Sunday, February 24, 2008

SO Funny

I did this for fun, downloaded a photo and let it tell me who I look like. This is what it came up with.

Who would have thought?

Monday, February 18, 2008

Quilt Snobs

On a Yahoo group I belong to, a member recently posted about her experience with a fellow quilter explaining that she should only buy the best of fabrics. In other words, this means the quilt shop prices. Now, I have nothing against local quilt shops making a living, am in fact often times quite envious of the ladies who have the budget to afford shopping at these stores. But, considering the price of their fabrics I will never be one of those people. Here is a little info to consider. Depending on the pattern or design of the quilt, and the size, on the average a full size quilt will take about 12 - 15 yard for the top, back and binding. In a quilt store, the fabrics will run 8.99 to 15.99 a yard for 100% cotton fabrics. We won't even get in to the specialty fabrics like Minkee for this purpose. So, using the 12 yards for figuring, that is $108 - $192 just in fabric. You will need to fork out another $30 in batting and $5-$7 in thread. All in all, you are looking at about $150 per quilt. Now, most of those same brands of fabric are offered online at lower rates, JoAnn's carries a lot of it at a lower rate, usually about $2-$5 dollars a yard less. When I first started quilting, I could go there and get calicos and cottons for about $3.99 a yard, then they were $5.99 and lately, I found them averaging about $7.99 a yard. No one seems to make mention of that increase in the news, not like milk and gas anyway, just as essential in my mind you know. Walmart also carries the same brand names, not as much variety, but they also have other brands of cotton as well. Most of them for $3.96 to $5.96 a yard. Just off the top of my head, that is about a $50 savings.

I only bring this up because of the thought that is predominant among quilters that if you buy your fabric anywhere but a quilt shop you are getting poor quality goods. I have heard this so many times myself from the "quilty snobs" and just don't buy it. First of all, when you mention the same exact brand is offered at a lower price they come back with this story of how the quilt shops get the middle of the middle runs which is a better quality than the end pieces. Okay, I am so sure that quality control in some factory is letting thousands of yards be made this is inconsitent with the hundres of yard in the middle. But this they swear by, even adding on to this that the fabric is even thinner than what you buy at the quilt store. Go ahead, buy a fourth of yard at the local quilt store of a piece of Cranston brand for instance, and the same exact piece at JoAnn's or Walmart. It feels the same. The texture of a piece of fabric is determined by thread count. Am I to believe that the factory some how adds threads to a machine run of fabric in the middle of the run? I think not. Besides which, if a major company is going to make an inferior product for the purpose of selling to discount retailers I serious doubt they will use the same name. Come on, even Walmart changes the name of their store brand.

I have searched online, even through Scopes, and found nothing to substantiate this view point. However, with that being said, I will freely admit that there are poorly made fabrics that are sold cheaply at the discount retailers. They are thin, woven badly, fall apart in cleaning. I also admit that you can feel the difference between a poor quality and good quality fabric. The worst piece of fabric I ever used actually came from a quilt shop.

Bottom line is this, there are quilter's out there that will spread this opinion to make their self feel better, make them feel that their end result is a quality piece. They don't want to hear that it could have been made, or was made, for less. I quit swapping quilt blocks because of this same mentality. Requirements being made on brands and colors of fabric. You know, half the fun in swapping is the swap itself. I can't afford to buy high priced fabric to make blocks that I will hopefully get the same amount back from. I admit, that when it comes to purchasing fabric for a quilt, where the quilt goes makes a difference in the price I spend on materials. A few dozen quilts for charity will be made witht the cheaper supplies. I don't mean the cheapest, as I still look for the quality in the pieces, but $4.00 a yard virsus $10 a yard is a pretty big difference when you are talking about several yards. It is a difference between one quilt for sick child and six quilts for six sick children.

Okay, I have gone on long enough. But, I can't help but think that when younger women are wanting to learn to quilt, make quilts for their family to use, for special gifts, but hold back because they perceive quilters as being older women, maybe it is because that older women don't have to think as much about a budget that includes children at home.

Here is the bottom line as I see it. A quilt is a special something that gives a person a special feeling of warmth, security, when it is wrapped around them. That child that has cancer and is cold because of his treatment, that mother greeting her newborn child alone because her husband is serving his country overseas, that soldier that is warming up with a piece of home that someone cared enough to send, the elderly resident that has bright spot of color on their bed in a home, that homeless man that is a little warmer because he has something to wrap around him, that child that has little flu bug and carries around the quilt made for them, a mother 1200 miles away feels like she still has a part of her daughter with her, they don't care that you used Cranston brand from Walmart instead of the local quilt store. To them it feels the same.

Monday - Mid Month

Okay, a little more than mid month, but that is all hair splitting any way. I am home with DD, 11, who is sick again. I think we need to go for a month wearing face mask and rubber gloves. Every little bug seems to find its way to our house and knocks us out. Valentine's was not exempt from this. I came home from work, hubby was not only asleep, but already in bed for the night and sound asleep, which means snoring. He didn't wake up until the next morning. My DD made me a grilled cheese sandwich for supper that night. Lots of genuine love, not much romance.

At any rate, since I was home today thought I would catch up on the laundry, but am pushing that down the list so I could update the blog. I am having camera issues, it just won't work right for me, and when I finally got some acceptable, not great, photos of some projects I down loaded them. That is also when I found out that all the photos of my son's play performance disappeared from the memory card. At any rate, here are some photos for you to puruse.

This is my contribution to Karen's block for the Green Garden Round Robin on my CQ For Newbies group. I am in the Avacodo Group and each of made a basic (otherwise known as a Nakkid block) beginning block done in all green. As the block travels through the group, we are to dress it. We each do one patch and two seams. I posted more about that on my Needle Me Crazy2 blog. All embellishments are to be done in green, only green. The next color is purple. I learned a lot from this green block that I will use for the purple one and I am looking forward to getting started on it. I have Karen's green block ready to mail out.

I have quite an assortment of items ready to mail out as a matter of fact. Planned on mailing them last Friday, but forgot them at home. Today of course is a holiday for post office, the school, banks, and as I discovered this morning the cable company. At any rate, here are a few things I have going out.

This is a dish cloth I made for an exchange through my Crochet Exchange Yahoo group. It is a free pattern online and you can get it by going to Bev's site at and be sure to look around at all her wonderful patterns she is so kind to offer as well. This was a fun project as I didn't have to think about the stitches too much and it was easy to use up my scraps of cotton yarn. This particular cloth has three varieties of Peaches n Cream. One is varigated blue, green, yellow, pink, and purple colors, don't know the name and that is what I started with, the bottom rows. The next rows is a color called potpouri and is really cool. It is cream with little flecks of the same colors here and there. When that ran out I finished up with plain ecru. I know that I will be making more of this pattern.

This is a potholder for an exchange on the same group. I used Peaches N Cream Westport for this one. I like the colors in this, will have to see if I can find a place to order a large one pounder of this color. The brown, blue and ecru combination reminds me of cowboys and western decor. Maybe it is because for the first 20 years of my marriage my home was decorated in blues and browns. Who knows. The back side of this is done in ecru. I recently found out that the difference between a hot pad and a pot holder is that one is used to set hot things on, the other is used to pick hot pans up with. To my way of thinking that is one in same, at least in my kitchen it is. This is one of the free patterns I found at JP Fun Crochet Club, the link is on the side bar of the blog under Free Crochet Patterns of the Day. They a free one each day that free only for that day but if you look through their sight there are lots of free patterns listed.

This is another one for the same group exchange. This is the same yarn on the back as on the front, but the design is a little different on front. I found this pattern through the listings on which has a ton of listings for free patterns of all kinds. Both of these were quick and easy.

As I metioned, for my birthday we went on a family day trip to a ski area. I took my yarn bag, okay a duffle bag I bought at walmart, which was all packed up the night before with the anticipation of working on several projects. I only worked on two. The first hotpad needed the back side finished, didn't take much time. The second project turned out to be the mind exploder. I started, then ripped, then started, then ripped, a total of five times before my mind could get a handle on the directions for this pattern.

This is a filet angel pattern and is the front side. It had been so long since I had done any filet type projects that it was border line insanity. So frustrating trying to get my pea brain to figure out that you read the even rows left to right, odd rows right to left. Finally I pulled out a pencil and ended up marking the graph row by row as I worked it. About the third time I unraveled it all, I swore I would never do anything with a graph again. Two days after I completed the angel, I was thinking I might do more filet. I had started on the back piece, using a varigated cotton yarn, half way through I placed the two pieces together in better light to discover that the yellow in the varigated thread clashed offensively. I will make a back piece that matches better and this will go to my mom. This is a free online pattern at and she has several if you take the time to navigate her sight. I have no idea where I first found her pattern listed, but I am sure it was on one of my groups.

That is about all for now, I need to go move the laundry around and crochet a bookmark. That is the one I am running way behind on. I made two butterfly bookmarks, not happy with either of them, so am starting over. Need to go check on DD as well, time for more medicine for her.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

February Already

Wow did January pass quickly. Here we are in to February and I haven't even posted a thing this month. I have not been idle however. OH NO, Never that. It is getting late and I hear that warm bath calling to me, just barely hear it over the snores of hubby and my best buddy Dillon (our 14 year old miniature pincher) but hear it I do.

I am going to keep this really short and to the point. I know, unheard of for me. You are wondering if I am sick or something. I am, still sick, not as severe thankfully, but the energy just still seems to be zapped. Part of that is just plain old depression. We were set to get a nice refund again this year from our income taxes, but then hubby added my employment info. Now we owe a big chunk. Because I had to get bug nutty and join the work force. As I lament about that decision and the wisdom of it, I see another little problem with this working thing. My household has gone to heck in a handbasket, only I can find the handbasket for all the clutter and dirty laundry to carry my household back in. This morning, my youngest DD, the one that is still grounded, decided to wash her hair before school. Okay, no big deal right? I usually have to threaten her with in an inch of her hide to practice a little more personal hygene, and the fact that anything the least bit damp around here is full of ice did send up some of the warning blips on the old mom radar. She was supposed to be blow drying her hair, I didn't hear any drying happening so went to the bathroom to check on her, you know hurry things up a little bit. She was in the middle of layering on a coat of mascara. She knows full well the rule is no make up at this age, except for a little light colored lip gloss of course. After all, she is only 11. Speaking of which, DD is getting ready for her school science fair.

There's my little mad scientist. Not sure what the exact experiment is, but she lights a little candle that is in a pan of water, colored red for visual purposes, pops a jar over it and times how long it takes for the flame to extinguish from lack of oxygen. Also measures how high the water rises in the jar. A sort of vacuum forms. It really is pretty neat to watch. At any rate, I am feeling a little like a failure in the homemaking department with all the home things don't seem to be happening right.

On the craft front though, am making some pretty good progress. I joined some crochet exchanges and they have you send in JIC (Just In Case) items to begin with so if there comes a time you can't fulfill your swap committment they have one to send in your name. I already posted about the hot pad experience, which was mailed off today. I also mailed off two dish cloths. Both of these patterns can be found online and are free. Later this week I will post the links, just not up to finding them at the moment. The one on the left is done in a very simple basic single crochet row with a double crochet row and is called a "meshie" and is very simple. The one on the right with the blue has a diamond design worked in to it. I like the way it turned out but suspect I did something a little wrong some where as it just doesn't seem to line up quite right. Both were made with Peaches N Cream 100% cotton yarn. At first, when I used it to make the first pot holder, it reminded me a bit of working with a string mop. Yeah laugh, you all know exactly what I mean, you made ond of those silly bed dolls or kitchen witches out of a mop head as well. Well, the yarn still reminds me of a mop, but I am loving working with it. In fact, next to plain old worsted type, it is becoming a new favorite. I have amassed a small stash and will be working on making a bunch of these water babies this Sunday when the whole family goes on a ski day (I hate the cold) to get out of the house for a change (would of course fall on my birthday) and I will be sitting in the little lodge area just hooking the time away.

I have started on my grandson's afghan as well. It is slow going, at least to my way of thinking, as after a couple of rows my neck and shoulders start to hurt.

I am loving the John Deere colors though so that is a plus. It is barely started, but like so many other things in life, there is a story behind this. The pattern, can't remember the proper name, but know it is Native American named. Apache or Navajo tears maybe? I just know that my husband's grandmother, a crocheting dynamo, made this pattern the most. She tried and tried to teach it to me, and I always wanted to do one, started several of them, but would always ending up with what looked more like a drunken path with me increasing and decreasing stitches as I needed to try and even up the edges. This time however, it is working out pretty well. My number of stitches on the end of row edge, seems to be a bit off but not enough to really notice. My little grandson is all about the John Deere, we can't figure out just why, but this Memaw is making sure he has plenty of it. Bought a fleece kit that has John Deere tractors on it as well.

I have just about finished my part of the Green Garden block for a round robin I am in. I got the one book I have been waiting patiently for in today. I already spotted the next seam treatment. Well, that is about all for tonight, I am just barely staying awake and still need to go get a nice warm bath and then bed.