Saturday, August 19, 2017

Design Wall

I did find all the Alternative Jane blocks. Here I have them on display on the design wall at the new (to me) house.

Did I say "design wall at the new house?" Yes, and that's what I did today. I am setting the design wall up in the living room because it is the room with the most light. This may change in the winter...but right not there is so much sun I had to close the shades...and the lighting for the photos is off.

In any case, I can show you how I put the design wall together.

I bought 10 foot lengths of 1 inch PVC piping. I cut three 3 foot lengths and nine 4 foot lengths and laid out a four patch design. The PVC piping is held together with corner, T and + joins.

There is a ratcheting cutting tool that makes cutting the PVC pipe a snap. Literally.

I use a king size flannel sheet for the design wall. I put the top PVC section together (corner, 4 foot length, T join, 4 foot length, corner). Then I opened up the side seam so the top of the sheet becomes a sleeve. Then I slide the top PVC section into the top "sleeve" of the flat sheet.

I also opened the seam in the middle so the middle T join could poke through...and then I slide the middle section of PVC piping into that T join.

I also open up the seam at each end and attach the end sections into the corner joins.

And this is what it looks like with the entire frame put together and the flannel sheet attached through the top "sleeve." At this point I also realized I had made a big mistake! When I cut the lengths of PVC piping, I had planned on having the design wall be seven feet high. However, I didn't take into account that the joins add length and now the design wall almost goes all the way to the ceiling.

When Molly runs up the new design wall she might hit her head. Happily there was an easy fix. I just took off the bottom rung of piping and cut six inches off the three vertical supports. Phew!

That should be plenty of room. The next step is to pin the sides so the flannel sheet is taut across the design wall.

I have shelving units behind this design wall, and I attach the design wall to the shelving units with bungee cords. This setup is preliminary though. The shelving units and design wall are in front of the fireplace and mantel. I don't plan to use the fireplace, but in this current arrangement, I can't reach the shelves easily.

Also, Buddy liked to sleep between the fabric in the shelves and the flannel...forming a bulge at the bottom of the design wall. So I have to fill the shelves and tuck in the bottom of the design wall so Buddy can have a hidey/sleeping spot if he wants.

Okay, its more feline furniture than design wall... and design walls are down right boring without a cat running up it and sending all the blocks to the floor.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Quilting Catch up

Today we learned that our quilts (Pigs in a Blanket and Plaid Bunny Hop) were accepted into the Northwest Quilt Expo. So Molly got to work helping me finish up the hand quilting on the Plaid Bunny quilt.  Her head is right over the quilting needle as she tries desperately to rub her cute onto the quilt.

And here she's trying to add an artful conceptual framework that considers the diversity of plaids used in the quilt combined with the endless march of bunnies.

But let's not forget Buddy who is still detoxing on his digital time-out. He did walk across my keyboard a couple of times though.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Alternative Universe

Okay. It's official. Molly and I have decided to keep Buddy off of Twitter permanently. If his mental state improves, we might let him back on Instagram.

Meanwhile, I am still in the process of moving...and yes, given how long it's taking, let's pretend there is method to the madness and I'm part of the Slow Move movement.

And last night, the quilt guild had Lori of Humble Quilts as the guest speaker and she mentioned that she is taking a long time to quilt her Dear Jane quilt. This made me remember my Alternative Jane quilt and to wonder where it was. (In case you don't remember, these are blocks that Jane Stickle made, but did not include in her infamous Dear Jane quilt).

I think this is where I left off. And I think I decided to include all of the applique owls.

I will need to check the Alternative Jane Universe Almanac to see if she made a speedy chicken block.

Or a lion head.

Although I didn't sew much today (just Plaid Bunny hand quilting), I did get all the necessary ingredients to make a new design wall. Unfortunately, I will have to put it up without Molly's help.

Another vintage butterfly block

Molly is trying to cheer me up by making me sew a vintage butterfly block with cats.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Fabric Bins Assembled

The fabric bins are assembled and accounted for. There is still a lot of sorting to do, but I will wait until I have Molly to supervise. And yes, its a bit odd having fabric in one place and cats in the other. Which would you choose?

I used that wall to take a photo of the large plaid bunny quilt. It's 90 inches wide and 84 inches long. The very long pole was used for a very heavy window treatment that hung over the top of the windows on the other side of this room. My sister thought I should show my haphazard setup.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Molly Wants Your Vote!

Molly welcomes you to enjoy her submission for "Pets on Quilts 2017" the Plaid Bunny Hop. She worked very hard on the quilt and would like to teach you how to make a quilt just like hers.

This is what the quilt looks like without a cat. Very boring, so let's move on.

Designing and planning is the first and most important step in making a quilt. This is what it looks like.

Next, pick out the fabrics for the quilt. This involves lots of cuddling.

There is also a lot of sewing. Molly suggests that you delegate that to staff.

The plaid bunny quilt required lots and lots of bunny ears and tails for the border, and Molly collected these herself.

 Here is Molly layering the quilt. She prefers a wool batting.

Next Molly delegated the quilting to staff who machine stitched around each block and then hand quilted interior details.

Molly was responsible for chasing Buddy off of her quilt so he wouldn't get doggy cooties on it.

A last crucial step is posing on the quilt. Professionals prefer a sophisticated look with a touch of nonchalance.

And don't forget the head shot for the agent and your fan base.

For successful quilt making, Molly suggests getting plenty of sleep, preferably on a quilt. Right now Molly is dreaming of you voting for her as your favorite pet on a quilt.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Fabric Removal

Here's Molly investigating where the fabric used to be.

This may be Molly remembering the trip across the country that happened the last time the fabric disappeared. Happily, her next trip will be only 25 minutes in a car, but she doesn't know that yet.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Moving along

Do you know where your fabric is? I'm letting most of my fabric stay overnight by itself in the new house. Yes, I guess that I now qualify as an empty nester, and this is what it looks like.

Okay, maybe the nest isn't so empty after all.

I am trying to arrange for a local move. As we were discussing "my inventory" I mentioned that I had a weaving loom. My moving coordinator said she had heard of a loom, but didn't know what it looked like. She also thought I might need a specialty mover. I assured her that it was quite sturdy and has made several moves without special treatment. She asked if I could send her pictures of my Molly photobombed every picture I took. Next I'll be told they don't move cat hoarders.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Quilting a Bunny

Yes, I'm still hand quilting plaid bunnies. There are 55 of them. It is definitely slow going, except in my brain where I think and hope I'm making faster progress than I am. Perfect foreshadowing of a missed deadline, eh?  In any case, my hands are slow so I am joining Kathy's Slow Stitching Sunday (and everyone, just please ignore my brain. Thank you.)

To make the bunny seem like a plush stuffed bunny, I'm giving it a bulbous outline shape. Rather than mark the various plaid fabrics, I'm using a nonwoven light interfacing as a guide.

Given its a bulbous shape, there is no reason to be exacting. Yet here I am using straight pins to hold down the edge as I carefully stitch around a blob-like amorphous shape.

After the bulbous outline, each bunny gets details on the ear, arm, eye and tail. Just enough quilting to keep the bunny from being carried away.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Fabric Coming and Going

My fabric is on the move again. I keep hunks of fabrics that are 1/2 yard or smaller in these bins. Usually they are sorted by color and/or type such as batik or novelty. But in the move across the country this fabric served double duty as packing material. So I see some serious (yet fun) sorting in my future. And for any Nick Hornby fans out there...I do not plan to sort by the year I acquired it.

Meanwhile, my slow move into the house means that more and more space is opening up in the apartment. To show their approval, Buddy and Molly galloped and frolicked and chased each other at full speed this morning. The cooler temperature probably helped too.

Of course, some new fabric had to sneak in. You might remember that I saw this fabric in a quilt at the Sisters quilt show...but in a yellow colorway. I bought these from Etsy, but it was shipped from Thailand. Here it is one month later...although faster than the sewing table leg.

And despite our hot weather here in Portland, I am continuing to hand quilt the plaid bunny quilt. While heat advisories suggest limiting outdoor activities and staying hydrated, they should also warn against quilts with wool batting.

Thursday, August 3, 2017


I am very happy to announce that an important member of my quilting team arrived today. This is the leg to my sewing table that went missing during the move from Virginia to Portland. It's journey began on June 6. This leg was delivered to a woman in Denver. Three items of hers, including a vintage Singer in a wooden box, were brought here. When the driver took those items back to her, he picked up this leg and took it back with him to Virginia.

Then the company mailed the leg to me but left the apartment number off of the package. The package arrived here at the apartment complex and instead of taking it to the office where all packages get delivered was returned to sender. Yes, UPS sent it all the way back to Virginia. Then it was sent back and finally arrived today. And while we are all used to the speed of packages sent through Amazon, I am quite certain that this package was sent across the U.S. each time by boat.

The table has been a faithful quilting cutting table (and pin basting table) since the late seventies when the company I worked for sold it as surplus for $10. Now the leg has arrived in time to be moved to the new house.

Molly wonders what that story has to do with her...although she acknowledges that she has spent much time supervising me perched on that table.

Today Molly supervised the assembly of  a portable air conditioning unit. She saw these bits of hardware and gently batted them with her paw. I suggested that wasn't helpful, so she grabbed the smallest screw in her mouth and ran off with it. When I caught up with her, she was showing it off to Buddy on the kitchen floor.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Photo submissions

As I was hand quilting the plaid bunny quilt, Molly suggested it was time for photos. For the MidAtlantic quilt show, they ask for two photos, one of the entire quilt and one close-up view. The Northwest Quilting Expo asks for a single Molly is quite undecided as to whether I should go with a full view...

or a close-up.