Wednesday, March 30, 2011


These are Bali Bowls.  I love the colors and shapes of these things but am all thumbs when it comes to trying to make them on my own, so I've decided to take a class to learn the right way to do them from Wish Upon A Quilt, the quilt shop that donated all that fabric for our Disappearing 9 Patch Outreach quilts.  I love baskets and would fill my house with them if I could.

Today it is pouring outside.  Doggies have had their morning sniff and visit of backyard hot spots and have been toweled off and treated to their morning cheese tidbits.  I will be finishing my king size D9P today and starting in on the quilting.  In my lurkim, which has no windows, the brightness of the day, or lack thereof, has no significance and pales by comparison to the quilts on my frame.  Still, I can't resist sunshine on the scrunched up adorable faces of pansies. 

 I checked to see what was happening to all the bulbs I planted.  I think the squirrels and deer got them.  Not a one has come up.  I had envisioned oodles of iris and bluebells and daffodils gracing the charming stone lining the flower beds.  Alas, my efforts seem to have been in vain.  Undaunted, after this rain is over, I shall sally forth with trowel in hand and phlox in box.  After all, there's more than one way to plant a garden.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The times, they are a-changin'...

I have been bogged down in doing the taxes, or at least in collecting and collating the data, for the last week or so.  I hate doing taxes.  I'm a real procrastinator when it comes to stuff like that.  That's probably why it took me this long to finally get it together enough to hand in to the accountant.  Yes, accountant.  Anyone in business should invest in an accountant, unless, of course, you're an accountant your own "ain't-I-the-cat's-pajamas" self.  But for the rest of us who lack your skills, it's a real headache to try to figure out all the fancy stuff you need to know and keep track of for business taxes.  Ugh.

Meanwhile, we had a little run of bad luck in that the work slowdown at the body shop where DH was just recently employed caused him to be laid off.  This is very scary for a man of 60 who has never NOT worked a day in his life since he was 16.  But he was the last hired, so he's the first one out the door, alas.  He's out pounding the streets looking for a job, and to take up the slack, I am expanding my quilting studio hours to permit me to be able to take on new customers.

AND, because Longarm Diva, although meant tongue-in-cheek, is nonetheless somewhat negative in connotation, I am changing my blog site to .  I'm working on the site now and hope to have it fully prepared for publication in a few days more.  I'll put a notice up on this blog to let you all know when I cross over to the new blog.

Back at the ranch, the D9P Outreach quilts are still coming in.  The latest one by one of our guild members is this pretty little thing, below:

She quilted it simply but beautifully, and I'm sure one of the Madeline's House denizens will enjoy it tremendously.

I like this pattern so much that I am making a king size quilt for myself.  Here's a peek at my progress so far.  These panels and sashings are not connected yet, so don't worry about not matching the cornerstones for now.  Imagine it turned 90 degrees, because that's the way it will eventually lie on the bed.

I have to touch my sewing machine at least once a day in order to feel that the world is in the right place.  Not just a quick tip-of-the-finger touch, but an hours-long, lower-the-needle, pedal-to-the-medal symphony of machine, mounds of fabric, and me.

The mundane world awaits, alas....

Sunday, March 13, 2011


When I moved into my new house in EBF, Virginia, my BFF, Mary, made me a quilt, fashioned from all the scraps from the quilts she had made over the years, many of which I had watched her make and admired.  In the center of this patchwork quilt was an area embroidered with the words "A quilt stitched with the threads of love is a comforter for the soul."  This quilt sits over my stained glass book cabinet as a daily reminder of this dear friend and quilter extraordinaire and gives me great comfort when I find myself missing her and all my friends at "home."

That brings me to the guild's Outreach program results. But first, I want to share this quilt with you.

I've told you about guild member Gerry, the former nurse who is so well organized that she is making quilts for her progeny's progeny, even those as yet unborn (like 10 years down the road).  Well, Gerry has another approach to quiltmaking that is laudable:  she backs them with flannel.  And not just any flannel.  Pretty flannel.  Soft, warm, pretty flannel.

After all, we're talking about a QUILT here.  Something that is supposed to be warm and comforting.  I think flannel backed quilts are the epitome of warm and comforting.  I used to be afraid to work with flannel, but no more.  Today's fabrics are so much better made, and so much prettier, than the ones I grew up with.

Gerry's pretty D9P at the top of this blog is in autumn colors, so I quilted it with falling leaves in my pattern.  I used a variegated yellow/gold/orange thread, and it ties all those colors together nicely.

So, while you're admiring Gerry's newest quilt, let me tell you what happened with the quilts for Madeline's House last Wednesday.  I had about 18 or so of them ready, in boxes, to be delivered after the guild meeting.  Only about 4 or 5 were the D9P's we had done in February.  The others were made in other patterns and donated by the indefatigable ladies of the guild. However, during the meeting, so many more quilts came in that I had a total of 29 to give to Madeline's House!!!  Talk about loaves and fishes -- here I thought I would not have enough for all the potential residents at MH, and suddenly, providence -- and the wonderful, willing workers in our guild -- provided!  Thank you to every lady who gave her time and fabric for this wonderful endeavor.  We still have about 15 more quilts out there, I think, of the D9P pattern, and I look forward to seeing them and taking them to MH next month.

Lastly, I'll leave you with an image of the soft and cuddly flannel backing Gerry provided for her Outreach quilt.  It's a pale gold background with medium brown checking.  I just know this will bring great comfort to some soul in need at MH.  Thank you, Gerry, and thank you to all the ladies of the Lake Gaston Piecemakers Quilt Guild.  You have all been real troopers.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wonderful graphics!

Check out this marvelous bit of computer whimsy called Quilt Fever.  It is absolutely charming -- and inspiring!

Today I'm off to a guild meeting and then to Madeline's Corner, the storefront where I hand in 20 quilts for Madeline's House.  There are at least 10 more quilts out there being finished, even as we speak.  I sure wish I could see the faces of the recipients when they open these boxes filled with quilts!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Clearing out my studio

Gerry brought me this sweet baby quilt to quilt up for her as yet unborn great-granddaughter.  The backing is this wild pink printed flannel and oh so cozy.  Gerry has a plan.  She makes quilts BEFORE they are needed.  She has finished all the quilts she needs to make for her children and is almost finished the ones for her grandchildren's wedding gifts.  Now she's working on great-grandchildren.  How wise is that?!  Gerry was a nurse in her professional life.  She had to be organized.  That characteristic has certainly served her well in her quilting career, too.  If you weren't a nurse in a former life, maybe you were a Girl Scout.  They had to be organized, too.

On Wednesday I am taking the first 18 or so quilts to the people at Madeline's House.  They are all boxed up and will be loaded into my car in the next two days.  This has led to a clean up effort in my topsy turvy studio, which has suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous  mayhem as a result of harboring fabric samples and then packets of fabric squares for the Outreach program and then all these quilts that have come in.  I'm not sure I would have volunteered for Outreach Chairperson had I known how messy it would be.  But see!  My cutting table is clean again!  So is my sofa. 

Nature abhors a vacuum. 

No sooner did I create a clean space than I filled it with a new project.  I came across these luscious fabrics in JoAnn's of all places!  And I knew that I just had to make a king size quilt out of them in the D9P pattern that we all used for our Outreach quilts in February.  I love that pattern.  Here's how it looks after cutting down the middle horizontally and then vertically and reassembling after turning two of the opposing quarters:

It's much more dramatic, not to mention pretty, to have the large gorgeous print march across the quilt followed by three little dark green squares than it is to have the rust plaid (magnify the picture to see the fabrics better).  The third little square comes from the cornerstones of the sashing between the other two squares on the outside of the blocks.

So I'm going to happily work on this before the next two customer quilts come in on Wednesday.  This will be so pretty on my bed -- soon, I hope.