Monday, September 15, 2014

Nesting for Winter, Part II

The quilt for Habitat for Humanity's Overall Ball fundraiser is coming along. I finished putting the blocks together with sashing, corner stones and a border.



This involved a consult with Janet and another one with Julie, as we were trying to get by with fabrics on hand. I was scrambling, but managed to get the top pieced in time to pass it off to Julie at Vintage Stitchers.

We met at Janet's. Diane was appliquéing this Dresden Plate design.



Carol is finishing up her yellow quilt, the one that made me fall in love with the lovely yellow floral fabric. She's putting the binding on.



Janet was also finishing up this quilt. It's "Blue Lagoon" from It's from Pam and Nicky Lintott's Jelly Roll Quilts, the first book in the series.



She had finished piecing her "Sparkling Gemstones, also from Jelly Roll Quilts. (Janet has set a goal to make every quilt in the book.)



This was a pretty design, but when I made it, I regretted following the directions exactly. The way they designed it, it ended up with extra seams that made piecing difficult. I suggested to everyone in my group (do as I say, not as I did) to just strip piece the jelly roll "gem" fabrics as directed, and then sew the thinner strip on after the pieces are cut and sewn into the little rectangle 4-patches. Barbara and Janet both avoided my problem by doing that.
Janet has used the same gray fabric for the background that she gave me to use for the border in the Habitat quilt. I love that fabric!

You may remember that I spent a good part of the previous week cleaning and organizing my fiber studio. It turns out that I managed to injure my right knee, with the repeated climbing up and down on the kitchen ladder to fold and arrange my fabrics and yarn, and especially with the twisting, as I turned around repeatedly. It required a trip to the doctor and X-rays when it didn't seem to be getting any better. No serious damage, though. There was some fluid collected in the knee, and it's finally getting better.

Saturday afternoon the new sofa bed from IKEA came. In five boxes. We managed to get it put together and useable by 8:00 PM. It was an interesting study of two people working together: one who had read the instructions and the other who liked to be in charge. I would say the hardest part was ironing the removable slipcover. Now I have a  new knitting nook in my fiber studio. (Even though the slipcover is washable, I have it covered with my Sparkling Gemstones quilt, to protect it from the pups. I'm sure it's easier to wash than the slipcover.)



The old sofa bed went to Carol's gardener. The space has to double as sleeping space for company, as we only have one guest room. Our house originally had four bedrooms, but one became our dining room, and one became DH's "study." 

Remember my Mr. F.? He's on the move again!



I'm going to try to finish him as a present for one of the grandkids this Christmas.

I also drafted a block for a quilt I plan to make when I can get a chance, but I really want to finish up some more UFOs before the end of the year.

Johan hit two months, I think his personality is starting to show in his photos.
Finally, happy anniversary to my mostly loveable DH. We were married 49 years ago today and hope to make it to 50 if one of us doesn't kill the other! (Life would have been very dull without you, Sweetie!)
What's on my needles: Some progress on the Johan Socks socks as well as on "the elusive Mr. F." (my name for him from Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austin).

What's on my iPad/iPhone: Listening to A Thread So Thin by Marie Bostwick. Still reading Joseph Lallo's The Book of Deacon from Book Bub.

What's my app of the week: FaceTime. I tried to Skype with our DS1 and DIL, but was unable to do it. We couldn't figure out what was wrong. They had the same problem on their end. We switched to FaceTime. Easy, and the video was much clearer than Skype. I guess Skype is charging now, but I'm not sure.

What's in my wine glass: Bogle Petit Sirah 2012. A nice choice, and the bottle is recognizable from the back.

What's my tip of the week: If you buy something with a label or price tag that comes off but leaves sticky stuff behind, use the sticky side of the label to press repeatedly on the sticky part, and most or all of it will come off. If the label doesn't want to come off, try running the hair dryer over the label for a few seconds. Labels are usually easily removed after this treatment.

Note: This blog post was produced on the iPad and the MacBook, using the iPhone for some photos and some photo processing. No other computer was used in any stage of composition or posting, and no Windows were opened, waited for, cleaned or broken. No animals were harmed during the production of this blog post.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Nesting for Winter

Why is my yarn stash in guest room?


This isn't even all of it. Not all of the yarn is in view. I would need a wide-angle lens to get it all in.
Back to the question: A few months ago we discovered we had moths, originating in our Navajo rugs in the storeroom. While I was sad about the rug damage, I was frantic about my stash. I began freezing it in batches in our deep freeze. As each batch came out of the freezer, I would throw it onto the guest bed. I'd been planning to reorganize my fiber studio, so this seemed like a good time.
Here's my stash of Knit Picks Palette, before organizing by color and putting it all away in a cabinet:
I just dumped it all on my cutting mat. Here are the upper cabinets organized. The quilting fabrics are on the left. Yarn for specific projects is on the right. Sock yarn (which doesn't count as stash) is on the top shelf of each of the cabinets on the right. A friend pointed out that I could store yarn in that suitcase on the top right, but I had to explain that the suitcase holds my thank-you notes for all the people who give me...ahem...yarn, spinning fiber and quilting fabric. (Hint, hint! Wink, wink!)

The tidied-up fiber studio still has a lived-in look:


And another view:

My cutting area is ready to be used again, now that the pile of Palette has been put away.

The cabinet was an old bathroom cabinet, rescued after a replacement was installed. It's also useable as a light table. We had a glass company cut a piece of 3/4" plexiglas to the right size and frost one side. DH took the "decorative" fronts off the part that used to house a sink and put a shelf in to hold two under-counter lights, shining up under the plexiglas. I used this light table a lot when I was working on my Delectable Pathways quilt.


The design wall hides a closet fitted with shelves for storage. For the design wall, I took a queen-size Warm and Natural quilt batt and sewed battens onto the top and bottom. the ends of the top batten slip onto a couple of hooks on each side of the closet.


I can place single blocks on the surface, and they will stick to it. As long as there isn't a breeze, they will stay put. Larger sections of quilt top need to be pinned, though. I can roll it up and store it, with or without my project. The curtains underneath are the same as those in the window. On the design wall are the house blocks fellow quilters made for a quilt for Habitat for Humanity. It's going to be auctioned off next month. I got the last two blocks yesterday (not shown). The fabric on the right is what I expect to use as sashing.

I'm now ready to tackle the weaving/spinning area. The corner with the little Jøtul gas stove doesn't look too bad.


However, the rest of that part of the room leaves much to be desired. I plan to replace the futon-type sofa bed with the nice sofa-bed couch I bought at IKEA on Saturday. It will be delivered next Saturday. If we have good luck assembling it, I can post a photo next week.
You can see my antique quilting frame between the couch and the chest of drawers. The drawers to the old entertainment center are sitting on the bench in front of the sliding door. The main section is outside, covered with a tarp. We have to get rid of that huge piece of furniture. The kumihimo "loom" (covered with a white bag)is going to the weavers' guild. A friend asked me to find a home for it, and I thought the guild would like to have it. I'll post photos of the finished area when it happens.

I did get some projects worked on this week. The big ta-da of the week was my finished Delectable Pathways (aka "Peggy's Sistine Chapel," so named because of how long it has taken) quilt top. I'm going to hand quilt it, and my friend Julie, the professional machine quilter, has it now to baste for me.


Joanie and I were only at Common Threads for a little while on Thursday, because I drove her to her doctor's appointment in Salt Lake City. (Her other friends and I take turns driving her places.) We did stop in and have some coffee and something to eat at Georgette's before I took her home. I didn't get any photos, though. Now that Joanie doesn't drive anymore, she likes to have friends come and knit with her on Friday, so I got some work done on my Johan socks. I'm ready to start the gusset:


The big family news for this week was the special viewing of "The Boxtrolls" for Laika employees and families, which includes DS2, his wife and the two boys. Our son does special effects for Laika films. Everyone needs to go see this movie and give me a full report!
Johan greeted the new adventure (his first 3D movie) with his usual exuberant enthusiasm.
What's on my needles: Some progress on the Johan Socks socks. Some progress also on "the elusive Mr. F." (from Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austin) One leg to go.

What's on my iPad/iPhone: Finished The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness, from Audible. Outstanding read! Now listening to A Thread So Thin by Marie Bostwick. Still reading Joseph Lallo's The Book of Deacon from Book Bub.

What's my app of the week: Goodreads. I can find out about a book I'm thinking about reading or listening to before I buy or check out from the library.

What's in my wine glass: Trader Joe's Coastal Syrah 2012. "Moderate tannins and lingering oaks." Yep, that describes it!

What's my tip of the week: Yellow Finn or Yukon Gold potatoes can be microwaved (according to your microwave's instructions) and cooled. Then the skins are easy to peel off with your fingers. You can cool them off under cold water if you're in a hurry. The pups love the peels!

Note: This blog post was produced on the iPad and the MacBook, using the iPhone for some photos and some photo processing. No other computer was used in any stage of composition or posting, and no Windows were opened, waited for, cleaned or broken. No animals were harmed during the production of this blog post.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Cutting Up and Getting Out

The main activity for this week was my "Reflections of Butterflies in Lemonade" quilt top.



I started this quilt on Tuesday. It's the Disappearing Hourglass block from Missouri Star's Quilt Block magazine, the latest issue. There's also a video of how to make it on YouTube.

In the magazine, they show you how you can rotate every other block 90° and end up with a secondary design, and that's what I did. The instructions called for using layer cakes (precut 10" squares), but I realized that this would yield a block with bias edges...not my favorite thing. You put a light square and a dark one together, sew around the outside and cut diagonally twice, corner to corner, which gives you four half-square triangles (HSTs). I figured out that 7 1/4" squares would give you two HSTs about the right size, and you can fit them onto a fat eighth, of which I had several I wanted to use. It takes two of these 7 1/4" squares each of the background and foreground to make a block this way. You sew the HSTs together to make the hourglass block, then cut into 9 patches, which you rotate and sew back together. Fun and easy, with a few precautions. Here's what I learned about making this quilt: 

1) Don't listen to an audiobook when you're first learning how to sew and cut the blocks. If you cut one wrong, you either have to start over, and the waste the fabric, or you have to resort to templates [shudder] or do some serious math and cut pieces out of scraps.

2) When you sew the blocks together always have the light triangle in the same upper corner.

3) When you repress the seams that don't fit when you sew the block together, always press them in the same way.
My Delectable Pathways is coming along. I'm appliquéing the leaves that cross over seams into the pieced blocks. The first panel is done, and I'm working on the second. Julie tells me that her store, where I bought the background fabric, closed in 2004, so I've actually been working on this quilt for ten years! So I've decided to rename it "Peggy's Sistine Chapel."
Vintage Stitchers met at Diane's last week. Marilyn and Brenda are working on the same machine-appliqué birds.


Barbara has finished her "Witches in Stitches" quilt top. We discussed how to have it quilted. Julie, who is a professional quilter, says you can quilt right over the embroidered parts if you use the background color.


Here's the fun back:


Marilyn was working on this batik appliqué:


And here's Rebecca's appliqué:


Daphne and Zachary are now in the same day care, which, for Daphne is preschool. They go to the University of Wisconsin. (Why not start at the top? This way, when they want to go to college, their parents can say they already sent them to a top university.)

This is Zachary, showing off his new backpack and his haircut. (Yes, his hair was longer.)
Our newcomer, Johan, occasionally opens his eyes now.
Finally, our sweet Rocky turned 10 yesterday! (That's 10 in human years!) We took a hike to celebrate. He's in good health, so I have great hopes that he will be with us for 6-7 years yet. Rocky is the most human dog we've ever had, and we love him to bits! (This photo was from last spring, but it was the best recent portrait of him.)
The weather was nice, and we made it to the Fairy Tree in Toll Canyon with friends. (Rocky's the one with the fancy beads, which we left at the Fairy Tree.)
What's on my needles: Still Cat Bordhi's "Bavarian Twisted Stitch" socks from her book, Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles, aka the Johan Socks. Someone in the Knitting Community reminded me that I also have Mr. Foster on the needles. I should really give "the elusive Mr. F." (from Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austin) priority. Still sewing the leaves on my Delectable Pathways.

What's on my iPad/iPhone: Still listening to The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness, also from Audible. Also still reading Joseph Lallo's The Book of Deacon from Book Bub.

What's my app of the week: Public Radio. You can select your favorite PBS station and listen to it in real time.

What's in my wine glass: Amberhill Secret Blend 2010. One of my faves.

What's my tip of the week: Did you know you can use your iPhone as a hotspot for your computer or iPad? Go into "Settings," tap "Cellular." Select "Personal Hotspot." Follow the directions. Of course, this will count towards your data usage, if you have a plan that has limits.

Note: This blog post was produced on the iPad and the MacBook, using the iPhone for some photos and some photo processing. No other computer was used in any stage of composition or posting, and no Windows were opened, waited for, cleaned or broken. No animals were harmed during the production of this blog post.

Monday, August 25, 2014

UFO-a-go-go.

I had several irons in the fire this week, but the big news is, I'm coming down the home stretch on my Delectable Pathways quilt.
I got the top pretty much put together yesterday. I still have some appliqué to do on leaves that cross over seams. There are also two seams to sew, left open to make  appliqué and embroidery easier, but otherwise, it's done. This was a major UFO for me, started seven years ago. I should call it "Peggy's Sistine Chapel."
I'm going to allow myself to piece one new quilt before tackling the next UFO, and I still have to piece the Habitat House Quilt in early September. However, Julie is going to quilt it and Janet has agreed to put on the binding.
We had an amazing turnout at Common Threads (12 people!) Julie brought along a couple of quilts she's finishing. Here's her comfy cabin quilt:
With  Minky on the back:
She also brought a batik quilt:
Also with Minky on he back:
Pru (Tigermum), a friend of mine from the Tudor Roses KAL group and Starmore Junkies on Ravelry, is in Park City part time. She came to Common Threads and brought her Katherine of Aragon sweater (in progress) for us to see. 
It's really interesting to see in person, partly because she used the yarn called for in the pattern, and she has so much of it done. Here is Pru's Katherine of Aragon sweater:

She also brought some socks she had made and wore another Starmore project. We have a lot of knitters in Common Threads, so it was great she could come and bring along her great projects.
In other quilting news, the Park City Quilt Guild met last week. We had a great show-and-tell.
We saw this great baby quilt:
And this fantastic paper-pieced quilt:
One of our members made this book for a child, including chalk, in a zippered pocket, and a chalk "board."
We saw this great quilt:
One member had made a quilt for her mother, using some blocks her mother pieced before she had to stop quilting due to macular degeneration. The quilter had family members make personalized patches to put in the quilt.
Another quilter had some children help make this quilt. She explained to them the meaning of the log cabin block and how colors were used in early quilts of this type to represent the fireplace and the warmth or light from it.
Some of us visited Joanie on Friday. She had finished her vest.
She is recovering from a major procedure, and is doing well.
I made my second nylon scrubber out of nylon net while I was there.

These are not only handy in the dishpan, but also for cleaning up your cutting mat.
This week Sunny and I completed our recertification process with Therapy Animals of Utah (TAU) and Pet Partner. Our first job was to go to a BBQ put on by another organization, and give a presentation about TAU, during which I explained what we do and talked about some of our experiences with clients, and Sunny did her thing, providing "therapy" to people who seemed healthy and well off. You never know, however. The organization decided to give us a donation.
Baby Johan has been growing. He's still pretty much a night owl, though. Photos of him taken during the day are pretty much with his eyes shut. However, this shows how much he has grown, if you compare with the photos of him in his car seat when he left the hospital. Amazing.
Zachary got his first haircut. Daddy provided the labor, and Mommy cried. Believe it or not, this is after the haircut:
What's on my needles: Still Cat Bordhi's "Bavarian Twisted Stitch" socks from her book, Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles, but I'm calling them the Johan Socks. 
What's on my iPad/iPhone: Finished The Blue Sapphire by D. E. Stephenson from Audible, which was the first one of her books I read years ago. It led me to read as many of her books as I could get my hands on. Now I'm listening to The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness, also from Audible. Still reading Joseph Lallo's The Book of Deacon from Book Bub.
What's my app of the week: I've been getting a lot of use out of my iPhone calculator. I love that I can just whip it out, the way I do my iPhone camera. It comes in handy when calculating my knitting gauge or when cutting fabric for a quilt.
What's in my wine glass: Apothic Red winemaker's blend 2012. DH thinks it's too sweet, but I don't find it sweet at all, and I don't like sweet wines. We found this at Fred Meyer in Oregon, picked up by chance. I went back and got more. My friend Rob says it's more expensive in Utah, but I may have to splurge anyway.
What's my tip of the week: If you're piecing Delectable Mountain blocks, and you know you are going to have to press the seam that has the points under, give the points a wide berth. An extra thread or two will do. The points will tend to bend into the seam otherwise.
Note: This blog post was produced on the iPad and the MacBook, using the iPhone for some photos and some photo processing. No other computer was used in any stage of composition or posting, and no Windows were opened, waited for, cleaned or broken. No animals were harmed during the production of this blog post.