Thursday, October 30, 2008

Twee Top is Ready for Sandwich!

I finished the Twee Top today as well as the football themed flannel backing. Will be laying out to roll up for tying either today or tomorrow (too windy just now). I'm very happy with how it turned out although I still wanted the cornerstones to be brighter than they are. Looks good though and the rich browns in the deer really look great with the purple and the trees.
Twee Top Top Done

Here's a closeup that shows more detail of the block and multiple sashings and border. Yep, that is Vikings fabric. This quilt was made with my BIL in mind and he is a total Vikings and hunting fan. Yes, he likes fishing too, but my attempts to include something related to fishing really looked bad. I'll have to come up with some wall quilt for that. Yes, you could argue that fishing is a summer thing, but this is MN and he has a brand-new-to-him ice house for ice fishing.
Closeup of Twee Top

No quilt is properly done around here unless there is some pet help and Polly provided plenty. Here she is helping me to decide on a fabric for the cornerstones. Fabric? You don't need any fabric!? You just need to pet and cuddle me, she says. Seriously though, I had an afghan for her in the window, a bed on the printer, a bed on the corner of the cutting table and even as a last ditch, a bed on the ironing board (with iron removed). She wanted to either be right behind the sewing machine (so that I couldn't sew) or right there on the fabric I was working with.

Polly Helping
Tonight, I NEED to work on some knitting and cardmaking, so will just be cleaning up the quilting area to work on the Log Cabin. In addition, I need to get things set out for my QATW November challenge which is to quilt my Yuletide Wallhanging.

Monday, October 27, 2008

We have purple!

First, I'm here to tell you that I continue to have progress on quilts. I finished all the tree blocks. The initial sashing is also part of the block. Sewn and trimmed. Tonight, I am cutting all the sashing and cornerstones out. I don't know how much fussy cutting I will need for the Vikings fabric. Only experimentation will tell. I'm told by the manager that there will be plenty of Vikings fabric unless they start winning.
Tree Progress
Here's the new cat tower (or triple bunk bed). It was supposed to be my cookbook shelf. While moving stuff around, this ended up in front of the window and it looks like here it will stay. At least for the winter. From top to bottom is Bart, Cleo-Claudine and Sylvester. Unfortunately, Bart took it upon himself to pull off all those vinyl pumpkins stuck on the window. Bad boy! That lovely red/orange/yellow ripple afghan was not made by me. I actually found it at a garage sale. It had never been used! The gift information was still inside the blanket! I could not believe it, so immediately bought it for $2. Clearly, someone had no appreciation for handmade stuff. It's impossible to keep a kitty off one, as you can see. I'm making some polar fleece pillows for this so that I can get my afghan back and get rid of that ugly camouflage blanket that Cleo is sleeping on.
Cat Bunk Beds
Here was a new bed. Didn't even have time to get the tag off before Polly was in, upside down and snoozing.
Cat Bed

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Saw my first snowflakes today. Had to go out and rescue the remaining green tomatoes. They are all now hanging out in trays, hopefully to turn red over the next week.

I've spent much of the day working on the Twee Quilt sashing. I have 4 blocks to finish. I made my block sashing a little larger to account for blocks that came out different sizes and will then trim them all the same size. Once that is done, then I can start cutting the Vikings Sashing.

What I am disappointed to discover is that a number of my log cabin blocks came out too small on one side. So, I'll be spending some time over the next couple of days taking 1 to 3 logs off to resew. So, there are disadvantages to group quilting - you don't pay a lot of attention to checking to make certain the blocks are all coming out the right size while you are working and yakking. Easy to fix, just takes time. That's fine (snort). I spent much of the day listening to the audio version of Pride and Prejudice and am nearly done. After that, lots of knitting and old-time radio podcasts for awhile, then on to the next audio book.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


I don't normally speak of politics in my blog, but I can tell you that with the threatening recorded messages we have received from the MN Republican Party in the last 2 weeks, I may never vote Republican again. I guarantee I won't be during this election.

I hope M. Bachmann loses as well and she is not even in my district. Do we really want to a return to McCarthyism? You agree with us or you are un-American? How scary is that? What a bunch of whackos!

It is Still Fall!

Here's another Fall photo from Central Minnesota.
Fall Color in Rural MN
Today is typical Fall weather. Chilly, damp and dreary. However, yes, I know we need the rain. We've had a drought this year and what many people don't know is that the drought doesn't just make it harder for the plants. The underlying aquifer dries up as well. That means well water, water for agriculture, etc. is less available next Spring, which can be a real problem for many municipalities as well as agriculture.

Progress is slow, but today I should be able to finish making the trees for the Twee quilt. I might have to search out a tiny bit more Vikings sashing fabric. I bought some purple the other day to fill out what I had and there is this sticky residue on it. I just don't have the time to clean it and still be ready to lay out this weekend, so I have to get an alternative. On the plus side, I have the flannel backing, in a football theme no less! This quilt is for my BIL and features deer (hunting), trees and Vikings football. I'll also be working on the log cabin quilt now that Mom has made some decisions (it's for my Aunt and Uncle). I bought a marbled green flannel for the back of that one.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Quilting Weekend

Back from my extended quilting weekend at my sister and BIL's cabin. Got lots done, but nothing finished. It rained much of the weekend (helps to keep one focused on quilting), but we did spend part of yesterday taking photos in the area of the Fall color.
Fall in Todd County

Here's my primary setup. We set up the ironing table and iron in the kitchen. This portable resin table was perfectly fine for sewing, but does have some vibration. The white is great as it increases the light. I set up a cutting area, but what you don't see is the chair to the left where I was able to place fabrics and tools at the ready. A light behind and a light to the side eliminated shadowing. On the table is my Log Cabin project. While many people do not use templates for log cabin, if you are cutting your blocks from scraps that prevent effective strip piecing, using templates will save you tons of time. These Shar Jorgensen templates (now sold by Omnigrid at Joann's) produce a 1 3/4 inch unfinished strip (1 1/4 inch finished) which is really a nice size to blend together lots of different colors of scraps. However, the resulting blocks ARE NOT SQUARE which limits your arrangements.
Log Cabin workspace
This area is primarily the prepped pieces ready to be sewn for the log cabin blocks. Doing 10-13 blocks in the same order at the same time really helped with staying organized and reduced the need for ripping out mistakes. The pink pile at the top of the photo is my completed Drunkard's Path pieces which I did as my beginning and ending pieces to eliminate all those long threads you would otherwise get. I normally just use little squares, but this really helped me advance on the DP project! Also, I absolutely love that red bobbin holder. I never have bobbins falling places any longer. My fabrics for this project primarily came from a 10 inch square swap in 2003.
Making a Log Cabin
This is the right of my machine. It includes blocks ready to have the next piece attached, as well as my beginning and ending pre-pinned drunkard's path pieces. Another quilter made that fabulous pin cushion and scraps holder - it is so cheery and happy. Yes, I will admit that I do not press between additions. The pieces are already cut to size and I just make sure I don't get puckers and that the seams go the right direction. Yep. Lazy.
Making Log Cabin 2
Here are some of the completed log cabin blocks which features my colors of green, red, beige and gold. I have since completed a total of 48 blocks (need 80).
Log Cabin Progress
I also worked on my Twees. I am 3 short as I didn't cut enough beige. I'll get those done this week so I can advance on the sashing. I've been doing this quilt almost since I first began quilting in the early 90s and decided that this was the year I was going to do it! The pattern is called Winter Pines by Sharon Hultgren. Very easy and uses the Easy Angle ruler to cut out.
Tree Progress

Here is the beginning and end project: a Pink Drunkard's Path. I've finished enough of these curves to do about 40 blocks so far. I'm not sure how many I need for the nearly queen sized quilt, but I know I need at least 80. This project is composed entirely of reds, pinks and purples from my scraps. I used Shar Jorgensen's 4 inch DP templates for this.
Pink Drunkard's Path
I worked a little on this Scrap Drunkard's Path as well. These are 3 inch blocks and much more suitable for cutting from scraps. Not really any harder to sew. You are still making a 1/4 inch seam. You just need more of them.
Drunkard's Path  (small)
Here's a comparison of 3 inch vs. 4 inch Drunkard's Path templates.
Drunkard's Path Comparison

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Happy Birthday Kitties!

Today our babies are two years old! Unfortunately, I have NO BIRTHDAY PHOTO! I was going to take their photo yesterday, but was told the weather would be clear today. Guess what. So overcast that the satellite TV keeps pitching out. Unfortunately, flash photos look terrible on my black kitties, so I will do a photo when I get back on Monday or Tuesday. I'm leaving in another hour or so for my quilting weekend!

Here's their birth day photo. Proud mama Cleo-Claudine (also called SeeSee).
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Here they are today having a happy 2 year old birthday!

Here's the only photo of all 5 kittens looking at the camera at the same time at 2 months old.
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Front l-r: Sylvester, Bart, Cuddles
Back l-r: Alice, Polly

As you know, we lost Cuddles last year to side effects from treating a parasitic infection.

Project Done and Progress on KAL

Today I was able to take some photos of finished projects for a short time (and it was windy) while the sun was out. The first is a completed felted, purse organizer I did for a Monthly KAL project. I actually plan to use this in my knitting bag to keep small items and double pointed needles together as well as a place to put my wallet and cell phone when I take it with me (so I can leave the purse behind). It's made from Cascade Pastaza, a wool/alpaca bulky yarn. Soft, but the long hair that appears after felting is kind of a turnoff. I don't really recommend this yarn for felting, but it is absolutely scrumptious to knit. Polly has decided that it is prey and has now walked off with it. I want to make a car coat from this yarn. So soft.
Knitting Bag Organizer

Next is a progress photo of my Christmas-Or-Not KAL project. This will be a computer monitor cozy. Yes, it looks like a ball of fuzz now, but just you wait! The vinyl yarn separator bag was a freebee included with this month's Simply Knitting. Works great!
Progress on Monitor Cozy

Here's my new purse. No, I didn't make it, it is a store sample that I bought (yarn and pattern no longer available there). I wanted to point out some things here that you might want to apply to future projects. First, the handle. That marbled effect is from combining the 2 different colored yarns while knitting. Next, the rolled edge is ideal for adding this beading attached to a twill tape. You apply the bead tape and then sew the rolled edge over it. If you are into beading, just attach your beads to twill. Much easier than trying to sew them evenly around the purse. Finally, this particular design has a narrow top. This actually does work to help prevent stuff from falling out of the purse. I really like this purse, but I am going to add 2 pockets - one for car keys and one for the cell phone.
Felted Purse

I recently received 2 items from Fairy Godmothers at Crochetville. One was a Q-Hook Afghans of the Month booklet. Already picked one out to do. The other was this fine square that will be included in my red/white friends afghan. I have not seen this particular pattern before. I like that floating square in the center. Thank you ladies, I VERY much appreciate your generosity!
Rak'd Square

All of you quilters are probably wondering when I will be working on that! Well, this weekend! I'm leaving tomorrow until Monday or Tuesday. My sister and I will be crafting all weekend at their lake cabin. I plan to just work on finishing some already partially completed quilt tops, so that I can tie them later this weekend.

Finally, while doing this entry, the mailmam arrived with a box from Knit Picks. Yarns, some books I don't actually need. One I do. Polly wanted the box. She got it.
Polly in Knit Picks Box
See the almost birthday kitty nap!