Tuesday, November 16, 2021

This, That and Thanksgiving Wishes

Happy to report that my nephew and his wife loved the quilt!
And I spent a lovely 4 days enjoying a long overdue visit with my sister and a trip to the ocean.

Halloween is a big deal in our family.
My son lives on Phantom Way and every year goes all out with the decorations.
And everyone dresses up.
I was Jane Goodall...lol!

Cannot help but share pics of my grandkids.

Wanda Joy and I have been busy as usual:
 A Christmas gift for my son's family 
quilted with an E2E design called Swirly Snowflakes.

I custom quilted this for my friend, Deb.
When I saw she was piecing it,
I requested to quilt it for her so I could practice my open space design work.
The center I copied from Linda Hrcka of the Quilted Pineapple,
but the borders were my own design.
Next week, I will be taking an online class from Angela Walters on feathers.

Even though the strength in my hand has not returned,
I have attempted to do some hand stitching.
Progress on my mini Folk Tails.
I love the Baobob tree! 
It is from Sue Spargo's new book, 
Forest for the Trees.
This is all I want to work on now! 
It is so fun to remember our trip as I design my piece.

Wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!
May your dressing be tasty.
May your turkey be plump.
May your potatoes and gravy 
have nary a lump.
May your yams be delicious
and your pies take the prize.
And may your Thanksgiving dinner
stay off your thighs!

But most of all,
may your home be filled with the warmth of loved ones.

Yes, I googled Thanksgiving wishes.
And I still have not been able to pass the torch...
I will be doing the cooking.



Saturday, October 16, 2021

A Trip of a Lifetime!


The last time I posted,
I was anxious about our trip to Africa.
Well, we made it. 
Travel during a pandemic is not easy,
but the hoops we had to jump through were well worth it.
It seemed like we were the only people there at times.
And they say because of the lower number of tourists,
the animal sightings were more frequent.

Where to begin!
I guess at the beginning.

We started in Cape Town.
Saw penguins and hiked Table Mountain,
one of the new Natural Wonders of the World.

Next stop was Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.
The falls were cool,
but I loved the interaction we had with the elephants 
at a sanctuary for orphans.

Then Kenya
 where we saw giraffe, elephant, hippo, lions, hyena, 
cheetahs, Cape Buffalo and baboons on our very first game drive.
And believe me,
we got up close to all of them.

We hopped from camp to camp on small bush planes,
which was an experience in itself.

We visited Tanzania for the great migration of wildebeests.
And they were everywhere!
Estimated we saw 10,000 of them in just a small area,
if not more.

And our accommodations and the food were fabulous!

Our last stop was my favorite...
There we trekked with the mountain gorillas two days in a row.
On the second day,
one of the females gave me a good shove in the back 
knocking me into the arms of a tracker.
It was an experience I will never forget!
I loved the people of Africa the best!!
On our way to the airport,
our driver stopped so I could learn to weave a basket.
It was a trip of a lifetime that I would highly recommend!

Since returning home and recovering from jetlag,
I have been busy in my sewing room.
First up was quilting Peppermint Twist.

Then I pieced and quilted Bjorn Bear by Elizabeth Hartmann
for my sister's new grandson due on New Year's Eve.
My nephew and his wife love camping, so this was the perfect backing fabric.
I am usually not picky about backing,
but fell in love with this one.

Had fun quilting this sampler for my friend, Deb.
It was a mystery BOM program that I designed for TOWQS 
several years ago.

Last week I had steroids injected into my neck
 in hopes of regaining the strength in my right hand.
Keeping my fingers crossed it works
and planning my smaller version of Sue Spargo's Folk Tails.
I do have a start.
Will finish piecing the backgrounds together 
and then start adding more trees and animals.


Saturday, August 28, 2021

Wanda Joy has been on fire!

 Since our return to the valley of the sun,
my longarm has been on fire!
It has been too hot to go outside,
so I practice my FMQ.
First up was my Rock the Block 
by Sew Kind of Wonderful.
Here are some details:
I really got confident with feathers! 

Next up was my Let's Stitch a Figurative Quilt 
from a Natalia Bonner class I did online.

I must say this one is quilted to death,
but it was a learning quilt.
My favorite block.
And I love that middle border design.
I wish the quilt had had a border instead of the endless neutral fabric.
That rainbow filler got to be so tedious to quilt over and over,
but practice did improve the look of them. 
Pebbles is what I mastered with this one. 

You may think I have lost my mind;
but with all the craziness in the world,
we leave for Africa in less than a week.
Trying my hardest not to panic!

In the meantime,
I will try to stay calm by making more units for my 
Sunrise Scraps quilt.
My sewing circle of friends donated a lovely group of pinks and purples 
along with some great old cheddars from Jo Morton.

Stay safe and hug your loved ones!


Monday, August 2, 2021

Mind Games

Hometown, made with Kathy Schmitz's Home fabric line.
It was a kit I purchased as a wedding gift for my son and his wife.
Now perhaps they will get it as an anniversary gift...LOL!

Just have the sashing and borders to finish. 
The original pattern has an intricate flying geese border.
I will opt for a simple fabric border.

Do you have a system for piecing large quilts?
I never completely cut a quilt up front.
 I have been burnt in the past when the directions were wrong.
So I cut one block at a time.

With this quilt, however, the instructions are so complex 
that it is hard to determine what fabrics are used where
 and what their cutting size should be.
Thankfully, my friend Cyndi had made the quilt
 and assured me the cutting directions were correct.
I cut all the strips from the first 5 fabrics, which allowed me to piece the first house...
a monumental leap of faith for me.
FYI, the layout did have an error in it, 
but that was easily corrected.

It was hard for me to stay engaged due to the lack of color and fabric variety,
but I do love how it turned out.
It felt like a marathon game of Monopoly.
So I played mind games with myself....
piece 2 blocks and you can eat chocolate.
Then there was the countdown...
hooray, first row done;
now you are halfway done;
now there are only 6 more blocks to piece.
You can do it!
I needed a cheering squad.
I also wrote blog posts in my mind while I was sewing...
finish these last 2 rows and you can post!

With the help of my Audible book,
This Tender Land,
I finally muscled through the last block.
Even though I enjoyed the book,
it was somewhat like this quilt...
easy to put down but I was compelled to finish it!


Saturday, July 10, 2021

From One Extreme to Another!

 On November 21st, 2017
I showed this 'lifetime' project for the first time 
and here is my progress to date.
Sunrise Scraps by Edyta Sitar.
I fell in love with this quilt when I saw it in person 
at Road to California.
I have not worked on it consistently for quite awhile.
All those hourglass blocks finish at 1 1/2" each 
and I only need to make 672 of them.
If I would have done the math back in 2017,
I may not of started this quilt.
Construction involves putting 8 hourglasses together with sashing into a unit.
There are 84 units needed.
I have 34 done.
My goal for the summer is to get 50 sewn.
However, I underestimated how many different fabrics I would need to bring with me.
So my quilty friend, Deb,
 sent me a wonderful collection of 4" squares 
of fabrics I did not have.
To make this quilt interesting and special,
I may ask my other sewing circle of friends to cut 4" squares
 of their favorite, reproduction fabrics to add to the mix.
Not that I don't have enough fabric to finish it up!
It would just be fun and give more variety.

In the meantime,
my flannels arrived.
This is a panel by Riley Blake.
I should have added an inner stop border,
but it is too late now. 
Put the borders on in less than a few hours 
and now I have a potential Christmas gift.
Because, who does not love gnomes!

I also pieced this big block, 60" x 72" quilt using
Primitive Gathering Farmhouse flannels.
Cut and pieced it in just a few days 
and I have enough squares for a second one.
It is a completed flimsy, 
but this is the cutest picture of it.

So the last few weeks my piecing has gone from one extreme to the other...
precision small scale piecing to quick, large scale stitching.
Flannel is so difficult for me to work with!!
I cannot for the life of me keep it from stretching, 
therefore very few of my intersections went together nicely. 
I resorted to using my walking foot late in the process, pinning and lots of trimming;
but eventually I just had to accept the imperfections.
I prefer the challenge of small scale, precision piecing,
even if it takes years to complete!

Oh, I forgot to report on the quilt shop I visited in Durango.
The Stitch a Quilt Store on Main St. was recently featured in
BHG Quilt Sampler Magazine.
Lovely, light filled shop with brights, batiks, beautiful color wall,
a Bernina dealer, longarm services and a sweet shop dog. 
Although they did not have what I was looking for,
I will go back!

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Christmas in June???

Oh, HSTs!! 
Thought I would never get this done,
but here it is.
Peppermint Twist,
by the Pattern Basket 
using Christmas Figs 2 fabric.
Cannot wait to custom quilt this one.
Ruby Blue Quilts did one and I plan to use it as inspiration.
You can see hers here.

Now I am working on this Laura Heine pattern,
I am putting it on a Hoffman Big Dream panel.
I have seen 2 others done this way on Pinterest.
Again, so anxious to give the quilting a try.
Going to have lots to do when I get back to AZ.

In no hurry to leave though.
It was hot the first few weeks here,
but now a lovely week of thunderstorms
 and cooler temps has arrived.
Took my first hike to Alberta Peak at 10,000 feet yesterday 
and saw all my favorite wildflowers.
These Red Elephants and Green Bog Orchids 
were a real find!
These are my second favorite wildflower,
behind Fairy Slipper Orchids,
but we arrived too late to see them.

And this year, I struck gold in my garden.
After years of trying,
I finally got Iceland Poppies to grow and bloom.
Very short lived blooms,
but I loved them.
Hopefully, they will reseed themselves.

I am about out of projects for the summer.
I did bring my Edyta Sitar 'lifetime' quilt project with me.
Looks like it will be next in the queue.
I also ordered flannel to make a big block quilt.
Everyone fights over the ones I have on cold mornings,
even the pups.

Hoping to get to Durango this week to visit some quilt shops.
Wow, actual physical shops still in business.
So excited! 

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Piecing and Packing and Purging!


Rock the Block Sew Along
by Sew Kind of Wonderful.
This one I will use to practice FMQ on. 
Jenny of SKOW plans to show us how she will quilt it.
Love it when I can copy a design
 and not have to come up with it on my own.
When finished, it will adorn my office/sewing room...
as if I ever need a quilt in Arizona to warm my lap.

by Elizabeth Hartmann,
requested by my DIL.
I did an E2E pattern on this one and regret it.
I really should have custom quilted it,
but wanted to get it done. 
I may make another version of it for my nephew's wedding
and then I can do custom.
His future wife loves succulents.

And it will come to no surprise that I started piecing another project...
A Figurative Quilt
by Natalia Bonner.
I am using Tilda fabrics for the first time 
and absolutely love the English Garden florals.
There is another border with tons of hexies yet to be assembled.
This sampler quilt will be used for my class I signed up for with Natalia.
I am sure one of my granddaughters will love to receive it when I am done.
Or maybe I keep it for myself.

This last week I sorted, folded and purged my fabric stash.
Much of my reproduction fabrics went to my friend, Deb;
Lori of Humble Quilts,
Janet, the Roque Quilter,
and to a quilt ministry in NY suggested by Janet.
It felt good to prioritize my project and fabric collections.
Even with all I purged,
I have more than I will ever be able to use.
I am always seduced by all the pretty new fabrics I see.

All that reorganization makes it easy to pack for Colorado!
Oh, but what WIPS will I take?????

Monday, May 17, 2021

The Merry Month of May!

 May started with a lovely trip to Sanibel Island with my daughter
to celebrate Mother's Day.
We enjoyed swimming in the warm coastal waters,
spotting dolphins and rays swimming off shore,
                                                               collecting sea shells,
and drinking fancy adult beverages!

Prior to leaving, I finished my granddaughter's quilt for her bed.

So much fun to quilt!

Then I was off to my retreat with Sue Spargo in Santa Fe.
What a gracious woman and fabulous teacher!
I started one project,
my interpretation of a miniature Oaxacan candlestick I saw
at the International Museum of Folkart;
but then got totally side tracked by learning to weave a tree on a loom.
We are headed to Africa in September
(fingers crossed)
and so this is the start of my modified Folk Tales quilt to commemorate our trip.

I continue to sew along with Sew Kind of Wonderful 
and will have my Rock the Block quilt done soon.
Started another Elizabeth Hartmann pattern for my DIL, 
but I will be back with those when they are in the flimsy state.

We are headed to Colorado in June.
My body needs a break from pandemic stitching!
Until next time...

Friday, March 26, 2021

Something New and Something Old!

I'll start with the something new... 
Peeps and Carrots,
adapted from Carrot Sticks by the Pattern Basket.
It was my 9 year old granddaughter's idea to add the bunnies 
and what a clever idea it was!
This was gifted to my DIL.

Working on this table runner for my daughter from a Shabby Fabrics pattern.
I will make a coordinating wall hanging, but this may be the only one done by Easter.

Week 1 & 2 of Rock the Block...
a free sewalong from Sew Kind of Wonderful 
with video tutorials on Facebook each week!
I have always been curious about Sew Kind of Wonderful patterns
 with their curved piecing.
When I did teach beginning quilting,
 I always told my students I could help them with almost everything,
except curved piecing.
Well, it was time to conquer my fear.
The curves are so gentle, and they oversize and square everything up;
so it is much easier than I thought it would be.
Notions and special rulers are not my thing,
but I now own 3 of their QRC rulers...
I know Jan is laughing right now.
I am really enjoying the challenge and using up stash! 
Sadly, I don't think this will put much of a dent in it.
These fabrics are from my Edyta Sitar collections.

Last weekend we celebrated a landmark birthday.
My husband turned 70!
When did we get so OLD!
My son arranged to have a chef come to our house to cook a fancy meal.
It was perfect...the kids got to run around and play while we enjoyed our meal.
Safer and more fun for everyone than going to a restaurant.

Betty, Monica, Kathy and I continue to piece, quilt and bind donation quilts.
Kind of had a green theme going on this month.
This pile will be going to Betty today to get bound.

It turns out I have some pretty severe stenosis in my neck that has lead to my right hand weakness.
That and mild bilateral carpal tunnel from the hours of hand stitching.
Even though I have enjoyed my stay at home hobbies,
they have taken a toll on my body...
too much slumping over and poor posture.
I knew quarantine increased my waistline,
but I did not realize the other health tolls until this week.

I am officially fully vaccinated now,
so I look forward to getting back to a normal lifestyle soon.
Now on to week #3 of Rock the Block.
Thanks for stopping by.

Fell Off the Wagon

 It was bound to happen. I had stuck to my guns until I saw Laundry Basket Quilts' pattern, Alaska Magic. I told myself,  "It is te...