Tuesday, February 26, 2013

My Brain Is Rusty

I'm finally feeling much better (antibiotics = good), and have been able to get some sewing done!  Yay!  However, I'm apparently out of practice.  My brain couldn't quite remember what to do. *grin*

Finished blocks, ready to sew together
I decided to "warm up" by working on some more of the Scrappy Trip blocks that I had started sometime last year.  My guild is making lap-sized quilts for nursing homes, and with the addition of a border, this will be the right size - 42 inches square.  I'm using all scraps (except for the black) to make these blocks, from my drawer of already-cut 2.5 inch strips.  I had 6 blocks already finished and only needed 3 more to make the lap-sized quilt.  Easy, right?

Umm, it didn't go quite the way I wanted.  I didn't actually look at the blocks that were already done, so the first block I made I put the black strip in the wrong place.  But the worst of it was that I had the wrong foot on my sewing machine and the seam allowances ended up the wrong size - more like 3/8 inch than 1/4 inch!

OK, figured out the foot thing, adjusted and then made 2 more blocks.  Oops.  More boo-boos.  I didn't realize that the already-done blocks all had a black strip running through the middle.  Totally left out the black.  I wondered why I was short a strip when I was sewing the blocks together!  It wasn't until I decided to lay out all the blocks that I realized my mistake.  I just had to laugh!

So, here they are, in all their glory.  The top left block is correct.  The top right and bottom left are pretty blocks, but they don't have the black strip in them.  The bottom right is the one with the wrong seam allowance and the black strip in the wrong place.  The pretty blocks that don't work will be put aside to go into another quilt someday, and the wrong-sized one may go on the back of this charity quilt, just to use it up. 

I lined the small block up with a block of the correct size, and you can really see how it gets worse and worse as you "read" it from left to right.  Yikes!  A perfect example of what a too-big seam allowance will do to your block.

A close-up shot, where you can see the different-sized seam allowance.  (top block vs. bottom block)  I'm sharing this as an educational opportunity.  I know I learned something from this!

So, now all I have to do is sew the blocks together and then find something for the border, and this little lap quilt will be ready for quilting.  I'm thinking green for the border (all the blocks have green in them) and then a black binding.  Hopefully that will go more smoothly.  *fingers crossed*

Saturday I did a "sewing" project with my granddaughters.  We went to Jo-Ann's and bought fleece, and they made started no-sew fleece blankets for themselves.  We did the "2 layers tied together around the edges" method. We didn't actually get them finished, but we got a good start on them, and they can finish them at home.  I didn't get a single photo!  (bad blogger!)  Interestingly, at the store, they didn't hesitate about what fabric they wanted.  They took a look at what was available, and made their decision right away!  They each had to get some extra fabric as they want to make blankets for their stuffed toys.  We didn't have time to work on that and I can't wait to see what they come up with!

We seem to always have good weather in February up here in the Northwest, sunny and maybe even as warm as 50+ degrees.  Lately, it's been pretty darn chilly even though it's sunny.  When we get rain, we get fresh snow on the mountains.  But winter always comes back in March - sometimes we even get measurable snow!  But we're having a little tease of Spring out on the back deck!  My crocus are up and starting to bloom.  In the upper right corner you can see that my tulips and daffodils are starting to come up too.  What a welcome sight!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

An Eagle, Some Corduroy and a Smug Cat

My DH took these photos of the bald eagle yesterday, while I was out visiting the Doctor.  The eagle possibly looks better than I do.

Good news, though.  I have a diagnosis (bronchitis) and some antibiotics, so I should be feeling better in a few days.  When I called the Doctor's office Monday, I actually looked at the calendar and counted how long I've been sick.  I was shocked when I realized it's been 7 weeks.  *sigh*  No wonder I'm tired of it!

The ducks that live on our pond were scarce yesterday.  No one was taking any chances with that hungry eagle flying around.  But apparently the one seagull that comes here in the winter was chasing the eagle in the air.  This crazy seagull comes to visit when the diving ducks come in the winter.  He harasses them and tries to take the fish that the ducks catch.  When the diving ducks leave, the seagull goes back to the grocery store parking lot where the rest of his relatives live.

I finally pulled out my poor neglected Gee's Bend-ish corduroy quilt made for National Corduroy Day back on 11-11-11.  *blush*   You can read about the making of it here.   I think it's "marinated" long enough and it's time to get serious about finishing this.  I'm tying this with black Perle cotton, and it's tedious and boring. 

one block finished

Last time I was working on this, I was putting it on the kitchen counter to tie it, (it's the right height for me to work at), but I got tired of standing.  So, for the Super Bowl, I pulled out the card table and started using that, so I can tie while seated in my chair.  It's working!  

I've decided to spend at least half an hour a day working on this, and I'm starting to see progress! I haven't gotten to this every single day, but I do more days than not, and I'm happy with that. I haven't trimmed any threads yet.  I'm waiting until I'm done, mostly because I haven't decided how long I want them to be.

The smug cat

Dunkel found himself a cozy spot the other evening.  He found the quilt I'd been using and decided he was claiming it.  Oh dear, I'm a little embarrassed for him.  It's not a very flattering shot.  He's gotten quite portly, hasn't he?  Poor baby.  I won't tell him if you won't.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013


Today is my blogiversary!  Five years!

When I started this blog, I never would have guessed that I would last 5 years!  I had no idea what I was going to say, or if anyone would read my blog or care about what I had to say.  Thank you all for reading, commenting and sticking with me through it all.  I've had a lot of fun, and I've made so many friends.  It has been so rewarding to do this "blog thing".  And your comments and friendship have made it that way.  Thank you from the bottom of my indigo heart!

We won't be having any parades or big parties around here to celebrate today.  I'm under the weather again.  I thought I had finally gotten over the flu, but now I've got it, or something remarkably like it, again.  Flu, Part Deux.  Lots of unglamorous coughing, nose-blowing and medicine-taking going on around here.  And precious little quilting, unfortunately.  Ugh.  Please tell me this will be over soon. . . . I'm so tired of being sick.

Sorry, I'll stop whining now.

I do actually have some quilt-y content.  And about time too!

First I'll show you my most recent fabric acquisitions.  I had to go get some fresh dots for Nat'l Polka Dot Day last week.  I'm sure you understand.  And they just happen to be the colors I need for my challenge for my local quilt guild!

We're doing a color challenge this year.  Had to pick a crayon from a bag, and that's our primary color for our quilt.  The opposite color on the color wheel is our secondary color.  I picked the orange crayon.  Now, I've never particularly cared for orange, except for at Halloween.  But I'm changing my tune lately.  These new citrus-y oranges are calling to me.  And that makes my secondary color blue.  So, I happily accepted this challenge.  I even have a couple of ideas!  (now if I could just feel well enough to go play in the quilt studio)

I accompanied my friend C. on her trip to a local quilt store for more fabric for her project, and these jumped into my hands while I was there.  Actually, I need the white print for a project I'm in the midst of working on, but the blacks just had to come home with me.  They're for another project that, so far, is just fabric and a pattern in a bag.  But they were perfect for the project!  That one might get moved farther up the queue now.

And, I have managed to get in the quilt studio and make some Low Volume blocks in the past month.  It's so nice to have the pieces all cut and ready to sew when I've got time or motivation.

the whole thing
I've got 70 blocks made out of the 80 that I need.  So, I decided to lay out all the blocks on the "design floor" and see how they looked.

one end
I decided to leave open spaces for the extra 10 blocks instead of being a row short.  I wanted to see how big it looked.  My living room carpet is another nice neutral, isn't it?

the other end
Can you see the "stealth" cat?

Quilt Inspector 1
And, of course, the Inspectors' came to do their jobs.  It's amazing, really.  They can be dead asleep way at the other end of house, upstairs, and yet they still know when quilt blocks go on the floor.  I'm telling ya, it's a sixth sense, isn't it?  And, of course, I just couldn't do it without them!  hee hee!

Quilt Inspector 2
See that really dark piece at the right-hand edge of this picture?  It's gone now.  It was glaringly obvious that it didn't work.  Thanks for pointing that out, Shade!

Dunkel performs the "wad test".

So, that's where I'm at now.  I know what I want to do for the other 10 blocks.  I think I need to cut more fabric, but that will have to wait until I feel a little better.  Hopefully, soon.  I'm ready to get this one finished.

Now, to celebrate, I think I'll go take a nap.

Happy quilting!