Thursday, February 25, 2010

Vacation is now a "staycation"

Well, as with "the best laid plans of mice and men," our elaborate vacation plans have gone totally awry due to the weather. After having almost no snow since Christmas, we had 20" yesterday. Today it's raining. However, New York is expecting a foot of snow today, and we are apparently in for more snow tonight and tomorrow. We were supposed to be heading to Montgomery, AL, today; driving to Naples, FL, Sunday; and heading home via Ft. Myers next Friday. But our flight to NY today was cancelled and we couldn't get seats on flights tomorrow. Saturday was beginning to look doubtful, too. Since we had so much driving time built into our vacation, we just didn't think we could do it all comfortably in the time left. And we were so looking forward to seeing Jim, John & Rebecca, Brenda & Frank, and Carole & John!

Looks like we'll be staying home during the flooring project which begins Monday. Almost everything has been removed from the first floor, but now we'll be able to help Matt move things around as needed. If we're lucky, we'll have a few nice days to go x-c skiing (Paul) and snowshoeing (me). We had some books we wanted to read, so we'll go stock up, and I can keep working on Sylvia's Bridal Sampler. I received a great package of batiks today from my Dear Jane secret pal which I can incorporate into the blocks. There's always a silver lining when one is a quilter!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Back to SBS

Our house is in a bit of an uproar since almost everything in the living and dining rooms has been moved upstairs or down to the basement. We are having our carpet removed and hardwood floor installed, beginning Friday. It should be lovely when finished. We were advised to take everything off the walls, too, since all the pounding may make things fall off. So knicknacks and pictures have been tucked away, too.

That activity and the fact that I've worked hard to finish some UFOs means that I'm back making Sylvia's Bridal Sampler blocks. They are each 6" finished, and each is a nice, short project. I have made a dozen in the last few days, and it's been fun most of the time. I have been spoiled by Dear Jane. In that book, each page has a drawing of a complete block, so I can decide for myself what technique would work best - rotary cutting, applique, paper piecing, etc. I can easily trace the block onto freezer paper, too. In SBS there are patterns but no complete blocks to trace, and sometimes I disagree with the technique suggested. Some of my blocks have ended up too big and some too small, because I've deviated from the book's pattern. But I'm not doing any over - there are 144!

I'm enjoying choosing colors for each block, using whatever fabric I think would look good. In this way, I'm using all those fabrics I bought just because I liked them, with no particular project in mind. Some of them were favorites from past projects, too. But I seem to have lots of fabric that I must have been saving for a rainy day - well, this is it! And I'm liking the results so far.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Asian Jane is on its way to Mary

After two years of playing with a lot of Asian prints in all colors and a whole lot of solid black fabric, my Asian Jane finally was finished yesterday, with the back pieced and the binding ready to go when it returns from the quilter. I love the back, a teal green Jinny Beyer print which will be yummy to sleep under. I took the quilt top to the guild meeting last night to prove I had completed another UnFinishedObject, and today I put the top and back in the mail. I don't expect to see it for many months as Mary is the owner of the Machine Quilters Expo and extremely busy. But her work is great - worth the wait. The big purple quilt is also in her capable hands.

At the guild meeting, a couple of my applique students brought their Works in Progress to show me, and they really were doing well. It was good to see what they'd done, each very different but very nice, too.

Right now I'm gathering things to show at a workshop I'm doing March 12 at the library. It's called "Repurpose your clothing," and I'll show items made of old t-shirts and blue jeans. I'm making a few potholders and place mats backed in blue jeans, and I have some rugs and tote bags to show. I think I'll demonstrate how I cut a pair of jeans apart to preserve its useful parts. I will also show how to cut up old t-shirts for yarn, and I have been knitting a few potholders and a rug with some yarn made with "Life is Good" t-shirts from the quilt I made Nancy before Christmas. If I was better at crocheting, I think I could make some very nice items. I will wear a jacket made out of a sweatshirt, too, so people can get an idea about that. There is never a dull moment in the life of a quilter!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Finished quilts!

I have neglected to post photos of quilts I have finished, so here goes. At left is "Christmas with Jane and Sylvia," which includes Dear Jane blocks accumulated through several swaps and a few extra I made. The back has some Sylvia's Bridal Sampler blocks that I received in a swap also. I decided I didn't need two Christmas quilts, so have combined them. The back doesn't look as good as I'd like, so I'm just going to show the front. I see the photo is upside down. Hmmmmm.

Next is the round robin quilt I did with guild people last year. I am going to call it "27 Flavors of Purple" since Laurette told me that the "piano keys" border she made includes at least 25 different fabrics. I quilted both of these quilts myself on my home machine, and I am pleased with the way this one turned out. It has a wavy edge which took forever to bind. It isn't a really big quilt so will look nice layered over another quilt.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Asian Jane and Chinese banquet

I've been immersed in all things Asian this week. After two years, I am finally putting together all of the Dear Jane blocks I've made in Asian fabrics - some Chinese, some Japanese, all very pretty. Each block measures 4.5" finished, and the background fabric is solid black. The blocks are all different colors, but the color I used the most was, of course, purple. In making the 80 blocks, I focused on those I had not yet made in my blue/white, holiday, or thirties quilts. Jane Stickle made 144 blocks in her quilt, but I decided that if I don't stop now and put what I have together, I will never get around to it. There are still a dozen or so that I haven't tackled, so I'll have to start a new Jane when I finish putting this one together!

Asian prints tend to be bigger than most I have used before, and often the design got lost in the tiny blocks. To highlight those prints, I am making the triangle border out of solid black alternating with triangles cut from the 40 or so fabrics in the blocks. It is working out quite pretty indeed! After I put the borders on, I will add a solid black border, find some Asian fabric for the back, and send it to the long arm quilter, Mary in Wells River, to work her magic.

Tomorrow is the Friends of the Library's annual Chinese New Year's banquet and auction at the Knights of Columbus Hall. Our long-time friends Bob and Pauline, who usually visit us for Valentine's Day, will be joining us for the dinner and then going back to their lake house. Sandy and Polly are also coming, so we will have a jolly time. The Friends got a sneak preview of the menu, which includes some favorites of mine - dry-fried green beans and ice cream with ginger compote.

Paul and I are in charge of organizing the silent auction again this year and have been sifting through the donations, making up bid sheets, and helping our librarian decide which 12 items will go "live." We have some wonderful things this year, including lots of gift certificates to restaurants, unique art, some small Asian pieces, beautiful jewelry, tickets to sporting events and the Opera House. This community is amazingly generous. As one of the Friends' two big fundraisers each year, tickets for the dinner have been sold out for a week. It will be a scrumptious repast and fun for all!