Sharon D's Blog

February 2012 - Posts

SM Retreat - 26 Flower blocks!! OMG!

Okay, I signed up for the Smokey Mountain Retreat in June, and am very excited - first ever quilting retreat for me. We are going to have a block exchange - a 12x12 (finished) block of your favorite flower, state flower, whatever. 26 of them. 26. That's a bed quilt! So - with time and design skill not on my side, I googled some of my favorite flowers for a quilt block pattern. I needed something SIMPLE. Finally, I bought a foundation-pieced dogwood blossom pattern from a vendor in Switzerland! Thank goodness - it is a pdf file. Well, when I want something, I want it now. Never mind they would email it within 24 hours, I only have 4 months to make 26 blocks - gotta get going, you know.

So, I saved the online block picture as a jpeg, and proceeded to tear my hair out trying to get it into EQ7. For hours, I learned how to import the image, crop the image, and use the image to make "applique" pieces using the patchdraw tools. I have zippo experience with patchdraw, so it was a struggle. Why do I enjoy fighting with my computer??...hmmmm. Anyway, after several hours, I had something that would pass for a decent dogwood blossom block, exactly the size I wanted. It's a little ragged for making a foundation piecing pattern, but it works great to estimate the yardage.

I have never done foundation piecing, so I watched a couple of lessons on QNN.TV and wondered why anyone would choose to quilt in the dark. Maybe if I just try it... But what I DO know is how to do simple picture piecing using Cynthia England's technique. What I have worked out in EQ7 can easily be printed onto freezer paper for picture piecing. I really don't know what to expect out of the pdf file I purchased - it is the wrong size for what I want. But, maybe it will help me.

Here's what I came up with for my retreat block exchange, the Dogwood Blossom:

Just say "no" at the Hampton VA quilt show

Rats! I don't want to say no. As you know, we are moving a lot of things out of the house to get it ready to sell - including my life. Uh, I mean my sewing studio (aka dining room). Well, it got worse. Yesterday, Sat 2/25, I went with a bus load of quilters from Wake Forest NC to the Hampton quilt show. Wonderful time! Wonderful show! LONG exhausting day. There were 2 important sad things about yesterday - other than the lights going out in the bus' potty.

First, as I wandered through the vendors for the 2nd time, I found a machine quilting frame for use with your regular sewing machine that looks like it would actually be worth buying. Great show-price, product on hand and everything. I just said no. I also found a task chair that I would have liked to seriously consider taking home with me, too. But, I just said no. We are shedding possessions, right now. Not aquiring them. Of course, I have put all of the info into a task that will pop up on my calendar in about 6 months to remind me to look at these products again.

Second, I traveled with a friend from our quilting group at the senior center. During the trip, I met 3 other very interesting people on the bus who wanted to come and check out our little quilting group. At the show, I ran into a friend from the QOV group in Fayetteville, and another friend from the senior center. Several people at the show seemed very familiar to me. As though I had talked to them at another show, or somewhere. It hit me today, just how much family I have in my quilting life, here.

When we move, and we will, I will grieve that loss of those family connections. I'm not a super-social person. Making friends is not a breeze for me. Since I retired, It has taken a full 2 years to become quilting buddies with this handful of lovely women. It won't be easy to leave the fun and comfort of our friendship.

So - I'd love to hear from anyone in the Johnson City / Jonesborough TN area with suggestions for ways for me to meet new quilting buddies. We make frequent trips there and would love to start meeting people who love to quilt!

Lonely for my sewing room

Ah, the trials of moving. The DH and I are working hard to get the house ready for the market. It's a small house, so I adopted the dining room as my "studio". Of course, it really should be a real dining room when the house is visited by potential buyers. So all of the sewing furniture cabinets and piles of fabric and notions have to go to the storage unit. I'm lost and wander solefully around the house. BUT - yea! there is a "but" - there is still quilting in my life.

The local senior center hosts a little quilting group - we call it Quilt! Quilt! Stitch and Gab. I have my back-up machine stored in my roll-around, along with essential tools and a project. I'm making blocks for Operation Valor. Easy to tote along - just a few fat quarters and some neutral thread and I'm in business! It isn't enough to satisfy me for the whole week, but it helps.

So here's to those wonderful rolling sewing machine totes, a portable project, and the comfort of laughing with my special quilting friends.