Red Sea

At some point a witty saying will materialize here. Right here. Watch for it.

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April 27, 2016

Cat Bullet

update

Filed under: It's a Cat's Life — Cat @ 9:10 am

I’ve finished the Cobblestones, Bricks and Pebbles Mystery quilt top.

Cobblestone Top done

OK, in the interest of full disclosure, it isn’t completely sewn in this photo, but I have since finished it.  I decided to leave the last top and bottom rows off (it was supposed to be a square), because I liked the size it was without them.    Also, I felt that it would be easier for me to quilt on my home machine if I didn’t have those extra 12 inches (ish).

I really love how it came out.  I can’t wait to finish it.    I’m planning to use large pieces of the same light colored fabrics to cover the back, and I’m planning to quilt it in randomly spaced straight lines.   The same dark blue that is the accent/soloist color will be used for the binding on the edge.   I think that the weekend weather is supposed to be yucky again, so I’m looking forward to some quality time with the machine.

 

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February 24, 2016

Cat Bullet

quick update

Filed under: It's a Cat's Life — Cat @ 6:14 pm

Well, not much going on. Purrcy is disappointed.

Purrcy sad

I was able to work on the Mystery Quilt a little bit over the past weekend, but that consisted of getting the cutting done for the rest of the clues. I thought that I had cut everything requested in the initial directions, but maybe she ended up adding more. I need to make a bunch more (40) of those rectangular “brick” blocks and they take a while.

But at least everything is cut for now…

Further details as events warrant!

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February 8, 2016

Cat Bullet

Weekend Report

Filed under: It's a Cat's Life — Cat @ 10:33 am

Well, nothing much happened this weekend.

Oh… Was there a game or something???

Our Denver Broncos won the Super Bowl!!!!! YAAAAYYYYY

My impressions of the game…

1. Dame Helen Mirren used the word “Pillock” in a Super Bowl Commercial. Well played, madam. Well played.

2. Peyton is really uncomfortable with paid sponsor plugs *cough BUDWEISER cough*. Next year, get someone else to be your shill.

3. Speaking of Budweiser, WHERE WERE MY CLYDESDALES??? I was bereft of heartwarming equine entertainment. I shall counter by giving you my favorite Budweiser commercial of all times:

4. I can’t think of any possible reason to have sound speakers in the bed of a pickup truck. Just something else to break and get encrusted with sheep poop. And to annoy all the people who live on roads along the route that you drive.

5. I don’t know what Liam Neeson was selling (some sort of TV, I think), but he needs to come visit me and talk in that wonderful gravely Aslan-esque voice for an extended period of time. *dreamy sigh*

6. I made some Super Soup. That I ate in a bowl. (see what I did there?)
It was loosely based on this:
Ravioli Soup
I cooked it in my dutch oven (not crock pot) and used cheese ravioli instead of tortellini. I also added a finely diced onion, zucchini and some shredded carrots (sauteed in olive oil before adding other ingredients). It was spectacular and made enough to feed a couple of armies.

7. I had a Super Breakfast of whole wheat scones. Here is the link. Use half the sugar it calls for and either make 1/2 a batch or cut twice as many. Good use of raisins and whole wheat flour. Would be spectacular with home made jam of any variety.

So, There you go. Absolutely NOTHING of note happened this past weekend…

Oh, and I read a couple of books and worked on my Mystery quilt. Clue five is mostly done but I haven’t photographed it yet. Clue six was released before the Super Bowl and I think there is only one more clue after that. Good thing, because I’m close to running out of design wall…

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February 3, 2016

Cat Bullet

Mystery update

Filed under: It's a Cat's Life — Cat @ 1:54 pm

Progress update on the Cobblestones and Bricks Mystery quilt project:

Mystery Quilt, end of clue 3

This picture was taken at the completion of Clue 3. The long rectangles we pieced are the “Bricks,” while the larger sized squares are the “cobblestones” and the smaller squares are the “gravel.” You can really see the difference between Cobblestones and Gravel by looking at the dark blue squares.

Clue 4 involved making a bunch of 9 patches (with the dark blue in the center), and has been completed but not photographed (because it is just a pile of squares…). Clue 5 is more 9 patches and some 4 patches made out of the cobblestones.

Clue 5, released this past Monday, involved more 9 patches and some 4 patches of the larger sized blocks. I was feeling a bit behind and grumpy about it. During the big east coast snow storms, extra clues were released so that the bored people had something to do. Well, I guess the Quilting Fates have a sense of humor because we had an honest to goodness SNOW DAY yesterday. I got to stay home in my jammies and I sewed most of the day.

So, where does it stand now? I’m working on arranging the 4 and 9 patches so that there aren’t any of them sewn together that have the same fabrics touching. Yes, I know that I’m probably taking too much time to make these decisions, but still, it is what I have to do to be happy with my final product. So far, I have two of the four sides put up on the design wall, so just two more to select.

Then to sew them together and I will be ready for next Monday’s clue.

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January 18, 2016

Cat Bullet

New Mystery Project

Filed under: It's a Cat's Life — Cat @ 2:00 pm

We interrupt the circle project to bring you a new Mystery Quilt…

This one is much more low key than the Bonnie Hunter quilt, thank goodness. The clues are issued through Facebook and the community is very active and supportive.

Our first clue was issued January 11, and I finished it up this weekend…

First Cobblestone/Brick clue done

It is called Bricks, Cobblestones and Pebbles (the “bricks” will be 2.5 x 5″, the cobblestones are 3.5″square and the pebbles are 2.5″square).

My “soloist,” or accent fabric didn’t photograph very well, but it is a mottled dark navy blue/teal with gold accents. I’m really happy with how it looks. All of the rest of the fabrics are going to be very light background – white or off white, though I am (obviously) allowing color prints on that.

I love how it came together. If you are up close, you get to find images like flowers, chicks, owls and baseballs. From across the room, though, you can really see the pattern that the dark squares form.

I can’t wait to see how this one comes out!! It is nice to have an activity with very easy goals each week. Clue #2 was released and it is 9 simple nine-patch blocks with the soloist in the center. Easy Peasey!!

No worries, I’m still working on the Circles quilt. I’ve got to do some more free motion quilting to get the background finished before I continue. It is kind of time consuming to switch my machine from straight quilting to free motion quilting, so I figured that I will do clue 2 before I switch it back.

Everybody have a happy Monday!

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January 6, 2016

Cat Bullet

Update on Circle Project

Filed under: It's a Cat's Life — Cat @ 10:42 am

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope that the holidays were fun and relaxing for you.

I spent quite a bit of time working on my Circles project. I got all of the first batch/layer of circles hand quilted/embroidered with the running stitches along the edges and along each strip.
Progress is being made

The white circles are the paper templates for the next layer of circles. More about them in a bit…

I enjoyed the chance to use some of my fancy hand dyed cotton floss that I’ve been hoarding for years.
Fancy embroidery floss!
I really enjoyed picking out which colors would go with which circle and made an attempt to not always be “matchy-matchy.” I’m actually stitching through all the layers of the quilt with the cotton floss, so this project is going to have both hand and machine quilting. Side note – you will NEVER see a photograph of the back side of this quilt. It is not a very pretty sight, let me tell you.

After I finished with the big circles, I decided that I wanted to do the machine quilting on the background before I added the next layer. No, this isn’t a procrastination thing. I decided that the next group of circles is going to be more free standing and “floating” and I wanted the quilting to be done before I started attaching them. I kind of wish that I had done the stippling before I applique’d the big circles down, to be honest.

Scribble quilting

I’m still not very good at machine quilting. I had hoped for a really smooth “micro-stipple” but it is more angular and jerk-ish. No worries, this is NO RULES QUILTING and it barely shows up anyway, right? I really love how the machine quilting is making the first layer of circles stand out and look a little puffy.

So, what is the next step? Once I finish the stippling (I’m about 1/3 done right now), I’m going to take the little white circles and use them as patterns to make the next group. Currently, I’m planning on using lighter colored (not brighter colored) fabrics and more fancy embroidery on each one. I’m planning to have them be free standing (finished on the front and back, kind of like coasters) before I attach them, and I’m going to add at least one layer of batting to them so that they have some depth. They will be attached via the under side, but not along the edges – I want the edges to be floating out a little bit.

We will see how it all comes together! Good think I really like circles. This has been fun to work on.

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December 18, 2015

Cat Bullet

Circles in/on circles

Filed under: It's a Cat's Life — Cat @ 5:13 am

So, the new project.

My previous quilt was straight lines and bright colors, so I decided to try circles and more muted/brownish colors for this one.

I had originally intended to do inset/seamed circles, with pattern pieces made with freezer paper, similar to how I put the previous one together. But, before I committed to a whole project this way, I decided to test it out first.

Good idea.

Here is my circle pattern piece with seam allowance (blue) and the background into which I was planning to insert it.

trial circle, pre-insertion

I carefully cut the circle out of the inset, clipped the seam allowances and then stitched it up. The result?
Ummmmm… Not so circular…

not a circular circle

From a technique standpoint, this was very difficult with a disappointing result. I did like the way that the circle kind of floated above the background fabric, but it just didn’t look very nice.

So, the next one I tried ironing the seam allowance to the wrong side of the blue circle. Once that was creased, I used some fusible to stick it down on the background and hand stitched the edges down.

The result? No picture (sorry), but it was better than the first attempt. It still had uneven points and flat spots around the supposedly circular edge.

My last trial was to cut a freezer paper circle and iron it to the wrong side of the fabric. Then I cut a generous (more than a quarter inch, but less than a half inch) seam allowance and ran a double line of basting stitches around the edge. These served as gathering threads and I was able to carefully pull the seam allowance to the back side in an even fashion and then steam/press it into submission. This proved to be the most successful technique and was the one that I chose to carry forward with.

Here is a photo of some of the pieces with their drawstrings…
drawstrings, at the ready

Here is how it looks after the strings have been drawn and the seam allowance severely pressed to the back (before the freezer paper was removed).
edges drawn up and pressed

Here is the final piece, ready to be appliqued onto the background:
Ready to applique

Pay no attention to the notches/irregular parts of the circle – this quilt is designed to have circles floating on top of other circles, and those sections are where “higher up” circles will be installed.

Now I am using my beloved Perle cotton to hand embroider along the seam lines and around the edges of the circles. This is taking a long time, but is a very relaxing and enjoyable process.

So, that is where we stand for now. Further updates as events happen. Hopefully, the big “reveal” will happen sometime soon.

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December 16, 2015

Cat Bullet

What’s going on?

Filed under: It's a Cat's Life — Cat @ 5:11 pm

We had a snow day yesterday. Taffy spent the whole day doing this:

Taffy on the furnace vent

Yep, that is the furnace vent that she is lying on, keeping her belly fur warm. Thanks, kitten, for freezing the rest of us out…

I took advantage of the time to work on my current art quilt project. Here is a sneak peak of how it is going…

progress on circle quilt

I don’t want to show the whole “reveal” yet because frankly, it doesn’t look too nice right now. Definitely a work in progress.

I do have several photos to talk about the development of this one, so stay tuned to the blog for further updates…

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November 16, 2015

Cat Bullet

Finished project

Filed under: It's a Cat's Life — Cat @ 10:37 am

Well, I finished my project this weekend and I must say that I’m very pleased with how it came out.

finished freezer paper project

I like the bright colors and I love how the straight edged strips really glow. Those lines were just a byproduct of the design, by the way, I didn’t plan them to happen. I did, however, take advantage of them when they turned up.

It was fairly simple to get the pieces to sew together. The center points (Red, Blue and Yellow) came together with reasonable pointyness. I used a curvy stitch on my sewing machine to quilt the layers together, which really accentuated the centers.

detail of red center

I decided that I didn’t want any border on the project, so I used a facing, pulled to the back, to finish the raw edges. I hand stitched the facing during the abysmal Broncos game, so at least SOMETHING productive happened during that time.

facing

Finished size is about 24 inches square. I’ve still not decided which way is actually up, but I’ll study it for a while. I also need to come up with a name for it.

Currently, I’m calling it “Not What I Expected” (due to the changes it went through during the design process).

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November 2, 2015

Cat Bullet

Weekend activity

Filed under: It's a Cat's Life — Cat @ 10:32 am

Yep, I had all of the good intentions in the world with regards to working on already started projects, but I just couldn’t get interested in any of them. Nothing was exciting.

What’s a girl to do?

Start a new project, of course.

Stage one (no pictures, sorry):
Large piece of white paper, a pencil and long rulers. And a hint of an idea involving undulating waves and spectrum color changes on a navy blue background.

End up with three dots, straight lines and nary a curve nor a background to be seen. Design is fun and predictable, no?

Designate the dots as “Red” “Blue” and “Yellow” and then label each section with MY estimation of how the three primary colors will be blending at each individual section.

Stage two (otherwise known as “The stage where you desperately hope that the cats don’t jump up on the table.”):

Stage one:  making the pattern pieces

Put the pattern/design up on the window and trace it onto Freezer paper. Then use rulers and rotary cutters to separate each piece. Spend a long time trying to figure out which triangle goes where because they all look the same. Find my location (finally) and then put numbers on each piece because so many of them are really similar. Put individual pieces into plastic storage box and then realize that it is very difficult to find any particular piece when it is needed. Get ziplock bags and then sort out the pieces into numerical blocks of ten.

Spend a lot of time looking for piece number 12 and can’t find it. Retrace the pattern, cut a new piece. Continue sorting numerically. Then discover that #72 doesn’t exist on the pattern and decide that my handwriting could have been better (it was the missing piece #12).

Stage three: Fabric selection
Go through fabric stash looking for fabrics that match the color decisions that I had made on the main pattern. Know full well that some will probably be replaced, but you have to start somewhere. Rough cut the chosen fabrics and then iron the Freezer Paper pattern pieces to the wrong sides.

Pieces Rough Cut

Side note: I’ve heard many quilters wax poetic about the wonders of Freezer Paper. Now I see why!


Stage four: Trimming

Trim the fabric to a “scant quarter inch” around each of the pattern pieces. This should give me precisely fitting pieces, assuming that I can sew a straight line…

Trimmed pieces

At this point, I ended my work for the weekend. I’ll re-sort the fabric pieces into the numbered ziplock bags and I have to make a decision as to if I’m going to mark the seam lines on the fabric. I can’t sew them with the freezer paper in place, so it might be handy to have some markings to show exactly where I should be sewing. Especially given the high number of sharp points I will be encountering.

I actually have no idea if I will be able to get this to work or not. If I can’t get them to go together using the sewing machine, I may have to sew them together by hand (using traditional English Paper Piecing techniques). This is a total experiment and will be interesting to see how it progresses.

Good thing I’m not in a hurry, right?

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