Sunday, November 25, 2012

Housesitting and Crochet Progress

Housesitting for my sister and BIL while they visit BIL's son. It's been pleasant and then a front came through. Got about 1.5 inches of snow and the temp dropped to the teens during the day and about zero at night.

So, what have I been doing?  I decided to focus on finishing a friendship afghan that has been waiting for awhile.  I got my last friendship square about 3 months ago.  So, I spent a few days enlarging some squares so that they went together well.  Kitties wanted to be on my lap, but not crocheting, so I did a lot of reading too (love my ebooks).  Today though, I spread out all my squares.  NOW they are interested in the crocheting. Now that I have my project all laid out, Huff came along to make sure that it didn't move.
Friendship afghan with cat help
Huff keeping everything straight....sortof
Spitty came along to help too.
kitty help
Her Highness, Miss Spitty assists.

Enjoy your turkey at Thanksgiving?  Here's some wild ones that showed up in my sister's backyard looking for any spilled seed from the birdfeeder.
Not exactly the birds we intended to feed sunflower seeds.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Ravelympics Day 2

Working on ladybugs. Here's the one that I finished last night.
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

How tired is that kitty in the window? This is her favorite spot and she is currently baking in the sun.
Really tired, How's this for a really tired cat?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Ravelympics Begins!

I am grateful that Blogger heard my crankiness and has now added a light gray to the background where you do all the workings of your blog. SO much more readable. Thanks Blogger.  However, I must point out that I am NOT RESPONSIBLE for any of the ADVERTISEMENTS that you see.  I knew eventually Blogger would need to generate money somehow.  Maybe I can get crafting ads, you think?

ravelympics 2012 logo

Again, it is the Ravelympics and I of course will be participating.  My plans include completing the crocheted ladybug afghan, making a toy and a tea cozy.  Not huge things, but getting that afghan done finally will be PROGRESS!! I had planned to include a pair of socks in there somewhere, but couldn't find the yarn - it's in a box safe from the cat, but alas, I don't know which box.

Why join one thing when you can do two? I am also participating in the celebration by working on the afghan. 
2008CrochetGames, Emblem for the 2008 Crochet Games participation.
All that is left for the afghan is the sewing and final rounds. But, as we all know, finishing takes a long time.  Therefore, I have several audiobooks to listen to while doing so. What? Not watching the Olympics? Can't.  140 countries can stream the Olympics for free, but not the US. We gotta pay.  I'm not going to.  I don't have an antennae hookup for the TV that I use to work on my projects, so I'm out of luck. I hope that eventually, I will be able to see the Opening Ceremonies on YouTube or something.  If I can remember how to change my IP address, I can confuse my computer enough to watch volleyball from British Television.

I haven't posted because I haven't been doing any crafting. My hands are finally not giving me too much trouble and I just started sewing a project yesterday. It's a repeat of the Triple Irish Chain and it will be once again in white and scraps.

That's about it. Progress photos in a day or so! Oh, and btw, buying an Itouch can seriously cut into your knitting/quilting/crocheting time.  You get sucked into a game and boom, you've run out of time.

Friday, May 04, 2012

I Detest The New Blogger 'Look'

I plan to complain to Blogger about their 'new look'. It is SO unfriendly to those of us with vision problems. Seriously, did these folks even bother to look at this and think 'huh, this is an awful lot of white space.  I like the features in Blogger, but if they don't change, I will be going elsewhere. 

Anyway, haven't been posting much because I haven't been doing much.  I think the allergies are beating me down, but I'm trying to make myself overcome the tiredness and get stuff done. At the very least, I have to get ready for a garage sale.   I finished a swap and sent it out into the mail before remembering to take a photo. Darn it.  Hopefully more to post this weekend.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Catching Up

As soon as I get done with my swap and the QATW BOM, I'll be working on an old, old BOM. Back around 2002, I bought a bunch of Joann's Holiday Tidings quilt blocks from the clearance box. This was a BOM from 2000. Over time, I've acquired other packages of this project so that I now have enough fabric to do all the blocks. Joanne's QuiltBlocks Dept. (1-866-784-5825) will send you copies of any missing instructions, which is great. While I know I will have to substitute a little fabric for the bottom quadrant, I think the result will be great!
Holiday tidings

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Apps and crafts

I am a gadget person by nature, but not with a lot of money. I have been perfectly happy with my Nano to listen to music and audiobooks while quilting, knitting, crocheting or cross stitching. But, the temptation of apps finally suckered me. I didn't need an iPhone so bought an ITouch. Love it. Love my gadget devices. Will your world be less if you don't have these apps? Nope. Stick with your Nano. But, if you already have the gadget, here are some apps you may find useful.

Block Tool is perfect for a quilter. Has 102 common blocks in 5 sizes. Worth the $5 if you commonly struggle with figuring out what to do in a hurry for that next baby blanket or gifted lap quilt. If you already have Electric Quilt, the app is redundant. Quilt Block is by C&T Publishing.

Sewing kit is an app created for sewers. You can store your inventory of patterns to take with you. Each pattern has a place to keep yardages. While it can be used for quilting, it is clearly designed for garment sewing. You can create projects linked to pattern and fabric as well. I loaded it with 42 garment, accessory and household patterns. If you load the manufacturer and pattern number, the app searches a database for current patterns, and adds photos if there are any. If not, you can take a photo to add to the pattern.. I had a few crashes when taking photos of patterns not in the manufacturer's database, but it was still fast. I did it while watching 2 episodes of a Brit crime drama on Netflix.

Finally, many cross stitchers and other crafters like to keep track of the time worked on a project. If you charge $$, then you certainly need to do that. Hours tracker is intended to be used by jobbers. At $5, it's a good choice for cross stitchers as well. It runs in the background, so uses less power. It will also keep a history of your job. Do you need it? Nope. There's a free stopwatch as part of the programming even on a nano. Gadgets. I love them.

As I find other apps that are useful, I will tag them. Ok, well Polly is knocking over everything so that I will go to the quilting sewing area, so I will post another time. But, not by ITouch. This took forever to type.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


It's been a really slow week. Hurt my back and sitting has been difficult. Hopefully I will still get something done yet this week. I have a new ITouch. If you have any app recommendations, please let me know.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

FMQ with Diane Gaudynski

Here's a photo of my square using Diane Gaudynski's instructions to make a feather. This takes a good deal more practice than I thought. I did 10 pages of feathers with a sharpie and they were looking pretty good. When I get to the machine, they tend to look like leaf fronds. They are the nicest leaf fronds I have ever made, so I'm still proud of the progress. I also didn't turn my square (you aren't going to do that when you have a queen sized quilt), which was very helpful since practicing on small stuff doesn't always work take it to your larger project. All in all, I'm very happy with my progress, but I need to really practice that teardrop shape.

I tossed the other 3 squares that I did, but this one came out nice enough to make it into a mug rug. What I'm thinking of doing is taking the thread out of the machine and practice making tear drops with just the needle and paper. In the meantime, leaf fronds.


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Blocks and Small Bag

More blocks done on the 2012 QATW Mystery quilt. Here are blocks 11 through 14.

Yankee Puzzle and Bear Paw


QATW Block (modified churn dash) and Whirlpool

Also, I had a 9 by 18 piece of quilted leaves left from last months freeform quilting project. I decided to make a little bag. It looks great if you don't look too closely. I definitely have to learn a little more about bag assembly. I was trying to make a box bottom - at least you won't get lint caught in the corners! Note that I used the side that FEATURES the quilting instead of trying to hide it. My leaves are so much better after last month's class. Tomorrow, you will see the results of this month's class - feathers. The finished bag is about 8.5 inches wide by 9.75 inches long.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Another BOW Block done!

I'm changing this to the BOW for Block of the Week since it has way more than 12 blocks and we are getting a new one weekly. So, Block number 9 is Card Trick. I added yet another new holiday fabric in this one. Now I think I have a good 5 yards of holiday fabric choices, so should be able to handle even a scrappy border. I also continue to alter between 2 white-on-white fabrics. I'll have another to add to the mix. I need to cut out background blocks for a chicken BOM.

QATW BOM Block 9

Friday, February 10, 2012

Block #8 of the QATW 2012 BOM

Here's another one. Lady of the Lake!! I might make this a second time with the light/dark center instead of the solid/patterned center and see which I like. The holiday fabrics all kind of read the same and using gold had too much punch, IMHO. I don't expect to do any sewing tomorrow - if I can at least get the Apple Core quilt laid out and reading to pinbaste, I will be happy. Lots of other stuff I need to work on. Sis is coming next week to help me with more house projects (such as putting up hardware for new curtains).


Promises, Promises The Apple Core Quilt Top

Finally, photos!! These, even despite the darned wind. I hope to start pin basting tomorrow. Yep. That is NO SNOW. Still. We do have some little piles here and there, but for the most part, still a poor snowing here in MN.

Apple Core Quilt Top, Top done Feb 2012. Hand pieced during 2011/12 at appointments.
Pinned on clothesline sideways. It is 24 x 28 rows.

Apple Core Closeup, Closeup of top
Closeup of some of the fabrics.

In addition, if you look at the post a day or two ago, I have added a page from the Linda Causee book so that you can see why it's such a great book for me.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

More BOM Blocks

Here's blocks 6 and 7 for the (QATW) 2012 BOM. I'm doing mine in a selection of holiday fabrics. I have a couple of white on whites to use up from other projects for my background and most of the holiday fabrics have quilter's gold in them.

I used the book 400 Quilt Blocks to sew in 20 Minutes or Less by Linda Causee. This book is fabulous if you can find it. It has about 300 (plus color variations) different blocks and includes instructions for cutting them in 3 different sizes. I was a bit floored that it sells on and elsewhere for more than $80. I bought mine at a used book store for $9.98.


For the Dresden Plate, I finally used my Darlene Zimmerman template. Wasn't quite as easy as I'd hoped to sew it right the first time. The blades go together very swiftly, but it is very fussy with all those bias edges. Still, I plan to make a couple of gift quilts using this.

QATW BOM Block 7

Finally, yes, yes, yes, the Apple Core quilt top is done. I finished it Monday, but I've been sick all week. I've had a lot of improvement today, so if it sunny, you will see a photo tomorrow! That final row and the Dresden Plate is all the quilting I've done this week. Anyway, the other good news is that my sister came over last weekend and I have a new closet, all freshly painted! Sis actually did most of the work, but she will benefit since I now can find batting for those wallhangings I've planned. Now, all the leftover batting is stored on the top shelf, and project containers on the next. I also have 2 large heavy duty shelves covering one side of the closet. Right now, quilts and afghans are just folded there. Old sewing machine is underneath. Not sure what to store in the rest, but I'm sure I'll figure it out. That's about it for today.

[edited to add] Here's a photo of a page from Linda Causee's book. As you can see, it gives instructions in 3 different sizes as well as piecing instructions intended for an experienced beginner.
Page from book, example of page from Lynda Causee's book

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

2012 Free Motion Quilting Challenge - January

Free Motion Quilting (FMQ) is my favorite type of quilting. This year, blogger SewCalGal is hosting an FMQ Challenge. Every month, there is a new video by a different FMQ teacher demonstrating some kind of FMQ. The challenge is to practice and learn that method and then post a photo of a completed sample.

I pledge to do a new sample every month as part of this challenge!

January's challenge was presented by quilter Frances Moore, who featured freeform leaves. My leaves have NEVER looked this good and I still have room to improve.

My sample is about 10.5 x 16 and uses a rather thick polyester batting from a roll at Hancock's. It's pretty thick - I used 2 layers of this stuff to tie my Dad's train quilt and it was often too warm for him to use. I also used my Bernina Stitch regulator and the clear foot (kindof like "The Big Foot", an accessory foot). It stitched beautifully on both sides. My biggest difficulty in the past was to make wider, more realistic leaves instead of long thin leaves. By consistently training myself for this teardrop shape, I only have a few of those skinny ones.

Front of January Challenge Sample

Jan Quilt Sample side 2
Back of January Challenge sample

What am I going to do with the sample? Trim and practice machine binding!! This particular one will likely end up as a cat pad, but next month's will be part of a tote bag. For more information on the Challenge, go to my sideline and scroll to the bottom buttons. Click on the 2012 FMQ Challenge button.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Progress on Apple Core!

Here's my progress so far on the Apple Core quilt. I am currently attaching rows 15-18 and will get that done today. I have one more 3 row section nearly done, so I think by the end of the weekend, I will have attached 21 of the 28 rows. I had great sunlight, but poor positioning for this photo, but you can see how colorful it is. I have already bought the green flannel for the backing. Not sure what I will use for binding yet - will come to that when I get it quilted, I think.

Apple Core progress, 012812-progress on hand sewn Apple Core top. 15 of 28 rows Donedone.

I went for both Kindle and Nook training over at the library today (I have both). I am considering buying ONE quilting book to keep on my Kindle - just not sure it is worth the trouble or expense. The only time I would use it is if I am house sitting for my sister and I usually take a project that doesn't require any new knowledge. I'll have to think about that. I can read most craft books because the type isn't so close together - it's the paperbacks that are hard.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

NYE Mystery Top Completed!

Here it is! The New Year's Eve Mystery Quilt top designed by Anne Smith. This thing just shimmers in the light with all that quilter's gold. Mom really likes it, so is looking forward to using it next December. That puts a fire under me to get it quilted and I'm still looking for suitable flannel for it. The top is about 70x96 inches, give or take an inch. I plan to use what is left of the green fabric for the binding.

What would I change in this quilt? Well, had I known the pattern (this was a mystery after all), I would have used the gold in the center of those 9 patches and the red where the gold is now. I'm not complaining. It's great the way it is . However, the border was purchased with the assumption that the red would predominate and while it looks nice, it overpowers. I like to analyze quilts to see how I could do better - it also helps in picking fabrics for the next mystery.

So far, I'm the only one who did this mystery using Christmas fabrics, most of which are Hoffmann prints.

MYE Mystery 2012 top

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Another BOM Block

Here's my QATW 2012 BOM Block 5! Log cabin done in more holiday fabrics.


Still working hard on the Apple Core quilt. Having some trouble with my hand, so it's going slower than expected. Still pushing to finish the top before the end of the month.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Happy Thermal Solstice Day!

If you have nothing else to justify buying a half price DQ ice cream cake, try celebrating Thermal Solstice Day!!

2012 Thermal Solstice Day Cake, Yes, pure geek here.  We needed an excuse for a cake one year.

What is Thermal Solstice? While the Winter Solstice starts on Dec. 21, the temperature lags because of "thermal capacitance of the atmosphere-ocean-land system." Thermal solstice is about a month after the Winter Solstice - we just pick a day and that is Jan. 21 this year.

By the way, you could also celebrate National Squirrel Day and thank a little rodent who plants all your trees pretty much all over the US.

Friday, January 20, 2012


Yes, BOMs (known to the greater needlework world as Block of the Month) are addicting. This year (QATW) is having a Block a Week so that everybody is done in plenty of time to quilt the finished quilt before holiday gift giving. It is a mystery and there are other finishing secrets. What is the layout? What is the setting? Don't know, but she mentions numerous finishing steps. I'm excited.

This year, I am trying strongly to use stash and I hope to make this entire quilt from said stash. The top will be. Most of these fabrics are Joann's Noel line over the last decade - so kindof thin compared to quilt shop fabric. However, they are all Christmas and Christmas quilts are only used during December, so works for me. Most have quilter's gold as well, which really gives it a luxurious look. I'm using white on white (WOW) fabric left from the 2009 QATW BOM as well as some leftover from a long ago project.

I continue to work on hand piecing the Apple Core quilt. I have 9 rows connected together and hope to be up to 12 before the end of the weekend. My row 28 has gone astray and will hopefully be found soon!

QATW BOM Block 1, Ohio Star
Block 1 Ohio Star QATW 2012 BOM

QATW BOM Block 2, 2012 BOM
Block 2 Friends Coming Together 2012 BOM

QATW BOM Block 3, 2012 BOM
Block 3 Dutchman's Puzzle 2012 BOM

QATW BOM Block 4, 2012
Block 4 Sawtooth Star 2012 BOM

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Crocheting Again

Well, it finally happened. I can crochet again. Not for a long time, but hey better than nothing at all for over a year. I joined the Ravelry 2012 BOM for crochet. I also starting some amigurumi toy manufacturing. Since I just started playing Angry Birds (and totally love it), I'm making an angry bird. There are a few patterns on the internet and for the small amount of yarn, I will probably try them all until I figure out which is the keeper for me. During my year of absense from crocheting, I was only so-so at not buying yarn, so I'm also going to be working on reducing the stash down to 2 containers - one for wool and the other for everything else. I'm more or less going out of afghan making for awhile and going for little projects. Yeah, and maybe I'll get that ladybug afghan done!

Friday, January 06, 2012

NYE Mystery Clues #6 and #7 Done!

Finished 6 and 7 today. Haven't pressed them yet. I learned long ago to never press when you are tired. Irons are hotter when you are tired, did you know that?

Part 7 is the 9 patch, Part 6 is the HST piece.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

NYE Mystery Clue #5 Done!

Yes, it just takes me all day to get these done! Actually, I work on them for awhile, stop and do something else, then putter back. Slow process mostly because my sewing chair is broken and I have to use a folding chair which isn't all that comfy. I've been waiting now 2 months for the replacement parts to show up for my sewing chair. I'm almost, but not quite, ready to just buy a new chair. However, I would then have to sell the old chair because I have no space for 2 rolling chairs permanently. Hmmpf. I digress. I think, but am not sure, that this is the last 'parts' step and that we now move into block assembly. That's the most exciting because I have no clue what this is going to look like (it's a mystery).


Snowy sky caused the lighting to be funky

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

NYE Mystery Clue #4 Done!

Here it is! Waited until this a.m. to cut since cutting when you are tired is a sure trip to get bandaids.


Monday, January 02, 2012

NYE Mystery Clue #3 Done!

I'm getting there. 140 of these little puppies done now. On to 4. Probably won't get this done before the weekend as I have to spend some time tomorrow working on a project for a class.

Here's some of the rows for the Apple Core quilt I've been working on. All 28 rows are now done, so I'm focused on sewing the rows together. Bought a nice 108 inch wide sage green flannel from Joann's.


Sunday, January 01, 2012

Little Houses

In future, I will just post a photo of the latest houses. A gal in Holland created a quilt-a-long to make a little house each day of 2012, then one large house to represent day 366 since we have an extra day. Members of also wanted to do this, but created options for other sizes. I am doing a 4 inch finished house. I am not at all good at paper piecing, so this will force me to get with the program.

My first house uses a little leftover from today's NYE project. I have not yet selected a sashing.
My first paper pieced house.

NYE Mystery Clue #2 Done!

I'm a little slow on this, but finished Clue #2. It takes a lot longer when you haven't done all the precutting, but I'm happier with my color choices. Anyway, on to the next step.