Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Two More

I decided to try to get those last five blocks completed on the Just Takes 2 Quilt (JT2).  More blocks will be posted on the first of the month...I think.

The first block was not much of a problem...at least not based on my usual screwups.  I had to take one part off and turn it around.  Not bad for me.
Ready to be sewn together

Taking off the bottom units
 I always do the individual units, then put them together in the way they will (hopefully) be sewn.

Then what I do is sew some part of the block wrong.  In this case, the bottom row had to be removed.
Completed block #7

Only took a few minutes to sew it together correctly.

Unfortunately, Jaik took that opportunity to jump up on the table and sit on the block. 
Looks just like it's supposed to

Jaik sitting on block #7

And he knows he isn't supposed to be there.  Look at the ears...he hears me telling him that I need a picture of that block.

Because that block went so well, I thought I would start on block #8.  Well, let me tell you, that one took a while.

The instructions had no size for this block so I was unsure how it was to be configured because none of the cut parts fit together...2 1/2 inch parts to be sewn to 2 inch parts.  I had never experienced anything like that before so I did it the way I thought it should have been done (or close to it).

It's a little wonky but honestly, I'm just happy it's done.  I don't know if I could say what the actual measurements should have been....like maybe the big parts that I cut down were right and maybe the small parts should have been cut larger.  Who knows?  It's a mystery quilt so I won't know how it goes together for a few more months.  Guess I'll find out then what size block #8 should have been.  lol

Watched the SAG Awards on Sunday with the 'usual suspects', had some great potstickers, egg rolls and a cake with ice cream for dessert.  It was nice.  We all commented on how predictable the choice of outfits were that were worn by the 'girls' and 'boys'.  It was mostly TV casts and that may have been the problem...too young to have the confidence and personality to carry off a truly sensational, standout ensemble. Not that they weren't all gorgeous but there wasn't much variety.  I'll be watching Fashion Police to see what Joan thought.

The evening before, I was invited to go to dinner with my DIL to celebrate her birthday; her husband (my son) and my two grandsons came along and we went to a nice, local, upscale restaurant - Hitchcock's.  Great experience.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Number 3 Started!

I'm a little disappointed that SF isn't going to be a part of the Super Bowl.  The same teams that played 4 years ago will be playing again.  Both the games on Sunday were exciting even if my teams lost.  I'm sure the Super Bowl will be great too no matter who wins...I have no favorite.  Oh, and the food was delicious...loved the tacos with homemade salsa that my dd prepared.

I have now started a third quilt although it's technically a table runner.  It will be 48x32 and made up of 1/2 square triangles.  I have no picture right now of an original but I hope it will work up something like this...
This pattern isn't originally mine but I propose to change it enough that it will be very different from the original that I saw briefly somewhere in a video.  Mine will have cats on it using this fabric that will be fussy-cut. 

I hope it won't look strange to have cats on my table, but I love the little guys.
I have only about 20 units done...four rows.
These units need to be squared up to 2 1/8", then sewn together into rows.

Jaik, for a change, was no help at all.  He slept across the cutting table.  Grrrrr.....

So, I have done no blocks for Sylvia's Bridal Quilt - the yellow quilt, and no blocks for the red and white quilt - Just Takes 2.  I did manage to get in a nice walk today through our local park over a wooden bridge across a small river and along the water by the harbor.  Which is why the park is called Harborside Park I suppose.  lol  Sun was out and blue skies prevailed...43 degrees. Perfection.

If I could only get Jaik to sleep elsewhere...

Till next time when I'll have done lots more blocks.  Happy quilting everyone!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Spoke too soon

The day after praising PSE for their work in eliminating our usual power outages during snow, wind, rain and sometimes even sunshine, I spoke too soon and the power went off very early Saturday morning.  So, I got out the camp stove and boiled water to make tea and enjoy the beautiful sunny skies...windy though they were.  Power was back on in a matter of hours so no big deal.  I have to be honest though and admit that memories of our 3-day outage a few years ago was running through my mind.

So, I feel fortunate to be sitting here listening to (and watching) an interesting Tent Revival show on PBS this morning.  Though I haven't a religious bone in my body, I do appreciate the music of the people who do.  Who can resist a beautiful rendition of The Old Rugged Cross or Amazing Grace...not me.  And, come to think of it, some of my favorite art exhibitions are of the old Italian masters who painted biblical scenes...so they got me there! lol

Regardless, my focus today is on football.  My dear daughters will be over in an hour or so with their big dog, Chubaca. 

The puppies will stay home; there's not enough room in my living room for 3 big dogs.  At least Chuey lays down and is quiet whereas the puppies are always on the move, so only Chubaca is invited.  First up will be the NY Giants vs. the NE Patriots, then the Baltimore Ravens will play the SF 49er's.  The only team I'll be rooting for will be the 49er's so that the west coast has some presence at the Super Bowl.

Food today will be tacos - vegetarian tacos - and though one of my dd's does eat the flesh of animals, she adheres to my beliefs when she is here...only the kitties get to eat meat.  She says she enjoys our meatless meals.  I hope she means it because the food today will be good!

I'll post some pictures (if I remember to take some.  Hope you all have a wonderful Sunday, football or not...

Friday, January 20, 2012

More snow...now rain!

We've been luckier than Seattle in getting through this latest storm.  During the summer, PSE (Puget Sound Energy) had trees trimmed way back that were close to power lines; it was annoying waiting behind all those trucks who were going slowly along doing the trimming...but well worth it.  We had no power outages.  On this island (about the size of Manhattan) there are big trees along every road so it took all summer for PSE to get the work done.

I got some sewing done over the 3 days of being locked down here.  For the JustTakes2 quilt, I completed this block
that had to be appliquéd so that was a major accomplishment last night.

Today, I worked on the first block in the next row in my yellow quilt.  It was quite a challenge with all it's insets
Inset seams

More inset seams

Jaik (with the white dot)

Jaik came up to lay on the block as I was trying to show all the inset seams in this block.  Such a good helper!

The reason that I seldom mention or show pictures of Jules, Jaik's brother, is that Jules loves to sleep and he's much too lazy to wake up and walk over to the sewing area just to have a nap.  He wakes up when he's hungry....no sewing for him.

 So, here's the finished block.  Looks good I thought...until I pinned it up next to the other blocks.

Which is when I noticed that instead of using yellow as the background color, I had used the while from the JT2 quilt

That'll teach me to try to make two quilts at the same time.  Oh well, it's going to stay because it was a bit difficult...and besides, I really don't think it's going to stand out that much with all those other busy blocks around it.  Guess I'll find out when it all goes together.

 I moved some of the blocks on the design wall a bit higher so I could pin the bottom row on.  I'll move the rest of them up as I go along.  It's a big job.  haha

This is what I wore to walk over to the store yesterday.  Absolutely no worry about slipping at all...and I hardly noticed they were there on my boots.  The wine glass is there to show the last dregs of wine I had here....and why I had to go out. 
Shoe Chains
But I needed the exercise also, and it felt good to do some walking after being inside for a couple of days.  They were definitely worth the $10 or so I spent for them...for the security if nothing else.

It's now raining here and the streets are slushy.  By tomorrow, I'll be able to drive to the library if I want.  I feel so bad for those people who live where there is heavy snow throughout the winter season.  It was bad enough here for the 3 days we had to weather it.

Take care out there, people!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Sewing...and snow

Finally got the big block - 12 1/2 inches square - done.

Jaik helped a lot in making me take an extra day or two in getting this one done...haha.

Then, of course, there was the Golden Globes party which took a full day to get ready for.  We ate some good appetizers provided by my lovely dds and drank Prosecco with a drop of Grenadine to make it pink.  I had wanted to serve Cosmos but our state doesn't sell vodka or hard liquor on Sunday, so that was out.  I was glad though because the Prosecco was excellent.

This 6 1/2 inch block was relatively simple...half-square triangles around the middle red square, then white background squares at each corner.

And there they are...five of the first round. Six more blocks have been posted on the website so I'll start on those next.  I can see four places where I could do redwork embroidery in the center of three blocks.

But first, I have to appliqué four hearts onto background fabric.  I got one heart done with 3 left to go...for the sixth block in the first series of blocks.

Almost three inches of snow...on an island that seldom sees any.  This all fell in only a few hours.  I looked outside at 3am and it was dry as a stone out there.  When I got up at 9am (lazy sleeper-in that I am), there it was.

Even the suet for the birds had a pile of snow on the top! No lack of birds though. I made sure the kitties stayed in so the birdies could eat as much suet as they wanted.

Drive safely if you're on a snowy road today...and if you're not, have fun making snow angels!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Just Takes 2 - block #4

The red quilt has taken up my time this week.  I have 6 blocks to finish in three months so no problem, but I've decided to get them done so I can put away the fabric and do some more blocks for the yellow quilt.

 So, here's block #1.  Fairly simple.  Make two 4-square blocks, make a circle (with 1/4 inch seam allowance) on one of the blocks and cut it out.  Appliqué it to the middle of the other block matching seams.  I like this block.
 Here is block #2.  Same size as block #1 and it, too, is an easy one.  Corners are half-square triangles with white/red 'logs' as the centre piece.  I made the top and bottom rows, then sewed them to a center block with red/white 'logs' on each end.

It went together in about an hour...including moving Jaik off the fabric as I cut.
 This block was very easy and fast to do.  Two white squares cut in half, two red squares cut in half.  All sewn to the edges of a middle white square.

Once again, moving Jaik out of the way was the biggest impediment to completing this block.  lol

There they are, on the edge of my design wall.  I'm going to have to find room for another design wall to pin them to when I start on the next 6 blocks in March.

I like the Kona Chinese Red color.
I cut out the red fabric for the 4th block but Jaik was so comfortable on the white that I let him sleep, then worked on it a little while later.  But then I needed the red again and sure enough, he had moved over to sleep there.  I think I have a cat who can read minds... whatever I want to do next, he's right there. ;-)

He's been pretty active and looks a little better so I'm hoping his diabetes has gone away.  Crossing my fingers that it's true.

I've felt like baking lately and here's Martha Stewart's Walnut Shortbread.  Delicious, even if I do say so myself!

I made Lemon Bars a few days ago and they were better than good... they were mouth-watering delicious!  I've given away most of both batches because I'll eat the whole thing if I leave them around here.  Then I'll never lose weight even with all the walking I'm doing lately.

My dd and I went to see a movie today so I'll do a movie review to end this daily log.  Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy was a 4**** (stars) out of five.  I really liked it as did my daughter, who gave it 5 stars.  I think she gave it an extra star because Colin Firth was in the movie. haha

The day before, I had gone to see War Horse and was sorry I did.  I can count on one finger how many Steven Spielberg movies I've liked so I don't even know why I went to see it.  Too many unconnected stories within the main story and each one an opportunity for Spielberg to manipulate the viewers emotionally, as he is prone to do. 

I still don't know what the point of the movie was...I suppose it was that the horse lived through a war and whoever got near him was unlucky enough to lose their lives.  Lots of explosions and dead animals.  :-(  And that Gone With the Wind sunset that the homecoming was played out against was really over the top.  I don't recommend this movie.  Two stars. 

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Six Rows, 60 Blocks Done

Completed block #60 on my yellow quilt.  Unfortunately, it turned out to be a 7-inch block instead of the 6.5-inch block it was supposed to be but with all the points on the sides, I couldn't cut it down without losing the look it is supposed to have.  I was really careful to make the seams 1/4-inch (even marked the seam allowance on my sewing machine bed) but in spite of that, the block is big.

This block could have been made more quickly and, I think, more accurately with strip piecing.  The problem is in recognizing where it could be used instead of cutting individual small pieces, then sewing them together.  Now I see that the four corners should have been strip-pieced and maybe the block would have been the right size. 

Blue tape to mark 1/4-inch seam allowance

 Six rows, 60 blocks...many, many more to go.  I'll be starting on a red and white quilt but will still do at least one more row of blocks for this quilt as well.
 I bought 3 yards of Chinese Red Kona fabric for the 'Just Takes 2' red and white quilt.  Guess I should wash the fabric first, huh?  I generally don't do that but who wants to take a chance on the red running after the quilt is finished?  Not me!

I have about 6 yards left on my roll of muslin so I'll be using that for the white part of this quilt.  There will be some redwork on this quilt also.  I'm excited to see how it will turn out.
First block for Just Takes 2

The instructions give you the first 6 blocks to do.  In April the next 6 blocks will be made available.

Just my speed!  At my own pace.

Oops!  Maybe I won't be starting that first red block today.

Jaik decided he's tired after all that work finishing up block #60.  I can wait.  Time for lunch anyway....

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

At last!

Yes, I can finally post a picture of the completed block that I've been struggling to get done.  It was a 'bear' and it took me 6 days.

 I struggled with the y-seam construction at the corners and sides of this block.
 I found that I had to undo the end of the sewn seams in order to make the insets lay flat after they were sewn.
 So, I used teeny, tiny pins on one side and regular pins on the other when I pinned.  It made it easier to sew around the pins.

Almost half done... and looking pretty good.

And the final result.  The greens are probably too similar in color to make this block show up to it's intricate advantage, but as I've said before...I have a real problem choosing fabrics that go together.

The holiday season seems to put me in the mood to try new methods of crafting so when my dd lent me a book to read about making japanese gift bags etc., I jumped right in.  Haven't completed anything because I picked a purse to make and it required more handwork than I could handle.  I still like the idea and I'll give it another whirl at some point - this year, I hope. lol

Here's the project I made a bit of progress on.

And the book - Omiyage - of really pretty patterns for anyone who likes itty-bitty stitching.

I'm going to start on this year-long project to make Just Takes 2 while continuing with my yellow quilt.
(Quote:  Just Takes 2™ is a mystery quilt.  It is divided into four main sections. It’s finished size without borders is 72 X 90 inches. Every three months, you will receive instructions for assembling one section of the quilt. By the end of the year, you will put all four sections together. The blocks are 3, 6, 9, 12 and 15 inches. There are both pieced and appliqued blocks, although the majority of the quilt is pieced.)
I love redwork and can't wait to do some embroidery.  If you want to join in, the block patterns for Just Takes 2 will be posted once every three months; six are up now...just go to Sentimental Stitches and click on the red link at the bottom of the January 1st blog post.  The more, the merrier!  And it's a pretty quilt.

Hope 2012 will be a wonderful one for everyone...