Wednesday, April 30, 2014

OMG More Quilting

Another quilting in progress photo showing Kathy's amazing quilting.

The more I see, the more in awe of her skill I am... the swirls and feathers and McTavishing and everything... working in such small spaces... and always finding a way in and out of tight places ... just awesome!!!  I am just so anxious to see it all done!  But I have to wait til August, as it is going into a quilt show in Plano, Texas in mid-August.

I am thinking about driving or flying out to see the show and picking up the quilt myself after the show.. Obviously, I can't drive out there alone - too much driving, but maybe a friend or two will come along.  If I fly, my husband might come with me, since he won't have to miss any work if we leave on Friday evening, see the show and pick up the quilt on Saturday, and fly back on Sunday.  We'll see if either of these ideas will work out.

Too many quilt things coming up!  Central Coast Quilt Run the beginning of June, So Calif. Quilt Run (part of it) the 3rd weekend in June, Quilt show in Midway, UT the last weekend in June, Ventura County Fair (quilts due in July, show in early August), Plano, TX quilt show mid-August... Not to mention my anniversary and birthday in the first half of August as well... it's almost too much to contemplate... I will be exhausted by the end of August.  I'll need a vacation from all this recreation!

Then in September we will be gearing up for my guild's quilt show in October.  I'm glad I didn't sign up to be on the committee this year.  That is IF we even HAVE a quilt show this year.  I hear that we don't have many vendors signed up yet because there is a big quilt show in Palm Springs or Palm Desert that same weekend... that would really be sad if we had to cancel our show for lack of vendors, but the show is where our guild gets much of our income for the year to pay for our speakers, workshops and such.

October is the guild show, November is the fall retreat... it just doesn't end does it?

I am so looking forward to all of it though!  I have another month's respite from the hectic chaos of the summer - May looks like it will be a quiet month at least.

Monday, April 28, 2014

More Woodland Creatures Quilting

I heard from my quilter, Kathy Bradbury, again today.  She is making incredible progress on the quilt, and it looks amazing!!!  I am so thrilled.

Unfortunately, she pointed out to me that I missed sewing down with my blanket stitch three leaves... I hope I can sew them down when I get the quilt back!

Anyway the progress is amazing.
This is the robin block with feathers and McTavishing to fill in the spaces... I just love the texturing of it all.
And the squirrel block - one of my favorite blocks because i just LOVE squirrels... and Kathy has done it so well, I am in awe!

She wants to put the quilt in a show in Plano, TX in August, and I have said okay to that.  I'm sure it will do well in the show, simply because of the quilting... As much as I'd like to have the quilt back for the local County Fair, that just isn't going to work - the timing isn't right... but I should have it back in time for my guild's biennial show in October.  Maybe even in time for Road to California if they will take it.  We'll see.

Today, I am off to look at a house with my husband... we are still looking for a place to retire to.. and this is a nice city, not too close to the beach (sad face) but close enough to get the marine weather, which means a bit cooler than where we live now.  The house already has an offer in on it which has been accepted, but I guess there are contingencies because they are taking back-up offers.

Got to run... 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Woodland Creatures Top Border quilted

The top border is all quilted... I'm SO thrilled with it so far... Can't wait to see more as it progresses... But oh, all that cat hair that wouldn't come off with the roller... I'm so embarrassed by it all... I hope i can get it off later... but some of it is gonna get quilted into the quilt and nothing I can do about that.

Hooray for Kathy Bradbury for the amazing quilting! 

I just have chills watching the progress!!!

Meanwhile, I have 6 quilts languishing for lack of bindings... and I'm stymied by being away from home and unable to work on them... But I'll be able to start on them tomorrow or Monday, time allowing.  But OH, to find the right fabrics to bind with... always a quandary for me... I mean binding is just functional and all, but it does 'finish' the quilt and needs to be the right color, right fabric, everything has to work together.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Woodland Creatures in the works

Kathy shared with me a little teaser of her beautiful quilting on Woodland Creatures... It is starting to look amazing! 

Woodland Creatures quilting in progress
I am SO itching to get my hands on the finished quilt!  It is gorgeous so far!  I can't wait to see it all done!  I even have the label already made and ready to go on.

On a completely other subject, I can't believe the sudden surge in the price of Aurifil thread... it just jumped up about $2 a spool... last time I bought Aurifil at full price it was $10.95 a spool, and suddenly its $13 a spool... at least.  and it's gone up from $8.75 to $10.45 online at the discount site I have always used... OUCH.  I knew the price of cotton had gone up, but REALLY?  This much so quickly??? YUCK!!!

I am still committed to Aurifil for the quality but I will perhaps be less wasteful of thread in the future!   There are lots of little ways to save thread, and I will be using them for sure!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Six Finishes...

Yes, Six...

I have six newly finished (well, almost) quilts.  They are quilted and trimmed, and ready for labels and binding.  I've made the labels, just need to attach them and two of them need hanging sleeves.  I know that sounds like a lot, and it kind of is, but when the bindings are on, I probably won't be re-photographing them, so here they are:
 Neighbors was made as a mystery quilt-along on a website/blog several years ago.  I no longer recall the name of the designer/blog or website, but it was fun to make, and I put cats in every house (the barn has cows and an owl, no cats).

Persian Fantasy
All Hallow's
 Persian Fantasy is a Hidden Wells quilt with the colors inspired by the Persian-themed multicoloured toile that I used in the border as well as in the body of the quilt.

All Hallow's is a Halloween themed Hidden Wells quilt with my favorite colors - purple green and orange.

Santa Fe is another Hidden Wells quilt with a southwestern look.

Santa Fe
Autumn Joy
 Autumn Joy is a block of the month that I did last year.
Cosmic Rainbow
Cosmic Rainbow is a broken star that I made in Jan Krentz' Le Moyne Star class I took while on a Caribbean cruise a couple of years ago... loads of fun to make and the cruise was fun too!  I have no idea how I'm gonna bind this one, but I'm out of the blue used in for the background, so that's out as a choice. 

Almost too many finishes all at once... I'm overwhelmed with the idea of how much handwork is ahead of me!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Quilting the Monster...

So this is the quilt...again...  and now I can reveal the name of the quilter who is going to make it marvelous.  Her name is Kathy Bradbury of Bear Paw Machine Quilting... and you can see examples of her marvelous quilting at her gallery. 

I was just amazed at her artistry, expecially working with applique and I have entrusted this work to her to complete as an heirloom. She is putting it on her frame today, Monday the 21st of April, and I am simply over the moon with excitement to see it!

Today I am trimming six quilts that are finally quilted so that I can make labels, sleeves and binding and get them done.  Pan, my quilt-loving cat keeps getting in the way, so the trimming is going slowly... she likes to burrow under the quilts while I'm trimming, and I'm never sure where her tail is... I'm not gonna cut anything with the possibility of a cat tail under the rotary cutter!  Well, right this minute, she's off the quilt, so I'm going back to trimming...

Have a great day!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Back From Retreat

My four day retreat at the beach is over...

I'm bummed that it's over but so refreshed and happy that it happened.  I worked hard, played hard, napped hard and got all five things on my 'to do' list accomplished.  I watched a movie, chatted with friends... a lot... slept.. a lot.. read... enjoyed the sounds of the ocean, the sights of dolphins swimming by, the seagulls tapping on the windowpanes.. it was all heavenly.

No, that's not me... I don't know who it is... someone else at retreat brought back this photo, so I thought I'd post it...  It looks so fun and playful - just like I felt on retreat.

Anyway... Now I have a tough task ahead of me for tonight.  I have a bunch of navy blue strips for binding, and I have to sew them together.   It's really hard to see a diagonal line drawn on navy blue, which will make the job tough... but never impossible.. I WILL get this done.

If I finish that binding, I can send the quilt off to the lady who is going to quilt it for me.  She will be doing what we call 'heirloom quilting', which is custom quilting, very dense... I can't wait to see it all done.  I won't mention her name here, just in case she is sensitive about such things, until I can clear it with her that it is okay to do so.  But her gallery is amazing and I am so thrilled to have her doing my quilt.

She will be attaching the binding for me as well as doing the quilting because we decided on a wool batting and I am allergic to wool.  Hence the binding must be done as well as the actual quilt.

I will be taking a picture of the quilt top tonight so I can post it here later...

I also discovered a wonderful chair for quilting and bought one for myself.  One of the ladies at retreat had one, and it was much lighter and more portable than the one I brought to retreat.  She let us all try out her chair.  I highly recommend it.   It is from The Container Store of all places...
They call it a bungee office chair, and it comes in black, blue, lime green, berry pink and chocolate.  I bought the black one.  It is SO comfortable.   Supports everything, gives good lumbar support, and nothing really for the cats to shred.  Looking forward to mine arriving.

You can see the chair and read more about it at The Container Store.

Here is the quilt I finished on retreat:
It's called Woodland Creatures and if you've been following my blog at all, you've seen bits and pieces as I have completed them... This is what it's all been leading up to.  The top is finished!!!  A 13-month BOM done in 13 months... When does THAT ever happen???  I guess I was inspired.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Getting Ready for Retreat

I am busy packing and making 'to do' and 'to take' lists for my guild's retreat this coming weekend.  There's so much to do and so many things to bring along.  I've got a growing pile of project boxes and bags stacked by the door, waiting to go into the car on Thursday night.  Somehow I've got to get all my own stuff, another person's stuff, and two other people, in my car on Friday morning. 

That's where the DH comes in.  Joe is a whiz at packing efficiently and getting the most bang for his buck where space is concerned.  I guess it's an engineer thing.  My dad was the same way.  Different kind of engineer (civil vs manufacturing), but the mindset must be the same.

Anyway, through it all Maggie has been great... though everytime I go even NEAR the door, she's right there, waiting to go out with me.  Poor girl... it's so HOT outside though.  I put her out in the backyard for a little while and she chased around after the neighbor dogs' barks.  She finally tired of the game and found a shady spot to lay down, so I brought her back into the air conditioning.  Now she's laying on the cool laminate floor and panting heavily. 

I think she's a little bored today.  Between bouts of activity packing and emptying out old bins of fabric, I'm lounging in front of the computer... the cats won't play with her and 'mom' isn't playing either... no fun for the Maggie.  I'm sure soon she'll be asleep and snoring in the corner while she enjoys the comforts of modern life (ie the AC).

Tonight I have my McKenna Ryan class at the LQS, and tomorrow is open sew day at another LQS.  Thursday will be the day for final packing.  Friday is retreat day! 

I'm so excited!   Four days of quilting bliss... I will miss my DH, and my kitties and my Maggie.  I hope she doesn't forget me!  Or think I've abandoned her...  poor girl has been abandoned enough.  We've barely had time to bond so far. 

And there she goes... snoring now in the corner...  It's making me want to go to sleep too.  Maybe just a short nap...

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Growing Family

Our family grew this week by one.   We adopted Maggie, our new 'baby'.  She is of course, no baby, being 4 1/2 years old already.  But she has already made her way into our hearts and she is such a goofy gal.  Here's a pic of Maggie:

Here's a pic of her doing her favorite activity:
Yup, she loves sleeping - especially right in front of the television.

You can't really see it in these pictures, but her tongue hangs out of the side of her mouth because she is missing some teeth on the left side... it's very comical but does her no harm...

Here's a pic of Maggie when she was first rescued about 5 months ago... poor thing was starving and infested, badly in need of medical care:

The rescue org's description of her read:  Baby Maggie is estimated to be around 4 years old and required extensive medical care when she became a Sunny Saint, which included the removal of 11 broken and abscessed teeth.  The lack of teeth now causes her tongue to flop out of her mouth, but doesn't seem to be an issue, just gives her a comical look that makes her even easier to love.  She is a fun-loving, sweet girl that loves to play with toys, is friendly with all people, but is a little reserved until she gets to know you and has lived peacefully with rabbits, chickens and cats in foster care. She would do best as an only dog, or with a very submissive dog after slow introductions, which are essential for her. She loves to go for walks, and rides well in the car. She is housebroken and crate trained, but is fully trustworthy in the house free roaming as well. She is learning her basic obedience commands as well.  
A pic of her now, healthy and filled out some:

She could still stand a few pounds on her frame, but doesn't she look great?  And she's so loving and sweet.  She even 'purrs' when she's happy.  She makes a grumbly noise, which we call her 'purr'. 

Anyway, she's intrigued by the cats, but the interest isn't really mutual, so she has no playmates other than me and Joe. It's a shame she's aggressive with other dogs, as we are surrounded on all sides by houses with dogs, and it would be awesome if she could play with them.  Perhaps with some training and aggression therapy, she might become more social with dogs.

She loves people though and has been friendly with everyone who's come over since we got her, even friends who smell of other dogs, like my friend Kathy who has 2 dogs of her own.

We start her training on Weds. afternoon this week with a trainer.  Hopefully she will learn her basic commands as well as how to get along with other dogs.

Despite the new 'tasks' to be done like feeding, walking, playing and so forth, I have managed to get a little sewing done... but the operative word here is 'little.'  Perhaps when I go on retreat next weekend, I will get more done.

My goals for next weekend:
  • Finish the Woodland Creatures borders
  • Put the borders on Woodland Creatures quilt
  • Do the edge stitching on Marlyn's applique (friend finished making a top and realized she hadn't sewn down her appliques... asked me to do it for her... I'm such a sucker, lol)
  • Sew my Saturday Sampler Block for LQS #1
  • Applique and sew my Bertie's Year BOM block for April
I know that doesn't seem like much, but Woodland Creatures borders require a lot of embroidery as well as the applique.  The quilt itself is a BIG quilt, and the borders are mitered, so it will not be as easy as it sounds. And Bertie's Year requires a lot of embroidery on each block, so it's not just applique and piecing.  I think I will have a full enough weekend with these tasks... if not, I'll find something else to do... I can help other people with their work or something... There's always SOMEThing to do at retreat.

Busy times coming up, with quilt runs in June and July and the Sisters show in Oregon in July too.  I better take advantage of whatever sewing time I can get in April and May because my early summer months are pretty much shot for sewing time.  How'd that happen so fast??? and it's not even half-way through spring yet... sigh

Anyway - today is my DH's birthday and I'm taking him to dinner... time to get off the computer and head out...  Have a lovely weekend.

A Mysterious start to the year

Well, I finished one of last year's mystery tops... The Meadow Mist Mosaic Mystery.  I have to say I really like how this one came out.....