on the needles

Friday, October 31, 2008

Pretty Fabrics

I like this photo that Hubby took of the quilt top I am working on. I love the way these fabrics work together. The sales lady looked at me a little strange when I chose these but I have long since ceased to care about looks I get from sales ladies! However, I've been having some frustration with the borders for this top. I keep thinking I will finish and then having set backs or things just taking longer than I think they will/should. Why is it always the "easy" part of a project that jumps up and bites you in the you-know-what? Urgh!

I'm glad to have this pretty photo to look at and remember why I like this quilt!

Happy Halloween All!

PS - Poor old Hubby says his blog isn't gettin any love so I'm givin him a shout out. Go check it out over at Flaming Lotus Creations.

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Woven Ribbons Quilt # 2

This one is for my nephew. His room is shades of purple and yellows and has a jungle theme. Oddly enough I didn't know this information when I chose these colors and prints for the quilt. Serendipity!

The quilt is twin bed sized so this represents half of the top & before the borders are added. I'm not sure yet if I will attempt to actually quilt this one myself or if I am going to send it off to be finished by "the quilt lady". We'll see how ambitious I feel once I'm finished with the piecing.

I'm really pleased with this quilt so far! And I'm nearly finished. I'll probably have the borders on before this gets posted....

Next I'm going to add the borders to the Kaleidoscope Quilt.

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Hermelinda Housing Photos

I'd like to share these photos I received from Children International of Hermelinda's family and their home in Guatemala. Hermelinda is the little thing in the light purple skirt. Isn't she just so tiny? I always think of her as "little Hermelinda".

Hermelinda's older sister Yessica, 7 (standing next to her in the first photo) and her brother Victor 11, (in the black shirt) both have sponsors. Hermelinda's younger sisters Dulce, 3 (being held by Victor) and Marlyn, 1 (held by Hermelinda's mother) both need sponsors. If you think you could sponsor either of them please email me and I will help you set it up. The girls are probably not listed on CI's site.

I think that Hermelinda's housing is probably typical for the area she lives in. It's difficult for me to think of a child I care about (or any child for that matter!) living in such conditions. I know it could be worse of course, (unfortunately there is always something worse) but I also know it could be much much better!

Since Hermelinda's family felt unable to start an income generating project they asked instead for some money to cover the expenses for some special needs. They asked for $251.41 to buy a bed and bed clothes, a set of drawers, and several items of clothing for the children. I'm hoping that by the end of next month I will be able to send the family this donation.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hermelinda's New Photo

We got a new yearly photo of Hermelinda. Still no smile. I think Hermelinda and Javiera are the only two sponsor kids who have never smiled in their photos. They are also the only two of my sponsor kids whose families replied that they weren't interested in an income generating project. In Hermelinda's case the family lives in a very rural area and did not feel that there would be enough community support to enable them to start a new business. Personally, I don't think that the lack of smiles and the lack of opportunity is any coincidence. I wish there was more I could do to change that situation...

I'm not giving up though. I think of it as a challenge. :) I know I'll find a way to her heart somehow!! I just have to figure out something that she just can't resist...

Hermelinda is six years old and lives in Guatemala. Any ideas to get a smile out of Hermelinda?

Thinking about:
1. Quilting - all the time. Quilting makes me happy.
2. The Suspicions of Mister Whicher - very good book.
3. Colors and patterns - see #1.
4. Weeding out the yarn stash - has to be done but will happen slowly. Must not shock the system.
5. The Chupacabra - totally lives in our neighborhood. Last seen crossing the road under the overpass.

Thanks so much to everyone for the nice comments about the quilt. I've got to find a better commenting system that allows me to more easily reply. Hate the system I have. Anyone know anything better that works with blogger?

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Woven Ribbons Quilt - Finished!

I finished my first quilt! Squeee!

It very very simplistic in terms of the quilting (probably the quilting equivalent of a garter stitch scarf) - but I love it just the same. :) We all have to start somewhere and I'm pretty happy with the start I've made - mainly because I really love all the fabrics I chose.

Woven Ribbons Quilt 10-19-08

The dark green is the one I fell in love with - but of course the store only had a small amount. :( I was determined to use it though so I chose the rest of my colors with the dark green in mind and trying to make it stand out a bit.

I also got to use one of my other favorites for the backing. Here's a picture with the corner folded back so you can see it.

Woven Ribbons Quilt 10-19-08

I love it! It looks so Missoni to me. Since Missoni is famous for their knitwear it's probably no surprise that I'm drawn to that style.(Also - hello! child of the seventies. You couldn't escape from Missoni in the 70's. One of the few 70's trends I wish would come back!)

Woven Ribbons Quilt 10-19-08

Anyhow...here's the quilt on the kitchen table. It actually turned out to be more substantial than I thought. Plenty of room to snuggle under whilst watching tv. Quilting it was sort of more like wrestling than sewing though. Total workout. I may want to send anything bigger out to be quilted by a professional in the future. or win the lottery so I can buy a long arm quilting machine (and a big house to put it in.) :)

So here you go, my first quilt. Yay!

PS - I've lost 15 pounds so far! Also - still making crochet squares. I'll probably be making crochet squares next month too. At this rate I just want to finish them before next year. :)

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Hubby's Kaleidoscope Quilt

I thought you guys might like to see what Hubby's kaleidoscope quilt looks like.

He chose an Asian themed print that was more dynamic than mine. There was more going on in terms of shapes, directionality and less background. I think it makes for a more varied quilt. The blocks are all a big surprise! Plus the print turns out to be sort of an I-Spy game when you cut it up and refashion it like this.

You can see the koi fish in both of these blocks but the slightly different positioning of the cutting makes a totally different looking block.

I think my quilt looks nice but I wasn't super in love with it so that's why I decided to stop at baby/wall hanging size. Hubby loves his project so much that he has decided to make a king sized quilt! We went and picked out two more Asian themed fabrics and Hubby has just gone right on making blocks. He thinks he needs somewhere around 82 and is about a third of the way done right now.

Is it crazy to make a king sized quilt as your second ever quilt? I don't think so. It's just more of the same, cutting and sewing. The hard part will be actually quilting a quilt that size. But we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. :)

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Kaleidoscope Quilt

Hubby and I took our second ever quilt class - this one using the kaleidoscope block. It was a one day class. We've only been to two days of quilt classes and already we are "famous" as the "husband and wife quilt team". Seriously, we get treated like some kind of zoo exhibit - in a nice way. The other teachers come by to check out what we are doing. They call their friends into the classroom to look at our blocks. Even the owner of the store stops by to have a look. I think it's partly due to Hubby being somewhat of an oddity in the quilt world - ie. a male - and partly due to the fact that I'm pretty sure no one has ever seen spouses happily quilting together. It's really a funny reaction we get!

Anyhow, here is a look at my second ever quilt top, all laid out and ready to put together. (I did that after these photos were taken.)

aleidoscope Quilt "Empress Bouquet"

This was obviously harder than the strip pieced quilt top we made in the first class. First off - way more seams which show every imperfection in the sewing. All those little triangle points have to join up perfectly! And the sewing machine naturally wants to suck the points down into the needle hole - so you have to pay attention. By the end of the quilt I had figured out how to get everything to join up just right:

Kaleidoscope Quilt "Empress Bouquet"

I'm pretty proud of how well this came out. I admit I'm pretty impressed with myself for catching on so quickly. I was worried I wouldn't be able to. :)

This photo shows the true colors of the quilt more accurately than the first two:

Kaleidoscope Quilt "Empress Bouquet"

The main fabric, the print, is "Empress Bouquet" by Robert Kaufman. It was sort of a pop arty take on a William Morris design. It was really fun to sew the blocks together. Each one was a surprise! And really, so fast! This top took me only three days of quilting time. Probably about 24 hours total. It sounds like a lot of time but it feels like instant gratification. :)

Next class is actually quilting the quilt - technically I have only done piecing so far. I can't wait to do the quilting so I can finish my two tops up and have an actual honest to goodness quilt!


Thursday, October 09, 2008

So Sleepy...

So very, very sleepy.

Yumi 10-1-08

Yumi is plum tuckered out.

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Wednesday, October 08, 2008


Luca as the Mighty Hunter, Bane of All Squirrels and other Suburban Rodent Types.

Luca 10-1-08

Nothing gets past a greyhound when their ears are set like that. He's a trap ready to spring. He's fast as lightning too. Many a small mammal has blessed the abundance of trees in our neighborhood!

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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Dogs? Yeah, We've Got 'Em...

...all sizes!

yumi and libby 9-25-08

Yumi and Libby prove that David and Goliath don't have to quarrel, even with a tasty Nylabone in the vicinity! This should be a poster for world peace or something don't you think? :)

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Monday, October 06, 2008

Oh No You Didn't!

Oh yes I did!

My First Quilt!

Welcome to my new obsession...

My First Quilt!

My first quilt!! One day of quilting - can you believe it?!

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Sunday, October 05, 2008


My hubby takes wonderful pictures.

How could he fail with a beautiful model like this?

clementine 10-1-08

Clemmie is a favorite subject because she is completely unfazed by the camera. The other dogs often break their pose when they see the camera or when hubby gets down to eye level. They just can't resist coming to investigate. Not Clemmie. She's unflappable. Must be the English in the English Toy Spaniel. :)

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Friday, October 03, 2008

So, what have you been up to?

I've been crocheting squares.

Piles of Squares


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Thursday, October 02, 2008

Jenie's Gifts

Our sponsor child Jenie, turned eight in July. We sent her some money as a birthday gift and we got back these pictures showing us what Jenie bought.

Jenie and her family lost their home when they were unable to pay the rent. Currently they live under a bridge in Manila. (I'll talk more about this in another post - suffice it to say that it makes these pictures of a sweet little girl enjoying her birthday gifts all the more poignant and precious to me.)

This is my favorite picture. Jenie is so happy showing off her new galoshes. Manila can be very rainy and she previously had no rain gear. Jenny also got a raincoat and an umbrella. Her mother said Jenie was especially happy to get the rain gear because now she would be able to go outside to play even when it rained. The family also chose to spend some of their gift money on food.

Jenny 8-2008

How sweet is this? Jenie got a little plastic tea set! Every girl deserves a little tea set don't you think? Jenie is one of my daughter's special sponsor kids and my daughter was so delighted when she saw the tea set. :)

Jenny 8-2008

And here is Jenie with all her birthday loot. She got lots of clothing items, a new backpack, some school supplies as well as a few toys. We were told it was the first time she had ever been to a store and was able to choose items for herself. I'm so happy that we were able to give her that experience!

Jenny 8-2008

Jenie is quite shy. We were told by the field worker who took the family shopping that Jenie was so overwhelmed by the whole thing that all she could say was "thank you very much" over and over.

Jenny 8-2008

My hope is that Jenie will stay in the Children International Program and that we will have a long journey together over the years until she graduates. I hope we are able to help Jenie and her family to improve their circumstances during that time. I admit that it feels a little bit overwhelming to me - how am I, half a world away, going to be able to help this family to get out from under that bridge and into a proper, safe home? All I know is that allowing this situation to continue is an intolerable thought and I will certainly do all that I can to help, whatever that may be.

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