Thursday, December 30, 2010

Star quilt is done

It was more than four years ago that I learned how to do chicken scratch embroidery.  A very nice lady from my quilting group shared her knowledge of the old art.  Up until she brought in some of her work, I had not seen this technique before.

It probably took me close to a year to finish the blocks.  There are 20 blocks and they are 16" square.  When I dug the quilt top out about a month ago because of a post I saw online, I decided it was time for me to get busy and quilt it.  Before I started the quilting I found a scripture that I wanted to add on the sashing strips.  The stars are the only part that is hand stitched.  The scripture verse, Proverbs 3:5-6, is machine embroidered. 

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas y'all

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6

I have been busy with many projects, but one in particular... I finished a very detailed quilt yesterday.  I used several techniques and it turned out pretty nice.  It is not a quilt that I pieced, but knowing how much work the lady put into it, I wanted to be sure it was quilted extra special... at least to the best of my ability.

It has been a great day, good weather, good food, and especially good (the best) friends.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Another quilt done

I have been quilting up a storm.  I just finished quilting my 4th quilt in two weeks.  There is alot going on this time of year, so finding the time to get these done has been a challenge.  I delivered the third one yesterday and today I finished the 4th.  After you have been quilting for a while, one would think you'd learn what not to do.  This last quilt was very small, but I created a challenge that didn't need to be there.  I found the most perfect thread to go with the patterned fabric.  The thread I used was variegated and picked up almost all the colors.  This worked fine in the setting squares and triangles and the solid points on the star, but when I was stitching on the patterned fabric, I absolutely had the hardest time seeing where I was going.  The thread totally disappeared into the fabric.  I think it turned out pretty good, but I did cross the line... more than once.

We had our Christmas party yesterday for our Monday quilting group.  Lots of quilters showed up and we had lots more food than we needed, but it was all really great.  The lady who hosted the party this year had a lovely home that accommodated all of us very comfortably... and on fine china... no paper plates.  I would not have enough settings for that many people... at least not all the same that is.

 I have not sat down at my sewing machine for a couple days... the quilting machine does not count.  I need to make time to work on some of my own quilts, like my Farmer's Wife Sampler.  I think I have 68 blocks done now.  After I pulled out the Chicken Scratch quilt the other day I found a scripture reference that I want to embroider on the white sashing.  I'm getting excited about finishing this quilt now that it has been re-discovered.  

It's getting really close to Christmas when people will be busy getting ready.  Stay focused and get those little projects done that you need to do before next week ends.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Chicken Scratch anyone?

I answered a question today about a quilt that I had packed away in a bin on the top shelf... which meant that I had to go pull the bin down and take it out to look at it.  Chicken Scratch is an old hand stitching technique.  One of the ladies in my quilt group who is 80 something introduced this art to me, maybe 5 years ago.  It probably was close to a year that I worked on these hand stitched blocks before I had the right number of blocks completed so that I could put the top together.  There are 20 blocks and the blocks are 15" square.  I have procrastinated on the quilting phase because I want it to be just the right quilting.  It was pointed out that if I had the quilt out, what would be a good reason to put it back up on the shelf.  My husband would be happy to have a new quilt for our bed.  He said he was anxious to see what I would come up with.

For those who have not seen chicken scratch before, I have a close up here.  It is probably not a quilt I would do again... not because it is hard to do, but rather it just takes a long time.  I'm sure that I will find the right way to quilt it and it will be a beautiful display of an old art.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Farmer's Wife Sampler

I still have a few more blocks to go, but I think I'm making pretty good progress on my Farmer's Wife Sampler.  I now have 66 official blocks done.  There are three additional blocks on the far end of the design wall that are extras.  One is from the SBS book, one really was not as square as I wanted it, and the third one I made way back when I started and used my HST template just guessing at the size.  When I finished the block, it was way smaller than it was supposed to be... I used the wrong size HST template.  The book didn't tell me to do it that way, I just thought it looked about that size.  I added more HST's to make it be the right size, but it would not be an official FWS block... so it is an extra for now.

A closer look at the last four blocks I completed.  As I have mentioned before, I converted to paper piecing early in this project... but even with paper piecing, sometimes you run into a challenge.  The Darting Bird 27 block had lots of units and after I got all the units sewn, I could not figure how to put the jigsaw puzzle together, so I had to go to my computer and look at the layout in EQ.  Most of the blocks are intuitive to figure out how the units fit together... not so on this one.

I have a quilt on my frame that I am quilting for a friend.  I think it is a quilt for her granddaughter, so I wanted to find some nice girly pattern.  After I got the quilt loaded and looked at my pantographs, nothing seemed to speak to me, so I came back in the house and designed a "daisy" pantograph.  I had other flowers, but they were too busy for this little girl quilt.  I think the daisies are going to look nice.  It is predominantly pink on the quilt side and she is using a solid white backing.  She wanted variegated pink thread... so that meant it had to be a nice pattern cause it is really going to show on the backside of this quilt.  I have it about half quilted already, but may be a couple days before I can get back to it.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Getting projects done

I have had a fairly productive week.  Last weekend I got the quilt for the music director finished... that is I got it quilted for my friend who pieced the quilt.  I will see her this evening, so I stitched out the label for the back this afternoon.  So that is one task completed.

I have lots of friends that want quilts done before Christmas, but it has probably been a month since my husband suggested that it would be nice if he had one of those scrap catchers for his remotes.  What he was referring to is a thread catcher that I have made many of in the past.  I don't have a picture of the one I completed for him yesterday, but I modified the bag from the way my tutorial shows and his "remote catcher" has 4 compartments.  He's very happy with it.

Two days ago he made another suggestion, and this time it was to replace the cover on the stool that I scoot around on when I am quilting from a pantograph.  It is a shop stool that works great for that purpose, but it had a plastic cover that has been split for quite some time.  He took the seat off and then proceeded to remove the hundreds of staples they used to fasten the plastic to the base.  I first took some fleece and covered the foam then I used upholstery fabric and cut a big circle and turned the edge over to create a channel for the cord that I cinched it all up under the seat.  There is not one staple in this setup and if I need to replace it down the road, I just untie it and cut a new circle.
Now back to quilting, I created a block design to use on a quilt I was quilting for my sister.  The name of the pattern she used was "Charming Lonestar".  I didn't get a picture of it opened all the way as I was without assistance to hold it up.

Now a few days ago I was watching a video by Linda Taylor that was for longarmers.  I pretty much have my technique all set, but you can always learn something new when you watch someone else.  It is a series and I only watched the first two episodes.  I have all the tools I need... but Linda was indicating that an apron was an essential part of the operation.  That way you can have all your tools at your fingertips when you need them.  I got to thinking that I didn't really want to put an apron on to do my quilting... but a quilter's vest would work for me.  I started digging for a pattern.  I have a book with some neat patterns and I scanned the pattern and enlarged it 285% like it instructed.  It was way wrong size.  I probably could have worked with getting it right, but decided to look through my patterns that were already sized right.  The only one I found was not the style I wanted, so I modified that pattern and ended up with my Quilter's Vest.
It has pockets on both sides that go across the whole front at the bottom.  The pockets are divided inside, but the dividers do not show on the outside.  I sometimes need to use a few pins or a needle randomly, so something I could park my needle in was one item I needed.  At the IQF show I got a needle holder from the Moda booth... the cupcake.  My husband said it would not be good as it was because I would stick a needle in my shoulder.  So I used a piece of clear stiff plastic and cut it in the shape of the cupcake, then I used double stick tape to stick it under the red felt needle holder.

I feel like I really accomplished something this week.  
Have a good week.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Busy time in South Texas

It has been a week since the Once a Year Holiday Market, and I am very happy that it happens only Once a Year.  The two setup evenings are very labor intensive.  We have a small space to put alot of fixtures and tables.  For starters, the walls are covered to make the customers feel like they are in a little gift shop.
Although we each have a designated area, our items can be placed around the shop with like themed items. There was a big variety of handcrafted items from edibles in the kitchen area, a kidz korner, lots of jewelry, paintings, quilts and sewn items, all the way to a blacksmith's creations.

One of the perks you get from being at a show is you get to meet lots of new interesting people... at least the first time anyhow.  They all have their own talents.  Sometimes they do things you couldn't begin to create yourself, but sometimes you can discover something you didn't know existed before.  One of those was Chili Pequin Jelly.  Now I would never in 100 years think of buying a jar of Chili Pequin Jelly.  For those of you who are not from South Texas, Chili Pequins are among the hottest peppers you want to encounter. 
They can hurt you really bad.  One of the ladies had to bring in an open jar for the workers to try in the kitchen.  If you take a jar of hot pepper jelly and pour it over a block of cream cheese, then spread it on crackers, you will experience an awesome treat... and outside of a little kick, you would never guess how great a treat it could be... made with chili pequins.  I actually made a batch of jelly this afternoon, and upon testing it... you can tell that peppers are in it, but the heat level is very minimal.  My husband who does not do hot in any shape or size, took a taste at my prompting and was pleasantly surprised.
I have not made jelly for many years.  I have not lost my touch.  Chili Pequins are so hot that this batch of jelly only used 8 of those pea sized pequins.  The pequins are red when they are ripe, but the red color comes mostly from the 4 red bell peppers.  I have 9 jars of jelly, and the little bit that was left that I put in a small bowl jelled very nicely, so I'm confident that they will all be set up nicely.

Yesterday my husband asked me if I was going to put the blocks from my Farmer's Wife Sampler back up on the design wall.  I took them all down while I was finishing up some items for OAY, so when I loaded up everything I was taking to the show, the wall became very empty.  No color to brighten the blank wall.  It has been nearly two months since I added any new blocks to the 58 that I had complete before I started my final crunch for the show.  So I put all the blocks I had completed back on the wall.  With 111 the final goal, 58 done means I have a bit further to go.  I sat down and got 4 new blocks sewn in one afternoon.  My biggest challenge with these blocks sometimes is picking out the right fabric to do each block.  I have lots of fabric in my stash... too many choices. 

I thought I would take the time to post some new pictures.  It has been a while since I have had the time to put together anything decent out here.  Hope you enjoyed today's post.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Take your pickles up a notch

I have no picture for this post, but I have told a few people about the pickles that I make and have decided that I could post the directions (recipe) here.

First I buy a gallon jar of dill pickles (hamburger dills) at Sam's, and a small can of sliced jalapena peppers from the local grocery.  Two cloves of garlic that I cut into slivers and one cup of sugar.  I use a large glass jar - 2 quart that has a tight sealing lid.  I put a couple slivers of the garlic and some of the jalapeno peppers in the bottom of the jar then I start transferring pickles from the gallon jar into the 2 quart jar.  I layer the pickles with the garlic and peppers until I have transferred about 1/4 of the pickles.  Put all the juice from the jalapeno peppers and enough of the pickle juice to almost cover the pickles.  You want to leave enough of the juice in the big jar to do the remaining pickles.  Now you add the 1 cup of sugar on top and close the lid tightly and turn the jar over so the sugar will start to dissolve.

For two weeks, every day you turn the jar over once...  so one day the jar is sitting on its lid and the next it is upright.  At the end of the two weeks your pickles are ready to eat.

If you have a way to weigh the jar of pickles before you start transferring pickles you can make sure that you only use 1/4 of the pickles and juice at a time.  If the jar you use is large enough and you want to divide it into thirds instead of quarters, the only measurement I would change is the sugar.  If you like your pickles with a little more kick, use a larger jar of jalapenos and maybe add another clove of garlic.  After the first batch you can decide how to adjust the second batch. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Some of my purchases at IQF

I saw lots of treasures as I walked through the aisles of the Festival... in fact there were so many vendors it was difficult to focus in on what I should purchase.  Two or three of the items that one of the other ladies had bought created inspiration when we ran into each other through the day, we'd say "what'd you find"... then we had to find our way back, sometimes with difficulty, to the booth that offered the item.  With only one day, it would be almost impossible to see all the treasures that were hidden among the sea of booths, so splitting up and finding different treasures, we all got to see more.
I did not have any projects in mind to buy fabric for, and I have many kits waiting to be opened, so the only fabric I bought was a handful of fat quarters.  I always buy a few fat quarters, no matter what quilt shop I'm in.   I cut up some scrap fabric the next day to try out the new tool I bought... the CD was the instructional video.  So the red item was a practice piece I started, not a purchase.
The very first purchase I made was the blue rotary cutter.  It closes automatically when you finish your cut.  It was at the Kai Scissor booth, and I love my Kai Scissors, so I knew I had to have that rotary cutter.  My sister had told me to look for the Fiskars little finger cutter... I haven't had it out of the package.  The two different ruler sets were both one of those purchases made after someone else found them.  There were many great demos going on to show all the fancy tricks you could accomplish with these neat rulers.

I made a few other purchases, but these were the items I could put my hands on quickly.  I missed some real good fabric booths.  A couple of my friends found some really great buys on some batiks... and I did see some really nice kits, but adding to my stockpile of kits was not in the plan.

In two days the Once a Year show opens and I think I have everything ready... this week is going to be crazier than last week.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Houston was great

It is Monday and I'm still in awe of my day last Thursday at the International Quilt Festival.  I would have liked to take a class or two, but by the end of the day on Thursday, I was ready to go home.  Of course if I was going to be there for more than one day, I could have taken more rest breaks to relieve my legs and feet.  There was so much to see and I knew it was going to be a feat to see all there was that I wanted to see.  I went with 5 other ladies, so when we compared our finds, there were a few things I didn't get to see myself.  I didn't buy much fabric... I only bought a dozen fat quarters, but I bought several different rulers and a really neat rotary cutter that closes itself when you are not cutting. 

The highlight of the afternoon for me was
to meet all the quilters at the TQS booth at the Meet 'n Greet at 1.  I had not realized that Alex was as tall as she is.  There were too many names and I don't remember who everyone was, but there were a few that I clearly remember because I have exchanged messages on TQS, or have seen posts by them.

My friends from Mississippi.  Everyone was really enjoying the opportunity to meet lots of great people.

I missed getting a picture of the six of us - my friends that went to the show with me on the bus.  We all had a really great experience, but there were very few times when we were all together.  We kept in touch via our cell phones, letting the others know when we found something really neat, and when we were heading to the food court.  This is one of my friends who was at the TQS booth at the right time to get Ricky to sign her book.  I got my book signed too.

We are already talking about doing it again next year.  The bus ride was great... no worry about driving or parking, and finding our way there.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Only two more days...

plus a few hours... then we leave to go to Houston.... that would be Thursday morning. There are six of us going in my little group.  We are all getting on a bus at 7am.  Of course we are leaving an hour before that to be able to get to where the bus will be picking us up... and of course getting up about an hour before that.  Hopefully we won't be too wound up on the bus ride back so we will be able to sleep for a while after a long hard day at the International Quilt Festival.  We are all very excited to be going.  I'm sure to have some neat pictures when I get back.  I have monogrammed 6 yellow backpacks for me and my quilting buddies.  I will have to get someone to take a picture of us.  The key here is to be hands free at the show.  No heavy purses and not having to hold onto something when you are looking at all the treasures they will have for sale there.

Today at quilting I showed a couple ladies how to make a block that I learned how to make last week.  I don't know the name, but it was a really neat trick to get it done, and all the ladies were impressed.  I'll maybe post a picture when I get a few more blocks done, as they look pretty neat when you lay them out together.  The other item that was discussed today was about the sweater stocking that I brought to show them.  I wanted their opinion about the bows.  I wanted to embellish the stockings, but not sure how.  I should have known to leave the bows off.  If I make something and I look at it and think it looks nice, usually it works.  Well these stockings looked good, but I was not sure about the bows.  They all thought the stocking was neat, and they all also agreed to ditch the bow.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Stockings from a sweater

Houston is just next week, and OAY starts in 13 days. I have been busy lately trying to finish up projects and add a few more additional items to my inventory that I will be taking to the Once a Year Holiday Market.  Stockings is an item category that was requested, so I have been trying to add a few more of those.  Although I have made some from other materials, I have made a few stockings from sweaters.  That sounds kind of strange, but if you look at a sweater with a creative eye, it is amazing what you could come up with.  These stockings pictured are all from one sweater.  The larger ones are all about 18" long.  The ribbing at the edge of the sweater is the finished edge at the top of the stockings. The two larger on the right are actually from the sleeves, which I left mostly intact.  I used a pattern for the two on the left, but kind of winged it when I got to the sleeves.  I'm still not sure about the bows... the stockings might be fine without any embellishment.  If I leave the bows, they can be taken off by whoever buys them.  I just don't want them to be a distraction.

It is pretty straight forward to use a pattern and get a stocking cut from the body of the sweater, but it took a little more innovation to get the stockings from the sleeves.  I may have to try to put a tutorial together.  It turned out to be pretty easy, but I had to tweak it a bit from where I started.  Second one always goes faster.

I went to the Goodwill store the other day looking for a couple sweaters for stockings, and if I picked sweaters with a pink tag, they were only $.99.  I went out of the store with an armful.  They filled two washer loads when I got home.  I didn't buy any to wear for myself, but there were some really nice sweaters.  If I don't sell the stockings I get made at this show, I will probably be bringing an armful of sweaters back to Goodwill after the show.  My picture does not really do these justice.  The green yarn has metallic gold through it and the knitted weave is pretty open, so the red felt I used to line these shows through. I figure I should be able to sell these for at least $15, so I could make $60 from one sweater that cost me $.99.  Yes, I have to add the cost of felt, but that adds a minimal amount.  They actually go together pretty quickly, so my time is also at a minimum.

I have a couple other sweater stockings done that are completely different and quite unique.  I am hopeful that sweater stockings will be a good addition to my offerings.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Almost time for Houston

Is anyone getting ready to head to Houston?  This will be my first year and I was not able to find a hotel room close by, so I opted to board a bus with a lot of other quilters in San Antonio and only be at the Quilt Show for the one day this year.  I can get a better feel for just how much time I want to spend there next year, and hopefully be able to make hotel reservations close to the show.

I am participating in a show in two weeks.  I hesitate to call it a craft show because that conjures up a vision of booths and tables.  This is a juried show with only a set number of artisans.  The hall is setup like a gift shop where all the same type of items are displayed together.  There is a Christmas tree where everyone who made ornaments hang them all together.  Jewelry is in one area, and so it goes with all the other categories of items.  This show has been going on for 20 years and it is an annual event for many of the patrons.  People try to get there early on the first day to have their choice of ornaments.  No one who is a participating artisan is limited to what they can sell, but it must be made by that artisan.  I have only been to the show once because I have not lived here that long and was not aware of it until last year.  I was asked to submit my application for consideration... I'm not real sure what I have got myself into.  Hopefully all of the items will be good sellers.  I will be happy if I sell half of what I take there to be sold.  If my husband decides there is something he can make for next year... my membership permits my husband to also create items for sale.  There are several couples that are part of this organization. 

I have done some quilted items, a few stuffed animals, lots of ornaments, several stockings, some toy items, and lots of other miscellaneous creations.  I did some calculating earlier today and at the moment I have over 100 items and I think I'm almost out of steam to start a
nything new at this point.  I may leave it where I'm at and start planning for next year.  Once you are in, it is your decision to opt out for the following year.  For me, the option to do this next year will depend on how well I do this year.  It requires a fair amount of time and effort... I do have to consider that everyone else had almost a whole year to prepare for this upcoming show and I had half that amount of time considering when I knew that I had been voted in.

I am at countdown to the Houston show followed by countdown to OAY (Once a Year).  I'll be very happy when this year's OAY is finished so I can get back to some serious quilting.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

It's good to be home

One week ago today we left on an adventure that we anticipated being a whirlwind, and I want to tell you that it held up to that expectation.  We boarded a plane early Thursday morning and headed to Columbus, Ohio to help facilitate the move of my father-in-law and his wife to Phoenix, Arizona.  We had several family members on hand to help.  The truck was loaded and ready to go by noon on Saturday.  The next phase of the move was for Ron and I to drive the rental truck and my father-in-law's mini-van the 2,000 miles to Phoenix.  They did not ride with us... my brother-in-law flew in to escort them on their flight to Phoenix.  There are actually 4 states represented in this picture.  Ohio, California, Texas and Arizona.  Our journey spanned 4 days... with only two drivers and two vehicles and there was no relief drivers... we had to limit the number of miles we could drive in one day.

 We really didn't go through very many big cities, so our close calls were held to a minimum, as at least 90% of our driving was during daylight hours.

I cannot tell you exactly where we were at this point, but it was in Arizona.  I really got to learn what the back of the rental truck looked like.
The last rest area that we stopped at before arriving at our destination was really quite beautiful with all the rock formations around.  It was pretty close to Benson, Arizona.  I had forgotten that the rocky landscape extended that far south in Arizona.  Goes to show how easy I can forget as I have been across I-10 a few times and I certainly should have remembered all those rocks. 

They really do Micky D's a bit different in Arizona. 

Our flight home yesterday went very smooth.  It is good to be back home and to have Dad and June safely in Phoenix. 

It was alot to accomplish in one week, but determination can get it done.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

What is a recumbent trike?

Have you ever seen a recumbent trike?  My husband has always been an avid bike rider and I tagged along after I entered the picture.  A few years back I talked him into trying out a recumbent bike and we ended up buying two of them because they are so much better on your back, and in my case for my wrists and neck.  Well a couple of years ago I had a close call when I was attempting to turn back towards home... I thought I looked and listened and it was clear, but I pulled almost right in front of a car that had to be in a blind spot when I looked.  Mirrors are very important on a recumbent because you cannot turn to look.  The car missed me with blaring horn and my bike slid sideways so that the tire of the car was literally about 3" from running over the tire of my bike.  I was OK, but I was definitely down and the driver just kept on going.  He disappeared around the bend without even knowing if I got up.

Needless to say, I have been reluctant to ride since   then, and my husband has been missing those outings.  He sometimes rides alone, but it is always nicer to have someone along for the ride.  He is the one that started looking at the trikes.  Now trikes in my mind had been for old ladies, but upon looking at all the pictures and information out there online, I realized that they are for people of all ages and some are really geared for racing and long distance endurance riding.  They give you a much safer ride, you can actually look around much easier and you won't fall over when you stop, so when you want to make a turn you don't have to unclip... you just stop look and then turn. Mirrors are still important on any bike, but being able to look before you make a potentially dangerous move is really a great relief.  Did I mention that I was even able to answer my cell phone while riding along?  I am not a real cell phone person, but I do have one with me usually and wouldn't you know it rang when I was riding and I was able to answer.  That was way cool.

 We jumped right into the bike scene joining an organized ride with a recumbent group out of San Antonio and we rode the Mission Trail for a ways and put in almost 20 miles.  That was two days after the bikes arrived, and after not riding for nearly two years, that was quite an accomplishment for me.  The following week we did a Ride to Remember, which was all bikes, not just recumbents.  I had a "mechanical" issue and we only rode 12 miles that day.  Around the block at home is 3 miles and we do that often... so we are starting to get back into shape.  It takes a while to build up your stamina, but now when the doctor asks if I am getting any regular exercise, I won't have to make any excuses.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Farmer's Wife Sampler is progressing

 As you could see in my last post, I have been working on the blocks for my Farmer's Wife Sampler.  I'm trying to keep my momentum going so it doesn't get pushed into my unfinished category.  There really is alot going on, but it seems I can usually finish a block or two now and then.  Right now I think I am up to 55 blocks done.   My latest three...
I have been enjoying the challenge of making each block unique, totally random from my scrap/stash.  I am not following any particular rule regarding my selection of the pieces.  Each block is an individual palette... I look at the block in the book and go to my scrap/stash to find some pieces that will work together for that specific block.  I made a decision on how I am going to put my blocks together.  I got my inspiration from a layout posted on the Yahoo Group for FWS.  The standard layout has the blocks on point and separated by very narrow strips of sashing.  The layout I am aiming for is in columns of on-point blocks with setting triangles.  The sashing between the columns is a floral border print.  I have not decided on the outside borders yet. I do know that I will not be using all 111 blocks in one quilt.  My current plan is to use only 70 in a queen size layout.  I do hope to finish all 111 blocks, with the second quilt probably being a lap quilt or something similar.

I want to point out that I would not have as many blocks done if I had not bought the CD that loads into my EQ6. It offers a bit more diversity in how to approach this project. I am using all foundation piecing.  I am convinced that there is no other way to do this without losing my mind.  Paper piecing not only helps with the speed of completing the blocks, but also ensures a much more accurate finished block.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

September is almost half gone

It really has been very busy around here... but what's new?  I have not been able to take the time to post anything new here in a while.  Last week we had some excitement on the weather front here in south Texas.  We were getting quite dry and really needing some rain... well we  had rain for a few days in a row, and I think it started Tuesday with a storm that was about as windy as I have seen it here... it took down a tree in the yard next door, and another one in our backyard.  The tree next door was quite a large tree, and it was hollow.

The tree in our back yard was a younger tree, although still pretty good size and quite green, but the soil here is mostly sand and this tree came up by the roots.  There was flooding as close as San Antonio.  I-35 up towards Dallas was closed in both directions for a while on Wednesday I think... due to flooding.  We are somewhat on a hill, so flooding typically is not a concern for us here at our house.

On the quilting front I have been doing some quilting for friends and trying to get some blocks done for my Farmer's Wife Sampler.  I think I am up to 39 blocks now.  I actually have done many more than that, but 39 which can be used as true FWS blocks.  This is a clip from my design board that is dominated by these 6 " blocks.

I joined a group on Yahoo for the Farmer's Wife Sampler that keeps me focused on getting these blocks done.  The group posts a new block each week, which is not in the same order as in the book.  With 111 blocks, if you only do one block a week, it would take more than two years before you would have all the blocks done and able to put together your quilt.  The group started last October, so it is realistic for me to make an effort to catch up.  Many of my UFOs do not have a target date for completion, so they get pushed aside when something new comes along, so having a target to aim for is very helpful.  I'm impressed with how well my blocks are coming along.  I'm doing them by paper piecing and that seems to give me a consistently good result.

Have a good week!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Total change of pace

Before we left for our trip to Colorado, the last quilt I worked on was the quilt that we have been working on at our Monday quilt group at church for several months now.  We were able to get the top all sewn together, complete with the borders.  We had a bit of a discussion about the choices made for the borders, but I think it turned out to be a nice compliment to our scrap quilt.

Our Colorado trip finally happened, and this time we had guests go with us.  Actually they followed us.  We had some rain along the trip in and I was concerned that Cottonwood Pass would be too messy for a safe trip over. I said alot of prayers as we got closer and the rain subsided enough to allow us to go in through Cottonwood.  Beth who was driving the other car was a novice to the mountain passes, and Cottonwood is paved on the Eastern slope, but it is a dirt road without any guardrails on the Western slope.  Beth was OK driving to the summit, but I jumped in the drivers seat for her on the descent into Taylor Park, for which she was very grateful.  Barb was also very happy to have me driving. 

We did not have any big plans for touring, it was intended to be a relaxing getaway.  Ron & I often don't leave the area around the cabin for several days at a time.  Barb & Beth  were in awe of the beautiful mountains and lakes, and the scenery in general.
Mirror Lake was one of the highlights.  Getting to Mirror Lake is not intended for a normal car... the road is pretty rough and very rocky.  Once at the lake, you are surrounded by the beauty.

On our trip down the canyon into Gunnison they were able to see the expanse of Taylor Reservoir.  The reservoir is surrounded by a multitude of breath taking mountain vistas
The opportunity for pictures are everywhere.


Our cabin is situated in the pines where it is not possible to see the sunset very good, so we took the opportunity to drive to the entrance to the sub-division and sit and enjoy the changes in the view as the sun went down.  We didn't get any great shades of red in the setting sun, but we did get a clear meaning of the term "purple mountains majesty".

Hope you enjoyed the pictures.  Now I will have to get back to some serious quilting.