Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Internet Housekeeping

I have spent a lot of the past couple of weeks doing a lot of housekeeping on my accounts. I get WAY too much Email and I just can't stand it any more. So, while some of my messages are now going to special folders, a lot of it just goes to the junk mail and I'll check it if I get to it. I have 2 email accounts--one for MSN and one that is my permanent email address at The filtering systems of both of these systems has been wonderful to eliminate most of the spam mail--it's mail that I've asked for that has gotten out of hand!

In addition, I've been adding more functionality to my blog here. Check out those side margins! After upgrading to the newer version, it's much easier for us non-HTLM literate folk to add links. I'm trying to put useful things there, so that even if I'm not a daily poster, you'll enjoy something new whenever you visit. Also on the bottom of this blog, you will see 18 of my most recent quilts. Eventually, I'll add other crafts, but I haven't figured out how to grab from other albums yet. I wish making a web page were this easy. Alas.

On the kitty side, yes, we still have them. All of them. They are very troublesome, but cute as anything. Leaping is one of their favorite pasttimes now. In fact, just the other night they leaped upon the fireplace, knocking over my grandmother's vase (it's about 60 years old). Fortunately, the vase didn't suffer too much damage. I'll paint the chip marks. What was funny was running into the livingroom and seeing 3 kittens next to each other, on the fireplace, looking down as though they had no idea how that vase landed on the ground. We're innocent! We don't know how it got there!

For crafts, I've been hard at work on a couple of quilting projects as well as half way done now with the knitted baby afghan. I'm also getting progress on the Rectangle Granny Afghan.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Doggie Baby Quilt

I finished the Dog Rail Fence Baby quilt today! Quilt is about 37 x 56 inches and straight stitch quilted using 100% poly fusible batting (June Taylor). Very simple design: alternating 6 inch finished blocks with rail fences. It took me 3 days from start to finish to complete. I'm so amazed! I've never done a rail fence pattern before! This is a totally non-traditional baby quilt. On the flip side, is a pretty rose pattern (it is, after all, for a little girl).

I like this quilt, but I wish I had more of the dog fabric. I added rails to each end to make it crib size, but I just think the additional dog blocks would have been better. When you fussy cut in large squares you need a LOT more fabric than you think. I had 1 1/4 yards and that still wasn't enough for this quilt. On the other hand, this is a great quilt to use a lot of novelty fabric.
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Now, for an added comment. I really don't like the fusible batting. It doesn't stay stuck all that well on the edges. In addition, I really like that shrinkage to bring attention to the quilting, which adds to the coziness. I didn't prewash my fabrics, so those shrunk slightly, but I think 100% poly just isn't my thing. It was very fast to use instead of pinning, but it's one of those things where speed just doesn't make up for the lack of coziness.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Baby Quilt Progress

I continue to work on the baby afghan, but I'm not sure I will get it done before Saturday, so decided to devote today and tomorrow to finishing the baby quilt.

I finished the emergency baby quilt top today. I plan to try a fusible batting on this one, so will be fusing it tonight. This might seem a strange baby quilt, but the mom-to-be comes from a family who has had German Shorthair Pointers for longer than she's been alive. She has one also. I didn't have quite enough doggie blocks to go to the last two rows, so just used the rail fence blocks to finish. Sorry for the angle. I was up on a chair to take a photo and didn't realize it was upside down, so it has sortof a weird effect looking at it. The back will be pink. Not sure what I'm going to use for a binding. The pink I bought doesn't exactly work to my Mom's satisfaction, so we'll have to see. I fussy cut all of the doggie blocks, but my placement of the blocks in the quilt wasn't exactly the best, but we'll just go with that. The final quilt will be about 37 x 57 inches. I used 6 inch finished blocks.
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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Quilting Books

Given my large collection of quilting books (130 plus), you would probably guess that I'm not that selective. No, it's really because there is a quilt or two in each book that I really want to do! Except for applique, there are no reference books here because I use the internet for that. Everybody's list would vary, of course. For instance, some folks pay others to quilt their quilts, so may not want something that helps you quilt on your machine. If I had to cut back to only 20 quilting books, these are the ones I would keep. Most are chosen either for a technique or for a multitude of traditional patterns. Most of these books are currently in print or easily available via online used sources. I have not found an online source for Delightful Applique (Update: Here is a link:

In no particular order:
  • 400 Quilt Blocks by Linda Causee (cutting directions for 6, 9 and 12 inch blocks)
  • Reversible Quilts by Sharon Pederson
  • 101 Nine Patch Quilts by Judy Martin
  • The Border Workbook by Janet Kime (really, any good border book, there are several)
  • Fat Quarter Friendly by Mariann Fons
  • Thimbleberries Book of Quilts by Lynette Jensen
  • Divide and Conquer by Nancy Smith
  • Applique 12 Easy Ways by Elly Sienkiewicz
  • Show Me How To Machine Quilt by Kathy Sandbach
  • Quick and Easy Scrap Quilts by Leisure Arts
  • Our Best Seasonal Quilts by Fons and Porter
  • Quick Quilts from Your Scrap Bag by Leisure Arts
  • Hawaiian Applique by Vicki Fleming
  • Rotary Roundup by Judy Martin
  • Block Magic by Nancy Johnson-Srebro
  • 505 Quilt Blocks by Better Homes & Gardens (resizable blocks, both pieced and applique)
  • Quick Rotary Cutter Quilts by Pam Bono
  • Wild Goose Chase Quilts by Eleanor Burns
  • Log Cabin Quilts by Eleanor Burns (her method is now widely demonstrated on the internet).
  • Delightful Applique (Piece O Cake Designs - resizeable applique motifs).
For other crafts, I don't actually have all that many books.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Block Progress

I am still knitting daily on the baby afghan. It progresses in length slower and slower as you add stitches, so doesn't really look much different that the photo a few days ago. Looks good though. Oh, and I got a new crochet book! If you like flower afghans, this one is worth it!! Includes some 3D flowers as well. It's called A Crocheter's Garden of Afghans put out by Leisure Arts. Bought it at Amazon.
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As you know, I have a hard time finishing things because I start new things. Some of these things are long term projects that will all be done by the end of the year. These are the ones I've started so far. I have a couple of past BOMs that I want to work on as well, but haven't gotten that far.

First, the 2007 BOM at QATW has a 2nd block! As mentioned last time, I'm doing it in two different colorways both of which are from stash. The first shows colors pulled from the Debbie Mumm focus fabric. My border is going to be pieced with Flying Geese. The second is Christmas fabric left over from my Christmas Snowball quilt. I have enough for the blocks,but will have to come up with something interesting for the border.
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A quilt-a-long I joined is based on the pattern in Debbie McCaffrey's book Open A Can of Worms. I have a ton of floral strips to use up, so that is what I am using. The hostess has provided different instructions for those without the book, but the results are already looking great! So, here's my first 2 blocks. Due to the baby afghan, I can't really work on this until later in the month, but at least I know this is working! If these fabrics look familiar, most of them are leftovers from the Floral Triple Irish Chain Quilt done last Spring. That quilt is mostly quilted. Just haven't figured out what to put in the white centers.
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Finally, my focus project for 2007 is to finish my 1000 Pyramids quilt. I started collecting charms for this back in 1993 and started cutting them a few years ago while listening to audio books (specifically Harry Potter). I have about 600 charms cut and have now completed 40 of the estimated 118 blocks needed. A new Harry Potter book comes out this year, so if I check out the last one again for a refresher, and then the new one, I should get plenty of charm cutting in. If you like Harry Potter and have never heard one the audio books, go to your library and check out the first one. Jim Dale is fabulous and came out of retirement just to do these books. This is one of the very few audio books that I've enjoyed listening to multiple times.

I highly recommend using a one size template if you are doing a charm quilt. The one size is also great for plowing through odd-shaped scraps. I've been using the ones designed by Pepper Cory for several different shaped charm quilts and they are wonderful. The 1/4 inch is marked off so you can see exactly what you are cutting and center it accordingly. However, I believe EZQuilting has discontinued their manufacture. You can still find some on Ebay now and then. Joann's recently was selling individual shapes, at a higher price, but they may be a one time thing. Here's a link to what I bought.
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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Updated Blogger

I finally updated my background layout today, so I'm sure you will see a lot of changes in the sidebar. Let me know what you think of the layout. It will take me quite a while to add labels to all the prior posts, but I will try to do a few every time I post something and hopefully will finish that process in a month or so.

I also joined Library Thing as a means to share what sort of books I buy for my crafts. Despite selling over 30 quilting books in the past year, I still have more than 130 quilting books. Not all of my needlecraft books are listed yet and I've nearly reached the 200 book limit (for free account). Let me know if seeing any of these books inspired you to buy one. Just trying to figure out whether this is a useful feature to include or not.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Pattern Misdirections

I have a gripe today. I'm not complaining about mistakes in quilting patterns. They happen even with the most care taken. You have to follow the old adage (well, maybe not that old) of always doing one block before you cut all the rest of your fabric. Sortof like backing up your should, but how many of us do it regularly? Even after we have a major crash and lose everything, right?

What I'm complaining about is magazines not keeping the pattern corrections up past a year or two. It doesn't take that much space on a website to include cutting directions. It is extremely annoying when you know there had to have been corrections and they just delete them!

The subject of my ire today is Quiltmaker. I had cut the little fabric pieces for the blocks for Snowmen In The Woods in the November/December 2003 Quiltmaker Issue. I was willing to torment myself with a little paperpiecing (and you know how I hate that) because this was so darn cute and thankfully, a wall hanging. I needed to get this done before I started the baby quilt or lose the little pieces. So, I made all the little snowballs. When I started to attach background to the finished snowballs, I discovered that both snowball measurements were 1/4 inch too large. Now, I'm stuck. I don't have more of the White-on-White. So, it's either buy another fabric, or recut all the rest of the background, plus recalculate the sashings (which, I had not cut yet).

I went to the website to see if there were any other cutting misdirections only to find out that Quiltmaker only maintains corrections for 2 years. TWO years?? That's it?!? They still have this magazine for sale in their backissues dept. and they can't manage to keep them up for more than two years?

Magazines survive on resubscribers and I actually was thinking of subscribing again despite my distaste for paperpiecing (which is why I stopped my subscription after 9 years). I don't know if I have the incentive to do that now. But I do know that I'm going through my list of quilt patterns kept from various magazines to make certain I have any corrections.

Here's a photo from Quiltmaker of the final quilt.
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Saturday, January 06, 2007

Baby Afghan

I'm making progress on the baby afghan. I'm 25% done according to the pattern directions. I may make it a little bigger than pattern directions, but not a lot. This brand of circular needles always curls. It doesn't particularly bother me when knitting, but it's hard to straighten out for a photo! This yarn is VERY light, so it's perfect for a March baby. Had we been going into Winter instead of out of it, this would not have been a good choice for yarn. My intentions for working on my Banff sweater have been laid aside until I get this afghan done.
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Here's a tired kitten. After an hour of pulling dirt out of plant pots, racing up and down this old chair, attacking fellow kittens and general mayhem, she had to take a nap. Usually the all black kitten is looking out the window (he loves to watch vehicles-typical male), but he was off doing something else.
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Also, if you knit and own a cat (or are owned by one), there is a Ring of Knitting Kitties (knitters who own cats). It's a very large ring and I'm keeping a link in my "Other Blogs Read" section. There are 522 blogs there and I've already found several interesting knitting sites/patterns.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Baby Gifts

Well, my No-buy didn't last too long, but at least I didn't spend as much as is typical. I was surprised to find out that my Mom's neighbor's daughter's baby shower (got that? try again slowly) is Jan 20 instead of February. I need to finish an afghan and a quilt by then. She is having a girl and lists brown and pink as her colors.

I started on the afghan last night (photos when I find my camera). I'm knitting a traditional dishcloth afghan using that new self-striping yarn by Bernat called Sweet Stripes. I chose Candy Stripes. This photo shows the colors a little more intense than they are, but it is a lovely color combo.
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In addition, I found the perfect dog fabric featuring their dog, a German Shorthair at Hancock Fabrics. It's by Robert May for Cranston.
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I'm going to cut out 5 or 6 inch squares centering the dog and do alternate dog blocks that are somewhat babyish or comical. Not sure what yet. That's the thing about quilting. You can really specialize an item to fit a person's hobbies. It will include at least one Puppus Doggus block. This means, of course, I will be making 2 as the pattern was a donation to help provide money for two dog service organizations. Here's a link to the free block, but remember, if you use send a pup or a buck to Ami Simms.
Also, there is a site that has most breeds of dogs individually on fabric. I have not ordered from this place before. A little pricey but probably due to small runs. They certainly have a lot of dog breeds here! Had I the time, I would have ordered fabric from here.