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On Friday, I got to take a class with Bonnie Hunter, one of the stars of the quilting world. Which was my first quilting class since the ones I took with my grandmother circa 1992! And I picked up some neat tips and techniques. But, honestly, string-piecing (one of Bonnie's favorite techniques) is a touch exhausting! So I'm just going to do a wall-hanging from the workshop pattern and call it good.

The weather, meanwhile, is turning devilishly hot. As in an expected high of 90 today and 95 the next two days. I'm trying to get as much as I can done in the mornings while it's cooler, and then hauling myself and the boys down to my parents' place in the afternoons. I'm getting close to done with the last cross-stitch quilt block, though, so I think today or tomorrow I need to start hauling the Christmas tablecloth along with me again for my to-go handwork project.
sakon76: (Default)
Hot weather arrived and with it, flea season. Yech. The cat has been Advantaged and I'm working my way through washing the everything-that-can-be-washed and vacuuming the everything-that-can-be-vacuumed. And squashing every flea I can catch. :/

I've also been working on quilts in a dual-purpose sense. Firstly, going through my vast collection of Works-In-Progress/UnFinished Objects (WIPs/UFOs) and getting some of them done (I'm aiming for one a month) and simultaneously targeting those which will neatly become Christmas presents. For further details, see my quilting blog.

Jazzy is now crawling forward and pulling himself to a stand so I'm having to go through the house with an eye to re-babyproofing it. Squiddle continues to be a bit of a threenager and had a wonderful meltdown at a Chinese restaurant the other day over wanting soup. Which we were ordering for him at the time! Fortunately the waitress also had a three-year-old and went and put in the order for the soup first and then came back to take the rest of our order. (And it was really good soup, too.)

And I've been working my way through rereading Marie Bostwick's Cobbled Court and Too Much, Texas books. So, quick book review time!

Title: Yarn Harlot: the secret life of a knitter
Author: Stephanie Pearl-McPhee
Length: 219 pages

Review )

Title: From Here to Home
Author: Marie Bostwick
Length: 351 pages

Review )
sakon76: (Sakon)
I planted 107 popcorn seeds (one whole packetful) on Tuesday. Will be interested to see how many come up. Meantime, in the garden bed I planted with fifty bajillion seeds a week or so ago, the radishes and mizuna are popping their heads up and I think I saw the first sprouts in the spinach and snow peas areas. (Also in that bed: mesclun, lettuce, cucumbers, two types of beets, leeks, carrots, arugula, and parsnips. Plus the potatoes and calendulas that had self-seeded from last year. I may have drawn myself a map so I remembered what's where.)

We bought a betta to add to the tank, so that's up to six fish now and everybody seems happy thus far. I'm going to wait a week or two before adding anything more. I'm thinking maybe some mollies or guppies would be pretty, but I want to do some research first.

I got an out-of-the-blue call today that pretty much summed up to "Hi, you don't know me, but I was given a bag of quilting fabrics and I don't really do that, so would you like them?" Seems someone (I suspect one of my guildmates) had given Shirley my phone number. And I love the fabrics she gave me - they're quite varied and I think I'll find them useful.

Also today, my sister, after two weeks in the hospital, has finally been released to go home. Hooray! This extended postpartum stay involved an abcess the size of a tennis ball. *grimace* Nobody was really happy about that. And she's still on antibiotics. But she and niecelet finally got released. And apparently the frozen breast milk I shipped up has come in handy, so at least that was good.

And, last but definitely not least, Wonderful Husband and I have now been married thirteen years. ^_^ Still my lover and my best friend, even if we don't get to date or dance as much as we used to. ^_^
sakon76: (Sakon)
Squiddle in his room napping. Jazzy laying on my left arm, napping. Winter rain, temporarily halted. It's turned cool (for SoCal) the last couple days and Jazzy's been wearing the baby sweaters his Granny knitted when I was expecting Squiddle. Gratifyingly, they'll probably keep fitting him for a while!

On my sewing machine are two Christmas stockings for the boys, sewn from pale green velveteen and burgundy damask, with gray silk dupioni linings, all of which I got at the Costume College Bargain Bazaar in my two trashbags full of stuff for $10. I also have been stitching at the counted cross stitch stocking I got in the same place, for Wonderful Husband, but that's not going to be done in time for this year's Christmas.

Presents to wrap, presents to wrap! And one (maybe two) still to sew. Squiddle's in the process of getting graduated from MegaBlocks to Duplo blocks, and I'm making up a pair of drawstring playmats, one for our house, one for my parents', to make cleanup time easier. And only one quilt being given for Christmas this year - it's Jazzy's inaugural quilt. Which sets me at three quilts behind on posting them to this blog! I'm actually considering getting a second blog (blogspot maybe? or wordpress?) to dedicate just to quilting. In any case, I experimented with a different brand of batting for this quilt, and was surprised when it turned out much puffier after washing than the usual Warm and Natural brand I use. Not bad, just different, and not wholly what I was expecting.

Anyhow, time to log off and go stitch a bit more while there's quiet. (And maybe bake cookies tonight.)
sakon76: (Kitten)
Last week, our visitors (my mother-in-law, father-in-law, sister-in-law, and, separately, my sister) all flew home. My father's 70th birthday party, Thanksgiving, and my sister's baby shower were all successfully pulled off. So then, of course, I hit a bit of an emotional crash and Christmas stress. Whatever. I got past it by sewing. I can't explain why needle and thread, or preferably sewing machine and thread, help me work my mental/emotional knots out. I'm just glad it does, especially now that a toddler and an infant stymie my fiction writing abilities. I have faith that the latter will come back eventually, but I don't know when. So some creative outlet is good.

My sister's baby shower, on the 26th of November, came off rather well. The weather held good just long enough for fifteen of us all to have an al fresco lunch on my parents' new patio, then stormed while games were played an gifts opened. And as the party broke up, the sun came out and there was a double rainbow!! A good omen, I hope. My sister got weepy about at least two gifts, the first and last. The first was our aunt and myself going in on it together to purchase the glider my sister wanted. The last was this:


I'd told her I was going to make her a baby quilt...

And today was the December meeting of the Orange Grove Quilters Guild. I hustled the boys down to my parents' bright and early so I could sign up for one of next year's classes. And I got in the class. Next June, I'll be taking a workshop with Bonnie Hunter! At guild, I also did a show-and-tell of my other recent quilting finish, which is a piece I made for Wonderful Husband fifteen years ago and only just got around to quilting:



Oct. 24th, 2016 05:01 pm
sakon76: (Sakon)
Squiddle and I got our flu shots today. Hooray! Me on the arm, him on the thigh. He was none too happy about it, but stopped crying within ten seconds of it being done.

I've been chugging along on the current quilting project as time allows. I'm a little over 10/25ths done with the center squares. I'd be further along but last night I hit one of those "if I was making this now, I'd know so much better" moments. Namely, I had fused some hearts on and then topstitched them down. Great. Brilliant. Except the fusible web I used gives my machine fits trying to quilt through what is essentially a layer of glue. So eventually I sighed, ripped out the three hearts' worth of quilting I'd argued, wrangled, and forced my way through, and will be redoing the square this evening, quilting around the hearts instead of on top of them.
sakon76: (ProwlxJazz)
While Squiddle and Jazzy are napping, I am working on a replacement wing for Squiddle's Toothless costume. (The original was lost at Comic-Con, and we're going to a Halloween party tomorrow.) And musing on the quilt I'm working on getting quilted. I finished the top nearly fifteen years ago, and I can see every single mistake in it. But I'm not taking them out and fixing them because I don't have interest in doing that, and if I tried I'd just shove it back into the storage box and NEVER finish the thing.

There's a saying "finished is better than perfect."

And somehow that saying is getting tangled up in my head with Soundwave from the original (1980s) Transformers movie: "Soundwave: superior. Constructicons: inferior."

I now NEED to make something that says "Completion: superior. Perfection: inferior."
sakon76: (Sakon)
Still here, still preggers, still waiting. I've developed this neurotic voice in the back of my head making me keep on top of all the housework because I don't want to go into labor and end up going to the hospital for 3-4 days with dishes growing cultures in the sink or damp laundry slowly mouldering in the washing machine.

Ah, domestic paranoia at its finest.

I also cleaned and oiled my sewing machine today. I have another (bed-sized) quilt basted and ready to quilt, but I'm not in the right headspace for marking it and wrestling it through the machine, so I engaged in some mindless sewing instead. I finally figured out what to do for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge this year - make up blocks for the String-X quilt I eventually want to make. So I finished up all the gray and purple strings I'd pulled last month out of my gallon Ziploc bag of strings, which made for six string strips, and then pulled and pressed all the red/pink/gold strings for this month's colors, and made four of those. I still have a lot more strings in those colors (well, in red and gold - apparently I don't sew a lot of pink) so I'll make more later. But there always has to be a reasonable stopping point to a day's sewing.

Also, there was Quilt-cam tonight! So I sat and embroidered during that. I'm taking a hiatus from the Christmas-colors tablecloth that I've been working on for months now. I finished allllll the red on it and wanted a visual break, so I switched to a project with different colors. I had picked up a set of a dozen cross-stitch quilt blocks at the thrift store, nine of them done, and have been working on #10. Yellow fabric, kind of '70s shades of gold, white, and green for the daisies, but embroidery keeps my hands busy and me off the streets. Something to do while I'm watching or waiting. I'll probably switch back to the tablecloth after I finish block #10, just because it would be nice to have it done in time for Christmas.
sakon76: (Sakon)
Ha! Newest quilt (~48"x60") quilted and trimmed. Just need to pull brown strips from my 2.5" strip bin to make the binding. (...Which will involve the iron and ironing board. Which I put away earlier today. Right.) But that gets to wait until tomorrow.

And this is good timing, since this one is intended to be a gift for Squiddle upon his becoming a big brother. I'm making a welcome-to-the-world quilt for Jazzy, too, and have the blocks and such, but haven't put them together yet. That's the next project.

Pics to come when quilts are completely complete.
sakon76: (Sakon)

So during the Bargain Basement sale at Costume College, I was basically grabbing anything that was flannel or quilting weight cotton and stuffing it into my bag, because quilting is my main hobby these days, and I figured I can find a way to use it sooner or later. Witness all the oddball little fabrics I squirreled into the Allietare-by-Moonlight quilt. Scrappiness FTW!

But one piece that's had me scratching my head and going "bwuh?" is, well, best described as "cowboy cheesecake". Or should that be beefcake? (Cheesecake sounds yummy; beefcake, not so much.) How the heck to use it?

Then I remembered Paula Cole's song "Where have all the cowboys gone?" and that there's a quilt block called Disappearing Nine Patch.

I am just enough of a sarcastic little shit that this idea amuses me, and I've pulled all the colors that "go with" out of the stacks of CoCo purchase fabrics.
sakon76: (Sakon)
Well, I have a picture of the Allietare-by-Moonlight quilt, but LJ is refusing to upload it. I'll try again tomorrow for that one.

Meantime, I'm working on the sample blocks for quilt guild. I have four set to machine applique, so I'll need to drag out a zig-zag machine for those tomorrow, and am hand-stitching the other two tonight. I don't particularly enjoy hand applique, but I do a workman's job on it, meaning my stitching is actually pretty good. One down, one to go. But first, time to bathe Squiddle.
sakon76: (Sakon)
Both pillowcases finished, and binding half sewn onto quilt. Did prenatal yoga this morning (have missed the last two weekends due to Comic-con and Costume College). Am trying to scrape together the energy to do anything more today. The to-do list is simple, but consists of several items. We shall see if I succeed.

ETA: Allietare-by-Moonlight quilt DONE, and in the washing machine together with its pillowcases. Pics to be taken maybe tomorrow? About half of my list for the day knocked off; the rest is all outside stuff and may also be dealt with tomorrow.
sakon76: (Sakon)
Have the binding all cut and sewn and pressed, ready to go on the quilt. But I've also spent part of this evening falling prey to one of the classic blunders: how to make two matching pillowcases out of three fabrics, none of which I have enough of?

Answer: piece the contrast bands.

(For those who wish to know, this is the pillowcase pattern I use.)
sakon76: (Sakon)
Pushed through and got the quilting 100% finished last night. Hurrah! I did a queen bed sized quilt in four days! I'm feeling pretty chuffed about that, even if the quilting, like the piecing, is "good enough" rather than "award winning." The lines did keep getting smoother as I went on, muscle memory building or kicking back in, whichever. Which probably means I should get the next quilt layered and basted and on the machine sooner rather than later. But first I need to clear off the ironing board, press my fabrics, and cut out the binding for this quilt, as well as its two matching pillowcases.

And the sample blocks for guild! Argh.

But before all that, I have a doctor's appointment this afternoon.
sakon76: (Sakon)
I continued plugging away at the quilting yesterday, and got the center of Allietare-by-Moonlight up to 75% done. The second set of wavy diamonds has been easier than the first, mainly because they're composed of lines that run (wavily) from one edge to the other. Maybe I can finish it today, and then work on the borders and binding tomorrow and over the weekend? Quilt guild meets Tuesday night, and it would be nice to have it finished in time to show off this month. Of course, I still need to do the Block of the Month samples and handouts....

I also need to think of what I want to put on my list for birthday presents for the end of the month. I'm kind of drawing a blank this year. One movie on DVD, maybe half a dozen quilting books...? But the movie would probably not get rewatched anytime soon (because it's, well, Deadpool, and small children and R-rated films do not mix), and I already have lots of quilting books that I haven't made quilts from yet. Maybe ask for repairs to the Singer 401 that I can't do myself? (I've TRIED, but I can't budge the screw that would let me fix the upper tension.) Or gift certificates to one of the local long-arm quilters so I could see what it's like having someone else do the quilting for me? Le sigh. Just don't know what to ask for. I've reached the stage where I've got enough stuff to last me a lifetime.

Ah, enough of first world problems. Time to do washing and watering.
sakon76: (Tsubomi)
Got the center of Allietare-by-Moonlight up to 2/5ths quilted last night. Onward! I also wrote up the preliminary directions for this next month's Block of the Month for my primary quilt guild. Now to do up a few sample blocks and see if there's anything I need to smooth out or clarify in the instructions. I may need to drag out a second sewing machine for this, since my main machine and table are all set up in quilting mode ATM, which means a hell of a lot of stuff got shifted and stacked on the ironing board so the table's clear and can support the weight of the quilt.

(I appreciate that Wonderful Husband doesn't mind my hobby and/or grumble about the space it sometimes takes up.)

I've also been going through the stuff I acquired at Costume College. Some stuff has gone in/by the basket I take to quilt guild every month. A couple Piecework magazines, however, have given me inspiration for a linen 1920s day dress for next year. There's a really nifty Egyptian embroidery design in one, and a smocking tutorial in the other. I'll need to look into acquiring sufficient blue silk embroidery thread.

I've also taken the four stained embroidered runners I got and soaked them in Oxyclean for about 30 hours. One came out completely rescued; on the other three the stains are now much lighter. So I've pulled out my Retro Clean and set those three soaking in that for another couple days. We'll see if it gets the stains completely gone.
sakon76: (Sakon)
Tonight I finally started quilting the Allietare-by-Moonlight quilt! I discarded the fancier sunburst pattern I'd considered for each block, and am instead doing sort of an atomic starburst instead. Kind of two (curved) diamonds, rotated 45 degrees from one another, in each block. It means I can do one long line of stitching, moving from block to block, rather than having to quilt each block individually.

Not counting the borders, I am 3/20ths of the way done. And the weather is going to continue to cool down this week, so I'm hoping I will continue to have the wherewithal to continue. Because I would really like to get this quilt, and its matching pillowcases, done before Jazzy decants. And possibly one more, but we'll see. Not hoping to push my luck on that.
sakon76: (Sakon)
The weather continues hot. :p

Yet somehow, in my cracked brain, the next project I want to work on is getting the Allietare quilt actually quilted, so it can be moved off my projects list and into the bed linens cabinet.

Yeah, sometimes I wonder what my brain is thinking too. Quilting in 90 degree weather, not such a brilliant scheme.

But then I realize this ties in with the "nesting" thing I have going - IE,get stuff cleaned up and put away. My quilting stuff has expanded and taken up far more room than its allotted corner, and getting some of it done is a way of getting it put away. Or something.

So, onward to quilting. Or at least to dragging out my chalk marker and seeing if the design in my head will actually work on the quilt....
sakon76: (Sakon)
I've been plugging away at my quilting projects, since I separated them out into a basket of ziploc bags atop my sewing desk so I can actually see how bloody many in-progress quilts I have. Organization is a dangerous thing! And today I finally finished assembling the quilt top for my version of Allietare, which I did in teal and purples rather than red and gold. And the closer it got to done, the more I liked it, to the point where, when I was putting the final black border on, I decided I completely love it. It'll never win any prizes in a juried quilting show - my piecing is more toward "the perfect is the enemy of the DONE" end of the spectrum - but the colors sing and it makes me happy.

Since I'm now at the stage of pregnancy where getting up and down from the floor is decidedly awkward, I'm going to try to get Allietare and one other quilt all basted this weekend, and hopefully then get them quilted before Jazzy-baby arrives. Though the weather's supposed to tick back up in the nineties this week, which does not really incline one toward quilting. Bleh.

September 2017

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