Sunday, September 23, 2007

100th-post drawing winner

As scheduled, I tossed all the names of last week's commenters into Dan's well-worn Tilley hat this evening (yes, including relatives - this was a scrupulously fair event, and there was no sense in penalizing anyone with whom I happen to share DNA...)

And the winner is...

Candy, this may not equate to winning the lottery, but I'll be delighted to send the little quilted coasters your way! You may be in the midst of moving right now, so just e-mail me when you have a moment and let me know which address I should use.

Candy is a lovely young woman whose blog I discovered about a year ago. She has become a real advocate for the comfort of bereaved parents. Her Emmazing Grace foundation is dedicated to providing size-appropriate garments and other items for tiny newborns who are called to their heavenly home. The foundation also assists with headstones or other burial items for families who need them, to help honor and mark the significance of these brief but precious lives. She and her husband dedicate this work to the memory of their tiny daughter, Emma, who lost her valiant NICU struggle two years ago. Candy's sharing of her family's story has really inspired many people to continue this special service work.

I'll post some photos of the United Way silent auction in the days to come, but suffice to say it was a huge success. I was delighted with the response to my quilted things, and it was really fun to see the bidding mount up for a great cause. More in a bit.

And thanks again for the good wishes on my 100th post! I really have enjoyed doing this blog and will continue to for a long time to come.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

United Way quilt - and a prize

Today I finished the binding on this quilt for Friday's United Way silent auction. I'm so happy with how it came out! The paisley border -- from a long-forgotten piece of fabric in my stash -- seems to set off the scrappy piecework perfectly.

Since every bit of this quilt came from fabric I already had on hand, I decided to indulge in the services of a local professional longarm quilter - something I haven't done in a few years. I'm really glad I did. I hope you can see some of the detail below. Didn't Ellen do a terrific job?

So next week, I'll let you know how the silent auction turns out. It's always a fun event.

In the meantime, a brief aside. This is my 100th post! So, in following the example of several other bloggers I admire, I'm offering a drawing to celebrate.

Between now and the end of day Saturday (Sept. 22), just leave a comment on this post, even if it's just to say "hi." This is the perfect time to come out of lurkdom! On Sunday, all the names will go into a hat, and I'll ask Dan to to randomly select a winner for this set of six quilted coasters.

My sister has already asked if relatives are eligible - of course they are!

Thanks for helping me celebrate my 100th post. And come back next Sunday for the results!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

My so-called experiment

I was digging around for inspiration for a scarf I wanted to knit for the United Way silent auction. I wanted to use up two skeins of Lamb's Pride bulky "Blue Flannel" that I'd had in my stash for three or four years. Such a luscious yarn; such a beautiful shade. Plus, Lamb's Pride and the entire Brown Sheep line is spun in my beloved home state of Nebraska. So I really wanted a terrific pattern for this little love-fest I had going on with the yarn.

I found this pattern for "My So-Called Scarf" and just loved it. An unusual stitch. Even a You-Tube demonstration on the slipped stitches and psso's.

I got into it for a little while, and you know what? I didn't love it. The stitch was great, but I was bothered by the bumpy edges on the scarf. I'm so used to slipping the first stitch of every row and creating that lovely, smooth edge. This pattern didn't allow for that, and I hadn't bothered to do the math to accommodate the additional stitch on both sides of the pattern.

Plus, I realized I really don't like scarves that aren't reversible. Now, I love to admire the wonderful cables on the Irish hiking scarves but I can't get over the fact that they look very different on the other side. It probably doesn't bother most people. It bothers me. I'm OK with that.

Suffice to say, My So-Called Scarf soon disappeared and turned instead into a standard, classic, K2 P2 ribbed scarf.

Boring? Predictable? Sure. But warm? Stretchy? Reversible? Yes, indeed. And I'm OK with that, too.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Going table runner crazy

At my workplace, we're coming up on our third annual silent auction to benefit United Way. It's always a fun event, ending with a real frenzy of last-minute bidding as the auction draws to a close at the end of day. Everyone pitches in and contributes items for the auction tables - from sports tickets and golf games to jewelry, baked goods and handcrafts.

Last year I made purses and more purses, and they brought in a respectable sum for United Way. The real bidding wars, though, seemed to arise over the quilted table runners, especially one in Christmas reds and greens. So I decided to make more seasonal table runners this year.

Here are a few that I've pieced, but are still in various stages of being quilted and bound.

If you've picked up the Fall 2007 issue of BHG's "Quilts and More," you'll find the pattern for these Tumbling Leaves. They show it as a wall hanging - but I really like its look on the table.

Some vintage-looking Halloween prints came together nicely for this one.

Here's a Christmas one.

And this one's not seasonal, but I ran across the blocks last weekend in my sewing room. I bet it's been at least three years since I've pieced them. It was easy to toss them together and add a couple of borders for another easy table runner.

I'll be quilting a couple of these myself, and a few others are with the long-arm quilter for a nice, professional look. I can't wait to get them back and finish them up with the binding - my favorite part!

Monday, September 03, 2007

This and that

I can't remember when a summer has flown by as quickly as this one! My projects have mostly been small ones over recent weeks, perfectly suited to traveling and relaxing summer evenings on the porch.

A set of small wool hats for a special Afghans for Afghans baby hat drive...

...a few more pumpkin hats in assorted sizes...

...a couple of warm wool hats for one of my co-workers who's also a volunteer firefighter and paramedic, and can always use some extra warm gear for folks they assist after accidents...

...the binding on a vintage flannel baby quilt pieced by one of my fellow guild members...

...and a couple of test blocks for this year's quilt guild service project.

We'll be making a raffle quilt for the local Humane Society to help fund their spay and neuter assistance program. Guild members will make one of these blocks with the same black as background, using their own brights. Which one is your favorite?