Sunday, June 28, 2015

Six on Sunday - Week 8

More items from Susan's closet.  Three pair of dark slacks that she doesn't need any more.  Three shirts that didn't fit or had big bleach stains.

3 Shirts, 3 Slacks - 4.75 Pounds
For me a pair of shorts (from Susan's closet - why? I don't know :), old tee shirts, and a collection of shoulder straps that were in my closet when I no longer had the thing they supported.
Shorts, 4 Shirts, Orphaned Strap Collection - 3.5 Pounds
Still working on the closets and clothes for the most part.  


Friday, June 26, 2015

Dear Jane C-4 - Tic Tac Toe - Progress

Doesn't this look like a tiny little window?  Progress has been slow. I had to stop and make my own papers for the top and bottom white bars, and for the triangles that are the next step.  I have never gotten very fancy with the Dear Jane software, so I am not sure if I could have told it how to make the additional triangles or not.  Possibly.  For now, I am just tracing the block design pieces and adding seam allowances.

C-4  Tic Tac Toe
I wish I could remember where I got this hand-dyed fabric.  Maybe it was from Joy's Fabrics.  Isn't it terrific?  I look for Joy at every show.  She uses the best quality blank fabric and her stuff always feels just wonderful.  And the colors!  Heaven.  I am usually such a control freak, but I really enjoy working with these crazy fabrics, even though you never know how it is going to turn out.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Dear Jane C-4, Tic Tac Toe

Once I get back to working on Dear Jane I do not want to stop.  This is the small center section of C-4, Tic Tac Toe.  I have not yet decided how to complete construction.  There is a little more obvious paper-piecing to accomplish: the top and bottom white edges, and the triangles that put the center on point.  After that, construction gets a bit trickier.

Dear Jane C-4 - Tic Tac Toe
Should I do as recommended in thatquilt and paper-piece the whole block?  Should I suck it up and deal with the inset seams like Jane Stickle did?  Or perhaps I should paper-piece what I can, then applique the whole thing onto a white muslin ground.  I will have to see which method appeals to me when I get around to actually doing it.  

The subtle green variations in this hand-dyed fabric are fun to work with.  It has an atmospheric quality that is very interesting.  The original fabric is rainbow hued, and there is not very much green left in the remaining scrap.  I will have to plan carefully, or this block will end up with purple corners.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Tatting Tuesday - Edging Test Completed

I completed the test piece for the tatted edging I wanted to try.

Edging Test Completed
Susan suggested that I try ironing the piece when finished, steaming out the twists and crumples that tatting had worked into it. I followed her suggestion, and I think it really improved the look of the finished work.


Monday, June 22, 2015

Dear Jane C-3 - Rayelle's Fence - In Progress

I think Jane Stickle must have liked checkerboard blocks as much as I do, there are certainly plenty of them in her quilt.  Rayelle's Fence looks huge right now, but I am sure it will tighten up when it is all sewn together.  I love this buttery/egg yolk color.  Yellow batiks tend to be either very bright or almost brown.  It is difficult to find nice yellow, medium-tone batiks; I wish I could find more.
Dear Jane C-3 - Rayelle's Fence
I am trying something different with the paper-piecing of this block.  It is practically a religious tenet that you do not sew past the lines when paper-piecing.  Even if I am as careful as can be, at times, my pressing causes the seams at the end of the stitching lines to go a bit crooked, which causes the final squares to be a little off-square.  In the hopes of preventing this inaccuracy, I over-sewed all the seams on this block,   The proof will be in the final squares; we will just have to wait and see.

Happy quilting,
Susan in Texas

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Six on Sunday - Week 7

Larry cleaned out under his sink.  His contribution is a basket of Buffy's grooming items.  Little Buffy has been gone nearly ten years now, and we have been pet free ever since.  I can go Larry one better. The sweatshirt on the bottom of my pile was a present from my mother-in-law from when our Saint Bernard, Bucky, was alive.  My MIL has been gone ten years, and Bucky died on the 4th of July in 1996!  The sweatshirt was always too small, and I am pretty sure it never sparked any joy; but it was personalized, so I hung on to it for over twenty years, which is completely nuts!

T-shirts, jeans, sweatshirt -  4.5 pounds
Pet grooming items - 1.25 pounds
This is sad.  It has been seven weeks now, and it still is not hard to find stuff to get rid of in my closet.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Harlequin Johnny - Bow Ties Completed

This is a very late post, but I did manage to get all twenty-five of the Harlequin-Johnny bow-ties completed.  Next round, I will put on the other two "ears"; the time after that - 100 inset seams.  If I am not an expert on inset seams after that step, then I will have to take a class or something.  lol
Harlequin Johnnie - Bow Ties
As promised, though, tomorrow I go back to Dear Jane.  I will be starting the third row, with C-3 because the first two columns are already completely done.  It is turning out to be very helpful that the order in which I am doing the blocks makes the rows and columns shorter and shorter.  Even though it is only a block or two fewer, it seems to make a real difference having that head start.

Happy quilting!
Susan in Texas

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Grand Illusion - Clue 5 Complete

All the Grand Illusion clues are now complete.  The end is in sight; now I just have to put all the pieces together.  I liked clue five because it was the right amount of work.  If I ever design a mystery quilt it will have no more than fifty units to complete in a single week.  Some of the Grand Illusion clues contained an insane amount of work for a single week, especially for someone who works full time...and has a life beyond quilting.
Grand Illusion clue 5
I am switching back to working on Harlequin-Johnny now, but I plan to break the future GI block construction into more manageable units too.  Two seams per block seems about right; I did say I was going to switch between projects more often.  Of course, after I get closer and closer to the end of GI, I might not want to stop!

Happy quilting,
Susan in Texas

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Tatting Tuesday - Edgings

This week I am switching back to tatting.  I am not giving up on crochet; I still have a lot to learn, and I'm sure that it's one of those things that only gets better with lots of practice.  

But I don't want to forget all about tatting either.  So I am working on a short piece of Edging #2 from Elegant Tatting Patterns (Janet Carroll)

Edging #2 - Just a couple of repeats

This is a pattern where you work one direction until you have the length you want, and then stop and work back to where you started. The final result looks like this.

So far, I have done the first row and just started on the second. This is done with weight 30 thread, and it seems like it will turn out a bit heavy for a handkerchief.  Does anybody know what would get an edging like this? Are there general guidelines for thread weight and pattern width for different uses?


Monday, June 15, 2015

Dear Jane M-2, Duff's Bluff Completed

Duff's Bluff turned out even prettier than I thought it would, despite its extra silly name.  I love the hint of indigo with the turquoise.  It is amazing how many of the blocks have some version of a nine patch as part of their composition.  I have not done a counting; but it seems as if nine patch and four patch variations, in some form or another, account for about a third of the Dear Jane blocks.  I will have to do analyze the blocks to see if I am correct.

M-2 Duff's Bluff

I will be switching to Grand Illusion now.  Clue five is so small compared to the other clues that I hope to finish it in a few days.  I am not going to kill myself trying to get all the Harlequin blocks put together either. Instead, I am going to complete the big bow-tie step, then move on.  In fact, I have decided to shorten the amount of time I spend on any one project, and cycle through them more rapidly.  I do not mind working on one thing for a long time; however, it certainly makes for dull blogging - and nobody wants that!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Six on Sunday - Week 6

It is a small stack this week, but I feel like I am giving up an old friend.  That green "purse" went everywhere with me since 2004.  I remember buying it at a sporting goods store in Flagstaff, Arizona, on our driving trip to the Grand Canyon.  I wanted a hands-free purse for the trip.  I liked it so much that I never switched back.  It is time to let it go; the buckle and one of the zippers had broken.  My short stack might be a complete pitch pile this week:  the elastic is totally shot on the red shorts, and the white and dark turquoise tops have holes in them.  The blue sweatshirt and the light blue top might be worth donating, but only just.

4 tops, 1 pair shorts, old purse - 3.5 pounds
There is no sentiment in Larry's pile.  He has lost weight so does not snore very often at all anymore, so we can let go of the CPAP machine.  We are still awash in tote bags; the slipper socks are worn through, and he has two nice belts that are better than any of these three worn out pieces of leather.
CPAP machine, old computer bag, old slipper socks, 3 belts - 9.25 pounds
We are both still enjoying the purge.  The clutter just holds you down and holds you back!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Singer Restoration Saturday - Dollie Progress and a Mystery Unearthed

Have not made a lot of progress with Dollie the past week -- distracted by the new car lol.  I have applied a couple of coats of paste wax on her to get her ready for her closeup.  If you enlarge the image you can see the initials "D.E.T." scratched into the surface.  I would blame that on my sister, Denise, but her middle initial is 'A'.  And Dollie, was Dolly Franklyn Dunn Henderson, so that's not it.  I believe we have a new family mystery!

Dollie - freshly shined up
The finish is even worse than I remembered.  Maybe someday I will want to completely redo it; but for now, I will concentrate on finishing the display table.  It needs to be flipped over so a coat of polyurethane can be put on the legs on the legs.

Display table
I will focus next week on getting it all together!


Friday, June 12, 2015

Dear Jane M-2 Duff's Bluff

The last block in column 2, Duff's Bluff, is in the works.  I think it is going to be beautiful when it is done.  I love this blue on blue batik; it reminds me of a painting of a celestial sky.  Most of the dark blue was edited out for this block, but I am going to find another block later where the dark blue can be the focal point.  Ah, the joy of batiks!

Well, we had our new vehicle checked out by a mechanic and it passed muster, so I guess we will keep it.  Larry was pleased since it takes about four hours to purchase a car these days.  I have yet to drive it myself, maybe this weekend I will get behind the wheel.

I pulled out the directions to Clue 5 of Grand Illusion this week since that is my next project.  I had forgotten the printer was running out of ink when I printed the pages.  My colors are so far off I had to study other people's completed quilts to determine what was what.  As far as I can tell on my set of directions, white means turquoise, deep yellow means yellow, pale yellow means pink and black is black.  Believe me, I wrote this down right on the picture!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Dear Jane L-2 Stephanie's Snowflake

I am so glad this one is done.  The Dear Jane software really messed up the order of work on this block.  The foundation pieces created by the software had you making inset seams instead of treating the center section like a simple nine patch.  Why would they do that?  I questioned the pattern too.  The long skinny pieces were supposed to be pieced, with the tiny little point being its own piece, orange onto orange.  What is the point of that?  I looked closely at L-2 in the book and it did not look as if it was made in two pieces to me, so I combined them.   

This block turned out to be more appealing than I thought it would; probably because it is such a cheerful batik.  I wonder if my whole mood working on this block was not affected by the fact that the orange fabric was heavily starched.  I used to do that because someone recommended it, but it was nothing but trouble, so I stopped.  This block is proof, at least for me, that unstarched fabric behaves much better than starched.  I have lots of the orange fabric left; I think I will wash out the starch before I use it again.  I should have done that in the first place! lol

I am planning to do one more Dear Jane block before switching back to doing Clue 5 of Grand Illusion, which, by the way, has already been removed from Bonnie Hunter's web site.  The pattern will not be available again until it gets published in one of her books several years from now.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Dear Jane K-2, Grandpa's Chickens

I love this block, though it was kind of boring to do.  How many Dear Jane blocks have six identical paper pieced sections?  Lots have four sections that are the same, but six?  I could have strip pieced it, but I doubt my squares would have come out as square; paper-piecing is much more accurate for me.

The Dear Jane software messed up on the outer edges of this block. One of the long white edges came out way too short.  I had to cut another one to make up for it.  I hate it when that happens!  I am working on L-2 now, and, as expected, it is being a real PITA.  I think I should have it done by tomorrow.  

I was very pleased with Larry's car selection yesterday.  He hunted and searched online until he found a 2013 model with only 8800 miles on it down in Houston.  We have been known to put that many miles on a car in six months.  lol  I am not too keen on black with a black interior, but for a cream puff like this, I will make an exception.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Tatting Tuesday - More Interruptions

I expected to post a new edging pattern I have been crocheting in a larger yarn, when my plans were interrupted by an unexpected call. The used car we had arranged to test-drive came in today, instead of Thursday as expected.  So, after running to Susan's workplace to collect signatures, I spent the rest of the day at the dealership jumping through hoops of paperwork.  But finally, at the end of the day, the car was ours!

What I Did Today
Tomorrow I will get back to my crocheting and such.


Monday, June 8, 2015

Dear Jane J-2, Picture Perfect

"Picture Perfect" was completed at the Blanketeer project day on Friday.  We had a lovely get together, and I got lots done, including this block and half of K-2, Grandpa's Chickens.  The only thing surprising with this block was how hard it was to edit out the orange - that stuff was everywhere!

The potluck was awesome, as usual, but the highlight of the day for me, was definitely when my friend, Renee, showed up as surprise. I had not seen Renee since she retired last year, but she and fellow Blanketeer, Sheila, both attend Holy Redeemer where we hold our project days.  Renee wanted to surprise me, so she had Sheila keep her in the loop about our project day schedule.  

Renee joined us right before lunch and we chattered away, catching up with life since October.  It was really wonderful to see her again!  We had teamed up two years ago and just really clicked.  Now we just need to convince her to take up quilting....

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Six on Sunday - Week 5

The closet purge continues.  I found five pairs of slacks that were no longer sparking joy in me, and an old sound generator machine. It would generate a variety of soothing noises and slowly taper off to silence, allowing you to drift off to sleep to the sound of ocean surf, or gentle rain. Larry used to snore a lot, and this would help drown him out.  Seems like it developed problems with the sound selection, and we stopped using it.

Five pairs of slacks, sound generator - 7 pounds
After a thorough cleaning of his closet, Larry found two pairs of shorts and two pairs of slacks that are now too big (yeah!), as well as a carry-on bag, and an old gimme tote from a conference his mother attended.

Two pairs slacks, two pairs shorts, carry-on and tote bag - 9 pounds

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Singer Restoration Saturday - Cooking Edition

Yesterday was Susan's project day with her quilting buddies.  At Susan's request, I made a batch of Caramel Chicken for her to take for the potluck lunch.

Caramel Chicken - Yummy!
The recipe for this tasty dish can be found here.  Susan found it while surfing the internet one day, and it quickly became one of our favorites.


Thursday, June 4, 2015

Dear Jane Fabric for J-2, Picture Perfect

I am having trouble selecting the batik for my next yellow block. The closest yellow is bright lemon, so I want to choose a deeper and richer yellow for this block.  The yellow fabric on the left would make a good background for an applique block; it would cause a mishmash on one that is paper-pieced like Picture Perfect.  The one on the right is the perfect color, but is a marble identical to the green block next door.  Larry suggested I edit out the dark orange in the middle batik and use that; I believe we have a winner.

Fabric Choices for Dear Jane J-2
All these decisions!  At least when I am visiting Grandma, I can occupy my time with very little thought.  I just pick up the pink scarf and continue where I left off.  Do until done, and done is when the skein of yarn is used up.

I love this stitch.  It is Knit 1, Purl 1, but every knit is worked into the stitch below the current row.  It makes it nice and poofy.  It is a bear to correct when you drop a stitch though; it does not follow the rules.  Grandma's long, heavy, metal needles kept sliding right out of the knitting and landing on the floor.  I ended up buying a set of short, very light-weight, bamboo double-pointed needles, and a set of removable rubber point balls.  When I am done knitting, the ball comes off the empty needle and is placed on the point of the full needle.  So far, no stitches have been dropped.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Dear Jane I-2 - Kaye's Courtyard

This simple little block gave me no end of trouble.  In the first place, I made all three checkerboards exactly the same.  I had to pull a white end off of the center slice and replace it with a green end on the other side.  As if that was not bad enough, I stitched a tiny little wrinkle in one of the seams, then sewed a green "ear" onto it before I noticed.  That only took me two tries to correct.  lol Honestly, it is surprising it turned out as well as it did.

I-2  Kaye's Courtyard
It was hard to decide between two scrap batiks for this block. Since the corners are so large, I had considered fussy cutting a green batik with large diamonds to showcase the diamonds, but in the end, I decided to go with something simpler.  No fussy cutting for this one, except starting with the darker, more mottled end of the scrap.  

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Tatting Tuesday - Crocheted Edgings

I am gradually branching out in my crocheting.  Last week, granny squares; this week, edgings.  I started with a larger yarn and hook, and worked on a pattern from one of my grandmother's crochet books while I was in Shreveport visiting last weekend.

Crocheted Edging - Yarn and D/3 Hook
Looks more like a tiny tiara than edging, doesn't it?  I think I am beginning to develop a better feel for how tight to work. Previously, my stitches were so tight that it was hard to get the hook with the thread back through the loops!  Now I am finding it easier to make the stitches, and it is faster, too.  I finished the piece above in an afternoon, while Susan and Grandma took a nap!

Having improved working with yarn, I was eager to try something much smaller to work with.  Here is the same pattern (if I am remembering it right - Grandma still has the book in Shreveport), working with 50 weight thread and a size 10 hook.

Crocheted Edging - 50 wt thread and 10 hook
You can see the shells in the pattern appearing. This is a lot trickier, but I can see how the looser stitching applies to this level as well.


Monday, June 1, 2015

Dear Jane H-2 - Jacob Anthony

The Jacob Anthony block is almost complete; however, I have not yet appliqued the remaining triangles outside the diamond.  I like how this one turned out so far.  (I know, I know, I say that for practically every Dear Jane block; I must really like batiks, or something!)  

H-2  Jacob Anthony
The soft browns in this fabric work well in this block.  I decided to avoid most of the really pale tan and all of the dark grey to achieve the desired calm look.  Since the fabric has lots of the brown, I just cut a long narrow strip and edited the fabric from there.

Batik selected
I think I will use this batik again as the background for an appliqued block, then I can leave in some of the grey and tan.  It is nice to use the same batiks in different ways so the blocks coordinate without being matchy matchy.

I bought an entire bolt of white muslin to use on Dear Jane, based on the DJ list recommendation of 20 yards for foundation piecing.  I have been cutting off about a yard at a time and using that up before cutting more.  The second yard is down to a small scrap after about 44 blocks and four triangles.  I should have some yardage left, even if I use the muslin for the backing.  I wonder how they came up with 20 yards?  I do not think I am being that careful, and I have certainly made plenty of cutting mistakes.