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October 2018
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September 7, 2018

Cat Bullet

Friday musings

Filed under: It's a Cat's Life — Cat @ 8:50 am

As we speak, On Ringo Lake is in the car, waiting to be dropped at the quilter this afternoon. YAAAYYYY!!! Once I get it back, I will have three quilts to bind (the two that got quilted in January are still unbound).

Which is strange, really, because I really LOVE putting on binding.   It is my second favorite part of the quilting process (after “starting a quilt”).  I find it very soothing to know that I’m finishing up a project that has taken a long time.

What else have I been working on?   Last weekend, I started designing my very own art quilt.  Yep, all out on my own, nobody’s directions to follow and all the choices will be mine alone.  Scary and fun, all at the same time.    The process is going well and I’ve learned a few things already…

1.  Don’t put anything into ink, even if you are absolutely positive that you won’t be making any changes to it.   Because guess what… you will almost instantly need to make changes…

2.  Acquisition of a 24 pack of multi-colored thin point sharpie markers will make it very difficult to follow rule number 1.

3.  Use up the ugly “hot fluorescent pink” markers in the first stages because you know you will never use them in any other type of art project.

4.  Rubbing alcohol takes marker residue off of plastic quilting rulers.

5.  Cats don’t consider paper and pencils to be impediments to walking on a newly cleaned off table and will act accordingly.  Be prepared to remove felines from working area during the creative process.  Repeatedly.

And, perhaps the most important lesson to date:  You don’t have to put all of your ideas into one quilt design!!!  

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August 27, 2018

Cat Bullet

Mr Fish and other accomplishments

Filed under: It's a Cat's Life — Cat @ 10:00 am

Mr. Fish was completed in time for the Woodland Park show and enjoyed his time swimming in the fish pond.   There really were some fabulous fishes to keep him company (and turtles and seahorses).

I’ve spent a lot of time the past couple of weekends cleaning up my studio.   The main activity has been putting all of my fabric away…  the yellow-orange/orange container was nearly empty when I started, but jam-packed full when I returned all of the fabrics that I had pulled out as contenders for the fish project.       All of my containers are completely full.  I’ve even started removing some pieces and setting them aside to give to my friend Donna who sews a lot of kids quilts for donations through her quilt guild (the same guild who hosted the show).    Anyway, the containers are full, the cabinets are full and every time I think that I’ve finally gotten everything put away, whoops!  another bag appears.    Who keeps buying all of this fabric??  (oh, wait, that would be me!!!)

I’ve either got to start sewing faster or quit buying fabric.  Both, probably.

I’ve also been spending a LOT of time playing with the settings on the Jazz sewing machine, trying to get the perfect settings for free-motion quilting, walking foot quilting and regular straight sewing.   The internet is full of lots of suggestions and I think that I’m narrowing down the perfect settings (or range of settings) for all activities.    I’ve even started a notebook to record trials and errors (how geeky is that??)

Against all laws of physics, I get better results with Free Motion quilting if I DON’T drop the feed dogs, but instead, set the stitch length to zero.    I never would have anticipated that…   But the internet was not wrong in this case.  The bobbin tension is much more secure when the feed dogs are up.

Yesterday, I finally got the guts to rip out the backwards strip in the Bonnie Quilt. I had help… (but note, please, the fact that the sewing table is clean and empty other than the furball!)

Pulling out the incorrect strip took a very long time, and caused some seams along that line to start coming unsewn, just from all the handling.   I’m still thinking about how to handle this – currently, I’m considering running a line of stay stitching along the edges to hold them together until I get them re-attached.

I’m hoping to get it back together so that I can drop it off with the quilter sometime this week.  Wish me luck – it would be lovely to get another finished project before the end of the month!

Temporarily have picture ability – I don’t think they look very good, but better than nothing, eh? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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August 8, 2018

Cat Bullet

Updates

Filed under: It's a Cat's Life — Cat @ 10:27 am

What’s been going on? Still having computer problems at work, so no pictures. The “Summer 2018 UFO Camp” suggested by my friend Glenda has really influenced my crafting activities lately…

I’ve “finished” the Bonnie Hunter On Ringo Lake quilt.  In this case, “finished” is in quotes because after I had the finished top on the design wall for a day or two, I discovered an entire sashing strip that is reversed.   Grrrrr….   It will be a simple fix, but it had to go on hold until I finished the next project (which had a deadline).

Last Friday night (late), I finished Mr. Fish.  I’m really pleased with how it came out, though it is more heavily quilted than I had originally imagined.    Currently, he is visiting my friend Donna, who will kindly drop it off on Thursday to be entered into my first ever quilt show.   The show will be this coming Saturday (the 11th), and I can’t wait to see my version of the fish swimming in the pond with all of his cousins (who were all started in the Woodland Park class/seminar last February).

So, what is next?   I’ve got to fix that reversed strip in the On Ringo Lake quilt and then get it dropped off at the quilter.  I can’t wait until that project is finished and spread across a bed in my house.  Probably the guest room bed, but I might just have to sleep under it for a couple of nights so that I can really bond with it.

Once Mr. Fish returns from his premiere, I want to figure out where to hang him so that I can see him a whole lot.   I have a couple of ideas, but will have to wait to see where he will fit.

Project wise, we still have the rest of August to work on UFOs, as per the “camp” directions.   I haven’t decided which UFO that I will work on next.  There are so many to choose from.   I have two quilt tops that I’m planning to quilt myself (one of which is already pin-basted and is ready to go).  I have another that needs to be dropped at the quilter, but has to have its backing put together.   I have one set of blocks that is all trimmed and just needs to be sewn together and have a backing made.    I have the portrait of Taffy that just needs a background and then quilting.  I have the two Jaqueline de Jonge paper pieced projects in progress.  I have two quilts that are already quilted, but need to have binding attached.

Maybe I should have signed up for an UFO-completion year.   Or decade.  One summer just doesn’t seem long enough.

Everyone have a great rest of the week!

 

 

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July 2, 2018

Cat Bullet

Monday update

Filed under: It's a Cat's Life — Cat @ 10:53 am

Well, still no pictures. But at least an update.

Mr. Fish has been glued, mostly.   I think he looks really good.   Unfortunately, even though I thought I was being REALLY VERY CAREFUL, some of the edges are down harder than I would like, so it will be difficult to get the background down behind the fish.     I’ll figure something out.

I’ve started with a trial background of dark blue strips cut with a long wavy-shaped edge, overlapping.  I think it looks pretty good, but might be a bit plain.    I thought about things overnight, so have a tentative plan as to how to deal with the glued down fish edges.   Further details as events warrant.

Also, the Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt is officially one half done.   I hope to keep moving on that one.   At least from this point onward, every row will be getting shorter.  So… it is like they go faster, right?

(Don’t point out the errors in my logic.  I still have the feeling that if I knit faster, I will reach the end of my project before I run out of yarn.)

 

 

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June 15, 2018

Cat Bullet

Huh…

Filed under: It's a Cat's Life — Cat @ 11:05 am

Well, even I am bored with looking at the last post on my blog.

From March?  Seriously??   Ugh.

I’m having computer issues at work and haven’t been able to upload any pictures lately.   So, I’m just going to have to put a couple of posts up without pictures until I can figure out how to handle this…

What has been going on?

1.  I started and finished a new project – a richly colored table runner as a gift for my Aunt and Uncle. Yes, a picture would be nice, but as discussed…   Here is a link to the kit/pattern.  Everything went together exactly as in the picture, but I changed the binding because the one they sent didn’t really match (in my opinion).  Instead, I used the same wine/plum colored batik that I used on the backing.

https://www.keepsakequilting.com/morocco-runner-pattern

2.  I’m finished with all of the blocks for the Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt.  I have almost half of the quilt top sewn together (only one more row to do to finish the half), so I’m getting there.   This one has been REALLY hard and I will be so glad to have it finished. I’m definitely planning on getting it professionally quilted, and I’m probably going to buy the extra-wide backing fabric for it, just so I don’t have to worry about piecing together the back.

3.  Mr. Fish is in a resting phase… I am fairly certain that I have everything in the body completed, and I’ve got ideas for the background.  I need to start gluing.  Am hoping to work on that one after I finish the Bonnie Hunter mystery.  There is actually a deadline on that one as I am supposed to enter it in a quilt show in Colorado Springs in August (along with the people I took the class with).  Hmmm, maybe I should track down when the date of that show is…

4.  No progress has been made on either Day Dreams or Enchanting Stars, my two Jaqueline de Jonge paper piecing projects.  I’m really itching to get back to work on both of those.

My friend Glenda suggested that we have a UFO finishing summer, so those are the projects that I want to focus on.  That is a good idea, actually.   Finishing things is always good.

Oh, and I’ve been continuing the cleaning process on the studio.  I realize that, by typing that statement, I am implying that I have been working on the cleaning/organizing process all along.   Instead, I am forced to admit that it stalled, and stacks got massively out of control.   Out of control to the point that I lost important tools and had to replace them.   At which point, of course, the original was located.    It isn’t a tool that I will be unhappy to have a duplicate of, but I’m still annoyed with myself.

Speaking of annoyed with myself… I opened the DVD player last night so that I could watch a movie and found an old movie in the player.   An old movie that belongs to the library, so apparently I returned an empty case…  *gulp*   I’ll have to stop by this afternoon after work and throw myself on their mercy.    Which I hope is… merciful… because it was one of the “Lucky Day” DVDs, which means that you can only keep it for a very short period of time.  I suspect the fine will be hefty.

Good family news:    Mom and Dad got a new dog last weekend.  She is extremely sweet, about 1.5 years old and is a terrier mix of some kind.   She is really people-oriented and loves to be right next to you…

Oh well, that is about all that is going on right now.   It has been insanely hot and dry and the whole state is a tinderbox waiting to blow.   Summer semester has started and the usual crazed attempt to keep up with that is keeping me busy.  My Colorado Rockies show moments of brilliance balanced by absolute imperfection.  Par for the course.  Or, whatever the baseball equivalent would be.   Batting 0.500?  No, that would actually be a really good thing.

Hope things are going well with everyone and that you are keeping busy and well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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March 1, 2018

Cat Bullet

Something fishy going on…

Filed under: It's a Cat's Life — Cat @ 2:58 pm

Last Saturday, I went down to Colorado Springs to attend a quilt guild class on fabric collage. It was a really great day (except for the long drive) and I had a really good time.

The point of the project was not to create something biologically accurate.  It is much more fun to cut random “organic” type shapes and see where they fit into the general idea of things.

This was my progress in the class on Saturday.  The design is drawn on the muslin backing fabric, and then you just kind of fill in as you wish.  I’m not being super careful about exactly following the lines.    I feel like such a rebel…

I got a chance to work on it again on Wednesday after work.

I picked up a new fabric that was HUGE mums in yellow, orange and rust.   It has been perfect.   As a matter of fact, I’m going to have to be careful to not use it for the whole fish!!     None of this is permanent yet, by no means.  I’ll be moving things around some more before gluing everything down.

It is a fun project to work on, though messy.  I’ve got little bits of fabric all over the house now.   The cats think this is a really fun development.

 

 

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February 20, 2018

Cat Bullet

More progress

Filed under: It's a Cat's Life — Cat @ 12:07 pm

Well, we finally got some winter. Snow and really cold this morning. Brrrr. I’ve been living in my new thermal underlayers but will have to do some laundry tonight if I’m going to stay warm the rest of the week…

Progress is being made on the Bonnie Hunter mystery.    I got all of the parts done…

That was a LOT of sewing.  The parts on the left (not in the basket) were problematic because I read the directions incorrectly.  The Flying geese (black/white and red/white) were also problematic at first, but then I found a way to cheat.    The Half-red squares were not as bad as I feared, which was great (they are in the lower right corner of the basket).  They went together quickly.

Here is what the blocks look like.  Currently, I have 18 out of 50 done.  It takes about 15 minutes per block (ish), once I have the rhythm going.

 

I’m pretty pleased with how they are coming out.  They will be sewn together “On Point,” which means that if you tilt your head to the left, you will see what they will look like in the quilt.    There will be sashing (red and white) with cornerstones (black, or possibly blue, depending on what I decide looks better in the long run).   Around the whole outside of the quilt will be blue triangles.   Probably scrappy, using the same fabrics I’ve already used, or possibly uniform, using a relatively large piece of blue that I have in my stash.     Again, I’ve not decided.  If the stash blue is large enough to use for all (or part) of the backing, then I will save it for that to avoid having to buy more fabric.   If there isn’t enough for that, well, then I may just make the outside consistent to give the eye a place to rest.

Time will tell, I guess.  These blocks are going together quickly, so I’m still hoping to get it finished by my birthday (the first week of March).   I’m not sure that I’m going to make it, though, as I lost about two weeks of sewing time to a head cold.   Bugger…

 

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January 16, 2018

Cat Bullet

Monday or Tuesday report

Filed under: It's a Cat's Life — Cat @ 11:44 am

Well, we all survived the holidays. I guess that if you are reading this, you survived, right? I wouldn’t want to presume anything…

My Sister in Law came up at the end of December and we had a long three days of quilting!   We had so much fun.  Then the rest of the family came up on 12/31.  We decided that if they were going to sit around and watch football all the next day, then we were going to go back and quilt for another day.  At the end of that day, Ginger was so close to finishing her project that we said “Well, just another morning.”  Which turned into a really long morning/early afternoon, but that’s ok.   Her Kaffe Fasset project was lovely and well worth pushing through to the finish.   A glorious explosion of flowers and colors.

While Ginger was working on hers, I continued on the Bonnie Hunter mystery.    Really struggled through parts of it.  I don’t know why my sewing is so bad when it comes to cutting and sewing triangles.    Not my thing, I guess.   I found an alternate method of doing the flying geese that made them  go much faster, and eventually worked out the best way to do the third clue.

I finally finished the third clue on Sunday night.  It was a really late night, but I was determined to get that step finished.     Last night (Monday), I worked on Clue 5, the black and white flying geese.   I figure that I need around 120 and I completed (except for the final trimming) 40 and have 20 more with only one wing remaining.    I ran out of the white wing pieces, so I will have to do some cutting tonight.   I’ll probably need more black bodies as well, but I’ll do a quick estimate/count so that I don’t end up with too many extras.

So, progress is being made, though (apparently) not really photographed.     Just picture a bunch of red, white and black piles and you’ll do OK.

Keep on piecing!!   Or whatever you do for fun.

 

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December 20, 2017

Cat Bullet

Sigh. Update?

Filed under: It's a Cat's Life — Cat @ 2:37 pm

 

Oh, dear. I really have been working on crafty things, but I haven’t taken any photos. I get down to the basement and dig into a project and just forget that there are blog readers that might want to see things…   So, as I describe things, you will just have to use your imagination for now.   Enjoy the lovely picture of Taffy above…

So, what have I been working on?

1.  Organizing the quilting room

I might have accumulated a bit of stash fabric.    *cough*     OK, I might have accumulated a vast horde of quilting fabric.   I’m weak, what can I say?   I see pretty colors or bright patterns or fondle something in a store that just makes my hands sing and I completely succumb.   A big part of the problem is that I hadn’t taken the time to organize the bigger pieces, so I couldn’t look through them easily, nor could I really remember everything that I had.    So, at Thanksgiving, my wonderful sister-in-law Ginger visited (OK, the rest of her family visited also) and she helped me decide how to organize things.    I ordered magazine storage cards to wrap the bigger pieces around and now they stand up on the shelves in my two white cabinets.  In (rough) color order, so now it is easy to see what I have.      I found such lovely things while I was dealing with each individual piece of fabric.      All of the precuts, fabric bundles and kits were moved into the drawers where the folded fabric used to live.    I think that this is a real workable solution to the storage problem.  Fabric pieces that are too small to be wrapped around cards will continue to be stored in color-specific plastic bins.   That system has worked out really well so far.

2.  Reduction of Magazines

I have a bad habit of picking up quilting magazines. I really enjoy them, as it is fun to see what other people are working on, look at color trends, and look at the advertisements for nifty tools that I don’t own yet.     But magazines really accumulate, don’t they?    They were taking up two full shelves in my studio and I really didn’t think that I ever was going to look back through them.  So, I’ve been hauling them in to work to share with two other quilters.   I’ve ripped out a few articles/patterns/photos to save, but the most of them will eventually end up being recycled.    By getting all of the magazines out of the studio, I was able to solve another problem, that one being the storage of quilting books!!   The books are now on the shelves previously occupied by the magazines.  They look fantastic there, and are easily visible and accessible.   Win, Win!!

3.  New Sewing Machine Table

I love my new BabyLock Jazz sewing machine.  The only down side was that it was just too big and high to be comfortable while sewing with it on a regular table.    So, I researched and found a really nice sewing table.  It was designed to hold a long arm quilting machine, but the company was happy to cut an acrylic insert specific for my machine.

This was my Christmas present to myself and from Mom and Dad (THANKS!), but I ordered it in November so that I could have it to use during the holiday break.    It is extremely comfortable to sew on  and is a really good size for a big project.  Purrcy loves it because he can jump up and investigate what is going on. He has also been known to take a nap on the far side.  I should probably put a warm towel or cushion down for him (but then, being a cat, he would probably ignore it altogether…)

4.  Projects (UFOs…)

A friend of mine was really interested in participating in the Bonnie Hunter Mystery quilt for this year.   I told Pam that I would do it along with her.  We have really been enjoying the process.     Here is a link to the “On Ringo Lake” mystery.  I’ve chosen to use different colors than Bonnie calls for, but that is OK.   I’m using Red for the coral, Blue for the Aqua, Black for the Chocolate brown and White with black for the neutrals.

I’ve finished the sewing for Clue 1, the Blue/black/white 9 Patches and am about 3/4 of the way through clue 2, the red/white flying geese.

There are more 9 patches, but since they have been trimmed to exact size, they are stored in a different location.   There are a few more of those to trim up and all of the flying geese.   I’ve got 160 of the flying geese done and need about 220 (ish).    I’m really having problems with the flying geese – I have to unpick and resew about 3 out of every 10 that I get done.   Makes for slow progress.     Currently, I’m cutting the strips needed to finish clue 2, and to start clues 3 and 4.   I’m looking forward to the holiday break when I can get caught up.   Or not, no pressure.  This is a fun activity.

In addition to the Bonnie Hunter Mystery project, I’ve got a fair number of other unfinished projects.

  • Purrcy’s quilt (the Halloween quilt)
  • Enchanting Stars (the rainbow paper pieced project started in Maine last summer)
  • Day Dreams (the muted blue/orange paper pieced project)
  • Multiple tops that need to be quilted into quilts (I’m hoping that the new table will make that project much easier)
  • A “Block of the Month” project that Ginger and I are starting with each other in January (I really need to decide what color scheme that I want…)
  • Potential projects up the wazoo…

 

Gosh, that is a lot of things going on, right???   It has been a while since I wrote down a list of pending projects…   *gulp!!*

Several years ago, I ran into a casual friend at the grocery store during a winter break.    She told me that she came out to the store that day because she was “Just so bored” sitting at home while her office was closed.        I will never have that problem, because I am well stocked with fun things to do.

 

 

 

 

 

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November 18, 2017

Cat Bullet

Seven Days challenge, Day #3

Filed under: It's a Cat's Life — Cat @ 5:36 am

Seven days. Seven B&W photos of my life. No people. No explanation. You know the drill… consider yourself challenged if you are interested!

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