Saturday, March 31, 2012

Fantastic fabric photos

Okay, the photos may not be all that fantastic, but the fabrics sure are! Here are a few of them. I'll share a few each day over the next week so that the sheer volume doesn't overwhelm us.

This red is so bright that it is difficult to photograph. But trust me, it's luscious. Even Mom had to have some. My "some" amounted to three yards. I'm back to being hooked on red!

Did I mention that I'm back to being hooked on red? This red has black "spot with brilliant blue slashes in the middle. How fun!

And on to a very fun pink. this is an older fabric, so I didn't have to pay today's prices for it. I bought enough for a backing. Now I need to make a pink quilt.

And the last one I'm going to show you tonight - this lovely cream with light and dark blue speckles and a lovely country print to accompany it. This will make a wonderful country style quilt. I need to find a good "country" style pattern. Does anyone have any suggestions? Leave me a suggestion in the comment field. All ideas are welcome.

Binge buying at its worst. : )

Oh dear. Where can I hide my face? I'm so ashamed. 

No wonder I've never gone on a shop hop before. Maybe it's a good thing that fabric prices are going so high that I will never be able to afford to buy any more fabric ever again. I am so broke. Sigh.

I would take photos to show you what I bought but I don't have enough room on my blog page to post them all. Sigh. I will post a few photos later, but not until I get everything unpacked and sorted. I will say this much - batiks are my friends. My wallet doesn't like them, but I sure do!

I'll post again after I climb and conquer this mountain of fabric...

Oh! I just realized what day it is. I get paid this coming Friday! Want to go fabric shopping with me next weekend?  : )

'Til then,

Shop Hop!

Sorry I've been gone for so long, folks. My eyes are better now. The skin on and around my eyelids is peeling a little where the poison ivy rash was the worst, but I'll heal.

Anyway, I'm shop hopping this weekend! Believe it or not, I've never participated in a shop hop before. Of course, I'm buying lots of fabric. Oh dear. Where am I going to put it all? My Fabric In/Fabric Out numbers are going to be embarassing after this wekend. : /

I think I've decided to use batik for my applique owls project. Batik is easy to applique. And I need easy. Wait until I show you some pictures of the batik fat quarters I've bought for the owls themselves! They're going to be some powerfully bright owls! Depending on when I get home tomorrow, I may not be able to post, but I'll get some photos of my new purchases ASAP and get them on either tomorrow or Sunday.

I bought three yards of a red batik... Wait until you see it. It's gorgeous!

Up early tomorrow to hit the other five quilt shops. I worked this morning, so I only had time to go to the two farthest shops with my friend Jo and my mom. Guess which of us bought the most... (Hint:  I'm blushing almost as red as my new batik.)


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Oh, my aching eyes...

Great. My fiftieth post, and it's bad news. You may have read my last post - you know, the story about Sinbad's escape last night. Well while he was out, he apparently walked through some poison ivy. Guess who he slept with last night? Guess who had to stroke his fur to calm him down so he could sleep? Guess who has poison ivy...?

I'm not susceptible to poison ivy. I regularly pull out small plants with my bare hands. I only remember having a reaction to it once, shortly after we moved to Arkansas. I walked through it and got a rash on the bottoms of my feet. I only react if  a very tender area is exposed. Like the bottoms of my feet. Like my eyes.

My eyes are red and puffy and ache like mad, but fortunately, the reaction has not been as severe as it would be if I were more susceptible to it. I expect it to clear up completely in the next couple of days, but I probably won't be able to do much sewing until then. My eyes hurt... (whine)

'Til I can see clearly again and can stop whining and begging for sympathy,

Through a Window Darkly - or - Sinbad's Great Adventure

I lost Sinbad last night. Oh no, not that way. I mean I temporarily misplaced him. Maxie kitty woke me up at three o'clock this morning (she was hungry, of course), and I noticed that Sinnie was missing. He always sleeps with us, but I hadn't seen him since around nine last night when he and I were playing in the sunroom.

So I headed to the sunroom. We have been leaving the windows cracked open at nights since the weather is so nice, and sure enough, Sinbad had leaned against a screen, knocked it loose, and fallen through. That meant that my pampered, defenseless, little kitty had been out in the big, bad, dark world for about five hours. Poor baby! He certainly came running when I called. Apparently he can fall out of the window but can't figure out how to fall back in. He had hollowed out a bed for himself in the garden under the pinoak tree and was covered in dirt. Needless to say, he hit the food dish first then came to bed and spent 30 minutes purring himself into a calm enough state to sleep. Also needless to say, I did not sleep. Two and a half hours later, I was still awake when my alarm went off to get me up for work. Thanks, Sin.

I'll bet he's in the sunroom at this very minute trying to figure out how to get out the window again. Let's see, if you put your paws here... and lean your weight here...

On the quilting front...

I thought I would try sharing a You Tube link with you. If you want to know an easy way to cut bias strips for binding or applique, my great friend Pam at Sager Creek shows you how to fold your fabric just right...

Thanks for sharing, Pam! Check out her other You Tube videos as well.

'Til later,

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Future projects

This year is all about finishing UFOs. I really have to finish some projects. But...

Those of you who know me, know that I usually design my own quilts. I often get inspiration from patterns in books and magazines, and I've even been know to actually follow a pattern a time or two. I LOVE patterns; I'm just not very good at following them. With that said, I bought two new patterns that I just HAVE to share with you.

I bought this pattern from Hancock's of Paducah. It's called "Multifaceted" from Cozy Quilt Designs. It was designed by Daniela Stout. Don't you just love it?!? It's a strip based pattern. I hate strip piecing. I hope I can get over that prejudice long enough to try this pattern. Really, don't you just love it?

Speaking of prejudices, I have always hated even the thought of doing applique. As those of you who have read my earlier posts know, a very dear friend of mine (Diana - the world's best appliquer that the world's never heard of), offered to teach me. I just couldn't say no. I'm now finishing the hand quilting on my first applique, an African mask wall hanging. I'm a novice. So what on Earth possessed me to buy this oh-so-complicated looking pattern? Have you seen these owls?

 Are they not the sweetest things ever? Look at those eyes! Look at those fun colors!

And look at the one in the hole! I needed some hand work to take with me to guild and club meetings, so this is what I chose. The pattern is called "Life's a Hoot!" by Bits 'n Pieces  ( - I bought it off of Craftsy (my first purchase from this site, but not, I'm sure, my last!). Do any of you have this pattern? Am I going to hate myself forever for trying such a large project? Oh heck, I can't wait to start!

And since I don't have children, here's the gratuitous kitty photo... I set my computer on the floor while I went into the other room to talk to my husband for a few minutes. When I returned, Tessie had taken my seat and was staring fixedly at the computer screen. It only took one look for me to realize that she was waiting to pounce on my screen saver! It kept moving all over the screen and changing colors - obviously a new kitty toy!

'Til later folks...

Saturday, March 24, 2012

I fell off the fabric wagon again. Hugely!

On January 1 this year, I lost a good quilting friend. John died very unexpectedly. He left behind his wife, Martha, and a small but well stocked quilt shop, Digital Quiltz. Today Martha decided to sell much of her stock to the ladies and gentlemen of the quilt guilds she and John belonged to. As one friend described it, the shopping trip was bittersweet. We got fantastic savings and spent hours talking to friends, but we had to lose a friend to do it.

With hundreds of bolts to choose from, I would normally go wild. This time I was determined to buy backing fabric and thread only. One problem with finishing so many quilt tops is that I need the material to back them with! I love the look of pieced backings, and I have pieced several of my own, but I hate to use my gorgeous special fabrics on the back where they won't be seen.

I kept it to nine fabrics, but I bought the rest of the bolt of all but two of them. This is a great photo of the greens. I especially love the one on the left! I had to share one yard each with a couple of friends, but I got the rest. All 11 1/2 yards! 

This is a better photo of the red. This will be the backing for the Red Sea quilt top I finished this week.

 I got enough of the greens and the blue for a queen sized backing each. Aren't they luscious?

I loved the blue/green batik top right, but I only bought three yards of it. Several of us wanted it, so we shared it out. A friend's husband ferried it between the cutting tables so that we could all get what we wanted. Isn't that sweet? I'm going to send him some farm fresh eggs as a thanks this Thursday when I see his wife at Busy Bees.

This black/grey/white fabric is probably my favorite. I bought the rest of the bolt of it as well. Just looking at it is really getting my creative juices flowing! The blue/purple stripe on the left is gorgeous as well. I bought four yards of it, but again, had to share with others, including the woman who was doing the cutting! Sigh.

Don't you just love this bright orange cosmos fabric? This will be the back for the harvest-colored Turning Twenty I also finished this week. Seven new backing fabrics and two already assigned. I may have to resort to pieced backings again soon if I continue to finish UFOs at this rate! : )

By the way, I also bought 75 Mettler size 60 threads today. Did I say that I've fallen for applique after I said that I never would? Now I'm set for life on the thread front.

I don't know if I'll have anything to post tomorrow. I'll be grading papers so that the students will let me back into the classroom on Monday. It's been a good week off.

'Til later...

Friday, March 23, 2012

Another quilt top finished!

On the cutting board -

After being stuck for weeks trying to decide on a border, I finally settled on what I wanted and got it finished today. I wanted the outside to be softer looking than the middle pattern and not too busy - as in, not peiced. I know the fabric itself is busy, but isn't it pretty? : ) The stripe is not as bright red as it looks. It's actually more dark watermelon than bright red.

 Another shot of the border design.

On the bed -

The quilt will easily fit a queen sized bed. In fact, it's a bit long, but that's a good thing! My husband is 6' 3" so he needs a really long quilt. Plus, our four cats always tuck us me into bed at night, and man, do they hog the covers!!! I have to pull them up over my head before Tessie comes to bed if I don't want her to drag them off of me to make a cozy nest for herself at the foot of the bed.

The design comes right to the edge of the bed with the borders falling naturally off of the sides. The end, however, falls a little long. I think a deep tuck under the pillow will solve this problem. : )

 Another view from the other side. Yep, I still like it.

A slight pillow tuck keeps from distorting the diamond shape, but I'm going to need a deeper one to pull that bottom border up where it should be.

A quick word about my photos -

My husband bought me a fantastic Pentax camera (very professional and fancy), but the photos are too large to download onto the blog very easily. Instead, I make do with my lovely little Casio pocket camera. It's not as sharp, and the colors are not as true, but at least the photos download. Plus, I spend more on my fabric than I do on my house, so my rooms are small and dark and my sewing room is the old remodeled garage. It does make it challenging to photograph my quilts well. Lastly, I see lovely photos on other blogs where quilters have taken their quilts outside to take advantage of natural light. How I envy them. Have I mentioned that I live on a small farm? With four dogs, an outdoor cat, and a couple dozen free range chickens? There is nothing flattering about chicken poo on a quilt. : ( 

It doesn't help either that it's been raining for a solid week. Now that it's lighter after work, maybe I can start getting better pictures. I'll try. In the meantime, thanks for bearing with me.

Back to work on Monday -

I'll be spending this weekend catching up on grading, so I probably won't be able to do much more quilting until next week. I'm really pleased with how much I've been able to get done on Spring Break with four (and sometimes five) cats and one husband constantly under foot. If students weren't so annoying about demanding that their papers get graded on a timely basis, I would be able to get at least one more borderless quilt bordered this weekend. Oh well, I bordered four large quilts and bound one large quilt in one week. How's that for productivity? *Broad smile!*

'Til later...

Resolution! I figured out how to border my Red Sea quilt.

Upcoming:  Photos of the completed Red Sea quilt. I'm cutting and getting ready to sew on the final borders.

Next:  Maybe the blue and cream quilt? Again, all it needs is borders. (I am such a border coward!)

Be back soon!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Red Sea Quilt dilema

It's time to make the borders for my Red Sea quilt. I had lots of red triangles left over from my half square triangle blocks, and I didn't want to throw them away. I decided to cut some cream triangles to finish my HST blocks.

One soda pop later, I had a load of little blocks waiting to be sewn together. The plan was to sew these squares into long border strips for an interior border. Unfortunately, the darn things had a mind of their own. They just kept sewing themselves together until they made their own little quilt.

Now I have to decide how to border both quilts. I've chosen the fabrics for the Red Sea quilt, but I just can't seem to decide what I want to do with them. No wonder I have so many UFOs. I get to the borders and freeze. Shoot. : (

This is one of the books I bought last year. I had not seen it before, but it has some rather cool looking patterns in it. It's called 256 Fat Quarter Quilt Blocks, and it's published by House of White Birches.

On page 65 of the same book, I found this pattern for a placemat. It has a single heart made in a way I had never seen before. I'm not a heart person, but I love odd looking patterns, so I decided to multiply one heart into a full sized quilt.

I've posted this photo before, but I finally finished binding it today. Yippee! Oops, I still need a label. My least favorite part of quilting. It's such a downer to get a quilt finished only to discover that there's one more thing to do. Oh well, there's always tomorrow.

Stay tuned. There are several more patterns in this book that I intend to try out. I can't wait to finish a couple more UFOs so that I can start a new quilt. My eyes keep roaming to my stacks of fabric. Sigh. Just a few more weeks.

'Til later.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I seem to be stalling...

My motor was revving like mad earlier this spring break; I finished two quilt tops on Saturday, built a garden bench on Sunday, and finished another quilt top on Monday. Tuesday I attended the funeral of a dear quilting friend and didn't feel like doing any quilting the rest of the day, although I did spend about an hour on binding.

Today I felt guilty about housework. Okay, you have to understand that I rarely feel guilty about housework. I just ignore it and plow a path through the house to my sewing room. So today I decided to do some cleaning. I won't talk about how deep the dust was in the guest room, but I've chiseled it off the headboard without damaging the wood too much. Unfortunately, I couldn't focus on housework for more than about 15 minutes at a time. I kept switching between sewing and cleaning. Which means, of course, that I did neither very effectively.

At one point between loading the washer and emptying the litter boxes, I started sewing some left over half square triangles together for a border for my Red Sea quilt. I planned to sew short strips of them and intersperce them with solid cream strips. My brain was so distracted that I allowed those silly little squares to sew themselves into a child's quilt. How did that happen? Now I need to make borders for that quilt as well tomorrow. Sigh. I'll post some photos tomorrow. It's late, and I'm typing this up from bed. Don't look!! I'm not wearing any make-up!

Anyway, I'm going to put my poor, stalling motor into the garage now and hope that it has more energy in the morning. I have a guild meeting tomorrow, so maybe that'll help rev up my imagination enough to create those borders before spring break is over and I have to return to grading papers. Goodnight, everyone.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Another quilt top finished!

I started this quilt at the Q.U.I.L.T. retreat in 2009 as a mystery quilt. All I had left to do was adjust two of the borders that I had mismeasured and then put on the final border. If it was that easy, why didn't I do it years ago? Oh, who knows. I always had new quilts calling, I guess. Anyway, I hope Mom doesn't have any plans for this summer since she is my quilter. This is the third top done on my To-Do List page! Hip, hip hurrah! I've also finished one side of the border on my hearts quilt. Only three more sides to go. Spring break and rainy weather = project completion time!

 I decided to pick these daffodils before the rains destroys them. We're expecting 5-7" in the next 48 hours.

 More daffodils and some paperwhites. Don't those smell great?!?

I finished two quilt tops on Saturday and one today. Yesterday I didn't touch my sewing machine. Instead, my husband and I built this plant bench outside of my new sunroom. I built one inside for my indoor plants this winter, but it's nice enough to put some of them outside now, so they needed someplace to sit where my husband doesn't have to mow around them. It may not be fancy, but we live way out in the country, so who's to see but us? I like it.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Finished! Plus one!

I finished the Tonga Batik quilt top. Yeah! It's about 92 x 106, so my full-sized guest bed is swamped by it. Please remember that I'm not a professional blogger, so my pictures are not professional quality.

I'm not sure about my choice of inner borders, but they're done now, so they're staying.

 Waaaay too large for my double bed.

This quilt has been sitting in my to-do pile for a year-and-a-half. I finally put on the wide blue border to finish it. It's a black and blue quilt using exchange squares from my friends at the Eureka Springs, AR, guild retreat. I love the way it turned out. When I solve the problems with importing my photos, I'll upload more of this blue quilt.
'Til then...

Friday, March 16, 2012

Nearly there...

Two more sides to sew on the final border of my Tonga Batik quilt. I've just started spring break, so I should be able to finish not only that quilt top, but maybe even one or two UFOs this week as well. I'll try to get some photos posted tomorrow when I get the Tonga done. 'Til then...

Goodbye, Barbara Engler.

Last night Northwest Arkansas lost a fabulous quilter and a treasured member of several quilt guilds, including two that I belong to - Q.U.I.L.T. and Dogwood. Barbara Engler was a friend to my mother for many years before I started quilting. When I joined the guild, she welcomed and encouraged me and became my friend as well. Barbara was well known for her exquisite applique and wonderful color sense. I loved going shopping with Barbara as she was as interested in everyone else's fabrics and pattern plans as she was her own. She was a lady, a mentor, and a friend, and she will be sorely missed. Goodbye, Barbara.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Finally, progress on my Tonga Batik quilt again...

Callie (left) - the reason I STILL don't have all four sides of my binding sewn onto this quilt yet. She races me to the sewing room so that she can claim the quilt first. And Maxie (right) - helping Callie anchor the quilt just in case I try any funny stuff.

The left photo (sorry for the shadow) shows the mirror image checkerboard sections of the second border. The right photo shows the checkerboard sewn onto the ends of the border.

Three shots of one side of the second border sewn on. That was as far as I got before Sinnie took over the ironing board. I really like the way this is looking so far. Tonight (if I can reclaim both my sewing machine and my ironing board from the cats) I'm going to make the last two sides of the border and add the cornerstones.

Okay, so now you get to suffer from an overexposure to Sinbad photos. He was having a ball taking over my ironing board last night. He posed shamelessly for the camera.

That paw was poised to spring claws at a moment's notice if I attempted to remove him from his perch. Grrrrr!!! (He's such a faker.)

Trying out his cute look since I didn't buy the threatening one...
(You can see from his naked belly and bare legs that he's still overgrooming from allergies).

Another ferocious, look-at-all-my-teeth look. Grrrr...really, I mean it this time!!!

Believe it or not, he rolled onto his back and just rocked back and forth for a while, waving his back legs in the air. Just having a little fun, I guess. Silly cat.

If I can win the battle of the sewing room tonight, I will get some more photos of the finished second border and the beginning of the third. I already have part of the third border finished; it's more checkerboard. The fourth border is a final, wide, straight-cut border. I can see the end in sight...!