Cheri Chatter

Cheri Chatter

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Merry Christmas To Georgia

Early this month our friend, Georgia, was broadsided by another vehicle and will be laid up for a while. When I say "laid up", I mean "flat-on-your-back, leg-in-the-air, can't-do-much-but-watch-t.v." laid up.

Georgia was working on an Old Maid's Puzzle quilt for our Comfortable Companions quilt show (January 1 - 10) at Glad Creations. Needless to say, she will not be completing hers!

So here's the one I made for the show. It's going to Georgia when the show is over.

If you know Georgia, you know what a great sense of humor she has, so the quilt had to reflect that.

Here we are: two old maids - Georgia with her companion bird, Merry, and me with my "Bosca" shirt.

You'll just have to guess what we are puzzled about. (Hint: No quilt is perfect. There's always a fly in the ointment.)

Georgia needs a way to have all the essentials close by, so her friends at Glad Creations got together and stuffed the pockets of this apron I made at the last UFO class. It's in Georgia's favorite color: RED!!

The pockets contained Christmas ornaments, fabric, chocolate, lotion, lip balm, a "bodice ripper" romance novel, and a fabulous pillow case to cradle her head. (You can see this risque object at Nate's Notions. See "Links" above.)

Merry Christmas, Georgia!!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas To Me

I belong to a small group of fellow quilters who meet twice a month for camaraderie and inspiration. We also exchange "secret sister" names every year and remember each other on our birthday and at Christmas, when our secret sister is revealed.

My secret sister turned out to be Amy with whom I also work at Glad Creations. Look what she gave me for Christmas!

The pattern is Victorian Table Runner by Southwind Designs. (The pattern is available at Glad's.) Amy chose some of my very favorite fabrics - William Morris prints from a Moda line called A Morris Garden. A few of these fabrics are still available at Glad's along with a new line of William Morris prints.

I've made and given away a lot of quilts, and this is the first quilt I've received. Now I know what it feels like . . . FABULOUS!! I think I appreciate this gift especially because I am a quilter and value the work that Amy does. Thanks, Amy!

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Lake Gang

Besides my dog, Bosca, they are what get me out of bed in the morning - the Lake Gang, that is. If it weren't for them, I'd be snoozing until 8:00. Instead, I'm just finishing up a three to four mile walk around Lake Harriet in south Minneapolis.

Meet Jim, Pat, and Bob. Oh yeah, that's Bosca and me, too. There are many other lake regulars, but these are the ones that stood still long enough for a picture.

I look forward to the comraderie, the teasing and bad jokes, great tips on everything from soup to nuts, and of course, great views of nature smack in the middle of the city. After our walk, I'm primed for a big mug of espresso and a quilting project.

I can't think of a better way to start the day!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I've Joined a Cult

I never thought it would happen to me, but I joined a cult . . . willingly. It's the Dawn Drive Quilting Cult and what a great bunch of quilters they are. Meet Connie, Linda, Mary, Dee, Lynne, and Sue.

I spent the day with the cult sharing what I've learned about color and fabric selection. We created color wheels, had a show and tell, a trunk show, and door prizes. We're getting together in the spring for an applique class. Can't wait!

In the meantime, I'm making good progress on my sister's pink and brown quilt. Lynne and I spent an afternoon arranging and rearranging blocks to make sure no two of a kind were next to each other. You know how that is: move one and it's like the domino effect in action.

I sure hope she likes the final result. If she doesn't, I'm keeping this one, too!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

When Life Hands You Limes

I had a cutting accident the other day while cutting out the rest of my sister's pink and brown quilt. The good news is that my fingers are intact (not always so in my case), but my background fabric is now in strips one inch too narrow.

My motto is: When life hands you limes, make margueritas.

I would have taken my own advice literally the other day, but it was before noon. So I went to Plan B: buy more fabric. I called Nathan and off we went to Glad Creations for a new background fabric.

It pays not to panic. Plan B often turns out way better than Plan A. I found a fabric I like much better than the original. I think my sister, Linda, will like it better too.

Nathan and I celebrated with a trip to Matt's Bar for Jucy Lucy's and fries. (Yup, we had beers, too.)

I highly recommend this local establishment if you don't already know about it. Great food and only four blocks from Glad's. (The secret is not to go too often. That way it is always a treat, plus you'll be able to get through doors easier.)

It just keeps getting better. I've decided to make flying geese with the discarded strips, pairing them with the Jo Morton fabrics I've been collecting.

I'm going to end up with two beautiful quilts. And when I do, I think margueritas will definitely be in order!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

It's A Keeper

I've been working like crazy on another quilt for our New Year's show at Glad Creations. It's a One-Block Wonders quilt from a book of the same name by Maxine Rosenthal. Maxine is a Minnesota quilter, so that makes her piecing technique all the more special to me.

Her second book, One-Block Wonders encore!, was co-authored with Joy Pelzmann. It shows how to make the hollow cubes that you see scattered throughout the quilt top. They were time-intensive to make (at first), but so much fun. I think they add a lot.

I love how this quilt top turned out! The main fabric I used was designed by McKenna Ryan for her fusible applique patterns. It has an abstract design meant to be used as rainbow trout for her pattern series, Calling Me Home.

In addition to the main fabric, I used batiks and animals prints. Hot pink and leopard just belong together, don't you think?

Arranging all the blocks, however, was not as much fun. It took a lot of help from my friends, Amy and Nathan, to get it just right. In fact that's what I'm calling the quilt: I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends.

Because I had a few blocks left over that I didn't want to part with, they went into the quilt back along with a piece of the original fabric. I added other scraps for borders, and a final border of snake skin fabric, until I ended up with another quilt top. I think I now have a reversible quilt.

Now it's off to the long-armer for quilting. I already can't wait to get it back. And I've warned my family: I'm keepin' this one!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Mmm Mmm Goood!

I just shared my favorite ginger cookies with some quilting friends. They were hard at work sewing a mystery quilt in a class at Glad Creations. I told them I'd share the recipe, so here it is for the whole world:
Yum Yum Gingers

3/4 C shortening
1 C sugar
1 egg, beaten
4 tsp molasses
2 C flour
2 tsp soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
2 tsp ginger

Cream shortening and sugar; add egg and molasses. Mix soda and spices with sifted flour and combine with first mixture. Roll into small balls; roll balls in sugar. Bake at 350 for 12 - 15 minutes. (When the cookies have flattened out and cracked on top, they're done. Trust me.)
I'd show you a picture of the finished product, but they're all gone!

I Went Shopping - Again!!

Yup, I put a crowbar in the old wallet and went shopping again. I heard about a church rummage sale in Long Lake, Minnesota, that was rumored to have a lot of old quilting books. I figured that a rummage sale wouldn't ruin my fabric diet.

The books were indeed old. Some were golden oldies. Books by Trudie Hughes, Marsha McCloskey, and Jinny Beyer. Quilting stencils by Georgia Bonesteel.

In all I scored nine books, five patterns, two sets of quilting stencils, a set of applique stencils, and two sets of quilting patterns. Check them out.

The best part? I got the whole works for two bucks. They even threw in a quilting hoop!!

Monday, October 6, 2008

My Sister Rocks!

I am so proud of my sister. At a time when most people are getting ready to retire (or stay home and make quilts like me) my sister joined a rock band!

Foggy Notion debuted the end of September at the American Legion in Chanhassen, Minnesota. They were fabulous and are looking forward to their next gig.

Linda deserves a quilt, don't you think? Lucky for her, the new project I've started is for her. It's a queen-sized pink and brown quilt that uses mostly civil war reproduction fabrics.

I just completed my first piecing session: more than 80 nine-patches units. Here's some samples.

I hope Linda likes the final design. At this point, I'm keeping that part a big fat secret!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Autumn Aspens

I just put the finishing touches on a wall hanging that I've been working on (mostly off and on) for some time. It comes from a book by Joan Segna called, Follow the Dots to Dazzling Quilts. Her quilt is done in black and white fabrics and called Winter Aspens. I decided to do it in fall colors. Most of the fabrics were designed by Jane Sassaman and were perfect for this project.

I had fun with the pieced back and the label. The label is kind of a miniature of the front of the quilt. I had fun doing it, but mostly, I'm glad it's done. Cross another one off the list! Autumn Aspens is going to my sister, Nancy, who laid claim to it just as I had finished the top. I'll be borrowing it from her to put in the New Year's show at Glad Creations. Come and see it in person this coming January 1st!

Monday, September 22, 2008

I Went Shopping!!

Yes, I know I'm on a fabric diet and a pretty strict one. But I want to start a new project, and since I can't purchase new fabric, I went shopping in my stash! What fun that was. I put together a fat quarter bundle like those we sell at Glad Creations. Every time someone buys one of those bundles, I get kind of jealous. Now I realize that I can create one anytime I want.

Isn't it pretty? Better yet, the fabric is mostly prewashed!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Progress is Sweet

This weekend I went to the cabin, and along with enjoying the north woods of Wisconsin, I completed two more sets of kaleidoscope blocks for my quilt group's block exchange. (Think cookie exchange.) I've now completed eighteen sets of blocks, which means I'M DONE! Well, kind of.

Now I need to take stock of what I have, determine what size quilt I can make out of the 166 blocks I've made and received so far, and decide on a setting. I may have to sew a few more blocks.

Here's a look at the eighteen blocks I made. (Yup, they're all from my stash. No new fabric was purchased.) Do you see the secondary design coming through? Hint: lean back and squint your eyes. Cool, huh?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Top 40

I'm in a quandry. I'm itching to start a new quilting project but have been kept busy by four other works in progress. I just finished hand-quilting a lone star. I'm making kaleidoscope blocks for a block exchange. And I'm trying to finish blocks for a One-Block Wonder. The block exchange is nearly complete. I want to push everything aside and start something brand new.

Some people like to work on one project at a time. Not me. I like to have several going at once so that I can work as my mood dictates. Sometimes I just want to sit at my machine and sew. Other times I want a needle and thread in my hand while I stitch on a quilt that is keeping my lap warm.

My favorite part of the process (besides buying new fabric) is starting a new quilt. Left to my own devices, I would have 40 quilts in various stages of incompletion. That's why I keep a Top 40 list. I limit myself to four to six actual works in progress and keep track of the other 30+ projects on paper.

My Top 40 is categorized, prioritized, ghant-charted, annotated, and tantalizing. It's a mess. But I can still read it, and it keeps me focused. Right now it's telling me to stick with the One-Block Wonder, but to go ahead and start a new handwork project. Yippee!!

Hmmmm. Which one will it be???

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

State Fair Diet

I'm so bummed. The Minnesota State Fair is over for another year, and I only got there once. My sister and I arrived early on the first day and did it up good. We stayed late, ate our way from one end of the fairgrounds to the other, and picked out some good boyfriends for each other along the way.

I think I gained five pounds. Over a period of thirteen hours I ate: half a foot long, half a carmel pecan roll, half a dozen chocolate chips cookies, several glasses of milk, an ear of corn, a box of popcorn, two beers, a gyro sandwich, lemonade, a pork chop and a vanilla malt.

It's what I didn't eat that haunts me. No pronto pup. No french fries. No cream puff or Tom Thumb donuts. What was I thinking? Now I have to wait a whole year. In the meantime, it's back to Weight Watchers.

(Oh yeah. The quilts on a stick in the Creative Activities Building were fantastic. Did you see them?)

Monday, September 1, 2008

Fabric Diet

Painfully, I met with my financial advisor last week. He told me to quit buying fabric, so I'm back on my diet. I don't quit eating when I'm on Weight Watchers, so I'm not going to quit buying fabric. I'm just restricting my purchases.

Here are my dieting rules:

1. I can buy full-priced fabric to finish a current, in-progress project and only if I have thoroughly searched my stash.

2. I can buy half-priced fabric, a remnant*, or what is left of an air bolt** if it is one I've had my eye on for a future project.

That's it. Just two rules. Should be easy to remember when I am tempted to buy from a new fabric collection.

Temptation is all around me. Have I mentiond that I work at Glad Creations in Minneapolis? Check them out at!

* A small piece of discounted fabric.
** A bolt that is more air than fabric, usually less than 2 yards.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Getting Hooked

I nearly hyperventilated the first time I picked up squares of fabric to sew together for a quilt. It was a church group project. The quilt showcased new decorator fabrics for an interior designer and earned us a donation for the church. That was the early 80's.

I made my first real quilt in 1986 by trial and error and consulting a book when stuck. Cardboard templates. Hand pieced and appliqued. Hand quilted and bound by turning the muslin backing around to the front. I was so proud of my 6-block wall hanging that I entered it in the Minnesota State Fair. Impossibly, it did not win a ribbon. But it came back with nice words from the judge written on a piece of paper and pinned to the corner.

I moved on to a pieced pansy wallhanging for my mom. She was thrilled and hung it above her bed. She bought matching sheets and thought it should be entered in the state fair. I knew it was not as perfect as my first quilt, so I started another wall hanging instead.

Work became all consuming in the 90's, so I put my sewing machine away. I rediscovered my passion for quilting during a 2000 trip to that quilting mecca: Sisters, Oregon. I felt like the guy who woke up after 20 years to find himself in a fabulous new world. Quilting tools, techniques, and fabrics had revolutionized. I came home with itchy fingers and a satchel full of fat quarters - the beginnings of my still growing stash.

Since then, I've picked up the pace - taking classes to learn techniques, graduating to bed size quilts, and creating an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of all the projects in the works or waiting in the wings.

Now, I can't imagine not quilting. They'll have to pry my poor arthritic fingers off my rotary cutter!