Sunday, September 30, 2012

Best Laid Plans

We took a quick trip out of town to Decatur, AL for a National Fishing Lure Collectors Show.  It was to be a quilting retreat for me in a nice hotel.  I brought my sewing machine and my projects and I was ready to sew those few days away.  Well, that was the plan anyway.

We got there and I set my sewing machine up on the desk only to find that the chair was not as adjustable as it could have been and I am not too good at sewing with the needle practically level with my eyes.  I thought I was totally out of luck and then I had a brilliant idea.  I'd use the ironing board.  It's adjustable.  I was able to get it to the right height and I just had to brace it against the desk to make sure it was stable enough.  Then I was ready to sew.

Got my bobbins all wound and got out the pieces of my Christmas Star. I was finally going to sew it all together.  I first had to read through the pattern and see what step came first and if there were specific hints and tips about how to do this Y seam business.  I started reading and then I realized that I didn't bring something very important - the next color in the pattern.  I was able to sew the star itself together, but not the feathers (or the teeth as I like to call them), because they are actually sewn onto the next color and then attached to the star.  I didn't bring the next color.  Heck, I haven't even decided on what the next color will be.  Oh well, I did get the star sewn together at least.

The next morning, I decided I'd go out to the local quilt star and enlist the help of the lovely proprietor to assist me in choosing the next color so I could progress along.  I remembered her as being very kind and helpful, so off I went.  Another problem.  She's not there anymore!  Not just her, the whole store has been replaced by an entirely different store.  Aaaaahhhhhhh!  I was not meant to do this on this trip I guess.

I read 3 books (at least) while we were there, so I guess it wasn't a total loss.  And I got to watch a few of the new shows coming out on television and one pretty good movie.

Next time, I'll have to plan better.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Back to quilting

I've been doing lots and lots of reading: most recently mystery series by Earlene Fowler and Monica Ferris.  I think I was partially a bit burnt out and partially just lacking of quilts ready to be quilted.

Mom brought me this unusual flower quilt from a friend of hers from church.  I've been procrastinating because the fabric was a bit thick and there were 3 or 4 layers of it in places.  I was hesitant as to how my machine would handle it.  I finally got it loaded yesterday and then I procrastinated again.  

Well, today after work, I decided I'd waited long enough, so I started quilting and everything went fine.  As usual, what the hell was I waiting for?


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Pieces all made

Got all the parts done and now I just have to begin the assembly.  Maybe this weekend.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Christmas Star Progress

Well, half the feathers (or teeth) are done.  I'm pushing through to get the rest of them done.  These are the easy parts.  I'm worried about what happens when I'm ready to sew the parts together.  From what I hear, there are at least 37 ways to sew it together and all of them require lots of "Y" seams.  I've never done "y" seams, so I'm a bit hesitant.  I'm sure I'll do fine, but it still makes me a bit nervous.  

Curled up with a book

Sorry for my absence.  I've been curled up with a book, or more specifically, about 7 books.  I've been reading my way through about 25 Clive Cussler books since July.  I've finally hit the end and now I guess I have to find somebody else to read.  Any suggestions?

I had to take a break after my marathon quilting session.  I didn't want to burn out.  Or maybe I did burn out and just didn't realize it.  Or maybe I'm just in avoidance mode.

I've only got one more quilt ready for quilting.  The others still need something ( a border or a back etc.) before they are ready, which means I need to do some sewing.

Have you got old UFOs in your cabinet that you just can't seem to work on?   I guess whatever it was that made them UFOs in the first place is the same thing that keeps me from working on them now.   I have a friend that has just decided that her old UFOs are destined to remain that way and she is just forging onward.  I have not quite reached that point yet.  I still have a yearning to finish what I've started.  There are only 17 or so left......  Some of them are quite neat.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Oh What a Beautiful Morning!

Oh what a beautiful day! I've got a beautiful feeling........

The weather outside is glorious this morning.  It's one of our first fall mornings.  I do love fall weather!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Design Wall Monday and Christmas Star Update

I love how this is turning out.  The more I do, the more I want to do because I want to see how it turns out. It's hard to believe that class with Karen Stone was just on Friday.  It's really grown up since then.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Progress on Christmas Star

When I got home this evening after going out to dinner, I was really inspired to work on my Christmas Star from class today.  Either that, or I was so hyped up from the three glasses of iced tea that I drank at dinner.  Either way, I got busy working on it.  Now, I have a total of 6 of the points done.  See?

So then I decided to work on some of the feathers.  I figured I wanted to see how it was going to turn out.  I sure am glad that I worked on the star points when I was in class, because I didn't have near as much luck with the feathers as the points.  I started working away and was really excited to get my first strip done. 

 Yeah, right!  That was when I realized that I had all the colors backwards.  It's supposed to look like this:
So, first I had to copy that part of the pattern again and start over with the correct colors in the correct spots.  I had about, well let's say several, false starts and ripped "several" times and finally got the one pictured here above.  That's when I decided that maybe it's time to quit for the evening.  Either I'm just plain tired or I'm coming down from the iced tea high I was on and the concentration is just plain gone.  Anyway, here's where stuff is supposed to go so you can get an idea of how it's supposed to turn out.

Karen Stone Class

Karen Stone is an absolute joy as a lecturer and as a teacher.  Quilting is so obviously her "happy place" and it just bubbles out of her.  I am so very thankful that my friend Karen gave me her spot in this class.  I learned a lot and had a wonderful time.

We originally had a choice between 2 patterns for this class - the Summer Star and the Unusual Feathered Star.  I am not and have never been an applique person, so I figured I'd just do the Unusual Feathered Star.  Then, when we got to class, she had another choice available - a Christmas Star (It's the one in the middle).

Kate and I sat together and we were both a bit lost.  After a short little talk about picking colors and arranging them, we were sent off to our tables to "play with our fabrics".

I don't know about you, but that's tough for me.  I pulled out a pile of purples and blues and greens and magentas, all batik.  I wasn't sure about the greens, but I left them in there.  Then when we started looking at the sheer volume of different colors for the Unusual Feathered Star, Kate and I decided that maybe we should do the Christmas Star.  Here's our thinking: 1) the pieces are bigger so we might actually have a chance of finishing it, 2) It looks like we only have to pick 8 fabrics for the star, which has got to be easier than picking, what? 50, 3) and of those 8 fabrics, we really only have to pick pairs of 4 colors, now that I could probably do.  Other people were sewing already and we were still "playing with our fabrics".  When we were finally satisfied, we started cutting out our patterns and preparing to sew.  Then we had to wind bobbins and change needles and set our stitch length and all that stuff.  Then, when we had absolutely nothing else we could to do procrastinate, it looked like we were going to have to actually sew. My first seam went together great and I was excited.  Hey, maybe this isn't so hard after all.  Hah!  I had to rip my second seam out three time, I think.  Oh well.  It was a learning experience!  Of course, I missed the whole part about the applique, because I was so overwhelmed with trying to get my stars done and also trying to catch up with everybody else.  Event with all that procrastinating. I was still able to get 2 points for my star sewn together.  Woohoo! So what do you think?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Karen Stone

Tonight is one of my guild meetings and we have Karen Stone coming to speak.  She will also be teaching classes on Friday and Saturday.  One of my quilty friends called last night and she is sooooo busy that she doesn't think she'll be able to attend her class on Friday sooooo she decided to gift it to me.  Oh boy!  We'll be working on the Unusual Feathered Star.  I'm not too sure about all this paper piecing, but it'll be fun to learn something new and exciting -- at least I hope it's new and exciting.  I've done paper piecing before, but I've just muddled through.  I hope that Karen can make it easier or more intuitive so I don't have to try so hard.  I'll share my experience later and let you know how it went.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Time Off

After one hectic 10 days or so of quilting, I decided I needed a little break.  The breakneck speed was going to send me in to burn-out and I certainly don't want to go there.

I spent Labor Day playing Santa Claus.  Well, not really, but it did kind of feel that way.  I loaded up my car (sleigh) and headed out to visit Mom and bring her 2 quilts that I quilted for her - the purple and yellow one as well as the orangey thing under it.  We did some running around looking for some trim for some curtains she was remaking and we had a nice lunch as well.

Then I headed over to see Deede to pick up some rulers and mats that she had for me.  We had a nice visit and reminisced about her mother (my friend) who died last year.

Shannon's Birthday Quilt
Then off to deliver Shannon's birthday quilt. It's from a pattern named Five Easy Pieces, which is really weird because there are 7 pieces in each block. Her birthday was last Christmas.  Yes, Christmas.  Can you imagine having your birthday on Christmas?  I wonder how many times she has wondered if everybody forgot her.  She really likes fleur de lis.  Can you tell? Anyway, here it was, probably the hottest day of the year and I show up with a quilt to keep her warm.  Oh well.  You got to get them when you can.

Then I went by my friend Sarah's house to deliver 2 quilts I quilted for her -- the purple, blue, green one and that really thick one on top.  One of them was the paper pieced log cabin (that thick one - higher loft batting) that she's been working on for about 4 years now.  She was so excited to see it and to finally get it off her plate.  We got to talking and then we were knee deep in fabric picking out ones to use in a quilt she is getting ready to start.

After I got home, I made up the binding for my mystery quilt.  Sorry, still can't show it to you.  It's gonna be hard to keep it hidden until November.  Anyway, I had a nice leisurely evening doing the handwork for that.

So, I still have my mystery quilt, which I'm holding until November, and a service project quilt (that green and white one) for my other guild.

Since then, I've been spending quite a bit of time reading - one Sue Grafton and lots of Clive Cussler.  He's one of my favorite authors.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

What a busy week of Quilting!

Now I just need to get to work on those 17 UFOs

Zoom! Zoom!

Another of my friend Sarah's quilts.  She started this about 4 years ago and I am sure
that she'll be ecstatic to have this one complete and able to present it to her daughter - finally.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Zoom! Zoom! Zoom!

This is one of Mom's quilts. I'm sure she'll be happy to have it.

A fire, A retreat, A storm, Some quilting

So much has happened recently and I have not written about it.  I don't know if I just didn't know how to put it into words, or if I was too busy, or if I was feeling guilty, or if I was trying to pretend it wasn't happening.  Or quite possibly all of the above.

My nephew's house caught on fire and he was burned over 26% of his body.  He was rushed to the Emergency Room and eventually transferred to a larger more specialize hospital out of town.  He was burned on his face and neck and arms and apparently was singed on the inside as well.  He currently has a trach and is getting skin grafts on his face and neck and maybe his arms.  It hurts me to think of poor Daniel lying there in what has to be awful pain.  The hospital has kept him sedated, so hopefully he is unaware of most of what is going on.

I had a wonderful retreat with 6 other ladies.  It was something else of a time. We had originally grown to 12 possible attendees and then as the time grew near, people kept dropping out right and left for one reason or another.  I was beginning to wonder if it would happen at all. But, as usual, things work out like they are supposed to.  Those of us who did attend, had a wonderful time and got to know each other even better.  We did lots of visiting, lots of sewing, and lots of eating.  And in between, we watched to see the news of where Isaac was going.

I didn't get much done.  I arrived with 2 quilts to put binding on.  After a brief time at the sewing machine, I spent Friday afternoon and evening in the recliner in the living room doing binding on a lap quilt and watching movies.  On Saturday, imagine a repeat of Friday, only with a much larger quilt - queen size - and another movie or two or three.  Luckily Ginger was there to keep me company working on her crochet afghan.  Sunday, I was all finished with my binding and was therefore forced to actually cut fabric and use my sewing machine to produce "something".

And the food!  We had a full blown salad bar on Friday at lunch provided by Gaye.  Mmmmmm!  Then we had Rotel Pork Tenderloin, field peas and scalloped potatoes by me.  Tai made the most delicious breakfast complete with fruit, coconut cinnamon rolls and butterscotch banana scones.  I just can't tell you!  After "third breakfast"  we were almost too full.  We didn't even have lunch until about 1:00 with some wonderful chicken salad from Maxwell's.  I wasn't too sure about the chunks of celery in there.  I don't mind the taste of celery, but am not really thrilled about crunching into it.  The taste was wonderful, so much so that I didn't even notice the crunchy celery.  Our dinner cook was one of those who did not come, so we had a "family meeting".  The choice was to do leftovers or to go out and get something.  We voted on leftovers.  Sunday morning, one of our other non-attendees brought us breakfast of bagels and fruit and two type of creamed cheese.  What a treat!  Lunch was leftovers again.  I know that sounds boring, but it really was not. We loved every minute of it. And at the end of the day, we still had to distribute the leftovers for different people to take home.  Sometimes I wonder if we go for the sewing or for the food......

Upon returning home, it was becoming obvious that Isaac was going to make an unwelcomed visit to us here in Baton Rouge, so DBF and I began making preparations for his arrival.  Where we live, we have a water well with an electric pump, so if the power goes out, we lose water as well.  So.....several loads of laundry were done.  Ice was bagged and put into the freezer. The bathtubs were filled with water (to flush with).  All the "missiles" were put away from our yard.  The front porch furniture was turned upside down and all the wind chimes across the front and back of the house were taken down.  We filled our vehicles with gas and got gas containers to run the generator.  He cleaned the carburetor on the generator so we would know that it would work.  We checked on the yards of the neighbors who were stuck out of town and secure some of their items.  We each checked on our parents to be sure they didn't need anything. We took the staples like mayo, jelly, drinks, etc from the fridge and put in an ice chest so if the power went out, we would not have to open the refrigerator. We ran the extension cord from outside the back door around the house and into the utility room through the dryer vent so that we could plug it into the 220 outlet from the dryer.  When the power went out, we were able to run some things in the house, as long as we didn't overload the generator.

We were off work for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  Tuesday, we saw a few wind gusts, but really not much else.  We continue our preparations.  Wednesday, we saw lots of wind and some very light rain. I quilted 2 quilts that day.  Late Wednesday night and late Thursday, we had some real blowing rain. There were a few medium sized limbs in the front yard, but mostly small branches and leaves everywhere - leaves and leaves and leaves.  Wet leaves plastered to everything!  Then Friday, I had to return to work. Friday evening, I quilted one more quilt and loaded another.

Life is returning to normal.  Today we are cleaning out the ice chests to put away, readying the generator to put away until next time, picking up limbs, etc., etc.

This afternoon, I'll be quilting again.  Have way too big of a pile waiting......

One more loaded

Sorry, this is my mystery quilt, so I had to keep it mostly covered.  It'll have to remain a surprise for now.  I hope to finish it up today.