Friday, October 28, 2011

followup: business card holder

This is the pattern for the little business card holders I made.  No wonder I couldn't find it online when I googled because it's really called "Little Wallet" by Valorie Wells.  You can buy one online here - this pattern is about halfway down but there are so many other little delightful patterns by her that it's worth taking a look at them all.

The other day, the Ghastlies fabric I ordered arrived - with a huge bonus.  First of all, I wanted a selection of the fabric so I was searching all sorts of online places to get a variety.  I wanted both the original "Ghastlies" scene and the "Ghastly Night" dinner party scene that I pictured in my earlier post, along with some coordinates.  Most of the stores I found were out of some or another, but I found a vendor on a storefront called Artfire who was advertising everything that I wanted, at some really good prices ($5.50/yard for some).  So I placed an order, paid, received confirmation, and waited.  When it arrived, I found that I got only about two yards - not four - of the Ghastly Night in green that I'd ordered, but like EIGHT YARDS of the same print in the mauve background, which I hadn't ordered at all.  I emailed the seller to be sure it wasn't a mistake and she confirmed that she was out of the green but the mauve was end of bolt and she thought I might be able to use it since she wasn't going to carry Ghastly fabrics any longer.  Absolutely I can use it!  Now instead of making just a quilt, I can make all sorts of Ghastly Ghear like I've been seeing in the blog hop.

However, it's going to have to wait since this weekend I am headed up to visit with my son, and on Sunday I will get home in time to go to my Honey's sister's house for his family birthday celebration they put on hold for me.  I'm not even taking any handwork with me so I hope I don't get all antsy thinking of the sewing piling up without me.  I WILL be going to Jo-Ann Fabrics at lunch today to use the 30% off entire purchase card I got during my shopping last week and stock up on some basic fabrics, as well as some coordinates to go with the Ghastly project.  Maybe I'll see a pattern or two that will be perfect for all that bonus yardage.

We're supposed to see some snow in the Mid-Atlantic area this weekend ... a stark change from these sunny days in the 70's we've been having.  Stay warm and enjoy your weekend, wherever you are.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

two to quilt

These two quilt tops (the one on the right including a double border not shown) were delivered to my longarm quilter, Laura at Star City Stitchery, today.  She helped me pick out patterns and thread color.  I've mentioned it before, but one of the things I love about her business is that when she's working on my quilt, she lets me know and I can watch on the quilt cam.  If you click on it now you see the Block of the Month sampler quilt for The Crooked Stitch.  It was on the machine when I went there today.

I warned her that I've got two more quilt tops headed her way before the end of the year.  One is the Christmas one I'm working on and one is the Ghastlies one that I'll be making as soon as I get the fabric.  It will have some pretty large sized blocks because of the scale of the fabric so it should go together quickly.

I'm having kind of a rough week - it's so hard to tell when I'm PMSing now since the hysterectomy since looking at the calendar doesn't help! - and each time I read a post about a quilter's retreat or the friendships a lot of quilters have found through things like Sewing Summit or other quilt events, I get envious.  Yes, I have the quilt guild, and one friend I met there, even though our ages are about 25 years apart.  But honestly, one of the reasons I sewed all week and all weekend is that I didn't have much else to do.  Yes, I turned down an invitation from my Honey's sister to join her and her husband for a wine festival, and I am grateful to have been invited.  But I really wish I had friends to sew with or go grab a beer with or go shopping with.  I don't even have family anymore, beyond my dad and my son and the people in my Honey's family who have so kindly (and so recently) accepted me.  Some of the bloggers I read talk about time spent with sisters or their mom and that's just not really an option for me.  Family is forever ... until they pass away.  Still, I've always been somewhat of a loner, and haven't picked up many new girlfriends since my divorce.  Work is exhausting and when I get home at night - and it's as dark as when I left in the morning - I'm grateful I don't have to go back out anywhere to put on my social face, and can just wriggle into sweats and spend some quality time at Old Sally until my Honey gets home.

Still, life would be cool if it had options.  Maybe one day.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

business card holders

Last night's football game was horrible, but at least I got some handwork finished, including four Christmas presents. 

A few years ago, my mother passed along to me a copy paper box stuffed full of raw silk remnants in every color imaginable.  I used them to whip up a few of these business card holders as Christmas gifts in 2009.  It was time to make some more this year.

I can't remember who made the pattern but I bought it in a quilt shop and made some cardboard templates that make it easy for me to cut and piece en masse.  While not a lot of people carry around business cards all the time anymore (although that's my Honey's card peeking out of the one in the top right), I thought it would also be perfect for all those "reward punch cards" we get at quilt stores or lunch places that are bulging in my own wallet.  Everyone nowadays wants to give you some kind of loyalty card but if it doesn't fit on the keyring, what do you do with it?  This is the perfect place to keep them.
I made two for my Honey's sisters - their mother passed away last year and that embroidered slate blue silk on the bottom left came from her stash; the other is the open one and also has the embroidered silk on the outside.  The other two go to colleagues.  The grey one has a bright yellow middle pocket and the other is in Virginia Tech colors - burgundy and orange - and both have a pretty little thing sewn on the outside for visual interest, a finding from the jewelry aisle at Jo-Ann's.

I might slip a gift card into each one of them before presenting.  I'm not quite sure yet.  But at least these are four gifts to be checked off the list.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday again

My Honey got home around 6:30 last night and I was almost done with my sewing to-do list by that time, even though I turned down an invitation to go to a wine festival with his sister and BIL to make that deadline.  I posted pics several times from my phone throughout the weekend.  I mailed off five 4Patches4Hope blocks on Saturday.  I finished Kaleidoscope Saturday morning - and thanks for the comment, Karen - more on comments below - and will probably drop it and Jelly Girl to my longarm quilter today.  I started a new project I'm going to call, "Ready, Set, Star!" - a combination of the "Ready Set Snow!" fabrics and the Lone Starburst pattern from Kimberly Einmo's new book, "Jelly Roll Quilt Magic."  I have all my star segments pieced and it was a practice of trial and error to get the points to match nicely, but the no-set-in-seams background is a breeze!  I could easily have worked on this project all weekend long but I did just little bits of it in between "must do" projects like Christmas gifts and the applique demo I'll be doing at my guild in two weeks - I want to have one finished block and one in progress for that evening. I cut more fabric for Dark Star and pieced one more block.  But I stayed up til around 3 AM both nights in order to get as much done as I intended and am yawning this morning.  Tonight won't be early either since the Ravens play Monday Night Football and I will tune in for the game.  But I have a whole pile of handwork that needs to be done which is leftover from the weekend's efforts, and will post more pics afterwards.

I also have "Ghastlies" fabric arriving in the mail, hopefully this week - and just today discovered a "Ghastlies" blog hop happening this week.  Check it out - maybe there will be some inspiration!

As for comments - I am grateful whenever I get them.  I wish Blogger was easier about letting me make comments to my own blog than it is - whenever I try to leave a comment on my own blog, Blogger tells me that I do not have permission, and I have to log out and log back in.  Every time.  But I know, from reading so many quilt blogs myself in Google Reader every day how special it is to have someone actually make the effort to leave a comment. So if I don't reply to your comment, or if you don't see a public response to a comment left for me, please don't take it personally.  I may just get around to it yet.  And I really hope Blogger fixes that glitch with the login soon!

Everyone have a great week!  My Honey is home all week so I don't know how much sewing I'll get done, but I hope I work a little bit before headed off to see my son this weekend.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Next on deck

Here is a sneak peek at the project I've been resisting pouring myself into - Kimberly Einmo's Lone Starburst from her newest book, using Ready, Set, Snow! fabrics. I am really trying to pace myself and get through all my "must-do's". I have a few more guilty projects I want to work on but the timetable of Christmas presents calls.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Friday, October 21, 2011

First order of business

My first five blocks for 4patches4hope. One for each loved one lost to cancer and one extra for a friend who survived leukemia (orange). There will be more, but these go with a $20 donation to the American Cancer Society.
And I didn't work out ... next week!

a little bit done

I skipped out on exercising yesterday - I'll do it today after work, I swear - and headed home to get into comfy clothes and start sewing.  I puttered around my sewing room, not doing a whole lot.  Every time I looked at my list it seemed that everything required either cutting or hand work ... nothing was ready to be sewn.  So I did some straightening up.  You know, you may think I totally flaked on the Farmers Wife Quilt-A-Long because I haven't even mentioned it since July ... but I haven't.  First, my aunt died, and then the kids came, and then I started focusing on Christmas project timetables.  But the fabrics sat in my big basket next to the cutting table, then at some point were dumped on the hearth to make room.  So I sat down and organized them last night so that they would be ready when I had more time again, maybe in January.
That little woven rag rope basket is one of the things I "inherited" from my Honey's ex by moving into a house that she had vacated.  I love its versatility in my sewing room.  It's just the right size and has held so many different parts of projects as they've been in progress.  Sometimes it's the unexpected things that make you happy.

After doing some straightening, I went up to the TV room to watch Eat Pray Love as I sewed some more of the bias strip onto Kaleidoscope.  Being 41 and having gone through my own midlife crisis awakening, I could relate to the story, but it did remind me a lot of Under the Tuscan Sun with Diane Lane.  I enjoyed it nonetheless.  And the bias strip is about half on the quilt, so another movie or two should finish it.

Work has been slow this week so I finished the October Fab ShopHop.  In doing so, I came across a great little Halloween fabric line by Alexander Henry called The Ghastlies.  I realize that I'm a little late to the party here, since the Ghastlies is in its second printing already.  I began wracking my brain to figure out a way to use these fabrics, which have a pretty large scale scene, and then bought some today.

 Aren't they just adorable?  Apparently the table on the left is 12.5" wide, and the tallest witch on the right is 10" tall.  So I've got to design something that uses them well.  One will be backing fabric.  The other I'll cut in 12" blocks and alternate with pieced blocks.  They remind me so much of Edward Gorey's art, which my Honey just loves: 
Speaking of my Honey, one reason he's a Halloween adorer is that his birthday is next week.  I've been trying to brainstorm what to get him, but what do you give a man who has everything?  I'm going to have to do a little shopping while he's away with his girls this weekend and see what I can find him.

For now, I'm headed out for a sushi lunch with a colleague.  It's the first time all week I've left the office for lunch and it's sorely needed.  Plus, I'm famished!  I can't believe that I never had sushi up until about a year ago ... what did I spend so many years missing!?

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Well, I didn't get the evening I wanted yesterday.  My boss had a big last-minute project and I ended up staying at the office working on it til 8 PM - she was here until after ten - so I didn't work out, I picked up fast food, and went home to eat in front of the TV.  I did do a little hand sewing on the border for Kaleidoscope, but really only have a quarter of it done.  I was ready for bed by 10 or so.  So maybe tonight.

In reading this morning's blog feeds, though, I learned from SewCalGal about a project called 4Patches4Hope which consists of making light/dark 4 1/2" four patch blocks along with a $4 donation for each to the American Cancer Society.  It really can't get any easier, since those are 2 1/2" squares making each corner, the same size as a jelly roll, and goodness knows I have a whole drawer full of 2 1/2" strips waiting for inspiration.  Regina Arlauckas, who initiated this project, has a goal of 1,000 blocks and $4,000 by February 28, 2012.  There is also a PDF you can download from her site that gives everything you need to know about the project on one handy-dandy page, including cancer awareness colors you might want to incorporate into your block(s).

Now I have to say that as of a few years ago, I really didn't know anyone who had had cancer.  We're smack in the middle of breast cancer awareness month and I still don't know anyone who has had breast cancer.  But over the last several years I lost my Aunt Joan to brain cancer, my Honey's mom to esophageal cancer, my childhood friend Soo to ovarian cancer, and my aunt Maryalice to metastasized melanoma.  So I will be making several blocks that memorialize them in the colors representing the cancers that took them:  gray, light blue, teal and black, respectively.   The blocks themselves will be made into comfort quilts for cancer patients.

We are all, so often, asked to do and give so much.  But $4, one little four-patch block made from some jelly roll scraps, and a first class stamp is is not a lot for any quilter to manage.  Do what you can, but please, consider doing something.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

cat house is finished!

Okay, readers, PLEASE, the next time I post a photo of some store-bought pattern - Butterick, Simplicity, McCall's packets full of folded tissue paper and directions in 17 languages - that I'm all excited about, remind me that I HATE making things from patterns, okay?  I was cursing this dratted thing all last night.  But it is finished.
There is a thing on the bottom side that still makes no sense to me.  You can kind of see it in the front there.  Instead of the bottom just being a plain circle sewn onto the tops, it has a little rectangle cut out of it and then there is a second piece of fleece which reinforces the rectangle - but is otherwise not attached to the bottom.  I'm assuming it's a thumbhole for popping the cushion out of the bottom, but I really don't know.  If I had it to do over I would have cut the bottom without this hole and not cut that second piece at all.  I probably put it in backwards because I couldn't rightly determine from the drawing in the instructions which it thought was the right side and which the wrong side and what was supposed to be "together" when sewing on the bottom.  And of course, my thread on Baron von Quilthausen broke like 67,925 times while working on this project.  And the foam didn't like going into the flannel sleeves and still isn't really shoved up in there too well.  And closing the opening around the wire I inserted to keep its shape wasn't a piece of cake either.  I nearly gave up after that step but decided to push through and finish the project last night, and I'm glad it's done.

Sigh.  And this is probably one of those "sew simple!" patterns they like to push on people!  The whole time I was working on it, I imagined the recipient saying, "oh, I love it!  Now I need one for my OTHER cat!" to which I would reply, "I will happily give you the pattern and you can make it yourself!"

Tonight I will reward myself by returning to my quilting in some way.  Kaleidoscope needs mostly hand work, so does preparing applique, and I have to cut more fabric before I can do anything on Dark Star.  I really, really want to use that "Ready Set Snow!" jelly roll to make the Lone Starburst quilt in Kimberly Einmo's book, and I have so many charm packs itching to be tossed together into something pretty, but I think I will do some cutting for a few hours and then hand sew on Kaleidoscope so I can get those two quilts out the door soon.  But first I'm going to work out before I head home.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

goodies arrived

These are the goodies from my Fab ShopHop prize package.  The quilt kit has a music theme and I think I will donate the entire kit to the guild's silent auction to be held in December.  The fat quarters, however, shown above, are all mine!  Some great stashbuilders there!

My Honey just hit the road to spend the next week on site at the Extreme Home Makeover build going on in Joplin, Missouri (will be aired in the spring, I think), where our company will be prominently featured for its contributions to the houses replacing some of those destroyed in the tornado.  We had planned to go to my Dad's this weekend to spend it with the kids, but my son wanted to go to a birthday party at an amusement park on Saturday instead, so my Honey will fly back there to spend the weekend with his girls (in a hotel) and hopefully come home on Sunday, although there's a chance he'll have to fly back to Missouri instead.  That leaves me almost an entire week, including a weekend, all by myself.  I really want to bang out some sewing room work, including the following:
  • finish Kaleidoscope and get that and Jelly Girl to Star City Stitchery
  • finish the cat house as a Christmas present
  • whip up some business card holders as a few Christmas presents
  • cut fabric for Dark Star and do some piecing on it
  • prepare at least one block for the needle-turn applique demo at the November guild meeting
  • and maybe, just maybe, start something new.
However, this morning I had my last post-surgery follow-up visit with my doctor, who pronounced me healthy enough to return to normal activity like exercise and vacuuming.  So I want to be sure to get to the gym a couple of times this week after work.  Although I bought a few new items to add to my work wardrobe this past weekend, I would rather get back into the size 4 and 6 stuff I already have instead of buying anything else in a 10.

It will be odd to be on my own at home for almost a full week but hopefully I make the most of it.

Monday, October 17, 2011

such a lucky girl ...

I received my copy of Kimberly Einmo's new book, Jelly Roll Quilt Magic, late last week and my "Ready Set Snow!" jelly roll from Burgundy Buttons.  I haven't yet started cutting and piecing since I wanted to finish up some other projects first, but I am ready ... maybe this week, because my Honey is traveling tomorrow until the weekend. 

But even better, late on Friday I heard that I was a winner of the August FabShop Hop!  Yes, my name is on the list of those who won a $100 bonus prize!  My particular prize turns out to be a quilt kit and a bundle of 20 fat quarters!  It's already en route to me.  I wasn't super crazy about the photo of the kit quilt, but I have a few options ... I could donate the entire thing to the guild's holiday silent auction, or I could remove the coordinating fabrics and donate just the panel to the auction, or I could sew up the quilt and give it away to charity.  There is no way it will go to waste just because it doesn't suit my taste!

I did a bit of sewing over the weekend.  First, I finished the Prayer Flag/Jelly Girl top with the second border and it's ready to go to the quilter.  I cut and pieced all my Civil War Chronicles BOM for October.  I also basted down the red bias strip on the Kaleidoscope quilt and have begun hand appliqueing it ... sorry, no pictures.  On Sunday morning, I got up early (well, 8:30 is early for me on a weekend) and got to Jo-Ann Fabrics right as their Moonlight Madness sale began.  I did not want to miss those deals, including BOGO batting and $0.99 fat quarters!  I also needed a few supplies for a Christmas present I'm making for someone who has cats ... I bought this pattern on eBay last week and both fleece and flannel were big time discounted at Jo-Ann's. 

I am NOT a fan of making things from patterns ... just cutting apart the tissue is annoying enough.  Usually the directions leave something to be desired.  On this one, it calls for "foam" to support the pet house walls and serve as a cushion for the bottom, but didn't give a thickness.  I'm hoping that what I bought isn't too thick.  How anyone ever manages to turn one of those things into a finished garment that fits well is beyond me.

I will try to take some photos this week as I sew and share them here.  One of my other to-do items over the next couple of weeks is to prepare materials to be able to demonstrate needle-turn applique at my guild's November "how to" session, so that is something that is also top of mind lately.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

the importance of creativity and why I quilt

Although I've been puttering around my sewing room a little bit during the evenings this week (I'm back to work during the days), I don't really have anything new to share.  There are a lot of projects to finish up or cut fabric for or get to the next stage on.  We don't have kids this weekend - or even any plans as of yet - and hopefully I will get caught up on a few things.  But this post is inspired more from thinking than doing.

Over the past several months I've been reading, "The Gifts of Imperfection," by BrenĂ© Brown.  Although I've read the entire book, I keep going back to re-read and absorb parts of it.  In the book, she writes that the gifts of imperfection are courage, compassion and connection, and then goes on to challenge "the things that get in the way."  Her sixth guidepost is entitled, "Cultivating Creativity:  Letting Go of Comparison."

Although it's nearly an impossible work to paraphrase, I identify with so much of what she writes because my mother instilled in me a psyche that says that what others think is more important than who I really am or what I really feel, and the only way to be safe from criticism is to be perfect ... to fall short of that is shameful.  It takes A LOT of work to undo this mentality, to believe that I am good enough the way I am, and worthy of love and praise, and to adopt realistic expectations for myself.  As a result, I tend to firmly grasp any resource I can find that helps me reroute some of those mental pathways I've had since childhood.

In the chapter on creativity, Dr. Brown encourages us to express ourselves by being creative and unique; that the cookie-cutter mentality is what leads to comparison and negative self-talk about not being "enough".  Mind you, the entire book is very tightly woven and nearly all of it refers to other parts, circling back to prove various statements.  It is a quest to learn how people live "wholeHEARTedly" and how traits/practices/characteristics like spirituality, gratitude and authenticity contribute to that, and how we can help those things thrive.  With creativity comes a power of self-expression, and it is the only unique contribution we can ever really make in this world ... with creativity, she says, we cultivate meaning.  It helps us stay mindful to the beauty of the world and what we bring to it.

The funny thing is that I am one of those she calls out as telling myself and others that I'm not really an artist, or not really creative.  When I quilt, I follow directions.  I take fabric that truly creative people have designed, and I cut it up and sew it back together in patterns that other truly creative people have designed.  I don't give myself any credit for being part of the creative process.  What's more is that I tend to take that comparison to others into my creative life.   My work isn't as good as others', my points aren't as perfect, my stitches aren't as even.  I guess it doesn't help that as quilters, we often enter our work into shows to be judged and critiqued by those we consider professionals; that I have a dollar value put on my work by an appraiser.  I struggle against making these constant comparisons, because even if I were told that my quilts were horrible and ugly and worthless, I'd probably keep making them anyway.

See, Dr. Brown goes on to write about cultivating "calm and stillness," especially as an antidote to anxiety, which I think I experience more than the average person (and her book well identifies exactly how and why I end up with so much anxiety).  Cultivating calm and stillness is exactly what I do when I sew.  I once told my Honey when he was with me in my sewing room that cutting fabric into uniform, precise shapes and then sewing it back together - again, uniformly and precisely - is an extraordinarily soothing antidote in the chaos of today's world.  I have control.  I have power.  I can take these ingredients and turn them into whatever I want them to look like.  At no other time as when I'm working on a quilt can my mind so well focus on things.  Dr. Brown writes firsthand about my own experiences in trying meditation - how I spend the entire time trying to avoid working on a mental to do list or waiting for the allotted time to be over.  But she writes that "stillness is not about focusing on nothingness; it's about creating a clearing.  It's opening up an emotionally clutter-free space and allowing ourselves to feel and think and dream and question."  And for me, the balance of thought and planning required and free time allowed for my mind to roam while I sew is the perfect breeding ground to create that clearing for fully free thought. 

I had recognized this long ago.  I know that when I get most anxious and rundown it's because I've been lacking time in my sewing room.  I know that I require that sense of balance and creativity for happiness.  And it's more than just the creating that's in process; it's the form of meditation that transpires while I'm doing it.  It's like the dust that gets stirred up by being an active part of the world has time to settle.  It's where my emotions pour out into my work, and the sadness I feel at the loss or illness of a loved one is turned into a quilt; the love I feel for someone else is turned into another quilt; the joy I feel at a friend welcoming a new baby into the world is turned into another quilt; a fond memory is memorialized in another quilt.  To me, my quilts don't represent anything particularly creative or artistic.  They represent my feelings put into fabric.  And when I present that quilt, it feels far less vulnerable and awkward than trying to put into words how I feel (although, for the record, I do try).

When I speak about why I quilt, I often tell the story about my experience after 9/11.  The world was in shock, and when that shock wore off, people wanted to do something, but no one knew really what.  Blood banks were turning donors away, overwhelmed.  I was living in the little canal town of Delaware City, Delaware, and our mayor (a woman I quilted with at the town library every Wednesday night) decided that the town was going to go ahead and have our Canalfest which was scheduled for that Saturday, September 15.  It was kind of an arts festival, with vendors set up in the city park, and the informal local quilter's group set up in the gazebo ... not selling anything, but just plying our craft for people to watch.  Well, when the tragic events of 9/11 happened, I knew that there would be a call on the internet for comfort quilts, and so during the evenings of that week, I whipped up a red, white and blue log cabin quilt top from scraps I had in my sewing room.  I put the sandwiched quilt on my floor frame and, on Saturday, had my then-husband take it down and set it up in the gazebo with a sign inviting everyone to take a few stitches in a quilt that would go to comfort a survivor of the attacks or a victim's family.  I will never forget how the line of people to work on that quilt stretched across the green of the park.  There were children, old men, teenage girls waiting to learn how to wear a thimble, take up a needle and sew a running stitch.  I had everyone who participated sign their names on a piece of paper, and by the time it was finished by the quilters later, we had over a hundred people work on that quilt.  We were overwhelmed that day, but I think what stuck with me most was seeing the NEED that people had to find a way to help ... to contribute, to do something to send their love and prayers and healing thoughts to strangers somewhere who needed it.  I felt such pity for them, since I have been using my quilting as a way to do that for decades now. 

People who don't sew look at my quilts and tell me that I have a gift.  I don't see it that way - I think I have a learned skill that anyone else can have.  But the process of creating the quilt - the evolution of emotional energy from planning to presentation - and recognizing that I can accomplish that amazing spiritual journey with fabric, needle and thread, to me, is the real gift.

Friday, October 7, 2011

a timely sale!

Yesterday I learned that I won Kimberly Einmo's new book, Jelly Roll Quilt Magic, and today I saw a sale offer from Burgundy Buttons in my mailbox ... an additional 10% off jelly rolls, already at great prices.  Even though the offer is not on Burgundy Buttons' blog, Leah told me that I could share the discount code with friends ... just use Promotion code CDS1 to save an additional 10% on Jelly Rolls at check out.  The price will be reflected as new price in shopping cart.

Yes, I know, I already have too many jelly rolls.  But I don't have any CHRISTMAS jelly rolls, and I had to pick up some of Me & My Sisters' "Ready Set Snow!".

Before shipping, my price came to only $26.05!  It was hard, but I resisted buying their Amelia jelly roll too (I think I already have a charm pack of Amelia).  I have to leave something for next time!

So go stock up on jelly rolls!  The sale ends at midnight CST tonight and I think that something new comes along tomorrow since it's a four-day Columbus Day sale.  And get on Burgundy Buttons' mailing list if you're not already because I can't tell you about all the sales!  They have some of the best fabrics at the best prices out there!!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

I'm a winner!

Man, what an exhausting couple of days.  Yesterday I made the six-hour drive to my dad's house with the dog (I managed to stop in at Patchwork Plus in Dayton, VA and Pete* behaved during the wait ... they were out of the fabric I originally bought there but I picked up a mottled white/gray batik that I think should match the quilt).  This morning I got up early and drove another almost two hours to my old stomping grounds in Delaware to deal with banks and lawyers and all sorts of red tape dealing with my great aunt's affairs.  I stopped in at my old office to have lunch with a former colleague, and saw my old boss, which was a nice spot in the middle of an otherwise hectic day.  But then I had to go back to the bank and the law office before heading back to Dad's, and I'm SO ready for bed now.

*Incidentally, this is Pete (who is notoriously camera shy):

In the midst of all this insanity today, somewhere I checked email on my phone, wondering who needed something from me next, and I saw an email from Kimberly Einmo, telling me that I won a copy of her new book, Jelly Roll Quilt Magic, which I blogged about on Monday!  What a wonderfully, surprising, uplifting addition to my day! 

I follow a few dozen quilt blogs, and I know that every day there's at least one giveaway to be entered.  But honestly, I don't enter most of them.  If it's a book I don't want or fabric I don't love, I'll let it go to another entrant rather than throw my hat in the ring.  Not only do I not want to be greedy, but I've pared down my sewing room twice - once when I moved house and once when I divorced - and I'm more judicious about what I add to it nowadays.  So I am tickled that I won something that I wanted as much as this book.

I also texted my Honey to crow about this exciting news and he replied that a few "quilt-related things" arrived in the mail since I've been gone.  I'm assuming that it's the Prayer Flag yardage to finish Jelly Girl in my last post, and my Civil War Chronicles BOM.  Or maybe one of my magazines.  Either way, it's always so exciting to return home to new stuff in the sewing room.

Tomorrow I get my son for a three-day weekend ... at the end of which I will return to work from my medical leave ... and then I will be back to sewing during evenings and alternate weekends only.  But before I go, since this *IS* a quilting blog, I'll post the photo taken of Pink Profusion at Monday night's guild meeting.  Until next week!

Monday, October 3, 2011

jelly roll mania!

It shouldn't be a secret that my favorite precut is the jelly roll.  I just love 2 1/2" strips and I keep my eye out for things I can do with them.  My guild is planning a strip swap beginning in January and I'm already cutting from my stash to participate!!  Three of the quilts I've made so far this year were from 2 1/2" strips, all projects from Kim Brackman's books.  And then this past week/weekend I whipped up another quilt from a jelly roll, this time using a prepurchased pattern called Jelly Girl from Fig Tree Quilts:
This started out as one of those "leaders and enders" projects while piecing Kaleidoscope ... I needed to have something to push through the machine so that I could get up to take all my work to press without having to cut the threads.  Since you start by piecing the jelly roll strips in pairs and then cutting from that, it was so easy and perfect.  I used the Prayer Flag line by April Cornell for Moda.  And I found the most perfect cream colored background while shopping at Schoolhouse Fabrics in Floyd on Saturday.
The quilt went together so easily and my points look pretty good too. 

I'm pleased with how it turned out.  I have one more border to add ... since no one is selling Prayer Flag yardage in my local stores that I can find, I ordered some on eBay and it will arrive within the week.  No, I don't know what I will do with the quilt, but I'm somewhat considering giving it to my great aunt for whom I've been serving as power of attorney, since she was greatly on my mind this last week ... she fell and broke her hip while I was on vacation and I'm told she is now back in the nursing home and doing well.  I don't even think she remembers who I am at this point, but hopefully she would still appreciate a quilt.

I love, love, LOVE quilts using jelly rolls that don't LOOK like they use jelly rolls.  Which is why I'm so anxious to get my hands on this brand-spanking new book by Kimberly Einmo called Jelly Roll Quilt Magic.  I mean look at this quilt ... from a JELLY ROLL!

 And even though I'm hoping *I* win, she's giving away a copy of it on her website - just go comment here.  If I don't win, I'm going to have to buy a copy since I have SO many strips and jelly rolls around here.  I am especially excited after reading the following from the review of this book:  "Last but not least, Kimberly experimented using precuts in a Round Robin exchange with international quilting friends. The idea and the results are amazing."  How timely with my guild's exchange scheduled for 2012!

quilty weekend

It was a delightful weekend, even for someone still recovering from surgery.  Let's review:

I finished the main part of my dad's Kaleidoscope quilt towards the end of the week.  I am short the amount of fabric I want for borders in that whitish-blue batik (looks solid white here) so this is as far as it has come:
My thought is to add 5" white borders all around, and then to applique onto that a curved bias-cut strip of fabric, kind of like a vine, in a color that really pops.  I didn't love anything in my stash, though, so it was on my shopping list.

On Thursday night, my Honey's dad came by with a little sewing project for me that I did on Friday.  When my Honey's mom was sick with cancer last year, his aunt made her this beautiful watercolor quilt.  My Honey's mom was an amazing gardener and it was perfect for her.  She passed away last September and since then his dad has moved to a new place and wanted to hang the quilt.  I sewed a sleeve on the back of it so that he could do so.  We took it down to him Saturday morning and later this weekend he emailed me a photo in thanks.  I've never done a watercolor quilt and I find Kathy's work beautiful and wanted to share.

He lives outside of Blacksburg, so after dropping it off with him, we went to Sew Biz in Radford, where I thought I could find some fabric for the bias strip for the Kaleidoscope quilt, but I wasn't finding anything I loved.  We decided to head to Floyd, where there was a quilt show happening.  On the way there, we hit Schoolhouse Fabrics in Floyd and made some good finds.  I bought not only the red for the quilt, but a nice 108" wide dark blue paisley to back the quilt with.
I'll stop back at Patchwork Plus in Dayton on my next drive north to see if I can find more of the batik which I originally bought there ... if not, I'll have to find something close and be okay with it.

I took a nap on the ride home so I had energy to sew that evening.  I was working on a whole different project that I'll blog about in a separate post, but it was fast and easy and is almost finished.

I sewed for much of Sunday, too, with football on in the background.  My son, who is 11, was having a lazy day and was texting me.  I've been feeling guilty because I've finished quilts for both my Honey's daughters, but for well over two years have been making only sluggish progress on my son's quilt (lesson learned:  do not allow anyone to choose their own pattern when making them a quilt).  So I'd recently resolved to work at least an hour a day on his, regardless of what else had brought me into the sewing room.  When I texted him that I was working on his quilt he replied, "Yay!  Thank you!" which added a little pang to my guilt accumulation.  This is my setup, with some finished blocks in front:
He chose the fabric and the pattern (from Carol Doak's 50 Fabulous Paper Pieced Stars, this is "Ohio").  Each star is paper pieced using eight sections, and yes, it takes a while.  I managed to make an entire star yesterday and picked out the paper while watching the Ravens beat the Jets last night.  I think I now have three finished.  I'm calling it "Dark Star" (although maybe I should call it "Bright Star Dark Sky") and although I've long since determined that the quilt will have to be made up of more than just these 12" blocks, I have no idea how many I will make or what the finished quilt will look like. 

It was also a weekend of good eating.  On Friday night my Honey surprised me with dinner reservations at a new restaurant in Salem called Blue Apron.  We had an 8:30 reservation but it was jammed (parents weekend at Roanoke College) and we didn't get seated until almost 9 (and while we waited in the bar, it was tiny - room for only 3 at the bar itself, and occupied with diners).  The staff was extraordinarily apologetic, though, and made up for it in service.  I enjoyed lobster bisque and an incredible mahi dish; my Honey's choices were excellent too.  What I loved was that every dish came in a small plate option so that you could have appetizers without sacrificing your meal.  On Saturday while in Floyd we stopped in at a brick oven pizzaria in Floyd called Dogtown Pizza.  It was very busy also and the pizza was worth the wait - using only fresh, local produce - and a nice beer selection to help pass the time.  Yesterday my Honey cooked up some beer-basted bratwurst and carmelized onions to enjoy in front of football and I'm already craving the leftovers I know are in the fridge.  Good food and good sewing, what more could a weekend hold?

Tonight is quilt guild and I'll take Pink Profusion for show and tell.