Tuesday, January 31, 2012


to the question..."why do I quilt".

Background on the creation of this quilt was posted here:    


I have to say this made my day and reaffirmed all the effort and time!  I'm sure you have similar experiences that reinforce the joy and value that quilting brings!

Keep piecing and inspiring!  Jan

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Yippee - Skippee!

I am thrilled to say that Orca Bay (Quiltville Mystery Quilt from November/December) is a complete top and put up -- waiting for a trip to Chicago to quilt it.
There are lots of pieces and I'm glad to have the top done.  I don't love it -- but I do like it.  I've mentioned before that I'm tickled to have been able to use only precut scraps or strings for all but the black (not enough scraps) and the white borders.  In the end, there were too many strings for my personal preference. I love the way they look -- but I am not a big fan of "bumps" and where the strings come together -- there are definitely bumps.  I prefer to press seams open these days and that's just not possible in some places with this quilt.

I am pleased that the instructions included pieces for the border so that was done (altho I did put the hourglass block in differently than the instructions -- seems less intrusive to me).  The border went on effortlessly.  When it's not included in the initial cutting/sewing, I'm usually so tired of the quilt that I just don't do it.  So, thank you, Bonnie for slipping the border in!
The pictures are not great -- it's a tad windy here but I wanted to get it in the closet so I could start to focus on something else.  It's so freeing to finish a top and then wonder what to do next.  So -- the "next" for me (at least for the moment) is to sort through my 2" strips, cut the ones I'm not overly fond of down to 13" and make some Scrappy Trip Around the World from the Quiltville site.  This will make a fine charity quilt if I decide to keep working on it...and if I don't, I don't have a lot invested in it as far as favorite fabrics or cutting time.  I just needed to sew and listen to the football game (tennis was pre-empted, alas).  If I keep up the Scrappy TATW, I'll get some on the design wall for a later post.

I hope you are enjoying the satisfaction of a finish or the joy of just sewing to sew!  Jan

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Bring on the Aussie Open!

It's going to be a good week -- I'm sure of it.  In just minutes, the coverage of the Australian Open begins and one of the big advantages of the time difference is that there are matches to watch during the day.  I'm hoping for LOTS of coverage and am preparing a list of things to do when I want to watch a match vs just listen while I sew.
I have prepped my first "dotty" Lollypop and have the leaves sewn down.  Circles are glued and waiting for me -- we'll start tomorrow so I can be sure the glue is dry.
Once those are done, then I have my little stash of batik scraps.  My Chicago friends know I am a "scrap magnet" and if it's too small for them, it's likely not to small for me.  I'm cutting strips down to 1.5" or 1.5" squares.  I have a few batiks but don't work in them as much as they do - and I'm more than happy to take their scraps.  Aren't they yummy?  I can sit at my ironing board, press them, and cut them...all the while being able to listen (and watch) the matches.

This is my first major tennis event since we moved (the US Open was going on while we were in Hawaii) and I think being retired and watching tennis during the day is about as good as it gets. The women in our family are tennis fans -- and we all tend to like the same players and get aggravated by the attitudes of others. Since this is a two week event, I may have to prep another Lollypop (the fabrics are still in the floor after all!) or can always pull out my personal stash of scraps and start cutting them.  There will be plenty to do with sewing in between.

I hope you have something to look forward to this week -- and a project you love to work on!  Jan

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


What happened?  Or better phrased, what didn't happen?  We're a third of the way through January and a tornado has hit my sewing room.  This is what I walk into -- and it's all my doing and I sort of like it (actually, I love it!).
 Disarray everywhere.  
 What have I been doing?  Throwing stuff in the floor to see how much it will hold.
 My Kaffe stash that I'm using to pull fabrics for a Lollypop that I hope to finish (the block -- not the quilt!) by the end of the month.
My Orca Bay that I'm a bit tired of. I like it but I don't love it and it's bulky with so many strings.  I'm thrilled that it's from my stash and most of this did not have to be cut at all as I already had strings, blocks, and strips in the right size/color.  I'll get it done....the borders are already finished and hanging in the closet.
 My little alcove.  Books, scraps, magazines, chair (not for sitting but for stacking more stuff on), a previous Lollypop that was a learning experience and will become a pillow, I think.  Strings/crumbs sorted by color in plastic drapery bags (unzipped). 
 Cutting table with Lollypop in process.  I'm trying the gluing down method that many wax eloquently about. Slower but may be more accurate.  Will know soon enough.
 My throne!  Two little charity quilts to be basted, quilted, and bound.  
Last year's mystery (Roll Roll Cotton Boll) that is staring at me from under the table.  One long day and it will be finished.  Just have to finish the border strips and sew strings.   Someday.  Not today.

My little stash -- paltry by the standards of most of you but I love every inch and scrap.

So what have I been doing besides flinging quilty things all over my little room...why, I've been sitting in my chair reading quilt magazines, making lists, dreaming, reading blogs on my laptop or iPad, looking at my fabric and planning....just not doing.

I hope you have had a more productive week and if not, I hope you've enjoyed not having anything to show for it as much as I have.  I'm sure I'm poised to get my act in gear.....

Keep piecing (or flinging!).  Jan

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The good, the bad, and the ugly....

 The year in review -- the good, the bad, and the ugly!  Some I love and a few -- not so much!
My test block for Kim McLean's Lollypop Trees.  I have decided to go with a different background and hope you'll be seeing more blocks in 2012!
Blanche Young's pattern for Trip Around the World.  Loved her precision and liked the quilt.  Was done as a challenge with friends where we all used the same core fabrics and then added to with a "big reveal" at a retreat.  Such fun!  Given to my son's friend as a wedding present.
Definitely in the "ugly" category.  This crisscross quilt was easy to make and fast.  I started out trying to use my charm squares that I had gotten in a swap years ago and had no plans for  -  as well as from my strip bin for the "crosses".  This just did not work and I plan to make it again but with a more controlled palette.  I think I gave this to charity or sent to Japan with their terrible devastation.  It will keep someone warm -- but not necessarily feed their creativity.
My birthday quilt that I've blogged about.  I love it because of what it means and the fabrics selected just for me by the people I love the most.
My first and last hexagon "I Spy" quilt for my grandson.  Learned a lot -- and one of the things I learned is that kids won't care if these are hexagons or squares!
NICU quilts with friends for a hospital in Chicago.  We've used these to practice piecing and quilting while hoping they will bring peace to the baby and family.
 Quilt for a co-worker.  Loved the mindless sewing!  Surprised by how much fabric this used however.
Wedding quilt for son's close friend in Montana.  Fun to make but the harlequin pattern is not as bold as I had hoped.
 Quilt for co-worker.

Grandmother's Choice.  Finally got this one bound.  Blogged about finding the right home for the right quilt.
Chuck's wedding quilt.  Delivered and hopefully being used.  Cover quilt from American Patchwork and Quilting.
Carolina Christmas finally finished from year before last, I think. Big queen and wonderfully comfortable.
Mahalo! as a thank you for friends' generosity during our trip to Hawaii.  From Kim Schaeffer's book.
Quilt for co-worker.  This was also a challenge among friends with our all using the same pattern and revealing at a retreat. Another quilt from Kim Schaeffer's book (although I added the sashings/cornerstones and didn't do the small pieced border blocks.  I was ready to be done!

So -- that's the quilting part of my life in 2011.  In addition, I should mention that the year also consisted of other joys and challenges (like everyones).

  1. I managed an integration of the people part of an acquisition of our largest competitor in one segment of our business.  They did not necessarily come willingly.  It was tough and there were many long days, late night calls, weekend conference calls, and unexpected "surprises"!
  2. We got the house ready to sell.
  3. Within 90 days of listing our house, we had sold, put all our belongings in storage and moved into temporary living -- without telling anyone but close family and friends.
  4. Lived in a hotel/temp living arrangement for 60+ days.
  5. RETIRED with no place to go.
  6. Moved to Kentucky and left wonderful friends, an incredible village and a very special church.  Moved 7 hours farther away from our son and his family in the process.  Definitely tears.  Lots of them.
  7. Stayed in a hotel for short period of time before closing on a house and leaving for Hawaii the next day.
  8. Lived in new house with NO furniture (other than appliances and 2 twin mattresses/box springs) for 1.5 months.
This has been a year that we will remember in all the good ways.  There was some sadness -- there were some tears -- but all in all, there has been more joy and peace and that's my hope for all of us as we think about all we want to accomplish in our quilting lives and our personal lives!  

I hope you have joy.  Jan