Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Sewing with Kajsa

Here's my cutie pie, Kajsa (my granddaughter) cutting out chicks for a pillow she's making. She "needed" a sewing day with Nana. :) I love it, my daughter thinks I have brainwashed her. Not true, just gently persuaded her to develop a love for fabric since birth! That's all! She loves to come over and spend time with me in my studio. Yesterday, we made pancakes for breakfast, went in the hot tub, created a pillow for her and made quilt blocks for a baby quilt for my cousin, went out for lunch. A good day, but it still wasn't enough so she wanted to "schedule" another day with me! Such a cutie!

She fused her own chicks (with a little supervision from Nana) and then wanted to add a few details. She then stuffed it herself with "fluffies". She likes it, can you tell?

Here's one of the quilt blocks she made. She made the coloring blocks and I made 9 patches to alternate. I was proud of myself. I have a few baby quilts to make and when I went into my stash, all I had was a small assortment of odds and ends from other quilts I had made. A little bit of yardage of a couple pieces, but not much to amount to anything. So, I thought I would run to the store to buy some pretty new "baby" fabric. Then I stopped myself, if now is not the time to use up that fabric SOMEhow, then I never would. So I forced myself to just figure out what I had and deal with it! This one with the 9-patch is going to turn out okay! And I have another top pieced, I'll just have to see what to do about borders. And therefore, busting a lot of stash! I'll post pictures of them when done.

It's funny how we get about our stashes. I have so many pretty things and when I'm working on a project and need something, a lot of times I do find it in my stash. BUT, I tell myself, I'm saving that for something special and if I use it in this quilt, I won't have it. I constantly have to remind myself that THIS IS the something special I was waiting to use it in! DUH! I've been getting a lot better about that. I sometimes think I'm just a fabric collector, because I hate to part with it a lot of times! That's why it's good for me to see what others are doing, making me get the nerve to just USE my stash instead of hoard it and running out and buying what I need.

My grandson, Kai, was not happy when I didn't take him home with me when returning big sister. It's his turn! So another day...and then there has to be a day with Mia...I love teaching these little ones a love of fabric, getting joy out of being creative, using our hands, making things for others.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

How many list members ??

A friend just emailed this to me and I don't know how many people are on email lists, but this is so funny and a bit true!!

How many list members does it take to change a lightbulb?

One to change the light bulb and to post that the light bulb has been changed.

Fourteen to share similar experiences of changing light bulbs and how the light bulb could have been changed differently.

Seven to caution about the dangers of changing light bulbs.

Seven more to point out spelling/grammar errors in posts about changing light bulbs.

Five to flame the spell checkers.

Three to correct spelling/grammar flames.

Six to argue over whether it's "lightbulb" or "light bulb"

... Another six to condemn those six as stupid.

Fifteen to claim experience in the lighting industry and give the correct spelling.

Nineteen to post that this group is not about light bulbs and to please take this discussion to a lightbulb (or light bulb) forum.

Eleven to defend the posting to the group saying that we all use light bulbs and therefore the posts are relevant to this group.

Thirty six to debate which method of changing light bulbs is superior, where to buy the best light bulbs, what brand of light bulbs work best for this technique and what brands are faulty.

Seven to post URLs where one can see examples of different light bulbs.

Four to post that the URLs were posted incorrectly and then post the corrected URL. Three to post about links they found from the URLs that are relevant to this group which makes light bulbs relevant to this group.

Thirteen to link all posts to date, quote them in their entirety including all headers and signatures, and add "Me too"

Five to post to the group that they will no longer post because they cannot handle the light bulb controversy.

Four to say "didn't we go through this already a short time ago?"

Thirteen to say "do a Google search on light bulbs before posting questions about light bulbs."

Three to tell a funny story about their cat and a light bulb.

AND One group lurker to respond to the original post 6 months from now with something unrelated they found at snopes.com and start it all over again!

Saturday, February 25, 2006

1997 and 1998 Friendship Quilts

Continuing on in the vein of my quilt group's yearly block exchange, I thought I would share over the next few days the quilts that we have done. It's always so nice to go back and reminisce who I quilted with in that particular year.

My friend and I joined this group of ladies after many false starts of getting other groups going. We settled in and the next year, 1997, we decided to do a block exchange. Very simple, we just fused a heart on a homespun rectangle and signed it. Then we added our own stitching to it and added other blocks of hands, etc. It's bittersweet to look at this quilt, as two of the ladies have passed away. But I remember them with fond memories. Barb reminded me so much of Aunt Clara on Bewitched. She was a bit scattered, but such a dear person. :) brings a smile to my face just thinking about her. Marilyn is the other one that is gone, and boy, do I remember her! She made the best pies in town. We loved it when the meeting was at her house because you knew you were in for some good eatin'! I was always so impressed with Marilyn, she mostly did traditional quilts, but when one of the younger ones in the group would bring something new in to share, she wanted to learn how to do it. We taught her paper piecing, Stack 'n Whack, stack 'n slash and much more. I always hoped that when I reached her age, I'd be just as eager to learn the new stuff too. Barb and Marilyn---you are remembered with very fond memories--I miss you.

1998--this is the year that we decided to do something a bit different. I had been swapping blocks on line with other quilters, unknown to me, and my group was fascinated by that. So we decided to something similar. We decided to do a Star theme. We were to each pick out a Star pattern that we wanted to make for everyone. Then we put our fabric in a box and sent it around the group. Each month we were to return the box, with the block we just made for that person from their fabric, to the next person in line. It continued all year. And what different quilts we ended up with in the end. We all set ours differently and used different colors. I was originally going to make this for my daughter, as she was going to have a blue/yellow bedroom. By the time I got all the blocks back, she changed her mind, so the blocks went back on the shelf. I had designed this setting in EQ, so saved it and didn't think about it again. In 2004, when I opened my Studio (www.kquilts-studio.com) , I wanted to hang all my group quilts together, when I realized that I was missing 1998. So, I found my pattern, hauled out the blocks and put it together. I took it to my Amish friend that lives about 20 minutes from me to hand quilt. She did a beautiful job as usual.

Friday, February 24, 2006

1st quilt completed for 2006!

"Christmas Packages"
Bias Buddies Block Exchange 2003
It's about time, don't ya think? I really need to make a push to get more quilts done. I have so many in various stages. Maybe with my new HQ16, it might happen. This is the second quilt I quilted on it, but the first one to have the binding. I sewed it on last night while waiting for my hubby's plane to land in Frankfurt. I needed to tell him where to get his money at Western Union, update on his credit cards,etc. Poor guy, without his license, they wouldn't let him rent the PREPAID car! So he is taking trains everywhere. He usually travels by mass transport in France, but in Germany, he always rents a car. You know, the autobahn! :) The only time he can legally go fast. Maybe God is protecting him this trip, hahaha. But you never know. He was able to get his $$ and they made him a new credit card at the American Express office, so now we both can rest a bit easier.

Anyway, this quilt is one of my small group quilt block exchanges that we do every year. We've been doing it since 1997. It's kind of a neat way to remember who you quilted with that year, what the fabrics in fashion were, and what was popular in the way of patterns. I'll dig out my photos and see if I can't get all of them posted. I need them together anyway. A little bittersweet to look at the past years, as we have lost a few members. And the group got a little large to be meeting in homes, so we split the group. It's like a running history of my group over the years.

"Christmas Packages" was supposed to be a stack and slash type quilt (it's a Sandy Gervais pattern), but it made 30 blocks. Well, we were only 8 in our group and didn't want to make that many. So we just made templates to make them. We bought, as a group, one red, one green and one blue(it's on the border) for everyone to share. Then we were to make a block for each member, using those fabrics as well as more of our own. We assigned colors (for packages, bows and backgrounds) so we would have a variety. Then for the center block, we each had to make our own block. Everyone did something different.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

A little ray of sunshine

I needed a little ray of sunshine tonight. I dropped my DH off at the airport today for a 12 day business trip to Europe and spent a good part of the afternoon at a quilt shop. That would be a good thing. Although I did buy fabric, it was to continue my Reversible Quilt, nothing else, I promise! :) But when I got home, I found 2 messages on the voice mail from the airline AFTER his plane had left the second city. Panic! My hubby was okay, but apparently discovered his wallet had been stolen AFTER his plane had taken off the ground. They radioed the gate and they called me to cancel all the credit cards. No one apparently will send him a card or money to the airport. He'll need it to rent a car. So went searching online for Western Union. Fortunately there are about 10 different Western Union locations in the Frankfurt airport alone! Poor guy, what a way to start a trip, with no credit cards or no cash. My heart aches for him. So while I was going through my photos, looking for something to post, I came across this photo of a little wallhanging I had done for an art show. It makes me happy to look at it, hence the name, "Happy Sunflower". Pretty original, huh? Here's hoping he has a better, happy day tomorrow.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Reducing my stash 1 1/2" at a time!

Well, retreat's over and back to the real world. Boy, was it fun! It started off with a surprise--a member who had moved 10 hours away showed up unbeknownst to anyone! We about took the roof off the place by screaming so loud! LOL It was wonderful to see her again. We quickly shifted tables around to accomodate her stuff and off sewing we went. I was going to write about all the topics that were discussed, but under the influence of a "splash of rum in coke" makes things a lot funnier, as in...you had to be there! So I won't bore you with details. I did have a lot of fun and we laughed a lot, sewed until 2 and 3 AM, and getting up early to keep on sewing. Here is where I started, fairly nice and neat. By the end of the weekend, they were all over, I had to add about 50 more colors and am still not done. But made great progress!

Here is the reversible quilt to the purple/pink row, I have a row of pink, pink/red/orangey color next and a row of red. I think I'll add a row of yellow green and yellow to the top. The back is tans and blacks in alternating rows (solid blocks). The quilt below it (in tan and red, is being made by Lisa, my friend. Cool quilt!

Close up of blue/green row. I was thinking of doing a black bias binding to join the rows, but my friend suggested using a fabric that has a lot of the colors and it would blend in, looking light in the dark rows and dark in the light rows. Okay, the trick is finding that right fabric!

There are 13 rows and the bottom half of the block was a fabric that I used to blend the strips. The blocks are 9". By the way, my stash didn't look like I removed ANYthing from it--just made it a mess, pawing through it looking for the right colors!

Friday, February 17, 2006

Retreat Weekend is here!

yeah--the weekend I look forward to each year! Our small quilt group has 2 retreats a year, one of them on President's weekend and another one in the summer. As most of you know, it's the best time for a quilter! LOTS of sewing, laughing, gabbing and more sewing! I have everything cut out for a reversible quilt I've been wanting to make for about 3 years.

Well, I tried to copy and paste the EQ5 picture of what I'm doing and it's not working. So I'll take a picture of my strips instead and will have to show you my completed quil0t!2

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Adding borders and reducing stash

I had very few "leftovers" from making the border and since I couldn't reduce my stash by making a backing, I thought I would use up EVERY last bit of scraps. I think I have enough yellow to make a border, but the floral is history. Is that good enough? LOL I think it will make a cute little table runner.

Close up of the quilt below

This quilt is another one I did in a marathon sewing day with my friend. Only this time she was at my house. I wanted another quilt to put in the frame and I was only one border away! Not sure what to put on the back of it though. No ordinary backing for me! I thought about using up all my leftover fabrics, but nah! Then I wouldn't be able to make any more quilts from this luscious fabric. Am I sick or what?

New baby in the studio!

Here's my new "baby"--she's not even named yet. And here I am, pushing her to perform already. This is quilt #2 actually. I was so excited to get my very first quilt done, I didn't even take a picture. It wasn't all that exciting, although it did finish a 9 year old UFO. I didn't like working on the practice sandwich as it's so uninspiring. So I thought I would hop right in.

This is a closer look at those Christmas packages. They were a block swap my small Friday night quilt group did in 2004!! I'm never going to get that far behind again on quilting since I have this new machine! Okay, I shouldn't have put that in writing, but I'm hoping it will be true!

This is my 3rd quilt in the frame in 3 days! I love this machine. I'm frantically looking through all my UFO's to see what's close enough to be able to quilt! This is a good thing! :)

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Quilter's Husband needs other reading material

My poor husband....he complains there just isn't any proper reading material in our house! All he can find are quilt magazines, quilt books, etc. He thinks he knows more than the average "quilter's husband", due to his VAST reading selection! LOL Is he right? or do YOU have a husband (significant other or whatever) that knows waaaaay more than they want to know about quilting too?

I caught him sleeping reading my magazines, on the "throne", cooking and sweeping! I mean, how else are we going to educate them? heeheehee

By the way, this blog was HIS idea!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Taco Soup

This is tonight's dinner. So quick to make, and so yummy. Less than 10 minutes--more quilting time!!

I have more news to share, but no pictures yet, so will do that in a bit. But I'll share the recipe :)

Taco Soup

1--28 oz. can diced tomatoes
1--15 oz. can tomato sauce + 1 can water
2--cans whole corn, drained
1 lb. hamburger, browned and drained
2 pkgs. taco seasoning (to your liking)

Mix together and simmer for about 20 minutes. Serve with shredded cheese, fritos or tortilla chips, sour cream.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Easily Distracted??

Sheesh! I had a plan today.(actually the day was Thursday, but I didn't have time to write this then!) Update my Excel worksheet of all my UFO's and HSY (hussy--you know, haven't started yet) projects. It was a very good plan. Sort through the ones I decided I really didn't care for anymore, update my list with any new ones started but somehow forgotten to add to my list. Great plan--to be done in an hour or less, right? HAHAHA It all started out so well, and then it all went downhill, like someone shoved me over the edge of the hill on skis and no poles. And that's about how quickly downhill I went!
(here are ALL the projects I'm purging!!!)

I went through one bin fairly quickly, stopping on occasion to reminisce about a quilt. Yanked one out, one I thought that I just didn't want to finish. Okay, I'm doing good. Reorganized the bin, everything put back nice and neat. Next bin... hmmm, here are those 4" I SPY squares. Oh yes, I saved them to make any future baby quilts. I had made the original I SPY quilts for my grandkids and decided any future ones were going to be squares only. I just remembered that I promised a client of my husband's that I might make him a baby quilt for their baby. I still have time. I wonder how many squares I have, and how many do I need? It'll be easier to put them up on the design wall. So, I removed the quilt in progress from the wall, and started adding squares, trying not to duplicate. Oh shoot. I'm short about 16 different squares. I wonder what novelty fabrics I have? Start going through my stash. I start with the scrap bins first, find a few, then head into the stash closet. Oh, good, I do have more. Get them out, turn on the iron, press them so I can cut 4" squares. Wait a minute! What am I doing? I jolt back into reality and box up what I have out to be done at a later time. So I continue sorting through my projects. Writing down some new projects started since I last updated my list. Hmm, don't like that. My list was supposed to get shorter, not longer!! Wait.....what's this. Oh yeah, my Batik Cobblestones. And gee, I only have 14 more blocks to make! What made me stop? You know, it wouldn't take very long to get those done, then I could sew the blocks together and have another UFO quilt top done! So....back in a minute.......................okay, got those done. Counted them and I have 129. Okay, will make one more. Now I have 130, enough for 10 across and 13 down. Packaged those back up and moved on...

Some of my Batik Cobblestone blocks

And so my day went. I still don't have my UFO list done or items sorted because I remembered I had to cut out 2 kits for a class I was teaching. Now THAT is a way to bust your stash! Or at least you would think it would. No, can't even tell I cut 2 more quilts out of it. And so, ended my day with nothing firmly accomplished other than 2 kits cut out. I'll try again another day.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Adventures with Kaffe

This is all I have left out of 24 FQ's of Kaffe Fasset fabric my friend gave me for my birthday! I had to do a lot of planning to not waste hardly a thread of fabric! LOL I'm a happy camper now!

This is the THIRD quilt from that same bundle of FQ's! "Flying to Kaffe" . Of course, I used the square in the corner method to make these and I sewed that extra seam, so now I have 28 bonus Half Square Triangles! I also have 360 2 1/2" squares left. I have another quilt in mind to use those in. Thanks Marilyn for a fun adventure!!

Okay, I guess I need to learn how these pictures are added! LOL This is the SECOND quilt made from that bundle of FQ's. "Bricks and Stepping over Kaffe's Stones". Thanks Bonnie (www.quiltville.com) for the pattern.

This is "Windows into the eyes of Kaffe". This is the first quilt made from that bundle of FQ's my friend gave me. I wanted something that featured all his prints large enough so you could appreciate them. They are so yummy!!

Monday, February 06, 2006

This is a test photo..not quite sure how all this works, but I'm a tryin'! Okay--not too bad, I think I can do it! :) Anyway, this is what we came home to after spending 2 weeks in warm weather. :( It is pretty though and makes me glad I have lots of warm sweaters!

Just recharged my batteries!

I'm just back from a 2-week hiatus from the real world. I spent the first week in SC, taking care of some business and then having some sewing fun with my friend Marilyn. And boy, was it a high! More in a bit..... I spent the second week re-charging my batteries for another full round of classes and daily life "stuff" in Cancun. It wasn't as sunny as I had hoped (so no great tan), but it was warm and it was relaxing, so who am I to complain?

Back to my sewing frenzy! My friend bought me 24 FQ's (isn't she generous) of Kaffe Fasset fabric for my birthday. Well, not wanting to waste one precious thread of it, I came up with at least 3 quilts to make from those FQ's! We met briefly in a late afternoon for me to give out the cutting assignments for each quilt from the FQ's. Then I went home to cut and get ready.

I headed over to her house in the morning and it was finally about 10 AM before we got settled down enough to get serious. And boy, did we ever! Our first quilt was "Windows into the eyes of Kaffe". 8 1/2" finished squares set with plain white sashing. So simple, but oh, so divine. Shows off all those glorious colors he likes to use. And the prints are a riot! We had to stop and take a break to re-fuel, so off to Cracker Barrel we went. I just love the grilled chicken tenderloin sandwiches on grilled sourdough bread. They have such yummy food, but I always end up with that sandwich. Then we headed back to do some more power sewing. But it was taking a bit longer than I thought. I figured, "how hard can it be? plain squares with sashing?" It was almost 6 PM when I put the final border on that quilt. And it's a beauty!

Yeah! On to the next quilt. Bricks and Stepping Over Kaffe's Stones (from Bonnie Hunter's site--www.quiltville.com). It was amazing how quick it was going. About 10 PM, Marilyn announced that she had better start getting ready for bed, as she had a lecture to give in the morning at the local quilt shop, Island Threads. I'm not sure what time she finally went to bed, but I was SOO close to being done, I hated to quit. She offered for me to just stay overnight there, and I was on that like white on rice, or something like that! So, I stayed up and sewed and sewed and sewed. All the time thinking of the NEXT quilt I was making! So, I took a brief hiatus from Quilt #2 and started on Quilt #3--Flying to Kaffe. I made enough blocks to get a good idea on how it would look and then went back to Quilt #2. I was starting to drag, but I really needed to see it done, so I kept on going. I finished the top (sans border) at 2 AM! And it too, looked great! Well, off to bed I went.

Got up at 8:00, and hurried in to finish that last quilt before my friend had to leave. I didn't quite make it, although I did finish it at 10 AM. Just 24 hours later--I had 3 quilt tops (well, almost--as 2 of them needed borders yet). I also had 360 2 1/2" squares AND the bonus half square triangles I got when I made the Flying Geese! Wahoo! Now, do I use them to finish up borders? Or make yet another small quilt? Ahhh, the things we have to ponder!

I've not posted pictures yet, but I'll try! Okay, I guess I need to go take pictures! They are not on my camera! Next blog....