Tuesday, December 29, 2009

"Fairy Rings" - DONE

My favorite part are the feet sticking out!

This quilt pattern is again, a Kaleidoscope quilt. I made 2 strip sets of the same strata, pressed one up, the other down, and sewed them together, being careful matching seams. This arrangement purposely does NOT have the kaleidoscope effect I usually aim for. I purposefully made a variety of "rings", just for a child's interest.

Meggie asked for "Fairies". This Fairy fabric came from Keepsake Quilting - it is an amazing piece of fabric, excellent quality, and more than I ever pay for fabric, but worth it now. The orange is supposed to be kinda melon, and I was thinking this quilt was toooo soft and wimpy (wimpy is NOT my style). And, the orangey melon has little stars that actually glow in the dark - I tried it out. THAT feature was too good to pass up. Yes, it kinda jumps out at you but I like it.

Fairy Rings are circles of growth, grass, or mushrooms that are found in more humid climates, often in yards. I was told that fairies had been on the lawn during the night, and had been playing, and the mushrooms were their little chairs, or maybe umbrellas. The "fairy rings" evolve from some kind of spore growth pattern. Meggie lives in Wisconsin where there is plenty moisture, so I'm sure she's seen these 'rings' in her yard.

Below - I like it laying in the snow. I'm never going to challenge Diane Gaudynski but I'm good enough!

Close up of quilting - this swoopy, leaf/heart pattern in the double inner border is/was the first pattern I learned to machine quilt on my DSM. If you outline it a second time, it has more 'heft.' The swoopy, twirling viney lines are great fillers, and you can bet a child will glom onto that pattern and follow it with her fingers, as she slips off into a nap. It goes in the mail!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Using Stash for Backing, and Round Robin

I used a lot of 'old' fabric for the back of this Fairy Quilt for Meggie (name at top). The back is more entertaining than the front! It feels good to make good use of the fabric and move it out of my space, and it's kinda cute also. I'll post the finished project tomorrow, when the sun is up.

Below is a Star Challenge, Round Robin I'm working on. My first brilliant efforts, after drawing, graphing, coloring, measuring were a total flop! This is 'owned' by Sharon, a talented young woman in our Guild, known for her excellent workmanship, and her love of batiks. I can't show any more than the first star - after today, it's a secret until June. OK, Elaine Adair, back to the drawing board!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Fairy Quilt, WIP -

What's not to love about that texture? It looks like snails trails, doesn't it? Totally in keeping with the "Fairy Ring" theme of this kaleidoscope.

This is for a great niece, Meggie. We just received their Annual Christmas Letter, along with photos, and by gosh, that little girl is growing too fast -- I had better get this project done and in the mail! Quilt dimensions are about 70 x 70 inches, and little Meggie WAS 3 1/2 when she asked for it last July!

Halleluja - don't have to cook tonight (leftovers, yum!) and I can work on this project several times today. I'm being careful to do exercises between short machine quilting periods.

(If you are wanting to learn to do MQ on your DSM, please give it a good try, and practice. Yes, it's a bit of a nuisance to layer and baste it, but that doesn't cost anything, and there is real pleasure in sitting down and turning a 'plain' quilt top into a lovely thing with your own machine.)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Weather Report from Western Nebraska

This is a Wyoming Department of Transportation CAM photo taken 12/24 west of my home, just barely into Wyoming - our weather here is about the same, but without the highways. Note - not much traffic. Look closely and you can see the gates which are closed when things get really BAD. I DID like the way the light shone in the background. Pretty! NO WAY am I going outside to take photos! These weather CAMs give us a great picture of serious conditions much better and more up-to-date report than the Weather Channel. It's about 5 degrees above zero, wind is blowing at 35-56 mph, but fortunately, we are not getting a LOT of snow with it. It's blowing to Eastern Nebraska or maybe Iowa. We are grateful for a wood supply, a warm home, plenty of food, and don't have to go anywhere! And tomorrow is MY day for quilting.

Stay warm and safe, folks.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Peanut Butter Cookie Preparations

Crud - notice anything strange?

You can see I'm getting ready to mix something. I took butter out of the freezer, and some out of the refrigerator and dumped them both on the counter, but grabbed the frozen ones and threw them in the mixing bowl. I turned the big mixer on, and wondered why it was making such an odd sound, but stupid me, I should have stopped. Too late!

I'm still not sure if I also ruined the mixer, the holes where the beaters snap into - afraid to look. This is a standing, heavy duty mixer. Probably much more expensive than what I paid a gazillion years ago. Duhhhh! Should I be cooking more often, or cooking less often? or not at all??? I WAS kinda stressed - can I use that excuse for my stupidity?

Well, the cookies are delicious - and I DID manage to mix them by hand.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Perking up

This morning was my first visit at the Chiropractor and tonight I feel like I've been run over by that Mack Truck! However, despite my physical discomfort now, I am already able to use my left arm better. Pinched nerves are not for sissies. I had been virtually unable to dress myself, for gosh sakes, without assistance. Do you know how difficult it is to put on undergarments by stepping into them? A bra does not always slip UP over hips!

It doesn't hurt that the Dr. is a most pleasant and handsome guy, and the office is here in town, within walking distance of our local quilt shop. My spirits are lifted - I needed THAT benefit, there is light at the end of a long tunnel, and it appears there are no surgeons in my immediate future. Wow, have we learned a LOT about medical procedure and how costs are escalated and .... it is a distressing lesson to see how (IMHO) once a person gets on the medical train, it's not easy to get OFF! And the unpleasantness between the medical profession vs. chiropractic is incredible. I tend to avoid doctors, and believe in a holistic approach to health.

On a quilt-y subject, tonight I cut up stash, kiddy fabric into 10 1/2 inch squares for the backing of my current kid quilt (Fairy Rings, previous post). So far, fabric IN is still more than fabric OUT. And Connecting Threads big sale did not help my Fabric Diet one bit!

No sympathy asked for, but my blog posts were sounding somewhat blah and thought I'd explain why.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Fairy Rings, in process

Wow - these photos are murky! They weren't murky in my photo! The quilt colors are much prettier in person!

Saturday I put the blocks together, after much moving them, rearranging, etc. The corners of the rings were too white so by adding quick corners of color (blue and lavender), it reduced the WHITE, and added to the pattern. Unfortunately, somehow, those fairy dickens moved some of the blocks around and 2 were sewn WRONG! Dang it!!! By morning, I had renewed energy and determination to unsew and resew them in the proper location.
This is the cutest fabric! There is leftover for the back also. It's directional, and after much stressing, I made the pattern more around the quilt (cut on the length of fabric). The top and bottom were already too wide to use just one piece on the width. Stress over! Hey, it took courage to CUT through all those sweet little fairies!

In this dry climate, many people are not familiar with the term " fairy rings" In moist climates, frequently in lawns, you see a circle of grass that has grown differently from the regular lawn. Or, you see a circle of mushrooms that presumably the fairies use as sitting stools, or umbrellas. The growth pattern has something to do with spores. Fairies and elves get confused, and sometimes fairies are good, other times evil. (Hey, I checked Wikipedia!) This quilt is going to a moist climate. It's big - about 68 inches square to a 3 1/2 yr. old great niece, who asked for "Fairies" and "Girly".

I have several rings that include a melon/orangey fabric that glows in the dark - looking (to me) like lightning bugs. I'll get to quilting it soon.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Jody's Quilt of Valor

This splendid quilt of Valor belongs to my friend Jody (Goddess). It's based on Quiltville's Carolina Crossroads. Jody makes quilts like nobodys business, in addition to a full-time job, and ranching and ...! (That's why I add "Goddess" after her name.) These are being sent to AliciaQuilts in Colorado, and then on to a hospitalized soldier wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan. These unfortunate young men and women did NOT ask to be hospitalized in addition to their military service. With these QOV quilts, they will know 'someone, out there' appreciates them.

Jody (no blog) machine quilts on a frame using a regular sewing machine. Look at this little squiggle with the stars -- too clever. The wide border is quilted with a variegated red/blue in a viney undulating pattern, free form. I honestly could NOT discern the blocks until Jody pointed them out to me.
The other best part is the backing - it's filled with a variety of U.S. historical motifs, from early history to current. Gorgeous - and she found the fabric at discount price!
Thanks, Jody, for being so generous with your talents, and for allowing me to show off your beautiful quilt.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

COLD ... MINUS 18 predicted

Our sexiest winter clothing here is long underwear, boots, sweatshirts, jeans, etc. We don't have GOOD hair days until spring! 8-)

Tonight's temperature predicted to be -18 degrees! Yes, MINUS 18 degrees! Scary. The worst of the snow/blizzard seems to be east of us. Poor Nebraskans ... We have about 6 inches of snow now and it's still coming down.

I don't remember the conversion so here is a chart for those of you who are used to Celsius.

Celsius Fahrenheit
-40.00 -40.00
-35.00 -31.00
-30.00 -22.00
-25.00 -13.00
-20.00 -4.00
-15.00 5.00
-10.00 14.00
-5.00 23.00
0.00 32.00
5.00 41.00
We're gonna need more firewood!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Days of our Lives ...

This is just ONE of my favorite books, by Evelyn Sloppy - pages are falling out of the binding. I went to Staples, figuring a new Spiral Binding would help, figuring cost might be $3-4.00. My word! I had to wait for/or return in 4 hours, to the tune of $6.57! I LOVE the spiral binding but the cost is prohibitive.

I needed a new cartridge for my very old, but trustworthy HP 4L printer. This printer is well over 15 years old - this would only be my 4th or 5th cartridge - it goes forever! Staples price = $137.00 - FOR THE INK CARTRIDGE. Huh???? I expected an increased price from the $29.99 I paid 5 years ago, but this was ridiculous! On-line I went, for a remanufactured one = $29.99, plus $5.00 for S & H, and it arrived in 3 days. So far, it works great.

My current Kaleidoscope quilt, "Fairy Rings" is coming along, but this strip set is really crooked! I'm ashamed to show my not-straight seams. And some of my 'rings' are too light, so I'm making more. This week I had a Dr. visit for a sore shoulder. x-rays showed nothing wrong with my shoulder, so he took an x-ray of my neck -- I need to get to the bottom of this issue. Obviously, Doc put the wrong x-ray on the viewing screen -- that poor decrepit person had a bizarre crook in her neck - OK, Doc, please show me mine! -- uhhh that IS mine??? - yeah, it's ME! No, I have no idea when this happened, but I've had a sore shoulder and aching neck for several years. No wonder! I thought it was from too much sewing or too much computer! So yesterday I had to face THIS procedure (below)! Yes, an MRI! Facing this piece of machinery is NOT for sissies. No, it doesn't hurt, but all one can think about is, "What if I Panic?" while I am in that tiny tube, held down, ??? what would I do if I DID panic? Yes, they gave me a Panic Button but only a wimpy woman would use it ... But one must lie perfectly still, and already my shoulder started aching. No fiddling, no moving or one must start over. By the time it was over (45 minutes, then 30 minutes), I was a shakey, quivering mass of jello. I slept 13 hours last night! Wonder what my blood pressure was during that procedure? Wonder what the next step will be?

BTW, thank you to my friend, Nancy, who offered to drive/hold my hand/give me emotional support while I faced this frightening procedure - You are MY hero. 8-) DH was a great comfort.

.. and a quiet prayer, "Stay safe, Carl, in Baghram."