Thursday, May 19, 2011

My Lucky Year

I am not one of those people who wins things all the time which makes this an amazing year. Here we are mid May and for the second time this year I won something.

In February I won an autographed copy of Scrap-Basket Sensations by Kim Brackett from a comment on Quilt Times blog. This time I won a ruler from Monique Dillard of Open Gate Quilts. You can visit her very interesting blog which is where she had a giveaway, and I got lucky!

Those readers who know me personally know that I am a shameless rulerholic. I LOVE rulers!

My new ruler
is called Fit to be Quarter and it is very fancy indeed. It is a 9 1/2" x 9 1/2" square ruler made to trim quarter-square triangles, combination units and square quilt blocks.

I don't have it yet, it is on its way but it looks to have horizontal and vertical lines spaced 1/4" apart, a 45º line going one way and many more 45º lines spaced 1/4" apart on the other diagonal.

I am so looking forward to receiving and using this ruler. Thank you Monique!

Project progress report

  1. French Reel, backing pieced, bias binding made, ready to quilt.
  2. Blue and Yellow quilt, backing pieced, bias binding made, ready to quilt.
Goals: Finish the weird cat quilt, my desperate attempt to use up fabric Lori palmed off on me.

Y'all come back!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Monday Musings & Giveaway

Do you think himself needs to cut the grass? Just look at how the wretched stuff is climbing the fence. That is kikuyugrass, (Pennisetum clandestinum) imported from East Africa to California in 1918 and from California to Hawaii in 1925. Kikuyugrass is on the U.S. Federal noxious weed list. It is the most prevalent forage in Hawaii and it will grow over a cement slab or work its way under the siding of your house.

The blue and yellow quilt top, which does not have a name, (more on that later) has all its borders on and is packed away ready to go to South Dakota with me. I am planning on making the bias binding today from more of the blue batik.

I got a good selection of that batik on sale for $5 a yard. It was an unfamiliar brand, Choice Fabric, but I like it. It is not flimsy, the patterns are primitive and naive and the color is indigo without the fading and running problems of true indigo fabric.

I really like the way the last blue border pops the color contrast in the blocks, it somehow compresses and confines the 'movement', amplifying as it frames. Here are two side by side pictures of before and after the simple final border was added. Click to enlarge images.

I am particularly happy with the blue border's effect on my "Waste not want not" pieced scrap border at the top and bottom of the quilt, detail picture below.

The quilt needs a name and I want to give something away.

The person who's quilt name sugggestion I choose will receive a cute sewing charm pendant (shown below) and satin cord necklace as a gift. I will also give away the pattern of their choice from this selection in my booth to a randomly drawn reader who:
  • Leaves me a comment on this post before midnight PST Sunday May 22nd with their suggestion to name this quilt, or
  • follows me on Twitter and Tweets this link, Then leaves a comment telling me you tweeted and your twitter handle.
I will use the random-thingy to draw a pattern winner on 23rd May.

Please make sure that I can get in touch with you if you win. If you are set as a "no-reply" blogger, or if you do not have a blog, then I can't contact you.

Y'all come back!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Hissy Fits

My everyday workhorse sewing machine at home is a 1936 Singer 15 for which I paid $20 ten years ago. My backup machine is a 1940 Model 15. I love them both because they have a perfect straight stitch and they are easy to maintain. They will both outlive me, as they have both outlived their previous owners. No worries about parts availability, nylon or plastic gears wearing out, these babies were built to last. I have an identical machine in SD as does Lori so traveling back and forth with projects is painless. Click image to enlarge.

So why the hissy fits?

Ummm, it is in my nature? :)
I had been working on the blue and yellow quilt; in an excess of thriftiness I used the off-cut triangles from the center blocks for a border on the top and bottom edges. These were pretty tiny pieces with a lot of seams and I was stitching through five and six layers of fabric. Normally for a Singer 15 this would be NBD, but, something was wrong. Stitches were being skipped and top thread was breaking.

Unfortunately the backup machine had suffered a tension assembly catastrophe a year or so ago (time flies) it literally fell off in all its pieces. As re-assembly is the fiddliest and most frustrating job on earth I had set the machine aside until the next time I went to Hilo to take in for the Old Sewing Machine Guy to enjoy. No backup.

I know how to fix this problem. There is a checklist. I can do this.
  • I re-threaded the machine from scatch, problem not fixed.
  • I changed the needle, being careful to insert the new needle exactly as the old one was, problem not fixed.
  • I changed the bobbin, problem not fixed.
  • I changed to a new spool of thread, problem not fixed.
  • With a martyred sigh I took off the needle plate and brushed the feed dogs teeth, then lovingly oiled the machine, problem not fixed.
  • I changed to a bigger needle and that did not solve the problem either. I was stumped.
  • I left the machine to stew in its own obstinacy.

I woke up in the middle of the night. There was one thing I had not done.

I took out the needle and put it back in with the flat side facing left. Problem solved. The interesting thing is, I had been sewing without any problem at all for at least two months with the needle in backwards. It was not until the machine was challenged by all the thicknesses that it complained.

Today I will put on the last outer borders and make the bias binding and backing so this quilt can go with me to South Dakota to be finished there. We are going to be busy!

Y'all come back!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Best Car Ever

The best car I ever owned was a 1960 Morris Minor 1000 Traveller. This is not my car, although it is the right color. This one above has been beautifully restored
trafficators and is a newer model than mine which had the old style trafficators, turn signals which popped out of the door frame pillar.

Winne got a little over 40 miles to the Imperial gallon which converts to about 35 miles to the US gallon. She was well used when I got her and despite being terribly neglected she ran and ran.

The Traveller had two doors in the back which closed with a single lever handle. This space was ideal for my beloved German Shepherd, or the odd sheep, and most convenient for shopping. The back seats folded down and forward making a perfect almost flat sleeping space, out of the weather, for a not very tall person, which would be me :)

Winnie and I traveled to Spain one year for a camping holiday and up to the highlands of Scotland at least twice. One memorable trip was to the Isle of Mull.

I miss that car. Larry would love it.

Y'all come back!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Henyard Chronicles

Early this spring the rooster situation had gotten out of hand. I was being overrun with little chickens who were not promoting good relationship with my neighbors. I embarked upon a chicken roundup, catching the roosters and taking them up to one of our mountain horse pastures to make a living scratching the piles of manure and hopefully consuming the fly larvae.

Late in March, Bella, who had been missing for a while, showed up with 12 new chicks. Bantam hens are ridiculously good mothers, brooding enormous amounts of eggs. I can't say I was particularly thrilled with the addition to my flock at least half of whom would be roosters, but I was hopeful that this would be the last batch. Click images to enlarge.

About a week later, tragedy. Twelve little chicks peeping and no sign of Bella. My dear soft hearted husband helped me catch them and they were installed in a small water trough in my bath tub with a light for warmth. They would not have survived the night otherwise.

A few days later I found what was left of Bella who must have tried to defend a chick which had unwisely ventured too close to a Big Dog. Meanwhile I had a bathroom full of chickens.

Himself is very good about helping in an emergency. Not so good about scheduling time for my projects which require assistance. It is a man thing.

After a week or so the chickies were growing and of course the end product grows in equal volume. I don't care how many times you change the newspaper each day, they stink. They needed to move outside into a movable roofed pen. I did the nice reasonable wifey thing.
"Um, could you try to come home before dark to help me with the chick pen? I would really like to have my bathroom back." Smile. Things progressed to a whine, then cold shoulder. By this time they REALLY stunk and I was getting desperate. More days and then weeks passed. the chick palace


The ultimatum, "If you do not get home at a reasonable hour today and help me with the chicken pen, I will move them into your bathroom tomorrow morning." That very afternoon, eight and one half wood studs were converted into the Chicken Palace. Covered with chicken wire and a sheet of plywood on top it was lugged out onto what we like to call 'the lawn'. The very next morning the chicks moved into their new abode, and I started scrubbing.

Y'all come back!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Monday Goals

Quilting and blogging have taken a back seat this last few weeks. Google Search implemented a new policy which requires new (as opposed to used or vintage)items to have a Unique Product Identifier in order to be found in Google Shopping. Implementing this has been a massive project, and I am not finished.

There is always the temptation to just fix or improve something on the website shopping cart, rewrite that listing on Bonanza, take a better picture . . . it is never as simple as you think it will be.

I have added the first, plain yellow (discontinued Moda Marble Mates) border to my blue yellow and white quilt top.

The second border involved using the offcuts from the main blocks. Waste not want not and all that jazz. Click on pictures to enlarge.

Each offcut trimmed to a 2" square and I had enough of them to make top and bottom borders with a finished size of 1-1/2", the second side border is white. If I were truly dedicated I would have made more and done the entire second border with them. Yah! No!

I have cut batik strips for the last border, which will finish at 4" giving an over all quilt size of 62" x 74", a good sized throw. I hope to get that, and the bias binding finished this week. Then I will take a picture.

Y'all come back!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day Thoughts

I am always dismayed by how much pain people suffer on holidays, which are supposed to be happy occasions. I wonder why we place so much importance on occasions which are artificial constructs, invented by the advertising industry on behalf of retailers to encourage us to spend. Mother's Day, Father's Day and all the rest. Secretaries Day for goodness sake which has morphed into 'Administrative Professionals Day'. How have we allowed ourselves to feel unloved, if not downright failures, if we don't get some store bought acknowledgement? It is all a dollar based guilt trip people!

Rant over, what are my plans for Mother's Day?

I am hoping to guilt my husband into doing some repairs to Mr Quigley the pig's house. He (Quigley) is only fed once a day and gets pretty anxious around about 4pm. This is expressed by heaving his very portly body up to put his front feet on top of the four foot tall side wall so he can see over if he hears any activity at the back door. He is no longer the 'slightly bigger than a pop can' piglet he was three years ago, he now weighs over three hundred pounds. He has also chewed a peep hole in the salvaged and recycled plywood we used when we built his shelter.

Because I am greedy I am also hoping that we will find time to extend the baby house (which is what we call the 8 x 8 shack in which Mr Q resides) to provide a small lean-to shelter for the sheep. We bought the material for the job years ago. The sheep are able to huddle under the overhang but I want more. I don't like being out in the wind and rain and I don't like thinking of Larry being out there either.

I am too old to pout charmingly so I will just whine.

Y'all come back!