Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Monday, December 23, 2013

Mug Rugs, a little late

It's that pre-Christmas rush here, as it may be at your house.  I keep thinking of all the things I haven't done yet and some of them may get pushed off the list entirely.  Wrapping gifts still has to happen and I still need to find something, anything, for my husband.  Next year, all done shopping by November 30, that's my plan. 

Mug Rugs, waiting for bindings to be stitched down.  All the backs are the Michael Miller fabric at top

Apple Crumble Pie--what I made when I should have been sewing bindings

Patches, getting used to being the only cat, sticks close to me when I'm home

I had hoped to get the mug rugs done as soon as I came home from Houston--I was lucky enough to win the tablecloth on our table at a special event and thought it would be fun to make gifts with it for others who sat at my table.  Better late than never and they don't know this is my plan so they will be surprised with their  New Year's Gifts.

The other day I went to a shelter to get a new furry friend.  Patches hissed at him some as he explored all over.  About an hour after we came home I discovered he had diarrhea and he went right back to the shelter.  So far, my healthy Patches doesn't seem to have gotten it--I removed and sanitized the litter box he used.  Think I'm done bringing home new cats at this point.  
Super Southern Star, Calico Carriage Designs pattern, 82" x 82"

Another must do, was to get this binding in place and take this quilt to my local quilt shop--it's a class sample for a one day class in January.  I just got it back from the quilter, really wish I had planned ahead better.  It's a pattern from Calico Carriage Designs, Southern Star, and is my go-to pattern for college graduation quilts for nieces and nephews.  Most students can get the top at least half done in the one day class. 
Check out Judy L's Design Wall blog to see what others are rushing to finish.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and yours.   Let's Quilt!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

My Sweet Stitches--the Cat

Today we had to have Stitches, our 8 month old kitty, put to sleep--we are so very sad but know it had to be done.

Here is his story:

This is the photo on the Friends of Rescue website that made me go "Awwwwwwwwww" and knew he would be ours.  His name was Shipley then and we got him mid-July when he was about 12 weeks old.  His foster family said he was a great kitten and he was.  He rarely spoke, unless you tried to clip his nails, but you could hear him purr from across the room.  He was friendly, affectionate, and active, always on the go chasing his "sister"--Patches, the other cat we got the same day so they would have company.

Little did we know he brought Coccidios with him--a nasty parasite that required treatment a few days after we got him.  After 14 days, he was better and Patches had it.  We made it through all that mess and they turned into very fun playmates, often doing the 10 PM Tussle--chasing each other wildly all around the house, roughhousing and just being wild and FUN TO WATCH! 

Stitches had a great personality and loved to pose for photos and belly rubs.  He could chase a toy mouse around the house for an hour and was always the victor. 

The day he jumped onto the kitchen counter, then the refrigerator, then the top of the cabinets, my husband named him "Sir Edmund Hillary".  His inquisitiveness knew no bounds.  And the spray water bottle only amused him.  If we pointed it at him telling him "no!" and "get down", he just opened his mouth and I swear he was smiling--go ahead, squirt me! We could only laugh.

When he wasn't running, he was sleeping, preferably on a lap.  Here is a favorite pose, rub my belly!

Patches & Stitches bonded pretty quickly and seemed to like each other.  Their "fights" were mostly tussles and no one got hurt.  Until a week ago.

Friday night we knew Stitches didn't feel well but couldn't determine why.  That morning I found a piece of Christmas Cactus on the floor and thought he had ingested some.  Saturday morning he was clearly sick so off to the vet we went.  They kept him, gave antibiotics and sent him home.  By Monday morning he was seriously ill and we went back to the vet.  Upon close inspection, a 2" laceration under the tail was discovered and it looked pretty bad.  More meds, some ointment and he came home.  By Thursday his spirits were better and we thought the abscess had ruptured so we went back to the vet.  Later that day we got the news, things had spread very badly all over his hind end and it looked very, very bad.  Saturday the news was worse and my husband went to see him.  His one word that was so accurate:  "horrific".  My husband took me to see him and I knew, right then, this would not heal.  The vet agreed that was most likely the case but gave us time to think about it.  Only numerous surgeries and many months of rehab might save him. 

We could not put our beloved Stitches through that trauma so we let him go.  So very sad. 
Patches is lost.  Here she is grooming him, as she often did.  All weekend she has been crying, she's the vocal one.  She looks all over and has been bringing me Stitches' collar, crying:

We are undecided about getting another kitten right now.  I am about to start full time work again and won't be home much until after April 15.  What if she hurts the next kitty?  We know it was a playful accident, surely, but I worry about the next fur baby fitting in. 

We didn't have him very long, in time, but Stitches had our hearts.  Here is the last photo I took of him, right before he got hurt:

Goodbye, sweet baby.  We'll miss you.


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Show News!

Just got word that two of my quilts will make their big debut at the AQS show in Phoenix, February 2014.  I'm excited and pleased.  If you're at the Phoenix show, I'd love a photo or two.

A-Round with My Friends--worked on this for 7 years.  Hand applique'd and hand quilted
2011 Best of Show at my guild

Red and White--By the Numbers
2013 Best of Show at my guild

Details of the magnificent quilting by Pam Dransfeldt

Pam's Website--see more of her work here.  She is Joyful Quilter on Facebook--that's how I found her 5 years ago.

Let's Quilt!



Monday, December 9, 2013

Finally Finished Four-Patch

After quite some time, I am finished with this leader/ender project:

It is based on a quilt in the book Small Pieces, Spectacular Quilts by Mary Elizabeth Kinch and Biz Storms.  I made 4 patches from 1.5" squares over a couple of years, then they became groups of four four-patches, then larger groups of four sets, all with 1" sashing between the units.   There are many of my favorite fabrics in here and all are from projects I've made in the past 10 years.  It's like a reunion looking at them as the quilt top was completed.

As I'm a number person it seemed reasonable to count the squares when the top was done.  Not including the two outer borders, there are 1957 squares and rectangles in the body of the quilt.  It is a gift for my sister who was born, wait for it... in 1957!  Weird, right?  She had fussed at me some time ago that I never made a quilt for her so I've been working on this for a while.  I told her I'd make her a quilt for her 60th birthday so at this point I'm more than 3 years early.   Now it's on to the longarm quilter and eventually to my sister--sometime in this next year I guess.  No problem, she does not read my blog so she won't know.

This was the perfect leader/ender project.  By that I mean, I keep a container of light 1.5" squares and dark 1.5" squares right beside my machine.  As I start or end a row of stitching on every seam I sew, I grab 2 squares, one light one dark, and join them--then they get joined into a four patch and set aside until I need four-patches.  It's a way to create pieced units as you work on a project.  If I had decided to just make this quilt, all at once, I'd have gone crazy--there's just too much piecing and it's all squares and rectangles. 

Every quilter who has a cat knows that as soon as you spread out a quilt, anywhere, the cat will immediately appear out of nowhere and jump on it.  Patches did just that.  Sadly, her "brother" Stitches, is quite ill and will go back to the vet tomorrow.  We think he ate Christmas cactus.  It's touch and go today so I hope to have better news next report.

Check out Judy L's blog to see what others are up to.

Let's quilt!


Monday, December 2, 2013

Country Quilt--and Nashville

Here's what I'm working on--a simple block, Robbing Peter to Pay Paul, that I am doing by hand applique'.  You could piece it, by hand or machine, but it makes a simple block to carry as handwork on trips.  I trace around a template on both the light and dark pieces, line them up and thread baste.  No pins, just a needle and thread and I'm all set for needle turn applique'.

I've got more blocks to make but no rush, it will get done when it gets done.  Check out Judy L's Design Wall Monday blog to see what other folks are working on.

We went to Nashville for Thanksgiving to visit our son, Joshua Black Wilkins, photographer and musician.  We stayed downtown at the brand new Omni Hotel--a beautiful place with a great location.  Our son lives about two miles from there, in an old warehouse rehabbed into lofts.  From our room on the top floor, we had a view of the top of the new Music City Center--it's built in the shape of an acoustic guitar--can you see it?  There is also a green roof--my civil engineer husband just loves all that stuff.  It's always a "bus man's holiday" when we go near new construction.

We visited the new Johnny Cash museum--we are all fans of the late, great Johnny Cash.  It was a terrific exhibit, covering his long career in the music industry.  Joshua did not get to meet Johnny but had worked on a photo shoot after his death where he saw many of the artifacts on display.  And he got to hold the most famous guitar that belonged to Johnny--the black Gibson that is at the very end of the exhibits.  Very cool.

In the gift shop, because ALL museum tours end in the gift shop, Joshua was recognized by a fan of his who had seen him play in Memphis last May.  She and her husband were about 10 years younger than me.  She recognized Joshua's tattoos and then his face.  It was very cool for his mother to see her son recognized in public.  The woman had bought Joshua's music at the show and spreads the word about him.  Wish I had thought to get a photo of them together.  Next time.  And if you need a gift for an artistic friend who loves images, here is a link to Joshua's latest photo book:  Thirteen--look at the preview, you may see someone you recognize.

We also stopped in at Antique Archeology, the Nashville location of the store made famous by American Pickers, the TV show.  Didn't buy anything just looked at all the tourists visiting.  No Mike or Frank either, but here are my two guys, better than Mike or Frank:

Hope Thanksgiving was good for you.  Now it's December--yikes!  Good thing I do very little shopping or decorating.  H&R Block training is going strong--I'm returning for my 34th year.  Time to get all the quilting done I can before life gets really hectic,

Let's Quilt!