Monday, November 24, 2008

Hunting Weekend Wrap Up

I'm combining days 4 and 5 since there isn't so much to say about those days. I heard from the hunters, they are on their way home. Their group of 9 or 10 hunters pretty much got skunked. They only got one deer so I don't think they'll be coming home with any meat. They "party hunt" so share the yield among them, but since we have four in our family hunting again here in Illinois in two weeks, my husband may have declined any of the meat. I'll find out about that when they get home.

Yesterday, I machine quilted the bag and assembled it. All that remains on this is folding over the tabs on top to make the handles and making a fabric covered cardboard stabilizer for the bottom. Wooden dowels are inserted from strap to strap to carry it. I really enjoyed quilting on this, having found just the right setting so as not to get tucks and puckers as I quilt. I'm going to pull fabric to make one of these for me, too.

I also hand quilted on Noah's quilt, which is coming along nicely. This is for Christmas, so I have plenty of time. At the moment I have nothing else on my agenda as far as Christmas quilting, though once I start examining my list I may come up with a few small things. I should have plenty of time.

This weekend was all I'd hoped for and more. I always have big plans for how much I expect to accomplish and high hopes for how the kids will behave, and usually the weekends are very good. This one really couldn't have been much better. I worked long and hard on Friday and Saturday, yesterday and today were a decidedly more relaxed pace. While I look forward to the other half of my family arriving home, from the time they arrive until next Monday will be quite chaotic.

With my husband's van (died the day they left) and my son's car (died the night before they left) out of commission, getting everyone where they need to go tomorrow may be a challenge. If possible I may do my grocery shopping tomorrow, leaving me Wednesday to bake for Thanksgiving. If I can't go tomorrow, the shopping AND baking will need to be done Wednesday and the shopping will have to be worked around having a car.

Thursday, of course, I'll be cooking all day. Friday we may get together with friends and my son's friends decided they all had to try the turkey soup my son bragged about, so I'll be making that on Saturday and hosting a bunch of young men for dinner.

Once Sunday dinner is made and cleaned up, I should be able to relax, but there won't likely be much time before then. I'll be able to squeeze in a bit of quilting time, but it will be spent going over details in my head so that nothing falls through the cracks for the remainder of the week.

For now, it's time to take adavantage of the few hours of relative peace and quiet I have left. I'll put my feet up and hand quilt, make a simple dinner and squeeze in a bit more quilting before my sewing area is bombarded by duffel bags and gun cases. Just thinking about it makes me smile.
Happy Quilting!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Hunting Weekend Update - Day 3

I decided to write my day 3 update as I finish things so if it seems disjointed, that's why. I've been doing them in the morning, but Sunday morning we have church and Rebekah and Brian will be coming for dinner after church. I may not go as I still have a hefty cough that will be quite disruptive if I can't keep it at bay for the hour, but want to be able to post tonight in case I'm able to go.

11:30am First item checked off my list is marking the border of a table runner. I tested this for Tyanne some time ago. The quilting on this will be mostly outlining except for the border. It's very long, so I can't get a picture of the whole thing without it being distorted, but you get the gist!

12:55pm I've just finished a bunch of prepwork. These are things that I hoped to have finished before this weekend even started, but I was thwarted by the flu. The backs are now ready for nearly all the things that I want to baste. I have one more piece to mark (a piece of fabric that will be made into a bag, so will be marked with 1 1/2 to 2 inch cross hatching) and then I can start the basting process.

2:35pm The bag fabric is marked with 1 1/2 inch diamond shaped cross hatching. Now the basting can begin. I needed the table to be cleared off for marking, so I'm ready to go. This is the part I've both been looking forward to and dreading at the same time. I know that my back will ache and my fingers will be sore by the time it's all finished, but in the end I will have a pile of quilts ready for hand quilting.

3:40pm Noah's quilt is basted. Yay! That went a lot faster than I expected. I do pin baste a lot of the time these days, mostly for the time aspect. As I move the hoop, the pins within that area are removed, so once I finish the pins are out. Since this is for Christmas, the Joyful quilt will be put aside for now and I'll work on this one.

4:40pm The bag has been pinned and is ready for machine quilting.

5:00pm I just finished basting the table runner.

Now for the biggest project of the day, basting the ring flower quilt. This one will need to be thread basted, because I don't have enough pins, LOL, and it will likely be a longer term quilting project. I don't like to have pins in something for a long time, so will thread baste if I know I won't be doing something right away. This one is big, 92 x 92, so it will take a while. Hopefully I'll be able to get everything aligned properly the first time. Lately large quilts have been giving me fits when it comes to basting and I end up pulling basting and re-aligning at least once. I'm really hoping that doesn't happen this time!

It's 12:43am and I'm not quite ( but almost) finished basting the ring quilt. It's not been without it's problems. I very carefully laid everything out and basted a big middle section only to find that I'd mismeasured the backing and it was short on two sides. Ugh. I added a strip to each side and went along my merry way. I was nearly finished when I realized that somehow I ended up with a big tuck in the back so I've had to pull some threads and readjust, but I think I can now finish up.

Once finished, I may just sit for a bit and then go to bed. If I get a second wind, I'm going to set my machine up and do a bit of machine quilting on the bag or do some hand quilting on Noah's quilt.

Ruthie and Lucas have been great, hanging out with me and doing some of their own thing, allowing me to get so much done.
With just a few more lines to baste, I'm just about finished and am so glad. My back is protesting all the hours spent basting today, my bed is sounding better and better!
Happy Quilting (or sleeping!)

Hunting Weekend Update - Day 2

The day was all I'd hoped for. Lucas and Ruthie were great. I took a break from sewing at 5:00 and took them to McDonald's for dinner. I promised Lucas we would go there. I finished Noah's quilt top and was really happy with the end result.

This is on the list to baste today.

My list of things I accomplished yesterday is small, only two things, and I was so surprised to figure that out as I kept pretty busy the whole day. The other thing I did was put a new border on the ring quilt. This one has been bothering me since I put it on. I didn't like it the day I did it and pulled it out several times hoping that it grew on me, but it just didn't. The older border is on the left.

It can barely be seen in the picture, but the outer border is a deep rose color. It looks even more "off" in the picture than in person. I pulled that one off and left the floral border. I added just a white border and kept the rose colored binding I made as I like darker colors for binding. If that doesn't look right once I'm done, I'll make new, but I think it will be ok. Here is the corner of the quilt with the new border. I also marked this border (and the inner, floral border) last night, which took longer than I expected it to. I like it this way much better and am glad that I changed it.

I have a long list of things that I hope to get done today, including a bit of baking, so I'd better get to it. I slept later than I expected, so already feel a bit behind. I was tired yesterday so felt like I was a little slow at getting things done, we'll see how the day goes today!
Happy Quilting!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Hunting Weekend Update - Day 1

It was a long haul getting here. Right after my last post I got hit with a bout of the flu like I've never had. It started with a tightness in my chest, a horrible cough, a fever and bodyaches and I'm really just feeling myself again.

As the Mom, there are still things that need to be done. It was Ruthie's birthday on Sunday, so no hiding in bed that day.

All that got done last weekend was what was absolutely necessary. I had a whole list of things that I wanted to have ready for me to work on this weekend, so each day that ticked away without me making any progress made me a little sad.

Finally Wednesday I was feeling well enough to get some work done. I did the cutting for Noah's quilt. He's the little boy I babysit for and I've decided to make him a quilt for Christmas. I also unsewed the border on the quilt that I want to baste so it's ready for a new border.

The Posy and Celtic quilt will not be put together this weekend as the blocks aren't done. That was my biggest disappointment from being sick all week, as I had planned to have them done by the time everyone left.

They finally got on their way about 3:20, nearly an hour late because my husband's work van broke down on the way to the job we do together. The transmission went out and we can't afford to fix it...and even if we had enough it's not worth dumping that much money into a beater van. So again, I'm carless as he'll need my van for work until we come up with something else. We may fix our mini-van, but I'm sure that won't happen until after the holidays if that's the route we go. If we do that, he'll still be using our full sized van as he has equipment to carry along and I'd be driving the minivan (which I love.)

I spent all day Wednesday making food for them to take along, Thursday I made a big batch of this for nibblers for us. Meals will be quite easy this weekend, except for a bit nicer meal Sunday, so I can make the most of sewing time. For our first day I bought fried chicken from the Meijer deli (so good!)

I'm keeping a nice crystal bowl of my nibblers nearby, unless I start to gorge on them. So far, a piece here and there is all it took to keep me satisfied and I'm so focused on my sewing that I'm having to remind myself to eat. Keeping my portions reasonable has been quite easy, what with being sick and now being busy. I'm hoping to move into the holidays with some good habits in place.

As for the sewing, I started the day with all the pieces cut for Noah's quilt and ended it (at 2am) like this. The last two seams to sew to finish up the blocks are being worked on right now, while I wait for pictures to load. My machine is acting up, though, so I'm having to make some adjustments before I can move on. I'm hoping to be rolling along again soon. I have a huge list of things I hope to get done today and tomorrow and I feel like I have an extra day. All day yesterday felt like Friday, so it's Friday again!
Off I go. I'm hoping to update at the end of each night or first thing the following morning. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


It's coming :) Now only 9 days away with all the pieces falling into place. We make easy meals, watch lots of movies, I stay up as late as I can and I sew as much as possible. I have quite a list of things I hope to work on while they are all gone.

Hunting weekend is as close as I get to a vacation a lot of years and I use it like a quilting retreat. Since I have to sing at church on Sunday this time, it does thwart my plan a bit as this means getting up early both Saturday and Sunday, as Saturday we practice and Sunday we arrive early to make sure all is in order.

They were debating on whether to leave Thursday afternoon (preferred by them and me) or early Friday morning, but a few things have happened that make leaving Thursday much more doable. My husband was momentarily put out with me when I told him I was hoping they leave on Thursday, LOL.

I knew that them leaving Friday meant that Thursday would be much more difficult for me. It meant cooking a big dinner Thursday instead of an easy meal. It meant the hunting gear piling up in the main area of the house...including my sewing area...and also meant that I'd have to really focus to get any sewing done on Thursday night as it would be completely chaotic in here until everyone went to bed and by the time I settled and focused there wouldn't be much time.

With them leaving on Thursday afternoon, I get an extra evening out of the deal. While I babysit until 5:30, if they are gone mid-afternoon that means an easy meal and getting my focus together while my little charge is here. I can begin to lay out my projects for the evening and be ready to roll when he is picked up. It also means staying up late without the worry of disturbing the sleeping hunters and no concern of being woke up early in the morning while they prepare to leave, which would have hampered my sewing later in the day.

Hunting weekend is like my last hurrah before the busy-ness of the holidays starts. I promised Lucas McDonald's for dinner one night. Our tight budget doesn't allow for meals out very often so it's been ages since we've been there.

Rebekah and her boyfriend will be here for dinner one of the days, but she'll help and we're doing a fairly easy and definitely fun meal.

Lucas is looking forward to "fun" food....he's helping to pick out the meals. I'm looking forward to major sewing time.

Usually I have something big in mind for that weekend, often some kind of marathon project having to do with Christmas or something new that I know I need to concentrate on with as few interruptions as possible.

This year, I have a whole list of things I hope to get to. The main thing is basting a couple of big tops. I pulled out 3 tops to baste, but will probably only have batting for two. One, I've decided, is going to need a different outer border. The border on it is what is keeping me from wanting to quilt on it so I'm going to have to pull it off and see what I can figure out. I may just go with white and a nice feathered quilting design and use the dark pink that is there now for the binding.
I was also hoping to put together the Posies and Celtic top, but I'm not sure if I'll have the blocks done in time. Once the top is together there is a lot of celtic applique work to be done, so this is a huge, ongoing project at this point. I do still have time, I'm just not sure if I can get the joyful quilt quilted in time to also get the posy blocks done.

If I'm careful with my time, I may be able to get both the "Joyful" quilt quilted AND the posy blocks done before next Thursday, which would be really wonderful. I'm a little afraid of splitting my time too much and having neither done. I guess when I think about it, the posy blocks should probably be the priority since finishing them means being able to move on. I can always quilt on the "Joyful" quilt whenever I need a few minutes to sit with my feet up.

Also on the list for that weekend is some work on the next strip block quilt. I have one seam sewing, so the large "background" triangle and one strip are on the paper foundation. There is considerably less piecing to do on these blocks as compared to the strip quilt I just finished. I could realistically make quite a dent in these.

Another thing I really need to get finished that weekend is the top for a quilt for the little one I babysit for. I'd like to give him this for Christmas so it's important for me to get it ready for quilting as soon as possible. I haven't even started this one, yet, but perhaps in the next few days when my fingers are too sore to sew or I'm too tired to sew any more I will pull out some books and fabric to see what I can come up with.

Just writing about it all really is getting me excited. In light of all the positive things going on here lately, I'm particularly looking forward to this (hopefully) relaxing weekend! I don't know that I ever get quite as relaxed as my daughter!

Speaking of that, it will be interesting to see how I sleep this time. Generally, I enjoy the few nights of having the bed to myself, stretching out, not having someone else pulling on the blankets, and just leaving the TV on if it's helping me to sleep.

I usually don't sleep all that well when he's gone, though. Lately, I've needed more sleep than I used to. I was hoping to be one of those people that needs less sleep as they age, but I think my years of losing sleep in the night over kidlets has caught up to me!

If I can't sleep, but can be productive, all the better for me. If I can't sleep but am too tired to get anything done, I will be disappointed. It won't be long now until I find out which way it will go.

And now, if I'd like to make any progress on anything today, it's time to scoot. I was babysitting but he just got picked up, and otherwise it's a fairly quiet day here which should mean some nice quilting time. It's cold and rainy and just perfect for curling up under a quilt with some handwork and a hot beverage. I'll do just that!
Happy Quilting to all,

Monday, November 10, 2008

I Lied

I said my next post was going to be about hunting weekend, but there have been a couple of posts since then and here is another. There has been so much going on all of a sudden that I haven't gotten to that one, but it will come in the next day or so as I'm finally starting to focus on it.

The strip quilt is done and has moved on to it's new home. I gave it to my daughter to bring to her boyfriend's house for a couch quilt.

I'm REALLY liking these. They are great scrap users, are really heavy and warm, in part because of so many seams, and they are so easy to make and quilt. I love the back of this one. The strips are 3/4 inches wide and I quilted just next to the seam so the quilting lines are 3/4 inch apart.

I'm hoping to spend a good part of the next couple of days quilting so that I can finish the "joyful" quilt I'm working on by hunting weekend. It's not very big, so this is doable if I spend my usual quilting time.

I have an old project pulled out to quilt on as soon as the current one is finished. The hanger full of binding has been taunting me, it's time to finish up some of those older projects!

I've also pulled out 3 tops that I'd like to baste. I'll probably only have batting for two of them, but we'll see how that goes. With two of them basted, I'll have my winter quilting cut out for me, and there are also a few other smaller things that are already basted and can be quilted, things like placemats and small wallhangings.

I'll finish up with some Ruthie pictures. She asked to have her picture taken in this hat.

And a couple of sleeping pictures. Lucas has one of those backrest things on his bed and she loves that spot during the day if she's watching movies. If it's mid to late afternoon when she works her way up there, I can be pretty sure she'll fall asleep. Usually I know if she's fallen asleep just because of the length of time she's quiet, but other times she'll take a short cat nap. That is usually followed by her coming out of her room, sleepy-eyed and smiling, saying "eep" (sleep) to tell me she'd just taken a nap.

She was completely out of it for this nap!

I'm finally feeling like the cloud is being lifted. We still have work to do around here and things that need to be taken care of, but the return of the van, the fixing of our furnace (I was relighting the pilot during the night all last winter, by the end of the winter I was having trouble lighting it at all) and a few other positive things, I'm cautiously optimistic that things are on the upswing, after 8 or so long years of difficulty. Time will tell! In the meantime, I have quilts calling my name and the next couple of days should afford me a fair amount of quilting time. Time to get to it!
Sue and Ruthie

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Giveaway Gift

I was so excited to receive my October Giveaway package in the mail! Sunny pulled my name in her giveaway and this was my awesome prize. The little fabric basket is where I keep my handquilting supplies, the fabrics will be used in my next strip quilt and the book is chock full of templates and even includes a few quilting stencils. The little notebook is in my purse, perfect for keeping track of what quilting supplies I need or what fun little things I find while I'm out and want to remember. Thanks so much, Sunny!


Friday, November 7, 2008

Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus

Our van is home. I'm writing this at 12:43am because at 11:45 our oldest daughter walked in and announced "the van is here" as casually as if she was saying it's chilly outside. "The van is here?" I repeated, as if trying to decipher unfamiliar words. She nodded, smiling.

"OUR van is here?" I asked again. She laughed and said she'd driven it home.

My husband was really hoping it would be here for hunting weekend, I was beginning to doubt it was fixable at all and most certainly not in the next couple of weeks. I can't sleep and may not be able to unless I go out there to have a look. I peer out my window only to see a vaguely familiar shape in our driveway.

I'm afraid to drive it. I can't wait to drive it. The kids don't even know it's here, yet. Somehow I have to sleep tonight.

Seriously, though, I thank everyone who prays for us. It's appreciated more than you know and right now I feel like the van in my driveway is a promise and a tangible answer to prayer.