Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year!

First, Happy New Year!!! Remember not to drink and sew or you might run over your finger.

Yes, I had some stuff I got done just under the wire. The first is my Christmas Wreath quilts. I made two of them (one is a gift). They have a 3 dimensional bow (center of bow) and I plan to quilt it using metallic thread. I would like to use Svorkian (sp?) crystals on this one, but don't have space to store more stuff, alas. Maybe I just have to bite the bullet and get rid of all the rubber stamps?! Then I would have room!Image Hosting by
I also managed to decide on a block for using up the 2 7/8 inch squares and triangles (the box is totally full), although I won't be working it immediately. This pattern is Ocean Waves. I decided I just didn't want white, but I wanted something light, so pink it is. It will mostly be done as a leader/ender project once the Heart's quilt is complete.
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I also have to make a quick decision on a baby item...quilt or afghan? The baby shower is Jan. 20. I figured I had more than a month!? I know she's having a girl, but is she going to be a traditional pink baby or a more modern any color baby? I don't know.

Finally, I'm doing a bunch of cleanup at my Picturetrail account which contains many of my finished projects. Occasionally this week, you will find photos missing in my blog as the link has been broken. You'll be able to see those photos if you go to

Thursday, December 28, 2006


Yes, you need more kitten photos. Here's a couple just awoken from a nap in the closet. Nowadays, kittens only sleep together at night in their crate. They are teething, thus the chewed box.Image Hosting by
Kids aren't the only ones who play in the boxes instead of the toys.
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Here is early quilt testing. They prefer to run under it rather than lay on it. They love the back of my sister's quilt with the flannel. They run under that too.
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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Paddlewheels Are Done!

I finished my Paddlewheels Quilt yesterday! Tested it last night and it's a keeper. Now for the details. This quilt is about 75x93 inches and made entirely from the Thimbleberries line for a country look. The batting is Warm and Natural (unwashed) and the backing is leftovers from my stash. I made this using the quilt-as-you-go method popularized by Georgia Bonesteel, but quilted by machine. My method was to connect together 2 rows of blocks, add backing and batting and pin. Then quilt. After quilting I connected them. Please note that if you are doing a pieced border, attach the border first, then quilt. Lining up quilted cornerstones doesn't work very well. The quilt top goes together very fast. I made all the blocks and border sections in one weekend. The quilt pattern I used is entitled Paddlewheels and Pinwheels and is in the book Thimbleberries Book of Quilts by Lynette Jensen. I'll likely do this quilt again in bright fabrics. This is my type of scrap quilt-lots of different fabrics used, but only one or two background fabrics.
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Here's a closeup so that you can see the quilting. When I don't have sashing, I quilt to within 1/2 inch of edge so that I can still easily connect the blocks. I used a walking foot for all the quilting and freehanded the widths. If you want more exacting, measure and mark.
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Here's the back. Some of the fabric is leftover after cutting borders for another project. I didn't really like the brown all that much. I did use it for the borders in the front and then used the rest on the back. All the fabric in this quilt is from stash.
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Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas and Happy Yule!

On the needlecraft side, I finished the Paddlewheel quilt today! Full treatment to follow tomorrow (if we still have all this sun). I'll have it kitten tested before I take photos (must be cat approved you know). I have to do labels for all the 2006 quilts now that I found my fabric labels again.

I got Electric Quilt 6 for Christmas and I've been playing with it and actually following the tutorial. Finished Lesson 1, on to Lesson 2! I was happy to find out that I can scan my own fabrics in, since there isn't a chance that they would be in EQ6. Now, I just have to figure out how we can toggle between hi res and low res because it's very hard to read the screens outside of the quilting program. There MUST be a way of doing it in XP. We just haven't discovered it yet.

The Christmas Train is pretty popular. Dad is trying to figure out how to squeeze in one more car and Mom torments the kids by adding one more stuffed animal periodically. Bob the Builder arrived only about a week ago. Kids even get out of their vehicles to have their picture taken in front of the Train. I am only a train worker bee. I help move the train onto the front lawn and back again after Jan. 1. Now, for the photos. First, we start with our engineers.
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The Engine! The wheels are stationary during the day, but move at night.
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Next, the Gift car.
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Next is the animal box car (technically, they aren't all animals).
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Here's Grog and Nog. Need fuel to celebrate, right? The garland keeps getting ravaged by wind. Guys, here's a place where duct tape just doesn't work.
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Here's the Caboose. Little Nemo even has bubbles.
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Upper window of Caboose has Santa Bears. For those not in the know, around 1985, Daytons offered a Santa Bear. It was so popular, that they designed new Santa Bears every year for a number of years afterwards. The Dayton's store is no more, but Santa Bear lives on in the Christmas Train.Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Friday, December 22, 2006

We Got A Winner!

My Mom and Dad have had a Christmas train for some years now. This year, they won 1st Prize in the 1st Annual Lighting Display for a Large Non-motion Display (the wheels are motorized). First Prize was $50 (which pays for replacement light bulbs and stuff).
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Their neighbor directly across the street won 1st Prize for Large Motion Display (deer are animated). They have a very elegant display. Our end of the block tied up half the contest.
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Want to see more Christmas Train Photos!? Go to this link: They are in the Family Photos Section near the top. Yes, kitty photos are in the Pet section also, but I need to upload more!

I did manage to finish sewing the last border on the Paddlewheel quilt and have cut the fabric to make up the binding. Coming into the home stretch, but I know tomorrow will be full of errands, so I don't expect to get much done then.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

It's Snowing!

We finally got the blizzard from Colorado. Started in with freezing rain at 11:30 a.m. and now an inch of snow. Eventually, we will get 3-6 inches. They say that it will all melt by Saturday, so not looking good for a white Christmas this year.

The snow cut short my errands today, so I started working on my QATW 2007 BOM. Yes, we do start early! I still need blocks for my Christmas Sampler quilt, so this is a great way too accumulate them. I have lots of this great leaf fabric and plenty of red with gold dots.
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My block for the BOM didn't photograph real well. The dark fabric is a dark red. The fabric to the side is what I'm considering for the sashing. Yes, my seams don't match perfectly. Don't let that stop you from quilting. People who don't quilt don't notice this stuff. Ever.
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I plan to quilt-as-you-go, so am trying to decide on my sashing fairly quickly. These were the choices from my stash. I'm thinking the top yellow due to the all-over pattern. My quilt will have more of a fall feel, which is fine. It does work with the focus fabric, which is the goal of course. I'm trying to do most/all of these projects using stash. Not always an easy thing!
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I'm sewing the final border to the Paddlewheel quilt tonight. I hope to be able to attach the binding tomorrow, but no guarantee. Without sunlight, it's harder to see. :(

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Progress on Projects

Projects are going slow, but I'm happy to report that the Paddlewheel quilt has advanced considerably. Two of the borders are now attached and I'm doing the handsewing on the back now. I hope to get the other two borders attached by tomorrow. I decided not to use the sashing method of attachment since I found most of the time, I left that 1/2 inch unquilted making it fairly easy to attach like the rest of the blocks. I marked the cornerstones with chalk for 1/2 edges and cross-hatched them. They look good.

I want to mention that if you were interested in the Reversible Quilt method, Sharon Pederson was on a Simply Quilts show and provided step-by-step directions. Take note of the sashing attachment near the bottom of the page as that can be easily used for quilt-as-you-go String Quilts. That would save loads of time!,1805,HGTV_3876_1727368,00.html. I will list this link also with my completed Reversible Quilt, making it easier to find it!

The Giant Granny rectangle is going along slowly. As mentioned, every round takes longer. I'm up to round 29 now. I'm not getting much done because of all the handwork on the Paddlewheel, but once that is done, Granny gets attention again.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

They Are Just Too Cute

If you thought you were coming here today for more craft photos, you were wrong. I got another group photo! They can all sleep together on the computer chair now. I want you to feel impressed. Although the lighting wasn't all that great, please note that all eyes are looking at me!! Try that with 5 of anything that includes a guy!
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Here's the monochromes. Two boys and the little girl on the right. Note that her eyes are starting to become less round and more slanted like an adult. The All-black and the little girl are the terrors of the group. The boy on the left is the largest kitten and he's very gentle.
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Here's the Calicoes. They are both girls. The one on the left is very similar in coloration to the kitty I had as a teenager named Keye-Keye. They are both sweet.
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Monday, December 11, 2006

Cute Dolly Stuff & Kitty

I've mostly just been working on the Giant Granny today and pinning the backing on the Paddlewheel quilt (remember, I told you there was hand work, but still a lot less than trying to pull a whole queen sized quilt through the sewing machine!).

I have to share this with you! None of my extended family members crochet, knit or quilt. However, my sisters do sew things. My sister in Central MN has been making doll clothing for her grandkids for a couple of years and is now selling them. They are mostly her own designs and most are historical. Here's an example. I think these are just great!
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Also, here's a new photo of another train car on the Christmas Train. Lots of little figures for the kids (and they recognize all of them!
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Finally, a kitty photo. Kitty jacknife. How do you sleep this way?
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Sunday, December 10, 2006

Stash Diet

Rearranging fabric is such a pain. I needed to move fabric back to my storage unit in anticipation of painting in January. I had 2 of those 24 gallon Roughnecks filled. Ugh..that was heavy. More importantly, one of those holds enough fabric for at least 3 queen sized quilts (including the backing and binding)! I did, however, manage to find plenty of fabric for the QATW 2007 BOM. I'll have to supplement later with more background, but for now, I think I have adequate choices for 6 months.

I am attempting to go on a fabric and yarn diet for 2007. Except for crochet swaps, I want to just use stash except for fill-in. I just have too much stuff! One year of stash reduction should really help. Then everything will fit in my closet or under the cutting table once more. Hard though. I am also going on a quilt book diet as well to justify purchase of EQ6. I have more than 50 quilting related books (and that was after selling/trading more than 20). That doesn't even include the magazines. Since EQ6 is partially paid for with Christmas money, I've been waiting to install it, but I keep looking at my box. Sigh...the waiting..

Ok.. what have I purchased recently? A crochet book entitled 200 Crochet Blocks! I want to join several crochet swaps, but also want to expand my skills. This book gives me lots of choices. I hear that there is even a pseudo-crochet-a-long for this as well, but I haven't finished my other two yet! Unlike my quilts, I don't mind giving away crocheted afghans once I have finished them. I've done that for years. I really enjoy the process of creating the blankets and getting warm fuzzies from those who appreciate an afghan. More importantly, an afghan isn't any where near as costly to produce as a quilt!
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Thursday, December 07, 2006

New Blogger!

I'm really excited about some updates on Blogger, so I'll be experimenting for a few days. Yes, well, in between projects. I like the label option because it makes it easier to select between my different crafts.

My Dad unexpectedly had surgery earlier this week. He came home from the hospital today, but gets readmitted early in January for a second procedure. So far so good. Hopefully, when all is done he will have a lot more pep than he's had this past year.

Kittens also require a good deal more attention for proper socialization. They are determined to play rather than rest in your arms to be petted. So far, NOBODY is a lap cat.

I have quilted the borders of the Paddlewheel Quilt and sewn together the quilted strips. I've gone with the idea of using sashing to connect the main part with the borders and cornerstones. Just making sure I have enough to do so without buying more fabric.

In crochet, I've been working on squares for an online swap (#74 cherry red and white) that I joined. Received some of the squares already. I'm making 2 different squares: one uses the same flower pattern I made for Mom's afghan. Haven't decided on the second yet.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Another Paddlewheel Turn

The Paddlewheel Quilt was part of a challenge at QATW for November, so here's a photo of the progress thus far. It was SO COLD and windy outside, it is likely my last outdoor photo for awhile. It's Dec. 2 here in MN and NO SNOW. Pathetic, but I'm not complaining. I still have no winter boots.

All the blocks are quilted, but not all sections are connected yet. The borders are sewn and pinned. The cornerstones are added last. I haven't decided what color I want for them yet. I'm thinking either the same brown used in the border or a red. The problem with country colors is that they tend to be too dull. Earlier Thimbleberries fabric (Prior to starting a collection in 2003) were much brighter than the current pallette. I will be adding a narrow sashing to connect the borders and cornerstones to the main quilt. I don't really mind the handwork since I need TV projects anyway. Better yet, I get a new-to-me recliner today! Hopefully that will do wonders for my knees, which have given me trouble ever since the mechanism on my current recliner failed.

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Friday, December 01, 2006

Bigger Kittens

Yes, it's been at week since I posted kitten photos, so it's time again. First off, I finished the quilting of the blocks on the Paddlewheels quilt. The borders are pin-basted ready to quilt, but have to stew a day or two to decide how I want to quilt them. How I quilt them will change how they are attached (either just like the blocks or with a narrow sashing). So, I'm cleaning my work area in the meantime. It's amazing how much stuff accumulates!

Now, on to the kitties. I have found it impossible to take a digital photo of the kitties awake. They are just a blur in my camera. So, I get them during their nap. In the daytime, they prefer to sleep in their kittycat condo. Only 4 will now fit, so I had to search for sleepyhead (who was asleep on the crumbled paper under the computer. They are still confined to my sister's room except for twice daily romps in the hallway and bathroom areas-the house just isn't set up for babies of any species.
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