Saturday, January 29, 2011

Emilie Richards -- and another Weekly Themed Quilt Contest

Emilie Richards, author of the Shenandoah Album series (Wedding Ring, Endless Chain, Lovers Knot, Touching Stars, Sister's Choice), and many other books, is a FaceBook "friend." Several of her "friends," including me, have been asking recently when another of the Shenandoah Album books was going to be published. A few days ago Emilie blogged about the publishing issues involved with that series, and others of her books as well. Some of us offered to write the publisher asking for another book in that series. In her most recent blog entry she gave us the address of the publisher. I intend to write them shortly, and hope that if you like her books you will do the same.  I would never have imagined a few years ago that I would be able to correspond directly with a favorite author like Emilie, or a favorite quilter like Bonnie Hunter. But thanks to email and FaceBook I get updates from other favorites like Sharyn McCrumb, Pat Sloan, Earlene Fowler.

Speaking of Pat Sloan, she and Emilie have teamed up to present a "novellini" by Emilie (that bridges the gap between the current book Fortunate Harbor and the next in the Happiness Key series) and a quilt that Pat will design to go along with the novellini. This interesting project begins February 8 on their blogs. I am reading Fortunate Harbor now, and will be finished with it before the novellini begins. No quilts in it, but some inteesting characters who are growing on me.
I entered one of the butterfly quilts Reba's butterfly quilt in this week's Weekly Themed Quilt Contest I'll post more about my butterfly quilts in another entry. I'm sure I won't have anything to enter most weeks, but it is certainly fun to see what the entries are. Last week there were 32 entered in the bargello contest; this week there are 17 in the Unusual Shapes contest. You can go see what they all look like - and below the pictures of them all you can vote on your favorite if you want. Voting is only open from Friday until Sunday night of this week.  Next week the theme is Half-Square Triangles - you can check here to see what each week's theme is.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Lily's Frayed Edge Quilt Delivered

I finished Lily's frayed edge quilt and took it to the new mom Wednesday night. Here is the front, Front of Lily's quilt finished and the back, Back of Lily's quilt finished and the label. Lily's quilt label We were all at my nephew Eric's Senior Night for wrestling at his high school. He won his match in overtime - very exciting! Here is the new mom with the quilt. Brooke with Lily's quilt  She posted on my FaceBook page the next day that her 7-year-old son was wrapped up in it and wanted her to tell me that it is "the softest blanket ever." That's pretty cool!  Here is Brooke with her sister, her mom and aunt with the quilt - Brooke and Angie with Lily's quilt I'm holding Lily.

After the wrestling match we drove to my daughter's house in Marietta to spend the night, then yesterday she and I quilted together. She is working on her first quilt - she blogged about it here a few months ago. It is the Bundle of Bricks pattern - looks like a good one for a beginner because there are no seams to match until she sews the rows together. I worked on our frayed edge quilt, Nancy working on frayed edge quilt at Becky's house and now have the bottom 4 rows sewn together. Becky got at least half of her blocks chain-pieced, pressed and trimmed.  Becky working on her Bundle of Bricks Here we are with our projects. Nancy and Becky with our projects We've not worked together like this on quilt projects before - hope we can do it again soon, but she is a lawyer who works out of her home and she just got a project that will keep her busy the next 3 weeks.

My next goal is to finish our rag quilt by next Thursday when my guild meets so I can take it to Show and Tell. Then I will go back the Orange Crush to get the borders finished in time for my old guild's Bonnie Hunter workshop February 11-12.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Snip, Snip, Snip - and some family time

The frayed edge quilt for Lily has just come out of the dryer after two rounds of washing and drying to make sure it is nice and fluffy.  All it needs now is the label and I am waiting confirmation on her full name before printing it on the label material. Here it is when I was still snipping. Snipping Lily's frayed edge quilt  I had hoped to get it finished by Friday so I could deliver it to the grandparents yesterday but that didn't happen. We'll see them again Wednesday so I'll deliver it then. While I was making this one I kept thinking that I wanted to make a big one for us. I have a lot of the squares cut for one similar to this one Snowman Rag Quilt finished on couch that I made for the most cold-natured of our daughters and her hubby 2 years ago. In fact, since I started this blog entry I have laid out the front of a slightly smaller one for us. The big challenge will be what to put on the back of ours since I have run out of some of the fabrics I used on the front.  In fact, with two of the diagonal lines I alternated two similar fabrics on the front. Can you tell which ones they are?  This is the top part of the quilt top section of our frayed edge quilt  and here is the bottom part of it - my table is in the way of putting it all together in one place. bottom of our frayed edge quilt  This one is on my "design floor" since my "design bed" in the guest room still has the orange crush quilt on it and the design wall I plan to hang up has the quilt from a retreat I went to in November still on it. How many more spaces can I find to lay out quilts on before I finish up some of them? Well, the plan is to work on this frayed edge quilt this week, then finish the top of the orange crush the next week. As long as I have it finished in time for the Bonnie Hunter workshop I'm taking with my old guild in Virginia of February 11 and 12 I'll be fine. 

As I look at the pictures above, I see that I have a couple of blocks out of place - why is it that you can see errors in a picture easier than you can see it just looking at it?

My oldest daughter has started working on her first quilt and we are planning to get together to sew on Thursday.  She is an attorney who works from home on a contract basis with other attorneys. The work is not as steady as working in a firm, which she did for several years, but her time is much more flexible, and allows her to volunteer in her son's kindergarten class. Her two younger ones go to day-care, so we should have some uninterrupted time to sew, then time to visit with them when they come home from school. Sounds like great fun to me. If I can get at least some of my rows of this quilt sewn together by then I could begin sewing the rows to each other while I am there. Always helps to have a goal, even if sometimes you don't reach it.

We were with this daughter and her family Friday night and Saturday morning. It takes a little more than an hour on a good traffic day to get from our house to theirs on the north side of Atlanta. My hubby and my daughter and all of her family participated in the Polar Bear Run (5K for Dave and Becky, 2K for her husband and son, cub runs for the little girls) Saturday morning at a church near her house. It was the first time our family had done anything like that with 3 generations participating - we hope it won't be the last! 3 generations of runners

After the run we came back down to our county to go to our nephew's wrestling match. He is a high school senior, and we have been attending several of his matches. We are all hoping he makes it to the state championships.

Friday I was able to help out the daughter who lives about 10 minutes from us. Their heat went out Thursday night, and I was able to go over to the house to let in the repairman on Friday so they didn't have to take off from work. Then that afternoon I picked up their 18-month old from her babysitter and met her mom at the doctor's office for her well-baby check-up so she didn't have to try to leave early from her teaching job to get to the appointment on time.

I am SO glad that we are able to do all these things for and with our family down here!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Blog Updates and Another Frayed-edge Quilt

Since I decided to try to keep my blog more up-to-date I have also made some changes in the blog's appearance as well.

  • Changed the template and background to something more cheery
  • Updated My Playlist - added some songs, deleted some that weren't available any longer from Playlist.  This took way longer than you'd think, but I listen to it every day while doing other things online. ***If you don't want to hear my music just turn your volume down.***
  • Added icon for Quilting Bloggers after seeing it on Nann's blog
  • Added icon for the Weekly Themed Quilt Contest that Quilting Gallery holds
  • Added my Blue BargelloBowl to the above-mentioned contest since the theme for this week is bargello quilts Blue BargelloBowl
  • Updated the list of blogs I am following, and re-organized them with help from Erin - thanks again for that help Erin
  • Took off the 2009 list of finished projects and added the short list of 2010 finished project.
For the last two days I've been working on a new frayed-edge quilt for Lily, our youngest great-niece, who was born January 4.  Her room is purple, so I found a couple of purple fabrics to add to some I have used in previous baby quilts. Here is what I have so far - front side Lily's quilt - first 4 rows and back side. Lily's quilt back In the second picture you can see the plan for the rest of the back.  I am hoping to have it finished in time to give it to the grandparents Saturday, but as you can see I still have 5 rows to go, then a couple of washings and dryings. I am clipping it as I go, so I won't have all the clipping to do at the end.  Here are my two Fiskars clippers I use for frayed-edge quilts. frayed edge quilt snips The ones on the right are some I bought at JoAnn's Monday.  The older pair have clipped several quilts and now the little orange latch doesn't work so well anymore.  Even though these are designed for ease of use with arthritic hands, I still need a rest after using them for 30 minutes or so, so alternating sewing and clipping works well.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Orange Crush Ready for Borders

It took me longer to finish the body of the Orange Crush quilt than I had hoped, Orange Crush center finished but I finished it last night while going back and forth to watch parts of the Falcons game - toward the end I didn't have to watch so much 'cause they got crushed by the Packers. Hubby was at the game - guess he won't be so happy when he gets home.

I think I will use 2 borders - a narrow one in the black print that is in all the green/black blocks, and a wider one in the green print, with some of the leftover pieces in the middle of each side, and maybe some cornerstones from some leftover pieces as well.  I'll have to see how much I have of the green fabric before deciding for sure. I think if I use those two colors it will bring them out in the body of the quilt, and tone down the orange just a bit. Might try using some of the pale blues for the binding.  It will take awhile for me to think more about the borders.

In the meantime I will be working on a frayed-edge flannel baby quilt for a new great-niece born about 10 days ago. I've made one for each of our youngest 3 great nieces and nephew - for the oldest great-nephew I knitted a blanket.  Here is one of the ones I made - Lauren's frayed edge quilt  I'm hoping I have enough of the teddy bear fabric to fussy cut some to use in the newest one too. Most of them have the same arrangement on the reverse side, but the for the last one I made I did something different because I didn't have enough of some of the fabrics to use the same pieces on the back - Frayed-edge quilt back - Sophie  I may make this newest one in a similar way. I have to go shopping for more flannel on Monday - Lily has a purple room and so I need more purple in her quilt.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Orange Crush Half Assembled

Tonight I finished sewing the top half of the Orange Crush quilt together - Orange crush top half  I had decided to make it 6 x 8 blocks when I saw how big it would be if I made it 7 x 9, since the blocks will finish at 9". I'll have a couple of borders on it, so it will be plenty big enough for roomy throw. I'm still liking the diagonal lines of it, including the light diagonal lines that go between the oranges and thru the middle of the greens.

It was a good day to be at my machine today - here is the view from the windows in my quilting room -view out the window in my quilting room  We had a couple of inches of ice-encrusted snow, but most of the greater Atlanta area had more than that. You may have heard about our weather - interstates closed, airport runways closed, pretty messy out there, so we are staying inside. Temps are expected to be in the teens Wednesday thru Friday nights, so it may not melt much for a few days. Guess we didn't move far enough south to miss all the snow!

This picture is just too cute to pass up - our granddaughter Reilly riding in an improvised "sled." Reilly in her sled She has hundreds of toys - but not a sled - so Mom and Dad came up with this so she could play in it outside today.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Quilt Fiction

I am coordinating this post with My Patchwork Life, my friend Erin's blog. She posted earlier today about some of her favorite quilting fiction, especially mysteries. I have recently read Jennifer Chiaverini's The Aloha Quilt and before that A Quilter's Holiday. I'm a little behind on reading them, since her next one, The Union Quilters, is due out next month. I really liked The Aloha Quilt - it advances the modern-day story of the Elm Creek Quilters, and incorporates a new locale of Maui, since Bonnie, one of the original ECQs, has gone there to help an old friend set up a quilt camp. I've been to Hawaii, but not yet to Maui - this just made me want to go there more. The Union Quilters takes place during the Civil War - I'll want to re-read some of her previous books from that time period to recall the characters. A Quilter's Holiday does advance the story of the modern-day Elm Creek Quilters a bit, and I don't want to miss anything in their saga, but it didn't have nearly the plot that The Aloha Quilt has.

I also just recently read Earlene Fowler's State Fair. This is #14 in the Benni Harper series and I have really liked them all. I do remember thinking when I read about the first one that I wasn't sure I'd like it since it takes place in south central CA, and the main character is a young widow has a ranch and is the curator of a folk art museum. I didn't see much in that for me to relate to, but I have completely enjoyed all of the books in the series, and eagerly await Spider Web, due out in May. Erin mentioned earlier about reading Fowler's Love Mercy. I read that too, and hope she continues that story line as well. Benni and her husband Gabe are mentioned a bit in Love Mercy, though they are not the main characters.

Here are the 3 I read recently - 3 recent books I've read

I have read and loved all of Emilie Richards Shenandoah Album series - Sister's Choice is the latest. The setting is in Virginia, not far north of where I used to live, and where Erin still lives. Richards is also writing a series called Ministry is Murder - these do not involve quilts to a large extent, but the main character's mom has a quilt shop, so there is some mention. I've read several of her other books as well and enjoyed them all, but look forward to seeing if she goes back to the Shenandoah Album series again.

Erin mentioned that Clare O'Donohue had a new title in the Someday Quilts series published in September - that's in my Amazon wish list.  I have read, and liked, the first two - The Lover's Knot and A Drunkard's Path. She also mentioned that Marie Bostwick has a fourth title coming out soon in her Cobbled Court series. I haven't read the 3rd one yet, so need to add that one to my collection.

I have not read any of Arlene Sachitano's Loose Threads mysteries, and the 4th one of those is out now. Might have to check my public library to see if they have any of them.

There is a 4th title out now in the Queen Bees Quilt mysteries - the first 3 were by Sally Goldenbaum, but this new one is by Marnette Falley - Dog-Gone Murder. Should be interesting to see if a new author can keep the same style as the previous one.

I have one of Terri Thayer's quilt mysteries - Wild Goose Chase. There are others in that series, but I'll read this one before ordering more.

The other authors that Erin mentioned - Lizbie Brown, Barbara Graham, and Lani Diane Rich - are all new to me, but I have now placed some of their books in my Amazon cart too.  I am especially interested in the Barbara Graham books as they are set in East Tennessee, where I grew up.

It may not sound like it, but I do like to read other books besides those having quilts in them in some way. Some of my favorite authors, besides the ones mentioned above, are Dorothea Benton Franks, Debbie Macomber, James Patterson, David Baldacci, and Sharyn McCrumb.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Orange Crush Revisted

This will be a test to see if I remember how to do a blog entry and post pictures to it. Yes, again it has been a long time, but I may be back on the blogging track now. Since my last entry in May our family had our annual vacation in Hatteras, shortened by my mother-in-law's death, my hubby retired, and we moved to GA from VA, attended about 20 Braves games, had a mini-family reunion at our house in September, had overnight guests 3 times, went to Seattle to visit our youngest daughter, took a cruise before Thanksgiving, had various combinations of our kids at our house several times (including all 3 families with the 5 grandkids the day after Christmas), attended a 3+ day quilting retreat in north GA, cheered our nephew in several high school wrestling matches, and went to Johnson City, TN where my mom lives 4 times, including last week for the graveside service of one of her sisters.

I did very little in my roomy and bright quilting room until after the cruise, but since then I have been busier in there. More about those projects in the next few posts. I have decided that rather than make this a longer post by including those projects, I'll just start with where I am today and work backward, and forward, later.

I started the Orange Crush mystery with Bonnie Hunter over 2 1/2 years ago. It calls for 2 main blocks, and got enough of those done to make a decent-sized lap quilt, and had started to assemble them. Here is the original plan for my layout. Layout for the Orange Crush Quilt Before getting very far along with putting the rows together I saw a different layout that I have since decided I like better. I hadn't done any more on this quilt until today. I am planning to attend a workshop next month that Bonnie Hunter is giving for the guild in VA that I was a member of, and I want to be able to take this quilt top sewn together. So today I laid out the new arrangement and took apart some of the diagonal strips that I had already sewn together in the old arrangement. Here is what I have laid out so far. Orange Crush revisited Yes, my "design wall" is still the floor. I think I know where I want to put it, and I have something that I think will work for it, I just haven't gotten it all together yet. More on that later too. I've added some more blocks to this layout since I took the picture earlier tonight, and now only need to make 12 more orange blocks and 1 more green one to make it 7 x 9. I think the border will be a narrow strip of the black, then a wider strip of the green with some of the leftover pieces in the middle of each side like I had laid out in the first picture. I'm a ways from that though. First I need to make the rest of the blocks and re-arrange what I have a bit so that I don't have like fabrics touching and so that the light blue centers of the orange blocks are more randomly placed. So now I have a project I am excited about again - and a deadline for completion of it. Sometimes that is just what we need to get going again, isn't it?