Petra

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

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August 5, 2017

Cat Bullet

Summer Mystery

Filed under: It's a Cat's Life — Cat @ 5:21 am

 

 

So… I was walking across campus and found a lone lemon, abandoned on a bench. There are so many questions here..

 

Why did someone have a whole lemon with them?

Why did someone abandon the lemon?

Was the lemon part of a “do it yourself lemonade stand” kit?

Did they expect the squirrels to eat it?

Did they expect the squirrels to cut it up and squeeze it into their tea?

Was it “art?”

Were they lurking there somewhere with a video camera to see how people would react to the sad, abandoned lemon?

Did they expect someone to stare at the lemon in confusion, go into their office to get a camera and then return to take a picture of the lemon in order to query the internet about the presence of said lemon?

 

If the last was their goal, then achievement unlocked!

 

I’d love anyone reading this to propose their lemon hypothesis.    Because I’m totally stumped.

 

 

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August 3, 2017

Cat Bullet

Summer update

Filed under: It's a Cat's Life — Cat @ 9:35 am

Well. Hello again.

 

Sorry to be so quiet, so long.   My motivation seems to run inversely proportional to the ambient temperature (translation:  my brain shuts down when it is hot).

In June, I traveled to Maine for a Quilting Retreat taught by the designer of the Day Dreams quilt.    It took me a couple of months to get all of the fabric pieces cut and organized before I left.  Also, I’ve never flown with a sewing machine before.   That was an experience…

I found Jaqueline to be the best quilting instructor that I’ve ever experienced.  She was very patient and was full of great techniques that I had never seen demonstrated.    She was also a master at demanding (and getting) absolute perfection from her students.  It is astounding how effective the phrase “I think you can do better” and a slightly disappointed look from her was at getting me to be more willing to undo something that was OK, but not completely perfect.   I’m fairly convinced that she has never uttered the phrase “Oh, that will be hidden in the seam allowance” in her life!

At the retreat, I started a new project called “Enchanting Stars.”   I love all of the bright colors and the crisp contrast between the blacks and whites.    I’m really pleased with what I got accomplished.

Part A:

 

I’ve started on Part B, but haven’t really accomplished anything significant since I’ve been home.   Maybe things will pick up again as the summer disorganization winds down and I get back into a normal routine.

I’ve been working on decluttering my house, which is always fun.  Too much stuff jammed into closets and the garage and on bookshelves.   Lots of trips to the donation drop-off location, and some progress has been made.

But there is always more to be done.     Kind of like life, right?

 

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May 18, 2017

Cat Bullet

Thursday afternoon

Filed under: It's a Cat's Life — Cat @ 2:17 pm

Whew… sorry for the long delay in posting. Lots going on.  Trip to Dallas, bronchitis (cough cough), overgrown yard, etc.

I have been working really hard on Day Dreams.   A couple of weekends ago, I got the main part roughly together on the design wall.  It isn’t completely straight because it is just stuck up on the wall, but for the first time, we can get a rough picture of what the final project will be like.

Frankly, once I saw it, I was tempted to change the name to “I can’t believe that I made this!!!”   Yes, with at least three exclamation points.

If you look closely, you can see that it isn’t completely straight, but that is because everything isn’t sewn.  The center square is one piece, and the aqua/greenish outside with the 3/4 corners and the half circles is the second piece.   Currently the half circles are sewn into the border but the 3/4 corners are not.  I’m hoping to hit that this weekend.   They have lots of registration marks on them, so it will be relatively easy (HA) to get them inserted.

I did take some fun pictures so that you can watch the progress of the center square being put together…

 

So, all of those months of making the individual sections have really paid off.

What do I have to do now.

  • Insert the 3/4 corners into the outer (aqua) border. Time consuming and slow, but not hard.
  • Insert the inner square into the square hole in the outer (aqua) border.  Yikes.   Don’t want to think about it as it involves incomplete seams.    Practice makes perfect, right??
  • Add another small grey/white thin border with orange corner stones to the outside of the aqua border.  The pieces for this are cut already, so it won’t take too long.
  • Paper piece four more sawtooth borders for each edge of the square.   Fabric parts are not cut yet, nor are the papers ready to go.  Yikes…  If I don’t finish in time, it will be because of this step.
  • Another small grey/white thin border
  • One last solid border with the aqua fabric.  Not cut yet, but since it is just straight strips, it shouldn’t take too long to cut or sew.

At that point, the quilt top will be done.    I’m hoping to finish it before I start the next project for my summer seminar (next month).

I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…

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April 21, 2017

Cat Bullet

Weekend…

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

It is supposed to be chilly and rainy tomorrow (Saturday)… You know what that means:

QUILTING!!!!

 

 

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April 17, 2017

Cat Bullet

Monday report

Filed under: It's a Cat's Life — Cat @ 9:19 am

Long weekend, lots of work.

I’m happy to report that the backyard reached a major milestone on Saturday. I got all of the garden tiers cleaned out!!! I’m very excited. There are still projects that need to be done, but as of Saturday, I’m no longer embarrassed by the condition of my yard. Happy Times.  :-D  :-D  :-D

Bonus, since I didn’t spend all day working on it, I wasn’t as sore for the rest of the weekend as I have been. That really helps with the mental state for sure…

In quilting news, progress was made on the Day Dreams quilt. Does anyone else get ridiculously proud of piles of trash? I use them to gauge progress.  This weekend’s pile was particularly pretty…

Fabric scraps from trimming edges, paper pieces pulled out from the finished arcs, etc.

I finished the four side arcs.  I think that they look really nice.

These will be set into the background which surrounds the center square.

I think the arcs went together pretty well, but I had problem when it came to joining the half-arcs.  I just couldn’t get them to line up perfectly, mainly due to too many layers to sew through at those points – the needle kept slipping off!!

You can see what I mean above the blue arrow that I added.  Those two triangle points should be perfectly nose to nose, but I couldn’t get it to happen.     I had to stop fiddling with it as the pieces were getting a little worn out from all of the sewing and unsewing and sewing and unsewing.      I’ll encounter this situation again on the 3/4 circles that are on each of the corners, so I have a few more things to try when I sit down for those.        I can live with what I have now for this piece, though, since it is just for practice.

Yes, haven’t I mentioned that this entire quilt is a practice piece???

Since I had a little bit of leftover time (OK, I was waiting for an episode of “Arrow” to finish that was playing in the quilting room), I went ahead and ironed the arcs for the 3/4 circle arcs and trimmed them to the edge of the pattern pieces.   They are all ready to go in my next quilting session.

Though I can see that I forgot to trim the ends off square with the paper, so I’ll have to do that first thing when I get started.

Happy Monday, everyone.  I hope that you had a productive weekend.

 

 

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April 10, 2017

Cat Bullet

Monday update

Filed under: It's a Cat's Life — Cat @ 2:03 pm

Well, I didn’t get any quilting done this weekend. :-( Very sad. I’m being all responsible and everything and spending all of my time outside working on my maintenance-free yard. (grumble grumble).   Side note, it turns out that if you ignore a maintenance-free yard for several years, it will turn on you in a bad way…

Progress is being made, at least.  I got the big garden on the ground level cleaned out and mulched.  The roses are all pruned and fed (THANKS MOM!!) and I started cleaning out the next tier up.   I’m very sore today, as I have been for the past several Mondays.

No pictures of the yardwork, yet, because I keep forgetting to take them.   Maybe when I get all done.

I do have a quilting photo to share, left over from last week.  It occurred to me that some of my readers (HI MOM) might not actually know what process I’m using to make the pieces for the Day Dreams quilt.   It is called Foundation Paper piecing, and you literally sew the pieces of fabric to the paper pattern and then trim it to match the line.   Here is a photo to see the back of the piece, in the progress of picking out the paper after it is done.

I’ll be really honest, I kind of enjoy the process of picking out the paper.  It is relaxing.   You crease the paper pattern on the lines a couple of times before sewing and then you set your sewing machine to a really short stitch length.   By the time it comes to taking out the paper, they are willing to be removed easily.  I have a nice pair of tweezers that I use to get the remnants out without disturbing the threads/stitches.

There are lots of markings on the papers.  The arrows indicate the direction of sewing, the numbers in circles indicate the fabric choice and the numbers without circles indicate the order you attach the fabric.    Before you start sewing, you are given a list of what sizes of fabric pieces to pre-cut so that they can be attached to the paper with minimal waste.

Which leads me to a looming deadline… Before I leave for my fancy class this summer, I will need to have all of my fabric pieces cut and all of the paper patterns cut out and pre-creased.  Yikes… lots of work to do.   It will all get done at some point, but I will be very glad when the garden cleanup is finished so that I can just do “quick” maintenance projects outside for the rest of the spring and summer.

Oh well, I hope that everyone had a great weekend and got fun things done.  Happy Spring (or almost spring) depending on your local climate!!

 

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April 4, 2017

Cat Bullet

Monday night work

Filed under: It's a Cat's Life — Cat @ 9:41 am

This is what I accomplished Monday night. I’m very pleased.

First, I inserted the solid half-circle inserts into the spiked arches.

As you can see, they come out a little wonky on the bottom, but don’t worry!  This is by design.   The designer learned that when she was inserting anything with curves, she generally ran out of fabric due to distortions.   So, she designed her patterns with what she calls a “second seam allowance” so that there is extra to make up any difference.

Once the pieces are done, then we trim the second seam allowance off of the paper pattern and then realign it on the sewn piece.  Then it is very easy to trim the edge to the proper straight line.

It is really great to take this class and learn from her experience!!!

So here are all of my half arcs, ready for the next step.  Hopefully tonight, as I seem to be on a roll and would really like to keep it going!

I think they are really pretty, and the inclusion of the dark blue insert really tones down the power of the orange.  I was getting a bit worried, actually…

The next step is to add a white border around the outside of the arcs, and then attach the Flying Geese arcs around the outside of that.    Wish me luck!!!

 

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April 3, 2017

Cat Bullet

Progress report

Filed under: It's a Cat's Life — Cat @ 9:35 am

Well, the blog has been quiet lately, but I have been getting things done.   I’ve been doing a lot of work outside, cleaning up my long neglected yard.  I’m making progress, but haven’t taken any photos yet.   I should have taken “before” pictures, but I didn’t.  So, you will just have to be happy with “after” pictures.  Once I take them…

Work on the yard is going well, and I have promised myself that I will purchase a couple (or so) of new rose bushes should I manage to get everything cleaned up before Mother’s Day (which is our local traditional day of first planting to avoid winter freezes).   I was also given some columbines and something called coralbells by a friend of a friend, so I’m looking forward to watching them develop this spring.

I was positively giddy at the announcement that this past weekend was going to be cold and rainy.  Well, they said Snowy, but that never happened.   Too cold and muddy to go outside, at any rate.  A whole weekend of quilting!!!  Yay!

Progress was made on the Day Dreams quilt, and actual photos were taken.

To recap, the center of the quilt is a square with a center medallion.

You can see it at the bottom of this photo.  At the top of the photo are four straight sawtooth borders.  They will be applied around the edges of the square with blue cornerstones (squares) at each corner.

Around the outside of the sawtooth border will be another thin strip of the greyish fabric (you can barely see it around the edges of the square in the photo above.  It will have small orange cornerstones.

Around the outside of that will be the arcs.  There will be half circle arcs on the straight edges of the center, and 3/4 round arches around each corner.   The arcs will consist of several rows/layers -two are pieced and two are solid.

You can see the pieced arcs above.  Well, half-arcs, since I’ve not joined them yet.   The top row (left and right sections) will be used to make the half circles and the second row will be used to make the 3/4 arcs.    The smaller (and lighter colored) arcs on the bottom will be inside of the large arcs.   Separating the larger from the smaller arcs will be a solid band of  light colored fabric (I’m still waffling on which fabric to use in this case, because I don’t like the one that I picked out) and then there will be a dark blue half (or 3/4) circle inside of the smaller arc to fill it in.

It is hard to describe with words, actually, which is why I don’t write patterns.   I’ll take photos as I go.

What is my next step?  Well all of the pieces shown (except for the center square) have to be steam pressed and then precisely trimmed to the paper pattern (which is still on the back of all of these pieces).  Then they need to be sewn together and the whole thing filled in with odd shaped “background” pieces.  It will be an interesting process.

At least I’m making progress.

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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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