Saturday, May 31, 2008

Our butterfly quilt has flown away!

Today was the 42nd annual Mennonite Relief Sale and Quilt Auction. It is a long day since of course you have to get there early to have pancakes and sausages for breakfast. The quilt auction started at 8: 15 am and we sat on those hard arena bleachers until 3:30 pm! The only reasons to leave your seats are a) bathroom breaks and b) buying strawberry pie!Here we are - me on the left, my long time quilting friend Linda from London (this is Linda's blog here), and 2 of my co-conspirators on the butterfly quilt, Marg and Joanne of the "Sew 'n Sews".
Throughout the day they auctioned over 230 quilts, including all sizes of bed quilts, wallhangings, and baby quilts. Here is a photo of about 1/3 of the quilts hanging before the auction. This year we noticed that the crowd was smaller and the prices were generally lower than in previous years. The most exciting moment was the auction of the quilt that was featured on the program cover, which sold for $25,000 (you can see that quilt, which is a cross stitched quilt here)!! The second most exciting moment was when our butterfly quilt was auctioned...and raised $475 toward the relief efforts. This is a photo of the auction at the moment when the butterfly quilt was being sold. It was a very exciting day and we had a great time!
We are already planning our next group quilt, and as Joanne says: "We are solving the problems of the world, one block at a time".
Now I am hungry and the kids are asking what is for supper...guess what? Strawberry pie! This looks like a good piece for me - I probably don't need that much whipped cream on the top, but too late now...yum yum!
Added Information: In the newspaper today it said that the $25, 000 quilt was made by Mrs. Schlegel, an 87 year old woman, which she made while she was recovering from kidney surgery. It was purchased by her daughter who came from her home in Texas to attend the auction. The quilts from Mrs. Schlegel have raised more than $60,000 over the years! Now that's a goal to aim for ...let's beat Mrs. Schlegel's total! The total amount raised at this year's sale was $335,000 towards their goal of "alleviating global poverty and hunger"!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Orange Crush step #5 done

I have been sewing a few OC blocks each night before bedtime, and surprisingly have only made a few little mistakes. I have finished all the blocks and they went together a lot faster than the step 4 blocks, maybe because there were only 20 of them? At first I didn't really like them, because the orange is really bright, but they are growing on me and I just hope that the layout will calm them down a bit!
I am so excited for all the quilt events I will be attending in the next couple of weeks. On Saturday is the Mennonite Relief Sale and Quilt Auction. The quilt that I worked on with my friends (see this post) is now posted on their official website. You can see the quilts here and ours is quilt #166. It's amazing to think that this time last year we were just talking about how fun it would be to actually have a quilt that we had made in the auction, and now it is happening! Check back on Saturday night to see how the auction went!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Baby Quilt

Here are my friends, enjoying the company and the wonderful warm sunshine. It was probably the first time in 2008 that I have enjoyed the weather! I was blessed to work with these wonderful women in the 1990's and we have enjoyed getting together twice a year for many years. It's harder to organize the reunions now that Michelle lives in Michigan, but we make it a priority and enjoy each minute we spend together. I have actually been friends with Michelle (on the left) since 1987 when I was a grad student - wow that's 20 years! She has been through so much the last few years, having ongoing fertility issues and then breast cancer surgery and treatments...and now we are all so shocked and excited that she is being blessed with a miracle baby girl! You can read more about her here.

Here we are with the baby quilt, and Michelle's daughter Brooklyn. I suggested that the new baby be called "Hope Kathryn" but I think they are going with "Laura".

Now I am back to cleaning up my quilting area and getting organized to go to Quilt Canada in Newfoundland. You can read about the classes I am taking here. It hardly seems possible that this is coming up already!?! I have so much to do this week, and would love to have the time to sew step #5 of the Orange Crush mystery. I'll see how far the energy goes this week!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Quilt Classes

I have finished the baby quilt just in time! I'll be leaving shortly for the reunion party. I will post photos later today since I want to include a photo of my friend with her quilt.
But here are the photos from my last 2 classes of the quilting year. The first one is from a fun class that I teach called "3 step". One of the students is missing, but here are the other 4 brave souls with one of the pieces they chose to work on. They were so creative and enthusiastic that it was pure joy to work with them.
And here are the mini quilts from the last monthly miniature class. I posted about my interest in the 60 degree angle quilts here

and here. I have finished one of my own ("Hazardous Materials") and have 4 other quilts in various stages of completion. It is lots of fun and I still think I want to make more. Of course I am thinking I could go even smaller on these pieces and have also hand pieced one of them. I'll post more on that another time, but look at these fantastic mini quilts! All made with the same technique...amazing!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Tired of Rhubarb!

I have had such a busy week, and am really tired of rhubarb now! I have made everything I can think of, including a yummy recipe I got from Jeanne for Aunt Emma's Rhubarb Cake. I took a plate of cake to the quilt guild executive potluck supper and the kids ate the rest!
A few people have emailed me for the rhubarb juice recipe and here it is:
Boil 4 cups of chopped rhubarb in 6 cups of water until the rhubarb is mushy. Strain. (Throw the mushy rhubarb in your composter). Stir into the juice: 3/4 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup orange juice, and 1/4 cup lemon juice.
That's it! Refrigerate and drink when it's cool. I make it all throughout the winter with frozen rhubarb and sometimes toss in frozen strawberries or blueberries to give it a pretty colour.
And that is where most of my creativity is going this week - to rhubarb management!
Late at night when everyone has been sleeping I have cut out the fabric to make a baby quilt for a friend who is expecting a baby. It is from a kit and is just fussy cut baby blocks from Bessie Pease flannel and pieced pinwheel blocks. I feel very happy working on this quilt because although this baby will not need another quilt (the grandma is a talented and prolific quilter) I just want to make it to celebrate this miracle baby. All of us girls who used to work together and have been friends for 18 years had lost hope of her having another baby. We encouraged her to give up and stop trying
....but she didn't, and at 47 years of age she is truly blessed with this baby and we are all hoping for a healthy baby and safe delivery. I have to finish it by pressure! I'll show you a photo of her and the quilt if I finish it in time!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Step #4 done

I finished sewing the 30 blocks for step 4 of Orange Crush. I enjoyed listening to CBC radio and leisurely sewing these blocks. However, I am bored with my colours and am really looking forward to the next step where I can hopefully start using my orange and blue fabrics, which are brighter.
I enjoyed surfing the mystery blogs and seeing some of the other finished blocks for this quilt. I have copied some of the blog links where other versions of the step 4 block can be seen. Grab a cup of tea and check these out... just click on the quilter's name:

Thursday, May 15, 2008

On sometimes being clever...

I must admit that I often use my creativity to get things done around my house. I try to come up with great ideas to bribe my kids into helping out - let's call it an "exchange of services". If they agree to help me by spending some time pulling these lovely weeds from our yard, I will agree to spend the same amount of time pulling these yummy plants from our yard! Of course we all love anything made from rhubarb, and the kids expecially love rhubarb juice, so they will work hard at those dandelions until they think I have pulled, cleaned and cut enough rhubarb for a dessert AND juice! I take my time thinning out the rhubarb patch and on wonderful days like today, enjoying the warm sunshine. And we all work away at our jobs until it looks like there is enough rhubarb to start baking. That way we all get what we want...
clever eh?!?
And not so clever, is my big mistake on step 4 of the Orange Crush mystery. Here it is - that is not the correct block layout, so don't anybody go and sew your mystery blocks like this one! Thankfully I only sewed 2 blocks with the wrong layout. Where is that bright green seam ripper that Barb gave me that she thought would be easier for me to find?!?!?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Sewing step #4

I have been sewing my 120 HST (half square triangle) blocks for step #4. I like using the Angler 2 for this kind of a job. The only thing I don't like about it is when I run out of bobbin thread and have to take it off the machine to get out the bobbin, and then realign everything. I am happy with not having to draw the diagonal lines, and the accuracy is fairly good. I did square up each HST to 3 1/2" to make sure the blocks fit well with the 4 patches.
I now have finished sewing all the HST's and here is my first block. I think it looks quite masculine.
One block done, 29 more to go!

Monday, May 12, 2008

OC Step #4

Once Step #4 was posted for the Orange Crush mystery, I have been distracted by thoughts of needing to get cutting up my fabric and sewing together the blocks. When I was too tired to sew last night, (but not too tired to sit at the computer!) I surfed around the mystery blog ring and saw some very pretty blocks already finished. I finally had a few minutes to get out my fabrics and start cutting. Here are the 2 fabrics for the 120 HST's. I am using up some scraps to get the black yardage, and a very old Debbie Mumm red print. I quickly cut all these squares and will have to do my regular method of making the HST's until I get a new Easy Angle ruler. I hope to be able to post a photo of at least one of my blocks tomorrow.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

class sample
I hope all you mothers out there in quilt blog land are enjoying a relaxing day! I have had a very busy week as we are cleaning out my mother-in-law's house after almost 50 years of her living there. Even though she is very organized, that is a lot of time to collect stuff! It has been such a huge task.
On Friday night I went to a mystery quilt class called "Ladies of the Evening" at one of my favourite quilt stores (Reichards). Two of my quilting friends had signed up, and when one couldn't go, I agreed to take her place. Then the other one was ill and I ended up there by myself. 
fabric collection
That's okay, I enjoyed an evening of meeting new quilting friends, sewing, and I especially enjoyed starting this new project! On the right is the sample quilt and the pattern is called "Criss Cross" by Deb Beirnes. 
One of the things I love about this class is that she has pre-cut kits for you. This is my kit on the left - all ready for me to start sewing! I decided to make my quilt completely scrappy and did not match the fabrics on both sides of the block. 
blocks on the design wall
Here is the photo of my blocks on the design wall before I left the class. I decided I would like to make it one row longer and one row wider, which I think would complete the dark diamonds on the right and bottom sides. So I will have to dig around in my stash and find some more squares to make more 13 blocks. But it will have to go to the bottom of my "to do" list since the next step of the Orange Crush mystery has been posted!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Orange Crushing

I have finally finished step #3 for the Orange Crush mystery. This step took me a long time, even though there were fewer units. First of all, I had to look at the photo to sew each and every piece together and make the mirrored units. In reading the other mystery quilt blogs, I was relieved to note that it seemed to be the same for lots of other quilters.
Secondly, my new sewing machine was doing the same thing it did when I strip pieced units from the first mystery. The beginning of every seam, on the underneath piece of fabric got bent over. So I had to unstitch the beginning of each seam and restitch just the first part of every unit. Luckily I realized this was happening before I had sewn them all! It I fed the units through the machine starting at the opposite end, it worked fine! I guess the beginning seam was too bulky? Anyway, they're done and I'm ready to start cutting into some yardage.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

24th Anniversary Shop Hop

May 12th is our 24th wedding anniversary. I can't believe that is has been that long that we have been married, especially since I am just in my 30's - lol! We planned an overnight stay on friday night at a wonderful bed and breakfast using a gift certificate we received as a Christmas gift from my parents. When we were getting ready to leave I sweetly said that I had a great idea of something we could do on our way to the B & B. My husband said "let me guess - does it start with a Q?" !! How did he know?!? Well, of course I was trying to put a fast one over on him and sneak in a Quilt Shop Hop!! I explained that it was only 6 quick stops and they were "on our way" (not totally the truth!) and we could do 4 stops on our way there and 2 stops on our way home. And then I quickly told him about the book stores that I would drop him off at while I was in the quilt stores, and the quaint cafe that we would have lunch in. How did I come up with that idea on the spot?!? It wasn't like I had spent a lot of time plotting and hatching this plan! I guess that is where the 24 years of experience comes into play!
Here are the goodies I received on the Shop Hop. At each store I was given a strip of fabric - red, green yellow, and purples. At the last shop I received a tote bag pattern, batting and backing, and this adorable Needlework Diva panel. I can't wait to sew my new tote bag. Thanks to the shop owners for this treat - it certainly made my 24th anniversary memorable! And of course because I have been quilting so long, I was certain to met some Shop Hopping friends along the way and enjoyed some quick visits at almost every store. I'm so glad there was a good turnout - maybe the rainy, cold weather was helpful for attendance. You can see my finished project from the Spring Shop Hop 2007 by clicking here.
Of course I had to pick up a little something at each stop and here is a photo of some of my new supplies. I got two kits that were on sale - one is a baby quilt that I will make for a friend, and all the other stuff I bought were either fantastic prices (couldn't resist) or "necessary" to finish ongoing projects.
I only had one Shop Hop mishap...I dropped my Shop Hop passport into the freshly baked cherry pie we bought at the mennonite bakery! Oh my - I licked it off and tried to make sure it didn't stick onto any fabric! Thanks to Leslie for accepting my gooey cherry covered passport!