Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Welcome!


For my last most recent birthday, my darling husband sort of sheepishly approached me and said, "I've been thinking about your birthday. And you might not think this is a birthday present kind of thing." He was thinking about a front door.

When we moved into our house nearly seventeen years ago, there were a few things that were not to our hearts' desires. The kitchen had to be redone, and we had fun doing that. Wonderful hardwood floors were covered with hideous shag carpet and the walls with metallic or -- gasp -- flocked wallpaper. We dealt with those things before we even moved in. After a couple of years, Himself built a wonderful deck off of the kitchen. A carpenter came and worked his magic on many of the closet doors, changing them from sliding to opening, with cute little opener-handles. We updated the powder room which had been minty green and brown. The real bathroom is on the list for some cosmetic work in the next year. One year my birthday present was spectacular wooden louvres for the living room windows.

The house was built in the 50s, back when houses were pretty much built to last. It's a good house. But some of its features were so fifties. The most prominent and visible of which was the front door. I've looked for a photo of it, but apparently don't have one. It had three windows, stair-step style. Neither of us liked it. But it was sturdy, it did the job, and replacing it seemed extravagant. Until my most recent birthday.

We didn't rush into anything. We waited, we considered, we shopped. But now, with another birthday looming in the not-too-distant future, I was invited to pick out any door I wanted with any hardware I wanted.

I cannot tell you how smitten I am with my new front door. I posted it on Facebook a little bit ago and my friend Pat immediately said, "So welcoming!" Yes! Yes! Exactly.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

2000

Oh, my! The day has come! Here's the 2000th post since I began my little blogging experiment back on May 2, 2006. It's been quite a ride! I had expected this post would come sometime in December of 2015, and here it is, at last.

It seems that this momentous occasion should call for some profound comment or some magnificent give-away.

So here goes with one of those things:

Every once in a while, I am seized with an inexplicable feeling of absolute joy, a thought of how great my life is, how blessed I am, how fortunate. I had one of those moments today, just out of the blue. I hope each of my readers also has those moments.

And the magnificent give-away? Not today. But it's coming. Stay tuned. And God bless.


Monday, January 25, 2016

Leader-Endering and Crumb-Piecing

I spent much of the blizzardy weekend working on putting this quilt together. As you can see, I'm not done yet! 

I've got all of the rows done (the second one from the top is sitting on the ironing board) and have pressed all of those bazillion seams open.

I don't have a current Leader-Ender project, and I knew that if I started one while working on this that (a) I'd get confused about what was what and (b) the L-E would quickly get too big for its britches and turn into a Real Project. So I decided to use scraps from this quilt to make a pot holder or two as a L-E project. 

A pot holder or two? Ha! There are nine, and prolly one more to come as I put the rows together (a tedious job for me).

Bless dear Bonnie Hunter for dreaming up the L-E and crumb piecing concepts!






Saturday, January 23, 2016

Word Salad

I've joined the Project 48 quilt-along pretty much against my better judgment! I'm not really one to stick with these things that go on and on, bit by bit. This one will last a year, at one block per week. We're currently up to week three, and, by golly, I'm up to date!

The quilt-along -- for those who complete it -- will yield 48 nine-inch finished blocks. I figure if I don't stick it out for the whole thing, I can still make enough for a lap quilt.

I have a small collection of text and letters prints that I've accumulated over the past year without a real plan. So I thought this would be a good use for them.

This is the first block, a basic churn dash. From the comments in the group, I'm thinking many of the participants are beginning quilters. Takes me back to the first swap I was ever in and I was afraid of anything that involved triangles!

Anyway, in light of the text and letters prints, I've decided this quilt will be called Word Salad. With no thanks to a certain someone.


Friday, January 22, 2016

Just Fight Quilt for Ally


A youngster in our community was involved in a serious accident a month ago and has been in the intensive care unit of the children's hospital. The other day she moved to the rehab unit there. Her parents are not working -- they are away from their jobs, spending their days supporting their daughter. The community has rallied to provide a fund to assist the parents during this time and to help with medical costs. The mantra "Just Fight" is everywhere in Near Philadelphia.

Fundraising events are happening and more are planned. I had pieced this top a couple of years ago and recently had the machinist quilt it. I've donated it to the Just Fight fundraising effort for them to raffle.


Shipping Update

If you are waiting on a package from me, don't sit out by your mailbox.

I have not managed to get to the post office yet.

I will go early next week.

Life got in the way.


Monday, January 18, 2016

Kaffe Quilt Leaves Home

I handed this quilt over to my dear daughter and granddaughter tonight. It is the first quilt I made with Kaffe Collective fabrics. I'd collected a dozen or two FQs  and enjoyed fondling, and had no idea what to make from them. Then one day when I was sitting in the chair having my hair cut, all at once I thought "Economy block! Economy block!" and came home and made the first one.

I've done a lot more with Kaffe since then, but I still love this one.

My granddaughter's ballet school owner holds a major tea party event each spring. It is to raise money for breast cancer research. We get dressed up. Some of us wear hats. And there are raffle items. Lots of wonderful ones. Last year I asked if they would like a quilt. They would. So I made one and donated it. The owner was delighted and I promised I'd contribute one each year that Caroline is a student at the ballet school.

Considering the cause, I wanted a quilt that had pink in it. I also wanted a smallish quilt, one that a young dancer like Caroline would like to have. I had a couple of ideas but kept coming back to this Kaffe Economy Block quilt.

I hope it brings in a lot of money. It is such a good cause.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Filling Voids

Lynne, over at Patchery Menagerie, has a terrific post up today. She's showing a layout she's designed for her fascinating bird blocks. It's an irregular lay-out; that is, there aren't the traditional even rows and columns and there aren't even lattices and cornerstones. Rather, there are occasional voids. It will be tricky to put that quilt together and I'm following eagerly to see it happen.

Lynne's birdy quilt got me thinking about the first time I ever tried something like that. It was a long time ago, thirteen years or so, and Andrew had returned from a semester in Australia which had been a marvelous experience for him. Someone was selling Australian prints, some of which were aboriginal designs. I shared the link with Andrew and he said that they definitely reminded him of his time in Oz. And, yes, he would love a quilt made from them.

I didn't know a flying goose from a sitting duck back then. But I knew what kind of stars I wanted and figured out how to create them using HSTs. So they're a little different from regular Sawtooth Stars made with flying geese. I used three or four sizes of geese; perhaps 6, 9, and 12 inches or maybe they were 3, 6, and 9 inches. And I wanted them scattered like stars in the sky, not in tidy rows. I struggled mightily because, of course, I had to insert fabric for the voids. It was hugely challenging. But I persevered.  And finished and hand-tied the quilt.

This quilt is reminiscent of one I finished last year for my niece that had a different kind of star, and I made it according to a pattern so there wasn't the challenge of filling the voids. I made a baby quilt for Aberdeen when she was born and it, too, was made from those HST type stars with an irregular layout. And this is the "recipe" for laying that one out. It's been a little while since I did one of these but I suspect I've not made the last of them.

Oh, and Andrew still has the Australian quilt. We slept under it a couple of weeks ago.


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Tula Gray!

In line with my Hope that in 2016 I will deal seriously with my UFOs, I was delighted to discover -- on a friend's Pinterest board -- a setting that will work with the blocks I made a couple of winters ago after receiving Tula Pink's City Sampler book as a Christmas gift. Initially I had planned to follow one of the book's layouts (I had made one of every single block in the book out of black, gray, and white fabrics), and then decided I wasn't really crazy about that design.

I spent much of yesterday auditioning which blocks to use, laying them out, and making the QSTs and HSTs to complete the setting. The lightest gray HSTs adjacent to the corners are yet to be made (I bought the fabric today -- everything else was already on hand!). Then I'll assemble the rows and columns and decide about a border (opinions solicited). No designated recipient for this project as yet, but I suspect someone will want it!

And I suppose there really are at least fifty shades. But I'm not counting.


Monday, January 11, 2016

Spring Baskets: A Flimsy and Give-Away Update

Spring Baskets is a flimsy! I'm happy with how it turned out. You can click to enlarge it if you like.

Spring Baskets will be going to the machinist sometime in the next couple of weeks. The binding will be strips from the various hand-dyes.

This quilt will be donated to the school for autistic children where I work three mornings each week. They hold a fund raiser in April, usually, and the quilt will be one of the tombola items.

I haven't been to the post office yet, despite my best intentions. A lot of other things jumped on my calendar.

Sandy Johnson, Leland, and Kathy Boehm, please email me your snail mail addresses so I can send your patterns off to you when I do make that post office run

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Spring Baskets AND Stuff for Grabs


Some weeks back, my buddy Julie sent me some gorgeous cool hand-dyes and I used some of them for the backgrounds on these baskets. They're all up on the Wall now, with their lattices. Cornerstones and setting triangles have yet to be cut. It's no secret than I'm not real crazy about on-point-with-lattice settings, but, y'know, the more of them you do, the easier less terror-inducing they become. 

I'm thinking this quilt will get to the machinist by February and I'll have abundant time to bind it before its due date. The autistic school has a fund-raiser each spring, and among the ways to help are raffle baskets. I like to donate a quilt each year for this purpose. The first year it was a baby quilt and last year it was a snuggle quilt. This is another snuggle-size quilt and I think it sings of early spring, which is when the fund-raiser will be held.

A sort of mini-purge mode continues here. I've unearthed some patterns that I don't need. 

One group is Kid Stuff. From that group I did, in fact, make a version of the transportation theme quilt and my grandson loves it. I always thought I'd get to those bugs and the ark, but perhaps now you will. 

If you want Kid Stuff, leave a comment below


The second group is Grown Up Stuff. You can click on the photo (and the Kid Stuff photo, too) to make it larger. The Midnight Sun was shared with me by a friend, and it isn't my kind of project. I had thought My Secret Garden was something I was going to make; I bought it from dear Millie Chirbuck who was one of my favorite vendors at Lancaster for many years. But I'm not going to make it. And the third pattern, well, I've no idea where or why I acquired it. If you want Grown Up Stuff, leave a comment below.

Post Office day is Friday morning, so don't dilly-dally if you want one of these groups!

Monday, January 04, 2016

Hoping to Share!

Back during my Civil War period, I subscribed to a series of mini quilts and actually made at least one of them. There are three complete kits left and I know I'm never going to make these projects, adorable as they are. If you would like to have one and really believe that you will make it, please leave me a comment below. I'll sort through and determine who gets which. The kit is a gift; if you are inclined to supply five dollars to help with postage, that's great. If not, I still want these really sweet kits to find good homes. Let me know within a day or two which one appeals to you!

Each kit contains fine quality fabric for top, back, and binding; also a full-color picture of the finished project and complete instructions that are very clear and written in a folksy tone of voice. They came from the Fat Quarter Shop; if that means anything to you, you'll know they are very nice indeed.

UPDATE: Thank you, thank you, for making this so easy! Chooky Blue gets Next Door Neighbor, VickiRoma gets Prairie Huswyfe, and Synthia -- I'll be sending you The Quilting Gathering. Please email me with your mailing addresses, and I'll get to the post office by the end of the week!

The Quilting Gathering. Finishes at 22-1/4 x 27-1/2.

Prairie Huswyfe. Finishes at 27-3/4 x 27-3/4.

Next Door Neighbor. Finishes at 36 x 42.



Saturday, January 02, 2016

Hope

Since writing yesterday about not selecting a word for the year and not posting resolutions but rather just sharing a handful of hopes about my quilting, I've come to believe I'm onto something. I thought about what hope really means and how believing that things can change more or less compels the one who is hoping to become a part of that change.

So I'm going to try a word for the year this year. A word to live with, to experience, and to color my days.

I have vivid memories of the spring of 2008 when I worked on the Obama campaign for the Pennsylvania primary. I loved working in that crowded, disorganized little office, surrounded by young people who were determined to be part of the change they hoped for. Our passwords for accessing the data base were all variations of "hopechange." We hoped and we believed and we worked and there was change.

I'd kind of lost sight of the power of hope.

There's a spirit of hope in my Near Philadelphia community right now. This is manifest in two ways.

Nearly a month ago a little girl was involved in a tragic accident and has been fighting for her life. But she's not alone. Beyond her parents and grandparents and brother, our little town and the towns nearby have joined the effort. Fund-raising, prayer, messages of encouragement have flooded the special Facebook site devoted to this child's situation. I live in a good place, but never before have I seen the community come together with such passion. Ally is our little girl, and our town is determined and filled with hope, with all kinds of people doing their bit to effect change for her.

Not quite two months ago, someone read a book and was filled with hope for our community. As I said, it has always been a good place to live, but this lady was determined to make it an especially good place to live. She spoke to some people from her church and then nearby churches and brought a group together to plan. Another Facebook page emerged as people began to share kindnesses they'd experienced and kindnesses they'd performed. People became inspired and went out of their way to be thoughtful, gracious, and kind to one another. Kids from the schools are getting involved. A group is forming at the library to study and discuss the book. People are being kinder, I think, because they believe kindness is contagious and that things can change; they are filled with hope.

I am fortunate to live where I do. I am fortunate to see the power of hope at work. I am very, very happy to be part of these efforts.

Hope. That is my word for 2016.


Friday, January 01, 2016

Happy New Year 2016

Y'know, I've never been a big New Year's person. I've always felt that making New Year's Resolutions was a set-up for failure, and that the middle of winter was a dumb time for a new beginning. September 1 or Labor Day always felt more like a new year.

A lot of bloggers seem to have enjoyed choosing a single word as their guide for a new year, and I haven't ever done that. I think I'd prolly quickly forget what that word was!

All of this being said, it is hard not to get in the spirit of goals that prevails right about now. I'm thinking that "hopes" is a safer, more reasonable, more realistic word for me than "resolutions" or "goals." So, to that end, I've wrapped my mind around a few hopes for my quilting in the year ahead:


  • I hope not to buy a lot of fabric. I have acquired a great deal of background fabric and it should be fun to see what shows up on these backgrounds.
  • I hope to look at the UFOs and deal with them. Surely at least one could be finished and donated as a raffle quilt somewhere -- just because a quilt isn't to my particular taste doesn't mean that someone else might not love it. There might be a UFO that one of my besties would be interested in finishing. There might be a UFO that could turn into a blog give-away. It would feel so good to end 2016 without a stack of UFOs!
  • For a long time I've wanted to make an Improved Nine Patch quilt. I hope this will be the year for that.
  • Finally, I hope to begin to plan 2016 Christmas gifts early and get to work on them early. This year I had planned a couple of aprons and tote bags for gifts and didn't get to them. So I plan to make my gift grid very soon and map out a schedule for sewn gifts.
How do you deal with the New Year? Resolutions? Goals? Hopes? Focus Word?