Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Grands

That's me and my new granddaughter. She's adorable and she loves me.  I'm on cloud nine.  

I'll be staying here a while. 

Monday, August 29, 2016

Deco Rose

When I started playing with the blocks for the pink Deco quilt, I lay the blocks out any which way. I knew that wasn't the way it was in the book, so I decided I'd try it out.

Each of the A blocks was arranged horizontally, and the B block with the small block was arranged vertically with the little block at the bottom.

So I thought this could work. I worked out a layout on the floor and then transferred it to the design wall.

Five versions later, I had this and I liked it.

I did make a couple of minor changes before I started sewing the blocks together during the day on Sunday.

Now the flimsy is finished, and the tentative name of this quilt is "Deco Rose," because the colors seemed more rosy than true pink.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Deco Rose Comes to Life

These are the "B" blocks. I need 31 of these.

These are the "A" blocks. I need 32 of these (trimmed, of course.)

I started laying the blocks out on the floor, to get a feel for how big the quilt should be. I decided 9 rows of 7 blocks would be about right. This would make a quilt about 42" x 54".

As I made some blocks, I trimmed them and put them on the floor to fill out the area and get a feel for how the fabrics were working together. This is looking good, and I'm happy.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Reds Arrive

My order of Reds was waiting for me when I got home last night.

As with all fabric I buy, it goes straight in the washing machine (in warm water) before I use it. For this load, all red, I didn't bother using a Color Catcher strip to catch the stray die. As this load was all red, it wasn't worth it.

I also ordered some white and reds. These went in the washing machine separately. I don't plan to use the ladies in evening dresses fabric, but I wanted to see what it looked like in real life. I had thought it might be an option for the backing, but with so much red in the quilt, I don't think it will work.

I will, however, use the print with the multicolored squares as one of my "white and reds." Why? Because I like to have a little surprise in each of my quilts. The white and red pieces are spread throughout the quilt, and believe it or not, the multicolored squares will fit right in, and most viewers will never even notice they are there. (And when they do, their faces will light up!)

I also like the Harlequin diamonds at the upper left, but am not sure the print will play nicely in the quilt. I may simply use a wide strip of it in the backing.  We'll see.  In the meantime, I have some ironing to do.

My granddaughter, it seems, gets cuter every day, if that's at all possible. It's hard to believe she's a week old today.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Pinks @ Seven

Since the "A" block of the Deco quilt is three six inch strips sewn together, I went through my stack of strips and cut many of them down to 7". Why 7" and not 6-1/2"? Heck, I'm a free-piecer. I don't like being limited. I would rather have something a bit bigger I can trim down to perfection rather than sew some blocks that might be a smidge too small. Call me persnickety if you want.

You won't hurt my feelings.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Pink Deco & Herself

The idea for the Blue (and now Pink) Deco quilts came from this book:

Colorful Quilts for Fabric Lovers

There are two blocks, and each finish out at six inches square. So, the first block is three strips 2-1/2" x 6-1/2" sewn together with a 1/4" seam.  The second block has a 2-1/2" square sewn to a 2-1/2" x 4-1/2" strip and this is sewn between two 2-1/2" x 6-1/2" strips. 

The two blocks are alternated throughout the quilt. The quilt is most effective with a lot of fabrics. Blue Deco has something like 50 - 80 different fabrics.The pink version will be a smaller quilt, obviously, although I haven't decided how big (or small) yet, and I haven't counted the different fabrics.

And this is the lady herself, napping comfortably in her (other) grandmother's arms.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016


Last Saturday, as soon as I discovered I had a granddaughter, I thought, "I'm going to make a Pink quilt." I thought it would calm me down. 

Alas, no. I was so wound up in the events, and then busy with the texts, emails and telephone conversations over the weekend I never got close to the studio. Plus, I didn't know what kind of quilt to make. Finally, an idea came to me Sunday night. I would do a pink version of Blue Deco.

Finally last night I pulled out my pink scrap bins and sorted, pressed and cut my selections into 2-1/2" wide strips.

Then I pulled fabrics for the accent squares.  I think this will be very pretty. I'd like to have the flimsy finished before my trip to the City of Angels next week to meet my little girl. But there's a lot of other things I have to do between now and then, so we'll see.  I'm not worried.

Baby Girl (still working on a blog nickname for her) was released from the NICU yesterday, and both baby and Mom were released from the hospital last night.

You'll enjoy the text my son sent yesterday:
"We may be coming home today. We may not want to be coming home today."

I found this photo waiting for me when I woke up this morning. So they are home. One chapter ends, another begins.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

It's A Girl!

The wait is over!

Baby Girl Tyler (I am keeping her name private for obvious reasons) arrived at 4:43 AM Saturday morning, Pacific Time. She weighed in at 7 pounds, 13 ounces.

She made a spectacularly complicated entrance and had everybody worried for a brief time, but has since recovered beautifully.

Here's the happy family.

I've spent a manic couple of days texting, emailing and talking to everybody on the phone. It's been memorable. I can't wait to see my new granddaughter the next time I visit.

Cutting Red

Waiting really sucks, so I have to keep busy. I decided I didn't have enough real reds to complete this quilt, so I placed an online order for more. Then I cut up what I already had. Now I'll set it aside and wait for my online order to arrive.

And continue to wait for that other thing...

Friday, August 19, 2016

Soo Nipi Quilt Guild

I gave a talk yesterday to the Soo Nipi Quilt Guild in Newport NH. The ladies were great, and the room was terrific. The room was so big I was able to spread some quilts on the floor so the ladies could look at them more closely.

.Thanks, Verna, for taking these pictures. (I hope I got your name right.)

Susan and Candace held up some quilts as I was talking about them.
The Flight of Fancy quilt was a hit. The birds seem to tell their own stories, and inspire others. Everybody wants to know the story of the two upside down birds, but the stories of the birds I work with (the Cost Accountant, the A/P Clerk, the stylish VP of Finance and the Clemson fan CEO) as well as my friends Julie and Larry) seemed to be the most appealing.

I was almost sorry my bird tutorial is digital as several guild members approached me afterwards, eager to buy it. You can find it here. Click this link.

I had a wonderful time. Thanks, Soo Nipi Quilt Guild!

PS, still no Baby Tyler news.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


I'm giving a talk tomorrow at a quilt guild in Newport NH. I've got my talk written, I've got the slides prepared and I've packed my quilts. The walls look very funny empty of quilts. I have to pack Flight of Fancy too, but I can't bear to take it off the wall just yet.

This is Susan, who took my Birds class recently. She took the letters class I taught at QT last Saturday and showed me the bag she made.  SO COOL! Susan's a member of the guild where I will speak tomorrow. 

***PS, No baby news yet. Baby Tyler is now officially late.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Getting Red

I've been working on the red blocks, and after working on them for a while on Sunday, I've got them all figured out.

 You start with some of these.

Cut them apart like this...

Add another red strip to the bottom.

Add a large white triangle and another big red one, and that's it.

Here are nine blocks. I'm not sure I'm in love with them, but I'll  make a few more before I decide.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Reality Bites

Many of you know that I make my living as a Geek, watching over the computer network of a $11M privately held manufacturing company, and that I've been there over 27 years. While I no longer do all the "heavy lifting" I still oversee a lot.

Just before I visited Maryland in June, one of our network switches (which connected 24 users to the network) started working only intermittently. I placed an order for a new one and scheduled the installation. (Do you want to wait until after you get back from vacation, they asked me. HELL NO! I replied.) Alas, hardware works until it doesn't and it died for good two days after I left. It turned out to drag down other things with it, with the result that it was a holy hell week at the company. Bless them, they never called me and I never knew until I got back how bad it had been. Of course, there was nothing I could have done about it anyway...

I had been distracted by the virtual servers running out of memory. The servers (we have three physical servers) are set up so that if one dies, another can take over the tasks. Unfortunately if the servers are running at more than 50+ % capacity, it means another server CAN'T take over because you can't max out the memory without crashing.  So I had to make sure to replace the RAM on all three servers. RAM memory is cheap, but server RAM is not. If one server failed, and another couldn't fill the gap, then the company's computer network would be "dead in the water."  So I was focused on that.

About the same time we were looking at the age of all our equipment and realized our Firewall (the barrier of protection between our network and The Bad Guys) was beyond End Of Life. So we were working on getting quotes and ordering that. None of this is easy. It's not like buying a computer and just setting it up. There were hours of configuration our techs had to do to set it up before they brought it over for installation yesterday.

IN THEORY... it was a straightforward swap. Install the new firewall into the rack, disconnect the old one, connect the new one and test. Internet activity worked great. External email, not so much. After much tinkering it looked OK at 7 PM and I went home.

About an hour later, a text from the CEO arrived. "Can't get mail on my phone." Sigh.  So I tested and sure enough, that wasn't working. I called "the guys" and they worked on it. It took them till 11 PM to figure it out.  It's fine now.

Yet another thing to keep me away from the sewing studio, darn it.

I have a favorite quote about being a Geek:
"In Theory, theory and practice are the same. In Practice, they are not."

Sure do hope there are no other surprises lurking...

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

AQS Grand Rapids

I've got two quilts in AQS Grand Rapids this week. The "Black & White Crayons" is in its last AQS exhibition. After this, it's coming home.

The Chicken quilt, "Too Much Chicken" will go on traveling. This quilt has also been accepted in Chattanooga and Des Moines 2016. If you go to any of these shows, take a selfie with them and send it to me. It's fun to put names to faces.

And in something not quilt related...

I made an Angel Food Cake this weekend. From scratch. It's amazing how delightful this cake really is. It isn't as sweet as the ones you buy at the grocery store, so that makes this cake much nicer. And I flavored with fresh lemon and lemon rind.

So what can you do with angel food cake aside from eat it plain or with fruit? Check this out!

Friday, August 5, 2016

Blue Topaz, Ready & Waiting

The quilt, Blue Topaz, is ready in California for Baby Tyler. The due date is August 7, and it is fast approaching. My DIL is no end of ready. We are all on standby, waiting for the News.

I have already alerted my boss that my cell phone will NOT be silenced until the Baby is here, because I don't want to risk missing out on The Big News. I don't care what meeting I'm in, if my phone rings, I'm taking the call. Of course, all my coworkers know about it, so they're waiting with me.

Believe me, when I get the news, you'll hear about it.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Questions... I Have Answers...

It has been the most ridiculous summer. I haven't had much time to just settle down and sew. I am teaching a letters class on August 13 at Quilted Threads and will be speaking at the Soo Nipi Quilt Guild in NH on August 18. So instead of sewing, which I would really much rather be doing, I am preparing for those two events.

Now, for the questions and answers...

Nobody asked, but my Mom and I thought last year's AQS Syracuse show (2015) was better. This year we thought there were a few quilts that were just awful that won ribbons, and a few that were so damn perfectly perfect that didn't. I really hate overquilting and overembellisment and overstuffed. There was a lot of that. There was one quilt that absolutely creeped me out. It was a trapunto and applique beast with so much stuffing and quilting it looked like bugs crawling across a quilt. Yuk.

We also think the AQS's method of hanging the quilts (in numerical order by section) did the show a great disservice. Artwork in an exhibit should be hung so the work makes sense as you move through the gallery, as ideas flow together, and compliment each other.

Some beautiful quilts were in shadow, where it was too dark to fully see them or appreciate them, and some were under lighting that was too harsh.

Quilters are lovely people. There wasn't anybody we spoke to who wasn't friendly, kind or cheerful.

My pal Julie knows I have a thing about bowls. This is the birthday present I received from her. It's sixteen kinds of terrific and I love it.

Yes Cherie, I will undoubtedly have to make the pink barn sitting in three dimensions. Of course I can do it, but since I generally hate pictorial quilts (I mean, if I want to paint a picture, I will use paint, not fabric), I have to figure out a way to do it without trying to carve too much of a 3D picture space.

Dear Selvage Fairy & Sandi, I did not get close enough to the pink barn to see what the various doors, windows, and signs might have said. The barn was on private property with a house nearby and I did not want to trespass. I shall have to use my imagination. Oh gee darn.

Ducky, in real life the WOWs don't look so bright, but when they are under a direct light like the one in the photo, it does look overpowering.

Nancy, I got the Pink Lemonade cake to go as dessert at Man of Kent. They make all their own cakes, so I went for it. It was lovely.

They never had signs like this anywhere when I was pregnant. I think it is a terrific idea.

The Grand Baby is now officially due at any time. I spoke to my son earlier and he was very specific that I NOT announce the baby's birth until my entire family had been notified first.  I listened with one ear. I'm three thousand miles away and even if I don't do EXACTLY what he wants there's not much he can do about it. I have Mom Armor.
Sales of the Bird Tutorial have exceeded my wildest expectations. To all of you who purchased a copy, thank you so very much. It's nice to hear the compliments. I worked very hard on it.

I'm definitely going to have to make a smallish quilt that says I AM NOT PAPER PIECED. Too fun an idea not to. Another quote on the must list includes this one: CHANGE PARTNERS AND DANCE.

I had my OB/GYN visit today and the nurse who took my information before I saw the doctor said something that would make another good quilt: GRAVITY IS A HARD THING. When you're my age with osteoporosis, it surely is.

Between planning the class and the talk, I'm going to be very busy, so I may not post much in the next three weeks. Please don't think I'm ignoring you. I've decided I've tried to do too much this year. Next year I'm not going to make more than two trips. One will be a trip to Colorado to visit my furniture-making brother. The other will likely be a trip to California. I may take smaller trips locally (less than 4 hours driving: I want to visit Kathy in Belfast Maine again), but by and large I'm staying home. You'll find me in the sewing studio.

So OK, I did the bird tute. Anything else you would like to know how to do? I'm open for suggestions.

thanks, see ya!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Red Table Cover

So this is a test of the design I am working on for my red table cover. I've flipped the values from the original and I am not paper piecing this, so this is an experiment in how I'd make it and how big to cut things. I've got a little adjusting to do, but that doesn't concern me. I'll get there.

I want to make a few more test blocks using the different fabrics I have because I want to get a better idea if what I see in my head is exactly what I'll end up with. After that I'll get going. I'm really eager to get sewing again.