Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Frankenstorm and Me

Well, after several days of preparing for the worst, thankfully my neck o' the woods did not receive terrible weather like those on the East coast. Yes, we had wind and quite a bit of rain, but no serious problems. Last night I worked on hand-sewing bindings and hanging sleeves while watching some reruns on Dish, just waiting for the electricity to go out. It didn't though, thank goodness. I really feel for those who were hit hard. We had some small branches down and this morning we had a disoriented ring necked pheasant hanging out in the yard, but beyond that we weathered the storm remarkably well. I didn't make it to Quilt Market in Houston this year, but my freidn Cathey did with her boss at the quilt shop where she works. They attempted to fly home yesterday from Houston, but were rerouted to Dallas. Hopefully, they'll be home tomorrow. Can't wait for her to get home so I can find out all about the "new" stuff she saw at Market. If all goes well, I'll be in Houston next year (with Leslie, my travel buddy and budding designer) to debut my new quilt book.

Sunday, October 21, 2012


I had a lovely surprise when I went to work at the library on Saturday. There was a plastic bag on my desk with a completed grandmother's flower garden quilt top folded up inside. The notes said that it was from a member of the Women's CLub that meets at the library and that it had belonged to her mother, and, no she didn't want it back. So, another orphan is added to my orphanage.
Today I decided to give the top a preliminary wash so that I could see what I was dsealing with. Besides it was a nice day to hang it outside to dry, breezy and overcast. I washed it in the washer on the gentle cycle, allowing it to soak for a couple hours, using Quiltwash with some vintagev soak thrown in for good measure. It came out much much cleaner, but now I could see the remaining brown age stains as well as the frayed seams and separated seams. Well, so the work begins. I will need to let it soak in either Restoration or Vintage Soak for a while to see if I can rid the top of the brown stains. Then of course I will need to repair the split seams. Luckily the fabrics all seam to be in good condition, no holes or tears. Stay tuned to find out how this top turns out.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Newest Addition to My Quilt Dungeon (err, Studio)

After two years of begging, my Dad has finally made me one of those big ironing board tops that fit over your existing ironing board. Of course, he designed his own version and calles it "The Big Topper." It is big, too -- a whopping 24" x 60", several inches bigger than the ones available commercially. I even put it on a different ironing board -- a charming vintage wooden one from perhaps the 1920's with great orangey-red original paint. I love it and it's so sturdy I think I could tap dance on it! Of course, my Dad added a few special safety features (he knows me too well, I guess).
He liked making "the Big Topper" so much that he's now designing a "Lil Topper" as a portable board for me to take to class or wherever. He's very excited and has decided that he wants to make more boards and offer them for sale (locally right now, because the shipping would be insane). Already, my "Big Topper" board has really been a life saver! I am currently working on the HUGE bed-sized sampler quilt for my upcoming book. Thank goodness there's only one giant quilt in the book. I've been working on it for about three weeks. Yesterday, I actually assembled the center of the quilt, but it seems like I will never get it done. I need to get it done, of course, so that it can go to my friend and long arm quilter extraordinaire, Gaynel, so that she can work her magic on my humble quilt. Sadly, I probably won't get back to it until next week. Sigh..... Anyway, the book is coming along. I have nine quilts completed (mostly, anyway) and I'm working on the giant quilt right now. Then five to go. Hopefully this week end I will be able to get two more tops done and the final three quilts are being put together by my dear friends Cathey, Leslie, and Mary Lee, who also pieced quilts for my first book, Orphan Block Quilts. I've also begun writing instructions too. Let me tell you that writing instructions isn't easy. I've been used to doing them in a certain way for the magazine pieces that I design, which are mostly geared towards the beginner, and now I'm trying to write instructions for the intermediate quilter. Ugh. How much is too much ..... or not enough? Right now, I don't have answers for this so I'm mostly experimenting right now. But, things will all be fine. (So I keep telling myself, anyway.) Recently, my three friends Cathey, Leslie, and Mary Lee, and I went on our annual quilt pilgrimage to Chautauqua Institute in New York for the Quilting Around Chautauqua Weekend. The event begins on Friday, but we start our pilgrimage on Wednesday........ It was a great five days, although it is always way too short. I had the privilege of meeting Mary Fons (who was one of the speakers along with her mother). I really enjoyed her lecture. She was articulate, fun, and energetic. Have you checked out her new magazine called Quilty yet? Next year it will be going to 6 issues. I'm personally looking forward to that because I'd like to submit some of my work for consideration........ We'll see. This coming week end (as in two days from now) I am going to Quilt Camp for the first time in three years. It should be fun. Both Cathey and Leslie will be there too. It starts at 2 PM Friday and goes to 2 PM Sunday. As I think of what to pack, clothes are the easiest -- I only need three pairs of jammies! Just think -- sewing, eating, laughing, perhaps a little sleeping -- AND THEN REPEAT! What am I waiting for -- Quilt Camp here I come!