Wednesday, January 30, 2013

There must be something in the water

I am impatiently awaiting my new issue of Quiltmaker magazine which contains the start of Bonnie Hunter's new mystery, Lazy Sunday.  The colors are pinks, purples, greens, blues/teals and neutrals.  At the same time, I just looked at the fabric requirements for Linda Hahn's new mystery at the American Quilter's Society website  The colors are - wait, pink, purple, green and blue/teal?


What are the odds that the two mysteries that I want to do have the very same colors?  Admittedly, Linda Hahn's is going to be made of batiks, but still.   .   .

This is frustrating.

I have never made a pattern by Linda Hahn and thought I should use her colors for safety's sake.  I would be guaranteed that the contrast and coordination between the colors would work, after all.  At the same time I wanted to use Bonnie Hunter's colors because I had a lot of green, purple and teal left over from her free mystery Easy Street and liked the bright springiness of them. My husband prefers a lot of color in quilts and would appreciate it too.  Of course, I am using black as the neutral on Lazy Sunday instead of lights, which will, I think, change up the look, and Linda Hahn doesn't specify a neutral, so there will be differences.

I wonder what is going on in the color zeitgeist that made both choose the same color palette.  No red, no rust, no yellow, no gold, no brown, no tan.  I think everyone is looking forward to spring.  But, by the time these mysteries are completed it will be fall!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Gold it is.

I decided it needed a little lightness so I went with the gold outer border, and I'm very pleased with how it turned out.

Now on to the next languishing project I uncovered during my sewing room straightening - a red and green small quilt. I am determined to finish up all these half-done UFOs that I found.  The terrible thing is, I had no idea there were so many!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Decisions, decisions. . .

which border shall I use?

I laid out the two possibilities and all day while house cleaning I kept stealing a peak at them trying to decide.
 Finally I mocked up the two possibilities in EQ and took another look.

Blue border:
Gold border:
Which one is best?  I can't decide but I think I'm leaning toward the gold.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The crazy cat people's house

I'm sure that's how we would be known if people saw all these cat accouterments.  We were fairly tame about the cat paraphernalia when we just had Molly, but after we added Tuxedo it sort of mushroomed.

First, we bought Molly a cube:
 She loved it until, well, she didn't.  One day it was good, and the next it was terrible.  Such is the judgment of cats.

She was getting older and felt the cold more, so we bought her a heated window perch:
Her perch is still her most valued possession and she spends a great part of the day on it, looking over my husband's shoulder as he works at his desk.  He is her favorite person and she loves to be close to him.  The proximity makes it easier to mooch, too.

When we adopted Tuxedo, I installed a perch in the garage window so he could watch the birds and squirrels:
Although mostly he uses it to sleep.  This perch became more important after I bought the Honda in August; prior to that he slept on top of my Subaru.  The roof of the Honda is not as conducive to sleeping, evidently.

When it got cold he also got a heated perch:
It's on the inside wall of the garage and up high where it's warmer.  I worry about him sleeping in the garage and try to make it as comfortable as possible.

Now, he also has a perch in my sewing room:

This way, when he's inside he can stay close to me, which is important in his world view.  Tuxie is sort of a one-person cat.  He has never sat in my husband's lap and tries to stay in the same room as I am.  If I sit down he invites himself into my lap, which is inconvenient when I'm sewing on the machine.  In fact, if he wants a lap sit while I'm at the machine, he jumps up on the sewing table and starts whacking and nipping at me until I scoot back and welcome him for a cuddle.  He doesn't have to sit there long;  it's kind of a checking-in maneuver, a little comforting for him.  Afterward, he wanders off to find a sunny spot to sleep.

There are also two scratching posts, one in the den and one in the living room, and a flurry of cat toys scattered about.

We've got the kitty cat fever really bad.  It only takes a minute or two in our house to tell.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Look what I found!

I was cleaning out some drawers in my sewing room this morning and look what I found - the EQ blog BOM for 2011 (yes, 2011 - blush!).  I never finished it.

There were 12 blocks but I found two extra I made (didn't like the colors in the first try evidently) so I made two more duplicates and laid out a 4 x 4 on point setting with some blue and yellow fabric, using a green stripe for the skinny inner border and bias binding.

I need to get this done soon - it matches my kitchen!

Another one done

Another one done, but terrible picture to show it off - I don't have a large enough space to hang up these king size quilts and my rooms aren't big enough to spread them on the floor and still be in the room to take the picture.
I debated adding a solid border outside the pieced one but finally just let it be.  It's interesting, to say the least, but I'm afraid it looks a bit unfinished.  Perhaps the green binding will give it some design closure.  I should have used the darker tan on all four edges but that would have meant making new X blocks for those edges with beige on one side and tan on three sides (instead of beige on two and tan on two), and I was running short of green and beige fabric. And picking out the end blocks on all eleven assembled rows, which I wasn't going to do.  It stands as it is.

And I finally got my Grandmother's Choice block for this week completed.  Foundation paper piecing, templates for cutting, curved piecing and applique.  She covered the bases on this one!

The crook in the handle should have been turned upward but I was working in mirror image and forgot to reverse it.  Don't tell!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

OK, this setting is cool but it takes FOREVER. . .

.   .   .and my patience is fraying.  But I shall persevere because they are going to be beautiful.

First, the Brackman Civil War blocks in the X setting:
which is going to look like this when it's done:
I've got three more rows of the X blocks and all the border blocks to complete.  I love it but it's killing me.  Wait......... it occurs to me that I could scallop the edges instead of using those solid rectangles in between the green squares.   .   .think, think think - nope.  I don't voluntarily bind scalloped edges for anyone, especially myself!

The other Civil War sampler from the books I talked about before is progressing but I ran out of navy fabric and had to hunt the internet for it, finally finding a bit at a Montana quilt shop (thank you, online shopping).  I have 13 setting blocks I can finish when the fabric arrives next week.  By that time hopefully I'll have the above quilt pieced.  The blue one will look like
Both are a lot of work but worth it in the end.

And after all this I have 18 blocks left over than will go on the back of the first quilt and 12 patriotic blocks to make into their own quilt.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Hip deep in Civil War blocks.

Remember Barbara Brackman's 2011 Civil War Block of the Week?  I did the blocks but never assembled them because I had an idea of doing an appliqued eagle/shield center block.  I threw that idea out finally because I couldn't find a pattern that would work and frankly didn't relish doing that much applique.  But I still needed a setting for the blocks.

Around that time I got on a block-sewing kick using "The Civil War Diary" and "The Civil War Love Letter" books, and made 100 more 8" blocks (yes, 100!).  Those never got into a quilt either.

I didn't really think of these projects much until I started straightening my sewing room last week, when I unearthed them and decided that they really should be completed.  I dug through all the setting ideas I had compiled in EQ and finally decided what the quilts will look like.  There will be two of them - one using the Brackman blocks and the other using a lot of the Civil War Diary blocks.  I'm going to have blocks left over so there may be another small quilt too.  I didn't invent these settings but found them online.

 The lighter color X block was found at Thread Head's blog, where it was used for a prior Block of the Week.  Thanks so much for the idea - it's stellar.

I found the dark setting blocks on someone's blog right around the time that Brackman's blog finished publishing blocks but I can't remember where.  If you were the creative quilter that designed this, please let me know so I can credit you.

I'm working on both at the same time.  While waiting for the plumber yesterday I cut out all the navy, rust and beige strips for the second setting and sewed them together, so I have most of the components for these blocks done with the exception of the beige/navy four patches, which are half completed.  I can sit down and stitch together five or six of them quickly.  I did five of them this morning before breakfast.

I have most of the beige/green/tan block components cut too but those blocks are slower to make.  In both cases I have five out of eleven rows worth of setting squares.  I think both of these are going to be absolutely fabulous.

And BIG.

Oh, yes.  I'm doing Brackman's Dixie Diary block of the month now, so Civil War quilts aren't going away any time soon.

The thing is, I'm also doing Brackman's Grandmother's Choice Suffrage quilt, Animas Quilts Block of the Month, the Benjamin Franklin quilt at erik Homemade, a mystery at Garden Path Quilts, and when the new mystery by Linda Hahn starts at American Quilter, I might just do it too.  This gal loves a mystery!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Sometimes you get tired of trying

I wanted a small table to set beside my reading chair in the den.  The den is my room and contains my desk, bookcase, piano and file cabinet in addition to a small comfy armchair.  I needed a place to set my teacup and such and to store magazines and Sudoku books but I don't have a lot of room for a side table.  I found the perfect small table online and ordered it after Christmas.

Well, it arrived today.  Looking like this:

I wanted to inspect the box before the UPS driver left in order to make sure there wasn't damage but those people are as stealthy as ninjas.  He dropped the box on the porch, sprinted across the yard to his truck and was on his way down the street by the time I heard him.  Needless to say, he didn't knock or ring the doorbell.  They never do.

The box looked beat up so I was worried when I hauled it into the house.  When I opened it I was greeted with an avalanche of broken styrofoam bits where the packing had disintegrated under the battering it had received in the "caring" hands of UPS.  The idiots.

The bottom magazine rack is broken off the table and the leg and corner of the top are damaged.  That leg is also loose.  It's toast. The seller said to send pictures of the damage to them and they will refund my money.  They didn't want the wrecked table back.  I wouldn't want it either.

I didn't reorder the table because I don't trust that it won't happen again.  In the past several years husband and I have ordered several pieces of occasional furniture - a nightstand for his side of the bed, end tables to go with the new sofa in his computer room, end tables for the living room, a console table.  These have all been ordered from different sellers and in three of the cases, including my table, the merchandise has arrived damaged.  The fault is that the sellers don't adequately package the stuff to withstand the handling that UPS or FedEx will give them.

In all cases, the items arrived in the packing boxes from the manufacturer with no additional protection.  These are generally thin corrugated boxes with thin sheets of styrofoam to keep the things from slipping around.  The styrofoam boards are never thicker than 1".  This kind of packing is adequate to keep the items from being scratched up while they are crammed into a cargo container on a ship from China, but not intended as packaging in and of themselves.  

This is what the packing looked like:

You can tell it's been beat to hell.

I have decided to just quit trying.  I checked and couldn't find a store locally that sold the brand and know that options are limited because I looked at just about every cherry side table in existence online before I ordered the one I did.  I only have a small area to fit in a table and this one was perfect.  You can't blame me for thinking that to reorder it is just nuts.

One other thing:  The last time this happened, with my husband's nightstand, the seller said they didn't want the damaged table back and I could trash it.  I got it in writing.  Nevertheless, I left the damaged table sitting in my garage for months just in case.  After nearly four months I cleaned out the garage and disposed of it.  Not three weeks later I got a notice from UPS with a sticker to put on the box so they could pick it up.  I called the seller back and they said it didn't come from them and they still didn't need the damaged goods.  They filed a claim for damage against UPS and that was who wanted the table and packaging back to refute the damage claim. Too bad - I told UPS I didn't have it and tough luck.

I'll keep this junked table for a while just in case the same thing happens.   

Monday, January 7, 2013

After all that.....

I'm using my aquas for a patchy border.  Yep, I chickened. At this point I'm valuing "done" over "intricate".
 In person, it looks more like this:
which I think will be very pretty.  it's lighter than Bonnie's turquoise print, and using various aquas gives it more interest than a single fabric.

The big print arrived today:
It's going on the backing and will be cheery and fun.  HOWEVER - for the border it just will not do!  See:
It grabs the quilt, yells "See ya!" and runs away with it.  Just tooooo loud.  My fabric colors are too pale for this print.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Easy Street assembled - now what border?

Now that I have assembled the center of the Easy Street mystery quilt I am quite confused which border idea to use.  I ordered a large print with lime/aqua/purple to use for the backing which might also suffice for a plain border if I decided to go that way, but there are so many pieced options.

Let's see:
Print border:
Checkerboard border:
Blue sawtooth border:
Piano key border:
Or some really wild options using a mirror image of the green triangle edge on the outside of an inner border, either pieced or plain:
(I rather like this one but I'm not so crazy as to want to MAKE it!) 
 Slightly more subdued and using the print border too.

What to do, what to do!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

NOW we have blocks

I've got about half of the blocks pieced so far.  No, I didn't guess the design.  But it's lovely.

I'm thinking about recycling some of my guesses into a pink and brown scrap quilt.  This is a possibility: