Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Making QAYG Hexies

I was recently asked how I made my quilt-as-you-go hexies.  Each hexagon is a complete mini-quilt, with a top, batting and mock-bound with the backing.  Mine are roughly 4" across (finished), but they can be whatever size you want.  I use a 4" hexagon for the top and the batting; the backing is a little less than 6".  This allows for a skimpy 1/2" binding on the front of each hexagon.  I had some leftover flannel when I started this project, so my batting is two layers of flannel.  Now that I'm well into my project, I bet one layer of flannel would have worked great, too.

I layer each hexie:  backing wrong-side up, then batting, then the top right-side up.  The top and batting are centered in the middle of the backing.  I made my own templates for these, which aren't perfect.  I can see it in the layered photo.  But that's okay - it evens out once I get the binding rolled over.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Key West Quilting

I've finished the Key West quilt top.  It's basted and ready for quilting.  I can't decide how to quilt it.  I considered a large overall pattern; it didn't feel right.  I keep coming back to quilting each of the colored blocks.  I have some ideas for parts of it, but I'm stumped with a bunch of blocks.

I don't want to start sewing until I have ideas for at least half of the blocks.  I fear I will start quilting, have a radical new idea and need to rip it all out.  So I stare at the quilt on the floor, dream of patterns and doodle.  A lot.  I've covered every bit of white space on all the paper in the recycle bin.  Now I'm doodling on clean white paper in pencil first, then in pen, in palimpsest fashion.  (I hate to waste paper.)  I hope to put down the pen and paper soon, and start applying needle to fabric!

Sharing with Freemotion by the River's Linky Tuesday.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Too Many Toys

Last weekend everything came together at once.  My sewing machine was fixed and ready to go!  I picked it up on Thursday night.  I can finally start working on the Key West quilt again.  I pulled out the pieces the other day, trying to remember what I was going to do next - I forgot a lot in three weeks.

Our bikes had been at the shop, too, getting much needed tune-ups.  They replaced my tires and chain then cleaned the gears.  We picked up the bikes on Thursday as well.  When they told me I needed new tires, I opted to replace the nubby ones with road tires.  It's like a new bike!

What to start with?  A weekend of good weather and a quilt to finish.  What did I do?

I went dancing.

You see, last weekend also happened to be the New England Folk Festival in Mansfield, MA.  There's music and crafts and lots and lots of dancing.  I spend the majority of my time contra and English country dancing.  So much fun.

Thursday, April 14, 2016


It's been quiet.

Cannoli was the enthusiastic one.  Boadicea has no one to hassle, no one to follow around on the floor, no one to go searching for.  So she loafs a lot, having no reason to go out on her own.  It's not bad, but it's not ideal.  She's not pining, which is good.  She is more timid, which is surprising.  I didn't think Noli had that effect on Boadi.

Boadi's eating enough to keep up her girly figure, although it's a fraction of the food I had been putting in the cage.  I honestly thought with Boadicea's size she'd been eating the majority of the food of the two pigs.  But it turns out she needs very little to keep up her weight.  I often find leftover pellets in the bowl when it's time to add more.  She gets more excited over fresh hay and has even begun wheeking for morning greens.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Up and Running

It's amazing what some oil will do.  The 99 had been running along, but I'm sure the gears were as dry as bones (no oil in 15 years).  I picked up some oil over the weekend.  It's a quiet machine and now it runs even quieter.

I was perhaps a bit too enthusiastic at applying the oil?  I must have gotten some on the bobbin winder's contact wheel, so it kept slipping.  Took a few minutes to figure out what I'd done wrong.  The bobbin had wound perfectly just the other day.  I can't believe I've already run through a full bobbin of thread on this machine.

My regular sewing machine is due back tomorrow.  Yay!  The Key West quilt is on hold until it returns.  In the meantime I worked on some of the selvage triangles and sewed together some crumbs.  I found out the 99 and my 714 both take the same bobbin.  That's cool - all of my wound bobbins can go in either machine.  So I loaded up the colored thread and finished off some hexies as well.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Remembering Cannoli

I adopted Cannoli (then called Nutmeg) on St. Patrick's Day in 2012.  She was a tiny little thing with a funny swayback, especially compared to big, hippy Pinniped.  (Look how tiny she is in those first two photos!)  She was wheeky and opinionated, but loved being with another guinea pig.  She'd snuggle with Pinniped, even when Pinni bit her.  Pinni wasn't sure what to do with this mini pig that stuck like velcro.  But Cannoli eventually won her over; they lived quite happily together.

When Pinniped died, Cannoli was pretty lonely.  She was never fond of people - she enjoyed her guinea pig company.  Boadicea was adopted as a Boxing Day present.  Once again, Cannoli found herself on the receiving end of a beating.  She had no problem being second in the pecking order - but that didn't mean she'd give up on all the best food and sleeping spots.  I eventually learned the yelling and screaming was less about Noli being picked on as much as she was holding her ground.  She and Boadicea eventually toned down the noise.  It's hard to say which cagemate was Noli's favorite.  She was generally a laid back, homebody of a guinea pig.  She was happiest in familiar surroundings with her guinea pig buddy.  The less traveling, the better.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

New Case Cover

I spent Sunday sewing a new case cover for my Singer 99.  What fun!  The sewing machine hums right along (although I'm sure it needs oil).  I had problems with the pedal, until Rob pointed out I was pressing it from the wrong side.  It was still at an uncomfortable angle, but a little block of 2x4 under my heel helps with that.

I also realized that it doesn't have a 1/4" guide for seams.  The right side of the foot is smaller than that.  A piece of masking tape on the plate did the trick, but I'll eventually want a better fix.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Gone Much Too Soon

Cannoli unexpectedly left us very late on Wednesday night.

She had struggled to keep her weight up, even with the hyperthyroid medication.  She'd been in the 720-750g range, which was her new normal for several months.  I was giving her extra pellets, even separating her from Boadicea to ensure Noli was eating enough.  I gave her extra critical care, which she sucked down 15cc at a sitting.  But about a week ago, she dropped to 680g for a few days; suddenly she was averaging 690g.  That was just not right.  At the same time she stopped being as interested in the critical care, I had to coax her to eat it.

We went to the vet on Wednesday afternoon for an examination and a blood draw.  Vet visits can be stressful, but Cannoli appeared to handle it well.  She was exhausted on the way home, yet looked fine when she hopped into the cage.  But a few hours later, at dinner time, she looked depressed and was not interested in pellets or lettuce.  I called the vet and discussed what we wanted to do.