Friday, July 31, 2015

Ohio's North Shore

We are back from our quick 2-day trip to Lake Erie, where we saw the sights of Port Clinton, Catawba, Marblehead, Put-In-Bay Island, and Kelley's Island. What a beautiful area of the great state of Ohio - one that I was not familiar with at all being a southern Ohio girl; I have had little opportunity to visit or sight-see in that area.

From the ferry taking us across Lake Erie to Put-In-Bay.

Put-In-Bay's downtown park with Lake Erie in the distance.

Monument honoring Cmdr. Perry on PIB Island.
View from Marblehead of Lake Erie.
Marblehead Lighthouse, world's oldest in continuous use.
Marblehead Lighthouse Museum; closed at the time; but I'd like to visit again.
The main attraction on Kelley's Island is this impressive limestone formation.

Glacial Grooves are formed in the limestone; the area is cared for by ODNR.
We had a leisurely, relaxing couple of days away. Much needed after preparing for the Fraternity Bash. We are glad to have had the chance for a little getaway, and also very glad to be back home.

More on my stitching tomorrow!
Happy Quilting, Friends!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Round Up of Recent Activities

While DH and I are on our little getaway, I thought I would just do a quick pictorial of some of our recent activities around the homestead. Nothing much quilting related, at all, in other words.

We hit up the local garden center for some color to add to our yard. Most of this is perennial, so we are filling in for gaps when things aren't in bloom. We got it all planted in a day, and the gardens looked great for the fraternity reunion.

We "cat-sat" for our DD and her hubby. They were going out of town for a long weekend, so we had Rocky. He just loves being at our house because there is so much more room to roam than what they have in their one-bedroom apartment. He likes to sit on this spot because it affords him views of several areas. Isn't he a pretty guy?

Several of the fraternity guys camped in our woods. We served a hearty breakfast the next morning; sent them off with scrambled eggs and bacon in their tummies.

Here are the guys - both alumni and active members. All totaled up, we had about 50 here on Saturday. Several guys brought their wives/girlfriends. We had perfect weather, too.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Hexie Prep Work

We had our big fraternity bash over the weekend and have been recovering ever since. Thus the absence from posting here. Besides the fact that we have been extremely busy with  reunion festivities, I haven't had any time for significant sewing, let alone time to blog. But things look to settle down here in the coming week, so maybe I can get my quilty creativity going again.

To fully wind down after the big reunion, DH and I are leaving for a short drive to northern Ohio where we hope to take in sights and attractions at Lake Erie, Put-In-Bay, and Kelly's Island. To keep my hands occupied, I prepped these sweet little hexies yesterday.

I took a page right out of my friend Jan's playbook - run copies of paper with the outline of the hexie drawn on, then put down double-sided tape and attach the parts in the desired design. Now they are portable and accessible.

That POTC block I did a week or so ago still needed to have an outer row, so I made 8 light neutral hexies to attach to it. I am going to try to get those done, too.

I must be off! Still a bit to do here before we hit the road!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Work Shirt Quilts

I'm a dawdler. I have an uncanny knack for turning some of the simplest, most straightforward tasks into long, drawn-out projects. Case in point, the two quilts I've been working on for my high school friend using her husband's work shirts. I picked the shirts up in June - probably around the 10th or 15th. I worked on the Brick Path quilt at Quilt Camp during the last week of June. I have taken nearly an entire month to finally finish the second quilt, Rail Fence.

Here, I have both quilts draped over the little bench out on the front sidewalk. Both have been enjoyable to work on; my own dear dad was a farmer and I have thought a lot about him as I worked to turn these shirts into quilts.

This Rail Fence quilt, obviously, was a bit more involved than the first. Those individual blocks have more stitching which required more cutting and more matching and more pinning. I also used two pockets in this one, just like I did on Brick Path.

And just because it's been awhile, I will show you Brick Path. I recently purchased some flannel to use for backing, and I hope to have them off to be quilted early next week.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Annette's Progress

One of my beginning quilting students from last Thursday posted a picture on Facebook yesterday that is worthy of my entire post today. Annette came into our sewing session last week as a confident beginner, so it does not surprise me in the least that she has made a second pillow on her own.

This is a teacher's dream - to see a beginner understand the basic concepts well enough to apply them later with changes to suit her own purposes. I'm sure you see the way she switched the placement of the blocks. Her first pillow is on the left; she created the second pillow completely on her own. Fantastic! Another quilter is born?? Maybe? Click here to read about the class.

Annette says she will return for a second class, and I am considering options for what to teach. My original thought was to do a bag - call it a back-to-school bag, which would appeal to my teacher friends. Alternative suggestions have been a baby quilt and a table runner. Those are both very doable options. Before that, though, I am going to offer the pillow class again because several gals said they wanted to come, but had conflicting plans.

Way to go, Annette!! Don't stop!

 Happy Quilting, Friends!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A Busy Week

This week is going to be packed. Already, two events have happened, and the biggest is coming on Saturday.

Monday evening I hosted the Frienzies for a potluck. Only 6 of the 8 were able to make it, but we still had a fantastic time. We ate on the screened porch and talked till way, way late. It was what we think of when we think of slow, easy summer nights with close friends and delicious food. It was perfect. The only picture I can show from that lovely evening is the centerpiece - all flowers from our yard.

Yesterday, Sharon came over for a day of sewing. She is really accomplishing a lot. About a month ago, she and I made a plan to sew certain "themed" quilts together. We have done this before - last summer we used our Roman Holiday fabric in August, and in the winter we devoted March to using our Snowbird fabric. In just casual conversation, we learned that we each wanted to do a red and white quilt, so we decided that July would be our month to get that done. Sharon has been very productive about it; I have not. Yet. There's still some July left, though it appears I am going to miss my deadline. The beauty of our system, though, is that missing a deadline is no big deal. The idea to get a quilt top done by a certain date is more a suggestion than a firm commitment. That suits both Sharon and me perfectly. We have a plan for August, September, and October, too. You'll hear more about those later, no doubt.

That's an awful lot of explanation just to show you Sharon's red and white quilt. I will dispense with the words and get to the good stuff - the pictures!

Sharon selected solid red and solid white for her quilt, and has spent a good amount of time cutting and stitching these checkerboard blocks.

Her pattern comes from a recent APQ magazine cover, which you can see above.

Her next task is to make as 'ba-zillion' hourglass blocks; these squares need to be prepped by drawing a diagonal line on the white and matching up with a red. She was not looking forward to this. Why is it that we really dislike doing those types of tasks? Each of us has some part of the quilt construction process that we balk at, I suppose.

So what else is planned for this week? My husband's big fraternity reunion will be here this Saturday, complete with campers, a tent, catered dinner, and bonfire. It was a huge success last summer, but  RSVPs are down this year. I think the weather is going to cooperate, so even if the numbers are down, those who attend will have beautiful weather to enjoy. Here's a link to details of last summer's party.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Sewing with Friends (part 2)

I was having such a difficult time getting my internet to work efficiently on the previous post, so I just quit after showing you the work that Jan and Susan did when we sewed last week at Terry's.

Mary, that same Mary at the Grove City Barn I've written about a few times, attended on Tuesday. She was making great progress on this wonderful kit in just the one day.

Just look at the great colors in this quilt - so subtle and calming. I think everyone was taken with the fabrics and colors from the very start.

Even Terry's sweet little Maddie wanted to show us how much she loved it, too. Of all the floor space, dog cushions and sofas and chairs, Maddie picked this spot to take her nap.

And this next picture showed up on a Facebook post from Mary last evening. Finished! What a fabulous quilt!

Several others sewed at Terry's - Sheryll, JoAnn, Laura, myself and, of course, Terry. I regret that I cannot share the work that Laura, JoAnn and Terry did - I didn't take any pictures! Shame!

I can, however, share the progress that Sheryll is making on a UFO. This applique quilt was a kit, and she is currently working on quilting it. You, no doubt, have noticed the hoop in the upper right quadrant.

My own work was divided over two projects.

  I have come so close to finishing this little wall hanging/table topper made with the cutaway portion of some recent flying geese units. I had to cut extra little squares and make more HSTs to finish it off. Well, I had them all sewn together, and - sigh - I found that I wasn't as exact as I needed to be, and they were too big. I spent an hour 'unsewing' and am going to trim them down, resew, and hopefully get this piece finished. Follow-ups forthcoming.

My other work was on the second of the work shirt quilts. I made the first one using a Brick Path pattern. This second one is a Rail Fence pattern. Since I am making this up as I go, time will tell when I think this one is finished. I am guessing it's about halfway there, perhaps. We shall see.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Sewing With Friends

What do quilter's do when one's husband is out of town? We gather at her house and sew all day long, and all night too, if we like. Terry's husband was away, so she scheduled some sewing days last week. I went just for day time sewing, but a couple of gals stayed over, and sewed late into night.

You will never guess what Jan has gotten into. She swore she wouldn't begin another English Paper Piecing project for a very long time, but my growing interest as well as Sharon P's. and others' - well she was unable to resist. (Remember the post awhile back entitled  Contagion and Addiction?) So here is her latest undertaking.

Jan refers to the prep work on these kinds of projects "idiot's delight." She says that any crazy lady can sit and cut out all these bits of fabric, glue them to the cardboard template, and then place them on paper with two-sided tape. She preps the entire quilt like this and then proceeds to stitch. What a job! But I am loving how her mock-ups are looking, and believe me, she has done a lot more than just what I've shown here. Jan truly gets stuff done. 

Susan will soon become a first-time grandmother, so she has babies on her mind. She began a quilt that will stay at Gramma's house for when Baby is with her. The pattern is Baby's Not Blue from a recent Quilter's World magazine.

Susan cut this out on Tuesday and was busy sewing on Wednesday. This is what she had constructed at one point, and I am sure she has probably finished the top by now.

I have pictures of several other projects including my own, but I need to get this posted and move on to other endeavors today. I will bring you more tomorrow!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Fun Class

The beginner's sewing/quilting class I held on Thursday was loads of fun, and in my humble opinion, a huge success. I had only two students, but for the first time around, I think that was about all I could have handled. I learned a few things for next time, and will be able to handle a few more students when I give it another try.

And I will say here that in the technical sense, this was more a beginning piecing class than a quilting class. As we actually did no quilting stitches at all, and did learn the basics of chain piecing, that is a more accurate depiction. We also learned about rotary cutters, rulers, mats, consistent quarter-inch seams, and pressing vs. ironing. What a lot!

Here are the pillows that my inaugural students went home with. First, Annette used these gorgeous sand and blue colors to create a "beachy" feel. After just returning from a vacation in Florida, I think she might still be in beach mode.

Sandy's pillow, below, has a romantic and feminine look. We had to do some finagling to get Sandy's together just right, but in the end it turned out beautifully.

As an instructor, I need to remember to find out just how "beginning" everyone is - while some people think they are beginners, in fact, they may be more skilled than they realize. If anything, they are more reluctant or unsure than novice. I hope the girls had a good time, and felt productive. I sure had an awesome day, and wonder why I haven't done this sooner!

I will be planning future classes, for sure. I have sizable list of names of people who wanted to come Thursday, but couldn't schedule it. Doing another makes sense, and after all, practice makes perfect.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


You know that song by Kool and The Gang called Celebration? Well, imagine that is playing in the background while you read this post.

Amie has finished her postage stamp quilt top! And I do hereby pronounce that as a reason to celebrate! I am sure Amie was doing a little happy dance when she clipped that last thread off the machine. She posted both to Facebook and an email to me to announce the good news.

Is it not gorgeous?!?! What a labor of love, and what a varied and interesting story behind its construction. Here is part of Amie's email with the final statistics from on this heirloom.

 I really can't believe I did it. It was a lot of fun to sort through all the scraps and pick out what to use for the last blocks.  It might be a Postage Stamp quilt, but I find it to also be an I-Spy quilt.  I really did a lot of fussy cutting.  You can find all kinds of things when you take some time and really study it.   You can also find several fabrics sewn in wrong side up - oops! 

Here are my final stats:

56 12-inch blocks
8064 little 1-inch squares (some more square than others!)
fabric donated by 13 friends and family
AND 132 Grit readers from 37 states
around 4 years to complete (huge time lapses when I didn't work on it or I had other projects to work on)
3 big tubs of leftover fabrics

Of course even though I am calling it a finish, it still needs to be quilted and bound.  I want to find a wide quilt back for it since it has so many seams already.  If you were binding it would you keep with the scrappy-ness and piece a binding of many fabrics or would you select a solid binding to calm the chaos?  I've gone back and forth trying to decide.

Look at how far the drop is on this side; I have to believe she centered it on the bed. What a nice size.
What do you readers think about a scrappy binding? Or should she use one solid binding? Please share your recommendations and thoughts on the matter here, so that Amie can use the input to make her decision.

Amie had additional news and info to share in her email:

As for as the leftover scraps, my mom and sister are spending the day next Saturday and we are going to start piecing the Gypsy Wife quilt.  The pattern calls for 60 assorted fabric strips.  I've got that covered! 

A lot of people sent fabric that they had cut into various sized squares, mostly 2 or 2 1/2 inch.  I have separated those out into a separate container to make baby quilts to donate to an organization I belong to that makes warm weather items for the homeless.  Last year I think we donated around 10,000 hats, scarves, baby blankets and lap robes. Check out the website:

On another note, today the sailboat quilt was given to my friend at her baby shower.  I am happy to report that it got rave reviews.  The baby will be named Noah, so little boats were very appropriate.  It's funny to me that non-quilters always want to know how long it took to make.

To see the sailboat quilt, you can click here. To see previous posts about Amie and her amazing project, do a search over in the search box.

Today, I am off for a day of sewing at my friend Terry's. I hope to have a work shirt finish to share with you tomorrow.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Monday, July 13, 2015

A Finished UFO!

Rare. That is what I'm about to announce. A rare finish. Yes, it took me all of about an hour to finish this little table topper. So easy. I'd done all the complicated stuff about 15 years ago.

This little gem measures out at 15" square. I placed it on my UFO Challenge list for 2015. It was supposed to be finished in June. So I'm 12 days late, technically.

Yesterday, I made the sandwich, machine quilted and bound it. DONE. It is a Thimbleberries pattern made with a mish-mash of fabrics from my stash.

My list from this post continues to be whittled down. I can now mark off #5.

Happy Quilting, Friends!