Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Polar Vortex: Progress!

Remember when during the horrors of winter snow and ice storms I came across a FQ bundle that I'd bought years ago and set aside? and I had seen a block that I liked and wanted to make? and I made a slew of those blocks and called them Polar Vortex because of the ice storm?

Of course you remember.

After I got Bars of Bill together, I put the PV blocks up on the wall and interspersed the cornerstones. Then I cut a bunch of lattice and started putting it together.

Here's where it is so far, and I like it. I have three borders planned, and will get to them before too long. Because a dear friend's son is engaged and will be needing a wedding gift . . . .

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Bars of Bill

The first project that I worked on during our recent retreat was this one. Several months ago I had seen a quilt somewhere on the internet (believe me, if I knew where I certainly would give credit!) and figured out how it was made. I had a laundry basket full of William Morris and thought I could make a nice big quilt of this design and use up most of the Bill.

I was right and I was wrong.

I made a nice big quilt. There is still plenty of Bill in the basket.

I made a bazillion bars blocks and a lot of nine-patch blocks and bull's eye blocks and put them all in a nice box and set it aside, knowing that when I went on retreat I would have a big enough space to lay it out. I started on Thursday after dinner and worked a couple of hours, getting it all laid out right (with input from dear Helen and others) and sewed a couple of rows before retiring for the night. The next day I started in right after breakfast (scrambled eggs with a bit of cheese, yum yum) and by mid-afternoon, it was all together.

I like it a lot. More important, Himself likes it a lot. Which is good, because I intend it for our bed!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Black (and White and Gray) Rock Retreat!

Oh, what fun we had! An even dozen of us, nine regulars, two from Northeast Ohio and one from the Midwest, gathered at Black Rock for our second quilting retreat at that location. Half of us arrived on Thursday evening and the other half on Friday, just in time for a non-wine and cheese party.

Kathy had had the brilliant idea that we should swap 12" blocks, all stars, made only from black, white, and gray fabrics. The name of the swap was "Retro TV Stars." I wanted more than a 12-block quilt, so I made 13 more . . . .

Aren't they fantastic? The photo should enlarge if you click on it, and you'll see a couple of genuine retro TV stars, i.e., in block 2B you'll find Lucy and block 4D holds the Three Stooges! I was so excited when I found those fabrics that I made little gift baggies for each participant; along with cuts of Lucy and the Stooges, I gave each one a spool of gray thread; thought they might need that for assembling their tops. I've come up with a lay-out for mine (with a lot of help from my friends) and have one row all together. Will be resuming this work shortly . . . .

Black Rock is a spectacular site for a retreat. Meals are served cafeteria style. Beds are comfortable. The grounds are gorgeous and amenable to Fitbit users (yup, I put down a lot of steps, some by hiking the trails and many others by going back and forth between the cutting table, Bernina, ironing board, and design wall). There are other groups sharing the facility, and members tend to drop in on us to see what we are doing. If we listen carefully in the corridor, we can sometimes hear their singing. We had a marvelous time.

And it is only about six months until we return!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Where, O Where?

Lori, over at Humble Quilts, generously organized a doll quilt swap made from CW fabrics. The finished project had to be quilted and bound and be not more than 24". I have accomplished all of those requirements.

My little doll quilt is ready to go in the mail and I have a trip to the post office planned for this week.

Someone, somewhere, is going to receive this doll quilt. I hope she likes it.

Friday, April 18, 2014

How's It Going?

It's going great!

My plan to use the dreaded FQ Shop BOM project as a leader-ender while I make Tula Pink bitty blocks out of Rowan/Westminster fabrics, that is.

On the right you can see some of the approximately 4,260,329 lattice strips (well, perhaps not quite that many) that I'll need for that BOM. And on the left are the wonderful little blocks that I've made thus far. I'm pretty smitten with the little blocks. And they're making the other project tolerable. I'm working backward through the book, starting with block #100. So I have 88 yet to make. I wonder if I'll be done those lattices by then.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Saying Goodbye

My sweet niece is a wonderful person, the kind of person everyone wants for a friend and she has a bazillion friends. She keeps her friends, too, and tends them like a beautiful garden. When she moves on -- from a school or a job or a whatever -- unlike most of us, the friendships she has made there continue. Her Facebook page is plastered with a bazillion names, some of which I remember from her grade-school days. When I'm with her, which isn't often enough, her conversation is full of references to this person or that person, and while often I'm not sure exactly who she is referring to, I nod, and smile, and go along with her because I know the person she is telling me about is one lucky person: he or she has Susan for a friend.

About four or so years ago I started hearing one name often enough that I could remember and keep track. The name was that of a long-time friend, perhaps going back to high school. And this woman had the misfortune of having been stricken with an unusual and difficult-to-treat cancer. A cancer of the appendix. She went in and out of several hospitals, even traveling out of state to a place where her disease was better known and understood. Susan was right there, providing love, support and prayer, going to Maryland to visit. There were times when the belief was that the disease may be conquered, and times when the prognosis was less optimistic.

And now, seemingly all at once, it is nearly over. Her friend is on hospice care, with a matter of a few days remanning. Last night Susan went to visit for one last time.

How does one do it? Visit someone, knowing you are saying goodbye for ever, knowing that she will die very, very soon?

I remember so clearly saying "goodbye" to my uncle, a kind and generous man with a ready laugh, the last time he came to my house for dinner before moving across the country. We stood in the hall, both of us having trouble letting the evening end, both of us knowing we would never see each other again. It was so hard. And Elmer wasn't dying; he was moving to be close to his daughter and her family, who could spend more time and care for him better than I could.

My niece is very much on my mind, in my heart today. And my eyes fill up with tears when I try to imagine what she is feeling, when I try to think about how she was able to make that visit.

Soon Susan will have a bazillion-minus-one friends. And I hope they will be there for her. The way she has always been for them.

Sunday, April 13, 2014


Out of nowhere, it seems, the idea came to me.

The idea about how to get the dreaded FQ Shop UFO finished.

I'm going to turn it into a Leader-Ender project!!!!

The next step is to begin to make the lattices.

So I'm going to start new project! I had been thinking that those wonderful Tula Pink blocks would be fun in Kaffe Collective fabrics.  Don't you agree? Of course you do.

Sure, it will drag out the process. But look at the fun I'll have on the Tula-Kaffes!

Stay tuned.

Friday, April 11, 2014


I had mentioned earlier that I had uncovered a UFO, a BOM from 2009 and had resumed work. It is hard to be motivated by a project that I don't particularly like. There are a lot of really nifty blocks, and one of the things I like about the FQ Shop BOMs is that their directions for these complicated blocks are simple and clear. What looks as though it is going to be a huge challenge is broken down into easy steps, and the blocks get made with no heartbreak or confusion.

The other thing I like so much about FQ Shop BOMs is the generosity of fabric. There is usually enough left over from a block to make another block of some sort (though I have not done this). I have let these left-overs accumulate and if I ever finish when the project is finished, we'll see what becomes of them.

That center medallion was fun to make. It is 24 inches, and will be surrounded by the 12 inch blocks along with some interesting lattice.

I know full well that just because a project is not to my taste, that doesn't mean that it isn't a pretty quilt. Surely someone will be delighted by it someday. If I had a destination in mind, I might be motivated to finish it more quickly (because last night I worked on something entirely different!), but that is not the case. And even more inhibiting, in another box, is yet another FQ Shop BOM that isn't anywhere near as far along!

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Louisiana Times Twenty

I mentioned a few posts back that I'd joined a KFC block swap through Facebook. I believe there are twenty participants. My blocks are all made. I will keep one for myself and send 19 away.

After I cleared these Louisianas off my wall, I looked at the UFO list and picked out one close to the bottom. It is the 2009 Fat Quarter Shop Designer Mystery Quilt. When I opened up the box, I was happy to find that twelve blocks are finished! I was unhappy to behold my piecing skill level from 2009 -- many of them are kind of wonky. There's a finishing kit -- a center medallion of a sort of triple rising star and a lattice that seems to place small stars at the cornerstones. I've started on the center medallion and, by gum, I'm going to see this project through even though I am not at all crazy about it. I've learned that sometimes once they are complete I like them better.

Unfortunately, I believe there is another year's Fat Quarter Shop Designer Mystery Quilt to tackle at some point.

My objection to both of these projects is that they violate the No One Line Of Fabric Pledge that I took awhile back.

But they aren't going to finish themselves, now, are they?

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Spring, Near Philadelphia

Well, I may have written earlier that the woman down the street -- the one with the three daughters -- delivered a little boy week before last. I went down to take him his blue star quilt and was invited to hold him. He is a wonderful baby with a very solemn look and seemed to have a mild manner.

Similarly, the gal who has the three little boys delivered  Kate Elizabeth prematurely. Baby is home from hospital now and I need to go deliver her quilt, pictured at left.

The two moms actually know each other and are equally pleased with how this all worked out.

In other news, all of our under-the-deck birdhouses are occupied and there seems to be a turf war over the most desirable house. A couple of our daffodils have bloomed. I took off the flannel sheets. This weekend I am putting away my heavy sweaters.

A month or so ago, irritated beyond endurance with the HP laptop, I bought a MacBook Air along with a year's worth of one-on-one tutoring. I like it very much and have learned to do a few things on it. I keep a notepad by the chair and write down questions and take them along to my tutoring sessions.

Another task: Going through all of my blog posts and applying labels as appropriate. This will make it easier for me to locate a specific post. I'm more than half-way through this job and it has been interesting to look back at posts written years and years ago (there are nearly 1750 of them!). I believe that when I finish, I should celebrate with some sort of a give-away. Don't you agree?

Finally, I've discovered OneNote and am busily getting settled there. So I'm about as busy as the sparrows these days. And loving it.