Saturday, February 20, 2010

More Charlotte Angotti Quilt

At the International Quilt Festival this past year I took a class with Charlotte Angotti called 'Let me Surprise you.. More!'. In general, Charlotte creates mystery quilts for the Quilt Festival. You sign up for the class and show up with, maybe, a pair of thread snips. The kits are pre-cut and you get to spend the day putting the bits together into most of a quilt top. She also offers add-on kits to make the generally, twin size quilts, into much larger quilts.

I've written about this quilt before here where I gave you a preview of four of the blocks. I've now put the top together and I have no idea how to proceed.


It looks pretty good even if it is very wrinkled but I think it needs a framing border or something more than just a thin strip of binding to bring it all together.

Paul has suggested a completely different color, canary yellow as a frame, a friend has suggested a white border, someone else a stripe like in the bottom left hand corner block, and others a lot more of the pink.

At 72" x 72" it's a pretty good size but should be 84" x 84" to be a standard double/queen size.

If you have any ideas please let me know otherwise I will keep hauling this around with me to Quilt shops until something strikes my fancy.

BTW - that lower left hand bottom block with all the stripe in it is because you only get exactly what you need to complete the quilt top. If you mess up a couple peices or loose them in your sewing room or Alex rips them up (not in this case...I think) then you must buy additional fabric or work around it. I decided to work aorund the problem by filling in the empty space with the stripe which I will quilt with my label information.

The Best Dog Toy - Not!

In my never ending quest to find a dog toy that Alex can and I can both enjoy I stopped at the Woof Pet Bakery today while in Old Town Spring. The fresh baked treats are excellent but their small selection of dog tested toys really caught my attention.

One in particular toy seemed right on the money. It was called a Hard Core Firehouse Dog Toy and they are made out of real fire hoses. If real fire hoses can put up with houndreds of pounds of water pressure I was sure that they could stand up to Alex's attention.

I am so stupid! Even if I could not make it squeak, that does not mean there is not a squeaker in it... and you know how much my mutt loves squeaky toys. If you don't know, see my rant to toyota contained in this post.

Within half an hour it began to come apart.

Here's Alex tryng to hide his toy from me before he could make a bigger mess.
Within an hour I found the remains of this new toy.
...with the squeaker in pieces.

I feel like gathering up all the bits and pieces and taking them back to the store... not to get a refund but to show them what my little demon has done with a supposedly indestructable toy.

Next try will be a tennis ball toy with a fleece braid strung through it. A friend with two Lab puppies bught two of them and I am awaiting her evaluation before I spend another nickel on a new toy for Alex. I'm not holding out much hope as Alex hasbeen known to destroy tennis ball as quickly as he has destroyed my other toy efforts... about 30 minutes if I am lucky.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Heart Quilt Block

Several people have asked about making the quilt shown in this post. I've looked all over the web for good instructions and haven't found any so here's my guidlines for this type of quilting project.

Final size - approx. 18" x 40" finished made up of 3 blocks approx. 12" by 9" plus 2" wide borders.

For each block - one set of twelve squares, six 5"squares of one color/value for the heart and six 5" squares of a contrasting color/value for the background. I used a pre-cut packet from Moda of 5" squares.

Using four of each set of fabrics, create eight half square triangle blocks, trimmed to approx. 4 1/2" square each. Great tutorial here.

Trim the remaining four full squares to 4 1/2".

The block is a 4 squares wide and three squares tall.

Lay out the block as follows -

Row One - four half square triangles laid out like the top of a heart - one slanted to the right, one to the left, one to the right and one to the left

Row Two - two half square triangles and two full squares of the heart fabric - one slanted to the left, two plain squares, one slanted to the right

Row Three - 2 full squares of background fabric, 2 half square triangles - one full background square, one slanted to the left, one slanted ot the right and one full background square

Make three blocks and lay them out as desired.

Finish with two inch (finished) borders. I used left over Jelly Roll strips.

Have a great time!

Wanna Quilt?

The Kingwood Area Quilt Guild is having an auction of quilts on March 26. You don't even have to be here to get a wonderful quilt for your home. Just head on over to the Bidding for Good site and check out the wonderful quilts made by guild members.

Even if you don't bid, the site has some serious eye candy for quilt lovers everywhere.

PS - none of the quilts were made by me.....maybe next time!

One Tough Camera

I think I have mentioned previously how Alex has been trying to teach me how to play fetch his way. This is not the standard game of fetch where the human (me) throws an object, then the dog (Alex) runs to get the object and bring it back to the human so the human can throw t again.

Nope... not even close to how Alex plays fetch.

He grabs the object to be thrown, chews on in it, licks it, gets it thoroughly wet, then he drops it at my feet, or beside me, daring me to pick it up. If I can grab it before he takes it back for more licking, I then have to throw it for him so he can bring it back and start all over again wth the licking, chewing and daring.

I have not been too enthusiastic about this process because the object usually ends up under the couch or some other heavy and almost immovable object.

Then, Alex cries and whines until I get down on the floor to retrieve the object. While I am down there he likes to encourage me in my efforts by licking my face and trying to look under the piece of furniture to make sure that I don't miss the object of his desire.

There is now a new twist on all of this. I mentioned before that he has been steeling anything he thinks might be an object of my desire. If he can pick it up, he will get it sopping wet and then try to get my attention to play his game of fetch. When he does that, I grab my object and put it someplace where he cannot get it.

He has decided that steeling these objects and buryig them in the backyard for a few days will make me want to play his game of fetch with them all the more.

Several times he has stolen my camera. I have been able to find it, replace the battery and then hidden it away from Alex's kind attentions.

Last week the game was taken to a whole new level.

Last Tuesday he stole my camera and buried it in the back yard. Sometime Saturday night he brought it back into the house, laid it at my feet and proceeded to wiggle his butt with hope on his face that I would play fetch with him.

Understand that this camera case was now now covered in mud, soaking wet and had spent several nights in below freezing weather. I removed the case, opened the camera, removed the battery and memory stick, laid it below a warm lamp for overnight and hoped for the best.

The next day it fuctioned wonderfully.. a little dented and scratched up but it works!

The camera in question is a Canon PowerShot SD 1000 and I can't tell you how impressed I am with its durability. Although it is a few years old it still takes high quality pictures even if the operator takes poorly composed pictures. It doesn't care and captures the good the bad and the ugly in bright living color.

WOW! Wet, frozen, muddy and dented and it still keeps working.

Now that's my kind of camera!

Thanks Mr. Canon for making an Alex-proof product.

Now if only the makers of dog toys, water bottles, cough drop bags and shoes could make equally sturdy products life in this land of chaos would be so much more calm.

I can only hope!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Cut Ups Bee

Friday afternoon was the first meeting of a new quilting group called the Cut Ups. The group will be meeting once a month to make simple quilts using pre-cut fabrics.

The first project used two sets of six squares of different colors to make heart blocks. I used some pre-cut squares that I had lying around to make three heart blocks that I assembled into a table runner/wall hanging. Just to make this a more useful project I used an insulating batting called Insul-Bright so that the whole thng can be used as a heat resistant pad.

Here's how mine turned out:

I know I didn't used traditional fabrics but I like the fabrics I did have... especially as they were what I had on hand. Maybe next time I'll use traditional reds and whites and give it to Sweet Sadies for their Valentine's decorations.
Until then have a sweet day!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Screaming for Spring - Updated

Like almost everyone I know, I've had it with winter this year.

So I am in the south and not bogged down with many feet of snow, its still cold and wet and miserable here. Usually this time of year is the nicest time... open windows, new growth, yard clean-up... this year I can barely bring myself to go out and cut-off all the deadwood from the many days and night of freezing weather.

Even the pencil plant beside my front door got significantly nipped by the frost. This plant was put there the day I moved into this house and, except for brief periods of TLC, has stayed there. Now I don't know if it will recover.

What's a girl to do?

In my case, I needed to make something that screams spring and the perfect project happened on Monday night.

The Twisted Sisters Bee met to experiment with the Bali Bags pattern from Aunties Two. The sample bag, and what most of the people decided to work with, were wonderful batik strips.

I don't have a lot spare of batiks available to me so I used a lovely print of brush stroked tulips (Thanks Sandy!). The pattern called for clothesline, for which I substituted some cord I had left over from the middle school kids' craft classes.

The pattern was for an upright bucket style bag while mine ended up with a distinctly bowl shape.

Here is how mine came out:
I think I will try this technique again. It's very mindless sewing, the results can be dramatic and maybe the next time I will end up with a more upright bucket style bag ... or maybe not!

Where ever you are I hope you are safe and warm... especially my buddy who spent three days this week trying to get to her home in upstate New York from Charleston, South Carolina.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

One Yard Wonders Sew Along

The Sew Along I am participating in this year uses the One Yard Wonders book I have mentioned previously. For January the project was to make a cap. I really don;t like wearing hats so I pased on that one. The February Project was to make the Folklore Bag. It is a tote bag with a nice gusseted round shape and a top sleeve.

Here's how it looked in the book:

And here is how it came out for me:

At 13" wide, 11" tall with a 3" gusset, its more of a medium size purse rather than a tote bag to hold a day or two's worth of essentials. I used some old Christmas fabric with a great stripe for the exterior. I tried to match up the stripes on the gusset with the ones on the front and back but without much luck. The interior is a piece of pale yellow Kona Cotton that I bought recently primarily for the interiors of future tote bags and purses as a dark interior makes a bag virtually useless when looking for something in the bottom of the bag

I didn't think I would like this bag when I first read the instructions, Several things bothered me. Like...the pattern called for a magnetic catch. This can be expensive and seemed overkill for a bag thrown together from stash fabrics. I ended up using a button and a hair elastic for a closure.

In addition, the interior had a useless little pocket, was supposed to be made from the same fabric as the exterior (in this case way too dark for practical use) and the interior of the bag was to be made without the pleats of the exterior. It seemed crazy to me to make a bag with an interior tsignificantly smaller than the exterior so I used the same sized fabric pieces for both the interior and the exterior.

I did add a cell phone to the gusset of the interior. See...

Even though it is my intention that this bag will become the packaging for a Christmas gift, it will probably be used to hold my next knitting UFO until then.

This year's sew along has a cooking component to it. I am not participating in that portion. This month's recipe is for roasted spicy cauliflower with capers. Alhough I may love capers roasted cauliflower sounds just too slimy to me. Yuck!

Women on a Mission

The Once Upon a Time Bee met on Monday evening to make diaper covers/soakers for The Cloth Diaper Foundation. This group provides cloth diapering supplies to women who otherwise would probably not use cloth diapers with their children. Though the debate continues on how enviromentaly sound cloth diapering is, I, for one, believe that they are better than all the plastic, water tight, air tight disposables out there.
One of our group pre-cut almost a hundred soakers though we only completed 31 last night. We used a variety of patterned and solid color fleece. Here is a link to a site that has instructions on how to make them. There are lots of other sites out there for all sorts of cloth diapering sewing and it appears to me that all of them would make great gifts for new moms.

Here's how some of ours turned out:

Don't they just make you want to break out in song.."you put your right foot in, you put your right foot out..."

Here they are stacked up waiting for their size labels.

If you are one of those people out there will a huge stash of fleece yardage, this project is great way to recycle it into something useful for the benfit of Moms everywhere.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Time Waster

Ikea has these wonderful Swedish names for all their furniture. This site translates your first name into an Ikea name and appropriate furniture. Good for a ten second distraction after the Super Bowl.

Strip Club/Saturday Sewing

A couple of Satrudays ago a group of us met to use 2 1/2" strips to create Double Irish Chain quilts. I used a Moda Jelly roll and a bunch of white/cream scraps to create this:

I have a bunch of scraps leftover and may use them to increase the size as, at 50" x 70", it is a tad small for the dogs and myself if perchance we have a nap together.

There are a ton of patterns out there for pre-cut strips. Here is a link to a great site that has a good write-up on the different types of Irish Chain Quilts done in a traditonal way. By using the jelly roll I opted for a more scrappy look.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Best Dog Toy - Final

The concept of a toy consisting of a cloth cover over a plastic bottle remains high on my list as a perfect toy for Alex, however, the results of my many experiments continue to be destroyed with great regularity.

To re-cap .. make a tube of fabric to go around an empty water bottle, close the top and bottom of the tube, add any embellishments you want, let dog play with toy until it disintegrates.

The following fabrics have been tried - cotton, canvas, duck cloth, pre-quilted cotton, silk dupioni ( nothing's too good for Alex!), woven wool, wool felt, hand knitting, crochet and cotton interlock knit.

In every case, before twelve hours had passed, Alex has managed to chew through all of them and got the bottle out of the fabric surrounding it.

I have given up, for now, until kevlar becomes available to the home sewer.

Until then, Alex has a bunch of empty fabric tubes that he is using to try to teach me how to play fetch.

Have a great weekend!