Entries in Friends (4)


For the Fun & the Pretty

I've mentioned more than once how much I admire this girl.  I mean, seriously.  As far as I'm concerned, she is commander-in-chief of all things pretty. 

Just sayin'.

So when she posted this free pattern last week I practically knocked my chair over as I jumped up to grab fabric from my stash so I could start making this thing already!!!

I've had these FQs of old "Durham" prints from Lecien since it came out about 5 (?) years ago ... 

Until now I just didn't have the nerve to cut into it because I love them so much.  Sometimes I would pick them up, look at them, inspect them, arrange them on my cutting table, smile at them, study them, admire them, imagine making something with them ... break out into a cold sweat ... and then put them back on the shelf.

But if EVER there was a perfect project for my prized fabric ... am I right or am I right?

I've started on the dresdan blades using a new-to-me method I learned from another lovely lady I admire.

And I've tentatively selected these Cosmo embroidery floss colors ...

Very excited over here! :)


Repentant Quilter

Forgive me Father for I have sinned. 

I've never participated in a Block of the Month Club.  Ever.  In 25 years of quilting.  Can you believe that?

I've watched many a BOM Club project unfold - from a safe distance.  Some even start out promising.  Really promising.  But just when I think I'll jump onboard, a super ugly block and/or fabric shows up and I turn and run for the hills, thanking my lucky stars that I escaped unharmed.  I chalk it up to an (un)healthy dose of "perfectionism" (or control-freak-ism ... whichever you prefer.  I'll admit to both). 

I started one once - about 15 years ago.  The first block had a white background.  But then the next one had a cream background.  Couldn't do it.  So I quit.

If I'm gonna spend that much time on a quilt, I want to like it when it's done.  I don't want to make (yet another) quilt I can't stand and then end up giving it to my brother who lives in a cabin in the woods ... where no one who knows me will see it.  Ever.  Because it's so ugly. 

(No, he's not the unabomber.  He owns a ski lodge/touring company for extreme skiiers.  And his "cabin" is a pretty nice lodge ... )

See, I've long referred to myself as a "Line Whore" - meaning I'm most comfortable making quilts with fabrics that are all from the same designer/collection.

I know, I know.  Some quilters think that's a lazy/boring way to sew.  I understand.  And I deeply respect those who can throw fabrics from here and there and everywhere into a quilt and have it be the most stunning thing EVER.  I envy that skill.  But I can't help it.  I've just made too many costly mistakes and I'm very gun shy about experimenting.

Told ya ... perfectionism at its worst.  :(

Well, I finally found a BOM - "Mystery" no less - that I'm excited to do.  It uses a TO-DIE-FOR fabric line ...

I mean, come ON.  HOW can you NOT love Strawberry Fields by Fig Tree

And with blocks designed by super awesomely nice & talented ladies like these?

Can't go wrong. :)

This Club started in June but I'm a little behind because I entered my address wrong when I signed up online (graying hair strikes again!) with the Fat Quarter Shop and ... long story short, I got my first block & finishing kit 3 months late. 


And the ladies at Fat Quarter Shop were so nice about it too.  (Thank you, Cheryl!)  :)

The best thing about this BOM for me?  I joined with a friend of mine.  We got together a few days ago to play catch up.  She was nice and waited for my stuff to arrive in the mail. 

I have good friends. ;)

Oh, and the OTHER best thing about this project?  We split a fat quarter bundle ... in case we screw up. 

Any excuse to buy more fabric, right?!  (Although it's possible I threatened her into the joint purchase). 

But I'm finding that the fabric provided in the monthly kits seem to be VERY generous so we probably didn't really NEED the extra fabric.  (Since when did I ever worry about NEED?) tee hee

Block #1 - by Bonnie of Cotton Way & Camille of Thimbleblossoms

Block #2 by Pam of Heartspun Quilts

Block #3 by Carrie of Miss Rosie's Quilt Co.

These blocks were fun to make ... but at 12" they are positively GINORMOUS next to all my little 4.5" FWQAL blocks!


And the Winner of This Quilt is ...

... the highest bidder.  That bidder could be you!

A very good friend of mine – Lani Donaldson – is hosting her 2nd Annual Fundraiser for Literacy (a cause close to my heart as a mom of a dyslexic daughter who struggled to learn how to read.  I’m happy to report that because of her experience with Beacon Literacy she’s a very active member of her Grade 4 Reading Club!).  I wanted to donate something for the Silent Auction portion of the event so here’s what I did.

As a quilter, I a) am always looking for quick patterns to make and b) have lots of fabric that’s been in my stash for far too long waiting to be made into something pretty.

I came across this fun pattern for a throw-sized quilt in my newest and favorite book (see sidebar on right).

I thought it would look great made with these beautiful Japanese prints. 

I enlisted my helper to sort the block fabrics.  She named them (L to R) “Black Leaves, Paris, Dots & Green Fern”.

Paris is my favorite – I have a thing for fabric with words, especially vintage-looking script.  (Did you notice it in my blog banner?)  I also thought it was appropriate, considering the cause. :)

And now for my embarrassing confession:  I can’t do free-motion quilting.  I took a class on it about 20 years ago, but at the time I had a really crappy sewing machine and the results were frustrating, to say the least.  I’ve never really tried since.  (If I can't do something well on the first or second try, I tend to give up.  I know, it's totally immature.)  So all my quilts are top-stitched with either a crosshatch or in-the-ditch.  That may seem kinda boring.  But in my oh-so-humble opinion, you can NEVER go wrong with the classic crosshatch.  It always reminds me of Chanel.

In the interest of using fabric economically, I (almost) always piece my backs.  It gives a quilt that one-of-a-kind touch.  In this case, I had a large piece of brown that obviously had been used for bias binding so it was missing a big corner.   Ta da!

Even though these colors aren’t typically me, I love this quintessentially Japanese palette - all earthy, natural, easy to live with colors.  My goal was to make a quilt with broad appeal to really get those bids up!

So if you want to own this original, handmade quilt please get tickets for this fabulous event and bid on it.  If this quilt isn't your thing (how could it NOT be?!), I'm sure you'll find another treasure at the auction. 

Take someone special out for a wonderful evening (May 6th, 2011).  You’ll be glad you did!

PS:  If you aren't able to attend but are interested in bidding, please leave me a comment.  I can bid on your behalf and then ship it to you!


"Thank You, Laura Ashley"

I’m a home body.  And I don’t get out much socially.  But this past weekend I went to dinner with some friends – a special group that boasts an English Masters student, advertising account manager, kindergarten teacher, neonatal respiratory therapist, flight attendant and … me.

About every six months or so, one of us will shoot out a reminder email that we’re due for a get together.  Then we spend a week coordinating schedules to find a date that’s a month or two away.  We rarely manage to get all six of us, but we lucked out this time.

Our history goes back some 20 years when we were young sales associates at a Laura Ashley store.  Our mutual love for the Laura Ashley brand is what we had in common.  Our time spent working together led us to becoming friends.  And despite our shop closing 10 years ago (and most of us leaving our jobs before then) we Laura Girls have maintained a great friendship.

Over the years we’ve shared in the success of graduations, praised new jobs, celebrated two weddings (three were child brides, and we’re still rooting for you Chica!), had several house-warmings, rejoiced at nine baby showers and mourned at four funerals.

When we get together we do all the usual things:  reminisce about the store, the other people we worked with, the customers, the products (don’t kid yourself, if we ever decided to get rid of all our Laura Ashley treasures – and that would NEVER happen – it’d be one sweet garage sale!).  We lament how the Laura Ashley of the 90’s is gone forever.

We share photos & stories, catch up, laugh/cry about how the aging process is affecting us, sympathize over difficult situations and just enjoy being in each other’s company. 

We all – husbands included – find it remarkable and pretty special that a part-time job at a little store so long ago could have forged such a long-lasting bond among six girls.

I think of myself as a Laura Girl because of how much I loved the style.  But I call myself a Laura Girl because I’m a proud member of this select little circle of friends.

If it’s true that you can judge people by the company they keep, then I’m deeply honored & humbled.  Thank you ladies for keeping me in your lives.  I love you all.