Monday, March 31, 2014

Here is one of the scrappy trip around the world blocks. I love the aqua and gray dog fabric from Michael Miller.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Trust is difficult after a death-defying trip to the vet. To make matters worse, the vet laughed at Tommy's complaints of neglect.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Miraculously, my cutting table is clear enough for me to easily layer another quilt. And since the Bumble Bean quilt drive is still on, I thought I would finish up this quilt from the 90s. It needed some surgery first, but now it's ready to be layered.
 Here's my choice for the backing.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

As you may have gathered from Tommy's post yesterday, he doesn't have his paws firmly planted in reality. Tommy was not neglected and it was the cats from Mystic Quilter that came to visit and cleaned up some of the mice infestation in the sewing room. Tommy should probably spend less time blogging and changing all of my passwords and spend more time being a cat.
Uh oh.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

This is what neglect looks like. Yes, it's me, your guest blogger Tommy.
Instead of spending time with me, staff layered a quilt for someone else. This was not authorized. Plus I see more neglect in my future, because there is a huge pile of fabric filling the chair used for machine quilting. Two steps back before one step forward.
Two years ago staff started making a scrappy trip around the world. A massive pile of strips was composting next to the sewing machine. These have been sewn into strips. At my expense. Now excuse me while I prepare for the staff meeting we will be having at 4AM.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Here's the woodpile one day later. I thought it was very strange for us to get snow this late into March.
But this is the picture I posted last year! Aren't blogs wonderful!
So please humor me when I post yet another shot of the snow-covered bench. The snow forecast was for 1 to 3 inches accumulation but we got about 5 to 6 inches. Hard to believe that the hummingbirds will be returning in 3 weeks.

Monday, March 24, 2014

I had created so much chaos in the sewing room lately that I finally had to take a time out and clean up. And when I finally saw the cutting table again, I took the opportunity to layer a QOV that had been waiting in the wings.
I also had to cut next year's wood. It is not my primary heating source...its mostly for keeping Tommy happy and in case of a power outage. And this year the time between snow and the onslaught of bugs was negative two days...we're expecting snow tomorrow and I've already picked up a couple of ticks.

Friday, March 21, 2014

I've been trying to free piece animals, but tend to get a bit fussy. So I'm stepping back and playing with letters. What a blast! I expected it would be tedious, but instead I find it a bit addictive. I thought I would try and do the alphabet, upper and lower case letters. But Tommy thinks I should do something useful like make signs that say "No Mice Allowed!", "Beware of Sewing Robots", and "Time to Feed the Cat!"

Thursday, March 20, 2014

I thought the turtle pattern needed a little surgery. In particular, I wanted the turtle head to be further out of the shell and not be weirdly suspended from the shell. However, I got distracted during surgery...never a good thing. The new head is okay, but I used the wrong size legs and completely forgot the tail!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Here's the latest results from snow dyeing. This time the snow was well behaved, but I folded the fabric wrong. In theory, this should be a circle instead of two semi-circles, but it will probably get cut up anyway.
This is how I should have folded the fabric--in fan folds with the selvedges at the top and the fold of the fabric at the bottom. But I flipped it so the selvedges were at the bottom.
This is a closeup of another piece of fabric...this time a simple spiral.
And here is a casualty from the heavy snow--but not the cause of the power outage. I was out shoveling the paved part of the drive and heard a loud crack. Then when I was walking back to the house, I passed this tree--cracked but still standing. Since it was leaning over the driveway, I did not linger. It came down soon after.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Another Monday. Another snowfall. This one lived up to the predictions. Plus it was quite beautiful.
This is looking out at the bench on the back deck...we got a very wet and sticky 6 inches or so. However, since the temperature was in the mid 60s yesterday, the snow didn't pile up as much in some areas like the driveway.
The snow did pile up on the trees which lead to the inevitable power I spent most of the day without electricity (and running water). Happily, Tommy easily converts from being a solar cat to one that passes out in front of the wood stove. And yes, I couldn't resist and I have one last batch of snow dyeing in the works.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The mouse population explosion in the sewing room continues. And now the babies are having babies. With a little evolution in action. There are three variations. The mouse on the bottom is all one color. Then although the mouse in the middle has a darker ear, it looks like he's balancing a box on his head. The mouse on the top is the most detailed. But I think I like the first version the best!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

A teal crane flew into the sewing room today. Followed by five more. They must have come up from Florida for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.
I have been making each crane one at a time and am surprised by how much I am enjoying that approach. And after seeing some demonstrations of the EZ ruler for half-square triangles on the superscrappy blog, I decided to give it a try. I am a convert.
And although I often make up my own blocks, the crane pattern comes from a quilt by Saeko Hasegawa showcased in Quilts Japan No. 4 (a small section is shown above). Her quilt is called The Swan. Through trial and error with an emphasis on error, my version of the bird developed a longer neck. The pattern also reminded me of origami cranes so that's why I call it a crane instead of a swan.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Tommy suggested that I should give the owl wings if I wanted the owl to help out with the mouse population explosion in the sewing room. Oops. This is the revised owl pattern. This complicates the piecing a bit, but it's okay because I plan on winging it.
This is what an owl population explosion might look like.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Okay, maybe I get sidetracked. I am still working on a redesign of the teal turtle. But as I was noodling around this owl appeared. And this should end up a rather large owl...18 inches square. The idea is to use a multitude of strips to form the owl's front. I'm thinking this will be another attempt at combining precise piecing with free-hand. We'll see.
Meanwhile the floral Irish chain has been sent off to the Bumblebean's quilt drive. I made the quilt top back in the 80's. It's a little too sweet for my tastes, but I'm hoping that out of 200 potential recipients, it will find a happy match. And strangely, as pictured here it has four sides. But when I was hand sewing on the binding, I came to the final side and found out there were two more sides to sew. So this should be a five-sided quilt. Mystifying.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Here's an update on the mouse infestation in my sewing room. A brown one showed up today. What I don't know is whether the brown mouse sneaked in from outside or whether he's the offspring of complementary mice, for example the pink mouse and the green-blue mouse.
Tommy said he was conducting DNA sequencing to determine which of the baby mice belonged to which of the parents. But instead he came up with some cockeyed conspiracy theory involving sewing machines, robots, excessive fabric hoarding and receipts for new fabric purchases.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Another teal turtle. This is one in a string of turtles that was my first purchase at the Mid Atlantic Quilt Festival. This was my inspiration for the turtle patchwork. And I think in the redesign the turtle head needs to be bigger and poking further out of the shell.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

How about a teal turtle? This started out as a very precise block but the sewing got away from me and it turned into an experiment in free piecing. And because it's a turtle I even added some slow cloth when I appliqued the center circle by hand. The finished block (without the extra border to even it out) is roughly 5.5 inches by 11.5 inches. For more scrappy aqua and teal delights, visit the home base for the rainbow scrappy challenge.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

It was snowing in Photoshop today so I decided to try one more snowdye...

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Every time I try snow dyeing, I vow never again. Until the next snow. This round the snow was very uncooperative. My fabric folding was much improved, but that didn't matter because the snow was more of a mist than a substance capable of saturating the dye. For this kind of snow, using a dye concentrate solution instead of the dye powder would probably improve the results substantially. Or maybe doing away with the snow part altogether.
Without a cooperative snow, there is a lot more white showing.
This fabric was wound more tightly than the one above it, so the spiral disappears in the middle.
At least the snow dyeing kept me busy while Tommy is conducting the DNA sequencing of the blue and green mouse babies. And Tommy wants me to point out that DNA sequencing is much harder when you do it all in your head.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Yesterday as I was posting photos of the most recent mouse babies, I realized that the baby green mouse had a birth defect--an olive green body and bright green ears. This meant the green baby mouse had to undergo surgery today, resulting in two mice: a bright green mouse and an olive green mouse.
This is the baby mouse before surgery. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Uh oh. Guess what showed up in the sewing room? Except I'm kind of confused. Who are the parents?
I understood how a pink mouse and a blue mouse could have purple babies. But how does a blue-green mouse and a green-blue mouse have a green baby and a blue baby? Tommy has gone off to do the DNA sequencing to determine who the parents are. DNA sequencing looks a lot like sleeping in front of the wood stove, but what do I know?

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Oh dear. The mice are back. They have been arguing all morning about which is better blue-green or green-blue. My cat Tommy wants to know if that's a boy color or a girl color. He thinks we should keep them separated just in case. Maybe they have the answers over at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.