Saturday, November 07, 2009

A Shout Out

To the staff at the Fat Quarter Shop. I have no affiliation, I'm just a very satisfied customer.

Last year, I participated in the Designer Mystery BOM and I was so happy with the results (currently with my long-armer), that I decided to jump in and do this year's sampler too. I think I've mentioned before that each monthly kit includes a very generous amount of fabric in case of, well, you know, bad cuts. I'm the queen of bad cuts, so I know.

Recently, I joined a Holiday quilt swap with the Four Seasons Quilt Swap group and I used my leftover fabrics to make a mini-quilt to give my recipient. I wanted one particular fabric for my outer border, so I ordered a half yard and it was here in three days. Shout out number one.

When I went to cut the borders, I figured that I'd have to cut on the cross grain simply due to the length I needed, but not so. This half yard was actually TWENTY inches long! I was shocked! And not in that unhappy way I've been when I've measured half yards or fat quarters from some other online retailers. Shout out number two!

Is it any wonder that the Fat Quarter Shop is my number one go-to place for online fabrics?

I'm doing the Civil War Tribute BOM after the first of the year and I can't wait!

Thank you Fat Quarter Shop for going the extra inches that make quilters happy!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Winemaker's Wife

Has been busy helping with this year's harvest. Over the past few weeks, we've crushed and destemmed approximately 1000 pounds of grapes and pressed all but the last 300 pounds. It all started, as it always does, with the Pinot Noir and progressed to the Zinfandel, the homegrown Cabernet Franc and finally the Cabernet Sauvignon. We purchase most of the grapes from a broker who can get us premium grapes from nearly any grower in the Sonoma/Napa area or beyond. We have about 30 vines of Cab. Franc in our otherwise useless side yard, and this year, they yielded a bit over 200 pounds of great looking grapes. It keeps us busy, let me tell you.

In addition, the guild is doing a lot of administrative work re-tooling our new member handbook and making notebooks for new officers detailing their responsibilities. I'm doing a fair amount of graphic work on same, but I do love that. Then there is Time Waste Central, also known as Bejewelled on Facebook. It's addicting.

I have done some sewing work, though, and am eagerly anticipating my trip to PIQF next week. Pictured above is a block from the quilt I blogged about earlier, Bonnie Hunter's String X
quilt, made with linens, pinwale cord and the like. I have 3 blocks done and all of the foundations and set triangles cut and ready for the string piecing. In the meantime, I had to get a couple of quick things done, such as the Trick or Treat bags I made for the boys. Alex got a giraffe costume, so he got the giraffe bag made with a very edible looking leaf print and a baby giraffe on the pocket. Benjamin got a darling firefighter's costume and his mommy found cool rubber boots to go with it, so we used these great Alexander Henry prints for his bag. The bags are 9x9x3, so will be a good size after Halloween for toting books to and from the library.

Finally, though I'm not the organizer of the Sew-a-Row project this year, I am participating. This project is only 14 1/2 inches wide, started by Mitzi, a member of my mini-group who does the most amazing applique ever started it with the Dresden Plates. Phyllis, from my other mini-group added the Sunbonnet Sue and I did my old favorites, the 1930's dogs and cat. Two more rows to go and I definitely want to win this!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Challenge

Ever since she was a senior at Cal, my stepdaughter Sarah has worked for a couple who own a small clothing design business in Berekely. The wife designs all the clothes, upscale women's casual wear, and her husband manages this business and several other ventures. Sarah started as an office assistant in 2000 and now manages the business while they are on frequent trips. Last spring, she brought me two enormous sacks of trimmings from the sewing end of the business (done on site), and asked if I would make her employers a quilt for Christmas. The Asian women who sew don't like to throw anything away, so the fabrics are from last year's lines and mainly rayon weaves, linens, textured linens and pinwale cords among others. These bags weighed a TON, and the first thing I had to do was sort through and pick out the fabrics totally unsuitable for a quilt, which was almost half of it. I donated these pieces to the guild's various projects and a couple of ladies who sew for a living.

I was left with a pretty good amount of fabric that would work, but obviously, this stuff had to be sewed on a foundation....a fabric foundation. Here's a shot of the fabrics I'm getting ready to cut. The white strips are the remains of the patterns that are lightly glued to the fabric before cutting. Every raw edge of this fabric is serged because they buy plain greige goods from China and dye it themselves before making the garments. They may have garments of the same color, but different fabric type, so I will have strips like that as well.

So, I started cutting......and cutting.......and cutting. Strips, tons of them. Ala Bonnie Hunter. That would be because I'm using one of Bonnie's patterns, but you won't know which one until tomorrow. In the meantime, here's a pic of the strips. I have to say that I found this project pretty intimidating, because I am a traditional quilter, so I had to spend a couple of months looking at Bonnie and Tonya's blogs, as well as Gwen and Freddie's work to get my courage up.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I'm All Caught Up

With my new Designer's Mystery BOM from the Fat Quarter Shop. I was three blocks behind when I started out (it took me a bit of time to decide to go for it), but I vowed to get caught up and stay caught up and I did.

This set of blocks promise to be just as great as last year's DMBOM, and I like the different setting of the finishing kit.

Also, last week I paid a visit on this guy:

And this one:

Thursday, September 17, 2009


That was me, today.

The third Thursday in September is always our Founders' Day Luncheon at the Santa Rosa Quilt Guild. Some of our charter members took quilting classes from Joyce Gross at Santa Rosa Junior College back in the 1970's, and founded a group that would last beyond the classroom. Well, did it ever! The guild is 33 years young this month and one of our founding member, Dotty Zagar, got up today and gave us some history. She hostessed the first meeting at her home in 1976. We are now 240 members strong and very, very busy ladies. We donate quilts to various local causes like the NICU at Sutter Hospital, the Valley of the Moon Children's Home, the local women's shelters, the Wounded Warriors at Camp Pendleton, and many more.

Another thing that happens on Founders' Day is awards. The guild gives an annual Merit Award to a member who has done exceptional work in a given field and this year member Glenda R. got the award for her constant schlepping of our opportunity quilt from venue to venue to make us a few bucks. Well deserved. Then the committee chair announced that there was an Honorary Life Membership award to be given this year and she started in about the winner's work on the newsletter (me), the membership roster (me again), and various committees like SewARow (me). I was in total shock, people. As Vice President, I'm on the Board--the same Board who votes on awards--and that sneaky bunch flew this one right by me.

I'm touched, happy, surprised and grateful. I'm grateful for this wonderful bunch of women and a couple of guys who work their collective fingers to the bone to make it all happen. I look forward every other Thursday to the meetings because the positive energy put out by my guild is the best.....and did I mention that they are very creative? If you check this link in the next day or two you'll see what I mean, and in the meantime, check the archives.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Embroidery Addict

I've been working on this Halloween quilt from Crabapple Hill, a kit I bought at the Napa Quilt Show last year. It is part of my ongoing plan to make an heirloom Halloween quilt for each of our kids. Number one is in the hoop for quilting, but with the wool batting, it is a bit too warm to work on much. Santa Rosa summer is September and October, so I'll plug slowly away and wait for the colder weather when it will be good for snuggling uner.
This pattern is called Hocuspocusville and consists of 12 embroidered blocks, and I have 3 finished with on in-progress. It is the perfect thing for riding Amtrak to see the boys or on a car trip, when applique is too fussy and quilting is too hard to keep straight. I think I mentioned last year that I saw this quilt finished into a flimsy at PIQF with another of Crabapple's Stitcheries put in the middle instead of the nine patches (click links). The gal was a customer of Thimble Creek's, so I may contact them and see if they can put me in touch with her for tips on enlarging. Maybe.

In the meantime, I'm also working on getting caught up on my new Designer Mystery Block of the Month and have 2 of the 3 blocks done for that.


Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Temptations and a Contest

All in one!

Check out this amazing Block of the month at the Fat Quarter Shop. It is the Civil War Tribute Quilt, and I am oh-so-tempted to jump in on this one, even though the total cost is bit high. It is a big quilt when finished and would probably fit my California king sized bed if I add a border to the outside.

Here's the contest aspect of it--the Fat Quarter Shop is giving away a $100 gift certificate! Follow this link and visit the Fat Quarter Shop and enter a comment for an entry. Put a link on your blog for another chance to win! Sign up for the BOM and let them know on the blog for another 5 chances to win. No affiliation with the Fat Quarter Shop, just an extremely satisfied customer.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Out of the Frying Pan and Into the Fire

Or, Oops, I did it again....

I was so delighted with my finished top from last year's Fat Quarter Shop Designer Mystery Block of the Month that I jumped in and joined in for this year. I was a couple of months behind, but no worries, I got all three of the first blocks and finishing kit today. The project uses the Moda Glace collection and is just yummy.

The Fat Quarter Shop is a great place for many things, and they are very generous with the fabrics they send. I have never run short on one of their kits unless I was the one who messed things up. That said, it is always a very dangerous place, so watch your credit cards when you visit...things could get expensive.

Of course, dangerous places abound and Northern California and Southern Oregon are no exception. We took a short road trip because we needed to get away before the grapes are ready for the wine-making to begin in a few weeks. I found a few goodies, most notably, an out-of-print fabric to use on a Robot quilt for Alex. It is the same print as the large focus fabric in Benjamin's, but the background is navy instead of light blue. Yippee!!!!! This print was released in 2003 and Kate got the tail end of it in 2006, so I am lucky, lucky, lucky!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Getting Some Things Done!

I just got a quilt back from my friend and long arm quilter Kat McCarty, proprietress of A Thread Runs Through It, but I don't want to reveal it. It is a wedding quilt for Scott and Erin.

Yesterday, I finished two, count them, two tops!

We had a sewfest at our Snooze You Lose mini-group and while sitting next to my friend Angie, I got the rest of my Fat Quarter Shop Designer Mystery Quilt together. I love this top so much that I'm thinking that I'll sign up for the 2009 version.

And, I got the dreaded scalloped border on my Verna Mosquera Happy Hauntings BOM finished! WooHoooooooo! I'm going to have this quilt basted by a long armer so I can take my sweet time and hand quilt it. I used Darlene Zimmerman's EZ Scallop tool and her instructions from The Quilter's Edge for appliqeing scalloped borders. I wasn't thrilled with Verna's scallops and I was shorted a bit on the inner border fabric, so I opted for the shallower and wider scallops using Darlene's method. I'm thinking that I may mirror the scallops for the outer edge, too. I'm loving this quilt!!!

Monday, August 17, 2009

We Interrupt this Quilting

For a visit with my big sister and her hubby. I haven't seen her since 2005, so we had a great visit in between her jaunts to a family wedding on his side. She lives in New Orleans part of the year and Cayucos, CA part of the year.

It was so great to catch up with her and to love on her beautiful golden retrievers.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

More Vintage Goodies

I am the vintage goodie in this post!

This is a picture of me with the block I made at the workshop with Sally Collins in May. Sally spoke at our guild and gave a six hour workshop the next day. Her quilts were utterly amazing, and when I asked her how long it took to make one of her miniatures, she told me that it was pretty much the same amount of time as a full-scale version of the same quilt.

I learned some amazing things in the class, not the least of which was to measure, measure, measure. She had us measuring each piece as it was sewn in place to make sure it was correct before moving on. It was a light bulb moment for me....Duh....I've been quilting for over 35 years and did I ever do that? No. I'm here to tell you that it does make a difference.

If you ever have the chance to take a class with Sally, jump on it. Even if miniatures are not your thing, you will learn lessons you should have learned from the get-go.

More vintage goodness tomorrow,

Thursday, August 06, 2009

More From the Magic Box

One of the real treasures in the box was a catalog of quilt patterns available by mail order. I've only begun to examine this lovely little book, but a cursory exam revealed something peculiar and terrifying...... and that would be a pattern for an appliqued rat. A RAT. I ask you, who, in their right mind would applique a rat on a quilt? (Insert ex-husband jokes here.....)

Some possible quilt themes:

  • A quilt for the 650th anniversary of the black death
  • Sinking sailboats with rats deserting same
  • Delightful addition to childs ABC quilt
  • "Friendship" block for the guild troublemaker
  • Sofa pillow for the kitty

I can't even think about it because I hate rodents so much.

How would you use a rat block?

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

More Vintage Goodness

More pictures of the goodies inside the mystery box. This is such a great time capsule of quilting in the old days when ladies would see a block they liked and make a sample to keep for reference and the quilts that the newspapers published every week.

Opening the lid provides a hint of things to come.

We must have pins to make a good block!Blocks: Devils Claw, Drunkard's Path, and Corn and Beans to name a few.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Mystery Box

Several weeks ago at a meeting of the Santa Rosa Quilt Guild, I found an interesting box on our silent auction table, looking a bit like an old board game. I thought I'd take a looky-lou at it because my Son-in-Law is a diehard gamer and collects same.

A couple of other members and I opened the box and I nearly fell over when I saw the contents.

This box was apparently some quilter's box of sample quilt blocks and patterns--most likely a quilter who is long gone. Included were several patterns purchased from the newspapers, pins, a worn thimble and even a lump of old beeswax. I went to the overseer of the silent auction, offered her a donation for the box and home we came. Over the next few days, I'll be posting some pictures of the goodies inside. Here's a little teaser, the thimble, posing on a quilt block.

This is my 300th post~stay tuned for some kind of giveaway soon!

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Yeah, That's Me

Yep. Guilty.

It has been six weeks since my last blog post. Blame Facebook. Blame live music. Blame family and friends. I've been busy.

I've taken quite a few pictures intending to post them, but I'm a slacker.

Reformation is coming.......tomorrow........I promise.

Friday, June 12, 2009

I'll Be Back

After the weekend celebration.

The boys and their parents are coming as is Auntie Sarah and we are going to celebrate my birthday (Sunday) this weekend.

I'm coming up on my 300th post, so will probably have a wee bit of a giveaway next week. January through June is crazy-hectic in our family because EVERYONE save my SIL and DS have birthdays before mine on June 14th. We like birthdays in this family, so we've been celebrating and often that means either house guests or out-of-town travels. I'm thinking that more sewing will be done and blog posting as well now that the birthdays are pretty much done for now. Of course, there IS that wedding coming up in October....

Photo is from my 2nd birthday.......55 years ago!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

But Wait, There's Even More Applique!

I'm still busy and not getting a lot of machine time, but I have been doing more applique as you can see.

This is the third finished block for Pearl Pereira's Baltimore Halloween Block-of-the-Month. I have 2 more blocks in process and another will arrive next week, so I'm a bit behind on this one, but I'm getting there.

I am caught up on my Bunny Hill FREE BOM, the basket quilt and I just love how these sweet little blocks are turning out. It is so generous of Anne to share these with us. Every month, I'm digging through my Mom's old buttons to try and find a couple that work and this month I found a set of four square mother-of pearl buttons, so I used two and have two for another month.

Last Friday I was fortunate enough to take a class with Sally Collins and I'll tell you about that tomorrow. She is amazing!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Back to Quilting

It has been a busy week with my MIL and FIL arriving on Mother's Day and staying through Thursday, and after a day's respite, my stepdaughter Sarah and friend Eddie arrived for another evening of celebration of hubby's birthday. Needless to say, we collapsed last night and will continue to do so today!

Two years ago, I participated in a round robin inspired by May Britt's group and we finished our projects just after the first of the year. We were so pleased by the results that we decided to play again this year. We had a few dropouts and added a few new faces, some gals I "knew" from other mini-quilt round robins or swaps. You can see them all by following the link on the sidebar for Round Robin Bloggers. I decided to have a soft "Be My Valentine" theme this year and present now, my starting block. Quite a switch from the last one, isn't it? The initials are for Jan Brackett (my maiden name) and Mike Andrews. Should be a cutie when finished because the gals in this swap are very, very creative. You won't be seeing it again until I get it back as a finished quiltlet in about 15 months because we've decided to keep the progress a secret again. Stay tuned.