Friday, March 19, 2010

Time for a break!

So here I am, sitting in front of my computer, taking a break from doing the Golden Retriever quilt (pictures below of work in progress), and I'm thinking to myself that I need a break. Not just today. I can only allow an hour before I have to go back into my lurkim and finish this quilt. No, I mean, a real break. Between the scrambling to get two huge quilts done for the quilt show, giving and taking quilting lessons, guild meetings, a new project (which I will share with you in a minute), trying to get everything together to do income taxes, packing for a visit with one son, then friends, then my sister, then the other son, and then last night Jett, our 6 year old male Chow/shepherd mix had his third seizure in the last 9 months -- well! I just need to go somewhere and "think about all that tomorrow!"

Here's a picture of the quilt on the frame this morning. Gorgeous fabrics from Benartex, and wonderful custom embroidery done by June Gibbs, a guild member who is helping to make this quilt and then donate it to the Golden Retriever benefit somewhere out in Washington state. Myrt Smith, another guild member, pieced the blocks. She's very precise and presses most of her seams open! Now THAT'S a quilter! I'm not nearly so precise in my ironing. Iron is still a four letter word to me, so it surprises me that I do so much of it without grumbling in order to make a quilt. Hmmmm. I guess it's just wanting it badly enough. But back in the 60's and 70's as a new wife, I was never so elated about anything as the advent of polyester -- wash and wear!

Here's a picture of the center block. There are also four other embroidered blocks depicting the various skills that the Golden Retrievers have to master in order to be champions for this organization. June had those four blocks custom made with the appropriate designations of the "classes" the dogs were being tested in.

This is a closeup of one of the pieced blocks. The hard thing about quilting when there are strongly contrasting fabrics is that no one thread color is perfect. I chose a parchment color, found in the backgrounds of the blocks, but I'm wondering if a light teal would have done as well? Unfortunately, although I searched my color cards and stores, no teal matched this fabric -- either too green or too blue, and that to me is worse than having a light thread. So we're stuck with parchment.

I'm making myself a brand new, fresh and spring-y sweatshirt jacket. Its a work-in-progress (WIP) and has just been sent to the washer to be wetted down thoroughly and then line dried. Then it gets pressed again, the bindings are put on the neck and down the front and bottom (cuffs are already done), and the zipper is put in. I love these jackets and can't wait to finish mine.

So, back to needing a break -- I am SOOOOOO looking forward to visiting my sister, Missy Molino. Some of you may know that she is the founding mother of Quilt Odyssey, a wonderful quilt symposium and show held in Hershey, PA every July ( Anyway, we are going to visit the AQS show in Lancaster, PA next Thursday - Saturday. AQS usually has its shows in Paducah. My friend, Mary Nielsen, also a dedicated quilter and longarmer, and I attended one when it was held in Nashville, TN, and it's a great show! So this will be my break. Although the cell phone will be on, I won't be cooking, cleaning, washing dishes or clothes, running errands, or cleaning up after seizing dogs or weary hubbies all dirty and dusty from REAL work (autobody repair). And any sewing I do won't have a deadline! Now if I can just find a frozen Margarita one evening, it'll be close to heaven....

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Putting on a new face

You may have noticed that the layout of my blog has changed. Why? you ask. Well, I wanted to be able to add little signs or sayings to the side bar of my blog, but with the old template, there wasn't enough room. Part of the picture or saying was cut off. So now you can see, for instance, a sunflower with some bon mots around it. And oops! I accidentally added a cute, old fashioned St. Paddy's Day card, but I think I'll leave it there for a few days.
Let me know what you think. If you love it -- great! If you hate it -- well, you'd better tell me that, too. I liked the background of the old layout better, but this will have to do for a bit until I come up with another "must have."

Monday, March 15, 2010

Where did the time go?

I can't believe it's been over two weeks since my last post. During that time I finished another quilt for the guild. This time it's for sale, straight out. A group of ladies from the Lake Gaston Piecemakers Quilt Guild put together this wonderful arrangement of scraps called the Rick Rack Road Quilt. This pattern was designed by Deborah Hagy Hansen and was found in the Fall/Winter 2007 issue of Quilt Sampler magazine.

When we first moved to Virginia three years ago, my husband said to me, "Well, you keep making all these quilts. When are you going to make one for me?" So this was the quilt I made for him, and we use it in our nicest guest room. Why there? Because our guest rooms are in the basement -- or what I would have called the basement in our Maryland home. But down here on the lake, there are no basements. There are just lower living areas, and everything looks out on the lake and its peacefulness and beauty. So our second great room is downstairs with the guest rooms and my quilting room, etc. The "theme" downstairs is "The Lodge". My hubby's Rick Rack Road quilt has hunting and fishing and lodge-y things in the fabrics, so that's why its home is downstairs in The Lodge.

Anyway, when I saw the blues and purples in this quilt, I immediately thought of fine wines. One of our guild members donated a wonderful fabric with wines and vineyard scenes on it for the backing. You can see that I put echoed feathers in the light areas of the zig zags, but for the deep purple strips that course down the length of the quilt, I used a wonderful vine pattern and stitched it in copper metallic thread. Stunning, if I do say so myself!

Once that quilt was finished, I needed to get a Quilt of Valor quilted for one of QOV's prolific quilters, Sue Bennett. QOV is an organization that makes quilts for wounded soldiers. You can access their site at If anyone out there would like to participate in this worthy endeavor, please contact them and start quilting! Here's a picture of Sue's quilt, all done but not trimmed or bound yet. She'll be doing that part.

So enought of these freebies! Right now I'm working on a customer quilt for a Golden Retriever benefit raffle. But I'll post that after I get the work done on it.