Monday, March 27, 2006

The Fine Art of Avoidance

Yesterday, I practiced the fine art of avoidance. I was supposed to begin putting the orchestra quilt together. Well, I went into the studio about 1o am. All those little broken dishes blocks were sitting on my cutting table along with the leftover border fabric from the Steamer Trunk Treasure sample. I had to finish this up first, right? Else those little blocks would be swept aside and another UFO would be born. So I made TWO miniature quilt tops out of them (roughly 15x18 and 15x15). This process took about 2 hours.

I fought the urge to go ahead and quilt them, but I did make the binding for both.

By this time, it was around noon and time to get something to eat. After lunch, I realized what a pretty day it was and the flower beds out front began calling to me. It was time to cut back all the dead growth on the perennials and pull out the plants that died due to the drought last summer. After the major cleanup, there was so much naked space that I just had to run to Wally World and buy a few plants - and if I'm going to start some plants from seed, I need to get that started, right? This took me til 5:30.

Time for a quick shower and meet the neighbors for a dinner date at 6. After dinner, we had to stop at the grocery store for lunch provisions for the week. Got home about 7:30 and Russ wanted to watch a movie.

Major procrastination won the day.

However, today was a different story. After looking at my calendar - an unexpected family dinner Wednesday night and a visit from a good friend from out of town on Thursday, it was time to knuckle down. So tonight I put the body of the orchestra quilt together. It's looking pretty good! Tomorrow I will decide if an inner border is required and hopefully will get borders on it tomorrow night.

It's really not putting the top together that I'm avoiding - it's the custom quilting that's required. I just need to knuckle down and do it!


Saturday, March 25, 2006

Okay. I told you that today was the day to begin cleaning up the back room of the store. This is what I faced yesterday - an 8' table loaded with stuff. I spent yesterday clearing off the table and moving things out of the way for Mr. Man to get busy today.

We now have clean shelves installed! I left him completely alone to do his thing - he's a great guy, but sometimes his "suggestions" aren't always practical. He's got to do his thing. His way. I think it turned out okay.

Now I'm left with this. I was just too tired to deal with it this afternoon. But I did cull out a bunch of sample quilts and we've priced them to sell in the store. There's still a bunch of stuff to sort throught, but I'll do that early next week.

I came home tonight and quilted and bound the Steamer Trunk Treasure sample. It's still a little "blendy", but I was using a specific fabric line and that's what flavor it is.

I guess tomorrow I need get crackin' again on the orchestra fundraiser quilt. It sounded like a good idea at the time when I volunteered for this. I'd much rather work on my red and white Twist and Shout, or punchneedle this really cute pattern that we got in this week, or play with fabric ala One-Block Wonders, or do any amount of other things. But, a commitment is a commitment and the sooner I get it done, the sooner I get to play with something else.

Here's a little something I pulled out of the handwork pile. I bought some rubber stamps for hand piecing at the Dallas Quilt Show last year and pulled a couple of fat packs out of my stash and began..... last year. It's been put away for quite some time now, and now I'm dragging it around to all those places where I have to wait. Maybe I'll finish it before NEXT year. But don't hold your breath. Sometimes I have the attention span of a gnat.


Friday, March 24, 2006

Quilt Show Finale and Other Ramblings

Here's the finale on pics from the quilt show.

This quilt intrigued me because of the tiny slivers of fabric that made up the vertical panels. You can barely see it, but there was a flower pot and flowers made using threadplay. It didn't really work for me (I found it distracting), but overall, the quilt was pretty fun.

Here's a closeup of the strips (and some of the obnoxious quilting). The strips finished to about 3/4".

This geese in the cabin quilt caught my eye because it is constructed similarly to Bonnie's Pineapple Blossom (but with the "blossoms" only in one direction). You can't tell, but many of the fabrics - including the 'lights' were batiks.

Closeup of a couple of the blocks - in case you want to draft your own....

We got our March autoshipment of books from C&T today. I try to bring new books home in the evening to look them over so that I can familiarize myself with content and techniques.

I must say, this book absolutely captivated me. It has the most incredible quilts made from a single fabric and triangles to make kaleidoscope blocks. The method to cut the fabric is kind of Stack-n-Whackish, but the end result is much more spectacular. I'm totally hooked. Now, where in my queue of projects is this going to fit in? I'm in BIIIIIIIG trouble. If you'd like to read more about this book (and see a few sample quilts) click here.

Tomorrow should be interesting at the shop. You know how messy our sewing rooms are because we'd rather "do" than spend time tidying up? Well, our back room at the shop is suffering from the same fate. When we moved into our bigger space 20 months ago, the room looked HUGE! Everything fit nice and neat. As busines has picked up, things have literally been tossed back there. There is an 8' table that has piles of stuff on top of other piles of stuff. It's time to invest in more shelving so that things can be more organized. My husband has offered to help tomorrow. Do I need to say more? Hopefully I can post before and after photos tomorrow.

Stay tuned,

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Quilt Show Photos - Part Deux

I've been spending the last couple of days trying to recover from being away from the office for 4 days as well as trying to catch up on some lost sleep.

As promised, more quilt show photos.

Another traditional quilt - hand appliqued and machine quilted. I've always been drawn to "red and green" applique quilts - I've got a Terry Thompson project started - I've finished 4 or 5 out of 9 blocks, but haven't worked on it for years. Perhaps I should drag it back out again...if I can find all the parts...

Our booth was set up directly across from this delightful house quilt. I stared at it for 3 days! The applique was machine-done, but done very well. What a bright and happy quilt! I don't normally 'go' for house blocks, but this one had me hooked.

I enjoyed this kaleidoscope quilt in plaids and "solids". I haven't made a kaleidoscope since 1998 - maybe it's time to do one again.


I particularly liked the piano key border made from tiny slivers of crosscut stripes. What movement! Being a stripe collector, this is way cool.

I have a handfull of photos left - stay tuned!


Monday, March 20, 2006

Quilt Show Drama

MAJOR drama at the quilt show yesterday.

Perhaps you've heard about the drought in Texas that's been going on for the last 6-9 months? Well, this weekend the heavens decided to open the tune of about 9 inches of rain in downtown Dallas over Saturday and Sunday. And 5 of those inches fell between 1 and 4 on Sunday afternoon.

Unfortunately, Market Hall sits in a depression right next to the freeway. About 1:00 I noticed about 1-1/2' of water in one lane on the street next to the hall. I figured there was drainage problems because of concrete barriers on either side of the lane. At about 1:45, both lanes were under water and cars were stranded all the way down to the freeway service road. At this time, cars were STILL trying to forge the stream. What part of "your headlights are under water - that's not a good thing" do these bozos not understand? By 2:30, water was creeping up the property towards the access door nearest that street. By 3:00, water was at the door, the southern parking lot next to the freeway was under 3 feet of water, half of the northern parking lot was under water, and the 2 major access freeways into downtown were closed. I called Russ who was coming to help me load up and told him there was only one way to get here and he better leave the house then. By 4:00, the other vendors were pitching a fit about how they were going to get out of the hall and the show staff were encouraging guests to stick around until the police could figure out how to get us out. It was major drama all afternoon - and I was too wrapped up in it to take pictures!

Russ did make it in okay - being a distribution (route) manager for a major dairy in Dallas helped him know which roads would be passable. The show staff did a great job organizing us to get out (we got to drive our cars into an adjacent hall) on such short notice. All in all it worked out fine, but it sure made me glad we have tall cars. One of my customers' brand new car was flooded in the parking lot. We got out relatively quickly and unscathed. I'm real glad it's over.

I did manage to take some pictures of quilts that appealed to me - I'll be posting them over the next few days.

This one is for Bonnie. This quilt takes pieced trees to a whole 'nother level.....

This quilt is an interpretation of Piece O' Cake's "Everyday Best" pattern. I liked this quilt the minute I saw the original and Becky Goldsmith is holding a workshop on this quilt at the McKinney guild in June. I'm think I'm going to take the workshop - for nothing else than to harrass Becky. I might even learn something - LOL!

Here's one for the traditionalists out there. The piecing was perfection and it was hand quilted spectacularly. I'll never make one, so I thought I'd treasure the photo instead.

That's all from me tonight - I've got a tired-on and I'm ready to go home.


Friday, March 17, 2006

Dallas Quilt Show Quickie

It's been a really long day. We had a good day at the show (we already beat what we made at this show last year), but I'm dead tired. So, here's just a little taste of what I got to see at the show going back and forth to the bathroom.

This is a quilt I made and entered into the Dallas Quilt Show back in '98. This is the 25th anniversary of the show and this quilt is hanging in a retrospective special exhibit of past winning quilts. I haven't really looked at this quilt in a long time - it's the first truly "original" design I ever made. I drafted the center 4 blocks on copy paper and paper pieced them. Then I appliqued them (but didn't really know what I was doing) over the big kaleidoscope. I machine quilted it on my Pfaff (but really didn't know what I was doing). I guess if you think about it, this was a Maverick quilt all the way around. Who knew?

This is one of the few quilts I actually go to see in the judged show - as we were walking out to the car at the end of the day. Of course, it really appealed to me since it was made out of mitred Kaffe Fassett stripes. Wish the lighting was better.

This was hanging on the outside of a vendor booth which specializes in vintage quilts and linens. I would gauge it to be mid-1800's with the large chintz print in the sashing. Aside from its age and condition, what made me stop and look closer was the unusual treatment in the corners to account for the bedpost.

See? It's actually a rounded keyhole type thing. Pretty cool, huh?

Maybe I'll have time to see more things tomorow. Time for bed.


Thursday, March 16, 2006

Quilt Show Setup Done

Well. The deed is done. We set up our booth at the Dallas Quilt Show in record time. I think it looks pretty good, despite the despicable lighting in the building.

Remember the day that I hand appliqued 42 circles in one day? It was for the quilt in the center of the booth. This is our project quit for our feature article in QUILT SAMPLER MAGAZINE!

Woo hoo!

We're pretty psyched. It's been a lot of hard work, but it's also been a lot of fun along the way.

Wish us luck tomorrow.


Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Photos Finally!

After a couple more attempts this morning, I finally got photos uploaded!

These are the cute little pincushions we had made to sell at the show. I gave Bonnie (not OUR Bonnie!) Kaffe Fassett and Amy Butler scraps and she made ducks, chickens, bunnies, pigs and kitties. Aren't they adorable?

Here are 6 of the star blocks for the Steamer Trunk Treasure sample I'm working on. It's slow going this week - not only because of the show, but the pain in my upper shoulders only lets me sew for about an hour or so. Some of them have that "blendy" look - hopefully the alternate cross block will help each star stand out a little better.

Now, hanging out with the Maverick bunch and the Stashbuster bunch has me doing something I normally wouldn't do.....I'm sewing that extra seam when making the flying geese segment for the stars and making tiny triangle units out of the waste. These little broken dishes blocks will finish at 2-1/2". I'm not sure what I'm going to do with them, but I do know that if I don't sew them now, they will go into a pile never to be seen again.

Time for a shower and off to work!


Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Update From Crazyville

First of all, thanks to all of you who have sent me encouraging words about my stressing out over the quilt show. I have taken a step back, and realize this is just one week out of my life and all will be okay. The pinched nerve in my upper back is slowing me down a little, tho. Hopefully daily visits to Dr. Jason will get me back on track before the weekend.

I had a really cute picture of some pincushions a lady made for us to take to the show, but apparently blogger is having a severe case of the hiccups and the photos wouldn't load. I'll try again tomorrow.

Time for the Amazing Race.

Later, Susan

Monday, March 13, 2006

Hello From Crazyland!

I have officially entered Crazy Land. The Dallas Quilt Show is only 4 days away. I have an employee on a church-sponsored trip to Israel. I am short on people, time, and patience. I have just worked 6 days in a row and am looking at working 8 or 9 more days in a row. Have I lost my mind? Probably.

Since I did have Sunday off, I cut out a sample quilt for the store using another Pat Speth pattern - "Steamer Trunk Treasure". Here's a picture of the pattern cover. I couldn't get much motivation to sew because it was so hot in the house yesterday - it was 86 degrees yesterday and we are reluctant to turn on the A/C this early. Today will only be in the low 70's so it will be tolerable again.

Russ and Audrey are on Spring Break this week. What's wrong with this picture?

Time to get ready for work. It'll be a long day since nobody picked up Diane's shift - and today is our late day at the store.

Susan (who's not really whining- well, maybe, just a little.....)

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Quilt In A Day

No, I'm not Eleanor Burns. But I did make a quilt (from start to finish) today. It's only about 22" square, but hey, it's a quilt!

This is a last minute sample for the Dallas Quilt Show. Remember the Magic Lanterns quilt with the Kaffe Fassett fabrics and the red background? This was made using the same 60 degree ruler and the leftovers from the fat quarters.

One more week until the show and lots to do...I thought I was doing pretty good on my schedule for getting ready, but the panic is just about to set in. But we'll end up pulling it off. We always do.


Monday, March 06, 2006

The Molehill that Became a Mountain

Tonight I completed the logo block for the Cross Timbers Youth Orchestra donation quilt I am making for the big fundraiser in April.

This was one of those little "chores" that I have been putting off for weeks. I've been avoiding it because I wasn't sure if my mouth had been writing checks that my sewing skills couldn't cash! I wasn't completely sure how to go about executing it, but I finally just jumped in.

The staff lines were satin stitched and the lettering was fused and then machine blanket stitched. It looks really good on a galloping horse! But I have to remember my audience for this quilt - donors who don't sew or quilt and not quilt judges....

It's amazing how sitting down and tackling that one little chore you've been avoiding can give you such a huge sense of accomplishment. I'm a procrastinator when it comes to tasks that I view will be "unpleasant". I usually find out that I've created mountains out of molehills. Why do I keep doing this? I should know better by now.

Breathing a big sigh of relief......


PS to Judy L. - I called SBC today and it only took 15 minutes! Another mountain down....

Sunday, March 05, 2006

String Top Done!

I finished another one today! This is the string top that I've been working on for the past couple of weeks.

I knew that if I didn't go ahead and quilt it, it would be forever lost in the UFO pile.

It was fun to make - and every piece of it came from the stash. But, I think I'm done with strings for a while!

It was a lovely day today. The temperature was around 70 - we had the screen doors open all day. This morning I looked at the flower beds in the front and noticed that a daffodil was almost ready to bloom. By this afternoon, this happy little face was shining bright! I guess spring really is just around the corner - I'm going to have to set aside some time to begin cleaning out the flower beds soon.

I began working on the logo block for the orchestra donation quilt tonight, but the gremlins are back in my TV in the studio so I'm watching the Oscars upstairs and talking to you.

On the orchestra front, Audrey participated in a solo fest yesterday where she had to play a piece of music for a judge. She got a "Superior" rating and a medal! All that parental badgering about practice paid off! But, if I don't hear "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah" for a long time, it'll be okay....

Have a great night,

Friday, March 03, 2006

Cutting, Cutting, Cutting....

Tonight was spent cutting all the rest of my red Twist and Shout blocks, including background and setting pieces. It's been a long time since I cut out an entire quilt in one shot. I tend to cut a while, then sew a while, then cut some more. During my sit-down spells, I must confess to piecing blocks....I have 7 blocks pieced now. But I was a good girl and put it all in a box for later. Maybe I will have some self control...

But then again, maybe not.


Thursday, March 02, 2006

Long Time, No Sew

It seems like forever since I've sewn anything. I really haven't spent any time in my sewing room since last Friday. We had a huge sale on Monday and Tuesday of this week, and I've been too tired to do much of anything. Today was my day off and I spent most of it in bed with a headache. Major bummer...

We got a new pattern in at the shop - it's called Twist and Shout and is done by Pat Speth (of Nickel Quilts fame). Pat has begun publishing stand alone patterns based on nickel squares.

I was really drawn to this pattern - so I began rummaging in my stash and came up with this background fabric. I bought it at the guild garage sale and it's only 36" wide. No telling how old it is. Then I started digging in my "reds" - trying to come up with 32 reds in pieces big enough for the blocks. I have no business starting a new project, but I'm telling myself that this can be a new leaders/enders project for me. At least I'm busting stash, right?

I'm tired of coughing and ready to be at 100% again. I miss my sewing machine.