Good news and bad news

Good news first: I finished Kate's birthday blocks for the swap on quilting.about.com. Here's one of them; it's a 12" block with progressively smaller (or larger, depending on your POV, I guess) sawtooth star blocks. Since I made the flying geese wrong for the smallest star, I saved them and stitched them into a tiny made-up block that will finish at 2.25". That's just a bonus. The other block I made is a 6" LeMoyne star in purple and black. (None of these were my original first choice, which is a lovely, but apparently impossible for me to construct, block.)

6" LeMoyne star for Kate 2.25" block for Kate

So, why am I showing you graphic versions of those blocks instead of the real deal? This is the bad news: my camera is broken. The screen is gone (it's a painful mess of digital gibberish when it does come on, and I can see where it's cracked in several places)... I took the picture of the sawtooth star block just to see what would happen... although I couldn't see it in the camera, it did "take" and I could transfer it to the computer. When I tried again with the other blocks, the camera wouldn't capture anything. Color me cranky.

Oh well... at least this goal IS accomplished. That's the important thing!

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GPS enabled

Even though I didn't want to (out of spite, not need), I spent some of my stimulus check last week. I've got a really good map of my area--in some ways, it's almost too good, because that makes it somewhat complicated--but after I got lost so many times trying to get home at night, I decided I really needed a GPS. I debated about upgrading my cell phone to an "all-in-one" model, but wanted text-to-speech capability. I chose a Garmin nuvi 260, and she arrived today. Apparently, her name is Jill (she came that way). Best of all, the FedEx guy brought her two days before the estimated arrival date!


Squeezing Monkeys

Hee hee :) I looked around for a simple, fun pattern that would show off these fabrics. I wanted there to be minimal waste from cutting, and not have the pieces be too small, to show off all the yumminess. I didn't color in the above with all the different fabrics, but you can get the idea. This particular 9" Monkey Wrench pattern is by Janet Wickell at quilting.about.com. I'll need a little yardage for the setting triangles and a border of some kind... I just slapped a little something in there for the moment as a placeholder. I want to see which way the colors pull in the blocks before buying yardage, but I rather like this lime floral. There should be just barely enough of the solids for the small rectangular pieces; if I'm short, there are one or two other pieces that will work and maintain the idea. Otherwise, it's just a splash of this mixed with a jigger of that and I'll soon have a fun, bright quilt.

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Fresh Squeezed Stash Enhancement

Maybe I shouldn't have gone in search of a quilt shop... my bank account would be healthier, although my spirit more dull, I'm sure.

Anyway, I went to Kindred Quilts today, and brought home more than I intended to... What a cute shop, with a nice mix of fun contemporary fabrics, batiks, reproductions, wool and stitchery. Perfect for feeding my eclectic tastes. I brought home some truly needed items, like a spool of white 50-wt Aurifil thread for piecing (I use this in white, tan and gray), 2 yards of a decent WOW, and a yard of a new-to-me black solid from Kauffman. Since my first birthday block for Kate was a bust, I needed more black for another try, and this has a nice dark color on the bolt but isn't as heavy as Kona. It's in the wash now... one of the holiday-weekend blessings in my apartment building is an available washer on Sunday afternoon.

Anyway: on to more important things... a few random FQs that caught my eye, a little stitchery project for Christmas, and most importantly: a layer cake of Sandy Gervais' Fresh Squeezed. That's 40 precision-cut dimes (or 10" squares) in lemon, lime, orange, watermelon and blueberry. The bolts were the first thing I saw when I stepped in the door, and they just called my name the entire time. The saleslady said the line is just flying out the door, and it's easy to see why. Yummy, yummy, yummy, and just right for summer. Now I just have to decide what to make with it (well, and make it, of course!)... Maybe a fresh-squeezed cocktail would help me think! [Right about now, my sister is either rolling her eyes or has fallen on the floor laughing -- I rarely drink fruit juice or alcohol ;) ]

This must be the result of shopping withdrawal! Until today, I've only been in the LQS once since the end of February, and I (gasp!) didn't buy anything that day.

Image from the Fat Quarter Shop, and if you follow the Fresh Squeezed link, you'll see the entire line on their site


Two things...

1) My ALQS has the binding machined on... I decided to suck it up and hand stitch the binding to the back. As I'm writing this, I realize this was the PERFECT opportunity to try the all-machine finished piped binding that I really want to learn (and master!). Sure with I'd had that thought at 3p today instead... At least it's less than 80" of stitching. You know how I feel about hand work!

2) When I moved here from Rochester, I left an area with lots of great quilt shops with beautiful stock, fun people and classes, and even good thread. (I miss Ivy Thimble!) I also lived about 5 minutes from JoAnn Fabrics, handy for those days when (ahem) I might need pink thread in a hurry! These resources are few and far between here in Jersey... at least so far. While procrastinating tonight, I found a quilt shop about a half hour away -- they have a decent online store, so I'm guessing their bricks and mortar will be at least somewhat more satisfying than my thread expedition from the other day! Fingers crossed... (Not that I really *need* anything -- I just don't like not knowing it's there.)

Wait -- three things! Food Network is running some ancient episodes of Iron Chef America tonight -- it's fun to see the early days where the production was a little less slick. I almost never see anything I want to eat on this show, but I love the action -- like Bobby Flay fishing live trout out of the tank on what looks like the first episode.


ALQS top done

Yippee! I've got my top done for Kate's Another Little Quilt Swap. I'm debating whether to do a plain back (I've got a nice red and white print, of course) or something a little more creative. Since there's plenty of time, I might go the creative route. We'll see. Now that I've said it out loud, though, I probably have to, huh?!

I was going to give you a link to the inspiration quilt, but it's not online where I thought it would be, so it'll have to wait for another day. For now, enjoy my version :)

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What's in a name?

I always knew my name was popular in the year I was born (I think there were at least five of us in my grade)... Turns out it was #5 that year, according to the Social Security Administration's baby name list. (Some neat searches on their site -- see how your name has grown or faded in popularity over time.) My sister has a pretty popular name too, although I didn't realize (until today) that it was #9 in her birth-year. I don't remember her having that many classmates with the same name, though. Were there, sister dear?

Even more fun: we know a few families who have daughters named Amy and Lisa.

(thanks to Vivian for the flashback.)



Unfortunately, it's not mine! Patti is making this, and it's absolutely fantastic. I think I'm going to play with this idea... sometime ;)

P.S. Should I be offended that someone searched for "goofy quilten" (sic) last month and found my blog?!


Building a House

No, not that kind of house! I *finally* finished my 9" house block for Miss April in our birthday block swap at quilting.about.com. I was cranky as heck Friday night when I couldn't find any pink thread -- not that pink is my color, mind you; I was just sure I had some. That meant an expedition was in order for Saturday... so far, I've yet to locate an LQS (or even a chain store like JoAnn) within a reasonable distance from my apartment. I let my fingers do the walking through the online yellow pages, though, and found a place with a cute name... and only (hah) 12 miles away. I've Got a Notion is a great name for a fabric and sewing machine store, but the place is a weird mish-mosh of lower-grade quilting fabrics, home dec fabrics and trims, and the world's smallest selection of yarn I've ever seen advertised! All told, it was an 80-minute round trip and I spent $1.75 on a spool of pink thread.

Oh -- here's the block, prior to stitching:

The sky fabric is wrong side up -- it was too intense the other way, and is printed well enough to show through perfectly. I actually cut and sewed a nice curve between the sky and grass, forgetting the house would cover it. I'm so happy this is done!

Preview Time...

Well, I still can't find the cord for the camera, but discovered that I can pop the memory card directly into my computer. An extra couple of steps, but it does get the images out of the camera and into the blog. Just consider that another example of my service to humanity. (yeah. right.) {and yes, probably 99% of the rest of the world already knew one could skip the camera cord, but I'm a little slow on the uptake sometimes!}

Anyway, here's a little sneaky preview of my quilt for Another Little Quilt Swap. I see now that all the sashing fabrics weren't laying down flat, so you can see the foundations, but that's OK -- it's not like this is the finished product!

I'm not saying this is the layout or anything, either... just four little 3" blocks. I will say this: once I decided on the pattern, I challenged myself to make the quilt completely from my scrap bins. Not like it will significantly reduce them -- it's just that these are such little pieces, it seems wasteful to cut into yardage. Plus, it was fun to dig through the bin and remember some of the projects that these fabrics are from! The center goose in the top two blocks, for example, is from my fabrics from Sophie's "Stacked Squarez" swap and challenge on quilting.about.com, which was a good five years ago, when I was a new quilter. I even remember buying the fabric at Fabric & Findings in Rochester, back when they had a selection of quilting fabrics. (That was at least two -- if not more -- fires ago, and they no longer stock quilting cottons.) The lady who worked in that department "cut" the longest yards I've ever seen -- easily 40" or more -- and she always tore the fabric.

P.S. -- did I tell you I finally found thread to finish my feathered star piece from the project runway challenge?

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