Sunday, March 30, 2008

Home Again

I took a few (!) hand sewing projects with me when I spent the week with my mom.

She looked a little askance at this thing as I rolled it into her apartment at the retirement community, but this cart is the best thing I've found for hauling around a lot of little things--much better than multiple tote bags slipping off my shoulders. It's even big enough to hold my featherweight when I go to classes or retreats. It folds up into a neat little box about the size of the Complete Organ Music of Bach on LP but weighs much less.

I did get some things accomplished.

-Made about 20 more Brave New World units--all that I had fabric cut for.
-Started hand quilting an owl panel that I bought last year. Got about a third of it done.
-Made 6 (yes, you read it right!) DJ blocks

On the Dear Jane front I had a breakthrough, of sorts. One of the reasons I wanted to make a DJ was that I thought if I pushed myself to try new techniques I might actually learn how to do them. Techniques like applique, which I have tried in the past and always struggled with.

This week, for some reason, it suddenly began working for me. I did three applique blocks. No cursing. No shrieking. No shredded fabric. I actually began looking through the patterns in the book (all eleventy thousand of them) to find more applique to work on.

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I see that while I was away, everybody else was very busy. I'm going to spend the next few days catching up on your posts and replying to comments on mine.

Have a great week.

Monday, March 24, 2008

March UFO Done!

I finished the turning twenty of a different sort last night. All in all I'm pretty happy with it--I wish I could have spread out the colors a bit more; there was a distinct tendency for certain colors to pool. But, this is certainly more lively than the poor dead thing I had on my hands last summer. See this post for the story.

I'm just happy that this is out of my UFO corner and on my finished list. The photo doesn't do justice to the colors or the richness of the fabrics. I'll be really happy to use this as a throw over the futon once I get it quilted.

That white on the grass? Snow! Just when we thought we were over winter we got another little dusting last night. Still, the daffodils are beginning to bloom and I have even seem some forsythia bushes beginning to flower out, so I know that spring is nearly here.

This week is my spring break and I'm going to be staying with my mom for a few days. I'm taking a few little hand sewing projects and lots of Dear Jane stuff. Maybe I'll actually get some DJ blocks done. If you haven't already seen this blog, check it out. Anina is hosting a Dear Jane sew along, including tutorials on making the blocks. If you've ever thought of trying a Dear Jane you've still got time to catch up with her group. The tutorials are great.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Re-Turning Twenty

I am up to my elbows in slashed and resewn turning twenty blocks. I have all of them sewn, now I just need to square them up and sew them together.

It's a gray, cold Saturday outside, so I'm just chugging along getting this together.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Monday Mop-up

Not much quilting this weekend.

The Destination Imagination tournament which got snowed out last Saturday was held this weekend. Hundreds of very excited children from all over southern Indiana converged at a local college to present their creative solutions to the challenges they have been working on for months. They have built structures intended to hold weights, made scenery and props, planned skits, done research into their areas, and, in general, worked very hard. Saturday was their day to shine.

Our team did an exceptional job and placed second in their challenge! This gives them the chance to go on to the state tournament in April. This is the first team from our school that has placed so high at tournament, and I am very proud of them and their accomplishments.

Then I kind of needed Sunday to recover from Saturday, if you know what I mean.

But, waiting for me all weekend was this package from The Stitching Post. I ordered the blue polka dot for the border for the serendipity quilt. It's part of the Eleanor Burns Magic Vine fabric collection. I also couldn't resist the Magic Vine charm pack--2 pieces of each of the fabrics from the line. A friend bought one of these at the last quilt retreat I attended; they are perfect for baby quilts. I will be needing those: two friends are having babies this summer.

A comment in my post about the serendipity quilt made me realize that I had been remiss in mentioning where I got the pattern. It is from Sara Nephew's new (to me) book Doubledipity: More Serendipity Quilts. If you like the original Serendipity book, this one is even better with tons and TONS of ideas on using kaleidoscope blocks. The blocks are not as complicated to make as they may appear, and there are NO y-seams, which seems to scare off some.

Hopefully, I'll be able to slide right through this week into next, which is Spring Break around here. Even the weather is cooperating a little bit. I have actually seen some sun today.

I almost forgot--Happy St. Patrick's Day! I had to pin a construction paper shamrock to my red Destination Imagination red t-shirt today lest I get pinched.

Have a great week everyone!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


I've been tagged by Shelina for this You Make My Day Award.

Shelina made my day!

Blogging is such a continual wonder for me. I love this idea of sharing ideas and bits of our lives with others around the world. Shelina probably doesn't realize this, but hers is one of the first blogs I began reading.

For other great blogs, just take a look at my blogroll on the left--each one has a unique perspective on quilting, crafting, knitting, or just life in general.

There are some, though, that I would like to call your attention to:

Marlene's Journal--Marlene's blog is a new read for me. Just check out her Dear Jane blocks--beautiful!

Quiltdivajulie at Me & My Quilts--Julie is participating in the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative. She's got some beautiful things on her blog.

Quilt Otaku--She uses lots of Japanese fabric in her quilts.

Simply Quilted--A fellow Hoosier

thee handworks
--beautiful quilts, beautiful photographs

I know I don't comment as much as I should, but I look forward to new posts on all of your blogs.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

About a UFO

Last summer I decided to make a turning twenty quilt. I was in the midst of hand quilting a rather large baby quilt and I was also handpiecing a fun but rather fussy project. I imagined a project with long straight seams and no points to match would be a kind of relief to work on.

I bought the Turning Twenty book. I bought some beautiful fabric. And I decided ahead of time to limit the color palette, since I thought the fabric was so beautiful I wanted it to take the center stage, rather than the pattern block.

I cut, I sewed, I was....underwhelmed.

The blocks, when put together were just sort of blah. I rearranged. Still blah, now rapidly turning into blech. Re-rearrange. Still blech. No matter what I did, the thing would not be right.

I was really disappointed, and I was mad at myself because what had started out as a simple no-brainer kind of project had turned into what looked to me like a giant waste of time and, I might add, a great deal of fabric. I still loved the fabric--and I seriously considered taking the whole thing apart and just doing something else with it.

But I didn't. I just put the whole mess in a bag and stuck it in the corner of my sewing room unofficially designated as the UFO corner.

Then, this January my guild started a UFO finishing challenge. We picked out 12 UFO's, decided on what we could reasonably accomplish in a month on each one, then promised to do it or pay up small fee dedicated to buying fabric and materials for charity quilts. I put my turning twenty on my list (WAY down on my list).

Well, this month the TT's number came up and I took out the blocks to see what I could do. Sitting in a corner for six months hadn't improved it. Still blah, still blech. Then it occurred to me that the reason I didn't like it was that the blocks were too large. There was just too much of everything. It also occurred to me that since the blocks are asymmetrical it might be interesting to see what kinds of shapes I would get if I cross-cut each block. I tried folding blocks and sticking them up on the wall to see what would happen.

And then I saw it. With an asymmetrical block like this, if you cut each block diagonally BOTH ways, the four quarters are ALL different. Instead of big puddles of color that just sit there and don't move, I could recombine the blocks and have surprising little splashes of color here and there.

So, I have been cutting and cutting. This TT project is getting more and more enjoyable. There are all sorts of possibilities in joining the finished blocks together.

Stay tuned. I need to finish this before the end of the month!

Monday, March 10, 2008


Traveling through blogland this weekend, I came across lots of posts about pin cushions. This got me thinking about mine, and I managed to round up most of the ones I've been using lately.

The poor tomato has long lost its strawberry. I have no idea how old this one is, but I have a feeling it's been around the block a few times. I think it turned up in a bag of fabric someone gave me a few years back.

The flower one is from a pattern from Quiltmaker magazine. I'm pretty sure I made it that year, so I've had it a good ten years. It's probably time to make another one. I've linked to the pattern in case anyone would like it.

The one in front is from a pattern I got at my LQS. It fits over your finger and it really comes in handy for hand-sewing. (You just have to be really careful not to stab yourself with pins or needles while you're wearing it!) I haven't seen it anywhere else, but it's really easy to make.

All the pictures of pincushions got me thinking, and I checked out some web sites with pincushion patterns.

These are my two new little ones. The round one is from a great tutorial on whip up. The square one is really the same thing, I just used a small four patch sewn to a plain square for the body.

It's really nice to have some fresh new ones. It's also really nice to have a project that can be finished in just a few minutes.

Believe it or not, our 12 inches of snow have all but disappeared with the 50 degree temperatures today. I think spring might actually be arriving here in southern Indiana.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Snowed-in Saturday

And the snow is still coming down.

This was supposed to be the day we presented our team challenge at the Destination Imagination tournament, something we've been working toward since last November. (See this post from last year for details.) The foot of snow we've gotten has changed all that. The tournament has been postponed until next Saturday (Quilter's Day Out, unfortunately). I'm actually a little relieved because our team has missed so many practices due to bad weather and illnesses that we could use some more time to get ready.

The crawl of other canceled events across the TV this morning is like a window into the busy lives we live. Basketball games, pancake breakfasts, Special Olympics events, charity auctions, scholarship meetings...all of these have come to a dead stop, at least for a few hours.

Meanwhile, outside the snow continues to fall in big puffy flakes, and with it comes something rare in our suburban area. Silence. The plows have been by a couple of times but very few people are out on the roads this morning.

Later, of course, all that will change. We'll begin digging out the driveway. The four wheel drive boys will strut their stuff up and down the street. Life will return to normal.

But, just for this morning I'm enjoying the white stuff, the quiet, and the prospect of spending the afternoon finishing up this little quilt.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Snow (Again)

I'll be the first to admit that we do not handle snow well here in southern Indiana. Even with just a prediction of snow, parents call into school wanting to know if we're going to have an early release, grocery stores are overrun with people madly buying up all the milk and bread in sight, and breathless TV reporters stand on street corners and offer dire warnings about the soon-to-become icy streets.

Just imagine what it's like when we have what the meteorologists call a significant snow event.

Well, we're in for the big one this weekend. Predictions have gone from 4 inches to 4 -8 inches, to 8 -12 inches, and are now at 12 - 14 inches.

It's another snow day for us. The fifth one this year.

What's a quilter to do with a guilt-free Friday off?

Hmmmm. I do have a few projects to work on.

This one is another serendipity block. I've just fallen in love with how these go together, maybe because there's a little mystery involved. You don't really know how they're going to look until they're put together. Then, when you put together the central block there is the fun of trying different fabrics for the parts that go around the center.

Anyway, I'm going to pour another cup of coffee and see about getting another block or two done this afternoon.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Still Here, Still Quilting

Okay, now, so where was I? Oh yes, the last you heard from me I was just about to step into the maelstrom that this school year was to become. Has become? Not too sure of the correct verb tense here.

This year has just been crazy busy, crazy stressful. Crazy, crazy, crazy.

Two weeks ago I was filling out midterm progress reports for one of my students when I noticed the teacher had written "third quarter" on the top. Third quarter? THIRD quarter? Surely that couldn't be right. We're already in the third quarter? When did that happen?

So, before the rest of the year slips away, I thought I'd better get back to blogging--because I did miss it. I miss writing about what I've been doing and I miss reading about what everyone else in Blogland has been doing.

This quilt is one that I worked on last year and actually got hand quilted this past summer. Pieced and quilted in the same calendar year, quite a new concept for me! Many of you will recognize it as the Pineapple Blossom design from Bonnie at This was a lot of fun to piece. And to quilt. Just the right size to put in a small quilting hoop and work on during those long summer evenings. (Remember those? ) The little pinwheels around the border are made from the parts that get cut off as you sew the blocks. I liked the idea of carrying them outside the blocks into the borders.

I showed it in a quilt show this fall--not to be judged, just to be exhibited. (I promise you that the sides are straight; it was just hung rather awkwardly at the quilt show, even though it had a hanging sleeve. The little doohicky in the bottom right corner is our quilt guild's badge.) It now belongs to my great niece in Iowa. I think it's just the thing for a little girl.

I've actually got some other projects that I've been working on this fall and winter, but I'll save those for another post.