Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sunday Stash Report

I hope everyone had a nice Christmas with family and friends. Both my sons were here for the holiday, and Rob's girlfriend Mary joined us for Christmas dinner, and we had a good time.

We got 17 inches of snow in my town during the blizzard last week. Portland had a record snowfall of 14 inches, the most ever during a single storm. Eustis, Maine got 41 inches of snow. Do you suppose AlG has been pulling our legs with this global warming thing?

Nothing in and nothing out from the stash this week. Even though I finished the year in the hole by 158 yards, I found the process of tracking the stash very entertaining, and I can truthfully say that I shopped with purpose when I did go shopping for fabric. Much of the fabric I bought this year was used for the patterns I tested for Koleen. She is taking a year off from designing, so I expect (hope) to be working more from my stash this coming year and shopping less.

I found it equally entertaining reading about everyone else's stashbusting efforts. In that regard, Vicky's stash reports were my favorite because of the wild swings in her numbers and the humor with which she treated it. Pat and Lori also had impressive stash reports for the year. Pat succeeded in using nearly all of what she bought, and she amazed me with her productivity. Lori actually used 128 more yards than she purchased, so she was a stashbuster extraordinaire.

I finished this little strippy today, which will be donated. I quilted it with the Effervescence pantograph from Willow Leaf. This is the design I plan to quilt on my Orange Crush, but I want more practice with it first, so I'll make another strippy for that. I had trouble with tension and loops on the back of this quilt. The loops disappeared after the first couple rows, and I never did figure out the cause of it, but I was messing around with the bobbin tension throughout the quilting process. I finally managed to get the tension adjusted correctly on the very last row of stitching. Tension is the one thing that still gives me fits.

I've finished binding three sides of the Tug of War quilt; and even though I am working the last three days of the year, I'll get it finished before New Year's.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Doesn't look like it's snowing, does it? But anyone who pays much attention to the weather knows that in the Northeast we are getting hit with a huge snowstorm. A blizzard warning has been issued for some counties in the state, and in central Maine we are expecting 8-20 inches. (That's pretty broad, isn't it?)

We had a storm earlier this week on Wednesday. It was only a couple of inches, but it was enough to make for terrible driving conditions. When I went to work that morning, the interstate hadn't been plowed completely, so only one lane was mostly clear. Right before I got to Augusta, I was concentrating so hard on staying in my lane that I missed the fact that traffic had come to a complete stop on the interstate, probably from an accident up ahead. By the time I realized it, it was too late. I slammed on the brakes, but I wasn't aware that the car even slowed down. I knew if I crashed into the cars a lot of people would be hurt, so I steered the car off the road into a ditch. When I left the highway I was driving close to 50 mph.

It was a wild ride as I drove down the embankment, into a ditch filled with muddy water and cattails, out the other side of the ditch into a field, and then back into the ditch, where I came to rest. Other than scaring myself half to death, I was absolutely fine, and my car was fine too. Two other cars behind me also went off the road into the ditch, and two or three cars behind us crashed into each other on the interstate. It was a mess! I discovered there was a tow truck coming right up the shoulder--I'm guessing he must have been pulling people out all morning--and he hauled all three of us out of the ditch too. By the time I got back on the road again, I was shaking so hard I could hardly drive. I was foolish to drive that fast, given the road conditions, but it is a lesson I only need to learn once.

Needless to say, when I came home from work this afternoon in the middle of the snowstorm, I drove at a comfortable 35 mph, which was well below the posted speed. A long train of cars formed behind me, and most were content to follow the leader. At one point a tractor trailor zoomed by me at about 65 mph, and less than two miles down the highway the driver went off the road into the trees. I hope he was alright. My son, who was also working today and drove home from Lewiston in near blizzard conditions, also got home okay. We're in for the night!

Sunday Stash Report

I am exhausted from working so many hours this month; and as the month wears on I find I have less and less energy to do anything including sewing. Beginning the week after Christmas though, my schedule will get back to normal. I have lots of things to get caught up with.

In the meantime, I've been chipping away at a few little odds and ends in the sewing room and finally got the binding done on this quilt, which you've seen before here. This is my fourteenth finish for the year.

Next up is the binding for the Tug O' War quilt, which I've already started on. This is the biggest quilt I've ever made, about 95" x 110", so it'll take some time. I almost have the second side finished.

I also took the time to throw a little pink and blue strippy on the longarm to practice the bubbles pantograph I want to use on the Orange Crush quilt. I'm still hoping to get these two quilts finished before year's end, but I'm rapidly running out of time. If I could just get a day off somewhere, I could do it!

In the last couple of weeks, I've added a grand total of 3 yards to the stash. Not bad, eh? Haven't used anything though. The backing for the pink and blue strippy was a flannel sheet from the thrift shop that looked pretty new, and I never counted it into the stash.

Here's the Stash Manager's report:

Fabric used this week: 0 yards
Fabric used year to date: 196-7/8 yards
Fabric added this week: 3 yards
Fabric added year to date: 354-7/8 yards
Net year to date: - 158 yards

Years ago before I began quilting I was passionate about crosstitch, but I haven't done it for a long time. I started this small piece a couple of years ago as a Christmas ornament. All I had left to do was add a few musical notes, but I put it away and never finished it. I dug it out a few days ago, as it's a perfect thing to work on when I'm too tired for anything else.

I've also given some more thought to what I want to do in the sewing room next year. I never make New Year's resolutions because I never keep them, but the New Year still represents a new beginning and new opportunities. Besides focusing on scrap quilts, I'd like to spend more time learning my Electric Quilt program and learning machine embroidery. I recently found a new blogger who does some machine embroidery and enjoyed browsing her site. She made a free standing lace ornament of an ice skate that I really liked. My good friend Barb made some lace segments which she then draped over a glass Christmas bulb, and it was lovely. Inspiration abounds!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Sunday Stash Report

It's definitely time for a stash report, since I haven't done one for a couple of weeks. I am SO happy to report that both the Twelve Stars Til Christmas quilt and Theresa's Stars quilt are quilted, bound, and labeled--completely finished! Casey's Quilters met at our good friend Helen's today, and I put the last few stitches in the binding there. This makes my thirteenth finish for the year. Before the year is over I intend to finish at least three more that have been waiting in the wings--two that only need the binding, and one that needs to be quilted still.

All of the fabric for Twelve Stars has already been accounted for in earlier stash reports. Over the last couple weeks I used 8-3/8 yards for backings and bindings, and another Keepsake medley came in the mail, adding 1-1/2 yards.

Here's the Stash Manager's report:

Fabric used this week: 8-3/8 yards
Fabric used year to date: 196-7/8 yards
Fabric added this week: 1-1/2 yards
Fabric added year to date: 351-7/8 yards
Net year to date: - 155 yards

Helen invited our little group over to her house today for me to learn to make yeast rolls. Helen lives between the pages of House Beautiful magazine. Her home is inviting and spacious, with beautifully appointed furnishings. Her sewing room is downstairs in her basement, and we had plenty of space to spread out and comfy chairs to sit and sew while we waited for the dough to rise. Helen has brought these rolls to some of our meetings before, and they're so good! I'll bet it took less than 15 minutes to combine the ingredients for the dough and kneed it, then it was into a proofing oven for the first rise. After an hour Helen showed us how she kneeds each little dough ball and shapes it into the roll. It will be a very long time before I learn to do it as quickly as she can; and in the interest of time, we shaped the dough balls together. After another rising, the rolls went into the oven for about 20 minutes, and we had them with dinner. Helen made a wonderful dinner for us, with ham, scalloped potatoes, green bean casserole, and some assorted side dishes.

A very light snow fell outside for most of the day; but even though there was very little accumulation, the roads were pretty slippery, so we left after dinner and headed home. Earlier in the day, poor SueB slid down Kay's driveway into a guidewire for the telephone pole, but we got her unstuck and there was no damage to either the pole or Sue's truck. It sure was a nice day, and I feel lucky to have such great friends.

I'll be working 40 hours or more each week for the rest of the month, so I'm not planning to start any more new projects this year. I'll be mighty happy if I can just get those three quilts finished.