Summer Knitting

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

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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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June 16, 2016

Cat Bullet

Where does the time go?

Filed under: It's a Cat's Life — Cat @ 9:50 am

Kylemore Abbey flowers

So, welcome back to the world’s quietest blog.   Hope my loyal reader (*waves at mom*) has found something else to occupy herself in the mean time.

It has been hot and unproductive here.  I always have grand hopes for getting things done after work, but by the time I stagger back into the house at the end of the day, the couch looks pretty good.

Do I have any news?   Let’s see…  Sort of.    I’ve signed up for a quilting seminar/retreat in Maine next summer.  It is being taught by a woman named Jaqueline de Jonge who is a master of foundation paper piecing.  Her work is very attractive to me because it is very geometric and she uses very bright colors.   When I received my information packet, it mentioned “This is not a beginner event.”   *gulp*      So I have one year to increase my abilities, and how else are you going to do that but practice, right?

Luckily, the same instructor runs an online video class, so I waited for a sale and then signed up for that.    I didn’t want to go out and buy a whole bunch of new fabric, so I headed for the stash…  Here is a picture of my initial fabric selection…

Fabric selections for Day Dream quilt

(side note, the stash is starting to get pretty thin… I guess that my Ravelry “Austerity” challenge is starting to pay off).

I was fairly pleased with the selection until I started measuring the amounts of the oranges and found that I just didn’t have enough.  I thought about only making part of the project, but that really didn’t appeal to me, so I went out last weekend and bought a few more pieces.   I wanted to have darker oranges (as brown as I could get them), so that was what I selected.

I realize that a photograph of the new fabrics would be fabulous at this moment, but I don’t have one yet.   *sigh*  My blog needs to hire a more efficient staff.

Anyway, I’m happy with my selection.  I’ve been watching the video lessons and working on cutting out the paper template pieces (133 pages of templates means a LOT of cutting).  I’ve also been reading the 35 pages of directions that came with the templates.

Who knows?  I might even find the time this weekend to start on this project.     Wish me luck!

 

 

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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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