Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Stolen Moments

Christmas family gatherings will continue for another week for us, so sewing activities come in the form of stolen moments.  Here is some of what I’ve done in the last two weeks.

This ironing pad was a bonus project sheet given to us at one of the Civil War Chronicles Club meetings.  I decided it would be easier to transport than the rigid ironing surface I usually take.  I even had some fabric left over from the iron tote I made a couple of years ago.

My design wall has the start of a Valentine’s Wall Hanging on it.  The design was published in the February 2010 issue of McCall’s Quilting Magazine and is by Judy Block.  I had marked it as a possible project for our quilt club's heart challenge, but ended up submitting a different project.  Since I recently put up a quilt hanger, I hope to make a series of seasonal quilts I can rotate.  The design calls for some additional applique, and I am beginning to prepare flower petals, leaves and stems.   

Also on my design wall are four-patches that will eventually be incorporated into my Jacob’s Ladder borders.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Design Wall Monday – 12/19/2011 and Progress Report on Fixing a Goof

Bob and I spent a couple of days on the Riverwalk in San Antonio last week, celebrating my birthday (belated) and our 34th anniversary.   We visited with our daughter, ate some wonderful food, explored the old missions, visited a great used book store, spent some time and $ in a quilt shop, cruised along the river after dark, and rode a horse drawn carriage one evening.  In short, we had a wonderful time. 

When we got back, I was relaxed enough to tackle the work needed to correct the mistakes I made on the Civil War Chronicles quilt borders.  The corner designs all align properly now and it is finally a flimsy.  It is so big that there is no place in our house with enough open floor space for it to be properly photographed.

Thank you to those who posted encouraging comments after my post last week.  I appreciated the support for getting past this goof. 

Here is my quilt shop purchase from San Antonio:  a Christmas wall hanging kit and the accompanying book with the design.  I recently made a wall hanger for displaying small quilts and would like to make a series of seasonal projects to rotate on it. 

I’m linking up with Judy Laquidara’s Patchwork Times  site where you can enjoy the work of many quilters.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

...'tis the Season

…and the Season certainly has caught up with me.  I thought I would be celebrating the completion of Civil War Chronicles as a flimsy, but alas, as I was posting this photo I discovered that two opposing borders were flipped and the corner design doesn't line up properly.  No big deal.  It's...only...108 inches...to rip out and resew...twice.   I think it would be a really good idea if I set this one aside for a couple of days and concentrate on the joy of the season.  Then I'll carve out some time to plop an audio book in the mp3 player, shut out all distractions, and  deal with fixing the mistake.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Design Wall Monday -- 12/05/2011

Despite some unexpected issues that needed our immediate attention this weekend (clogged clothes dryer, malfunctioning door knob), I did get a little more work done on the corner units for the Civil War Chronicles quilt. 

Two corners are now attached to the center, and two are ready for stitching. 

We are very far behind on getting our Christmas decorations up and I intend to spend a good chunk of the day working on those.  So I’ll be fortunate if I get even one of the two remaining corners on.  I still won’t be finished.  Those 68 Hovering Hawks blocks I posted about endlessly a few weeks ago will then need to be attached as the outer border.

The weather system that brought us some much needed rain is expected to move out later today.  I will miss it.  In the last two weeks, the LCRA gauges closest to our house in town and at the ranch recorded 3.6 and 2.85 inches respectively.  Not enough to refill our lakes, but certainly enough to put some much needed moisture in the ground.  When we made a run to the ranch yesterday to retrieve some tools, we found more water running in the Llano River than we have seen in many months.  We even have puddles in our yard, much to Harley and Chloe’s dismay.

Be sure to check out Patchwork Times for other quilters’ design walls.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The First Corner Piece Fit!

I was so concerned that the corner units for the Civil War Chronicles quilt might not fit, that I decided to add the first one before completing the other three.  It actually went on fairly easily.  I know this is not a good picture, but the project is growing so large, it is a real challenge to get it up on the design wall.  If I take more photographs after the other units are added, I will have to figure something else out.  I think I’ll do smaller projects in 2012!

We had a wonderful rainy day yesterday with accumulations of about .59 inches in town and .32 inches at the ranch for the last 48 hours.  We are hopeful that there will be more, but so far only drizzle. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Having Fun Alternating Projects

I’ve really been enjoying being moving between projects the last few weeks.  This is the first Jane Stickle block I have done in months.  If you follow the book by Brenda Papadakis, it is block B-7, which she named World Series.

One corner unit of the Civil War Chronicles quilt is complete.  If my piecing is such that I can’t get it to fit on the center, you may never see another post about this quilt again.

I completed eight Jacob’s Ladder blocks at Sit ‘N Sew Tuesday.  Looks like I will need to do some more cutting in order to have enough for 48 blocks.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Design Wall Monday -- 11/28/2011

The air mattresses are stowed and the sewing room has been reassembled.  Here are some of the corner units of the Civil War Chronicles quilt.  I need to add another row of blocks to them before they are ready to stitch onto the center.  Perhaps it’s because I’m still trying to hit my stride after all the Thanksgiving company and feasting, but I’m very late making my Monday post. 

Finally, I couldn’t resist getting this little sign for my sewing room.

Be sure to check out Patchwork Times’ Design Wall Monday post for some inspiration.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Working on Jacob's Ladder Blocks

I finished a few more Jacob’s Ladder blocks at Sit ‘N Sew today.  I wasn’t nearly as productive as I expected since I ended up spending a lot more time visiting than sewing.  It was a nice day, though.  I decided to put all my completed blocks up on the design wall to see how they are coming together.  I believe I have 30 out of 48 done. 

The additional rain we were hoping for came around midnight last night.  According to the LCRA gauges closest to our house in town, we received .73 inch in the last 24 hours.  The gauge at our ranch recorded .8 inch for the same time period.  Our lakes are still horrendously low.  I believe we will need an accumulation of around 20 inches before there will be enough run off to bring them back to normal levels, but we were so very grateful for what we received.

Now it’s time to clear out the sewing room to make room for air mattresses.  We are expecting a visit from the kids this Thanksgiving. 

Happy Turkey Day all!

Monday, November 21, 2011

More Civil War Chronicles Progress

Today we enjoyed that rarest of all events in the Central Texas area, a nice rainy day.  So, after a visit to my dentist, who kindly worked me in before the holidays to repair a broken tooth, I was able to begin adding the setting triangles to some of the CWC blocks.  Here are a few of them, with several more remaining.  I decided to slightly oversize the triangles when I cut them out, so these will definitely need to be trimmed up. 

I like this quilt, but it has dominated the majority of my quilting time for several weeks.  I’m ready for some variety.  So, this afternoon I indulged in a little exploratory excursion into my quilting closet to see what I might start working on when this project finally reaches flimsy stage.  There are several possibilities to think about.  In the meantime, I’ve decided to take my Jacob’s Ladder blocks to Sit ‘N Sew tomorrow, just for a change in pace.

So far we have had less than a quarter inch of rain, but are hopeful that some more may come our way later tonight or in the morning.

Design Wall Monday -- 11/21/2011

I was doing a happy dance for finishing up the last set of blocks for the Civil War Chronicles BOM when … oh no! … I noticed a paragraph in the cutting instructions that I had overlooked….I have to cut and add setting triangles to month 11’s blocks!!!!

Oh well, here are the eight King’s Crown blocks that, with the addition of setting triangles, complete the monthly block piecing.  I will soon be able to construct the units for the components that will surround the center that has already been pieced.

Even though it's off subject, I couldn't resist sharing this picture of a rare moment of peacefully shared space…here are Chloe and Harley, my two fur baby companions.  Harley is the dominant dog, but he always seems to let Chloe have the best spot on the pillow.  I guess he is just a gentleman.  Also, hunter Bob as returned from the ranch, quite happy with the results of this year’s hunt.  Our freezer is now well stocked with venison.

Be sure and surf on over to Patchwork Times today and see what others are up to.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Design Wall Monday -- 11/14/2011

Month 10 of the Civil War Chronicles BOM is complete.  These blocks are a variation of a block called Contrary Wife and went together fairly easily.  I cut out Month 11's blocks last night.  The blocks are similar in construction, but the color placement is such that they look entirely different.  They are called King’s Crown.  Cutting them out was tedious.  I will be making 64 hsts that finish at 1 1/8 inches.  Other units called for 5/8 inch increments.  There are a lot of hours left in constructing this quilt top, but the end is in sight.  After Month 11’s blocks are done, I get to see how accurate my piecing has been as I can begin constructing units to add to the quilt’s center.

I’ve also laid out some Jacob’s Ladder blocks on my design wall, from all the leader/ender units I’ve made. 

Be sure and check out what others are up to at  Patchwork Times.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Plaid Obsession is Bound, Labeled, Done!

I have decided to name my version of Evelyn Sloppy’s Plaid Obsession quilt “What the Heck.”  I did the final piecing on it during a very stressful time, and did not put much energy into trying to achieve perfection.  Rather, it was a means of calming myself down.  Fortunately, like most string quilts, this is a very forgiving design.  While at the ranch I found some old plaid sheets that had never been taken out of their package.  They are too small for today's thick matresses and I am considering using them to make shams to go with this quilt.  I have yet to find a satisfactory way to photograph large quilts.  This one looks a little odd because you can see part of a glass-topped coffee table at the bottom.

This little quilt is also finished and on its way to Debbie at  Stitchin' Therapy.  It should arrive sometime between today and Tuesday.

I have pulled my Wisconsin Stars quilt out of my collection.  It will be a gift for my Uncle Robert.  We will celebrate his 87th birthday today.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Design Wall Monday -- 11/07/2011

While visiting others’ blogs yesterday, I came across a post from Debbie at Stitchin' Therapy calling for help with doll quilts that will be paired with cradles and doll beds for gifts to children in special need situations.  I had tidied up my quilting closet last week and found several small remnants of child appropriate fabric that I had wondered about how to use.  Without having any real design in mind, I sliced and diced the pieces and came up with this.

Debbie said it was not necessary to bind the quilts.  She recommended turning them inside out.  The one time I tried that method turned out to be an embarrassment so I went ahead and added binding.  After I had committed to that strategy, Debbie posted an excellent tutorial on how to finish a quilt using her recommendation.  Oh well, next time I am in the same position, I will know where to go for guidance.  

It shouldn’t take long to do the hand work tonight.  I still enjoy doing the handwork on a binding.  I know that like so many of my quilting friends, the day will come when my hands won’t be able to handle the strain.  For the time being, I will enjoy the process. 

As I type this, I can hear an owl calling outside my window.  It is still dark here and very peaceful,  Even the doggies are still sacked out. 

Be sure and check out what other quilters are up to at Patchwork Times.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


Finally, the 68 Hovering Hawks blocks I have been working on for weeks for the Civil War Chronicles quilt are done.  The blocks for month 10 are all cut out and kitted up.  Today doesn’t look like a good sew day because we have a number of commitments, but maybe I can get some sewing room time tomorrow.  This weekend is the beginning of gun season for deer hunting in Texas.  I hope to have some unsupervised time at home to sew.

Monday, October 31, 2011

A Vintage Piece to Share

Just so I would have a little variety to show on this post, I’m including a photograph of a tatted cross.  I’ve mentioned before how my Aunt Mary had a huge impact on my love of handwork.  As far as I know, she made only one quilt, but she did beautiful work in many other crafts including tatting.  This cross is very dear to me and I had it framed several years ago.

Work continues on the 68 Hovering Hawks blocks for the Civil War Chronicles quilt.  I will be so glad when they are finished and I can work on the next set of blocks.  These little gems are 6 ½ inch square with lots of seams and directional fabric.  As I work on these blocks, I am also continuing to put together the components for my Jacob's Ladder QAL blocks leader/ender style. 


Monday, October 24, 2011

A Little Progress on Jacob's Ladder QAL and Civil War Chronicles

My house guest last week was a late riser and that gave me some time to play in the sewing room while she slept in.  Since I didn’t want to disturb her, I used the time to lay out Jacob’s Ladder blocks on the design wall and then stitched them up on Saturday.  I have now completed 23 of 48 blocks called for by the pattern. 

While at the Civil War Chronicles club meeting Wednesday, I purchased a neutral fabric from the clearance table and took advantage of a club day discount to pick up a print for the Jacob's Ladder quilt borders.  I hope they work.  The pattern calls for three borders.  The center border is pieced using the two fabrics. In her original design, Charlotte Angotti used the darker fabric for the inner border, but I may reverse the order and use the lighter neutral as the inner border.

Also on Wednesday, I purchased the backing for the Civil War Chronicles quilt.  Due to other meetings being rescheduled in November and December, this was probably the last time I will be able to meet with the CWC group.  Bummer.  The club wraps up with a Christmas party in December.  As much as I have enjoyed the group and the project, I may opt to do something different in 2012.  I am waiting to see what other block-of-the-month offerings are available before committing.  I’m glad I did a Civil War quilt on the 150th anniversary of the war; I just don’t know that I want to invest that kind of energy into another project using reproduction fabrics.

After church on Sunday I worked on some more of the Hovering Hawks blocks for the Civil War Chronicles quilt border.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Design Wall Monday -- 10/17/2011

Our Civil War Chronicles Club meets Wednesday, and I almost missed the deadline for having September’s blocks finished prior to getting the kit for October.  Here they are, four Broken Window blocks.  I’m still working on the 68 Hovering Hawks blocks that will comprise the outer border.  Since those are the assigned blocks for December, however, not having them completed yet doesn’t make me behind schedule.

I decided to continue with the stitching in the ditch on my Plaid Obsession Quilt.  I like the subtle improvement it makes.  The sashing and border seams appeared to have a slightly bubbly appearance and this process makes them look just a bit crisper.  I was pleased to see that I have enough of the fabric I used for my hour glass quilt binding to use for binding this quilt as well. 

We have a busy week planned including the arrival of company on Wednesday afternoon.  So, if I’m going to make it to the CWC club meeting and Sit ‘N Sew, I need to spend today cleaning house.  I’ve been unable to participate in either group since August and I have missed spending time with my quilting friends. 

Visit Patchwork Times today to see what other quilters have on their design walls.

Friday, October 14, 2011

“Don’t Cry Over Broken Dishes” is Bound, Labeled, Done!

We spent two days at the ranch this week tending to some chores and I had the time to finish the binding on my hour glass quilt while we were there.  It is already on a guest bed and ready for Larry when he arrives next week.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Progress on Plaid Obsession and Jacob’s Ladder

Last weekend we made a quick trip to the ranch and I was able to put Plaid Obsession on the frame.  I used a simple edge to edge design and it went quickly.  Since taking it off the frame I’ve done some additional stitching in the ditch along the outer borders.  The change is subtle, and I don’t think it could seen in a photograph.  I like the way it adds definition to the borders and I’ve thought about doing it along all the sashings.  I doubt that I will, however.  I think I’m going to add the label binding and consider it finished.


I also decided to put together four blocks for my Jacob’s Ladder QAL project.  This is the block placement from a quilt design by Charlotte Angotti that I'm considering.  I'll have a better feel for whether I really like it after I have more blocks ready to go up on my design wall.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Just Checking In...

Plaid Obsession is a flimsy.  Once the quilting is finished I’ll post a picture.  It’s hard to believe that after making two quilts out of these fabrics, I still have so much of it left.  Is the plaid fairy making deposits while I sleep?

Here is a picture of my most recent splurge.  I was so happy with the Omni thread I used recently, that I bought a color chart and three more small cones from Superior’s try me special.   I also got the color chart for Superior's Bottomline thread.  I love how much I can get on a bobbin, which greatly reduces the number of times I have to refill it.  Now I can check colors without worrying that my computer's monitor might not be giving me a true representation.

I have a growing stack of half square triangles that will become part of the blocks for the Jacob’s Ladder Quilt Along.  I decided to play with them a little.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Design Wall Monday – 10/03/2011

Plaid Obsession continues to be my primary quilting focus.  The center is finished and I began adding a piano key border last night after this picture was taken.  Then it will get an additional border that looks very much like the sashing strips.    

This project does not require much precision piecing and it proved to be a good therapizing tool last week.  "Therapizing" is a new-to-me term that I encountered this weekend while browsing Angie's blog, but I had an immediate connection with it.  I needed a lot of therapizing last week.  In addition to attending to the needs of my loved one recovering from surgery, our two doggies also needed medical attention:  one with an injured paw and the other one just plain sick. 

I am happy to report that everyone in our pack, both 2-legged and 4-legged, is doing great including the care giverJ.  Thank you to all who kindly sent their good wishes after last week’s post.  It always means a lot when people connect with you during stressful times.

We had a front come through our area last week.  We missed our chance for rain, but the weather is much more enjoyable and the forecasters are hopeful that we have had our last 100 degree day for 2011.  If they are correct, we will end the year with a total of 90 days with highs of 100 or more.  Even by Central Texas standards, that's enough!

Be sure and check out what’s going on over at Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times

Monday, September 26, 2011

Design Wall Monday -- 09/26/2011

I was very distracted last week dealing with a loved ones's serious and urgent medical issues.  The resolution appears to be everything we prayed for, and is hopefully something that will stave off a future crisis.  So, given my emotional state, I put what time I had for quilting into projects that did not require much concentration. 

My collection of bits and pieces for the Jacob’s Ladder Quilt Along is growing.  I am doing this as a leader/ender project using Bonnie Hunter’s color scheme and piecing instructions for her Blue Ridge Beauty quilt which was originally published in Quiltmaker Magazine in the 2008 January/February issue.    However, I have a different layout and border treatment in mind based on the Charlotte Angotti’s Up the Ladder quilt published in the June 2008 issue of McCall’s Quilting.  I will be using the 2 inch strips specified by Bonnie rather than the 1 ½ inch strips Charlotte used.

The design calls for 336 four-patches, of which 96 will be used in the border.  I will have to make a fabric purchase for the borders, but the rest of the top will be totally from my stash.  If I stick with this plan, I think the finished quilt top will be just under 60 X 80 inches and will require 48 Jacob's Ladder blocks.  The QAL officially begins October 1, so there is still time to join.  A link on my side bar will take you to the host blog and you can find details at http://imperamagna.blogspot.com/2011/09/jacobs-ladder-qal-info.html

I also did some work on my Plaid Obsession quilt.  Each sashing strip for Plaid Obsession yields 14 leader/ender units, hence all the leader/ender pieces for the Jacob’s Ladder QAL.  Plaid Obsession is spread across my design wall, guest bed and sewing table, so it’s not exactly what I would call a good photo op. 

Judy Laquidara always shares links to design wall projects on Mondays, so be sure and visit
Patchwork Times today.

Oh, yes.  Yesterday, September 25, was our 86th day of 100 degree weather this year.  Almost 32% of 2011 has had highs of 100 degrees or more.  Depending on which source you use, the forecasted high today is 99-101.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

More Vintage

Debbie recently posted about her collection of vintage sewing tools on her blog, Stitchin' Therapy.  While I appreciate modern tools, I also love the vintage ones that came from my own family.

Here is one I begged from my grandmother.  I am so glad she relented (very reluctantly) and let me have her door stop!  It is a Sad Iron which she told me dated back to the 1930s.  She had spray painted it silver and one of my brothers-in-law painstakingly returned it to its original condition. 

This is a fancy model.  The handle comes off so you can have multiple bases heating on the stove at the same time. 

I always thought that the name “Sad Iron” referred to how sad the housewife was because she had to heat it up on a wood burning stove during the hot Texas summers…and maybe it does, but you can see that it is also the manufacturer’s name.

I’m glad I don’t have to use this as a tool, but it is a treasure I’m happy to have.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Design Wall Monday -- 09/18/2011

Well, actually it’s not on the design wall, but this is what I’ve been working on.

My goal was to get the majority of my hosting duties done in September.  Monday afternoon the neighborhood Stitch ‘N Chat group came and we also hosted a gathering for our new senior pastor Thursday evening.  This meant I had to keep the house company-ready and the sewing clutter contained all week.  As soon as we got past the second gathering, we ran for the ranch to get some R&R.  It was the first time I had spent any time there since May and it felt wonderful to get my hour glass quilt on the frame.  It is now ready for the addition of a label and binding. 

Some time ago, Superior Threads had an introductory special on their Omni line.  This was the first project I used it on and was very pleased.  It is lighter weight and more economical than their King Tut line, and I did not have a problem with lint or breakage.  I will definitely use it again.  I had Bottom Line thread in my bobbin.

Usually I take my quilts back to town and set up my big cutting table for trimming, but I was so anxious to move this along that I decided to put a cutting mat on the ranch table and trim it up.  Ever faithful Chloe is patiently waiting underneath the table in hopes of a treat or play time.

A blog reader commented that the pattern is called “Broken Dishes.”   Memories of my mother’s admonitions to not “cry over spilt milk” keep coming to mind, so I think I’ll name this one “Don’t Cry over Broken Dishes.”

I wanted a quilt that had a country/manly feel to it for our ranch house.  This one began with a bundle of homespun fabrics that was part of a retreat gift bag.  After I added other quilt store plaids plus some thrift store shirts, I discovered I really don’t enjoy working with those thready, stretchy fabrics. So, once this and the bonus Plaid Obsession quilt that I’m working on are finished, I probably won’t rush into another project using this fabric.   

Be sure and check out Judy’s blog,  Patchwork Times, to see what others are up to.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Design Wall Monday -- 09/12/2011

I’ve been focusing on the 68 Hovering Hawks blocks for the Civil War Chronicles BOM this past week.  I would really love to finish this stage, but discovered the hard way that I can’t work on them while tired.  There are 25 on my design wall.  There would have been 27, but I discovered mistakes in the last two blocks I had done.  The blocks aren't difficult, but they are tedious, and it's easy to let your attention drift.

I may not do much sewing this week.  We have lots going on, but I hope to squeeze in some stitching therapy along the way.

Check out what else is going on today in the quilting community at Patchwork Times.