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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Saturday, January 27, 2007

I have a new favorite quilting tool

It's the Triangle Square Up ruler by Quilt in a Day. For half-square triangles, this ruler is da bomb! Especially for those HSTs that are 1½" finished. I've had some trouble with piecing triangles (even larger ones, and even when piecing them as squares, down either side of the diagonal, then cutting them apart) the correct size. They just seemed to distort or end up too small, no matter what I did.

Then I went to start that Super Second Saturday quilt block at my LQS a couple of weekends ago. And they demonstrated this ruler as a tool which could help with piecing the HSTs in the first block. At first, I was a little skeptical, but when my SSS quilt block turned out perfect, I began to come around. When I started piecing Christopher's Bear Paw blocks last weekend, I became a true believer. The HSTs were the perfect size, and they were not distorted when I pressed them open. They were even easy to piece together into the block, which makes sense, because I wasn't trying to make them fit.

Piecing the first Bear Paw block
First Bear Paw block complete

Side note: I was originally going to piece the HSTs with Triangle paper from Quiltime (it was recommended in the instructions) - I even tried it on one of the blocks before piecing the one pictured above. I have to say, I much prefer NOT using Triangle paper, because of the shorter stitch length and extra steps required with removing the paper afterward (which can also distort the blocks). So I have a package of Triangle paper to recycle now... ;-)

In cross-stitching news, I haven't taken a new picture of Aurora yet, but I plan to after working on it this Sunday. The left wing is coming together, and I might actually finish that section if I have enough time to devote to it tomorrow.

In crochet, well, I spent the majority of last night frogging out and crocheting back about 5 rounds of the doily I'm working on. I had missed a stitch, and when you're doing rounds, it WILL show up eventually. There was no making it work by trying to fudge. But I did get up to round 14, I think, so I made it a little farther than I had when I started to frog.

Work is keeping me extra busy, so don't be surprised if I'm only posting on the weekends. It's probably going to be like this for the next two months. Maybe I'll get to take some time off in April, and life will return to normal! :)

Friday, January 19, 2007

Busy week!

Well, I returned to work just in time to get extremely busy!!! I hit the ground running when I returned to the office last week, and now we have a set deadline for a huge project - just 10 short weeks from now! I will most likely have to work overtime (along with my coworkers) just to get everything done, so I'm not sure how much energy I will have leftover in the evenings for all my crafts. My brain is not yet able to calm down from everything we went over today in preparation for Monday.

But I wanted to let you know I'm still here, and though I have no pictures to share, I have been crafting a little. I've worked a little on the burgundy doily, hand-quilted about 1/4 of C's blankie #2 so far, worked a little more on the left wing of Black Swan's Aurora, and started cutting out fabric for Christopher's Bear Chase quilt. I think that when I get a little more progress on Aurora, I'll probably post another picture - I don't know that every week is practical for that, since I'm only stitching on it on Sundays, but possibly every two weeks will work. I hope that everyone is having a fantastic weekend, and I'll chat again soon.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Another quilt top start

Yes, apparently I have lost my mind, and I have to confess, I've started yet another new quilt top. Not Christopher's yet, though I do now have my triangle paper from Quiltime. This is a block-of-the-month organized by my LQS, The Quilter's Attic. It's called the Super Second Saturdays quilt - if you join up, pay your $5, make your block and bring it to the February meeting at the correct time, you get your second block free, and so on, and so forth throughout the year. I've heard of other quilt shops doing that (when browsing the web), but hadn't actually investigated it further here. Well, I actually remembered to make it to the first meeting, and I'm putting it on my calendar for the rest of the year. They had three colorways from which to choose, and I chose Thimbleberries, which is kind of a darker country palette (the other colorways were pastels and 1930's). I didn't really want to make a pastel quilt top, and I already have one 1930's in progress, with several others simmering in the back of my mind. I've never worked with Thimbleberries fabrics, so I though, heck, I'll give it a shot. The block actually turned out perfectly. Oh, and I finally finished framing Cat - very simply in a charcoal gray frame.
SSS 2007 Block of the Month #1, Shoofly
Cat, framed 2007

Friday, January 12, 2007

What a week

Phew! This week was my first full week back at the office, and I managed to get a few other things done as well (dental cleaning, haircut). I'm certainly glad it's Friday. I'm not completely worn out, but I've certainly expended more energy this week than I have the past couple of months. The good news is that I'm not too sore - just a little, and it's about what I expected from all the sitting I've been doing. I mean, I've been sitting just about all day at work, with little stand-up and walk-around breaks throughout the day.

I finally took a photo of my doily, which is called Snow Flurry. I've done quite a few from that Leisure Arts book, A Year of Doilies, and this is the latest one.

Snow Flurry doily, finished January 2007

It's a nice long holiday weekend for me, so I'm having my girlfriends over to celebrate MLK day Monday by eating takeout from Captain D's and playing no-score Scrabble. We did this a month ago and had a blast!

We made a decision on the Black Swan Designs forum (Needle and Thread BB) that Sundays are Black Swan Designs Sundays in 2007. This should encourage me to really get some good progress in on Avatar and Aurora. Anyone who wants to join in with us is welcome, whether you get to join us every Sunday, or only once in a while, and whether you share your progress online or not. No pressure, just know that you are welcome to join in anytime!

I finally received my Triangle papers from Quiltime.com, so I'm looking forward to trying them out and actually getting to work on Christopher's quilt. I've been waiting on that to get started.

And our tv shows are starting back up after the holiday breaks, so I hope to have some quality stitching time (though it's harder to do with some shows than others, like, say 24...). TV is one of our favorite hobbies, and some may balk, but these are the shows we are watching currently:
  • 24
  • American Idol
  • Battlestar Galactica
  • The Colbert Report
  • The Daily Show
  • Desperate Housewives
  • Eureka
  • Heroes
  • Jericho
  • Lost
  • The Office
  • Prison Break
  • Smallville
  • Stargate Atlantis
  • Stargate SG-1
  • Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
Yes, there are quite a few. :) Happy Friday everyone!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

The headless dragon

Dragon Ride progress

But at least he has a neck now! I've also finished the doily I was working on, but I haven't yet taken a photo. I started another doily - a burgundy version of Sweet Dreams. This one will also be a gift. I just really like the style - different from most round and oval doilies, like it has wings or something.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happy New Year!

Check out this cat tree. My brother brought it over yesterday, and the kitties have been enjoying it (albeit individually - it seems they are taking turns). Here is Rudy Poo on it this afternoon.

Rudy Poo enjoying the cat tree my brother made us

Yesterday I did a little quilting, a little quilt-piecing, a little crochet. I made 3 versions of Block 2 of Afternoon Tea. C said his favorite version is the far left one. I added the light grey fabric to my selection of fat quarters for a tiny bit of color variety (far right block).

3 versions of Block 2, Afternoon Tea

The crocheted doily, Snowflake, is coming right along. I really like it when I can just smooth them out by hand and they take shape pretty easily - that way I know they will block out really well. I still have several rounds to go, but I should be able to finish it in a few more days.

Tonight is Game Night, and I think it's a well-deserved visit to the Twilight Princess realm. I haven't played in about a week, though it seems much longer. :)