"...for we put the thought of all that we love into all that we make" ~ J.R.R. Tolkien

Sunday, November 30, 2008


I got one block of the Storm At Sea laid out... I didn't sew it all together, because it's best to sew the quilt together in rows. But you can get the general idea. I am very happy with it! It is exactly like I wanted it to be. The circular motion is very obvious, which is what I really, really

YAY!! Now I can go ahead and cut all my pieces, and get all my foundations copied, and get it organized to go.

Speaking of Nor'Easters, we're supposed to get 6+ inches of snow today. It's our first major snowfall! Hubby is getting the snowblower ready to go. I guess with December starting tomorrow, I really can't complain that the snow is too early! I really don't mind snow, it's the bitter, bitter cold that I cannot stand. It didn't get all that cold in Upstate NY, where I'm from. Lots of snow, yes, but not the -20 temperatures, and -40 wind chills and crap like that. That's what I hate the most about Illinois winters!

Well, I am determined to finish the quilt that's on my GrandQuilter, and get the next one loaded onto it. Tootle-oo!

Friday, November 28, 2008

My Personal Challenge

Well, I have enough Christmas and wedding projects to keep me going until the end of the year. So, I have decided to start a "UFO" challenge in 2009! I have a partial list up already... more will definitely be added!

The quilts listed range from being a top that just needs to be quilted and bound to a box of fabric with a pattern stuck in with it! I will do them in no particular order, and I'll make sure to post a picture of the completed project once it's done!


I got my Desden Plate quilt back from Paige on Tuesday... O.M.G. I am blown away! She took my simple top and turned it into something amazing! I really feel grateful that I know her, and that she quilts for others! She is really an artist. I cannot do what she does. When I brought it to her, she looked at it for about 2 minutes, and knew how it should be quilted! And she was right! This was the first quilt I had her do for me. I have a Pfaff GrandQuilter, and quilt most of my quilts myself, usually with pantographs. But sometimes I have a quilt I want something more for. So I will definitely be sending more her way!!

Here's one of the blocks:
Amazing! She really enhanced it! And her stippling is so even! Here's the view from the back. You can get a much clearer picture of the extensive quilting she did.
Here's a corner with her amazing feather border pattern in it. I love it!

And here's the feather from the back:

I am going to a lock-in at Tammy Tadd's on Monday, so I'll trim it and put the binding on there. I am going to get the label embroidered tomorrow, along with labels for a few other quilts.
Now that the holiday is over I am going to be sewing a lot more! It is amazing to me the effort that goes into having 4 people over for about 6 hours for a dinner! I do love cooking, though, and it was nice to see family. I received many compliments on the meal! And the very best part: there are leftovers! I don't have to cook the whole weekend! When Hubby wants food, I just send him to the fridge with a plate. THAT is what I am most thankful for- a break from my usual chores for a weekend. 48 hours of sewing time!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

My Favorite Part Of Thanksgiving!

I know it's silly, but my absolute favorite part of Thanksgiving is setting the table! I love washing and polishing all the dishes and silverware, and setting the table just so. It's the only time of the year my table looks so pretty!

The table as a whole. Isn't it pretty? I just love blue and white together!

A place setting. My mother-in-law hand-embroidered the table cloth for us as a wedding gift! It looks so nice with my blue and white dishes. The napkins were bought at a store, but I embroidered the monogram with my Pfaff. It adds a little something!

Well, back to cooking. The cranberry sauce is done. I have a lot left to do! I am cooking most of the dinner today and heating everything back up tomorrow. It makes it so nice, and I can sit and enjoy family instead of being in the kitchen the whole time!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Hardest Part Of Quilting...

Is giving the quilt away!! I started a Double Irish Chain quilt that I am making for my cousin and his bride-to-be last night. I got about 1/4 of the blocks made, and so I laid it out, to see what it would look like. And it's GORGEOUS!!! This is one of those quilts that is turning out better than I hoped it would! Now I don't want to give it away!! WAH! Of course, I will. But I did order more of the focus print fabric to make another one. For me!

I am hoping to sneak in some sewing time this week, but it's not likely, since I am hosting Thanksgiving. I do get to pick up a quilt that Paige (www.paigealaine.com) quilted for me. She showed me a few pictures of it last night at the lock-in... she's not quite done. It is turning out fantastic! She does beautiful work! I will post pictures when I get it on Tuesday.

Well, now I'm off to the store to buy the feast! I think I should have bought the turkey a few days ago. I am not sure I'll have enough time to thaw it in the refridgerator now... I might have to use the water method!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Not Much Quilting Goin' On

And I am really itching to get back to it! I think I might find some time tomorrow. I have been winterizing the house... we decided to put plastic over the windows, and I just couldn't bear to do it without washing the windows... inside and out... windows and storm windows... for all 14 windows in the house! I am so tired. I worked at it for 3 days! But it is all done now. And a good thing, too. The wind is howling and it's 30 degrees!

I have been working on my embroidery in the evenings. Just a little bit of time can be used to get a lot of stitching done! It's very relaxing, too.

I have a quilt on the GrandQuilter to finish up, hopefully tomorrow. Then I plan to load my sister's quilt. I hope to get it done before Thanksgiving, since she is coming to dinner. But I am not sure I will have time, since I am hosting Thanksgiving dinner, and have a LOT of cleaning and decorating and cooking to do in the next week!

I will definitely get to sew this weekend, though. I am hosting a lock-in at Tammy Tadd's on Friday night, and then going to the lock-in that Vicki is hosting Saturday night. Have I ever mentioned in this blog that Tammy Tadd Designs is the best quilt shop on earth? If not, I have been very bad! I love that place. It's so bright and cheerful! And everyone who works and teaches there is so happy and helpful all the time! I hope everyone gets a chance to go there sometime! Pop over to the website, too. It's so nicely done, and it's also bright and cheerful! A link is in my list of favorite places.

Monday, November 17, 2008


I had a lovely weekend at my sister's place this past weekend! I brought my hand-embroidery project and actually got quite a bit of stitching done on it, while visiting with friends and family and watching movies. I was very happy to have to move the hoop twice!

I am making this: http://www.crabapplehillstudio.com/items/316_over_the_river_and_through_the_woods.aspx

I am currently working on the top panel. I know there is no way I will ever finish this before Christmas of this year, but it is my goal to have it done and on the wall for next Christmas!

Not a whole lot else. Despite the temptation of passing 7 different quilt shops on the way to and from La Crosse, I did not stop at any of them! I have been washing, pressing and organizing my fabric, and I guess this has put me in the mood to not buy right now. Plus we are cutting back on our expenses a little due to the economy. I don't need any new fabric... I have enough projects lined up to last me at least 2-3 years! I was actually a little proud of myself for not stopping and shopping when I really didn't have any need to!

I delivered the top of the bedspread I was commissioned to make to the quilt shop I used to work at today. It is going to be quilted there, and then another lady who works there is going to bind it. The person I made it for liked it a lot! I am glad. It was very easy to make, and I didn't charge her to do it. I was glad to have the payment of her happiness with it!

Tonight I am going to finish binding a quilt for another lady, and then I think I will not take in any more work for others, at least for a while. I want to work on my own projects- and heaven knows I have enough of them!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Not Much New

I almost have the first block of the Storm At Sea quilt done. I am very, very happy with how it's turning out! I have already figured out how many pieces I need to complete the quilt. Now I need to see if I have enough fabric... I think I do. It's only going to be a lap-size. I don't have enough fabric to make it any bigger!

I also planned out and figured the fabric to make my cousin's wedding gift, a queen size quilt. I need to get more of one of the fabrics, but that will be pretty easy, since it's a Moda Marble. Thank goodness for staple fabrics! Marbles and Kaufman Fusions are my favorite ones. And Kona solids. And RJR Handsprays! Oh, what the heck, I like them all!

I am driving to my sister's in La Crosse, WI tomorrow, with one detour- Mill House Quilts in Waunakee, WI is having a sale this weekend, and it's on my way, so I am going to stop! How kind of them to have a sale the very weekend I will be up that way! It really is a great quilt shop- it's among my favorites!

Well, I am off to an evening quilting bee now!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Paper Piecing Discoveries

I have been paper-piecing almost since I started quilting 5 years ago. I even teach others how to do it. One would think that I would be fairly adept at it, and seldom make mistakes, right? Wrong! I am working with a paper-piecing pattern that does not tell me the size piece I should cut for each section. No problem, right? I carefully measured, and measured again, and added extra fabric "just in case"....

Well, my "just in case" extra fabric made it "almost fit". I was a tad bit dismayed to find that my pieces for my test block were coming up short. I finally measured again, added 1 1/2" to each measurement, and cut again for the test block. This is now working!

So I guess my first lesson of the day is: if you think it's enough, it's not. if you think you added enough extra to cover in case it's not enough, add more! The block is turing out very nice- I am making a test block for the Storm At Sea quilt. I wanted to make sure all the measurements were right before I started cutting all the fabric... and boy, am I glad I did! My fabric is at least 3 years old, so I would have a pretty slim chance of finding any more of it.

And the second lesson of the day is: Make a test block!

This is the 3rd quilt I have made a "test" block for, and I think that will be my SOP from now on. In all three cases I have made changes to the block! The first two I made color changes, and now this last one I made all sorts of measurement changes. I highly recommend the test block! It's kinda nice to know before you piece all 63 blocks that the blue fabric in the center doesn't work, don't you think?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Vicki's Fabulous Shopping Bags

I want to share with you a fantastic shopping bag that my friend Vicki designed and made for me! Well, she didn't design it for me, but she made me 4 of them. They are completely awesome!! First, they fold up nice and small:

It's so nice! I can fit them right in my purse, or I can carry them on my wrist. It's pretty easy to get them back that way, too, once you get the hang of it.

That little thing folds out into this!

Fabulous! it's actually bigger than a regular paper grocery bag, and it carries so much stuff! I can get a week's worth of groceries into 3 of these bags. They are strong, too. Way, way stronger than those flimsy ones that most stores are selling for $1-$1.50 these days. Very strong! I used two of them at a quilt show recently. Believe me, they were STUFFED!!! Vicki says she has carried 2 gallons of milk in hers without a problem.

Oh yes, I forgot to mention that it is WAY prettier than those "environmentally friendly" ones they sell in grocery stores. Those are so ugly!! I would rather be good to the environment AND use pretty bags!

A link to Vicki's blog (AccioFabric) is on this page. Go check it out!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

I Wish There Was A Retreat Every Weekend!!

I cannot even begin to describe how much fun I had at the retreat this weekend! Great friends, great quilts, fantabulous food... I wish I could do one of these every weekend!
I finished (from start to finish, including the cutting out!) my sister's quilt top! YAY!! This quilt has only been promised to her for like 4 years. I am really pleased with it! It's a large Queen size... it ended up a tad bit bigger than I originally planned, because of the size of the blocks, but it was so much fun to make! Kudos go to Karen and Carol for helping me arrange the blocks!! And thanks also to Karen and Pat, who held it over the balcony railing so I could get this picture of it:

Isn't it huge? It's 89"x 107"! I'll take it with me when I go to La Crosse next weekend and try it out on her bed- I could trim the borders down a bit if I needed to. I am really pleased with it!
This was the only project I finished this weekend. I was hoping to finish another one as well, but it just wasn't going to happen! I'll finish it this week, though.
I am really tired! But so happy to have the quilt top done. And I am happy to have spent the weekend with such awesome, kind, and talented ladies! SO much thanks to Vicki (AccioFabric) for organizing it!

Friday, November 7, 2008

It's Retreat Time!!

Yay! I am awaiting the arrival of AccioFabric, who is going to pick up the tables I am bringing this weekend (she has a van, I have a little car), and then we will be off to the retreat! I am really looking forward to it!

I am (along with 2 others) responsible for dinner tomorrow night. I made 2 lasagnas yesterday... they look so good! I had to make another one, because Hubby thought they looked so good! I think he is Garfield reincarnated. The man LOVES lasagna!

I have my projects packed, my chair and all my accessories... thank heavens I am not staying at the camp overnight! I don't think I'd have room for clothes and toiletries... my car is full of all my quilting stuff! The retreat is so close that I am just going to sleep at home. Hubby leaves tomorrow morning for Canada, so I want to be there to send him off! And there was no point in packing bedding and stuff for one night. So I'll be "commuting"!

See you after the retreat!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Storm At Sea

I have found (FINALLY!) paper-piecing foundations for a Storm At Sea quilt! YAY!! All the patterns I had found previously wanted me to cut templates (yeah, right) and piece on bias edges (again: yeah, right). I have wanted to paper piece it, but couldn't find foundations. Well, this morning, while looking for quilting info to send to my friend in England, I found the perfect ones!! Here's the site, in case YOU have been looking for them too!

I have had the fabric to make this quilt for 3 years now- I've even had the name picked out for ages! The fabric is white with light blue snowflakes for the background, Dark blue with white snowflakes for the points, and a light blue with white flecks for the centers. It looks like a snowstorm, so I decided to name it "Nor'easter", after the storms that hit the East Coast of the US during the winter.

7/14/09 EDIT: The link previously listed above no longer works. Try http://www.quilterscache.com/S/StormAtSeaBlock.html instead- it's practically the same thing! Hugs, Jennie

My Quilting Blog

Here it is! In an effort to keep myself motivated about my quilting projects, I have decided to have a "Quilt Only" blog!

I will be at a retreat this weekend, and I am so looking forward to it!! I have just 2 projects I want to work on. The first is a quilt for my sister. The second is a bedspread that I am making on commission! I'll post pictures on Monday of the tops. Because I WILL have them done!