Crochet baby car seat blanket

It’s been awhile since I last posted, but since summer nationals, I’ve a) been in a car wreck and getting over whiplash, b) had my sister’s wedding and all the craziness therein, and c) moved. Needless to say, I haven’t done much crafting! I did get this done, though.

I made two crochet baby car seat blankets, using a pattern by my friend Jennifer. One was blue and for my nephew-on-the-way and was given to his mom at a shower two weeks ago. I also did a purple one for a good friend, whose baby is due on Halloween that I’ll get to meet when I go to my conference in New Orleans in November. There is a hole in the bottom center so the car seat straps can hook through it. I took pictures of it on our friends’ baby, Mira. She makes a great model, don’t you think?

2009 Summer Nationals, Day 1

We headed to the venue after we dropped the dogs off at James’s house.
DH got his gear checked, as he fences tomorrow and didn’t want to deal with long lines early in the morning. It also allowed for time to fix stuff if it didn’t pass! Fortunately, he stuff passed and we didn’t have to buy a new lame or anything.

I found an AWESOME deal on some new blades. The blades I use are Uhlmann FIE BF (high-end, international standard; read: quality, but not cheap), and they usually cost about $150 each, withOUT being wired for electric scoring. Wiring with the better German points adds about $20-$25 each, depending on who you buy from. I found some, WIRED, for only $120! I got two, which replaces the two that snapped in May. Fortunately, the way that I fence isn’t hard on my weapons, so they last for years. DH got a new blade as well. I also bought my new knickers and had my name stenciled on them. I also got the tournament t-shirt, a hoodie, and some socks that DH has been drooling over for years. They put the fencers’ names on the back of the t-shirt as usual, but you had to choose first or second half of the alphabet – because of the way they did the names on the back (full names, in columns, in teeny-tiny print), they could only fit half of the 6,000 entrant names per shirt. They used to do the names in a big block, using only the first initial and last name. Yes, it was hard to find your name, but everyone’s name was on the same shirt!

We’ve already seen several folks we know, across all areas of the fencing world – competitors, bout committee, armourers, vendors, etc. I realized that we’re pretty well networked across the country, which is neat. We watched some of the men’s team epee, including a great match between one of the Texas teams and one from…Pennsylvania? Tomorrow, a good family friend is going to come out to watch DH fence and catch up visiting with me (and let me explain fencing stuff to him!), and then he and his wife (my HS French teacher) will come on Saturday to watch me fence. I’m really looking forward to seeing them.

More to come!

Divisionals

Success!

I came in second today, so I qualified for Div II! Whee! I went 3-1 in pools with a +7 indicator (I should have won the last bout, *sigh*, AND not have given up so many touches!), and was seeded third after pools. I fenced a good friend in the first round and won 15-8, then fenced a girl from San Antonio who was solid but youg and beat her 15-10 (I was ahead 13-8 at the second break and just doubled out) and then lost in the finals 15-8 to a 16 year old who was tougher than expected. I barely missed SO many touches, by like half an inch! Aaargh! It was a fun bout anyways.

DH also qualified for both Divs II/III in both foil and epee. (I’m not eligible for DivI III because I have a “C” rating, even though it’ll drop to a “D” at the end of this season, as Div III is only “D” and under at the time of qualification.) He took second in the foil and third in epee, so yay for him too. Good weekend of fencing at the Ray household…

Miniature Booty Swap Quiltlet

I got my quiltlet done tonight for the Miniature Booty Swap. I’m running a bit behind (today was the mail date), but it’ll go out tomorrow so it should be A-OK. This swap was a kitchen quilt swap – and in addition to the quiltlet, we had to come up with a dishtowel to coordinate. I made a little crocheted one with variegated red/white yarn, to be used as a dishcloth for washing dishes rather than drying them. The yarn started out making kind of a cool pattern, but then it changed. I tried to square it up when done, but alas, no luck. It also has bits of pink where the colors transition…I hope it’s okay!
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My partner said she has retro red, white, and yellow in her kitchen, so when I saw the little bee fabric (a 30’s repro I actually LIKE) I knew it was perfect! I like vertical layouts on quilts, but don’t usually make them, so I decided to do it here. I left the inner columns (note: I *hate* that quilting instructions call them “vertical rows”!) shorter on purpose, to draw attention to the vertical aspect. It is just quilted in the ditch, and backing fabric is the WoW of the front, which has little line hearts on it.
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Yorick Open

I fenced today in two events of a small tournament. I did okay in the mixed (men and women) epee, but I had to fence my DH in the first round of DE’s! AAARGH. Not cool.

The women’s event was after that. I won all but one bout in pools (there were 7 of us, total), and the last bout I hit the girl but my light didn’t go off. I asked to have my weapon tested, and it was found to not be working so her last (and final) touch was annulled. We go again, and I just missed. DOH! That was the only bout I lost all day in that event, though, as I ended up winning the tournament. I fenced well, but not the best ever; I also didn’t have to work that hard to do well at this particular tournament, which was also a nice feeling.

How was your Sunday?

Another top done!

I started this top about a year ago with the intent of giving it to my friend’s daughter Leah on her first birthday, which is tomorrow (as is the party). You may remember I made this pattern in the same colors, but reversed, awhile back for older sister Shannon’s first birthday. I’ve been so swamped, I knew I wasn’t going to finish in time. Thankfully, Molly (the mom) understands. πŸ˜€ I did get the top done tonight, though, so that’s something! I have some fun flamingo fabric for the back (sort of like I did for Shannon’s quilt!) that I’ll take pictures of when the whole thing is complete.
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Fabrics close-up:
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Knocking out UFOs

I got a lot done this weekend with Toni visiting me! First and foremost, I went stash digging and have enough SETS of fabrics for about eight new projects – to be started later, but after some more UFOs get done. She brought a little project for us to do together that was really cute…chicken pincushions! I used the wrong size square so mine is a little bigger and er…dumpier than hers but he’s still cute. πŸ˜€ Mine is on the left – of course, if you know either of us, the lime is a “Toni” color and the turquoise is definitely a “me” color!
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I also got the top for Cherry Cordial done. I can’t decide if I want to make a wall hanging out of it or use it as a baby quilt. I found some leftover binding from my neutral Jacob’s Ladder quilt and there’s plenty for binding this little quilt. I still need to square up the top – I had to do the corner triangles a little differently, so they’re a little too big…
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I made a penguin pillowcase for DH. We have those ergonomic pillows, and they slide out of traditional pillowcases. This one is an envelope style. I left it on the bed to surprise him.
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I’ve had this UFO for over a year. I had the blue and red batiks that I thought were so cool. This was originally going to be a baby quilt, but then the gal that it was for quit (we worked together). I didn’t finish it because there wasn’t enough fabric even following the pattern. Fortunately, Toni has this one at her shop AND I found the other one while digging in my stash. πŸ˜€ The top is as close to being done as can be at this moment. Toni – the one from the stash will get only the little square missing on the bottom right..
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Needleturn class, part II

The class yesterday was good and bad. The good part was that I learned some new tips and tricks, particularly with outer corners and preparing applique pieces. The bad part was due to how the teacher treated me for the first half of the day.

I went with Deana, and there was only one other person (a gal named Sharon) in the class with us. Deana and Sharon both teach classes at this store, while I have never set foot in the store as it’s almost an hour from my house and I’m never in that part of the Austin metroplex. The teacher made a big show of “Well, let’s introduce ourselves since I don’t know you” and pointed at me while emphasizing the “you.”

Then she starts talking about how wonderful the Civil War repros are, and they’re just fabulous for Jo Morton quilts, blah blah blah. Sharon had bought fabrics akin to the ones in the book’s quilt; I brought the ones I posted Friday and Deana brought black for the background and some of her hand dyes for the colored parts. The teacher seemed really surprised that we both went with bright fabrics, and later in the day she made a snarky comment about my using blue and purple for leaves – really? (Deana, did you hear that one?) It’s not her quilt. And I didn’t WANT a traditional colorway for this quilt. Nevermind that my fabrics go well together…

For the rest of the morning, every time she talked to me it was in condescending tone and like I had never touched a piece of fabric. Did she ask what our experience levels were? No. She assumed that because she had never met me I was a brand-new quilter that couldn’t tell a fat quarter from a pincushion. Deana picked up on it, too, which meant it wasn’t just me being sensitive.

The teacher would say something like, “OK we’re going to cut bias strips now…anyone need help?” When we all indicated no, I got up to use the cutting mat. I was positioning the ruler to square the edge of my fabric before turning it to cut along the bias. As I’m doing this, the teacher comes flailing up behind me saying, “No no no not like that you don’t cut along the straight, no no!” When I told her what I was doing, she looked suprised and was like, “Oh. Well. Okay then.” Sheesh.

You would think that when I a) didn’t have any questions, b) had all sorts of handy notions that she would talk about and realize that I had them (e.g. the mechanical marking pencil) and be surprised that I already had them, and c) brought a high-end sewing machine with me that maybe, just maybe, I *might* know something about quilting.

As the day progressed, and it became clear that I was “getting it” as I was the fastest worker, she got better and started talking to me as a fellow quilter. Sharon is new to quilting but has been doing garment sewing for years, so she was still trying to figure out handwork, rotary cutters and such; Deana. while not new to quilting or handwork, is a perfectionist and OCD about handwork, so she was slow because of that. πŸ˜€

At least I learned a few things, and I got to spend some time with Deana as it has been awhile. Here is the start of my piece:

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I’m getting better, bu it’s not perfect. I purpose did the leaves where not all of them are attached at the stem; I like the freeform movement of it like that. The little bit of turquoise isn’t out of place; the print fabric has that same turquoise in it. Also, the orange middle of the “tulip” flower is much more distinctive in person, and doesn’t really show well in this picture. There are leaves that go on the inside as well; I took them off for now so I can finish stitching the stem without the leaves getting in the way. I don’t think I’m going to make the whole top (with the pieced border), but rather turn this into a throw pillow and give it as a gift.

Needleturn Class

I’m taking a needleturn applique class tomorrow with a Deana, yay! I also already had fabrics that were coordinated in my stash that I can use. We’re doing the quiltlet on the bottom right-hand corner of this book:

I am using these fabrics:

I plan on using the cream in the same place as noted in the picture. I don’t want to do the second border of churn dash blocks; I think it overpowers the center and is off-balance. I’ll use the print where the book shows the pink setting triangles, and use the red/orange for the little triangles on the medallion. I think it’ll look good when it’s all said and done. Will post pictures and update tomorrow after class!

I got tagged

Toni tagged me for a blog meme. I haven’t done memes on this blog (I don’t think) but I figure this one might be helpful for potential swap partners. She tagged me with the Honest Scrap Award! All I need to do for part 1 is reveal 10 facts about myself that I haven’t necessarily shared with anyone.
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1. I studied abroad in Lyon, France, when I was in college. I got to fence while I was there, too – and my salle was only about three blocks from my apartment!

2. I have the uncanny ability to estimate my grocery total within $5 when I hit the checkout. I don’t keep track of prices while I shop, either.

3. Every Tuesday my co-workers and I have “Fantasy Sex Day.” We each pick a celebrity that we’re going to sleep with for the week. It’s loads of fun. You can’t repeat people within a 6-month period, and you can specify someone at a specific point in time (e.g. Leonardo di Caprio in “The Beach” but not in “Titanic).

4. One of the neatest conversations I ever had was with a homeless guy in Rome. We sat on the street corner and talked about life for over an hour.

5. I played French horn for almost ten years.

6. I *love* watching the Olympics, almost the point of obsession.

7. I’m a beer snob even though I don’t drink beer.

8. Going to a male OB/GYN doesn’t weird me out.

9. I love all things handwork – hand quilting, hand applique, embroidery – but not cross stitch. It drives me batty.

10. My DH and I are both online gamers.

Now, I must list 5 addictions:
1. The internet
2. Cheese, peanut butter, and chocolate (hey, they’re all foods!)
3. Fabric
4. Collecting kitchen gadgets
5. Sleeping in/taking naps

I’m not going to tag anyone (not even sure if I have five readers here?!?!), but feel free to fill them out as a comment. πŸ˜€

Stockings

I was commissioned to make some Christmas stockings for a friend and her family. I will be giving them to her today. They turned out well overall. The kids’ stockings are the red ones, and Molly and Jeff’s are the green ones. I also made a third red one for whenever they have their next kiddo. I couldn’t put it together yet, though, because I have to do the embroidery before the stocking is put together. The embroidery isn’t consistent stocking-to-stocking, but what can you do when it’s freehand?!?! Oh well.

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Miniature Booty Swap

Made this for the Miniature Booty Swap, holiday edition…wonder who it’s for? πŸ˜€ I’m going to assume that most of the participants don’t check every participating blog to try and guess which quiltlet is theirs, and I’m also relatively anonymous. I haven’t done this swap before, but I was asked to participate because I’m friends with Toni. πŸ˜€

I goofed a bit on the paper-piecing, but it worked out okay. I got the last bits for my package ready today, and once I get the ornament in the mail it’ll be ready to send off!

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Fencing tournament this weekend

DH took some pictures for me. He wasn’t sure what all to take pictures of so keep that in mind. πŸ˜€

Here’s all of our gear, before being (mostly) taken out of the bags. The bags are about the same size as a golf bag, to give you an idea of scale. Mine is the bright yellow and grey one, DH’s is the black one.

This is me at the end of getting dressed – the glove is always the last part! I always wear a hat backwards when I fence – it catches sweat, keeps my hair out of my face, and keeps my mask from jiggling around.

I just picked up my epees and was about to head to the floor when DH snapped this picture.

A picture of the venue. This was between events, so there’s not a lot of activity at the moment. The silver things are called strips (also called pistes, the French name) – the “in zone” if you will for the fencing bout. They are 14 meters long by 1 1/2 to 2 meters wide. Two meters at each end are a warning zone – if you can push your opponent all the way off the back end of his side of the strip, you earn a point.

Some members of my club (and me in my fencing gear on the right). The man in the middle wearing a suit is my coach, Paul.

Getting ready to put my mask on. At this point, my weapon has been checked by the referee and the bout is about to begin. DH didn’t get a picture of the next part, which I had specifically asked him to take. πŸ™„ You must salute your opponent (and if you’re courteous, also the referee, your coach, and the audience) before and after the bout. You also salute if the score becomes tied at match point (4-4 in pool bouts, 14-14 in direct elimination [DE] bouts), called la belle touche (“la belle” for short), or “the beautiful touch.” You also shake your opponent’s hand at the end of the bout.

The bout has begun, but barely so. I just came off of my “on guarde” line. And DH managed to get a picture of me in good form. Most fencers cringe when they see pictures of themselves in action, especially video. This was taken during the DE I won against Karen (also a good fencing friend).

A pirate dummy wearing top of the line fencing gear, made by one of the vendors, Scott. Scott and his wife are good friends of ours. Picture taken for Toni. πŸ˜€

Finalists for Senior Women’s Epee. You’re considered a finalist in any tournament if you finish in the top 8. I didn’t have a chance to get my shoes back on before being called up to get my medal, oops! The woman that beat me tied for third – she’s the tall one in the grey sweater. The lady in green (Suzanne) and the one in the navy blue and white jacket, fourth from the left (BJ), are good friends within the fencing community. I had to fence BJ in pools – it was a good bout that went 5-4, to her.

And we saw this great sunset on the way back into Austin!

Paper-Piecing

I’m working on a miniature quilt for the holiday Miniature Booty Swap. The pattern I chose is a 12-inch paper-pieced block that I blew up to 18 inches. I’ve only got three sections left to piece (one of which has about 20 pieces), but then it’ll be done.

I’m always torn about PPing. I love the results – crisp, clean, pointy points, neatly pieced designs that have a different feel than applique, and the ability to piece itty bitty things and have it actually work. I dislike, however, the time it takes, the waste of fabric, and having to concentrate for that long in my sewing room. It’s such a pain to rip out and redo if you’re fabric is off just a bit, for example. I’ve gotten much better at it through this project, and this is the first time I don’t have crazy weird excesses of fabric in the seam allowances. (Thank you Toni for showing me your trick for that!)

I’ll post pictures after the recipient has received it. Given what she requested, it’ll be pretty obvious who it’s going to!

Round Robin, first border

You might remember the bug fabric block I made for another round robin. I decided that I would keep up with the progress of my block, as I have that group on my Google Reader, so I’d see it anyways. I LOVE the first border that Carrie put on my block! She used the fabrics I sent for the stars and green border, but chose the black from her stash. I think it looks great!

I’ve been working on a paper-piecing project for the Miniature Booty Swap. I found the *perfect* pattern for my partner’s preferences. I enlarged it, added seam allowances (silly pattern didn’t have them!) and I’m about halfway done. I’m glad I did, too, not just for the finished size of the mini quilt, but because I can’t imagine some of those teeny-tiny pieces in just a 12″ block! 😯 I can’t post pictures, though – I will once she’s received her quilt. πŸ˜€ I love the results of PPing, but I don’t care for the doing part of it. I find it tedious and think that it requires too much concentration.

Pirate Flag mini quilt

Yay, I can post this now! Toni was my partner in the ALQS round two swap. What are the chances? I know literally it was like 1 in 66, but c’mon – the ONLY person I actually KNOW, online OR in real life, was my partner? Anyways… πŸ˜€

I figured that the Quilting Pirate needed a Jolly Roger, since she didn’t have a quilted one yet! I made his kerchief purple, her favorite color. The squee on her voicemail made me think she liked it. πŸ˜‰ I was pleased, because for the first time, I think, my binding came out PERFECT. Whee for me!
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Christmas Stockings

A good friend of mine commissioned me to make her family a set of Christmas stockings. I had made her at table runner last year

with some great paisley fabrics

that she loved, and I liked quite a bit as well. I found those same fabrics on clearance a few months ago and bought yards and yards of all of them. She was quite excited when I told her I could make the stockings out of those fabrics. She requested that they be simple in nature, and that the parents’ stockings were different from the kids’ stockings. I made the first one last night, and finished it up this morning:

I am going to use the green paisley with white cuff and red embroidery for the parents’ stockings, and the red paisley with a white cuff and green embroidery for the kids. The cuff and lining fabric is a cream-on-white paisley that is drool-worthy. This was my first time working with fusible fleece. I like it quite a bit, but it’s tricky to cut the seam allowance of the fabric larger than the fleece, in order to minimize bulk in the seams.

It’s a good size stocking – it’s hanging on the floor lamp switch and it’s right next to my thread rack. That should give you a sense of scale. I sent her the picture to approve before I make the other four. πŸ˜€

DOH!

I just mailed off a little mini quilt today, but I didn’t take a picture of it. *face smack* I was a “quilt angel,” which means I made a quilt for someone whose partner fell through with her obligation. I wasn’t part of this swap, but Toni was hosting it and posted a request for a quilt angel. She asked for warm colors, which I also love.

I was sad to find out that this woman was participating in her first mini quilt swap. That’s a bummer – to get burned your first go-’round. I put a note in with her quilt and told her I hope she wasn’t deterred from participating in future swaps, as 99% of the folks that play do their part, and often go above and beyond. I’m hoping that she will post a picture of it that I can swipe. πŸ˜€

Ghostie Flamingo!

Remember the awesome package of flamingo goodies that Toni sent me? I made the ghost flamingo tonight. There were minimal directions with the kit, so I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to do the embroidery on the black or the white fabric included. *shrug* I’m happy with how it came out. Any ideas what the thing around his neck is supposed to be? The directions did specify that it should be orange. πŸ˜€

Productive Sunday!

1. Make and mail September birthday blocks.
2. Make border for LJ Round Robin and mail to the next person in line.
4. Decide on quilt design for ALQS swap (mail due date: November 10).

A goal that wasn’t on here (DOH) was to finish my blocks for a signature swap – DONE!

The Guild meeting is tomorrow, so I’ll have time to swing by the post office to mail stuff out between work and then. I won’t be coming home after work/before Guild, which is perfect for running that errand!

Edited to add…

Pictures!
Siggy swap block. That is my actual signature and handwriting, hand-embroidered.

This recipient asked for the Churn Dash block with a solid black background and solid jewel tone colors (Amish style). Sorry it’s blurry!

I thought the back looked cool with the white thread:

This person asked for Quilter’s Choice (meaning the maker chooses) for block in “country colors.” I used a mossy green and creamy marble, but the colors are a bit off in the picture:

This person asked for a Miniature Bow Tie block with unbleached muslin background and scrappy bows: