Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A Bargain is Struck

As you may know (or maybe not) I am not just a knitter. I was a Quilter first. Or more specifically, I am a Topper. I like to make the quilt tops, but I'm not into hand quilting and haven't really gotten into machine quilting yet. So, since I can't always afford to pay to get my quilt tops quilted, I have a box of tops lounging in my sewing room. I finish a top and in the box it goes. I need to add, that I do get tired of people judging me for not finishing my tops. If they want to pay for me to get them quilted, I'm more than happy to take their money, but if not they need to just shut up about it. They will get done when they get done. I know another 'Topper' who says that her tops take up less space in her tiny house. Some one else once said that they were making future yard sale finds, which I thought was hysterical. I will now climb off my soap box and continue with my original story line.

Last month, I finished my Temple Guardians quilt top and I really would like to get it quilted, so that I can hang it in a couple of quilt shows this year. I mean I spent almost 3 years appliqueing the blocks, I am ready for this thing to be done and on my bed! I spoke with one of my local Machine Quilters at a retreat in January. I mentioned wanting to get it quilted, but money being a bit tight, I wasn't sure when it would actually get quilted. She said that she liked the fabrics that I pick out for my quilts and that maybe I should mine my box of tops and we do a trade. At first, I wasn't too sure about this because I really liked the quilt tops that I've made, but the more I thought about, I kind of liked the idea. They are just lounging there anyway right.

I called her yesterday to set up a date to bring the quilt in to get it quilted. Turns out she only had yesterday available. She will be leaving this weekend for another quilt show or training class. She teaches machine quilting classes around the country. She's even taught in England. I digress. Anyway, I raced home last night to get ready. Luckily I had batting and backing for another quilt set aside that I could use. (Color me boring, but I just like to use plain white on the backs of my quilts.)

While I was rushing around, I came across my Mexican Tiles quilt top that I finished last year. I had originally made it with my friends daughter in mind, but since she already had a quilt, I decided to keep it and use it for my 'retreat' quilt. I don't have any twin beds at home, hence I don't usually make that size. It's bright, cheerful and it makes me smile when I look at it. I had more backing, but not another batting. I thought "what the hell" let's throw that one in too and see how much it is to quilt that one.

So, I pulled out my box of tops and started riffling through it. Let me tell you, it wasn't looking too promising. Each one I pulled out, I would say, "oh no, can't part with that one." Finally, I found some that I wasn't too attached to. While they were pretty, I really couldn't seem myself getting them quilted anytime soon. I guess I should be totally honest and admit there was one that I really didn't like. Sorry no picture as it was finished prior to my blog. Don't get me wrong, it's a pretty quilt, but it did not turn out how I pictured it. I used a pattern called Strait of Georgia from the book More Fat Quarter Quilts by M'liss Rae Hawley. I loved the one in the book and modeled mine after it. I picked a smashing purple oriental print for the border and then all the blocks were made from the 'supporting' colors. I used different creams/light tans for the background fabric. I think that was my mistake. It turned out too 'brown.' Brown and BLAH!! As you may have guessed from viewing other quilt tops on my blog, I like bright vibrant colors.

Since I wanted to take a variety of tops to my friend, I added that one to the pile. I ended up trading that one, a small wall hanging made from a Moda Charm pack (in really bright colors!), a pastel Yellow Brick Road baby Quilt, and a Island Star Baby Quilt to her. And the best part, I get BOTH of my quilts quilted. You know, I'm happy with the trade that I made.

I just can't wait to get them back!!! Do you think it's too soon to ask her if she's done yet?? :o)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Playing Catch-Up

It seems I'm always playing catch up lately. Something will happen for which I will think, "This would make a great blog entry." But do I follow through on it, NO. So here I am again giving you a really long entry to read in order to catch up what has been happening lately.

Quilt Retreat - I went to quilt retreat about a month ago. I had a really good time. I got done everything that I had planned, plus a few extra things.

1) I finished the borders on my Temple Guardians quilt. It turned out wonderfully. I can't wait to get it quilted. I'm hoping to get that done soon. I have to call Deloa and set up a appointment to bring it in. I would like to get it done in time for our Quilt Guild quilt show in August, but that depends on her schedule; so we will see. I have another quilt show in September that I can shoot for just in case. If not, there's always next year.

2) For my Oceans quilt, where I mentioned here, I got my rows put together. I'm not sure if I mentioned in previous entries, but I would like to quilt this using the "quilt as you go" technique. I will quilt each row individually, then sew the rows together, add an outside white border and quilt that. I'm hoping it goes alright. If not, I might end up with 5 table runners instead of a full sized quilt. Who knows, but my friend Helen has done several quilts using this method and they seem to work for her, so I thought why not give it a try. I'll keep you posted on how it's going.

3) Last year, during my spring quilt retreat, several of us made a trip to Lolly's Fabric Store in Shipshewanna. I fell in love with an oriental jelly roll in teals, brown, greens, and creams. I loved it so much that I had to buy the jelly roll, coordinating fabric for borders and the book that the quilt store's sample was made from. I started that project. Sorry, no pictures as all I was doing was sewing all my strips together. However, yesterday, I got all my blocks cut out of the strips. I just have to press them and then they are ready to lay out.

Vacation - The day after I got back from retreat, I re-packed and headed to Kentucky with my Mom, my Cousin Tracy and her daughter Erica. We went down to visit Aunt Corinne and Aunt Hattie (Marie). We were supposed to leave on Tuesday morning, but after getting 3 calls from Aunt Corinne asking when we were leaving, Tracy decided there was no reason we shouldn't leave on Monday night. That was fine by me, I was packed and ready to go. It was a LONG drive. It took us 8.5 hours to drive it. We would have made more stops to relax, but it was dark and rest areas are down right spooky in the dark. Tracy was very proud of the fact that she drove 'through' Chicago. She did very well other than the death grip she had on the steering wheel. We arrived around 2 am and boy was I tired. Tracy did most of the driving, but I was still recovering from lack of sleep from retreat. I never sleep well on their small twin beds.

Our plans were pretty loose for our visit. Other than visiting the AQS Quilt Show in Paducah, we just planned to hang out. The first day, we made a trip into Murray to do some shopping. We went to an antique/re-sell shop called Trends and Treasures, I think. It was very nice. I got a new book (Vanished by Karen Robards), a set of measuring spoons and 2 silicon spatulas. Then we went to a consignment store. I hit the mother lode here. I found a pair of dark lime green Capri's, and 3 shirts. It turned out that I had a shirt in my suitcase, that went with the Capri's so well you would have thought I bought them together.

On Wednesday, we went to the quilt show. Well, Mom, the aunts and I went. Tracy and Erica stayed back to visit with Uncle Johnny. Tracy's not really into quilting. My Aunts and Mom all sew, but they don't "Quilt" like I do. I love to quilt, they not so much. I appear to be the only one who inherited a love/passion for quilting from Grandma Bonnie (their Mother).

The AQS quilt show was held in the Expo center, but they also had this huge inflatable dome next door with a lot of vendors in it. Because of where we parked, we entered the dome area first. It was funny, because Mom, and the Aunts thought that WAS the quilt show. Once they were done visiting all of the booths, they were ready to leave. I had to laugh at their expressions when I explained that while yes, there were quilts hanging up to be admired, this area was vendor booths only, not the quilt show. They ended up leaving me there to go get something to eat while I visited the rest of the show and vendors. I wasn't that hungry and besides, I hadn't come ALL the way to Paducah just to visit the vendors. I wanted to see the quilts too. I did take pictures, but it seems they frown on people displaying them on their blogs/on-line. I guess copy right infringement and all that. Anyway, you can go the AQS Website to see the winners.

I didn't buy a lot, but I really like what I bought. I got some teal/brown fabric to go with my project from retreat, a Bali-pop with 2 yards of coordinating green batik, a 3 yard piece of blue/tan batik, and 3 coordinating fat quarters (mauve, orange and green). I also got 2 lumbar supports; 1 for me and 1 for Mom. If she doesn't like it I plan on using it in my sewing room.

I realized after I came home, that I didn't get any pictures of all of us together. Actually the only pictures I took were of the flowers, Aunt Hattie's Pond and the quilt show.

So here are some beautiful Azalea's blooming at Aunt Corinne's.

And this is the Tulip tree that is blooming in Aunt Hattie's back yard. Someday when my Tulip tree grows up, it will bloom just like this one.

The Dogwood Festival was happening in Paducah also, but this picture is the only part of it that I saw.

We came home on Friday and the car was SO packed, that we decided to take our time and to make extra stops so we stretch our legs. It took us 11.5 hours back, because of this and detours for construction. Just so you know the reason that the car was so packed was not because I bought up a lot of stuff at the quilt show, it was because the Aunts decided to clean out their closets and give it to us. Most of it went to Erica, but the rest of us did not come home with some stuff too. Tracy had to do 15 loads of laundry when she got home to get all of Erica's stuff washed. OMG 15 loads of laundry!!!

Fiber Frolic - This last weekend a bunch of my knitting friends got together at Vicki's house for a fun-filled day of fiber, food and friendship. We got to ooh and aah over Vicki's new 3 Season room. I loved it and would so like to have one off the back of my house. The breeze coming in the windows was just awesome. I'd spend most of my time out there if I had one. To eat, we had Sloppy Toms (made with turkey, hence the name), Spinach salad, taco dip, veggies, hummus, deviled eggs, orange cupcakes, blueberry muffins, cookies. Everything was so good. Oh and Elizabeth brought some awesome strawberries. They were so good I had to drag Deb to Sam's Club on the way home because I don't have a membership card and pick up some of my own.

Of course it was until almost everyone had left that I realized that although I brought my camera, I forgot to take photos. No one else did either though so there! But I did take a picture of the progress I made on the sleeves for my Hoodie. I'm trying to do the 2 sleeves at one time thing. I wasn't sure if I would like it or not, since I didn't like doing the 2 socks at one time on circular needles. But so far it's going pretty well. I can't wait to get them done. I still have 12 rows to do on the body of the sweater, but I had put that aside since it was so boring. I measured it as is, and it measures 22". My row guage must be off a little, because it's only supposed to be 22 1/4" after the 12 rows that I have left to do. I just finished a pattern repeat though, so I'm thinking I will stop there and add the sleeves on when I get them done.

I know I'm forgetting things, but what the hey, someday I made need to play catch-up again.

See ya!