Sunday, November 22, 2009

Stichin' Not Fishin'

One might think the thread embroidery on the house must be done since you're now seeing a picture of the thread embroidery having been started on the fish. Not so! I'm at the point wuth the house block where I'm using colors that are going to be on the fish. Thus, rather than switch thread colors a zillion times back and forth, I'm switching blocks back and forth as I switch colors. I'm a happy camper, though .The end really is in sight. I've been threatening to have it finished by Christmas even if staples and a hot glue gun are required. I don't think it's going to come to that though. Then again, I believe I've said. "by Christmas," before. We shall see.

A smaller household

Napoleon was my constant companion for almost 14 years. I'd brought him home when he was six weeks old.

Dogs, like humans, can get senile. Because his vision was pretty bad and his hearing was going, he had started to bite. He didn't mean to hurt anyone and he was mortified after the fact once he'd realized he'd bitten someONE and not someTHING. Regardless of intent, it meant he was no longer safe to have around just in case he got outside and around the neighbor's children.

This was the first time I'd had to put one of my pets down when it felt like it wasn't time yet for the animal. His quality of life was quite good as most days he was very happy. I've been involved with putting down dogs in rescue that weren't safe, but never a pet. Ending a partnership is such a horrible thing but it is the duty of a responsible pet owner.

Thus, "Obi-Wan" is gone and Diego has been promoted from "paduwan" to a "Jedi." I bet you'd never guess how he got the nickname Obi-Wan when you look at the above picture. I wish however, like Obi-Wan in the books and films, Napoleon could still visit with me. He will be missed.

We don't know if we're going to get a second dog. At times we think Diego would enjoy having a playmate, but at other times he seems so happy to be the only dog. I vacillate back and forth constantly but have decided that I am not going to make a decision until after Beast is done and delivered. I've been very grateful for this quilt as it's been something for me to throw myself into as I deal with my grief.

When I wrote my last post, I knew I would be putting Napoleon down soon but I couldn't write about it yet. I think I was still hoping that by some miracle, things would be ok and I wouldn't have to go through and do the deed. I'd always told him he'd have to make it to 20 years of age. I guess I should have been more specific and said, "Twenty years with no health issues, buddy! I mean it!" This is what Diego is now hearing.


I finished a moebius for my little sister and like a dork, I didn't take a picture of it before giving it to her for her birthday. I've finished another moebius and have yet a third on the needles as we speak. Can you tell I like knitting them? The one that I am currently working on is for me, unlike the previous two.

If you like the looks of my moebius or you're interested in learning more about what the heck they are, go see Cat Bordhi's site. She's the author of many knitting books and two of them are all about the fun things you can make using a moebius, which is a loop that has only one side.

I also am working on my third pair of socks. The pattern is no different than the others I've made however the technique is different. I started these from the toe going up and I am also knitting two at a time. I also tried using the "magic loop" method but found I was constantly fiddling with the needle cable placement so I brought in a second circular needle and have enjoyed the process.

'Til we meet (or rather I write) again!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

I Do Windows

The greenery has been done for a while and now it's been house beams and today it was windows! Yes, I do windows. Fabric ones, that is. My windows in my home sadly, have not been done. The patio door is covered in doggie noseprint. I figure it the noseprints add character to my home and let people know that cuddles, play and love with the dogs is more important than housecleaning. Well, that and I don't like bending down that far. I digress.

Here are the windows. I have yet to trim the stray threads from moving from pane to pane. And of course, I ran out of bobbin thread when there was less than 3" remaining to be stitched. Murphy and his laws are not welcome but apparently they're not polite and come around anyway.

In other news, JR has been at NELA (his assigned location through AmeriCorps) since early September and he is kicking ass and taking names. NELA is Northwest Education Loan Association and they help anyone of any age and any educational or financial status find money for college. He is specifically involved in finding students that could use their services, finding volunteers to work with the students, though he does a lot of other things. It's the first paying job he's had where he gets an extreme sense of satisfaction. I am so thrilled with it. He also enjoys the company of his coworkers a lot.

What I personally have found interesting is that it's families with middle and lower level incomes that are least likely to apply for financial aid whereas the higher income families almost always do. He runs into a lot of people whose incomes would probably fall in what's considered middle class and they think they won't get any scholarships or financial aid when that is not the case. The families with even less financial resources often aren't aware of financial aid for school. He does just as much education as he does recruiting.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Changing thread color. Hah!

Hahahahahaha! I have gone over all the greenery now. At least I think I have. Let's just say I've thread painted the greenery as much as I'm going to. There. That should be an accurate statement.

Now I'm going over the house - the wooden parts. Then the windows and beams. I'm so happy I could dance!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Fall is on its way

Fall is almost here. Most of the kids are back in school tomorrow morning so I expect it'll be more quiet around the apartment complex.

JR started his AmeriCorps job last week. He works for NELA coordinating volunteer efforts and recruiting students as well as a host of other things. NELA helps students of all ages and their familes find money for college, whether it's a vocational program, four year school or even graduate school.

The quilting bug was on hiatus and it has bitten again, thank goodness. I was struggling with some thread painting and when I took the top out from under the machine I realized there was no interfacing under the section I was working on. D'oh! Interfacing helps keep the fabric from being pulled down into the throat plate of the machine when you are doing a lot of stitching. It's very useful when using a satin/buttonhole stitch or any type of embroidery.

I've been sick for over a week now with an awful cold. It started as the Cold from Hell, then downgraded to Cold from Purgatory and now it's Merely Annoying.

Two of my friends are pregnant. Methinks baby season is arriving again. It feels especially good to me as there have been two deaths in my family in less than a year. New lives starting always helps folks move past grief and I am no exception to that.

I hope all is well with you and yours.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Sock Summit Was a Blast or Knitters Are Wonderful People

I managed to drag my fatigued carcass to the Sock Summit last weekend at the Portland Convention Center. I actually didn't start knitting 'til after class registration for the Summit was closed but I finagled my way in by volunteering.

I had mentioned on Ravelry that I was going to go, and asked if anyone wanted to meet for lunch since I'm a local yokel to Portland. After all, people from all over the world showed at the Summit. None of my friends were able to make it but an online buddy, Joanna, asked me if I'd take pictures and write something up for her to be posted at So I did. What I didn't expect was a link from the article to MY blog. Wow. Maybe I should update this thing more often!
Here's me with team Ravelry at the Summit. Note the finger puppet representation of Bob, Ravelry's boston terrier mascot. I saw them walking down the hallway of the Convention Center and dashed out from behind the desk to snag them so all of us volunteers could take pictures with them. They were very gracious about it.

As a general update, yes, The Beast, otherwise known as the Bass Quilt and/or commission quilt is still in progress. I'm taking a break from thread painting and am feeling like starting the Mariner's Compass sashing blocks this weekend is a good plan.

On the needles right now is my fourth sock, giving me a whopping two pair of handknit. I lucked out and spotted a copy of Knitting circles around socks knit two at a time on circular needles by Antje Gillingham at the library so I snatched it and ran to the self checkout machines. It seems rather elementary since I already use two circs to knit socks. Now I know a way to avoid having to seam or graft anything on a sock. Yay!

My plans have changed slightly for next year's ichthyosis conference. Quilts are lovely and people appreciate them but I think hand knit socks will be very treasured by folks with ichthyosis. Any of us who have it on the bottoms of our feet tend to have the skin crack and get raw during temperature extremes, though children have an especially rough time as often their skin cannot accomdate growth as quickly as it should so the feet and palms crack. My feet didn't stop cracking regularly 'til I reached my whopp
ing final height of 5'1" around age 15. So, hand knit socks it is for the fundraiser raffle. I expect I'll be making strictly tube socks in generic man/woman/child sizes so they can fit anyone. But they'll still be more comfortable than store bought. Who knows, maybe I'll start a sock knitting revolution among the ichthyosis community.

Now this next tidbit is extremely important to me. Only once in my 37 years have I been somewhere amongst a large crowd of people for a significant amount of time and not had anyone stare at me or ask my about my skin. The first time was at the ichthyosis convention in Atlanta, GA in 2006. The second time was at the Sock Summit. I cannot express how marvelous it is to be able to walk through a crowd and have no one give me a second glance. I understand that for most people, seeing someone affected all over with ichthyosis is a rare occurence and it's natural to be curious. I however, am quite used to what ichthyosis looks and feels like but I'm not sure that I'll ever completley adjust to having people stare at me or unintentionally make me uncomfortable by asking personal questions about my medical issues. So. There it is. Knitters rock. Well, knitters, spinners, dyers, crocheters, designers, instructors, and all those other lovely folks that were at the Summit. Thank you so very much, you gave me a wonderful gift.

Now back to the Summit dishing.

I met some fantastic people, one of whom immediately comes to mind and that's Rita from Yarn Hollow. She noticed me drooling over one of the drop spindles and put some roving in my hands and that was it. I was a goner. I now have what I need to learn to spin yarn using a drop spindle. Wheee! By the way, the lusciously colored stuff you see in the photo to the far left is roving. It becomes yarn by using a spindle to rotate the fiber as you squeeze it down to the thickness you want. While it takes a bit of practice, it's not too difficult and yes, it is another lovely thing that one can do while sitting down. I really do need to stop acquiring more hobbies. Really! I can sort of blame this on Rita though, which I will happily do. I don't think she minds, though.

I did even get to meet Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, the Yarn Harlot who is a knitter, author and all around nifty person. She probably thinks I'm a crazy stalker lady as I handed her a thank you card as I never would have discovered hand knit socks without reading her works. I also met Tina Newton, founder of Blue Moon Fiber arts and apparently Stephanie's partner in crime. Fun! On a side note, I seem to be magnetically drawn to Tina's yarn as when looking through my stash, it seems like a quarter of it is hers. Mine. Mine now at least but created by her and her marvelous assistants but now in my posession as I have purchased more in the past few months than I can really justify when going over the finances. It's worth it.

I got to meet some of the other wonderful folks at Blue Moon such as Debra and JoAnn. I met oodles and oodles of fantastic knitters and I was so pleased to meet a great number of male fiber artists. You know you're out there, we know you're out there but sometimes it's hard to find you because there are so many women crowded around. There's always more room for fiber fans. Really! Whether it's knitting or quilting or crochet or cross stitch, the more, the merrier is always true. Especially if you let me raid your stash.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Life returns to normal, whatever that is

Commencement is done and the in-laws have returned to their respective homes. I did a bump on a log imitation for a week before I finally had enough energy to get up and move. It's really embarrassing to have 70 year old relatives exhaust you from running around. That's ok though, it was even more embarrassing in May when my 82 year old grandmother was leaving me in the dust.

One of the first things I did after the family left was to set my sewing machine up to continue with the thread embroidery. I had put it away and JR moved my sewing table out into the shed for the duration of the visit so that we'd have enough room in the living room for everyone to sit down. It was an odd experience to not have my machine right there. In fact, within 24 hours of it being put up, I felt like I was missing something very important.

Mind you, I don't even sew every day. I plain and simply can't do it. But there's a big difference between, "Maybe I'll feel up to it this afternoon." and "OMG! IT'S NOT THERE! AUUUUGH!" Yes indeedy, I was having my own personal version of the Charlie Brown scream.

The machine got put back in the little shrine of a sewing area I have in the living room. I threaded it and set it up to start back on the thread embroidery. Then I got out the house block and started looking for spots that I needed to touch up. At first I was torn, how was I going to visibly but non-permanently mark the spots I needed to work on? Then I had an epiphany.

Painter's tape

I love painter's tape for a variety of reasons and very few of them have to do with painting. I put it on the wall before I put up double stick tape to mount a bulletin board or coat hook so that if some day I wish to move things around, I can take off the adhesive without removing a chunk of wall with it. I wish I could claim I thought of this handy trick but the truth is I saw it on some home dec show years ago.

The cool thing about painter's tape is that the adhesive is very lightweight so that it doesn't leave a residue when you peel it off. That's why painters use it. It allows them to paint something and when they have to paint in another color up to the edge of the first color, they can protect the work they've already done.

The house block ended up with a bajillion little pieces of painter's tape all over the foliage section.
I had already gotten a bunch of areas fixed by the time I took this picture, but I thought folks would get a kick out of seeing it anyway. Here's a closeup:
Yes, that is a pin you see securing the tape. The tape wasn't going to stick for more than an hour or two without help. I'm sure you're now wondering "why not just use the pin to mark the spot?" I'll tell you why, dear readers. Because I stabbed myself waaaay too many times 'cause I couldn't see the stinking pins! Thus, the big blob of tape was my way to tell myself "Watch hands! Sharp pointy things are right here!" I still stab myself, but not as frequently.

After I finished touching up the foliage above the house, I started working on painting the foliage at the base of the house. Once that's done, then I'll work on the foliage framing the whole block, then paint the house itself. Then I have fish to paint and then! excitement! excitement! I get to start drafting the Mariner's Compass blocks that will fill the corners of the quilt. Once the Mariner's Compass blocks are done, I'll be putting all the blocks together with some borders and then finally! quilting the whole thing. I have no idea how long it'll take me, but I'm still learning and having fun with it. This will though, be my very last comission. Ever. If I agree to take a commission ever again, please have me hauled away to the funny farm. I believe my father's words when I told him I'd accepted the commission was, "God, you're nuts!" My husband's reaction was somewhat similar though less politely phrased. Ahem.

Idle hands are well, boring

As you might have guessed, I don't do well without having something to do with my hands at almost all times. I've found I tend to scratch a lot more, which is bad for anyone but especially bad if you have ichthyosis. Also I tend to get real twitchy. Thus, while the in-laws were here I did some more knitting and a little bit of tatting.

I didn't finish anything but I had fun playing with yarn. In fact, I was having so much fun that I recently volunteered to test a pattern for someone on Ravelry.
Sheila asked for volunteers on the Ravelry site so I sent her a message saying something along the lines of, "I could be a tester for newb factor. If I can follow it, anyone can since I'm very new to knitting. I've made a scarf, hat, and dishcloth." So she took me up on it. I'm excited 'cause I'll get a nifty pair of socks out of it.

The tatting is hanging out in its bag in the bedroom where the hubby is sleeping before his graveyard shift tonight, so pics of that today. Sandy, a buddy of mine from my online quilting group, sent me a bunch of old Workbasket magazines. Those things are great because they have tatting, crochet and knitting patterns in them. Sadly, Workbasket stopped being published in the very early 1990's. Fortunately, many people kept their copies. One of those people was Sandy's mom. Thank you, Sandy's mom! In return I am sending Sandy some tatted motifs for her efforts of digging around 'til she found the stuff and then shipping it off to me. Hopefully I will have pictures soon.

Until then, be safe and do stuff that makes you happy. Hopefully the two aren't mutually exclusive!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

He did it!

My husband holding his diploma for a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics. Need I say more? We are so happy!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


We never did find the digital camera so last week we broke down and bought a new one. I figure that means any day now I'll stumble across the other one.

Here I am holding the house section. Supposedly taking a picture of the quilt being held by the maker is good for documentation purposes. Quilting + documention = good thing.

I took a few more photos closer up so you can see what I'm doing with it.
The upper right corner

Here is the lower right corner.

I was pretty unsure about whether or not the green all around each part of the trees looked ok so I took it with me to a counseling session. Considering I pay my counselor to be honest with me and I trust her sense of color I figured she'd be honest with me. She liked it. A lot. At least, I think so as her jaw dropped and she said nothing for a few seconds. She said the thread work gave it a bit of a stained glass appearance.

As long as the person receiving the quilt likes it, I'm happy. Plus I want them to be able to toss this sucker in the washing machine if they want to, though Linda said if it were hers, she's hang it on the wall in her living room. I think she was dropping hints, don't you? If I have any remaining sanity by the time I'm done I might make her a very small wall hanging. Emphasis should be on the words "small" and "very."

My additional latest insanity is knitting. As previously mentioned, I joined That site is very addictive! After I had finished my afghan and the wrap that there is a picture of in a previous post, I kept on going with more projects.

I made a dog toy. Nope, no pictures of that 'cause it already has holes in it. That's ok, it's for the dogs so holes are perfectly acceptable.

Then I decided I wanted to make myself a sweater. It takes so much freakin' yarn to crochet a sweater and it takes 1/3 less yarn to knit one of the same dimensions, thus I thought learning to knit might be a good thing, So I'm teaching myself. I knit a scarf many years ago but I've pretty much had to relearn what little I'd known.

I made this hat first. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee is fairly well known in the knitting world. Her books are a hilarious read for anyone who likes to make things. She's also a prolific blogger. She suggests that many people get sick of working on a scarf long before it's done and a hat is a good first project. It's not that big but big enough that by the time you've made on of proper dimensions for yourself, you have the hang of the knit and purl stitch and you're not yet sick unto death of the thing.

This hat was made with a knit 2 purl 2 stitch. I think it needs a flower added.

This is a washcloth/dishrag/whatever you want to call it. You can find the pattern here for free.

I have noticed that knitters tend to be very generous about sharing their patterns. I admire this, I really do. I'm one of those people that has a horrible time trying to follow a pattern so once I'm confident about how to make something, I tend to just wing it and do my own thing. That means that if someone likes something I've done, they're welcome to copy it to make one for themselves but I really can't help them if they want a pattern from me. My cooking is a lot like that too, which might explain why my meatloaf is always a tad different.

I've been trying to add to my repertoire of things I can do when I'm hurting so I don't feel like I'm a useless lump. Between the tatting, crocheting, and knitting, I think I'm pretty well covered now. Today I will most likely be playing with yarn while waiting at the airport for my in-laws to arrive. JR is going through commencement this coming Saturday so we have relatives coming from Florida and Ohio. I'm thrilled, one that he's done with his bachelor's and two, 'cause I love my in-laws and don't get to see them often.

Enjoy your day and WEAR SUNBLOCK!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Thread Hits the Fan. . . and the fabric

All the greenery is now on the house block. Whoopee! You wouldn't believe how long the happy dance lasted when that happened. Or maybe you would. Anyway, I secured tear away interfacing to the entire house block, which by the way, measures 41" x 36" untrimmed and without borders.

Interfacing can perform a variety of functions. It can help a garment retain shape, say for a shirt collar staying firm. It can be used to secure one piece of fabric on top of another. It can also be used to temporarily keep the fabric stiff so that when sewing through the fabric, the fabric doesn't get pushed down into the throat plate of the sewing machine. That's what I'm using it for right now because this step of construction involves making sure every piece of each block is secured with thread. If this were a paper collage, it'd be the sealant part. When I've finished stitching around the fabric, then I will tear off the interfacing from the back side. Technically I could leave it on but it wouldn't make for a very soft quilt if I did.

The original plan was to secure the pieces with monofilament thread. At some point in the past, there was a genius yet sadomasochistic quilter. Maybe it wasn't a quilter, maybe it was a tailor, but the genius and sadomasochist part still hold true. Monofilament is nearly invisible thread. If you thought "Isn't that just fishing line?" then you're right. How appropriate for a quilt with two very large fish on it. Anyway, having a thread that can secure things and be invisible is a great idea. In reality, this stuff is awful to work with. My machine decided to throw a hissy and refused to work with it. It created huge snarls of thread under the test fabric and thank all the higher powers of creation that I did work with test fabric instead of the blocks! It broke titanium coated needles. I fiddled with top thread tension and bobbin tension over and over and after two hours of frustration I decided that monofilament was no longer an option and the creator of said technique had a wonderful idea but to actually follow through with it on his or her own work and then tell others they should use it too was extremely cruel.

At that point I knew instead of thread painting throughout the blocks as an embellishment was going to have to be ramped up. The whole thing was going to have to be thread painted. I ran off to the fabric shop to get even more coordinating threads. By the way, in case you are ever doing this, the trick on picking thread is to pick things that are darker than the fabric you want it to go with. The darker colors tend to be skipped over a bit more by the eye so it's not as obvious that it's thread and not fabric. If you are not closely looking at the block, it blends beautifully. If you're closely looking at the block, "Gee, look at that, there's darker thread around everything."

This doesn't really add more time to the construction process because I was going to be going over everything anyway. It does make it more nerve wracking because now if I am not in precise control of the fabric moving under the needle at all times, I will have to do some dreaded "frogging." Rip it, rip it, rip it.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Spring Has Sprung

Spring has sprung at least in this part of Oregon. JR's been keeping the windows open to air out the apartment so I've been freezing to death. Thus, I broke out my yarn and a crochet hook and made myself this mobius wrap.

A few of my quilting buddies have mentioned so I decided to take a peek and ended up joining. It's an online community that welcomes folks to chat about everything plus share their yarn related projects made via knitting or crocheting and such. I love looking at all the eye candy. Many people contribute patterns of their own creation and most people take the time to show where their pattern came from. It has a bunch of handy tools, one of which lets you mark a project as something you'd like to make in the future. I, of course, have already marked more than I'll be able to make should I live to see the year 2109.

Another fantastic find I made is Yarnia. It's a shop that allows you to create your own yarn. You pick the strands you want to be spun on a cone together. The yarn isn't worsted (meaning twisted/wrapped) but because it's all wound on with the same tension, it isn't difficult to crochet (or knit) with. The prices are unbelievable, anywhere from 1/3 - 2/3 less than what you'd pay anywhere else. Pretty exciting stuff! Between Yarnia and Ravelry, I'm sure I'll be able to get into tons of trouble for several years.

The outdoor gazebo with the fireplace is now proudly placed on the house block of the bass quilt. I was puzzled by what I should do with the part that looks to be glass enclosing the fire, so I decided some grey would do the trick. I'm still adding greenery... snip snip snip, look at here, move it there, nudge it a little more then voilĂ ! Time to set the adhesive with and iron and pray I don't change my mind.

I'm hyperventilating at the thought of starting the thread painting. That means it's that much closer to being done, and OMG, what if I mess it up so bad I have to remake a block? AUGH! The torment! Those of you that lean towards prayer or meditation, please thing good thoughts for me. I'll lose my remaining marbles.

In May I will be taking a class to learn how to use Jodi Barrows' Square in a Square block construction method. Sharon Rice, owner of the LQS (local quilt shop) Sharon's Attic just down the road from me, learned the method from Jodi herself. Apparently in her home alone, Jodi has over 2,000 completed quilts. No, that's not a typo. Two thousand quilts. Yes, some of them are miniatures but still, that's a thousand and several hundred more than most quilters get done in their lifetime. So maybe after I learn this method, my production speed will be upped a bit. One can only hope!

Lastly, another new find is Knittn' Kitten. They are a craft supply resale shop. Whodathunk you can get great stuff like fabric, yarn, thread, notions, beads and so forth at faboo prices? I'm in heaven!

The owners comb through thrift stores, estate sales, flea markets and garage sales to stock their store but better yet, you can bring in stuff that makes you wonder what you had planned for it when you bought it. You'll get a reasonable price for it and know that it will find a happy home with another crafter that will actually use it! I went through all my clothing patterns and took a bunch in. I know I can't be the only sewer out there that bought patterns from three different companies all for the same style dress. There are only two things that bum me out about Knittin' Kitten, they're closed two days a week (Sunday and Monday) and they don't do online sales. Though their stock changes so drastically, no online sales kinda makes sense. Oh, they also have some glorious vintage linens and quilts.

Feel free to drop me a line and tell me what you're working on!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The water has arrived!

Here are the photos I promised a mere 14 days ago, lol! The lake has finally been filled and now all that remains is to add the gazebo with the outdoor fireplace and more foliage. Then all the components of the centerpiece will be done. I'm posting the photos sequentially to the construction process.

Grass, the retaining wall and some barkdust.

I realized there was barkdust around the house foundation so I added that in as well as the rocky shoreline of the lake.

Finally, the lake itself. I painted the lake fabric just as I did the sky fabric. Believe it or not, the water was much more challenging than the skyline. The paint looks much darker when it's wet. This piece of fabric was first painted with water diluted layers of yellow and blue, then let dry, then painted again with a second layer of straight paint. I added a teensy bit of shimmer to the first layer but it isn't apparent after having added the second layer of paint.

I will be thread painting to add some more detail to the entire picture. Actually to all three, both this piece and the two fish. I still am going to add more trees around the side and bottom of this piece to give it a more framed look with a bit of an overhead view.

Small sections of my sewing tables are starting to become visible again as more of the fabric is landed on the project instead of waiting its turn for placement. Instead of pieces of fabric spread out so I can grab what I need as I need it, there will soon be spools of thread and wound bobbins of differing colors as I thread paint the project. I bought a second bobbin case for my machine so I can switch the cases instead of taking out a bobbin, loading a new one, adjusting tension etc.

I did decide not to trapunto any part of the house block. Because there are so many small pieces for the foliage, I'd not be able to trim out the batting inbetween leaves. I do think I'll still trapunto the fish though not until after I've secured all pieces with monofil and then thread painted them.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


I determined that it takes roughly 1 hour to make 3" of vertical progress on the quilt. No pics today. I took some, 'cause I've made 9" of progress since the last entry, but I haven't loaded them on the computer yet.

I get a little more excited as it gets closer to being finished. I'm no longer at the love/hate stage, thank goodness, and I no longer am torn on it leaving my hands. I will take a bazillion pictures of it before I wrap and ship it and then be grateful it's gone. I have learned so much making this thing and it has been a very positive experience.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to quilt I go (not exactly)

More on the Commissioned Quilt

Once again my joints are acting up enough that standing is a real PITA. Thus, very little quilting is happening. I've tried ironing when sitting down. It's scary. I don't recommend it. At least I took some better pics of the house in the bass quilt than the ones I originally wanted to post so this should give you a better idea of the progress I've made.

Here are photos that give a closer view of the foliage on each side. JR thinks I should add some evergreens but in the pics Mike sent me, I only saw a small number alongside the driveway so I'm skipping it.
Here's the left side of the house, and below is the right side. You probably figured that out though, didn't you? I knew you were smart!
You Can Easily Help the Foundation for Ichthyosis
Yes, really! I would never lie to you.

F.I.R.S.T. is the Foundation for Ichthyosis and Related Skin Types. Their site is located at They, with the help of financial donors and lots of fundraising by members, fund research for ichthyosis. So few of us have it that unless we fund it, no one else does any because it's not profitable. Any advances that have been made that help ichthyosis in the past have only been because some dermatologist has thought it might be helpful though the treatment in question was created for some other issue.

FIRST was able to join to get some assistance. If you go to Goodsearch's page, you will see two boxes. The first box is where you can enter whatever you're searching fo, the second box is where you enter the name of the charity you wish the sponsors to contribute to. If you start typing in "Foundation for Ichthyosis," it will supply the rest of FIRST's name and their location, which is North Wales, PA. The search engine plugs in to Yahoo's search engine, so it is rather thorough.

FIRST is also a member of the United Way, so if you work for a company that gives matching contributions, please think of us!

I've made a few small quilts for their charity raffles over the years but I'm thinking the quilts might raise more money if I auction them over the internet. However, with the amount of quilting I've been getting done over the past two years, Lucifer might be wearing longjohns if I'm going to get them done before the next FIRST conference in July of 2010.

Of course, you can always contribute money directly. Here's that link just in case!

Facebook vs. MySpace

I started an account on MySpace a long time ago but I rarely ever use it. A friend bugged me to try Facebook so I did. I like it. I had looked at it a while ago and it didn't seem very user friendly to me but either they changed it or my attitude did as now I find it easy to use. It's amazing how many people their system reconnects you with by cross-referencing dates, locations, and organizations such as schools and employers. I'm having fun with it. If you would like to see some additional photos that don't have anything to do with what I'm working on, click this link. The address is huge since it takes you straight to my page. Here's the whole thing in case your browser doesn't take you there when you click the link.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Here's the evidence!

I loaded some pictures from my camera to the laptop this morning so people can see that yes, I actually do make the stuff I talk about.

Here's the edging I'm tatting for a dress I've already sewn. The edging is for the neckline and sleeve hems. For those of you who are familiar with tatting, that's a Clover brand shuttle I'm using and I believe the thread is size 10.
I finally got the house for the bass quilt finished. I've done a lot more work than is shown on this photo but the more recent photos had horrible lighting. I'll try again later. I painted the background fabric and the rest of the fabrics are commercial prints. The fabric for the lake is also hand painted but it's obviously not in this picture yet. I had really wanted to have this quilt finished before Dec. 2008 but that's obviously not happened. I have such a love/hate relationship with this quilt. The "hate" is that it's taken sooo long to do but honestly I will be sad to see it leave my hands though it's got a wonderful home waiting for it. The house pictured is the home of the people that commissioned it.

Lastly, here is a different dress I'm working on. I altered a jumper pattern from Simplicity by lowering the neckline on front and back so that I could insert the button down shirt. It's a way for the dress to have full sleeves without as many layers as the parts of the shirt that would be under the dress are trimmed away. It's been hanging on Babette, my dress form for probably close to a week now but when I do finally get around to it, it shouldn't take long to finish.

The knit fabric was something I've had in my stash for a long time, and the shirt was a recent aquisition from the Goodwill Outlet. I love that place. They sell things by weight so I go in, get a cart and pile in anything I think I can recycle into clothing or use in a quilt or some other useful thing. I once found a very well loved obviously hand made quilt. Things are extremely inexpensive, as they tier the prices. The more weight you purchase, the less cost per pound. I took it in to the quilt appraiser and she said it was from the 1890's and I think it cost me all of $2.00! I suspect a family was cleaning out an older relative's home and didn't know what they had. Sadly, there is no label on that quilt so I have no history on it.

Thanks for looking at my photos! I must say I really admire the people that post weekly or even more often and always have some wonderful eye candy on their blogs.