Wednesday, September 30, 2009

And now for something a little different...

This bit of productivity comes, not from my flourishing palms, but is none-the-less something to show off.

Our grandson, Tay, arrived Monday, September 28 at 11:57 p.m. (Sydney, Australia time), after DD and SIL endured 27 hours of labor ending with an emergency C-section. God's hands were surely protecting them.
3.26 kg, 48 cm
7 pounds 3 ounces, 18.5 inches
During DD's labor, I took my Macbook along with me wherever I went in the house, even sleeping with it next to me Sunday night to remain in touch with our SIL. Technology is wonderful, but I already know how difficult it is to be a half a world away. I'd have given anything to be at DD's side following his birth, let alone get to welcome that sweet bub in person

Pictures like these, and hopefully some Skype videocam calls once they get home from the hospital, will have to suffice until I can be there myself, October 23.

In the meantime, I hope you won't mind this Nana's flaunt.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday Flaunt - Quilting for a Mission

FMQ (free-motion machine quilting) accounts for most of this week's productivity. This quilt will be donated to a children's orphanage in Romania, through Stitchin' Mission.
In the December 1999 issue of Quilter's Newsletter magazine (That's why I save quilting magazines, as a resource.) I found several FMQ designs and thought this one would work well. It made me think of fire coming from a dragon's mouth, and suits the dragon focus fabric in this quilt.
I quilted with orange-colored, 50-weight Aurifil thread. The design shows up best on the quilt back.
At the fourth Stitchin' Mission lesson, this quilt will be used to demonstrate how to sew binding. When the quilt is finished, I'll post another picture.

Each Friday, bloggers who belong to Quilting Down Under chat group post a flaunt of their productivity. Visit Cinzia's blog to find links to all 19 Friday Flaunt-ers.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Esme and Her Quilt

A family member kindly shared this photo of Esme with the quilt I made her: "Esme's Flying Kites."
Precious.
The quilt label.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Stitchery Do-Dah

Something else to do... Help! I think I'm out of control, yet I want to start another project. I've recently begun embroidering by hand. But to justify it, hand-embroidery does make another great traveling project. So, why do I have the embroidery bug now? Blame it on the Aussies!

Just check out what's we can see in the blogosphere! It's jam-packed with clever quilters who come up with all sorts of ways to change-up quiltmaking. Have you seen what can be done with selvages!?

In Aus, Oz, the land Down Under, AKA Australia, it appears that, increasingly, hand embroidered pieces are becoming quilts. Just check out Gail Pan Designs or Cinderberry Stitches or the Janelle Wind Collection among others. Seeing this stuff... well, it's starting to grow on me. Oh dear, before you know it I'll have a boat load (well, a bin full, at least) of embroidery patterns.

Embroidering along with me, Miss Kim, a great friend and our favorite dog-sitter, is also making Crabapple Hill Design's "Snowmen from A to Zzzz." She already has several blocks to show for herself.
Since I'm unsure whether I'll ever embroider all of them, I'm working on them in order of my favorites.
An Aunt Martha' hot iron transfer of "Noah's Ark" embroidery arrived in the mail a few days ago. Just declare me a hopeless case. Sure, I can stick to just one or two projects, instead of ten, but how much fun would that be?

I had to sneak in this picture of Hogan who continually gives us reasons to chuckle. We could never have gotten him to actually pose like this!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

What I Did This Weekend

This weekend, DH and I drove to Cedar Falls, Iowa, about two hours away to attend a retirement party for a friend who worked at John Deere Waterloo Works for 33 years. The next day we cheered the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) Panther football team to their 30-0 shut-out win against St. Francis (Pennsylvania). In the 1AA division, the Panthers are ranked #3 in the nation.

UNI is DH's alma mater. From 1972-74 we lived in married student housing while he went to school and I worked full time. To be completely honest, I probably wouldn't follow this team if it wasn't for the fact that they play all their home games in the UNI-dome.
In the dome, the temperature is a constant and comfortable 72 degrees (22 C), even when Iowa's nastiest howling winds and frigid temperatures - as low as -10 (-23 C) - cause us to make a mind-numbing run from the parking lot to the dome.

Panther fans wear purple and gold. And the marching band is pretty good, once you get past trying to sort out all the sounds reverberating from the top of the dome.
This year the UNI cheerleaders have taken to doing flips when the score reaches a certain number. I haven't quite figured out when it is they make the switch from push-ups to flips, but it's pretty impressive. Watch this video.
video


The rest of us are just happy to take it easy and enjoy tailgating with great friends.
Go Panthers!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday Flaunt - Apron and Stockings

From the title of my post, you might think I'm making clothes for myself! Perhaps I am making clothes if you call a handyman apron clothing. I do expect the apron to prove so useful it will be something I regularly wear. I came across the "Retro Handyman's Apron" pattern on the Olfa website.

Being a bit barmy for palm trees, this print, purchased last year at Rainbow's End quilt shop in Dunedin, Florida, proved perfect for the apron pockets. The blue tone-on-tone fabric is another favorite: "Satinesque" by Patrick Lose. I'm pretty sure I thoroughly own it... in eight colorways! Rick-rack adds a nice touch. As I often do, you'll note I made the striped binding on the diagonal.
I sewed several sizes of pockets on the front, customizing them to suit the tools I want handy: rotary cutters, snips, tape measurer, 1" X 6" ruler, wash-out marker, and Chaco-liner. I'll probably poke a pencil in too.
If you make this pattern my suggestion would be to cut the pocket as a single piece, then fold it wrong sides together. The instructions have you cut two fabric pieces and in the next step sew them back together again making a top seam onto which you top-stitch rick-rack. (Huh?)

As for the stockings part of my post, it's another of the "Season of Grace" BOM by author Emilie Richards and quilter Pat Sloan. September's stocking is "redwork." Stitched words could be anything we choose, so my BOM-swap partner Mary and I agreed on "Peace on earth" (her words), and "Goodwill to all". Instead of redwork, our work is DMC #3799.

I've learned that when you're embroidering small words, the stem stitch doesn't work so well. Yes, I completely stem-stitched "Goodwill" and then unstitched it. Small words such as these are more legible in backstitch. There's always something new to learn, isn't there?

A post script for those of you who may be curious about my "Friday Flaunt." Friday Flaunt is the brainchild of Cinzia White, an Aussie who belongs to the Yahoo chat group, "Quilting Down Under," as I do. Cinzia suggested that QDU bloggers post a weekly flaunt of their quilting projects. Knowing that every Friday other quilters will be looking for one's weekly quilt-y productivity is great motivation!

Find links to all 19 Friday Flaunters here.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Quilters Newsletter Bush Fire Quilts Article

It arrived in today's mail! The Oct/Nov issue of Quilters Newsletter magazine is available!
The reason I'm excited is because on pages 50-52 is an article I wrote.
Back in March of this year, the first person I interviewed for the story was Mary-anne Rooney, a quilter and principal at Eaglehawk Primary School in Bendigo, Victoria, Australia. I was fortunate to do so in person, at her school where quilts have been collected.
After our interview and photographing Mary-anne with some of the donated quilts, she drove me past burned areas outside of Bendigo. It was difficult for me to take pictures; I felt like an intruder on these individuals' tragedies.
My interview with Jan MacFadyen (AKA Jan Mac) was by email. She provided some wonderful photos - more than the magazine could print.
While the reason for this quiltmaking effort was beyond tragic, I always enjoy writing about anything related to quilting. I especially enjoy getting to know some pretty wonderful quilters. Thank you Mary-anne, Jan, and Christina Kuhne for your willingness to make this story possible.

To find out how you can help with this quiltmaking effort, you can get more information at: www.OzComfortQuilts.blogspot.com

Aussie Animals Quilt Finished

There's nothing more satisfying than finishing a quilt, and when you can hand sew down binding during a two-hour car ride, it feels even more productive.

I was able to do that Saturday when DH and I went to the first home football game of the season at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls.

Football isn't really my thing, but watching Panther games is more than tolerable because we do that indoors, in the UNI-dome. No matter how the fall or winter winds blow, or whether it's overcast or sunny, or even if it's 10 degrees (-12 C), in the dome it's a comfortable 72 degrees (22 C).

And when the Panthers win, as they did on Saturday, trouncing South Dakota by a score of 66 to 7, it's especially nice.

Aussie Animals finished at 44" X 49". And Baby Bub, our first grandson for whom this is intended, is due to appear in 17 days!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday Flaunt - Traveling Hexagon Quilt

It's official. My Candied Hexagons project is now a traveling hexagon project.

Over our long Labor Day weekend, DH and I took four days away and drove to Oklahoma - the cities of Tulsa, Stillwater, and Oklahoma City. During the eight hour drive between Des Moines and Tulsa, some of which I drove each way, I hand-pieced hexagon blocks (but not while driving!) I have 11 hexies to show for my time in the car.

I am very pleased with the precision points I'm able to achieve by hand-piecing.
Since coming home, here's how I've pressed them.
My question for you experienced hexie quilters: Is this the proper direction to press these seams? Being right-handed, I thought it seemed best to press in a clockwise direction. I like the cute little "blossom" in the center. But, is this the best way to distribute the bulk? (You can click on the photo to enlarge it.)

The hexie below was easier to make because it has fewer pieces.
This one is also pressed clockwise to make a center blossom.
Odd colors I know...
...but when I put them on the design wall with the focus print hexies, they look a little better.
I have many more combinations of hexie shapes to hand-piece, so I hope it will progressively look better. However, if anyone has some advice to impart - especially if you're familiar with the Candied Hexagons pattern - please speak up! I'm at a point where I can still make changes, even with my print choices.

As for being in Oklahoma... we spent two days in Stillwater for the dedication and season-opening football game at the newly renovated (at the cost of $4 million) Boone Pickens Stadium at Oklahoma State University (OSU). We're very proud of our son who was a structural engineer on this three-year remodeling/expansion project.
We were given favored treatment and enjoyed a tour of the facility that included seeing the OSU Cowboys' locker room, training room, team meeting rooms, coaching offices (with Barry Sanders' Heisman trophy on display), private suites, and the Posse Club. It's a spectacular stadium, inside and out, that seats 60,000 fans. An unexpected bonus is that we had the honor of meeting Mr. T. Boone Pickens himself. He's a gracious and personable man with a vision for harnessing wind energy to achieve American energy independence.

Happily, the Oklahoma State University Cowboys beat Georgia, 24-10.
As you can see, you weren't in the "in" crowd unless you were wearing orange.
Guess who wore orange.
P.S. This is my 100th post!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Saving Selvages

Karen, who posts to Selvage Blog is giving me a new perspective on selvages. She has several tutorials for selvage-made items, and routinely posts about some super-creative quilter's new way to use them. I seem to be the only quilter whose new idea mojo is seriously lacking.

Once I began to think about trying a selvage-something myself, I started saving them. I've been surprised to see how quickly they've multiplied. Like bunnies and Stitchin' Mission fabric loaves, could they be breeding?
This deep drawer kept just for selvages is proof for Karen that I will make a selvage something-or-another, one of these days.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Friday Flaunt - Hopping

If you say that I'm flighty when it comes to quilt-y things, I would probably agree with you! For some odd reason - which I long ago quit trying to figure out - I'm at my best when I have several projects going simultaneously. I simply enjoy that I can, and do, hop from project to project, sometimes several of them in one day!

This week has been such an effort, without much to show for it.

Continuing to work on "Snowflake Medallion," I've been gathering small fabric circles around 1 mm sequins and appliqueing them to eight flower blocks. I can't take credit for this ingenious idea for making tiny applique circles. It comes from my friend Di at Snippets 'n Scraps.

A couple months ago, when I saw the Candied Hexagons quilt Janet had made, and posted to her blog Quiltsalott, I knew I'd found my next hand-pieced, "traveling quilt" project. This one will travel with me pretty much wherever I go.

The pattern was first made in the late 1800s in Sydney, Australia by Frederica Josephson, later adapted and made by Kim McLean, and then made by Kerry Dear whose 2006 version appeared in issue #18 of Australian Quilter's Companion (out of print) using Marti Michell hexagon templates.

I selected a rich-looking Jason Yenter print as my focus fabric. It's a piece in his "Floragraphix IV" collection from In the Beginning.
I've been using my templates to cut the various shapes for my scrappy version of the traveling Candied Hexagons quilt.
I also cut plastic templates the finished size of each shape. I'm using them to draw the seam line on the back of each fabric piece.

I've free-motion quilted (saw this as "FMQ" on another blog) most of Baby Bub's Aussie Animal quilt. Quilted leaves are around the koalas.
Scrubby brush is quilted around the roo.
And a tortoise and croc are surrounded by quilted water.

So you can see I've been busy, but getting no where fast. Sorta like Hogan in this picture. He isn't getting anywhere "running" across the bottom of the sofa! But he looks pretty content, and that's exactly how I'm feeling.
Americans have a long weekend ahead, celebrating Labor Day on Monday. Guess that means we're to take a break from our labors. I hope you do! Take time to enjoy and do what you like to do!

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