Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

And, Happy Birthday, Aunt Dani!






Jon circa 1985 (cutest Halloween costume, ever!)



Sunday, October 26, 2008

Common Threads Quilt







Jon was away for the weekend on a backpacking trip, so I spent most of the weekend basting, quilting and binding my Common Threads quilt. It was nice to have a large block of time set aside to finish up this project. And, it was equally nice to be able to finish up two big quilt projects in two consecutive weekends and clear up this unfinished business from my sewing room!



I was under a little bit of pressure with the quilting, because the new fabric marker that I bought was disappearing ink, not washable ink. By yesterday afternoon, I was really straining to see the last remnants of the lines while I was quilting.

I had a lot of help this weekend from my two little kitty friends. They were partially acting like they wanted to hang out with me and partially waiting by the side door wondering when Jon would arrive home.



I did the majority of the quilting in the loopy line style seen in this wedding quilt from glittergoods. The distance between my lines of squiggles was 2.5". I used red thread on the white top and bottom of the quilt. Then I stippled the individual blocks with white thread. This part really pained me to do because it meant quilting over some of the embroidered details that a few of the blocks had. In the end I was glad that I did it because it blends in with the quilt and it makes the blocks look like they all belong to the quilt.



I used a red and white polka dot fabric for the binding and then black fabric for the backing. The quilt was made for a full-sized bed and is approximately 80" x 90". It fits our non-puffy, non-pillowtop mattress perfectly.



Here it is resting peacefully in our guest room. The little kitties made themselves right at home and made me thankful for using black fabric on the back of the quilt where all of their white hair won't show up!



Wednesday, October 22, 2008

zig zag afghan progress

Thanks for all of your sweet comments about my completed plain spoken quilt! I am so glad to have it finished and so thankful to add a cheery quilt to my couch during the upcoming winter months.

I've been slowly but surely cranking away at my zig zag afghan. Last night I was able to finish sewing the first two panels together. Tonight I plan on starting on the next set of stripes: orange and turquoise (the fifth and final color in the mix). This project has been just what I've needed lately, it's simple, repetitive and a great lecture watching/tv watching/book listening project. And, by the way, I am totally milking these afghan posts....this project is going to take me forever (2 strips down, 6 to go!)



Monday, October 20, 2008

Soup Swap: Chorizo and Hominy Soup

Soup+swap

Jessica has another soup swap posted today. I've followed her example and have been making 3-4 soups every two weeks, freezing the soup in individual containers and then bringing soup to work for lunches. It's a great alternative to eating out for lunch or bringing lean cuisine meals and is much tastier. Here's one of the soups that I made this weekend (it's a lot tastier than it looks!):



Chorizo and Hominy Soup
from Rachael Ray Magazine November 2008
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 ounces chorizo sausage, finely chopped
2 carrots, coarsely chopped
2 ribs celery, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 32-ounce container chicken broth
1 29-ounce can white hominy, rinsed
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
4 corn tortillas, warmed

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chorizo, carrots, celery and garlic and cook until the vegetables are slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Add the cumin and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Stir in the chicken broth and hominy and simmer for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Top with the cilantro and serve with the tortillas.

My variations: I used spicy breakfast sausage instead of chorizo and skipped the cilantro and tortillas.



Sunday, October 19, 2008

Plain Spoken Quilt

This quilt has been in the works for ages! With my busy school schedule I haven't been able to finish it and to top it off, I had to bring in my sewing machine to the shop for service this week. I've had my Janome for about 2 years and it's in dire need of a tune up and had been making weird screeching sounds and tearing up thread, so off to the shop it went.



Luckily, my mom saved the day by loaning me her Husqvarna Viking Sapphire 830! This machine is excellent for quilting because it has such a wide arm. It was so easy to fit the quilt through the arm hole for easy machine quilting. (I may not be giving this back when my machine is fixed at the shop.)



I was able to quilt, bind and wash the quilt on Saturday and am so glad to have another thing to cross off my never ending craft to-do list!



I tried to mimic the quilting pattern that was featured in the Modern Quilt Workshop, but wasn't so successful. There's a lot of funky parts in the quilting, but it looks fine from a distance, so I'm not going to worry.



The final quilt is 50" x 70". It's backed with a mint green fabric and bound with a kelly green fabric. This quilt is taking its new place on our living room couch for the time being (until I finish another quilt that matches the room!)





Tuesday, October 14, 2008

baby gifts

My friend and knitting/crochet buddy, Janie, is expecting a girl this December. She always teases me about preferring to make baby projects rather than having my own baby, so I had to be sure to make a few different baby projects to live up to her expectations. Her shower was on Sunday, so now I'm able to share the projects I've been working on for her for the past few months.


A baby afghan (yarn and pattern here)



Appliqued onesies



Bibs (pattern here)





Monday, October 13, 2008

walk in the woods





Jon and I enjoyed a trip out to the country to his mom's house on Saturday. We celebrated her birthday and took our annual fall color tour through the trails behind their house.












You can see a few more pictures here.



Saturday, October 11, 2008

learning to knit




Last night I finally was able to sit down with Jon and teach him how to knit (along with the aid of knittinghelp.com). I knew he would catch on quickly, but even he surprised me with how fast he picked it up. About an hour into his lesson, he was searching for techniques to increase speed. He finished about 8 inches of a scarf in three hours. He'll be making sweaters like Jared Flood in no time.



Of course, the cats were slowing him down a bit. Now he understands how hard it is for me to knit when the cats are chasing after my yarn and sitting on my projects! 





Thursday, October 9, 2008

wips

My crafting time has been a bit diminished lately, but I am still trying to fit in a few projects here and there. I'm especially enjoying all of the extra knitting time I have between the presidential debates, class lectures and new episodes of The Office.

Size 7 needles seem to be in high demand lately, so I had to finish up this ballband dishcloth that's been on the needles since August...



I finished strip 1 out of 8 for my zig afghan and now I'm moving along to strip two. Oddly enough the maroon/gold strip are the colors of my undergrad school and the green/yellow are the colors of my grad school. I definitely didn't plan that, or maybe I did subconsciously...



I received this delightful bunch of vintage fat quarters from the sheet swap that I participated in last month. I'm thinking about making a stacked coin quilt (as seen in Last Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts) and finally trying out the diagonal crossed quilting that Jacquie does so well.



I can't start on a new project until I finished this plain spoken quilt that has been taunting me for months. I got a little start on the quilting part of it last month and am hoping to carve out some time to finish it soon! I'm attempting to do a version of the free motion quilting from the sample shown in the book (Modern Quilt Workshop).




Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Toledo Zoo



Jon and I took a little road trip to the Toledo Zoo on Saturday. I got to tour the library with a student group from my school and Jon and I got to spend lots of time enjoying the antics of crazy zoo animals.




While we were in the South American rain forest exhibit I noticed a sign that said "Sloth" and asked Jon where it was. We both looked up toward the ceiling and this guy was about 5 feet from our heads. We both let out fairly large gasps. It's not too often that a sloth makes you jump!