Sunday, May 31, 2015

First Fancy Fox Quilt

I picked up five quilts from the machinist a couple of weeks ago and have been binding away. My son-in-law needs a baby quilt for a colleague and he thought this one would be good since they don't know the baby's gender. It's not the finest photo of the first fancy foxes, but it will do. I love the paw prints quilting design.

Planning a photo session for the other four quilts sometime soon. Meanwhile, the machinist now has another three to do. They'll be ready early in July.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Spiralized R Us

Ordinarily, I'm not one of the first people to acquire a new thing on the market. We waited for a couple of years before getting microwave, VCR, cable TV, etc., and I think I was the last person on the face of the earth to get a cell phone. We just don't feel the urgency when these new things happen. And on the few occasions that we did acquire early, we were less excited about the purchase than we thought we'd be, once the transaction was complete. I had to have that red quesadilla maker and I used in a whole half dozen times before it went to the shelf for a couple of years and then to the rummage sale. And there was some gizmo back in the Palm Pilot days, a gizmo that would allow handwritten notes to show up on the device. Never did get the hang of it.

But this time -- oh, THIS time -- I'm the first person I know to have taken the bait, and I am enchanted.

I bought my Spiralizer a couple of weeks ago. The super deluxe four-blade model from Williams Sonoma. I didn't buy the cookbook they pushed on me, and I've not regretted that a bit. Pinterest has been my friend, along with my own imagination.

They day I brought it home, I spiralized cooked beets and made a gorgeous salad with them, some arugula, walnuts and nice white goat cheese crumbles. Spiralized pears and zucchini made a bed for a sliced strawberry salad (light poppyseed dressing). Even Himself got into the act, spiralizing sweet potato fries one night. Remember the classic carrot/raisin/crushed pineapple salad? It's gorgeous with spiralized carrots.

The darned thing is well-designed, compact, has four blades, is easy to clean, dishwasher friendly, and takes up only a little space. My understanding that the idea is to make "noodles" from zucchini and use them in place of pasta. I haven't done that. I don't foresee doing that. But I'm so glad I got this gadget. I laugh with delight each time I use it.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Time Out

It's one of those times when a lot is wrong and not a whole lot is right.

The cough continues.

A friend was suddenly hospitalized with a scary diagnosis; she's home now and doing well. But still.

Another friend was hospitalized and then sent home and then back in with only possibilities and no definite diagnosis. Scary.

And yesterday I received very upsetting news about a friend who does not live nearby.

In the small change department, I followed instructions in a recent issue of "Block" for some Dresden Plate placemats. I carefully fussy-cut the plate centers according to the size prescribed. Yup. They are too small and I'm out of the fussy-cut fabric, so will have to make larger, more mundane centers. A minor annoyance. But not what I'm up for just now.

I realized this morning that I'm in a time out blogwise, and am just going to let that continue for a bit. Until things settle down.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Alive (Barely!)

It struck a week ago. On Tuesday, I wasn't feeling 100% and since we had dinner guests coming, I left work a bit early. Dinner was a pot luck and I'd wisely opted for paper plates and dining on the deck, so the work was minimal. But once the guests were gone and the dishes done, I realized I was, in fact, sick. Head felt huge and bloggy. Called in sick for work on Wednesday and haven't been back since.

It was nose and head and froat for a couple of days and then on Friday The Cough commenced. We had tickets for a concert and decided to give it a try; I made it partway through the first piece and the coughing fit forced me into the lobby where I stayed for the rest of the first half. When Joe joined me, we decided to head home. The Cough continues, being horrible and night and horrible-minus at other times. It's been a few years since I had this, and I'm thankful for that.

I've slept a lot (when the cough will permit it) during the day, consumed drugs, tea and water, and complained without ceasing.

Yet it prevails.

I did pick up five quilts from the machines, machined the binding on all of them, trimmed the excess on all of them, and have the hand-stitching on the first one 3/4 finished. I've been reading -- finished a very thought-provoking book and started another. I've watched TV. And waited for it to end.

But it hasn't yet.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Relatively Speaking

Wait a minute! Didn't I just post this picture a week or so ago? Well, yes. But I'm posting it again because (a) the pattern has arrived and (b) there's a little story to tell. And, due to the complexity (12 complicated pieced blocks, 20 appliqué units), this project is going to be around for a long time.

First, someone asked about the pattern. I found it at Needles and Pins, located somewhere in Oz. I want to give an unsolicited shout-out to Kaye, who was lovely to work with. She sent the pattern very quickly. It wasn't inexpensive -- $25 American plus postage from Australia -- but considering the intricacy of the pattern, that doesn't seem really out of line price-wise. I wandered around Kaye's site a bit and, friends, if complicated patterns are your thing, you'd think you'd died and gone to heaven. 

Now for the story. When I was sixteen years old, this truly wonderful thing happened to me. I became an aunt! The year before my small family had been halved. My sister got married and moved to a different state (not terribly far, but still) and my father died very suddenly. It was just me and my mother left at home, and that was the least favorable combination among the four of us.

Anyway, in April of that year, my niece, Susan, was born, and she's been a blessing to me ever since. Joe and I lived far away during most of her and her sister's growing up years, but the connections remained strong, and when Susan graduated high school, I told her to stop calling me "Aunt Nancy" because I wasn't old enough to have such a grown-up person for a niece. She then proceeded to always introduce me to her friends -- of which there were countless -- as "My Relative, Nancy." From time to time I'll find a greeting card "To A Wonderful Relative" that I'll send her. When I posted the previous picture of The Aunts' Quilt, Susan opined, "If you're going to make that, you'll have to call it The Relative's Quilt." She's right.

I'm going to make it. I'm not going to use Gina Gregory's color scheme. I'd like to use my regular blue-purple-green-rose scheme, but those scraps are depleting quickly. I'm thinking of starting with a bag of scraps I came by from my friend Pat -- all citrusy colors -- I think that would be fun and make a bright quilt, but I'm afraid that the whole time I was making it I'd feel as though I was wearing someone else's clothes.

Writing this, the solution has become obvious: Purchase more fabric! In purples and blues and greens and mauves and roses. Thank you for helping me reach this conclusion.

Friday, May 08, 2015

It Sure Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time

Well, the quilt that was called "Some Pig" while it was in progress is now a full-fledged flimsy. It measures 36" by 36".

It felt as though it took as long to pull the paper pieces off the back as it did to piece the blocks.

I told my friend Rosita that I'd make a baby girl quilt for the Oktoberfest this fall. I'll ask her if this would be a good choice or if she would like something more traditional.

I like the quilt well enough but have become no fonder of the process, particularly pulling of the 30,493,601 pieces of paper.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Quick Little Baby Quilt

I found the original quilt on Pinterest and saved it, knowing someday I'd have to do it. There was a larger version, in grey rather than dusty blue, and I printed it out but don't know the source any more.

The other day I had a urge to do something quick that involved grey and brights. I remembered the wonky triangles quilt and put it together over the past few days.

It's going in the pile of neutral gender baby quilts. I think I'll hand quilt it.

You should be able to make the photo larger by clicking on it.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Black Rock, Spring, 2015

Eight of us spent an ultra-long weekend at Black Rock recently and had such a wonderful time.

The retreat center itself is lovely. The sleeping rooms are comfortable. The work room is large and well-lit with wall space for us to hang design walls. Tables are plentiful, food is abundant and tasty, and if we tire of sewing (who, us?) there are beautiful hiking trails. Even the drive out to Quarryville is bucolic. Gene was having an impressive sale, so on the way out to the retreat, I stopped and bought navy, gold, and silver fabric -- everything I needed for my major project.

I started cutting the very first night, beginning with the fabrics for the largest stars. Got them finished and then began the medium-size ones. And so forth.

And it was a flimsy well before it was time to come home!

Monday, May 04, 2015

May 4, 1970

Never forget.

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Black and White Retro TV Stars

Kathy and Tony were married yesterday. Here is their quilt. May they be as happy as we have been!

Saturday, May 02, 2015

9 Years! 1900 posts!

Today is my blog-anniversary! And -- by pure coincidence -- this is post 1901! It would seem as though by the end of this blog-year I will have 2000 posts!

Jubilation! Celebration!

I paused and went back and read over posts from my first year of blogging. What a world has been opened to me! What lovely people I have "met" and actually met over these nine years!

Just sitting here beaming with pleasure this morning! I am so glad I gave in to that odd little urge to attempt a blog.

Now, just what is that photo to the left? What new madness is this?

Someone posted a picture of this quilt to Pinterest. Or maybe it was on Facebook. Or on a blog. I honestly can't remember.  I followed the link, though,  and ended up at Thimbleanna's blog. And it turns out that a whole tribe of quilters are working on this amazing quilt. Why wasn't I told? How did this escape me?

We are going to be doing some traveling later this year, and the one thing I missed when we took our recent trip to the Caribbean was some hand sewing. There was a knitter aboard the ship and she was turning out baby hats a dime a dozen. I did a lot of reading, but my fingers were itching for stitching.

So I looked for the pattern. The designer is an Australian and the shop where she works carries carried the pattern.

Google to the rescue! It's been ordered! It will be here sometime. Perhaps in time for me to pick out fabrics and prep a block before we next travel to Virginia. My new official "traveling project" for however long and however many trips it takes.

I don't do "regular" applique apart from center circles on Dresden Plates. But I do do and love to do hand buttonhole stitch appliqué. And I think that will work for these gorgeous blocks. My blog-anniversary present to me!