Friday, January 28, 2011


It's moving day!  DH has left the employ of a bodyshop in Roanoke Rapids, NC in favor of an up-to-date, climate controlled, OSHA regulated, and very Labor Board approved bodyshop associated with the largest dealership enterprise in the Colonial Heights, VA area.  Although today was a little rainy in Colonial Heights, DH is wearing a sunny smile, relieved to be out of an untenable situation in the former shop, where he was being required to do things that were harmful -- to himself and to the environment.  More on that later when the data has been distributed...

He rented a 26 foot truck with a lift gate from Ryder.  Strange that they never mentioned that they had all kinds of sizes with lift gates.  He could have saved a hundred dollars with the 16' one, since he had only four huge tool boxes to move.

I have to say that this picture makes me laugh out loud.  When we moved to EBF, Virginia, almost 4 years ago, we had to put his tool boxes into storage for a few months until we were settled in and he had a new job.  He and I, BY OURSELVES, moved those suckers, each weighing approximately 2500 pounds, without a liftgate but up (and down) a thin metal ramp to a trailer on which had been placed plywood.  At one point, one of the tool boxes got away from me and started rolling off the side of the ramp.  Fortunately, it was stopped because the wheels dug into the plywood, after which much grunting with accompanying Saxon expletives ensued as we struggled to get the darn wheels OUT of the plywood without having the tool box topple off the side of the ramp.  But we did it, and we did it alone.  Here you see three grown, strong men  straining to keep a tool box (I wonder if it was the same renegade that gave us trouble back then...?) from rollling off the lift gate too rapidly.  Better them than me.  I learned my lesson the first time.

Although they really aren't ready for him to begin until a week from Monday, he's got a place to store them until then.  This stall will not be their permanent home, and he will have to roll them deeper into the other side of the shop to set up housekeeping there.  What a happy man he is today!  And, we have an enforced one week vacation, during which I'm sure we'll attack that honey-do list with increased vigor as well as maybe even go to the movies -- if we can find one near us out here in the boonies.  The best thing is that we are completely content hanging out with each other, whether loafing or working, so I'm looking forward to this next week before the long commutes and long hours begin again.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


I received this beautiful QOV in the mail last Saturday and started quilting it Tuesday.  I finished it today!  There were some tension problems on the back.  I ripped out a few blocks and did them over.  Still problems.  Ripped out a few sections of each block and did over.  A little better, but not show quality, that's for sure.  Fortunately this quilt is not going in a show.  Even so, I wanted the soldier who was going to get it to like it.  At least the front is  wonderful.  Here are some close-ups:

This is the border treatment.  The swag with stars is one pattern (sorry about the errant thread in there), and I added the straight lines to it to fill in the empty space between the top of the swag and the inner border, which is an egg and dart pattern.

Each star block was quilted with this pattern, which is also seen in the intervening setting blocks.  In order to fill the setting triangles, I wanted to keep the basic pattern, so I cut and clipped and rejoined parts of the original block pattern to make this nifty triangle, below.

When my guild friend, Myrt, came today to pick up her first charity quilt (see the previous blog), she took a look at my Lucinda Brodie blocks and insisted that I put her other outreach quilts on the back burner until my new quilt was finished.  This comes as welcome news to me, because if I can finish it by March 1, I hope to enter it in my guild's annual quilt show all month long in March at the South Hill Library. 

So, off I go to my studio.  First to set the circles into the background and then to do all the flying geese.  BFF Mary has finished all these steps already!  She is so far ahead of me.  But then, she always is.  Check out her blog to see this gorgeous quilt!

Monday, January 24, 2011


Today I woke up sporting a pompadour, a la Ace Ventura.  Even water liberally applied would not tame the mane.  Add to that the shock of seeing myself standing in front of the mirror au naturel, my 60+ year old bustline looking like something out of National Geographic, and the day wasn't exactly getting off to a good start.  So I decided that I would stay out of sight of civilization and quilt. 

This is a quilt for our Outreach program in the guild.  It was given to me to quilt by one of our members.  Now, I don't charge guild members for quilting their charity quilts, but I don't want to do 10 or 20 of them and not get something out of it besides brownie points, either.  So I would like to ask you all out there to give me some feedback:  what if I agreed to quilt someone's charity quilt if they would also bring to me their non-outreach quilt of equal or larger size to quilt for pay?  That would let me expand my customer base and still donate some of my time to charitable endeavors.  Smaller quilts can easily be quilted on one's home machine, so I think a cut off of 40" in the smallest dimension is reasonable, too.  Maybe this would encourage our members to make larger quilts.  We seem to be having a run on smaller ones.  (Our guild supplies the batting for these quilts, just in case you wondered.)  Let's hear what you have to say on my proposal.  Be honest.

While I was quilting, I put a pot of chili in the slow cooker for this evening's dinner.  Today the sight of me would have offended the finer senses of the locale.  Tomorrow it'll probably be the chili.  Maybe I should plan on staying home again tomorrow....  After all, I DO have those charity quilts to do AND my Lucinda Brodie.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


DH has gotten the hang of this garage thing now, and while I was away quilting with Mary, he was installing a great big compressor in our garage.  Why? you ask.  Because he has tools that are run by compressed air rather than electricity.  They don't need batteries.  They don't require wires running to outlets.  But they do need heavy duty air hoses.  That air has to come from somewhere, and this big green cylinder is what will supply that for him.

When a compressor runs, the rotating assembly of the cylinders on top of the compressor motor create some vibration.  This may cause the compressor to move unless it is anchored or has some method of dispersing the vibrations.  DH built these gravel filled pads to do just that.  Isn't that clever?!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, we had a good head of steam going ourselves.  We began adding the backgrounds to the stars.  Mary had four completed to my two, but I'll catch up -- some day.  The light part of the stars is shirtings, and the star fabrics are mostly reproduction fabrics, and the pinkish-coral background of the blocks is RJR's An East Wind from 2006.  Next we need to add the centers of the stars and work on the MANY flying geese! 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A-Quilting We Shall Go...

Every three months or so, quilting buddy Mary and I get together and wear each other out with marathon days of quilting until we can't hold our heads up.  This time it was my turn to go to her house.  For our project, we chose a complicated quilt called Lucinda Brodie, which we found in the Australian Patchwork & Quilting Magazine, Volume 18 Number 5, 2009.  We both fell in love with the intricacy of the quilt the minute we saw it, and we had spent several trips to various quilt stores in MD, VA and NC looking for fabric.  However, it is a testament to this same intricacy that neither of us started on it in the ensuing 9 months, so we picked it as one that needed lots of mutual support to get through the throes of initial effort.  Throes can cost you a quilt.  Throes can be so terrible that you never go back and finish the thing!  And throes often need lots of support to even get them started.  So on January 11th, I loaded up my car and descended upon my BFF, throe-ing caution to the wind.

By a few hours into the beginning of the third day, we had created six and five (hers and mine, respectively) centers for our blocks.  We did this by paper piecing them in six segments and then joining all the segments.  The original instructions called for doing them all by hand, one small piece at a time.  But that was NOT going to happen in my lifetime!  So I figured out how to join them through paper piecing, which worked very well.

We started the third day of quilting with good cheer.  (The picture of Mary, above, shows her smiling with good cheer.)  Mary is a very clever quilter.  She had a large bureau that she had inherited from her MIL and on which she had placed a Big Board ironing board, which fit perfectly!  The height was just right to save your back from aching, and believe me, after all those hours of sewing and ironing, our backs were getting pretty tired.

By the end of the third day, Mary had 8 and I had 7 centers done.  Doesn't seem like much, does it, but remember -- the first day I did only two.  The next day I did two more, and this third day I did three.  By the end of the third day, we both wanted a break big time.  Not that we weren't pleased with the centers.  It's just that that sort of work is very tedious and time consuming, and we wanted to do something that was nearly instant gratification for a change.

So we made these beach bags out of plastic mesh and gaily colored fabrics.  My fabric was a sort of Caribbean batik, and Mary's was a yummy Kaffe Fassett.  By now it was almost midnight, so we crashed for the night.  I must say, Mary's family is extremely tolerant about our obsessive sewing. We barely came out of her basement -- which is almost entirely given over to quilting and sewing areas since she is also a longarmer -- to fix meals or even go out to eat if we were too tired to fix something.

More tomorrow on subsequent progress.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


I just completed this Disappearing 9 Patch quilt, which is the design of the month for the quilts that the Lake Gaston Piecemakers Quilt Guild will be making during the month of February as part of our Outreach program.   The quilts that we make will all go to Madeline's House, a local crisis center and safe house for victims of domestic abuse.

I went to the store for this organization where they raise money by accepting donations of household items and reselling them, much like the Goodwill Industries store.  I marched up to the desk and announced that my guild was considering donating to Madeline's House if MH thought our quilts would be useful or welcome there.  I asked if I could visit the shelter and how many women and children were there.  And I was met with dead silence.

It turns out that I had committed a faux pas -- big time!  These people take the security of their shelter very seriously.  One cannot be invited to see it or even to know its address.  There are human beings there who fear for their lives and have had to abandon all they held dear just to escape an abusive environment and somehow survive.

While the lady at the desk continued to stare me down -- in a kind way -- it dawned on me that I had been horribly presumptuous.  I felt slow witted and foolish, and when I recovered my dignity somewhat, I asked to speak to someone who could discuss the shelter and its needs with me.  I was ushered into the back collecting area, where a small and very energetic lady was working.  She told me about Madeline's House and was delighted to think that we would single it out for such a warm and comforting donation.  She said, "You have to understand -- they come to us with nothing."

At that point I was almost in tears.  I promised her that we would come up with whatever number of quilts they needed to give one to every person there in February, and if possible, to continue to provide new quilts for newcomers the rest of the year.  I hadn't checked this out with the guild -- I was just so touched by their plight.  It seemed the least we could do.  And when they felt safe to leave, they could take the quilt with them as a momento of the beginning of their new life.

If there are others of you out there who would like to donate quilts or cash to Madeline's, the office number is (434)292-1077.  They need everything from toilet paper to combs, soup to nuts.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


In one of my earlier blogs, I showed you the quilt I had made for eldest grandson and told you that DH had happened to walk by my sewing room while I was ironing the top.  After his remark about what a nice quilt that was, I took the hint and created one for him out of the extra plaid triangles I had (and still have!) from grandson's quilt.

To keep it simple, I used the same quilting on it, too -- a Baptist Fan pattern that I did quickly and easily with my wonderful IntelliQuilter, which I refer to lovingly as IQ.

Within five minutes of my finishing the binding, DH absconded with his new quilt and did a "test drive" -- looks like it was a big success!

By the way, check out the backing.  It's a zebra stripe, in keeping with the downstairs great room motif:  The Lodge.

Monday, January 3, 2011


Another garage project!  This marvelous swivel chair is adjustable, solid, comfortable, and my assembly contribution to the organization of the garage yesterday.  Meanwhile, DH  put up window blinds.  He has a thing about people looking in his garage.

They are definitely an improvement.  We also had WAYYYYYY too many coolers.  I think I counted 10 of them.  We are keeping four -- two huge ones for outdoor parties ( one for beer and one for sodas), one to take with us in the boat for sunset cruises and canapes, and one for just water if desired.

DH made this storage shelf for them to get them off the garage floor.  I'm telling you -- he's really caught on to this organization thingy!  Uh oh... looks like he snuck an extra one in there UNDER that shelf!  Hmmmm.  We'll have to negotiate that.

He even went through four storage bins of hunting clothes and paraphernalia and weeded out the too-small, not-used, extra-one duplicates and packed them up to give to local hunting friends.

This picture is of the two bins of clothes and five of the extra coolers that he is giving away.  Plus some trash that didn't make it into the first load yesterday.  The big event for our weekend is taking the trash to the dump, and we always have a very full truck bed.  When you empty that, it sure gives you a sense of accomplishment!  Ahhhh -- country living at its finest!

While he was doing his sorting and packing, I was quilting in my lurkim.  Once I get the binding put on, I'll show that one to you -- maybe tomorrow.