinda) the Election Challenge at Stashbusters.  I've found the five-pointed-star of my choice from Fons and Porter.  I couldn't find the pattern but someone answered my plea on Stashbusters and suggested that web site. Still couldn't find them until I created a log in. Voila! I actually got the printer out, attached it to the laptop and printed the directions. Wow, I really wanted them.  So, today I also cut freezer paper for the stars and then drew one of the stars.  Each is individually drawn.  I love the idea, lots of stash will go into something.... but the follow through may be lacking. We'll see. 

Tomorrow's goals: make a star, try for 3 clues, and sew one backing together. (shoot, and a load of wash... there are only 2 of us living here.  Where is this laundry coming from???) 
Happy quilting all.  I'll report back on my progress tomorrow.... maybe that will motivate me to keep my nose to the grindstone! Bonnie

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

My Vote Is In

I voted this afternoon around 4:30.  It only took about 15 minutes which surprised me considering our township offices had a line out the door.  Evidently it was a much longer line earlier in the day -- taking an hour or so.  

I can honestly say I am so happy this election is over.  I am tired of political ads -- can't candidates say what is good about them instead of tearing down their opponent? 

On the sewing front I am almost finished cutting out a quilt. I volunteered to be a mystery quilt tester and that is what I have been cutting out. I'm calling it the bumblebee quilt because my fabric has cute little bees on it. If you want to participate in this mystery sign up for Fabricholics Annonymous on Yahoo Groups. The mystery will be presented on New Years Eve day.  

Along with the cutting, I pre-sewed a bunch of half square triangles last night by triangles-on-a-roll and then took the papers off.  I still have more to sew for the above mentioned quilt.  Do you use triangles-on-a-roll?  Shortly after they came out I bought one of each roll.  And, I still have one of each roll of both half square triangles and quarter square triangles.  I think I had to make 150+ of them so continuous paper was much faster from the sewing end. Unfortunately, I also sew them a bit big so I can trim them to the correct size.  I hear you all saying but the point of the papers is to make accurate patches with less work. Well, I'm weird. Early on I realized I could just as easily make the darn things the wrong size if I sewed too far left or right of the stitching line.  After making too many the wrong size I started sewing a smidge inside the sewing line and then trimming.  I sure get accurate blocks that way!  

So, what's your favorite half square triangle method?  I love my new QIAD triangle ruler -- it is great for squaring up when making scrap triangles. I like the triangles-on-roll papers and I even like Thangles. What I don't like is cutting triangles and then sewing them together! 

I'm back to cutting the last few squares for the bumblebee quilt. Have a great evening.  Tomorrow will be an amazing day in American history no matter who is elected.  If nothing more we Americans are turning out to the polls in record numbers.  

Happy Quilting.  Bonnie 

Monday, November 3, 2008

Back At the Sewing Machine

Life has settled back down after our power outage. Thank goodness.  The laundry piled up and thank goodness some is now washed and put away! So, I was able to do some sewing/quilting today.  

First, take a look at Kona, dressed as a pumpkin for Halloween. (Yep, dog in costumes!!)  Amazingly she didn't care that she was dressed up. Kona is a therapy dog so she got to spend Halloween with Jen at work.  She visits hospital patients once or twice a month. 

I washed and ironed most of the fabrics I bought last week.  I have started cutting two of the fabrics already.  Tomorrow I will piece two backs for quilts I have ready to go.  One will be professionally quilted and one will be done by me. So hopefully Wednesday I will baste it up.  

Happy quilting all!  Bonnie


Sunday, November 2, 2008

We're Back and So Is the Power!

Yaaaa Hoooo!  We have electricity again!  Well, it probably returned on Friday but we were headed to Maryland this weekend.  Jenny had recital Saturday evening.   She is working on her Doctorate in Musical Arts. (Is that right, Jen?) She is now down to two more recitals and she'll be doctor Jen!  It was wonderful to hear her play again and see her friends who staunchly come out to support her.  She has passed her comps -- hum, I wonder if comps stand for comprehensive exams.  Those were two full days of written testing in her area of study -- french horn performance.  

We enjoyed Saturday afternoon taking a walk with Kevin and Cassie, his dog. A bit later Aimee arrived and we all went to the recital.  Afterwards went over to Jenny and Brian's for dinner.  Some time this week I'll post a picture or two.  You have to see their dog in her Halloween costume.  Yes, costuming for dogs!  

No quilting for me for nearly a week.  I did get a few more inches of hand quilting done on a piece. I keep thinking I am getting closer to being done and then I realize I have the border to do too.  Why did I choose to hand quilt this thing. (Hey, it is only a lap quilt but it is taking for ever.)  I chose it because it has such nice plain blocks in it to show off some quilting. 

On to bed now.  However, I vow to spend a little time sewing tomorrow. And washing, and cleaning bathrooms and scrubbing the counter....  Happy quilting all.  Bonnie