Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Roll Roll Cotton Boll

I'm a little behind on Roll Roll Cotton Boll part 2.

So they are all cut, all sewn, and just have to be ironed and trimmed. On to Step 3!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Design Wall Monday

What a difference a week has made in my Lucky Charms quilt.

The applique is done. The (orange!) border is on and a little wider than the pattern. The bricks are added. Another orange border was added. A white border was added using every. single. inch. of that white fabric. I finished the quilt with a green border. The fabric is too lovely to only be seen in tiny little triangles.

So, here she is:

Head on over to Judy's blog to see what everyone else is doing.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Friday Finish -- holiday quilt

You can look at this week's finished quilt one of two ways: as being a month late, or being eleven months early. I prefer to think of myself as being early.

I recently published a new pattern, Too Hip to Be Square. I designed it as a teaching tool; it's the quilt I use to teach my home machine quilters. We do stitch-in-the-ditch and lots of free-motion quilting. When I taught the class this fall, I made a new sample using Halloween Fabric.

Since I finished the binding on Thanksgiving, I'm eleven months early and well-prepared for next Halloween. Thankfully, I had a spare pumpkin and some candy around today for the photo!
Check out some other great finishes at

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I Knew I Could!

I've been crocheting my fingers to the bones trying to finish my doily made with Accent thread from WonderFil.

Four medallions completed and joined:

I crocheted a medallion to fill the center and then it was time to block the doily. I got the doily wet, gave it a light coating of starch, and then pinned it to a board to dry in place:

Does this remind anyone else of Hellraiser?.
The finished project:

When I made Mom's tablecloth out of crochet cotton, it was very sturdy and stiff. This is rayon and while it is sturdy, it isn't stiff at all! It has an amazing drape to it. I would really love to see how this would hang as a tablecloth, but I don't want it enough to spend a few years crocheting these medallions. I'm just not that curious!

So, what did I learn from this? I learned that I can still make lace. I learned that Accent makes a wonderful crochet thread. And I learned that I prefer the feel of rayon lace!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Because I have so much spare time...

... I started the new Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt, Roll Roll Cotton Boll.

I finished approximately 175 of these little segments and cannot wait for the next clue!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Design Wall Monday

I have some great news about my Lucky Charms quilt:

1. I finished the hand applique
2. I'm closer to picking my inner border
3. I finished the hand applique!

So, do you like red, orange, yellow, or blue?

Or maybe lime green?

Head on over to Judy's blog to see what everyone else is doing.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

It was my honor...

... to spend a day with Cathy Sprague. Read more about this amazing woman here.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Checking out that "Brotherly Love"

I am on my way to Philadelphia to teach at Byrne Sewing Connection. The classes are tomorrow (Saturday) from 10am-11am and noon-4pm. Maybe I will see some of you there?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I Think I Can...

When I started blogging about crocheting my doily with Accent thread from WonderFil, I knew that I wanted to share a photo of Mom's tablecloth with you. My problem was that Mom lives over 400 miles away and I have no plans to visit her before Christmas. I asked Dad if he could take a photo of the tablecloth and e-mail it to me. Suffice it to say that explaining to my father over the telephone how to upload a photo from his digital camera and attach it to an e-mail was a bit of an adventure. He took a beautiful photo and, with perseverance and great determination, sent it to me.

I'm very grateful to my mom for staging her dining room for this photo and to my dad for conquering technology.

(photo courtesy of Edwin Ritenbaugh, my dad!)

Since we now know how hard Mom and Dad worked for this blog post, I have to prove that I've been working hard as well.

This week, I finished two medallions and joined them:

I had so much fun that I kept crocheting and finished the third medallion and joined it to the first two:

I've received some fun comments from bloggy friends. Comments like, "You are crocheting? With thread? Are you absolutely mad?" My answer to that is, "Yes. Yes. and Yes." But truly, what good is putting off important projects if you cannot work on something entirely frivolous and lovely while you are procrastinating?

Will I keep procrastinating on my big projects? Will my eyes and hands hold out to finish this doily? Check back next Wednesday!

(To read part one of this project, click here.)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Longarm Tuesday

I think it's time to spill the beans. I bought a new longarm machine, the Handi Quilter Fusion. It was delivered in August:

I assembled it and have been on the road ever since.

After I got home from Houston last week, I finally had time to play with my new baby. I am so in love with this machine! It loves threads!

Threads like Glitter:

And threads like Rainbows:

It also has a stitch regulator (actually two!) and is so easy to control.

I just finished sample fora The Quilt Basket. They gave me permission to post it here:
Cathy is such a precise piecer. Look at all of those points!!!

Inner borders:

Hard to see, but detailed quilting of the border fabric:

Please check out the Quilt Basket and their blog.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Design Wall Monday

Oh, the places I've been! And my applique has been with me. It has been safe in a zippered pouch and didn't see the light of day even once. Not in Pennsylvania, nor in Ohio, nor in Georgia, nor in Maryland, nor in New Hampshire, nor in Nebraska, nor in Utah, nor in Texas.

I opened the pouch when I got home from Houston last week and I actually made some progress!

Most of the progress, unfortunately, was during the disastrous Steeler loss last night.

Since the applique is almost done, I really need help picking the color of the inner border. Any thoughts?

Head on over to Judy's blog to see what everyone else is doing.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday Finish -- Quilt of Valor

Now that I'm back home and have reliable internet service, it's time to resume my Friday Finishes.

Today's quilt is from a tutorial on Jaybird Quilts. I made this quilt as a Quilt of Valor. Now the quilt is done, the pillowcase is done, the label is done, the journal is done, and I am going to deliver this quilt to a Quilts of Valor chapter soon.

I had fun making the quilt, but I think I learned the most from writing the journal. Every day I worked on this quilt, I wrote about what I was doing and how I was thinking about my soldier. The quilt is so personal to me now, and I hope it is to him/her as well.

I have made many quilts for this wonderful group and I've had the pleasure of meeting many of the group organizers. I've been blessed to meet a mother of a soldier who received one of my quilts. Many tears were shed by both of us! I've also received some wonderful thank you notes. I cherish them and revisit them occasionally.

Please check out Quilts of Valor and see what you can do to help them!

Check out some other great finishes at

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Did you ever...

... play a childhood game where you dug through a pile of sawdust to find pennies? That's kind of what I'm doing today, but I'm digging through piles of mail instead of sawdust. After about two months of travel, I have three piles of mail, each over a foot tall, and that doesn't include the boxes!

I started with the top of one pile and found treasure about half way down:

Also in the package were CDs of quilt photos and harp music by the famous Ray Pool!

This treasure was sent to me by my friend John Kubiniec. Do you know John? He's a McCall's Design Star finalist. Check out his quilts and vote for him!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Tale of Two Tales

Story #1:

My great-grandmother made a lace tablecloth for my mother's hope chest. I remember playing on the floor under the dining room table as a child and weaving my fingers through the lacy strings. My mother didn't inherit the crocheting genes, so when I learned to crochet I was responsible for mending the holes in the tablecloth (likely made by yours truly years earlier).

When I was in secretarial school, I crocheted on the long bus rides into town. I made a lot of lace since it was extremely portable. In September 1987 (the date inside of the magazine), I bought this magazine:

I was so excited because it contained a doily pattern that was the same as Mom's tablecloth!

I started making Mom a new tablecloth. Hers was well over forty years old, and even careful mending couldn't make it last forever. I crocheted while I commuted to school and then work. I crocheted while I was caring for one baby and I think I finished that tablecloth while pregnant with my daughter in 1990. It took miles and miles of crochet cotton. It is the only one I have ever made, and Mom loves it.

Story #2:

I spent the last week and a half working at Quilt Market and then Quilt Festival in Houston, Texas. I didn't get out of the HandiQuilter booth or classroom often, but my free time was spent at the WonderFil booth. Have you heard of WonderFil? They are a thread company out of Canada. I first met them at Machine Quilters Showcase in Kansas in May and have been fondling my thread cards from them ever since.

Since I don't check luggage, I had very little room to carry purchases home. Fortunately thread doesn't take up much space! I brought home a gorgeous spool of green and blue Accent thread called Avocadoes.

Since I apparently have too much time on my hands, I decided to see how this thread would look when crocheted into lace. I got home from the airport around 5pm Monday. By 11pm, I had this little piece made:

It's the same pattern as Mom's tablecloth. I only plan to make a small doily. Even if I had plans to make it larger, I learned a few things last night:

1. I haven't made lace in over 20 years
2. My eyes are 20 years older
3. My hands are 20 years older
4. I still have a full-time job
5. I have well over 100 unfinished quilting/knitting projects in my studio

The Cliff-Hanger:

Stay tuned to see how this doily turns out!

For part two of the doily story, click here

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

I've been blogged!

Check out Victoria's post from Houston.

I'm finally home after about two months of travel. I think I'll take a few days to recharge, then I'll be back to blogging!

Monday, November 01, 2010

Friday finish -- Christine's quilt

I have been friends with Christine for about ten years. When I was born, God decided I needed a friend like her, so nine months later she was born.

Christine is having a kidney transplant. I can do little to help the situation, but I can make her this:

Be well, Christine!
(and the fabric is Pampered Pooches from 2007)