Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Adventures at Omi's Continues

I was just looking at how late it is now, so this will be a super-quick update and I can put more information up tomorrow.

I'm helping Sharon clean up her mom's house again.  It's been sitting dormant for too long, so I offered to get this thing cleaned and ready for the handyman to come in and patch up the broken stuff and bring in some income for this property.  Of course, we haven't really worked out any kind of financial arrangement, but I've got some quilts that need binding put on them.

Quick tour of the house...not all of it, mind you, but the bulk of the living spaces:

The Living Room...I am standing in the dining room, which at that time had a table, a rug, a couple of drawers from the buffet (don't know how those got left behind) and a couple empty boxes.  And a giant brown house spider I named Frank.  Behind the big pile of rugs on the far end of the room is a giant box TV that I will not be able to lift.

The kitchen.  All the cupboards are empty, so it's mostly just cleaning the gluck off the dishes & utensils and wrapping them up.  Oh, and I'm throwing away the borscht on the counter.

The master bedroom.  Still a few little things in the closets, some linens, and look...another box TV.  All the furniture will be taken to the living room as a "staging area" for the movers to easily load into the truck.

The second bedroom--this used to be Sharon's once upon a time.  Disassemble bed, take out the trash, and pack up the last bits of stuff.  I would really like to burn the curtains, but we'll let Sharon decide.

The back deck needs a little work, too.

There is one more bedroom that is mostly empty--just a few cushions and a small table, but otherwise clean.  The basement I didn't even venture into and the garage is another story entirely.

Once again, I came across some fun treasures:  some ceramic jugs and these fancy candlesticks that pivot so the candle will always be upright and not drip all over the floor...theoretically.

In the meantime, our kids' bathroom is getting a facelift.  The floor was ruined and there was mold growing under the vinyl, so we had it torn up to be replaced.  And, well, it turned into a construction version of "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie..."  If we're replacing the vinyl with tile, we might as well put the heating coils under it.  And if we're having to take the cabinet out, we might as well replace it with a larger cabinet, and if we're doing that, we should add an extra sink, and granite counters...and paint and lights and mirrors and fixtures.  We're not changing the tub, shower or toilet.  We stopped there.  It should be done by the weekend; the handyman will be here all day tomorrow.

Yesterday we took the Girl Scouts for a 30 minute karate lesson.  It was supposed to be an hour but between slow costume changes and traffic, it was truncated.  That was probably for the best since they were starting to get really squirrelly by then.  They really had a great time--most of them were really into it.  There was one that is *painfully* shy and had a hard time with this aggressive sport, but she stuck it out and participated, so...kudos!

Finally finished the second ankle sock in the self-striping yarn.  I tried to make them the same size, which helped by trying to start the sock at the same point in the pattern repeat--I should probably try it on to be sure. :)  I've made dozens of socks but I've never blocked one in my life.  Not sure how to do that.  I should have someone show me...maybe over a cuppa.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Sick House

While I'm under the weather, and it's not horrible, just uncomfortable with a sore throat and cough.  Not something that'll keep me from doing the things I have to do, but enough to make me want to do very little else.  I got Cammie's Girl Scout quilt on the frame after piecing the back together with the leftover fabrics, but I haven't yet cut the batting for it, but it'll be done tomorrow.  If I get the energy.

In the meantime, we are remodeling the kids' bathroom.  We have an odd collection of furnishings in the hallway...It started out with wanting to change the floor to make it more waterproof and putting into a better fan.  It turned into replacing the vanity, mirrors, lights, a paint job (which it really needs), and putting in heated floors.  We picked out the tile yesterday and today I got the vanity & top, and we got the heated floor coils.

Our handyman tore up the bathroom today and found a lot of water damage near the tub--no surprise.  We still need to bleach the walls, seal & paint, pick out lights and mirrors, and sometime next week, the vanity & granite top will show up.  We're trying to do this on the cheap, or at least as frugally as possible.  We found a neighborhood cabinet and granite place that is selling pieces that are better quality and half the price of the big box stores.  Funny enough, as I was picking out the vanity, one of my neighbors stopped in at the tiny store!  She's doing her bathroom, too.  Small world...

Gotta get to bed.  Long day of nothing tomorrow...

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Ash Wednesday

That two-days-in-a-row thing didn't last, did it?  Well, I've been pretty busy working on quilting projects these past few days.

It's been a very productive, in fact.  I got Lauri's "blue jeans & t-shirt" quilt finished up very quickly, doing a quick, all-over swirly pattern.  I was able to deliver this back to her on Monday after the guild meeting.  I sat with them for a little more than an hour, visiting.  The two of them started Weight Watchers and have both lost over 30 lbs. each.  They look great!

She had given me one other quilt to finish up--this is a baby quilt for a Sounders Fan family.  She said that the baby is a boy and wanted to stay away from girly-swirly quilting, so do something more...masculine.  OK...  To get some ideas, I needed some outside assistance.  I had heard of people talking about Leah Day's 365 quilt project, so I went to her web site and found the hundreds of examples of quilting patterns.

After looking through several patterns that would be too dense for the quilt top, I came across one that is more adaptable for a larger space, and had a very "Snakes & Snails & Puppy Dog Tails" kind of feel to it.  It's called "Oil Slick" and makes one think of oil drips in a parking lot--the rainbow of colors spreading out across the pavement.  It would have been even more striking had I done it in rainbow thread, but this would have clashed with the Rave Green and blue fabrics.

Having finished up a couple quilts "for pay" I loaded up a quick little quilt for our guild's charity for Children's Hospital.  This was a cute little country/cowboy quilt that had a polar fleece back.  With such a heavy fabric for the back, I decided to not put any batting in it.  I really don't think it needs it.  The one thing I found with the polar fleece is that it's really stretchy on the weft, so I had to load it up on the warp, which I normally don't do.  I took Leah Day's "Oil Slick" pattern and modified it a bit.  I think it looks like snake tails, don't you?  "There's a snake in my boot!"

Having finished that one, I loaded up another charity quilt and tried another new pattern that Leah calls "Super Spirals".  It's fast, it covers a lot of territory, but I don't like it as much.  Maybe if I make it even more wonky and deliberately wobbly.  I'll have to experiment on that later.  I also decided to take some of the weird size pieces of batting and piece them together.  When I do a quilt for a customer, many times the width of the quilt top is significantly smaller than the batting's width, so I'll cut off 20"-30" off one side of the quilt and set it aside.  I don't have any plans for this leftover batting from other projects, and I really don't want to use it for customers who are paying full price for the batting, but for charity quilts, it's perfectly fine.  Once it's quilted up, no one will ever know.

Then I pulled out the quilt that I started for Cammie more than 10 years ago.  I racked that up and pulled out more of those batting leftovers.  As you can see in this picture, there were two pieces of batting used in this quilt.  Oh, you can't see it?  On the left side, mid-way down, there's a yellow square.  The batting sticks out just a smidge farther on the bottom piece.  Once the binding is done, again, no one will ever know.

I consulted Leah's web site again, and found this pattern that was very similar to the "Oil Slick" but with a more feminine touch.  It's called "Bed of Roses" and has very little retracing of stitches, which is what made Oil Slick more challenging.  I finished it up really quickly and I'm very happy with the result.  I need to get the binding on it, then it'll be done and ready to put on Cammie's long last!

So, then it was time to do another charity quilt.  This one, I actually made the top last July at the quilt show and turned it in.  This was made from a bunch of "DOTS" charm squares that were swapped, and apparently the donor decided she didn't want them after all.  Then, last month, the charity quilt gal, Doreen, brought it out and was looking for quilters to finish it.  I figured I may as well finish it up!  Again, I used batting scraps to quilt this and will turn it in at the next meeting.  The quilting pattern was a modified swirl--looked more like snake heads or large question marks, but without the dots...the quilt was already covered it dots, I suppose...

The only other thing that I've been working on is an Anglo-Saxon weaving project.  The nature of this weaving causes a great deal of twist in strings to build up.  In an effort to alleviate this twisting without having to untie and re-tie all the 24 sets of strings, I figured I would try something that was suggested on a web site to use barrel swivels from the fishing aisle at Fred Meyer.  As the twist builds up, it can untwist via the swivels.  Two things I've discovered...the twist stays between the posts until you get to the end; and the leftover strings tend to get tangled up in the swivels preventing any un-twisting.  Next weave, I'm going to tie the swivels in at the beginning of the project rather than at in the middle.  I will also have to figure out a way to tuck in the ends so they don't get tangled in the swivels.  Not sure how I'm going to do that.  Tape?

I'm feeling a little sickly today.  Time to get some soup and then start the afternoon runaround.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Low Rant District

Normally I don't post two days in a row.  Must be a record for 2013!  At least for February.

I started this morning getting everyone off to school on time, then went to seek Geocaches.  I found three in rather quick succession.  Go me!  Monday that doesn't feel like a Monday!  What a concept!  One of them was officially "disabled" because it needed repair, but it was still in place.

Went home and loaded up a quilt on the frame and babysat the handyman while he put another coat of mud on the holes he made in the ceiling.  Due to flooding in the bathroom upstairs, the drywall sagged and we were concerned with the possibility of mold.  He made a couple holes and there was no mold, just rusty nails.  He's patching those areas and will repaint...I think.  He's a talker, but he's very interesting.  He loves history and greatly admires he can stay. :)  I realized that I didn't have the right thread for the back of Lauri's quilt, so I headed out to get some thread.  I tried to locate a couple geocache sites...came close to a couple, but not quite...  I was running out of time, so I went to get the kids from school.

I tried to find another geocache after dark, one that I've tried to find several times already, one that appears to be mis-marked on the GPS because there's nothing there but a crack in the sidewalk...and not big enough to fit anything into.  Not sure what else I can I'm probably going to go back one more time in daylight and then give up.  The owner says that it's not terribly difficult to find, but there are a number of people who say that they can't find it.  I know the owner reads the comments, so I posted as much, and that I suspect the coordinates are off because where the GPS says it is and where a photo indicates it is are at least 10 feet apart.  The hints are not as helpful as one would think, either.  "Between Starbucks and B&R."  WTF is B&R?  No business in the area is called B&R.  Nothing even starts with B or R.  Or does it mean "bus stop" and "road"?  I dunno.

After all the karate and dinner clean up, I went onto Facebook and read stuff, made a comment on a page, and was *again* lambasted for my stupidity on current events and the environment.  It wasn't even an opinion--it was a quote from a scientific article and a "food for thought" comment, and she tells me to stop watching FOX news.  So, I made a rather drastic move, for me, and stopped the feed on one of the more poisonous individuals in my friend list.  I didn't unfriend her; I just won't see any more of the drivel she posts and won't feel compelled to comment. Life's too short for so much hate.  There are a couple more contenders that may follow that same path, should the need arise.  It's too bad because occasionally she posts funny stories about kids and pictures of the amazing things she makes...but mostly it's political crap.

Off to bed.  Hopefully Tuesday will be as awesome as Monday started (not the way it ended).  Looks like rain tomorrow, so no Geocaching for me, but I have brown thread so I can work on Lauri's blue and white quilt (the back is chocolate brown, as you can see from this picture).  I love this scrappy quilt top--the color combination reminds me of blue jeans and white t-shirts...
These are a few of my favorite things...

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Wrapping up the Weekend...

Another productive quilting day today!

I worked on a couple different things.  First I finished putting blocks and sashing on a quilt that I started for Cammie 10 years ago.  Yep...a decade.  I found a label on one of them that said "September 2003".  I handed out the pattern a second time, so this may have been the newer of the blocks and the others are 11 years old.  Well, I'm happy to say that the quilt top is now complete!

The next thing I worked on was a quilt top that I started more than six years ago at the old house.  I carefully cut out, pieced and laid out these Flying Dutchman pieces, only to stand back and say, "oh crap.  I sewed them together wrong.  This is what it's supposed to look like.  Note the pinwheel center...hence, the "flying" bit.

And this is what I's not a pinwheel.  It's a Friendship Star.  Oops.  Each pair of triangles is turned 90 degrees.  Well, I had a couple of options...take the easy way out, or the hard way.  Didn't really want to go the hard way.  The hard way is to take it all apart...not gonna happen.

So instead of taking it all apart and "fixing" it, I decided to make it a new pattern.  I'm calling it "Friendly Dutchmen".  Or "Twisted Geese".  I added a strip of white and attached the flying geese border that I had already (mostly) created.  I was about 8 geese short of a flock, so I sewed up a few more.

At this point, it's 90" square, which is a little too small for a King bed, so I may add borders on three sides to make it just a smidge bigger.  6" strips will make it 102" x 96"--I find having it longer from head to foot just makes it more awkward on the bed.

Lauri left me with two quilts to do for her and headed back home around 3:00.  This gets added to the pile of five quilts for Quilts of Valor and three quilts for Seattle Children's.  I'm going to busy for a while.  Donna and John stopped by around 4:00 with some paperwork to sign and we chatted for a bit before they headed back home.

It's been a long weekend, and I have no interest in who won the Superbowl, although I guess it was the Ravens, which when I did the mental coin toss, is what I guessed.  Other than that, I got some laundry folded.  Woo.

Bound and Determined

This weekend is the Pirate Retreat...fewer pirates are coming ashore of late, but two very daring individuals came to work on sewing projects.  Lauri and her son, Mr. L., and Jeanie.

Lauri worked on a couple quilts--one was this "Sounders Baby" quilt.  She added a couple of borders after this, but it's stunning just like this!  I love this pattern, too.  I may have to borrow it from her!  She needs to find some flannel backing for it, and then I will quilt it up for her.  She also handed me a lovely starry blue quilt that I will be working on.  I didn't get a pic of it, but I will try to do that tomorrow.

Jeanie worked on a number of costume alterations for belly dance outfits.  There were a couple of cholis that got some buttons and bling added to them, a jingly bra that got some repairs, and she started to make some adjustments to some tights whose rise was too high.  Not sure how far she got on that last one, and one of the tops was starting to have issues with the grommets pulling out.  Eventually she got back to knitting a scarf that she worked on at the *last* pirate retreat, but after knitting and unknitting several rows, she determined she was too tired to continue and packed it up.  It was SO nice seeing her again!

We went out for happy hour to a restaurant down the street and enjoyed some of their happy hour dinner specials.  I had beef sliders and a salad (amazing!), Jeanie had something with hummus and taro chips, and Lauri had a salad and some kind of wraps.  The food was really good!  Totally worth going back, especially at the happy hour prices.

I worked on four different quilts.  First was a quilt top for the Children's Hospital charity group that I help with in the guild.  This baggie was full of 12" squares that needed sashing, so I added it according to directions.  There was still fabric left over, so I added sashing around the outside, too.  It didn't specifically call for it, but how could I not?

I put the binding on a quilt for the Spanish teacher's baby girl who was born last July.  You may recognize this as a quilt almost identical to Malcolm's (my new baby nephew!!).  I love that it's a unisex design, despite the mix of colors. Yeah, it's a little heavy on the pink, but really, pink is just light red.  Originally, as you may recall, I started making blocks for an Arrowhead pattern quilt, but I made too many blocks, so I decided to make two quilts out of them.  It looks rather dull laying here on the floor; the colors seem somehow muted.  The light may have been bad.  I'll have to hang it up and get a better picture tomorrow.  Still needs a label.

Then I put a binding on another quilt for the same baby--this one made by Cammie.  Got the photo of this one just before Kelly ran off to the Superbowl party.  It's very pretty-in-pink and is covered in hearts.  It's fitting that the baby's name is Valentina!  I bound it in a light purple to match some of the purple background.

Finally, I put a binding on this quilt that's been sitting around for a loooooooooooong time!  I finished the top and quilted it before we moved some 5 years ago, so it's gotta be at least 7-8 years old. that I think about it, I think I started it before Ben was we're looking at 9 or 10 years?  Ugh.  Glad to have this done!  I bound it in green 1930s reproduction fabric and after a good washing (there's a mysterious stain on one edge) it'll end up on the living room couch as a TV-watching lap throw.  The greens match the slip covers on the furniture.

And finally, I was working on a weaving project the last couple of days.

 This is a simple 6th century Norse threaded in weave.  It goes together really fast, using a skip-hole technique.  25 turns forward, 25 turns back, which forms the M and W motifs.  I only warped up about 2 yards of thread, just as a test run.  When finished, it measured about 1 3/4 yards.  I will probably do this again, although I found that the cards had a mind of their own and wanted to turn this way and that, so I had to stabilize them by sliding a pencil through the holes to keep them aligned.

After I finished that one, I warped up another "Anglo-Saxon" threaded-in weave that looked really spiffy!  Celtic knotwork!  I chose a teal blue (it's a little more green and brighter in real life), and got to work.  It didn't look right.  I unwove it and tried again.  Still no luck.  I tried it tighter, looser, packed down more, packed down still looked like a dog's breakfast.  Then I remembered the wise words of my science teacher in Middle School:  "When all else the directions."  I scrolled down the page and found that I was supposed to alternate turning the cards.  Turn the odd-numbered cards, throw the shuttle.  Turn the even-numbered cards, throw the shuttle.  Repeat.

Success!  That's what it was supposed to look like!  I don't know if it's *actually* might have been in a book called Tablet Weaving: History, Techniques, Colours, Patterns by Egon Hansen, but the book is out of print and unavailable anywhere.  Sigh.  Maybe I can find someone who has a copy that will allow me to borrow it and glean some information from it.  All 135 pages.

More sewing tomorrow!  I may try to piece a quilt top from some friendship blocks I've gotten back.