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March 2017
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March 1, 2017

Cat Bullet

Happy March!

Filed under: It's a Cat's Life — Cat @ 11:03 am

I can’t believe that it is March already…

I was able to quilt last weekend, which is nice. I’ve been “losing” a lot of weekend time because I’ve been working on cleaning up my back yard. But the weather was too cold and yucky to work outside this past weekend, so I was able to focus on my paper piecing project.

I finished the step I was working on, which was the “flying geese” ring of the arcs that will be placed around the center square.

eight flying geese arcs done

These arcs will be attached to form four half circles, which will be around the central square of the piece (on the straight edges).  They were a bit time consuming.  When I did the first few, I think that they took a couple of hours for each one.  However, I think I finished the last ones at around an hour each.  Progress, eh??

I am very proud of how they are coming out.  The points are nice and crisp.

detail of flying geese arcs

The edges of the arcs look a bit ragged, I know.  These haven’t been trimmed to the exact edge of the paper pattern yet.  I’m waiting to do that until after they are pressed so that they are completely flat before I trim them.

I had a little bit of extra time on Sunday afternoon after I finished these, so I looked at the instructions for the next parts.    I was really happy to have something else to do, now that I had mastered this particular pattern piece.

The universe had a great laugh at my expense, however.  The next step?    MORE flying geese arcs, longer ones this time.

The universe has a sense of humor

The pattern designer was kind, however, because we had already cut the fabric pieces needed for these eight arcs.  It took some time to cut the pattern pieces out from the paper and attach the halves together, but now that is done and I can get straight on to sewing this step.  These longer arcs will be put together to form 3/4 circles that will wrap around the four corners of the center square.

Overall, I’m pleased to see that the practice is increasing my ability with this technique.  It is only three and a half months before I head to Maine for my big quilting retreat with this designer, and I hope that I will be in peak form before I get there.    The kit I ordered for this class is for a very complicated quilt.   Everything that I can learn to do before hand will be helpful when I am there.    I’m pleased that these particular parts are going well because they show up quite often in my chosen project.

I’m sure glad that they warned us that the upcoming retreat was not for beginners.  If I hadn’t take the time to do this project, I’m afraid that I would have had a disappointing time  in the class.

 

 

 

 

 

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February 17, 2017

Cat Bullet

Awwww

Filed under: It's a Cat's Life — Cat @ 5:17 pm

Nothing to see here. Just the cats. Taking a nap.

While holding each other’s paw….

 

Awwwwwwwwwwwwww

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December 12, 2016

Cat Bullet

Weekend Report

Filed under: It's a Cat's Life — Cat @ 10:39 am

Well, the weekend was a fairly productive one, for a change…

Saturday, I worked on cleaning the sewing room (a bit) and then cut the pieces needed for the next step of the “Day Dreams” paper piecing project.   I don’t know why, but I really like photos of stacks of cut fabric… so much color, so much potential…

fabrics for arches

And don’t you like my big tray that I got for 99 cents at the Goodwill store?  It is huge and perfect for holding fabric bits and pieces.

I sure hope that I’m done with fabric #9, because this is all that I have left:

Hmmmm… not sure why there is a big white spot there…

I’m fairly certain that I won’t need any more of this particular fabric, but if I do, I’ll find something else in my stash to substitute.

On Sunday, I used the fabrics and the arch pattern pieces and got almost three of them done (out of eight total) before the Broncos game started.   They go together fairly quickly, I guess, but still take about an hour each.

(forgot to take pics of the finished ones, will have to get that photo later).

I had previously finished the “Spiked Borders” but haven’t attached them to the piece yet.  But here they are for you to see…  each one took nearly a day of constant sewing…

Spiked border

The photo is a little blurry and cluttered, because the borders are hanging in front of the center section, but oh well.  You can get the general idea.

I made bread during the Broncos game.  Seriously, folks…  are there any crueler words in the English language than “Cool completely before cutting?”

MmmmmMMmmmMMMmmm

I managed to wait until dinner time to cut into the bread.  It was fairly yummy and really light.   Just my standard white (yeast based) bread, but it will make some lovely toast this week.

The cats had a relaxing weekend, I suppose, but they are cats.   Purrcy was a bit put out that Taffy was “in his spot” but she just tucked her nose under her paw and ignored him.  At least the sunspot was big enough for both of them.

Two cats, one sunspot.

 

 

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October 19, 2016

Cat Bullet

What am I working on?

Filed under: It's a Cat's Life — Cat @ 5:56 am

Well, as promised, pictures of my two most active works in progress.

I took a class at a quilt store up in Broomfield last July. The pattern was called “Chopsticks” and here it is with all of the blocks together.

Chopsticks quilt blocks together

 

It wasn’t that difficult of a pattern, but you did need to have a specific tool to cut the pieces properly.  You make a bunch of the triangle blocks, sew them together and then you trim off the top and bottom so that they are a straight edge.  I plan to add a white border on all sides (not too wide), and then quilt it on the new machine.  It isn’t too big, around 4 ft square (not really square but I haven’t actually measured it yet).  I have a fun piece of backing fabric with owls on it that I’m planning to use, and some teal/aqua floral print for the binding.

It has been a good project to use to get to know my new machine.  I’m very pleased with how it sews and I’m interested to see how it works for the quilting step of the process.

I’m also continuing to work on my Day Dreams paper piecing project.   The circular medallion has been made into a square.

Day Dreams progress

I’ve got the next set of sawtooth borders done, but I need to figure out how to attach the cornerstones (squares in the corners). Both the written and video directions are incomplete and a bit contradictory, so I’m just going to go slowly and figure it out as I go along.  It won’t be too hard.  I have confidence that I will figure it out easily.

I really want to get this top finished by the end of this year, or at least in early January.   That way, I’ll have plenty of time to buy the kit and start getting things cut and organized for the big quilting retreat next year.   Fun times!!!

 

 

 

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October 17, 2016

Cat Bullet

I’m back!

Filed under: It's a Cat's Life — Cat @ 3:07 pm

OK, I’m back. Did you miss me?

I got a new computer at work and lost the ability to resize photos for my blog. I could still have posted them, but they were HUUUUUGGGGGEEEEEE and wouldn’t have worked very well.

Luckily, I work with smart people who know how to use Google, and I’ve regained the ability to communicate with the world.  At least with photos.

In the meantime, what have I been up to?

Well, I bought a new sewing machine.  Baby Lock “Jazz” – all mechanical, not too many fancy stitches, but boy, does it really sew nicely!

New machine

It has a 12 inch harp space (the distance between the needle and the upright part of the machine, which should accommodate up to a queen sized quilt.   It has six LED lights to really brighten up the work surface – I can see really well.  It sews with authority and is almost too helpful when feeding through the fabric.
I’m quite enjoying getting to know it.

Its price was below the amount that I had already saved up for a new machine, and it came with a 25 year warranty.   Twenty five years.  Wow!!

So, I’ve been working on the triangle quilt project – you can see it on the wall behind the machine in the picture.   I got all the triangles finished, arranged and sewn together, and I also trimmed down the extra points on the ends so that they are straight.  Next I need to add the border and then it will be ready to layer and quilt and then bind.   Large baby sized quilt, around 4 ft x 4 ft.    I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it, but it will come in useful at some point.

Once I finish that one up , then I’ll get back to the paper piecing project.  I just wanted something to work with that wasn’t completely critical so that I could get used to my new toy.

One last photo… fabric that I picked up at the Longmont Quilt festival a couple of weekends ago – farm animals doing yoga.  It really makes me giggle uncontrollably.

yoga fabric

I have no idea what I’m going to do with it, but I’m sure the perfect project will present itself at some point.

I hope that everyone is well, and hopefully the blog won’t be so quiet in the future.

 

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August 22, 2016

Cat Bullet

Weekend work

Filed under: It's a Cat's Life — Cat @ 10:04 am

Had a migraine this weekend (started last Thursday, actually). Oddly, I find that I get some of my best quilting done when I’ve got one of those darn headaches… It is almost like my focusing on the quilting helps me push the headache to the background.

I sewed all of the double flying geese parts together into a ring.

Ring pieces all connected

 

If you look closely, you will see markings to indicate the inner and outer seam allowance.

Let me help you look closely…

Seam allowance markings

The directions said to use the rotary cutter to trim away the excess fabric.    I wasn’t that brave, so I used a pair of sharp scissors and cut a few threads at a time.   And I only attempted this after lunch and a long nap…

But I got it eventually.

Ring trimmed!

I thought that it looked pretty good, but the true test was how it would look with the center medallion.

Ring laid over the center medallion

Oooh, pretty!!

It took a very long time to pin the center into the ring and then to sew it.  I basted it about three times before I thought that I had it as good as I possibly could get it.  It still isn’t perfect, but it is done.

All sewn!

 

I think that I got a really good alignment of the star points with the seams of the ring border.   There is one small section where the circle edge has a bit of a hitch, but I did the best that I could.  If I took it apart one more time, it was going to fall apart for good.     Once the whole thing is together, I doubt that it will ever be noticed.

The next step is to insert the circle medallion into a square border.  I have the fabric cut for that, but when it came down to starting that process, I couldn’t muster the energy.   I thought that it would be best to leave that task for my next session.

Besides… I had this waiting for me upstairs, and none too happy that she had not had a lap for most of the weekend…

Where is my lap??

Yes, Taffy.  I get the message.  A lap is much better than a cold, hard arm of the chair…

 

 

 

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August 8, 2016

Cat Bullet

My Three Day Weekend

Filed under: It's a Cat's Life — Cat @ 10:01 am

I took a day off work last Friday and attended a three day weekend quilt class up in Lyons, Colorado.

The class was taught by David Taylor, who is very well known for his animal quilts full of exquisite detail. (Click on the link and then select a gallery that you want to view).

He brought copies of his Hummingbird pattern for us to work with.  It is really large (24 x 36 inches, approximately).  We started out by tracing the design onto tracing paper, then reversing it so that we could then trace it onto freezer paper.    I think there were only 82 pieces, but it took a LONG time to cut  them all out of the freezer paper.   We had homework that night, to cut out all of the pieces that we didn’t get cut out during the day.

Once we had the individual pattern pieces cut, we started selecting fabrics.  Most people had brought in photos of actual hummingbirds to use as reference, but I had somehow missed that part of the directions.   So, I went with PURPLE.   How can we go wrong with purple, right?    Red-Violet, more specifically, in my case, though a few other colors have wandered in as I worked.

Start of Humming Bird Applique

This is the progress that I have made so far.   There will be changes made – I’m not happy with the eye, I think it is too dull.  If I can’t find the perfect fabric, then I will paint something.   Just what I needed, an excuse to go shopping, right?  I also need to brighten up his “armpit” area.  Or would that be “wingpit”?

This is going to be a very long term project.  I have most of the pieces selected (though I plan on making a few changes in addition to his eye).   Once all of the fabrics are selected, then the edges will need to be turned under using starch and an iron.  Then… they need to be hand stitched to the background.  Yep.  The whole thing is going to be hand stitched before it is quilted.   We had a hand applique lesson yesterday afternoon and I really learned a lot.

I’m going to have to look at a lot of bird pictures to make sure that I get the layers of feathers down in the proper orientation.

I’m thinking about making a large Hibiscus flower (white/cream most probably) for him to be flying into.  The rest of the background will be yellow green (ish) to look like out of focus plants…

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July 15, 2016

Cat Bullet

Friday

Filed under: It's a Cat's Life — Cat @ 11:06 am

Orphan quilt block

Just popping in to say Happy Weekend!   Any fun plans?

Hope you stay cool.  Maybe this will help…

My yard. Last April.

Winter is coming.

Eventually.

 

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July 12, 2016

Cat Bullet

Day Dreams update

Filed under: It's a Cat's Life — Cat @ 9:25 am

Some progress has been made. I’ve spent the last two weekends working on the “Double Flying Geese” circular border for the star that I made previously.

This weekend, I got all of the pieces finished.

half the circle done

The pieces are all done and the long sides are trimmed.   I’m about half way through transferring the markings from the pattern to the wrong sides.    I was surprised at how big the circle is – my biggest cutting mat isn’t big enough to hold even half of it!!   It will be slightly smaller when it is sewn together (due to the seam allowances), but still.  Really big.

The rest of the pieces are in a stack, waiting to be marked and arranged in order.

The rest of the pieces..

(The three on the bottom are the remainder of the circle that are done.  The stack is the rest of the unmarked pieces.   You can see that they still have the paper pattern pieces attached).

After I get all of the markings transferred to the remaining pieces, I will press them all. Then the fun of the paper removal begins (we are told to leave the paper on them to stabilize the pieces until the very last minute).  Once they are all sewn together, then I will carefully (REALLY REALLY CAREFULLY) trim the outside and inner edges to smooth circles…     Very nerve wracking, if my experience with trimming the circle medallion is any indication…

I’m hoping to finish the ring and attach it to the circle/medallion next weekend.

 

 

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June 20, 2016

Cat Bullet

Monday morning

Filed under: It's a Cat's Life — Cat @ 11:54 am

Oof, it is going to be a hot summer this year, isn’t it?? One nice thing about spending weekend time in the basement doing sewing… it is a LOT cooler down there. The bad thing though is that you eventually have to emerge into the heat of the main floor and the upstairs. Ugh!

OK, so there was progress over the weekend.  Here is the photo of my “almost-final” fabric selection for the Day Dreams quilt.  I say “almost-final” because I made a substitution for one of the blues in the center star points – I didn’t think that there was enough contrast, so I picked a brighter blue batik that I had originally removed from contention.    I’ll see if I can work it in somewhere else in the piece so that it is balance (I’m thinking about using it as some of the cornerstones that are coming up in the borders…)

Fabric for Day Dreams quilt.

I’m glad that I went ahead and bought more orange fabric.  I’m still going to try to use as much of the older fabrics as possible because you know that I like a LOT of variety in my fabrics.    I really (really) like the new fabric with the big pointy flowers.  I might even get some more of that, assuming that it will still be available, when I return to the store at the end of July to take a class.   More on the class in another post, I guess.

After several times watching the video and a careful line by line reading of the instructions, I started on the center star medallion.  Boy, was that hard!!!  I keep getting confused and sewing fabrics in the wrong places.  Or in the right places, but sideways.  Or had to recut pieces because I trimmed them before realizing that they were incorrectly attached.  I don’t think there was a single seam that wasn’t sewn at least twice.  At one point, I had to race to the sink to wash out a huge blood smear because I either cut or stabbed myself with a pin.  No idea on that one.   But, I persevered and here is the final result:

Day Dreams Center Medallion

I’m pleased.  It isn’t perfect, but I’m happy with it and that is enough, right?     Next step is a circular border around this part.   Wish me luck…

 

 

 

 

 

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