Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Little Trip done, Big Trip Ahead

All packed up and places to go. We've spent the week getting ready, watching weather reports.

I made a trip back to Turlock, visiting Lisa along the way, seeing all of her projects and the new arrangement of the quilting room. Had lunch with Grandma Pam, our version of Christmas. Then on the way out of town bumped into friend Dorothy, and caught up with her quilting projects. Much more to show and tell as we all vow to get together more and sew.

So off for our holiday trip we go.

Today's best....seeing friends.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

One quilt leads to another

I moved out of the antique mall on Thursday...still trying to find places to put the stuff I brought back. At least the shelving unit is helping me organize the kitchen office wall.

It's been raining almost solid since then, so I have been at home sorting and sewing. One thing leads to another in the sewing department.

I pulled out a charity kit--what I call 16 Squared. It's made from 16 2 1/2" strips and 15 8 1/2" squares. The strips are sewn in 4 sets of 4, then made into 16 16 patch blocks. Alternate 15 of the patch blocks with the squares in a 5 x 6 layout.

Except that I had 20 strips, and only 15 squares, so I had sections leftover after making 15 blocks. I can't toss them, and don't need another UFO, so I must make another Patty Cakes variation. I used 2 sections together instead of a slice, and cut my 5"x9" slices down to 8 1/2" tall, and I had a nifty little quilt. I like how the little pieces look in their little columns. And it doesn't matter that the columns are a different width than the slices--it all still fits. I'll have to try this again with some other leftovers.
Trying to clean up the worktable, I didn't get very far. Some trimmings from the back of the purple City Girls quilt needed to be cut up and made into another little quilt. It is such a perfect background shade, I cut the scraps into spacer strips for a Patty Cakes. Then I pulled 5"x9" slices from the drawers, anything with purple. Every other row has the spacer on the right or left. And this time I didn't trim the rows so the spacer would be centered over the slice--I just let them be with a little jog. I like this variation, too--and how good the purples look together for total scraps. I know, I know, you purple people out there would just tell me--DUH, of course they look good together.

Today's best....watching the rain and finishing little quilts that I like.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Piece, Quilt, Bind

Just a little of everything today, including listing quilts for sale on the website and etsy. Last minute gifts anyone?

I bound one of Grandma Pam's that had been quilted for a while. This was made with Saturday sampler blocks from Cloth and Quilts. She set them with this wonderful Tree of Life center.

Quilted and bound this 5 and Dime wannabe that I had made out of one of my favorite groups--City Girl by Kitty Yoshida for Benartex.

Pieced, quilted and bound a charity quilt kit that Susan had made up out of my old fabric heaps. This is a fun little pattern called Cornerpost, from an old magazine, that we had used in classes past. The best part?--it uses 5" squares and 5"x 9 1/2" rectangles. I sense a variation coming...Today's best....start-to-finish little charity quilt.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Almost too cold to quilt. We got down to 24 last night--some record lows in our part of Central and Northern California. Frozen pond--worse, frozen dog water dish.

Lots of tea and typing for me. Uploading more quilts to sell.

And finishing things. Old card tricks and this wonderful Sunrise wallhanging designed by our friend Janice Skiles. Doesn't the shading look wonderful in photos--should look great on somebody's wall.

Today's best....finally warming up in the sun--all of 39, a Minnesota heat wave.

Monday, December 7, 2009

White Christmas

We've had our White Christmas here today. It's not often that it snows at our elevation, but today's storm went down low as predicted. So this is what we had this morning.

Five hours later it was gone, so we were glad we got photos and walked around in it, marveling at the cotton blossoms of snow on the oak trees. It was magical how it all appeared and disappeared in such a short time, almost as if staged.

Just to prove to myself that it had really snowed in our area, I drove 10 minutes and 1000 feet up the hill to where the snow line usually is, and sure enough it was full on winter wonderland there still. It's a California thing to be able to pick and choose our weather and scenery.

This past week has been Christmas in the foothills for us. It included my guild parties, the Cornish Christmas street fair in Grass Valley Friday night, and then today's snow. Wow--I can't remember doing this much since the kids' Holiday music programs.

The rest of the time we have been preparing for our trip to see kids in Minnesota and Texas--in less than 2 weeks, we realized.

Quilting wise, I have been finishing old, old projects and successfully using up old, old fabrics for backs and bindings--very, very pleased with that. I have the blocks done on the Christmas pinrail--90 of them. The decision now needs to be made--one big quilt or two or three small ones.

Taking a breather from all that Christmas fabric, I pulled and planned a little service quilt. The idea was to use a couple columns of a toile scrap from a back. I got all of the pieces sewn and laid out and discovered a goof in the calculations. So I subbed 2 more light rows for the toile space. And then I thought it needed to be one row longer. Much better--I like the finished product and effect, however far it was from the original plan. No computer programs or graph paper for me--I can sew and fix faster than I can design. That's also the beauty of making service quilts from old fabric--not a lot to lose, and it's stress free fun.

These other two are another of the rail quilts with panel and Pam's sweet little baskets.

Today's best....SNOW!!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Red Dirt Exposed

Our red dirt really shows when the grass is scraped away. So the orchard area is prepped, as is this nifty garden area that is bordered with the little red rock wall. All in a day's work yesterday.

I got most of the car unpacked and some of the inventory updated. Then back to the "finish old tops project." One Radiant 9 Patch, one class sample with the Interweave baby quilt, and a Double Nine Patch from an old Alex Anderson book, I believe.

Today's best....crisp early winter walk about the red dirt.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christmas Take Two

A little earth was moved at our place with a little earth mover. Husband hired a local to grade out some areas on the property where the orchard will be, cleaned and smoothed and banked around the pond, and created a garden area with rock wall. Pretty good for a day's work in our red dirt.

Meanwhile, tonight I celebrated Christmas again with the Valley Quilt Guild this time. They had a great table full of quilts to give to local organizations, especially babies and foster kids. I also got to vend again. How is that for timing--didn't even have to unload my car from last night.

I got so into the Christmas and quilting spirit, even though I got home late, I had to work on a Christmas strip project. I got a box of Christmas fabric strips from a friend, mostly 2 1/2", but some 3" and 3 1/2". I have been sewing the 2 1/2" together in pairs--180 of them into 90 pairs. This part has taken days. But tonight I actually made some blocks, and they are busy fun.The plan is to make some these Spin Rail blocks from 4 4 1/2" cuts, make a Rainbow Strippy using 17" of each pair, and then cut 6 1/2" from the remainder of the strip for a Chinese Coins. Let's see how it goes.

Today's best....the Valley Quilt Guild party and the stack of quilts for kids.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Christmas Begins

The month of December started off with the first Christmas party--with the Pine Tree Quilt Guild tonight. It was a very nice potluck and I got to introduce some of my fabrics and quilts to them as a vendor.

I also spent the day finishing more of those long ago projects. My favorite of the lot, and the one that got the most attention tonight, is this Three Rail beginner quilt with a cat panel. The idea came from Mary Ellen Hopkins and her infinite variations. A couple things to remember if you try this at home--measure a few blocks sewn together to decide on the exact size of the panel. Also, it looks a little more arty with the diagonal path if the panel is placed off center.

Today's best....Pine Tree Quilt Guild's party.