Monday, January 30, 2017

Start of Something New

Just a little post....to show you what is new...and coming....
I am creating a type of quilt that I have such little knowledge of ...the quilt that has to be "on point".
It is the basket quilt.
It is created on point. And it is for a baby quilt that my daughter wanted me to make...so we will see where it goes from here...
The mother to be's colors are this lavender, mint green, and grey....and butterflies....can you tell it's a girl??
Anyway, we shall see....
I now have four squares...need at least 10 of these and 10 plain squares...but with on point I am not sure that will be enough...It's all new to me....
Yes, I know this one isn't square...It will get trimmed and all...this is the first one....
Just wanted to give you a taste of what is to come....
Nancy

My Mrs. Pattmore

Remember Downton Abbey? Do you remember Mrs. Pattmore? The lovable and huggable cook for Downton Abbey? Yeah, I would love to have her in my kitchen. I mean, don't get me wrong, I love to cook and have for my hubby for almost 40 years. However, a Mrs. Pattmore would be fantastic!
Well, this day and age, not many have a cook..or a butler, or a maid...(well some may have maids that come to their house once in a while....).
I have none of those. I once had a maid who came to clean for us...turned out she ruined my new sink and stole my daughter's earrings. I haven't had the where with all to hire anyone else...so, I live with messes until I get to them...or Hubby can't stand it and he cleans up.
But oh, I would indeed love to have a Mrs. Pattmore!
Well...meet my Mrs. Pattmore!
I had read about this new breed of pressure cookers a while ago and kinda thought how cool it would be....that was over a year ago. In that time, they have gotten even better...and are safe (if you follow directions) and fool proof. And, they do so much more!
I got the Sur la Table catalog the other day and they had three in there!
So, I told Hubby about this and he said...."cool! How much?" When I told him that they were under $200....he was on board.
So, I went on Sunday to the mall...and got there at 10:30 am....ooops, it was Sunday...and none of the stores were open....until I walked to the other end and found that Williams-Sonoma was open! Yup, they have classes in the morning...but instead of forbidding other to come in...they welcome them...
So, I found the nearest clerk and asked...."what is the difference between the pressure cookers you have and why would I want one?"...
Well, she didn't know and asked another clerk, who lead us to the clerk who did know and before I knew it we had an impromptu class on Pressure Cookers....
We learned about Breville....and Cusinart, and All Clad.....
But, I asked, what about the Fagor? They told me they can only order it for me....
Oh....sad.
So, I looked at the cookers they had.
The Breville had an all computerized screen...
the all Clad had a handle that was big and cumbersome to my arthritic hands and they both only had a 6 qt cooking bowl.
The Fagor has a 4, 6 and 8qt available.
It was at Sur la Table.
I was waiting outside the store for it to open when a chef walked up and knocked on the door. I asked her if she was teaching a class...yes, she was. And she waited ....
I asked her her opinion of pressure cookers...and she told me Sur la Table only uses the Fagor as it does just a little more...and it comes in more sizes.
She loved it....and owns one herself.
Ok by me....
So, she went in and I waited.
A lady across from me came walking up with an 8 qt Fagor pressure cooker....
I asked her if she was going to return it...yes, she was.
Why?
"because I am lazy and a chicken..."
We chatted for a while, and with my enthusiasm I almost sold her on keeping it....
But while I was inside with the clerk, looking for an 8 qt....her husband came up and said..."we aren't going to keep it...it is totally new...we never opened it."
So, they returned it...and I bought it.
My Mrs. Pattmore.
Mrs. Pattmore...she can make almost anything....this can make any food that is pressure cooked, it can saute, brown, steam, make rice, risotto, pudding and so on.
Last night it made rice...the last of the rice I had in the house...3/4 cup of rice. It was amazing. in 10 mins I had light yummy rice...
Tonight it will be oxtails...
Get the picture??
It will be perfect for days that are harried and fast paced...but also on days when I want gourmet....
Yup, Mrs. Pattmore...that is its name now....
I will let you know more as I learn more about this new "toy"....


Here is a picture of the dinner I served last night out on the patio....Hubby BBQed pork chops and I made rice with sautéed mushrooms....last night was amazingly warm and lovely out on the patio....
Have a great day!!
Nancy

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Valentine's Pillow

When my sewing machine got back I had to try it out....of course.
So, on my mind was a pattern I saw on FB by 24 Blocks....a cute little "heart" baby quilt.
Now, at first I wasn't sure...it is all done with squares (or a rectangle and a couple of squares), but I had in mind a Valentine's pillow....
So, I set out to cut fabric that I had just purchased at the thrift store...beautiful big yards of red fabrics...
So...I cut....which isn't hard since I have an Accuquilt cutter....
I chose the cutter with 2 1/2" squares....
So....

So at first I stitched on this little black bow, but, I decided it didn't need it....

Would you agree?? I think it's cute just like this....
If you are interested, it is set "on point" meaning the squares are set diagonally...and that means triangles need to be stitched in to make it "square". I have never done this before and I had nothing but a picture to follow....so this was an experience. Basically, for this, having no guide, I sewed on squares and lopped them off with a straight edge..(so beginner-ish)....but it worked.
Now, you will probably notice that it is a little big...well, a bit...I kinda planned that at some point it would need washing....and then it would shrink...
I didn't have a zipper so it is just hand stitched closed...
and the sewing machine??
To be honest...I feel it is just not smooth anymore...very rough...thinking of a new one??
But how can I, when our sewer system just backed up into the tub and shower for the fourth time?? Yeah, with a house that is 57 years old, our sewer line has lots of roots...and that has to be addressed...there goes a new sewing machine.....
Nancy

Thursday, January 26, 2017

A Pause in the Sewing Life

If you didn't know it by now, I am somewhat addicted to making quilts.
I just finished off the quilt for a bay shower.....

I quilted it yesterday with darling backing and then bound it with two fabrics that alternate...I'd show you but it is in the bag waiting for my customer to pick it up.
Then I played with some other fabric to make a pillow, and realized that my machine was making a "thunking" noise.....uh oh....not that again.
Well, I put it in the car and took it to the shop (Pal's) and when he saw me he asked"what's up?"...Isn't it nice when they recognize you?? 
Anyway, it will be ready Fri or Sat...darn, I guess some laundry and such will get done.
My machine is an embroidery and sewing machine and I do switch back and forth a bit...so it isn't surprising that its timing might be off once in a while....
After all, I have done three quilts in January!
But I wanted to show you something on saw online, it was in my FB feed from 24 Blocks, this darling baby quilt....

It's so cute! And It is an easy one. It is really just 4 blocks, 5 if you count the solid block in between!
Just there square the same and then a plain one....
I am going to play with some red fabric that I picked up at the thrift store to make a Valentine's pillow and maybe a quick quilt ....
This simple one could be a rectangle and two squares...so one can use scraps up even!! Fun!!
Anyway, I am off to babysit.....
Have a great day.
Nancy

Monday, January 23, 2017

Third Quilt for 2017

It has been raining and raining. I also have had a cold...so when hunkered down, what is better than relaxing and sewing? Well, for me it is relaxing.
After my sampler quilt, I was commissioned to make a quilt for a friend. She wanted a quilt for her cousin who is having a boy.
What fun! I still had fabric and cuts ready from the previous quilt...so I chose two of the squares I liked from the sampler quilt and went with that. Since I had the "formula" for a quilt it made it somewhat easy...so I sat and sewed. It took at total of 12 hours over two days, but now I have a quilt top to quilt. She will need it before Feb. 4 when the shower is....
Now, to be fair, she didn't require it to be ready by then, but I assured her that it could be ready....
Want to see??
I love the way it turned out...I even sent her a picture early so she could see...
After sewing, I turned off the machine and made dinner. Then, after dinner watching Hubby's second game the power went out....so no power for four hours...we went to bed and woke up to lights on everywhere...
Hope you had a great weekend.
Nancy

Saturday, January 21, 2017

A Sampler Quilt

It has been wet and rainy here, and I've had a cold (courtesy of our grandson), so it was perfect timing to work on a quilt.
I decided that I would use my Christmas gift of a new Accuquilt Cube....that is a 6" size.
When Hubby asked me what size I'd want...I just rattled off what I knew...and a booklet that came with my original 12" set...
So, in case you are wondering...yup, a finished size of 6" is a challenge to be sure. Some of the pieces become 1 1/2". Most are more than that but, getting points to meet correctly etc is a challenge. Some of the pieces could be more precise...but hey, at least I did it.
In this sampler, no two patterns are the same...some are similar, but no two are the same! There are 20 of them.
I started on Thurs and finished yesterday, well I have two more strips to put on the top and bottom and then I wait for a name to embroider....





I had great fun, though some with difficulty...putting this together.
The Mommy to be is having a boy and her colors are navy and grey...with a transportation theme...well, the blocks are small so the boats, trains or planes are almost not visible....but they are there...
With this Accuquilt set there are some 72 variations of blocks one can make....well that is what the box said....
I mostly used a booklet that came with my set that Eleanor Burns helped them create...so it is like a cookbook...you just follow the numbers on the set to the pattern and cut away...
Of course I have leftovers....They are in a box, awaiting their next job.
I have posted on FB my quilt and have a commission for another baby quilt....another boy!
That means I have two baby quilts to do before March and one I am working on just because, using a trapunto technique.....
I should be busy...
Hope you enjoy your weekend....
Nancy


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

And Done!

I finally finished the quilt I have been working on! Yay!!
It was a difficult one...and sometimes (though Hubby laughs at me) I think these things take on their own energy...and this one resisted being a quilt....
Anyway...it is done and we hung it up over the slider for you to see! Now remember the sunlight comes thru and it shows some things I'd rather not see and not the things I'd like you to see...such as the quilting designs .....
Oh well....
Well... here it is!
What do you think??
It's name is embroidered on a piece of fabric on the back as well as who it is made for...and since I didn't want you to see all that, I will tell you this quilt's name. It is Thyme With Friends....I did borrow the name for the line of fabric's...but it fit the quilt and its new home. Our friend is coming tonight for dinner, and there it will be, hanging over the slider for her to truly see it....
I always have the doubts...what if she didn't like it? What if??
Well, we had her to dinner last night, and as we went into the dining room, I took her into the family room and showed her the quilt. She registered it and burst into tears. She knew what it was and was speechless. The only words that came from her mouth were "I love it" and "thank you"...
Here is Jeanne with her quilt....
 Here she is with Hubby.....
And here she is with yours truly....
After dinner, since Hubby picked her up, we both took her home...she wanted to put the quilt on the quest bed and put the pillowcases that I had found on the bed.


Well, here it is in her quest room....it was a little short on the sides (as I figured it might be) and long in the length (figured that too)...however, she has a grey cover on underneath and it looks perfect with it! And, I have to say the color was perfect...I had only seen this room once so I patted myself on the back for hitting the colors right on the mark.....I love it when a quilt gets a happy home....
She also wanted to know if I wanted it back when she dies...thought that was cute...(she is quite honest and practical...) I told her no, it should go to someone who will love it and NEVER get sent to a thrift store....she is going to will it to a niece that she knows will love it. She loves enough to worry about it's life after her....sweet.
So...all is well....on to the next quilt...a baby quilt for a dear friend of my daughter's...a doctor having her second son....


So, I cleaned up the craft room and found the remnants about the room...some went to the trash and many went to stash of scraps which now are overflowing!
I found these long scraps made when I was cutting binding....long long strips of delightful fabric...which I actually used a bit of as ribbon to tie around pillowcases that I bought for her that just fit the quilt....
Unfortunately I can't show you the pillowcases as my phone isn't bringing pictures over that this time....
But the ribbon is this....

I didn't have any other way to save it, but I found this Weck canning jar, so I rolled up the rest and stashed it here. I recommend keeping those long strips if they appeal to you...at very least they are great for tying up plants and that sort of thing....
Well, I hope you have a great day.
Nancy

Friday, January 13, 2017

Work In Progress

First off...did you notice my new banner??? Yeah, thank you to my lovely readers for suggestions....I ended up using a section of PicMonkey I found to be truly a free trial....Yay!!
So thank you....that too is a work in progress!

And for that quilt I am working on....It has been difficult. My silk thread that I love has been snagging and shredding and yes, I did change the needle....twice. Usually if there is a problem it is because of Santa Ana winds...but alas...I am getting through it, little by little. The back will most likely show those snags etc...
However, I am not sending this quilt to the fair or other judged events....It has a special home to go to. So, I believe it will be fine.
Also, I got frustrated by all the "straight" lines. I guess I like curves! Ha! For someone who is always telling drivers and others to "stay between the lines"...I like to go outside of them....at least in quilting.


The "main squares" have 49 2" squares and they are 14" each. I chose the cross hatch them. I started off using the ruler technique that I spent $$ on. And there I ended up being frustrated, because of so much quilt that gets in the way.  I ended up doing it freehand...so it is amazing if there is any straightness (is that a word??) to it. That is a great number of lines and squares.

I started of with the "medallions" in the center of the big squares that link up the "chain" of this triple Irish Chain quilt. But, after all the sewing, I realized that the rectangles were left undone and needed to be stitched. So, I thought I'd do a simple cross hatch and fill two sides that made it like an hourglass....but frankly....I got bored. So, I allowed myself to "play". It will make the quilt more interesting if it isn't all the same....

See....I did "squiggles" here...and in others I did feathers....and in others different lines....
What can I say....I like to make feathers and squiggles, and flowers when I free motion quilt.
So, with a quilt that is 76"x104" I will be busy for a while longer...but I can see the end coming...then it is binding that needs to be done....think I might play with that too......
Have a great day....
Nancy

Monday, January 9, 2017

Working Away

It is rainy here...though it isn't at all the "atmospheric river" here....quite the opposite...it is light and supposed to be gone entirely by noon...quite sad.
In Northern California, there is quite a bit of flooding with 10+ inches of rain having fallen in one day.
I rejoice that we have received rain, but am sad we haven't gotten more. However, we will take what we can.
It makes for a great morning sitting by the fire with the dogs drinking coffee.
It is also a time to try and figure out how the heck I am to shrink a picture to be able to use it to make a new top picture for my blog. In fact, I am trying to redo my blog to make it more appealing...It used to be easier....
If anyone has hints on redoing pictures etc....let me know...
Nancy