Monday, March 31, 2008

The Retreat

The Quilter's Heaven retreat was just that...heavenly! We had the best time, learned a different way to make a double wedding ring quilt and met wonderful women. The retreat was held at The Susquehannock Lodge

in Ulysses, Pennsylvania. We took over the lodge dining room with sewing machines, laughter and creativity. Julie and I are looking forward to the next retreat that will come sometime in the fall.

Since we knew we were not going to finish the quilt top in the time we had left after brunch yesterday, we headed home a little early. We HAD to stop at the TJ Maxx and More in Williamsport. Julie is still adding finishing touches to their beach house in Stone Harbor and The Home Store is a perfect place to find anything for home decor. I found two beautiful floral pillows that I just love for my couch

I am now giving some serious thought to tea staining the quilt on the couch to "age" it just a bit. I've never done anything like that but I am guessing that I just fill up the washing machine tub with hot water, steep some family size tea bags and then drop the quilt into the machine. I have never washed this quilt so maybe I should wash it first to get any sizing off the fabric and then do the tea stain thing. Any thoughts? Anybody think that will actually work?!?

Yikes! It's time to get ready for work. As soon as I get the quilt top from the retreat finished (this make take a while!!) I will post photos.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Back from Lancaster

I didn't intend to post again today but couldn't help myself. I just got back from Lancaster and had to share! We started with the vendor mall at the quilt show and by the time we finished we only d a little over an hour to check out the quilt display. Call me crazy but $10 just seems like too much to spend and only see about a quarter of the quilts. So...we did what all good quilters do when they have time on their hands...we went shopping at a quilt shop! We went to a shop about 3 miles from the quilt venue, Dutchland Quilt Patch. It is a Mennonite shop with incredibly good prices on lots and lots of fabric. I found more Moda Vienna Nights in their discount room so I HAD to buy it. Here's a photo of my loot both from the vendor mall and the quilt shop.
I found the Slider and Genie Magic Bobbin Washers that I really wanted. I also found a hemostat. I have no idea what we are going to do with that on retreat. Good to know that I if anyone starts bleeding uncontrollably I will be able to help out!

Anyway, I feel like a slacker because we didn't see the quilts but we usually go on a weekend, get there earlier in the day and can see everything. This was a rushed trip so I am looking forward to the show in Hershey in July. (I really do like that one better anyway.)

Off to finish packing. Again, have a great weekend!

Playing "catch up"

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter. My youngest son and oldest granddaughter were here for an extended weekend.
We went to beautiful St. Luke Episcopal Church in Lebanon for services on Sunday morning and then spent the rest of the day with family at my parent's home. We had a wonderful visit and I am so thankful that they were able to spend a few days here with me.

Today half the members of S4 are going to Lancaster for the quilt show. Knowing us, I expect we will never see any quilts besides the ones on display in the vendor venue. Honestly, with all the projects I have either started or in my head, I don't need any more inspiration but I can't resist going today...and I have an IRS refund check in the bank!!

My sister and I are leaving for our retreat on Friday. I spent last evening packing everything up into a large Rubbermaid tote which I have bungee corded (as I have said before, I make up words and phrases when necessary!) to a rolling luggage tote. I just read somewhere that I should also take my task chair since we will probably be sitting at banquet tables on folding chairs. Thank goodness there are only two of us going or we would never get everything in my SUV!

My son is a Best Buy junkie so I took him with me to pick out a new digital camera. I love my new camera! Big old viewing screen, 8 mega pixels, face detection (though I usually don't have any trouble identifying faces!) and something called "digital image stabilization" which reduces blurring. It certainly wasn't the most expensive one I looked at but comparing capabilities and options, I think I made a good choice. I am just excited to have a camera that will take decent photos! (Oh - I didn't get the red, just the basic silver...I am so boring!)

I am going to go into the office for a few hours this morning so I need to get rolling. Have a wonderful weekend!!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Quick Post

Just so y'all don't think I fell off the face of the earth...

I have been crazy busy for the past week or so. I FINALLY cleaned my apartment (the Spring cleaning kind of clean), helped my best quilty buddy, Pam, load her first quilt on the LA (yeah!!) and my baby boy and granddaughter came for Easter.

More later...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Nothing "quilty"

I got back from my visit South on Monday evening and STILL haven't touched a piece of fabric except to straighten up my studio. I did clean and oil Jenny so I am ready to go as soon as I get the energy!

I had a wonderful (but short) visit with my boys and their families. I went to St. Thomas (my former parish) for Palm Sunday service. It is always such a treat to see friends and be in a place that was such a huge part of my life when I lived in Chesapeake. My DILs both graciously gave up their husbands for a few hours on Sunday afternoon to allow me some time with my sons. I can't remember the last time I laughed that hard! We did a little shopping in "downtown" Virginia Beach. I used to work in that area and I could not believe how much it had changed since I moved away.

On the way home from Virginia, I made an impulse stop at the Pfaltzgraff store in York, PA. (I know I have mentioned my china addiction.) I love to poke around in that store, check out the clearance items and I always find something I think I need! I love their "Pistolet" collection and they had pieces on sale.
I managed to walk away with only a spoon rest. You have no idea how hard it is for me not to purchase this collection! I have to keep reminding myself that I have everyday china with 16 place settings...Not to mention my "good" china and Christmas china.

Fabric takes up so much less space...Justification!!

Friday, March 14, 2008

I am heading into the office this morning for about 4 hours then picking up my parents and we are off to Virginia. Strangely, I am sitting here at a keyboard and I am totally not ready to go ANYWHERE! I wanted to bake cookies to take with me (my boys love my Oatmeal Coconut cookies) but last night I went to have dinner with Quilty Pam. I had a really miserable day at work and I needed some good conversation, lots of laugh and some wine! Sorry, boys - no cookies for you!

I bought myself a new coffee mug. I love seasonal mugs. Amazing how a cup of morning coffee in a pretty mug makes me happy. (I really am a pretty simple woman!)

No quilting this weekend but I know where the quilt shops are in Chesapeake so I will help out their local economy. I am doing my part to help end the recession!!

Hope everyone has a great weekend. Happy National Quilting Day (3/15)!

A Give Away!

Nope...not from me, silly! Old Red Barn! Zip over and check it out.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

What's wrong with me?!

See this quilt? This was a Christmas present for my 2007...see what needs to be done? The border is completely marked. It just needs to have the border quilted and be bound. I quilted the body on the LA but it was only the 2nd quilt I had LA'd and I didn't have the confidence to do the border.

See this pile of fabric? This is for a quilt I have had in my head since I was inspired by a quilt I saw in a shop in

The problem? Why can't I just finish the Christmas shop and let the black & white squares alone? I have absolutely NO willpower. I belong to a group, Prolific Online Quilters, and there was an opportunity to join a UFO busting endeavor but I just couldn't handle the pressure...which would have ONLY been imposed by myself.

This is why I am "The Reluctant Quilter"!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Before it leaves town...

Here is the finished product - Chesapeake Blues


This is a close-up of the quilting so that you can see how pretty the threads were.

I used smoke monofilament to do the FM quilting on the border. I loosely outlined the coral and kelp shapes just to give the border some texture. All the rest of the quilting was done with the walking foot. I really love this quilt. I have an idea for another one but I need to get some WIP under control before I start yet another project.

Why is it so easy to get started and so difficult to finish?

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Quilt Along Quilt

Just a quickie post...I finished the "quilt along" quilt top about an hour ago. Because it is so large (roughly 80x65) I had to lay it out on my foyer floor. If you notice any dirt on the tile my only excuse is that off-white textured tile is hard to keep clean!

Quilt along quilt

This has been months in the making. Amanda Jean (Crazy Mom Quilts) gave instructions for a block nearly every week until 12 were completed. She also posted finishing ideas and quilting information for the quilt. Since mine was pretty far outside the norm, I completed the top a little differently than the others in the group. When it comes to the quilting, the only idea I have is to quilt vines and leaves in the pink sashing. I have no idea what I am going to do with the rest of the quilt. Suggestions would be appreciated!

What a day!

It may have been raining like crazy yesterday, but I had a terrific day! I spent the day with Julie (sister) and we had a plan to visit several quilt shops and a used furniture store that we had heard about.

The furniture store is in Ephrata which is the most darling, little town.

I would LOVE to live there. The store is packed with all kinds of furniture and has a lot of cherry and mahogany pieces. I think they get most of their stuff from estate sales. Julie was looking for a buffet for her dining room. Julie's house was built in the late 1700's and her decor in the formal rooms of the house is very traditional 18th century...lots of cherry, Queen Anne legs, etc. She found a gorgeous cherry buffet and a large, enclosed hutch for fabric storage in her sewing room. We managed to get the buffet into my SUV but she has to go back and get the other piece. I found a PINK wing chair that I am going to go back and buy this week if it is still there. (Needed a little time to think about it!)

On our way to Joann's in Lebanon, we had to go past a Mennonite quilt shop near Brickerville (way out in the boonies!). They have a lot of fabric that is from collections two and three years ago and is a great place to shop if you don't need any customer service. They carry Hoffman batiks for $5.75 a yard...I swear it's true!!

Next was Joann's and they didn't have any of the sale batting left but I did have my 40% off coupon so I got some anyway. By then I was starving so we did a quick drive thru at Mickey D's and then on to Burkholders.

By then, I was getting tired and I thought Burkholders would be a quick stop. Nope, never is! We both found fabric we wanted (notice I didn't say needed) and that stop took about an hour.

When we arrived back at Julie's the rain had pretty much stopped so we unloaded the buffet, put it in the dining room and it is perfect. (We are such good shoppers!)

I am tired just writing about our day...Probably bored you silly reading it! Hope you are having a great weekend where ever you are!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The big one is done!

I put the last stitch in Emily's quilt yesterday morning. It took me about 4 hours to hand stitch the binding but the results are worth it. Here's a photo of the quilt (Thanks to my very tall boss!) The color is a little distorted as the purples are showing up darker than they really are.

Em's quilt

The second photo is a close up of the quilting. I FM's it on the long arm. The design is just loops and hearts but I think it came out really nicely and I am very excited about giving it to my last!

close up em's quilt 2

I only need to finish hand stitching about 14" on the binding of Brian's quilt so I am only 2 labels away from the finish! I can't believe that I will have everything done and ready by this weekend and I don't leave for Virginia for another week. I am usually one of the world's greatest procrastinators. I am amazing myself!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

No rest for the wicked

OK - maybe I'm not really wicked but, for whatever the reason, I can't sleep. I can't keep my eyes open after 8:30 at night and then I wake up at 1:30 or 2:00am. Five hours just isn't enough rest and just after lunch I am dragging around. I had these weird sleeping habits before but I thought I had moved past that. Maybe I should totally give up caffeine but the headache would be unbearable.

Upside of not sleeping is that I have time to read some blogs that I would not normally get around to reading. There are some really interesting folks out in blog land!

This morning I trimmed Emily's quilt, cut binding and now I am ready to attach the binding. My sister has volunteered to hand stitch the binding down for me but I really want to do all of this myself so that I feel that I have truly made it. Now when my hands have cramped up and I can't use my thumb anymore I will totally regret having made that decision!

It's almost 4:30 and NOW I'm getting sleepy...and I have to be at work at 8. This is going to be a really long day!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

If it's not one thing...

At last, I had the time to get over to the spring house to work on Emily's quilt. Julie came down to join me and brought her son's Doberman puppy. Cute dog, bad dog. As I was quilting, the dog grabbed the bottom of the batting off the floor so I stopped, shooed away the beast and continued quilting. Then she came over, sat into the batting and stretched out a HUGE hole. I totally freaked out. My sister kind of laughed it off and said she could hand baste it back together. "People put scraps of batting together all the time", she said. I'm thinking, "Yeah, on a table runner or wall hanging maybe but NOT ON MY GRANDDAUGHTER'S BED QUILT!" I managed to maintain a decent tone and said that I didn't know how that would work for something that was going to be washed repeatedly. But, it IS my sister's LA and she lets me use it whenever it isn't loaded so I have to be polite. So, the first pass (top to bottom across the quilt) was done, I rolled it forward on the frame to start the next pass and Julie started stitching the batting together. I went to the other side of the frame and sat down in the chair to wait. And then I noticed something...the tension on the thread was totally off and there were small loops all the way across the quilt. Now the whole freaking thing had to be ripped. OK, deep breath. Julie then suggested that we rip out the stitches and since it it was going to be taken apart anyway, why didn't we just load fresh batting? YES, YES, YES! I finished ripping out the stitches and had dinner plans so I didn't reload batting but that is my plan for today. And if that dog comes down to the spring house, my head will explode!

On a happier note, we hit the Fat Quarter Frenzy yesterday morning and here is a portion of my loot.
Pam couldn't go with us so I gave her another 7 that I had picked out thinking she might like. After Julie and I made our choices (25 FQs) from the large "selected" group of fat quarters, they bagged them up and then you could choose any fat quarter in the shop for a dollar. Such a deal!...especially on batiks that are always more expensive. Notice all the purples? Don't ask me why. I think that purple is so yummy but I would never use it in my home. Thankfully, my mother loves shades of purple so I chose those to use in the wedding ring wall hanging we are making on retreat. I will give it to her for her birthday. Yeah, gifts! Another way to feed the addiction and feel good about it!!

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