Monday, June 30, 2014

Lab Work

My elderly Labrador retriever is at least eight years old. As a rescue dog, we aren't really sure. We know that we've owned her for 7 years and she was an adult when we got her. Raven is a lovey dog who wants to please, loves her people and loves her cookies (dog biscuits).

Her lab work (no pun intended) has come back with the results of a poorly functioning liver. Our beloved vet discussed many reasons that might be the case. If it is something as minimal as a bacterial infection, we could get off easy, but he warned us that he fears it is more serious. Still, we are going in steps and are administering a powerful antibiotic for the next two weeks. All of your concern and prayers are so appreciated!

In the past few days, my mailbox has been full of quilty treasures that I wanted to share with you. First, is this breath-taking miniature ornament only two inches square. It was paper pieced by my dear friend, Janet O from Rogue Quilter. The basket is framed by some Marcus Brothers red that she had wanted and that I was happy to send to her. She sent the ornament to thank me, wow!

To show you the tiny scale, I also photographed this showing the signature selvedge of the background fabric.

It is the dearest ornament!!! Thank you so very much, Janet!

On another day, my two inch half width of fabric green strips showed up in my mailbox. Now I'm rich in greens!

Thank you, Subee, our fabulous washed swap hostess over at Quiltville Swap!

My other swap group is Block_swappers and I am proud to have designed a Civil War nine-patch and hostessed the exchange.

My swap called for blue in the corners and a red center with teabag tans as the alternate. That funny looking black thing in the photo above is Miss Tanner's tail.

She was very helpful in arranging the different variety of blocks for the photo shoot, LOL!

Last but far from least is a wonderful gift from my dear friend, Grace! She has sent me an excuse to visit the Mothership (a.k.a. Keepsake Quilting's retail store) with a gift certificate. Wheeeee!

THANK YOU so much, Grace!!!

As I hide in the air conditioned house, I hope that you are as blessed as I am!

Happy quilting!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Hot and Heavy

The dreadful heat and humidity is predicted for tomorrow and stretches on indefinitely. We are trying to save a wee bit on the power bills by keeping just the fans going while the humidity is at least low for now. I suffer the heat and I dread it! Ugh. Make it snow!!!

It was cool and pleasant in the big workroom of The Golden Gese Quilt Shop in Concord, New Hampshire on Friday. Kate had recovered almost completely from her bad rotary cut accident and had brought in her fabulous batik quilt to show us.

Kate's quilt was cut out using acrylic templates and she swears that all those curved seams were actually very easy to assemble. Those rusts and teal blues look so great together!

I was working on something that everybody in the quilting world has already done except me. I was sewing up a jelly roll, LOL!

This one was the Shenandoah Valley Patriot by Windham. Luscious turkey reds, colonial blues, and teabag tans.
I must sew very slowly because in two hours, I had only progressed as far as sewing the ends together and had completed the very first long seam. What a glorious jumble of strips it creates, yippee! I plan to work on it Tuesday at the Alton, New Hampshire Senior Center. What fun!

The other thing that I've been working on was my duty as the Swap Hostess for the Lozenges and Civil War 9-patches. It is an awesome responsibility to hostess a swap because you must be responsible for other people's stuff.
Whew! It sure feels great when the job is done and the tote is packed with outgoing envelopes for their return journey to their respective owners!!!

This is the heavy part of my story. Lastly, I have been caring for my elderly of my two lady Labradors. Raven, on the left, (on the right is Emma Lynn, who is fine) has been very ill and is scheduled to see the vet tomorrow.

She has been barfy with diarrhea and has completely refused her regular chow and in the course of the past month has dropped a terrible amount of weight as we tried alternatives.

She is self-medicating by chomping tons of grass down whilst I stand by screaming for her to stop that!
Worms? Food Allergy? Stomach cancer? I hope for a swift and correct diagnosis. Please say a quick prayer for Raven! Thank you!

Stay calm and quilt on!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Love That Tuesday!

The Sunshine Club welcomed Kayla (pronounced k EYE la) and Arturo today as they skip between the end of school and the beginning of camp. It was fun to get the younger generation's view of the world as we chatted and enjoyed a few chocolates. I worked on hand hemming the binding of that Lost & Found Log Cabin quilt.

Check out that super 1950's vintage basket of sewing supplies most generously donated by Sheila, too!
 I left early to join up with The Farmer's Wife group at the Evergreen Country Primitives Quilt shop in Milton, New Hampshire.

There were plenty of goodies, cookies and coffeecake to supplement your own box lunch. But the very best part of the day was spending time with fellow quilters as we pieced our blocks by hand.

Our hostess-with-the-mostest, the shop's owner, Camille Arnone, is fabulous at making everybody feel at ease. She took my picture of me with my half sewn Bat Wings block.

The fabrics were a Marcus Brothers and a tiny red/tan gingham from a scrap bag donated by Buddy at the Senior Center. In studying antique quilts that are for sale on Ebay, I have noticed that ginghams do appear occasionally.

This is my second Bat Wing block (that is unfinished) and the picture below is the one that is done. It needs a good pressing so that those center tan points don't look so chopped off, LOL!

While I was at the shop, I couldn't resist selecting a couple indigos, and a tattersall cream, and a tan paisley by Paula Barnes. Too yummy! I had to possess them!

Tomorrow is supposed to be unholy hot, hazy, & humid. I plan on hiding indoors beside the AC and taking trips down cellar where it is deliciously cool.

Stay cool and quilt on!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Staying Cool

The air conditioning at the Senior Center in Alton, New Hampshire was most welcome to me and The Sunshine Club today. Before Georgiana and Abe could get all the big round tables set up for lunch, Sue was able to spread out her finished and pressed quilt top so we could measure it. It looks great, Sue!!!

I think that it was 71" X 106", a nice twin for her niece, I believe. Once we got the final measurements of the top, then we were able to figure two width-of-fabric panels that were about 109 long. Sue sewed the two selvedges together and will trim off the edges with scissors.

Margorie was working on cutting out squares for her newest baby quilt. But she took a break to look at all the yummy pictures of quilt blocks in a book that Sue brought in for us.

Georgiana and Henry joined us for chat and chocolate, and Henry had even bought some Dunkin Donuts donut holes to munch with our coffee.

As for me, I was hand hemming that "Lost & Found quilt. I just started it today, so I'll be working on it for a while, LOL! And it better be inside in the air conditioning!

By the time I left, it was about 86F and that's wayyyyyy too hot for me to enjoy, LOL!

Here's something for you to view to cool down; a potted cobalt blue Lobelia in bloom. This was a gift from my dear sister, Suzanne.

From that same big box of "found" fabric, was a half yard hunk of this pretty pale seafoam green that I believe is a blend of polyester and cotton. I will not use blends in my quilts, so I quickly made it up as a little cat mat for the shelter.

My clothesline is in full summer swing drying prewashed fabrics, too.

These three reds represent all my idols in fabric design! There are Jo Morton for Andover, Judie Rothermel for Marcus, and Barbara Brackman for Moda.

Now if I can possibly just bring myself to cut into them, LOL!

I hope that your day is just as filled with fun things that you love.

Happy quilting!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Lucky For You!

Today, Friday the thirteenth, and a full moon, was unlucky for my dear friend Kate. She was sewing with us at The Golden Gese in Concord, New Hampshire.

Alas, Kate got distracted while using her brand new blade rotary cutter and accidentally cut herself rather badly. She has long since emailed me to say that she is back from the ER where she got 5 stitches and that she is resting comfortably. It could happen to any of us. Get well soon, Kate!!!

It was raining so hard that I was loathe to drag in my big sewing kit with "Scottie", my Singer Featherweight. A much better alternative was to loaf along with my favorite hand stitching project, The Farmer's Wife by Laurie Aaron Hird.

We chomped some chocolate from my Hersey's Milk Chocolate Nuggets and chatted as we worked along. Bonnie, Beverly, and Sue were great company.

I only got half a block sewn and then forgot to take a picture of it for you, but Claire, who was minding the store, took this picture of me as I was just leaving.

On the way home, just in front of my house, I was thrilled to take these snapshots of the lupines that Matthew and I had planted. It was on the steep banking that is unmowable.

Every year, after the lupine plants have finished blooming, I go out and collect the seed pods to scatter seeds into newer areas of the banking.

Slowly but surely, I'm getting good coverage to this problem area.

Aren't they beautiful? The raindrops all caught up in the foliage was pretty, too.

Claire, from the shop, had reminded me that thirteen is a very good number, being that the twelve apostles, plus Christ himself, make up the number 13. What a positive position to take! I like it.

Whatever happens to you today, I hope that you can make the very best of it!

Stay calm and quilt on!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Preparing My Binding

The best way to learn how to prepare a binding is to watch the three part video called, "Binding The Angel" by Sharon Schambers, in my humble opinion. Here is a ten photograph tutorial on how I use her methods to get my binding ready to machine sew onto the quilt.

1. With your width of fabric 2 1/2" strip, face down on the ironing board, fold and iron a 45 degree angle on the end. Then apply a small line of starch based washable glue to the folded edge. Do not use white glue, it won't wash out!

2. Place the next strip to be joined on top of the glue and heat set it into place with the iron.

3. Continue in this manner until all of your strips are joined. I needed ten.

4. Take the whole mess over to the sewing machine and, one at a time, stitch through the fold with the points facing towards the right and the long tails facing left.

5. Next is a very important step. On each one of the joins, "pop" the tabs of the points apart to expose the seam that you just sewed. If you forget to do this BEFORE trimming, it is much more difficult to press the seam open later. It takes both hands to do this, but I was holding my camera in my right hand to take the picture.

6. Now that the two layers are separated, trim them to a quarter of an inch.

7. Press each of your bias-joined seams open to distribute the fullness.

8. Using a little starch or homemade best press, press the whole long binding in half, lengthwise. The starch will stick the two sides together and stabilize them from siding around when you go to sew it all to the quilt.

The starch will make a mess of your ironing board cover, but it is worth it to me to have beautifully made bindings. I suppose you could put down a piece of muslin, too, if the build-up bothers you.

9. I use a little open work basket on the floor to catch the prepared binding as it is finished. That helps to keep it clean and organized and ready to sew onto the quilt.

10. Hooray! It is done and ready to sew!

I also had a fun day at The Sunshine Club putting a border onto my RJR Lovely by Debbie Beaves quilt. I sure am missing out on the last November deadline for the MSQC contest, LOL!!!

Hope you are staying cool and getting to work on some of your "older" UFO's, too!

Stay calm and quilt on!

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