Friday, January 21, 2011

Lover's Knot Quilt (or how I almost lost my sanity)

Block A - I made 56 of these blocks, easy enough, but time consuming
Several years ago I purchased yards and yards and yards of the four fabrics above.   My intent was to make a quilt to be used in a new home.  I purchased enough fabric for not only king sized quilt, but to make window treatments and pillows. 

Block B - I made 42 of these blocks, still easy
 A couple of years later a found a pattern I thought would be great for the material, Lover's Knot. (yes, I know - the "normal" thing is to find the pattern, then purchase all of the material.) I bought the pattern book, which is by Eleanor Burns.  I find her books/patterns to be very simple if you carefully follow the directions.  I remember my friend, Jen, commenting that both she and her mother made this quilt, but her mother got the blocks turned around.  The quilt still came out OK, but she cautioned me to be very careful when placing the blocks and to keep them in order.

Well, things changed in my life.  I debated if I want to use this material or make this particular quilt.  But, I decided I loved the material and the pattern, to make the quilt in a queen size and decorate my bedroom around it.  I finally started it during the ice storm when I was housebound for five days.  The quilt consists of combining the A Blocks and B blocks, along with a few triangle pieces, to make five different blocks (Blocks C-G) , which in turn, make the quilt.

Block C - Combining 36 blocks of both Blocks A and B to make 18 C blocks.
This is where I messed up - kept turning them the wrong way.  This is the
foundation block of the quilt, so it has to be right. Looks simple until you try it.
But, at least you can start to see the green "knots"
Seems I can't follow directions nor did I heed Jen's advice. I found Eleanor's instructions for sewing the blocks together to make Block C very confusing.  I stared at these blocks in complete confusion while arranging them.  And, I had to do a little ripping apart, but not much, thankfully.  I finally give up on the written instructions and just followed the final illustration of how Block C should look.  And, it worked!   The following Blocks (D-G) went quickly because they were easier to figure out. 

Block D - made 6 and used up all of Block B and used 12  of  Block A
(can you see the 1 Block B and 2 Block A's?)

Block E - love the triangles  - made four

Block F - made two

Final Block - G - made 2 - used up all of Block A
and now I am ready to put them all together and make the quilt top.
The quilt is pieced together on the diagonal, which I have only done once before.   But Eleanor's diagram is excellent and it is starting to come together very quickly.  Below are pictures of Rows 1-4.  Four more rows to go, a triple border and I am DONE!  I will purchase the backing material and off it will go to  Meandering Mary to be professionally quilted.

Now the light and the dark "knots" are visible.  It's working!
Can you see all of blocks I made?
  Each one has been used at least once so far.

I am really liking this quilt and am so glad I decided to go ahead and make it.

And, this is one of the reasons I just love quilting.  When looking at all these blocks individually, I admit thinking that it can't all come together.  But, it does.  And, I get to keep my sanity.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Quilts for Kids

Downy Touch of Comfort Program offers a wonderful volunteer program for quilters.   They provide the fabric and quilters make quilts for children in the hospital.  Click here to see a video, but beware - it may cause a tear or two.  There is several comments made in the video that really touched me.  One is made by a volunteer about how this program affected her and why she does it.  I know exactly what she means.

The first quilt I made for this great program
I heard about this great program last winter and immediately requested a kit.  It arrived promptly; however, I got involved in the move to Georgia and the kit was put aside.  Recently, I dug out the kit and made my first quilt.  I requested another kit and before I knew it, it arrived so now I will be send both quilts back this week.  The kit includes instructions for a very simple quilt along with pre-cut material.  The quilter provides the batting, thread and must complete the quilt - basic quilting and binding.  All quilts must  be completely machine stitched to hold up in the hospital washing machines.  The quilter also pays for the postage to send the quilt back.  These quilts can be finished in a day if you really concentrate on it, or in a few evenings or a weekend.

Originally, the program's goal was to make 10,000 quilts for children, but it as received well over 20,000 quilts.  How wonderful is that? 

Second quilt I have made.  You can see they are the exact same pattern.
I am hoping to make at least one quilt a month and will keep requesting kits. I will also purchase material on my own.  There is a spot on the website where you may download different quilt patterns, if you wish.

Personally, I find making these quilts so rewarding.   My mother was a nurse and for many years worked in pediatrics, which was near and dear to her heart.  I have found that while sewing these  these quilts I felt very close to her.  I would like to think that each quilt I make through this program she is with me when I make them.  I guess I am also making them in her honor. 

If you are interested in learning about this program (and I hope you are), please click on the link above. 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Time to Move On

The other night while ice bound and bored,  I started searching for people on Facebook and came across a man I dated briefly a few years ago. 

We dated at a time when Phil had pushed me away and encouraged me to move on.  I met Ken.  Ken is a great guy and we hit it off right away.  I enjoyed his company and things moved fast.  But, there was always Phil lurking in my background.  To summarize, Phil decided he wanted me after all, I treated Ken terribly and went off with Phil.  And, when I say I treated Ken terribly, I truly did.  And, I have always, always regretted what I did to him.

Fast forward.  Ken met someone.  He got married, thought things were great, but is now going through a divorce after only a couple years of marriage.  Phil is dead and I have learned more about him than I really cared to learn.  I'm still grieving and licking my wounds.  I retired and moved to Georgia.  The past 8 months have been hard for me.  I have made friends in my new community, but haven't gotten out as much as I should/could have.  It's been a self-imposed hibernation.  But, I am starting to wake up.  And, it hasn't been all bad.  I did what I needed to do.

So, I messaged Ken and waited, hoped for a reply.  Let me say I really mistreated this man and I figured he would either not respond to me or give me a piece of his mind.  But, he did respond and was very gracious and kind.  More so than I deserve.  He even gave me his email and phone number.  And, I called.

His divorce hurt him.  Sounds like they had a great marriage while it lasted and the divorce came out of the blue.  He was deeply hurt.  Yet, he seemed very concerned about me, what I have been through and how I was coping.    We talked about our families, our lives and traveling.  We talked about our dogs, relationships and coping.  It was good talking to him.  He always had a kindness and a gentleness about him that made me feel so very comfortable.  For a minute, for a second I thought . . .

But, he had to run.  He was going on a date with a woman he really likes.  And, in all truthfulness, I am not ready to date.  Even with the time and distance between us, it wasn't meant to be.  I wish him well, though.  Of all people, Ken deserves happiness.  So, do I.  And, we won't find it together.  But, maybe we can be friends.  Maybe our mutual broken hearts will help heal each other.  And, maybe I need to get out more rather than spend all my evenings at home with the dogs.

I have been thinking of Phil - who I still cry over - a lot lately.  It's funny how the grieving process works, sometimes I hardly think of him and other times it seems he is all I think about.  And with thinking of Ken, too - who is someone that probably should have been -  brought me to this verse from a poem by William Wordsworth  It's bittersweet, but right now so am I.  And, it is time for me to move on.

What though the radiance which was once so bright
Be now for ever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind...

Thursday, January 13, 2011


One of the main reasons I moved to Georgia last summer was to get out of Wisconsin's cold winters.  This year the joke is on me.

For days the weather forecasters were predicting a snow and ice storm starting on Sunday night (the snow) and into Monday (the ice).  It has been far worse then we all imagined it could be.  Sunday night brought a snow/sleet first, followed by 5-6" of snow.  Monday brought more sleet on top of the snow.  So, there are layers of ice/snow/ice.  Everyday would warm up just barely enough for some of the snow to melt, but as soon as evening comes around it freezes again. 

For over 8 counties everything was completely shut down Monday and Tuesday.  Newcasters were telling people not to go out.  Schools are still closed .  Government offices have been shut down with many still closed and others with delayed openings.  Monday and Tuesday most grocery stores closed and/or had very limited hours.  Some people made it into work on Wednesday; however, if you live in hilly areas like I do it is almost impossible to drive the icy  hills, dips and curves and we are stuck.

I have not received mail all week.  No newspapers have been delivered up here.  My sister, Suzanne, received mail and 3 days worth of papers yesterday, but not us.  My neighbor, Andrea, tried to get to the gym in Canton yesterday, but made it less than a mile.  She couldn't get her car up the first big hill, put it in reverse and slid down to where she could turn it around and return home.  However, some people with larger, heavier vehicles have made it out, especially if they have 4 wheel drive.  I would be scared to death to try to maneuver the 3.5 miles of basically sheer ice on the huge hills and curves to get to the main road. 

The main roads are now fairly good, I hear.  The semi trucks that were stranded for a few day are slowly starting to move.  But, the back roads, like mine, are still far too dangerous for school buses, UPS or USPS vehicles. 

I have never experienced anything like this.  Monday I found myself looking out my front window wondering when the plows would come through.  Duh.  I'm not in Milwaukee - there are no plows.  I also found myself thinking, "I don't hear shovels scrapping or snow blowers."  Double duh.  No one owns snow shovels, let alone a snow blowers.  (I refused to move a snow shovel with me - again, the joke is on me!)

I was smart enough to stock up on the basics.  I have plenty of food and  could easily go another week holed up in my home.  But, by the weekend it should warm up enough for everyone to get out.

There is a lot to be said for being snow/ice bound for 4 days (so far).  I started a new quilt.  This is the quilt I will use in my master bedroom.  It is complicated and I am glad I can concentrate on it fully.  While Sam and Oliver are getting stir crazy, especially Sam - it is fun to see them in the yard chasing birds at the feeders (I have ventured out long enough to keep them full for my feathered friends).    Monday I joined a group of neighbors hanging out and pulling their little kids on make shift sleds.  Last night Andrea walked over and joined me for dinner.  She lives on my street, about a block away.  She said it was terrible walking the short distance from her house to mine.  Tanya was suppose to join us, but was concerned about coming down the huge hill that separates our houses.  I don't blame her.

If it is nice out this afternoon I will take the dogs for a short walk - probably only to the end of the street and back.  We all need fresh air and movement.  But, I have to admit I have enjoyed these quiet days.  Being retired I don't have to think about what I need to get done at work.  I truly don't have to get out, I have no where I have to go.  Phone calls with friends and the internet have kept me in touch with people.  I'm trying to keep the TV usage to  a minimum.  I have lots of books to read.  I have surrendered to the elements and it has been just fine.

I think I will lay low most of the weekend, too.  The temperature will be in the low 40s tomorrow and through the weekend, which will melt a lot of this mess.  Oliver really needs to be groomed so maybe Sunday I will have that done.  I will avoid stores as I think they will be mobbed with people finally able to get out.  Next week the temperatures return to the normal high 40s/low 50s and this week will slowly become a memory.  But, for now - another cup of coffee and off to the quilting room.

Thursday, January 06, 2011


I have officially adopted Oliver from the Cherokee County Humane Society.  He was found by CCHS volunteer, Tanya, wondering around the 'hood two weeks ago.  It was evening and the temperature was in the mid-30s.  He was cold, miserable and hungry.  He had no tags, no collar and was not chipped.  After a search to find his owners turned up empty, he became "owned" by the CCHS and I was able to adopt.  Sam and I are thrilled.  

His eyes really match is fur.

Oliver needs a good grooming, but when his stitches (from neutering) are removed I will have it done.

He is so adorable and sweet.  Needs some fattening up, but overall he is a great guy.  Sam loves to play with him!

Oliver is a pure breed Shitzue and very underweight.  However, he is eating well and will soon be where he should be.  He loves to snuggle and is very affectionate.  Sometimes Sam's playing gets a little too rough for him, so he lets Sam know and hides under the table where Sam can't reach him.  Smart little guy!  He follows me around everywhere.  He has a bright blue tag, collar and leash and will be chipped this weekend.  I want to make sure he never loses his way again!

Now, I have my "doggie boys."  Both shelter dogs, both great dogs and companions.