Thursday, July 28, 2011

Summertime and the living' is easy.....

Okay, so the living' isn't easy, but I love that song!  I've forgotten which musical that song is from, but I used to listen to the sound track from it a lot years ago -- a LOT of years ago!  Oh, wait, I think the musical was called Porgy and Bess.

Maybe summertime living was easy then, but this summer is anything but easy with temperatures soaring all over the country.  We are used to it in AZ, but on the morning news they announced that Wichita, KS was way over 100 degrees and with the humidity, the heat index was around 120 degrees.  They are NOT used to that!

A while back I showed you the table runner I made for Sheila and promised to show you the one I use in the summer time.  So, here goes!

Yep, it is yellow and blue.  Are you surprised?  Okay, guess not.  This is a pine burr variation block.  As with most traditional blocks, there are several with that name.  This one reminds me a bit of a Bear's paw block and they WOULD be found near pine burrs, right?

In this close up of the  block you can see that the half square triangles are in a different position than in a Bear's paw block, but still the effect is similar.

This close up looks a bit washed out.  I must have left the flash on as flashes tend to wash out quilts.  Note the heart in this detail of the quilting.  It's saying I love to quilt!

This is the back of the table runner.  The quilting really pops on the nearly solid background fabric.  There are a LOT of feather variations in this quilting.  Love those feathers!  They are such fun to quilt!

This is the summer table scape using my three tiered stand.  The largest shell was a gift from a friend, but the rest were collected at Hobby Lobby I think.  What?  We don't have beaches in AZ and I LIKE shells. The ceramic apples I bought from an advertisement in the back of a magazine long before anyone bought things online!  They have survived 3 kids and a pack of grand kids -- amazing!  The pineapple candle stands were a gift from a friend.  The three tiered stand?  Well, I found one for a wedding gift and bought it.  They had two, so I bought one for me, too.  I wonder if that gift shop is still there.  It was called the Blue Willow and I loved to hang out there.  They had the greatest items!

That's the summer story.  Hope it makes your summer day more enjoyable.

Quilt 'til you wilt!


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Goody boxes!

There has been some discussion lately about whether or not we need the USPS.  Some people feel that they can get their bills and pay them online so why do they need "snail mail".

Well, here are some reasons:

  1. Many elderly people do not know how to turn on a computer much less own one!
  2. Some things just need to be written by hand such as sympathy cards and birthday cards, especially for those afore mentioned elderly folks.
  3. Aren't you excited when you get a hand written envelope that is obvious it is not a bill?
  4. Below are two reasons the USPS is the best!
You may remember that my husband's cousin asked if I'd make a table runner for her. She provided the fabric and I made the table runner for her.  Well, she liked it and sent me this surprise package!

Just look at those fabrics!  Yuuuummmmmy!

Here is a closer look.  Won't these look lovely in a quilt!  She said she had fun finding them and that her local quilt shop staff were very helpful in making selections.  You gotta love those, too!  Quilt shops are the BEST!

A while back, via the Internet and Facebook, I reconnected with a long time friend in Wisconsin. (The Internet does have it's purpose!)  Her mother was one of the first people who helped me in my quilting endeavors.  The ladies group of the church we attended decided to make some quilts for missionaries.  A couple of the ladies knew how to quilt and a few of us knew how to sew.  They are not the same, you know! 

Though my mother was a quilter, I had not made a quilt yet.  I think I was 18 or so.  Linda's mother, Lila, and the other experienced ladies helped us piece and then tie quilts.  The local newspaper even came and took some photos for the little weekly paper in West Allis, Wisconsin where the church was located at the time.  I still have the newspaper clipping somewhere.  This was news because, as you may know "Nobody quilted in the 1960's" or so I've heard.  They forgot to tell these ladies and my mom and hundreds of other ladies who kept quilting alive then.

Linda recently sent me some things that were her mother's.

I could not find a copyright date on these patterns, but Vogart was big in the 1960's in the needlework area.  Lila probably bought them about the time we were making those quilts.  Isn't that cool?

Here is a close up of the state flower and state bird embroidery transfers.  Now, how could you get this over the Internet?  These are TRANSFERS.  That means the ink is specially made to transfer to fabric with an iron.  All the patterns are reversed so that they will be the mirror image when transferred. 

Thank you so much Sheila and Linda for sharing these treasures with me!  Surprises in the mail box.  Just wonderful!  I think I should go write someone a note and send it.  You had better, too.  There is probably an older person in your life who won't read your FB status and doesn't have an e-mail account or read your bog.  There may be a YOUNGER person in your life who would love to get mail. Ever see a kid's face when they get mail?  Or maybe a quilter friend has done something nice for you -- go buy her a few fat her favorite color and send them to her IN THE MAIL.  Sure, you could just wait until you see her again, but what a surprise to get a package in the mail.

Until next time!


Wednesday, July 20, 2011


We make choices every day.  Some are easy and some are hard........What shall I wear?  What shall I cook?  Where should I go to school?  Which job should I take?  And on and on.  Not only that they change as we grow older.  What game do I want to play is much different than what course of study should I take in college!  Who should I marry to a Jr. High student much different than the same question to someone seriously looking for a life mate.

Fortunately, some choices are much more fun.  The choice of which quilt to work on is one of those.  This past weekend I looked at the two parts of quilts that I had on the design wall -- one on the left side and one on the right side.

On the left was this one that you've seen before.

These rows are not sewn yet and I have 6 more rows on the design wall now, also not sewn.  I have the ends figured out also since these pieces are angled.

The other one on the design wall was one you've seen the 8-pointed start, but not the vine applique that it will alternate with.the stars.  The vines were done during classes I was teaching on appliqueing vines and leaves with sharp points. 

The choice in how to set the stars might depend on how much of the background fabric I have.

There are four of the vine strips done and there will be 5 rows of stars.  The stars may not be set on point if there isn't enough of the black.  They may or may not have sashes between them.  Again with the choices.  The fabric choices were easy -- scraps!

So which quilt am I working on?  Both, of course.  The stars are being hand pieced when I sit either in the car or in a waiting room or watch TV.  The stacked bricks are machine work and until I start quilting on Jeff's quilt, I'll start sewing these together.  Well, I'll do all of the end bricks first and then start sewing the bricks in the strips together.

There are a couple of more choices to make on that quilt too.  I know that there will be strips between the rows of bricks.  I'm not sure what color, though.  The width of the strip is still to be determined and whether or not there will be another border beyond that.

Lots of choices!  I'm so glad to have this kind of choice.  It's a lot of fun.

What choices are the easiest for you?  What are the hardest?

Hope you are having a lot of fun choices in your life.

Until next time,

Saturday, July 16, 2011

When Friends Gather For Tea Quilt

Tea is so comforting.  Mom gave us tea and toast when we didn't feel well as kids.  Summer always meant iced tea and carefree days.  Is there anything better than sun tea on a hot day?   When we lived in Alabama, though, we had to remember to tell the server that we did not want "swaight tay".  We grew up with sweet tea, but somewhere along the line -- probably too many years in the upper Midwest, we lost our taste for the sweet part.

Now, my favorite iced tea is green tea with honey ad lemon - yep, it's a bit sweet.  My all-time favorites for hot tea are Earl Grey and Lady Grey.  No, it doesn't have anything to do with the fact that one comes in a yellow box and one comes in a blue box, although that doesn't hurt.

I have fond memories of tea with Bonnie and Lorinda in Iowa.  Jo and Joan preferred coffee so I was good with them, too.  Tea in Arizona brings back lovely days spent with Linda L and Linda Y.  Joyce prefers coffee, Diane likes neither, but loves diet Coke and diet Dr. Pepper.

What is your favorite "go to" beverage?

Our church ladies have been having an annual tea for several years.  One year I was asked to make a quilt that would be displayed at the Christmas Tea and the ladies would have the opportunity to win the quilt by giving a donation to help with our Missions program.

Please forgive the quality of the photos.  They were prior to my owning a digital camera and were taken with two different cameras.  Some were taken with flash so the color on the quilt is not true.  Since the quilt went home with someone else, I don't have access to it to retake the photos.  These were scanned into my computer which also affects the quality.

This photo was taken in full sun on the garage door.  The quilt is really washed out in this photo.  Since this was taken, I have purchased a hanging system so the photos can be taken in better locations taking into account where the sun is at the time.

The color is much better in this photo that was taken on the design wall in my studio.  The tea pots were based on both some I own and some I had pictures of from magazines, etc.

Another shot of the quilt in progress.  You will see below the triangles don't remain empty.

Teacups were added to the triangles, but this photo was taken with a Polaroid and the color is way off.  It is far too yellow.  The true color or the background was more like a soft butter.  The pattern was soft roses.

Though you can really see in this photo, the words were on computer paper.  I auditioned several fonts and sizes before deciding on this as the final version.  The letters were then cut from black fabric and hand appliqued to the final border.  I'm very fond of the checkerboard borders dividing the sections.  

Here is a detail shot of the top part of the quilt.  Again, it is washed out.  You may not be able to make it out, but there is a fairy on the pink and green teapot on the right hand side.  She was quite cute.

And here is a detail of the bottom part of the center of the quilt showing the chintz teapots.

When the quilt was finished and bound, I had an AQS certified appraiser fill out two appraisal forms -- one for the winner and one for me.  I was pleased when the quilt brought in slightly more than the appraised value.  I wanted the winner to have an appraisal so they would appreciate that their donation was worth far more and treat the quilt with respect.  You have not control over what happens when a quilt leaves your hands, but my hope was that this quilt would be hung in a place where the winner could see and treasure it and remember when Friends Gathered for Tea that Christmas.

Isn't it about time to go enjoy a glass of iced tea or brew a nice cuppa?  If you've never had tea and scones with a friend at a tea shop, it's time you did!  Even my grand kids like to have a "tea" once in a while.  Of course, they mostly don't drink tea and have lemonade instead, but that's okay -- it's the gathering of friends and family that is important!


Until next time,

P.S. Aren't you glad my photography has improved!  Please forgive these photos!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Farmer's Daughter Quilt

This is the time of year I really miss the farm.  Though I haven't lived on a farm since I was 18, there are just some things that stay with you.  It has been said that you can take the boy off the farm, but you can't take the farm out of the boy.  That may be true of the girls as well!

On the farm we had tomatoes that tasted like.........well, tomatoes.  When we lived in Wisconsin, we raised our own tomatoes and they tasted like tomatoes.  When we lived in Iowa, the tomatoes -- yep, same deal.  When we lived in Alabama, the few we got instead of the rabbits and deer still tasted like tomatoes.  Here in Arizona, we gave up trying to raise them.  It just got too hot too fast or something, so we have to buy them at the grocery store.  They are edible, but they don't have that just picked in the garden flavor.  They don't even smell like tomatoes to me!

I don't miss cutting weeds out of the soy beans while getting a sunburn.

I don't miss cutting the grass which was my job when I was old enough.  We had an acre of grass I'm sure and NO riding lawn mower while I was at home.  I'm pretty sure the year after I no longer lived there Dad bought one.  Who could blame him?  He had all that other farm work to do and no daughters left at home to cut the grass.

It is the garden I miss.  Besides tomatoes, there were fresh peas and green beans.  There were raspberries, squash and cucumbers.  There was zucchini -- I  know that is a squash, but, well, zucchini was a species of it's own.  It was cooked as a vegetable, but my favorite way was in zucchini bars or bread.  A big YUM to those!  There were onions and yucky turnips - sorry, don't like those!  There were also lima beans that are right up there with the turnips in my opinion.  There was also lots of corn and, of course, the fruit trees and flowers.  Tons of flowers as my mother loved flowers.  She was the gardener and the canner and the freezer of all of the above.

Mom was also a quilter.  Some day I'll show you some of the quilts she made. She had a wonderful sense of color!

Growing up in the country on a farm was a great place to grow up. There was work, yes, but there were also rewards.

This quilt has several names, one of them being Farmer's Daughter.  It is also called Miller's Daughter and Sisters Choice as well.  As with many traditional quilts it probably has has a lot more names that I don't know.

Most of the fabrics in the quilt are from a Judie Rothermel Cocheco Mills fat quarter set from a few years back.  Some are from my stash and the outer navy was purchased specifically to finish this quilt.

The block is set on point in the quilt, but here is a straight on view.  All pieces were rotary cut.  The pieced border is made up of some of the units of the block. Every other block had yellow in the four corners and you KNOW how I love yellow!  Even with all the dark fabrics, I think it's a happy quilt -- just like growing up on the farm -- happy!

Well, except for the pigs.  I was NOT fond of the pigs.  They got out and we had to chase them back into the pen.  Nope, didn't like the pigs at all.  Sorry, I just didn't.  The chickens were okay, though my sister would argue about that.  There was the rooster that chased her up onto the roof of the chicken house, but that's another story.  The cows were okay.  But pigs, nope, you can have them.

Hope you enjoyed my little visit back in time to the good old days on the farm.  Where did you grow up?  Did you grow things?  Did you SEW things?  Did all your food come from the store?  Inquiring minds want to know!

Quilt 'til you Wilt,

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Pin Basting Continued

I had not expected to get the pin basting done on Tuesday.  However, my appointment canceled at the last minute due to air conditioning problems so I got to work longer than planned for the day.

I am rethinking my method of pin basting on the tile floor, though.  I used to use stretcher bars propped up on the backs of chairs when I thread basted.  In consideration of my sore knees, I think that method might be adapted to pin basting as well and it would be much easier on the knees!

Here is the result of the day.

This pattern made it easy to get the 4" grid I normally use when pin basting since the 4-patches are 4" and the bricks are 4" x 8" rectangles.

It is easier to see in this close up photo.  I'm already visualizing it quilted.

I also now have parts of two quilts in progress on the design wall.  I really have to decide which one to take down as they will both cover the entire wall.  So many quilts, so little time!

Later  in the day on Tuesday, we got a HUGE dust storm.  You have seen impressive pictures of this on the national news, I'm sure.  Of course, the local news has covered it extensively.

I took this picture from the kitchen through the patio door so it's not the best quality.  If it were video, you would see the trees whipping around as the winds were quite strong.

The area above the fence is the dense dust.  It may look like fog, but there was little moisture in it.  You can see how parched the grass is and it is watered daily.  Other areas got some rain, but we did not out here in the boonies.  I wish I had taken the picture from the upstairs so you could see the huge cloud of dust that enveloped us.  Ah Choo!  Now my house is covered in it!

So, how do you baste?  Do you crawl around on your knees?  Do you have a basting frame?  Do you just have the long arm quilter baste it or even quilt it?  Share what you do to prepare your quilts for quilting.

Until next time,

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Pin Basting

Yesterday, though a holiday was a quiet day.  We did not have family in nor did we go to be with family.  Sometimes you just need a "catch up" day to do whatever you want or need to do.  After some catch up ironing, we had to go out and buy a new iron.  Yep, after the ironing was done.  The iron decided to boil the water and spew it out in globs on the clothes.  Not a good thing!

Then, I got to play!

The first step is to re-press the top and backing and to de-thread both during this process.  This is a pile of thread collected from the seam side of the top.  If you leave these threads, particularly the dark ones, Murphy's Law takes effect and you have dark threads behind every light piece in the quilt.

Okay, maybe not every one, but they WILL find their way to the light pieces and make a shadow on the quilt.  This is definitely not a good thing!

The second step is to lay the quilt back down with the right side down and the seam side up.  In my case, I do this on a tile floor and tape the backing in place.

When we lived in a house with plush carpeting I used to T-pin the quilt back in place, but this house has Frize' or something like that with loops.  You just can't pin baste on that!

Next comes the batting, for which there is not photo.  Until I downloaded the pictures, I thought I had taken a photo of that step, but it wasn't on the camera.  No way was I going to remove the top to take the picture! 

The batting should be about an 1" on all sides smaller than the backing and centered on it.

Finally comes the top.  This time, seam side down and right side up!

The top should be centered on the batting and as straight as it can be.  I have been known to get out a carpenter's square to accomplish this.  Sometimes this is more important to me than others.  This is a bed quilt that will not be entered in a show, so it's not as critical, though I still what it straight on the batting and backing so I do take time with this process.

Here is another view of the sandwich ready to have the pins inserted.

You can see the claw foot of the table which is now shoved against the island in the kitchen.  This is motivation to get the pin basting done as it makes it difficult to use the table for meals.

My husband expects meals.  Go figure!

Today I will be putting in the pins.  I have an outside appointment so it may not all get accomplished today.  Unless I want to crawl on the floor all evening, it just won't all get done today.  This is a time consuming, but very important step.

Maybe I should think about having my basting done by a long armer.  It would save a lot of time that could be used quilting!

Well, it's time to put the knee pads on!  Just kidding, I really don't use them, but it's a thought!

Before I go, we had rain last night!  Yay! It had been a LONG time since we'd had more than a sprinkle.  It was nice to listen to the rain as I fell asleep last night.  Those of you where you've had flooding might not be as excited about rain as I am, but here in the desert, we look forward to a good rain!

Until next time,

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Hurray for the Red, White & Blue!

Mom, apple pie and America!  The red, white and blue, the marches, the sentiment!  I love a waving flag.  How can you not be moved by the Fourth of July in America? 

I do love red, white and blue quilts.  I only have several.  I'm showing just a few of those.  I thought I had pictures of my red, white and blue log cabin, but I can't locate them.  It's just a top right now.  If there weren't already things on the design board I would have put it up there to take a picture, but I'll just have to save it for later.

One that I own, my mom made and It came into my possession after my dad passed away, too.  Another that I have is in the process of quilting.  I should say HAND quilting and it's been in that process for a LONG time.  It is a copy of an antique quilt I own that is in less than good shape.  It was just loved to death!  I'm saving those two for a later post.  As soon as the quilting is done you'll get to see both of these.

So, here are the ones that are finished and photographed.  Oops, one is just a top, I'll explain under the picture of it.

The first is the oldest of the ones I've made.  It was made in a class when rotary cutting quilts was fairly new.  It's my least favorite, but it is more of a quilt for grandson's than some of mine so I get it out for them when they sleep over.

Why is this my least favorite?  Many reasons.  First it is just 3 fabrics.  Second, it is the first or at least one of the first quilts I machine quilted.  It's quilted with invisible thread.  My skill level wasn't the best!  It is made up of LARGE pieces.  I never make quilts with pieces this large throughout.  There may be large pieces, but mostly they are much smaller.  However, I did learn a lot on this quilt and it's fine -- just not a favorite except for the red, white and blue part.

I do like this little quilt.  It is only 25" square.  It is called Northwind.

Notice the windmill blocks in the corners -- fitting don't you think?

The quilting, which you can't see here is maple and oak leaves in the main part of the quilt.  There are vines and smaller leaves in the border.  Yep, I like this little quilt.  Hope you do too.

I've shown you this one before.  It is my 9/11 quilt.  It traveled 3 years with other AQS authors quilts.  It touches my heart.  I shed tears during it's making.  It has a lot of symbolism in it.  It just says patriotism to me.

The last one is an unfinished flag.  A while back -- okay, a LONG while back our daughter Mindy asked me to teach her to applique.  It was close to the Fourth of July.  I chose to show her how to applique using a star.  No curves, but lots of points.  Both "inee" points and "outee" points.  She did not add a border to hers and she chose to frame it with batting hanging out.  It looks wonderful hanging in their bedroom with the Log pole poster bed and the red accented walls.

I'm undecided about the primitive looking embroidery on my version.  Until I decide whether or not to leave it.  This little flag will remain unquilted.  Still, it's cute.

The final picture is not quilts.  It was taken the fourth of July our daughters family including her 4 kids and our son's middle daughter came to visit us when we lived in Montgomery.  The girls wanted us to be patriotic down to our toes.  So we were.  We did patriotic pedicures.  It was fun.  Granddaughters, you gotta love their spirit -- especially when it's the American Spirit.

Hope you have a wonderful Fourth of July!  Bring out the red, white and blue!

Until next time - quilt patriotic quilts!


Friday, July 1, 2011

Heading for the Lake?

Since there is no ocean view in AZ, most people head for the lake on holiday weekends.  We aren't, but since I just took my Lady of the Lake quilt to the NQA show to use in my Medley class, I thought I would show it to you.  The more I look at this small quilt, the more I want to make a larger version of it.

This is the only quilt I've made that has much pink in it.  When I made it, I wanted to use some pinks and browns that I had.  It was also a quilt where I was working on accuracy in piecing half-square triangle units of two different sizes.

I just love the way the half-square triangles make patterns where they meet.  What do you think?  What color would you make this pattern?  Would you make it in "water" colors or maybe in "desert" colors?  It's a simple pattern to make -- I mean really, how much more basic than two sizes of half-square triangles can you get?

I took a day off this week and made some progress on the stacked bricks.  With the holiday weekend I hope to get Jeff's quilt pin basted and ready to quilt.  Have to move a table to make enough floor space to pin bast this one!  The pin-basting is NOT my favorite part of the quilting process.  Any one relate?

Next time I'll post some red, white and blue quilts for you.  Hope you have great plans for the holiday weekend.

Until next time -- keep on quilting!