Friday, December 30, 2011

The Fabulous First Border

Drum roll's time to start working on the first border (the one at the bottom) of the Friends of Baltimore quilt.  As a refresher, here's what the quilt will look like once completed.

I wanted to jump right in and get started but a project of this magnitude takes thought and planning.  So, I made bias stems.  Did I mention they're 1/8" bias stems?  And did I mention the borders will take miles (well, maybe not exactly miles) of bias stems? 

I cut templates, and templates, and templates.  Sue Garman, the designer, has carefully coded each piece with a letter and number so I am using numbered ziplock bags to store the templates.

I sorted fabric.  Sue suggested using clear plastic plates to hold applique shapes and fabrics.  I like her suggestion and have adopted it.

I cut the border which was scary.  What if I cut it too short?  What if it shrinks?  What if?  What if?  I took a deep breath and decided Sue covered that contingency because the corner pots are appliqued on separate squares.  Those squares will allow for "fudging" if necessary.

I'm starting near the center and working my way to the left.  Once the left is complete, I'll make the center pot and work my way to the right. goes....

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Block done

Oh what fun I had making this block!   The background is the same as the other blocks - Kona Snow.  It was just a dreary day when I took the photo.  Probably didn't help that I used my IPhone either!

Here are the blocks so far.  I'm ready to start on border #1.  I have to finish another project first, though. 

Still trying to figure out why photos flip in odd ways from the phone camera to the blog photo area.  Hope you have a Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Friends of Baltimore Update

Yes. Two posts in one week!  I have been having a lot of fun working on this block. Every time I pass my sewing room (errrr....excuse me......I've been told it is a sewing studio not a sewing room), I have to stop and make just one more piece. 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The fun begins!

Do you ever have something you really, really, really want to do but you've got something else that takes precendence?  If so, you know how I've felt these past few weeks.  I really wanted to work on my Friends of Baltimore blocks but had a couple of commitments.  The commitments are almost finished so I decided to reward myself with a Friends of Baltimore blocks.  I was "supposed" to work on a border next but decided that's just too overwhelming right now so chose another vase of flowers instead.

I think getting all my applique supplies and fabric together is half the battle; but fabric is pulled and I'm ready to go. 

An update on Artie our garage rabbit.  He apparently headed for the hills because we have not seen him since "the incident."  We helped our local garage door repair company have a Merry Christmas - they replaced the rubber Artie munched on during his term of imprisonment. 

Hope to be back later this week with an update.  We shall see........

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Poor Artie

We returned home yesterday from 4 very relaxing days in the Lincoln/Omaha area.  Unfortunately, we knew something was amiss when we opened our garage door to the sight of broken glass.  Here's our tale.

The night before we left, we heard a loud noise in the garage.  We looked at each other and commented that something must have fallen.  Don't think we even bothered to open the door to investigate.  The next morning at 4:00 a.m. my husband heard another loud noise coming from the garage.  He opened the door between the kitchen and garage, turned on the light, and saw something scurry under the car.  He opened the garage door to let "it" out.

We left at 6:00 and "it" was the topic of conversation for most of the day.  Was "it" a opossum?

Sorry to all those opossum fans out there.  I couldn't find a public domain photo of a cute little opossum!

Or was "it" an armadillo?

I know it probably looks odd to see one right side up since they are commonly seen right side down along the side of the street.

Or was "it" a bunny rabbit?

By mid-morning, I'd convinced myself it was an armadillo..........oh.......and we'd named him Artie.  We thought about him a few times during the week but had other things to think about.

Flash forward to our arrival.  There sitting by the rear tire of the car was ------- a bunny rabbit.  Poor little bunny must have been so frightened and thirsty.  He ran from side to side under the car, not wanting to leave the garage.  Hubby unknowingly left the door to the kitchen ajar as he went in the house to get the car keys.  So here I am trying to coax Artie out while not stepping on broken glass and fabric he'd managed to find and wanting to make everything OK. 

Somehow I lost sight of Artie and by now realized the kitchen door was ajar.  My first thought was that he'd slipped in the house.  Oh my goodness!  So many wonderful hiding places in a fabricaholic's home! 

I spent the remainder of yesterday looking under the vehicles thinking I'd spot Artie.  Every time something rustled in the house, I jumped to investigate.  Hubby came home with a terribly sore throat and runny nose so between caring for him and worrying about Artie's condition, I was worn out. 

I haven't seen any sign of Artie today and expect (hope, hope, hope) he is fine.  It rained yesterday so any grass he ate should have been nice and wet so he's probably rehydrated and feeling much better. 

We have to call the garage door people this week.  Artie was so desperate to escape he chewed a good portion of the rubber seal.  The glass jar he broke was on a shelf 5' off the ground.  Poor little guy must have been beside himself with fear when the jar shattered. 

So.  Moral of this story, if you hear a sound in the garage you'd better investigate thoroughly.  Mom suggested I keep a pan of food and water in the garage every time we leave for a few days.  I may just have to do that!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Hope you had a nice Thanksgiving

We decided to do something a bit different for Thanksgiving this year. We loaded the car and headed north. Yes north. Everyone who knows my husband knows he hates cold weather ..... but he loves me more so indulged me when I mentioned I'd like to go to the International Quilt Study Center in Lincoln, Nebraska. 

The Elegant Geometry exhibit closes Jan 8. If you haven't been and can squeeze a trip to see it in your schedule, you will be glad you did. Yvonne Wells also has an exhibit of some of her works. The current issue of Quiltmania magazine also has an interesting article about her. 

The center has a catalog of the exhibit. Santa is bringing me a copy. 

This quilt was amazing. All those tiny pieces!  The center allows non-flash photography in all their galleries. 

After the exhibit we drove to Omaha and spent several days there. We are both retired from the Air Force and enjoyed staying on the base. Did some shopping. Santa is also bringing me some running shoes. Hubby doesn't know Santa shopped for him this afternoon. 

The Just Cross Stitch Christmas in Williamsburg seminar begins soon. If you're going, have a great time. I have very happy memories of the times I attended. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Fun and quick wool project

In between working on some "secret" projects, I put together this wool pumpkin.  Wool is attached to a cotton base and then embellished with crazy quilt stitches.  The nice thing about the stitches is how perfect they look.  No!  I'm not a perfect stitcher - the pattern includes pre-printed transfer ease.  How fun is that?! 

I cannot believe Thanksgiving is next week.  How about you?  Does it seem like it was Thanksgiving just a few months ago? 

Back to the salt mines.....errrr......sewing machine.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Christmas came early

Actually, Christmas and Thanksgiving and every other reason you can think of to be thankful came.  Mom and I heard the words her oncologist doesn't get to say very often: "You are cancer free."  I expected she would be scheduled for 3 month follow ups (6 at the best) but was very pleased when he said we will see you in a year.  It's been a year since her ordeal began and now has officially ended.  We were always close but this has brought us closer. 

I'm not sure why the fall makes me want to cross stitch but it does.  I was looking at old posts and ran across the post where I had high hopes of finishing this by Halloween 2010 (last time I checked I am still working on it and Halloween 2011 has passed!).  Uh oh!

I did stitch (and finish!) this little piece by Shepherd's Bush.  It was a fun piece to stitch and really easy to finish. 

Just had to share the good news.  Back to sewing!


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Quilt Market Day 2 -- My Adventure Ends

It was hard to sleep last night thinking of all I'd seen yesterday. Awards are presented in various categories for those who have exceptional booths.

........yes that is an automobile! Today I saw a man dressed up as Superman complete with blue tights and a cape. You're probably lucky I couldn't find my camera quickly. I may need some serious counseling after seeing something like that.

Market is a time for businesses both large and small to show their best. Sometimes that means the boss has to work. Here's the owner of Moda looking over paperwork at the Moda booth. Who knows - he might have been waiting for the next client! I'd be kind of nervous if he were showing me fabric. What do you mean you don't like that fabric?!

Remember I was working on something I couldn't show you? Here it is: Lynette Anderson's new fabric. The pattern will be posted on Lecien's website soon. It's a fun quilt to make.

Here's the label I made for the back.

The Primitive Quilts magazine booth was filled with projects found in the Winter issue. I hope mine is waiting for me at home!

Several antique dealers attended. They had everything from buttons to jewelry to feed sacks to quilts. I couldn't help myself. I bought 3 quilts. I justified their purchase by the fact that I had extra room in my luggage......there's benefits to bringing just enough clothes to get through the trip. I plan to reproduce the quilts so you will be seeing them in the future. Meanwhile, here's one that I passed on (for now) because it was too big and heavy. Sigh....

My adventure ends early tomorrow morning. I have a shuttle scheduled to pick me up at 6:05. They've already called to confirm I'm leaving as planned. It's been fun but I'm ready to get home and back into my schedule. For those who are visiting my blog to get Sew Graceful updates, feel free to continue to pop in. I will have a regular newsletter ready to send as always on Thursday.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Quilt Market Day 1

I was able to get several fat quarter bundles for you to drool over at the After Market Party at Sew Graceful on Saturday. As with the past several markets, many fabric manufacturers are going with the bright contemporary look. Pretty, but it's not us.

I began my day at one of my favorite designer's booth - Blackbird Designs, of course. Unfortunately, their new book wasn't ready for market. Alma had a prototype and I was able to look through it. I think you will be pleased. We have them on order and they should ship late next week. Here's the cover of the book.

Here's a photo of their booth. It's always so pretty. As a reminder, we have the fabric used in the blue quilt on order and it should be shipping in the next few weeks. Also, they have ANOTHER new fabric line coming out next year and you will be able to see it Saturday.

Next, I visited Jan Patek's booth. She also has a new line coming out in 2012....and, yes, you will be able to see it Saturday. Here's a photo of her booth with a couple of new projects. Of course, we had to buy all of them!

A new to me designer has the most wonderful block of the month pattern. Here's a photo of the quilt in their booth. We will have the pattern for you to see on Saturday. We also bought several other of their patterns because they fit well with our primitive look.

I walked clear across the convention center to the Valdani booth so I could shop before the booth was mobbed. I speak from experience. I chose 4 boxes of new colors to expand our selection. Notice one box is the beautiful twisted perle cotton 12.

Primitive Gatherings is a "must visit" booth. Lisa has a new fabric line (yes, you'll be able to see it Saturday!) as well as a couple of new patterns. I am bringing them back. She also has a new block of the month pattern coming out in December. I'll be interested to get your reaction to it.

I think I must be very tired because it's taken an embarrassingly long time to get this little update typed. Hmmmm....wonder if my fatigue could be related to the 20 miles (it seemed like 20!) miles I walked today??!

More tomorrow.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Quilt Market Day Zero and 1/2

OK..........It's ridiculously cold here in Houston. Windy, dreary--perfect quilting weather though! I'm not sure why I'm so enticed by the shipping boxes but just had to show you a sample of what Moda sent. Obviously someone has a lot of time on their hands to have time to decorate wooden crates!

Yesterday I mentioned Schoolhouse. I helped Lynette with hers and then helped hold quilts during Lecien's presentation. Lots of very pretty new quilts and fabrics. After my "work" (what a fun way to work!) was finished I had to go to one of my favorite designer's presentation.

Yes.....that's Jo Morton. Notice the packed room. It was standing room only. She showed her Little Women's Club 11 quilts plus some that will be in a book next year.

Tonight is Sample Spree. I'd take photos but don't know if you'd be able to get the full effect by a mere photo. Imagine 1000 shop owners (mostly women) standing in line (it's 5:15 p.m.and I'll guarantee the line has formed). The doors open promptly at 8:00 and the crowd surges forward. THEN another 1000 line up for the 9:00 opening. It's like nothing you've ever seen before. Oh.....did I mention that there is a limited amount of merchandise? And some can't be bought anywhere else during market.

Those who know me know I'm not much of a shopping fan but Sample Spree is a tradition with me. I'll let you know what I found tomorrow.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Quilt Market Day Zero

I made it to Houston without any big surprises. I like surprises in many areas but sure not when flying. My room wasn't ready but that was fine. Armed with my free warm walnut chocolate chip cookie (a girl has to keep up her strength!), I headed to the convention center to pick up my show catalog.

Even though the show doesn't open until Sat the convention center was buzzing with activity. Yellow forklifts were everywhere moving freight to the appropriate location. Many large companies ship in these huge wooden containers.

I remember the first time Darlene and I visited this market. We looked down on the sales floor and commented it didn't look THAT big. We thought we'd probably be finished in 1/2 a day - a day at the most. Famous last words! We probably walked 10 miles that market and had to hurry to finish it in the 3 allotted days. I'm here alone this time so will not have a lot of dilly dally time.

Tomorrow I have an appointment at 10:00 and plan to go to Schoolhouse. Schoolhouse is an entire day of classes and presentations. It's a time for designers to introduce new fabric, books, gadgets, patterns, etc.

More pics tomorrow evening.

Friday, October 21, 2011

A little wool finish

I'm working on a couple of projects but can't show them right now.  Kind of makes blogging difficult - no kids or grandkids to show photos of, no pets to show photos of, don't cook food that's interesting enough to photo, and who wants to see more photos of restaurant food?! 

I recently finished this little wall hanging.  I think the snowman has such a charming expression.  It's all wool. 

I also finished this all wool project in time for fall.

Made what seemed like yards of green bias for the Baltimore quilt.  I'm not even going to think about pulling it out until after quilt market.  I leave Oct 27 for 5 days in Houston.  Markets are fun but a lot of work (some mental but a lot physical - good thing I walk 4 miles a day!)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Uh oh!

I generally love to receive a package in the mail.  Generally......this is......unless it's a package containing another Friends of Baltimore block.  Good grief!  Here's the 3rd border and I haven't started the first one yet.  I know it's not a race but I'm feeling very left behind.

I have templates made for the first border but just need to find some time to work on putting it together.  Here's a photo of border #1 - the teeny tiny black object is an IPhone.  That gives you an idea of the size.

So, what have I spent my last 3 weeks doing?  I finished the model for Lynette Anderson's new fabric line which will make its debut in Houston later this month.  You can click on her name and go to the Sep 27 blog entry to see another peek of her fabric. 

That's about it for now.  I wanted to do a quick update to let you know I'm still around.  Fingers crossed for no more of "those" packages for at least a couple of weeks!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Shop hopping

My friend invited me to her home in Springfield.  Her son gave up his room for me which meant I became one of a handful of adults who can boast of sleeping in a boat.

Our plan was to stitch the days and evenings away.  You'll notice I said plan---instead we shopped and will stitch next time.  We visited The Quilt Sampler in Springfield, Quilts and Quilts in Branson, and Sew Simple Quilts in Ozark.  All were nice but Sew Simple was my favorite for that day of shopping.  Very nice samples and the friendliest help.

The next day we visited a shop that has become one of my favorites:  Lillie's Classic Quilts in Independence, Kansas.  It's off the beaten path but absolutely worth the effort.  If you aren't inspired in this shop, I'm afraid there's little hope for you.  Really, it's that good.

I came home with sensory overload after seeing all the pretty quilts in the shops and seeing her works in progress.  My box of Lynette Anderson fabric was waiting for me.  I'm making her sample for the free pattern that will be available at market next month.  Can't show it yet but you can see a preview of the fabric on her Aug 25 blog entry.


Friday, September 9, 2011

A little needlecase

Not a whole lot to show for this week.  I finished this cute little needlecase from Liberty Star (just love Renee's patterns).  I'm looking forward to getting my hands on her new book later this month.

Last weekend my husband and I vended at the Little Balkans Quilt Show in Pittsburg, Kansas.  What a fun time!  Vending is a lot of work (Kathleen I bet you will agree to that!) but is also a LOT of fun.  You get to look at pretty quilts on display, pretty booths, and best of all visit with friendly people.

Hope you have a great week!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Cabin in the Pines

I was surprised it had been 2 weeks since I blogged.  It felt like 2 days.  Do your days go by as fast as mine??!

I finished Jan Patek's Cabin in the Pines.  It was a fun quilt to make with typical Jan large applique pieces. 

I still need to add some details like eyes for the snowman but will do that later. 

Now that I'm finished with that project, I think it's time to get back to my album quilt.  I have the templates cut for a border and think next week I will start a dreaded border. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

More projects

As promised, here's some more finishes.  This wool piece, God Bless Me, was supposed to have tongues but I'm not a big fan of them so I left them off.  I used Valdani perle cotton and transfer ease for the embroidery.  Both made it SO easy.

This is another wool piece.  It was supposed to be finished as a stocking but I thought a wall hanging would be more practical.

Can't remember if I showed you this or not but just in case.  It's machine appliqued - a fun holiday wall hanging.

This was a fun little one to make.  I enlarged it by adding two borders but it's still tiny.  I quilted it with Valdani and big stitches.

These little wool pillows were a lot of fun to make.  I've learned how to prepare my fabric so I don't get so many lumps and bumps when I stuff.

That's it for now.  I'm almost finished with all the applique pieces for a new Jan Patek quilt.  I'll share pictures next time.  After I get it together, I'm rewarding myself with a Baltimore block!