Friday, April 6, 2012

Will you help me decide? (giveaway)

My sister called with something akin to panic in her voice, wondering if I had dropped off the face of the earth.  Apparently, I haven't posted anything on my blog for a while.  OK, sis, I get the hint.  It's just that I haven't done anything new lately, and I don't want to bore anyone, myself included.

But seriously, I have made significant progress hand quilting my Charm lap/baby quilt.  I'm hoping to have it done this weekend. I like the meander around the polka dots on the backing, but it isn't the fastest way to quilt. 
The back - I'm quilting from the back with the dots as a guide

The front - makes me even more diligent about making sure my stitches are even since it is the back of my quilting that will be on the front of my quilt!

For my next hand quilting project, I want to do something even simpler, something with straight lines, either a crosshatch or outline stitch.  And I would like my next quilt that I finish to be one that is big enough to sleep under.  So, I pulled out my quilt tops and selected the bed-sized ones that could conceivably look nice with simple, straight line stitching. 

I can't decide which to quilt first, so I'm hoping you all will help me decide.  There will be a fabric surprise in store for one lucky commenter - I plan to use some credit at a quilt shop next week to buy some batting, and I'm willing to use some of that credit on one of you.  Let me know which of the following quilts YOU think I should quilt next, and if you want to suggest a quilting motif, too, even better!  Next Tuesday (4/10/12), I'll choose a random commenter and find out what kind of fabric that person would like me to find for him/her at the quilt shop next week.  Just consider me your personal shopper!

Anyway, here are the options, with names that I am trying out for now.  Feel free to suggest better names if you think of something. (ignore the wrinkles - the poor tops have been squirreled away in an armoire for months, or even YEARS, in some cases.  I swear I could hear them breathe a sigh of relief to see the light of day when I pulled them out!):

A. Plaid Dresden
It isn't really as washed out looking as it appears in this bright sunlight
B. Ribbon of Hope
Flapping in the breeze - this quilt just wouldn't stay still for a photo!  It was like photographing one of my children!
C. Star Power
I completely forgot I had made this top!
D. Lincoln Logs
I thought you were supposed to photograph your quilts in natural light - why do all mine seem so washed out?
E. Make Mine Nine
Just pretend this is a decent photo - I despair of ever getting a good-looking shot of these quilts!
Got an opinion about which I should plan to quilt next?  I'd love to hear it!

Some of you may be wondering what I've been doing since I haven't whipped out anything new or finished anything old lately.  Honestly, I've been reading.  Somehow I completely missed that Jennifer Chiaverini's Sonomo Rose came out, so that's what I'm reading now.  I didn't even realize it was an Elm Creek Quilts book since it doesn't have "quilt" in the name, like all the others do!  I also discovered a new-to-me cozy mystery series.  Some of you know I grew up (mostly) in Maine and that I majored in Archaeology in college.  Dana Cameron writes a series of mysteries with a female archaeologist from Maine named Emma Fielding as the protagonist.  I picked up the first book in the series, Site Unseen, at a used book store last weekend and blazed through it, thoroughly enjoying it.  The only thing that could have made it better is some quilts.  And lucky me, there are 5 more books to enjoy in the series!  I ordered the 2nd and 3rd in the series from  Which of you introduced me to that site, anyway?  I have yet to properly thank you - I LOVE IT!  It is my go-to location when I am looking to acquire new books, and such a great way to unload the books I have that I don't want to keep.

I've also been playing basketball.  Me, the 5 foot tall soccer player (well, 25 years ago, anyway) who has never played an organized game of basketball in my life!  I got together a team of women (we called ourselves the I Team - I for Ibruprofen!) who also work at the University where I work, and we've played a game every week for the last 5 weeks against some sorority girls, also known as tall, quick, lithe, energizer bunnies half our age.  We beat them the first 4 times out, but last night, we just couldn't keep up and lost.  I can't wait to play again next year!  My bruises should have faded by then...

The chicken coop is coming together slowly.  Unfortunately, I approached its construction much like I do my quilts, with a general idea of what I want, but no pattern.  I've discovered it is easier to fudge things with fabric than with wood.  And my kids have the attention span of gnats, so they only ever want to work on it for about 20 minutes before they lose interest and want to skateboard or ride bikes or do anything other than build.  We might not have chickens for a long time...

I've also been busy with Cub Scouts.  We've been working on Language and Culture Belt Loops and Pins, which included a trip to a Mexican restaurant in town with some native speakers and a performance of a skit/song at last night's pack meeting where I was the ONLY ONE SINGING!  The little twerps left me hanging out to dry, which was unfair since they were wearing homemade Elephant masks to disguise themselves and I was just myself.  We've also been working on Art Belt Loops and Pins, which included a visit to an art gallery with lots of western (read Cowboys and Indians) art that the boys loved.  And finally, we've been working on Disability Awareness Belt Loops and Pins, which included a trip to a Special Olympics event and a visit from a blind Eagle Scout who shared with us his guide dog, his cane, his talking computer, his braille, and his Goalball.  Goalball is a Paralypmics sport, and he was on a world championship 19-and-under team, and is still playing now on the US National Team.  Needless to say, not only were the boys rapt, but so were the parents!  Cub Scouts is a lot of time and effort and work for me, but it is one of the most rewarding things that I do!

As of last weekend, it is Drive-In Movie season again.  I'm still on the Board of Directors, and still the Volunteer Coordinator, so that is keeping me busy, too.  We'll be heading there tonight for a double feature of kids movies - The Adventures of TinTin and We Bought A Zoo.  I'm not sure who's more excited, the kids or me!

Finally, I'm still teaching karate once a week, as well as taking classes myself.  I find it hard to believe that I enjoy teaching it even more than I enjoy learning it myself.  I know I do a lot, but they are all things that I really enjoy doing - how can I say "no"?

And for those of you who are wondering, no, I didn't quit my job.  I'm still going there every day, too.  Somehow I convinced myself that things would slow down in April, but I haven't had lunch or left on time all week. (sigh) I'm so glad I enjoy my job since I spend so much time there.