Wednesday, March 28, 2007

WIP Wednesday 3/28

Now that I have my sewing machine back, I have been working on a quick project in addition to my Rattlesnake quilt. I have done three blue and white quilts recently, and I was really rather tired of blue and white, so I decided to work on something easy to piece that was not blue and white!

Remember all those red/orange strips left over from the red Rattlesnake quilt? I decided to use them up in a red and black log cabin. It is actually my first "traditional" log cabin. I made one Sierra Log Cabin from Judy Martin's books, the one with flying geese in the logs. I made that before I really understood about the 1/4" seam and before I had any clue as how to work with flying geese triangles, so as my quilts go, the results are... amusing. I doubt that there are two flying geese in any block that are the same size.

The traditional log cabins are much easier! I got very excited about churning out blocks and managed to finish at least 8 and to get 6-8 almost done before I left for Thailand. That is where I am now, so unfortunately, I can't post any pictures of the log cabin blocks until I get home. Instead, here is my first log cabin. DS chose the fabrics and the pattern.
One more piece of good news --the day before I left for Thailand, I also got a call saying the presser feet I ordered have arrived, so when I get back home, I will head over to Hong Kong to pick them up. That means my Single Wedding Ring may soon be bound.

Sunday, March 25, 2007


I found a good fabric for the binding of the jacket in my stash, so last night I finished my McTavished Jacket. What a fun and and easy project. I think next time I will do one with freehand feathers, but I will have to start with a bigger sweatshirt since this one won't close now. Here is the finished product.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

It's back!

My sewing machine is back! I got it back Thursday after a long wait, and it has been given a clean bill of health. Not only that, but I have the whole day today for quilting. Unfortunately, the presser feet I ordered so that I could do the border on the Single Wedding Ring quilt are not yet in, so that one is not yet finished. To celebrate the return of my beloved sewing machine, instead, inspired by the quilters on this ring who also sew, I made my first item of clothing.

Okay, made is probably a bit of an over- statement. I did, however, quilt an item of clothing. I have Karen McTavish's book and DVD on McTavishing, and in it there are a couple of pictures of McTavished sweatshirt jackets. I bought a cheap sweatshirt after seeing them, and yesterday I cut it apart and began McTavishing it using a variegated thread I had on hand. Once I had the pieces McTavished, I thought I was in real trouble because I had no idea how to put it back together again, but I discovered the overlock stitch on my sewing machine and here is the result.

It still needs binding, obviously, but I am amazed to see that I was in fact able to put it back together and I can actually wear it. I used up all the lining fabric, so now I have to figure out what to use to bind it. But, overall, I am quite pleased with my effort! And yes, it took only a few hours last night and half a day today.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Since my sewing machine isn't here

I have been working a bit on two quilt projects. First, I have done a bit on my hand piecing project. It was supposed to be a Drunkard's Path done in fairly random fabric combinations. I don't have Drunkard's Path templates, so I found one in a book I have, made the template and began cutting. It was only after I had cut my fabrics that I realized the pattern was not a standard drunkard's path but a variation designed to be pieced with sashing running through the circles (the XOXO pattern in the Modern Quilt workshop). This means that the edges of the pie-shaped piece are all bias and the outside part is quite narrow and difficult to cut accurately. I also learned how not to make templates doing this. Thin slippery plastic is not the best choice of template material! We have to learn somehow!

The other thing I have been doing is beginning to design a whole cloth quilt. I have always wanted to do one, and if I can't use my machine, at least I can mark some fabric for a whole cloth.

Aside from the quilt-related things, I have been cleaning my closet, or at least beginning to. I am taking out clothes that I don't wear any more, and looking for things that can either be given away or cut up to make quilts. I also added some things to the Trader's Village. They are silks I bought locally that I don't think I will ever use. Check it out!

A Trip Through History

Since my sewing machine is still in Hong Kong, I have not been doing much quilting. I did get out my hand piecing project, and did a few partial blocks. Unfortunately, I made my own templates with very thin and slippery plastic so my cutting is not particularly accurate. We will have to see how it turns out. I will try to get some pictures this week.

Last night DS had a school play, Dig It. The story is that Lucy (early hominid) takes some kids through history. It was a riot.
The tall skeleton is mine. :)

Civilizations of Mesopotamia

On to Egypt.
Confucius brings everyone to see the civilizations of Asia

Greece is the Way

Toga Party!Visions of the Future

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Oh dear, no WIP For me

I finished the quilting on my Single Wedding Ring on Sunday. I extended the feathers into the border, and I am very happy how it turned out. To use the Ricky Tims binding method, I need to purchase two new presser feet, and since the only Bernina dealer is in Hong Kong, I decided to bring my machine for an annual tune-up, get the feet, and pick up the #3 pearl cotton you need for the method.

Since DS was sick Monday, I had to put it off until Tuesday. When I got there (having lugged the quite heavy machine from taxi to boat, through 2 sets of customs and immigration, and onto another taxi), I learned that the technician is sick, has a giant backlog, and I probably won't be able to get my sewing machine back for a week. They also didn't have the two presser feet I needed in stock, so that may take a week to two weeks as well. I did pick up the new 1/4" foot with the seam guide and some bobbins. So it looks like no machine sewing will go on in my house for at least a week, and my Single Wedding Ring quilt may take longer to finish than I had thought. I do have a hand sewing project that I usually only work on when I am traveling, so I may need to work on that. At least when I get the presser feet, that will be two more in the box that will have some idea how to use.

I am not kidding about the presser feet. I did not get any lessons with my machine, and I am quite domestically challenged. I am sure that my sewing machine can do many amazing and wonderful things, just not while I am sitting at it. Lately, DH seems to be developing expectations that I will do something with it other than make quilts. A few weeks ago, he asked if my sewing machine could sew on buttons, and this week he asked me to make a quilt cover for a strangely shaped pillow that we got at Ikea. Honestly, he even used the word quilt to entice me to try to make it. What to do, what to do?

As you can see, the pillow has a connector to a zippered pocket that has a weight in it so you can hang it over the back of the chair and it won't fall off.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Some Good Things

I have lots of good news to report tonight. First, I have finished quilting the center section of my Single Wedding Ring quilt, and am now working on the border. 1 1/2 sides are not quilted, so with any luck at all, I should be able to finish it up tomorrow. Then on Monday or Tuesday, I will go to Hong Kong to the Bernina dealer to pick up some presser feet. I am going to try Ricky Tims' binding method on this quilt.

Next, I successfully extended my wireless network by adding an access point, so now I can browse the web easily from my bedroom. Instead of the low quality connection I had, it now reads "very good" signal strength. Sometimes it even reads excellent. I was continually getting dropped connections in my bedroom, so that should now be fixed. Of course, the real question is whether having reliable Internet access from my bedroom is a good thing. Do I really need more time on the Internet? Probably not, LOL.

Another thing I am very excited about is that I will be able to attend a seminar with Diane Gaudynski when I go to the States this summer. I am so excited! For those of you not familiar with her, her website is here.

I have never been to a quilting class, and what a way to start! I found her site by accident one time, loved her quilts, and wrote her a question about batting and quilt stiffness. She was kind enough to answer. I am beginning to plan my trip to the US this summer, and it occurred to me that I could find a quilt show or workshop and take some classes. When I checked her website, it turned out she was going to be giving a seminar not more than a half hour from my brother's house. The shop has accepted me to the class and has agreed to let me use one of their sewing machines since I will not be dragging mine all that way!

Since I have no quilting pictures to share, here is one of our dog. She feels the need to check out any stuffed animals brought into the house. Here she has jumped up to the kitchen peninsula to find a present DS bought for me. I should have been discouraging this, but it was so funny I had to get a picture.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

WIP Wednesday 3/7

I have been working away on my Single Wedding Ring quilt. Since I am now working at home, I have been rewarding myself for completing work related tasks by letting myself quilt a block. I now have about 3/4 of the central portion done. I am a little reluctant to keep posting pictures because there will be nothing left to show when the quilt is done, but it is WIP Wednesday.

Here is what I have been doing. I think my feathers have loosened up a bit in the few days of practice, so they are a little more curvy. I love feathers!

In the pieced blocks I have just been doing continuous curves, but I am not sure whether to continue that in the center of the block or to put in a motif of some sort. I like the way the continuous curves create a circular image around the center of the block, and it would be nice to continue that feeling. Any suggestions?

I am also wondering about what to do in the border. I could definitely continue the Victorian feathers throughout the border, or I could switch to something different, like a geometric motif. In Quilting Makes the Quilt, one version of this quilt has feathered wreaths in the plain blocks and is quilted with a very sharp geometric motif in the border-- you divide the border into triangles, and do parallel lines in the triangles. I can't explain it well, but it looks great. It would be pretty boring quilting, though. Again, suggestions are welcome.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Quilting Again!

My very busy month is over, and I am quilting again. Hurray! My meetings finished yesterday, but I was too exhausted to do anything. Today I had the house to myself for much of the day. I got my Single Wedding Ring basted and I started quilting the basic grid to stabilize it. I finished that, and even got to quilt a few feathers. They went pretty well, and I am happy to be back quilting again.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Book Meme

I haven't usually done memes, but I thought this one from Diana was interesting.

Look at the list of books below:
* Bold the ones you’ve read
* Italicize the ones you want to read
* Leave blank the ones that you aren’t interested in.
* If you are reading this, tag, you’re it!

1. The DaVinci Code (Dan Brown)
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)*
3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)*
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King* (Tolkien) This is a favorite series of mine, and I reread it periodically
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring* (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers* (Tolkien)
8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
9.Outlander (Diana Gabaldon) My mom gave it to me, but I haven't gotten around to reading it yet.
10. A Fine Balance(Rohinton Mistry)
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire* (Rowling) This is a fun series. It is not as good as Lord of the Rings, but it is really enjoyable and Rowling creates a believable and enticing world.
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix* (Rowling)
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone* (Rowling)
17. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. The Stand (Stephen King)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban* (Rowling)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)*
21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)* see Tolkien above
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy* (Douglas Adams) Great fun
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)*
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. 1984 (Orwell)
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel) I started on this one but the basic premise annoyed me so much I never got far.
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45. The Bible
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)*
53. Ender’s Game* (Orson Scott Card) Fantastic book with an interesting twist.
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)*
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets* (Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrew Niffenegger)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice) I liked this series at the beginning but it got to be too much.
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)
73. Shogun (James Clavell) A lot of inaccuracies. My husband, who is Japanese, hated it.
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)*
76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According to Garp (John Irving)
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte's Web (E.B. White)* A classic
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind) Might re-read it, but I am not sure. I liked the series at the beginning, but got tired of it as it went on.
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down(Richard Adams)
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding) I hated this book. Had to read it in high school
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce)

Looking at this, I have read a lot of classics (mostly in high school, I think!) and lots of Fantasy/SF. But of course, I knew that! I also read a lot of mysteries. For the most part, I read for escape. I have never heard of some of these books, and others are on my "someday" list. I wonder how the list was originally put together.