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.