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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sarah's Quilt

I got something finished again last night!  It's not really a big deal -- but it still feels good to be able to say that something is actually DONE!  My friend, Sarah, has had carpal tunnel surgery and it's hard for her to do binding.  Since I LOVE doing binding I try to grab her quilts when they're ready to be bound.  That's what I did with this one.  I just didn't think it would take me so darned long to get it finished!  This quilt has been hanging around my living room so long that I was actually starting to think it belonged there! 

I think Sarah told me this was a Buggy Barn pattern for a crazy quilt.  I like it and once I finally got going the binding didn't really take very long!

Monday, August 23, 2010


Well, I was hoping to have something to show for my weekend -- but it just didn't happen. We spent all day Friday at the State Fair and had a wonderful time. Saturday was spent doing chores and revising a pattern that I want to send to my publisher and Sunday was mostly spent with Greg's family. It was a very nice weekend but I always end up feeling frustrated because there aren't enough hours to get everything done that I've got planned. (I know -- we all have that same problem!)

My friend, Mary, on the other hand, seems to get things done! I don't know how she manages to cram 48 hours into 24 -- but she does! She just sent me a photo of Dinah's Delight and it's all quilted and bound! She does the quilting herself on her Juki and she does an amazing job! This is a quilt I designed a while back and since Mary's my Pattern Tester Extraordinaire she actually got hers pieced before I did.  (I just finished my top a couple of weeks ago and it sure isn't quilted yet!)  I know I'm prejudiced -- but I really think this is a good looking quilt!


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Blue Ribbon Winners

Several of you have asked me about the Blue Ribbon Winners and Best of Show quilts at the Iowa State Fair.  I wasn't able to photograph any of them when we were judging because they're the very last quilts to get hung.  Well, now you can see them!  They're in this You-Tube video.  Iowa Public Television showed up late in the day to interview us and to photograph some of the quilts so you'll see me in the video.  Please remember, when you view the video, that it was the end of a VERY LONG day and, quite frankly I'm surprised I'm not drooling because by the time they talked to me I was barely conscious!  Also remember -- the camera adds weight.  In my case it added about 80 pounds!!!

Here's the You-Tube link:

If that doesn't work then please go to the IPT page below and find the Blue Ribbon Winners 2010 video.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

O'Dark Thirty

I got up at O'Dark Thirty this morning to make a pie. We're attending a potluck dinner tonight with friends and since I bought a lug of fresh peaches a few days ago I thought a peach pie would taste good. (Plus, if I make one for just the two of us, Greg will eat one piece and I'll eat the rest!) So, I got up very early in order to get the pie made and baked before I left for work. Quite frankly, I'm very proud of myself! (Not about making the pie -- I make great pies!) I'm proud that I managed to do it so early in the morning! If you know me at all -- then you understand what an accomplishment this is. I'm not a "morning person" -- never have been and, at this point in my life, don't expect that I ever will be. So, the fact that I'm even verticle at 5 a.m. is something of a miracle. My husband, Greg, who naturally wakes up at 4:30 or 5 a.m. is Mr. Happy Pants in the morning (which I think is just WRONG!).  He at least had the sense to sit down with his coffee and stay out of my way as I stumbled around the kitchen.  I'm sure, however, that he'll have plenty to say tonight at dinner about my early morning baking adventure.  (Know that he WILL pay dearly for that at a later time!)  The good part is that my pie is beautiful and I'm sure we'll all enjoy it tonight with a some ice cream.  (Hope I can stay AWAKE that long!)

We've been having miserable weather here for the past week or so.  It's been raining nearly every day and the temps have been in the 90's with 90+% humidity.  As my mom used to say, "Not fit weather for man nor beast."   I just had to laugh when I saw where Milo had found himself a cool place to sleep.  He's on a pile of quilt tops and quilts which I'd thrown over the back of a chair.  He's also in the direct line of a fan and apparently only semi-conscious.   Leave it to him to find the coolest spot in the house!

Monday, August 9, 2010


Well, we had a very quiet weekend at our house.  On Friday evening we headed over to Clutier (a small, neighboring town) to their Veteran's Appreciation Event which they held in conjunction with their Annual Fun Days.  They put on a very nice program and followed it up with a polka band street dance.  (It IS a Czech community!)  Unfortunately, it was so miserably hot and humid that not many folks wanted to dance but there were a number of people sitting in the shade listening to the music.  They also had food for sale -- which included kolaches, of course!  For those who don't know -- kolaches are kind of the Czech equivalent of a Danish -- only much better when that's what you grew up eating!

It was still miserable outside on Saturday so I opted to stay indoors and work on unfinished projects.  One of those projects is a quilt that started out as a block demo project for the top method of paper piecing.  I did a couple of blocks and fell in love with sthe pattern so I  just kept going.  The name of the block is Dusty Miller.  So far I've got 30 blocks but I think I've decided to make it queen size -- so I'll be making more blocks and adding them in.

If this miserable weather continues I just might get a few projects finished! 

Friday, August 6, 2010

State Fair Again

I've got one last post about my trip to the State Fairgrounds and this particular one makes me happy for several reasons.

Several years ago they decided to build a new arena at the Fairgrounds.  The old one was small, outdated and has seen better days.  They started construction on the new arena last year and it's going to be ready to host it's first events this year for State Fair.  That's really nice for me (and a lot of others too!) because I'll get to see the equestrian events in the new venue.  YEAH!!  Plus, the arena is directly attached to the stables so it will be a whole lot easier to move the horses from the stables to the arena.  In the past the horses had to be led through the crowds to get to the arena for their events.  Really not the best idea for horses OR humans!  Okay.  So that's all really nice BUT...................  For whatever reason (and I haven't a clue!) they've chosen to decorate the outside of the new arera with QUILT BLOCKS!  415 of them to be precise!  I LOVE IT!  Greg was told by the guy putting up the blocks that the colors were chosen by children.  I think that's pretty neat too!  I not only think the blocks look wonderful -- but I've been having fantasies of all 800 of those quilts we judged hung up in the arena for all the world to see!  Now THAT would be a QUILT SHOW!!!

Doesn't the arena look great too?  It's the big glassed in area behind the brick facade.

The quilt blocks don't look too big here but I'd guess they're about 18"-24".

You can just barely see the guy on the scaffold who's putting them up.  He was having a wonderful time deciding what designs should go next to each other!  

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

One of the chores that I had on my list for last Saturday was to finish the scrap version of Spinout! (one of my patterns).  I started this lap quilt a very long time ago, got the blocks all pieced and then got sidetracked onto something else.  After quite a long time I got the blocks out and put them together.  For some reason there was one side border block that simply wouldn't line up.  I ripped and sewed, ripped and sewed.  Then I ripped, MEASURED and sewed several more times.  I simply COULD NOT get the edge triangle in that one block to line up with the corresponding triangle in the next block sooooo.........  I got fed up, wadded it up (as punishment!) and buried it in my sewing room.  Well, after re-doing the pattern for my publisher I decided that I probably needed to have a scrap version to show -- so on Saturday I reluctantly unearthed the top and tried again.  I finally got the triangles lined up -- but that's only because I'm bigger and more determined than that darned block!  I probably should have re-cut the pieces and made a different block but I got stubborn and.........      I still have no idea why that block didn't want to work.  Everything else fit just fine and when I measured the block it was the right size.  I've decided that I'm not going to make myself crazy trying to figure it out so I've opted to blame it on the Quilting Pixies (pixies are notorious pransters) and just let it go.       

This is the quilt top and only I know which block it is and I'm not telling!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Judging At State Fair

What a weekend!  We spent Saturday working around the house doing all our weekend chores so that we'd have Sunday free to play.  Sunday was my family reunion here in Traer.  It was nice to see all the folks and get a chance to visit.   We always have a potluck dinner and the food is simply incredible!  I know there are people out there who poke fun at potluck or covered dish dinners.  I guarantee they've never been to one in Iowa!  Holy Cow!

After the reunion we threw our overnight bag into the car and headed to Des Moines to spend the night.  I was scheduled to judge quilts for the Iowa State Fair on Monday and it's a whole lot easier to spend the night in a motel near the fairgrounds than it is to get up at 3:30 in the morning and drive to Des Moines -- so that's what we did.  The categories are divided up and we start judging at 8 a.m.. We take short morning and afternoon breaks plus a very brief lunch and then we just keep judging until we're done.  This year we finished up at around 8:30 p.m.!  I believe we had a total of just under 800 pieces!  There were three of us judging and even though we move right along it still takes time to look over every piece and make comments.   We finally finished up around 8:30 p.m.   Even though I was absolutely exhausted it was, as usual, a wonderful day filled with beautiful quilts.

We took a few photos of the quilts as they were being hung.  Unfortunately, due to space limitations they can only show about 18" of each quilt.  The Blue Ribbon winners are exhibited separately and displayed fully in a separate area.  Please bear in mind that they still had a lot of quilts to hang when the photos were being taken. 

These photos may give you an idea of the talent and diversity within the quilting community here in Iowa.  There are so many talented quilters here -- both men and women -- and it never ceases to amaze me.  I'm truly blessed to be allowed to judge these entries and I truly thank every quilter who  entered a quilt in the Fair.