Sunday, April 29, 2012

If I could figure out the new blogger, I'd show you a great picture

 There is a great picture on my good old computer that is now incompatible with Blogger of the Pink Chalk Studio's Mail Sack bag I made this weekend.  Really, the tan and pink bag with is sprightly striped lining is hanging in the flowering crab and looking quite dashing.  Unfortunately, my antique computer operating system is no longer supported by Blogger, so if you'd like to see my lovely new bag, you'll have to join me at Nancy's Sewing Weekend next Thursday and Friday.  My bag will go everywhere I go, and if you're there, I'll certainly be happy to show it off for you.

Sunday, March 25, 2012


Sometimes things have to sit for a bit to tell me what will come next. This quilt top, for example, seemed like a really good idea when I started it several years ago. By the time it got this far, however, it seemed to have lost its charm and was set aside to wait for further inspiration.

It's waited and waited and finally, maybe, there's a glimmer of possibility. There's not enough of the tone-on-tone fabric that alternates with the little hour-glass squares for a full border, and a contrast border just seems too heavy somehow for what was intended to be a soft-looking little nap quilt. There is, though, a yard of a lovely soft print that would coordinate well with the feel of the quilt that could be incorporated into the border. And then there are those yo-yo's made with many of the same reds that are in the quilt and some of the same or very similar greens that might work for vines and leaves. Yes, there's hope. Not a definite plan, but hope.In the meantime, however, there are always hexagons for putzing. These, too, lack a defined destiny, but they are starting to add up to possibilities of their own. I originally thought that when I had 20 flowers made, I would devise a plan for a quilt. Now that I have 18 made, I think I'll do some serious planning when I have 35. Until then, which might be a while, I'll just keep stitching.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

To everything there is a season?

Most years at this time the all-consuming happenings here revolve around this

The woods are tapped and all the kids make it a point to come home during the few weeks of intense maple syrup production. We love helpers who will pitch in to pick up sap
And help fuel the fire for the long hours it takes to cook the sap into maple syrup. Even Daisy puts in her fair share of time watching the evaporator.
Most of all we love seeing the sparkling finished product lined up and ready to hold us over for another year of sales, gifts and just plain good eating.
This year, though, all these things are just sweet memories. Between March's 70-degree days and Paul's ankle that will not allow him to tramp around out in the woods, the usual highlight of our spring is just a sweet memory. Good thing we still have about 20 gallons of syrup on hand to get us through until the next maple season!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Everything but the kitchen sink

A guest post by Alyssa.

For those of you following VVG and are saddened the dearth of recent posts there, it is because I am busy working, working, working for pay - not a lot of cooking, cooking, cooking or blogging, blogging, blogging. But last weekend, I was sick of all the work and decided to take on a creative project.

I had strict parameters for this project. First, it had to be a project that I could finish from start to finish in one afternoon. Second, I could not run out to buy any supplies. You see, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree (my mom created a monster!!) and in the last year I've acquired a great deal of fabric supplies. I live in a small apartment. I don't have room for copious amounts of supplies!

But, after completing this project, I now have room for many, many more supplies.

You see this pouf?

Pretty nice, huh?

You'll never believe what's inside.

I used Butterick 5230 for my pattern, but after reading the construction methods, abandoned ship because the finish would have looked, well, awful. Luckily, I found this post from Better Homes and Gardens about how to finish the pouf more to my liking. Aside from the better construction methods, step #10 came in particularly handy when I was stuffing my mammoth pouf.

You see, the Butterick pattern did not specify how much poly-fil to use for the project. So I bought 3 -20oz bags thinking that would cover it. How wrong I was. I stuffed all three in, and barely filled half of this pouf. So, upon the suggestion of BHG, I went digging in my closet and found two - not one, but two! - 18" down pillows that I wasn't using. I wrestled those, much like this cowboy wresting the calf, into the pouf via an 8" hole. Yee-haw!!

Still, not full.

So, I went digging again. I found some old long underwear from my college days and stuffed about 8 shirts and pants into the pouf.

Still, not full.

I put in all the scraps from any project I've done in the past year, including a couple of muslin dresses and skirts.

Still, not full.

I dug up two old queen sized sheets and crammed those in.

Still, not full.

I found an Elmo Halloween costume and added that to the pouf.

And finally, the pouf was full. With pretty much everything except the kitchen sink.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Piles of progress

Here it is -- a week's worth of progress (mostly early mornings before getting ready for work) on this flying geese quilt. All the light geese are finished and sewn together in groups of four. All the dark geese are pieced, paired in twos and waiting patiently to become sets of four. Once those sets are done, the lights and darks will be paired to make 12" blocks that will be easy to maneuver for the best color and fabric distribution. Not only will the layout be easier, but since I absolutely hate working with long strips, the piecing will be more to my liking as well.
Karl and Alissa were here for a short visit today. In the back of my mind, this quilt was for them. When Alissa expressed her agreement to that notion, my excitement over its completion grew even more. Another week of early mornings. Maybe an evening or two, and some weekend time, and I'll have this pieced. It is such a thrill to let quilts happen!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Leaving it to destiny

Do you ever have an idea that seems not to let go? Keeping fabric around as long as I do might explain that to some degree, but that is beside the point. This wonderful leaf print - about 2 yards of it - has been with me longer than I care to admit. In all those years, I've tried a couple of ideas with it, but never to my satisfaction. I knew, all along it seems, it should be part of a flying geese quilt. But flying geese were always so putsy, I never wanted to commit. Now that I've learned to make flying geese in a much more efficient (and much less wasteful) manner, it seemed time to finally get this wonderful fabric into a quilt.
Unfortunately, a few sample blocks set on the fabric in the manner I've envisioned for all this time, left me sorely disappointed.

Not be be deterred and convinced that the contrast between the blocks and leaf print was too stark, I made a few blocks substituting a dark background for the light. A step in the right direction maybe, but still not all that impressive.
And so I let the idea simmer while I made a pot of coffee and threw some clothes in the washer. With a fresh cup in hand, it occurred to me that dropping the long-held notion of having the leaves serve as dividing strips might be the answer. Covering that one row of leaves with flying geese provided my answer. The leaves weren't meant to be stripes -- they were meant to be a frame.

All the pieces are cut for a throw-size quilt. (I had a day of vacation on Friday and managed to get a ton of cutting and marking done.) In fact, all the light background geese units, as well as a good portion of the dark units, are completed. I'm not kidding you or myself: this won't be done in a week. But what's the rush? These leaves have been waiting a long, long time to meet their destiny.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Anniversary Waltz

The Anniversary Waltz, a flannel quilt for Kit and Violet is finally finished. I picked it up from the longarm quilter last weekend and finished the binding this morning. After taking Paul to the doctor where his cast was removed and replaced with a walking cast, I was excited to have a lovely winter day to catch a few quilt pictures outside.
You may recall the mention of following a couple quilting blogs. Those blogs have artsy photos of quilts. Lately many of those photos have been outside, even in the snow. If they can do it, so can I, right?
Did I mention that this quilt is flannel? And big? And heavy? Giving it a good shake to have it billow out before gently fall to the earth in a perfect fashion didn't work so well. Not factoring in this morning's brief snow didn't help. Fresh wet snow. A heavy flannel quilt. Big old footprints all around the quilt to disturb the pristine (at least in my imagination) setting.So it's settled, I am not a photographer. But I am a quilter who is very excited to give her son and daughter-in-law a quilt made with lots of flannel ... and lots of love.