Friday, February 25, 2011

Stitching Report

And now for those less interested in our wintery weather, here's the Stitching Report. ;- )

I'd had an idea early in the month to make my bead journal piece for February with a red foundation and maybe try to incorporate June's Creativity Challenge theme of "Love" by working on the theme of Puppy Love. I have some dog buttons and charms and since I don't seem to be able to live without a dog in the family it seemed appropriate. I got out my doggy themed embellishments and went through my stack of red cottons... but nothing seemed to click. I put it all away again and tried not to stress over the fact that I wasn't sewing anything.

What I tend to do when I'm not sewing is to read or write, as in writing about why I'm not sewing. Sometimes I do jigsaw puzzles but right now there isn't a good place to leave one out. Parts of this little house are in a state of transition and my husband is working long hours so things are not progressing as quickly as I might like. Anyway...

On a whim I got out a piece of fabric printed with text. Then I looked to see what embellishments I might have that would carry out the theme of reading or writing. I have words on charms, and letter beads with which I could make words, but I didn't want a specific word or thought to prevail. I did find a pencil button (a couple of them actually). Well, what else could I use? Maybe a hand to hold the pencil?

I have a small collection of hand charms. Some of them are whole arms, for making small dolls. I had one arm milagro in the bunch too.

Then I thought of my head and face charms. I didn't have great expectations but one did seem to stand out as a possibility.

I placed the pencil, the arm, and the face on my foundation. Even though it felt like it needed something more I stitched them in place. Yesterday I looked deeper in my stash and came up with a book charm. That seemed to fill out the composition nicely.

I'm thinking the only real beadwork I do for this BJP is going to be confined to a technique that will create hair for the head. Any more than that and I will lose the effect of the background print.

I just have to figure out what technique and what color(s) to use...

Weather Report

I think I'm beginning to recover from my most recent bout of toxic attacks. (Keep your fingers crossed!)

We have had a significant weather event this week. This won't be a big deal to anyone east of the Cascade Mountain Range but around here it is. This is what it looked like Wednesday morning:

When I looked out the window everything was virtually the same color. It was snowing when I took the picture but the flakes were so tiny and so fine they don't show up. It snowed all day, sometimes heavier and faster, sometimes just a few flakes. This is another shot from early in the day, just for persepctive:

We may have had a total of six inches. Half of it melted away when the temperatures warmed up in the afternoon. Then another storm front came through. I believe it must have snowed during the night and then it just kept on snowing all day yesterday. This is what we have now:

We may have 12 inches. Other areas around us have up to 20 inches! At least the sky has gone from gray to blue again.

And I don't have to go anywhere. :- )

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Time Out

It's been another of those rough weeks. As a result I've done no sewing at all in recent days. Last week I was playing around with stick blocks.

Then I read about Victoria's challenge over on the 15 Minutes of Play blog to make two blocks using only dots, stripes, and plaids. I found an old bit of strata that happened to be mostly dots and stripes and a big ole plaid. So I played around with that a bit until I had these two blocks:

Sent those off to V~ and haven't sewn since. I haven't even been back to see what V~ is doing with the blocks. But I did get some grandbaby time over the weekend. :- )

Unfortunately I still don't feel well enough to get back to sewing. On the other hand, I only have a few more days if I want to complete any February challenges by the end of the month!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

And the Winner Is...

I hope my readers had as happy a Valentine's Day as I did. I got to sew all day! And then my DH made dinner for us. He treats me so well. :- )

I've added a little bit to Janet's Intuition block. The sawtooth strip down the right side, some horizontal flying geese units across the bottom, and a strip of pieced greens across the top.

Not much, but it's a start. I made quite a few blocks yesterday; I'll show them in another post. It remains to be seen whether any of them end up in Janet's quilt.

And now, for the news about two dozen of you have been waiting for, the winner of my white Love Token...

Everyone's name went onto a ticket for each comment you'd left.

And the lucky winner is Joyce!

It will be a while before Joyce actually sees her prize in person since she's about to fly over to Australia but the beauty of fiber art is that it doesn't spoil or go rotten!

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Constructing this quilt top in three sections posed some pressing problems. It wasn't as bad as it may sound though. I merely had to decide which way to press the seam allowances to get the best results.

At this stage I had flat-pressed all the seam allowances but had not opened them up or pressed them in one direction or the other. In the end I decided to press the seam allowances of the center section upward and the two sides down. That allowed me to nestle the seam allowances up against each other to get clean joins on the front. The long vertical seams were then pressed open to help the quilt top lay flatter. Taa daa!

I had originally planned to do the quilting on this myself. The bigger it got the less I felt like wrestling with it. I called my favorite long-arm quilter and, lo and behold, she was able to find a hole in her schedule just the right size for this simple job. Woohoo!

I had several of the 6" half square triangle blocks left over, and enough of the focal fabrics to make up a few more. That allowed me to create a back out of just 4 yards of clearance fabric:

This won't be in his hands for SIL's birthday but it could easily be a completed quilt by then. Now it's time to put Janet's block back on the wall and see what happens.

In other news, my friend C~ dropped by for a quick visit. We hadn't seen each other in a while. I was able to finally give her a copy of Tonya's Word Play as a belated birthday gift, and look what she picked up for me on a recent trip:

A cute little bluebird clip and...

maybe the most fun skull print I've ever seen! This is from STUDIOe fabrics ( She found it in a shop in Oregon. I absolutely LOVE it! I haven't made a cover for my Nook yet; this may be what I end up using. :-D

Thursday, February 10, 2011

And I've Been Sewing Too!

The day of the beautiful sunset was the day I finished sewing the half square triangles together into six inch blocks. Yesterday I cleared the design wall, consulted my chart, and started putting up blocks. It didn't take long to run out of room. What you see below is nearly my whole wall but only the center of what will be the quilt top.

I do want/need to be careful to distribute my neutral backgrounds evenly across the quilt. The purples and greens pretty much took care of themselves. In the end I decided to just sew up the central portion of the quilt and hope for the best from there.

Once I had that column constructed I was able to shift it over to make room for the left side of the quilt top.

As of this writing I have this end partially assembled. Once I finish that I'll be able to shift everything to the left to get the right end of the quilt organized. I have my fingers crossed that the blocks that are leftover will all play together nicely. It won't be fun to try to rearrange the placement of blocks at this point! (In fact, it might be easier to just go out and buy more of whatever neutral I need and make new blocks!)

Don't forget, any comments left between now and Valentine's Day will get you entered into a drawing for my beaded Love Token. :- )

Spectacular Color

These are a few shots from our back deck the other night. The colors were breathtaking. All my favorites were in the sky: pink and orange and yellow...

Topped off by purple streaked with pink.

My photography does not do it justice but it's better than nothing.

I hated to see the show come to an end.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Two Projects

I don't remember whether I showed Janet's Intuition block. I've had it on my design wall for probably close to a week (or maybe even longer) but haven't really given it a lot of attention. The oranges are really popping in the photograph. They aren't quite that bright in person.

She left some bits untrimmed to give me freedom to do whatever felt appropriate. It just so happened that I still had an intuitive block of my own on the wall. Just for kicks I tried it next to Janet's block:

It's amazing to me how well they blend together. so then I tried it another way:

I quite like that too! At this point I have no idea whether I'll go with either of these or whether I'll do something else altogether. I have another screaming headache this morning (when will this ever end????!) so I expect to do nothing more strenuous than sewing half square triangles together. This is the plan for Son-In-Law's quilt:

After I cut a pile of light and dark triangles I thought it might be wise to at least sketch out the quilt plan to see whether I had enough or too much of either of the colors. I have enough; how the distribution of prints falls out remains to be seen. I'll probably stick to the green and purple bands as I have them colored in the drawing.

Another irony is that this is precisely the type of quilt I avoided making in my early days of quiltmaking. The patches are huge by my standards (the half square triangle blocks will finish at six inches) and the piecing will border on boring. Fortunately I need boring right now. And even if my head weren't such an issue it would be easier to pay attention to what's going on in Egypt and the rest of the world while sewing and not be concerned about making a stupid mistake.

Friday, February 4, 2011

New Beginnings

I feel as though I've been in kind of a fog lately. I think it's lifting.

Looking back it would seem that I have been in serious need of inspiration. The kind you get from a trip out of town or by taking a class. DD and I took the twins to a Build A Bear Workshop for their first birthday - not that they had a clue what it was all about but DD and I sure enjoyed ourselves. I hadn't realized how hungry I was for visual stimulation until later that day when we made a brief visit to a Target as well. So much color! So many new things! The best part was that while I did suffer for the excursion it could have been so much worse.

I have been reading fiction and looking at digital versions of magazines that feature the work of doll makers and mixed media artists. I can see now that I have been refilling my well. Evidence that it is working manifests as a plan for a quilt for my SIL's birthday. There's no way I can get it finished and in his hands by his birthday but the fact that I finally have a plan is heartening. I'm hoping that I'll be able to use a good many of the batiks I already own in his quilt but I did have to go out to get some lights:

This will be an easy, mindless project. (She says, thereby inviting trouble.) At least in the beginning. In fact, I will probably use the half square triangle units as leaders and enders while I work on Janet's Intuition Quilt. Before that can happen I have to do a good bit of tedious cutting. Ah, but tomorrow there's a whole line up of radio programs to listen to while I work!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Merry February

I sort of went on a reading retreat over the last few days. I've read my Nook into the red zone at least twice. But I did finish embellishing my piece for January's "white" challenge. Then I backed it and turned it:

Talk about a challenge! In fact, I had to stop midway and make myself take a few deep breaths. Mostly it turned okay but there were a few beads that loosened up during the process. That was discouraging. I tightened up the ones I could.

Still, I think it turned out fairly well. It looks really nice against Janet's intuitive block. :- )

What I'd like to do is offer up this love token to one of my readers in a give away. Leave me a (nice!) comment on this post or on any other post I make between now and February 14. On that day I will put everyone's name in a drawing once for each comment you've left. You don't need to have a blog to enter, you just need to have a valid email address so I can contact you for a mailing address when you win. ;- )