Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Hello again...I've missed you

Hello again, I'm just back from a nice 4 day weekend.

Days 1, 2, and 3
The first 3 days I spent at a quilters retreat with the Frisco Quilt Guild and my Mom.  It is a treasure to be able to share a few days with someone you love who loves the same things you do.  I don't know if we got a lot accomplished quilt wise...but here are a few of the things that we worked on.

Wonky Safari - after the border this will be 33x43

Baby Quilts
I don't know about your town, but mine is having a baby boom-let.  These are to welcome some of the new little ones:

Old School Baby - finished size 33x33

Fire Dogs - finished size 33x33
That would be "Swap 'Til You Drop".  I'm making two minis, that is I have two partners this go round.  I worked on the quilt for "Crazy Poodle Girl."  (Flossieblossoms quilt was ready to be put together, I just didn't have the right tools with me at the retreat.  I should get to it later this week.)

Brain Fodder -  I was fanning a spark of an idea into existence.

Shameless Teaser!

Then I posted the above photo - a mid/progress close up shot - just to tweak my partner.

She retaliated... My jaw hit the floor.  It's my kitty!!!!!  >^..^<

Mom finished this:

Folded Fabric Table Runner
It was quite a traffic stopper in our corner of the work room.  Every one loved the beautiful "cathedral window" type folds in these flowers.

Outer block of runner

Inner block of runner
Next stop for this on is my quilt machine.  Any suggestions?

Day 4
The last day I spent with my dear husband, Gilbert.  We spent the day doing nothing in particular, but totally together.  We celebrated 24 years of marriage.  We both know that neither of us is the brains behind this union.  Only God could have pulled it off....proof that He still does miracles.  I don't think I would want to be anywhere but where I am right now.

Now I'm catching up on all of the things that didn't get done while I was elsewhere. 

Three loads down and six to go...

Proof that no one starved!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Floating 4 Patch

I made this 12" block with four Floating 4 Patch units that were all the same.
I found it!!

But it is a lousy photocopy that has been bent and tossed about.  Taking a photo of it would be no good so I'll have to type it out for you....and take some this might take a little while.

The pattern was written by Connie Watakins.

1) Cut three 5" squares.  Two of the same color and one of another.  When picking your fabric think high contrast.

2) From the 2 squares of the same color cut once, corner to corner.  Fold in half to get the centers of the triangles and press.  Also press the one remaining square in half.   Finger pressing is fine.

3) Line up the centers of the triangles and the square and sew.

4) Trim up the square 1/2" from each corner of the block in the center so the square will float when you finish the block.

5) Cut the unit corner to corner twice to form 4 triangles and small square units

6) Repeat the process to make four different triangle and square units.  Then sew 4 different units together to make the final block.  It will end up approximately 6 1/2" .

You Go Pat!

I get to meet a lot of fun people in my work as a long arm quilter.  Most of them are happy and excited about their quilt getting finished.  Some of them are excited about the new baby or wedding or significant person in their life who is about to get an awesome gift of a quilt. Once in a while I meet someone who is just tickled that they have accomplished something new.  Their joy is invigorating.  Pat is one of those people.

Happiness is...Quilting, McKinney, TX

Pat was sent to me by my best friend.  Kelli and I have known each other since our kids were little.  We've been through a lot together.  I often tease that if God had given me a little sister I would want her to be just like Kelli.  Then I laugh and say, "Oh, I forgot.  He did!"  We don't have the same mother, but our Father in heaven seals the deal.  My sweat friend now works in a wonderful quilt shop. (Happiness is Quilting in McKinney TX).  She gets to meet lots of fun people too.  As they mill about the shop, auditioning fabrics and patterns they often arrive at the topic of quilting...that is to say longarm or hand or free motion.  My Kelli sends them to me, and they come, happy for the experience and excited about their project.  (I know she sent them because they are enchanted with "that red headed girl at the quilt shop.")

Pat's Quilt

Pat made a quilt.  The quilt measured 106"x106".  Pat made pillow shams to go with it...and a wall hanging...and a baby quilt with the scraps for a neighbor.  Pat had never quilted before.   We had a couple of weeks of bad weather and it seemed like a good thing to do with his time.   Pat is a 78 year old widower who spends most of his time golfing and fishing.  He tells me that he has better luck with the fish than the green.  He admired the quilts displayed in the eye doctor's office and attempted to con her out of one.  He was persistent, and she was firm.  No quilt for Pat!  She did, however, give him a few pointers on how to make one himself.  He found a book in the local library that gave him more directions.  Then he designed his first quilt.

Quilt for Jennifer's Baby

 I'm pretty sure he has never heard of Ghee's Bend.  Pat was just making something to celebrate the coming of a new neighbor.  If he was a 78 year old black woman living in a remote corner of Arkansas this quilt would be worth a fortune....but I don't think it would have any more love in it than it does right now.  We should all have neighbors like him.

Pat's Wall hanging

His wall hanging reminds me of my grandfather.  I remember his old hard hands, the skin wrinkled and callused and so thin that it was almost translucent.  When he was young he could crack walnuts just by giving them a squeeze in his fists.  I remember him gathering wild berries in the worst part of the woods - that's where the best berries always grow.  He wore leather gloves so that the brambles wouldn't catch.  Even with the clumsy leather gloves, and big hard hands, Pa brought back a buck of delicate, sweet berries.  On his way back to the house he would stop to pick wild flowers for Nanny.  Tiny little white cups, Lilly of the Valley - like fairy bells - and he would place them in a tiny china tea cup with water.  Pat's butterflies are just like those berries and wild flowers.

He says that he isn't going to quilt anymore.  I hope he is wrong.

Monday, March 21, 2011

This and that....

Spring break is over and my boys are back in school.  They weren't particularly thrilled about getting up at 6:30.  Neither was I.  We managed, with bleary eyes, to get them all out the door on time.

Noah is driving again.  He stopped driving because he broke his left clavicle.  At first it was the pain meds - he couldn't walk straight, let alone drive a car.  Then it was a mobility issue (ha!  not that kind of mobility)  He was wearing a sling and still taking things slowly.  Now it's an "I can't stand being stuck at home all of the time and wearing this stupid sling!" thing.   He isn't traveling very far, and I think he may be wearing his seat belt funny (else it would snap across the offended bone), but he is doing fine.  Thanks for all of your prayers as we traveled through this adventure.

Quilting for others is back in swing are a few quilts that I have done in the past couple of days.
Purple & Turquoise "Gumball" quilt by Kay Moulder

"Kay's Flowers" by Kay Moulder

"Deborah's Quilt" by Janell Hobbs
"Solar System" by Paula Keiser

I've also gotten to quilt one for myself.  That is a treat!  My box of tops to quilt for myself is starting to overflow.  It will overflow if I finish anything new.

This quilt pattern is called "Floating 4 patch."  It is made completely from 5" charm squares.  I used several packs and fabric lines from the same designer to get this scrappy effect.

The pattern was shared with my local quilt guild about a year ago.  I'll share it with soon as I find which safe place I put it in.  (Aaaaargh)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Who is it for?

"Who's it for?"
How many times have you heard those words?  My son marches up the stairs into my work room (it is a lovely room, bright and airy, that feels like you are working in a tree house) "Is that for me?  Who's it for?"  My dear husband sees me working on a binding, "Who's this one for?"  The ladies at the quilt shop, the ladies in my bee, everyone wants to know "Who am I making the quilt for?"

Maybe it is just a disguised desire - maybe they are really asking, like my son, "Is this one for me?" - but I don't think so. 

I wonder how many people think I nuts when I can't give them an answer.  Really, I'm making it just for something to do, or because the colors are pretty, or - and this is my favorite answer - because God told me to.  That last one shuts people up pretty quickly.  Sometimes the fabric just jumps off the shelf at me and asks to be made into something snugly.  I've made quite a few of those.  Sooner or later someone comes along that needs that quilt to keep them warm and cheer them up.  Those are the ones I enjoy the most.  To be honest, sometimes I have a hard time giving them away.  Eventually I do and then I wonder what ever took me so long.  The look on the recipient's face is more than I could ever ask for.

I could say that I'm working on shop samples.  Maybe  I could write them off as business expenses.  There is no way that you could miss them as you enter my place of business, a.k.a. my home.  There are quilts everywhere - on walls, railings, chairs, in baskets and piles.  No one should ever complain of being cold in my home.  Calling them shop samples, however, doesn't seem completely honest.

Next time...
I think it is odd that we have to know why.  I think the next time that I see someone working on a beautiful quilt I am going to stop and tell them I'm glad that they are making it.  I'm glad that they are creating something beautiful that will warm someone and make them smile, and I hope that they are having a wonderful time doing it.  Then I'm going to thank them for sharing the moment with me.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Spring Break!!

It's spring break for the students and teachers in my town.  It is a beautiful time of year in North Texas...just a bit chilly or a bit warm depending on the hour, the trees are all in bloom (except the Crepe Myrtle and Oaks they like it warmer) there are perenials in all of the public flower beds.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Dallas Quilt Celebration 2011

Okay, so I'm 30 minutes early for my car pool into the city. It was either head out or pace the floor for 30 minutes with the dogs.

The rendezvous spot... Quilt Country! "Where Lime Green Is The New Neutral." We'll stop and shop after the show. I hear there is a big fat coupon in the show guide.

9:30 AM on the dot - my dear Mommy showed up ready and raring to go.  It was so good to see her.  I wish we lived closer.  As it is, 45 minutes away isn't that bad.  Isn't it just awful that Quilt Country is the midway point?!

The Dallas Quilt Guild hosts Dallas Quilt Celebration every year.  I don't get to go every year, but I do go often.  It is always a treat to get to spend a whole day wandering around beautiful quilts and scrumptious vendors booths with people I love.

This year I went with my Mom and met several friends as we sauntered around Market Hall.  The hall is so big that you would think we wouldn't know a soul there.  Maybe quilters are a tighter knit group than I thought.

This year I was delighted to find a few entries by people that I might actually call friend...that is to say I do more than admire their work.  I've talked to them on the phone or in person about things besides quilting - kids with dyslexia, husbands, girl scout cookie sales - you  I didn't get pictures of all of their entries, but I did get this one.

I have to say - I LOVE IT!  Anne Bartholet made this with her daughter - a Girl Scout cookie selling daughter who has a thing for these great funny beasts.  I'd love to meet a hippo that looks as hip as this one!!

I took a couple of photos just because the quilting was so amazing.

These bunnies are fantastic!  Upon closer inspection....

the ghost bunnies and vegetables made my heart sing.  (Can you tell that I love whimsy?!)

Another quilt that caught my eye was this beautiful star.  It doesn't really show in this picture, but all of the dark spots are filled with beautiful quilted flowers and vines.  I'm not surprised it won a red ribbon.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

If only....

If only I didn't have to do things like eat and sleep and go to the bathroom.  There would be so much more time in the day.  Think of all that I could get done if I didn't waste 8 hours every day sleeping.  I could play with fabrics and colors all night long.

If only I didn't have children that need to be driven to and from school each day, with clothes to wash and doctor visits to be taken too.  No one would ever interrupt my creative juices.  No one would ask me "what's happening" in the middle of the movie I'm not watching because someone is talking to me.  No one would inform me at the eleventh hour that they have to have a box of plastic forks and duct tape for a school project that is due in two hours.  No one would leave their dirty socks and stinky shoes in the middle of the living room or under the kitchen table.  No one would leave the toilette unflushed just to be discovered by a bowl diving dirty hound dog at midnight.

If only I could live alone in peace and quiet and be perfectly happy, perfectly ordered, perfectly at peace. 

I can see it now, I'd be saying "If only I had someone to share things with.  What fun is creating something bright and cheerful if it is only me that sees it?  I think I need to go buy forks, or a dog...Basset's are so cute." 

May all of the things that get in the way of the things you wish you were doing instead, bring you joy today! 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Hello World!

Good morning world.  It's good to see you.  Would you believe I don't even own a passport?

I hope you have a wonderful day, filled with love and fun and brilliant quilty colors.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Inspiration strikes...

My grandma used to tell us this story.  It was my oldest brother's favorite.

There Once Was a Puffin

Oh, there once was a Puffin
Just the shape of a muffin,
And he lived on an island
In the bright blue sea!

He ate little fishes,
That were most delicious,
And he had them for supper
And he had them for tea.

But this poor little Puffin,
He couldn't play nothin',
For he hadn't anybody
To play with at all.

So he sat on his island,
And he cried for awhile, and
He felt very lonely,
And he felt very small.

Then along came the fishes,
And they said, "If you wishes,
You can have us for playmates,
Instead of for tea!"

So they now play together,
In all sorts of weather,
And the Puffin eats pancakes,
Like you and like me.

by Florence Page Jaques
I think I need to make a quiltie of it.  No.  I need to make two!

New Quilties in My Collection....

Happiness in a quilt....
I got the fabric I needed to finish my happy quilt. 

I added a 3 inch border of the black with white vine and bound it with my left over brights.  The quilt is circled by a rainbow.

The back is pieced using the orphan blocks from the front and two yards of the focus fabric. 

I absolutely love the focus fabric.  I could stare at it all day and still have a silly grin on my face.  If you want some it is called "Kaui Kids."  It comes in a couple of colorways.  Use your new on-line shopping skills to find it.  (That is what I had to do.)  Or you can try Little Mamas Fabric - that's where I found it - at  They are located in Appling Georgia if you happen to live near by.

Swap Results....
I got my quilts from the most recent Flickr swaps.

My Favorite Little Quilt Swap is a blind swap that is done after the quilts are made.  In this one I made a quilt and sent a picture to the swap organizer.  It was then placed as an entry in the swap.   Once all of the quilts were completed members voted on their favorite quilts and were assigned a person to send  to.  The idea being that you would get one of your favorites from the group.

My entry - "Spring Birdies" - pictured to your left was fussy cut and hand quilted.  Yeah, the picture is terrible.  You can get a better look at in on my Flickr photo stream.  It flew away to Sweden, hopefully with a bit of spring tucked in the wrapper.

The quilt I received is "Ripples" by Yvonne Fordham of Bristol, England.  I love the bright colors, but the real attraction for me was her creative use of hexies and quilting.  She has set them up like a barrier reef and quilted a rippling tide around them.

If you look more closely you can even see some silvery fish sneaking through the wall.

S.T.U.D. or Swap 'til You Drop  This swap is fully disclosed.  You sign up and then are given a partner with similar tastes as your own.  In addition the administrators goal is to give you a partner that you have never swapped with.  I don't know how QuiltinKimmie does it.  I've been swapping with this group for more than a year now, often with two partners at a time, and Kimmie hasn't re matched me yet.

I received this quilt from Rachel Locke in Tupelo, Mississippi.

"Home is Where the Heart Is" is Rachel's interpretation of the theme, "Love, love, love."

I love the way the heart can move around the quilt, but always comes back home.  Isn't that just how life is?