Monday, August 31, 2020

Red White and Blue Quilt

 Some years ago I inherited a bunch of small squares, HSTs, and flying geese from someone (I can't even remember who).  They were clearly a started-then-abandoned project, but I don't think I had all of it.  I couldn't let the piecing be permanently abandoned, so back in April I pulled them out and decided to use them up in something.  I didn't really want to make any more blocks, it was definitely a design-with-what-you've got thing, but I did make a few more HSTs with some of the squares and added some of my own fabric for background.  

I've made red white and blue quilts before, including a very early (c. 2007) cheater lone star made out of HSTs (the mismatched stripes in the center drive me bananas) and a real lone star I made for Mike a few years later in 2011.

But I really much prefer bright clear colors for piecing, and all the fabrics in this set were sort of shabby chic style (by which I mean everything was faintly beige).  Lots of fun prints, just not my color style.  In the second picture below you can see two brighter blues on the bottom to HST stacks, that's only because I didn't have anything in that beigey RWB colorway and needed to add in a couple more HSTs. 

Here's what I put together,  it's kind of a weird shape, ~55"H and 38" W, but you could use it as a baby or lap quilt.  It's a little ruffly on the edges since I didn't block it, but quilting it was fun.

It's now folded up in my donation cupboard waiting to find the right place to donate it.  I'm glad to have gotten all those pieced blocks out of my stash!

Thursday, August 27, 2020

I Like #178

 Welcome to another week of things to like.  

My dahlias are still blooming but many are now being afflicted by the same leaf mold fungus that has just killed almost all my zinnias.  I had problems with it last year too, and I need to figure out a solution because the plants all just look terrible.  This plant, so far has been spared,  This was an almost dead six-pack of something I rescued off the 1$ clearance rack about a month ago.  I wasn't sure how it would do in the middle of the summer, but it's flourished and now has fun yellow blooms!  I love how different the texture is from my other flowers.  I feel like every time I post that I don't know what something is, you guys come through for me, so if anyone knows what this is, feel free to let me know.

I'm a lefty, and I just had to sigh when I went to use a new-to-me microscope the other day (the scope is on an air table so it doesn't feel vibrations or bumps when you use it.  Even the microscope table is for right-handed people!

My work geranium is blooming again!  I rescued this when a former mentor moved away.  It doesn't bloom often, so I'm always glad when I see it flowering!

I finally found a use for my grandmother's cranberry depression glass compote!  I inherited a bunch of depression glass from her, and enjoy routinely using a lot of it, but I never had anything to do with this piece.  I  guess originally it was for serving fancy desserts, but I'm more of a cake and pie dessert person so this always sat moldering away.  I got it out this week though to store my clean masks!  I wear a clean one to work every day then wash at the end of the week and needed an official "place" to store the clean ones that was sufficiently prominent I wouldn't forget to grab one in the morning.

We have lots of big toads in the backyard, but this little guy was new!  I found him while cleaning up, he's only about an inch or so long and a completely different color from most of our toads.  Not sure if he's just a juvenile version of the regular ones or something different but it was fun to see him.

While outside on Saturday I saw this gorgeous (and gigantic) grasshopper.  That green and speckle pattern is just fantastic and he sat so still for me.  He was very big (much longer than the toad above actually).  So cool.

I got a watermelon from a roadside 4H fundraiser out in the country the other day.  I don't usually buy watermelons since I live alone, but I wanted to support the fundraiser, so I stopped.  Turned out to be delicious and orange!  I've never seen an orange watermelon before!  Really like cantaloupe in color.

The pups are loves as always.

I made a couple of ear-loop savers this week.  Most of my masks are the tie kind but I have a couple ear loop ones.  I know there are patterns out there, but I just sort of made one up.  I think they're actually a bit short, I may make a couple more that are longer.

While walking the dogs on a new path, I saw this amazing sunflower tree!  So huge! So pretty!

My mother of thousands is loving being outside.  She does ok inside through the winter but always comes outside in the spring feeling a little fragile and anemic but by this time in the summer she's just flourishing.  I always love when the babies start sprouting babies.

I'm not much of a selfie person, but after months of sweats/shorts and tshirts at home and only slightly more effort (jeans and tshirts) at work, I finally went through my closet, dug out my cute clothes, and started to make an effort for some cute outfits (including mask pairings). 

I also posted this week about my latest knitting project which I finished,  click over here to see more.

I hope everyone is hanging in there in the year that just keeps on (now with horrifying forest fires and a hurricane).  Click over to Lee Anna's for more things to help stay positive!

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Magic Shell Shawl

 This weekend I got around to blocking my Magic Shell Shawl, and I'm so excited to be able to share it with you guys.  The pattern is by Lefted Knits and is available on Ravelry.  Overall it was an easy knit, the pattern was straightforward and didn't have too many complicated stitches.  A lot of design interest for fairly straightforward knitting.   

I did have some problems with chart VI, I never could make my number of stitches fit the pattern, so I wound up with double the number of triangles in that section and as a result double the number of final points and double the number of stitches. It took over 4 hours to bind off, but the end result was worth it.

I used two yarns, one was a  single ply hand-dyed rainbow lace-weight wool that I bought many years ago on a trip to Austria, and apart from using it in this quilt, I never knew what to do with it.  There was just enough to be the contrasting color in this project, so I was thrilled to use it.  There's only a tiny bit left that I'm sure I'll incoroporate into something someday. It was tricky to knit with, there were lots of breaks in the yarn and lots of thin places, but since it was a nice fuzzy wool it was fairly easy to splice together.  I just had to be super cognizant of my tension when working with that yarn.

 The main fuschia yarn is a beautiful bright but-not-neon pink, really thin lace-weight yarn I had on a giant cone.  It was part of the Georgia stash and it knit really well.  Not sure what the fiber content is but it was great to work with and I still have lots left.

Here are a few in-progress pics

This is what it looked like after the bind-off.  There were well over 1100 stitches (!!), but of course it was pretty rumpled and shrunken.

And here it is nicely blocked out.

It had a new-to-me crocheted bind-off that I really liked. It added a little interest to the edge and I found it very easy.

Blue of course wanted to help with the outside picture taking

I've been knitting quite a bit more than usual during the pandemic, largely because I'm home more and because I usually knit during zoom meetings provided I'm in an easy section of the pattern.  I've just cast on a new shawl with more Georgia yarn, but it remains to be seen whether it's something I can work on while zooming.  Lots of short rows which aren't hard but require counting....

Thursday, August 20, 2020

I Like #177

 This week has been fine.  With everything going on in the world right now, I'll take fine as a win!

As always, there are things to be grateful for.

The dahlias are going well, and after a few really hot days, we're back to a really really unexpected cool streak.  Temps here have been in the high 80s/low 90s, about 10-15 degrees cooler than normal this week.  More importantly, it's been getting unexpectedly cool in the evenings/nights and last night it was cool enough to sit outside and stitch on my back porch.  Of course this comes at a time when many places far north of us are having massive heat waves, so the crazy just continues.

One less than exciting thing-  the pups have now completely completely destroyed the footstool.  Long time blog readers will know this is a recurrent problem,  This time it had been out for two weeks without being molested and then after two days of tearing up, it is completely destroyed.  This was after I came home late on  day one, day two was ten times worse.  I guess I really have to give up on both this footstool and the idea of having one in the living room.  Alas.

Other than unstuffing things, my pups are fine, but I didn't take any pics of them this week.  I did get this snap of Logan; he's a gorgeous service dog belonging to a student currently working in my lab.  He can't go in the lab when we have mice in there, so for those short periods he has to stay in my office.  He's wonderful.

I saw this sign on my colleague's lab door.  It made me laugh, so many things in science are like this, but we all keep trying!

I finished knitting my latest project this week.  I still need to block it but I'll do a full post on it after I do that.  It had a new-to-me crocheted bind off that I liked.

I have some knitting projects I'm thinking about starting, but in the meanwhile I'm working on embroidery and hand stitching during zoom meetings.  I've finished all the small embroideries for the summer reading and stitching club, and now I'm hand piecing them together using EPP.  I made that little bag for my camera a few years ago, but now that I never take my camera anywhere, it's the perfect size for a carry along project.

I was excited to send my Lord's Prayer quilt off to the Liturgical and Sacred Art show in Springfield IL.  This got rescheduled from the spring and I'm just so glad it wasn't cancelled (like so many other things have been).

I've been listening to more Dresden files books this week (by Jim Butcher).  I ran out of things that I was in the mood to read, and I knew there were several of those I hadn't read, so it was fun to get back to them this week.  They're a lot of fun, the main character is a wizard detective in modern Chicago.

I hope everyone is staying safe!  Click over to LeeAnna's for more stuff to like!

Thursday, August 13, 2020

I Like #176

 Welcome to another week of things to like.  It's been a tough week at work here, but there are still good things to share!  For one thing, I finally started working on another big art quilt; I've really struggled the last two months with being motivated and feeling creative enough to start something big.  I'm not sure how successful this piece will be but it feels good to at least have started something.  It's going to be another sculpted piece, so one of the first tasks is quilting it.  I'm committing myself to quilting at least one full bobbin each evening, and it's good to see measurable progress.  Picking quilting threads to go with my fabric is always one of my favorite parts.

Another thing I've been liking recently is the Textile Talks.  These are weekly live video-webinars (with Q&A) that are hosted and organized by a consortium of fiber arts groups including SAQA, the San Jose Quilt and Textile Museum, the International Quilt Museum in Nebraska, and the Modern Quilt Guild, among others.  You don't have to be a member to watch them, and they've been really really fascinating. One of the most recent ones was on the phenomenal swing coats of Patricia A Montgomery.  Each quilted coat features the story of a less well-known woman who was instrumental in the civil rights movement.

The Mentor c. 2015

Daisy Bates, Little Rock, Arkansas, Patricia A Montgomery

To find out more about Patricia A. Montgomery, click here 

To see information on how to watch the Textile Talks live, click here

To watch all the previously aired Textile Talks on YouTube, click here

I like this cute mask my technician made me!  I prefer masks with ties (rather than ear loops) but the polka dot combined with the adorable knitting patch are just too cute.

One not so great thing this week-  I have been struggling with a mouse infestation in the house and garage.  I'm not squeamish but I really don't want them inside.  I think they moved in after they chewed through a tasty bag of birdseed in the garage.  I had set bunches of snap traps (I won't use sticky traps or poison), but they kept just eating the peanut butter and not getting caught- apparently my mice are really late.  I spent all weekend cleaning and sealing cracks, and have finally got some traps that seem to catch them, so I think I'm making progress.  I found this little guy in the shower on Saturday, but at least I was able to catch and euthanize him.  It's very aggravating, they seem to be able to sneak through very tiny openings.

I found a recipe for a blueberry bundt cake in the NYT this week.  The cake turned out to have a sort of pound cake texture, it was tasty, but I found it a bit dry, and the icing overly sweet.  I think I'll change the recipe a bit if I make it again.

The flowers are still going, makes me happy to see them.

Bentley was not sure whether what was going on in the backyard was interesting enough to warrant coming all the way outside.

Blue always just wants to go in the studio.  He pushes right past you on the way.  This plant is some type I got on the clearance rack at lowes a few weeks ago when it was almost dead.  I'm not sure what it is, but it's flourishing now and has some pretty tiny yellow flowers blooming.

I hope everyone has a good week!  Click over to LeeAnna's for more things to like!

Thursday, August 6, 2020

I Like #175

Welcome to another week of things to like.  It was a quiet week here, but still some good things.

We're having an unexpected cold snap with morning temperatures in the 70s and daytime temperatures in the mid 80s, which is about 20 degrees cooler than usual for this time of year, so it's made being outside very nice.
Alex made Blue a dog biscuit which made me super happy.  Such a sweetie.  And of course Blue loved it.

I got a whole package of hot dog buns that somehow went through the slicer the wrong way.  I'm not sure how that's even possible, but they were pretty funny.

I got caught up on my summer embroidery project this week.  I think I haven't shared all of them, but here are the two I did this week, one for the Secret Garden, and one for Charlotte's Web.  I'm really enjoying these small projects.

I haven't made any masks for a while, mostly everyone I know has enough and I have about 7 I cycle through so I have a clean one each day at work.  However, a friend of mine's daughters are going back to school soon and she asked for some int he school colors so I made up a new batch.
The pups have been super snuggly this week, I can't get pictures while they're snuggling, but I caught this one of them sharing the pouf.
I passed this pretty flower walking in to work.  It caught my eye because it was almost like a weed- one single beautiful flower randomly growing in a bed otherwise completely filled with some sort of monkey grass. 

I had a little shock, thinking my tomato plant was making pink and yellow flowers only to realize the pink one was a stray zinnia that had sprouted up in the pot.

On a not so liking note-  I've been noticing lots of holes in my petunias, and I think this guy and his friends must be the culprit.  I squashed him (sorry not sorry), but I'm going to have to keep an eagle eye out for additional caterpillars.

Overall the flowers are doing well right now,  (Except the dead dahlias all behind me).  Unfortunately all the Zinnias have white leaf mold, I don't know why they're so susceptible but it drives me bananas.  And I cut a ton of webworm infested branches off of the marigold bush last weekend.  I don't know any other way to get rid of that.
Hope everyone has a good week and is staying safe!  Click over to LeeAnna's for more things to like!