Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Nice Afternoon

Today I took a quilting class at Ye Olde Schoolhouse. There were about 7 of us in the class. And, while we certainly didn't look anything like the ladies in the picture, the sense of "sisterhood" was there.

We learned how to use "jelly rolls" which are pre-cut 2 1/2 strips of coordinating fabrics - usually around 40" long and maybe 32 strips per roll. We had a choice of 2 projects - a lap quilt or a wall hanging.

I chose the wall hanging because I fell in love with the sample Jeannie has hanging in the store. It uses 1930s reproduction fabric, which I find myself being drawn to (jeez - another quilt idea!). I got as far as sewing 18 strips together and getting them all cut into 4 1/2" triangles. It is spread out on my dining room table and I will start to sew them together tomorrow. It should go pretty fast and I am looking forward to arranging the triangles into circles and seeing what colors/prints go best next to each other.

I only knew one of the other ladies in the class. We have a mutual friend and I have met Kay maybe 3 or 4 times in 30 some years, but it was nice to chat with her and her friends.

The class was only 2 hours, but we all stayed for at least another 3 1/2 hours. I enjoyed it so much. At one point while I was cutting (and cutting and cutting) I listened to the other ladies chatting, the hum of the sewing machines and laughter, women offering to help each other if we were stuck or had questions. I thought, "How many other women have gotten together like this over the years to quilt?" Probably millions. I know my mother, grandmother and great-grandmothers on my maternal side did. I have a couple of the quilts my mother and grandmother made to prove it. I felt a closeness, a kinship with these women I didn't know. Both present and past.

This is the best part about quilting. The sense of history. The sense of community. The sense of creating something not only useful, but beautiful. The sharing of stories, of ideas, of life. And, each quilt tells its own story.

It's a good feeling.

Poor Gracie

Gracie had surgery on Monday. I noticed a little growth on her leg and took her to the vet right away. He was concerned enough to want it removed and tested for cancer.

Gracie did great throughout the surgery. I got her home and she was just fine. Well, in true Gracie fashion, she did try to get pity from me, which wasn't too hard to do. However, after jumping on and off the bed as well as most of the other furniture, my feeling sorry for her didn't last too long! She will limp a little when first getting up if she has been sleeping, but otherwise I see no side effect other than trying to look pathetic. She does a good job, doesn't she?

Friday we went back to get the bandages changed. Hence the bright green bandage. The first one looked like army camouflage.

When I first got Gracie she was 1 1/2 years old. That was almost 8 years ago. At that time she had a slightly deformed nipple, which the vet told me to keep an eye on. Two years ago it became swollen and red so we had it removed. It was cancer, but the vet got it all and she has been just fine. Hopefully when we get the test results back from this latest growth, all will be well. I take her and Lucy Lou to Spirit of 76 Vet Clinic. They are the best ! Dr. Voss has been our vet the last couple of years, but all of the doctors there are great, as well as the support staff.

Lucy Lou doesn't seem overly concerned about Gracie's plight. She gave her a good sniffing when she came home after surgery, but in true Lucy Lou fashion nothing really bothers her.

Tomorrow Gracie takes the last of her pain meds and antibiotics. I should get the test results back in a few days and her stitches come out in another week. Let's hope this ordeal will all be over with then.

I've been a wreck!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Poop Patrol

I have two dogs, Gracie and Lucy Lou. Like good girls, they let me know when they need to go outside and are very good about not leaving messes in the house.

This past December we had lots and lots of snow. Now, my girls are "girly" dogs, and while Lucy Lou might tromp through the snow to find a good place to squat, Gracie prefers the concrete service walk. Which means that when I shoveled, I shoveled dog poop along with the snow, into the yard.

December was followed by a very cold January. No chance to get out there and pick up poop, let alone find it under the snow.

But, it has thawed this month and most of the snow is gone from my little yard. Unfortunately, the melting did not include the disappearance of the poop.

At work it has become a joke for those of us who have dogs to compare amounts of poop picked up on any given day. We all use the plastic grocery bags for this lovely job. And we all have different techniques. We have shared such poop pick up stories and hints, such as "Pick it up while it is still a little frozen as it will get mushy as the day goes on." Or, "grab some latex gloves for this purpose." And, "Yesterday I filled the bag almost to the top!" Yes, such intellectual conversation goes on within the fire department.
Today I am home early. I went to the doctor for sinus problems and have a touch of bronchitics (Thanks for the codeine Dr. Yan!). I stopped at the grocery store for last minute items as we are suppose to get a large amount of snow this weekend and I want to lay low and get better. But, before happily taking my first teaspoon of cough medicine I decided to fill up the bird feeders and, yes, do poop patrol in the yard.

For some strange reason doggie poop seems to multiply in my yard. I know my dogs habits, but there was more than what I feel is necessary for two relatively small dogs in just a few days. However, picking up their poop is a small price to pay for the love, devotion, laughter and pure joy theses dogs give me. As I finished my job and was walking back into the yard after dumping my nearly full bag into the trash can, I saw Lucy Lou raising up from the squat position and try to "bury" her . . . ah, leftovers.

Oh, well . . .

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Buckeyed Beauty

Last fall I took my second quilting class at Ye Olde School House in Hamilton, WI (Cedarburg). We made this Buckeye Beauty wall hanging.

However, the 4-week class stretched into a couple of months. I was sick, and then my father passed. By the time I had my last class it was after the holidays. My classmate, Lisa, who waited for me so we could finish together, couldn’t make our last class due to a car accident her daughter had. I’m still not sure if Lisa ever will finish this project. I hope so.

Anyway, the main body of the quilt is sewed from a “charm pack” which consists of approximately 32 pre-cut coordinating fabric squares produced by the fabric companies. While I like the fabrics in the charm pack I picked, the hanging is a little too busy for me. However, I do like the end result and am glad I decided to go with a black print boarder. The class taught us triangles, boarders and arranging fabric/colors into pleasing patterns, as well as the “star” feature. Again, my instructor was Diane, who is a wonderful teacher. I finally got the binding and pocket for hanging hand stitched to the back. The quilt was professionally quilted by Mary, who goes under the business of Meandering Mary, LLC. She doesn’t have a website, but her email is I think she did a fabulous job on this piece and am thrilled with the end result – mostly due to her expertise.

Here is a picture of it before the boarders were added. Big difference!

Details of the quilting. Double click to enlarge the picture.

As of today I have one queen sized quilt top (I call my dragon fly quilt due to the main fabric) on the way to be professionally quilted by Mary and another twin sized quilt being quilted at The Patched Works. This means, I better get the binding hand stitched on my mock basket weave quilt (see earlier post) and get it finished before the other two are done! By the way, that quilt turned out great, despite my finding a turned block at the quilters.

So, now I will finally (yes, I will, I really will) start my “friendship” star, queen size quilt. I have been putting that off for months. Making the “stars” scares me, so I will practice a couple on scratch materials. Since I have to make 72 blocks or a total of 72 stars to complete the quilt top, I have a feeling after the first few blocks I will be able to sew them in my sleep! When that quilt top is completed I have 9-patch all cut and ready to go. I start a “sampler” quilt class in March and have the material for that quilt all ready. Oh, and I have a baby quilt to make for Phil’s granddaughter, due in a few weeks.

Whoosh! So many quilts, so little time!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Purple People Eater

I finished up the last step - hand sewing the binding - on a twin size quilt I made. I call it my "purple people eater" quilt due to its color. I certainly hope those who sleep underneath it are safe and sound!

Hard to believe a quilt came out of those squares, but it did!

And here is the end result. It is the "furrows" pattern, which is the same pattern I used on the baby quilt (see older posts)

I am making at least 3 twin sized quilts for our future home. I plan to have a large bedroom in the "shabby chic" style. All will be different colors, but all 4 patch. The 2nd one is currently being cut and in blues and purples. I think the 3rd one will be in greens.

Left is the backing, which I love.

Right is a close up of the quilting, done by The Patched Works.

You can click on the pictures for a closer look.

I don't think Lucy Lou is very impressed with all of my hard work!