Tuesday, July 31, 2012

NICU Buntings: A Finish From My Mom

If you haven't any charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble. –Bob Hope

Today I'm sharing a finish for my mom, Peggy, so she can join this month's linky party.

Here's what she had to say:

I have a finish! They are NICU buntings for a young man's Eagle project.

I line quilted the pieces and stitched them together, added ties and bias binding. You can see the ties better in this picture.

Today's post brought to you by:
July Finishes

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sabbath Songs: Come, Come Ye Saints

I say unto you, be of good cheer . . . for I am in your midst, and I have not forsaken you. –D&C 61:36

On July 24, 1847 the first group of Mormon pioneers arrived in the Salt Lake Valley. For years prior to this, they had suffered abuse at the hands of mobs, had their homes burned, their property taken and been driven from city to city because of their religious beliefs. Seeking a place where they could live in peace, they loaded up what little belongings and supplies they had into wagons and handcarts and made the thirteen hundred-mile trek west. These courageous pioneers gave birth and buried loved ones along the trail. They suffered starvation and exposure. Their faith was tested to the limit. Despite their hardships, these Saints remained hopeful, faithful, cheerful as they put one foot in front of the other day after day.

The first company to head west was comprised mostly of men. They left their families to pave the way for others to follow. William Clayton, a member of this group, received word while on the trail that his wife had given birth to a son. Of this he said, I feel to thank my heavenly father for my boy and pray that he will spare and preserve his life and that of his mother and so order it so that we may soon meet again.

After receiving the news of the birth of his son, William Clayton wrote lyrics for an English Folk Song, which became a sort of anthem for those to follow on the long trail west. It was a source of comfort for those who faced the hardships of the trek across the mid-west and its words offer comfort today in the face of different, but equally challenging trials.

Come, come, ye Saints, no toil nor labor fear;
But with joy wend your way.
Though hard to you this journey may appear,
Grace shall be as your day.
'Tis better far for us to strive
Our useless cares from us to drive;
Do this, and joy your hearts will swell—
All is well! All is well!

Why should we mourn or think our lot is hard?
'Tis not so; all is right.
Why should we think to earn a great reward
If we now shun the fight?
Gird up your loins; fresh courage take.
Our God will never us forsake;
And soon we'll have this tale to tell—
All is well! All is well!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

I Must Ask . . . Why Can't I Post My Poll?

Happiness is a way station between too little and too much.
–Channing Pollock

I have today's post all written up. It's been ready to go for two hours now, but I can't get Blogger to post the poll. And really, what's the point of asking a question if there is no poll to go with it? Right?

I'll save it for next week.

I debated about whether to post that I'm not posting because I can't get the poll to work. It seems kind of silly. I mean, who keeps track?

But darn it all, I spent time on the post {read: forfeited sewing time to post} and wanted you to know that I'm prepared and not skipping out {like I have before}.

So there you have it. A post about not posting.

Because really, I was going to post, but the cyber-gremlins are up to mischief.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

{More} Black & Red Hexie Notebooks

Success begets success. –Unknown

It has been a really slow year for finishes for me. Before this week, March was the last time I finished anything. I got my Phoenix quilt done on Monday and yesterday I finished four Hexie notebooks, showing here:

I love that apple batik. Very Twilight-y. Two of them are already in the mail to their recipients, although that's not really a huge accomplishment since one of them is for a birthday that was in May and the other is for a birthday that was two weeks ago. On the upside, the other two will arrive on time for the birthdays they are meant for in August and September, provided I remember to put them in the mail :wink:.

These little notebooks are so fun to make. I think I've done about 20 of them now. I used a 5" x 5" Chipboard Art Journal {Stampin' Up!® item #108495} for the notebook. I discarded the front cover, substituted Pellon Peltex 72F II and a rough approximation of this fabric postcard tutorial for the front cover and fused fabric to the chipboard back cover with Heat 'n Bond Lite. To put the Hexies together I cut the fabric, a layer of Mistyfuse and bit of batting using the largest {5”} Go! Hexagon. I trimmed the batting Hexagon down by ⅜” all the way around and used Mistyfuse to hold it in place on the back of the fabric while I quilted it {I placed the Hexie batting side down and put parchment paper on the ironing board to keep the allowance of Mistyfuse around the outer edge of the batting from fusing where I didn't want it}. After I'd finished quilting, I pressed the edges over and sewed it onto the notebook cover.

LadyBug, smart girl that she is, asked me recently why I don't just stick with one project until it is finished. I didn't really have an answer for her. Obsessive Creative Disorder, I suppose. Sometimes I stick with a project from start to finish, but cranking out a quilt in two weeks is a rare occurrence for me. Even the Phoenix quilt took more time than that and the disappearing nine-patch blocks were already finished. All I had to do was sash and quilt it.

I stuck with the Sesame Street quilt. Sort of. It was fun and challenging enough to hold my interest and I worked on block after block. But when I saw I wasn't going to make the quilt show deadlines, I put it on hold and pulled out the Pinwheel Sampler hoping I might finish it in time. I spent too much time ripping out quilting and trying again and I didn't get that done either.

Finishing the Phoenix quilt and these four little notebooks {which were great FMQ practice} just feels good. I sometimes get in my own way :lol:. Starting the Sesame Street quilt in mid-April, while fun, took up a lot of time and kept me from finishing anything else on my quilting to-do list for this year. I plan on finishing the Sesame Street quilt within a year of starting it; I think for me the year mark is when a project becomes a Project Half-Done. And I have plenty of those I need to finish up in the next little while {as well as a few new projects; if only I could quilt full-time}.

I think I'm past the half-way mark on the quilting on the Pinwheel Sampler so I'm going to take LadyBug's advice and stick with it until it is done. You can hold me to it :biggrin:. If I even hint at working on something else before it's done, refer me to this post.

My 2012 Finishes

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Phoenix Song

Somewhere out in the darkness, a phoenix was singing in a way Harry had never heard before: a stricken lament of terrible beauty. And Harry felt, as he had felt about phoenix song before, that the music was inside him, not without: It was his own grief turned magically to song that echoed across the grounds and through the castle windows.

How long they stood there, listening, he did not know, nor why it seemed to ease their pain a little to listen to the sound of their mourning, but it felt like a long time.
–J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, page 614-615

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I've finished the quilt I'm going to donate to Phoenix Quilts.

Julie, a woman who lives near the Wood Hollow fire put out the call for quilts to be donated to families who had lost their homes in that fire. She called it Operation Wood Hollow.

After a good response, she decided to expand the donation area and asked for suggestions for a new name for her organization. In the meantime, I tossed ideas around for a name for my quilt. I thought of "Out of the Ashes," and then about "Phoenix." Both of those seemed a little too dramatic and I didn't want the recipient to be reminded of something that was probably very traumatic. I Googled synonyms for phoenix, but there are none. Then I remembered that phoenix song has a healing quality {at least in Harry Potter's world} and decided that would be the name for my quilt, in the hopes that it will be part of the healing for the family who receives it. I also thought of suggesting "Operation Phoenix" as a new name for Julie's non-profit, but somebody beat me to it.

I tried a new FMQ pattern on this quilt. I kind of dragged my feet on getting started and was frustrated at first because it wasn't coming out how I pictured it in my head. In the end it turned out pretty OK and I like it quite a bit. Some parts of it look better than others, some areas have smoother, more even stitches than others, but all in all, I think it was a success.

And I used the constructive remarks the judges gave me at HMQS to improve my binding. I cut it at 2¼" rather than 2½", sewed it on to the quilt before I trimmed away the extra back and batting and I made smaller stitches to sew it to the back. I did not, however, sew the miters closed. I like them open and will only do that for quilts that are for shows. Overall, it was definite improvement on my binding, I think.

In just three short weeks, Utah has gone from more than a dozen wildfires to just one, which is now 95% contained. At last count, 849 homes have been lost in Colorado, Idaho, Montana and Utah, so there is still a great need for donations. Julie will be delivering quilts in Idaho and Colorado shortly. I'll be putting my quilt in the mail to Julie tomorrow.

My 2012 Finishes

Thursday, July 19, 2012

I Must Ask . . . How Much Sleep Do You Need?

Sleep is perverse as human nature,
Sleep is perverse as legislature....
So people who go to bed to sleep
Must count French premiers or sheep,
And people who ought to arise from bed
Yawn and go back to sleep instead.
–Ogden Nash, Read This Vibrant Exposé

It's been a couple of weeks since I asked, but I want to thank everyone who offered up a prayer or sent good thoughts to those who've lost homes in the fires that are going on in the Western US. I hoped to have my quilt for Phoenix Quilts finished to show you. But it's summer and I'm taking life a slightly slower pace than usual, enjoying the moments that count. I've got just over half the quilting finished, and it was exactly as scary as I thought it would be and also exactly as uneven and not perfect as I thought it would be. But as I knew it would, it got easier after the first stitch and I'm enjoying the learning experience. Here's how I left it on Tuesday evening. My goal is to finish it on Saturday and get it in the mail on Monday.

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I had a little trouble falling asleep last night. I'm actually doing a lot better than I used to with being able to fall asleep quickly and doing my sleeping at night and being awake during the day. But last night I was awake until 2:00 am. I think it had something to do with the migraine I enjoyed today :yuck:. In any case, when I rolled out of bed at 8:00 this morning, my first thought was six hours is not enough. The last couple of weeks, I've been going to bed pretty early {for me} , and since it is summer, I've been able to get away with 10 hours of sleep and still be up and going at a respectable time in the morning. I love it and wish I could get that much sleep every night. I would have climbed right back into bed this morning, but Grasshopper had violin lessons at 9:00 and we had plans to go swimming right after that.

That's when I decided that I must ask . . . how much sleep do you need? Then I remembered I had two other questions I want to ask, and have debated back and forth all day which way to go. But I'm going with the sleep question because it's what's on my mind right now and the other two will keep. I suppose that you should vote for how much sleep is healthy for you, rather than how much sleep you'd really like. I've been getting by on 6 or 7 hours a night for the last two or three years. It is not enough. I really need eight, and I'm working on giving myself that because it is healthy. It it hard to quiet that voice in the back of my head that says stay up just a little bit more and get something else done. You'll be tired in the morning anyway, so what does a few minutes more matter now? But I'm working on it. It would be lovely to have 10 hours of sleep, if only there were about 18 waking hours each day. I guess I'll have to settle for 8 hours of sleep and 16 waking hours. Vote for your required amount of sleep and then tell your sleep "wish" amount in the comments.


While I was debating about which of three questions to ask today, a fourth question came to mind. I decided to ask that question today as well, but it is unofficial. Yesterday I bought a new swimming suit. It is a cute suit, but a little on the boring side in the color department; black with a grey and white print. Today, we went swimming and I have to admit I was a little jealous of all of the pretty prints on the other suits there. I've considered making myself a swimming suit every time I shop for a new one, but making swimming suits {and jeans} are my least favorite kinds of garment construction. I've done both and it takes a lot to get them to come out right. Part of the problem is that the patterns are . . . well . . . not really what they say they are. And working with Lycra or spandex is always an adventure. But perhaps I can use this new suit to make a pattern, because I really like the cut, fit and style, and if I can find some pretty fabrics, I can make the perfect suit.

I mentioned yesterday that I would never post a photo of myself in a bathing suit. Ever. I'm not the shape I used to be and it has been hard to get used to. Making peace with what is and finding ways to feel beautiful even though I'm less than perfect has been a pet project of mine. When you shop for shoes, you don't blame your foot if the shoe doesn't fit right or doesn't look good. You blame the shoe. Buying clothes should be the same way. But there is a tendency to blame our bodies when the clothes don't look right. The trick is to take the emotion out of it and realize that it is the clothing that doesn't work and not your body. I have to remind myself of this a lot. And I have to remember that it's not what's on the outside that makes me beautiful, although I do have some nice features. My eyebrows, for instance, are zero maintenance. No plucking, no sculpting, and they are completely awesome. I also have really nice legs {below the knee, which is all you'll ever see of them, unless you stalk me at the pool, and even then the skirt on my granny suit does a pretty good job of covering most of what I don't like to show} and ankles. And I love that I have blue eyes {thanks, dad}. As to the character traits that make me beautiful, well, I think that loyalty is a pretty good one.

I must ask . . . what makes you beautiful? As I mentioned, this question is unofficial, but I'd love to hear what you have to say if you're comfortable with that, and if you'd rather not share I understand. Take a minute and seriously consider the positive about yourself. Don't let that negative voice talk you out of believing that there is beauty in you. Tell it to be quiet and find the voice that tells you what makes you special.

Available for purchase from The Piano Guys or on iTunes.

You're insecure
Don't know what for
You're turning heads when you walk through the door
Don't need make up
To cover up
Being the way that you are is enough

Everyone else in the room can see it
Everyone else but you

Baby you light up my world like nobody else
The way that you flip your hair gets me overwhelmed
But when you smile at the ground it ain't hard to tell
You don't know
Oh Oh
You don't know you're beautiful

If only you saw what I can see
You'll understand why I want you so desperately
Right now I'm looking at you and I can't believe
You don't know
Oh oh
You don't know you're beautiful
Oh oh
That what makes you beautiful
What Makes You Beautiful, lyrics by Rami Yacoubm, Carl Falk and Savan Kotecha, performed by One Direction

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wardrobe Wednesday: Swimwear

Women shop for a bikini with more care than they do for a husband. The rules are the same. Look for something you will feel comfortable wearing. Allow for room to grow.
–Erma Bombeck

Finding a swimming suit is always a challenge, even when there are lots of options on the rack. The pickings are pretty slim at this point and finding a suit that fits well, is flattering {or at least doesn't accentuate any negative aspects}, offers decent support and coverage and is cute requires serious shopping time. That's a lot for a bit of synthetic fabric and elastic to live up to.

If I wanted good options, I probably should have bought in February. But who needs a swimming suit in February? Besides, I love a challenge and clearance-rack shopping is the way I like to roll. After an exhaustive, week-long search, I finally handed over my plastic. For a granny suit. It wasn't the first granny suit I tried on and it wasn't my first choice. But I felt like I was running out of options.

Of course, they got a 12 year-old to model my granny suit {probably so I would feel more youthful when I went on-line to find the suit because there is no chance that I will pose for a photo while wearing a swimming suit and then post it on the internet for your enjoyment. Ever.}. Pre-teen model not withstanding, it is a granny suit.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm a big fan of swimdresses {except the ones that are swimdresses in the front and granny-panties cut in the back. I'm mean, seriously. What's the point? I'm pretty sure if you need a swimdress in the front, you need one in the back too.}. I bought my first swimdress when I was 22. And when someone clever invented the "skirtini," I started buying those. I've never been comfortable exposing my upper thighs and bottom and I like the feminie touch a skirt adds to swimwear. I'm kind of back to swimdresses though. Despite the mix-and-match options and ease a "skirtini" provides in using the restroom while wearing a soaking wet, skin-tight piece of spandex, I prefer a swimdress these days. They kind of smooth out all the extra lumps and bumps in my mid-section. Or at least don't make any new ones.

I really like the cut of this suit. The empire waist works with my hour-and-a-half glass {or hourglass with most of the sand in the bottom} shape, it's got good support, great coverage and it fits. What I don't love about this suit is that it is black. Black isn't bad, and the print is actually a lot cuter in person than it is in the photo. But I've been wearing black suits for like the last 12 years. And I'm ready for a little color in my swimwear.

In the last week, I've been to six different stores, trying on about anything in my size. Most of the stores didn't have much, but I've spent way more time than I would have liked inside a dressing room after having scouring the racks for too long for something that might work. The store I went to today still had lots of suits left and I thought for sure I could find something that met all the criteria of a good piece of swimwear, including the aforementioned color requirement. I spent a good 30 minutes pulling brightly printed swim separates off the racks. Then I spent a full hour in the dressing room trying to make any of the dozen colorful tops work with either a navy or black skirt. I found one top I really loved. It was printed with pretty blues and greens and met the support, coverage and fit requirements. But the skirt wasn't working and I couldn't find a different style/size. I'd brought the granny suit, just in case and in two sizes because I liked it on the rack and wanted to make sure I didn't have to get dressed and make another trip to the racks {bathing suits have little numbers on them, but I'm not sure if they all mean the same thing}. As soon as I pulled the suit on, I knew it looked the best of anything I'd tried on, despite the blasé nature of the print/color. But just to be absolutely certain, I tried it on a total of six times, three times in each size, to make sure the size I went with looked the best.

What I find the most frustrating about the whole experience is that the suit comes in two other prints on-line. Colored prints. Mr. Bug says that the blue one looks the most granny. I kind of like the pink one. But it is hard to guess what they'll look like in person; whether they'll be horrible or super amazing. And I'm too cheap to pay for shipping on something just so I can see what it looks like, especially since there's a huge possibility I'll have to return it. I guess I'm going with the black suit. Again. Mr. Bug says it suits me. {Yes. That was a pun :rofl:.}

Dear Swimming Suit Manufacturers: Women who wear swimdresses are tired of black. We like the pretty prints you use in your other suits. We'd be okay with it if you went a little wild next year.

Dear Swimming Suit Stores: Please carry swimdresses with pretty prints in your stores and not just on-line, even if the manufacturers don't get the above memo and only make swimdresses in a few prints. Color is good.

P.S. to the Swimming Suit Manufacturers: I have a very non-girly pre-teen who would love it if you made swimming suits in non-girly colors like green or blue and left the ruffles and princesses off. Also, could you put more boy/board short bottoms with the tankinis? Thanks.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sunday Sermons: Pure and Simple Faith

For if there be no faith among the children of men God can do no miracle among them; wherefore, he showed not himself until after their faith.Ether 12:12

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Random Bits: Vol. 1

Everyone has been made for some particular work, and the desire for that work has been put in every heart. –Rumi

Grasshopper's Glasses are at the Bottom of a Canoe Lake
Grasshopper spent the week at scout camp. He came home with a fish hook stuck in his duffle bag and without his glasses. They fell off when he went into the water as part of the Canoeing Merit badge and are now living on the bottom of the lake. I wonder how many other pairs of glasses are down there?

He was reasonably non-smelly and in high spirits when he came home. He earned merit badges in Environmental Science, Wilderness Survival {that’s right; my boy slept in a lean-to he made himself. He said it was actually quite comfy and he slept better in there than he did in his tent, which is understandable since he shared a tent with three other twelve year-old boys} and Leather Working. He did not get a merit badge in Canoeing. It’s a good thing our optical shop is open on Saturdays.

The Bump on My Head
I have a bump on my head. To be more precise, it is a bump in my skull bone; a little hill on the landscape of my head. I've had it for as long as I can remember which is practically forever. It is straight up from my right ear before you get to the top of my head. Every once in a while, I'll run my fingers across my scalp and run into it. When I find it I have to examine it. As I wonder how I would look if I were bald {and hope that I never have to find out}, I trace the circumference and measure the curve of it with my fingers. I swear it is getting bigger. Infinitesimally, almost imperceptibly, perhaps by a millimeter each year, it is getting bigger.

Can that happen? Do skull bone bumps grow?

Maybe cell phones do grow tumors in your brain.

Or maybe it is just my imagination.

Phoenix Quilts
Do you ever want to be working on anything but what you’re working on? I feel that way a lot.

I’ve finished the quilt top I’m going to donate to Phoenix Quilts, a non-profit whose aim is to get a quilt to every family who has lost a home to fires in the Western United States. To date, they’ve collected 127 quilts. To date, 816 homes have been lost in Utah, Idaho, Colorado and Montana.

I’ve been dragging my feet the last two days, taking my time to get the outer borders on the top to get the back put together. It is ready to be basted, but I keep finding lots of other things that need doing instead of that. You see, I’m going to do an edge-to-edge FMQ pattern I’ve never done before. I’ve doodled it out on paper a bit, but I am scared to put needle to fabric. Truthfully, I’m a bit nervous every. single. time. I start the machine quilting on a new quilt. After a few stitches, I remember that I like to FMQ, but this time I’m really nervous because the design needs to be large-ish and I’m better at quilting small things. In terms of physical abilities, I’m better at things that require fine motor skills than I am at things that require gross motor skills. Doing a smooth, consistent, large-ish edge-to-edge design with even stitches requires gross free-motion quilting skills. And that makes me nervous.

After we order Grasshopper’s new glasses and I make sure the laundry is all folded and put away, I will doodle out a few more pages and put together a practice sandwich. Then I’ll baste my quilt, take a deep breath, close my eyes, open my eyes and start to quilt. I’m sure it will be fine.

If you’d like to know more about Phoenix Quilts is up to, you can visit their site by clicking on the button below.
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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Zig-Zag Flag and Other Patriotic Quilt Blocks

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
–Francis Scott Key, The Star Spangled Banner

Last Wednesday {July 4th} was kind of a big deal around these parts. There are parades and flags and fireworks and red, white and blue everywhere. I had the day off work {it's a national holiday, after all} so I decided that I wouldn't be any farther behind on my quilting to-do list if I took a break from what I am currently working on to do a little something fast and fun, but still on the to-do list. You see, I was distracted inspired by a super cute door hanger by Karen at The Recipe Bunny, who'd linked up to my July Finishes page. I thought her zig-zag flag block would fit perfectly in my Patriotic Sampler quilt. I had picked a couple of blocks that I just wasn't feeling the love on, which is probably why it has sat in its box all sad and lonely for . . . a really long time. I pulled it out, thinking I could throw together a scrappy 12" block with 108 HST's in an afternoon.

I tend to over estimate my powers of fabric persuasion. It took me the afternoon just to cut the fabrics. I got the HST's and the blue section {which may or may not have appliqué stars added to it later} put together before fireworks. I had a busy work week last week, so I fit in a bit of sewing time when ever I could and finished the rest of the block over the next few days {instead of hours}.

When I open my box of red, white and blue fabrics, I always wonder why this quilt isn't finished. I've been working on it since before LadyBug was born. I love the fabrics and colors and theme so much. So while I had it out, I put together a couple more blocks. I did a banner flag, which finishes at 5" x 12" {odd size, I know}, and I love it! Getting a good photo of it is another story.

I also put together a Patriot's Star and I think this is my absolute favorite block of the whole quilt. I reduced the pattern to 5" and omitted the black stained-glass effect outline. I just love how it turned out.

I've got 13 of the 15 blocks finished now. I'm pretty sure what the last two 12" blocks will be, and then after that I've got to paper piece 27 - 1" five-point stars for the sashing. I'm not really looking forward to that.
This quilt is on my list of quilts to finish this year, so hopefully I'll get back to it soon. In the meantime, I'm off to work on another distraction important project.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

I Must Ask . . . For A Prayer

The world has need of helping hands,
And hearts that know and feel.
The work to do is here for you;
Put your shoulder to the wheel.
–Will L. Thompson, Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel

I'm jumping right to the heart of today's post because I believe there is an urgency to this that's bigger than chit-chat about fun summer activities. What's on my mind does have a lot to do with summer, though. This summer has been a dry one. That is not really a surprise since we live in the desert. But I believe it has been extraordinarily dry. I can't remember the last time it rained and I'm certain that every canyon entrance and campground "Fire Danger" sign is marked "Extremely High." In Utah, alone there have been over 400 fires this year, most of them small and quickly extinguished, but some of them large and uncontained. Close to 750 homes have been lost in Utah, Idaho and Colorado in the past several months. And while the nearest fire to my home is about 25 minutes north, it has rained ash four out of the last seven days.

So today I must ask . . . for a prayer; a prayer for those who've lost their homes, a prayer for the brave men and women who fight to save homes and lives, and a prayer for rain.

It is very overwhelming to me to wonder what I can do to help. I am one little person. What could I possibly do to make a difference? Julie, at Having Fun Quilting has put out a call for quilts {or quilt blocks, or flimsies or fabric} for those who have lost homes. At first, I was skeptical that something as small as a quilt could help someone who had lost everything.

But then I read something Kayde of My Laisy Daisy said, that changed my mind. She said, You have no idea how much that quilt will mean to them. My house burned four years ago, and while we sat there watching the firemen do their thing a good friend stopped by and gave me a little lap quilt. That quilt means the world to me and brought a lot of comfort in a time of need.

I've been thinking about how I can help and I have a plan to finish a disappearing 9-patch I started and never finished. I'm going to keep it simple for a quick finish. If you have the time {or resources}, consider what you can donate. Julie has made several changes to her initial request; in addition to families in Utah who have lost their homes, donations will go to Colorado, where the most homes have been lost. For donations, contact Julie via e-mail or at her blog.

Posts about the fires in Utah:
Having Fun Quilting: Wood Hollow (Fairview)
Richard & Tanya Quilts: Clay Springs (Scipio)
PinkSuedeShoe: Quail (Alpine)
Heidikins: Quail (Alpine)
Single Dad Laughing: Quail (Alpine)

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Ending on a positive note, thanks for telling me what you love about summer! Hopefully, we'll pick back up next week.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

In the Pink: Revisited or, Will Someone Please Take Away My Seam Ripper!

I want to be all that I am capable of becoming. –Katherine Mansfield

When last I posted about my pinwheel sampler quilt, I had three {of sixteen} blocks quilted. It's been almost a year since I folded it up and put it away, but two weeks ago I got it out and started working on it in hopes of entering it in the last of the quilt shows for this season. The entry deadline is this Saturday. I'm not going to make it. I'm spending too much time unpicking.

I started with the label. It said I'd finished the quilt in July of 2011. I've changed the date {with the back already quilted on} using a really-close-but-not-quite-the-same thread and actually have hopes of finishing this quilt before the label becomes outdated again.

Out of the three blocks I finished last summer, there was one that I left alone. You can see it here. I fiddled around with the other two. On this one, I didn't like what I'd done in the background so I added more to it. Lane always says that if the quilting looks bad, just keep adding more until you like it. I'm not sure if I've made it better or a real mess. For now, I'm pretending it is great because unpicking that will be nigh unto impossible. I might as well cut the block off the quilt and sew a new one in its place.

After that, I got cozy with the seam ripper on the last of the previously finished blocks. Two hours to unpick the curlicues in the pink pinwheel; 15 minutes to quilt the same design in a different color of thread :crazy:. {Sidebar: the quilting in this block totally reminds me of the jacket that Princess Leia wore on the Hoth ice planet in The Empire Strikes Back.}

Then I started in on some of the partially quilted blocks. I had the swirls done on this block. I finished it up, and then promptly ripped out the quilting in the pink & brown pinwheels because I used matching thread and I wanted the quilting to show. I've left the marks for the swirls because I still haven't decided if I'm going to rip those out and do them over in the same color of thread they're done in now. I like the color of thread, but some of the swirls are supercalifragilisticexpialidocious and some of them are just supercraptastic. {Sidebar: I got some Blue Line Eraser to remove the blue ink because it's been on there for over a year. Love it!}

This is the block I'm working on right now. After I finish the pebbles in the last section of the pinwheel, I'm probably going to rip out the quilting in the pink portion of the pinwheel and put it back in using the darker pink thread. {Sidebar: I'm using AURIfil Makò 50-weight thread in #2311 Eggshell, #2314 Medium Beige, #2360 Warm Brown, #2437 Medium Pink and #2440 Azalea.} I may also rip out the quilting in the brown flying geese and do something else entirely. I'll have to see once I've got the pink re-stitched and the background filler in.

I really like how the leaves came out in this block. I tweaked the contrast so you could see the quilting, which makes this a really horrible picture. I'm on the fence about ripping this out too. I think I'll probably leave it . . .

Here's another bit of quilting that blends in with the fabric too much but that will probably not get ripped out. I'm not sure exactly what the deciding factor is on ripping and re-quilting in a thread that shows better. Sometimes I can just see in my head that it needs to be one way or the other. And sometimes the density of the quilting just tells me that there's no point even trying to rip it out. Too bad I don't always know before I quilt.

This was one of the times where the quilting told me not to even try. On a whim, I used pink thread to quilt the pebbles in the light portion of the pinwheel. After I finished the first one {bottom right} I hated it, but I knew there was nothing to do but move forward. There was no way I was getting all those tiny stitches out. After I finished the pebbles, I ripped out the swirls quilted in dark brown thread in the brown pinwheel and re-quilted them in light brown. I liked the block a whole lot better. Then I went and stuffed it up with uneven stippling in the outer background.

On a positive note, I actually like how this block finished, with the thread all matching. I think it works like this. Mostly.

And I absolutely love how the little 3" pinwheel corner stones turned out. They are all different colors, but are all quilted alike. {Sidebar: I don't think I've ever shown the entire quilt top. The most you've ever seen is a quarter section of it together and my quilting doodles. I guess I'm waiting for a big reveal, because at this point I'm not sure if it is going to come out as fantastically as I envision it. You'll have to trust me [and I'll have to trust myself] that it is going to be awesome when it's done.}

Out of everything I've worked on in the last two weeks, I think this block is my absolute favorite. The only thing done on this was the stitching-in-the-ditch so there was no need to rip anything out :lol:. I'd planned to only do flower petals in the pink part of the center pinwheel, but after I finished them I knew it would look really good to do them in the white part too. It just makes me happy to look at it.

{Sidebar: this post has a lot of sidebars.}

Today's post brought to you by:

Monday, July 2, 2012

A Stitch In Time: June Finishes Giveaway Winner

There's a difference between interest and commitment. When you're interested in doing something, you do it only when circumstance permit. When you're committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results. –Art Turock

As always, there were lots of amazing finishes linked up in June. I enjoyed reading all your posts as I drooled and dreamed and schemed of ways to fit in just a few more projects. Thank you all for sharing your amazing talents. Grasshopper drew our winner this month and he picked number 42.

Millie's Closet

Congratulations to
:partytime: Alia :partytime:
at card table, inc.

Alia will receive a rolie polie a rolie polie of Millie's Closet by Lori Holt for Riley Blake Designs! from our sponsor, The Fat Quarter Shop. If you have a minute, check out her winning Entry, Pillow Palooza. Amy submitted three other finishes this month, 43, 44 and 61. If you haven't already, check out a few of the other projects that were finished last month. And remember, the July linky is already open, so you can link up as you finish!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

A Stitch In Time: July Finishes Linky Party

Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark. Professionals built the Titanic. –Unknown

I can't believe it is July already! I would like to thank all the talented people who have linked up over the past six months. In all, we've had 336 finishes, which is absolutely amazing! Thank you for sharing the things you create. One of the things I like best is visiting your blogs and reading about your projects, so keep 'em coming!

Anything finished between 12:00 am on July 1st and 11:59 pm on July 31st {in your time zone} can be added to this linky party. You have through noon {MST} on August 1st to post about it and link up.

To participate in this month's linky party:
• Finish a project {finished as in done, finito, nothing more to add, ready to use/display/give away} with some sort of stitching in it and blog about it or post a photo of it on Flickr.
• Scroll down to see what other bloggers are up to and link to your own finishes.
• Please include the July button in your blog post. Copy the code in the text box below and paste it somewhere in your post. The button is a link back here, so that other bloggers can find their way over and link up too.

• Each time you link up a finished project, you're entered to win the July giveaway, a 10" stacker (layer cake) of Song Bird by Carina Gardner for Riley Blake Designs.

Song Bird

• Thank you to The Fat Quarter Shop for sponsoring our giveaway!

The Fine Print {which might be boring but you really should read}:
• Projects must include stitching of some sort. For example: appliqué, crochet, cross-stitch, embroidery, knitting, practical sewing {garment construction, bags, curtains, etc.}, quilting.
• Projects must be completely finished. As in done, finito, nothing more to add, ready to use/display/give away.
• You can pick something new to do, but projects do not have to be started during the month. If you pick up a UFO, Ph.D, WIP and finish it during the month, it counts.
• Finishes must be completed during this month, but you have until noon MST on the 1st of the next month to link your post.
• Post about your finish and then link your specific post {instructions here} above. Links to your blog and not the individual post about your finished project will be deleted.
• Have more than one finish this month? Great! Post about each finish individually and then link the specific posts up separately. Each finish, and therefore each link you add, counts as one entry for this month's giveaway.
• If you've already posted about a finish for this month, there's no need to do a separate post. Just add the button to that post and link up.
• Please copy and paste the code below to include this month's button somewhere in your post {not your sidebar}.

July Finishes

• Don't have a blog? You can link from your flickr account. Just post a picture, include a little note about your finish and a link back here {code included below} in the description. Then join the linky party.

• Make sure to visit a few of the other links and leave them some love {ie, a comment}. A good rule of thumb is to visit two links for every one you include.
• Winner of the sponsored giveaway will be drawn randomly from among the links and announced by 8:00 pm MST on the 3rd of the following month.
• Instructions for making an index page to your finishes can be found here.
• Kindly consider changing your comment settings to the pop-up window option for faster and easier commenting for visitors to your blog. Instructions can be found here.