Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

I love my dogs but sometimes they are just plain goofy.  Once the squirrels come out for the season, they go from tree to tree chasing them.  They will sit for hours under the trees watching and waiting for the squirrels to come down.Maggie Squirrel Hunting

My next door neighbor once wondered if  they get stiff necks.  My sister, Ruthie, came over once and asked where they were.  I told her they were outside.  She said they couldn’t be because they didn’t run to greet her.  I told her they must have a squirrel up in the tree.  Sure enough,  they were staring up at the tree.

These two are hunting dogs.  I guess they don’t understand they are bird dogs, not squirrel dogs.  What I can’t figure out is why the squirrels even come back.  Sport and Maggie do this every year.   If they are in the house and see a squirrel out the window, they go crazy.  They will jump and whine until you let them out.  Then they race out the door jumping down off the deck.  Mind you we have six steps coming off the deck.  They jump over all of them.

When I first  saw the add for the movie “UP” with the dog with the talking collar, I just laughed.  That is my two.  They will be going along then “SQUIRREL”.  Just don’t get in there way or they are liable to run you over.

They keep Tom and I smiling.  They are such a joy to have around.

I love my Sport and Maggie.


Sport, come help me find that squirrel

That squirrel went somewhere

I don't see where it went Maggie

It's up in the tree

Oh squirrel, I'm waiting

Maggie I see it.

It's right up there

Mom - leave us alone.  We're busy.

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I finally finish Ellen’s quilt.

Ellen's Quilt finally Completed

Ellen's Quilt Completed

I had a tough time with it though.  At first the design I wanted to do in the green sashing did not look that great.  Though Tom didn’t think it was all that bad.  But need less to say, I had to rip it all out.  I was trying to put feathers in with a simple curved spine.  But I couldn’t execute the feather to look good.   I ultimately used an “S” shaped  spine which worked out perfectly.  As I was quilting those feathers, the thread kept on shredding.  I tried everything from silicone spray, different needle, looser tension.  I never really got rid of the problem completely but I got through.  After attending classes at the Machine Quilters Expo, I realized I should have used a smaller needle.  Oh well, lesson learned.

Close Up of quilting

Close Up of quilting

Once the green sashing was complete I went back to quilt the half square triangles.  Mind you,  I have been working on this for over a week at this point.  I wanted to put a small feather design in the white half of the half-square triangle blocks.  But again, I couldn’t execute it to my satisfaction.  I ended up putting a simple loop design in each half triangle following the diagonal.   As I was going along, I realized I had two large blocks in upside down.  I got out my seam ripper and removed the two blocks, then hand stitched them back into place correctly.  Then I continued on with the loops.   The loop design really accentuated the barn raising setting of the blocks.  For those who don’t know, the barn raising setting is when the blocks are placed in such a way as to create a diamond effect.

I didn’t think I was ever going to get this quilt done.  I was working on a deadline.  I had entered the quilt into the Hannah Dustin Quilt Guild annual show, which was a couple of weeks away.  And I still had to do the binding.

When I got to the first border, my original plan of using a ribbon candy design did not look good. Surprise Surprise.  It seemed like all my ideas for this quilt were completely wrong.  It was very frustrating.  I ended up doing a double crossed loop design.  Which is simple but very ellegant.

Ellen 8By the time I got to the last border I was so exhausted artistically.  Everything I was going to do throughout this whole quilt just didn’t work.  The border is a busy print, so if I did any feathers or other fancy stitching, it would just not show up.  I called my friend Katie for some advise.  As it happened she was up the street and was able to stop by.  We decided the quilt just needed something simple in the border.  With everything else going on in the quilt it didn’t require any major quilting.  I settled on simple wavy piano keys.  Piano Keys is when you stitch lines in the quilt so it looks like a set of piano keys along the border.  But I wanted to give it more life, so I used my wave edge ruler.  It was the perfect design.  When you see the quilt hanging, it just looks perfect.  It brought out the water color look of the print.

Ellen 11For the back of the quilt I found a very pale pink printed with roses in white.  I wanted to break up all that pink so I used a piece of the border fabric as a sash going through a little off center.  I like the way it looks.  It has a whole cloth feel to it.

close up of the back

close up of the back

Well, I finished the quilt in time for the show.  I took a second place ribbon for the quilt.  I was very satisfied.  I had entered a quilt last year which I had made for my sister Paula.  It too took a second place ribbon.  But my overall score for Ellen’s quilt was higher than the score I received for Paula’s.  I was thrilled that I had got a better score for Ellen’s quilt. It shows improvement.  Which is what I was hoping for.

I have entered three quilts into the Lowell show this summer.   I’ll keep you posted if any of them are accepted and if they receive any ribbons.  I don’t expect any.  The caliber of quilters at that show is much higher than at the local guild show.   I’ll be happy to get accepted into the show.

Ellen loves her quilt.  When all is said and done that is what’s most important.


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Yeah I know.  It was supposed to be a Christmas present.  Between not having time and not really sure how I wanted to quilt it, I have been procrastinating on it.  I have been keeping up with customer quilts.  Just not my own.

I spent most of this past week at the Machine Quilters Expo in Manchester, NH.  I got a ton of great ideas for some of my own quilts.  I wished I had taken these classes before I started working on Ellen’s quilt.  But I can still incorporate some of them.  I still have the borders to complete.Close up of quilting

In the half square triangle blocks, I quilted a quick loop.  The path of the quilting accentuates the barn raising setting of the blocks.  After taking the classes, I got the idea to add something in the middle of the two loops.  I just haven’t decided what.  I quilted a nice swirling feather in the green sashing.

I need to get this quilt and one other that is a king size quilt done by April 30th.  I have entered them in a couple of local guild shows.  Ellen’s will be on display at the Hannah Dustin show in Hudson, NH.  Along with Josh’s neck tie quilt.   I have two others that I have entered in the Merrimack Valley Quilters show in Plaistow,  NH.  For more information about these shows, use the web site links I have listed on the right.

Hope to see some of you there.


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As far as I got Christmas Morning

As far as I got Christmas Morning

I know.  I know.  Christmas was 4 days ago.  But I have finally finished the quilt top.

Christmas morning I had the rows assembled but that was as far as I got.  I had to stop around 11:00 in the morning so I could at least wrap what I had completed.  It’s not the first time I haven’t finished a gift quilt in time.  By I usually have the top more completed than this.  Oh well.  Ellen will forgive me.  Right Ellen?

Ellen opening her Christmas present

Ellen opening her present Christmas Afternoon

Christmas afternoon Ellen got what she called a big tootsie roll.  I had rolled up the rows of the quilt, along with the border fabric.  I had printed a copy of what the quilt will look like when completed off Electric Quilt 5.0 (software for designing quilts).  She didn’t look very excited.  But she works retail, so I think she was tired from the Christmas rush at work.

The quilt top is complete

The quilt top is complete

Today, the Monday after Christmas, I have finally finished the quilt top.  I really like the way it turned out.  I love the barn raising setting.   Now I just have to quilt it.  I have a few ideas as to the quilting design.  We will see what happens when I load it on my machine.

I’m not sure what I want to use for batting.  I’m leaning toward Quilters Dream Blend.  It’s a nice weight with a little poly to give it more loft that a plain cotton.   Ellen did not have a preference.  So it’s up to me.  Any opinions?


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Ellen's Fabrics

Fabric for Ellen's quilt along with the Triangles on a Roll

Every year for the past 8 years I have been making a quilt for one of my nieces or nephews. Being the youngest of 5 I also have been making a quilt as my sisters turn 50.  So far two of my sisters have gotten there 50th birthday quilts.  Last year I ran out of nieces or nephews who had not received a quilt.  So I made one for my family secret Santa, which was my sister Ruth.  She loved her quilt.

This year my secret Santa is my Sister Ellen.  And yes, she is getting a quilt.   And no, she does not know about my blog.  She will on Christmas day.

I planned out the quilt I want to make and pick all the fabrics a couple of months ago.  The problem is I haven’t had the time to sit and work on the quilt until this past Sunday.

Ellen’s favorite color is Pink.  At least that is what I have been lead to believe.  I found the pastel floral in my stash and thought it was the most perfect fabric for Ellen’s quilt.  I then selected various pastels from my batiks, some white on whites for the blocks.  Then the light green for sashing and the blue batik striation for the inner border.

The pattern I am using is a variation of the Birds in Flight wall hanging from Thimbleberries™.  I enlarged the main blocks from  8″  to 12″.   I also added another row of blocks and sashing both vertically and horizontally.   I will be using two borders.  The quilt should be 96″ square when complete.

356 half square triangles

356 half square triangles

The quilt will be made up of 356 half square triangles.  I used the Triangles on a Roll™ foundation paper.  It allows you to make accurate half square triangle simply and quickly.  I prefer them over Thangles™.

At this point I have all the squares sewn, cut and pressed.  I even have all the sashing cornerstones complete.  I just need to assemble the 16 main blocks.  I should be able to do that tomorrow,  as I have the blocks partially assembled.

I hope to get the main part of the quilt without borders completed for Christmas.  My family is used to getting quilts that are incomplete.  I know Ellen will be surprised.  I will update you with pictures of Christmas day.

Have a Merry Christmas.


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