Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A New Look

I'm playing around with a new look for the new year. I'm sort of a slow learner when doing stuff like this, so I hope you bear with me.

Not only did I have to replay a 4-minute video tutorial about 7 times, I had to decide on a picture to use in the header. Decisions, decisions! Here are a few I considered.

A Great Granny Square from August 2012.

9-Patch Criss-Cross from July 2012.
Jacob's Ladder from October 2012.
A you can see, however, I opted for the more recent triangle quilt I worked on at the 2013 Quilt Camp in June. I just love how it turned out, and looking at it again makes me think I might need to see about quilting it!

Well, for the time being, anyway, I've got a new look. Have no fear, though, the content will still be a running commentary of the projects being produced out of my quilting room!

Happy New Year's Eve, Friends!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas, Quilting Friends!

From my humble home to yours, I am sending the happiest Christmas Greetings to you and yours!

In keeping with my love of all things Peanuts, I will use an image from one of my favorite Charlie Brown specials.

Merry Christmas, Friends!

Monday, December 23, 2013

A Gift is Given

One day last week, my brother's company had its Christmas party, and the quilt I made for him was given to the intended recipient. From the looks of the smiles, I would say that Lisa, the woman on the receiving end of this quilt, is one very happy quilt owner!

This picture shows my brother Mark with his boss, Lisa. Mark told me that she was really surprised by the gift and was very appreciative. She even has a use for it! Apparently the blanket she uses when she works in her home office is quite the tattered thing, so this will be put to immediate use keeping tootsies warm. Don't we quilters love to hear about a quilt being used? I was happy to hear that she would be using it. I told Mark to tell her to wash it, as it will get softer and cuddlier the more it's washed. It's made of t-shirts after all!

I am happy to have been a part of this gift-giving opportunity. It was fun quilt to work on and I enjoyed trying to imagine how the recipient would like it. I am glad she was pleased.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


I'm back! And my back is better! I'm 9 days post-op, and summing things up, I'd say I am feeling pretty darn good.

Surgery was last Monday, and on Thursday afternoon I was discharged from the hospital to a step-down rehab facility here in our town. I came out of there on Monday evening, and now have 2 days of being at home. Gosh, it feels good to be in one's own bed, using one's own shower and puttering around one's own domain.

My incision is a thing of beauty, to hear all the nurses talk. I did have some concern about pain in my left leg (the good one!) and that took us through several hours of seeing about blood clots. Tests came back negative, thankfully, and I guess the pain is just a part of the recovery process. I have great help here at home with DH, DS and DD2 when they are around. Very grateful for everyone's willingness to assist. Friends have brought food and goodies, so the family is taken care of for meals.

As far as sewing goes, I've made some goals for the new year, and did minimal stitching on some Christmas projects I put together the last minute before surgery--just in case!

I am not ready to get back to posting regularly, but I figured I owed you faithful readers an update, at least!

I will get back in the swing of quilting and sewing, as my recovery progresses. Stay tuned!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Monday, December 9, 2013

A Surgical Procedure

I will fill you in today on one of the main reasons I have been so scattered and unfocused on projects for the last 3 months. It's not been so much because of my teaching at OUC, as I've led you to believe. The more correct reason is sciatic pain which has returned with a vengeance. I've been nearly beside myself over it, and it's certainly prevented me from being as productive as I wanted to be.

I am writing this on Saturday to be scheduled for Monday, and as you read this, my Posterior Lumbar Fusion surgery will be (hopefully) underway. I scheduled it about 6 weeks ago, to coincide with the end of the university semester. I gave my exams a day early, and I am finalizing grades this weekend. I report to the hospital at 6:15am on Monday (today). After a 3-day hospital stay, I will recover for a month (becoming stronger and more mobile each day, I expect), and then I will be back to focusing on quilting!

Mentally, I am so ready for this surgery. Having sciatic pain is excruciating, and limits so much what a person can do. My DH and I were walking quite regularly all summer and into fall, but around the first of October, I was just not able to do it anymore. In hindsight, this was approximately a month after the semester had begun, and my book bag was getting heavier and heavier. I honestly think that is what triggered the increase in pain. Anyway, I realized that if I ever hope to be able to do all the things I want to do,  surgery is the only option. I don't want to settle for sitting on the sidelines and limiting my activities. For goodness sake, this next May, I want to wear heels and dance at my daughter's wedding! I want to feel good again!

Taken from a Yahoo! search.

You may not have thought you would have a biology lesson today: think again!! *wink*

The above picture shows a healthy spine; the particular region of trouble for me is L4 and L5. Arthritis has caused L4 to shift forward, which results in a pinched nerve. Here is a picture of what that looks like.

Taken from a Yahoo! search.

I first noticed sciatic pain in the spring of 2012, so this has been ongoing for awhile. It was bearable, mostly, and I took aspirin or Ibuprofen when needed. I doctored last winter (right about this same time, actually) and in January of 2013, had steroid shots which gave great, albeit temporary relief. By July, I needed another round of shots (they come in a series of 3), and that wore off by early October. Since then, I've managed the pain with heavy doses of Aleve, which has been incredibly successful. I've also stopped lifting. My reclining chair has been where I can be most comfortable. That pretty much is an abbreviated story of my arriving at this point.

Taken from a Yahoo! search.
Back to the biology lesson. The surgeon will remove the arthritis in the L4-L5 region and then insert a rod and screws to hold L4 where it's supposed to be. Over time, my bones will graft. In my reading, I've learned that often a "cage" is inserted. I do not recall my surgeon including this in the description of what he would be doing, but maybe he will. The cage, to the best of my understanding, serves as a disc.

I hope to be home on Wednesday, and I will update my recovery as soon as my meds will allow. I won't try posting if I'm loopy, in other words! Ha! How will we know?? *wink*

I am already beginning to plan out my projects for 2014. I've also begun reviewing my progress on the 2013 goals, which I can tell you are quite pathetic.

You all have to pick up the slack! I won't be quilting or sewing for a few days, so do a little extra for me, okay?

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Back and Forth

Just look at my quilting work over the past few months and surely you would put my picture in the dictionary beside the term "unfocused." I vacillate from project to project, consequently letting quick and easy projects drag on and on.

Case in point: I began sewing the blocks for Tapestry on Veterans' Day. I found myself needing to make more, so I just now got back to it this week. This is just crazy because these are the easiest blocks in the world to make. They also make nice big blocks, so I didn't need tons of them for a finish!

Now in my defense, knowing I needed to finish the t-shirt quilt for my brother took precedence, of course. Then those fun 9-patches were an easy go-to when I didn't want to hide myself away upstairs in the sewing room.

Back to Tapestry. Here are all the blocks laid out on the guest bed in a photo taken with my cellphone. (Why do they always look so fuzzy?) As I study this, I think I need to do some rearranging. See what you think.

My eye sees too much light and not enough dark. The upper left corner blocks have the darker look that I want. I need to make some selective rearrangingto see if I can get the look I want. Goodness, what if I have to go back to the LQS (local quilt shop) to buy more fabric?? *grin* I have no problem at all with making more blocks of darker fabric combinations. Decisions, decisions.

I can't really get busy on any of this until after I finish my semester grading. The deadline approaches. Once grading is off my radar, perhaps I will be able to focus more successfully.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

It's Game Day!

Tonight my Ohio State Buckeyes take to the field to try to capture their 14th win this season and their 25th win in a row. Their opponent is Michigan State, and this win will secure the Big 10 Championship. Of course, everyone here is pumped for an awesome win. That close game last week was a nail-biter; I hope tonight's game is less nerve-wracking.

Hand piecing will be on the agenda. Ham and cheese sliders will be on the menu. I've made them every Saturday since the season began, so I figure I won't break with what's worked so far. They are tasty, so no one minds. Surely, someone will have this quilt draped over them.

This is from a couple of years ago; DH is napping in front of the fire.

Go Bucks!!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Getting Enough

Can a quilter ever get enough 9-patches? I finally got to the point that I thought maybe it was time to lay my little collection out on the bed to see what I had. I knew I had 40 blocks, but how that would look on a bed, well, I just couldn't say.

I have spread all the blocks on the bedspread (satiny wine-color) and 40 blocks are just a bit too few for this queen-size bed. I would add perhaps a dozen more blocks.

The next decision is what to do for setting squares. Options I am considering:
        1. plain block - color undetermined (as in all options, for that matter!)
        2. HST block with lights and darks forming diagonal rows across the quilt
        3.Quarter-square triangle block plus a plain block - this would be similar to a quilt I made earlier this year. Click to read about it.
        4. Just quarter-square triangles blocks. I'm thinking this will result in making a secondary star design.
        5. More 9-patches in the reverse of these; instead of 4 lights and 5 darks, I would do 4 darks and 5 lights. Then when they all go together the quilt will look like a very busy checkerboard.

I'd best get busy!
Happy Quilting, Friends!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Linda's Project

Since I don't have anything of my own to share at the moment, I will take this opportunity to share a project that my friend Linda recently told me about. It sounds exactly like the kind of project a quilter would undertake, and is further evidence that quilters do some very cool things through their craft.

Are the colors in this table runner scrumptious, or what?? I think you will like the story that goes with this. Here is an explanation from Linda's email, which she sent me a couple of weeks ago.

"I worked on this in Florida -  it is a table runner made out of my mom's curtains.  My mom was an incredible seamstress- precise and meticulous about her work.  The back of this was taken from a section of fabric that she had matched perfectly the pattern.  I am making 4 of these - one for each daughter .  This is pattern is called "Paulina" -  a Waverly fabric that is probably over 30 years old.  She made 2 sets of curtains to fit 2 huge bay windows & lined all!  All the finish work was done by hand. It is my tribute to her!"

Waverly fabric must be some amazing stuff! Those colors don't look faded at all for being over 30 years old! I think Linda's sisters are going to love this gift; I know I sure would! What a wonderful tribute to their mother.

Here is the back of the table runner, the part with the perfectly matched pattern. I sure can't see it, can you?

Thanks, Linda, for filling in for me today!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Monday, December 2, 2013


And I think he was truly a satisfied customer!

The t-shirt quilt made for my brother to give to his boss is finished and I am glad. It's a good feeling to finish a project and see it go into the hands of someone who truly appreciates it, and Mark was very appreciative.

This is my 6'6" brother Mark holding up the quilt and peeking over the top. His long arms are outstretched, so you can see the full quilt. I stitched about half the binding while watching the Buckeyes beat Michigan Saturday afternoon, and finished the remainder while at my family's Thanksgiving feast yesterday. It prevented me from going back for seconds! I didn't even get dessert! Smart move, on my part.

This is brother Mark and sister Carol. They are the youngest of my siblings. Mark is the father of those adorable little twin girls. Carol has 2 boys, a junior and senior in high school.

Here is my daughter Emma with the aforementioned twins. Emma was the youngest grandchild in the family until the twins happened along. That would be a 15-year age difference. Emma is 21 and the twins are 6. They are ready for the feast!

Hope your Thanksgiving holiday was filled with family and making memories. Ours sure was! Now on to Christmas!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving Greetings!

From our house to yours, I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. This little family has a 7-lb. turkey breast going into the oven soon, and we will trim out the meal with many of the standards: mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, rolls, pumpkin pie. We might have some other stuff, too, but not too much.

This Thanksgiving finds our older daughter celebrating with her soon-to-be in-laws in Findlay. Our son and younger daughter are here for our small feast. The big family shin-dig will be Sunday at my sister's. For my husband's side, we will make a short visit to his dad's tomorrow.

No holiday is complete without the Peanuts gang, and the Thanksgiving special airs tonight at 8pm. I have the dvr set!

Have a Blessed Day!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

It's Quilted!

Again, I must give credit for my wonderful friend Terry. She not only hosts us for frequent sewing days, but she also is dabbling in quilting for others. I've had her do several for me, and she just finished the t-shirt quilt I was working on last week. She's FAST! I assured her there was no rush, but by gosh, she finished it up in record time!

Thanksgiving-thanks for my quilting friend! *hugging*

Let's take a look at it, shall we? I've sure put my time in on this rascal. I am glad to be getting it finished!

I think it turned out great. The fuchsia and teal show up in these photos, so you can see what I was trying to describe in the last post.

I have zoomed in on the troublesome panel of small patches in the picture above. If I were to do it over, I would add a small strip under the row of 4 and not have them sitting directly on the setting strips. And that was what I did, actually, but I miscalculated. I ended up with a too-big panel. Taking off that little bit made it the correct size, so that is what I did. *smh*

I pieced the back with big pieces of the setting strip fabric and the cornerstone fabric. I love it! I hope the recipient likes it, too.

My plan is to make and attach the binding today, and then spend some time this holiday weekend stitching it down. I will see my brother on Sunday, at which time I hope to hand it off to him. I will request pictures of the recipient and quilt when it's given to her.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Sewing With The Girlfriends

On Friday, dear Terry had a couple of us over for a day of sewing. I tell you, if it weren't for my friends hosting these sewing days, I doubt I'd get very much done! I have been working on a t-shirt quilt that will be for my brother to give to his boss. It has been a bit of a challenge because I had to do some extra math --always a challenge-- but I did finally get the top together. I left it and a prepared backing with Terry and she will quilt it when she can.

The photo above is from a couple of weeks ago. I had the blocks laid out on the guest bed (you can see the blue Irish-chain quilt underneath). I direct your attention to the center of the top row. Because I didn't have enough big blocks to make a true 4x4 quilt, I used the small designs from several t-shirts and made a single panel. This panel gave me so much grief as far as math is concerned. Let's just say I did a fair amount of "un-sewing" on this panel.

The sashing strips are dark teal, and the cornerstones are deep fuchsia -- these are the company colors. I wish I'd taken a picture of the finished top, but I was just in such a hurry. So I promise I will take a shot when I get it back from Terry. I will have to attach and tack down the binding, and then hand it off to little brother, Mark.

Terry, poor dear, worked so hard on her project only to make a rather disheartening mistake. She quit after that. And I mean she quit. Period. Done. She chucked the whole thing.

This is Terry's workspace; she has her system all laid out. Can you tell from the pattern and the blocks that this is a quilt with teeny-tiny little pieces?? It would drive me nuts. She is so good about these sorts of projects though, and she was just zipping right along.

Then she saw her mistake. Can you?

Here. I've zoomed in on one pile. The newly attached strip when folded out, will result in two little black blocks side by side. That's not the way it's supposed to be, unfortunately. Also, unfortunately, she attached this unit to a lot of blocks. Ugh. I can feel her disgust, can't you? It happens, and when it does, it sort of takes the wind right out of a quilter's sails, doesn't it?

 JoAnn was having better luck than Terry. She had two projects and completed them both. First, she was using some FREE fabric that was given away at her quilt guild to make some pillow covers. Here's one; she made two.

JoAnn says these colors will work perfectly for some fall color in her family room. Nice, huh?

She is also getting ready for Christmas by making some mantle scarves for her many fireplaces. The one in her family room is 6-feet long. That seems ginormous to me.

We've stretched it out along our worktables. The fabric is striped with festive red and green stripes along with Santa and snow. She fussy cut two rows and attached them to make the full length. The green is what will lay flat on the mantle and will likely be covered with assorted decorations or garlands.

During the early afternoon we tuned the television to coverage of the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy's assassination. Services were held in Dallas, with frequent cuts to people gathered at Arlington in Washington D.C. It was chilling to watch, and even though I was very young when he was killed, I do have snippets of memories of it.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Starting Tapestry

On Veteran's Day, when we all sewed at Sherrie's, I worked on Tapestry. I will have to go back and see how long it's been since I decided to make this quilt. I know I have written about it here, so I just need to take the time to do it.

My apologies for the wonky, out-of-focus picture. I found it in my photo files dated February of this year. This is the sample made up in Old Town Fabrics in Chillicothe. Dear Kelly showed it to me, and I was smitten from the start. My kids got me gift certificates for Mother's Day, so sometime after mid-May, I used them for purchasing this fabric and pattern.

Anyway, I had it all ready: cut out and diagonal lines drawn. I'd matched up pairs and was ready to start making half-square triangles as the sewing began on November 11.

Another wonky picture! I am posting quickly, and didn't take time to photo edit like I normally would. Hold you head to the right and you will see it correctly. (Lame!)

I need 36 of these blocks, and as of last evening at around 8, I had 32 of them constructed. I would have continued with the last 4, but the Buckeyes (basketball) were on, so I needed to get downstairs to the game!

I will continue with the updates  - promise!

Today in my 3 composition classes, argument essays are due. I will have little time for sewing! There will be much grading, instead!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Hand Piecing

I believe I have confessed in earlier posts that I do love to hand piece. Over the years I've completed maybe 3 large quilt-tops the 'old-fashioned way.' With the speed and accuracy of our new-fangled gadgets, very few quilters are willing to take the time to piece by hand. I find that it is perfect for evenings when watching TV, or when traveling. When the kids were younger, I took hand-piecing projects to track meets, and to work on in the car when waiting on them after play practice or whatever.

On one trip to Europe, I packed a zip-lock freezer bag with circles, needle, thread and clippers to make yo-yos. That was fun.

So, I do enjoy handwork.

Over the past several sessions I've had with my girlfriends in the Frankfort group, I've had my little box of 2.5" squares. Originally, I was strict about making 9-patches. After a time, though, I ran out of enough matching fabrics to get a decent 9-patch, so I switched off and began making scrappy 16-patch blocks. Here are some of my recent blocks.

I know you are wondering what I am going to do with them, and I don't rightly know at this point. I had given some thought to adding flying geese points to these blocks, thus making them the centers of stars. I still might do that. But, honestly, I don't really know. I will just make more, and let ideas percolate for awhile. I think we all do that, don't we?

Here are 2 recent 9-patches. They are such fun to make and go together so fast. I will definitely be making more. I don't yet have enough made for a good-sized quilt top, so I'll keep stitching!

Teaching at OU-C has seriously cut into my quilting and sewing time, so while these little blocks don't seem like such a big deal, they are about all I can accomplish with the limited time I've got. Now, I do have a couple of large quilts going, too, but I haven't been able to touch them this week at all. I had hoped that one would be ready for the long-arm by now. The other I think I will share with you -- tomorrow!!

Happy Quilting, Friends!