Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunday Sundry - Vol. 25

I'm feeling a bit guilty.  I have been on a binge.

Not that kind.  (That was last night's gluten-free, dairy-free baked pasta in vintage Pyrex. Yum!)

A fabric buying binge, is what I'm talking about.  Sure, I've got a couple half-baked ideas for what to do with some of the yardage, but it's more than that.  It's about craving color in the midst of a snow-white winter, and interesting patterns, and beauty...something that gets the heart racing.  I suppose a run around the block would do it too, but where's the fun in that?

The guilt comes in because I am a frugal person by nature.  I like shopping thrift stores.  I pinch pennies and don't mind, most of the time.  My income is half what it was a few years ago, which I'm not complaining about; it was my choice to make the changes I did, and I've not regretted it.  The upside—and it's a big one—is that I have more time to do the stuff I love to do.

Like online fabric shopping, apparently.

So I went a bit overboard.  But you want to know what I bought, right?  For starters, this:

I don't know what I like more, the fabric itself or the name, April in Paris.  Oui!

Sidetrack:  When my daughter was barely two, there was this TV commercial for something—I can't remember what...perfume? not-butter? feminine hygiene products?  Anyway, there was a shot of a narrow, romantic-looking, Parisian street with billowy curtains fluttering over flowery window boxes, and a woman running just as breezily over the cobblestones below.  My daughter was completely enraptured by this commercial and would say in her tiny toddler voice, "I wanna go there."  Now why would a two-year-old feel compelled to visit France?  Was she recalling a past life, I wondered, or just responding to some mighty fine marketing?

Anyway, back to fabric.  Also these:

And these (this only shows part of the order):

There's a black and white quilt to be made, as well as a kaleidoscope quilt (if I can ever figure it out), and this pattern from Diary of a Quilter.  Now, please help hold me accountable for those promises!

In Other Rump-Sitting News...
I started watching Band of Brothers on DVD last night.  And there went four hours of my life.  But seriously, this HBO miniseries is good.  It's also 10 years old, so I'm sure many of you have seen it before (I hadn't).  It's the story of Easy Company of the 101st Airborne Division during WWII.  

My father-in-law was a tank driver in the 7th Armored Division during WWII and saw firsthand the kind of action in similar locales during the same timeframe the miniseries documents.  He passed away in 1999, but he kept some records of his service, which I spent part of this morning re-reading with different eyes.  We had talked about it occasionally, but it wasn't a subject he liked to discuss much.  I can certainly understand why.  We owe so much to our service men and women.

Well, I'm sort of at a loss for words after that, so I think I'll wrap it up for this week with a little music to lift your spirits.  I listened to an older Nikka Costa CD while I quilted the Climbing Lanterns wall hanging.  Here's one from that CD, as well as a newer song.  The lyrics on the second song really make me smile. 

Have a good week, all!  The Men's Shirt Sew-Along starts on February 1, and I'm excited about it.  Stay tuned for progress updates!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Just a Little Something

I have only the tiniest bit of sewing to show for this week, but I guess it's something.  It does move me a little further along the line toward finishing one of my PhD (Project Half Done) Challenges as well, so that's something too.

I don't know...I was just kind of motivationally challenged this week.  I could name any number of possible reasons—lack of sunlight, hibernation mode kicking in big time, something involving a cycle and not the kind with wheels, etc.  

But never mind all that, we're here to focus on the action.

I finished adding the ornaments to the backing of the whirlygig Christmas quilt.  Christmas is only 331 days away, you know!

They had to be fussy cut and fused in place.  Then I stitched around each one, while watching American Idol on Wednesday.

I was originally going to strew them on randomly, but that didn't look right, so I grouped them above and below the center panel in the middle (it's folded in the pic below, so you can't see the whole panel).  They seemed to need anchoring around something.  I don't know; it may have been a hormonally-motivated decision.  It is what it is.

Now the backing is really done.  In fact, by the time you read this, it will be taking a little vacation south courtesy of the U.S. Postal Service.  Wish I were going along too!

You see, I won a $50 machine quilting gift certificate last week on Such a Sew and Sew.  Yay!  Thanks to Elizabeth's generous giveaway, this quilt is on its way to Angie at 5 Little Monkeys Quilting to be machine quilted.  I am so excited to be sending it to her!  We've chatted by email, and she's got a wonderful idea for the quilting on it.

Since Angie's doing the PhD Challenge too, I think we can both count it as a finish when it's done, don't you?  :)

So there you have it.  It's no big whoop, but I'm still going to link to Sarah's Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?  You should check it out too! 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Favorite Thing Friday - American Idol

I've been MIA on the Favourite Things Friday circuit for a couple weeks.  Somehow I didn't think Low-Sodium Fritos or socks without holes were things to create a post around (though now that I think about it, perhaps I was wrong; they're both pretty high on the satisfaction meter for me.  I'm  uncomplicated like that).

But I have a favorite that I have no reservations about sharing this week, and that is the TV show, American Idol.

Is this going to go over the heads of my Australian friends, or do you know what I'm talking about (I hope)?  The Cliff's Notes story behind the show is that it's a talent competition for singers.  It's the stuff of legends, if you prefer the grandiose.  Some of the legends launched from the American Idol platform have been Kelly Clarkson, Clay Aiken, and Carrie Underwood, to name a few.

I've watched every season since the beginning (we're on Season 10 now).  In the past couple years, though, I have skipped the auditions and not started watching until the field was narrowed down to the final 12 contestants.  That's where it gets good, in my opinion.

I'm not so interested in who the final winner will be, and I don't call in to vote.  I just like hearing new voices and watching the contestants develop as the weeks go by and they try their pipes at different genres of music.  Often they're visited by superstars in the music industry who give helpful advice and encouragement.  It's fun to see what their impressions are, both the contestants of the big name star, and vice-versa.

I've only ever bought one CD of an American Idol contestant, and that was Elliot Yamin in 2007.  I've always been a sucker for blue-eyed (or any color) soul, and he had it in spades.  (Check the link at the end of this post for a sample.)  He didn't win the big prize, but it didn't matter.  He built a fan base and had doors opened for him just for being on the show, and that's what it's all about, in my opinion.  

Other past favorites who didn't win but have gone on to do well:  Jennifer Hudson and Wisconsin homeboy Danny Gokey, to name just a couple.  

The auditions that took place in Milwaukee last fall were televised last night.  My husband had gotten a tip from our hairdresser (a reliable source, right?) that she'd heard through a client that someone we might know got through to the next round at the Milwaukee auditions.  Unfortunately, I didn't see anyone I recognized, so that was apparently a bum steer.  But did anyone see the guy at the end (Chris Medina) with the fiancee whom he was two months away from marrying when she got in an accident and suffered a traumatic brain injury?  She's now in a wheelchair and he's her caretaker, still very much in love.  He sang well, got through to the next round in Hollywood, and then the judges wanted to meet the girlfriend, so they wheeled her in.  Whereupon, I bawled my eyes out.  

Oh, here, I found a youtube:

The judges are an interesting group this year.  In addition to Randy Jackson, who's been there since the beginning, we have Jennifer Lopez, and Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, whose lack of a filter cracks me up.  He's going to give the unvarnished truth, that's for sure!

Yep, it's looking like another highly entertaining season of American Idol—one of my favorite things!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Double Pinwheel String Quilt Journals

 I am thrilled to have a very special guest post by Elizabeth of Such a Sew and Sew today!  She recently made a gorgeous quilt journal using my Double Pinwheel String Quilt Tutorial that she scaled down for her project.  When I saw it on her blog during her giveaway week, I was delighted and very moved by her gorgeous and crafty interpretation in the form of a journal.  Imagine my surprise when she sent me one!  I was overwhelmed!  And then curious as to how in the world she did it.  It's a work of art!

But I'll let Elizabeth tell the whole story and give you all the wonderfully detailed instructions on how you can make a Double Pinwheel String Quilt Journal too.  She is posting the same on her blog and agreed to "simulcast" it here.  Thanks so much, Elizabeth!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The imagination exercises a powerful influence over every act of sense, thought, reason — over every idea. –Latin Proverb

A long time ago, I decided to do the Free-Motion Quilt Along {which I'll eventually get started on, but that's another post for another day}. Part of the getting ready process was to get a notebook for jotting down ideas and drawing out designs. Well, I had this brilliant idea to make a notebook cover using P's gorgeous Double Pinwheel String Quilt tutorial. I'm a teensy bit obsessively creative and believe that if making one is good, then making two {or a hundred} is even better, right? Right. I decided that if I was going to go to the trouble of making one quilt journal for myself, while I was at it I probably ought to make one for the genius mastermind behind the beautiful design and then for good measure, I probably ought to make one to give away {which I did already}.

I set to work drawing out a design. I used P.'s template for the narrow pinwheels at full-size and cut it down so that it would come out at 2" finished for the entire block, but still use the angle that she used. I rummaged through my stash and pulled out all the bright, pretty fabrics I could find and started cutting strips. And then some other project had to be finished and this projected sat, completely neglected for a good four months. When I realized that I'd planned out a week-long blog anniversary/birthday giveaway in my head, but didn't actually have anything ready to give away, I decided it was time to dust this project off. About the same time I was getting ready to make the three journals, I found out who my buddy would be for this year's gift exchange for an on-line quilting group I'm in, and decided that a quilt journal would be the perfect gift for her. And so my plans for three quilt journals turned into four. Hooray for more January finishes!

My quilting is wonky {I obviously need to get back to that Free-Motion Quilt Along}, none of my centers match and I pieced the black pinwheels wrong and ended up cutting off all the points on them. I only realized that after I had all 12 pinwheels completely sewn together and there was no way I was going to unpick that many little bitty pinwheels and remake the 48 individual squares it took to make them. So I'm going with, I meant to do that. Other than that, I think they turned out pretty OK.

I used the same fabrics throughout, but each journal is a little different than the others because that's just how scrappy works out. I used some A.H. Arvika that I won during P.'s birthday giveaway for the inside cover and back and put in colored, tabbed pages to divide the book up for putting ideas into different categories. Each divider page has a little quilting quote on it.

There are 50 pages total in each notebook, 10 of which are double-sided graph paper, because I like to draw quilt designs out on graph paper.

I put bright red polka-dots on the back cover because that just seemed like the perfect finishing touch.

I really loved P's response to my journal giveaway, because what she didn't know was that one was already in the mail on the way to her house. When she received it, a little e-mail conversation ensued between us and she said she wanted to know the details of how I made it and wondered if I'd guest blog for her. I told her I was already planning a post on it. And here it is, simul-cast on her blog and mine.

Let's get to the nitty gritty. For a downloadable, printable version of this tutorial, click here. Here's what you'll need to make your own Double Pinwheel String Quilt Journal:
• 20 – 1" strings, at least 5" in length
• 45 – ¾" strings, at least 3½" in length
• 3 – 6¼" x 8½" rectangles of fabric for the inside covers and back of the journal
• A fat eighth each of solid black and solid white fabrics {or your choice of a light and a dark solid fabric}
• ¼ yard Pellon Peltex 72F II double-sided fusible stabilizer {I got mine at JoAnn's, but couldn't find it on their web-site}
Heat n' Bond Lite
• Chipboard Art Journal {Stampin' Up!® item #107065}
• Spiral Border Punch {Stampin' Up!® item #119872}
• Extra-Large Rounded Tab Punch {Stampin' Up!® item #119684}
• Crop-A-Dile {Stampin' Up!® item #108632}
• Craft knife with a sharp blade
• Pinking shears

If you're interested in making a journal with my pattern {which is sized for the Art Journal because I had them already on hand}, I just happen to know the cutest Stampin' Up!® demonstrator you can order your supplies from. Her name is Jenna and she would be more than happy to help you out. If you live in the US, you can place an order through her web-site or you can contact her directly via e-mail. If you live outside the US, visit Stampin' Up!®'s website to find a demonstrator in your own country.

Here is my design layout and the templates for the journal. When you print it out, make sure your printer is set to print at 100%.
Double Pinwheel String Quilt Journal

Use the templates to cut out the double pinwheels. Start with six white {or your choice of light solid} squares cut at 1⅞". Cut them in half on the diagonal and then use the template on the left to cut away the portion that will be the dark double pinwheel. If you need clarification, check out P.'s illustrated instructions. You'll be following the same steps, only on a smaller scale. The template eliminates the need for measuring the angle at which you cut away the excess fabric. Use a ¼" seam throughout.

To make the pinwheels, use the smaller template on the right to cut out 12 pieces from your black fabric {or your choice of light solid}. Make sure that you cut them all with the template right-side up. Use the line on the pattern as the grain line and cut your pieces on the grain.

Assemble the double pinwheel following P.'s illustrated instructions. Make sure you read the part about how to line up the smaller black piece on the white piece {hers are red and blue}, otherwise you'll end up cutting off all your points.

To get started piecing your strings, you'll need a foundation. P. used phone book pages and then tore them away when she was finished. I used foundation sheets, with the intention of leaving them in for extra stablity because of the small scale we're working with here. It did help with that, but even though the sheets are thin, they do add a bit of bulk and when you're working with small pieces, that makes things a little tough. So, it's your call if you want more stability with the foundation sheet or less bulk with old phone book pages {or newsprint} that you will remove later. Whatever your choice, you'll need one 3¼" x 8½" rectangle and six 2" squares.

Mark each foundation piece with a line on the 45˚ angle and begin piecing your string blocks, using the 1" strings on the 3¼" x 8½" rectangle and the ¾" strings on the 2" squares. If you need instructions on piecing your strings, refer to P.'s illustrated tutorial.

When you've finished piecing the string blocks, trim around the edges of all of the pieces and square up the squares to 1⅞" before cutting them in half on the diagonal. When you're finished, you will have 12 string triangles and 12 black and white triangles. Piece them together and then square them up to 1½".

Assemble the pinwheels, again referring to P.'s awesome illustrated instructions if needed. You will have three pinwheels when you finish, which should be squared up 2½".

From your white solid, cut six 1" x 2½" strips and four 1" x 3½" strips. Sew a 2½" strip to the left and right sides of each pinwheel. Then lay the blocks out in a column and sew a 3½" strip in between the blocks and on the top and bottom of the column.

The pinwheel section will be 3½" wide x 8½" tall. Sew this to the 3¼" x 8½" rectangle string block that you pieced earlier. Your patchwork piece will now be 6¼" x 8½", which gives you some wiggle room. Cut a piece of Pellon Peltex 72F II double-sided fusible stabilizer to match your patchwork piece. Use a rotary cutter and ruler so that it is nice and square. Make sure that the protective cellophane is on the back, facing the ironing board {otherwise you'll fuse the whole thing to your ironing board} and iron the patchwork onto the exposed fusible side of the stabilizer. Allow the journal-cover-in-progress to cool completely and then peel away the cellophane. Do all the decorative quilting you'd like on the journal cover, except for the outer edges and along the binder rings.

Turn the journal cover over and fuse the inside cover fabric to the back of the journal cover. Use pinking shears on the top, right and bottom edges and a rotary cutter on the left edge, to trim the cover to the finished size of 5¾" x 8¼".

Remove the chipboard covers from the Art Journal by opening the back cover and pulling the rings apart. Place the chipboard cover over the Double Pinwheel String Quilt Journal and mark the center of each hole along the left side of the journal cover. Use the ¼" punch on the outside handle of the Crop-A-Dile {you know, the one that punches through metal} to punch holes that the binder will go through. Then stitch all the way around the edges of the journal cover.

To make the back cover, fuse a piece of Heat 'n Bond lite to the back of the remaining two 6¼" x 8½" rectangles of fabric. Trim the pieces down to 5¾" x 8¼". Peel the backing off the fabric you chose for the inside and fuse it to the chipboard, making sure to put it on the inside of the back cover. Before you fuse the fabric to the other side, use the craft knife to cut away the fabric covering the holes where the journal binder goes through. Cut two parallel sides from the back and then flip the journal over and cut the remaining two parallel sides to open up the holes. Then fuse the outside fabric to the back cover and cut away the fabric that {again} covers the holes.

Using colored card stock, cut five divider pages at 5½" x 7¾". If you want, add a cute saying or quote to each divider page. I used the following:
In the crazy quilt of life, I'm glad you're on my block of friends. –Unknown
Our lives are like quilts – bits and pieces, joy and sorrow, stitched together with love.
When life gives you scraps, make a quilt. –Unknown
I cannot count my day complete 'til needle, thread and fabric meet. –Unknown
The only place where housework comes before needlework is in the dictionary. –Mary Kurtz

Use the rounded tab punch to make tabs for the pages. To help with even spacing, do the top and bottom tabs first, then center the middle tab directly between the two. Center the second tab between the top and the middle tabs and the fourth tab between the middle and bottom tabs. Use the Spiral Punch to make holes for the binder to go through. Insert the divider pages at intervals through the journal {I did 10 pages to a section}.

If you would like to add graph paper pages, right click on the image to the right and then choose Save Image As from the menu that pops up. Name and save the image to your hard drive. Open a new Word document and set the paper size to 5½" x 7¾", with top, bottom and right margins at .25" and right margin at .55". While you are in the Margins settings, go to the drop-down menu under the Pages heading and choose Mirror Margins. This will allow you to print the graph paper on both sides of the page and avoid printing in the area were the binder goes through the holes. Insert the graph paper image file into the document, setting the size at 7.26" x 4.77". Use the Position selector on the Picture Tools tab, to center the image on the printable area of the paper. I suggest printing a test page before you print on the Art Journal pages to make sure everything lines up right, based on how your printer feeds the paper through.

To reassemble the journal, place the pages onto the binder, right side up. Thread the journal cover through the binder, right side up. Put the back cover on top of the, with the inside back cover facing up. Push the binder back together and then turn the back cover around to the back. Voila. Your Double Pinwheel String Quilt Journal is finished. Now have lots of fun filling it up with beautiful quilt ideas!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sunday Sundry - Vol. 24

Other than finishing the Climbing Lanterns quilt this week (see previous post), there hasn't been much out of the ordinary going on.  I did go to my dad's and help him sort through some keepsakes.  We found a few things I had long forgotten, like this...

Taken at vacation church school.  I'm only five and already taller than the boys.

And this gem, upon which I have no comment...

You can laugh all you want, I can't hear you.  I still like purple and yellow together, but mainly in my flower beds.  Lucky for your eyeballs.

Dad tossed this into the garbage as we were sorting, but I retrieved it.  It was a greeting card on some kind of flocked background.  For things like this, I love the '70s.  He said he had it displayed on his desk at work for a long time.  It still works.

This turn-the-wheel thingamajig was used to calculate how to reduce or enlarge his parts drawings on the copy machine back in the day.  I bet that machine took up half a small room.

Apparently, I won honorable mention in some art contest in eighth grade.  I have no recollection of this whatsoever.  I wonder what the piece looked like.  Must not have been a keeper.

It wasn't "Flame," that's for sure.  I don't remember drawing this, but the wavy printing in No. 2 pencil gives it away.  And the fact that it was done on erasable typing paper medium.  And who is Flame, anyway?  Was that the name of a horse in the Best of the West toy set by Marx?  No, that was Thunderbolt.  Anyway, there's an artist who knows who Flame the Horse is, and she's pretty good.  I don't know her, I just Googled.

A True Hit
Speaking of westerns, Norm and I went to see the movie True Grit yesterday.  What a great film.  Jeff Bridges as U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn is worth the price of admission alone, but all the acting was excellent (Matt Damon, Josh Brolin, and a young woman named Hailee Steinfeld as the movie's heroine).  The dialogue was delightful and witty.  Yep, the Coen brothers hit it out of the park with this one.

Baby It's Cold Outside
Once upon a time, there was a girl who loved winter.  She went ice-skating at the rink down the block several nights a week.  She built snowmen and snow forts, threw snowballs and made snow angels.  She sledded and tobogganed for hours on end.  She went on long snowmobile rides and learned to cross country ski.  And ice fish.  Okay, only once with the fishing, but there was no ice shanty involved and a manual auger.

Winter 1981.  Do they still make Old Style?

Anyway, now?  Not so much.  Though I kind of miss those days when I enjoyed winter more.  The closest I've come is wiping out in the snow on my 100-yard commute to work recently, which cracked me up (as in funny, nothing broken).  I think the neighbor saw me and took pity.  He has since snow-blowed a path for me through his side yard.

I will be enjoying the Packers v. Bears NFC championship game today from the warmth and comfort of my living room.  It should be a good one.

What's on your agenda today?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

PhD Challenge Finish No. 2 - Climbing Lanterns

My original title for this post was Donde Esta La After Party, which is the title to a catchy song (hear it below).  However, I reconsidered in favor of consistency in naming my PhD Challenge finishes...and being less cryptic.

I am ready to find that after party though, because the Climbing Lanterns quilt is...dun-dun-dun...DONE!  

I know you will join me in praising the heavens above, mainly because after today we can move on to other quilt-in-progress pictures.  I've probably about worn you out with this one.  After this post, I will have for sure.

As you can see, I did an overall meander to quilt it.  It seemed like the thing to do, with the various appliqued parts (some flat, some fluffy) to maneuver around.  

Where the corners got tight, the meander got smaller.  It made sense to me at the time, and I went with it.  I used Isacord thread, as it's what I had available and had nixed my first idea of a variegated thread.  The Isacord is fine, silky, and has a sheen to it, which worked for this wall hanging.  I don't think I'd use it on a bed quilt though.  When I had to unpick a few stitches in a couple areas, it shredded pretty easily.

Here are some more close-ups.  I was a great ball of insecurity when I started quilting this, but now that it's behind me, I am pretty happy with the result.  

(Center of Back)
 Is it just me, or do you ever feel "meh" about the quilting at first, but 24-48 hours later, you're like, "day-um, that looks all right."  Because that has been my experience.

Norm was holding it up for me here, but standing in the basement sewing room with low ceilings under a fluorescent light was not very conducive to a good photo.  Whaddaya gonna do when it's dark and approaching negative digits outside?  Anyway, you get the idea of how it might look hanging on a wall.

So there it is, almost a year later, finished...after falling in love with the Lantern Bloom fabric line...finding a free pattern online...then grousing about how the branches on the original pattern resembled a craggy apple tree instead of something Chinese lanterns would actually grow on...enlisting my daughter to draw what we thought was a better version of the stems...getting only so far before abandoning the project in favor of other things...losing it behind the futon for awhile (the WIP, not my wits)...signing up for a challenge to inspire me to finish it...feeling the fear and quilting it anyway. 

A long road that ends in a happy place!

Thanks for joining me in a virtual celebration of the journey.  Now, donde esta la after party?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?

Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict is hosting a Friday linky party for anyone wanting to celebrate their creative accomplishments this week.  

While I don't have a complete finish to show, I did get some things done on the Climbing Lanterns project this week.  After languishing for almost a year in a state of in-between, I am happy to say that it is finally ready for quilting and binding.

The top is done.  Yay!

I was going to baste it a few days ago but realized I didn't have a backing ready.  So I made one.

Then work got in the way of basting it...until this evening, when I had an unexpected night off.  

Basting:  Check!

So those are my steps worth celebrating this week—top done, backing made, quilt basted. 

And now, on to the part I am unsure of the most.  Anyone else get butterflies the moment the presser foot goes down over your project and the quilting foot starts hopping?  

Well, I made myself this visual aid to spur me on, use as a mantra, or possibly throw darts at if things go badly.  A reminder to just do it, already.

Whatever it takes, right?  Now, deep breaths...

Men's Shirt Sew-Along

I've decided to jump on board the Men's Shirt Sew-Along at Male Pattern Boldness!


I just happen to have thrifted this vintage (c. 1943) men's shirt pattern, Simplicity No. 1961, sometime during the past year or so.  I'll be making View 2.

Now, my husband isn't going to wear this, I am!  The pattern is my size, thankfully, so I won't have to resize it (then I would be lost), except for adding probably 2-1/2 inches to the length of the body and the sleeves.  Yes, I'm gangly like that.

But I figure View 2 is feminine looking enough with the lower patch pockets, the rounded cuffs, and the gathered back yoke.  I'll probably fem it up a bit more by reversing the way it buttons up the front and possibly changing the line of the collar slightly.  We'll see.  

I'll be making it in this fabulous Michael Miller Carnival Bloom corduroy that I ordered yesterday from

Isn't it cute?  Flower power!

The idea would be to wear the shirt open with a T-shirt underneath, like so:

This pattern has very good instructions, and although it's a fairly simple pattern, there is attention to detail in the construction of it.  Flat-fell seams...

...and hand-worked buttonholes.  That'll be a first for me (or not).

The sew-along gets underway February 1.  Peter plans to have us make a muslin first, which I'm happy for.  No one wants to make a wadder, after all.

Anyone else want to join in?  Head over to Male Pattern Boldness for the details.  He's set up a Flickr group too.

I'm excited about this!  In the meantime, though, I need to clear the deck of that pesky but beautiful PhD Challenge project I'm working on!  

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sunday Sundry - Vol. 23

Progress continues to be made on the Climbing Lanterns quilt project.  Today I stitched down the Chinese lanterns and stuffed them lightly.  A chopstick just happened to be the right tool for the job.  

It wasn't as difficult as I thought it might be to machine applique the top of the pieces down, being gathered and all.  I just stitched over that area first and left an opening for the stuffing along the side instead of at the top.  I used a stabilizer on the back for the zigzagging around the lanterns, which helped.

Next step:  Basting and quilting.  Again, there is some trepidation (how am I going to quilt it? and what if the quilting sucks?), but I'm trying not to freak myself out and just put one stitch in front of the other.  So far, it's working.
The Eyes Have It
"Your retinas are gorgeous."

I blinked and leaned in slightly until my forehead made gentle contact in the dimly lit room.

"Thanks," I replied.  "I guess I've never heard that one before."

It wasn't a pickup line.  It was a comment by my examiner in the Eye Study I participated in on Wednesday.  And I bet she says that to a lot of people.  Still, a compliment's a compliment, and I'll take it.  Good to know my peepers are healthy!

Nifty Thrifties
It was a good week for thrifting at Goodwill.  There were useful household things, like new-with-tags kitchen towels, an oven mitt, a vintage muslin sheet (potential quilt back?), as well as a yard of stars and stripes fabric.  

There were some other things too, including a vintage card shuffler, which may be heading to eBay.

Found a pretty piece of pink Pyrex! Blogged about at The Pyrex Collective.

And look what my friend Marie gave me today, in lieu of throwing them away!

Can you believe it?  How sweet is that?  I just love them!

Speaking of Pride and Prejudice...
Which is how my friend Kathy segued into a discussion on the topic Saturday morning.  Subtle, is what she is.  And funny.  Two of the many reasons I like her so much.

I have posted here before about Pride & Prejudice, one of my favorite movies, the 2007 version, mostly because I am not-so-secretly in love with Matthew Macfadyen.

As are a whole lot of other people, apparently.  If Google Analytics can be trusted, this post continues to be my most popular one of all time, racking up a couple hundred hits a month.  Who knew?

Anyway, Kathy received for Christmas a copy of the movie I had blathered on about and, after watching it, was sorely disappointed!  Over breakfast with Marie and I on Saturday morning, she cited her objections, including characters and storylines that were altogether missing, a butler who wasn't even the right sex (!), and so on.

She proposed that we rectify this by watching the BBC version of P&P, and so we have set a date to do just that.  I am so looking forward to it!  According to Kathy, it runs very true to the Jane Austen novel (not that I would know).  This is the one with Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy and takes about 6 hours to get through.  Actually, I think I saw it on PBS many years ago, but most of it has since fallen through the fine sieve that is my brain, so it'll be like seeing it for the first time.  Yay for middle age!

Clap On, Clap Off
This had me laughing out loud today!

And Finally
Thank you to Sarah of Confessions of a Fabric Addict for mentioning The Way I Sew It on the Surfin' Saturday blog feature this week.  I am so very honored.  I had to laugh at the picture she had of me in my jammies—eek!  Sarah's a dear, though, and one of the most prolific quilters I know.  She turns out such beautiful quilts week after week for her quilt ministry and is such an inspiration.

That about wraps it up for this edition of Sunday Sundry.  Thank you all for visiting!  Stay warm and think spring (it's never too early)!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

What Does P. Stand For?

I want to show you what I'm working on, but first...

Oh.Em.Gee!  Look what Elizabeth did!  And she is giving it away!! 

She used my Double Pinwheel String Quilt tute to make this quilt journal cover, and it is SO beautiful!  I have tears in my eyes right now!

Head on over to Such a Sew and Sew and (a) tell her Happy Birthday, and (b) enter to win any or all of her giveaways this week.  She is so talented and such a sweetheart!

Now, what I have been working on?  One of my PhD Challenge projects!

This is for the Climbing Lanterns wall hanging that I started almost a year ago.  Sheesh.  Yes, sometimes P. stands for Procrastination. 

And this is what happens when you ignore your WIPs...

...they hide on you!  It fell behind the futon and sat there for who knows how long, keeping a very low profile.  I got a glimpse of it while standing at the ironing board one day.  Come out, come out wherever you are!

I finally sewed down the stems last night.  After experimenting with different stitches on a scrap, I finally decided on one that does four stitches and then a zig, four stitches and a zag, etc.  I wanted to do a blanket stitch but this was as close as I could get on my 1960's Singer Touch & Sew with cams.  Yes, it is old, but it does the job.  The Juki and the Singer 301 are only straight stitch machines, and I recently gave the Kenmore to my daughter (yay, she is sewing!).

This morning, I hand-gathered the Chinese lantern pieces.  These will be appliqued onto the stems after they are stuffed lightly for dimensional effect.

I have no idea how tricky it will be to applique over the gathered part, but I guess I'll find out.

Today, P. stands for Progress!