Merry Christmas everyone

Merry Christmas everyone
with the love of my life, George

What am I doing writing a blog?

Quilting is one of the few places in my life where all the corners meet and stay put. On this blog I plan to ruminate about quilting and life, the quilted life, cat and quilts, and any old thing that falls in and out of my brain. I'd be pleased to hear from you on all of this or any topic of interest!

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Friday, July 29, 2011

The quilting begins (or how I took over the living room)

The quilting has begun. Tomorrow will be the first day I have had off of work at the museum (or on museum business) since Sunday, July 16 when I finished the quilt top so you can imagine how eager I am to start quilting!

We have been very busy this week getting the house ready for a guest who will arrive in August. Nick Walker, George's nephew from Peoria, Illinois will be spending a semester with us as he prepares for a possible graduate school chapter in his life. Since we always want to have a guest bedroom in case the kids or others pop in, we decided to change the TV room (the fourth bedroom upstairs) into Nick's room. We borrowed a twin bed, moved my desk in and got him all set up. This meant, however, moving the TV elsewhere so now it is in the living room, a situation George is not too fond of but realizes the necessity. We also had to put the loveseat from the TV room into our bedroom which meant moving other furniture out of there and into the guest room. It was a game of musical furniture. A big thank you goes out to our friend and around the house handyman, Tim Jones for helping with all the moves.

So the TV is in the living room and as I like to watch movies as I quilt, I set up my quilting station smack dab in the middle of the living room. As the quilt will be finished this weekend, George knows this is only a temporary take-over. He is planning to ride all weekend as he is in training for a 420 mile ride on the Blue Ridge Highway next month so I can quilt this weekend to my heart's content. Somewhere in here I need to clean house, however. Ugh!

I just noticed as I proofread this post that you can see my watermelon quilt, finished in 1996, on the green checked couch behind me (see first picture in this post). Cool! Actually, it is very warm ...90+ degrees for today and this weekend so I will be wearing my hair like this all day and night, especially as I quilt, to keep it out of the way and keep my neck cool. I wear a long sleeve shirt to keep myself from looking like a junkie, scratched and pricked from all the pins int the quilt.

Well, I am off to quilt so ta-ta for now!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Another little gem from the thrift store

Some pictures of a vintage Sunbonnet Sue Overall Sam quilt I picked up at our local Goodwill store for $49! It looks to be about 1930-1940, in pretty good shape with only a few stains, no rips. A real find which I was very happy to give a new home.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Pinning the layers of the quilt, accompanied by a cat

I am at the pinning stage now. Almost done, here are some pictures. Had to work today so I did not get as much done as I wanted to. I will finish the pinning tonight but not do any quilting until I return from my buying trip to Philadelphia. Yeah, I do have to work for a living!

Vinnie kept me company while working in the dining room on the quilt. I posted these pictures of him because I was marveling at his markings, both stripes and spots and then compared them to the "big cats" on the quilt - stripes and spots! Art imitating life or life imitating art?

Friday, July 22, 2011

The back is finished (or stop me, Becky, from adding any more stuff!)

Okay, the back is definitely and finally finished. I embroidered the Dr. Seuss quote tonight with my new Sears Kenmore sewing machine. My poor old Goodwill guy is giving up the ghost. The embroidery was a dream with this new machine as compared to last night with the old machine. I ... am ... in love!

In case you cannot read it, the quote is " I meant what I said and I said what I meant. An elephant's faithful one hundred percent." Becky and I really struggled with a quote for this one. We considered Paul Simon's "It's all happening at the zoo." and "boy,n.: a noise with dirt on it" from the Not Your Average Dictionary. Suess just seemed to fit and faithfulness is a good thing to promote in young humans (and old ones too!)

I thought I would have all day tomorrow to quilt but my volunteer had to call off so I am stuck working a Saturday 11-5. The good news is I will have next Thursday off instead.

I have brought the table topper up to do the pinning. I may lay it out tonight but I don't think my back can take anymore this evening.

We're making progress and oh, by the way, I sewed the dancing hedgehogs on upside down!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Signatures and date on!

The signatures and date (I've given myself til July 31 to wrap this puppy up) are on the back of the quilt. Becky's name is quite long now - first time I have stitched Newcomer and I get extra points for monogramming Allmendinger twice! Becky, we need shorter names!

Tomorrow night, the quote...if I survive that long.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

and photos for the back - long on smiles!

I don't know about you but I love putting photos on the backs of quilts. It helps to complete the story the quilt tells, who lovingly made it, who was the loved one who received it. In this case, the quilt is for Wyatt and it is made by the team of Leiner and Newcomer, both nee Allmendinger, mother and daughter, cross-stitcher and quilter, Grandmother and Aunt Boo.

When we have all gone on to what comes after, someone will see this quilt back and recognize the love between the people it binds.

Another night of sewing. Almost finished with the back. Tomorrow, maybe, it will be ready to embroider! Gotta sleep now....


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Working on the back

After working like a crazy woman all weekend, I took Monday night off and I'm getting the back ready tonight. I will start doing the embroidered signatures and such tomorrow. Becky, of course did the fantastic cross-stitch. Thanks, puddin!

Time for sleep. More tomorrow...

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The top is done!

The goal for the weekend was to finish the quilt top and now, Sunday afternoon at 3PM, the top is done. Here it is! Please note the baby footprints walking around the zoo and finally exiting in the upper right hand corner - Becky you are so clever! A few oops noticed but nothing too glaring and they just prove I am human!

Now onto the back and hopefully, quilting by the end of the week.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

There she goes again, breaking the rules!

I know, I know, I KNOW! my daughter, Jamie told me I had to make the wedding quilt for her and my fantastic son-in-law, Jeff first BEFORE I started the baby quilt for Wyatt Zachery, my new grandson they gave me but I could not resist the urge. I plead "baby quilt fever." Besides, I'm the artist and I get to do whatever I want, however the muse leads me.

So here are the first two blocks of the baby quilt. You will remember Becky did the cross stitching. Isn't she fantastic? I cut all the block pieces last night - finishing up with that and this first bit of stitching by 2 AM. Actually, the cutting was done by 11 PM and we were in bed by midnight but I just laid there wide awake, itching to get stitching. I resisted for 30 minutes but gave into the urge and got up about 12:30, went downstairs and started the piecing. I soon discovered I did not have enough animal print for all 35 blocks so on the way to my doctor's appointment this morning, I hit the local Joann Fabrics, and while I could not find the exact same fabric, I found two other really cool animal prints to use. You will see them with the next posting.

There are 35 cross stitch blocks on the front of this quilt and a few more on the back. The pattern is called Child's Play. Now here is the kicker - I hope to have this quilt finished by August 3 (three weeks from yesterday) in order to take it out to California with us when we visit the kids and Wyatt August 4-9. CAN SHE DO IT? WILL SHE HAVE TO GIVE UP SLEEP AND ALL OTHER NON - QUILT RELATED ACTIVITIES?
I have already put George on notice that it is all quilt, all the time for a few weeks here but he is training for a biking event so he is fine with my ambitious plans.

Tune in and I will keep you posted on the progress. I hope to have the quilt top done by the end of the weekend.

Gotta go...

Thursday, July 7, 2011

We say goodbye to a new friend

Tomorrow we say goodbye to a new friend, Claudia Glasshauser from Chemnitz, Germany who has been here with us in Greensburg for seven weeks doing an education internship at the Westmoreland Museum of American Art. We had a great time showing her Southwestern Pennsylvania. She was also able to visit Niagara Falls and Washington DC while she was here. Next she joins her boyfriend in Miami for two weeks on the beach!

Have fun, Claudia and thank you for being our guest and friend this summer. Vinnie and Buster will miss you and we will too! We will keep in touch.

A bicycling kilt for my sweetie!

My husband George was going to get arrested for indecent exposure one of these days, or at least, that's what his bicycling buddies thought as he blythly changed out of his bicycling gear into street clothes in parking lots all over southwestern Pennsylvania. To solve this dilemna and keep the public's tender sensibilities from being totally affronted, he decided a bicycling kilt was just the ticket. When it was time to change out after a long, hot ride, he could wrap a kilt around his torso, slip off the bicycling short and slip on the street shorts, offending no one. We looked online but sports kilts were horrendously expensive. Who knew this would become so popular? So I (silly me) volunteered to make a bicycle kilt.

Off to the attic I went to find that nice piece of grey worsted wool I picked up at the Goodwill some time in the last few years. Then to the fabric shop to purchase a pattern. I was all ready to start cutting when George walked through the room, picked up the pattern and said, "what is this?"

"A Kilt pattern." I responded, scissors in hand and lovely wool laid out for the slaughter.

"This is a costume pattern," he replied, puzzled. "I want a genuine kilt, not a costume kilt."

Deep sigh... put the scissor down....

So off to the internet we go again, looking for authentic kilt patterns. Of course we found one and at this time, I want to digress a bit and give my opinion of patterns available on the internet.

First, I did not know these animals existed until Jamie had me making all kinds of baby things from patterns she found on the 'net. Depending on the skill of the author, they can be easy to follow and therefore, just great! or badly written and confusing as hell. Of course, this was the case with the genuine kilt pattern we found.

As with every project, I am most confident when I know my subject and the steps it takes to accomplish my goals. ENTER HUGE CONFIDENCE CRISIS AT THIS POINT. Consequently, I dragged my feet on the project. At one point, George asked me, "are you ever going to finish my kilt?" and then another time, "when are you going to finish my kilt?"

In my defense, I want to point out that in this time period, I went to a museum store conference, married off a daughter, hosted my mother for two weeks at our house, and opened up our home to our German guest and now friend, Claudia for seven weeks. To say the least, I was a busy woman. But truly, I just didn't know what I was doing, the pattern wasn't helping, working with wool in 80-90 degree weather was not fun and I was scared! And the frosting on the whole dismal affair was that I would not let myself QUILT until I finished the DAMN KILT!

So, now it is done and quite beautiful. A great deal of it is hand sewn: the darts, the buttonholes, the leather straps (thank you PJ Zimmerlink, preparator at the Westmmoreland Museum of American Art for making the tool to bore the holes in the leather for me). I wish the buttonholes were more expertly made but overall, I am very proud of it.

This last picture is a side view and shows the various parts: the smooth fringed (by hand!) apron, the knife pleated back, the beautiful leather straps and buckles.

I love you, my sweetheart. Please wear this in good health and stop flashing the neighbors!