Thursday, June 30, 2011

Quilting with a Ruler

I've been quilting the shop sample for my beginning quilting class. Much of it is quilted in the ditch - easy peasy. But I wanted to stitch some diagonal lines through the blocks, too. On the nine patch blocks, this is not so hard - I just aim for the fabric intersections. BUT, how do I quilt the diagonal line onto the border without marking?

I decided to use an acrylic ruler, lining it up to the left so that the presser foot rests against it. I used my left hand to both hold the ruler and the fabric in place as I guided the quilt under the needle. I used my right hand as usual, guiding the quilt along.
Here's another shot showing how this worked. I know longarm quilters often use rulers to guide them. So I figured I give it a shot on my midarm machine. The only problem I had was slippage of the ruler. If I wasn't careful, the ruler would slide on the fabric and get out of whack. So I was VERY careful and it worked! Maybe next time I'll put some grippers of some sort on the back of the ruler to help prevent slippage.

I finished the quilting this morning, made the binding, and stitched it on. The plan is to deliver it to the shop tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sitting on the Deck

Mickey claims hubby's lap. Love my hubby.
Prince claims the sofa.
Oliver eats some flowers.

Our favorite time of day. As long as the humidity allows us to be outside.
I basted the nine patch quilt today.
And then I started quilting it. I should finish the quilting tomorrow, plus make the binding and stitch it on. Almost done with this class sample!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Old Friends and Rainbows

Saturday I drove up to Cullman and met some of my high school friends for lunch. We are 33 years out from our graduation. Hard to believe! We all reconnected last year via Facebook, and are trying to get together at least yearly. We had a 3 hour lunch! Mostly talking and catching up with a bit of eating thrown in for good measure. We graduated from Decatur High School in north Alabama, but Cullman was a central location for us meet up now that we're scattered. A fun day!
I got home just before a big storm. We're in a weather mode of having daily afternoon showers, though they've been storms rather than showers.
When it was over, we were gifted with a beautiful rainbow in our back yard. Sunday we had another afternoon storm which knocked our our electricity for 14 hours. Hubby and I made the best of it - a late afternoon walk. and wine, cheese, and crackers on the deck for dinner. Then we watched the first episode of Dexter on my computer (hubby got the first two seasons on DVD for Father's Day). Do any of you watch Dexter? Our daughters recommended it. It scared us out of our wits! Maybe not a good idea for an evening with no lights!

The power came back on this morning. As I write this, another afternoon storm seems to be approaching. Keep you fingers crossed we keep our electricity tonight!

I finished the nine patch quilt top this weekend. Quilting will begin tomorrow.

Friday, June 24, 2011

More 9-Patches

I finished making the 9-Patches today. Here's shot with the border fabric. I'm loving the subtle combination - cool colors for a hot day.
My favorite summer lunch: tomato sandwich. It MUST be on sturdy white bread (wheat's just doesn't cut it for this). The tomato must be sliced thick. Gotta have mayonnaise, though I have succumbed to using a lower fat version. And salt! Yum!

Tonight we're just having a frozen pizza, BUT I did make a fresh peach cobbler for dessert. Another big summer yum!

The sewing machine repairman called this morning - he finished with my Featherweight, so I drove across town to pick it up. I haven't had a chance to try it yet, but hopefully that will happen over the weekend. Fun day planned tomorrow! Visiting with lots of "old" friends!

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Here's the fabric I cut yesterday; this will be the sample I'm making for the Beginning Quilting Classes I'll be teaching soon.
Here's what I sewed today. Tomorrow I'll make the rest of the nine patch blocks, and maybe start sewing the blocks together. I hope to completely finish this quilt before the end of next week. It will have a "beachy" feel - just right for summer.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


That sigh is because of my busy day! Here's what I started with: quilting the dye painted pear. One big OOPS I noticed is that I put the shadow on the wrong side - it should be casting to the left. Oh well. It's just an experiment.
Here's a closer look. I used threads that were brown, rust, orange, and lime green. Click to see it closer. I'm glad I quilted it, but I don't really like it. I'm glad I didn't spend much time on it. My favorite part is the background quilting. Maybe I'll add another layer of paint? Or maybe just toss it? Hmmm.
Next on my list today was to drive this baby (purchased a couple of years ago at an estate sale) clear across town to a repair shop. I plugged it in a few days ago and cleaned the lint from under the throat plate. But I could tell it needs a good going over by an expert. There's a man who routinely services and repairs these old Featherweights - it took me some time to find his shop, but I did. He said he'd have it ready in a few days.

Then I ran a few more errands, went to a lunch meeting (my favorite kind of meeting). Back at home I love on Mickey for a bit, then cut out a quilt and cooked supper, to be devoured soon. Whew!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

AQS Blog of the Week!

I got a new button on the right -see it there? The American Quilters Society named greenQuilts Blog of the Week - yes, I'm excited! Welcome to all who are new here. Hope you'll stay around!

What is that above? No, it's not an icy blue summer drink! It's thickened dye. (The straw was for stirring, not drinking.)
I started with mixing turquoise fiber reactive dye as usual (with salt, water, and soda ash). Then I added some sodium alginate, a thickening agent for dyes.
Then I painted a pear on PFD (Prepared For Dye) fabric. This is just an experiment, so I wasn't too worried about the results. Tomorrow after the fabric has dried, I plan to quilt it to death. Keep you posted on that.

What I learned:
1. I was expecting the sodium alginate to simply thicken the dye. But it turned it into a gel. So it was akin to painting with blue jello. I'd have to experiment more to get it medium to the right consistency.
2. I found it difficult to achieve value variations. I attempted to mix three separate cups of the medium, one light, one medium, and on dark. But they all somehow turned out medium. Again, need more work on this.
3. The most important thing I learned was that I really don't enjoy this process. I thought I might try a portrait quilt made in this manner (ala Hollis Chatelain), but I don't think I will now. I prefer to work with lots of fabrics instead of dye. That's an important thing to learn, huh?

I think part of what I don't like about dyes is their chemical nature. You have to wear a mask and gloves, work in a well ventilated area, and so forth. I don't mind dying fabric every so often, but I don't like sitting for hours working this way.
I stopped at the local vegetable market this morning. So supper is lots of fresh stuff,

...including fried okra, green beans, and new potatoes. YUM!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Lake Fun

I'm happy to report that after a weekend at the lake (and a weekend of steroids), Mickey is feeling much better. Here he is walking along a "beach" area. Nothing like heavy meds to make a dog feel better!
He enjoyed watching Prince play in the water. I've never seen a dachshund who liked the water. But Prince does indeed! He walks out so far.
He sticks his head COMPLETELY under water to retrieve a rock.
He brings the rock to shore.
He tosses the rock onto the beach. Then he repeats this again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and....

You get it. His mission in life is to rid the water of rocks. Mickey, however, wants no part of the water. He's happy to watch from the shore.

I wish we were still there, but it's time to get back to work. I have lots of quilty plans this week, included some piecing, some painting with thickened dyes, and some quilt designing. Thanks for all your kind wishes to Mickey.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Poor Mickey...

Mickey was not getting any better, so I took him to the Vet yesterday. The diagnosis: a herniated disk. Back injuries are very common in dachshunds. He got a steroid injection, plus steroid pills, muscle relaxers, and some antacid to protect his tummy from the strong medicine. We are keeping him confined in a crate (unless he's in a lap) so he can rest and heal. He's not allowed to do steps or any jumping up or down from anything for one month. Hopefully, by then he'll be feeling better and nothing more will be needed. As you can see above, Oliver has taken up residence beside the crate, acting as guardian, protector, and companionship.

It's turned out to be such a hectic week, so hubby and I have decided to take off to the lake for the weekend to relax. Mickey and Prince will come along - they love it there. Oliver will stay home to guard the place.

I've still got to pack my entertainment for the weekend, probably some of these to sew:

I love to hand sew at the lake - very peaceful.

Good luck this weekend to our son-in-law's sister, Angelyn, who is competing in the Miss Georgia pageant. Go Angelyn!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Teaching Quilting!

Isn't this a beauty? It was shown at the Birmingham Quilters Guild Monday. A member of our Guild (Joan Knight) is an uber talented longarm quilter - she quilted this for a customer and it won 1st Place in a recent national machine quilting show.
It's a pattern put out by Laundry Basket. I wish the quilting showed up better in the pictures - it is amazing!

I am excited to share that I will start teaching quilting classes in August at a local store! Yay! It will be wonderful to get back to teaching! I'll be teaching a beginner quilting course and I'll also be teaching intermediate and more advanced classes.

Classes will be held at Thimbles in the Hoover/Riverchase area of Birmingham. Beginner classes will be held the second Tuesday evening of each month from 6pm to 9pm. So exciting!
Today I'll be cutting more of these. My poor left hand was tired yesterday - too much hexie work and too much applique! So I'll give the hands a rest from hand sewing to cut and machine sew.

Mickey Update: He's still a bit puny, but is okay. We've decided he's strained a muscle. He's done this before and it took several days to feel better. He's enjoying getting babied.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Another Tornado Quilt!

Isn't this a beauty? It was sent by Debi and will soon be blessing someone who lost much in the April 27 tornadoes.
Hugs and blessings to you, Debi!

Update: I just read Nancy Zieman's blog - she's starting a tutorial June 15 on making a donation quilt. She's listed my blog as well as several other sites accepting donation quilts for tornado victims. Thanks, Nancy!
Mickey is a bit under the weather. It started late yesterday afternoon. He doesn't have his usual appetite, but he will eat. His bathroom habits are still functioning without a problem. But he's just not himself. He doesn't seem to be able to climb steps. He has no energy. He moans quietly sometimes. So hard with pets - they can't tell you what hurts. So I'm babying him more than usual. If he's not better, he may have to visit the vet.

(Yes, I checked - no snake bites.)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sunday Afternoon Sewing

I was in the mood to sew this afternoon, but not to quilt. I bought the pattern for this little pouch at the quilt show last weekend, and it seemed like a good project for today. It opens and closes with pieces of a metal tape measure sewn into the top edge - a snap bag.
The inside is lined with a polka dot. I bought the fabric at the quilt show, too. Love the little prairie points used to pull it open! I see Oliver got into this photo.... I think I'll fill it with my hand sewing (hexies, of course!) and take it to the Guild meeting with me tomorrow.
Here's a pic from the lake yesterday - Mickey helping to drive the boat, a usual.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Button Bouquet

Isn't this the cutest thing ever! My friend, Ruth Ann made it. I know have other friends who have made them also. I want one!
It's one of those things on my list - someday.....

We spent the day at the lake today with Daughter 1, her hubby, and a couple of their friends. I learned I can make hexie blocks while riding on a boat. They are staying all weekend, but we are now back home, showered, jammied, with doxies and quilts in our laps. Ahhhh. Relaxed and tired. A good day.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Friday Fabric and a Hot Bam Balloon

Friday fabric and WHAT??? This morning hubby and I had a glimpse of a hot air balloon drifting over our area. Click on the photo a couple of times to see it better. When our kids were little, we took them to a hot air balloon festival every Memorial Day weekend in north Alabama. Daughter 2 was new to the entire talking thing and called them "hot bam balloons."
Here's a project I've been working on lately. You may recognize some of my Denise Schmidt fabrics. So far, I've made 20 of these blocks.
Here's some of the loot I purchased from vendors at the Birmingham Quilters Guild Quiltfest last weekend. Again, click on the picture to get a better look. Can't wait to cut into these lovelies, though I think I'll just ogle them and drool over them for a bit!

Parent Update:
I haven't mentioned my parents here lately, but they are hanging in there. My mother continues to care for my father at home in their apartment. He falls frequently, but has had no injuries from the falls - just bruises. She rarely goes out, afraid to leave him alone. But yesterday she asked to go to Penney's and Walmart. I took her both places so she could get what she needed. I think it was good for her - it seemed to perk her up.

An opinion:
Excuse me while I get on my soapbox for a moment. I read a quilting blog today that said the reason we blog is for feedback. (This blogger has decided to end her blog because she has decided she doesn't want any feedback.)

I beg to differ. I do NOT blog for feedback. If I did, I would have stopped blogging long ago. My blog doesn't get lots of comments. And that's fine with me!

I blog because:
1. I like to write, and this allows me to be "published" instantly.

2. I like to document my quilts and my process - what better way is there?

3. I like to connect with other people. Quilting can sometimes be lonely, working away at a project by myself in my studio. Blogging gives me a connection with others.

4. Every so often, someone comes up to me and says, "I read your blog every day. I so enjoy it." That makes it all worthwhile.

Stepping off soapbox now. Back in chair with dachshunds.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Men In Trees

This was the scene at our house last week. The leaning tree finally came down.
Then they park a HUGE crane in the driveway.
And lifted the pieces over the house to be trucked away.

If a piece had slipped, it would have gone through the roof into my studio. All went well, though. Glad that's over.

I finally fit some sewing in today, in between loads of laundry and grocery shopping. Isn't that the life works? We fit in our hobbies where we can. Tomorrow, it will be a priority. I promise myself!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Tornado Quilt

Stephanie R. from Denver, CO, sent me this GORGEOUS quilt to be donated to a tornado victim. I knew it was coming, but I wasn't expecting such a wonderfully beautiful piece of art!
Even the back is beautiful, isn't it! (Those are hubby's feet sticking out underneath.)

I delivered it Sunday to a sweet couple who lived in Pleasant Grove, AL, before their home was destroyed. They were SO appreciative! Thanks so much, Stephanie! I'm passing along the hug I received to you. I hope you feel it!

Three more hospitalized tornado victims died in the last week. The sadness continues...