Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Zebra Postcard

Oops, first one didn't take.

a good night's sleep
fresh snow

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Fabric Postcard

My first fabric postcard (well, second, actually, but the first didn't count):

The background is a couple of cut-off triangles from some strip piecing sewn together.  The background of the fussy cut zebra is a piece of corrugated cardboard that some leaf buttons from South Africa came on.  The buttons I've had for a while, and the variegated thread was a prize last week at the EAA retreat.  

another day to sew
time with granddaughter Olivia
the privilege of voting

Monday, February 16, 2009

Productive Day

I'm being very disciplined about daily physical therapy for my rotator cuff issue, but this 'exercise' is the easy one -- even the cats like to get in on the act.

This is the third rearrangement of the blocks in this one-block wonder quilt.  When I saw the fabric, I saw blue and green, not pink.  There's a whole lot of pink in it, though, and I've been trying to make the blues and greens attract the eye.  I need to make some hollow cube blocks in blue and green to help out.

I promised I'd show the EAA retreat projects, and here they are.  First, a woven table runner.  I finished it today (featherstitching on raw edges and binding) -- I didn't want yet another half-finished project cluttering up the sewing room, which is already beyond redemption.

And this nifty little iPod or cell phone bag from a recycled necktie.  Very quick, and just what I need so I can listen to my iPod while sewing without danger of running a rotary cutter through the earphone cord. Tomorrow I'm going to help my little granddaughter make one for herself.

We also were given demonstrations for mitering hems and for attaching blanket binding without having to handstitch the corners closed.  Don't know how often I'll use the latter technique, but no doubt an application will arise sometime.

a day to sew
leftovers for supper
good friends

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Quilting Cadets

I spent Monday through Wednesday at a quilting retreat with the Fox Valley Technical College, with demonstrations and assistance from my friend Renee's Aunt Donna.  Aunt Donna is 82 years old, and the mother of ten children.  Here she is:

That tells you something about her personality!  I'll try to get photos of some of the projects she demonstrated (and which I actually made) and post them.  She's both an engineer and an artist.

We stayed and sewed at a lovely chalet owned by the Experimental Aircraft Association in Oshkosh, WI:

It was a light, airy space with a glider suspended overhead.  That's a new quilting retreat phenomenon.

We visited an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink fabric shop called YDS near Omro, WI.  This is also run by an 80-something year old woman.  Her prices are fabulous because she has no overhead to speak of.  It's incredibly crowded (and there were twelve of us in there), and nothing is organized according to a system, but the fabrics are good quality (e.g., Moda) and she has excellent thread, etc.  She also has kitschy stuff like doll dresses with full skirts made from milking machine filters.  I found a perfect backing for the brights quilt for my new step-granddaughter.

The high point of the retreat is that after standing for about nine hours over two days, I finished all the cutting for the pieced blocks for the Pieces of Time class, using a more efficient cutting method.  I have gotten so far behind, and class meets again next Wednesday.  Now when I get ten minutes to sew, I'll actually be able to sew, instead of auditioning fabrics for each block and cutting it one piece at a time.

time with good friend Renee
all those blocks cut and bagged
home safe in spite of a flat tire

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Birthdays and an Owl

A friend showed me a beautiful scarf she's knitting, the pattern is called Ocean Waves, and is available free on Ravelry (  It's very simple and goes very fast.  I'm making two at a time, this one in yarn that really is the color of ocean waves:

And this one:
What I learned is that the more frequent the color changes in the yarn are (every 2 - 4 inches), the more evenly distributed they are in this scarf; whereas when the colors change less frequently  (every 20 - 25 inches), colors appear in large diagonals, as in the first photo.  I may like this better when the scarf gets longer, but for now, I prefer the scarf in the lower photo.  I'll have to remember this in future.

This morning we had a guest during breakfast:

He (or she) has been perched in branches near the house during the day several times lately.  This morning he (or she) stayed a good half hour before flying away.  We have always had a pair of these barred owls in our woods, and we frequently hear them hooting in the night, but we rarely see them during the day.

My friend Diane's birthday arrived last week, one of the ends-in-zero ones, and our quilting group has a tradition for ends-in-zero birthdays:  Each of us makes the celebrant a quilt block in the design and color of her choice.  Diane wanted churn dash blocks in green on tan or black.  Here's the one I made her:

Yesterday was my birthday (not ending in zero -- that was three years ago).   Everyone was so nice to me I felt quite elderly -- no Boy Scouts helped me across the street yet, but I expect that's imminent.  We had a lovely family celebration at an Indian restaurant Friday evening, and a lovely dinner with friends last night.  Roses, candy, heavenly-scented soap and candle (Frasier Fir), a beautifully-bound blank book, phone calls, cards, a portable DVD player on which to play my quilting tutorials -- I am spoiled.  

Early in the morning Jim flies to Florida for a week of golf, and I drive to my friend Renee's house, from whence we will go on to Fox Valley Technical College for a couple of days of quilting.  This is a new group to me, and I'm looking forward to making new friends and learning new things.

Another year of a good life
Owls in the woods
Birthday cards handmade by my grandkids