Tuesday, February 27, 2007


February in my rural town is usually wet, wet, wet. One year I counted the number of days it rained in February - 22. But this year? Rain, wind, sleet, and unusual for us - snow.
This is me clearing my car this morning to head to work.

By the time I drove twenty minutes south the snow had turned to rain and the white magic on the trees and hillsides was non-existant.

But it was fun while it lasted!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Orphan Blocks

As if I don't have enough UFO's of my own! I picked up a Ziplock baggie full of orphan blocks at the Freebees table at guild last month. There were more than a half a dozen pinwheels... some of them very wonky... and a handful of 3" Four-patches in Christmas Gold and Green...

I also salvaged this remnant from Su's cutting clutter. I'm a true scrap-aholic and she gets a kick out of my grubbing in her bin.

I pulled out the best looking Pinwheels and put them together into a Nine-patch.

The Four-patches don't really do anything for me, I might recycle those back to the Freebees table next month. But I'm considering using Su's piano key border with the Pinwheel Nine-patch, hmmm...
Stay tuned.


Our Quilt Guild, Ladies of the Lake will be hosting a visting Guild next month. As a favor to the visiting members we were asked to create little felt Needle Keepers that will be given as gifts.

Those that were interested signed out a pre-assembled kit that contained all the pieces-parts precut, ready to stitch. How easy is that? There were strands of color coordinated embroidery floss, little buttons to consider using as embellishments, an inside piece of wool cut to fit and an outside piece of felted wool. I decided to stitch the flower centers, the buttons in my kit seemed a bit too big.
The inside piece is sewn on three sides, as well as stitched down the middle to tack the cord that ties the spool of thread in place. This creates a little pocket on one side. You can just see a skein of floss peaking out. The Keeper closes with velcro dots.

Fun! And it didn't take weeks and weeks to complete. Now that's my kind of project. =)

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Another Composite Image

DH's been busy with his computer graphics. This image is a composite of several elements. All the scenery was created by him using 3-D modeling software. The sisters are a photographic image and the quilt is mine.

He's entitled it Shared Secrets in the Early Morning.

More Pictures

In between the rain showers we've been having over the last few days I finally got out and took full- sized pictures of the Snail's Trail top and backing. They're both too big to fit on the tool shed backdrop that I usually use so we had to put it on the side of the house!

That was an endeavor in itself. Up and down the three-step step stool, holding the weight up over my head while DH tapped the tiny nails in, losing the nails in the grass, having the step stool sink into the dirt because the ground is so saturated, finding some wood siding to place under the legs of the step stool so it wouldn't sink into the ground, moving the siding pieces and the stool for each pair of nails tapped in, up and down the steps.

Take the photo, take the whole thing down, go through all the above steps again with the backing which is even *bigger*. I didn't have the heart to tell my husband that the backing was dragging on the ground, he was already on the top step of the stool on tip-toe, stretched to his full height, tap nails in his teeth, hammer in hand.

I thanked him several times for his willingness to go out into the wet and help me with this. How many husbands care that much about the quality of the photos their quilting wives have to put on their blog??
But I wanted to show you the backing and this close-up because this is what started it all in the first place.
This quilt is going to be for my brother and SIL who live in Washington and boat on the Sound. I was visiting them last June for a family reunion. One afternoon the women went fabric shopping and I wandered over to the flat fold - clearance tables. There were yards and yards of this blue fabric and it just spoke to me. The colors are amazing. And not only does it look like it's been bargello pieced but in the dark blue area there are these impressionistic shapes that look like either whale flukes or sea birds, depending on how you look at it. This fabric set the color scheme for the quilt.
Now how many quilts are *begun* with the purchase of the backing? =)

Monday, February 12, 2007

It's a Flimsey!

At long last this project is a top! I had the blocks together for over a week but had trouble finding the right fabric for the inner border. I went back to the store where I’d bought some of the fabrics with swatch in hand, looking for more of one of the aqua-jade blenders. But of course they were sold out.

Our little Northern California town only /has/ two fabric stores - and Wal-Mart doesn’t count. I went stash diving twice hoping to find something suitable. Nada… My fabric collect is over twenty years old and most of my blues are not as clear as these.

I asked Su for her favorite fabric sites and browsed on-line. Zip, zilch. Sooo frustrating! Sooo close to being done – yet unable to get there! I decided to put it aside until I could drive south to the next town and shop, and who knew when that would be?

Two nights later I was cleaning my sewing room, too discouraged to work on anything else. I didn’t /want/ to change gears, it’s best to stay on the trail when it’s HOT! Snail’s Trail that is. =) While sorting through the ‘Pending projects’ pile I found a four yard chunk of clear aqua that was just right; I couldn’t believe it! I’d put it aside as possible backing for one of the pending projects in the pile. Well TOO bad! You snooze, you lose.

This is probably one of the *largest* quilts I've ever made, 7 ft x 9 ft. And I'm planning on quilting this?? I mean, I do have I nice, new Janome 6500, but...

It's been raining all weekend, so in order to photograph this quilt I had to set up my three-step stepstool on the hearth, my head was banging the ceiling and I still had trouble getting it all in the view finder. But this'll give you a good idea.

Monday, February 05, 2007


All last week I had the pedal to the metal piecing those 48 Snail Trail blocks into rows and the rows into a top. I sewed for hours three nights out of five. I was exhausted. The top is six feet by eight before borders!

So I took a break and played with these little eight inch Sawtooth Star blocks that I adopted from the Freebees table Saturday. Round one of borders got on last night.

It was so satisfying to work in a different color scheme *and* have something near completion to show for a couple hours worth of sewing.


Sunday, February 04, 2007

Orphan Blocks

I found a Ziplock bag *full* of orphan blocks on the Freebee table at Guild yesterday. I didn't even stop to browse through them at the time, there was such a 'feeding frenzy' going on I didn't want to miss anything.

What I found were 18 eight inch Sawtooth Star blocks, 12 four inch pinwheel blocks and a handful of four patches and hst's. They were all mix and match as far as I could tell and the piece work was pretty nice. I took them home.
After much trial and error, this is the layout I decided on.

Most of the blocks are made with a dark star on a light background. Then there are a few light stars on dark backgrounds and a few I chose not to use because the contrast is almost non-existant so you couldn't see the star. I also didn't want to piece any additional blocks; this is intended to be a 'quick quilt' after all.

Then I went to EQ and recreated the block's colors (for the most part) and made border size and color choices. What a joy EQ is for this task! Instead of having to haul a bunch of fabrics out of the stash to audition I can just click and see. Here's the layout I think I'll use.

Off to the sewing room. More later... :D

Friday, February 02, 2007

Friendship Block

This is a Pine Tree block for one of my mini-group friends. You wouldn't think a little 12" block would take such a long time to piece, but I can't *tell* you how many false starts I experienced. After ripping and resewing as many times as I did, I felt like I'd pieced the block three times over!

Funny how some days sewing are like that... I probably would've been better off to leave it and go do something else. :D