Monday, October 27, 2014

Bunnies Multiply!

The girl bunny is finished, although I have plans for a sweater to go over her sun dress

Girl bunny went with me to Vintage Stitchers, where she met Julie's fox and elephant. They became fast friends.

Julie made their arms and legs longer than it called for in the pattern, an easy alteration.

She also brought these "ugly" socks she made for a relative who wanted ugly socks. I think they're pretty striking.

Marilyn showed us this great towel she machine-embroidered:

Rebecca finished this exquisite fairy in costume just in time for Halloween:

She also pieced this Christmas quilt from a Jelly Roll she bought a year ago.

Barbara was working on this great Halloween quilt:

Janet had finished this great comfort quilt top:

I took my Spring Flowers quilt to work on, but most of my crafting time this week was devoted to the bunnies. Joanie and I stopped by Blazing Needles in SLC on Friday after I took her to see her surgeon. They were having a knit group, and I showed off the bunnies, which one person recognized as Little Cotton Rabbits. We talked about whether they were difficult or not (not). It was fun to see what they were working on, and Joanie discovered a pattern she loved: a sweater with built-in cowl.

I finished the boy bunny, all but the clothes, on Friday night.

Saturday, the power went off, so blocking his shirt took some time. Boy bunny was patient, though, while I heated the old cast-iron iron on the gas fireplace and used it with a damp cloth.

It took longer to dry than normal, because the iron wasn't really hot enough, but soon he was dressed and ready to go out.

He watched his first World Series game.

I followed the pattern except for giving him some undies (tidy whiteys) and some lace-up Nikes. I had to do a leg transplant, because I had made a mistake on the number of rows on one foot, and it ended up smaller than the other. So I just made another. Good practice!
The bunnies are from Little Cotton Rabbits, and the designer, Julie Williams, has just come out with a new design: a mouse, available as a boy or a girl.

On to bunny number three! Happy Halloween, everyone!

(Pirate bunny by Heidijan,

What's on my needles: The second boy bunny. I still have the Johan socks and Mr. F's clothes to work on. I've decided my Mr. F. will be a birthday present, which gives me more time to finish his clothes. My quilting needles are still working on the hand-quilting of my Spring Flowers quilt.

What's on my Featherweight: Crystal Stars has gone off to the quilter for custom quilting when she finishes the Reflections quilt.

What's on my iPad/iPhone: Finished Victoria Holt's The Shadow of the Lynx. Then I listened to Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor, one of the most entertaining reads (or listens) I've had this year. It's the first volume of "The Chronicles of St. Mary's." Adventure, suspense, mystery, history, romance and lots of humor. I want to read them all! Still reading Cheryl Bradshaw's I Have a Secret, from Book Bub.

What's my app of the week: iBooks, where I store my great patterns from Ravelry and elsewhere.

What's in my wine glass: Crane Lake Malbec 2013, one of our favorites.

What's my tip of the week: Keep your phone and other devices charged up as much as you can. You never know when you lose access to power for charging. However, we have a emergency power source (a portable jump-starter) called "Instant Power" that we can charge up and then have ready to charge devices or start the car if the battery dies. We mostly use it for camping, but sometimes a construction company severs a power line and 2200 households are suddenly camping.

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, October 20, 2014

Ready for Halloween

Common Threads met at Ginny's. Julie is almost done with her Girl Fox from Little Cotton Rabbits:

She has also finished the head of the elephant.

I started my first project from this designer (the Girl Bunny) on Friday. The feet/shoes were challenging, but I've made good progress:

Our local quilt guild met Thursday night. Here's a top for a little girl:

And a quilt based on a video game:

This is Halloween penny rug table runner:

And so is this:

Halloween is the predominant theme:

And this, which is the same pattern as my friend Barbara's quilt from last week's blog. It's interesting to see how personal changes influence how the finished quilt looks:

This table runner is available as a kit/class:

Next month we're going to learn about Hawaiian quilts and how to make a block like this:

Soren took his I-spy quilt to school to share:

It's time for some baby cuteness, so here's Johan wearing his own BSJ, the one made just for him:

I've made progress on the Spring Flowers quilt, but it doesn't look much different from last week.

We had some excitement last night. Upon returning home after a fantastic presentation of Madame Butterfly in Salt Lake City, with Yunah Lee in the title role and Eric Fennell as Pinkerton, we discovered two (TWO!) CO alarms beeping. Beeping as in the batteries were dead, but after changing the batteries, they still beeped. We opened the windows, put the pups in the car (it was hard to get them in from the backyard, whither they had fled as soon as we got home, happy to escape the horrible beeping) and ran out to Walmart for some new alarms to test whether both of the CO alarms had died simultaneously. DH got some new batteries, too, in case our spare batteries were just bad. Upon returning home, the pups and I sat in the car while His Nibs braved the air (and potential further beeps) in the house and tried new batteries in the old alarms. They still beeped, so he tried the first of the two new detectors. It tested OK and didn't beep, so he took it to the areas of the house where the old detectors had been. Still no beeps, so he cranked up the other one. Also no beep. It appears that the CO detectors we installed in 2006 (manufactured in 2006 and 2007) both died within hours of each other...or maybe simultaneously, only the pups know for sure, and they aren't talking. I'm not sure I really want to know what they would have to say about what they endured while we were enjoying the opera.

What's on my needles: The Girl Bunny and Mr. F.'s clothes. I still have the Johan socks to work on. My quilting needles are still working on the hand-quilting of my Spring Flowers quilt.

What's on my Featherweight: The backing for the Crystal Stars quilt is done, and the quilt is ready to pass off to the quilter when she finishes the Reflections quilt.

What's on my iPad/iPhone: Listening to Victoria Holt's The Shadow of the Lynx. Creepy! Finished reading Joseph Lallo's The Book of Deacon from Book Bub and now reading Cheryl Bradshaw's I Have a Secret, also from Book Bub.

What's my app of the week: Voice Memos. When I took Joanie to the doctor, I recorded the interview. It came in handy later, when her daughter wanted to know which medication the doctor wanted to discontinue. I just emailed the recording to her.

What's in my wine glass: The Little Penguin Shiraz 2013. Nothing like letting it age. Very nice!

What's my tip of the week: Be ready to change the batteries in your smoke and CO alarms when you move your clock back on November 1. Seriously. Do this!

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, October 13, 2014

Monkeying Around

Ta-da! Mr. F. Is finished and waiting for his clothes.

I have one sleeve of his jammies (Union suit?) almost finished, but I've been hand-quilting, as you will see below.

However, while we're on knitting, I thought you would enjoy seeing Joanie's seal mum and pup:

They are from the book Knit Your Own Zoo by Sally Muir and Joanna Osborn. Now Joanie's working on the fruit bat, what she was really after. Her birthday is in October, and her last name is Howell (howl?) so Halloween  is a big deal for her.

Speaking of Halloween, we met at Barbara's For Vintage Stitchers. Here's her Halloween quilt:

I'm  trying to finish as many UFOs this year as I can. I'm working on the hand quilting of this hand-pieced and hand-appliquéd quilt (my first appliqué quilt be started, anyway). I call it "Spring Flowers." It hardly fits on my design wall, especially with the batting and everything. The part I've quilted so far is to the right, including the upper-right appliqué block.

After seeing the quilt design on an episode of Simply Quilts about 2000, I bought the fabric and started the quilt by doing the appliqué blocks (not in the original design). I copied the appliqué design from an old one I found in a book, American Quilt Classics from the Collection of Patricia Cox by Patricia Cox. It was from a quilt kit made about 1930. The fabrics were from "The Language of Flowers," designed by Susan Branch and manufactured by Springs Industries in their "Quilters Only" line. (I have been unable to learn the episode number of "Simply Quilts." If I find it, I'll add it at the bottom of this post.)

I've done several appliqué quilts since then, and taken several classes, including the one with Mary Sorensen, which really convinced me how much I love needleturn. Looking at these appliqué blocks now, I can see how much I've improved. My points in these blocks are really blunt, for example. Still, it has a nice effect, I think, and the "workmanship" makes it look very '30s. Here's a closeup of the appliqué block already quilted.

I ended up hand-piecing the quilt because I found I couldn't sew the LeMoyne Star blocks to my satisfaction. (It's funny how tolerant I was with the appliqué yet so picky with the piecing.) It has been sitting as a UFO for several years. Now I really want to finish it so I can hand-quilt my Delectable Pathways, which Julie basted for me on her long-arm.

In the meantime, it's starting to get cold here, and that reminds us that winter is coming. We just had our Jøtul stove in my fiber studio serviced. It was the first servicing in 10 years. It didn't seem to be working properly, so we called some experts to come and fix it. Some of the gas vents needed cleaning, and the installers had put too many ember pieces in. It works, but it doesn't seem to come on according to the thermostat. We may have to have the repairmen back. At least we can turn it on when we want it, though.

It sure makes my fiber studio cozy!

What's on my needles: Now that Mr. F. is done, I'm working on this clothes. I still have the Johan socks to work on.
What's in my quilting hoop: My quilting needle is working on the hand-quilting of my "Spring Flowers" quilt.
What's on my Featherweight: Still the backing for the Crystal Stars quilt.
What's on my iPad/iPhone: Finished listening to Julie Klassen's The Dancing Master and now listening to A Share in Death by Deborah Crombie, another good author and series brought to my attention through Audible's Daily Deal. Still reading Joseph Lallo's The Book of Deacon from Book Bub.
What's my app of the week: Craftsy again. I have been enjoying watching the lessons in the "Knit to Flatter" class. I just picked up "Save Our Stitches," on sale over the weekend.
What's in my wine glass: Crane Lake Malbec 2013, a new wine to compliment the very old UFOs.
What's my tip of the week: Masking tape is handy for hand-quilting. You can stick it onto your quilt as a guide for straight lines or cross-hatching. I use 3/4" or 1". Thinner than that doesn't stick very well. If the weather is cold, and your thimble keeps dropping off, you can put a little masking tape around your thimble finger to make it bigger. I find the tan masking tape is better than the blue painter's tape, which loses its stickiness too quickly for my taste.

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, October 6, 2014

Blocks, Boxes and Boxtrolls

There has been lots of progress since my last regular blog post. The latest quilt top finished:

The border gave me a little excitement. This is what I had planned:

It would have been fine, but after cutting out most of the pieces for the outer border, I discovered...oops!...the "2.88" on the remnant tag was the price, not the yardage. It was Monday, and Davidene's (our local quilt shop) was closed, so I made a quick trip to Elaine's Quilt Block in Salt Lake City, "quick" being relative. I came up with this.

Elaine's has a great selection, and their staff is so knowledgeable and helpful. This was one of the fabrics a staff member pulled out for me to try. I wanted a similar color to the first fabric, and a pattern that would disguise the seams required to make the notches.

I've decided to call the new quilt "Crystal Stars." (I was going to call it "Ocular Migraine," which DH thought was perfect, but I that was rather negative for such a pretty quilt.) Friday I picked up backing for it, this time at Davidene's.

The backing reminds me of toffee. The top is based on Connecting Threads "Sumptuous" quilt kit. The colors in the kit don't exactly go with my bedroom, and it wasn't available as a pattern, so I reverse-engineered it from photos. Most of the fabrics are from Connecting Threads, though, so I don't feel too guilty about copying. If I had it to do over, however, I would have made the double Flying Geese (the ones that point at each other) as quarter-square-triangle units. These are the units I used:

There were also some plain blocks.

The Habitat For Humanity quilt went off to the Overall Ball, held Saturday night:

The label on the back ended up looking nice:

I haven't heard what it went for, but the person who invited us to make it ended up with it. She said someone from out-of-town was bidding on it, and she couldn't have it leave Park City! They were going to have a professional photographer there to take photos. I'll post one if they share them with me..

In knitting news, I've made two squares for an afghan some of us are making for Susan's family:

Knitters/crocheters, there's still time to participate, if you want. My Mr. Foster is also coming along. I caught him monkeying around, even though his brain is still just a bag of fluff in my knitting bag. Not that all that fluff will make much difference.

I had a rough time with the mouth, but cherylbwaters on the Knitting Community had posted a link to a video by Cat Bordhi showing how to do a wrap-and-turn (W&T) that's less visible.
Tuesday I got to chauffeur Joanie around. She had a hair appointment and also wanted to visit a friend who was in the hospital (the one who usually drives her around). We stopped in at the Wool Cabin to make some small purchases.

I picked up some yarn to augment my leftovers that will be used to make a couple of bunnies from the patterns from Little Cotton Rabbits. You can see some of the FOs from their line of patterns on the left wall in the photo. There's an elephant, a fox and a bunny. (We also both fell in love with the Aran pullover on the wall!)

Vintage Stitchers met at my house last week. Barbara had this cute baby quilt:

Marilyn and Brenda had taken a class using their embroidery machines. They made tissue-box covers. The stitching reminded me of Sashiko. Here's Marilyn doing a Boxtroll imitation:

Common Threads met at my house the following week. (I'm trying to do my hosting duty before the snow falls and we can't park our cars on the road in our neighborhood.) Ginny showed off this skirt she made as a gift for a dance teacher.

Sunday we had the Blessing of the Animals in honor of the Feast Day of St. Francis. Rocky and Sunny bless us in so many ways, so they deserve a blessing. All the nonhuman participants this year were canines, so it was a Dog Day Afternoon for all of us.
We got to use our fireplace for the first time this season. Rocky says it's sweater time, and he's enjoying the sweater I made for him for last winter:

We went to see DS2's film "The Boxtrolls" the day it opened. I'm biased, of course, but I think it's the best movie Laika has produced so far. Great for kids and adults, with good messages throughout. Some critics have said it was too scary. For them, perhaps, but several friends of mine who took grandkids as young as five said the kids were excited, but not scared. Here's a photo of the crew. DS2 is on the far left in a lime green jacket.
We stayed for the credits, of course. It's blurry, but if you find the longest title (left side), DS2's name is to the right of that. His title is listed as "Senior Technical Director."
However, this is the best thing he has produced so far, IMHO. (Also our DDIL2, who, I assume, was taking the photo.)
(Our sons love their mother so much, one of them married a quilter and the other married a knitter. Like our daughter, also a knitter, they're so much fun to talk to and share ideas with. Lucky me!)

What's on my needles: Progress on my Mr. F.

What's on my Featherweight: The backing to the Crystal Stars quilt.

What's on my iPad/iPhone: Listened to The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett. (I kept seeing Bogie, Greenstreet and Lorre in their respective parts.) Just started listening to Julie Klassen's The Dancing Master. Still reading Joseph Lallo's The Book of Deacon from Book Bub.

What's my app of the week: BackTube. I haven't had much time with it yet, but you can download videos (like quilting and knitting) from YouTube and play back over and over offline. There's some advertising, but otherwise it seems to do what it's supposed to do.

What's in my wine glass: Trader Joe's Petite Reserve Merlot 2011. I've rarely had a bad wine form TJ's, and this was as good as it gets.

What's my tip of the week: Nothing takes out a stain caused by red wine like a slosh of white wine. While we're on it, if you're quilting and prick your finger, you can get the dabs of blood out with your own spit. (Only if it's your blood, so I hear.)

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.