Thursday, January 29, 2009

Here, Kitty, Kitty, Kitty

I realized this week I never showed you the pin cushion I received in the ECQG Christmas exchange. This kitty cushion was made by Barb C. who I have enjoyed working with for years. I decided that I would use some embroidery floss and stitch it to my ironing board. Now I always have a pin cushion handy when I'm there, and when it's in the way, I just let it hang off the side.

Pretty cute, huh?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Revelation, A Confession, and a Commitment

I was at a LQS this week and saw this block of month pattern (The Queen and Her Court) and had the fabrics been even slightly interesting to me, I would have signed up for it. And then it dawned on me, I don't have time for these things if I want ANY time at all to create my own work.

In looking at the quilts I've worked on in the past year or so, there have been three block of the month projects, three blocks exchanges (with a fourth coming up), some old UFOs mostly started in classes, some baby quilts and table runners. In all honesty, the table runners were where I expressed my creativity the most.

It's true that I never put blocks together in the way that the block of the month designer intended, but really, I'm not growing and doing the kind of work I want to do because I'm too busy putting together blocks someone else planned for me. So here it is. Yes, I did sign up for "My True Love" block of the month at Tiny Stitches, but that's it. I'm not doing this anymore. I'm going to seek do projects that will stretch my creativity and skill. I've still got a few of the big UFOs I'm trying to finish, but that will be done this year. I'm not going to start any more UFOs designed by someone else, period.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Another Mystery

My friend Pam, from ECQG and Piecemakers, made this quilt top in a mystery class with Billie Lauder. Isn't it pretty? I've been collecting fabrics that range from cream through caramel, to coffee, and chocolate. (Sounds yummy, no?) I know someday I'm going to make a quilt (although in truth, I now have enough fabrics to make a few quilts) that works in this color range. It might even be scrappy, although I don't do scrappy as a rule.

I've come a long way to love this color selection. Years ago I made a scrappy beige and taupe (and some browns) quilt to match my someone's interior design plan for his home. I named it "Five letter words ending in 'E' are not colors". I'm starting to see the end of the tunnel of UFO's I've been climbing out of. Perhaps then I can start looking at what I will do with these beautiful fabrics.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

My New Cutting Board

I don't think I mentioned this to you before, but hubby gave me a mega cutting mat for Christmas. Someday I will have a dedicated cutting table and this will cover it nicely, in the meantime, it is the perfect size for covering either my dining room or kitchen tables. I LOVE it. He gave it to me rolled up pretty tight in a long box. Getting it unrolled in the first place was interesting. It's been lying out with coffee table books on it for about a week now, and it's finally relaxed enough to use, although it might be a bit of time before it's truly flat.

I'm a patient woman. Good things come to those who wait.

Monday, January 19, 2009

More From the Mountains

I showed you my quilt top and Joyce's, but here are some pictures of tops made by other folks at the quilt retreat. I know the blue and white one belongs to Melinda, but beyond that I am lost. I was really surprised to see that whether people used soft colors or bold, modern or vintage replica prints, this quilt was successful as long as there was good contrast.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Doesn't She Look Guilty?

Joyce was the murderer!

The retreat was great fun. I wish I had taken a picture of the sun setting over the mountains that first night, because the weather was awful the next few days. Melinda has a lovely picture on her blog, check it out!

There was a murder mystery, along with a mystery quilt project. We had many chances to figure out who the murderer was as we sewed our clues together, but I am no good at catching the subtle clues. I rallied hard, trying to raise an election to make me the murderer, and I think we all had great fun with it, but Melinda stood firm that the murderer had already been chosen and there was no way to know if I had been selected without solving the mystery. Obviously, it wasn't me.

On Saturday afternoon I had finished my mystery blocks and went off into the hall and tried to imagine what the final solution might be. (We wouldn't be getting the final clues until Sunday morning.) I was close, but not correct. Here's the layout that was planned. I like it better, there was too much emphasis on purple in my solution!

I still think there might be too much purple. I've got the top sewn together, there are two more borders called for, but I've put it on hold for a couple of weeks. I want to look at it with a fresh eye and see what I think at that point. (And goodness knows I have enough other irons in the fire to deal with!)

Honestly, I think my favorite part was getting to spend three uninterrupted days with my friend. (I dunno if she feels the same way. She might be sick of me!) But it was all great. I got the Ramblin' Rose blocks undone from their failed sashing, and got some good thinking time to consider how to move forward. I also traced the pattern for another of my blackwork blocks, and I got to spend some time being good to myself. I finished the book "Water for Elephants" which was wonderful. So it was an enormously productive weekend. I wish all my quilting friends had been there. Maetha told us on Sunday that Tiny Stitches had already reserved the same weekend for next year. I'm looking forward to going again!

Tropical Storm

Many years ago, when we were still newyweds hubby fell in love with stack and whack quilts. They were not (and still aren't) my favorite pattern, and I told him that if he wanted one, he'd better sign up for a class and make one because it was WAAAAYYYYY the heck at the bottom of my list. (Before you get on me about this, please understand that at that time, I was working on a queen size mainer's compass medallion quilt for him.)

So you know what he did? He took himself down to the LQS and signed us both up for a stack and whack quilt, and then we went shopping. He chose a wild tropical print, and I chose a soft colored large floral print. His background was kona cotton black, mine was a white printed with pale green. He made a HUGE number of blocks, I made a moderate number of blocks. His got sewn into a quilt top that is king size, mine got sewn into a queen size top.

Last year, in the big UFO cleanout, I came across these two tops again. We sat down together with my friend Melinda who agreed to custom quilt his top. They talked at length about what kind of motifs were desirable and what we would need to buy in way of backing and batting. It took me a long time to get around to placing the required orders and getting the pieces to Melinda, but she did take them off my hands and on Christmas eve, she delivered the quilt to me in a secret meeting, because hubby did not know that the deed had been done. Of course it was not bound, but he was pleased, nonetheless to see the beautiful work that Melidna had done, and to realize that his quilt was all but finished.

And what has happened with my quilt top? Well. I hated the setting. So I took it apart. I removed all the borders and sashing, and squared up the blocks again. They are sitting in a neat stack in the fabric room waiting for their turn on my design wall. Now that I've taken "Ramblin' Rose" down, I will get them up soon. And so begins the process, again, of choosing a setting. I can't wait.

A Confession: I'm Enjoying a Lazy Week

As I told you I went on retreat with a group from Tiny Stitches, and it was wonderful, but it exhausted me. So I've taken a lazy few days to recover. I've managed to get some quilting done and stay on top of my other responsibilities, but blogging fell by the wayside.

I have a bunch of pictures to download and lots of things to write about, and I will, maybe even tomorrow. I just wanted to let you know that I didn't get lost in the mountains.

Friday, January 9, 2009

A Confession: I'm Starting a New UFO

I've been pretty determined to finish up old UFO's and not start new ones. When looking through quilting magazines I've had to fight the inner voice in me that says "I want to make that". There are certain things, "Princeton-Plainsboro", "Briner's Picnic", "Ramblin' Rose" and my old stack and whack top that got pulled apart to be a pile of blocks again, that I REALLY want to finish before starting another UFO. (By the way, I think of these projects as the "Big Four". It used to be the "Big Six" but I finished the two largest of them in time to give for Christmas gifts. Hooray!)

So why, if I'm so eager to finish these projects, so determined to not start new UFOs are you looking a pretty stack of fabric waiting to become a UFO? Because I'm going on a retreat hosted by my favorite LQS Tiny Stitches. I have known that I was going on this retreat for months. AND I knew that the retreat was featuring a mystery quilt project that I might enjoy. Even still, I was sure I wasn't going to take on a new project. I was going to take UFOs with me and finish some things while I was there. I was NOT going to do the mystery quilt during this weekend. NO. I was going to collect the clues and wait and make the quilt after I finished the Big Four.

All my cutting homework is finished:

I confess, I had a moment of weakness. Not an ordinary moment of weakness. The kind of moment of weakness, that when God gives you the opportunity to walk away from your temptation... you don't do it. Then he gives you another chance, and you still press forward. That kind of moment of weakness. So here I am. Loving the fact that I have such beautiful fabric to work with, and excited as all get out about going on retreat in beautiful Amicalola Falls, and not the least bit sorry that I have fallen for the seductive power of the UFO.

Melinda tells me that it won't have to be a UFO for long, because we'll actually finish the quilt top while we're there, and that I'll even have time to work on other projects. Hmmm. Yep. That's just enough justification for me.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Big Day

Today is the big day. Not the REALLY big day, that will be at the end of the month. But it's big enough. In a few hours I will chair the first meeting of the 2009 ECQG Executive Committee Chairs. These are some impressive women. Some of them have quilted longer than I have been an adult. Many of them have belonged to this guild longer than I have been a mother. In fact, for years I have said I would not stand for president in this group because I lack the gravitas that comes from being older and/or more established in the community. But the truth is, I love this guild. I love these women, and I really wanted to serve in whatever way the outgoing board required, so I was happy to be a vice president for Melinda and now president this year. (I PROMISE! After this year is over I am duct taping my hands to my belt so I can't raise them to volunteer, again.)

So I'm a little nervous, a little proud, and very eager to learn what the coming year will be. I have a great Executive Committee to work with, many of these women volunteered to work alongside me in spite of very busy schedules of their own, and I am honored. I'm VERY pleased that someone I have liked and admired for several years is going to be my vice president. You'll be hearing more about Pat in the months to come, I feel certain. We have mucked through some trenches together, and now we are hoping to ride smoothy down the road toward our quilt show in September.

So... if you think of me today, say a prayer for me that the grace I have been given will be abundant and evident to all.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

I Love My Gators


Tomorrow night my beloved Florida will take the field (and hopefully the championship) against Oklahoma.  Maybe you're not a football fan, but if you are let me know, how did your team fare this year?  And if, by chance, you are also a Gator fan, well then, join me in a rousing chorus of "Orange and Blue

Two Bits!
Four Bits!
Six Bits!
A Dollar!
All For Gators, Stand Up and HOLLER!!!!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Ramblin' Rose is Crying

Grrr. I started to put Ramblin' Rose together yesterday, and although I was sure I had measured and trimmed up my blocks way back when I finished them (Hello.... January of 2008?) the sashing doesn't line up properly. I've got a ton of frogging to do. (RIp-it, rip-it.) and then I need to take another look at the blocks and figure out what to do with them. Perhaps I'll abandon my first idea and do some kind of irish chain blocks in between Marti's blocks.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Monthly Accounting

Kay opening "Blush and Bashful" on Christmas morning:

December accounting:

-Four Owl Pincushions
-Seven "Tote Along" Grocery Bags
-Binding for "Blush and Bashful"
-Quilted and bound victorian sampler quilt (and shipped to New England, on time)

Made Progress:
-Sandwiched "Princeton Plainsboro" (2007 Piecemaker's house quilt project)
-Continued to applique center for 2008 Piecemakers' exchange quilt
-Made the tops of 3 table runners for Christmas gifts. (My dear friends opened their boxes, laughed with me and graciously handed them back so I could finish them!)
-Continued to stitch on blackwork blocks, but won't be done anytime soon!

Left Untouched:
-Sandwich, quilt and bind "Briner's Picnic"
-Finish piecing the top for "Ramblin' Rose"

In January:
-This weekend I want to get "Ramblin' Rose" pieced together so i can start work designing the border.
-I need to finish quilting the 3 table runners I made as Christmas gifts.
-Bind and make a few little adjustments to "Tropical Storm".
-Quilt and Bind "Princeton Plainsboro" (finally)
-Get started on Piecemaker's 2009 exchange blocks
-My first UFO project has already been selected... more details to come!

Friday, January 2, 2009

ECQG 2009 Programs

We have a number of interesting speakers coming to guild this year:

Jan - Kathy Kansier
Feb - Norah McMeeking
April - Jane Balshaw
May - Cindy Blackberg
Sept - Ruth Powers
Oct - Linda Fiedler

You can check out our website at to learn more details about the workshops being offered and see what's going on at the guild.