The Love Bug

This year Choo Choo  Quilters Guild had an interesting challenge. It is something that I read about on the internet years ago when I lived in Florida. I suggested it to the guild and they seemed to like the idea, so my team (Team Carolyn) organized it and called it A Novel Idea.

The idea is that you start with a sentence picked randomly from a book to use as inspiration for a small quilt.  Everyone was instructed to go to page number x and count down to sentence x and write it out on their entry form. We got some interesting sentences, and I am still convinced mine was the worst one to try to make a quilt out of.

So we had three or four months to work on the quilts and this month was the big finale. We got fifteen quilts and all of them were great.  You can go to the guild blog (Choo Choo blog) by clicking the link on the side to see all of the entries and read the sentences that inspired them.  And you can go to Veronica’s blog (also clickable on the side) to see more pictures of the entries and learn a little more about hers.

Here is my entry:

My method: I sandwiched sheer fabrics, beads, sequins and bits of ribbons between two layers of another sheer fabric. Then I hand stitched around the different things just enough to hold them in place. The outside border is a sandwich of black fabric and heavy interfacing stitched together by machine in a spiral pattern with some teal and turquoise quilting thread.

Book: Another Roadside Attraction by Tom Robbins

Sentence: ‘Isn’t that a disgustingly romantic way for a scientist to behave?’

And here is the story I wrote about it: The Love Bug

This is a story about Oliver and Matilda.  Oliver was a biophysicist and worked for research. Oliver was quite bright; in fact he was a genius whose research had let to several medical breakthroughs over the years.

But Oliver had one problem. He was shy. And to make matters worse, he was in love with Matilda, the scientist whose lab was across the hall from his. Every morning on his way in to work he would tell himself, “Today I will talk to her! Today, I will ask her out.”  And every morning as he got closer to his office his nerve left him. 

 As he put the key into his lab door, Matilda would be approaching her door and say, “Good morning Dr. Spencer,” as she did every day. And as he did every day, he would mumble, “Good morning, Dr. Ross,” and scurry into his room and close the door.  This had been going on for years! Except for the rare comments exchanged in staff meetings, this was the only time they talked; — They had never made eye contact, his shyness kept his eyes on his shoes.

 He didn’t realize, never would have suspected, that Matilda was carrying a torch for him as well, and she was a little shy herself. Every morning, she hoped that he would say something more than “Good morning, Dr. Ross.”

 One day, he got a big idea of how to express his feelings for Dr. Ross. It involved an innocuous bacteria and some genetic manipulation, and it took a lot of planning, trial-and-error, false starts and going back to the drawing board, but he was confident that this idea would help break the ice between them and he would win his heart’s desire.

 After many months of research, his surprise was ready. And it was also Valentine’s day, a day he had always found depressing, until now. When she was out for lunch, he put a note on Matilda’s door that read – Dr. Ross, if it would be convenient, could you come to my lab before you leave today. I have something I want your opinion on.

 She didn’t notice the note till she was closing her door at the end of the day.  As soon as she did though, she headed across the hall to Oliver’s lab and went in. As you can imagine, he was nearly speechless from the anxiety of waiting all day. But he was so happy that she was there.  Speaking almost inaudibly, he asked if she would look into the microscope at his latest experiment. Of course she complied.

 When she looked in the microscope, she saw something similar to this quilt. The usually round cells one expects to see were heart shaped. She could see them moving around on the slide wiggling around like tiny bumper cars. It was quite an amazing sight.

 Then she asked, “what does it do?”

 He replied, “I’m not sure. I still have some tests to do on it. It may not do anything but get your attention.”

 She asked him, “What did you name it?”

 He said, “e.col.ILOVEYOU.”

 A big smile spread across her face, and she said, “Well, isn’t that a disgustingly romantic way for a scientist to behave?”  She turned from the microscope and looked down at him – he was quite a bit shorter than her. He looked up at her and their eyes met for the first time. Their gaze held for a long moment, then they put their arms around each other and got lost in of those Princess Bride kisses.  The end.  Or perhaps it is just the beginning…

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And now for September

First up is my sunflower quilt. It was part of a row robin we had earlier this year in Crazy Quilters guild.  I made the center block then passed it along to Sharon.  She did the middle borders up to the yellow strip. Then Delores got it and did that fancy outside border.

I quilted it and added the binding as part of my UFO challenge for Chattanooga quilters. I am really happy with the quilt. I had no idea what to expect and think it is better than I could have imagined. Thanks Sharon and Delores for all your hard work.

Next is the quilt I made from the Pat Wys workshop that was arranged by Crazy Quilters Guild. My quilt is called How Does Your Garden Grow!

It was a lot of fun to make. I decided to use my reds ad pinks and valentine fabrics and I love the result — it is a very happy quilt.

Finally, hear are three cuddle quilts that I started at the Choo Choo guild cuddle quilt workshop. They werw fast and fun.

And because it is always good to receive critique on one’s work, here is Max’s opinion of one of the cuddle quilts:

Dye Workshop Results

Last Saturday I attended a dye workshop with many of my fellow Choo Choo quilters. It was great fun — even more fun than last year. Last year, I concentrated on making solid colors with a little gradation in the pieces. I was very happy with the results. This year I got a little more experimental and tried a few simple patterns. Here are my new beautiful fabrics:

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I am very pleased with these pieces, although I don’t know if I will want to cut into some of them because they are just too pretty.

A couple of my experiments didn’t turn out as expected, but I still learned a lot for next time. The picture with the rusty looking fabric is one example. I used a couple pieces of muslin that I had rust-dyed a couple years ago hoping that over-dying them would improve their look. I twisted both pieces in the nautilus pattern and dipped one side of each into a dye. One was a brown and I think you can see the brown spiral, but faintly. The other piece, I dipped in yellow, and it seems to have blended in with the rust colors too well.

The bright yellow one next to the rusty ones was suppose to be much lighter and kind of marbled looking, but the dye was stronger than we thought.

There are also four pieces with almost no color on them and that is exactly what I wanted. They will be good backgrounds for applique. In fact, I used one of them already. I can’t show it to you right now because it is part of a round robin with my Crazy Quilters guild and is suppose to stay secret till all the rounds are done.

September in Review

Well, doesn’t it seem like this has turned into a once a month blog? No doubt that will change, but it works for now. Here is what I have been working on this month.

I put together a couple cuddle quilts for Choo Choo Quilters. Some of us members got together one Saturday and stitched like crazy.  Here are a couple I pieced from kits put together from blocks we all made as homework. I like the contrasting values.

More of the same blocks, different layout. What a dramatic difference. Both of these quilts are sandwiched and ready to quilt.

This one is also from blocks we made as homework. I made all these and got to put them together at the cuddle quilt workshop. I love all the browns and how the wild animal print goes perfectly as sashing and border. This one is quilted and turned in. I hope the kid who gets it likes wild animals.

This is the last of my puppy panel fabric. I had just enough to make a quilt for each of my three guilds. This one went to Choo Choo.

This is a little block I made for Raymond for his birthday this month. It is a moon over the mountain block, but I used a brick like fabric and shaded it with crayon to make it look more like a pyramid. He hasn’t decided where to hang it yet, but I think he liked it. It is about 16 or 18″ square.

This is a little bag I made to carry at the East Cobb County Quilt Show this month. It was a wonderful show. I wanted a small bag that would just hold my essentials: keys, money, phone and camera. The pattern is sometimes called origami bag or sometimes called folded pocket purse. I learned how to make it via Seaside Stitchers in Florida. I made the strap long enough to go over my shoulder across my body so I could have my hands free. I used the latest fabric I bought at Sew Bee It. It has cute little buttons and stitching comments on it.  It worked perfectly.

I finally finished these socks. Seems like I have been working on them all summer. They will be nice and warm. I like the tweedy yarn, although it did seem kind of boring without any stripes. Maybe that is why it took so long to finish them.

In this picture one looks larger, but I think it is just because I had been trying it on more than the other so it is a little stretched out. It will go back to shape once it is washed.

I used a different technique on these socks. I saw a tutorial on Melody Johnson’s blog called  an “afterthought heel’ and decided to give it a try.  What you do is knit all the sock top to toe as a tube. Where the heel is supposed to go, you stitch in a couple of rows of waste yarn, and after the sock is done, you take out the waste yarn and put those stitches back on needles and knit a heel kind of like knitting the toe section. I will put Melody’s blog on my list of links and you can go search up afterthought heel and see what I mean. It was pretty easy, but I think I will stick with the regular way for now.

So, I finished those socks because I wanted to get working on my next pair. I got this beautiful yarn last time I was at Sew Bee It and wanted to see how the different colors would stitch out. I did this much in a day. Wow that was a lot of knitting. Then I noticed that I had too many stitches on and decided to take it out and start over.

I also decided to try knitting a simple pattern into the leg portion of the sock – a basket-weave pattern where you knit 4, purl 4 for four rows then purl 4, knit 4 for four rows.  I had thought that would look good in the previous pair of socks. Since they look kind of like a solid, I thought the pattern would make them more interesting, but I didn’t want to unstitch as much as I had done at the time of the idea.

When the new sock had gotten to the point that I noticed my error in the number of stitches on the needles (how I managed not to notice that for so long is a mystery), and I knew I had to unstitch it and start over anyway, I had seen enough of the stockinette pattern to know it would look good with the basket-weave. So, I decided to give it a try. And I am very happy with the result.

See the difference? I really like it. And I got so carried away with the pattern, that I finished one whole sock in about 4 days!  The rows of color are very interesting.  I have about 1/2″ of the cuff done for sock #2, too!

The bands of color are so wide though, that I don’t know if I can get them the same on both socks. I pulled out enough yarn to start with the bright pink at the top of the second one, but I don’t know if it will shade into that dark blue or go to the purple next.  Or, it may do something else entirely too.  I guess they will be fine however they come out.  They will be fun to wear, that’s for sure.

Here is a 10 minute block quilt I am working on for Chattanooga Quilters charity, Ronald McDonald House. It needs a back and quilted.

And Finally, although not quilt related, we saw Alton Brown at the Chattanooga Market last weekend. He was hosting a cook-off between local chefs. This is before the contest when he was signing autographs. We didn’t get one – the line was a hundred people long, and we didn’t stay for the cook-off, but it was fun to get a glimpse of him. He seems to have as much energy as he does on his TV show.

September is a wrap. I wonder what will show up here in October. I guess we will both have to check back to find out.

As August Heads for the Door. . .

Window Shelf + ATC cards

As you can see, I hunted up a few more things to put on the shelf, and hung up my ATCs (Artist’s Trading Cards) on a cord tied to the edge of the shelf with some tiny clothes pins. I think it is a perfect way to display them.

I haven’t made any ATC cards in quite a while, perhaps not since we moved here from Florida.  My crazy quilting group, Florida Seaside Stitchers, had an ATC swap, which is where I got most of these. Then later, I swapped with some of my Seaside Piecemaker friends and through a yahoo group just for ATC swaps. Some of my cards on display came from as far away as New Zealand and Australia.

This side view shows how the cord is tied to eye screws attached to the edge. It also shows how the curtain rod just sticks through one of the curlicues of the shelf bracket. Very simple.

Weed Whacker


This is a little quilt I put together from my bottomless supply of novelty print strips. It is a Bonnie Hunter design.   Now I have to get around to quilting it. It is going to Ronald McDonald house via Chattanooga Quilting Guild.

Remember Me

“Remember Me” is all together now. I spent the last couple days getting the final border on.  The pattern called for the border being all the same color of red, but I didn’t have a red that I liked enough to use that way.  Instead, I used some of all the fabrics in the applique to make a scrappy border. It was not as complicated as I had expected, and I am very happy with it. Now it will sit in the quilting pile with all its sister quilts waiting to be quilted.  Once completely finished, this quilt will hang on a wall in the house here somewhere. It hasn’t told me yet which wall. My friend, Sharon gave me the pattern and we have been working on it together, doing a block a month. Hers is nearing completion too. I can’t wait to see them together.

That’s about it for now. I have been knitting on the same pair of socks all summer. Hopefully, I will have them finished soon.

Oh and last Saturday I went to a cuddle quilt workshop with Choo Choo Guild. If you click on their blog link, you can see pictures. We had a lot of fun and got a lot of quilts put together.

Goodbye July

I got a few more pictures to finish up the month.

I bet this one look familiar. This is the second one from this fabric. I have enough fabric for one mare after this.  I quilted this one last week at the Crazy Quilters sew-in for Project Linus. The third one will be for Choo Choo guild’s cuddle quilt program. It is just like the other one: same backing fabric, same puzzle quilting.

Not quilt related, but I just had to share. Raymond installed a beehive in the spring, and here he is with one of the honey-filled sections. His bees were so productive that was able to harvest some honey this year! Is that cool or what!

Here are some more cuddle quilt blocks.  These are a fun wonky nine patch. I made a mistake in the construction process, but I think they look good anyway. I cut some sashing strips from a wild animal print. I had enough of the animal print to make outer borders too. I think this will turn out to be a very nice quilt for some boy or girl.  I bagged up all the pieces to take to the Choo Choo cuddle quilt sew-in later this month.

I finished the last block for this little quilt. Once the blocks are sewn together there are a couple more little pieces to applique on the inside corners, then come the borders and quilting. This has been a fun little project so far.

I also managed a bit of knitting on my current pair of socks, but still have a long way to go on them so no pictures so far. So that wraps up another month. I wonder what next month will bring.

What’s Been Happening in July

I made this quilt for Ronald McDonald House which is the Chattanooga Quilters charity of choice. Since it was preprinted, All I had to do was sandwich and quilt it. I used my puzzle piece quilt pattern. Easy peasy!

Any kid will like all the dogies. I have enough of the same fabric to make two more quilts this size, so one will go to Crazy Quilters Project Linus and one for the Choo Choo Quilters cuddle quilt program.

This shows the back. I have enough of that fabric for the other two too!

This picture is the beginning of something new. I am going to attempt a bargello quilt. I found the pattern in the latest American Patchwork and Quilting. It calls for 116 different fabrics, so I went through my stash and cut strips from every one I had that was long enough (2″ x width of fabric”) and find I have just enough. I don’t know if I like all of them together though.

My next step is to sort them by colors and then by value to see how well the go together. I know I would like a few more in the yellows and violets. This quilt will look quite differently from the one in the magazine, but it seems a natural for Raynbeaugirl to make a rainbow quilt.  I will scan the magazine quilt and post it soon.

I made a few new things for the kitchen: new cushion covers and a couple of new place mats to match. Here are some pictures of them. The sun is kind of bright in the pics so the colors may be a little off, but you can get the idea. The kitchen walls are more of a tomato red than the purplish red they look in the first couple of photos. And the dark fabric on the blocks is a brown, not purple.

This is a single block I made into a mat to decorate the corner of the booth. All these kitchen projects are made with disappearing nine patch blocks.

The last two pictures are closer to the real color. I stipple quilted in a flying geese block above and below the pieced ones. These place-mats were fun to plan and make.

The next blocks are for a cuddle quilt. We had a demonstration at the last Choo Choo Quilters meeting on making this and two other quick and fun blocks, and so far I have made two of the three. I will post pictures of the second kind of block in the next post as they are still in my camera.  These haven’t been squared-up yet, but are even cuter once that is done.

That’s all for now. Time to go stitch something!