Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A change of plan....

Well, I laid out all the flowers for my hexi quilt thinking I only had one flower and  gazillion connectors to go... what was I thinking?  17 double flowers with one row of connectors using 1" hexi's it not big enough!  So, I've started on more flowers... not sure how many I will end up with.  Here is photo of a 7 hexi flower I did (actually, mine aren't really completed until there are 12 more hexi's for double flower...still, here's photo.) 
First Blooms of my Lady Banks Rose
In addition to this little flower, I made 20 connectors and prepared about 15 more hexis to make more flowers.

Take a trip over to Karen's blog to take a look at her fun projects and for her linky with other folks' weekly One Flower Wednesday posts!  Journey of a Quilter

I took all my flowers and connectors to my Bee last night & Anne, a very knowledgeable quilter, helped me make some design decisions.  She has made two Grandmother's Flower garden quilts (one with 0.75" hexi's), and a Dear Jane quilt (in a year mind you!)  Now, I have a better plan for moving forward... for instance, decided not to do half flowers at the edges, but rather use the other brown fabrics in this line to blend, but add a bit of interest.  The upshot of it all is I best push forward with this project so I do not lose interest!

This past week I also almost completed a large applique block I'll make into a wall hanging and made progress on my embroidery Christmas project: photos to follow!

A note about the flowers... this rose, Lady Banks, is an heirloom rose with clusters of tiny yellow blossoms on thornless canes with leaves which seem impervious to the normal pests and diseases of roses.  It only blooms for a relatively short period (and has just started in the last 2-3 days) but it is spectacular as all along the top of the 12 foot long canes will be covered in blossoms!  Great for trellises.  Mine has outgrown its location, in 4 years... think I'll have to prune some this year as it is taking over the blueberry bush next to it.

I'll have to figure out the best time to trim as it is home to bird's nests!  I love the idea of my little backyard neighborhood.  I absolutely get Beatrix Potter's stories... I'm sure there are community dramas amongst the wildlife in my own backyard!

Thanks for stopping by, and happy stitching!

Thursday, March 22, 2012


It is so nice being back home.  I have missed my yard; and honestly, if I miss a day's 'morning yard tour' I can't believe how much change happens.  Thought I'd share some of what I found this morning...
Years ago, I bought these cowslips because they reminded me of my Mother's garden.  Her's may have been more of a butter color, but they always remind me of her.
These pansies were planted last fall and are now just bursting out.  I dare say they have also been special treats for the gnawing buggers.  With our mild winter, I imagine we will experience tons-o-bugs this growing season.

Redbuds are one of the first trees to bloom in our area, and one of the first to turn into their fall colors.  That English Ivy (aka "the plant you can not kill") was in the yard when I came.  It is hard to keep in check, and hard to get off the tree trunks without injuring the trees.

BTW, you can see the brand new 6' chain link my back door neighbor just installed to corral his puppies; the old 4' suggestion of a fence would not keep them in.  He was nice & asked me first... I love dogs, and certainly didn't want his to roam and get lost or worse, hurt.  It was clear even a real 4' fence wouldn't keep them in, so I said sure.  Now, this fence is much, much more noticable and shiny, more than I ever imagined; luckily he also took down some trees so that area will get more sun now.  I'll probably plant some annual vines to give some interest this year.  I transplanted volunteer camellia japonicas, but they are small and will take years to grow.

Hope you are enjoying the change of season in your area. I know some are moving into fall as we move into spring.  Happy trails!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

One Flower Wednesday

Ironic that spring is officially here and I have no hexi flowers this week!  But, I DO have connectors....
Isn't that tulip something?  It is on a stem @ 14inches tall & the perspective makes the hexi's look small!  This is an old fashioned tulip which is not reliably perennial, but this may be it's 5th year.  I am fairly sure this is a Fosteriana "Red Emperor" variety.  It is an early bloomer.

As to my hexi's... I've got about 70 connectors made (the photo has 7 stacks of 10 each, but the perspective obscures this detail.)  I have about ten 2.5" WOF strips cut, which will become 160 more.  I didn't have many meetings last week, and I focused on other projects so although I added to my stash of completed connector hexi's, I already had a bunch made. 

Thanks for stopping by, and go see the great tutorials and link-ups over at Karen's Journey of a Quilter for more hexi fun!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

March 14 One Flower Wednesday

Photos can really help one see.  I've got one lavender hexi made from a different fabric!  This cracks me up... I didn't see it until I looked at the photo.  I mean this is HAND work, not strip piecing!  What a hoot.  Now the dilemma, at an insane 22-24 stitches per inch & super strong knots, do I want to try to take it out?  Used to be I absolutely would, but then this attitude contributes to my difficulty in completing projects.   And although it is a bit humbling, it isn't what I think of as a humility block.  My understanding is one has to PLAN the mistake and make it intentionally... boy is that tough on perfectionism... tho I bet I could come up with a plan for the 'perfect' intentional mistake! lol  So, for now, I'll leave it.  If I can't live with it, I'll change... but the likelihood of me making a bigger mess and injuring the adjoining hexis is pretty dog gone high!

This makes number 17.  I only plan on having 18 for my largish throw.  There will be 5 rows: 4 flowers each in rows 1,3 & 5; 3 flowers each in rows 2 and 4.

This week, I'll work on the layout before selecting the colors for the last flower... keeping my fingers crossed that they'll all play well together and none will stand out.

Also, I'll concentrate on making connectors; some are made but I have boatloads to go!  Not even sure how many I'll need, nor how I'll finish the outside edges.  I've got 3 or 4 jelly roll strips (and 10" squares) of other browns I could use to fill in the dips in the sides.  Sixteen 1" hexis can be made from each strip.  Haven't used much of the 10" squares so do not know how many can be cut from them.  There are also 3 or 4 golds in the grouping I haven't used yet.  (This is when I wish I had EQ 7!)  But, as I do not, I guess I best get busy. 

Stop by Karen's lovely blog to see others who are making progress on their gardens... and Karen has the best links to tutorials so check them out and come join us!  Here's link: Journey of a Quilter

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Hop to It

It has been a while since I posted on progress made on my Hop to It quilt top.  I do not have photos of all the completed blocks, but do for the block I worked on while sitting with Mom last month.

I changed the design a bit: originally, the flowers had only the two outer petals, but to me the just looked too much like lobster claws, so I added the central petal.  I think they look more like tulips; I like them. 

Plus, the pattern only had 2 circles.  I added one and made them a bit smaller so I could use all three of my aqua fabrics.  Here's close up:
There is a tiny spot on the white background, so I only lightly pressed (and not at all on stain.)  I'll soak in Biz then rinse before I do my final pressing.  I love crisply pressed applique.

Although I use many different methods when I applique, most of this block was done using the freezer paper technique.  This top is the project in a monthly workshop.  Our fantabulous teacher/guru Kathleen brings us laser printed freezer paper (the good kind CT Advanced Paper Co, I think) which has all the pieces on it.  We just cut them out; no need to reuse an individual piece.

Although she includes the circles on the freezer paper templates, most of us use Karen Kay Buckley's Perfect Circles.  Just love them.

For the stems, I use clover's 1/4 inch bias tape maker and a TON of spray starch.  A lot of folks iron the bias after starching & before running through bias tape maker, but I iron the bias which has an angled end, saturate it, run it into the maker & slowly run the iron over the tape as it emerges, ensuring it is dry when I complete it: the bias always holds together and is crisp and even. Easy peasy.  Now don't be alarmed, the spray starch will be washed out.  I know some folks have had troubles because of the starch, but it won't remain in the fabric. 

Boy o boy do I love tools that work!

Tomorrow is One Flower Wednesday, but after that I hope to get more of my Hop to It blocks posted. 

Thanks for stopping by! 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

One Flower Wednesday March 7 2012

Welcome!  We seem to have had a long spring of a winter here in NC and Virginia.  Not that I am complaining... with all the travelling our family and friends have done in February and March to the mountains of Virginia, mild weather has been a true blessing.  There was no ice and only a day's worth of snow (beautiful snow.)  My sister's driveway is almost a quarter of a mile dirt & gravel narrow road, though I could have sworn it was a third of a mile when I hiked up it.  So when they get their typical 6-8 inches of snow and ice every couple of weeks, navigating it can be a bit tricky, even after Swede has applied his fantabulous tractor to it.  If the winter had been as normal, Mom would not have had her precious time with so many of our far flung relatives.

While sitting with Mom in February, I stitched on a Hop to It block, a couple of my hexi flowers as well as making a bunch of connectors.  Handstitching brings great comfort to me... so timeless, I'm not the only one who has sat by a loved one's bed and stitched my heartache and hope into fabric creating beauty through tears.  Whenever I look at those blocks I will always remember where I was and whom I was with.... preserving memories and prayers with each stitch.
Here's a photo of the two hexi's I completed....

There are quite a number of folk who link in at Karen's blog to post our progress each Wednesday....To take a look, click here:  Journey of a Quilter One Flower Wednesday  Thanks for dropping by... so many of you gave us great strength over the last difficult month.... thank you.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Margaret Mauryne Prewitt Dugger

July 25, 1926 ~ March 4, 2012

Wash her in the holy font of everlasting life, and clothe her in her heavenly wedding garment.

Into your hands, O Lord,

we commend our sister and Mother, Mauryne.

It was only a month ago when my Mom and I were looking at old photos of her, including the one above.  She told me her Grandmother made this dress and veil.  The veil, she said, was Duchesse lace (I think that's right.)  So last week while by her bedside and reading this verse (from one of the Vigil's in the Book of Common Prayer) I was reminded of her in this photo.

Last Sunday, at 9 in the morning, she breathed her last, in her own lovely room with loving family and friends along side: a peaceful passing.  Her last days with us were filled with grace as she continued to teach us with her constant concern for others, her gentle words of gratitude and her warm love.  There was a sweet, slow but constant flow of gentle friends and family from all over the country who came to sit by her side, praying, reading, sometimes laughing or quietly weeping.  In early February she said her hope was that her passing bear fruit, and it certainly has, at great cost to her.  Our family bonds are strengthened: in our nuclear family, in our extended family and in our spiritual families.  It has been a time of deep healing, restoration and reconciliation... and we all thank her.

In my recollection, she always believed in God... a benevolent and loving God "whose property is always to have mercy..."  She taught me to think deeply and not be afraid to question what is taught about God... after all, even Paul the confident  said "For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror...." 1 Corinthians 13:12    All her children have deep faith, even if our expressions differ. 
In many ways, hers was not an easy life... but she persevered and her heart grew and continued to soften right up until her last days.  She demonstrated how profoundly one can continue to grow throughout one's life.  In her later years she began practicing contemplative practices on a daily basis which nurtured her faith, her love of God and all His creation. 
Those who love her go well beyond her children and extended family.  A 24 hour vigil was kept since Thursday, February 9, it was not only her children and grandchildren who sat by her side, but friends as well, many friends, some came most days to tend to her and to be with us all.  From her bed, she graciously welcomed us all... asking "What have you been doing?  What's going on with you?"
A priest who had been told of our loss and had read things we had written about Mom, said "your mother sounds to have been well-nigh a saint..."  My response included, .."yes, the most hopeful kind... a redeemed saint." There is hope for us all.
As you may well imagine, my love of sewing, embroidery, knitting and handcrafts are part of her legacy... as is the love of a good gathering of folks in all walks of life.

Yes, we are heartbroken, and yes she is gone... and yet she lives on.  Bless you dearest one.  Love, B