Tuesday, December 18, 2018

'Tis Definitely the Season

…for gratitude, stress, joy, melancholy, and the full range of other emotions we humans experience.

One of the joys (and gratitudes) this season was this very nice package from Donna at Brynwood Needleworks.  I have been enjoying her blog for a few years and as a Corgi mom myself, I especially appreciate her “Tuesdays with Tag” posts.  I won a recent giveaway celebrating her 3,500th blog post and received this handmade cork key ring and a personalized pen.  Thank you, Donna!  3,500 daily blog posts is quite a blogging accomplishment.

Last week, my husband had ankle replacement surgery.  Once healed, the quality of his life should vastly improve (another gratitude).  The six weeks of no weight bearing recovery, however, will certainly be a stress for both of us. 

My favorite coping mechanism during these times continues to be my hexagon project.  I can keep hubby company “watching” a lot of football working on these hexies!

Since I’m staying close to the house during these first days after hubby’s surgery, I have been trying to make progress machine quilting this hexagon quilt using an edge-to-edge feather design.  I’m about half way through, maybe. 

Three friends have unexpectedly lost their spouses this December; a reason for melancholy as well as a reminder to be grateful for the loved ones still in my life.

So, when the season starts to wear me down, I try to quiet myself for a moment, exercise an attitude of gratitude and just breathe.  I certainly hope your season is a time of gratitude and joy as well.

Monday, December 10, 2018

My New Cozy Spot

Every time we have company or a gathering at our house, I’ve wished we had more seating in the family room.  I recently came across this used glider for $35 and snatched it up.  Rocking chairs have always been very appealing to me. 

As soon as I got it home, I knew the original cushions had to go.  That’s when I discovered that finding replacement cushions for gliders is not easy.  I finally found some generic ones online that fit the chair’s dimensions, but no where was I able to find arm rest cushions.  I decided to wrap the arm rests with quilting practice pieces and then covered those with quilted placemats.  A tutorial I found online showed how to turn up the hemmed edge of the placemats to form pockets.  Someday I’ll find arm rest fabric I like better, but this will do for now.  I also used a lot of wood restorer.  It brought back a pretty luster to the wood, but there are areas where the original stain is gone. 

So, my steal of a deal ended up being not such a good deal after all, but I now have a very comfy chair I can use for handwork.  The antique sewing box next to it belonged to my grandmother.  I had been using it as an end table in the guest room, but decided to bring it out where I can enjoy it.  My first project using my new work station was removing a border I didn’t like on a small project. 

…and this is something I haven’t seen in a while.  I cleared off my quilting station so I can actually use it for its intended purpose.

In the almost 13 years we have lived here, this is only the second time I have seen pelicans on the pond near our house.  They are beautiful, but would not let me get close enough to take a good picture.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

"Me" Time!

On Thursday I got through my turn to host a stitching group I belong to.  Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, including me.  Yesterday, our Thanksgiving company left, so today is “me" time.  

I’ve been cutting up perfectly good fabric so I can sew it together again.  Quilters and other sewists understand this, but husbands and other family members are baffled.  

Many of these strips will become hexies for my red and white project.  I have been doing so much handwork these last two weeks that I ran out of ones that were ready to stitch.  The remainder will go in my 2 1/2 inch strip storage.

Monday, November 26, 2018

All the Colors

As I was finishing the binding on this colorwash, it came to me that it could be called “No Color Left Behind.”  All it lacks for being complete is a label.  This project was the result of my participation in Wanda Hanson's Colorwash360 online course.  I am so glad I participated.  She has a wealth of information and experience to share.  I noted in her post today that she will be offering it again in the spring and a wait list is started.

Central Texas is not known for its fall colors, so I am always pleased when I spot some.  This oak is in our front yard.

My Christmas cactus has blooms.  

Monday, November 19, 2018

Festival and Colorwash360

Every time I go somewhere it seems to take me longer to recover and hit my rhythm again.  Such was the case last week.  The week prior to that, a dear friend invited me to join her on a trip to the Houston Quilt Festival.  No way was I going to turn down that offer.  Every time I’ve gone to the Festival, it has been my intent to fill my camera with photographs, and every time I become so engrossed in what I see that it doesn’t happen.

Here is one of the few exceptions.  The goofy looking person on the right is me.  The tall distinguished gentleman who was being a good sport is none other than Kaffe Fassett.  I also got to meet and chat briefly with Edyta Sitar and had a class with Ricky Tims.  Oh, my.  Did I ever have a good time.

Here is one of the few quilt pictures I took along with its description.  I love English Paper Piecing, but 45,000 quarter-inch hexagons is a project in an entirely different league. (Do you suppose they rounded to the nearest 1,000?)

…and here is a close up.

I didn’t do too badly on shopping.

Our monthly Guild meeting was held last week and included a program by a Hobbs representative.  I was lucky enough to win one of the door prizes.

The online Colorwash360 class offered by Wanda Hanson has ended.  I’m to the stitching in the ditch stage and getting ready to choose a binding.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Colorwash360 and other Quilty Stuff

My colorwash project has been the focus of much of my quilting activity the last two weeks.  

After lots of tweaking and helpful coaching, it has reached the point where I removed it from the design wall in sets of rows so that sewing can begin.  This is a project made as part of Wanda Hanson'Colorwash360 Class. I have wanted to take one of her classes for years and it has been a treat to participate.

I’ve also completed 15 anti-ouch pouches which should bring my total for the year to 105.  They will be turned in at the Guild meeting in November.

And, of course, my television watching handwork project of choice remains my red and white hexagon quilt.  (Football and car racing programs are much more enjoyable if I can work on a hand project!)  I mostly had neutrals prepped for basting, but will need to punch out some more paper templates and cut some red fabrics in the near future.

The flooding from two weeks ago has receded but the area lakes are still very muddy.  Cleanup and repair will continue for months.  We were very fortunate personally, but not so for many of my friends.  Bob worked several days helping distribute flood cleanup supplies from the church.  I’ve been trying to help save a quilting friend’s stash by running it through our laundry.  The community as a whole has really come together to help neighbors through this time.

We still see a few butterflies these days.  

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

It's Wet Here

This is usually dry land outside our backyard fence.

Anyone watching the national news last night saw what consumed our day.  Flood waters surged through the series of dams in the Texas hill country closing roads, washing out bridges, and forcing evacuations.  “Prepare to evacuate” is not a text you want to get.  Our house happens to be in the lowest elevation for our community and by the time the order was issued, we discovered part of our street was already impassible in spots.  By day’s end, all streets accessing our community were closed.

We were most fortunate.  Water did not get into our house and we did not loose power.  We still have safe drinking water though we are urged to use it sparingly as the waste water system is highly stressed.  Today streets are open and we have a respite before significant rain chances return tomorrow.  

Today’s guild meeting, of course, has been cancelled and we are gradually hearing from members of our quilting community.  So far, all are safe, but many were evacuated and several have lost watercraft.  I know of one couple that had to spend the night in a church shelter.  I don’t know the extent of home damage, but we've already heard from one friend who had 8 to 10 inches in her house.  

We do not normally have waterfront property, but it sure looked like it was yesterday.  We were told this was the second worst flood of the Llano River in recorded history.  The worst was in 1935.

I was literally too nervous to resort to my usual calming practice of sewing.  Today I will take a deep breath, say a prayer of gratitude and work on projects while we wait for more updates from neighbors and friends and learn how we can help.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Clearing the Design Wall

 Saturday, we returned from a three-plus week trip that took us from Central Texas to Upper Peninsula, Michigan, and then to Wisconsin to see family.  It was a great trip, but I’m still in that recovery stage I always go through after travel. 

The scenery was spectacular with the beginnings of fall color, a view of Lake Superior from our cabin and many excursions to points of interest.

A high point for me was a quick stop during our drive home where I got to spend a little time visiting with Wanda of Exuberant Color.  We chattered on for the entire time with visits to her sewing studios and a bed turning.  The time passed so quickly the camera never came out of its case.  This has been the second opportunity I’ve had to stop by and see her.  She is an absolute delight.  The time we had together was not nearly long enough, but she was trying to meet a deadline and we needed to push on for another two hours in the car.

I’m starting an online colorwash class this week that Wanda is offering.  So, one of the first things I’ve done in the quilting cave was to clear off the design wall.  Before doing so, I added the hexagons I made on the trip to the ones already up on it.

Then I quickly put up my other red and white blocks.  So far, I’m not feeling the love for them as a group.  Hopefully, I’ll like it better as it progresses.  Some of these blocks may not make the final cut.

Right now, my quilting focus is organizing fabric for the colorwash class.  I will ultimately use stacking aluminum cookie sheets, but these paper plates should serve to keep me moving forward until they arrive.  It seems my local store doesn't have them in stock.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

A Little Time to Sew

I finally had time to sit down at a machine and do some relaxing stitching.  I really love my vintage machines when doing straight forward stitching.

Here are a few more of the blocks I'm working one.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Back to Hexies

I've not had anything new to report on the quilting front, but I'm still plugging along.  These are the red hexies I've basted in the past week.  The picture does not do a good job of representing the colors.  There are about 50 or 60.  

I'm feeling the need for some machine stitching in my future.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Quilt Retreat

Last week I was at the Compass Retreat Centre in Mt. Calm, Texas, for our guild’s fourth annual quilt retreat.  It was my first time to serve as the event’s committee chair, and I must say it was a real learning experience with an entirely different set of rewards.  I am grateful I had the support of a willing and experienced committee.  I couldn’t have done it without their help.

Because of the added responsibilities, I was only able to work on one project, but at least I did get it to flimsy state.  This is “Old Glory” from this year’s Simple Whatnots series by Kim Diehl.  I made a major goof cutting the borders and ended up having to match plaids and lengthen one side.

We had 28 participants and all seemed to enjoy themselves.  The food was wonderful and the work space had comfortable workstations with good lighting, plentiful design wall space and power outlets.  The major complaint was trying to come to a happy medium on temperature settings.  I was the holder of the key for the lock boxes on the thermostats, and kept pretty busy adjusting them up and down.

We had beginner quilters and well as experienced teachers plus a mix of traditional and art projects.  Here are a few shots.  Most photos had the quilter in them and I didn't feel free to share those.

Here are some other scenes:  

The Compass Centre is (in)famous for its chocolate chip cookies.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

When in LaGrange...

If you ever find yourself in LaGrange, Texas, a visit to the Quilt Museum is definitely worthy of a stop.  Located about an hour’s drive southeast of Austin, the current exhibit through September is a collection of quilts by one of my favorite quilt designers, Sue Garman.   I had the privilege of meeting Sue and attending one of her workshops a few years ago.  Bob generously took me on a road trip Friday and it was a wonderful day.

The museum does not allow visitors to take photographs, but the staff will take one picture of each visitor in front of any quilt they choose.  Some of my favorites were hung from the ceiling and I couldn’t get close to them, but I finally chose this one.

Sadly, Sue died in January, 2017.   Information about her life and work can be seen at this link on The Quilt Show site.  If you click on the Smilebox link at the bottom of the page, you can see pictures of her studio beginning with slide #14.

Her quilts can be seen at the Come Quilt site.

As a side note:  LaGrange’s other claim to fame was the Chicken Ranch which ceased operations in 1973 and is now in ruins.  It was the inspiration for the musical “Best Little Whore House in Texas.”

Today I am very grateful for having had the opportunity to see this lovely quilt collection in person.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Change of Direction

Other projects, including my hexagons, have been set aside while I work on an applique section of my guild’s next donation quilt.  

It’s been a long time since I did any applique, let alone something with shapes this challenging.  I’ve been making test pieces of some of the units before using a Kaffe fabric for the actual project.  We were given our choice of any hand-applique technique.  My preference is prepared edge rather than needle turn.

Fifteen more anti-ouch pouches went to the guild meeting with me yesterday.  I’m closing in on my goal of 100 this year.