Wednesday, September 28, 2011

First One Flower Wednesday of Autumn 2011!

Last Friday was the Autumnal Equinox, the first day of Autumn.  Autumn, a pensive second spring wherein the earth explodes in color, bearing seeds and fruits, all in anticipation of Winter: a season of rest... well, I don't rest in Winter, but if I took my cues from Mother Earth I would!

Still, I love the warm colors of Autumn.  I love how the light is different, with the sun in a lower trajectory the air seems clearer, brighter.  I bought local honey and quilted crystal jars to make up spiced honey for gifts for the fall.  Well, I could go on and on... perhaps another day.

For now: One Flower Wednesday!  Please check out Karen's inspiring blog where you will find great information about how to do English Paper Piecing as well links to the wonderful flowers posted this week... Click here for Karen's blogs with links 

And here are my flowers for today.  I usually do 2 row flowers (19 Hexi's) but I'm a bit over-extended, so I have two 1 row flowers (14 hexi's) this week. 

Hope you have a wonderful week!  We are expecting some cooler weather... and our trees are beginning to change... all good!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

One Flower Wednesday

We have had a change in season here in North Carolina.  Today we are having a wonderful rain... soft, steady, refreshing our dry soil and rinsing the dust off of our plants and trees...most welcomed.  It is a bit cooler also.  So my desire is for fall colors, comfy sweaters and a good book.

Today is also our weekly check in for One Flower Wednesday hosted by our dear Karen... stop over at her blog and take a gander at the great English Paper pieced flowers folks are posting.  Karen's blog

This past week, my public English Paper Piecing has garnered lots & lots of interest... I gave a mini lesson to folks in my 3rd Monday applique group, and generated interest Tuesday while attending Sew Original's Block of the month.  This makes me so happy... I feel like an English Paper Piecing evangelist!  Join the fun!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

My new companion

I can count on this friend... dependable, predictable, gentle, low-maintenance, effective... what? effective?  yes:
One of my Hop To It blocks had been doused with ice which had fallen into my purse while in the kitchen at Church.  I didn't realize until I got home.  The darkest aqua color ran all over the white back ground.  (When I photographed it, it just looked like a shadow, so didn't include in post.)

Kathleen, my applique guru advised Oxi Clean.  Trusting her implicitly, I bought some.  Generally, I use cold water to remove stains, but the directions advised warm to hot.  I used warm, adding the recommended quantity of the powder, immersed the whole block in the solution and allowed it to sit for maybe 20 minutes.  I rinsed thoroughly (took several times to get the slick feeling out of it.)  I hung it to dry.  Later, after a thorough inspection, I ironed the block (upside down on top of toweling.)  Not even a shadow of the color-run remained.  Now, Oxi Clean has the prized place of honor on my cleaning shelf... my new friend and companion.  I also like that is does not use harmful bleach, but rather enzymes to do its magic: easier on the fabric and no color fade.  I still need to do the research to see how environmentally friendly it is. 

And I have learned a lesson.  I know there is some debate as to whether one ought to wash fabrics prior to sewing with them.  When I buy yardage or fat quarters, I always wash them first, but when I bought kits I have not.  Well, I think that is going to change.  Now, I think I will sort the fabrics in the kit and then gently soak them in the sink for a bit to see if they run before including them in my project.

A happy ending for me.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

One Flower Wednesday... A weekly event!

Karen's One Flower Wednesday is so helpful!  A week can easily slip by if I don't have something to help me keep track.  See more folks' flowers at Karen's wonderful website here:  Journey of a Quilter... and if you have any interest in English Paper piecing... even if you are already doing this technique, check out her page with all the weblinks by clicking on the One Flower Wednesday button.  I love the How-To Hexigon Flowers Part 2 instructions  Link to favorite Hexi instructions.  I probably do too much work, itsy bitsy whipstitches (@ 18-20 per inch) using a buttonhole type stitch (see instructions link above) and knotting at each corner, but the neatness & results front and back give me great pleasure... plus I think it will really hold up over time and use.  Hope your garden is growing!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


A friend, Mrs. Goodneedle, has used this word "Stewardship" in several different contexts.   (For link to her wonderful blog,click here) One, is a new idea for me: our use of time.  I've always thought of the giving of time to Church or charities as a response to Stewardship campaigns (such as in "Time and Talent" info given to Churches and actual work in committee and service work) but I never connected the dots that how I spend ALL my time falls within the context of Stewardship.  Doesn't this just seem so right though?  Our lives are a gift to us, how we use our time can be an intentional response to that gift.

Some of us are joining our friend as she shares her personal experience in bringing her use of time into this realm of the Spirit.  Periodically, I'll post my response to this journey.  Peace, b

Monday, September 12, 2011

Hop to It: Block 8

I am having a bit of a tussle with this one fabric... the lighter green print used in the stems and Calyx.  Everytime I use it, I am surprised by how it behaves with others, despite auditioning; it is a morphing fabric.  It changes between auditioning & stitching; sometimes it changes its color family... going too olive, sometimes (often) it changes value.  Even in this photo is shows up differently than in real life... The photo has more value punch than when viewing the block on the design wall (after stitching, it was fine in audtition.) I had really wanted the value of that second set of stems to be in between the dark fluid stems/leaves and the rest of the block so that the beautiful movement and interaction of the stems would be the predominate feature of the block.  Ah well.

One thing I have learned is to "move on."  I used to rip out everything I didn't like or just abandon the project all together.  Consequently, few projects were completed.  Now, I ascribe to the principle: "Done is better than just right."

I can't claim them as "humility" blocks, as I understand that humility mistakes have to be INTENTIONAL!  (Can I just tell you how much I admire the spiritual maturity of those who, in an effort to keep their pride harnessed, will add an intentional and noticable pattern error.  Bless them, bless them.)

Back to this quilt... I think I will not use that fabric again.  Still... Block 8 done in time for next week's workshop! 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A solemn anniversay

I just returned from a lovely retreat with 15 other Episcopalian women from around the state... We met at Avila Catholic Retreat Center in Durham.  What a wonderful place for reflection and renewal.  Avila Website  I am refreshed and restored.   They are such sincere and thoughtful women who have great capacity to love and are willing to plumb difficult questions.

Following the retreat, three of us talked about a book we had read in anticipation of the 10th anniversary of 9-11; written by Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Cantebury: Writing in the Dust.   He was in Manhattan that morning, at Holy Trinity Church. Two years later, he wrote this book. It is no longer in print, but we found excellent used copies. At less than 80 pages in length, it is profound. Although very articulate, he makes no attempt to simplify the issues, if anything he communicates how complex our reactions and the ramifications are... much food for thought as we look back to that fateful day and then forward to put the last ten years in perspective.

Although horrific, the stories of how people acted with such profound selflessness and generousity lift my soul.  I am reminded of Lincoln's first inaugral address... modifying it slightly:
The mystic chords of memory, stre[t]ching from every battle-field, and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearthstone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus..., when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.

If you lost a friend or loved one in that devastating series of events, or have family or friends who have paid a price in our country's military response, my prayers are with you. 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Hop To It: More Blocks

Hope you are enjoying a wonderful week-end... it is still a bit hot here, but absolutely beautiful...

I've taken a couple of photos of earlier Hop To It blocks... so here goes:

Block 1
Block 3
Block 2 photo didn't work, so will post that later...

The Shop Hop was a lot of fun and the stores really did knock themselves out.  I got to all of them & turned in completed passport... Plus I bought tickets for all the Raffle Quilts on display.  So, unless my luck has run out, I out to win SOMETHING!  I'd certainly love one of the machines, as the one I am using now is not computerized, so no needle down... still it sews well, and I am grateful for that!  One of the raffle quilts was hand quilted... so lovely... fingers crossed!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

One Flower Wednesday Loving English Paper Piecing

This week's flower:
Hmm, my screen shows the center hexi fabric a tad on the blue side, but it really is more of a lilac, less of a lavender color.  Occasionally, the Ralph Laurenish ribbon fabric lines up where the hexi's meet giving the illusion of a continuous line.

Here in this neck of the woods, we are gearing up for our first quilting Shop Hop with 8 stores participating. The stores are a bit far ranging: one is @ 25 minutes southeast of there, another is @ 40 miles northwest.  Since I can be a very lucky girl, I'm going to try my best to make them all because of the possible prizes: a Bernina 430, Baby Lock Sohia II, Janome Sewing Machine, or a Sizzix Big Shot cutting machine... any one of these would be a well loved tool in my home!

Happy stitching... and if you too are going to be on the road... Travelling Mercies!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Itza picture time.... Through the Looking Glass Clue 2 Fini!

The Mystery Knit Along pattern is unfolding and I am delighted.  (I will remove the yellowish lace life lines later in the process.)

  In the photo the shawl is accompanied by a lovely illustration by John Tenniel in Lewis Carroll's book and by some of my favorite flowers:

Lavender berries from an America Beautiberry bush: a little clipping from a bush given to me by Pastor Rinn from Augsburg Lutheran here in Winston.   The bush is the child of the mother plant brought by Pastor Rinn when he moved here from Texas.  Not even mentioning the fabulous and startling clussters of lavender berries, one of its most endearing qualities is that the Mockingbirds love the berries!  Mockingbirds do not frequent feeders, so having one singing and snacking at my back door after the leaves are all gone is sweet indeed.

The stems of beautyberry are joined by a sprig of buddleia (butterfly bush); a plant given to me by my adored sister. It is a wonderful jewel-toned complex red violet.  For those who know my Southern Album quilt, you'll recogonize the color.

  And last, and certainly not least, a cluster of blossoms from a valiant old English Rose: Alchemist.  Her citrus and honey fragance drifts arounds corners in a home (or an office!)  The lovely apricot blossoms are the very essence of femininity.... such a delight.  In the spring, the blossoms are frequently 4 inches across resembling a peony more than a rose, which when combined in a vase, flatter each other splendidly.... and aren't they so smart to bloom at the same time?  One Mothers' day, I counted 147 blooms and blossoms on her (lots of her apricot petty coat had to be showing for me to add a bud to the count!)  In the fall, she also has stunning bright, big orange rose hips.  Right now her leaves are almost blemish free... quite an anomalie here in zone 7 since I do not spray and it has been a particularly humid, hot, and did I say long? summer.

So my shawl-in-progress is all dressed up... I am loving getting back into knitting and have had the great good fortune to fall into a wonderful group of gathering-in-public-to-knit ladies who meet a couple times a week!  Yeah!  I am reminded of my friend Mrs. Goodneedle's daily saying... "Life is good!"

Sunday, September 4, 2011

KAL Through the Looking Glass. Clue 2 done!

So happy that this section has been easier. And, delighted that I am ready for Thursday's next gathering!

I am a bit disappointed that my attempts to post the photo using mobile blogging is not working yet. I take consolation that lots of folks are having trouble.

I'll post photo once I get to wi-fi connection.

For those in the USA, hope you have a great Labor Day holiday. B