Wednesday, February 27, 2013

WIP Wednesday: Wherein I Whine A Little and Show You a Puppy

I don't know about you guys, but I am tired of winter! I write this as I look out my window onto yet more snow falling. We've had bouts of "warm" (haha, if 38 degrees is warm) rain that has melted a lot of our snow, so it's been a lot of mush mixed in with new snow in a sort of endless cycle. I am thankful for the longer days though--in December, sunset is around 4:30, and it's the most depressing thing ever. Even with all the snow and slushy crud, it helps that it now stays light until almost 6:00, and it's getting later every day! Small mercies.

I haven't done a ton of sewing lately, in part because I think I messed up my machine a little bit. It does straight stitching and piecing ok, but when I try to quilt, it skips stitches or breaks thread. Boo...because I finally got the Christmas quilt basted during the Oscars on Sunday (so fun to tweet snarky comments with friends!) I tried basting on carpet and using only spray baste using Jennifer's method described here. I don't know how I feel about it yet. It seemed to use A LOT of spray baste--like a whole can of 505. Is that normal? And I'm just not sure I trust the spray, so I threw some pins on at the end anyway. We will see how it quilts. I'm doing a dogwood design and swirls in the border, so it will get quite a test.

My boyfriend is coming to visit tonight through Monday--yay! And next week, my mom is coming to fix my machine! (Haha, she's coming to visit like a normal person--but she's also going to try to fix my machine. After four years of teaching Home Ec, she's pretty good at troubleshooting machines.) Then, I'm going back to Nebraska for two weeks--I got an extra week of spring break because I'm going to be on a panel there while I'm back. Hooray for extra vacation (in sunny, tropical Nebraska--ha!)

Right now, I'm trying to finish a very, very rough draft of a dissertation chapter that I'm supposed to turn in today (heh). It seems woefully naive now, but I really didn't know how hard writing this thing was going to be. There are always more secondary sources to read, primary sources to find, read, and catalogue, and oh yeah, you're supposed to be crafting this into a coherent 250-page(ish) work as well, that communicates both with existing historiography and lays out your original findings. It is impossible. It makes me want to cry every day. One of the writers on the Oscar memorial slide show was quoted as saying "The hardest part about writing is writing" and I totally get that. Totally. But we all have our crosses to bear, right?

Sorry for the whining. Here's a puppy at the shelter where I volunteer to make up for all of that. :)

Things will be quiet around here for the next few weeks in between visitors and visiting, but I'll still be following your blogs when I can! Happy March! Pin It

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

WIP Wednesday: Hourglass Quilt

Just a quick update on my hourglass quilt! After three years (ok, not really, but it seemed like it) of trimming these little blocks, I finally started assembly! Thanks to those who responded on the last post--I decided to cheat it, and I think it will work fine. None of them were off by very much, and I want to keep as much of my beautiful fabric in the quilt as possible!

This is my super-scientific way of mixing blocks up to get a random look. I've also heard of putting them in the dryer, but I live in an apartment, and didn't feel like spending $1.50 just to mix up quilt blocks. So I put them in a paper bag, shook them around, and then unleashed them in my living room.

I was watching "Singing in the Rain"--totally forgot how funny that movie is. Hooray for 31 Days of Oscar on TCM! 
"Moses supposes, his toeses are roses, but Moses supposes erroneously!"

Here's my layout. I changed a couple of the red blocks in the lower left.

And here's why I always take a picture of my layout, even if I change it later. I swear, that stupid cat can be curled on the couch for 12 hours straight, but the second I go to the bathroom or something, he's all over this.

Finally got all of these lined up and ready to sew (not pictured: aftermath of Bingley running through these too.)

I finally got to start sewing rows together last night, and it's so fun to see things start to come together. Of course, after the first row, I promptly broke my machine (I've got thread tangled in the bobbin area.) I'll get out my manual and fiddle with it more today, but it was 11:30 pm and I decided to just call it a night.

Linking up with Freshly Pieced!

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Friday, February 15, 2013

Advice Wanted: Trimming Blocks

I've been sewing a bit this week, but it's been pretty boring stuff to put on a blog. I'm working on an hourglass quilt for myself, and while the blocks are easy, they're also very boring to make. I feel like I've been sewing together HSTs and pressing them open forever! But last night, I finally finished with that and started trimming them.

There are millions more where those came from!

Here's my dilemma: I'm trimming them to 4.25" but some of them are ever so slightly smaller in places. Like, 1/16" off on part of one edge of the block. I'm wondering if I should just trim them all to 4" square, just to know that they're all exactly the same size? There will be a lot of seam matching when I put the rows together, so maybe that's the thing to do. Or maybe it's such a small amount I can cheat it? I haven't trimmed too many yet, so I'm trying to decide before I proceed with the mountain of blocks before me.

What would you do?

Also, here are a couple of pictures of what I did last Sunday with two of my friends. We built snowmen, then destroyed them spectacularly. It was really fun. :) We followed up our snow play with Nutella hot chocolate--heat milk, then stir in a spoonful of Nutella. Too delicious!

Our ugly snowmen standing by the lake.


"You think anybody wants a roundhouse kick to the face while she's wearing those bad boys?" 
This was her first snowman, and it was also the creepiest looking snowman I've ever seen, so its demise was welcome. :) 
This is also the best photo I've ever taken.

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Friday, February 8, 2013

I'm Featured on Quilt Story!

My pretty gray and yellow quilt (I really need to start coming up with better names for these things) is featured on Quilt Story today! Check it out!

Quilt Story
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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Just Three: February

It may be dorky, but I enjoy a nice evening of pastel furniture, boldly accessorized caftans, and sassy retirees while I press open a million HSTs, don't you?

"Thank you for being a friend..."

Others have their own forms of relaxation.

I've never joined in with Tracey Jay's "Just Three" link up before, but I've decided to this month! Here is what I hope to get done in February:

1. Finish and send this Christmas quilt to my brother and sister-in-law. Oops. :) Still, with that wide border, I'm pretty excited to do some FMQ practice. I'm feeling bold at the moment.

2. Finish the top for my hourglass quilt. MY quilt. All mine. :) And the one that Blanche, Rose, Dorothy, and Sophia are helping me with tonight!

3. Finish the top for my friend's wedding quilt. This is woefully overdue. Deadlines are not my strong suit, and I haven't worked on this one for so long that I've totally lost momentum. I need to get this to her before it's another midwestern summer and the thing is totally superfluous.

That's it! Just three! :)

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