Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Done! Back to quilting!

I love this ad featuring Joan Crawford and Whitey delivering the always perfect gift, Lucky Strike cigarettes. I found this on the back of a circa 1935 quilt pattern in an old magazine.

Colleen came in on Tuesday from Ypsilanti and Katy arrived from Chicago Wednesday night. We had a lovely Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, just the four of us. Colleen worked Christmas afternoon and Tom, Katy and I saw It's Complicated with Alex Baldwin, Meryl Streep and Steve Martin. I highly recommend it. It's nice to see romance with people my own age.

Saturday, Colleen went home to Ypsi and on Sunday Tom's family came over. I made a pork loin (brined, then dry rubbed, yum), wild rice with cranberries and pecans and roasted asparugus. After the party I drove Katy downtown to East Lansing to hook up with her old college roommates.

This afternoon Tom is going to tie up some loose ends with his Dad's estate and Katy is going shopping.
Could this be my opportunity to get in a little sewing? This year I'm determined to teach myself more free-hand machine quilting. I'll be starting on a wall hanging from a round robin with the small group the Outlaws probably five or six years ago. Colleen wants to hang it in her new apartment. So, I'll quilt the whole then free-hand, and finish another UFO.

Tomorrow, it's on to Chicago where we'll stay overnight with Katy (and possibly ice skate at Wrigley Field), then spend a night in St. Joseph having our New Year's Eve celebration a day early at the Grande Mere restaurant.

So, till next time.... Happy Quilting!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Santa is coming to town

Merry Christmas everyone. If you live in the greater Lansing area make sure and take in some of the exhibits produced by the Michigan State University Museum's very own Santa, Val Berryman. In the YouTube video he talks about his fabulous collection. He has seven different exhibits this year all around the area including these on the MSU campus:
A Merry Dairy Christmas at the Anthony Hall Dairy Store
Christmas Around the Globe at the Student Union
Crackers & Biscuits, An English Christmas at the MSU Museum
Santa Takes a Break at the Spartan Stadium Tower
and these around town:
Signs of Santa (my personal favorite) in the window of the Knapp's building, downtown Lansing
TAKAAN, Christmas from the Phillipines at the Williamston Depot
Where's Santa at the MSU Credit Union headquarters of West Road, East Lansing.
Val has one of the world's best collection of Santa Claus and Christmas items!
Learn more about the exhibits here.
I'm lucky to work with Val and I look forward to his displays every year.

Till next time.... Happy Quilting!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Christmas Quilt

I've been keeping up with the blogs in my list and have been inspired to post my Christmas Quilt. I called it Christmas Eve since that has some special memories for me. My Mom's birthday was Christmas Eve and every Christmas Eve when I was a girl, my Uncle Ed would come over. He was a bachelor and was my Dad's best friend, so not really an Uncle. But he would come over with TONS of gifts for me and my older sister and my two older brothers. On top of the gifts he was very funny and did a great impression of Mr. Magoo! At midnight my mother would take all the kids to midnight Mass and my Dad and Uncle Ed would stay home, drink whiskey and watch the Pope serve midnight Mass on TV!

About two weeks ago my daughter Colleen moved out. I've been a bit worried about her transition, but she seems to be doing great. When she left, she took lots of stuff, so I was able to rearrange my sewing room. I'm anxious to get some sewing done and try out the new arrangement.

Today, Tom and I bought a snow blower (we're not getting any younger) and a Christmas Tree. Tomorrow, I'll be decorating and hopefully doing a little sewing, too.

Till next time... Happy Quilting!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Jigsaw Puzzles

I went to Jigsaw Planet and made a puzzle out of one of my quilts. Very fun!

Cake and Ice Cream - online jigsaw puzzle - 42 piecesCake and Ice Cream

Just click on the quilt to do the puzzle.

Till next time...... Happy Quilting!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Great Dane Puppies

Beware of the cute Great Dane in today's Daily Puppy!

He could turn out like this!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Learning from Blogs and Tutorials

Here's a picture of an antique Bay Leaf quilt from my collection. I'm including just because I love to see pictures of quilts when I go to blogs.

My first blog was May 26, 2008. In the 18 months since I've started blogging I've discovered a few things.
  1. I love other people's blogs and follow many of them. The first blogs I started following were my friends. They're great quilters and great photographers. I really enjoy the show and tells from the small groups they belong to. Also included in these blogs are old friends who have moved away. It's an excellent way to keep in touch.
  2. The next group of quilters I started to follow were bloggers who were interested in reproducing antique quilts. Again, the show and tell of projects keeps me coming back.
  3. Then I discovered many famous book authors and quilt teachers are blogging. I get to keep up with the latest on their work.
The best thing about having my own blog is the ease with which I can keep up with everyone. My blog list shows the latest blog entries at the top of the list. Even though I follow more than 40 blogs, there are only about five new posts each day. It makes it manageable.

I'm always adding new blogs and sometimes removing them, too. What I like in a blog is lots of pictures and just a little bit of writing. I also enjoy the links to other blogs from the list. This has led me to adding features like "The Daily Puppy." Everyday a new puppy, what's not to love. I've also decided to add a new feature with links to quilting tutorials. My latest interests have been to improve my applique and machine quilting. My skills aren't bad, but I'm looking for ways to make those processes more enjoyable. The first tutorials are one Back Basting for Hand Applique.

So, look for the tutorials list and "The Daily Puppy" and take few minutes to surf for blogs on your own. You'll be surprised how much time you can waste!

Till next time... Happy Quilting!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

MSU in the Fall

I can't remember when I've seen a more beautiful fall. Not only do I have the best job, but I work at the best place, the campus of MSU. Here are a few of the trees I snapped last week.

Today being Halloween, I've got all my candy ready for tonight and since my husband is going to the MSU football game in Minneapolis, I've got the next two days to sew. I'm starting to add fish and plants to the Mermaid quilt.
Till next time..... Happy Quilting.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Busy Weekend

It's been one busy weekend. First we went to see the new final four banner raised at Midnight Madness at the Breslin Center. It's was great to celebrate the last season's basketball team again. We got home about 1:30am.

We got up (not too early) and went to tailgate in the Commuter lot.

Next, was the football game. It was homecoming and we won, but my favorite part of homecoming is always the Alumni Cheerleaders. They always cheer in front of our section. This year they managed some pyramids. Making it to the top of the pyramid is a great achievement, but getting down is even more fun to watch!

After the game was the Otto's annual Octoberfest. This is the best dinner party of the year. Mark and Jennifer spend months, researching the menu, then spend weeks, working on the meal. It was a great way to end the day!

Today was the last event, a pumpkin carving party.

Tonight, it's time to rest up and face the work week. It will feel like rest compared to this weekend!

Till next time... Happy Quilting!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Whoo Hooo!

Wow! I went to the MSU/U of M game yesterday. Not a fan left early. Tom took a picture of the scoreboard for posterity. As the fourth quarter wore on and U of M tied the game with 2 seconds to go, the biggest thought in my mind was we need to win to shut up the 2 nutty teenage boys behind us wearing maize and blue. Now, I didn't say anything rude in response to these kids, because they are just kids. But what was really disgusting was these kids dads. At one point, one of the kids took chewing gum from his mouth and threw it at unsuspecting MSU fans. The dad's response? A big high five for the kids. I guess this is why Michigan fans are hated all over the country!

But alls well that ends well as you can see by the two happy fans pictured here. I taped the game and watched the first half this morning. I'll be watching the rest tonight, then savoring it all season long.

Go Green, Go White!

Till next time.... Happy Quilting!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Block Exchange

I just got back home from block exchange. I'm going to post only 2 pictures and direct you to Cyndee, Linda, and Ruth for more pix from the evening.

This quilt was made by Bonnnie. She did a clever take on the Courthouse Square pattern.

I pushed hard last weekend to finish the Ocean Waves border on the Mermaid quilt for tonight's show and tell.

Now I'm ready to applique some friends for Colleen in the form of fish, sea horses and star fish.

Till next time...... Happy Quilting!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

More Quilts from MQN

Here are a few more quilts from the Michigan Quilt Network's Showcase last weekend.

"A Garden For My Wedding Ring"

"Stars Around My Garden."

"Blocks of the Past."

My favorite was this "Love Apple" from the antique collection of April and her mom, Virginia.

I'm really enjoying all the quilt show pictures on our blogs. With three quilt shows in one weekend, it's great to see a bit of each show.

Till next time... Happy Quilting

Saturday, September 12, 2009

MSU football

Time to get dressed, get out the tandem and tailgate! Go Green, Go White!

Till next time... Happy Quilting!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Michigan Quilt Network Showcase 2009

I've just spent 2 days at the Michigan Quilt Network's Showcase 2009. They had great quilts and I saw many, many friends from all around the state.

Here's a Daisy quilt, for Daisy!

This quilt was called "Stargazing Down Under" that I snapped for Ruth D.

This quilt is "Sizzling Sampler" and the owner won many of the blocks from a UFO raffle!

Here's my colleague Julie at our MSU Museum booth. We are selling books, quilts and fabric for $1.50/yard. I'll be working again on Sunday, so stop by, say hello and buy some great stuff!

Till next time..... Happy Quilting!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Mermaid Quilt

Around 1993 I hired Charlotte Warr Anderson to teach at my Northern Michigan Quilter's Getaway retreat. I admire her work tremendously and for my money, she is the best living quiltmaker! I didn't have time to take her workshop so with the help of 10 friends, we hired Charlotte to teach us a private workshop in one of our homes. My project was to make a quilt of my daughter Colleen as a mermaid. During the workshop I got the pattern for her body drawn and her face appliqued. I also chose fabric for her body. I got stuck on the background to put her on. 10 years later (I think) I heard Charlotte was going to teach a workshop in Flint. I signed up for the workshop and brought my mermaid. At this point I had her hair appliqued to her face. I told Charlotte I was stuck on the background and in 2 minutes she had drawn the waves! Again I was amazed by her talent and willingness to share. Her waves were perfect, but because I was a unsure about where to start appliqueing them, the mermaid went back into her bin. Meanwhile I made many other quilts and was working on finishing Unfinished Projects and my Colleen grew up. She started asking if I was ever going to finish her mermaid quilt, so I decided to be brave and jump back in and finish it this time. So you see how far I've gotten. Now with an extra day off work I'm piecing triangles for an Ocean Waves border. Then I'll be appliqueing fish, sea horses, coral and plants to keep Colleen company.

Till next time....... Happy Quilting!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Welsh Quilts

Check out this link about Welsh Quilts. It's only 1:46, but the quilts are wonderful. They are wool, solids and look very much like Amish quilts. Thanks to Sally Ward of the UK for posting this on Quilter's Heritage List.

And make sure and check out Pepper Cory's Quilt Flap blog (the link is in my blog list) for more on Welsh quilts.

Pictured is a small Amish-style quilt I made in the 1990s.

Till next time... Happy Quilting!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Great Lakes Folk Festival

Next weekend is the Great Lakes Folk Festival. This wonderful 3 day event happens in downtown East Lansing and brings great music, great food, great dancing and great crafts and all for free. I want to invite everyone to come. My personal favorites are the dance tent and the Traditions Food Court. Where else can you get a perogi, a gyro, ribs and home-made root beer all in one spot? See you there.

Till next time.... Happy Quilting!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Busy Weekend

Katy arrived from Chicago on Friday afternoon. Tom, Colleen, Katy and I jumped in the car and drove to downtown Detroit to see the Star Trek Exhibit. We had a ball. When the girls were between 10 and 15 we were big fans of the Next Generation. We got to pose on the bridge (left to right, Beth, Katy, Tom and Colleen), visit Jean Luc Picard's ready room and transport.

The next morning Katy and I went to Oscoda while Tom went to Grayling. Saturday night Tom watched the launch of the Oscoda Canoe Race and woke the next morning to ride the Black Bear on his bike. He and his gang, The Barfly Bike Club, rode the 100 mile tour and arrived that evening at my sister's in Oscoda where I had cold drinks and a barbecue ready. Monday morning brought breakfast for 14, then a trip home. We stopped at the World's Largest Jerky Outlet on the M-61 exit on I-75 where Katy found snacks for her train ride home. On Monday Katy and I chose fabrics for a quilt for her. Her colors are chartruse, deep turquoise, carmel and orange. Lucky for me she found a Geisha fabric with the colors in it for me to refer to. Then we went to see Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. I even managed to squeeze in a little more applique on the Mermaid quilt for Colleen. This morning she hopped the Chicago train and I went back to work.

Wow, the summer is sure going by fast. It's almost football season and here's a little teaser.

Go green, go white!

Till next time...Happy Quilting

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Up North

Pepper's designed a free pattern for Quilter's Newsletter Magazine. It's a Drunkard's Path quilt called The Road Home. Click here to see it.

Last week Tom and I spent a few days Up North. We started by spending a night on Mackinac Island where we toured the Governor's Summer Home. We met some great girl scouts there. Each summer different girl and boy scout troops are invited to spend a week on Mackinac Island where they serve as tour guides and handle the flag ceremonies at the Fort and the Gov.'s Summer Home. They were very friendly and were especially good at taking pictures of tourists on the porch! After this picture we rode our bikes around the island. We logged 26 miles that day!

We left the island the next morning and made our way to Petoskey where we pedalled the Little Traverse Bay Wheelway. The Wheelway is a paved bike path from Charlevoix to the Little Traverse Bay State Park. We rode from Bay Harbor to the State Park and logged 16 miles. Here I am on the Wheelway as it overlooks the marina in downtown Petoskey.

Our last stop was Glen Arbor. We bicycled around the lake and canoed the Crystal River. We also drove the Pierce Stocking Drive. Pierce Stocking was a man who built a private road through the Sleeping Bear Dunes so people could enjoy the area. When he passed away the state took over the road named it after Pierce and now oversees its operation. There is a 1.5 mile hike on the drive called the Cottonwood Trail. We took the walk and I was surprised that it peaked at the top of the Dune Climb on M-109!
What a view, you can see both Glen Lakes and the Day Farm Barn.

Then we began our drive home. As we were driving past Crystal Lake we passed our Lansing biking pals Kathy and Mark! We just had to stop and get a picture.

Till next time... Happy Quilting and Biking!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

More Red Cross Quilts

Check out the Eye of the Needle blog for another perspective on Red Cross quilts. also has some history and a different Red Cross pattern. I decided to do a little more searching, so I typed "red cross quilt" in google and clicked on the image button at the upper right side of the screen and found many interesting images of Red Cross quilts. The farther I looked into the pages, other images appeared that didn’t seem quilt related. I clicked on an image of an older lady (who am I kidding, she was probably my age…) and found The Journals of Annabelle Johnson. Each entry is very short and at first appears mundane (January 14, 1960 - Thursday. Fine and bright. I did a little hooking. Went to the Auxillary meeting at Alice Blaikie's. Ester was up to Gertie Patterson's to dinner.) But after reading a few, I found them oddly compelling.

Till next time... Happy Stitching

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Red Cross

Today's free quilt pattern is Red Cross. This is a pattern that has been published many times in many versions. It's an easy block to make and I like using a stripe in the vertical and horizontal strips that divide the block.

On Saturday my daughter Katy called me from New York. She was there on business when her boss decided to stay an extra day and go to the Belmont Stakes! She wanted to know if I wanted to place a bet. I gave her $10 on Mine That Bird and he came in 3rd! It sure made watching the race at Dagwood's more exciting.

I biked to work 3 times this week and biked 20 miles today. That gives me a total of 44 miles this week. I've been riding my bike to work when the weather allows and I try to take a long ride each weekend. We usually ride from the Mayfair Bar in Haslett and peddle around Williamston, ending with a loop around Lake Lansing. My goal is to ride 30 miles each weekend ride.

Till next time.... Happy Quilting!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Union Square

It's been a cool and rainy day, perfect for blogging. Today's free quilt pattern is Union Square. I love the way it fills the whole square. It was first published by the Ladies Art Company before 1895 as Union.

Now for another blast from the past. Remember how exciting it was when a music act would be on TV? Here's A Lover's Concerto by the Toys.

Till next time... Happy Quilting.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Crossed Paths

Today's free quilt pattern is Crossed Path. It's a slight variation of a Jack in the Pulpit block. I love to sit and look through my many pattern books and I often see a block and want to change it just a little bit. In this case I changed the center of the block from a square in a square to a four patch. I've included a picture and reference to the original block in the pattern.

This weekend I planted flowers and vegetables. I've planted four tomato plants, 4 pepper plants, basil, oregano, cilantro, rosemary, Thai basil and I've got a great parsley plant that reseeded from last year. Two weeks ago I planted lettuce and spinach which is coming up nicely.

I also went on a bike ride with Tom and his bike group. We biked from Lake Lansing to Williamston. Tom and Kathy rode 30 miles and I rode 18 miles. I'm the slowest biker in the group, but I enjoy it and manage to finish and still remain upright!

The Capitol City Quilt Guild Show was a great success. I'm not sure how many attended, but it was beautiful show.

Don't you love Youtube? Here's a fund video. I remember Shindig when I was in elementary school. My mother was a big rock and roll fan, so she always let us watch Shindig.

Till next time.... Happy Quilting!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Irish Puzzle

Today's free quilt pattern is Irish Puzzle. I've added the history of the block and found it was widely published under many different names.

Yesterday I went to the Capitol City Quilt Guild's quilt show at the Summit in Dimondale. Wow! It was very impressive. Over 500 quilts were hung (3 of mine, too) and about 60 great vendors. I purchased many fatt quarters of fabric including repro purples for $1 a fatt quarter! It pays to have odd taste. I bought some other beautiful repros from my sister's pal Denise at the Hollyhock Quilt Shoppe's booth. If you're Up North this summer on the sunrise side, make sure and visit this shop in Harrisville. I also went in hunt of turquoise fabrics to use in the background of a mermaid quilt I started for Colleen over 16 years ago! After I finish four block exchange blocks I'll be working on the mermaid quilt in my never ending quest to finish all my UFOs. I'm sure my goal would be easier to attain if I'd quilt buying old quilt blocks and tops, too.

It looks to be a sunny day today, so I'll be going to the East Lansing Art Fair and MSU Craft Show where I'm excited to see fellow blogger Beanie G's booth.

So if you haven't been to the Quilt Show yet, make sure and see it. And while you're there, go upstairs and take the overview of the show from the top, Spectacular!

Till next time... Happy Quilting!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Summer Cottage

Today's free quilt pattern is Summer Cottage. Even though it's a rainy, yucky day, May is cottage time in Michigan. I designed this pattern in honor of all the people I know who have cottages Up North and all the times I've been invited to stay with them. In May all the snow birds pack up their cars and make the trek back to Michigan for summer at the lake. My sister has cottages on Lake Huron and we're looking forward to riding bikes in Oscoda and taking Boomer swimming in the big lake. There's also a 100 mile bike ride that coincides with the Au Sable Canoe Race. Tom will be riding the 100 miles, while I'll be waiting at the finish line near at Mary Ellen's cottage in Oscoda.

Check out this video for a taste of the event.

Then imagine riding your bike next to the river while this madness is going on!
I think hanging out at the finish line with a cold beer is going to be my contribution to the weekend.

Till next time..... Happy Quilting!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Eight Pointed Star

Well I'm finally back to blogging. The pictured quilt is what I've been working on for the past 3 weeks. The Capitol City Quilt Guild is having their biennial show May 16-17 at the Summit in Lansing, Michigan. If you're in town you should check it out. The committee is going to hang 500(!) quilts and there's also 5o vendors. I received these quilt blocks as a parting gift when I was president in 2004-2005. Since this is our 25th anniversary as a guild, I wanted to get my President's quilt done. Each past president gets Eight Pointed Star blocks in the colors of their choice and the size of their choice. The block size on this quilt is 7 1/2". I've written up a pattern for the block and given measurements for 6 different sizes. When I chose the colors green and white in 2004, I had no idea I would be quilting it while watching the Spartans in the Final Four. Just a happy accident, but what fun.

I was president of the guild in 1984 and this is the quilt I made from my president's blocks. I asked for red, blue and tan blocks 12". The guild was much smaller then and I received 42 blocks. The quilt turned out so big, I didn't put any borders on it. That's why I asked for 7 1/2" blocks the second time. I received 56 blocks and even though the quilt turned out huge, I couldn't resist a pieced border.

Till next time.... Happy Quilting!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Go Green! Go White!

Go Green! Go White!

Well the game is done, but I'm not disappointed. It was a heck-of-a run. Even though the team did not play their best, they did make it to the final game and they were classy during their after game press conference.

I'm proud to be a Spartan and proud to be a Michigander (or is that Michiganian?)!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Rainbow Block Company

Pictured is a quilt I bought on eBay a few years ago. The blocks are a mixture of applique and embroidery. The quilt was made in the 1930s from blocks ordered from the Rainbow Quilt Block Company. Quilt historian and researcher Sharon Pinka came to the MSU Museum to do research on our collection of quilt kits produced by the Rainbow Block Company, so I dragged this quilt out of the closet to share it with Sharon.

In May the Capitol City Quilt Guild is having a quilt show. It is the 25th anniversary of the guild and I'm trying to finish a quilt for the show. That's why I haven't blogged in a long time.

I've also been glued to the NCAA men's basketball tournament. The MSU Spartans are in the final four, so another excuse for not blogging. Tom and I went to downtown East Lansing, to cheer on the team bus as it rolled through town. Saturday's game is special fo many reasons, but especially because it will be played in Detroit.

Time to get back to the quilt, I've got about 45 minutes of hand stitching before bed.
Go Green!

Till next time.... Happy Quilting!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Yankee Puzzle

Today's free quilt block is Yankee Puzzle. I love the pinwheel center and the movement created by the flying geese units.

I've discovered Widgets. They are little features you can attach to your blog. I've put in three so far. One is the last post about Harry Potter. Then I found a widget at the website of my favorite TV network, Turner Classic Movies. If you look to the right side of my column, you'll find it. You can play movie trailers, view lobby photos and old hollywood stills. I just love old movies and this is a little bit of fun I can share with all of you. The last widget I found is the game Bubbles. I've never been much for games on my computer. In the past I've dabbled with online jigsaw puzzles and games of solitaire, but this little game has got me hooked. I find myself playing this for hours at a time. I'm afraid it's going to impact my sewing productivity. My top score so far is just over 17,000. Go ahead, give this game a try, but I warn you, it's addictive.

Till nest time.... Happy Quilting!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Harry Potter Nerd Alert!

The truth is out, I'm a huge Harry Potter nerd! I've read all the books (more than once) and have seen all the movies (more than once). I can't wait for the Half Blood Prince. I plan on going the first day to see it at the IMAX in 3-D.

Till next time.... Happy Quilting!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

To and Fro

Today's free quilt pattern is To and Fro. It is based on a similar block called Hither and Yon. It goes together well and would also look great on point. Last Christmas I got a new iron. No one but a quilter would be thrilled with a top of the line Rowenta, but I was ecstatic. My old Rowenta was over 15 years old. It still heated up, but it also spit deposits whenever water was put in it. I used it for over two years without water. Boy the difference is amazing and pressing yardage is so much better.

Having a new iron brings up the topic of pressing while making patchwork. When I write instructions I always include pressing instructions. When you pay close attention to pressing, the blocks lay flatter and it's easier to achieve the correct size. When I'm sewing a block, I almost never press with the iron. I finger press until the whole block is together. I then measure the block before I take the iron to it. After I've measured, I know whether I need to press gently (if the block is the right size or a little large) or agressively (if my block measures a little small). I also use this method when I make pieced borders. All the units of the pieced border are finger pressed during construction. I don't press with the iron until the pieced border is attached to the quilt top. Because pieced borders are long, it is easy to stretch them out while pressing. I get a much better fit when I finger press along the way.

Half time is almost over. It's time to cheer on the Spartans, who are trailing the Wisconsin Badgers. So... until next time.....Happy Quilting.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Toad in the Puddle

This blog's free quilt pattern is Toad in the Puddle. For a long time I called this pattern Spring Beauty, but while researching the history of the block, I realized that Spring Beauty has an extra square in a square block in the center. I like the name Spring Beauty better than Toad in the Puddle, but in the interest of accuracy, I'll start calling it Toad in the Puddle from now on.

Before Christmas I did something for myself that I'd avoided for a long time. I went to a store where I was fitted for a decent bra! The store in East Lansing is called Front Room Underfashions in the Hannah Plaza off of Hagadorn Road. They specialize in masectomy patients, but sell to everyone. The ladies at the shop were sweet and really knew what they were doing. It turns out I was wearing a bra that was a size too large in width and two sizes too small in the cup! The best part was the prices were very reasonable. I told my two best lunch buddies and they went and got new bras, too. One of my friends as it turns out, wears a very odd size that they carried. She also special ordered some other ones. So I want to encourage everyone who has never been professional fit for a bra, to go for it. It was well worth the time and money.

Till next time... Happy Quilting!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Scrap Quilting

Boy, could the news get worse? Everyday there's more and more people joining the ranks of the unemployed. I got layed-off this summer, but am thankfully back to work full time. I keep hearing how supporting art programs comes under the title "pork". It's also thought that these are not job creating institutions. I beg to differ, since I work at a museum. I agree we need to spend money on infrastructure, here in Michigan our roads are terrible. But a refusal to support zoos, museums, local theaters and education is short sited. And when those programs are cut, what part is cut, employees! We either spend the money on unemployment benefits or we can actually get something for our money, by keeping people working.

The bright spot in all this is that I am a long time quilter. I began quilting in 1974 and have been seriously stockpiling fabrics since 1981. I have 28 years worth of fabric to make quilts with. And since my favorite quilts are scrap quilts, I'll be spending the next couple of years using "quilt therapy" to get through the financial mess we're in.
If you're in the same boat here a couple of ideas to help you quilt with just your stash:
  • piece the backs of your quilts
  • use class samples or UFOs you no longer like on the back of your quilts (I got this idea from a lecture at my quilt guild by Sue Spargo)
  • if a pattern calls for one color, say pink, substitute with many different scraps of that color
  • borders are often an area where you need a lot of yardage of one fabric. Substitute that yardarge with squares of the same color of fabric i.e. many squares of tone on tone blacks can substitute for a single black fabric.
  • piece your battings. I save all my batting scraps and sew them together when I need to fill a quilt. I've even used different weights and fiber types and nobody has ever noticed they aren't the same batting
  • even bindings can be pieced with different scraps of fabric
  • just remember the more similar your scraps are the more it will look like one piece
The pictured quilt is done in a scrappy style. The sashing, corners and border blues are all different. I also used all different brands of batting including 80/20 and 100% cotton. In upcoming blogs I will give away the 12" block patterns, as well as the sashing, corners and card trick borders for this quilt.

I highly recommend working as much with scraps as possible. The more you do it the more you'll like it! Right now I'm piecing a scrappy border for a baby quilt. The weatherman promised our temperatures are going to hit 50 degrees today, so in between the melting snow and puddles I'm going to walk Boomer.

Till next time....Happy Quilting!