WIP Wednesday: Conquering the List

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(WIP = Work in Progress)

Making lots of progress here!  Which is kind of amazing, considering how lousy I’ve been feeling, but I’ll take it.

Let’s go through the list of what I wanted to get done before our vacation:

  •  Baby quilt for my niece.

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All appliqué pieces are cut and fused on!

There might have been a little bit of grumbling and swearing as I made my way along the Steam-A-Seam learning curve, but I got there in the end, and I really love how this looks so far (much better than I was able to capture in my picture).

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So many fun fabrics in this!

  • Another version of S1199, short-sleeved this time.

Just need to sew side seams and hem.

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  • Black hoodie.

Last time I went to London, I bought a black hoodie to bring with me, and it turned out to be a very useful light layer.  Now that hoodie is a little scruffy and is being used for exercising, so I thought it was time to make a new one.  My first idea was to use this Greenstyle pattern that I won, but I decided I wanted a hoodie that didn’t look like workout wear, and found this one:

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She doesn’t look too thrilled about it, but this is right up my alley.

I’ve got some black ponte for this, and assembled the rest of the supplies yesterday, so it is ready to start.

  • B5456 dress for the Facebook sew-along–muslin of the bodice is done, sew-along posts and schedule are mapped out, and preliminary posts are up.
  • Navy blouse (McCall’s 7571)–still cut out and patiently waiting for me to get to it.

Have a great Thursday and I hope you’re working on something that makes you smile.

STH

I have linked this post to Scraptastic Tuesday and Whoop Whoop Friday.

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WIP Wednesday: Zingin’ and Dingin’

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Look–I almost have a waist!

WIP = Work in progress

Today’s title comes from a favorite saying of a former co-worker of mine when I worked for the VP of a meat-packing company.  My desk was in a room full of beef sales people–an excellent location for picking up colorful phrases, as well as beef recipes.

Anyway, this past week I had one of those “OMG, I have HOW much time to do all that stuff?!?” moments when I realized how much I wanted to get sewn before our trip to London and how few weeks there are before the end of July.  So, I was in a bit of a panic,  trying to figure out how I was going to get everything done, and then I got a gentle reminder about the sew-along I’m supposed to run next month.

So, time to prioritize, spend my time wisely, and try not to freak out (or at least keep it to a manageable level).  Today’s post will be me tidying up old business and planning next steps.

First, the Hello Kitty top.

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I bought this pattern recently for no other reason than that I have a lot of knit remnants to use up and my knit tops (which I wear a lot, especially when I travel) are looking a bit old and scruffy.  I didn’t think the pattern was very interesting, but worth a try.

I love how this top turned out, though.

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I love how it has a little shape and gives me the illusion of having a waist (I tell you, I mourn the loss of my waist).  I love the 3/4 sleeves.  I love the neckline, which isn’t too wide or too low, as usually happens with my narrow shoulders and lack of boobage.  I love how comfy the top is and that I have a matching skirt so that I can look totally put together and elegant in my cartoon cat head shirt.

The binding on the neck is a little wonky, and I’m starting to think maybe I need a hollow chest adjustment.  I’m wearing my plaid tank today, and it has the same problem.  And the hollow chest thing seems to be a common issue among female sewers “of a certain age” (I love how that expression indicates old age without spelling it out, as if it’s a shameful secret).

The hem was also wonky, which I’m going to attribute to sewing it while waiting to hear from my sister at the hospital how my mother was doing after falling and bonking her head.  I needed to leave for my Memorial Day weekend trip, but couldn’t go until I found out what was up, so I thought I may as well do my hem while I was waiting.  Probably not the best idea; I redid it as best I could when I got home.  (And my mother is okay, if a bit more dotty than usual; I suggested she tell everybody that she got in a bar fight and they should see the OTHER little old lady.)

I’m planning to make another version of this top with short sleeves, but that may need to be put off until August.

My other recent finish is the wall quilt, which I had set aside but finally finished yesterday.

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The only way I could find to take a pic of the whole thing–binder clips and a bookcase.

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You can just barely see it, but there’s a stalk of wheat below the text.  I wanted it to be subtle, and I guess I got that.

To be honest, I had hoped I would love it by this point, but I don’t.  Which is fine, considering it’s not for me.  I hope the recipients do, though.

So, next up on the priority list is the sew-along.  Here’s what we’re making in July:

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I love these fabrics!  The yellow is from SCRAP, the flowered from the Goodwill in Newberg, OR, and I think they’re both cotton interlock.

I’ve got several questions about that bodice, so I’m going to make a muslin of it this evening.  I plan to do my dress in a midi length, possibly extend the sleeves a little, and add pockets (because pockets).  I love empire waists and I think this could be a good look for me.

If you’d like to join along, the Facebook group is called Sew-Along Dinner Date Dresses and it’s a very fun and helpful group.  They’re making some really gorgeous (and challenging) Vogue dresses, so they’re acquiring some pretty great skills.  I only wish more of those great patterns were suitable for the waist-free (Vogue 1424–so very cool, so wrong for my shape, sigh).

Have a great Thursday and I hope you’re keeping all your proverbial balls in the air.

STH

Sunday Sevens 06-04-17

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Interesting clouds lit up at sunset (Howard Amon Park, Richland, WA)

Today’s pictures feel like an especially random assortment, but they’re the most memorable ones from the last couple of weeks.

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These solicitous parents kept steering the fam over to the banks of the river so the little ones could eat the grass there.  I’m wondering what kind of goose that is at the center rear of the photo; not our usual Canada Geese or Snow Geese (this photo is also from my walk in Howard Amon Park).

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The west side of the state was its usual leafy green.  This was taken on the University of Washington campus.

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Some nifty details on the Henry Gallery on the UW campus.  This very retro looking building was built in 1996.

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Some of the massive old machinery in Gas Works Park.  An unusually warm and sunny day so we were surrounded by many, many bright white people removing as much clothing as possible.

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My friend Heidi was a little harrumph-y about the graffiti up near the top of this thing but, honestly, I have nothing but respect for the commitment of anybody willing to get over that fence and climb all the way up there (humans included for scale).

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Top of the hill in Gas Works Park.  Obligatory Seattle landmark visible at the right rear.

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Detail of the sundial in the park.  I couldn’t get a good shot of the whole thing–it’s pretty big–but it’s very cool with lots of interesting details.  Oh, and it works!

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Another fun detail from the sun dial.  There are four of these drains marking the four directions.

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Back on the east side of the state, partner and I tried out the new trail up Candy Mountain.  We’re looking down on West Richland here.  Note the contrast of the natural desert landscape (technically, “shrub-steppe”) in foreground (this is probably the greenest it ever gets) and the irrigated land below.

A big thank you, as always, to Natalie of Threads and Bobbins for starting Sunday Sevens and letting us show glimpses of our homes to the world.

Have a very excellent week and I hope you’re finding a little beauty wherever you are.

STH

WIP Wednesday: Trippy Elephants

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So much happy color here!

WIP = Work in Progress

I had a busy Memorial Day weekend over on the west side of the state, so not much sewing happened the past few days.  I spent this afternoon making a start on my niece’s baby quilt, though.

If you recall, this is the pattern I’m using (I’m planning to add borders to get it to a better baby size):

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And these are my fabrics, sale (of course) flannels from good old Joann’s:

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Plus scraps from the stash for all the “splashes” at the top of the quilt:

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Some of these have been hanging around a while!

I haven’t done a machine appliqué (guess who figured out how to do accents!) quilt in forever, so I’ve been studying this for days.  Then I realized that I had a package of Lite Steam-a-Seam and I could just use the instructions on that and quit confusing myself with all kinds of different options.

I’m sure there’s a nifty quick method for enlarging things, but I don’t know what it is, and I wasn’t in the mood for more research, so I went old school.

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Getting the fusible web where it’s actually supposed to be–off the paper and onto the elephant–was a bit fiddly, but I blame it on the large size of the appliqué.  Or maybe the web gets troublesome as it ages?  I honestly have no idea how long I’ve had this package hanging around . . . .

I eventually got it done (more or less) and this thing is going to be super cute!

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I think I’m going to have fun with this one!

I’m tentatively planning to try some spiral quilting on this quilt, which I think would work with the quasi-psychedelic quality of the pattern.

Have yourself a colorful Thursday and I’ll have some pretty pictures from green and sunny Bellevue for you on Sunday.

STH

WIP Wednesday: On and Off Track

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Well hello, Shelby the kitty!

(WIP = Work in Progress)

Many projects in process, as usual, but I also have an actual finish!  And another almost-finish!

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ALL THE COLORS!

So I wrote about the Summit Pack last Wednesday–making progress, generally good instructions, blah blah blah, everything’s fine, nothing to see here.

Then I hit the proverbial rocks.

I got to work on putting the front of the bag together and YIKES.

You know how it is when you’re sewing two pieces of fabric together and their curves go the opposite way?  Like when you’re sewing a collar to a stand or putting a princess-seamed bodice together?  And the fabric is protesting and fighting you, so you use lots of pins, but the layers of fabric actually push them out, that’s how hard they’re fighting not to make that curve.  But you cram them together and sew the damn seam, and then you have to unpick and resew the three or four places where the fabric on the bottom folded up and got caught in the seam because it is NOT REPEAT NOT going to take that curve.

That’s what the front of this is, only you do that over and over with lining and exterior pieces, all with sharp angles that other pieces have to be coaxed-slash-forced to conform to.  Oh, and there are zippers, too.

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Plenty of unpicking happened here, and easing, and unpicking, etc., etc.  There are definitely some wobbly bits and some slight gathering where my easing skills failed me, but that’s okay with me.  I can honestly say I did the best I could and more re-doing would not help.  And I don’t have any helpful advice, either; it’s just a difficult bag to make.  Absolutely doable if you have some bag-making experience and take every step slowly and carefully, but the kind of project that would probably make perfectionists twitch.

On the other hand, though, look how pretty!

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Handy Oyster card slot for riding the Tube!  And passport fits in the back of the purple unit!

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iPad fits in padded gadget pocket perfectly for reading on the plane!

Whatever, it’s a little bit wonky, but I love it.  I just put on my to-do list to make some quickie zipper pulls for this, because we are going for maximum fabulousness here.

Also!

I had another squirrel moment this week, because I am basically a big kid (you’re completely shocked to hear this, I’m sure).

I have been invited to the Seattle area to spend the weekend with my BFF, Heidi.  Which means, of course, that I need to make something new to wear.  And, because of that big kid thing, it must involve the new Hello Kitty cotton knit I just got from here.

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This is just the nicest fabric–soft and substantial, with great color.

I only bought a yard–I love it, but I’m still cheap–so I’m using the Kitty fabric for the front and back of view A (top picture).  For the rest, I dug through my knits and found the rest of the mystery knit I used for my black skirt.  I don’t know the fiber content on it, but it has similar weight and stretch to the Kitty fabric.

The instructions were a little bit of a mind bender–you sew the sleeves to the side front and side back, then attach the whole thing to the front and back–but quick and easy.  I strongly recommend cutting or marking the notches on everything to help keep you oriented, though.  Don’t be like this dork here; I ignored most of the notches because I didn’t have the mental energy to deal with them at the same time I was cutting out pieces that are a large at the bust and XXL at the waist and hip.  This made the non-standard construction more complicated than it needed to be.

The top is almost finished–just hem and sleeve hems to do.  Here’s a quick and dirty selfie in my sewing room:

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No, that’s not some sort of apocalypse happening behind me, just a big window and a sunny day.

Quite a different effect than the striped one on the pattern envelope, huh?  Less sporty, more dressy, even though it’s covered in cartoon cat heads.  Some nice shaping on this; it isn’t the usual tee shape.  We’ll see what happens when I shorten the sleeves to their proper 3/4 length.  Right now I feel like it needs something, but I don’t know what.  Hmmm . . . .

Anyway, have a great Thursday and I’ll yak at you again soon.

STH

ETA:  I have linked this post up to Needle and Thread Thursday over at My Quilt Infatuation.

I’ve also linked to Midweek Makers #73 at Quilt Fabrication.

WIP Wednesday: Bits and Pieces

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(WIP = Work in Progress)

Literally bits and pieces.  I’ve been working every day on the Summit Pack (I’m using this challenge to keep me moving), but it hasn’t felt like I’ve accomplished much.  I just appliquéd the sun onto the front pocket, though, and I’m starting to get excited about the project again.  This is going to be such a cool bag!

And that’s only half the bits so far–here’s the other half:

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So many pockets!

Good pattern so far; lots of pictures and descriptions, though I suspect a noob would be quite frustrated by a few of the instructions.  This, for example:  “To make the main zipper cover, take the zipper cover piece (uninterfaced) and fold in half lengthwise with
WST. Press, then topstitch and baste other edges closed.”  Umm . . . topstitch what and baste what?  It took me a minute, but I figured it out.  I would call this an intermediate bag pattern–some bag-making experience would really help here.

The only change I’ve made to the bag construction is to use a rectangle rather than a swivel hook to attach the strap to the bag.  I use a cross-body bag pretty much all the time and never have trouble getting one on and off, so I opted for a little more security rather than the ability to unclip the bag to take it off.

Still plenty more to do on the pack–I just checked and I still have 8 more pieces to go into this thing!  Probably not the best project to take on in my current impatient state of mind.  And, note to self:  replace burned-out bulb in sewing room ceiling fixture soonest–I swear, black corduroy is like a black hole that sucks up all the light in the room and consumes it.

Also, I printed myself a new one of these:

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This is a very simple Excel form I made for myself when I was participating in the Finish-Along.  I remembered I had it when I was chatting with this troublemaker and I thought I might use it to list all the projects I’m thinking about for the near future.  Hopefully I’ll worry less about forgetting them and reduce the sensation that my head is going to burst with all the ideas zooming around in it.

So, still plugging away at the organization, the pack, and the binding on the wall quilt.  Hope all your projects are going smoothly and you’re feeling like a sewing god or goddess (which you totally are, let’s be honest here).

Also, here’s another little bit of beauty for you.  This is my current favorite song; a little mournful, but also gorgeous.

Content warning:  contains swears.

Talk to you soon.

STH

Sunday Sevens 05-14-17

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I went out to get the mail yesterday and had to run back in to grab my camera.  Dramatic clouds after a brief hail storm.

A stressful week in many ways, and I’ve spent way too much time online following the news and thinking about the sorts of things that bring down Presidents.  The Watergate hearings are my first memory of paying attention to politics and I’ve got quite a significant case of déjà vu happening right now.

For those of a certain age who remember the last time:

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A bit of political ephemera I inherited from my father, another political junkie.

 

On the home front, a couple of fun things came in the mail this week.

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Been lusting after this pattern for a while and finally decided it was time.

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I had to order some boring black rayon/lycra knit to combine with some of my other knit pieces and I was unable to resist the lure of the Hello Kitty cotton knit.

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One of my favorite dinners this week–started with this chicken on a Greek pita with veg and topped with this sauce and some feta.

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Saturday evening sewing.  I have obviously not yet learned important life lessons regarding:  1)  NEVER use heavier fabrics like purple twill for a bag pattern that calls for quilting cotton, and 2) NEVER use contrasting thread for topstitching.

On Saturday morning, I took a bus tour through the older parts of Richland, the next town over from where I live.  Someday I really must do a long post on the history of this area (which is super-interesting, at least to me), but here’s the condensed version.

In 1942, the U.S. government chose a parcel of land in eastern Washington state to be the site of a plutonium production facility as part of the Manhattan Project to develop nuclear bomb technology.  At that time, there were two small farming communities there, the towns of Hanford and White Bluffs, plus a few Native American settlements.  The few thousand residents were paid for their land and given 30 to 60 days to leave.  The feds brought in workers from all over the country to raze the towns and construct in their place plutonium-producing nuclear reactors, plus everything that would be needed to house, feed, transport, and entertain hundreds of employees in the middle of the desert.  There was literally nothing and nobody out there, which was by design, as the project was top secret and even most of the people employed at the site didn’t know what they were working on.

The tiny town of Richland, Washington, was unincorporated and became the new home of these workers.  Saturday’s bus tour was to look for remnants of World War 2 and Cold War construction projects in the midst of modern Richland.

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Here’s the bus in front of the Reach museum, which organized the tour.  It dates from the early 1950s, and was used to pick up workers in Richland and ferry them out to the Hanford site.

 

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How things have changed–the bus has ashtrays!

 

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This is one of the H houses built between 1943 and 1945.  Each of the different house floor plans was designated by a letter of the alphabet, so they’re now called Alphabet Houses.

 

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This looks like a B duplex; the windows have been replaced and the house appears to be in pretty good shape.  There were originally about 1,000 duplexes–most are gone and many of the remaining ones are a bit run down.

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I think this is an A duplex.  Note the detached garage at the right; that would be a later addition, as none of these houses had garages.

Richland also still has a theater, a shopping center, a federal courthouse and some other structures built by the government during this period.  And the parcel of land that the government bought all those years ago was back in the news this week because of the mess they made out there and are still trying to clean up.

A big thank you, as always, to Natalie over at Threads and Bobbins for starting Sunday Sevens and keeping us all grabbing for our cameras.

Have a great week, everybody, and keep well away from any 20-foot pits filled with radioactive material, okay?

STH

WIP Wednesday: Progress!

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Hey, don’t look so surprised.

(WIP = Work in Progress)

JUST finished the quilting on this.

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I put it on the bed for photos, which obviously means it’s a new place for taking naps.

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I was hoping to accentuate the illusion of a blue background with the brown/tan rectangles floating on top, but I’m not sure it worked . . . there will be blue binding, which I think will help.  I’ll try to find a place to hang it up for final pictures.

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I spent a fair bit of time trying to figure out how to do the quilting for the fewest stops and starts.  Because that’s what you’re supposed to do, right?  Problem is, all that accomplished was to make my brain hurt.  I eventually gave up and just started quilting, which was much more pleasant than overthinking.  Note to self:  actually doing things is a lot better–and way more productive, imagine that!–than getting bogged down in devising the perfect plan.

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There’s a lot of quilting here, but I’m liking the texture it has now.  Just for comparison, here’s what it looked like before I started on the blue sections:

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I suspect all that quilting was a good idea for the batting I used, also, as it tended to tear and lump up.

I did almost all of this quilting on the Kenmore sewing machine, but I’m afraid it is in time out right now.  First it developed a rattle.  Then the rattle became a squeak.  Now that one noise has become several, and I am not at all happy about it.  😦  I opened the machine up and checked; everything looked fine, and I could see still-good lubricant where it seemed like you would need it, but I am not terribly mechanical and am probably missing something obvious.  I switched back to the White briefly, but it’s still having tension problems, so it was back to the Kenmore to finish.

My partner will be gone all weekend on his bike (600k this time), so the plan is to do the binding on this and finally get started on the Summit pack.  I’m going to tinker with the White and see if I can get that tension problem under control.

STH

ETA:  I am (belatedly) linking up to Scraptastic Tuesday because I am a forgetful dork.

Sunday Sevens 05-07-17

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WILDLIFE!  (Well, not all that wild, considering she came out of the tree to beg for food from the people walking by.)

Busy week here, and more busy times ahead!  Plans are being made for spring and summer travels and activities, and there will be a fair bit of both.  Much sewing to be finished first.  Let’s see what’s been happening.

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Things are greening up in Columbia Park.  Look how high the Columbia River is here–a few warm days plus rain has led to some flood warnings for the Yakima River.

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Yep, over 90 on Thursday, then a spectacular lightning storm that night.

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Quilting continues, and I had to get some new marking tools and thread.

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Sewing projects continue to multiply at a somewhat alarming rate.  I found this nifty textured blue knit remnant in the stash that I can combine with the yard of cotton/lycra I got the other day.  Picked up some black duck for another cycling cap (oy, this guy and his boring black clothing).  Hunting for fabric for another cycling jersey, too.

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Favorite dinner of the week:  Chicken Enchilada Soup.  I obviously need a food stylist to arrange my avocado perfectly for me, but this was delicious.

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I swear he doesn’t actually sleep ALL the time–just during the day.  According to my partner, Pooh and Shelby do all their playtime in the middle of the night.  Then they wait just outside the bedroom door for him to get up early in the morning so they can jump on the bed for cuddles with me.

Many thanks to Natalie of Threads and Bobbins for hatching the idea of Sunday Sevens and giving me an excuse to take (even more) cat pictures.

Have a great week, everybody!

STH

WIP Wednesday: Progressing Slowly

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(WIP = Work in Progress)

A bit late this week because I am quilting-crazy at the moment and–I admit it–I chose to work on the wall quilt last night rather than doing my Wednesday blog post.  I have so many ideas swirling in my head at the moment that I am impatient to get this done and move on.  I’ve set myself a goal of finishing the quilt by next weekend; this feels like a LOT more time than I need, which means I might just make it.  😉

I did a lot of obsessing over how to quilt this and decided to do all straight lines, no curves.  It just felt . . . not right, somehow, to do curves on the blue and straight lines on the brown rectangles.  Doing a Google image search for “straight line quilting” gave me the idea to quilt these boxy things on the brown, and I like how it turned out.  I want to emphasize the illusion of the rectangles floating above the blue by quilting lots of lines (number will vary depending on patience) on the blue parts to get them to recede a bit.

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Progress has been slowed by running out of tan thread, so will get some more and try to finish all the rectangles today.

And here’s the back, which is also pieced:

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That’s the last of the tan flannel there–just evened up the edges and sewed it on.  The blue on the left is the leftovers from a shift dress I made many years ago–mid-90s, maybe?

I’ve also finally interfaced the pieces for the Summit Pack.  Cripes, I haven’t even started sewing this thing and it already feels like a PROJECT–lots of pieces and almost all needed two layers of interfacing.  But the important thing is that we all feast our eyes on just SOME of the fabrics I’m using in this thing.

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All the colors!!

Those are two Laurel Burch fabrics, plus the very fabulous batik I bought the other day, and some lightweight purple twill.  There’s also a black pinwale corduroy and some black twill involved.

Here’s a better picture of the batik which actually more or less captures the amazing color in this stuff:

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YOWEE!

Soon, Summit Pack with glorious batik, soon.

For now, it’s back to the quilt mines for me.  Have an excellent Thursday, everybody.

STH

ETA:  I have linked this post up to Wednesday Wait Loss over at The Inquiring Quilter.