Sunday, July 27, 2008

Sunday Stash Report

Now who possibly couldn't be cheered up looking at these beautiful colors? These are the Kaffe Fassett prints I picked up at the quilt show, 17-1/2 yards in all! I've admired them for a long time but never bought them because I couldn't quite figure out what to do with them. The butterfly quilt was all the stimulus I needed; and after I got home from the quilt show, I went online to Hancock's of Paducah and ordered a few more.

Well, I'm a failure at stashbusting, but ask me how much it bothers me right now! At this point, I don't really expect to recover and be in the black by the end of the year, but there's always next year, right? And how much willpower do you really expect me to have at quilt show anyway?

Here's the Stash Manager's Report:

Fabric used this week: 0 yards
Fabric used year to date: 101-3/8 yards
Fabric added this week: 17-1/2 yards
Fabric added year to date: 183-1/8 yards
Net year to date: - 81-3/4 yards

I did get released from work early today, so I spent a couple hours this afternoon cutting apart plaid shirts that I found at the thrift shop last week. Bonnie Hunter really hit on a fantastic idea with her quilts made from plaid shirts--recycle, reuse. I've started collecting a few here and there but haven't got enough different ones to start a quilt just yet. Cutting the shirts apart saves some storage space though.

I also finally got the binding machine sewn to the front of the Road to Many Friendships quilt and will start hand stitching tomorrow morning.

Hooray, I'm on vacation all this week! I am happy to stay home and not go anywhere. Besides catching up on a few things around the house, I plan to spend plenty of time in my sewing room.

Quilt Show

I have been in a slump the past several weeks, but now that my husband is back home, things will be better. His plane landed in Portland Wednesday afternoon, so my son and I drove down to pick him up, and we hooked up with my other boy and had dinner all together at Ruby Tuesday's. It was nice.

On the way to the airport, we stopped at the eye doctor's office in Brunswick. I called first thing Wednesday morning and had them cancel the order for my son's eyeglasses and had planned to discuss an alternative later in the day. Candace had the best idea though, to purchase the glasses somewhere else. So we walked two doors down to an optical shop and had the prescription filled there for about a third of the cost. I was a lot happier with that, and my son still got the new frames he wanted.

Maine Quilts presented its 31st annual quilt show this weekend, and I spent about four hours at quilt show on Friday afternoon. I had a half dozen or so photos to upload, but Blogger is not cooperating at all, so I'll have to try again tomorrow. Anyway, it was a fun show, and I found some things I wanted. I prefer to go to quilt shows by myself, because I like to poke around at all the vendors' booths first, then go back and poke around some more, then view the quilts and take a few photos.

I bought a new sewing table from Tony, a Janome dealer down in Biddeford who had a booth at the show. I'd been kicking around the idea for years, because I've used a big heavy trestle table since 1989, and it just takes up too much real estate. Margo bought one recently, and I was hooked after I saw hers, plus Tony had a pretty good show special. I also found a great collection of Kaffe Fassett prints that I want to use in the butterfly quilt.

I got a quilt show pin this year too, just for a change. The quilt show people never seem to order enough of these things; and unless you're there the first day, they always sell out of them. I've collected them for years and used to pin them all to my nametag until I accumulated too many and ran out of space. A long time ago I saw a small attic windows quilt that someone made (Bethany Reynolds maybe?) and she had a quilt show pin in each window. I thought it was a cute idea to display these, and I should probably get busy and make one sometime.

By the time I finished at quilt show, I was feeling very inspired and ready to get going again on my sewing machine. Too bad I had to work all weekend, or I might have actually got something done!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Disappearing Photos

The last time I posted to my blog I noticed that some of my photos had disappeared, leaving in their places little boxes with red x's in them. The funny thing is that when I looked at the html, the code for the picture was still there, and all the missing photos are still in Picasa. So I went through my entire blog and fixed everything. This evening when I checked my blog, darned if there aren't pictures missing again. How in the world could they just go missing, when I haven't changed anything since yesterday? Seems to me I remember seeing something about this before, but wouldn't you know I have no idea where I saw it. If anyone has a clue why this might be happening, I'd sure appreciate it if you'd email me.

Another Finish

I finished the binding on this quilt this morning and am mighty glad to have it done, as I started it quite a while ago. I'm giving it to my son along with the first bug strippy I made, which will be for his friend Mary's little boy, who is about a year old.

My younger son and I spent a large part of the day in Brunswick at the eye doctor's. He's had a progressive lens for three years and really hated it, plus it was past time to get his eyes checked. I went into shock when I was presented with the bill; and when I asked for an explanation, I was told we were being charged for the frames, the lenses, the prescription for the left eye and the prescription for the right eye, which I didn't understand at all.

This has been bothering me all day, so tonight I dug out the bills from the eye doctor from the last time we went. I couldn't find any corresponding charges for the prescriptions, so either I misunderstood what I was told or this is something new. Either way it's not sitting well with me, so we will go back tomorrow and straighten it out. There's an optical shop two doors down from the eye doctor, and all they do is make glasses. Maybe their prices will be a little less shocking.

My husband, who has been away on business for the last month, is coming home from Memphis tomorrow; so my son and I will be driving down to Portland to pick him up at the airport. It'll be so good to have him home again.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sunday Stash Report

Nothing in, nothing out! That's it!

The Week In Review

It has been a sad week for me, and I have not had much interest in doing anything in my sewing room. I lost my little dog Amy last Sunday evening. She developed an abcess on her side; and even though the vet said we could try to treat it with antibiotics and give her pain meds for her arthritis and an ear infection, she said she didn't know the cause of the abcess, and she really didn't sound very hopeful. I've realized that Amy has been sliding downhill for awhile now; and for the last week and a half, she'd just been lying on her bed staring. She's had multiple health issues for quite a while, and she was losing her hearing and eyesight. Not a very good quality of life for my poor girl, so I thought maybe the very best thing I could do for her was to put her down. It's an awful decision to have to make; and even though there's nothing I can do about it now, I keep agonizing over it, wondering if I could have made it work a few more days, a few more weeks, a few more months. Her dishes are still sitting on the floor because it gives me a little bit of comfort just to see them there.

Friday I went to Kay's for our bimonthly get together, and it was nice to forget about everything for a little while. I love these women that I share this time with, and it was a nice afternoon. I worked on the binding for my Twisted Nine Patch, and I have one more short side to finish and it'll be done. I have one more quilt to bind after that.

I didn't get my strippy for the week finished either and will try to get it done this coming week. My Orange Crush is still languishing on the design wall, right where it's been just about since Bonnie posted the last part of the mystery. Needless to say, probably the last thing I really should be doing right now is starting a new quilt. So after much consideration I decided not to start on Judy's Star Block of the Month after all. Rather, I'll collect the directions for the blocks as they're posted and start it at a later time. At the rate of two blocks a month, I could start it in two or three months and still catch up, if I'm better positioned at that time.

What I thought I might do instead is pick up where I left off with this Galaxy of Stars quilt that I started seven or eight years ago. I bought it as a kit, made 3 or 4 blocks, and it's been sitting ever since. It is predominantly rose colored and would work equally well in my bedroom. Better to get the ufo done maybe.

Even though I hadn't wanted to start another new project, I'm having a hard time refraining from starting this butterfly quilt, which appeared in the latest issue of Fons and Porter quilting magazine. This is not typically a pattern that would interest me, but I found the use of these large scale prints very appealing. I'd love to make this whole quilt with Kaffe Fassett fabrics, as the maker did; but I only have a few, so I'd like to start collecting some fat quarters and start making a few blocks here and there. I would plan to machine applique these and hand embroider the antennae. The Maine quilters guild is hosting their annual quilt show in Augusta this coming weekend, and I am hoping to find a few fat quarters in some of the vendors booths.

Credit where credit is due:
Galaxy of Stars quilt design by Lynn Dash
Butterfly Garden quilt design by Cheryl Kerestes, Fons and Porter's Love of Quilting Jul/Aug 2008

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sunday Stash Report

Besides working on Bug Strippy #2 this week, I also machine sewed and started hand stitching the binding for this quilt, which I decided to call Twisted Nine Patch, from way back in February. My machine quilter had it for quite a while, and I only got it back a few weeks ago. I accounted for the fabric used in the binding on last week's stash report. Coincidentally, Koleen used a loopy meander as the quilting design on this quilt, so I have a good example to go by for practice.

This week I received a Civil War medley from Keepsake quilting, and I used 1-5/8 yards for the backing on the strippy.

Here's the Stash Manager's Report:

Fabric used this week: 1-5/8 yards
Fabric used year to date: 101-3/8 yards
Fabric added this week: 1-1/2 yards
Fabric added year to date: 165-5/8yards
Net year to date: - 64-1/4 yards

Woohoo, over a hundred yards of fabric used this year! Still in a negative status though.

Bug Strippy #2

The top for Bug Strippy #2 is done. The only thing that's different from the first one is the lime green accent fabric. I am really developing a liking for these strippies. Even if I am just poking along, I can still finish a top in a couple of hours.

My good friend Ann suggested that the strippies might also make good quilts for folks in wheelchairs, so eventually I might make some using more grown up prints. I have 10 or 12 yards of bug fabric to use up first though, and that will keep me busy for a while.

Just for a change, I'd also like to make some vertical strippies. Using the same proportions would work equally well, I think, and there would be fewer but longer seams to piece.

I haven't gotten around to buying my bolt of muslin yet, so I took a set of hand dyed fat quarters I've had for many years and cut them up into strips for a backing. I never used them because I didn't care for the texture of the muslin that was used and because I rarely use solid colors in my quilts. Anyway, I took each fat quarter and cut a 10" wide strip and a 6" wide strip out of it. Then I sewed all the same width strips together into two enormously long strips, then measured and cut 48" long sections from each strip. I haven't sewed the sections together yet, but this is what the backing will look like. I cut and sewed enough strips for one backing plus most of another and will just have to cut up a few more fat quarters for the additional backing for next week's strippy--which will be, you guessed it, more bug fabric!

I'm hoping to finish sewing the backing together this evening and then get it loaded and quilted tomorrow when I get home from work.

Garden Glories

More plants in my garden have come into bloom, including the hostas. We have lots of them that line the back walkway, and I like looking down the walkway at the sea of flower spikes. I think this plant with the purple flowers is a hollyhock. Last year I had a bunch of black-eyed Susans, but they never came up this year. I'm afraid I may have pulled them out by mistake, thinking they were weeds. It's one of the pitfalls of not being a gardener, and it's a darn good thing these plants tend to themselves.

My tomato and herb plants are also doing very well, and I'm worried they might outgrow their pots. These self-watering flower pots are really fantastic. All I have to do is just go out every four or five days and fill up the bottom of the pots with water. I have blossoms on both plants now, and we're just waiting for the tomatoes to grow. One of these is a regular tomato plant, the other will bear grape tomatoes. Have you *seen* how expensive grape tomatoes are at the grocery store?

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Sunday Stash Report

Bug Strippy #1 is finished, and I really like it! I quilted it on the Fourth of July, machine stitched the binding on yesterday, and finished hand stitching the binding this evening.

On this one I practiced a loopy meander, which I like very much. It's a design that seems to work well on alot of different quilts, and especially busy quilts; so I want to be able to do it well. The size and shape of the loops is not as consistent as I would have liked, so I'll try this again on the next one or two strippies. My stitch regulator wasn't really working correctly either, which was disappointing; but I figured out what was the matter with it this morning and fixed it. Apparently a little dust in the sensors was enough to mess it up. I'm learning more about what makes my longarm machine tick all the time.

I won a giveaway that Becky of Quilting Booklady was having to celebrate her birthday, and her little package arrived in my mail this past week. She sent a lovely pack of charm squares and a booklet of ideas for them, and a beautiful pewter bookmark, which I can really use. Thank you so much, Becky, for your kindness!

JudyL at Patchwork Times is gearing up for her Star Block of the Month, which is a beautiful sampler quilt consisting of 13 blocks and 7 borders. She illustrates several different color combinations, and a few people have already chosen their fabrics and posted photos on their blogs.

Years ago our bedroom was painted rose, and we had pictures and accessories to go with it. Now our bedroom walls are tan, which I thought would be a nice neutral so I could put any color quilt I wanted on my bed. But we've hung up some of the same pictures we had from before, and I really want a quilt on my bed that has some rose in it. Vicky has come up with what I think is a winning color combination on her blog, and I may try to come up with a similar combination.

For the Stash Manager's Report this week, there was the fabric I used for the backing of the bug strippy, plus some binding strips I cut and pieced for the next quilt in line to finish. I also received another packet of the month from Keepsake.

Fabric used this week: 2-3/8 yards
Fabric used year to date: 99-3/4 yards
Fabric added this week: 1-1/2 yards
Fabric added year to date: 164-1/8 yards
Net year to date: - 64-3/8 yards