Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Things are progressing...

I'm still here!  I will catch you up with my quilting, my finger, my move from Michigan to Alabama, and last but not least, the furry wonder kitty, Mr. Weasley.

First, a funny story (and cautionary tale) about the International Quilt Festival in Houston.  In the middle of all the confusion of packing and my daughter graduating from high school last spring, I decided to enter my "Baltimore Rhapsody - Symphony" into the upcoming fall festival spectacular.

I found their web site a little confusing and hard to navigate. Maybe that is because I am used to the AQS site/contests and the magnificent Andrea Ray and company who make the process very easy and user-friendly.

Anyway, somehow I entered an EXHIBIT at the show rather than the SHOW ITSELF.  I have been a 'bear of very little brain' since my parents' accident and loss in May 2014.  When I realized my mistake, I entered the show as well.  I figured I would fix things later, and really kind of thought I didn't have much of a chance of my quilt getting accepted into either group.

Well, I never heard from anyone from the contest, but I did hear from the people organizing the exhibit.  I got a nice email explaining what to do, when and where to ship my quilt, etc.  It will hang at the Festival, then travel to some other big shows around the country for a few months as a part of this exhibit, which I think is called "Quilts in the American Tradition."  

That sounded lovely and better than a sharp stick in the eye, and I felt lucky and happy to at least have it exhibited.  I did wonder why I never got a nice rejection email from the contest people...until...

...I was driving between Michigan and Alabama and got a call from Houston asking where was my quilt!  I panicked!  I had sent the quilt a week previous and had Fed Ex confirmation that it had arrived!  The call was from someone with the contest, not the exhibit, as it turned out.

My quilt, afterall, WAS ACCEPTED TO THE CONTEST! They don't send out emails telling a person this, like AQS does...I had missed the fine print  where it said to go to their web site on a certain date to see if the quilt was accepted. My jaw was on the floor of the car!  But of course, the person on the phone was pissed that I had "double booked" my quilt. Oops!

(It made me appreciate Andrea Ray and her merry band of cohorts at AQS for their organizational skills with all the many shows they put on...)

Oh quilt WILL be at the show, but not IN the contest.

Second, my finger is coming along.  I can't quite bend it at a 90 degree angle, can't completely straighten it, but I am still doing home physical therapy, so I am still hopeful.  It is still swollen and I am wrapping it with compression tape a few times a day. 

Also, I am rolling a lot of "snakes" out of putty to help with the scar tissue and pain at the incision site on the underside of my finger.  The tendon had to be repaired quite a bit because the cat bite infection was actually dissolving my tendon!  The scar on top of the finger is healing fine.

Thirdly, the move is progressing.  We are in Michigan this week packing up the last annoying possessions, cleaning, and doing some painting and little maintenance stuff in anticipation of turning the house over to the realtor this evening.  Over the last month, I had a terrible bout of sciatica, so I was flat on my back and in a great deal of pain for about two weeks.  During that time, we received the shipment of the piano and the second POD at the Alabama house.  I still have a little pain in one leg, but I am upright and doing the best I can.  

I have been going through stuff in the Alabama house, getting ready to incorporate our stuff, which was unloaded from two PODS into an RV garage about 150 feet from the house.  This is going to be a slow process...

And last, but not least, the tale (and tail) of Weasley, our cat. We had to give him up, but he is happily situated with our friends and two new cat buddies.  He is fully integrated into the family and is getting along well with the two other cats.  I am sure he will enjoy his new brothers, as well as his new loving family.  I miss him terribly!  I still see him out of the corner of my eye.  I would love to go visit him, but I don't want to confuse him at this point.  Lucinda sends me updates and pictures, which reassure me, but also break my heart.  With Riley at college and Weasley in a new home, I am learning to let go...

I found a quilt store in Tuscaloosa, which is where my daughter is at college, but almost 3 hours from our Alabama home. PLEASE...tell me of quilty things in North Alabama, if you know of any.  I am going through withdrawal!

In stitches,
Teresa   :o)

Sunday, August 9, 2015

More "Repro Madness" blocks and a CAT-tastrophe...

My friends, it has been a hard month, but first things first...two more blocks finished for my "Repro Madness" swap with Ola and Mary.  They were actually finished weeks ago, but I forgot to take pictures.  We will get together soon so I can distribute in person.

They will finish 6 inches square.  This one I borrowed from a Lori Smith pattern, and the following one is adapted from something I saw on the Internet.  "Everybody likes cake," (said the Donkey in "Shrek"). 

These will join the few others I have barely managed to get finished in the last few months...

"Motor Mary" and Ola have made many more swap blocks than I have, mostly pieced, so I am eager to get my rear in gear and continue with more applique blocks...some day... 

Now the rest of the story...lots of you have been emailing me to get updates on Mr. Weasley's fate...our fates are now painfully connected.

We are moving to Alabama and cannot take our handsome little 9-year-old gentleman with us.

Well, one of my friends from church and her family wanted to adopt him.  This required getting him into a kitty-carrier.  Well, Mr. puss does not like kitty-carriers.  We finally caught him (he knew what we were up to...).  As I was holding him firmly, he bit into the knuckle on my right-hand index finger right as I was putting his little rump into the carrier.  Ouch!

Two punctures on top and one underneath.  It started swelling immediately.  But off we went in the car to transport him as quickly as possible, to try and keep HIS torture and discomfort to a minimum.  I was mad at him, but still sad at having to give up my little buddy...I cried the whole way home.  (If you are squeamish, look no further...)

That was a Sunday evening, and it got more swollen overnight.  I was at Urgent Care at 8 AM Monday morning where I got an antibiotic shot and a script for oral antibiotics.  By the time Steve got home from work that evening, my whole hand was badly swollen, and the redness was growing (the ER doctor kindly drew around it with a sharpie...).  We went to the ER, immediately started I.V. antibiotics, and I was admitted late that night and rushed into emergency surgery the next morning.

The surgeon had to open up my finger, top and bottom, to clean out the infection and repair my tendon...all the way back into my palm! The infection had already started to damage my tendon.  He had punctured my knuckle joint synovial sac.

I stayed in the hospital another couple of days then came home, wrapped up to my elbow, with a power port in my other arm to receive 3 weeks of I.V. antibiotics.  I had no idea that cat bites were so dangerous, but they are serious, serious, SERIOUS!  MUCH worse than dog bites...

Fortunately, by the luck of the draw, I had the best hand surgeon in Ann Arbor.  I came home for a week of being COMPLETELY useless where moving was concerned.  I was doped up on pain killers until I weaned off due to stomach upset.  Riley was still in Europe, so she missed all the excitement, than goodness.  Steve worked from home and was amazing.

Piano movers came to remove my piano...

...this was the extent of my usefulness...just posing for a selfie.

They disassembled, wrapped, padded, and lugged that thing out, right past the partially filled second POD in the driveway...

Now you see it, now you don't...we'll meet up again in Alabama in a month or so.

One week and 2 days post-op, I was back to have the first peek. The surgeon was thrilled, but I was completely shocked and wondering if I would ever play piano or sew again!  I have never had surgery and had only previously been in the hospital for childbirth (both mine and Riley's), so I was not prepared for what I saw.  I was still terribly looked like someone else's hand.

Another week to go before stitch removal and he put me in a cast...I picked lime green to cheer me up (no "repro-looking" option).

But even though my out-of-state move and world had come to a screaming halt, life everywhere else was going on and on. 

Thinking I had entered the Houston International Quilt SHOW a few months ago, I had accidentally entered a SPECIAL QUILT EXHIBIT that was to be hung there during the Festival and show (it was a very confusing web site...). My "Baltimore Rhapsody - Symphony" album quilt was enthusiastically accepted and needed to be shipped off.  

It will still be hung during the show, and that is better than a sharp stick in the eye, LOL!

They were very particular about a sewn-on label even though I had inked directly on the quilt backing previously.  Despite gaining two fingers, hand sewing was difficult, but Steve helped me.  I started out doing it right-handed, then gave up and sewed left-handed (how do you lefties do it?!).

Even after all the effort, we still got the date wrong and we had to write on the label to correct it...crazy!  

Then, "Miss Emilie's Garden" was accepted into AQS Chattanooga and AQS Des Moines, so that meant a sleeve was needed...

...and, of course, that needed a label...but after getting the cast off and stitches out, I could do a little more with my new splint (that I don't have to wear all the time!) and I could do it right-handed!

My finger is sore when I push its limits and very stiff.  Rehab to bend (or straighten!) will be long, but I hope to get everything back to normal size and function with time.

The move is delayed but I still have much to be grateful for...Riley got home safe from Europe, and the I.V. antibiotics end tomorrow so I can actually still go to move her into college in Alabama this week.  I was afraid I would have to miss that.  I won't be very useful, but I can now do a few things and can drive one of the cars (the push button one!).

Then, Steve and I will come home to Michigan to finish packing the second POD before it has to be picked up on Aug 21.  Still much to do here, but I now realize that I have no power over the schedule.  It will happen when it happens.  I packed the last few sewing things yesterday (things that I had held back to make labels and sleeves), so I now feel like a junkie without a fix!

Sorry this post was so gruesome, but I wanted everyone to know how bad cat bites are for us two-legged owners and lovers of the little fur balls!  Be careful, keep up with their vaccinations, and if you do get bitten, seek help immediately!  I miss Weasley terribly, but he is getting used to a new family...and two others cats!  I guess he got the last laugh by biting me! I wish us both the best!  

Some time I will have to change my header, but I am not quite ready...

In stitches,
Teresa   :o)

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Three more sets of reproduction 6 inch blocks finished...

In the midst of the moving chaos, I managed to finish three new blocks for the little 6 inch block swap I am doing.

I borrowed this design from one of Lori Smith's patterns.

I drafted this block to show off all the lovely purple reproduction fabrics.

And this one is another one of Lori Smith's designs.  I just love orange and blue together, colors of my college alma mater, Auburn University (War Eagle!).

To date, I have finished three sets of ten different blocks (30 blocks) .  I am behind my two friends in getting blocks done for our swap.  I have 2-3 more sets prepped, ready to stitch as this pain-in-the-arse move continues...

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Dreaming of the Gorsuch family quilt...

Don't get too excited...this is a picture of a picture.  This is the Gorsuch family quilt.  What do you do when you are disconnected from your quilt cave and your stash?  You dream, scheme, and plan about projects to start when you are reconnected...this usually involves spending a little money...

I ordered this pattern from Margo E. Hardie from the land down under.  Here is her home page.  Her email is  She does mail to the United States.  I am so grateful for her time-consuming reproduction of this amazing quilt!

I have always loved this quilt...the Gorsuch family owned the quilt, but it is not certain who made it.  Many of the blocks are similar to blocks made or designed by Mary Simon at that time in history. Many people may have contributed blocks, or maybe they were all stitched by one person.

I want to make this quilt...or one similar to it, but one thing has always bugged me about it...the blocks are all on point, but really only one of the blocks NEEDS to be on point.  See the urn block just above?  All the other blocks have the appearance of leaning slightly.  Oh, and I guess the squirrel in one of the other blocks pictured above will have to be readjusted for a straight set.

To my eye, most of the blocks would work set in a straight setting. I have not completely studied the directions yet, but I think the blocks are supposed to finish at 13.5 or 14 inches square.  I am thinking of either resizing the one obvious on-point block or resizing all the others and choosing a block size that would work for all.  You may all think I am nuts, but that's the way I see it.

If I change the setting, the cornucopia wouldn't look so strange to me...right now it looks like it is dumping out its contents.  In a straight set, it would make more sense to my eye, and the container would be on a diagonal line.

This is the on-point pattern.

But the down side to the changes would be not needing the charming setting and corner triangles.  They are not consistent as far as difficulty and fullness.  The pattern on the left below would whip up very quick, but the one with all the berries would be time-consuming.  Maybe I could use the designs to make additional square blocks...

And here is one of the sweet little corner triangles...

Those who know me know I have trouble leaving other people's patterns alone.  I change blocks, borders, etc. until the final project pleases me.  That is what led me to drawing the Baltimore Rhapsody music project. Half of the blocks in my Civil War Bride quilt were redrawn to my liking and to fit our family story.

I guess I am saying I don't feel bad about changing things and will most likely do this to the Gorsuch quilt pattern.  Margo did a beautiful job interpreting this historic quilt, but I must make changes if I am going to spend all this time making it. 

Anyway, as I continue to pack boxes and tie up loose Michigan ends, I am dreaming of applique...

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)