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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

T-shirt blocks

I can't remember if I mentioned this about the t-shirt quilt before or not. I found a really unique t-shirt quilt online one day when I was just surfing around. The blocks in it were bordered with the same fabric and then an additional darker fabric so that it looked as if the blocks were sitting on top of the quilt, shadowed. I really liked that idea and decided to use it in Hollywood's quilt. The first photo is the block with the border added. The second is with both the border and shadow added.

I've gotten all of the quilt blocks pieced at this point, and now I am joining them into rows with sashing strips. I plan to join the rows with long sashing strips (no sashing squares this time) and border the quilt in the same fabric I'm using for the sashing. I have all of the blocks laid out on the design wall, and three of 5 rows are assembled.

I also quilted the first of the practice preemie quilts tonight - I was doing mostly meandering around the little baby dinosaurs on the fabric. The next one I think I'll try a different pattern. Not sure what yet, but I definitely need the practice! :)

My toe is slowly getting better too. I hope it gets well enough to push in a clutch on Saturday, because I'm hoping to return the car my parent loaned me. It's been a real blessing to have, but I miss my own car! :)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Learning lessons while knitting

Yesterday after work I went to one of my local yarn shops and purchased some Koigu (KPPPS) yarn in a yummy not-quite-chartreuse color (yes, it's true, I do not have a huge yarn stash, at least not for sock knitting, and given my huge cross stitch and quilting stashes, I'm trying to keep it that way for now - besides, some of these yarns are really expensive, yikes!).

Before dinner, I got my sock pattern book out and began casting on. I happily began knitting my rounds, carefully following the pattern. Then it was time to make dinner, and so I put my knitting down. Afterwards, I picked it up again, and apparently I forgot to look at what I was doing. I must have turned the work, because I started noticing that the pattern wasn't matching up... I checked, and yes, I was definitely doing the pattern correctly, but at the same time, I was not. Lesson learned: check, check, check your work when you pick it back up and make sure you're knitting the correct side and in the correct direction!

I chatted with my fellow quilter at work yesterday morning (the one who took the machine quilting class with me). We compared notes (she's been practicing while I have not), and it got me all fired up again to practice as soon as I got home (aren't friends great for that?). I picked up my muslin and batting and played around with a quilt pattern drawn directly on the fabric, then with some more "doodling". I have a good ways to go, but I really feel that I'm getting better and a little more comfortable with moving the quilt with my hands vs. the machine.

After practicing a bit, I worked on the t-shirt quilt for a short time. I found a really cool t-shirt quilt online that had borders around each t-shirt block and then additional fabrics to make it look as if the blocks had shadows. It was the best-looking t-shirt quilt I've seen, and of course, I have NO idea where I found it. But I did make note of the idea, and I'm going to do that when piecing Hollywood's quilt. Currently, I have all of the t-shirts fused to interfacing and cut into 12½ inch squares. I've just started piecing the borders to these squares, and I love the results so far. I'll try to post a pic this weekend.

Thanks everyone for your comments! Oh, and Tammie, I both use the quilts I make and I give them away. Up until recently, most of the quilts I made were given away, but I've actually made quite a few in the past year or two that I kept for myself (or gave to my husband). I haven't made any wallhangings yet. They are just so nice to snuggle under in the winter or even in the summer, when C likes it a little cooler in the house than I do. :)

It's game night, and I'm torn between wanting to knit, quilt, and play videogames. C told my mom and dad the other day that I'd be tickled to have two heads and several extra arms. You know, I think he's right. :)

Oh, and we've just finished watching the Lost season finale and the Battlestar Galactica mid-season finale. WOW! I was very impressed with both, and I'm depressed that we have to wait until 2009 for both to resume. We're watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel on DVDs to help get us through the summer. Fortunately, we'll also have Eureka and Stargate Atlantis in another month or so.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Quilting and knitting projects finished

Finally, I have finished my Cocoa Bling Kitty quilt and my second pair of knitted socks. Here it is, with the backing and a closeup of the quilt pattern - kitty paw prints!

Once I finally got back to knitting the second sock, it went really quickly, and I finished it in just a few days.

I really want to start another pair! I just have to find some sock yarn. I want to try a pattern this time, so I think I'll need to find a good solid yarn this time, instead of a patterned one.

And I got my June block of the month today, so I promptly pieced it. Virginia Star.

Oh, and I got the laptop problems fixed. I have no idea how - it just started working again. At this point, I don't care how it fixed itself, I'm just glad it's working.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Sometimes I really hate computers

[Techie stuff start] ... especially when they stop working in the way they're supposed to... I mean, how useful is wireless internet if your laptop can't find the connection anymore? Looks like I'll have to get some tech support to help me out, because now it won't even connect with my wired network either. :( I'm stuck in "that room" in order to post this evening. Of course, that's just the latest. Friday is when it all started - all of a sudden, my cable modem stopped responding. I thought it was just that - but when the cable company tech support finally got it responding (after the 3rd try, but connected directly to my computer instead of through the router), I decided to go ahead and get another router. The first one I bought seemed to hook up fine, but the wireless light never came on (and neither did that connection). So I took it back and got a different brand. This one seems to be working just fine for all of my connections - PC, DS, Wii, TiVo - but not the laptop, either wired or wireless. I'm frustrated beyond belief, and this is not how I wanted to spend the weekend. [End techie stuff]

So, how did the rest of my week go? I'm having to be extremely careful with the toe, even with having the splint and boot. The splint comes off every night before bed, and it's hard to get comfortable at first. Turning during the night is a little difficult also, because that toe is just exposed, and I'm afraid of hitting it the wrong way with the sheets. It's amazing how something so little can affect so much.

Wednesday night I did get to go to my machine quilting class, and it was excellent. I got to practice a lot with my machine, and I learned that I need to practice, practice, practice. Mostly it seems to be about control, and that just seems to come with experience. A good practice suggestion the teacher made was Sewn-n-Love quilts or baby / preemie quilts like my quilt guild makes. This way I could actually work with prints (as opposed to just the muslin we used in class), and have something to give away to a good cause that I didn't necessarily spend a lot of hours meticulously putting together. I spent a little bit of time Thursday practicing, and then I worked just a little bit more on Delaney's Snow Puzzle squares. In the evenings I've been working on either the Double Wedding Ring quilt or Winter Maiden. And for the first time in what seems like months (and probably is), I knitted a few rounds of the sock I have in progress. No pictures to share this time, but maybe something new in a few days.

Thanks to everyone for your healing thoughts and words! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend - chat with you again soon!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Apparently, I'm still learning how to walk

Because I don't pay attention to where I'm going, nor do I pick up my feet sufficiently as I'm trying to get there. And therefore, Sunday night, I paid for it in a very painful way... I broke my pinky toe. And because I never do anything halfway, the x-rays showed it was broken quite significantly in two pieces, diagonally down the bone.

The best thing that I can say about it (because there isn't much good one can say about a broken toe) is that it happened on my left foot and not my right. I can't drive anywhere (we only have stick-shift cars), but at least I can still sew!

I was afraid I wouldn't have been able to go to my quilt guild meeting today, but I have two wonderful friends who agreed to be my chauffeurs. And I would have missed a fabulous speaker - Janet Jones Worley. Her anecodotes were hilarious, and it was great to see her quilts and hear about her journey in quilting. If you ever get the chance to meet her and hear her speak, I highly recommend it. I didn't get to take either of her classes, but if I have the chance in the future, I would love to.

I was also afraid that I wouldn't be able to go to my machine quilting class tomorrow night, but DH has lovingly agreed to chauffeur me the half-hour drive to the class, and then come back and pick me up when it is over. I know how lucky I am, because it means that his evening is pretty much shot to hell with just transporting me back and forth, and anyone who knows him knows how much he values his evenings at home after work - for the relaxing downtime after a hard day's work, especially when it's already started getting hot around here.

Just because my toe's broken and I am pretty much home-bound, though, doesn't mean that I've got a couple of weeks off. Nope, I'll continue to work (too many projects going on right now to get a couple of weeks off anyway, ha!). But at least I won't have to worry about traffic and gas prices for a few weeks. So, while there's a down side to having a broken toe (pain, obviously), I'm lucky enough to have an up side too.