Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Disappointed in Isaac

I'm sure the people along the coast will disagree with me, but Isaac has just let us down.  We were expecting rain, and so far it's not come.  I've been through one hurricane, and that's one too many for me, so I don't want to be in the middle of one, but I like living just far enough inland to reap the benefits of lots of drenching rains and just enough wind to make it a little exciting.  Not this time, though, at least so far.  We keep getting promises and seeing maps with big swaths of red and yellow through our area, so I'll keep looking for the signs.

This looks fairly promising at 2:45 p.m.

Between visits from daughters, I've done just a little bit of sewing and not much else.  I did plant a rosemary and some dahlias.  That's it for my gardening.

Great progress has been made on Elise's quilt.  I've sewn on the setting triangles and have started at each of 2 corners, sewing increasingly long rows together, and I'm so pleased with it.  I've just finished one row of 9 squares, and when I got to the end of that row, and all 23 points met perfectly, I had to go get a cup of congratulatory coffee.  There are probably 12 more rows to sew together, but I'm taking it slowly and trying to do a good job.  When those rows of 15 are sewn together is when I'll really be happy to have it all match up.

I hate seeing these pictures.  No matter how carefully I planned, I see I'm still getting "like" squares too close together.  Don't think it will matter in the long run.  The 3 that look black and white above are actually 6 different fabrics in greens or blues.

For a change of pace, I did cut out the pretty blue binding for future baby's bright quilt.  I guess a girl might get this one, but it seems more suited to a boy.  We'll ask her when the time comes if she likes it.  I cut, folded, pressed and put the binding on my cute little binder holder, so it's ready to go, but I would have had to change thread and change to a walking foot to work on it today, so it's going to wait a few days. 

It's a happy little quilt and cheater simple!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sewing and Quilting Progress

After a nice visit from Elise, I believe we have her quilt all planned and ready to get on with.  It wasn't easy.  Elise does not sew.  Has no interest in it and hates to think about the process of getting from a piece of fabric to a finished item.  But she does love her quilt so far and agreed to be dragged into fabric shops so she could give input into the borders and bindings and backing.

We ended up in Kudzu Blossom (where we should have started), and she found the perfect wide border fabric. It took awhile, but she then chose her narrow border fabric and the setting triangles.

The purple will be between the 2 blues, and I think it will be so pretty.  The setting triangles are just what she wanted.  She really wants it to be an old-fashioned scrappy quilt, and this is perfect.  There were some squares that she asked about (but didn't complain about).  Before she left, I told her to take some Post-Its and put them on the squares she didn't particularly like and I would add the new fabrics.  That was one task she jumped to complete!

So she doesn't like birds, stars, or batiks.  Or that funny underwater plant-looking piece.  I'm so happy to do this because I love the new fabrics, and I don't want her to always be looking at something she doesn't like.  I kind of knew when I was piecing them that dots and birds were a little modern, but the stars in the green I just overlooked.  It's Christmas fabric, for goodness sake!  That yellow fabric with the flowers made it, but those flowers look a lot like stars.  She probably didn't want to push it.

The binding is probably going to be gold, but we haven't decided, and the back will be this eggplant color she loves.  She found a fat quarter of it in Kudzu, but there was no selvage, so we don't know what it is.  So cute - she called it a "fat square."  I love non-quilters.  They think we're miracle workers.

So that's something I can get started on this week.

Emily's quilt is ready to sew the rows together.

I took off all the binding on last week's disaster, the hooded towel.  I wish I could say it looks MUCH better, but all I can admit is that it's a little better. 

The narrower binding definitely helped, but I just didn't take enough time to do my best.
I have worked a lot on the Peter Rabbit birth announcement.  All that's left now is the circle surrounding the future name, birth date, etc.  And that circle keeps circling without meeting, and I have to keep tweaking.  But it will come eventually.

It will look quite a bit better when it's blocked, but it goes everywhere with me and gets wadded into bags quite a bit.

I love Mother Mouse and the little mice.  So much detail in that one it took forever.

My next project is at least one of these.

I've already made some of the little bath cloths.  They all have different designs in them and are so easy; they're just a fun thing to take along on a trip or work on when you don't have to pay a lot of attention to what you're doing.

I made baby sweaters when I first learned to knit in the 1960s but haven't made another one since.  Surely I can do it now.  I like the pullover at the top with little cable owls, but I also like the cardigan.  Both?  Washington's climate is not suited to smocked playsuits, so I've already regretfully accepted that and will enjoy my knitting and crocheting and maybe some corduroy and fleece things.  The Auburn bonnet and booties are terribly old-fashioned.  I've had that pattern in my files for many years.  I can't find a date on it, but the dad looks like the 1970s.  I might just run up to Auburn and get a fashionable hat and shoes instead. 

Mike and I worked pretty hard on projects around the house yesterday, so we need to keep the momentum and get started again.  We did blinds and ceiling fans yesterday, and he's doing yard work today while I tackle my desk area and closet.  Un-fun things to do.

This is little Lila who came for a visit last week too.  Elise found her and her sister abandoned in her yard and tried to save them.  The sister died, and Lila has perked up a lot.  She eats like a 10-pound cat and will play a little bit, but she still has a little way to go before she is 100%. 

Emily comes for a visit in September, and hopefully we'll know if the baby is a boy or girl.  No one cares which; it will just be fun to know. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Monday Morning Sewing - and Unsewing

Since this week includes visits to the dentist and doctor to interrupt my days, I figured I'd better get something accomplished early.

I finished piecing the blocks on Emily's quilt, and it's time to sew the rows together.  I laid them on the living room floor and tried to notice if likes were together and if the reds were distributed okay, but I finally decided that since it's a scrappy quilt, it really doesn't matter. 

Well, I may go back and separate some of those darker reds!

The pattern I used was from this book.  The dark colors are darker and the light main color lighter in the sample, but these are the fabrics Emily picked out and loved, the Sierra collection by Anna Griffin (from Windham Fabrics, of course), and they included some pale turquoises and some beige with just a little pattern.  Just not much contrast.

After I sewed the bottom row together, I can see more of the pattern, and after it's pressed, I think it will be just fine.  In fact, I know it will be fine.  She's already needing an extra quilt for the cold Washington summer and the fall and winter to come.  I'm so jealous of their rainy coolness.  And they're jealous of our sunshine.  Wish we could share.

I'm just excited to see the blocks matching up and corners touching!

Yesterday on a whim, I decided to do some baby-to-be sewing.  And today I'm taking all that sewing out.

I checked this book out of the library a few weeks ago ( and rechecked it for 3 more weeks).  There was not much there that I wanted to make.  Some things are practical to sew yourself (saving money and being creative) and some you can just buy with a lot less trouble and expense.

But I did see this hooded towel that was simple-enough looking, and I had bought some pretty towels from the clearance section at Bed, Bath and Beyond.

I guess if I had looked closer, I would have seen that the binding is just a little too wide for my taste, and, as I found out, that wideness made it a pain to go smoothly around the hood.  The directions said to cut the binding 3-1/2 inches, and my usual for quilting is 2-1/2 inches or less, but I just blindly went on and followed the instructions. 

Except I did round the corner that the hood was on, not that the corners were giving me a problem to miter, but I just thought it would be cuter!  Big mistake.

That wide binding even after the second attempt just bunched and gathered and was not attractive.  I thought about leaving it because it would be fine to wrap a wriggling baby in, but I just kept wanting to do it over.  So that's what I'm going to attempt today - cutting off at least a half inch from the binding, maybe even more, and doing it again.

For lack of a baby to model it, I tried the Bright Star giraffe, and again it looks -- ok.  I'll come back tomorrow and see if it's better with the narrower binding. 

These next creatures are what Mike calls my "paint-by-number" sewing.  It's counted crossstitch and my fall-back for when I want something foolproof and mindless to do.  Like while watching the Olympics lately.  It will end up being a birth announcement, and I just love every one of these little faces.  Petter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle-Duck, Tom Kitten, Benjamin Bunny, Squrirrel Nutkin.  As each one of their little faces emerge from the fabric, they just develop their own personalities and make me happy. 

 Lots of different colors to make up this "painting."

I don't know.  That squirrel's eyes look a little suspicious.  I might have to take my unsewing scrissors to that right one.

I love days like today when I can get a few things accomplished before I start to work and maybe even have a storm to look forward to later.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Loving the Rain

I love a nice storm coming - and this looks like it's going to be a good one. 

I love them until they get here, and then I get scared and wonder why I wished for them. 

Mike got the grass cut between rains.  He edged this morning and then just came in from mowing.  He's managing to make the back yard pretty after years of neglect - from me and the former owners.

No sewing today - just errands and makeup work from earlier in the week when I had whatever it was that descended over all 3 of us. 

Mama loves to go in Wal-Mart after her beauty shop appointment and wander around, but today was Back-to-School tax-free madness, and she was glad to get out, muttering about why every child in Montgomery had to be running and playing in the aisles.  I don't think anyone in the house was awake in the early afternoon on Forest Edge Lane!

Hopefully, the lightning won't be bad and I can get my work over with early enough to enjoy a little free time tonight. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Rare Blog Appearance

I'm going to do better.  I promised myself I would start in August and try to make some sense of my days and try to get some pictures of what I've been doing.  So now it's the first of August and actually raining a tiny bit.  That always puts me in a good mood, and I can't use my earphones to work because of the lightning, so coming here seemed like a good idea.

Someone REALLY hates thunder.
 Since I can't work, I'm doing a little mega chain piecing for Emily's quilt.  I have more stuff on the floor than I do on the table. 
 These are the first of the squares of the quilt.  I now have about half of the quilt done, and this long string is the other half.  At first I did them 4 blocks at a time, so I could admire them and see what I was doing wrong, but now it's time to move on.


I finally have permission to say what has been occupying my time this summer:  Sewing for a little one.  Emily and Ryan are expecting our first grandbaby in February.  It's been so hard to keep the secret.  I think that's one reason I didn't write anything in June and July.  I've been busy sewing cute little things, so I need to get the big-girl quilts finished so I can concentrate on bibs and embroidery and stuff.

I'll take more pictures later, but here are a couple of things I've done.

 The yellow flowered bib is a "bapron," such a good idea.  I got the pattern here.  It's really easy to make, and once we know the sex of the baby, I'll probably do a bunch of them.  So much more practical than the smaller bibs.  I found the bear and trees embroidery design at Planet Applique, and it definitely makes you think of the baby's surroundings.  Emily saw a bear walking down the sidewalk on her way to work one morning.  I've about learned not to worry too much - just a little.

I love this cream and yellow blanket.  I'll write more about it later.  The quilt behind it I've had for years and will only go to a little girl.  Little boy already has a quilt in the making!

So much to catch up with, including the fact that Sherry is also going to be a grandmother in November.  We've had a lot of fun discussing those first ultrasounds and talking about sewing for the babies.

I thought it would be interesting to compare ultrasounds of both babies at 12+ weeks. 

Emily and Ryan

Najla and Ryan

They look almost identical there, but I guess they all do at that stage.  The next ones ought to be more interesting.