Sunday, January 16, 2011

Actual Sewing Has Occured!

But first, some photos from our trip to the Olympic Peninsula last week.

This is Ruby Beach, which is right on the Pacific Ocean.  A very Pacific Northwest-looking beach.  Note the logs all over the beach.  That's pretty common on the beaches up here. Those things are at least the size of telephone poles. 

This is another shot of Ruby Beach.  It's beautiful, but it was cold that day!  It snowed the previous night, although there was none on the ground in this area.  I'd never been to the beach in the winter before. 

This is Kalaloch Beach, right by the lodge that we stayed in.  A very flat beach, with lots of continuous waves.  There are lots of rocks out there in the water, so I don't think it's ever much of a swimming beach. 

What was really amazing to us was that there was NO cell phone service in this area!  We were shocked . . . we never expected that.  30 minutes north or south of Kalaloch had service.  I actually had to use a pay phone, for the first time in a lot of years, to get in touch with my sister whom we were meeting.  And I think it's, I don't know what word fits here, sad maybe, that we've come to expect to be able to use a cell phone, no matter how remote we are.  It wasn't that many years ago we didn't have cell phones and thought nothing of being out of touch.  Times change, I guess.  Or am I just showing my age? *grin*

We were about 30 minutes or so south of Forks, Washington which is the setting for the Twilight series of books and movies.  If you go to Forks, you can get the "Twilight Tour".

I finally got a start on the Civil War blocks.  I got my new Prussian Blue fabric (see previous post) washed and ready just in time to use it!  And now I'm behind again.  I don't know how long I can keep this up!  But I'm really enjoying the history and the photos on Barbara Brackman's Civil War blog.  If you haven't seen it yet, hop on over and check it out.  There's also a Flickr page where you can see what everyone else's blocks look like.

Here is the project I started using Tonya's new book, as I mentioned in my previous post.  I got all the letters done, following the instructions.  (they were all good, Ton!)  The A didn't come out quite as I had envisioned it, but I used it anyway.  I ended up trimming down the S and the E. . .  they were just too fat.  (Oh, if only losing weight were that easy!)  For a change, I picked out the border fabric first, then based the letter fabrics on that.  DGD's room is painted green and her favorite color is blue, so that was a factor too.  (DGD is 8, and I didn't want to get too wonky.  They are not a "wonky" family.)

My first thought was not to use spacers between the letters, but then I decided things looked better (easier to read) with the spacers.  For me, the hardest part is always putting the letters together.  It seems so complicated at first.  And I'm never sure how much to make them "dance" up and down.  But I just started sewing two together here and two together there, and before you know it, it's not so bad.  I did have to keep adding more background to the top of the letters.  Too much is better than not enough!

Then I decided that the wall hanging needed a heart on it.  This was my first attempt.  But I didn't like it - too pointy at the top.

So, I gathered up my courage and trimmed, just like Tonya says.  I figured, what the heck, I had nothing to lose!

Much better now.  Not perfect, but that wasn't my aim anyway.

Now, where to put the little wonky heart?  I think this corner is already too busy, don't you?

All finished.  Well, first finish, I guess.  I've found something for the back, and I have to go dig in the box of batting scraps for a piece the right size.  I have one week to get it quilted and bound.  This finished at 16 inches tall by 31 inches wide.

The other night when I couldn't sleep, I was pondering quilt designs, as I often do when I can't sleep.  I remembered these little plaid kitties that I appliqued a few years ago.  At the time, I thought they were cute, but had no idea of what I wanted to with them.  Now I have an idea!  I'm going to add the names of all my cats I've owned to these guys. 

OK, this is Step One.  I've sewn plaid fabric around all the cats.  The blocks are now in the 11 to 12 inch range.  I don't know if they'll stay this size or get cut down some.  It'll come to me.  I'm trusting the universe to tell me what the quilt wants.

I'm not sure how to do this quilt, but I thought I'd just start sewing and see what happens. I'll make parts and pieces and see how they all fit together. Sue at The Magpie's Nest has inspired me to attempt this.  She's been doing a lot of this lately, and it's been fun to watch her process.  I'm having some difficulty in not planning this out. . . . it's hard to let go of that. But if I wait for inspiration (without active particpation on my part), the kitties will continue to languish in a box. I do know I want to continue using the plaids, and I want this to be a useful size, because Lord knows I have wallhangings up the kazoo and very limited wall space. So, that's the parameters I'm starting with. It'll be fun to see where this goes.

And I just can't sew without my Studio Cat helping me. . . because he won't let me!  Shade's very possesive of his responsibilities in the quilt studio and he won't let Dunkel in to participate, either.   So, I guess that makes everything I do a collaborative effort.  I do the sewing and Shade contributes cat hair and purrs.  Hee hee!


  1. I LOVE the PNW! I've been to all those places: Forks, Ruby Beach, Kalaloch beach and lodge (though I didn't stay in the lodge). Gorgeous area!

  2. Hi, I love the photos of the beach ... and I feel that you are very brave to tackle the letters as you do.
    I absolutely love the kitties ... I did a quilt of 9, in the same idea ... in memory of my two that are long gone but still in our hearts. Perhaps we are ready to visit the shelter again soon. Very nice,
    and very best wishes,

  3. I have been to both of those beaches. Aren't they gorgeous? We went during summer and drove around the Pacific Peninsula, made the whole loop. The Ruby Beach was one of the most memorable stop on our drive.
    The blocks are looking wonderful. I still have to try my hand at Tonya's word-play. Got distracted again this weekend!

  4. Lovely photos and your letters are great.

  5. What a beautiful piece of the country you enjoyed! I love the beach any time of the year, but we have so much snow here you can't tell where it is, lol. Your letters and the heart are just brilliant! Excellent job!
    I love the little kitties, especially with the plaid around them. I now what you mean about lots of wallhangings and limited wall space - my sewing room walls are packed out, lol. But I do like seeing them all. Shade is soooo pretty!

  6. WOW! Your creative juices are really flowing. I like your idea of starting without a plan, and going with the flow. Cannot wait to see the outcome. Beautiful photos of the coast. Cute kitties.

  7. Aw shucks, I'm flattened. ;- )
    I think a lap quilt featuring your purry friends would be a lovely thing to have. You might try some HST's featuring your plaids... or maybe piano key sashing... But maybe by now the quilt has spoken to you and you know what the next step is. Just remember to have fun (that's the part I keep forgetting!).

    "Ainsley" turned out great!

  8. What wonderful photos of the beach. My husband used to love to go to the beach in winter. He shlepped me on two busses and a subway on our second date (in January 1960) I love the wall hanging! and Hello Kitty

  9. I love the name wallhanging for your granddaughter. The color combination is great. I hope she likes it. I'll have to keep that in mind for mine. She's only 7 months old now, but I bet someday she would like one.
    I also enjoyed the scenic pictures. We traveled to Washington a few years ago, and unfortunately didn't put time in our intinerary for that area. I would really like to come back some time and see the peninsula. You truly live in a gorgeous state.

  10. Those photos are beautiful. We've been here 6 years already and haven't seen much of this beautiful state - not nearly enough! I love your letters, they are looking awesome. I haven't braved another go at those unruly letters, I've just drooled over Tonya's book page by page.

  11. the name quilt turned out really cute! glad the instructions were good - whew. love the kitties with all that plaid and LOVE the idea of all the kitty names going on there. fantastic.


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