Thursday, January 31, 2008

Funny for Tonight

This was too funny not to share right away. So DH just got home from work a bit go. He works for an advertising agency in Kansas City and I'm learning that his hours are just down right horrible. Anyhow, that's a whole different story.

A guy named Brad in DH's office just had a baby. I think the next question from DH might have been an invitation to spend some quality time by myself in my lair sewing, but I didn't really think about that until now. The conversation goes something like this:

DH: Brad had a baby, it's his first. I sit near him and he started a couple days after I did. I would really like to give him a baby quilt. Would you be up for making one?

Me: Sure, I would love to! Girl or Boy?

DH: Boy, but I can't remember the name. (Big smile that he even remembered the sex)

Me: Hey, I have some tops that I finished a while ago. Let me go downstairs and pull some out of the box and see if you like any of them.

DH: You really have stuff done?

Me: Oh yeah.

So I take off the basement to see what's living in the box of unfinished quilt tops. I pulled out 8 and headed back upstairs. Yes there were that many boy quilt tops in the box. Just about as many girl tops. This is why I have declared February Machine Quilting month.

Me: Hey honey, come here and see what I've got. Just let me know which one you like best.

DH: ***Look of AWE*** You really have that many? Why I asked that I have no idea since I'm looking at them.

So he picked a cool Attic Window pattern that has dogs & cats on it. I will be sure to post a picture after it's quilted.

I Love These Bags

I think the two new bags I made this evening are adorable. They are for my friend in Indiana. She was looking for something different for her 2 little nieces. One is into pigs and the other LOVES monkies. I think I succeeded and 2 little girls will be very happy.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

K State vs Kansas

We are definitely a KU (University of Kansas) house. I think my husband bleeds crimson and blue.

In honor of the basketball game going on, I thought I would share the K State quilt that I made for a friend. He happens to be here at the house cheering on his team. I can't remember where I found the K State material, but discovered it's definitely a collectors item. The fabric company that had it printed didn't have all the appropriate K State permissions in order and the fabric had to be pulled off the shelves. 20-20 hindsight, I wish I had bought a whole lot more.

I took a class at my LQS Prairie Points several years ago. Jeanne Poore taught the class and called the pattern Potato Chip. She said you can't just eat one chip and you can't just make one of these quilts. Jeanne was right! I think I made about 5 and finally retired the pattern for a while.

CLARIFICATION: The quilt was made when I took the class several years ago. I didn't want anyone to think I'm a superstar at finishing things. :-)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Busy Busy

We had crazy weather here today. When I left the house for work it was 52*. By the time I made it to work and was heading in, I heard the DJ say the temp was 21*. I was only in the car for 1/2 an hour. Then on top of the cold front that moved in, we had Chicago type wind and blowing snow. Would have been a GREAT day to stay in and sew.

Tonight I was busy busy busy. I finished UFO #3 (top) Jelly Roll (Moda - Celebrate Spring) baby quilt. It's very similar to one I posted previously. I must have something for wrinkles. Seems that there is one in almost every picture - oh well.

I also made a bag for my 4 year old. She saw the exact purse and pattern when we went to Quiltfest in Chicago in November. Quiltsmart was the booth we got the pattern at. Very slick. The idea was to take the thinking and measuring out of making the bag and they succeeded. They provided printed interfacing and all you do is fuse the chosen fat quarters, cut and sew. Very very simple. I think it took me all of 1/2 an hour to make the complete bag. The worst part was trying to turn the handles right side out. I'm always challenged by that though.

Modeled by the Bag Model (acting goofy)

Tomorrow night I'm going to try and get the other 2 bags done that I committed to.

Machine Quilting and Instructional DVDs

I broke down and bought the Pajama Quilter Reloaded video in my quest for machine quilting help. Definitely worth the investment. I read Mary's blog and she mentioned the DVD and showed some of the designs from the video in her quilting. The pictures definitely caught my attention. I LOVE this DVD. Dawn Rameriz is a great teacher and definitely has me, the newbie who isn't very confident, confident that I can do it and will like it. I like the fact that the DVD provides techniques and then builds on them. It's not so much about here's how you machine quilt, but here's how you doodle and make your hands understand what your brain is telling them to do.

Also in my DVD collection is "I've Got a Long Arm (and I'm not Afraid to use it)" from Mindy Casperson. I got those videos after listening to her lecture at IMQA. This DVD is great because Mindy explains the mechanics of the machine and how to troubleshoot. Even though the machine might seem very complicated, there is a definitely check list of items to follow when troubleshooting.
I also bought Mindy's second DVD - Long Armed and Fabulous. I watched it but was pretty overwhelmed. I think I really need to grasp the basics before venturing into the arena of templates and rulers.

Yesterday I broke down and bought two DVDs from Patsy Thompson "Fast and Free - Volumes 1 & 2". Helen of the UK mentioned them and also provided pictures that caught my attention.

I have a Hinterberg quilt frame and a Nolting Hobby Quilter. Because I don't have a lot of spare time, I really haven't taken the time to bond with my frame and machine. When I do machine quilt something, I really do enjoy what I'm doing and the fact that I did the quilting and didn't pay someone to do it. Since I'm definitely a visual learner, I think the DVDs will be a wonderful source for help and ideas.

I am officially decreeing February Machine Quilting Month!!!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

UFO #2 (Top) Completed

Ok, blogging is a good thing for me. It's definitely keeping me motivated to finish things. Today I finished my Turning Twenty top. I'm pleased with how it turned out. Pinks and browns, definitely colors I wouldn't put together. Ignore the wrinkles in the picture. I was having to move quickly because there was a big fat cat getting ready to pounce.

I plan on keeping this quilt and using it my guest room. My real hope is to get it finished and on the bed for my MIL comes to visit at the end of February.

"Indian Summer" is the name of the quilt hanging on the wall in that room. I was the lucky winner of this quilt. It was made in 2003 by the Olathe Quilt Guild. I used to belong to that guild before the munchkin came into the picture. I keep thinking about joining again, but just haven't done it. I did help with this quilt by making some of the flying geese.

This weeks projects:
  • Bags for the photographer
  • 3 simple purses for 3 little girls
  • Jelly Roll baby quilt that's 3/4 done

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Stitch Group

Tonight was stitch group. It is so much fun to get together with the group and see what everyone is making. Show and tell is always big fun. One of our members does beautiful hand applique, so it's always fun to see what she's working on. Another has her own machine quilting business, so it's big fun to peak at all the pretty quilts that she's done and haven't been picked up yet. Tonight others were working on hand projects, knitting or crocheting. I didn't bring anything to work on since I had the munchkin with me and we didn't get to stay all that long.

I missed quite a few Thursdays in 2007, so I really need to make time for the group. I realized tonight that they all really are an inspiration to me. We all have different styles and things we like to work on. What a great way to ask for help from the experts.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Enough Whining, Get Busy

I made it to work. My MIL happily took the sick munchkin this afternoon. Thankfully that helped with the whining I was doing earlier and the guilt about not getting much "work" done here at home.

On the other hand, I was very productive this evening. I managed to make the 3 pillowcases, which were on my list for this week. The munchkin is happy because she kept asking when I was going to make her cow girl pillow. Someone will have pleasant dreams tonight.

I also got the back and binding put on a cross stitch quilt that a friend did. I still need to finish the binding for her, but that shouldn't take that long. Then in the mail to Indiana it will go.

YIPPEE, 2 things off my list. The rest of the week should be mine to sew on my Turning 20 quilt.


Well, it's 10 A.M and I'm sitting here listening to a 4 year old whine that she doesn't feel good. I kept her home from school today because she has a headful of snot. Nice visual, I know. Sleeping was a treat last night since she decided that the family bed was way more comfortable. I am supposed to be "working" from home. The reason the post is called Torture is because I keep thinking about all of the things I could accomplish if I didn't have to "work" today.

I believe I will be calling my MIL to see if she can watch the munchkin this afternoon. I must leave the house otherwise I won't accomplish the "work" that I get paid to do.

Monday, January 21, 2008

UFO #1 - Finished

I finished the 2 things on my list and I'm feeling rather happy about that. Maybe I should publish more lists because its seems that I stick to them that way.

Here is a picture of my paper pieced flower top. The pattern came from Simply Sensational 9-Patch Stars by Carol Doak. I like it much better with the borders on.

So for this week, I'm going to try to accomplish the following:
  1. Make 3 fun pillowcases for the wild 4 year old
  2. Finish a baby quilt for a friend
  3. Work on Turning Twenty Quilt

I think that the month of February is going to be machine quilting month. The idea will be to finish as many quilt tops as possible.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Quilt Police Do Exist

I was checking email this morning and a sewing friend of mine CC'd me on an email she sent to Mark Lipiniski of Quilter's Home Magazine. Since it made me laugh out loud, I thought it too good not to share with everyone else.

The most recent issue has an article about Quiltzilla and how to put her in her place. Well my friend definitely has a sense of humor. Sometimes you have no idea what she's going to say next, which I think just adds to her ability to make people laugh. In the note she sent to Mark, she said that the Quilt Police really do exist. She has her own badge to prove it.

If you click the picture you should be able to see the badge better. It says Quilt Police Inspector. My friend said she doesn't think twice about pulling out and flashing it at shows (especially the big ones) when people are taking quilting far too seriously.

The MQS show is held here in Overland Park yearly. I'm definitely going to have to keep an eye out for that crazy badge toting lady.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Slow Progress

I think I did more ripping tonight than I did sewing, thus my slow progress. Guess there will always be days/nights like those. Paper piecing is very enjoyable to me, when I don't have to unsew. Those tiny stitches are buggers to get out. I hung the border fabric I intend to use next to the blocks. I love the big flowers, but all I see right now is gold. Definitely will need an extra color before the flower border. Since it's been such a long time since I took the class, I hope I can remember what I was planning back then.

I delivered the quilted and bound Surf board quilt
to my friend this evening. She was so excited. The quilt is going to Florida in her suitcase bright and early Saturday morning.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Why Do I Pick Up????

Regardless of the saying on the bottom of the picture, this is how I feel most of the time. I tried to pick up my sewing area after working on Monday. My problem is that I can't ever seem to find anything when I need it again. Either I do a great job at putting things away, or I REALLY am getting older and can't remember SQUAT. I would prefer not to admit to the second, so I'm just going with the fact that I'm a good "picker upper."

Tonight I volunteered to do a quilt label for a friend at work. She wanted something machine embroidered and I had some designs she liked so I agreed (because that's what friends do of course). Got everything all ready to go and then I couldn't find the blasted memory card for the machine. I searched and searched. In my haste of cleaning on Monday, I managed to knock the card into the crack between my sewing machine and serger. Gee that certainly isn't the first place I would have looked. OK, so I find the card, now I need to get the design from the computer to the card to be able to do my embroidery thing. Converter box oh Converter box, where might you be? I decided to pick up the computer desk on Monday too. I found the box nicely hidden behind the printer. Why in my right mind would I put it back there??? Who knows.

Again I ask, why do I try and pick up???? I should leave everything where it lands when I'm done with because then I really might be able to find it again. OK, enough whinning.

I found the B&W block in the picture at one of my outings to a big quilt show. It's from Block Party Studios. I love the designs that they come up with - they make me smile. The hand printed quilt fabric is fun to color. Makes me feel like I'm in Kindergarten again. I get to pull out my box of 12 fabric markers (too bad it's not 64) and see if I can stay in the lines.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Someone Slap Me Please!

I joke with my friends at work and the ladies in my sewing group that I really need a 12 step program. I tell them all that I'm working Step 1 by admitting that I have a problem. I can verbalize my problem and obviously write about my problem. I love fabric. I can't help myself. All the colors and the feel of the fabric get me all "tingly'. Then show me a fat quarter bundle or jelly roll of colors that I would never think could possible go together and I'm close to loosing my mind. The cool pattern to use the fabric, well that's what sends me completely over the edge. So maybe I am a McQuilter too.

Today for example, I went to my new favorite hang out, Harper's, for lunch. I felt like I was in an episode of Cheers (no specific episode) where Norm is greeted by his friends. Today I heard "BECKY" come out of 3 peoples mouths at the same time. That right there should have been the signal that I'm there way too much. I went to collect my fabric from Sunday's "strip club" get together that I couldn't attend. (I thought it would be rude to tell the 4 year old going to the fabric store took rank over her birthday.) I didn't even have to tell them why I was there, someone was already digging in the bin behind the counter. YIKES.

To add to my problem was the new bundle sitting on the counter for next month's strip club. I passed, but that's all I've been thinking about since I got back from lunch - do I, don't I, no I have enough strips (jelly rolls), very cool because its colors I wouldn't pick. See....I really think I need someone to slap me.

Yesterday I mentioned that I was trying to post a picture and couldn't. Here's what I wanted to share. My little helper. The fortunate thing for him was he had the comfy chair so I had to grab the hard kitchen chair to sew with. The things I do to keep the kitties happy. Up for a game of Where's Waldo? Shiner is a bit hard to see since I was working with black fabric and he's black.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Productive Monday

Today was pretty doggone productive. Unfortunately, I didn't get everything done that I would have liked. I managed to complete 18 bags for photographer Brandi. I also embroidered 2 burp clothes for her for an idea she has. I got the binding on the quilt that I quilted for my friend a week ago and it's 3/4 sewn on. Hopefully I finish that up tonight.

This weeks goals:
  • Finish the paper pieced quilt that I started in a class taught by Carol Doak.
  • Lower my quilt frame to see if that helps with my issues of not being able to see or reach.
I was going to share a photo of my little helper today, but blogger won't let me upload. Oh well.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Princess Party

This week was a little crazy. Seems that my worst suspicions are confirmed; I truly am a procrastinator. Miss Grace celebrated her 4th birthday with friends yesterday. We had a princess party. I came up with the brilliant idea to make tutus for the girls and supply them with wands and tiaras. While making the tutus wasn't difficult, it did consume a little more time than I had planned on. Oh well, all the girls had fun. All of the girls came in their own princess outfits and then I sent them home with all the extras.

My plan is to take off the paying job tomorrow to do nothing but sew. My hope is that I will be able to feel like I finally accomplished something. I will be sure to provide my status report.

I'm off to begin the real birthday festivities. YIKES!

Monday, January 7, 2008


Happy Monday!

Didn't get much sewing done this weekend. I spent most of the weekend taking down Christmas decorations and trying to organize my basement. I did manage to take some time yesterday to enjoy the crazy weather we are having here in Kansas. High 60's in January is unheard of, but very nice. I wouldn't complain if the rest of the winter was a nice, but I know that won't be the case. Miss Grace and I went with friends to the barn to visit their horses. A good time was had by all.

Onto my Monday topic... I mentioned the other day that I picked up a copy of Quilter's Home because of an article on the cover that caught my eye. When to Declare a UFO DOA. You can really declare a project dead and not finish it??? What a novel concept, why didn't I think of it sooner????

According to the article, here are some UFO Guidelines to think about:
  1. Lose it -
  2. Rethink it - Rethink your project - could it be a table runner instead of a lap quilt? Could it be a wall hanging instead of a baby quilt?
  3. Forget it - If you can't rethink or "repurpose" the project, then maybe you should just forget it. It's OK to move on and not finish the project.
  4. Chop it - Use what has been completed to practice a technique that you've always wanted to try or need practice with.
  5. Scrap it - Turn your project into a scrap quilt. Take the pieces that are completed and make something that looks completely different in effort to finish the project.
Needless to say, after I finished up with my basement arranging, I made my way to my lair. Boy, do I have a lot more UFOs. They were hiding everywhere, in totes, boxes, and the fabric cabinet. I pulled them ALL out and put them under my quilting frame. I figure it will force me to look at them and maybe even move them when I head down to sew. I definitely need to do some rethinking, chopping and scrapping. I'm starting to think now, that I might have even "repurposed" fabric from some of those projects to other projects. UGH.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Honoring Kansas Victory

In honor of the University of Kansas winning the Orange bowl last night, I thought I would show 2 quilts I made.

The first is a king size quilt that I made for my husband. He's a huge Jayhawk fan, so I thought it would be fun to surprise him with a quilt. The Jayhawk blocks were found at a shop in Baldwin City, Kansas during the first Kansas City Quilt Shop Hop in 1997. I wasn't really sure what to do with them since they were screen printed and a bit bigger than I anticipated for the center of a block. After searching for the perfect Crimson & Blue fabrics, I decided on a variation of the log cabin that I had spied in an Eleanor Burns book.

Here is an up close of one of the blocks.

The second KU quilt I made was in 2004 for my newborn daughter. I figured that dad would be really impressed with me if I made a quilt for her with his favorite team mascot on it. I found the baby Jayhawk blocks at the same quilt store I purchased his from. A friend had a book that showed how to make the blocks so they sat on an angle. I think the book is Twist and Shout, but I can't seem to remember the name.

And a close up of one of the blocks.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Thoughtful Thursday

Tonight I'm sitting at the kitchen working on the bags that I make for my photographer friend, Brandi. Each bag has a machine embroidered logo on it and is designed to fit specific wall collection frames that she sells to her customers. It's days like these that I sometimes wish I had an industrial machine. It takes 22 minutes to stitch out the designs. A painfully long process.

I'm hearing lots of giggling from the other room. I'm either the butt of a good joke between my husband and daughter or I'm about to be buzzed by the miniature helicopter my husband bought himself for Christmas.

There really is a point to my blathering. I picked up the copy of Quilter's Home magazine that I brought home. Two articles on the cover really caught my attention - McQuilting: Are we Taking the Creativity out of Patchwork? and When to Declare a UFO DOA (which may have to wait until tomorrow).

McQuilting is such a derogatory term that the cover definitely caught my attention. That word just brings to mind fast and quick, while not the best quality - good enough until I can get some real sustenance. The article starts off by painting a picture of a quilter going to her local quilt shop and ordering one fat quarter bundle, a charm pack and 2 inch strips on the side. Oh and don't forget the free pattern. The question then turns to: Is creativity being choked because this type of "quilting diet" is fast, fun and easy? Hmmm, something to ponder now isn't it???? The article talks about the designer lines of fabric and how some quilt shops buy lines sight unseen because an artist has sold well for them in the past. Some shop owners were interviewed and provided their commentary on the various lines of fabric coming out and how they buy. All of which was very interesting.

After I read the whole article, I really started thinking about the amount of things going on in my day or week and how much spare time I have and can really devote to piecing and quilting. I think I do fit into the McQuilter category due to my new obsession for charm squares and jelly rolls. I guess I shouldn't be so sensitive since being a McQuilter isn't such a bad thing, at least at the present. My next question was why do I like the charm packs and jelly rolls so much? I think it's because I get a whole line of fabric and I don't have to buy crazy amounts that I might not ever use (although having a stash isn't bad). When I pick my own fabric for projects, it seems like I continually get stuck in the same color rut. I like what I like and I really don't branch out. When I do force myself to branch out, it sometimes seems very painful or not very fun. The charm pack or jelly roll helps me step out and try things that I might not otherwise. There are always fabrics in those sets that I don't like and would NEVER pick myself.

Don't get me wrong, there are times that I'm by no means a McQuilter and very willing to step out and "wing it" on my very own creation. Those are normally the projects where I am trying to really stretch my abilities. There haven't been a lot of projects like this, but the ones I have completed, have made me very happy and pleased with my efforts.

Are you a McQuilter? What's your opinion of the term? What's your opinion of the article?

One last thing for this post - Rock Chalk Jayhawk, GO KU!!!