Sunday, July 29, 2007

A Little Irish Chain

I'm over my funk for now. The issues from several days ago are still with me, I'll do what I can on my level. Annie, from suggested I go shopping, which I did, and that put me back in a better humor. Thanks Annie! worked great! The other suggestion from several of you was to turn off the TV. I've been more and more successful at that over the years.

This is a little quilt (41 x 41 inches) I am making for my friends quilt class she is presenting to the quilt guild. She and I tried to settle on one colorway, but failed to agree on just one. In the end, she chose her colors and since I liked this brown and pink colorway, she suggested I make one also. I added the rounded posies since everything was so angular. The pink has a bit of blue in it, hence the cobalt blue posies. The border will be scalloped, adding more curves, using bias binding made of the same brown as that used in the chain. I'm still not sure if I should add an appliqued vine or ribbon. I'm doing the fusible interfacing method, but ran out of fusible. Oh too bad, back to the LQS tomorrow -- gee what a shame! LOL Not sure yet about working a hand buttonhole stitch or machine, but one or the other is planned.

This is NOT a hard quilt - I was surprised at how quickly it came together. What a great scrap quilt this would make!

I feel a quilt comin' on!

How can I resist this glorious color, which is just a weed! Today, I saw an entire field planted in sunflowers, but they are not all blooming yet.

I have often remarked about our BIG sky here in Nebraska (as well as Montana) -- it is so blue - never hazy or polluted, and there are no obstructions to the view. When that sky is so immense, so blue, and the sunflowers will soon be soooo yellow, all facing the sun, let me tell you, I believe God is up there feeling pretty smug with that accomplishment! I hope I have the opportunity to catch that color. It just BEGS to be a quilt!

These sunflowers are all over the sides of the gravel roads. If you aren't familiar with sunflowers, they are not a very nice flower. The stalks are all prickly, they are usually covered in ants, and other unattractive features, but the worst part is that when you cut them, the sap is extremely sticky and not easy to remove from your fingers. However, the color was worth it!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Scarcasm and Skepticism (NOT quilt related!)

(This is why I spend time quilting ... instead of dwelling on some of these issues. Stop now, and don’t read further if you don’t want to hear my rantings ...)

What will happen to all of you Bloggers if/when Google, or whoever your Blogger Controller is, decides to charge us for this lovely activity?

Why can I not believe one single piece of rhetoric a politician, or CEO, or high-level businessperson/manager might say?

How can people who earn gazillions dollars talk about saving the planet and claim they want to work on reducing greenhouse gases and solve poverty issues, when they live in a home that requires a ‘staff’, that could house a small town, and feed a small nation?

How can a Congressman who will have a very generous pension for the rest of his life REALLY respond to health care issues for the ‘rest’ of us, like the outrageous and exhorbitant high cost of medical care?

What IS the truth?

Why don’t we hear about the medical/pharmaceutical lobbyists and how much they influence the daily lives of the health care issues of the ‘regular’ citizens?

When are we going to tell the TV news agencies that we don’t believe the importance of much of what they talk about? Do you care that a Hollywood so and so, spent a night in jail, or got arrested for ... whatever? Does the entire nation need to think about that?

Why are we pumping gazillions of dollars in security for our schools, and other places, etc., when we don’t pump one dollar into helping these poor confused and sad people BEFORE they go off the deep end, emotionally?

Why is it, that if you try to actually HELP a person who is in sad emotional state, you can practically get arrested!

When you see someone who is definitely in emotional trouble, why is there NO ONE who can help?

Do you think our thoughts are really our own, or are we being led, like sheep, down a garden path by the media?

When will we all get together and insist that some things are just too much to put up with any longer? Would that be RUDE? Do I care that sometimes I HAVE to be rude to take a stand on an issue? Have we gotten so complacent with our freedom and comfort that we don’t remember how to make changes?

Sunday, July 22, 2007

ANOTHER Off-Kilter Log Cabin, and a Great Book

ANOTHER off-kilter, scrappy log cabin - it started with a 'just gotta sew' day, in a futile effort to use up scraps. It became MUCH larger than I expected (72 x 92 inches), but I was wanting to try out that border to 'see what happens!' I kind of like it! And must admit the idea came from a book by Margaret Miller. This one is now on the waiting list for quilting, in my closet. When I started, I had not planned a border, and then had to be creative in the center of each border. Hey, it all adds to the "hmmm, it's interesting" factor!

I publish my quilt guild newsletter and from time to time add my own suggestions or ideas, or blocks. I printed 4 of these border blocks in the newsletter hoping someone would gain from the suggestion but ended up using it myself. Yeah, enthusiasm often gets me overloaded! This simple border block can be so creative, depending on how it's used, and the values. You might want to give it a try. This particular block is 8 inches and consists of only 2 half square triangles and 2 four patches. I was careful to use the same light background, the diagonals in the four patches were always mediums and lights and the half square triangles were always darks and lights. I think a person could float one of the edge darks into the quilt for a REALLY clever border!

This book (below) was a pleasant impulsive purchase from my LQS ($22.95). What I liked at first was that it is small (less than 6 x 8, but fat), but the "1000 Great Quilt Designs" didn't hurt either. Amazingly, it's from Readers Digest and is a WEALTH of ideas.

It is written by a quilter/graphic artist and I am overloaded with all her ideas. This is NOT a details book about how to quilt, although there is good info included. Also, you don't have to be a quilter to appreciate all the designs. If you are searching for an idea, you WILL find one here. I tend not to read the parts about enlarging, transfering, etc., but they are included. If I had anything negative to say, it's that it is printed small, and the lettering is not very bold, but then I also need new glasses, so give that some consideration if your vision needs improving. (I tried to find if there is a Large Print version but was not successful.) Even so, the drawings are wonderful. IMHO, the reader would need some quilting knowledge other than just this book.

Happy quilting from Nebraska, where it's been 100 degrees for the last few days and for at least another week!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Just to smile ...

Fons and Porter TV show mentioned "Hypoteneuse" and I had to think a bit to remember what it actually meant. Then, using my brain that explodes in all directions, THAT word got me to remembering this silly joke. (Absolutely NO disrespect meant to any folks!) Enjoy.

There were three Indian squaws. One slept on a deerskin, one slept on an elk skin, and the third slept on a hippopotamus skin. All three became pregnant and the first two each had a baby boy. The one who slept on the hippopotamus skin had twin boys.

This goes to prove that the squaw of the hippopotamus is equal to the sons of the squaws of the other two hides.

Definitions: The side opposite the right angle in a right triangle is called the hypoteneuse. (This term applies only to right triangles.) The two other sides (those forming the right angle) are called legs. Often the legs are labeled a and b and the hypoteneuse is labeled c. Usually the angles opposite the sides of a triangle have the same letters, but capitalized: A, B, and C.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Quilt Show is Over

I didn't come home empty handed and was very happy to receive a Second Place! (Full photo is in my previous post.) It takes courage to enter our quilts, and yes, we all compete against ourselves. Color, subject matter, technique, skills are all so subjective. Mostly, you have to have something that has impact and eye appeal - at least that's what I've noticed. Skills were not particularly noticed, because the public is not aware of how we do what we do. We stand quietly and listen to what folks say. A friend said she can tell which quilts are mine. That was a lovely compliment. I was in a good mood driving home.

Here is First Place (below) in the same category as mine above - an amazing Sunbonnet Sue through the Seasons, by Ruth. She does incredible work, and Sunbonnet Sue is forever popular. She also said she wouldn't do another one! "It was a lot of work." The quilt show was a Viewer's Choice. It was 98 degrees outside and not too much cooler inside, but we still had a great time.

Our Theme was "Diamonds." Here is the First Place in the Challenge Category. She used diamonds in her background. Sharon is an amazing quilter and comes from a family of quilters. She gets together with Mom and sisters for a yearly "Quilt-a-thon" and our quilt guild is blessed to see their new creations. This creation is totally encrusted with beads - gorgeous. She said she took a class by beading expert Nancy Eha. This is very small and simply stunning. No other entry (especially mine!) came close.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Quilt Show Entry - Star in the Forest

This is my second entry which is also Diamonds, although it's purely coincidental that it actually matches the Quilt Show Theme.

It IS square - just held crooked. It's about 62 inches by 62 inches. The orange paper label says "This corner is the bottom."

I've been working on this for about 6 months, and am extremely happy with it. It is paper pieced, and I used many of my forest-y scraps. It is loosely based on many bicycle trips I made in the Smoky Mountains, years ago. I did the machine quilting on my DSM. Each of the 8 star segments is machine quilted in a different pattern, kinda sketchy in style. There are vines, mushrooms, and grasses quilted free-form in the side diamonds, many deer in the border, and a variety of oak leaves quilted in the corner borders. I used a variegated thread for the star and the deer, and a solid dark thread for the border leaves. The deer show up very well. There is a little bear hidden in among small diamonds. The backing is a busy fern-y melon color and hides my machine quilting where needed.

The quilt show is this weekend, and is a Viewers Choice. There are some amazing quilters in this area!

Quilt Show Entry - Challenge Quilt

Our quilt show theme was "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend." I thought about where diamonds are mined - Botswana, South Africa, but her 'treasures' also include wonderful forests, landscapes, wildlife, etc, as well as diamond mines. The corners of this little quilt include a quilted sable antelope, a baobab tree, a lion, and a wild dog pup.

The center of the quilt has added texture of 'horn' buttons, tied with heavy threads, beads and jute. The horn elephant button in the center covers my PERFECTLY sewn center.

There are also 'diamonds' hidden in the seams (silver metallic thread) and a few crystals sewn in various locations.

I LOVE the label, with the 'tooth' and beads.


As bloggers, we sometimes wonder where our footsteps land, who reads our posts, who appreciates our photos and projects. Let me assure you, those photos showing YOUR neatly cleaned and organized closets and sewing rooms have given me an incentive to attack my sewing closet.
I knew the project would result in a LOT of guilt, and that I would unearth long forgotten ‘things,’ and let’s not talk about all the orphan blocks I found and added to my collection, now TWO tubs full.

The closet has been almost unusable, because of my bad habit of throwing stuff in it, and quickly closing the door. Also, I tend to use much-loved baskets for storage, but they don’t stack well.

All things in life are good AND bad, depending on ... whatever. The good part about a cleaned closet is that it clears the mind, removes the guilt, spurs a person’s energy. But the BAD part – unless I live to be 125 and remain in excellent health, and do not purchase any more fabric, I realize I will never accomplish all my quilt-y goals. Oh, and by the way, this is just the closet, not the ROOM, nor the room next to my sewing room. And you might just see more mess to the right of the photo - still working! And, I might add, to the LEFT in the photo is where my DH stacks his wood for his projects. We share a SMALL room, but manage OK.

But, another good thing is that I was able to ‘fess up’ to my DH that I had a new sewing machine buried – uhhhhhh OK, it was hidden in that closet, a Janome Platinum, purchased about 2 months ago. It was a kinda joke – “Hey, you’ll never guess what I found!” “Is this a Christmas present – for me?” – all sweetness and sugar-y. It weighs just 12 pounds, and does almost anything you could want in a big machine. I plan to carry it with me on a plane and make a quilt while I’m visiting. (Honestly, some people don’t actually HAVE a sewing machine in their home - OMGosh!). The little Platinum is in the blue case, next to my Viking machine. My Janome 6500 is to the right of the photo, the one I now use a LOT.

There are 4-5 quilt tops on the left, along with about 40 real silk ties -- another quilt project. The drawers hold other projects and I was smart enough to put stuff in CLEAR boxes and drawers.

I feel so relieved!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Orphan, or Puzzle Quilt

Several years ago, our Guild Membership gal asked for donations of extra blocks that we were not planning to use, to be given as door prizes. Well, I had extra blocks, and I was eager to participate in this worthy endeavor!

I opened up my tub of extra blocks, and the first one on top was ....uhh .. well, I decided to keep that one, it was made years ago while I was just learning to quilt from Georgia Bonesteel on PBS TV programs. How I loved that program and ohhhh dear, it brought back tears and memories. OK, so I won’t give that one away, and flipped it behind me on the floor, Eleanor Burns style. Next one came out .... well it has those cute little bunnies of that quilt I made for my little niece .. . throw over the shoulder to the floor, again. The next one, oh yes, that’s where I learned to string piece – I’ll keep that one and flipped it behind me to the floor.

Need I go any farther? I couldn’t choose even ONE block for a donation – every one of them had some really great reason NOT to give it away, and they covered 25 years of collections, brave starts, practice, less than perfect construction, and the ole familiar, "Some day, I’ll make that into a quilt."

And behind me on the floor - what did I see? You betcha (a Nebraska phrase) – those blocks had mysteriously practically arranged themselves in a setting, even though not one matched any other – except for the common theme, they were MINE! Yep, another quilt to make!

This has now become a puzzle quilt, as I think it’s called , and begs me to finish it. I’ve bordered each block, added sashing between, and created only a couple extra blocks (flowers) to make a very personal quilt that I am enormously fond of. You can date the blocks by the type fabric. Arranging the blocks is where I learned about reading left to right – it wasn’t easy to decide a balanced placement since they were all so different. See the words in the center? That’s a made-up word between me and my DH, meaning something like “A special space representing Peace and Patience” ... Note how jarringly wiggly, crooked and jumbled it’s laid out!

The flower is my favorite, with the crazy patch centers.

This queen-sized top is currently a UFO, awaiting inspiration for some type of border to calm it down. Those 2 blocks? False starts for the border – too busy, I think. However, since I last looked at it over a year ago, the problem of “What kind of border?” is less unclear.

If you have any ideas, I’d love to hear them. The length is almost finished, but I need the width of at least 12 inches on each side to fit on a queen bed.