Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Injured Pride

My office chair broke just now! And you gotta know that when your chair breaks, it doesn't just fall over when you're out of the room: no, it dumps you out and suddenly you're not sitting where you thought you were sitting. No worries, though. I'm not hurt. I'm just applying a little ice to my... pride. And we have no lack of chairs in this house. But that was the only purple one. Phooey.I've been doing an online team workout program. It's called Blue and You. My team is Lime & Violet. With it, you check in each day you work out. With every day's worth of exercise, you are moved to another place in the USA, as though you are walking really fast. Today I'm in Beachwood, Ohio, near Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Color me well-travelled.Dream Dancer was getting a little monotonous so I pulled out In a Garden again. (I really don't understand those people who can work on just one project at a time.) I finished up the lemon tree, complete with backstitching to pick out the details. I like backstitching as I go. I get to appreciate the picture more. And if I really get moving, I can get Sheherezade done today. We'll see. And if wishes were horses, we'd all be eating steak. Anybody know what show I'm quoting there?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

This was started right after our trip to New Zealand, possibly on the plane home. That was five yea--cough-cough!--some time ago. I pulled it out and stitched for, oh, probably half an hour. Then sewed down the ends on the sewing machine: less than ten minutes. And there was the blocking--wetting, ironing, pinning, and leaving it to dry--maybe five minutes. So, a maximum of 45 minutes and I can kick a project off the Way Too Many Projects sidebar. (This is where you cheer. That's okay. I'll wait.)
So I'll look at that list again and ask, "Is anybody else a quick finish?" Well, the Nine Batik Stars should be done in a few hours. I'm just sewing down the binding--I've done three corners already--and will have to make a label. The label always has my name, the city, the year, and the name of the quilt. It's art; it needs a name.
And I've finally found the name for this one. I was thinking desert (because of the sand color), jewels (because of the tones of the blocks), and night (because of the stars). This took me to the middle east, then to Arabia, then 1001 Arabian Nights. I thought about the stories of Sinbad, djinn, mysterious caves, harems, surprise twists and then I thought about the woman who told all these stories: Sheherezade. And that was it. That's the name. Sheherezade. Cool, huh? I'll change it in the sidebar.
While Tiny's away, we cleaned the carpets. That's right, we did. We didn't call a company. We didn't figet and fuss that someone wasn't rinsing it enough. We actually went to the store and picked up a Rug Doctor and did the work ourselves*. And rinsed it three times. Yeah, that means we didn't do the whole house, but still it's very nice. If soggy.
*By ourselves, I mean the Man of the Place ran the machine. I just moved furniture, mixed the solution, and poured it in. It makes too much noise for my tender little shell-like ears.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Camera Doesn't Lie

Oh, sure it does! When you look at these pictures, you can't tell if the room is a mess or straight out of Better Homes and Gardens. In fact, you can't tell if my home is really in a hollow tree or an alien ship orbiting Earth and looking for signs of intelligent craftwork. But wait. That also applies to you. I don't know if you're even human or possibly some exotic mix of gorilla and butterfly. A gorillerfly. Butterilla? I gotta get my mind back.
I pinned these two quilts in preparation for actually quilting them.
Quilting, if you don't know, is the action of attaching a quilt top, fluffy stuff in the middle, and back together. Usually a sewing machine is used for this, but hand-quilting is highly respected. Also, there's something called a tied quilt. In this case the quilting is done with small bits of yarn, cording, thread, or very flexible pasta* that simply goes through the quilt and back up and is then tied. Many quilters will actually pay to have their quilt machine-quilted. This is referred to as credit card quilting. I have credit card quilted my three largest quilts as Molly, talented as she is, simply isn't big enough for some things.
Miss Running Water, my Dream Dancer, has made some progress. I believe that everything except her skirt and feet and some little background do-hickeys (that's a technical term) has been cross-stitched. Backstitching is still needed for almost the whole picture.
*Quilting with pasta is not recommended for quilts that you expect to ever wash as it is biodegradable and will disintegrate. Cooking with pasta, on the other hand, can go over quite well.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Finish and a Review

I did it! I kept my focus on this little darlin' and The Secret Life of Limes is finished, top and back! This one is ready for Red's deft hand. I don't usually make backs, but I was inspired. And--Stashbuster Alert!-- I used up this 2-yard piece of chartreuse, not to mention all the scraps that went into the cross! I also used a little cross-stitch piece I made when teaching a class. Applecheeks really likes it when I throw in some cross-stitch.
Movie Review, from a Knitter's POV
We rented The Hurt Locker. If you need a film that will move knitting fingers fast, this is a good one. The action just keeps moving and the sock practically knit itself. There was one point that I needed to leave the room to escape from a particularly gruesome scene, but otherwise I found it a good film. If your project is low in patterning detail, like my Joyleaf Cable Socks, The Hurt Locker can be a great film. However, for a project that requires more attention, you'll be better served with The Reader. This is a film that my regularly looking away did not cause me to lose the thread of the plot and may have, in fact, enhanced the movie-watching experience.

Friday, March 19, 2010


Tiny's off to Greece today. She flew out of LAX last night and has landed in Zurich. Greece soon! I'm so excited for her (and a little jealous.)Consider this a preview. I'm working on this quilt today. I hope to have the top done by 3 pm. I think I'll call it "The Secret Life of Limes."

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Hoard No More

Have you ever watched that show, Hoarders? It's about people who have allowed stuff to rule their lives. They have so much stuff that it affects their ability to live normally. Police and psychologists are called in--it's really extreme. Do you know why we watch shows like that? To make us get rid of stuff. I watched an episode just the other day and it worked. I looked at the overabundance of fabric scraps I had and immediately posted on Freecycle. OFFERED: Grocery Bag of Quilt Scraps. Yup. Before I even went through my stash. Then I started in on it. I wound up with not one, but FOUR bags of scraps. I sent 'em off with four different responders to my ad. Oh, I still have plenty of scraps. Don't get me wrong. But now they FIT in the boxes.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Gretel Dropped Bread Crumbs

You know how a paper that you handle often gets worn out at the folds? Like a pattern? Like a cross-stitch pattern that takes a long time? Yeah, that. What do you do to avoid losing those stitch symbols right in the crease? Here's what I do (when the brain is operating well): I stitch the creased areas first! The column of stitches down Miss Running Water's skirt is right where the fold occurs. And it goes right down her left boot. You know what this means? That's right! It's gonna look weird.Since her last time in front of the camera, I have completed:
  1. the white parts of the shield
  2. the shield points
  3. the blue line at the bottom of the cape
  4. the portion of the skirt in the column

I was having a devil of a time trying to stitch that skirt. The usual way I stitch is to thread my needle with one color and do all of that within reason, mapping it out ahead of myself, until I run out of thread (or get bored). But that wasn't working here. However, I have learned various ways of managing my stitchery. You might notice the faint green threads running through the stitching: those show where the bold lines are in the pattern, every ten stitches. It makes a complicated pattern much easier to follow: it's like marking the major intersections on a map. Then all I have to do is fill in the blocks. Even so, the bold lines on this pattern are easy to lose. So, I went further. If I'm going to fill in the block, I don't want to have to search it out every time I look up. I made a little frame, ten squares across and ten squares down. I place it around one of those blocks frames on my fabric in green. I keep it in place with a cut-up post-it. (This is where I waggle my eyebrows to insinuate how clever I am.)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Lost in Translation

Autumn Incarnate Bottle is done--oh, my. You have no idea how much I love that word.
Too bad it's not more beautiful-sounding. The French always do it right though: Finis! Of course, you could say "The yak has torn up your lawn" and it would sound lovely and musical. Hmm.. now I want to translate that--let me check Babelfish. "Le yak a déchiré votre pelouse." Yup. What did I tell you?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Crescent Dreams Haiku

Finally, it's done
Beads and crystal all in place
I misspelled William

(but I fixed it.)

Monday, March 8, 2010

Bead Archaeology

In the spirit of finishing things, I thought I'd do a little personal archaeology. I used to do a LOT of beadwork, and when I say a LOT, I mean it! I took classes, taught classes, and wrote articles. I was in a Master Class that went over a year. I'm trying not to be all braggy--I just want you to get where I'm coming from.
Now, you know I have plenty of unfinished projects if you've ever looked at the "Way Too Many Projects" sidebar. This has only included one bead project to date. That doesn't mean I don't have any others in the works. Hardly. If you look at the sidebar sometime after today's entry, you'll see it bloom with beadwork projects.
Inspired by my Goofy Bear Button Bracelet finish, I dug into the small portion of beads I keep in my studio (my bead stash is overwhelming, which is why I moved it offsite) and unearthed several UnFinished Objects (UFOs).Blue Skies This bracelet is made from 15/0 beads, bugles, and actual antique beads--probably Victorian era. It only needs a loop closure and to weave in the ends. I think I got hung up because the beads are so delicate that I was afraid none of the beads I used would hold up to closure duty. Fair enough. I'll use larger beads for the loop and a lot of thread. Better that it be, oh, what's that word? Done, yeah. That's the word.White Lotus Neckpouch I probably started this ten (eep!) years ago. It's inspired by ancient Egypt and made from Japanese cylinder beads. The color came out weird, but the background is actually snowy white.To continue the theme, I charted out the all-seeing eye of Ra for the back. Yeah, I know it's slightly creepy, but it's the back. And it hangs over the heart, so Ra is symbolically looking into your heart. Okay, that just made it creepier. Never mind. Just trust me, it's gonna be cool. If it ever gets done.Celebration of Spring Necklace These beaded beads are the start of a necklace designed by NanC Meinhart. The pattern is Deneen's Necklace. It, too, is made of Japanese cylinder beads. I've made several and sold 'em. It's a fun little guy. I could easily pick this one back up.

Autumn Incarnate Bottle And then we have this little guy. When it jumped out of the project box yesterday, it only had a few rows of beads around the neck. Yet somehow, when I went to take its picture this morning, it had grown a net of Japanese 15/0 beads across it's belly and bottom, Austrian crystal margaritas (those flower things), and Czech glass leaves. All it wants is a necklace to finish it up. The pattern is Itty Bitty Beaded Bottle, and I wrote it. (Yes, I can make it available.)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

A Day of Finishes

So, I really got going on that Goofy Bear Button Bracelet and finished it up. I thought I'd put an edging on it, but I found that I really like the borderless modern look for this one. At one point, I had a pink picot edge. It looked like lace and seemed very little-girl-ish. Not that that's a bad thing, but I wanted a more adult, if silly, look for the thing. So just the button and loop closure and voila!After a very nice comment from Free Range Chick, I was inspired to finish Uphill Both Ways. I cut the final border in 2-1/2" strips from this fabric. I set aside the rest for use on the back. Then I framed the quilt with its final border--ta-dah!I was amazed to see how little fabric I had left from the strips I had cut:
Now, what'll I finish next? Hmm, maybe the laundry.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Up From the Murky Depths

Last night the knitting was bad. Bad sock! No biscuit! So I put it in time out.
But this caused a small conundrum. I was going to knitting group this morning. Well, they're an adventurous, non-judgmental group. I don't have to knit. I could bring my stitchery. Yeah! Oh, white fabric and coffee and lots of arms moving in all directions. Maybe not. So I opened the bead cabinet and look what fell out! Last time I worked on this sweetheart, there were only two bears on it. Today moved it into the total of five! Yay. It's not got far to go, so maybe it'll get finished. Some day.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

How This Scrap Quilter Thinks

My final medal was awarded this morning:

And this is the new scrappy prayer quilt I've been working on. I'm calling it Uphill Both Ways--a nod to those ridiculous stories our parents told us about how hard it was for them. "I didn't have it easy like you young'uns. When I was a kid, we had to walk to school five miles in the snow. And it was uphill both ways." As a scrap quilter, I have to work with what I've got and not go out and buy more fabric. This can be a real pain in the b--ahem--challenge, it can be a real challenge sometimes. You see, I had a bunch of this fabric that had been seamed in strips together. I used the bulk of it for another quilt, just framing the strips like in this picture here--but I had leftovers. So I cut the leftovers into 35 5" squares--that was as big as would work--and cut them on the diagonal. I planned to frame half of them in turquoise and half in purple, kinda like this.
But it turned out that I didn't have enough turquoise fabric. So I stepped back and thought a bit. Now we wander, willy-nilly into my thought process. Okay, I'll just make half a frame. But I still have more turquoise strips.... and here's a bit of dark turquoise. How much dark do I have? With half-frames, I have just enough for 12 blocks. And I've still got enough of the light to half-frame all the rest. Hmm, this'll probably work. I'll just scatter the dark in among the light. That usually works. (a minute later) Wait! Slanty blocks, slanty quilt. Just do the corners dark! Love it. Now all I need is borders. (steps back and looks) Huh, that's weird. Looks like there's half a border already. I gotta do something about that. (picks up framing scraps) Nope, not enough for even half a border. What about (snatches up quarter yard of swirly turquoise) this? Yes, there's enough!Now to regular borders. Purple! Ooh, not too much or it'll look like a purple quilt. So a skinny purple border. And I still have some leftovers from the strip quilt: I'd hate to waste 'em. Maybe I can use 'em for the border. Yay! I'm still gonna need a final border to stabilize all those diagonal scraps. But I'm out of time. I'll have to do it later.