Sunday, March 31, 2019

I Did Not Make This Quilt!

But I wish I did. 

A couple of weeks ago I posted a photo of some houses I was building on my Bernina. They were for a Guild project -- we had been asked to produce these little blocks for quilts to be given to families who had suffered from the recent tornadoes.

This morning our Guild President shared this photo of what the finished flimsies are like. I think it is just terrific and I bet you do, too.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Retreat History

I was away for much of last weekend at quilt retreat. After coming home, I spent some time thinking about how important this experience and this group of women are to  me.

It was in October of 2001 that Bonnie and I were invited to join a mystery quilting weekend in Lancaster County. Helen and Sue and Misty and, I think, somebody else I knew were there as were a half dozen women from Maryland. The weekend was held at The White Oak Bed and Breakfast in Strasburg, a comfortable drive from Intercourse and the fabric stores. Our hosts, Carol and Rob, made us feel so welcome and comfortable. Bonnie and I asked Rob if it would be possible for a group of us to rent the place for a weekend without being part of the mystery group. It was, and we did in the spring of 2002. We've gone twice (and occasionally thrice) each year ever since.

White Oak was a wonderful place, if a bit cramped and crowded. We had to have a minimum of nine participants; sometimes we had as many as thirteen. We all walked around in our socks or bare feet; there were no design walls so we had to lay out projects on the floor and we were constantly treading on gorgeous layouts.

We used to fantasize about being there for a weekend and getting snowed in and having to stay longer than Sunday afternoon . . . .  

One time there was a weekend that wasn't booked and at the last minute Rob issued a call for odds and ends of people from all over to come out and sew together. Helen and Judy and Ruth and I jumped at the chance and were amazed when we got there to find out there were no other takers! Rob made us pancakes on Saturday morning and we took some time away from sewing to watch "Witness" on Saturday night. 

We also made infinity scarves and tote bags that weekend.

At some point we had so many people wanting to participate that we were ready to draw up a waiting list. Then it worked out that we rather neatly split into two groups, the St. Paul's Church group and the St. Paul's Renegades group. One group was a bit better behaved than the other. Bonnie ended up going with the more ladylike group and Helen became my co-organizer. 

One time it actually did snow, and it was very out of season when it happened. The roads were clear enough for us to drive, though, when it was time to leave.

Eventually Rob and Carol retired and the B&B was no more. We found a temporary home at Black Rock retreat center and enjoyed at least a half-dozen getaways there. We had more space, that was true, but there weren't quilts on the beds and while the food was good and abundant, it didn't compare to Carol's cooking. And we couldn't have a glass of wine . . . .

Most recently we've been going to a private home where we do our own meal prep (and have that glass -- or two -- of wine). People have come and gone from our group over the years. The seven of us who make up our current population are very, very comfortable with each other. We've grown used to idiosyncrasies; we know who snores and who can be counted on to help figure out a complicated problem. Sometimes we play old tunes from the 60s and 70s and sing along. Sometimes we dance, but just a little bit. Sometimes we sew in our pajamas and out of fear of stepping on a pin, most of us wear shoes now. We have a couple of big design walls so we don't have projects laid out on the floor most of the time.

I stepped down from Organizer a couple of years ago; now Judy and Helen do the hard work. If we ever have to look for a new location, though, I'll jump right in to be part of that. I wouldn't want this to come to an end. This group means so much to me.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Bright Baby

This was the third and final project I had hoped to finish on retreat. I had it about 1/3 together when I came home. This afternoon after our naps, I went down and resumed work on it. I'm pleased with how it turned out. Those little blocks were from a swap within our group at our last retreat; each finishes at 5". The lattice is 1". It has turned out to be a cute little baby quilt and will be donated to the Baby Bureau when my Circle has its next collection. I should be able to get it tied and bound by the end of April.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Weekend Getaway (Sort of)

The Renegades' semi-annual weekend in Lancaster County started on Thursday afternoon. Four of us gathered then, to be joined by two more twenty-four hours later.

Still recovering from pneumonia and leaving a sickly husband at home, I wasn't sure how much I would accomplish.  I took with me three projects to finish.

This is my quilt that serves as a memory of our trip to Great Britain.  I started making the blocks six months ago and finished them awhile back. I took them along as my main project because our retreat location has a couple of gihugic design walls. There are 900 squares of various Liberty Tana Lawn prints on Kona Snow. This queen quilt will grace our bed this summer. No borders are planned.
This was a beautiful view from our sewing room last evening.

And here are the lemon tree baskets! This one isn't quite finished. It needs two borders, one of which I must order the fabric for. 

But I'm still in love with it. It might end up being called the Pneumonia Quilt.

On Friday evening I spoke with Himself who  had become sicker to the point that he was thinking of going to the doctor. That was how I knew he was really sick. This morning he followed through and texted me that he had a sinus infection and was on a bunch of meds.

Remembering what a fine nurse he had been during the early days of the pneumonia, after lunch today I packed up and drove home to tend to him. The retreat was scheduled to end Sunday mid-day, so I didn't miss a whole lot, and I was pleased with all I had accomplished. 

The six of us had such a good time together and we've already booked the place for six months down the road. We hope our buddy Kathy will be able to join us then. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Nine Baskets

My thirty-six Lemon Tree baskets are finished and I'm no less in love with them that when there were only two. 

I'm fascinated with the concept that there are these different layouts for these blocks. I thought there were two possibilities, i.e., the ones in the corners and the ones in between. Then all at once I discovered a third possibility -- the one in the center!

I will be seeking a pale solid that goes with one of the prints to use for lattice. I'm looking at yardage on line for an outer border. I'm pondering cornerstones.

Oh, and that happy guy at the bottom -- he's a friend of a friend, except the friend doesn't know it yet!

Monday, March 18, 2019

Sunday, March 17, 2019


When I first saw the Trinket Quilt pattern, I thought it was mighty fine. The more I looked at it, the more that feeling persisted. 

Trinket Quilt seems to be the latest rage in the quilt world and I can see why. There's a major quilt-along with prolly thousands of participants, complete with deadlines and prizes. 

Crowds, deadlines, and prizes hold no appeal for me at present. But Trinket Quilt does. So I bought the pattern. It is as precious as I'd anticipated. And look forward to beginning.

Two things, though, must be mentioned.

1. Do not get me wrong: I very much like Alison Glass fabrics. They are the bomb. I've made a couple of projects with them and still have pieces of some. But I do not care for the harshness intensity high contrast of the many bright bright bright fabrics in the cover photo. I delayed purchasing the pattern until I made a different plan.

I have a stack of half-yards of Kona that I bought because I couldn't resist the colors. I've had them for about a year with no perceptible plan but I have taken them out and fondled them from time to time. They are shades of mauve, mulberry, periwinkle, blueberry, rose, oh -- I am sure you get my drift! Together I think of them as Mixed Berry Mousse. And they are what I am going to use for my Trinkets. It will be gorgeous. 

2. Yes, this is the person who a mere four (or so) years ago declared, "I'd rather give a cat a bath than paper piece." Words I should have eaten, though that's not a particularly appealing image. I've come to love the precision and the rhythm of paper piecing. And these tiny motifs will be such fun to assemble. Think of it as bathing kittens.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Mrs. Levitt Hard At Work

Himself noticed some years back that when I am sick with a cold, my coughing decreases when I am at my sewing machine.

So I was there quite a bit this week.

After my last post where I showed my first group of tiny homes, I decided I was sick enough to see a doctor.

It's a good thing I did.

Turns out I have pneumonia.

I'm on a host of medicines and for a few days nothing seemed any different. This morning I woke up feeling as though I might actually live.

My friend Bobbi stopped by this morning to pick up my tiny homes to deliver to Guild. I made 53-2/3 houses. One needs a visit from a roofer.

With the houses finished and the coughing not finished, I was in serious need of a new project. The recent organize-and-destash project had uncovered a package of sixteen tiny samples of Lemon Tree that I had bought last year at the Lancaster Show. I had totally forgotten them.

Yesterday morning I cut most of the elements for 32 eight-inch Simple Flower Baskets. 

I am definitely breaking my own rule about not doing a project just from one line of fabric. And I don't care. I think I'm in love with Lemon Tree.

My devoted sister has cautioned me about the importance of rest and not overdoing. There are times when one really should listen to one's older sister. I hope she understands that basket-weaving is nowhere near as strenuous as house-building!

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Tiny Houses

I have been home from work, sick. This horrible cough-crud struck on Thursday night -- at the Orchestra, no less! -- and hasn't let up for a minute. I spent most of Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday in bed. And it is still going strong.

Yesterday our Guild president posted a project for us to do. It seems that there is a collection underway of tiny little house blocks; the plan is to make a comfort quilt for each of the 23 (or is it 26?) households that lost their homes in the recent tornado. I decided to take a stab at making a couple. A couple led to a few and a few led to a handful and, by gum, it looks like the handful has led to a development. And they take my mind off my misery.

Each little house finishes at 4.5 x 6. Each takes about five whole minutes from start to finish. Himself says they are about the size of a spacious outhouse. 

I am very happy to have this distraction.


Mrs. Levitt

Friday, March 08, 2019

Skulking Around

After Mardi Gras was finished, I still had a fair amount of the fabrics remaining and decided to try to do something with them right away rather than packing them up for some indefinite future time.

I cut the pieces needed for a skulk (thanks, Google!) of foxes and put the first ten together. 

I'm not as smitten with them as I would like to be but maybe you are. I know I'm not going to finish this project and rather than let it languish indefinitely, I'm putting it up for adoption. If you think that you would like to finish it, leave a comment below. In the event of multiple requests, I'll draw a name. 

Update: Foxes and assorted fixings going to Marsha Hunt next time I see her!

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

Mardi Gras

Two and a half weeks ago the quilting circle at my church held its twice-a-year quilt day, when two dozen women gather in Fellowship Hall to work on their individual projects. We begin with a light breakfast, have a serious lunch with deadly desserts around noon, and I don't know when it ends because I usually leave at two o'clock. It is so much fun to wander around and see what everyone is working on.

I started this quilt that day. I had seen a picture someplace of a quilt like this with a white background and I had recently acquired two stacks of Tula FQs that I knew would be just right. I pieced a lot of HSTs that day, and that's as far as I got.

Yesterday it was nearly finished and I thought that since it was Fat Tuesday, "Mardi Gras" would be a good name for it. I was two hours short of finishing yesterday and brought it to completion tonight. But I'm not going to change its name to "Ash Wednesday."

Saturday, March 02, 2019

For a Little Girl

My friend Karla acquired a third grandchild a month or two ago. After two absolutely adorable little boys, she was thrilled to welcome a baby girl. 

I had had a good time making this baby quilt from FQs I had purchased at Finch in Leesburg, Virginia, when we took a trip through that little town on our round-about way to Richmond one time.

I thought Karla needed it for Elle, and Karla, as it turns out, thought so to when I gave it to her tonight. 

There are still finished quilts in a pile waiting for their forever homes. There are flimsies in a different pile waiting to be quilted and bound.

And yet I continue to make more.

Friday, March 01, 2019

Two More Done

It has been awhile since I posted newly completed quilts.

This Dresden Plate was pieced more than six years ago. I assembled the blades by machine, cut the circles for the centers, cut the background blocks and then put everything in a tote. This was my handwork that summer, wherever I was: appliquéing the plates to the backgrounds and then appliquéing the centers.

Once it was all done, it went into a pile of tops to be quilted.

I finally got it to the quilter this year. Now it is bound and tonight it will go to its forever home: a terrific guy who finds he is taking more naps than he used to.

I have mentioned before that I seem to know a lot of people who are in the baby-making business.

This quilt is for someone who is due this month. The parents (my kind of people!) have elected not to learn the gender ahead of time.

I think this happy quilt will be just fine for either a girl or a boy.

I'll be giving it away next week.

I have more in the pile "to be quilted" and am slowly getting them finished, a few each month.

It feels good.