Friday, December 30, 2011

Orca Bay Mystery Clue #7 progress

I am loving the look of these Sunset/Sunset colored Flying Geese units. But I am not loving all the bulk of the seams. I have not pressed them yet. I may have to "whack" 'em with a piece of wood to get them flatter. I am honestly not sure if I am going to continue making these units. As you can see, I have not cut all the string blocks in half yet. I may end up doing my own thing with these units.

Update: I missed a step...did not use the Companion Angle ruler to trim the string blocks. Once I did that the units are much more to my liking and I am plugging away now a much happier quilter!

 But then again...I may just plow on ahead...bulky seams be dammed.
 I made many more "Birds in the Air" units than Our Bonnie originally told us to make. I am glad I did since she asked us to make 4 more units this morning. I am so there already.
Are you ready for the next photo?
Hold on to your hat....
I am an OCD gal. I have a large mason jar with nearly every "dogear" I have ever trimmed off a unit in my entire quilting life. This small container is stuffed full of the dogears from this project only.
I know.
I am odd.
My guild members laugh at me and tell me to get a life. But I love the look of that mason jar with the colored bands that are a history of my quilt life. I did meet another quilter in blogland who has "SEVERAL" jars full of her own dogear trimmings. I am not alone in this obsession.
 I spent the rainy morning in the cutting room. I have a drawer of 3 1/2" strips precut. One side of the drawer is colors and the the other is neutrals All I had to do was pull all the neutrals out and give them a nice press with my Reliable Digital Velocity iron.
( I love this iron. It is heavy but does the job so nicely )
 And since I wanted to be efficient, I cut into all the strips in that drawer. I have many more than I need for this mystery. (both quilts of course)
But I figured that I might as well cut extra and I am sure I will use them somewhere.
They do not fit in the pencil case. In fact this picture was taken only halfway through the cutting process. I have twice as many done now. I may skip the first part of clue#7 and work on the other section instead. That will take the pile down a bit. HA!
Just a picture I failed to post while making the Quarter Square units. I saw on the Yahoo group that a quilter had squared up her units by only trimming on two sides. Not centering the ruler and trimming on all four sides. Been there...done that. I feel for her. Even with the EZ rulers there were a few that were oversized here in Subeesew's world. I did trim all four sides by centering the ruler. That must have been caused by the strip width. Some were a thread or two over the cutting line. I figure that bigger is better sometimes. It is so much easier to trim units to size.
Some of my strips that I received in the last red and black/white swap were cut too small. They were not a true 2 1/2" cut strip. That is just the difference between quilter's rulers and cutting methods. I think their rulers must have slipped while they were cutting. I spread my fingers wide and brace the ruler to the table with my little finger. I push it right up against the ruler and I "walk" my hand up the length of the cut. And some quilters use their cutting mats as the cutting guide. I never do that. Yet some of my guild members use the cutting board lines. It works great for them as all their strips match. But to try and add them to another quilter's stack is really a bother. Oh well...not a big deal. I noticed this when we were cutting up kits to sew on Project Linus quilts. Our guild made 100 quilts in the last year alone for this worthy project.

 Here is a peek under my cutting table. In each drawer is a basket that can be removed without distrubing the strips. These get filled as I work. The strips do not stay in these drawers very long. I have larger containers for the strip sizes all sorted by size and color. Of course...OCD Me!
 And while I was sitting on the floor I took a picture of some of my shelving and fabric bolts. I can get down on the floor just fine. It is getting up that I have issues with. It is a bummer to get old. My head is still young!
And yes, there are rulers hanging from the ceiling of the room. They are very handy.
 I love my Digital Velocity iron. It is made by Reliable. It has a removable filter that gets nasty leak causing minerals before they enter the steam chamber. I get a nice steam facial when I use this iron. I only use it for fabric prep not during piecing. It is way too big and heavy for that.

And this is a closet in the cutting room. I cannot get into the closet. Those are empty hangers. And the stuff way in the back of the closet is Cross Stitch supplies and yarns. The big clear container is stuffed with BATIKS! I love BATIKS!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Orca Bay Mystery Clue #6 progress

My Ohio Stars need pressed, but aren't they pretty? I love making these stars.

Did anyone else feel when cutting 2 1/2" squares that they were ginormous? After working with 1 1/2" and 2" pieces these 2 1/2" feel like cutting a napkin instead of a glass coaster!!!!!

I am nearly done with my clue #5. But Our Bonnie did give us permission to move ahead if we wished to. So I did.
Something else I had not shared with you Blogger friends: I was not able to find my gray Clue#1. I did not want to fess-up to misplacing them. My head has been so messed up this year.
But!!!! I found them!
They were with the black clue#1's! Whew!!!!
Orca Bay Mystery is the name of what we ( a few thousand ) are working on. HA!

Hubby is doing so much better. The pill for restless leg seems to be helping him get a FULL night's sleep. We are on day/night #3 of sleeping. He almost seems his normal self again. Only now he complains of a headache at bedtime. I do not know if that is pill related or just his body's way of telling him it is time for bed.
I cannot thank all of you enough for the great advice and support during this trying time.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Wrapping it up in Indiana

I had different plans for today. I finished all my shopping yesterday and needed to go buy wrapping paper. We woke up to snow with slick roads.

I decided to strip the bed and do all the other laundry and put my purchases into their respective boxes and/or plastic containers.
Yes, I give gifts in plastic containers too. The stack on the right side is full of small gifts that still are welcomed. Hair brushes, toothbrushes, toothpaste,hand sanitizer,barrettes and bobby pins, know lots of little things.

Half way through laundry and luckily after finishing boxing, Hubby announced we needed to visit the ER. His blood pressure was 90/60 and his hands and feet were tingling. Despite three different sleep perscriptions, he has not been able to sleep since his surgery. It has been really rough on him. And rough on me too. I have no trouble sleeping until he taps me on the shoulder every few hours to wake me to tell me he cannot sleep. All night long. So I am tired too.

6 hours later and after finally talking to a great ER doctor who LISTENED to James' symptoms we came back home to worried kitties because they had played in the Christmas wrappings. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.

His BP was fine after we got to the hospital. They did blood tests and a thyroid panel. He is all within the normal range. He mentioned to this doctor that he has "restless leg syndrome". She said she had it too and takes a certain medication for it. Well...she wrote the script...we went to a 24 hour CVS and he got his new meds and I bought some wrapping paper. I knew I did not have enough.

Here I sit on the computer. Hoping that the new sleeping med will help my DH sleep. He is in a freshly washed bed...I love fresh sheets. They are all straight and tucked in. I will stay up as long as I can so I do not distrub him. I may just stay up all night and perhaps sew a bit. As we waited at the ER I worked on and nearly finished my hand quilted Freehand Baptist project that has taken me a year. It was really a large quilt to be done this way but I do love this process. Of course the process is by Our Bonnie Hunter!
The great thing about this process is that as you finish you go round and round FASTER because you start on the outside and work your way in. Since it is done that way I had the binding already sewn on too.
Check out her process at Freehand Baptist Fans.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Orca Bay Mystery Clue #5 progress

I am very happy with my decision to limit my outer triangles to more of a tone on tone black. It seems to frame the unit nicely.

And of course the OCD Me, is controlling how many of which ones I am using on each set of HST which are all sorted by their own combinations. I am pointing the non-dogear end towards the middle so I can have sets with each fabric playing along on the left and the right side of the units.

I have half of these sewn already.
And panic time. I had made a large purchase last March towards Christmas presents for this year. Fast forward to Hubby's surgery and my mind thinking I had MOST of my shopping already done.

I went through that box today and I NEED to go shopping tomorrow. I am not even 1/4 of the way done. I was sure misremembering what I had bought ahead of time.
I have never been this behind before even when I was working. Since I HATE to shop (except for fabric of course)  I had always broken it up into small segments and usually had my wrapping done before Thanksgiving.
Oh well...tomorrow I will shop 'til I drop!             

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Chicken and noodles for the soul.

I posted a good while back about my disappointment with Cuisinart's warranty of my entire pan set.

So, I bought myself a new chicken & noodles pan. What is good about this pan is:
  1. Stainless steel good heavy pan
  2. no coatings to wear off/out
  3. glass lid to see cooking progress
  4. 2 inserts to steam veggies or whatever

 It is so simple to make your own chicken stock. A good clean whole chicken, an onion, a few carrots and a lot of celery stalks with leaves attached.  Boil for a few hours then cool and remove all of the contents. I run them through a mesh colander to remove any stray bones or entrails that may break off during the cooking process.
 And then you have gallons of homemade chicken stock. I add the dark meat back to some broth and make the chicken & noodles. The white meat gets shredded and used for whatever. And the house smells sooooooo good while this is cooking. It is comforting to my soul.
 I cut up only 6 different blacks for Orca Bay's clue #5. Some of my blacks (well really most of them) had too much white going on. I think restricting my fabric choices here will give me the desired effect that Our Bonnie Hunter ( is going for.
There is a great Azeala Trail black and a Fossil Fern black and a batik black.
OK....go ahead and laugh. Here is another pencil box full of my black HST. Love these pencil boxes.

Friday, December 16, 2011

I have been "Kindled"!

Look out world! This old quilter is now a new owner of a Kindle Touch 3G! Of course I was a bit apprehensive before it arrived. I know I pestered Our Bonnie Hunter and other users of this amazing device concerning using the download feature.

I was worried for nothing! We are not wireless here. Yet the Kindle was able to find and use a signal. I have books on it already!

 I should have bought a cover and the AC adapter. But until I do one of those pencil boxes I have fit the Kindle perfectly. Now the kitties cannot walk on it and read something they should not. HA!
It is 4:00 a.m. here in Indiana.
I am waiting for clue #5 for the Orca Bay Mystery quilt from Bonnie Hunter. (

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

In the pink for Orca Bay Mystery

Pink, gray and brown are my favorite colors. But if it would come down to me nailing just ONE favorite color it would have to be pink.
The block below is my favorite block. But then each of the other 63 blocks are equally as beautiful.

 I guess I would have to say that as I trim each block it then becomes my favorite until I pull the next one from the pile.
 Sigh! What memories race through my head looking at these fabrics. I made two Pink Smokey Mountain Stars (pattern from Bonnie Hunter at:

One went to a Grand daughter and the second one stayed here with me. I hand quilted that one.
When you go to her blogsite make sure you click on the Orca Bay Mystery tab for some beautiful examples of the quilts being made from the mystery.

 I love the process of sewing strings.  I know I call it mindless sewing but there is a bit of "art" connected with choosing what strip to lay next to another strip. Some of the beautiful pink string blocks I have seen on the Mr Linky thingie have been very pastel. I tried to copy that but my pinks are more in the medium to hot pink range. I just decided that my blocks will be a reflection of my own stash not a copy of someone else's.
And to keep thing straight, I use a strip in a couple blocks and then it get puts aside and I grab another string. I have yet to dive into the already used pile. I have lots of pinks!

 When I went on a gathering mission for pinks I actually had to go through 4 LARGE plastic containers and three drawers to glean out all the pinks. And I am not using any wider than 1 1/2" strips. And even that size seems a bit clunky. The tiny basket on the left has my leftover 2 1/2" squares from the Smokey Mountain quilts. That makes it so handy to just whack them into triangles and add to the corners of the string blocks.

Here is our Macy Gray. Her eyes are so deep blue they are almost Indigo colored. I know the breeder called me after we had her for a few years and wondered if her eyes had stayed as deep blue as they hoped. They are. Macy is an Oriental Shorthair. She has a wedge shaped head. And she is so unusual looking that either you love her or you think she is deformed. She never stops talking and has many tricks in her portfolio. If you read up on the breed it says they love being clowns for their humans. Guess they are the only cats in the world that do not mind being laughed at!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Orca Bay Clue #4 Red Strings done!

I LOVE making string blocks. And the fact that Our Bonnie has us making string blocks in color families just pleases my OCD me to a tee!

 I believe I have mentioned before that if you are using telephone book pages that there is no need to count them. They are already numbered. So I did the math and have two sets of 64 pages all cut and clipped together. My red strings are finished. I am still doing the trimming but the sewing is done.
 I even saved the 3+" strip that was cut away from the phone book pages. I have in mind to do some piano key type sewing on them with the leftover strips. But after getting the string blocks all sewn DH says he needs me near him. He is lonely in the family room. I sew in the living room. He has never "needed" my presence before. He has never even asked me to ever spend time with him. We are neither of us very social creatures. And we have always had a very comfortable relationship. He has his own TV and computer and so do I. I am hoping as he gains strength and his pain level decreases that he will need me less and less. Yet part of me revels in the fact that we are a strong loving couple.
 Baskets and containers. I love them and to make sure I only use a red once it will either get used up in several blocks on only a hunk will get cut off and then it is put into another basket. That tells me not to pick a string from that basket until I get through all the other strings.
I swear those strings multiply during the night. As you can see I do lots of blocks at the same time. Once they start to fall off the back of the table into "kitty fur never-never land", I clip them apart and continue sewing.

Some I have trimmed the first way Our Bonnie instructed. And some I have trimmed the second way that she thought of in the middle of the night.
I dream sewing too. I so understand where she is coming from. Having a nice sewing area to go to at 3:00 a.m. is such a pleasure. I no longer have time schedules to meet or places to be. Who needs sleep? I will sleep tomorrow night if I get tired.
I have a small tip to share with you bloggers.
I use a piece of cotton batting to rub the strings and debris from the cuting board.
It works great!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Cream and Black Treasures found

I confess. I am a bit of a hoarder. Well, maybe more than just a bit of a hoarder.

I am not as bad as that show about hoarders. I do not save garbage or newspapers but I do save fabric.

I do have paths through the two spare bedrooms I have occupied/taken over for fabric storage. It is an adventure when I go looking for something I KNOW I have.

I have not been able to find a fabric that has books on shelves. Nice warm wood tones with leather bound books set in wide stripes down the length of the fabric. I know I bought a large quantity of it. I have not been able to find it for a long long time. I hid it well.

And to get to anything I need to move containers. Lots of containers...I confess I am a fabricholic.
It is time to use these creams and blacks.
I have been saving them for the future.
The future is now.

 I have 20 of these large blocks.  They are a bit larger than 12 1/2".

The fabric is a creamy off white with quilts and quilters pictured doing what quilters do with quilts!
They are BEAUTIFUL!!!!!
 The background on this toile is black. Once again quilters and quilts.
How lucky was I to have bought this so many, many years ago???
It looks like I have 3 or 4 yards of this one.
 Another toile with more quilters. The background is creamy off white. The print is not the same as the toille with the black background. There is maybe 2 yards of this one.
 As I kept digging deeper into this container that has not seen the light of day for many years, I was finding fabric I had totally forgotten about. This was one of the first color combinations I started collecting long before I was even making quilts. I knew that someday I would want to. And I really like cream/black much more than white/black.
 A completed quilt top. Why was it in there? I know why. I was sewing but not quilting yet. I guess I loved 9-patches even way back then. Since I am so much more skilled now I can see a great pieced border for the simple center of this quilt top. But my points were sharp and clear.
When was this made???
 The infamous 56 qt. container of treasures. I even have some blacks with shades of tan or taupe with matching solids saved with them. Man oh man I am soooo excited with this find!
 Sample fabrics with cardboard headers. My Dear Jane, which will be more of a Baby Jane, is done with fabrics from this card sample. I do have all of the paper pieced blocks made. (62 blocks) But I am afraid to attempt the applique blocks. I have bought silk thread, applique needles, a light box and tons of freezer paper. I have the equiptment but not the skills. The sample is unrolled on the left and there is another one with the stars all rolled up on the right. I made a promise to myself to not mess with these last two sample cards until my Dear Jane is done. I am using Ecology cloth muslin as the background on my Dear Jane. I love this muslin. It has great body and a good thread count.
 Feathers....aren't they gorgeous? I have 2 yards of this fabric.
Here is what I "gleaned" from that 56 qt. container. The very bottom wavy cream fabric I did buy in Shipshewanna 2 years ago. It was not in the container. But it is now! The rest are very old. I am thinking maybe 10 years old!!!!!!!

All of these are pressed and cut and sewn into my second set of clue#3 of the Orca Bay mystery being masterminded by Our Bonnie Hunter of

I am well on my way to finishing my red string blocks. I am using all swapped fabric from the quiltvilleswap on Yahoo. I am even trying to keep each packaged strips together in the blocks being made. I have cut some of the strips into thirds...real skinny...and some of them into triangles for the corners.
Darn. I took the picture too soon. I have them trimmed down to 3 1/2" now with their little flat tops. They are so cute!
I think these are fabrics from Jeane A. who was in the swap with a bunch more of us.

Details...I write all this down in a logbook. I also include weather and what I am cooking for special dinners for DH.

We saw the surgeon today and he said we/DH is one of the few lucky ones who get renal cancer. He said he does not get enough patients with great news like this. DH is still a bit down. I guess facing immediate mortality has taken it's toll on my happy go lucky man. We are working on getting his joy of living back. I tried to get him to trim dogears tonight...he is just not interested. And I have to admit that I would freak out if he trimmed too much. HA! OCD again.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Second set of Orca Bay clue #2-gray strings

There are a few of us making more than one Orca Bay Mystery quilt.
Yes we are gluttons for punishment.
Yes we love piecing tiny units.
Yes we love Bonnie Hunter's Mysteries.
Yes we do count how many pieces are in each quilt. But I am not telling.
(I was yelled at once on the Yahoo site for perhaps scaring away potential participants.)
Won't happen again.
 I cannot believe that my tiny pile of gray strings made 36 string blocks and there are still more strings left to use. And I had thought that I had cut generous sizes on the strings but most blocks have 10 or more strings in them. They look pretty but the paper removal is a bit more intense.

So here is one of my ever handy pencil cases with my string blocks all ready for sewing. The paper is all removed. They did not even need any pressing after sewing as I pressed my strings FIRST!
 And I have my very own copy of Volume #4 Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks. WHOOT!
 I swapped out the 2 1/2" red and black strip Quiltvilleswap at Yahoo swap yesterday. Here is one third of the swapping area with the parcels just assigned to their respective baskets.
Nothing has been opened or counted yet.
 This is the second third of the packages getting their assigned basket.
 And here is the final third of the u-shaped area. My swap basket is on the chair. If any of you are counting the baskets you will be coming up short of the 24 total. This is because some swappers participated in both swaps and some did not. The only really tricky part is when some swappers do not send in 10 sets. I had two swappers with 5 sets and one with 6 sets. But I got it all figured out.
 This shows that now I have gone through all 24 parcels. I have counted their sets and removed the shipping packages to the bottom of the baskets. I keep them this way because some swappers do not have their names on their individual packages.

I also have "start" and "stop" papers. This keeps me on track in case of an interruption. Life does tend to get in the way sometimes. In 90 minutes I had both swaps completed. But then it took another hour or so to re-count and pack up the precious strings for mailing back.
To the left are all the different sized containers that the swaps came to me in. They are trash now. In the center are the empty baskets. They have done their job and are heading back to the closet. On the right are two VERY HEAVY STUFFED totes with all 24 packages ready for the post office.

I lugged them in there yesterday announcing myself that I was helping with the Postal Clerk's job security. I had the same sweet Postal Clerk who is sharp as a nail. She and I get on very well. She knows that I pack carefully and that I will help with any issues she has with the packages. One of the swappers sent fabric from Sweden. So there was an export form to fill out. (I did that at home as I keep mailing supplies for this very reason!)

The register tape was a mile long. I am going to hang onto it and maybe use it for some string piecing for a border or something. (Just for memories!)

I took hubby along but he waited in the truck. It was his first day out of the house getting some air from his kidney removal surgery last Tuesday. I think getting some fresh air did him good as he actually went for a walk around the block today. Healing takes time and it is the little things that are obstacles to overcome.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Orca Bay Mystery Clue #3

I did try the Inklingo method but went back to my Trusty EZ Angle ruler to complete this grouping of HST. I am so comfortable with this ruler now. At first I had the same issues I have been reading about on the quiltvillechat at Yahoo. I can only say "keep trying the ruler" because the results seem perfect every time now. No sliver trimming is needed. No marking on the wrong side of the light squares. And only one set of dogears to trim.

Our Bonnie did have a great tip about lining up the edge of the ruler with the strip edge. She said no fabric should be extending past the ruler. She is right on with that tip. If your fabric hangs out a bit it will make the HST's seam a bit thicker than you want/need it to be.
I made 480. I did not mean to go over what we needed. (350) But then again one never knows how large I will want my final quilt to be.

 They are now all nestled in their own little basket. All safe from the "Magnet" kitty named MaggieMae. She is called a Magnet because all my fabric pieces seem to be attracted to her fur as she waddles by. She cannot help it. She is long overdue for her trim but she is not tangling at all and seems to really enjoy the brushing time. Last night I brushed every single bit of her backwards. It was so funny looking. She looked like she had been electrified. I should have taken a picture of her. She was looking like a punk rocker!
I am now ready to make my gray/neutral combination for clue#3. But tonight is our guild's Christmas party. I need to wash my hair. And that is a day long event. My hair is below my waist and very thick. Takes forever to wash and dry it. Then I have the fuzzies around my face to deal with. My hair always looks better the day after I wash it. Should have done it yesterday. Sigh!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Fabric log roll

I have mentioned this before that I periodically go through my fabric bolts and tear off a one yard chunk. I did that with the log roll below. There are 56 neutrals in this roll. I was doing a neutral swap over at the 1 1/2" Postagestampquilt swap location. We ended up only swapping 25 fabrics instead of 50 but that made no difference to me. 

I swapped two sets then! HA!

I am in LOVE with neutrals. I have always bought them before deeper colored fabrics.

And this is my own invention. I have browns stored this way too.
I have my batiks rolled this way by color. Makes it so easy to just grab a bunch of same color fabrics.

 This roll was one yard chunks at one time. They are all pressed and starched then one strip in many sizes were cut from each one. Not one fabric at a time either. Maybe 6-8 fabrics...that means 12-16 layers. You need strong arms and a sharp blade to do this.

Anyway, after doing the harvesting, I rolled them all up together (keeping the cut ends as even as I could) tied them up with some of those great Moda ribbons, and put them into a plastic container. The last time I harvested fabric from this container was early last Spring 2010.
 Here is the roll before unrolling. It is a beautiful sight and it is also quite heavy. Sigh!
 Did I tell you I love fabric???? Like you couldn't guess.
They are all nice and flat with no wrinkles or puckers.
 I did not need to iron a single one of these as I took a few at a time from the unrolled log, cut them and stacked them to the other end of the table. Once again I did not need to iron them at all!!!! And yes, I do love to iron. Last night I went through all my shirtings prints and pressed and rolled them up after cutting 2" strips from them. They are all sewn now into Clue#3 of the Orca Bay Mystery from Our Bonnie Hunter of
Just need to press and de-ear the little puppies.
I also found some treasures in the bottom of a 56 qt. container that held nearly all my black and gray collection. I will share them with you in another post. I was so surprised at what I found...
 Here is the fabric log all re-rolled and trussed up. And I also was very generous when I straightened the ends. I could have "sliver" trimmed and had even edges but I wanted some more neutral strings.
Now I have another nice container of 2" neutral strips and the beginnings of another bag of neutral strings. I do not know why but I have many containers with 2 1/2" strips sorted by color family. And the same amount of 1 1/2" strips stored the same way. But my 2" size only has the one drawer under the cutting table. Do I use them up as I cut them? I must because that bin is always in need of more know like sourdough starter...have to feed the dough!