Friday, December 11, 2015

It's a Miracle!

Hi all -

Just a short post to let everyone know that Buttercup showed back up this morning! She'd been gone for 4 full days, when she's never before been gone even overnight. I'm so thrilled! And she looks completely fine, not even thin, so I'm wondering if she somehow got stuck in someone's house or garage. But I did fill her up with turkey and cat treats on her return!



Buttercup when a kitten

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Lake House Romance - Border Quilting Done

Hi all -

Just a periodic status update on my Lake House Romance quilt. Work has been slower than I would have hoped because I've been working on other stuff, too, but I did get the border quilting done and just now finished sewing the binding onto the front of the quilt.

As I showed in my last post, I just did some piano key quilting in the outer border using a ruler. The ruler I used worked really well for spacing the lines evenly and keeping them perpendicular to the edge of the border. There are some bobbles, but overall I'm very pleased with how it turned out:

Here's a close-up of the border quilting:

This is really a minimal amount of quilting and I want to add more, depending on how much time I have. But this is also enough to add the binding and get the hand stitching out of the way so I can see how much time I have left. Like I mentioned above, I just finished sewing the binding on the front of the quilt, so now I have to trim the edges and hand sew it on the back. Definitely not looking forward to that part, but I really love how hand-sewn bindings look so it's worth the effort.

While sewing on the binding, I came up with a trick for holding the binding strips that I wanted to share. I'm sure others have figured this out, but I haven't seen it anywhere before so it might be new to you, too. Since it's generally a long time between when I finish piecing the top and when I finish the quilting, a couple of years ago I started sewing the binding strips and storing them with the quilt top when the top is finished. Since I hate throwing away empty thread spools, it dawned on me that these are great places to store the binding strips, so I sew and press them and then wind them around and empty spool, secure the end with a pin and put it in a ziploc bag to keep everything neat. Here's the pre-made binding for my Grand Illusions quilt since I didn't think to take a picture of the Lake House Romance binding before I started:

Very neat and tidy! Well, as I started sewing on my binding today, I kept moving the binding roll to different places, but nothing was really convenient. Then it dawned on me -- I could just stick the thread spool on my vertical thread pin:

 Do you see the roll of binding strip to the upper right of the sewing machine? I couldn't believe how well this worked! I could easily just pull to get some more binding when I needed it and there was no worry about it falling on the floor or getting caught on anything. Definitely how I'm going to be doing this from now on! And it dawned on me that if I had to put my sewing thread on that pin for some reason, I could easily put the binding roll on one of those off-machine cone holders and it should work just as well. I hope this is useful to some of you, too.

I've also continued to work on my knitting. I decided to knit a hat for my brother-in-law. It's always so hard to think of gifts for him, but I think this will be perfect. Of course, the pattern I picked for him has cables and I'd never done those before so this was a learning experience, too. I was pretty obsessed with getting this done while I was on a roll, so this slowed down my quilting quite a bit. But I'm pleased with how this turned out, too:

You can see the design better with the hat on my head (not an easy picture to take!):

It probably needs to be blocked to look better, but I'll probably just leave it like this.

The other thing I've been working on is putting more stuff on the beaded embroidery for my sister:

I'll probably add just a few more little beaded flowers before sewing it into a pouch, but it's very close to being finished.

 On a very sad note, my sweet little Buttercup is missing:

She went outside yesterday morning and never came back. As you can imagine, I'm very upset. It hasn't been very long and I keep watching for her, but I know her and I know that she would have been home by dinner time last night if she could have been. My only hope is that somehow she got into somebody else's house and they'll give me a call when they see the fliers. But knowing her, that's extremely unlikely, too. So, I'll leave you with a couple more pictures of my sweet baby girl and I'll let you know if she shows back up.