Friday, December 30, 2005

Top Is Done!

I managed to finish the Depression Quilt top today! Looks pretty nice and I will upload a photo when I can. It went together quickly once the blocks were complete as the blocks could go together any which way.

I now plan to finish the binding on the Bug Quilt. Poor kitties are wondering where all their lap time is going. It's snowing (all day) and no lap? Ptolemy is the worst, so he will be on my lap while binding. He's somewhat moveable (read: lighter weight than the other moose). I also did a few blocks of my charm quilt, finally deciding how to get the look I want when I put these together. They will be color-blocks of triangles. I'm trying to get emerging mountains--yeah, well, the only time that truly worked was when a gal used all blue, but I'll try.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Blocks Are Done!

I've finally finished the blocks for the Depression Quilt!! All 56 of them! Tomorrow, I'll start sewing them together. My sister and BIL's return has been delayed due to an incoming snowstorm. They drove out in one and pretty much had enough of bad weather driving. Maybe they'll find something fun to do tomorrow in Milwaukee? Anyway, this just means more block sewing, but, alas, for you, no photo updates until I get home. So, it looks like I still might get this quilt top done before the end of the year. The bug quilt binding is nearly done. I should get that done tomorrow during the kitty cats' 1 hour lay-all-over-me-and-purr daily event. The kitty that was most timid with me now seems to be my constant companion.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas

Morning all, I hope your day is enjoyable! We have an almost soggy Christmas out there, but heck. That's better than the -25 F (I'm not kidding) we had one Christmas Day. That year, my cousin had to keep starting her car every hour to be sure the engine didn't freeze or it wouldn't start (alas, she didn't have an engine block heater). I made it to my parents yesterday. In the van? Noooo.. wouldn't start (of course). Happily, my brother's vehicle (an old Berretta) worked fine (just lacks working turning signals and a rear view mirror). Drives nice though.

I didn't realize that my Christmas present to my parents (DVD-March of the Penguins) would challenge them. Their television system hasn't been working right for awhile and so, now my Mom is inspired to get my brothers to fix the darn thing so she can watch her DVD. Guess what they are doing this a.m.!? We will be back to our respective rural MN spots this evening.

I just have a few little presents. A miniature, battery powered lava lamp. Very cute. I also have two Magnetic Poetry Kits. One is called Genius (why use a 4 letter word when a 12 letter word will do?) and Country Songs (for them with busted up hearts). I look forward to my daily silly moments. Oh, and this years' Knitting Pattern Day-by-Day calender! More things to knit!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Cat in a Basket!

I finally have a photo of a cat in my knitted cat bed enjoying it! Huff is our model. He and his 3 other housemates love this thing. This basket was felted using Lion's Landscape Yarn and topped with Fun Fur. It's a great yarn for this project with one caveat. The sides just won't remain stable. They wobble over. While filled with one 16 pound cat, it is not obvious. On the other hand, the cats don't care as they sleep on it whatever way it's laying there (and flip it over sometimes as well). The advantages of this basket is that it is machine washable, but I would put it over a round shape to dry. I actually finished this bed in May, just didn't have a good kitty photo of it. Instructions and gallery are available here:
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I've finished half the blocks for the Depression Quilt. Since the weather is holding up, I will be going to my folks for Christmas, so am not likely to finish it this weekend. I did go on a journey to Brainerd today and bought backing and binding. Alas, I forgot both batting and pearl cotton. Here's a photo of the sewing area my sister set up. Yes, tunes are within easy reach! On the right is a table she bought at a hardware store-really nice wide sewing area and it is stable! There is a clamp light to light the area just behind the sewing machine so there are no shadows. The ironing board is directly on my left. You'll note that I'm using a clear lid from a container across the ironing board and table. I work on this piece and use the block on the ironing board for my leaders and enders. My example block is actually under that lid. Not seen is the large cutting table to the left of the ironing board. For lighting, she is using the greenhouse light she uses in Spring to start cuttings. You have to be somewhat careful-you can get sunburned-but the lighting can't be beat! My sister does not quilt-she makes costumes and doll clothing, so that daylight lamp lighting is pretty crucial for her work.
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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Quiltings Are Happening!

I am happy to report that I have finished the planned quilting on the
Bug Quilt and am currently hand sewing the binding to the back. Once finished, I will decide if I want to add any additional quilting (such as butterflies and dragonflies). To give myself a break (moving a quilt around is harder than it seems day after day), I am working on making the blocks for the Depression Quilt. I had planned to finish this scrappy top before the end of the year and it looks like I will make it. I have 14 blocks done (need a total of 56) and they are going along well. Although I originally planned this quilt to have a border, I have so many squares that I will likely go borderless. I will likely make this into a comfortor and tie it.

Of course, the van won't start again. I didn't actually need to go anywhere, but it just leaves you with this feeling of being stuck (is that my suburban habit showing through?).

edited to add: Link to Depression Quilt (

Sunday, December 18, 2005

It Is Cold!

Today, I woke up to below zero weather. I did what any other smart Minnesotan would do. I stayed indoors and watched movies with the cats. The cats, you say? Well, these babies are very warm heater cats. You place them around you and they stay there, keeping your body parts evenly warm. The problems start when you have a sudden need to use the bathroom because dislodging several roughly 16 pound animals, that don't want to move, is not a thing of beauty and grace. So, thank you Ptolemy, Huff and Puff for your warmth and attention today. And thank you Lady SpitAndStomp for just stretching out on the floor.

I did manage to knit more on my sweater, but I was distracted by my movies (which included DVD version of Beauty and the Beast and several Westerns). Tomorrow, back to quilting.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Snow, snow and snow

It started snowing a few days ago and never stopped! Ok. Now it has. I have managed to quilt about 1/3 of the bug quilt. I have since been worn out either shoveling or just walking to the darn mail box (3/4 of a mile, mostly uphill) in the snow. I've been pretty much snowed in since Sunday. My vehicle (old Mercury Marquis) won't make it up the driveway and my BIL's van wouldn't start. Now it starts (yes!), but the engine light came on. I hope it's just low in oil, which I will check when I have light tomorrow to see. The dairy farmer and his wife next door at least are there if I need other help. At least I made it to the tiny town of Browerville to get milk products, which I was sorely lacking.

Rural Skill Alert: I have now acquired a new skill. Lighting and successfully maintaining a fire in a wood stove. I've been trying to get one going all week. We have had great heat all day and I stoked it again to continue for part of the night (this saves on my sister's heating bill since the temp is down to 7 above now).

I also am working on my other Egyptian cross stitch project and continue on the Banff sweater. Unless I get to a larger town to print out some of the digital photos, alas, you will have to wait until I get back home to see any photos. I've been spending a lot of time doing scrapbooking as well. I have way too much stuff!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

A Little Progress

Most of today was spent getting craft things together to go housesitting (yes, delayed until Sunday). I did get a little knitting done last night though. So far, I've done 9.5 inches on my Banff sweater and have completed the bottom ribbing finally. The original length of this sweater is 24 inches, but unfortunately, a sweater that short is not at all flattering on me, so I will be adding probably 6-8 inches to that. Again, I do plan to update, but due to my sister's slow baud rate, that may not be possible. So, if that is the case, look for more towards the end of the month. Merry Christmas!

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Thursday, December 08, 2005

Things To Finish

I bought the fabric needed to do the finishing for the two quilts I'm taking to finish while housesitting. These quilts are the Bug Quilt and the Fish Bowl Quilt. In addition, I have two tops that I have been piecing to take as well. One is a nearly finished Thimbleberries quilt top and the other is a totally scrap quilt. I am also taking my Banff sweater to knit and my next Egyptian God to cross Stitch (I think it's Hathor, but not sure of the name). It is possible I can get all of this done, but as long as I get the two quilts quilted, I'll be happy. I'm still debating on whether to join the UFO group again this year. The UFO group is a support group to finish Unfinished Fabric Objects. I appreciate the support to get things done. On the other hand, I really want to focus on getting quilt tops done so I don't accidentally use fabric intended for something else. It also shows me what fabric I can piece together for a backing!
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Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Houston Quilt Festival Photos

I am finally starting to connect with my digital photos! Finally, I can share with you a few of my favorite quilts from the Houston Quilt Festival held in Houston in October 2005. As mentioned before, I have a preference for traditional designs. Often done in new fabrics and arrangements, they are still traditionally based. I don't actually have many photos of non-traditional ones.

This first quilt uses friendship stars combined with a new popular style in batiqs. This is mostly a paper pieced quilt.
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This quilt was made with the popular Stack and Whack method and includes a stained glass cutaway technique.
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I love this quilt and I even have a pattern for it. The leaves are made from your leftover scraps. Lots of bias vines...lots of it. This is also a quilt that can be quilted in sections.
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This is a Lady of the lake pattern with an exceptional appliqued border. Spread out, the border seems too busy, but if laid on a bed, the angle seperates that.
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A new way to do Hawaiian quilts. Hand dyed fabrics varying color along the way.
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This quilt didn't resize well. It's a string quilt featuring flag/Independence Day fabrics. String quilts are not my favorite; I think of them as utilitarian and that's it. This one changed my mind. Coordinated fabrics work very well in it!
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Hope you enjoyed my favorite quilts from the quilt show.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Sweater Making

I started my Banff sweater on Friday (Dec. 2). So far, I've progressed with 4 inches of ribbing. I started it on Dec. 1, but just couldn't stand the back and forth knitting so recast on using circulars. TIP-be sure to drop 2 stitches (used for sewing up) when switching a pattern to circulars. I forgot, don't want to rip back, so am just continuing. I am making notes since I will likely make this sweater a second time! I hope to make this sweater again, but in-the-round and top down. Way easier to fit.
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Banff so far

The housesitting plans have changed and I will be leaving on Saturday to house-sit and likely not returning until Dec 28th. I will still have internet access, but with my sister's slow dial-up, Blogspot is a little hard to operate. I plan to bring 2 quilts that need quilting, all my scrapbooking stuff and my Banff sweater. My sister and BIL live in rural Minnesota and I will be caring for their 4 cats. She lives 45 miles from the nearest quiltshop. Heck, even Ben Franklin closed up so you can't even buy thread nearby any longer. So, I hope to get lots of stuff done (keeping in mind that cats like to hinder).