Monday, December 30, 2013

Two finishes to share

I finally have pictures of my latest quilts.  This is very exciting.  We should all be excited.  The first is the Graphic Floral Quilt that has been done for awhile, but I haven't gotten around to taking a picture of it. Thankfully, I displayed it at show and tell at the South Sound Modern Quilt Guild meeting and Honnah (Hi, Honnah!) kindly took pictures and displayed them on our Facebook page.  Because the work has been done, I will share those pictures here. 

Graphic Florals - front

Graphic Florals - Back
 That's me on the left with my eyes closed because I am just that good at having my photo taken.

The second is what I feel to be my now legendary Spinster Quilt.  I've talked about it for over a year now and its been quilted and mounted on my wall for a long time now.  I just haven't gotten around to taking a picture of it.  Tonight I sat on my bed with my iPhone and a trusty cat and took some pictures.  The first picture below is a close up of the back taken from the inside of the quilt mounted on the wall.  I didn't feel like taking it down and getting a better picture.  Lazy?  Yes!
Close up of the back. 

Spinster Quilt - the front
Wow, right?  I promise to stop talking about this.  I swear.  But, it is on my wall and I get to look at it first thing when I wake up in the morning and when I spend time on my treadmill watching Doctor Who.  I'm very happy with it.  And, best of all, there is a minimal amount of cat hair that can get on it hanging on the wall.  It's all good.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

My semi-monthly return to blog-land.

I've been gone from the world of blogging and checking up on my favorite blogs. I'd like to say I was distracted, which it true, but it is mostly because I have been too lazy for blogging and busy doing otherwise.  I even thought about discontinuing this, but I have met some lovely people through blogging and I like the idea of having a space to talk about pretty, creative things.  

Speaking of pretty things, I finished up the front and the back of Catherine's Dresden Quilt.  I ordered thread for the quilting but haven't managed to make an appointment at the long-arm studio or get to Jo-Ann's for the batting.  Honestly, I would rather have a root canal than go to Jo-Ann's this close to Christmas.  I'll toughen up and head over there sometime this week with a coupon and a devil may care attitude.  (Last year at Christmas, I went to Jo-Ann's wearing inappropriately high heels.  The floors were wet and I fell down and slid into a display of wrapping paper containers. It was like people bowling and I was left with a 7/10 split.  I am slightly afraid there is a video of me floating around the Jo-Ann world.  But, I digress….)

The final, pretty blocks. 

She really is the worst helper ever. 


All the blocks all put together. 
The pretty front
I originally laid out the blocks in a 4 x 4 square.  It looked busy but it also looked too small and I thought that I would have to make 4 more blocks to make it less square and a little longer.  I just couldn't do it.  I'm a little over Dresden's for the moment.  And, as you can see above, I had a cat on the materials. The situation called for special action.  I decided to stagger the rows instead of adding more blocks.  I think this worked better because it was getting a little busy and now there is some nice negative space.  I used the remaining fabrics to make up the back of the quilt.  I'll share a picture when it is all bound.
November South Sound Modern Quilt Guild Block of the Month. 
This was a scrappy little endeavor.  I have difficulty doing improve quilting - everything tends to look like a log cabin.  This was probably my best effort so far and I have to thank the original creator of the block as well as the lovely guild member who wrote up the instructions.

My next project

I've had this Christmas fabric for two years now and have not played with it.  Since we are getting close to the holiday, I thought I would give it a try.  Of course, this won't be done for quite awhile and I don't know how much fun it will be to play with in March but the point is I tried.  I tried to make a quilt for Christmas.  (Not very hard.)

I've started the cutting.  I got the pattern off Pinterest and it consists of two blocks.  One block is a 6.5 x 6.5 square of the patterned fabric, the second is a white block with 2.5 x 2.5 patterned square off-center.  It will be a good way to display the pattern and should be relatively simple to put together.  I like the idea of doing something complex, then a simple quilt to have a quick finish. And, yes, for me a quick finish is two months.

Awesome Guild Swap
Finally, I would be remiss without sharing this.  My Guild partner made all these items out of the fabric I gave to her.  I didn't give her any instructions, just told her to do what she wanted because I was curious what she could come up with.  As you can see, she did an amazing job and I am so incredibly happy.  The embroidery hoop is a gadget holder. If you've seen my kitchen table, you will agree I could use this.  It's up on the wall by my sewing machine and I love it.  I also got two mug rugs and a little pincushion ring.  It was all so awesome and I was very, very happy.

I have a couple of finishes to share and I will have to take some pictures of them.  The Spinster quilt is bound and hung on the wall.  I realized that I haven't shared the final picture so I will have to take one.  And, I finished the pretty flower quilt I started a few months ago.  All is well here and I can't wait to get caught up on my blog reading.  Hope everyone is doing well.  

Sunday, October 13, 2013

European Odyssey

Did I miss anything?  I returned from my European Odyssey late on Thursday.  Two days recovering from a cold and jet lag later, and I have finally decided that it is time to update this blog and turn on the sewing machine.  The European Odyssey took AH and I from Prague to Amsterdam in 16 days with stops in Munich, Bamberg, and Brugge.  It was fabulous and we blogged it at Over the two weeks, we were spoiled by good beer, good food, and good transportation options.  Oh, and I even managed to stop at a quilt store in Amsterdam.  

But, enough about my amazing vacation.  I have to get caught up on the South Sound Modern Quilt Guild block of the month project.  The September block was an aqua and red dream, the October block is an exercise in cool colors.


I'm not thrilled with the center of the October block; it's a little off and it doesn't make me entirely happy. But, it is the first thing I've worked on since returning from the Old Country so I'm giving myself some latitude on this one.  At any rate, I love the cool colors that I selected  and I think a quilt with everyone's efforts will be rather lovely.  

I've also finished a couple more Dresden's for Catherine's quilt.  By my count, I only have two more to do and then I can get started on attaching them.  I'm really excited about how this is turning out.  I may or may not get to this today, but there is football to watch and there are cats to pet.  A big thanks to Christine for taking awesome care of the cat army while I was gone.  There has been very little surly behavior since my triumphant return, although Scout About has been walking me to the guest room on a regular basis and is looking for her new BFF.    

Sunday, September 15, 2013

A special project and more Dresdens

I am in a Dresden kind of mood.  I finished up more for Catherine's quilt and as you see below, they are coming along swimmingly.  

But, I can't stop with Catherine's quilt. I have to do more Dresdens.  The South Sound Modern Quilt Guild is holding a get to meet you event by asking members to trade scrap fabric packages and asking the recipient of someone's scraps to make that lucky lady something from them.  You get an idea of what they like and you get to play with something that might not be in your wheel house.  It is a really nice skill building event.  The scraps I got are featured below (sorry, I wasn't clever enough to take pictures of them before slicing into them).  The instructions I got from the scrap owner were to do something with a heart.  That is a great challenge.  After playing with the scraps and toying with various heart designs, I decided that the center of a Dresden plate could easily be a lovely heart and my plan of action took place.  All the fabrics are the scraps of the donor except for the heart.  My first heart attempt ended badly.  Luckily, no one was hurt and I was able to move on.  I thought this aqua fabric would make a fun heart.  I will also be using it for another SSMQG project that I need to complete this week too.  It's a month of aqua for me. 

My donor's scraps also had some lovely 1.5 inch wide purple strips which I just had to play with.  I decided on a couple of log cabins for the back. 

The quilting job was rather simple, but I really like how it turned out on the back. You can see the plate and the heart and I like that you can see that on both sides.  And, with that, my first mini quilt is complete and my first Dresden plate is complete.  Boom!

Now for some more aqua work.....

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Dresdens, Baby

We had a lovely week of summer, but it is cooling off a bit here and that is probably fine for my long neglected garden.  I watered earlier this week and should have last night but there is a very large spider who has decided to live above the spigot in the back yard and those hoses aren't going to get turned on until he moves on.  I'm hoping for a hard frost.  

Neglecting my garden has given me lots of free time to finish up some more Dresdens.  I really like how these are turning out and if the process of attaching them to something doesn't lead me to drink (ha!), I will probably do another Dresden quilt in the future.  I've got 9 of these bad boys done.  Only a few more to go and then the painful attaching period starts.  

Monday, August 19, 2013

Backpacking in the Olympics

It has been brought to my attention that I have not yet blogged about my three day, two night backpacking trip in the Olympics.  It isn't that I didn't want to share, it's that is hard to write about something that was fun, intense, and rather spiritual.  I was awfully proud of myself to be able to walk the 21 mile loop in three days with a full backpack.  (Not as full as AH's pack was - thanks for carrying the tent, stove, and bear canister!)  Well, I was proud of myself until we came across people on the trail who were running it in a day.  That's right running it.  Jerks.

Our destination on day 1.
Dr. Seuss plants
Invisible elk 
A view of the trail, cutting into the hillside.
It was a physically challenging hike which seemed to be straight up hill for two days with a lovely, quick, and rather slippery downhill on day three.  There were lots of signs to watch out for aggressive mountain goats, but we didn't see any (aggressive or otherwise).  Something big came through our campsite at night - bear, goat, chupacabra, or bigfoot.  I don't know what it was because I was too scared to leave the tent to find out; I like to think years of watching bad horror movies have taught me not to leave the safety of my tent when it is pitch dark out and you are in the woods.  We had lightning and rain that first night but managed to get some nice star watching in before the clouds came over.

And the views?  Well, as you can see, the views were spectacular.  Green, green lakes, clear skies with beautiful mountains, and lots of beautiful wildflowers.  We did see a rather large herd of elk, or maybe two herds hanging out together.  We were not close to them so my pictures didn't turn out but it was nice to see those large animals in an area where they were not going to be messed with by people.  It was reassuring that wild spots remain on this planet and I can't wait to hit the trail again.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

SSMQG - Block Challenge

The South Sound Modern Quilt Guild is off to a running start.  It's been so interesting to see what the other quilters have made and it is very inspiring.  I'm so glad to be a part of this.  One of our members was gifted a large amount of what can only be charitably described as "hideous" cat fabric.  We took it upon ourselves to use this fabric as our first challenge block.  Take a 10 inch square of cat fabric and make it modern.  Don't believe that it is hideous?
(don't look straight at it)
It is decidedly not modern fabric.  And, half of my block is the back of a cat.  Yikes.

For inspiration, I picked up my Modern Blocks book and came up with this:

I liked using the bright pink to brighten it up, but I can't help thinking that it now looks like the cats are in jail.  The featured cat sure does not look happy.  Oh well, I will be very excited to see what the others have come up with at our next meeting.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Dresden Plates

My friend Catherine is adulting.  She has a real job with a real salary and benefits, is smart and funny, and is an amazing crafter.  She also just bought a house.  Her first house.  This calls for a gift of a handmade quilt.  After giving Ms. Catherine a choice of two fabric packs that I picked up from Fabricworm, she chose the following:

An excellent choice if I do say so myself.  The next question for myself was what to do with this bit of loveliness.  I played with the pack and took a couple of the lighter gray shades out and put in a couple Pearl Bracelets from my stash (in that I went to the fabric store, bought them for this project, and put them in a bin before I began cutting).   But, I was still confronted with the question of what to make out of this.  Sure, I could just cut this all into five inch squares and sew that together but that isn't going to cut it because this is Catherine we are talking about and it is going to be special like her.

I was going back and forth on pattern ideas - some kind of disappearing 9 patch, a block called the Old Maid's Block which would just be funny to do, or something else.  And then it hit me.  Dresden Plates.  Why not take Dresden Plates and make them modern with that lovely fabric? I honestly had never really been that interested in the Dresden Plate pattern; I thought it was too old fashioned and fussy and not really "modern." However, after working my way through the Spinster Quilt I realized that half of the fun of modern quilting is taking an old pattern and making it new.  I checked with Catherine to make sure this would be okay and that Dresden Plates didn't bring up a horrible childhood experience.  "Sure, that would be fine except Dresden Plates were responsible for the death of the family dog." After getting the all clear, I bought the template and began slicing away at the fabric.

I have three done, about 13 or 17 to go, depending how a 4x4 layout looks.  This is also going to be a huge quilt - the blocks will be approximately 17 by 17 inches which is a whole lot of Dresden.

The next step will be to figure out how to put these on something and get those center circles cut and in place.  

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Graphic Florals - Completed Front

I promised more pictures of my current project that uses a lot of colors that are bright enough to see from space.  (As if I can do any other kind of quilt.)  I'm posting those pictures which also includes lots of cameos from the cat army.  

Working on the layout with Angry Bob.  
Layout complete, cats in motion.

Labeled and ready to go. 

Scout on inspection of the final project. 

Completely pieced front.

Sadly, no cats appeared for this photo.

I'm off to work on the back of this and I'm thinking of using some of the dark blue that was left over from the Spinster Quilt. I really should be outside playing on this beautiful day, but I'm staying close to home to keep an eye on Scout, AKA Little Girl Cat, AKA Scooter, AKA Scooter McGooder.   As you can see above, she is doing great.  Why am I worried?  Well, she had surgery on Friday to remove a tumor and an abscessed tooth.  The tumor was on her lip and is in the process of being sent to the lab for testing.  We are assuming that the tumor is benign until we hear differently and will not be worrying about it until then.  Friday was exciting in that I got her home from the vet and she was still loopy from the anesthesia and stumbling around like an adorable little furry drunken sailor.  She also managed to fall down the stairs twice, which is why I'm staying close to home today.  Meanwhile don't worry about Scooter McFurryPants.  She is getting lots of scritches today and free access to whatever sewing project she chooses to sit on.  She will be fine.  Me, on the other hand........

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Emerald Ridge

Two posts in one day!  This is amazing.  We should all buy lottery tickets, because magic is happening.

These pictures are from last weekend's backpacking trip with AH.  We did two days and one night on the mountain to Emerald Ridge and parts of the Wonderland trail.  It was amazing.  The trail we took to connect us to the Wonderland trail was not maintained.  This is a bit of an understatement.  There had been a landslide and about 50 feet of the trail was washed out.  The choices were to go through the very fast and cold river or bushwhack through the landslide.  We bushwhacked and it was hard.  There were times we had to take off our packs and push them ahead of us because we were ducking under trees and tree roots.  It was also very, very steep and it was very important to not slide down into the river. Half an hour later we were back on the trail.  This was the "easy" part.  We were hooking up to the Wonderland trail where we had 2.8 miles and 3000 feet of elevation gain to challenge us.  It was a challenge, but we made it to the top and the simply amazing views of the mountain and the glaciers.

Night was spent at the South Puyallup River campsite near the Puyallup River.  It was beautiful and I wish I had gotten out of the tent to look at the stars, but sometimes you are tired and in a sleeping bag and there you will remain.

Many more pictures are here.