Friday, August 31, 2007

Quilting and School

I have survived my first week of my second year in the MA program. So far, I've spent the week teaching Spanish, speaking Portuguese, reading pretty interesting books and dueling with the Bursar's office over my account. My students seem pretty enthused for the most part and are easy to joke with, although I confess, it will take me a while to remember all of their names. The classes I am taking are generally interesting--I'm reading Poe and Borges, for example, but sometimes the classes themselves are boring.

When not in school, I've been reading quilting blogs which inspires me to stop reading and actually get some work done on my own projects.

Flying Geese Inner Border

Quilt Top Wall hanging for quilting class

These are my first flying geese. I am making them for a tea mat for Lucas. He chose the fabrics and the design. Basically, there will be a large square in the middle bordered by the geese and some sort of decorative design in each corner of the square formed with the geese. Then there will be another brown border. We're not really sure what to do with it beyond that as far as adding any applique or quilting designs go. He will be using it to brew and pour tea on, so it's great if it gets some tea stains to add character.

The quilt top for my wall hanging class was just finished last night. I really like it and think it the green binding I bought will pull it together well. I need to get the back and batting cut, baste it and quilt it in the ditch but think I'll wait to quilt it until my Viking comes back.

I've also been taking a hand quilting class which I thought I might enjoy but enjoyed well beyond my expectations. Since we're first-timers, to make it easier on us, we're quilting without batting. We're also quilting from the back to the front because our instructor wanted to mark the design really dark so that we could follow it more easily. I'm finishing up the hand quilting so that we can do trapunto at the next class with our design. I've never used a thimble before but I find the hand quilting to be relaxing and gratifying because I feel like I have more control over following the actual pattern than I sometimes do on my machine because I am still rather inexperienced.

Here are my newest fat quarters! I also found this great applique design I'm looking forward to trying when I have a little more time and a few less projects going all at the same time. As I am still pretty new to quilting, I don't have much of a stash yet, nor many scraps, so I don't have too much guilt about acquiring fabric yet (except for the expense, of course).

Friday, August 17, 2007

He's a Man. He's made of Snow.

I found this pattern on I think the instructions are confusing and sometimes vague but the end result is relatively good. The hardest part was figuring out how to whipstitch the handles into place! I just made up some stitch to get the handles attached. I think I also broke a million rules but was happier than if I would have tried to follow them. In making this pattern, I leared the dreaded French Knot from a friend and now, I flatter myself, I can continue making them.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Pillowcases and Getting out of Town

Here is the completion of my most recent project, one of a set of pillowcases to match the cream-colored sheets we bought a year ago but couldn't find cases for. This pillowcase turned out pretty well. Pillowcase #2 didn't fare quite as well because I didn't remember the directions in the correct order and foolishly failed to read them all the way through. Also, the mean French seam was so thick that it broke two of my sewing needles when I tried to sew the outside band to the front of the case. So it is back to the drawing board for me to figure out how to make that seam less gigantic and how to make the outer band actually match the size of the case itself. I did follow a pattern; however, for some reason the instructions aren't working that well for me (or for some of the others in the class, for that matter).

We headed out of town this past weekend for Canton, OH and Angola, IN. My brother-in-law, David, lives in Canton and we stayed with him for the weekend as part of our trip to a family reunion in Indiana. It felt really good to get out of town, drive to a larger city where there were actually a variety of things to do, eat lots of good food and see family. While in Canton, we relaxed at David's and (happily) caught an episode of Sherlock Holmes, hung out at Borders, walked in a nice park and saw the memorial for President McKinley, and bought ourselves a really nice mirrored hanging candle holder and a glass orb from Plant et Art. The Pokagon Park in Indiana where we had the reunion was really nice as well. It was not easy to find our family reunion, but it was a nice place to go. It was great to see family, especially Mom, and we were showered with gifts from all of our parents: Fishing poles and a tackle box with accessories for Lucas (and me), cookies, cheese, cookbooks, milk and refrigerant for our car's drained A/C.

The previous weekend, we had Sarah and Jason visiting from Kalamazoo in honor of the Harry Potter book release. I managed to finish the book in just under 24 hours (and that includes sleeping time and hanging out with friends time). I was quite satisfied with it and it was even better than I could have expected...definitely worth the thousands of pages and countless hours I've spent reading and pondering it. The best part was that no one could really predict the ending of the book no matter how hard they tried. Certain theories were proved correct; however, the last leg of the book had elements that were really unexpected. I'll write more about my impressions on our literary blog. We also went to see the new movie, Order of the Pheonix. It was not bad but not amazing. I think my favorite movie is still number three (but you have to give them credit for adapting a huge book into the short fifth film). It was great to see Sarah and Jason and we had a great time chatting, eating thai food and cooking Indian food for them.