Monday, July 28, 2014

Swinging Along

Yesterday I braved the tropical downpours to stop in at Joann's. I bought 2 1/2 yards of Insul-Bright batting for my upcoming batch of potholders. I had a 40% coupon that was worthless when I got to the register because the batting was a dollar off per yard on sale, making it ineligible for a coupon.

Sometimes, Joann's is just a study in frustration; not enough clerks, long lines at both the cutting desk and the checkout, and worst of all, you NEVER know ahead of time what an item costs because there is so much sales confusion. I spent $18.20 and escaped as quickly as possible! UGH.

On a happier note, I found another sweet treasure to put into the August 1st drawing for the giveaway! It is a soft peach colored cotton knitted dishcloth made by my friend, Shirley. I hope she doesn't mind my "re-gifting it" as they used to say on Seinfeld.

On the farm front, a suddenly leaking ball-flap inside my toilet caused us a lot of travail. It ran our well dry yesterday afternoon. "Husband Wonderful," Felix, did a great job of cleaning out the tank of the toilet to be able to repair the seal. What a mess from all the blue dye of the toilet tablet cleaner!

After it was repaired, we held our breath with the circuit breaker thrown into the "off" position on the well. That was to spare the pump from burning out from over-pumping when the well was dry.

For three adults, six or eight hours with no running water nor flush toilet is a nightmare. But by bedtime around midnight, we had 49 Pounds Per Square Inch of water pressure! Perfect! Thank you, God! Now we are all back to normal.

I did get a few strips sewn to do some piecing of those four-patches that I'm going to need for the Jacob's Ladder quilt.

That Kansas Troubles dark shown above is blue, not black, by the way. It was fun to do some mindless piecing!

I also cut up a very large irregular scrap that had been given to me by Ellen Peters. It was a pretty pink, sort of Calamine lotion colored and I got it evened up into usable sizes. I think that someone had made a garment from it previously.

Some were 2 1/2" squares and just a few 2" squares, with odds going into the crumbs bin and unusable bits into the "stuff-an-old-sock-and-knot-it" dog toy bin. It seemed that my cutter was dull. A quick look at my date sticker on the back of my handle revealed that the blade was last replaced in April! Wow, time for a new blade! Thank you, Felix!

My six rows of Jacob's Ladder never did get sewn together today.

And I do not want to do them on "Scottie," (my Scotland made Featherweight) which is what I'll be using at The Sunshine Club tomorrow.

Perhaps I'll just work on hand-hemming the Lost & Found quilt there. Here are the last three Sawtooth Stars that I churned out today.

These were extra scrappy with pairs of flying geese.

The one above is my favorite!

I wonder if anyone will buy a pink potholder? We'll see!

Happy quilting!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Keeping A Good Thing Going

It occurred to me today that perhaps I have some other random goodies to include in the giveaway. But they must be small, unbreakable, and neither too heavy, nor too bulky for mailing. Now I plan on adding one item each day until the drawing on August 1st, 2014. Here is today's treasure, a primitive wool plaid pincushion made by me and stuffed with fiberfil! Cute, eh?

At least, I think it is wool; some of the acrylic yarns woven into plaids today are very good at fooling me!

This very steamy day was overcast and cool at first, but terribly humid. We struggled on with just the fans through some tropical downpours when the rains came. It poured so hard that it knocked out our dish TV signal. I was very happy to still have telephone (landline) and internet (DSL) as we waited for the storm to pass. No bundling here, thank you very much!

Yesterday I did get my 6 rows of Jacob's Ladder scrappy blocks sewn into their rows and carried upstairs to the driveway. Here is the double-check of my layout for barnraising.

You can see that the rows go across, but I do not see any blocks turned wrongly. Please let me know if I'm missing something! Like that lady on that eyeglasses TV commercial who is escorting her "kitty" through the slider and in for the night, but it is actually a wild racoon, LOL!

The 6 by 6 set now measures just a tad over 70 inches and I want it bigger. I know that I could just do simple slab borders, but I'm still cogitatin' on what I wanna do.

The border treatment that Liz Porter put onto her Milky Way (Fons & Porter's Love of Quilting, Issue May/June 2012) is very effective, I thought. Perhaps I'll try something like that. Here is my version of her design:

The inner border of scrappy neutrals that sets the four patches apart is the genius here. And the more I think about it, the more I like the idea! I think it would look nice on the Jacob's Ladder.

Sometimes I like to "listen" to my quilts as they evolve. Come to think of it, I have an extra long length of the scrappy neutrals already sewn together that was leftover from my Muddy Milky Way. Aha! Now I have a place for it that is far better than the scrap strings basket. Serendipity at work!

Hope that things are cool for you wherever you are. My blessed air conditioning is pumping relief into my life right now. Thank God for technology!

Happy quilting!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

A Freebie?

Wow! I just got word from Kathie over at Inspired By Antique Quilts that I won her giveaway for a mini tumbler kit, Yippee!!!
Thank you so very much, Kathie!

Remember my 4 FQ's?

My four FQ's looked lonely for the giveaway here on August 1st, so I'm adding this  Mettler Silk Finish Cotton Thread to the FQ's.

This thread is special. The $2.69 value of the thread was free to me if I placed an order with an online fabric house. So the free thread only cost me $46.70, LOL! I'm such a sucker for any excuse to buy pretty fabrics.
Enjoy. It's made in Spain and is a 50 weight with 164 yards on the spool in a very pretty buttercream color.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I sewed my Jacob's Ladders blocks into 5 of the 6 rows needed for my quilt. Then I ran out of steam, so I'm having my afternoon home-made iced coffee in the Chocolate Cappuccino flavor. If this perks me up, (pun intended) maybe I'll mosey back on down cellar to my Quilt Cave to do the last joining of blocks into rows.

That cutting table of mine sure is a disaster area, isn't it? I'm cutting on one sixth the space of the table due to the stacks of fabrics and projects left out on the table. It's a mess and I love it. I know where everything is.

Farm news is that Matthew, my unofficially adopted son who lives with us, has been working on his little car for a month. Finally, all the brakes work perfectly, including the emergency brake!!!! YEAY!

Good for you, Matthew! Matthew did all his own work with very little help from Felix. They both spent hours sourcing parts online and watching mechanical training videos, but Matthew did the work. We couldn't be prouder of him!

Happy sewing!

Friday, July 25, 2014


Just for the fun of it, make yourself a follower of this blog and leave a comment. Then, on August 1st, 2014 I will select one winner of these pretty four Fat Quarters! Please be sure that I have access to your email address so I can notify you if you win.

As for me, I spent yesterday driving to the cat shelter to deliver all those cat mats I had made. Here is a sample of the dozen that I made.

The shelter was very grateful to have these small absorbent pads to place inside the cat carriers for the comfort of cats that must travel to and from the veterinarian clinic for spaying/neutering. But the shelter is only a couple of miles away from Marden's in Sanford, Maine!

So of course I had to stop there. Then there was Kathie's Quilt Shoppe, which is also in Sanford, Maine.

I had to shop at Kathie's, now didn't I?

Isn't that cream and red Jo Morton for Andover lovely? I bought all they had on the skinny bolt, yummy!
Then on the way home, I had to drive right past Footprints Quilt Shoppe in East Rochester, New Hampshire. I had to stop, now didn't I?

Footprints owner, Kelly Jerome, snapped my picture with my 10 rolled fat quarters for a delicious price of $1.50 each! She also suggested that I photograph her shop's Row by Row sample, too. Thanks, Kelly! I forgot to do that at Kathie's, darn! Here is Kelly's, nice huh?

By the time I got home, I had put way too much on my credit card, but I had a ball doing it!

Miss Emma Lynne was watching Mr. Tipper roll and stretch on the deck.

So the giveaway is to make amends for spending too much, LOL!

Stay calm and quilt on!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Off To The Races?

When The Sunshine Club met yesterday, it was almost, "Off To The Races," the jelly roll races, that is, LOL! Although we surely were not racing, both Sue and I were sewing on our respective jelly rolls.

Mine was a delightfully cool themed line called "Snowbird" from Laundry Basket Quilts by Moda. The creams and delft blues helped to forget the torrid and horrid weather! You can see in the above picture that I had already bias-joined all of the forty ends and had begun sewing the long seams.

The constant sewing made me worry a little bit about the possibility of overheating "Scottie" my cute Scotland made Featherweight. No problem! I just got up more often to help myself to the free decaf brewed coffee at the Alton Senior Center. The breaks were good for Scottie and for me, too!

Thanks, Sue, for taking my picture and lowering the window shade against the blinding sun glare. Sue was using a half jelly of 20 strips of luscious tropical solids. She admitted that it was hard to let go of the planning and do something random.

She's a trooper. She chomped some chocolate and quilted on! Long before I got done, Sue had her strips joined.

It looked terrific, all bright and happy, but Sue worried that perhaps it wasn't big enough. She tried placing it on her lap to see how it might work. Definitely too small!

Then she remembered that she still had a nice big hunk of that purple blender fabric leftover from when she made the Tumbler's backing. Big borders, here we come! Yippee!

I offered my cutting mat that you see above, propped up on the chair, but Sue found her own way to cut using the fold and careful measurements with my steel tape. When she's got an idea, she's unstoppable! Way to go, Sue!

I stayed out of her way and soon she had four borders sewn on and looking good! I think that she said that she's planning to hand quilt this one.

Our Senior Center Director, Roney  (pronounced, row NAY) came over from the kitchen where she had been fixing our delicious lunch to admire Sue's handiwork.

As for me, I finally got to the end of my 1600 inches and had a top, too! The colors are just lovely!

They really are soft blues and creams and not greenish as in this photo.

I hope that you get something done today that gives you the satisfaction that you deserve; and I mean that in a good way, LOL!

Happy quilting!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Coming Along Nicely

One thing that I've been cooking along on, has been my swapped out units of 4-Patches and HST's that make up my Jacob's Ladder scrappy blocks. After collecting and putting together 36 of them, I chose a cool morning that was windless to lay them out.

I had planned to do the barn-raising layout pattern all along, so I really didn't play with alternative sets. It was just an exercise in making sure that there were not too many of one color all clumped up.

I label the first blocks of each row across as 1 through 6 by pinning on a slip of paper in the upper left corner of those first six blocks. The numbers run down the columns. Then I painstakingly pick up each of the across rows by placing the stack on top of the next one to the right. I wind up with the six across stacks looking like this:

Each of the above pictured stacks is now labeled with the pinned number on the top block. I grab each one, keeping #1 on top and stack the six piles offset just a wee bit. Works for me!

I also enjoyed myself digging into some of my new fabrics to make my precious Sawtooth stars, wheee! I love these! Sawtooth Stars are my "go-to" fun block.

These are 8 1/2" blocks with a 4 1/2" square in the center and 2 1/2" squares in the corners.

Each one is its own little world, like a microcosm.

They are my little value studies.

If they don't quite work, they go into the "Potholder Pile."

Hope you can avoid the "torrid & horrid" weather and stay cool!

Happy quilting!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Piecing, Pressing, & Quilting At Ellen's Studio

Last week on Thursday, I went over to Ellen Peters' studio to get some help on my wide borders for the Twinkler quilt. I'm fine with putting on slab borders, thanks to Bonnie K. Hunter's great tips pages, here.
But I still lacked the confidence to do mitered borders on my own. Ellen personally coached me and they came out great! Thank you, Ellen!

Ellen loaded the quilt onto the big machine for me and got me going once we had the wide floral borders on the quilt and pressed neatly. Roseanne, who also knows the machine, stayed with me while I quilted because Ellen herself had to get to a teacher's meeting that had been booked months earlier.

It was a big quilt, I think nearly 84" square, although I still haven't measured it with my big steel tape. The cream floral backing was from Thousands Of Bolts and Only One Nut online here.

I am still very much a novice at loading the machine or tinkering with the tensions.

The quilting was done with loops and hearts, mostly to please Felix, who had turned his nose up at the big spirals on the Muddy Milky Way, LOL! Geez, everybody's a critic!

The fabrics in this quilt are mostly charm packs of the "Crossroads" line by Jan Patek for Moda. I used two charm packs and then supplemented them heavily from my own stash.
For the pattern to work, I needed dark enough darks in the blocks so that the twinkles would be visible. The rich tans in the collection, alas, weren't working! I tossed those out of this project.

By the end of the 2 1/2 hours that it took me to quilt this, my back, legs, ankles, and feet were screaming for me to stop! I sure was grateful to Roseanne and Linda for all their help winding bobbins, re-threading the top thread once when it shredded suddenly, and for cheering me on!

Roseanne even took some great pictures for me to share with you here, thanks, Roseanne!!! When Roseanne heard me say that I usually trim my quilts with scissors kneeling on an asphalt driveway, she was horrified and insisted on doing it in the studio. She did a great job with a rotary cutter and a ruler and I was so bone-tired that I could only look on with intense gratitude. Thank you, Roseanne!

When that wide chocolate floral border fabric had finally come in from being back-ordered, there was also a one yard piece of a red stylized floral by Molly B's Studio from Marcus Brothers that came in the same package. Yes, I had ordered it. But it was just a red on sale from Hancock's of Paducah to fill out my order and make the shipping charges worthwhile. But when I saw them together, I was thrilled! The Molly B is the perfect red for this binding!!!!!!! Wheeee!

The binding is all prepared and ready to be sewn on, it's just waiting for me to find the energy in this "too-warm-for-me" weather. And it's supposed to be torrid and horrid by Wednesday; nineties and tropical humidity, UGH! I want to live in New Hampshire, not Costa Rica. Oh, well. Hopefully it will snow soon.

Stay cool and quilt on!

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