Sunday, January 30, 2011

Working on my Batik Jane

I've been working on finishing this "Dear Jane" quilt. It's made with Batik (& hand dyed) fabrics and several white-on-white fabrics for the background. With a couple of exceptions the fabrics for these blocks and the finished quilt top have been from fabrics I already have.
This is a goal of mine for 2011 - to use what I already have and to only purchase those fabrics that are really 'special' or if I need a fabric to finish something

These blocks were made throughout 2010, inspired by a class that I take at the 'Muck' (The Muckenthaler Cultural Center - and you think your last name is bad) taught by Lyn Brown.
This year she will be doing this technique in her class and online at her website. It's called 'Bridges' and it's a technique for machine applique. You can follow her and get the patterns for the Bridges Quilt at: 
This year they are 8" blocks and blocks 1 & 2 are already up. Be sure to go back to the beginning instructions to understand how to do this.

Here's a picture of the original quilt made by Jane Stickle in 1863. These blocks are 4" and done by hand. My Batik quilt blocks are 6" an done by machine.

In this class we had a fabric exchange of Civil War reproduction fabrics to use to make this quilt. But I'm already making a copy of the original quilt that was made in 1863 in the reproduction fabrics and in the 4" size (I know, I must be crazy) so I decided that I needed to make it with something different. That's when I got the idea to use Batik fabrics. I'm loving how it turned out.

I'll post pictures when I'm done!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

What a week!

I'm still tired from the convention and this week has been really hectic. It seems that I haven't had a minute to catch up. Except tonight - Ray is at a retirement party. So why don't I want to get sewing or cutting on one of my projects??
Cuz I'm tired.

I think I'll get my hand sewing and sit back and watch TV for a while. Or maybe read a book in the peace and quiet. If I cut or sew I might need to calculate the sizes or something and I really think I just need to chill out for a while.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Home from Road to California

Well, I had a wonderful time. The show was really nice this year and there were lots of people there - maybe even more than last year. But I'm glad to be home; mostly because I really love my own bed and my easy chair.

Later I'll post some of my findings and purchases from the show. I was sad that Lori's Little Quilt Hangers didn't have a booth because I was ready to buy a couple more quilt hangers. They really are wonderful.

Here's my (green) blocks from the 'Blue Ridge Beauty' class up on the design wall. There are a few more pictures of them in other layouts up on Bonnie's blog, plus some in other colors. Fun!

We had so much fun in her classes. I only took one, but my friend Kay took three and we sat in on each others classes. I know it's not really allowed, but Kay is 88 years old so I sat in and sewed for her yesterday to give her a break. Our other friend Helen and her granddaughter Trish are in today's class. Trish also took the Blue Ridge Beauty class with me.
(Makes me think ahead - maybe Skyler &/or Shea will want to go with me someday.)

The good thing about these classes is that we did all our fabric shopping at home. It's all from our 'stash' and they have about 100 different fabrics in them (maybe more).

It was so nice to meet Bonnie in person, but it's like we already know each other. She will be back out here next January and will give a lecture & workshop at my quilt guild. (A trip to M & L will be scheduled.) Plus she is the teacher hosting the Quilting Cruise that I will be going on at the end of August. I also have a room mate for that cruise - her name is Gail Yawn and I know we'll have a great time even though I just met her. Quilters are the greatest!

Also, I took Bonnie for her first In 'n Out burger. We had it 'Animal Style'. That was Thursday; then I took her for her second one on Saturday. She can't get that in North Carolina!

More later!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Packing for Road

Today I'm packing for Road to California. I always enjoy myself and I plan to have fun this year too. I'll be taking a class with Bonnie Hunter called Blue Ridge Beauty (see picture on Jan 4 blog). This is a good class because I didn't need to buy fabric for it - I just shopped at home.
I will also catch Bonnie's  'Scrap User's' lecture. I pretty much know her system, but you never know when you get some new ideas. 
Plus I'm going to the party on Thursday night. It's a fun time with games and prizes - I should be due to win something this year.

If you want to get an idea of the show take a look at this time-lapse video of last years show. I know you won't be able to see me, but I was there.

This year will be a challenge for me because I'm trying to curb my 'fabric' spending in 2011. I really do have lots of fabric to work from so I'll only purchase some of the really new (and very cute) stuff and only if it really grabs me. Plus I'll only buy a small amount because I've decided that everything I make doesn't have to be a full sized quilt. I can make little things - things that make me happy.
So I'll shop through all vendors first, on Thursday, making sure I see everything before I decide what to buy. (Not like the year I spent $80 on the first aisle, before I checked out what else was available.)

Do you think my plan will work?
I'll let you know how it goes.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Here is something I've been working on. It's called a 'Lawn Chair Quilt' because it kind of looks like those woven lawn chairs.

This picture is a bit washed out but I think you get the idea. Mine is made with a linen green and five light colored prints.
It really does look much better in person.

If you look at the original by Monica Solorio-Snow you will see that it really looks like those chairs. You can find the pattern here at Moda Bake Shop:

Here is another project that I'm working on - it's for a row quilt.
My newest friendship group, Stitchin' Time, is making a row quilt in 2011.

Every month we make a block for each member (there are nine of us) plus one for a charity quilt. So every month I have to make ten 6" blocks. They are machine appliqued so it is easier than it looks, but it is still a very big project.

So far I have completed the Snowman for January and the Heart for February. I'm going to try to keep ahead of the months so I'll be ready for the busy times of the year. Of course it's easy to say I'm going to keep ahead in January - we'll see how that goes.

I am having fun with this so I look forward to more fun as I work on the coming months. But as you can see I have given myself a difficult block for March - the Kite block. Those little pieces will be harder to machine applique, but it is so cute that I have to try.

Most of the patterns I will be using for these blocks are by Nancy Halvorsen. You can see her stuff here:

I just love her designs and I have most of her books which gives me lots of patterns to choose from.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Random Thoughts

Yesterday was the first class of the new sememster for the quilt class at the Muckenthaler - a cool old mansion. Fun things are planned and the first one will be called Solar Power. It's a Lonestar pattern, but done the modern way - not the way I learned in the 70s. If you want to see what we do in that class check out the teacher's website:

There are lots of fun patterns here. Check out the Tea Towel purses.

Also, I did sign up for the quilting cruise in the Caribbean at the end of August. I don't have a roommate yet, but have confidence I will find someone I know. If not they will try to hook me up with someone.

I'm looking forward to 'Road to California' next week. It's a quilters convention and it's something I've been doing for years. I always have fun.

Right now Ray is waiting for me to finish this so we can go workout at the gym. We are doing great  - I've lost 24 pounds - and he's lost about double that. So we keep going!

More later,

Sunday, January 9, 2011

I Need to Check the Calendar

Boy, I was thinking that Road to California was this coming week - but it's next week.
I'm not sure what I was thinking - crazy.
However, I'm glad that I was wrong because it means that I have one more week to catch up on all the things I thought I needed to do by Tuesday. Which means that I should have time to snap a few pictures of what I'm working on.
Yeah! I have more time!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Caribbean Cruise

OK, so I really am thinking about taking this cruise.

What's not to like?
The Caribbean & quilting; plus someone else does the cooking and cleaning!

I really like Bonnie, her quilts and her way of doing things. Taking this cruise sounds like such fun that I just may have to work it out that I can go. For now I need to get more details.

More later,

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Working Out & Stash Ideas

We've been doing good working out at the gym. It all started when the rain kept us from our walks. What we've learned is that the treadmill gives us a much better workout than we were getting walking at the local parks. After a couple of months at the park we were walking the whole place and then getting creative by circling back and around the block to get more of a walk. Of course the walks were good to get us started and they helped us get a routine, but now we are going to the gym daily and working out on the treadmill for an hour.

Then today at the gym we saw a poster about getting sessions with a personal trainer. It's a good idea because one reason I don't want to use the other machines is because I don't know how to use them properly and I don't want to hurt myself. The other reason is I don't want to look stupid.
So I think I will be doing that in the next couple of weeks. It is only 3 sessions, but I will learn everything in the place and that is worth a lot.

Stash Stuff!
While going through my green & light fabrics for my class next week I came up with an idea of about my fabric stash. I am making stacks - 1/2 yd, 1yd, 1 1/2yds, 2yds, 4yds, 5yds. This will make it easier to find the right amount of fabric when I 'shop' my stash.
Until now I had everything in order by color, but then I had to dig through each color section looking for the right amount for what I needed. Then if I found something I would have to get it out and measure it to make sure it was enough.
What I did is this: If I have less than 1/2 yard I cut it into the strips I need to the class. Or more than 1/2 yard, but less than a yard, I cut it down to 1/2 yard and cut the extra into strips. Same with the other measurements. Or if it is a fabric that I just want out of my stash, I cut it up.

Well, I had this idea to do that with all my fabric. I can cut any extra stuff of other colors into 2 1/2" strips (the most usable size; or into several different sizes) and then put everything back by size - not color.
This will be great for me this year because I am going to try not to buy much fabric in 2011. I say 'try' and 'much' because there is some really cute fabric out there and I will probably have to get a little bit of; probably next week. And if there is something I want to make and I don't have the right stuff in my stash I might need to buy something.

Also, as I put the fabric back on the shelves I will be able to take a count of just how many yards of fabric I actually have.

SCARY - I know, but it is time for me to get a grip.

Then when I shop my stash I can feel good about using up what I have.
Kinda like how I feel when I burn calories!
My body and my stash will be slimmer by 2012.

Back to the stash!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Preparing for "Road to California"

I know the new year has been here a few days now, but I just realized that the big quilt show, Road to California is next week. I am only taking one class this year. It is taught by Bonnie Hunter, the queen of using up scraps of fabric.
This is the quilt we will be making, but mine will be in greens. I'm making it for our guest room at the lake - the one we call the green room.

Did I mention that I am quoted on the back of her new book?

Click Here to read it:

So today I will be going through my greens and cutting strips. 2" strips for the little 4-patches and 3.5" strips for the half-square triangles.

The Twins will have to wait!

Monday, January 3, 2011

January 3rd

Well, I lost all but .2 pounds of the weight I gained Christmas week. Yeah! I'm down 21 pounds!

Yesterday I quilted Twin #2 with a fun variegated thread of yellow, orange & brown. No fancy design just in the ditch. For me these quilts are about the pattern not the quilting and they are pretty small so for now they are just for me to look at.

There are lots of quilts I want to make and if I made them all full size I would never be able to finish them - so I'm goning to make them smaller.

Here's another design that I am thinking of, only with bigger pieces. I have a cute bird fabric, a matching tree fabric and a couple of others that will look cute with this idea. Maybe not so wonky, maybe straight pieces. But I only bought small pieces of the fabric so it won't be too big, but it should be fun.
Here's a picture of the fabrics. The bird one reminds me of a fabric by Valorie Wells.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Twins

These are a couple of quilts that I call The Twins. At first look they look alike, but on closer examination they are different. I just turned the wheel part to make the large part go inward on the second one. The acutal name (of the first one) is Wonky Pinwheels.

They are pinned and ready to machine quilt and I'm hoping to get them quilted this week. The only problem is that I don't have enough of the brown for a binding so I need to come up with another idea. I have a couple of other browns, but I think they aren't close enough to not look wierd. I also have a stripe with the orange, yellow & green colors that I could use, but am not sure I want a light binding.

Here's where I got the pattern:

They're not real big quilts, but I had such fun making them and that IS what it's all about!

Happy New Year

Welcome 2011

Hope we all have a wonderful year with lots of good things
and only a little of the not so good things!

Here's something fun I found. It's the ABC's of Happiness.

A is Accept your reality.

Well, today my reality is that it has been a cold wet winter and I don't think is gonna let up any time soon. So, I need to get used to wearing lots of layers of clothing and using the heater and electric blanket and not going barefoot (which is probably the worst part).
I also need to stop whinning about the cold, because it doesn't change anything.
That's my way of accepting reality - what's yours?