Monthly Archives: April 2007

It’s starting to look like spring

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The trees have started sprouting leaves this week and when I looked out this afternoon it finally looked like spring.

I haven’t accomplished much today but did get an off center 4 patch backing made for my Chinese Coins quilt which I hope to get loaded later tonight.

There’s been a lot of discussion on Stashbuster about books. I use the bottom shelves in my bedroom studio for the bulk of mine but there are stacks in the den where I have my sewing machine and computer, stacks in the living room, and stacks in the bedroom too.
I’ve also been folding fabric again – I made a start when I moved in but only got a few shelves done. I tore the blues apart looking for a binding for a HeartStrings quilt and those 3 shelves are the messiest right now.

Carol’s HeartStrings top is quilted and bound

Published / by Mary / 8 Comments on Carol’s HeartStrings top is quilted and bound

Another HeartStrings quilt is finished. Pieced by Carol and quilted by me, this is such a great setting for string blocks and the finished quilt looks great. As Carol requested, this quilt will go to the To the Top Project and be given to a veteran. Here’s another link to an article about the To the Top Project.

Here’s a better photo of the quilting.

HeartStrings MN area Sew-in

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Yesterday was fun visiting Stillwater and getting together with other HeartStrings quilters. I brought back a finished top as well as another pile of Chinese Coins sections. I’ll wait a few weeks until that special project is over and all the sections have been mailed before I start playing with them.

Keith is still out of town so I’ve been continuing my retreat and should have another HeartStrings quilt (Carol’s top) bound and finished tonight.

HeartStrings Retreat Weekend

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The HeartStrings group is retreating this weekend in celebration of National Volunteer’s Week. I got the wrong week thanks to my calendar but we’re only a week late! Those of us in the Minneapolis area are getting together in person tomorrow at Sue Frank’s house.

I started early by loading the top sent to me by Carol to quilt and donate to a Veteran’s home in New England. I think I’ve said it before but Popcorn by Willow Leaf Studio is my favorite pantograph. It looks good on everything. I decided since this was going to a Veteran’s home I wouldn’t use flowers, feathers, or hearts. I think Popcorn looks like clouds against the sky blue border and fabric.

I took a short break to have a cup of tea and check email and I thought I’d share my coffee/tea maker with you. I love my single cup brewer – I order the pods for my coffee and tea from Green Mountain Coffee.

Notice my Seattle mug?? I collect coffee mugs from my travels and every cup of tea brings back memories of one of my trips.

Another scrap quilt from leftover strips

Published / by Mary / 9 Comments on Another scrap quilt from leftover strips

These blocks are going pretty quickly and I really like how they’re turning out. I’ll probably sash them and I’m auditioning some greens for the sashing and the border. They look darker in this photo than they actually are.

I have more of the purple and red print I used on my Pineapple so I’ll look at that as a border possibility too.

Aging Parents

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Several blogs that I read have been discussing challenges of caring for aging and ill parents and I was reminded as I read my latest book, Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science by Atul Gawande, of the challenge of making medical decisions not just for ourselves but for our parents.

Two years ago Keith and I brought his father to live with us and cared for him in the months before he died of complications from Leukemia. One accusation his mother would make was that it was *easy* for me because I was a nurse. Well I hadn’t worked as a clinician in 10 years and caring for a family member at home is different anyway. It was very rewarding but certainly not easy.

My Mom lives alone in Virginia and so I’m also struggling with how to be there and available to her when she has health issues. Having the flexibility to go help her when needed is one of the reasons I choose not to work outside the home.

For those readers in the group these are the books that I found helpful as I cared for Keith’s Dad and I as continue to try and be there for my Mom. I would also suggest that you obtain a copy of your parent’s living wills and make sure you understand what their wishes are. Some of the most difficult decisions we made were possible because we knew they were what his Dad wanted.

How to Care for Aging Parents
Caregiving As Your Parents Age
The 36 Hour Day: A Family guide to caring for persons with Alzheimer Disease, Related Dementing Illnesses, and Memory Loss in Later Life

And the book that helped me most when it was time to let Keith’s dad go.
Dying Well: Peace and Possibilities at the End of Life by Ira Byock, MD

Leftover strips

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I had plans to use the leftover strips from my Pineapple quilt for rail fence blocks and set them on point. I’m tired of the two bins being in the way so I started making some blocks this weekend and decided I didn’t like them.

My solution was to cut them in half and I’ll sew them back together like this photo. Of course, I realized as I was laying these out I’ll need mirror image blocks so will have to cut sets of 4 as I go along so I don’t get to many going one way.

Grand Rounds

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I’m trying to get back into a walking routine. Keith and I have been walking some at the nearby park and yesterday we did a 5 mile walk. Although I walk just about everywhere I’m not even close to logging the kind of miles I was last year training for the 3 Day Breast Cancer walk. As a result (and thanks to too many dinners out!) I’ve been regaining the weight I lost last year.
Today I got up early and finished up Mom’s quilt except for the side borders ( I have to trim and reload it on the longarm) and then took off for a 12 mile walk.
I love the pathways along the Mississippi River.


Published / by Mary / 24 Comments on Anniversary

Keith and I are celebrating our 18th anniversary today. Since we just got back from Hawaii we’re having a low key celebration this evening at home.

After running some errands and walking through the park to get some lunch at Joe’s Garage, I decided to work a bit while Chesty and Keith watched TV (they’re really napping but the TV is on).

I’m not really crazy about my quilting on this – it’s one of Mom’s quilts and she said I could practice on it. I’m trying a overall leaf meander and I think it’s kind of thready – not terrible but not great.

Chinese Coins top finished

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I got the final borders on this morning. I wasn’t sure yesterday how much I was going to like it but now that the top is finished I do (like it). I don’t know if anyone else is working on Chinese Coins for HeartStrings so I may or may not get additional sections for another quilt.

I wasn’t using a pattern and debated how wide to make my sashing strips and borders. I did searches on google and webshots looking at other versions before deciding on 2 inch sashing and 4 inch borders.

In response to a question about the size of my coins – they’re trimmed to 5.5 inches wide. My sashing was cut 2.5 inches, and my borders cut 4.5 inches. The overall quilt is 55×70. I would have made it a bit longer but the green fabric turned out to be only 1.8 yards and not 2 as I originally thought. I barely squeaked the sashing, border, and binding out with just the piece below left – how’s that for cutting it close?

Chinese Coins

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I debated what I’d work on today and the Chinese Coins won out over loading another quilt on the longarm.

I put the sections I have up on the design wall and can see a few I need to move around. I had thought I’d use the blue fabric for the border and sashing but I like the green better.

Can I get this top done today? I still need to make about 2 rows of coins and I also want to walk downtown this morning or afternoon to grab a bite to eat and visit the bookstore.

Another UFO

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This is the quilt I’ve been practicing on. I bought this top off eBay a few years ago intending to quilt and donate it. I wanted to *learn* to use my Featherz wreath template that I bought with my Circle Lord and I hate practicing on muslin so I decided to use this UFO as my practice piece.
I’m getting ready to get the binding sew on and will stitch it down tonight watching TV with Keith and then it will go in the stack of quilts to be donated.
Next up for quilting will be a HeartStrings top made by May – I’ll quilt it and send it back to her to donate in memory of her sister.