Friday, January 31, 2014

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Well, those seemingly nice cats from Mystic Quilter's blog have high tailed it out of here and taken the cranes with them, so to speak. I was left with the carnage. Bits of beak, cat hair and feathers. Not even enough for a crumb block.
This is how everything looked earlier. Call me naive, but I thought they were all getting along. However, in retrospect, the cranes do look a bit nervous. Tommy keeps repeating "I told you so!"

Monday, January 27, 2014

A bow-tie quilt top from the 1980's. I'm trying to figure if I should keep it small and finish it off simply, or grow it by adding new and different bow-ties, or fold it up and store it away for a few more decades.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Making all those cranes for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge paid off! I enticed two of the cats from Mystic Quilters' blog over to mine. I knew they wouldn't be able to resist the cranes. And I bet they haven't even been missed.
Meanwhile the sky was celebrating this morning because it was going to go above freezing here for the first time since last Monday.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Here's another old quilt I made in 1986, called "New Wave Bow-tie." It's my thirteenth finished quilt. I think this was about the last quilt I hand quilted. Also, it has a wool batting that had just become available commercially. When I was "working" at Crazy Ladies and Friends quilt store, a customer came in and was describing what she said was "The ugliest quilt ever made." And this was it! I laughed and said "I made that." Another complaint about this quilt was that all of the palm trees in the peach bow-ties are facing up.
And here's my other activity of the day besides shoveling snow. I used the Hoffman California purple angel fish (#3) as the backing to the Ocean Wave quilt I showed a few posts back. I was looking for the blue colorway for that fabric that I was convinced I still had. I found it in yellow (#1) and pink (#2). At the time these were considered shockingly bright. They were also called batiks except they are printed with fake crack lines that wax would make in a real batik fabric. 

I was certain #4 was the blue colorway except it has different fish. Then there is #6 which has angel fish, but in a different style and with two colors. And #5 is more of the color I remembered as the blue colorway, and although it is also in the same Hoffman California fabric line, the palm trees are definitely not angel fish.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Here's the snowfall the morning after. We didn't get the predicted winds and blowing snow. Yet? So snow is still undisturbed and sitting pretty on tree limbs. I got out yesterday and shoveled half of the paved drive and will resume later this morning.
And as you can tell, Tommy doesn't always appreciate it when I interrupt his work for a photo session.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Here is Tommy hard at work on global warming. He is sucking heat out of the atmosphere and converting it to happiness.
Although not the most flattering photo, it does show how the wood stove heat helps Tommy with his arthritis so he can stretch out.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Here are the cranes I made for today's rainbow challenge at So Scrappy. Yesterday, I mentioned that I am making these in an attempt to lure away Mystic Quilter's cats. We'll have to see how that goes. For the crane I showed yesterday, I added strips on the top and bottom to make the crane stand out better. But for the rest I will wait until I am ready to assemble the quilt top and then choose the water, I mean sashing.
So this is everything I have made so far. For each crane block I end up with 2 extra half-square triangles. I will assemble these as I go along as well. In this case I had some extras due to excess creativity (aka mistakes).

Friday, January 17, 2014

I was planning on just watching everyone jump into the new year with the scrappy challenge at SoScrappy. My mind was a blank. Until I saw the cats at Mystic Quilter. Then I was jealous. Then I decided I would try and lure those cats off of her that meant birds or fish. I saw this swan used in a quilt in Quilts Japan #4. It looks like an origami crane to me. So that is what I'm going to use as a lure for those cats. Except just making this one about drove me crazy and took longer than I would ever admit to.
I didn't want to figure out how to make the beak (the crane's bill?) every time I made a block, so I decided to make the beaks all at once. I cut strips of the background fabric and marked the center of each 2 inch square (first photo). (This mark is upside down and is really the bottom of the beak). After marking, I cut the two inch squares from the strips. Then I set the squares on the yellow or orange scraps and sewed from my chalk mark to the corner (second photo).  Then I trimmed away the excess (photo 3). And now I have all the beaks I will need so I won't have to rethink that fussy bit each time. Now I have to go make some more blue cranes/swans to catch up with the challenge and link up tomorrow.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Here is the Placid Curves QOV post-rinse and wash. In my January 3 post, I was worried because one of the fabrics in the quilt proved to be an excellent dye catcher. When I tested some strips, the dye catching fabric turned pink. However, this time the quilt had 4 long soaks in a large tub with Dawn dishwashing soap. The rinse water turned primarily blue, so the dye catching fabric became a very pale blue.

Happily, the dye catching fabric added a consistent dull blue hue that looks planned and appropriate. And I am extremely happy that the fabric didn't turn pink, which would have ruined the quilt.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

This is going to get a little embarrassing. When I began quilting, I only used solid fabrics and all the quilts were hand quilted. And most of the quilts were given away, so I don't own many of my earlier quilts. "Fishing Cats" is the earliest quilt I still own--it was finished in 1983 and was my seventh quilt.
While I still get a kick out of the individual fish, the layout leaves a lot to be desired--like some movement. And clearly the applique plant life at the bottom is struggling to survive.
The quilt is called Fishing Cats for the border of cats quilted along the edge. At the time, the fish in the backyard pond were mysteriously disappearing. The mystery was solved the day my cat came running inside stinky and soaking wet.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Here's another quilt from my past: Ocean New Waves. It was finished in 1986 and was my fourteenth quilt. When I first started quilting I would number each one, but I think that bit of organization ended sometime around 1986. I don't have digital photos of my older quilts so I'm using the MASSIVE cleanup to get that done. Also, this quilt is looking forward to moving back to its home state of California where it was born.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The MASSIVE cleanup that began with the sewing room has moved to the room where I store flat folds of fabric, weaving fiber and finished quilts. The quilt above was made in the 1980s, but apparently I had already stopped labeling quilts because this doesn't have one and I no longer remember its name. I do remember that I was "working" at Crazy Ladies and Friends quilt store at the time and Mary Ellen wanted an example of mirror blocks.

In other news, the Placid Curves QOV is enjoying its first 12 hour soak. Although I expected a particular red to run, the water has turned a beautiful inky blue, which means the QOV gets to enjoy a second 12 hour soak.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Here's the QOV quilt top after its 24 hour soak. The dingy blurred look is just poor photography. Rest assured the soak was a complete success and the white is white and the red and blue are where they belong. The top needs a careful ironing and then it can be layered and quilted. This has given me more confidence...which I need before I soak a finished quilt that I know will bleed and that has a commercial fabric that could have a second career as a dye catcher sheet.
It has taken me a while to reconstruct the ins and outs of weaving. So it is a slow go. The warp is 510 ends of pearl cotton, about 34 inches across. I can't say more because it's a surprise for my sister.  Oops.
Tommy has joined me in the room with the loom but is obviously reminiscing about his two day stupor in front of the wood stove.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Here is the QOV quilt top with its final borders. Although I have never been a fan of prewashing my fabric, I've had quilt bleeding problems lately so I now dutifully prewash all fabric for QOVs. However, before I quilt it, I think I will give the quilt top a soak to see how prewashing paid off. And, of course, I'm giving this a 12 hour soak based on Vicki W.'s instructions (even using the hypoallergenic Dawn although it certainly isn't fragrence free).
As per instructions, I am holding the quilt top under water using plastic containers filled with water. And no, that is NOT the color of the water that comes out of the well or the water treatment tank. This is the quilt top after it has soaked for about 8 hours. And yes, from now on I will be giving QOV fabrics a long soak instead of just throwing them in the washing machine.
And now its time to start a new project. And it is pure coincidence that the new project uses the same color as the dyes discharged into the bath water.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

This is what I would get if I took the QOV that I'm currently working on, cut it into identical 60 degree triangles and then sewed those together.

Monday, January 6, 2014

It could be ice pellets and puddles, but I think it may be the candy "good and plenty."

Sunday, January 5, 2014

I finally got in a sewing groove and got all the blocks put together for the quilt of valor. And this one will get a soak BEFORE it's quilted. Except first I need to get into town to get some Dawn Free and Clear. Well, let me amend that. First, the paved part of the driveway needs to be free and clear of ice, and then I can go into town.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Hi, it's Tommy, your guest blogger showing you a new box that came in the mail for me a few days ago. This box is obviously too small for me. Staff offered to order a larger box, but I think she's only interested in the padding that comes with the box to protect the insides.

You're welcome!


Friday, January 3, 2014

Vicki W. has a must read blog post today on how to remove excess dyes from quilts. Although I have made quilts for a long time, I have only recently had a problem with bleeding quilts. I think most of my problems stem from changing to a small front loader that uses very little water.

Being thoughtful and organized, Vicki suggested that before experimenting with my finished quilt, I should test possible results with strip sets left over from making the quilt. I soaked these in a large basin with hot water and synthrapol. And while the red wood grain fabric bled, it was the white fabric with swirls that soaked up any dye it could in any strip set it was part of.

So your goal is not only to protect against bleeders but prevent dye catching as well. And now I have to ask that you stop reading this blog and go read Vicki's instead.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

The MASSIVE cleanup has morphed into an archeological dig. I found bear remnants in a bag from over 20 years ago. I have run across this bag of bear parts on many occasions but finally decided that it would be better to have a bear than bear parts. He's fully jointed and stands about 6 inches. There were many things I had forgotten about making jointed bears, so it was not an easy surgery. And he looks a bit scared because this was his first time outside. But I think he will be ready for full release sometime in the spring.

Meanwhile, Tommy called me to attend quite a few staff award banquets yesterday. But with neither food nor awards, I'm going to continue to call them staff meetings.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Welcome to 2014. I'm celebrating the New Year with the beautiful suncatcher I won as part of the Real Studio Tour sponsored by Vicki W.

And what would a new year be without resolutions? It's so much fun to chart a new course and develop new strategies for improvement. And I have simplified everything down to three resolutions.

1. Buy no new fabric in 2014.
2. Improve staff meeting attendance and participate with a better attitude.
3. Before acting, ask myself "What could possibly go right?"

This last one may need some explanation. When I was young, my grandfather passed away from complications of a pogo stick accident. Recently, at about 11pm one evening, I found myself dangling from the attic opening over a tipped ladder. This suggested a common inherited trait that might benefit from first asking "What could possibly go right?" Although I didn't wait to adopt this new strategy, I think I will benefit from carrying it forward into the new year.

And, of course, it is probably quite obvious that Tommy sees no need for New Year's resolutions. However, he is quite busy this morning developing and implementing more staff performance metrics which I am sure to hear all about at the next staff meeting.