Monday, March 03, 2014

Almost finished!

I have been working on my Chantilly Jelly Roll Race Quilt and finally finished the quilting and weaving in the tails, er, I suppose that is a knitting term... hiding the miscellaneous threads. Now I just need to trim it and bind it and it will be done! I just did some simple quilting, first I stitched in the ditch and then did a line at about a 45° from one corner across, echoing the lines 2" apart across the whole thing. I decided I wanted more when that was done, so I did the same in the other direction. Turned out like little puffy diamonds. Far from perfect, I really struggled with the bulk in the small throat of my machine, but I managed.

I let Art pick the thread color for the Quilting, telling him that I really wanted it to pop. He went with the yellow, not my first choice. He usually nails the colors and is much better than I am in choosing color for embroidery. I used it for the ditch stitching and then switched to red, I really like it. I could have gone with the green or the turquoise blue and almost did on the second diagonal, but thought it would wash out with the red. Since the border, backing and binding are turquoise and red, I wanted to accent those colors. I am still contemplating additional quilting in another color, perhaps a ¼“ echo line? oh, the work! But it may just be the thing! I did turquoise in the bobbin for it all, which blends really well and, yet you still pick it up against the red flowers.

I have to find a way to stretch, or rather smooth the backing better before I pin baste. There are little folds and the back is a bit wavy. No big deal, it's just for me and I love it! I just want to do a better job next time.

I cut and pieced the blocks for Kristina's quilt. It went really fast! I cut a layer cake of Marquis by Robert Kaufman fabrics and some yardage to make it bigger than the pattern. I like the fabrics much more in person than I had online. I hope she really likes it. The colors are what she asked for. I got the pattern at the Moda Bake Shop, it's called Basic Math Quilt. I really love patterns that leave some big squares of fabrics so you really see how pretty the fabric line is. I also prefer precuts, so you get a full selection of the coordinating prints.

Now that I have played with the pallette, I kinda wish I had ordered a little extra yardage of the brown prints, there is some beautiful greens in it that I didn't realize were there. I may have to look and see. I was thinking about just a solid backing, but I think a pieced one would be cool, too. I should have enough leftovers from the extra yardage I bought to also make some pillows.

I really need to get my design wall hung! It is really difficult to lay out a quilt top and make sure you like it before sewing it without one. I just let the blocks be put together by random and a balance of light and dark. but putting it all together... Need more space!

Tomorrow.... please?

Friday, February 14, 2014

Maci's My Sunshine Quilt

One of the best things about being a dog trainer is all the wonderful people and dogs I get to know. Many of them become dear friends. Last year I began working with a very nice young couple who have one of the coolest Yorkies I have ever known! I was delighted when they called to tell me that it was time to get the dog ready for a new baby sister!

I had just finished making my first Sleepy Jean Crib Quilt by Springwater Designs available on the Moda Bake Shop, using the pastel portion of two Baby Talk by Benartex charm packs and I really enjoyed the pattern! It is easy for a beginner (me) yet looks complex and much more advanced than I am. So, I found a My Sunshine charm pack on Missouri Star Quilt Company's Daily Deal @ for some ridiculously cheap price, like under $2 and using leftovers of the Moda Porcelain yardage from the Baby Talk quilt, and some backing and border fabric, I whipped out a new Sleepy Jean Crib Quilt for baby Maci. They loved it! I got more creative with the quilting this time, doing each section in a slightly different style. I had just gotten a walking foot and had to play a bit!

I wasn't super happy with one of the sections quilting design, but my friends loved it. In fact, the hubby remarked that he liked the different textures that the quilting made... I hadn't thought about this from the view of stimulus for the new little lady and how they like that sensory feel. I definitely learned something valuable from that!

Today I am going to work on the next baby quilt for a friend, whom we shall call Velvet, who I know from AMTC. He and his wife just just welcomed a new baby girl into their lives. Velvet is an incredible man, and while I have only just met his wife once, I am delighted for them. I hope they like the colors I used this time! Velvet is a great actor and musician, funny, spiritual and just an all around excellent guy. I have no doubt that he will make it big and that God is doing great things through his life. I am just privileged to have gotten to work with him and to call him friend!

I am also going to hang the design wall I got and can't wait to start using it! Well, I am using it, but it's not convenient... it's draped across a desk and stack of fabrics! I was hoping to get some of the wrinkles out after I opened up the package yesterday.

And I have to say, aren't the Olympics, in Sochi for the Winter Games right now, incredible? I love how it makes it a small world again. It was heart wrenching to see Evgeni Plushenko have to make the decision to not skate yesterday after injuries. He may be Russian, but everyone was pulling for him and sad to see him go out without getting to finish the competition. And then the whole thing with the Russian Cross Country Skier who had broken a ski and a Canadian coach who came out to give him a replacement, who's wife won gold after her teammate in a relay, it turns out, had been helped by a Norwegian coach in her Olympics in 2006. It's the Spirit of The Games! 

From my experiences racing, every racer I have ever met would rather beat you on the track, even if they have to push you to the starting line themselves, or give you parts, and even help you install them! Why can't we help each other out more off the track? Keep the spirit alive!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

My first Candle Mat!

As I went through some pictures of the projects I am working on, I found that I have lots I can blog about! That's always good, and even better, some of them are done! Between quilting, sewing, embroidery, knitting and crochet, I have enough UFO's to last a lifetime! Whatever will I do?

Start something new and exciting, of course! Duh! Isn't that what you would do? Honestly? Yeah, that's what I thought. ;-)

So, since I keep telling myself I want to blog about them, if for no other reason than to be able to look back at the accomplishments when I get old, here is one I really enjoyed making. It's a birthday gift for a very special lady and goes with the table runner I gave her for Christmas and coasters I made for her the previous Christmas. The colors are just "her"  and it's always exciting when you know that you found just the perfect fabrics (or yarn) for someone you love. After all, Gifts is one of my Love Languages... Now that I read the book, I understand the driving force behind my constant need to be making or buying gifts for other people. Of course there is a bit of self love going on, too... just look at the stash I have of fabrics, yarns and notions!

I have discovered, or rather. finally admitted that I have a propensity to make things that have no pattern and using the most difficult textile available. More on that later, but I will point out, in order to present evidence to support that claim, that there is no pattern, per se, for this and I used fabrics from a Scrap Bag, which is guaranteed to be all different lengths and widths. However, I am delighted with the results!

It all started as I played with some trimmed off corners I had in the scrap pile for this fabric line, which, BTW is Holiday Medley by Kansas Trouble Quilters for Moda. I love Moda... sigh...

So I began playing around with the scraps and making HST's and Hourglass blocks, but on a very small scale. Then, I got inspired to make a Candle Mat for MJ. Then I added a border and going Log Cabin style, just kept adding borders of contrasting colors and values and varying widths until I was satisfied. I pieced together strips for the back and added Warm and Natural batting (a large scrap I found in my batting box) sewed it right sides together, turned it and quilted it.

In hindsight, I wonder if I should have quilted it before I closed the opening, at least as much as I could have without messing up the edge? I had a little bubble of fabric that had no where to go, but it's so small she will never see it. If I had sandwiched it like a quilt is usually done, I wouldn't have had the bubble, but I thought adding binding to something so small was kind of silly, especially since I was making a last minute gift - not from lack of planning, but January birthdays are hard, especially so close to Christmas!

I echo quilted three lines ¼ inch apart, forming. inverted V's based off of the X of the hourglass center all the way to the edge, then skipped about an inch, echoing three more V 's in each quadrant, then spaced out another ¾ inch and echoed three more then skipped about ½ inch for 3 more small V' s. It was fun! I didn't have a Walking Foot but it went very well. I will have to make another candle mat or some mug rugs to practice on. I can really get into the Quilting side of this deal! I have some finished Baby Blankets also. I quilted them on Husqvarna Viking machine, one with the Walking Foot, the first without. I am excited to try FMQ, too!

So much to learn! But I am having a lot of fun!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Why Don't I Do This?

Seriously, I know no one reads my blog, but I like the idea of it, having never been one to keep a journal or diary, but just a place to remember and look at pictures and maybe see how far I have come... It seems like I take a fair amount of pictures of my sewing and knitting and, of course, the dogs that I would be able to blog all the time, yet I don't make the time. So here it is, another January and I feel like writing...

I have to say that I am glad that 2013 is over! I am not a superstitious person, but since the fall of 2012, this family has just been hammered. MJ was injured, then Art, my mom, AG was ill,  I broke my arm and all the while Boomer was fighting cancer.

Oh,  Boomer, we miss you. I miss you, Dad misses you and Dancer, well, I think he misses you most of all. But he is going to be ok. We've been keeping him busy, taking him lots of places with us and he has an open invitation to stay at Grandma's anytime.

So Boomer, here's to you!

On July 7, 2007, while reading the Evergreen Golden Retriever Rescue report, I learned about a young adult male Golden coming from Wenatchee via  volunteers on the coming Monday. EGRR had sent out a priority request for a foster home to take the dog. Something told me to say yes, despite knowing that we had too much going on and the timing wasn't convenient, I had to say yes, which I did, then called Art to inform him of our new resident. He agreed, after reiterating all the reasons why we should not, but something spoke to his heart, too and we did it. This would be our second foster for EGRR. Hank had been a great foster dog, easy and laid back, could we be so lucky a second time?
Monday night as planned, the volunteers transporting Boomer arrived at my dog class to make the exchange. Eighty pounds of exuberant joy in a Halti head collar greets me and proceeds to drag me across the training room. (In front of a class full of new students whom I am supposed to teach them how to NOT let their dogs drag them across the room!) He just put his head down and powered through! He had only three speeds we found out later, asleep, bored and GO! Thankfully, I had a Dolan's Wonder Walker with me, which immediately gave me some control. Boomer, I am told grew up on an apple orchard in East Wenatchee where it seemed he ran away frequently in order to find companionship. The local shelter had contacted EGRR after picking Boomer up several times, apparently the previous guardian was tired of bailing his best buddy out of doggie impound. Art arrives at class to meet him and we both agree that we really like the dog. Boomer is overweight but very active, full of joy. We still have to get Amber, by then our 12 year old Samoyed/Golden to agree to let Boomer in.
Arriving home, we quickly realize that Boomer must not have ever been let into a house before. He certainly didn't know what to do with himself, and at first just stood in the doorway with a look of "Really? You sure about this? I can go in?" on his face. Well, house trained or not, he figured it out pretty quick, standing in front of us and panting excitedly until we took the hint. He loved to sit on the back deck and stalk the neighborhood feral cats. He caught a kitten once, trapped it along the fence, holding it gently in his mouth. After a moment, in which he had to figure out what to do, he released it, backing up a step so the kitten could escape over the fence.
We took him fishing at Flowing Lake, in our bass boat and discovered that he was indeed a hunter. Floating amidst some old pilings and docks was a flock of ducks. To our surprise, Boomer took a flying leap off the platform of our bass boat, landed on a dock a few yards away, raced down the dock, along the shoreline to the third dock, down the dock and with a great leap landed in the midst of a dozen squawking ducks. He was in paradise.
His bravery was evident and he always carried himself with the grace and nobility due a proud member of the Golden Retriever breed. He was gentle with Amber, protecting her the more she aged. Amber said that she found him very entertaining, except for the one time, after getting a new orange Cuz, he squeaked it non stop for over an hour. He politely stopped after her first "request." She walked right up and got in his face and barked, sharply, once. Only once. He stood frozen for a few seconds, looked at me, I am pretty sure I had the exact same expression on my face, and then gently set the toy down. After that, he was a little afraid to play with that Cuz.
Boomer loved going to the dog park and the swimming pool at BowWow Fun Towne. He liked to retrieve two or three balls each time and patiently waited while Dancer learned how to swim. Which at first meant trying to keep his head above water while pounding the surface with his paws as close to or on top of Boomer as he could get. He was gentle with his new little brother, teaching him all the most important things in life. But next to home,  Boomer's favorite destination was to Grandma's house for sleepovers and cookies, special scrambled eggs and lots of love.
He looked forward to his annual vacations at Aunt Ann Marie's where he could play with the little doxies, Apollo, Tess, Daisy, and brother Dancer. Ann Marie loved and cared for him as her own, especially during his last visit while a tumor was rapidly growing out his leg.
After more than a year of fighting what was suspected to be osteosarcoma in his right rear leg, a mast cell tumor rapidly grew in, erupting through the skin of his inner thigh. After several brave weeks, this proud, handsome, abundantly joyous boy has gone on to join the rest of our pack, awaiting us in the ever after. Thank you, Boomer, you walked into our lives and forever changed our hearts. We miss you, and look forward to holding you again soon. Have fun up there, you can't get hurt sliding into a big white fluffy cloud.