Friday, August 28, 2009


I've been dealing with medical issues the last couple of weeks. I have a pelvic mass, probably most likely benign. But it's large and it has to come out but until all the test results are back the doctor doesn't know how she can preform the surgery (the easy robotic way with just keyhole incisions or the tradition surgical route) or when it needs to be done (in a couple of months, sooner, soonest).

I'll either be in the hospital overnight (best scenario) or several nights. My recovery time could be up to eight weeks depending on what has to be done. It's hard to plan. I'm worried about Pokey - she still has to get to the vet and I sure won't be able to crawl under the bed to get to her.

Ugh. I hate this, I hate the not knowing. I hate that my family is all so far away. My aunt (who's a quilter - yah!) is going to come help me out. I have this faint hope that I'll feel better really quickly so that we can have fun and sew but I know I'm fooling myself. I'll probably be spacey with drugs and cranky.

I probably won't know anymore or have the surgery schedule for another week. So welcome to the waiting game.

So anyway, that's what's going on with me. I haven't gotten any sewing done (that's an older photo of Pokey with Hope Strings Eternal) and barely any handquilting. I've definitely been reading too much medical info on the internet.

Later. Ya'all take care.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

French Hatbox

Is it just me or is this summer lasting a long time? It's still getting up into the low 90's here and I am sooo ready for cooler weather. Kids in the area went back to school last Tuesday, so that means summer should be over, right?

I got some gorgeous lovely soft fabric from the Fabric Square Shop: the French Hatbox collection by Free Spirit. Some of the colors match Pokey:

As I pieced Hope Strings Eternal I really noticed the lack of light fabric in my stash. For so many years I only bought darks and mediums. I'm really drawn to intense colors. To illustrate my point, here's a photo with a quilt I made in the late 1990's. This was totally my palette back then and I wouldn't buy any other colors except for holidays and those did NOT get mixed into regular stash.

A detour off-topic: Uh oh, a Lily/Pokey standoff. Lily usually gets the better of these matches - she's meaner, or maybe just more aggressive, as well as bigger.

Back to French Hatbox. These fabrics will add some lights into my stash, but still have some fun color. I love these big roses especially on the light green background.

These fabrics make me think of the watercolors that Carol Gillot features in her blog Paris Breakfasts. It would be so fun to get one of her paintings where she puts your pet in Paris. My cats have even lived there, so it would be fitting. Not that they ever got to leave the apartment.

Back on the topic of the fabrics: As much as I love them, I wouldn't use them all together in one quilt - that's way too matchy for me. My pet peeve is definitely quilts made from just one line of fabric. But I don't mind having a few fabrics in a scrappy quilt that are from the same line but in different colorways. I have a couple of friends who HATE it. Not me, as you can see from my current quilt in progress:

Have my color tastes changed. Those dark Amishy colors just don't look right in Florida, but these sure do.

I'm so excited Project Runway is back on. woohoo! There are a couple of contestants who are into old Hollywood glamor, so I'm hoping for good stuff from them. The judges definitely sent the right person home.

I really enjoyed the All Star Challenge. I like the designer who won, although I thought the clothes were ugly with the exception of the red carpet dress. I was happy that the designers I think are complete jerks didn't win.

I'm also watching Top Chef: Las Vegas. I've actually eaten at one of the restaurants: Zaytinya in Washington DC. I loved it because it was all mezze from the mediterranean region - just my style of food. Too bad the chef is such a sexist jerk.

Speaking of guys who don't think much of women, woohoo, Mad Men is back. I am so bored with seeing Don Draper's affairs. We know he's an unfaithful jerk, let's get on to something that moves the plot along please. I love the bits of the show that take place at the office - that's the dynamic that fascinates me. Go, Peggy, go!

I'm watching Warehouse 13, but it doesn't thrill me. It feels so been there, done that. We've got Mulder and Scully reborn, only without the charisma and wit. Instead it's just petty bickering. I wish the awesome CCH Pounder had a bigger role.

Saturday, August 15, 2009


I completed two quilt tops this last week. I just needed to get borders on Cake, formerly known as Hope is a 4-Letter Word. Cake is so much easier to write. Anyway, this is a hint of what it looks like:

Does it makes more sense if I pull back a bit and you can see that the top is draped on the cutting table?

It was much easier to work while Lily slept peacefully in the quilt tree. Far too often she was in the way. Getting under:

or just on top

So the Cake top is done. I also completed another small wallhanging, a secret, but this is what it looked like in progress:

I'm hand quilting that now. So much easier to quilt a small quilt with the weather so hot. I pulled out all the name blocks ya'all sent me and have to admit to feeling a bit overwhelmed. Aiyeee, another giant puzzle quilt. So I stuck them back in the drawer.

I played with fabric for another new wallhanging, this one very citrusy with lemons, limes and oranges. I think I'm boring Pokey:

Pokey is doing well. To clarify, she's doing as well as she can do. She still has all that damage to her kidneys - that never goes away. We go to the vet three times a week so she can get fluids. But she's happy and still the most energetic of our cats. Not that that's saying much - cats do sleep. Pokey is hunting socks this morning, although she refuses to play fetch with me. I throw a sock down the stairs and she waits for a few minutes--until I've sat back down and restarted whatever I was doing--before bringing it back up.

Have you heard about the Iraqi Bundles of Love project that Kristin La Flamme's husband is working on? This is a great short-term project to get sewing supplies to those who need them in Iraq. Kristin does a better job of explaining it here and here is a list of possible items to send. I gotta get hopping on my own bundle. I'm terrible about procrastinating and I knooow how slow the military mail system is.

Some quilty links for you. I'm enjoying Deb Rowden's Thrift Shop Quilts blog. The title pretty much sums up the kind of quilts that Deb buys and makes: utility quilts and making quilts from recycled clothing. I LOVE these blocks she's working on right now (here and here) a la Anna Williams.

Quilt Pixie has been using (and explaining) the quilt-as-you-go method for machine quilting her crumby alphabet sampler. very fun.

I gotta motor. Ya'all take care.

Sunday, August 09, 2009


One thing I can say for Florida. It is hot. Hot, hot, hot. It's definitely a drawback to doing any sewing - I really have to think if I want the iron on. It doesn't help that we get so much sun in through our beautiful windows.

I got this great quilt pic from Teresa C. who's allowing me to share it with you. These were Teresa's first letters and she did them wonderfully. Unsurprisingly, the flames are appliqued, otherwise that would be a looot of seams. She made this quilt for a Sarasota Guild quilt challenge: create a small quilt using the phrase “Days of Summer” as the inspiration. yup, this is definitely summer.

I have been unable to decide what to do with leftover Hope. I did ponder adding plaid triangles to set these blocks on point. (I don't think Pokey actually cares which fabric or setting I use, so long as she gets her belly rubbed. Look at how well her belly fur is finally growing in.)

Or having alternate plain squares, with the plaid on the bias. I wouldn't have to sew any extra blocks that way.

I'm actually amazed at how many of ya'all like the dots in the last post. I was sure that would be the least favorite. Anyway, I've been doing too much thinking and not enough deciding, so I've done nothing with these blocks yet.

Equal time for Lily. This is one of her favorite poses, with one leg stretched out.

I've got the a/c cranked so that I can work on a little project I started earlier today. I've been dreading turning on that iron, but there's only so much I can do without it....

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Sashing Auditions with Pokey

I'd love to have a smaller project to hand quilt in the hot days of August, so I thought of whipping together a wallhanging out of leftover Hope blocks. These blocks are 7" when finished since all of my little squares were 4" to start. Okay, so a 4x4 block quilt wouldn't be small small (and I'd have to make another 3 blocks) but it would be smaller than the Halloweeny monster quilt.

I auditioned sashing this morning with my usual Pokey helper. Some Cherrywood turquoise. I love the color, as always, but it doesn't seem to do much with the liveliness of this quilt. Almost makes it boring. But maybe that's a good thing?

Okay this one's not boring:

This is a madras plaid I bought in Paris. I love the colors and it makes it feel homey.

A dark violet batik. Eh, don't like it. That is, I love the batik, but not as sashing here.

This Moda Christmas Red really makes the blocks stand out. I like it, but this almost seems like the cowardly choice because it's so easy.

Hmm, kinda like this busy reddish print too. I bought it to border another quilt, but I could get more.

I dunno, can't make a decision. Guess I'll go pull freaking paper off the back of my quilt top for the rest of the day. That's what I get for stringing on paper foundations. hmm, I do have some of those blocks leftover. Wonder if that would work out as sashing?

Edited to add: I completely forgot to mention - I got the Hope Strings Eternal top all pieced yesterday. That's why I'm now pulling out the paper. It's a big mess right now, that's for sure.

Monday, August 03, 2009

We've Got Rows

I'm getting really close to finishing Hope Strings Eternal. Almost all the rows are together and a few good hours of sewing will do it. This photo is from earlier in the day before I'd gotten that far:

I know this is a busy quilt and not to everyone's taste. This quilt is for me and I really like busy. Show me a beautifully decorated spare modern room and it does nothing for me, whereas the cluttered eclectic room full of world travel souvenirs and outsider art? Now that will make my heart sing. I like lots to look at. (Not to dust mind you, but to look at. Good thing quilts don't take that kind of maintenance.)

Big Habibi (pictured above) has been biting Pokey on the neck and making her squeal. I HATE that. How can he pick on this sweet baby girl?

These are from even earlier in the day. I knew some of you would want more Pokey photos.

I really overdid the Hope blocks - I have another thirteen of them to play with. Maybe this next one will be tamer. Won't guarantee it though.

Watching tv and sewing has pretty much been my life. It feels good to be in the sewing groove - I didn't want to piece for many months. Meanwhile I'm not so happy with my hand quilting project. I feel like Slither Eek Boo is fighting me. It doesn't want to be cluttered up with images but would instead wants freehand fans. That way the words are emphasized. I'm not going to unpick any of my stitches, but start doing fans and then compare.