Sunday, October 28, 2007

I wish THESE were MY creations!

A gal named Linda, from Ontario, Canada, not yet a blogger, sent these photos to me. What a gift for me, to open my mail and see this in my mailbox!!! I am honored and thrilled to have received her permission to post her photos here. Also, look how clever her borders are, where I presume she had seams, yet the method she used to artistically hide seams is wonderful! Her paragraph below refers mostly to the blue "Fishez" project, but she sent me other quilt photos as well.

"I just sent my pictures to you to let you know how much your beautiful blue string inspired me and, then, lifted a burden of how to use my "fishez" from Stargazey. I fell in love with this "fishez" pattern, but went overboard with the mixing of the blue background fabrics. They just did not work as an entire quilt top so I put them aside to live in a plastic bin for a while...........the very first time I saw your amazing blue string I thought they could work. And, if you will notice, I tried to copy closely your wonderful blue strings with the reds and greens since I felt they were like the deep/shallow, warm/cool areas you can feel in a lake..........

My name is Linda. I live in Southern Ontario, Canada. I am a blog surfer and have been very inspired by string quilts. I am limited by the number I can finish since I hand quilt....... finding out about "all over fan" quilting has made work so much easier.

I am not concerned at all if you include my pictures-----credit or none. I have a life goal to make a quilt for each of my four married children and their spouses plus my husband! Two down. This fish and strings will be number 3. That will keep me busy for a few years!

I had a dream to make a quilt for a fund raiser and thought I could quickly manage a string. The dark was my first. Then I made the two pink ones. We had two girls staying with us for 6 weeks from the Chernobyl region of Belarus for a health rest.........from the effects of the nuclear meltdown in the 80's. It is suggested the land is still very contaminated. I wanted to make them each a quilt. I am an impatient quilter who gets bored easily, so strings suit my style these days. I have been totally inspired by you, Bonnie and Mary and the possibilities that strings hold out for colour experiments.

Thank you Elaine for your sharing of your work which has allowed me to grow in my hobby............ Linda"

This last photo is my own original blue string quilt, (donation) that many of you have seen before. THIS PARTICULAR CORRESPONDENCE, ENTHUSIASM, ENERGY, AND INSPIRATION IS CLEARLY WHAT I HOPE TO ACHIEVE WITH MY BLOG. I dearly love the creative and frugal process of using humble strings, and especially LOVE the excitement and thrill when they morph into something unexpected AND beautiful.

Not a pretty sight!

Too much sewing - not enough jus-plain-keepin' house!

When the drip tray the stove burner element actually spews flames, and you're thinking of the options "Shall I USE the fire extinguisher, is this flame big enough, shall I let it burn itself out," it's time to do some cleaning!

Some of you might be feeling a teensy bit smug right now, knowing that this has not YET happened to you or you are thinking "my gosh, someone is a worse housekeeper than I." I have definitely been avoiding some unpleasant cleaning must-do's!

Sooooo, 2 hours BEFORE leaving for Quilt Retreat, I attacked the job and even made a rush drive to buy oven cleaner.

And hour and a half later, it's DONE, CLEAN, and still had time to gather up my stuff before Quilt Retreat!!! Yeah - life is good!

Friday, October 19, 2007

A version of "Star Struck", and Virus Protection

Once again, I've returned to Bonnie Hunter's blog and started one of her inspirational projects - this time it's "Star Struck." I had a special purchase of all light shirtings, and my pile/stash of blues was threatening to break the drawer, so here goes another project.

I cringe when I hear bloggers apologize for their less-than-perfect photo quality of their photos, but I am going to apologize for MY photo quality. The colors are much prettier (getting dark, wintry-looking here). And I'm not sure if I will stay with this layout - it's just a beginning. At first, all the blues were mixed up, but it was too chaotic, so used the same blue in each star to calm it somewhat.

And YES, I saved all the trimmings from my Quick Corners - they will finish at 1 inch after neatly trimming them up. There will be more.

This is a very forgiving pattern. I am not a fussy sewist, so I was worried those points and matching seams would be tedious, but they are turning out quite precise and the busy fabrics (ah hem) help to hide my faults.

Now, next subject. Just a teensy bit unhappy, agitated, aggravated, etc. I had to purchase a new Anti-Virus Program - no problem, the year had elapsed, it was time. I liked the old version and tried to download the newest version at a $10 savings over the computer store. NO WAY JOSE! No cooperation, no help, nada, nyet. (Self doubts of "I am probably not smart enough to figure it out!"). It was Saturday night - can't go out shopping tonight, nor tomorrow. I did NOT use the computer all Sunday! My word -- such withdrawal pains!

Monday AM, bright and early, purchased the newer version from my local computer shop. Loaded just fine - shut down to reboot and turned this baby back on. Sitting, waiting, wondering, (on DSL) watching the clock - is it working? what's wrong? I've ruined it - 10-12 minutes later it actually was loaded up and ready to USE. I was convinced it was me, my mistake, I messed up, etc. - you know how women blame themselves first! Tried one thing after another, shut down again, (I KNOW I followed instructions!) removed extra programs, ran a scan, defrag, etc. No improvement. Wasted at least 4-6 hours in the process! Still, 10-12 MINUTES TO GET THIS COMPUTER GOING!!!

Checked the internet for "Slow loading XXXXXXXXXX Virus Protection" and apparently everyone in the whole world has the same complaint! Hooray, it's not just me! That's just the way it is.

I will alter my morning activity, trudge downstairs to the cold computer area to turn this baby on 10-12 minutes before I want to actually USE it. Next year I will NOT purchase that program again.

Quilt Guild tomorrow, and retreat NEXT weekend! Happy Day!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Slow and Steady Progress

I am hand quilting this Rocky Road to Kansas. It always takes a while to get in stride when hand quilting, if you've not hand quilted for a while. When assembling the blocks, I used a little bit of spray starch - that always makes the blocks look so neat, but now, after the fact, I think it is causing me problems - it is difficult to needle -- not just the older fabric, but also the background. Live and learn. Fortunately, the fabric is so busy, the stitches don't show much.

After marking the white, I gasped as I remembered I had not tested the blue marker for disappearance, but it DID slowly disappear in one day.

Here is a blurry photo, of the finished area. The heart quilting templates are home made - good old folding paper method. I'm going to like it.

Monday, October 08, 2007

A Real Log Cabin in the Wilderness

This is the REAL log cabin where we stayed recently, in the Black Hills of South Dakota. This was an amazing Bed and Breakfast. Remote, totally out in the wilderness, wildlife (deer, turkey) everywhere, gorgeous fall colors! Did we ever luck out! The breakfasts were incredible, and brought to us in a 4-wheeler, as our cabin was not easy to reach. The old dog who lived there, knew the trails and took us for walks who-knows-where. I felt like Timmie, from the old Lassie TV programs -- "Just follow the dog - she knows the way!" While the cabin looks antiquated, it WAS very comfy inside -- just big enough for 2, but lacking nothing we needed. You should have seen the view from the bathtub!

The below photo is of Mr. Ole Goat on the front porch, where he spent most of his time, enjoying the view.

This is Ms. Old Goat on the front porch, where she spent most of HER time, enjoying the view, and sometimes sewing those Little Angel Girl stitcheries recently posted. It was a little brisk!

This is one view.

And this is the view from the front porch.

And this a photo I just liked - I felt healthy, slim and tall (I'm NOT slim) -- like the pine trees -- taken along Lake Sheridan, in the same area.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

We Have a Winner!!!!

And the winnner is - ta-ta-ta-taaa-ta-ta--taaaaaaaaaa!!!!!

Darlene at

Congratulations Darlene - I'll be watching to see what you do with them!

I wanted to 'do' this little give-away quickly, so I could (mentally) get on with the next project - that's why I picked the FIRST response! Just seemed those fabrics HAD to be used, in honor of some little ole lady quilter of long ago, (hmmm - looking in the mirror at THIS almost little ole lady), who loved fabric then as much as we love it today.

THANK YOU for all the responses - 21 by 9:30 Sunday morning! A few of you said YOU wanted them, but "NOOOOO -- too many projects already"! LOL

I'm quilting MY project with these fabrics and find some are very tightly woven, and it takes a little extra effort to needle them. Therefore, I use a bar of soap (still in the wrapper) to 'park' my needle, and also keep a sheet of fabric softener handy to run my quilting thread through.

Happy Fall Day!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Hand Quilting, AND for a limited time only, a Special Offer for ONE Lucky Winner!!!

Before I talk about a Special Offer for ONE Lucky Winner, I thought I would show you my finished top, Rocky Road to Kansas, ready for hand quilting. (ha, ha, notice my clever method to draw you into my spiel ...)

My original plan for the border was to use more wedges, interspersed with light background, but no matter how I fiddled, the wedges for the border just didn’t ‘do.’ So I have a LOT left over. The block center fabrics of blue and pink, were purchased reproductions, because I wanted some consistency. As it turned out, there is one humility block – not on purpose. The two border fabrics are purchased reproductions. The blocks are 12 inches, and this quilt is about 60 x 72 inches. This closer-up shot is representative of all the fabric. Most is light, with a few darker blues thrown in.

The first two photos show up a little brighter than the original - I was fooling around with "Enhance" or "Scene Balance" or some option that caught my unfocused mind.

This is the book/pattern I used, and you will see the price tag of this huge, wood hoop I found yesterday at a church Rummage Sale, for 10 cents! What a bargain! I have another oval hoop, smaller, so I’ll have to see which works best.

I used pins and basting spray to sandwich this quilt. Yeppers, on the floor, butt up in the air, groaning and moaning the whole time, listening to my knees pop and crack, hair in the eyes, heart probably palpitating excessively, covering my carpet with newspapers to protect from overspray – there has to be a better way for an older, uhhhh, seasoned body. I pinned here and there, then pulled it to my sewing table, where I could at least finish the job standing up.

Now, the Special Offer for ONE Lucky Winner ...

This particular pattern takes 80 stringed wedges, and as I said, I made a LOT, planning to use them in the border. So, I have 80 left over, plus a few more, that I am willing to GIVE AWAY. They are sewn onto a foundation of telephone book pages, which is still ON, and are now trimmed correctly. This paper comes off very easily. My photos (below) are a little murky - the fabric is clean and bright, never used as far as I can tell. A previous posting explains my too complicated approach to sewing the block, which was MUCH easier if I had just followed the directions.

What YOU will need is :
1) access to the pattern, Egg Money Quilts by Eleanor Burns - the heavy cardstock templates are in there and it’s a great book! Plus you can check my trimming of the templates for your own piece of mind.
2) fabric for the centers
3) background fabric
4) you must promise to ‘eventually’ SEW it into a quilt, (no time limit expressed or implied) and hopefully, show it to all us bloggers!

I will mail them to the first person whose e-mail I receive, SPECIFICALLY ASKING FOR THE WEDGES. Of course, please give me your name, address in that e-mail.

But WAIT, if you act right now, I will include, absolutely FREE, MORE left-over vintage fabric - you won’t know what it looks like until it arrives. (Lemme tell you, there isn’t a lot...)

I never held a One-Year blogaversary, nor a 100th Post Anniversary, so this is MY version of a freebie! Good luck to someone!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

U R 2 Cute 2 B 4 got 10

DH and I spent a few days in the Black Hills in a cabin - both of us LOVE the serenity, but then I DO begin to suffer withdrawal pains from not sewing, so decided to bring along some embroidery. This is what developed! Aren't they cute?

These designs came as a gift from Norway, May Britt, -they are like nothing I've seen here in the U.S. Thank you again, so very much, May Britt! I've loved looking at her sweet embroideries. Even my DH practically giggles when he sees them - they are so happy and cheerful.

I haven't done embroidery since I was 10 years old, but with designs as delightful as these, I couldn't resist any longer! I backed the cotton with batting, and that hid the knots well - my backs are not as neat as the front. Also, the fabric is just slightly tea-stained. What do do with them? Not sure, but I want to make more. Maybe 12 will be needed for a little girls quilt.