Showing posts from 2011

Friday Finish

These items have actually been finished for a couple of weeks, but since my stitching time has been limited this month, I have nothing else to show.  The pincushion and scissors fob were made for my sampler guild's exchange from Blackbird Designs Wild Lilies pattern.  They're sitting on a square made by my grandmother who crocheted and did tatting.  I own three pieces of linen from her and they have  a  special story that I'll save for another post.

This seems to be the season of finishes or milestones in our lives.  My daughter turned 20 on Wednesday and that marked the end of having teenagers in the house.  My husband is the one with the big "finish" as he will be officially retired on December 31.  We've been thinking about this and planning for it for at least 18 months, but the transition has not been without its bittersweet moments.  My husband and I are of a generation who  spend their entire careers with one company.  He has worked in the transportat…

Picnic Day

Nineteen years ago today we moved into our current house.  As in other situations of great trauma and/or drama, so many details of that day are etched into my mind. 

The move was precipitated by the birth of our daughter, our third child.  We were rapidly outgrowing our contemporary style two-bedroom with a loft house.  So in August of 1992, we put the house on the market and began our search for another home.  We found the house we are now living in pretty quickly and for a few days, it looked as if the seller would buy our house.  (I remember spending the night of my 39th birthday on my hands and knees scrubbing the kitchen floor so it was clean for the showing the next morning.) However, the seller was going through a contentious divorce and the husband didn't really want to sell.  So he refused our offer which also meant the wife wouldn't be able to buy our home and we kept looking.  Every other house paled in comparison to the one we originally wanted.  Finally, we offe…

Time is Running Out!

Although I don't post about it often, I read a lot.  A lot, as in 138 books and counting this year.  It helps that I like to listen to audio books.  Since I read for pleasure, much of this material doesn't require deep thought and therefore, I don't burden you with my reviews.  In case you're really curous about what I'm reading, you can check out the Goodreads link in the sidebar. 

If there's one thing I have more of than cross stitch charts, it's books.  I'm taking the Off the Shelf challenge sponsored by Bookish Ardour and committing to reading 50 of the books that are already on my shelves.  That will only make a small dent in the pile, but it's a start.  If you want to take the challenge, too, the sign-up is open until the last two weeks of December.

A Preview

I've been working on some smalls for my sampler guild's exchange next Saturday.  Can't show you any more than this, but trI'm pretty close to finishing.  I got slowed down by a little "reverse stitching", but I'm back on track to have the pieces assembled this weekend. 

The smalls exchange is an annual event at my guild and is a lot of fun. Participation is voluntary and even if someone doesn't bring a stitched piece, she can still ooh and aah over what others have done.  We've expanded the event a bit in the last year or two to include appetizers and desserts (which reminds me that I signed up to bring a dessert and we're going out to dinner the night bfore--guess I'll have to plan ahead!).

After the meeting, I'm planning to meet a friend so we can see the embroidery exhibit at Winterthur in Delaware.  Should be a fun stitching day!

Friday Finish

Here's one of the quilts I took to the long-armer last summer.  As yet, it has no name.  This quilt was one of the projects from my monthly "scrap club" and I did indeed use some of the black and white prints in my stash.  The block is made with an X-block ruler.  In the case of this pattern, I made a nine patch and then placed the ruler so that the outside patches would be cut at an angle.  Those pieces were used in the border.  The whole time I was making the blocks, I thought about how to put a little color in the quilt.  My choices were running to lime green or yellow as I don't tend to like the red/black/white quilts I've seen.  Then I spotted this perfect red and black print and it all came together.  Good thing, as I wasn't loving this quilt in its pre-border stage.  Now it's a family favorite.  It resides on the back of our couch and each of the kids tried to make off with it when they were home for Thanksgiving.  And don't you think the long…

Small Business Saturday

Have you heard about Small Business Saturday?  I hadn't until I saw it on the website of my local quilt store.  I'm planning to support the economy a little there today.  I haven't bought any quilt fabric in over two months as I've been trying to use my considerable stash.  However, I need some backing fabric and if I can find what I need on the sale shelves, both the store and I will benefit from Small Business Saturday.

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Today is one of my favorite days of the year.  It's Black Friday and I'm not out shopping.  We live approximately three miles from the largest mall on the East Coast.  Said mall sits at the intersection of the PA Turnpike and two other major roads, one running north/south and the other running west. You can imagine the traffic.  We rarely venture out of our neighborhood on Black Friday.  Being "forced" to stay at home makes it feel like a snow day and I always get so much accomplished by staying in the house.  I'm looking forward to some extra stitching time and finally getting started on the exchange piece for my sampler guild's meeting on December 10.

I'm a purist. I love Christmas, but not a single note of a holiday song or a Christmas decoration of any kind is allowed in my house until the day after Thanksgiving. We put the decorations up on the first Sunday in Advent and leave them up until Epiphany (January 6). I love the lights, the music, the …

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you in the US!  May you have a wonderful time with family and friends and celebrate all your blessings.

WIP Wednesday

Grace Mason (Of Female Worth) is coming along. My hope was to finish this by the end of October, but as usual, I underestimated the amount of stitching and overestimated my stitching time.  I should be able to make some major progress on this over the long Thanksgiving weekend and I'm pushing for a finish by the end of the year.

Aaaah. . .

That's the big sigh you may have heard from me as I eased into the weekend.  This is the first weekend all fall that did not include traveling (can't really count the weekend of the snow storm as we were supposed to have gone to a cross country meet that Saturday).  My house is also breathing a sigh of relief since it's been cleaned and my husband is thankful that I actually cooked a meal tonight.  It's the little things, you know. 

So now the dishes have been washed, the laundry has been folded and put away and I've even done some ironing.  Time to settle down at the sewing machine for a bit and make two more of these blocks.  Then I can assemble the twenty completed blocks into a top.  The pattern is Sweet Sixteen although I can't recall at the moment who designed it.  I got the fabrics in a kit awhile back and as I'm trying to use what's already in my stash, it seemed like a good candidate for  a leader/ender,  Except that when I got everything cut …

Stay Tuned

I haven't abandoned blogland, but I've continued to be really busy at work and with my children.  I spent last Sunday on the road to visit my son at  his college (as if we haven't seen enough of him during cross country meets this fall) so we could discuss his next steps after graduation.  This past weekend, I went to my sampler guild meeting on Saturday morning and then headed to my daughter's college to hear her play in her jazz band concert  Saturday night.  Although she had a major paper due today, she took some time to have breakfast with me yesterday and we had a wonderful time talking about, among other things,  the possibility of her studying abroad next year.  The weather was lovely and the drive back went smoothly, but by the time I arrived home and took care of a few things here, we were out of of daylight.  Therefore, I don't have any pictures of my current work.  I've been plugging away on Grace Mason and binding quilts, so as soon as I'm home…

Playing Hooky

Tonight is my "scrap club" meeting at the LQS and I'm at home.  My friend who attended last month's session (which I missed due to my oral surgery) showed me the project for this month and I wasn't thrilled with it.  It's raining, I worked late and Miami is playing the University of Virginia tonight.  All good reasons to stay in and either work on Grace Mason or the binding of one of the seven quilts I got back from the longarmer at the beginning of October.  Maybe both.
I've been absent from blogland for a couple of reasons.  I've been working late a few days a week and our weekends have been taken up with my son's cross country meets.   I love being able to attend his meets, but since they are often held at places two or more hours away I'm not getting much done around the house.  And I'm getting even less quilting and stitching done.  My son's a college senior so our 8-year stint with cross country comes to an end on Saturday when …

Friday Finish


WIP Wednesday

So I'm a day late posting this according to the title.  I got my quilts back from the longarmer yesterday and sat down to sew some of the binding on one during the Phillies game.  Then I went on to working on Grace Mason and never got this post written.  I had to abandon Grace and all other stitching for a week since I had some oral surgery last Thursday and wasn't supposed to bend my head.  I won't bore you with the details, but the surgery was in preparation for getting braces to correct the effects of dental work done when I was 6 or 7 years old.  The recovery has been a little rocky, all the more so since I couldn't stitch, but I am feeling better each day.  When I left Grace last Wednesday, I was in the process of finding my counting error on the vine band.  Couldn't see it for the life of me, but with a new approach last night I found it and corrected it.  In the process I found one or two other areas that need frogging, but those should be easily restitched…

Easier Than One Would Think

When I went to the quilt show at Oaks, PA in September, I was able to do a tour of the vendors on Saturday and make notes about things I might want to purchase.  One of the things that caught my eye was a cute wall hanging with snowmen.  The same wall hanging had caught my eye at the show last year, except that it was done with pumpkins.  I bought the pattern and the fat quarters then and of course, let it sit in my stash.  The reason was the mitered corner. I just didn't have confidence in my ability to piece it.  I really liked those snowmen but I wasn't going to buy them unless I could make the block.  I had some time on Sunday morning before I went back to the show so I did a mock-up with muslin and the piecing went fairly well.  I learned from my trial that I would have done a better job if I had marked where to stop sewing on the side strips.  I did that with the real block yesterday and got a perfect miter.  I was so happy with how my block turned out that I made four …

Sleeping through the Storm

As you know, I try to keep this blog stitching related, but once in awhile I feel the need to tell about other parts of my life.  For the past six months, I've had a heavy heart as I learned that my cousin, Linda, was dying of melanoma.  She wasn't a cousin I was particularly close to when we were growing up although she and her family lived just twelve miles from us.  My father came from a family of 11 so I had 20 cousins on that side of the family (and none on my mother's side as neither of her two sisters married).  Because there were so many of us, we tended to break off into age groups and since Linda was five years younger than me, she was with my sisters more often.  But I got to know her better as her illness progressed and she and her wonderful friends posted on her journal at CaringBridge.  It was great to learn about her strong spirit and faith, her love for her favorite sports teams and players and her sense of adventure.  She left out the parts about her suffe…

Friday Finish

I'm introducing what I hope will be a fairly regular feature of this blog, the Friday Finish.

Here's a recent quilting finish, a project for my "Scrap Club" class.  We focused on applique for a few months and used a book that had lovely patterns for "toppers" for quilts and banners.  For once, I decided to start much smaller and made a placemat.  All the pieces were done with double-sided fusible interfacing even though we were encouragd to do at least one piece with freezer paper.  I felt it was better to stick with one method at a time!  I used my machine to stitch a blanket stitch around all of the pieces except the "string" on the balloon (which is in kind of a weird position, but I can live with it).  The string is zig-zagged.  I drew some stars on the background to add extra quilting there.  I had hoped to finish this one in time for my husband's big birthday, but missed that deadline.  I also missed my birthday.  Looks like me daughter…

Lightening Up

When it rains heavily, we get some water in our basement.  Not a lot, fortunately.  It seems to come from the foundation in a corner of the laundry room and follows a predictable path along the ironing board and under my cutting table to puddle at the side of the refrigerator.  I've learned to keep my stash of fabrics and bags of projects in plastic tubs to keep everything safe.  When heavier rains are predicted as in Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, I take the extra precaution of moving everything out of the path of the water stream.  During the past two storms it became abundantly clear to me that I have More. Than. Enough. fabric and many quilting projects in the works. 

Having so many WIPs weighs me down at times and I decided it was time to finish up one or two of them.  Here's  the first one.  This table runner was a kit I bought at a quilt show when they were still being held in Fort Washington, PA.  Ten years ago, maybe?  At the time, I wasn't a quilter, b…

Friday Night Sew-In

We're not even through this weekend yet and I'm already planning for the next one.  Good things are coming up--the Pennsylvania National Quilt Show in Oaks, watching my son run cross-country during his university's homecoming weekend, and spending some time stitching while Miami plays Ohio State.  I haven't even mentioned the Friday Night Sew-In.  You can sign up here and join the fun.

Measi sent a correction to my last post about WIPocalypse.  She's going to accept sign-ups through the first few months of 2012, so start thinking about which WIPs you'll finish next year.

I promise the next post will contain actual pictures of my projects!

Wish I'd Thought of This

Measi is hosting WIPocalypse in 2012.   I'm in on this and you can be too if you go to her blog and sign up by September 30.  It sounds like a lot of a fun and a great way to finish up some of those UFOs.

My Work-in-Progress

 I've been working on Grace Mason (Of Female Worth) for the last couple of weeks.  Grace has been a WIP for quite some time.  I remember that it was the first piece I picked up after my mother's funeral four years ago and that turned out to be so appropriate.  There will be a verse from the "virtuous woman" section of Proverbs centered on the lower half of the sampler.  That passage was the one the minister used as the basis for his sermon at Mom's funeral.  I also remember stitching some of the border as I sat with my then 90-year old aunt three years ago and listened as she wrestled with having to give up her apartment and her independence and move into assisted living. I was originally attracted to the sampler because of the colors and because of the Scottish style (my husband's family was originally from Scotland).

I think now it's time to finish this one and I've been enjoying it.  It has a variety of stitches including four-sided, double ru…

Time Flies

I was pretty surprised to see that I haven't posted for almost two weeks. In the interim between the last post and this one, I've packed up and sent two children off to college, weathered an earthquake and a hurricane, and returned to work. Luckily, I didn't even feel the earthquake and we were only minimally affected by Hurricane Irene as it blew up the eastern seaboard. Both college moves went off without a hitch except for forgetting a cable for my son's new TV and having to make a quick run to Target. Returning to work was my least favorite of all these events, but not nearly as much of a shock to my system as I thought it would be. I've managed to leave behind my leisurely mornings and make it out the door around 7:30. Once the students get back next week I'm sure I'll enjoy it more, but right now, it's really boring sitting through endless rounds of meetings (some of which I conducted myself!) and hauling out the classroom materials from cu…

Moo (A C.O.W.* post)

*Cranky Old Woman (a la Nancy)

I placed an order for a single item with a well-known on-line needlework shop earlier this summer. The item was back-ordered which was OK with me. A package from the store showed up about four weeks later, but when I opened it, the contents were not my order and the sale slip had someone else's name on it. I called the store and told them about the error. The response was "How did that happen?" and then I was asked to return the package to them. A few days later, I got a call from the store and was asked for my address. I did return the package the next day, at my own expense during an extra trip to the post office. About two weeks later, I finally received the item I wanted after yet another phone call to the store to check on whether the package was on its way (it had gone out in that day's mail). In the meantime, my credit card had been charged.

Why am I cranky? Because the shop made no effort to thank me for returning the incorrect o…

Mother and Child Reunion

No, I'm not channeling my inner Paul Simon, but I am celebrating the return of my middle child. He was last seen snaking his way through the security line at the Philadelphia airport early on the morning of June 9 on his way to a summer research project in the Colorado Rockies. He was in a rather remote location with an elevation of 9500 feet and cell towers are few and far between out there. He communicated by e-mail sporadically as the internet was not terribly reliable and he called about every two weeks when he went to the nearest town. Let me tell you that ten weeks is a loooong time to go without regular contact. Even at 1:30 this morning, he was a welcome sight! (Not so much the large duffel and backpack full of dirty clothes). Now it's time to get him to the dentist and the barber (the beard has got to go!) before he heads back to college for his senior year on Monday. In the meantime, my older son will come home and the whole family will be together for the first tim…

Aged to Perfection

That's the saying on the sign that my daughter hung when my husband turned 60 (60!) a few weeks ago. The sign stayed up for my birthday last Saturday. I don't know about the "perfection" part, but I certainly as getting more aged by the minute.

In years past, I've started a new project on my birthday. But you've all seen the list of my WIPs, so you know I can't justify a new start. I saw Robin working on this Lizzie Kate chart, The ABCs of Aging Artfully, during our guild meeting on Saturday. Since I already had it in progress, I pulled it out and put some more stitches in it. The plan is to do a letter per day--that's the plan anyway. I'm thinking that it will be made into a pillow to put on my rocking chair.


I've been whiling away the summer and suddenly it's crunch time! My sampler guild is having an ornament finishing class on Saturday and I need to have a finished ornament. Here's my progress so far on Joy by Angel Stitching. It was in the JCS ornament issue in 2006. This one will go to my niece, but do you think I'll actually get three more done for my own children without a deadline hanging over me?One of the long-arm quilters I've used is having a sale that ends this weekend. The deal is that when I bring in at least three pillowcases to be donated to ConKerr Cancer, I will get 20% off on quilting. No limit on the number of quilts. I have six tops done so far (two of these were done last summer when this same quilter had a 3-for-2 special--didn't get the third one done and the other two never got quilted). If I can get this block pieced together with 34 of its friends, and add three borders by Friday morning, I'll be able to take a seventh quilt. This blo…

A Small Update

It's been a few weeks since I've posted and there is absolutely no reason for that except that I am having the laziest summer on record. As you know, I was thrown for a loop with my change in job assignment in the past year. My husband and I took full advantage of being empty nesters and filled our weekends with activities and short trips. It was a busy year. So I've been happy to stay close to home this summer and recover. I've been reading a lot, doing some heavy cleaning and ruthless decluttering along with some stitching and lots of quilting.

I've taken the time to do some experimenting with a ruler to make flying geese (Deb Tucker's Wing Clipper--no affiliation, just the ruler I chose to buy at a quilt show). These geese finished at 1x1.5" and were made from scraps from a project that is nearly pieced. I'll be taking a class in the fall that has flying geese in the pattern so I wanted to be sure I remembered how to use the ruler.

These small squar…

Sew Productive

Last week, the friend who got me started on quilting suggested that we get together. Usually, we meet for breakfast or go on a shopping expedition. This time she came over to my house and we spent the day sewing. I worked on blocks for my Shoo Fly quilt and have them all completed. Just have to work on the layout and sew them together.

My friend and I set up our machines at my kitchen table, but I didn't want to move my ironing board up from my laundry room/sewing area. A glance at the sewing area was enough to make me do a clean-up! While I was at it, I decided to finish off two quilt tops.

This one was made from an All About Color jelly roll. As I mentioned in another post, I'm trying to learn something from each quilt. From this one, I learned to read the directions and then read them again. A local quilt shop had made this quilt and I was so excited to get their last jelly roll so I could make it also. I sewed combinations of three strips and then started cutting. Except t…

I Won!

Here are some of the fabrics I won in a giveaway from Nancy at Patchwork Penguin. Since I rarely win anything, it was a very pleasant surprise to find this box on my doorstep yesterday. I'll be using the fabrics to make some charity quilts and including some of them in scrappy projects. Thanks, Nancy, for being so generous!

May I Present

Jane Longstreth! Jane* has been a work-in-progress since 2005 or so and I finally put the last stitches in her during the June 17 Friday Night Sew-in. We've had our ups and downs along the way, including frogging of some of the over-one verse and restitching the basket twice (miscounting) as well as the lower left border (again because I cannot count). Those over-one flowers on 36-count are tiny! But the stem-stitched leaves caused the most anxiety and kept me from working on this piece for quite some time. Those leaves got ripped out a time or two, but I think they are passable. One of the other things that was hard for me about this sampler is that the motifs are not always symmetrical. I had to let some of my sense of order go! I'm so glad I persevered.

*A little history about the sampler: Jane Longstreth is one of a group of well-known pieces from Chester County, Pennsylvania. Jane was the youngest of seven children and she stitched this sampler when she was 14. The origin…

There's Still Time

You can still sign up for Friday Night Sew-In here. I'm planning for a finish or two tonight. Jane Longstreth is soooo close to being done and I have a quilt that just needs three outer borders to be completed so perhaps I'll have a couple of pictures for you tomorrow.

Unearth Day, 2011

I clean out my needlework closet once a year on a carefully chosen day. It's a task that has to be done when I have the entire day free and when there are no other family members around. I simply refuse to let anyone else see the extent of my stash (not even you, my readers, and thus, the picture of the backhoe).

This past Monday was the day for the 2011 clean out. My husband was playing in golf tournament at a course 45 minutes away from our house. Our two college-age children were out of the state on their summer adventures. Let Unearth Day begin!

However, the day did not start as planned. I'm a morning person and even though it was my first weekday off from work for the summer, I was up and going at 6:00. I was more than ready to dive into the closet by 9:00, but my husband was taking his sweet old time getting out of the house. I thought he'd never leave! Eventually, I had the house to myself and pulled everything out of the closet, dusted shelves and scrubbed the floor.…

Bound and Determined

Early on when I began quilting, I finished piecing and doing simple machine quilting of the stitch-in-the-ditch variety on some projects. Then I followed the instructions in a quilting book and successfully made the binding for them. Must have been beginner's luck because for the life of me, I couldn't do it again when it came to completing this snowman wall hanging. I fussed and fussed with it and couldn't get the angle right for sewing the two ends of the binding together. I even bought a special ruler at a quilt show that was supposed to give me a perfect angle and I couldn't figure it out with that. It was beginning to get in the way of my quilting enjoyment and making me avoid quilting. Finally, I took my problems to the owner of my LQS and she walked me through the steps again. Voila! Perfect binding! This cute little guy was a paper piecing project. (Have I mentioned that I really enjoy paper piecing?). He was to have been completed in January for Nancy's U…


The sampler guild I belong to has a semi-annual retreat in Ocean City, Maryland, about a 3-hour drive from my home. I haven't been able to go in the past since in October and May I've been busy with the kids' sports or end of the school year activities. Now that our two younger children are in college, I've been freed from some of those responsibilities and I was finally able to join the group last weekend.

I left mid-morning last Friday and after a stop to pick up the person who would be sharing the hotel room with me, arrived in Ocean City around 1:00. I really had no idea of what to expect from the retreat, but it was an absolutely lovely way to spend a weekend. No worries about food, cleaning, kids, etc. Just lots of stitching either in the rocking chairs on the porch with a view of the ocean or in the well-lit lobby of the Lankford Hotel. And of course, shopping in the shop, Salty Yarns, that is right next door (no affiliation with either the hotel or the shop). N…

I'm Back!

I've finally returned to Blogland. I certainly didn't intend to be away so long, but my work life gets hectic this time of year.

I had a wonderful (and much needed) break the week before Easter. My husband and I had tossed around ideas for a short trip to various warm locations, but nothing seemed right. I had myself geared up to stay at home and tackle a couple of projects around the house and do some stitching/quilting. Then, about a month before the break, my 92-year old aunt was moved from assisted living to the nursing home in the retirement center she lives in. She's the only remaining link to my mother's family and she has no children of her own. My husband and I decided a trip to Colorado was in order. Our plan was to make visits to the nursing home in the morning and afternoon and then re-visit some favorite spots during the day. (My parents also lived in Colorado after my mother retired and we took many vacations there.)

Our first stop was Jamako Joes',…

It's Just Fabric

Last fall, I decided to join the "Scrap Happy" club at my local quilt shop. It was to start in January and sessions are scheduled on the last Thursday of the month. I checked the store's website for a supply list a few times in December and didn't find one. I didn't think anything of it since the class description said we would be getting tips for organizing our scraps and making small projects out of them.

Then--surprise!--a few days before the first session, I thought to check again and found out that we were to have a pattern book and fabric ready to go for a full-size quilt. At the time, we were having some crummy weather and getting out was difficult. In fact, we had a snow day on the day of the first session. So, in the "scrappy" spirt of the class, I looked at my stash and took a bundle of fat quarters from the Frolic line of with me to class. I had splurged on the bundle last fall at the quilt show in Oaks just because I liked it. Twelve of thos…

Pack Your Bags

I'm finally getting around to posting pictures of the quilt I made for my daughter for Christmas. This one was finished in November after I put in a solid day of shop-hopping and I took it to the longarm quilter the very next day. The pattern is Check It Out from Pressed for Time patterns. This is the second time I've used the pattern. It's a fun and easy one. The inspiration came from a bundle of fat quarters I chose because of the Eiffel tower fabric. I later found yardage of that and used it in the border. I think its' a Michael Miller fabric. My daughter took French in high school and got to go to France on a school trip (I haven't been yet. . .) so I thought this would evoke some nice memories for her. As I mentioned in my post about the Boy Scout quilt, I'm trying to learn something new with each project. For this one I learned that it's OK to dive into your stash and include a fabric that wasn't in the fat quarter bundle. I didn't think ther…

Woodlawn Needlework Show

As some of you may know, the Woodlawn Plantation in Alexandria, Virginia is the site of an annual needlework show. A local group, Nellie's Needlers, organizes the show each March. Although I have submitted pieces in each of the last three years, I have only been able to attend once in that time. Now that my daughter conveniently goes to college in DC, I decided that taking her back to school after spring break would be a perfect time to see the show and enjoy a weekend break. So we set off much earlier on a Saturday morning than my daughter would have liked. We had only one small glitch on the trip when someone misread the directions, which was fixed by using the GPS on her iPhone and we arrived safely. (Note to self: Must stop being so cheap and get a smartphone.) My daughter is not a needleworker, so she wasn't impressed by the show. She did enjoy looking at the furniture in the house. I, on the other hand, was enthralled by all the lovely stitching and so happy to see tha…