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Our household got hit with more crud after Easter and I have been fighting it this past week. BUT I have completed the remaining compasses and started setting them into the background.

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20140504-165012.jpg. They are unpressed, but looking good. I’ll keep working on this tonight and see how many I can complete this week.

I’ve also been digging around for my graph paper. The computer on which my EQ program was housed died on Wednesday and I need to upgrade versions for the new laptop. I was in too much of a fog to hand draw several layouts in order to audition sashing ideas. It truly feels like stepping back into the Stone Age after having EQ in the studio for almost a decade.

We have also lost my husband’s grandmother this week. She was one spunky lady whose grit got her through a lot. She was a gifted seamstress and made many quilts during the revival of the 1970s. When she could no longer work a needle, she focused more on knitting. I have inherited her remaining quilting things and found amongst them a pattern for a whole cloth quilt. My SIL has already asked about doing a memory project using some of her clothing. For myself, I will be remembering her by doing a service project. Grandma was a great humanitarian and always volunteered. As she became unable to go out, she turned to knitting bandages for a leperosy hospital. I think I am going to try and make a few to donate in her memory after the compasses are set together.

And a Happy Mothers Day to all! We will be grilling and remembering the legacy of those great women who have influenced our lives, especially Edna Mae. >

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I made my son a superhero cape a few years ago and it’s been sitting, neglected in a corner. He never got into wearing it. It’s gold lame and blue sparkle have me almost ready to wear it around the house. After all, moms are superheroes and our families sometimes need to be reminded. But in the spirit if the season, I’m going to give it away (virtually) to my mom instead, who has been the superhero this week.

Let me back up a bit. Moms local grocery runs a yearly special on turkey. It really can’t be beat. Some years I have purchased a 20lb turkey for under $8. Each year she makes multiple trips to the store so we can all stock our freezers. This year I failed to plan ahead for the turkey run, but mom came through with a bird. I put it in the freezer thinking to have it for Christmas, since we had plans to be at mom’s home for Thanksgiving. That was all well and good until the kids were ALL sick last week. All the best laid plans were dashed as we focused on medication, thermometers and Kleenex. Mom and her turkey to the rescue as I scrambled to put together a dinner here.

Not only that (I am bringing this around to quilting), but she put a package into the mail for me. We decided to team shop for Celtic Solstice and some of my fabric was at her house. Since we were missing family dinner on Thanksgiving, I would not have all my stash to start the mystery the next day. Maybe not the biggest crisis, but certainly another cloud in an already stormy sky. SuperHero Mom put my fabric into the post so I could start with everyone else. She really deserves a cape after two rescues in one week.

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Sick kiddos result in almost no hand quilting time. I was able to make progress on the Grandmothers Flower Garden, getting the next row ready to attach. This week I hope to add row 6 to the main body of the quilt. Here it is all laid out.

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I did get my pieces for the small version of Celtic Solstice cut out and stacked by the machine. I seam a few each time I walk by it. Slow and steady wins the race. At this juncture, I have all the right sides sewn save eight because I miscounted my blue pieces. Easy enough to remedy. Ill finger press and start adding on left sides tomorrow.

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If you want to check out this year’s free mystery from Bonnie Hunter, clue number one is here for a limited time. There is also a weekly link up here with other quilters completing their variations. I personally look at most of the blogs. I always find some ingenuity, creativity and a new friend (or many) to follow.

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The Bon Bon quilt is nearing the end of construction. I am ready start final assembly. All the blocks are done and a few need to be pressed. This will be top #1 of my personal UFO challenge.

My second will be a bit of a cheat. I found the perfect fabric to border my Easy Street on sale for $5/ yd. Craft Town Fabrics is having an inventory clearance sale. (Not affiliated, etc, etc). So once Bon Bon is a flimsy, four straight seams to finish this up. Now to save up for backing and batting.

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More packages have arrived for Celtic Solstice. It is starting to come together. Still having problems with yellow and orange. Some if the fabrics that I purchased have hit the reject pile as they read tan. Not at all what I am going for. My “chore” for this week is to locate shirtings.

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Otherwise, progress has been made on the Grandmothers Flower Garden. I have eight rosettes surrounded by white. It’s enough to add another row to the quilt after green hexagons are placed onto three sides. For anyone keeping track, that’s row 6 of 9. Still a ways to go. This top will carry over into next year.

I was putting away the magazine that contained the pattern for Match a Patch Stars when it fell open to this

20131107-191146.jpg. Oak Leaf and Reel in Christmas colors. SWOON! How did I miss this one? I have too much in the works right now, but I have flagged it for later.

As I sew tonight I’ll be contemplating the quilting patterns to use for BonBons and perhaps running to the store over the weekend for deep brown thread. I’m debating between an outline type design or Baptist fans all over. I love fancier quilting, but this is a couch-cuddle quilt and serviceable is still beautiful.

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Empty Rails

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A joyous ending
Possibilities abound
Empty quilting rails

That attempt at haiku sums up the early part of my week. I finished the borders and pulled the quilt from the frame. Its now sitting in the machine with the binding halfway sewn.

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I will be sewing a quilt from these fabrics for the new cousin arriving this fall. I am undecided on a pattern. I keep vacillating between pinwheels and tumblers. The fabric is a nuance gradient bundle thats 5″ by WOF. I purchased it in Paducah from SewBatik

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I will probably put the baby top into the floor hoop, so I can also choose a top to put into the frame. I have no lack of choices. The tee shirt quilt was king size and not portable, so I’ve been spending a lot of hours by myself. My husband has been tolerant, but having a project that I can do during TV time will be a welcome change. As much as I love the quiet time in the mornings before the rest of the house stirs, I also love sleep, so I am debating if I keep my 6 AM studio time. I’ll probably keep the habit, but not sweat it if I miss a few days.

Since I have been quilting in the quiet hours, I have been listening to
Librivox recordings. I’ve completed Treasure Island by Robert Lewis Stevenson and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I think I’ll try Anne of Green Gables next.

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A beautiful journey

My thoughts are swirling this morning, so bear with me as I try to put this together. Lets start with an update.

The transition to life with baby has been so smooth. We are blessed. My older children are in love with the addition and treat her so well. It hardly seems possible that she is almost a month old, but it seems like she has been here forever.

The juxtaposition is the sorrow that accompanies a terminal disease. My grandmother entered hospice care and we are all walking a path of goodbyes. Why mention such personal details? Because anything can be inspiration, or in my case, therapy.

My way of working through is to bury myself in a creative project. In quilting, there is time to think, remember, cry, laugh. So despite my resolve to work on WIPS, I find myself window shopping for fabric and patterns that represent my grandmother. Her favorite holiday was the Forth of July, so for the first time I am looking at patriotic color palettes. I’m pretty sure I do not want to go with literal stars and stripe fabric. My first choice for a pattern is Baltimore Liberty by P3 Designs. I love appliqué, but completing this would be a challenge with family, so I am looking at pieced patterns that I could sew on the machine instead. Nothing is jumping out, so I may do the design work.

This quilted piece, whatever it turns out to be, will be kept for my children. My baby especially will never know her great-grandmother, so this piece will be a small slice of her life made tangible. Joy and sorrow, connecting generations, inspiration from odd places, a beautiful journey.

ETA: I started this post the day before my grandmother passed away in February. Its been sitting as a draft since then. I did not change a word. Its far from polished, but decided it was time to release it on the blog in its incomplete form. I’m still window shopping. Its too hard to commit to a design right now. Perhaps after the holiday.

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The Quilt Show has unlocked a few episodes for this weekend, and one in particular is great for hand quilters. The blog post with links is here. In episode 802, Alex demonstrates how to mark feathered wreathes without a stencil. By learning this skill, a quilter will be able to create these designs to fill a space of any size. I’m watching as a refresher and may pull out some paper to doodle, because practice makes perfect.

One item that stuck out to me was the yardstick compass which Alex demonstrates. This is something I do not own, but want to add to the toolbox. I have several other compasses, but this one will let me do large circles. Omnigrid makes a set that sells for $9. This tool originated for use by contractors, so I am going to check out the tool store to see if I can purchase locally. Then again, if I wait, it would make a good stocking stuffer at Christmas.

News from the studio is slow. I have not been able to get in there this week like I had planned. Fortunately for me, it is a holiday weekend in the States, so I hope to get quite a few hours at the frame while DH is home. My goal is to roll the quilt again. I love starting a new quilt and when the end is approaching the momentum picks up to see the finished project. It is so easy to get bogged down in the middle portions. I’m resolving to push on and get to those final rows. But until I can sneak away, I am going to watch more quilting tv.

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Filling in

I have a few appliqué quilts in queue that I have not put into the frame because I was getting bored with a grid or hanging diamonds as a fill. So I stumbled upon this design and decided to show how I mark it. It was introduced to me as Baltimore Grid. I’m using paper to illustrate.

Start by marking the quarters of the block diagonally. The lines will be quilted. Then divide into quarters by marking the horizontal and vertical halves. These are for reference only.

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Begin marking diagonals as illustrated being careful to not cross the midline of each side. I am marking 1″ lines parallel to the center diagonal.

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Turn and mark in the other direction. It creates arrows, chevrons, or triangles depending on how it is described. This shows one half marked every inch and the other marked at the half inch for comparison.

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I like this because it fills the space nicely. Is quick to mark and stays true to the 45* because I am marking each block individually. It will also quilt up a tad quicker because it has half the lines of a grid. Here are two blocks side by side to show an overall effect. Now I am excited to grab a new top, because I added this tool to my toolbox.

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