Sunday, September 24, 2017

Solstice 20

Block 20 for the Solstice Quilt is pretty cute, X's and O's, mwah! I needed some warm-ish colors for the area of the quilt this block is going.

I couldn't help but sew up the left overs from all those half square triangles. I predict they'll end up on the back of this quilt somehow.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Darn Good Yarn

Have you  ever seen the Facebook ads for Darn Good Yarn? They were recently advertising skirts made out of off-cuts and discards of sari fabric. Those skirts are great, very simple wrap-around and reversible too. Nice fabric and well-sewn, I've been enjoying wearing them this hot summer.

They're mostly concentrated on yarns (obviously given the name) but I noticed they had a monthly fabric club.
I just received my very first package and couldn't be more pleased, look how pretty this stuff is! Four FQ's of nice-quality silk, some of which are embroidered. And a card of coordinated color yarns in various fibers as well. How fun is this going to be to use!

Friday, September 22, 2017

Looking Pretty Boho

 A couple more blocks for the Gypsy Wife Sew-A-Long have been completed. First is called 'Indian Hatchet', a fairly simple one. I like how it looks with the mixture of fabrics.
 This Star Block is pretty, can never get enough of the variety of stars possible. I'm pleased with the pointy-ness of my points.
Some of the sew-a-long people were posting about using PizAp to paste in pictures of their blocks onto the assembly diagram to keep track of the colors and fabrics used. I tried it out and think it looks pretty good so far, it's pretty fiddly to use though. But I'm also going to keep doing a colored-pencil version because of having to color in all the strips, not trying that with the app, that would be way too fiddly.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Solstice 19

This big block for one of the corners of the Solstice Quilt is called 'Board Games', it's 24x24". Doesn't it look like a Parcheesi board? I really liked how graphic this one is with those stripes, has a lot of punch. I was originally planning to mix all the colors of the stars and backgrounds up, but decided I liked them being more uniform. It seemed to be more board-game-like that way.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Pre-Blog Vacation

So, I'm supposed to be in Sweden right now. I was going to accompany my husband on his annual trip to Europe for a work conference. We were going to rent a car and go drive around Norway, do some troll hunting, enjoy the scenery.

But I'm not.
Because I couldn't even walk through the airport right now, much less tolerate sitting in the car to get there. And the thought of sitting in a seat on a long flight is inconceivable right now.
I am once again using a cane to get around. Taking the stairs one painful step at a time.

For the third time in my life a tumor has grown in my left femur near my hip.
In the exact same place.
The first time was way back when I was 17, before blogs were even a thing! But I talked about this back in 2010 after I had my second go-round. And then in 2013 when I had the titanium parts removed.

It's unfortunately been a thing for pretty much my whole life. At least it wasn't a cancerous tumor either time, or I'd probably not be here. I'm assuming the same thing now. But I actually don't know that for sure yet...and I try not to think about that possibility too much.

Unfortunately the pain is sometimes approaching childbirth-levels.
For those of you who know that experience personally, especially if you had an unmedicated birth, we tend measure pain after that as "oh it's not as bad as childbirth!"
Well this is.
And it's not a short-term, over with at least the bonus of a brand-new baby in your arms kind of thing. It's going on and on, getting worse with every step I make myself take. Gosh it's hard to write that down. I try so hard to push it away and not dwell on it, or think about it too much, but that's the reality.

Most likely treatment is that I'm going to get a hip replacement done. But I'm in waiting to see the fancy doctor at Stanford Hospital mode. So grateful to have the insurance coverage to get to go there again. It makes me dissolve into horrified tears every time I try to imagine not having insurance and going through something like this (again.)

So this time, I'm telling you about it ahead of time. But it's hard to post this, really hard. I'm trying to do things differently this time. Last time I didn't tell people until it was almost all over with. Trying to distract myself with short bursts of sewing and writing here. When I disappear from blog-land again, you'll know why this time. But I'll be back, I'm pretty stubborn that way.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Trees of Summer

I was just looking through my recent photos and noticed how many pictures of trees there were, so here's a whole post with recent tree pictures.

 Dawn through the trees.
 One of the groves in the small bit of neighboring property we just acquired. Now I don't have to worry about them getting cut down.

The foreground tree is a volunteer oak we're going to get taken out, it's way too big, plus the wisteria is swarming up it and taking it over.
 Sunset through the redwood grove on the other side of our house.
 Hot summer stressed redwoods. They normally look like this at the end of October before the rains start.
 It was 116F one day in our town, we were tied with Death Valley for hottest in the country. We had several weeks in a row where it was over 100F every day. Very unusual, and during the non-rainy months, the redwoods are used to getting moisture from the fog, which there hasn't been much of lately.
 Second-story view of our front yard palm. It's almost too big now.
 Memories of when it was just a little ol' houseplant, seriously it was.

Maybe it wants to be this tall, like these palms I saw in Santa Cruz? Yikes.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Recent Acquisitions

Some catch-up on recent purchases.
First, some beautiful gray fat quarters, which reflected my mood that day after a doctor's appointment. 🙁 As well as the intense fog that obscured the eclipse. I always like seeing how different gray can be when you compare fabrics, blue-y, greenish, etc. I'm envisioning an all-grey quilt, but I haven't gotten much further than that so far.
A huge bias tape maker, which I'm planning to use to make the binding for the Solstice Quilt.

And yes a packet of needles. I'm going to admit to buying needles almost every time I go to a fabric store. It's all because of a book I've read too many times, A Gift Upon The Shore by MK Wren.  I've always been a post-apocalyptic fiction nut, and the idea of needles being a very useful, near-precious thing has always stuck with me. So yeah, I have a small hoard of needles, you come barter some off of me in the MadMax/Children of Men/Handmaid's Tale future that awaits us (hopefully only in the stories!)
 A beautiful new quilt shop, Modern Handmade just opened up near me, they have mostly modern stuff which is very welcome in this area. I needed a couple of batiks to finish the setting stuff for the Solstice Quilt and they had a wonderful selection for me to choose from. The floral is a print from Art Gallery Fabrics, Acqua di Rose, it will be a skirt (with pockets, natch!) And that one Tula Pink cat-eye fabric I'd been vacillating about was available.
And another Tula Pink throwback collection from Massdrop. This had several prints I'd been wishing I had available to use when I did the City Sampler quilt. Maybe I can use some of these on the back or in the border.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Tastes of Summer

 Favorite appetizer: Fresh mozzarella, a leaf or two of freshly-picked basil, a slice of a nice firm tomato and a drizzle of high-quality balsamic vinegar. That's it, that's all you need. I don't add salt because the cheese has enough for our tastes. Fresh-ground pepper and good olive oil can be good too. Also very tasty on a slice of sourdough if you can do carbs and/or gluten, but not required to enjoy. But one does have to remember to buy the bread...
New-favorite gadget of the summer, the Zoku Slush Maker. It works! Makes a perfect individual sized slushy out of anything you can dream up in about 5 minutes. Virgin Margaritas (and non), lemonade, root beer that had gone too flat to drink,  chocolate milk, etc.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Summer Roses

 I do so little for these rose bushes, but they give me so much back.

Blooming again and again, filling the yard with their color and scent.
Benign neglect? Succeeding on just barely enough water?

Friday, September 15, 2017

Solstice 18

The end of making the blocks for the Solstice Quilt is in sight. This one is called "On The Go" which makes sense as it has a sort of arrowhead feel to it. I like how the batik prints recombined in this.
Here's how all the completed blocks look together, I think it's going to work. A lot will depend on how I do the setting framing and so on...

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Gypsy Wife Sew-A-Long

 I have loved the Gypsy Wife quilt by Jen Kingwell from the moment I first laid eyes on the pattern book at QuiltCon in 2016. I didn't buy it back then, it just looked way too hard, too much piecing, etc. But after the great experience of working through the 100 Blocks in 100 Days sew-a-long for the Tula Pink City Sampler, I couldn't resist when the same group was doing a sew-a-long for Gypsy Wife.

I honestly had an issue I had to research before I could commit to doing this project, the use of the word gypsy was bugging me. I'd heard that it was now considered quite offensive, and I wasn't sure I could type it into my instagram every time I posted about the project. I spent a lot of time reading comments and essays from people in the communities that are usually described by that term. Was I being too knee-jerk liberal, was this an example of PC gone wrong?  Not a surprise, yes and no. There are of course a lot of opinions on the use of the word gypsy. What it came down to was the intention when using the word. In the current-day US, it is generally now considered offensive when used to refer to a specific person. 

I also had to consider different cultural usage of the term, Jen Kingwell is Australian, so I investigated that further, and it got even more complicated. In the way she's using it in the title of this quilt pattern, to me what it means as a descriptive term is: eclectic, bohemian-style. It refers to the riotous use of color and patterned fabrics which a person who traveled all over would end up collecting. It's not intended as derogatory towards the person who's had that experience. It is however, definitely romanticizing that life, which remains somewhat problematic. Honestly, I'd much rather call this something like Bohemian Wife instead but it's not my pattern to re-name. Maybe that's what I'll call my version of it once it's done.
For the block piecing, I'm using a mix-up of several fabric lines that I've had on hand thanks mostly to Massdrop fat quarter bundles. L's Modern Basics by Lecien, Mini-Pearl Bracelets by Lizzy House, and a really random Kaffe Fasset Collective that I think I got from Hancock's of Paducah.

The long width-of-fabric strips that serve as the background of the quilt are going to have to be a whole other selection out of my stash as I don't have long yardage of any of these prints since they're just fat quarters, and I am not going to piece strips. So looks like I'll be adding in yet another level of eclecticism! Which will be good for this quilt I think. Maybe I'll end up doing solids or all black & whites or grey or hand-dyes or even batiks? Haven't made up my mind quite yet on that.
So far the blocks are going together well, the piecing experience I gained from those 100Blocksin100Days has stuck with me.

Here's the first five blocks together, looking pretty bohemian and eclectic so far. I like the variation in the block sizes and types so far.