Thursday, September 27, 2012

Raggedy Quilt by Moi

I made this quilt for Margaret's Hope Chest. It's my first made-entirely-by-me raggy quilt. After working on them for MHC in Grand Rapids, MI last month, I decided I could do one on my own. This one is all flannels (except for the little picture square inside each block).I posted this last week, too, before it was assembled and made raggy. The current block pattern says the quilts will go to girls. I figure they'll get plenty of pinks, and there may be a girl out there who prefers blue.

I love how this one turned out! I like the colors, the softness, and the raggy part which some kid will enjoy playing with. I even love the stripey binding. It's a very cuddly quilt.

the back.. I ran out of blue flannel and had to use pink.. so it's a bit "girly" after all

I also made five blocks to send in for the project's general collection. They're due by November 15. I had to make sure I got a giraffe design in one of my blocks!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A New Decade

Today is my birthday. I'm 60 years old! This feels strange. I am surprised at how fast time flies. I don't feel 60.

OTOH, I really enjoyed my 50s and felt like I learned a lot about myself in the last decade. I also learned to appreciate my life and my world more than ever. I began to feel more settled in where I fit into the world. Maybe the 60s will continue this nice trend.

I got a couple of "Celebrate 60 Verbs" the other day:

I like the word "Beckon." I don't think it was on my list. All of these are great additions to my future Word Quilt.

I'll be making more verbs for myself next week after some family gatherings are done. On to my new decade of exploration!

P.S. The blocks are from Kim and LeeAnn. Thanks!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Magic of Small Squares

Lately I have been working with 2.5" squares. It is amazing how versatile they are! First I ordered some squares from Wanda at Exuberant Color. She was (maybe still is) selling kits of pre-cut squares to use in a colorwash quilt like she makes so beautifully.

I added some of my own fabrics to her kit and started working on one big color wash quilt top. I found it overwhelming and wasn't sure which direction to go with it. I played around for a while and then decided to make ten-inch squares of one color at a time. That was a little more manageable for me.

Once I made the blocks, I arranged them in a variety of settings. I liked them but wasn't "sold" on any one setting. Finally I came up with this, and I'm very happy with it.

This measures 30" x 30". The final arrangement is actually slightly different. I moved the reds and browns around and sewed it together with the browns on top. Once I get it quilted I will show you a picture of the final product.

I also made this next quilt top from 2.5" squares (technically, they were strips). Last year I won a home-made jelly roll at my guild. It was leftover from our guild's store that we run every year in February during our show. My plan was to make nine-patches, but instead I decided to make this top from Quiltville's pattern (Bonnie H. at Quiltville blog), inspired by Joe Tulips' recent beautiful quilt of the same pattern.

Surprisingly, I found it hard to make these blocks using scraps from other people! If I were to just start in using my own scraps, I would have been more comfortable. But, I guess that was a good exercise for me, to work with other peoples' fabrics and fabric combinations.

Finally, I made a single block to send to Victoria at Bumble Beans. This was a reject block from the color wash quilt. I ripped it apart to fit Santa Claus in the middle, and had to add a few squares to change it from a ten-inch to a 12-inch block.

This Santa fabric was in the vintage fabric I inherited this week. Some of you who are getting the shared vintage fabrics will find a bit of this Santa fabric in your box. I hope you enjoy the fabrics.

Friday, September 21, 2012

I Am Featured!

Today I am featured at Amy's Creative Side blog. Fun! I wrote my blurb several months ago. It's a relief to see that I still agree with myself. Everything I said there is true.

Check it out:

Carol, Featured Quilter!!

Friday Books: Gone Girl

"Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn is a mystery which I thoroughly enjoyed. (I usually don't like mysteries.) I loved the writing right off the bat. The story switches between the two main characters, husband and wife. Wife disappears, and the story unfolds with some twists and turns. I read one review that called this a "slow burn." The fuse is lit, the reviewer said, and there's a slow burn keeping you tuned in to see what happens next. I think that is a good description of the book.

The characters are well developed. You'll feel different things for them at different times in the book. It's kind of amazing how it reveals human complexities... some pleasant, some decidedly unpleasant. This is a good book for a good rainy-weekend-read or just when you want to get attached to a good story. Go for it!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Am I as Stupid as a Fly?

You know that saying, I wish I were a fly on the wall so I could see what's happening at XYZ? If I were a fly, I would be utterly stupid and would not comprehend what was going on.

I have a skylight above my computer desk. It was chilly last night, so I closed the window. A fly was stuck between the window and the screen, so when I closed it, the fly buzzed around, trying to find a way out.

Twice I have opened the skylight to free the prisoner. The fly is so stupid that it didn't even notice and stayed "stuck" up at the top, near the hinge, as far from the opening (freedom) as possible and, still buzzing around looking for an escape. It even, believe it or not, flew down to the bottom, nearest the big opening to freedom, and still couldn't find its way out. Currently it is back up at the top, buzzing insanely. It is dooming itself to death by frantic starvation.

Sometimes I think we people are just as stupid. We don't see opportunities when they are right in front of our noses. And we keep going back to the top (the most stuck position), looking for a way out.

I don't have a particular example in mind other than the endless political shenanigans and all the junk surrounding the goings-on. I think we are all as stupid as flies this time around. I try not to let it get me down. But, I guess I am as stupid as a fly, because I keep going back to the news and hoping for a better outcome.

I hate being this stupid and cynical. Can't wait 'til the election is over!! Then I can pretend I'm smart again.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tuesday: Quilting for Good

I'm linking up to Quilting for Good Tuesdays. You need to go to that site and check out the cool picture of a bunch of quilts laid out in a large church foyer area. Just beautiful!

Here is what I am working on. I had hoped to have something done for today, but alas, I do not.

This will be a raggy quilt for Margaret's Hope Chest. The block pattern is their new group project block. Make these fun blocks and send them in by November 15. I had some flannel on hand and decided to make a whole quilt and raggify it. Check back soon to see the finished quilt.

This one is a "Dump and Sew" quilt.. green scraps bin dumped out and sewn together randomly. I am going to add a border and hope to quilt it soon. It'll be donated somewhere, TBD.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Quilting With Robert Vaughn

Haha! I'm not quilting with Robert Vaughn! What happened was, I was so busy concentrating on sewing that I had forgotten to take my cell phone out of my purse. Hubby heard it ringing and brought it to me.

My sister was calling to tell me that she had ushered at a play in a town near where she lives, and the main actor in the play was Robert Vaughn. You need to know that when we were young teens, my sister and I liked watching "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." (a TV show, for you young'uns who don't remember it) which starred Robert Vaughn (and others). We thought he was very handsome! So when Sister realized he was IN the play where she was ushering, she decided to wait outside the theater and hope to catch him coming out of the actors' exit.

Sure enough, out he came, and she spoke briefly with him and got his autograph. She was excited enough to call me and tell me all about it. The guy is now nearly 80 years old! She said he is still good looking, so I decided to look him up on the internet and see what he looks like now.

Here he is as we saw him back in the U.N.C.L.E. days.

and here he is now:

The moral of the story? Don't give up hope! If you are a regular-shmuck kid, growing up in a small farming town in the middle of Podunk, Midwestern State, never fear -- you may grow up to see your favorite handsome actor IN PERSON and get his autograph. All you have to do is wait about 47 years.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Quilt Guild Sewing

Saturday was a guild sewing day. We have certain Saturdays set aside to get together and work on quilts for the two community service projects we support. Only six people showed up, but we got a lot done. Maybe I should say THEY got a lot done. I worked on my own thing.... a kit that was a leftover from last year. I made OK progress, too.

This picture is the six of us, holding up part of the quilt I worked on.

This is the larger quilt that the other five worked on. See the magazine to the left? It shows a pattern in the current Quilt Sampler magazine (Fall/Winter 2012). That's what they worked on. It is turning out so pretty!

In that same magazine, be sure to read about the quilt shop Scottie Dog Quilts located in Eureka, California. The shop owner, BrendaLou, is a friend of mine! She is a great lady, and she and her daughter work hard to run a classy shop!

I have added a button to my side bar: Bloggers' Block of the Month at Peach Patch Quilts. I must admit, I'm not even 100% sure what it is. But the September block is for Margaret's Hope Chest, which I like to support, so I grabbed the button while I was at it and will see how things play out as the months go along.

How many readers noticed that I placed the apostrophe differently from how Peach Patch Quilts placed it. Which use do you think is correct?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Friday Books: Back in the Groove

I have been in a reading slump for about a month. I'm still plugging away at a non-fiction book called 1491. It's interesting, but long. I'm not feeling compelled to get back to it frequently.

Yesterday I started Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, and it is grabbing me, and I'm making headway. I'll probably get it done in the next day or two. Watch for my review of Gone Girl next Friday.

How about YOU tell ME some Friday Books information? Answer these questions in the comments, if you want.

1) What are you reading right now?

2) What is your favorite book of all time?

3) Share an early memory of a library/library experience if you can.

Have a good week, and be sure to read something!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Verbs On the Move

My mailbox has been verbed! These are my first two verbs from friends. Joe Tulips sent me Dream.. isn't the giraffe in the D just perfect? How cute is that!?

BL of Scottie Dog Quilts sent Worship. Thanks, BL! Love it!

This is fun; thanks to everyone who has volunteered to verb me! (And excuse my massacre of the English language as I play with the word "verb.") LOL

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

There was a little girl....

... who had a little curl,
right in the middle of her forehead.
And when she was good,
she was very, very good.
And when she was bad, she was horrid.

I have naturally curly hair. When I was a kid, I hated this little poem. I thought it referred to me and meant that I was sometimes horrid.

Here is a picture of me when I lived in Panama.

My hair was very curly because of the humidity. When we moved back to Minnesota, my mother was disappointed that my hair lost (most of) its curl.

It still goes crazy-curly on humid days. Here is me on a dry day:

Here is me on a humid day:

Hopefully by now I have learned not to be horrid when I'm bad. I try even to reduce the days when I'm bad. I'm not perfect, but hopefully I'm not horrid.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

I've Been Verbing

Several people promised verbs for my 60-year anniversary quilt, and I have made a few verbs of my own. This morning in church while listening to the sermon I wrote down several more good verbs for my quilt. I am looking forward to this Verbage Quilt. It will be interesting to watch it grow.

I read an interesting statement from an author, David Rhodes. He talked about the characters in his novels and how they grow and tell him what they will or will not do. I feel the same way about quilts. I can't sit down and plan exactly how a quilt will turn out. It tells me itself. Rhodes said, "As individuals we seek out activities we can lose ourselves in, and those activities, paradoxically, reveal things we couldn't otherwise know about ourselves." This is what I love about making quilts. I lose myself in the creativity, and in the creating, I learn about myself. I couldn't have said it better than Rhodes did.

Here is a quilt I finished today. I'm not thrilled with how this one turned out, but they can't all be blue-ribbon quilts, can they?! And I did learn from this one and have an idea or two for a future quilt that will be even cuter.

This one will soon be on its way to Wrap Them in Love.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Friday Books: Water for Sudan

A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park is a story about a young boy of Sudan, named Salva. When war broke out, Salva became separated from his family. This is the story of where he went, what happened to him, and the twists and turns his life took him through. The book is based on a true story; these things really happened to Salva.

This is another book for young readers that I enjoyed. A well-done kids' book is a treat for an adult to read, as well. I give this book 5 stars out of 5 and recommend it to anyone.

And here is something that Salva currently works on:

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Green Logs

Today I finished a quilt! I quilted it myself on a long-arm machine at the store where I rent space on a Statler. Such fun!

This quilt was inspired by Victoria at Bumble Beans. She suggested we challenge ourselves; she meant something more outside the box than I came up with (log cabin.. nothing new there). But anyway, her challenge spurred me onto making this quilt, so it was a challenge with a happy ending for me.

Please forgive the umpteen photographs. I'm sort of in love with this quilt, having done all the steps myself, and impressing the heck out of myself, so I took lots of photographs.

It's a twin size, about 62" x 88"

Not the original backing I had in mind, but I saw it with another quilt top and traded. It is much better with this quilt. I love it! It's a Moda wide backing fabric.

some close-ups of some of the blocks

Dolly is testing out the cuddly factor. She says it passes muster. She especially likes the wool batting.

P.S. I am linking this to Quilts are for Giving Tuesday (even though I posted this on Thursday). This quilt will be a gift for someone, after a while... I haven't decided for sure who it's going to, so I'm not saying any names.

Monday, September 03, 2012

Making a Quilt Sandwich

It's Labor Day weekend, and I have been laboring in the sewing room!

I concentrated on machine quilting this week, and you have already seen most of the results (blog posts of the last few days).

In between I worked on making scrap blocks. And then I came up with a setting for them, got that halfway done, and decided to re-design it. Now I have lots of ripping to do and then re-sewing. The new setting also required more blocks, so I made those late last night. (All of this you will see, eventually.)

I added borders to a top which will be quilted on a long-arm later this week.

I also became interested in my blue scraps and made a quilt top. Today I quilted and finished it. I decided to show you my method. I'm sure you already have your own ways of sandwiching and quilting, but I just thought I'd show you my method for fun. It's always interesting to see how other people do their quilting tasks, don't you think? So this is how I make a quilt sandwich that will be quilted on my domestic machine. (To those of you who wondered: no, a quilt sandwich is not edible.)

1) Set up table in spare bedroom. (Who am I kidding? It's probably already up, with junk on it. Toss junk onto bed.) The noise of setting up the table always scares the cat, so he's out of the way for a while.

2) Pull out the cardboard thingy with inches and feet and yards printed on it. Put it on table top.

3) Lay out fabric backing piece. Oh, first, of course you have to iron it. Then lay it out, nice and flat, right side down, on the cardboard thingy. Pin it into place around the outside perimeter to keep it taut-ish.

4) Lay out the batting on top of the quilt backing. Smooth it out nice and flat.

5) Fold back half the batting, back on top of itself so half the backing fabric is revealed. Shake the spray baste can. If the cat has come back into the room, this noise will scare him, so he once again flees to a safe hiding place and is out of your way. Spray the batting with spray baste. Use an old magazine or paper to prevent the over-spray from getting on other items in the room. Pull the batting-half back into place and smooth it out carefully. Then pull back the other half and repeat this process. (Oh, if it's not 58 degrees below zero, you should have a window open while you use the spray baste.)

this is a poor rendition of how I really do this.. I only have two arms, so it was impossible to take an action shot of myself spraying and holding the paper in the proper place.. use your imagination

6) Put quilt top (having ironed it beforehand) on the batting, right side up. Position it carefully so that you know it will have both batting and backing fabric under all parts of the top. Smooth it into place.

7) Repeat the process of spray-basting, this time basting the top onto the batting, half at a time.

8) Be sure to remove the pins from the backing fabric and cardboard at this point. They might be between the quilt layers, and you'll have to lift carefully to get them out, then re-smooth the pieces back so they're flat.

9) If your top is wider than the table, you may have to shift the cardboard thingy over at this point and spray baste the parts you couldn't reach before because they were hanging down. Contrary to what this picture suggests, I would actually pull back along the whole length of the side that I missed in order to do as neat a job as I can with this second-step-basting. (Do both batting-to-backing and top-to-batting.) An ideal set-up would have two tables side by side, but obviously my set-up is not ideal.

10) At this point I use a few of the pins to pin the sandwich together in 4-6 places, just in case my spray basting fails or I need extra stabilization for some reason.

11) Turn on fan in the spare room to disperse the spray baste smell before husband has a chance to complain about it.

12) Take sandwich to your machine and quilt as desired.

13) Trim, add binding, finish binding, hang it up, photograph it, fold it, admire it, and marvel that in a couple of days you turned scraps into this beautiful, cuddly piece of love.

14) Before giving away quilt, wash it so you remove the smell of the spray baste, and the quilt gets that lovely crinkly look of comfort.

15) Smile and go make another quilt.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Please Send Me a Verb

Howdy and happy September to you! Can you believe it is September 1st already?? September is my birthday month! At the end of this month I'm going to have a Big birthday... I'll turn 6-0! 60, 60, 60! I keep saying it to myself, to try to get used to the idea. Inside I feel like I'm about 37.

In case you're wondering about what "please send me a verb" means, I'll get to that at the end of this post.

This week I have concentrated on machine quilting. I have quilted 9 baby quilts! Here is a picture of 8 of them. Actually, two of these were quilted earlier this summer, but all seven of the rest I did just this week! (The orange one isn't in this line-up. I forgot about it, temporarily. Poor Orange.)

My most recent completion is this (below). It is going through my guild to Bundles of Love.

Now, for my verb request. Today I made this block:

Those of you who are quilters probably recognize that I am using Tonya's Unruly Letters (with a couple of slight deviations). I want to make a large quilt with a bunch of words on it. Verbs, to be specific. I decided to boldly and shamelessly beg (once a person is 60 she can do anything she wants, right?). If you want to, and only if you want to (knowing I'm just Little Old Me and your block will never end up photographed in a book), would you be willing to send me a verb? I want them, like this one, done in brights on black OR black on brights. Both ways would be fine and dandy. I have come up with a list of verbs that I would like on my quilt. You could pick one off my list and make it and send it to me.... IF YOU WANT TO. You could make up a verb of your own, too, if you think of a good, positive one. It could be any size (except, not too enormous, please). I plan to keep working away on words and hope to have this quilt done in time for my 61st birthday, but if it can be done more quickly, hey! Bonus!

Adore, Befriend, Care, Cherish, Create, Design, Discover, Draw, Dream, Eat, Engage, Explore, Feel, Find, Give, Hug, Joke, Jump, Kiss, Knit, Laugh, Listen, Look, Love, Nurture, Observe, Play, Ponder, Quilt, Read, See, Sew, Share, Sing, Sleep, Smile, Talk, Think, Travel, Walk, Worship, Write

I'm picturing some of these made with their own fabrics, like Eat could be made using food fabrics. If I get duplicates, that's no problem. For example, you just can't say "read" too many times. Same with "quilt" - right? If you want to play along and share a block with me, cool. If not, that's cool, too. I plan to have fun making verbs this year... a good way to celebrate turning 60.