Thursday, December 21, 2017

Loss of an Old Friend and Celebrations

I feel like I’ve lost an old friend.  My mother purchased this iron in 1997 and eventually it became mine.  It never had a drink of anything other than distilled water and it never leaked or sputtered.  After its most recent tumble from the ironing board, though, the electronics in the handle were visible and it was uncomfortable to grasp.  Even Bob conceded it was time to go.

I have learned that if you want to spark an animated conversation among quilters, all you have to do is utter one word: “iron.”

There are advocates of vintage dry irons found in antique shops and others who swear by the benefits of steam.  Some insist the way to go is as cheap as possible so frequent replacements are painless.  Others like the high-end ones with all the bells and whistles, like the neat one that levitates up and down and is available in a cute pink model.  I was sorely tempted by the levitating model and kept hoping to find an end of the year sale I couldn’t pass by.   Didn’t happen.

This is what I decided to get.  It is undoubtedly the priciest iron I have ever owned.  Had I known about two unanticipated expenses this month (refrigerator and vacuum), I would have gone another route.  It’s mine now, however, and I will do my best to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.  My first time to use it was yesterday and it performed nicely.  I read lots of reviews before making my choice.  Some were extremely favorable and others said they experienced leaks three months after purchase.  One purpose of this post is to give me a record of its birth date.   

In other news, hubby and I celebrated our 40th anniversary Saturday. 

Dessert(s) were involved. 

Usually we like to mark the event with a trip to the Texas coast, but the damage left by Hurricane Harvey changed our plans.  We decided to spend an extended weekend on the San Antonio River Walk. 

Despite record rainfall one day, we had a great time and I even managed some leisurely strolls.

Julia and our youngest grandson joined us for one of the celebration meals (the one involving chocolate).  She gave me these Christmas earrings early so I could enjoy them this season.  Jewelry making is one of her many talents. 

Our other reason to celebrate this December is our oldest grandson’s successful completion of Marine boot camp!  I’m really looking forward to seeing him later this month.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

A Little Maintenance Required

I had hoped to be posting a finished picture of this project by now, but sadly, my HQ which is normally a rock-solid workhorse started getting very quirky over the weekend.  I finally gave up and took her in for an appointment this morning with the dealer who sold her to me in 2008.  I was told she had a timing issue and of course she got a good cleaning too.  While she was there, I had an open toe foot installed.  Now I will be able to switch back forth between a ruler foot and one that gives me improved visibility.  Maybe we are ready to roll and get this UFO finished.  

My current handwork project continues to grow.  It even has a corner!  I pushed so hard on it last week, though, that my right hand is feeling a little achy.  So, I’ve forced myself to give it a rest for a few days.  I recently had another birthday and my body is sending increasingly clear messages that I need to pay attention to these warning signs.

We’ve had a string of warm days…highs in the low 80s…and I captured this picture of a very uncooperative model earlier this week.  It appears, however, that this morning’s cold front has finally brought winter to Central Texas.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A Little of This and That

Fifteen more anti-ouch pouches will be going with me to Guild meeting today. 

Although I failed to meet my goal of finishing the quilting on this project, I have made a good deal of progress and the end is finally in sight.

I used up my spool of bobbin thread and had to place a quick order for a replacement.  While I was at it, I also ordered a few more bobbins for my Handi Quilter.  The ones that came with it in 2008 did not have the hole to feed thread through while winding the bobbin, I’m hoping these will be easier to wind.

My project while sewing with my Tuesday friends was my hexagon quilt.  It continues to grow at a very slow pace, but it is growing, and I’m really enjoying it.

I couldn’t resist including these non-quilting related pictures. 

Butterflies have always fascinated me.  This one was not a cooperative model, but I finally managed to catch a shot when its wings were open.

And while walking earlier this week, I looked down and spotted this bluebonnet plant growing among the weeds.  If we continue to get a little rain through the next few months, we should have some pretty blooms around mid-April.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

A Little Applique

Our monthly applique group met Thursday and everyone enjoyed themselves, including the hostess (that would be me).  This is the project I worked on.

When I finished appliqueing the blooms and leaves on this piece in July 2016 I thought it would be finished, but soon came to realize it needed something else.  Hubby suggested butterflies, and I had to agree, especially as I’ve always been very fond of them.

I started collecting butterfly prints and recently took my collection to the Tuesday sewing group where we auditioned the choices.  This is the first broderie perse project I’ve tackled.

It can now take its place in the queue with the other ready-to-be quilted tops.

We ended up having a light freeze early Saturday morning followed by an absolutely lovely day.  I feel like autumn is finally here.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Those Long Term Projects

I’m at that in-between stage on my two primary projects where it’s difficult to report progress.  One quilt is under the needle on the quilter.  I have been dragging my feet on that project for a very long while, but my goal is to finish the quilting process in the next two weeks. 

My Edyta Sitar project continues to grow bit by bit. 

These are the only neutral hexies I have prepped; so, more basting is in my future....a lot more basting.

I did manage to complete 15 anti-ouch pouches and deliver them to the October guild meeting.  That pushes me over 100 in 2017, the goal I set for myself.

The weather has moderated to very pleasant temperatures and we may have our first freeze later this week.  Time to bring out the slow cooker and start making stews! 

Our bottle brush bushes which died back due to freezes last winter have recovered nicely and are blooming.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

It's Growing

My Edyta Sitar hexagon project is growing.  All the rosettes are attached and I’ve begun filling in with neutrals.  I’m running very low on prepared neutral hexies and will be cutting some more out this week. 

Soon I will have to make a decision about borders.  I know I want to add a few rows of neutral hexies to all edges, but I'm not sure where I want to go from there.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

An Emptied Project Box

My bow tie quilt is now a finished top and ready to be added to the to-be-quilted-queue.  It measures  approximately 56 ½ X 68 1/2 Inches and has 952 bow tie units that finish at 2 inches.  Fabrics came from my stash and the generosity of friends and I love its bright colors.  I also love the empty project box, something of a rarity here.

It was inspired by a quilt by Florence Edith Goggin that was published in the May 2000 issue of Quilters Newsletter magazine.   The original was pieced by hand, with no fabric repeats.  I tried to create as much fabric diversity as possible in my smaller version, but there are definitely numerous repeats.

It has lots of bright prints in it and it makes me happy to look at it.  When I had it on the ironing board, the sun shining through it reminded me of stained glass.

I have a friend in my Tuesday group who is also working on this project.  I’ll offer to let her have my cut out remnants and orphan pieces.

Acorns are good this year and we have a lot of these little critters visiting us.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Journal Cover

I received a fat quarter at a Guild meeting and was asked to create something with it that could be used in our quilt show boutique next February.  The fabric was so pretty I really didn’t want to cut it up.  I procrastinated several months because I could not decide what to do.  When the show chairman said they already had enough potholders, mug rugs, tissue holders and pin cushions, I decided I better get busy and make a decision before I ran out of options.   So, I decided to use Wanda's tutorial and make a journal cover.

A fat quarter is not wide enough to make the inside flaps as big as I wanted, so I had to piece it.  Fortunately, I was able to place the seam were the fabric turns on the back flap and it isn’t all that noticeable.  I like it, and if no one else buys it, I will.

Friday, September 22, 2017

A Workshop Finish

Tote Bag Front

Tote Bag Back

I signed up for a Guild workshop Wednesday and this is the result.  I still had some work to do on it when we had to vacate the room we were using. Fortunately, I was able to push through Wednesday night and finish it Thursday morning.  I definitely did not want another workshop UFO.  The bag was made using a charm pack and accent fabrics for the lining and straps. 

I also delivered nine more anti-ouch pouches to the Guild and picked up some more kits to work on before our next meeting.
Now, back to the never-ending bow tie and hexagon projects…..

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Ouch-Pouches, Hexagons, Bow Ties and a Brave Dog

Thursday was spent at a friend’s retreat center working on anti-ouch pouches which are given to patients who have had breast biopsies or surgery.  There were 11 of us working and I’m told we completed 168 pouches!  Our guild meeting is next week and I have nine more started at home that I hope to deliver.

My hexagon quilt went to retreat with me, but was never touched.  Since then I’ve been working on it in the evenings and have made a little more progress. 

And, I think I finally have enough bow tie units to complete the border blocks.  My main concern is whether I have enough variety in fabrics. 

Our lovable mutt (shown here demanding attention while I do handwork) proved her worth this week.  When I went out to investigate her non-stop barking I discovered a water moccasin snake in the yard.  Very dangerous!  Hubby dispatched it.  We’ve had numerous visits from harmless snakes as well as possums, armadillos, skunks and even a rabid raccoon in the 10 years we’ve lived here.  I guess that’s the price you pay for being on the outer edge of the community.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Home from Retreat

I attended our Guild’s third annual retreat this week and thoroughly enjoyed the fellowship, good food and time to work on two projects.

My bow tie quilt is a top except for the units that will border it.  I still have approximately 100 of those to make.

This Sue Garman project was going on its third annual retreat.  I would love for it to be completed before next year’s event.

Of course, there was a somber undertone to our play days.  Although we were far enough inland to escape direct impact.  Everyone had family, friends or property at risk from Hurricane Harvey.  There was no television at the retreat center but cell phones never stopped ringing as we got updates.  Pleas had already been made for loved ones to evacuate and vacation homes had been secured as best they could before Harvey’s landfall.    All anyone could do was wait for the storm to play out while we dealt with our collective anxiety by sewing. The full extent of what will need to be done for recovery is still unknown.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

There and Back Again

The last two weeks were spent on an extended road trip from Central Texas to Monterey, California.  We had not planned on a long trip this year, but the stars aligned in such a way that it was meant to happen.  Hubby was suffering from a major case of cabin fever after rehabbing from knee surgery that included some setbacks.  The second week in August was coming up and in our area, that means lots of noise and traffic congestion for the annual motor boat races.  And a relative had taken a tumble resulting in a broken leg and we wanted to see her (it had been 12 years).  So, off we went.

Needless to say, no sewing machine work happened, but I did invest quite a bit of time working on my Edyta Sitar project.  The second row of rosettes is now anchored to the center.  I will need A LOT more neutral hexies, but I’m ready to start placing the outer row of rosettes.  I love it when I can begin to see real progress on a project.

Other than the pounds I gained largely due to this and other indulgencies…..

This is the only souvenir to come home with me.  I'll look pretty classy while walking the doggies in my pink Pebble Beach hat!

Monterey has some fabulous scenery.  

I think you could make just about anything grow there if you stick it in the dirt and give it some water.  These were in a planter by the parking lot and I love the way the fresh colors play together.

This will be a very busy week on the home front.  Not only will we be in recovery mode from the trip, but I will be prepping for our Guild’s annual retreat next week.  

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Hot Weather Equals Quilting Weather

It would be an exaggeration to say we’ve been sheltering in place the last few weeks, but it has certainly been hot enough for us to limit activities during the hottest part of the day.  I’ve been using the time to push forward on my ongoing projects.

I’ve started playing around with the layout of the second row of rosettes in my Handful of Scraps quilt. 

I’ll need many more neutral hexagons and that has been my focus in the evenings while Bob watches dance, Alaska and Ninja Warrior programs on television.

I’ve also been working on bow tie units and blocks.  The units in the container are made with darker fabrics and will be used in the border.  I estimate I’ve made about half of what I need for the border.

I’m very grateful to my quilting buddies who have generously saved scraps for me.  I find a new pile almost every Tuesday when I join the group.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

One Stitch at a Time

This was the scene last night as I tuned into Bonnie Hunter’s Quilt-Cam

And, this is the current state of that project.  It doesn't look a lot different from my last post, but I believe all the rosettes are done and it will be time to start joining them to the center after I complete this outer row of neutrals.

My basket of bow tie units now has enough in it to finish making the 20 center blocks I have planned.  My version of this pattern will be smaller than the original which was published in Quilters Newsletter in 2000.  It had 42 center blocks.  If I’ve calculated correctly, I need to make 216 additional units in dark fabrics for a border.  Time to start cutting up more scraps.

I only finished five anti-ouch pouches this month, but I did respond to the coordinator’s plea for more fabric by filling a large shopping bag with yardage from my stash. 

Today I am especially grateful for air conditioning.  One of our two units went out for 24 hours…not good news in July in Central Texas. Thankfully, the second, smaller unit, did not fail and we were able to schedule a repairman who got everything up and running.  

Monday, July 10, 2017

Finally, some significant progress to post on my hexagon quilt.  I still have one rosette to go, but the center rosettes have now been added to the diamond blocks.  I’m beginning to see a tiny speck of light at the end of a very long tunnel!

Once a month a friend opens the fabric shop that is attached to her retreat house to the entire quilting community. The day includes show and share, a look at upcoming retreats and classes, and lunch.   Usually there’s a conflict on that Saturday, and I miss out.  This time, however, I was able to go and brought home these lovelies.  Hubby has gotten to a point in his recovery where I’m comfortable leaving him at home for longer periods and I really enjoyed the break.  

Summer has set in with a vengeance.  Good weather to stay inside and quilt.