Friday, August 27, 2010


The last time I needed a picture of a quilt this size (generous queen), DH spread it on the grass and stood up on the tractor seat. Where is the farmer when I need him? Off being a maintenance man...he's a gentleman of many hats - quite a few many hats, actually.

So, left to my own devices, the picture is of an inferior sort. That's life in the real world.

As always, there is a story behind the quilt. DD hand dyed and cut the yellow/blue blocks which were used for guest signatures at our grandson's July wedding. I assembled the signature blocks into this quilt top. It will go back to DD for quilting. Certainly her quilting will much improve the simple design. The center nine-patch contains quotes from the wedding program and signature blocks are scattered about that. Since there was writing on most of the blocks anyway, I lettered the quilt label on a blue square and just stuck it in with the others.(The quilt's name is "Set Me as a Seal")

After doing a string of small quilts, this one seemed larger than life and grew accordingly. If the quilter wants to trim the outer borders down some, that will be fine with me. I do love these little projects...and I do love getting them to the point where I don't have to make any more decisions. Nine-patch? Twelve-patch? Borders or no? Her turn now...teeheehee.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Anniversary of Gold

Golden Devotion

Dearest friends and sweet companions
Ever faithful, pure and true;
Valiant in pursuit of honor
On the path love set in view.
Two made one - a golden union,
Image of that Love divine,
Over time so closely melded,
Now e'en souls as one entwine

Devotion - to each other...
Side by side and hand in hand,
Heart to heart through tides and seasons,
Looking t'ward eternal sands.

Devotion - to the children
Given by a Gracious Lord...
Counting every golden moment
Held in trust, with utter joy.

Devotion - as with children
Each grandchild treasured as gold...
Keepers of their growing wonder,
Guardians of their precious souls.

Devotion - to all Christians
For whom fifty years have shown
Countless hours of love and labor
That the Master's cause be won.

Devotion - friends and family
Gathered here tribute to pay,
Thank God for their rare example -
Golden love ... lived day by day.

Monday, August 16, 2010


I've reached the stage in my life that I sometimes like to turn decision making processes over to someone spending birthday cash. The first half, I spent on some new accessories for Maggie; the second half I intended to spend on fabric. When they brought the kids half-way to spend a week at the Barn, I handed the cash over to Nines and Sandy with full confidence they could increase my quilt stash with very good choices while I stayed home and played. Shopping is hard work in my book.

We had a wonderful week with the children. Nothing extraordinary (except the company), just a bit of country living with a bit of country cooking thrown in to make them smile. I made some aprons, nightgowns and p.j.s. Grandfather let the girls drive the tractor all by themselves and read them chapters from Farmer Boy (Laura Engles Wilder). We played in the rain and had some rainy day fun inside when it was just too hot and humid to bear the great outdoors. The days flew by for all of us!

Today, I exchanged three precious grand-angels for this. I'll miss my angels excruciatingly, but you gotta admit, this is is a pretty good consolation prize. Great job choosing, girls - and Mama didn't have to make up her mind once! The sweet clear blue/leafy pattern at the upper right is an extra gift from Sandy (thanks so much!); the rest came in fulfillment of birthday wishes from dear twin sis.  The rosy greens are very me. The turquoise is a bit of a departure...but I do love it! And aren't those fat quarters just delicious? It will take a lot of dreaming to decide which way to go with them.

I think I have enough mind to decide how to parse and piece all these lovelies ... but not today. Six hours on the road and fourteen quarts of tomatoes canned is enough for today. I'm off to find some mindless sit-down task and fully expect that to be the only sensible decision left for now.

Monday, August 09, 2010


"Charmed, I'm Sure."

Not exactly the most original of titles for this little quilt top, but one I'm sticking to for now. The blocks were in a charm pack that was a gift (thank you, Sandy) -- working them up was a breeze. Such funky fun with all the retro shapes and colors! Now why do I think the quilt, in it's completed state should be retro-fitted with a few episodes of "The Mod Squad" or "The Brady Bunch"?

Fingering the retro patterns brought such fine memories. Back in the day (the 70's) we had uprooted our family of six from our Pennsylvania home to return to our birth state of West Virginia. This began the era our children most remember of their beginnings; a place and time that took them from first grade to college. It was a good move. Besides being reunited with our families, we were re-established among our church family - an association that stretched over many years that followed. High on the list of my own memories of this time is my relationship with a very special person ... friend, teacher, mentor, stand-in mother and grandmother to so many within our congregation - a special lady named Catherine. (Unlike Anne of Green Gables, Catherine with a "C" is extraordinary in my book.)

Catherine's Colors were brought back in the designs of these quilt pieces. When I was in my thirties, Catherine, in her generous way, bestowed many gifts of fabric upon me. I soon lost count of all the material she sent my way. Don't remember when or how they came to her, but she passed them on, seemingly delighted to think I would find some use for them. Everything from polyester leisure suiting to sewing scraps to feed sacks - what a treasure trove. Especially those feed sacks. In those days, with four kids in grade school, my piecing hours were numbered, but I was doing a bit here and there between other sewing projects.  I do recall cutting letters and zig-zagging them onto a banner to advertise a bean dinner fund raiser at the school. And later a corduroy knotted comforter that got "lost" when loaned as a prop for a high school production of "Fiddler on the Roof."

I probably did not adequately appreciate the feed sacks, though I should have since my own first grade school dresses were made of such. Perhaps I thought they would not preserve well enough for a part in my later quilting ventures. However they made some pretty aprons and pillowcases and school lunch bags at the they did serve some useful purpose before being consigned as dust/cleaning cloths.

Catherine's Colors are appropriately bright. She was not a modern lime green and orange and hot pink kind of lady. No, Catherine was not modern; she was perfectly, wonderfully old-fashioned. Yet she was vivid of life...bright, sweet, caring, sharing, cheerful. Not because she had an easy life, but because she knew His Life Eternal was her purpose. She took her purpose very seriously. She taught us how to be giving and practical: "You don't have to be rich to show hospitality -- anyone can find enough pennies for popcorn and Kool-aid."  She was a excellent role model in faith, dedication, compassion and joy. She loved to sing. Contentment and hope are often partnered with singing, don't you think?

As time went on, as life has a tendency to move in diverging directions, Catherine was no longer able (either physically or financially) to live on her own; so she moved out of state to the homes and care of dear daughters. Even when she was away, she was near....sending kind notes of love and encouragement. With every card or letter I could hear her speak my name, feel her love, see her smile, remember her wisdom. Such a good woman!

Retro is all the rage in fabrics these days: Civil War...1940's - 1970-80's.Even feed sack replicas. They're just great!  It seems to me we are drawn to the patterns and the colors of former decades largely because of the memories they generate. How refreshing it is to go back and relive, revive those precious ties.

Thursday, August 05, 2010


What do you call a small square baby quilt? I remember laying several layers of square baby blankets and folding them over my babies when we went out in cold Pennsylvania weather. They were so bundled up, you could hardly feel the baby in there.

So that''s what I'm calling this smaller version of a baby quilt top ... a baby bundler. It's about forty inches square; made of leftovers. The half square triangles were made long ago with cut offs of pineapple blossom squares, to which I added a few 9-patches of Nines' leftover hand-dyed. (I tried to add enough orange to redeem the pink, Hannah.) When the HST are already done, it takes no time at all whip up a quilt this small - so easy, you could make a whole line of them. I'm not so crazy about the outer border, too pale a yellow; but if I found something better, replacing it would be easy too.

"Rosy Cheeks with Star-Bright Smiles"
Well, Maggie's gone through four bobbins, so that should be sufficiently broken in to get serious about a real project. On the other hand, moseying along, an hour here and hour there, is perhaps better suited to the current climate. I have some embroidered squares given to me by Nnies' friend Sandy (three sets, in fact). While taking it easy, I may trim those up and cut sashing today...let Maggie have the day off.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010


I was having a bit of trouble coming up with a name for this, Maggie's first project. Decided to steal a title from John Denver...always did like that song.

The quilt top is s a break-in project for the new machine and likely incomplete - it needs to grow a few inches with a border. I had made the HST of Asian and DD Nines' hand dyed some months back (they were break-in for HST from a tube process, so I'm breaking new ground on several counts); and sewing up the blocks and joining them with sashing was easy all round.

Maggie's learning curve has been painless, I must say. She purrs right along (DH says she sounds like a bumble bee) and doesn't fuss a speck over extra layers that seams make. Smooth as silk, appropriately. I have ordered a presser foot with 1/4-inch guide as I have a tendency to look away and swivel a scootch every so often.

So this one is named and in the hopper ... wonder what will pop up and grab me next? Something tells me my sewing season will begin long before winter this year.
 With border added...

Sunday, August 01, 2010


As if I weren't already spoiled enough, DH gave me a new sewing machine for my birthday. And since I hope to have a long and fruitful relationship with her, she needed a name. Maggie it is! My new best friend forever. Well, maybe I won't go that far; but we are getting nicely acquainted and she's very likable.

You'll laugh at my decision making process. Choosing a sewing machine is much like picking out a new computer. You have to balance function with flair if you're also counting the cost. And we all count our costs these days. I crossed off embroidery machines as unpractical for me and narrowed it down to two basic Janome models - one twice the price of the other.

DD Laurie suggested I save for the better model by selling a few of my quilts to make up the difference; even offered to help me advertise online. I'm sure that was good advice; but you know, I just couldn't do it. Sell my babies? I mean for a few days there, I thought I might, but no I couldn't. After all I put a share of time and heart in the simplest of creations - and farm them out to strangers? I may one day be pressed to change this viewpoint...but not yet.

When all the family started gathering in for the July, I watched Caitlin helping with all those endless wedding details and just knew "Dragonfly Summers" was made for her. And Abe, sweet Abe, who loves all things red -- Oe's Cabin (which just had to stay in the family anyway) -- would be in ecstasies with a red quilt on his bed. Not for fortune nor for fame ... for family.

The only basic difference in the two machines I considered was the number of decorative stitches available. More stitches would be fun, but also frivolous for my use. When I thus explained my choice, Wayne said, in his simple way, "if that's what you want, order it." How exciting. He didn't have to tell me twice.

Maggie now has a place of honor on a desk my brother made when he was in high school. She basks in full light by the window ... good for my eyes ... and sets at a very comfortable height for what I suspect will be frequent visitations.

And yes, I've begun another quilt top already.