Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Heeeere's Johnny!

Mic Test, mic test, check one, two, three.

It's been a long and eventful 2 years - goes to show ya, I STILL can't count - 3 years since my last post here. A major illness and recovery took up the first year and a half.  I don't know that I'll ever recoup 2014 and most of 15.  After that  a new grandbaby and reacquiring an old skill have taken the last year and a half. Take a guess what that skill may be? Here's a hint:

 Life is good!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Walk of Shame? I think not...

T-minus 5.5 lap quilts on 1 Dec? Didja make it? Didja? DIDJA?

Nope, didn't make it by a long shot. But by tomorrow I'll have 3 of the 5.5 completed since 1 Dec. The accomplishment in that is that those quilts got completed in the face of this list of overwhelming odds against getting them done:

Christmas shopping for husband and kids, fabric shopping for my Kringle's lap quilt, food shopping for the family Christmas party, watching a 2 year old, cleaning for the family Christmas party, baking for mail off Christmas gifts and the Christmas party, cooking for the family Christmas party, decorating for Christmas and the Christmas party, watching a 2 year old, hosting the Christmas party, standing in line at the post office to send off gifts, watching a 2 year old, attending an out of town Christmas party while watching the 2 year old, planning Christmas dinner (we're starting a new tradition: Italian on Christmas Day), miscalculating yardages for the 3rd quilt, choosing new fabrics because what I'd chosen is no longer available, watching a 2 year old, dodging husband so I can wrap his presents, dodging 2 year old so I can wrap his presents. Oy! Busy, busy, busy...  Did I mention watching a 2 year old?

I count it an earth shattering accomplishment to have an empty sink for the first time in 10 days. And it's not over yet.

I know I'm not the only one, what's going on in your holiday plans?

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Holy schnikes! It's almost Christmas

I can't be the only crafter who has let Christmas sneak up on them...again.

Can I?

T-minus 5.5 quilts

Think I'll make it?

Trimming visual clutter

I'm still the newbie quilter and with less than perfect vision. Glasses can only correct so much. And my frustration level isn't one of those correctable things. You may be like me in that aspect, so a little help is always a good thing.

What inspired todays post: half triangle squares. Specifically trimming the little buggers up square. Goodnight Avery only has 36 of them, and I'm not complaining about that.  20 2½" and 16 3½" squares to be exact.

Non-quilter FYI: 36 half-triangle squares in a quilt top is only a few, and about as easy as it gets.

UGH! Too many lines!

I love my rotary cutter and mat. I also love quilting rulers. Individually, they outslice sliced bread for awesomeness. BUT, and there is always a but, using them at the same time makes me crosseyed from visual clutter. So much so that I welcomed stopping my first Goodnight Avery quilt to let my phone charge and my eyes rest while I write this post. My phone is my camera, and as they say, seeing is believing.

What got my eyes hurting after trimming only 10 squares today was eyestrain from cutting them to size while keeping them square.

Busy, busy, busy!

The fix came to me in these stages:

Tip 1: Mark the half inch square corner with X's on the diagonal line of the ruler.

I was tired of trying to visually line up x.5" squares on the diagonal. Quilting rulers are marked in ⅛" increments. To put it mildly, that's a lot of tiny squares in a very little space. Following them visually with old, tired, and poor eyes is a recipe for not just for eyestrain but cutting errors. Goodnight Avery only has 36 half triangle squares, but some quilts can have hundreds. I don't know about you, but fabric is too expensive to potentially screw up 100+ of these little, er, suckers in a larger quilt. OUCH, indeed.

Wee blue crosshairs are larger than they appear in the picture

Tip 2: Trim the squares en pointe.

In combination with tip 1, "standing" the square on a point for cutting lets you easily measure from the inside of the ruler to the outside of it, and make any needed cuts along 2 sides.

Look Ma, just 2 quick cuts!

Tip 3: Use the back of the cutting mat.

Here's where I had my V-8 moment: I noticed that I could see my X's on my ruler more easily on my sewing table because it's solid white and the ruler is clear (DUH!). Turning my mat over and cutting en pointe on the solid green side means I only see the fabric or the solid green through the ruler and no distracting gridlines or angle lines. AHHHH! Now that's easy on the eyes!

Sometimes less is more....

Once I hit on this process trimming up squarely was quick and easy peasy. My knitting hero, Elizabeth Zimmermann, called rediscovered knitting techniques, stitch patterns, and tips such as these unventions.  Therefore I unvented a highly workable process today. Hooray for me!

What about you happy crafters? What have you unvented?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Wait for it... wait for it...

This chilly morning, I toast the completion of the mentalpause project with a cuppa lukewarm joe. This was to be my daughter's high school graduation gift: nice, right? Well, that graduation was in 2008.  Now to wash and block it, then have it matted and framed for her kitchen. Good thing her college graduation gift was a graduation party, yes?
A 7 year wait isn't too long, is it?
I'll admit, I'm a bit slow on the uptake. Having taken 7 years to complete the mentalpause needlepoint, any needlework project advertised as "quickpoint" would be a welcome change of pace. I chose some cute Penguins and started the next color by number with yarn. For some goofy reason I thought Quickpoint would be a basketweave needlepoint project, but it's really cross stitch on a very large mesh (4.5 stitches/inch) with worsted yarn. At least I don't have to count stitches... It's quite sizable (16 inches square) but when you compare stitch counts it's far far less work. There's only a few stitches over 5100 in the whole thing compared to the 28200 plus of mentalpause in only a 14 x 14 space.
Maybe quick point means this one
will only take 3 years to complete?

And I did cut out a quilt after finishing mentalpause and the office-to-sewing room reorganization. Actually I got much farther than cutting it out. Quilting is about to commence so that my favorite West Virginia fan has a Christmas present. Really, that's WVU blue and gold, not LSU purple and gold. LSU Purple is a color not allowed in my household.  The pattern is Donna Robertson's 'Friendship Star' from her book 3 Yard Quilts. I think this one is my favorite pattern in the whole book.

Eek! Excuse my kitchen floor, please?

But I'm still not brave enough to tackle my closets... yet. The closets may hold things that have never seen the light of day. Sticking my hands in there will require the fortitude of a, nay several, steaming cuppas Irish coffee. With whisky, thankyouverymuch. There be beasties in there.

What about you?

Next quilts up:
One each Vicki Bellino's Goodnight Avery's in little boy construction prints and little girl critter prints 
Several Stella Table Mats in Christmas fabrics

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

In Mentalpause

What was I thinking???? Reorganize the office into a craft room during vacation? Easy peasy? Riiight... It's not hard but it is tiring. Everything takes longer to do in a wrist brace.  Wanting my kitchen table to be junk free as I move sewing machines and sewing supplies (a quilt top isn't junk, but I like eating on a solid surface and clean quilts) means no quilting or sewing until the room is setup.  Just a few more pieces to go... and then I'll cut another quilt top and tackle my closets. UGH! That's for the closets, not the quilt top.

And because I'm not as young as I used to be: I get too tired to think after dragging all that crap around but still want to work on something in the evenings ... my paint by numbers with yarn is almost complete. Another needlepoint is already queued up in the wings for when this beauty is completed.

Next quilts up:
Vicki Bellino's Goodnight Avery in little boy construction prints 
Donna Robertson's Byzantine Door in New Orleans Saints fabrics

Saturday, September 6, 2014

I LOVE easy peasy microwave fabric bowls

Yes, I said I love these. They're easy to make, easy to use, and easy to clean. Does anything kitchen related get any better than that?

How often are we disappointed by kitchen gadgets that seem awesome? More often than we'd care to admit, I'd wager.

I've not been this excited about a kitchen item since Crock Pot Liners were introduced. They will always be the #1 of kitchen sexy...

Tired of burning your hands and dipping hot pads into the contents of microwaved bowls? Make an easy peasy microwave fabric bowl!

These lovely little quilted fabric bowls are made with 100% cotton fabric and sewn with 100% cotton thread, quilted with 100% cotton batting. (No poly or metallic anything, please. They'll burn or arc, or both.)

Fill your bowl with whatever you're reheating/cooking/eating, put the bowl of food into the fabric bowl. Toss it all in the microwave or eat - voila! No burnt hands, ma!

I just have to share the love... Link to one of many tutorials to make these great little gadgets below:

I'll quote one of my favorite comics, Bill Engvall: Yes ma'am, you are welcome.