Friday, September 22, 2023

You're Welcome!

In case you have forgotten, I'm Molly Kitten (emeritus), and I would like to explain why I have forbidden my evil staff person from posting to this blog. I am protecting the world from one more person who has chosen the dark side without an ounce of regret.

A few months ago, staff grabbed me and threw me in a cage like an animal. She did this no less than three times...and on the third visit to the evil empire, she left me with strangers who proceeded to remove my kidneys to sell to other evil people. (Editor's note: the bill from the vet indicated a dental cleaning. Molly returned with no sutures and has had no dialysis.)

Due to the medical and emotional trauma, I can barely enjoy the usual activities of daily living.

And yes, Buddy reportedly was subjected to the same treatment...although I can't verify this because I vanished into my secret hiding place while Buddy was captured and caged.

Buddy came home from his first entrapment full of stories about being cuddled and fed a Churu treat while the vet commented at length about "how talkative and loud Molly is." 

So as expected, when Buddy returned from the dark side after his second entrapment, they had removed his single brain cell. (Editor's note: Also a dental cleaning).

And in case you have forgotten where we left was when our only staff person completely lost her mind. She finished putting all of the spools into a quilt top and then layered it. It weighs just shy of two tons. 

But the true horror that will surely provoke nightmares is having staff rummage through her scraps and cut new pieces for new spools to put in a "better layout." Apparently quilters can lose their brain cells without surgery.


Saturday, April 15, 2023

Return of the Spools

The spools have just been hanging out on the wall while I moved little bits of the gridded photo around until I got the quilt arranged just as I wanted it. Then I assembled the real life blocks into the new order. Then I thought...maybe I'll move this here and that there. And now its in a completely new arrangement. Looking at this photo I see even more why is there a clump of purples down in the lower left corner?

And this is dangerous work. You may notice a cat toy down on the floor in front of the design wall. If you get too close to the design wall, especially the blocks near the floor, a paw from a wild beast may reach out to snag you. The cat toy is used for distraction.

Meanwhile, Molly took her first day trip to the vet for a dental cleaning...except that she flunked the prescreening blood work. She was so stressed out that her blood glucose readings were off. The trip is rescheduled but now every day around 8 am, Molly disappears to some hiding place. She only comes out when she realizes that I am too happy to take the opportunity to get stuff done without her supervision.

Monday, April 10, 2023

Sewing Room Hazards

I now have an owl flying around my sewing room. This owl will have to go back to the drawing board. He looks like he's swimming. Also, I tried to have fancy shading in the wing, but I mixed up some of the strips. (Then used color pencil to fix it). Happily, the next version won't have the fringe on the feathers because I'm going to simplify the piecing on the next one. I may also make him larger...most of the strips are 1 inch unfinished, half inch finished.

I also had a nice time quietly rearranging photo blocks of the spool quilt and finally found the perfect layout.  However, Buddy started to step across it, then had to jump over my restraining hand, then had to scramble as he started to slip on the photo pieces. There may have been threats made on one of his nine lives which has now transformed to my having relentless waves of guilt.

Sunday, April 9, 2023

Still Confused

After a significant organization and clearing out of the sewing room, I still couldn't find the project box for my colorful standing bunnies (not to be confused with the plaid bunny quilt). However, when I went looking for orphan blocks, I found the bunny blocks...but sewn together. 

I also found a green and blue baby-sized quilt top made from remnants of a Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt I didn't complete. And yes, it's identical to the one I just made.

I took this as an opportunity to test Buddy's artistic prowess and see if he would combine them in one masterpiece or two. He then informed me that he is an artist, not a factory machine. The quilts remain relatively flat, only somewhat victimized by a stand-off between Buddy and Molly.

However, Buddy did complete an outstanding conceptual art work...taking his laser pointer toy and putting it in his food obvious commentary on the dangers of artificial intelligence on the survival of sentient beings.

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Who Made These?

 As with most older sisters, mine is a bad influence. She mentioned that she was cleaning out her sewing room, so I thought I should do the same. (Editor's note: This never happened when they shared a room).

In the clean out, I found this pile of mini-kittens. They finish 3 inches long. Most of them seem to be kittens made from kittens with a Gumby/Pokey and a squirrel mixed in. I have never seen this project before in my life. (Of course, one can use the search feature at the top of the page to find exactly when I started this, but what fun is that?) 

And in case you thought that Buddy's artistic flare was an accident... this is how I found the quilt in the morning after I took the photo of it laying out flat. I think it represents the precarious form of existence with its many twists and turns, or maybe an owl or a raccoon. I'm afraid to ask.

Sunday, April 2, 2023

Spool Puzzle

 I need to arrange the blocks to get a bit of movement in this quilt but was not looking forward to stepping up and down from a chair while pinning and unpinning the blocks from the design wall. So I took a photo, printed it out, labeled the back to match the blocks on the design wall, then cut apart the paper version of the quilt. These are much easier to move about. As you can see, I ran out of steam and didn't figure out what to do with the darker blocks so they make up a column on the right side.

 Buddy made a lot more progress with his artwork. It's a still life with catnip banana and mouse toy.

That was the best Buddy could do given the limited materials he has to work with. (The quilt top is roughly 32 inches square.

Saturday, April 1, 2023

Not An April Fools Day Prank

No joke's an actual blog post. I just got the enlarged version of the spools up on the design wall. I had to extend the design wall to the ceiling for it to fit. The quilt is now 72 by 84 inches...and now that I can see it, I've decided I want it to be square again. I'll knock six inches off the bottom and stick them on the side to make a 78 inch square quilt. In case you're wondering...that's 2,688 spools, hopefully all different and charming. I say hopefully because as I was adding new spools, I caught a duplicate. 

Meanwhile, we had a brief thunderstorm with itsy bitsy hail, and Buddy started to run and hide. I had to remind him that he is not afraid of thunder because he used to be a member of Team Storm. His name was Typhoon and his sister was Hurricane. He did stick around but only because the boredom from my story washed away his fear.

Saturday, March 4, 2023

Cool Cat: Project Quilting Challenge 5 (Not a Square)

 Project Quilting's fifth challenge was to make a "Not a Square" quilt. Of course, "not a square" is a bit of a riddle, but the obvious answer is "Cool Cat." And I hope the judges go light on contestants who get this wrong and in true Project Runway fashion eliminate them with scathing comments about how costumes are not avant garde! 

The "Cool Cat" quilt is 14 in by 22 in. 

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Feline Input and Output

 I stepped out to run an errand yesterday and returned to a cat's critique of the "Not Square" design. Apparently what it was lacking was a dead opossum. This stuffed possum usually travels around the house some time after midnight...accompanied with loud meows if its Molly and high squeaks if its Buddy. I'm not certain whether I'm supposed to add an image of an opossum or attach the actual stuffed animal. 

And here is a photo of Buddy projected on the wall. In this version, he is about 3 ft in length. How large should Buddy be?

Meanwhile, I ran across this photo of my front yard in Virginia. It was always fun to go out and see the tracks of the various animals that had been out and about. Here in Portland, the only animal that left tracks in the snow was the black cat with territorial issues. I didn't have to go outside though because he came up under the front window to glare at two cats nestled in their heated beds.

Monday, February 27, 2023

Cool Cat Progress

My original plan was to use a midcentury color way to convey the coolness of the cat (who is not a square for the Project Quilt challenge). However, martini glasses with olives might qualify as cool in some circles. But more to the point, I liked the fabric and would show off the cool cat quite well. The cat asked for fish and I added the Marcia Derse stripes. We aren't too sure what the fabric with the circles are going to do...but the fabrics have the last decision. I just go along for the ride.

 Here are the fabrics that were auditioned but did not make the cut. Four of them had to be eliminated just because they have squares in the print... (Remember the only rule is no squares!) 

And I have drawn the cool cat (no beret!) but have yet to decide on its final size. 

Sunday, February 26, 2023

Ready for 5th Challenge

There is no better preparation for the next Project Quilt challenge than to rush to finish a quilt before it starts. I have had a log cabin streak of lightening quilt layered and ready for quilting for quite a while. So I jumped to it this weekend to start quilting it. But wait...there was already quilting in the lights. That was exciting because it meant I had a jump start. Then I saw the tension issues and remembered why it had been set aside. The plus side of tension issues is that the quilting tends to be easy to pick out. After I took a few steps back...I quilted it. 

Molly would come to lay on the quilt...creating new tension issues...within my skull.

This morning we received the theme for this week's Project Quilt challenge: Not a Square. And I'm sure we will all have the same exact reaction...not a square means it's a cool cat. So yes, another challenge where the obvious answer is cat, but this time with a mid-century look.

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Game Day

Molly has a new hobby...indoor parkour via Sally.  As I sit on the floor, Molly will leap from a table to my back then on to a different table. Sometimes she leaps from table to back then back to the table. I have begun to sit as far away from furniture as I can. So today she leaped up to my back then up to shoulders and took in the view.

I have begun a new hobby. I balance a cat toy on Molly's head. At first she ignores me so I won't take her negative reaction as a reward signal. After the pause, she flings it from her head. I take out my notebook and write "Score!"

If you would like to see animals who play together nicely (or want to see Portland residents who enjoy snow), look here:

And if you are interested in quilting, and in particular would like to see amazing free hand quilting on a treadle machine, please visit:

Unfortunately, Tim Latimer is no longer with us, but happily his blog persists to track his journey. And there are lots of phases to enjoy...from buying vintage quilt tops on eBay, fixing them and finishing them , to designing his own quilts, to refurbishing treadle machines and then free hand machine quilting on leather!

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Palette Cleanser

 I realize most people live in the real world where snow is a standard feature of winter, instead of an extreme novelty feature that is not rain. I took this picture from the front porch and angled it carefully so you would not see that the snow is not sticking to roads or walkways.

Here's a look across the street to my neighbor's carefully trimmed tree/ covered in frosting.

Meanwhile, I have been moving squares around in the spools quilt, encouraging diagonal movement and areas of light and dark. I have also decided on a square quilt of roughly 80 inches...that will mean subtracting spools from the side and adding to the bottom.

I have been working on this quilt off and on for quite a long time so I am also feeling a bit restless about what's next. And for reasons I can't explain, I also get restless and worry about some of my favorite elderly artists. Unfortunately, Mel McCuddin passed away can see a YouTube video of him painting in 2010:

Then I nervously checked in on David Hockney and of course he has a new exhibition in London that is a room that immerses you in his artwork. Yup, a virtual experience in real life that is already sold out. Back when I was in Wash DC, I saw his stage scenery exhibit where you sit and the area in front of you shifts in color and pattern. Then when you step out, you are disappointed by all the masterpieces on the gallery walls that just sit there. Here is a clip about his new exhibit:

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Back to the Spools

So I either have too many blocks or I don't have enough. Or I will find the missing blocks as I clear out the Project Quilt debris. Or I will take apart some of the extra blocks to make bridges between blocks. The task at hand it to rearrange the blocks to take advantage of light and dark areas, emphasize diagonals and avoid horizontal lines. Oh excuse me...I'm boring Buddy.

Here's a closeup of the spool blocks.

In yesterday's comments, my sister mentioned the Bear's Bowtie Block, so I thought I would show you the quilt I made out of that block...and also all of the other quilts people have made from that block. If you see a picture of Buddy instead, you will realize this is an illustration of the null set. And you will not be surprised that Barbara Brackman has never written about the block that nobody made (or should ever make).

And if you can't tolerate neglected cats or messy work surfaces, look away two minutes before now.

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Project Quilt Challenge 4: A Book

 There may have been issues of interpretation along the way, although none of them were due to the wonderful creators of Project Quilting. It started with me thinking I should choose an influential book. My cats reminded me that I have no emotional depth and my living room is full of fabric and a design wall. They voted that I had to choose a quilting book. At that point the choice was obvious: Mary Ellen Hopkins' "It's Okay to Sit on My Quilt Book." And if you know this book...hello Boomer!

To complicate matters, Buddy read the instructions to say that I had to make a patchwork book of the book, and this was before I remembered that Buddy can't read. But the damage was done...

And just for a little back was my sister-in-law who was the graphic designer for this book...back before books were laid out on the computer. So it is only right that when I put this book together, I got the pages out of order. Of course, I could have photographed it so that it looked in order...but happily this challenge only requires completion, not perfection or even "pages in order."

The original book is laid out on graph paper because it is all about learning about the grid, and constructing, deconstructing and designing quilts. But it starts out with the triple rail fence because that teaches strip quilting.

The page on the right should have been the first page of the triple rail quilt project showing the strips that will be cut. The last photo shows how to sew the strips and the page on the right shows that the strips are cut to make squares.

If you read right to left, you see how you would lay the blocks out in their sewing order. Then the book shows you how to sew them in rows. 

Then we get a look of what the quilt should look like. Then we provide an end page because, well, because.

The book contains a lot more than what I am showing here...but the page on the right demonstrates the use of connecting blocks to create secondary patterns. And the flying geese are a decorative element on the cover of the book.

Finally, here is the back covers of the book...part of the title and Mary Ellen's initials.

And last but not least, here is the book that explains how to make fabric books...and oddly enough it explains how to make the book with the pages in order. And this is where we learn that maybe Buddy isn't the only one who doesn't follow instructions as carefully as they should.

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Spring In the Air

 Whoa...the microspools are spreading must be spring. My favorite part is that the spools nest into each other at the seams. So sewing the panels together is as much fun as the pairs, fours, and eights. 

I have enjoyed the process all along the way from making individual spools to having them come together.

I've just been sticking the panels up on the design wall in no particular order and haven't yet decided on my strategy for ensuring harmonious transitions. 

Looking at the microspools up close is quite different from the view standing back. I am thinking that I missed my chance at making a Chuck Close style portrait out of microspools...unless that's the seed for the next one...

Thursday, February 9, 2023

Have a Heart

 Molly is showing off the Valentine's Day card she received from Rosie and Linda Swanekamp. Molly was quite happy to have this reminder that some families foster love and not the severe neglect Molly endures. (I still won't let her into the crawl space). (Please note, I did not write that I wouldn't let her out of the crawl space). (Two different concepts.)

Buddy came to inspect the card for any edible properties and to shove his face in Molly's business.

Meanwhile, I have sewn all of the microspools into 4 by 4 blocks that each measure 6 inches finished. I started to lay them out on the design wall but decided that it would be easier to make them into 8 by 8 blocks first. Unfortunately, I tried working on the floor where I got too much "not help" from Molly.

When Molly had finished her shift of not helping, Buddy took his turn not helping.

Saturday, February 4, 2023

Cat Fight! (Project Quilting Challenge 3)

The theme for the third challenge of Project Quilting is the quilt block "54-40 or Fight." And for whatever reason, when I think about territorial disputes, fighting and sharp points, I think cats. Okay, I am often thinking about cats "why are you shredding that," "don't eat that," and "ouch!"

My key strategy was to use cat-themed fabric for the entire quilt and call it Cat Fight! I also wanted to have two colors to represent two cats fighting each know, with the points of the stars as claws. To keep it simple, I just did a sixteen repeat of the block (without pane or snowball block etc.) Then the quilt decided to do its own thing.

Each "54-40 or Fight" block is 7.5 inches square, so the quilt is roughly 30 inches square.

And there is more cat-themed fabric for the back.

And here is Molly intently watching for threats to her boundaries while her brother Buddy asks "What's a boundary?"

Friday, February 3, 2023

Project Quilting Fight Club

 Okay. Nothing new here. I'm running behind on the Project Quilting Challenge. And everything is very straightforward...just making the "54-40 or Fight" blocks...using cat fabric...because the territorial fights I see here in Oregon are cat fights. Buddy does not respect boundaries! 

These are the component pieces going into the quilt, so the rest is pretty obvious.