Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Year End Totals

This has been the year of the scrappy little baby quilt -- I finished 47 of them and would probably still be going strong if the group I was giving them to hadn't stopped putting together baby layettes and left me trying to figure out a home for future quilts.

I've got some new plans, but haven't quite got my enthusiasm for the scrappy little quilts back yet. Right now I'm in the mood to tackle UFOs, which wouldn't be such a bad thing. I'm hoping to settle into a mix of UFOs and scrappy little things and maybe a couple of new projects for me.

I only made four quilts (five, if you want to count Strawberry Fields, which is little and not finished yet) for my own household this year, and with the possible exception of Madder Snowballs, I'm madly in love with them all.

I couldn't choose a favorite between Grandma's Donuts and "38" and Courthouse Steps. They were challenges. They're the type of quilts I love.

Poor Madder Snowballs was easy, and really just an excuse to use a particular fabric line. It's a pattern I'd been wanting to try, I still like the colors and prints, but it doesn't make my heart go pitty pat like the other three do.


I'm still not knitting anything big. This year, I did a scarf and a pair of fingerless mitts and a hat for Quinn that doesn't count because it came out so badly.

To keep my hands moving when we're watching television at night, I've been knitting baby hats and booties -- 31 pairs of Stay on Booties, 1 pair of Quick and Easy Baby Socks, 25 striped hats, 39 Baby's First Hats, and 4 hats from other patterns.


Over on Stashbusters, some of us kept track of how many spools of thread we emptied over the course of the year. My monthly totals are over in the sidebar -- it worked out to 14 1200 yard spools and 4 500 yard spools...18,800 yards of thread...forty bucks worth of just thread this year. That's kind of shocking, how much it costs to keep me in thread, even ordering from Connecting Threads.

That's not a bad year of quilting, despite my reinjured knee and Janome troubles. Would it be too much to ask for a cooperative sewing machine and no car wrecks in 2011?

Thursday, December 30, 2010


It's almost time to plunge into 2011 and start working on my UFOs. As far as I can tell, this is the complete list. I left out one top I've decided to give away, and a set of friendship blocks from long before I started quilting, but this should be everything else.

Projects I can finish soon
Green Postage Stamp Little Quilt
Irish Chain

Quinn's Bargello
Monkey Business
My Pink and Green
Leftovers Again
By the Lake
North Pacific
My String Quilt
Lover's Knot

Projects I can finish
Bento Box
30s Square Cake
Strawberry Fields
Old 2" Scrappy Squares
Scrappy Cats

Projects I don't wanna finish
Scrappy Green Tree
Stained Glass Window
Sandstone Stack the Deck
Chicken Wool

Projects I can't find
Chickens at the Crossroads
Green Crazy Quilt Blocks
Blue Embroidery
Baby Coins
Baby blue 9 patch orphans
red and blue shirt quilt
green and pink kaleidoscope
bulls eyes

Total # of UFOs -- 28

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Grandma's Donuts is finally done!

I let this one sit forever before I finally got the binding sewn on. Now my oldest has claimed it because it's "crisp and not broken in yet." Works for me. It'll be safe enough on her bed and she'll get bored with it and return it to me before long.

This is the quilt that made me wonder if I really wanted to buy an AccuQuilt.

Knowing that I traced and cut every last one of those 640 little wedges out by hand makes me feel like I accomplished something huge. Not to mention that it's part of showing off the quilt...I wasn't sure I wanted to give up that sense of satisfaction.

But I don't get any thrill at all out of cutting half square triangles. Those are just a pain. I want to try a couple of variations of drunkard's Path...and apple cores...and tumblers, but I'm not sure when I'll ever have the patience for all of that cutting and tracing.

Start to think about it that way, and the Accuquilt looks very attractive. Start to think about playing with fancy blocks for the charity quilts, and it starts to look even more fun.

I'd planned to buy my by Go! with some money I expect to get later this year, but the Black Friday sale was too good to resist, so instead of gambling that I'd find such a good price later, I decided to get the cutter and wait for the dies.

This is a good plan. I'll finish my UFOs that need a zillion triangles and by the time I do that, I'll know for sure that I still love it. If I buy one die at a time, I'll definitely get the ones I really want and use them all.

I had my wish list all planned out and went to Joann's to add up every single die I could possibly want, not that I expect to wind up with them all. I was just curious. The total came to a little over four hundred dollars.

Then I realized yesterday what the weird shaped triangles that I didn't think I'd possibly want are for. There's one for kaleidoscopes... and one for flying geese... and one that'll do the weird shapes from that quilt I fell in love with in Sisters last summer...

I think I'm going to want a lot of dies.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Bear Tracks

I've finally been able to flip through the first of my magazines. I'm not reading anything, just looking at pictures and sticking in scraps of paper to mark patterns I'd love to make, but will probably forget as soon as I see something else appealing.

This is the one that caught my eye last night --

It's not even a pattern, it's a picture in the letters section. The pattern is "Bear Tracks" by Darlene Zimmerman and is in the October 2001 issue of American Patchwork and Quilting. I bet I've got that issue in my stack here, but I'm not going to look because I wouldn't follow the pattern if I had it.

My Accuquilt cuts 2 1/2" half square triangles, so my blocks are going to be 12"
I'm not sure if I'm planning to make nine or sixteen or twenty five -- that all depends on how my fabric choices and enthusiasm hold out. And I have no clue what I'm going to back it with.

I couldn't even tell you what it is that draws me to this quilt. Maybe that I haven't done bear tracks before?

Monday, December 27, 2010

Can I take the tree down yet?

The little ones actually lost interest in the tree after the second or third day, so I've stopped venting my frustration on it, but there's something about getting the tree out of the house and onto the burn pile that makes me feel like I've accomplished something.

I'm really looking forward to the new year. There's my UFO list to tackle -- I'm doing two UFO challenges, one at stash busters and one at Patchwork Penguin. I'm going to keep track of empty spools of thread again, and also of how much fabric I can use up.

My big goal is to work on organizing the sewing corner, and the actual sewing room upstairs.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas is coming, isn't it?

There's no way I'm going to be actually ready, so I'm just trying to hunker down and survive until it's over. I did actually know where the tree stand was this year...and where the lights were...and I got the lights on the tree this afternoon.

And I got what I hope is about half of the presents wrapped, which may save me from sitting up until 2am Christmas eve. I think I've got all of the shopping done, except I forgot the gift tags.

So I'm actually doing better than usual! I should be proud of that, right?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Yesterday was going to be a long day. I needed caffeine for the trip up to town, so I ducked into the little market down the road to get a diet Coke....and I came back out with ninety-two quilting magazines.

They had a garage sale in the back room with a sad assortment of dusty old junk, none of it old enough or new enough to be exciting. And three huge boxes of needlework magazines for a dime each. Have I mentioned how much I love old quilting magazines, especially when they're dirt cheap and I can just grab everything that catches my eye without worrying too much about if there are missing pages or it's a duplicate of something I already have?

Assuming I only make ONE pattern that's unique to those magazines, I've still got my money's worth. Because patterns aren't that cheap. Just flipping through one magazine, I've already found a Drunkard's Path variation that I adore and have never seen before and want to start cutting fabric for RIGHT NOW.

Do I already have more patterns than I'll ever make in this lifetime? Sure, but drooling over patterns and daydreaming about making them doesn't actually commit me to anything. I've already got a stack of magazines with things I'm excited about and now and then I'll leaf through one and be overwhelmed with the urge to start cutting fabric.

Do I actually follow the patterns? Not usually. Most of the time I'll look at the measurements and wing it. I change sizes and leave off borders and a lot of my quilts this year haven't even come from patterns.

I'm forever nagging my best friend not to spend money on patterns that are just traditional blocks in a straight setting. I rarely buy single patterns myself, unless they're something really neat and original (that Drunkard's Path I just mentioned might qualify)

So I don't need the patterns. But they're sure fun to look at, and sometimes I'm just in the mood to read about quilting, even if the articles are decades old. It's usually the old stuff that inspires me the most.

But I do wish that Quilter's Newsletter had more distinctive covers. From the outside, they all look the same and it's hard to tell what I've got and what I don't, so I left almost all of those behind.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Grandma's Donuts has been waiting for a binding (even though it was my entry to the latest Blogger's Quilt Festival.) I wanted something bright that would go with the front of the quilt, and also with the blue flowered flannel I used on the back. I didn't want to piece the binding of this one, not unless I found a couple of perfect choices that went with each other well.

I'd pretty much decided to just go buy some red Kona, then convinced myself that it wouldn't go with the backing, then thought about blue...

And then we were at the thrift shop buying shirts for ten cents a piece and I found the dress.

It's not an attractive dress. It doesn't have a tag, so I can't be sure if it's a maternity dress or just cut like a circus tent for modesty's sake.

What it has going for it is that it's hundred percent cotton. No, I didn't do a burn test, but I'd be willing to bet on it. And I'm not sold on the the importance of 100% cotton anyway. It feels nice. The blue floral print goes well with the rest of my quilt.

And did I mention that it cost me a dime to bind the entire quilt, with plenty of fabric left to play with?

Not that I couldn't have gone and bought the Kona when I got around to it, but the floral is a better choice for this quilt. And it's a better story. I'm all for attaching neat stories to my quilts.

I've got a couple of movies on the DVR I want to watch tonight, so maybe I'll finish this quilt in 2010 after all!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

my poor wedding ring

I don't like this.

Until last night, it had been at least six years, maybe ten, maybe longer, since I last had my ring off. It's been way too tight for a long time, but it took forever for me to convince myself that cutting it off and having it re sized was unavoidable, then I had to convince my husband that it was a good idea.

Turns out it was a VERY good idea, because two of the tips that hold the center stone in place are completely worn down and two more are almost as bad. We've narrowly avoided another diamond earring incident.

Not worrying all day long about whether my numb left hand is a migraine symptom or nerve damage from the ring is nice. Not having it there to snag on things is unsettling. I figure by the time my finger has gotten its shape back enough to have the ring resized, I'll have gotten used to not wearing it and having it there again will bug me.

I actually got some quilting done Friday night, and the Janome actually cooperated better than it has in months. Now I've got to stop obsessing about my ring and get the binding on.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

No words for me :-(

All week long, I've been drooling over blog posts counting down to the release of Word Play Quilts. Especially the ones over at The Patchery Menagerie -- I can't put into words how much I love that fox quilt. Look at the back of this quilt over at A Few Scraps. And there's this neat little button quilt...and Tonya's Slither Eek Boo quilt...and more neat words here...

I was starting to hope that just maybe my copy might come in the mail soon, but I checked my order status this morning and it hasn't even shipped. Not that I'd be piecing letters today, but I want to be able to drool over it in person.

My one attempt at piecing letters didn't come out too bad. Not sure why I haven't tried more of it, but it probably has something to do with the four wild things.

I finally started piecing the blocks for Monkey Business, which is the whole reason I couldn't live without Scrap Basket Surprises. They go together easily enough, but I can't wrap my head around the way the quilt is laid out. Which means I can't figure out how many blocks I need to make it the size I want. Which makes me nervous.

I can do this. I just need to make enough blocks for me to lay out and see how the pattern works.

Baby quilt #4 has been done for a while, but I think I need to start over because I ordered a bunch of fabric from the Cyber Monday sale at Connecting Threads. I don't feel the slightest bit guilty, just frustrated that it messed up my count.

Monday, December 06, 2010

I don't think this is entirely my own fault!

I'm still working away at the sewing corner and every time I come back into the room something new has joined the clutter. Something that isn't mine, and that I didn't put there.

So far, I've dealt with coloring books, clothes, dismembered Barbie parts, stacks of fabric, Christmas decorations, and school books. This is like trying to bail out a sinking boat. While rabid pirates are firing things that aren't cannon balls at me.

Because I also got to call the bank and try to find out why they send a letter with our complete checking account number, and routing number, and loan number, to the wrong address.

And yesterday I got to do the dishes without a functioning drain in our kitchen sink. The kitchen sink and I have been at war for going on five years now, because if anyone puts anything at all down it, it'll start draining slowly. And it'll get worse and worse until we hit the point we were at yesterday, when I wind up bailing water and hauling it to the toilet because the dishes have to be done. I'm the only one who does the dishes, so I'm the only one who fully grasps how hopeless the whole situation is. I desperately want a garbage disposal, but for now I'll be content with my freshly unclogged drain.

Less time fighting with the sink means more time to work on my corner. And I'm going to sew a bit today, even if I have to do it while the house falls down around me.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

I'm supposed to be cleaning my room

Mostly, I'm procrastinating because I'd rather cut triangles with my new toy than sort through fabric and haul it out to the sewing room. It could be done in a couple of hours, but not if I want to be able to actually work on anything once I'm done.

Maybe some before shots will shame me into faster progress, but don't expect a miracle.

Monday, November 29, 2010

My life is noisy

Wow, it's been a loud morning!

Oldest went out to feed the chickens and came in complaining that there was a cow on our property, on the other side of the stream. Mooing. Maybe that last detail was supposed to convince me that it was a cow and not the deer who sometimes do hang out back there. Or one of the chickens the guy across the street was ranging on our front lawn until recently.

It was a cow. And it was mooing. The girl has at least that much of her barnyard education down. Now we need to discuss property lines. At least I got a nice walk up the hill to verify that the fences are exactly where I think they are and the cow was on it own side. Wonder when they got a cow up there?

The little two wanted to walk up and see the cow, and big sister told them it was gone, that we were going to eat it for dinner. Which led to a delightful musical outburst by the four year old. He makes up his own songs at random, just rarely enough that they always catch me off guard. One night on the way home, I had to pull off the road because I was laughing so hard I couldn't drive.

He made up another song at Safeway -- this one about turkeys, because a little boy in a cart we passed was holding a Beanie Baby turkey. I don't keep my kids occupied in the store by letting them carry around things we have no intention of buying. I think it's mean to the kid, and rude to the store. It's also mean to other mommies who finally got their son to stop singing loudly about turkeys and then walk past the spot where that other mommy dumped their stuffed turkey next to the cracker boxes!

We're home now and, although I don't think they've gotten any quieter, I'm the only one who can hear the insanity. Works for me!

I'm sorting out my sewing corner and making a list of my UFOs. Today, that mostly means I'm sitting and trying to remember them all. So far the list is at twenty-nine. Not bad, considering how many things I tend to start and set aside with intentions of coming back to them later.

I've decided to participate in Patchwork Penguin's UFO Challenge 2011. The idea is that you pick ten UFOs and number them. Each month, she draws a number and that's the project you try to finish.

My projects are pretty much chosen, unless I finish some before the first of the year, or dig up something else I'd rather work on instead. Before January 1, I'll post the list of projects on my sidebar so I won't be tempted to cheat.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I want to be warm

About ten years back, I got rid of my bulky purple bathrobe with the zipper down the front. The thing was super warm and the house rarely got cold enough to justify wearing it for long. I was sure it took up more space than it was worth.

Once we moved into our ninety year old farmhouse and I started to question my decision. If I still had that robe, I swear I'd wear it over my clothes all day long when the temperature drops. (The robe I have now belts at the waist and it's just not the same.)

You would think I could find a cheap replacement at a thrift store, but I can't even find the nasty velour ones. What I think I had was a fleece or sweatshirt robe and I just looked up new ones online and saw the prices -- yikes!

THIS is why I'm so hesitant when it comes to decluttering. Lots of times it turns out that you really do need it later.

My natural gas heat doesn't make feel this warm and cozy. Could be the combination of ninety year old farmhouse and aged furnace. Some spots get warm. Most don't. So we keep the heat down and pile on the quilts and once in a while I realize that my feet are numb because someone turned the heat off.

I can't imagine knitting all of that just so it could be unravelled later (watch the making of video - it's amazing) I can't even figure out HOW you'd knit tennis shoes that could be smoothly unravelled again.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

an envelope full of culture

Lier over at Ikat Bag gave away a little bit of culture, and I was lucky enough to win it.

These goodies actually came last Tuesday or Wednesday and the contents of the envelope quickly scattered through the house. There are gorgeous pictures of everything at the original giveaway post.

There were gummy bubbles (I was sure I'd had the same kind of bubbles when I was little, but either the ones I had weren't nearly as good, or my kids are way more capable of using them than I was.)...And an inflatable paper ball....And a little wooden top that spins and spins and spins...

I'm torn between taking the cute little food erasers out to play with them and keeping them in the cute packaging. Same with the building block pencils. These are going to have to live up in the sewing room with my grownup toys.

Alex has happily adopted the strawberry bag and paper ball.

The needles and seam ripper and pencil will be used soon, and I'm already trying to figure out the best use for that yummy batik.

Friday, November 26, 2010

A few days ago, I read this post about buyers-leavers remorse over at Pinksuedeshoe. It totally sums up how I feel about the sheets I left behind at the Salvation Army on Wednesday. I thought I was being good. I've got sheets. Lots and lots of sheets.

But in hindsight, those solid ones would've made perfect binding and backgrounds and sashing and I kind of wish I'd checked for stains to see if they were even worth buying. Now I'm crossing my fingers that they'll be there next week.

I was going to check today, but at midnight I convinced myself that I should stay home this morning instead of going out to shop before dawn. By the time I spent two hours driving and however many more hours in line, there was no way I could get everywhere I wanted to be and home by the the time I needed to be back. And when I started cutting down to what I could get done in the time I had, I decided not to even try.

I did get some great deals yesterday on the way to Thanksgiving dinner, toys my kids have been wanting for unbelievably dirt cheap. They would've got the same toys if I had to pay full price, but I paid half price and got twice as much for what I did pay.

Joann's had the Accuquilt Go! on sale this morning. I've totally convinced myself that I want one. Probably not need, but I definitely want....saw the sale flyer for Joann's and was very happy about the price....did some research earlier in the week and found out that the store only had two....listened to the little inner voice nagging at me that being first in line at Joann's might not be the safest plan and decided not to even try...

Then got a call from Mom that she'd gone in later this morning and had a Go! in the back of her Jeep for me in case I hadn't been able to get one myself. Neither of us realized that we could order one online -- or that if they sold out we could order one in the store. Guess I'm so used to those first come first serve doorbusters that I never thought to check further.

I've spent the afternoon searching for Go! reviews that I hadn't already read, and it really sounds like this will work for me. I'm anxious to get my hands on it.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I found it!

But as anxious as I was to find my camera cord, it wasn't enough to make up for the horrible morning I had.

At least I get to show off my pretty stack of folded shirt backs. I'm in love with this stack of fabric.

One of my big problems with shirts for quilting is that if one gets into the regular laundry I sometimes can't tell if it's one of mine, or a shirt my husband bought and only wore once or twice. Plaid shirts all kind of look alike.

In an effort to really truly keep things straight, I washed all of my new shirts and cut the backs off. Now there's no question that these are meant for quilts! I also cut off all of the buttons so I won't have to worry about separating them from the scraps later. Not sure why I bother, since my boys always seem to make off with them, but maybe I'll get this batch out to the sewing room first.

I thought I had lots of plans for these until I got a better look at the neutrals and realized how much I like them. That's when I froze and got scared to actually CUT them and make some decisions.

But now I think I've narrowed it down to Star Stuck, Smokey Mountain Stars, or Random Ohio Stars.

Friday, November 19, 2010


When I took the kids trick or treating downtown, I I got the times wrong, so we showed up a half hour early. The thrift store had huge signs that they were closing and everything was 75% off...

So while we were waiting for trick or treating to start, I cleared out a good chunk of her men's shirts for between nineteen and thirty-eight cents a piece. I thought I'd gushed about it here, but can't find the post so maybe I was too caught up in the Halloween whirl to actually manage to translate my giddiness into words.

Wednesday, Alex wanted to stop by the thrift store. I figured they were already closed and only drove down there to shut her up...

Bad, stupid, dumb Mommy! I really should listen to that girl more often.

Clothes (and shoes) were ten cents a piece. I got twenty or so shirts and three old wooden hangers with logos on them. Alex got three pairs of shoes and a pair of ice skates. She's eyeing the wedding dresses, but they're still more than I want to pay for a future craft project.

We went back today. Ten more pairs of shoes and a formal dress for Alex, and two huge bags of shirts for me. I didn't look at the boys and women's sections Wednesday, because they've got less fabric than the men's shirts. But for ten cents, I can deal with darts and shaping.

Counting the Halloween shirts, I think I've probably got seventy shirts here. And I was being picky. They're all 100% cotton (or close enough) and decent colors.

Tonight, I'm doing laundry. Loads and loads of laundry.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

47 to go

I totally lost my momentum this weekend when I got a call that the group I've been making the baby quilts for has stopped doing layettes for needy moms. I expected it to happen soon because the ladies in charge are both in fragile health, but wasn't ready for it to be right now.

Because my quilts aren't all 100% cotton, and most of them contain at least some repurposed fabric, they don't fit the guidelines for a lot of the groups that need baby quilts. And I'd rather donate locally so that my quilting budget is going for quilting, not postage. After making some calls on Monday, I think I've found a pregnancy center that can use some, so I've got my fingers crossed that they'll like the quilts I'm going to take in later this week.

The other group had me so spoiled. I got to make my own rules and knew that if anything ever wasn't up to their standards, it would go back to me and not into the trash. Out of thirtysome quilts, they used them all.

Once I stopped sulking, I quilted and bound the first three of my fifty quilts. They were all done and pin basted, so even if I didn't know where they were going, I might as well finish them, right?

Loading pictures onto the other computer is a huge hassle. I really need to find my cord, but playing with fabric is more fun and the cord is in the room where the fabric is. It'll turn up eventually. Probably about ten minutes after I break down and buy a replacement.

I've got stew simmering in the crock pot for dinner, school amost done for the day, and since I don't have to leave the house, I'm going to see if I can pinbaste the next three tops during nap time.

Friday, November 12, 2010

I can do this!

Not today, because I made the mistake of actually realizing how long it had been since my last bad migraine and promptly got a nasty one. Now that my Caffergot has kicked in, I'm moving slowly and carefully.

But, at some point, I'm going to be able to do those fifty baby quilts. I've been digging through my sewing corner today and already found more batting and potential backings than I thought I had. Enough for fifty? Who knows, but I'm sure I'll unearth more options as I work on using what I've got laid out now.

Matching up potential backings with tops I'm either working on or planning soon is fun -- more fun than making a top and then stressing about what to match it with.

I'm taking baby steps towards a more organized sewing corner -- and once I've got room to breathe in here, I can go out and tackle the actual sewing room. I'd love to be organized before it gets really cold out there.

And to find that camera cable....

Earlier this week, I was busy playing with 2 1/2" squares. Now I'm wondering if I should set more aside for my own projects.

Care at Obessively Stitching is saving little I Spy squares to make a quilt for her own bed. And she's framing them into adorable little blocks.

And look at the scrap quilt by the Curious Quilter here -- 2900 different fabrics. I did a little digging and found a post about how she made it.

Monday, November 08, 2010

giddy about plastic bags

I love Ziploc Big Bags for hauling batches of baby quilts up to the gal who does the layettes. And pretty much any other time I need to haul quilts around. They're sturdy and reusable and just seem to hold stacks of quilts better than the cloth grocery bags that were my other choice. And they're cheap enough to leave behind with the quilts.

One of my boxes of Ziploc Big Bags came with a sample of a smaller size, which was just the right size for batches of baby hats and booties. For months, I've been trying to track down more of them. I finally found some with adorable Halloween bats on them, but didn't get any because I wasn't sure how the church group that uses the quilts feel about Halloween decorations.

Because I was having such bad luck (and not desperate enough to order them online) I started looking for two gallons Ziplocs. No one has those either, except the Dollar Tree which sells an off brand. Which is fine. Baby hats don't need protection from leaks and freezer burn. We went back to the store for a second box of bags and couldn't find any, but we did find these --

I'm giddy about my cheap new plastic storage! When they're full, the bags sit on end so I can line them up and sort scraps by color. They smoosh down, so if they're almost empty, they won't take up a lot of space. And I can overflow into as many as I need for each color.

This post at Stash Manicure last month made me drool. I'm never ever going to have my fabric sorted like that -- or be able to afford all of the plastic it would take! -- but imagine the quilts you could make...

I've been sorting scraps and cutting them up for my controlled scrappy quilts. So far I've played with pink...

and blue...

and red is next on the list.

I've also been drooling over pretty stuff online.

Isn't this old yo yo quilt neat? I love the way the circles and colors conjure up river rocks. Not sure how it would feel since it's made of old stockings, but I sure like looking at it!

When I first saw it last week, I liked Judy Laquidara's Connect the Dots, almost enough to make one for myself. Now that I've seen Jo's scrappy version, I've got to make one.

This quilt makes me want to start another nine patch and snowball quilt today because I like the way the lights and darks in the nine patch blocks are opposite what I've already done.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

no pictures today

I still haven't found the camera cable. Probably because I'm not looking too hard. It's here in my little quilting corner, and I'll stumble across it eventually. Betcha I've looked right at it six or seven times today without seeing it, because that's what usually happens when I'm worried about finding something.

Instead of searching for the cable, I've been working towards my fifty quilts. One top is done, another is done except for a border to bring it up to size, and I've got plans for half a dozen more.

And today I'm feeling pretty good about my mom-as-teacher science skills. We saw a horror story online earlier this week about the McDonald's Happy Meals that won't rot -- and I know from experience with four kids and a mini van that there are all sorts of different foods that will petrify under a seat for scary lengths of time.

Stuff dries out. Dried food can stay that way for decades. The woman who taught the food preservation class I took years ago brought in dried fruits that were 15-20 years old as samples. Which we ate, although I'm pretty sure she didn't reveal their age until after that.

I've been guessing that a burger made at home would behave the same way as a McDonald's one and wishing someone had done a comparison. Thanks to my daughter's incredible skills at Google, we know that someone did. And Mommy was right, they are turning into burger jerky.

Now I'm annoyed with the science teachers who are supposedly using these petrified burgers as warnings. Either they don't know better (which they should), or they do and they're misleading their students.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

I should probably do it

The more I sort through my fabric, the more I think that maybe I should try Becky's 50 quilt challenge. What's stopping me?

I just finished a whole big batch of quilts from stash that wouldn't count towards the total.

I'm almost completely out of off-white thread for quilting the tops.

I'm getting low on batting. There's maybe enough for a dozen more baby quilts, without digging into the Warm and Natural I've got for family quilts. I'm sure I can do more than I think I can, but it definitely won't be all fifty.

I don't wanna not be able to buy scrap bags. And I've been really good at resisting temptation for the past few months.

But it would be really good for me. I know I can make a ton of baby quilts with the scraps I already have, and picking out fabric for fifty of them would either make a big dent in the piles or encourage me to sort through and organize what I've got. I ordered a bunch of thread this morning and I won't worry about the batting until I actually need it.

Doubt I'll make it all the way to fifty, but it'll be interesting to see how long I can last.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

maybe I shouldn't clean...

Because that's when I get myself into trouble. The camera cord still hasn't turned up, and I apparently also put away my bin of 2 1/2" squares. I need them both.

I got all ten of the baby quilts done by bedtime on day ten. The new printer has a card reader, so I can show them off.

Finish #7 is so pink it kind of scares me.

Finish # 8 is the quilt that started out as a sort of scrappy Bento Box and turned into something else. The top has been done for a few months, so it was just waiting for quilting and binding.

Finish #9 is another strippie. You can't tell in the picture, but the colorful little things in the focus fabric are crowns and the word "Princess."

And finish # 10 is an experiment based on a quilt I saw online a while back. (I somehow managed to bookmark the picture file, but not the blog itself, or I'd link to the original.)

Surprisingly, I'm not completely burnt out by this little bing -- which is why I need that little bin of squares.

Since I'm going to have to cut new squares anyway, I've decided to play with some controlled scrappy color schemes for the next batch of baby quilts. Hopefully while I'm pulling fabrics, I'll find the missing box of squares and the camera cable.

Looking at my piles of pink and green and brown, I'm thinking I might have suitable stuff to tackle Bonnie's new mystery.

My imagination was captured today by the pictures at My Shabby Streamside Studio. That loft bed is straight out of a fairytale. There's an article that talks about its creator and how her wonderful studio came to be here.

I'm also just a little tempted by the challenge Becky has set for herself, to finish fifty quilts from stash before buying anything new. It would dent my stash to do fifty baby quilts -- or at least force me to get more organized than I am now. But I'm not sure I can give up the hunt for scrap bags.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010


It's day ten and I just finished machine quilting the tenth quilt. Earlier today, I started a post about how Halloween wore me out and I didn't think I'd finish quilting those last two quilts tonight. But posting my goals online is a great motivator, so I worked up the enthusiasm to get the quilting done.

I'm hoping to post pictures tomorrow, once I've got the binding handstitched, but even though I know I picked up my camera cord when I was clearing off the table for dinner last night, I have absolutely no memory of where I set it down. So there won't be pictures of the four newest quilts until I stumble across it again.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

What are they?

You would not believe how many people thought they were Stormtroopers when we went trick or treating downtown Friday. I'm not even sure exactly what Stormtroopers look like, but I'm pretty sure they don't look like this!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Blogger's Quilt Festival - Grandma's Donuts

Scrappy antique quilts make my heart go pitty pat, especially the ones with circles. Until I started quilting myself, if I heard the word "quilt," my brain went instantly to great grandma's hand pieced double wedding rings.

One of my quilty weaknesses is old quilt magazines with vague patterns. No careful instructions and illustrations for each step, just a template and a brief bit of instruction to piece the circles and then applique them.

I bookmark hundreds of patterns, promising myself I'll make them someday. This would've been one of those probably-never-to-be-made patterns, except the wedge template looked so small I thought it'd be a great way to use up some strings that were a bit wider than I wanted.

Tracing and cutting the six hundred and forty wedges was not a quick and easy project. Neither was turning under the edges of the circles and pinning themselves into place before appliqueing them down. I thoroughly melted the no-melt mylar template I made to keep them round (and singed my fingertips) before deciding to just eyeball it.

If any of my quilts survive to wind up in an antique shop someday, I kinda hope this is one of them!

Amy's Creative Side - Blogger's Quilt Festival

Thursday, October 28, 2010

what I want

I really want to sew. I really don't really want to fight my machine. I definitely don't want to take the machine into the dealer for the third time in seven months.

I don't think I'm going to get what I want, at least not as far as my sewing machine is concerned. Other things, thank goodness, are going much more smoothly.

No quilting yesterday because we had a bunch to get done, but I did finish these two on Tuesday night.

It surprises me how much I love the first one, since it started out as an attempt to use up a couple of star fabrics from one of the scrap bags. Actually it started with the princess print, but that one isn't ready to show off yet.

I adjusted the measurements to make a smaller version of the Quick Strippie and added another star print I'd picked up at that guild sale last weekend. Alex told me the princess top needed some applique and since I had to cut up some yellow fabric for that, the star quilt got a moon. Which was so soft and wonderful I used the same yellow flannel for the binding.

Did I mention that I really like this little quilt?

Finish #6 is actually one of the first baby tops I made. The fabric I wanted to use as a backing was a couple of inches too small, so it sat forever, waiting for me to find some blue fabric and piece the back. I wound up using a different flannel print that was actually big enough.

Blogger's Quilt Festival starts tomorrow and I know exactly which quilt I want to gush about. Picked yours yet?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

don't tell my Janome!

I've been thinking of trying the ten baby quilts in ten days thing again -- and I'm actually on day three with four quilts finished already -- but the Janome seems to know that I'm trying to accomplish something and I have to wind four or five bobbins for every one that will give me decent tension. Not to mention that I've only got two spools of white thread left and all of this winding and rewinding and stopping and ripping is wasting a ton of thread.

I'm determined not to let me sewing machine dictate when I can and can't quilt, not when there are so many other things doing that already.

#3 is one of the tops that was left over from my last attempt at ten in ten days.

and #4 is a totally new quilt, made from some pre-cut squares I found in one of the scrap bags. I thought I had a big stack of little two inch squares, but they'd been carefully folded down and pressed into shape from these bigger ones. I still can't figure out what they were supposed to be, but they make a cute little quilt, especially backed with a blue and white flannel I got at a yard sale a few weeks back.

It's not the kind of quilt I usually make, but it'll do the job.

And I've got a start on a couple of new ones --

Monday, October 25, 2010

Oh, I don't know!

All week long, I've been composing posts in my head, then not having the chance to type them out before something else happens and I've got something else to blog about.

The local quilt guild (which I haven't managed to join yet because there's the noisy horde of boys to dump on someone first) had their yard sale on Saturday. I wanted desperately to go, but wasn't sure I'd be able to slip out of the house since it was my husband's day off, or even if it was worth trying to go.

I've read all about these great bargains quilters find at those sales, but it didn't make any sense. If there really was such cheap and wonderful fabric to be had, wouldn't it all be gone the second the first two quilters walked by?

Saturday morning dawned and no one seemed to have any plans, so I whispered to my sleeping husband that I was taking off with the kids and would be back soon.

It was so completely worth taking four kids with me. The oldest boy spent his money on scrap bags for his grandma's Christmas present. The two littlest boys asked if they could sit on a chair by the wall and stayed there while I browsed to my heart's content. And the girl found a bunch of old screw back earrings for twenty-five cents a pair.

There really was great stuff to be had --- I spent ten bucks and got a plastic grocery bag bulging with fabric (and nine pairs of vintage earrings for the girl.) And I think I might understand a bit better how that's possible. Most of what I was drooling over were older prints, and most of it wasn't "quilt shop quality," a phrase which grates on my nerves, but some other people seem to think is really really important.

Some of the fabric is for my current projects and some is for the baby quilts and some is just because it was red or blue and there are never enough red or blue scraps for all of the controlled scrappy quilts I want to make. If there'd been green and yellow, that would've come home with me too.

---- please pretend there's an intelligent sounding transition here ----

There haven't been any new baby quilts since I emptied the ladder a few weeks back and took them all to the group I make the quilts for. Until the last batch, I always kept a couple here at the house in case I had a sudden unexpected need for a baby quilt.

Should've known that as soon as I got rid of them all I'd need one! And then the power would go out so I couldn't get one done quickly enough.

I need a new batch of baby quilts. I'd hoped to finish fifty this year (once I convinced myself that a hundred was a ridiculous goal), but things happened....and the sewing machine broke...and I got frustrated and maybe a bit lazy....

It would only take eighteen more quilts by the end of the year to reach my goal...and some of the tops are already done, left over from my ten baby quilts in ten days attempt.

So yesterday I bound new baby quilts #1 and #2. And tonight I'm hoping to finish quilting and binding #3.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I'm getting tense

A few weeks back, I was consoling myself with promises of how much easier it'd be once I got the Janome back and it was working right. I'd be able to finish my big quilts and catch up on my goals for the baby quilts...

And now I'm having tension problems. Hopefully I can sort them out without sending the machine off for another couple of weeks.

What do you do when the machine starts acting up in the middle of a quilt? I know there are some glitches in Grandma's Donuts due to the stopping and ripping out bad patches and starting again. Just like there are problems with the baby quilt I was doing the last time the machine threw a tantrum.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Let's combine the impossibilities!

Pickle Dish is one of my favorite old quilt patterns. I started out loving Double Wedding Rings, but that was before I'd seen Pickle Dish, which has spikes and points and looks so much more challenging.

It's on my list of quilts to make when I develop the necessary set of skills. So is a clamshell quilt, although what I think what I'm going to need for that one is patience and faith. Both quilts are far in my future.

Then I saw Barbara Brackman's post about Clamshell Pickles, which combine two blocks I'm incapable of piecing but suddenly really desperately want. Check out the scrappy 30's quilt -- that's the one I need in my own life. There's a pattern, but I'm resisting temptation and not buying new things. And I've got enough trouble with the printer without asking it to print on fabric.

I'd already been tempted by the Pickle Dish QAL at Comfort Stitching. The little arcs are cut free hand, so I'm thinking I could use up some strings and little scraps.

Getting closer to reality, this post at Crazy Mom Quilts led me to Scrap Vomit, which is absolutely my next new project. I've been wanting to make a postage stamp quilt, but wanted some kind of neat pattern to go with it. This is my answer to that problem, now the next question is whether to use the 2 1/2" blocks the QAL calls for or the smaller ones, which were my original plan.

She says the original pattern that inspired hers called for 1 3/4" blocks. Not a size I use, so I'm debating between 1 1/2" and 2"...

Sunday, October 17, 2010


If things could just stop happening for a few minutes, I'd be a very happy lady. I expected to slip happily back into our normal routine after this last trip (yes, another one!)

Not a chance.

It has been one thing, after another, after another. And while none of the things are permanent or as horrible as they could have been, it's enough to keep me constantly on edge.

I was almost afraid to set a goal for last week, since I only had a day and a half to accomplish it in, but I did manage to get a baby top quilted and the binding almost done. Would've had it finished in time for my niece's Christening, but the power went out and I lost my window of opportunity. Not to mention the half cooked dinner I'd been anticipating all day long.

I also got Grandma's Donuts pin basted. This week's goal is to get it quilted. I'm not sure I'll be able to carve out enough time, since my plan is a very tight meander, but I'm going to give it my best shot.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Found it!

I do know where some of my stuff is! Despite my fears that I (or my sometimes over helpful teenager) might've moved it, that Bento Box backing was still exactly where I left it when I brought it home from Joann's last summer. Under a lot of other things that had been deposited in the sewing room since then, but at least I knew exactly where to look.

Now I've just got to find the 30s top and my copy of Scrap Basket Surprises. And I have no clue where either of those has gotten to.

For the past couple of months, I've been curling up in my corner of the couch and knitting baby hats. I started with some partial skeins from my own stash and a bag of partial skeins I picked up at the thrift store for seventy five cents and I've kept at it until most of the softest fuzziest stuff is gone.

Somewhere along the line it occurred to me that instead of whipping through two or three hats an evening, I should maybe work up a gauge swatch and cast on something just slightly more ambitious. So I brought a skein of pretty yarn in from the sewing room and started looking for a pattern.

There aren't a lot of choices for 95 yards of hand wash only worsted weight cotton/wool blend. I don't have an Ipod that needs a cozy, don't drink coffee from a cup that would need a cozy, and I don't want a cozy for my camera.... So I wound up making a pair of Easy Waffle Stitch Fingerless Gloves. I left out a couple of stockinette rows and only had about eighteen inches of yarn left when I finished the pair.

Please excuse the less than wonderful picture -- it's hard to get a good shot of your own hand!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

I am going to work on this. All of it. Soon.

Bit by bit, I'm working on my lists.

Five big tops need quilting. I'd like to have them all quilted by the end of the year, which I think works out to one every eighteen days. Do-able. At least until I add the other to-do lists.

There's the Irish Chain, which I had all pin basted before I veered off course.

There's Grandma's Donuts, which I should be able to get pin based once I settle on backing and batting and find some time.

There's the scrappy cat quilt, which needs the long arm and actual scheduling.

And then there are the two problem quilts.

The 30s repro top has been tucked away in a safe place since I finished it and decided that I hated it. Now that I've figured out how to finish the jagged edge, I think I'm ready to meander it. And even though I've looked, I can't figure out where that safe place was.

And there's my Bento Box, which has spent months folded neatly on my quilt ladder, waiting for me to work up the nerve to quilt it. I've finally got the nerve, and I'm hoping the backing is still where I remember leaving it.

I've got baby tops, five I think, that piled up while my Janome and shoulders were out of commission. And I've got a list of eight new baby tops I want to start.

The are three UFOs I'd like to make some progress on -- By the Lake, the scrappy one with 2" squares, and North Pacific. Either I'm forgetting several, or I've really been behaving myself when it comes to starting new quilts!

And I've got quilts I want to start. The green one for Quinn, which I'm thinking will be a Bargello. And a pink and green one for me that I've been collecting fabric for. The spiraly one from Scrap Basket Surprises. And Ric Rac Nines from Bonnie's new book.

I am going to work on this. All of it. Soon.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

this week's goals

The weekly goals are still working for me. I got the last of the Courthouse Steps binding sewn down Friday night, but only because I'd posted the goal here and really didn't want to admit that I'd been too lazy to actually do it.

Now my goal is to organize my projects and figure out what I was doing before things fell apart on me. It would be nice if I could actually find the projects, but I'm not making that part of the actual goal.

Among the definitely missing are my 30s quilt top, the backing for my Bento Box, a bag of green scraps, and my copy of Scrap Basket Surprises. Which have been missing since long before the whole car/Janome/knee catastrophe. I don't know what all I've manged to misplace over the past four months.

Thursday, September 30, 2010


The top is together and not a minute too soon! Now that it's more than a stack of uneven blocks, I have more faith that it'll all work out in the end. I've got a couple of backing fabrics to choose between, then it's on to the quilting. On my Janome, because there's no way I'm trying to square this up for the longarm. Thin batting because the top alone is heavy.

This is the type of quilt that makes my heart go pitty-pat. A single page of extremely vague instructions and lots and lots of scraps. I didn't cut more than eight wedges of any single print, so there are more than eighty different fabrics here.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

headed for disaster

My own personal train wreck is getting closer and closer.

These donut blocks are not square. Or the same size. They aren't flat either. I've known this for weeks, but now it's time to actually actually get it together and stippled to within an inch of its life.

My goal was to see if I could actually trace and cut 640 little wedges and get them together into a pretty utility quilt. I'm soooo close to pulling it off. I should've had the top together months ago. I'm tired of waiting.

Wish me luck!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

What sound does a unicorn make?

My littlest boy was drawing pictures this morning. He'd draw something, show it to me and either proudly tell me what it was or why it had gone wrong and that he needed another sheet of paper. When he got to the unicorn at the end of the rainbow, I asked him what sound unicorns make.

You know that Mom-is-so-stupid look that your children will give you when you ask them something obvious?

"Unicorns go BING when they're fighting with their spiky things."

Silly me, I thought unicorns probably sounded something like horses.

I'm obviously not the creative one around here anymore. It's starting to scare me just a little.

By the skin of my teeth, I managed to accomplish my goal for the week and get the last of the Grandma's Donuts blocks appliqued. I could've had them done much earlier, but I'm still spending my free time curled up in the corner of the couch knitting hats and booties. The only reason I got them finished at all was so that I post that I met my goal instead of posting that I'd spent the week avoiding it.

Next week's goal is to get the blocks squared and assembled into a top. And to get the binding for my courthouse steps quilt sewn down.

Friday, September 24, 2010

I'm jealous!

Today was one of those days that you know well in advance is going to be a total mess. Two doctor's appointments, four hours apart and in two different cities, with four kids in tow. Under the best of circumstances, I dread the doctor's office. Too many bad things tend to happen there, especially when I'm not expecting them.

Because we were going to be out and about anyway, I checked Yardsale Treasure Map for fabric and yarn. I'm always intrigued by the ads that start "Estate of ---- " Is that a new thing, or just something they do down here? Is it advertised that way so that someone who's always envied her china or furniture can swoop in and buy it now that she's dead?

Edna G's estate was a treasure trove and they were trying to sell absolutely everything. I thought I'd seen it all, but today was the first time I've seen home canned peaches and other unidentifiable fruit priced for sale.

My first thought was "Who would be crazy enough to buy food preserved by a complete stranger at some unknown date?" But then I decided that it was soooo cheap and those peaches were so pretty I could see someone buying it to use as decoration on a kitchen shelf.

I bought myself a three dollar apron --

Who could leave those smiling flowers behind? And it's cut wide enough to actually fit me well!

I also found a fantastic overnight bag for a buck.

I've got a strong feeling that my father's mother had one just like it. Now I'm wondering if she actually did have one that I saw as a child, or it's just from her time period.

I also brought home some vintage sheets and slips for a dollar each and I'm sure I walked past quite a few other things that I should've picked up, but that house was soooo crowded with people who had no intention of letting anyone slip past them into other rooms.

I thought I'd done well, until Mom called to see if by any chance I was anywhere near Bend. Because Joann's is going out of business (they've got a new location across town) and all of their Keepsake Calico and quilting fabric was 90% off of already reduced prices.

I'm SO jealous! Not that I don't have fabric of my own, but sixty cents a yard for brand new fabric right off the bolt?! If I didn't have a husband to explain things to, we would've been in the car driving the hundred plus miles to see what was left.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Do you keep spares?

Just in case you haven't tried it yourself, throwing your rotary cutter against the table so hard it ricochets up and across the room will not make the damn thing work any better.

I've got a bit of time to sew, I've got my machine back and working properly, I actually brought new blades for the rotary cutter home with me, and now the cutter won't stay together. And I can't find the other one and I really don't want to use the itty bitty one.

Is there some nasty evil conspiracy to keep me from quilting? I'm not quite desperate enough to drive thirty miles round trip in hopes that Walmart sells them, but it does make me miss living within five miles of Joann's and Hancocks and Michaels and Craft Warehouse and two yarn shops. That's absolutely the only thing I could possibly miss about the old place!

Because everything is so far away, I try to make sure I've always got pins and batting and extra machine needles and thread. And I almost bought another rotary cutter a couple of months back because it was on sale and had pretty vines on the handle. But I convinced myself that I didn't need it.

Stupid no-buy!

Do you make sure to always keep certain notions and supplies in the house?

Because my sewing has gone by the wayside lately, I'm setting a weekly challenge for myself. Nothing as ambitious as the ten baby quilts in ten days plan, just reasonable goals to finish (or start) things I haven't been getting to.

Last week's goal, which I never got around to posting about, was to see how many hats and booties I could knit from my yarn bag by the couch. I haven't counted yet, but I got quite a few done before a headache laid me low for two days.

This week, the plan is to get the last twenty-nine Grandma's Donuts blocks appliqued. I'd like to get the top assembled, but squaring up the blocks is going to require a decent rotary cutter.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Last year, when I was waiting for our homeschool curriculum to arrive in the mail, all that was delivered was a paper label with my address on it. The books themselves never did show up, but we finally got a refund (thanks to ebay's resolution center) and found another set to buy a couple of months later.

The year before that, we splurged on new books direct from the publisher. Which Fed Ex couldn't quite manage to deliver, so I had to drive a hundred miles round trip to pick them up from Fed Ex myself.

This year's package was sent insured and with tracking and I've been obsessively checking the USPS site to because I'm getting a bit paranoid about this whole thing. Yarn....fabric... nothing else I order through the mail goes missing. Just our schoolbooks.

I shouldn't have been at all surprised when I checked the tracking page and saw that that this year's books were delivered to the post office box we closed three months ago. (But I would like to know how that happened when I changed my address with paypal and ebay before even bidding on the items.) After a frantic call to the old post office, we were in the car and on the way to get our books.

They would've saved them until our regular errand day, or forwarded them down here for another twenty dollar charge, but I wasn't giving that box any chances to go farther astray than it already had.

Now they're safely in my living room and I can breathe again. Alex has sorted through them, read the descriptions, and decided that this is the best core so far. I haven't even looked except for making sure that they're in decent enough shape.

The cute little bookmarks are at the top of the post are free printables from Wild Olive, available here and here. Because who can resist smiling bacon or a smiling pickle? I didn't have any magnetic tape (and this whole working-from-my-stash thing keeps me from buying any), so I cut them out and ran them through the laminator I got at Costco a few weeks ago. The boys love them, so I think I'm going to need to make a second batch of these!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

things that make my heart go pitty-pat

Someday, I would love to tackle the applique patterns at Bee in my Bonnet. I just need to learn to do better applique and save my pennies. And make up my mind which of her patterns I love the most. I thought I had the decision down to either Grandma's Kitchen or Woman's Work, but now she's got a new one, Paper Dolls, that I might love just as much --

Aren't all of those little details fantastic? The mixer...and the suitcase...and the marshmallow roasting stick...and the umbrella...

To celebrate the release of the pattern, she's having a giveaway. Which I've entered, because I really would love to have one of those patterns, even if it's just to look at and dream about until I'm ready to actually tackle it.

More realistically (slightly), I'd like to find some small pumpkins and paint houses on them to do something like this for our fireplace mantel. Because if I had a tall skinny bookshelf it would be too full of schoolbooks to make the tree.

And I'd like to get a Skillbuilder Quilt Panel like the one that Angie at Timber Hill Threads just finished. I almost bought one last summer, but the shop only had one left and my mother got to it first.

Now that I'm actually doing more machine quilting, I think I could learn a lot from one of those. Or something like it. I know there's a sampler pattern in one of the quilting books I keep checking out from the library.

There's a great post over on Indietutes about doing it all at once, five minutes at a time. That's exactly how I need to be doing things this week.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

I Hate Math

Can't say it within earshot of my kids, so I'm gonna say it here. I hate math!

Not so much that I won't draft a quilt block or calculate how to change a sweater pattern enough to match whatever gauge I'm getting, but teaching my four kids may be the end of me. Especially when the only answers to "When am I going to need this?" are "To pass a standardized test" or "When you're homeschooling your own kids and teaching them so they can pass a standardized test."

The back-to-school thing has hit me like a ton of bricks this year. Usually, we do school all year and, except for great sales on paper and crayons, September isn't anything special. But with my knee and the related chaos, we took the summer off this year -- and then didn't even get to enjoy the long vacation.

I will not do that again.

I've almost, but not quite, convinced myself that getting the two older kids through their schoolwork every day counts as enough of an accomplishment and I don't need to feel any not-quilting guilt.

But I really want to sit down at the sewing machine. Just as soon as my headache fades a little more and I get a few more minutes of sleep.

This quilt, which we saw at an Oregon Trail information center on the way back from the trip, has me all inspired --

Part of me wants to make a big reproduction to snuggle up in, and part of me wants to use those hollow sawtooth stars to make another scrappy little sawtooth chain.

And part of me wants to start another Bullseye quilt because I can't have this one --

I don't buy a lot of quilts, because I always convince myself that it's like buying a puzzle someone else has already finished and then sealed with that protective glue stuff. I'd rather buy the fabric and have the fun myself.

But this quilt screamed at me to snuggle up in it. I think I might've wrapped it around my shoulders for just a moment even though Grandma had bought it in a box at the auction and I wasn't sure where it had been. The backing was a soft yellow floral, and the quilting was this fantastic micro-stipple with a spiral inside the circles... The only thing I would've done differently was to leave off those borders. I don't do borders.

Grandma wasn't home (but I had specific permission to go dig out those quilts and take a look while Bill and the kids were visiting Grandpa), so I didn't get a chance to ask her what she planned to do with the quilt until after our trip.

And by then Mom had seen it and now it's Mom's quilt.

It's not like I can't make my own. Or like I hadn't already actually started my own two years ago. Wonder what the odds of finding those blocks are...

Probably better to start a new one. And I've even found a pattern.

Monday, September 06, 2010

and I still haven't quilted

The sewing machine is back in its spot, the table is clear except for a stack of school books at the far end, most of the things on my to-do list that could be done today are done....

And I'm not quilting because I'm suddenly annoyed by the mess that piled up while my sewing machine was gone. And in the two months before that when I wasn't sewing.

The big mystery is why I'm suddenly so unable to work in my usual clutter. I blame the cold I've been fighting and lingering exhaustion from the trip. Seriously, how many full nights of sleep does it take to catch up?

I did try out the machine for a few minutes yesterday, just long enough to verify that I could've quilted something real today. I did some of the practice work from the Free Motion Quilt Along. And then tried one of the loopy flowers from Oh Fransson that I found and fell in love with while the machine was gone.

I did get all of my baby hat yarn together in the pomegranate bag I finally bought with the groceries after months of wanting one. Two new little projects are cast on so I won't have to count before I knit, and the three patterns I'm using are laminated on one big sheet so maybe they'll be a bit harder to lose.

On the way home from the trip, we stopped at a junk store to window shop and stretch our legs. Before we even got out of the car, DH pointed out that we didn't have room in the car to bring anything home. Not a problem, since we rarely buy anything at those places anyway.

But then he found me a sewing machine, an old singer with a neat case and fancy decals buried under a heavy layer of dirt. I couldn't tell how much TLC it would take to get it sewing again, but now I'm thinking maybe I shouldn't have resisted so hard. He's never bought me a sewing machine before.

He did buy me this thing, which I found and fell in love with.

The original price tag on the bottom confirms that it's definitely not old, but I like the way it looks and think it'll be good for stuffing notions into. One drawer is already stuffed with my new stash of rick rack and another is crammed tight with the fifty-one zippers I brought home from a yard sale before the trip.

The woman seemed absolutely shocked that I wanted all of them, but at five for a quarter, I wasn't going to stand there and carefully pick and choose. She didn't want to count them either, so I got all fifty-one for two dollars.

Will I ever use them all? Maybe, maybe not. I've wanted zippers for some of my bags but been too cheap to buy them. Odds are good that something in this tangle will work for the next project that screams "I need a zipper!" Unless I really want to invest in the perfect length and color.


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