Thursday, January 31, 2013

What to do with drunken owls...

Wll, I thought I had finished my owl wall hanging, but not so. When I cut it down and stood back to admire my handiwork, I found that the owls had been drinking behind my back. That's the only explanation I can think of for why every one of the owls AND the tree were leaning. Surely I didn't sew them on that way...?

So. What to do with a bunch of drunken owls? Disguise them, of course! I have officially named/renamed this quilt "Blowing in the Wind."
 I have begun incorporting blowing leaves and flower petals all over the quilt.

I will probably detach more petals and add a few more blowing petals and leaves, but I don't want to overburden the quilt. I want the owls to be the feature. Mom and I have decided that an all-over windy quilting theme with swirls of "wind" around the leaves would help as well. We'll see. I have until the beginning of March to decide if this quilt is good enough to enter into the quilt show in April.

Wish me windy luck!


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Random quilt photos...

We're experiencing stormy weather right now, so I'm not sewing. I'm just going to post some random pictures of quilts from my past. I found these last week on a camera drive and got a blast from the past. All of these are quilts that I have made.

My first wall hanging. : ) I designed and made it for the quilt show's small quilt auction. I tried to buy it back but got outbid. I quilted it with small balls of yarn rolling around the borders. I also sewed on stray bits of string and a small pair of scissors (in the middle).

I saw the above pattern in a book, but it was made with bubble-gum pink fabrics. Yuck. I opted for creams and rich earth tones. I also added the stars in each corner (proudly displayed by Weasel, my Mom's Yorkie terrier) and the saw tooth border. Mom hand quilted it (it won third place in the hand quilting division at our quilt show in 2009) and it now lives on her bed.

This queen-sized blue quilt was a mystery quilt that I made at retreat about five years ago. It now resides with a niece.

The above quilt (the photos are of just the top-I'll have to look for a finished photo of it) actually won an honorable mention at our 2009 regional quilt show (out of 72 entries in its category). This was my first experience with floating borders. I had a lot of little pieces left over, so I just threw them into a border any old way they fit. The judge loved the look.

Mystery quilt. Looks like a Halloween special, doesn't it? I really ought to try this pattern again with different fabrics.

This was a commissioned wall hanging that I made for a co-worker. An Asian friend had sent her this beautiful fabric panel, and my co-worker wanted to give it to her granddaughter as a Christmas gift. She didn't want the finished quilt to be much larger than the original panel, so I just added the solid and saw tooth borders. Mother did a a fabulous job quilting this little gem. The granddaughter loved it.

I have more camera drives to look through, so I may be posting more finished quilt photos soon. I know that I want to share some photos of my African quilt, but I'd like it to have a post of its own. I'd love to show you the design process that went into its creation.

Well, I'm going to dodge tornados on my way home now, so wish me luck!

Until later,

Monday, January 28, 2013

Quilt show entries

It's almost time for our bi-annual quilt show at Q.U.I.L.T. of NWA. Our show is the second week of April, so the show chairs are calling for our entry forms within the next month. We can only enter two quilts per category so that no one can sweep all three top ribbons in any one category. Not that that would be likely for me, of course, but I can dream. ; )
So here are my two entry selections for pieced bed quilt.
I've completed several bed-sized quilts since our last show in 2011 (entries must have been completed since the last show), but these two are the ones that Mom and my husband deemed to be of the most interest to viewers. Since I do not enter with any expectations of winning, I choose my quilts based on the most interesting designs. My quilts are all made to be used rather than admired. : )
Below is my entry for mixed-techniques large wall-hanging. This is the quilt I made when learning how to applique in 2012. My technique is not great, but my friends will get a kick out of seeing that I tried. I have had a long-running allergy to even attempting applique before now. 

If I get my owl quilt finished before the entry deadline, I may try to enter it in the appliqued large wall-hanging category. Unfortunately, since I am pretty set in my ways, I don't have enough variety in my quilt styles or sizes to have entries in other categories. Maybe in the future.

Anyway, now I have to make and sew on sleeves for each of these quilts so that they can be hung. Sewing on sleeves is tedious work, but it's the only way my quilts are going to make it into the show (and the wall-hanging needs a sleeve anyway), so I guess that's what I'll spend the next week doing.

I actually have some finishes to show you, but if I include them here, I won't have anything to show you tomorrow. Therefore, you'll just have to wait (giggle).

Until then,

Thursday, January 24, 2013


I won't be posting quilt entry photos today. I think I may be coming down with the flu despite having gotten the shot last semester. In fact, I think I'll be missing the quilt guild meeting tonight as well. I'm too tired to try to stay up until after nine tonight. I think I'll just go home and go right to bed. Goodnight everyone. I'll touch base again later.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Oh my. Even more UFOS...sigh...

Well, I'm afraid I have some bad news for myself. I was working quietly in my sewing room last night sewing on the binding on my latest finished quilt and thinking about how much I actually enjoy handwork, when my mind took a quick, guilty peek back at some of the handwork I've been managing to avoid for several years now. Yep. I've been handquilting the same three quilts off and on since around 2005. I've actually made progress...really! Just nowhere near enough.
Well, now it's time to own up. I'm adding four more quilts to my Get 'er Done To Do list for 2013. That brings me up to...what...27? That's only two finishes plus a smidge more per month, right? No problem. I didn't need that full-time teaching job anyway.
Okay, well, maybe I shouldn't go overboard. I do need to pay for fabric after all. Besides, several of those projects actually only need binding, a few more need to be quilted and bound, and quite a few more need borders, quilting and binding. It's not like I'm starting from scratch with all of them... Easy peasy, right?
I just keep reminding myself of how much better I'll feel with loads of projects off of my shelves. I ignore the fact that I will then have nearly 30 finished quilts to pile on my guest bed when I'm finished. Anyone have a princess I can borrow? And a pea?
The first quilt I'll be adding to my list is actually one of the very first quilts that I ever made. It's in lovely fall colors, and I'm supposed to be giving it to my brother. Thank goodness he doesn't know that or he'd be nagging me to get it done. It's only seven years old now. The poor little quilt is still a youngster! Anyway, I need to finish the flowers in the sashing  strip areas and then tackle the borders. The floral squares are finished and most of the sashing strips are done. You can see the floral pattern I'm using in a couple of the strips.
The next quilt that I'm adding is one that I actually work on every year. It's also still a youngster at only about six years old.
Each of the 6" squares gets a quilted butterfly. Each butterfly has a different wing color. I think I'm down to the last three or four butterflies to do, and then I can finish off the flying butterfly pattern in the outside borders. What was I thinking when I started hand quilting more than one project at a time? I used to have three hand quilting projects going, but I got tired of working on one of them, ripped out the little quilting I had done, and handed the quilt over to Mom to machine quilt for me. Best decision I could have made. These two, however, have come too far for me to back out now. Onwards!!!
The next addition to my list is this cute little Turning 20 quilt. I actually won all of the cut pieces for this quilt as a door prize at a Stashbuster's meeting at Sager Creek Quilts and Yarnworks about three or four years ago. I'm actually machine quilting this one. To be honest, I haven't looked at it lately. I think all I have left to do on it is quilt the outside border. After that it's ready to be bound. So why is it still in my To Do pile? Geesh.

The last project that I'm adding (until I run across some more - after all, I have until the first Saturday in March to turn in my UFO list to the guild) is my African inspired quilt. Several years ago I decided to make a quilt using my precious collection of African fabrics and African inspired fabrics. There is no pattern. The fabrics are sewn together completely free style. To add some challenge to the project, I completed the quilt with no single seam running in a straight line completely through the quilt. Every seam will, at some point, run into the middle of another fabric. Later I'll post some pictures of the complete quilt top and you'll get a better idea of what I mean. This photo is primarily for turning into the Get 'er Done contest. I am also hand quilting this project. Sigh.

I will also  soon be posting  photos of the quilts that I will be entering in the Q.U.I.L.T of NWA's quilt show this April. I need to get the entry forms filled out this afternoon, so hopefully I can get photos on here when I have more time (maybe tomorrow?).

In the meantime, have a great day!


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Is it # 23 or # 24?

Guess what I found... Yep, it's another UFO - either # 23 or # 24... I just had to open that mysterious container and look inside, didn't I? Well, here it is.
Last year I won two charm packs of Andover fabrics at retreat. Now, I love Andover, but I hate charm packs. For those of you who may not know, a charm pack is an assortment of 5" squares. At least they are supposed to be 5". Anyone who has ever bought precut squares can tell you that the size seems to be approximate. Most of my squares ranged from 4 3/4" to 5 1/4". This is why I prefer to cut my own fabric. I did not want to take the time to cut down all of the squares to a uniform 4 1/2" (especially since most of them were not actually fabrics that I would have bought), so I decided to just sew them together and get them used. Most of the fabrics looked more masculine than many of the fabrics that I buy, so I figured I would make a men's throw quilt with them. I did not have enough squares, so I bought another charm pack that I thought would blend well and added a few fabrics from my stash.

I actually rather like the simplicity of this quilt top so far. I decided to sew on some border fabric then add another row of squares before ending with a wide border. And I just so happened to have bought some beautiful, neutral colored fabric at Hancock's just the other day... What good fortune!
So here's my lovely, neutral fabric for borders. And a shout out to my lovely assistant Callie for holding down the fabric for me so it didn't escape.

If you look back at the two earlier photos, you'll see that I took these pictures after I added the first border. Unfortunately, once I started sewing on the outer row of blocks, I realised that I needed to have cut the borders 2 3/4" instead of 2 1/2" wide. I won't go into the particulars of my really basic math error; I'll just say that I was thinking of 4 1/2" unfinished squares, not 5". Oh well. I cut some new borders last night before I could change my mind and decide that it isn't worth the bother of trying to fix. That means that tonight I have a date with a seam ripper. It's a good thing that it's too early in the semester for me to have papers to grade yet. : )

I'll let you know how it goes...

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Backings done and finishings in progress...

The first week of January I handed off one of my quilt tops to Mom to quilt for me. I'm afraid I don't have the patience, talent, or interest that she does. Anyway, she got that one done and back to me so that I could show it at Dogwood on January 5. I still need to bind it, but I'm trying to remember just where I put the binding material for that quilt. It's around here somewhere...

Anyway, I have since dropped off two more quilt tops and backs to be quilted. I hope she expected retirement to be this busy. She only thought she was finished working for other people. : ) Thanks, Mom!

I have also chosen the backing for one more top. I have two more tops waiting for backs after that. (Don't tell Mom, though. She may run away and hide when she hears.) Of course, the big problem is just building up. Binding. : ( I'm going to be binding quilts for months at this rate! Which is REALLY a problem because our regional quilt show is coming up in April. I need to have quilts finished and ready to turn in by the beginning of March. I'm going to enter two of the bed quilts that I've finished already (just have to decide which ones). I also want to finish my owl wall hanging and enter it (which means I'd better find my embroidery thread for those eyes!). Adding to the list, I need to make two small quilts for the small quilt auction. I don't even have ideas yet!!! I had a baby quilt that I had planned on donating, but then my niece announced that she's expecting again in March, so...

On the critter side, I received a Linked-In story regarding quilts donated to pet shelters in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. If you'd like to read it, I have included a link to the story -


What a wonderful idea! The story includes a link to patterns for pet blankets that can be donated as well as a link to find shelters in your area who would like to receive these pet quilts. We all know that our pets love our quilts, but have you thought of sharing with pets who don't have loving families to provide them with the warmth that only a quilt can convey? I think I shall have to consider making some of these. It's not like I don't have the fabric for it... And I do love pets... I would bring them all home with me if I could (which is why I currently have five cats and four dogs), but I'm pretty much out of room. A few quilts seems like the least I can do.

Speaking of pets, here's my gratuitous kitty photo. Sinbad was enjoying his heater, as usual, when Maxie asked to join him. Sinbad is usually pretty selfish with his favorite things (and he and Maxie have always had a rather contentious relationship anyway), but he is beginning to learn to share. Not only did he let Maxie join him, but he actually LET HER TOUCH HIM! In fact, he let her rest her head on his side and go to sleep!!! Will wonders never cease? Thank you, Sinbad, for not scratching your sister's eyes out.

I'll let your know how the whole backing/binding/finishing thing goes as I rush to complete all of those 2012 UFOs that I promised myself I would finish.

Until then,


Monday, January 7, 2013

New page finished.

I've been working on overcoming my missing-browser-button problem that has been complicating my photo-adding capabilities. Apparently, I'm not the only one suffering from this Blogspot problem though. Apparently, there is a glitch in the program that kicked in at the beginning of the year. I discovered, however, that I could add photos to my Picaso Web Ablum and upload them from there, but that process has its own problems. I won't bore you with the details, but I hope Blogspot gets the problem fixed soon.

I have, however, been able to update my To-Do 2013 page with my projects for this year. Disappointingly, I find that although I won the Get 'er Done competition at Dogwood for completing the most projects last year, I actually have MORE projects to finish this year than I did last year! In 2012, I had 22 projects on my To-Do List. This year I'm starting with 23! How did I completely finish seven projects and end up with eight more than I started with? Sigh... Of course, many of them are tops that I completed in 2012 but that still need to be quilted and finished. Finishing the tops counted as one credit, and I can carry them over to this year for a second credit if I finish them completely.

Take a peek at my list and keep pushing me to get these finished before I start a dozen more!


Saturday, January 5, 2013

Yippee! I won! I won!

Hurray! I won the Dogwood Guild's Git 'er Done challenge for 2012!

There were 16 of us participating, and I finished more than anyone else did. : ) Which also makes me feel guilty. : (

It seems that Mom and JM and I were tied for the most completions when we arrived at the meeting. I turned in three more finishes and took the lead. So why do I feel guilty? Because the reason Mom didn't win is that she was too busy doing all of my quilting! Even simple quilting takes a full day or more. Those were days she could have been working on her own projects. Sorry, Mom.

Okay, enough apologizing. Let me show you what I won...

The ribbon actually means a lot to me because it was made by a friend as an ugly fabric challenge at a Eureka! guild retreat. The retreat was organized by John and Martha Warren of Eureka. On January 1 of this year John passed away. I found out this week that Martha passed on December 31. John passed on the first day of the year and his wife on the last. I'm not going to miss 2012. All of the materials for the ribbon were from their shop. I'll think of them whenever I see it.

I also won a pack of machine quilting needles and a rotary cutter blade. I can use both of these!

All of us participants were given a card to brag about our achievement. Both the ribbon and the card have labels reading "This took forever." These may have to go on a couple of my finishes! : )

I also won a $25 gift certificate to Sager Creek Quilt and Yarnworks in Siloam Springs. Thanks Cliff and Pam! You KNOW I can use this!

I've started a new page as of today labeled 2013 To-Do List. Dogwood is renewing its Get 'er Done challenge for this year. Great! I still have lots of finishes to go. The unfinished 2012s will remain on my list, but I'm adding several more that I either started this year or found after I turned in my list last year. I had to move the pages to the right-hand side of my blog since there was only a limited number of pages that would show across the top. I didn't know that and had added two pages earlier this year that never showed up. Now you can see several new pages!

I'm still adding to the photos on my 2013 page since I'm having trouble adding photos to my blog. I didn't have this problem in 2012, but with this, my first photo post in 2013, I've lost my browser button to add photos from my computer! Maybe it'll come back later. In the meantime, I've figured out a way around the problem. Unfortunately, it took me so long to figure it out and the process itself takes so long, that it's already my bedtime. I'll try to finish updating it tomorrow. Good night for now everyone.


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

Just a quick note to wish everyone a great new year. I still haven't touched the borders on my latest UFO, but I intend to tomorrow. Instead I shared a couple of relaxing days with Mom - shopping, eating, and...okay, eating some more. ; ) Starting tomorrow, I won't have any more excuses to overeat and enjoy forbidden foods, so I've been taking advantage of the opportunities while I have them. Tomorrow it's back to salads and other "healthy" foods. I don't care how unwise it is, I always enjoy myself at the holidays.

I hope to have some more "finished" photos later this week. I have also unearthed some more UFOs for our 2013 Git 'er Done challenge at Dogwood Guild. I need to print the photos and fill out the paperwork for them this week.

Until later,