Sunday, January 27, 2013

Kitty approved

It has been a productive week.  I started a Twister quilt which was about half done when Shorty decided she wanted to test it out.  I have a cutting table temporarily set up in front of the fireplace and Shorty took up temporary residence on the WIP.  Shorty is my official tester... any new piece of fabric laid down in an accessible spot is fair game.  She likes to move around and test out new resting places, so it is always good to provide new test sites for her.

A couple days ago I finished the piecing on the Twister and it is now ready to be neatly folded and put into the "ready to be quilted" stack.  Now if I could only find a home for this lap size quilt, it might stay at the top of the stack.  This was a fun quilt to make.  I learned from the test quilt I worked on a couple weeks ago (posted previously below), but my husband still thinks there is not enough contrast... some pinwheels are less visible than others... but that is what it's all about... isn't it?  I actually bought a pattern for the placement of the blocks to get the desired appearance.  The pattern example used black as the background material... but I really, really do not like working with black.  My eyes just have such a hard time adjusting and seeing what I am working on.  Outside of the background, all of the other fabrics are from my stash.  I did not have enough of anything that would work for the background, so I bought the brown.  I did not have any fabric samples with me to judge the contrast, so I think it turned out pretty good for guesswork.

A couple weeks ago we took the leap into the latest in coffee makers....  at least it was a leap for us.  Both my husband and I didn't think we needed one of those Keurig machines.  We had our coffee making technique all figured out.  Well my husband saw an advertisement for a K-cup which allows you to make a cup of coffee using your own coffee instead of having to buy the pre-packaged cups... which does not mean that we won't use the pre-packaged cups, but we have the choice.  Yesterday I removed our old green coffee maker to a pantry shelf.  We had left it on the counter... just in case the Keurig didn't work as we had anticipated.  In front of the old green machine is the 3 boxes of samples for the Keurig.  I found a deal with 105 different coffees and teas... I have a list handy so that we can record our opinions to help us decide which ones are worth buying again, and those that are not to our liking.  We are really loving this new experience in coffee.  We bought a big box of Newman's Special Blend at Sam's, and that is already more than half gone.

I have been wanting to make a patio out in the back yard.  I had heard about a form to make your own patio blocks and bought the form a few months ago already.  Earlier this week I decided it would be good to do a test in the front yard in front of the access for the outdoor faucet.  This is two castings of the form, which took two 80# bags of ready mixed concrete.  My husband even bought a new wheelbarrow to help make the job a little easier.  I like it so much, I think I am going to expand my new pathway to go across the whole front of the deck... and if I get it done, I will be sure to post a picture.  We bought some more bags of concrete mix yesterday... so my work is waiting for another good day to work outside.

 LBNL - Last but not least, I thought I would try my hand at English Paper Piecing.  Last week I bought the book "Hexa Go-Go".  It is a very good book with a few really nice projects to get you started.  Now as most people already know, EPP is a hand sewn technique. This sew book is the first project in the book.  The Hexies are of course done by hand, but the rest of this project is sewn on the machine.  This is a place to keep your handwork tools together while you are working on your hexies for the project at hand. This sewbook is 4 1/2" tall which makes it a quite handy size.  Of couse I still have yet to put it into use, but I am sure that it will work quite nicely.

The inside has pockets, and felt is layered to hold your pins and needles.  I used one of my antique buttons for the closure... the fabric is all from my stash, including the felt.  Now I will have to see what new project I can start to add to my UFOs.

Hope your week ahead is a good one.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Roll Top Desk... where is it?

I have a couple friends who have been making these things that they are calling a "snood".  I tried to find directions for how to make a snood, and what I found did not look like the snoods that my friends had.  So I asked one of my friends how hers was made and she gave me the stitch count and hook size and off I went looking in my stash for yarn that I could use as practice to see if I could get mine to turn out OK.  I had some Fun Fur left from a couple years ago on a different scarf fad.  I didn't have enough of one color, so I just grabbed two totally different colors.  I actually liked how it turned out.  Now I found instructions for similar scarves/hoods, but they were calling them cowl neck scarves.  A snood was described as something you make to cover up your hair... usually long hair.  I think it is a mobius scarf that can be used as a hoody...  A scarf with a twist.

 In case it slipped by your attention... I have a couple feline friends that live at my house... four to be exact.  Often times my socks have kitties on them.

I was browsing through my newsletter from Superior Threads today and they had a tip from a customer that told how she kept her bobbins with the proper thread.  I won't try to describe her little tutorial, but I thought this was a pretty neat idea.  You can go check out her instructions by clicking on this link...  Maria Elkins' tutorial .  It uses a fat straw, and when I first tried to do one, I was having an issue understanding just how it was supposed to work.  Once I went back to look at her pictures and instructions again, it became clear that I had not read it correctly the first time. 

Back several years ago I saved up my money and bought myself a roll top desk.  I had it before we moved to Texas... but no one in Texas was aware of this desk that has been sitting in our computer room, in the same spot, since we moved here.  The initial reason was that I put a lamp on the desktop that was too tall to close the top.  Then of course it doesn't take long to load up a desktop so that it becomes difficult to find a clear spot.  A couple weeks ago I tried to talk my husband into helping me move the desk.  I wanted to turn it so that someone looking in the room from the hall would not see the clutter on my desk.  He suggested we think on it for a week first.  I then started doing some organizing and clearing out of the clutter, and before I knew it, the  only obstacle in the way of closing the roll top desk... was the tall lamp.  Changed the lamp, and I found my beautiful roll top desk.  I mentioned it to a couple friends, and they had no clue where in my house I was hiding my roll top desk.

It is sometimes a couple weeks in between getting a quilt done.  I don't remember when my friend brought this one to me to be quilted, but I finished the quilting this afternoon.  It is always a good day when I finish a quilt.  Now this is only one corner, but it is enough to help me recall when someone asks... remember that quilt you did for my last year... when you do lots of quilts for other people, they kind of all run together.  
Finally... another pair of socks.  It was so cold this morning that when we went into town to go to breakfast... I surely had my socks on... and I also wore a scarf and gloves and my leather fully lined jacket.  Today I actually think it is colder here than it is up north.  Of course it never stays cold for very long here... but it seems extra cold because we aren't used to it anymore.  Now our kitties are Texas kitties and they are choosing to stay inside... so that confirms it... it is cold outside.


Friday, January 4, 2013

Socks and Shorty and Quilts

Fridays are typical days for a trip into San Antonio.  Quite often one of our stops is at JoAnn's.  You never know what you  might find on sale, or how many coupons you can use.  I'm always on the lookout for a new gadget, or maybe some yarn.  There are lots of options to help organize my sewing space... and my most favorite item to find is a new pair of socks..  There are always lots of  socks to choose from... usually specific to the closest holiday.  They didn't have any Christmas ones left today, but I bought a couple with hearts on them.  This pair, bought a few weeks ago, isn't really holiday specific... I just liked the colors... I guess these aren't that colorful, but I liked the design.  Anyone who is around me very much is aware that they can count on my socks being quite colorful or crazy... or both.

I wasn't looking to take any pictures tonight, but I glanced over and found Shorty in a new spot.  The sewing box/stand has not really found a new permanent spot in our newly changed around living room, but Shorty found it inviting.  She is always looking for new places to claim as her spot, and this one was quite unique.  The handle around her middle is stationery on the stand, and she just slid in and made herself comfortable.

This photo op with Shorty prompted me to go out on the porch and take the picture I thought I should have taken earlier today... our esperanza still has blossoms on it... and it is January.  I don't remember blossoms hanging on quite this long before.  Even the seed pods have not started to dry yet.

 Recently I bought a new quilting ruler... or do you call it a tool.  Anyhow it is intended to make a quilt called a Twister.  I have a friend who recently finished a twister table topper and I thought it looked like a fun quilt to make.  I wanted to start off and make a practice piece, so I grabbed a few pieces of fabric and started cutting. I sewed them together in a way I thought might work.  I knew what I was looking for... a pinwheel.  Well, when it was done I showed it to my husband and he said it was really hard to pick out the pinwheels.  I have to agree now that I back up and look at it from a different perspective.  The best part of making a practice piece is you can learn what not to do when you start your "real" quilt.

Last, but certainly not least... this is the quilt that has been waiting to be quilted for 3 years.  I have been reluctant to put it on the frame because I put so much time in all the piecing and its intricate detail, that it intimidates me.  I have not been able to decide how I will quilt it.  I determined the problem... I would not think about it if it was folded away in a drawer... out of sight.   I have now taken it out and hung it over my sewing room door.  I put a folded batting strip across the top of the door to protect the quilt, but it is in my face every day now... so I am confident that I will get it done... in the near future.  It is quite an awesome quilt. Once I get the quilting done, I may consider putting prairie points on with the binding.  It may be too much, but I have that to think about for a while.