Preparing for a Weekend of Slow

As I've mentioned, we're taking a little weekend get-away. It's really just an excuse to eat at a favorite restaurant. I've written about the dinner shows at EVOO before. You can see what I'm talking about at this post. The RV park offered a one-night-free special, and so we'll use that free night to buy ourselves dinner. Sewing machines and kitties are staying behind, and so there will be lots of time for slow stitching. With that in mind, I hurried through the quilting on Hocuspocusville and sewed the binding on yesterday.

It's a fun fabric with a bit of orange. I picked it up while we were traveling specifically for the binding on Hocuspocusville. That should be enough to keep me busy for the weekend, but one can never be too careful.

Yesterday I finished up the 8th of nine blocks for Friendship's Garden.

After that, I traced out the next dress. This is the 11th of 12 dresses for the Sundress quilt. These stitch up fast. If I run out of binding stitches, I'll have this one for my emergency back-up slow stitching.

Finally, I'll be taking my inchies along. I've kept up with this day-to-day, and there's no reason to stop now. This morning I stitched my first successful cast-on stitches. There's something a little off about the one nearest the top, but I'm satisfied with it just the same. Meg Hawkey's video tutorial was excellent.

And that brings me to the end of the fourth row. Just one row to go on these to finish out National Embroidery Month.

And with that, I'm taking a couple of days off from blogging. I'll be right back here Monday morning to tell you about our weekend. We're expecting a lot of rain, and so I'm thinking there will just be a lot of slow stitching. It's sounding pretty good right now.


To Bind on the Road

The quilting is finished! It was hard to power through such dense quilting in just a few days, but I was determined to do my binding on the road. The binding strips are cut. I just need to sew them together, square up the quilt, and sew it on. Hand work can wait for this weekend. Here's the finished quilt. And don't you know it was a magnet for cats when I spread it on the floor for its picture.

It was a little too big for me to get a very good picture without risking life and limb.

And, of course, there were no catless pictures.

The back fabric is busy and the quilting barely shows there.

It wasn't long before Sadie joined us.

Smitty, did you know I was the model for the scary Halloween cat?

Only you could do that, Sadie. Gray spotted cats are no good for Halloween. We're pawsitively too dignified in our pin-striped furs for scary stuff. 

Mom was trying to talk me into riding a broomstick with her, but I put my paw down. No broomsticks! And no flying!

Smitty, did you see the flying mice on this quilt?

Do you think there are more underneath? Maybe we could catch us one. Or maybe you could leap off a flying broomstick and catch one!

Nothing doing, Sadie. I'll leave the flying to you. You're the Halloween cat.

Besides, I'm purrsiding over a meeting of the Bureau of Cat-tastrophes this weekend. I have to purrserve my health.

So here are the details of the last three blocks. For "Spooky Lou's," I added a spider web and a spider, and then attempted to have a cat batting at the spider.

My imagination was running thin for these last blocks. Here's how it looks finished.

Then for "Hagatha's Dirty Laundry," I quilted another ghost flying from the window.

There were spiders and spider webs added to most blocks. And here's how Hagatha's looks finished.

Finally, the last block was the "Toil & Trouble Employment Agency." There wasn't a lot of space for quilting on this one, but I added a Halloween cat.

Also, more shingles for the roof and some siding on the walls. When it was finished, it looked like this.

All that remained then was to quilt the outer border. Long ago, I found this section of a pantograph on the internet, and so I drew some lines on a practice piece and then practiced quilting it within the confines of the border.

It was easier than I thought, and so I committed it to the quilt and then quilted my way around.

If I hadn't been trying to get it finished to take along, I would have spread the quilting over more days. It was a slog to get through the last of it, and so I'm happy to have it finished. I started Hocuspocusville in July of 2015. Nearly four years on, it's approaching the finish line.

When I left you yesterday, I had bread rising in the kitchen. As I mentioned, I used 7-1/2 cups of flour in this dough, and that made it so much easier to work with. For one thing, I could give it some shape.

When it was ready for baking, it hadn't risen any taller, but it did expand in volume and spread out.

Also, I could score it halfway decently, and when it baked up, it looked like this.

We had it with some ravioli  and a salad last night, and it tasted so good. This might just be the bread dough of my dreams.

If you want to give this bread recipe a try, you can find it right here. I strongly suggest reading the "tips" at the end of the recipe. I'd like to try this with some whole wheat flour, and I'd also like to try baking it in my Dutch oven to see how it turns out then. I'm still experimenting, but I'm happy with what I've made so far. With just four ingredients (water, flour, salt, yeast), it's a pretty simple dough. I have enough dough for two more loaves, and so I'll probably make one up today to take along this weekend. Oh yes, and did I mention it makes great toast?

Here's this morning's inchy. So cute.

I'll be taking this along this weekend too.

My first priority today will be to get the binding sewn on my quilt, and then I'll need to start packing the RV. It'll be easy packing since we're only gone a day or two. Smitty has a conflict on his calendar, and so the kitties are staying home this trip. I'll be back to blog again in the morning, but then I'll take the rest of the weekend off.


Project Quilting 10.4: Pixel Play

The first order of business yesterday was to finish off the 4th challenge for Season 10 of Project Quilting. The challenge theme was "Pixel Play." This was a hard one for me. I spent hours looking through my own photographs trying to pixelate one of them into something I could use. When I came up empty, I appealed to my friend The Google, searching for different things like "pixelated quilts," or "pixelated images," or anything like that. Finally, I hit upon the sweetest inspiration for my quilt. I'm calling this quilt "Cupcake."

It finishes up at 17 x 21 inches. Here's how it looks from the back. I purchased the backing fabric while we were traveling, and it was perfect for the back and binding.

Inspiration for this design comes courtesy of Melissa who writes a blog called "Make It Yours." Melissa graciously gave me permission to use her design for my quilt. Originally, she did the same design using construction paper and Mod Podge to create some art work for her children's playroom. You can read her blog post right here. So, thank you, Melissa.

The quilting is a simple diagonal grid. I was afraid too much quilting would compete with the pixelated design and make it difficult to see the cupcake.

For once, I remembered to add my little label to the back.

And it makes a nice little wall hanging for a narrow wall above our breakfast bar. It's springy and colorful!

Thus ends this challenge, and I'll be linking up at Project Quilting when I finish this post.

With that finished, I could get back to Hocuspocusville. The next block was "Witches Stitches," and so another quilted witch was in order.

Also, a row of jack-o-lanterns in the front yard.

And I quilted in a few more pavers.

Spider webs and spiders...those are the easiest to stitch.

When the block was finished, it looked like this:

Next was "Le Witche Boutique." I stitched in some pavers and a tombstone. There wasn't much else that would fit in this block, and so it seemed a good place for the tombstone.

When the block was finished, it looked like this:

Here, I received a visit from Smitty. He was readying himself for a nap on that comfy pile of quilt. Sorry, Buddy, that isn't going to work.

Oh...purrdon me. Purrmit me to move back here. Just ignore me. You won't even know I'm here.

I've found that a generous helping of kitty treats administered to his bowl downstairs often gets rid of this purroblem.

So the final block of the day was the "Used Broom Lot." I didn't have a lot of ideas for this block, and so I quilted more shingles into the roof and some siding on the walls.

A flying bat always works.

And, of course, spiders are always welcome.

Finally, a broom below the "used brooms" sign.

When that block was finished, it looked like this:

Okay, so there are three more embroidered blocks to quilt. I was thinking I'd be ready for the binding then, but completely forgot there's an outer border. Duh. I know what I'm going to quilt there if I can pull it off, and so it should go quickly...she said...fingers crossed. I'm still hoping I can get the binding sewn on so that we can take it along this weekend.

There was a confectioner's sugar dusting of snow over night. Temperatures should be well above freezing today, and so this won't last long.

It made me happy to stitch this little flower for this morning's inchy. Spring will get here eventually.

Also, I've stitched in the latest hoop for Friendship's Garden.

Moving the hoop, that's the last of it. I'll try to finish that up tomorrow too.

Early this morning, I yanked off a hunk of bread dough from what I mixed up a few days ago. It's much more solid than the last batch, and I could actually shape it into a ball. This is looking very promising.

It's been proofing in my proofing box downstairs for the past 2 1/2 hours. I'd hoped I could get it baked up before writing this post, but it was still cold to the touch when I came upstairs. I want it at least at room temperature before I bake it. You'll have to wait for tomorrow's post to see how it turns out. I'm feeling good about it, though. Just sayin'.

Okay. I have a quick grocery trip this morning, and then I'll get back to my quilting. Wish me luck getting it all finished today...I'll need a lot of it. Luck, that is.