What Happens in Lincoln, Nebraska……
Jun 4th, 2017 by Wendy

Before flying to Lincoln, Nebraska on April 26, for the national Studio Art Quilt Associates conference, in conjunction with The International Quilt Study Center & Museum at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, I started fooling around with these two fabrics and the triangle shapes. I’m in the process of quilting the finished top now— so stay tuned to see how it turned out! P.S. I found the perfect Sulky Blendable thread in my big box of Blendables— white, black and blue!!!!

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In retrospect, Pat and I should have known there would be trouble when a woman, who walked on the plane in Denver, had to be assisted off the plane and put into a wheelchair, after coughing her guts out during the flight. Everything was fine for Wednesday and Thursday- a group of us trekked around downtown Lincoln, including going to the Great Plans Museum to see a quilt show and taking Uber to Sweet Minou to buy coffee and chocolate.

1st Stop Lincoln

Downtown LIncoln 1

Downtown Lincoln 2

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Notice the brick buildings and the wide, clean, sidewalks. I waited for people to pass- no the town is not deserted! I started following Sweet Minou on Instagram before arriving in Lincoln and we all agreed, it was worth the short Uber driver.

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I presented one of 16 “Lightening Talks”. These are fast paced slide shows, with 20 slides, 20 seconds per slide. With 20 seconds between talks, there was just enough time to scoot to the stage and start speaking. I love this format, which forces the speaker to carefully choose what to say. No rambling with only 20 seconds!!! But 20 seconds is quite long enough to say something meaningful. I ended my talk with this image- and thought- maybe my 16 year old self would not be surprised what my 60 something self was getting up to!

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But by Friday night, we were both sick with a respiratory illness, complete with severe aching neck and body, chills and fevers, headache, extreme “yuck” when standing up, etc. I missed the private tours at the Quilt Study Center, the banquet dinner and spotlight auction, hanging out in the lobby with fellow SAQA members, meals, and much of Sunday morning. On Saturday afternoon, I did drag myself across the street to Misty’s to get a beef burger and fries. I stopped to take a photo of a cool place to hang out on the street corner.

Downtown LIncoln 3

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Misty's burger

 

 

 

 

 

 

I did get to hear the Michael James keynote speech Sunday morning. Our extra day in Lincoln were spent at Urgent Care to discover we had Influenza B and the hotel lobby and airport. It was a miserable flight home through Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, and Redmond. Then followed the next four weeks of misery with Influenza B and recovery and doctor visits and labwork and inhaler use. 

Near the end of May I woke up in the Land of the Living!!! I rustled up a failed upcycled tee shirt that ended up way too large for me. Even though it was the same size as the purchased shirt that I used as a model, it didn’t drape at all. The shirt stayed stuffed in the sewing room closet until last week, when I had insight about taking 8 inches out of the width while maintaining the overall integrity of the pattern.

Here is the front:

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Here is the back:

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Hopefully, I will stay well!!!

A Mansard Roof Chocolate Cake & More
Apr 13th, 2017 by Wendy

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For a family dinner, I made the family recipe for a chocolate cake. I used Seco cocoa, per my son’s tweeking of the recipe. It was delicious! However, I didn’t realize the oven rack was tilted- so the cake baked tilted- somewhat like a Mansard Roof, or perhaps, a Half Mansard Roof.

 

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While in Salem, the E Quilt (E-Taupia or E-Some! or ???) went to live with Ericka. I’m really thankful I got to be a part of this collaboration with 3 women (mother, aunt and niece).

 

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A trip to IKEA led to this purchase of three fabrics, a soap dispenser, and one more folded little purse. Back home, the dispenser fits right in!

 

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We woke up to snow this morning! It felt a little like an alien world, with snow-frosting glopped on the bitter brush and trees. Can’t resist showing the “before” snow pile with the “current” snow pile left today. Oh yeah, so sad to see that pile go (not). We haven’t inspected closely, but it looks like our deck survived!

April Fool’s Day
Apr 1st, 2017 by Wendy

Let’s catch up a little bit:

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Evelyn, the granddaughter of my friend and coauthor Pat Pease, loves her quilt by Pat and her Skinny Kitty by me!

 

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David and I made a mess of the kitchen last weekend. We served chicken in simmer sauce, lentil dahl, naan, brown rice pilaf with caramelized onions, carrot coins (picked carrot slices), and cherry pie to our guests- our nephew and girlfriend. You should have seen the sink! P.S. The vulnerable part of our food processor broke again! One new “pusher assembly” is on the way, but not under warranty this time. And it’s back ordered- probably because this part breaks all the time!

 

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This is a view out the back door. We’ve been getting light snow falls that melt off during the day. In the first photo, there are so many hints and tints of colors. Because of daylight savings time I was actually up for the sunrise. The other picture captures a rare sight- for me anyway- of the light coming through the trees, shining on the light layer of snow. Beautiful!

 

The cats have spent a lot of snoozing and window watching in the sewing room. I caught Izzy dozing next to a 20 year old stuffed kitty (that’s another story).

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Announcement: The E Quilt is Finished!!!! This began- 1 or more years ago- with a shopping trip with my niece. Ericka asked for an E quilt for her queen size bed. She itemized the Want List: 1) interlocked E’s; 2) lots of drape over the sides of the bed; 3) all taupes as Ericka defines it; 4) repeat blocks. Then the collaboration continued with Ericka’s mother, Barbara. Today, April 1st, the dream quilt became a finished reality!!!!

 

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I designed two versions of the interlocked E block- my trial blocks. Barbara made most of the E blocks and assembled most of the quilt top. I added a narrow border on all sides and a wide border on 3 sides. I volunteered to do the quilting, with narrow, vertical, parallel straight lines (about 1/2″ apart). It’s a good thing I have a big lap (I’m tall) and a large worktable to support the weight of the 104″ by 104″ basted quilt.

 

You can see the water soluble stitching, forming a grid, on the fabric. I use a spray baste product first, to seal the layers together. I use Sulky KK 2000 or 505 Spray Baste in the blue and orange can. Both are good products. After allowing the basted quilt to stay flat and dry out for 2 hours or overnight, I stitch a grid through the quilt with Superior brand Vanish Lite, a water soluble thread. Now I (or you) can handle the quilt like a maniac and the layers stay connected.

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When I talked to Barbara about the quilting process, I sounded like such a geek about the way the texture and feel of the quilt changes as the layers are stitched (quilted) together. Anyone who has made a few quilts probably can relate. It feels great but it looks like a mess before going into the wash- with the quilting lines & the water soluble thread grid fighting each other.

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I put the quilt in the dryer for short 10-20 minute time periods (the larger & heavier the quilt, the longer the time), so I can pull it out when it is still a bit damp. I block the quilt on carpet and tape down the edges. I’ve never blocked a hand knit sweater, but I think the concept is the same. I make sure the corners are at right angles and the seam lines are as straight as possible (when there are rows and columns). It dries the rest of the way like this.

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Finally it’s time to do the binding. I square up the quilt first. I wanted an extra wide binding for this extra big quilt, so I cut strips on the bias, at 3 1/2″ wide. Bias binding is better for functional quilts, because the folded edge wears better over time. I sewed the binding right sides together to the quilt top, mitering the corners. I iron the binding away from the quilt top, careful not to stretch the edge. Then I used my machine topstitch method to finish the binding- the secret is in the basting thread, hand stitched with big stitches along the edge of the binding. From the front, the basting line shows where the edge of the binding is on the other side, so you can machine topstitch just inside the basting line (and right along the folded edge on the back). You can find earlier posts on this method or find it in my latest book, Creative Quilt Challenges c.2016, with Pat Pease, C&T Publishing.

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Looks nice on our queen size bed- maybe Ericka won’t like it? Ha! She will love it. I’ve enjoyed the collaboration with my sister-in-law and niece. First Ericka and I chose the initial fabrics, then I designed the interlocked E block. Of course, we needed more fabrics! The E’s, finished size 10″ by 12″, took a lot of fabric per block. (We shopped before I drafted the block.) Barbara made extra E’s so Ericka could pick and choose her favorites. Ericka really liked the Essex Yarn Dyed fabric in the “espresso” colorway, so Barbara found a deal at Fabric Depot in Portland on a whole bolt of 14 yards (for the border, backing, and pillowcases).

 

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Post Script: I keep measurements of my quilts in progress. The quilt top measured 104″ square before we basted the layers. After quilting, the quilt top measured 99″!!! My theory is that the Yarn Dyed Essex fabric, which  is a coarse weave & very soft, got sucked up with the 1/2″ spaced parallel lines. I think if we’d used a high thread count backing fabric, it wouldn’t have shrunk this much with just the quilting.

After washing and drying, the quilt top measured 95″. I expected it to shrink in the washer/dryer about 3-4 inches. I did not expect it to shrink 5″ with the quilting. It shrunk a total of about 9″ total! Good thing we started extra large for the queen sized bed- there is still at least 15″ of drape on the three sides.

All the fabrics were prewashed. We used Quilter’s Dream Request Loft cotton batting. In my experience, it’s a combination of the quilting and the dryer that does the shrinking. The more dense the quilting or the more the stitching lines cross in the quilting, the more shrinkage. I don’t think the water temperature (ranging from cold to lukewarm) is a factor, but next time, I will measure the quilt before it goes in the dryer to find out.

In 1995, with my first book,  I did experiments with small quilt tops (8″ square, as I recall), to back up my claims about shrinkage. I did identical sets of small quilt sandwiches to compare fabrics prewashed or not, types of batting and density of quilting and washing & drying and thread fiber types. I had a LOT of samples. My samples showed proof that it’s the density and criss crossing of quilting lines that result in the most shrinkage. (Note: I did not compare water temperatures, so maybe that should be next.)

 

 

 

I’m a Winner! Plus more catching up…
Mar 11th, 2017 by Wendy

Stephanie, found at spontaneousthreads on Instagram and Flickr, frequently runs random prize drawings. A friend in Santa Fe entered for the two of us, and we each won a prize! This is the adorable package I got in the mail, with an invitation to make a little something. Woo Hoo!

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Cooper the Cat loves bowls, boxes, and anything he can get his body into. Check out the meme “If It Fits, I Sits” for more adorable cat photos.

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I made another Octagon Bag, for a friend, for Christmas 2016. I did a few things my way, such as mitering the corners for less bulk. I love this pattern (see previous post).

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I spent about 10 days in Salem recently. While there, my sister-in-law Barbara and I worked on a quilt for her daughter, whose name starts with — E— what else? Ironing 14 yards of fabric (bolt sale price!) then started assembling Barbara’s E blocks. It’s huge: about 104″ by 104″ right now. The fully basted quilt (spray basting plus water soluble thread) is home with me, waiting to be quilted. This time I mean it- no more monster sized quilts!

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I popped up to Portland from Salem to visit Luke & Colleen. We went to Hippo Hardware, a promised wonderland of parts for old houses. Nooks, crannies, half floors, full floors, scary steep stairs up and down, we explored it all. Outside, I took this photo.

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The next day I went to BOLT Fabric Boutique on NE Alberta street with friend Judith. After fabric snooping and shopping, we crossed the street to have a late lunch at Bollywood Theater. Here is our chai tea, waiting for our order of sweet/sour/spicy cauliflower and chicken curry with mini side dishes.

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February Already
Feb 12th, 2017 by Wendy

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While the cats sleep (two cats- one box), the snow outside slowly melts. David hacked a path to the big tree, for bird feeding, and our BBQ is mostly freed from the snowdrift on our deck. The little birds are back,  but it’s not quite spring yet, is it?

 

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https://studiomio.com.au/

I first saw this pattern at Spring Quilt Market in Salt Lake City, Utah, in the spring of 2016. I got to buy this pattern at the Pacific International Quilt Festival, Santa Clara, California in October 2016. I made the small bag, reversible with Mochi dots in lime green. The outer fabric is a find from Bolt Fabric Boutique in Portland, Oregon. I love this bag! I’m making another bag- will report more when it’s finished.

 

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http://www.sjquiltmuseum.org/submit-art/

The current exhibit, “Fate, Destiny and Self Determination” from January 20 to April 16, 2017, at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles features the weavings of Line Dufour. The public is invited to submit a small shape, under 4″ square, made with nonperishable fiber materials. We are encouraged to think beyond the square and make a unique shape. The shapes are due by April 16th. Check out the link to find out more about the exhibit and to the shapes collection growing on a wall.

At the time I mailed in my shape, people from over 26 countries had already sent in shapes!

My shape is a collage put together with leftover stitched thread web constructions (already treated with clear acrylic spray). I’m so happy to be part of this project- only wish I could visit the museum. Actually, I’d love to be able to see the exhibits shown there—- it’s a really great place if you are ever in the Bay Area or near San Jose, California.

This and That
Jan 26th, 2017 by Wendy

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Must start with an adorable photo of Korben, my “grand puppy”. He’s a cutie!

 

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Years ago, I bought the Zipper Critters pattern (Indigo Junction, A Paula Heyek Design) because— well who could resist such a cute pattern? I found resistance was futile, but then, I have a zipper obsession. I decided to adapt the pattern into a skinny doll for Evelyn, the grand daughter of my friend Pat. (And you know what Korben would do with this, right?)

 

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It’s about 11″ tall, with flat arms and legs. Perfect for a baby to grab…

 

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Okay, maybe Evelyn and the Kitty didn’t get along at first….but then, Evelyn gave Kitty a big hug (and a chomp!).

 

Studio Art Quilt Associates holds a “Spotlight Auction” every year at their National Conference. These little quilts are 6″ by 8″, with a mat and opening of 4 1/2″ by 6 1/2″, vertical or horizontal. It’s fun to walk around the room to check out all the quilts, presented on little easels (matted and safely inserted into a plastic bag). Sadly, although I made several bids at the Fiberlandia conference in Portland in 2015, I walked away empty handed . These quilts will be included in the Spotlight Auction at the 2017, the National Conference will be in Lincoln, Nebraska, at the end of April.

Topsy-Turvy: My original interlocked “E” pattern.

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You can tell I designed the composition with the smaller opening in mind. I just used blue paper for the photograph- the folks at SAQA will choose the right mat for each quilt.

 

Reverberations: Maybe 10 years ago now, I and my mother-in-law started a collaboration with 16 “cradle boards” with 2″ sides and a surface ready to paint or collage (8 each). For my surface design, I traced around bowls and plates from my kitchen- all without thinking too much. I cut up the paper into 9 squares, each 8″ by 8″. We had an interactive installation in mind, where viewers could move the cradle boards around. I did one cradle board with paint and collage and then the project languished. I still have the 9 squares, each one with a different “random” pattern. I used one of the squares to create this little quilt.

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My mother-in-law took back the project and finished it on her own. Improv has been in many shows and won at least one award. She used acrylic paint, yarn, paper and other materials.

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As with our original idea, Improv can be rearranged in a variety of configurations. The 2″ side of the cradle board hangs on a nail, so each block can be rotated There are a LOT of ways the composition can be arranged — however, it’s never been an interactive installation so that viewers could do the rearranging (galleries and art shows frowned on the idea).

 

I’m still working on the interactive braid scrappy big quilt project- photographs to come next. I’ve made 3 units of 6 rectangles and I’m guessing I need 70 or 80 or more units to go…. I’m hoping to use each fabric only once, so now, I’m trading and collecting with 1 or 2 other people. Let’s call it a “Friendship Braid”- anyone want to join in?

 

I like the way Reverberations turned out- I might continue this idea with the 9 squares. I included Challenges for 21 of the people on my annual card list- if people do the challenge, I will have photos to show off. I’ve received one so far. What else? I’m still living in a snow cave. We’ve not gotten any more snow, but it’s not melting a whole heck of a lot either. Lots of time to sew, right?

Snowmageddon 2017
Jan 15th, 2017 by Wendy

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Before the Snowmageddon Saga begins, I have to start with this photo of a traveling snowman, spotted at the pet supply store in east Bend. Lots of us took photos- what a bright spot in our day!!!

I’m afraid to ask “What could happen next?”, because when I asked my husband that on Friday afternoon, we were forced to evacuate our house a few hours later because our carbon monoxide alarm had gone off at 10:30pm. We were told by the 911 operator to walk out now, but when you are in PJ’s, and it’s close to zero degrees outside and you have two cats, and you don’t know if you can go back in…..well, if you’re me, you do take time to put on good boots, a warm jacket and try to grab the cats. One went into the carrier while the other hid and was left behind, but after an hour or so, we were allowed back in the house— with the water heater and furnace turned off. Our garage was toxic, but the levels in our house were minimal- the garage got aired out with the door open, and our house similarly aired with open windows and ceiling fans going.

So with trepidation, we do wonder what is next. Here’s the story so far: it’s been snowing, and snowing, and snowing in Central Oregon. Bend is just about as poorly off as we are in Sunriver. The only reason the fire department could open our garage door Friday night is that we had the garage door opener and springs replaced that afternoon. See The List below.

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From left to right:

View from our car, heading out of our garage towards the street. Don’t see the street? Straight ahead is the pile of snow from plowing our street, with a snow cluttered driveway and street at the base of the snow hill.

This is the front of our house. The mound? That’s David’s truck.

This is the back of our house. Notice the snow mound on the deck and roof.

This is the front of our house from across the street. The snow pile in the  middle is “common area” on our cul-de-sac.

 

Of course, we’ve never seen this much snow on our roof in the over 20 year’s we’ve lived here. Oh sure, we’ve gotten a lot of snow in the past, but not all at once in a few days. Of course, with all of Bend, Sunriver and the rest of Central Oregon eager to get snow removal, we couldn’t find anyone to clear our roof. Then we did- on Friday- and our roof is now clear of snow. But that snow has to go somewhere!

 

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What has happened already? In the previous post I mentioned the ongoing vein saga (procedure postponed because of illness, to be rescheduled), the Influenza A, the follow up bacterial secondary infection (last antibiotic today) and then just before Christmas, the 12 year old stove’s control panel stopped working.  Because the space for the drop in stove in the center island is small (and appliances are bigger now), we had the choice of remodeling the kitchen or replacing the control panel. Guess what we did? ($$ not $$$$$$$$$$$$)

Then the roof clearing- it was both a bargain and a chunk of money. ($$)

Then on Thursday, with me feeling better, we planned to go to Bend and do errands. Not knowing our gargage door was frozen to the ground in a spot outside, we opened the garage door from the inside. Sproing and POP!!!! Oh yes, a spring sprung (broke) and so did the garage door opener. Okay, it was old when we bought the house 20 years ago, but come on…. did it have to break now? We were lucky to get it replaced Friday afternoon($$$)

Now the carbon monoxide problem. Our furnace, a year old, will shut down before it vents carbon monoxide, we learned when the furnace tech guy came out Saturday morning ($). He declared the furnace fine and turned it back on. So far so good with the furnace, but the hot water heater is the only culprit left for the carbon monoxide.

And it is old too. We installed it over 20 years ago now. We’ve learned that is old for a hot water heater but geez, the time has really just flown by without a problem, until now. We’ll find out Monday why the hot water heater is spewing carbon monoxide, but we hope it’s coincidental/old age and not because of the snow clearing on our roof that triggered the problem by way of the vent. Those guys worked really hard for several hours.

 

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This is the entrance to our house. Our house is surrounded by snow drifts, because like I said earlier, the snow from the roof had to go somewhere. Rain is in the forecast, so we are afraid to ask “what’s next”, because if it rains and rains and rains, then we’ll have too much water. I’m going to do a bit of sewing and wait for Monday to secure a plumber (none available over the weekend)….

December 31, 2016
Dec 31st, 2016 by Wendy

What a crazy year! But enough about that. (I’d rather forget blood clots, Influenza A, the loss of Leonard Cohen, and so much more…)

Next month I’ll have the totals for my annual List Letter, totaling up creative endeavors, movies watched, books read and more. As a list maker, it’s easy to add up all the things NOT done, so years ago I started listing all the accomplishments. Much better for my state of being—

And now, for the Christmas Stockings made for my son’s family for their first Christmas in their first home.

I ordered fabric from Spoonflower, from “pet friendly”, to make the two corgi themed stockings. Then since I’m a cat person, I had to make a cat themed stocking too! Go to spoonflower.com and search by theme, design or by designer. I love the fabrics by “pet friendly” and she says she can scale up or down the patterns, change the colors, all sorts of stuff, if you’ll only message her. Next time I order, I’ll order something other than the basic cotton, which is a bit on the thin side. It arrived promptly and washed beautifully (I followed their instructions).

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I ordered the corgi’s in sweaters and the text fabric (eat sploot frap repeat- which means something to corgi owners). I had the cat fabric on my contemporary Japanese (and look alikes) shelf. I rustled through my fabrics for the stocking top band, heel, toe, and lining,  but only found one I liked. I hit a local store and found some Christmas fabrics on sale- woo hoo!.

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The cute corgi’s in Christmas Sweaters turned out to be smaller than I imagined. Spoonflower does have photographs with measuring tapes on two sides, so you can imagine the scale, so I think it was my problem. Next time I will probably order a sample swatch before making the final order.

 

Meanwhile, I caught Influenza A in Salem, meaning I spent a week in bed without doing any of the family get togethers, including going to Portland to wake up Christmas morning with Lucas and Colleen and my grand puppy Korben, meeting up with friends, or going to the Bolt Fabric Boutique Sale. But, my sister-in-law kept sewing E’s all along, as I watched from afar. Her daughter is E crazy and she wants a very specific color story for her new bed quilt. There are two styles of E’s with some mirror image blocks. We are calling it “Etaupia” or “Etopia” or???

Here is what we have so far:

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And now, time for a toes up rest. I’m still getting over the influenza, and then I think I’ll be getting over the getting over—- See you next year!

Winter Wonderland
Dec 18th, 2016 by Wendy

After a mild start to winter, we had over 20 inches of snow in less than two days!!! I’ve been determined to keep the birds happy with suet, full feeders and peanuts & corn. Other critters- rabbits, squirrels- are happy too…

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I’ve been going on my First Thing In The Morning walks, even when it’s ZERO degrees, like today. When it’s really cold, there are no tracks in the snow. But tracks become abundant when it warms up a little. These could be dog tracks or coyote tracks- we have coyotes in Sunriver and believe it not, they do like using the bike paths. No year around dogs on our street, but there have been some vacationing dogs recently. In a comparison of dog vs coyote tracks, I think these just might be coyote- the toes are close together and you could draw an X in the space between the bottom of the toes and the pad. My Morning Walks have shown me there is much more wildlife here than we get glimpses of once in awhile…

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Indoor kitties get curious about the snow— but Cooper (seen digging in the snow) and Izzy (she lasted two seconds) are generally found in front of or on top of a heater vent. Don’t think they’d like it outdoors!

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It’s a good time to wrap a gift or two while drinking a hot cup of tea.

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Our stove/oven electric range took this time to become unresponsive- the oven wouldn’t turn off, with beeping, and an F1 error message. It’s most likely the control panel. A week cooking on the BBQ, reheating leftovers in the microwave, trying Trader Joe frozen Indian foods, and so on make us hopeful the repairman can get to the bottom of the problem quickly. I have been microwaving my egg in the morning- with cheese and ham- served on toast. Somehow it’s just not the same as a fried egg. But we have electricity and heat!!!

Life is Good!

 

It’s all Grand
Dec 11th, 2016 by Wendy

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This is my grand puppy, Korben, who is almost a year old now. He’s a Cardigan Corgi and adorable. He is everyone’s best friend. I helped Korben send his Peeps a Christmas card- they will love it.

My coauthor and friend Pat has a human grandchild, born in October to proud parents Jocelyn and Trevor. I started to wrap the baby books I selected for Evelyn when I thought- why not  make a simple unlined tote bag for the books? I’m known for complicating things, and yes, one thing led to another: the finished tote bag is lined, with reinforced bottoms (inside and out), and so on and so on. I used linen/cotton blend fabrics (purchased at BOLT Fabric Boutique in Portland, Oregon)- it’s a sturdy tote bag! You can see the quilt Pat made for her granddaughter in the photo too!!

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Above: See 1) the batting at the top and bottom of the bag, reinforced with the lovely Bernina Stitch #4 (altered to stitch a mild wavy line), 2) the faux serge stitch on the seams, 3) the handles already inserted in the seam between the main body of the bag and the top of the bag.

 

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Above: There so many ways to make a lined tote bag with a handle! For this bag, I turned it right side out through a small opening left in the seam connecting the lining and the tote bag (photos 1 & 2). In photo #3, you can see the two bags, end to end. Photo #4 shows my advance planning- so the red outer fabric wraps over to the inside. And oh yes, I reinforced the bottom of the lining too- with canvas on the wrong side, stitched with my fave #4 stitch.

 

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Above: Here is the finished bag, with a sneak peek of the inside. I bought the rabbit/heart fabric in June 2016, found in the remnant pile at BOLT. I had no idea what I’d do with it, but I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I don’t usually buy “on speculation”, but I’m so glad I did! And there is fabric leftover— what’s next?

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