Itching from Stitching

Yesterday I spent the whole day quilting the Dream Machines quilt. By the end of the day, I was actually looking forward to taking a break to catch up on some housework this morning. I'm quilting each sewing machine block and its contiguous sashings with white thread first. As each block and sashing group is completed, I'm switching off to the thread color for its spool of thread. The thread spools were done in complimentary colors (as much as possible). Here are some of the blocks I did yesterday:

It's no small matter to rethread the machine where Eliza is concerned. Whenever I put in a new color, I also stitch any thread spool cornerstones if they are the same color. There were four of those yesterday as well.

My goal has been to do a row of blocks each day. After yesterday, however, I'm wondering if that's a realistic goal. I'm afraid my enthusiasm starts to wane after a couple of hours. Nevertheless, I've quilted these six blocks  and their sashings now.

And certainly the job couldn't have gone as quickly slowly without my helper cat providing the necessary drag.

This morning I got a good start on the "Written in Thread" stitchery. I'll probably be able to finish this one off tomorrow.

Today I'm making a chili that requires several steps throughout the day. I need to roast some Anaheim peppers and brown some pork and I'm going to bake some cornbread to go with it. It'll be the first Dutch oven recipe of the season. The salads and quick cold meals of summer are wonderful, but it's hard to beat something that cooks low and slow in the Dutch oven. Mike loves how the house smells when he comes in after arriving home from work.

So perhaps today is a day of domestication with housework and cooking on the horizon. Quilting will happen if I have the time and inclination.


Stitch by Stitch

This morning I finished Block #30 for the Live, Love, Teach quilt. Here is Frederick's original block submission. My friend Lisa tells me that Frederick gave a "How To" speech in the 4th grade about how to make chocolate chip cookies. When he was finished, they got to eat the cookies. Wish I'd been there for the cookies.

Here it is rendered in fabric and floss:

The cookie is printed on fabric. It doesn't look as orange in person as it does here. Isn't it weird how sometimes you can't fix the colors in an image no matter what you do? 

So aside from that, I'm just quilting, quilting, quilting today. I finished one row of the sewing machine blocks yesterday, and then started working on the surrounding sashings. Taking my cue from the ruler fabric, I'm outlining the rectangle and then putting ruler hash marks along the sides. It's a little hard to see here. I'm using a white YLI machine quilting thread on the top.

You might be able to see it a little better from the back. I'm using a pink YLI machine quilting thread in the bobbin.

I don't have a particular fondness for YLI machine quilting thread, but I won some in a photography contest once. It was a kitties on quilts contest put on by The Quilt Pattern Magazine. Actually, Gracie won the contest with her cuteness in this image.

So in deference to Gracie's fame and the fortune she's generous enough to share with me, I continue to use the YLI thread. How could I not? And, helpfully, it's pretty good thread.

Here's how the quilting is looking from the back of the quilt:

Tonight, we're getting together with the rest of the family to celebrate Erik's birthday this past Friday. Erik chose Indian cuisine for his birthday dinner, and so that's what we're doing.

It rained hard yesterday, but today we're back to a lovely day of sunshine. Fall tends to be nice in the Pacific Northwest. This is the view out of my window this morning.

The recent rains have greened things up, and the cool temperatures after sunset are causing the leaves to change and fall. For now, it's lovely. It's looking like the birds need to be fed, and so that's where I'm headed. Have a lovely and relaxing Sunday, and Happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian friends!


Threading the Way

This morning it was time to get a new stitchery ready to go. I'm still working on Frederick's block for the Live, Love, Teach quilt, but I should have it finished by tomorrow. That meant I was ready to start a new embroidery project: the "Written in Thread" wall hanging by Bareroots Designs. (I've linked to the designer's website there, but weirdly, it isn't "clickable". If you like this pattern, just do a search for it. It is for sale on many websites on the internet.) I saw this for the first time when I visited the Pendleton Quiltworks quilt shop in Pendleton, Oregon. I took a picture of the completed quilt they had on display.

Sadly, they didn't have it in stock. Nevertheless, they offered to take my name and number, order it, and then ship it to me when it came in. I did just that, but had no expectation of ever hearing from them again. The skeptic in me was won over when they actually did call just a couple of days later, and the pattern was mine, Mine, MINE! Not that I get excited about stuff like that, you understand. Ahem.

So it's finally made it to the top of my to-do list, and I drew out the first two little stitcheries this morning:

There are 11 stitcheries in this little quilt, and I'll do them in groups, depending on how large they are. 

After that, I was ready to get to work on my next quilting project, the Dream Machines quilt. This poor little much-maligned (by me) quilt just might get a second wind if I can do some decent quilting on it. 

It was my quilt for the 2014 Rainbow Scrap Challenge. I liked making the blocks, but I'm not happy with the fabrics I chose to finish it. Still, it deserves to be quilted, and a dear friend has spoken up for it. It will definitely go to a good home when it's all finished. Every quilt deserves to be loved, right? And if you like this pattern, it is the brain child of Barbara Weiland Talbert and available free on the internet right here.

So each machine has two buttons on the side, and I wanted to first quilt a little "control panel" where I'll sew them on when the quilting is all finished. I used my circle template to choose the right size circle. In this case, it happens to be the 7/8-inch circle.

Then, I used my Bohin marker (which happens to be my favorite marker) to draw in the lines where I hoped my stitches would go.

First, I stippled in the center,

And then quilted some lines on the sewing machine. I might decide to add some "scroll work" to those large rectangles at the top and bottom. For now, this is all I have.

Also, I outlined around the sewing machine to help define it on the back. I won't sew the buttons on until after it's quilted, but here's how it will look. There are different color buttons for each machine.

Then, I used some metallic silver thread to stitch a needle onto the sewing machine.

As long as I had the machine threaded with the metallic thread, I went ahead and stitched the needles on all 12 blocks. Now, I'm done with the metallic thread, and not a stitch too soon.

Next, I quilted some thread onto the spool of thread. It curls and whirls all the way across the machine, down through the needle and across the bottom. Each block has a different color of thread and so I'll be changing colors for that part as I go. 

If the thread on your spool looks like this, don't sew with it! (Important safety tip.)

It's a rainy day, and so I'm protected on both sides of the machine by my furry sentinels.

Not looking very lively, are they? Still, I feel so much safer knowing I have two attack cats by my side.

I've been doing some cooking in all of this. We're having a dinner of appetizers tonight. So far, I've made some baba ghanoush from the eggplant out of this week's CSA share, and I'm going to blister some yummy peppers...also a part of this week's share. I've baked some potatoes to make some potato skins, and I've roasted some mushrooms for some little Roasted Mushroom and Kale Pizzettes. (Yes, kale.) I made those on Super Bowl Sunday and Mike liked them.

It's one of the few ways I've found that he'll eat the kale without complaint. They're pretty good. You can find the recipe right here.

So, I have my work cut out for me. It's raining, and I can't think of a better way to spend a rainy day. What's cooking at your end?


Beautiful Day

The day started out in the loveliest of ways with these beautiful and interesting cloud formations at sunrise:

It seemed to cover the sky in all directions, and so it couldn't be captured in just one image.

While I'm usually up before sunrise, I was up especially early this morning. I think I was excited to be having breakfast with Erik the Birthday Boy, and I had this block for the Live, Love, Teach quilt on my mind. I thought if I played my cards right, I could finish the stitching before I needed to get ready to leave. And may I say, mission accomplished! (Pun totally intended.)

Keep in mind that these blocks are only 6-1/2 inches when finished, and you'll have an idea how carefully I needed to stitch this one to maintain the details in the little mission with its closely spaced lines. 

When I reached that point I needed to get ready to leave. Erik and I had such a nice morning, and he seemed truly surprised by his quilt. I'm never sure how much he reads my blog, but based on our conversations, he must read it at least some of the time. Anyway...he liked it. I might be adding a sleeve to it because he was talking about hanging it on the wall of his "Man Cave". There were a couple of other errands to run, and then I came home and took a nap. I might get up early, but I still need my sleep! 

After that, I got to work finishing off the block for the Live, Love, Teach quilt that still required a border. Here is the original block:

And here's my interpretation rendered in fabric, floss, and crayon:

I used a scrap from a former quilt binding for the border. It always makes me feel pretty smug when I find a use for those cut-off pieces of quilt binding. This being the 29th block, there's quite a stack of them now.

In yesterday's mail, I received this 10 fat quarter bundle I won in a blogiversary celebration for Kate's Life in Pieces blog. Kate and I started blogging just a few months apart, and may I just say "Yay for Us!" for sticking it out five full years. She also included a pretty spiral notebook and a pad of sticky notes.

So, thank you, Kate! And Happy Blogiversary!

For the next half hour or so, I read the excellent advice contained on these fabrics, to-wit:

"Think Young" is especially good advice on the occasion of one's eldest child's 36th birthday, don't you think?

And by the way, do you carefully untie the ribbons from these fat quarter bundles and save them? If it weren't for these, I wouldn't even have a ribbon collection. Occasionally, I even use them.

In fact, I used them on the Mom Cats quilt top I finished off yesterday.

Yeah, it makes me feel sort of sneaky when I get every last little bit out of a fabric company.

And for today's sewing, I finished off the Vintage Kitchen quilt top.

I just love that Michael Miller Home Ec fabric at the top and bottom. I'll use that on the back as well. The blue sashings are the cut off edges from another quilt. That's just another way I get to feel smug when I can put to use the edges cut off from a quilt that's been quilted. I'll use it for the binding as too.

So that's my day. Mike is on his way home, and so it's time to get going on dinner. It was a lovely day from start to finish. This weekend I'll get to work quilting the Dream Machines quilt.



Yesterday I finished making the nine 4-patch blocks for the Mumm's the Word quilt, and that completes section 4 of 6 sections for this quilt. 

The pattern is free on the internet and was created in 2012 to celebrate Debbie Mumm's 25 years of design. When I finish the next section (sometime in the 22nd century, no doubt...if I live that long), all the blocks will be made and I'll move onto finishing it. For now, I'm just happy to be checking this long-time monthly goal off my list for at least a little while.

After that, I got to work on another long-time monthly goal. I finished the little aprons for the Mom Cats doll quilt. This was a quilt I started for the Let's Book It challenge way back in April of 2014 from this book by Janet Kime:

When I worked on this quilt last time, I'd taken it to the finished top, but it still needed to add aprons to the cats. 

These were made from vintage hankies that belonged to my grandmother. I wrote a whole post about her hankies and doilies. If you're interested, you can read about them right here.

The book was colossally unhelpful in giving me instructions for how to accomplish this. In the end, I cut the corners off the hankies, hemmed them, and then used a machine satin stitch to attach them to the quilt top. Then I hand-sewed a little ribbon to each cat to finish them off.

I wonder if I'll be sorry I attached the aprons before quilting, but I didn't see any other way to do it. Certainly, I didn't want that satin stitch showing on the back of my quilt.

The quilt in the book is quilted with a simple diagonal grid that does not include the cats. I'm thinking I'll probably do a small stipple all over and call it good, but I haven't decided for sure. That decision can wait while I consider my options.

With that finished, I started to sew the Vintage Kitchen quilt together, but only got as far as trimming the embroidered blocks. I was getting kind of tired of sewing by that time, and so I stopped for the day.

Tomorrow is this little boy's birthday:

Is he the most precious thing you've ever seen? Somehow between last week and this week, he got this old:

and even older because that picture was taken more than a year ago. And, as you might guess, I'm no longer the main woman in his life. How do these things happen anyway?

So all of that to say that I'm taking him to breakfast for his birthday tomorrow. We're having a family get-together on Sunday to celebrate too. He has tomorrow off from work, however, and so we're going to breakfast. It will give me a chance to deliver his quilt and some other goodies for his birthday. He'll be 36, and that's just way too old, if you ask me. How can I possibly have a child that old?

The day is drawing to a close. This morning I did my grocery shopping, and today I put my housekeeping chore after sewing. I guess I'll do that next. It's been a pretty relaxing day today, which is always nice.


A Little of This, A Little of That

It was a day of eclecticism yesterday. I did a little of everything, starting with housework, but not too much. One should never do too much housework in a day...that's my motto. Before I started that, however, I was able to finish the second block for Hocuspocusville:

It's the perfect October block, don't you think? These are so much fun to work on, and I find myself asking over and over again, how come Meg Hawkey (the designer of these blocks) got all the imagination and creativity? Huh? It seems to me some of that could have been spread around a little better. Just take a look at Block 3 for this quilt. I'll be doing this one next time around.

I just love her patterns. I've linked to her website there, but you might want to hide your credit cards from yourself before you visit. Not too long ago, I made the mistake of following her Facebook page. She has a very bad habit of tempting me with whatever new pattern she's working on...and I am nothing if not a slave to temptation. Plus, my credit cards are very ill-behaved. 

So with that one done, it was time to get a start on my not-too-much housework plan for the day. Only...how could I do that when there were cookies to bake? I tried a recipe I found online for Zucchini Breakfast Cookies. Now, here's the thing: I keep telling myself that when I find a recipe on a blog, I should immediately discard it if the list of ingredients is not written properly in the order said ingredients are used. And this was one of those recipes, but I was already in the process when I realized it. So I went ahead and baked them off:

They look okay, but really, the best I can say about these is that they are edible. Possibly, they make a good vehicle for chocolate chips. Otherwise, they are bland and tasteless. For a cookie, I suppose they're healthy enough. In my humble opinion, however, they're a baker's variation on a WOMBAT (waste of money, batting, and time). I won't be making them again. It was a valiant effort to use zucchini, however. I'll give them that. Perhaps it was my punishment for putting cookies before housework.

And I was so bereft with disappointment over my cookies that I decided to do the housework, just to cheer myself up.

After that, I got to work on making up another block for the Live, Love, Teach quilt. I had every intention of finishing the one I made last week before the weekend was over. 

Since I didn't even get a start on it, I decided to make up a second one with a goal of finishing both before this coming weekend is over. With that goal in mind, I made up Frederick's block:

I've had the "beta" version of the block in my sewing room for a couple of weeks at least, and I've been trying to figure out how to do it. Since the cookie is key, I've been trying to figure out how to make the cookie look like something other than an orange circle with brown blobs on it. In the end, I decided to print the cookie onto fabric and applique it to the background. Then I traced the lettering and signature for embroidery. Here's the block I made.

Now that the Hocuspocusville block is finished, I got a start on the "mission" block this morning.

After I'd finished my not-to-much portion of housework yesterday. I finally, finally, finally got to work on the next section for the Mumm's the Word quilt by Debbie Mumm. 

It's been on my list of goals for months. First up, was to make 11 Ohio Star blocks, and those are finished now.

This section will be finished when I make nine 4-patch blocks, and those are next up in my sewing room.

Today I'm getting my hair permed, and you know how much I hate perming sessions. Nevertheless, my hair is looking like sh*t, and so I'm kind of looking forward to it. Hopefully, it will look better when it's finished. My appointment is early, and so there should be some time for sewing when I get home.