Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Making Progress

This is the progress that I have made so far on the "Away in a Manger" quilt. The angel is hovering in the starry sky over the manger. Tomorrow I am going fabric shopping to buy the manger floor (dirt fabric?) and more of the wood grain fabric for the outer borders. So I am shopping for dirt and wood at the fabric store.

As soon as I attach the floor fabric, I can begin to applique Mary, Jesus, and a group of animals clustered around them.
Maybe I will also find some fur or hide fabrics tomorrow!

So far I am happy about the way this is turning out. I hope the NICU people will like it!

In between applique sessions on the Away in a Manger quilt, I've been trying to get the Pioneer Braids assembled. There are two more strips to add before I trim it up and add the two borders. This one is shaping up well. Once again, another project has been put in front of it, but DH has about six other quilts to choose from if he gets chilly!

The last bit of progress is in the area of exercise. DH loaded the bicycles and me in his pickup truck, and we went to check out the new Levee Trail here in Chesterfield, Missouri. Our city is building this asphalt trail for jogging, walking, and cycling along the levee that borders the Missouri River. The first four miles are finished, and it is very nice. (Unfortunately, there are wetlands and trees between the levee and the river, and you can't see the river.) We rode the four miles going east and turned around at the point where construction has stopped. Eventually, it will connect to similar trails in other communities. The first part was a breeze! Then we turned around and had to peddle into the breeze--and a very stiff one at that! The return trip was not as much fun. I need to find something I can do standing up for awhile 'cause my backside is sore!

Friday, October 26, 2007

New Challenge for Me--"Away in a Manger"

I have a new challenge to start on, and I'm psyched! Today was my day to volunteer at St. John's Mercy Medical Center, and while I was there, I met with the chaplain for the Pediatrics and Neonatal Intensive Care Units. She was hoping to decorate the NICU hallway for Christmas with the theme, "Away in a Manger". She was given my name by the woman who distributes my Project Linus quilts in Pediatrics. By the end of our meeting, it was decided that I would make a 34" x 40" wall hanging based on the applique patterns in the book, "Adoration Quilts". I won't be making the entire quilt as shown on the cover of the book but will use the Madonna and Baby Jesus, the angel, and several of the animals. I am on a very tight deadline, so I am starting tonight! I'll post pics as I progress.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Cool Weather.....Aaaaaaaaah!

The weather here has finally cooled off enough that we can sleep under a quilt at night! For a woman that gets overheated easily (a real hot woman--LOL), this is a real treat! The cool temperatures energize me but also make sleeping much better.

For someone who makes quilts, it is also a great pleasure to be able to get out and use the quilts I have made over the years. The closeup shot here is part of a quilt I named "North Woods Cabin". The logs are only 3/4 inch wide! What was I thinking? The craziest part is that it is all hand pieced and hand quilted and queen-sized! My hands just can't do that any more, but I'm glad I did it then because it is really special to me. I started piecing it on a trip to northern Wisconsin and bought some of the green fabrics up there. The rest is from my stash. I see two fabrics that I bought at a guild meeting from the stash of a member who had died.

There is one juried and judged show in the St. Louis area, and I entered it for several years. This quilt won a blue ribbon in the traditional pieced category, but the best compliment I got on it was when one of the other prize winners said to me, "This quilt reminds me of what 'quilt' really means."

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Pretty Ponies Finished

These "Pretty Ponies" are now ready for donation to Project Linus. I really love this pattern from Fat Cat, but I don't want to make any more of these horses for awhile. It's a challenging pattern, which I love, but you can get enough of a challenge!

(By the way, if you like that pattern site, you will find it is now reorganized and there are even more patterns on it now. If you like chickens, check out the home page.)

One of my favorite things about this pony quilt is the backing, which I have had in my stash for several years. I designed the quilt top so that it would just fit the piece of backing that I had. When I was finished sewing on the binding and trimmed off the excess backing, there was no more than 1/2 inch waste on all sides! To me it is a reversible quilt. The binding is a bias-cut plaid.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Mourning Our Kitty

Our hearts are very heavy today because yesterday we had to decide to say goodbye to our little kitty, Ashley. She was 17 years old. We adopted her 16 years ago when we were visiting my in-laws in Tulsa. Their neighbors had moved away and had left her behind. The feelings of attachment were immediately mutual, and we have loved having her as our dear friend. She became ill rather suddenly and deteriorated quickly, and we just couldn't let her continue to suffer. She had such cute little ways, and we miss her terribly. (She had very fluffy grey hair and shed a lot, so her hair will probably remind us of her for a long time.)
I am posting a picture of a Project Linus quilt I made several years ago as a tribute to Ashley. Wherever she is today, I hope she is as happy as she made us.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Caught Up with Bear BOM

Meet Teacher Bear, Soldier Bear, and Beach Bum Bear! With the completion of these guys, I am caught up with Fat Cat Patterns' block of the month series, Dress Up Bears. Only two to go! (I seem to be Fat Cat's pattern tester these days.) This month she offered a "Plain Bear" pattern, but I couldn't leave him naked and gave him the beach look.

As usual, when I went to the Fat Cat site, I found another new pattern I love--Tea Pots! She has designed 8 darling teapots. Here I go again...

I have finished the pony blocks and have set them into a top and started the quilting yesterday, so now I'll be doing that when I want to do handwork and making more braids when I want to do machine work.

It is so cool here today--downright cold, actually! It energizes me so much that I think I will go clean house!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Gifts for a Far-Away Baby Boy

Before I start cutting up my new fall fabrics, I needed to complete a baby gift. We have lived next door to the same family for 30 years and have been sharing their excitement as the birth of their first grandson drew near. Unfortunately, the young family isn't near--they're in Osaka, Japan, after recently moving from Honolulu. (The mom is Japanese, and the dad is the boy who grew up next door.) Casey was born last week, and everyone is doing great!
A few months ago my neighbor and I made the quilt on the near left, after they found out that it would be a boy. I kept the scraps from that project, bought some more, and yesterday I made the little Nine Patch quilt to go with it. (The back is turquoise blue with orange and yellow dolphins.) I thought little Casey would potentially sleep with the bigger quilt and drag around the little one.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Fabric Shopping Day

Did you know that Columbus Day is a quilt sale holiday? I didn't either, but when a local shop offers 15% off everything to celebrate it, I am happy to join in. Now I have all the fabrics I need to assemble and quilt DH's Pioneer Braid quilt. (I just corrected a typo--I had typed "Pioneer Brain" but that would have been OK. Larry always says he was born 100 years too late.)
The fabric on the left is for the outer borders and is from a relatively new Moda collection, Acorn Hollow. The dark brown has a wood grain, and Larry picked it. It will go between the braid strips and will also be the inner border. At the bottom is the backing fabric, which is a fairly small print of leaves and acorns on a mottled sage background. I am happy! It's supposed to cool off a lot this week, and I will soon be busily quilting away on a winter throw for my sweetie! I have a package of Quilter's Dream Request weight batting all ready to go.
While we were in the store, Larry was talking with the ladies who were selling machines, and before I knew it I was in an embroidery machine demo! She was showing us the Baby Lock line. If anyone has experience with the Emore, I would love to hear from you.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Football and String Piecing

This scrapquilter was multi-tasking today as I extended the length of my pioneer braids while I listened to our St. Louis "Lambs" extend their perfect record to 0-5. I think I had a more productive day than they did. (At least I didn't injure myself as they have been constantly doing.) I now have over 300 inches of braids sewn, well on my way to a very generous throw quilt for my dear husband, Larry. I haven't made anything for him for so long that it is definitely his turn.

The upper left corner shows what the braids will look like when I trim them. I don't want to trim more than that because the braid becomes very stretchy with all of those bias edges exposed! Tomorrow the LQS is having a one-day sale, and I think I will look for a dark brown for sashing and the inner border. I have already purchased a Moda print for the outer border from the Acorn Hollow collection.

It was fun to work with all of these scraps! I wished I had more of some of them, bid some of them "good riddance" as I finished the amounts I had in my stash, and wondered why the heck I even bought some others! The great news is that I have reduced the browns and greens in my stash so much that I was able to combine them into one container and free the remaining plastic bin to store my granddaughter's blocks!

Grandmother note: Yesterday Avery came up to me, said, "Mmmmmm, Maw-maw" and spontaneously kissed my cheek for the first time. That made me feel more bubbly than a glass of champagne!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Stitching as Fast as I Can

Have you ever looked through the website, Fat Cat Patterns? Sindy Rodenmayer is the designer, and I sometimes feel that she is designing for me--but just too fast! Every time I go to her website, there is a new applique pattern I want to try! The ponies at the right are one of her patterns. Just now when I went to the site to get the link, I found "The Coop", an adorable chicken pattern! Sindy is so creative that I will never finish all the projects I want to make. She is so generous to give them away to all of us.

Three more pony blocks will complete this set, and then I will assemble them for a Project Linus quilt. I don't know what fabrics I will use for the top, but I have a beautiful backing plucked from my stash that has horses galloping across fields.

We have been out of town a little bit, so the prairie braids haven't grown much, but I have crocheted about a dozen little caps for the hospital nursery. Making those little things is like eating potato chips. As soon as one is finished, I'm starting another. It makes the car travel go faster.