Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Greetings, long neglected blog friends!

Hello again, everyone!  I'm sorry about the long delay between postings.  I thought I hadn't done a lot, but when I loaded the pictures off my camera I realized that while I have been goofing off for a month enjoying life and the cat army, I actually have been productive on the quilt front. I know you can't wait a moment longer, so without further ado, here is what I've been doing for the last month....

Steps to the Altar
The Spinster quilt lives!  Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.  These steps to the altar are strewn with beautiful little flowers.

Random Baby Girl Quilt
Well, drat.  I decided to use left over blocks from an earlier quilt to make a lap quilt for a friend of a friend who has recently been diagnosed with cancer.  I thought this would be cheerful and give her something to curl up in to relax between doses of chemotherapy.  Unfortunately, I didn't have as many blocks left over as I thought I did and didn't get it to lap size.  I'm going to quilt this and have it on hand for when someone, anyone, I know becomes pregnant with a little girl.  Want this? Get some wine into you and head down to the local bar.  I kid, I kid, you can buy wine when you get there. 

Forest Fantasy 

The beautiful back

Very cute little girl cat picture.

Folded and ready to go to its new house.
I did finish and give away the Forest Fantasy quilt last month.  I was so happy with how the quilting turned out and how it looks put together.  Scout agrees and had to be forcibly removed so I could put it away and keep some of the cat hair off it.  CF came over one evening and picked it up. I love giving these little projects away.  The cats are opposed to that practice, but I've told them that adversity builds character.

Next up, more Spinster action!  (And, hopefully, not another month between postings.  Sorry about that!)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Spider Web, Dancing in the Garden

Every once in awhile I get a little giddy at all the blocks I've made for my Spinster Quilt.  I've finished nearly 90 of them and am a little sad that this process will be over soon.  (Soon, as within a year.)  I finished three blocks this week and have a treat from the garden to share as well.  

Square Dance
Too literal?  Squares for the square dance? They kind of look like they are dancing don't they?

I know, this has very little to do with the Spinster quilt other than I can see it as I work at my sewing machine.  I just had to share this because it is a very confused rhododendron and needs to go back to sleep.  Of course, it never actually blooms when it is supposed to so I'm enjoying this while it lasts.

Spider Web
 Just in time for Halloween, a Spider Web.  I thought these ovals looked like little spider eggs which is probably not what the fabric artist had in mind when creating this pattern.  Also, I've got tons of these types of webs all over the exterior of my house and in the garage.  At some point in time, battle must be done with my trusty broom.

Star Gardener
Through absolutely no fault of my own, I managed to have 3 wild orchids come up in my yard this summer.  I'd like to take credit, but we all know nature takes it all in this case.  At any rate, they were purple and beautiful.  Had I actually planted them and got them to grow on my own, I would have been quite the Star Gardener.  (See what I did there?)

Next up, Squash Blossoms, Steps to the Altar, and a Star of Hope.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Forest Fantasy - Fully Pieced

We are having an incredible fall, here in the Pacific Northwest.  I honestly can't remember the last time it rained.  Things are so dry that I actually had to water yesterday to keep my rhododendrons alive.  I'm not complaining, however.  I really like taking my walk at lunchtime when it isn't raining and when I don't have to worry about a change of clothes for the way back.  I also enjoy standing outside with my morning cup of coffee and breathing in the smells of the pine trees.  These are the moments that remind me why I live here and I enjoy them all so very much.  

Having finished my yard work, and what I think might be the last time I mow the lawn this year, I turned by attention to finishing up piecing the Forest Fantasy quilt.  I think that it is fitting that the weather cooperated and I was able to take its picture outside with the woods shading part of it.  My next step it putting together the back and then getting long-arm time.  Maybe I will be lucky enough to get that taken care of this Friday. Next up, my long neglected Spinster quilt.  But, Spinsters are patient so I know that she's fine.  

Monday, October 1, 2012

You know what's awesome?

Getting a new sewing machine. That's what's awesome.  So, when we last talked, I mentioned gently beating my old sewing machine to death for being difficult.  I would clearly have to get another one, but which one and can it take a punch?  A friend of mine mentioned that she got a Pfaff and loves it because it has a walking foot attached which means that your top fabric will be held in place against your bottom fabric (I may be paraphrasing the awesomeness of the attached walking foot). She also mentioned that I should go check out the vendors at the Puyallup Fair (pronounced "fair") because lots of vendors come to the fair and they bring with them fabulous deals.  I asked the handsome and brave AH to come with me and we (I) played with sewing machines and fell in love with the Pfaff.  It was on sale and I had the handsome and clever AH with me to carry it to the parking lot. How could I resist this perfect storm of excellence in sewing machine buying?  I couldn't.  Since then, I've been playing with the Pfaff and I have to say that I love it.  It sews like butter - not that margarine crap, actual butter.  I've been cranking through the blocks for the Forest Fantasy quilt and loving every minute of it.  

First, I sewed the blocks I've made earlier together. 

 Then, I sewed those blocks together to make a lovely square and now get to sew these into strips.

Much progress has been made and did I mention that I love my new sewing machine?  Because I do love my new sewing machine.  Oh, and the old one was given away to a good home where she miraculously started working again.  Probably because it feels as if it is in a safe place and no longer subject to righteous beatings.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Rage gets the best of me.

98 HSTs

Seriously, 98 HSTs
Before I get to an explanation for the title of this post, I'd like to share the latest step in the Forest Fantasy quilt.  Behold 98 HSTs, squared to 4.5 inches and ready to attach to the blocks I made in the previous step.  I've pinned them all together and started sewing them into place but things have come to a screeching halt here.  This is where the title of the post comes in.

A few months ago, my machine decided to spend an evening eating my fabric.  I'd put it in place, get ready to sew, and instead of running it through, it forced the fabric into the bobbin area and I got shredded fabric.  A few rounds of this, including cleaning and resetting everything, and I was in no mood to deal with the machine's new found quirk.  Dear reader, I hit that machine like a boxer going in for the finish.  The machine broke, or rather the lid broke.  Suitably chagrined, I managed to work around the broken lid.  The problem being that the lid has to be in the up position to wind the bobbin.  This is something I figured out and managed to develop a work around. Until yesterday.  I forgot to implement the work around, the thread got incredibly tight while winding the bobbin and broke.  Before it broke, it managed to bend a metal disk that, apparently, is very much needed for threading the machine. Nothing I do now will allow me to thread and I'm stuck.  Tomorrow I either get to go to the sewing machine dealer and explain that I have no idea how my machine broke, perhaps the cats had something to do with it, or break down and buy the new one that I've had my eye on.  Either way, it might be awhile before sewing takes place. In the meantime, I have lots of very pretty hiking pictures to share. And, I'm learning to count to 10.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A trip to the North Cascades

It's funny how plans change and things work out for the best anyway.  Last weekend, the plan was to spend four days backpacking in the Olympics.  Unfortunately, the National Parks no longer allow backcountry camping without reservations and those reservations were long taken.  Consulting the books, AH and I decided to head north and spend a couple of blissful days hiking the North Cascades.  Summer only comes here briefly, but when it does we all know why we moved here in the first place.  There is simply nothing that feels better than standing on a trail experiencing the Cascades on a sunny day.  No wildlife was spotted, but the views were simply marvelous. 

We needed to go up there.

Mt. Pilchuck trail
The trail was filled with granite boulders to climb over.

Skyline Divide Trail

Beautiful Mt. Baker

Follow the trail to amazing views

Alpine rapture

Beautiful wildflowers
What a wonderful weekend.  I hope to get out again before the weather changes.  Let's hope for a pleasant fall.  

Monday, August 20, 2012

Visible and Invisible Marmots

Visible Marmot at Spray Park
 I was just reminded that I did not deliver on the marmot pictures.  That must be remedied.  This guy was running away from us at Spray Park on Mt. Rainier.  He was happily munching on his dinner while sitting in the middle of the trail.  This caused quite a traffic jam as all the hikers around him were doing their best to give him space and let him finish.  Turns out, this guy is quite a good eater and the park ranger on the trail slowly moved towards him to encourage him to finish up.  Mr. Marmot then took off at marmot speed towards us and really seemed confused, even for a large rodent.  Still that's about as close as I've been to one in recent memory.

Mist covered day at Eagle Peak on Mt. Rainer

Avalanche Lilies

Invisible marmot - to the right of the rock.

Deer at Eagle Peak

Wildflowers on Mt. St. Helens

View of the Crater at Mt. St. Helens
I'm putting up pictures of several hikes here.  I've been getting a lot of hiking in lately.  In fact I went yesterday but forgot my camera so no pictures of that hike. (Sunrise at Mt. Rainier).  But, we did see a bear yesterday and it was far enough away to be cool and not frightening.  CF took pictures of it, so I should be able to share some invisible bear pictures too.  For now, back to the work week and planning my backpacking trip this weekend.  I get to buy a shovel.  For making "catholes."  Yup.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Modern Block of the Month - Finished

Modern Block of the Month - Front

Quilting closeup


The rigorous cat testing process
I finally finished sewing the binding onto the Modern Block of the Month quilt.  It is hard to sew bindings onto quilts when it is warm outside because this is the one week of the year around here when I don't want to curl up with a quilt on my lap.  Nevertheless, I really wanted to finish this so I dug down deep, poured myself a gin and tonic, and finished this last night.

As you can see, I had some help:

It feels good to get some of these WIPs out and finished.  I also have been doing a lot of hiking lately but haven't been posting the pictures due to an outbreak of extreme laziness.  I have a marmot picture to share as well as some beautiful flowers so I will try to get organized and share those soon.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Forest Fantasy

Forest Fantasy
I mentioned several months ago that this would be the next quilt I'd be working on.  My good friend and hiking buddy, CF, picked out this pattern and asked that it be done in blues, greens, and browns.  I'm using Art Gallery Fabrics, mostly from the Nature Elements, Oval Elements, and Pure Elements lines and probably some random solids that I don't feel safe attributing to the Pure Elements line.  This is a pattern that requires a lot of prep work and cutting to start, but it will really come together quickly when the prep work is done.

There is, however, always significant opposition in letting the prep work go smoothly.

Pretty colors
 The first step is to strip piece and make 196 pairs of brown and colored fabric. Next, they come together to make squares like so...

98 squares
And, finally 98 squares come together.  The next step will be a sea of HSTs.  I know, I'm excited too.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Spiders, Snow, and Spools

 Snowballs!  Isn't it fun to think of snow during the winter?  No, no it isn't.  Thinking of snow reminds me of the 14 inches of snow we got here last winter that was accompanied by freezing rain and no power for six days.  But, who is keeping track of that sort of thing around here.  I went with circles and diamonds for the snow because, well, snowballs are round and freshly fallen snow sparkles like diamonds.  A very easy block to put together, but a block that I like quite a bit for its simplicity.
Spider Legs
 Grossest name for a quilt block ever.  Ever.  Every once in awhile I get these horrible looking spiders in the garage that look like black widow spiders but aren't.  They have the same body type and creepy looking spindly legs, but I've never tickled their bellies to see if there is an hourglass there.  This block is red for the red hourglass and is a block I like quite a bit.  Especially since it is in Badger colors.
The spool block definitely requires straight lines, or straightish lines as the case may be here.  Next, an update on the Forest Fantasy Quilt.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Sew Mama Sew's Modern Block of the Month



The pieced back

All together now. 
I decided that I had to finish the Modern Block of the Month project because being two blocks short just wasn't going to work for me.  So, I finished March and April and then set about putting them together.  The sashing is in a grey because it turns out I have a lot of grey left from my last project and I felt like being thrifty.  The backing is shades of grey with one lovely 1/2 yard of lavender.  The grey 1/2 yard fabrics are from Pink Chalk's color of the month club.  It was rather fortuitous that I received a package of greys as part of this program and I decided just to go ahead and piece the back with those fabrics.  Again, I'm being thrifty, but I also really like how it looks and I think it fits in with the modern blocks in the front.

Thanks to the cute cat for the necessary scale.