Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Tommy has a new girlfriend so he made a valentine pillow for her from the pink postage patchwork. It's filled with catnip to convey his amorous intentions (although he doesn't really know what that means).

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

 Today, I (Tommy, your guest blogger) am going to explain how I made this crane without measurements. That's right. No ruler. Only a rotary cutter! And in five easy steps!

First, I cut the triangle for the crane's hind end, then added the dark background fabric on two sides. Next, I cut away the excess. Second, I took another fabric and cut a triangle, added more fabric to that and cut away the excess to make a square. Then I did that again. Then I trimmed the squares to be the same size. Third, I made another triangle and added a strip to that and cut away the excess. Then I cut a strip and added more background fabric and cut away the excess. Oops! Call staff to sew a y-seam. Fourth, I took more background fabric and added it all around and cut away the excess. Finally, I called staff to clean up the mess and give me a massage. Using my technique, you will need roughly one yard each of three or four fabrics.
You're welcome! Tommy

Monday, February 24, 2014

I couldn't resist some pink postage.
Tommy supervised the fussy cut cats. He was very fussy.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Spring is on the horizon because two more pink cranes flew in today. During the redesign to omit the seam in the neck, I didn't realize I made an extra long neck. I was supposed to trim it down, but forgot. But I like it better this way.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Keeping up with the rainbow scrappy challenge as the end of February nears, I thought I should make some pink cranes. However, I have not been happy with their construction because I have a seam cutting across their neck (see the one at the bottom). This is needlessly gory and it makes it harder to sew neatly. So the crane at the top features the new construction and how I intend to proceed...

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Here are the results of the second round of snow dyeing. I thought I should try and take pictures of the fabric on the snow while we still have it. The temperature was in the mid 60s (F) today.

It was also quite breezy.
 And the sky was so blue it made the snow dyed fabric look pale in comparison! The day after our snow event, my measure showed about 13.5 inches of snow. This morning the same ruler showed 4 inches of snow remaining, but by the end of this afternoon the yardstick was laying flat on the ground.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The latest snow dyes fabrics are not ready yet--they are in the middle of their twelve hour soak. So here's a kaleidoscope pattern using a slice of the spiral snow dye fabric I showed a couple of days earlier. And yes, I revised and subdued the coloring a bit.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Bumble beans has a call for 200 quilts so I thought I would use the opportunity to finish up an Irish Chain quilt I made long time ago. It's much sweeter than this photo would suggest, and I think a recent flurry of pink piecing brought it back to mind. Meanwhile, contrary to previous mutterings, I have a second round of snow dyeing in the works. This time I was able to cut the snow into neat squares with a trowel. Plus I even did some additional planning (GASP!) before launch, so I might have enjoyed the process...slightly. In this case, the enjoyment of the product far exceeds that of the process.
I went out at sunrise this morning hoping to catch the full moon over Pasteur Mountain. That didn't work out, but here's the view down my driveway. We have about six inches of snow left but not for long with 50 degree days forecast for the rest of the week (starting tomorrow).

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Here's the most successful result from my snow dyeing session. Essentially this is the typical tie-dye spiral with three colors: blue, red and yellow. However, I did not use primary colors, I used Dharma dye mixes for each of the three colors. And the snow works to slow the dye process so some of the dyes within the mix strike faster than others. And that's what is giving such color variation.
Here is a close-up. Fascinating! I arranged the cloth on a plastic egg carton and then added about a 2 inch layer of snow. Next I sprinkled the dye powder directly on the snow. (Health savvy dyers use dye concentrate--dye prepared in liquid to avoid air borne dye dust.) Then to demonstrate my own safety approach, I then added another layer of snow on top of the dye powder.

Unfortunately, the snow was less than cooperative. When handled it collapsed into itself like cotton candy. I thought that the extra layer of snow would contain the dye powder, but I was very wrong. It turned into such a fiasco I just left the whole mess in the unheated garage for a couple of days until I could face it again. Another innovation! Please see the Vicki W. tutorial to do this technique correctly.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Here's Tommy transcending reality while enjoying Cassandra Tondro's painting Transcendent on her birthday. Happy birthday!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day! And yes, I guess I am a bit cold-hearted. After Tommy gave me my tenth valentine's present, I said I was having a hard time distinguishing valentine's presents from staff meetings. He told me to hold still because he was trying to sleep. So cold-heartedness apparently runs in the family.
A patchwork heart close-up.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

I measured an overnight snowfall of 13.5 inches. And it should be considered official because I used my Mary Ellen Hopkins Magic Circle yardstick. That's Pasteur Mountain (part of the Blue Ridge) in the background.
Here's my snow shoe trail heading around the side of the house. Snow shoes are hard work--putting them on, that is. This is the second time I've been able to use them and I definitely do not have a system for putting them on. But I did make my way around the house to clear snow from around the heat pumps, the heated bird bath, and some of the drain spouts. I came back inside hoping Tommy wanted to call a staff meeting, but no such luck.
Hey, where did the bench on the deck go? I was using it to show snow fall amounts. This photo is again looking out at the bench on the back deck, but now it's about 5 am. I fed Tommy and rebuilt the fire in the wood stove. Tommy wanted to hold a staff meeting, but I said he'd have to pay me overtime. And with that, I'm heading back to bed.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

We're at the beginning of a snow event here in Virginia. This is the view out onto a bench on the back deck. It began to snow drizzle at about 5:30 pm, then began snowing in earnest at about 6 pm. This is what has accumulated by 11:30 pm. In the morning I am expecting about 8 more inches on top of this. My plans for tomorrow include going for a walk in snow shoes and then trying my hand at snow dyeing. Tommy is on wood stove duty.
You seem like you might be a hard worker and a good mouser. But I have a LARGE mouse problem that includes some very large mice.
Well, working well with others is definitely an advantage.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

I understand you have many years of experience, but I'm looking for a contractor to solve my mouse problem, not sleep on the job!

Monday, February 10, 2014

I have been interviewing contractors to help me with my mouse problem. They all sound convincing, but I worry that once the paw's in the door, its just more staff meetings and mouths to feed.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

No, I am not color blind. I know that the Rainbow Scrappy Challenge called for blue patchwork in January and pink patchwork for February. What I failed to do is keep the blue separated from the pink. And now I know why quilters are so fond of separating their fabrics by color and storing it in plastic bins with tight fitting lids.
But at least I've shown that quilters don't buy too much really does multiply in the stash. Now if only those patchwork cats would show up and help me out, I could get back to sewing...

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The blue mouse did fancy the pink one after all, and now I have a mouse explosion in my sewing room. I should have read the fine print about participating in a rainbow scrap challenge. Apparently everyone saw this coming except me.

Tommy has been holding staff meetings away from the sewing room, so I had no clue what was going on in there. I saw some purple bits all over and he's an excellent mouser, but I think this has gotten beyond his control.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Look who showed up out of the blue! Tommy, however, doesn't like how blue mouse is looking at pink mouse.  He thinks we may be heading toward trouble.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

After the unexpected demise of the blue cranes, Tommy suggested I switch to mice. According to him, mice are a lot faster and don't just hang around like sitting ducks, so to speak. He suggested I make it big and juicy.  The finished block is 12 by 14 inches but seems to be on the dry side. And he's pink because that's the color for the month of February in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2014.
Tommy looks very trustworthy to me...