Friday, March 25, 2016

Introducing: The SSOBB!

When I was a kid, we played outside. Especially in the woods. We built forts. We formed clubs, the main purpose of which was to exclude others. We tried to become "blood sisters" but lost our nerve when we actually got ahold of a razor blade. We invented secret societies but they were so secret that we quickly forgot what we/they were about. We talked about secret handshakes but never quite figured out how or why to do it. But -- oh! -- how I wished I could be part of a secret society!

Then I grew up. And read The DaVinci Code. And that need almost went away. Almost. It went back to dormancy.

Then, when I would have least expected, came the invitation -- a real invitation -- to join a secret society!!!! This was back in December of 2014. I was thrilled. Not just by the realization of my long-held dream, but by the nature of the society itself! Shall I tell you more?

I shall. But just a bit. The Full Reveal comes in a few weeks.

My blog buddy Julie, made a quilt a few years back. It was a masterpiece of a quilt. It was called "See Rock City" and was composed of a dozen free-pieced barns. And a couple of years ago, I saw it, up close and personal. I thought it was just spectacular. Apparently lots of other folks thought so too, because Julie ended up with a book offer!

And that's where the invitation came from. Because it seemed that Julie needed a dozen or so diverse beings who would be willing to read her directions for free-piecing barns, and attempt it for themselves. And so the Secret Society of Barn Builders was formed. We worked together-but-separately for six months, sharing ideas, input, and -- of course -- fabric. Some of us had free-pieced previously; I was a total newbie and at times wondered just what I had gotten myself into.  But Joe and the SSOBB members cheered me on, and in due time I had actually built a barn!

Now, I imagine you think I am being a great big tease for telling you this much and not sharing my barn. But my purpose was to whet your appetite. Take a minute and scroll down my blog until you see the SSOBB logo, and click on it, why don't you? That will take you to the book's web page. Publication is coming up soon, and after that I'll be back with a picture of my barn and more of the story.

Meanwhile, the SSOBB continues. We don't have regular meetings and we don't wear distinctive funny hats. In fact, most of us have never met in person. Therefore, we've made zero progress on developing a secret handshake. (I knew you were wondering about that.) But there's a great likelihood that our barns will appear together at a show sometime later this year, and won't it be fun if some of us get to meet up?

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Night Night

At the March guild meeting last night, some of us turned in our Project Night Night quilts. A month or so ago, a group of members cut fabrics into 5" squares and grouped them for distribution. Those who participated received a packet of 36 squares; we were to assemble, add borders, quilt and bind. I chose to add seven bright orange squares to mine so it would be a little bigger.

Ordinarily I would reach for girly sorts of fabrics, but this time I took the packet that had the minions in it. It was a lot of fun putting this together and gave me a chance to practice my machine quilting.

Project Night Night serves homeless individuals and provides for little ones a tote bag that contains a blankie, a stuffed animal, and a book. If you think you or your group might want to get involved in helping this worthwhile organization, you can read about it here.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Chatty Geese

Continuing to stay pretty much on schedule with the Project 48 blocks. Certainly the geese are not intimidating in the least! I had fun with this block.

It is a good thing I had finished a couple of small quilts for babies and kids. We've been watching the new season of House of Cards in the evenings and binding these little quilts is perfect handwork for TV.

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Here's the Question

Well, apart from Sunday, we've spent our evenings since Friday watching Season Four of House of Cards. And there have been more than a few moments where the hair on my arms stood up! The show is, as they say, brilliant. If ever two people deserved each other . . . .

We struggle our way to sleep after the nightly episodes and by breakfast are ready to discuss.

At lunch today, Himself asked, "Do you think that for some people the reason they don't like Hillary is that they somehow connect her with Claire?"

I think he might be onto something.

Sunday, March 06, 2016

Project 9/48

Yesterday a group of us went out to Lancaster County to shop for fabric at Burkholder's. I had misread the coupon Gene had sent out earlier. I saw 28% off and planned a trip. After three others had committed, I noticed that the 28% off was only for two specific lines of fabric. Oh, well. I needed some baby size batts and Gene's batt prices are good, and a day out with girlfriends is a a good day.

So off we went. I picked up a couple more text/letters/numbers prints for my Project 48 as well as fabric for the borders and back of Tula Gray. Sometime this month I hope to get Tula bordered and off to the machinist. Also scheduled to get quilted this month is Gato Limpio. So I'm sticking with my hope to finish UFOs.

Here's a picture of the nine blocks I've completed for Project 48. I'm pleased to be up to date, and pleased as well with the blocks thus far. I doubt I'll get all 48 into one quilt. My present plan is to try for 25 of them using these texty fabrics and some lattice, and then to use some other fabric type for the remaining blocks and a different small quilt. We'll see. It's been fun thus far and I'm pleased to have kept current.

Saturday, March 05, 2016

Duck Duck GOOSE!

There they are, all 600 geese plus 40 extra! I want to have a little variety available when I lay out the blind man, so I made four extra strips of ten.

I don't know how long it has taken, but suffice it to say I dream about making geese.

Today I packed up the 25 blind man blocks, the 36 cornerstone blocks, and the 32 strips of geese into a box. They'll have to stay there for a month and a half.

My design wall is bigger than many (at the risk of sounding like He Who Must Not Be Mentioned), but it is insufficient for a project that is about 93 inches high and wide. When we go to Black Rock, I'll have plenty of space to lay everything out and then have the fun of moving things around until it is just perfect. Plus I'll have five expert opinionated movers and shakers to assist.

One thing I've tried to keep up with while producing geese is the Project 48 commitment. Each Thursday night the coordinators post the block for that week. The blocks finish at nine inches, and as I mentioned previously, I'm using a variety of text, letters, and numbers prints to make them. At the end of the year participants will have 48 different blocks.

Each month so far has focused on a particular quilting element. January was nine-patch variations. February was half-square triangles. I wondered what March would bring and I guess I shouldn't have been surprised!

Friday, March 04, 2016

A Growing Gaggle

What? You're tired of looking at pictures of geese? You are? Well, there are still at least 100 to go.

I make twenty at a time. If I try to make more than two batches per day, my accuracy suffers.

I need 600 for the project. But I'm planning on actually making 640 so I have more flexibility.

My besties and I are going to Black Rock at the end of April and that is when/where the assembly of the Blind Man is scheduled. So I have plenty of time to complete the gaggle.

Today I'm going to take a goose break. I have last week's Project 48 block unmade and now they newest one is demanding attention.

It's not like those geese are going to fly south if I take a day away from them.

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

The Hope of Spring

Remember the old original Dr. Zhivago movie? Every now and I get a yearning to see it again. Usually around this time of year, to be specific. The song, "Somewhere My Love" contains the line "although the snow covers the hope of spring." I've always loved that. Spring isn't visible, but it's there, down under the snow. We had big snow a couple of weeks ago, and when it melted, there were the tips of the daffodils peeking up through the ground. They've a ways to go before blooming. But still. There are crocus here and there and snowdrops. We've put in our time with the cold and the wind and the snow. We're ready for spring. And right now what we get is the hope of spring. I'll take it.

My late friend Marilyn sent me a box of bright scraps. Beach-theme scraps. I thought of my young friend who has adopted a baby boy. Her mom, my good friend, has a house at the Jersey Shore, and the new little family will be spending the summer there. I thought that TJ needed a quilt for the shore house. I'd gotten it mostly together and then it set on the shelf until a week or so ago we had a dinner invitation from the owner of the shore house and I took the quilt along to give her then.  Fabric with beach chairs and sunglasses and flip-flops. Beyond spring, the hope of summer!

Early last week I was sick with a dreadful gastrointestinal virus. It really took the wind out of my sails for several days. Himself fixed jello. I sipped on herbal tea. I slept and slept and slept. And I got better.

Another friend stopped by and brought a small potted plan. It wasn't blooming on the day she delivered it.

But the next day it began to show itself. And in another day or two we had beautiful tulips.

The hope of spring.