rocket tracking


Thursday, September 30, 2010


Generally, I have an aversion to yoyos. No, not the disks you do tricks with with your hands, nor the south central Michigan version which is also known as a retractable measuring tape. These are gathered circles of cloth.

I developed this aversion when I was in the second grade. One of the recess ladies was really smart. On days when we had to stay in because it was raining, she somehow got me and all of my friends to make yo-yos for her. You see, to make a quilt out of yo-yos takes a lot of yo-yos.

OK, so if I don't really like yo-yos...why am I talking about them? Well, there's one lady who does the most fantastic yo-yos! I lust after her work with yo-yos. Actually, I lust after a lot of her pieces. Today, I helped hang the Miami Valley Art Quilt Network's show at Glen Helen Environmental Education Center in Yellow Springs, OH. Lori entered a fantastic piece which she illustrated on her blog, Laughing Girl Quilts. You MUST look at this. In fact, if I weren't more ethical, I'd swipe her photo and show it to you here...but go see this...then come back and read this.

This brought to mind the yo-yo quilt I am showing here. Myra Fields made this quilt in 2009 using over 200 different fabrics. She made 850 yoyos. Myra wrote: "This is an easy quilt to make but soooooo (sic) time consuming. I vowed never to make another; however, but both of my daughters asked for this quilt, so now I'm making another one!"

Also known as "Suffolk Puffs", these quilts were popular in the 1950s and 1960s. This is an unusual example because it is indeed a quilt. There are sections of the piece which are composed of three layers held together with stitching. This is called a "Boston Common" set, because it is set out in rectangles as the traditional pieced Boston Common quilt is. Usually, a yo-yo quilt is not truly a quilt because the rosettes are sewn to each other and then sewn down on a sheet or solid piece of fabric, or just left "holey."

Lori said that making them was time consuming but addictive. Making yo-yos is a little easier as Clover came out with some yo-yo making templates to make from very small yo-yos up to very large yo-yos. They even come in specialty shapes to make hearts, clovers, butterflies, flowers and ovals. I've even been making some to serve as centers on a quilt I am making for my mom.

I'll leave you with one other piece employing yo-yos. I don't think that this belongs to Beth Ann Miller, I think she was holding it up for someone else, but it was made by a member of the Batty Binder's quilt guild in Troy, OH. Yo-yos add extra texture and sometimes they are just the right in Lori's Wrack Line.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Well POOOH! I posted this yesterday....and evidently it went to my drafts file instead of a post. So here it is....even though it is Thursday now and almost gone at that!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Pacific Rim Bonsai Collection

I'm steadily working on quilting things...but I thought I would share a wonderful treasure if you happen to be in the Seattle/Tacoma area. On the way to my sisters from the airport, we stopped at Weyerhaueser's Pacific Rim Bonsai Collection. Just a little over a quarter of an acre is given over to a fabulous collection of mature bonsai. Open free of charge, it is well worth the stop. Adjacent to the bonsai garden is another garden which is larger and has an admission fee. As my hip was hurting, I opted to only do the bonsai.

I think that my favorites are the ones like this one. The bark has been peeled back and the tree is tortured, but survives and even flourishes. Showing strength and grace under pressure.

This one is the "Tall Stewartia" (Stewartia mondelpha). I love the red bark, and the leaves are beginning to turn. While much of the collection are conifers, many are deciduous. Soon, the various maples and azelias will begin to color for the fall and I bet that the display will be spectacular.

This particular piece has been under cultivation since 1965 and was collected at Gotenba, which is between Tokyo and Nagoya. Bonsai Master Yasuo Mitsuya directed the care of this piece for his client, Keijiro Fujimagari. It came to the Weyerhaueser collection in 2005.

This one looks like it is really tall, but is only about 24".

Several of the exhibits show little forests of bonsai trees....So lovely and serene.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

More Questions than answers

This is one of my favorite family photosgraphs. It shows my great grandmother, Helen Johanna Dempsey Ellis (known as "Josephine" or "Josie" as she hated the name "Helen Johanna") proving a land claim. According to my grandmother, this was the claim in Havre, Montana. Grandma Josie told me that the dog was given to her by a cowboy.

My great-grandfather, Elmer Esmond Ellis, was a banker and worked in town. Grandma stayed at the landclaim and made a you can see, it wasn't much of a home, but these shacks were common in the early years of Montana and you can still see them dotting the landscape. Many were the initial homesteading claims, some were oilmen's shacks and others were for the herdsmen, whether sheep or cattle. Every day, a cowboy would ride by and (according to the tale) tip his hat at my grandmother before moving on. It turns out he was worried about this single lady on the plains and in order to help keep her safe, he gave her this dog which looks to have some boxer or Staffordshire terrier in his lineage.

I don't know much about Elmer Esmond Ellis, other than the fact that he was always trying to get ahead. He died in 1942 in Dawson's Pass where he went to mine mind you, he was middle aged at the time and my mother (his grandchild) was about 12 years old. I think that this is the only photo I have of him. He's standing here with his girls, he never had any boys, but he gave them all "boy" nicknames. My grandmother was "Jimmy." Her sisters were "Stubb", "Spike", and I foget the third one. My grandmother's name stuck...and she went through life as "Jimmy", far better than "Leona" which was her name.

I remember my great grandmother most from the visit we made in 1972. Here you see my dad, my uncle Ray, my grandma Jimmy, my mom, Aunt Mayme, Grandma Josie, Aunt Ceil and me. We flew out in my dad's Beechcraft Bonanaza from Michigan in order to settle my mother's aunt's estate.

While I was visiting this time, my sister and my niece drove down to Havre to see the land claim. My niece had researched the claim and found the records for two 90 acre claims. The first peculiar thing about this was that the claim was dated 1922, which doesn't much fit with the photograph. By 1922, Grandma had 3 kids, and I doubt that she, the girls and my grandfather could have all fit in the shack. In addition, I think the photograph is much earlier, based on the clothing. The photograph of Grandpa Ellis and the girls would have been about 1925, about the same time as the land deed was recorded.

When we got there, we were even more puzzled by the piece of land. Here's the access...the area adjoining what was the Ellis property is now the landfill.

It is a plateau, with a climb of about 30 - 50 feet to get to the top. Once we were there, we could find no evidence of habitation, even on the bottom before the climb there was no disturbance to indicate any kind of shack, and this soil tells you whatever has happened to it.

Along the fence line, there had been a graded road, but that's just about it. The land wasn't tillable, and could only have been used for pasturage. With it only being a total of 180 acres, that wouldn't have been enough to do much with.

So, was the photo of my grandmother and the shack from an earlier claim? She supposedly lived in a soddy in Morris, Minnesota before coming out to Montana....We know she was a linotype operator and left her home alone and came to Montana to take a job as a young woman....she was a very adventuresome.

Unfortunately, we can do very little hunting or tresspassing in order to find out the real story.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Barns and Quilts

My mind has been on barns lately. Of course, my mom would say that my mind is always interested in barns. I love the light inside them. Playing in the haymows as a child, and looking into all the dark nooks and crannies was (and is) one of my favorite things to do.

This year, the Batty Binder's Quilt Guild in Troy had a scavenger hunt as part of the activities. Miami County is one of the several counties in Ohio who have promoted the painting of quilt patterns on the barns. For Miami County, this was an effort to connect people with Miami county's rural areas.

Rafael Santoyo, a native of Villa Modera, Mexico has painted over 50 barns throughout Miami County. While other counties in Ohio have done this (in fact, it started in Ohio in the Appalachian foothills in Adams county with the work of Donna Sue Groves), so far, ours are the most spectacularly painted. Rafael actually replicates printed fabrics in his work...even going so far as to make "batiks."

We had to go out and photograph as many of the quilt squares on the barns as we could. Then, last month, we were assembled into "teams." We are now going to individually make quilts with a barn theme. I already was thinking about barns and I will probably do a series.

Then, the Fast Friday Fabric Challenge group assigned us the theme of "chiaroscuro." Chiaroscuro is an art term which referes to painting (or drawing) in a moody way, with extreme lights and darks. Carravagio was a master at this method, but I am sure you can think of many others who also work(ed) in this way. My thoughts immediately went to this shot I took, as well as many others I did in Montana several years ago.

This lovely double wedding ring pattern is painted on the side of a barn which was raised in 1858.

The barn is kept in good shape by the Zimmerlin's of Piqua, Ohio.

The Wintrow Barn, also in Piqua has the log cabin pattern on it.

and the Shutt Barn has "All Hallows."

While it doesn't have a quilt pattern on it, this is one of my favorite barns, and rather unusual. It is done in the Second Empire (also known as Mansard") style and accompanies a house in the same style. I'm a little worried about this one. Barns are often not kept up. The gutters fall into disrepair dumping water onto the foundations which then freeze and thaw and sometimes break down. The roofs are not maintained and water gets in, rotting the floors and sills. Then they start to fall. Vandals, lighting strikes, and basic neglect (which then causes insurance liabilities) . Pole barns (barns made from telephone poles and metal siding) just don't have the same character that these wonderful wooden structures have.

Now I have to get back to trying to finish my last 2 FFFC quilts done...I REALLY want to get them finished before I start on the new one...I'm very close to being done!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Monday, September 20, 2010

Patriots and Heros

Last Saturday, my mom went to the hallway and got the flag out. With great determination she went out to put it up. "What's up?" I asked.

"It's Patriot's Day, " she said. Patriot's Day? For someone who lived in New England more specifically Massachusetts, Patriots' Day was held in April, the Monday on or near April 19 commemorating the Battles of Lexington and Concord. I must have been asleep at the wheel because I didn't realize that Congress had designated September 11th as "Patriot Day." I wish they had chosen a different name, unless, of course, that Congress wants wants us just to display patriotism, not necessarily remember people who died in the terrorist attacks that day.

Lest you think that I'm being a vile and horrible person for even suggesting that perhaps it is inappropriate, let me first say that it seems that in the modern parlance, we have forgotten the meaning of "patriot" and "hero." It bothers me that we refer to football players as "heros." Being good at your sport doesn't qualify you in my book. Perhaps you can aspire to the skill and ability that these players have, but a hero is someone who does something selfless for which you look up to them. It has come to mean just someone whom you admire. Here's how Merriam-Webster's dictionary defines a her0:

a : a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability b : an illustrious warrior c : a man admired for his achievements and noble qualities d : one that shows great courage
a : the principal male character in a literary or dramatic work b : the central figure in an event, period, or movement
plural usually heros : submarine 2
: an object of extreme admiration and devotion : idol

So, yes, the modern use indicates the 4th item as applying to the players...right after "hero" as in the sandwich. But to me, a hero is someone who shows great courage, is selfless and whom you admire for these attributes. Not a sports figure to my mind, at least not in most instances, but I'll grant you there ARE sports figures and others who have displayed heroism in addition to being an object of admiration for their skill.

September 11, 2001 was filled with heros. People who went into situations trying to help others and lost their lives in the process. People who tried to thwart the progress of the plane in Pennsylvania and died probably saving countless other lives as they plummeted to a field rather than the intended target. While many died without having the opportunity to show heroism, I'm sure there are countless examples of heroic action which were not recorded that day.

A patriot is something entirely different. A patriot, according to Merriam-Webster, is "one who loves his or her country and supports its authority and interests." Somehow, I think I'd rather remember the day for the heros and try to support selfless behavior and to show courage on September 11th. We should remember and commemorate the day, but I prefer to think of them as heros and as players in a tragedy.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Gardening on Montana's Hi-Line

I think I inherited my love of gardening and plants from my mother, although my father probably had a hand in that a well as he has always farmed. Some of my earliest memories as a child are of "working" in the garden with my mom.

Since she's moved to Cut Bank, Montana, a very small town in the northwest section of Montana, it has gotten really hard. Not just because she turned 80 this year, but because the land is hard.

Cut Bank falls in what is known as Montana's "Hi-Line." Varying stories exist which explain this, one of which is that the major road in this area was raised so that snow and mud wouldn't be such a problem. Somehow, I don't think so, but mom said that they used to get more snow in the Great Falls area where she grew up than they do now.

The Hi-Line falls in the high plains--an area of extremes, Extreme wind, extreme cold, and very little rain. In gardening terms, Mom gardens in zone 3, but she says that planting for zone 2 is more trustworthy. Zone 3 is roughly -30 to -45 F. The winds are cold, dry and incessant. As my niece put it, "It's all about the wind."

Still, Mom tries to garden. These calendula are bright and cheery as well as drought tolerant. I love the fact that they are commonly called "pot marigolds."

Mom has a little sheltered plot near the house and here she puts in some annuals, one of my favorite is the common annual lobelia. The cobalt blue of the flowers is one of my favorite colors. She combines them with white petunias.

Not long after my parents moved to Montana, I visited and put in some raised beds as I thought it would be easier for mom to garden in and the soil would warm more quickly, allowing her to plant a few more things.

I gathered the limestone slabs which cover some of my brother's fields and threw them in the truck to bring back. Several loads later, I had these beds. I brought in well composted manure from the old barnyard and mixed it with the native soil which tends to clay.
These beds have worked out quite well for mom. They are sheltered from the wind by a windrow of carageena and a plywood "fence." the little sign is a little hokey....but I think it fits my mom to a "T".

SAQA Auction!

Recently, I joined the Studio Art Quilts Associates at the gentle push of Vivien Zepf. I wish I hadn't waited so long. Martha Sielman had encouraged me to join years ago....but with the name Studio Art Quilt Associates, I didn't think little ole' me should be associated. After all, my dining room hardly counted as a studio.

In the intervening years, SAQA has grown and puts out a really wonderful journal.

Each year, they have a fund raising auction. This year, it starts on Monday, September 20th at 2:00 pm Eastern Standard Time (EST) and will run until 2:00 p.m. EST on October 9. Check out the details here.

I've included some of my favorites, although it is really hard to choose. Some of the pieces are from "big name" people, others are less well known. They are one foot squares and bidding starts at $750, and if it is unsold, it drops each day of the offering. The quilts are offered in three sections.

The lead off piece illustrated here is by Shelley Brucar and is entitled Blustery Day. I love the motion and the colors are ones which always turn my head. This will go in the first section which starts Monday.

A little more subtle, but definitely in my favorite colorways is Goldenrod Galls 5 by BJ Parady. It's little wonder why I like this one...BJ specializes in the colors and wonders of the Midwest.

Now, when you look at this next one, you'll definitely see more of my favorite themes...I know I'm getting monotonous, but I really love these colors and the richness of the gold. Of course, I have a hard time separating this from my other favorites which are turqouises and cobalts, but.....

This is Puzzle by Leslie Carabas. Love that movement!

In contrast, I also appreciate the following pieces for their restraint and simplicity. This is Els Vereycken's Winter. I think one of the reasons it appeals to me is that it is a scene which is really familiar to me. When the snow just dusts the stubble in the fields. Simply done in what looks to be paints, but may be another method, it is highlighted with stitching.

Denise Linet's Roses at Dusk employs similar restraint, but unlike Els Vereycken's piece, it is abstract. Denise uses surface design and various sorts of imagery to construct her pieces. This one also uses stitching to give more texture and contrast.

Monday, September 13, 2010

No Friggin' Pictures

If my mom saw that, she'd wash my mouth out with soap, "And don't think you're too old for me to do it, either!" She very would be able to, as I'm presently in Montana visiting with my mom and dad with my sister.

No pictures. Would anyone read a blog entry without pictures? Believe me, I tried to post pictures. I have great ones...and several posts I have written in my head....with pictures. But, while this computer is 2 years younger than my own, it is slower than molasses in January. My parents do minimal computer work and while my dad has a digital camera, he doesn't use it.

So...there's no picture editing program. I downloaded Picasa and tried to manipulate my photos into websize. I thought it had it, until I went to load it into the post here and it was WAY too big. So...I went back and tried to clean up the computer. I tried to figure out why is sounds like a pop-corn popper in the background (what ARE all those processes running anyway?). Zilch. Zip. Nada.

Yesterday, my sister, my niece and I went to Havre to see the land claims my great-grandmother proved. We have a photo of her in front of her shack, and while my niece worked in an attorney's office (who didn't have enough work for her) she looked up the tracts. It was pretty neat, but left more questions than before we visited.

The first thing which happened when I stepped through the door was "LIS! The task bar is in the wrong place?!!!!" (that was my father). "LISA! I can't play my games or click on my animal rescue sites! The cursor keeps on doing strange things!!!!!" (that's my mother). Now mind you, it was already 10:30 pm.

So, I loaded a new anti-virus, ran some scans, deleted a whole bunch of stuff, emptied the recycle bin...I need to clear out the temporary files...and I did a defrag. It works a little bit better, but I've given up on loading pictures. I have, however, fixed the cursor and moved the taskbar.

So, tell me. Does anyone read blog posts without pictures?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Iraqi Bundles of Love part II

Last year, an American soldier in Iraq got the idea that one way to let the Iraqi people know that we were real and that Americans have very big hearts by putting out the word and having people send large priority mail flat rate boxes to an APO address. From there, he would see to it that they would be distributed to women who would use the materials to make things for themselves, their families, and for sale.

He asked for the boxes to be filled with sewing notions, fabric, anything we could put in. Some people asked about knitting items, and those went off too. Thousands of boxes were delivered. No fake.

I pretty much thought that was the end of it since the guy who started all this came back stateside. Well, much to my surprise, all of a sudden the comments on his Wordpress blog started coming again with people asking for the address.

As it turns out, he's doing it again. Iraqi Bundles of Love part II is now underway. You have until October 1 to get your boxes in the mail. All you have to do, is go to the website, read about it, follow the instructions (and they aren't hard!) and send boxes off to the APO address for the cost of $12.50. If you have a stash which needs reducing, this is a great idea.

Please, no religious pamphlets or sentiments, just straight out and out no strings attached offers of our regard. Check it out here:
here is the written out URL in case you don't like the link

So, show how strong that American flag can wave and off load your fabrics! Green is a great color, and solids too, but lots of things work.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

More emphasis on Quilting: Vicki Carlson

Vicki Carlson entered this wonderful quilt in the NQA quilt show in Columbus this year. Siena Fields.

In 2008, Vicki's daughter got married in the Umbrian town of Panicale. This was Vicki's first trip to Tuscany. She painted PFD (prepared for dying) cotton with textile paints inspired by the landscapes she saw there.
She fine-tuned the shading and composition with Shiva oil paint sticks.

While the landscape did have furrows which are suggested by the quilting, this was not exactly as it appeared, but she gave the impression of the land's texture by her quilted lines. Line and shadow, wonderful colors, just a great piece.

Like Vicki, I often use a lot of painting in my quilts. Sometimes I wonder if I shouldn't just ditch quilting and return to painting. Creating a piece would certainly be a lot faster! However, when you look at a quilt, there is so much more in a piece when you add the quilting lines. Stitching really is the crowning touch. Painting is fun, and because of the work involved, it really is faster than quilting---even though I think most painters wouldn't agree until they tried quilting in this way, but those stitches, whether by hand or machine, just add so much more to a piece. Thus, I'm sticking with my high fiber diet!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Wonderful Quilting! Brooke Atherton

I think I have been thinking about the quilting part of our art for a long time, and since I had such a struggle with Pudge's quilt (and my machine!) it is even more in my brain. Quite often, once we complete a top, we say "Oh Boy! I'm done, except for the quilting." Except? Quilting is half of the project. What you do and how you do it can make or break a quilt.

I've been musing over this and thinking that the best route to good quilting is to practice, practice, practice. Once you're done doing that, then practice some more. Making muslin sandwiches and samples of your quilts to test out the thread and pattern is great. I know some people use photo editing programs, Electric Quilt software, or manipulate the image in other ways (or even just printing a copy out) and drawing a potential pattern over the top.

These thoughts have been pushing me to look more at quilts for their quilting. In fact, when Chris Landis and I went to the Dairy Barn and looked at those antique Amish quilts, we were both looking at the quilting. How did the patterns enhance or detract from the quilt? How did they solve problems like turning a corner, or fitting into an element? It is no different working with traditional quilts in this regard than it is to work with contemporary or art quilts.

These two pieces are wonderful ones by Brooke Atherton of Billings, Montana. I was drawn to these pieces because of their simplicity of pattern, rich yet restrained palette and fantastic quilting. The texture called to me from across the aisle. It is primarily through the quilting that these pieces derive their texture and guide the eye. The first piece on this post is called "On Drawing II: A Little Stitching Madness and On Drawing III: A Little Stitching Madness. These two pieces, which I saw at the National Quilters Association Show in Columbus in June are part of a suite of four technique studies.

I can't say it any better than Brooke did in an email to me, so here's what she has to say about these pieces:

"I love to do lots of hand stitching, but ended up with two surgeries for carpal tunnel syndrome, and decided it was time to get to know my sewing machine better, and see how I could luse it more for expressive drawing rather than just assembly.

My formal art background includes drawing, printmaking, and photography. I feel comfortable starting with a blank sheet of white paper in front of me, so I set up the fabric equivalent and started there, adding elements, building up the surface and working it back.

I use grids a lot, so that's part of the initial set up, too; these things set up the initial form, and then usually I have a story or theme to present. In these four pieces, though, it's all about texture, and playing with the machine to make marks that looked familiar to me--that looked like what I did with a pencil or with hand-stitches.

The goal was to learn to let the machine do most of the work, with just enough hand work to give it the look I wanted it to have. The big thing I learned is that well-built machines are a lot tougher than I thought--and if you buy your Bernina at an estate sale, you're much more willing to push it farther than if you buy it new!

I love the scribbling technique I've been using the last couple of years--it started with these four studies, and is a lot more controlled now. I use a lot of burned fiber in my work, too--htere's some burned silk organza here in the layering. I did most of the burning after it was stitched down, using straight pints to separate the layers, and holding them close to a candle. I know there are easier and safer methods, but I prefer the directness of this ...technique. I use open flames for reasons that are buried in my personal history...good and bad memories mixed."

Look closely, and you can see where Brooke added hand-stitching and what she's talking about with the "scribbling." The stitches sort of look like letters, or a child's scribbling, and the grids are clearly here, adding formality, a wonderful interplay with the stitches.

The next several posts, I intend to be about quilting, so bear with me.

I also want to acknowledge the wonderful people who have been helping. I was trying to find Brooke, and I put out a call on the Quiltart message list. Gerrie Congdon came through and connected me with Brooke, and I'm very glad she did! Brooke then supplied me with the detail and two of her photos. Thanks to both of you!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Struggling with the 440: Making Pudge's quilt

About 10 years ago, I met a really cool lady on line. Well, actually, I've never met her. I did buy some plants from her on eBay and we've corresponded ever since.

In June, she sent me a request. Would I make a quilt for her neighbor, "Pudge," her "much loved" next door neighbor who was recently diagnosed with Leukemia.

Hmm. In my high school and early college days, I made several quilts for other people and now, I usually just make them to please me, try out designs/ideas, learn or for my family. For most people, they have no concept of what it means to make a quilt.

Since Teresa's husband who was my brother's age died of cancer about 9 months or so after I met her (he had been in a horrible tractor roll-over which didn't kill him, but did show that he had cancer), I thought that yes...I'd do this for her, even though this summer was an extremely full one with lots going on with my daughter (college visits, vacations to visit friends in CT, senior photos, etc) and I had recently been diagnosed with a recurrence.

I told her it would be a relatively "quick and dirty one," as I didn't have the time to put a lot of work into this ....after I suggested that someone else do it. I know me. With the schedule I had and my own issues, I knew it wasn't going to be done very quickly, but I'd do what I could. She told me that Pudge was into cowboying--roping and riding and that she thought browns and tans would be good.

I quickly got on line and found the center panel which I thought was pretty good. I showed it to her, and she said that would be good. I would add borders and other things to it and try to get it to her ASAP as when you are getting chemo get cold. I started looking for other fabrics to add, and found a Moda "Layer Cake (10" squares of a whole line of fabrics) called "Rawhide." Most of them went with the panel, except for the pinks and when the panel came I didn't think the larger scale pieces went with it.

One of the problems was making the quilt wider, but making it logical. The center panel had two borders, and the sides had none. So, I had to find something. One of the ladies I quilt with on Thursdays, graciously shared her stash of horse themed prints with me. In her stash, I found the prints of various brands on black and some roping on black. those would add the two side borders.

What do do to make corner stones to make the transition? Chris Landis was working on a quilt and in the corners of her borders were these great 5 pointed stars in a circle. I borrowed that portion of the pattern for her, thinking "piece of cake I can do these." Yeah. Right. Those pieces were extremely hard to piece and get right. In order to get 4 good ones, I made 13, and each of the stars took about 2 hours to do. Then....I misplaced the stars and started making them again. After 2 "remakes" I found the originals...under a pillow on the sofa in the family room.

Teresa had sent me the names of all of Pudge's kids and grand-kids...including blended families. 52 names, two of which were unborn babies and the families were keeping the names secret. Teresa got me the name of one of them...and finally got the second.

I had to learn how to use the embroidery machine (I didn't tackle learning how to use the Bernina embroidery module, but I did use the Janome 300e embroidery only machine I purchased several years ago on eBay. There was a learning curve on this one...and then of course made two mistakes on the names, some of which were uniquely spelled. Using straight strips in a border are called "piano keys." I liked how the piano keys turned out...they sort of look like ribbons.

Chris helped me figure out how to alternate the names and blank keys in order to make it turn out right. I did the short side first, because I had equal names on those sides. The two long sides were not equal, and I had to figure out what I was going to do. Chris suggested using brown cornerstones and use the star in a circle motif to quilt with.

Well, I thought I'd use my Embroidery circle attachment on the Bernina 440....It didn't work too well, and I didn't like the way it turned out. I wanted perfect circles, and this was surely NOT perfect....At left you can see the wonky circle. I felt that the only way to correct this was to hand stitch the circle and star in gold Perle cotton. Since the quilt is meant to be used and it would be on the back, I covered the back where the stitching was with another piece of flannel (I used flannel for the backing since it is more cuddly).

The Bernina gave me fits. I really wish I had had my 153 (which I sold to a friend when I got the 440) as the stitch was much better. The BSR (Bernina Stitch Regulator) wasn't working correctly, and the upper tension wasn't working correctly either. Usually, I try out threads and quilting motifs on a scrap, but since the panel came with these printed borders, I had no scrap to practice with.

First I tried brown. That looked pretty awful, so I ripped it out. Next, I tried monofilament and that looked pretty awful too, so I ripped that stitching out.

Next I tried this Superior Signature variegated thread in tan, brown and cream. I didn't like that either, so I turned to my thread stash and looked again. There, I found another Superior thread which was variegated cream, yellowish and grey. That looked great.

I did a whole lot of ripping out of quilting on this quilt. The stitching wasn't perfect. I was elated to send it out this morning via priority mail. Hopefully, he will get it on Saturday, after this go-around with chemo, but maybe it will be nice for him to curl up with when he feels poorly at home too.

I put in a hanging sleeve on the back and basted the sleeve closed. I thought that by doing this he would still be able to use it and yet, if they later decided to hang it, all they would have to do is take out the stitching and run a decorative drapery rod or a batten in through it.

Now, I have to turn my attention to getting my Dayton Landmarks segment done before Tuesday, and the exhibition proposal I'm sending in to the Dayton Visual Arts Center for the Miami Valley Art Quilt Network before Monday completed and sent. Just to add more interest, my daughter has a cross country meet on Saturday, I'm picking up my husband's cousin at the airport tomorrow morning, I'm doing some pampering with her and her sister on Friday, a luncheon on Saturday, AND my husband's birthday is Saturday. OY!

And the Bernina? I ran it over to the shop to get checked out while I'm gone to Montana next least I'm going alone so I don't have to get the house stuff done before I go. I must admit, I am tempted just to run over the Bernina...except that I know that my 153 was a fantastic machine...hopefully, someday the Aurora will be half as good a machine as that one.

When I get back, I'm going to work hard on getting the Handi-quilter frame set up with the Juki as I know it will be easier to move the sewing machine like a pencil rather than working with the quilt and moving it under the needle. I just have to clean out the area for it...and figure out how to set it up. After that? Practice, practice, practice!

By the way, this quilt measured 61 1/2" x 68". I have $100 worth of materials in it, and that was with some things being donated and most of the fabrics on sale or discounted for other reasons. Hours of labor. I just can't fathom how people are able to sell quilts slightly smaller on Etsy for $100 - $135.