Thursday, January 29, 2009

Catching Up

I seem to be pulled this way and that lately. Too many things I would like to be working on, Sylvia’s Bridal Sampler, Dear Jane, two new quilts (both designed by Sue Garmon, one pieced, one appliqué), Patchwork Party using the Prairie Paisley line, knitting, reading, cooking. And of course, a big chunk of my day is actually working my day job. Retirement is a way off. So what have I actually been doing? Working on SBS blocks, got the January challenge done (list of 14, 4 done previously, so I did the other 10) and all of the Blocks of the Week, so far this year, another 3, so that is lucky 13 done this month. No new challenges for a few days on that quilt, so I need to get back to Dear Jane marking (yuck!). Will I do that tonight or read and knit, only time will tell. Hopefully all three.

54-40 or Fight – last of the January challenge blocks

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Another Knitting Needle Case

Somehow quick and easy knitting needle cases are not in my repertoire. Again, I used up leftovers, this time from my High Country Garden/Cube Lattice quilts. I still have a few more fat quarter-ish sized pieces, but I think they will just go into the stash at this point. Most of these are pseudo-solids, the one fireworks print was the backing for HCG. I cut out one side of a shopping bag from the fireworks fabric, so that could be the tote that goes along with this set. The first knitting accessory zippered bag was from this same group of fabrics, more or less . It is about 22" wide and 18" tall. At this point, all of my needles fit in these two cases, so I can hold off on making anymore and actually knit. I am still working on the wool scarf for the troops, and a shawl (or two) for me. Along with sewing of course.

Sylvia's Bridal Sampler - January challenge

After a bit of a hiatus, I gotten back into the groove making Sylvia's Bridal Sampler blocks, the BOW and the SBS offline challenge. The challenge this month was to do nine blocks from a list of 14, of which I had already done 4. I am trying to do the other 10, so far have done six from that list, plus 2 of the BOW (I had already done one of them, which also happened to be on the challenge list, ah well, done is good).

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Needle Holder and accessory bag

I've been knitting. And buying yarn. Buying yarn for socks that I am afraid to start in case I make them the wrong size. So I signed up for a sock class and this week I went back to the store to get supplies, yarn for socks, and needles, lots of double pointed needles. The teacher wants us to bring needles for the guage on the yarn, along with one set bigger and one set smaller. I have used DPN on occasion, and circular needles, and I much prefer circular needles. So while there I discovered 9" circular needles that can be used to make socks. So I bought some of those too. I've been thinking about a needle holder for a while, in fact I have even blogged about making one (still to be made, actually). But today I made a needle holder for all of those tiny needles. I still need one for the larger ones. And I made another accessory bag to go with it. All from leftovers from Katie's quilt! The size was determined from the leftovers, I had made 12 1/2" strips from 2 or 3 fabrics for the blocks, and had the bits left after the cutting the blocks (12.5" by various widths) that got combined for the outer fabric. I had one large piece (2 fabrics stripped together) that became the lining, and various other bits that became the pockets. I use the lovely crane fabric for the accessory bag and the binding and ties of the needle case. I had a long piece about 6" wide of the cranes. And I used batting that had been trimmed from a quilt after it was quilted. The only thing that wasn't a scrap was the 7" zipper for the accessory case, and that I had. The case fits nicely into the upper right pocket.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Cauliflower Quiche

Yesterday for the first time in four weeks I got a Farm share! One of the things talked about in the newsletter was making quiche, and I thought that sounded great. I ended up making my own (modified from a few) recipe, cause I forgot to bring home the one I printed, but hey, it worked. Quiche is wonderful that way, so many variations are possible.
Crust: 1 1/3 cups flour, 1 cube butter (cut into small slivers), splash of salt, mixed it together with my pastry blender, and added ice cold water until it mixed together well. Rolled out and placed in 10" quiche pan.
Sauteed 6 slices of Niman Ranch applewood smoked bacon, remove to drain, and empty pan of most of the fat
Chopped 1 red onion, sauteed in remaining bacon drippings
Steam about 2 cups of Romanesco cauliflower (4.5 minutes in microwave)
Grate Gouda cheese, enough for 3/8" to 1/2" layer in the bottom of the pie crust
Cut bacon and sprinkle over cheese
Sprinkle onion over bacon
Drain caulifower and mash slightly, to break up large chunks into 1/2"ish chunks
Sprinkle over onion, then lightly sprinkle with nutmeg
Mix together 4 eggs, 2 tablespoons flour and 1.5 cups milk (I used 1%) until well blended and pour gently over mixture in quiche pan
Sprinkle a bit of Gouda cheese over top.
Bake in 375 degree F oven for 40 minutes or until center is set.
Remove and let cool a bit, and enjoy!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Essential knitting accessory case

Beth got me the Yarn Harlot “never not knitting” 365 days of wit and wisdom for Christmas. Today’s bit talks about an essential knitting accessory case that contains stitch markers, a darning needle, little scissors, Post-it notes for marking your place in a chart, a pen and paper for taking notes, some waste yarn, a row counter, and a measuring tape.
I was thinking of using more of the leftover bits from the cube lattice/high country garden quilt for a knitting needle case (or two, this morning I was organizing my needles a bit…). After reading this, I realized that the little zippered case I made with some of the same scraps would be perfect for the “essential knitting accessory case.” I am thinking of using some of the leftover bits to practice making Half Square Triangles using a new method. I can use the resulting squares to make the outside of the knitting needle case pieced rather than a plain piece of fabric. Perhaps I can even make a knitting bag (using my shopping bag pattern) using the same fabric. Tonight's project (if I am not too tired).
At least I got the Christmas decorations packed away last night.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Is it a back? or a quilt top?

Last Spring I finally finished the top to my High Country Garden quilt. I used the leftovers to make the mystery quilt that needed lights, mediums and darks. That turned into the Cube Lattice quilt top. I still had lots of leftovers, plus the bits I had bought for borders (changed my mind for both quilts), the extra fabric I bought for sashing and didn't use except for a narrow border, and the extra squares I had cut for the mystery, oh, and also a few spool blocks that I had planned on using for a border for the High Country Garden. So, I decided to piece a back for the Cube Lattice top using the leftovers. (The High Country Garden quilt is already done, using a single fabric back.) I started off with the extra square, figuring that some nine patches could be interspersed with some of the white with black squares fabric. Got one done, decided I didn't want to do that, changed it to a 25 patch, and it became the center of my back. I looked at the spool blocks already done, and the fact that I had several more all cut out and decided it was time for EQ to help. After playing around a bit I ended up with the center surrounded by a thin black strip to make the spool blocks fit, surrounded by another thin black strip to make the extra squares fit, surrounded that with the white with black squares fabric (originally cut 15" for sashing, cut in half and then used that) and surrounded it with 6" of brick border, twice on the top and bottom to turn it into a rectangle, finally surrounded by the black fabric that was the original Cube Lattice border fabric. Ta Dah! A back.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Day out in San Francisco

Today DH and I went to San Francisco to see the DaVinci drawings at the California Palace of the legion of Honor - that name is just too long! They were sketches that he did in preparation for other things, paintings, sculptures, and inventions. They had one of his notebooks showing his backwards writing, which actually made sense since he is left handed, easier to write right to left than left to right so the ink doesn't smear.

We also went through the rest of the museum, it had been a while since we had been there. Another special exhibit was "The State Museums of Berlin and the Legacy of James Simon" James Simon donated around a 1000 items to the National Museums of Berlin, including the famous bust of Nefertiti, funded archeology digs, and was a Jewish philanthopist, one third of his income was donated to the public, funding the first woman's hospital in Berlin, among other things. The exhibit included Egyptian, Babylonian, and European areas, which were all fascinating. is a link to this exhibit.

We also went to a yarn shop in San Francisco, Noe Knits, fueling my new passion in knitting, and my Harry Potter interest. They had a custom dyed sock yarn by Lorna's Laces called Parry Hotter, using the Gryfindor colors of gold and red. I got enough for two pairs of socks, one for me, one for my DD.
Then we got lunch at a delicious Peruvian restaurant down the street. Fun day!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2008 Finishes and attempted finishes

Started and finished in 2008:
knit dishcloth (2)
homespun shawl - Berrington
navy blue knit scarf - Fons & Porter pattern
green watercolor yarn scarf, knit
black fun fur scarf
Helmet liner, black wool knit
Diva Essential Designer Bag
shopping bags,lined - three
Paris Cats Sewing Machine "cover"
Pair of pillowcases -Paris Cats
Tree Landscape (the sky's the limit class)
Dragonfly Wallhanging
New Jersey Mystery Quilt
Baby Quilt - Paris Cats fabric

Finished in 2008 (started previously)
Knit I-pod holder
Purple Handbag
Once Upon a Garden - Full size quilt
Starlight Serenade (ancient UFO)
High Country Garden (ancient UFO)
Basic and Beyond - wall quilt (oldest UFO)
Shoo Fly full size quilt - Cotton in the Cabin fabrics
In the Mood table runner - Metro Blues
Yellow Brick Road - Paris Cats - Full size

Started in 2008
Cube Lattice Mystery Quilt - top finished (lap size)
Katie's quilt - top finished (queen size)
Sylvia's Bridal Sampler - 70 6" blocks completed (queen size)
Prairie Paisley medallion - 16 12" blocks completed (queen size)
knit scarf - which is being pulled out and restarted in a narrower version, just wouldn't be long enough :(
pair of socks
shawl - which will be pulled out and restarted in a different pattern, someday

Quite a bit of progress this year :) And a new craft (knitting) that is taking up a lot of my time, but typically TV time when I didn't sew at my machine anyway. I got some of my older UFOs completed (YEAH), but I still have 42ish quilts on my UFO list (includes the four I started this year but didn't finish yet, hence UFOs even if I am actively working on them). Some of those might not get finished, but I hope to get a few of them done this year, along with whatever else I start :)

Back to spool blocks for my Cube Lattice backing (had 8 done for a border for the High Country Garden, making another 8 to make a round in the medallion backing).

New Year's Resolutions

Happy New Year!
Once again my New Year’s resolution is to finish more than I start. I actually managed that feat in 2008 (finished eleven quilts, started eight) and hope for a repeat this year (although maybe not as many). I don’t know that I am quite ready for the use more than I buy resolution, but I will shop from my stash first. Since I started knitting, the fabric stash is now supplemented by the yarn stash, which got quite a boost this last year. I had just started knitting when last years “In Stitches” (yarn) show was here (the same venue as Pacific International Quilt Festival) and didn’t go, but I do plan on going this year.

I have four quilt projects I started this year that are not done, two rather long term ones I started at the same time (not recommended, but I did it) and two that are tops. One of the tops will be long arm quilted as soon as I piece the backing (hopefully this weekend). I am currently piecing the back for the other top, my cube lattice mystery quilt. That back is a rather elaborate pieced back, using up (hopefully) all of the leftovers from the tops I made with the same fabrics (my High Country Garden which I bought the fabric for, and the Cube Lattice that used leftovers). I bought fat quarters and half yards of many fabrics, and used only a smattering in the first quilt. They came in handy when I needed shades of the same color for the mystery quilt. So the leftovers are not all that big, but there are a lot of them. I also have some fabric I originally got for possible borders which will also be candidates for filling out the back, a medallion. I guess this will really be a two sided quilt when I am done .

Once I finish the Cube Lattice, I am going to get back to piecing Sylvia’s Bridal Sampler, and quilt my Dear Jane. I really would like to show it at my guild’s show this April, so I need to get quilting. I’ll mark the feathered border when I have the basting table up for the Cube Lattice.