Monday, January 30, 2012

Castle Stairs - the Ups and Downs

I've had this Castle Stairs pattern in mind for several months now for twin boys expected to arrive in a couple of months - I hope not sooner!

My first thought was to make 2 little quilts, but I'm waiting to see if I get one finished first.

It's the most interesting and satisfying project I've done in awhile. This is how it looked after 2 rows.
The designer of the quilt, Kelly from Kelby Sews, has written a wonderful tutorial. She warned about what would happen if you make the same mistakes she did and emphasized pinning and paying attention so much that I followed her advice, and so far it's been a dream to sew.

Every time you sew a strip, it has to be trimmed off. Kelly recommended lining up the 2-1/4 inch line on your ruler with the last seam, and every time I hold my breath that it's going to be off. So far, it's been perfect, and that means a lot coming from me!

Now for the downer.

I had found some of this Riley Blake fabric when we stopped at T&C Pharmacy in Opp, Alabama. Don't let the name fool you. It's not only a pharmacy but a Radio Shack dealer, a Christian bookstore AND a beautiful fabric shop. The people are so nice, and the shop is just full of colorful fabrics. I bought a few pieces of the Mod-Tot line and then saw this pattern, so I ordered a jellyroll (for non-quilters, a roll of 2-1/2 inch strips of all the patterns in a particular line of fabrics). Unfortunately, even though I thought I had read the directions well, the pattern designer's jellyroll had 35 or so fabrics in it; mine had 21. I was happily pinning and sewing and pressing and trimming, and my pile of strips kept getting smaller and smaller. At some point, I came to the realization that I was not going to have enough.
I thought about going to Opp next time we go to Andalusia and get a few more fabrics, but then I wasn't sure what they would have so went ahead and ordered another jellyroll. This might even give me enough fabric to make a companion quilt - something like this.

So here we are waiting for the new jellyroll to arrive. Five rows done, and there are supposed to be 12 rows in all. I miscalculated pretty badly, although I might not do that many if it's looking big enough after 10 or so.

I think the little boys will love the bright colors and funny little animals.
I've gotten quite attached to them myself.

I've just finished a book that I can actually recommend as being one of the best books I've read lately. It's Winter Garden by Kristen Hannah. I almost stopped reading during the fist half because the characters didn't seem to interest me enough. But I kept on. It is a heartbreaking story within a story of a Russian family in Leningrad during the German invasion, and it's very hard to read but such a good story you have to keep on reading to find out how it ends. It sure makes me treasure a warm home and food and a safe place to live.

Mama just showed us a laptop in a sales paper and expressed an interest in it. How can that be? There probably aren't too many laptop users about to be 89 years old. Or maybe there are. I still don't have one!

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