Monday, February 28, 2011

The Silence of Fabric

I think sometimes when I have been away from my home, HH, Enzo and my sewing room, upon returning I just want to enjoy the silence. Once I got a good night sleep (sleeping with the Red Queen all weekend was exhausting) this morning I was on fire, in a quiet way! Today is the Material Girls group meeting and it is potluck day but I wanted to start quilting before hand. It might have been because the snow and wind are blowing, which always makes me want to hunker down with some fabric. This morning I didn't even want my book on CD or music playing, I just wanted to work in the silence. Have you ever just wanted to be in your sewing room enjoying the silence...with only the humm of your brain or the sewing machine?

I started with unpacking and orgainizing. I decided to shrink the size of the blocks for the BOM that I am doing from the Red Dot Book. Next, I chose a quilt top to go to the LA (after all I have 20 items to be quilted and some I just don't want to do). I pieced a backing and then fused batting together for the right size. Followed by making the binding...I said I was on fire! I have a little more quilting to do on my basket quilt but what is really weird, I do not have the color thread that I want to use! It means a trip to BJ's Quilt Basket for thread...and thread only! I made a choice of the fabric for the basket quilt binding because I don't have any of the border fabric left. And I finally unpacked my cookie molds that had arrived over the weekend. I Love them! The best part, if it turns out I can't make cookies they are so beautiful that I am going to hand them on the wall!!!
It is time to get ready for the MG's and an afternoon of quilting friendship!
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Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Wasted Panic

This trip I did not enter a quilt store and it was not by choice! Without a car and limited time I had to stay within the trolley line downtown. But that did not keep me from thinking about quilting and trying to find a way to fill that space. Hence...Powell's, the largest independent bookseller in the Pacific Northwest. I went to the quilting section! Yes, this photo depicts the quilting section!!! They sell new and used books! You could spend years in Powell's and days just looking down this isle!

I did find a book that I totally had to HAVE! I love taupe fabrics and this book was as exciting as reading the Sear catalog toy issue when I was a kid. I loved it and have added it to my quilt library.

Just a peek at how I spent the day with family...I loved taking photos of my youngest son being fitted for his first business was like when I sent him off to kindergarten, bittersweet...I was there with a camera also! My grandson had fun with his GG (great grandma)...they both like tootsie rolls! And it was fun to spend time with my DIL and older son. What cracks me up is that I wasted a good panic on what handwork I was going to bring and I have barely had a chance to touch what I brought! Next time I am going to really be careful to save a panic and use it only when it will creat the most success! LOL

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Friday, February 25, 2011

Oh Mama Mia

Our sweet room especially with my projects that made it safe and sound, after all they are my most precious cargo! I am going to work on my Redwork and I found a needlepoint project that was hiding in my sewing room.

I made it over the mountain on a totally packed bus...and still I was able to do some stitchin on the way and a few of the passengers were curious enough to engage me in conversation! Dropped my bags off at the Inn at Northrup Station, my favorite place to stay if Enzo is not with me. Then I took the Max to the airport to meet my elderly mother. Oh yeah, that's her doing business on her I-Phone.

The thing you have to understand about my mom is that she travels with a peculiar array of items in her luggage and always get pulled out by the TSA inspector. It might be the numerous socks she travels with as gift for her might receive socks that say, "Alaska" when I know she has not visited Alaska in several years...or the cans of Oriental crackers and seaweed...

Now we are waiting for the younger son to arrive to pay homage to his grandma and the weird thing that has happened is that in one respect I have turned into my mom...we are both worried about having dinner so late! After all we are both AARP members and usually eat before 6:00 PM!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Quilter's Panic!

When you know you have an impending in 3 hour bus ride over the mountain on Friday...and you are going to be in a hotel for 2 days with your mom! you gotta have handwork! The issues are...with the return of my vertigo and work I have had little time to make a decision. The result is shear chaos in my sewing room. I have wool projects, embroidery, cross stitch...what to take, what to take??? I was trying to embroider my Redwork sampler this evening while watching a DVR'd episode of NCIS...way to interesting TV for handwork and I spelled one of the stitches wrong...had to rip back out! LOL

By the time I went to bed last night I had decided to only take the Redwork project. There is a very detailed line of flowers and conceivably I could get it done in one weekend. But I woke up this morning to a new pile of snow and the forecast of snow not only here but on the other side of the mountain where they are not used to dealing with snow. Which means...who knows if my mom's plane will be able to land...I may be in a hotel by myself all weekend! I'll need a back up project in case I am hotel bound! Again...what to take, what to take???

And so...the decision has to be made and in the process I have made a disaster of my quilt room! How blessed I am to have soooo many UFO's, WIP's and PIG's to choose from. What would you take if you had limited space in the packing?

(what's funny is spell check doesn't know what a UFO, WIP and a PIG is...must not be written by a quilter!)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Woolie Was Rockin'

Although I enjoy all types of quilting (except paper piecing) I really enjoy my wool time. I like the feel of it, the ease of projects and the camaraderie of the Woolies. We meet the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month at QuiltWorks and it is one of my most favorite days of the month! We lucked out because the Moda Rep was at the shop and we got to check out the new Go-Baby which is a small dye cut machine. I can see where some quilters would absolutley go bonkers for this for me, I not a dye cut kinda gal...I like the little inperfections that let people know I made this all by my little 'ol self. Just the fact that the rep was there filled the air with anticipation of new fabrics on their way.

I did start a new BOM but with a twist. It turned out that 3 of us Woolies had over the last year purchased the same book...cause we loved it. It was going to be another book on the shelf until we decided to create our own BOM! More later on this venture! Block one it due by the end of March.

Here is just a short peek into the wool time with the Woolies. I get a good Ab workout from the laughing, some Weight Watcher tips, sharing of patterns and inspiration all on one very special Tuesday afternoon! Thanks to Marilyn and Dave at QuiltWorks for hosting!

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011


I rushed home after work...well, actually I had to stop at the store to buy yeast for the bread making. I didn't realize I needed yeast, I thought the starter was the yeast! When I got home HH said I needed to hurry because the starter had double in size and might take over the kitchen! I immediately set to making bread. Like quilting...I think bread making is an art! I have to keep in mind that the first few quilts were scary to make and over time I got better.

The issue for me (not bragging here) my learning curve for things I set my mind to is fast and furious. Cooking has been and may always be my Achilles heel. It seemed to be going well and when I put the dough in the brotform I set it over the heater vent to rise...and it did double in size. I plopped it on the baking tile and baked for 35 minutes. It didn't look bad and the brotform did make the design on the top...but, I am thinking there is something not right. It weighed a ton and HH said we should keep it as protection. It could be launched over the castle wall and wipe out the invading hoards!

I think like quilting you need to take time, the fabric needs to feel the love and you MUST enjoy the project or it just doesn't come out right. I have a friend who is a Quaker and a doctor and a bread maker. I have always envied her approach to life. She loves making bread every day. It is therapy for her and her love results in beautiful loaves of bread. Maybe I have been approaching this with toooo much stress. I have decided to embrace my starter, put it in the fridge and next week give it another try.

Henry, the guard of all that goes on in the sewing room. Sometimes I think he mocks Enzo and I! He wants only love when entering the quilt room...remember it is a "no flogging zone"...maybe I'll move him to the kitchen so he can remind me that it also needs to be a "no flogging zone!"

Monday, February 21, 2011

Heavens Be Praised, I Have To Go To Work!

Oh yeah I am happy to be getting up at 0400 and heading out to work because this parenting things is exhausting! NO, there is no bread! Turns out when I read the directions (an issue of mine) just helping the starter to grow takes a total of 16 hours! By the time I went to bed last night...I was exhausted and the final instructions were to divide in half AGAIN (give half to a out Woolies) and feed it AGAIN. Then, let is hang out for another 2-4 hours. But, I was toooo tired and so left it unsupervised in the kitchen like I would with my sons and their friends. Finally I am supposed to store it in a loosely convered "non-reactive" container! I think one of my friends was right...I had better never take this stuff on a plane, or I'd be on the TSA no fly list!

When I took Enzo out for a potty break I was watching him search for the perfect spot and I had to laugh! It is much how we look for the perfect fabric in our stash. We stick our nose in the piles, is it this, it's that, I think it's over here in this pile. Much like him, we circle and circle...until we find the perfect one. Now, I am less inclined to hurry him up because I totally get that process of finding the perfect one!

Have a great quilting day if you are off and if you are going to work be glad you don't have to make bread!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sweetness Sunday

This the view out the back of the house. My deck has at least 12 inches in some spots. I could shovel it off...or...I could do something else? Same as yesterday...choices! I chose to leave it for HH who has the day off tomorrow, while I will be toiling away with some very wonderful patients. Today I quilt and bake!

I decided today was the day...I had taken enough flack for the order of the wooden bowl and the sour dough starter. What can I say...I wanted to wake up and be Alma at BlackBird Designs! As it is, I am going to have to stop reading her blog...I now own sourdough starter that is 250 years old, a brotform to rise the dough and there are some cookie molds arriving any day! BUT, today is to be the day of vindication! I am going to make my first loaf of bread from my 250 year old sourdough starter!!! First I had to find the adoption papers and instructions. I need to quit work so I can keep up with my brain...but then again more time...might be dangerous in this household!

Here is where my sour dough starter has been languishing for the last month! I have no excuse other than shear terror at the responsibility of starter that began 250 years ago! And I have been told I am a pack rat! hummmp, King Arthur's Flour is much worse, 250 yr. old starter!

I felt really bad when I read the label and it said, "Please Feed Me" no, it actually said, "PLEASE FEED ME." like one of those posters of kids from 3rd world countries!

The instructions say to let it "do it's thing" for 8 hours in a cool home...68-70 degrees! ROFLOL! If I turn my back on our thermostat it drops to 58! If I had our temp set at 68 degrees it would be running continuously and we would have to get a second job! So I covered it with saran wrap and set it over the heater vent. Lucky for us Enzo is scared of anything out of the ordinary and so he gives a wide berth to a bowl sitting over the floor vent!

So while this process...proceeds I am heading back up to my sewing room. I need the break from all the stress in the kitchen!
Decided to attempt a feathered design in the setting triangles. I am sooooo proud of myself! I have always avoided feathers...but between my cute red readers the support of my fellow quilters and my bright bendie light I am quite pleased!

It is amazing how interesting the tellie is when you have hand work. Some shows end before you realize. Kinda like when you are driving along and suddenly reach your destination. So it is with handwork while watching the TV. My redwork project is really blooming!

Tomorrow...the outcome of the bread! Stay tuned!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Choices, Choices...

This the view out my sewing room window. HH had already cleared the drive earlier but it has continued to snow. It is a beautiful and interesting kind of fine as sugar, small flakes but non stop. So, he is back out there making a second pass...and I suspect he'll have to make another one tomorrow morning! When I woke up this morning to let Enzo out he went bonkers! Nothing like fresh powder to make him run and hop like a deer! I stood on the porch I knew it was going to be a great quilting day! What to do, what to do...I chose to start with quilting.

A layered quilt for a quilter is like a blank canvas for an artist. So many choices! Today I have made several choices that barely took a moments thought. Mexican or Italian in the crock pot? Mexican! Go out to the grocery store or not? NOT! Take a nap or pass on the nap? Nap! Get dressed after my shower or put my jammies back on...Jammies! What quilting motifs to quilt on my quilt?????? Now there is a stumper! What I do know is that a quilting motif can make or break the overall design. I know this from personal experience and have in the past been unhappy with a quilt because of the quilting choice. I actually know someone who sent their quilt to a long arm quilters and picked every stitch out because she didn't like it! So these final decisions are not to be taken lightly! I love this wall hanging and so the choices are being made incrementally. Which is fun!
I like my little stars. You can't see it very well but there are stars in the background fabric so the star quilting motif is a no brainer for me.
So far, I have got my little stars, my flowers in the baskets and the baskets themselves outlined. Each choice builds upon the previous and, this process although takes time, gives me joy as I see each step to completion...I am finding it more challenging as I work my way for...sashing, triangle setting squares and border...hummm reminds me of cooking!

It will take me several days to finish this quilt. One never wants to rush the muse and afterall I have so many others to fill in the spaces when I take a break to mull over my next choice!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Lights, Camera, Action!!!

It was after getting off work this afternoon and starting on a quilting project that I thought to tell you about one of my very favorite Christmas presents! Why did I think about this after work? Because, I forgot my reading glasses and there is nothing worse than doing computer work, drawing labs and starting IV's to remind you of how your eye sight is aging. Once home I decided that I wanted to quilt. I put my readers on (cute ones that I got from QuiltWorks). They are red and come apart at the nose bridge. Just like that guy on CSI! I then clicked on my Bendable Bright Light. A couple of friends of mine had them but, I thought, my sewing machine has a light and I have a table top Ott light so why do I need another light. One of my dearest friends who was preaching the way of the Bendable gave me one for Christmas...and, I feel like a born again light person! Where you attach it to your machine is up to you and there are instructions.

The light is fantastic, especially for quilting because you can really see each stitch! I swear my quilting has improved! She bought this one at BJ's Quilt Basket. Then, the last time I was at the Stitchin Post I found out they sold extra bases! I purchased an extra base and attached to my little Janome Jem that I take to classes and retreats which allows me to transfer the light depending on which machine I use.

I guess even though my eyes are getting older you can see how well lit the actual stitching surface is...if only I could use it at work when I put peoples IV's in...hey mister can you hold this light right over that vein?!

Quilter's Blindness or What Pieced Border???

I was sent a video of a blind quilter and was in awe of the challenges that were faced each day by this person and the quantity of quilt produced. Fabric addiction crosses all genders, cultures and handicaps.

I found out last evening that I have a mild form of blindness! Quilter's Blindness and I wondered if anyone else has noticed this problem in their quilt life? I had just finished a long day at work and was asked if I could come in on my day off and work a few hours. Whaaaa, it was my quilt "cave" day with a massage thrown in. But, I knew my employer was in desperate need so I said sure...I'll get up at 0400 and work a few hours. What this meant way I was going to go to my BOM meeting last night at Sew Many Quilts. After having worked hard to keep up with the project I decided to at least go to the shop and pick up the next months blocks.

Gayle of Sew Many Quilts is a hard task master! She gives you at least 3 blocks each time AND she does it with a sweet smile. The crazy thing about yesterday was when she handed me my bundle and told me what it included she said the words, "pieced border!"

"WHAT PIECED BORDER???????" She gave me that look...a combination of empathy and glee and took me over to the Green Pieces BOM bible and flipped to the color photo of the quilt and pointed to the pieced border!!!!???? HOLY PIECED BORDER BATMAN...I never saw a pieced border all these months of pouring over the project!

Which makes me think I suffered Quilter's Blindness which is a malady when a quilter gets excited over a project she can only see portions of the project. She cannot see the project in it's entirety. She cannot see the difficult issues she will be faced with during construction but only sees the overall beauty.

So, today besides going to work for a few hours, getting a massage, I am going to be searching the Internet for a doctor who treat Quilter's Blindness before I sign up for the next project!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Flippin' Birds

Nancy releasing her bird blocks (flying geese) in the there is bird poop all over the living room!

Part of Quilt Retreat is to not only to do some piecing, quilting, handwork...but to help each other with our "opinions" on money, food, husbands, children and of course our quilting. It is with the intent of helping a fellow quilter that I suggested she get rid of the project she had been hauling around in the seat of her chair for several years. They don't even make the can't even find it on EBAY! I felt it had become a burden and was hindering her creativity...knowing that a project was coming along to each retreat with the title of "MONUMENTAL UFO".

At first the reception of giving up the "Flippin' Birds" as it had been referred to in the last several years was met with the same reception as someone being told, "I'm sorry but your husband called and you are not allowed to buy any fabric in this town!" But as the possibilities were discussed we decided as a group to challenge ourselves. NO, not to finish projects that have been around forever...but to make our friends finish them!!!! And so the "Flippin' Bird" challenge was initiated. We would each pick one project that we have come to hate or dread, that we wish we had never started and we would pass it to another group member. They could add a row, border or whatever and it does not have to look like the original could be reborn, like a Phoenix!

Guess who ended up with the "Flippin' Birds?"

Love Is In The Air

Here is a look-see at my Redwork using the Transfer-eze! I love it! I am enjoying the Redwork Sampler from Bird Brain Designs because I am getting great practice and, it is divided into types of stitches which make you feel like you are making great progress!

This is what we woke up to the day after Valentine's Day. We are not complaining because when you live in a ski resort town...any snow is good snow and since the beginning of the year we have had none. It was nice not having any SAD symptoms and this snow fall is beautiful. HH didn't sleep well because Enzo kept making his quiet bark as the clumps of snow fell off the trees and the racoon's were dancing on our deck. As for me...I was sleeping like a baby since I began listening to Dave Wilson's hypnosis CD's. Normally I have horrible "monkey brain" but HH downloaded one of Dave's sleep CD's to my IPOD and now I sleep better than I ever more benadyl or tylenol PM for me! Check it out... His wife had breast cancer and he recorded the first CD to help her in the healing process!
How was your Valentines Day? Did anyone get fabric as a token of love? For the last 3 Valentine's Day HH and I have had dinner at home. Due to a virus he lost his hearing on one side about 4 years ago so if the restaurants are full (which they are on the day of love) he can't hear a thing I say! To solve this dilemma since it landed during the work week and neither of us was interested in cooking, we order dinner delivered from our favorite caterer. Tate and Tate are fabulous and best of all they are caterers to the Quilt Community! Barb Tate is a quilter and before she and her husband opened their business she worked at the Stitchin Post in Sisters, Oregon. Each year they offer a Valentine's dinner and for $50 which includes the meal, delivery to the front door and tip we have a wonderful dinner that last 2-3 meals, at the best table and view in town! The next day you put the container on the front porch and they pick up the dishes. AND best of all, HH can hear every sweet whisper I say! LOL Just to show you what you can get any day of the week...because they deliver meals on plates anytime watch the slide show and if you by chance give them a try...let them know that I sent you!

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Back In The Saddle Again

The memories of the last day of retreat will carry me forward until we meet again. Quilt Groups all have their individual dynamics and this group is filled with strong women. Each one has a voice that comes from the heart and one if us thinks, she is out. I come away with more than quilting ideas...but with support, friendship and challenges. Oh yes, The Fabric Stalkers have their 2011 Quilt Challenge all talked out into guidelines and is it a doozy! That will be a future blog! Happy Valentine's Day!

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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Quiet River Day 3

Wow, a retreat does feed the soul. And this retreat has been like none other that I have participated. Mainly because I have not created my own sweat shop...DO YOU HEAR ME ROBIN!??? I have enjoyed everything I have done, I have enjoyed everything I didn't do...and I feel relaxed. My fellow Fabric Stalkers have inspired me again, my dreams are filled with colors and textures. oh and as a post script...thanks to Dave for bring the printer and HH for bringing the gin and tonic!

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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Enzo Says, "Quilting Is So Exhauting!"

As we enter day 3 of the Quiet River Retreat all is quiet. Everyone who stayed over night is still asleep and as our usual habit, Enzo and I are up early contemplating the day. Day 3 cannot be started until we reflect on Day 2's accomplishments! First and Foremost...I am relaxed! Rather than approaching this retreat with the same drive as the pioneers crossing the plains I have stopped my wagon to smell the flowers!

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Friday, February 11, 2011

Quiet River Quilt Retreat!

Each retreat the Fabric Stalkers have yearly has it's own culture. The Quiet River Retreat is in town and thus allows members to come and go as the responsibilities of life continue. Hair appts., parent teacher conferences, visiting relatives, dentist appts., can all fit into this retreat. There is the humm of machines as cars pull in and out of the driveway and yet at the days end there is only sewing. As with all our retreats someone brings a new product to try out and I'll post that review at the end of the retreat, along with the accomplishments.

The insanity I was feeling is gone...mainly due to the the comments from yesterday's blog. It reminded me that I no longer want to be that quilter who powers through projects, giving little thought or connection to them. I want to enjoy the quilts, connect to the joy and so I asked myself what would make your life less stressful? The make this weekend a BOM weekend! To get caught up and stay current with the BOM's I love!

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011


This is a photo of my latest totally completed quilt, binding on and ready for "what ever?" My friend Sandy says it is pretty enough to keep and I have to agree with her. I did not enjoy the construction of this quilt. It was a BOM from BJ's and I had a reallllllly hard time with the pinkish fabric, now I love it! I had intended to donate it to charity...but, now I must live with it a while. That is what I love about BOM's they take you out of our box, challenge you to use fabric that is not to your liking. You learn new techniques and you get to be with girlfriends!

You ask why I am I driving myself insane? I now do not have any project that is even remotely close to being done...they are all WIP's or UFO's or dreams in my head...or whispers in my soul but they are not close to being completed. AND, I have a mini retreat coming up this weekend. Which means I have to decide what I want to work on...there it is...the insanity! My options are soooo wide open that for the last 2 weeks I have changed my mind 10,000 times! First I was only going to do hand work, then I thought I would make the baby quilts for my cousins, but of course...I could start an entire new project, should I just cut fabric??? or maybe I can quilt a UFO? If I do that I would have to take my big machine over (2 streets) yes...that is how bad the insanity is...I will be quilting only 2 streets from my house. BUT, I don't know about you...once I get hunkered down at a retreat I don't want to go back home...I might see the dishes need to be done??? or laundry???

Anyhooooo, I have to make choices and I have to put my big girl panties on and stop running around in circles. I will have a slide show of the mini retreat and what everyone else is working for what projects I am going to do??????

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Quilting History 101

I often wonder while creating a quilt, who will cherish this treasure? I make quilts as gift and once they leave my home I only can hope the receiver will feel the love and use them daily...feeling the bond between giver and receiver. There are my favorites that I keep for the sheer enjoyment of seeing what I am capable of creating. I hope someday when I have gone to the "quilt room in the sky" my special quilts will be treasured by my family. Believing that when a family is woven with love the connection to material objects can pass on that love for many generations. So is the story of Papa Norseth.

One of the most treasured part of connecting with others at quilt groups is the passing on of "our stories." Our family history, quilting life, loves and hates about everything from books to movies. It is the threads of life shared that make each person so important to me. Today when Marilyn started to bead her latest project I had to take a photo of the silver spoon she was using to scoop up the beads. This spoon was won by Papa Norseth in Norway (the year 1862) while competing in the ski jump. He traveled to the US at the turn of the century letting his son Harold Norseth use it as a baby spoon. Today at Woolie group my friend Marilyn (Harold's daughter) was using her father's spoon to scoop beads and you could see his little teeth marks! and it is a treasured piece of her history that she continues to use. That is what I hope for with my treasures.
The other great part of quilt group is when you walk in everyone will notice your new hair cut and pay you many compliments. My friend Marilyn not only brought a little history today, she did it looking hot!

Isn't the back just the cutest!