Piecing Project

I have been working on a piecing project for the last week from the book Bella Bella Quilts. It is much more tedious and complicated than what I normally do. (For the non-quilters that read my blog, piecing a quilt means that you cut up pieces of perfectly good fabric and then sew it back together to make a different design.) This particular quilt top is paper pieced. (That means that it is sewn to a design on paper to get it to be absolutely accurate….. well…… thats the theory anyway…. accuracy)

I am not a paper piecer. It is backwards. I am dyslexic, so you would think it’s right up my alley. Not. I finally trained myself to think like most quilters think, and NOT think backwards. So I now have to think backwards to do this project. Okay….. that just means I cant work on any other piecing until this is done, and then I can switch again.

The biggest deal with this quilt is you have to be organized. There are 40 wedges to make this outer circle. There are 20 each of a left and a right. There are 18 pieces in each wedge. All the pieces are different sizes and shapes. I precut and labeled each group, which kept me organized in sewing. All 20 left wedges are done. I have 12 or 14 more right wedges to add the last 4 pieces to. I have 6 wedges completely done and sewn together.

After the outer circle is done, I have 2 inner circles to do. I am not following the pattern in the book for that. Instead, I am doing ……. well, I really haven’t decided yet! I have something in mind, but until this outer part is done, I am not sure.

So, here is a sneak peek at the project. It is what I spent the bulk of my time on at the retreat.

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I also worked on some fabric postcards to exchange with a group on MQResource.  I will show them after they are sent.  I am taking photos of the process, the way I make them.  I think of them as mini art quilts.

Hope everyone has a great weekend.  I will be quilting away.  We are swamped with work, which is a good thing!   But it means I have lots to do before I go to Houston for the International Quilt Festival.

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Home again

My quilting retreat with the Undercover Gals was great. We had a busy, productive, happy time. We ate alot, sewed non-stop, and slept very little.

Here is what it looks like there:

A cabin. Anyone remember that Girl Scout song “Little Cabin in the Woods”? Yep, we sang it…. arent you glad you werent there?

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And the view from our front porch, and out the window. I saw this splendid view the whole time I was there.

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2 nites ago, a fabulous sunset.

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Same sunset, different view. Neil….. remember when “the woods were on fire.??” That darn Bobby….. I still get the giggles when I think of that evening.

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I would share pictures of what I did, but I didnt take any. Maybe if I get unpacked in the next few days I will post some pictures of my project that I am working on. I got all the prep work done, and most of the grunt work sewing done. Now is the fun part of putting it all together. I have just enough together to know I am going to like it.

Off to my own bed. The top bunk of the cabin was ok, but it sure is easier to climb my steps to my bedroom than to climb the ladder on the bunks!

Question for the Week

I will be gone for several days with no computer access, so thought I would leave you this week with a question. Steve and I discussed this earlier today, so we wondered if any of you had any enlightening answers for us.

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See this fuzzy caterpillar? (I have no idea what they turn into, that is a separate, bonus question for you.) The local tale that goes along with these is this:

If the dark part on the front of the caterpillar is bigger than the part on the back, then the beginning of winter will be harsher than late winter. And if the dark part on the back of the caterpillar is bigger than that on the front, then winter the last part of winter will be harsh, and the beginning of winter will be milder.

The question is: do these caterpillars only crawl frontwards? Or can they crawl backwards too? If they only crawl frontwards, you can tell which is the front or the back. But if they can crawl both directions, how do you know the front from the back? Yes, that is more than one question. I know.

Now dont get all scientific on me. I know that some caterpillar expert can look at it and tell front from back. But I am talking the general schmo country bumpkin like me. I mean, I can tell a cow from a bull from a steer…… and a ewe from a ram…. but I swear I cant tell if this is a caterMR or a caterMS. Can you?

Don’t we have enlightening discussions in my car? The reason this even came up is that as I was driving out our road today to go for a pretty leaf drive, I ran over several of these caterpillars. So did I squash the girls, boys or both? ewwwwww (and apologies to my caterpillar loving friend Randi, who I surely hope I did not upset)

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I am in charge of a Triptych Challenge on MQResource. Today I figured out what photos I will be using for my triptych. Actually, I am in 2 groups, so needed to choose 6 photos to work with. All 6 are photos taken on my trip to Arches National Park several months ago.

I am also in a postcard exchange with another group of people from MQResource. (my home on the net….. well, besides playing WordHunt on http://www.tothegames.com) The postcards have to be black and white, with one other color. I got that figured out today too. And even found the perfect fabric I needed on our trip to the store today.

See you Thursday. Hope you have a great week!

October Skies

I have this sky thing going on.  I have taken HUNDREDS of photos of the sky in the last year.  I am just smitten by our skies.  The clouds, no clouds, jet trails, sunsets.  Not too many sunrises, I don’t get up early enough!

I thought I would share some from this month.  Sept and Oct usually have the greatest skies in western Pennsylvania!

This is from a week or so ago, looking north.

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Earlier today, notice the clouds.  And the trees are for Judy!

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And these last two are late this afternoon.  Steve came in and said “Sky Alert!”  …… that means I grab my camera, slide into my Crocs and run out the back door!

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ELIZABETH…. thank you for naming our calf.  She really needed a name before she got stuck with “hey little girl” for the rest of her life.  For the rest of you, Elizabeth (my 3 1/2 yr old granddaughter) named our 3 week old calf Harriet.  Deeves (Steve) thinks that is a great name.  It is different!  Best of all, if he made a mistake figuring out if it is male or female (he hasnt gotten closer to her than about 6 feet because she is a so fast!) then it could be Harry.  Steve says he watched her pee though, so he’s sure it is a girl.  Aren’t we high tech?

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I have my newest quilt project all cut out and started, ready to work on during my retreat.  Then I realized that the directions did not include the yardage needed for the last outer border.  That really pisses me off when book and pattern authors do that.  I bought all the fabric at Judy’s Sewing Center in Elderton, PA, which is 2 hours from my house.  I mailed them swatches of the fabric that I need more of and luckily they had it.  It will be mailed to me tomorrow.  I love their service.  And I love their fabrics too.  I have bought so much fabric there that they sent me an embroidered bag and told me I am in their “bag lady” club.  I am a little afraid to ask exactly what that means….. but I am sure it is good!

Fall

It has been a really warm fall so far.  And so dry, that the leaves on the trees are falling off because it is  dry, rather than because they are pretty and it got cold and windy.

We got a frost the other day and the leaves are finally changing.

This picture was taken Monday.

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And this one was taken today (Thursday).

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If we get all the rain and wind they are predicting, this may be all of the pretty leaves we see this year.  Hopefully we can see more great days.  I love the colors of fall, don’t you?

And this is Bessie.  She is due to have a calf very soon.  Isn’t she goofy looking in this picture?  She makes me laugh.

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Hey Elizabeth, what should we name the girl calf that you saw when you were here?  It still has no name and really needs one.   Steve thinks maybe you could name it.  Call me!

Steve has been siding the quilt room.  Insulation first, then siding.  It sure does look better.  I will try to get some pictures of progress up.  We hope the weather cooperates so that he can keep on going around to the oldest part of the house that needs it too.

We are busy busy busy with quilts too.  So busy that I haven’t stopped to take pics.  Nothing real special that we have done lately, but have some here to do that are amazing quilt tops.  Every once in awhile we get something that inspires me to piece.  I started a mariner’s compass kind of quilt (but different) this week and plan on working on it at the retreat next week.

What am I reading now?  Cage of Stars.

A Thousand Splendid Suns

I finished A Thousand Splendid Suns last nite.  I highly recommend that you read it.  It is a story of 2 women who come together by circumstance…. 2 women who learn to get along in order to live.  2 women who try to give the children some sense of order and balance to their lives when life in Afghanistan is neither orderly or balanced.

I would love to hear what any men (in particular, but not exclusively) think of this book.  I thought it was powerful.  While parts of it were disturbing and difficult, it was uplifting and hopeful at the same time.  It reminded me how rich we are in America.  Rich in goods and resources, rich in resiliency and  rich in history.  It is the women of our country, the women of all countries around the world that pass those riches to their children.  This book is a salute to so many women, in a way… to their resiliency, emotional and spiritual strength, human compassion and the courage to endure.

Reading and Other Stuff

I finished But Inside I’m Screaming by Elizabeth Flock last week.  I still haven’t decided how much I liked it.   It is a story of a young news anchor who is severely depressed and ends up in a mental institution for a time.  Having experienced depression in the past, I found that it truly captured the essence of depression…. which was depressing!  But it was also insightful, funny, sad, and elightening.  There were several profound statements sprinkled in, but many more just so so pages.  I guess it was good enough to finish, but not good enough  to get excited about.

Then I started A Thousand Splendid Suns.  Oh my!  I just can’t seem to put it down for long.  I have gotten very little done this week because I have read almost half the book.  I bought it thinking I should read it just because it is a best seller and so popular.  (similar to why we watch the Steelers….. sorry all you huge Steelers fans!….. you know, just to be able to know what the buzz is about)  I never really thought I would get into the story because it is in Afghanistan and I know so little about that country.  I am learning alot.  And loving the book.  If you have read the book, don’t spoil the ending for me please!

We went to the bookstore again today.  I went to pick up a book that Chet had recommended and I ordered several weeks ago.  Why is it impossible to walk in, get ONE book and walk out?  I was glad Steve was with me to carry the very heavy bag out!

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Quilting…… I have done very little.  My class is way frustrating to me.  I finally had to put some stuff away and will go back to it later.

I am getting projects ready to take with me to a quilting retreat Oct22-25 at Pymatuning with the Undercover Gals (my sewing group).  3 cabins, 6 women in each cabin. (if you are interested, scroll down on that link and click on the 360 views, kinda fun)  Lots of sewing, eating, sharing and very little sleep.  I really should finish some UFO’s, but will probably concentrate on my new piecing project.

Then I come home for several days to recover, repack and go to Houston.  I can hardly wait.  I am going to Quilt Festival to shop for a longarm machine of my own.  Yes, I use Steve’s.  But that means I can only quilt when we don’t have client work to do.  And I want to quilt more often.  Space is a problem, which means I will either quilt in the kitchen or we will add on again to make a bigger studio.  Getting a contractor here to assess the situation is a different frustrating story…..

Hope you all have a good weekend!

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