Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Strung Out Again :-D

Since Roll Roll Cotton Boll, I find I'm being "strung out" again, working with 1-1/4" strips for my UFO #6! I've got lots and lots of strips cut from Thimbleberries fabrics, and I'm chain-piecing log cabins out of neutrals and rich dark colors.

I'll be sewing on UFO #6 all week, including Thimbleberries Sew Day that Sandie hosts on the last Wednesday of every month at Crazy 'bout Quilts!  I'm constructing log cabins and fans to make "American Heritage" -- a pattern from Simple Blocks Make Sensational Quilts by Winnie Fleming.   As I've played with the blocks, though, I've changed my mind about the design.  Winnie's quilt sets the blocks straight turning fans and logs to make diagonal lines and curves.  I've decided to put my blocks on point....
Winnie's American Heritage

And I, Miss "I-don't-care-for-the-strings-look" find that the controlled scrappiness of the logs really appeal to me -- especially marching along in even rows. 

My "new" take on the log cabins and fans

This is my first log cabin! Some twenty years of playing around with quilt-making and I've never made a log cabin!  So this project is not only a UFO but a long-overdue quilting rite of passage! :-D

And I'm totally in the mood to sew after a wonderful retreat at the Jabez Quilt Conference.  I taught three classes, and in them renewed friendships from previous years and made new friends that were wonderful!

There were the "Northern Girls" -- a family of quilters that come from northern KY (just this side of the river from Cincinnati!) which includes Rose, Nancy, sister-in-law Patti and this year, their mother Esther! They always bring beautiful fabrics and we manage to rib each other mercilessly.  They are such fun!

Cathy, sweet soul, took ALL THREE of my classes!! Brave, brave woman!! A very accomplished and generous quilter, she blessed me tremendously with her can-do attitude and patience when we found my cutting instructions for a block in my sampler were completely wrong! Quilters are a very forgiving lot, thank the Lord! :-D

A new friendship was born with Caterina, a brand new quilter who emigrated from Italy back in 1960.  Upon her retirement, she's taken up quilting.  An accomplished seamstress and needleworker (she brought some samples of her lace from the old country!), she's taken to quilting like a magnet!! What fun she was to teach!

In the evenings, I had a room all to myself and was able to sew into the night, just like at home! :-)  I cut and assembled 14 more blocks for the Farmer's Wife, bringing my total up to 25. 

As much as I enjoy my solitary sewing time, it's not nearly as much fun as sewing with my friends.  My daughter tells me I'm an extrovert.  I get energy being around people.  And that's certainly true if they are quilters!!

Wise old Solomon wrote, "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)

My friends, old and new, warmed me this past week.  I look forward to the next time I'm blessed with their company.  I'm so thankful that I can count them and you among those who "help me up" and, along with the Lord Jesus, make up that three-strand cord!

Lord knows, I'll need strength to get UFO #6 completed in the month of January! :-D


I almost forgot!! LuAnn at Loose Threads sent me the "Stylish Blogger Award!"  Thanks so much, LuAnn!  I'm supposed to share eight things about myself and nominate eight blogs for the award.  Pop on over to my "Awards" page to check that out!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


My friend Patty has a saying that fits me this week....
I'm so far behind, I'm ahead!

I didn't write at all last week, didn't get to read all my favorite blogs, didn't get to exercise, seems like all I did was run, run, run!!  And I was so trying to "crank" out a few things.  This week I'll be teaching at the Jabez Quilt Seminar and I'm just now getting one of my sample quilt tops completed, still have instructions to prepare, packing to do (and laundry before I pack!), a trip to college to return my daughter (they require her back until I pay her ransom, i.e. tuition! :-D), and drum lessons, and basketball practice, and errands, the funeral of a friend. and...and...and...

So my little hiatus from blogging seems long to me although it has only been about ten days.  I managed during that time to get a few things finished.

Roll, Roll Cotton Boll!! YAY!!! :-D
I'm proud of myself for sticking out the mystery and pretty much keeping up with it from week to week (it kept me from adding RRCB to the way-too-long UFO list!!).  I didn't care for string blocks before starting this mystery, but never having done them before, I took the plunge! I enjoyed the process!!

I still don't particularly like the string "look"  (and if I'd seen JulieK's quilt top -- oh, my! Isn't that just gorgeous!?! -- I would have saved my string blocks for another project! LOL) -- but I like how this quilt turned out.  The teal/turquoise is a little more muted than Bonnie's poison greens, but still nice.  AND I used a TON of fabric!  As Lori at Humble Quilts says, "Woo-Hoo!!"

I managed to get both my quilt tops from Kim Bracket's Scrap-Basket Surprises finished, too.  Good thing, since I'm showing them at Jabez for my classes!

My favorite is "Christmas Ribbons."  Mine isn't Christmas fabrics, just scrappy.

The "Bali Sea Star" turned out OK.  You know -- and I know this is weird -- I don't love batiks.
There it is. I've said it. Out loud!!

The color saturation is cool.  And I can see how they are wonderful -- but I don't seem to be able to present them to best advantage.  This is a quilt I'll probably give away once it's quilted and bound.

When I get settled in at Jabez tonight (or tomorrow night, if I don't get my copying done for the Mountain Laurel Quilt Sampler that I'm teaching!), I hope that I can enjoy NOT running for the duration of the three day conference!
I thought I'd see what the Bible says about running.... :-)

Jeremiah, that prophet of doom and gloom (God love him!) said, "Run for your lives!!" three different times! :-D  in chapters 48 and 51.    There's nothing so dire going on in my world to require that admonition, thank the Lord! :-) O' course, Jeremiah's message was one of judgement.  Best not to be in rebellion against God as Israel was in at the time, huh?

Isaiah 40:31 offers this beautiful encouragement to runners..."But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." 

So does Proverbs 18:10:  "The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe."

And if I need to re-order priorities in my life (and I always do!! :-) -- Psalm 119:32 offers this admonition:

"I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free."

Makes me think of Daniel Day Lewis in The Last of the Mohicans (LOVE that movie!).  The Native American brothers run constantly through the woods and paths of the wilderness that was North America -- but always with purpose and integrity and intensity.  It's a sight to behold.  Oh that I would run in the path of God's commands so beautifully!

Gotta run!!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

What I Really Want to Do...

No matter what I'm working on, something else sounds so much better!! 

I'm knee deep in Cotton, with the Quiltville Mystery, "Roll Roll Cotton Boll," and I really want push through and get it finished since the border segment (and the last one to complete the top!) came out today.  I'm still working on the string blocks, but I can finish the top this weekend, I'm sure.  (Don't mind the Farmer's Wife blocks on the lower right corner! LOL)

The UFO Challenge keeps begging my attention, too!  I put up the "American Heritage" pieces that make up the #6 UFO on the list of 12.  They are in my beloved Thimbleberries colors, all dark and fallish and -- it's the only Log Cabin I've made (well, started, anyway!).  Quilting for 20 years and never did a log cabin!! Crazy! And I so wanna get this four-year old start finished up!

But I also have a class coming up in a couple of weeks.  I'm teaching quick piecing techniques and one of the quilts we're looking at is "Ribbons" from Kim Brackett's book Scrap Basket Surprises.  I'm making a queen size, and I just need to sit down and finish up the last few blocks.  It's also calling my name.

And well....I didn't work on any of them.  Instead, I baked some homemade french bread sandwiches with ham and swiss (my friend Brenda's recipe!  It's so easy and good! and my late momma's old, old rolling pin, how sweet!) -- somthing I didn't need to do since I'm watching what I eat to lose weight...

Do you ever find yourself doing the very thing you know you don't need to be doing right now!?  Paul wrote about his inner conflict in Romans, chapter 7.  He said, "For I do not understand my own actions [I am baffled, bewildered]. I do not practice or accomplish what I wish, but I do the very thing that I loathe [[b]which my moral instinct condemns]....I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot perform it. [I have the intention and urge to do what is right, but no power to carry it out.]   I fail to practice the good deeds I desire to do, but the evil deeds that I do not desire to do are what I am [ever] doing" (verses 15, 18-19 Amplified).

Baffled and bewildered.  Uh huh.  Know that feeling well.  Paul said, though, that in spite of his inclination to do wrong, that Christ could and would set him free of this conflict.  Furthermore, "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."  (Romans 8:1)

As quilters, we put a lot of guilt on ourselves and each other for not accomplishing, not completing, not it projects, or housework, or investments in the people we love.  I think sometimes we need to stop and consider...that if the Lord Himself offers forgiveness and frees us from condemnation for our sin, we can also let these little things go and rest in Him.

I'm gonna work on Roll, Roll, and American Heritage and Ribbons in good time.  I'm going to eat one of my yummy homemade bread sandwiches and not splurge unduly on my diet.  Conflict resolved.  I am free!!  Doesn't it feel good!?!


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Finishing School!

I've decided that Judy at Patchwork Times is my "Finishing Governess."  Back in the mother country (that would be merry old England), and back in the day (regency era, when men were rakes and women sat in drawing rooms and embroidered....sigh), a finishing governess would be employed the year before a girl's "come out" to polish her for presentation.
So I've got several projects that need finishing! And Judy's UFO Challenge is just the schoolmaster I need (at least I HOPE! :-D).

In addition to the Quilt Tops I listed here, I also want to complete the quilting on some tops that have piled up for way too long.  I'd planned to learn to use my Hobby Quilter in 2010, but never got to it.  So I want to rectify that neglect this year.  I also want to get back into hand quilting, which I love.  Here's what I want to finish up:

Quilts to Finish Completely (quilted/bound) in 2011:
  1. Mountain Laurel Sampler (hand quilted)
  2. Somerset (Jo Morton - machine)
  3. Baby Rose (Jo Morton - machine)
  4. Pick Up Sticks (Jo Morton - machine)
  5. Razzle Dazzle (machine)
  6. Thimbleberries Take 5 (machine)
  7. Ocean Waves (hand quilted)
  8. Christmas Friendship Star (machine)
  9. Batik Stars (machine)
  10. Ribbons (machine)
  11. 5-Stripe Thimbleberries (machine)
  12. 4-Patch Strippy (Jo Morton - machine) 
All the challenges in Blogdom won't help me finish, though (notwithstanding Judy's valient efforts! :-), unless I am determined and persistent!
In Scripture, James had some thoughts about that...
He said, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." (James 1:2-4)  I like how the Amplified version expounds on verse 4:  "Let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work..."

I think I'm ready to let them have full play!! -- as long as they play nicely with the other projects waiting in the wings! :-D -- so that in the end, they may be "perfect and entire" (KJV).

Would that all areas of my life would be so surrended, that the trials that come and test my faith would find ME perfect and entire!  Let it be so, Lord Jesus.


P.S.  In keeping with my desire for accountability, I've added two pages above. One will document my UFO Challenge progress, the other my weight loss/fitness progress. :-) I'd also like to include one for my other 2011 Resolution for a daily quiet time, but I'm not sure how to chronicle that yet.  I'll think more on it and see what works! :-)  Pop over and take a look!  Blessings!