Monday, January 31, 2011

I have a whole town now (mostly)...

Here are the 12 block-of-the-month blocks of "All Around the Town" (Sue Garmon) assembled into the quilt center.  Woo hoo!

Before adding the "road" stop border (with appliqued cars!) and the outer border, I still have some yellow stars to add and applique and a few more tiny embellishments (lawn art).  I needed to get the hunks of houses pieced together and get it up on the design wall so I could see what other little touches needed adding to make the top feel balanced to me.

I've made some doodles of little tiny things I want to applique...I want to add a sheep or two, a garden gnome, a pink flamingo or two and a cart of fish with a fishing pole.  There are some other little characters running around in my head, but I don't have them on paper yet.

I had to stop and do some quilt cave maintenance.  Remember this?

I needed to sort and put away some scraps that have been piling up.  The bigger pieces get sorted by color (or type) and go into art bin containers.

The tiny bits get sorted into one of four larger bins of wee bits...warm (yellow, orange, pink, red), cool (green, blue, purple), brown/.black, or neutral/white.

I use these bins a lot when working on an applique project like these houses.  Sometimes a small bit is the perfect piece when I am doing really small scale applique motifs.

And I always say, if you want to be a better quilter, hang out with great quilting friends!  Here are a few show and tell items made by my friend Kathy F. (no blog).  She is amazing!  These free pieced houses are just two in a series of Island structures standing on her coastal Maine property. 

 She also made this cool liberated architectural quilt (don't you love the Seattle space needle?!?).

And here is her finished "Roll, Roll, Cotton, Boll" top, the latest mystery quilt from Bonnie Hunter over at (that is Kathy on the right). that I've seen it up close and personal, I want to make one, too!

It is just stunning!  I don't know how Bonnie keeps coming up with such awesome scrap quilts!!

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

Piece on Earth...

Steel Scraps suggested "Piece on Earth" as a saying for a church sign, and it was so good that I decided to put it on the church building rather than make a sign post.  Thank you for suggesting it!!

Just beyond the golf course and the 18th hole, a lone horse stands in a field contemplating an apple snack stack.

Block #10 of this "All Around the Town" quilt is now done!  I'm getting very close to getting all 12 blocks done so I can assemble the quilt center.  It is getting exciting!

The following pair of pets will embellish a couple of the previous blocks.  I just have them glue basted.  The doggie's bone is wrong side up so you can see where I glued the raw edges under with my trusty Elmer's glue stick and awl.  Now I just need to place them and applique in place.  I want to try and make a garden gnome for one of the yards as well.  Hee-hee-hee...

After a long time where it seemed I was not making enough progress, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel...and it isn't a train!

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

Friday, January 28, 2011


I don't actually play golf, but just about everyone I've met in Michigan since moving here does.  I am a church musician and often hear people on a particularly lovely Sunday morning longing for the golf course.  So I was thinking there should be one right next to the church.  I can just imagine that moment of indecision on Sunday mornings (the clubs are probably already in the trunk...along with the plaid pants and white shoes...).

It's a given that I would add a horse (and an apple snack stack) in the quilt.  My daughter rides and loves horses.  The additions are mostly glue basted, I still need to stitch them down and embellish with embroidery.

I have been thinking hard, trying to find some humorous inspiration for a church sign.  If anyone has a suggestion, I'd love your help/input.  This block will be positioned between the golfing and redneck house, if that gets your creative juices flowing.  LOL

The redneck block is now completely finished!  Only two more to finish.

The new washer is in and I'm trying to decide if I like it.  It is a high efficiency model with no agitator.  It uses very little water.  I gently pre-wash all my fabric.  It removes some of the excess sizing and dye (which my skin is sensitive to) and cuts down on later shrinkage and fading (and freezer paper and fusible materials adheres better when ironed onto washed fabric). 

I used to just put the appropriate amount of water in the tub, dump in some fabric, let it soak a while with no soap, hand-agitate a little, then spin and dry.  Of course, my husband usually walks by while I am hand-agitating and he quips something like, "you know...I think those machines will do that for you..."

He's hilarious.

I inherited this pile of scraps some time ago and decided I'd experiment on them.  They got a little stringy...I sort of expected that...should have put them in a lingerie bag.  Then I tried a very large (6+ yards) piece of new backing.  I ended up pinking the edges first.  It went well.

I tried using the "quick wash" cycle and I never really knew what was going on in there (it locks the lid so I can't just open up and take a peep).  I'm going to have to experiment further.  Any suggestions?

I am so close to finishing the last 3 blocks of this quilt.  I am also going back and adding a few things to the other finished nine blocks...just some animals and the odd piece of lawn art.  How I am going to do the sun is slowing me down.  Then I can add the "road" skinny stop border, the outer border, and the cars.  I can't wait to do the cars!!

Barb over at Fun With Barb has a great blog and recently posted about finding her favorite thimble.  When I saw the picture of it, I understand why she was so is beautiful!  It made me start thinking about my favorite thimbles (and wanting one like hers...covet-lust-drool-covet-lust-drool). 

The thing on my finger is a reusable leather adhesive pad called 'Thimble Pads' from Colonial Needle.  I like to use them sometimes when I am hand appliqueing or binding.

The one on the left was my Grandmother's thimble (on my mom's side).  It is only shiny where it is handled a lot.

The middle thimble is one of the three Roxanne's thimbles I have purchased over the years.  It is brass.  I also have a gold plated one and a silver one.  I was really disappointed with the gold one, as the plating blistered and peeled off on the inside and now turns my finger green!  Ick!  The silver one has lost it's luster on the inside, but is still satisfactory.  The brass one has been better, though more expensive.

I LOVE my Roxanne's thimble (can also be purchased through Colonial Needle), but the weight can be a little trying sometimes, especially in cold, dry seasons.  I was teaching a hand quilting class one time, and I was apparently gesturing too wildly with my hands, trying to make some stupid point.  The heavy brass thimble flew off my finger and hit one of my students in the chest!  I was mortified!

I've started licking my finger before putting it on to create a suction...pretty unsanitary now that I think of it.  That's probably not good for the inside surface.  I was very careful in choosing the size, but we all know that our fingers vary in size from day to day (one reason I have 3 thimbles - 3 different sizes).

Every now and then I finish another basket...this is a slow, slow, long term project.

We have snow on the ground now and will be under a Winter Weather Advisory tonight for 4-5 more inches(of course - it is band Solo and Ensemble competition weekend, and the weather is traditionally bad that weekend every year...sigh).  I hope you folks on the northeast are coping with your snowy just can't seem to get a break!

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

Monday, January 24, 2011

The giveaway winners (yes - two of you!)...

I am overwhelmed by all the kind/funny comments posted on Stash Manicure and here on Fabric Therapy over the weekend.  It is all very humbling, indeed!  I still think of myself as a newbie/clumsy blogger.  We are truly a fabulous sisterhood of the traveling needle, brought closer by this world wide web!

All of this prompted me to do a bit more file purging last night to come up with a second giveaway of some more new/old patterns.

(Weasely guards the new loot as he continues to try to completely close my original, first idea book with all his might and weight...this overstuffed journal is twice as fat at the open edge as it is at the spine!)

Anyway, on with the results!  My daughter is home from school today (teacher record day, or something like that), so she has drawn two names from the combined comment list generated on both Stash Manicure and Fabric Therapy.  Drum roll, please...

Mommarock has won the original giveaway (5 new/old patterns, fat quarters and notions).


Dizz2u has won the patterns Weasley is guarding, pictured above.

I will send both of you an email shortly so you can "reply" with your snail mail address.  Then loot will come in the mail (always fun to get loot in the mail!).

Thank you to everyone who took the time to comment, and thanks to Madame Samm and Stash Manicure for the opportunity to share some of my compulsive organizing and quilting!  I will be back on Stash Manicure in February. 

Got more stitching done on the redneck house block this weekend...nothing that really shows up in a picture.  There's not much visibly different between the glue baste stage and the stitching stage.  Then, this happened...

The washer died.  I was pre-washing a large piece of quilt background when it happened.  THANK GOD I made the responsible decision (this weekend, anyway) to wash the small mountain of family dirty laundry FIRST before washing fabric!!  (Usually NOT the case...LOL!)

I had to wring out a 6 yard piece of fabric before drying it, but at least it wasn't clothing...I mean, I'll do a little hand washing of FABRIC, but I wouldn't have been happy finishing a load of undies in the laundry sink.

Anyway, after a trip to the local Sears store, a replacement was picked out and paid for.  I guess when I hear next months economic news for "durable goods," I can proudly say that we helped out a little!  We got 15 years out of the old one, so I shouldn't complain, and we are replacing this with one of those high efficiency, agitator-less, top-loading, energy and water saving types.  Good for the economy and good for the earth...just bad for the pocketbook!

Appliance shopping sure bit into my sewing time...and so did this...

Hubby and daughter have been hinting at homemade pizza with stuffed, wheat crust for a while, so since the afternoon was already "a wash" with the unexpected appliance shopping, I gave in.  They live with my stash and quilting habit...they need to be nurtured and loved.

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

Friday, January 21, 2011

In touch with my redneck roots...

Howdy!  Let's face it...we can't outrun our roots, our up-bringing, our heritage.  It's a part of us no matter how far away from home we roam.  Check out my redneck clothesline.

Some has been stitched, some is waiting to be stitched.  It's going to be in the front yard of my hick house, which I have added to "All Around the Town," a vintage BOM by Sue Garmon.  I've adapted one of the last blocks to reflect my Alabama roots, complete with some scrabbly pine trees.  I'm sure Sue is much too fine a person to stoop to such depths of design, so I just had to! 

Many people have asked about this pattern (without my perverse changes and additions, of course).  It was a BOM offered by Quakertown Quilts in Houston, TX a few years ago.  It is still commercially available from their site here in a set for $60.00.  Due to the interest, I've decided to do a give-away of the pattern when I finish with it in February (thanks for the idea, Meredith!).  So stay tuned!

There is still more work to do on this block (like embroider that poor chicken some legs), but I just had to share the progress.  Now, certainly I did not grow up with my undies flappin' and dryin' in the breeze in the front yard of our house and we had indoor plumbing (and no old, broken-down pickup truck on blocks in the front yard), but I have to admit that you do see this from time to time when driving through the lovely state of Alabama.  To be fair, I've seen this sort of thing in every state I've driven through in this country, including Michigan, where I reside now.  Redneck is not just a southern affliction.

I looked up redneck in the dictionary.  Most definitions use words like narrow, reactionary, rural, bigoted, working class, conservative, unsophisticated, prejudiced, white, uneducated and farm laborer.  Jeff Foxworthy certainly elevated (?) rednecks with his "You know you're a redneck if..." jokes (...if you go to a family reunion looking for a date...).  Redneck, more literally, refers to someone repeatedly laboring in the hot sun without proper sunscreen and/or neck coverage.

I've always associated rednecks with a certain swagger, a good-ole-boy (or girl!) with a beer in one hand, chewing on a toothpick, and a Marlboro hanging from the bottom lip.  They are usually good-natured and would give you the undershirt off their back if you needed it.  It is in that spirit that I decided a redneck house needed to be settled right next to one of the other blocks I'm working on...this nice, neat, pious little church.  Ooooo...I bet the tongues will be wagging after Sunday services ("just look at the state of that house" and "well, I never..."), all in good fun with a sense of community and brotherly love, of course.  Just like I heard once, "if you don't have anything nice to say, come sit by me..."

This block still needs a few things and definitely some sheep in the neighboring pastures (and a cross on the steeple!).  Maybe the church needs one of those church signs with a clever saying or name of the upcoming sermon on it (any ideas??).

I am guest posting again on Stash Manicure today, Saturday, January 22.  Check it out!  I did a purge of some of my quilting pattern files and came up with the following five unused patterns.  I'm also including a short stack of new Halverson light chocolate fat quarters, a bottle of Roxanne's Glue Baste (which is what I use instead of pins in my!), and a tube of my favorite Jeanna Kimball straw needles (thanks for turning me on to these, MaryLiz!). 

Leave a comment here at Fabric Therapy or on my Saturday post at Stash Management before 9:00 AM, Monday, January 24 to be entered in the drawing.  These patterns are lovely and you may find them to be just what you needed.  

In stitches,
Teresa   :o)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Baby steps...

I'm making baby step progress on the 10th block of my "All Around the Town" by Sue Garmon.  I've appliqued aspects of the house, but still need to applique it to the background.  I went a little nuts and added window box gardens with embroidered Marigolds and a cobblestone sidewalk. 

I've only had little chunks of time to sew over the past few days, but I've really taken advantage of those stolen moments working on this block and the last two.  Since I'm making a few modifications, I have to work on them together to make sure the changes will work between the 3 blocks.

I've also prepped my letters for my word border for my chocolate bunny quilt.  Now I need another 30 minute chunk of time to finish the initial glue work.  I can't wait to spread them out on the border fabric to see what the phrase will really look like (Just hand over the chocolate...and no bunny gets hurt!)

Is this pitiful, or what?!?  This is Weasley's favorite spot in winter.  Right under my feet at the kitchen sink where there is a heat register to blow on his abundant belly. be a cat...zzz...

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)