Sunday, October 31, 2010

Strings from Stash is Done!!

I put the last stitches in the binding of Strings from Stash on Friday night.  Woo hoo!  I love, love, love this quilt.  It was so much fun to make from start to finish.  The story of this quilt is this post and this post.  The second post also includes a tutorial on how to make string blocks if anyone is interested in making a quilt like this themselves.  It's really quite easy.

Here is the finished quilt:

And here's the back:

So far this weekend I have been like a quilter possessed working on Indian Summer.  I made the backing yesterday morning, got the quilt layered and basted and I am half done with the quilting.  I'm hoping to finish up the quilting today.

Oh, and as a side note, Echo has received no less then 2 more baths from Maya since I posted about the first one on Thursday.  He seems to like it, so whatever floats his boat I guess LOL.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Recycled Afghan Project in Progress

A few months ago I posted about recycling the yarn from various afghans.  The first one I started with was one that I had made quite a few years ago.  This is the afghan before I took it apart:

When I needed something mindless to work on over the last few months, I pulled out the balls of yarn from this afghan and have been making these 11 x 11 inch squares.  My tentative plan is to sew them together into a rug.  The crocheting is very tight so the squares are pretty sturdy and I think could hold up fairly well as a decorative rug. 

Here are the five squares I've completed so far along with the current balls of yarn I'm working with.  I believe I got about 14 large balls from the afghan:

And here is a closeup of a couple of the blocks.  I just weave in the next color when I run out of the previous one and then trim the ends once the block is done.  I'm using different balls of yarn at the same time to make sure I have enough variety of color in each block.  I'm not real pleased with the one that ended up with so much white, but I'm hoping that if I put it between blocks with only a small amount of white, that it will balance out.

I've been lax lately about taking pictures of the felines, but I did get a couple recently.  Here's miss princess (Sassy) surveying her kingdom from atop the plant shelf.

And poor Echo.  Maya decided that he needed a bath again yesterday *sigh*.  She is very thorough and he is very tolerant except if she tries to wash his private parts LOL.  Yesterday she just licked and licked and licked for about five minutes before he got tired of it and walked away.  She just followed him and started up again LOL.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Indian Summer Top is Complete!

Dawn and I both purchased this kit by Judy Niemeyer during a Memorial Day sale in 2009.  The kit included all batik fabrics, but they were random colors rather than autumn colors, so not quite as much of an Indian Summer look like on the pattern cover, but pretty nevertheless.  We both worked on the quilts last summer and I got as far as the quilt center before I got burned out on paper piecing.  Never one to leave a project unfinished for any length of time, Dawn soldiered on and completed the flying geese pieced border using the foundations provided in the kit and ultimately had her quilt top complete by the end of the summer.  Mine has been sitting in the closet since then.

Last weekend when I was at her house, she had gotten her quilt basted and was starting on the quilting.  Well, that prompted me to drag mine out for our quilting day yesterday.  In the spirit of actually getting it done, I went with plain borders rather than the flying geese, although I did use the same fabric that I had planned to use with the pieced border.  I also cut the binding strips, which will be the same burgundy fabric as in the inner border.  Dawn used the same fabric for her inner border and for her binding as we bought it at the same time, but my outer border came from my stash, as did all of the fabrics that I am using for the back.  Gotta love that stash!  Here is my finished top: 

And here is Dawn's with the flying geese border:

I find it interesting that even though we started out with identical fabrics in our kits, our quilts still ended up looking different due to the different fabric combinations that we used in each block.  Her top is also slightly larger than mine as she used the piecing lines for flannel so that her blocks would end up a bit larger.  I used the regular lines for mine.

Getting those borders cut and sewed on, and the binding strips cut, was the only thing I got done yesterday!  It was a heavy talking day, we took a long lunch, and we both got multiple phone calls during the day, so I suppose it's not bad considering the amount of time that we actually spent quilting was not that long.  I'm hoping to get the back made soon so I can get going on the quilting.  Now that I've got the top done, I'm anxious to get this quilt completely done.  I'm thinking I may hang it on what will soon be one of MY walls.  I'm really looking forward to making this place mine.  It should be fun!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Progress on Christmas Gifts and a Little Stash Enhancement

I spent yesterday at Dawn's and actually did some sewing!  The last time I did any sewing was also at Dawn's house.  It seems when I'm home lately I'm either working on work or working in the garage lol.  But yesterday I got started on my sister's Christmas gifts.  I got two of her table mats cut out and pieced.  Both of them are made from patterns, something that is rare for me, and I followed the directions exactly, which is even rarer for me LOL.  Usually I design my own quilts or at the very least, rewrite the instructions for somebody else's design to make it more "me friendly".  But not this time.  I followed the instructions for both patterns to the letter.

Here's the first one.  The fabrics were kitted up with the pattern at the quilt shop in Devils Lake, ND, and I thought they did a fabulous job with the fabric choices.

This quilts is from this pattern by G.E. Designs.  It's designed as a Quilt As You Go pattern, but I wanted to be a bit more creative with the quilting, so I just pieced the top as instructed and will baste it and quilt it the traditional way.  My sister wants one more topper in this pattern, with different fabrics, so you will be seeing this design again, probably soon.

I also pieced this little table topper.  It is from this pattern by Atkinson Designs.  This is a great pattern that is pretty easy to piece if you are careful with the bias edges and follow the instructions exactly.  As a bonus, it comes in 3 sizes.  I made the smallest size.

You will also be seeing this pattern again as my sister picked out one more set of fabrics that she wants made up in this design.

And here are the new batiks I got last week that I mentioned in my last post.  All southwest designs, of which I don't really have many in batiks, so they will be a nice addition to my stash.

And the cat backing I got for 40% off and a random dot fat quarter that I found in the $1.25 bin.  The dot fabric is a Michael Miller fabric and the cat fabric is from a new line by Red Rooster.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Fall Quilt Parade

Fall is my favorite season and it is finally starting to arrive in Phoenix.  Well sort of.  It's cooling down at night and only in the 90's during the day.  That is cool compared to 105 plus temperatures that we were experiencing previously with low's in the 80's overnight.  We have actually been able to shut the A/C off a couple of nights and open the windows.

I think part of why I love fall is that I'm a fall baby.  In fact, today is my birthday and it has been a great day!  I had some final tax work to finish for the deadline tomorrow, but it only took a few hours.  Then this afternoon Dawn had to run to the quilt shop for some thread, so I went along since I was done with my work.  We both found some great batiks, on sale for 20% off, and then I also found a really cute cat fabric that I bought for a backing using a 40% off coupon.  I don't think I would have bought anything had I not gotten a discount...the regular price per yard on all of the fabrics I got was $10.59.  Ouch.  I knew prices were going up, but to see even regular cotton fabrics priced at over $10/yard was hard to swallow.  I can understand the batiks somewhat, but they were the same price as the regular fabrics.  Go figure.  Seeing those prices really makes me appreciate my stash even more.

It has been busy, busy, busy around here between work and divorce stuff.  We got everything hammered out last week and filed the papers on Wednesday.  Now we just wait until January when everything can be finalized.    AZ has a mandatory 60 day waiting period and since that puts us into December we decided to just wait until January to finalize everything and file taxes jointly for 2010, which will save quite a bit in tax.  Why pay more just to have everything finalized a few weeks earlier.  We bought a ticket for T's father to fly in on 12/5.  They will pick up the moving truck on the 6th, load it up and be on their way to Ohio with a stop in Texas to pack up the stuff in that house.  In the meantime, we have been spending many hours going through things to split them up, getting rid of what neither of us wants, and then packing what T will be taking with him.  We started with the garage and have made a lot of progress, but there is still lots more to go.  

So on to the Fall Quilt Parade that I mentioned in the title to my post.  Having been busy lately with so many other things, I've done virtually nothing on the quilting front.  I have put some stitches in the binding of Strings from Stash, but that's about it, and I haven't even done that for over a week.  Since I have nothing current to show, I've decided to share a few of the fall quilts I've made over the years.

The quilt below is one of the very first quilts I pieced when I started quilting in 2001 and I still love it to this day.  I call it Moda Bear Paw because all of the fabric for the blocks was from Moda and the block is the Bear Paw block.  I am so creative with my quilt names, aren't I?  LOL

I've also made a few fall items for my sister - two small table quilts and a set of placemats.

And this last quilt was made from the rejected 4 patch units from a queen size quilt I made for my soon to be ex MIL.  The orange didn't play nicely with the rest of the fabrics in that quilt, but it was perfect with the batik I had in my stash that I used for the border.

Monday, October 4, 2010

My How Time Flies (Warning - Heavy on Pet Pics)

It's hard to believe that it's been a year since we went to the shelter to look at Echo and came home with both of these cuties:

We had lost our 19 1/2 year old cat two days previously and he was the second cat we lost in 2009, so I was already scoping out the shelters by the afternoon of his passing.  I finally found Echo on the Arizona Humane Society site and decided to go down and look at him.  Sassy ended up being in the cage right next to him, so the next thing you know we are coming home with both of them.  We had started the year with four cats, so it wasn't really a stretch to consider going back to being a four cat household.

Both Sassy and Echo had to be in quarantine for two weeks due to kitty colds.  We set up a dog crate in my office and Echo stayed in there at night and had the run of the office during the day, while Sassy took up residence in the guest bathroom, which didn't make her very happy at all.  We used the two weeks to introduce them to the dogs since they weren't contagious to them, just the other cats.

Here's Sassy in her temporary room, showing off her bald little belly.  She had been just been spayed a few days before we adopted her.

Sassy didn't care for the dogs too much at first, but Echo took to them right away.  Here's him meeting Koda.  Is that not too cute how he put his little paw on Koda's?  He does that to me when he lays on my desk while I'm working...rests his little paw on my hand.  I think it's to make sure that I don't forget he's there.  Like I could miss him laying across my desk LOL.

He was equally friendly with Maya:

Once she was free from the bathroom, Sassy pretty much took over the place and apparently no longer had any concerns about the dogs:

Sassy hard at work on the laptop:

And a few more random Sassy pictures from her first month with us:

Here is what Echo's head looked like after his first unsupervised play date with Koda.  Don't worry, he was fine!

And more random Echo photos from his first month with us:

And finally, this is why we didn't put up a Christmas tree last year.  We did a test run with it up for a couple of days with no decorations.  In previous years, the top of the tree was not bent at a 90 degree angle, nor did it include a cat as a topper, so down it came after we found this one day.  The tree is 8 feet tall, so Echo was about 6 feet up.  We thought taking it down was the best move for everyone's sanity at that point, but mainly ours.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


Progress seemed like an appropriate title to this post since I did make a lot of progress on things these week.  Except for work.  I'm way behind with that, so it could get crazy this coming week with the 10/15 tax deadline coming up.  I find it adds to the suspense and excitement of a deadline to not receive the information until the very last minute.  And then there's the returns for which I haven't even received the information yet.  That's even more exciting.  I'm not sure what the strategy is there on the part of the client.  I mean, do you really want me to have to scramble to finish your return, and barely have enough time to input the information, or would you rather give me a little more time so I could actually look at things and perhaps ask follow up questions that might save you some money?  Personally I'd like the latter approach, but apparently some people do not.  I guess they just like to live on the edge.  To each their own.

But I digress.  As I said, I did make progress on some other things this week.  Most of the week was spent hammering out the asset division and other aspects of the divorce and preparing the Petition for filing.  With any luck, I will be able to file tomorrow, or at the very least, in the next few days, so that is great news.  And I think we are both as satisfied as we can be at this point, so that is good too.

Thankfully after a week of dealing with divorce stuff, I had a quilting day scheduled yesterday at Dawn's.  As usual, it was a great day and we both got a lot done.  Dawn worked on quilting this great cat quilt she is making for her MIL for Christmas and I assembled the quilt center for this quilt.  It really doesn't look much different than the picture in the previous post except Laura was kind enough to email me and tell me that I had a block turned the wrong way so I did remedy that.  With no seams to match up, this top was a piece of cake to assemble. 

I'm not sure what I'm doing yet for the borders.  I'm thinking that a pieced border might be nice, particularly if I could use up the partial strip sets that I didn't use for the blocks.  We'll see.  I'll have to think on that for awhile.  I also started stitching a cross stitch ornament this week, but the part that's done is really nothing to see at this point, so I'll wait to show that until I'm further along.

I didn't take any decent cat pictures this week, but I did catch Maya looking pretty in the living room a couple of days ago.  The dogs will be going with T eventually, so I will enjoy them while they are still here.  I will miss them, well mostly Maya because Koda is a pain most of the time, but I just can't realistically handle all six animals and the house on my own.