I love it all: embroidery, canvaswork, quilting, crochet. So much to do, so little time.

Friday, September 30, 2011

The Ugly Side of Machine Quilting

Hey Blog Buddies,

I have been sticking to my goal of constructing two blocks a day for my holiday quilt. I've got 23 blocks done so far (only 7 to go!). It went quicker at first because I had so many squares and triangles cut, but now I'm getting to the end of my initial stacks and I need to cut more triangles, sew them together, press them open, and trim off the little tabs before I can even use them in a block.  Sometimes it's tricky feeding a pointed piece into your machine to be sewn, so just for giggles I thought I'd show you what happened to me.

As you can see, the point
of the fabric triangle
at the top of the photo
has disappeared because
my machine ate it!

This has happened only twice thus far,
so I guess I'm lucky, considering
the number of triangles I've sewn together.

Sometimes the only way I can fix it
is to take the throat plate entirely off
and clip one side of the thread
that's caught way down below
where I can't see, and just
pull it through.

It slows you down, lemme tell ya.

The final destination for this piece was
the wastebasket!

Here is my progress on BBD Jack O'Lantern.

There is a ton of
WDW Carrot
in this little piece.

My quilting buddy Molly gets bored
and tends to fall asleep quickly.

The flash of the camera must have woke her up.
The gray throw is on the floor because
she doesn't like to lie on the bare hardwood.
(Yeah, I know....)

Her back had been shaved
before we adoped her.
(She had an infection.)
It's slowly growing back in.

Molly Factoid:
We have had her three weeks now,
and we still don't know what her bark sounds like.
Was she trained not to bark ever?
We don't know.

We are taking her to the
this weekend.
It's a dog-friendly event.

Hope you have a great first weekend in October.
And thanks so much for visiting!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Half-Square Triangle Madness

Hi Blog Buddies,

My holiday quilting project is coming along .... verrry sloooowly.  This is a departure for me (a novice quilter) because I didn't really have a pattern with yardage requirements and a finished quilt size.  (This is the reason why, even with professional help, I was a bit short on my light-colored fabric.)  All I had was a graphic (not even a photograph) of one block.  And they gave three different strip widths, depending on if you wanted a 6-inch-square block, a 9-inch-square block or a 12-inch-square block.  What I didn't stop and think about ahead of time was.... the math.  Like just how many half-square triangles I would have to cut and sew together to make the finished quilt.

I chose the 9-inch block, mostly because I wanted my finished quilt to be 51 inches wide, and with five 9-inch blocks and a 3-inch border, that equals 51 inches.  (My finished quilt will be 5 blocks wide by 6 blocks long.)  If I had actually been able to see directions for a quilt my size, I would have read that I needed to cut out a total of 480 half-square triangles.  That would have given me pause for thought!  This is in addition to 240 squares.

A fraction of my half-square triangles,
after being cut out and sewn together.
Chaining them together
(sewing them continuously
without cutting the thread for each one)
is a big time saver.
Gee, I could have used them as
a Christmas garland!

And here they are pressed open
beginning their new lives as squares!

And while I still have a lot of cutting to do,
I couldn't resist making up some blocks,
just to see what the finished product would
look like with my fabric choices.

This is Block "A".

And here is Block "B".

The good news is,
I went to my LQS this week,
and they had the fabric that I was short of.

And just to keep things interesting,
I started another Hallowe'en stocking.

Here is my start on "Jack O'Lantern" by Blackbird Designs, from the 'Tis Hallowe'en booklet.  He'll be cute when finished, hopefully by early October.

Happy Equinox, everybody!
Thanks for visiting.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Hallowe'en Finish!

Hey Blog Buddies,

Not only do I have a Hallowe'en finish to show you, but the piece is finished-finished, and (are you ready for this?) I did the whole thing from start to finish myself!  It's the little stocking from the BBD 'Tis Hallowe'en booklet that I started--and posted a progress pic of--before we took our trip.

The pattern is called "Deadly Nightshade."
I stitched it on 40-count linen,
not the called-for 30-count and, fortunately,
they also had a stocking template for
the smaller-size linen in the booklet.

According to their instructions,
I traced the template onto
some fusible interfacing,
one for the stitched piece
and another for the backing.

The interfacing was then ironed on
to both pieces,
 and the pieces were cut out,
leaving a quarter-inch seam
all around
(more for the top of the stocking).

Easy so far.

Then, it said to finger-press the
quarter-inch seams to the wrong side.
Place wrong sides together
and whip stitch.

I decided to use invisible nylon thread
so the stitching wouldn't show.
Love the look (or non-look) of nylon thread.
Hate working with it.

The reverse of the ornament.
I had enough thread left to string beads for the hanger.
It's not a "Karen finish," but
I'm happy enough with it
to want to make a few more.

In the meantime, however,
the fabric earmarked for my
Christmas wall hanging
 was calling to me.

I started on this yesterday
 and got all my strips cut.
(The fabric on the right is pinkish red, not orange!)
I'm not done cutting, though.
The strips all have to be turned into
squares and half-square triangles.

Unfortunately, I am going to be
one strip short of the middle fabric.
There will be a trip to my LQS tomorrow
to see if I can get more of that fabric,
but I am not hopeful.

However, I have a Plan B.
More on that, if necessary, later.

Here's hoping you're having a good weekend,
and you are never one strip short.

Thanks for visiting!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Good Golly, Miss Molly!

Hey Blog Buddies,

Call the Men in the Little White Coats!  I believe I've totally lost my mind.  Our local humane society participated in Pet Smart's Mega Adoption Event this weekend.  DH wanted to go there "just to see what was happening."   yeahright.   So we went, and my Better Judgment was screaming at me to get back into the car and just drive away, but did I listen?   No.   So, this is the result.

She was found as a stray, and her shelter name was Dollie.
We didn't care for that name,
so we decided to call her Molly.
(Who could resist that face?  Not me.)
The shelter guesstimates that
she's about 4 years old.
She appears brownish in this photo,
but she's almost all black.

She was marketed as a lab mix.
A lady we met in the pet food store
swore she was mostly coonhound.
(Oy!  I really didn't want another scenthound!)
Our coonhound-owning friend says her face
reminds him of a pointer,
but acknowledges the coonhound
ears and tail.
She's already treed a squirrel in our yard --
something coonhounds do.

But whatever breed Molly is,
she is very calm around
adults, kids and other dogs.
She's active outdoors,
but this is what she likes to do indoors.
She's very sweet and gentle,
without a mean bone in her body.
And she appears to be housetrained!
As she settles in and
unpacks her bags,
we'll get to find out more about her.
Stay tuned for updates.

Thanks for visiting!

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Dreaded Picot

Hey Blog Buddies,

I mentioned that I was taking some hardanger to work on during what little down time I had on our trip out west, so I decided to take the May bookmark.  (I'm not too far behind, am I?)  I got all the klosters and the cutting done on the trip, but the woven bars and picots have taken me this entire week to finish!  I am not fond of making picots.

I sat there stitching with
Janice Love's Basics and Beyond
in my lap for each picot I made.
72, but who's counting?

I followed her instructions to the letter,
but the little buggers still look like
they want to flip up.
I don't believe I'll be doing picots again
any time soon.

On a happier note,
I made a little bit of progress on
my canvaswork ornament
by Laura J. Perin.

Melody had asked whether or not
the instructions for this piece were easy to follow.
They are!
It's basically a byzantine-type stitch
which is just
satin stitch on the diagonal.
I hope I'm not oversimplifying here,
but this really is easy and fun to do.
Unlike picots.

 I was perusing Raise the Roof Designs' website for some reason the other day, and I happened upon their Crabby All Year design.  I recalled that Barb from my Guild had stitched that piece, so I asked her if she would be willing to sell the charts to me, if she still had them.  She replied that she did still have the charts but was adamant that she would not sell them to me.  She generously gave them to me.

There is a square for each month, and the months can be worked either individually, or all as one piece, like Barb did.  Some of the crabby themes are bugs for June, weeds for August and relatives for November.  I think it's a hoot.  Thanks, Barb!

Last but not least, I went to my LQS and got some batik fabrics for a holiday wall hanging I'd like to display this year.

My plan is to have the project
cut, sewn, quilted and bound
by the 1st of December.
I'd better get cutting!
Stay tuned for progress pics.

Hope you're enjoying whatever you're working on.
Have a good weekend.
And thanks, as always, for visiting!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

15 Days and 3,900 Miles

Hey Blog Buddies,

We're back from our trip out West, and while I really enjoyed the vacation, it's good to be back at home.  We have a "thing" for National Parks, and we visited a lot of them on this trip.  Our 15 days in a nutshell:

Old Faithful, Yellowstone National Park

Grand Teton National Park

A real, live moose on his way to lunch in (yes) Moose, Wyoming-Grand Teton

Bison: They've definitely made a comeback in Wyoming and South Dakota!

Devil's Tower National Monument, Wyoming

Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument,Crow Agency, Montana
(The scenery wasn't spectacular but the ranger program was fantastic!)

Mt. Rushmore, Keystone, South Dakota

Crazy Horse Memorial, near Custer, South Dakota

 Wind Cave National Park, near Hot Springs, South Dakota
Didn't get ANY good photos there, unfortunately.

Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Minuteman Missile National Historic Site
(Inside the facility where they would have launched the missile.
DH thought that this was one of the trip highlights.
It's a guy thing.)

This was one of the longest, most ambitious trips we've taken.  We had originally planned to visit only Yellowstone and The Grand Tetons, and did everything else on the spur of the moment.
It was a great trip.

Hope all of your journeys are wonderful.

Have a good weekend,
and thanks for visiting.