March 27, 2010

All My Eggs In One Basket...

Let me start backward and say for a number of years my mother raised chickens for extra money by selling both meat and eggs. If my memory is correct she had about 500 at a time, however many, it was one of our chores to collect eggs. Her egg basket was yellow vinyl clad steel and was about the size of a bushel basket. Big.

I have nine black sex-link hens I inherited from my father-in-law and if you've read my blog you watched them grow from babies to ladies and you know I just love 'em to pieces. All this time I've been thinking about an egg basket and using cottage cheese and Cool Whip plastic cartons. Efficient but no soul at all, none, nada.

Finally my brain kicked in; it's Easter basket time, what better time to find a perfect egg basket for nine eggs a day. Eureka! Now if you were one of my little girls wouldn't you be thrilled to have your eggs gathered in a shiny silver basket loaded with color and bling? I swear the eggs even taste better. They know when they are appreciated :)

Saturday Thankies
How hard my dementia plagued FIL laughed when I showed him the basket
That my MIL bought me pink Easter grass to cushion the eggs
How out of character each action was and is treasured in my heart

March 21, 2010

Knichen, Asparagrass, Kalnking, Thumb Quilting

The three words above are father-in-law-isms. Kitchen, Asparagus, Caulking. Comes to mind because the fresh tender asparagus is coming into the produce sections now. Beyond yum. I just steam, spray with I Can't Believe It's Butter and chow down.

Not much to report on the quilt front, I'm not happy with the cornerstones of the below mentioned quilt so am rethinking that plan.

FIL gets a little weaker each week and is eating less as we wind down toward the end. Some nights he sleeps pretty well, others he is up and down three or four times an hour. "Well, I gotta get up." "How come?" "I don't know, I gotta get up."

On the other hand my little girls (hens) are eating for an army I swear. But the nine of them have laid straight through fall and winter which is quite unusual if the chicken forum group are to be believed. This is the cutest picture I've seen in awhile, click on it to see full size.

I've been asked to show what I am doing when I thumb/finger quilt, as they say a photo is worth a 1000 words. I don't use a thimble, I push the needle with my thumb or fingernail depending on which direction I'm going. The example is just on a piece of fabric, the quilt I'm working on is next door. #1 pushing away with thumb nail, #2 pushing back with finger nail. My other hand would be under the quilt letting me know each time the needle comes through. Hope the visual helps.

I started quilting with a floor frame built from instructions in a Foxfire book, 2 short side rails, 2 long top and bottom rails, sitting on chair seats. Then I used a vintage card table with the sidebars wrapped in pillow-ticking to pin to. This works beautifully because you can just work your way around the table. Then about 15 years ago I switched to strictly hoop quilting. I did buy a Grace frame in there at one point but hated it so it's gone to a friend in Canada. Back when postage was affordable. I can't imagine what it would cost to mail something like that now.

Sunday Thankies
Apple blossoms
Big grey squirrels
Yellow finches

March 9, 2010

Ruffles Have Ridges...And...

Selvages/Selvedges!!! My life is complete...wonder how many bags it would take to make a checkbook cover out of the top edges?

I also got to wondering if I've been alone too much, after I said earlier when I'm feeling blue I go down and listen to the chickens tell stories. So, info junkie that I am I looked around and found this as the first post of a looong thread on a chicken forum...names have been changed to protect the Innocent of course..."I have a house chicken named Babby. I love her dearly. I have come to realize that there are "others" out there too. I was thinking that we needed a place to chat. A place that is safe, where we won't be judged that our chickens are sitting on the couch with us eating grapes..." I laughed 'till my eyes squirted. It never crossed my mind, but now that it has...

Tuesday Thankies

March 3, 2010

How Long? How Much?

As I sit and stitch through the night at my FIL's bedside I've been thinking about a question my BIL asked clear back in 1972 when I had my first finished top on the frame. He wanted to know how long it takes to make a quilt and how much one cost, was it comparable to buying a blanket? With batting, backing, Merribee printed top, and the embroidery floss this quilt topped out at about $60.00 and it probably took about two months to quilt. It actually took three years to finish because I wasn't happy with the way the back looked and put it aside for a couple of years.

I believe this is quite common with quilters, strolling between projects. I wish I had the admirable tenacity to stick with one thing start to finish, but that isn't very exciting. Sometimes I'm in the mood for lots of machine work, and others, like now, I can't get enough of hand appliqué. As to cost today...some patterns alone are $60-80.00 if the quilter likes Block Of The Month programs. And I've done a couple of self designed whole cloth quilts that have more than 600 hours of quilting each.

In the night I've been quilting on the Raggedy Hearts quilt, another 30's self designed quilt based on the Bull's Eye technique. This quilt dates back to 2005. It took about a month to machine piece and appliqué and each year I think this is the February it will take pride of place on the long as my hand holds out 2011 might be the hallelujah February. Note that my corner stars are also raggedy, too cute.

As to how long? My stock answer for the last quarter century has been "If I were in a hurry, I'd buy a blanket".

Wednesday Thankies
Needles and thread
Ready to use batting
Wonderland of fabric...all out of reach to me, I've been on the fabric wagon since 2001