Sunday, September 29, 2013

Drunkard's Path Progress

Well I only had about an hour to play around with this today, but lets just say that I learned a lot.

I'm using Marti Michell's Perfect Templates for this. They come with a mostly well explained instructions. The first that confused me for a little bit is that there doesn't seem to be a distinction between unfinished and finished size. Let me clear it up - when you make a 3 1/2 inch drunkard's path block with her templates, that is the unfinished size of the unit.

The second thing was the best way to cut the L-shaped pieces. Its actually very easy. Cut a square to the size you want the unfinished unit to be (I wanted 3 1/2 inches, so I cut a 3/12 inch square) and then use the correct template to cut out the notch.

Also, I learned to CUT VERY ACCURATELY. I have a little experience in curved piecing due to the garments I've made, but this is a little difficult. I pieced two blocks, had puckers in each that I had to resew, and they both finished a little under 3.5 inches. I would rather have them a little too big and trim them down.

The third thing, liberal use of pins is recommended. And you are going to have to stretch one of the pieces as you sew to match the other.

Lastly, I'm very happy with the fabric I bought from Connecting Threads. First, it was inexpensive at $6 per yard. Second, it washed very well, hardly unraveled on the edges. It irons easily, and is a good weight. And the color catcher I used didn't pick up any extra dye. I will definitely be ordering more fabric from them in the future.

Update: Here is the first quarter of one of the Stormy Path blocks - can you tell I'm getting excited about how these are turning out?

Saturday, September 28, 2013

WIP Saturday

A few quick updates for some of my WIP/UFOs:

Another block finished for the stars quilt

And I managed to hoodwink my cousins into helping Jack move my desk into the basement, where I can Mechatronics to my heart's content.

You can see that I haven't gotten my stuff quite set up yet, so it promptly became storage for Jack's in-progress weapons ;-p
I have my thinking chair set up next to it and there is a small built in bookshelf to the right I can use.

Plus, I finished the binding on my purple cats quilt, inscribed a label on the back, and it will be all set after a good washing!

This one will go in my stack of finished un-dedicated quilts (its a small stack, but growing), but will probably end up getting donated to Project Linus this fall.

I also made some changes to the Stormy Path quilt. The fabric came in and is beautiful. It is washed and dried, so once I iron it, I can start. This quilt will take approximately 400 individual units and will finish at about full size, so it is my most ambitious project yet. I put the fabric swatches in EQ7, so this is a closer approximation to the finished quilt.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Stormy Path

Once again I find myself obsessed with a new idea. Meet "Stormy Path" which is my variation of the Storm at Sea quilt pattern. I've had my drunkard's path templates for a while now, waiting for the right project and I wanted to do a two-fabric Storm at Sea quilt. So this will actually get two projects at once of my list.

And to make sure this beauty doesn't get pushed aside, I already ordered the fabric.

Courtesy of Connecting Threads Indigo Patchwork collection

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

I'm an Evil Genius

I've been a little slow on the sewing this week, but thats okay because I have a new hobby.

It all started a week or so ago when my niece spent the night. Over dinner, she told us that she wanted to develop robotic pets when she grew up, so that people who had allergies could still have pets. She's eight, FYI. Which got me thinking, about Ragnarok, and how cool it would be to have animatronic dragons to guard our camp entrance. Not being about to afford to purchase and transport a large ready-made animatronic dragon, ($25,000) I decided to pick up my Electronic Circuits for the Evil Genius book and see how far I could get on my own next year.

This is what my last couple of evenings have looked like. I also ordered Mechatronics for the Evil Genius and am happy to say that it is in my possession as I type. YAY!

I have no idea how far this "little" project will go, but I'm having fun with it. Ideally, I would eventually like to build two small dragons, one for each side of our gate, which would both move and roar and possibly breath dry ice smoke. They would have to have a power source and a timer, to prevent them from keeping our neighbors awake at night. And I would also want a motion sensor, so that they would "wake up" when someone walked too close to our camp.

Should be easy, especially for someone who knows next to nothing about mechanical engineering and robotics, right?

On the other hand, I haven't completely neglected my sewing projects. Here is the start of Illinois, which is rapidly becoming my favorite block.

Visions are dancing in my head of this block as a fractal, but I don't know it those ideas will ever see the light of day. Something else to add to my bucket list.

And here is a preview of a quilt I designed using EQ7. Fabric selection only, I would like to eventually publish this quilt as a saleable pattern so I'm keeping it mostly under wraps while I work. Missing are the light gray/silver and the black. Use your imagination!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Ugh. Mondays.

Today has been a very frustrating day. I'm not going to mention work, and when I got home,  with a migraine, I discovered that I missed a deadline for the the college course I'm taking online through Coursera, and when I tried to catch up, I discovered I'm lacking in some valuable resources (like a text book). And that was after fighting with the printer to get the lecture summaries printed.

To top it off, I decided to relax and work on my stars quilt. Relaxing? Nope. Of the four fabric pieces I stitched, I tore out and re-stitched two.

So I'm calling it quits for the night, and devoting the rest of the evening to the reckless pursuit of leveling up my Guardian in Guild Wars 2. And meanwhile, here is a picture of Grumpy Cat.

Friday, September 6, 2013

FMQ Friday - Purple Kats Kwilt

Well it has been a nice couple of weeks. Last weekend was a three day weekend and this was a four day weekend, thanks to the extra days I took off of work. I've been putting the time to good use, playing video games and sewing. We even went to see a movie, Iron Man 3. I think it was the best of them all.

Here is the purple kats kwilt UFO that I've been working on. Not only did I get all the quilting completed today, but I started stitching on the binding.

This was quite the adventure. There are puckers and ripples and about 50% of the time, the needle didn't go where it was supposed to go. A learning experience, we'll call it. Honestly, I'm not sure how I'm going to quilt anything much larger than this on my little sewing machine. We'll see what happens.

EDIT: I had some inquiries about the pattern for this quilt. The original pattern was by Patti Carey for Northcott and can be found here.

I also finished another stars block.

Two more to go for this quilt top, and then it will be done. I'm still considering doing this as a QAYG.

Well, two more days of my lovely mini-vacation to go!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Raspberry Tiramasu

I made my last quilt swap block. I've been participating in this swap for a few months and although I'm enjoying it, I often find myself short on time. My swap partner requested a Depression Block which gave me lots of practice doing half square triangles.

As a bonus, I also made Raspberry Tiramasu last night! The recipe is from a Kindle book called Dolci: Simply Delicious Italian Desserts  by Daniella Malfitano. I acquired my copy through BookBub when it was on sale. (Money-saving tip: sign up for BookBub. You'll get daily emails with e-books that are on sale or are free. I usually pick up 3-5 books a week for free. No, I haven't read them all yet).

Cooking lessons learned: Marscapone cheese takes on whatever flavor you add to it. It is also a very thick cheese, so I think next time I would let it warm up to room temp before I used it. Cold Marscapone is hard to spread in an even layer.  Also the lemon flavor was a little strong, so I would probably cut back on the lemon juice a little and maybe add another tablespoon of sugar.

Raspberry Tiramasu


30 sponge lady fingers
1 1/4 cups cold espresso coffee
1 fresh lemon, zest finely grated and juiced
2 1/4 cups Marscapone cheese
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
3 cups fresh raspberries
3 1/2 ounces semi sweet chocolate, grated
1 Tablespoon cocoa powder
  1. Line the bottom of an 8 x 8 baking dish with half of the ladyfingers. Brush the ladyfingers with half of the cold espresso.
  2. In medium bowl, combine lemon juice, lemon zest, Marscapone cheese, and sugar. Mix well until completely blended and smooth.
  3. Carefully spread 1/3 of the cheese mixture evenly onto the lady fingers. Scatter half the raspberries on top of the cheese and press them down gently. Sprinkle a generous amount of the grated chocolate on top. Spread another 1/3 of the Marscapone on top the the raspberries. Top with another layer of lady fingers.
  4. Brush the remaining coffee onto the lady fingers. Top with the remaining Marscapone, dust generously with cocoa powder, then top with the remaining raspberries. Sprinkle with remaining grated chocolate (I also added white chocolate chips here.)
  5. Chill at least three hours before serving.
Cooking lessons learned: Marscapone cheese takes on whatever flavor you add to it. It is also a very thick cheese, so I think next time I would let it warm up to room temp before I used it. Cold Marscapone is hard to spread in an even layer.  Also the lemon flavor was a little strong, so I would probably cut back on the lemon juice a little and maybe add another tablespoon of sugar.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

We're Going on an Adventure!

Well, I guess we actually already went on the adventure.

This weekend, Jack and I traveled into the wild wild north of Michigan to celebrate our 4th anniversary.

We left Friday afternoon and drove straight up 1-75 towards the U.P.

Along the way, we missed all the Starbucks (bummer, because we really wanted coffee.) and stopped at random places along the way on a whim.

I really hate long car rides, so we stopped anywhere that looked interesting, like the Tanger Outlets in West Branch (the smallest outlet mall I've ever seen). We ate dinner at 9 pm at Chippewa room in Mackinac City, where we found physical evidence of the elusive Jackalope creature

and then finished out our drive, ending in Sault Ste Marie, USA where our phones politely informed us that we were in Canada and could be subject to excessive data charges.

The next day, we visited the Soo Locks, getting there just in time to see a ship pass through the boatavator.

From Google Earth, Image Copyright by Google
 If you don't know how this works, here is a nifty little diagram. Its really very cool. The difference between Lake Superior and Lake Huron is about 21 feet, which doesn't seem like much unless you are driving a 1000 ft freighter through. The Soo Locks allow ships to pass between the two lakes without having to scale or fall over the waterfall that used to be there.

On a whim, we drove out to the Whitefish Point Lighthouse, about an hour and a half from Sault Ste Marie, where we decided that future trips would be minimally planned and involved as many vistas as possible.

Here we are, all squinty faced due to sunlight. But somewhere behind us is Canada and a ship graveyard..
Paradise, MI just south of Whitefish Point had a little restaurant/bakery called the Berry Patch where we acquired some absolutely delicious Caramel Apple Walnut Pie.

Sunday saw us down in Mackinac City for a couple hours where we debated what souvenirs to purchase. Jack bought me a print of four otters, as they are by far my favorite wild animals (not counting dragons of course). I'm going to display it in my sewing room after I get it framed.

All in all it was a wonderful and relaxing weekend. Hope your weekend was at least as much fun!