4/6/20

Making a Dent

There was quite a bit to do yesterday, although hands-on work was at a minimum. Mainly, my day was spent setting timers and then responding when they went off. By day's end, we had a yummy turkey dinner. But first...slow stitching, of course.

As I mentioned, there isn't much hand embroidery on the Dancing Chickens & Flying Pigs block. Already, I have most of it finished:


Also, I've signed up to make four pay-it-forward gifts over the next year. This one is for a friend from high school who doesn't read my blog. I'll be able to show it as I go along. Here...I kind of messed up because I thought I was tracing with a brown pen, and was surprised to find it was purple. It's hard to see color when I'm staring at a bright light box. It was tempting to start over, but I adjusted the colors to include a lot of purple and lavender. It should turn out fine.


This was a free pattern from Jenny of Elefantz at one time. I tried searching for it online, but couldn't find it. My original download was in 2013, and a lot has changed on her site and others since that time. I'll be happy to send it to you if you want it. Just email me.

Also, as I perused my stash for any purple fabrics that might do for a small border and a backing, I came across this long-time resident. I love it when I can use one of my oldest fabrics. This one was probably a gift from someone, but I can't recall when it came into my life. There is 3/4 of a yard, so plenty for this project.


From there I needed to make a salad, but then headed into the sewing room where the Cat Force was ready for action.

What are we sewing today?


Oh, Smitty...purrlease tell me she's not sewing more of those bonus triangles. Those are pawsitively boooorrrrrrring!


I'm afurraid so, Sadie. She sets these "goal" things for herself. I don't understand why she can't go outside and hunt some birds, but then, nobody asked me.


Well...these don't even smell very good. Purrhaps we could disrupt the purrocess enough to discourage her purrogress.


Pawsibly, this one would make an excellent place to bed down for a nap.


Maybe if I lie on this ruler, she'll be purrvented from moving furrward.


Despite their heroic efforts at discouraging me, I did make a dent in the bag yesterday.


As for those pink and white ones, I have quite a few of them generated when I made the Snow Globes quilt top (still waiting its turn to be quilted).


Also, I pulled this printout from my bag of bonus triangles. It was something I thought I might do with at least some of the resulting HST's. This is called the Arrow Baby Quilt, a free pattern from Bernina's We All Sew website. I probably have about 48 of these, and so I should have enough to make a pretty good-sized quilt from them. If I mix them with other colors...even bigger.


Probably, I sewed several hundred of those yesterday, all the while tending to the turkey that was in the oven. The only other thing I needed to do was to make some mashed potatoes and roast some asparagus, and we had ourselves a nice turkey dinner last night. It was kind of nice to do something a little bit special. We missed Erik and Mae.


There are leftovers for another meal too, so this will keep us fed for a while.

There was a pretty sunrise this morning. Our weather is going to improve significantly over the next two weeks. Definitely, we'll be getting out to do some yard clean-up.


Mike was greatly improved yesterday and even moreso this morning. I think he's over the worst of whatever crud he picked up. It would be nice to know whether it was COVID since that would give us a lot of information, but probably we'll never find out. I've been reading with interest some articles about testing for antibodies, and that could give us good information if it ever comes to pass.

On today's agenda, more slow-stitching, a bucket of weeds, and a little housework before I get back to the bonus triangles. They feel a little less formidable now that the bag is less full. There are still many more to make though. I expect it'll be a day or two before they're all sewn together. After that, I'll be figuring out what to do with them.

4/5/20

This and That

My day was filled with a bunch of different activities yesterday. I first finished off the Appalachian Memories block. This is the "Spinning Star" block.


It's the 9th of 12 blocks. Here are all the blocks I have for this quilt so far.


When that was finished, Smitty and I got out for a walk. We chattered at a few birds and squirrels and ate some grass. He was also nibbling at some dandelion greens. They're very nutritious, and you should always eat your greens.


While we were out, we checked on the peonies. They're all doing well. This is the largest so far.


Also, we noticed the cherry trees are budded out, but not flowering yet. I'm hoping the warm and dry weather forecast for the coming week will have them bursting into bloom.


Back inside, I started working at sewing together the bonus triangles. I'm arranging them by size. The 2-3/4 inch sandwich bag was bursting at the seams, and so I moved those into a plastic shoebox. The rest still have plenty of room. They range in size from 1-1/2 inches to 3-1/4 inches.


Sadie was willing to help with the organization, but I discouraged her from this by opening the clubhouse. I have an idea that's what she wanted anyway since she knows her organizational skills are not propurrly appurreciated.


The job of trimming HST's to size always gives me tendonitis in my left wrist. Yesterday, I sewed these 20 at a time, and then trimmed what I'd done before sewing more. All-in-all, I think I did at least 100. Still, there is no dent in the bag.


I sewed a few more after I took that picture, but the bag doesn't change at all. I have an idea all the bonus triangles in the universe are flying into the sewing room and stuffing themselves into the bag when I'm not looking. What do you think? It only makes sense when you realize that COVID-19 can bring the entire planet to a standstill without ever showing itself. So, it follows that bonus triangles could be stalking the earth in the same invisible way...invisible except when they're inside a zip-lock bag...which is like their kryptonite...and then they can no longer maintain their cloaking capabilities. Not that my imagination is running away with me or anything. I just think we can never be too careful about such things. Bonus triangles, in particular, have always seemed a little sinister to me. But, I digress.

Meanwhile, back in the kitchen, I had bread rising. When it came out of the oven, it looked like this.


This is American Sandwich Bread, or plain old white bread, if you prefer. It's so soft inside...like store-bought bread. It's made with whole milk, rapid-rise yeast, honey, and white bread flour. You can make it a whole-wheat loaf by using whole wheat flour. It's a very easy bread to make, although I'm told yeast is hard to come by these days. I'm nearly out of instant yeast, so I'll be on the hunt for more the next time I'm out.

Today I'm roasting a turkey. Originally, we were going to smoke the turkey for a family get-together, but that isn't happening now. Still, the turkey is thawed, and so I'll roast it in the oven. I'm not doing the whole Thanksgiving thing...just a 7-layer salad, mashed potatoes, and roasted asparagus. It was supposed to be a dinner to celebrate Matthew's birthday, and so he requested the 7-layer salad.

Also today, I'll start the hand embroidery for the Dancing Chickens and Flying Pigs block, and get back to my bonus triangles if my wrist will allow. I'm determined to get them sewn together, even if they don't end up in a quilt top just yet. What's on your agenda for today?

4/4/20

Top-Stitching and Beyond

You know even on my best days, the grocery store wears me out. These days grocery shopping are the worst days. Yesterday's trip wasn't so bad, and there weren't even many people in the store. It seems the 9:00 a.m. hour hits the sweet spot for relatively well-stocked shelves and lack of crowds. I was still perplexed by the number of people I saw with children in tow...children old enough to stay at home...and young couples. It's not a judgment, but it does seem exposure to self and others could be limited by sending just one person. And all of that to say that I took a nap after lunch. I was exhausted after my outing, and the nap felt good.

Despite getting into the sewing room late in the day, I finished getting the Dancing Chickens and Flying Pigs block ready for hand embroidery. The applique is top-stitched, and anything else I could do by machine is finished.


You can see there isn't a lot of hand embroidery on this one, so it shouldn't take too long.

My kitty helpers were in short supply yesterday, but I did catch Smitty and Mike engaging in one of their "bromance" times. Smitty was distracted by birds outside the window.


Smitty and I have been getting outside for walks between rain showers. The grass hasn't been mowed since before we left on our trip, and so he's finding the harvest for nibbling to be of excellent quality right now. On the "bummer" side of things, there are a lot of muddy mole hills, and he doesn't like stepping into them and messing up his tidy white paws.

We're expecting more rain today, but improving weather over the next week. I'm actually looking forward to getting outside and picking a daily bucket of weeds. The yard is such a mess right now, and it's hard to look at it, knowing how much time it will take to clean it all up. Mike seems a little perkier this morning too. I'm just so grateful his symptoms are on the mild side of things.

For today's sewing, I might get the Appalachian Memories stitchery finished. It's pretty close, but it might be a two-day job. Hard to say until I get going on it. As for machine-sewing, I'm going to get back to sewing together bonus triangles. My hope is to get them all sewn together and into some kind of quilt top by the end of the month.

Also, I'm tempted to bake some more bread. I have a white sourdough starter going, but it doesn't seem active enough for baking yet. Nevertheless, I have some yeast in my fridge, and so I might just make a traditional loaf of white. Matthew is cooking dinner tonight, and it's nice to have fresh bread to contribute. I hope you are all well and making do under the conditions. Patience and calm are my watchwords these days.

4/3/20

Life Goes On

Even without pandemics, I'm pretty much a homebody. I can recall when I was working full time, and a graduate student, and a mother of youngish children, when my calendar was packed with places to be, and things that were due. This was in the days of Franklin Day Planners (please tell me you remember those). Each time I flipped to a new month and found the calendar empty, I vowed to keep it that way. Then, little by little, before the month even arrived, the days filled up bit by bit, until they were just a crazed as the months before. Now, I revel in these open days of going nowhere and staying home...until I'm forced to do so, of course. Then it begins to feel burdensome, and panic can set in without notice.

And all of that to say that my day yesterday was spent mostly in the kitchen, but also in dread of the grocery shopping trip I needed to make this morning. I wore a mask and gloves, but even with a nose piece on the mask, it still fogged up my glasses and put them at an odd angle that made it difficult to read anything. I know all of us will be glad when these days have passed, but I wonder if we'll ever get back to where we were. It'll be a new normal, and hopefully, if this ever happens again, we'll be better prepared.

So my moments of dread made it hard to concentrate, but I did make my way into the sewing room late in the day to work on the next block for Dancing Chickens & Flying Pigs. This is the 6th of 12 blocks, called "At Home with Dandelions." Perfectly fitting for how the yard looks here at the Three Cats Ranch.



All the fusing and tracing is done. I need now to top-stitch the applique and machine embroider some of the lines on the house. My machine has a triple stitch that works especially well when the lines are straight. There isn't much hand embroidery on this block, and so I don't expect it to take long. After that, I'll get back to the hand quilting on Mulligan Stew.

My sewing day started so late that it was dinner time when I finished with the quilt block. We tried to give Matthew a happy birthday dinner, even if we couldn't all be together as a family. We had the Overnight Lasagna that is a family favorite around here. Also a Caesar salad, fresh baked bread and angelfood cake, as Matthew requested. I haven't baked an angelfood cake in years...at least...and so we all enjoyed this. Matthew wanted strawberries on his, and I was able to find some organic strawberries at a local vegetable stand. They were tasty, if a little on the tart side. Nothing a little more sugar couldn't fix.


For I-Can't-Eat-Strawberry-Seeds Mike, I made a different topping. For this, the cake is brushed with Kahlua and the whipped cream is made from espresso powder, mascarpone cheese, confectioner's sugar, and whipping cream. This is one of Giada deLaurentiis's recipes. It was also supposed to have a little sprinkle of cocoa powder, but I forgot that part. Looks good, no?


Matthew and I mused about how it would be to dip strawberries first in chocolate, and then in the coffee flavored whipped cream. If strawberries go well with chocolate, and coffee goes well with chocolate, doesn't it seem like the three could form a perfectly edible menage et trois?

Okay, so today I'll get back to the Dancing Chickens block. Other than that, the grocery store was about the only other thing planned for the day. With that finished already, my calendar is clear...just the way I like it.

4/2/20

The Trouble with Cats

There are only fabric cats on today's post. The furry ones were in short supply yesterday. I suppose with all the sewing going on these days, they may be striking for higher wages with the increased demand. I have noticed them hanging out next to their treat bowls, carrying signs, and singing protest songs. Until now, I hadn't really wondered what all the fuss was about.

For yesterday's sewing, I was finishing off the first of the Ties & Tails blocks by adding on the pieced sashings. The first step was to add a black flange. It was supposed to be blue, according to the pattern. I looked for something blue, but then did it in black when I couldn't find anything appropriate.


When it was all sewn together, I found the blue piece I'd pulled at the very beginning. Of course, I did. Oh well...another time for the blue, I suppose. For this, I'll stick with black, and no one will be the wiser. You won't tell, will you?

So the next step was to cut 2-1/2 inch squares for the pieced sashing. I'm doing this block by block so I don't have to cut so many at the end. The pattern provides a diagram for the sashing, and I counted out how many I would need: 4 vertical rows of 15 each, and 2 horizontal rows of 6 each, for a total of 72. Then, I picked out any of the smallest red scraps that could be cut into a 2-1/2 inch square. When I was finished, I had more than I needed, and so the extras will get used for the next block.


The upper and lower sashing worked out just fine...6 squares each.


Then, I sewed together four rows of 15 squares each for the vertical sashings. When they were all sewn together, I realized I had one block to many. I counted again on the diagram...twice...then I looked at the pattern cover and counted there. If you can see that well enough, you'll count 14 squares in those vertical rows. Drat.


Oh well...I removed one square from each row, and then all was well. I sewed them to the quilt block, and this one was finished. Next time, I'll know to count on the pattern cover and ignore what the instructions say. It's starting to look as if I'll need to do everything on this quilt wrong first before I can do it right.


So that took up my entire sewing day. Lucky for us, Matthew was cooking last night. Matthew was never much of a cook until the Instant Pot came into his life. Now, he's an Instant Pot convert, and he's making some delicious food with his one cooking vessel. Last night's dinner was a yummy pot roast. The broth was from Madeira (Have some Madeira, m'dear?), and it was delicious. I had some frozen bread that I baked off to soak up all that yummy broth.


We've worked out a deal where Matthew does the cooking on Wednesday and Saturday nights. I love to cook, but I like a day off now and then too. With all the restaurants closed, it's nice to have someone else pick up the slack two days out of the week.

Speaking of Matthew, today is his 36th birthday. We had planned a family get-together for this evening, and we were going to smoke a turkey that's been sitting in the freezer. Then, we thought Lyndsey might be joining us, fresh back from her trip to Bali. We wanted to give her time to self-quarantine, and so we moved it to Sunday. Then, Lyndsey got caught up in flight cancellations and border closings, and so she's still in Bali, unable to get back to the USA. She'll stay in Bali until all this passes. We were sticking with our Sunday date, but with Mike still sick, we decided to cancel our family get-together. We'll still do the turkey, but it will be just the three of us on Sunday.

Instead, I'm making a lasagna and Caesar salad, and I'm going ahead with plans to bake an angelfood cake for dessert. I was able to score some fresh strawberries for the topping. Mike's will be a coffee'd up version of the same dessert, sans strawberries. It doesn't seem very festive to me, but Matthew will be happy with it.

Some of you have asked about Mike. His symptoms are mild, and we still have no way of knowing if he has COVID-19, but it seems the most likely explanation. He had a telephone conversation with his doctor a few days ago (on another matter), and the COVID questions came up. The doctor told him to keep doing what he's doing, and that his symptoms didn't warrant testing. It makes me wonder how many people are in the same situation. The reports we hear of infections are only of "confirmed" cases, which means there are a whole lot more people infected than what we're hearing. It really makes no difference, but it's hard to know how to behave when there's so much uncertainty.

Today I'm going to make a couple of masks for our family to use when we go out, and then I'm going to make up the next block for the Dancing Chickens and Flying Pigs. It's next up for embroidery, but I need to do the applique sections first. Appalachian Memories will be finished in the next few days, and I'll want the Dancing Chickens ready to go.

4/1/20

Lackluster Day

No news is good news, as they say, and I have very little to report. As I mentioned yesterday, I was heading out for a "short" trip to the grocery store. Before I left yesterday, Erik called to ask about our toilet paper situation. (I just love meaningful conversations with my sons, don't you?) He was aware we had a plentiful supply, and he and Mae were nearly out. No problem, of course. I had some to spare. He had another outing planned to Target, and hoped to find his own, but I was going to check at our store too.

I first stopped off at a vegetable market in town. They sell only vegetables and fruits. It's a little like a privately-owned farmers market. I picked up my produce there. They also had strawberries. Matthew has requested angelfood cake with strawberry topping for his birthday cake tomorrow, and so it was good to find fresh strawberries...ripe ones, even.

After that, I headed off to the small grocery store, located just down the street from the vegetable stand. There, I picked up most of my groceries, and checked the toilet paper aisle. I found none. I texted Erik to let him know it was a no-go, and he hadn't found any at Target either. Also, I found no mascarpone cheese, which I needed for a recipe, and so that meant going to the larger grocery store (my usual store) at the other end of town. While there, I checked again for TP...annnnnnnnnd SCORE!


There were two packages left on the shelf, with a limit of one per customer. From there I had to walk to the far end of the store to look for cat food. When I came back about five minutes later, the last package was gone. You know it's been a lackluster day when I start blogging about toilet paper. Haven't we all moved the bar that measures a good time to a seriously low position in all of this?

Also, I was happy to find zucchini seeds. I'd read about a seed shortage recently, and it seems seeds are on the “panic buying” list now. We want to plant a garden this year, but when I went to my usual online source for seeds, I found them sold out of residential quantities of some of the things I wanted. I purchased different varieties from the old standbys, but couldn’t find any zucchini except in farm-sized packets. (My friend Marei requested that I not plant a farm-sized amount of zucchini, which I took to be good advice.) I planned to look at a local feed store this week, but found them at the grocery store. I can cross one less worry off my list. It would be disastrous if I couldn't plant zucchini, wouldn't you agree?

So, back home again, I finished stitching the face on the cat.


The collar is three-dimensional. It lays flat, but wasn't tacked down until I stitched the whiskers over the top. And then, I was to add a button to each corner. I'd say that's one dapper cat with his button-down collar and tie, wouldn't you?


That was all the sewing I did yesterday. I'm going to cut all the little sashing blocks and sew them around it before I move on to the next thing. I'd like to do them a little at a time, rather than all at once. I've been sewing for days and days, and all that cutting makes my left wrist hurt. Holding the ruler gives me tendonitis. So, I gave my wrist a break and immobilized it. I can still feel it a little this morning, but I'll probably get back to sewing anyway.

Speaking of "moving on," it's time to set a goal for April's


As I've mentioned, I'm working away at a bag of bonus triangles. I'd like to sew them into a quilt top before month's end, but I'm not sure I can get it accomplished. Instead, I think I'll set as my goal to finish quilting and binding the pansy mosaic. That would be my quilt finish for the month.


It's all sandwiched and ready to go. It shouldn't take too long. Binding strips are already cut, if I'm remembering right. It'll be good to get this one finished. This was a pattern by Jane Kakaley. As I was writing this, I looked for images of pansies I might use a guides for quilting. In the process, I found this article from the Vancouver Sun all about pansies with several pretty pictures. Check it out! Or don't...I'm not trying to boss you around. I would never do that.

Today I have some housework to catch up on, and then I'll get back to the sashing for the tall cat. Also, I'll get back to the Appalachian Memories block for today's slow-stitching. I missed stitching it yesterday in favor of the cat. Cats. Their needs always come first, even when they're made of fabric.

3/31/20

Cats, Confusion, and Chaos

(Awesome alliteration.) Some might say "cats, confusion, and chaos" are synonyms, but what do they know? As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I was close to filling my slow-stitching hoop. When I finished up with my stitching yesterday, I'd stitched the whole of the right side of the block.


Now I've moved my hoop to the left side, and I stitched in the flag before I stopped for the day.


When I moved into the sewing room, I started a new project...this one...


I wanted to make the "tall cat" in the upper left-hand corner. These blocks are mostly pieced in the way Pam Bono created her patterns...with strips of different sizes, lengths, shapes, etc. In the end, it all works out, but it can be tedious to do the cutting. Also, the blocks are larger than I expected, and so when the instructions say to use fat quarters, they aren't just kidding around. I started with a large scrap for a background piece, but still ended up supplementing with a few closely color-matched scraps.

The first section was to make the cat's head. That was easy enough. The triangular nose is folded so that it is three-dimensional. I'm going to tack it down with a single stitch when I'm finished with the whole block.


Here's where it got confusing. The collar pieces are also three dimensional. The instructions were very confusing, and the accompanying diagrams were less-than-helpful. It was the sort of thing you needed to understand three steps down the road for the current step to make sense. And so I sewed it together wrong at first, but then it all became clear. When I make the rest of the blocks, I'll understand how to do this without the need to do it wrong first.


When Sadie saw how much trouble this was giving me, she decided to lend her paw and her expurrt guidance.


And she is the best little trooper...working, working, working to make my sewing life easier.


Honestly, I was overwhelmed.


It was almost too much.


When I could see she was getting tired, I encouraged her to nap in her little kitty bed, which she did. Thankfully. Then, I could finish up the rest. The tie section is paper-pieced, but it's not too hateful.


The only thing left to do at that point was to add the eyes. I'm choosing colors consistent with those shown on the pattern cover.


Now it's waiting for me downstairs. I still need to hand embroider the mouth and the whiskers. I tried doing it by machine, but it didn't work very well. It'll be faster and better-defined if I do it by hand. When that's finished, I believe I'll cut the squares for the sashing and add them around each block as I go. It will save me from having to cut zillions of them when I'm ready to finish the quilt.

As for today's activities, we have some sunshine this morning. It might be a good day to get out and pick another bucket of weeds. Our weather has been so crappy, I haven't set foot outside since the last bucket I picked. Today I must make at least a short trip to the grocery store. There's a story behind this decision, but it would take too long to tell. All you need to know is that I haven't done up a menu or a list, and so I'm just getting a few things we need to get by until I make up a more complete list. And that brings me to this meme I found on my Facebook memories this morning. I posted this six years ago...little did I know how pertinent it would seem for the times. It describes how I feel about the grocery store both then and now.
Mike has been sick since we returned home from our trip...12 days now. His symptoms are mild...a low-grade fever, dry cough, and fatigue. It seems likely he has COVID-19. On the other hand, neither Matthew nor I have any symptoms at all. I know it's possible for people to have the virus and be asymptomatic, but for both of us to be asymptomatic seems unlikely. So that makes me think Mike doesn't have the virus, but I don't know what else would hang on for so long with the symptoms he has. Anyway...he scheduled a teleconference with his doctor for this morning. I doubt his condition warrants testing, since tests are scarce right now. It's just one more thing to add to the anxiety that goes with these weird times.

Okay, so I wrote that last paragraph without really intending to, but there it is. It's hard to know how to behave under the conditions, but life goes on. We need groceries, and so I must go. Someone suggested asking neighbors to do my shopping, but all of my neighbors are even older than we are, and so I don't feel right about that. Someone else suggested our church, but we don't attend church. Someone else suggested the police. Really??? No, I'll do the shopping, and I'll maintain social distance. It seems the best solution for our household.

So with that I'll sign off in the usual way...stay well...be safe. Most of all, stay sane.

3/30/20

A New Scrappy

It was a quiet day here yesterday. Self-quarantining hasn't really caused me to break stride at all. My days are pretty much as they've always been, with the addition of Mike sitting in the chair across from me. He was working up until we left on our trip south this past December. Now he's home...hopefully, for good. My biggest concern is my weekly (or so) trips to the grocery store and worry about what will be there (or not be there) when I arrive. Grocery shopping has always been the biggest annoyance in my life, and now it's even more annoying than ever.

Yesterday, I mixed up the bread dough and got it ready to go, and then spent some time on my slow-stitching. I should finish up the first hoop's worth this morning, and I'll have a picture for you in tomorrow's post.

When I made my way into the sewing room, I started on a new project called "City Bank." It comes from this book:


The quilts in this book were inspired by urban views...patterns on buildings...city blocks...that sort of thing. I'm assuming this quilt was named for the City Bank building, although I'm not sure about that. It consists of 7 horizontal rows of 6 blocks each. My progress on this quilt will be measured in rows of blocks. By that I mean that when its turn comes in my WIPs rotation, I'll make a row of blocks, or six blocks. 

Yesterday's effort involved cutting all the black strips for the entire quilt. I'm using my blues and greens for the remainder, although I might decide to add some purple too. The quilt pattern suggests one lavender "surprise" block. I'm kind of thinking if I'm going to include lavender at all, I might split the blocks up into three colors and add in some purples too. What do you think? For now, I have just six blocks (the first row) finished. But before these can be allowed into the quilt, they must first pass the snuggleability test.


I purrnounce them to be of acceptable quality.


Phew! She had me a little worried there. So, these are intended to be a row of six, but I put them in pattern so you could see what it's going to look like. The bright green in the lower left corner is one of Vicki Welsh's hand-dyed fabrics.


I have lots of long cut off strips from the edges of quilts that are going to be laid to rest as I make this. I'm hoping I'll see a dent in my scraps because of it, but then...hahahahahahahahaha...because that never happens.

It was close to dinner time when my loaf of bread went into the oven. When it came out...voila!


We had slices with our dinner, and then again this morning with our breakfast. It's already about 3/4 eaten. Next, I'm going to make some conventional white sandwich bread, but I'll probably wait until tomorrow for that.

Today I'm starting yet another new project. As I mentioned, I have three open spaces on my WIPs dance card, and so this quilt pattern is the third of three.


I can't remember how I acquired this pattern, but I've been wanting to make it for a long time. I pulled a few fabrics for it yesterday, but I'll mostly rely on scraps. Paging through the pattern yesterday, I realized it's a little more complicated than it looks...all pieced, with some paper-piecing and embroidery. The cat eyes are appliqued on, I believe. It will be a good use of my red, orange, and yellow scraps, and I found a perfect outer border fabric in my stash of cat fabrics. Today, I'll start working on the tall cat in the upper left-hand corner, and my plan is to make one cat each time this comes up in the WIPs rotation. Oh yes, and if you want one of these patterns for your very own, I found them for sale right here.

This morning, I saw this meme on Facebook...



No kidding. Does this seem like the longest month of March EVER?!? As I mentioned to my friend Lyndsey yesterday, it's weird that the whole world is experiencing this catastrophe at the same time. Usually these sorts of things are limited to a small geographical area, and so it seems strange to be talking with folks from the United Kingdom and Australia about what's happening right here in Oregon. And now we're extending our self-isolation through April 30th...in the USA, at least. I don't know about you, but I really hope this doesn't wreck the whole summer. All we can do is stay home and stay safe, and hope to minimize the number of deaths. Stay healthy, Everybody.

3/29/20

Here's What's Cooking

Smitty has developed a strategic plan to deal with his free-loading housecatmate. Their morning routine has always been to wake up the people, chomp on the morning treats conveniently dispensed by the now-awake people, beg to be let into the clubhouse (that's their space between the basement and main levels of the house), take a morning nap in the clubhouse, come back upstairs and beg for more treats. Only, since we've been home, Smitty has worked out a new plan. He first begs for the clubhouse to be opened and lures Sadie down there too. Once Sadie is asleep in the clubhouse, he sneaks back upstairs where all the laps belong to him exclusively now. Pretty smart, huh?

So here he is taking advantage of Mike's lap.


When Mike got up from his chair, he came and took up my lap while I did my slow-stitching. Generally, Sadie has this job. It's one of the best jobs a cat has in this house.


Slow-stitching time was over though, and so I went back to work on the Guacamole block. I needed to finish the top-stitching and stitch in a few more details. When all of that was finished, it looked like this:


By machine, I stitched some white thread to lighten up the ends of the onions, and I stitched in some roots. Also, some lines on the garlic cloves, and some ribs on the tomato.


Bits of tomato were stitched by hand into the guacamole.


After that, I needed to hand stitch the fringe on the table cloth and add borders, and the whole thing was finished.


The fringe was kind of a bugger. The pattern instructed me to cut 40 4-inch lengths of 6-strand embroidery floss and to tie a knot in the center of each length. Well...does anyone know a way to get the knot to land in the center? Because I don't. I got better at it as I went along, using my fingers to guide it to where I wanted before pulling it tight. Then, I was to use a needle and thread to make two loops around the knot, thus fastening it down. I worried those would pull out, and so I took my first stitch through the knot, and then made a loop over it before moving on to the next one. The whole process took about two hours. I'm happy with how it turned out though.


Menacingly, there are still five more blocks of the 12 total that will require stitching more fringe. That will have me dragging my feet on an otherwise fun project. And since several of you mentioned you were hungry for guacamole now, I'm including the recipe that was included with the pattern. Each of the blocks in the quilt has an associated recipe.


When I make my way into the sewing room today, I'll be starting on another new project...this City Bank quilt. I'm hoping to make a dent in my blue and green scraps. The one pictured here is done all in solids, but I'll be using what I have in my scrap bins. I'll probably get a mix of prints and solids.


This pattern can be found in this book by Cherri House:


I've made several quilts from this book. It's a good book.

When I fed my starter yesterday, I added 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour and 1/3 cup of water. It about half filled the jar when I was finished. When we went to bed last night, it looked like this:


Whoa! I think it's ready! So I've gone back and forth about which loaf to make, and I've finally settled on an Artisan Sourdough No-Knead Bread. I've made it before with good results.


It uses both whole-wheat and white bread flour. This morning I mixed it up and left it sitting at room temperature.


Now it will sit until around 3:30 this afternoon when I'll take it through the next steps. I'm hoping we'll have some fresh bread around dinner time.

So that's what's cooking today. What's cooking at your house? Hint: It doesn't have to be edible.