Thursday, August 30, 2012

One More

Another pre-pledge WISP that I found while cleaning up was this cheery pink number, made from a charm pack but when I found it, I added a border made from another line.

This one is HSTs laid out the way I wanted to lay them out, not the way Joe did!  I like it, but I wish I would have made one more row of colored triangles at the bottom.

I am actually thinking of trying to machine quilt this one myself.

Feeling tired but good today -- it is the start of a four-day weekend for me!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Before I Took The Pledge*

On the day of the Great Sewing Studio Clean-Up, a couple of Saturdays ago, I unearthed this nearly-finished top. I'd started it two years ago this fall, when I admitted to the world that I'd never made a Schnibble. My good friend Pat lent me her sizable collection so I could make a selection to try out. I picked "Mon Ami" and got a couple of charm packs.

The experience was awful. These little blocks were far more complicated than I wanted them to be, and it turned out the fabric was way too busy. Charm packs will suck you in and, in this case, spit me right out. I found the borderless flimsy along with a bazillion HSTs I'd cut to make the intricate border that Mon Ami called for. I couldn't do it. I didn't like the top enough to go to all of that effort. Besides, this quilt project was from Before I Took The Pledge*. So I found some nice, really nice, go-with fabric, and put a plain border on. It's at the machinist's now for quilting. I'm calling it "Opium Butterflies" because -- not that I've taken opium, mind you -- these are what I think butterflies would look like to an opiumist. You can click the picture to  make it bigger, but I like it a lot more small! The fabric is just too large of a print for this kind of a project. But it is done, except for binding, and actually, truth be told, it makes a pretty cute quilt for a baby.

 Another Before I Took The Pledge* quilt, HSTs made from a charm pack and Kona snow. I had them all laid out on the design wall and Himself came along, took a look, and rearranged them so they were in more-or-less solid rows instead of how I'd had them. So I put them together that way, using a totally different fabric from the charm pack line for the setting triangles and border. Someone I know is expecting a little boy, and this quilt will be for that fellow. I then had to set to work with another charm pack or two to make another batch of HSTs to put together the way I want! That one is not photographed yet, but it has a not-from-the-same line border, too.

Of the three baby quilts, this one is my favorite. This charm pack is nice little prints in nice primary colors. I bought a totally different fabric for the cornerstones and the border and yet another different one for the binding.

*I Solemnly Swear I Will Not Make A Quilt From All One Line Of Fabric.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Friends and Single Parenthood

The first night that Joe was away, Blackberry and I had a party. Not to celebrate his absence, but rather to celebrate friendships. The time between White Oak getaways is always too long, and besides the getaway itself to White Oak, we miss each others' company. Helen somehow had the idea that a dinner together would be a good thing; rather than going to a restaurant, I offered my home.

Everyone brought something to share; Pat's and Honna's hors d'oeuvres were spectacular. Helen's husband's German potato salad was wonderful, as was Honna's [still slightly warm] beer bread. I forgot that Marsha was bringing cauliflower, and while I was making the chicken, I got the idea of doing cauliflower, so we had a kind of deuling cauliflower situation (buh buh BAH buh BAH buh BAH buh BUHHHH) with no one being able to decide which she preferred. Turbo and Bobbi contributed wine, Judy a delightful green salad, and Kathy provided not one but two desserts and oh my were they good.

We'd received a parcel from some-of-our-friend Sharon out in the Midwest that I'd been told not to open before the dinner. We opened it after dessert and found that Sharon had made for each of us a sewing stiletto, all different, and all beautiful. Here are nine of the ten of us (I'm taking the picture) showing stilettos. How thoughtful and generous of Sharon!

Joe's been gone four nights and there are two more remaining. Blackberry thoroughly enjoyed the dinner party, but once it was over, he became despondent, just not understanding why Joe wasn't here. We've had some nice walks and quiet moments together, but he just isn't himself. Friday after work I stopped at the pet store and bought four new things for him: one for each of the remaining days of lonesomeness. Friday night's bone was just the thing he needed, and he gnawed and gnawed and threw it around. Yesterday morning I gave him a small purple stuffed squeaky toy and it, too, was a hit. He already knows it by name, as in, "Where's That Purple Thing, Blackberry?"

Later today he'll receive a rubber chicken and tomorrow's offering is a peanut butter flavor bone.

Between the sewing, the socializing, and the dog entertaining, I'm busy enough. And will be very glad to come home from work on Tuesday to find Himelf back in residence. Too bad I'll miss The Reunion when he comes through the door!




Friday, August 24, 2012

Place Holder Post


 


It's a busy time. At work. At home.

 I'm hoping to get those give-away mug rugs made this weekend and to get them in the mail on Monday. I hoped that last Friday, too. Perhaps this weekend will be different.

It's been a long spell of too much going on -- much of it good stuff -- and a deep-down feeling of tired.

 The sewing studio still looks tidy and orderly and that isn't because I haven't been sewing! I've been forcing myself to tidy up a bit when I quit for the day. I'm working on a secret project that will be revealed at the appropriate time.

Joe is away for a bit and Blackberry is despondent. I'm trying to spend more time with him. I have high hopes for the weekend: I'm looking forward to a quality visit with Honna, a dinner with my cousin and sister, the mug rugs, and some time just to Be.

I'll resume regular content soon. Until then, here are Aberdeen, Tom, and Nate, in various moods.



Monday, August 20, 2012

A Tale of Woe (But It Ends Well)

In the massive clean-up/clean-out on Saturday I came across these: bunches and bunches of pink and gray HSTs. I remembered making them as a leader-ender project many months ago. I even remembered the wonderful plan I had for them.

So I set them aside, and did not pack them away. Instead, I added them to the list of projects discovered that needed fairly quick attention.
Not long after that, I came across 17 blocks made from pink and gray HSTs. I had a vague recollection of planning a 30 block quilt, 5 across and 6 down. It looked like I was more than half-way!

So I took the HST pile and divided it into groups of sixteen, the number needed for one block. And thought, "I can make 13 more of these blocks. And I can do it pretty soon! I'll have this quilt done in no time! So I plunged in and made the first block.

When it was finished and pressed, I went to put it up on the wall.

Oh, no!!!!!!

I must have cut and made the HSTs for the first 17 blocks and once I had them together, must have set everything aside for an indefinite time. And when I resumed work, I set to making HSTs again, and made them what appears to be a quarter-inch larger!  Again I howl, "Oh, no!!!!!"

 I started to ponder my options of what I could do.

I could either cut down the bazillion HSTs that I had sorted into piles.

Or I could make two little girl quilts instead of one big girl quilts, one of which would be somewhat larger than the other.

So I got to work with Option Two

And -- viola! Here's a finished quilt for a very little girl. Clicking to enlarge will reveal the secondary pattern that delights me so.

I'm thinking of them as Thing One and Thing Two. I know there is one HST here on Thing One that is set the wrong way. And I'm leaving it right there. When I made Thing Two, I'm going to reverse the order of the borders.

I still can't believe I had been so scatterbrained!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Finishing Touches

I've added some microscopic buttons to Alvin's shirt and he's appreciative.

Then I made Tom Daley in his infinitesimal Speedo. Initially I 'd planned to adorn him with a bronze medal but once he was done, I decided to forego the medal in favor of a belly button made from a French knot. You may be able to see his outie by clicking on the photo.

Yesterday was the day. A wise friend had advised me to wait on the studio clean up until the weather was cooler. Yesterday was somewhat cooler and I really couldn't stand it any longer, so I spent many hours down there and now it is immaculate. I was once again astonished at how many WISPs I have. I made a list of the ones I uncovered yesterday and am determined to do something about them before embarking on a new grand effort of some sort.

Now that the little people for the swap are finished, I'm tackling them and will post photos. Currently I've moved a pair of mug rugs for people who did me a favor in June and a hospice infant quilt to the hand-stitching area. Today I'd like to get my give-away mug rugs made so I can mail them on Wednesday when I make a run to the Mailboxes place.

What a dull post this is. But I'm feeling good about what I accomplished yesterday. Joe's sleeping in this morning, so I'm off to take Blackberry out for a walk.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Alvin

Named for his maternal grandfather, Alvin was teased a lot as a child, especially at Christmas time. Believing themselves to be oh-so-original, people would give him harmonicas and wait to see the reaction. Alvin was gracious and grew up to be a well-adjusted guy. A devoted husband and father, he works in an antiques shop and enjoys handball. Not surprisingly, he goes by "Al."

I may just have to sew some miniscule buttons on his shirt.

Next up -- at last -- Tom Daley, the bronze medalist in the microscopic Speedo . . . .

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Medals and More

The gold medals for track and gymnastics were finally given last evening; here are Usain Bolt and Gabby Douglas sporting theirs. Here Gabby is accompanied by Lawrence Williams (brother of Lester pictured previously), who works as an interior designer, has exquisite taste in clothing, and lives with his partner, Paul (not pictured here).

Honestly, I said in my previous post that making these people has impacted the way I look at folks I encounter in my daily life. Today one of the science teachers popped in and immediately I began picturing how to construct her!

The big swap closes Labor Day; there are still two participants working on their people, but the ones that have arrived are just wonderful. After the swap-out, I'll post pictures of all 70 of them.

Here is David, who likes nothing more at the end of a hard day than to put on his jogging suit and go out for a run.

I have one more set of seven males to make for the big swap. And a couple more for a side swap or two. Can't decide whether or not to make a group of Tom Daley, the British eye candy in the miniscule swimsuit.

If anyone is interested in a one-on-one swap of people, I'd be happy to oblige. Just let me know. You'll find me down in the body parts area.



Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Population Growth

Usain Bolt is complete and ready to go to the podium to receive his medal. He's waiting for Gabby Douglas, and the medals will arrive in a week. Fortunately he has the company of Cecelia Wellington while he waits. Cecelia fancies white tights and buys her clothes at Liberty of London. Meanwhile Tom Daley and Gabby are in the planning stages.

Another swap participant's personnel arrived yesterday, literally bursting out of their postal packet. There are three more groups outsanding and the due date is mail by Labor Day. I'm confident that all my ducks people will be in a row by then.

These days I seem to look at everyone through the lens of body elements. Campers going through the lobby at school, wait staff in uniforms, all of them seem able to be broken down into bits of fabric. It's addictive, I tell you.



Sunday, August 12, 2012

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Jeggings and Giveaway Winner(s)

I had some very nice dark blue fabric that would make perfect jeggings, I thought, and my dear sister had some weensy rickrack that she shared for me to make straps. I couldn't decide on the perfect style for the top, so I made three different ones!

Next up for today will be Girls in White Dresses with Blue Satin Sashes, and then I'll move on to boys. Including Usain Bolt.

It is addictive.

The giveaway winner is Annie O, who gets the magazine and a mug rug with a cow (I had hoped to make it today and mail it on Monday; there may be a bit of a delay on that, Annie). Please email me with your mailing address.

And there's a bonus winner, too. For just a mug rug. For liberal, Lutheran, Swedish Sue from Minnesota. How could I not make a Scandinavian rug for you! Please email me with your mailing address, but don't go sitting by your mailbox just yet because I have to get Annie's out of the way first.

To everyone else who entered: Thank you for your sweet comments and encouraging remarks. I so enjoy being a blogger and "meeting" all of you!


Friday, August 10, 2012

Girls

I mentioned in my previous post that I'd begun making little people for a swap. I'm now three-tenths finished and only two days into sewing. The girls in pink were the first ones I made, followed by the blue team. Then I felt confident enough to branch out. If you enlarge the photo, you'll see that the next group have lace trim going down the centers of their dresses and skimpy little lace sleeves -- they may be flower girls. Or ballerinas. Whatever.

I'm having so much fun! I sit chuckling to myself as these girls come together. Am thinking that I need a group wearing jeggings.

I'm no longer worried about meeting my deadline, which is the first week in September. More worrisome is whether I'll be able to stop!

Thursday, August 09, 2012

1500

1500 posts. My, oh my. When I started this little blog back in the spring of 2006, I was doing it as a kind of journal for myself, and perhaps for my family. Which it still is. But it has become much more than I ever would have imagined. I've "met" the nicest, funniest, kindest, most generous people through the magic of internet blogging. And so I truly celebrate this 1500th post.

I'm SO enjoying my shorter summer work hours, which come to an end next week. Last evening I worked on three totally different projects. First I cut and attached the borders to my dresden plates quilt. So it is now officially a flimsy and will go on the pile of quilts to be quilted someday. I'm thinking that this one is asking for me to hand quilt.

After dinner I worked on my little people blocks -- Several months ago Lynn posted a photo of a most magnificent quilt called An Extravagant Welcome that inspired some of us to start up a swap of little people so we could make similar quilts. Uncharacteristically, I delayed making my blocks and had been worried about having enough time to get them finished. I need a total of 70 blocks: Seven each of ten different people. I was relieved to find that they go more quickly than I'd anticipated, and as of now seven little girls in pink dresses are waiting for friends. I imagine photos will be posted within days. Lynn so generously provided very detailed instructions on how to make the blocks; I didn't have a bit of trouble with this first set.

Finally, while I caught up with an hour or so of Olympic track and field, I hand-stitched binding on a mercy quilt; again, photos soon.

As promised, there is a giveaway involved with this post. I have a brand new copy of the debut issue of Generation Q magazine, as well as a yet-to-be created personalized mug rug waiting to go out in the mail on Monday. As always, please don't post links to this giveaway on your blog -- it is not designed to be a traffic generator, but rather a gift for one of my regular followers. Leave me a comment including one thing that would make your mug rug personal for you. I'll draw a name on Saturday . . .  Thank you for finding my little blog worth a few moments of your precious time.



Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Tangled Threads

I've not posted as frequently as usual lately because I've been deep in thought. Reflecting. Sorting out. Pondering. Pensive.

There are threads of thought that may all be connected. Or maybe not.

One of the threads has to do with polarization -- this is connected with Facebook and the frequency and vehemence with which political positions are shared. It almost seems at times as though our political views are becoming the sum total of who we are.

Another has to do with tolerance; I have good friends whose political and religious viewpoints are far afield from mine. We have no interest in damaging relationships by trying to persuade. So we just don't talk about those things. Somehow it is different and more difficult when someone is repeatedly posting harsh criticism of one candidate or the other, when where a chicken sandwich was purchased has somehow become the issue of the current campaign. As mentioned previously, I'm seriously thinking of withdrawing from Facebook until mid-November.

A third thread has to do with mortality. Six weeks ago I was troubled by serious illness all around: a neighbor was waiting on a bone scan to learn about possible spread of cancer; another neighbor was waiting for a donor match for a marrow transplant; a dear friend was in hospital waiting for an infection to clear so that he could undergo extensive open heart surgery. I went into a baking frenzy, wanting to do something, anything, to ease their burdens. The scan came back clean, the donor was found, and the surgery was successful. All three are on the road back to health.

There's another thread that is more difficult to write about. Two different long-standing friendships have been broken for more than a year. Though these women -- and the situations are not connected; they don't really even know each other -- are no longer part of my life socially, they have not been totally out of my thoughts. In these recent weeks, both broken relationships have been very much on my mind. Though the situations were complicated and considerable hurt was involved on all sides, they are both good people, and most recently I've thought about whether and how I might initiate an attempt at communication. Yesterday, out of the blue, a warm feeler came from one of these women and I was happy to be able to respond in kind. Today I shall reach out to the other.

Perhaps all of these threads are connected. They seem to be about what is important in life, and what is not.


Friday, August 03, 2012

Crossroads


This delicious block has been on Pinterest the past few days and I'm pretty impressed. It was shared by Bee In My Bonnet, a blog that is new to me, and it strikes me as an excellent way to deal with scraps.

Bee/Bonnet writes that she made it as a result of a 2-1/2 inch square swap. But she doesn't share a tutorial. I can see that it is made from eight four-patch blocks made from the 2-1/2s along with eight blocks that start with a 4-1/2 inch square of white. Where I'm getting stuck is on the measurements for the elements that go across the corners of those white blocks. I'm thinking that she had to start with squares that were 2-7/8 inches to make the intersections meet right. Drawing a diagonal across the square and stitching 1/4 inch to the side of the diagonal would yield what I think would be the right measurement. Alternatively, she could use 2-5/8 inch squares and stitch directly on the diagonal to get the same measurement. But looking at her block, there is at least one instance where a diagonal corner element is the same fabric as one of the 2-1/2 inch squares. Perhaps she drew a diagonal on one of them and stitched on that line? Wouldn't she have lost 1/8"?

I'm going to have to fool around with this over the weekend. Unless one of you readers with drafting and measurement skills would care to comment?

BTW, this is Post 1497. That means my 1500th is coming up probably next week. There will be a give away. Stay tuned . . . .

Thursday, August 02, 2012

A Couple of Things

I need to get a couple of things off my chest. Not that I expect any relief from having done so.

Here's the first one: Yesterday I "unfriended" someone on Facebook because all (as opposed to "virtually all") of her posts have become political messages. I know she has many more dimensions than her political position (which happens to be similar to mine, as a matter of fact), and frankly I was tired of reading about just this one thing, not only one time each day but multiple times.

How many times do we need to shout out our political position? Is there really some expectation that doing so will convince someone in the other camp to defect? Someone who is so engrossed in proclaiming his own position that he can't possibly pay attention to ours?

Political propaganda is everywhere. It is interrupting the Olympics, it pops up on my Scrabble games for crying out loud, and the ads are all over the internet. Not to mention the telephone. Do we really have to have it as hourly daily messages from our "friends"?

Okay, enough on that.

Now here's the other thing. I've thought about this one for quite a while and am still not sure I can articulate it properly. It is what I've come to call "The 'C' Card."

You know what I mean, the statements (both verbal and written) that begin, "Well, as a Christian . . . "  Starting off a statement this way does two bad things. First, it pretty much tries to shut up anything anyone else has to say because how would that person respond? "Well, as an agnostic . . . ?" or "Well, as a Christian myself  . . . . ?" It really is designed as a conversation stopper. And the other bad thing is that it claims the absolute authority of God. Which is huge. There are many schools of theology within the Christian faith, some of which are contradictory to each other. How outrageously presumptive would a person have to be to know without a shadow of a doubt God's precise position on every single issue?

God must be sitting there, shaking her head, realizing yet again how even more incurvatus in se we have become.