Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Done!!!

My Challenge quilt for the Machine Quilter's Exposition is finally done! I sewed on my little flowers and ruched flowers today, sewed on the sleeve and label, and at the last minute made a mad dash for some Swarovski Crystals to put in the centers of the little blue flowers. That's it...I've done enough. Tomorrow it will leave my hands and I won't see it again until after the judges do. I'm not even sure I want to see the judges remarks...I'm finding that quilting for show takes the joy out of quilting. I'm not sure I'll intentionally make a quilt for show again. The next picture is the trapunto border and the last picture is the applique (with the crystals!) My back is feeling better, so now, once I get over my bronchitis, I can get back to customer quilts!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Challenge Quilt


I just took my MQX Challenge quilt off of the longarm. I know the judges will have a grand time with this one! I've never done trapunto before, never done a challenge quilt for a show and have never entered a quilt in a show, so I call this quilt "Courage". My big mistake was using a thread in the border that was too dark, so in many areas there is the appearance of "thread build up" where I've overlapped the quilting design too much. This quilt is rather stiff...not a good snuggle quilt!
Next comes blocking, binding, rinsing in cold water to remove the blue marks, warm water to remove the water soluble thread, adding three dimensional flowers and maybe a few beads. Of course, I've also never blocked a quilt and have no idea whether to bind first or block first, or how to go about blocking it! This is definitely a quilt of firsts! And it has to be in New Hampshire by April 3rd. I think I can, I think I can...

Monday, March 19, 2007

New Quilt Started...

A few weeks ago when my husband was in Copenhagen, he and I were IMing and he was telling me about the fabulous dinners he was having, how beautiful the city was...and I got to feeling sorry for myself because I wasn't there with him! What to do to cheer myself up? Start a new quilt! So, this is the quilt I started that night. It's called "Underground Railroad" and is from the Elm Creek Quilts book by Jennifer Chiaverini. I have all of the four patch blocks done and about half of the half square triangle blocks. I just wanted to get some up on the design wall and see what it would look like. I used fabrics that I got for my birthday last June and so far I like what it looks like. What do you think?
Today in the mail I received these two Pot Holder kits from a dear friend who lives in Texas. They are paper pieced...I'm looking forward to making them!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Craziness...

Apparently things around here are not going to settle down. It was a crazy week. I went to the doctor on Monday and was cleared to go back to work. The kids were so happy to see me and it was good to be back! On Wednesday my daughter had a follow up doctor appointment for some bloodwork. That was good because it turned out that on Tuesday a girl in her high school was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis. The girl is hospitalized and will recover. The doctor recommended we take my daughter back to the school where the county had set up a health clinic to dispense antibiotics to the students who may have had contact with the sick girl. So off we went to the clinic where she was given Cipro.

On Thursday I took her to the chiropractor for her appointment. My daughter's chiropractor (I see a different doctor in the practice) arranged for me to have a free massage with the in house massage therapist! It was wonderful, if you've never had a massage, I highly recommend it! Afterwards I was telling him about my back going out and he sent me home with exercises, an icy hot cream and a TENS unit to use at home. I felt totally spoiled! Thursday was also my husband's birthday, so he and I had an exciting evening. We went to a 50's style diner for dinner and then went to the radiology place so I could have an MRI. Do we know how to celebrate???

Friday dawned with rain, which turned to ice by noon. We wound up with about 4 inches of ice by this morning. The roads were a mess, but we didn't have to go anywhere last night, so I sat and read by the fire.

So, no quilting done this week, except for some machine quilting on my challenge quilt for MQX. I can only stand at the machine for about 15 minutes before my back begins to complain, so it's slow going. I hope to get more time than that in tomorrow...the deadline is on the 31st! The quilt in this post is an oldie. It was made from signature exchange blocks that I got from an AOL group I was with in 1997. This group was composed of about 30 women across the country. We actually were able to get together for retreats twice back then, but after awhile the group fell apart. However, my 4 best friends were part of that group and we still talk almost every day now, even though we are scattered from New Jersey to Arizona to Minnesota to Florida to Texas. Quilting friends are the best!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Quilting...

I have completed Judy's February challenge...only a few days late! I finished quilting my nine patch today...I waited to take my pain meds until I had finished. And I needed them by the time I was done! The backing fabric is now gone from my stash, as well as the border fabric. Two large chunks of fabric gone to a good cause!
Yesterday I knitted another little hat...a pink one to go with the blue. Both the quilt and the hats will be going to the Caps and Laps program at our church...if they want them!

The good news is that I can stand and walk relatively normally today...as long as I take the muscle relaxants and the pain killers. I'm still hunched without them. I also noticed that if you enlarge the bottom picture, I overlapped the Baptist Fans a little bit. That will teach me to try to quilt on the longarm under the influence of happy pills! :o)

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Forced Vacation

I was having a pretty nice weekend. On Friday night I saw the high school play with my daughter and her friend. On Saturday I did some quilting. I loaded my blue and white nine patch on the machine and got it mostly quilted. I was accomplishing things. On Sunday morning, the girls and I went to church. We stopped at the store on the way home. I had a full day of quilting planned...I was going to finish quilting the nine patch and get the binding on. Was going to run the vacuum so I wouldn't have to do it on Monday. The best laid plans...

After church I decided to get comfy...flannel pants, a turtleneck and a sweatshirt. I went into my closet, bent over to get my pants off the shelf, and I heard it. Two very loud pops in my lower back. And I felt it...the most excruciating pain I have ever felt in my life. I dropped to my knees, made it over to the bed and stayed on the floor for a lifetime...or about 20 minutes. I couldn't move. I was lightheaded. It was awful. I managed to change my clothes while I was on the floor, then I crawled down the hallway and scooted down the stairs on my bottom. The pain was tremendous. Holding onto walls, railings and furniture I made it to the sofa and tried to get comfortable, all the while trying not to cry. My daughter wanted to take me to the emergency room, but I was afraid they'd admit me. Since my husband is in Frankfurt for the rest of the week, I didn't want to have to call him and tell him I was in the hospital!

I called the doctor and he told me to take two of the 500mg Naproxen tablets that I have for my migraines. If that didn't help, he said I should go to the ER. It did help some, along with the heating pad, although I still couldn't stand or walk. I found my Vicodin and managed to get through the night.

Yesterday morning I called the doctor. The recording said the office opened at noon. I managed to make it until noon and called again. The recording said they were out to lunch until 1. I called again and managed to get an appointment. The results? One was that the recording was wrong and they were really open at 8:30! Second was I most likely have herniated two disks in my back. I am out of work at least until next Tuesday. I am on lots of happy drugs. :o) I can walk again, albeit painfully. But I will survive. And I have to stay on the sofa with my heating pad as much as possible. So that means...

I've had time to knit the adorable little baby hat you see here. I saw these on Suze's blog, The Thread and I and she was kind enough to share the pattern with me. They work up quickly and are so cute! I plan to make a few and donate them to our church's "Caps and Laps" group which makes baby hats for the local hospital and lap robes for senior citizens. When I finished the hat, I started working on my newest pair of socks.

This morning I started cutting away the batting on my trapunto. It is a tedious job. I worked on it until the Percoset kicked in...then I stopped. I didn't want to cut the quilt top! Although I can't work at the longarm right now, I'm hopeful that I'll be able to stand up straighter by the end of the week and I can finish the nine patch. The good news is that one of the most comfortable chairs in the house is my sewing chair...it's cushy with lots of support. On Saturday night I cut out a new quilt, so I should be able to get some piecing done too. I'm doing my best to turn this into an opportunity to get something accomplished. I'll keep you posted!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Saturday Afternoon...

It's a beautiful Saturday here in South Jersey...sunny, temperatures in the 60's, but far too wet to work out in the yard! Besides, with it dipping back into the 30's this week, I don't think I want to get anything started out there!

So, instead of playing outside, I've been playing inside! I've finished the first layer of quilting for my MQX challenge quilt. What you see in the picture is the first layer of batting on the back. It's a thick batting and I've done the quilting in water soluble thread. I will trim away all the areas that I don't want to be trapuntoed, then will put it back on the longarm with another, thinner batting and backing, then quilt it again. I've named this quilt "Courage". It's the first time I've ever entered a quilt into a show to be judged. It's also the first time I've ever done trapunto. It's taken a great deal of courage for me to get it this far...now I can't wait to get it done!

In the meantime, I think I'll load a quilt onto the machine that I can get finished quickly and will require a minimum amount of "thinking" to get it done. Sounds like my blue nine patch and some Baptist Fans will be the perfect thing to start!

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