Saturday, June 27, 2009

A pass along ...

This is from one of my quilting mail lists - oh my, someone will be heartbroken to discover the quilt is missing. Maybe posting this message will help find the owner/maker. (It is already posted on

"On Sunday, June 21st, (2009) one of my neighbors found a quilt on the westbound lane of Hwy 64 near Tarboro, NC. She says the quilt was wrapped in one of those plastic blanket packages. The quilt appears to be newly made, in wonderful condition. She says it is hand and machine quilted. There is no label attached and she cannot find a signature. She wants to return it to its owner, as she is a needle worker, and says she would be sick if she lost one of her works.

Please pass this email around and if anyone knows anything, call Alison Boyette 252-813-1594) or email me at"

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Couldn't help it!

Hmmmmm ... now how do I want to spend my time? Listening to the TV, with yet another news disaster, or a story about Hollywood and/or financial excessiveness, or how we're going to be taxed more, or the sordid too-personal details of ....

Or ?????? ... should I spend my energies creating something like this?????
You've seen two of these before, but a third (Joan's, left) has been added to the mix - DH and I both thought this array looked like candy or like those Italian glass paperweights. Joan's is especially "valuable", meaning she was immensely successful in blending VALUES, in addition to blending her many colors. We both took the same class by M'liss Rae Hawley last October at QuiltNebraska in Chadron. The variety of fabrics in her Kaleidoscope is amazing!

This is a photo collage for a workshop I'm presenting in September that is already filled! How nice is that?

Thank you to my friends Sue, for filling in during my absence, and to Joan, for your amazing talent!

Should I mention that early this morning I finished another K quilt top and it's ready for sandwiching? (On good, another trip to the LQS for batting.) 8-))

Monday, June 22, 2009

Gotta sew those strings!

hmmmm - interesting, but I'm not thrilled. My diagonal strip is dark purple and maybe too wide. It looked great on the screen in Quilt Pro, but drawing in a computer program does not always translate to the real thing.

I don't yet have a layout, but this diagonal block can turn into many designs. The blocks are 6 inches finished.

OK, I reduced the width of the diagonal line by one quarter inch, changed it to white, and changed the white to a medium blue/purple and increased it's size. I like it much better. Only 60 more to sew.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Up the Mississippi River

You can probably guess from this photo, what we did on our vacation. We've wanted to cruise on a riverboat for years, but they are usually VERY expensive. We ran across a small ad in Reader's Digest for a cruise that included the word "affordable" and we bit!

Across Nebraska, across Iowa we drove to the Mississippi River, to a small river town of LeClaire, Iowa. Above is a paddlewheel (and DH) at the museum from a previous vessel. Paddlewheels are huge!

Below is our vessel for the trip, The Twilight - isn't she beautiful? (She is NOT powered by a paddlewheel.)
The capacity is 120 but to our delight, only 29 people were expected. We had her almost to ourself - all 3 decks, plus the wheelhouse. We visited the captain numerous times. He knew so much about 'ole man river', the Mississippi! And each time we left the dock, or prepared to dock up, the caliope started up - charming!!!

We had expected the river to be dirty, cluttered and polluted but were pleasantly surprised to find the river clean, unpolluted, and lovely. In fact, it's cleaner now than ever before. The amount of barge traffic and tonnage moved is incredible. The towboats push 12-15 barges at a time - even through the locks and dams, another amazing feat. Each barge holds 27 times more tonnage than a truck on the highway.

We had all our meals on board, and again, expected to have a simple fare of sandwiches, etc., but were extremely pleased with the menu, plus tablecloths, silverware, drinks, all beautiful and very delicious, in the air-conditioned dining room. Dress, as you can tell, is casual. Tall man in baseball cap is DH. (below).
There was also a bar, popcorn, snacks every time we turned around, coffee, tea, etc.

Above is a lovely view of the promenade - not sure which deck - and the river, all quiet and lovely.

The my DH was in 7th heaven seeing all the various tugboats, although the correct name is "towboats" even though they pushed and didn't tow.

We went through several locks, up the river for 90 miles to Dubuque, where we stayed in the downtown area, saw the sights, museum, acquarium, and arrived back on the boat next morning, to go back down to our original point of departure in LeClair, Iowa. This was a long 2-day trip, totally wonderful, relaxing, weather was perfect - a good trip.

We came away from this pleasant adventure with books on paddlewheelers, towboats, Mississippir River, riverboat travel and are amazed we knew so little about this important time in the development along the river.

For more information,

After disembarking (and hitting a huge quiltshop within walking distance of the dock) we headed towards Wisconsin to visit family.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Home from vacation

Whew! Just home from vacation - 2012 driven miles - can you guess where I was? among other places? Yeppers, Winterset, Iowa, home of Fons and Porter. Naturally, I had to leave some cash in their shop. BTW this is a small shop and I had been told about it before visiting. It is not large at all. Winterset,Iowa is also John Wayne birthplace and also home of many covered bridges, and was featured in "Bridges of Madison County." It's a lovely small town, filled with interesting shops. I only stopped at the quilt shop.

I won't bore you (now) with my photos, but will post them soon, as I'm TIRED! Drove east across all of Nebraska, all of Iowa, across the Mississippi River into Illinois and up through Wisconsin, and back again. It was a good and safe trip, but we're glad to be home.

My poor hostas were NOT so lucky during a recent rain/hail storm. Honestly, I don't know why I even try, as they get hit every year!

I wasn't home 2 hours, until I was sewing on my strings. Also, family members gave/asked me for 3 more quilts. I'd better get busy!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Using Strings

Wow - thanks for all your kind comments on my Log Cabin - it's nice to be noticed. 8-))

This string project (below) was done in 2 days of sewing. OK, the strings were already available, and I had cut the telephone book pages a few days ago, on a paper cutter at my office. The rest of this project will be somewhat fiddly, but I'm off to a good start on another project. Oh yeah, I haven't spent a nickel!

These were strips (above) and pieces left over from a "Strips that Sizzle" project - much too good NOT to use -- they don't look like much - but, have faith.

I sewed them onto telephone pages which were cut at 5 3/4 x 11. Using the pages gives them some stability, and what I like best is that I don't have to measure anything at this point. I simply slap another strip down on the paper, and while it's still in the machine, and roughly cut off the strip. I sew through all 40 pages, press the strips open, then put two more strips on, press until the page is full. Finger pressing does not work well.

See? trimmed up (above) they are starting to look like something.

Then I sew twosies, foursies, etc., until all the pieces are one long roll. Sometimes paper falls off, but it's OK at this point. Then I press the seam open where I sewed the pages together.

Voila! A roll of fabric.

And this is where I'm heading (below). I used 40 pages, and each is about 11 inches long, so I have 440 inches of fabric which will make half of a Half Square. I'll probably pair it with white, and aim for a 6 1/2 inch half square. Layout? not sure. I'm thinking OK 440 inches divided by 8.48 inches (diagonal of block) = 51, but by turning the triangle back and forth that is over 103. Hey, is that right? If so, I have MUCH MORE than I need! I always forget the measurement is on one side, but one turns the triangle the other way and gets another block cut!
I haven't decided when to remove the paper yet. I may not get to working on this project for several weeks.

Monday, June 08, 2009

My Log Cabin in the Forest - DONE

Final grooming from the 'disinterested DH', before taking the photo.

Voila !!!
... If anyone sees an error in my layout, don't tell me! LOL This is the largest (and heaviest) quilt I've made -- 86 x 86 inches. I hand sewed the entire binding today, starting at 5:00 am, for 2 hours, then off to work, home again, sewed another 2 hours, took a nap, then sewed another 2 hours until finished. I LOVE this setting. I'm pleased with the dark shadow-y border, and how the cornerstones subtly weave around the quilt, like an old timey rail fence.

I think DH likes it -- I think he deliberately poked his head over the top in order to be included in the photo! 8-)))

Now, what's next on the sewing table? I am full of energy, having THAT LC done - and in time for the quilt show in several weeks.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Wonderful Gift Baskets Looking for something unique? This is a business developed by a friend of my friend Sue, another quilter and guild member. You may want to give this site a look-see -- I saw a LOT of lovely items in those baskets, items and baskets suitable for many occasions.

Tanks, Sue, for the tip.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Log Cabin Nearly Finished, and Needles

This huge project is getting close to DONE. Hooray!

Dimensions WERE 88 x 88 inches, and now, nearly all quilted, it's 86 x 86 inches. Interesting.

I am machine quilting (DSM) one section at a sit-down, i.e., one light area, one dark area, changing thread each time. This is my Flexicurve, for marking consistent curves in the area.

Yesterday, I was wondering about changing my needle, as I'd used the same one since the beginning of the quilting process, but being rushed, I didn't. BIG MISTAKE!

When I finished that section, the thread line looked a little loose, but when I looked at the back - OMGosh, loopy-loops, big mess! Additionally, the back is a very busy pattern and impossible to actually SEE the stitches, so all the frog stitching on the front (unsewing) had to be done only a few stitches at a time. Dang it - several hours later (about 4!!!) I'm ready to try again. Solution? Both the machine and bobbin were threaded correctly, bobbin area was not too linty, but my needle??? Oh my, it was dull, dull, dull!!! (note to SELF -- Every time I pat myself on the back for being smart, or clever, I am humbled by some dumb mistake, so SELF -- don't get cocky!).

If I ever do this large a project again, I will do it in sections - this was a huge job, even with a large sewing table and 10 inches of sewing space between my needle and the machine housing.

Quilt Show is coming up, and maybe I can complete this in time, even with a vacation coming up.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Coping, and Patience

In the last two months ago, my car was on the fritz, my computer had a virus, my VCR/DVD was eating my beloved quilt tapes and I had been told by ‘reliable sources’ there was no solution other then sending them off to be copied for big $$$, I had fallen on the sidewalk like an incompetent ‘elderly’ woman, there was not a green thing in my yard, I was 5 lbs heavier, I need cataract surgery, my sister was possibly very ill, my friend had a serious accident, and the drain in the basement plugged up and flooded the laundry room.

I had written these stress factors on a piece of paper, as a pitiful excuse for an embarrassing temper outburst, and my DH kept the piece of paper to remind me later that my outlook would be better another day.

Today, my car is OK, my computer is repaired, I have a new VCR/DVD AND instructions on how to copy the VCR contents to the DVDs, I know how to use the newest remote control) my falling-down episode is almost behind me with only minor injuries, the yard is green, I lost 5 lbs, I am putting off cataract surgery since I’ve decided if I can see well enough to sew, that procedure is not critical for now, my sister came through surgery in flying colors with no bad news at all, my friend will recover in time from her accident, and the plumber roto-rooted the drain.

… and we’ve planned a short vacation in several weeks. Huh??? Is there a connection between my fit of temper and DH uncharacteristically planning a vacation?

Some days -- I know it's silly -- I envision myself as a Vivian Leigh character, (near the end of Gone with the Wind, where she is in the dirt field, digging up food with her bare hands) looking heavenward, vowing something like "Tomorrow will be a better day."

Ha, and you all thought I was Ms Patience and Pleasantness! I had you fooled!