Sunday, September 27, 2015

Sunday Stretch for Sewists #3

I am in an Ashtanga yoga workshop all weekend, Friday-Sunday, with David Robson from Ashtanga Yoga Centre Toronto.  He is AMAZING.  I am totally wiped out, and I've only done 3 of the 5 sessions for the weekend...

My daughter Dayna took some photos of me Saturday at her house for some of the poses and stretches I want to share with you specifically for the long hours we spend hunched over our machines, so I now have material for 3 Sunday Stretch posts!

While I'm sweating my butt off Sunday during workshops, you can read about a great pose you might already know.  Then stop reading!  Go do it!

Here we go:

This is Cowface Arms aka Gomukhasana pose.  Take yourself to the floor first of all!  You know I've said how good just sitting on the floor is for our hips.  You can sit in a loose cross-legged position as I did here, or tighter, or half lotus or full lotus.  Heck, put the soles of your feet together and let the knees fall apart if you like for a lovely outward rotation in the hip joint, known as Butterfly in Yin, or Baddha Konasana.  Remember "asana" just means "pose" in Sanskrit. Please excuse the somewhat wet hair; I'd just got out of the shower.

Take a belt, a strap, a tie, or a piece of fabric selvage in your right hand (wink) and drop it down your back.  Reach around with your left arm, grabbing onto the strap.  Breathing steadily and slowly to a count of 3 or 4, start to work your hands closer together, lifting your right elbow into the air and keeping your shoulders relaxed and away from your ears.
You may not need a strap.  If so grab fingertips.
After you've held the stretch for about 30 seconds, look up at your right raised elbow.  Stay here for a 30-45 seconds, breathing steadily.  Listen to your breath.  It should be calm.  Back off if you're huffing and puffing. Bernie Clark says you want to feel sensation, but don't make it sensational!

Then look down towards the left elbow that you cannot see, still steadily and calmly breathing.  Enjoy this intense tug and pull, examining, as you breathe, where exactly you are feeling sensations.  Send your breath to those areas.  That will increase the blood flow there, which increases healing, noursishes that area with your oxygen-rich blood, as well as helps to remove toxins with this increased blood flow.

Release the strap or your fingers after 1-2 minutes (you may need to work up to two minutes, no worries) and s-l-o-w-l-y undo your arms, imagining there are two walls crushing into your sides, so put the palms up and push those imaginary walls apart, engaging all the muscles in your arms as you do so.  Shake the arms gently.  Repeat on the other side.

This is wonderful for the neck and shoulders and arms. :-)

I had company when I did my Yin practice Friday morning.
This was what I saw as I came out of savasana, corpse pose, which is our final resting pose after a practice.  Mine should be called dog-asana right?! Yes, that is Wings!  It is one of Cynthia's Scrap-a-Palooza quilts.  Although it is not quite done, I wanted to try out the Minkee backing.  Ahhhh.  Divine!  No, it's not finished yet; some tweaking needed on the quilting, and then binding.  Yep, Avril and I are on good terms once more.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Musings on Guilds

I joined Erie Shores Quilters' Guild two years ago this month.  It has been a hard group to break into, but I don't think this guild is the anomaly.  Part of the reason, I believe, is that it is in a small town and rural area, where so many people are either related to each other, have gone to school together, grew up together, or have just known each other for a long long time.  Not only was I new to the guild, I was new to the area, and I am younger than the majority of the members.  Much like my beloved pittie puppy, who is 6 years old today, I was regarded, especially here in Ontario where there is a ban, with perhaps a little wariness.
Posing Tuesday night for the camera on my daughter, Dayna's, first quilt I made her, circa 1997
Making the two wheelchair quilts for seniors and donating them to a local residence caught the attention of a couple of members, and that has become our Christmas charity project for this year.  This past Tuesday, a small group of us got together at the Kiwanis Camp to sew for a day, using fabric from the guild's charity fabric stash.  It was fun!  Now I know a few more people by name and face as well as a little more about some of them!  One is a retired teacher, and is happy living alone, another is a longarmer, got her APQS machine in 2008, and quilted the fundraiser (gorgeous) quilt for the Christmas raffle (I think), another's husband has just been through some alarming times in hospital where he was sedated because he was on a ventilator (she is now going to be my helper with the guild library, yay), another is going through some fairly serious eye issues, another just won the Grand Champion in one of the quilting categories at the Harrow Fair, and another who has her own little fabric store, is going to bring to the next meeting (we hope) the rest of a gorgeous aqua fabric she used on the back of one of the wheelchair quilts so we can buy it!
Chinese Coins wheelchair quilt; I added 3 strips, the yellow, the taupe trees, and the taupe gypsy jewels
I quilted this up at home in no time on my Bernina (it was when Avril and I were on the outs over thread, and I was not going to unload Wings to do these two small quilts).  I did a wavy line with my walking foot in the columns of coins, and then FMQ-ed the square spiral, which I LOVED, and did not mark a thing for, so I was glad it ended up pretty evenly spaced!

This one is made with some of the orphan blocks I adopted at our August meeting
I used the pillowcase turn method on that flying geese one, so didn't even have to bind it!  Because the geese are so big (they finish at 5X10") I used my walking foot to do the dot to dot. I also quilted it on my Bernina, ditched and then did the loopy meander in the low volume areas.
The backs. The floral is from my stash, the horse one the guild's
Yes, you see ties on these quilts, ties to attach the quilt to the wheelchair arms to prevent it from sliding off a lap, or tangling in the wheels.  Each has a pocket on the back as well.  This makes 4 quilts for seniors in wheelchairs I have completed, one top waiting, another top I worked on that day (which is proving to be a "leedle" more involved than I'd anticipated, can you say 120 2" HSTs without a shiver), and almost enough orphan geese blocks for another.  That day I also cut fabric to make kits to have for take-home at the October meeting.

In musing over the past two days on the way I now feel about the guild, I think that I have some advice for both sides:
1.  For the new member:  get involved as soon as you can find a way.  I joined the executive in a fairly minor role as the new librarian.  In attending the executive meetings, I get to meet a group of about 10-12 great women, and means more people will know who I am.  Going to the sewing bee day meant I got to meet several more, and was able to get to know those I did already know by name on a more personal basis.  I was invited to a cottage group on my first meeting, but it isn't very close to my house...(our guild covers the entire Essex County, so a lot of area)

2.  For the guild:  1. Something I am going to put either to the new executive or in our new suggestion/tip box, is to have a person or persons in charge of meeting and greeting the new people and getting them involved right away in some small way.  This could be in a block exchange, or a mini-quilt activity, or a bring your favourite quilt book to the next meeting and the four, or however many new ones join at any given meeting, get together with the persons in charge either just before the meeting or during the break.  2. Make a bigger deal out of Show 'n Tell that is brought by new members.  That nearly made me not go back, I was so crushed over that first year.  Although I'm not looking to be revered, I sure would have liked a little more recognition for or interaction about the quilts I first brought to this group where I knew not a soul.  (btw, I'm hoping to change a bit the way we do Show 'n Tell, as in time and a space to get up close and all touchy-feely with the quilts!)  3. Somehow have a list of cottage groups available for all members to see, and where/when they meet and if they are open to someone new joining.

Back to Rocco, I cannot believe he is six years old today.  It's been a little while since he's been on the blog, so today he's a star:
Happy pittie...on a human bed with a pillow and a stuffie!

This morning after I'd given him his birthday biscuit, and sung Happy Birthday to him, and of course he'd joined in his best pitbull throaty singing voice!

Wheelchair Quilt Stats:
Pattern: Chinese coins and original design with flying geese
Size: approximately 28X36"
Fabric: guild charity quilt stash, and orphan blocks and my own stash
Batting: Warm 'n Natural
Quilted: on my Bernina, walking foot and FMQ
Threads:  Gütermann for piecing and for quilting

Linking up with Kelly at My Quilt Infatuation!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Blog-iversary Winner

Should have called this the shortest post ever.

You will have to trust me on this, menopausal melon ailments struck again, as I forgot to take a screenshot of prize #1.

There were 58 comments (two came in today and two late last night, and I said I'd draw yesterday late afternoon but I forgot that Mondays I teach yoga...and then today I was gone all day 9-3:30 sewing wheelchair quilts with some of my guild members, so I just counted everyone), and one entry by email, as she is currently somewhere in Europe--love that!--for a total of 59.

The first prize of $20 of fabric from Miller's Dry Goods goes to

Anja of Anja Quilts!!!  Woot!  Woot!  I'll be in touch by email, Anja.  We met first when she hosted TGIFF, and then shortly thereafter got to know each other better through the New Bloggers Hop.

And the second prize, one of my Pyramid Pouches I designed,
Janis, yours is the one quilted with the red thread ;-)

goes to Janis!  Yippee!! She was the email entry, and I wrote her down as #53 as that was where we were up to when I got her email.  She is doing a bike and barge trip from Amsterdam to Brugge--this would have been handy for the cosmetics on the trip.  You know a gal's always gotta look her best when biking around Europe... um, dedication to get in touch with me, too!

Thanks so much for entering and thanks for following me and for reading my blog!  And, yes, you may think this was rigged, but one thing I am is totally honest, and it was not rigged. Those were the first two in that order I did with the random number generator, and I am just tickled that A. they are both friends, Anja from QBL and Janis, another quilter, but a former colleague and a good friend, and B. they are both Canadian!  Woot! Woot!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Whirling Star Block

When Eileen of Eileen in Stitches put out a call for Star blocks in soothing blues and neutrals to help her make a quilt for her ill grandfather, I immediately said count me in for a 12" one.  Stars are, have been, and always will be, my favourite quilt block.

Yesterday afternoon I decided to make it.  I originally thought I'd make her one of my star blocks from Blue Ribbon Stars, as I had one strip-pieced centre left over.  I pulled out the little stack of leftovers, grabbed my Rubbermaid plastic box of blue scraps, and this fell onto my cutting table:

This little baggie contains triangle corners cut off and saved, because they are a decent size, from the second quilt I ever made, oh, back in 1996.  I admitted that I still had scraps from it last summer in this post where you can see that quilt.  I still love these blues, and the motifs on the fabric.

Here is the process of how I arrived at the block.  When I realized that my leftover centre was a little too big for a 12" block, I started doing the math to get 4 strips to make a 6" finished centre.  Easy.  1.5" each.  For whatever reason, when I looked at my strip centre, an 8.5" centre, I thought, too bad it couldn't just be cut up and rotated...wait...rail fence...what if I did four small 4-strip squares and rotated them like in a rail fence quilt?  (Was I in for a pleasant surprise once I started rotating them...)

More math.

6" finished centre, made up of 4 squares that each, in turn, are made up of 4 big do those strips have to be?  I used my fingers, lol, kind of, at first, then counted again in my head to be sure, then thought yep, just what I thought, but didn't trust my brain...

If 1.5" would give me the 6" finished square, half of that would give me the 3" finished square, so 3/4" finished strips.  Add 1/2" and you get 1 1/4" cut strips, 4 of which will make a 3.5" unfinished square!  Multiply a 3.5" unfinished square by 4 and you will need 14" long of a strip by 1.25" wide.  You follow?  I know, use the fingers, scrunch up your eyes and imagine it.  That is what helps me when my math brain does math at warp speed and the rest of my brain needs time to catch up and process the calculations.

Here's what you will need to do for one block!

1.  Cut 4 strips of fabric (I liked the gradation effect but you can do whatever you like) 1 1/4" wide by 14.5" long (nice to have that 1/2" wiggle room).

2.  Cut either 3 7/8" squares, four in the neutral background and four in blue, OR if you have leftover triangles, use them.  They need to be about 3 3/4 or 3 7/8 edges that make the right angle.

3.  Cut four 3 1/2" squares in neutral for the four corners.

1. Sew the four 14" long strips together to make the strata you see above.  I pressed all my seams to the darker fabric.  Cut the strata into four 3.5" squares.

2.  HST units - If you are working with 3 7/8" squares, draw a diagonal line either with your Hera marker as I did, love it, or a pencil or erasable marker.  Sew a scant 1/4" on either side of the line.  Cut apart, press to the dark and square to 3.5".  If you are using triangles, sew carefully along the diagonal, press and square to 3.5".  Make 8 neutral/blue HSTs.

I got so excited to see the whirling effect if I kept on rotating the centre blocks à la pinwheels instead of doing them in rail fence formation, that I forgot to take a picture of all 16 units, but I think you get the idea.  I sewed pairs together, working in columns for the pairs, chain piecing the entire block.  Then sew sets of pairs together to make the four quadrants you see above.  Press seams in opposing directions so the seams abut or nest together nicely to get those crisp inner corners.

Ta da! Whirling Star
I was über-happy to find I had a little bit of my New York City fabric left from my hobo bag I made with fabric bought from The City Quilter when I was in NYC for the NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) conference in 2007.  Eileen lives in NYC.  I'm not sure about her grandpa, but the connection to her works regardless. :-)  Ah, whirling effect, NYC fabric, some days it's good to be Sandra! (and a bit of a scrap-a-holic/hoarder)

When I messaged a photo of the block to Julie of Pink Doxies, she wondered what it would look like on turn your head 45 degrees, and you will see!  I think it would be pretty cool!  I plan to make a quilt (shocker) with this block.

If you make one, send me a photo please!  Email address in the top right sidebar.

Oh!  Don't forget to go back one post to my anniversary giveaway for a pretty sweet giveaway! Two prizes!  Fabric moola and a pyramid pouch.  Here are the two side by side so you can see the subtle differences.  I must admit I prefer that red variegated thread. 

Linking up with Patchwork Times DWM, and a new one for me, and fairly new to QBL, Main Crush Monday at Cooking Up Quilts.  Love seeing what's on others' design walls.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Happy Second Anniversary mmm quilts! Giveaway!

Flash back to September 18, 2013.  I'd already had a dummy blog set up since the Spring of that year.  It took me six months to get up the nerve to publish that first post.  Funny, the subject of that post, Seaside Rose, took 8 years from start to finish, and just this past Tuesday at our guild meeting, as a member of the new executive, it was my quilt for "My Favourite Quilt" we had to show.
The first heavily quilted quilt I did on Avril, my longarm
I started this blog for a few reasons, one, a way of recording and writing about the quilts and projects I make, and two, a way of keeping in touch with friends and family in Alberta, and three, a place for me to muse, write about my thoughts and also my experiences on the new phase of my life that began in August 2012 when my husband and I, youngsters in our early 50s, quit our jobs in Alberta and moved 2000 miles east to Canada's southernmost town.

Flash forward one year from that first post.  In my September 20, 2014 post (I didn't even recognize mmm quilts' first birthday, gasp!) I had 3 comments: my darling sister, Linda, my dear friend (who is also a blogger and an incredible painter), Janette, and one blogger comment.  However, that one blogger, Judy of Quilt Paradigm, has become SUCH a dear friend.  Since she participated in the New Bloggers' Blog Hop in 2014, she educated me no small amount in many aspects of QBL, Quilting Blogland, a term my friend Helen, of Midget Gem Quilts, and I have coined.

So, what have I learned about QBL since mmm quilts' inception?  Here are 10 highlights. By the way, this is post #287. ;-)  Yesterday I mentioned there may be a giveaway today....and there is.  By the first few comments, I see some people read more closely than others...LOL!

1.  First and foremost, what I said in my very first post is still something I love about blogging: "the sense of community, the sharing, the friendships and connections..."  I am truly ahhh-mazed by the genuine overall loveliness of the women I've come to consider my friends, whether or not I've met them in person.  It makes me all bubbly on the inside and all "grinny" on the outside when I think of you!!  I consider QBL my guild; in fact, if I'm totally honest, I enjoy it more than my real-life one.  I love the connection this blog maintains with my family and friends.  I love getting emails from family and friends who are not comfortable or too shy to comment (or unwittingly assume some other person's gmail identity, no names mentioned my friend Linda W!!).  For these reasons, I refuse to adhere to an unwritten code of having my posts go live at 12:01 EST. They go live when I'm ready to publish.  It's morning somewhere, right?! ;-) Some people only read the blogs they follow after work anyhow!  I'm tickled that my friends who read this blog are now not just the Alberta friends; there's New York State, Florida, and Minnesota friends who read my posts.

2.  Slowly but surely, my readership has increased over this past year.  That was when I learned about the importance of leaving comments on blogs (this would usually lead the blogger upon whose blog I commented to come and visit me), to join into Linky parties, and again, comment on a few of the posts near my own place in the link-up. Having the behind-the-scenes conversations with other bloggers has led to several friendships I treasure.

3.  I took the plunge and did a couple giveaways this past year, one in celebration of my 200th post last winter and another as part of Sew Mama Sew's Giveaway day.  This connected me more personally to the winners.  :-) I also pattern-tested for two very talented bloggers who I now consider friends, Joanne of Canuck Quilter's Star Steps pattern,

Watercolour Steps
and Cheryl of Meadow Mist Designs Grande Scrappy Tiles.
Summer Scents Mosaic
Cheryl then sponsored my Sew Mama Sew giveaway, another first for me, of having a sponsor.

4.  I realized a goal, of getting a pattern published on Moda Bakeshop.

5.  I joined in to this year's New Bloggers Hop, and although it was pretty busy, it was such a worthwhile experience, and I learned more useful things:  how to make a button, how to polish up my blog, how to number my comments, how to make a photo collage to name a few.  I've also added to my treasured friends list. :-)

6.  The fun continued after the hop with the New Quilt Block Challenge, sponsored by Fabri-Quilt.  I loved the challenge, and plan to sew up a quilt using my new block.
Pinwheel Parade
7.  When I saw that Cindy of Stitchin at Home had made the PDF of her block available on her Craftsy store, I thought, hey! I can do that!  And so I did, and I now have my own pattern store on Craftsy with a whopping 44 sales in 16 days!  It's a freebie, by the way, so I have made $0 but I'm still excited.  You can download the PDF for my block here.

8. My dreams of actually meeting up with some of my dear blogging friends actually came to fruition this past summer when Julie of Pink Doxies and I spent a wonderful day and a half (not nearly long enough) in and around (think close to Amish Country!!) her home in Ohio.  We both still keep percolating thoughts of possibly having a get-together of bloggers within a couple hours' radius...4 of us in the New Bloggers Hop are within 2 hours or less of each other right here in southern Ontario, and I know there are a couple more if you go 3 hours and across the lake into the US...

9.  One other dream happened just this year when I actually got to meet and talk with and take a class with Angela Walters!!!!  Leah Day first captured my interest and my heart when I purchased my longarm off eBay (make that, MacGyver purchased); Angela was a close second, and I'll be honest, has surpassed Leah, as far as holding my heart and my interest and my devotion...ya I sound like a groupie and I do not care.  Like I said to my friend Linda, who has read this blog from the get-go, (not to be confused with my sister, Linda) when she recently met and talked with Clara Hughes, one of her heroes, and said how genuine she is, it is impressive when someone you admire meets up to your expectations... and then some, as far as Angela is concerned for me. :-)

10.  One thing I do find, now entering my third year of blogging, is that it is cutting into my sewing time.  For the past six or so months, I have been struggling with this.  I want writing my blog posts to be fun for me, something I look forward to, and about those main topics I mentioned at the beginning of this post.  I suspect I take longer than most to write, partly because I write a fair amount, but then also because I proofread and reread, and revamp several times before I hit publish.  I do respond to every comment, unless the person is a no-reply, and I've decided I am no longer trying to find no-reply bloggers; I've included a great link in the comments section where this issue can be fixed.  If I were to visit every blogger who comments on my blog (which I do now and have been doing religiously for over a year) and read through the 125+ blogs on my bloglovin' feed, as well as the few I subscribe to by email, not to mention reading and watching videos on quilt-related stuff such as how-tos online, I would be spending easily 6 hours, probably more, on the laptop.  That is insane.  So I will continue to figure out ways to pare down the online time...heck I still have 3, wait make that 4 or maybe more... Craftsy classes I haven't even started to watch, and another to finish!!

Sidenote:  (MY giveaway is below this paragraph, so keep on reading)  Did you know Craftsy is having a pretty awesome giveaway on their blog right now?  It runs until September 30, and is open to US and Canada residents only.  It's a mystery box full of supplies that are related to the craft of your choice, AND a class of your choice!  If you enter through this link, as I am an affiliate, I will get credit for your entry.  And one other thing before the giveaway on my blog, Craftsy is also offering some pretty sweet deals on classes (that's when I've bought all my classes) as well as supplies.  For Big Quilts stuff (quilting these babies, and supplies to make several) click here or on the image and I will get a small commission if you decide to take advantage of this offer.  I have to say I own both Angela's Machine Quilting Negative Space (love it) and Cindy Needham's Machine Quilting Wholecloth Quilts (one I haven't started yet but desperately want to!). Both classes are among those on sale. Sweet!
Big Quilting! Classes and Supplies Deals!

Giveaway!  Phew!! You're still here.  Thank you.  There are two prizes.  This is open to everyone, everywhere!

The first is a $20 US gift card for you to spend on whatever you like at Millers' Dry Goods.  I loved this shop, Julie's LQS, and how I wish I was closer than 3 hours to it, although that could be dangerous.  They have a fabulous sale basement.  Basement.  You read that right.  $6-7 per yard.  I'm getting jittery just thinking of it.  They also have an online store.
Courtesy of Julie.  I want to scream, I want to cry, I want to GO BACK THERE!
The second is one of my pyramid pouches.  My pattern requires one charm square pack and 1/3 yard of lining fabric.  This yields two bags.  One I made for the tutorial, and the other I have nearly finished for this giveaway. It is very similar to the one you see above, except for the triangles are in different placement and I've quilted this one with a Coats and Clark red variegated thread, which looks fabulous.
I found a sweet plastic snowflake to use as the zipper pull!

How do you enter?  You've read this far so I'll make it easy: For one entry tell me where Pelee Island is (saying "in Ontario" or "in Canada" won't cut it) and for a second entry for my followers, just leave me a comment telling me how you follow me.   I'll draw on Monday afternoon, so this will be open for 2 full days!

Thanks SO MUCH all of you; here's to the next 2 years. :-)  I'll have a glass of this in celebration:

Friday, September 18, 2015

Jack and Friends for Brady

Brianne and Brady left us three days ago, and both MacGyver and I are still feeling pretty down.  It was a wonderful 10 days.  I did get his Halloween "commissioned" quilt done in time with one day to spare!
Perfect size for snuggling on the couch or taking to bed as an extra blankie
Remember it was one he'd seen last November when I was out west visiting him and my daughter.  He is such an incredible child in so many ways, but especially in the genuine interest he takes in his surroundings and in people around him.  He studied my American Patchwork & Quilting magazine and spotted this photo in an ad for their website:
He said, "Nana, do you think you could make this quilt for me please?"  What Brady wants, Nana will move heaven and earth to make happen.   However, when I went to the site for the free pattern, I discovered it was a wallhanging only 28" square inside the prairie points.  So I mulled it over in my melon, over the winter, collected a few fabrics, and when their visit was imminent, thought geez, Louise, I need to get a wiggle on!

First, I decided to make it 12 blocks.  The blocks finish at 8", so that would still not be that big, but I would add the border.  Then I decided to make the prairie points into another border to increase the coverage area, and that's when I thought, 'Well, it doesn't have to be a bed-size quilt; it could be a cuddle quilt!'
This change in size from 9 to 12 blocks, as well as making the triangles border, required some math
I used the no-waste Eleanor Burns' method of making the flying geese units that make up the border. Love this method.  I have a tutorial here, but you can also find one here.  Do you notice I had to make two inner borders, the black, and then the purple? Do you see that the top and bottom purple border is pretty skinny as compared to the sides?  I was worried it would look odd, so I took a photo and "stepped back" to see it as a thumbnail.  This gave me a "10-foot rule" idea of whether it would fly or not.  I thought it was okay!

So I went ahead and put the sides on.  The only problem with the no-waste method is you can't have total control of getting your wings fabric (mine is the bats) all oriented correctly.  However, if you've ever watched bats swoop around at dusk, you will agree that sideways is okay. ;-)  I was also a little concerned about the white background of the bats fabric; there isn't a lot of white in the quilt until this final border.  Yet I think it works:  it resembles the negative space there would be had I done prairie points as in the original pattern, and it also brings a bit of a pop to the ghosts here and there and to the owls' eyes.

Here is the finish, outside in the shade:

 The back:
This was on sale for $5/yard at Alma Sue's last winter, as were the bats and the purple owls
fabrics. The other fabrics are all from my stash and scraps.

The label:

I had planned to do an all-over meander, fast and simple, get 'er done.


My sister, Linda, who has faithfully commented on every single one of my posts over the past 2 years, today, exactly, had a terrific idea.  Yes, today is my blog's 2-year anniversary.  Blog-iversary.  More on that in a minute or two.  Several months ago Linda said, "You should quilt his Halloween quilt with glow-in-the-dark thread!"  I nearly forgot her suggestion, but thank goodness for reminder text messages from younger no-brain-cells-affected-as-yet-by-menopause sisters (thanks Linda!) and for four trips over the river to Detroit.  Oh, I was in JoAnn's on the second trip over, never once even thought of the thread (see what I mean about the menopausal melon issues?) got super-excited over a Detroit Lions stuffed animal that turns into a cushion, that I bought for Brady, remembered to buy a variegated Coats and Clark thread in red to try on the Wings quilt, but did not even recall the glow-in-dark thread!!  Next trip over, however, a couple days later, I did. Yay!  You guys, it is AWESOME!!!!

Simple fast quilting....mostly out the window.  I outlined all the jack-o'-lanterns to start with, some of the ghosts, the moons behind the witch and the vampire, some of the owls, a bat or two, and then FMQ-ed a bat of my own in one of the meandered areas.  I nearly did the skull, but thought that might be too scary for a 7-year-old, to have a skull glowing in the dark.

With one spool of this thread, I did dot-to-dot in the flying geese, wove around the owls in the purple border, did a small meander in the bats fabric, and a larger meander in the blocks where I hadn't outlined anything. I ran out with about 12" left of the weaving around the owls.
Do you see the one black and white text fabric is French? Brady is in French immersion :-) I also took this photo in the sun to try to show the sparkle on the thick black thread I used to quilt a wavy line in the black animal print border.  I put this thick thread in my bobbin; I used it several years ago to quilt a patchwork black hoodie for myself.
I also quilted in names as I often do:

Brady got the surprise of finding the names in the dark!

One evening Brady was allowed to spend a little time with me in the basement, sewing.  Bella was very nice and left him alone.  We had such fun: him on the sewing machine gas pedal, (how he LOVED that) me guiding the quilt, him running to turn the basement lights off, running back to me at the machine, then me turning my Ott-lite off, him turning off the sewing machine light, both of us waiting....intake of breath, and both of us would exclaim, "Oh wow!" as the thread glowed.  Next year, I hope to get him on Avril.  He was on MacGyver's bead roller.  They created a (wait for it) skull out of a piece of sheet metal.

It crinkled up fabulously after washing and drying.

We did a shot similar to this last year, except that he was sitting on his Christmas quilt.
MacGyver measures him each summer he comes; he grew 3" since last year!
Great sideways segway to MacGyver's banana plants which have loved the heat of August and the first half of September:
Is this child a total ham or what?! Definitely not camera shy.  At all.
 Another adorable guy who is not camera shy:
Brady is allergic to dogs, highly allergic to cats, so Bella was relegated to the basement again, much to her annoyance, but don't worry; we got up the morning after they left to a regular fur fest from the front door to the back! She deposited 4-5 gobs of her fur in various places overnight.  Remember Rocco loves quilts too, and he wanted in on the action, but he was content to sit beside Brady.
I wish a few people who live on our lane could see that shot.  Those who refuse to speak to me when I've had Rocco at the beach, give me dirty looks, question his presence here, or shuffle their grandson, a year or two younger than Brady, away as if Rocco is out to eat children.  Brady loves Rocco, pets him when they are close, making sure to wash his hands immediately afterwards.  Rocco adores Brady, as he adores all small children.    Sidenote: did any of you read Pat Sloan's interview with Valori Wells?  Did you see that one of Valori's family members is a pitbull?  :-)

Quilt Stats:
Pattern: Jack in the Box slightly modified from All People Quilt
Size: 36 1/4 X 42 1/2"
Fabric: bats and owls were Moda Halloween prints (sorry, did not remember to get their lines, didn't save selvages) and jack-o'-lanterns are Hallowgraphix by Jason Yenter for In The Beginning fabrics; the others are scraps and stash fabrics
Batting: Warm 'n Natural
Quilted: on my Bernina (Avril and I need to kiss and make up... today)
Threads:  pieced and quilted in the ditch with Gütermann 50 weight, quilted with Coats and Clark Glow In the Dark thread and a YLI(?) black thick thread

It really was such a great ten days.
On the Jimaan ferry to Pelee Island in Lake Erie - yep we are huge Detroit fans

IF you are still here, I mentioned that today is my blog-iversary.  mmm quilts is 2 years old today.  More on this tomorrow, as this post is puh-lenty long enough!  However, there just might be a giveaway in the works over the weekend.  Here's a teaser pic from last night of a WIP for this event:

Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts, and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.