Friday, July 18, 2008

The Green Version

These are the green place mats I made in 2002. Just wanted something new for the table one day and away I went.

I've had a few ladies comment that they wouldn't want to put the time into quilted placemats because of the food stains. But I've found if the center is made with one of those white on white or tone on tone fabrics where the pattern is more printed than dyed into the fabric, most spills just wipe off. These green ones have been in non-stop use since I made 'em and they still look great.
Food for thought. :cD

Monday, July 14, 2008


And what am I working on that's 'real' in between my leader-ender Ocean Wave?

250 blue HST's for 6 (or is it 8?) placemats for Frank's nephew, recently married.

Here's the first one pieced. I love the way it looks, so cool and crisp. After it's quilted, I'll bind with a clear medium blue.

But didn't I just *do* a blue HST project with the pieced pyramids for StarStruck? I must be a glutton for punishment... Or just really like the mindlessness of piecing HST. :cD

Nectarine Pie

One picture's worth a thousand words...

But it can't communicate the bliss of eating homemade pie with ice cream. Yum!

Nectarine pie filling-

10-12 tree sweet nectarines
2/3 cup white sugar
14/ tsp fresh grated nutmeg
1/4 cup corn starch

Preheat oven to 450.
Peel and slice nectarines, stir in sugar, nutmeg and corn starch. Set aside. The sugar will act on the fruit and make a syrupy juice.
10" inch crust with lattice-
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup shortening - yes I use Crisco
1-1/4 cup white flour
1/4 cup ground golden flax seeds
3-4 tablespoons cold water

In your favorite mixing bowl blend or sift dry ingredients. With pastry tool, cut in shortening until mixture resembles small crumbs. Toss lightly as you add tablespoons of cold water one at a time until you get a dough that will hold together but is not too sticky. Use your hands to form into two balls. Let rest five minutes while you get out the rolling pin, pie plate and pastry cloth.

Put on your favorite apron and dust the pastry cloth and rolling pin lightly with flour. Roll out the bottom crust to fit the pie plate, adding flour as needed to prevent sticking. Roll crust lightly around rolling pin to tranfer to pie plate. Pour fruit filling into pie crust.

Roll out the crust for the lattice. Use a knife to cut crust into 1/2" strips. Lay strips over crust, weaving them over and under to create lattice. Sprinkle lighting with white sugar.

Place on a cookie sheet - in case it bubbles over- and bake at 450 for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and bake 35-45 minutes or until filling is bubbly and crust is a golden brown.

The best part of summer is pie. :cD

Quilting paddles

Several years ago I used to glass handlers gloves to help me grip the quilt while machine quilting. They were cotton like gardening gloves with rubber dots covering the palm and fingers. But they were thick and hot and had to be taken off for every task such as thread snipping, threading the needle, etc.

Then I switched to Machiners and was totally excited at how light they were. AND I could thread a needle even with them on. But they were synthetic and still hot and I always over heated while summer machine quilting.

When I was recently at my Janome dealer she showed me her Quilt Sew Easy discs. I poo-poo'ed them at the time thinking I didn't want to have to pick 'em up and put 'em down all the time. And they were so simple for the $19.95 suggested retail. Nah...

But! Two pieces of foam core board and a scrap of non-skid rug mat later and I have to say I'm totally in love with these.

Now I'm able to quilt much longer without the usual fatigue in my arms and shoulders; they grip so well. And I can go faster because they allow me to evenly advance the quilt without having to stop. Yay! There really are new products out there that make the job easier. And this dog can learn new tricks. And the price was right. :cD

Note from Connie;
What a fabulous surprise! I took a break from doing some free motion quilting on my Grandaughter's quilt and opened your blog to find this post. I immediately went and made a quicky version with jar lids and grippy stuff. Wow - what a differece! My jar lids were a little too tall and would hit the screw on the needle bar when I got to close, so I just used the cut out grippy stuff and it still worked great. No more pulling off those hot gloves! Thanks, you made my day!

Ocean Wave

I've been piecing dozens of pastel HSTs for the Ocean Wave. It's my current leader-ender but once in awhile I piece a block to see how the color balance of my HSTs is coming.

The thread snips are there to help with size perspective. - Pastels are not usually my favorite but this feels so fun and light for summer sewing.

Janome Tips

I've been surfing the Janome 6500/6600 user's group at the suggestion of a friend. Man! The stuff I've been learning. I didn't know my machine could start sewing all on its own when my back is turned! This happens when there's a short in the foot control or a sensor failure in the machine. Weird!

I've been fit to be tied because my machine won't sew over patchwork that has more than four layers without either chewing the edge or 'jogging' around the intersection. Maddening! Adella my featherweight does the job like a dream, so I *knew* there had to be a solution. I drove the hour and half to my dealer and the showroom machine didn't do it. So after much talking about needle size and downward pressure on the pressure foot they told me to bring it in. "Maybe there's an adjustment we can make, we'll see..."

The price of gas being what it is, it costs $55.00 to drive to the dealer. I told DH what I needed and how I thought it might be done and away we went.

He tightened the pressure spring on the pressure foot so now my dial doesn't have to be set at 3 to still not get enough downward pressure to advance the patchwork. It sews like a dream! Don't cha just *love* DIY husbands?!

Friday, July 04, 2008

Independence Day

Happy Fourth!

I thought this quilt fit the tone of the day. I made it in 1998 at the request of the Ukiah Playhouse Theatre to be a part of their production of The Quilters. I’ve seen that play three times and read the book just as many. Below is one of my favorite excerpts.

"My daddy was a Baptist preacher. I reckon you can tell that by how ornery I am. We didn’t have much luxury. I can say. But I remember the funniest day one time when I was still a young girl.

Mama was goin’ to help me start my quilts for my hope chest. She had got that old scrap bag out. We spread ‘em all out on the bed and tried to kinda put the colors together. But the scrap bag was really low. We sure hadn’t got anything new in a long time and it seemed at that time everybody in the church was usin’ all their own scarps and none had come our way.

Mama said, “Come on into town with me Saturday and we’ll just pick up a few pieces of brighter calico to spruce ‘em up a bit.”

Well come Saturday, true to her word, we went to town with Papa. Soon as he tied up the team he went over to the feed store and we went to the dry goods. We had picked three pieces of remnant blue and was just fingering some red calico. We was jest plannin’ on enough for the middle squares from that.

Just then Papa come in behind us and I guess he saw us lookin’. He just walked right past us like he wasn’t with us, right up to the clerk and said, “How much cloth is on that bolt?”

The clerk said, “Twenty yards.”

Papa never looked around. He just said, “I’ll take it all.”

He picked up that whole bolt of red calico and carried it to the wagon. Mama and me just laughed to beat the band. Twenty yards of red. Can you imagine?

A Baptist preacher, jest like any other man, likes that red. We had red for a long, long time."

~ The Quilters, Women and Domestic Art, an Oral History

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Relief Is On the Way

Due to major fires in three counties burning for over a week, California's now been declared a National Emergency. 200 Federal fire fighters will be flying in. Fire suppression crews from all states west of the Mississippi are arriving. The air in my little valle is somewhat better and we still just go to work everyday because that's what we do... But the views in the area are telling.

"They're terribly comfortable. I think everyone will be wearing them in the future."
~ Dread Pirate Roberts, Princess Bride

Mendocino County Stats:
Incident Size: 37,800 Acres
Air support:260
On the ground support 1,515
40% contained11 injuried
Residences Threatened: 900
Residences Destroyed: 2
Commercial Property Threatened: 1
Number of Active Fires: 40, down from 123

We're fighting a war of sorts, just against fire not a human enemy. I'm grateful to CDF (California Dept of Fire) and all the crews that are out there fighting for us.