Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Dancing with the angels....

Hi, all!

Working with our quilt ministry, one of the hardest things we have to accept is that sometimes the recipients of our quilts don't survive the illness that brought them to our attention.  It's so hard - even if we don't know the person personally, they become part of our own little world as we make the quilt for them and pray for them.  See that beautiful smile right over there?  Sweet Savannah went home last week, and is dancing with the angels now.  She touched so many lives while she was here - there are green bows all over town in her honor, put up months ago in support of her fight against cancer.  We made a quilt for her back in January - you can read the very special story of that quilt here.  

Tonight a group of us were sewing on some quilts, and one of the staff members at church came in to tell us that when hospice was called in, Savannah asked that the quilt we made be put on her bed.  She also asked that the quilt go with her body to the funeral home when it was time.  Her family brought the quilt home after the funeral, and hopefully it will continue to provide comfort for many years to come.   

The fabric for this quilt was donated by a fellow quilt blogger.  Unknowingly, she sent the perfect fabric for this little girl's quilt at just the right time.  Thankfully, we have a Father who watches over us all the time and provides for our needs.  Every day, working with this quilt ministry, I am reminded of that fact.  I'm grateful to have been a small part of Savannah's story, and I'm grateful for what she taught me about God's love through her life. 


Monday, March 28, 2011

Make-A-List Monday #40! No excuses this week...

Hi, all!

There will be no excuses this week - because Miss Lilli goes back to preschool!  Spring break is over - - - and that means the sweatshop starts back up!

I didn't do so badly last week, though - so let's take a look...

1.  Clean up the sewing room!
OK, maybe this isn't the best place to start, since the word "clean" is mentioned - 
but I did get it picked up a little bit at the beginning of the week 
(although it still looks like a bomb hit it!)

Just to keep it real....  ;-) !!

2.  Bind the three quilts that were quilted on Sunday.
Done!  This was how I kept busy on my car ride to and from Paducah...

An I-Spy quilt for a 7 year old boy with leukemia...
(Pieced by Pam, quilted by Sarah)

Another Double Irish Chain going to a woman just diagnosed with breast cancer...
(Blocks pieced by Connie, top pieced by Tracy and Sarah, quilted by Sarah)

And this beauty is going to a lady who has had ongoing complications from back surgery.
(Pieced by Tracy, quilted by Sarah)
3.  Work on the Brown Bag Challenge quilt due 4/1/11.
Done!  I completed my blocks late Sunday afternoon, and I'll start 
assembling the quilt today!

All ready to be cut up!!

4.  Organize undesignated quilts in progress.
Done!  Amazingly, I now have twelve adult quilts in various stages of completion, which is so wonderful!  Now when I finish one, I just reach into the box and pull out the next one.

5.  Finish organization project for keeping track of designated quilts in progress.
Done!  I think I'm going to like this - we create a card each time there's a 
request for a quilt, with the recipient's name on it, how they're 
connected to us, and any information we have about them.  
I attach a clip to the card if someone is working on the quilt.
This way, anyone can come in and see if there's something they can 
work on, and know everything I know about the recipient.

It still needs binding, but I needed
to put it to work!!

I also quilted a small quilt for a friend and two more ministry quilts.

So that's how last week went.  And here's what's on the schedule for this week....

1.  Bind quilt for Relay for Life auction.

2.  Bind purple ministry quilt.

3.  Finish Brown Bag Challenge quilt.

4.  Complete one or two more ministry quilts.

This should be enough to keep me busy for the week - 
especially since I still have to do my taxes!!  
I can't put those off much longer..........

What are you planning on doing this week?  Our weather is supposed to be cold and rainy here, so I won't be playing outside - but I hope you are enjoying some beautiful spring weather wherever you are!!



Sunday, March 27, 2011

Surfin' Sunday - A Trip to Paducah, KY!!

Hi, all!

I hope you've had a great week and are ready to take a little virtual trip with me - my wonderful husband took me to Paducah, Kentucky this week for a couple of days, and I've got lots of pics and info to share with you!

After a gorgeous warm, sunny week, Thursday dawned cold and windy - but who cares?  I'm headed for quilt Mecca! 

My husband's assistant booked our hotel (work trip!) so neither of us knew where we would be staying, but as we got ready to turn down the street to the hotel, look what we saw!

Dropped my hubby off at the hotel, then headed down the street to spend a little quality time at Hancock's!  You all would not believe this place - it's enormous inside, with so much fabric that you stand there like a kid in a candy store, wondering where to start!  

There's a huge section of batiks - I'm talking rows and rows and rows of bolts.  And every color of Kona cotton available, along with Bella solids and 108" backing fabrics.  I've never seen all the Kona cottons in one place - my LQS only carries about fifteen of the colors - and it literally took my breath away!  (Silly, isn't it?)  

The fabrics are all sorted out by manufacturer, then by line, so it's easy to find a specific fabric.  Unfortunately, they didn't have the two fabrics I really wanted to pet - Sherbet Pips and Sunkissed - but I did see Fig Tree's new line, Buttercup, lots of Amy Butler, some of Ty Pennington's beautiful fabric, even some Kaffe Fassett and Liberty!

Then I found the remnant table - containing the ends of bolts at about half price - and boy did I have fun!  

Ended up with this beautiful bundle of fabric - three pieces of Swiss Chocolate and a piece of Fandango that go well together.  

I found two pieces of Kona in the end-of-bolt section, also at about half price, and picked out bolts of Kona in Earth and Chinese Red to finish off the bundle.  I think this will make a gorgeous quilt!  Now I just have to find the right design....

Then I went off to the cutting counter, where the ladies were diligently cutting website orders.  

We talked about where the orders come from, one of the ladies showing me the atlas she keeps to mark where she's filled orders from!  As she was cutting my fabric, I asked why they didn't have any precuts in the store.  She said, "Oh, they're in the other room."  The Other Room!!  (Does that sound like the back room at a video store to you, or is it just me? lol)  Anyway, she invited me to follow her...

.... and of course, I did! 

Unfortunately, they don't let you play everywhere back here, but it sure was fun to look and drool a lot - imagine having this in your own back room!  They had lots of precuts and bundles back here, and I did pick up this beauty...

....for a quilt for my husband some day.  It just reminds me of the ocean!  

As I left, I signed up on the e-mail list, and I found one more thing they carry at Hancock's - pornography!

OK, well, quilter's pornography, but you catch my drift!

Now here are some things I learned about Hancock's while I was there.  

They do not have clearance fabrics in the store.
Those all go to the online customers. 
And they go fast.  Get on the e-mail list!

Prices in the store are (sometimes) higher than in the catalog.  Usually right before the quilt show.

The manager orders lots of the things he 
thinks will sell well to the quilt show attendees, 
but if they don't sell, 
they get marked down and put in the on-line store 
about 2-3 weeks after the show.

And right now, this weekend, they have 
free shipping 
for all on-line orders.  The prices are lower 
in the catalog than in the store, and there's free shipping. How can you beat that deal?
(And no, Hancock's didn't cut me a deal to let you all know about that!)

The quilted sign over door....


Friday morning, we went to the National Quilt Museum.  What a fabulous place!  Unfortunately, they don't let you take pictures inside the museum, but here are a few pictures from their website.....

This place is a definite must-see if you are in Paducah!  One of the most interesting things I saw was a wooden quilt that looks like fabric - like it's blowing in the wind.  They let you take a picture of a sample of the quilt....

but not the quilt itself.  You can just see the quilt in the background of this picture.

Just FYI, your AQS membership will not get you a discount here, but if you have a group of ten or more and call two weeks ahead, you can get in for half price.

I hope you enjoyed (vicariously!) my trip to Paducah!  It is certainly a wonderful place for quilters. I'm sure there's more to see - we might have stayed longer, but Winter decided to make a return visit and it was cold and rainy, so we didn't wander around downtown.  Oh well, I guess I'll just have to go back sometime soon - maybe for the Quilt Show!

Back next Sunday with another great quilt blog to share - hope to see you then!



Friday, March 25, 2011

Can I get a Whoop-Whoop?? When Life Hands You Lemons....!

Hi, all!!

It's Friday again - feel like whooping it up??  I certainly do - as you read this (if it's still Friday!) I'm exploring Paducah, KY!!  I've never been there before, even though it's just a few hours up the road from me, but I suppose that's good - because until about a year ago, I wasn't really a quilter!  Something tells me I'll be able to find something to do there.....  ;-)  

I've been overwhelmed this week with everyone's response to my quilt "In Winter Snows" and requests for (free) copies of the pdf pattern.  If you missed out on this, and want to get a copy, just ask for it in a comment and I'll e-mail it to you.  I'm so glad you all like it!!  Thank you for the little (*ok, huge!) boost of encouragement!!

And now, I need to tell you a little bit about my whoop whoop entry today.  One of the ladies in my sewing group, Sherry, took the directions for a sudoku quilt and started one on her own, at home.  It was her first quilt - and she didn't know yet about rotary cutters and rulers and mats, so she cut all her pieces by hand.  Remember those days?  Anyway, combine hand cut pieces and first quilting experience, and her finished nine-patch blocks were a *little* out of square.  Looking at them, we couldn't find any way to square them up without cutting off significant amounts of fabric, so we decided to trim them in a wonky style.....  and hence the title of my post today. When life hands you lemons, you make.....


I am absolutely in love with this "wonky" version of the traditional sudoku quilt pattern!  And I never would have thought of doing it, except that we needed to save those blocks!  And it seems only appropriate that it is made with very bright, cheerful girly prints - I just know that someday our quilt ministry will need just this quilt for a young girl who will be blessed and comforted by it!  So give a big whoop whoop to Sherry, for the lucky chance that had her first quilt become something new and exciting!!  I can't wait to see what she does for her second quilt....


So now it's your turn!
What crafting magic did you work this week?
Remember - it doesn't have to be a finish -
Just something you're happy with!
And you've got until Saturday night
at midnight, CST to link up - - -
So share!!



PS - Just a reminder - please try to mention the linky party and link back to this post in your blogpost, so others can join in the fun!!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Make-A-List Monday #39! Can I take my sewing machine outside?

Hi, all!

It's Monday again - I hope you had a good and restful/productive weekend (whichever tickles your fancy...) and are ready to start a new week!  Our weather here has been amazing - spring in Tennessee is something special - and the first few days of the week are supposed to be really nice. I want to move my sewing out onto the deck!

Despite all the handicaps of last week (a toddler at home, feeling her 3-year old oats, and a visiting niece with project in hand) I did pretty well on my list...

1.  Quilt the sports quilt for the quilt ministry.
Done!  I've taken this quilt to church already, so that it can be delivered to the recipient.

2.  Quilt an I-Spy quilt for the quilt ministry.
Done!  I've got the binding cut out to put on today. The picture's down below...

3.  Help my niece make a quilt that she wants to give as a gift.
Done!  This came out so cute, I think I'm going to have to make another, and maybe write a tutorial for it!  You can read a little more about it here.

4.  Cut more five-inch squares for D9Ps.
Done!  But I don't have pics, because they've already gone out in...

5.  Put together kits for D9Ps.
...the kits I put together for the D9P blocks!  

Our quilt ministry ladies really stepped up to the plate this week!  We met to sew together the past two Saturdays and I currently have about ten D9P quilts in various stages of construction - but all the basic blocks have been sewn together.  This will put us ahead of the game, at least for a little while!  Hallelujah!!  And - - - I quilted three quilts on the quilting frame yesterday afternoon!  Whew!!

The I-Spy quilt is the one on the right...

And now, for this week's list.....

1.  Clean up the sewing room!

2.  Bind the three quilts that were quilted on Sunday.

3.  Work on the Brown Bag Challenge quilt due 4/1/11.

4.  Organize undesignated quilts in progress.

5.  Finish organization project for keeping track of designated quilts in progress.

I've got some more quilt flimsies ready to be quilted, but I get to travel with my hubby this week a little bit (to Paducah, folks - hold me back!) so I don't know if I'll get around to them or not, since Lilli's not in preschool still this week.  But I think I can get the rest of this list taken care of!

So now, the question remains - what are YOU working on this week?



Sunday, March 20, 2011

Surfin' Sunday - featuring Love Laugh Quilt!!

Hi, all!

It's Sunday again - and it's been a spectacularly gorgeous week in Middle Tennessee - spring in all its glory!  It makes me realize just how lucky we are - especially after seeing the devastation in Japan.  And that leads me (in kind of a round-about way) to our featured blogger this week...  

Meet Beth....

....of Love Laugh Quilt!      

Now, I say that the situation in Japan leads us to Beth, because on her Saturday blogpost, Beth challenged us to each send her a quilt block like this....

...which she will then assemble into a quilt or quilts to be sent to someone in Japan.  Now, I know I don't have time to make a whole quilt to send to Japan right now - even though I'd love to - but I do have time to make a block or two and send them to Beth!  And I bet you do too!  So hop over to her blogpost (after you take a look at the rest of today's feature - there's lots of pretty eye candy here!) and sign up to make a block!

And now for the eye candy.... I love Beth's blog, because she is always making amazing things out of scraps....

And she's got lots of projects going on using little bitty pieces of fabric....

Like this postage stamp quilt....

Or these teeny-tiny wonky stars (3" x 3"!)...

Her use of color is inspiring....

But even more inspiring?  She makes quilts for the high school graduates in her church each year!

I love her creative, yet simple designs that use what she has on hand - we use a variation of this design for most of our baby blankets that we make through our church quilt ministry...

Beth's blog is so much fun to read - I hope you stop by and check it out - I think you'll come back often to see what she's up to!!  And now - - - go on over to her blog and read about the charity bee to send quilts to Japan - - - I hope your blocks will be joining mine and lots of others so we can send some comfort to the people of Japan!



Friday, March 18, 2011

Can I get a Whoop-Whoop?? Fibonacci Rules!

Hi, all!

It's Friday again, and I hope you've got something to share with everyone today!  Remember - it doesn't have to be a finish, just something you worked on that you're proud of!  (And you can link up anytime up until Saturday at midnight.)  I'm so happy to see that lots of people linked up last week - I hope you're checking out some or all of the links and leaving lots of bloggy love for your fellow linkers.....

It's been a different kind of week around my place - Lilli is out of preschool for two weeks for spring break, so she's been around a lot more - and that means less time to sew.  On the other hand, I've had the chance to enjoy the spring weather with a little fashionista....

I am told by Miss Lilli that this IS the proper outfit to wear while walking your tin lizard on a spring day.....

My niece is here visiting me, and my "whoop whoop" project this week is a joint project we've been working on - a gift for her pregnant mathematics professor, who is a number theorist.  Before I show it to you, though, you need to know a little bit about the background... 

Fibonacci was a 12th century mathematician who is perhaps best known for a simple series of numbers called the Fibonacci numbers in his honour.
The series begins with 0 and 1. After that, use the simple rule:
Add the last two numbers to get the next.
1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233, 377, 610, 987,...
You might ask where this came from? In Fibonacci's day, mathematical competitions and challenges were common. It was in just this type of competition that the following problem arose:
Beginning with a single pair of rabbits, if every month each productive pair bears a new pair, which becomes productive when they are 1 month old, how many rabbits will there be after n months?
The rabbit breeding problem that caused Fibonacci to write about the sequence may be unrealistic but the Fibonacci numbers really do appear in nature. For example, some plants branch in such a way that they always have a Fibonacci number of growing points. Flowers often have a Fibonacci number of petals, daisies can have 34, 55 or even as many as 89 petals.

What this means for quilting is that if you use the Fibonacci sequence in your quilting, it will have an innate harmony to it.  This is useful for figuring the widths for multiple borders, etc.

Anyway.....  I had made this pillow based on the Fibonacci sequence for my niece for Christmas, and she decided she wanted to make a Fibonacci-inspired quilt for her teacher's baby.  She bought a focus fabric and showed up on my doorstep during spring break so we could put something together.  A little bit of time spent figuring out a pattern on graph paper, a short trip to the LQS for coordinating solids, some time spent piecing and quilting, and voila.....

.... we present Oh, Fibonacci!  As you can see, the strips are cut to the beginning numbers of the Fibonacci sequence (2", 3", 5", and 8") and alternated focus print to solids.  The resulting strip set is then cut across the strips in the same sequence, and then alternate strips are reversed to create the patchwork pattern.  

This came out so much cuter than I had originally envisioned - the pillow didn't make the same checkerboard pattern as the quilt, so that was an unexpected and pleasing result!

I also finally finished the tutorial for this quilt...

The pattern is a simple disappearing nine-patch with a sashing twist - it will be featured, along with some other disappearing nine-patches, Saturday on Stash Manicure where I'll be guest blogging.  But you can get a jump on the competition and get a copy of the pdf pattern e-mailed to you if you want it - just leave a comment asking me to send you a copy (and be sure if you're a no-reply blogger to leave me your e-mail address!)  I've been promising this tutorial to some folks for about two months now - and it's finally done!! Woohoo!!

So those are my finishes for the week - can I get a whoop whoop??

And now the question is - - - what have you been working on this week?  Link up and show off!!



Monday, March 14, 2011

Make-A-List Monday #38! No spring break for me....

Hi, all!

Spring break starts today here in Middle Tennessee - but for me, that means I'll have my granddaughter home from preschool for two weeks!  So it will be interesting to see how much sewing gets done....

Last week went pretty well - let's check out the progress...

1.  Quilt and bind the D9P quilt top.
Done!  I love the way this one came out - aren't D9P's versatile?

2.  Make a sports quilt for a 10-yr old boy with skin cancer.
Done - sort of!  The top and back are pieced, and ready to put on the quilting frame.

3.  Write a pillow tutorial for Stash Manicure.
I didn't get to this one yet - I may have to change my plan a little...

4.  Finish writing a quilt tutorial and post.
The tutorial is written - not posted yet, but it may become my Stash Manicure post!

5.  Piece a back for my niece's first quilt.

6.  Quilt that quilt!!
And done!  The binding is sewn on, at least the machine part, and I should have the hand sewing done by the time I go to bed tonight...

And just so you know I wasn't slacking off and ignoring the Stash Manicure tutorial, earlier in the week I put together a bunch of kits so that other ministry quilters could create 9-patch blocks for us to use in ministry quilts, and on Sunday I put borders on one quilt and pieced backs for four quilts - Whew!  Looks like I'll be quilting this week.... ;-)

So what's on tap for this week?  Let's see.....

1.  Quilt the sports quilt for the quilt ministry.

2.  Quilt an I-Spy quilt for the quilt ministry.

3.  Help my niece make a quilt that she wants to give as a gift.

4.  Cut more five-inch squares for D9Ps.

5.  Put together kits for D9Ps.

Hopefully I'll be able to get the other two quilts quilted too, but if I put that on the list I'll scare myself!!  

So - now the question is - - - - what are you working on this week?



PS - what do you think of the new layout for the blog?  Be honest.... I'd hate for someone to stop coming by because of the changes!  ;-)