Sunday, November 27, 2011

Playing With Legos

Tonya R. saw an old fashioned quilt made from tiny strips. She just loved it and decided to reproduce it in modern fabrics. Tonya called her strips Legos. The trend caught on, and now several folks are making their own versions of Legos quilts. I decided to give it a try, too, and have a few blocks made so far (I think 10, though I had only 7 when I took the picture).

One can get almost into a trance making these things and could end up with a thousand strips! I stop myself and put them together into blocks every now and then. How large do I plan to make my Legos quilt? I don't know. We'll see how long the trance carries me away.....!

Be sure to click on Tonya's name in Paragraph one to see her Legos quilt and to follow links to several others who are making variations on the theme.

This post is short and sweet. I'm tired and going to bed. Nighty-night!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Friday Books

Wherever you go, read a book!

Last week I forgot to post a Friday Books message. I think I was between books anyway, and didn't have anything new to say.

This week I have two books to tell you about:
1) My Dear I Wanted to Tell You, by Louisa Young
This book is historical fiction about World War I. The story is of a few men who go off to fight in WWI, and the women they leave behind. As the war drags on and on, their spirits sag, and it gets really depressing! Despite that, it's a good story. The author used historical facts and figures that she has known about through her family connections. She used some real names from the era but fictionalized their stories.

Interesting, thought-provoking and worth reading -- if nothing else, it is another reminder of how terrible war is. And how stupid it is to think a war will be fought and over with in a few weeks. Will we ever get over that hubris? Both sides thought that during the US Civil War.. then WWI.. and recently, "Shock and Awe"... stupidity!

2) These Is My Words by Nancy E. Turner. I am a sucker for this kind of book. Always have been. It's a novel about settlers moving into formerly-Indian-owned land in the Arizona Territory. It has the typical covered wagon saga (lots of difficulty along the trail), fesity young woman who yearns to be more of a lady but is a spit-fire by nature and can shoot better than most men, handsome young man who has an interest in her, but they clash and she thinks he's ornery, difficult life on the farm once they settle on a homestead, of course the spitfire woman and the ornery man marry and he turns out to be the Perfect Husband - strong, manly, yet gentle and romantic. A story like this makes me cringe for many reasons, but at the same time, I love it. Especially when it's in diary form, as this one is. I suppose the appeal is in wondering how I would have fared in the life of a pioneer woman (I would have gone insane and then died), and also in pretending that I'm that competent, strong, spit-fire woman who attracts strong yet romantic and handsome men and can handle all chores with boundless energy and supreme talent. Hahaha!

It's the departure from reality that is bothering me this time around. I can't stop thinking of the aftermath... people forced onto reservations, entire cultures pretty much wiped out so we whiteys can have ranches. Come to think of it, this might be the last Manifest-Destiny-style book I will read. I think I finally grew up.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Long Ramblings from Me

1. Today Charles and I were talking about how long we have lived in our current location. We realized that today is the actual anniversary of the day we moved in, 18 years ago. It doesn't seem possible it has been 18 years. On the other hand, it seems like a whole lifetime ago that we moved in here. Our son was 7 and daughter was 13. Now they are both adults. Think of all the things we experienced together in the last 18 years. It's mind blowing.

But then anyone in my age range knows that 18 years is but a pittance. It feels like two shakes of a leg.

2. Thanks for the kudos on my previous post, the picture of my masterpiece quilt. Yes, I love it love it love it, but I really don't feel sad about giving it away. I have my memories and photos of it, and I have the satisfaction of having made it.

3. The bed quilt that was mine (two posts ago) was number 6. Almost everyone knew that instantly. I guess my style came shouting through. It was obvious to those who have seen a few of my quilts or if they had previously seen my pillows which say "sleep" and "tight."

4. I'm posting a few pictures. Comments about them -- first you see a strange quilt. I made the stitching experimentation piece several years ago, and this week I made it into a quilt. I added various weird pieces of things I had around the house and that I picked up at a thrift store recently (more experimentation). The key says "Buick door key" on it. And the slide is a Kodachrome photo of some place in Europe, I am guessing, taking in April 1973. Then I used three old wooden spools on the hanging dowel. One still has thread on it.

I call this piece "patterns" and used things that make me think of patterns that have come and gone, or patterns that we can use today. (Come and gone: the Buick door key, Kodachrome [they don't even make it any more], wooden spools. Use today: the patterns made on my sewing machine and the modern buttons.) I think I might remove Santa Claus. He doesn't belong there. Up in the left corner is a pin that says Pilsner Urquell. My Czech pen pal sent me that years ago. (Pen pals ... another 'pattern' from the old days.) I hung this in the window so that light shows through the slide. And yes, you are seeing white stuff in my front yard. It snowed enough today that we (or, Charles) had to shovel the driveway! And p.s., I'm not sure yet what I think of my experimentation with weird stuff. It's fun to play, anyway.

This one is a tiny baby quilt I am making for Rosebud. I used nine patches made by my friend, SM. She gave me a bunch of her extra blocks.

This doll and her quilt were a gift for a shoe-box Christmas collection we did at church. Some 2-4 year old girl somewhere on this earth will receive this doll and blankie for Christmas.

The quilt was made with more blocks from SM.

5. My job. I thought I should give you an update. It was stressful and difficult to learn. It was scary at first. The first few weeks I worked, I felt terrified every time I started a new shift. Now I'm enjoying it. I got over the scariness and have figured out that I can survive, and I'm actually enjoying the challenge. It's still a challenging job and stressful. But I like doing it, which surprises me a lot! And I love that I can pretty much pick my own days and hours to work. It's perfect for retirement!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

My Masterpiece

Are you ready to see my masterpiece? You're going to love it! I know I do... the pattern is from Quilt Sampler magazine, Spring/Summer 2010. It is called Nine Patch Medallion. They had kits available, but by the time I called, they had run out. I ventured to my favorite quilt shop and had the owner, L, help me pick out fabrics. I wanted colors similar to what was shown in the magazine, because I thought they worked great together and would be "hip" enough for the young people for whom I made the quilt.

It is a wedding gift... so far it is just over a year late. They know it's coming and are waiting patiently, and have even agreed to let me hang it in our show in Feb.

L helped me pick out fabulous, gorgeous fabrics, and I got busy cutting and sewing. Last August I spent some days at the cabin making blocks. The top measures almost 90" square (or it will, when finished). The blocks are 4&1/4" blocks. So there were lots of small pieces. I am going to count up the number of pieces, but haven't taken the time to do the math yet.

Teasers: fabric details --

Anyway, I had most of the blocks made and then finished the last third or so at our retreat last weekend, then spent a couple of days working on assembling them all. I was gob-smacked (my new favorite word which I borrowed from Susan Boyle) when I saw how beautiful it was turning out. Thrilled!

So what do you think? Is it a masterpiece??

colors in the first photo are more true

Now I think that if I wanted to, I could retire from quilting. I have achieved a thing of beauty, which is something I wanted to do, just to know I could do it. I am very pleased with it, but... I have no intention of retiring from quilting... only from this particular pattern. I'm quite sure I do not want to tackle this one again.

So? Do you agree it is a masterpiece?? (I'm trying to remain humble even while feeling quite proud of this accomplishment.)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Annual Bed Show

We have a bed tour at our annual retreat. It's fun to see all the beautiful quilts! Guess which one is mine!

Every year we make a quilt to donate to the camp; goal is to have a quilt on every bed. Each room has 8 beds. The first year we got a grant and were able to make 8 quilts. They are all like this, scrappy fence rail.

After the first year, we've made one quilt per year. We decided to make each one with a star pattern, because our guild name has "star" in it. This is our 2011 donation.

Now guess which one is mine.
I'll tell you right off, this one is not mine. It is a real Amish quilt from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.














Be sure to check back again tomorrow. I am going to show you my Masterpiece!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Projects by Others

Here are some of the quilting projects (and their people) I saw being worked on at the retreat.

The quilting fairy even made an appearance!

Monday, November 14, 2011


I'm back! Did you miss me?? I was gone for a few days. While I was gone, I scheduled my Friday Books post to go up on 11/11/11 at 11:11 AM. Did anyone notice that cool coincidence?

Why I was out of town: I retreated, as I do annually, into Wisconsin. My quilt guild and I and spent hours and hours sewing, talking, eating, sharing, laughing, sewing, eating, sewing, sewing, sewing. We had a great time! Fun, fun, fun was had by all.

Want to see some pictures of what I made?? OK! Here, for your viewing pleasure, are some of my results of all those hours of sewing.

a twin-size top; pattern is "Five and Dime" by All Washed Up.

my block for the quilt we donate annually to the camp where we stay

the block I made to participate in a block lotto (I did not win, which was fine.. I wasn't crazy about the Christmas fabrics that were chosen for this project)

three blocks I made for a quilt to be made and donated by our guild

six blocks I made for Sunshine; November assignment is fall colors

a Sunshine quilt top to which I added borders

When I returned home on Sunday afternoon after the retreat, I was exhausted! I slept for a couple of hours, and then I spent the rest of the afternoon/evening organizing my retreat photos. That exhausted me for a second time, and I fell gratefully into bed.

Later this week I am going to show you MY MASTERPIECE. It is a quilt top I am quite proud of. Just wait 'til you see it! And, by the way, I'm catching up on my sleep. Always a good thing!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Friday Books

photo found at stumbleupon(dot)com

My recent finish is Friendship Bread by Darrien Gee. At first I thought I was not going to enjoy this book. It is rather light and "fluffy" compared to what I usually read. But I found myself enjoying it anyway. There is nothing wrong with fluff!

The story takes place in a small town and centers around a few women who have had serious challenges in their lives. They are learning to be "alive" even while experiencing heart ache. Friendship Bread makes its way into the town and helps transform lives.

That premise about the bread may be a tad far-fetched, but like I said, it's fluff... enjoyable fluff. It's fun to watch the changes in the lives of the main characters in this book. A good vacation, beach, or just-for-fun read, I would say. Watch out, though. It might make you hungry.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

400 Quilts by Thanksgiving!

Can you help Victoria collect 400 quilts by Thanksgiving? Here is a link to the program site:

Victoria is a quilter in NY who is sharing her quilting talents with a program, BASICS, that helps people transition out of shelters into permanent housing. They need quilts!! She once asked if BASICS could use quilts (thinking she could donate a few) and the guy said "do you have 700?"

That's how many people were awaiting housing in NYC! Victoria was floored and reached out to the cyberworld for help. They have now distributed 300 quilts but need 400 more. The next distribution day will be in early December, so they need the next 400 in NYC by Thanksgiving Day.

Do you have any quilts to share? Please read about this cool program and donate if you can! (Finished quilts, please -- no unfinished tops.) Any size works!

I was excited to see photos of people receiving a couple of the quilts I donated. Maybe you could share in this excitement, too.

Monday, November 07, 2011

"I Thought You Were Someone Famous"

Today I worked a morning shift of three hours, then I returned home to discover that our power was out. I had forgotten! The City warned us they would be working on our neighborhood transformer, and our power would be out most of the day.

I packed up my knitting project and a good book, and I headed off to the library. We have a library with windows that look out on a beautiful "estate" of oak trees and a creek running through. Knitting by those windows was ideal.

the soon-to-be-famous knitting (?)

After a while a woman came along and said "Knitting! What a beautiful thing to do in a library! Don't be alarmed, but I'm going to take your picture." She had a big camera with a big lens and a big, loud click (very professional sounding) when she snapped the shutter. She asked me to sign a waiver, giving her permission to use the photos in library publications or other publicity for the County (for whom she works).

Nearby sat a guy working on his laptop. She had snapped a photo or two of him, too. When she asked him to sign the waiver, he did so. And then he looked at me and said "I thought you were someone famous." The thing is, I think she was smitten by the look of the knitting juxtaposed against the windows and the gorgeous view outside. She snapped a LOT of pictures of me! It was a funny feeling, and I can see why the guy thought I was famous.

Of course, I'm just a regular person, knitting in a library on a beautiful autumn afternoon. The funny part was, as a person who also loves taking pictures, I could imagine how pretty my knitting looked against that beautiful backdrop. I would have wanted to snap lots of pictures of me and my knitting, too.

Oh... and after I tired of knitting, I pulled out my book and began to read, and the photographer re-appeared and snapped more photos of me while reading.

Now I'll wait and see if I show up anywhere in County publications. What are the chances, do you suppose!?

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Quilt = Love

I have been sewing like mad! What fun! My tendency to bounce between projects means it's hard to get things done and show you pictures of completed quilts. But I have been having fun, and I trust that everything will eventually get done. (I may be 100 years old, but I'll get'em done by hook or by crook.)

Here is one (above) that I made recently and decided to send to Margaret's Hope Chest (MHC). One of the projects MHC does is quilts for kids whose parent is in prison. I like helping out with that project; I hope a quilt is helpful to the child (and the parent) in some way. Maybe it makes them feel loved or appreciated. I don't know about you, but I feel like the prison system in this country is really messed up. I hope my quilt will, in some tiny way, make someone's life a tiny bit better at least briefly... it's better than doing nothing, I guess. (Some problems are so big, I feel they are too huge to tackle. But giving away a quilt? I can do that and am happy to do it.)

This quilt top is also on its way to Margaret's Hope Chest. It was made and donated by someone in my local guild. She was not happy with it and wanted it out of her house! I gladly took it, and I think it is very cute. It's flannel, so it'll be really snuggly. I just know some child will love this one.

This is a quilt top I made and sent to MHC several months ago. MHC got it quilted, and it was given to a child..... isn't helping someone you will never know a great thing? I make the quilts with love, give them away, and I hope the quilts are loved, but I can't dictate that. I just enjoy knowing that at least someone is warm because of something I did. If they cuddle and love it, that's an extra bonus. The quilt can be a symbol of someone, somewhere, loving them. What could be better?