Thursday, March 3, 2011

Cotton Candy Quilt Top

This is a replacement for the photo that I had up at first, the
one where which was turned top to bottom!  Sorry!
For the past week two weeks I've been working on a crib quilt for a baby girl to be born in April, the daughter of our dear friends Erin and Michael.  Good friend Patty and I traveled to Ft. Worth to check out the wonderful quilting fabric store Cabbage Rose  two weeks ago yesterday.  There I found some wonderfully girly fabric that I fell in love with and decided to use for this quilt.

The block was the super-simple Rail Fence block, but these are a small 3", so it took 54 blocks in all.  The sewing of the blocks went fast, but the sewing of the on-point blocks into diagonal rows took much longer.  As of this morning, though, I attached the last two borders.  Because the Waco Quilt Show is fast approaching, I've been unable to find a machine quilter to quilt Cotton Candy (as Bee friend Hilary christened it!) for me.  So I will attempt, with much fear and trepidation, to quilt it myself.  I plan to use simple, straight-line quilting in the quilt's center and then do some much more-fun-for-me hand-quilting in the borders, using the fabric's print to guide me around some of the bigger, bolder flowers.

I just turned around quickly and looked at my quilt.  Lo and behold I saw a mistake--a block that is turned the wrong way!  This happened the first time I made this quilt.  That time, though, I only discovered the goof after the quilt had been machine quilted.  Then I decided I would call this block my deliberate mistake.  Click on that link to learn this interesting bit of quilting history!  This time around, however, I've found my error in time to remove that block from the quilt and put it back in correctly.  I don't need to make a deliberate mistake in order to demonstrate humility; there are always plenty of minor goofs in my quilts!

Hmmm, maybe I should offer a prize to the person who finds my wrongly placed block.  Actually it's pretty easy to spot it, so I'll offer the prize to the FIRST person who finds it.  If you're a quilter, your prize will be quilt-related.  If not, I suppose I'll have to come up with something else.  Happy hunting!  As always, remember to click on the image to vice it bigger.

I decided not to crop this one, so my far-away friends can
have a little glimpse of my design wall.  Note the banner to the
right, my first attempt at paper-piecing, a banner that
I use in this blog to introduce myself.  Also one friend, if she looks carefully,
can see the first fabric postcard I ever received, a card she sent to me!  To the left,
of course, are my Elfa drawers, which hold my stash.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The China Dolls Meet Again!

I believe I've written at least one blog about the new quilting bee that has formed in my neck of the woods, the China Dolls Bee.  I didn't know how I'd manage with yet another meeting to attend, but I have loved being in this Bee.  The women are a fun, talented bunch, and we help and advise one another each time we meet.  We meet usually twice a month, taking turns hosting.  Yesterday it had rolled around to be my turn again.  Each bee member brings something to work on.  Many of these women are machine embroidery lovers and true experts, so often they bring their amazing embroidery machines.  Some bring handwork to do, applique or hand embroidery or perhaps sewing down the binding on a just-completed quilt.

The hostess usually prepares lunch for the group, and, oh, the wonderful meals we've shared!  Soups of all sorts this winter usually, but yesterday I decided to prepare a much-loved chicken wild rice casserole, plus two congealed salads, tomato aspic and pineapple/lime.  The aspic, I would say, got the most raves!

The last time we met, at Lynne's, was on Valentine's Day, which also happened to be her birthday.  She had made a delicious chicken chili and huge tossed salad, but also some beautifully decorated Valentine cupcakes.  Lynne invited the editor of the weekly paper for the two communities of China Spring [thus our name] and Bosqueville to come learn about this new quilting bee in China Spring.  This charming man is not only editor but also photographer, and as a graphic artist himself, he was fascinated to learn more about quilting.  He tooks many photos, some of which ended up on the front page of The Enterprise, his paper, under a huge headline reading "Queens of Quilt."

Below are two of the pictures Clint took:
Here I am, embroidering  my first Japanese embroidery, Sashiko. 
Am I right, fellow blogger LinLin, that I was the one who
got you interested in Shashiko?  I'm wearing
a little felt heart pin.  I made all of my Bee friends these pins; you'll
see them on many of them below!

From left:  Dodie, Hilary, Priscilla, Rita, Sandy, Alice B., Alice E., and Lynne, our hostess.  Lynne is the
maker of the quilt under which we are sitting.  When I saw this picture for the first time yesterday, I said
to the gathered group:  "You know what?  We are a pretty darn good looking bunch of women!"
And, just for fun, my aspic recipe:

1 box of lemon Jell-O
1 can of stewed tomatoes, any flavor, but preferably peeled, sliced tomatoes
1 tablespoon vinegar

Heat the stewed tomatoes to boiling.  Pour in the Jell-O and stir until dissolved.  Add the vinegar.  (Rice vinegar is mild, but I used red wine yesterday, and that was good and tangy.)  I have a large Tupperware ring mold that I use, and for this, I triple the recipe.

Pour into a small oiled mold or a small square Pyrex dish.  Chill until firm.  Serve with a dollop of mayonaise on a pretty lettuce leaf.