Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Two More Finishes!

This is not a good picture of my completed journal quilt but it is proof that the quilt is done! I'm calling it "Summer Love" because it represents a place and a time of which I have very fond memories. The beads in particular don't show up well in this photo. There is a circle of beads in the center of my X/sun and a ray of beads extending down each leg of the X. That was the part that had me stumped for awhile, in spite of the fact that I thought that would be the part I would bead first! Ya just never know how things are going to develop.

When I finished the journal quilt I still had some energy left for more creativity. I dug around in my pile of UFO's to see what would fit the bill and came across yet another preemie top! I must have pieced it and not had time to assemble it right then. So yesterday I backed and turned it and quilted it. Ta daa!

That makes 5 preemie quilts to turn in so today I'm working on a sixth one to make an even half-dozen!

Monday, September 24, 2007


Okay, I have to apologize to Blogger. Apparently some of the problems I was having getting my pictures to load was the fault of my computer, not Blogger. Live and learn :- )

Y'all are going to think I spoil my DD. I really don't; she enables me! I can't help it if she's having babies and needs quilts for them! It's not my fault that Baby Susan is a "juicy baby" and goes through blankets and quilts more quickly than her big sister did! Anyway, I finally finished the first crib quilt top I made out of orphan blocks:

I was very surprised at how much brighter and happier the top looked when I got the binding sewn down and put embroidery floss ties in the Double Pinwheel blocks. (The rest of it was machine quilted. The Double Pinwheel blocks just needed something to hold the layers together in the middle of the blocks and I didn't feel like quilting them all the way.) I don't know if it's because it had been awhile since I'd last looked at it or whether the blue binding made that big of a difference, but I like it a lot better now.

You may remember that DD requested a Halloween baby quilt too. That was right after I'd come across this Basketweave top I made a few years ago:

At the time I put it away because I thought I wanted to add a border of some kind but couldn't find what I liked. When I pulled it out last week I realized that it could be finished without a border and would be just fine. And it was the perfect size for a baby quilt! DD prefers tied quilts so I used a size 5 purple perle cotton to tie this one (two strands in the needle). Now I have a pile of goodies to take to her this week: two baby quilts and three placemats! I love being productive!! The challenge will be in going back to the projects I abandoned to play in the Halloween fabric ;- )

Saturday, September 22, 2007


I've been having trouble with blogger not loading my pictures again. This would have been my second post since the last one (!) if blogger had co-operated. I understand now why some folks have chosen to move to other platforms.

As you may recall, I got out my Halloween blocks and bits earlier in the week. From one of the orphan blocks I created this placemat for DD and DGD:

Then I went on to play in my Halloween scraps...

I started with a couple of oddball four-patch blocks and interesting scraps and added strips to make several units of varying sizes and shapes. Then I played around with them on my pre-cut batting to see what I liked together. A few more strips to fill in the empty spots and voila! On this last one I used a small panel from a piece of cheater cloth and went with a pumpkin theme:

I also unearthed a top I'd begun some time ago. The blocks were made from fabrics I'd received in a fall charm square swap. (Everyone in my guild cut 6" squares from an autumnal print and we swapped them out so that everyone went home with the same assortment of prints.) The center panel is fussy-cut from a large scale print. It only needed wider borders to make it preemie sized so I took off the skinny ones I'd put on for some reason and replaced them with wider ones of the same fabric. Backed it with a cozy flannel, turned it, topstitched and quilted it a bit, and it's ready to go to a neonatal intensive care unit.

There are more Halloween goodies to come. :- ) I haven't yet quilted my lime green and black doll quilt. That has been upstaged by DD's request for a Halloween baby quilt. I just happen to have a top already made but I'll wait until it gets tied and bound before I show it to you...

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Magpie Who Is Otherwise Known As...

My pirate name is:

Red Anne Roberts

Passion is a big part of your life, which makes sense for a pirate. Two things complete your pirate persona: style and swagger. Maybe a little too much swagger sometimes -- but who really cares? Arr!

Get your own pirate name from
part of the network

Ahoy Me Hearties!

Arrr, sure enough, it's Talk Like A Pirate Day!

Behold my skeleton crew (most of them anyway):

These are the swabs what accompanys me on me raids up and down the west coast, pillaging quilt shops and bead stores. "We named the monkey Jack."

And look what I found in the bilge:

More orphan blocks! More significantly, Halloween orphan blocks! Probably not enough for a quilt, but maybe enough for a placemat or two for DD and the DGD's. DD even asked for a Halloween theme quilt for the baby. Apparently she doesn't have enough quilts/blankets already. (She's just starved for some Halloween like her mommy. Halloween is our favorite holiday in this family.)

I have layered and pin basted the black and lime green top. I believe I even know how I'm going to quilt it. But first I may have to make me inner critic walk the plank, arrr!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Woohoo! My pictures loaded! I've been trying for two days to get back on and show you what I've been doing. First, a picture of the quilted and bound Orphan Train quilt:

(not that you can see either the quilting or the dark red binding with the way I've cropped it !)
And a picture of the quilt made by another member of my local guild that I put the binding on:

When I'd finished these quilts on Saturday I played around in my Halloween fabrics until I came up with a palette I liked. I didn't feel particularly like making a specific pattern or block so I just cut 8" squares, paired 'em up, cut through both layers and swapped out alternate pieces. (This technique is described in more detail in books by Jan Mullen, Sandi Cummings, and probably others.) I only made 12 blocks and was pretty happy with this arrangement:

The next morning, however, I was reluctant to sew them together. The chemical exposure the previous day hadn't worn off completely and I just didn't trust my judgement yet. So I ignored the whole project for the day. Monday morning I felt better than I had in days. It was great! I decided to make some more blocks using the same fabrics and see what might develop. One thing that developed was a change in the way I cut and sewed the blocks. In the end I'm not sure it was a change for the better but it did give me one block with the bigger pop of lime I wanted for the quilt.

But I also had six blocks left over! Yeah, there's a ton of things I could do with them, including saving them for a Halloween orphan quilt, but they seemed to work together as is:

Today I sewed both sets of blocks together so now I have a doll quilt that will measure about 16" x 22" and a mini doll quilt that will measure about 11" x 16". Unless I decide to do something more to the little one...

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Two For One

So I'm not feeling so hot again today. Accidental exposure to household chemicals. (We're throwing that stuff out right now so it doesn't happen again!) It's not real bad, but I do have an intense headache. This has been a rough week in terms of my physical well being. It's interesting to me that it sort of seems to run in cycles. I was doing great for several consecutive days and now I've had several consecutive days of less-than-wonderful-ness. The worst part of these headaches is that I can't think. I want desperately to sew up a little Halloween doll quilt, just for the fun of it, but I can't for the life of me come up with a pattern I want to do! Well, there are lots of patterns that appeal to me. Maybe it's more a matter of not having the energy to follow through once I choose one...

I finally put a binding on my Orphan Train quilt yesterday. Sewing down binding is a blissfully mindless project that was exactly what I needed. The catalyst for putting on the binding was another quilt made by a member of my local quilt guild for the Quilts With Love project. It needed a binding but no-one else in the guild had the time to do it. So I volunteered. I had a reaction to fumes released when I ironed the fabric while making the binding but sewing it down didn't seem to be a problem. I finished that one up this morning. Now I can surprise them with two quilts instead of just the one when I turn them in this week!

In lieu of pictures of quilts (which hopefully will come later) I leave you with this little assessment of myself. I think these personality quizzes are fun. I've taken a few of them but haven't had the courage to try putting them on my blog before. With DH's help (it wasn't so hard afterall) here it is:

You Are Midnight

You are more than a little eccentric, and you're apt to keep very unusual habits.
Whether you're a nightowl, living in a commune, or taking a vow of silence - you like to experiment with your lifestyle.
Expressing your individuality is important to you, and you often lie awake in bed thinking about the world and your place in it.
You enjoy staying home, but that doesn't mean you're a hermit. You also appreciate quality time with family and close friends.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Name Game!

Since blogger doesn't want to upload my picture at the moment let's play a game. This is called The Name Game. I found it on Calamity Kim's blog, here. If you haven't visited Calamity Kim before you might want to get a snack, something wonderful to sip, and plan on being there for awhile!

Now, on to the game...

1. YOUR ROCK STAR NAME (first pet, current car): George Ion

2. YOUR GANGSTA NAME (fave ice cream flavor, favorite cookie):
Tin Roof Brownie

3. YOUR “FLY Guy/Girl” NAME (first initial of first name, first three letters of your last name): S-Bro

4.YOUR DETECTIVE NAME (favorite color, favorite animal): Red Dog

5. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME (middle name, city where you were born):
Elaine Tawas

6.YOUR STAR WARS NAME (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first): Bro-Su

7. SUPERHERO NAME (”The” + 2nd favorite color, favorite drink):
The Yellow Cider

8. NASCAR NAME (the first names of your grandfathers): Gordon Earl

9. STRIPPER NAME (the name of your favorite perfume/cologne/scent, favorite candy):
Lilac Chocolate

10.WITNESS PROTECTION NAME (mother’s & father’s middle names):
Ann Lester

11. TV WEATHER ANCHOR NAME (Your 5th grade teacher’s last name, a major city that starts with the same letter): Silloway Seattle

12. SPY NAME/BOND GIRL (your favorite season/holiday, flower):
{Day of the} Dead Gardenia

13. CARTOON NAME (favorite fruit, article of clothing you’re wearing right now + “ie” or “y”): Strawberry Socky

14. HIPPY NAME (What you ate for breakfast, your favorite tree):
Cereal Willow

15.YOUR ROCKSTAR TOUR NAME (”The” + Your fave hobby/craft, fave weather element + “Tour”): The Stitching Sunshine Tour

This was a lot of fun to do. Some of the answers are "better" than others but I guess they can't all be winners. If I wrote fiction I'd seriously consider using a couple of them for character names!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Remember This?

The other day I realized the Fabric of Life quilts are due next month (now that it's September!). After a moment of panic I dug out the top, my notes, and the pile of fabrics I was working with at the time. I wasn't feeling particularly energetic at the time so I put aside the idea of free piecing blocks to go at the top and bottom of the panel and just cut my mask print into strips. It took some doing to preserve the slant on the bottom edge and still please the eye with a level top line but I think I managed it. (Although it makes it look like I took this picture at an angle to the design wall rather than directly in front of it.)

I hated trimming off the orange/purple/white/green stripe at the top and bottom edges but it was the only way to make the masks look like they belonged with the medallion. I'm pretty sure this is the end of piecing the top. The indigo will be used to bind the quilt. What I'm struggling with now is how to quilt and/or embellish the piece. There are lots of things I'd like to do; I just have to decide what is most appropriate for this piece. (And what I can reasonably accomplish before the due date!)
UPDATE: The due date for the Fabric of Life quilts has been pushed back to early December - whew!
These quilts will be displayed and then sold to support the Here Je Center in Mali, West Africa where young girls are given skills and education that will help them generate income and become micro-entrepeneurs. The two fabrics in the center of my quilt were made by the young ladies at the Center.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007


DGD#2 has arrived!

But not without some drama!

DD labored for 7 hours on Monday but then contractions stopped and she had a decent night's rest. DSIL, on the other hand, had to be on the job until four in the morning (Tuesday morning). Three hours later he was awakened by DD and told to call labor & delivery at the hospital to give them a head's up. They probably should have gone to the hospital right then but they didn't want to leave too early like they did the first time around. Three hours later DD was on the floor in the living room screaming, "I have to push!" Fortunately her SIL is a birth coach and was staying with them. Michelle got out the potty pads and towels, DSIL dialed for emergency help, and Susan Marie was born at 10:17. There was a cadre of military police guarding the premises (DSIL is in the Navy), a firefighter actually caught the baby, and the EMT's took mother and daughter to the hospital to recuperate.

Baby weighed in at six pounds, 12 ounces, and measured 20.5" long.

Big sister had been staying with her other grandmother and saw an older cousin off on her first day of third grade. She was a little tired when she arrived at the hospital, being only 2.5 and overdue for a nap. When she saw her mom she asked, "Mommy have baby?" That was confirmed and she was asked if she knew what the baby's name was. She promptly replied, "Baby Susan." Absolutely right! She wasn't thrilled at having to leave her mommy in the hospital but, all things considered, handled everything well.

Grandma Sue got to spend the day at the hospital with DD and DGD :- ) And I didn't even have to wear my mask as long as I stayed in the room DD had all to herself!

Monday, September 3, 2007

4x6 Lives

I've been wanting to do another 4" x 6" quilt so yesterday I wandered around the studio trying to find something that felt good to work on. Played in my silks a bit, considered the novelty prints (Tonya at Lazy Gal Quilting is showing her Halloween quilts and had me thinking along those lines myself), and then dug into my bright scraps bag. Nothing really spoke to me until I happened upon some leftovers from a fabric challenge I participated in a few years ago. The theme was Jamaican Getaway. The quilt was auctioned off to raise funds for our local Hospice organization. I don't believe I have any pictures of it anywhere or I would show it to you. (I'm really bad about that. I don't have pictures of most of the things I've made.) I was quite pleased with that quilt.

Anyway, I found one pieced bit that was already 4" x 6" so I just slapped it on a piece of batting and basted them together. Then I found a couple more bits, sewed them together, and I had a second 4x6 top! The second one I made is the one on top in this picture:

It's also the one that spoke to me the loudest. I have a pair of whimsical fish earrings that I picked up at the thrift shop; one of those fits perfectly in the big blue shape in the middle of the quilt. But that will go on last because it's so dimensional. Last night I beaded the leaf/feather shape in the upper half of the quilt and then echo quilted in a single strand of rayon thread around it. I tried not to feak myself out by thinking of it as echo quilting though. In my mind I was just seed stitching in a pattern around the shape. If I'd been "quilting" it I would have been trying to have perfectly even stitches, blah blah blah. I'm working very hard to overcome those perfectionistic tendencies! (That's why I'm not even thinking of these as "postcard" quilts. If I thought there was any chance I'd be mailing them I would automatically restrict the embellishments I would allow myself to use. Honestly, Perfectionism is a disease.)

I would like very much to pick this back up and stitch some more on it but DH has a major garage-organizing project underway and requires my assistance...

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Update on Journal Quilts

So here's my finished journal quilt for the month of July:

I'm very pleased with the way it turned out.

And here's what my journal quilt for August looks like at the moment:

Could it be more crooked?!

I have actually taken several interim shots but because of the difficulties in posting they now seem obsolete. In fact, I had a set of three buttons on the lower right-hand side where there are now a series of sequin flowers. The buttons were just too obtrusive. They were "stealing the show:"

So I took them off and replaced them with the sequins.

If you'll go back up and look at the more recent photo you may also notice that I have bead embellished the orange strips of the left-hand log cabin block. (It's pretty hard to see.) I've decided that those beads represent the stump fences so common in the area where our summer cottage was. I know the sun will also be beaded; I'm thinking of leaving the water of the lake untouched. Part of me wants to also bead the print over the house that reminds me of the aurora borealis I saw in the sky one summer night. But that might be too much!

DD is still not-so-patiently waiting to deliver her second daughter. She was so hoping to have an August baby! Instead she may very well end up being one of those mothers who ends up in labor on Labor Day. (The idea does not amuse her.)