Saturday, March 31, 2012

Heirloom Skipping Squares Quilt

Coming in at 96" by 80" before washing, this is by far the biggest quilt I've ever made.  It was hard to photograph, too.  What's going on up there is my boyfriend and a friend are each holding a pole with the quilt clipped on the top of the poles.  It was that or climb on the roof! 

The quilt is based on Skipping Squares by Allison Harris of Cluck Cluck Sew, which is so far my favorite quilt pattern ever.  I just added one extra row of blocks vertically and horizontally, and then a border that will finish at 10" for a queen sized quilt.  This will go on my sister's bed.  She said she wanted colorful, but with pink, so I hope this makes her happy.  

Since I can't imagine trying to quilt something this big on my little machine (it's a Bernina 440, and I love it dearly, but it only has 8" of throat space), I laid it all out, and then sewed it up in quadrants with a backing of plain Kona Bone, quilted those individually in a large meander-in purple of course-and joined them together.  Now I have to add the backing fabric and bind.  I'm planning to back it with Joel Dewberry's Heirloom Rose Bouquet in Sky.

Picture from

I figure, this way, it could be turned over for a different look every now and then.  I am thinking just some stitch in the ditch quilting to make sure there is no shifting.  I hope this doesn't completely destroy the look of the meander on the front, but apparently I'm all about finding out the hard way.  Fingers crossed it all works out!

I'm trying to decide whether to bind the quilt in green or the same Kona Eggplant I used for the front.  I'm leaning towards the purple, for the continuity and for the hope it won't show dirt.

See those flowers by the bottom of the quilt?  They are just some of the beautiful flowers in our yard, and they smell wonderful.  I claim no credit for this, it's all the landlords' doing, but I do enjoy it.  This weather is was 79 degrees out today.  And it's still March!  I dread to think what will happen come July and August.  I may have to drive up to 9000 feet and camp just to stay cool.  Luckily, this place does have central A/C; a lot of houses don't around here because it just didn't used to get that hot.  A swamp cooler would do fine for all but the few hottest days of summer.  Climate Change,'s all our fault.  

My last three puppies, the ones I've had since January 25th, were adopted today.  They were 10 weeks old, and I hate to admit it, but it was a relief to see them go.  I finally have my kitchen back and I can walk around without dragging teething monsters on both legs.  It helped that I feel that all the pups adopted to day went to absolutely fantastic homes.  I am positive they will have great lives, and hopefully their new owners will keep me updated.  Several of the adopters of the pups who went two weeks ago have contacted me already, and they love their pups dearly, and tell me they are all doing great on house-training.  (They weren't when they lived here!).

I still have Brownie, their mother, and she is doing quite well, all things considered.  She deserves her own update, and I'll try to do that soon.   I also have Starla, a 1.5 y/o chihuahua/dachshund mix.  She's sweet with people, but not house-trained and a bit growl-y with other dogs, so we're working on that.  I imagine I will be getting a few new pups this week, as well.  Hopefully they will be sweet, cuddly, quiet and not destructive.  What? could happen.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Go Gators! or something

So, remember that post I made a while ago...goals for February?  Hmmm, well, most of the way through March I'm finally more than halfway done!  A friend of mine has a son who is obsessed with University of Florida.  My Mom went there, too, so I am familiar with the rabidness of Florida fans.  Never make the mistake of calling my parents' house during a game, really, your hearing will never be the same.

When my friend asked me to make the quilt, I thought, OK, an orange and blue quilt.  But it turns out I'm not the only one looking to make things with a Florida theme.  There are at least 7 different Florida fabrics out there.  I bought the 5 that were in stock.  Then, she wanted a "simple quilt, just squares, for a boy."  Believe it or not I have never actually made just a plain old patchwork quilt...weird huh?  They just sound boring to me, especially since there would only be 3 colors in this quilt.  The birthday in question was being celebrated on March 17th.  So, being that I'm a procrastinator and I was waiting for inspiration to strike, I only started on the quilt around March 9th.  I cut out the pieces, made some four-squares and log cabin blocks, and put them on the design wall while the dogs were outside.  Yep, the tail of the big one can make a mess of a design really quick, plus the crazy freakin' wind blows everything around.  I got the top together, and then stalled a bit when my cat got so sick.  I basted late on the 14th-thank god for spray basting-and quilted, bound, washed, dried and over-nighted on the 15th.  Whew!  Why do I do this?  Everyone out there who is more mature than me, feel free to share your secrets.

I'm pretty please with how it turned out, mostly squares and a few other blocks to add some interest.  Then some loopy all-over quilting.  It's pretty big, 60" x 80" before washing.  I was in too much of a hurry to get it in the mail to measure afterwards.

I'm told the room will be re-decorated in an all-Gators all the time theme after he gets the quilt.  I really hope he likes it.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

One for ME?

So, where were we?  At last count, we had Brownie and babies, and Blynken, right?  Well, in the meantime, we had Scarlett (who was adopted out as Wreath) for a week.  She was adopted out in January and returned to the rescue on March 2nd because one of her new parents was severely allergic to her.  It sounded like they had made a sincere effort to overcome this problem, but her doctor eventually said that she just couldn't live with Scarlett.  Scarlett looks a LOT like Blynken, just a tiny bit bigger.  In the week that they lived together, Scarlett and Blynken got on like peas and carrots.  They played, they wrestled, they tumbled, they chased, they collapsed and slept, they played some more.  I wish I had photos, but I was too busy enjoying their antics to search for the camera.

Isn't that ear adorable?

I mentioned that I think the adopters made a sincere effort to keep Scarlett, so perhaps their hearts were in the right place, but they returned Scarlett to us with some problems.  She is a submissive/excitable pee-er, is not socialized well with other dogs or with people (though she is young enough that we can probably remedy this), is majorly food-aggressive, and is cat-aggressive.  These all could have been easily nipped in the bud by the adopters, because she was a tiny baby when she went out, but it just goes to show how little most people know about dogs, and how little effort they take to learn.

We can begin to deal with these fairly easily in a short time at our house, with the exception of the cat aggression.  We will not risk the safety of our cats to foster dogs.  One of our cats, while she can probably take most dogs, gets pissed and disappears, which makes us worry, and one is (well, was, she passed today and I will dedicate a post to her soon, but I am not ready to talk about it right now) too old to have to deal with that kind of shit.

So, Scarlett was with us a week and left 3/10 to go live at another foster house; one with no cats.  However, also on 3/10, Blynken FINALLY GOT ADOPTED!  Remember, she had lived here since January 4th, so we had grown quite attached to her.  I knew someone was interested in her, and when I found out it was a 21 year old guy, I was all set to dislike him.  However, he came in with his mom and the new pup was to be a birthday present.  He had lost the dog he'd had since was was 6 in November, and it was time for another one.  He had found Blynken online, driven over an hour to get to the event, didn't want to look at any of the other puppies, didn't care that I really didn't know what breed she is, and promised all on his own to send me photos, since I'd had her so long.  He also said he was all about positive reinforcement and said hands were for affection, not hitting.  I think she went to a great home, and I can't wait to get updates on her life.

You may have noticed, though, that it's hard for me to come home from an adoption event with fewer dogs than I went with.  So, Starla and Pepper Jack came home with me.  We brought in 11 new dogs from 2 different places during the adoption event on Saturday.  It was a long day, to understate things.  I don't have a picture of Starla, but she is a small dog, maybe a chihuahua mix? who has a cough and sneezes frequently, and may be pregnant (Shhh...I haven't shared that with Tony yet, so don't tell him).  We are having to keep her separated from the other dogs, since she might be sick, but she is a sweetheart.  She loves to cuddle and is very bouncy.  She's also house-trained!  Hooray!  That doesn't happen often.  This...

Is Pepper Jack, otherwise known as Fluffbutt!  He is 9 weeks old and weighs 13 lbs.  He also (knock on wood) has not had any accidents in the house.  I think he is St. Bernard and Border Collie.  I want to keep him.  Tony does, too, but he is fighting himself.  He's probably wise, and says we don't "need" a dog.  But what a thing to base getting a dog on.  Who "needs" a dog?  Especially if they already have one.  Maybe a blind or disabled person, I guess.  Anyway, he was a little shy at first, but he has made himself right at home over the past few days.  This is last night.

He's taking up Tony's entire side of our very colorful bed.  He also likes his new "siblings".

One of these doesn't belong.

Brownie even lets him nurse with them.  She is such a pushover when it comes to other dogs.  Anyway, I need to go work on a quilt, but I will keep you updated!