Monday, October 26, 2015

Preparing for Winter

We have cranked up the furnace, and I'm working on hand quilting my "Peggy's Sistine Chapel."

It should make us feel warmer just looking it. It's the "Delectable Pathways" pattern by Mary Sorensen. I gave it the Sistine Chapel name, not because I've done all the work on it on my back, but because it's probably the most intricate quilt I've ever done if you count all the needleturn appliqué and hand quilting. 

If you look closely, you can see where I took out the stitches I made 1/4" inside the seams of the triangles. I decided I didn't like the look, so I'm quilting in the ditch. The straight lines are made using a strip of masking tape as a guide (see tip, below). The dark thread is basting. I had my friend Julie, who has a long arm quilting machine, do the basting for me. It sure beats crawling around on the floor. 

The Busy Bee Throw is coming along. Here's the layout.

The row at the top of the photo is a single layer and will be in the middle of the throw. The other rows are stacks of two identical rows. Each of the hexagons has a twin of the of the same color underneath, so I can sew them together as a mirror image. (The table isn't wide enough to hold the entire layout.) Since taking this photo, I have sewn four rows of hexagons together. I think sewing the rows to each other will go faster, because I won't have to keep starting and stopping. I've discovered that using stitch markers to hold the corners together helps keep the piecing more accurate. If you missed previous posts, I'm using Knit Picks City Tweed DK.

Vintage Stitchers met at Diane's on Thursday. There wasn't much to show, but Barbara had finished this flannel quilt based on "Turning Twenty."

The back shows the quilting better, as usual.

I didn't get much time to play this week. I dedicated most of my play time to solving my phone problem. My phone (iPhone 4s) has dropped calls as long as I've had it, but only in my house, where I had 1-2 bars of cell service. When I go out places (even out in my street) it has worked fine. In the house I've been using the Internet through Google Voice or Talkatone to make phone calls. You only get so many free minutes each month, and if I ran out, I would lose the call anyway. The 4s is only 3G and has a slower processor than the newer phones. Some research led me to believe a new phone would perform better. 

Losing calls in my home was the first problem. The second problem was our internet service. It goes out frequently and can stay out up to 24 hours or more. If we have urgent Internet business we have to go to a restaurant or other business that has a different provider. We looked into changing providers, but didn't want to pay more or have to change our TV service. (Our Internet and TV providers are linked together, although they are different companies.) Newer phones may be set up as a personal hotspot or can be connected to your computer using the charging cord (tethering) for emergency Internet service. Some cell providers just count the data you use, regardless of whether you use your phone to provide Internet for other devices or not; others charge extra every time you do this. 

I was happy with my cell service but was unable to get the new phone I wanted (iPhone 6s) from them. I ended up ordering the phone from Apple and switched to a provider that charges $10/month more than I was paying. (It's really only $5 more, if you have one incident a month of having to use the personal hotspot, as my old cell provider charges extra for it.) So far I've made a number of calls from inside my house without dropping them. [Fingers crossed!] I was able to set up a personal hotspot with no difficulty all on my own, and it worked. I'm keeping my 4s as an extra handset and iPod. If my phone is in the house and both are connected to the Internet, they both ring if I get a call, and I can answer whichever one is closest. (That's my excuse for not much progress on projects.)

Saturday I attended a workshop with Maestro Jonathan Griffith, who has trained and directed the chorus at the Carnegie Hall. He came to Utah to work with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and our little group, Park City Singers.

We will see him again on Tuesday, when he directs our practice for the Christmas program. I'm not a great singer, but it's fun, and I'm already better, thanks to this workshop. I have lots of things to practice.

We don't do a lot of decorating for fall, but we put out this guy, and he's outstanding in his field, small though his field may be.

Every time I look out my kitchen window, I think I'm seeing a person standing in our yard.
As promised a couple of weeks ago, here's a look the first of the quilt shops Vintage Stitchers visited during our time in St. George, Quilted Works Quilt Shop.

They carry the Bloc Loc ruler I'm so fond of and even had a stack of HSTs to use for demos for customers. Three of our group bought one each. I bought some fat quarters at each store.

What's on my needles: Still sewing the hexagons for the Busy Bee Throw together. Hand-quilting the Delectable Pathways.
What's on my Featherweight: Kaleidoscope Quilt. No progress this week.
What's on my iPad/iPhone: Listening to Banished Love by Ramona Flightner, another WhisperSync deal from Audible (a free book from Book Bub and low-priced audio if you had the Kindle book). I'm not very impressed with the narrator, but the book is interesting so far. Still reading Auld Acquaintance by Ruth Hay. (I'm enjoying it, but you know I don't do a lot of reading in print.)
What's in my wine glass: Fish Eye 2013 Shiraz. The big bottle, much needed this week!

What's my tip of the week: Masking tape makes a great quilting guide for straight lines or cross-hatching. You can make straight lines of quilting any distance apart by quilting along one side and then moving the tape the right distance from the line you just finished. Just remember to take the tape off if you're putting it aside for some time. Painters' tape will work as well, and you don't have to be as careful about leaving it on, but it loses its stickiness faster, so it will take more tape.

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 19, 2015

Fall Weather and Cozy Crafts

The hexagons for the Busy Bee Throw are done and I'm sewing them together:
The Pine Burr quilt is finished. We decided to hang it on the wall in the dining room.
Common Threads met this week at Margareth's. Margareth finished up her Aspen sweater during the meeting.

A Canadian weaver who was visiting the area. She was working on this knitted wrap. The yarn is a cotton-nylon boucle.

We got to see lots of weaving. Margareth showed us this runner.

Karan had finished a set of placemats using scraps of quilting fabric cut into 1/2" strips with the rotary cutter.

Margareth was working on some bath towels. This one is still unfinished:

This one is finished. Margareth, who is Norwegian, sewed a little Norwegian flag in the corner.

She's also working on this cross-stitch project she started years ago. 

Ginny made this brush holder for a friend who paints:

Here it is open:

The Park City Quilt Guild had their meeting that night. We had a demo of disappearing quilts (disappearing pinwheel, four-patch and hourglass). Jill and Linda had some great visual aids. Here Jill demonstrates how to make a disappearing hourglass quilt block.

She brought a quilt top she made from this fun block.

Linda brought her disappearing hourglass quilt top:

Linda showed us how to make the disappearing pinwheel quilt. There was a great handout with all the different things you can do with the pinwheel.

Jill brought this disappearing pinwheel quilt.

We talked about all the things you could do with the disappearing four patch, like this:

...and this:

Then we had show-and-tell. I had brought my Pine Burr quilt to show off. We also got to see these great quilts. Deanna showed us this quilt she has had for 30 years. Her mother bought the top for $10, along with some others in different colors. Friends of hers hand-quilted it.

She also showed us this great sampler with complicated sashing. I think the sashing helps blend the different blocks together.

Another member of the guild produced this great October quilt.

If this isn't enough quilting for you, you can find photos of the quilt shops in St. George, Utah, here. I plan to feature them in a later blog post, but go ahead and peek if you like. The shops are Quilted Works, Superior Threads and Scrap Apple Quilts.  
That's all folks! I'm off to sew my hexagons together and I have my new Kaleidoscope quilt on the design wall. Stay tuned.
What's on my needles: Sewing the hexagons for the Busy Bee Throw together. Hand-quilting the Delectable Pathways.
What's on my Featherweight: Kaleidoscope Quilt.
What's on my iPad/iPhone: Finished Nice Dragons Finish Last by Rachel Aaron, another Audible Deal of the Day. Reading Auld Acquaintance by Ruth Hay.
What's in my wine glass: Amberhill Secret Blend Red 2012. Yum!
What's my tip of the week: If you prick your finger while quilting, sewing on binding or doing appliqué and a few drops of blood end up on your quilt, try using a little saliva to remove it. 

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 12, 2015

Heading South

The Pine Burr Quilt is finished. (Well, it still need a label, but it’s as good as.)

The pattern was from McCalls Quilting, May/June 2012, "Pine Burr Made Modern." Paper-pieced. Fabrics from multiple sources: local quilt shops, Connecting Threads. Quilted by Stephanie at Quilts, Etc., Sandy, Utah.
I posted a photo on Facebook, and Franklin Habit said he liked the colors. I’m feeling so honored. (His blog is so much better than mine, well worth a read.) I do think the colors would make a great Fair Isle sweater.

In the meantime, remember the Kaleidoscope fabrics? I added some fabrics from my stash.

I’ve made a mock-up of the block I think I might use.

It would be roughly a 24” block. The background is Kona Snow. The inspiration quilt (“Fresh” from Simply Retro With Camille Roskelley Fresh Quilts From Classic Blocks) had 16 blocks this size, and was made up of mostly 4” (finished) HSTs. There are lots of extra seams, so I eliminated a few. Construction is a little more complicated, but I think it’s worth it.
Also in quilting news, the last pieced “First Ladies Quilt” is pieced. It’s the Mary Todd Lincoln Block is done. 
Just the appliqué blocks to finish.
This past week Vintage Stitchers had their first quilt retreat. We met at Julie’s place in Washington, Utah, just outside St. George. We took our fifth wheel and parked a couple of doors down from Julie’s winter home. It was hot with no AC, but we had basic power (Julie ran an extension cord from her house), along with water and sewer, and the location was so much nicer than the overflow parking next to the trash bins, even though we could have used the AC.)

DH and I did some hiking with the pups, and the three of them hiked alone while I was having some quilting/knitting fun.
We did have some knitting, as well. Julie has her mother and aunt making Little Cotton Rabbits animal friends for her grandchildren. Julie is working on the kitty, with colors picked by here granddaughter. Here’s the head:
I’m hand quilting my Delectable Pathways quilt. We had some show-and-tell, as usual. Julie is also working on a wool felt/flannel quilt, a wall hanging, which is embellishing:
Marilyn has finished this appliqué block:
Julie’s mother is working on this quilt from Pennies from Heaven by Gretchen Gibbons.
Rebecca inherited this great partially finished Christmas quilt from a friend:
Remember Barbara's Poinsettia quilt? She just has the binding to go.
Here’s Julie’s witch, Hazel, well, the body, at least.
I can just see Hazel with the kitty head….
We did a sort of impromptu quilt-shop hop in St. George. Watch for my report on each of the three shops we visited in the following couple of weeks. 
I can’t go too long without yarn in my hands, and the crocheted hexagons for my Busy Bee Throw are coming along. 
One hundred hexagons done and 36 to go, and they go fast.
What's on my, hook: More hexagons for the Busy Bee Throw.
What's on my Featherweight: First Ladies Quilt, last pieced block finished. Now for the appliqué. Unnamed quilt using Kaleidoscope fabrics.
What's on my iPad/iPhone: Finished The Girl With All the Gifts by M. R. Carey, an Audible Deal of the Day. I really enjoyed it, although it isn’t my usual kind of book. Finished Miss Goldsleigh's Secret by Amylynn Bright on my Kindle app. Good story, but the sex seemed gratuitous, as if the publisher insisted on the author’s including it to sell the book. I would much rather the publisher had provided an editor. There were missing words from time to time and spelling errors, such as “shown” for “shone.” Very distracting.
What's in my wine glass: Nathanson Creek Cabernet Sauvignon. With the frog on the label. Of course.
What's my tip of the week: If you plan on changing the colors in a quilting or knitting project, try copying the photo in your pattern in black and white. Then choose your fabrics or yarns and copy them in black and white. The contrast shows up better, so you can see what colors to put where, while avoiding the distraction of the colors in the original.

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 5, 2015

Fall Projects

The Pucker Up Socks are done:
I wore them to Common Threads on Thursday. It's nice to wear bright socks when it's cold and rainy outside. 
Georgette had finished this drop-stitch scarf, which Lynda is holding up. 
The sock sitting on Lynda's knee in the photo above is the one she's knitting from the yarn I brought her from Germany. Georgette is currently working on the Vertical Stripe Throw and Afghan. (Hers will be the afghan version.)
Julie is working on a long vest from Malabrigo, the same yarn I used for my Steampunk Shawlette.

And Karan brought this quilt to get opinions on hand-quilting designs.

Margareth is making this Fair Isle sweater. This is the back. It's Aspen by Marie Grace Smith.
He is also making herself a mink sweater. Yes, the yarn is actually mink.
Now that the socks are done, I've moved on to the Busy Bee Throw. I've crocheted more than half of the hexagons needed to make the throw. I love that I can keep a crochet hook and a ball of City Tweed in my purse to work on if I get tied up somewhere while I'm out. However, now that I'm actually making progress, I'm also working on it at home.
My fabric from Connecting Threads has arrived in Park City and should be delivered today. I'll post a photo of the yummy stuff along with the half a bolt Kona Snow fabric I bought from Julie. (She gets a discount because she owns a quilting business.)
Meanwhile, Sunny continues to lose weight slowly, in spite of the occasional treat from Daddy. It's a good thing he didn't teach her to beg...or Rocky, either.

Her diet has worked so well, I've recommended it to my friends who want to lose weight. Here it is: 1 1/4 C kibble a day (brand not important, but stay away from the really cheap stuff), and an occasional piece of carrot, banana, potato peel or other fresh fruit or vegetable. (If you catch a mouse, you can chew on it, but you have to spit it out when you're done, because it might have consumed poison before you caught it.) I guarantee you will lose weight if you follow this diet.

What's on my hook: Working on hexagons for the Busy Bee Throw.
What's on my Featherweight: First Ladies Quilt. Still.
What's on my iPad/iPhone: Finished A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce, based on Rumpelstilskin. Now listening to The Girl With All the Gifts by M. R. Carey. A new take on the zombie apocalypse, not something I usually choose, but the description of this intrigued me, and it was an Audible Deal of the Day, so I have it a try. I don't want to put it down. It sort of reminds me of some of Dean Koontz's novels. Finished Cut from the Same Cloth, by Kathleen Baldwin, from Kindle, the last of the "My Notorious Aunt" series. I want to read more from Baldwin. Now I have Miss Goldsleigh's Secret by Amylynn Bright on my Kindle app, good so far. I've been sticking to free books from Book Bub, and it's keeping me in reading. You can sign up to get daily mailings of eBooks that are free or very inexpensive in various categories. (You get to choose.) The books are available in various apps. I usually choose Kindle, because often the free book will give you the option to buy the WhisperSync version very inexpensively.
What's in my wine glass: A Pinot Grigio from Glen Ellen, vintage 2013. It doesn't keep well, so...drink up! 

What's my tip of the week: Children grow in length more than width. When making a sweater for a growing child, choosing a top-down pattern (starting at the neck and working down) makes it easier to lengthen the sleeves or even the torso by undoing the BO sts, picking them up as you go and adding yarn. Then you can knit a few extra inches to get more use out of your sweater. 

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.