Wednesday, October 31, 2012

OldRedBarnCo smackdown

G'day all!

I started quilting because of Dana over at Old Red Barn Co back in 2009.  I've been participating in most of the quiltalongs we've done through her Flickr group, oldredbarnco quiltalong.  This has to be the quickest project ever.

The challenge was to find a colour palette on one of the many colour palette websites and design a quilt/wall hanging/lap quilt/mugrug/something quilty from it.  The challenge was announced around 24th of September and we had until today, Halloween, to finish it.  OK, it was not really a smack down but I just like the word.  Technically it is a quilt challenge throwdown!

I've been meaning to play along but I couldn't find a palette that reflected what I wanted to do.  I really wanted to use colours like the ones in this picture:

By Ballard Locks
I wanted to make something that was all fally/autumnal, though I was also thinking about having bright autumn leaves on wet concrete (something I am seeing a LOT at the moment as it has rained for most of the last two days!).  But woe, I could not find a palette that was what I wanted.

But then I saw one at 
Color by COLOURlovers

It was love at first sight.  Giant goldfish, and even better I had all the stuff I needed in stash, well except for the grey which I had bought for this project only I could not find the right palette for the old idea.

So on Sunday I drew up a picture of what I wanted to do.  Then I cut the picture up into squares so I could count how many squares I needed in each colourway.  (Mental note to self - make sure you take a picture of the drawing before you cut it up!). Monday I cut up the material I needed and started sewing and cutting half square triangles.

Tuesday I was still sewing them together into the right picture.  I finished putting the front together, then stole material from the back of another project and basted the quilt. 

This morning I free motion quilted it, put a binding on, sewed down the binding with the machine (no time to do it by hand!)
Almost finished!

and chucked it in the washing machine, then tumbled dried it.  (Shh, yes, I used the dryer!)


I need a bigger eye for it, but I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out.  It's a bit rough but it certainly reflects the palette!  Plus it was the quickest thing I've ever done, quicker than mug rugs even.  OK, it is only 26" X 23" (about 65cm by 57cm).

Now I have to get more work done and soon will have to clean the house!  I've been neglectful of my duties recently, getting this done.


Friday, October 26, 2012

Dudes, srsly who turned off the lights?

G'day all!

It is a remarkably dull day here in Seattle today.  Seriously dull to the point of wondering who turned off the lights?  Even our new monstrously bright light is struggling to cut through the gloom.

Maybe I just moved to Mordor or something.  With sights like this around the place (clearly taken on a non-gloomy day) it is possible

Gruesome gibbet

Someone has had fun decorating

I have had an interesting time recently in the Confucian sense.

Two days ago this laptop shut itself down in the middle of a hangout (google video chat).  I have detected a serious disk error!  Goodbye!

But it restarted ok and my boss and I had further discussions about it and he decided that either it goes to be fixed or he just gets a new machine (he's making the assumption that it is going to be pricey to work out if it is the hard disk or not) and ships it to me.

So yesterday I sat nursemaiding it through a BIOS disk check and a Windows disk check.  Neither of them noticed any bad sectors or really bad stuff.

So we decided it was fit to go again.

BANG!  Shut down in the middle of another hangout.  This time really bad stuff - when it came back up it said it didn't recognise the disk.  So I shut it down again and brought it back up in safe mode when it started booting.  And ran out to buy a backup disk cos despite what I thought, this particular machine was not being backed up.

My car needed petrol (gasoline) so I stopped at a servo (petrol station aka service station aka gas station) to fillit up.  In the US, they have the clicky things on the pump trigger squeezy thing so I clicked that on and filled up the car.

Then my finger got jammed in the trigger mechanism.  Petrol is still pumping EVERYWHERE - down the side of the car, on the forecourt and I can't get my finger out and I can't switch off the pump because the hand in the trigger thing is the one close to the pump and I can't swivel around far enough to get to the emergency off thing or just switch the pump off.  I get my finger out and it is still pumping fuel!


I manage to reach the hanger up thing and flip that down and it stops pumping.  Ok, it was only probably a gallon or less lost but ARGH!  a) getting my finger stuck and b) stupid design that lets me get my finger stuck and c) this is dangerous stuff and I've just sprayed it all down the side of my baby car - he's only four months old.

So I tell the guy inside and he's like yeah, ok, are you hurt?

No, only jammed my finger and lost a bit of skin.  And spilled gas all over the place.

And he's like whatever.  I'll tell the boss.

So I go outside and wash off the side of the car as best I can whilst trying not to stand in petrol, and then get in, expecting to blow us all to kingdom come, but I don't obviously because I'm still here telling you all how I became a total environmental hazard.  But how embarrassing!  I've never had that happen before, and all because my hands were cold and the trigger needs you to squeeze as hard as you can to start pumping but to stop it, needs to be as far in the unsqueezed position as it can be... stupid!

And it was only the second time that I've had my fuel discount card actually work.

And I forgot to say whether or not I wanted a receipt I was so frazzled, so now I don't know how much fuel I put in the car (nearly nine gallons, I think).  I hope the transaction went through ok.

I don't think I'll go back there and buy more petrol.  I'm already too embarrassed just thinking about it.  I've been filling petrol tanks in whatever car I've been driving at the time for 25 years or so and this is mortifying to me.

I am most pleased to say that the backup disk seems to work ok, that the laptop has survived installing two lots of software (for the back up disk and for my tax return) and is still going at the moment.  This is a good thing because I killed my old laptop two months ago by upgrading the software, only one bit didn't upgrade properly and now the fan control doesn't work and it gets stuck in a loop until it overheats and shuts down.

I seem to be extra good at breaking things.  My phone has its own quirks too.  At least my reputation has not gotten to be that of a friend, who used to walk into a computing lab at his uni and the whole room full of PCs would shut down.  His local Apple store got to know him quite well because of the number of times he went in with a product under warranty that had died.  LOL

And I still haven't caught you up on all the fun things I've done recently.

Let's start with some recent stuff and see if I ever get back to stuff that happened in September... in another post or three.

On Saturday, DH and I went off to Fibre Fusion, a little festival in Monroe, about an hour or so northeast of here.  I was surprised that he wanted to go with me but that was ok.  The fairgrounds had a canary show, a gun show, a swap meet and Fibre Fusion all on at the one time, which made for an interesting mix of people!

At the swap meet, we found this amazing old trunk.  $45 - we didn't even haggle, we just bought it.  It is a bit musty/mildewy inside so we may end up taking the wallpaper off the inside and making sure it isn't bad underneath.  If it is ok, we cna clena up the insides, then it will end up as quilt storage.  It needs some cleaning up on the outside too - it's a bit rusty and the wood is dry dry dry - but it is totally amazing.  And flat on top so that when it is all fixed up we can use it as a coffee table too!

A trunk in my trunk!
(Sounds better than a trunk in my boot or in my hatch...)
(You can see my loot too and stuff we got at home despot)
I was very restrained at Fibre Fusion.  I only bought two lots of stuff - some CVM roving after I missed out on buying an excellent CVM fleece (silly me told someone what a nice fleece was but did not take it then and there myself!) and some norwegian sheep roving and pretty coloured BFL top from Crown Mountain Farms, who just so happen to be in Yelm.  Yelm is not far from Seattle, though the only things I remember about it are a) it was small and b) I got stuck in a horrible traffic jam and it took about 20 minutes to get through one set of lights.

I showed DH how to use a carder after he expressed interest in how they work.  He then asked me if I want a carder (!!!), and I said well I already have one but it isn't very good and is 8,000 miles away, so a new one would be nice.  My old one is ancient and crabby and needs to be jollied along.  A new one would be grand.  I discovered Mr Fricke, who makes Fricke carders is a nice old gentleman and local to boot (well he lives in Washington state which makes him local).  But now decisions, decisions!  Which to buy and why?  Not Ashford or any of the big brands - I'd prefer one locally made but US made would be ok.  And a new one so I don't have to make the blasted thing work.  It took a lot of fiddling with the old one to get a reasonable result, not even a good result, and every time I used it I had to fiddle more.

As it stands, I think a new computer trumps the carder and I can only have one or the other.  Then again, I might be able to do a deal with the boss if I get a new work computer and the disk out of my own laptop can be fitted to this laptop, assuming it is the disk that is wrong with this one.  (Why not just put my disk into this machine anyway?  Because it doesn't run Windows and I'd have to install it and swap licences over, etc plus I want my work stuff to be separate from my personal stuff.  And I want to run linux/ubuntu so that I am much less fussed about viruses.)

DH also blew a wood worker's mind away by telling him how he could do a particularly nifty trick with his wood turning.

I have had a lovely time this week doing some free motion quilting.  I bought two books recently and read through them and decided to play around with a new quilt.  Plus I bought some quilting gloves and an extension table for the bed of my sewing machine (plus if I really need it, I have a teflon sheet to put on the flat bed).  OMG, what a difference it makes!  I have had so much fun putting leafy swirls on this new quilt.

Free motion quilting - fun!

I now have two quilts with their binding ready to be sewed down.  I am a quarter of the way through the big quilt.  It is taking a while but it will be excellent when it is done.

I've also been doing a bit of spinning - this stuff is glorious to spin, but alas I've spun it all up.

Blissful spinning
  60% BFL, 20% silk, 20% sparkle from Woolgatherings.

Knitting is also happening but slowly.  I'm working on a humble scarf and it is taking forever, though it turns out it is quite long, plus it is a mistake rib sort of pattern and they take forever.

Hmm, now I have myself in a fuss because the transaction for the fuel hasn't gone through yet and I'm worried that they will think I've done a drive off and will end up in trouble over it.   Off to Ravelry to fuss there!


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Goodbye, blue sky

G'day all!

After months of glorious weather (with a couple of hiccups here and there), we've suddenly run into grey.

Brilliant trees dulled by grey skies

I've had just three or so lines from a Pink Floyd song on my brain for days.  "Goodbye, blue sky, goodbye, blue sky, goodbye...goodbye...."  It is getting a little tiresome, but not as much as the grey that will be getting on my nerves soon enough.

We spent yesterday getting more lighting for our place cos just one day of gray and UGH!  I had forgotten how dull it gets.  At least it isn't cold yet.  The terrarium now has lights only about a year after we first bought the glass cabinet with the idea of turning it into a terrarium (though really it is an African Violet house), we have monstrously large bright lights in the bedroom that will feel like the sun has just risen....  Nathan even has plans to computer control them through dimmers.

A rather large AV flower, not its true colour.

I have two more quilts almost done and have not got the others that are done (and in use!) photographed yet.  That is ok cos the two that only want the binding sewn down are large - on is almost a king size quilt - and it is going to take some time to sew the binding down.  I could use the sewing machine but I am neither a good nor patient machine sewist (do you like this new word - sewist?  Sounds a bit better than sewer) and my hand sewing is quite neat and tidy.  Anyway, it gives me plenty of time to get the others photographed.

I made a discovery yesterday.  I found out why my strip sets (quilts!  Strips of fabric, not other sorts of stripping!) always curve.  It's because I break The Laws of Quilting

Lesson learned - sew two strips of fabric together then the next pair, then the next, etc.  Then sew the doublets together from the other end.  Stops your fabric curving like it did in the pic above...

Slightly fuzzy but handheld on a phone at night = pretty good
I have so much to gab on about and seem not to be getting it all down on the blog at the moment.  Last weekend I went to parts of the Nordic Knitting conference, then the Seattle Modern Quilt Guild meeting and sew in, then went for a drive to Mt Rainier (oh gosh it was lovely!).  I am doing too many things at once - I seem to be in a big nesting phase currently.  I want to knit all the things and quilt all the things and there's this thing called work and also housework and cooking and stuff, oh and spinning - I've spun several of the pretties I bought at OFFF already, along with some old stash.  Of course once I've spun a nice yarn, I don't always think of it as being something to knit - it often is just some pretty that I've spun and now what do I do with it?

Love Mt Rainier.

Did I ever blog our amazing amazingness that I am so proud of?  I'll have to go check!


Tuesday, October 02, 2012

A severe case of startitis

G'day all!

I'm suffering from a severe case of startitis.  I have all these things I would like to do and make but I can't even get them started!  So many yummy things, so little time to do them, plus I really should finish off the quilt that is currently being free-motion quilted (well not *literally* being quilted at the moment cos that would need a computerised long arm chugging away, and it is just me and my sewing machine and I do not have four arms and eyes in the back of my head let alone the coordination to type and quilt at the same time), finish Nathan's birthday socks (only a month and a bit late), finish a summer top even though it is definitely Fall now, plot the new woolly makings for winter, baste another quilt all ready for quilting and finish off a couple of wall hangings for the bedroom, book myself into three different knitting/spinning events coming up very soon... What I really need is a bad case of finishitis!

A little idea of the quilt

Also some of you might be waiting for pics of my most recently finished quilt.  Alas I have nowhere to hang it up for decent pics and the mornings have been a bit foggy or I've been distracted or DH has had to leave early so I've not gotten good shots of the quilt yet.  It is very challenging to try to hold up a single (twin) bed size quilt and get shots of it by yourself.

So over on the OldRedBarnCo quiltalong group on Flickr, we have a challenge happening.  Go and read up about it.  I'm thinking I might do something a bit more freestyle than I've ever done before, more art quilt but again, need time to do it!  Plus there is a Tula Pink quilt thing happening and I've got a bit of her fabric and her new book and well, how many quilts can I pump out in a month?  Plus I have my biggest and bestest quilt back from the quilter and it needs a binding then it is done... OMG, so much to play with so little time...

Sunsets are getting pretty again, and visible from home

Speaking of so much to play with, I sorted out my fabric yesterday.  I have a good size shopping bag to go off to the op shop (thrift store).  All of it is decent lengths of fabric.  Some might say why aren't I taking pics and swapping it or selling it and I say because I am lazy!  It is much too much effort.  After reorganising I've pretty much gotten rid of two 66qt tubs, despite having a now tamed mountain of fabric that was running feral around the lounge room.  There is now space on the shelves for the yarn I am bagging into Space Bags.  I won't say how much fabric I have left, but let's put it this way, if the apocalypse falls upon us, as long as I don't run out of thread, we will be quite colourfully dressed for quite some time to come.  The hand sewing will be a pita but I've got patterns and fabric and a few zips, might need to stock up on elastic for undies though....  I think the fabric would rot before I could hand sew my way through it all.  Anyway, it was quite terrifying, seeing how much fabric I have accumulated, having it all out and staring at me.  It really did scare me.  I am going to try to be somewhat more selective about what I absolutely must must must have, and also I am going to start using fabrics that are older just so that if I need prints from that range, I still have a chance of getting them!

I also thinned out my clothes.  I have so many tshirts I don't know what to do with them all.  As my faves wear out, I either cut out the print or scan it and then use whatever is left as rags.  If I buy a top and find that I can't wear it for more than an hour or two (anything that binds my right armpit = increased swelling in my arm = bad) off it goes off to the op shop.  Normally I take the bus there but with three bags of donations, I think the car is in order!

Dogwoods have fruit?  Not the ones I saw in California....

Speaking of buses, our bus that used to go from very close to us to Nathan's work was taken away.  In good news, it was replaced by a bus that has a different route - it goes through Fremont and then goes past Nathan's work.  Only problem?  He has to walk a WHOLE BLOCK rather than half a block from our place to catch it now.  But the new stop is right next to one of his preferred coffee shops so it isn't all bad.  Plus I know that stop is relatively sheltered in bad weather.

The weather has remained absolutely amazing.  I would think I am in California again, though the evenings are getting a bit cool now.  The days are drawing in rapidly too.  Heady days of the sun being up after 9pm are long gone now - soon it will be set by half-six and not long after that by 5pm!  But whilst the weather holds, I have to get out and enjoy it.

Docks almost under the Aurora Bridge
I have forgotten something that is Extremely Cool that I must blog about, but it is getting late and I should to bed.  If I am sharing with you on G+ then you already know what it is.  If not, I shall have to leave you on tenterhooks, wondering what it could be.