Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Eron's Crossed Canoes is Finished!




I started this quilt before I got married in 1979, so it sat unfinished (UFO means unfinished object in quilt jargon) for nearly 30 years. If you look closely, you can see the fold line in the middle of the quilt. When the weather is nicer, I will gently wash it and lay it out to dry on the yard. I don't know if that will help the dented area or not. I used Mountain Mist batting back then. If you know of something that will help, please let me know about it.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Binding Crossed Canoes


This is the quilt that has been a UFO for 30 years. I just couldn't finish it by hand. I have finally quilted it by machine, and was working on applying the binding last night when I thought it might be useful for someone else to see the new way I am handling the length of binding. I read somewhere to wrap the binding around an empty bath tissue roll and let it sit in your lap as you sew. The lap thing didn't work for me, but slipping it over my thread holder worked like a dream.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Funky Flower Quilt

It is always good to do a little hand applique. I found this in one of the drawers I emptied yesterday when I was trying to locate some now forgotten item, so I put in the finishing stitches. It is one of the three flowers mom and I worked on last summer. With my frantic search, and subsequent drawer emptying, my office got re-organized. I put a lot of my larger pieces of fabric on pants hangers in the closet (in the other office). I guess I should call MY office a sewing room, but it really feels like an office to me. My office laptop does not have reliable internet, nor does it have a DVD viewer, so I have to go to the other office to use the "real" computer. I only print pictures on MY computer. I bet it sounds like I have a large house. NO, not really. I am basement deprived and everything gets split up into different bedrooms and closets. I don't recommend it. If you can score a basement, go for it. Or like my mother; just have your husband build you your own retreat....

Sunday, December 14, 2008

"Lilly" quilt gets a label.

AND I don't want to see another quilt needing a label for a while. I learned alot. The pigma pens aren't all that great (or I bought the wrong ones), I misspell words when I concentrate on correct spelling, some printer fabric is NOT washable, etc. I almost gave up, and then I tried cross stitch. Even though I had to chart it myself, it was a sensible thing to do. I also learned how to use minute amounts of fusible web on the flowers I cut from leftover fabric from the front, and how to put piping on along with the mitred border fabric. The whole thing was exhausting. I am now going to concentrate on the holidays and my trip to Kansas City with Adam.

Saturday, December 6, 2008



Andy has a hot new car, and I have a completed name tag! I used some of the vintage fabric I pilfered from mom's stash. I wish the picture was clearer, but I only took one for now. Tomorrow I need to make a label for my finished Lilly quilt, and plan what to do about a Christmas quilt gift that isn't finished after almost 30 years in waiting. I think this is the year to "get her done."

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Monster is Slain





And it is reborn as "Around the World with Lilly." I don't know whether I like the front or the back the best, but I am feeling really good about completing it. I posted the pictures of the quilt packaging clips I liked and the ones that were nightmares (the red and the binder clips). Trust me the blue ones changed my life. I am forever thankful to the Spirited Quilters of Duluth, Georgia! I won a raffle at the last meeting, and the blue clips were one of great surprises in the sack of goodies they gave me.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Holidays!


Well, that time of year is here again. Time to party, see family, overeat, etc. Or, if you are me, share meatloaf sandwiches with your spouse and spend quality time with your sewing machine. Yes, I am still wrestling the "monster," but I have only 22 more lines of stitching to go before I can "square" Lilly and apply the brilliant purple binding I have selected. I am getting excited about the home stretch of this "around-the-world" project. Perhaps I'll have a photo for you by next weekend.
Oh, the angel? I made her the first Christmas I spent away from Independence. I think that was 1979. Well heck, I KNOW it was 1979. Next year we will have to celebrate her 30th birthday.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Miss Jump in Georgia


I was bored watching "Dancing With the Stars," so I went into my sewing room. I was reluctant to layout and "re-package" the monster I am quilting (Around the World with Lilly Pulitzer, see below), so I started playing around with Miss Jump. I cut the first square wrong by 1/2 inch, and then when I went to sew her I found I'd cut two left arms. Thus, she is a bust (for now).

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Around the World

Hi again. I know I have been gone a while, but I have been going "around the world" with Lilly Pulitzer. Seriously, someone donated Lilly Pulitzer fabric samples to the Spirited Quilters of Duluth, and I was lucky enough to get some! I couldn't help but start something right away, and today I finished piecing the top. I am using a border print for the back of the quilt.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

"Tea Party" Completed



Yesterday, Saturday, I got straight to work finishing the small quilt (50 inches square) I am donating to Gwinnett Tech for the Charity Auction. Bidding opens on November 4, so I had to get it done. I went to my sewing room right after breakfast while still in my flannel pajamas. I celebrated the completion of "Tea Party" at midnight by brushing my teeth and changing pajamas to get back in bed. I'd forgotten how long it takes to hand-stitch the bias binding down!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My Sewing Room


I changed my sewing room around. After the workshops at the Georgia Quilt Show, I realized that I wasn't comfortable in my room, so I raised my machine table and relocated the two utility tables to support the fabric as I send it through the machine. There is a chair waiting for you to come visit!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Day Three is the Best!


Guess who I spent the day with? At the last minute, I added Sue Spargo's Michelle Pillow class to my schedule. We sure worked all day, and I can't say I am overly fond of needle-turn applique, but man I sure like wool and embellishments! Sue is a really nice person, talented instructor, and fabulous artist. I hate to think what I would miss out on in life if I hadn't decided to change classes! Take a look at her website: www.suespargo.com.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Georgia Quilt Show: Day Two


Free motion machine quilting is much more arduous than I thought. The woman who sat next to me had a long-arm machine at home, and she said it it much easier to quilt on that. It was her second time taking the Machine 101 class. We used Baby Lock machines. I have never used a computerized machine before, so that was fun. Four hours of machine quilting at a short-arm machine was not fun. The class started with talking about wine, then mixed drinks, misusing prescription drugs and, finally, just plain using drugs all together. I decided I like in-the-ditch and straight line stitching with my walking foot a LOT!

I found some cute cowgirl fabric.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Nature Picture for Aunt Katie




As I was walking out of the Gwinnett Civic Center, I saw these beautiful purple "things." I don't know what kind of plant it is, but they are all over the Civic Center grounds. Aunt Katie always posts good nature photos on her blog, so I thought I'd post one. Tomorrow, if I am not too tired, I will ask the name of the plant.

Georgia Quilt Show



I took my first class at the Quilt Show today. I had to add the class this morning, and somehow, between registering last month, and this morning, I forgot about class fees. I thought I could just pay the supply fee and add the class to my schedule. Oops! So the class was over $100, but it was worth it. We started out with two plain 16 inch squares, did a whole bunch of sewing and cutting; like magic, 5 hours later, I had one finished 16 inch square (see the "flower power" picture). Okay, it probably took me 30 minutes to figure out how to manipulate the fabric, rulers and rotary cutter to make the original plain squares we started with. Feeling brave when I finished the one square, I purchased Kim Montagnese's "Sun" pattern so I can make something for one of the boys later.
I saw the beautiful cotton bathrobes, and I just had to have one. The raspberry sherbet color is fabulous, don't you think?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Adam Picked Up Dubs


We watched Adam's dog, Dubsley, for the weekend. My three little white babies refer to Dubs as the "big brown monster." Dubsley was not a bad dog, but he has some really bad habits: like growling at you when you put food in his dish, like sneering and growling when you rub his ears. I don't get him, but he was not too much trouble. Other than biting AC and peeing on two things he shouldn't have. We cured that by removing anything we didn't want peed on (dog beds, etc), confining him to the kitchen and patio, and keeping AC away. Adam is going to help me with my dogs on Wednesday. Wednesday I have to be at work at 9, and then at 7 I am attending the lecture "Why We Quilt" by Marianne Fons at the Civic Center. I may not be back until after 9, so it will be a very long day.

Samurai Squares Top Finished




Saturday, October 4, 2008


I treated myself to a trip to the discount fabric store I passed by in Snellville. I have to say I was disappointed. They did not identify fabric content on the bolts. Nevertheless, I was able to purchase some inexpensive muslin, and I ran across to-die-for prequilted remnants. I am not sure what I will do with them. I wish I could have my sofa re-covered in them, but perhaps a jacket or tote bag? Also, they had bins of nickel-each buttons. Geez, you guessed it, I have inherited my mother's craz-o button collecting gene. She tells me all of hers are "vintage." Well, perhaps it depends on the definition of vintage. I'm pretty sure anything up through the 70s is "vintage" now. I didn't know I was being obsessive (excessive?) until I couldn't walk away from the bin with just the few large pink buttons. The more I sorted buttons, the more I fell in love with them. Did you know that running your hands through a bunch of loose buttons sounds the same as running your hands through a collection of sea shells? I doubt the fact will help you win Jeopardy. Two hundred buttons later discipline kicked in. Thank goodness! I might still be there!


I remember Mom & Dad'ns farm. Before I could read, I had two options for indoor activities: trace the flower pattern on the carpet with my finger, or play with the button tin. Perhaps many generations of family members have been content to sort and organize buttons in their preschool years, and the gene grew stronger and stronger. I don't know what Darwinian purpose you can make of it, but there it is.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Miss Jump's California Cousin


They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery! I love the colors! I found this image while looking at the Santa Barbara, CA quilting retreats. If you know of a really good retreat (Great Britain would be nice) that I can take mom to next year, let me know. Or even if you just know of one that is particularly interesting, or in a really great location. I want to take classes, but mother may just want to relax. I am working on getting my Samurai Squares blocks done (so exciting for me!).

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Peaceful dreamer


I am so sorry I don't know who painted this mermaid. I also don't remember which blog or websited I found it on, but one thing you can count on: I am not talented enough to have created such a beautiful work.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Stretching Creativity


Mom and I didn't get her started blogging, but we had a lot of fun trying to draw funky flowers to make a "Karmen-outside-her-comfort-zone" quilt top. Mom has been collecting fabric since the early '70s, and she has so much fabric that it was ridiculous trying to choose between them. I brought a big box of fabric back with me. I had to duct tape the box so it wouldn't bust open in the cargo bay of the plane back to Atlanta and cause an incident.

Friday, September 19, 2008


The Great Pumpkin Sits on Mom's Kitchen Cabinet



My visits with Mom and Dad are always too short. I have been taking pictures and buying fabric. Seriously buying fabric; I have never spent so much on fabric in two days in my whole life! We shopped at Quilter's Station and Harper's. We ate lunch across the street from Harper's at the Farm to Market Cafe. I had the eggplant, tomato and feta cheese sandwich. Yum! The cafe had quilts for sale on the walls, and I very nearly bought the most beautiful, adorable quilt ever. The woman, Robin, who pieced and appliqued the top was the same person who rang us out at Harper's, so we went back over there to talk to her. She told me what the pattern company was, and I ordered the pattern online last night. Quilt Soup's pattern example does not even come close to the quilt Robin made. I think the variations in the fabrics and quilting really made it worth the price she was asking (more, really). But I hesitated, and left it for some other really lucky person.
And Dad made this wonderful apple pie!


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Organization is Key




I purchased a Cozy Quilt's "Samurai Squares" kit from the Duluth store the day before it (the store) closed. When I expressed concern over being able to put the quilt together, Ann McLean said "You'll be fine." Little did I know that she would not be. I didn't know her well, but the few exchanges we had at the shop were meaningful. She always encouraged me to trust my instincts where quilting was concerned. A lot of people will miss her.

I started on the "Samurai Squares" tonight. I love it! I never would have been so bold as to choose the fabrics that came with the kit. I think that's the coolest thing about it; being surprised by all the beautiful fabric and then watching it come together! I am having a lot of fun. I think being organized is key. You can see by the photos that I am trying to keep things straight, but I am going out-of-town, so I had to post the "please leave alone" note you see in the first photo.

I am going "home" to Independence to visit a few days with my folks. Mom (Linda Brannock) is having a birthday next month, but I can't visit in October, so we'll get a few days this week instead.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Baby Austin Allen is Here



I stitched the binding onto the baby quilt I made for Gregory Allen's new baby boy. Mr. Allen is an esteemed member of Gwinnett Tech's math faculty and he and his wife welcomed their baby boy into the world on Monday, September 1. The little tyke (Austin) was a bit early prompting me to put on a quick-quilt thinking cap. I started with one design, but didn't purchase enough of the blue and yellow solids, so it morphed into another design of my own making.

I used variegated quilting thread on the top and back of the quilt, since Theoan, at the Atlanta Unity Quilter's group meeting on Sunday, suggested not using clear thread on the top (like I had been doing on other projects). She told me that since baby quilts get lots of washing and drying, the clear thread gets brittle and breaks. I hadn't thought about that, so I am really glad she told me.

I share my sewing "space" with my own son's pet snake. Atom (aka Adam) moved into Atlanta leaving me his precious "Snaky" the California King snake. Snaky and I have become friends, since he doesn't require a lot of food; just one "fuzzy" mouse on Sunday, and he's good.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Finished the Star and Plumes!


I finally finished that blue star and plumes piece I started a long time ago. I had made the top, probably hand pieced and hand appliqued in the late 1970s, and I began hand quilting it on July 4 of this year. I decided to finish it by machine quilting using my New Home. I think it turned out pretty well. With every project, I am learning more and more. You can see detail better if you double click on the photo. I still haven't experimented with free motion.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

I Have Finished Andy's Baby Quilt!

Yea for me! I finally finished Andy's baby quilt. He (Andy) reminds me that it won't be all that useful to him, since he is now 6'3" and 250 pounds. Nevertheless, we must celebrate our finished projects! I considered entering the quilt in a contest. The only convenient one I could find was the Gwinnett County Fair. There is even a cash prize with the ribbon for placing. Along with first you get $7. and second gets $5. At the bottom of the entry form it states "Do not send anything of significant value." Well, I consider a finished quilt, that I have hauled around for 24 years unfinished, to be of significant value; certainly more than $7., so I discarded the idea of entering. I will post the picture when I get it taken on Friday.

Crit (my husband), Jessica (Andy's fiancee) and I had a big day shopping yesterday. We went to Atlantic Station where we visited the H & M store. Lots of really great clothes at really great prices for really skinny young people. Crit and I both tried on size "large" zip-front sweat shirts. Crit thought the men's would be too big for him, but neither one of us could get the zippers to meet in the middle. What a downer!

What to do when you are reminded that you are old and fat? EAT, of course, so we went to the Flying Biscuit Cafe for lunch. I had the BLT salad. It was wonderful! We then proceeded to the Delaware River Trading Company. I was looking for a straw bag with leather handles like the one Andrea Stanfield (English instructor at Gwinnett Tech) carries. I was disappointed. They didn't have any.

SO THEN, we went to Intown Quilts. I bought new fabric; most notable is a yellow and hot pink vegetable print that I LOVE. I still have all the cowboy fabrics from my trip to Kansas City, and a purple and green collection from the Duluth shop's closing. I don't know what or when the urge to start projects from these collections of fabric will hit, but I am ready!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

And Me: Karmen Sunshine (Thomas)


Chik-fil-a was giving away food to cow-attired persons. I couldn't resist. I also had a spot covered box for a body and a tail with fringe.

My Mother: Linda Brannock

Sampler Project



The blocks for this sampler were pieced in 1984 when I had two small sons (Eron & Andy). I intended to make 16 blocks, and finish them into twin bed quilts for their room. Well, I lost track of time, and another baby boy (Adam) came along, so I was too busy for much quilting and switched, for a time, to counted cross stitch. I thought these old projects were lost, but I found them recently, so I am picking up where I left off. I didn't have any of the original fabric left, but I found a green that almost matched the old green print of the block borders. I couldn't find a green dot like the background of the blocks, so I found a tiny green print (looks white in the photo), and I found the blue batik to finish the borders.

Things I am working on:



These items are projects I began in the 1980's when my boys (Eron-04/18/80, Andy-12/07/84, Adam-4/01/88) were small. We are talking diapers, etc. I stayed at home with them, and the formal dining room was our toy and sewing room. I took sewing projects with me everywhere we went from soccer to karate. Now that I am 50, I wish to complete these projects. It is somewhat difficult to have the time, since I work now, but retirement is a mere 9 1/2 years away. I hope my fingers hold out.

My Great Grandmother, Mae Stella Irvin's Quilt Top


I am looking for a background fabric for this Log Cabin quilt, so I may finish it. My Great Grandmother left us two, and this is the bigger pattern. I am thinking of "Patriotic Toile," but it may be too blue. JoAnn's has a mulitcolored star pattern on white that may be more appropriate. I am open to ideas. Heirloom Quilting says you should not use a background any darker than the lightest color on the front, and that is my primary limitation.