Praise !

The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear?The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
When the wicked came against me to eat up my flesh, my enemies and foes, they stumbled and fell. Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear....Psalm 27 1-3
Psalm 31: 7, 8
I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy; for thou hast considered my trouble; thou hast known my soul in adversities;
And hast not shut me up into the hand of the enemy; thou hast set my feet in a large room.


Sunday, February 19, 2017

Both Wilburs are finished !

Last week, I finished the Big and Little Wilbur quilt-tops.  I mailed them on Friday, and Jodie received them Monday.  It was a couple of days before I heard from her, due to health problems she's having, and I was actually worried that she didn't like my work this time !    Blessedly, she assured me a couple of days later that she was thrilled with both works.

Big Wilbur was a kit, and I hand-appliqued it to look just like their version, except that JoAnn had me add a 6-inch border of a large red floral fabric from the same line.  I didn't take a finished picture of that one.

Little Wilbur was made from a set of half-yard pieces of the complete Purebred line of fabrics.   She left it up to me to come up with a design, setting, size......EVERYTHING.  She gave me the names of several quilt designs that she liked from the Craftsy site.  I chose to adapt the design from a pattern called "Peachy Keen", resizing some of the proportions.  I renamed my design  "Don't Fence Me In", as I proceeded to piece 'corrals' around each of my horses.

 Of course, Little Wilbur was the star of the quilt, so he was top center.  Instead of a corral, he was surrounded by a wreath of roses, as though he had just won the Kentucky Derby (a fanciful notion for which I have absolutely no basis).

 Four 'corrals' encircled printed ponies that were too finely detailed for me to feel comfortable appliqueing on the printed edges.  So I did what I called 'shadowing', leaving about a 1/4 inch width of the cream background showing around each pony when I appliqued him onto his new background of a woodgrain print from the collection.

The rest of the 'corrals' contained ponies or a red-roofed stable that had been fussy-cut from the landscape fabric from the same line.

When the center was finished, I still needed a border to bring the quilt up to a good usable size.  JoAnn had requested that I use the same red floral fabric, and make the border the same size as on the Big Wilbur quilt.  So, rather than be redundant, I designed a 'rail fence' border to enclose the horses in their corrals.  I only had enough of a light fabric remaining to make a single rail, but I think it is still effective.

I was really pleased at the finished quilt-top.  The size was big enough to make a bed-covering for a twin-sized bed, thought it isn't a true twin-size.  She is planning to surprise her granddaughter with this quilt, so I'm hoping to come up with a little bit of a surprise to add to it myself.  We'll see if I find  the time.

Spring is trying it's best to sneak in early this year, with my Buttercups blooming hesitantly, and my Lilac bush leafing out.   I fear that Winter is going to send her scampering back into hiding, biting off all the tree buds, but I surely love the little bursts of fresh color in the meantime !

Hubby goes in for his second 3-day session of this new chemo treatment this coming week.  He is suffering with knee-pain in his left leg (which has always been his GOOD one) this weekend, and his feet keep swelling horribly.  Thank you for your continued prayers for him and myself.   Without God's presence, we couldn't go on.

I am so very thankful for JoAnn providing my 'escape' with these projects that she sends me.  And you should just SEE the box of fabric that she sent my way this week just to clear out her OWN shelves !  God bless JoAnn Gilley !






Sunday, February 5, 2017

Bonus baby quilt

My friend, JodieAnn, is cleaning out and redoing her sewing room, so, I got a couple of fun boxes full of scraps and pieces in the mail !  Included was a small pile of triangles that were matched with a solid yellow fabric.  After trying several layouts, I concluded that the prints would look better if they were paired with white.

So I decided to use a piece that I had just ordered from Connecting Threads (Starbursts and Flowers, from the Whisper Palette).  It made for a beautiful background fabric.  I played with the design last Sunday, and yesterday I got to put it all together.

Now my frustration is that I don't have a big enough piece of batting to use for this (I need a 45 inch square) without cutting into my roll of Pellon 80/20 that I got from Walmart.  It is 96 inches wide and I hate to cut into it for smaller quilts.  I may just break down and purchase a 45 x 60 sized batt if I can find one locally.  But for now, I can concentrate on piecing a back that will fit.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Catching my breath.

I see that it has been over 3 weeks since I last posted.  And yet, I continue to receive words of encouragement and offers of prayers on behalf of my husband and myself.  Thank you so very much .

My time is not my own anymore, if, indeed it ever was, and I stay busy accomplishing all that NEEDS to be done. When I do have a few free moments, I find myself crashing into a chair for a bit of reading time or computer time when I could be quilting/piecing.  Still, there HAS been some progress on the projects that I have taken on for my friend, JoAnn.

The Erin Michaels design Wilbur, is all finished except for one last patch to be buttonhole-stitched on when I see what scraps I have remaining.  Before that is accomplished, I need to finish the second quilt, which we have dubbed "Little Wilbur".  On it, I have most of the 12 blocks pieced, with the last 4 of that 12 awaiting the 4 appliqued center sections.

 That applique is now done, and I hope to get to assemble those blocks and then the entire top, VERY SOON.
Here's a sneak peek at the Little Wilbur quilt.


Hubby's C.T. scan of Dec. 28th showed that the Bendamustine/Rituxin formula of chemotherapy was not eradicating the cancer.  It showed that his cancer, Mantle Cell Lymphoma, was no worse, but also, no better.  So, on Monday of last week, the 23rd of January, he started a new regimen of Rituxin
/Fluderabine/Cytoxin.  He receives infusions for 3 days, and then waits until the 28th day after beginning of treatment, and has it all over again.  This time, we have not been given a number of treatments that they expect for him to need.  I guess it's "watch and wait".

This past week was very hard on him, as he has been much weakened since the bout of pneumonia that I wrote about in my last post.   He was prescribed 3 antibiotics to start along with this new regimen of chemo, but they caused such constant diarrhea, that we had to request that the doctor take him off of them all.  He did, but that leaves him wide open to infection.

He had a PICC line inserted on Tuesday, the 24th, because they had reached a point where it was terribly difficult to draw blood or start an i.v.  Home health now comes regularly to monitor his health, but they cannot change the PICC line dressing or flush the line, which has to be done once weekly.  This is because they are not the ones giving him the infusion........RULES, RULES.  So, as weak as he is, this means that he will have to leave the house once a week for the dressing change .... twice a month locally, and twice a month at the oncologist when receiving an infusion, or having blood drawn.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Blessings

Hubby was feeling rough and weak for the first part of this week, and finally, Thursday afternoon found him admitted to the hospital with pneumonia.  Because of his weakened condition and his cancer treatments lowering his immune system, they decided to keep him for the weekend, administering i.v. antibiotics in a controlled environment.

Of course, that meant that we got the first snowfall of the season, rendering me hesitant to drive home and care for kitty, Lotti-dah, after spending last night there with him.

Blessedly, my neighbors stepped up, and provided for me to be picked up and driven  home today, with an offer to be taken back again, tomorrow, LORD WILLING. Rose and Doug Tenison are true ebodiments of the word, NEIGHBOR, just the way Jesus meant for us all to be.


Monday, December 26, 2016

Blessings

Another Christmas has come and gone, and I am blessed to have gotten to spend it with my hubby in our snug little home.
No one can make me more CRAZY, but I am thankful to still have him with me.  He goes back for a CT scan on Wednesday, the 28th, and if all checks out well, he should get his 4th 2-day session of chemotherapy.  This month has been up and down as far as how well he's felt, but we keep moving forward with our faith in our HEALER, Christ Jesus.

On Christmas Eve, we had several interesting visitors.  First, with a light rain coming down around midday, I glanced out the back window and spied a long line of wild turkeys waddling their way out of or side woods and making their way into my lower back yard.  I had never seen even ONE on our land, so this was a jaw-dropping moment.  I counted an even dozen of them, including 2 large Tom turkeys.  They made their way up to the Oak tree above, near the garden, and feasted on the many acorns  in the grass, until the rain got heavy enough to run them back into the woods.

Later, after dark, I went outside to get some Christmas decorations from our shed, and heard a noise to the left of the back porch where I was standing.  Shining my flashlight in that direction, I found 4 deer heading toward the woods.  They had been eating the acorns that had fallen from another Oak up closer to the porch.  When I went out a second time an hour later, they were back up there again.   I just thanked my LORD Jesus for my Christmas Eve guests.

Hubby and I then spent Christmas Day alone, with a wonderfully excited call from our daughter and her household.  We have everything we need, and peace on top of that, so what more can we ask.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

A New Commission--Wilbur

Yesterday I started a new commission for JoAnn, my friend in Oklahoma.

She sent me this kit from Moda , Wilbur, the horse, made from Erin Michael's Purebred line of fabric.

I'm making the quilt from the pattern right now, and then she wants me to use the extra pieces to come up with a smaller version of Wilbur for her granddaughter.  That will take some designing and imagination, so, for now, I'm going to enjoy the ease of simple needle-turn applique (we don't like fusibles).

Today I pieced the two big pieces of fabric for the background, and basted Wilbur onto that background, ready for the handwork.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Star Trails---finished quilt

I basted this quilt a few months ago, and put it back, to have something to quilt on when the Winter blahs moved in.  Well, I got caught up on smaller things, and couldn't stand it taking up room in my bedroom/sewing room, so I decided to go ahead and machine-quilt it.  This is my own original layout design for these popular stars.  I like them because you don't have to worry about your star points getting cut off.
I used my Melody machine, from BabyLock, because I have it set up (in the OTHER sewing room ) on a large table.  I set my ironing board beside me to handle the weight of the quilt while I feed it through, and the big table catches the weight of it after it passes through.  That works out much better than having the quilt fall off the edge of my sewing cabinet.
Rolling the excess and pinning it really helped manage the bulk.
I decided to do simple 1-inch vertical rows with my walking foot.  I quickly found that I had NOT basted closely enough, and even the walking foot was pushing the top toward the basting lines, causing tucks.  I slowed down and eased as well as I could, and I think that it will look just fine when it is washed and crinkly.

I had my brother, Jeff, in mind when I pieced this one, but since I have already given John a quilt, I think that I will continue in chronological order, and send this one to Jim.  That leaves Jeff, and then Ted to make future quilts for.  This one, like John's, is what i consider a generous nap-sized quilt.  It finished at 54 inches by 75 inches......a bit smaller than John's, but Jim is shorter, so I think it will be fine for him.
I pieced the backing for this quilt, and I really like how it looks.
Hopefully, I'll get it wrapped and sent sometime in the next week.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Strings in the Dark

Today I put the last stitches into the binding  of my small string quilt.
It finished at 44 1/2 inches square, and is totally reversible.
One side is composed of my dark and bright scrappy strings,
and the reverse side is made up of black, white, grey, and red prints/polka dots.
These photos were taken prior to laundering.  It washed up  beautifully, with the full crinkly effect, but the sun was too far gone for an 'after' photo.  Maybe I can update with one at a later date.



Thursday, November 17, 2016

More String-Piecing

For the past week, I have been giving string-piecing another try.

This was my first one, if you'll remember it with me.......

  I ABSOLUTELY LOVE MY PASTEL STRING QUILT that I made a few months ago.  It is my all-time favorite quilt that I have ever made.

Well...........lately, I have been staring at a ziploc baggie of dark strips that I had leftover...ones that were too dark to fit into the pastel quilt.  It just kept nagging at me to make another string-quilt, but there weren't enough strips there to make a couch-size quilt, and I didn't want to cut more strips.
So, I grabbed 16 paper foundation squares and started piecing, using this white fabric with tiny black confetti pieces scattered on it, as the strip down the middle of each block.  I fell in love with it after about 5 blocks !
Here is the final result, measuring approximately 45 inches square.  I can hardly wait to see it quilted and wrinkly from the laundering..........ALTHOUGH, it already looks scrumptious while it's nice and FLAT.

As you can see, I even went so far as to piece a piano-key border.  I'm not totally sold on my pieced corners in the borders, but wasn't sure what to do about the strips changing directions there.

My computer suddenly isn't playing nicely when it comes to my editing my photos, so I wasn't able to crop or adjust coloring or brightness.

Update on hubby:  It's been 3 weeks since his second session of chemo treatments, and his 100.6 fevers have started again.  Also, yesterday morning, I woke to the sound of something hitting the floor, and I rushed into the kitchen to find him lying on his side.  Somehow he lost his balance and fell.  He wouldn't let me move him, so I called for an ambulance, remembering that the first time he fell, in February of 2010, he broke his hip.  But, blessedly, after examining him, the EMTs determined that nothing was broken, and we refused transport to a medical facility.

With his spleen so swollen from the Lymphoma, we were concerned about internal bleeding, but after waiting an hour for his doctor's office to open, he felt well and we decided that there was no real harm done, PRAISE GOD.  But he requested that his walker be brought into the house from storage, and I no longer feel comfortable leaving him alone unless really necessary.

His next chemo is scheduled for December 1st, but I don't think we're going to have a big Thanksgiving dinner here at home.  His eating behavior is too erratic for me to spend the money on a large meal that may not get eaten with just the two of us here.  Maybe we'll be blessed with the Thanksgiving meal from some other source.  There is family around....I just have to get over my shyness about asking !

Monday, November 7, 2016

FINISHED, FOR SALE....Tweaking Tradition

I finished this quilt today, and I wish that it would photograph as good as it looks.
The color is a little off in this photo, due to me finishing after the sun had left my window.

My husband has even watched it's progress with interest, and that happens RARELY.
Color is pretty accurate on this photo of the finished top.


The finished size is 47 inches by 51 inches.........a nice, very generous lap-sized quilt, especially good for use at church ( I LOVE to take a quilt to church),  or for someone in a wheelchair. 


Once again, this quilt is actually two-sided, and the color-scheme is definitely gender neutral.  I think that a man OR a woman would be pleased with the coloration, which is truly vibrant.



The pieced portion of the top is quilted in one inch horizontal rows, and the borders are quilted in one inch vertical rows.
It has a 80% cotton/20% polyester batting, thus making it soft and pliable, yet breathable.


I am offering this one FOR SALE.  My asking  price is $165.00.
I consider that a starting point.......feel free to make me an offer.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Backing made

I really wanted to be able to complete this little quilt with fabrics from my own stash,.....even though I was tempted to purchase flannel for the backing.  But, because the flannel was borderline wide enough to use without piecing it, I went back to my own fabrics.
The center rectangle is NOT a Kaffe fabric.

I came across a bundle that I was blessed to receive as a gift years ago.  I think that these are Kaffe Fassett dots.  I had 6 fat quarters, and that may even be enough to bind the quilt, although the last quarter is a white background with green dots, and I'm not sure I'd be happy with a light colored binding.

We'll see.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Mindless piecing, Box of Crayons

Hubby goes for his second set of chemo treatments today and tomorrow, so I've needed a little bit of distraction.  So, over the last few days, I pieced a little baby-sized quilt top.


These were from my old collection of child-themed fabrics, a shoebox-ful that I tried to sell during my last yard sale.  The solid fabrics are from a set of 2 1/2 inch strips I bought from Connecting Threads years ago.

So pleased to have something pretty from these leftovers !

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Tweaking Tradition

Rummaging through my 'pieces' shoeboxes last week, I came across a bunch of 2 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch rectangles that were leftover from a several-years-ago project.

I sewed most of them to some 2 1/2 inch green solid squares that I also found, and then started playing with them on my design wall (after drawing a possible layout on my graph pad).

Naturally, my eventual layout involved un-stitching many of the sets to change up the colors that I needed.  But when I was done with the center, yesterday morning, I was left with a very traditional-looking piece.

I didn't like it.

So, searching for something to WAKE IT UP, I came across fabrics that I liked, but they were only 1/2 yard pieces.  So, I put several of them together and came up with something that I can live with.

So, here it is.  It now measures 48 x 52 inches, a good size for a baby quilt or a lap quilt for a wheelchair-bound person.
It doesn't photograph well.  But, in person, I really like it.  It has an energy to it.  I may just use it as a take-along/hand-quilting project for my husband's chemo sessions.  Then again, they don't provide ME with a recliner, or even a comfy chair, just a straight-backed bedside chair, so I'm not sure how well I could spend hours in one position doing handwork.

But, for now, the next thing on the agenda..........coming up with a backing.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

FINISHED QUILT: Autumn's Paintbrush WARNING: Picture-heavy post !

Hooray for another finish.......praise the LORD
   As I mentioned in this previous post, the inspiration for this quilt came from two sources:

  1.  While browsing quilting blogs, I ran across a quilt that used assorted solid-colored fabrics as the background for some star blocks.
  2.   I had this little pieced tree block stuck up on my design board staring down at me, and inviting me to enlarge upon it's design.
So, I purchased what I considered 'autumnish colors' from the selection of Waverly solid-colored fabrics at our local Walmart, and figured out how to redo that little tree block in a 12-inch size.  After making a rough sketch on my graph pad, I had my design that should finish around my standard favorite size or 60 x 80 inches.

For the trees themselves, I used mostly charm squares that I had, occasionally cutting out a piece from my stash when needed.
When the top was completed, I started putting together a pieced backing, and I wound up with a whole separate design.  So, technically, this is a fully reversible quilt.
When it came time to bind this quilt, I felt that the tree side needed a wider binding due to the lack of a border.   I cut strips between 3 and 3 1/4 inches, winding up with about a 3/4" wide binding.  I chose a solid-colored fabric that was NOT in the top, but went with the Fall colors on both sides.
I had hoped to use organic wavy lines for the quilting, but because of the solids in light and dark hues, the quilting just did not look good.  So, I went back to my old stand-by, meandering, keeping the design a bit bigger than I usually do.
This is the second quilt that I have made with the Pellon 80% cotton/20% polyester batting (with scrim) that I bought in a 9-yard roll from Walmart.com.  I have laundered both quilts, and am totally satisfied with the performance of the batting.
Truthfully, I am OVER-THE-MOON happy about the outcome of this quilt. 
 I still don't know who I am going to gift it to, if that's what I do with it, so I didn't put a label on it yet.

The wind was not cooperating with me when it came time to take outdoor photos !

The porch photos came after trying (rather unsuccessfully) to get photos of the quilt while it hung on the clothesline.  (I wanted to be  able to see the trees in the woodline for a background.  Turns out, they're not color-changed enough yet anyway.) 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Two more final steps and I'm done....

The binding is on !
I've named it "AUTUMN'S PAINTBRUSH".

I need to put a label on it and launder it.

Then.....

decide WHO gets it !!!!!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Closing in on a finish !

I can't believe it, but I quilted that leaf quilt TREE QUILT , last night, starting around 6:30 p.m.  I meant to just sit down and do a couple of organic wavy-line rows across the quilt.  But I didn't like the looks of that, so I thought that I would just do a sample of meandering across one or two of the blocks.

Well, it's hard to stop at that.  So I kept going, but boy did I HATE quilting the most interior blocks of the quilt.  But I prayed, and stayed at it, and , I can't believe it, .......I FINISHED THE ENTIRE QUILT.  Praise be to GOD, because I was so frustrated and jumpy from all the tugging and pulling and trying not to run over a stitching line or make them too far apart......and I promised I'd give HIM the glory if it came out well..............and I think that it is going to FOR SURE !

I'm not ready to post
lots of photos yet, as I haven't found my binding fabric, but I hope to finish early next week, and I just wanted to note my progress here.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Of course you were right, commenter, A Maiden Hair Fern !

I washed the Heart Strings quilt today, and was blessed with a wonderfully , crinkly goodness, warm from the dryer.  There was definitely no disappointment.
















                                                                                                                                                     
     I updated it's 'before laundering' measurements in the stats of the former post to read 61 1/2 inches by 80 inches.
The 'after laundering' measurements are 59 by 76 1/2 inches.  I washed it in cold water, and dried it on a perma-press setting in my dryer.
So I lost 2 1/2 inches in the width, and 3 1/2 inches in the length.  Not too bad, but something that I should definitely factor into the finished size of the quilts that I am piecing.    60 x 80 is about my standard go-to size now, but I want ALL OF THAT, after shrinkage.

Still, this is my most favorite quilt that I have made in YEARS, and I find no fault with it.

Today, I basted another quilt, this time going back to doing it under the carport.   It took me most of 4 hours from beginning to end, but I basted it in a grid 4 inches apart widthwise and lengthwise.  I find that anything farther apart than this allows too much movement of the layers when quilting on my standard size, old model 15 Singer sewing machine.

Here are the legs to my basting frame, set in place (my husband made my legs for me, probably 30 or more years ago.)
  This photo shows me putting the top onto the pinned on backing that is topped by the batting.  The wind started to get up at this point (it was around 11 a.m.), and I  prayed for it to ease off.  AND IT DID.  Praise God, He cares about the little things that are important to us, as well as the big ones.


Here, the quilt layers are all ready .  At this point,  I use a fairly long straight needle to baste around the perimeter of the quilt layers, scooting my office chair underneath me as I go.  Then, using a curved needle, I stand and STRE-T-C-H to baste each row, reaching just to the center and basting toward me when I get to the middle rows of the quilt.  I do a back-stitch about every 9th stitch, incase the basting stitches get cut during the quilting.  That way the whole row doesn't come unbasted.

And here is a happily-tired baster/quilter with a fully-basted quilt.  I always wonder how much the 'sway' in the middle of the quilt affects how square the quilt will turn out, but thus far I haven't noticed any particular problems.  I've never had success trying to baste a quilt layed out flat on the floor.

I don't know who this quilt will be for.  I've already changed my mind twice, so I'll just concentrate on completing it, and I'm sure I'll know by then.

P.S. For Maggie, who calls herself a novice quilter, this is the entire basis for making the Heart Strings quilt....

I glued a one-inch strip of white diagonally on these 10-inch square papers from Missouri Star Quilt Company, and started sewing strips to each side of the white strip, and pressing them outwards.  When the paper was covered, I trimmed it to 9 1/2 inches. There are many possibilites for designs when laying out all the squares, but all of the squares are made the exact same way.  After putting the whole top together, I went back and removed the papers.