Monday, August 31, 2015

Put It In A Bottle And Ship It On Down The Line

Stomp, stomp them grapes ... and make that wine.

Ok, so we didn't stomp them, and we didn't make wine.  Paul, however, did harvest all these bad boys the other day.  Then he removed them all from their stems and gave them a nice soak.

We wound up with a haul of just over 30 pounds of Concord grapes.  30 pounds!

 What do you do when you have 30 pounds of grapes?  Spend all day making jam, that's what!  This was just the first batch, which used about 10 pounds.  When all was said and done, we had 16- 1/2 pint jelly jars, and 10- 1 pint jars full of grape jam.  Good thing most of our neighbors have kids, because there's no way we can eat that much jam.

Last week I finished up the quilting on another of those nearly 2 decade old tops.  I never showed a photo of it because it looks really strange with all those blue marks on it.  I did some free motion quilting on this one.  It's a bit wobbly, but not too bad for a first effort.  I will hopefully have the binding completed today, then it can go in the wash, and have its picture taken for tomorrow's blog post.

I pulled out another of those old tops and got fabric for another border and backing/binding.  I think this one will be quilted in a spiral with the walking foot, like I did with the other interlocking rings top.  If all goes as planned, I should have this finished by the weekend, and another of these old quilts will be off the to-do shelf.

The next of the JoAnn BOM kit blocks went together without a problem, so I now have a cute little schoolhouse block to add to the pile.

The log cabin block, however ....

I was merrily sewing strips, when all of a sudden, my next strip was too long.  I checked the pattern, yep, this was the strip I was supposed to be using.  I double checked the photo on the package, yep, this was the strip I was supposed to be using.  Then I noticed that the strip I should sew after this one appeared to be the size I needed.  When I went back to the pattern, I noticed that in two spots on one side only, the order you sew the strips on was changed.

So, what you get in the bottom left corner is some kind of non-staggering weirdness.

And then, the best part, is that the final strip has this horrible defect.  I will have to trim this last round of strips down by almost 1/2" due to this.  This is what happens when we rely too much on machinery and take out human quality control.  Five more blocks to go.  I can't wait to see what they have in store for me! LOL

Saturday, August 29, 2015

I Hear You Knockin', But You Can't Come In

 I was telling someone the other day that we hadn't had much luck with our garden this year.  The flower gardens that the previous owner put in (and they are numerous) are overgrown, but the veggies we planted haven't done much.  There just hasn't been enough rain this summer for them to flourish.

We did get one cucumber and a handful of baby carrots that I used in a pasta salad.  The cherry tomatoes that Paul put in a hanging planter did okay.  I've made a pasta salad of some sort every week and haven't had to buy tomatoes for them, so that's a plus.  We got a few small beefsteak tomatoes, and I used them in a tomato cream pasta sauce the other night.  Yummy.

The only thing that is doing well is the gourd.  And OMGsh is it doing well.  It's a bit creepy truth to tell.  It has completely taken over the side garden, has pushed it's way through the privacy fence to the front garden, is climbing the chain link to get into the neighbor's yard, and is covering my living room window.  I swear it knocks on that window at night begging to be let in from the cold.  It's like something from a bad scifi movie.  I hope the gourds it produced fare well through this early chill at night.  I really want some cute birdhouses for the yard next year.

I am such a serial starter!  I can't help it.  I see something; decide it would look great here, there, somewhere; and have to get supplies to start it.  Seriously, it's like a mental disorder.  If I don't start it right away, I get antsy, distracted, and sometimes even grumpy.  I lose interest in the other projects I have started and make life generally unpleasant for the guys in the house.  Poor Paul, Sebastian, and Digit.

So, to save them grief, when I spied this while flipping through cross stitch magazines, I didn't even try to stop myself beginning to stitch.

This really shouldn't take that long to stitch up.  No back stitching, no filling in, just some swirly curls in 2 colors of orange.  A nice soothing piece to work on while watching the boob tube in the evenings.  I'm planning to add quilted borders to this and use it as a table topper.

Now that the loom is put back to rights, I was able to get a tad bit of weaving done the other day.  I can see waffles!!!  I need to figure out something for this.  I was planning to work on it on the enclosed porch, but Sebastian is horrible out there, and he's definitely a velcro dog and feels he needs to be stuck to me 24/7.  I might need to move the loom to the spare room after Jenn visits and work on this up there under the Ott light.

Another Framed block completed yesterday.  I've been doing some chain piecing on this and believe that I can have the rest of the blocks finished tomorrow.  I'll be putting it aside when they are done because I really need to get another top quilted before getting this one ready.

Also finished the too small applique block I was working on for the lap quilt.  I can't believe the base fabric was 1/2" too small in this kit.  I'll have to add some kind of border to this to fix that.

Friday, August 28, 2015

On Pins And Needles

I worked a bit on the Shaker Sewing Set yesterday afternoon.  Once I got started, it didn't take long to get the pieces all assembled.

The pincushion box only needed a running stitch added to the stitched piece to cinch it to the foamy cushion, then some craft glue to hold it to the lid.  I love it!  Now if I can just keep Digit from knocking it off the table as he is wont to do.

The needle book took the most time to put together, but still didn't take long at all.  Getting cardboard cut to the right size and glued in the right place for the cover was fiddly, but worth it in the end.

I used some beautiful felted wool as the pages.  Now I only need to add the trim and this is done.

The scissor fob took all of about 3 minutes to get to this point.  Just needed to add some interfacing to the stitched piece, then sew it to a backing and stuff.  As with the needle book, all that's left is to add the trim.

After getting those half square triangles cut down to their proper size, the bear claw square went together easily.  I pulled out the next square to work on and discovered that it, too, has size issues.  Only this time, the piece is too small and not too big.  A bit hard to create an applique square that is 12 1/2" x 12 1/2" finished, when the base piece is only 12" x 12" to begin with.  I won't be tempted to buy JoAnn BOM kits again.

 Finished another block for the Framed quilt too.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Sh Sh Sh Shaker

This morning I finished another of the Framed quilt blocks.  10 more to go.  Still loving the colors in this, but can't say that my photos are doing any justice to them.

While digging through boxes looking for all those quilt tops I made years ago, I came across 9 block of the month kit packages.  This one is from JoAnn's 1998 Classic quilt.  I don't remember getting these, so I'm not sure if I stopped buying them after the 9 I have, or if I've misplaced the other 3 in the various moves I've made in the past 17 years.

In any event, I decided to work up the 9 I have and make a lap quilt with them.  I sewed the triangles into squares; yes, more half square triangles!  All of the squares are 1/4" too big.  Odd.  I double checked my seaming.  Yep, they came out 2 1/2" square (more or less).  And the squares they are to be sewn to to make a row are only 2 1/4" square.  So, I spent some time cutting those down.  Hopefully, I'll have time either this evening or tomorrow morning to get this block finished.

I started feeling guilty about starting so many new projects, so I pulled out one that was all but done, and will spend some time finishing it up today and tomorrow.  My friend, Amanda, and I both started this sewing set in 2012.  I lost track of mine during my move in 2013, but pulled it out again last summer I think, and finished up all the cross stitch.

I take that back, I finished up my cross stitch in Spring last year, because Paul bought me the shaker box to finish the sewing box for my birthday.

I have all my supplies ready, including the shaker pincushion box.  I don't think finishing these pieces should take very long. A bit of glue for the pincushion; a couple of seams and a bit of stuffing for the scissor fob; and a few seams for the needle book are all that's needed.  Why do I get to this point so often, then put away projects?  It's insane!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

In The Meadow We Can Build A Snowman

The postman brought me a nice package yesterday!  My last picture really didn't show the details of this very well, so here's a better one.  Can't wait to get started on this!  I think a trip to get supplies after my daughter's visit is in order.  I'm considering doing this in blue instead of the red.

I spied a quilt that really caught my eye in a magazine recently.  I normally like more classic, patchwork type quilts, and this one is definitely modern.  For some reason, this one caught my fancy, and i kept turning back to the page it was pictured on.  I'm not sure if it was the pattern, or the colors that grabbed my attention, but in any event, I gathered supplies and will be making this one for myself.  I chose colors very similar to those in the magazine; a light, medium, and dark turquoise, and a light, medium and dark blue.  That grayish looking fabric towards the bottom of the photo is actually light blue, and the muddy looking one is very crisp white.

I got all my pieces cut last night, and this morning I put together my first square.  11 more to go!

 Yesterday afternoon, I finally got around to working up my next Civil War Sampler block.  I'll be glad when the blocks composed of eleventy bazillion half square triangles are done.  No matter how carefully I cut, and no matter how slowly I stitch, I still have issues with the bias on these.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

A Hole In The Head, Oh Yes Please

Friday I received the upgrade kit for my loom, but I wasn't able to actually upgrade the loom until Sunday.  I had already decided that I was taking a road trip on Saturday to get a couple more Row by Row kits.  

I was on the road fairly early Saturday and listened to an audio book on my drive.  The first shop I visited didn't have any kits left, so I settled for just the free pattern.  Also picked up a layer cake to add to my Civil War Sampler fabrics, and a kit for an applique table runner.  The second shop had the kit for their row, so I grabbed that, and I found a strip pack that will work great with that first pattern I picked up.  I think I'm done getting rows now.  I had initially picked out 12 that I want, but the 4 that I haven't grabbed yet are 6 hour drives from here.  Not sure I have it in me for 2 weekend long trips by myself, so I'm going to settle for using the 8 I have and call it a day.

Anyway, Sunday afternoon Paul and I finished removing the warp from the loom, then installed the upgrade kit.  Isn't it pretty in all its black metal glory?  The instructions for placing the earth magnet have much to be desired, and we wound up drilling 2 holes in the front and 3 in the back before all was said and done.  Very frustrating!

I spent the rest of the day Sunday redressing the loom, and last night Paul helped me get it wrapped onto the back bar. This afternoon I will probably spend some time getting them all tied to the front bar so I'm ready to start weaving.

As if I didn't have enough on my hands already, I got it in my head to do something to recycle these old bath towels.

Pinterest was consulted and I found myself cutting 1/2" x 5" strips like this.  If you choose to do this yourself, be aware that there will be terry bits and pieces everywhere.  And I do mean everywhere.  It appears to multiply.  The floor of my sewing room looks like 10 towels were run through a food processor instead of just 1/4 of 1 towel was cut into strips.

After cutting these strips, I am tying them to this rug canvas.  Once complete, this should be a cushy bath mat.  I plan to do this in a checkerboard pattern since I have 2 colors to work with.

 There were quite a few interesting ideas for recycling towels on Pinterest.  Good thing I have so many of them to recycle huh?

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

Oh my goodness!  I never win anything, but I just won the most fantastic prize!  Karen from Karen's Quilting had a drawing to pass on her Winter Wonderland Quilt pattern and my name came up!  I'm so excited.  Here is a photo of the pattern package.  The center panel is all embroidery.  Can't wait to get started on this.  If you want to see a beautiful version of this, pop over to see Karen's on her blog.

I realized last night that I had completely forgotten to post a photo of this week's Civil War Sampler block.  I finished it this past weekend, but with all the hoopla with the loom, I forgot to show it off.  I had some issues with bias on this block, so I'll have to do some creative adjustments when I add sashing to this one.  I guess I need to slow down when working with these half square triangles.

This was the state of my loom yesterday.  Sigh.  Paul helped me get some of the warp taken off last night.  I was originally hoping to keep the warp on the loom and install the ratchet/pawl upgrade kit around it, but after looking at the instructions online, there's no way that is going to happen.  Now I'm hoping to get the warp removed and save it somehow.

I've been wrapping the pieces up on a shoebox.  In my mind, this will work out nicely.  We'll see once the upgrade kit arrives, which should be by this weekend.  Sunday afternoon will most likely be spent upgrading the loom.

I finished the quilting on this little 9 patch lap quilt.  I was going to do a spiral starting from the bottom right also, but once I finished the first one, I felt there would be too much overlap and decided against it.  I have a few ends to bury and the binding to sew down, then this is done.

I do like how this turned out, but ...

... I still think I like the back better.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Oh What A Tangled Web We Weave

No progress on the waffle weave towels to show.  Why?  Well, you see that thing in the photo below?  That's the ratchet on the back bar of my loom.  It's plastic.  The teeth bent.

See that bird shaped thing below the ratchet?  It's the pawl for the back bar of my loom.  It is supposed to be above the ratchet, not below.  The beak shaped part fits into the ratchet to hold the bar in place and keep tension on my warp.  I was merrily weaving along and POP. The pawl must have been in the ratchet at a spot where the teeth were bent, the ratchet gave way, and the pawl was forced under when the tension was released.  My warp quickly unwound and was on the floor.  The cat was watching the warp with huge black eyes.  The dog came running to see if he could "help".  Chaos ensued.

This particular loom is now sold with metal parts, and there is an upgrade kit available.  Wish I had known that before beginning this.  I would have ordered a kit, and waited to get started.  My warp now looks like this.  A bit of a tangled mess on the front bar.  I'm hoping to get an upgrade kit soon, have Paul help me get it installed on the back bar, spend many hours fussing to get the warp wound back onto the back bar, hold it in place with its pretty new metal parts, install the new metal ratchet and pawl on the front bar, and try again.  Whew!  I'm tired just thinking about it.

In happier news, the random number generator has chosen the convertible mittens I was making for Paul.  They were lost in the shuffle when I only had 2" of the first cuff done.  This is what happens when you cast on 17 projects folks.  I do not recommend it!  We watched two movies last night, during which I finished the first cuff, completed the thumb gusset, and worked within 3 rounds of separating for the fingers.  If I keep up at that rate, I'll get these done within a week!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

It's just a jump to the left ....

Look what arrived in the mail yesterday!!

Look what I did last night!!

Any guess as to what I'll be doing this afternoon??

Wish me luck in my endeavor to master waffle weave.  Hopefully there will be enough progress to show tomorrow.  Even after warping the loom for 2 towels, and winding the shuttles, it barely looks like a dent has been put in the cones.  I think I'll get quite a few towels out of this!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Too Many Green Apples Will Give You a Tummy Ache

 It's done!  It's done! After being a neglected UFO for the better part of 5 1/2 years, it's done!

And I adore it!  I don't know why I kept putting this aside.  I love the combination of turquoise and apple green.  I love the soothing repetition of garter stitch.  I love how slimming the style of this jacket is.  So what kept me from finishing it for so long?  Seriously, this might be the longest it has ever taken me to finish a knit project.  We won't talk about the quilts, lol.

It can be worn open.

 Or closed.  No, I won't hold it closed with a dpn.  I'll find a beautiful shawl pin.

I think I like the back of these jackets the most.

And the pinstripe down the sleeves is a nice touch!  I'm going to wear this as much as possible this fall/winter.  This one is so much more fun than the blue/grey/black one I made first.

Since I finished this week's knit project, I went to the handy random number generator to pick out a new project to concentrate on for the rest of the week.  It chose a lacy little stole/scarf that I cast on last fall.  It took me a few minutes to figure out where in the pattern I was, but I'm now knitting happily away on this.