Wednesday, December 13, 2017

On Ringo Lake, Part 3

I admit it. I’m struggling to keep up with the clues to Bonnie Hunter’s On Ringo Lake Mystery Quilt Along. The biggest problem is my right arm. So much repetition makes it throb then go numb (hands, shoulder). Past injuries and carpal tunnel. So I’m doing an hour or two per day and using lots of Ibuprofen. This, too, shall pass. But I’m having fun and loving my fabrics.  Here are the component parts. They’re not all sewn and trimmed yet, but I will get there over the next couple days, before the release on Friday of Clue #4.

Linking up to Bonnie Hunter’s Part 3 Linky Party HERE.

Christmas is done other than baking some biscotti for neighbor and friend gifts. The hardest part was just deciding what to do, hence my late start. I’m going to see if my granddaughter Lauren (13) will have time next week to help me once she is out of school for the Holidays. She’s a gymnast/cheerleader and has lots of friends and commitments, so fingers crossed.   And I bet we will add sugar cookies to the baking list for her family and friends! But in the meantime, I have collected the recipes and will be buying the supplies. I’m excited. Lauren, you may remember, helped me paint Ringo the wooden cockatiel last summer HERE. (Scroll to the end to see Ringo). Over the years, Lauren and I have made pincushions, garden art, sewed backpacks and pillows and made cookies. We always go out to lunch and have a fun time.

The Tulip Quilt is finished, and my friend Terri did a fantastic job with the binding. I will share pictures on my Saturday post.

I hope you’re enjoying the Season!

Cathy maroon
Saturday, December 9, 2017

Starry, Starry Day

So much sewing this week, but not a lot of finished results to show for it. But our annual family FIESTA is today, and I spent a good part of the week in preparation for that. In addition to some housework (have to break down and do it sometime), there was a lot of prep and cooking of the enchiladas, fajitas, mole’, etc etc. Today I still have to wrap Christmas presents for the grandkids - the best place for them is under the tree, wrapped, to avoid curious eyes and little snoopers. Of course, I will outsmart them by writing their names on the tags in shorthand so no one will know what belongs to whom.  HA!

OK, so let me start with the most underwhelming things first. My brother, who is living with us until spring, needed some flannel pajama bottoms for our cold winter. Thanks to JoAnn’s Black Friday sale (which started on Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, when there were no crowds), I bought some FUGLY flannel for him. PJ bottoms made. He loves them.

I also worked and finished up my Clue #2 to Bonnie Hunter’s On Ringo Lake Mystery Quilt-Along, and that was detailed in my last post. Just lots of coral-colored geese.

And then your Christmas fabrics overflow-eth, make table toppers and runners! I have NO Christmas table runners, so I did get a start on one, using my oldest scraps. It’s a basic patchwork of light and neutral background squares onto which I fused/stitched holly leaves and berries.

The red and green are left over from Steve’s quilted Christmas stocking that I showed last week. It’s pin basted, and the backing will fold over as the binding/facing once quilted. Should be quick work to finish this up tomorrow. And then maybe I can pull some cute scraps out and work on something more fun!

The Tulip Quilt is quilted and delivered to my friend Terri, who will be binding it this week in preparation for Christmas gifting to our friend Diane. Terri will get a finished picture and send it to me so that I can post it here in the next next week or two. We plan to have a luncheon get-together (the three of us ladies plus our hubbies, The Muddy Gutter Boys) before Christmas to exchange gifts.

And Friendship Stars is coming along. I’ve finished the green round of stars and have moved on to the next ring, which is red and orange. It’s grown enough now that I have to hang it sideways on my design board.  Linking up to Scrappy Saturday at Angela’s blog.

The pattern, with the movement of the white patches, is very forgiving overall. The myriad seams, which are crazy-awful to press, help line things up as one is sewing. There are a lot of cut-off points and not-perfect seams, but they get lost in the busy-ness of it all. I’m loving it, even though it is far from smooth and flat. But all that will be inconsequential once it is quilted and washed. And my thoughts are turning to..... how should I quilt this?  I’d welcome your thoughts.

Once the flimsy is sewn, it will go on the back burner until January so that I can begin putting together my Plus Quilt top. Or start the promised Hot Rod Quilt for my brother (groan). I’ve collected the fabrics for that, and narrowed the design ideas down to a couple, and am running out of excuses not to start it. The up-side to the hot rod quilt is that my dread is inversely proportional to his excitement, so I’ll be focusing on his excitement to carry me through. :-)

Cathy maroon
Wednesday, December 6, 2017

On Ringo Lake Part 2, plus Belated November Recap

I’m still playing along with Bonnie Hunter’s “On Ringo Lake” Myster Quilt-Along. The instructions for Part 2 are on her site, but suffice it to say that there are thousands of us all over the world are stitching up a plethora of flying geese units! This time around there are so many that the cutting and sewing was quite challenging. But they’re done and pressed, but not all trimmed yet. In the meantime, I am linking up to Bonnie’s Part 2 show and share post HERE.

And today I’ll finish quilting the loopy lines on the Tulip Quilt so I can drop it off to my friend Terri for binding (then washing and wrapping) for our friend Diane’s Christmas present. We will make sure to get a picture of the finished quilt first!  :-)

I forgot to tally up my quilting and weight loss progress for November and post it last Saturday, which was the last Saturday in November. So now is as good a time as any. The color of the month for our Rainbow Scrap Challenge in November was dark neutrals - black, brown, dark grays. Although I didn’t use up all of my scraps, I did sew 12 brown bow ties, 26 black bow ties, 4 brown strings blocks.

And my weight loss continues, slow and steady, just the way I want it. I lost 4.8 pounds in November. But I lost too many of those pounds in the last week when I was sick (over 3) and did gain one back when I started eating again. No surprise there. I’m still down a total of about 29 pounds since June. And I’m loving the new Weight Watchers Freestyle program that they introduced here in the US this week (earlier in the fall in the UK). We don’t have to track the no-point foods (fruits, veggies, eggs, fish, chicken and turkey breast, and most beans, etc.  We still track foods not on those lists (fats, dairy, breads, potatoes, rice, pasta, etc), but it’s simpler. It’s all about the nutrition, which is why it works so well!  :-)  But if I’m being honest, I am craving some Kahlua and eggnog. Maybe ONE SMALL glass this season?

Cathy maroon
Saturday, December 2, 2017

Moving Things Along....

Nothing much got accomplished in the sewing department this week because I was hit with The Cold From Hell, complete with laryngitis. We had to reschedule our annual Fiesta with the family to next weekend. But I got a lot of good reading time, plenty of rest, and Bruce fixed dinner for three nights. And now that I’m feeling better today, it appears I’m no worse for the wear. In fact, if I weigh the plusses and minuses, I think it was a pretty good week! And I do have some things to share.

The Friendship Stars flimsy has begun.....  The yellow stars and most of the pink ones are sewn together. This is slow going because I didn’t trim them as I made them, knowing they would sit around for the better part of the year before assembly. So as I work on each group to attach, I must press, starch (with Best Press) and trim them. There are a lot of seams and it’s sometimes frustrating to figure out which way to press in order to nest them or otherwise reduce bulk. But it’s working so far.

But it will be a long process to finish this up!  In the meantime, why not join us over at Angela’s Scrappy Saturday link-up to see what everyone else is working on?

And I finished up Step 1 of the Bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilt, On Ringo Lake, and am now busy cutting out flying geese for Step 2.  I may or may not have a mid-week progress report on that. For now, there is nothing to show except a new rotary blade, LOL....

I did manage to work on a few things early in the week.  First, I made my brother a quilted Christmas stocking (ancient green and red fabric picked by him) to join the rest of the family stockings (assuming I can find them before Santa comes calling).....  The little stockings, which have since had rick rack hanging loops added, are ornaments which will hold gift cards. They have been filled and mailed to their recipients.

Did I mention that I am done with Christmas shopping already? We ordered the last of the toys from Amazon before Thanksgiving, and they have arrived. They'll be wrapped this week and put under the tree. Everything else was gift cards except the Fitbits I bought for daughter Megan and myself. We have 2 December birthdays (daughters Megan and Stacy),  but one wants a quilt and the other cash, so that’s easy.

I had ordered this gray reindeer fabric from Spoonflower last year, and made it into a cushion this week. I’m not crazy about the white-with-silver-swirls fabric I had to use at the ends, but needs must when you don’t have quite enough of the main fabric. It is now on a couch in the living room and looks cute enough.

And finally, I did this test block for a Rainbow Scrap 2018 project. Yep, I like it! I saw a quilt (no pattern or other information) online, so I worked out this block using a 2” grid. It will finish at 16”, so I guess I’ll be making 20 of them for a 64x80” quilt next year.

That about finishes it up for me this time. I plan to make a grocery store run today, then spend the afternoon sewing and listening to Christmas music. It’s heavenly to feel good again and have some energy!! Thanks for dropping by!

Cathy maroon
Monday, November 27, 2017

On Ringo Lake Mystery Quilt Part 1

Along with hundreds, if not thousands, of other quilters across the country/world, I am participating in Bonnie Hunter’s annual mystery quilt-along. This year, Bonnie’s inspiration was taken from a family visit to Minnesota and Ringo Lake.  The colors she chose were aqua blue, coral/melon, chocolate brown and neutrals of white to ivory. Since I always try to use my stash first, I switched the chocolate brown to dark grays. The colors look great together.

Our first step was to sew dozens of small nine-patches. Bonnie gave lots of great time-saving and accuracy tips for us, and in no time at all, my patches were finished and trimmed. I can hardly wait for Step 2, which will be released on Friday. I’m linking up to Bonnie’s weekly sharing post, HERE.

If you are new to my blog, welcome! I’m an avid quitter who blogs once or twice a week, mostly about my quilting. But sometimes I add in other creative pursuits (stitching, gardening), our cats’ antics, and occasionally personal stuff. 

Meanwhile this week, this is on the design board, just plastered up there. The blocks are only partially trimmed, and I’m just beginning to sew them together. It will basically be a medallion layout using most of the colors of the rainbow. Stay tuned!

And I’m quilting the Tulips quilt this week for a friendChristmas present. I really need to finish it off this week so I can pass it on to my buddy Terri to do the binding. Terri and I both sewed the tulips, then I sashed it. Now it’s basted and ready for quilting.

So much quilting, so little time!  See you back here on Saturday for Rainbow Scrap Saturday!

Cathy maroon
Saturday, November 25, 2017


I hope my American friends enjoyed a nice Thanksgiving. And for those of you outside the US, I hope it has been a wonderful week. We had a small gathering at our house - just Bruce and myself, my brother Steve and my son Shane and granddaughter London. The turkey was huge, and the appetites matched it. London, who is 8 now, helped me by setting the table and making a centerpiece of Thanksgiving decorations. I had made two pumpkin pies, then our wonderful neighbors brought over a huge Costco pumpkin pie as a “just because” gift. Needless to say, Shane and London went home with a pie and lots of leftovers. The weather was beautiful - clear and about 60 degrees, unseasonably warm. Just a great day all around!

I didn’t get much sewing done this week, but it was productive.  First, I finished Rainbow Selvages.

It finished at 60x72”. The backing is a piece of Tula Pink ponies fabric in gray and teal, and the binding is the same gray woodgrain fabric that I used on my Reading Rainbow quilt. I’m glad to have another Rainbow Scrap finish!  You can see other great work and finishes at the Scrappy Saturday linkup at Angela’s blog.

Reading Rainbow was also a Finish-Along goal of mine for 4th Quarter 2017.  It was #4 on the list published here.

And then I got Tulips basted. No quilting yet. With the Thanksgiving prep and celebration, I didn’t even get into the sewing room after Tuesday.

Yesterday, Black Friday, we took down and put away all the autumn decorations. But our first errand was to go to Costco, thinking we would be fighting crowds, to pick up a couple Fitbits (wristwatch-type fitness bands) for daughter Megan and me. We arrived 25 minutes early, thinking there would be lines for the 9:00 opening. But there weren’t. We sat in the car for 5 minutes, then did stand by the door for another 5 (third in the short line that was now forming), and at 8:45 they let us in. No mad rush. We got our 2 Fitbits, plus a couple Christmas movies, and there was not waiting even to check out.

So, we came home and moved the furniture out of the living room and then I vaccumed and we rolled up the big rug. I cleaned hardwood floors underneath and did a deep clean in the living room - shelving, windows, shutters.  Next, we rotated the rug, and then rearranged the furniture to make room for a Christmas tree. The guys brought up the boxes of decorations and the tree.  I did get all the decorations out, but lost steam and took a nap after that! Today I can set up and decorate the tree after I do some grocery shopping.

And then later today I will begin sewing the first clue to the On Ringo Lake mystery quilt from Bonnie Hunter. Fifty nine-patches. Christmas music is now allowed, and I’m excited to welcome back Michael Buble, Andrea Bocelli, The Chieftains, and Amy Grant (among others) to serenade me.

Have a wonderful week!

Cathy maroon
Friday, November 17, 2017

A Dark Week, In Color, Weather and Mood

This was another week of dark colors for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. Many of us are trying to finish up year-long rainbow quilt projects and making blocks from our dark black, brown and gray scraps. Perfect color choice for November, right? Why not join us over at Angela’s blog for Scrappy Saturday.

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“Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall”. The saying is taken from a song recorded in 1944 by Ella Fitzgerald (when she was with The Ink Spots) which, in turn, was taken from a line in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem entitled “Rainy Day”. (Yes, I had to look it up).  The line has pretty much summed up the last month for Bruce and me. I’ve mentioned before about a dear friend Colleen who died suddenly in late October and possibly about Bruce’s lifelong BFF who suffered a major stroke but is, thankfully, home and recovering nicely. And now our friend and neighbor - and honestly, a local “hero” - Cal, died this week. He is the one for whom I made a What Cancer Cannot Do quilt a couple years ago. Cal fought valiantly for 7 years, but lost the battle this week on Tuesday, the same day that sewing legend Nancy Zieman died. He was only 52. The rain and clouds this week have matched our moods. Things can only get better, right?  We’re counting on it!

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Back to what you’re probably here for!  These are the only dark scraps I got sewn up this week; 26 bow-tie blocks that will finish at 4”. That brings me to 240 of 304 needed.

I got both the Autumn Sampler and my Rainbow Selvages quilts basted. I should have the selvages quilt finished by next week to show you. I also pieced the tulip quilt top for a friend Diane. This is the one that my friend Terri and I are collaborating on for a Christmas present for Diane. We split the making of the tulips. Here it is without the final white sashing on the top and bottom.

I accidentally cut the vertical sashing 2.5” wide instead of 2”, so the top grew in width by an additional 4”. When the top and bottom borders are added, it will measure 72” wide and 88” long. That’s bigger than I like to quilt on my machine, but it will be perfect for Diane, who is tall. Once it is quilted, Terri will finish up the binding. But one way or another we will get a finished picture to share.

This week I also put together a trial quilt block for a project I’ll be working on next year. I have a huge store of vintage linens, both from my family and from years of collecting (and occasionally selling online). But some were just “cutter” quality, meaning they were stained or had bad parts with holes, etc. I wanted to give them a new life. So, this project will combine sweet little cotton fabric prints with bits and bobs of embroidered and lacy linens.

It will be a jumble of pieces, sizes and orientations. I’d like to make the blocks in sizes of 6, 9 and 12” so that they will hopefully be easier to sew together later. But who knows if the scraps will let me stick to that plan! I would also like to try a combination of machine quilting (in the ditch between blocks) and hand quilting and/or embroidery on the blocks. This would bring an element of crazy quilting into this piece for me, which is something I admit to missing after having not done any for a couple years. 

And finally, to beef up the visual aids on this post, here are some pictures of my “Teddy Bears". Alfalfa and Darla have taken to napping on our bed.  Both of these pictures were taken the same day - one in the afternoon and one in the evening. Because cats are Superstar Nappers.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! I’ll see you back here next week!

Cathy maroon