Saturday, December 19, 2015

Birthday Gift

This is the project I've been working on obsessively for the last few months.  My mother in law turns 80 on Christmas Eve and this is my gift to her.  It is an entirely original design. The figures are her and my father in law from a picture I took  some time ago.  The sky will have the hand prints of her immediately family - 3 children, spouses, grand children and their spouses.  There are 12 in total.  

Right now, it is nearly complete - I have the last edge of binding to hand stitch down.  Then I can wash it, wrap it and deliver it.  This was sort of a stressful project because I didn't even think about doing this until August and the family wasn't exactly cooperative in getting their hand prints to me prompting me to send out a critical email reminder that ruffled some feathers.  But, I think she will love it.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Settling In

After a few months of travel (I think we were home for 20 days total in August and September) we are home and settling back in.  We've spent the last few weeks doing some stuff around the house - those mundane things that make being a responsible adult so much fun.  I haven't gotten a lot of stitching done, but I have to keep my hands busy in the evenings, so I've done some.

I finished my second block of Ladies of the Sea.  They are challenging blocks, but I am enjoying the process.  Once I had finished the first block, I decided to do the rest in order. This was an interesting choice since the first block was the Bluenose and we had seen her in our travels.  I still haven't decided if I will put the names of the ships on each of the blocks.  I think I probably will, but I don't know if I will ink or embroider them.  That decision can be made later.

I have a few tops that are awaiting their turn to be quilted.  I started on my Quilt-In-A-Box.  This will be a heavy quilt.  I am being frugal here and used a batting that I found in my stash.  I don't remember where it came from or when I got it.  It is very dense.  I am also using a damask on the back.  This fabric was given to me recently by a friend who bought too much for the drapes she made for her house.  This is also a heavy fabric.  I'm machine quilting each block with a different random fill pattern for practice.  I'm about half done with this.

My guild is running a star block exchange this season and this is my sample block.  It't a Carol Doak paper pieced star that I really like.  I haven't done paper piecing in quite some time because I really don't enjoy it.  I still don't.  I would much rather hand piece a complicated block than paper piece.  But, I still like the block.

Monday, August 31, 2015


Summer is flying by.  I just looked back over some of my pictures and we have been out and about doing all sorts of things and seeing all kinds of sights, but very little quilting going on.

I started the Ladies of the Sea applique in July (maybe June) and have completed my first block.  I started with this block simply because I love the shell applique at the bottom.  I think I'll do the rest of them in order.

I have not yet decided if I am going to put the names of the ships on the blocks or not.  These blocks are more detailed than I have been doing lately, but I am enjoying the process.

And I'm trying to finish up some tops that have been hanging around.  This one is a charity quilt for my guild.  I did not piece the top, but I wanted some machine quilting practice, so I brought this one home.

I wanted to try a Spirograph pattern on something and this seemed the perfect opportunity.  This was fun and I think effective.  I had to enlarge the pattern from the original drawing to fit the blocks better and be easier to stitch.  And I had to choose a simple pattern rather than the dense, complicated ones that I prefer.  I will use this technique again.

I'm not quite done applying the binding and will post another shot when it is completed.

We spent most of August on a motorcycle trip to Atlantic Canada (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and PEI).  That three week trip went by very quickly and we went to some amazing places.  That deserves another blog post all by itself which I will do later.

Sunday, June 14, 2015


It's been a while since I've blogged, so here is a brief update of projects I'm working on or completed, and some of the adventures.

Early in April we visited the Maparium at the Christian Science Center in Boston to visit the globe.  It's a beautiful glass structure which you walk through.  Unfortunately, photos are not allowed inside the globe.  But, the tile in the women's bathroom looked like it might make a wonderful quilt.

I've been doing a little bit of knitting and completed two pair of socks and a cat.  Not exactly sure that I love the pattern, but she's growing on me.

In sewing news, I made a messenger bag to haul the scorebook and other items with us to the baseball games, completed the top for scrap-in-a-box and completed my Polish Eagle wall hanging.  I was a little disappointed that it did not win any prizes for the guild challenge project, but I'm very happy with it anyway.

One thing that made me very happy at my last regular guild meeting in May is that my Florabunda quilt won best of guild and will be hanging in the New England Quilt Museum in an exhibition of the Best of the Region's Quilt Guilds quilts.  The show goes from July 30,  through August 15, 2015.  So, stop by if you're in the area.

And, we've done a little bit of traveling.  We were fortunate to spend part of a Red Sox game behind the scoreboard (aka the Green Monster).  A very interesting view and fun to talk to the guys who keep the board up to date with games and scores.  I even got to put one of the inning numbers into the slot.

On a trip out to Bedford, PA, we stopped at a few lighthouses on Lake Erie including this one at Dunkirk, NY.  We also stumbled onto the Oscar Mayer Wiener Mobile and this amazing mural.  It must have been a quarter of a mile long and made entirely from road signs.

And this is what I've been up to lately.

Sunday, April 5, 2015


This is how I feel about a lot of things right now.  Just - UGH!

I'm plugging along on the Eagle quilt, but having to push myself to do it.  I've been thinking about why I'm not as excited about this project as I was initially.  This is the point in projects where I become disappointed and if I don't push through, it becomes a UFO.  I'm hand quilting around all the applique and I am looking at this closer than ever before.  This means I see every little flaw in my stitching, every errant stitch, every bump and pucker, every loose and too-tight stitch.  I need to take a step back and remind myself that no one will ever look at this quilt as closely as I am while quilting.  I still like the design and I think I have done nice work.

I have one wing and the background to quilt.  I have an idea for the background, but I have to mark out the dimensions to see if it will fit.  I will have this completed for the guild meeting on May 18th.

The other ugh is the weather.  We still have a lot of snow cover.  My daffodil, crocus and tulip beds are all still under a good foot of snow.  I usually have seeds started for my vegetable garden by now, but there didn't seem to be a any reason to rush.  I didn't even order seeds until last week. 

To somewhat fight the UGH, I've been working on a couple of new projects.  I went on a quilt retreat a few weeks ago and put borders on two UFO tops.  One is now ready to quilt and the other is ready for an appliqued border.  The applique border may be the next hand project I work on when the eagle is done.    (No pictures yet.)

I also started a new pair of socks.  This is a pattern I did before for a gift.  It is quick to stitch and has a lovely pattern.  These are for me.

I've also started a table runner for April.  I made another one for a friend and liked the design so much that I duplicated it in spring colors for me. 

So, you see, not much exciting.  Just plugging away and trying to find a better attitude.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Plugging Along

I was very glad to turn the calendar page to March this year.  March means warming and melting and much less snow.  One might think romantic thoughts of snow - hot cocoa by the fire and being able to spend cozy times indoors.  However, heavy snows, frequent storms and ever growing snow piles means more shoveling and clearing snow from the roof.  I'm a little tired.

But, I have been quilting and getting out of the house.  All my time has not been spent moving frozen water from place to place.

In January we visited the Bunker Hill Monument in Boston.  It was a beautiful, clear and sunny but cold day.  When we got to the monument we found it was closed due to icing on the stairs inside the monument.

But, we did get to walk around Charlestown and find some interesting statues.

In other travels, we found the fork in the road (but did not take it)

visited the Saugerties lighthouse on the Hudson River,

walked around an ice castle in Lincoln, NH,

watched a rare red lobster molt her shell at the Mystic Aquarium in CT,

made the pilgrimage to the original Dunkin Donuts location in Quincy, MA,

along with going to the rodeo, the Golden Gloves semi finals and a college ice hockey game.  We haven't exactly been hibernating.

And I've gotten a lot of quilting done.  I have completed all the applique on the eagle, basted it and started on the hand quilting.

I've also made a little table runner for a friend

and kept up with the steps of Scrap in a Box.

I've been spending a a lot of my evening stitching time working on a hand stitching project (swap blocks) for a group of internet friends.  Some of them drop by here from time to time, so no pictures yet.

And, although it is grey today the forecast for the next week shows no snow and warming trends.  I'm looking forward to those predicted 40+ degree days next week!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Motivation Ebb and Flow

I've been thinking about my motivation this week.  I finally finished a quilt that I started some time in mid-1990's (as far as I can remember).  It is all hand pieced and then machine quilted.  I am happy with the results and happy to have this quilt done.  It was good machine quilting practice.  It's a good scrap quilt, but it just doesn't have that WOW factor of other quilts I've finished recently.

This is where the motivation part comes up.  I like to keep at least one hand and one machine project going on.  And I've been working on the eagle for a while.  I love how it's turning out.  But once I finished quilting the S-charm quilt, I didn't have another machine project lined up and I felt lost.  It's not that I don't have projects to do.  I have plenty of UFOs, fabric and ideas for new projects.  I just didn't know where to start.  I guess I didn't want to think too hard about it.  That's the thing I like about machine projects - they are mostly mindless sewing.  Until I got into the swing of things, I put off machine quilting the S-charm because I had to think about it too much and make too many decisions.  And having to make those decisions stalled all creativity.  I had no ambition to work on the eagle or any other projects.  Also, the eagle has gotten to the point where I know I have lost interest in other projects; it's more than half completed, I can imagine what it will look like when completed and it's getting tedious to work on.

I thought about it for a while and decided to put together these 1/2 square blocks that have been sitting around for about a year.  I knew how I wanted them arranged (in vague terms, but not exactly.)  I've been thinking about doing a quilt with an applique'd border and this quilt will be a perfect start for that.  Now the lay out is done and I have started stitching and my mojo is back.  

I have to remember this for when I get stuck in the future.  I have to remember to work through it and keep going and not get side-tracked by indecision.