Sunday, February 26, 2006

Block Party!

I got no quilting done all weekend, I had to drive all the way back to the shop on Saturday to get my sewing machine which, in my haste I forgot there Friday evening after class. Then we had to make it home in time for the furniture delivery. Wow! Finally after 8yrs of marriage we have a bedroom set. We had never been able to agree on a set before. DH would like one aspect of the set but not the whole thing and of course I would like certain aspects of another set all together, but again not the whole thing. Well almost 4 yrs ago our eyes clapped on a set that not only we both agreed on, but we both liked the entire collection. After our jaw dropped from sticker shock we kept searching in other stores. We never bought anything else though. I wanted a timeless piece that I wouldn't get tired of looking at. I also prefer dark woods. Late 2005 I started working part time at RH (where our dream bed set is) to supplement my teaching income. I must say it wasn't a coincidence, whenever I decide to work retail it has to fall under 2 rules 1) The store has to have quality merchandise that I would use, honestly represent and most likely want and 2) The store has to have very little clothing (if any). Folding and re-folding during the holidays in retail is not my idea of a good time. Well, the employee discount made the purchase a bit more realistic. Our room is on the small side so we were only able to get 3 pieces. We chose the wardrobe, the king size sleigh bed and one nightstand.

On the quilting front here are pictures of my fellow student's quilts from the Crazy Curves class, the pictures do not do justice to the rich colors found in all the quilts:

This is Lisa's quilt, she is making a queen size bed quilt to present to her husband as a surprise for the upcoming 12yr anniversary (Happy Anniversary Lisa & Hubby!).

This is Yvonne's quilt. Yvonne will not be quilting her quilt, instead she plans on stretching it over canvas as an art piece for her home. Aren't the batiks divine! So rich and varied. What a wonderful collection from her stash.


This is Betsy's quilt, her quilt is still evolving. The fabrics she's using have such a cosmic quality to them. I can't wait to see it when it's done!


What of mine you ask, well, yours truly is slow as molasses. My block placement changed since the last time (slightly) and I'm very pleased with it so far. I'll post a pic next time. I still have such a long way to go though (15 more blocks to sew, square all 64 then start on the borders), but all the sweeter when I get there. What of progress on the other quilts, knitting projects, housekeeping, homework? "La, la, la, la, la (hands over ears) I cannot hear you."

This was such a wonderful class and I learned so much. The instructor, Ann Trompetter is such a sweetie, her accumulated knowledge flows from her so easily. Much sharing was taking place and ideas and information were constantly being exchanged. For instance, the ladies in my class were kind enough to indulge me in giving even their teensiest fabric scraps to create a technique, by Frances Emery I saw in the Spring 2006 issue of American Quilter Magazine called "Scraptures". Lisa, while Google-ing found a website that featured some interesting quilting patterns that others who have made Crazy Curves quilts have used (thanks Lisa!).

The quilting is phenomenal! I saw some pretty cool ideas that may just change my quilting plans for either this or future quilts. Yum!

Friday, February 24, 2006

Caution, curves ahead



This is what I got done so far and the class is tonight. The blocks in the center remind me of girl scout butter cookies, mmmm, butter cookies. Still less than half of what I was supposed to have done, I thought it was 36 but upon further reflection, I think it was supposed to be 64 (I was concentrating on sewing my curves at the time and missed what the instructor said). I didn't think I would like the color combination with the pattern but now I'm totally digging it. I even have a possible plan for quilting, I see an echo pattern of the circles and quarter circles. It hasn't given me a name yet though. Sewing the curves is a little slow, but I'm getting faster and not sacrificing accuracy. All this without having to make those little registration marks and snips into the fabric. Perfect curves every time. Imagine that!

I spent the better part of my week doing laundry and on the phone with the Mac people, the SBC Global people (dsl) and the Cannon people for my printer (which obviously didn't want to be left out of the fun). Both computers refused to acknowledge the printer, "I don't even know you anymore, you've changed". The printer on the other hand was like "Nah, man what you think you despise in me is what you are afraid to see in yourselves, it is the reflection of your inner self that you refuse to acknowledge". Well it turns out it was neither, I just needed to download drivers specifically for the Canon i860, not generic drivers. So technically what they had there, my laptops and my printer, was a failure to communicate. Why would I have to do this since I've never done it before? When I got the 12inch G4 I just popped the usb plug into the printer and was off and running, no cd needed. Well my dirty deeds have caught up with me. We'll see what else the electronic future holds.

I finally sent my application for the A to I course scheduled for this summer and next in Colorado, hopefully I'll hear from them soon. Especially since I've narrowed down my search for housing over there and have found potential roommates who are also taking the course. This is the second summer for 2 of them and the first for the other 2 (but they've had previous AMI training). I've never had roommates before, so this should be interesting. Oh, and I almost forgot! I'll most likely be making this a road trip! YAY!! Road trip, road trip, road trip, road trip. This will be my first long road trip, we usually leave early in the morning and get to where we are staying by early the next morning, taking turns at the wheel and stopping only for breaks. But this will be a bonafide road trip. I'm burning cd's for it and everything. My sweet DH has decided to join me, he requested his vacation time to coincide with my trip. We'll drive there, he'll fly back home and fly back over when my studies are done (which is kinda ridiculous, I believe my Mum may have had something to do with this, she was worried about me being out there on the road all by myself) but we get another road trip going back. Cool! DH has been to every state except Kansas and Alaska, this trip will knock off plenty for me. I'll collect interesting things for my classroom from every state we get to. Oh! and I can't wait to see all the quilting/knitting stores and museums and shows and....

Thursday, February 23, 2006

EEE?

I was trying to come up with alternative acronyms and names for the world wide web. Imagine it was named something else like, EEE (earth entirely entangled) or GGG (globe's gargantuan gossamer). I wonder if we'll ever reach that point where we won't have just WWW, just the same way we have .com, .net and .org.

I've been so busy trying to keep up with my projects in quilting I haven't even had time to knit :-( or post knitting UFO's. I'll try and remedy that next week.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Olfa Spinning Rotary Mat

I had the opportunity to use the Olfa Spinning Rotary Mat in Monday's Crazy Curves class and I was hooked. Being able to spin your mat makes life so much easier because it makes squaring up your blocks a dream! I saw the round revolving mats before but was hesitant to buy it because--well, it's round and it didn't seem logical to me when most of what we cut or at least start out from is either a square or a rectangle. The Olfa mat is not wobbly at all and spins very smooth. The only size it seems to come in so far is 12x12, which is great for your average size blocks. Of course it also has the yellow lines for measuring as well and of course it's also self-healing. It's a little on the pricey side (average $36.00) but I found two websites, store quilting-warehouse and joanns.com that have it on sale for just under $25 bucks!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Crazy!

I think I've sewn myself into a corner, see below



I started out using the sew and flip method but now I think I'm using something else, hmmm. Anyway elsewhere in the news, I went to my first Crazy Curves class yesterday evening (this is different from the Curved Piecing class online). I'm a very visual learner so I wanted to take this "live" class in order to aid me in my online class as well as learn different ways of piecing. The class was supposed to have started last Monday but it was cancelled due to the snow storm. Of course yours truly still hadn't signed up yet. I called The Quilt Shop in Danbury to find out what materials I needed to bring and ran out of here like a bat outta hell yesterday (very un-Montessori like). Amy Trompetter is the instructor (a sweet woman and a wonderful instructor) and the pattern we are using is called Drunkard's Path Gone Wild from Elisa Wilson's book Crazy Curves. I just grabbed as many light & dark fat quarters as possible as I was running out of the house. Needless to say I wasn't pleased with my fabric choices. I'm still trying to decide what fabrics I want to use, but this is what I made last night



This pattern lends itself well to batiks, but I don't have a lot of batiks and I really don't feel like spending hours in a fabric shop getting more material (I know, it's a blasphemous statement but I don't want to shop now, I want to quilt). I've got a lot to do before Friday's class. Instead of extending the class one week due to the snow storm, we decided to meet this Friday as well and we need to have 36 of those curved pieces done! And I still have to make room for the furniture delivery on Saturday...Ackkkk!

Focus

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Best laid plans

Let's see...what if someone who has never had a problem with their internet connection or their computer (it is a Mac afterall) was enrolled in 3 online classes that would be going on simultaneously. What if the same person had recently started a weblog and was over the moon that she had managed to log on faithfully and blog daily since it inception. What could possibly happen in a situation like that? Any guesses? How about no internet access since the day that the third class began and the exact date that the assignment from the professional online course is due. It turns out midway through reinstalling my OS X-- I realized it couldn't possibly be a Mac problem because I wasn't able to logon to the internet in either computer (both are Macs but same day I upgraded to OS X.4.3 on my main laptop and I thought maybe there was a conflict between the upgrade and my Safari/Firefox. Well the computer wasn't the problem but it became part of the problem after I tried "fixing" it. Two days later, with the help of a friendly Apple Tech we came to the conclusion that these were my options: 1) buy a firewire, transfer all my files to the other computer, erase my hard drive and reinstall OS X again (less expensive, but not something I was looking forward to) or 2) buy Disk Warrior (the more expensive, therefore least desirable option). I went down to CompUSA yesterday, got both and tried Disk Warrior first. It is as magical as they say! I'm back on and have a few things to catch up on blogwise, but a heck of a lot of things to catch up on online classwise.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Encrusted Crazy Quilting Class

It's almost here, it's almost here. Tomorrow, February 16th is the start of the Encrusted Crazy Quilting Class that I'm taking online with Sharon Boggon who incidentally has a fabulous blog called inaminuteago. She has the most incredible links to resources/information about quilting and other fiber arts. It is such a joy that she shares them with us. Check it out.


Me thinks I may have a wee bit too much on my plate, but what the heck. Since I'm off from school all of next week and will only be working at my second job Wednesday through Friday in the evenings, I'll try and use that time to do as much work on my projects as possible. I decided not to take the Silk Ribbon class this go around :-( that's too bad because I really wanted to feel comfortable enough to use the technique for my crazy quilt. I just don't have time to find all the materials I need (nor the funds, I've nearly exhausted my fiber budget on classes & supplies).

On another note I'm having trouble with links inside my blog posts, can't figure out what I'm doing wrong. Hopefully I'll work out something soon. In the meantime cut & paste the urls.

Oh! One more thing. I was cruising iTunes yesterday and getting updates on my Podcast subscriptions, typed in "Quilt" and wouldn't you know there are quilting pods! It's like having an all quilt all the time radio station. Wonderful stuff.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Valentine's Day

Our Anniversary Dinner is almost ready, except the salad. I think my DH is surprising me with a bottle of Ice Wine. If you like sweet wines, I suggest you try it. The best Ice Wine (in my humble opinion) is made in Canada. Take a look at the process.

Enter: "Spring"

This is a quilt I'm making for my Mum. Inspired by the little green buds I discerned on the trees while I was in NYC (last spring of course). It's also inspired by Vivaldi's "Spring". I hope to create a quilt for each of the Suites in his "Four Seasons". Each season will be a different style. See if you follow my thinking here, the upper left hand corner (not the borders) of the quilt represent the little buds, then the browns of the trunks of the trees, then the dirt and small stones leading into the blues of the water across to the bank on the other side, up the trees to the buds and then the blue of the sky. Repeat. It took me a long time to decide on how to border and quilt it, I actually had to put it away for several months but I think I've finally decided. The main portion will be free motion in a side-to-side swirly ripples in a lake fashion and the outside border will be lines extending from the main quilt to echo the straight lines of the bargello effect. I got the pattern for this quilt from Colorwash Bargello Quilts by Beth Ann Willams

Monday, February 13, 2006

By the banks of the pond

This is the view from the footbridge that goes over a little pond outside our backdoor.

After many hours of searching I came back with an architect's compass! Who knew they would be so difficult to find? I also picked up everything I needed for my sweet puddin' pie of a DH's special Valentine/Anniversary dinner tomorrow. On February 14th, 2006 we will have been married 8yrs (not bad considering we knew each other for only two months before that). We met on the beautiful Hawaiian island of O'ahu in an art gallery where I was working at the time, but that's a tale for another day.

I'm considering signing up for a Silk Ribbon Reticule class that begins on the 18th of this month on QuiltU, but I'm having quite a bit of trouble finding everything from the supply list. I'm tempted to get everything I need online, but 1) I don't know if I'll have enough time for it to ship and 2) it irks me that I won't be able to use my Joann's & my Ragshop coupons (50% off is nothing to sneeze at and I'm on a tight craft budget). I'm really keen about taking this class though, so I may have to bite the bullet, we'll see. Besides the benefits of learning the technique, the actual finished product for me will not be a reticule but rather the centerpiece for a crazy quilt which I plan on starting mid-month. I've never made a crazy quilt before so this should be fun!

Wheee! Snow Day!!

Before going to bed last night I placed the telephone on my makeshift nightstand along with the telephone tree containing the names and phone numbers of parents in our main school. That way if I got a phone call for school cancellation in the wee hours of the morning I wouldn't have to struggle, groggy eyed looking for anything. I didn't actually think we'd get a snow day today. The snow had stopped falling by around 3:30 yesterday afternoon. My phone rang at 5:30 this morning and I called the next person on the main telephone tree list to continue the domino effect, then proceeded to call the parents in my school (we're itty bitty so that took all of 5 mins.) I acquaint snow days with finding a $20 in your coat pocket from the winter before, makes you heady with thoughts of how you're going to spend it. I'm going to go hunting for an architect's compass to make my templates for the online Curved Piecing class I'm taking on QuiltUniversity.com. I'll see what other mischief I can get into. Mayhaps I'll bring my camera along to take photos of our winter wonderland.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Let it Snow!

The northeast got hit with a lot of snow today...over 2ft! A light dusting compared to snowfall in let's say Michigan for instance, but very thrilling! This prompted a conversation with my DH as to how much snow would it take to have school closings in Montana, which of course led to guesses on the state or city with the most yearly snow fall. I googled and found a site that gives average snowfall by city and state. Imagine my surprise when California made the top ten list twice!

My DH and I ventured outside to clear the snow off the vehicles so we wouldn't have to deal with a frozen, heavy mess in the early a.m. I love being out in the snow, especially snowfall this heavy. There is such a profound silence, like the world is holding it's breath. Everything is so still, so beautiful. Of course it will cause havoc commuting tomorrow, but that's tomorrow and this is today. The snow itself was light and powdery. I wonder what the Inuit word for this particular snowfall would be? How many words for snow are they proposed to have? How much of that is true and how much is urban legend?

Bienvenu Cher Blog!

Welcome Dear Blog into my life. In you I hope to find a sounding board for ideas and revelations that come to me during odd moments of day or coaxed out of my subconscious in the stillness that is night. I also look to you to make an honest woman out of me :-). Sometimes I find that with so many ways to express the beauty and anguish that is life, all I am left with is good intentions. Inspiration, ideas & good intentions are fine, but with just those for company you are left at the station. With action, the journey begins.

So...I appoint you keeper of my words, that I may keep mine.