Monday, August 31, 2009

What's on My Design Wall Monday

Last night my husband fixed dinner (chicken on the rotisserie on our gas grill), and because I was still in sewing mode and had the extra time, I worked for a while on this long term project. A while back I had cut lots of strips for a log cabin border that didn't work out. I kept all the strips thinking that I might use them for another log cabin or a rail fence quilt.

Now this isn't as organized or efficient as Bonnie's leaders/enders, but whenever I have a leftover piece of fabric I've been cutting off a 1 1/2 inch strip, piecing the strips into threes, then cutting them into 3 1/2 inch squares. Some weeks I don't do any, other times I might make three or four. I've accumulated quite a bit, and I keep them in a shoebox under my sewing table.

A couple of weeks ago I was looking for something to take to my Friday night sewing group and when I accidentally kicked that shoebox, I thought, why not?

I have about 150 squares so far and, as you can see, I've still got a lot of strips that have been sitting around waiting to be pieced. I try to find strips that are approximately equal length so I don't waste too much.

This probably will only yield a throw size quilt, but now seems like the right time to move on with this.

You can check out what others are working on this week by visiting Judy's blog. It's also a great way to find new blog friends and find some inspiration for your quilts.

So what are YOU working on?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Done At Last!

It's been hard to find any sewing time this week. The beginning of the school year is busy. And it seems to be taking a while for me to adjust to going to bed early (i.e. 10 p.m.) and getting up at the crack of dawn (i.e. 6 a.m.) after a summer of sleeping in. I am in no way a morning person so my snooze alarm has been getting thwacked quite a bit this week. By Friday night I was just plain exhausted.

I rested up yesterday and today I finally got to the sewing room to put the borders on the Quiltalong nine patch. I really wanted to get this to the flimsy stage so I could move on to some other projects. I don't know why this was such an issue with me; I've left plenty of other UFO's in the lurch to begin new things, but anyway, I did push myself to get it done. And I did.

I'm really pleased with the way this came out. It's such a happy looking little quilt. I was able to use quite a lot of odds and ends from the scrap baskets, although I did fill in with a few fat quarters I bought in order to give it some variety. I'd like to back it with some yellow fabric like some of the older scrap quilts I've seen.

At first I thought I would just tie it, but I've decided to go ahead and take it to the longarmer for some all-over quilting. Baptist fan maybe?

Many thanks to amandajean for hosting the quiltalong this summer. It was lots of fun to participate. She has already started round 2, if you're interested.

I spent the rest of the afternoon trimming the Blooming nine patch and sewing on the binding. Now I need to hand sew it down and that will be done. I'm not sure where this new-found dedication to finishing projects is coming from, but it's nice to have a few things in the "done" column rather than sitting around in piles in the sewing room.

The blue and white quilt came back from the longarmer this week looking really good. I should start working on binding it, but hey, I don't want to go too far with this finishing business. I've got a couple of projects in mind and I don't know how much longer I can keep myself from starting something new.

Going back to work also means less time on the computer, so I am very behind in reading blog posts and replying to comments. I hope to get caught up soon!

Monday, August 24, 2009

What's On My Design Wall? Something Different

We had a wonderful time at our weekend mini-retreat. There was lots of laughing, sewing, good eating, and fun. It's nice to be able to get away from real life for a while.

The nine patch is put together, except for the border, but it is too big to hang on the design wall, so I've put up my Provence star blocks.

I love this star design. The plan so far is to set them with plain setting squares of the same green as the background of the squares, so that they look like flowers (or stars) in a field. I need to get a few more done before I can tell if that plan will work out. I had bought a little extra green earlier in the year, but this weekend I bought more, so I think I'll have enough to do what I want.

I also found some more of the white. I had been running very low on that, so finding it means I can make many more stars. I also found some more of a blue in the same line last week, so I think the borders will be taken care of. At this point I have seven complete stars, but I can make many more.

This afternoon I learned of the death of an old friend and fellow guild member, not unexpected, but sad nonetheless.

Instead of sewing tonight I pulled out a simple stockinette sock I've been working on sporadically. There is something very calming about the simple rhythm of knitting round and round. Unfortunately, as you can see in the picture, I dropped a stitch five or six rows back, so I've frogged as much as I've knitted tonight. I just find it better to keep my hands busy.

You can check out what lots of other bloggers have on their design wall by checking out Judy's blog.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Heading Out

This was our first full week of school, so I'm feeling a little discombobulated. After a layabout summer it takes some adjustment to get used to rising early and putting in a full day's work again.

Two good things this week: I got my Blooming Nine Patch back from the longarmer and I FINALLY got the quiltalong nine patch top put together (except for the border, a minor technicality). No pictures yet, but they're coming soon.

This morning I'm heading out for a mini-retreat with my weekly sewing group. This is the one that takes place in the quilting shop that has an apartment on the second floor. If you've ever fantasized about living in a quilt shop, then this retreat is for you. We sew in the shop's classroom all day, then sleep under their beautiful quilts in the apartment all night.

I'm taking along my new Kaffe Fassett fabrics to make a bag, my Provence eight-pointed stars, my current hand quilting project, and some knitting. Is that enough for a 24 hour retreat? I'm just about packed up and getting ready to head out the door.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Design Wall Monday

I had a great weekend.

There were several errand-type things I thought I would have to do on Saturday, but it turned out that I didn't, so I had a whole precious day all to myself. I spent a couple of hours in the morning sewing and I got a lot done on the nine patch. The piece above is three of the strips sewn together. The picture below shows the four other strips. Three of the strips are complete, so I only have one more strip to do! Well, that and assembling the last four strips and sewing them to the first part. But still! Progress!

Saturday afternoon I went over to the Big City to check out the Kaffe Fassett selection at the quilt shop because that's what I want to use for a bag I'm planning to make at next weekend's mini-retreat. I spent a very pleasant hour putting together a red-rose-brown collection for my bag.

An extra bonus for me was that I found some more Prairie Paisley AND some Sunflowers of Provence fabric while I was browsing through the store. Both of these are becoming very hard to find, and I still feel that I need more of each to finish working on those two quilts which I have been neglecting for the last month.

You can check out what others have on their design walls this Monday by checking out Judy's blog.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Duck, Duck, Goose

Near the retirement community where my father lives is a man-made pond which serves as a basin to catch rainwater and prevent flooding in the area. It is home to a large population of Canada geese and these mallard ducks. The population has grown so large over the past few years that it spills out toward the retirement community and a nearby shopping center.

Just across the street from the pond is a large field where, I assume, at least some of the ducks and geese have nested. The tricky thing is that this is a pretty high traffic area, and the birds often cross the road leading their babies back and forth to the pond. When that happens, all traffic screeches to halt to let them cross.

It reminds me of a book that I loved when I was a kid, Make Way for Ducklings, by Robert McCloskey. It tells the story of a mother duck and her ducklings who stop traffic in Boston on their way to the pond in the Public Garden. When we visited the Boston last year we saw the bronze statue of Mrs. Mallard and her ducklings right next to the pond in the Public Garden. If you haven't come across this book, check it out. It's a great story.

Of course, by this time of year, our ducklings are pretty grown up. It's hard to tell the juveniles from the adults just by looking, but the adults are still pretty protective of their offspring.

The reason I stopped and took the picture was that I saw a pair of geese that looked different than the rest. They were black and white, but they were too shy to let me take their picture, so I guess I'll have to check out the pond again.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Design Wall Monday

Not much has changed on the design wall this week, I'm afraid. Cleaning up after the storm and setting up my classroom took up most of my time. But I put together two more strips, so now I have three out of seven done. It's getting there, slowly. I am determined to get this one together before I start a new project--and oh, I am dying to start something new.

Maybe next week?

Check out Judy's blog to see what everyone else has on their design walls this week.

More heavy thunderstorms are moving through the area after the hottest day we've had so far this summer. The stand pipe is already set up so we can rest easy tonight.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Along came the sun and dried up all the rain...

...although as you can imagine, the sun shining on all that saturated ground makes things pretty steamy around here. It turns out that we got TWICE the average August MONTHLY rainfall in about an hour and a half. Apparently three weather fronts all met over the metro area and decided to stop and chat for a while.

Things are pretty much back to normal. I mopped the basement with a bleach solution. Twice. Now when the air conditioning kicks on it smells a bit like a swimming pool. Not too bad, all things considered. I was going to throw away the sheets we used to divert the overflow into the sump pump (blech!), but instead I tossed them in the washer with hot water and a cup of bleach. Twice. They actually came out clean. The shoes we wore to wade through the water also got the bleach and hot water treatment. After drying in the sun for a few days they also seem to be okay.

Aside from cleanup duties I haven't been doing too much sewing this week. This morning I cut the gold material for this test block for the Provence stars. Not the best sewing job, but the pieces are the right size, so I'm going to go ahead and cut the fabric for the stars I have finished. It is hard to get these to come out square because of all the little pieces. They are a LOT more fiddly than six-pointed stars. I have only done six so far, but I've got lots of diamonds cut out and I'll continue to piece stars as long as the fabric holds out. I've got a couple of setting ideas that I want to try out.

School starts up again next week, so posting may be sparse for a while. The first few weeks are always exhausting; I don't anticipate being able to get a whole lot of sewing done. But some friends and I have planned another mini-retreat in two weeks, so I have that to look forward to.

Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Flash Flood

I woke up this morning about 8:30 to a massive thunderstorm. Wind, lightning, hail, and lots and lots of rain. The weather service figures we got between 3 and 5 inches of rain in about an hour and a half.

By 9:30 you can see what it looked like in our front yard. The plastic garbage bag above came floating down the street along with someone's recycling bin spilling plastic bottles and other assorted junk.

This is the worst flooding I've ever seen on our street. As we watched the water rise, we hurried to the basement because when the storm sewers stop up, the water backs up into our basement. We have a stand pipe to put into the floor drain, but the drain pipe for the set tub next to our washer was gushing water. My husband (the hero!) was able to lift off the set tub and plug the top of the pipe and we set up a levee made of old sheets to try to direct the overflowing water toward the sump pump.

That's me standing in the street trying to unplug the storm sewer with a broom handle. It wasn't blocked up that badly; it's just that there was just too much water.

By noon the waters had receded.

Things are much worse around the metropolitan area. They are advising people to stay off the roads because so many of them are flooded and there are power outages all over the place.

Hopefully, this rain will let up soon. If not, we've still got the canoe in the backyard...


Monday, August 3, 2009

Design Wall Monday

I was able to work on this for a little while this afternoon. If you look really carefully at the picture you'll be able to see that I have the first row on the left sewn together. I decided to use lattice and cornerstones rather than long strips the way Amandajean did in her quilt. There will be a bright fabric cornerstone at each block intersection. I had some squares left over, but not nearly enough to put a border around the whole thing, so I will just finish it off with a simple white border.

My progress has been slow. Glacial, even. Last week I couldn't seem to get to my sewing room, and I'm afraid this week won't be much better. I need to put a few hours each day at school getting my classroom set up and I've got several other obligations to take care of.

The hand quilting on the Mexican Star quilt is also coming along rather slowly. I try to get a little done each night, but I haven't reached the point where I feel like I've achieved any kind of rhythm with it yet.

I'm simply itching to start something else from my long to-do list, but I'm holding back until I have most of the hand quilting done. The Mexican Star quilt is supposed to be in a quilt show at the end of September and I would really like to have it finished with time to spare.

I really appreciate Judy's hosting of the What's on Your Design Wall Monday. Check out what everyone else is working on by clicking on the link.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Saturday Post

Believe it or not, here in southern Indiana we are getting ready to head back to school. School for us begins during the second week of August. School registration was this past week and some teachers have already been in to start setting up their classrooms.

Somehow I didn't put a single stitch in a piece of fabric this week. And instead of working on some really long overdue knitting UFO's, I started on this cowl, which I mentioned a couple of posts ago. The yarn is Knit One Crochet Too Ty-Dy in Midnite Sun. A little pricey for me, but I love how the colors are playing out. The pattern is from

I'm not used to working with cotton. It doesn't have the stretchiness of wool or wool blends, but it drapes in a beautiful way when knit in this gauge, and I really like what I've got so far.

Have a great weekend.

Somebody Just Doesn't Get This Knitting Thing...

Check it out.

Add this item to the "terrorist fist bump" school of absurdity.