Friday, February 29, 2008

Kitten Quilt

The UFO project for March will be the kitten quilt.
This will be made from panels printed with kittens and leftover blocks and fabrics from a baby quilt, in rose and chocolate.
Here are the panels and currently pieced blocks and strips laid out on my bed:
Pieces to kitten quilt

And this is a close-up of one of the kitten blocks:
One of the panels

I'm toying with the idea of trapunto for at least the bigger kitten panels...there are 5 of each size. I think that this is the basic layout I'll use - alternating the sizes, offsetting them a little.

My Googlenope

Today, a fun quiz came across our alumni listserv: The Yankee or Dixie Quiz.

As I posted my score of 91% Dixie, I also noted that the correct answer for #20 was missing.
This is the question (and their possible answers):

20. What's that bug that rolls into a ball when you touch it? (NOTE: This is not a doodle bug (ant lion), which is the larvae of Myrmeleontidae spp.)
Roly poly
Potato bug
Sow bug

Hello, people! It's a ball-up bug! Well. Nobody else had ever heard of this, so I Googled it. NO HITS. This means that my mom and brother and I may be the only three people on the planet to use the term "ball-up bug." Even my kids call them roly-polies.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Hospital Gown quilt

Memaw, my maternal grandmother, is the one who taught me to love thrift shops.

At one point, the thrift shop in our little town had a whole bunch of hospital gowns, which she bought, and sewed into a bunch of little quilted pads (which came in handy as crib pads) and at least this one quilt, side 1:

Side 2:

Just simple strips, but it packs a graphic punch. I love this quilt. My middle kid has claimed it as "his" quilt.

There's progress, albeit slow, on Rocket Ships. I'm quilting around the ships close to the applique with navy, which disappears into the background, and then further out with variegated thread. I'll probably do another round with the applique. I have NO idea what to do in the sashing...


1. That nobody in our house has gotten the flu
2. variegated thread
3. decaf coffee
4. cordless phones

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Rocket ships

So, the rocket ships quilt got pieced and sandwiched yesterday.
Here's a photo of the top:

And here it is sandwiched and rolled - the dents are from the cats sleeping on it:

I've quilted around 3.5 rocket ships so far. When I went to start, I had NO navy cotton thread. Hmpf. So the mid-kid and I went to Hancock's after karate and bought thread, navy and some red perle cotton for his quilt. I still don't have the variegated thread I want - I think I'll have to stop by the LQS on Monday to see if they have any that would work.

Living near DC, there's a lot of [FREE!!] wonderful stuff, but we too rarely take advantage of it. I didn't find out about the quilt show at the Renwick until about 4 days before it closed, so I didn't make that one. Not this time! Look at this: A Stitch in Vine: Botanical Quilts, a textile show at the U.S. Botanic Garden. Not only that, but it runs at the same time as the orchid show!!!!!!!

1. My ankle is better - doesn't hurt so much, even though I don't have full range of motion back.
2. Watching TMOTH teach the mid-kid how to work on his Pinewood Derby car (the race is tomorrow and the car needed to be done today)
3. Sponge-Bob Squarepants and the Backyardigans
4. Seed catalogs

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Applique rockets nearly finished!

Two blocks left to finish; the rest are done! I started sewing some of them together with the planet fabric; it's really really cool.


On the down side, I sprained my ankle today. It turned under me as I was walking out to get the paper with the dogs. Sitting on the driveway, all I could think about was how long it would take TMOTH to miss me if I'd broken it. Just sprained, along with a scraped knee and hand. I went to work so I could go to lunch with a friend, but I think tomorrow will be a sick day if it's not a snow day.

1. Only a sprain, not broken
2. Left side, so I can drive - especially since I switched to the van today, the automatic
3. Juicy gossip at lunch
4. Thread on sale again - along with notions 50% off, so another bobbin holder that really works!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

A day of quilting

We had a "quilting day" today, at the Universities of Shady Grove. (It's an off-campus site that offers classes from a number of universities from around the region). The classroom was great - it had outlets at each desk and comfortable chairs. The only drawback was we couldn't eat in the room. (Coffee was OK, at least!) It was a kind of mini-retreat.

There were about a dozen women there from our guild. All were working on different things. I mostly worked on the Rocket Ships quilt. I worked on another baby quilt, but somehow managed to screw up one of the blocks - and I didn't notice it until I'd sliced the nine-patch. Oh, well. I finished four more Rocket Ship blocks, and have four more to go until it gets sashed and assembled. I'd like to get it done in time for the show - if I can get the top finished by March 3, I'll send in the show form.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Serendipity, convergence, and Quilter's Home

First, a happy belated Valentine's Day to all of my blogging friends.
These are the cookies that are left over from the ones the toddler took to his Valentine's party today.

The Iris quilt is finished - and I think I will rename it Serendipity Iris:
Apologies for the crookedness - I couldn't get my holder to cooperate.

Why serendipity? I went to a talk on Thursday by Al Siebert, who founded and runs the Resiliency Center. The highest level of resiliency "is the talent for serendipity--the ability to convert misfortune into good fortune." This pretty much defines what happened with this little wall hanging. Because I miscalculated the size, I had to add a border. Then I had to decide how to quilt the border. I decided to try a random big stitch meander to tie in with the black squiggly fabric, and it worked better than I could have ever imagined. Even TMOTH, who is rarely impressed, gave it a "wow."

This is a close-up of one corner. It WOULD be the corner with the wonkiest border seam.

Now it needs a hanging sleeve and a label, a lot of time removing cat hair, and it's DONE.

Why convergence? I bought the March/April issue of Quilter's Home today, on the advice of fellow bloggers who deemed it worth the $5.99 cover price. (AND, I bought it at the grocery store on the way in to work for full price, rather than using my JoAnn's coupon!) In this issue, there's an article titled "Are You Creative?" Well, duh. Why would anyone quilt (or do ANY kind of craft, for that matter) if not to be creative? I know there are people out there who will only work from a kit, or use EXACTLY the colors called for in the pattern, and I actually understand the satisfaction of *making* something. I just tend to wing it more.
Will I buy the magazine again? Maybe - with that coupon from JoAnn's ;>)

On a sadder note, Phyllis A. Whitney has died. I doubt that I've read any of her books for at least 30 years - but in high school, I devoured all of her books that the library had.

My other, even greater favorite, from those years, Mary Stewart, is apparently still alive. I still re-read her romantic suspense novels from the 60s and 70s when I need some extraordinarily well-written light fiction.

1. FINISHING something
2. Plenty of chocolate for Valentine's Day
3. Half-price thread at Jo-Ann's
4. Time for reading - maybe I'll hunt down some Mary Stewart
5. Quilt retreat on Sunday!

Monday, February 11, 2008

A day of play

Today, I put the black borders on Iris and started the handquilting:
My lovely holder has claimed this one :)

I'm doing a big stitch with pearl cotton on the border to echo the black fabric in the rail fence:
So far, I REALLY like it - even TMOTH likes it!

1. TMOTH may have landed a part-time job.
2. Space heaters.
3. Pickups from VVA - I got about 4 bags full of stuff and the outgrown carseat out of the house today.
4. Winning my appeal with the insurance company. Small potatoes, dollar-wise, but still a victory.

Jill's having a giveaway for her 200th post!

Congratulations, Jill!
I posted a comment, then forgot to link to her blog. D'oh!
She has some REALLY nice things donated for her retreat. How exciting!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Potential tasks for my "day off"

I took the day off so I could ferry kids around to school, etc. while TMOTH has an overnight meeting. This means that I have from about 9:00 am to 3:30 pm to hopefully do something other than play Spider solitaire. The following are possibilities (asterisks are primary):

1. *Borders on Iris. If I get this done, I can pick up some pearl cotton before I get the later pickup kids and work on it tomorrow night. I've decided to do big stitch quilting on black to mimic the black with swirls that was part of the challenge.
2. Painting. I could potentially get the living room finished tomorrow.
3. Wallpaper removal. This has been unfinished for going on 10 years now. Time to git 'er done.
4. *Kit up Laura's quilt and Stephen's quilt. They can go with me to the mini-retreat.
5. *Put away Christmas decorations. They've been put in their boxes; I just need to put the boxes in the attic.
6. General tidying.

1. Being able to take the day off for personal reasons pretty much any time I need to. A lot of people have jobs where they can't, and I never lose sight of just how lucky I am.
2. That my brother and SIL-to-be take wonderful care of my mom. She's pretty independent, but has moved into their house, and everybody seems happy about the situation. I'm also grateful that I could hop on a plane and be in Florida in a couple of hours if necessary.
3. Ice cream sandwiches
4. Leftovers when TMOTH is away.
5. A 12-year-old daughter who's mostly wonderful. She stayed in the living room to keep the dogs happy while I took the boys to bed.
6. Plant City strawberries at the grocery. A taste of home.

What's on my bed?

Jen asked, so here's the answer:
A store-bought duvet cover.

On my list of things-I-want-to-make-when-I-have-the-time is a patchwork duvet cover. I even have some of the fabrics I want to use and the pattern in the planning stages. Maybe I should work out sizes and work on it next Sunday...

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Chocolate roses

I had a vision for a baby quilt for a co-worker who just became a grandmother on Tuesday morning. I stopped at Jo-Ann's on the way home for fabric, got to work, and it's done! It was also a practice project; some things worked out better than others.

I wanted to use the disappearing nine-patch technique, so I made four squares in this layout, using six-inch squares as a start. The baby's a girl, so I wanted something feminine, but not too baby-ish. Fabrics are rose, cream, and chocolate.

Some slicing and re-sewing later, and it come together into this:

Part of the experimenting was the design, and I think that worked out very well. The other part was the free motion quilting - it went well enough for me to be willing to gift this quilt, but I can see EVERY little blip that's not quite right. A close-up of one part:

I'm going to make another one - I intentionally cut extra strips so that I'd have enough already cut for two and put the [hopefully better quilted] one in the show.

1. Toddler is potty-trained!!!
2. Really, everything pales after #1 !!!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Brickwork done

On Iris, that is ;>)

I did get to Hancock's for thread, and bought lots. (Lots for me, anyway.) No fabric, since it wasn't on sale today. I was standing in line at the cutting table when I re-read the ad - the fabric sale ended yesterday. :(

I cut out the chess pieces for John's quilt and started on those. I got 3 pawns pinned and started to applique the first one. This will be a pain, but worth it.

1. The Patriots lost!
2. A little quality time shopping with my daughter today.
3. Grapes
4. How easy it is to make French toast
5. Beautiful sunny if still too cold weather this weekend
6. Seed catalogs

Friday, February 01, 2008

Too small

Like many of my jeans, Iris is too small...minimum size for the Guild challenge is 30" x 30", and she'll clock in with binding at 21.5" x 33.5". Thanks for all the previous kind comments and suggestions - I may actually finish and bind at the size I like, then whipstitch on a quilted border that I can remove easily after the show. Or, I may just show it in its disqualified state :)

The quilting is going faster than expected - view without so many safety pins but with masking tape here:

I'm handquilting it; I'm using a machine quilting thread because I don't like the stiffness of the handquilting thread. I've got the horizontal rows almost done; I'll then put in vertical rows staggered to look like bricks. Close-up of stitches here:

We started the day with sleet here, so the county delayed school for 2 hours. YAY!! A couple of loads of clothes folded and either put away or delegated to kids, another load washed, a couple of rows of quilting sewn. Kids managed to be in a foul mood despite the 2-hour respite.

The Small Man had his 3-year checkup today. The doc was convinced he had flu or strep, because he was coughing, despite me telling her he was just coughing. The flu and strep tests were negative, of course. It's his birthday tomorrow!! My daughter was complaining because I "only" got him 4 presents, but good Lord, he has millions of toys that the older two have outgrown.

Hancock's is having a Super Bowl Sunday sale this weekend - time to go stock up on thread.

1. A super boss- he loved the carrot cake I made for this birthday party, and his wife wants one for her birthday now.
2. My church-lady cookbooks. I was worried about the carrot cake because of how it looked coming out of the oven, but they didn't let me down!
3. Healthy kids.
4. Peppermint.
5. Wren friends.