Monday, August 29, 2011

Crazy weekend

It’s been one of those weeks. I haven’t even been at my sewing machine, although I did manage to get this done. 11Aug29bag

Yay for me! Not just a bag but a zipper to boot! Okay, so it isn’t even close to perfect. It’s done and the next one I make will be even better. I followed this tutorial at Crafty Gemini .

I haven't gotten back to the Mexican Star yet. I have so many beautiful fabrics to choose from now, I can't decide which to use! I’m thinking that I’m going to have to make some sample blocks to help make up my mind.

It's been a more than usual hectic week, with a slam bang finish. I cracked the whip at work (doesn't happen too often) and told everyone that I had to be out of the office on Friday (Friday at 8 pm as it turned out). I wasn’t working Saturday or Sunday this week, because my partner's retirement party was Saturday night - in the town where he's been working for the past 3-plus years, which is a 90 minute drive from here. It was also moving day as he maintained a small apartment there during the week and came home on weekends.

Sunday I drove home because a volunteer group I belong to held its first annual Yard and Garden Tour. We were happy with the way it turned out. But it was HOT. I  walked from yard to yard and, much as I hate to say it, I think I overdid the sun - and the walking. My feet still ache (because I wasn't wearing socks!) and I was awakened three times last night by leg cramps. I certainly overdid the eating at the potluck supper we had after the Tour, and today I'm not feeling so great.

I11Aug29ginger missed commenting on the New Moon Saturday night – I think it was it that delivered the coup d'grace to me. Too much activity on Sunday and today I can barely move.

The New Moon occurred at 5 Virgo around 8 pm PST. It landed right on my Pluto/Venus conjunction and triggered most of the other planets in my natal chart. I probably should have at least bought a lottery ticket, but I didn’t think of it. Virgo relates to health matters, co-workers and pets and a New Moon is a good time for a new beginning in any of these areas. Virgos are also notoriously picky, which is not a bad thing when you’re working on a quilt. They’re good at working patiently on the details. Virgo colours are dark brown, green and navy blue.

Until next time,

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Fabric call

11Aug21RF New fabric just unexpectedly arrived a few days ago – not! I ordered an assortment of Northcott’s new Rain Forest line. I love the design although I wish they were a heavier weight. The lightness makes them curl a bit, but I suppose they’ll be fine when everything is said and done. Now I have lots of choices for my Mexican Star. Actually, I liked the old one I did, especially after I added the different green – the darker fabric really added a nice touch, I thought. But, running out of the yellow-green fabric was kind of a deal breaker.

So, I’ll turn the old squares into a separate project and start again.

All those beautiful tropical prints made me “go native” and I added a few more metres to my stash – some orange and yellow paisleys from R & B Textiles and Guatemalan Daisies from Robert 11Aug21fabric Kaufman.

Meanwhile, I continue to work on my zippered pouch. I finished cross hatch quilting last night using the Border Guide Foot. I’ve never cross hatched before. My friend Judy tells me it's the easiest way to quilt, but I've never done it before, so required a bit of study first. Nothing is easy when you've never done it before - thank goodness for the internet! 

Way back when (2009), I leaned the basics from a couple of wonderful ladies in our local quilt guild. But after trying it out for a year, they stopped meeting at night and went back to meeting only during the day. Since I work during the day and couldn't attend, I had to quit. But I really wanted to make quilts and so I researched whatever I wanted to know on the internet. Thank goodness for Google and Youtube! I learned a great deal from both, and Judy, my neighbour and partner in crime keeps me challenged and interested.

11Aug21cats My pouch doesn't look that good, but it’s just a practice run made with donated pieces of fabric that aren't necessarily my favourites. I’ve sewn the batting together from little strips from other projects, for one thing. I think most people who quilt are the same - we don't like to waste our resources. I guess that’s why I hate cutting into new fabric – what if I ruin it? You think I’d be used to that by now.

Until next time,


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

It’s dead, Jim

It’s a good thing my sewing machine doesn't have a battery or it might have taken a hit like several other things in my household yesterday, like the car and the computer’s battery backup, the digital thermostat, my cell phone… At least my brain seemed to be working.

11Aug17cats And so were Rusty and Ginger, who obviously don’t run on batteries. Here’s one of their kitten pictures because you might be looking for something sweet right about now.

The dead car was especially exciting because when you get behind the wheel and turn the key, it’s usually because you have to be somewhere. Like work. And when it doesn’t start, it gets the adrenalin pumping instead. It eventually had to be towed to our mechanic where, for $166, he was able to deduce that my seven-year-old battery was simply deceased. I told him that if I’d known it was just the battery, I’d have put it in gear and rolled it down the hill to the local automotive shop downtown on the highway. The momentum would have taken it most of the way. And you can always find a few fellas around, willing to push a car those last few meters. Car is happy and running without complaint again.

11Aug17blockf And the computer’s battery backup is now sitting in the basement waiting for the electronic recyclers to visit town again. We had a very brief brown out last night and it was just enough to toast my failing backup. Since I didn’t have a backup backup, I have cords plugged in every which way now. Not a pretty sight.

The good news is that neither going back to work nor a cluttered sewing area has slowed me down much. I think my new Janome Horizon has a great deal to do with that, it's just so much fun to use. It gives me just the right amount of challenge to keep me interest but not overwhelmed. Unfortunately, it’s caused me to start several projects11Aug17blockb in the past two weeks, something I try not to do as I get so easily distracted and forgetful. Oddly, it's working out all right so far, but if something goes wrong, it’s the sewing machine’s fault.

I’m working on the Mexican Star, my Christmas Tree skirt, a zippered pouch, a needle case and these cute LITTLE paper pieced squares that I found here . The creator of the site has (or had) a variety of TINY paper pieced squares and they're a great way to get rid of those piles of itty bitty scraps that keep accumulating.

A couple of weeks ago I was taking pictures at a local Pow Wow and admiring the regalia worn by the dancers. The costumes were made up of striking colours as well as beautiful beadwork and stitching. And many of the symbols they used are similar to the blocks that quilters use. No big surprise there, really.

11Aug17pw3 11Aug17pw1 11Aug17pw4 11Aug17pw6 11Aug17pw5 11Aug17pw7

And several of these cute little bags -

11Aug17bag1 11Aug17bag2 11Aug17bag3 11Aug17bag4 11Aug17bag5

Until next time,

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Vacation is over


Actually, it was back to work last week. I got lots of sewing done in the two weeks I had, and made plans for lots more projects, but my time at the sewing machine is at a premium again since often I’m working seven days a week.

My new fabric arrived yesterday (Friday) at the Post Office, but it was closed by the time I got there after work. Now I have to wait until Monday to pick it up.

Full Moon this morning at 20 Aquarius. Venus joins the Sun today in opposing the Moon making it sound like a great day for practical jokes. Certainly a day for the unexpected, so be patient!

Until next time,

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Christmas is coming


When you take as long as I do to finish a project, you have to give yourself lots of lead time. Actually, though, I bought this pattern last year. Does it count as started if you don’t actually take it out of the package? The temperatures outside might have just finally reached the nice and toasty stage, but I see lots of Christmas craft magazines and fabric starting to show up in the stores.

Mom and dad used to toss an old white sheet down around the Christmas tree. As far as I can remember, that’s about as fancy as anyone we knew ever got. My partner and I don’t even do that. Our good sheets? They belong on the bed, not the floor.

11Aug9Ginger But when I saw this pattern in our local quilt shop last year, I really wanted to make it. And if you’re going to make it, might as well use it, right? So I bought a large piece of coarse, unbleached cotton – osnaburg – as called for in the pattern. I machine-basted it so I could wash it first, and it’s a bit on the crumbly side, but very soft and comfy.

Ginger likes it very much. That’s rather fitting since she and Rusty were my Christmas presents in 2009. They were barn kitties, just weaned from their mother by the time Christmas rolled around, so they came to live here. They love tearing apart our Christmas tree, so I’m sure they’ll get an even bigger thrill out of it once the skirt is finished. It may make it easier to find the ornaments they’ve knocked off the tree.

11Aug9cloth In case you can’t see  the pattern that well, there are six houses with trees and snow people around the outside, and Santa in his sleigh with his reindeer flying above. I have the fabric picked out for the houses, but it’s going to be a lot of nit-picky work. I decided to begin this while I wait for the fabric to arrive for my second batch of Mexican Stars. Once that’s here, I’ll probably go work on that until it’s finished. Or until I get bored. Guess which one’s more likely to come first? With a Full Moon coming up on the 13th in Aquarius, anything is possible.

11Aug9Ginger2 Until next time,

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Stash bustin’

This week I earned brownie points for using up the last of this green fabric that I bought three years ago. That's why we buy fabric, right? To u11July13mexicanstarse it up? Otherwise, it becomes part of an overwhelming fabric collection. Unfortunately, I used it up unexpectedly and ran out after making only six of nine squares. I checked out a couple of local fabric stores, but it wasn’t in stock anymore.

But that wasn’t exactly a bad thing, because after making four Mexican Star blocks, I decided that my colour combination wasn’t working for me – the purple is too prominent. So, I decided on a new combination and then had to …. uh, order more fabric. It should be here next week, including more of 11Aug5close this yummy yellow which I'm just about out of after using it up on these quilt squares whose fate now lies in limbo.

I used another green and did three more blocks to make nine, and actually, I like the green fabric I used in the last three blocks. It blends in better with the purple. Maybe not all that surprising, as both the purple and second green fabric are Laurel Burch designs. It measures about 32 inches square or 56 inches on the diagonal.

So I've used up half a metre of fabric and bought 11 more – sounds about right to me! (Look at that clean carpet – it’s amazing what you can do with Photoshop!)

11Aug5Rusty I think Rusty is giving it a Thumbs Down! Or is he just practicing his scary Hallowe’en Face? It didn’t stop him and Ginger from playing on it all afternoon.

Until next time,