Friday, December 23, 2011

Sunday, December 04, 2011

TODDLER in the house!

(Slightly naughty, can't take your eyes off them for a moment, toddler!)
Her first evening found her mostly hiding under the table. 
She was raised by a couple who appeared to be deaf, without verbal abilities. It took a few days to get used to our voices. She may not have ever been out of the building where 2 litters were being raised.
Outdoors is a wild and wondrous place. 
She's decided she quite likes it outside! 
All trained to "Go. Hurry-up" outside. NO ACCIDENTS!
Well, my training came a long quite nicely. I know her whiny toddler signals!

We've had a very warm fall lately.  (Except for the 2 SNOW storms!)
I took my mitten project out onto the deck so I could keep an eye on her. 
She climbed up into a chair to join me in the sunshine spot.
She loves having a bath! Climbs in and out one her own. 
She thinks there should be 2 things in her mouth at all times and it doesn't matter if that's a your hand. Or ear. Watch out for biting!!  
Vet thinks I'm a big fat fibber. Warned her to beware! 
Jax pretended to be the best behaved puppy Dr. Jessica had ever seen.
I still can't believe how good she was!
She IS a chewer of everything NOT piled high out of reach. 
Croc makers should go into the puppy-teething-toy business as they seem to be the only indestructible shoes in the house. Tom has lost at least a dozen shoe laces.  
PICK UP YOUR STUFF!    Or else . . . :)
She blends in and does the instinctive retriever point.
Every hair on her back from the tip of her nose to the tip of her tail stands straight up at unfamiliar sounds. Pretty sure she's seeing something I don't on our walks. There was a piece of half eaten pizza left on a rock deep in the woods of our nature trail. It was trash day and I'm pretty sure some little critter had just abandoned it.  (I hoped it was little and we headed for home pretty quickly.)
Jax stays with us on the Nature Trails very well, although sometimes drops down into a hollow spot and plays invisible. 
Hates collars so I need to get a bigger, easier to put on harness.
She's a bit of a Daddy's Girl.
(For a COOKIE she'll do whatever we ask!)

Thursday, November 10, 2011


My beautiful daughters were home for two weeks in July and we enjoyed every minute of being family.  Four of us all in the same place - again!

There was Letterboxing and hiking with a borrowed dog up Chick Hill. There were lobster dinners and takeout meals from all the favorite places they missed from being two time zones away. Strawberry shortcake and strawberry crepes.
There was bookmaking with Steph. Sara needed another lesson in Paper-Pieced quilt blocks so we dragged my sewing machine out onto the deck to enjoy the wonderful weather.

Then they flew away to be grown-ups again.

And I didn't know what to do with myself. It always takes a few days to readjust to the empty nest but this time it seemed harder. Part of the problem may have been that I was tired of crocheting and was ready for the normal recycling of hobbies. What had been obsessively filling idle time needed to be changed up.

So I decided to figure out how to make mittens. Mostly I wondered if I could make knitting the thumbs not suck so much. (Still NOT my favorite part!)
I tried out several free patterns and have settled on a method to call mine.
And then of course I did what I always do: I kept knitting mittens.
About 25 pair within 2 months.
Actually I'm still knitting them. 15 pair have been made for the kids at Downeast School.
I also made this really cool book planter:

And then we bought a new puppy!

Life got busier :)

Monday, June 13, 2011

More crocheting . . .

It's so satisfying to mark a Work In Progress finished. 
These little scarecrows by Fiber Doodles were to be my 2nd crochet project last March when I rediscovered crochet hooks.

It turned out they were a little over my head at the time, so the pattern was put in a folder and tucked away.  It's no longer a free pattern so I'm pretty happy to have found my copy.  I made 2 :)

I've also been trying to figure out how Elisabeth Doherty of Gorrmet Amigurumi makes her style of doll faces - a much changed style since producing her book Amigurumi!: Super Happy Crochet Cute.  She only makes finished dolls and doesn't seem to be interested in selling patterns anytime soon - reasonable I suppose. But I want to try that myself!  The nose is still coming out a bit like a snout. Another attempt is underway.

I did use her book to learn how to do jointed arms - with safety eyes, actually! Very cool - although I've learned a lesson on proportion. Arms are a tad long!

I also finished another doll using various Dawn Toussaint techniques. The hooded sweater was my own - again with proportion lessons! Hood needs work next time.  I hope I wrote down what I did so changes can be managed.

Friday, May 13, 2011

So crochet it is then

As the craft pendulum swings...

I could not bring myself to start the next quilt UFO.  Our living room is getting a bit of a makeover and not really the best setting for a quilt in progress, anyway.

For April and May I just felt like crocheting.
So I did! 

Edited to add pattern details:
All of these patterns were by Dawn Toussaint. Her website is here.
Koala pdf is free.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

A finished quilt and other things

March's UFO Challenge was #1.
1. Y2K quilt started in 1999. needs to be quilted. It's HUGE.
A quilt top that I made too big.
Ridiculous big!  I think it would have dragged on all 4 sides of the floor on our queen sized bed.  I sat with a seam ripper on an Aunt Laurie and Ben Day and took off one row. More needs to go to make it a manageable size. I didn't have the will to quilt this one yet.

Number 9 became # 1.
(Executive decision :)
9. 1.  48 STRING BLOCKS!  Made for the 2010 Bonnie Hunter RRCB mystery.
(Step 5: make 600 half square triangles.)
NO. I would rather poke my eyes out. I'll be using the blocks for an Evelyn Sloppy pattern instead.

I adapted instructions to fit the 8.5" squares - 30 used right away. The extra string blocks were whacked into 5" strips - across the middle for straight edge "piano key" outer border.  I was completely out of most of the colors, but by salvaging the extras, most of the colors are in the border.

I put it onto the sewing machine - turned around so the cutting table would hold the extra as it fed through the machine. Took one inch of machine stitching. Decided I hated it BOTH the look of the stitches and shoving it through the tiny little space of the sewing machine. Ripped it out. (Cleaned my sewing room back up!) And hand quilted it.

Quilting began March 10th. Final stitch of the binding made 8 pm March 31st! All stash fabrics used for this one except the backing.   A finished quilt in just under 4 months!

Sock Madness round 2 socks were completed. Knit March 21-25.  Round 3 should start any day now.
We'll need a cable needle.

On April 1st we got 15 inches of snow. It's snowed a couple of times since, without adding much more. It then rained for days and days, melting most of it away.

I am so ready for some outside gardening.

For now I have a shelf of African violets in various stages of bloom!

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

March Madness

Torrential rain, an ice storm & mad knitting!

An ice storm took out a couple more trees on our front lawn.

My snowman lasted until March 4th - the head fell off first. For a while the scarf looked like it was hanging in mid air around the invisible man! Then we had 3 inches of rain in 24 hour period; went into basement flood watch mode but luckily no broken sump pumps or power loss this time around.

Sock Madness 5 has begun!
Having participated in Sock Madness for many years, their labels outnumber many of the others on my sidebar. I dropped out of SM4 on the very first sock and wasn't sure this year would fare much better once I saw the first pattern. K2, P2 stripes.
Nearly the entire pattern: knit two, purl two. UGH!

I hate stripes and I'm the slowest K2, P2er in the east :)
Like March Madness Basketball, there are refs that make calls on the rules. Shortly after pattern release it was allowed you could do the socks in a single color since the pattern designer showed one at the end her pattern. I had already completed 3 stripes. I took her throw away picture of a solid color sock at the end as a sample of what it looked like AFTER Sock Madness. Not an actual option if everyone was to knit with the same handicap (2 yarns dangling & tangling the entire sock.) But once stripes were started it was ruled you had to do stripes all the way to the toe.

Not sure what Mad at the Ref chant applies, but I shouted a couple in my mind for a while. Then I decided to suck it up and keep knitting. I started them Friday at noon and finished them Tuesday morning. On to round 2?

At least they're "stephani colors".  March Madness also means my daughters both have a birthday coming up this month.

Which reminds me...yikes!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

She needs her head examined!

(This quilt is finished!)

The Patchwork Times UFO project for February was #10.   It's done. 2 days late.

I hand quilted for hours on end from February 14th to February 27th. The quilting frame took up most of the living room and the final push to get it done was mostly so we could have the room back!

(My wrist aches, but I'm not sure if it's because I quilted too much or because I haven't done any for 2 days and it's missing the activity.)

Ran out of fabric for the binding and an ice storm kept me off the road an extra day. Finally got out of the house Tuesday.  I hand stitched the back of the binding down today.

Used actual bias cut strips and I must say I'm a convert. Straight cuts across the width of fabric may be easier, but I liked the way the bias folded so easy to the back. It's also supposed to hold up better and not wear out at the edge.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Prize Surprise :)

I win the BONUS prize!
Last week Quiltmaker Magazine's Blogger posted a chance to win fabulous prizes if we left a comment making up a dinosaur name - something quilty.
I wrote: "When my girls were young we renamed one STEPHasaurus because her older sister had TriSARAtops
(Land Before Time stickers are still stuck to my sewing machine 20 years later ;) SCRAPaSEWrus…"

2 Winners were chosen. And then came a surprise that still makes me grin ear to ear:

"A special prize goes out to Laurie in Maine, because any woman who has The Land Before Time dinosaur stickers on her machine 20 years later is just too cool for words."

I'm Too cool for words! 
(It's in writing :)

Friday, February 11, 2011

UFO quilt top complete!

(As usual there's an OOPS!)

Patchwork Times UFO Challenge for February is to work on #10 from my list:
10. Orphan Blocks quilt. I want to use the Settings Solutions book.
This started out as another foot dragging, I don't know if I want to project.
It's not that I don't have plenty of orphan quilt blocks to choose from. There's too many mismatched blocks.
Overwhelming in their do-not-go-together-ness.

I kept digging and finally settled on 7 + 1/2 Wedding/Crown of Thorn blocks, 4 leftover star blocks from an exchange in 1998 and a Monkey Wrench made from the same fabric.  I managed to come up with a yard or two of each of the leftover matching fabrics as well.

I studied the Setting Solutions book for the first 4 days of February and continued to dither.  What to do?
The "solutions" in the book seemed designed for pointy star blocks and my abandoned Wedding Blocks spoke to me of circles. 
I decided to try a medallion center using Drunkard's Path.

Have never done this curved pieced block, I might add.  I finally settled on using my quarter inch seam foot and the no pin, just sew method.  A Curve Master foot looks like it might be very useful. If I had one!  
My curved pieces were a little wonky, but they trimmed down to 3.5 inches fairly well.  Once I pressed the wonk out of them with the iron!

I wondered if Drunkard Path could be used as a frame for the individual blocks? Turns out my orphan blocks ranged from 8 to 10 inches. It might have been helpful to realize the wedding blocks were not 12 inches when I decided on 3 inch squares for the Drunkard's Path design. I found the pattern for the Wedding Blocks I thought I had used and it "said" blocks were 12 inches. I never doubted.
I also never measured. My blocks were 10 inches.

WELL...some sides were 10 1/2 - 11 inches actually. Apparently I was very careful to keep all the points of this block "pointy"! Not so much concerned for scant quarter inch seams or block sides of equal size. Probably why I quit this project? Blocks are "framed" in an effort to compensate  (oops!)  But by now fabrics were running out, so a new color was added.

The red print fabric selvage dated it as 1994.  It's ALL gone now. Yeah! Drunkard's Path (or whatever this patch is called!) blew through fabric pretty fast.  I bought 2 yards for the outer edge and border and even that is all gone but for a few inches.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Got Sticky Snow?

Build a SNOWMAN why don't you!

Why yes, I did.
All by myself.
Took me about 45 minutes this morning.
Lifting the 2nd ball up onto the 1st was way harder than I remember.

Also worked on a new Block of the Month quilt project that started this month. Each free "Jewels" block will be available at Morning Glory Designs for 2 months I believe.

And because I'm enjoying my sewing machine again, I also did the 1st block of the month in the Bunny Hill Designs "Henrietta Whiskers".
I changed the branch of leaves so I could applique the stems instead of embroider leaves on the end of string. Looked a little like balloons.
The yellowish leaves might have been a been a bit much.
Maybe another leaf to make it layered.
Needs Something.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

No longer a UFO!

AKA #6: Stack-n-Whackier @ "Treasure Boxes" (50" X 54" lap quilt)

Long ago the local quilting group I belonged to hosted an all day workshop. Bethany Reynolds taught the class pre-book release if I remember correctly. Book is dated 2001 - so this PhD has been hiding for awhile.

To be honest it would have been hiding a whole lot longer, had #6 not been drawn for the January Patchwork Times UFO Challenge. I was more or less at peace with stuffing it back on bottom of the pile!

And of course just to make more work out of this project: I noticed the 3rd block from the bottom on the left was UPSIDE DOWN. For a moment I debated the mistake on purpose theory; pretending I meant to do that... because no quilt is supposed to be "perfect".

Yeah RIGHT! This quilt is SO far from perfect it's not funny but I still could not help myself. I got out the seam ripper and fixed it. And by fixing it, I mean the block is now right side up and edge is possibly even wonkier than before.

It had wonky looking issues as a top and it still does now that it's finished. But it should be warm as I decided to go with a thicker than usual bamboo batting and a flannel backing. By adding the wider border that samples fabric each of the 'treasure boxes' were cut from, it at least gives it a bit of novelty of an I SPY quilt. And hopefully distracts from the what-was-I-thinking burnt orange?

It has now been hand quilted and binding is finished as of January 14, 2011. It could easily be used for demonstration purposes What NOT to Do in Quilting. Also discussed was the option of placing it into the nearest drop-off box for charity and walking away as fast as possible.  

Now to get myself to the next meeting so I can return the book!

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Quilt(s) under construction...

Progress report:
I'm working on my PhD!
(Projects half Done ;)

Sara got her PhD last May so I found great humor in this quilt plan announcement. Unfortunately my delivery was off and I said 'Projects half Finished' when I told her.  
Ruined the punch line as usual!

Likewise, we were told to get our ducks all in a row before committing and I failed to take into account this UFO mission is for 6 months. I told the organizer I had just listed 12 projects and would work from that list. My lazy duck will finish some half-done Fabric Postcards to keep the count behind my name on her blog-roll from being a big fat liar.

The 2011 Patchwork Times UFO Challenge is off and running. For January #6 was drawn. I'm supposed to work on the project that corresponds with the list I made:
6. Stack & Whack Treasure Box workshop. Needs borders. Preferably something to distract from the hideousness of orange.
Sara lobbied hard to get me to sneak back in and edit my list so that I would be working on one she likes. But this one is small; just needs borders and quilting. Doable in a month.
Ugly duckling factor aside. #6 does come with more guilt than most of the others. See that little yellow label on the bottom of the book cover? Evidence this book belongs to my local quilting group. I haven't been to a meeting in years. A couple anyway.

In addition to pulling #6 from it's place at the bottom of the Treasure Box and trying to iron some of the wonky wrinkles out of it, I've added the background strips to either side of my Row Robin. Leaves need to be appliqued down both sides. The next round of instructions are due out January 10th I'm on target with that.

Telling myself what I have to!