Friday, June 29, 2012

Friday Report

All that's to show for this week, another 15 Arrowhead blocks- I think that makes nearly 50 of the 60 that I have in progress and I hope to get the others done in the next week. I have stayed off the longarm all week because my back has been too painful but after the first radio-frequency ablation procedure on the left lumbar spine yesterday, I am hoping that relief is on the way! In two weeks I will get the same thing done on the right side and with any luck at all I may have a minimum of 6 months - hopefully 2yrs. relief from the severe pain. I will let you know how successful it is but I have to say that the first day or two after are more painful, though resting with an ice pack helps a lot.
It was still a busy week, we spent half of one day at the Phx. Children's Hosp. in the ED, little man appears to be violently allergic to.....cashews?!
Very odd, and quite unexpected, since he drinks Almond Silk, and eats peanut butter every day. He also eats pecans and walnuts in the home made granola so who would ever have imagined he might be allergic to another nut? I think he only had two cashews and within an hour had begun to itch and large red welts appeared which rapidly advanced as the welts joined up, til his entire body looked as red as a lobster, his face all puffed up and he was miserable! Quite frightening so a very fast trip to the ED ensued where we spent around 4 hours while he was treated with IV's. Poor little chap was so exhausted and quite frightened so GM had to hold him almost the entire time.
By evening he was mostly himself again but with still a few red blotches. He has had a couple of other episodes with hives so we plan to keep an EpiPen JR. in his backpack that goes everywhere with him, just in case! it's my considered opinion that if you have it you won't need it, LOL, so it is insurance!
BJ returned today from her training week in Rochester so she is staying home for the weekend, but after a visit to the gym I plan to sew or more likely quilt the top that is on the LA.
Later in the day there's a workshop at the Mac store for iPad that I could attend because I got my new iPad, woohoo, fun fun fun! First order of business is to download some apps for the little fellow, he loves electronics  and I thought it a good investment to help him continue to learn and stay entertained over the hot hot summer, and it is very hot now here. In fact I think there's another heat warning in the valley tomorrow. Ack! Thank you Lord for air conditioning.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Big Birthday

The day after DH's big birthday last Sunday, he went off to climb another of the CO. Fourteeners just to prove that he could!
 Here he is on top of Red Peak, 14, 034, he said it was the hardest climb yet, about 12.5 miles round trip from the trailhead, 8.5 hours all told. Phew, he's a tough old fellow!
This is the actual peak,
and this is some of the challenging ground that slows progress and makes the footing very undependable.
Last night about 30 close friends and our family gathered to celebrate this milestone. Our renovated kitchen/dining area made it so much more fun and infinitely more convenient.
I forgot about photographs until we got to the cake thing and someone said "who is taking pictures?!"
I hastily unearthed the camera from under a pile on my desk and snapped these few pics. Some people had already left so I didn't get to record everyone's presence, sorry!
Everyone seemed to be having a lovely visit, you can usually tell by the level of noise and it was very noisy! Walt was very blessed to be surrounded by long- time friends and our family, it was delightful to see so many dear friends together.
I do hope and pray, God willing, that we have the opportunity to celebrate like this many more times for many more years.
 Now if we can just get through all the left over food...............

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Arrowhead blocks

Andee over at the Modern Diary, gave me "Anita's Arrowhead" block pattern, here's the link, it's different from the vintage Arrowhead pattern shown here in a 1930's newspaper article. We are supposed to be doing it with the AZ. Huggy Bunch group, not sure when, last Saturday it was just BJ and me and this Saturday we will not be sewing together.
My quilt will be all in batiks and I couldn't wait to get started. Last week the squares for the blocks were cut, 120 in my case to make 60 blocks. Mine are the 12.5" size, thinking that will make two 60"x72" quilts, larger even with borders.
Looking at all those neatly stacked squares was simply too enticing and I had to begin to sew to see how the gorgeous colors in the batiks would look in the combinations I had put together.
These blocks sew up very fast, and you can see the entire pattern and even download the PDF free at this link so no need for me to go into detail but just to show how easy this is, here briefly is how they go together.
Cut two contrasting squares, either 8.5" or 12.5" and sew right sides together as shown here leaving an open space on two sides.
cut diagonally and stack the pieces as above,
make two more cuts, this shows the contrasting side,
 press pieces open and arrange thus,
Easy and fast and so rewarding, it's almost instant gratification.
These are the twelve I have so far, aren't they beauties? Only 48 to go!
I mentioned a few days ago that there was another red,white and black block in the works from my other batik project and it turned out just fine, all from scrounged up scraps!
 I have planned a special birthday celebration for DH Saturday [hint hint, it's a big birthday, LOL!] which is why we aren't sewing here. More on that after the party!

Harry Potter In training? Wordless Wednesday

With Grandmother's specs, upside down!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Another Saturday Sewing

BJ came and sewed although her machine was playing up a bit, maybe needs a checkup. We moan about the regular maintenance, so expensive even for a simple mechanical machine these days they charge around $80, more even for the electronic machines.
BJ was tying out a top from her early days of piecing. It's for a young middle schooler who recently lost his Dad and she sent a pic from her phone but it didn't come through clearly enough. Her other project was for a friend an act of kindness from BJ's soft heart, making a curtain to hang in front of a closet from which the doors have been removed. As quilters we really would rather be quilting!
So, mea culpa, no pics of BJ's work- you really need to jog my mind about that at the time, BJ!

The Craftsy BOM for June has been out two weeks and today those blocks went together fast.
 These are bright, happy combinations that will add some cheer to this all batik quilt. In fact they were so fast there was time to make a couple more using up some red, black and white batik scraps in HST's - but the strips weren't wide enough to make 4.5" squares so BJ showed me the Debbie Caffrey method.
Sew the strips together down each long side,
 then using this Easy Angle ruler cut the HST's, just flipping the ruler over after each cut. 
Open and press to the dark side and this is the result, I got 10 nice HST's from strips too narrow to get that size any other way. Pretty slick though it's necessary to be a little careful with additional piecing because there are two bias sides now.
This is one of the blocks made from them and there's another that I am still working on.
Interesting the color difference between photographing in daylight and under artificial light. I have some "Daylight " bulbs that need to go into the overhead fixture in my studio, it might be quite an improvement.
There is very little waste with this method, here are four smaller HST's made from the end pieces, those will wait for another day.
The first job this morning was to piece the backing for the Mystery quilt that got it's borders yesterday. Now most of this line of fabrics is gone, usually my goal with any project- that way the stock can be  rotated, LOL! Recently months have seen some more discipline in my work; when each top is complete my goal is to prepare the backing, that way when there's an opportunity to get a quilt on the longarm there is no excuse and no delay!
Finally, last night saw the finished binding on my summer quilt and it's now on our bed!

Friday, June 15, 2012

A Finish For Friday.

Finally got the borders on the mystery quilt, they were set aside while the HOB quilts took precedence.
It is pleasing to me, but like most of my "personal" quilts, quite feminine. Perhaps the two batik quilts that are "in the works" will be less so- most of the batiks in my stash are darker fabrics and the patterns fairly gender neutral.
Now to cobble together a backing from what's left, and it will go on the longarm list!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Climbing the Colorado Fourteeners

Each year for the past few, DH has made the climb up one of the nearby 14,00 ft+ mountains in the area around our CO. home. Last week he and a friend climbed Uncompahgre, 14,309 ft. and sixth highest peak in Colorado, a state that boasts 55 peaks over 14,000 ft .
He sent me a few of the pics from his adventure, so I am posting his success.
And a couple of the scenery at the top.

Woohoo that's a Colorado San Juan mountain high!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Binding Marathon!

The past couple of days have been devoted to binding six, and then attaching labels to all seven HOB quilts.
I had planned to take a break in between but decided that I was in the groove and might just as well plough on, with my trusty headphones and iPod to mitigate the repetitiveness of binding so many quilts one after the other. Many quilters do not care much for this last part of the construction of a quilt, but usually I get a lot of satisfaction from the finishing of the project, however, so many all together can be monotonous!
So here they all are, ready to be boxed, addressed and shipped to perhaps bring some small comfort to seven families who are missing a beloved soldier son or daughter.
There are more details on the Colorado Home Of the Brave blogspot.
It is quite a time consuming project just to prep all the certificates, cards and quilt labels for each quilt so getting all of this done at once is a real weight off my mind and now I can move on to completing some personal projects, like the recent mystery quilt that still needs borders.

Friday, June 8, 2012

HOB Quilts Numbers Five And Six Finished For Friday

Today saw the quilting of HOB #5................

and #6!

I think I'll take  break from quilting over the weekend and see if I can get these six quilts bound.
Tomorrow one of the new members of the AZ Huggy Bunch is having a yard sale of a lot of her quilting fabric and supplies, having moved into a smaller residence. So BJ and I agreed to support her efforts to reduce her stash by driving to Mesa to see if we "need" any of the things she is selling.
Not that either of us needs anything but we are just being good friends, LOL!
I will let you know how good of a friend I am.............

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Number Four!

Well the fourth HOB quilt is ready to bind, they are stacking up! I only managed one today between two doctor's appointments all about my squirly spine! Perhaps there will be more explanation of that once I know more definitely the corrective measures.
Two more backings are ready for the other two tops I pulled from the large boxes filled with CW quilt tops.The white squares in the center of each block are for words of comfort to the bereaved families and I noticed that this one is lacking those messages, so I will be taking it to friends and family this week to invite them to write their own messages. This block is the Album Cross and many states including Colorado, are using this traditional block design for the Soldier's quilts.
In case you would like to know a little more about the tradition behind these Soldier's quilts below is a brief explanation, and a little more detail if you click here.
The U. S. Sanitary Commission was the first volunteer fundraising organization and was the forerunner of the American Red Cross. It was modeled after the British Sanitary Commission, which was organized to assure that conditions in British military hospitals were sanitary and to aid and comfort the wounded. During the Civil War (1861 – 1865), Northern women made and donated approximately 250,000 quilts to the Union troops. 
Southern women also made quilts to support the Confederacy but due to the shortage of fabric and the price [around $16 per yard in the currency of the day], the ladies of the south were not able to make as many quilts as in the north and often times sent heirloom family quilts to their soldiers. 
 Sanitary Commission quilts measured 48 x 84 inches. These quilts functioned as bedrolls for the soldiers and were used on the cots in military hospitals. Most quilts did not survive the Civil War- battlefield conditions wore them out quickly and those used for bedding in military hospitals often served as burial shrouds because of the shortage of wood for coffins.Of these quilts, only five are known to survive today, one of which is part of the collection at the Lincoln Memorial Shrine in Redlands,CA.
Every U. S. Sanitary Commission quilt had the Sanitary Commission stamp on the back of the quilt. A reproduction of this stamp is sewn on the back of the quilts presented to the families today.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Three More HOB Quilts

There are five families of Colorado Fallen Heroes awaiting a memorial quilt and a couple more possibilities in my ongoing search for these families. Only having one quilt on hand ready for labeling necessitated the quilting and binding of several more, and as of today I have three more quilted, still awaiting binding. These are the Civil War Replica Soldier's quilts that recall the sacrifice of so many more patriots during the Civil War.
This one I quilted block by block, but it's more time consuming than I like when I have so many to do in as short a these next two are freehand overalls.
A close up................

another detail picture.
 The backings are pieced.

These three quilts went very fast only a couple of hours each and I was on a roll! I pulled out a couple more tops to tackle tomorrow, then I will bind them all.
The first two came with prepared binding which I do appreciate, the others require bindings to be prepared.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Spring Mystery

Well, at 110 degrees plus it sure doesn't feel like "spring" but that's AZ I guess and we are less than 3 weeks from summer officially!
Seven of us sewed here today, four working on the Mystery, two sewing on their own projects and June was hand-sewing her hexies. 
 Samantha pressing her quilt and June sewing her hexies.........
machines humming...............
and Andee auditions her block setting.
Kathy has her Mystery all ready for quilting, I guess I will have the privilege!
She altered her setting a little.
Andee's top is also complete.
Samantha has produced her first quilt after sewing with us for only 3 weeks!
Wow, you go girl!
Now she is machine quilting it! Definitely a fast learner.
Alissa brought her Van Gogh for show and tell. It's beautiful and the back is as perfect as the front, she is a meticulous piecer.
 This KitchenAid mixer was Alissa's project today, isn't it adorable?
It's a paper pieced pattern that has a bowl to be appliqued also. Those of us who own these same mixers all want the pattern for this very cute block, you can find it here. My old KitchenAid is a workhorse, it will be 38 years old this Christmas and has countless hours of hard work and never misses a beat, so I have to make this block since I also love PP.
Here's one one block setting for my quilt using the HST's to make pinwheels,
and here's another with an hourglass block instead.
I can't decide which I prefer, any comments?
Here are BJ's blocks in two settings also,
 I got these two pics of BJ's blocks from Andee's blog because I didn't have any!
Thanks Andee!