Monday, April 28, 2008

OC Mystery step 3 and the Pink Bargello

This step was little stress & strain, except that I made way too many of one kind that are now in the orphan block box & that seems to grow weekly! Step 3 is very scrappy, on the eeeuuuwww end of the kitchen sink scale, though I do love using scraps & haven't yet made a dent in mine but it is early days for my focused use of leftover/ignored/rejected fabrics. This is the last step of the OC that will require scraps- Bonnie has told us that in step 4 we begin to use our chosen yardage .

Today I finished piecing the pink bargello & I'm glad because it's a bit boring to piece! I plan to use the backing fabric at the bottom of the picture for borders, I did the math & I have just enough yardage.

I had Andrew & Lana's little Yorkies today, I offered doggie day care when Lana needs to stay for an extended day at the shop so that the little dogs don't have to be shut up for so long. They enjoy the couple of miles we walk in the park & the freedom to go in & out to the backyard with Button through the dog door. There are coyotes & rattlesnakes [& probably Gila Monsters & maybe mountain lions] out where they live so a dog door in their home is out of the question. When we were in the park this morning I took a photo of Matthew's memorial which was placed last week but unfortunately the date is wrong, 2007, it should read 2006 & as yet we are not sure how it will be corrected. We were however very pleased to see that the Palo Brea tree we planted in mid December finally came back to life after lacking leaves or any other sign of life since January. I really thought it was past help but these native desert plants are extraordinary in their ability to survive.

This lovely hybrid yellow rose we planted in our backyard memorial garden last weekend is covered in blooms, it is such a bright splash of color out there. Most of the colorful plantings are very new and they are not so far adding much variety to the garden. Another month & that should change just in time for us to leave for Colorado for a few weeks!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

QOV and timing!

I have finished the first of three QOV's on my list to quilt. I had begun on the second when the timing went out on my A-1 & I have been trying for 3 frustrating days to get it back in time, 6 hours today alone. Thursday I discovered that a tiny screw is missing from the shaft, must have vibrated loose, I have searched for it to no avail & I'm wondering if the missing screw is somehow effecting my efforts to time the machine. I have ordered a couple more of those little screws so perhaps I'll wait until they arrive before I expend any more effort on the timing adjustment, I can certainly find plenty of other things to do meantime but I do dislike having the longarm inoperable. Bonnie has posted the third step of the OC Mystery a few days early so I can add that to my to-do list. After church today we went by Ikea & I picked up a set of 6 small storage boxes for the small cabinet beside my DSM, another organizational chore awaiting me.
I am excited that I have been the very fortunate recipient of a preloved MacBook, the last edition of the TiBook. My friend Leslie, maker of that lovely Winding Ways quilt, had upgraded to a new PowerBook & found they weren't using the TiBook so knowing that my Dell is dying she generously gifted the TiBook to me! Wow! I am now in the process of transferring files via Thumbdrive- the Dell has refused my requests to back-up for at least 6 months. I am loving getting to know my Mac & finding all the cool stuff I can do with it.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

OC Progress

It is good to have all 142 blocks completed for the second step in the OC mystery & boy are they scrappy! I have never seen a poorly designed quilt from Bonnie so I have every confidence that our fearless leader has a plan to pull them all together with our chosen yardage colors & those are mine below.
I think it was only last week that I was congratulating myself on having organized all of my scraps, left overs & odd/ strange bits of fabric when I discovered, oh horrors another bin full! Well, it wasn't a HUGE bin but sort of a smaller medium size & since I had ever so briefly entertained the thought that surely I had more orphan blocks, I was not too surprised to find the "missing" orphans were also in that bin! I promptly set about cutting & sorting this other "found" fabric & now I am sure that is it- at least pretty sure!
I am continuing to work on the pink bargello in between longarming three QOV's -I didn't get but one pass done today, I had some necessary "chores" & didn't get to the LA until mid afternoon. then when I went to check the timing I discovered that there is a screw missing from the shaft, probably why the timing seemed off. In the morning I will call A-1 & ask them to send me a couple of spares & in the meantime I have tightened the other two screws as much as I can & "Ellie" is running just fine.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Pink Bargello & Posh Bag

Here is half of the first column of the Pink Bargello the "up" part of a "hill". I could only show half the length in the photo. I have cut & sewn strips for 6 colums, that's 6 hills or ups & downs! I now realise[where was my math brain? It was on a migraine trip!] that 6 columns would make the quilt wider than long so I'm not sure if I will stick to the original 4 as in Bonnie's pattern & add a couple of borders or perhaps 4 & a half hills but how odd will that look?! I should have extended the length too but as I said my math brain was inop!The little gift bag is my version of a very cute bag I saw on Buttonberry I made mine an inch and a half larger each way to hold the gift I have for my Aussie friend Sue's b'day. We were supposed to go to Gooseberry's for tea Wednesday but I had to beg off & so we'll go next week. I did get some flowers planted in my little memorial garden a couple of hibiscus back by the fence. Walt has the fountain in & it looks too bare around it so I need to find some more plants!
I was surprised at how much work it is digging holes & planting, I was hot & weary before I finished. I hope to get to the plant store in the next day or two & choose some more flowering plants to fill in the around the edges of the yard, especially back by the fountain which has a light & looks & sounds very nice especially after dark. I'm pleased with it!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Scraps,scraps & more scraps!

I have been down & out for a day or so with migraine but now that the worst is over I'm hoping to work my way back to full activity.

I am happy to report my progress towards "scrap control"! After persistently cutting for a total of many hours, all of my scraps are cut into the widths suggested on Bonnie's blog & anything larger than 6" has been set aside for other than strip use. Because my bureau drawers are so large I purchased small baskets from the Dollar Store to keep the different widths separated but I have yet to sort each width by light/dark/bright colors, that's a job for another time. There is also a basket of orphan blocks & now that they have all been revealed, I am surprised by the number & variation in size, style & color. I'm hoping that I will have inspiration for their use as I keep reminding myself that I paid the same amount for all of these scraps as I did for the yardage & the orphan blocks have the additional investment of my time for piecing them so it all deserves to be put to use instead of aging in the dark recesses of storage bins! I have discovered that unlike many wines fabric does not improve in taste with age, LOL. All the strips of pinks necessary are now cut & ready for a bargello a la Bonnie Hunter & I have barely any pink left in my stash, so although I won't go shopping for pink fabric I will be on the look out for lovely pink bargains! I have folded back the ends of the stacks to show some of the variation in tone, sufficient I hope to make definition of the ups & downs of the bargello. This will be a monotone quilt because the intended recipient is a 15 year old "pink addicted" girl. I really appreciate the clarity of Bonnie's directions, they are clear & detailed enough to leave no doubts without being unnecessarily verbose so I am sure that her first quilting book now in development, will be a winner.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Quilt class

Today we had a beginning quilting class at church & an enthusiastic group turned up to make a good start on their baby quilts. It's a nice simple pattern I designed to teach the basics & today we covered safe & accurate rotary cutting, piecing & squaring up the blocks. Everyone completed their 16 little blocks but I was too busy to remember to take pictures, however our faithful coordinator was snapping away I know & I will ask her to send me a couple of her photos. I went to the Mac Store with a Mac friend this afternoon & asked a lot of questions about moving from PC to Mac & checking my options for purchase in the near future. I am only slightly apprehensive about the possibility of this change-over, & I'm leaning heavily in that direction but still keeping my options open.This evening I finally completed the pieced borders on the Oriental Stack & Slash, which had been in UFO status since before Christmas. The borders were quite time consuming, making them fit nicely was a challenge I did not anticipate & I am happy to have it ready to quilt. I think I will put it on the longarm next, perhaps even Monday. It's for my niece in Australia & she admired the quilting on the original sample quilt in Australian Quilter's Companion which was very simply done on a DSM. I don't think that I want to copy that because it will require a stop & start in every little individual square & there are over 200 but I will probably try to figure out something resembling the original that can be continuously quilted. There are plants in pots in the backyard awaiting planting & I think it's important to get them in the ground so they can acclimate before the REAL heat sets in so that is on my agenda for tomorrow. This weekend was predicted to be the first to reach 90 degrees & I haven't heard whether or not we made it there yet, we all know it is inevitable unfortunately that the mercury will not stop there!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

OC Four Patches & Winding Ways

Here are my 150 four patches, I think they are rather awful, many of them are predominantly black [black goes with everything right?!] I trust Bonnie implicitly, when she says kitchen sink I throw in the kitchen sink! The patches seem very dark to me & you can see if you zoom that the squares are quite mousy & dull but I think the brighter yardages, especially the orange & the blue/green accent I will be adding later to the design will rescue them from the realm of the very ordinary! I cleaned up my studio this afternoon & pulled out my Oriental Stack & Slash UFO & started on the pieced borders. Oh, & last night, or rather early hours of this morning, I finished quilting the Winding Ways with a leafy motif inspired by Kim Stotsenberg's LA quilting book "Just Leaf It". The back view shows the overall effect of the design on this very pretty quilt & I'm relieved that Leslie likes the photos that I emailed to her- I'm always just a little anxious until I know that the owner thinks I have done justice to her work. I did notice in the pics. that I have a few loose threads to clear off before I mail it off to TX tomorrow. The design is freehand & I used QD 70/30 batting & off white thread.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

The Wedding!

The wedding celebration was beautiful, the weather held perfect & everyone had a great time. Unfortunately I had major difficulties figuring out how to make my new camera perform under the outside night -time conditions-my fault not the camera I'm sure-so I have very limited pictures but I'll post a couple & replace them later as others provide better photos of our son & his lovely bride. I have posted the rest of the assortment from my camera on my webshots here.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Eve of Andrew & Lana's Big Day!

Minimal sewing today, I pressed my OC strips & cut them, rejecting a dozen or more for various reasons so back to the cutting board, more sewing; pressing not yet because I ran errands & picked up the little Yorkies to keep them out from underfoot till after Andrew & Lana's wedding tomorrow evening. I'll deliver them back home Sunday. I had either or both on my lap all evening, I think they are a little homesick. Little Fatty Patty Abby is happy to share the space with Jake but he's a 5 lb. Napoleon! That's Jake far left, can't you just tell ?! When I take them walking I think people assume the little ones are Button's pups because Aussie Terriers can look a lot like overgrown Yorkies- the Yorkies weigh in at 5-7 lbs, Button's ideal weight is 13[she's a bit over right now so we've switched to feeding low fat Evo]
Now that it is working for me I have been ringsurfing the mystery quilter's blogs & that's taken some of the evening , but I do have more than half of my 150 four patches sewn & they are REALLY scrappy & there are some 'eeeeuuuuuuwwww' fabrics there. I am hoping that 1.5" squares will disguise their ugliness-if a fabric is still ugly then I haven't cut it into small enough pieces, right? LOL! I'll post pics when I get all 150 done. I have at least enough strips left to make another 150 but I'll save them in case I want to use them in the borders.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Arizona & Orange Crush

We returned from CO. yesterday in record time, under 9 hours,LOL & the weather is very pleasant still here in Phx! Walt went right to the car wash to remove a couple of hundred pounds of mud before we went out for sushi with JW & GF for his 34th. birthday. Was our youngest DS really only 7 lbs 2 ozs & 21" long 34 years ago?! That's a far cry from 200 lbs & 76"!Today I hope to work on my 4 patches for the OC mystery-this time around we have 2 weeks between clues for which I'm thankful, as Bonnie is busy working on the publishing of her first quilt book. I have changed the accent fabric for the OC mystery because the blue accent fabric that I had chosen was not "accenting" the other fabrics as it should, & I'm much more pleased with this combo above. Leslie's Winding Ways quilt, below, is begging me to quilt it, & I am eager to get a start on it now that I have a design idea in mind so that she can get it back & bound for a HS grad. gift.