Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Something to Smile About

After last week's frustrations and disappointments, I had a good reason to smile when I receive this in the mail. Here we are, only three months into 2011, and the 2012 Quilt Art Calendar is already in print. 

The part that made me smile is tucked in there alongside the April to May page.
That's my "Dashing the Churn" quilt. 

I pieced and quilted this big quilt - it's 92" X 103" - from 5" Churn Dash blocks I swapped during 2003, with my friend Edith in Switzerland. Both of us used the same background fabric, but made our blocks from "an assigned" color. Edith made all the blocks that are green, keeping some for herself and giving an equal number to me. I made the yellow blocks, keeping some for myself and giving an equal number to Edith.

Here's a picture (used with permission) of Edith's block layout. This quilt isn't finished but that's certainly okay! As quilters, we all know about good intentions, plans to do such and such, and how easy it is to get side-tracked. Isn't her layout pretty with that great color and value gradation?

My design idea for putting together our Churn Dash blocks came after I took a class from Sandi Cummings and learned to make her "Double Circles" block. It was the right block, along with black and white checks (a "phase" I was in when I put this top together) that tied it all together. I think that "Baby Genius" black and white wavy print border makes for a funky finish.

It's a nice-to-look-at quilt, and I'm glad I made it. It's good to have something to smile about. And maybe this will give you a smile...
A father gave his teenaged daughter an untrained pedigreed pup for her birthday. An hour later, while wandering through the house, he found his daughter looking at a puddle in the center of the kitchen floor. 
"My pup," she murmured sadly, "runneth over."
I've just concluded a ten-week Beth Moore Bible study called David: Seeking a Heart Like His. In the final video session, Beth reviews the 23rd Psalm which was written by David. I'm reminded and am resting in the words "my cup runneth over" (verse 5), reviewing my blessings - a full and satisfied life -  and how God fills me up to overflowing when I spend time with Him. I don't need to wonder why last week turned out as it did (no Stitchin' Mission DVD). I simply need to let God be God of my life. He "runneth my cup over." Linda 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Postponed Indefinitely

For more than a week, I have spent many hours cutting and making all the samples and examples needed to record a five lessons series of Stitchin' Mission beginner quiltmaking lessons. By my calculations, I've cut out enough fabric strips and blocks, and sewn enough strip-sets and quilt tops to make seven 36" X 48" quilts!
36" X 48" Stitchin' Mission "Noah's Ark" quilt - fabrics courtesy of Michael Miller Fabrics
As well, four dear friends volunteered about 20 hours of their time - each! - to plan, prepare, and rehearse for the approximately eight hours of DVD content.

We worked out a master plan, determined props, wrote copious notes and made test recordings. Though we encountered glitches along the way, we seemed to be making progress.
But when we realized two days of recording would be required instead of one, and a technical difficulty arose with the sound... and then found that the cost of appropriate post-production editing software was as much as the entire budget, it became clear that the $1,000 grant received last August was insufficient for this project and that changes were needed.

After several confabs and much discussion, late last Friday the difficult decision was made to put the entire project on hold. While no one is ruling out the possibility of overcoming the problems - with a different recording location (a muted environment so a single videocamera can be used to simultaneously record video and audio) or with different post-recording editing software - for the time being, all the work is being packed up and put away.

Every part...

every piece... 
Tied quilt with basted edges ready for teaching binding.
every mini quilt...
12" X 12" mini quilt for teaching how to hand sew a binding
19" X 19" sample of walking foot quilting - in the valley; cross-hatch; channel; echo 
... and my sewing machine, and quiltmaking tools and supplies will come back home. I'm ready for a breather from the stress of trying to making this DVD happen, but I will continue to pray about the best use of the grant. I very much appreciate the encouraging comments and support you've already expressed for Stitchin' Mission and this DVD.

For now, spending time on a personal project sounds very nice.  Linda

Monday, March 21, 2011


I know it's not nice to toot my own horn, but I am.

The Stitchin' Mission beginner quiltmaking lessons I teach have been nominated to win the 2011 "Best Teacher/Instructor" award. Between now and March 31, anyone can cast one vote in each of ten categories, or just in the Best Teacher/Instructor category, if you prefer.

Nominees are listed here. You may vote only one time. To vote, you simply write a comment saying who you're voting for. Be sure your comment includes your email address or a way to reach you, as you'll also be entered in the giveaway for some majorly nice prizes!

Thank you for considering voting for Stitchin' Mission and me - Linda Hungerford. I  appreciate your support!

In the meantime, I've begun earnest efforts to spend the grant money you helped Stitchin' Mission win last August. A videographer has been hired, and a team of four wonderfully supportive quilting friends has volunteered their time and expertise to help plan and produce a five-lesson beginner quiltmaking DVD.

We've had an eight-hour planning session, and I now have help with set design, props, cue cards, videography direction, and wardrobe.

I'm busily writing a master plan for our one day of recording, while cutting and sewing quilt samples.

It's a huge undertaking on a shoestring budget, but we're talking and walking with God through all of it. Our prayer is that the plans we make and this DVD will ultimately glorify God as it's used to teach others how to make quilts that can be given to help and comfort others. Heaven knows that right now there are people in many places that can use quilts and with them, the assurance that we care.

I'll continue to blog about our DVD recording process on the Stitchin' Mission blog. I hope you'll check in now and again. Thanks!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

OBO Catching-Up

I'm wearing out my excuse for not getting much done in the past month - that of being away from home - but I'm hard back at sewing now.

It's nice to renew my friendship with my Bernina. Up first was sewing past-due quilt blocks for the "One Block Over" (OBO in this blog title) bee. The February, 18-1/2" X 18-1/2" (unfinished) block I made for Michelle in California, challenged me because I nearly ran out of the Tula Pink "Parisville" fabric she supplied. I had to be creative, cutting and seaming some pieces to get strips long enough for foundation string-piecing.
These were scraps left after sewing and trimming Michelle's block.
Michelle's 18-1/2" X 18-1/2" Parisville block
While sewing Michelle's block, I had a sewing machine issue. I'll blame the machine for snatching up threads from a nearby, unused spool, and wrapping it around the fly wheel. After much mumbling, I managed to snip away all the choking threads. 
The March block, a 9-1/2" telephone book foundation pieced hexagon, was for Victoria in New York. It was a fun block to sew. For appliqueing the center circle, I found that a piece of lightweight paper behind the circle helped keep the stitches nice and flat.
I'm glad to have these off the to-do list, until April that is! How fun it will be to see these blocks sewn into quilt tops.

Friday, March 18, 2011

I'm Joining In

 Lee, a Wisconsinite blogging from Freshly Pieced is hosting a quilt-along.

I know, I know... I can already hear you thinking, "She's joining another quilt-along, and she hasn't finished the last two she joined!" You're right, but I will justify this one by saying I need to make a quilt like this, for educational purposes.

The "Super Nova Quilt-Along" will be good for me because it will teach me to make a quilt that's, design-wise, outside the box. It's a "modern quilt," the latest rage. Lee's pattern calls for two yards of solid fabric. Gasp! Such a revolutionary concept after years of being told, and telling others, that solids are boring and it's tone-on-tone prints that give a quilt spark. I guess I'm willing to eat those words and accept that I must try to "teach an old dog new tricks." Since today is my 58th birthday - only 8 in dog years! - it's fitting to use that phrase.
Birthday Clipart
I've on-line ordered some solids (our local quilt shops are sadly lacking in choices), and gone shopping for modern, funky fabrics. I'm trying to put it all together. It's exquisite torture.

As the world follows developments in Japan, many of us continue to pray. Through another blog I learned about Tanya's blog. She is a Japanese Christian quiltmaker living in the city of Nikko. Her daily posts give an inside look at where she was when the earthquake hit, and how she's coping with rolling black-outs, conflicting information, and uncertainty.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I Helped and More Help is Needed

While I was away from home, a special parcel arrived in the mail. It contained two wonderful items. First, I won a giveaway - this embroidery pattern of a birdcage was designed by Elizabeth Reynolds, the daughter of Jenny Reynolds of Elefantz. Very pretty!
The second item was even more special - a quilt. I'm pleased and proud to say that I am the owner of a beautiful embroidered quilt made by Jenny herself!
Jenny lives in Queensland, Australia where the most severe flooding occurred in January, followed shortly afterward by February's Cyclone Yasi. Jenny generously offered two of her quilts in an on-line auction (See the "Together We Raised..." button on the right side of this screen). I am happy to have bid on and won this 35" X 45" Christmas quilt that will be a pretty addition to our holiday decorations. 
This is particularly special because I don't have any Christmas quilts.
What I like best is the Christian nativity story, beautifully embroidered.
"A Christmas Story" by Jenny Reynolds of Elefantz, 35" x 45"
My purchase of this quilt, in a very small way, helps with recovery efforts in Australia. But how does one keep helping as disasters continue? First in Christchurch, New Zealand, and now with the more recent, unbelievable devastation in northern Japan. I'm having a difficult time grasping the amount of destruction, especially because I know several Japanese people. It's impossible to stop thinking about and imagining the horrors and challenges they're facing. 

In 2009, members of our church quilting group went to C-on Kinshuko, a Christian family camp in Iwate prefecture, Japan. It's the prefecture north of Miyagi prefecture where Sendai and other cities were decimated by the tsunami. I wasn't able to go on the trip, but it had a two-fold purpose: 1) to deliver 101 quilts, each 54" X 90", we made for Kinshuko's camp beds;
...and; 2) lead a camp for people who wanted to learn how to make a quilt. Some of the quilt campers lived in Sendai. We have heard that Kinshuko's directors and their families are safe. The camp buildings are intact, but they've had intermittent problems with power - gas and electric.

Suffering becomes more real when you know people who have been impacted. As we pray for the people of Japan, may we pray with assurance - God is in control. Only He, in His unfathomable wisdom, understands the loss yet can see a good outcome.

Let us not love with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18

Monday, March 14, 2011

Grandchildren and Embroidery

Austin, in Florida
I'm at home again after more than a month of being away. Of course the best place to be, weather-wise, and for spending time with family - Austin! - was in Florida.

I flew home last Thursday looking quite out of place by the time I reached Des Moines. I walked into 30 degree temperatures wearing open-toed sandals, bare-legged (in a skirt), with my Panama Jack sunhat on my head! Seeing all the people at the gate, I realized I was headed the "wrong way." It's spring break, and everyone was anticipating flights south to warmer weather!

I spent one night at home... long enough to do laundry, sleep, and pack again to leave the following morning for a weekend in Kansas visiting our daughter and her family. I've sure gotten in a lot of grandie time lately!
Still sporting my Florida tan, here I am with four month-old Aesa.
Brothers: (L) Tay, 17 months; (R) Aesa, 4 months

Big sister, Celina
We spent two nights in Kansas City so Dan could help assemble this backyard playground set.
How many adults does it take to put together a playground set? Well, the instructions say it takes two people two hours. For this crew of three, it was more than six hours work!
Jill, Dan, and Maher - All college-educated! 
Almost finished... Saturday afternoon.

During airport-waiting and car-riding time, I finished two more blocks of the "Snowmen A to Zzzz" embroidery project.
Being able to stitch these blocks, or hand-piece blocks for a quilt is why I always like to keep a grab-and-go project at the ready.
Now that I'm at home again, I'm ready to spend time with my sewing machine, but isn't it nice to have variety and options? That's why I like making anything that involves using a needle and thread.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Older Quilts

As I've stayed at our son/DIL's condo in Tampa, I've had the pleasure of seeing in use several quilts I've made. Austin sits on his Dino-Monster quilt to play with toys.

I've been sleeping under this "Star Bright" quilt that I made as a wedding gift for Brent and Lyn in 2005.

The pattern came from a 2005 issue of McCall's magazine. I'm unable to get a good photo of the entire quilt because it measures a whopping 91" X 104". I used up a lot of neutral-colored fabric remnants when I made this quilt!

This was the first time I tackled free motion machine quilting on something so large. It won a second place ribbon at the 2005 Iowa State Fair. All those feather motifs were quilted using Golden Threads paper. (Here's a video on the Golden Threads website that demonstrates how to use the paper: http://www.goldenthreads.com/markingquiltingvideo/)

It's quilted with 50-weight Aurifil thread. The batting is Quilter's Dream Request.
"Star Bright" border cross-hatch quilting
Brent, who is now 31 years old, was 15 when I made the "Tumbling Blocks"quilt shown below. The picture doesn't show the 6"-wide scrappy black border around all four sides of this 81" X 88" quilt.

Brent wanted a black and gray quilt. Boy, do I remember how difficult it was to collect gray fabrics then! In 1993 and 1994. Choosing where to position fabrics was one of the best lessons I could have learned about value and contrast.
Several diamond-shaped pieces show a color change due to exposure to UV rays, and washing.
You can see the damage that years of UV rays and washing have done to one of the fabrics. Wherever it is in the quilt, it's turned to a brown-ish cast.

This is pieced entirely with diamond shapes, so all the sewing involved set-in-seams. Because I hadn't yet mastered free motion quilting, it's straight-line quilted with invisible thread. Brent designed the interlocking diamond border quilting which I recall was a pain to quilt because of all the stops and starts.
As I took pictures of the quilt from the bedroom, I heard the blasts of a cruise ship. Nice view, isn't it?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Walking to Get Austin

As I mentioned in my previous post, I walk each afternoon to pick up Austin from daycare. These are the sites on my stroll.
Walking from Harbour Island across the bridge toward the new Tampa Bay History Center, on my left is the Tampa skyline and the St. Pete Times Forum (wall of glass, center right) the venue for all types of athletic events and shows.

On my right is Channelside, where cruise ships embark and depart several times a week.

On the top deck of this cruise ship I could see a water slide, so there's no doubt it has a pool too. This ship is called "Carnival Inspiration." I've never been on a cruise, but I'm impressed by the size!

You can see I'm in the heart of Tampa. It was funny when a car pull over - a male driver - to ask me directions to the Aquarium. Gosh, I knew where it is! I could tell him where to turn, and even the name of the street!

The best part of the walk is getting to take this guy back home with me.

We spend the afternoon together, but Nana takes a back seat when mom and dad get home from work. Austin loves to give hugs. 


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