Monday, October 31, 2016

What a Jungle

I have written about how badly coordinated the guinea pigs' cage fleece can be.  I've been fleecing the upper decks since 2005;  I started to regularly fleece the bottom of the cage just two years ago.  Of course fabric patterns don't stick around that long, so nothing matches from top to bottom.

Well, a few of the top level pieces have shrunk (fleece shrinks?) too much to fit across the coroplast.  In addition, one of my first attempt at lower level fleeces fell apart.  Pair that with a $2.99 fleece sale at JoAnn's - I had a great excuse to buy new fleece.

Goodness - this means there is one full set of matching fleece for the cage.  Boadicea and Wedgwood are finally styling instead of looking like they got their big sister's hand-me-downs.  The fabric is a bit more eye popping than I realized when I bought it.  The feathers look more like palm fronds and all that blue and green is rather tropical.  It's a jungle in there.

The girls seem happy enough.  Works for me!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Aren't We Cute?

In case you didn't get enough of Boadicea and Wedgwood being cute, I'm sharing a few more photos.

This first one makes me laugh every time I see it.  Pretty much sums up the photo shoot.  Wedgwood was hamming it up in almost ever photo.  Boadicea often looked like she wanted to be elsewhere.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Try Outs

I'm loving my Singer 15.  The motor is so quite - all I can hear is the whir of the gears.  I've been getting used to the feel of it by sewing together crumbs from Stained Kites.  I stitched enough together to cut out another 20 hexies.  I switched over to my other old Singer to sew on the backing/binding, since all my colored thread is already wound on those bobbins.  It was interesting to feel the difference between the two machines.

Next project is something new:  a bias tape Celtic knot.  I made this lilac dress five years ago and felt that it needed a little something.  I decided a some green would be nice (probably when looking for something to wear on St. Patrick's Day).  I've been meaning to do this a year or two, bought bias tape makers this spring and finally started working on it.

Saturday, October 22, 2016


This is a post about dancing that features photos of quilts.  Yeah, a little odd.  I wasn't about to pass up a dance so I could show you what that looks like.  And those quilts were gorgeous.  How could I not share those?

I was disappointed that my trip to Minnesota coincided with two contra dances I really wanted to attend back home.  Lo and behold, I discovered there would be two dances in Minneapolis during my trip at a place called Tapestry.  I was unable to make the techno contra, which I'm sure would have been fun.  However, I did attend the Saturday night contra dance.  I'm so glad I made it.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Valley of the Green Giant

Did you know there really is such a thing as the Valley of the Green Giant?  There's even a sign to prove it (although the trees now block much of it).  My father grew up there, in Le Sueur.

The Green Giant, restaurant front, Addam's Family?
Last weekend was his 60th high school reunion.  Sixty.  Wow.  So my parents planned a trip to Minnesota, where we lived for many years before coming to Massachusetts.  I had intended to visit the area for ages, but never quite got myself on a plane.  I was overwhelmed with the what I'd want to do and who I'd want to see, so it was easier to just stay home.  Kinda sad.

My mother said:  come with us.  Well, that seemed reasonable.  My sister came too; it was the first time all four of us were in the state together in 17 years.  I spent much of the weekend with my friends (high school, childhood and an ex-coworker) and visiting old neighbors (along with a tour of our old house!).  We picked the perfect weekend - the temperature was unseasonably warm and the trees were close to full color.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Pig Paparazzo

It was a dreary rainy day on Sunday.  (Which we really needed - the rain was lovely.)  But I spent a cheery afternoon wrangling guinea pigs for Joey of Salem Pet Photography.

Joey breezed in with scenery, lighting and camera.  Then we dug through my sewing room for extra props.  I was excited to use my Singer 99 as background.  What fun!

Boadicea and Wedgwood suprised Joey by returning home by themselves in-between takes.  I would simply put them on the floor and they'd trot back to the cage and up the ramp.  Well, most of the time.  Wedgie considered exploring more of the living room rather than a direct trip home.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Setting Up

I spent an evening getting to know my Singer 15.  It didn't come with a user manual, but I found one online.  I cleaned out the lint and oiled the gears.  Then I read that the motor needed lubrication as well.  It was obvious that hadn't been done in a long time.  What I scraped out was all black and somewhat tacky.  It may explain why the needle doesn't entirely disengage when running the bobbin winder.  I re-lubricated, but it may take some time to spread around.

The goal is to use this sewing machine in my existing cabinet for piecing and freemotion quilting.  It looks promising.  The hinges fit.  The Singer 15 is the same depth as Graduate, although the edges are a little more rounded.  I was a little nervous - the machine stood correctly, but the bottom only made contact on the left side of the cabinet ledge.  It's a lot heavier than the Graduate, and I worried I would damage the sewing machine and the cabinet if it slipped off the edge.  So I widened the ledge on the right side:  half a craft stick screwed into the side of the ledge.  It's enough to assuage my fears.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

A Few More Bowls

Early this year I made baskets, bowls and drawstring bags to purge an odd assortment of clothing and home decor fabric.  (To make room for more quilting fabric, of course.)  I successfully whittled it down to a fistful of fabric. I stumbled across that fistful the other day and thought:  this needs to go.

Some of the fabric was already cut into strips for clothesline bowls; I figured I'd make some more.  The scraps were all different weights and textures, so I wasn't sure if they'd work together.  The pieces were too small or unsuitable for my quilts.  It was bowls or bust.

The purple home decor fabric bowl was first.  It was heavy to work with and hard to wrap around the cord, but ended up looking better than I anticipated.

The second was a truly scrappy bowl:  corduroy, lightweight lining fabric, rayon, a wee bit of cotton.  All dark colors, so they kind of went together.  The uneven material was challenging to sew since it wouldn't feed evenly through the machine.  It was worth the challenge - I really love the result.

I pooled together the remaining blue fabric for the last bowl:  some gabardine, flannel backed satin and really cheap cotton fabric (I liked the color but couldn't bear to sew it into a quilt - it's gawdawful stuff).  Quite the combo!  My machine rebelled stitching this one.  I'm sure it was the humidity, but it may have been reacting to that cotton....  The result is quite pretty.  I like the contrasting textures - shiny and smooth with matte and rough.

That's it for zig-zag stitching for a while.  Time for another round of crumb hexies as I start planning my next quilt.