Saturday, November 28, 2009

it's still the weekend!

Bucky has found an isle of tranquility in an otherwise inhospitable sea...
(in other words... haven't I learned yet?)

This beauty is the quilt that Margaret from Mainley Quilts of Love just sent back to me -- it's traveled 6,000 miles already because I had to take advantage of her "new business" quilting offer a couple of weeks ago. She did a sweet job of it! The pattern was the New Year's mystery from Planet Patchwork this year; I'm happy to hear that they're planning another one for January 1, 2010.
Here's a detail of some of the quilting around the stars and borders... I think I'll bring this one up to Seattle for my brother & his wife -- the parents of the kids who got the house quilts and the one who will be getting the pink "heavy quilt" next weekend. I've made stuff for all the kids but never for the adults!
I finished the rat race scarf and got all the eyes sewn on. I was going to give it away but now I'm having second thoughts...
and, in the spirit of "bah humbug" -- this is Grumpy the Lump of Coal! (free pattern at that I stitched up last night from the remainder of the rat yarn. I wonder who THIS little gem will go to...

Friday, November 27, 2009

random thoughts... too much tryptophan?

First up -- a photo of one of my first quilts! This was from about 2002 and the pattern came from Sandy Bonsib's "Folk Art Quilts" book. I've made quite a few of these hearts since then, for various little projects -- they're made of 1" squares. I really love this, and since I'd never posted it before I thought -- why not?

Question of the day, apropos of nothing: Do any of you have a Wii? Do you use Wii fitness? Do you like it? Does it get used more often than, say, an exercycle or a treadmill? Just asking...

More stuff from the design wall. These are assorted blocks from Susan Briscoe's Japanese Blocks book. I have a small bin of Asian-type fabrics that I want to use up (or in some cases, just cut into!) so I cut out the pieces for 12 - 9" blocks and started putting them together for a sampler. I'm planning to make a bento box quilt from a lot of what's left...These are blocks for a disappearing 9-patch, meant to use up some bright scraps. I've been rearranging square to try to even things out, and I notice that there are a couple more that might need to be moved before I sew this together!

We had a nice dinner with friends last night -- I cooked most of it -- and now there will be several meals of leftovers and a freezer full of turkey stock. I bought a kosher turkey, which stayed very moist but came without the giblets so the gravy was lacking a bit. Excellent Brussels sprouts, too -- the recipe came from the NY Times -- with bacon and dried figs. Yummy!

Coming soon -- a picture of the quilt I just got back from being quilted by Margaret, and maybe some knitting.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

swaps and blocks

This is the little quilt I received from Nann for the holiday edition of the 4 seasons quilt swap. I don't have any email address for Nann (the link on her blog doesn't work) s0 if you're reading this, Nann... Thanks!
And this is what's on my design wall, a day early. I participated in a few months of a log cabin BOM at a local store -- I decided to use a little set of shot cottons that I got from Pinwheels a few years ago, along with some soft prints from my stash. I want to make a few more blocks and then I'll figure out how they're going to go together.

My computer is still a mess -- will only start up in safe mode, and the IT guy has never called despite a reminder after a few days! It won't open the utility to download photos from the camera, either. Grrr.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Cats take over the earth...

Five minutes after I got out of bed this morning, I came back in the bedroom and found this:
The bed itself is no longer good enough for Bucky -- he deserves my pillow, too!

In other news -- my desktop computer is freaking out. It will only start up in safe mode and that means that the printer, camera, etc won't work. Of course it's 5-1/2 years old so past the Dell warranty period. I've asked our company IT guy how to proceed so that means I should have an answer in 2-3 weeks...

And then yesterday the lock on our front door decided to give up the ghost. It's been fussy for a while now, and it's probably about 40 years old. The locksmith was supposed to show up between 10-12 today, and it's now 11:45. Doesn't it always work that way? I could have stayed in my pj's for an extra 2 hours!

On the quilting front, I've finished up my various swap obligations for November and on to bigger and better things!

The locksmith's truck just arrived... gotta go!

Monday, November 09, 2009

bad yarn

Do you know what this is? It's the (aaargh!) crap yarn that I'm using for a pair of socks that is 3/5 done. The first ball went fine except for maybe one shredded spot that I ignored. The second ball... I'll be knitting along and all of a sudden the yarn ends. Because it's just broken. And then there's a whole series of these shreddy spots. I haven't seen any moth larva, and I haven't had issues with moths on any of the other yarn in my closet.

So, yarn mavens out there -- is this moth damage or just a really bad ball of yarn? Why didn't it break when I was winding into the ball? Have you ever had this happen?

By the way, it's Louet Gems, 100% washable wool. For some reason, I've now lost interest in finishing this pair...

Saturday, November 07, 2009

heavy lifting

This is a weighted blanket. I have a severely disabled 11-year old niece. She was born with some unidentified genetic glitch which has endowed her with a variety of special needs. She appears to be very autistic but that's not it... anyway, for some time I've been hearing about "heavy blankets" being a comfort to many people with sensory disorders, and I've talked with my brother about them but never quite knew how to construct one.

Then I ran across a free pattern on Craft Nectar -- Weeks Ringle's blog -- and decided to give it a try. I used some winnings from the Block Lotto to make the top, and the back is a solid piece of flannel in a floral print. Basically, you sew lengthwise channels and pour in small amounts of poly pellets and then sew crosswise to create a simple series of squares. This one has about 5 pounds of pellets.

It was fairly easy to make, although those pellets seem to scatter with little provocation! If I did it again, I would either make sure that all my seams were pressed toward the bottom (so that the pellets wouldn't get caught as I poured them in) or use a solid piece of fabric on both sides. I sewed through about 10 pellets on my first row and trust me -- you don't want to do that!

I'll be delivering the blanket at the beginning of December and I can't wait to see how Keely likes it.

Monday, November 02, 2009

With a little help from my friends

It's been a quiet week here in... where am I again?

I've been busily working away at my little quilt for the holiday edition of the Four Seasons Quilt Swap, and it's now done. It started out with a little bargello; then I decided that it needed a few "crop circles" (thanks Poppyprint!); then it needed some shiny ribbon around the circles to turn them into ornaments. Finally, it was quilted with a freehand holly design lifted from Leah's 365 days of patterns. What would we do without all the talented and generous quilters out there in blogland?
I have a couple of other things that will be ready to show later this week, I hope.

I'll just leave you with the Buckster. I pulled out a stack of small batting pieces the other day to find one for the holiday quilt. That cat has batting radar, I swear -- as soon as I walked away, he took possession and has barely left it since. I guess the top piece will have to become my next quilting practice piece...