Monday, December 26, 2011

Let's do this. Let's have a very good New Year.

Fussy Cut Christmas Table Runner.  Quilted and Bound.

A close up, featuring an ear.  
It was nice to finish a Christmas project on Christmas Eve.  I had a friend over for lunch on Christmas Day (in case you are wondering brie ravioli are the bomb) and I made sure to point it out to her and make her adore it.  I'm not entirely pleased with the quilting, but this was my first project that I quilted on my home machine and overall, despite a few puckers on the back, it looks more like a second or third project done on a home machine.   I'm sure my next one will be even better.
Smitten Block #4

Smitten Block #5
These blocks are fun to do and I'm pleased with how they are looking next to each other.  I've now used each of the Heirloom fabrics once and now I get to repeat them but paired differently.

Flower Basket
And, finally, a poor neglected Spinster update.  I've hit the flowers/friendship blocks so be prepared for a lot of pinks and oranges for the next few blocks.  I made the Flock Block (oh, that sounds dirty) purple to represent purple martins.  My grandparents in Wisconsin had bird houses for purple martins in their back yard.  I never saw any when I visited them so I'm not sure how successful the bird houses were.  I can only imagine my block is a good representation of them.

The Flower Basket block is missing a handle because I'm a rebel and accountable to no one.  Also, I don't want to make a handle.  You might say that it is too obvious to use flower prints on a Flower Basket, but why would you?  I mean really, we all need to work together here.  (Also, it took me four times to get the spell check on my computer to tell me that I had the correct spelling for "obvious.")

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Playing around and a story about a food source I hadn't considered.

Smitten Block #3

Scout finds flannel fabric and immediately loses the ability to walk. 

Apparently, I have quilting ADHD.  I decided to crank out a couple of blocks for the Smitten quilt when I thought it would be fun to do some more wonky quilting.  After digging through my fabric to choose something appropriate, I spotted this baby fabric left over from a past project.  Having only 4 projects going right now, it seemed like just the time to start a baby quilt for a random baby yet to be named.  No, nobody I know is having a baby but that shouldn't stop me from being ready for such an eventuality.

By the way, I took a nap when I got home from work after eating an inordinate amount of very good food today.  The nap was interrupted when a cat (not the sweet girl pictured who was napping on my lap) mewed piteously and brought me a dead mouse that he was carrying in his mouth.  I assured him that I had enough to eat today, thank you very much, but that he was a very good provider.  And, that his friend needed to go outside.

Friday, December 16, 2011

FNSI - December part 2

Front and Back of the Fussy Cut Christmas table runner
Tonight I sewed my heart out and finished the back of my Christmas table runner.  I may or may not quilt it this weekend.  I'm thinking of taking my walking foot out for a spin, so that should be fun.  There's not a lot of room for error in this one - my backing is not that much bigger than the front in some places, but I kind of enjoyed just putting it together without getting too caught up with measuring.

I hope that everyone had a good Friday night of crafting and getting ready for Christmas.  I'm going to bake some cookies this weekend and relax before things get too crazy next week.  I am also shocked at the lack of eggnog in this house.  Shocked, I say.

Friday, December 9, 2011

FNSI - December Results

Another successful Friday Night Sew-In was had tonight, despite my best efforts to spend way too much time sitting on the couch with the cats.  This is the November block from the Sew Mama Sew's Modern Block of the Month quilt along.  I definitely like the blocks that have straight lines; I like the crispness that comes from that.

But for now, FNSI is over for me.  I'll check out how others did tomorrow and enjoy my full weekend off.  I need to go to the Farmers' Market tomorrow and get a wreath for my door.  This is just my preemptive strike and attempt to show some Christmas spirit so that three ghosts won't be visiting me this Christmas Eve.  Note to the ghosts: if you do visit, I will probably have cookies.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Fussy Cut Christmas

Tonight I finished the fifth and final square for my Fussy Cut Christmas squares.  I'm starting to think that they would make a nice table runner instead of a series of mini quilts.  And, if I make a table runner, I'll only have to bind one quilt instead of several.  Many thanks to Little Girl Cat for keeping the page open in my block book, minus a few points for sitting on the instructions.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Spinster Quilt - Farmers, Ducks, and Days

Get comfortable people, we've got a lot of ground to cover.

Darting Birds
When I was in the 6th grade, I wrote a research paper on hummingbirds.  I learned that their beaks are as long or longer than they are, they fly incredibly fast (you could say they dart about), they eat an incredible amount every day, and despite being delicate looking are rather vicious to each other when they need to be.  Needless to say, I fell in love with all things hummingbirds.  Sadly, when Sammy Davis Jr. Kitty moved in, I took my hummingbird feeders down.  He is too young and too good of a hunter and I don't want to chum for hummingbirds.  When he slows down, I'll return to feeding the little darting birds but until then they are welcome to hang out and not to linger.  This block represents the ruby throated hummingbird, because it and they are ever so pretty.

Duck and Ducklings
I don't know how I could do a block call Duck and Ducklings and not make it yellow orange like the cute little ducklings we get around here in the spring.  Seriously, I don't know how.

My first instinct with the Economy block was to make it black like our current state of the economy.  Instead, I chose to make it the color of money (albeit dark green money) in hopes that the economy is going to get better.  
End of Day
 I decided to go with this nice dark blue batik for my End of Day block.  I'm representing dusk here, which seems to set in around 4:30 these days.  Darned short winter days.

Evening Star
For the Evening Star block, pretend you are in your garden and looking at your flowers by moonlight.  Yeah, I can't see anything then either, but I imagine it would be something like this block.  
Farmer's Daughter
My grandmother (not the cups and saucer grandmother, the other one) was a farmer and a farmer's daughter.  She was a really wonderful grandmother and I miss her.  I really do.  She taught me simple crafts I could do on my own, she loved birds and flowers and made me my own quilt embroidered with each state's flowers and birds on it, and she knew the significance of the birth month flower and birth month gemstone.  She was born in February and the gemstone for that month is the amethyst.  So I made her an amethyst block.  I think she would like this.  I really do.  
Farmer's Puzzle
The only puzzle a farmer has is how to get the crops to succeed and how to keep the animals healthy.  Green crops lead to green money (see the economy above).  I didn't like the layout of this block in the book because it had a strong swastika vibe to it, so I switched it around.  Unfortunately, it now has a strong Blair Witch Project vibe to it.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving and two finishes

The front, all quilted and bound.

The back, sideways and quilted and bound.

My new office "art"
It's nice to get things all finished up during the week of Thanksgiving.  I quilted and bound the Ingie quilt and then delivered it to its recipient on Monday.  Everyone thought it was wonderful and I have to admit that I am pretty pleased with how it turned out.  My Citrus Triangles quilt is also done and is hanging in my new office. (That's what I did at work yesterday - moved my office four doors down to be closer to the rest of my team.  My phone and computer aren't up and running yet, but at least all my stuff is in the right place.)

Today I might get some quilting done, but I have to watch some very important football games first.  The first and most important one starts in just over an hour.  I'm wondering if my heart can handle the stress of rolling out of bed and then watching a Packer game.  And, yes, Thanksgiving will be a low-key event this year with one friend coming over.  I prepared a turkey in the slow cooker last night and we will be watching football and eating turkey sandwiches in honor of our colonial ancestors who would have thrown rocks at the tv and burned everyone involved.  Here's hoping no one gets lit on fire today.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Cups and Saucers

When I moved into my house eight years ago, my mother and my grandmother both gave me their sets of china.  Neither set matched and neither set had so much as a complete place setting. This was less of a gift and more of a "we don't want the obligation of keeping them any more so we are passing this on to you" issue.  The thing is, I'm not a china kind of gal.  I can appreciate the beauty of china, but I don't have the kind of life that requires china or that requires several random pieces of china.  I don't even have cups and saucers for myself, instead, I use mugs which if broken won't cause anyone any harm.  I remember eating off my mother's china as a child and being terrified that I would break something, and I remember both my mother and my grandmother completely stressed out anytime the china was brought out in case something got broke (and the incomplete sets would seem to prove that they were right to worry).  I want to forgo the additional stress around the holidays and will not play the china game.

This leaves me with a problem.  What do I do with the pieces that my mom and grandma gave me?  I have a cup and saucer set from each set on display in a bookshelf as a way to show appreciation for something that was important to them and a way to stay connected to them.  The rest of the sets are in a dresser drawer in my spare bedroom waiting for me to figure out what to do.

Here's what I'm working with:
Grandma's  set
Both sets are very pretty and very indicative of the woman who picked them.  I can completely understand why they were so protective of them and why they didn't want harm to come to them.  Grandma was completely old school and loved roses and flowers of all kinds, gold was her thing.  You really can't look at that cup without thinking of her.  

Mom's set
The same is true of my mom's set which is more modern than my grandmothers but which has a touch of gold and beautiful leaves which are reminiscent of the artwork she excels at.  

The question really becomes how to translate these cups and saucers into the Spinster Quilt.
Cups and Saucers
In the end, I decided not to mimic the cups directly but to go in a floral direction.  Both women loved Hawaii and I like the slight Hawaiian feel to the flowers in this fabric.  I also like the slightly old-fashioned feel to the colors in this fabric which I think picks up on the old-fashioned china.  And, the colors are more similar to the colors I would have chosen had I ever picked a china pattern.  This generation is making her china out of quilting cotton.  

Friday, November 18, 2011

FNSI - Cut Glass Dish

Tonight I happily attacked the cut glass dish for my Spinster quilt (AKA Farmer's Wife Quilt).  I've been dreading doing this block, with its many little HSTs and I decided that FNSI would be the perfect night to do it.

Cut Glass Dish
The story for cut glass dish is as old as time itself and involves life threatening injuries* and repeated mocking of the person with the life threatening injuries.  Last spring, my dear friend Catherine threw out her garbage only to slice her wrist open on some broken glass hidden away in the bag.  (Sure, Catherine, good story).  She needed stitches and a bandage and the constant pestering that comes from friends who want to make sure that the cut was actually accidental and not a desperate cry for help. But don't take my word for it, go to Catherine's blog, on my honor, and read her version of events.  The posting is very funny and filled with drama and calzones.  Just, be warned.  If you are remotely squeamish about stitches, stop scrolling down when Catherine tells you to stop scrolling down.  But, why would you, because these are Catherine's stitches and very important.  I also encourage you to explore the blog a bit, which is actually not just Catherine's blog but is written by her and her lovely sisters (Hi, Christine!).  I think you'll agree the sisters would approve of the little animals I put in Catherine's block.

*The injuries were probably not actually life threatening, but maybe they were........

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Introducing another new project

I've got lots of projects to work on now, the Smitten quilt, the Spinster quilt, the Modern Block of the Month, and I put the Ingie quilt on the long-arm this weekend.  The last thing I need is to add another project to the mix.  (I think you know where this is going.)

Part of my swag bag from the Sewing Summit were these 2.5 inch precut squares.
I honestly wasn't too excited to see them.  I wasn't really feeling the need to make a Christmas quilt and if I did feel the need, I'd probably go with shades of blue and snowflakes.  But after taking the mini quilt class at the Summit, I've been toying with trying a mini quilt out for myself.  The 2.5 inch precuts went into a "miscellaneous" bin in my fabric room (yes, I have a fabric room, otherwise known as the room where family stays when they visit) and I proceeded on my merry way with other projects.  Then, I purchased this book and thought about using the precuts in one of these blocks.

Yes, it's as wonderful as it looks.  
Pushing those thoughts aside for the moment, I continued on my other projects....
Block 2, Smitten
...when fate intervened by sending me these fat quarters as part of the Pink Chalk Solids of the Month club.

This mix is called figgy pudding.  I don't think it bears a resemblance to real figgy pudding. 
Suddenly, I decided that I had to use those precuts, mix in some figgy pudding and put together some blocks to make mini quilts with.  My evil plans were beginning to take shape and this is the result.

Fussy Cut Christmas, block 1.
I'm not sure how this is all going to fall into shape.  One medium sized mini quilt, and a couple of smaller ones?  Several small mini quilts (what does small mini quilt even mean)? Who knows, but maybe I'll just do what comes to me when I decide to pick up a rotary cutter with my devil may care attitude.  Or not.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


I returned from my island vacation and am firmly back in reality.  Or, at least as much reality as I can handle.  I had an amazing time and was warm for a whole week, which considering the "summer" we've had here in the Pacific Northwest was well deserved.  My Hawaiian vacation was relaxing, full of heat, sun, blue water, lizards, sea turtles named Stanley, volcanos, lava, flowers, and POG.  To prove it, here are some photos of life on the big island:

Yes, the water really is that blue.  And, warm.  So wonderfully warm. 

Pretty orchids at the Farmers' Market. 


A beautiful plant with the cutest little lizard you'll ever see. 


The volcano emits sulfur dioxide and hydrochloric acid.  You want to stand away from the smoke.

Lava v. road.

Akaka Falls near Hilo.  The wettest I've ever been.

Oh, yeah, these things are everywhere. 

Here I am enjoying a locally brewed beverage at Kona brewing company.
Want to see 150 more pictures?  Probably not, which is why I didn't put them in this post.  They are, however, available here.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

We interrupt this winter...

Smitten, block 1
Not a lot of quilting happened here today.  I got some laundry done, spent about three hours underneath a sleeping cat while getting caught up with my Tivo, discovered that I no longer fit into my swimsuit, painted my toe nails a jaunty color, and packed.  Why the swimsuit and packing?  Because tomorrow I am driving to the airport and heading out to Hawaii for the last leg of my vacation-palooza 2011.  There will be lots of sunscreen and hiking of a volcano.  There should also be some relaxing on the beach and wading in water that does not cause hypothermia after two minutes of exposure.  It should be grand.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Smitten by Rachel Griffith

Heirloom by Joel Dewberry
I purchased the Smitten pattern several months ago with the intention of using it for some of the larger prints in my stash.  Then, when the Joel Dewberry Heirloom collection came out, I poured through my pattern books and files and picked out something I thought would work for this colorway.  I purchased 5/8 of a yard of each of the above fabrics for my pattern idea then received the fabric in the mail and was blown away by how much I loved it.  I was also blown away by how much larger the print was than I thought it would be and how inappropriate it would be for the pattern I chose.  Undaunted, I went through my books and files again and saw Smitten and decided that a Smitten Heirloom quilt is just what I wanted anyway.

I'll be using Kona coal for the background, which should make the colors really pop.  I've been really wanting to do a yellow/grey quilt or an orange/grey quilt so this should work out beautifully.  It was very hard to decide which shade of grey Kona I wanted to use; I really toyed with the idea of using medium grey, but I ended up deciding to go darker.  And, conveniently, my LQS had coal but not medium grey in stock.  It's almost like the quilting fates were making the decision for me.