Sunday, June 28, 2009

Started Sashing the Quilt of Valor

I'm still missing one large and one small patriotic Ohio Star blocks needed to complete the Quilt of Valor, but I decided not to let that stop me from starting to sash the existing blocks. Sheila made up lots of red and blue sashing, and I've spent part of the day attaching it to one side of the large blocks. Looking at the individual blocks is a good way to identify virtually every possible paper piecing error known to quiltdom; however, when put together, this QOV is going to be one stunning quilt! All those lovely stars; it's going to be really beautiful.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Pencil Marks!

So, the Blanketeers inherited 7 "mostly made" (ha!) baby blankets, and I took one through to completion to see how it would go. The quilts came pinned wrong sides together with lots of pins. I serged around the outer edges of the first one (only slicing through one pin - oops) then turned it it inside out. Unfortunately, it had been sitting in the sun so long that the fabric had faded badly in places, though this only affected this first "test" quilt. That's not even the bad part, the bad part is that someone marked pencil lines (PENCIL lines!) to form quilting guides all over the top of the quilt. Ugh! Sadly, everything I've ever heard about the impossibility of removing pencil lines has proved to be all too true. And they weren't even terribly careful with their lines, in places there are multiple parallel lines, and I could only sew over one. The lines are not too apparent unless you look closely (and the fading on this one totally disqualifies it from wearng the Blanketeer label anyway IMHO) but the other 6 quilts have the same pencil marks all over. What to do? Anyone know how to get pencil marks out? I tried a direct application of OxyClean, no change. Sigh. We'll have to decide what to do with the remaining 6 quilts; I do NOT want them to become permanent fixtures in my closet!

Here you can see pencil marks in the top center vertical quilting line. There's a dark line along the top of each line on this side of the quilt.

Here you can see the large faded section in the middle of the quilt - for once it's not my poor camera or photography skills that are messing up!

And still more pencil lines. Not too noticeable from a distance, perhaps, but very obvious up close (you know, by where the baby would be!)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Blanketeer's - June Project Day

June 12th saw the Blanketeer's hard at work at the "Quilt in a Day" Project Day. Our goal is to complete 20 quilt tops for the USO reading program at DFW Airport before the July Blanketeer's meeting. Judging by the level of industry and enthusiasm, we shouldn't have any trouble meeting the goal. Brandy is in the foreground with Sheila hiding right behind her. (Thanks again to Brandy's church for letting us meet in this wonderful space!) There is Rachel hovering over her daughter, Veronica. Bea, Sheila's Mom, is sitting in front of Virginia P. (standing), Mary has her back to the camera and Virginia is facing her.

Here's Virginia hard at work on her block for the Peppers 'n Pinatas quilt effort that Brandy is chairing. We're so glad to have Virginia with us, since the last project day (fleece) Virginia had quadruple bypass surgery followed months later by an allergic reaction to an antibiotic that put her in the hospital almost the whole week I was in New York.

Look how pretty Virginia's block turned out too! (I need a better camera, my current one doesn't capture soft pastels very well at all.)

Here's Rachel and her daughter, Veronica, who joined us straight from driving up from school in College Station today to start her summer vacation. This was the first time most of us got to meet Veronica, and it was a great pleasure having her with us for the day.

Bea, Sheila's Mom, often makes it to our project days, and there is a very strong correlation between her being there and us getting lots accomplished! lol Bea is our most experienced quilter and is always happy to share her expertise. We almost got her to promise that she would teach us how to applique for our next Quilt of Valor project, if we promise not to paper-piece anymore stars. lol (Bea is a member of the Trinity Valley guild, and apparently their group projects have a heavy bias towards stars, so much so, that Bea is heartily sick of making stars, besides, she much prefers applique!)
Here's another picture of the back of Mary's head. Mary is new to quilting and made excellent progress on her "First Steps" quilt during the project day.

Here are Brandy (on the phone) and Sheila. I just noticed the TV behind Brandy. I never even saw it there before! We certainly didn't have cause to turn it on.

Here is Sheila with "Kissing Kitties", a "First Steps" inspired baby quilt. We were all admiring it as it was one of the first quilts completed, and the kitty-patterned fabric is adorable, when Sheila noted sadly that she didn't intend for the four patch "steps" to meet color-wise (aqua to aqua and purple to purple). I jokingly said, "Oh, that just makes it the Kissing Kitties Quilt", and a quilt was named forevermore. lol I think the colors are stunning. Sheila added the outermost border, which sets it off from every other "First Steps" quilt I've ever seen.

We were glad to have Karen join us at the end of the day, bringing the fruits of her machine quilting labors back to Sheila. (Karen very generously machine quilts any of the Blanketeer charity quilts for free - thanks, Karen!)

Here's what was in the bag. Check out the absolutely fabulous heart in a heart pattern quilted on the back of Sheila's panel quilts! Some happy little kids are going to be the lucky recipients of these beauties.

Virginia P. was soooo happy to finish her Quilts of Valor Ohio Star block. The last little bit gave her LOTS of trouble, but with some coaching she was able to easily finish it. What an accomplishment! And look how great her corners turned out. More paper-piecing, Virginia? lol

Here are Mother and Daughter holding up Bea's Dutch Girl quilt. Bea is hand quilting this for friends at church who are expecting a baby girl. We all oohed and aahed over it; it's really something special!

Here's a better picture of the Dutch Girl quilt. Isn't it lovely? I especially like the lace on the bonnets and the dresses. OK, Bea, you really need to teach us how to applique like that. Your skills are phenomenal!

Here's what Bea did on the project day. I think she called it Bales of Straw. It's a design of her own making and it looked just darling when it was done. I'm not sure how she's planning to quilt it. (I can see I forgot to ask lots of pertinent questions during my brief stint in photojournalism. lol Better not quit my day job!)

Here's Brandy's Delight (also named by yours truly, but sewn entirely by Brandy.) I just love the dimensionality of the design, the dark blocks seem to leap out at you in this picture. Brandy is a fellow stippler, and I can't wait to see the finished product.
Funniest thing heard at the Project Day: Rachel asking, "But, how do you get a stash (of fabric)?" Most of the rest of us just cracked up laughing, but Sheila I think it was, gave the best answer. She said, "You just buy the fabric that speaks to your heart, without any idea of how you're actually going to use it!" Perfect!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

International Siggy Swap - 2 New Siggies

June has been "in the pink" for siggies. I got this lovely heart siggy from Yvonne Albrechtsen, in return for one I sent her several months ago. I sent out a bunch in April and am still waiting for several to make their way back to me. Yvonne has given me hope that I'm not waiting in vain!

And here is a beautiful "Sunbonnet Sue" all the way from Switzerland, where it is probably much cooler than it is here in Texas today, though I really shouldn't complain when it's only in the 90's. Leyla Ferrari sent me this "Sue" out of the blue, so I have to hurry up and send one of mine back to her. I haven't had to do that in a while! Fortunately I still have a few all made up. I don't think anyone else has sent me a Sunbonnet Sue siggy, which is really surprising when you consider her popularity. I don't think I've ever been to a quilt show that didn't have multiple "Sue's" on display. A funny thing happened while I was on my 5 week hiatus from blogging - I got another follower! That totally cracks me up. I had sat at 11 followers for practically EVER, then I bug out for a while, and I get another one. Can it be that some of you like me better in abstentia? lol

I'm back!

OK, I've actually been back for the past month, but I've been too busy to blog. I've got lots of pictures to post from the last Blanketeer Project Day, I've gotten 4! quilt tops completed since then, completed a cute gift for my secret pal, and have received two international siggies. Plus, on the very last afternoon of our vacation in NY, Larry and I fell in love with a humongous work of art, which had to be shipped to Texas, professionally installed, and, oh yeah, paid for, lol. The artist's website is blocked at work (because it's an uncharacterized website, not because it's smut or anything) so I'm planning to blog about that too. I'll try to get caught up this weekend.

Oh yeah, and I've apparently gotten my own secret pal fired, since I reported that I had not heard a peep from her since early March. I'm afraid she must be very ill. Sigh, I wonder what the new one will be like.