Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Goodbye to a Friend

Yesterday was very sad as my good friend, Berylene Frampton, passed away.  I met Berylene 20+ years ago and we knew immediately that we were kindred spirits.  Although I was almost 20 years younger, I couldn't keep up with her.  She lived big, had a smile for everyone and was always ready to go.

Berylene had her own candy company and was well known for her wonderful chocolate creations.  Every Easter she had orders for over 1,000 personalized chocolate eggs with a variety of fillings and Christmas was 2 months of filling special orders.  We always found personalized chocolate eggs from the Easter Bunny on our doorstep Easter morning and Santa delivered our favorite candy on Christmas day. 

Berylene loved to quilt and did it in a big way.  She had 8 children so each quilting project for the home needed to be made 10 times, one for each child, one for her and one for her sister.  I lost count years ago of the grandchildren and great grandchildren that needed quilts and for each month her home was decorated in a theme which, of course, meant quilts to hang.  There was also the "cookie of the month" that she special ordered and had decorated for that month's theme and was given to each visitor to her home.  I could go on and on with stories but I will finish with the final quilt story of her life.

Last September Berylene underwent surgery and was diagnosed with ovarian cancer which would be terminal, even with chemotherapy.  She elected to skip the chemo so she could feel good and make 34 baby quilts before dying...... her surgeon told her she would have only 2 months to live.  Even for Berylene it takes more than 2 months to make 34 quilts so she didn't die in December.  She finished the baby quilts about a month ago and started working on a quilt for her coffin.

You see, she wanted daffodils on her coffin but this isn't the time of year to buy daffodils, so she thought a daffodil quilt would be nice.  A few weeks ago I took her out for ice cream and she was telling me about this daffodil quilt - how some blocks were machine embroidery, some were appliqued, some were pieced, and to be honest I thought "wow, another big Berylene project".  She didn't tell me it was for her coffin.

During one of my visits last week, one of Berylene's daughters asked me if I could put the blocks together for her.  You've heard me say many times that piecing isn't "my thing" but knowing how important this was to my dear friend, something must have clicked deep in my brain and within 8 hours I had all these various sized pieces put together.  I rushed to show it to her and lay it over her on what was to be the last time I could see her and tell her how much I loved her.

Berylene's friend, Karen Morgan, completed the machine quilting, I added the binding and large daffodils, and delivered it to the family last night.  It was such an honor to fulfill this wish for my friend who I will miss each day.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

I think we all try to squeeze the most out of every minute of the day, sometimes putting too many expectations on ourselves.  The past few months have been very busy, traveling to wood carving events, trying to get in some cabin time, and listening to my nagging quilt projects.  In addition to all that I thought it would be a good idea to take on some remodeling projects!!

Just before leaving town last week we moved the furniture into the garage and handed the house key over to have our hardwood floors refinished.  We came home when the job was done, bought paint and handed over the key to have it painted the next time we leave.  We are fortunate to have somewhere to go while the work is being done as the smell is overpowering!!

While the work was being done here I got busy on finishing up my "Cats Away" block of the month.  I thought it would take one day to piece the borders and sew it took 3.

This is an awful photo that I took with my phone, standing on a chair!  The quilt is 86"x86" which means it's too big to hang where I had planned.  I found an online source for one of the predominant gray prints and when it arrives (and I'm home) I will add a border and use it to cover my king-sized bed.  After all, my bedroom will need a new quilt now that it is being painted.  So, after all, it's still not finished.

My Enchantment quilt is about 2 hours away from being finished! Yeah!! A few more stitches, piecing the back today and then off to the quilter.

What's that sound?  I hear voices.  Oh, it's just the other projects calling me from the closet, hoping they are next.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Deck Time

Many are sweltering in the summer heat but we were fortunate to visit our cabin for a few days where temperatures have been in the mid-70's with an abundance of sun shine.  We are using this time to catch up on a few projects.

 My husband, Dale, has a deadline with the publisher of a wood carving magazine to submit a step-by-step article for carving an old cowboy.  Dale begins with a block of wood and I photograph each step.  When it's complete we add the narrative and ship it off for a future issue of Wood Carving Illustrated.

I don't just sit around waiting to take photos, I'm busy with applique on another large block for "Cat's Away", the BOM from Material Obsession.  Just 2 more of these large blocks and it will be time to sew it together.  I have 2 projects nagging at me - Cat's Away and Enchantment, the quilt that has been put away and ignored more times that I want to count.  My goal is to have both off to the quilter by Labor Day weekend which is a short 35 days from now.

August and the deck - a perfect combination to meet those goals.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Did I Meet My Goal?

I'm certain you have been losing sleep wondering if I met my goal of completing my Enchantment wall hanging (ha ha).  The answer is ........ sort  of.  I thought it was finished but when I hung it up on the design wall there was a blank spot that was crying out for "something".  Oh, I just couldn't start on "something" so I left it home as we packed to visit our cabin for the 4th of July celebrations.

I brought 4 sunburst blocks from the Cats Away BOM to work on.  These include the center block that is pieced but needs 8 tulips appliqued and embellished, 1 sunburst that has applique completed and needs embellishment, and 2 sunbursts that are still in the bags they were mailed in.  My plan is to piece the 2 in the bags and get the wool cut before we leave in 1 week for another wood carving retreat.  That will give me more than enough applique and embellishment to take as a road project.

But first, here is a poor quality photo of today's project.  It is raining outside our cabin today, the lighting is dim, and the lightest fabric I found for a background was the reverse side of a placemat!

I have to wear a medical ID bracelet and most of them are really ugly or too expensive.  After all, I have to save money for thread and fabric!  I found a source that will engrave the ID tag with the important information and then I can add my own beads.  I am not a jewelry maker and have no idea what I'm doing but I took apart some old necklaces, added some beads purchased at the Gem Fair and now I have 4 bracelets.  

Truth is I would rather be stitching but it was a productive break.

p.s.  Don't worry about me.  It's more of an aggravation than a serious illness.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Setting Goals

I find it's sometimes helpful to set goals for my stitching as it keeps me focused on a project that is lagging behind.  Such is my Enchantment wall hanging.  I started this project a year ago and have been setting it aside time and again, picking up something different.  A few weeks ago I realized that I had to set a date for completion or just throw it away.  

After considering both options, and believe me, the garbage can beckoned,  a goal was made to have it finished by June 14th.  I didn't make it.

We left town on the 14th for a road trip to Iowa for my husband to teach wood carving.  Enchantment was too big a project to take as it's not only the wall hanging, but all my threads too.  Instead, I prepared a Roseville Album block as my "traveling project".  

We are back home and escaped the 100 degree temperatures by driving to our cabin.  Today, it's back to Enchantment, with another goal of 1 week to finish.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

How Long Does It Take?

That's the question that is often asked about making a quilt and it baffles me.  What does it matter?  To me, it isn't the amount of time spent or if I will even finish everything in my lifetime.  What matters is the enjoyment that comes from creating something beautiful.

For years I have had a ready answer to this ridiculous question which is - 10 minutes.  When I see the confused look on their faces I explain - 10 minutes here, 10 minutes there, eventually you have a finished project.

All that to explain, or excuse, why I'm probably not going to reach my goal of finishing my Enchantment wallhanging before I leave town on Sunday.  But, I've been spending a lot of time on it and making progress.  

In my garden, the bees seem to favor the plants with purple blooms, zooming from one flower to the next.  This section of Enchantment had a grouping of purple berries and what better way to highlight them than to cover each one with a Bullion Bumble Bee - say that fast 3 times.  The bees and bullion outline were stitched with Silken Pearl #5.

A simple Fly Stitch and Buttonhole outline in Pearl Cotton #8 finish the small leaves.

I think that this is my favorite flower.  When teaching, I'm often asked how I know what stitch and thread to use.  The truth is I don't plan ahead.  There were some blue seed beads in my sewing bucket that I thought would complement the blue wool petals so I started out to mimic seeds in the flower center by stitching on the beads.  Then, I added a piece of Painter's Single Loop trim around the flower center which adds some nice dimension.

Tiny Fly Stitches outline the blue petals with a larger Fly Stitch down the center of each petal in Pearl Cotton #8.

The outside petals were outlined in Pearl Cotton #8 in Crested Chain Stitch.

The pink berries are embellished with a Whipped Spider Web topped off with Daisy (detached chain) to create a nice little bloom, and outlined with Back Stitch.  The small leaves are covered with Herringbone Stitch, couched at the thread intersections.  All of these stitches were made with Pearl Cotton #8.

Back to drizzles and bullions now.......

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

I Am Determined

 The center of both flowers were done the same with Fly Stitch and Detached Chain (Daisy) Stitch.  Above I outlined the center with various stitches of Pistil Stitch and then outlined the pink with the reliable Bullion Stitch.  The outside flower edge is Whipped Back Stitch.

This flower center was outlined with Cast-On Stitch and seed beads were added with Coral Stitch around inner petals.  The red petals were outlined with Bullion Stitch.

Today will be dedicated to more berries and leaves.

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