Thursday, October 27, 2011

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 he runs his last race.  So for now, all I have to show is one of the blocks from the 2010 Thimbleberries BOM.  I'm slowly catching up with these although I won't meet my goal of completing the entire quilt this year.  I'm definitely OK with that, but I am looking forward to life slowing down a bit in the next few weeks.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Friday Finish

Peace Comfort Quilt

I finally finished this quilt a few weeks ago and donated it to my quilt guild to give as a comfort quilt.  I made this quilt "pillow style."  That is, I sewed the front and back right sides together along with the batting and turned it rather than binding it.  That sounds easier than it was for me.  I had all kinds of problems measuring the backing and batting correctly and as a result this quilt sat in my WIP pile for quite a while.  To quilt it, I used one of the decorative stitches on my machine and stitched little half circles along the seams.  It turned out OK, but it's not my best work by any means.  I learned some things about machine quilting and keeping the back smooth.  I think it would have been easier to quilt if I had planned to do a binding on the edge. 

Thanks to all of you for your well wishes.  I'm getting better each day and have been assured that I will be happy someday that I had the oral surgery.  But I have to say I'm reaaally looking forward to eating something that isn't soft, white or yellow.  Applesauce, scrambled eggs and Greek yogurt can only take you so far.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

WIP Wednesday

Grace Mason as of 9-28-11
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 tonight.  I'm still loving the colors in this piece!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

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 more of them after I took this photo.  Honestly, the hardest part was fussy cutting the fabric to get the pumpkin (more or less) centered.   As Sandy says, sometimes you just have to get over yourself and do it!  (And yes, I did buy the snowmen fat quarters).

Monday, October 3, 2011

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 suffering, but I know it was there until she finally, peacefully passed away about a week ago.

I went for a walk during the morning after I was notified of her death.  I happened to be listening to Mitch Albom's Have a Little Faith.  That kind of book is not normally my thing as I usually find the writing sentimental and the thoughts oversimpliflied.  However, as soon as my walk began, I was listening to an anecdote in the book about a farmer who is looking for a new farmhand.  A man is recommended to him as someone who can sleep through the storm.  The farmer doesn't know what this means, but hires him anyway.  That night, a storm rages and the farmer rushes out to the barn to check on things.  He finds the farmhand sleeping and when he wakes him, he asks if he has taken care of the animals and the fields.  Of course, all those things had been done and the farmhand was able to sleep through the storm because he had taken care of what was important.  My cousin worked until the very last week of her life to take care of some things that were important to her and she was able to die rejoicing.  As we all do at times like these, I have been re-evaluating my priorities and asking whether I have been making time for the things that are important.  Thanks, Linda, for teaching all of your family one final lesson.