At Plum Loco Ranch, Door County, WI.

Monday, February 27, 2012

A Garden Post

It was too nice yesterday afternoon to do anything quilt related.  So, I finally went for a little walk in my teensy backyard.  Those are my three crocus in bloom.  All of my other bulbs are up but I no buds yet.

Then I noticed that my butterfly bushes, all 5 of them, have lots of new growth.  Now this is very unusual as by St. Patrick's Day, under normal weather conditions, they are still dormant or just beginning to grow some leaf buds.  This year, however, their leaves have stayed green - no dormancy (i.e. rest) this year.

After the crocuses bloom, then one of the earliest plants to bloom in my yard are my bleeding hearts.  They have reseeded themselves over the years and I can't tell you how many are in the yard.  Sure enough, there they are, those little purple tips just coming out of the ground. 
This is still February!  They shouldn't be up until after St. Patty's Day!

The day lilies are up!  Even more than the bleeding hearts, b/c they get more sun!  These are not early spring plants, they don't bloom until June. 

So, one good frost after all these plants are up and my garden may done before it really gets started this spring.

Here's the things that really "bugs" me about all this warm weather.  (Wonder if bugs will be another problem later on)


This little weed in particular is EVERYWHERE - the yard, the patios, the walkways, around almost every plant in my beds!!!!!  There was no significant freeze to make it go dormant either - it's been bright green, and growing rapidly, since fall.

I think it's called chickweed. It spreads by runners and becomes thick like carpet.  I already pulled a ton of it a few weeks ago (who in the midwest pulls weeds in January?).  Our temps are supposed to stay so warm this week that I will have to hit the garden shop and get some Roundup!

What's growing in your garden? 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Another pretty day (stash report week 9)

..that's what the weather man says.  We're supposed to hit 60 degrees again today. The birds must agree because our cardinals are singing and the chickadees and titmice are chirping away.

Quilting has taken a bit of a back seat.  I wish I could've kept the momentum going but in my small space it's tough to get another top readied for quilting while I still have my first three out being finished.  Only one still needs its hanging sleeve and label, which is ready to go. (I might have done it yesterday but I chose instead to lie down and read.  The more I quilt, the less I read!)

Oh, and this is something that we did as a Christmas present for my father in law.  I saw it on Sew Many Ways.  Grab a frame and repurpose it by replacing the glass with duct sheeting, which is metal and magnet friendly.  I made the magnets last fall, also a project from Sew Many Ways.  Anyway, from the sheet we bought before the holidays, we made one 8x10 as a gift, one 10x14 to hang in DS's room, and two small ones for me to use around my sewing space.  I say "we" because DH cut the sheet metal for me.  I'm thinking about doing a few for Mother's Day gifts as well but I may learn to cut those myself.

On the sewing front, I decided to cut the black and white fabrics for the "T" blocks that I showed you last week.

The pattern is from Fat Quarter Fun (by Karen Snyder) but I'm only using a few FQs.  Several pieces are scraps from previous projects, including backings.  Makes me feel good to use up fabric!

I've been using the Easy Angle ruler that Bonnie Hunter, and her followers, rave about.  It is very nice, not any slower than cutting squares.  The first two blocks are right on size wise.  And, since I do a lot of piecing with the featherweight, which uses a screw in seam guide for that 1/4" seam, it's much easier to feed triangles under the presser foot than squares.

Each FQ makes 4 blocks, not 2 as I had originally convinced myself.  Sew, after cutting Friday evening I had to go back and cut some more!  Since several pieces aren't FQs, then there a few smaller pieces that will give me only 2 blocks.  I'd like to get this project all cut and the triangles paired up to make for some fast piecing, since I don't intend to do much piecing at home.  I'm going to try to get this done while out on sew days with my quilty friends.

This leads me to my one fabric purchase this week.  I ordered 3 yards of batiks for less than $4/yd from an online store.  $3.68/yd for 1895s! At one point I had 8 yards in my cart and then I asked myself what I was going to do with all that.  And, I thought of the previous stash report with two finishes on it and of my quilting expenses for the month. My cart shrank down to 3 yards!  What's that quote?  Something like, "A bargain's not a bargain if you don't need it."  

It took the store one week to mail out my order so I received 2 yards of fabric as one was sold out.  That's ok!  It was a "just because" design from McKenna Ryan.  Some of the 2 yards I got are going into the "T" quilt so a few strips from Blond Ale (Hoffman 1895) have already been cut.

Since it's way too hard for me to figure out how much I've cut out and then remember not to count it next week when I've cut more, I only count fabric once the project is done.  I will count the 3/4 yd that I used in making hanging sleeves and the 2.67 yards that I used to finish up Aunt Caroline's Rose Garden.  I did not include the blocks in the quilt since I didn't count them "in" and since I didn't make them.  I just counted the sashing, cornerstones, binding and backing and it finishes at 39x52, so it's not a large quilt at all.

Used this week: 3.42
Used year to date: 15.570
Added this week: 2.0
Added year to date: 6.625
Net used for 2012: 8.945

Please click over to Patchwork Times and see other stash reports.

Have a great week!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Another finish

Edit:  This is for the first quarter of the Finish-Along at Quilter in the Gap.  See other finishes on the linky party.  Here's my original post.

Woo Hoo!  I sat down last Sunday evening and finished the binding on "Aunt Caroline's Rose Garden."

So, now all 3 of my entries for my guild's show are completed.  And 2 of them are ready to hang with sleeves and labels all attached.  You know what I'll be doing this weekend...  getting #3 ready to hang.

Click over to Confessions of a Fabric Addict to see some more fun projects! And, to enter Sarah's giveaway (winners chosen on Feb. 29th)!  Whoop Whoop!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

One flower Wednesday


The sun is not out here but the temps are close to 60!  What a crazy winter!

Here are a couple hexies that I did last night.  Some hand sewing therapy was necessary and "I Love Lucy" made me smile.  Thought I'd link up with One Flower Wednesday.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A New Project (stash report week 8)

After diligently working on my quilt show projects, I needed a break!  While I still have plenty to do - get the binding and label on one quilt, get the label on another, and get hanging sleeves on all three - well, it just didn't sound like much fun. 

Yesterday some quilty friends and I went back to the St. Louis Star Inn for a day of sewing and a great lunch made by designer Toby Lischko.  It's such a pretty place out in the woods and the studio is large, well lit, has a design wall, and two stations each for pressing and cutting.

 And cutting is what I did!  DS told me last spring when I was piecing the large Dresden plate block that he wanted a "flower quilt." So he helped pick out about 12 batik fat quarters from my stash and we laid them out on top of the 3 yards of Hoffman 1895 #360 ("Waikiki").  The Waikiki will be the centers and background for each block.

**Aside: As all my quilty friends know, Waikiki is my favorite fabric ever!  It is just the right shade of blue - no green, no brown, just blue.  It makes me happy!! Once we decided to use the 3 yards from my stash, I used a coupon and bought 3 more yards - ya know, just to have on hand. Thinking seriously about buying a bolt, if I'm a good little quilter and get lots of UFOs finished!

Not only did I get all 126 blades cut for the plate, but I got two stitched together, thanks to the nice big design wall in the studio.

And here's why DS calls them "flowers."  Forget about plates, they look like daisies!

And, I decided to start another project that I've had in mind for some time now.  I've made quilts for pretty much everyone (that wants one) except my step dad.  Well, his favorite color is yellow and we all know how hard it is to find yellows, and then to find prints that would work for a man.  So, when we've travelled I've collected yellow batiks.  

We have a some shops in our area with great batik selections but yellow - boy! it's hard to find. There is a shop in downtown Sturgeon Bay, WI, that had the best selection of yellow batiks ever!  The owner said they tried to stock hard-to-find colors. 

So, I'm using black and white prints, which I've been stockpiling for the past year or so, plus some scraps from previous projects, like the bowling balls and tires.  

It will be a traditional "T" block using a pattern in one of my FQ books. Each FQ yields 2 blocks and I need 14 FQs each of B&W's and yellow.  Well, I'm just using 2-3 pieces of yardage for the yellow.

I figure sewing the HSTs together could be my leaders/enders while I finish piecing DS's "flowers." Of course, first I have to get back to my quilt show projects!

Here's a great, big meat tray I got at Aldi a few days ago.  It's perfect for holding some leader/ender pieces.  And, well, just about anything.

Got in a couple of hexies, too.

Quitly friend Karen shared a couple of polka dot strips from her Berenstain Bears jelly roll.  And, Toby always has a big bin of scraps - I restrained myself and picked up this delicate green print and the pretty yellow (kinda have yellow on the brain this week).

My numbers haven't changed much. Better get that last show project bound!

Used this week: 0
Used year to date: 12.150
Added this week: 0.125
Added year to date: 4.625
Net used for 2012: 7.525

Please click over to Patchwork Times and see other stash reports.

Have a great week!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Finishes!! (stash report week 7)

My first 2012 finish!!

Edit:  This is for the first quarter of the Finish-Along at Quilter in the Gap.  See other finishes on the linky party.  Here's my original post.

It used 7 5/8 yards of fabric - all out of my stash, didn't buy a single piece for this quilt!  I have enjoyed immersing myself in FMQ.  It seems that I found a rhythm and confidence that's been missing in previous quilting efforts.  There are more pics here on Thursday's post.

Then, I got the binding strips on the Dresden wall hanging.  I need to print out my label so I can attach it at two sides with the binding, which I do by machine.  

This one came entirely from my batik stash. It was so much fun to play with the colors in this one. The top used 6 ten inch squares and about yard of background - and I mean every teensy bit of that yard, had to piece the binding strips! The total comes to about 2 3/8 yards.

Last Sunday - after the stash report was published - I went to the Super Bowl sale at the LQS.  That was the place to be - it was hoppin'!  

Everything was 20% off but I didn't really need anything except maybe some neutrals for my Inchy flower garden. So, I came home with 4 half yard cuts.  Not bad! 

I had to buy some batiks, of course. And the black on white was so dainty - had to get some "just because." I think it's new from P&B.

I cut a few strips off the neutral and got out the GO! Baby and cut bunches of hexies from the new and scraps.  

In getting my garden together I found that I have some hexies missing.  

In the Inchy Hexagon Swap each person sends out 2 hexies and is supposed to get 2 back.  Well, after 6 months I have 9 hexies - 2 each from four people and 1 from the administrator as a welcome.  I will pay a bit more attention this go round.  My January swap partner is expecting a baby anytime, so I know she'll be really busy!!

I'm getting ready to go to a sew day this Saturday and yesterday I tried to figure out what to work on.  After concentrating on my quilting, thinking about the different piecing projects that are strewn about my space gave me the quilter's ADD - lol! Had to hit an early morning yoga class today to help get me balanced again!!

Strips for hanging sleeves
For my peace of mind, I need to focus. Sew, I have decided to get out the batiks that DS helped pick our for his Dresden plate quilt, which will be 6 blocks just like the one above. I may not sew a stitch next weekend, I may just cut all 126 fan blades and yammer the day away. Oh - but wait, I have to get hanging sleeves made to put on these finishes for the guild quilt show.

Here are the numbers!  WooHoo!

Used this week: 10
Used year to date: 12.15
Added this week: 2
Added year to date: 4.50
Net used for 2012: 7.65

Please click over to Patchwork Times and see other stash reports.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

My quilting journey

WooHoo!  My first finish of 2012!

I really fell in love with this little quilt.  Maybe it's due to all the time we spent together on our journey to the finish.  Maybe all the time spent changing thread colors and fiddling with the tension to get good FMQ stitches.  Maybe it's how the quilting transformed my simple little quilt.  Maybe it's all the firsts that it represents in my little quilting hobby: 

(1) my first hand embroidery project (thanks to Clover & Violet)

(2) first time I used an old full size sheet as a back (a tight weave for FMQ but a real saver of $$ and time)

(3) first time I stitched in the ditch with my darning foot (over by the purple triangle -- another time saver)

(4) first time to turn the backing to the front as binding, just like my grandma always did (the decorative feather stitch seemed appropriate)

And on that last point - I liked it!!!  Followed the directions out of Better Homes & Gardens Complete Guide to Quilting, which is my favorite quilting reference book. 

It was so nice not to mess with those binding strips.  I may have to be more careful of my backing choices in the future so that I can do this more often.

This post is linked to Confessions of a Fabric Addict's Whoop Whoop Friday post.  Click over and check out some more projects!


Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Here's what we awoke to this morning!  Isn't it pretty?

I snapped this pic before leaving for yoga this morning.  Good thing, too, because it all melted away by about 2pm.

I watched free motion quilting videos from The Quilt Show blog that inspired me to finish the sashing on Aunt Caroline's Rose Garden.  Now all three of my guild show quilts are quilted and ready to bind!

Have you heard of ReNae Merrill?  You can watch her on The Quilt Show for free til the 12th (there's a link from her web page).  She demonstrates her spiral, or mandala, quilt technique and how you can design your own.  If you sign up for her newsletter, she sends you a free spiral pattern.  It's paper piecing - just to warn you.

Here's what I hope to get done tomorrow...'s the binding on the Embroidery 101 quilt that I'm turning from the back.  It looks so cool pinned that I can't wait to see how it stitches out.


Sunday, February 5, 2012

Daddy Time (stash report week 6)

...Equals quilting time!!!

Yes, DH was out of town this week and to make it up he took DS to practice his swimming yesterday afternoon.  Then they went to lunch and shopped for socks. That left me home alone to quilt and get ready for the next step...binding.

This one is trimmed and first in line for some binding.

And this one is all quilted, finished late Friday night, thanks to some words of wisdom from a blog (again, don't recall which one) that said, "it's easier to quilt wavy lines than straight lines."

As mentioned before, I plan to turn the backing to the front so I spent about 1.5 hours marking the seam line, cutting the batting, then cutting the backing.

Then, I got this one off the back of the chair and put it under the needle - "just keep quilting, just keep quilting."

Even after the boys got home, they left me alone in my sewing corner and I echoed all 12 blocks.  Then, I stopped and did a bit of yoga to stretch out. Still have the sashing, cornerstones, and borders to go.

I still didn't buy any fabric this week, however, I did buy a new die and 2 books from Anita over at The Other Side of Me.

The ladies in my quilt guild who do those beautiful applique quilts say that the Piece of Cake Ladies are the best.  So, now I have one of their books.  Don't expect to see one of these any time soon.

The embroidery book is great - all nature scenes - I am a farm girl, after all.

The die was a great price and I see this spicing up a border sometime in my quilting future.

There was also a hexie die in the box for a quilty friend Charla.  When we met at our LQS yesterday, I almost bought a couple FQs but decided to wait and reward myself after I finish my show quilts.

The only piecing I've done is my hexies.  It's raining here for second day in a row - uggh, sorry about the pix! The one on the left is black with pink and the other is purple with white dots.

There are usually two machines set up - one for quilting and one for piecing, but the piecing machine is off the table to make way for the quilts while quilting.  "Just keep quilting,...."

We have a great public library here with regional branches.  However, our branch is teeny and browsing the shelves doesn't usually yield anything new.  One has to request titles from the catalog and then pick them up. Imagine my surprise when I found these 3 books on the shelf a few days ago. 

Nothing added to the stash this week and I've been to 2 shops. However, later I am going to a Super Bowl sale at the LQS that boasts more batiks than any other shop in the area.  I will buy something - I know it - to celebrate my near finishes!!

To the numbers...
Used this week: 0
Used year to date: 2.15
Added this week: 0
Added year to date: 2.50
Net used for 2012: -0.35

Please click over to Patchwork Times and see other stash reports.